Nicolas and I only got up this evening and braved the cold air outside to find the churros food truck we stumbled upon last night, where we had what may well be the best churros we've had in our lives.
A quick Google search for the best churros in Santiago, Chile, turned up Pepe Churro, a food truck that has parked in the same spot on Pio Nono in Barrio Bellavista for the past howeverlong. We jumped into a cab and promised the driver a fresh churro if he would wait while we bought our weight in churros. He excitedly agreed.
That's Pepe on the right and, I assume, a family member on the left. They laughed when I ordered two bags of two churros each - with manjar (dulce de leche) - and another bag of half a dozen plain ones with sugar.
I ate three of the manjar-stuffed churros and one of the sugared ones, Nicolas had two of the manjars and two sugared ones, the driver had one manjar and we gave the doorman one sugared one. Yep, I still have two sugared ones stashed away, although they might not be as good as when then came out of Pepe's truck.
Manjar-stuffed churro. Possibly one of the best churros ever!
PS - I am writing this, for the first time, from my iPad Mini with a bluetooth keyboard. Let's just say that the online version of Typepad is not the same on an iPad as on a laptop, so everything will look weird for a while until I am reunited with my beloved MacBook Air and can restore things to their rightful order. Please bear with the mess in the meantime. My apologies and thanks for your patience.
Last Monday, I was sure I was going to die. Every inch of my body hurt. I felt like someone had slammed something hard and heavy against my back. I still did Bikram and boxing back-to-back.
But, on Tuesday, I took the day off. "Women's issues." And I had errands to run in Makati anyway.
Today, I woke up with a headache. I had had it from the night before. As I lay on my mat, waiting for the Bikram class to start, I could feel the right side of my head throbbing. I contemplated packing up and leaving. But I didn't really want to. I spoke to the instructor. She told me that if it got worse, I should tell her and she'd let me leave.
"No, I think I can do this, " I said. "I'm sure once we get started, I'll forget all about it."
The first part was a challenge and I was a bit wobbly, but not more so than usual.I got through it.
Then I went to boxing and, for the first time, did all six rounds of mitts.
Now, I'm sure I'll make it all the way to Friday. Six out of seven... Not the best, but it's a damned good effort. And, I told myself today, six is still one up over five. I'm glad I stuck it out today.
With three days of no exercise and my mom cooking all my favorite dishes while I am in town - and only ten days left before I leave for Chile, I am desperate to lose weight so that I can fit into my spring clothes.
This morning, I enrolled for a week of Bikram and I was going to do that and CrossFit back to back, but the schedules didn't quite match, so I've decided to do Bikram and boxing instead. So, right after yoga, I went to Elorde's Gym - and I now have a trainer called Waldo! (Who in the world calls their kid Waldo?)
Apparently, at a boxing gym along Katipunan... (Internet file photo.)
I must say that I missed the grit of an honest-to-goodness boxing gym. There were a lot of strong women in there today and I felt inspired to get back into shape.
Except that I'm so terribly out of shape that I could only manage three rounds of sparring (as opposed to six). I did finish my three rounds on the speed ball and three rounds on the punching bag, but could only manage two on the double end bag before calling it quits.
Procrastination is a part of my daily routine in Siargao. I'll look at the mess in my room and think, "Oh, I really should sort that out. I'll do it tomorrow." Of course, "tomorrow" only arrives the day before or the day itself that I am leaving.
Tomorrow, I leave Siargao for a month and a half, maybe two. So, today, I'm packing things into a bag for Manila, or putting them away in boxes. It looks like I'm finally getting things done, except that what I am really doing is putting off biking and swimming for today.
Those three kilos I have to lose? I still have them on me. They refuse to leave.
Not that I've been trying very hard to lose them. Since I got back on the 12th of September, I've swum everyday, except for three days - maybe four, I'm not sure - during the first week. And then, again, today. I've also been distracted a lot while swimming and lost count of my laps a few times, so there may have been days when I swam less than the 1024 meters I usually do.
There was one day when I tried to do Bikram yoga on my own. I was bored out of my mind and couldn't stop fidgeting and falling out of poses. This might have been because I wasn't practicing in front of a mirror. I think watching oneself somehow helps quiet and focus the mind... Or I could just be a lazy bastard that needs the energy of others to do anything properly.
I also started biking again (consistently, from Sept. 22, after someone at a party remarked that I was "voluptuous") and, since I discovered that the 6 km. mark is right at the end of our road, I've extended my ride from 10+km. to an even 12.
I resumed walking the dogs (on the 24th - including today!), after I realized that our neighbors towards the end of the road haven't built anything so that the area is, more or less, deserted.
Which means that I can walk the dogs together, without any leash, without having to worry about them attacking anything or being followed by snarling mutts. I estimate that, from our place to the end of the road, it's about 800 meters, and then I continue down to the beach to the end of the unfinished bridge.
If the tide is extra low, I cross over to the sandbars bared by the receding tides, so that the dogs can run and play as much as they like on wider, more open spaces. All in all, I'd say we walk about 1.5 to 2 km. every day.
Happy dogs. For more pictures, please click on THIS LINK.
That may sound like I'm doing a lot, except that I've also been eating a lot. First, a best girlfriend arrived and, of course, we had to wine and dine at every possible moment. And then there were my Siargao friends to catch up with, which required more wining and dining. And then a cafe opened, a restaurant opened, and one resort had a special one-night-only buffet... It was peak season on the island and there were fiestas and parties galore. Wining, dining, dining, wining, wining, dining. Too much. Too much. Too much.
Which will explain the tenacity of the three kilos. I hate them.
I suppose I'm still procrastinating. I lost the weight before so I think it'll be a piece of cake to lose it again. Except that it's never as simple or as easy as I thought it was, and constantly putting it off only makes it harder to get back on the right track.
My life would be so much simpler if only I liked salad.
Alas, it isn't so.
Cebu, tomorrow (Sept. 30). Manila, on Thursday (Oct. 2).
I've always said that, for me, one of the best things about growing up in a Third World country, is my exposure and ability to appreciate things of exceptional quality to the downright dubious. Take chocolate, for instance. I'm pretty sure that the richest, most spoiled kid in Forbes Park and the lowliest beggar on the street share a love for ChocNut - which is not universal, as I found out when my Spanish friend spat it out at a high-end salon that was offering the treat for free.
(Internet file photo.)
I lovelovelove ChocNut. When Selecta came out with ChocNut ice cream, I could consume half a gallon of it in one sitting. If they hadn't discontinued it, I would probably have been launched into outer space by now, as my own planet.
At the Sayak Airport in Siargao, I was thrilled to discover things like fudge-filled sponge cakes in different flavors (our version of the Twinkie), which only cost P10 apiece!
I also love Flat Tops and Choco Mallows and Choco Crunchies and Choco Pretzels... How much actual chocolate there is in any of these products is anybody's guess though.
Before I left Manila, however, I chanced upon a Chocolate Festival at Eastwood Mall. I was expecting the usual cakes and pastries but was surprised to find people selling chocolate bars. Apparently, cocoa beans only grow in places within 20 degrees of the equator. "We grow the beans in the Philippines," one of the chocolatiers told me, "so there really is no reason why we shouldn't be producing good quality chocolate here."
Enter the age of Philippine "Artisanal" Chocolates. <cue trumpets>
I already had the Malagos Cocoa Nibs, which I got on sale at Taste Central and transported to Siargao a while back for my trail mix... <cut to photo of still-full bag of cocoa nibs>
(So I don't eat a lot of trail mix!)
...but I did buy other samples at the Chocolate Festival:
I bought all three, which were very good but, at P100 per box, I thought they were a bit expensive. Of course, I'm still coming from the P10 mentality, forgetting that this is supposed to be a premium product.
This was my favorite. If I remember correctly, it was about P100/bar. It was a bit too spicy, but that only left me wanting more. Best when cold as then the bacon isn't rubbery. Might be improved with larger chunks of bacon. (Anything is improved by larger chunks of bacon.)
I got the Chili, Sea Salt, and Cappuccino (- listed in order of my preference), but the Cappuccino wrapper was the only one I remembered to save. As you can see, there is no brand on it, just a website. Upon checking it out, it seems to be a company that will produce bars of chocolate with personalized wrappers to order. Whatever. The Chili wasn't as spicy as Risa's Bacon Chili, but spicy enough for me. The Sea Salt could stand more salt, and the Cappuccino would be have been better if it were subtler. But at P50/bar, who cares?
Theo & Philo was being sold at the same stall as the Unit 16 chocolates so I'm not sure if they're one and the same or if they're sister companies or completely separate entities.
Now that the Philippines is upping its standards when it comes to chocolate, I hope that we still continue to produce the sub-standard stuff our childhoods were made of, like those gold chocolate coins and chocolate footballs...
Last I left you, I had dropped out of everything. That was on August 14. There were a few times when I got into my bikini and stood at the edge of the pool, goggles in hand - then turned back and headed for my room, crawled under the sheets, and texted the maid to bring dinner to the room.
Last September 1, back in Manila, I enrolled for two weeks of Bikram yoga classes. And, out of the eleven days that I could have gone to class, by the time I leave Manila on Friday, I would have gone to only seven of those classes.
I tried going back to doing Paleo and, one night, while at Stephen's apartment, he asked, "Is this Paleo," gesturing to the plate we had been steadily demolishing.
"The cheese is fine," I answered, "but we're eating bread too." Two loaves, in fact.
"So what is this," he asked. "Fail-yo?"
(I told him I'd use it for my next blog post, and here it is. Thank you, Stephen.)
I'm back to having to lose three kilos, just to get down to my normal weight, and I'm not even aspiring to get to my ideal weight anymore. Even my friends now concede that, yes, I have gained weight. My new nickname is Aiko Lozada, after this guy:
But I've texted my girl back at Siargao: "Do you still have my one-week menu for raw food?"
"Good, because that's what we're doing when I get back on Friday, and I only want to eat once a day."
Desperate measures, indeed.
Someone once said that I may have jinxed myself for calling this blog what it is. Maybe I have. Or maybe I just know myself too well.
Soooo... I got really sick last Thursday (the 14th) and, more or less, dropped out of life. On the upside, I lost three kilos but I can't really rejoice over anything that is trying to keep me weak and starve me to death. For a few days, all I could manage was a bowl of fruit, a few bites of pasta - that I got up to make myself, and two bites of an omelette.
On Sunday, I finally got really hungry, but the maid was at Church so I forced myself to get up and go to brunch with Susan and Gerry at Sagana. While I did manage to eat my food, it felt alien in my belly and, although my body wanted to reject it, I kept it down.
It's been like that ever since. I've resumed eating normally. I even eat more than I used to. I finished that jar of Nutella and was working on a jar of cookie butter. Ailene sent some cake samples... But it all still feels really weird in my stomach - even coconut water feels heavy and strange - and I still gag afterwards but, yes, I've kept it all down.
I gained a little bit over a kilo back. Am hoping not to gain any more but that's doubtful since inertia has taken over and I still haven't resumed exercising.
I totally dropped out of the August Challenge and have no intention of catching up, and the mere thought of the mind-numbing boredom of being in a pool gives me the chills.
I just want to stay in bed the whole day, catching up on my TV shows, preferably with a tub of cookie dough ice cream, but we can't always get what we want.
Yesterday, I did subject myself to a three-hour serious French film that took me the whole day to watch because I took breaks every five minutes. I watched it for the gratuitous sex but it hardly seemed worth it because, the whole time, I just wanted to give the leads makeovers.
One of the highlights of the film, for me, was being introduced to this beauitful actor, Jérémie Laheurte. Too bad he had such a short role in it. The rest of the cast was made up of scruffy girls in need of a good scrubbing and a hair brush. (Internet file photo.)
I am, obviously, not a big fan of realism in movies, especially in this state I'm in. Give me the beautiful Hollywood people any day who make everything right in an hour and a half or less. (I am clearly not prepared for days like this because my hard drive is depressingly full of serious art films and documentaries.)
Nicolas will be back on Sunday (- he hasn't been in Siargao since he left on the 11th) and I'm hoping that his presence will help ease me back into a routine.
We're having mac and cheese with huge chunks of bacon for dinner. Then we'll have stacks of crepes, some leche flan and the last two silvanas from Dumaguete that I specifically saved for us for our midnight snack. No fried Oreos this time around because, well, I already ate all the Oreos, didn't I? If I'm not too lazy, maybe we'll make corn dogs (- with crocodile sausages). I really really hope I'm not lazy later! I've been wanting corn dogs forever! Maybe not with crocodile sausages but they're all I have and I think one of them has cheese in it. Then for breakfast, we'll have cookie-butter-stuffed French toast (which is why I had to stop eating the cookie butter although, if we run out, I still have a whole jar of caramel with bacon bits). Then Mommy and Daddy are coming over for lunch to pick my little sister up and we're having paella and fried wantons. (When I was at Sagana telling Sue and Gerry what Lily and I were going to have on our playdate, Gerry made a face and cried, "But I want fried wantons too!", so I had to invite the adults over for lunch and serve grown-up food like paella.)
We'll watch movies, play board games, put together a puzzle (- I went to a toy store in Manila to make sure that we don't just watch movies this time), and she'll bring some books that we can read together before we slip into a food coma.
I am soooooooo looking forward to it! If only we had some ice cream... I am starting to question the wisdom of living on an island where a tub of malted milk or cookie dough ice cream is not readily available. Surely, this is universally recognized as a basic food group, a basic human need, and a basic human right. Why it isn't growing alongside tomatoes, I do not know.
How can I torture myself? Let me count the ways... (Internet file photo.)
On my first few days back in Siargao, I lost almost half a kilo a day. And then I plateaued with only 1.5 kilos left to lose.
And then I gained back half a kilo. Damned PMS. That's pre and present, by the way.
This was me, PMSing badly this weekend.
In my defense, I don't think it's an entirely faulty line of reasoning to believe that the faster I consume everything that I have in stock that I'm not supposed have, the sooner I can get started on my diet. Right???
The ice cream is gone. (I had about three Magnums left.)
All the chocolate chip cookies are gone.
I have one pack of Oreos left. (Freeze your Oreos, folks. I don't know why I was frying them when they're so much better when they're frozen.)
I've gone through most of my mostly-healthy trail mix. (It would be completely healthy if it weren't for the honeyed sunflower seeds and honeyed cashew nuts, which aren't so much unhealthy as they are fattening, but I also have dark chocolate-covered something-fruit-something-something that cannot be all that healthy because the something-fruit-something-something is obviously unidentifiable. I add the trail mix to my fruit in the morning. When I'm not having Spam or danggit, that is.)
The Tocino Spam is gone.
My favorite is still the original, but if you like tocino, you'll like this. (Internet file photo.)
I still have danggit (dried fish). Lots of it. I think I had them for four days running. Maybe five. And it still looks like I haven't made a dent in the supply! I hope there isn't some multiplication-of-loaves-and-fish nonsense going on in the kitchen, because I will eat all of it. Come to think of it, I also have an awful lot of bread in the freezer...
Still working my way through the cheese Nicolas got for me in Portugal. I have three left. I think.
Mmmmm... (Internet file photo.)
The caramel with bacon bits is gone, although I do have another jar but, for as long as it remains unopened, it should be safe.
I'm screwed, aren't I?
Well, I did make a very yummy Paleo adobo (with coconut water and coconut vinegar). Which I ate with very yummy un-Paleo rice. And I made a very good Paleo tabbouleh (with cauliflower), but I was so hungry afterwards, I made a grilled ham and cheese sandwich.
Slowly, slowly... Very, very slowly...
But I haven't had a drink and I haven't had a smoke. Which might change tonight. But, for as long as I'm drinking and smoking less, that's got to be a good thing, no?
And I did catch up with the World Largest Gym Class' August Challenge and my sobriety has allowed me to have the rest days I deserve - today, being one of them. I've decided to take a complete rest day on these rest days, which means no walking of dogs, no biking and no swimming. Rest days are good. I love rest days.
I'm also sleeping better. I've gone from having four hours of sleep to six. Except for the nights when I stay up doing TV series marathons or when I get hooked on a project. I've been putting off planning our Chile holiday (and, in the process of putting it off, I've managed to get a whole lot of other stuff done that I've been meaning to do for ages), but I finally got into it last night and stayed up way past my bedtime doing research, because that's when the internet is fastest. Which will explain why I am groggy today (- had to wake up at 5:30 AM to go to the market, which got canceled anyway so I'm also a bit grumpy), and I'm relieved that it's a rest day.
Except that I'm no Mozart and the only overtures I know happen at bars, not the opera.
So I'm not entirely hopeless. I'm still doing the following:
Walking: 2-4+ km. (When Nicolas walks with me - maybe, twice a week, I only walk 2 km., but when he isn't around or isn't up to it, then I have to walk the dogs one at a time, hence the 4 km., which I do at least three times a week.)
Biking: 10+ km.
Swimming: 1+ km.
It's just those damned 1.5 kilos... I mean, 2 kilos. Dammit.