A Sweet Sweet Pile


*In response to the Weekly Photo Challenge: Collage


Third Time’s A Charm

Some places just feel like home no matter how many times you visit. You feel at peace and at the same time excited to be right there in one of your your favorite places in the world. Nothing else seems to matter. That is Bohol for me. Tranquility. Adventure. Beauty. Love.

However, it may not always be the case for everyone. When you are visiting a place for the nth time, you may think that it can be a waste of time or resources. It’s easy to think that you’re better off going somewhere else. So, here are some tips on how to enjoy each place even when you’ve been there before:

1. Stop and smell the flowers (literally and figuratively).

Take time to explore even the little things for everything holds a different kind of beauty. You may not have had time before to stop and appreciate that stunning flower, how those tiny caterpillar’s feet feel in your palms, or how those kids swinging from a tree by the river seem to have so much fun. This time you do. So, enjoy it.


2. Explore every nook and cranny.

Any tourist destination is much more than its glorified parts. Sometimes, the less popular destinations can give you more satisfaction. Each person is unique and so is each place you go to. A place can speak to you in a different and more intimate way than any of the more popular ones can.


3. It’s the people that counts.

The people you’re with plays a huge part on the nature of each experience. You can visit a place 20 times and have 20 different kinds of experiences if you go there with 20 different groups of people.

This time, I was with family and it was my brother’s and mom’s first time in Bohol, too. So this time, it was different than the usual budget travel my sister and I were used to. We spent more on food and on the tours but it made the experience much more special. And it felt the same way when you’re at home: comfortable, unpretentious, free.



Pizza Party Time

Pizza Party Time

It’s pizza party time!!! Why, you ask? I am finally done with my very first NaBloPoMo challenge. Whew!

It has been a real challenge to be able to post for each day, every day in November. Granted that some of my posts were a bit late, I am still proud to have posted 30 posts for November. Even when it felt like I didn’t have anything much to say. Even when I felt tired. Even when I didn’t feel like it.

Honestly, I didn’t think I would be able to finish the challenge given my track record of being unable to stick with an activity for long periods of time. I always get distracted and move on to the next thing. Then, go back and forth. I needed a little bit more consistency and discipline in my life. Thus, I committed to the NaBloPoMo challenge. It wasn’t a perfect run but I am confident that with more practice (not just in terms of blogging), I would do better next time.

I also learned a couple of things:

  1. As they mentioned at the start of the challenge, you never have nothing to say. You will always have something to say. Yes, even if what you have to say could be perfectly communicated in a single picture or a lovely quote or a funny anecdote.
  2. Write from the heart. Most of the time, I hesitate writing because of the thought that people might not be interested in what I have to say. But I learned that that is not true at all. There will always be some people who appreciate your thoughts. Also, I realized that the blogs that I gravitate towards are those that speak freely and share anything they are passionate about.

An accomplishment like that deserves a celebration. Now, let me enjoy my sumptuous, mouthwatering, brick-oven panizza. Want some?

Real Cheesy

“Anything worth doing is worth doing well.” -Barbara Ehrenreich

This was the second playdate my cousin and I had. She has been enjoying learning how to make different kinds of baked goodies. And I have been enjoying helping her.

This time, we tried our hands at creating cheese cupcakes. It turned out beautifully and deliciously.

Like the previous time, she was in charge of the measuring and the baking proper. I was in charge of the fun stuff like grating the cheese and anything that allows me to use some sort of tool or thingamajig.

I grated that cheese like my life depended on it.

She measured and scaled those ingredients like a rocket scientist.

I beated those eggs as if they were a work-of-art.

She watched the baking of those cupcakes like a hawk.

And we cleaned our hands as if we were surgeons ready to operate.

I can say with certainty that we do work well together. You can call it perfectionism, obsessive compulsiveness, or both. We wouldn’t mind. We are just firm believers that “Anything worth doing is worth doing well.” Whenever we take on a task, we rarely leave things to fate. We know we can’t control everything but we do take charge of those things we can. No wonder we are closer to each other than most of our other cousins.

Adults Can Have Playdates, Too

My cousin called me up to tell me she had just bought a new toy and invited me to play. By toy, I mean a new convection oven she had been wanting for the longest time. And by play, I mean baking one in a long list of breads, cakes, and pastries she would love to make. This time, it was banana bread with cashews.

We met late in the afternoon and scoured through the city in search of the things we would be needing. We went to buy some cashews, stopped by a newly opened baking supplies store we saw along the way, and proceeded to buy other ingredients in a supermarket before going home.

My heart skipped a beat when she took out a lot of her toys.

I went crazy with the hand mixer with the blender attachment which I used to mash the bananas. The poor bananas never saw it coming.

My cousin, the accountant, definitely had a blast with the measuring cups and measuring spoons while slowly accounting for each grain of flour and sugar she put it the mix.

My gift wrapping skills were put to good use as I folded through the wax paper to line up small baking pans with. I’m telling you, those folds were perfect.

Of course, the star of the night was the convection oven. My cousin couldn’t take her eyes away as her new toy fulfilled its grand purpose, to bake us some mighty fine goodies.

I went home with a full stomach, a very satisfied heart, and a bag full of baked banana bread. It was a delightful end to a delightful playdate, isn’t it? 😉