Summary At the start of 2022, I was all set to leave Thailand and venture out. That didn't happen until October when Thai Immigration stopped issuing out Covid 19 visa extensions - 10 months later. But it finally happened - after 4 years in Thailand, I'm out. I always say that it's good to put the intentions out there, but don't obsess. It will eventually happen...or not. I have full faith and trust that my benevolent universe will do what's right for me when the time is right.
Here in Cebu, Philippines, my benevolent universe again assured me of its presence by paving the way for me. Abundance is here and life is relatively easy with promises looming on the horizon.
enjoying my cup of hot sikwate(native cocoa drink) at Moalboal's public market
The year started out with lingering feelings that remained after that cancel-culture attack on me by 'woke' friends who abandoned critical thinking and formed a bee hive. It was a rude awakening for me on what human nature is...not to be a cynic but simply to be aware of human dynamics. I've since become mindful of the people I allow into my sacred sphere. Anyone who nurses an unresolved life-trauma, who has a mental imbalance or emotional disturbance, I keep out of this sphere.
Many people have passed through my revolving door (as I have passed through theirs). Some have come and gone, and some are here to stay, regardless where I end up.
Mike As a former enforcer for the Chinese Triad in Singapore, Mike is one 'badass mutha' you don't mess around with. He is tough as nails. Consider yourself warned. But to those he likes, they'd feel safest around him. It doesn't matter that I'm no longer in Chiang Mai. Mike will always loom large for me. When shit hit the fan, when friends turned against me over a malicious lie, he was there for me - staunch and unwavering. He was always there for me. We continue to keep in touch...Christmas, birthdays, etc. I'll always be there for him too.
At 26, he's a man on a rush - on a rush to make his millions, on a rush to be enlightened, and on rush to save the world. Full of idealism, he is focused, driven and kinetic. He is always full of ideas he's willing to share and equally full of questions he wants answers to.
I didn't realize that I haven't seen him since April. But we communicate not a lot, but consistently over long passages on Messenger. He defers to me (amongst many) for my views and opinion. He is one of many who shifted my thinking that even though my insight is mundane to me, it could be powerful and compelling for other seekers.
We need a serious group of highly self-realised individuals who can join the ranks: Jeff Logan, Andrew Tate, yourself and Me! The coolest fucking gang on the planet to save the world.
Maybe I’m Jesus
If you're serious about the Lamborghini, I think you can get it quick (1-2-3 years). I know how.
I’m 100% sure you can be rich. Not 99%. If you would like to get that relatively fast (up to 3y), let me know.
Simona I haven't seen Simona since I left Chiang Mai, but every once in a while, we still keep in touch. She was a friend who wasn't swayed by the bee hive that swarmed against me. She stood her ground while maintaining her peace with everyone else. She's been a part of my Pizza Nites, Moka Coffee gathering, yoga and just plain chillouts.
What lovely couple! I met Tom early on when he arrived in Chiang Mai...attended his yoga class as he attended mine. I was there during the early days when he and Chunyah got together. As a couple, they attended my Pizza Nites, ice baths, yoga and Moka Coffee gatherings. I was there on Tom's 2 Muay Thai fights (which he both won). One day, I'm sure to see them again, that time with their bundle of joy, Gaewalyn.
Mikko Pato Hostel Seven Cebu
I've said a lot already about Mikko even though I'm only getting to know him during this brief visit. But the more I hang out with him, the more I appreciate him. Loved by many, envied by a few, ladies are impressed by him and guys just wanna buy him beer. He looms bigger than life...at least in the context of Cebu. He is an amalgamation of James Bond(flamboyant, suave, debonair, a lady's man and a man's man), Warren Buffett(for being generous, bordering on magnanimous), Lionel Messi(an all-around athlete...marathon, cycling, football, boxing) and Anthony Bourdain(although eclipsed by his athleticism, he is more than competent in the kitchen). He plays hard, lives hard and pushes the boundaries while disarming you with his charm.
On a personal level, I would rank him on my top 3 of people I hold dear to me...because they all went beyond the call of money to make life easier for me. I don't forget kindness and I find ways to say 'thank you'...but in my currency as I don't have money.
Marky Marky is one of Cebu's saving grace for me. We got to know each other almost by default (since no one showed up at the Theosophical Soceity meeting except him and me, so we ended up talking). Unassuming, mostly silent but always alert and observing, Marky is reliable and gets things done. He's solid. I've always thought that if I were a man of means, I would like to have a 'Gigit' (in the same way that men of means*** are happy to have me within their orbit even if it's just my presence). Marky comes closest to that.
Marky with Wolf at Hostel 7 Cebu
men of means***
These are people who already have an uncanny ability to make money - but they're short of people who have all these abilites - people who can be trusted, who can make things happen, who are reliable, and who will look after their interest, especially when they're not around. Since they have means, it makes no difference to them if I benefit from their largese without realizing their ROI - they just want me around their orbit. Not every 'men of means' get this - as most are bogged down by nickels and dime. So yes, should I become a man of means, I would also like to have a Gigit - modesty aside.
To learn more about people who have broken boundaries in their pursuit of perfection, I made efforts to view podcasts of renegade thinkers, books by illuminated sages, or lectures by wise men, whether it be spiritual, life-hack or neo-science. This gave me a sense of a personal guru...the best of the best, without having to seek audience for it. They're not accessible to me anyway, and if they are, I probably cannot afford them. My gratitude to Joe Rogan, Jiddu Krishnamurti, Moran Cerf, and Donald Hoffman for sharing their wisdom and life experience. Since September, I had been synthesizing Hatha Yoga Pradipika and adapting my practice accordingly.
The pressure was high in getting jabbed. It was a roller coaster ride - things would ease up and normalcy would inch its way back in, then a new variant, Omicron, appeared from nowhere and slammed the door to normalcy. 3rd shots were required. Believers were polarized against the conspiracy-theorists. Families were divided. Friendships were tested. It was a disruptive time. Society was fragmented. Opinions were best kept inside or they might add gasoline to a raging fire. Everything was volatile. The year ended quietly despite the Monkey Pox variant. Travel restrictions were eased. Covid-19 visa extensions were no longer given so in October, I had to leave Thailand and start life from scratch in the Philippines.
I continued my kitchen adventure as a culinary alchemist with my Pumpkin Tahini, Carrot Cake, Coconut Bread and Coconut Pancake. Even though I didn't have a stove in Chiang Mai, I had 2 fully functioning industrial ovens. It's a little different now in Cebu where I only have access to a water kettle for my Vietnamese coffee.
Yoga and Fitness
In keeping with my fitness program, I resurrected the ABS-Fitness Challenge. In a braggadocio way, ABS has been my trademark. I continued to deepen my yoga as I continued to teach it in innovative ways that make sense to me.
It pays that I am the embodiment of my practice so I don't have to convince people that my brand of yoga works. For a guy my age, I remain strong, disease-free and somehow remaining young while keeping harmony with my world - and that's very transparent. It's my day-to-day life, but people unfamiliar to this state-of-being are curious, motivated and nudged to try it.
Also by teaching it, I am inspired to dig deeper into the subject - and knowing them by heart. I can almost recite the yama and niyama, the chakras, mudras, perform the many powerful permutations of pranayama.
Another practice I've embraced and conducted is the ice bath. I subscribe to its many benefits. Yoga and ice bath are 2 sides of the coin in my practice. I've attended ice baths by Jason, conducted my own classes at Alt_Chiang Mai and at my hotel, Nawa Saraan. I've formed a community with my weekly icebath where we gather at My Moka Coffee for socials after the bath. It was a wholesome and vibrant community with regulars and fly-bys.
I think I'm unique by being identified by my Pizza Nites. It's a tradition I began in Canada and somehow carried with me along my travels. It's always fun - I invite select friends to gather and make their own pizza from their own ingredients. We take individual turns baking it and we all share the pizza. Some bring wine and share that as well. It's fortunate that in my hotel, I had 2 industrial-sized ovens to get the job done.
Anywhere I end up, if I have access to an oven, a Pizza Nite will inevitably happen.
Pizza Nite is a gathering of FOUR (4) friends (me included) for pizza-making. Why only 4? Because if bigger than 4, I get stressed! It can be anytime during the day or evening(not just 'nite'). Everyone makes their special pizza for sharing. We will all be assembling our own pizza together. 4 people, 4 pizzas. 2 pizzas at a time will be baked. When we are finished, the next 2 pizzas will be baked - this way, the pizza will always be hot.
pizza ingredients - everyone brings everything they need to make their pizza - dough, sauce, cheese, toppings, etc. Please have everything already cut-up at home, so we save time and only assembly is needed. You can take home whatever ingredients you didn't use or donate it to the next Pizza Nite group.
diet restrictions - please state your diet restriction. Since we are sharing our pizza with everyone, let's all make pizza everyone can eat. One way to do this is make imaginary lines on the pizza (4 slices) and assign a slice to a particaular person (eg - for the vegetarian, don't put meat on that slice but put meat on the other three slices)
drinks - everyone brings their own drinks. But if you feel like sharing your wine or beer with everyone, then cheers to you!
clean up - if everyone helps out in cleaning up, I will remember you in my prayers (and keep you in the short list)
How to make pizza dough
Three ways to bring your pizza dough to Pizza Nite:
buy uncooked pizza dough from a pizza joint(easy and fun)
buy a ready-made cooked pizza crust from the grocery(easy but not fun)
make your own pizza dough from scratch, as follows: (challenging and most fun)
3 1/2 cups flour
1 cup warm water (between 85° and 115° F)
2 tbsp yeast (I like my dough a little yeasty. You can use less)
2 tbsp sugar or honey (I use Muscovado sugar)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
Making the sponge/poolish Mix water, sugar, yeast and 1 cup regular flour in a bowl. Cover until it starts to bubble (first rising, around 45 mins). This can now be used. However, if you want a more flavorful pizza dough, keep this covered in the fridge overnight or a full 24 hours.
Kneading Mix the rest of the ingredients (flour, salt and oil) and start kneading (tip: press on with your body weight, not just your arm power). The dough should be soft without being sticky. Too sticky, add flour. Too hard, add water. You're done when the dough bounces back when you poke your finger onto it. Cover until double in size (2nd rising, around 45 mins).
Scaling and shaping Punch the dough to take the air out. You can cut it up and use only what you need. You can cut it up into 3 and shape them into balls - one of those balls should be good to make one 13" regular pizza. You can freeze the 2. Flatten one ball into a circular shape. I usually flatten it on the same tray I will bake on so I don't have to make a transfer - I just apply a little oil on the tray before flattening. Using both hands, one on top of the other, press from the center outwards to stretch it in all directions. You can flatten it more by using a rolling pin (or wine bottle). Take a fork and put puncture holes all over the dough to keep it from bubbling up while cooking (which also holds the sauce in place). Wait until double in size (3rd and last rising).
the dough is now ready for baking
For a more complicated pizza dough but much better, here's a video by Vito Iacopelli
How to make pizza sauce
Two ways to bring your pizza sauce to Pizza Nite:
buy a ready-made pizza sauce from a pizza resto or from the grocery
make your own pizza sauce from scratch, as follows: (challenging and most fun)
Basic Pizza Sauce
ripe fresh tomatoes (use just enough for sauce consistency)
fresh peeled crushed garlic (according to taste)
bunch of fresh basil (in Thailand, there are 3 types...use the sweet basil with green stem, not purple) or oregano
1 small can, tomato paste (great thickener and holds the sauce together)
teaspoon of sugar (not to sweeten, but to reduce acidity)
pinch of salt
fresh ground pepper
generous amount of olive oil (quarter cup? really, up to you for consistency)
puree the fresh tomatoes in a blender and strain on a sieve. Keep the liquid and the pulp.
combine basil leaves, garlic and the tomato liquid in a blender and liquify. Transfer all to a pot and heat up. Remove immediately the moment it boils. Strain the liquid and discard the pulp
add the liquid, sugar, the tomato pulp, salt, pepper and tomato paste in a blender and puree again
on slowest blender setting, start pouring small amount of olive oil into the sauce until well blended. Adding oil last prevents the oil from separating
sauce is ready. Pack in serving size containers and freeze
Now that I'm back in the Philippines, I miss Chiang Mai's music scene where weekly Blues music is just there for the taking - Boy Blues Bar, My Secret Cafe, Northgate Jazz Coop, My Bar, Paapu House, etc. Despite Cebu being the Queen City of the South and the 2nd biggest city in the Philippines, Blues music is a rarity. Cebuanos are great musicians, there is no question about that, but Blues is not on the radar. Besides, live music is not cheap in the Philippines.
Throughout 2022, money was just hovering between near-depletion to almost depleted. It's just a sign of the universe for me - that it's hovering above me. It's a repeating pattern I've seen so many times that the scarcity of money doesn't worry me anymore. Had I left Thailand early on in the year, I would have done so with just $100 - seriously! But somehow in mid year, I've had many classes from many students paying me my full rate (I learned painfully that it doesn't pay to teach free yoga...or to give valuable anything for free). The classes eventually stopped, but I already saved enough money for travel to the Philippines.
And this is what I mean about my universe finding a way to see me through when the time is right.
(Oct 11-13, 2022) After leaving Chiang Mai, all I wanted was to reach the Philippines fast and settle down for a new life. Still, I thought it was a good idea to spend 3 nights in Bangkok before I finally kiss Thailand goodbye. Being out of Chiang Mai rekindled my instinct for traveling - thinking fast, thinking processes through, acting quick and ensuring my bases were covered. It was good to have that juice still flowing.
(Oct 13, 2022 - Jan 9, 2023) Cebu has been awesome! Big thanks to Mikko for making it happen. Without him, it would have been just another place.
I tried my best to make a new life upon arrival. During my short stint in Cebu, I held 2 yoga talks, 2 ice baths, conducted an advanced Pranayama class, moderated a Theosophical Society meet up, and snorkeled at Moalboal and Mactan. On the horizon, I had project plans with Mikko for a Pecha Kucha night and a Pizza Nite.
But despite the abundance, I felt the need to move on. Every passing day, no matter how much I tried to be productive, felt like ground hog day - a repetition of the day before. After 3 months in Cebu, it became clear I had to leave - despite the deepening friendship I had with Mikko, Kobe, Maiko, Marky, etc., despite having more cash than usual, despite the free stay at Hostel 7 Cebu and despite a shaman telling me my place is Cebu. But for where?
Ending Thoughts I guess the biggest thing that happened to me in 2022 was leaving Thailand after nearly 4 years in residency. It felt bitter-sweet. On one hand, Chiang Mai never felt the same after the Cancel Culture attack on me by wolves in 'friend clothing' so it was a relief to have a change in scene. On the other hand, I love Chiang Mai and I miss its wonderful offerings. The last 2.5 months in Cebu was about adjusting back to being in the Philippines, finding a place that resonates, getting my bearings and perhaps getting settled.
So, 2023 is all about the NEW chapter...crossing my fingers.
Kris (Dec 26, 2022) I wanted to keep this for the end of the year, but I'll express it right now — this year I'm very grateful having met you. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, wisdom and the blog entries. It's a huge blessing for me and I cherish our friendship a lot!
As of your blog, reading it sometimes feels like having cheat codes for life 🙂 Because you already thought deeply about many topics that I'm trying to figure out and in many ways I know which direction to go / what resources to learn from.
Of course, it's just for orientation, I still need to do the work / embody the learnings. But just pointing me in the right direction I think already saved me some years of needless suffering for me (or at at least I think that way).
Ok I'm not gonna make this into an essay lol so I'll just stop right here. Again, thanksss!! 🙏 ❤
(Mar 6, 2023) The more I desire an outcome, the increased likelihood it will happen. And it has, on so many occassions. I'm drawn to conclude that consciousness influences the way reality unravels. But what if we kick it up a notch? What if consciousness actually creates reality?..more »»
Cebu City is the 2nd biggest city in the Philippine (next to Manila) - and it continues to build and expand. Traffic is getting bad. Decentralization is being developed with the SM Super Mall in the SRP south and the suburban towns in the north.
Boat from the airport to the city center - even without traffic, it takes about 4 rides to reach the city. But with Cebu's increasing traffic congestion, it has become a nightmare. Instead of taking the land route, take the water route - no traffic, fresher air and cheaper. From the airport, take the yellow multi-cab straight to the river port and take the ferry (there's only one destination) to the city. Take the 02B jeep and get off at UC near Jones - you're now on the city's main artery.
given its size and increasing congestion, Cebu really needs a mass railway system - something that is conspicuously lacking, but no one seems to complain about
Cebu is bursting at the seams on the yoga scene. There are about 20 yoga centers in the city - from yoga studios to gyms offering yoga and hotels jumping on the bandwagon
a trendy and safe place in Cebu where you can chillout for coffee and enjoy good eats would be at the Ayala Mall
there are other pocket-areas for trendy hangouts - Banila Town Center, Crossroads, Escario Plaza, La Vie, etc.
the tourist area where most of the budget hotels and restaurants are, are located within the Mango area, although it has a seedy belly feel. Kids may swarm on you pretending to be begging, but they could be picking your pocket or your backpack pockets - be careful
many pick-pockets in the Colon area - be careful
Cebu City Google Map
Cebu City, Philippines
Tops - hilltop offering panoramic view of the city
Taoist Temple - temple on a hillslope in Lahug with panoramic view of the city
Hostel Seven Cebu - newly opened, resto/bar, central location, solo/group travellers
Juana Osmeña Street, Cebu City
S Hotel & Residences - new hotel, luxury rooms, central location
827 M. Velez corner Andres Abellana St.
resto / cafe / bar
Fujinoya - new and refreshing twists to Western style desserts using Japanese techniques
Wilson St., Lahug, Cebu City - tel. 888.6075
Bad Boys Wingz - Buffalo Wings, unique versions of sauces! Great service, accommodating staff, bad boys vibe
Kasambagan, Cebu City | (032) 415 4811
Love Yoga World - yoga studio
11/fl, Skyrise 2 Tower, IT Park, Lahug, Cebu City
Yoga Now - first Yoga and Wellness studio in Mactan offering daily Yoga Classes
at The Yacht Club Mactan
Cebu Mountain Bike Adventure - MTB tours, bike sales and repairs. Bed and Breakfast + Resto Cafe + wifi
1298-b V.Rama Ave, Guadalupe, Cebu City | 0942.959.7451
Cebu City to Camotes Island
Cebu City to Camotes Islands
via Poro - from Pier One in Cebu City, take the Ocean Jet for Poro, 2 hours, daily trip - 6am and 3pm (0936.823.8762 |0956.270.6610 | 0999.889.9999).
via Consuelo - from Cebu City, take the northbound bus passing through Danao and get off at the Danao Port. At the Port, take a Jomalia Shipping boat for Consuelo (San Francisco, Camotes), P220/pax, a/c, 2 hours, daily trip - 5:30am, 7:00am (special trip), 8:30am, 12:00 noon (express), 2:30pm, 5:30pm and 9:00pm (express, Fri/Sat/Sun only).
Camotes Islands to Cebu City
Poro - Cebu City (fastest and most direct) - go to Poro and take the 8am or 5pm Ocean Jet to Pier One in Cebu City, P380/pax/aircon, 2 hours
Consuelo - Danao - Cebu City - go to Consuelo (San Francisco) and take the Jomalia Shipping boat to Danao, P220/pax, a/c, 2 hours, daily trip - 5:30am, 7:00am (special trip), 8:30am, 12:00 noon (express), 2:30pm, 5:30pm and 9:00pm (express, Fri/Sat/Sun only). From Danao, take the Ceres Bus to Cebu City
Cebu City to Dumaguete
Cebu City to Dumaguete by Boat
George and Peter Lines - Mon/Thur/Sat/Sun 10pm, (035)225.4337, 0922.557.1023
Oceanjet - via Tagbilaran, daily 6am, firstname.lastname@example.org, 0918.898.2188
Cokaliong - Mon/Tue/Wed/Thur/Fri/Sat 7pm, Sun 12pm, 6 hours, (035)225.3599
Cebu City to Dumaguete via Liloan (bus, boat, jeep, tricycle)
Cebu City South Terminal - take the southbound Ceres bus to Liloan, P200, 5 hours
Liloan - the bus drops you off at the Liloan Port where you board the Fastcraft to Sibulan, Negros Oriental, P62, 30 mins
Sibulan - at the Sibulan Port, the jeeps wait for Fastcraft passengers to take them to the public market in Dumaguete, P12, 30 mins.
Public Market - at the market, you can take any tricycle to your hotel, P8 for short trips
Cebu City to Tagbilaran, Bohol
Cebu City to Tagbilaran, Bohol
Weesam Express - Pier 4, departs 9:00 AM, 2:00 PM, 6:30 PM, 2 hours
one way: Economy (aircon) P500.00, Economy (non-aircon) P400.00, First Class P600.00
round trip promo (at least 2 days advance booking): Economy (aircon) P600, Economy(non-aircon) P500, First Class P1200
round trip promo (1 day or on the day booking): Economy (aircon) P800, Economy (non-aircon) P700, First Class P1200
Ocean Jet - Pier 1, departs 6-7-8-9:20-10:40-11:40AM, 1-2-4:20-6:35PM, 2 hours
Open Air / Tourist Class P800, Business Class P1000
+63 932 8734 885 / +63 922 8572 300
Lite Ferries - Pier 1, departs daily 12:30pm, 10:00pm and 1:00pm (Mon, Wed, Sat) Standard (Lying) Php 150, Tourist (Lying Aircon) Php 340
+63 977.822.5483 / +63 998.999.5483 / +63 925.347.5483 / (032)255-1721 to 26 / (032)414-9001 to 03
email@example.com / www.liteferry.com
Cebu City to Siquijor by Boat, via Tagbilaran
Cebu City to Siquijor, via Tagbilaran
Lite Ferries - Pier 1, departs M/W/SAT at 1:00pm, 10 hours, economy Php 649 (through barkota.com), layover in Tagbilaran 5:45pm-8:00pm, arrives Larena Port, Siquijor at 11:00pm
+63 977.822.5483 / +63 998.999.5483 / +63 925.347.5483 / (032)255-1721 to 26 / (032)414-9001 to 03
firstname.lastname@example.org / www.liteferry.com
Ocean Jet - Pier 1, departs daily at 1pm, 5 hours
Open Air P1600
+63 932 8734 885 / +63 922 8572 300
Cebu City to Siquijor by Bus, via Liloan (Santander)(as of Jan 2023)
There is only one bus plying this route - Sugbo Urban. Tourist class coach, a/c, comfortable, Sun-Fri (these dates keep changing). P420 for bus, P275 for ferry to Liloan. Leaves Cebu City (South Bus Terminal) at 8 pm (Sundays 1 am), heads south to Liloan (Santander), takes the ferry to Larena Port, Siquijor, docks around 5 am, makes a clockwise roundtrip around Siquijor Island - Larena, Enrique Villanueva, Maria, Lazi (stops at Lazi market for breakfast and leaves 6:50 am), San Juan, Siquijor (arrives 8am, P50 from Lazi to Siquijor Poblacion) and catches the 1pm ferry at Larena Port for Liloan, Cebu and resumes its land route. Arrives Cebu City 10 pm.
Sugbo Urban is the cheapest and most convenient way because when it reaches Larena Port (Siquijor), it continues its trip around the island (clockwise) along the circumferential road, passing through - Enrique Villanueva, Maria, Lazi, San Juan, Siquijor...and back to Larena. It spares you the cost of hiring a tricycle or habal-habal which charges exhorbitant fares. Besides, it's a long trip to the other side of the island to be taking by tricycle.