Category Archives: Philippines

There’s no place like home

They say that you don’t really know the value of something (or someone) till it’s gone (or something to that effect). Well, I haven’t really lost anything or anyone yet, but being so far away, I came to realize that nothing beats the place you call home.

Home really is where your heart is, and though I’m still breathing and living, I left my heart in the Philippines.

A wise man told me when I mentioned I was leaving for Canada that unless I was dirt poor, I have no other reason for leaving a perfectly good job, the family that I love, and a comfortable life in the Philippines but for adventure. As much as I would like to say differently, he is absolutely correct.

Everything that we are going through here in Canada is one big adventure. Experiencing the cold and snow, driving in frozen roads, finding and moving into an apartment, finding a job and working in an office where there are no Filipinos, dealing with Canadians (I was going to say foreigners but I remembered I am the foreigner here), learning about their culture, their history, their life… All an adventure, which may or may not affect how I live my life for the second half of it, but absolutely a memory worth sharing.

Now, after this epiphany, my goal has never been more clearer for me… To earn and save enough here in Canada to start my life over at home, where my heart and life is…


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Going abroad, whether to live or to work, has never been part of the things I see myself doing in the future. Maybe that’s one of the reasons why whenever I try to imagine Canada, I couldn’t picture myself basking in the snow, or bundled up in warm clothes walking to work, or just about anything that would put me in that scenario.

But, it could also be because I did NOT want to think about leaving…

For the past month since we got our Visa, I’ve been trying to escape the anxiety and distress. Always looking for a diversion to get my mind as far away as possible from the thought of all my loved ones who’ll be left behind. I bought all these books so I can bury myself in its adventures and not think about my own story; I tried playing all these games again in Facebook… but they didn’t help.

Then I remembered a conversation I had with Tita Oh when I was still undecided about the whole thing. She just told me that I wasn’t getting any younger and that this is a lucky break for me. That I need to grab this opportunity by the balls because I might regret it if I don’t.

She’s right. I am not getting any younger, and at 35 I have always made decisions that are expected of me. But life is also about taking risks. Sometimes it pays to just let go and see where life brings you. As Carrie Underwood’s song goes:

Jesus,take the wheel
Take it from my hands
Cause I can’t do this on my own
I’m letting go.

And if He steers me to Canada, then Canada it is!

At least Gayl and Angel will be with me, and when things don’t work out for us out there, we can still come home with our heads held high knowing that we tried.

Random List (Part 2)…

Even though it doesn’t seem like it, I love to eat! And being a food freak, I enjoy all types of food; Italian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Filipino, American, Vietnamese, etc. I would try anything (once. depending on what’s on the menu) as long as it’s edible.

But of course there will always be favorites which I will only get to eat here…

    • Sinigang! My absolute all-time favorite! Anything with sampaloc, or even others as long as it’s maasim, and soup, I love them all; sinigang na baboy, baka, bangus, hipon; sinampalukang manok, ayungin (this is a type of small fish). Even sinigang sa bayabas, santol, kamyas, manga…

But the the ultimate Sinigang for me is my mom’s own cooking. I don’t know why but nothing comes close to her sinigang… and yes mama, i am definitely going to miss your sinigang…

  • Next to sinigang, i have 2 second faves, adobo and bistek tagalog. I know I can still have these in Canada (since Gayl is a great cook :p), but they say it wouldn’t taste the same. Well, this I got to experience myself before I can say I’m going to miss these 2 dishes
  • There’s also Caldereta and Pochero. Well, actually I’m not really a fan of these dishes in general, but I love my mama’s way of cooking and preparing them. Her concoctions are the only ones I like. Not one caldereta or pochero ever came close to mama’s cooking.
  • Daing na Bangus… Specially the ones from Papa’s hometown Pangasinan!
  • Tuyo, danggit and daing. Well I hate how they smell when being cooked, but I love how they taste; soaked in suka with bawang then  sinangag, and kamatis, and to top it off, naka kamay pa… sarap!
  • Manga and bagoong!! and I don’t like the bottled ones you buy in grocery stores. I’d rather have my bagoong home cooked just the way I like!
  • One of my comfort foods whenever I feel like pigging out is Lapid’s Chicharon, eaten with scrambled eggs on rice, and kamatis with patis… heaven!
  • Nilaga or steamed talbos ng kamote, or talong, or sitaw and even sigarilyas with bagoong isda and vinegar… read in a menu once, they made this sound elite “Kamote tops with Fish Sauce vinigrette”… absolutely love!
  • Sardinas! Ligo or 555, cooked or uncooked, with suka and sibuyas… haay
  • Actually I love all Filipino foods with rice. Name it: Nilaga, Tinola, Afritada, Escabeche, Paksiw, etc. They say there are lots of Filipinos now in Canada. Hope there are just as much (cheap) Filipino restos as well

All these talk about food is making me hungry!

Well, got to go cook some Purefoods Tender Juicy hotdog, another fave!

Random list (part 1)…

Whenever I encounter or feel or do things that I don’t normally like, or simply just take for granted, I tell myself “Wala nito sa Canada…”
That would surely change my mind about anything…

So here’s a list of some nonsensical things that I would surely miss when i leave for Canada…

  • Everyday I would look out our window, just stare into nothing, not really seeing the beautiful landscape of night lights from the buildings beyond. Or the fire tree with its orange flowers in bloom. How beautiful they are. But now, I only have 2 months left to admire them
  • I’m not much of a beach bum. When going swimming, I would rather that I prune in chlorinated, urinated pool water than the salty, sandy beach… Walang beach sa Canada… I should have stayed longer in the water till I was a salted red egg
  • These past few days have been really hot! and I mean HELL hot!! don’t want to go out much. just want to stay inside our cozy airconditioned room… I know, I know, when it’s below zero, i am going to miss the heat…
  • I love taking showers! All you have to do is stand under the shower head and voila, you’re wet… buhos buhos with timba and tabo is hard on the back! But the timba and tabo are sure useful in other bathroom rituals… wala din nito sa Canada… pwede kaya mag dala?
  • I’m a movie buff. I love watching movies whether it be in the cinema or at home… and when we feel like having a relaxing movie marathon, there is always that 24/7 DVD shop nearby… bad, i know, to be buying pirated stuff, but it’s only for as long as we’re here 🙂

These are just some of the stuff that I’ll be missing when i leave. There are a lot more, but will reserve them for another entry…

First time…

Nakaraos na din. We are virgins no more!

As first time voters, we woke up at 6am to make our way to the precinct. Well, actually to LOOK for our precinct. The ever reliable Comelec online precinct finder was out of order so we had to physically look for it. Good thing we found our names in the first one we went to.

We got there at 7am but finished at 9am. Disappointing that despite the automation of the ballots, the process was still hellishly 3rd world. But who are we to judge? This being our first time, we have no point of comparison. Besides, we still finished early, before the unbearable afternoon sun.

Gayl was overly excited at the fact that we experienced this first together. Good thing too coz despite the heat and the long lines, her optimism kind of rubbed off on pessimist ole me. 🙂