Thoughts/Highlights & Favorites

Since I left my home in the Philippines roughly eight years ago, I have made my best attempt to return on an annual basis. I initially decided to postpone this year’s trip to later reunite with my family in Japan early next year, a decision we mutually agreed on…and one that I was excited about. But…our plans quickly altered last minute, and I found myself booking a round trip ticket back to the Philippines. Super last minute, but also super necessary, for reasons that I will carefully reserve for my family’s privacy.

Truly one of the best decisions I have made this year.

The trip was short, but incredibly profound. I unfortunately did not take many pictures. Rather I tried my best to live in the moment. So this post is more personal. Read below for some thoughts, favorites and highlights.


My Mom & Celebrating Her 57th Birthday. When I think of my mom, my mind tends to visualize a younger version of her. When she left the house, her outfits consisted of collared blouses with light denim jeans and she often toted a black purse. Her hair was very similar to my current soft layered bob cut, but with bangs. I use to wonder why she rarely experimented with different trends but it is now that I appreciate her simplicity. My mom is gracefully aging, but while the inevitable occurs she remains herself. This beautiful and caring woman inside and out. My Tita Marissa said it best when she told me, “Your mom thinks about others before herself.”

My sister and I threw her an early birthday celebration a few nights prior to our flight back. We commuted to a nearby mall, searching for the most delicious cheesecake (her favorite), which we discovered at the French Baker.  We indulged in Chinese food for dinner, followed by singing her happy birthday, sans the candles…and of of course, enjoying delightful slices of the blueberry cheesecake we purchased.

I tell her this often, but if you are reading this mom…I love you.


Bonding With My Sister. Very few people get me, and one of those people happen to be my older sister, Jasmine. Regardless of our age, I feel like we revert back to our younger, silly selves from our high school/college days whenever we are together.  I am sure she disagrees but if only we lived closer, we could make a pretty entertaining YouTube channel about…well, us.

We bonded mostly through food (of course), conversations regarding our personal lives, our knowledge on pop culture and…more food.

I will definitely miss our morning breakfasts at Relish Luxe Cafe and munching on Tochi Cookies from the Salcedo Market.


Time. Going back home can be a friendly…and sometimes not so friendly reminder that time ceases for no one. I feel like a different person each time I visit, but not in a negative manner. Rather in a way that I feel more evolved. I am returning as a mother. As a wife. I now have a life from where I left, and as I contemplate over the thought that things will never be the same, I can also say that time can also be a friendly reminder to be present and to be grateful.


It’s a short list.

Citadines Millenium Ortigas Manila Hotel. Stayed here briefly, but by check out it was difficult to depart. Truly a home away from home. Loved the details that went into their decor.


Relish Luxe Cafe. Where my sister and I had breakfast almost everyday during our stay.


Tochi Cookies. My sister purchased five containers in assorted flavors of my now favorite cookie. Devastated that I can’t purchase this here in the US.


Mama Said. Song by Lukas Graham.

La La Land. A movie I watched during the long flight. I cried.

Long post. I know. If you made it to the end. Thank you for reading 🙂

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