Sunday, February 16, 2020


Cherophobia is the fear of being happy. Sounds crazy, right? Why would anyone be afraid of the feeling that everyone else seems to be chasing all their lives? I'll tell you why. Because every time I feel happy - like genuinely, truly, and purely happy - things come crashing down soon thereafter and the unhappiness that follows the former happiness feels like a bottomless pit of nothingness.

Right now, I am happy. Genuinely, truly, and purely happy. I wake up every morning with a smile on my face and go to bed with a silly grin. And it's all because of you. You who I met on a night of takas, tequila, and tickets. You who I've been keeping an eye out for during nights under neon lights. You who once vanished without a trace and suddenly popped up again in an unexpected yellow world.

I smile to myself whenever I hear songs with lyrics that match my heart's current state. My heart skips a beat when I hear the all too familiar tone of a new message - a tone that I now only associate with you. I get excited when you drink at night because I know the clinginess will eventually settle in and you'll want to call and talk to me before going to bed.

Above all things, my heart is calm and at peace. Thanks to your consistency and your honesty, there is no fear of pain. Thanks to your patience and your efforts, there is no fear of heartbreak. There is no worry that you will vanish one day without a word because I know that even if things fall apart, you'll be man enough to explain why.

I don't kid myself, of course. I know there are other women out there who could easily win you over - women who are closer in proximity, who are more accessible, who are easier to woo, and who aren't an insecure pain in the ass.

But you are the only person who can make me laugh like a little girl - loudly, hysterically, until I can no longer breathe. You are the only person I have opened up to without being judged and without being called names. You calm my mind and my soul, and you genuinely make me feel better.

I live for the kisses you plant on my forehead when you think I'm asleep, and the way you look at me when you don't know I can see you looking out of the corner of my eye. I love how easy and how comfortable it is to be around you. How I don't have to second-guess what I want to do. I get to hug you when I want to, grab your hand when I want to, and plant kisses on your cheeks when I want to without worrying about scaring you away.

I live for the words of inspiration you send my way when I'm having a bad day and the words of encouragement you give when I need them the most. I love how you let me go out and you let me drink, but you also make sure I know when it's time go home, whether it be because I'm starting to have trouble texting you back properly or I've already sent you a slew of angry messages for no real reason. And you do this without actually expecting me to. You let me be my own person and you never make me feel bad about myself.

My friends have pointed out the changes in me with a bit of annoyance but also with a bit of pride. Who knew that someone could tame this Hulk? This Hulk who used to lie to her exes about going out. This Hulk who would take pictures in bed before going out and then send those pictures to her exes at midnight - drunk off of her mind - pretending she was in bed and about to sleep? (Yes, I was that person.) This Hulk who would stay at bars until 10 in the morning even though she wasn't having that much fun just because of the FOMO.

Shoutout to K-Swiss Philippines for my new favorite white kicks!

Still, the cherophobia has kicked in and I now live with trepidation that all of it will be taken away soon. I find myself smiling and then telling myself to stop because the worse is yet to come. I want to double up on meds and shut out the thoughts - which I do sometimes - because the truth is: I don't want to lose you. I don't want to lose this. And, as selfish as it's gonna sound, I don't want to lose this version of myself. 제발 떠나 지마.

Monday, February 10, 2020

The Jollibee Tuna Pie Now Has a Spicy Variant!

I've always loved Jollibee's Tuna Pie. In fact, I look forward to its return every year. This year is extra special, though, because Jollibee has released a new spicy variant. If you know me, you'll know that I absolutely LIVE for spicy food, so this variant is totally up my alley!

Starting yesterday, February 10, our favorite Jollibee Tuna Pie is now available in all stores. I don't know about you, but I missed biting into that crispy golden crust and savoring that rich creamy tuna filling.

And now, as mentioned, there's a Spicy Tuna Pie, too. You can now dig into the same crispy crust and creamy tuna filling, but this time with an exciting hot and spicy kick that makes it extra flavorful. 

"It can’t be denied that there’s always a resounding clamor for everyone’s favorite Tuna Pie," shares Mari Aldecoa, Jollibee Marketing Director for Core Products. "As we pride ourselves on having something for everyone as much as we can, we also wanted to give an extra surprise for fans of spicy food with new Spicy Tuna Pie, which they’ll definitely love!"

And she is definitely right. I LOVE LOVE LOOOOOVE the Spicy Tuna Pie. It has actually trumped my love for the original. And don't worry. It's not too spicy; so even if you're not a huge fan of spicy food, you'll still love the taste and flavor of the new variant.

Whether you love the timeless classic or you like that extra spice, Tuna Pie’s Two-Na Sarap is sure to delight you with its Two-Na Variants! Grab yours now for only Php45; or if you can’t get enough, try the Tuna Pie Trio for only Php132! Tuna Pie is available for dine-in, take-out, drive-thru, and delivery at all Jollibee stores nationwide.

For more info and updates on Jollibee products, like Jollibee Philippines on Facebook, subscribe to Jollibee Studios on YouTube, and follow @jollibee on Twitter and Instagram.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

The First Real Crush

So... I experienced a 'mommy first' yesterday that I wasn't entirely prepared for. When I got home from my trip, I lay down on the couch for a bit and Syrena suddenly came to sit down next to me. She asked if I had time to talk.

"Remember my crush?" she asked. "Yes," I answered a little hesitantly, not knowing what was coming. "Well, I wrote him a note yesterday and asked him if he likes me back." My heart instantly panicked.

I still remember my first real-life crush. My only crush up until that time was Tom Cruise and it was weird that I was getting butterflies looking at this young boy in my class who couldn't even speak any of the languages that I knew.

He couldn't speak English or German. He was from Bosnia. And he was obsessed with Michael Jackson. But he had this smile that melted my heart. And every time I couldn't get something done in class, he'd rush to my side to help. His name was Sead. I was in Grade 4, the same grade my daughter is currently in now.

Did he like me back? I have no idea. Because 9-year-old Anj was exactly the same as the Anj of today: insecure, awkward, shy, and utterly crap around guys that she likes.

"What did he say?" I asked, masking my worry. "HE SAID HE LIKES ME, TOO!!!" she said with a huge grin on her face. I didn't know how to feel. How can my little baby girl have already reached this milestone in her life? "And then I met his friends," she continued. "And I wrote him a long love letter after school."

Just. Like. That.

Just like that, my daughter had opened up her heart to some older kid I barely knew. Just like that, she expressed her feelings without worrying about any potential consequences. Just like that, she put herself out there - a kind of confidence and strength I could only wish I had.

Tomorrow is Syrena's 10th birthday and here I am, worrying about the day that she experiences her first heartbreak. I'm glad it didn't happen while I was away, but I'm still worried about the day when it does.

So many things went through my head when she was telling me about him. I wanted to tell her not to be too clingy and not to come on too strong. I wanted to tell her that things like that tend to scare guys away. I wanted to tell her to be cautious and careful and to guard her heart at all times. But I didn't.

I didn't because I don't want to ruin her current happiness so early on. I didn't because I want her to experience things on her own. I didn't because I don't want my negativity with men affect her own lovelife. I didn't because I was scared that if I get too involved, she might not open up to me with stories like this anymore.

Growing up, I never had anyone to run to with my stories of the heart. My mom and I were never close, and my sister hated me. I crushed in secret and loved in secret and cried in secret and fell apart in secret. I don't want that for her.

I want Syrena to know that she can run to me for anything: the happiness, the kilig, the sadness, and the pain. And if that means supporting everything she decides to do wholeheartedly while worrying in secret, then that's what I'll do. Besides, if that kid doesn't like her for who she is - clinginess, weirdness, and over-the-top-ness included - then he can go love himself.

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Sundowners Zambales is the Terrace House of My Dreams

I don't know how many of you guys watch 'Terrace House' (if you don't, you should check it out on Netflix, like, NOW); but every time I watch that show, I find myself wishing I could experience staying in that kind of house sometime. My wish came true last week when we had our teambuilding trip to Sundowners Zambales in Botolan.

Coming from the South (Alabang area), it took us a while to get there. It was a weekday morning and we had a bunch of stopovers, but we left at around 9AM and arrived right before sunset. As tiring as it was to get there, though, all of the fatigue melted away when I saw the stunning colors of the sky and watched the sun slowly descend. There is nothing more breathtaking than a beautiful sunset and it was downright gorgeous at Sundowners.

The villa that we stayed in was absolutely perfect for our big group of 11.

I chose the most 'Terrace House'-ish room in the villa to sleep in and dibs-ed my bed in the same way that they do in the show.

However, the rest of rooms were just as awesome (and better suited for those non-clingy people who like a big amount of personal space):

As you can see, the villa we stayed in is perfect for bigger groups, and the decorations are on-point. You can find villas ranging from one bedroom to six bedrooms, depending on your needs.

The villas are generally very spacious. The lounge area is so big, you won't feel cramped at all. They can be booked for as low as Php9,000 (good for six people).

They have full-functioning kitchens, too, in case you're not lazy like us and want to cook your own food. You won't have to pay extra to bring in food or anything, either. They even have an outdoor grill for a barbecue party.

If you happen to be the lazier types, Sundowners Zambales also has an in-house restaurant called Reef 'n' Beef.

We had breakfast and dinner there, and the food is sooooo good.

Coffee lovers, get the Iced Latte!

Most of the villas also have a personal swimming pool and patio to chill at, where you can enjoy the cool breeze from the beach.

This is where we ended up spending our night playing games, bonding, and (of course) drinking.

Aside from the personal swimming pool in the villa, there are also two other shared pools: an infinity pool that faces the beach and a plunge pool.

You aren't allowed to go to the beach past 6PM, but it's better to go in the morning anyway since there are fewer people and the sun isn't too harsh yet.

Sundowners Zambales is Sundowners Vacation Villas' second branch after they first opened in Bolinao Pangasinan. If you want to plan a trip with your family or friends, make sure to check them out! Do make sure to plan ahead, though. They are almost always fully booked, so it would be highly advisable to book a villa months ahead of time!

Sundowners Zambales is located at Purok 5 Bgy. Danacbunga, Botolan, Zambales. Visit their website here or check out their Instagram account at @sundownerszambales :)