Monday, December 27, 2010

Gourmae Day

And because it has been a gluttonous weekend, today I've decided to go healthy again before the year ends.
A lot of my friends have been telling me that I gained some weight again. I don't really mind having the extra pounds but I'm determined not maintain and watch my weight to keep it normal.
It's gonna be another No Rice week so today I went to the grocery to pick up some stuff and prepare something very special yet very healthy as sort of "bawi" from my failed Christmas feast plan.

I've decided to prepare some chicken meat and place it in the ref so I can conveniently grab a portion each meal. I find it more cheap as well instead of paying a high price for just a small portion.

I also bought some prepared vegetable salad plus some additional garnishes and fruits to bring in the office. Also I bought some wholewheat bread to serve as my source of healthy carbo.

I remember buying a golden plate 2 years ago as a prop for my very 1st feature as Madam CEO. Good thing I was able to keep it in our office pantry. I guess today was the best day to use it to give my meal a gourmet touch. So here it is...... It only looks expensive but it's not. hehehe

I carefully arranged all of them on the plate and this is the finished product.....

A meal fit for a queen! I guess the only thing missing is a chilled glass of wine and it's gonna be divine!!!
I really feel happy when I prepare meals!!!! I'd like to cook more next year!!!

God's Letter for today...

I regularly receive these letters through my email from the God Whispers Club by Bo Sanchez.
I'm not really a hardcore religious catholic but I do pray at church regularly. It keeps me focused and sane. I'd like to serve in a choir in our local parish if time permits so I can hear mass every Sunday again. I guess despite my busy lifestyle, I still aim to be  traditional.

Anyway, this is the note which I got today and I would like to share it with you...

Dear Mae,

Refuse to be bitter.  It's a poison that you don't want even a single drop in your life.  If someone has betrayed you, pity them and wish them the best.  You move on.

Your Encourager,

P.S. Forgiveness is one of the greatest things I've ever invented, Mae.  Use it often.

If you also wish to receive these uplifting letters, here's the link...

The Pursuit for Normalcy

Phew!  As I end the 2010 Christmas weekend, I'd like to write about some of the things which transpired.
Well. I didn't really have the "ideal" Christmas (reunions, parties, Xmas eve opening of gifts, bottomless booze etc). In fact, my Xmas eve was quite the opposite thanks to my ever unappreciative Mom. Please don't get me wrong, I love my mom so much, I just don't like it when she does her unnecessary dramas during special occasions and it takes a really huge amount of patience and understanding. I guess I just got used to it but honestly speaking, I'd prefer having a hassle free holiday. And since happiness is a choice, I did my best to be happy and I did. I came to realize that if not for the struggles which I felt, my weekend wouldn't be as insightful and special at all so I guess I would have to thank Mom again for making me realize the things which common people take for granted... and that is..... the importance of having a normal family.

I know, I know, this is soooo basic. Too basic that most of you take it for granted. It's true that you'll never see the value of something until it's gone. So this time, hopefully after revealing some facts about me, you'll somehow appreciate your own family more.

It's a looooooooong story! But ok, let's try to focus here.. Where do I begin?

I had very clear plans for this holiday. I just wanted it to be a nice one like last year.God knows how much I prepared for this but for some reason, Mom went overly emotional again over something so irrational. I tried my best to convince her that now is not the right time to be so emotional on things yet still, she allowed her foolish pride rule over her. Being the one who had more control, I managed to stay quiet when in the house to avoid any conflicts... but deep it my heart I felt like dying. Frustrated really....unappreciated as usual... I always end up that way with her. I always asked her what she wanted and provided most of the time to the best of my ability however, she would end up unsatisfied despite the fact that she was the one who chose it. Sometimes, I feel I don't wanna give anymore because I would just end up hearing her complain.

I was very hurt but there was nothing I could do, I do not have control over anyone... only myself. I find it so hurting and frustrating with the fact that I could not help my own mom. I wanted to go out... leave the house... go anywhere. That's what I usually did when I was young. When I reached maturity, I'd often escape from mom. I never wanted to hang-out with her because of the negative vibes and ideas she would feed my mind. Things like I was sick, I will die young, I will never marry and have a kid, that the world was about to end soon, that World War 3 was just around the corner etc... things you'd never hear from a normal mom.  All my life, I was made to believe that lie and it crippled me for so many years. But now, I'm an entirely different person so instead of escaping, I tend to confront things head on. So that night, I've decided to just stay and keep quiet. The truth is, the playful character which I normally show is the exact opposite when I'm at home. In fact, I rarely utter a word inside the house. hehehe

Anyway, instead of obsessing on the negative vibe... I tried to text Dad. Dad and I have a special relationship. I tell all my secrets to him and I often seek his advice for wisdom. He's really good in motivating me. I believe I got most of my brain cells from dad. I would never want any other father in the world. Good thing he would always reply. I told him what happened. He told me how he missed me and how sad he felt because he could not spend Christmas with me. He asked me when was the last time we shared Christmas together. He thought the last time was way back in 2003. But I said it was actually 1996..... 14 years =( I never really realized it. I couldn't even remember what we did but I'm pretty sure it was around that time. Honestly, I never remembered spending Christmas with Mom and Dad together. You see, I never had a normal family. I never experienced family outings. Never. I have tons of childhood photos but only of me. Only portraits of. Never a family portrait. When I told him it was 14 yrs ago since we last spent the holidays together, he said he felt so guilty for not being the father that he should be. He felt sorry for not being there during my growing years. Tears just rushed down my eyes, I couldn't help it. We both cried. I told him, I got used to it. I told him that I understand our situation, but once again, deep inside, it felt like dying.... like my heart was being stabbed over and over. All my life, I've struggled for normalcy... a simple life... to have a simple family like all the rest. Until now, this is still my ultimate goal. I pray that the universe would send me a person who would give and show me a normal life and  a loving home.

There are times when I wished I was never born and crazy as it may seem, I've thought of ending my own life a couple of times (still thinking of it til now) but here I am still...Not giving up. Proving myself to the people who have always pulled me down and swore that I would never make it.

These days, I've been this the reason why I'm an artist?  Is this the reason why I always aim to create my own surreal world? The reason why I always daydream and never stop in creating things to hopefully make the world a better place? it because of the reality I'm living in? I've asked God countless times why He gave me this kind of life. What is really my purpose? Am I here just to inspire and entertain? Like a painting on display for people to stare at and criticize? Don't I have the right to live a normal life as well? All my life, I've felt so alone and no one seems to be there to defend and protect me. I may appear as a strong/intimidating woman as others would say, but deep inside me is this longing for security and protection. I believe I've somehow built this image... this wall, because I have to somehow protect myself from being insulted/disrespected by others again. Underneath this intimidating mask is but a little girl silently screaming for a home.

My life..... is still perfectly beautiful and full of color with all the experiences and lessons I've been collecting throughout the years.  I've managed to somehow draw strength from my own weaknesses and this is something which I'm proud of. I'm not a life expert, I'm not claiming to hold all the answers for the simple reason that I don't. I've managed to blindly go into the dark with knees shaking...but somehow able to go through it alive. I just wanna keep things real. I wanna be true to myself. No lies. I don't wanna lie to myself anymore. Success like happiness is a choice... but for me, there is only 1 option and that is to succeed. As what I've said earlier, I have no control over things except for myself. With Dad, I do hope he'd be man enough to do what he's supposed to do. Mom on the other hand needs to be treated with extra care. I love them both despite their opposing personalities. As for me, the goal is still the same. I will find a home I know and never will I go astray.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Mayo the Teacher

A recent photo of me during my breaktime. 
In all my years of being a teacher, never have I written a single article about it so today I’d like to share something very personal … allow me to show you  a glimpse of my other side… my day job as a teacher.

I was never a whiz kid. Never the scholarly type of student. I even flunked kindergarten for crying out loud because I was too lazy and moody to go to school. I was an anti-social kid. Cried in class most of the time, occasionally destroyed my toys, messed with mom’s make-ups… I was the female counterpart of Dennis the Menace I believe so!  Being a teacher someday never crossed my mind.  Like most kids that time, I wanted to either be a doctor, a movie star or a lawyer, mainly because I wanted to defend myself and mom from the people who always gave us a hard time. 

I did not study education. I’m a Hotel and Restaurant Management graduate who realized I didn’t want  to make a living out of cooking for the simple reason that I just wanna share my well kept recipes only to my future family. Reserved in short! Hehehehe Aside from that, I don’t really like working on weekends… I value spending time with the people I love and pursuing my art… my passions in life. Music, cooking, sightseeing and now photography… these are some of the things which make my life very meaningful.

while talking to one of my students...
4 years ago, I became a teacher by accident… an online English teacher to be precise. Another proof how the universe works in mysterious ways…. I never dreamed of being a teacher but there I was… starting a teaching career. The 1st 3 months were like hell! Felt like in a shithole…. I felt I wasn’t effective. But then I was determined to prove them wrong. I worked hard in building my confidence as well as coming-up with my own style.. and it was really simple.  SINCERITY.  When you know in your heart that you are sincere,  everything will flow easily, effortlessly. Every word you utter will all show genuine love, concern and sincerity….. and people will respond positively because they will feel you.  Yes, even with just hearing your voice and no matter the distance.  It has no boundaries.

It may not be obvious to many but I’m very much in-love with my work and the people I work with. I enjoy talking to my students every single day and never tire of asking them about their lives. I’ve handled students from all levels, ages and walks of life.  From a struggling office worker to a multinational company director, from an adult low-beginner to an advanced grade schooler… name it, you got it! Boy am I patient! Good thing I have a well controlled temper hehehe 
given by my student YuJin after one of our classes

I have my set of regular re-enrollees (fansclub) who have been with me for years. Some of them may have a break for a couple of months but they always come back.  I appreciate their loyalty. I know there are far better and smarter teachers out there but they say the reason why they keep coming back is because they feel my concern and sincerity and they love the feeling I leave them after each class. There is an art to it… the art of listening and giving advice. They often claim to feel happier and less stressed after each class with me. On a typical day, I’d call my students after office hours to practice English with them. I become their confidant in times of despair and cheer them up. They consult me with their personal problems. Teenagers on the other hand would often tell me about their juvenile issues about school, self esteem and relationships… After giving them sisterly advice, it feels so great to hear them sounding relieved and laughing again. With my junior students (i'm crazy about them!), they all say they love hearing my funny and interesting stories… I fall in-love with them every single day. To them I am the best teacher! The weird thing is that, I haven't personally met 95% of them and never have seen their pictures as well. I also had my share of times wherein I cried really hard during farewells. Each of them is special and hold a dear place in my heart. 

a recognition from our company a few months ago...
 You see, it’s not all about the lessons but more on the relationships which we build… how we touch lives. This is how I make a difference on a daily basis… my contribution to humanity, my legacy.

I touch lives on a daily basis…. This is what fulfills me deep inside. The thought that my words matter and actually affect people have a huge impact in me. I believe in connections, building meaningful connections which crosses borders and goes beyond time.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Series of Best Photos

I've just posted my best Food Photos for 2010 on my main blog.
It took almost 30mins to enhance the colors a bit.
It's almost 3am huhuhu I need to rest! Choosing the photos were really challenging but I'm happy 'coz it means I was able to take really good food shots! I'm very very proud of my progress.

At first, I thought I was only good with food but with a little push and lots of guts, I was able to explore more subjects that led me to improve.
I have tons of food photos but for me these are the best..

Here's the link ....

I'd like to thank the people I've shared these great times with which made these photos even more memorable...
Badeth,Frank, Mitch, Kristel, Mich, Greg, LA and my Mom!


PS: I'm starting to really like having a separate blog exclusively for my thoughts.... like a Director's cut thing. hihihi

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Food At Its Simplest Form

Of all the various cuisines and restos I've reviewed and tried no matter how cheap or expensive they may be, still, nothing beats good old fashioned home cooking! Yes! I have such adventurous tastebuds!! I eat almost anything edible except for insects! I'm not into the far out exotic ones such as worms, snakes, seahorses, scorpions, monkey brains, bull testicles etc for I prefer keeping my sanity intact! hehehe

If there is one downside in being a food blogger/connoisseur, I believe it would be the "image" of the writer being luxurious and very picky in choosing what to eat. I find it so ridiculous... how can an adventurous foodie like me become picky over food? I don't get it! Probably, people think I only prefer eating at fine expensive restos... I guess that's really it! It's a big misconception which I would like to correct as early as now!

Let me tell you what I had for lunch today....

Does this look luxurious to you? Think again!

As what I said a while ago, nothing really beats good old pinoy home cooking!

Pinakbet is one of the many Pinoy dishes which I consider really delicious! I used to hate eating veggies when I was young especially okra but now, I have learned to appreciate it as well as its nutritive value!
One of the reasons why I like Pinakbet is because 2 of my favorite veggies are in it.... the eggplant and squash! This dish is not expensive at all! Oh by the way, I do have another version of this dish. I call it INIHAW NA PINAKBET (grilled Pinakbet) which I learned when I was in 3rd grade.. I know it sounds far out insane but it's true!.. not to mention tastes really great! hihihiihihi You should really try my recipes!

I always eat Pinakbet with fried fish! I love fried Tilapia and Galunggong! Needs no explaining! I just really love it! I love seafood but I am allergic to certain fishes such as Tambakol and Tulingan. I almost died years ago when my bf that time served fried Tambakol for dinner. I ended up with a bloated head and could hardly breathe in the ER. After that incident, I promised to NEVER EVER eat that fish again!

Also in this picture, you see 3 slices of my favorite processed luncheon meat called MALING! hihii I like the premium one for it has less extenders as compared to the regular one. Crispy fried Maling never fails to put a smile on my face! =)

What are my other favs?
In the coming days, I'd like to feature more of my favorite pinoy dishes such as Tortang Talong, Fried Talong with Bagoong, Pork Giniling, Monggo Guisado, Arroz ala Cubana, Laing, Kare-Kare, Paksiw, Fried dried fishes etc! Waaaaaahhh thinking of them makes me so hungry! hihihi

I am 100% human! I dislike it when people would brand me as an elitist or "maselan" for I know I'm not. I don't really care what others say anyway.

*sigh*  I miss cooking! For the holidays, I plan to prepare some grilled dishes like kebabs and seafood with some salad enjoyed over white wine which I plan to share! It's gonna be a garden bbq party again so I'm quite excited! Planning a menu for mom can really cause headaches for she tends to be soooo fickle minded! I remember her changing the entire menu on the day itself! phew! Nothing really fancy for Christmas... simplicity is the best... the people you eat with are the most important!

What's In A Name?

I often encounter people asking me the reason why and how I came up with my new nickname - Mayo

I'm surprised to learn that most of them think that it's the shortcut to mayonnaise since I'm quite a well known food enthusiast. Hmmm yeah could be... I do like mayonnaise a lot because of its richness and the effect it has on certain foods. Admit it or not, it makes food taste better and more special.. the experience is never the same....hahahah pretty much how friends describe me. =)

But honestly, there are 2 main reasons behind the new name...

1. I'm just sick and tired of people calling me MAE. I find to too common and too mediocre for a creature of my kind. Maren on the other hand is really my first name however, I prefer to be called Mae because I've only heard a few people pronounce it as I want to hear it. I often hear them say "MAH-REN" with a very strong Filipino accent. I believe my high school religion teacher Madam Marking was the only soul who was able to pronounce it so well. She said it as "Meren" like "mehh-rin." I really can't explain it but she says it with so much sophistication. *sigh*

2. Like most Pinoys, I also have a love-hate relationship with the Philippines. Despite that fact, I love being Filipino that's why I'd like to have a Filipino sounding name as well. I love the sound of artistic Filipino names such as Diwa, Diwata, Majica etc. I envy people who have such unique names and also dreamed of having my own. I noticed that most Pinoy artists that I know name their kids with such unique names. So since I was born in May, and my nickname is Mae, I thought why not simply translate it in Filipino? heheheh pretty simple yeah?

 MA-YO (mah-yoh)

I believe it fits me well! Pretty much satisfied so far. Sounds quite unique as well! What do you think?

Why Mayology?

Welcome to my new personal blog!
I've been planning to put up a separate personal blog for some time now to somehow organize my personal thoughts from the artworks and reviews which I do. This is another wish granted! I finally found the time to think of a nice name for this new portal.

I realized that I learn new things and appreciate myself more with each entry that I write. The aim is to know more about myself. I believe I am a work in progress no different than you! A journey to self discovery. And I would like to share this journey with the world... with YOU!

My 1st blog (Majica Ni Mayo) has been quite successful so far with the photo stories and delectable food finds which I have featured in more than a year of blogging so I believe I need to make another site exclusively for my personal thoughts so I can dedicate my original blog to my artworks more.

As I've said a while ago, the aim is about self discovery and not to impress. Honesty only policy! No pretensions and bullshits as always.

What to expect? 
-thoughts which I don't openly discuss
-questions which I have in mind
-emotions on a daily basis
-occasional poetry (my mind is full of those)
-stories about random things
-wisdom/realizations... life lessons
- photos (and lots of it!) 

...... phew! I can imagine this is gonna be one hell of a blog! hihihi