Random | Simple Life in Batangas, Pros and Cons of Living in the Province


If you have read one of my previous posts, you know that I recently lost my job. It is such a big blow financially that staying in the Metro and continue renting while looking for a new job is not an option anymore. A week ago, I decided to go back to the province and stay here for a while, at least until I get a new job.

Life in the province, especially in kinda remote barangay like ours, is very simple and laid-back. Community comes to life early in the morning, normally around 5AM (as early as 4AM for some); and then starts to die down at 6PM. By 7PM, almost everyone is ready for sleep; a stark contrast with life in the Metro where it almost never sleeps.

Pros and Cons of Living in the Province

Batangas is one of the provinces in CALABARZON region. It is only around 1.5-2 hours (depending on traffic situation) away from Metro Manila, going south. It is near Metro Manila but living here in the province, especially in kinda remote barangays like ours, is like living in other provinces; it has its pros and cons.

PROs

Green and Fresh Environment

Less pollution, fresher air, greeneries abound! The only usual pollution here is noise pollution; that is, if you consider dogs’ barking, birds’ chirping and insect sounds as noise. That’s the environment you’ll see and experience in the province. It is usually not densely populated, too, so residential lot areas are usually bigger than in the Metro, with enough space to plant veggies and fruit-bearing trees. If you love nature, you’ll definitely enjoy living in the province.


Low Cost of Living

Cost of living in the provinces is usually low. If you are resourceful and hardworking and love veggies, you can live here for around 40-50 pesos per day per person on the average, maybe less; that is, if you have your own vegetable garden. Here in the province, we have malunggay (moringa), camote (sweet potato), eggplant, squash, papaya and other vegetables around the house. We cook it bulanglang-style, using traditional stove, so almost zero cost. Fish and meats are also cheaper here, compared to supermarkets in Metro Manila.

Laid-back Lifestyle

Simple, relaxing, laid-back; this is how living in the province looks and feels like. Closely-knit neighborhood (you know everyone, usually). No Traffic! No such thing as rush hour. Almost everything is easy and uncomplicated! That is, if you love simple life.

CONs

Accessibility, Transportation

One of the cons of living in the province, especially in remote barangays, is the means of transportation and accessibility of social services and infrastructure. If you don’t have your own car, commuting is quite costly and time-consuming. Social services and infrastructures like hospitals, tertiary education, connectivity (telephones and internet) are usually not very accessible. Although mobile phones and cellular networks are available almost nationwide, connection signal is still a problem in far-flung areas. Though I’m quite happy that DSL connection from one of the major telco providers in our country is now available here in our barangay. Yey! 😄

No Night Life

If you’re one of those who loves the lights and sounds of a busy Metro life, regardless of the time of day, province life is not for you. There is almost always, no night life in the province, especially in remote barangays. As I mentioned above, people in neighborhood like ours, sleeps as early as 7PM. No more life, no more sounds after that, except for sound of geckos. 😉

Limited Career Opportunities

Most of the big companies put up their businesses and hold their operations in Metro Manila and big cities as they are usually the center of economic development and infrastructure. As such, there is only limited opportunities, career-wise, in the province. However, due to the on-going pandemic, there are more remote opportunities for career individuals nowadays. Career people, especially in the IT industry, can now work anywhere they want to, even in the province.

There you go, the pros and cons of living life in the province. If you are thinking of settling down in the province, weigh these pros and cons and decide wisely based on your personality and the kind of life you want to live. There's no such thing as perfect life, just choose to be happy and contented and grateful wherever you decided you want to be.

~ oo00oo ~

Happy and blessed Sunday everyone! Stay safe, always! 😊

Food Trip | TPW's 5 Best Milk Teas in the Metro

FRNK's cinnamon miruku

I'm not really a fan of tea, especially those hot tea varieties. I usually only have them if it feels like I'm gonna be having a sore throat or if I'm not feeling well. Hot drinks, tea included, sort of make me feel better afterwards. But cold teas and milk teas, for that matter, is a different thing. I've grown to like them as time passes by. Probably because milk teas are more of milk than tea actually. And they're creamy and sweet (hello diabetes 😀).

Anyway, I've tried several milk teas from several tea shops. Whenever there's a new tea shop nearby my previous work or in the mall, I'll try them at least once. Since it will be my first time to try the new tea shop, I usually order whatever their bestseller is. And I've tried many, so many that I wasn't be able to post everything in my other account. Of the so many shops and milk tea flavors I've tried, here are my top 5 best milk teas in the Metro.

FRNK Milk Bar's Cinnamon Miruku

FRNK's Cinnamon Miruku is my top favorite when it comes to milk tea. Unlike other milk teas that almost always taste the same no matter the brand, cinnamon miruku tastes really different, probably because of the right blend of tea and cinnamon and dark sugar and whatever spice they put into it. I also like the added sinkers (basil drops, a clear jelly-like pearls that looks like bloomed chia seeds) that feels like exploding in your mouth when you chew, not the usual chewy pearls. My only issue with this tea is its size; I find it pricey compared with other milk teas.

Macau's Cheesecake and Pearl Milk Tea

When I first try Macau's cheesecake and pearl milk tea, I was put off by the strong taste of the tea. But I realized now that it's probably because I didn't shake and mix it well that time. Now that I usually buy it for take-out, it somehow got blended/shaken on my walk home that a minor shake before drinking it is okay enough. It still has strong tea taste compared with other brands but it's more tolerable now that it becomes my go-to milk tea whenever I like a bigger size one, as opposed to smaller-sized cinnamon miruku.

BaaBaa's Thai Milk Tea with Cheese

I've been to Bangkok once but because it's almost 2 decades ago, milk tea isn't in my radar yet. When I heard of Baabaa from a colleague last year, I ordered other milk tea flavor that they offer instead of the Thai milk tea. It was just an ordinary milk tea for me so I forgot about it. But I few weeks ago, I was able to try Baabaa's Thai milk tea, not the regular one but the premium Thai milk tea with cream cheese in it. And I love it! It's almost like Macau's cheesecake and pearl, only that it's just the right blend of tea and milk and cheese, not with the strong tea taste like Macau's.

Alishan at The Alley's Brown Sugar Boba Milk Tea with Cheese Brulée

My first try of Alishan is their brown sugar boba milk with cheese brulée. It's too sweet that I think I didn't get dinner that day that I had it for merienda. The next time, I tried their brown sugar boba milk tea with cheese brulée. This one I like better because of the tea contrast, unlike brown sugar boba milk that somehow has "umay" factor as you drink it.

Tiger Sugar Brown Sugar Boba with Cream Mousse/Dakasi's Creme Hokkaido

When brown sugar milk tea becomes a hit, Tiger Sugar is my first try. Originally, this is my top pick for milk tea but I realized that what I'm having from Tiger Sugar is not really a milk tea but rather just a milk-based brown sugar drink. But even if this isn't a milk tea, I still love it. It was of the right blend with the right sweetness to it. And their bobas are sweet and chewy, which I love!

Another milk-based drink that I came to love is Dakasi's Creme Hokkaido. The thick and rich creamy blend of milk, brown sugar, salted cream cheese and oreo in creme hokkaido will make you feel full even with just half of the drink. It is so filling that you'll skip next meal or forget that you haven't had a meal yet. It is a very filling drink and has bigger size that I consider this drink worth my money. Creme Hokkaido is also one of Dakasi's bestsellers.

 

~ oo00oo ~

There you go, my list of 5 best milk teas in the metro. If you'll notice, except for cinnamon miruku, all else has cream cheese or similar item on their ingredients. I love milk teas with cream cheese because it makes the milk tea more flavorful and creamier. I like the contrast that cream cheese or mousse or brulée (or whatever they call it) gives to the sweet milk tea. How about you dear readers? What are your 5 best milk teas? Share your list in the comment box below. 😊

 

~ oo00oo ~

Our government loosen its rules on public transportation but be safe still my fellow Pinoys, keep your face shield and face mask on. And don't forget to always clean/sanitize your hands. Keep save everyone. 😊

Random | I am one of the 45% Jobless Filipinos

rain drops
"Be strong and don't be afraid! God is coming to your rescue." ~Isaiah 35:4

Last August 16, I became officially part of the 45% jobless Filipinos, a number that one government official finds as something to be "joyful" about (such a callous remark from a ranking government official! 😞). But life must go on, like they say. So here I am now, trying to be strong and finding my way out of this unfortunate situation.

Losing a job gives a person anxiety and a feeling of worthlessness. Also of betrayal. And these are what I felt after knowing that I would be laid off. I tried to be strong during the convo with my boss and good thing it was done via phone call (because of this pandemic) so somehow, I think I was able to fake strength. But right after I put down the phone, I cried. And I cried a bucket! When my brother called me to comfort me the day I was officially notified, I cried even more. It was my first time showing helplessness and weakness to him. And it sucks! I consider myself the face of strength for my family but that time, I felt so weak and helpless.

Feeling anxious and worthless and helpless right after losing a job is okay, but wallowing in that situation is not. So here I am now, trying to rise up from the situation. I'm now working on improving my craft and learning something new in the hopes that I would soon find a new job. To people like me who recently lost a job, let's make use of our "free" time on something useful and of value. Let us be productive despite being jobless. And let us not lose hope! If we can't find a job related or similar to what we used to do, then maybe it's time for us to find something else. Maybe we should give thoughts on some other passions or interests that we may have put on hold because we thought we got a good job. I got some other interests that I'm putting on hold because my line of work gives me financial security but maybe, it's time for me to work on it, too.

When I left a job that offers security and tenure 7 years ago, one of my bosses told me to think it over a million times because it's an unknown future I'm walking into. And I know that but here's my reply to him (not exactly the same words but the same thoughts), "I'm not afraid of the future because I'm not a one-skill-only person. If I couldn't find a job related to my current interest, I could find and learn and do something else. There will always be something else out there." I am a "Jill of several trades", not of all trades of course, and not a master but enough for me to survive. I will find and learn and work on a new trade, if need be. With all the trials I've been through in life, losing a job is just another trial I have to go through and overcome. I know I can survive this, just as how I survived the many trials I had before. I did it 7 years ago, I can do it again now. 

I'm positive I can find a new job eventually, if not soon. So for everyone like me who's reading this post, let's have faith in our dear Lord, He is our refuge and our provider. He will help us get through this. Happy and blessed Sunday everyone! 😊

~oo00oo~

PS: I know I said to be productive and improve yourself and all but don’t forget to relax also. It’s okay too, to sit and do nothing, once in a while. Or just play games, if you’re into it (I am! 😛). Just don’t forget to always be in control of yourself. Remember, anything  too much is bad! Stay safe everyone. 💛

Guest Post | One Hundred Days of Summer

I will always be grateful to The Pinay Wanderer for this opportunity as a guest blogger. I have my own blog, ofliea.com, yet, I need to collaborate with other blogger to expand my blogging experience.





In October last year, we were blessed to buy our own car. When the rest of my family are planning for a road trip to Tablas Island then to Boracay, I was excited to drive from Marilao in Bulacan to Legazpi City in Albay, where my in-laws live. Then, I started checking AirBnB. I looked for hotels and resorts in the province of Sorsogon for a night of stay or two. I started plotting the itinerary. We are bound to leave on April 8. But we stayed at home.


At the onset of the enhanced community quarantine, I had headaches. I keep on thinking about what will become of us with this situation. I decided to divert my attention and started planning to travel from Marilao, Bulacan going around the Philippines. The last destination on my itinerary is Palawan where I can no longer travel with my 1996 Honda Accord.


I had so much fun doing research. Among the facts that I looked for are where to stay, travel time from one province to another, and how many days should I stay to enjoy the place. The most challenging to look for on the internet is the schedule of ferries that cross one island to another.


When I was about to end the whole itinerary, I realized I can actually go around the Philippines in 100 days. Then I also realized that I missed most areas of Mindanao. It is because of the remoteness of each provinces. I needed to pass by Batanes Island too. I guess I won't be able to bring my car to the island.


It must have been fun to start traveling right now, as it is summertime. I would love to feel the wind while on a long drive from Pangasinan to Zambales. It would have been great to meet new friends, see new views, and sleep on different beds.


Unfortunately, we need to stay at home today to travel tomorrow.


Let's connect on Twitter. Let's share photos on Instagram. Contact me on Facebook to know more about me.  

Random | Work From Home, Life During Lock down, 6 Things to Keep Your COVID-19 Anxiety at Bay

fortunate to be able to work from home
The Philippines (and the whole world) is going through very trying times. COVID-19 outbreak that has started in one country has now spread to so many countries in the whole world. The COVID-19 positive cases is now above 2 million and still counting, death toll is rising, lots of patients in critical conditions. Every government is trying to control and curb the spread of the virus, issuing lock downs and restricting movements of its people. The Philippines is one of the countries affected by this pandemic and our government and the people are struggling to to get through it. We are a third-world country and our resources are limited so the people are panicking, getting more anxious as the days go by.

The pandemic and lock down has caused lost of jobs for many. But I'm glad I still have mine, for now. I'm one of the few fortunate members of Metro Manila workforce that can do work from home during these crazy times. And I'm very grateful for it. I was supposed to terminate my internet connection last January (see this post for the reason) but my provider gave me a 6-month discounted rate so I didn't terminate it. Glad I didn't; otherwise, it would be very hard for me to work from home since my mobile connection is very slow. I was able to control and discipline myself anyway, so I probably am not terminating my DSL connection, even after the 6-month discounted rate is over.

Anyway, going through this crisis emphasizes some of the realizations I listed in this post. I'm glad I started eating and drinking right again. Also glad that I started doing some fitness exercises once again. Even though I'm staying home, just like everyone else, I still do some indoor cardio workouts. And I'm happy to say I didn't gain weight (lost a few pounds, actually), even after more than a month of just staying home. I still do struggle financially, but I still can manage it, for now. I'm thankful and grateful always, especially to our Lord Almighty because He is always there for me, for my loved ones; thank you very much dear God!

But there are times that I can't help but get anxious. I can't help and wonder what the future holds for me, for my family, for everyone. Because I'm scared, just like everyone else.

During the first week of the lock down, I'm so anxious I cried almost everyday. On the very first day of the lock down, I felt body pains. I had stuffy nose, too. So every few minutes, I took my temperature. And one time, I got a reading of 38°C! OMG, I don't know what to do. I don't want to go to the hospital because I know that most hospitals have COVID cases. So I just read and researched a lot about the disease. The articles I've read just compounded my anxiety and I got scared even more, actually. Then I found an article comparing the symptoms of COVID-19, influenza and common cold (see photo below). This list calmed me somehow but I still slept that night anxious. The next day, my anxiety made me automatically reach out for the thermometer as soon as I woke up; glad to see a normal reading once again. My body pain is milder, too. (The pain is probably because I did a workout 2 days before the lock down.) So I'm somehow relieved, I'm okay, I said to myself. But I know I'm not 100% okay. I still cry up to now, mostly when I'm saw sick and death posts related to COVID-19. But I'm better now, compared to the first 2 weeks of the lock down.

I forgot the site where I got this, I hope it's okay to post it here.

So how did I overcome my anxiety?  What are the things that kept me sane during this lock down period? Here they are dearies, the 6 things I did (and still doing) to keep my sanity and overcome anxiety brought about by the on-going health crisis.

STOP reading COVID-19-related articles

I'd like to think that I'm the kind of person that doesn't get affected by the negativities around me. So I read a lot! I read about the disease, I watched videos that discusses corona virus. I even read and watched stories of people who have gone through with the disease. I listened intently on the symptoms they felt. And then unconsciously, I will make an inventory of the symptoms myself, checking if I do have one or more of their symptoms. Crazy, isn't it? And then I remembered my doctors' reaction during one of my check-ups before this lock down started. One of them said "you are not sick, do you want me to say you are?". The other one said "I think you have fibromyalgia", sort of saying the pain I'm relating to them is just in my head. Prior to my check ups, I read a lot of articles related to the symptoms I felt, those are what prompted me to make consultations with them. And then it hit me! When it comes to health-related issues, I am affected by what I'm reading (or watching), without realizing I'm actually affected by them. So I stopped! I stopped reading all and every posts I saw on Facebook that are related to corona virus and COVID-19. I still do read some COVID-related articles but the ones I read were just those DOH updates, just so I am aware of what is happening around me.

Boost immune system by eating and drinking right

Eating and drinking right, these are the two things that I tried to do everyday but especially now that we are in a health crisis. I don't have anything against those who are engaging on a very focused diet but for my self, I believe on a balanced one. I eat and drink mostly everything, as long as I do it in moderation. Of course, I do stay away with junk foods and sodas, as much as possible . They aren't good for the health, anyway. This habit keeps me sane, too, because I know I'm doing my part to keep myself, my body, strong and healthy.

Exercise

Before the lock down, I always make sure to do 10K steps a day. There are some days I wasn't able to do it but on the average, it's 10K steps per day. Also, every weekend (since January), I do around 30-40 minutes of walking-jogging-walking at the park; a total of around 1 hour of cardio exercise including the walk to and fro my place (my place is just around 1.4 kilometers away from the park). But now that we are in a lock down, I cannot do it anymore. So every other day, I try to do a 15-20 minute indoor cardio workout and then a 30-minute workout on weekends. These workouts keep me sane, too, as the workouts assure me that I don't have breathing issues (I am that praning hehe).

Watch inspiring and/or funny videos

When it comes to watching, I used to enjoy only spy/military/police-related movies and series. But nowadays, I enjoyed watching short and funny FB and/or YT videos, too. I like watching Smile Squad by Markian and his friends (search them on FB, if you're interested). I also like watching videos of The Hungry Syrian Wanderer on YT; they are inspiring videos. Basel (the vlogger) is a funny guy, too; I don't get bored watching his videos. I don't even click 'skip ads' on his videos so I could somehow help him do his good deeds. Surprisingly, I enjoyed Camille Co's YT videos, too. I'm not into fashion and make-up stuff but I still watch her videos. I like her personality and the way she presented her content; she's kinda funny, too. I also like watching her videos where her hubs is present; such a lovely couple.

Reach out to Family and Friends

I'm used to living alone since my younger years. But with this on-going health crisis, I suddenly felt the need to be with my family. Of course, I can't as my work is here in the Metro. Although I can do work from home in the province, telco signal and internet availability there is not that reliable. Besides, I was traveling to and from work using mass transportation (MRT) so I'm afraid I might have caught the disease unknowingly and I don't want to infect them so I stayed here, alone. Thankfully, we now have cellphones to communicate with our loved ones so I just called them from time to time, making sure that they are all okay and reminding them to stay at home and to always practice good hygiene habits. 

PRAY

I do like to think I am a strong person. But this COVID-19 pandemic made me realize I am not. There are times I suddenly cried and I don't even know why I'm crying. When these crying bouts happen, I pray. I pray to the Lord for my family's safety, for my BFF's safety, for my relatives' and friends' safety, for my self and for everyone else's safety. I surrender to Him all my worries, all my fears, and pray that He gives us all the strength we need to go through with this crisis and come out alive, strong and healthy. This is the most important thing that's keeping me sane these days, even when I'm just alone here in the Metro.

~ oo00oo ~

Oh wow, I made a lengthy post today. 😀 I hope you read it through, learn something from it and get inspired with it. Let's all pray that this COVID-19 pandemic ends soon so we can all go back to our normal lives; though this "normal" might be different from the "normal" we have, before the crisis and the lock down. Stay healthy,  stay safe, stay home everyone! Blessed Sunday to all! 🙏

ShareThisWidget