As the story has it, one day I headed to the opposite side of the globe – the Flipside. I arrived in Korea on February 16th, 2005 and thought I’d do a year, then leave. I went from being some random foreign girl to taking on labels I never imagined – university professor, film extra, professional boxer, reality TV star, CEO of my own girls-only fitness company (Flipside Fitness), CEO of my own boxing club (Hulk's Club, formerly known as Hulk's Boxing), and now I'm launching my 3rd business -- Empowered Clubhouse.


After 11.5yrs in Korea, I then picked up one day and returned to Toronto, Canada. But then I left again. This time it was for the Philippines. That's where I am now, living in the land of the happy people. The struggles are real and the struggles are many but I'm living life on my terms, I'm calling the shots, and I'm doing what I love. Life is an amazing adventure and this is my story of yesterday.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Birthday Love

Happy first birthday to this beautiful little four-legged boy.  I love him to infinity and beyond.
Yesterday I allowed Skittles to pick out some clothes for me at Greenhills and this was the outfit that I put together with it -- a new shirt and new pants.  Pretty good and super comfortable.
What's a birthday without a birthday party?!  Exactly.
As tradition has it, tonight we threw a little pizza party for Cassius.  He and Balboa shared their own pizza... seriously.  I'm not joking here.  They got a small pizza and totally inhaled it.  Good boys!

Happy First Birthday... Sunday, March 24

I always thought a dog licking your face was nasty until I met a little distressed puppy with poop on his face and a broken tail who licked mine. Now I can't get enough.

I wrote that as my Facebook status update because today was Cassius' first birthday.  He's definitely the cutest puppy I've ever seen but he's such a troublemaker.  If he's too quiet or not being watched, trust me, he's up to something bad then.  Whether it's chewing on my shoes, trying to pull the books off my shelf, attacking Balboa, or occassionally hiding a little poop under the bed, he's such a mischevious little one.  But when you get mad at him, you pick him up, and the dumbfounded look on his face just completely melts you and instantly you forget why you were so mad at him.  

I swear his eyes have mystical magic powers; that's the only way I can even begin to explain it.

So tonight, as tradition has it with all my dogs, we bought him a pizza and he shared it with Balboa.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

A Special Helper for the Lil' Sistas

 Headed out to the beautiful location of the Center of Hope for some boxing with my Lil' Sistas.
I had brought The Captain along to help me coach the girls and he was such an
awesome sport at helping me and I think the girls had a ton of fun with him.
The girls are always so full of great energy and are always super fun to coach but it was extra special coaching them today with The Captain assisting me.  I think they definitely help make his short trip to the Philippines a memorable one.
 And, as we were about to leave, I received the first batch of letters from the newly launched Snail Mail Program so it was a special moment for me.  I have so much high hope for this program.
Our last picture, taken at the airport just a minute or two before he left us and was gone.

And He's Off... Saturday, March 23

And he's gone.  The Captain has left the Philippines.  He was here for three days and now he's gone.  I haven't seen him for two years and it's wild because when I lived in Canada I used to see him pretty much every other day.  It was awesome to have him here but it was harder than I thought to say goodbye to him.  I went to the airport to see him off and when he passed through security and I drove away in my Grab car, it was a harsh reality that I don't have anyone here in the Philippines that I'm friends with like I am with him.  

There is no Captain equivalency here and that's hard.

I had a full few days with him though and today it was pretty awesome to share the Lil' Sistas with them.  He came out with me to help coach them in my Lil' Pow Boxing Class so that was super cool.  It was great to share parts of my life in Asia with him but it was even more special to share the Lil' Sistas Project with him.  I think it gave him a better understanding about why I'm so passionate about living here in the Philippines and I hope that one day, whenever he sees my father again, he will tell him about the Lil' Sistas and reassure my father that here is where I belong.  I have a purpose here, a purpose and a passion. 

We also took him to Greenhills, to experience some bargain shopping here in the Philippines.

In the evening, we took him to the rooftop bar at the Hyatt here in BGC.


Friday, March 22, 2019

Rockstar Treatment

I was treated like a rockstar tonight -- a beautiful car picked me up and I was then greeted
at the location by a crew of beautiful smiley people and flowers.
 Me doing my thang, sharing my story.
The crowd was so responsive and their energy was just so positive, so awesome.
"Fast Talk" -- a fun way to end my speech.  They asked questions and 
I had to answer as soon as they were fired at me.
Much thanks to OGS-QC for inviting me to be a part of their International Women's Day Event.
 After my speech, I was asked to post for an overload of pictures and I was more than happy to do so.



The event was a huge success and I had a lot of fun sharing my story with them.  It was an honour.

Empowered Women... Friday, March 22

Tonight I stood in front of 200+ people and the positive vibes were through the roof.  And as I finished my speech and finished their "Fast Talk" question and answer period, they asked me, "what is the one regret you have?"

I paused.

I paused and then looked at Skittles, looked at The Captain, bit my tongue and then said "being somewhat relieved in the car ride here that we were so late for this."  It's true.  I thought we might have missed the event and that my speech would be canceled and for a moment I was relieved.  I had worked myself up so much about tonight's speech, about getting up in front a massive crowd of people and sharing my story, some of which is sensitive and still untold to friends and family. 

My speech wasn't canceled though.  It was just pushed back. 

As it turns out, the company that I was speaking to tonight was a call center so they work on night hours.  They start work around 8pm and go till early morning.  So the event time, which was suppose to start at 8:30pm but didn't have me up and presenting till about 10pm, really wasn't an issue.  They had only just started their work day.  

There was a bus fire on the highway that had traffic held at a standstill and when I arrived at the speech location, I was greeted at the front entrance and shown right in.  And, as I entered into the room, the host at the front instantly introduced me and up I went.  I shook his hand and then took off my jacket and there I went, giving my speech with no time whatsoever to second guess myself or sit down beforehand to juggle my nerves and let them get the best of me.  It actually worked out for the best, for my best that is because I do struggle with anxiety a lot. 

In my speech, I talked about my life story, the struggles I experienced as a woman and what I'm doing now, and the approach I took to talk about it all was to walk them through the different job titles I worn since being a university student.

To tell you the truth, it was pretty cool to have both Skittles and The Captain there to see and hear my speech.  That meant a lot to me especially considering The Captain is simply visiting and so I'm sure one day he'll run into my father again and tell him about it.  Actually, before coming to visit me here in the Philippines, The Captain had actually visited my father to tell him that he's coming to surprise me.  He took a short video of my dad leaving a message for me.  I still can't bring myself to view it though.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Clubhouse Hunting... Again

 The house hunting for the Empowered Clubhouse continues but today I brought along The Captain.

We saw 3 new locations and revisited another I saw the other week.
 And we found a bathtub, a first in the Philippines for me so you know I had to jump into it!

My Lucky Charm... Thursday, March 21

Back before launching Hulk's Boxing in Korea, a friend arrived in Korea.  He was the son of a close friend of mine in Canada but he too had become a friend of mine.  He was touring Asia so in his tours he had Korea on the map and I happened to be living in Korea so he stayed at my place.  When he came to visit, he stayed at my place but at the time it was a super space one bedroom apartment so he was stuck sleeping on the floor in my family room and dealing with Pyen Chi who was an over sized puppy at the time.  

He came, he stayed, and then he left.

Shortly after he left, I moved into a massive apartment that was 11 rooms, launched my first business, Flipside Fitness, and then that evolved into the launch of Hulk's Boxing.

If he had come just a half a year later, his stay would have been so different.

He had come right before everything came together and I really flew with my plans.

When we headed out to see the three potential spaces today for Empowered Clubhouse, I was reminded of the last time a friend had come to Asia and stayed with me.  Oddly enough, that friend that had come like 8 years ago is a friend of The Captain too so that's very cool.

Maybe they're both my lucky charms.

Maybe Canada coming to visit me is the refreshing revival my mind and soul needs to kick things up a notch and take it to the next level.  Maybe Canada coming to visit me comes right when I need them the most, right before everything takes a massive turn.  But maybe it's because Canada visits that it all comes together and then blasts off.

I guess we will see.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Best Surprise Ever

 He was posing for a picture, totally unaware that I was right behind him.

I actually had him on Facebook live, showing all online me sneaking up on him.  It was awesome.

Surprised a Surprise... Wednesday, March 20

My best bud was coming to the Philippines today; it was to be epic.  He is the second of two friends who came to Asia to visit me but the first of any to come specifically to the country I was in just because of me so you best believe I was going to change my plans, cancel appointments, and spend as much time as I could with him.

It's hard to be here in the Philippines, in Asia, not having any close friends like I do in Canada.

The times when I needed a good friend to lean on, the times when I wanted someone to share an achievement with, the times when I just wanted to go to coffee and disconnect from work, from everyone.  

I have Skittles here, of course, but it's not the same.  He is just as much all about work and never really off it like I am.  Together, we're running at full speed and we both struggle to disconnect from work and just relax.

I was told the other week that The Captain was coming here to surprise me but with my crazy work and training schedule being all over the place, to surprise me and anticipate spending time with me, well, it'd be next to impossible hence why Skittles had to tell me.  I crammed a lot of my PT clients into the first half of my week and stayed up super late to make sure I could free up time on the end of this week.  

I arrived at the airport to surprise my friend and as Skittle approached him, I snuck up behind The Captain, filming it on Facebook live.  It was so much fun and it made for such a cool start to his visit her in the Philippines.  

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Next Potential Location

This is one of the potential spaces being offered to me for Empowered that I'll be checking out on Thursday morning and I can't help but get super excited about the house number... 12.
 And I can't but get excited about how just well maintained this house was.

It's a little out of my budget but with all the beautiful interior design, excellent upkeep and the fact that it's in the exact community that I want, well, it's hard to argue because it's awesome. 
But this is the selling point for me, the attic.  It is gorgeous.  The sloped roof and the framing of it, and then the irregular shaped windows.  This definitely sports the clubhouse vibe for my Empowered Clubhouse and I absolutely love it.  Now to see if the house has a balcony.  I'd be pushing it here with the house already surpassing my expectations but the side of the house is awesome.  It's has such a great outdoor space that's private and cozy, but let's see if they have one more little outdoor space, a balcony.

The Hinderance of Beauty... Tuesday, March 18

On Tuesdays I coach four clients, 3 here in BGC and one out by the airport.  Of the 4, 2 of them I coach outside by their condo pool, the location of the 3rd is always changing so I'm seeing some sick gyms thanks to her, and I coach the 4th client in her house.  The front entrance of her house, ya, it's bigger than my entire studio condo... yikes.  

Two of my clients today are just returning from an out-of-country holiday so I only had two fighters to train -- my which-location-are-we-training-in-today client and my gigantic house fighter.  Both are relatively new fighters and both very pleasant to train and sweet to talk to.

I like all my fighters actually.  They're all so different and they keep my life interesting.

Had a bit of a funny run-in with this foreign guy who appeared to be from the Middle East and all about my one fighter I was training at the condo gym he just happened to be visiting.  He lingered around checking her out and throwing her smiles.  At one point, when he saw me trying to set up my camera to take a video of her for Instagram, he offered to help me.  Great, that's fabulous.  I wasn't about to say no to him so I gave him my camera and he started filming.  As I was taking her handwraps off and packing up, he then asked her for her number.

"No, sorry, I can't... she's my girlfriend and she might get jealous", my fighter told him.

I had to laugh.  That was a funny cover up story and how was he to know that wasn't true.  Clearly he didn't understand what she had said though, either that or he just didn't care, because then he turned to me and asked me for my number.

"No, sorry, I can't... I'm with her and she might punch me", I responded.

We then packed up our stuff and headed out of the condo gym.  We then noticed he was walking behind us, heading for the elevator too where we were standing so we then ducked into the girls changeroom that was immediately to the side.  The changerooms lead to a different part outside so then we headed back down to the lobby via that little escape route.

So funny.

There are a few of my fighters that seem to always attract "fans".  One of my fighters is a pretty Ukranian blonde and the security guards and maintenance dudes at her gym are always making random excuses and reasons why to visit the pool area where I train her.  It's amusing for me but for her it's very frustrating.

Oh, to be so beautiful.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Boxing some Temporary Blues Away

I now come with warning signs on my chest, so that people can read if my face means
I'm angry or just resting during boxing,.. apparently... hahaha.
 On days when I want to be left alone, I take my workout to the top of the gym.
Coaching always cheers me up and coaching boxing is when I'm the most "there", undistracted by other things in life, only focused on the task ahead of me.  Tonight's coaching was done here, under the beautiful lights of my fighter's cozy condo pool area and open patio. 

A Struggling Start... Monday, March 19

The day was going good until I realized I couldn't go to boxing.

I went weight training instead.

Weight training was going good until my real estate agent texted me.

I knew I shouldn't have answered that text.

I didn't get that home I was holding my breath for, the clubhouse I wanted for Empowered.

The buyer's asking price was too sweet, it was too good to be true, and so someone snatched it up before I could even go for a second look.  Congrats to him, congrats to them but boo to me.  

Next.

My real estate agent seems to be on the ball of things and already was responding with pictures of other places she has.  That helped to soften the blow but it made for a rough time during training, having to push myself through the rest of my workout knowing the discouraging reality.  

I'm not going to lie, I got a bit teary-eyed.  In the back corner of the gym, by the leg press machine, my eyes swelled up with tears and I was so incredibly discouraged.  I'm at the point where I'm getting too tired to fight anymore.  I'm exhausting myself.

"This is a blessing in disguise", I tell myself.  

You can fight for what you want but don't push things that aren't meant to be, a piece of advice I picked up back when I was launching Hulk's.  We had been fighting for a particular spot for Hulk's for a solid three months and I had cried numerous nights over it.  It was so completely frustrating and so very discouraging but then one random night Snickers saw a glass door broken into so he went curiously into the building, just to check it out.  That was a Saturday night and by Monday we were meeting with the owner of that exact building to sign for the rights of it.

Maybe this location wasn't meant to be.  

I liked it but I didn't love it and I really wanted it to be in Mahogany 3, not 2.

Thursday I'm going to see a space in Mahogany 3.  It's a bit out of my budget but it's gorgeous.  I'm also seeing another place there too, three in total actually.  I'd hate to say this because it'd only put pressure on Thursdays viewings but maybe the owner taking the first offer and me not getting it was a blessing in disguise.  I'll hold on to that and hope that better is around the corner.  Maybe we'll turn that corner on Thursday.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Poolside Boxing with the Girls

 Today I headed out to Alabang for a special request boxing class for an extra special crew of girls.

Geared them up in my Lil' Slay boxing gear and then got them training.
There were five of them today and I think I made it as fun as I did tiring for them all.
These teenage girls were pretty fun to coach, I'll admit it, but then again I always have fun teaching people how to box especially the greenest of green boxers.  I do love the newbies.
Great class, awesome new fighters.  My Alabang girl gang fighters.  Respect.

Alabang GIrl Gang Fighters... Sunday, March 17

With my two little four-legged boys with me and a container packed with Lil' Slay boxing gear and equipment, I jumped in a Grab and headed way out to Alabang for a special request boxing class by a quite notorious family here in the Philippines.  I very successful family that owns a residential block of homes but is so incredibly sweet, humble and has been very encouraging to me.

The use of #blessed is totally appropriate here.

They are blessed and I am blessed for having met them.
 
I was told to bring my little guys along because they had a big property they could play on and there were other dogs at there home.  Their three dogs and my two dogs spent a good chunk of the afternoon chasing each other.

Cassius is quite the swimmer.  Yeah, that was new news to us, too.

When we let Cassius off his leash, off he ran towards the swimming pool and then he jumped into like Superman.  It was both scary and hilarious at the time so in went Skittles to fetch him, afraid that maybe he can't actually swim.  But, as it turns out, Cassius is part pup, part fish.

It's been a while since I've coached a small team for boxing.  Nowadays I only do one-to-one training and then, of course, my large scale classes for the Lil' Sistas.  Today was a nice change of the usual for me and it was great to get out of the city and have a new experience plus Cassius and Balboa absolutely loved being there.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Geared Up with Empowered

The penalty for my early morning client showing up missing some training gear, she had to wear my Conquer hand wraps.  And when I say "my" I mean mine, as in the ones I got gym nasty sweaty in just the other day.
Empowered is making it's way around Asia via Captain Bowtie rocking his Empowered cap, love it!!!
Here's the newest item for Empowered, my fighter Iron Fist sporting it.
It's the Girl Power Cap and all proceeds go towards the Lil' Sistas Project.

Work on the Weekends... Saturday, March 16

Today's Agenda:

  • Coaching one of my fighters here in BGC.
  • Attend the She Talks Asia event.
  • Take Balboa to the vet for nail clipping.
  • Plan tomorrow's special small team training.
  • Design the new item for Empowered.
  • Launch the new Girl Power Cap, fundraising item for Lil' Sistas.
  • Weight training: upper body.
  • Clean all the Lil' Slay boxing gear.
  • Respond to Empowered Clubhouse emails.
  • Contact Filipina manufactorer.



Friday, March 15, 2019

Short Hair Don't Care

Kissed my blonde beautiful boy goodbye right before I said goodbye to my blond hair.
Chopped my hair, as if my hair wasn't short enough, right?!  Right.
Next on my list is a possible dye job.

Taking Back Power... Friday, March 15

There's only so much I can do with my hair, it's already super short, but today I changed it up.

I took it shorter than short.

In a moment of weakness and frustration, I decided enough was enough.  I needed to change up my look.  It's not that I've been wearing my look for some time now but where and when I started to sport this look has been weighing heavily on me.

I first chopped my hair back in Korea, when my biggest sponsor said they wanted me to look edger.  It was his suggestion and while I was a bit hesitant about it at first, I then decided to go with it.  Hey, if I was already sticking out like a sore thumb in a country that was already treating me like I was a sore thumb, then why not just go with it, right? Right.  So that's what I did.  

But I don't live in Korea anymore and the Philippines is most definitely not Korea.  

People don't make me feel like an odd ball here and they most definitely don't make me feel ugly either.  I feel different here and I think I spark some people's curiosity as well as I know I am memorable but it's never been in the negative sense.  That's the different.

Having said that though, I've started a new life here in the Philippines and it's fabulous and it's totally disconnected from my life that I once lived in Korea.  I figured it was only fitting that I change up my look, decide for myself what and how I wanted to look like, and just get rid of the image Korea had pushed and made for me.  

So that's what I did.  

Today I chopped my hair.

The chop came after a business meeting today at the British School of Manila.  I had met with one of the P.E department members to discuss my company, Empowered, bringing in an after school program for their girls.  In the meeting, we also talked about the Lil' Sistas Project and how we could possibly incorporate this into their program.  Sitting there, talking about Empowered and how I once opened Hulk's, I realized that my present is now so much better than my past, Empowered is so much better than Hulk's.  I was once so in love with my club, with Hulk's, but now Empowered is growing bigger and stronger every day and I'm super optimistic with where it is going.  I need to celebrate it's growth more instead of comparing it to Hulk's because now their paths aren't quite the same.  I've held on to Hulk's for so long but now I feel it somewhat hindering me, holding me back from fully embracing Empowered and giving my undivided attention to it.  

Slowly but surely I'm letting go of Hulk's and all that attached me to it.  And today that meant me creating a new image for Empowered with my own personal image, my hair.  There is definitely something liberating about chopping your hair but I can't even begin to explain what it felt like to chop it all off, to get rid of the look that was once my so-called "calling card" that my sponsors back in Korea held the reins to.  

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Fighting for a Cause

Today is #MyFreedomDay, a day to bring social awareness to modern day slavery so I got some of my peeps to help me represent.  The definition of modern slavery includes men and young boys forced to work in factories, farms and fishing boats, women and young girls forced to sell sex, and it also includes people exploited for their organs and children sent to beg or forced to marry.  Statistics from the Walk Free Foundation’s Global Slavery Index shows that of the estimated 40 million people enslaved worldwide, 784,000 are in the Philippines.
 My boxing club fam, fighting on behalf of those who can't.
And, of course, my Lady Mavericks teammates -- proudly supporting the cause
...because they're awesome like that.

And the Winner is... Thursday, March 14

I think we MAY have a winner... a 3 story house with 2 balconies, a top floor that definitely sports the badass clubhouse vibe, AND it's totally in my budget... sweet!!!

That was my status update on Facebook, after I had gone today to see two more possible locations for Empowered Clubhouse out in Taguig.  I like the place, I really do, but I don't know if I really love it or I'm just being too picky.  Location wise, yes, there's a possibility that most of my clients will go there or that I'll attract more within the area.  But in terms of more specific points of the location, I wish it were in the area across the street that has a bigger community and more facilities at it's doorsteps.  This particular house is in a very small community and while I would be allowed to walk across the street and use the pool and grounds of another community, my clients would not be allowed to unless I escorted them.  

Cancel out jogs around the block for warmup; this particular block is just a rectangle.

I call today's house the Attic House.

The perfect clubhouse would have the front look and massive lot of the Yellow House, the master bedroom, rooftop patio and location of the House of Stairs, but the price tag and third floor of the Attic House.

What it wouldn't have though is the rough location of the Yellow House, the lack of upkeep and the suicidal stairs of the House of Stairs, and the.... 

...hmmm... I can't really think of anything I don't really like of the Attic House.

There is nothing about the Attic House that I would totally rule out. 

Interesting.

If I were to pick today, I'd pick the Attic House.

I talked to the man managing the property and he's well aware of my intentions with the house and is perfectly cool with it as long as it is a legit, legal business, which it totally is.  

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

The Big, Yellow House

 If only this house was in a different location!!!
 The big yellow house at the end of the road... I love it.
But check out the view from the top floor balcony.  The lot is ridiculously big!!!