Wednesday, March 3, 2021

War in my Mind

I’m a listicle person.  I have a list of things to do, of things I want, of plans for the future.  And everything was moving towards the direction I envision.  Then suddenly, I’m caught dead on my tracks.  When ABS-CBN lost its franchise and the pandemic hit, a lot of my insecurities surfaced.  I encountered self-doubt, anxiety and fear.  My nicely pressed life looked like it’s just out of a dryer, full of deep-set wrinkles.

My demons are in my head.  My mind is my worst enemy.  I have a long list of what ifs. What if… we might not have enough… that things would be difficult financially… that things wouldn’t be how I imagined it. And so on.  Worries, that honestly, are stressing me out.  Then my rational mind, thank God, would cut my crazy thoughts and would always set things straight, and point things out - that these things that I’m mulling over, really, might not even happen. That worrying is a complete of waste of my time, especially since, historically speaking, none of my worst case scenarios ever materialized.

So what’s the point?  The battle is in our heads.  And we have to win it.

I subscribed to a plan in the YouVersion Bible app.  And it has lots and lots of reading plans that you can subscribe to depending on your current need or state of mind.  So I subscribed to the “Winning the War in Your Mind” reading plan.  I knew me.  And I knew that I need to reframe or rewire my mind so I wouldn’t dwell so much on the negative.  And Day 4 was spot on.  It was exactly what I need.  It mentioned that a tool for changing your thinking is the rewire principle.  To rewire the brain is to renew the mind.

It encouraged me to declare God’s promises, and put them as shields to bullet-proof my mind when negative vibes start to creep in especially when I’m faced with a lot of uncertainties.

I would like to share the verses that were included in Day 4.  This might come in handy when you wrestle with your “bad” thoughts.

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”  Philippians 4:12

“God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in very good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:8

“God will meet all your needs according to the richness of his glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19

“Do not conform to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.”  Romans 12:2

The plan also encouraged me to write my own declaration.  My own blueprint of a battle plan.  This would be my weapon to bomb those unhelpful thoughts.  Sharing this here as an example of how you can also write your own.

“I will always be happy with what I have.  I will never experience lack in any aspect of my life.  God blesses me abundantly so that I may abundantly bless others.  God, in his faithful loving ways, will fulfill all my heart’s desires according to his wonderful plan, and perfect timing.”

I hope that all of us will be able to win the wars in our minds.  And slowly but surely be assured that things will be alright.  It might not happen immediately. But let’s keep on trying. Three Ps: patience, perseverance and practice can lead to the ultimate P - perfection. Thank you for reading.  God bless you.  May all your dreams and heart’s desires come true.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Eats Taiwan: 13 Food We Tried and Enjoyed

Taiwan is a foodie haven.  Food is affordable and the choices are endless.  Here are some of the gastronomic delights that we tried and enjoyed.

1. Hotpot
All the hotpot we've tasted were good. The best we had was in Taipei Huaxi Night Market, very near Longshan Temple.

2. Japanese Cake
They were huge! It was like a pancake sandwich with a thick filling cooked in an iron griddle. Lines to this local fare is almost always long in the night markets.

3. Candied Fresh Strawberries
Fresh strawberries dipped in syrup then plunged to a bowl of water filled with ice, which turned the syrup into a hard candy covering.

4. Fried Milk 
This looks like curdled milk cut into cubes then fried on hot oil. It has some crunch on the outside and gooey on the inside.

5. Stinky Tofu
I love tofu.  And this smells.  But it's really good.

6. Oyster Pancake
This is your unshelled oysters mixed with egg and shallots, then fried like scrambled egg.

7. Ice Cream Wrap with Shaved Peanuts
Shaved peanut brittle to go with an ice cream wrap.

8. Sausages
I can't say much about the sausages because it's something that I don't eat.  But from the looks of how my daughters and my husband downed all the sausages I'm going to say they're pretty tasty

9. Grilled Mushrooms with Chili Powder
I really, really like them.  It tasted like grilled squid to me.

10. Starch Balls
They serve them hot like ginataan with sweetened coconut milk.  Or iced like halohalo.  I like them both.

11. Beef Noodle Soup
Very flavourful soup with thick noodles.  Perfect for the rainy afternoon in Shifen.

13. Flying Cow Ranch Cheesecake
I must say that this is the best cheesecake our 50 pesos has ever bought in Taiwan.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Taiwan Day 3: Jiufen, Shifen, Taipei 101, Modern Toilet, Ximending Night Market

This is day 3 of our Taiwan adventure.  We travelled to Ruifang Station to visit two old streets.

Jiufen Old Street

It’s known to be Hayao Miyazaki's inspiration for the Academy Award winner Spirited Away. I remember the street lined with red lanterns where Chihiro's parents sat down and ate until they became pigs. Jiufen Street, reminiscent of the movie, is lined with red lanterns and everywhere I look, there were food stalls left and right. We also came into a street with different masks which also reminded me of the animated film's artistic design. It was surreal. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Taiwan Day 2: National Palace Museum, National Science Museum, Taipei Children's Amusement Park, Shilin Night Market

This is day 2 of our Taiwan adventure.

National Palace Museum

We went for the children’s section because it’s free. The exhibits are tactile and interactive. Everything can be touched and played with.

National Taiwan Science Education Center (National Science Museum)

We went into the Dreamworks Animation exhibit. We were very impressed with how everything was laid out. From the displays to the presentations. My favorites were the projected images in inanimate objects. At first glance, it looked like the images were really part of the design, until everything moves and changes, then it would dawn on the spectator that all were projected images. My daughters were really amused with the interactive displays. There's a nook where you can color Dreamworks characters, then you take a photo of your colored page using a dreamworks app, then the character, exactly how you colored it, appear on 3-D and can be manipulated using your fingertips. It was so cool!

Taipei Children’s Amusement Park

Nothing fancy. It's your usual "tsubibo" rides. But with class and sophistication. I like how the entrance is priced cheap, so going in is very affordable. But you have to pay for the rides. But this is ok for us. We just choose the rides we like and pay for them.

Shilin Night Market
Shilin Night Market was love. It's so huge and full of novelty dishes to try that we reached a point that we've thrown in the towel. It's man versus food. And no matter how we tried, food won. We wanted to try more, but there was no more space. We're filled to the brim.

National Palace Museum
Address: No. 221, Sec 2, Zhi Shan Rd, Shilin District, Taipei City, Taiwan 111
How to get there: From MRT Red Line Shilin station (士林), walk outside the station and board Bus R30 (紅30), fare NT$15, payable by cash or Easycard Do not cross the road, as busses on the MRT station side of the road head east towards the museum. Busses generally leave every 30 mins on weekdays until 7PM and 15 mins on weekends until 6:55PM. Additional buses are available after hours on Friday and Saturday evenings. Bus BR20 (棕20) also travels from the museum to Brown Line 1 Dazhi station, however, Shilin is recommended for speed and convenience.

National Taiwan Science Education Center (National Science Museum)
Address: No. 189, Shishang Road, Shilin District, Taipei City, Taiwan 111
How to get there: From Red Line Jiantan station (劍潭), exit the station towards Shilin Night Market (士林夜市) and walk left towards the bus station (busses heading north). Take route R30, 41, or the shuttle bus to the Taipei Children's Amusement Park (the museum is across the street from the park).

Taipei Children's Amusement Park
Address: No. 55, Section 5, Chengde Road, Shilin District, Taipei City, Taiwan 11169
How to get there: From Red Line Jiantan station (劍潭), exit the station towards Shilin Night Market (士林夜市) and walk left towards the bus station (busses heading north). Take the shuttle bus or route 41 to the park.

Shilin Night Market
Address: No. 101, Jihe Road, Shilin District, Taipei City, Taiwan 111
How to get there: Take the Red Line to Jiantan Station (劍潭), not Shilin Station. After leaving Exit 1, diagonally cross the street to the left to enter the night market.


Saturday, March 10, 2018

Taiwan Day 1: Holo Hostel, Miniatures Museum of Taiwan, National Revolutionary Martyrs' Shrine, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, St. Christopher’s Church, Long Shan Temple, Huaxi Night Market

Taiwan was a revelation.  And I thought it was all food trip.  Then, we had all our days fully packed. And we enjoyed every single one of them.  Here's what we did in Taiwan:

Day 1

Miniatures Museum of Taiwan
Dolls even dolls on eggs, toys, very detailed houses and rooms, scenes and sceneries, historical landmarks and places of interests

Then we ate lunch at a nearby underground restaurant – they serve good fried chicken.

National Revolutionary Martyrs' Shrine 

We went here to witness the changing of the guards. We like taking pictures when the place is clean, I mean no photobombers. This can be achieved when after changing of the guards, you run in the middle of the Shrine’s ground and click away. By this time, most of the crowd are still at the entrance of the Shrine where the changing of the guard ended.  The shrine was magnificent. It looked like a location in one of those Chinese royalty movies.

Taipei Fine Arts Museum

We went here to just roam around and see pieces of interest. We like the tea and weaved installations best. But we went here for the free Art Spaces for kids. The kids have a happy time trying on the art exhibits and installations.

St. Christopher’s Church

We walked around 3 blocks from Taipei Fine Arts Musuem to St. Christopher’s Church. It always warms my heart that when there’s a Catholic Church in a foreign country, there’s most likely a Filipino churchgoer or a Filipino priest. In this case, both are true. The Church has many Filipino goers, since we also have a good number of OFW here. It felt very comforting to have a kababayan sit right next to you in mass.

Long Shan Temple

One of the more famous temples in Taipei. There were a lot of devotees offering their gifts and saying their prayers. We just went around and took photos.

Huaxi Night Market

It was just across Long Shan Temple. We saw this restaurant teeming with patrons. So we went inside to check it out. The menu is in Taiwanese. And the owner can’t speak and understand English. Good thing their menu has pictures. So we pointed out everything to him. We had the best hotpot in Taiwan in this restaurant. And I don’t even know it’s name. We just know that it’s very near the entry of the night market, closest to Long Shan Temple.

Where we stayed:  Holo Hostel 
Address: 100, Taiwan, Taipei City, Zhongzheng District
Nearest to Taipei Main Station and Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Taipei Station

Miniatures Museum of Taiwan
Address: 10491, Taiwan, Taipei City, Zhongshan District, 
How to get there: Green Line and Orange Line interchange Songjiang Nanjing, Exit 5, continue walking straight on Nanjing East Road. At the intersection of Jianguo North Road (建國北路), take a right. The museum will be ahead on the right side.

National Revolutionary Martyrs' Shrine 
How to get there: Red line Jiantan station, leave Exit 1 and go to the bus stop to the right side (busses heading south). Take bus 267, 556, 902, or 紅3區 to Martyr's Shrine (忠烈祠).

Taipei Fine Arts Museum
Address: No. 181, Section 3, Zhongshan N Rd, Zhongshan District, Taipei City, Taiwan 10461
How to get there: After arriving at Yuanshan (圓山) on Red Line, exit into Taipei Expo Park, walking east through the park to the museum. Signage is readily visible.

St. Christopher's Church
Address: 10491, Taiwan, Taipei City, Zhongshan District
How to get there: We just walked from Taiper Fine Arts Museum to here.

Long Shan Temple
Address: 10853, Taiwan, Taipei City, Wanhua District
How to get there: Take the Blue Line to Longshan Temple (龍山寺), the temple is located just north of the station plaza, Exit 1.

Huaxi Night Market 
Address: 108, Taiwan, Taipei City, Wanhua District
How to get there: Just beside the Long Shan Temple