musings

vahay kuvo part 1

carlo and i aim to simplify our lifestyle. the excessiveness of our world can be overwhelming and there will never be an end to what one’s lifestyle buries you into. we work in the advertising industry as production designers and it’s easy to get hooked into a superficial lifestyle if one is not conscious about it. averaging p250 meals at restaurants for one, free services to and from the office or the p260 taxi ride to the office and another going back home, that daily p165 grande starbucks coffee sealing your fake status in life. excessive! not to mention the small purchases of other items you may not really need.

it helps that we are not living in makati. we go home to an old, 40 year-old rented apartment in quezon city shared with my aunt who’s lived here longest in the neighborhood. food is a necessity but we are constantly reminded there are options always. i keep track of how much we spend a month and food takes up 60-70% of our expenses, through eating out or by groceries.

i remember as a kid life was so much simpler. mom goes to the market and comes back with loads of stuff. cooks meals and we share family time over a feast. it’s not too late to go back to that. sometimes, it’s not about spending less and going the cheaper route, it’s more about simplifying your life. going back to basics. buying local and reducing carbon footprint. celebrating home cooked meals. save the earth. all that jazz.

last month, carlo and i went off to the nearby marikina public market and spent P1200 ($27.21) on fresh produce. it took us 1.5 weeks to consume everything and that’s a good track record for us. this week we went back for more. there was a break with the cooking at home because we got busy with shoot projects but we’re currently back to cooking and eating at home this week.

before we left for marikina this afternoon, carlo and i planned to spend only P800 or $18 (plus P200 for taxi) at the market because we have to get a new lpg tank this month at roughly p550 (11kls per tank) as our old tank was all used up after 4 months of cooking (not bad). limiting expenses into a budget is crucial to simplifying lifestyles. money does not grow on trees, as everyone knows. here’s what we got this afternoon:

veggies

protein

here’s an accounting of what we purchased today. im a sucker for squid and mussels. and galunggong. we’re hoping this produce and stock will see us through a week’s worth of awesome meals. carlo will cook and i will do the dishes.

Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 5.20.39 PM

P974 ($22.09) total. we sorta overspent but our commute transportation was reduced to p48 ($1.09) so we’re still within budget. you may have noticed we didnt buy pork today. that’s no coincidence. also, no rice. normally we’d get brown rice at SM save more for P55/kilo but im trying to cut down on the carbs so no rice, not even brown rice. P974 divided into 7 days into 2 meals per day would be P69 shared meals for 2-3 pax (carlo, titatems, and myself). p69 per meal with 2 to 3 people eating! that’s roughly an unhealthy burger meal at some fastfood chain for one! crazy, right?

simplify your life. in this excessive lifestyle we have in manila, we’ve stopped appreciating the beauty of a home cooked meal and spending on more important stuff like good quality healthy food that will keep your sugar levels and cholesterol down.  im blogging about this so i can share and maybe inspire others to see for themselves how beautiful our produce is in the philippines and stop buying fast food and eat healthier and eating fresh food everyday.

will post photos of meals as the days progress. cheers and have a simplified life!

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laundry therapy, musings, save the earth

what’s the dream

my architecture barkada and facebook friend, amillah, posted a question on her page, “what’s your dream for manila?” a few days ago. there were a few comments and i decided to join in the fun. a few short suggestions grew to a longer list. i apparently had my bone to pick and had more things to say than i would like to admit. if you were president, or at least mayor, how would you improve things here in manila? or in the philippines, as a larger whole? here’s my random, clearly unorganized list of wishful thinking:


photo credit dale iranon

1. strict implementation on jeepney stops, an organized and logical pila system. what we can do in UP, we can do in the world.  add to that an improved traffic decongesting scheme on top of the color-coding and a stricter anti-smoke belching campaign implementation.  also we should have a centralized/unified smoke belching certificate.  right now, you have to get a different one from every city –pasig, mandaluyong, makati etc and they’re not offering official receipts! read: raket!  we must have more MRT train cars. and more blowers in the MRT stations! ang init kaya! and an EDSA skyway that skips cubao and mandaluyong haha  🙂

2. Save the earth, Manila! stronger better programs on recycling and campaigns on environmental awareness, privatized garbage collection, garbage cans every 100 meters, urinals every half kilometer.  we should promote a greener Manila, a greener Philippines. i applaud how Bayani cleaned up Marikina (though he garnered more critics when he became MMDA chief) and how Hagedorn practiced green living in Palawan . it can be done! Cuerpo’s garbage disposal solutions in Montalban were for the books and his methane plant would have really helped. unfortunately, his detractors pushed him out of office, dont quote me  🙂  a lot more cities should adopt the no plastics/styro ordinance. please! yes to recyclable bags for groceries and to wheeled carts.  we also need more trees. our urban development should include a tree plan or better yet, a park plan. more parks built = more trees planted. building codes should be revised imposing a 30% tree/park plan for every site being developed.  and a 10% provision for pedestrian passageways! walang daan ang mga tao juskoday. our streets are almost not people friendly. i do commend makati with trees, the parks, the wide walkways and an elevated catwalk along dela rosa. it’s practically fun to walk in makati because you wont get run over!

3. appreciation (and preservation) of heritage structures. yun yon

4.  no more billboards EVER (esp since di na pwede underwear ads hahaha). we’ll miss views like this but let’s look up to the night sky instead. no more free-standing billboards on EDSA and the major highways.

5.  clean, potable water from our faucets.  in my childhood, we could drink water from a hose. let’s bring that back.

6. clean fuel for vehicles.  if our gasoline and diesel were processed better, there would be less carbon emissions (please correct me if i got this wrong). less soot on roadside structures, less pollutants in the air. better yet, let’s go electric! or have a hydro car or a solar-powered one. 

7. building more construction of farm-to-market roads, more rewards for farmers and removal of middle men.  let’s help the farmers, not the men who do less sweat and still take home the larger bulk of income. also, if we invest more in our lands, we may need not import goods we can grow ourselves.

8. subsidies and more education grants for IP youths, more lumad schools so they get educated but still maintain their cultures. land certificates for the indigenous people, more programs for training IPs to be better farmers and managers of their lands. empowerment to the people, let’s not keep them in the dark.

9. streamlined tax collection system. perhaps we can pay our taxes through online banking. or have we already started that?

10. promotion and patronizing locally produced goods.  the US market is receiving flak because of high fructose corn syrup and many other unhealthy extenders in US processed foods, indirectly causing a high rise in obesity and diabetes cases in the states.  we should be grateful, for example, our locally made peanut butter is unstable and has oil (check lily’s); that means it’s natural and there is less preservatives. our veggies have lesser carbon footprint since the Philippines is a much smaller country than the US.  our food may not be exempted from the use of preservatives and extenders, but i think it’s way better than their US counterparts. please read food labels and their ingredients!

11. improved health classes in schools, encouraging better dental and skin health for all and providing more services for them; the passing of the RH bill. health is wealth, so they say. PEHM classes should now be more comprehensive, discussing food and diet in detail, making gym fun and accessible to even the dweebest of the dweebs.  schools should teach how to read and understand labels, effects of too much sugar and salt, calorie content and how to measure their intake.  kids should know which food item is healthier just by reading labels.  the first three ingredients listed in any product indicate the largest components of that item. bottled iced tea lists water, sugar and tea, in that order. that means, there’s more sugar than anything (which is why i stopped drinking bottled iced teas).  school programs should encourage our youth to be fit, toned and be body gorgeous! we should instill dental hygiene practices like flossing, gargling with hydrogen peroxide, the pinas is not exactly dental health conscious.  the RH bill should already be put in effect 20 years ago so we can start reaping its benefits. sex education, information on reproductive health for our kids and in barrios where it is most needed. aborti-what? even the pope encourages condom use.

12. promotion of tropical design versus american/euro style homes.  the greater population should understand why we cant keep having all this american style homes in a tropical country! it’s too damn hot! also, tropical design is also green architecture; design considers orientation of the house to maximize airflow and minimizing solar heat. more windows, better ventilation and lighting, lesser use of air-conditioning and lights.  redirect rainwater and laundry water for washing the garage or for flushing toilets. form should follow function. bathrooms are living areas too, dont make it the size of a broom closet!  we need to promote our cultural sensibilities in design! we need more kenneth cobonpues, more budji layugs and ann pamintuans, more locsins and lichaucos!  more important than promoting them abroad is promoting them here in the philippines, maximizing their talents and creating awareness and more appreciation in the motherland. we tend to look up to international designers when we can do better by buying local.

13. centralized ID system, centralized banking system if possible. forget what nostradamus feared, 1 ID may be all we need.

14. cheaper unlimited data plans for mobile phones or tablets hehe or a wi-fi ready manila! how about being out in the park and bam! we got wi-fi with up to 16mbps speeds! haha

15. instill nationalism and pride in local efforts and practices (like, support pinoy movies!).  no more colonial and crab mentality! please no more negativity. there should be no factor in the bakya.  ok, there’s jejemon and pre-2k jologs type pero kanya-kanya lang yang trip. no need to separate yourself from the other. we’re all in the same boat, we breathe the same dirty air and hide from the same sun.  japan was able to help its economy after the world war by keeping out of the world market. the japanese bought japanese. by this they were able to instill local pride.  when the japanese go abroad, they still bought japanese-made products and that helped their economy a lot. since products continued to improve, the world wanted their products and so a happy cycle was established.  in the same vein, if pinoys bought pinoy, quality of products would improve because tayo na nga gagamit then more would buy it.  if pinoys watched more pinoy movies, im sure we’d have better fare since we’re helping the industry. if pinoys stopped heckling lower class sentiments and see the beauty in the positive, our culture would be richer and more exciting. i love what team manila is doing, maybe they should instead be called the Department of Tourism. oops.

it was only after writing my first draft that i read this other article on dreaming for a better manila. there are a lot of similar wants for manila here. goes to show a lot of people want the same basic things and changes. im sure the government would have picked up on these ideas as well. i just hope it translates to some constructive reality.

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