Sexy Journey

This is a journal of my GM DIET.

I do not regularly weigh myself.  One, because I know what I look like.  Two, I know I am fat.  Three, I was scared.  On rare occasions that I am weighed,  it is usually in a clinic or in a hospital.  Therefore, no, I did not weigh myself before diving into the Program.

This journal will not be how much weight I lost because of the diet.  Instead, this is to keep tabs of my experiences during the 7 days of blissful suffering.

DAY 1:

All the fruits I care to eat, especially watermelons and muskmelons.  No cream or dressing. No coffee. No iced tea.  Here’s the problem, I am not a water-drinker.  The idea of drowning myself with 10 glasses of water everyday was like undergoing Chinese-water torture.  My liquid intake before today came as coffee (iced, blended or brewed), iced tea, Coke. So, having none of the latter and only lots of the former means caffeine-withdrawal headache.  Not the pounding, jackhammer type of headache, its more like a hangover headache.

I love watermelon and muskmelon (cantaloupe) shakes, with plenty of cream or milk, drizzled with chocolate syrup.  But just the fruits?  Not very appealing. I mixed it up with apples, pineapples, grapes, papaya, and mandarin oranges to make it interesting and edible.  It didn’t taste bad, but too sweet.  My throat began to ache like I was developing tonsillitis.

At lunchtime, I was very full, but not satisfied.  My system was looking for the usual sensations: the smell of cooking oil, the salty taste while chewing on pork chops, the burn as ice-cold Coke pass through my esophagus.  By 3pm, I was about to snap.  I miss my chips and coffee.  A good friend, bless her (so much) came to the rescue and bought me Japanese sweet corn (no butter, lightly salted).  The first bite was pure heaven.  Thank God that I had myself under control at 4:30pm, just in time for a meeting where the food served were pizza and coffee.  The sight and smell as the pizza box was opened was an assault! Congratulations to me for having resisted the temptation. My dear Stefan Salvatore, I’ll never pass judgment on your moment of weakness again.

Dinner at home was another test of strength.  The family had Pork Abodo de Cebu.  One of my favorite soul foods. While I, had my fruit mix, again.   More and more, it was becoming too difficult to swallow.  The pain on my throat and the headache are increasingly annoying.  I went to bed early.  A rarity considering I am an insomniac.

It wasn’t a restful sleep.  I am beginning to feel sore all over. From the dandruff to the ingrown, I felt like I have been beaten to a pulp or run over by a steamroller.  Every inch of me was tender to the touch.  Other times I could not feel my limbs, but when I try to move them, I ache.  If it wasn’t for the absence of the burning feeling, I swear I was transforming into a vampire!

DAY 2:

I woke up today sore and crabby.

Today is all veggies-day.  Breakfast was supposed to be baked potatoes patted with unsalted butter.  But I wanted to cheat.  I peeled 4 medium-sized potatoes, boiled them with salt, ground pepper, cinnamon, and curry powder.  When cooked, I drained the potatoes and mashed them.  I put in a tablespoon of garlic-flavored margarine.  Yum!  I finished it as fast as I could while it’s still hot.  There was nothing to chew anyway.

I packed 2 decent servings of garden salad (lettuce, cucumber sticks, carrot chips, singkamas (a.k.a. Mexican turnip) sticks).  I saw a bottle of Ceasar Salad dressing in the fridge and packed it too.

At around 10am, I was already hungry.  I took out one of my salads and prepped it with just a tablespoon of my contraband dressing.  On normal days, the salad would have been drenched. My conscience is creeping in on me.  There is still hangover headache and soreness, but manageable (or ignoreable).  I am now in better control of my body and my reactions to the program and to the temptations around me.

Lunch out with GM buddy Chessy, and two supportive friends at Grab-A-Crab Resto, Robinson Mall Branch .  We ordered Garlic Kangkong (water spinach sautéed in garlic) and Chop Suey.  The support friends are there to take-out the meat from the chopsuey, while Chessy and I feasted on the veggies. Surprisingly, I wasn’t salivating over the lemon-chicken right under my nose.  The test came much later when the pastries were brought out.  It took an effort to take my eyes off the dish and simply say, “I’ll come back for you next week.” Lunch was happy, fulfilling and satisfying.  With the coming of this happy feeling, the sores and aches went away.

Since I was no longer bothered with the sores and aches, I had a new concern to worry about.  With all the water that I have been drinking, I would have thought the volume  and frequency of my comfort room breaks would increase.  But that wasn’t the case, I felt sloshy. I discussed this with hubby.  His theory is that since I have not been a water person for so long, it will take some time to dilute and declog my system.  For whatever reason, we were just happy that I was no longer crabby.

I finished my second serving (the one I packed this morning) for dinner.   And went to bed.  It was a good day.

DAY 3:

Today is mixed fruits and veggies day.  I woke up peppy.

I prepared my fruit and veggie salad (watercress, lettuce, cucumber, carrots, pineapples, apples, grapes, oranges) to take to the office.  Encouraged that I was able to resist the pizza and pastry temptations, I was primed for today.

I was already hungry at around 10am.  I packed enough for a breakfast and lunch and was very excited  to try my version of a vinaigrette (extra virgin olive oil, apple cider vinegar,honey,  salt and pepper).   It smelled good and tastes good too.  It was better than cheating with a bottle of Ceasar Salad dressing like I did yesterday.  I actually enjoyed eating my “breakfast” with it.

After 4 glasses of water, the result of my comfort room break was, finally, what I expected.  And the frequency increased throughout the day, too.  My pee was very light colored and doesn’t smell.

At lunch, Chessy brought her own version of dressing as well.  Ripe mango puree with cane vinegar and sesame oil.   We shared lunch.  She brought some fruits and veggies that were not on my pack.  Some cubed ripe mangoes and  Mexican turnip (singkamas).  She also had some extra dipping, just in case.  Cane vinegar with minced garlic, lightly salted.  Hhhhmmmm….. I love this day.

I was so happily full that the smell of mid-afternoon coffee, crunching sound of chips  from my office mates didn’t bother me. I didn’t get affected that there was pizza, hot bread and ice cream delivered to the office.  I was not even resentful that I wasn’t allowed to eat any of those.

I was ecstatic to discover that I can go through the day without the things (or foods) I once thought I couldn’t  do without.

I joined the family for dinner.  I felt confident enough to be around them, eating their regular food, while I munched on my greens and yellows.  They had stir-fried veggies with pork.  My daughter asked me to taste the veggies on their menu to see if she did it right.  I took a very small bite, and surprisingly, the taste of cooking oil repulsed me!

One good thing about the diet is that it cured me of my insomnia.  I went to bed at around 10pm now rather than 2am.  I am not tired, just sleepy.

Tomorrow is going to be something else as I am not a banana-eater.  The milk I can handle.  To say that I am dreading Day 4 is an understatement.  But, considering how today had surprised me made me hopeful that it may not be as bad as I imagined it.

DAY 4:


It is as bad as I imagined it.  Worse even.

I woke up this morning hungry.  Unfortunately, was not able to stack on my menu the day before.  I had a lot of paper works and I went out late from the office.  With so much abundance of bananas everywhere, I was not able to pick a few before I got home.  Therefore, I came to the office today empty-handed.  I felt like a being a soldier going into battle without his ammos.  Brilliant move!

At 9am, I took a personal 30- minute time off to rush to the nearest grocer to buy the bananas and milk.  I was debating with myself, “Which/What milk?” Liquid or powder?  Skim, Non-fat, Full Cream, Low fat, Iron fortified, or calcium intensified? Jeez! I only need plain old simple milk. I am in a hurry!  I am hungry!

In the end, I settled for the old reliable Bear Brand Powdered Milk Swak pouch that cost me P20.  I only need to consume 3 glasses of milk today, why am I making a fuss?  I figured that if I am to eat 8 bananas today, I might as well have my milk hot.  Kill my taste buds and be done with it.

Went back to the office, made a mug of hot milk and began the banana ordeal.  OK, 1 banana down, 7 more to go!  All the while I was thinking, “Would it be OK to take some of these bananas to Frostbite and have them made into frozen fruit yogurt?”

A banana and half mug later, my stomach is not stinging anymore but I am far from satisfied.  My thoughts wandered into the GM Wonder Soup (Onions, Cabbage, and any other vegetable out there) which is supposed to be a supplement to today’s program.  “Sus, utan bisaya ra na! Naay daghan ana sa carenderia”  (It’s just  vegetable soup. We can buy that from the cafeteria.) Chessy and I decided to go to the cafeteria to grab some soup.  Alas, no such soup on their menu today!   We don’t want to have another banana for lunch.  We braved the drizzling rain to another near-by carenderia only to find that the soup already sold-out. But there was another vegetable soup dish available.  Perfect! The tips of my fingers were beginning to fell icy-cold from hunger, I am not about to get choosy.  To finish off the meal, I had 2 bananas.  Being too hungry will make a person rethink her preferences.

In the afternoon, I had 2 more bananas and a mug of hot milk.  All throughout, I was chanting, “Go the distance. Go the distance. Three more days.  Three more days. No pain, No gain (or loss, whichever.)” The lifesaver today was a small sachet of Jollibee Mayo that was in my bag.  It was there for God knows how long!  It was unopened and still good.  I know that ripe table bananas and mayo isn’t the best combination, but I’ll take anything just to take my mind off the banana taste!

Dinner was – – you guessed right, 2 more bananas (with decent mayo in a jar, this time) and another mug of hot milk.  I still have 1 more banana to go, but I don’t care about that anymore.  I just wanted to crawl into bed and wish the day over!

DAY 5:

Whoopi, feast day!  Today, I can have beef and tomatoes.  I woke up early, hungry yet hopeful.  I cut the beef and 8 whole fresh tomatoes into strips.  Sauteed some garlic and onions, added the tomatoes and the beef.  I let the tomato juices tenderize and cook the meat.  Seasoned it well. Sprinkled some sesame seeds and packed it for the office.  HA! I was feeling vengeful!

I could not deny the carnivore within me.  By 10am, I was devouring half of my ration.  At lunchtime, Chessy and I ordered Jollibee Burger Steaks (in mushroom sauce) and had it delivered right under our smug faces.  We kept the steaks and donated the rice to our officemates. I finished the Burger Steaks plus what was left of my ration.  I’ve never been more appreciative of red meat than today.  Hot tea with a squeeze of calamansi, completed our delightful meal.

It was a very good thing that I had a very satisfying lunch.  I was asked to emcee an Induction Party of the Metro Gensan Dental Chapter of the Philippine Dental Association tonight.  I was sure that there would be at least a single beef dish that will be served, I wasn’t sure though if it would be acceptable to my program.

It turned out that I need not worry whether the beef dish would be acceptable to the GM diet, because it did not have any.  By the time that I had a little time off the stage to eat, the beef dish was all gone. And no refill was to be expected!  Great!

The party ended a little before midnight.  As soon as I got home, I asked hubby to rush to the 24-hour Jollibee outlet and get me a Burger Steak.  Hey, I didn’t complain (much) about the too repetitive and identical foods I have to endure the last 4 days, I am not about to start complaining about 2 identical burger steaks in a day!

DAY 6:

Another beef day! This time, with veggies.  Its a weekend, so no Chessy buddy for lunch.  I’m on my own.

I promised to take the kids to Robinsons Mall to catch the Ironman 2 movie.  Sure,  no problem.  Plenty of options in the mall.

As it’s a weekend I stayed in bed longer than necessary.  But when the dreaded brownout came at around 10am, we started moving and getting ready for the mall.  When we got there, the kids wanted some Mr. Frosty and Potato Madness. At the fries stall, we bought regular sized fries in all the flavors, barbeque, sour cream and cheese.  I didn’t even blink.  My mouth didn’t water and my throat didn’t constrict with the longing of sampling it.  I settled for Beef Steak and Corn-on-the-Cob from the food concessionaires.  Damn, I wasn’t on my swimsuit. The steak’s sauce was so salty, it was like swimming in muddy seawater.

I can’t do it.  I can’t eat it, not another bite.  I tried to finish my corn and hurried to enter the theater. We immediately went home after the movies.  I cooked stir-fry veggies. While the kids enjoyed their usual greasy, salty……yummy Lechon Manok.

Today, didn’t turn out well.  In summary, I ate seawater-pickled beef and I had more veggies that meat!  Tomorrow is the last day. Regardless how today went I am still excited of the surprises tomorrow offers.

DAY 7:

Graduation Day!  It’s Brown Rice and Veggies Day.  Chessy and I planned fabulous graduation celebration with DokSi, Glenda and Mylaj;  A late lunch at Grab-A-Crab and then a Body Massage at the Red Tropical Spa.

I do not know how to cook brown rice.  I have never cooked brown rice before.  The instructions said to soak the rice for 30 minutes in 2:1 rice to water proportions.   That didn’t seem right.  But what do I know?  I religiously followed every letter.

After 30 minutes, I drained the rice and just went with my instincts. Placed the rice in a Pyrex Vision Pot and added 2 cups water.  Cooked it over medium heat at stove top. When that’s done, I stir-fried carrots, sayote, cauliflowers using  extra virgin olive oil.  I seasoned it very lightly with fine iodized-salt and black pepper powder.  Amazingly, my taste buds agreed with the organic taste and smell of the brown rice.  It really went well with the veggies too.

I left early for our late lunch date.  Went to Hairzone to have my nails done, a little pre-graduation reward to self.  At lunch we had Garlic Kangkong,  Mix Seafood Veggies, Carrot juice and Watermelon Shake (no milk/cream).  I am in love with brown rice.  I am thinking of all the things I can cook that’s perfect with it…. Seafood Paella,  Mushroom Veggies, Cream of Asparagus.

It was a happy meal.  We had a few laughs on how we smuggled our pack brown rice to the restaurant, about the last week’s ordeals, and how we can’t wait to do it over again!  Call us crazy!  Despite the strain and constraints of the program, we were happy!

We topped our celebration with a good steam bath and professional massage at our favorite Red Tropical Spa. Any toxin we have not peed off during the week was surely sweat off by now.  I feel so clean and light.

The valuable lessons Chessy and I learned, even if we don’t lose too much weight, were [1] we learned to understand and control our bodies better; [2] we discovered the power of inner strength, such that our will is stronger than our food cravings; and [3]  healthy and sensible eating can be enjoyable.


Blissful Suffering

I am now on Day 1 of the GM Weight Loss Program.

I have never been on a diet before.  Even when my Internist and OB-Gyne advised that I should.

My  concept of a weight loss diet was “masochism.” For me, for the longest time, diets are superfluous and ostentatious designed for people with low self-esteem who depends on physical attributes for strength.  HOW WRONG I WAS!

As I aged, having gone through three major surgeries (1 appendectomy and 2 CS child births) and a moderate smoker, I experienced difficulties that I will not admit out loud.  I am easily out of breath, just tying my hair into a ponytail is an effort.  I get exhausted trying to dress up in the morning, especially when I try on several clothes before settling for the maternity-look.  My clothes mostly are purchased from “plus-size” shops or sections of department stores.  The entire size of those trendy ones could fit only one of my thighs.

But I am smart, and pretty, and happy with my family.  I have friends and a career.  Who needs to be sexy?

That was my excuse.

While the things that I am blessed with and thankful for are still true, I was no longer content with my over-all appearance.  This perhaps was my greatest motivation in looking at dieting in another light.

I want to feel good about myself.

So, I am off to a better, healthier me.  It is going to be the hardest seven days of my life, because I will be battling against myself.  I know my will is  stronger than my cravings.  My reasons are more than skin deep.  Yes, I’m going to be suffering.  But, it’s only going to be for a short while. And the blissful results will be worth the battle.

A Muse

I am writing again.

I have been absent from cyberspace for more than a year.  The alibis and excuses are as numerous as the stars in heaven; Some sublime, some ridiculous.

Tonight, out of pure whim, I logged in.  And found a comment from someone completely a stranger to me who happened to be “just passing through.”  He said I wrote some good stuff.  And that did it.

Whether he was sincere or just being courteous, does not matter.

What does matter is that I am writing again, for myself.  And I am glad!

HELP WANTED (part 4)

Inday#4:   Sa kadugayan, nakakuha ra gyud intawn mi ug katabang.  Usa ka dalagita nga gikan sa uma.  Tungod sa nilabayng "rice crisis"  nihangyo ang mga ginikanan nga magkatabang ilang anak. Pa-eskwelahon lang  bahala’g wala’y sweldo basta hatagan lang ug baon kada adlaw.  Naa na pud ta aning "scholar" nga katabang! Hala sige, maayo na lang kaysa wala!  Utong! 

Ug sa dihang… wala’y nahibaw-an!  Dili kabalo magluto, kami gihapon luto. Nanimaho gihapon ug sabon ang mga baso, magputi-puti pa ang mga kutsara inig human ug hugas, usabon namo ug hugas. Ang mga nilabhan murag bulingon man gihapon, usabon intawn nako ug laba. Inig ka uga sa mga hinayhay, magtapun-og ka gihapon sa butanganan.  Kung dili suguon (with demonstration pa gani) dili pud pamiluon. Ang mga duwa-an sa bata, madugmok intawn kay matumban kay kung dili suguon nga hipuson, pasagdan lang pud. Gitubuan na intawn ug sibuyas, kamatis ug kalabasa ang ibabao sa TV ug istante sa mga figurines, kay wala intawn trapuhi kay wala suguo-a. 

"Tart, nindot kaayo atong kwarto. Murag beach."   Balason na intawn ang salog kay wala silhigi.  Tag-ana nganong wala nasilhigan?

Akong itugon ang salog sa kwarto dayon namong lakaw para mag-opisina.  Inigbalik namo sa hapon, nanilhig tuod! Pero abog  ang ibabao sa TV ug speakers sa component.  Mangutana pa ko ngano? Sorry, sayop nako nganong ang salog ra akong gitugon!

Himan-himan pa ni-ana, pwerteng puti-a sa nawng, murag ungo!  Diay, samtang wala mi ug nanglimpyo (nanilhig ra diay) kuno sa kwarto, nanghilabot sa akong make-up ang karaho! (nosebleed…)


Help Wanted:  Tabangi intawn ko ninyo unsaon nako pagsakop ug tarong nga katabang!!!

HELP WANTED (part 3)

Inday#2:   Tungod kay mas dako ang mawala namong mag-asawa kung magpuli-puli lang mi ug absent para naay mahabilin sa bata. Magkuha mi ug laing katabang.  Naay gi-rekomenda ang kauban nako sa opisina.  Magkita daw mi atong mu-apply inig ka-Sabado sa city hall kay aron matultulan ang among balay.  Tinuod, niabot sa takdang panahon.  Pero wala’y gamit o dakong bag nga bitbit.  Busa, akong gipangutana kung nganong wala siya’y dala.  Ang tubag, "Wala pa ko kadesider kung maka-uyon ko sa inyo."  Agay, kasakit sa akong dunggan.  Abi nako siya ang mu-apply pagka-katabang ngari namo, kami diay ang nang-apply pagka-amo ngadto niya!  (nosebleed…)


Inday#3: Wala gihapon ni makakita ug katabang unya dili na ma-apas ang kadaghan sa labhunon, busa magkuha mi ug labandera nga sinemana.  Naay nagpresentar nga labandera kuno.  Ang kahitabo sa interview…

          Kami:  Pila man ang imong singil?

          Labandera:  200 mam.  Naa moy washing machine?

          Kami:  Naa.

          Labandera:  Twin tub?

          Kami:  Oo.

          Labandera:  Pila ka kilo ang kapasidad sa inyong washing (machine)?

          Kami: 6 kilos. 

          Labandera: Unsa inyong tubig? Water district? Deep well? O bumba?

          Kami: Kadiyot lang ha…. Apil na plantsa?

          Labandera:  Aw, wala’y labot plantsa mam oy.  Labandera man ko, dili man ko plantsadora.

          Kami:  Ang buot nimo pasabot, sa 200 ang imong buhaton, mag lunod ug bulingon sa washing   machine ug magpa-agas ug tubig?!  Dili baya mi mga baldado, day!   (nosebleed…)


Si Inday

Pastilan! Karon nga naa na ko’y pamilya ug naglain na ug panimalay, daghang mga Inday na ang ni-agi kanamo.  Pero, ugtas lang akong na-ani.


Inday #1:   Sa tinuod, mao kini ang pinakadugay namong katabang.  Nagsugod siya nga yaya sa akong 1-year old nga anak.  Maayo ug systematic pud mutrabaho.  Paspas ang pick-up sa mga instructions.  Naay siya’y ambisyon mahimong "teacher" mao nga sa iyang ika-duhang tuig ngari namo, among gipa-eskwela sa night high school.  Alas-4 sa hapon hangtod alas-9 sa gabii ang iyang klase. Sa sinugdanan, quarter to 3pm ihatod niya ang iyang gibantayan nga bata sa akong opisina.  Sa kadugayan, alas-3 palang naa na ang bata sa opisina. Unsa gyu’y sayohan?   Sa sinugdanan, alas-9:15 naka-uli na sa balay.  Sa kadugayan, alas 10:30 na lang wala pa naka-abot.  Unsa gyu’y dugayan?  Among nabantayan nga nausab na ang batasan ug ang agi sa trabaho nagkayamukat na. Magpunay na lang ug text.  Masunog na ang nilung-ag, magtapok na ang labhanan.  Ug sa dihang… naka-uyab diay ug classmate!  Pwede untang palampason, basta magtarong lang ug eskwela ug dili pasagdan ang mga trabaho sa balay.  Sa dihang… ni-uli ko nga wala sa oras kay naa’y kuhaon, akong namatikdan nga ang bata naa lang sa kwarto namo ug naginusarang nagduwa.  Asa man ang yaya ani?  Murag naa’y ga-inagik-ik sa kwarto sa among katabang.  Akong gitawag iyang pangalan.  Sus, naa may lalake nikaratil ug dagan ug nilipot didto sa likod sa balay.  Ang panuway… gihimong motel ang among panimalay samtang tu-a mi sa trabaho!  (nosebleed…)

HELP WANTED (part 1)

Nganong lisod man jud kaayo makakita ug maayo nga katabang karong panahona? Ang dili nako masabtan kung ngano nga ang akong mga amiga nga pwerteng ka-mangtas ug ka-estrikto, mga tarong man ang mga katabang! Pero ako nga buotan man unta, pinangga ug pagustohan lang man gani basta mahuman lang ug tarong ang trabaho, matungnan man sa mga katabang nga tapulan, usikan, hugawan ug ugok!

Si Linda

Dili kaha ako ang naay diperensya?  Taas ra kaha kaayo ang akong standards or expectations sa mga katabang?  Sala jud ni tanan ni Nanay Linda!!!!

Si Nanay Linda, yaya sa akong manghud. Nga nahimong yaya sa akong kinamagulangang anak. Nga nag-yaya usab sa mga anak sa akong manghud. 

Dagko na ang among mga anak.  Dili na kinahanglan bantayan.  Sulod sa taas na kaayo nga panahon, wala mausab ang kalidad sa iyang trabaho.  Bisan karon mga medyo may edad na siya, limpyo ug hapsay gihapon ang tibuok namo nga pinuy-anan.

Ni-adtong mga estudyante pa kaming magsuon, inig mata namo sa buntag naa nay pamahaw nga naghulat.  Inig ilis namo, limpyo ug plantsado na ang among mga uniform ug mga baon nga extra t-shirt. Kumpleto ang among mga gamit. Dili na kinahanglan pangitaon ang panty, bra, medyas ug panyo.  Nahimutang na daan sa among tagsa-tagsa ka mga butanganan. Kada adlaw manglaba si Nanay.  Wala pa ma-uso ang washing machine ug fabric conditioner niadtong panahona.  Pero ang mga sanina limpyo ug humot kayo. Kutob sa makit-ang sinsilyo sa bulsa, bisan 25 centavos, iya kining i-uli kanamo. Samtang gihulat nga ma-uga ang mga nilabhan, manglimpyo siya sa mga kwarto ug sa sala.  Ang kusina ang katapusang malimpuhan kay magluto pa man siya ug pani-udto.  Inig human ug panga-on, siya ang manghugas sa mga kinan-an. Mupahuway siya ug kadiyot.  Ang iyang pahuway mao ang pagpaminaw ug drama sa radio mintras gipilian ug tipasi ug bato-bato ang bugas.  Igo nga mahuman ang programa sa radio (Handumanan sa Usa ka Awit), mangutaw na si Nanay kay uga na ang iyang nilabhan pagka-buntag.  Mangutaw si Nanay nga gamit ang kinaraan nga de-uling nga plantsa. Apan walay sanina nga nasunog o nahabiling kun-ot.  Usahay, ipadayon niya ang pagpaminaw sa radio, sa ubang mga higayon magtan-aw siya ug TV (That’s Entertainment) mintras mangutaw.  Inig kahuman, iyang hapnigon ang mga butanganan sa mga sinina ug ipahimutang ang mga pinalantsa.  Ni-ining higayona, musulod siya sa iyang lawak ug mupahuway.  Igo nga mag-alas 6, mugawas siya ug balik aron mag-andam sa panihapon.  Dili na siya maghuwat nga mga defrost ang karne o isda kay iya nang-gipagawas daan sa freezer sa dili pa siya mamalantsa. Alas 7 ang among na-andan nga tingkaon inigka-gabii. Inig kahuman ug panghugas, makig-uban siya namo maglantaw ug TV, samtang  manahi siya sa nga sanina nga naay gisi ang ilok o bilahan, o natastas nga mga sidsid. Matulog na si Nanay inig alas-9. Ug balikon ang iyang agi sa ugma nga mu-abot.

 Graduate na sa nursing ang anak ni Nanay Linda. Naa na siya’y igsoon nga iyang natabangang makagawas ug tu-a na karon sa London nagtabaho, naminyo ug maayo ang kahimtang.  Apan bisan nga nagdawat siya ug regular nga pasalamat gikan sa iyang manghod, naa gihapon si Nanay Linda sa among panimalay.  Gani, wala na namo siya gitrato isip katabang, kun dili myembro sa pamilya.  Sa tinuod, mas daghan pa ug tinigum nga kwarta si Nanay  nga utangan gyud namo siya usahay! Tungod tingali nga mao kini ang akong gidak-an nga kalibre sa katabang, mao usab kini ang akong gipangita.

Praises for Avel

To God be the Glory!  And thank God for people like Avel Manansala!

Kuyavel plays many significant roles in my life; as mentor, friend, talent agent, talent manager, and critique.  He is the instrument of my personal, professional and artistic growth.

In 2000, Kuyavel became my talent manager and agent when the KTV Bar of Anchor Hotel was re-engineered and the management decided to take on Videoke Masters to host their nightly operations.  Together with Nestor Almerante and Ryan Velasco, we braved Gensan’s “resistance” to hosted/emceed videoke-ing.  I look back to that time with much fondeness as it was one of the happiest phases of my life. My nights were filled with laughter, music and free booze.  It was good to know that despite initial apprehensions of Anchor’s patrons, we became a big hit!  The KTV Bar became a “must-go” gimik venue in Gensan.

But, just when things started to get better… Kuyavel left for Kuala Lumpur to join the circus!

There are stories to be told about that, but its Kuyavel’s to tell.  Nevertheless, I stayed on at the KTV Bar for awhile but eventually, left the scene too.  Like the majestic eagles, the mentors leave the young in order to make them stronger.  Kuyavel left to make me soar.  (After thought: NO, he did not join the circus as an eagle!)

In 2004, we joined forces again.  This time for government service. 

Have you heard of the saying “Power is intoxicating”?  I believe that this is the curse that plagued the Private Secretary post at Gensan City Mayor’s Office.  Of all my years in service in that office, I have seen a ghost, a bird and an emperor fill that position.  They started very well, sincere in their intentions for public service and noble in their actions.  In due time, their speech, manner of dressing, demeanor, and general attitude are visibly transformed… revealing the effects of the curse from within.  They strut about as if somebody important, yet the quality of the work was abyssmal.  As their egos inflate, their jobs deflate.  

All, except one. KUYAVEL. He was the only person holding that position who was immune to the curse.  He was speech-writer, media liaison, advance party, appointment officer, confidante.  Yet, all the while he was able to keep his lovable, huggable, amiable, efficient self intact.

Well, he no longer holds that position now.  But we are still together in the same office, upholding each other’s sanity as we face the daily challenges of public service.

Recently, Kuyavel is the reason why I’m keeping a journal again.  “Mag-blog ka lagi ‘Let.  Sayang yang utak mo!” (After thought:  I will not translate his words to English.  The essence will be lost in translation.)

I admit that it took awhile before I cracked.  I realize that I have been writing (some good, some bad, some worth publishing, some not worth recycling) for other people.  Always assuming their personalities and seldom taking credit for the good ones.  After numerous years of doing that, I got accustomed in letting other people have ownership of my thoughts.  Anonymity is my comfort zone.  Publishing my thoughts or exposing my views is the same as opening myself to rejection, criticism or ridicule.

“‘Let,I remember a time when nobody could step on you or get the better of you.  What happened?”

“I got married, had kids and gone old.”  I answered.

Girl, I don’t like what you have become! ”  he replied.

That line did it. 

Thank you Kuyavel for setting me free. 



This is my first time to attempt to keep a journal . . . again!

The very first was a child’s diary in my early teens. However, my mother, very protective of me as she is, was secretly reading it. She peeped into my innermost thoughts and desires. Although, the entries were childish at that time, I felt violated. Eventually, I found out about it and stopped. Until now.

Hopefully, when my children are grown, they can remember me and the events that happened as I see, perceive, understand and feel.

I am calling this journal (a.k.s blog site) “Visual Thoughts (and after thoughts too!)” just in case someone becomes interested in peaking into my head again.

This time, you are most welcome!