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.

But now I'm back; back in Toronto, Canada. It's not 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, 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.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

No Rest, Only Gainzzzz

I was told something in my condo smelt, and then he went to use my bathroom.
It was my sweater, drenched from today's run.
I got in some serious training today -- swimming, weights and running -- so putting on pants was the last thing on my mind.  Not sure if putting on a sweater deemed my outfit "public appropriate" in my condo but I didn't care.  I had training to get to and the laps in the pool weren't going to do themselves.

Training Beside the Big Dudes... Sunday, March 26

Floor 20 of my building is where a foreign male pro basketball lives.  There's several that I run into every once in awhile -- one in my building, another one who I see in the streets riding around on a Segway PT, and a couple that train at my weight training gym -- and I often see their team van parked out front.  They stand out like a sore thumb because Filipinos are like the smallest of Asians and I'm pretty much average height.  Anyone over 5ft 7" is basically considered tall here so if you're walking around the streets at 6ft-whatever, well, you're a giant.  

At the gym today I ran into one of them and watched as he did box jumps and almost hit his head on the gym ceiling.  I tried to help the big guy out by suggesting him to move the exercise boxes to another spot on the floor, a spot where the ceiling opened up and was exposed.  I couldn't help but find it amusing and giggle but also envy him at the same time.  I'm a shorty; I've never had such a problem.  My problems have always been with not being tall enough, like for roller coaster rides and reaching cookies hidden in the top cupboard. 

The foreigners here are hard to categorize.  I live in Eastwood which is a part of Quezon City and it's not really a touristy city because it's not beachside or high posh.  Foreigners here are working here, not typically vacationing or visiting.  Most Filipinos here speak English so it's not like Korea where the majority of foreigners teach English.  Here in Eastwood, you have the expected "wife-hunting" men and they're pretty easy to pick out because they're usually older and their "girlfriend" is usually much younger and much, much better looking.  Then there are the foreigners here who are high end corporate workers, usually older men again.  They're usually here for a short stay, only for business.  I've only seen a few foreign females and they looked to be about my age but business women.  And then, as in the case of here in Eastwood, there are the basketball players.  

I don't see many foreigners here on a daily bases and honestly I like that.  Eastwood may not be the part of the Philippines I would have picked to moved to, I would have picked a much more rural area, but I like that it's not saturated with foreigners.  When I was out in Rockwell and Fort BGC last week, for every five Filipinos I saw there was 1 foreigner.   It may not be saturated with foreigners here but it is very Westernized, almost everyone speaks English or enough to get on by, and it was super easy to adapt to life here.  Eastwood is super newcomer-friendly.  It's clean, very pretty, and the people here are very sweet, workers call everyone Madame and Sir, and despite me being a foreigner, I'm not looked at differently or treated like I'm so different.  I feel comfortable here.

SIDE NOTE:  Yes, I know Sundays are usually my day off but this past week I attended two dinner parties plus the "Bite Me" food festival so the guilt of rushing my workouts and jamming them together into one long session as oppose to two split sessions got to me so I canceled my rest day for this week.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

A Packed, Fed, Happy Crowd

Back out to BGC today for a street festival hosted by a friend of mine.
It was a food festival, called "Bite Me', so there were food vendors galore.
 You had me at "food", seriously.  I was lured in by so many vendors offering free samples.
 But the vendor that really won my heart was Bros & Buns.
And as if the burger wasn't enough to fall head over heels in love with, they had packaged up my
delish burger in the cutest of take-out holders.  Loved it... loved ALL of it!!!
There was a ton of food and an equally large crowd of people.
I totally photo bombed this particular Filipino doing a model shot and then I snapped a picture of one of the cutest little Hola girls I've ever seen.  She and her little gal pal Hula friend definitely stole the show.
 Lots of food, fun, people and beautiful weather... sounds like a pretty awesome Saturday to me!

Bite Me... Saturday, March 25

One of my friends is quite the busy-body business lady, she's like the jack of all trades socialite and she asked me to attend an event she was hosting in Forte BGC, a posh city located about 30 minutes from Eastwood, my city.  The event is a food festival called "Bite Me" and, well, you know I'm all about food so off to BGC I headed.

Tasted the bestest of best burgers E-V-E-R!!!  The Assassin by Bros & Burger.  I can't even begin to explain just how delish it was in my mouth... The lightness of the bun, the grilled perfection of the beef patty, and then the wasabi bite that lingered in your mouth after you took a champ-of-a-bite of it.  Seriously, it was a pretty epic burger!

I indulged in an ice cream cookie sandwich minus it being an actual sandwich, my choice.  It was way too hot and I knew it'd leave me looking like a hot mess with ice cream down the front of me and caramel sauce oozing all over the place.  It was a good dessert but not note-worthy epic like The Assassin burger.

Heading out to the festival made for a long day and I returned home with my left foot absolutely throbbing.  I think I have plantar fasciitis in the one foot, a bad case of it too.  I lay in bed at night and my foot starts twitching because I'm off my feet finally and the ligament starts to tighten up.  Honestly, it doesn't hurt when I'm boxing because I tend to box more so on the balls of my feet and toes.  It's when I slip into sandals or just flats that it starts to hurt because then the ligament is being stretched.

Because of the festival, I headed into the gym for a double dose of training -- weight training followed by an intense session of running on the treadmill.  I felt like I had burned a couple of million trillion calories and I left looking like I had ran a marathon because of just how nasty sweaty I got.  Getting in a solid 2hr workout in the late morning though meant I had the rest of my day free to enjoy the festival and that's exactly what I did.

Friday, March 24, 2017

The Lights and Prettiness of Fort BGC

Headed out of town to the beautiful city of Fort BGC -- Bonifacio Global City, and was treated to dinner.
Dinner consisted of various equally delish dishes but the one that stood out, beyond the potato bombs that is, was the black rice.  It's actually dyed rice, using the ink from squid.  Very cool, ultra delish.
BGC is rather too posh and too pretty for me.  It reminds me of Yorkville in Toronto if Yorkville was spread out and consisted of blocks upon blocks of commercial buildings and sky high condos.
 Add the palm trees and, well, sorry Toronto but BGC beats your Yorkville!
But I still think my Eastwood beats BGC.  I like BGC but it always feels good to return to 
my home-away-from home, Eastwood.

Pondering an Opportunity... Friday, March 24

It's been suggested to be by numerous people now the idea of me opening my Second Dream here in the Philippines as oppose to Canada.  And I have a growing list of women telling me they'd join my business in a heart beat.  It's all flattering but to tell you the truth I didn't give it much of a thought until tonight.

For the first time since I've been here I actually pondered the idea.

Open my Second Dream here in the Philippines. Things that make you go hmmm...

In Korea I had the fame, fortune and made connections that riding both my name and Snickers' name blessed me with when it came to opening a business.  I'm not known in the Philippines but am in Canada, not as much as in Korea though.  But in terms of connections, I've come to the conclusion that I have way more here than in Canada.  My business would do well here in the Philippines but the question is do I really want to live here year round?

What's in Canada that's not here in the Philippines?
My friends and the comfort of feeling "at home".

I'd like to say my family but I've been in Canada for over a year and a half and really haven't met up with many of them.  Plus, I do have my adopted family here and they're well in the double digits plus they're so much different than my blood family in Canada.

This past week I was asked if I'd be able to stay another month in the Philippines and tonight I was asked if I'd be relocating here.  I've always responded with a giggle and a smile to the issue but tonight I laid in my bed thinking about it.  I already have my dog here, Balboa.  Over a year and a half ago I was given only two suitcases to pack up my life of 11 years (in Korea) and move (to Canada).  I packed one suitcase coming here to the Philippines, perhaps that's all I need.  Me moving from Canada to Korea was to explore and expand myself.  My move from Korea to Canada was taking back my freedom, safety and sanity.  Perhaps a move to the Philippines would be to create a future.  It'd be a clean slate all over again.

It's just a thought I'm pondering.  Don't read too into it.  I'm not opposed to the idea of never returning to Canada, just saying.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Struggle for Patience

Laugh as you may at the sight of Balboa totally flopped out here on the couch. 
He is exactly like me and this is exactly how I spent the first two hours of my day, flopped on the couch only I didn't have anyone snapping pics of me like him.
Once I got my day going though I was in full swing action mode.  I got in a solid fasted cardio session done at the gym this morning, did some swimming, and then I killed it with a solid weight training session.

I posted this above picture on Instagram and Facebook because lately I've been struggling with patience.  It never really was a quality of mine but it's really gone MIA since I arrived in the Philippines.  I'm killing it at training, seriously killing it.  I don't think I could possibly train any harder.  I'm ending training with bloody knuckles, swollen muscles and aching bones and I'm eating super clean, cooking pretty much all my meals.  I really thought I'd come here and get shredded like it's nobody's business and super fast because my training is more intense, my meals are cleaner, I'm able to sleep longer and better, and my stress is much lower.  

But it's not happening like that and my patience is getting tested.  Results are happening but the speed at which they're happening had really started to stress me out.  Today I decided to put my eagerness for results on the back burner and just focus on the process, not the results.  And you know what, I actually enjoyed training today and after weights I looked at myself in the mirror and it was the first time in awhile I was honestly proud of how my body looked.

Patience, it's not my friend but I'm trying to practice making it.

Cutest Conversation Ever... Thursday, March 23

With the high of yesterday's boxing and the dinner party, I decided to bask in thoughts of it....

Okay, so I got lazy with getting up today.  It's true.  But I was still very much on a high from all the awesomeness of what went down yesterday.

It took me a full two hours to get my lazy Polish butt out of the door and out to training.  Fasted cardio on a grumbling tummy, I don't recommend it but I killed it.  I walked in with my bed head and layers on, knowing full well that I'd be walking out with sweaty hair pasted to my head and my sweater dripping with gym nasty sweat.

Headed to the pool in early afternoon for a swim and had the cutest encounter ever with an adorable boy sporting curly locks.  It was sparked when I noticed his inflatable tube was drifting into the pool and his nanny had told him he wasn't allowed in there alone.  He had to stay in the children's shallow pool so I called out to him and offered to retrieve it.  Here's the conversation that went down.
ME:  Excuse me cutie, do you want me to get your tube?
HIM:  Yes,... Yes, please!
[Retrieved the tube by swimming out to it and then swimming to him standing poolside]
ME:  There you go.
HIM:  Are you a mermaid?
ME:  Hahaha... No, I'm not a mermaid.
HIM:  You're the coolest mermaid I've ever met!
ME:  And you're the coolest little boy I've ever met!
[The little boy then sees my sandals, grabs them and then runs in the direction of the security.  He thought someone had forgotten them.]
ME:  No... Wait, those are mine!!!
HIM:  Yours?!
ME:  Well, kind of... They're my dog's! [pointing to Balboa under my lawn chair]
Hey, who was I to tell this little cutie that mermaids don't exsit, right? Right.  I only have two questions though, just how many mermaids has this little guy met and why didn't I when I was his age meet any mermaids?!  When I was his age, I believed in the tooth fairy and unicorns but not mermaids.  Perhaps the strangest thing I believed in was doppelgangers, I was totally spooked at the thought of them, and sasquatches, of which I used to believe one lived in the creek by my house and that's why my parents never allowed me there by myself.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

From Gym Nasty to Glam

Killed it at training today... absolutely killed it... and even managed to sneak a pic of 
my coach, Coach Garry, before leaving Elorde Boxing.
 Killed it with cleaning up too... absolutely killed it, or at least I think I did.
Slipped into a simple black summer dress for tonight's dinner party.
It was a lot more fancy-pants than I expected.
The home it was hosted at was absolutely gorgeous!!!
I felt so spoiled sitting there.  My knuckles may have been all scratched up and 
red from boxing but it was a good thing I wore a dress.
Indoor poolside eating, nice.
 And what's a dinner party without dessert... temptation galore!!!

A Night to Remember... Wednesday, March 22

Back to reality today -- double dose training.  I had boxing in the morning and weight training in the afternoon but with an evening dinner party out of town for me to attend I had but just enough time in between boxing and weights to take a shower and catch my breath.  But I did have just enough time to get in a swim, just a short swim.  Did the whole jump into the pool right after boxing thingy again which meant I arrived at the condo pool soaking wet from training, took off my baseball cap and sweater, then jumped in.  Super refreshing!!!

I was invited out to a house dinner party tonight so I got dolled up for that and showed up super hungry.  I was told beforehand that the food at this particular house party would be "like none other here in the Philippines" so with only a protein shake in me after two and a half hours of training, I gambled on their word being legitite.  

They definitely didn't lie.  The food was exceptionally amazing.

I had roast beef that tasted like no other roast beef and I don't really like roast beef.  And don't even get me started on the bread pudding and a Filipino cheese bread they served with coffee after the meal. It was a sensory overload of delishness and the only problem was not having a big enough tummy to eat it all.  

The dinner party was set at this overly elaborate and ultra gorgeous house out of town.  I arrived at the front gate, walked in and then knocked on an oversized door.  The door then opened and I was instantly greeted to shiny tiled floor, grand pictures and a stunning chandelier.  The place was stunning.  I was then escorted into the family room where all the ladies of tonight's dinner party were gabbing and giggling on a massive couch.  The one side of the room's wall was glass and it looked out to the indoor pool that sat between the family room and the kitchen.  The house help were out there lining a set up table with catering-style dishes and trays for tonight's meal.  It was so unreal.  

As for the men at the dinner party, they were upstairs, checking out the head of the house's basketball card collection.  It's an impressive, to say the very least, collection that carries over from one room of the house to another and one that is insured for more money than I'll probably ever see in my lifetime.  

The food was fabulous, the house was gorgeous and the company was beautiful.  I had come there totally not expecting any of this beyond meeting more of my adopted family and discussing business but it was awesome.  I left the dinner party late in the evening.  I left with my tummy full and my heart full.  I didn't realize my adopted family was as big as it is and I definitely didn't realize just how beautifully sweet they are.  They're solid, solid people.  

Tonight was pretty epic.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

With My Nose Deep in the Pages

The sporty me took a rest today and instead the lover of books came out to play.
 Today I kicked up my heels and geeked out on a book.

More Mom in My Life... Tuesday, March 21

I did absolutely nothing today.  Well, that's not entirely true.  I ate, slept, breathed, took a few bathroom breaks... You get the point.  I did "nothing" in that I didn't do any training.

No boxing.
No running.
No swimming
No weight training.

Instead, with the condo curtains closed shut, my feet up on the coffee table, and Balboa sleeping beside me, I curled up to a good book and read almost the entire thing.

...not before I got in a good massage that is.  I'm pretty sure that tiny little Filipino masseuse dislocated my left index finger, seriously.

"The Five Languages of Love", a book that I had spotted on my mom's shelf back at my old house, a book I've heard much talk about, and a book that had found its way into my carry on bag.  Opened it up and read it today, almost from cover to cover.  It was an interesting book, it seemed to definitely clear up and make sense of some previous "relationship mishaps" of past but I must admit I got a bit distracted and overly focused on all the highlighted passages within the pages.  This was originally my mom's book; she had highlighted the passages.  On one hand it was super interesting to focus in on what particular passages spoke to my mom, which ones she had labelled as more important, but on the other hand it made me feel a bit uneasy and a tad bit uncomfortable when it discussed more intimate "stuff" because I was reading what my mom had read.  My mom, a person that up until her laying on her death bed she had always been "mom" and not my the love of my father's life, a women who had fallen in love with my dad.  

Monday, March 20, 2017

Back to Boxing

With the weekend over, thank God, I resumed training hard at the boxing club.
Back to killing it at training and being killed at training.
 ...but happily doing so.
Returned home to this beautiful little boy, who loves me regardless of just how gym nasty sweaty I get.

Executive Decisions... Monday, March 20

The bank doesn't seem to agree with my bank card so I had to make some executive decisions based on what limited cash I had on hand.

I had just come from boxing so I was already slipping into hangry mode.

Soap or coffee... Picked the cheapest soap so I could get both.
But then I saw peanut butter.
[enter a 10 minute inner debate between the sweaty, boxed-till-exhaustion me]
Peanut butter or soap and coffee.... soap and coffee.

I needed a shower.  I had just returned from boxing so that need for soap was big.

My wifi was MIA today, it tends to do this a lot because going to Global for wifi was the BEST DECISION E.V.E.R... [note that's me being totally sarcastic here.  If Global was a person I'd punch them in the crotch, seriously!]. So with my wifi MIA, thanks Global, I headed out to Starbucks to milk their wifi.  One problem though, I only had 20Php on me and a coffee there is at least 120Php.  Scanned the condo, checked under all the couch cushions and then checked all pants pockets.  Resorted to robbing the coin dish in the bedroom.  

Bought an Americano, 120Php, with only 5Php coins.  Nice.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

In the Middle of No Where Ville

Headed to the countryside for yet another birthday.
 This younging at the table turned an impressive 92 today, congrats.
My attention span towards the food offered and staying in the house didn't last too long though and off I went venturing down the random neighbouring streets.  That's when I found this.
It's a random Crossfit gym tucked away on the back corner random lot of a random street.
It wasn't open though, they're closed on Sundays apparently, so I didn't get to actually check it out.
 My interest back at the house were all the four-legged friends.
It was a nice drive out there and I liked venturing the streets but it was nice to return to Eastwood. 

Country Bound... Sunday, March 19

Headed out of town for yet another birthday -- Grandpa No turned 92.  The Filipinos have it right, apparently.  The secret to living a long life is living in the Philippines.  It's a land of short people but of super friendly, ultra hardworking people.  Everyone works in this country, even many of the little kids.  Ok, so some of those little kids are running into traffic and begging at car windows, a sad fact I wish they didn't have to do.  Despite this though, I feel like the Philippines is a poor country but a happy one, perhaps the secret to their long life is appreciating that which they have, and they're a country of people who don't expect easy handouts.  

The poor and homeless here definitely contrast with those in Toronto, Canada... Wow.   

Even the street cats don't beg here.  But the seagulls and squirrels in Canada... Oh gosh.

But anyways... Am getting off topic here.

I was taken to Angeles City today, a city that to me felt like a corner of the Philippines where no other foreigner has yet to venture.  It was super rural but I loved it.  Grandpa No's house is set on a property that's pretty big, big enough for three houses... and SEVEN dogs!!!  

Seven dogs and a whack of family, that's what my day consisted of.

I anticipated a lot of meat, noodles and cola being served up but I didn't expect the seven dogs, that was great, nor did I expect to meet probably the tallest Filipino I'll ever meet, that was pretty cool too.  He's a volleyball player with a beautiful dog named Blue.  I think the guy was something like 6ft 6".  

I didn't eat much of the meat nor the noddles but I did pretty much hoard the watermelon and eat my weight in it and the fresh mini bananas.  We had stopped at Starbucks beforehand, I thought I'd grab some food there to hold me over and a coffee.  Starbucks in Canada and Starbucks in the Philippines, it was the same thing until I went to this particular Starbucks and was left choking on what tasted like powder milk and a cappuccino that was missing caffeine.   

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Loading Up and Killing the Calories

Felt like such a local today, walking to the end of town where the street vendors are.
See that massive pile of questionable food, those are bananas.  
Bananas wrapped in a kind of fried bread casing.  Not exactly healthy but yummy.
 I've been told I'll be trying a particular street food, on a later day.  
It's basically an unhatched chick... oh fun.
Me with my fried banana.  
I thought my shirt was ironically appropriate here though I never did get any BBQ food.
After indulging in street food like that it was only appropriate I kill those added calories with training.

Street Food and Added Looks... Saturday, March 18

Hmmm.... What did I do today?!....

I did fasted cardio before breakfast.
Got treated to a foot massage at my condo... Yeah for that.  My left foot is throbbing!
Nap time.
Went and searched out some Filipino street food.
Went for a swim in the pool -- 20 laps with my new swimming goggles.
Weight training at the gym -- upper body and abs.
Worked on my homepage and responded to business/fan mail over coffee.

Filipinos are pretty small and by small I mean short.  Most are small too, as in petite and compact. You don't really see many big sized Filipinos, both tall or wide, but then again I haven't really seen too many buff or toned ones either.  There's skinny and then there's muscular lean.  Skinny Filipinos, yes, but the muscular lean are really only at the gym.  Today I was commented to after someone noted I was working the same weight as another gym goer, a male gym goer that is.  I'm kind of used to it now, lifting the same weight as the dudes here, but I'm starting to feel a bit too muscular for the Philippines.  

When Filipinos look at me I feel they don't see me as ugly because of my look -- the half shaved head, tattoos and athletic body -- but they don't also see me as really pretty either.  I don't think I'm pretty either, for argument's sake, I think I'm cute but I think my look confuses them a bit.  Some are confused where as others look at me and ponder if I'm a celebrity, because of my unique look.  I asked my Filipino buddy the other day what Filipinos thought of my look and he admitted that he's a bit confused but thinks I'm "still a very pretty girl".  In Korea my look made me feel ugly whenever Koreans looked at me and it wasn't so much because of the hair but instead because I was more muscular than the average women.  Korean women tend to want super lean arms and equally lean legs... Long, lean legs.  My legs are short and stocky because I weight train and only stand in at 5ft 2".  But here in the Philippines, I'm pretty much the average height here so that's pretty awesome.  

Friday, March 17, 2017

Sea Side for Boxing

The sea,... I see the sea!!!
Headed sea side today for a night of live, action-packed boxing bouts.
The bouts took place at the Mall of Asia.
 It's a massive mall that looks out on to the sea, sweet.
 And talking about sweet, my friend showed up!!!
And to add more sweetness to the sweet, he got us down on the ground floor of the fights.
 Tonight's fights were rough and tough, filled with lots of hard hits and lots of blood.
 I was particularly impressed with this fierce female fighter so afterward I scored a pic with her.
In the first minute of the first round she totally dominated and destroyed her opponent, leaving her opponent to the mercy of the ref's stoppage to save her.  
Beside me sat the current number one ranked Filipino super lightweight, Jheritz Chavez.
He looked pretty calm, cool and collected so I had my doubts about him fighting 
because he didn't exactly warm up so much.
Regardless, he gave a wicked fight, put on a huge show, and the crowd absolutely loved it.
He came in dominating his opponent and then his opponent came back, but in the 
end it was Chavez who proved to be the better fighter.
Ended the eventful evening, the boxing-packed day, with some Korean food.
I've been holding off on eating Korean food since I left Korea, over a year and a half ago now, but tonight I decided to introduce a special someone to the wonderful world of Korean food.