Our paths will cross again,

one day,

my dear friend.

There’s no point in hoping

It will just leave you devastated in the end There’s no point in trying

If in the end you’ll end up with nothing

Love still has boundaries

It always ends, always!

What’s the point of living

When we’re just slowly dying

People who battle with their own body and mind

They won’t know how it will ever gonna stop

People come and go and once or twice

Our paths will cross but end up with

goodbyes and heartbreaks…


A Journey of a Lifetime

It’s been over a year since I first got sick of a lung infection which required me to take medicines for a month and that I had to quit my job or I wont get well at all because I have asthma and my boss at that time was smoking inside our office.

After I came back from the Philippines after my graduation, I was overwhelmed of work even though it was Ramadan and we’re supposed to have shortened working hours. I also had depression then and I couldn’t concentrate well in my duties and responsibilities. I had an argument with my boss and then I had to leave the company without receiving my salary for 3 months.

After a month of home medications, I was brought to the hospital and was confined 3x over the course of 4 months in Doha. In the ICU I didn’t know what was happening but I was hurting so bad they had to induce coma and put ventilator and NGT on me 2x in one week. I thought I was gonna die but still, here I am fighting to survive even though all I want is to give up.

I went back home to the Philippines to find some answers to what my conditions really are. I met a doctor who specialise in my case. He got to introduce me to his patient who had the same case as mine. That’s when I had to accept that these chronic conditions are irreversible and I had to deal with it for life. I had to accept that this is my new normal.

Along the way, dealing with constant hospitalisations here in Doha and in the Philippines where I got my treatment and Rehabilitation, I became so down that whenever I see other people who do the things I can do before, I get so frustrated that I want to die. The only reason that I wanna fight is because of the people who took their time to help me financially and emotionally. I don’t want to let them down. But still, these thoughts just isn’t easy to go away so I had to deal with it everyday.

The pain won’t leave me alone. I just pretend and try my best to show everyone that I am doing well when I couldn’t even carry my own weight. I get frustrated that  feel like everything is being taken away from me. I feel so alone. I struggle everyday, not only physically but also mentally and emotionally. I had to hide everything that could harm me because as impulsive as I am, I could harm myself without even thinking.

One thing’s for sure, I miss the old times, when dad used to be by my side, when we enjoy taking trips together as a family. Me, my brothers and my parents. Though I know that I have to accept the reality, my reality is still in my childhood years, when nothing seems wrong and even though I am constantly hospitalised, my parents are there supporting me, not like this present reality where I feel like a burden to my family for being sick.

I don’t want to say goodbye to writing, but this has become a difficult task for me now. Everything I loved doing, passionately, I feel like they’re gone. I try so hard not thinking about the pain, I try so hard not to complain about long walks, even though I really wanna cry in pain. I don’t want people to know that I’m weak, but deep inside, my heart breaks when I try to hide the pin,

This new journey with these conditions is what I have to deal with now. But I’m still stuck in my childhood years, yearning for my parent’s love and attention. I don’t have money to help even when I’m trying to. I’m still trying to figure out how. It’s not easy but I hope it would be worth it.

I miss my dog, Hiro. He always knows when I feel sad, He sleeps beside me back home. I feel sad that I can’t have a pet here who will help me with my mental state.

I haven’t started with my rehab yet but once I can, I’ll do my best to be able to walk again, to run again and not be frustrated that I have to rely on everyone.

Love, and understanding, that’s all I need. I hope someday I could give them all back to those people who need them too.


A New World, A New Battle

A Story of my medical journey from a foreign country and back to the Philippines.

Last January 2017 I went to Qatar after graduating from college to work as an OFW. I got a job at a media company as a Social Media Specialist. Almost half a year into the work, I was diagnosed to have a Lower Respiratory Track Infection and was advised a month’s medication. My boss then was a heavy smoker and I am Asthmatic so my condition was already bad enough when I went to the health centre for a check up. The reason I stayed long enough is because I was bound by contract of one year.

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@ NAIA 1 boarding QR going to Qatar

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With my office mate at our office in Doha on my first week

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@ PHCC LEABAIB Health Center

A month after my medications, we had a family day event at church in Al Wakra Stadium in Qatar where I performed a dance number with my church ministry. During the performance, My left thigh started to ache. The pain was so intense I had to sit down and rest for a few minutes after the performance. After the pain subsided, I went to look for my friends so we can go around the venue to look for food to eat. As we were going around, I felt so exhausted, light headed, nauseous and my world felt like spinning.


@ Al Wakra Stadium, Qatar

We went back to our seats and I rested and watched the performances of the other churches. As we were planning to go home, I told my friend that I couldn’t stand the headache and I can no longer stand. When my friends tried to carry me, the moment I was brought up, I didn’t know what happened next. I woke up in Al Wakra hospital and stayed there until the night. I just had my fever lowered and then I got discharged.


Stayed the night at Al Wakra Hospital

A few days after, I went back to Leabaib Health Centre complaining of chest pains and I haven’t been able to sleep because the pain radiates all over my body. I was referred to the emergency room but I was not able to go for some reason. That afternoon, I fell so ill but no one can bring me to the ER so I just slept in our room at the villa. The night I woke up, I can no longer move my body. It felt so heavy and I was having a hard time. I couldn’t go to the bathroom to pee because I couldn’t move. I wasn’t able to sleep through the night because of pain and because I’m scared of what’s happening to me.


Referral form to ER Hamad General Hospital

The next day, I got a little better but got the worse feeling after lunch so I was finally brought to the ER. The doctors did a lot of tests ruling out stroke, aneurism, etc. I had my MRI, CT scan, blood tests, Lumbar Puncture.


2 Weeks into 5 North 3 Ward

I got admitted at Hamad General Hospital for 17 days. During those 3 weeks, I was vomiting my food, my headaches were the worst, I was bed ridden and I couldn’t eat anything. Eventually my upper arms were affected as well and the doctors initially diagnosed Multiple Sclerosis or Myelitis of unknown etiology, Corpus Callosum Agenesis, Collosal hypogenesis dysgenesis with Colpocephaly. The lesions they found in my spine was steadily going up my spine in every MRI they did. It was too hard for me to even lift my head for a time. During the course of my Steroids, I had started my physiotherapy as well.


With my mom and single ministry friends from QEC


1st few days of Physiotherapy with ate Romila

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Hanging around with my friend at the hospital waiting area

A few weeks into hospitalisation, I had my first seizure attack after that September 1 incident at the stadium. It was a frightening experience as I gained consciousness that I couldn’t talk or move for about an hour and my heart was on constant palpitations. More MRIs done and finally after 3 weeks, I am discharged on home medication and management. By this time I was trying to walk on a Canadian walker already.

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@ ER Female Urgent (for admission)

A few days later, I was shaking uncontrollably and was having chills. The EMS brought me to the ER with a convulsive fever. Another set of CT Scans, MRI’s, Lumbar Puncture, Blood tests and Urine tests were done. This time I lost my bladder and bowel control already and was put on foley catheter. It was the worst experience ever that feeling your bladder is bursting but you can’t pee and its overflowing inside already. I got admitted again for 3 weeks.


Look who visited me in the MICU when I finally woke up!

After transferring rooms from 5 North 1 to 5 North 3, a few days after I was shifted to the Medical ICU because of prolonged seizures known as Status Epilepticus. On the 2nd seizure event, my oxygen level was dropping (according to what I heard from my ICU nurse) so they had to intubate me until I fell into a coma for a few days. I was in and out of coma and ventilator for a week and whenever I wake up, I would try to remove the ventilator tubes and NGT feeder because of so much pain.


@ Medical ICU – 1st Intubation under coma


@ HGH MICU 2nd intubation under coma

A week in the ICU for seizure monitoring and symptomatic management, my neuro team decided to shift me to the neurology ward for Video EEG monitoring. 2 days into the room, I got another seizure but it was relatively minor and controlled. I was still on Foley catheter when I was sent home for out patient monitoring and check ups.

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@ Private Neuro ward Video EEG room

I started with the walker again but after a few days, my Physiotherapist said I could use the Forearm Crutches already, and so I did. Four days after my 2nd hospitalisation, I was burning up with fever for 4 straight days so I was brought to the hospital again but was sent home 12 hours later for home management and antibiotics treatment.

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Initial Doses of medicines for seizure and vitamins

I started with the Occupational Therapy in Qatar Rehabilitation Institute November of 2017 and then Physio Therapy on December 2017. During one of my sessions in the occupational therapy, I started feeling so weak and very cold, seizing continuously. I was brought to the hospital again but denied any treatment as my seizure medications are already too high so they could not do anything. I was sent home 8 hours later.


Fine motor development activity – Occupational therapy QRI

During these times, I have wanted to end my life a lot more than I can imagine. The pressure of being able to walk again, the loneliness and hassle of being on to a wheelchair and walker and crutches for a long time. Having to depend on people to go around places. It seems like the days are so much longer than I can bare. Having experienced pain all over your body that makes you tired and couldn’t sleep. You could just imagine the pain I was going through, not one doctor understood the pain.

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Me and my mom at Medical ICU HGH Qatar

My mom sacrificed her time and effort taking care of me while we were the only ones (as a family) there in Qatar and every time I got seizures, the hospital would call her and come rushing from the office to the ICU. People did visit me and I’m glad that the Filipino community is giving me all the support I needed. Eventually I met other people from different walks of life and different nationalities. One of my ward mate whom I was very close to when I was still in 5 N 3 was Nadeen Shameem, a British woman who I always talk to in the ward. Her sister, Claire Weston, visited me and took that lovely picture of me and my mom in the ICU.

A more than a month stay in the hospital also gave me the chance to meet this lovely mother and daughter who became my dear friends. Tita mama Nada and sissy Doaa Jamal are Ahmed’s family. They were good enough to lend me Ahmed’s wheelchair to use for the mean time.

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Started crutches a few weeks after my 2nd hospitalization


From bed, to wheelchair, to walker, to forearm crutches

I was doing better and better everyday with the therapy.

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Excited with the therapy session today ^_^

Tiring first session with the OT. But I enjoyed it. OT teaches me how to do activities of daily living, modifying what I can do so that we will avoid stress to my body.

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@ Qatar Rehabilitation Institute – Occupational Therapy

I started my Physiotherapy beginning of December when I’m already on crutches. My doctor also added a Hydrotherapy session, and I believed it helped me a lot. Mind you that all my therapies in Qatar were shoulders by the Qatar Government as part of their healthcare system but only if you have the health card.


One of the hydrotherapy pools @ QRI

I was doing well with the physiotherapy when one day, after the treadmill (with harness), while I was waiting for my ambulance ride home, I suddenly did not feel so good so I asked for a bottle of water. As we were on our way out of the Neuro PT Gym, I couldn’t walk any longer so they had me sit down a chair. When the EMS put me on the stretcher, I was shaking, I couldn’t open my eyes, I couldn’t swallow my saliva so it was all out of control. I couldn’t move my body voluntarily, nor respond verbally.


@ QRI – Physio Gym (a treadmill with harness)

I was then brought the  ER where I was confined at the hospital again for 5 days. They ran some tests but did not do the MRI at the onset of my symptoms. 5 days after my stay at the hospital, I couldn’t walk on my own anymore so I was on a wheelchair.


@ HGH – ER doing art therapy ℅ Amira Fouad – Thank you habibti!

Because the doctors are all having contradicting statements, my mom has decided to bring me back to the Philippines for a 2nd opinion despite my therapies there in Qatar. Also that the staff from the hospital are also advising us to seek help elsewhere since the doctors couldn’t arrive at proper treatment plans as my condition keeps regressing.


@ QRI – PT Gym (Last session before flying home)

Me and my Mom flew home to the Philippines, bringing with us my wheelchair as I still couldn’t walk long distances. I left the PT gym with only 3/5 bi lateral power on my legs and my balance is almost nonexistent.

A post from my Facebook as I wait for my fly date:

“My life is a mess right now… I have no money, no work; I am sick with unfamiliar rare conditions that I have to live with… couldn’t work, couldn’t walk on my own, constant pain all over my body, constant battle with mental breakdowns, sadness that overwhelms when I’m alone… I may not have cancer, but what I have is equally debilitating as it gets worse and my body gets weak every single day. In time I may not have the same ability as I have now as I can feel the difference everyday. I am not the same as I am yesterday, and may not be the same tomorrow. I wouldn’t acknowledge it and won’t probably accept all that’s happening right now but I get up everyday hoping that I will be ok enough to enjoy the day as a blessing.

People battle with their own demons everyday… some of us have far more difficult battles than an average person, a healthy person battles throughout their days… some far more worse.

As much as we want to love ourselves, it’s the weakness that gets us to overthink of things.

Hopefully all things would go well for me the first half of this year… from diagnosis to recovery to being able to live a normal life as I want to be able to go back to my sports and hobbies. I would hope to get myself together and be back to my own two feet as soon as I can. Thank you for sending some love, inspirations, concerns and encouragements.

Thank you to my Doha dragon boat family for being there for me during my hospital stay, helping me get in and out of the boat during sessions and being with me on my good and bad days, visiting me at home and all.

As I prepare to go back home to continue my medical journey, I couldn’t help but think of the best and worst possible outcomes. But really, I wouldn’t know what the future holds for me. All I know is that I have people around me supporting me each and everyday of my struggles. See you soon Pinas… no more hiding. 😂

The sun sets as the moon rises to shed some light to the darkness of the night.”



Time to fly! @ Hamad International Airport

I had a check up at Makati Medical Centre with a Rheumatologist first but we were advised again to see a Neurologist. We went to out Neurologist-Psychiatrist doctor in St. Luke’s Medical Centre in Quezon City for another round of work ups. Mind you that we could’ve gone to whoever doctor but we really had no choice but to seek help from specialist and top of the field that my condition is under. My Neuro is a specialist on y condition and yet, we have only been able to arrive at a partial diagnosis. I was confined in the hospital for 3 days for the work ups and observations because my condition is very symptomatic. It could flare up at any time.


@ St. Luke’s Medical Centre

I need to have the initial treatments at UST Hospital while the doctors diagnose whatever it is that I have. Initial diagnoses have been given and my family has exhausted all our resources just from the first hospitalisation and initial treatment.

This journey has been exhausting for me since nobody could ever tell me what’s really going on and I have had my body drained of blood, subjected to radiation, and I felt like a lab rat for having one of a kind debilitating disease. Please help me find hope and to be able to surpass this ordeal as I want to be able to run and walk-on my own again.




By: Arnold A. Alesna

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Madrid Fusion 2017, the biggest food event of the year, went into a spin as Region 10 brought in the best of the province in a variety of kakanin. With Regional Director Marie Elaine S. Unchuan of the Department of Tourism (DOT) leading the way, Region 10 aimed to win the heart and stomach of all attendees of the event, local and foreigner alike.

With this year’s delivery of the best delicacies from the region, RD Unchuan aimed to let people knew that there is truly more than what is known about Region 10. From point to point of the region, the whole Region 10 DOT was ready to wow those in the event with what they were presenting in the 3-days event. From Bukidnon to Misamis Occidental, a good selection of delicacies was presented as part of the gastronomic wonder of the region. The delegations are as follow: RD Marie Elaine S. Unchuan – DOT10, Josephine H. Roque – DOT 10 Focal Person, Leonila S. Arguelles – Kitchen Focal Person, Chef Benzar Aradani , Camille Ambalario – Chef’s Assistant , Nelia B. Lee (Food Sponsor), Agnes Garcia Sue (Food Sponsor – Clarin, Misamis Occidental), Mayor Clive Quino and Mrs. Rina Quino (Food Sponsor -Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon) with other DOT 10 personnel.

People were won over by the delicious suman from Clarin, Misamis Occidental, the crunchy peanut brittle, the delicate pastel by Vjandep from Camiguin, that grated young corn delicacy called binaki and chicharon from CDO, the peanut goodness of Cheding’s from Iligan City ad the sweet pineapples of Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon. Paired off with it were the various coffee goodness of the region. Not only are delicacies featured but also the Humba de Oro and Ostrich Salpicao; two dishes displayed during the regional lunch last April 8 under the careful hands of Chef Benzar Aradani.

A good number of gastronomic wonders are to be expected and seen at this year’s Madrid Fusion. Region 10 was all set to give and serve their own tongue-wonder creations and win the hearts of people to come and explore and taste what they have to offer as a region, as a province and as Mindanao.




April 6-8, 2017 was a busy day for all foodies and food entrepreneur as Madrid Fusion 2017 took place at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City. The whole place was like a hive, buzzing with activities and people.

Part of the Region 10 contingent was the product from Clarin, Misamis Occidental – the various sticky rice cakes or suman ng Clarin. Nearly all 17 flavors were displayed for tasting and sold in the 3-day event. ASEC Fredrick Alegre, along with some visitors, was wowed with the number of flavors that Clarin was able to showcase during Madrid Fusion, knowing that this is the first time that the said municipality has joined in this kind of event. The flavors of Clarin’s suman were as follow:

Mango – sticky rice with ripe mango slices, cooked in coconut milk and sugar.

Pinya – sticky rice with ripe pineapple slices, cooked in coconut milk and sugar.

Durian – sticky rice with durian slivers, cooked in coconut milk and sugar. The durian’s strong scent is not present, making this a delightful way of enjoying the fruit.

Tsokalate – sticky rice with tablea made into a spread, cooked with coconut milk and sugar; making this rich in local flavors.

Tsokolate with Mani – similar to tsokolate with added with peanut flavor coming from processed peanut spread. Also cooked in coconut milk and sugar.

Moron – a classic suman in the Visayan region.

Balintawak – created in honor of a place where it was made, this sticky rice goodness is with coconut meat made sweet by cooked coconut milk/oil (latik).

Classic – this is your standard sticky rice, wrapped in leaves and cooked using coconut milk and sugar.

Carrot – with shredded carrots made into a slightly sweet paste, this is mixed into the sticky rice and then wrapped in leaves before being cooked in coconut milk and sugar.

Ube – another root crop common in the area, the purple yam is made into a semi-sweet paste that is mixed with the sticky rice before being wrapped in leaves. Cooked with coconut milk and sugar.

Keso/Queso – slices of cheese are added into the sticky rice mix and then cooked with coconut milk and sugar. The cheese melts into the sticky rice making it more creamier in each bite.

Choco Moron – the classic suman of the Visayas region with chocolate jame added into it. Cooked in coconut milk and sugar mixture.

Buko – sticky rice with strings of young coconut meat added into the mixture. It is also cooked with coconut milk and sugar, making it slightly sweet and delicate.

Peanut – this is your locally processed peanuts, finely grounded and made into a near paste in texture then added into the sticky rice mixture before being wrapped in fresh banana leaves. Cooked with coconut milk and sugar, this suman creation is both delicate and with a crunch.

Latik – the sweetened form of the coconut milk, cooked till dark in color and then added into the sticky rice mixture before being cooked in coconut milk and sugar.

Adlai – two types of rice mixture was used in this suman. One is your standard sticky rice and another is one that is high in fiber. This suman creation can be considered healthy because of the high fiber content that helps in the digestion of food.

Langka/Nangka – slivers of ripe langka (visayan: nangka), is place into the sticky rice and then wrapped in fresh banana leaves before being cook in their standard coconut milk-sugar mixture.

People can’t have enough of this sticky rice mixture that some even came back to buy more of it. They can’t believe that you can have that many variations of sticky rice creations and still be delicious and true to the nature of suman. Such were the feedback given especially during the 3 rd -day Regional Lunch, which was attended by all the delegates present in the event.

As of the moment, this sticky rice cake creation can be bought in the House of Suman in Clarin, Misamis Occidental. For further inquiries regarding the product, you can reach the PR/Social Media team of TBDC thru 09778400606 (Kezia Noblia – Account Director).

Liquido Maestro Kalel Demetrio


by Arnold Alesna


When a dream is driven by passion, there is no reason for it not to come into reality. Such is the case of known liquid chef, Chef Kalel Demetrio – the man behind the name Liquido Maestro (Liquid Master).

From humble beginnings, he worked his way up and be where he is now. From a simple restaurant staff, to a bartender, to a name and status he desired now, he never forgets his humble beginning.

As a liquid chef, Kalel has never strapped himself down to simply creating cocktails – which is common to most mixologist, he pushed himself in creating innovative infusion and drinks suitable to all ages.

From simple juice or iced tea with a twist, to cleverly mixed smoothies and satiny smooth cocktails, Kalel will show you what he can do and what his mind can create. An advocate of the farm-to- glass principle, he believes that nature has given us a lot of things to use and enjoy as a consumable item.

Not only can he create drinks of wonder but also food of delights. He has collaborated with other restaurants creating flavors that are tongue-talizing to one’s senses. He also now have a restaurant where in shows his kitchen and bar skills. Like any other chef’s, he believes in stimulating the senses of people to enjoy the bounty coming from Earth. Not only are his drinks visually and taste bud-dancingly good but also has texture and scent delight. He likes to explore the local market of a certain place to know the community and see what unknown goods he can harvest and try in his laboratory. Part of the long list of bars and restaurants wherein his creations are featured are: Big Bad Wolf, Gorda and Green Pastures.


He is a man of duty and obligation. Kalel knows how to balance his personal life with that of this work demand; a caring individual to those who are close, important and of value to him. Despite his tight work schedule, he still manages to give time and space to himself and those he love.

Liquid may be his working craft but Kalel delivers with a punch to remind you of the experience you had with his creative concoction.

Press Release*

Wild Juan

17759212_10208945726426238_2026258152_o.jpgChef Thomas Murillo

April is a busy month for a good number of people in the food service industry as Madrid Fusion 2017 takes place.  From April 6 – 8, 2017 at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City, people from near and far places come together to share their passion for food.  Part of the delegation representing Calabarzon is the chef behind the placed tagged as “definitely not your ordinary food find among the rising places at Tagaytay Ridge”; this is Chef Thomas Murillo of Wild Juan.


His love for food started young and he took his first step towards it during his sophomore year as a Consular and Diplomatic Affairs student at the College of Saint Benilde.  He decided to take commercial cooking and culinary arts at First Gourmet Academy and had his apprenticeship at 2nds after.  This lead him further by becoming one of the pioneering member behind Paprika PH and years later his own restaurant at a family-owned place at Tagaytay Ridge.  Wild Juan is born.


Wild Juan bears the concept of East meets West and is delivered with the hospitality of Filipinos in the Southern part of Luzon.   His food creations are something that we are all familiar with but are delivered with a twist and flair.  Perfect sample are the Sisig Paksiw, Krispy Kasoy Kare-Kare (KKK) and Gumbulalo.  Three common dishes but comes with a new level of flavor and goodness due to techniques and passion.


Learning never ends for Chef Thomas as he earns his NCII Commercial Cooking and ServSafe:  Food Safety & Sanitation certificates.  He pushes himself to be the best and at par to the world, thus making his quality for food high and passion much higher.  He doesn’t stop there as he then shares his knowledge and passion this coming Madrid Fusion 2017 to foreign delegates and proudly represent Calabarzon.

Chef Thomas Murillo, stays humble yet proud of his craft thus from love of food it now is a burning passion.  Come at the biggest food event this season at the SMX in Pasay or visit Wild Juan located at KM 68 Tagaytay-Nasugbu Highway and experience the comfort and passion that he shares at every plate served.


The Wild Juan is located at KM 68 Pinesville, Tagaytay- Nasugbu(National) Highway, Tagaytay City, 4120, Philippines

For Inquiries/reservation: +63 9154324196    +63 9178404211