Monday, September 21, 2020

My Quarantine Reads

I decided to put my Kdrama binge-watching marathon on hold for the time being to devote time to a few other things, including going back to my old love--reading. Over the past week, I have scanned through my shelf and found that while I had given out a few old books for donation months before the ECQ, there has been several titles which I have yet to read. Some of them were books which I bought years ago.

Currently, I'm trying to finish three titles from Kerygma Books: How to Turn Your Passion Into Profit, Whole Again: Restore Your Body to Its Original Design and Don't Let Them Lose You: How to Take Care of Your Health So You Can Take Care of Others. 

How to Turn Your Passion Into Profit was a book I originally planned on giving to my then-crush a few years ago thinking it would benefit him as he was just starting a business. But due to time constraints regarding my work schedule, being unable to work on a definite time to meet up, and a host of things not working out as I hoped for, this book just sat in my shelf and I ended up reading it recently. While I don't have any plan of starting a business anytime soon, this book is helpful if one wishes to learn a thing or two with regards to entrepreneurship. This serves as a handbook, textbook and workbook all rolled into one. How to Turn Your Passion Into Profit is a book that will straighten out some of people's misconceptions about entering into and becoming an entrepreneur. There are questions at the end of each chapter that readers need to answer before moving to the next part of the book-- which, I see is a step-by-step map and guide questions when one plans their  business venture.

Self care is a must in this trying time that we are dealing with a pandemic. And this is what one will find in the books Whole Again: Restore Your Body to Its Original Design and Don't Let Them Lose You: How to Take Care of Your Health So You Can Take Care of Others. These two books written by a licensed medical doctor, Dr. Didoy Lubaton (who also heads The Feast Bay Area District with Bro. Bo Sanchez) will guide people on the importance of prioritizing their health and wellness-- something that is vital especially nowadays. I have long wanted to own copies of these even before the height of the COVID19 health scare because I know I will get something out of it particularly with regards to prioritizing my health. Undeniably, just reading through the first chapter of Whole Again, I realized how I've neglected a few aspects of my health and that I should start making amends to make up for it. I was guilty as charged with not being mindful about some of the Seven Doctors of the Body defined in the book, particularly Doctor Sleep, Doctor Sun and Doctor Drink. While I am still in the process of making changes to my sleeping habits, I must say that these two books were of great help in rewiring my mindset about being healthy which I think is  important more so now, given our current situation and the reality that I am not as young as the others out there which means that being mindful about listening to the screams, aches, pains is important. These books offer useful tips on how to be healthy by being educated more with how nature can help us heal which in turn can hopefully, make us rely on medications less.

These books are available in bookstores or online via but you may also purchase them through Lazada and Shopee. 

Friday, August 14, 2020

TV is No Longer Part of My New Normal

Well, not entirely. I still watch a few cooking shows on Food Network and Asian Food Channel but that's just about it. With what is happening to the country and the shutdown of one of the country's trusted networks, I just cannot see any other reason to watch TV anymore. Just hearing the increased rate of COVID-19 cases daily and knowing that the government couldn't even do anything with the situation is just exhausting.

So instead of immersing on TV, nowadays, and next to spending time as a babysitter to a seven-month-old baby, the following became my substitute adulting activities:

Photo: Karolina Grabowska/ Canva

I took online courses and invested time on webinars. This was something I know I should have done earlier during the community quarantine. Surprisingly, there are interesting websites and topics that one can spend their time on. For one, I vouch for the courses offered by Coursera. I just finished a course on The Science of Well Being last month. It's a free course offered in partnership with Yale University and despite the painstaking ten weeks that I spent on the course, I learned a lot from it especially on the subjects of our mind's annoying features (that hamper our happiness) and the ways one can do both physically and psychologically for them to be truly happy (and no, shopping for material stuff isn't included).  

I've also opened a bank account and a PayPal account. This has been long overdue on my to-do list. Thankfully, I was able to finalize everything before our area was placed in moderately enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) during the second week of August.

The quarantine period also allowed me to practice a few skills. Three of which were using chopsticks, studying a new language, and learning the skill of touch typing. With the help of a short Youtube video, I got to learn the first skill quickly, and I'm happy that I know how to use those utensils now. About studying a new language, I've been practicing Spanish language lessons with Duolingo. I have previously created an account because I also tried learning Mandarin Chinese, but I realized the language was not for me. But I can somehow excel with the Spanish lessons. The third one, however, is a bit of a struggle. I just come to realize that learning this skill will probably take time. I am not used to the technique yet given that I have always relied on my own method for years. So, yes, I will need to make some adjustments and catching up. Hit me up with a comment if you have something to share on how I can learn this one the soonest.

And speaking of Youtube, I have been spending nights watching videos that discuss legitimate ways to earn and working from home as this might be the scenario under the new normal. I found interesting and informative channels to watch (even one that teaches how our unused internet data can be a source of passive income). There are a number of videos that discuss about possible jobs one can do at the comfort of their own homes.

I also joined the online group Filipina Homebased Moms (FHMoms) on Facebook. I've been trying to prepare and acquaint myself with the ins and outs of working from home (and the main reason why I opened a bank account and created one in PayPal) as this might be the set up if one wishes to work and earn in this time of a pandemic. They also have Youtube videos that provide information on what one needs to know about becoming a home-based worker.

And because I am no longer into too much TV, my hard drive and my laptop nowadays has become my source of information and entertainment. I have 30 Korean dramas on my external hard drive which I have yet binge-watch as I am busy with the episodes of A World of the Married Couple (dubbed in Filipino) through iWant. The drama ends tomorrow night so, maybe, I can revisit those parked titles next week.

What about you? We're almost halfway through August and just weeks before hearing the infamous Jose Mari Chan's voice again. What has been keeping you busy the last few months being on home quarantine? I'd love to hear your comments, or better yet, maybe, you can write them down too! I would love to read about them.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Touch Your Heart is a Heartwarming Rom-com

Throughout this quarantine period, there had been a few Korean dramas that I have watched more than once because I enjoyed the story the first time. One of which is the romantic comedy Touch Your Heart. The show stars Lee Dong-wook and Yoo In-na who happens to be the second lead couple, Grim Reaper and Sunny in the 2016 Kdrama Goblin.

While I was unable to see them portray their respective roles in Goblin, I decided to give this one a go mainly because I found the trailer interesting. In Touch Your Heart, Yoo In-na plays as an actress named Oh Yoon-seo. After being involved in a drug scandal, she hopes to redeem her top star status by making a comeback as a female lead in another drama. But to do so, she must first get some work experience by serving as a legal secretary at a law firm. It is there she meets the workaholic and aloof lawyer, Kwon Jung-rok. Just when she's firm with just acquiring some field experience for her role, love unexpectedly blooms between her and her immediate boss.

I must say that I could somewhat relate to the plot of the story especially with Yoo In-na's role as a legal secretary as I also ventured in the same career before going into this unexpected hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. More than just a glimpse of life inside the confines of a court, the law practice, and reuniting with legal jargon, what made me enjoy watching this drama was the element of romance (of course). But specifically, I liked how the show was able to convey the concept of office romance between two people from obviously different social status in such a delightful way. I confess, there were moments when I have to lock the door of my bedroom because I was squealing in giddy delight whenever there are kilig moments involving the two characters.

But the show is not just all about all that lovey-dovey stuff. It also included some elements of suspense and conflict especially the ones that involved evidence gathering during those crime-solving scenarios. This rom-com also showed some of the pros and cons, the ups and downs that are part of romantic relationships, and how vital compromise is for a couple to sail through the rough patch and make a relationship work. 

The episode ends with Yoon-seo making a successful comeback and finally deciding to make her relationship with Kwon Jung-rok known to the public. While the ending of Touch Your Heart is simple and not as fireworks-worthy as I hoped it would, I must say it was still worth watching. 

I would recommend it to friends who are after feel-good, lighthearted Kdramas to binge-watch on Friday nights. Who knows they might end up wanting to have someone like Kwon Jung-rok in their lives after finishing the series, as in #SanaAll.  

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Defining Real Beauty in She Was Pretty

When I was still a newbie to Korean dramas checking out for recommendations, my former colleague Anna strongly suggested that I watch She Was Pretty. She was confident that it was one show that I will enjoy watching. A month into the enhanced community quarantine, the show was one of the titles I would patiently download but would take me two more months to watch. While it was another show that starred Park Seo Joon (the same guy from my second favorite Kdrama, What's Wrong With Secretary Kim), I was a bit unfamiliar with this one despite it has been aired in Philippine TV back in 2015. I was more familiar with his other hit, Fight for My Way.

She Was Pretty is the story of childhood friends Kim Hye-jin (Hwang Jung-eum) and Ji Sung-joon (Park Seo-joon). Hye-jin, was once a beautiful teenager from a rich family while Sung-joon used to be a boy with low self-esteem due to his chubby physique. After 15 years of separation, and a reversal of physical attributes and fortune they would meet again as adults. But this time, Hye jin's family had gone bankrupt, her dad runs a home-based printing business and the physical changes of puberty had taken its toll on her. On the other hand, Sung joon returns, no longer as the shy, chubby boy but as a handsome and successful editor. Hye-jin ends up working with Sung-joon for a fictional magazine, The Most. And while Hye jin is aware that the good-looking deputy editor, Sung-joon was the chubby boy she was friends with since childhood, he, on the other hand, has no idea that the clumsy intern he often berates and mistreats was the same beautiful girl he was searching for. 

Anna convinced me to watch this drama and even said that this is better than Fight for My Way. And now that I've seen it, I can say that she was right. There's the right balance of romance, drama, and comedy in the series. My tummy was already aching from laughing out loud from the second episode onwards. There are no blood-curdling villain characters in the story. The only "conflict" I found was Go Joon-hee's character as Min Ha-ri, the best friend who pretended to be Hye-jin just because the latter was embarrassed to reveal her present identity to the guy who is also her first love.

Another thing I loved about She Was Pretty was there were elements of surprise in it. All the while, I was fond of Choi Si-won's persona as Kim Shin-hyuk (including his silly antics) only to find out that there was more to his "Idiot Reporter/Editor" character. And who can forget Kim Poong-ho? I've always noted his character to be the back-scratching, laidback editor only to find out that he was the vice-president of the company who owns the magazine. It was a surprising revelation and made me recall one of my favorite shows back then, Undercover Boss. 

But speaking of revelations, what left me amused was the transformation of the female lead Hye-jin.

And by transformation, it was not just limited to the physical attributes. The other thing that made She Was Pretty a show worth watching was that it expounds beauty from a different perspective. It tells the audience that pursuing one's dreams is an integral part of their inner beauty. I loved how Hye jin said that when someone is doing something that they really want to do, that is when they look beautiful. And that's a fact; because if you aren't happy in the pursuit of any endeavor, it radiates in your whole being. But if you are doing something that you truly love and enjoy, taking into consideration your happiness as your main priority (rather than doing it for anyone else), such fulfillment will reflect in you.

I recommend this Kdrama to those who are after a feel-good romantic comedy to binge watch and to those who wish to find some motivation and inspiration when they are faced with their own career-related dilemmas. You will surely enjoy and find some meaningful pieces of wisdom from this show.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Hospital Playlist is About Encouragement, Friendship and Music

Source: Instagram/Hospital Playlist
DISCLAIMER: The following entry contains some spoilers. You might with want to watch and finish the series first before proceeding :)

If a friendship lasts longer than seven years, psychologists say it will last a lifetime. Being an active Instagram user, I have frequently encountered this familiar quote about friendship -- which I know you also do. And as timely as it is, the same happens to reflect in the series that I finished binge-watching recently, Hospital Playlist.

Source: Instagram/Hospital Playlist

Hospital Playlist revolves around the story of five doctors who have formed a friendship since they started in medical school in 1999. The second installment of the Wise Life Series (the first being Prison Playbook), I was mainly interested to see this Kdrama when I learned that this is another one of the medical genre. And if you've been reading my blog, for sure, you've read about how much I've been into Korean dramas with such element. 

But I never knew I was in for a treat until I finished the first episode. It was at the end of episode 1 that I had this "eureka moment; because right after the performance, it was then I already got to recognize why this Kdrama was named as such. Next to the serious and formal personalities as doctors, the five characters Lee Ik-jun (Cho Jung-seok), Ahn Jeong-won (Yoo Yeon-seok), Chae Song-hwa (Jeon Mi-do), Yang Seok-hyeong (Kim Dae-myung) and Kim Jun-wan (Jung Kyung-ho), are also members of a band named Mido & Falasol. I will not deny that I already enjoyed watching this show even on the first episode and even thought about how cool it might be if our doctors  have such kind of life outside the confines of outpatient clinics, the ER, and operating suites.

But compared to the other medical Kdramas that I have seen in the previous years, I must say that Hospital Playlist is different -- in a rather good way. The show does not linger much on the usual blood and gore scenes of surgeries, nor does it tackle much of power and politics like the others. There's an interesting scenario presented in each episode without losing its focus to the main characters. Next to the friendship of the protagonists (or known as the Main Five), this show depicts the realities of those in the medical profession that we don't often see or experience much. From how interns go through their days and the situations they encounter on the road to becoming a full-fledged physician, to the scenarios and difficult decisions and pronouncements that doctors need to carry out in front of a patient's guardian and family. 

The team behind this series was able to show the audience the emotional side of doctors (including the would-be ones) in a touching but realistic way. Hospital Playlist showed a side of doctors that is far from the stereotype that most of us are familiar with, as we view them to be serious, formal, no-nonsense professionals in white coats and scrubs. Here I saw how doctors could also be encouraging to aspiring ones, optimistic in front of worried guardians, and even empathetic to their patients. Imagine being visited by someone like Lee Ik-jun and be advised not to dwell too much on a wrongdoing did by someone because it's a form of a disservice to one's self. Talk about how a real-life doctor puts it, patient care outside the four corners and confines of the clinic. This show just gave me a reason to admire and love the medical profession more.

But aside to their medical careers, Hospital Playlist also focused on the part that almost everyone is interested in -- the romantic side of the lives of the Main Five. There are several couples in this Kdrama but I'm interested in three of them: the Dove Couple, Lee Ik Soon and Kim Joon Wan, and the 99z Couple, Lee Ik Joon and Chae Song Hwa. Their love lives are such cliffhangers that I am looking forward to the drama's second season (Yup, there's a Season 2 tentatively scheduled next year). I'm eager to know what will happen to Ik Soon and Joon Wan's love story. Does Ik-joon know that these two are a couple and if he's not aware yet, how will Ik-jun react to it when he finds out, given that he's Ik-Soon's older brother and Joon Wan's best friend? And if these two will tie the knot in the second season after Joon Wan's act in the last episode of season 1. 

Source: Instagram/ Hospital Playlist 
The other thing to watch out for in season 2 is if there's going to be a happy conclusion to Lee Ik-jun's courageous confession to Chae Song Hwa. Will they give love a second chance (which I hope they really would -- sana!) or will they choose to save the two-decade friendship and not take a risk. But if I am really to decide, I want to see option one happen next season! It just feels bad that those who enjoyed this show will have to wait for next year for it. But who knows, some things are worth the wait, right? Let's keep our fingers crossed that this one will be too!

Hospital Playlist is a balance of music, rom-com, and with very little drama. It's worth your late-night viewing if you're looking for something to watch with your barkada (whether it be your high school or college buddies). You may see yourselves in the Main Five and will be a good companion as you reminisce on your barkada adventures during your youth.  

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Some Revelations Are Like Stray Bullets

In another life
I will be your girl
We'd keep all our promises
Be us against the world.
In another life
I would make you stay
So I don't have to say you were
The one that got away
The one that got away.


DISCLAIMER: The names mentioned in this particular entry have been changed to protect their privacy.

In the past few weeks being on quarantine, next to getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep, my days mostly revolve on things like indulging into a new hobby, religiously reading a book on entrepreneurship, taking care of my five-month-old niece, taking online lessons on foreign language and binge-watching on Korean dramas. But despite juggling my day amongst these things, I still have time communicating with friends.

Weeks ago, I had a chance to make a video call to my friend Liezl*. Long before this, we've been exchanging chat messages where she told me that there's something she'd like to tell me. She even referred to it as a "big reveal" but she never said a word about it. And all this time, I was thinking that she and her husband Harold* might be expecting an ECQ baby and that their daughter is going to be a big sister soon.

We were having the usual silly conversations when suddenly, Liezl brought up another subject-- Noah*. I haven't spoken to him for a couple of years and while I didn't want to hear anything about him, Liezl told me that she and Harold had a bonding session with Noah recently. But the words that she said next were something I never expected.

"Nakasama namin ni Harold si Noah recently at napag-usapan ka namin. Alam mo, inamin ni Noah sa amin that he considered (asking) you to be his girlfriend."

Apparently, it was the big reveal that Liezl was referring to previously.

What I heard left my brain numb for a few seconds. What I knew next was I was laughing hysterically while Liezl and I were having that video call. I honestly did not know how to react or even what to feel. And it took me weeks for my mind to really process what I heard. 

That revelation brought shock to my braincells.

You see, I used to have a crush on Noah back then. But despite those knowing looks and being asked countless times about what's the truth between Noah and me, I had to keep the feeling to myself for six years because I have hesitations that my feelings, should it become known to him, will just be unrequited. I kept my feelings that long because knowing him, from the fame of his career to the type of girls he's going to fall for, I felt I was someone who is totally out of his league.

Even if I knew I was starting to fall for him, I already had the worst-case scenario in my mind from the start. I've been through that painful string of rejections and unrequited feelings that I got traumatized and burned. So to protect myself, I just decided to be mum about what I was feeling. Pero dahil hindi ako magaling sa pagsasabi ng nararamdman kaya sa gestures at effort ko yon binabawi. 

Now, maybe if you're reading this, surely you might want to ask what would be my answer if Noah decided to pursue me then. Would I say yes if he asked me then (to be his girlfriend)? 

Honestly, I definitely would have said yes. For six years, next to the effort and the waiting, I also prayed for both wisdom and guidance about what I was feeling for Noah because despite of my hesitations (that can be dealt with), I also saw in him the qualities of the person that I was praying to God for.

But I reached the point when I already felt uncertain, confused, and exhausted. I just knew I had to leave and let go because my spirit and self-esteem is slowly being jeopardized by the uncertainty. I knew I just had to do something or else the pain inflicted by something unrequited will shatter me again-- at pagod na pagod na ako sa ganong eksena.

Call it unusual but from the night I heard of Liezl's big reveal up to now, I would find myself humming the line's of one of Katy Perry's songs at 2:30 am. It may seem odd, but it brought me relief. Yes, I could say that for a moment, I felt flattered that the guy I once had a crush on thought of considering me to be "that girl". While I didn't know where it hit me exactly, I can't say that I feel regret on my part after knowing Liezl's belated revelation either. After all, it's been two years since I decided to run away from any memory I have of Noah. I will just have to leave it to that "another life" to grant me that "happy conclusion" if there really is one (think, the Grim Reaper and Kim Sun (from that Korean drama Goblin) reuniting in their fourth life-- though of course, that's something fictional).

But right now, I am happy with where and what I am and the people I'm with. And I'd like to keep it that way. 

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Her Private Life Hangover


In a post I wrote months ago, I mentioned how intrigued I've been to watch Romance is a Bonus Book. But there was another Kdrama that I also looked forward to watching -- 
Her Private Life. When I read that Park Min Young is starring in the series, I thought that maybe I'll enjoy watching this one too as I have seen her other rom-com, What's Wrong With Secretary Kim.

Her Private Life tells the story between an artist and eventually museum director, Ryan Gold (Kim Jae-wook) and museum curator Sung Deok-mi whose "private life" is the center of this Kdrama because next to working for Cheum Museum of Art, she is a fangirl of a Kpop idol, Cha Shi-an of the group White Ocean. Trouble ensues when a rumor breaks out that Deok-mi and Shi-an are dating. So in order to protect Deok-mi from the threats of Shi-an's diehard fans,  Ryan Gold suggests that he and Deok-mi pretend to date each other instead. Another challenge was when the previous director's daughter, Sindy, (who is also a Shi-an fanatic) gets to be an intern in the museum with a mission: to prove that Deok-mi and Ryan aren't really dating. But the question of where their play-pretend relationship leads them is worth watching as you move from one episode to another (at least, that's how it was for me).

I honestly thought I would quit watching the second episode because I got annoyed with Ryan Gold's aloof personality. But towards the end of that episode (and after knowing that there's such a thing as caffeine allergy which made me think of my coffee consumption for a moment), I just found myself watching one episode after another which made me disregard my "one episode per night" rule. The decision was worth it. In one of the episodes, I even felt like being slapped by reality over the subject of having a little courage-- especially when it comes to love. Yup, at some point it made me remember a former professor's advice: follow the path to romance!

Pardon me for the lack of words on how I could describe my thoughts on this series. I guess it's because things have yet to sink in as I only finished binge-watching the series hours ago. But next to feeling giddy seeing the chemistry between the two characters, Her Private Life offered some surprising twists in the story. I've always wondered why those "bubble-themed" paintings were that important to Ryan. Who is Lee Sol and Heo Yoon-jae? What is the significance of Lee Sol and Cha Shi-an to Ryan? In all those, I was left with a surprised reaction when the answers are revealed. But what made me cry the most was when Sung Deok-mi found out the truth about the child named Deok-soo and what happened to him. 

In general, Her Private Life was worth the late-night binge-watching. I can absolutely give a thumbs up to the characters, the plot, the feelings it will give the audience and even the OST (Float and Maybe are my favorites-- I even play that on repeat!) Next to people who are after some feel-good romantic comedy, this show is ideal for those who are inclined to arts and the artistic life and if you are intrigued about the life and how it is like to be a fangirl.