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WE’re moving to the Philippines!!!

This has been on hold for few months now, but I’m finally sharing it with you all because it’s REAL!!! We’re moving to the Philippines for three years!!!

Let me explain. Sometime in March this year, the idea of going to a country for a field assignment came to my mind. Tony and I discussed it, we analyzed, the pros and cons, the challenges and why we should consider it. Then we decided that we could do it, we wanted to do it and that the ideal place would be in East Asia, ideally close to Shanghai so we could visit family often. I started applying for jobs there so narrowed it down to Malaysia and Philippines. Mid-june, I was given the offer to go to Manila. We happily accepted the offer.

During the two months of waiting time, Tony got promoted and had a great prospect in his current job. But we thought that this opportunity to live abroad, expose to ourselves and the girls to a new country, developing country, is unique and precious. Now that the girls are young, we can afford to move around easily without having to worrying too much about their education. So, even if it means Tony’s career would suffer, we’re willing to pay that price considering it as a family adventure that we can only do now.

Of course, this kind of moving involves a lot of logistics planning. We need to be in Manila by the end of August, that’s two months for the Big move. First, Tony and I went to Manila alone for 1 week to check out the city, find a place to live, and schools for the girls.

we stopped in Tokyo, had ramen

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24 hrs later, we arrived Manila. We were both tired but excited

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we check-in airbnb place close to my future office

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we woke up at 3am due to jet lag. We waited until 7am when restaurants opened and we went out to have breakfast

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just two blocks away from the airbnb, there were many western options for dining. We went to Wildflour. Had a philippino empanada to start

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and both had omelet as entree

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then we walked around and check out my office

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at 9am, we met with our rental property agent and started the house hunting. The first building we checked was just in front of the airnbnb we were staying, and 3 blocks from the office

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as soon as we entered the building, we fell in love

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then when we entered the condo and saw this view, we were 99% sold

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not only the condos are immense (3000 sq feet for 3 bedroom + den), it also has an amazing condo area including an adult pool and kids pool, playground, gym and meeting room.

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we saw 7 or 8 properties in the same building and chose top 3. Then we went to check houses in a private village. They were disappointing to say the least. After seeing 4, we decided to go with the condo. Then the agent took us for lunch and we had our first philippino food

green salad with salted egg and shrimp

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a miso sour spicy soup with cat fish and veggies

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a coconut drink with bubble in the bottom

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bbq chicken a la philippino

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a rice/coconut/cheese cake which turned out to be the best of the meal

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we had fun trying them out, but my palate told me I wouldn’t love it to have everyday.

To have something more familiar for dinner, we went to a hong kong restaurant TinHong Wan.

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so much better! 😀

As we walked back from the restaurant, we explored the city at night, so lively!!!

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The third day in Manila started with buns… one filled with salted egg custard

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and one with bbq pork

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after breakfast we went to the office for some briefing and went to a “healthy” restaurant “Green Pasturer” close by for lunch.

appetizer: marinated saltines, baked brief and toast

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an avocado salad

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and a cauliflower rice sautéed with shrimp, dried friend pork rings and egg, which was really really yummy!!! Tony loved it!

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we spent the afternoon checking one more condo unit at the same building, two daycares for Lizzy of which one we really liked it. Then it was time for a nap as we kept waking up at 3am.

For dinner we met with a colleague and his wife who’s also moving to Manila in August. Since his wife is german, they suggested to try out german food.

Love ordered the biggest piece of pork feet in a plate I’ve ever seen!

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and I had a tuna salad

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As we walked back… we saw a famous restaurant in Shanghai!

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Thursday morning I met with a colleague who’s leaving the country and looking to sale her SUV. We chatted office gossip and a little bit about her car. Then Tony and I went to a local supermarket to check groceries and household necessities availability. I made note on things to bring.

Then Tony and I headed to the restaurant we saw the night before for lunch

these are soup dumplings filled with zucchini and shrimp. They were delicious!

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wonton in sauce

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noddles soup with wonton

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spicy sour soup

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and two kinds of sautéed greens

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really enjoy the food there and will definitely come back for more later.

More nap, met with a colleague, and went out for dinner. I wasn’t very hungry but Tony was in mood for japanese food. We shared fried oyster to start

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and each of us had a bento box

Our last day started with french crepe, delicious and filling!

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then our local guide took us to the real Manila. Where we were staying is called Fort Global City, which is like bubble where all expats live, nothing to do with the real Manila.  As we drove there, we saw a lot of poverty. Traffic got much worse and it was impossible to imagine driving there. We also got to visit Chinatown, which was interesting but definitely not a place I’d go everyday. Then it was lunch time and I asked the guide to take us to try street food. I pulled out youtube and showed her a video of street food that we saw before. It happened that she knew the place!

This place has been here for over 40 years!!! Many locals come for lunch

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it’s like a buffer where you order food to be served at your table

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I tried a bit of everything but Tony devoured them all. For dessert, we had fresh coconut water with meat

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The food was so heavy that we didn’t need dinner that day. The next day we went to the airport very early and had breakfast there.

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Meanwhile my girls were missing us and we missed them a ton

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This trip was a preview of our three years stay there and we were really pleased with what we saw. The neighborhood we will be staying is perfect! It is very similar to shanghai where both Tony and I are coming from, but a better version of it. It has tons of stores, restaurants, and living facilities, all at walking distance, and I can walk to work everyday!!! That’s a big plus! Although we will be living in the city, our condo is almost as big as our house, so it combines the best of two worlds. And there’s more, we will be having our own driver and live-in maid!!!

Let the adventure begins!!! 🙂

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What I Ate: 1/19/17

It was a day to be remembered since it was first time I was at home with two girls all by myself from 8am to 7:30pm. And I have to say, although it was totally manageable, I gained more respect to stay at home moms. 🙂

My day started off in total darkness. I didn’t sleep well the night before, waking up around 2:40am and couldn’t sleep until almost 4am. Nonetheless, I head out at 6:35am for my run.

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I came across few souls on the trail. Every time I come across a runner, I’d say good morning and give my respect for the diligent runner/cyclist. I am sure they feel the same way toward me. It feels noble to be out there.

The last 0.25 mile of the run is the hilliest but I always feel huge fulfillment when I reach to the top.

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Once home, I prepared breakfast for Sofia and Tony. Homemade sour cream pancakes with PB for Miss Sofia, and homemade bread with assorted spreads for Tony.

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while they had breakfast, I fed Lizzy. Sweet potato/zucchini/pear puree was on the menu for her.

Just before 8am, we got ready to drive Tony to the metro.

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Once home, I nursed Lizzy while Sofia played by herself, and Lizzy went to take her nap without fuss.

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8:45 AM – Breakfast

Fluffy coconut pancake with peanut and chocolate sauce

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It has been a long time I made pancake for breakfast and oddly I craved sweet that morning so I obliged and made a big batch.

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It was like eating dessert for breakfast, so decadent and filling

Fluffy coconut pancake with peanut and chocolate sauce

Serves 1

2 eggs
1 egg white
4 Tbsp coconut flour
2 Tbsp flax meal
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of stevia
1/3 cup water
cooking oil/spray
2 Tbsp PB2
1/2 scoop chocolate protein powder

  1. Heat pan
  2. Separate egg yolk from egg whites
  3. Beat egg whites with an electric beater until foam
  4. Mix coconut flour with flax meal, salt, baking powder, stevia
  5. Add egg yolks to the flour mixture and add water until a thick bater consistency
  6. Fold egg whites to the flour-egg mixture
  7. Drop 1/4 cup of batter to the pan and cook for 3-4 mins, flip, and cook another 1-2 min
  8. Mix water with PB flour to make peanut butter sauce
  9. Mix water with protein powder to make chocolate sauce

Sofia and I spent the morning organizing her toys

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assorted her books by language (english, spanish and chinese)

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11:30 AM – Snack

We shared a navel orange for snack

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then I started to prepare dinner while Sofia did some coloring

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I had a big butternut squash that was sitting in the fridge for days and some leftover corn tortilla. Enchiladas sounded perfect.

I first roasted some sweet potato with coconut oil

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then prepared the sauce and the sweet potato & grounded beef mixture. Sofia joined me for the assembly.

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ready for the oven

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she snacked on tortilla while I did some cleaning

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Lizzy woke up from her nap at 12:15pm, that was solid 3 hours nap! 😀

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Then we went to Trader Joe’s for some groceries. We all need to get out of the house for some fresh air once a day, and doing groceries seemed to be the easiest task with two kids. Somehow they’re “trapped” in the cart.

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Once home, I prepared lunch for the girls. Eggs, broccoli, and pita bread for Miss Sofia. Broccoli, pancake, and yogurt for Lizzy. After lunch, they both went for a nap.

2:00 P.M. – Lunch

Sautéed cabbage, kale, and tofu in olive preserve sauce + steamed corn

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I was starving by the time lunch was ready, but I prefer to eat it late alone than juggling two girls at the same time.

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A coffee while I catch up with some work emails.

3:45 P.M. – Snack

pistachios

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Pistachio is my favorite nut for the moment so whenever I’m not too hungry for a snack, I’d have some for healthy fats.

At 4pm, my friend Sarah and her daughter Tara came to visit us. While Sofia and Tara played, later joined by Lizzy, Sarah and I chatted. Sarah is moving to Kenya soon so it was really nice to see her.

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They left around 6pm. Tony texted me that he was running late so I had dinner with the girls by myself.

6:45 P.M. – Dinner

Sweet potato & beef enchilada served with avocado

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It was my first time making and eating enchilada. I was happily surprised by how easy it was to make for something truly delicious.

After dinner, I gave a bath to Lizzy. Love seeing her chewing bath toys.

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By 7:20 pm, she was in bed with Pj and full belly of milk. 🙂

Tony arrived home almost 8 pm. Heated up enchiladas for him which he loved as well. Then I asked him to read a book to Sofia while I had my ME time with my kabocha.

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By 9pm, I was in bed with a cup of chocolate almond milk and a book. Perfect way to unwind my day full of silly words, diapers, and home errands.

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First time of “stay at home mom of two” went well. It gave me confidence for the time I’ll have to do more of these in a couple of months. It is so true that with kids days are long but years are short. Always remember this to cherish every long day. 🙂

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Lizzy: 8 months

Lizzy turned 8 months 10 days ago! I feel like writing 6 months update just few days ago. Perception of time changes so much when you have a little one.

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She has grown so much these two months. So many developmental changes happened. First, she started to sit but fall in in front of her, then at 7 months (almost the exact day) she started to sit unassisted. Then she started moving forward with her hands, and at 8 months and few days she’s fully crawling. It’s so fun to observe going her through these progresses.

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She continues to be an angel baby. So happy all the time!

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she loves playing with Sofia. When Sofia plays with her, she laughs all the time. And when Sofia is at home, her eyes will follow her around.

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Eating: she’s so much better eating compared to Sofia. Now her eating schedule follows as this:

Breakfast at 7:30am: 1/2 cup homemade puree, 1/2-1 cup of whole milk yogurt, and 4-6 oz. of breast milk in a bottle). I stopped nursing her at 6am because she started to sleep until later and few times I had to wake her up. So now I just pump before my run (9-12 oz.) and let grandma feed her later.

Lunch at 12pm: 1/2 cup homemade puree + 4-5 oz. milk

Snack between 3-4pm: 1/2 cup homemade puree (optional) + 3-4oz. milk

Dinner at 6:30pm: homemade puree if she didn’t have for snack + nursing before bed (7-7:30pm)

Although she might get distracted when eating/nursing, she usually eats well. Favorite food other than milk: anything with fruit, and YOGURT, big time!

I’ve been making 2-3 types of puree for her in batches. usually I mix fruit with vegetables and add baby oatmeal for thicker consistency. Fruits include applesauce, pear and banana. Vegetables include zucchini, sweet potato, carrot, parsnip, potato, green pea, pumpkin. I introduced egg yolk to her, she eats it but not a big fan.

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She also sleeps very well. Night sleep from 7:30pm to 7:30am. she might not be asleep at all time but usually goes back to sleep without much fuss. During the day, she’ll take 1 or 2 long naps of 2+ hours, and one short one if any from 5-6pm. The good thing about Lizzy is that even if she’s not sleeping or she wakes up from her nap, she’s happily playing in her crib alone for a long time. She’d play with her socks, recently sitting up and look outside the crib, or just moving around and playing with her leg. Only few occasions she’d wake up crying to get attention.

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During the day, she plays with different toys, basically putting anything reachable to her mouth.

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love love this chubby face! I want to eat her! 😀

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she looks so much like Tony and she also got Tony’s easy going personality. For instance, if she’s playing with something, except it’s something that she really likes, she wouldn’t fuss if we take it out.

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crawling EVERYWHERE. Last week Tony and I were preparing dinner, and suddenly couldn’t see Lizzy. She went to the back of the couch, exploring new territories. 🙂

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She likes:

  • playing with Sofia
  • being hold
  • putting everything in her mouth
  • going out
  • bouncing around in our laps

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loving you my little angel, please stop growing so fast, I haven’t had enough of babyhood with you yet. 🙂

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Nursing is going really well. Despite travels, my milk supply is still strong thanks to diligent pumping sessions everywhere (airplane, airport, bathrooms!). I’m still producing 4-5 oz. more than she consumes, but hesitant to drop a pumping session as of yet. Maybe next month when our freezer can’t fit anymore milk! 🙂

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