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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Laundry Day

Aloha Everyone,

J.J. dropped off our laundry at 8:00 am this morning. There is no intercom in this condo building, but we have in-house laundry service! They charge by the weight. Pick up time at 3:00 pm and the cost is $9.50 for washing and folding service. Total weight is 7 kilos.

I went to bed before 8:00 pm and slept nearly 6 hours without interruption. That was the good news. The bad news is that when I tried to go back to sleep, my thigh muscles off the right leg wouldn’t cooperate. Eventually, rather than fight it, I did meditation. As Pema Chödrön’s teaching, face your pains and discomfort directly. Observe, however severe your pain maybe, it’s not constant. Like everything in life, it’s always changing.

I also focused on playing video games. Every time I scored 3 stars, I raised my hands 10 times above my head. Then I spread my arms before clapping my hands 10 times in front to my chest. When I shared my childish behavior with my son, he said, “While I don’t condone self-congratulatory gestures, in this instance, you are benefiting your health, so I think that’s good.”  As one of my yoga friends unceremoniously stated, “Pain is junk!” 

Our laundry was returned clean and professionally folded. Looking forward to my first session with a PT.

Aloha -- Cathi

Monday, January 30, 2023

Fire Alarm

Aloha Everyone,

One of the big challenges of our current accommodation is that there is no intercom or house phone to connect us to the front desk or security.

This morning, the fire alarm rang and police sirens notifying us that there may be a fire in the building. J.J. checked and found out that none of the elevators are working. He suggested that we vacate our room.

The situation is after last night when I was mobile in going to the dinner party and throughout the evening, my muscles stiffened. This morning I am unable to take any independent steps. 

When fire alarms and police sirens stopped, J.J. walked down 7 flights of stairs and found out that this was a scheduled fire drill. He told me that firemen were in the lobby area checking fire extinguishers and doing other safety checks. It seems some residents received notifications of this scheduled fire drill, but we were not informed.

Actually, I felt safe being locked in our apartment. After 50 minutes of studying Spanish while I waited, J.J. returned with grilled salmon served on quinoa from The Fat Seeds Cafe. All is well!

Aloha -- Cathi

Sunday, January 29, 2023

Dinner at Alex & Tintin’s Home

Aloha Everyone,

It was an impromptu family gathering. Gabby, eldest son of Tony & Bambi came to pick us up at 5:00 pm for our 6:00 pm dinner.

Alex, the youngest of J.J.’s late brother Andy, works as an executive with Cebu Pacific Airlines. His wife, Dr. Tintin, MD works in the field of medical nutrition. The couple have 4 sons. Physically active family, I saw mountain bikes, snorkeling gear and weights stored in one of their spare rooms on a lower floor level.

Every time we gather, it seems there are always new things and new family stories to learn. Letty, now the matriarch of the Reyes clan, talked about other branches of the family. I learned that Joey Albert, a famous Filipino singer is a close relative. Another Albert is a respected statistician and economist. It seems we have just scratched the surface of this vast network based on family.

Tonight’s featured dish was Paella Negro (rice dish with squid & lots of squid ink) and Bulalo with other sumptuous competing dishes. For dessert, we had Dark Chocolate Cake from Mary Grace plus Salted Caramel Cake by special order from a baker friend.

Aloha -- Cathi

Saturday, January 28, 2023

Making Modifications in Our Diet

Aloha Everyone,

J.J.’s observation is that whenever I am overly enthusiastic about walking, muscles in my legs react by tightening up during the next two days. On Thursday, I managed 5.1 miles or 11,711 steps. The next 2 days, I suffered the consequences.

I prefer vegan diet and happy to live without any animal-based proteins. However, expressing his concerns of me losing muscle, he is on a mission to put some muscles on me without eating beef, pork or even chicken. He believes my daily protein count is very low. The solution is an increase of plant and seafood protein.

After doing online research, J.J. concluded that energy bars I eat have trans fats and bagels we’ve been having for our breakfast are made of white flour, sugar and egg. 

Our modified breakfast now consists of sliced fresh strawberries, bananas, apples and grapes topped with nonfat yogurt. He also prepared a bowl of boiled peanuts in shells purchased from a farmers' market.

With takeout food, we also found a good selection of seafood chowder, salad with shrimp toppings, stuff fish and Korean dishes. No rice, no bread, only plain soda crackers which are simple and also easier for my stomach.

Aloha -- Cathi

Friday, January 27, 2023

External Remedies

Aloha Everyone,

Elás, a topical cream for pain, was given to me by Marita. She used it when she had a fall in Portugal and said it helped relieve her pains.

I have patches which I’ve been using but Salonpas contains methyl salicylate and I have developed an allergic reaction. Likewise, Tau Chi Ginger Medicares Plaster works wonderfully but after several hours, my skin becomes too tender and too painful when removing this ultra-large patch.

The small rubber water bag is great. Hot water against my back relieves my pain and makes me drowsy so I can doze off after a few minutes. I look forward to the day with a physical therapist’s help, I will no longer require these external remedies.

Aloha -- Cathi

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Asia Tower, Our New Residence

Aloha Everyone,

Here are some photographs from our new residence: Asia Tower:

Aloha -- Cathi

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Follow-up Appointments with Dr. Eufemio

Aloha Everyone,

After our initial consultations with Dr. Eufemio, orthopedic doctor, the two of us have been unbelievably busy. J.J. multitasked by taking care of me, preparing for our eventual move. As my leg muscles involuntarily stiffen, I am literally “walking walls” to move around in the unit.

Staff at our Makati Residences have been excellent, and one brought a wheelchair to our room and waited for me at the lobby to assist me get into a taxi. Small miracles happen every day. The taxi driver was gruff and didn’t know his way around. When he dropped off us at a curve of a busy intersection, J.J. got off the taxi and came around to assist me to get out. Then voila, my legs responded, and I stood up straight and was walking.

My X-rays are “perfect”. The pinch nerve is in my left pelvis. The condition is called acute, mild and non-chronic, which Dr. Eufemio calls as the “best kind”. I will have 3 sessions of physical therapy at our residence.

Aloha -- Cathi

Monday, January 23, 2023


Aloha Everyone,

Makati Med completed all the tests requested by the doctor. As soon as they handed the test results, I contacted Dr. Eufemio‘s office and were able to get an appointment for 11:45 AM tomorrow, Tuesday.

Funny story. We needed a wheelchair which Laguna Tower concierge provided. (They asked if we wanted to also use their ambulance.) Makati Med provided a wheelchair. I’ve been having serious pains. However, after they gave me electric shocks to determine the site of my pinch nerve, I was able to get up and walk.

The second part of the test, NYV was more interesting. I had two doctors plus a specialist who confirmed their readings of my chart plus two technicians attending. When I was told that it would be like getting an acupuncture, I had to say, “well that means a totally new experience.” After they stuck needles on my legs and back, I was ambulatory.  This was first time in two days. Our condo staffs looked pleasantly surprised. No wheelchair on our return and not even helping hands from J.J.

Aloha -- Cathi

Sunday, January 22, 2023

The Wholesome Table

Aloha Everyone

There are at least 5 different restaurants within 15-20 minutes walking distance for us that specifically cater to people who are looking for healthy choice meals. One of them is The Wholesome Table.

J.J. and I shared a plate of hummus and enjoyed our choice of salads. 

Here’s a few of the statement I found on their printed place mats.

EAT consciously.

LIVE consciously.

This lifetime you will only have one body.

If you are what you eat, then eat right and eat well.

Nobody wants to eat anything toxic, so we don’t use it in our food.

We love words like: Antibiotic-free, Nítrate-free Unprocessed, Raw, Fresh, Organic, Cold-pressed and Superfood.

Aloha -- Cathi

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

My Steps Record for 2023

Aloha Everyone,

Here it is, my record number of steps for a single day for 2023. Under the current circumstances, I am very satisfied.

Aloha -- Cathi

Sunday, January 15, 2023

Showing to Potential Tenant & Lunch with Detsy at Manan

Aloha Everyone,

Marita has a potential tenant for her unit in Greenbelt Residences. The real estate market has been in a doldrum since the COVID pandemic. Previously, corporate managers came from Japan. Chinese executives still have travel restrictions. 

This potential tenant is relocating to the Philippines for 5 years. The two of us hope it will work out for all parties involved. As for us, once there is a firm agreement between Marita & the potential tenant, we will be ready to look for another property.

Detsy joined us for lunch at Manam, one of our favorite Filipino restaurants in Greenbelt. It was a working lunch for Detsy as she coordinates the potential tenants moving details and tries to look for a suitable replacement unit for J.J. and me.

Aloha -- Cathi

Saturday, January 14, 2023

Start of Chinese New Year

Aloha Everyone,

Three Kings Day, January 6, is considered the end of Christmas holiday season. Workers are busy removing trees and other decorations.

January 9-31, 2023, officially this is the Chinese New Year month. Colorful red lanterns depicting the year of the Rabbit are seen in the lobbies of buildings and retail store fronts.

This Sunday, January 25 is the official date for celebration.

Aloha -- Cathi

Friday, January 13, 2023

Lunch at Maricar’s Home

Aloha Everyone,

We were invited to the home of Maricar, one of J.J.’s sister-in-laws. Marina, her daughter, is a fantastic chef. She prepared Spanish themed dishes including the famous Albert (J.J.’s maternal grandmother) paella whose recipe traces back to her Mother in Spain.

Here are a few of the mouthwatering array of dishes including a wonderful key lime cake.

Aloha -- Cathi

Thursday, January 12, 2023

Politics of Onions

Aloha Everyone,

Onion growers in the Philippines grow both white and red onions. Shortage of this essential commodity for restaurant and home consumption became headline news.

Onions require dry soil. Due to heavy rainfalls, last year’s crop was destroyed.

By July of 2022, local onion farmers reported the supply of white onions will be depleted before the holiday season. The government was informed, but failed to mitigate the upcoming problem of supply and demand. Prices of onion skyrocketed. J.J. was told at a restaurant that onion will be excluded from his hamburger and sorry, no onion rings.

Government’s importation of onion coincides with harvesting of new crops. Now an over supply of onions will impact the local growers profit margin.

A couple of days ago, an airline pilot brought back onions to his wife rather than a luxury gift from abroad.

Aloha -- Cathi

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Office Supply Shortages

Aloha Everyone,

Christmas and New Year’s holidays plus tropical storm that caused heavy rains, floods and mudslides in Southern Philippines resulted in general supply shortages. J.J. and I were directly affected by the lack of office supplies.

One learns to be resourceful. Paper bags are used for many of our purchases. They are clean and sturdy. Rather than putting these bags in our recycle bin, I am using them for my daily language studies.

Aloha -- Cathi

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

International English

Aloha Everyone,

Our overly enthusiastic restaurant server asked, “Do we want 399 or 699?”  When J.J. asked for details, she stuck a large menu card and pointed at two choices we could make. The numbers referred to prices in pesos.

English spoken by people whose mother tongue is another language could sound harsh and even rude. When J.J. and I told her that we will decide once we are seated, she got flustered. Another time she was a bit more friendly and said, could you sit here while we assemble your table? (Translate: please be seated while we clean your table.)

J.J. asked what happened to my orders to which a waiter replied, “Not yet, coming sir.” 

Another restaurant experience where they offered endless tiny appetizers. A waiter informed us that the appetizers are replaceable.

A brochure is a printed material on paper usually folded in 2, 3 or 4. When I asked a pharmacist that the medication that I was purchasing lacks printed information sheet, she said the brochure is included in the interior box. To access it, you have to split the box.

Aloha -- Cathi

Monday, January 9, 2023

Green Amore Shake at The Fat Seeds Cafe and Brewery

Aloha Everyone,

The Fat Seeds Cafe and Brewery is only a 4 minute walk from our condo unit. The company website says it was established in 2017. Employees are efficient and always busy that I’ve not been able to interview to gather additional information.

Green Amore is my choice healthy drink. It is a non-alcoholic mixture using fresh ingredients of kale, kiwi, almonds, basil, celery and green. A perfect energy boost at any time of the day.

Most coffee houses in the Philippines, including Starbucks and Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf no longer offer free WiFi to their customers. But The Far Seeds Cafe and Brewery provide free WiFi. Simple, healthy excellent menu selections including variety of hot and cold drinks and snacks. This restaurant is always packed with satisfied customers. We estimate their indoor plus outdoor seating could accommodate between 30-40 diners.

Aloha -- Cathi