March 31, 2013

Sunday Social

Linking up today at:

Sunday Social

1. Favorite type of work out to do?
I like doing Tae Bo. I know that's old school, but I love it. It's a good mix of cardio and muscle toning. And it's helped me lose more than 20 pounds in 2.5 months!

2. Favorite guilty pleasure candy or sweet?
Anything and everything red velvet-- cake, cupcakes, pancakes, fudge, cheesecake etc. etc. etc. YUMMMM!

3. What is one thing you continuously forget to do?
Take my multi-vitamin every day.

4. Posts its or phone reminders? Why?
Post-its because with phone reminders you can easily dismiss them, but with post-its, those things can stay up in your face until you handle it.

5. Favorite picture currently on your phone that always makes you smile:

My BFF & I in the sweetest Caddy ever.

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March 29, 2013

On the move again (& Holy Friday in the Philippines)

On Wednesday, some opportunities arose that we couldn't pass up, so we left Borongan Thursday (yesterday).

It was such a quick and spontaneous decision, I wasn't mentally and emotionally ready to go yet. We weren't planning to leave Borongan until April 17th, so that's where my mind was set. But then something came up, and it quickly became March 28th-- about 3 weeks earlier than scheduled.

I can't believe we fit our whole lives into 4 backpacks.

It was an emotional Wednesday night for me when I was saying bye to all my dogs I had come to love and that had become part of our little jungle family. It saddens me every time I think about them. All I can do is hope that they'll be ok... I mean, they are gangster jungle dogs and I'm hoping they can get back to their jungle ways.

It was really difficult to say goodbye to them. And yes, I cried. I cried hard.

Right now we're in Tacloban. Today is Holy Friday. Philippines is mainly a Catholic country, so it's kind of a big deal here. Tacloban on any other day would be buzzing with people, jeepneys and tricycles. But the streets are quiet and pretty empty right now.

Jason and I went walking around trying to find a place to grab some lunch. We walked a few blocks and saw a lot of people and tents up ahead. We figured something must be going on, so we went to check it out. As we were following the crowds, we turned a corner and I looked up and saw a giant Jesus statue on top of a hill and a lot of people climbing up stairs. Apparently it was Calvary Hill and the Stations of the Cross. Many people were offering us candles to light at the stations, but we refused (since I'm not Catholic and J's not a practicing one). We just went up the hill for some exercise and the view.

March 28, 2013

Adventure Time: Talubagnan Cave

We live on the island of Samar in the Philippines. This island is known for its caves.

Jason and I hosted a couple from Australia through Couchsurfing, Paul and Leiset, for a couple of nights. They heard that Samar (Borongan specifically-- the city we live in) is especially known for its caves, so they wanted to check one out. I hadn't been yet, but Jason had the last time he was here. So he contacted some people the night before and set it all up.

We non-Filipino sized people packed into a tricycle and headed to Catian,  the barangay (village/district within a city) where the cave was located.

Cute Catian kids.
This kid had an awesome homemade kite made from a plastic bag & sticks.

We met up with our tour guides, got our headlights and headed out. It was about a 45-minute trek through muddy fields and the jungle.

We finally got to the cave and got ready to go in. 


Our tour guides.

I've been in caves before in the U.S. where the paths are nice and easy to walk on, sometimes made out of concrete or other material. But this cave was not like that. At all. The entire floor was extra muddy and super slippery. I even slipped a couple of times {I have many bruises and scrapes to prove it}. We had to climb up and down slippery rocks. I give major props to Jason and our tour guides who were just wearing flipflops, but handled the cave like pros.

But the cave was really amazing, filled with a lot of stalactites and stalagmites {and bats!}. They've done a good job preserving the cave and letting people know where you can touch and not touch the walls as you climb through so people don't damage anything.

Can you see the face?

This one looked like a jellyfish.

After an hour trek, we made it to our destination- a nice pool. It was perfect for swimming. We even lit candles and put them all around. It looked awesome. We ate lunch and swam around a bit. It felt good after getting muddy and sweaty!

After enjoying the pool and the relaxing ambiance, we packed up and headed back so we could catch our tricycle ride back home.

We made it back out!
Nice & muddy.
We met these cool little dudes on our way back:

Talubagnan Cave is definitely a must-see when you're in Borongan, but it's definitely for those who are more adventurous. There is a lot of climbing and slipping around. There's a high probability you will fall on your butt {like me}. I am definitely sore from all the climbing and tensing my muscles the whole time so I wouldn't slip. And I came out with several bruises. 

But it was all totally worth it. It was indeed an awesome adventure.

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March 27, 2013

Wedding Wednesday: The Little Accessories

    8. The Little Accessories
On my wedding day, I had on very little accessories. I didn't wear a veil... or shoes. But I did make these feet bracelet things (what are they called?!). I think they came out pretty nice & they were perfect for a beach wedding:

Even during most of the reception I wasn't wearing any shoes. That's just how I do.
Father Daughter dance-- & me not wearing any shoes.

As for jewelry, I had on a simple bracelet (that I also made) and I just wore white studded earrings. I had a flower in my hair. During the reception, one of my sister-in-laws gave us kukui nut leis from Hawaii. And that's pretty much it as far as accessories go.

March 26, 2013

Tuesday Topics: Eight Favorite Posts

The Austin Family Diary

Linking up at Tuesday Topics again!

Here are 
eight favorite posts:

{a collabo post I did with my husband- some tips for anyone looking to do a little vagabonding}

{Tips on how to get there, budget breakdown, etc. Caramoan is absolute paradise!}

{LOVE this stuff! So easy to make, works really well & saves me money}

{These cookies are so good! They even got me featured at Foodie Friday!}

{A throwback post about the first time my husband & I went to Costa Rica}

{An intro guide to the diverse world of Filipino food} 

{My most popular post. These are really easy to make and work great!}

{My very first post on Latitude Adjustment}

{p.s. Follow me on Bloglovin' here}

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March 25, 2013

Favorite Places: Legazpi, Philippines

Legazpi, Philippines

Legazpi (sometimes spelled Legaspi) is located in the province of Albay and is the largest city in the Bicol region in the Philippines. 


There is a lot to do, eat and see in Legazpi. It holds a special place in my heart because my mom is from Bicol and I have family in Legazpi. I've also spent some time there and I really enjoyed it. It's definitely one of my favorite places. Here are my tips and some suggestions if you ever plan on visiting:

March 22, 2013

Countries most & least welcoming to foreigners

I saw this on The Washington Post and wanted to share it for my fellow travelers out there who haven't seen it yet. I found it to be quite interesting:

"A surprising map of the countries that are most and least welcoming to foreigners"

March 21, 2013

Throwback Thursday: New Kids on the Block

New Kids on the Block. Just saying those five words floods my mind with so many memories.

I was such a HUGE fan of NKOTB. HUGE. I had all the cassettes, merchandise, and posters. Ha, I can't believe my parents actually bought me all that stuff! In fact, I think I still have copies of Tiger Beat buried somewhere deep in my closet!

I would watch the music videos over and over to try and learn the dance moves. Seriously. This is how I spent most of my days for a couple of years of my childhood. 

March 19, 2013

Tuesday Topics: Ten & Nine

While I was blog hopping around, I came across Tiffany & her blog Austin Family Diary and saw something she's hosting called Tuesday Topics, so I decided to join the fun!

I'm a week late, so I'm doing two in one post, a double-whammy!

The Austin Family Diary

Here are my 
ten favorite pins:
{Click on the pictures to be taken to the pin!}

DIY Naturally Scented All-Purpose Citrus Vinegar Cleaners
Green Tea Cupcakes with Matcha Cream Cheese Frosting

March 18, 2013


Today, Jason and I made one of our favorite dishes—ceviche. Ceviche is essentially raw fish marinated in lemon or lime juice and seasoning. It comes in many different varieties (Mexican ceviche often has tomato sauce; in the Philippines and many other tropical places you'll see a similar dish that adds coconut milk) but the version we're going to show you today is one of the simplest, and probably closest to the style of ceviche you find on the Peruvian coast. Due to its simplicity, making this dish fantastic really depends on the quality and freshness of ingredients. For example, it is possible to make this dish from frozen fish (thaw it first), but the fresher the fish, the better the dish will taste. We're lucky enough to have a local fish market where fish are caught and sold daily.


Makes about 4 servings of 1 cup each.

1 kilo fish – light meat works better. Works pretty well with many types of tuna, but today we used dorado (mahi-mahi) with excellent results. 
½ Cup fresh cilantro, chopped 
½ Cup lemon/lime/calamansi juice – as always, fresh squeezed is best 
1 ½ Teaspoons salt 
2 medium onions, chopped – Use what you like. We chose red onions for this recipe. 
3 fresh chili peppers, chopped – Again, follow your taste here. We had the tiny, super spicy peppers common in southeast Asia (Thai chilies aka Bird's Eye Chili), so three of them were plenty to give the dish a little kick without being overwhelming.

March 17, 2013


Pineapple used to be my favorite fruit... until mangosteen came into my life! The first time I tried this beautiful fruit was in Costa Rica. I wanted to take the lady's whole crate of them and gobble them all up! 

Mangosteen is a tropical tree, so it is grown primarily in southeast Asia and in some tropical South American countries. Luckily we're living in the Philippines, so the fruit stand we go to will have mangosteen pretty often. 

Mangosteen has a dark purple shell with a green top/ stem. The inside of the shell is a dark red, fibrous material. Sitting on the inside in the middle is where the fruit is. It's white and is sectioned into little pieces that you pull off and eat. Most of the pieces don't contain a seed, only one piece (the bigger piece) contains the seed. It's a really pretty fruit - but that might be a biased opinion because I love purple. 

March 16, 2013

Throwback: Dublin, Ireland

Dublin at night.
While I was visiting Jason when he was studying abroad in Spain, we had to take advantage of the cheap flights through RyanAir to visit other places in Europe. 1cent deals, just pay taxes?! Um, heck yeah! It only cost about $50 round-trip to get from Madrid to Dublin. We were all over that! We took a a quick trip (because Jason still was in school) and were only there for 4 days.

This was back in 2007, so it was over 5 years ago. Since then, I've been to a lot of other places, so my memory is a tad fuzzy on details about the trip (and I wasn't very good at documenting my travels back then, dumb me!). But luckily I took quite a few photos and looking through them again has helped me recall some things we did in Dublin.

So here are a lot of photos & the things I do remember {in no particular order}:

March 15, 2013

Our little jungle family just grew

This is Prada. She's one of the many jungle dogs I've adopted since living here in the Philippines. She's a great dog, very obedient and smart. Out of all of the dogs we have, she's the only one who will come to us just for affection, even if we don't have any food. We love her.

Last night, she was acting strange-- walking back and forth and panting hard. She'd try and get comfortable in one spot, but would move a minute later to another spot. She was even trying to dig, but our floor is made of tile, so she wasn't getting very far.

Then I told J: “She's probably going to have her puppies soon, that's why she's acting like a weirdo.” I said that thinking we would probably have another couple days until she popped. We let her walk around some more, let her do her weirdo thing. Then we went to bed, not thinking much else of it.

March 13, 2013

Filipino Food: A Basic Guide

The only way to truly get a feel for what Filipino food is like is to try it, but for those of you who haven't had the opportunity yet, I'll do my best to describe the basics.  Like in most Asian countries, rice is the staple food, so almost every meal will consist of steamed white rice and some type of meat dish. Filipinos love meat. Even the vegetables have meat! If you're a vegetarian (especially if you're vegan), good luck; you'll have a hard time finding dishes that let you stick to your diet.

Like the Filipino people themselves, Filipino cuisine is influenced by an eclectic mix of primarily Chinese, Malay, and Spanish heritage, and if you're familiar with food from other parts of Southeast Asia, you may find a number of similarities. The Chinese influence, for example, is especially apparent in various noodle dishes.

This list is by no means complete.  The cuisine of the Philippines is as diverse as its people (did you know over 170 languages are spoken in the Philippines?).  I just want to present you with a few of the most common Filipino entrees, side dishes, and desserts. If you ever have the good fortune of being invited to a Filipino party or traveling in the Philippines, this guide will (hopefully) come in handy, either in knowing what it is you're chowing down on (are you really ready for the pork innards with blood sauce?), or just to impress some Filipinos with your knowledge of their culture.

March 11, 2013

Liebster Award!

I received the Liebster Award TWICE within the last few days! One was from Natasha at Epic Mommy Adventures and the other from Aryn at Driftwood & Daydreams! Love these ladies' blogs, so definitely go check them out! And thank you two for the award!

For those who don't know what the Liebster Award is, it's a way to get to know the blogger and to recognize fellow bloggers. Like Natasha said, it's like a fun chain letter in the blog world that helps bloggers connect & support each other and to discover other blogs. I especially like the Liebster because it's given to those who have less than 200 followers-- helping them get more exposure and grow their audience! Plus, this gives readers a chance to get to know me a little better.

Here's how the Liebster Award works:
1. Post 11 random facts about yourself.
2. Answer the 11 questions from the person who nominated you.
3. Pass the award to 11 other blogs who have less than 200 followers. You cannot pass it back to the person who nominated you.
4.  Ask them 11 questions.

So let's get this party started!

Monthly Photo Journal: February - March 2013

Left to right, top to bottom: Siopao {Filipino steamed bun}. // Prada is such a daddy's girl! // At the market. // An average haul from the market for us-- we go through about this much in 2 days. // The Filipino flag & the sun. // Lala eating coconut-- these dogs really love coconut! // My cranberry white chocolate chip pistachio pudding cookies. // Prada being a daddy's girl again. // A selfie- trying to show off my new nails. // I only lasted about 30 minutes in this game of Risk-- I'm not a big fan of it. // Celebrating JingJing's  4th birthday. // Mine & Jason's collabo recipe: Ham & Chicken Calzones.

Monthly Photo Journal is something new I started where I post pictures, usually from my phone, that shows some random moments that happened during the month. Feel free to participate!

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