Despedida de Soltera

Browsing through photos and videos in my hard drive, I realized that I have not written my bridal shower experience here in my blog. I find it ironic how much wedding-related photos I have already shared, but skipped my hen party altogether!

Roan and I had already set a dinner date with my college friends two weeks prior to the day Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) hit the country. The weather was at its worst that day, so Saturday afternoon plans became a little shaky whether we’re going to push through or not. While my friends and I decide on that matter, Roan and I went for an early morning grocery shopping. We stopped at every aisle, with Roan asking whether we should get this or that, which was rather unlikely. Two hours later, we were still in the grocery, and anxiety began to kick in. Would you believe that at my age, a month into getting married, I still worry that my parents will come looking for us when we’re out for too long?

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No Water? No Problem!

About two or three weeks ago, the scheduled water supply interruption in our city was all over the news. Unfortunately, they had it scheduled during the Holy Week for about three days. At the rate the weather in Manila is going (31–34°C), this year’s Holy Week will not be any different from the previous ones. If I’d choose between no water supply and no electricity, I would pick the latter without batting my lashes any time of the day. Just the thought of not being able to shower at least once [within the day] makes me cringe. It could well pass for a crime in my books!

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In Her Loving Memory

You don’t get over it; you just get through it. You don’t get by it because you can’t get around it. It doesn’t ‘get better’; it just gets different. Everyday…grief puts on a new face.
—Wendy Feireisen

Our family is in deep sorrow over the passing of my father’s elder sister last Saturday. She was only 58. She died the same age as her mother—my grandmother. She had battled with cancer since 1995, but we (my brothers and I) did not know this until my aunt suffered a relapse in December 2012; her cancer had metastasized in her stomach.

I have no words to describe how painful it is for the family to find out about her demise. She was gone too soon. I don’t know how to console my favorite cousin on his mother’s demise which makes it more unbearable. How does one find the words to reassure someone who has just lost his mother that everything is going to be fine? The truth is, it doesn’t. I don’t know this yet, but I’ve seen how my mother gets emotional every time we visit my grandmother’s grave. It’s been almost seven years since, but nothing has changed. I have felt the same towards my most-loved grandfather, and I miss him to this day. I still wish he had been there on our wedding day, but he’d been gone since 2008.

We have had family issues in the past, and unfortunately, it caused a strain in our relationship. I have learned a lot from this circumstance because I witnessed the value of acceptance and forgiveness most especially if family is involved. It’s sad that we no longer got the change to make up for the lost times, but we’re relieved that she left this world peacefully. She will forever be missed.

Back To Square One

I must admit that I have been off-tracked with my fitness goals for the last few months. It’s ironic that I started slacking off with my workouts a month before my wedding. Things got crazier and I became busier, tossing my time and energy between my day job and final wedding preparations. I reported to work until a week before our Big Day, and I decided not to go to the gym anymore because I needed to get as much rest (read: sleep) as I can; otherwise, exhaustion will reflect in our wedding photos and video. My husband, however, was able to continue with his weight training by signing up at a nearby local gym, along with my youngest brother. Had my husband agreed to signing up with Gold’s Gym, I wouldn’t have a problem at all; however, he prefers their “bronze” gym (a pun he and my brother made up) over my “fancy” one. Whatever.

The other day, my friend tagged a photo of me from Sweet and Edong’s wedding on Instagram. Suddenly, it hit me. I have gained. See, that was what motivated me to do something about my unwanted weight some three years and 35lbs ago. Seeing photos of myself—face as big as the moon, flabby arms and thick thighs—was what triggered me to change my lifestyle. I knew I had to act on this personal issue sooner, not later. Scale-wise, I was not overweight. In fact, my weight still fell on the normal BMI for my height, but I did not feel good. All the wrong choices put me in this position, and I’m the one to blame. This, my friends, is a gut-punching realization.

Incidentally, a friend from grade school/college invited me to try out her current workout routine, CrossFit training.¹ I see that she’s lost a lot of weight since I last saw her a little over a year ago, so I thought I’d give it a shot. She goes to a nearby local gym (“box” in CrossFit vocabulary) which is only a stone’s throw away from her house. Today I promised to go with her for my first CrossFit training, and I did. I psyched myself since yesterday that I will commit to this no matter how anxious I get about this new thing.

The box is not like any commercial gyms I’ve been to. There were no fancy equipment (i.e., treadmill, elliptical machines, etc.); instead, there were sets of free movement weights such as kettlebells, dumbbells, weight plates, weight discs and medicine balls. I jumped right into the routines when we arrived at the box. My dynamic warm-up included rolling up using PVC tubes and different kinds of quick cardio exercises. It was immediately showed me a rundown of the following routines:

  1. Medicine Ball Squat Press x 20
  2. Single Leg Dead Lift x 10 on each side
  3. Big Circles x 10 (clockwise, then counter-clockwise)
  4. Toe Touches x 20
  5. Medicine Ball Russian Twist x 10 on each side
  6. Rolling Push-up x 20
  7. Medicine Ball V-Up x 20
  8. Side-to-Side Slam x 10 on each side

Here’s where the fun part goes. I had to complete four sets of all eight routines! Since I was new to this, they did not record my time. I was dying on the second set, but I had to man up to at least finish three sets of my exercises. Boy was I overwhelmed! I was sweating buckets, and it didn’t even involve running on a treadmill nor joining a group exercise. That’s coming from a semi-gym rat that is myself who used to spend two hours at gym, five to six times a week.

CrossFit is indeed designed for strength and conditioning training, and with proper form, I believe it will be an effective form of exercise. As most professional trainers say, CrossFit can be done by anyone, but it is not for everyone. I’m beginning to feel the aftermath of my workout today as I write this, and I can help to think: what did I get myself into?

Here’s to hoping I sustain this new habit to a healthier and fitter lifestyle!

Have you tried CrossFit Training? If so, do you find it fun?
If not, what type of exercise do you enjoy the most? Share your experience below.

¹This is a pretty comprehensive guide to beginners in CrossFit training.

Update [12 April 2014]: I did this entire routine again for three sets at home today using a basketball instead of a medicine ball. (I had to improvise!) My body is sore, but it’s a good kind of soreness, that I sort of missed. I might go again tomorrow morning or sometime next week before they place closes in observance of the Holy Week.

First of Summer

The eight-year-old version of me would become giddy as soon as the school ends because it automatically meant going on a summer getaway with the entire family. As early as January, the elders would have planned something for the summer. It didn’t matter whether we’re renting a private pool or checking in at a beach resort; as long as my cousins are there, I’m sure it’s going to be fun. Who would have thought that two decades later, the feeling remains the same?

Our relatives invited us over at a semi-private resort in Cavite with a swimming pool, villas for rent, and a variety of recreational facilities. It was a grand celebration for everyone who graduated this year as well as those who are celebrating their birthdays this April. They booked enough rooms to accommodate several groups of families present there; however, we couldn’t stay overnight because of prior commitments the following morning. Instead we extended our stay in order to spend more time with the family. Everyone prepared a banquet enough to feed a hundred people, and most of them are only staying overnight.

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