Mercedes Bakery Says Hello, Neighbor!

 

What a lovely surprise from my city’s loveliest and friendliest neighbor!

Mercedes Bakery just handed stressed bar reviewee me a care package with a few of their best-selling products to try out as well as a box of their unreleased Matcha Chookie series!

Now I know I’m not supposed to be gorging on food with processed sugar in it because of the diet I’m maintaining but… it’s already right in front me… and can you really say no to a treasure chest of sweets?! (Yes, I can but I don’t want to hahaha)

I’ve never been much of a big fan of eating pineapple because its acidic juice kind of stings my tongue the more I eat it but Mercedes Bakery’s Pineapple Crumble is an exception. I want to eat pineapple as long as it’s in the form of their pineapple crumble! This product is a Mercedes Bakery original and the first to become the city’s pasalubong and snack favorite from the store. Perfect to pair with brewed coffee or tea in the afternoon!

As with their biscocho, I run the risk of eating a whole bag by myself in one sitting if I’m eating it while multi-tasking. It’s not too sweet and the crunch when you take a bite definitely keeps you busy. I should keep a pack of biscocho in my bag all the time haha!

And finally, they gave me my all-time favorite… Mercedes Bakery’s signature Chookies!

Ugh, I love their chookies to death. I love the classic choco chip the most. I could down a dozen in an hour without realizing it and even if it makes me sluggish from the sugar crash just before Jiu Jitsu training, I have #noragrets. These chewy cookies are just so heavenly that even though I know how sinful it is to be binging on more than two pieces in a day, I’m taking the risk. The owner of the bakery also knows how much I love matcha and let me try out their matcha chookies that they’re experimenting on (and most likely will be releasing sooner or later for public consumption!).

The matcha series they let me try has three flavors: Dark & White Chocolate, White Choco Espresso, and the Smatcha (Smores Matcha!). The series is not as sweet as the non-matcha based chookies but the matcha flavoring is not as strong as others would assume so I would recommend it to people who want to eat chookies that are less sweeter! The white choco espresso has quite the caffeine hit though and I didn’t expect it. I ate two of the Espresso flavor and I could definitely feel like I just drank a shot of strong espresso. My favorite is the Smatcha out of all the three!

If someone would ask me what would be a good pasalubong from Cagayan de Oro City, I would definitely recommend adding Mercedes Bakery to the list! Or! If you’re looking for a great gift for friends and family, a bag of chookies would be enough to put a smile on their faces. It’s not too obvious how much I love the chookies.

P.S. They ship their chookies outside of CDO now!

For more info, you can visit Mercedes Bakery’s website HERE.

More photos of the goodies they gave me can be found HERE!

 

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Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Sucks & Here’s Why

Do you know a friend who’s been inviting you from to time to time to try out a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) class one of these days? Or know someone from the community who’s been training BJJ and makes it sound so fun? Or have you seen it on any media platform thanks to sports channels televising international BJJ competitions and all those intense cage fights from UFC, ONE Championship, and the like? Or is your favorite MMA fighter always mentioning the martial art in all of his or her thank you speeches in interviews and in his or her social media posts when he or she is bored? Yea?

Well, let’s get this straight: Brazilian Jiu Jitsu sucks.

I’ve been training in the so-called “gentle art” (gentleGENTLEgentleGeNtLe pfft) for more than a year now (notwithstanding the fact that I haven’t trained for 6 months of that 1 yr+ because of bar exam review… but I did train everyday when I got back. And competed. But know what? Whatever.) and I think I have some color of authority to tell people the TRUTH about this martial art.

BRAZILIAN JIU JITSU PLAIN SUCKS AND HERE’S WHY.

JIU JITSU IS FOR EVERYONE.

In Portuguese that phrase is translated as “Jiu Jitsu Para Todos” and you’ll often see it in inspirational posts from top BJJ players or your neighborhood BJJ nerd who wants to spread the word. That’s right, BJJ is for everyone. No matter if you’re young, old, male, female, transgender, physically fit, scrawny, overweight, athletic, weak, plain, or fucked up; I could go on and on. Anyone can try BJJ and it doesn’t make you special. Damn, you’re born to be unique; a special snowflake. You can’t show the world you’re a sui generis piece of living flesh with BJJ since anyone can do it. That’s why it sucks.

IT HELPS YOU TO BE PHYSICALLY AND MENTALLY HEALTHY.

Jiu Jitsu is a whole body workout. It makes every muscle in your body work, hell, even your facial muscles hustle from it. It’s strength training, flexibility exercise, and cardio workout rolled in one. BJJ, being a game of human chess, helps you stay mentally sharp as well. You’re sparring with a partner who’s intention is to fake-kill you and you the same to him/her. You need your wits active on the mats to keep yourself from becoming the prey. But in this day and age, putting actual effort into being healthy is for the weak. They’ll still die even if they do BJJ. Hey, maybe they’ll die BECAUSE OF BJJ. You already have a workout walking back and forth a number of times from your couch to the fridge in the kitchen and you binge-watch shows based off of ‘true stories’ on Netflix. That’s all you really need. You don’t need to risk breaking your limbs to be in shape.

IT FORCES YOU TO TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF.

In connection with the preceding sentiment, the more you train, the more it makes you actually think for a second that maybe you could compete in the art as a sport. This gets you to a whole new level of fitness as you start changing your diet from nasty to nutritious and to rest properly to be in your peak when competition season comes rolling in. Okay, first off, change? Please. Secondly, diet? Uhh?? Thirdly, nutritious? That’s just a code for food that leaves a bad taste in your mouth. Lastly, what the hell is this rest they’re talking about? You sleep when you’re dead. Carpe Diem, y’all. You’re sure you’d still beat the crap out of anyone while chugging on that barrel of beer made from gluten-free malted barley and eating your 6th slice of all-meat cheese-crusted organic non-GMO pizza and that’s all that matters. Mmmm.

YOU LEARN, LITTLE BY LITTLE, THE ART OF NOT GIVING A FUCK.

Imagine you’re part of a local BJJ team and you have a teammate we’ll call Gary. Gary and you have had some beef with each other one night while you were having dinner with a mix of BJJ and non-BJJ friends and it didn’t end so well. On the next training session, you and Gary show up and guess what happens next? Nothing. You’re there to train, not start a sissy fight over your differing opinions on how to read the word ‘data’ during that eventful dinner night out. And that’s just lame because we all live for the drama. Boring!

BJJ FORCES YOU TO REALIZE YOU’VE GOT TO TAKE SOME THINGS IN LIFE SLOWLY.

The art teaches you patience. No one’s forcing you to hurry up and get good at it faster than a lightning bolt. That’s just you feeling like a grappling genius every time coach lets you pass his guard. If you can’t do a technique the first time, keep doing it again. Be patient enough to do things at your own pace until you get the hang of it. But life is short, why stick to something that’ll take you so long to get good at? Drop that crap because you’re part of an impatient lot and it’s not cool to wait for results that you’re not even certain of. It’s not that you couldn’t handle that BJJ technique, that technique justĀ  wasn’t for you and all in all, it’s BJJ that couldn’t handle the awesomeness that is you. ‘Nuff said.

IT EMBEDS IN YOU THE IMPORTANCE OF COMMITMENT.

Discipline. Perseverance. Determination. You don’t get better at doing BJJ, as with all things, if you don’t commit to it. The color of your belt won’t matter if you don’t show up to train. You’d still get your arse whooped if you do your drills half-heartedly despite perfect class attendance. Your commitment not only affects your own training but your team’s as well, especially the poor soul you’ll be partnered with during drills. But man, commitment? Ew. Sounds like an illness. Living life these days isn’t about committing to anything at all; it’s just what’s not in, you know what I mean? You don’t need to ‘commit’ to ‘find yourself’ in this world and committing to BJJ would just mean less time for you to explore all of your options. Just say no to commitment and hard work. We don’t want more responsibilities.

YOU GET A NEW FAMILY BY BEING PART OF THE TEAM.

Even if you’re that team member who suddenly disappears when class is done after you’ve bowed in front of the head coach in unison, it’s no doubt that the bond you have on the mats from trying to choke each other out or breaking each other’s limbs is one of a kind. The talks you have while you’re getting out of your sweaty gi, the teasing that comes during and after super fights, and the proud look your teammates have on while they cheer you on when you successfully perform a move during a match makes you feel like you belong. But ugh. More family means more people to show care for and caring is L-A-M-E. It already sounds like a chore.

JIU JITSU HUMBLES YOU.

BJJ will remind you to leave your ego at the door every training session. Every. training. session. It reminds you to tap before you get injured and accept you’ve been bested by your roll partner. It reminds you that you need to learn to surrender to the fact that you can be bad at it so you’ll know how you can get better. You learn to check yourself when your temper starts flaring up on the mats. You learn to not give up for having a bad day and try to think more of how you’ll do better on the next training day. And all of this slowly translates into your world outside of BJJ. The ego is still there but you can tame it now, at the very least. BUT WHO CARES? YOU’RE THE BEST EVEN IF YOU HAVEN’T TRIED IT YET. Your ego is fine and if they can’t handle it, it’s their problem. I bet you’re already offended that people have little to no expectations of you excelling in the art on your first class and you have every right to be! I mean, how dare they?!

 

There’s a whole lot more of things I could say but I think what I’ve enumerated is enough to convince everyone why Jiu Jitsu just sucks. If you still can’t take my word for it, try Brazilian Jiu Jitsu out for yourself! Google up a local BJJ gym near you and join a class! And if you’re in Cagayan de Oro City, go try a training session with Atos Philippines Cagayan de Oro – Ali Sulit Jiu Jitsu and experience all that I just said firsthand. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

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Welcome to the Island of Fire

Aaahhh, Camiguin.

A tiny island in my province that has so much to offer. If you want a quick escape from the concrete jungle that the City of Golden Friendship has been turning into, the Island of Fire should be in your list!

It’s a few hours away from my city and can be reached via a boat ride from the port of Balingoan (which is a 2 to 3-hour drive from Cagayan de Oro City). My family and I visit the place at least once a year. It gets crowded during summer vacation in the Philippines which is scheduled at the end of March till first week of June, but summer doesn’t really leave the country so you won’t really miss anything if you visit the island during non-peak months.

The most recent visit was due to my dad’s profession (had to attend a court hearing) but since my mom and my sister wanted to tag along, we decided to stay for a quick 2-night stay. We booked an entire home via AirBnB called “Ila Vicente” located in Catarman, Camiguin. It’s a bit far from the usual touristy Mambajao but it was well worth it. In all honesty, we spent more time at Ila Vicente than going out to explore the island (partly because, like I’ve mentioned, we annually visit the place haha). I mean, who wouldn’t? Just look at this place!

You can ask their in-house staff and the owners, Willy and Vicente, to whip up your meals for 175php/head. It’s way economical and less stressful than having to go out to find a good restaurant to satiate your hunger. And believe me, the food Tita Willy and her staff made was one of the reasons we stayed put at Ila Vicente than go out hahaha! She makes sure all the main ingredients used are fresh and up to her visitors’ tastes. This is what I love about the island life! Here are a few photos of what they served us:

If you want some fresh air, you can laze around their spacious payag or ask the staff to call in a local masseuse. You can also request that you take your meals at the payag, too!

Aside from just hanging around Ila Vicente, we did manage to visit the Beehive Camiguin and Driftwood Cafe which is also located right in Catarman (woohoo!). The cafe is right beside the sea, is vegetarian-friendly, and also sells a wide array of local products from fresh fruits to coffee. The decoration and design of the cafe make me feel like a hippie mermaid that decided to have a bit of out-of-the-water food for a change. I definitely recommend trying this place out and gaze out into the sunset while you much on healthy goodness!

We also went to check out Tuasan Falls and the Old Church Ruins out of my mother’s insistence that our short island stay wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t visit at least one body of fresh water and a known tourist destination.

After roaming around under the heat of the sun though, I needed something cold for recovery. I needed ice cream! A quick google search made me find an article talking about the ice cream at The Northern Lights being one of the best in the island so we set out to look for it. It’s a bar and restaurant that’s more known for its pizza but also makes home-made ice cream. It’s in Agoho, Mambajao so we had to go around the island to get there before heading back to Ila Vicente to call it a day. I ordered 3 flavors to-go, Mango, Avocado, and Chocolate. That blogger wasn’t kidding when it said the ice cream was good, creamy and not too sweet, and at 15php per scoop, who am I to complain? To my Zero-Waste Warriors, please forgive the use of plastic; I didn’t want more processed sugar and unnecessary carbs from having to eat the wafer cone (plus they didn’t have anything else to put the ice cream inside for take away).

Aaaaand that’s pretty much all about our short trip to Camiguin!

If you’re interested in booking Ila Vicente for your stay, you can book via AirBnB by clicking HERE.

For more photos of the food we ordered at Beehive Camiguin & Driftwood Cafe, click HERE.

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