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.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Slay, Slay, Slay all the Way

The long wait has finally ended.  
My delivery of Slay gear was stopped at customs so I had to go and rescue it.
 It was worth the wait but I'll never admit that to my supplier because customers 
and I were going absolutely bonkers having to wait so long for it!!!
First sight of the final version of the Empowered Slay wraps... love, love, LOVE them.
 Did I say I love them?!  Ya... I love them!!!

Unexpected Awesomeness... Monday, August 20

Today a man, whom I've never met, reached out to me about his children, whom I've also have never met.  They want to help me with my Lil' Sistas Project.  I've talked to their father before, the man, but it was just via Facebook messenger.  We know some common people but have never actually met face-to-face and he's not in the Philippines right now nor are his kids.  Correction, his young teenagers.

He told me about how his two teens have been following my journey via social media and have come to learn about my Lil' Sistas Project.  They have quite the survival story themselves and give to charity but they apparently are particularly interested in helping the Lil' Sistas Project.  I thought them helping out meant they'd buy a Lil' Sista Hoodie or Empowered Cap but, as it turns out, they want to donate a chunk of their own personal savings.

[This is where you melt right here, just like how I did when I read it.]

Honestly, I was so thrown off and so touched; I could have cried.  

Not a lot of people have been buying my Lil' Sista Hoodies or Empowered Caps so raising money has been hard and it's been discouraging but I haven't given up.  I've had a lot of people offer to volunteer or companies offer random things but right now my goal is really raising money so I can get them boxing gloves and then take them to a boxing club.  I really want to wow these girls and make them feel fierce and unstoppable.  I want to build up their confidence and give them hope, and that's exactly what boxing has done for me.  It's also a means of stress relief for many of them as well as a means of getting out their aggression and getting them to harness their emotions and power.

Later this week these two teenagers are going to be calling me.  They asked if they could call me and I'm absolutely flattered and thrilled with their request.  Now if only I could figure out how to reach them through the phone and give them a big, grand hug.

Faith in humanity, definitely renewed.  Thank you Boss Dad, H and T!!!

Sunday, August 19, 2018

One Long Sunday

All work and no play made for a very long Sunday.
Okay, so there was a little bit of play... distraction, I guess I should say. 

I'm On My Own... Sunday, August 19

Despite what people may think, I don't exactly have the support of my family regarding me living in the Philippines and running my own business.  They didn't want me living in Korea for so long and now they don't like me living here.  I know that when I left Korea, they really thought they "had me back", but then I left again. 

I called my dad tonight, to wish him a happy anniversary, and it turned into him asking me to move back to Canada.  I have absolutely no interest in moving back to Canada except to be an Auntie to my nieces, a daughter to my dad, and a friend to my close friends.  I don't see a future for me in that country in terms of pursuing my dreams and building my brand.  I'm a foreigner here and I think I prefer it that way.  I think I like being the so-called "odd ball) and I find life is safer and more interesting for me here.  When I hear about shootings on the weekly in Toronto and how a random car drove down the sidewalk and killed people where I used to live during university, I feel uncomfortable to think about how the city I once loved and once called home now gives me a bit of the creeps. 

My dad's argument about wanting me to move back home is all about family and he questions why I don't want to be around it.  In between Korea and the Philippines though, I was back in Canada and I very rarely saw family because it was always me commuting way out of my way to see them.  They lived in the sticks and I lived in the city or they were too busy doing this or that.  I get it.  I lived out of the country for well over a decade now.  Cousins have started their own families and life continued when I was gone.  Things I used to do with them were filled in with other people or were passed up.  I'm not offended.  The same happened with my life too.  

I called my dad also to tell him that I'm not visiting for Christmas.  I knew telling him would only reinforce his dislike with me living here and starting my next business so I kept it out of the conversation.  I don't come from a family of entrepreneurs.  My parents had very safe jobs as did my oldest brother.  My middle brother and I were the exception to the family genes of playing it safe.  He got up and suddenly moved to New York after college, to follow his passion of photography, and after university I left everything and everyone, including an ex-fiance, and moved to Korea to follow my passion of learning a new culture.  We both haven't moved back to Canada since.  

How long do I plan on living in the Philippines?  Till death do us part, that's the truth.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Party Time in the Fort

Got all dolled up tonight for a 70's-inspired 60th birthday party. 

It was a birthday party unlike anything I've ever seen in my entire life, seriously.
The party kicked off with some professional dancers busting a move on the dance floor.
This was definitely a fully-invested birthday party celebration.
At one point, the wall beside my table lifted up and revealed the chefs cooking away.
This put on this wild dance show and then we got to enjoy their amazing food.
I didn't want tonight's meal out to be my cheat meal so I decided to snap pictures of my food.
 I figured that if I shot pics of what I was eating, I'd be less likely to eat "dirty" and indulge.
 I ate fairly clean but then I ventured to the dessert area.
...after this soft-serve chocolate ice cream, I stopped taking pictures.  I had a bit of frozen vanilla yogurt with fresh mangoes but didn't snap it.  Overall though, I did very, very well. 

Pushing for the Next Phase... Saturday, August 18

I met with that man today.  It was a good meeting.   He offered his commercial space but I said no.  He wants me to go see it and I will but I will stick to my no.  He also wants to work with me regarding my Lil' Sistas Project and so that's awesome.  He runs a cooking show and teaches kids to cook so that's a positive potential right there.  My only concern would be the privacy of some of the Lil' Sistas, given that some of them are runaways.  There may be issues regarding showing their faces on TV so I'll definitely have to talk to Sister W about it.  

I've come to the conclusion that for the next phase of Empowered, I don't want any help from my investors.  I don't want to have them involved unless it's to loan me money.  I do need money, I need a chunk of it, but I rather borrow it and pay it back with interest than offer part of my business, a percentage of it or it's revenue, in exchange for it.

For the next phase of Empowered, I'm looking at needing about 75,000Php and that includes equipment and rent.  It only includes one month rent though where as my other business plans have a security of 6 months worth of rent included into them.  My rent, if I get the place I'm currently looking at, would only require me to get three clients.  I currently have those three clients, so technically my rent is already covered.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Long Day of Boxing

Chillaxing as I weight for my client.  Client #2 for today.
When clients don't like that morning's food, they bring it to me.
Two extra orders of pancakes for me... thanks, I love it!!!
It's been a long day already -- up at 6am, out the door at 7:30am, coaching till 11:30am
and then my own boxing at 12:30pm.
Today's boxing, fuelled by the extra pancakes my client brought me... nice. 
Focused... on boxing, on training hard, on my next meal. 

A Generous Proposal... Friday, August 17

Tonight I was notified that a certain gentleman that I've only met once wants to extend to me a business proposal.  He's offering me use of his commercial space in exchange for 10% of my business revenue.  I saw the floor plan of the place and it's quite massive; it's much bigger than I currently need at this moment.  It's over 600sqm and it'd be great for the next, next phase of Empowered but not this next phase I'm working on.  

Tomorrow I have a meeting with him. 

From what I know of him, he's a very wealthy man.  A man that served in the military and comes from a well-off man but he's also a man that so generously gives back to charity and does a lot for the community.  A well respected man.  I'm eager to sit down with him tomorrow though I don't think I'm so deserving of his generosity nor am I really sure on why me, why does he want to extend such generosity to me in particular.  Tomorrow I'll find out.  

Thursday, August 16, 2018

A Full Day of Empowerment

And so it started... the first coffee of the day.
Had a meeting regarding the Lil' Sistas Project at Holy Family Home.
It's interesting how this is just down the street from where I live, my condo, but I've never ventured here.
It's a side of BGC that even BGC doesn't advertise about, a poorer side of town.
It's where Holy Family Home is located and it's where I'm soon to be a familiar face as I continue my work for them and with them.  I happen to like the area; it's so full of life and the food stands and all the fresh fruit they sell here for bargain prices is absolutely wonderful.
Stickers... oh no, we might have a problem.  I'm a bit of a recovering sticker-junkie!!!
Finally picked up my passport today.  Remember when I realized right before my birthday I was almost illegal here, well, I dropped off my passport, paid for my visa to be extended, but then totally forgot about picking it up again, until today that is.
Worked out in the evening, getting in a solid upper body workout that I know I'm going to feel tomorrow because, leaving the gym, I already was feeling it!

Lil' Sista Project Meeting... Thursday, August 16

As I approached Holy Family Home, the residence of my Lil' Sistas, a group of girls behind me recognised me and came running at me.  And, with arms wide open and screaming my name, they all hugged me.  They were the Lil' Sistas!!!  It was such a grand welcome and I honestly couldn't have had a better one.  Instantly my heart swelled bigger than my chest walls.  I was so happy.

I had a meeting today with one of the Sisters, to discuss my plans and to tell her all the fabulous news about the Lil' Sista Project.  She was quite impressed with how I had this idea and have really ran with it.  I really have sprinted far with it, it's kind of crazy.  I now have two companies that have sponsored the Lil' Sista Project and another company that's looking to make a large financial donation.  It's a bit overwhelming, just how much support I've been getting but it's super awesome how others really want to help.  I really need to sell those Lil' Sista Hoodies and the Empowered Caps though.  They won't actually be produced until the pre-orders have been made, but on August 24th I'll be sending the number off to my manufacturer and I need there to be at least 26 items sold.  One hoodie or one cap sold buys one pair of gloves for the girls.  Right now there are 23 girls but Holy Family Home takes in up to 26 girls.  My goal is to get them all gloves.  Selling the hoodies and caps will get me these gloves.

I can't think right now of what will happen if I don't sell enough hoodies or caps.

If push comes to shove, I'll buy them myself.  They need them more than I need my money.

Sharing all my ideas and stories with Sister W, she then told me some more stories of the girls residing at Holy Family Home.  There's a little girl there that just recently they rescued from her family who was keeping her from returning and making her beg on the street.  She was told she had to make 150Phps a night and was beaten when she didn't make that.  I don't know if you know what 150Phps is but that's equivalent to less that $4CDN.  Four dollars, not even, that's how much she gets beaten by her mom if she doesn't make that money begging.  That's the story many of these girls have, similar ones that'd break your heart and want you to hug every single one of them.  

I have to applaud Sister W.  She's this adorable little cutie with such a big heart.  I think to be doing the job and taking on the responsibility that she and the other Sisters here have, you have to really have a big heart, one that's resilient to heartbreak and has a huge passion for helping others.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Pushing To Make The Dream Happen

 I love boxing and I love boxing here but I can't wait till I'm coaching at my own place.

Of course it'll mean that I won't have these silly coaches to play around with at training, but it'll also mean I won't have to carry all my gear and overdose on cardio just to get to the club.
Local company that reached out to me tonight, at a special event hosted at The Refined.
They want to sponsor the Lil' Sistas Project and provide us with healthy snacks for the girls which is so awesome and so generous.  Thank you!!! 

After the event, I had to do some business errands at Market Market.  I was running on empty so I decided to treat myself to some much-loved Korean banana milk... and some new tops.  
Chopped the tops up and viola, new tank tops for training!!!
Late night helping bring back some life into Mr. Bull with Balboa eagerly waiting 
for the "surgery" to be done so he can resume playing with him.

Little Bit of a Vent... Wednesday, August 15

I got passed up for a sponsorship from a new company the other day because I didn't "fit" the image they're looking for.  Today I found out who did and, when I made the connection, I wasn't surprised.

I don't think I'm skinny and I don't think I'm sexy.  I don't aim to be either of those.

I do, however, aim to look strong and badass.  I want to walk into a room and people know that there's a fierce presence about me, a confidence, to a certain extent too a certain hardness, and I want my look to reflect that too with regards to being more muscular than the average girl.  I want when people look at me, they know I work out and they remember my look. 

I was approach about a month back regarding possible influences I could work with to help strengthen my brand and build Empowered.  Three of the four I wasn't interested in.  They were skinny and skinny doesn't necessarily mean you're healthy.  So many people here are skinny, like the construction dudes, and it's because they don't eat enough and work too hard.  I don't do skinny.  Empowered and me aren't about skinny.  We're about solid badasses, point blank.  The one influencer that I did like however had thick thighs and sculpted shoulders.  She lifts weights and even plays rugby.  

Back to this company though, the one that initially wanted to sponsor me but then backed down.  I'm cool with it, honestly.  I don't fit their image and they don't fit what I nor my company, Empowered, represents.  I'm not girl-hating and I'm not skinny-shaming, but I had their bodies when I was 12.  I also had no muscle when I was 12 and I sure as hell don't care to look like I'm 12 again.   I also don't like when companies jump on words like "skinny" or sell their product as if it's the next big thing or something that can get them fast results.  Weight loss and getting strong and healthy isn't like that.  It's a lifestyle.  That's why I'm so incredibly anti-shakeology.  I mean, it's a quick fix but nothing sounds more ridiculous that drinking most of your meals.  If you want to kill your social life and rule out dinner dates and dinners with friends, start with only having meals from your blender.  It's not sustainable.  Even I only have a protein shake maybe once a day or once every two days and that's after boxing, when I then have an hour walk home and need an extra boost because I just walked there and killed a two hour workout.

I think I totally got off topic here, sorry...

So ya, I didn't get sponsored but then again I'm sponsored by a pretty respectable name here and soon I'll be signing a contract because they don't want me to go with anyone else and that's perfectly fine with me because they fit me perfectly.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Lots of Empowered Gear Being Tried and Tested

Product test day -- testing out the new potential gloves for the Lil' Sistas!!!
The gloves were super snug but then again, they are made for a child's hand.  They felt exactly like the ones I fight using in my pro bouts and my hands were flying as I threw the punches wearing these!
 From my boxing to coaching boxing.  I had to pack a lot of gear for tonight's BoxHIIT Camp.
 There was that bitter sweet moment when I unpacked all my stuff and realized that all these gloves were going to a new home now.  Six of them now belong to KMC and 1 pair was purchased by one of my long time clients who, as I just realized it tonight, has trained with me at pretty much every location I've coached at here in the Philippines with the exception of Lokal Hostel!
And there you have it, my new crew for the BGC BoxHIIT Camp, Round 2.
They were a pretty awesome group of woman and I totally applaud them for their fierce efforts!

Product Reviewing... Tuesday, August 14

I must admit, it was pretty cool to be doing a product review on a product I made myself.  Okay, so technically I didn't make it with my own hands but I did design it and then my manufacturer in Pakistan brought it to life.  That's still super cool to me.  I didn't really think it too through though because in bringing such a small glove to boxing, I risked not even being able to use it.  It was, after all, made for a child and I don't exactly have child-like hands.  So I wrapped up my hands and then slipped into the gloves.  Except there was no "slipping", there was pushing and wiggling, jamming and pulling.  Those gloves, woozers, they made for a tight fit with my hands all wrapped and padded.  I managed to get them in and so started the product review.

Love, love, LOVED them... seriously.  I think I might actually use them for my own training, just wrap my hands up different though.

In the evening, a product review was given by the ladies I coached at tonight's BoxHIIT Camp.  I had brought seven pairs of gloves to training.  All were officially sold and no longer to be sitting in my house, waiting for a forever home. 

Yes, I know they're "only" gloves but they're like my baby.  I've been working on those specific gloves since November, that's 9 months ago.  I have a friend who in that time got pregnant and is about to give birth.  She made a human in 9 months, I made gloves, both of us are having "babies".

The ladies I trained tonight liked my gloves and I was quite happy with that.  They've been made with the Filipina's hand in mind, a hand that is much smaller and thinner than Western girl hands.  I asked them if their hands sat snug in the glove or if they wiggled around and all said the gloves were quite snug so that was right on par with the design of them. 

I have officially sold all the gloves in the first delivery and this week I'm getting more but already many of them are spoken for, very cool. 

Monday, August 13, 2018

Rocking the Rainy Weather

 Rainy day kisses for Balboa as we stand in the rain, me hugging him.
Random public posing, sporting the Empowered Slay line.
I'm wearing the Lil' Sista Hoodie, he's wearing the Empowered Cap.  
Both items made solely to fund the Lil' Sista Project and getting those Lil' Sista some gloves.

I'm All Natural... Monday, August 13

Decided to give myself the day off boxing.

I headed out to Makati today to coach my personal training client and then I returned to BGC to work on Empowered and then to be treated to an afternoon movie date... then to resume working on Empowered.

Tomorrow I'll go boxing.

Today I was approached about clenbuterol, steroids.  Correction, a steroid-like chemical.  I don't take them nor have I ever but it was somewhat suggested to me, or merely a thought for me to ponder over.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Going Loud and Proud Till the Weekend End

My breakfast -- a lot of protein and a lot of carbs... and of course, coffee too.
On Friday Coach Marcelo had killed my core by challenging me to 100 roll-outs so here I am laughing, giggling over the fact that Skittles has no idea what I have in store for him today.
Evening meeting at The Refined, to go over our Slay line and see the new cap.

I'm definitely feeling this new cap.  It only sports Empowered's notorious fist but it's bold and badass.
We officially have two items on the Empowered website that are designated towards raising money for the Lil' Sistas Project.  I'm in love with my Lil' Sista Hoodie, I wear it pretty much every day, but the Empowered Cap is grabbing the eye of many already.

Stepping It Up... Sunday, August 12

For the record, I just wanted to note that I don't make any money whatsoever running the Lil' Sistas Project and coaching the Lil' Pow Class for them.  Moreover, the money from the two items we're currently selling for the Lil' Sistas Project (the Lil' Sista Hoodie and the Empowered Cap) go solely towards the Lil' Sistas -- buying them boxing clubs and paying for any added expenses or events my company, Empowered Clubhouse, runs for them.  

This is a volunteer job I've made for myself, extra work I'm more than happy to have on my plate because it fuels me, makes me feel like I'm paying it forward and giving back to the community.  Plus it's a bunch of little girls who deserve and need the extra love so why not?!  Exactly.  

Lately I've been really pushing the Lil' Sista fundraising items, perhaps a bit too much, but I'm doing it because they're new, it's going to be big, and I'm just really passionate about it.  The other day I was asked a million and one questions about it and today I was asked if I could give a talk about it and Empowered.  I've agreed to do it.  This week I have a meeting regarding it and regarding possibly becoming like an in-house training for a rather large company here in BGC.  Super excited about that, about all of it!!!  

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Flexin' Into the Weekend

 No pictures beyond flex pics today... too busy being in boss babe mode to snap any other.
Look away if you don't like women with muscles, I don't mind.  Your loss.