As the story has it, I woke up and found myself on the very opposite side of the globe – the flipside. I arrived February 16th, 2005 and thought I’d simply do a year, then leave. Years later and I’m still here. I went from being some random foreign girl to taking on labels I never imagined – university professor, film extra, professional boxer, CEO of my own girls-only fitness company, Flipside Fitness, and CEO of my own boxing club, Korea's largest -- Hulk's Club, formerly known as Hulk's Boxing.

After 11.5yrs in Korea, I picked up one day and left. I returned to Toronto, Canada but only to pack up my bags and venture out again. Now I'm living in Makate, Philippines. Life, for me, is better in Asia and I'm so happy here. This a new chapter in the book of my life though, it's a whole new book I've started!!! I'm a whole new woman and I left Korea with Flipside Fitness on my brain, Hulk's in my heart, boxing in my bag, and my four-legged friend Balboa Button by my side.

Life is an adventure and this is my story of yesterday.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Cleaning Up and Staying Up Late

I'm like a guy when it comes to keeping my shave fresh and clean so off to Brunos I went today.
Waiting on my meeting to start today at a new coffee shop I just may very well be in love with.
Reason 101 why life is better in Makati -- Yardstick Cafe!!!
I ordered the white flat coffee and my company ordered this... temptation overdose on a plate.
Leaving Yardstick I could overhear those in my boxing club five floors up from where I was walking in the street so we decided to drop by.  The place was absolutely packed to the max with people, wow!
Returned home to this beautiful little four-legged boy.
And just like that it was back to the grind of working on my business.
Tomorrow I have a couple of business meetings so I had to finish up my presentation prep work.

Anything But Normal... Tuesday, June 20

I was as motivated as I was heartbroken walking into Elite Boxing at 9pm and seeing Coach Bogs still working.  He starts work at 6am everyday.  Fifteen hours later and he was still there and he'd be there till closing, 10pm.  "This is normal", I was told.  If normal is him working 16 hour days, 6 days a week, 96 hours a week then I definitely don't want "normal" for the crew I hire.  Sure Coach Bogs makes much higher than expected because he gets paid per client he trains but 96 hours a week means he sleeps in one of the six bunkbed beds stuffed away in the back room that's stuffy and crammed, he only gets to go home once a week and his wife and child back home continue their life basically without him.  He's got a wife that surely must miss the companionship that comes with having a husband and she bears the burden of raising their child as if she's a single parent family.  And then there's the child that's growing up with limited interaction with their father.

There is no shift change at the boxing club, not at Elite and not at Elorde either from what I've heard and seen.  Whenever the coaches have a break in clients they go to the sleeping corridors provided at the boxing club.  And the thing is this doesn't strike them as harsh or draining.  This is "normal" to them.  I don't want to be one of those foreigners and come in thinking I know better and I have some magical solution for the problem.  This isn't even a problem for them, that's the thing.  This is life.  At Elorde, sure the coaches were often tired, for the most part they worked from open to close, but I never once heard them complain about their job.

This is the Philippines.

Just because I live in the Philippines and am opening a business here doesn't mean I have to follow the ways of the land with how companies treat their employees.  It's time to challenge what is considered "normal" here.

Monday, June 19, 2017

This Monday's Motivation

In 2011 I launched my first business, Flipside Fitness, and I launched it in Cheonan, South Korea.
I no longer had to worry about fitting in, instead I had become a leader and my pack were fellow fitness-minded females.  I trained them and then hosted various health-related activities for them.
One of the things I loves about Flipside was my ability to now fully enjoy the holidays,
especially the many that Korea really doesn't give much recognition to.
Bi-weekly I hosted a Shopping for Abs event by which I'd load up my van with my crew and take them out of the downtown core to a massive fresh fruit and veggies market that I had made a deal with.  The market is moreso a kind of middle man for the trucks and smaller markets around town but I had worked my magic with them and gained entrance.  How could they resist the notion of me bringing in a van of fabulous foreign females?!  Exactly.
Fitness, sports and health, that's what the group focused on so trips to sporting events was a given.
Here are some of us at a baseball game where we came loud and proud with our prepared signs.
And here's us at a live horse racing event.
Boxing and personal training was the main physical training I coached them in but then I took it a step further and launched "ROBO Time" (Running Our Butts Off Time).  It was a running group that focused on newbies to the wonderful world of running and it was inspired by a particular member who was quite the notoriously fierce competitive runner.  We had gone to see her run and then we launched a running group so that others could join her in the various running competitions.
Christmas with Flipside Fitness was pretty awesome.  I had hosted a sleepover Christmas party at my apartment so I got to wake up and make them all Christmas morning breakfast before we enjoyed a Secret Santa gift event.
Flipside Fitness started off with me renting out the local boxing club, UP Boxing.  I had been training there for years and on the weekends it was closed so I hosted my boxercise classes on Saturdays and Sundays.  It was quick to evolve into something so much more than I anticipated though with it being sponsored by Adidas and me taking it to the next step -- opening up a training facility.
Hulk's Boxing was then created but with a male business partner and many of the men in the community wanting to join it, we then decided it'd be open to both women and men.  Flipside Fitness was then put on the shelf.  I took it off the shelf though when I moved to Canada.  
Flipside Fitness was the medium I used to reach others and make a difference but I don't know who was more affected, those involved or me.  It definitely opened me up to a whole new world and now I'm wanting to go back, back to the beginning when it was just my girls and me.  
Empowered women empower women and I want to be that 
empowered woman that empowers others... again.

Mapping Out My Week... Monday, June 19

  1. Get business cards printed up.
  2. Fine tune the write up and financials of my business plan.
  3. Get my main business mentor to present his business pitch to me, as an example.
  4. Pitch my business proposal to at least two people.
  5. Go location hunting with the real estate broker.
  6. Present my financials to another business mentor.
  7. Print out a copy of my business proposal.
  8. Go right into my pad work with Coach after sparring on Saturday.
  9. Learn how to count to ten in Tagalog (Filipino).
  10. Map out a new training schedule for myself.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Sundays in Makati are the Bestest of Best

Sunday #2 of checking out the local market and I'm loving it just as much as the first time.
I'm totally in love with this company -- Siklo Pilipinas -- and I've got my eye on a couple of their products that I want to one day buy.  
And then I came across this man's company.  He was making deep fried watermelon and icing them with his granny's secret icing recipe. I was treated to one and it was delish.  It's definitely a weird combo but it worked.  Can't say I'll be indulging in these too often though.  They'll kill my waistline.
This is more like it... fresh veggies.  Stocked up on them a numerous fruits.
I've decided that Sundays will be my one day off training -- no boxing and no weights -- so I headed down to the pool for some relaxation and light swimming.  Light swimming turned a bit competitive though, of course, when I was challenged to lap a particular swimmer.  I let him go to the halfway point and then I launched off the far end to race him.  Who do you think won?!  Need I really ask?!
Later in the evening I headed out for a light dinner party.
I've been doing a lot of mingling here in the Philippines, networking for my business.
Dinner was beautiful but oh that spicy chicken coconut soup was to die for!!!  Thankfully the other two at my table can't stomach spicy foods so I didn't have to share.

Making Connections... Sunday, June 18

I've been making the most random of cool business connections and networking links.  Today I met a man in the market and upon telling him what my business is he smiled and said "my mom's a fight doctor and she's looking to bring fighters here to the Philippines"... umm... yes, please.  Tell her to do that please and tell her to contact me!

At dinner tonight we discussed the next step for me with regards to my business planning.  This week I'll be pitching my business idea to a potential investor, a very successful man who has heard about my idea and is curious.  Tonight I sat down for dinner with a lady that works with him and we discussed it plus other things.  Dinner was then followed by what I joked as being a "sugar search" -- the search for the perfect dessert.  I had just had dinner with two individuals, one of which is a notorious foodie so you know the dinner was fabulous and dessert had to compete with the meal.  Mission a success.  Dinner then dessert and then a tour around of the possible locations this particular person searched out and thought would be perfect for my next business.  Right now it's a toss up between taking over an old used warehouse or a big old house.  Both are pretty awesome and both have their good points and bad points.  I love, love, LOVE the house idea but in my head, according to what I saw tonight, I think the old warehouse is winning.  You just can't beat the parking and those massive garage doors, fabulous.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Beat Down and Cool Beats

Stepped into the ring today with a new sparring partner.
We went three rounds only.
It was pretty cool to be stepping into the ring, in front of everyone at my new club.
I think it's safe to say I earned my respect at the club here today, sparring in this ring.
My opponent got a standing count in the second round and then we went for one more round.
Thanks to my coach, Coach Bogs, for taking me on as his new boxer and to my opponent 
and her coach for setting up today's sparring.  
As if the morning sparring and then added extra padwork with Coach Bogs didn't kill my arms enough, tonight I hit the weights for a second workout before heading out.
I got invited to a live music event tonight from DJ, a promotor, and it was held at a gorgeous hotel that hosts one of the coolest pools around -- I'M Hotel.  
The place was packed and they loved the event.
I sat in one of the "bird cages" on the deck, the orange one that you can see in a few pictures above.  But this is what the bird cage looked out onto, a pool that looked down on the city streets.  
This is the view of that same pool but from the street level.
The pool had a glass wall and a glass floor that both pedestrians walking by around and below 
it could look up and see.  It was absolutely fabulous!!!

One Wicked Kickoff for the Weekend... Saturday, June 17

With my 14oz gloves on, in the second round I worked my combos, going from head to body, body to head, and then the ref told us to break.  They gave my opponent a standing count.  She got a standing count and I got warned "not to hurt her".  

This was sparring.  

It was a bit weird being announced as "fighting out of Korea" but the whole sparring had already been hyped so much this week that I wasn't really surprised.  It was their leading female fighter against me, "the new girl".  I really didn't know what to expect in terms of the level of my opponent's technical skills and whatnot but their eagerness to get me to agree to fight her made it seem as if they were signing me up to get publicly embarrassed and put in my place.  

We went three rounds and, like I've always said, I always have respect and props for those who step into the ring.  She took a beating from me several times in the corner but kept on going and then even after the count she continued on.  That's dedication right there.  

I stepped out of the right after the sparring only to be given a few minutes break before Coach Bogs yelled at me to put my gloves back on and do pad work with him.  Back at Elorde, when I had sparring days, I was left to do my own training after sparring.  Apparently it's not the same here at Elite.  It was like a regular boxing session, which I should note is already gruelling enough as it is but with it being kicked off with sparring.  It made for a very brutal workout and I left feeling exhausted but on a high from the success of sparring and the reactions I got from not only the fellow fighters there but also the coach.  I was approached after sparring and asked if I wanted to sign for a fight. Ummm... hell yes!  

I spent a good chunk of my afternoon in lazy mode, lounging on the couch with Balboa on my tummy.

I was smart in that I headed out to pick up lunch right after sparring because once I got home and showered it was as if I had hit a brick wall.  My energy was spent.

Mustard up some energy in the early evening, got in a solid arm workout and then I headed out to a music event that a promotor had invited me to.  It was pretty awesome and I think I have found my new favourite Pinoy music group -- Lust Bass.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Cute Boys and Funny Boys

Not going to lie, I love this little boy so much it's pretty ridiculous.
And after a gruelling workout at boxing, it feels so good to come home, shower, eat and then flop on the couch for an afternoon nap with him.  I lay on the couch and he lays on me.  It's a perfect moment.
Was treated tonight to a live comedy show, "The Angry Indians".
There were several comedians performing today but I landed myself in the set of one particular comedian's set when he broke into song and decided to include me in it.  After his set he came to my table to introduce himself so we snapped this pic together.  

Fist and Funnies... Friday, June 16

I've only been training at my new club, Elite Boxing, for a week now but I've been repetitively asked by one of the coaches to spar with his leading fighter, a female boxer.  Today he approached me again and I accepted the challenge.  We spar tomorrow morning. 

Today I boxed and then I napped for a bit.

In the evening I attended a live comedy show I was given tickets too, that was pretty cool.  The show was called "Angry Indians" and honestly, at first, it was rather difficult trying to understand what the comedians were saying because of their thick accents, especially when they talked fast.  The show was good and I had my favourites but one thing that raised a lot of eyebrows were their continual jokes about drugs.  There were 5 comedians and it seemed like almost everyone of them made some kind of drug joke.  One even went so far as to call the crowd out and ask if anyone sold drugs amongst us.  "They do know people are getting shot here because of drugs, right?!" I commented to those at my table.  I personally think they had overstepped the boundaries with it and those sitting around me agreed.  Besides the awkwardness with that though the show was good.

As for the waitstaff and food... brutal.  The staff didn't know what they were doing, they couldn't keep track of what food went to what table and the food was super greasy.  I ordered spring rolls and they were more like grease rolls if you ask me.  I could only stomach one of the three and then I felt like my throat had become an oil slick.  I think the lack of service and questionable food definitely took away from the show.  It was so distracting watching the show while tables around me kept on waving to the waitstaff and complaining about this and that.

Despite the flaws in the event though it was a lot of fun.  I guess the waitstaff and food, as much as they distracted me, they kind of added to the amusement of the evening.  Sometimes you just have to sit back and laugh.  Don't take life so seriously.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Food is Fuel and the Way to My Heart

Yesterday I totally randomly discovered this awesome new restaurant -- Picnic.
Some workers were outside, offering samples, and who was I to say no to free food?!  Exactly.
Inside Picnic, there's 6 different little shops -- 1 coffee shop, 2 snack shops and 3 little restaurants.
Today I went in search of this place, Salad Stop.
My body is craving veggies so I Googled this place and headed over to it.
 The place was packed and for good reason too.  The food is super healthy and ultra delish!!!
I ordered the Cobb salad and got some spicy crab dressing added to it.
And then this happened... oh gosh.  I walked by a bakery and the smell oozed into the street.
I eat very healthy but bread is my kryptonite.  I love the carbs... the soft, warm, doughy carbs!!!
 Look at that... just look at that!!! Now tell me you can say no to that.
Trust me, if this were a scratch and sniff picture you'd be drooling right now!!!
 I couldn't resist so I gave in.
Pan de Coco is bread with coconut.  Usually the coconut is stuffed all nestled on the inside but this one looked more like a cinnamon bun and, again, who was I to say no to free food?!  Exactly.

Attacking The Numbers... Thursday, June 15

I'm the queen of procrastination when it comes to doing something that I need to do but don't want to do.  My business plan write up is pretty much 95% done with exception of one section I need to get more detail about and another section I'm waiting for someone else to add their input on.

...but the business financials.... urghhhhhh

I was given the task today of attacking and conquering my business financials.  I had till 10pm to finish.

At 2pm I sat down in front of the laptop to start plugging away on them.

At 3pm I actually started.

Four hours I finally finished them.  I knew they'd need tweaking but I didn't know where or what numbers would have to be altered.  I did them to the best I could and left them for my business mentor to review and help me adjust accordingly but they done to the best of my capability.

Does it feel good to have them done?!  Ummm... not really and I say that only because it looks like it's going to cost me a lot more than I had originally intended, like 50% more!  I was told that the rule of thumb for predicting the cost of construction here is to take your square meter space and times it by 20,000Php (Filipino peso), that's $570CDN per square meter.  I'm anticipating my space to be 418sq.ft (4,500sq.ft).  Do the math... and then pick up your dropped jaw! Yikes.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Smiles, Sweat and the Struggle to Hydrate

I did a commercial about Toronto about a year ago and today I got word from friends that it had finally aired.  How's that for ironcy?!  Right.  Ahhhh Toronto.  I love you.  I will forever love you but you're not what makes me on fire anymore.  Makati is the city for me.
Click HERE for the commercial link.
Back when I was visiting Toronto I noticed a trend circling among many of my friends -- these massive 2L water bottles.  A 2L bottle may be sufficient for Toronto but here in the Philippines I'd have to carry around a couple of them.  Hydration is both key and the biggest problem with training here and 2L just doesn't cut it.
No one snickered or giggled when I walked in with my 6L bottle.  Those training here know all too well the struggle against the heat and dehydration.  The struggle is real.
I was just finishing up training and packing my gear up when this beast of a man, a Muay Thai fighter, came walking into the club.  I stayed to watch him train for a bit.  Check out those tree trunks he calls legs!!!