boat travel

Boat Travel Requirements During a Pandemic in the Philippines (From Cagayan de Oro to Cebu)

The first time we traveled during a pandemic was back in August and it was just within Cagayan de Oro City so the only documents that were required were barangay exit pass for our family, barangay clearance for me and Mahal, and health certificates for us three either from a doctor or the city health office certifying that we were in good health at that time. It was quite easy. This time around though, we were moving from Cagayan de Oro City in Northern Mindanao to Oslob, Cebu which is the southwestern part of Cebu Region. We traveled by land and then by boat from Cagayan de Oro port to Cebu port then traveled by land again for 3-4 hours outside of Cebu City

The following documents were required of us (and I assume it would be the same for people traveling by boat between regions anywhere in the Philippines). Just keep in mind that once you have all these travel requirements, their validity will last for only 2 weeks. So you better have your travel itinerary ready and make sure you’re good to go! 

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unboxing Christmas gifts

5-Year Old Tuz Unboxes His Christmas Gifts [Christmas in the eyes of a Child]

This is the first Christmas that we’re giving Tuz Christmas gifts. In the past years, we would just spend Christmas at a hotel resort, party, feast, and be merry as a family with no gifts! Now that he’s five years old, we thought that he would be able to appreciate receiving gifts from Santa, just like it was the first time for us to give him birthday gifts when he turned 5 last November.

The idea for what gifts to give him (they were mostly toys for unstructured learning) came from a lawyer I spoke with last month. We were having an affidavit done to process Tuz’s last name and for Mahal to formally acknowledge him and use his last name (long story short, I had Tuz when I was still married to my ex so to avoid problems, his last name on his birth certificate is my last name and he has no middle name). I’ve been annulled for two years already (declared null & void ab initio – meaning the marriage never really happened in the first place and that I’ve always been single) so it’s just about time for us to start processing his paternity. Anyway, in the middle of chit-chatting with this lawyer, she suggested that we buy unstructured toys for Tuz… toys that help him solve problems on his own… He already has some of these toys at home but I bought some more as part of his independent homeschooling program. 

Here’s Tuz getting excited about Santa delivering his gifts and him finally opening them! I hope you enjoy the vid! Christmas is really for the kids!

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New Year Charcuterie Boards

New Year’s DIY Charcuterie Table Design

As I’ve mentioned on my Christmas blog post, we’ve always celebrated the holiday season at a nice hotel resort in the city. That’s where I would usually see wonderful buffet table settings including charcuterie board offerings. So I said to myself, why don’t I try to recreate that here at home and have that nice hotel resort buffet feel? Perhaps, I can already use some materials we already have here inside the house, and the rest, I can buy at the store? So that’s what I did! 

I just want to document here the layouts I’ve made. The idea came to me right after Christmas. I didn’t want to order any more food from Food Panda. We also didn’t want to cook. But I love to decorate and arrange things so having charcuterie boards on the table sounds perfect for what I didn’t want! Lol! So if you’ll check my Christmas blog post, there really is a huge difference in terms of the look of our buffet table. The two table settings we had last Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were nothing compared to how pretty our New Year’s Eve and New Year’s table settings were. I didn’t know I could do such an instagrammable and Pinterest-worthy charcuterie table decor. What do you think? Is it just me? Or aren’t these charcuterie table settings so pretty? 

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New Year's eve

My Little New Year’s Eve Diary

When I think about what 2020 has been for us, I have nothing but prayer of thanks. 

Though this pandemic did affect some aspects of our business, we were able to pivot, adjust, and not only survive but thrive. Truth is, in the 3 years that we’ve lived in Cagayan de Oro, 2020 has been our most successful year. And for that, THANK YOU, GOD! 

A huge part is because living and working from home is not new to us. We’ve always been the introverted type and my work has always been online, so it didn’t really change our routine much. And because most of the world turned online, business has never been better.  It also helped that we got out of our tiny pad. Since travel was restricted, our original plan of living somewhere half the time and living in the tiny pad the other half of the time was no longer possible. I needed space to breathe and just be and I’m so happy we got to experience living in a cozy house here in Cagayan de Oro City. Before the year approached its end, we even got to host online and overnight parties

But don’t get me wrong… There were dark days, yes. Days when I felt like the world was going to end as if we’re entering the era of zombie apocalypse…

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Christmas

Unexpected Christmas Wishes Coming True

It’s true what they say… when you least expect it, that’s when the magic happens. For the most part of the year, and the last 3 years before that, I thought we will have the same Christmas as before — we used to live in a tiny pad, so decorating our home for Christmas was not an option then. Instead, we’d go to a hotel resort here in Cagayan de Oro City and spend an overnight stay for both Christmas and New Year. Although on our first Christmas here in 2017, we celebrated it at our farm with our people. I’ve still yet to blog and vlog about those amazing hotel resort stays we did but I really plan to (next year, hopefully, as throwback features). Oh wait, I did blog about our Seda Centrio New Year Stay.  

Well, this year, (in a way, thanks to this pandemic — we got to transfer to a cozy house — looking at the silver lining here), my long overdue wish of spending Christmas in a beautiful, cozy home I personally decorated, hosting a party if possible, and just chilling and pigging out over a simple Noche Buena feast in our pajamas — finally came true!!! I’m so happy, I really can’t stop expressing it! I’ve been saying it on my social media posts and even offline to Mahal. I’m just really so happy. Hallelujah! 

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Apple Tree Hotel and Resort

Apple Tree Hotel and Resort, Cagayan de Oro City: Tuz’s 5th Birthday Hoopla

Ever since Tuz was born, we’ve always celebrated it by traveling to the beach or a nice hotel resort, just us three. I do plan to make a blog post and/or vlog of his past birthday celebrations so watch out for those soon… 

Just a little flashback on his past nativity celebrations:

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gratitude

A Little Thanksgiving Post

Year 2020 started with me getting sick with an unknown sickness (doctors couldn’t figure out why my white blood cell count was high at that time —- sometimes I wonder if that was Covid even when Covid hasn’t been announced to the world yet since we spent New Year’s partying at NHotel with Chinese nationals). I thought it was dengue but I tested negative for both kinds of tests I did. I planned to redo my bloodwork but then the pandemic happened, I got scared of going to the hospital and we got busier pivoting our business strategy.

The year is about to end and we have been quaranting at home for the most part, continuously praying that we stay safe from Covid especially now that we just found out someone close to us recently tested positive for the dreaded disease. (Covid became more real for us!) Nevertheless, there’s still so much to thank God for…

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Halloween

How to Celebrate Major Holidays During a Pandemic: Halloween Feature + a Guide

In case I haven’t said it enough, Halloween is my most favorite time of the year! So we celebrated it in a major way the past month. Maybe because I feel like I’m still a Wiccan at heart (I used to cast spells, call out spirit guides, and share my experiences in my old Wiccan blog), but more importantly, for some reason, I turn into a child-like nymph whenever Halloween is around the corner! Teehee. Suffice it to say that I’d like to celebrate it for as long as I can, even after it’s over. Haha! So this blog post here is my last attempt to still hold on to it. After I publish this, my next blog posts will be about other aspects of my life like Tuz’s exciting 5th birthday, our everyday life, travels, Christmas, etc.

Before the pandemic, and as far as I can remember, during Halloween, I used to go out, attend costume parties, and even host events during Halloween. It’s the most magical time of the year for me and doing those things really made me happy! I know it’s hard now that we are living in this new normal but it is still possible. I made it possible, and I will continue to make it possible. Haha! Watch my Halloween vlog below:

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house transfer

House Transfer in the Middle of a Pandemic

I mentioned in my previous life update that one of the things I got busy with the last 3 months was our transfer to a new home. It was last July, when out of the blue, we just suddenly decided to move to a house and leave our tiny pad behind where we lived for three years in Cagayan de Oro City.

If this is your first visit here or you don’t know yet what it was like for us to live in a tiny space, you can read my Tiny Pad blog posts here:

REAL TALK: TINY PAD TOUR AND BUSINESS UPDATE IN THIS TIME OF PANDEMIC

TINY PAD – LIVING SMALL IN A BIG CITY AND THE REASONS WE DO IT

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7 Months Into the Pandemic – a Life Update

Hey! How’s everyone doing? How’s the pandemic treating you? I’m writing this down at 3:41 on a Saturday morning (although in my work hours, it’s 2:41 PM central time on a Friday) after 3 quick months of grueling schedule in my home/work life! Man, those 3 months just really flew me by! I’ve been working, and studying,  and taking care of our household, helping Mahal with the biz, and of course, being a mother to an almost 5-year-old boy who still has a very irregular body clock just like his mom! LOL! I’ll probably be babbling a bit at first about how tired I’ve been, how I’ve just gone through a week of depression towards the end of this 3-month-work-study-life marathon; how I thought I was acing this pandemic because for the most part, I’ve been grateful for the boatload of work and opportunities coming in; that I really don’t have the right to be sad because I am still VERY blessed. We are still alive, healthy, productive, and living good lives considering the world situation we are in. And after those 3 months of being on blogging hiatus, I feel like I’ve just come up for air… I’m starting to feel alive again; I’m starting to make new plans for the future… Anyway, let me breathe a little here and give you an overview as to what’s been happening to me the past 3 months that I haven’t had the time to blog here. So here are my updates…

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Through Night and Day

My Own Confessions, Thanks to Through Night and Day [An Emotional Netflix Movie Review]

I’ve been seeing posts about Through Night and Day starring Alessandra de Rossi and Paolo Contis on Facebook. I rarely watch Tagalog movies these days but when I saw their faces on Netflix, I got curious long before all these Facebook posts about it cropped up. So I watched it, by myself, around 1am last week or so as I was relaxing in between shifts at work. I knew it would be a tearjerker and I was craving for a good cry.

I’ve forgotten all about it until Lorelei, a Facebook friend, asked me if I’ve already watched it coz she’s waiting for me to post about it. I said yes but I chose not to say anything about it coz it got me depressed. Now, all the emotions are flooding back… so now I need to blog about it…

You see, with all this pandemic going on, my life now revolves around my family and my work (oh, and food! lol!) No more time to travel even if I want to, no more time to spend chatting with the small group of friends I have left coz I’ve been accepting online work left & right, no more time to just really sit down with Mahal and talk about us because he’s so busy too with mushrooms, and the last few times we did get to talk about us, it ended up with a breakup… which lasted for a minute or two… but it broke my heart into a million tiny pieces, and even as I write this, I’m still actually healing from those few moments that he wanted to leave me because of uncomfortable issues that keep cropping up between us. We managed to overcome that big tiny hiccup (ang ironic noh? big pero tiny..) but yeah, I needed a good cry….

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