If only proper salads were as accessible and affordable as fast food, I’d likely be eating a whole lot healthier.
But until I can get a decent salad from a drive-through as a value meal, I’m more than happy to celebrate a new salad business, especially one that has such fresh and delicious offerings.
MIXT Salad Bar is an impressive addition to Cebu’s growing number of healthy food options, making tasty gourmet salads accessible to health-conscious locals. It was founded by Dr. Journey Joyce Yamyamin and Chef Noel Daigo Jr., and their collaboration on the menu results in product offerings that are not only healthy and filling but are also flavorful and enjoyable.
It was supposed to be the best year ever. There were so many exciting plans and projects in store, as well as opportunities for personal and professional growth. After the mental and emotional challenges of recent years and months, things were beginning to look up, finally.
Then the pandemic happened, and everything had to be shelved or set aside for when things get better. “When things get better,” I repeated like a mantra to myself as every single thing I looked forward to getting knocked over like pieces in a game of dominoes.
What I do is important, but in the larger scale of things, not essential. Budgets are slashed and third-party service providers are often one of the first to go. Despite needing marketing more than ever while everyone is spending their time online, we were sidelined even when we were perfectly set up to work remotely already.
Well, it only took 160 days since the pandemic outbreak, but I finally went out for purely leisure reasons for the first time today.
It is kind of hard to turn down lunch at Hai Shin Lou, not when there’s peppercorn squid at stake.
(And also an actual meal in which I don’t have to do the dishes, let’s be real.)
Throughout the quarantine period, I’ve been doing the sensible thing and staying home as much as possible, not that I had much reason to go out if you don’t count my rapidly dwindling mental health. Milk tea deliveries and video calls became the norm, and suddenly five months have passed and we’re halfway through the year already.
Everyone who knows me is well-aware of the fact I love to change my hair around every now and then. From jet black to platinum blonde and every color in between, name a color, I’ve tried it… well, perhaps except for an intentional orange. It also applies to haircuts, though that’s a little more limiting.
Then the quarantine period came and stayed, and all of a sudden it’s been five months since I last stepped into a salon, much more actually do something with my hair. In fact, I think it’s in the healthiest condition it’s been in ever since I first went blonde, but that came at the expense of my mental health, which apparently is intrinsically linked to what I do with my hair (who knew?).
With enhanced community quarantine in place and having stayed home for three weeks at this point, I realized how much I took for granted being able to eat at my favorite dining establishments whenever I felt like it.
On the bright side, my family’s usual Sunday lunches have now become an everyday thing. My aunt is an amazing cook, and she’s always made our favorites once a week—now it’s every meal save for the occasional Jollibee takeout. So we’ve been blessed to be eating good food all this time.
That said, my brother is turning a year older during the quarantine period, and we’ve been talking about finally ordering from a restaurant to have a little celebration among ourselves.
Looking for one is a challenge since most restaurants are closed, so I thought I’d compile what I’ve found so far in case anyone else might find it helpful, whether you also have a special occasion or just want to satisfy your cravings!
When I was younger, I used to think that I’d be married by the time I was around 25.
I’m four years past that deadline and still very much unbetrothed, but I had lunch with the Francis Libiran, and it’s pretty up there on my list of highlights right now—only to be knocked off in the future when some guy I love asks me to marry him, of course. Then, maybe I’ll have a new Francis Libiran-related highlight: Walking down the aisle in one of his ethereal creations.
(a.k.a. I may not be full Chinese, but I spent months in my mother’s womb with dim sum, so I have authority on these things, okay?)
Seriously, ask and she’ll tell you how she had Chinese food every day she was pregnant with me.
(She also asked me to let everyone know it was so much cheaper back in the day, so you’re welcome, Mom. Love you.)
Having spent my literal formative months alongside a food-gendered twin made up of dim sum, it makes so much sense how I always felt a connection to it, much to the point that I’ve never gotten tired of it. I could have dim sum straight for one week for lunch, and wouldn’t mind having some more on the following Monday. It helps that dim sum is readily accessible in Cebu, with fast-food chains making it available at nearly all hours of the day despite traditionally being served during lunchtime only, a practice that Chinese restaurants still do until now.
But even with so many existing options, a new addition to Cebu’s vibrant dining landscape is always welcome. When there were murmurs of a really good Chinese restaurant opening at the Marco Polo Plaza Cebu some years back, you can only imagine my excitement.
Fast forward to today, and the Seafood King meets the Queen City at Hai Shin Lou Cebu.
No Gryffindors were harmed in the planning of this party.
All the way back in high school, my best friends and I (henceforth known as the Fingals) would always wonder who would get married first. We could never agree on an answer, but we knew that whoever it was going to be, would be special for all of us.
Fast forward to last year, Dani got down on one knee in Italy and proposed to our girl Sam. Having been together for seven years then, Dani and Sam have always been our OTP, sharing so much love, warmth, and creativity between them despite enduring long periods of time not seeing each other. Now they’re going to be canon, and we couldn’t be happier.
Everyone started getting in a frenzy thinking of the bachelorette: A wild weekend in Hong Kong? A girls’ beach trip to Bantayan Island? With Sam swept in a flurry of preparations for a big wedding, we couldn’t possibly get her away for more than a couple of hours. Also, she requested things to be innocent to accommodate younger family members, so we turned to the next best thing we could think of—one that has defined Sam’s fangirl identity, as well as our friendship from years and years back.
(But not really, because your girl has to compensate somehow for the height)
I’d like to think of this as a companion piece to the last thing I wrote, which was about going through the aftermath of a back injury through an unexpected accessory. This time around, it’s a different coping mechanism—one that’s very near and dear to me: Shoes!
Considering the aforementioned height (precisely, the lack thereof), I’ve always been a fan of high heels. Wore them the moment I could, and you can bet on anything I blew past the maximum heel height requirement my college uniform required. Did it matter if I occasionally struggled a little while walking downhill towards the campus’ Mango Avenue gate? Of course not. I was tall!
So you can imagine my horror when the good doctor from the Cebu Orthopaedic Institute told me to avoid wearing high heels post the apocalyptic event that was me getting a lumbar strain.
It’s been a while since I talked about anything on here, let alone write about fitness (In Memoriam: The Manuelle’s Crossfit Career, 2015-2016). I was so obsessed about that part of my life that it seemed impossible for me to ever stop, but all it took was to miss one session, which turned into a week, then a month, and here we are, two years and 20 pounds later. Holy f*cking sh*t, self, you’ve really let yourself go.
I could go easy on myself and say that a lot happened in that time frame: I left my job (basically ending a five-year career in the media industry), dove headfirst into a new business venture and feeling my way around, oh and I got a high maintenance (but handsome!) doggo, among many other things. But they’re not really excuses—not when I managed to find the energy and time before. If I was able to do it then, why not now?
Funny enough, it was my dog who reignited my interest in going back to working out. Look, he’s a chow-chow, and they’re well-known to be the laziest dogs around these days, probably as retribution to the canine universe for making them war dogs in historical China. But my dog, my chow-chow somehow managed to complete a 1K run and all for charity. Gryffin = 2; Patty = 0. If that mindset won’t make anyone want to step up their game, I don’t know what will.
A week ago, Gryffin and I—along with my dog’s best friend Antonio Java of Rider’s Block—joined Marco Polo Plaza Cebu‘s Run for ERUF 2018. It’s an annual fun run they hold as a celebration of their anniversary, as well as to benefit the Emergency Rescue Unit Foundation. I’ve known about this event for years, but never participated in any because I actually hate running, even at the peak of my fitness journey. But who could resist when there’s a special dog category involved? So, here we are, all in full GoPro Hero5 Session glory.