City2Surf

World’s largest fun run. Yan ang tagline ng City2Surf which is an annual event in Sydney. It covers a total length of 14 kilometres. It’s so popular that almost every one of my work colleagues who I asked seemed to have participated already.  I’ve always wanted to sign up out of interest. After all, nakaka intriga kung bakit madaming sumasali (intrigera pa naman ako).   I finally had the guts to join last Sunday (Aug 12, 2018) but this time, it means so much more to me than just feeding my curiosity. It’s a unique bonding activity with my husband dahil pareho namin ma- eexperience for the first time. Most importantly, I know it will be a different kind of achievement that I can personally be proud of.

I’ve never been the active type. I usually try to eat well, and I felt that was enough to keep me healthy. I didn’t have regular exercise. Sa work lagi lang ako nakaupo. At a minimum, tatayo lang kung kailangan uminom or if I need to go to the toilet. I started to seriously think about my fitness when there was an instance we had to run to catch a train. Wala pa atang 1-minute ang tinakbo ko pero halos mamatay matay ako and that’s not even an exaggeration. I felt awfully sick and nauseous. I think I caused quite a stir dahil humahangos kami and when we sat down as in nasusuka suka ako. People were starting to stare. Maybe they were wondering if I needed help. Most embarrassing moment of my life award right there. I’ve never felt so unfit. From then on, I decided to do something about it. Matigas din naman kasi ang ulo ko. Dati pa ako ine-encourage ni husband to start being active pero I was ignoring him. Kailangan pa may kahiya hiyang eksena bago matauhan.

Slowly, I tried to do walks during weekends. Paikot ikot lang around our residential area. I also started attending free gym classes offered in our workplace whenever I can. Those short 5-minute walks turned into 20, then 30 and then gradually became longer. I worked on my endurance and tried to incorporate both resistance and strength trainings in my routine. Nakakapagod? Oo naman, minsan tinatanong ko na nga din kung bakit pinahihirapan ko ang sarili ko. Sa totoo lang, mahirap simulan at lalong mahirap panindigan.  Nakakatamad dahil mas enjoy naman talaga humilata at manood during free time. Pero it also feels good to know that I’m taking care of myself. I want to be able to say that I’ve done my part to look after my wellbeing.

Naku ha, I’m not a feeling-feelingan fitness guru ek-ek and I don’t intend to be one. I am merely sharing my experience and hope I can somehow be a source of inspiration. Alam kong marami ang gustong simulan ang kanyang fitness journey but may be feeling intimidated to do so. This is exactly how I felt previously, so I hope this gives you that extra push to eventually get you started. I will never forget a conversation I had with someone who wanted to start so badly. Nangingilid ang luha nya when she was telling me that she feels so strongly about her health but for some reason, hindi nya magawa yung goal nya. What struck me most was when she told me a story I can very well relate to. When she was on the treadmill, she watched others and kept wondering why she’s unable to do the same things they can. She was disheartened, and I felt bad for her. It was like listening to myself talk because I had the same frustrations before. I tried to encourage her and imparted some of my learnings (nagmamahal, Ate Charo). Paano magsimula and how do you sustain the energy to keep going: 

OVERCOME THE NEGATIVITY

Kahit hindi ko maintindihan, natuto na din akong tanggapin ang reality na marami talagang kontrabida sa mundo. Well, they do make the world a bit more interesting. May mga tanong na “bakit ka nagpapa sexy?” Excuse me?!? Una sa lahat matagal na akong sexy (dapat confident!). Ngayon ka lang nagka interest mang usisa. Pangalawa, huwag na tayong plastic. Wala naman sigurong tao na pipiliing pabayaan ang katawan nila. Meron pang “ano ine- exercise mo, buto mo?”. Absent yata ito during PE classes. Wala ka naman din mahihita kung papatulan mo so just smile, shrug them off and do your thing. There’s no point in letting these people get in your head. What matters is to accomplish your goal and not what others have to say. 

DON’T COMPARE

Sabi nga, comparison is the thief of joy. You will either become disappointed or conceited if you always pit yourself against others. Iba’t iba ang capacity ng bawat tao. You must outperform yourself and not someone else. It’s natural to admire other people but their achievement shouldn’t be the basis of yours. Take it slow, magsimula sa kaya mo ang gradually build on that. Kailangan din tandaan na everyone’s purpose is different. Mine personally ay para makaiwas sa sakit. Others may want to maintain a certain physique and that’s totally fine. What drives ME? That’s a vital question you must ask yourself.

CELEBRATE YOUR WINS

So if your mindset shifts to a ‘no comparison against others’ rule, your progress should be measured by how well you’ve done today. Kung dati 3-minute walk ngayon ay 5 na, good on yah! (sabi nga ng mga Aussie). Celebrate those milestones, give yourself a pat on the back and let that be a motivation to do better next time.

Ang dami ko na masyadong sinabi. Gusto lang kita i-assure na kaya mo yan. I hope you find this useful.  Here’s to running more miles and crossing more finish lines. I’m cheering for you all the way.

See you until next blog!

Pansit Ala Ritz

Pansit noodles made in the Philippines sa Woolies! Isa ang Woolworths (Woolies for short) sa biggest grocery chains in Australia and it’s such a delight to see our products slowly making their way to international grocery shelves. I said ‘slowly’ because I’ve only seen few items so far: dried mangoes and eto nga, pansit. Most of the Asian products are from Japan, Thailand or China. Unless you go to specialty stores where there’s a wider selection (bagoong, sardines to name a few). Kaya everytime we do grocery shopping and I find ‘Product of the Philippines’ written on the label, my heart skips a beat. As in wide eyes with gaping mouth moment. Pati presyo, makalaglag panga (note to self: tigilan ang pag convert to PhP!). In any case, nakakatuwa at nakaka excite to patronize Pinoy goods.

Alam natin na pansit is an extremely popular Filipino food. It’s one of my personal favorites which I associate with festivities. Birthdays, New Year or even Christmas celebration feels incomplete kung wala nito.  Dapat always present sa handaan. At the same time, it also reminds me of relaxed afternoons back home where it’s easily prepared for a quick merienda. Kasi naman, the ingredients are quite simple and readily available. Kung tinatamad naman magluto, go to the nearest carinderia at for sure may mabibiling ready to eat na.

Dito sa Australia, meron din naman sa mga Chinese restaurants or takeaway counters sa food court. Iba’t iba din ang klase. Pero for me, the best pa rin talaga yung Pinoy version. Isa pa, parang hindi uso sa kanila na i-partner ang lemon (wala ditong calamansi). Hindi ka bibigyan when you order. How odd ‘no? It’s a sacrilege! Sa atin kasi automatic na kasama yun. Kahit nga ga-patak lang ang ma squeeze from a tiny piece, ayos na rin.

Dahil nga it’s almost a staple sa hapag kainan, I wasn’t surprised nung na mention ito sa akin ng isa sa gym nutritionist from our workplace. He’s an Aussie na may Filipina girlfriend. We were chatting about his recent trip sa Pinas. He talked about the places he visited and foods he tried. He asked me if I know how to cook pansit. Syempre proud ako, so I said with full conviction ‘of course!’ (gosh, can I even call myself Filipino if I don’t know how?). Medyo natigilan ako sa next question nya. He asked kung ang version ko daw ba ay yung halos puro noodles lang? Na observe daw nya na mabibilang lang ang lahok na gulay. Hindi kaya instant pansit canton ang nakain nya? Well, I told him na nilalagyan ko naman ng kerots at beans especially pag sinisipag mag gayat. May karne din, basta depende kung ano ang mahalungkat sa fridge. Hindi na rin ako masyado nag elaborate at hahaba pa ang usapan. Ayoko din ma nosebleed pa lalo. Pumunta nga ako that time sa gym para magpaka healthy tapos ini-istress nya ko sa kaka-explain.

Kaya ang post na ito ay para rin sayo, nawa ay mabasa mo. Kindly turn your google translate on (pahirapan kita ng kaunti, makaganti man lang). This is my version of pansit at nilagyan ko ng gulay galore: carrots, cabbage, snow peas and red capsicum. Syempre with lemon para semi-authentic Pinoy style.

Kayo, anong favorite nyo isahog sa pansit?

Minnamurra

We noticed that we tend to gravitate north when looking for new hiking trails to try. This time, we made a conscious effort to explore a bit of south. We wanted to do a rainforest walk and chanced upon Minnamurra when searching over the web. It’s close to Kiama (about 20 minutes away) which is a bonus as we’ve never been to the famous blowhole. We decided to visit it as a side trip after the walk.

We arrived early and made our way towards Lyrebird cafe to grab breakfast. The staff were nice, and we were greeted with warm smiles. It didn’t take us long to decide. We saw scones on the menu and immediately placed our order. We needed sugar to get as much energy for the trek (lame excuse).  After wolfing down the last morsel of our food, we began to explore The Falls Walk.

An impressive, lush landscape welcomed us. Towering trees form a cool shade above the well-maintained trails. We could hear the soft rustling of leaves and faint chirping of birds. We briefly stopped amidst an elevated walkway that almost look like a hanging bridge. Underneath is a stream with large boulders and the sight is captivating. We took some time to drink in the tranquility of our surroundings. I’m glad for the break because I found the next sections are quite steep and it gave our legs a good workout. Still huffing and puffing, we arrived at the last stop. We stood at the viewing platform admiring the creek below where water was steadily cascading. Unfortunately, the other side with a better view of the waterfall was closed due to maintenance. We did catch a glimpse of it and albeit distant, still thought it’s beautiful.

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It was a nice 4km return walk that had decent inclines to get the heart rate up. I can tell that this experience will be the start of our many more southern trips in the future. Part of Budderoo National Park, you can find this hiking trail here:

See you until next blog!