Hidden Black Sand Coves
Reaching a destination at night, one that you’ve never heard of before, always held surprises. You never truly find out what you’re going to get until the sun comes up. Imagine waking up one overcast, misty morning, expecting the usual sleepy seaside town, and being greeted by this stunning black sand cove instead.
I knew that Albay in the Bicol region belonged to the Pacific Ring of Fire, and had a couple of volcanoes in the area (Mt. Mayon as being the most iconic). But I was only able to check out the main thoroughfares and tourist spots in past visits, so it was my first time to explore its municipality, Tiwi, and understand how volcanic activities shaped its terrain. Because of the surrounding volcanoes, the region was dotted with natural hot springs, rock formations, and coves like this one.
Pristine white sand beaches have a universal appeal, but I think that stygian shores are in a league of their own. Particularly because I used to play in black sand beaches when I was growing up in Davao, and seeing this certain dark shade brought great memories.
I was sent to Tiwi for work months ago…and I could never forget how startled my officemate (a Bicolano local) was after seeing just how much excitement I had when this cliff yawned before us. She had shown me around with such an unassuming air, sheepishly declaring at one point that this was all they had. Hearing this made me go soft inside, because her humility intensified the beauty of her hometown.
With its quiet, tree lined roads, isolated beaches, and calm waters…Tiwi didn’t seem to realize just how arresting and gorgeous it was, which made it all the more memorable. Going there with no expectations, and being pleasantly surprised was the best way for me to discover it for the first time. And if you happen to find yourself on this side of the island too, if I may suggest—hold back from doing any research in advance, and allow Tiwi to slowly reveal itself to you.
Brave the waves,
To All The Bridges I Crossed
The more that I cared about something, the more likely I’d experience a certain kind of hopefulness that used to make me guarded. I’d hide my optimism for safekeeping—in my pocket, under my feet, between my fingers. Maybe if I acted like I didn’t want it as badly as I actually did, it would just work itself out.
After an opportunity would present itself to me, I’d have missed chances because I’d wuss out, choke, or wish that it would just happen without any effort. You could just imagine how those instances turned out. So, I made a conscious decision last year to be completely present in the moment, even when emotions and problems got too palpable that confronting them would be terrifying…
And especially when I had to acknowledge that I had my heart on something important. Perhaps it was just me, but opening up, and letting the world know what I really wanted would scare me—because if I’d fail, the gravity of the disappointment would be magnified.
Declaring my dreams aloud also meant that I had to work twice as hard to achieve them because I now felt accountable to the people who knew about them. Which was why my 2013 annual list of goals resonated with this theme. Even if there were times when I wanted to give up, these helped me soldier on:
This year, I continue to attempt to reach these goals daily (with some days harder than the rest), and they motivate me to have more faith. As to having high hopes and letting everyone know about it? I now wear them on my chest—never scar free (when I do get hit with setbacks, I hurt a billion times worse, and that’s okay). Staying shamelessly (grossly, really) positive got me to all the bridges that I’ve crossed. And while I’m far from having arrived, I’m closer to where I need to be.
Brave the waves,
Cebu’s Creative Tribe Series: Chip Lopez
A cheeky play on words, the founder behind The Lazy Chef Lunch Club Chip Lopez is one of the hardest working women you’ll meet. She just started her line of plant-based dishes last year, and yet she’s already been shaking the branches of the local culinary industry. The Lazy Chef caters to on-the-go people who’d like to lead healthier lifestyles, learn more about wellness, and have access to thoughtfully prepared, nutritious meals.
One of her hand drawn menus
For Cebu’s Creative Tribe Series (CCT), Chip shares with us how she found her “something,” turned her passion into a thriving business, and inadvertently changed the Cebuano dining scene. It doesn’t hurt that she looks stunning as she accomplishes all of this on a daily basis, just before you’re about to grab lunch.
Thank you for being a ray of sunlight, and inspiring us here at CCT, Chip!
1. What made you fall in love with promoting wellness, and preparing healthy dishes? (Let’s trace your roots)
In July of 2013, I decided I was going to the States to visit my brother. He knew how much I was falling in love with yoga and how it was starting to change me in all aspects. So he suggested that I should do an internship at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute for both yoga and culinary training, and luckily, I got in.
To sum up my experience in those few months:
- I met some of the most amazing people in my life
- I was treated with so much love, respect and appreciation by people I worked with
- I made the much needed paradigm shift…to make a significant change and for life to make sense, you have to go inward. You take a look at yourself, what you’re putting in your body, you choose and filter your thoughts, you learn to quiet your mind, and you go in search for your Creator and when you get do all this—you ground yourself, and hold on as tightly as you can.
Because I know what a plant-based diet did for me, I want to pay it forward. I want people to see that being healthy is not something you do overnight. It’s all those big things and little things, it’s being gentle with yourself and more importantly, it’s finding joy in what you’re doing.
Being healthy doesn’t have to feel like a punishment; making that change can be fun. And food is always a good place to start.
The Lazy Chef’s Veggie Burger
2. Please share with us what your creative philosophy is.
I started The Lazy Chef Lunch Club because I wanted to share my newfound excitement with vegetables. Most of us hesitate when trying to shift to having a healthier diet because we have this preconceived notion that healthy equals unenjoyable.
The Lazy Chef’s Eggs in Purgatory with Ratatouille
I started experimenting and just making vegan versions of my favorite dishes. Somewhere along the way, I realized that I didn’t miss the meat.
Cebuano delicacies puso and barbecue veganized
I hope that people see vegetables in a different light. I don’t want to trick them into eating their vegetables; rather, I want our plant friends to shine on their own.
The Running Vegan Corn Chowder with Roasted Garlic Bruschetta
Mushrooms when cooked and seasoned the right way can taste absolutely amazing. The sky is the limit if we only allow ourselves to step outside the box. I always say a plant-based diet is not for everybody, but blue-sky thinking is.
Wild rice with Mixed Mushrooms and Roasted Garlic Mash
3. Aside from your work, what other things are you deeply passionate about?
Yoga. Walking into my first class was the best decision I ever made. Everything just unraveled after that.
And people. The mystery of human resilience fascinates me. I want to share my testimonial that when life gives you lemons, you don’t have to make lemonade. Toss it out and make beet juice. Go and search for your Great Perhaps—however long it takes. Because when you find it, I swear, nothing else will matter.
4. What is it like to pursue and hone your craft in Cebu, and to represent the city that you’re from?
The reason why I decided to come back was I wanted to share with Cebuanos everything that I learned. I didn’t want to do it anywhere else.
The first few months after I got back was tough, a lot of doors were slammed in my face. But I fought back because I believed that those people who said “no” to change did not define Cebu. My Cebu, the city that I love so much, has the most number of blue sky thinkers than anywhere else in the world.
And after 6 months of trying, Cebu fought back with me in the form of The Lazy Chef Lunch Club.
5. To people who’d like to follow your footsteps…what would you like to tell them?
Our mission is not to force people to make that change. The best thing we can do is to live by example, share our stories and find joy in what we are doing. T.S Eliot said it best: “For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.”
Brave the waves,