24 Things I Learned Before Turning 24

Dear reader, I can’t help but feel a sense of nostalgia for the days of my youth, and yet an excitement for all that is still ahead of me. It’s easy to feel like time is slipping through my fingers. One day we’re teenagers wanting to quickly grow up, and the next we’re well into our twenties wondering where the time has gone, and mostly wondering where to head next. It’s a strange feeling, but it’s one that many of us can relate to.

Part of me feels like I’m still 16, while another part feels like I’m already 24 going on 42. I feel old at 24, but at the same time, I still feel young because I am just 24. In this post, let me speak now the 24 things I learned before turning 24.

“We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret.” I’ve recently came across FilAm Youtuber Jedcal. In one of his vlogs, he mentioned this quote by author Jim Rohn and I’ve been thinking of it since then—so much so that I decided to put it on top of this list. Often times, it’s the pain of regret that I feel on a spiritual level. But as I’ve gotten a lot more mature, I’ve realized how I’d rather endure the pain and process of going through something that would benefit me more later on. Going to the gym⎯for the first time ever⎯was painful. But it was the kind of pain that taught me how good things take time, take tremendous effort, and a ton of discipline.

Freshly cracked black pepper. Two words: God tier. Store bought ground black pepper tastes nothing like its freshly ground version. If you want to add a kick to your dishes, marinades, steaks, and fish, cracked is the key. Plus the aroma is *chef’s kiss*. 🤌🏻🤌🏻🤌🏻

Sometimes, we need to be de-influenced. In the modules I have been teaching, the concept of Diderot Effect has struck me in ways I never thought it would. The Diderot Effect basically states “that obtaining a new possession often creates a spiral of consumption which leads you to acquire more new things.” Sometimes, I need to remind myself that I am not compelled to buy the same wide leg pants in four colors or buy the same bag in all available shades and textures. I’m taking my time…but the bag looks so good. 😭🥲

You will outgrow people. Some friendships are either meant to last for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. It’s completely okay to outgrow people. Forcing things to happen would only lead to further disappointment. Just go and move on; but be thankful for the memories and wish them well.

Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” This adage hits different when you’re a lot older. I used to despise waking up early because it’s tantamount to a lot of school work. But now that I’m about to enter my mid-twenties, I’ve loved going to bed early and waking up early. Pro tip: minimizing lights and screen exposure 2 hours before sleep helps a lot. And yes, ZzzQuil is 👌🏻. I’ve been dreaming since I’ve gotten good quality sleep. I won’t trade good sleep for anything, which leads us to…

my obsession with crisp white bed sheets. Ever since I’ve moved into and renovated my new room three years ago, I’ve found how the quality of sleep I get is also affected by the bedding I use. I’ve become so particular with how I like my sheets⎯minimum 300 thread count, white, king sized, complete with a duvet and a duvet cover. I can’t recall how many times I bought bedding last year. Invest in sleep. It’s a luxury.

I am aging. Part of turning 24 is having to accept the fact that my hairline is slowly receding, my face grows rounder, and that I’m starting to develop fine lines. I’ve always wanted to look young for my age that’s why as early as now, I am doing everything to not let the physical signs show up. I go to the gym, I avoid junk food, I don’t drink alcohol, and I religiously apply sunscreen. Why? I want to age like fine wine. I want to look like I’m in my 20s in my 40s.

I actually enjoy teaching. I feel like I am putting my knowledge into good use, and that I can still remember the things I’m teaching since they’re mostly what we studied and some I’ve shared in this blog. And now that the tables have turned, it’s my time to impart them to my students. It may not be a financially rewarding profession, but I am motivated because I feel like I am making up for the time I lost due to the pandemic. Crazy to think how I left university as a second year college student on a random Tuesday in March 2020 and three years later, I’d return as an instructor. Whew. And yes, dressing up for this job is equally motivating. You know me. 🤫

Tailored clothing. Over the years, I’ve found how it’s important to get your clothes tailored so they fit like a glove. Growing up tall, it was difficult trying to find pants that would fit me. I either get the right waist line, but the pants are too short. I may get the right length, but the waist is too wide, then it looks flimsy when I get them adjusted. So what better way to get the right fit than to design, buy fabric, and get custom made pants. I’ve tried designing clothes earlier this year and I’ve worn them a couple of times. I can’t wait for my clothing project designs to come into fruition.

Greek yogurt. Not much has to be said. I just love greek yogurt with granola and fruits.

Never ever comment on someone’s weight, skin texture, or physical appearance after not seeing them for a while. When someone points out your insecurities, you can only do three things: One, accept your flaws and move on. Two, hate yourself and never see them again and wallow in your insecurities. Three, do something. I chose the latter. I chose to do something. Being called fat during a day I am supposed to enjoy and almost developing disordered eating habits was awful. It took me quite a while to feel better.

Feeling lost after graduating is absolutely normal. When Sir Roger, our program chair, asked me how I was doing before he offered me teaching units, I remember telling him that I feel so lost. Casting my mind back to my graduation dinner, my dad also asked me what am I going to do next. To which I answered, “I don’t know, probably continue the business…?” But deep down, I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO (!!!!!!!!). There’s that lingering and terrifying feeling of uncertainty after finishing school because you’re literally on your own now. And you want to take your time to soak it all in, but the people around you keep on asking about how you see yourself in the coming years. I mean, I can’t assume that I have all the time in the world, but I don’t need to have it all figured out at the moment. I am just starting. I can take my time. Life is not a race.

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. This is a remnant of my 21 lessons four years ago, and surprisingly, it became a Taylor Swift lyric. I literally Masterminded this. It still makes sense.

You need to be humbled at times. I’ve mentioned that I have started going to the gym this year. While it was rewarding that I lost weight and gained strength, trying out something new⎯and something I used to despise⎯is such a humbling experience. Sometimes, you think you know everything, but one moment, it just hits you that you actually know nothing. Allow yourself to be a beginner and never be ashamed of being one. The moment I stepped into the gym, I knew I was in for a learning experience. I can’t recall how many times I’ve been called out by the coaches for doing a workout in a wrong form, that I am working out too much, that I should still eat, and that I don’t have to punish myself. I mean, it’s embarrassing, but that’s how I learned.

I have to accept that I may inevitably become just like my parents. I know it’s a cultural thing to pass on knowledge, personal values, and beliefs. While I appreciate that these may be inherited, I am not marked safe from also acquiring their prejudices, biases, and preconceived notions. I am trying my best to unlearn their unproductive thought patterns and defense mechanisms. On the physical aspect, I also know that my parents will inevitably pass down their predispositions to certain illnesses like kidney problems, hypertension, and diabetes. I’m afraid I might end up the same way, that’s why all I am doing right now is to control and change my lifestyle. And prevent these from manifesting in my body when the time comes. I don’t want to end up like them when I get older. Again, I’d rather endure the pain of discipline than the pain of regret.

Which brings us to me realizing how much of a control freak I am. When things get out of my control, I freak out. Part of being conscientious⎯my most dominant NEO Personality Inventory factor⎯is being so obsessed with control, organization, punctuality, routine, and work. Sometimes, I have to remind myself that there’s no point in stressing over things I am not capable of controlling. That I should let things be in their natural flow and sometimes take it slow. Breathe in, breathe through, breathe deep, breathe out.

Literally nobody cares. The spotlight effect phenomenon is real. We think that everyone watches us, notices all our flaws and shortcomings when in fact, people really don’t care. No one notices that pimple. Nobody cares whether you’re wearing a $500 shoe or a dupe. Nobody watches you work out. Nobody cares whether you’re having a bad hair day. If they do stare, they’ll probably forget about it. Literally nobody cares, so do what you want. Wear what you want. People will stare, make it worth their while. Life is too short to think of what others might say. 🤷🏻‍♂️

Dutch ovens are the bomb. – Slow cooked food tastes so much better than food cooked quickly in pressure cookers. The meat gets so tender when cooked slow and in low heat, the flavors are also more intense, and the overall dining experience changes. Life hack: try to brown the meat first before cooking stews and soups. The maillard reaction makes a big big big difference. 💣💣💣

I’ve found how Pinterest, Youtube, and Instagram are the healthiest social media apps for me. – No toxic relatives. Less fake news. Less hate comments or no comments at all. Everything is just pure creativity when you’re in the right side of social media. Ideas. Recipes. Fashion inspirations. Workouts. Table setting ideas.

Unfollow your triggers. Whether it’s that brand you love but excellently makes you spend beyond your means, whether it’s that annoying pro-Trump and M*rcos Apologist relative, whether it’s that toxic influencer who keeps on spewing hate, it’s okay to block. Unfriend. Unfollow. Mute.

Clear space = clear mind. – Over the past three years, I’ve decluttered the whole house. It feels freeing to eliminate and donate stuff especially when your family is mostly composed of chronic hoarders and impulsive shoppers (myself included 🙋🏻‍♂️). I make sure that when I decide to buy something, I also have to let go of something else. This way, I can detach myself from the cycle of overconsumption. It’s good for my mental health when spaces are clean and clear.

Use absence to increase respect and honor. In the book 48 Laws of Power, Law 16 struck me most. People take you for granted when you appear too often and appear too common. Over the years, I’ve learned which events to skip, when to walk away, and when to actually show up. Being constantly present can lead to people losing interest and respect, but withdrawing at the right time can renew appreciation and enhance status. When something is scarce, it has high value.

Listen to your body. Since the beginning of the pandemic, I’ve become wary of my bodily sensations. My anxious ass panics when I feel a slightest hint of a cold, sore throat, and fever. Because of the fear and stigma the pandemic entailed, my brain would automatically interpret any flu-like symptom as COVID. Due to this, I want to stock up on antigen tests in fear of contracting the virus; or in hopes of ruling it out whenever I feel symptoms. I’m amazed by how our bodies try to communicate with us. I just can’t explain it, but I know if something is wrong and if I am about to get sick. I’ve become very keen on the early warning signs.

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” – Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. We’re so caught up with finding success and happiness that we forget that the things that really matter are already present with and in us. Take a break. Appreciate the people around you. Make core memories. Often times, we forget that the best people, and things, in life are free.

Initial Draft: February 2023

Published: May 2023

Photos: Air Pocket Creatives

Shoot Location: Angeles University Foundation


Did you ever hear about the guy who got frozen?
Time went on for everybody else, he won’t know it
He’s still 23 inside his fantasy
How it was supposed to be
Did you hear about the guy who lives in delusion?
Break-ups happen every day, you don’t have to lose it
He’s still 23 inside his fantasy
And you’re sitting in front of me

When I think of the events surrounding my life as I turn twenty-three, I feel like I am in a clean slate. The things happening recently are both endings and beginnings—an end of an era, a fresh start, an advent season.

Looking back, the things I manifested on my previous birthday have eventually been fulfilled and are bound to happen. The most recent of which is my forthcoming commencement exercises. In twelve days, I will graduate, at long last! God knows how much and how long I prayed for this to happen. But once I achieve this milestone, I will probably keep on asking myself, “what’s to come? what now?” For I am still clueless how to navigate my life from here on out. Will I pursue my passion? Or will I continue what I have started? Will I choose what I want this time? Or pursue what society would like to see me do—to take the board exams and work elsewhere thereafter? What’s is to come? I have no idea.

This freedom is both a blessing and a curse. I am free from school work and academic endeavors. I am also slowly being disentangled from the strict parenting as I am slowly becoming independent…hopefully. At 23, I better be. On the lovely side of that, this freedom also makes me anxious as it would mean that I have to fend for myself eventually. I have to work, earn, save, and invest—a typical twenty something would be expected to do. Along with this comes the quarter life crisis—the questioning, the doubts, the uncertainty, the unknown, which entails the pressure of having it all figured out and achieving your dreams. I am fully aware of the fact that the responsibilities I have ahead are much more complex. I’ll quote Taylor Swift, the scary news is: I’m on my own now, cool news is: I’m on my own now. No other choice would be more appropriate than to move forward, forever onward. As long as I am fortunate enough to be breathing, I will remind myself that I am in control of what I’d do and how I’d like to live my life. I know I won’t have all the questions answered at this moment, but it’s my internal locus of control that would help me figure it out.

For now, the thing I need to do is enjoy the current moment, celebrate my victories, and not get overwhelmed by the uncertainty and unknown. I’d focus first on what is bound to happen in the coming weeks, and I’ll go get that bread! There will be no problems, just champagne. This is 23.

Not much needs to be said but thank you.

To God, thank You for all that You have given me. Lord, I won’t be here without Your unending grace.

To Mom, Dad, and Popons, thank you, I love you! I’ll do everything to make you proud!

To everyone who remembered me, greeted me, sent me food and gifts today, thank you all!




I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling 22.” I’ve waited 8 years and 8 months for the day I can use this Taylor lyric, and finally, that day has come. Yes. I am 22 and I can’t believe it. I remember the days I was 13, listening to this song and wondering what my life would be like when I’m already 22. And here we are now.

A lot has been going on in my mind: mostly academics, some family matters, the things I’m about to check out :P. So forgive me if I can’t organize my thoughts on this post. I am literally writing this 5 hours and 30 minutes before I technically turn 22. By this time tomorrow, I hope this post has seen the light of day.

Long story short, I have not planned anything for my birthday. I have absolutely no idea what to do. No celebration menu was planned. No outfits were prepared. No places were booked. No one was invited. No annual birthday post was drafted. Absolutely nothing. One thing is for sure, I know how Taylor Swift felt when she turned 22—happy, free, confused, and lonely at the same time. Apologies if I always have a Swift reference; I mean, she owns the age 22. Enough said.

Casting my mind back to this day last year, I promised myself that if the pandemic ends soon, as in December 2020, I am going to have a 22nd birthday with a RED album theme. But then again, COVID is still out and about; and starting a super-spreader event does not sit well with me. It would be a very selfish decision to gather people now that the virus has mutated multiple times. It’s pretty terrifying. I can go shopping and dining to celebrate this day instead. I love my friends and family enough that I don’t want them exposed to a killer virus. I know they will understand.

Right now, I am just counterfactually thinking of what could have been if the virus is not around. I am probably spending my birthday in my internship place, wherever that may be. Maybe I am bound to celebrate my birthday in a fancy buffet with my family in the coming weekend. Perhaps, I’d invite my friends too. What if. What if. I still have this disturbing thought that I am slowly losing my twenties to this pandemic, and I don’t like it. I hate it.

Although this painful thought continuously lingers on my mind, I have to keep reminding myself that my 22nd year has plenty of events in store. As of this writing, I am on my summer term. I am just 2 semesters away from graduation. I am finally graduating from college at 22. I am bound to experience my internship soon, albeit online, I am looking forward to it. I am yet to receive my COVID-19 vaccine soon as I am qualified in the A4 category. Hopefully, I’ll get my jab before 2021 ends. I will vote for the first time next year and I can’t wait to exercise this right. I guess being a Psychology major has helped me rewire my brain every time I have unpleasant thoughts. It helps a lot. See, there are still good things waiting for me even if the pandemic robbed me off of the fancy stuff I wanted. Heck, the things that are about to come are actually more essential than what COVID has taken from me. I mean, should I not be grateful about my education, my health, my career, and politics?

To end this obligatory birthday post: I just want to extend my heartfelt thanks to my family, my friends, my classmates, teachers, and everyone who remembered me today. I am thankful for the birthday messages, greetings, food, and goodies. Thank you, God, for another year. I am eternally grateful for everything.

Happy, free, confused, and lonely at the same time,


PS: Please register to vote. Let’s make 2022 a better year.

Life Lately : Summer Story Vol. 5


life lately
PS: This is a long, photo-heavy blog post. Make sure your connection is stable. 

Last year, I had this brief moment thinking that I wanted a period in my life that would be spent away from people for, let’s say, one year. I guess this is what my obsession with Taylor Swift does. I wanted a break just like what she basically had in reputation where she was gone for a year. I wanted that. The peace. The quiet. The silence of nobody physically seeing you for a period of time. Ideally, I thought of doing it after I graduate college. But little did I know, I’d be having it sooner than I thought.  From now on, I’ll be careful with what I wish for. Sometimes, life really gives you what you want in a very bizarre way. 

Although things did not go as planned, there’s still a silver lining in this situation (yes, I’m acknowledging my privilege as I say this). After all, if plan A did not work, there are 25 more letters left in the alphabet. I’ve spent my seemingly-eternal summer trying new things, and doing what I love to keep me sane and to, somehow, earn a living. Continue reading to see how I spent the past few months at home. 

The Lasts of the Past

This was our last “normal Sunday” outside. I remember wanting to go to the mall pero ayaw nina daddy dahil nagsisimula na yung pagtaas ng mga COVID-19 cases this time so kumain na lang kami sa labas. Instead of the mall, we just went to Duty Free. This was March 8. Ayan Popons, dapat kasi ready ka pag nagse-selfie tayo, ‘di man natin namalayan na last normal na pala ‘to!
You know that I have a penchant for printed photos so I was also able to print all the pictures from 2019 to the pre-pandemic days. I just miss how everything used to be.
This was my last day in school, hence also the last time I wore my uniform. I went to visit my friend Iya right before their event got cancelled. While my friends and I were eating lunch, nagtataka kami kung bakit sobrang tindi ng traffic at ang dami ng mga estudyante sa daan, ‘yun pala suspended na lahat ng klase. Little did I know that that was really the last time.

Lockdown Diaries

  • Social distancing, hand washing, face masks? Not new to me. – Long before the pandemic, I’ve practiced all these three whenever and wherever. I never run out of alcohol, wipes, and tissue in my bag and in my room. I feel uncomfortable when I’m surrounded by so many strangers (in public transpo, for example), most specially when I come in close contact with them (pag nag-aabot ng bayad). Bawat abot ng bayad, alcohol agad. I swear.  Kahit nakikita pa nila ako, I don’t care. Kahit mabigyan pa ng alcohol marks ang bag ko, basta malinis ko lang ang mga kamay ko I’ll do it. Hawak ng menu? Hugas agad. Humawak sa door knobs? Spray. Karating sa classroom, spray agad ng alcohol sa chair at desk. Ask my friends, they can attest to this. I swear, I always prioritize hygiene more than anything else. And now that we are in the middle of a pandemic, palagi akong nag-lilinis at nag-huhugas ng kamay in fear of contracting the coronavirus. I know this is not OCD and I hope it doesn’t lead to that, it’s just that I value cleanliness now more than ever. 
  • Trying to grow out both my facial hair and my hair—and actually regretting it. – Since the start of the quarantine, I remember thinking that this might be the perfect time to grow my hair. Then I also thought of growing out my beard and as per usual, it was the most hassle thing ever. I eventually found myself buying two electric razors from Lazada so my family and I can get a haircut at home. 
  • My obsession with sunscreen and anti-aging products. – I told myself na kung anong itsura ko nung huli akong nakita ng mga kaibigan ko, dapat ganun pa rin itsura ko pag nagkita kami ulit. Ayokong tumanda so I hoarded skin care products that will hopefully make me unlock the fountain of youth. Pero with the things happening and the kind of government we have in the country, feel ko walang kwenta yung efforts ko kasi tatanda ang itsura mo ng 58 years dahil sa kahayupan nila. 
  • Cleaning the entire house. – As of press time, I’ve just finished a room renovation spearheaded by….you guessed it….me. I’ve decluttered and organized almost one fourth of the entire house. Yup, just one fourth. Probably less than that. There’s just so much stuff to be taken and sorted out. And I know that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure so we’re giving stuff away to whoever might need them. Espirito ni Marie Kondo, ‘wag mo akong lisanin. 
  • Embracing the feeling of uncertainty and actually witnessing a deadly pandemic right before your eyes. – Seeing people die, people getting sick and hospitals getting overwhelmed, seeing businesses go bankrupt and shut down to the point of leaving millions unemployed in the midst of a pandemic is beyond me. I can’t believe that I’ll be witnessing a pandemic in my lifetime. And I can’t fathom how the government let this happen when it could have been prevented right before the year started. And they make everything worse. KASALANAN TALAGA NG GOBYERNO ANG LAHAT NG ITO. You know what makes it deadlier? The fact that the government does not give a shit about it. Kahit anong letra pa ang ilagay niyo sa quarantine, ECQ, MECQ, MGCQ, GCQ (whatever letter you want to add), kung walang mass testing at maayos na contact tracing, wala ring mangyayari. Iba pa rin ang inuuna ng gobyerno so we practically wasted almost 5 months of our lives. We still couldn’t manage to flatten the freaking curve. 
I just miss the times when we used to celebrate after successfully accomplishing school work.
I also miss being fetched at Starbucks during afternoons. Tapos aawayin ako ni Popons dahil wala akong binili para sa kanya. Namiss ko na rin yung acid reflux  na nae-experience ko on the way home dahil sa cold brew or caramel macchiato.
One of our last meals out. I miss this. Hay. Nakakamiss yung kakain tayo sa labas kapag walang dumating na prof. I miss the takoyaki, the lemonade, the turon, the chicken wings, and everything AUF sidegate.
I also miss going to school as early as 6 am to read for my Psych Assessment class. Tapos super lamig sa quad pag umaga.  Tapos deretso na sa wellness pag 7:30 na pero pagdating doon wala palang susi. I miss school so bad!
  • Missing my friends terribly. – And feeling so sad because we had no idea that everything we did last March 10 was already our last meal, last day, and last few moments together and not knowing when will we ever see each other again. 
The last time I went out was on the 13th of March. We hoarded for ingredients, not groceries. Sobrang nagkakagulo ang mundo nung time na ‘to. Panic buying lahat. I remember hoarding herbs and pasta during this time. I knew that it would take time before I can actually go out again.
This is me when I went out for the first time in three months. I really dressed up. Feel ko ako si Yoon Se-ri noong nakabalik siya ng South Korea! Hahaha.
  • Missing the outside world. – I was locked up at home for 3 months but I kept myself busy doing the things I love. I spent the quarantine improving my skills and learning new things. As of press time, I only went out for a grand total of 10 times. That’s 10 days out of 152 days spent in quarantine. And I’ve also realized na kaya ko naman palang mabuhay nang maayos without going to the mall, dining out, shopping every week and all the things I used to do before. Nakatipid pa kami!
The first thing I learned to play in the piano was “The Song for my Brother” from Crash Landing on You. I was watching the series that time and that piece gave me a major LSS.
  • Learning how to play the piano – Because of Crash Landing on You and my Art class, I was forced to learn how to play the piano. As of now, I don’t know how to play anymore. I haven’t played in months and I no longer have the time. 

Online Classes

I successfully finished my second year in college even if the final term was spent online. I requested for my numerical grades and guess what? I’m a University scholar for 3rd year 1st sem!
  • Finishing the school year online. – I hated the very demanding projects from my Gen Ed subjects. I still could not fathom their obsession with video requirements. In the middle of a pandemic, pilit na pilit pa rin sa videos. Jusko! Nagugunaw na yung mundo pinapasayaw pa kami! Hay bakit hindi na lang kasi written para hindi tayo pare-parehong nahihirapan?! On a lighter note, my majors and my Psych professors are the most considerate ones. If there’s one thing I enjoyed doing, it would be the Psych Report. It feels as if I was writing a blog post or a biography but from a psychological and theoretical perspective. Siguro yung report na ‘yun lang yung pinaka-sensible at reasonable na online requirement namin. Okay lang na puro written, ‘wag lang audio-visual okay??
  • Finding the motivation for 3rd Year. – I’ve already enrolled so there’s no turning back. I started my 3rd year in Psychology today but I am still not sure if I’m ready for it. My brain is still not academically prepared as of this moment. Ikaw ba namang ilang buwang nagti-tinapay at nami-mintura, hindi ka maga-adjust?! Honestly speaking, I just enrolled because I don’t want to be left behind. Hello, I already wasted 2 years of my life because of K12, I can’t afford to be delayed again! Pero seryoso, may matututunan ba tayo sa online classes? Meron, pero siguro wala masyadong retention? We’ll see how it goes.
  • The dilemma of Academic Freeze vs. Pushing for Online and/or Blended Learning.  – The ambiguity of it all. It’s a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-dont thing. I know how hard it is to attend classes online, even if I have all the means, what more yung mga mahihirap at walang wala? Paano yung mga batang umaakyat pa ng bundok makakuha lang ng signal? Paano yung mga walang gadgets? TV and Radio won’t suffice, DepEd. Stop trying to make it happen. But on the other hand, if there’s an academic freeze, paano ang mga teachers at ang mga pamilya nila? Paano sila kakain at mabubuhay? Ang hirap lang talaga. Tapos nito, yung competence pa namin ang questionable dahil “natuto lang kami online” at “walang practical application” ang knowledge namin. Guys, it’s just the education sector we are talking about here. Ito pa lang nakakasakit na ng ulo. Paano na? Ano na, PH Government? 

Gastronomic Adventures

The Quarantine gave me so much time to accomplish all the things I wanted to cook. This was my first list. I have 5 more, I think.
As of press time, I’ve accomplished half of this list and I’ve made a 6th list.
Italian spread.
Father’s Day Spread
Baked bread because bored.
I love working under pressure, to the point that I’d be up to cook a lot of things in just four hours. I love the adrenaline.
April and May were spent in the kitchen because I was busy accepting cake orders. These are the classic chocolate cakes I once sold.
My forever favorite, Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting.
I also tried making garlic bread from scratch. It’s a Martha Bakes recipe. And if it’s from Martha Stewart, it must be good. And it is.
  • Cooking and Baking – In case you’ve read all my summer stories in the past 4 years, the only reoccurring theme would be me going on kitchen adventures. I’ve also realized my culinary philosophy recently and that is “People eat with their eyes first, then with their nose, and with their mouths last.” that’s why I really assure that what I prepare is not only tasty, but appealing to all senses. 
If you didn’t learn how to bake bread this quarantine, were you really in quarantine?
Homemade pasta!


Faceless emoji.
I bought a pasta roller just so I could accomplish this! It feels so fulfilling to actually make and cook homemade pasta using homegrown ingredients. I feel like a true chef. Haha!
Shrimp Scampi using homemade fettucine.
This was my first attempt in pasta making. I had no roller then so I cut these by hand, and tadaaa, a Tagliatelle recipe.
Attempted to make homemade puff pastry too!
I swear I’ll never do this again. Nakakaloka. Ang sakit ng katawan ko after ko ‘tong gawin.
Look at them layers! I rolled this dough stone cold. Imagine how sore my arms were! Ilang days atang namamaga yung batok at braso ko noon, feel ko may naipit akong muscle or nerve. Puff pastry never again. I’m just gonna buy!
It was worth the pain naman, look at these goodies.
I also made homemade ice cream! Actually, wala na kaming binibili sa grocery masyado kasi ginagawa ko na lahat sa bahay. Mapa bread, pasta, ice cream, pizza crust, cakes, and all that!
  • Homemade Everything Series – During the early days of the lockdown I thought, “If I want something and I can’t go out to buy it, why can’t I just make it?” And that’s the beginning of my Homemade Everything and Andrei Recreates series. I wanted fettuccine but I can’t go out. I wanted lasagna. I wanted pizza. I wanted ice cream. But I can’t go out!!! Thank heavens our kitchen is complete and fully equipped so it was a breeze doing all of these goodies. My next goal is to make cheese from whole milk, and to make tomato sauce using fresh and homegrown tomatoes. I want to make a farm-to-table meal! Martha Stewart and Jamie Oliver who? 
My forever staple McChicken! Laging ito yung inoorder ko sa Mcdo when I was still in school. (Wow parang nagdrop out ako no?!) I recreated it using homemade brioche buns and the Cook-it-Yourself Chicken Fillet of Mcdonald’s!
My own version of Conti’s Mango Bravo. This was my most liked post in What’s Your Ulam Pare? with almost 5k likes. Kinabahan nga ako kasi merong nagcomment na Conti yung apelyido. Siguro affiliated siya sa Conti’s. Don’t worry po, ‘di ko ‘to balak pagkakitaan. Haha!
Mango Tart
Black Forest Cake
Levain Bakery Chocolate Chip Cookies. My all time favorite!
Proof Bakery’s Chocolate Espresso Cake.
  • Andrei Recreates –  And since I have all the time in the world, I decided to recreate the food I’ve been wanting to eat. The ones posted here are actually just some of the famous desserts and food I tried to recreate. I’ve done a lot more but I did not document them because they were either too-good-i-wont-share or pic-is-too-ugly-i-wont-share. If we’re friends on Facebook just check them out!
Sigurado ka bang na-quarantine ka kung hindi ka gumawa ng Dalgona coffee?
Coffee cake for Tatang’s 70th.
Coffee Crumble Ice cream from scratch!
  • Coffee Series – There’s this feeling of accomplishment or fulfillment when you brew your own cup of coffee in the morning. It’s also just this time that I realized na we have so much coffee at home. So what better way to use them than to make your own cup, and use them for a variety of recipes! It even got to a point where I want to invest in an espresso machine because I wanted to try latte art. Oh my love for arts and coffee. I take Kremil S after every cup though. 😛 


Bloom. (Paras, 2020)
Initial draft of my denim jacket painting. As usual, ‘di rin naman ‘to nasundan talaga. 


Nakukulangan pa ako this time so I added blue callalilies in the middle.
  • Denim Painting – I watched Netflix’s Next in Fashion during the early days of quarantine and I was inspired to upcycle some clothes I already have. And since I am also inspired by no-less-than Love Marie Ongpauco-Escudero, why not fuse my love for fashion with my love for arts? I got this denim jacket from a package we got months ago. It was an old one that I decided to give a new life by painting flowers on it. 
Love Marie, pray for us. My new patron saint. Char.
I painted Heart and the next morning, I woke up to her seeing my IG Story! I was so happy I got noticed by the queen!
Bright from 2gether the Series
Win from 2gether the Series
  • Coffee Paintings – This part should’ve been in the coffee series part earlier but I know that artworks are not edible so I placed them here instead. I’ve painted some of the people who made my quarantine life better. 
I painted this in Autumn of 2014. Charot, walang Autumn dito. Basta ang natatandaan ko Grade 9 Sembreak ko ata ‘yun, Undas of 2014. Basta matagal na ‘to. Hahaha!
FUN FACT: This painting was also used in one of the advertisements of AUF way back 2017. This was one of my Mom’s last projects before she resigned. They needed a painting so she brought my then work-in-progress painting.
I almost ran out of paint trying to cover up the previous paintings. Quarantine lang pala ang gigising sa painting talent kong natutulog. Haha!
#21DREI Initial draft.



I’d call this painting my lucky number painting, inspired by the number 8. I drew 8 daisies, and shaped the vase like the number 8.
Cue Katy Perry: “Cover me in daisies. Daisies. Daisiiiiieeeeeees.
Daisies. Impressionism. (Paras, 2020)
2020 (Paras, 2020). I decided to name it 2020 because I’ve long envisioned this year to be a bright, golden year but then again, the pandemic started to permeate all parts of our lives.
  • Back to work. – And since I’m doing my best to keep myself entertained this quarantine, I decided to finish my works in progress and start some new ones. The big canvas I used to paint 21DREI was six years old, the other ones were just reused because I don’t want to spend my money anymore. #magtipid. As of press time, I’m working on my biggest painting ever but I am not sure when will I be able to finish it because I’m having my online classes! 


  • Restoring and Varnishing my old paintings. – I got myself a bottle of clear coat so I decided to protect all my old paintings. This way, they’d be easier to clean and all potential dirt won’t damage the artworks. Next goal would be getting all of them framed!
This is how the bag looked before. It’s a Dune London tote bag we bought years ago. But since the leather is starting to chip off and the bag was already dying, I decided to resurrect it. Haha.


  • Painting mom’s bag – And since I no longer want to invest in a canvas and my Love Marie complex is at an all time high, what better way to live through her life is to paint bags! I may not be painting an Hermès bag but at least ‘di ba? I can widen my range of artistic skills by painting bags. The original bag had cracks and chipped leather because it wasn’t well taken cared of, so I upcycled it by painting over it, just like how Heart did with her stained lizard-skin Birkin. 


All of these f–king died (except for the Aloe which I can’t eat) because of the Basils on the right. May dala silang COVID, nahawa yung mga katabi nila. Kidding aside, mukhang may fungal infection yung mga basil when they arrived. Ugh, dapat pala naka-quarantine rin. Char.
I also tried to propagate my herbs using water. The Basil and Mint have developed roots but still died. Ugh.
  • My dreams of having a herb garden – Fresh herbs are very rare in groceries (they’re only available in high-end supermarkets) and are also a little bit pricey so I wanted to have my own plants. It gives me a sense of power when I use fresh herbs when I cook, what more when you harvest your own in your garden? Farm to table realness! Unfortunately, my plants died because of a fungal infection (or mildew, I think?) including the rosemary I bought last February. Ugh. Sucks. 


  • Trying to plant from seed. –  Last May, I thought of planting herbs from seed because I really want to cook a farm to table meal. I’ve tried planting countless times, from Parsley to Cherry Tomatoes to Basil but then again…you guessed it…they did not germinate at all. I think it’s because of the soil, my watering technique, or the seeds were expired. But I never lost the motivation to keep plants so I sowed some seeds on my birthday and now I’m in the process of growing a basil plant! Finally, after many many failed attempts and dead plants, I’m able to grow a plant from seed! I’m also waiting for my Dill and Chives seeds to germinate soon. I can’t wait for them to grow so I can use them in the kitchen. 

Turning 21


You all know that I turned 21 in the way I did not initially plan. Maybe this is what God wanted for me, and whatever He wants, I’d gladly accept. Prior to the 8th of July, I went out for a pre-birthday treat with my parents then I cooked for my birthday dinner celebration at home. As part of my 21st, I was also given the creative freedom to redesign and renovate my room in lieu of my forthcoming online classes. Months ago, I only wanted one out of the three things I mentioned earlier. I remember telling myself, “when I turn 21, I have to choose only one gift—retail therapy, good food and company, or a room makeover.” And boy, I didn’t know I’d be getting all three, and guess what made my 21st even better? Taylor Swift also dropped her surprise album, folklore. Ahhh, I’m living! Best birthday and birth month ever. #21DREI

My choices for my 21st Birthday Cake.
As usual, none of these actually went into fruition. Ewan ko ba, plano plano pa ako pero hindi rin naman ito yung mga sinusundan ko. 
Since none of my initial flavor profiles were chosen, I started from scratch yet again and came up with this. I chose red velvet para swerte! Hahaha. I know red is a lucky color! And because I don’t want my cake to be too sweet, I just designed my cake with whipped cream. I have this weird obsession with cakes topped with whipped cream. They just taste better and lighter.
I admit, it wasn’t as pretty as I thought it would be. It does not look like how I imagined it. Maybe because I expected it to have strawberries but there were none available that time. The cake tasted good nonetheless!
  • Designing and baking my cake. – Being the very hands-on artist that I am, of course I’d be the one planning, designing, and baking my own cake. Actually, itong birthday ko para siyang group work na isang tao lang lahat ng gumawa. Ganung levels ko itong sineryoso. Joke, katulong ko mga pinsan at pamilya ko! Hahahaha.
I even made a menu for my birthday dinner! I’m THAT extra.
Charcuterie board is love! Fun fact: I love blue cheese kahit lasa daw siyang sira. I love cheese in all forms, shapes, and sizes.


My other fancy birthday cake. A caviar pie with smoked salmon rosettes. 
Mom’s prawn thermidor has become a staple in our meals. We never run out of seafood and we just cook these when we feel like it. Looove!
Belly pot roast. Slow cooked and hickory style!
Smoked salmon in lemon, garlic, and butter, with asparagus on the side. Heaven. Imagine the taste of tinapa and salmon in one dish? Perfect combo. I love tinapa and salmon equally. Hihi.
  • Cooking my birthday dinner feast. – I planned this birthday menu a month before my birthday. I really really made sure that I’ll eat salmon on my dinner celebration. Just imagine how tired I was when I cooked and prepared almost all of these dishes! 
What would I do without Pinterest?
  • Renovating my room – Here’s the mood board I chose for my room makeover! I can’t and won’t post the before and after photos of my room here because I value privacy (even if I’m an open book). I believe that my personal space is not for public consumption. Just imagine how it looks! The makeover is not actually done yet because I’m still waiting for my new room decor and my other room essentials. I’m also waiting for my paintings to be framed! 


And that ends this post! If you reached this part, thank you. Please please please stay at home as much as you can. Wash your hands. Wear your mask. Take your vitamins. Practice social and physical distancing. Keep safe always. Til the next post!