Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Keep Calm and Be Married

Many brides say that their wedding was just a blur. To us, it's as vivid as the blue sky when the heavens decided to smile down on us with a good weather. I can still feel the excitement, the many greetings and the small glitches that hounded us even at the last minute. There's always a backstage drama.

Let me walk you through.

Wedding Ceremony -- Garden Gazebo, Waterfront Insular Hotel Davao

"There will be times when your flame gets extinguished," says Pastor Alvin "but you have to remember that you need to work together to keep it burning."

Lighting the unity candle (with a message that went beyond the ritual)
I shall never forget what the Unity Candle stands for. Our friends and family got acquainted with what the candle really symbolizes in a married couple's relationship. Thank you, Pastor Alvin for truly making our ceremony meaningful, not just to us, but to our guests as well.
Garden ceremony x beach side. (Thank you, Bonna for translating my vision into this beautiful setup)

The bible. A marriage should be anchored on God's word.

I promised myself that I will not cry on my wedding day. Almost did on my my walk down the aisle. And really shed some tears on our thank you speech.  
The violinist texted me early in the morning with this message: Please walk as slowly as possible. Make it the longest walk of your life. (Cute)
More bubbles, please.
Tales at the reception. 
We kept everything minimal and small -- the guest list, the decors and the program. Just the way we liked it. We hoped that our wedding be remembered not because of the ostentatious decorations but of its intimate ambiance, camaraderie and love permeating the air. 
My friend and florist, Bonna.
Thank you to my "childhood" friend, Bonna whom I've known since I was a naive college freshman and just plucked from the barrio. On a short notice, she stepped to the plate of being my host, florist, decorator, driver and friend extraordinaire.

Our host and my makeup artist, Erika -- a colleague and a friend did an incredible job. Because I wanted our wedding to be really personal to us and our guests, on top of being the bride I was also the over-all chairman of our event. I wrote the script. And I wrote from the heart peppering it with anecdotes from years back and sharing the overwhelming generosity of time, talent and resources of everyone present. 
Make-up artist and host. Incredible feat; incredible friend.
After 'I do' tender moment I shared with my ex-boyfriend.

A long time ago, I've already decided that when the day comes that I'll become a bride, I will have calla lilies on my big day. I fell in love with them. They're unpretentious. They're elegant. My friend and sponsor, Berna flew in 80 dozens of them from Baguio. Flying them in had some glitches from the airline but in the greater scheme of things, it was nothing. 
Callas, candle lanterns and million dollar flowers. So, pinteresting!
Thank you, Sette for the cake.

 The cake was just a few details short of how I intended it to be. Still, it’s simply pretty and scrumptious, too.
Red velvet cake underneath the white ruffle design.

our personalized cake cutter
Thank you, Abby for singing Norah Jones' Come Away With Me. Even jamming with the pianist.
In the flurry of things, I haven't really seen or tasted the food served. But I got rave reviews from family and friends. Our photographer managed to snap a picture of the desserts
Davao is also famous for its lechon. So my matron of honor and dearest friend, Jinggay gifted us with one whole roasted pig. 
With my matron of honor Jinggay and hubby Buddy. Thanks for the lechon, dearie!
The speeches given were nothing short of exceptional. They were very personal and spoken with optimism, wisdom and love. 

Chris led the toast. I love that it was unconventional. It wasn't all about underhanded comments but a pragmatic reminder that as a couple -- it's all about being a 'WE' and less of I and You. And that the day marked the beginning of a TEAM. Thanks, Chris. In moments of absolute brattiness, I only need to pause and remind myself of the day, I raised my glass in your toast.

My dear friend & sponsor Berna, my Proverbs 31 woman and on being "not always insisting to be right" for a marriage to work.
Miguel on change and leadership, at home.
Family and friends flew in from Manila and Cebu. Those who were abroad gave their love in advance. Our heartfelt gratitude to all of you who have given us so much of your time and resources. 
a bit of fun. look at my girlfriends still looking very poised

Sneak peak on the pre-ceremony preps:

I believe it’s customary to document the littlest of things that are part of the wedding celebration. So, these were given artistic attention by our very reliable photographer and videographer from the Davao team of Lito Sy studio.

If you will notice, every detail of our wedding has branding; a nuance coming from a creative hubby.
the invite.
sponsor's giveaway

for the secondary sponsors
every guest went home with this

My throwaway bouquet (as created by Bonna)
my pretty shoes. thank you friends for pledging.
my groom looking dapper in his custom suit
They say that weddings are memorable. I say, ours is truly awesome. We made it an affair for us and the family and friends who were there. 

We sealed our union with a fervent prayer that God will always be at the center of our marriage. And that we grow as a couple in His love and grace.

Family and friends, cheers! And thank you for making our big day an awesome celebration. Thanks too for live tweeting. Our friends who couldn't come felt they were present because of you. 

P.S. The barrio girl is now a missus. And loving it.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Raffle Winner: Raffle Giveaway a la Barrio

Last September, I ran my first ever giveaway. I was celebrating the fact that I was able to keep on blogging the whole year. It was sort of my blog anniversary. To read more, click here.

My readership is not the same as those who have huge following on the blogosphere. I don't mind though. My posts are personal. And my first objective was just to write a journal of my experiences -- of my adventures, mishaps and successes in the big city. 

Somehow it has expanded to my foodie inclinations, the love of discovering new places, immersion in new culture and traveling. So, am just very glad that some people find my articles amusing and easy to relate with. 

Some take the time to comment on the comment thread. Others choose to write their thoughts on my Facebook wall. Am floored. Just knowing that these people have chosen to share with me a moment of their time is something that I shall forever treasure. 

To all of my friends and those I'd come across in this lifetime, in real life and in cyberspace, thank you for taking a journey with me. Hope that you'll find my entries entertaining and insightful as I continue to blog. 

I hope that my writing matures as I practice and just keep at it. 

To my friend, Febz who actually won in the raffle, congratulations! Am pleased to have influenced you in joining Twitter. Keep on writing and sharing your beautiful poetry. 
My friend, Febz. I meet her in Bikram Yoga. Since then we've become good friends; book club buddies in a triumvirate that includes the beautiful and yogini extraordinaire, Joyce.

Have fun with your beauty loot, Febz! Congratulations and thank you. 

To everyone, who at one time or is a regular reader of this barrio girl, thank you. 


Monday, October 8, 2012

Detox: Post- Juju Cleanse

It's so easy to stuff our mouths with all the junks in the world. Everywhere we turn, we see restaurants, cafes, food stalls, food shops even 24/7 shops sell fast food. Operative word: fast. 

Mind you, these are really yummy and cheap, too. I've fallen prey to the convenience of fast food. Some years ago, I had a gallbladder surgery. I'd like to attribute it to a high-cholesterol/high calorie diet courtesy of Mcdonald's. I was there every single day -- only the time changes, lunch or dinner. On weekends, count snacking in between, with a large fries and a large soda. 

The lifestyle came with a hefty price. My body just shut down. And so for a while, I tried to eat healthy. But healthy is meticulous and expensive. I've seen a pattern of consciously checking on the food I eat and wantonly eating anything that's been deep-fried and just plain unhealthy. 

Every time though, I imagine my stomach to be like the city's sewerage system. Have you noticed that areas where there are heavy concentration of restaurants/fastfood/cafe have a filmy sidewalk (by the gutter). Oftentimes, the used oil and other cooking residue spill over to the streets. 

Whenever, I see these, my imagination goes overdrive. I really believe that the environment inside my stomach exhibits the same thing. There are accumulated dirt and fat, trapped inside. There is no way that these are excreted because for one I live a sedentary lifestyle. I only have those occasional workouts. In the grand scheme of things, they don't count. 

Having heard of a detox or cleansing program called Juju Cleanse, I entertained the idea and placed it on my to-do list. I've always wanted a detox program but it's really pricey. Even Juju Cleanse is quite prohibitive. After reading extensively, I realized that it's worth the price. Read here.

Last Saturday, I braved it. In a kit, there are six bottles that are numbered. It has a corresponding time to take each. Also, the kit comes with fresh mint leaves for tea the morning of cleansing. 

Here's the schedule. The timeline is full. No room for snacking on any solid food. 

The first four bottles/drinks were a walk in the park. I didn't have a problem at all until my mind keeps on reminding me that I haven't stuffed my mouth with anything other than the drinks. So, the craving starts. Weird because I wasn't really hungry. There's just that feeling or desire that I need to eat

Some of the drinks.
My biggest hurdle was the thought that if these drinks are supposedly for cleansing, these might not taste good. Think: kitchen cleaners. Surprise, surprise the drinks tasted so good I didn't have any problem sipping them. 

How was my experience, you may ask? Well, apart from the no-food policy, the lightheaded feeling persisted until the last drop. It felt like my head was "floating". There is that sense of being "tired" but then I think that it was just all mind-play. 

The morning after is a revelation. I woke up much energized, too early than my usual waking hour (on a Sunday, at that). I don't know if I was just excited to eat solid food again. But I didn't really wolf down my sandwich. I took my time. 

After that one-day cleanse, I made a pact with myself that I will do it on a regular basis. Let's just say that we owe it to our bodies to rid it of toxins. 

Schedule your detox, now.



Friday, October 5, 2012

Juju Cleanse

I've heard of this cleanse as early as last year. Read about it in magazines. And even on twitter. I checked out its website but I didn't try it only because I felt that the price was prohibitive (read: pricey). 

Intrigue and necessity snapped me out of my hesitation. The former brought out the curious in me as so many people have claimed improved well-being. Necessity, on the other hand, is what really prodded me. If I can't be thin on my wedding day. At least I'd want to be really glowing. Nice skin and all. 

So, what is Juju Cleanse? The long and short of it -- juice fast. "Each of our Juju Cleanse kits contain a day’s worth of detoxifying drinks which keep you nourished while you put aside your spoon and fork for the day and give your digestive system that much needed break, " quoted from its website.

"In a nutshell, the Juju Cleanse program is designed to give your body a break, so that it can focus on digesting nutrients and flushing out the junk. It also promotes alkalinity in the body to reduce the foothold of the nasties." -  from the Juju Cleanse webpage.To know more, click here

For starters, we got a barkada package -- Zarah, Febz and I are all in this together. This means 3 people on the same address would want to try the one-day cleanse program. We're excited and at the same time apprehensive. What if we can't last a day with only liquid in our body? 

Today is our pre-cleanse day. Guideline says, we have to limit our intake of: proteins, carbonated and caffeinated  drinks. What? Coffee means life to my blood stream. Lol. 
I hope I last the day without a drop of it.


At least one day before beginning your cleanse, we suggest you reduce your intake of the following to prepare your body:
  1. Animal protein and processed foods
  2. Salt, refined sugar and carbs
  3. Carbonated sodas, and other caffeinated drinks
  4. Alcohol and nicotine
We then recommend that you increase your intake of:
  1. Water or herbal teas
  2. Fruit and vegetables
  3. Sleep
Tomorrow, I hope to wake up with all the determination and will-power I can muster. What is one-whole day of cleansing and detoxification when you think about the amount of rubbish we put into our mouths and into our digestive system. I believe that my internal sewerage system is beginning to clog up. Indeed, it's about time to deliberately remove all the toxins in my body. 
Hello, Juju Cleanse. Goodbye, toxins!
The idea has now become real. We just received our kits. Nice eh? It's a thermal bag; the juices need to be refrigerated so while in transit all the juice bottles have to be in this bag with gel ice to maintain it's freshness.



Monday, October 1, 2012

Romi Garduce and the Seven Summits: Life lessons for the everyday Juan

Meet Romi Garduce, the first and only Filipino to have successfully climbed the seven (7) summits of the world. What a feat!
At the summit of Mt Vinson Massif -- the last of his 7 Summit quest.

Romi Garduce. (Corporate Climber)

The Seven Summits is  regarded as a mountaineering challenge.

His timeline: 

2002 Mt Kilimanjaro (Africa)
2004 Mt Elbrus (failed to summit)
2005 Mt Aconcagua (South America)
2006 Mt Everest (Asia)
2007 Mt Elbrus (Europe)
2008 Mt Denali (North America)
2009 Mt Kosciousko (Australia)
2011 Mt Casternz (Australasia)
2012 Mt Vinson Massif (Antartica)

I've met and known Romi through Josette, his special friend, shortly after he did his Mt Everest summit. I believe it was in the early part of 2007. Both of them live an active lifestyle. And I, for one only has my fingers actively surfing the internet. Ha. You can just imagine the conversation topics. And where do I fit in? Let me tell you.
At the summit of Mt Casternz
Through the years, I've heard him share his stories and insights on his chosen sport. In turn, I've been egging him on in pursuing a public speaking career while having his corporate day job. (Don't get me wrong; he's actively sharing his story -- in his corporate talks and in schools.) 

You see, mountaineering may not be for everyone but the life lessons are there to be learned and applied for virtually, anyone.

Last Thursday, September 27, 2012, my good friend Mara and I found ourselves watching, listening, tweeting about Romi's talk on The Cold Truth -- Alpine Climbing. We found ourselves surrounded by people who are into mountaineering. We even had one who is on his way to the base camp of the Everest. 

At first, it felt awkward. I feel like a poser, being there even if I have zero knowledge on climbing mountains. The only attempt I made was going up Mt Kinabalu. Even that I couldn't even get a bragging right, as I failed to 'summit'. But I tried...

In spite the initial discomfort, we found ourselves intently listening because his stories are laced with life lessons that anyone can learn from and apply to our everyday lives.

Lessons learned from his talks: 

1. Pursue your passion.  What is it that you love to do? If you don't know it yet, explore. So, you will find out. Don't allow money to be an issue. Anything involves cost. He cites himself, saying that he had to plan his vacation leaves and save up for his expeditions. Eventually, you'll find sponsors once you've proven yourself.

As a corporate guy, he is well-aware that there are real obstacles to hurdle. But you can get through it, if you will just passionately go for it. He says and I quote, "Never give up on your dream. It maybe long and difficult journey but eventually, you'll get there."

2. Be accountable to yourself, first. "Take that first step. The first step is the step of commitment."You owe it to yourself to be successful. If you fail, get back up again. "It's not how you fall, but how you rise up each time you fall."

3. Cultivate discipline. There is no excuse for not doing what you want to do.You have no time? Who has. Each of us has a million of things to do; obligations to fulfill. But we have to make time. Whether your goal is to lose those extra pounds to be in shape or run your first marathon, you have to make time -- to train, to condition yourself. 

And discipline is all encompassing -- mind, body and spirit. I'd say that determination is woven into the fiber of discipline. When the body gives up and it feels like you have no more, the mind can supersede the feelings of the body.

I have an on-and-off relationship with bikram yoga. In the hot room, there are moments when my body would no longer respond to my futile bidding. But then when I condition my mind to go on, the physical discomfort takes the back seat. So, maybe if I just commit more to it, I'll be able to perfect the poses.

4. Find inspiration. When nothing seems to perk you up and prod you to continue what you're doing, find inspiration. Like him, it can be a seed that he found underneath a tree. It kept him going even after big failures. It symbolized hope for him that as long as he has it, the dream is alive. It took him a while but he did get the chance to plant it at the summit of Mt. Everest. 

To us, our dream may not be Mt. Everest. But am fairly sure that we have our own "Everests" that we hope to conquer. It can be financial success, career movement, getting published, acting on stage, learning a new dance, a new skill, playing the piano... the list is endless. 
On the way to the summit.
"Each time you succeed, raise the bar higher (after each success)," was his parting shot.  To me, it means don't rest on your laurels. Keep dreaming. Keep achieving better and bigger things. And give back to the community. 

Today is the perfect day to start. There is no best time but now. So, tell me what is your personal Everest?