Living On My Own: 3 Things I Learned

For someone my age, moving out of their parents' home is quite a big deal. It isn't common practice in (more traditional) Filipino households for children to move out, unless you will be studying/working in a different region or country or getting married--I am doing neither. For me, it was mostly about learning to be independent as I have been ever so blessed with parents and brothers who, for all of my life, have always made sure I lived comfortably.

So it was an interesting challenge that I put upon myself, and I'm glad my parents allowed me to do this. Looking back now, as I am at my parents' home for the long weekend, it has been three months since I moved out, and I thought I would share with you 3 things I learned when I started living on my own.

1. Schedule your week to be on top of things.

As boring and ~adult~ as it sounds, scheduling my days helps me stay sane between working, doing chores, and going out. I've learned to move a little bit quicker now, especially in the morning. My concerns in the morning used to only involve waking up, getting ready, eating breakfast, and going to work. Now, I also make my bed, make and eat breakfast, clean dishes, sweep the apartment, get ready, take out the trash, and go to work. And every two weeks, I try to dedicate a full day for general cleaning.

I also try to do 20-30 minute workouts in the morning. I added a 10-minute guided meditation to my morning routine. I'm using an app called Headspace. Plus, since my place is also quite roomy now, I have had more space to do Blogilates. I just got a new mat from Zalora--which, by the way, you can use the discount code ZBAP0fg for a 15% storewide discount--and it's been helpful with the practice.

2. Manage your expenses by finding alternatives.

I do a lot of walking around where I live now. It allows me to familiarize myself with the establishments as well as gauge the price range of things. Whether it's buying groceries in bulk or running down the local coffee shop for some good ol' third wave coffee instead of getting Starbucks, it helps that I know where I can go and what my options are. It all comes down to managing my expenses. There are also nights when I'd trade in air conditioning for opened windows and a fan. It's not as bad as it sounds, especially during this rainy season.

3. Learn to ask when you don't know.

I'm the type of person who would rather figure things out on her own than ask. I think it is more of shyness than it is a pride thing for me. But I have learned that sometimes, you really can't know everything and you will eventually have to seek the help of your building security in locating the nearest AutoLoadMAX retailer, or ask your brother how to maneuver the stove (because God knows 3 months ago I couldn't cook--I'm much better now), or ask your mom which detergent works best based on her experience because doing laundry is serious business.

Shorts - Factorie; Bag - Guess; Shoes - Cotton On; Eyewear - A'postrophe; Watch - Michael Kors

But in between all this "adulting", it's nice to still be able to go home on most weekends and have my family be all gathered together, singing karaoke, eating good food, and enjoying each other's company. Just as we did this weekend.

Have you moved out? Share with me your experience!


Why I Stay In Hostels + Where I Stayed In Baler

If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you'd know that I spent quite a while dilly-dallying around Baler. This, by far, is the longest I've stayed in Baler--and I wouldn't be surprised if I stayed longer on my next trip. With this, you must be wondering where I stayed in Baler and how much it cost me. To give you a quick answer, for my latest trip, I stayed at The Circle Hostel and it cost me PHP1,350 for 3 nights. Compared to my last trip in Baler where I stayed at a B&B for PHP3,800 for 2 nights, it definitely is a good bargain.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not completely writing off staying in a hotel. Choosing where to stay depends on your needs for that trip. If it were a special occasion or if I were after the comfort and privacy, I wouldn't mind throwing in the extra money. But ever since my one-week trip to Boracay last year, I have been a believer of staying at hostels whenever you can. Here's why:

1. Budget-Friendly

Most hostels have a price range that lets you choose between a private room and dorm-style/bunk bed rooms of varying sizes. Of course, if you don't get a private room, it will be cheaper. Some also offer the option of staying in an air conditioned room and a fan room. All of which are relatively priced lower than if you were to stay in a hotel.

Think about the three nights I stayed in Baler, paying only PHP1,350. So far, the lowest room rate I found for a hotel in Baler is PHP1,800/night. There might be something lower, but that still would just be for one night. It's just a little bit of luxury I can give up to be able to stay longer in a place, within budget.

2. More Time Is Spent Outside

When I travel, I'm not the type to stay in the room anyway. I would be out for most of the day, exploring and doing what I came to do--see the place. I would only be back to change clothes, shower, or sleep (and I think I've got my PHP450/night worth at The Circle Hostel right there).

3. Make Friends With Fellow Travellers

I have found it to be a little less intimidating to make friends at hostels, especially when you're traveling alone or in a small group. Travellers are typically open to meeting new people and making friends; plus, they're bound to share a thing or two about what they've seen so far. You might just pick up a tip on what to see next!

Hostels like The Circle Hostel also have a common area where you can hang out, ride a skate board (yes, they have a skate deck), play board games/cards, eat/drink, and  play music. They have a very relaxed environment that make siestas more satisfying, and bean bags that make you fall asleep in 5 seconds. LOL.

BONUS: The Circle Hostel staff were also very friendly and accommodating. They did wave checks early in the morning, have fresh warm pandesal, peanutbutter, and banana ready for breakfast every morning, and they would ask you how you're doing.

The Circle Hostel is located on Buton Street, after Aliyah Surf Camp & Resort. Just look for the colorful wooden gate and fun wall art. For rates and reservations, you can email They accept walk-ins, too.


Cafes To Check Out In Baler

My love affair with Baler started in April 2014, when I went there on a whim with two friends who had nothing to do on a weekend. Since then, I have been there about 5-6 times. I would say that's more than I expected for a place that makes you take a 6-hour bus ride at midnight just to get there. But I got addicted to the stoke (and okay, because secretly, I've always wanted to be a surfer). And so whenever I think of Baler, I would think about surfing. More than that, however, every trip I made there felt more and more like visiting home; seeing familiar faces and being remembered by people as well... and it's a nice feeling. Shoutout to all the mermaids who can't be away from the waters for too long!

My recent trip to Baler was a little different, though, as I dragged along one of my closest friends, Kit, who turns out to be one of the most caffeinated person I know. LOL I'm kidding. But I have never met anyone who would invite me to have coffee about 3x a day! No complaints, though, because the cafes in Baler were fantastic. So we skipped the tourist-y things to hang out with locals and go cafe hunting instead to bring to you a list of cafes to check out when you're in Baler--best for those flat water mornings and afternoons. ;)

Alley 2, Buton Street, Baler

Sunglasses from a'postrophe

Press Start Cafe was a little difficult to catch, as they would close at certain times of the day because the chef would go surfing. According to Arman, the brother of the owner, they would normally be open from 7AM - 3PM for breakfast and lunch, and then reopen at 6PM. The in-between is surf time! Hey, #lifestylegoals amirite? They are located on Alley 2, an alley across Desiree Lodge. Be on the lookout for the wooden sign to lead you to where they are. And please say hello to them from me if you drop by!

My favorites are their Beef Pastrami sandwich and the Margherita pizza. You must try their pizza! They make their pizza from scratch, which makes all the difference. Skip the frozen pizza places and just go straight to Press Start! You also get to see Chef Mako cook your food as you order, so you know it's freshly made.

Charlie Does Sports and Recreation, Buton Street, Baler

Groundswell Cafe (at Charlie Does) is one of the first establishments you'll find as you get to Buton Street. It is right behind Costa Pacifica, inside Charlie Does--which is a surf shop. They have your regular coffee and other tasty blends like Peanut Butter Coffee and Salted Caramel Coffee (loved this!), as well as tea. You might even chance upon Justice, your friendly neighborhood Labrador who loves the waters. If you don't see him at Charlie Does, he might be swimming at Sabang Beach. PLUS: They have an amazing playlist! I wish I asked for it as I was Shazam-ing everything the whole time.

Bay's Inn, Baywalk, Sabang Beach, Baler

BONUS! If you happen to be dining at Hungry Surfer (at Bay's Inn), you should also try out their iced coffee. You can have it in shake form or plain and simple over ice. Both are tasty and perfect for waking you up on hot mornings.

So whether you want to take a break from the waters or want a quiet afternoon to enjoy the slow hours, check out these cafes with your friends or on your own. Baler is a community that is warm and friendly, so you're bound to make friends there anyway!


Where To Eat: Caffe Puccini

As much as I enjoy learning how to cook, I also enjoy eating out and trying different restaurants--you know, for "research purposes". One restaurant I went to a few days ago was Caffe Puccini, located at The Fort Strip (a few meters away from Cable Car, across URBN) in Bonifacio Global City. In contrast to the loud crowd and rows of bars blasting out music, Cafe Puccini is a welcome calm amidst the chaos, serving a taste of Italy.

We started off with the Antipasto Italiana, which is assorted Italian cold cuts with black olives, tomatoes, artichokes, anchovy, and cheeses. The varied flavors is a good start, warming up your taste buds and preparing them for the main course. Plus, the cold cuts paired well with the alcoholic drinks we ordered early on--because how can we not order drinks?

Antipasto Italiana

Red Sangria (also available: White Sangria)

Next, the Ravioli Lobster and Risotto Spinach Gamberetti followed. Both extremely flavorful, but I leaned more towards the ravioli just because of the lobster and ricotta cheese. Either way, you are in good hands when ordering one or both because they are best sellers.

Ravioli Lobster

Risotto Spinach Gamberetti

For pizza, we ordered a half-and-half of Pizza Puccini and Pizza al Tartufo Nero. If you can't decide between two flavors, ask about ordering a mix of two flavors and you can certainly get your wish. Now, although I love anything with truffle bits, I have to give it to Pizza Puccini for getting me to fall in love at first bite. No, really. Eyes widened at first bite, blurting out "OH. MY. GOD." Pizza Puccini is not to be messed with and I highly recommend ordering this if you fancy pizza.

Pizza Puccini (top) and Pizza al Tartufo Nero

Caffe Puccini is a great place to wine and dine with your friends after a long day at the office. Getting your friends together over good food sounds like the perfect evening, if you ask me! Try out Cafe Puccini and see of yourself.


You'll Always Find Your Element

Hey, you guys! I missed blogging so much! To tell you the truth, I've been sitting here thinking about how and what I can do for my new post to smoothly transition things. The long, unplanned hiatus was not exactly a choice but it was a circumstance thrown at me, which I accepted because there was a shift in my priorities. However, it did not mean that I loved blogging and this little community I have created with you all any less. Absolutely not.

The thing with doing something you are passionate about is that even when you've been away from it for so long, you'll always find your element once you get back into it. You may not be as good as you used to be, but you weren't previously good overnight anyway. So as long as you continue to feed your passion, trust that you will grow with it. Regardless of how long of a break you take, what matters is the amount of effort you put in once you're back.

Dress from Cotton On; Bag from Chocolate Clothing

Photos by Gelo Lopez

If you are ever in a position where you have no choice and you have to put something you love on hold, don't lose hope. Don't get discouraged. Just because something is put on hold does not mean it is put to an end. You don't have to beat yourself up for it because you are only wasting your energy. When you find the time to come back, simply pick up where you left off. It will all be great in the end.