A Quaint Stay in 九份民宿-陽光味宿 Sunny Room

Travelling with a toddler can make things quite complicated. Anticipating the effort that we were going to exert for our Jiufen trip, I booked a room at Sunny Room while planning our Taiwan itinerary. It was a good decision because traipsing all over Jiufen in the midst of a huge crowd was exhausting, especially with a 3-year-old toddler in tow. Those stairs were a challenge to scale, I kid you not.

A view of a hostel in Jiufen Taiwan called 'Sunny Room' and shows a pretty building overrun with ivy on its walls, with a motorcycle parked in front

Since we were traveling on a budget, I found Sunny Room by narrowing down my search options in Booking.com. It looked so quaint in the pictures and the reviews were very good. It was also specified that it’s quite near A-Mei Teahouse, the highlight of our trip to Jiufen.

I’ve always been a huge fan of Miyazaki’s Spirited Away, and knowing that this teahouse was his inspiration for Yubaba’s Bath House, I knew I had to visit this place while we were in Taiwan. Taking a look at Google Maps, Sunny Room looked so near to the teahouse, but the actual experience was very different.

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Packing up

The Gastrologist(s) told me before that GERD causes my palpitations, and that my GERD stems from anxiety. She can just give me PPIs, but it’s up to me to manage my mental health. I got sick so often, I was in the ER countless of times, and had so many lab tests that my health care plan almost reached its limit. There was a time that I just went around in circles, always going on a downward spiral and just forgetting how to manage my thoughts. I can’t say that I have a better grasp of things now since I’ve been so busy with rehearsals and other activities these past few month but I really hope that I am improving.


It is tiring to live in constant fear and worry, and in this case, I get scared about having panic attacks. This is usually the reason why depression catches up. Almost every time I prepare to perform onstage, I freak out about having an attack during the performance. Eventually, I learned to anchor myself in the moment while performing. I have to prep myself well before going onstage. It takes up a lot of work and this process usually isn’t obvious to the people around me. I used to long for the moments when performing (or basically living life) used to be so natural, but this is my new normal now and that is just how it is.

The Harry Potter in Concert performances last weekend is probably my last gig with an orchestra for the year. I’m deeply grateful for the busyness and distraction that performing with the orchestra gave me, among other things. I always learn new things about myself whenever I prepare for rehearsals and performances. I also realized that I love making music more than anything and that I tried keeping myself from it because it hurts to not do it. It’s a paradox and it’s confusing AF.

I’m packing our bags now for a family adventure and I hope to recharge my creative juices on this trip. Sometimes this country gets too overbearing and plain uninspiring so I’m looking forward to breathing a different kind of air.

Crying woman, expressive watercolor painting
Watercolors, unfinished. Just checking to see if I can still paint.

“I love you as certain
dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow
and the soul.”

– Pablo Neruda


Reverie, expressive watercolor of hands

After almost a year of not posting anything, I’ve finally resurfaced online. With the recent string of suicides, especially the ones that made the news, mental health awareness is becoming more prominent. Because of this, I have this urge to go back to blogging.

Maintaining this blog was not even one of my priorities, hence the lack of updates. I had no clear purpose in blogging before – I just wanted an outlet for my thoughts. However, it’s becoming clear to me that I continue writing my story and sharing my experiences to somehow help and inspire others going through the same things as I am. As someone dealing with several mental disorders, it has been incredibly hard for me to deal with the transitions of marriage, domesticity, motherhood, and loss. Maybe, in dealing with my demons, I can help others while helping myself.

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i am

to cease


as breath


the glass



yet void

of suffering.

i am

just a speck –


never belonging.

fading in time

like memories,


like dust



into non being.

fading away

to black

or white,

into nothingness.

Embracing myself


Going to therapy is the best thing that I’ve done for myself. I don’t even paint regularly, but I even noticed a change in my process. I feel more free and less scared of putting paint on the paper. Before, I used to feel so scared of painting my line-art because I felt like a lot of things can go wrong. Things can go wrong but that is how you learn, and learning to forgive yourself and move in is a big part of it. That is the beautiful process of learning.

There are times when I feel trapped, unable to move, breathe, and function as I should, but this is my reality. I am now choosing to embrace my mental illness and learn how to look at the good things that come with it. This is who I am, and loving myself means loving all of me, with no judgment and labels.. Embrace the “bad” things because it’s part of me – that there is a beautiful side to it, too. It is a painful process and it is definitely a struggle to go through, and if I may paraphrase a quote from Mulan, a rare and beautiful flower can bloom in adversity. So, you are very welcome to watch me bloom. ❤


This post is way overdue, but the busyness of motherhood is making me dream of taking a trip out of the city with my husband. Should I feel bad for wanting some me-time with my husband? Of course, leaving little Raffy behind is not an option now, so we will just have to wait. Here’s a throwback to our lovely babymoon – the last time we were able to travel as just husband and wife.

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Transitioning to a plant-based diet

Two months ago, I had some lab tests done at home c/o Hi-Precision Diagnostic’s Home Service Testing and I encouraged Ralph to have a blood test done right then and there because his gout is bothering me. You see, he’s had gout for over a decade now and time and time again, he refused to have a blood test done to check his uric acid levels. Thankfully enough, he conceded, and later that afternoon, the results arrived in my email. True enough, his marks are so high and this got me worried even more, so I did a lot of research about gout and hyperuricemia.

According to Healthline, Hyperuricemia occurs when there is too much acid in your blood. I’ve since learned a lot about the topic of gout, and I will discuss this in another blog post. The point is, we have decided to go on a plant-based diet because vegetables are the best low-purine foods. What about beans, you say? In recent studies, it is shown that plant-based purine sources have a low bioavailability, which means that these purine-rich sources are not easily converted to uric acid. (As an added note, foods containing high-fructose corn syrup is hell on people with hyperuricemia!)

Going plant-based

This is where I had a tough time. I was the kid who grew up not eating vegetables, and I have a pretty good repertoire of meat recipes under my belt. That said, I don’t cook vegetables really well. I’m not even familiar with some of the vegetables that are found in the wet market. My husband is an Ilokano, and he loves his vegetables. In the course of our relationship, I slowly learned how to appreciate and actually like eating veggies – but I still don’t know how to cook them. When changing your lifestyle, I figured that it’s best to consult the people who already has that kind of lifestyle. I am grateful that we have quite a handful of vegetarian and vegan friends, so I contacted them for resources and tips. Our goal is to be 80% plant-based, for now. What matters most to me right now is getting rid of sugar, processed foods, and unhealthy ingredients. Continue reading