The Fire Made You Shine

Miracle Sent: A Sleeping Child (Memoir)

This memoir is a piece I wrote for a writing contest I joined last September 2021 held by Scribblory. The theme was: “Anyone can write: Celebrating Life and Memoirs.” I didn’t make it to top 10 but being able to go through this memory again through writing was a great reward in itself. Dear reader, consider this memoir as a small gift to you. Enjoy!

“Oh Lord, please send me a miracle.”

When the lights were being turned off in the office, I took it as a sign to pack up and go home. With deep sigh, I straightened my formal office attire and prepared to leave the comforts of my desk. I was fresh out of college then, but you could see stress eating away at my youth. 

My stomach grumbled.

If a growling stomach is a miracle in disguise, I wished God could’ve picked a better timing. Payday was still a few days away and my wallet was filling up with dust. Regret overcame me as everything I bought outside my budget danced around my brain. I really shouldn’t have taken the cab that day.  

I was looking forward to going home and sleeping but the roads had a different plan. The city of Makati glittered red and white with cars creating a perfect gridlock. “Lord, send a miracle now please!” I shouted in my head – maybe I wasn’t loud enough the first time. I was tired and the buses wouldn’t pick me up. I was beginning to miss the cool office climate. 

“Lord, send me a miracle!”

It didn’t look like the roads would clear so I decided to do what was unthinkable. Walk.

My apartment was only three kilometers away, and it’s better to move than be stuck. I walked because no amount of complaining would get me anywhere. I walked because I knew that miracles don’t just happen, they are made. I walked because I decided to be my own miracle.

But first things first! A miracle worker needs to eat.

The journey home was a real test. Picture an exhausted, hungry, and broke gentleman passing by his favorite restaurants. I had to fight the impulse of spending too much money for food if I want to survive the next few days. 

Feeling hot, I took a detour in the supermarket. As I cooled down, my eyes ravenously feasted on their selections. They had grilled pork belly, fried chicken, barbecue, cold cuts, noodles, dumplings, and a variety of other dishes. I was salivating like a fountain. My heart skipped a beat when I saw a miraculous sign.

END OF DAY SALE 50% OFF: Whole Honey-Glazed Roasted Chicken

“Dear God! Thank you for the miracle!”

Little random surprises like these makes life worth living. The leftovers will last me until the next payday. It was closing time, so I had the chicken chopped and asked rice to go with it. Lining up at the register, I daydreamed taking a bite of the roast, tasting the honey glaze, and singing alleluia as I chewed. I couldn’t wait to get home!

With a spring in my step and a bag of delicious chicken on hand, I was prepared to face the old overpass.

The old overpass wasn’t scary, it’s well-lit and people use it daily. I only had a traumatic experience of being chased by a homeless child with a stick from one end to the other. It’s the shortest going to my apartment but because of that ordeal I always took the long way around. But not tonight.

“Lord, please not tonight! Not tonight!” I prayed under my breath, closely clutching the bag of chicken ready to make a run for it.

Many people were using the overpass that night. I noticed they all had the same expression of exhaustion on their faces. They walked at a briskly minding their own business. Everyone was just passing by – all of us victims of traffic. A wave of sadness suddenly came over me and I slowed down. Amidst the blur of crisp shirts and tailored coats, at the little corner of the pass, I saw the boy. But something was different about him.

He looked lifeless as he slept on a makeshift mat made of cardboard. His frail form was ignored by the busy world around him. Paying no attention to fear, I made my way towards the little corner. He was covered from head to toe with grime, flies camped at his feet, tear marks traced his cheeks, and his forehead was etched with wrinkles. 

My heart ached for him. 

Touching his shoulder, I gently woke him up.

“Hey kid, wake up, I have something for you” I said in a soft voice, holding back tears. He got up with a confused look on his face. Thank God! He’s alive! He didn’t ask questions, but his face asked them for him. I assured him that he’s safe with me.

“Have you eaten yet?”

“Not yet” said the child in a weak voice.

“Here, this is for you. All of this is for you.” My eyes welled up as I sat beside him and prepared a meal of whole roasted chicken with rice for him. I didn’t mind that people were staring at us. I didn’t mind my hunger and exhaustion. I didn’t mind that my clothes were being stained. All I cared about was how I could give back life to this boy in our little corner of the overpass.

He shared his story with me as I watched him eat. He was stuck and afraid in an unknown place without enough money to go back home. I listened and stayed with him for a while. Compassion moved me to give whatever I had left to help him reunite with his family. A child that I had once feared taught me how to truly love. 

“Thank you, mister,” he said with a smile.

As we parted ways, I was overjoyed with tears uncontrollably running down my face. That night could have been like any other night, I went home with my hands empty, but my heart was filled with grace.


“Thank you, Lord, for sending me a miracle!”


This was the first time I wrote a memoir. It’s like preserving precious memories with carefully chosen words. Any ideas how I can improve it? I’d like to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Push And Pull

Push and pull
How will this go
Hot and cold
Please let me know

Near and far
I’m at the bend
Right and wrong
When will this end

Light and dark
It’s getting rough
Freeze and thaw
I’ve had enough

Empty and full
My heart’s on track
Fear and love
I got myself back

Found this little poem I wrote last year in my drafts. Reading it again gave me the feels.
Get yourself back on track 🙂

Photo by Lucas Ludwig on Unsplash

Beyond Halfway

Beyond Halfway

There will be times
where you will fall a step
short of halfway.
That’s okay.
Remember those
who took an extra step
for you to get through.
Cherish the ones
who broke through their
own halfway to help you.
Celebrate each step beyond
the halfway point.
You’re getting there.

Don’t give up!
You’re getting there!

Fitness Friday 14: I Almost Didn’t Recognize Myself

This week, I almost didn’t recognize myself in the mirror. I’ve truly come a long way.

It’s almost 6 months since I started going to the gym and I’m proud of whatever progress I have made. On this day last year, I pushed myself to start exercising at home and tried to gradually cut rice out of my meals. These gradual steps then led me to go to the gym because I hit a plateau that home workouts couldn’t break for me. 

My primary goal for losing weight is really to experience the joy of having a healthy body. The journey towards fitness is not easy nor short. It requires discipline and patience to see all your hard work develop in your body. My journey in fitness is not a huge leap, but a series of small steps that I have to say “yes” to every day.

This week’s fitness Friday post won’t be like the last ones. I tried not bringing my Garmin watch during workouts to see if it has any effects on focusing on sets. I also didn’t take down notes of the sets and routines to lessen distraction. I couldn’t say if it directly affected my workouts, but I enjoyed having one of my wrists free while doing the routines.

Increased Lifting Weight

Since my last Fitness Friday post, my coach has challenged the amount of weight I lift. We’ve been progressing a great amount on all routines. I’m happy to witness myself get stronger every week and setting new personal records. My muscles are more defined now and my body is taking shape.

One of my extreme cardio routines

Stalled Weight Loss

This week, I noticed my weight stalling a bit. It’s switching back and forth 87 and 88 kilos. I know I’m gaining muscles since I feel my body parts toning up but I’m not losing fat as fast as I want to. So far, the average amount of weight I lose per month is 3 kilos. Halfway through this month, I still weigh the same.

There could only be one culprit to this and that is…

Diet, Carbs, and Sweets

To promote muscle building, I’ve started drinking whey protein isolate shakes post-workout. Mine is cookies and cream flavored. I don’t really see their direct effect yet on my body so we’ll see about it in the coming months.

My diet has been quite non-existent these recent weeks. I try to eyeball my calorie intake but there are just so many sweets around the house. My dad has been on a baking roll and we really don’t want to let food go to waste – so I eat some. Bread, cakes, cookies – yup we have them. I know I really need to cut down and get myself back on track. I’m still aiming to get to my goal weight before my birthday.


After a very intense day of workout

The mirror doesn’t lie. Before, when I look at myself in the mirror, I used to cringe at my appearance, but now all I see is a person who worked hard to achieve what’s best for him. I like where I’m headed in my fitness journey. Very soon, I’m going to meet my best self in the mirror and say – “Congratulation Kalvs! You did it!”

Keep safe and healthy my friends!
-Kalvs


Calves Is Back With Coffee! Happy Easter!

Ha! I’m back! 

After a few weeks of detours and life events, I’m back!

I couldn’t think of a better time to post again but Easter – Happy Easter! The recent weeks felt like a journey of reinvention, and self-discovery for me. I hope that wherever you are in the world, you’re safe and hopefully, things around your area are getting better. The vaccines are already here! Let’s trust that we’ll all eventually see a better normal coming around the corner.

Random fun fact my nickname is “Kalvs.” All the pun intended in the post title.


One of the things I miss that we still couldn’t do freely in our side of the world is drinking coffee with my friends. I miss face-to-face conversations with them and having unlimited laughter while drinking my White Mocha Americano. Drinking the same drink alone in my place just doesn’t bring the same joy. Though a sip stirs up memories of people I look forward to seeing again.

Dear friend, if we were having coffee right now these are the things I’m excited to tell you.

My Amazing Calves

One of the things I learned from Coach Joel is that leg workouts are the most skipped workout routines. Hence, the epidemic of chicken legs most seen in men. I somehow get it, but I think it’s not that bad. Doing the squats, leg presses, hamstring curls, etc. makes me sweat a lot so doing them is a win for weight loss.

One time, as I was doing calf raises, Aldren pointed out that my calf muscles are getting more defined. He took a video and showed it to me. I was amazed! I never knew my calves looked like that! They looked like an inverted heart shape. They looked so cool that every now and then I look at them in the mirror. Hard work really pays off!

First Fresh Pasta

When I ordered baking supplies, the grocer put in a free 1-kilo bag of strong wheat flour for free. I was so happy but that quickly changed when I saw that it’s about to expire in 5 days. My dad used some of it for bread. I took it as an opportunity to make my first ever fresh pasta!

The recipe was easy. You only need flour, eggs, oil, and salt. You just need to mix them together, knead, and let rest for 30 minutes to relax the gluten for rolling. I don’t have a pasta rolling machine so I rolled it out by hand as thin as I possibly can and cut them into strips. Cook them for 1-2 minutes (or a little more) depending on how thick you rolled them.

Fresh pasta is definitely better than store-bought pasta. Would make it again for special occasions.

Expanded My Perfume Collection

I don’t know when it started but I’ve always been intrigued by perfumes. My dad used to own a collection too which he eventually gave away. As a kid I found his old stash lying around and sniffed them one by one. It was such an exhilarating olfactory experience!

The first-ever bottle I purchased was Bvlgari Extreme Pour Homme. That one sadly fell and the precious glass bottle broke. Since then, I have added fragrances to my collection. As of now, I have 17 scents that I spray in rotation at home since we are not allowed to go out yet. They’re all really beautiful scents!

I love how fragrances evoke memory and emotion. I wear them not only to smell good but also to feel good.

Bought A New Phone

Last year, I’ve been considering buying a new phone but everyday essentials were a top priority. Although a little slow, my phone wasn’t really broken so there’s no reason to buy a new one. 

Fast forward to this year, I went ahead and bought a new one since I found a good deal and it’s within budget. I got myself a Samsung S21+ that came with a free tablet and a travel adaptor. It feels nice to have a new gadget to play with. It can even run Genshin Impact a mobile game I’ve been itching to try since my last phone can’t handle it. More importantly, I love the quality of pictures and video it takes. It allows me to record for projects.

Joined An Acting Class

This is the most daring thing I’ve done in the first quarter of 2021. I’ve always wanted to participate in an acting workshop before the pandemic so this was a dream come true. When my friend told me there’s an opening for a workshop, I signed up without hesitation. I almost didn’t get in since the slots for the schedule I wanted was full but thankfully, one opened up a few weeks before classes began.

I came in class knowing only a few terms in acting and a mind buzzing with songs from musical theater. For five days we had a somewhat crash course on acting a taught different techniques. We had homework using TikTok duets and a final monologue piece that we write on our own. Acting really is a great artistic craft, you get to learn so much about yourself and about others. For me, it’s about making your character as authentic and truthful as possible so it becomes alive.

Acting, for me, is about letting truth live so that many will see it, feel it, and experience it.


To be honest with you guys, I had to push myself to write again. It was hard to get myself back writing after exploring all the detours life has offered me. I had this weird nagging need to write again at the back of my head. It gently prods me as if I had a debt of stories to tell the world. And I think it’s right. 

So I come out of my hiding this Easter and connect with the world again through my writing in whatever form it may take, hoping to reach at least one person. I had a good rest and adventurous detours and as I continue to write posts, I hope to share these stories with you.

If we’re having coffee right now, I think one cup won’t be enough. 

How’s your Easter? I want to read your stories too!


Fitness Friday 13: Loose Clothes and a Sweat-Drenched Animal

I have a happy problem. None of my clothes in my wardrobe fit right anymore.

Every top I own now awkwardly fits. They all look sloppy on my body with the sleeves looking to loose and the length is too long. Same goes with all the pairs of bottoms that I have. They’re now many sizes too large and I have to fold the fabric around my waist and cover them with a belt that I can now wear on the last hole.

I bought new clothes with the expert assistance of a friend who has been a close witness to my weight loss journey. I only got myself a pair of pants and a top that is versatile enough to transition as I lose more weight. It makes me happy that department store clothes can now fit me, I don’t need to go the plus size section and be limited by the choices there, they are also more expensive.

It’s like I have given myself a new chance to reinvent my style and the way I present myself to people. All the hard work is worth it.

Monday

Warm-up: 10 min. Stationary Bike

Workout Target Areas: Back & Core

Back:
12 Assisted Pull-ups (3 sets)
12 Deadlifts (4 sets) *last set 5 reps, 95 kilos
12 Bent-Over Barbell Row (3 sets)
12 Bent-Over Plate Row (3 sets)
12 Seated Bar Row (3 sets)
12 Close-Grip Lat Pull-Down (4 sets) *last set 5 reps, 100 kilos
12 Behind-the-Neck Lat Pulldown (4 sets) *last set 5 reps, 100 kilos
12 Straight-Arm Lat Pulldown (3 sets)
12 Dumbbell Row (3 sets)
12 Incline Bench Dumbbell Row (3 sets) *new

Cardio (3 sets of):
2-min. Side-to-side Jumping Jacks
2-min. High Knees
2-min. Climbers
30 Ab Crunches



Notes:

  • An intense start to an insanely intense week! Coach added more weight and back routines than usual.
  • Doing that last set of 95 kilos on my deadlifts was challenging but it made me feel empowered!
  • We’re trying to shape up my back more and give my body a straighter line. My posture certainly has improved in the past 4 months I’ve been going to the gym.
  • The post work-out cardio really made me tired. Before, we only used to do 30 jumping jacks, 30 high knees, and 30 climbers – now, I need to do the continuously for 2 mins straight which was HARD!
  • Completing the sets made me feel so great it’s like I’ve reached another milestone in my fitness journey.

Tuesday

Warm-up: 10 min. Stationary Bike

Workout Target Areas: Chest and Shoulders

Chest:
12 Lying Bench Press (3 sets)
12 Incline Barbell Press (3 sets)
12 Decline Dumbbell Press (3 sets)
12 Dumbbell Pullover (3 sets)
12 Pec Deck (3 sets)
12 Mid Chest Cable Cross Over 3 sets)

Shoulders:
12 Standing Military Press (3 sets)
12 Lateral Raise (3 sets)
12 Dumbbell Front Raise (3 sets)
12 Face Pull (3 sets)
12 Reverse Pec Deck (3 sets)
12 Cable Upright Row (3 sets)
12 Dumbbell Shrugs (3 sets)

Core:
100 Advanced Leg Raises

Notes:

  • In contrast to the previous day this was a little bit more tame.
  • The weight that I’ve been struggling with for my chest workouts now feel lighter which means I have gained muscle! Yes!
  • For the shoulders I find doing the front raises hard to do with progressive weights so we stayed on the same weight on a couple of sets to not sacrifice form.
  • It’s important to not sacrifice form over the weight because injuries can happen and you won’t be able to target the muscles.
  • My shoulders are now getting more defined and not rounded off anymore. I’m pleased to see them in the mirror because of the shape it gives my body.

Thursday (Drenched Animal)

Warm-up: 15 min. Stationary Bike

Cardio Day

2 sets of Animal Flow:
20 lengths of Duck Walks
20 lengths of Lizard Hops
20 lengths of Bunny Hops

4 sets of Cardio:
30 Battle Rope
20 Slam Ball

2 sets of:
50 Climbers
20 Pushups
50 Leg Raises

Notes:

What the workout for this day was supposed to be like
  • This was my longest cardio session in the gym to date! Usually, it will only take 2 hours max but this time, I finished in 3 hours.
  • Originally, the coach set me out on 3 sets of animal flow, 4 sets of Cardio, and 3 sets of the last routines. He ended up taking away some of the sets upon seeing my struggle at being an animal.
  • Doing the animal flow exercises was SUPER HARD! They all involve leg work and requires you to be close to the floor. I have to travel from one point of the gym to the other while in “animal” form.
  • The duck walks got me out of breath after 5 lengths. It really put my weight on my legs and I have to keep myself balanced with my hands behind my head. By the end, I wasn’t doing it properly anymore because I was already doing wide lunges close to the floor. Everything from my waist down was stretched.
  • Doing the lizard hops movement was UNBELIEVABLE! I never even knew my body could move that way. It engaged other muscles I haven’t been using often. I think that’s why it was difficult for me. I was on all fours like a lizard and “hop” alternating my hands and feet.
  • The bunny hop was the easiest but after doing the two, I’m amazed I can still muster enough energy to hop like a bunny from a squat position from one end of the room to the other.
  • After two sets, I was drenched to my underwear in sweat and most of the people who went to the gym at the same time as me has already finished their day.
  • The reaming cardio sets were easy enough for me to finish faster since I’m more used to them but my exhaustion was already creeping up on me.
  • Coach told me we’re doing weak point training the next day so I can rest.
  • I dare not eat too much after this animalic work out so I just had two sticks of barbecue, walked home, and took my well-deserved rest.

Friday

Warm-up: 10 min. Stationary Bike

Workout Target Areas: Legs & Arms

Legs:
12 Dead Squats (3 sets)
12 Leg Press (3 sets)
12 Hamstring Curl (3 sets)
12 Leg Extension (3 sets)
12 Calf Raise (3 sets)

Biceps:
12 Preacher Curl (3 sets)
12 Hammer Curl (3 sets)
12 Standing Dumbbell Curl (3 sets)

Triceps:
12 Triceps Pushdown (3 sets)
12 Triceps Cable Extension (3 sets)
12 Dumbbell Overhead Triceps Extension (3 sets)
12 Dumbbell Kickback (3 sets)

Weak Point Training (Back):
12 Incline Bench Dumbbell Row (3 sets)
12 Bar Seated Row (3 sets)
12 Dumbbell Row (3 sets)

Notes:

  • We didn’t do hip thrusts and lunges as part of the workout since these were already targeted on the animal flow routines the other day. Plus, they’re sore.
  • Biceps and Triceps went well even if I still struggle with the weights a bit especially with the preacher curl doing the biceps.
  • I like how may posture has been corrected since we’ve been targeting my back for weak point a few weeks now.
  • I weighed in today at 92.4 kilos. My recorded weight last months was 94 kilos. I only lost a couple of pounds though I also did gain muscle, my clothes became looser, and my body has a more defined shape.
  • It was an amazing yet intense weak. I feel like I pushed my limit a little higher and I’m proud of myself for doing that.

Nutrition

This week, I wasn’t able to do meal prep being a little preoccupied during the previous weekend. I must say, it’s more difficult to adjust meals around because I didn’t have the base calories down. I’m guilty of eating more sweets today than usual because of meetings and presentations that I’ve been having left and right. I also ate ramen last weekend – a generous helping of caloric reward.

The coaches in the gym also gave away a really sweet valentines day token! And yes, I ate them because I my heart’s been craving for sweets!


As I sit here with my bum still sore from my workout earlier, I can’t but smile at all the results that I’m seeing and feeling. I’m giving myself a huge credit for doing the things that I thought I could never do before. It’s amazing to see the progress I’ve made and get a taste of my health goals.

Like everything in life, if you want something to grow, you need to be diligent and put in the work. We can’t just stand still and read about but we need to put it into action – consistent action.

My deepest gratitude goes to Coach Joel, Coach Thea, and all of the FHG-ers who supports and encourages me in this journey.

If you wanna get something accomplished, go at it like a sweat-drenched animal!

Keep safe and healthy!
-Kalvin

Photo by Victor Freitas on Unsplash