Happy @ Taipei: Day 1
It’s official, Taipei has got to be one of my favorite places in Asia!
My husband and I chanced upon a seat sale months ago and we chose Taipei over the others specifically because we think its underrated. I’ve heard good things about this country from a few friends who’ve gone there so we booked w/o second thoughts!
One important tip is to take advantage of your US/Canadian/Australian/New Zealand visa! Yes, you’re right, when i was searching on going about getting a visa in Taiwan, I found out that there’s visa-exemption for those Philippine passport holders with any of these visas. Hassle-free, we just filled out an online form, printed out an approval for entry and presented it at immigration.
We stayed for about a week there since my husband loathes tight schedule while on a foreign trip- he’s a “whatever floats the boat” / “lets cross the bridge when we get there” kind of guy.
I myself did not prepare an itinerary beforehand, just started researching about places to go to and then decided how to go about the week on our first day.
We arrived late at night and was welcomed by this huge and beautiful structure. I love airports, well at least other countries’ airports. I like the smell of crisp cold air, the scent in the fragrance section of duty free, and the fact that its a destination on its own (talking about SG/HK here). And I digress, sorry.
Anyway, there weren’t too many people then so it seemed more apt to take a snapshot.
Since we’re on a budget, we decided to book our accommodation through Airbnb. Honestly, it was our first time to use the site so I was a bit skeptical in the beginning that I really took time to read through all the testimonials of different guests who stayed in the places I was eyeing on until I finally booked the A05 room at A+ Design Hostel at Zhongxiao Fuxing, Daan District, which had so many rave reviews mainly about its great location, well thought of design and offering of basic necessities.
The room was relatively small compared to the usual hotel rooms but it had everything we needed! Best of all, the room was refurbished and redesigned and the bathroom was clean and well-maintained. The host was not bad at all, too so I’m definitely looking forward to booking again for our Japan trip early next year.
Forgot to take a photo of the room but here’s one from Airbnb:
Looks exactly the same, only the bathroom glass separator was frosted, which turned out better for privacy! Would be weird taking a dump while your husband’s just..there and can clearly see you. Haha. I’m not gonna go there. :)
Here’s our bathroom, it has a huge mirror and a desk, too! Good layout considering the space is small. Prolly about 18sqm. It pays to have a host who’s into interior design!
On our first night, we walked around a popular shopping haven called Ximending. And when I say shopping, I mean Swooshes. Nike and Adidas stores are abundant in this area! For the ladies looking for clothing and sandals though, there are other shopping areas that sell cheaper items like Shilin Night Market and Wufenpu comparable to that of HK’s Ladies’ Night Market at Mongkok.
One thing I noticed in Taipei is that they don’t have much American fastfood chains. I saw 1 KFC (as shown in one of the pictures above) and very few McDonald’s. Not complaining though, I love street food, noodles and anything with soup- during our stay, believe it or not, we never tried any of these American chains yet out tummies left happy and well, bigger. Haha. Thanks Din Tai Fung! Because you’re that good, I’ll dedicate a post just for you and your awesome dimsum.
Speaking of food, one ubiquitous thing in Taipei is street food. I wonder how most Taiwanese people remain so slim considering the amount of deep-fried food available anywhere you go!
Here’s one sticky rice cake I liked, which was grilled! Wasn’t able to take those fried ones like some fish balls, oysters, and the big-ass Hot Star Chicken, among plenty of others.
I ordered two with cheese and green tea (matcha) flavorings. Yummy!
We then found our way to this popular and local flour-rice noodle place named Ay Chung, their bowls cost less than 100 NTD or less than 200 PHP and their soup is made of pig gut.
The line was quite long, without a doubt every local’s favorite!
Earlier that day, we swung by Zhongxiao Dunhua- home to pop up stores and quaint cafes and coffee shops. Thanks to Mikka Wee’s blog post (http://mikkawee.com/tag/pancakes/), I was truly enamored of this area.
During our early afternoon stroll, we decided to dine in Paddington Garden, which is a few steps away from Zhongxiao Dunhua MRT Station and is known for its pancakes.
I just had to have this mixed berry pancakes and it was such a tease just looking at it! But wait…. it tasted even better than it looks! And yup, that’s ice cream in the middle.
Not too hungry we were yet craving for something oily- we had this fried onion. It was huge and taste was average, I still love Chuck’s Deli’s. :P
That’s all on DAY 1, folks!
Just a teaser for you.
Thank God for sunshine yesterday during my shoot with Marcelo! Was supposed to do it today but this morning was welcomed by a cloudy and rainy weather.
See, in all things, God is at work.
Happy First Birthday, my Marcelito.
Next to your daddy’s, your birth is my favorite little miracle.
Since two years ago, I’ve been a witness to a beautiful story. Except, this story is no ordinary one. I have read hundreds of stories but with yours I’ve never been this excited to turn the page because I know that somewhere along the way, there’ll be something wonderful and captivating that will keep me turning every page for the rest of my life.
Having you in me, initially weightless and so tiny, felt nothing but refreshing and natural. I served as home to a little angel for 40 weeks but truthfully, I never felt more secure and stable until you and your daddy came along.
And when I saw your heart beating? That was yet another wonderful miracle. It was becoming more real to me. You were. That day we first saw and heard your heartbeat, your daddy and I held each other’s hands with tears welling up our eyes because we both knew that nothing in this whole wide enormous world will ever bring us sheer joy and blessedness but you.
In a week, we are about to celebrate your life and all the smiles and giggles you bring to our family and friends every single day. I thank God for giving me the courage every minute of every day to become the mother I need to be for you. I thank God for all the love around us, the immeasurable love that gets us through each day, the love that makes us strive harder and live our dreams.
The very same love that brought you into this world.
Remember that you are a miracle and God’s instrument. Your tiny little hands will soon turn big dreams into reality just like how you turned mine. Know that the world is as lucky as we are and it cant wait for you to make your mark. Your enormous heart will move lives and your zest for life will inspire others to live it to the fullest.
Remember that you can always count on us, your family. We will always be your sanctuary. I promise to make our tiny house home to all your dreams. It will be home to every strand of your weakness and every ounce of strength, your vulnerability, your tears, your smiles, your thoughts and secrets, your prayers and all your hopes.
We love you so much Marcelito.
Happy first birthday!
Marcelo’s First Haircut
Another obligatory post for the most-awaited time of any baby’s life- THE FIRST HAIRCUT.
There’s a saying that you can only have the haircut done to your baby once he turns one and my mother-in-law made sure I knew that. I am not sure why we had to hold it off for a year but I guess there’s nothing to lose if I wait it out. After all, I was enjoying how my boy carried his long hair like a pro!
Good thing I had no work on the day of my little one’s first birthday so we decided to go for it last Monday at Cuts 4 Tots in Eastwood.
I’ve seen that kiddie salon for a long while now and I was always intrigued by how they manage to do a haircut for babies and toddlers. Imagine those in their terrible twos or simply the kind of babies who cant stay put no matter what, in short, think a handful of Marcelitos.
Kidding aside, I was there to experience it myself.
I got a few recommendations from friends about Cuts for Tots so I was confident about bringing my boy there. But first… we had to stuff Marcelo’s tummy primarily to get him in a good mood.
This is my boy asking (through his eyes, haha) for his staple drink before we headed out.
You can see how he seems very relaxed at this point with his lovey lampin.
And then off to Cibo for lunch. That’s where we met my mom… who never wants to miss out on any important event such as “the first haircut”.
We went to the salon right after and my burrito got prepped up right away. I was asked what kind of haircut I wanted and I just uttered, “‘yung mukhang binata na!” Good thing I didn’t regret my choice… of words. Haha dont get me wrong, I’m not in a hurry! Haha I guess i was too scared to try the mohawk or any other risky style for that matter.
Anyway, he sat on this super cute toy car-turned-chair and started rocking it! He was calm and looked like he’s enjoying! I was thinking to myself… “Thank God. I think this will be breeze!”
Lo and behold, as soon as it came to his senses, he started crying. My poor little boy had to go through several attempts just to finish the cut! I think despite the kid-friendly colors all around, the yours and all sorts of distraction in the place, he got overwhelmed by the “unfamiliar”- the place, most faces were all new to him.
Since we were the only ones in the salon, the two female assistants tried helping us by turning on the small TV, making funny noises and giving him almost all kinds of toys. Name it, they did it. A common denominator? Everything failed and he kept crying and just begged for comfort in our arms.
So the strategy was to get him out for a good 5 minutes for some quiet time with me or his yaya just to calm him down and then the kuya comes in to work his magic. Good thing he was quick and careful and my baby love went out of the salon without a scratch. Well, just a swollen pair of eyes.
Poor little thing.
About the haircut? Personally, I think it suits Marcelo. He now looks more like a boy! And he feels a lot more comfortable now with less sweating!
We stayed there for a while as he was curiously rummaging through the shelves with books and stuffed toys. He was giving us some toys to keep, of course we had to secretly put them back. ;)
I think I’m gonna try the real barbers next time and will make sure his dad comes with him and gets a cut as well.
We availed of their “First Haircut Certificate” and this was the “After” photo. You can tell he had a bit of hard time with the whole thing ‘cos his eyes are swollen! He looked like a Chinito!
A Bittersweet Goodbye
I never expected it would come this soon but… It’s my last day at work and I’ll be bidding farewell to the corporate world.
Although I feel excited about focusing on child-rearing (add to that not having to wake up so early every morning on every weekday), I have this bittersweet feeling about leaving.
I knew that when I first stepped in that office at the basement floor of the Galleria mall, God had something planned for me. Looking back, I can say it’s been quite an adventure. From triumphant times to fiascos and embarrassing moments like crying over a broker who threatened to sue me (some delay in her commission) and all I got from my boss back then was: “Fire them.” Firing brokers never made sense because they’re not hired at all but what it meant for me deep inside was, “I’ve got your back.”
That moment I knew I made the right choice when I entered RLC. It always had my back. And I felt I was home.
My closest friends would know how I often whined about many things about my work, but through the years I realized that no company is perfect and no matter where you go, there will always be difficulty and inadequacy and something dissatisfying. I have a friend who left her job months into it (happens to be the dream job of many as she belonged to a multinational company) even though she was earning 6 digits for a newly grad. If anything, I believe it’s the wonderful, humble and hardworking people in it who made me stay.
Four years in the company have been challenging, lots of bumps on the road and self-doubt in between promotions, yet I am thankful for the learning and the opportunities. They say your work should seem like your second home. And to this day I would say it has always been my second home. To push it further, it’s become both my comfort and risk zone. With RLC, I got to be an assistant, a host, a dancer, a presenter, a trainer, a teacher, a model, a real estate board passer, a runner, a lease officer, among many others. Wore many hats in my stint there and I definitely wouldn’t have done it any other way. I truly appreciate my exposure in real estate, which is one of the exciting industries around.
More than what my work entails, what I’ll miss most are the people.
To my first bosses, sir Raoul and sir Francis, thank you for hiring me and for believing in me. Up to now, I still am grateful we all stuck around even after you left the company.
To my first friends (you know who you are), thank you for making my initial years fun and worthwhile.
To my second bosses Ms.May and sir JT, thank you for giving me another set of wings, for pushing me even more, for trusting me, and supporting my new career adventure.
To my current bosses, sir Farr and Ms.Maricel, thank you for half a year of laughter, tears and closed deals; for having my back and for letting me go to pursue the most challenging career ever- being a hands on mother.
To my colleagues-turned-friends, I wouldn’t have succeeded on anything if it weren’t for all of you. Thank you for choosing to be a colleague and a friend at the same time. Made things a tad bit easier.
To the kuya’s and ate’s, thank you for going out of your way to help me with work and for simply taking care of the company’s resources, including its people.
To sir Tante, our HR head, thank you for helping me all the way through. I will forever be indebted to you.
To RLC, it was a good 4-year run.
To Jess, my Lord, thank You for always guiding me and for paving the road to my self-discovery. I am merely your instrument to inspire and make a difference in people’s lives. Again, I lift everything up to you. Continue working through me as I dive into this new adventure.
Levi, Me, sir Kerwin and Tamara Lee
Aine, sir Ferdie at the back, Nicole, Jeric
Marketing of Residential Team!
Karen, Noemi, Kamae!
Jeric and sir Mikey!
RLC President with Chinky Tan and Ms.May and sir Ferdie
Jeremy and Paul!
Girls with sir Raoul Littaua
Chawen!! My first friend. HAHAHA
My NDD Teammates Nico, Bam and sir JT!
Office Buildings Leasing Team
My immediate supervisor/department head Ms.Maricel Cadiz!
Ejie and Jessa
Sir Farr Go, our General Manager
THE MTs Bea and Ms.Dumaguete Dawn
Beautiful simply for being Moms
The greatest scene from ” My Beautiful Woman ” of Thailand.The Short Film was based on a true story. The story is about how mother (Jen) did her sacrifices for her loving daughter (June).
I dedicate this video to YOU. (Please reserve a tissue roll)
You who took every inch of pain through birth, you who battled with complications throughout the 40 weeks, you who may have ridden this journey singlehandedly, you who got the dreaded stretch marks and the scars, you who gave up long hours to simply watch another life unfold before your eyes, you who hardly ever looked at the mirror because you felt unpretty, you who thought once (or twice) that you’re not good enough, you who stayed up all night to keep an eye on your child, you who squeezed every ounce of patience in you every minute of the day, you who often holds off a meal just to look after your kid, you who felt really tired, you who has to leave your baby to work every morning, you whose life changed in a snap and faced new things unprepared, you who’s chosen to love more, you who keeps on keeping on despite the sacrifices motherhood entails.
This inspiring story reminds me that for all the things I’ve just mentioned, these seemingly bad or difficult things we go or have gone through, are the exact same things that make us so beautiful.
Cried buckets watching this video but thank God I did!
To share a bit of myself, it took me a while to accept the way my body turned out after giving birth but this video reminds me that the extra skin and pounds, the double chin and the stretch marks are what make me beautiful. Being a mother has become the most beautiful thing about me.
Truly, beauty goes beyond physical, its about what’s inside us that makes us beautiful.
So to all mothers out there, though I don’t promise a future of less pain or sacrifices, I hope we continue to embrace the hardships, our faults, the pain, and everything in between. I hope we continue to be kind to ourselves and give ourselves credit. We are beautiful because we choose to love, because we are moms.
And to my mom, thank you for being you. Remember that who I am today is because you are my mom. That makes you beautiful.
I’ve finally taken a leap of faith by *wait for it…* tendering my resignation. I am leaving the corporate world. Well, at least for now.
And you may ask what I’m about to do? I chose to be a full-time mom. Through Marcelo’s formative years, I simply want to be there guiding him every step of the way. Don’t want to miss anything ‘cos boy, time flies fast.
It is a tough one to work full time with a baby, even tougher than any other corporate job in the world (at least for me) because there’s another life involved, and its my son. When I die, its my children who will definitely be the ultimate measure of my success. This may not hold true for other people, but for me, my family is my legacy. I want to take good care of my son, my husband, my family as a whole and possibly juggle a business on the side.
A lot of things are happening around and I just want to dive into it. I’m excited for what tomorrow will bring and I’m on it to finding my true calling. Less than 2 weeks to go!!!!