December 25, 2009

The Saenz Family Exchange Gift

Today was a blast. I woke up early to do some last minute baking before Christmas lunch then the family got together for our usual feast and gift giving. It was funny how a lot of us ended up giving each other  almost the exact same thing: pillows. There were microbead-filled pillows, foam ones, and those feather-filled ones as well. If we were to put all our beds next to each other, we would end up covered in an avalanche of new pillows and comforters almost all of which had similar designs! What I liked best, however, were the wedge memory foam pillows. It would be perfect both in in bed or in a computer chair. I, unfortunately, was not on the receiving end of one of these memory foam pillows. If I had one, I'd use it to elevate my legs at night when I go to bed. I've noticed lately that my varicose veins have gotten so bad, probably more due to the fact that I'm carrying around so much extra weight rather than due to the shoes I wear. In any case, I think the family had a similar thought for the year: we all need some rest. It has indeed been a very trying year for all of us and a good nights sleep will definitely do us all a world of good. to continue reading...

December 24, 2009

Ang Aming Perstaym (Our First Time)

Hinding-hindi ko makakalimutan ang aming perstaym. O....baka kung ano naman naiisip niyo ha! Ang ibig ko sabihin ay hindi ko makakalimutan ang perstaym namin ng minamahal kong Bubba mag road trip papuntang Laiya, Batangas. Pumunta kami sa Balai sa Laiya, isa sa pinakatahimik at magandang lugar na napuntahan ko na malapit lapit dito sa Maynila. Mga dalawang oras lang mula sa siyudad, makikita mo na ang malinaw na tubig at puting buhangin.

Unang beses namin ni Bubba magbakasyon magkasama. Madalas kasi ang mga resort at lugar dito sa Pilipinas ay hindi pumapayag na magdala ng alagang hayop. Laking tuwa ko nung nalaman ko na sa Balai, buong puso silang pumayag na magsama ako ng alaga. Naging masayang masaya ang aming bakasyon ni Bubba, subalit paguwi namin, nalaman ko na nagkasugat-sugat pala ang paa niya dahil sa pag lakad sa buhangin at pag akyat sa mga bato doon sa Laiya. Tinakbo ko tuloy siya sa doktor paguwi namin dahil ang taas taas ng lagnat niya dahil nagkaimpeksyon yung mga sugat niya. Naging learning experience  naman para sa amin yun dahil sa sunod naming punta doon, naging handa kami at pinasoot ko na siya ng sapatos na pang aso.

Natuwa ako sa perstaym na pa-kontest ng kaibigan kong si Ohmski at ito ang aking lahok sa sinabing kontest. Dahil sa kaniya, nasariwa ko tuloy ang alaala ng isa sa pinakamasayang bakasyon ko. Perstaym ko din magsulat ng akda dito sa blog na ito na Tagalog. Sana pagsapit ng hatinggabi mamaya, ako rin ang perstaym na mananalo sa pakontest ni Ohms!

I will never forget our first time....whooops...stop for a minute: it's not what you think. What I mean here is that I will never forget the first time my beloved Bubba and I took a road trip to Laiya, Batangas. We went to Balai sa Laiya, one of the quietest and most beautiful places I have been to so close to Manila. In only two hours away from the city, you will be greeted with crystal clear water and white sands. 

It was our first vacation together, Bubba and I. More often than not, resorts in the Philippines do not allow guests to bring their pets so when I found out Balai welcomed animals to their sanctuary, I was overjoyed. We had a blast on our vacation. However, I did not know that Bubba had cut up his feet walking down the beach and climbing the rocks so when we got home, I had to rush him to the vet because he was sporting a high fever due to his infected wounds. To be fair, it became a good learning experience for us because the next time we went back to Laiya, I made him wear some dog shoes so he no longer got hurt. 

I was glad to hear about my friend Ohmski's first ever contest. This is my entry to said contest. Because of him, I was able to relive one of my fondest vacations ever. to continue reading...

The Gift of Discipline

My mom was not a very strict towards me and my sister when we were groing up. She was not lax either. For me, she had a good balance between disciplining me and allowing me to explore life and make my own mistakes. Along the way, she made mistakes herself, but I think because she dared to discipline us the way she knew best, my sister and I grew up to be good people.

Nowadays parents have so new concerns to deal with, such as parenting in a technological world. To help the many parents and teachers of todays generation, one of my good friends, Jenny of Marriage and Beyond is hosting a contest and up for grabs is the The New Dare to Discipline Book by James Dobson. I hope I win this book. Even though I am not a parent yet, teaching both preschool and college kids have increasingly become a challenge in the last few years. Hopefully this can help me. Oh, plus the fact that the prize comes with Php 500 worth of Starbucks GC's makes it extra desirable for the Starbucks collector in me! to continue reading...

December 22, 2009

Dreaming of My Beach Vacation

9 days to go and I'll finally be off to the beach!!! I can barely wait. It's been a long and tiring three weeks of working overtime so this break is definitely going to do me a lot of good. In anticipation, I've been searching for different beaches and ocean front vacation spots. One that caught my eye is the Oceanfront Myrtle Beach Hotel and Oceanfront Myrtle Beach Resort. What a beautiful sight! I have always dreamed of going to see the south and this would be a perfect spot for me!

I am more of a beach person rather than a mountain girl so going to a place like the Oceanfront Myrtle Beach Resorts would definitely be a dream vacation for me. I love lounging under the sun and feeling the sand between my toes. The gentle sounds of the waves crashing into shore is by far the sweetest and most relaxing sound for me.

Although I may only be going to Boracay, a local beach in the Philippines in the next few weeks, I sure will be dreaming about the Oceanfront Myrtle Beach Hotels tonight. to continue reading...

When In Manila

As the saying goes, when in Rome, do as the Romans do. Change that to Manila: When in Manila, do as the Manila folk do! I first met Vince Golangco when I attended a surfing event organized by one of my favorite blogger friends, Jonel of He shared his idea for a new blog/vlog site where he would feature what to do when in Manila.

It was nice to see the idea he discussed come into fruition. His site is filled with hilarious sketches and videos about current events in the city. He also features a lot of places to eat and things to see in the country. If you're looking for a fun read, or should I say view, go check out . If there was something that could make the site better, however, I would say it would be adding a mobile plug-in so the site loads quickly and with less hassle via mobile, especially since I more often than not browse via my Nokia E63. to continue reading...

December 17, 2009

Remembering What Christmas Is All About.

I just returned home from one of the most enjoyable Christmas parties I have attended in a long time. It was a lot of fun bonding with friends and colleagues from the online community! On the way home, however, I was reminded of how much I have taken for granted what Christmas really is. During the party I sat with very dear friends Jennie and her hubby, Jeff, who is a pastor and we talked a bit about what church I go to and all that. It got me to thinking more about the true meaning of one of the most special  Christian holidays and how the season really is about the Jesus birth.

Behind the revelry, I started to feel a little guilty because I have been neglecting going to church and reading my Bible regularly. I never was also one to attend Bible Studies or Cell Groups much because I have always been quite a shy person. However, one day I came across a site that talked about online Bible study and I got to thinking, maybe this is something I can do. This can be a way for me to hear more about the word of God and continue to grow spiritually, especially since I tend to just am reminded to go to church on Christmas and Easter to commemorate the birth of Christ and Jesus resurrection

This Christmas I will take pause and remind myself of the spirit of Christmas. Not the gift-giving kind, but what it really is. Hopefully in 2010, I will find myself going back to church more regularly. to continue reading...

December 16, 2009

Happy Holidays!

With less than 10 days to go before Christmas, we finally figured out how to make a good buttercream frosting that doesn't melt!!! I love my cute little cupcakes!!!

Read more about our yummy goodies in my food blog, to continue reading...

I Gloo, Do You?

When I fist heard of Gloo, I thought to myself: oh no, not another social network. However, as I watched the video explaining what it was all about, I saw it's unique potential. Unlike social networking sites, it's not simply your personal space where you can update your status or inform people what you are doing, Gloo is a collaborative workspace where you and your friends can interact in real-time. It's kind of like an online desk that allows you and people who have access to that space to meet and discuss ideas. The closest thing I can compare it to would be a conference chat, but more fun since you can draw, embed videos and photos, and create lists and posties to remind you of what is going on.

I tried it out for a few days and I enjoyed leaving little messages in my friends spaces and doodling on their sites as well...but I accidentally removed a picture that was in someone else's space!!! Sorry hehehehe! I have also been able to keep myself abreast with plans about parties and events that I will be attending.

My cousin and I even tried it out for our pastry business. We used the Gloo board as a venue for coordinating our plans and things to do for the business, Baby Cakes. We posted our goals for the year and two stickies where we can leave reminders for each other.

As a teacher, I see this as a tool that I can use to make discussions take on a new perspective. I can forsee myself using it as a group message board in my classes in the future. Too bad classes are done for the term because I tried it out and this is what I came up with! This is something I will definitely try out in January when classes start up again. Perhaps I can even add other posties for questions and games that I can engage my students in.

Teacher Ria's Gloo Space!
 I can just imagine the potential of this space for collaboration! For example, this would be a good option for brainstorming because everyone can put in ideas at the same time then we can identify threads right away. Also, as the teacher, I can monitor who is participating and who is not. I think this would be a good way for me to see also who in the group ends up being a freeloader by observing what is going on in these spaces. Interesting!

In trying it out in the beginning, I had some problems with the slow loading of widgets and erasing of doodles I made on my workspace. At first I thought it had something to do with my provider, because I assumed since Gloo is powered by Globe it would be better if I subscribed to Globe Broadband however after updating my browser, it worked just fine. An added bonus, however, for Globe subscribers is that you can even send an SMS or MMS to your Gloo spaces. I have yet to try that though. Right now I am still exploring the space but if you're curious about it, you can inquire about Gloo and read their FAQ page.

A limitation of my Gloo space right now, however, is that I only have a few friends to Gloo with. So...I you? Gloo with me :-) to continue reading...

December 13, 2009

Lost in Translation

I have always wanted to learn how to speak a foreign language. At home, my mom and her siblings speak fluent Spanish while most of my cousins and I get lost in translation once they start babbling away in Spanish. I have tried learning the language with books and audio tapes but so far, I can only pick up a few phrases and words.

I think being able to speak another language is such a big advantage, especially in today's world. People who are fluent in French, Mandarin, Spanish, Japanese and other widely spoken languages are in high demand. Jobs can range from call center agents to being a translator for big companies.My friend who speaks fluent French got a great online job tutoring French students, simply because he could speak the language!

As for me, I would love to enrol in a course to learn another language, if only I can fit in the time. I particularly would like to learn French, even though my family is Spanish. Even though they say the latter is more practical, I have always loved the melodic sound of the French language. I can imagine myself strolling down the Champs Élysées with my best friend just chatting away in the native tongue. However, for the meantime, I have settle for those  free translation services or dictionaries online to learn it but one day, I will write a blog post in French for you to read!!! to continue reading...

December 6, 2009

Baby Bedtime Discoveries

When I think of babies, images of happy, smiling, toothless little chubby faces dance in my head. I imagine the cooing bundles of joy seen in pictures and tv commercials for baby products. However, like what most parents can attest to, that is not always a baby's demeanor, especially when they are fussy because they need rest or did not have a good nights sleep.

Poor sleep leads not only to cranky babies, but to stressed out mommies as well. I remember when I was handling the infants class in UP CDC back in the day, I'd have parents come in and say "Teacher, pasensya ka na may sumpong si baby e" and then upon inquiry I find out that the baby was not able to sleep well the night before. I think poor sleep at any age would result in the same problem. I know I am exceptionally cranky when I don't get to sleep!

For many first time parents (even veteran ones!), dealing with a sleep deprived  infant is a nightmare. Sleep problems can not only be detrimental to a child's mood, but it can also affect their development as a whole. Being single and childless, I have never really had to deal with problems in putting kids to sleep and I will admit that I have been guilty of being too quick to judge or criticize parents who can't put their kids to sleep. However, after attending the Baby Bedtime Discoveries with Johnson's Baby last November 21, I became more aware of the plight of parents with babies with sleep problems.

The event was hosted by Tintin Bersola-Babao.  The Conservatory at the Manila Peninsula was converted into a very pretty nursery and we bloggers learned from sleep expert Dr. Luis Rivera and the Johnson's Baby Team about the importance of sleep and how to help your baby sleep better. A good nights sleep is just three steps away: a warm bath or punas, a soothing massage, and quiet time with baby. This was proven by a clinical study that showed improved sleep when following the Baby Bedtime Protocol.

 For more information, check out the Johnson's Baby Bedtime website at where you can learn more about the sleep protocol, results of the clinical trials, as well as tips, suggestions and stories of moms and their experiences with Johnson's Baby. You can even create a sleep journal for your little one there! to continue reading...

Dog Hair Everywhere!!!


This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Dirt Devil. All opinions are 100% mine.

The only downside to having an indoor dog is so much dog hair everywhere! Much as I love my Bubba, his constant shedding is wreaking havoc on my allergies. And yes, I'm asthmatic too. My doctor keeps telling me to get rid of the dog, but I said no. Instead, I got one of those small hand-held vaccuum cleaners. I figured it was enough to clean up the shed hair, especially on the couch and on the bed. However, I did not know that certain attachments or types of brushes would be better if my goal was to scoop up all that hair. For example, after our last car trip, I gave up on using my handheld car vaccuum cleaner to get the hair off the seat cover. I was using the typical car attachment and was getting frustrated that the hair was still there. Apparently, rolling brushes work better for that purpose. I always thought all vaccuum cleaners were created equal. Now I know better!

For more information on picking the right vaccuum for a particular purpose (i.e. for cars, pets, carpets, etc.) check out Dirt Devil's Holiday Buying Guide. The guide will also help you select the best deal for your money, especially if you plan to shop online this holiday season.

SocialSpark Disclosure Badge to continue reading...

November 25, 2009

"I Am Nicely! is Giving Away a Vintage Stylish Cellphone Mobile Design Watch Necklace on Her Birthday"

Woot! Another blog contest. I have to admit....nacha-challenge ako!!!  Hopefully this is the contest that breaks my online random drawer far all contests that have been drawn that way have been futile for me!

With that I would like to invite you to also participate in another blog contest that I am joining in celebration of Nicely Rom's birthday on December 7. It is so easy to join!

Here's the mechanics:

1. Copy and paste her entire post (including the necklace photo below) in your websites, blogs or facebook notes.
2. Kindly fill in the blank: All I wish for Nicely is a check or two in her things to do list (as seen in her blog's sidebar) so she can fulfill her dreams!
3. The title of your post must exactly be "I Am Nicely! is Giving Away a Vintage Stylish Cellphone Mobile Design Watch Necklace on Her Birthday"
4. To validate your entry, please leave a comment and your entry's link on this post so that I can check and get back to you as soon as possible. Please don't forget to include your full name and e-mail address, too ☺

Deadline for submission of entries will be at 11:59PM of December 6, 2009. The winner will be drawn by an online raffle device and will be announced on her birthday.
The lucky one will then receive a Vintage Stylish Cellphone Mobile Design Watch Necklace, courtesy of my sponsor, Tinatindera. The winner will be informed of his/her winning through e-mail and the item will be sent to his/her preferred mailing address not later than December 14, 2009. The prize is not refundable for cash.

Good luck and thank you for your continued support to I Am Nicely! ♥lots

Happy Birthday Nicely! to continue reading...

November 24, 2009

The Heart of a Ninja

I have always had a fascination with the ninja/trained warrior culture. I remember that when I was younger, I enjoyed the show Dark Angel a lot because it centered around the story of a young girl trained to be a fighter. I never knew, however, how deep and dark the roots of ninja culture is. And how heartless.

Such is the story of Raizo, a trained deadly Ninja Assassin. Orphaned at a young age, he was taken in my the Master of the Ozunu Clan, a mercenary group of  assassins who's very existence was thought to be a myth. As a child, he was trained to be heartless and merciless, to follow the rules no matter what, and to be void of emotions that make man week. But after being devastated by the brutal murder of a friend who was deemed a traitor by the clan, Raizo defied all rules and escaped the life he knew and vowed to avenge his friends death.The story takes an exciting turn as Mika Coretti, a Europol agent bent on proving that ninjas did exist after stumbling upon a money trail linking unsolved political murders to the secret network of untraceable assassins, stirred up enough feathers to become the next target of the clan. In the end, Raizo shows there is more to the ninja than just the fighter. 

The film was a breathtaking journey from the hidden training village of child assassins to Europe and back...literally!  I had my hands wrapped around my head for majority of the movie, peeking through my fingers for the most part! To be fair, I enjoyed the film a lot, despite all the blood, gore and guts. Admittedly action flicks are not my preferred genre, but I think if you're into it, you'd have a good time. Part of me wishes I had taken my brother, JJ, to see it with me because he LOVES films like this. 
Many thanks to Warner Bros. Pictures for the invitation to the premiere of Ninja Assassin last Friday, Nov. 20, at the Gateway Cinemas. Extra special thanks for the exclusive prize I won during the screening! My raffle malas is officially over!

Ninja Assassin Notebook autographed by Rain! to continue reading...

November 22, 2009

Math and Me.

Math and Me don't have the closest of relationships. In fact, ever since childhood, my lowest grades were always in math. No matter how much math help I received from my mom, who's an accountant, I always had difficulty with it. To be fair, I always managed to pass all my math subjects but it wasn't always painless.

In my college days, I even went as far as getting a tutor to help my with my college algebra. Sadly, I still failed the subject, thus causing me a possible cum laude award on graduation. Today's students, however, can get online math help. Not only is it online, but they can even get free online math help

The internet has definitely become a very valuable resource in learning. Through the internet, one can receive online math tutoringthrough websites and programs such as TutorVista. An online math tutor is available 24/7 and can offer one-on-one sessions in a secure web environment. No special gadgets or tools are needed, just your home computer and a reliable broadband connection.  The virtual whiteboard allows both tutor and student to communicate complete with animation and real-time solutions. Cool, huh? An added bonus is that Free online math tutoring is right at your fingertips, compared to a face-to-face tutor who you still need to schedule. While I am glad most of my math days are over, I can't help but think how different my math experience would have been if TutorVista was available back then... to continue reading...

An Early New Years Resolution

Every year I tell myself it is pointless to come up with New Years Resolutions because every year, no matter how hard I try, I do not meet my resolutions. However, for 2010, I think I HAVE to do this one:

I need to plan my days more efficiently.

Lately I've noticed that I keep forgetting things I have to do, mainly because I have so many "slash" jobs (Hindi ako slasher ha! It's just that I am a teacher-slash-professor-slash-psychologist-slash-blogger-slash-pseudomommy). That, coupled with my age, makes it difficult to remember everything. Therefore, I need a planner.

With that said, I am keeping my fingers crossed that I win the 2010 Belle de Jour planner from a contest being hosted at

Besides this being a cute planner, I think it will help in my goal to planning my year better. Oh, and the coupons in it are priceless! to continue reading...

November 18, 2009

More than Just a Caffeine Fix: Coffee 101 and My Day as a Barista

I once applied as a Barista for a popular coffee chain. No joke...I really did! Suffice it to say I didn't get the job but when I sent in my resumé, I was under the impression that there really was not that much into making a good cup of coffee. After all, as long as I could follow instructions, that should be enough, right? However, after being able to attend a Coffee 101 Workshop hosted by Ms. Pacita "Chit" Juan, co-chair the Philippine Coffee Board, I realized there is so much more to coffee than meets the eye. Or should I say nose? Good coffee goes beyond just how it smells, looks or is prepared. It starts from how and where it is grown to how it is picked, processed and roasted. Also, it depends on the variety of the coffee. In the Philippines, four varieties are grown and harvested for commercial use. These are Coffea Arabica, Coffea Canephora or Robusta, Coffea Liberica which is popularly known as Barako, and Coffea Excelsa. The flavor you get depends on the variety of the bean. Among the four species, the most fragrant is Arabica. It is also the most widely traded variety. However, the most popular variety here in the Philippines, especially for instant coffee, is the Robusta which is known for its body and strong character. This is why instant coffee gives us a jolt or makes us palpitate quickly, because of the robust quality of the bean. Interesting, huh? Liberica, on the other hand, is more earthy while Excelsa is more fruity.


There is a science behind coffee and an art to mastering it. In fact, during the seminar, I was given the chance to fulfill that dream of becoming a barista. And first attempt was a dismal failure! It seems I didn't pack or press the coffee grounds hard enough, thus when the pressurized water from the espresso machine passed through it, it did not have that good espresso quality. To be fair, when I did it over, I got it right!

Contrary to my beliefs, good coffee does not necessarily have to come from Columbia or Brazil but in truth, we can buy Philippine coffee and be proud of it's excellent quality and flavor.

Prior to the workshop, I knew nothing about the diffrent variants of coffee beans or grounds. Whether it be Arabica or Robusta, all that mattered to me was that it smelled good...and that is was affordable. To be honest, buying coffee beans (especially here in Manila) does not come cheap!  Further, I used to think that "house blend" would be the best option ALL the time. There is a thought process behind what type of coffee to buy, as well as what kind of roast or grounds to choose. For example, the kind of grounds you would choose would depend on how you will be preparing your coffee. This explains why my morning coffee always has a lot of powdery-sediment in the bottom of my cup.I definitely learned a lot about coffee and would love to learn more about preparing it better.  If you already love coffee, you will surely have a deeper appreciation of it if you attend the Coffee 101 workshop yourself. The Philippine Coffee Board also hosts other workshops such as Basic Barista Training.

The seminar was held in Le Bistro, a quiet nook along Valero Street in Salcedo Village. With it's artsy interiors and cozy ambiance, it would be great to hold meetings and Christmas parties at Le Bistro.

photo credits: Jen Juan, a.k.a. SexyNomad :-)

After enjoying the café mocha I had made myself, I was treated to a little token...a bag of Yrong Yrong Blend Coffee! This is the first time I will be sampling this blend which comes from Iloilo. I'm really looking forward to trying it! This Christmas, you may want to try giving your friends, colleagues and loved ones some of the Philipine's finest coffees, especially those who are not aware of all the available local options we have. However, if they are not coffee drinkers, you may want to buy Christmas gift baskets at Echo Store, a local eco-friendly store that aims to promote a sustainable lifestyle by supporting marginalized communities in the Philippines. to continue reading...

I Want Them Free.

There are just a few things in life I hate having to pay for. For the most part, I understand why I have to dish out cash for services, items and the like. After all, that's the way it is, right? But one thing I really, really hate paying for is parking, especially parking fees by the hour. It's especially even more hateful when I have to pay for parking in the grocery. I feel ripped off because the purpose of my going there is not really for fun. I go there and pay them a whole bunch of cash and they can't even give me a free parking slot??? FRUSTRATING!!! I was shocked when I passed by a gas station in the corner of Makati Avenue once and found out that if I were to park in their little lot to have a snack or buy something in their Select store I have to pay for parking! NOT FAIR. In the mall, I guess I can say I kinda understand since there are a lot of different establishments there so you don't really know who can be accountable for your time in the parking lot.

*sigh* I wish there was a way that parking came free. Okay, maybe not necessarily all free...perhaps having your parking ticket validated as long as you spend a certain amount while in the establishment? That would be a good option! to continue reading...

November 15, 2009

The Future of Music at MTV Emerge

When I say I am proud to be Pinoy, it isn't hard to explain why. I come from a land that is filled with amazing beauty: both in terms of nature and in it's people. This is why no matter how much people suggest to me I apply for jobs abroad, I still choose to stay here. I believe there is still so much potential that is untapped in our country and I hope that in my own way, I am able to show the world that potential. This is also what the MTV, Jeepney Music, and Department of Tourism collaboration is doing: showing the world the hottest emerging music talents in the Philippines. Whether it be indie, hip-hop, rock or whatever other genre of music, the campaign seeks to be a cesspool of the best and the brightest of the future of Philippine Music.

New local talent were invited to register and upload their profiles, photos and original music to the MTV Emerge site during the contest period. From these, the public audience will vote for their favorites. 7 lucky talents will win a one-year recording contract with Jeepney Music where they will be under the mentorship of none other than a proud Filipino himself, Along with the contract comes a package including artist management and promotion, digital ditribution of 3-6 songs and a strategic marketing plan for these artists to break into both the local and international scenes.

mtv-emerge-jeepney-department-of-tourismCheck out all the amazing and talented artists who have uploaded their videos on MTV Emerge now. There are so many great videos! I personally voted for God Bless Philippines by Rapnophobia I loved their video, especially the imagery they used to convey the message of their song. If you like it as much as I do, do vote for them too! to continue reading...


Last Friday night, I was able to see the movie 2012 thanks to Myk and to TV5. It was one of the most intense movies I've seen in a long time! I've seen a lot of  "end of the world" and doomsday stories and each one gets more and more amazing in terms of cinematography and digital effects. With regards to the story, however, I feel that there is really a common thread uniting all these movies. There's always the unassuming, not-so-well off character who has his own personal demons to contend with (usually issues with marriage and the kids), then comes the unlikely hero who stands for humanity and calls for unity, and of course, the sheer luck that manages to save them in time. Not that that's a bad thing, but it made me anticipate what would happen next.

Anyway, what I liked about the movie (besides the cool visual imagery) is that it made me reflect on what I really believe in. I used to see myself as a very advanced and modern thinker, but the movie made me realize that deep down inside, what I really believe in is not really science, but what my faith tells me. Maybe some might find that hard to believe, even strange perhaps. But I left the cinema with a stronger faith in my God that despite the troubles of the earth, He will not abandon me. Controversial thought? What do you think? Will a 2012 scenario ever happen??? to continue reading...

November 12, 2009

A City of Romance.

Not so long ago, my cousins toured my dream destination: Paris. She came home with photo after photo that left me wishing I could have also been there. In my fantasies, I imagine myself honeymooning in Paris. There's simply something so irresistibly romantic about that city. I can just imagine myself strolling down the Champs Élysées and then standing in awe of the Eiffel Tower. As I think about it, images of Anne Hathaway as Andy Sachs in The Devil Wears Prada dance around in my head to the tune of Moonriver. Ooohh...Paris.

From now till November 19, 2009 visiting this dreamy destination is made even more plausible with British Airways November Seat Sale. Travel packages go for as low as $749! British Airways also boasts of it's world class service and is sure to offer you a highly pleasurable experience with their ergonomically designed seats which definitely will not make the long trip hard on your body. Plus expect complementary food and cocktails during your flight and over 200 in-flight entertainment options.

British Airways flies to many other destinations around Europe, the Middle East, India and Africa. So if Paris is not your cup of tea, why not check out their holiday guides to Cairo, Dubai, Hong Kong, the Maldives and so much more. So what are you waiting for? Whip out those passports and start booking your trips!Click Here

Post?slot_id=84832&url=http%3a%2f%2fsocialspark to continue reading...

A Matter of Perspective.

Sometimes I get tired of hearing the phrase "it's all a matter of perspective". Similarly, people always try to cheer you up by saying something like look at the bright side or it could have been worse. While I know that these are true, at times it can get infuriating, especially when you feel that changing the way you view things is not enough.

I guess what I've learned over the past few months since is that beyond changing my point of view is recognizing that one needs to be proactive about what it is he or she wants to change in themselves. It's more than just a matter of perspective.

Wala lang. Thought of the day lang. to continue reading...


Today I will rant.

Or maybe I shouldn't.

There are too many conversations in my head that should go shhhhhhhh......

*sigh* to continue reading...

November 8, 2009

Mobile Banking and More.

Nowadays there are so many ways to settle whatever bills pop into your mailbox. Gone are the days of standing in queue in multiple banks, service centers and what not..Today, one does not even need to leave the comforts of their own homes to settle utility bills, pay for school tuition or even make payroll disbursements. And yes, you don't even need a computer to do all these and more.

Globe GCASH sponsors the 2009 E-Commerce Summit
With just a mobile phone, not only are those transactions settled, you can also do online purchases via GCASH Click, pay for airplane tickets, make donations to various institutions or organizations, pay for your insurance and make loan payments as well. Powered by BPI Mobile Banking, Globe and TM subscribers have a new handy way of managing their banking transactions.Families of OFW's can also maximize their hard-earned money from abroad with GCASH REMIT which enables their families here to instantly claim their remittances in over 2,500 locations around the country.

However, if doing online banking was a big step forward for a person like me (yes, despite my being a child of modern technology!) I still have some fears and trepidations about mobile banking. In fact, one thing I still consider when online shopping, such as in Multiply, is how payments are made. I still feel a bit confused about how these GCASH and mobile money transferring works.Also, I am the type of person who feels more at ease when someone explains to me how things work over reading it from a webpage. It makes me feel more secure about what I'm doing. To clarify these issues, Globe GCASH is sponsoring the upcoming DigitalFilipino E-Commerce Summit on November 12 and 13 where the president of G-Xchange, Inc, Ms. Rizza Maniego-Eala will talk about the challenges and opportunities in mobile money transfers. to continue reading...

November 3, 2009

Anticipating: Starbucks Planner 2010!!!!

In less than 12 hours (oo na, adik na kung adik) Starbucks will launch it's Red Cups and Starbucks Planner for 2010. I can barely wait! In the meantime, I dusted off my shelf and decided to take stock of my current collection. At present I'm at 46 and counting! I realized I lost 2 tumblers in the past few monthsl: the DIY tumbler and an orange one my stepdad brought me home from the States. I think I left them in the school cafeteria :-(

Anyway, tomorrow, I will foolishly troop to the nearest Starbucks to start my new quest. I wish I can afford to claim all three designs they are launching. I wonder how many stickers I will many calories I will consume...and how many nights I'll be up due to all that caffeine.

Oh Lordy...someone give me a Belle De Jour planner and tell me to shut up already.

Yeah right. See you in Starbucks tomorrow. Last year it took me all of 8 days to get my first planner. Let's see how this one goes. to continue reading...

Finding the Right Router.

One of my favorite features on my Nokia E63 is its wifi capability. I love how it makes the world wide web so handy. However, I don't have a wireless router at home. Well, I guess I never really needed it before but now that I have a handheld wifi-enabled device, it would make sense to get a router, right? The problem is I can't decide what to get!!! First there's the issue of wireless n's or wireless g's. Then comes the brand and model issues!!! There's Linksys, D-Link, TP Link and now I come across a Belkin! Argh!!!! Couldn't there just be one obvious choice??? Okay, okay, most recomment linksys but it costs much more!!! Put it this way: a Linksys Wireless G or a Belkin Wireless N? Both cost roughly the same. Opinions? to continue reading...

October 30, 2009

Do You See What I See?

No, I'm not singing a Christmas carol here! It's just that I've noticed that in the past year or so, my eyesight is not as good as it used to be. Perhaps it's because I'm in front of the computer for long all the time, or perhaps it's simply because of the aging process. Whatever it is, it definitely is a hindrance. For example, before, I could use my small lappy to do photo editing. Now, I need to zoom into the photos to edit it!

I think I'm not alone in saying clearer vision does make life so much easier. Take for example an episode in Grey's Anatomy where one of the characters was explaining her realization that the little green blobs she used to see around her were leaves after she got her glasses. Nowadays, prescription glasses, or contacts for that matter, are not the only way to get better vision. With laser surgery or correction, bad vision can be a thing of the past.

If you have your own story of how having clearer eyesight has made a difference in your life, join
the iLASIK Video Contest and get a chance to win $ 5,000!


All you have to do is submit a video telling your story in any of the following categories:
  • “My contacts are getting in the way of my good time”
  • “My favorite sport or activity would be so much cooler with better vision”
  • “You should see life after the iLASIK® Procedure

After submitting your entry at, tell your friends to vote! Besides the $ 5,000 grand prize, other prizes at stake are 3 HDTV packages (one for each category) worth $2,500 each, and 3 Flip UltraHD™ camcorders (one for each category) worth $ 199.99!

What are you waiting for? Join now!

Post?slot_id=80852&url=http%3a%2f%2fsocialspark to continue reading...

I Ate To Educate!

click on photo to enlarge to continue reading...

My Halloween Cupcakes!!!

I just have to share my excitement over this:

aren't they so cute?!? I usually bake cupcakes/muffins, cookies and date walnut bars for the Christmas holidays but this year, my partner and I got an order for Halloween cupcakes for a party. After a few tries, we finally got a good frosting and set of patterns going. This is a perfect trick or treat giveaway for an office party don't you think? Hmmm...I wonder what would be a good costume for the servers handing these out. Perhaps a batch of waitresses in can can Halloween costumes? Now I wonder, what would be a bigger hit, the cupcakes or the costumes?!? to continue reading...

Battle For Terra

It is not very often that an animated film has a message about caring for our environment. However, the movie Battle for Terra is a good tale of just that. Although the story may not preach about taking care of our earth per se, it gives a good visual reference to what might happen if we don't do so.

Thanks to SM Digital Cinemas and Hero TV for the invitation to the special 3D screening of Battle for Terra! to continue reading...

October 28, 2009

Desperately Needing Car Repairs.

I really need to take my car in to the shop for it's 30,000 km check up. Unfortunately, in the wake of the killer typhoons that hit different parts of the country in the last month, car repairs are severely backed up. I can't even fit in a schedule! I understand the delay though. Some car shops have offered a helping hand to typhoon victims through lowering labor or service costs. Some companies have even completely waived these fees. Unfortunately, car parts needed for repair for cars that got submerged in floods are running low. Some car owners have started to turn to the internet to get good deals on car parts such as an ac compressor. Speaking of cars needing service, this is the scene I see outside my office window!!! to continue reading...

October 27, 2009

I Dare to Be Fit n' Right Again!

Three years and many pounds ago, I was at the peak of health. Perhaps, I could even say I was definitely Fit 'n Right. I had just won a battle with obesity and my health was in tip top condition. Two years prior to this, I had been diagnosed with a medical condition called PCOS which was being exacerbated by the fact that I was grossly overweight. I went from being almost 220 pounds to about 130 in a span of about 11 months, which left me looking somewhat haggard and old. However, after finding a good balance between diet and exercise, I got to a good place with regards to my health. I was not only physically fit, but I was living a healthy lifestyle. Like I said, Fit 'n Right. Just look at the transition:

at over 200 pounds in 1998

mid -2005. Much thinner but not healthy. Look at the sunken eyes and
haggard look

early 2006: some weight regained but definitely a healthier
and happier me

However, became lazy and careless with my diet, I slowly began to gain weight again. Plus my hormone condition started acting up again, thus the pounds just keep coming on. Before I knew it, I could barely fit into my clothes again. Because of that, I decided it was (correction: IT IS!) time for me to take the DARE TO BE FIT 'N RIGHT challenge. I know it's not going to be as easy as before, especially since I am much older now than when I first needed to lose weight, after all, it is a known fact that weight loss is usually more difficult once you reach your 30's.

Lucky for me, I got invited to the Fit n' Right Blogger Event last October 23, 2009 held in Taste Asia in the Mall of Asia where I was introduced to two revolutionary tools that can help me take on my battle with the pounds.

First is a new workout routine by sports guru and Master Coach Jim Saret. His workout, coined the F.I.T. Workout, or the Fast Interval Training, it is a four-minute workout that makes you burn at least 400 calories. Not just that, this exercise actually continues to burn calories even after the workout! Imagine that! This is a workout that definitely can fit in to almost anyone's lifestyle, especially bloggers like me who find themselves in front of the computer for hours on end. Not only is the workout quick, it also is very accessible to all because you don't need any fancy gym equipment or space for that matter. In some ways, it reminded me of a workout that my sister, who is an athlete, used to talk about. She would talk about burst training and how these sudden intervals or bursts of speed in her strength training made her more fit. I guess the same scientific principles apply to both my sister and Coach Saret's workout. Bottom line: not only is this four minute workout is something I can have time to do, but it can burn more calories than an hour on the treadmill or several kilometers of jogging can do.

Bloggers Earth, Dani and Jeff take on the FIT Workout! The Workout
consists of a series of exercises you do in brief spurts (hence Fast Interval Training).
Exercises include body weight lifting (as Jeff is doing), squats (like Earth),
lunges (demonstated by Dani) and push ups. For beginners, do about 10 counts of
each exercise for as many reps as possible within the 4 minutes. For more
advanced individuals, you can increase difficulty by using
TheraBall, Bands andsimilar accessories.
photo credit: Jennie Aspacio of

A partner to this workout is Del Monte's Fit 'n Right Juice Drink.

This is the second revolutionary tool to fitness. I have to be honest though: growing up I was made to believe anything with juice drink on it was unhealthy. According to dietitians I went to back then, these were overloaded with sugar. However, these juice drinks have evolved since that time. This was even proven by a clinical study conducted by Dra. Leonora Panlasigui and the University of the Philippines. In their study, it was proven that Fit 'n Right can help one lose as much as 16.7% body fat in 6 weeks when combined with diet and exercise. Research shows that Fit 'n Right can actually help in weight loss because of the L-Carnitine and B Vitamins 1, 6, 12 in it. L-Carnitine, which occurs naturally in the body and is found in many of the things we eat such as red meat, helps burn fat by transporting fatty acids into the mitochondria, which is known as our cell's powerhouse or energy sources. These fats are then burned into energy. Vitamin B, on the other hand, helps speed up metabolism. As such, taking Fit 'n Right at least 2 hours before exercise can help maximize it's fat burning potential. Paired with the F.I.T. workout, these juice drinks can help speed up your weight loss. Since Fit 'n Right is the first and only juice drink with a blend of L-Carnitine and B Vitamins, it really is (as their commercial claims) a refreshing way to burn. Fit 'n Right now comes in more delicious flavors and more affordable 1 liter bottles. My personal favorites are the Blueberry and Grape, Watermelon and Apple flavors. For a healthy snack, try out the Fit 'n Right Fruit Snacks too!
One thing to remember, however, is that Fit 'n Right alone is not the answer to losing weight. It has to be taken in with a good diet and exercise. In the same manner, just doing the FIT Workout without watching what you eat does not mean that you will lose weight. Sometimes we tend to think that taking supplements OR doing a magic workout will be enough to burn away the pounds. It has to be a lifestyle choice. This means that you don't just stop when you reach your ideal weight (which obviously I did the last time around!). It means that you have to eat, live and breathe healthy. After all, that's what being Fit 'n Right is really all about! This is why as part of their commitment to promoting a healthy lifestyle, the Fit 'n Right campaign will culmuinate with the Dare to Be Fit 'n Right Fun Run 2009 on November 22 at the SM Mall of Asia. There are 3 categories to chose from: the 3K, 5 K or 10K run. Besides the health benefits of running plus the chance to take home exciting prizes, participants also support a very worthy cause: the Men and Women's Open will benefit victims of Typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng through the SM Foundation.

click on photo to enlarge, or read details below.
Check out the Fit 'n Right fan page in Facebook too!

Fun Run Details:
When: November 22, 2009.
Where: SM Mall of Asia grounds
How: Register at the following areas: CEMG Office – Unit 3A Vernida I Bldg., Amorsolo St., Legaspi Village, Makati City/ Look for Marianne Tapales (892.5842/09155498282); Dare to be Fit ‘n Right booths in Bonifacio High Street, Taguig and in selected SM Hypermarkets: Mall of Asia, Sucat, Pasig, and North EDSA; Fitness First branches on November 16, 2009. You can also REGISTER ONLINE.
Cost: Php 300 inclusive of race packet with the Dare to Fit ‘n Right Fun Run singlet, race bib, Fit ‘N Right products, etc.
Prizes at stake: cash and gift prizes from Del Monte and sponsors. Plus a chance to win a Lenovo Laptop in the raffle! to continue reading...

October 26, 2009

A Couch Potatoes Best Friend

The other day, my friend and I were window shopping around Mall of Asia when out of the blue, he commented on how easy it is to get good TV deals now. He was quite amazed at how affordable these television sets have gotten. In fact, he said that if only his cash wasn't earmarked for a new cellphone, he would have gladly gotten one of those more affordable LCD TV's. After all, a good TV set is a couch potatoes best friend!

If I were to purchase a new television, I think I would stick with a SamsungTV. The last two TV purchases we've made were of this brand, and so far, I've been happy with it. One thing I don't like, though, are the remote controls. For some reason, both the remotes broke within the first year or so. Then again, it really didn't make much of a difference since I have one of those universal remotes. How I wish Santa one of these down my chimney this Christmas! to continue reading...

October 25, 2009

The Ugly Truth.

Yes...this is why I'm single!!! I guess the Ugly Truth made me realize that. I think it's because growing up, most girls are made to believe in the fairy-tale romance. In the movie, though it did have a relatively fairy tale ending, was an eye-opening, hilarious look on the complex relationship called love. Suffice it to say: it made the concept of love, falling in love and being in love seem more real, yet fun. While watching the movie, I remembered words from a guy I used to go out with ring in my head. When he told these to me years ago, I dismissed it as him being insensitive and a coward but seeing it played out on the big screen made me realize that he was being real (but still insensitive I suppose, haha!)

Seriously, though, I have watched so many movies this year but this has got to be one of my favorites so far!!! to continue reading...

Surprise in the Mail.

More often than not, the only thing that enters most mailboxes are bills. Bills and junk mail. Since the email revolution, snail mail has decreased markedly, particularly for personal communication. Yesterday, however, I found a surprise in the mail. When I opened my mailbox, I found a birth announcement from a good friend of mine who I had not known was expecting! It felt nice seeing something from a mail box rather than an inbox for a change. So much so that I got to thinking, perhaps since Christmas is approaching, maybe I should send real Christmas cards this year rather than e-cards.

I wonder, though, if people still maintain these boxes nowadays. I know mine's kinda rusty and sometimes I find leaves in them. I looked around the village and noticed that most of my neighbors are in a similar situation. I did see, however, one of those pretty wall mount mailboxes with nice etchings on it. It made me realize that mailboxes aren't just drop-off boxes for mail, but they can also be very nice accessories or ornaments for your home. to continue reading...

October 24, 2009

All Set for Driving.

In less than a years time, my brother is turning 16. That only means one thing: getting a learners permit! For many people, getting a new car is one of the most exciting experiences. It sure was for me. As early as now, he is asking if he will get a new car when he is old enough to drive. Of course if money was no object, getting him a brand new car is definitely the best option. However, for new drivers like him, perhaps checking out trusty and reliable used cars would be a better option. Second-hand cars are often much cheaper than fresh-of-the-assembly-line cars. For someone who is still learning the ropes on being behind the wheel (thus perhaps a higher probability of fender benders and poor handling), it may be a more cost-effective way of getting a set of wheels. to continue reading...

October 20, 2009

The 411 on the Informant

Starring an almost unrecognizable Matt Damon, the movie The Informant is a dark comedy based on true events that inspired the book with the same title. It is a story of corporate espionage and conspiracy, and an uncanny hero: a pudgy, unassuming man in a suit.

Mark Whitacre was the youngest top executive in the company ADM when he turned informant by becoming a whistleblower about illegal price-fixing activities top officials in the company were engaged in. The fraud, which spanned international waters, revolved around a chemical additive called lysine which was used in livestock. After turning whistleblower, Whitacre had to endure years of wire-tapping and surveillance activities with the FBI to gather evidence against ADM. However, these activities eventually took its toll on the businessman who, apparently, suffered from a disorder.

I won't spoil the story much for you, but I have to admit, I kinda got lost in the story a little bit, especially given my background on psychology. Essentially what I can say is, I wasn't expecting that!

Was it a good film? Well, suffice it to say it was not really my cup of tea. The fast transitions and endless narratives, twists and turns (although clearly essential in the film) threw me off somewhat, plus much as Matt Damon's performance was good, it was a bit of a letdown because he didn't look so much like the Matt Damon I love :-)

However, I am almost 100% sure my friend Janine (who enjoys the exact opposite kinds of films that I do) would probably say otherwise. In fact, I kinda missed her on the drive home from the screening because I'm sure should she have been there, we would have had an interesting debate going. Honestly, it was an interesting film, despite it not being the typical movie I would seek out.

The true-to-life film will be shown exclusively at Ayala Mall's Glorietta 4, Greenbelt 3 and Trinoma starting tomorrow, October 21. to continue reading...

Kitchen Classrooms

One of my favorite kitchen gadgets for use in my classroom is the oven toaster. It allows me to include the magic of cooking into any lesson I teach in class while providing enough room for my kid's safety. I like, too, how these gadgets can toast, roast and bake almost anything. During Valentine's day or Parents Day, the kids love whipping up a batch of cookies that they can easily decorate and take home as presents. Besides the fun the kids get from baking, what I like best about using the kitchen in class is the unique lessons they get from it. From concepts like hot and cold, safety rules and basic math skills, these are practical learning experiences that the kids get, all because of a simple kitchen gadget.

Of course we only have the basic, cheap kind of toaster but if I had the opportunity, it would be nice to invest in one of those large and multi-use toasters, such as a halogen toaster oven which will allow us to finish tasks faster. Sometimes some of the kids get frustrated because our toaster is so small we can only fit in a few cookies at a time. Hopefully by this Christmas our directress agrees to getting some new stuff for school...or perhaps Santa would be nice enough to drop some off for us!!! to continue reading...

Being Thankful Despite Ending on a Sour Note.

I hate how sometimes, no matter how much the logical side of me tells me to let things slide, the emotion driven core of me does not allow me to do so....Tonight ended on a kind of sour note, somewhat due to circumstances beyond my control, but also partly because of my reaction to it.


Then again, tomorrow is another day that I can start over. Incidentally, it is National Thank You Day so despite things turning out the way it did, I'd like to say thanks to my blogger friends for a fun and eventful evening :-) Till next time! to continue reading...

October 18, 2009

Identity and Information Protection.

I recently finished watching the entire five seasons of the television series Alias, which starred Jennifer Garner as an agent with the CIA. It took me about two weeks to finish it all. Basically, that's all I watched day in and day out!!! It was amazing to see how technology was even as early as 2001. In the same breath, it showed me how easily one's identity and information can be stolen or violated. And to think they were showing supposedly protected information. It may be kinda mind boggling for me to understand how they crack codes and encryptions as well as penetrate systems with auto logoff and security measures in place. In this day and age, it is very important to be vigilant about how our information is being processed, especially online. Also, when it comes to shared work stations, it is vital to have your own profiles protected by passwords and the like because it is so easy to peep into others documents. In fact, I had a student who once stole someone else's paper because she forgot to log off from her email. I guess this is also one reason why I refuse to use other computers at work despite the fact that I hate lugging around my heavy lappy!!! to continue reading...

Safety in this Dangerous Times.

As I write this, I am keeping tabs on breaking news on a robbery at Greenbelt 5, one of the poshest and trendiest shopping malls in the metro. At the same time, I am reading Plurks from a contact that her home was broken into last night. Yesterday, another Plurk contact experienced the same thing. It is scary! Lately I catch myself checking and double checking and even triple checking the locks at home because of how frightening crime is getting nowadays. Can you imagine, armed robbery in a shopping mall in broad daylight? My gosh...what is going on?!?

I think more than just beefing up home security we also have to be more aware of things in our community. It is true that partly to blame for the rise in criminal behavior is the downspiraling value of our money in the face of steep prices in the market. Given this, we need to make it a collaborative effort to keep ourselves safe. Nowadays living in a gated community is no longer an assurance that you are exempt from break-ins and robbery. Nowadays I am being more vigilant about the goings-on around me and I will no longer just stand passively when I see something out of the ordinary. Call in hypervigilance, but I'll call it being safe. Oh, and I won't leave Bubba out in the garden too much when I'm gone. I heard from that friend that her dog was poisoned by the robbers. I think if he's on the inside, no matter how much they try to bribe him with food that is poisoned, all they'll end up doing is getting him to bark noisily which hopefully can catch the attention of our neighborhood watch.

Let's all be safe, People. May God watch over us all. to continue reading...

A Web-by Weekend at KK.

It's hard to believe that it's been a week since I tried to learn the ropes of updating and managing a website. It's so much harder than managing a blog site for sure, especially for someone like me who has no idea of how html, css and other codes work. However, thanks to the careful guidance and the patience of a good friend, I was able to get a basic overview of how websites work. Over coffee and doughnuts, I was able to update our clinic website and put in articles and descriptions to our services. Not bad for a noob like me! It kinda made me more confident in my capacity to start looking for my own webhosting deal.

Although I don't intend to start my own website though, but since I'm becoming more involved in blogging, I think getting my own domain and host would be a good investment soon. I want an unlimited hosting plan where I am free to manage all the different sites I am currently trying to navigate through. Of course, I have to get them redirected to my own domains first! For now, I think the best thing for me to do is read up on what are the best options and offers are out there so I can make the best informed decision that suits my needs. to continue reading...

October 17, 2009

I've Got a Feeling....

That this week's gonna be a good, good week....

And I was right! Let me back track a bit...last weekend, I read several Plurks about upcoming contests online. Two of them caught my fancy: one was an Ovi sponsored photo contest featuring "Food you eat in secret"and the other was sponsored by which offered a grand prize of a trip for two to Hong Kong. I excitedly thought about my entries.

For the photo contest, I immediately knew what it would be about. I had an inkling I'd win, mainly because my entry was really so weird (you can check it out at, but I will post about it in my food blog in the coming days too). So when I got the confirmation that I won, it was great!

The second, I have to admit, ended up being an almost-last-minute submission because I've been super, super busy at work. This one, I crossed my fingers hard that I would win, but I didn't think I would. I was right again...kinda. I did win a set of Yummy books. While it's not Hong Kong, it definitely is a thrill to see my hard work pay off!! I'm so excited to see what these books are! Will post photos when they come :-) to continue reading...

October 15, 2009

My Commitment for Change this Blog Action Day.

Just an hour ago I had lunch. It came from a styrofoam box. Yup, I did it again. I drove another nail into the coffin called Our Green Earth.

Admittedly, buying my lunch from the carinderia (food stall) outside campus is so much easier than carrying a reusable container.

The issue of Climate Change was never in the list of my priorities before. I don't know why but I just never thought much of the issue. If I were to think about why, I suppose it would be because I always assumed someone else will take care of it for me. I also used to rationalize climate change as simple side effect of progress.

I did not intend to make a Blog Action Day post here in my personal blog (I initially only registered my advocacy blog) but as I wrote that post, I realized that I really do have to be an example for the kids I teach. How can I be a role model if I don't make actual changes to my behaviors as well, right? So I sat and thought about it, and as I threw my styro box away I whispered an apology to Mother Earth and made a commitment for change.

Here are my 5 Personal Steps to a Greener Earth:

1. I will not leave my television on when I go to bed. I have a bad habit of needing to hear the sounds of the TV while trying to fall asleep. I often forget to press the sleep button on my remote and starting today, I will not forget to do so anymore.

2. I will bring a reusable container to school everyday. Yes, I will ask Ate Ems to put my food there instead of her styro!

3. I will bring my reusable bag to the grocery all the time! In fact, as soon as I unload groceries, I will have the bag placed in my car already so that there is no excuse for forgetting. I wonder if it would be possible, however, to ask the bagger to just place the items on the cart after check-out? That way I don't get the plastic bag anymore. After all, sometimes not all the stuff I get in the grocery fits in the bag.

4. I will dispose of old gadgets appropriately. In the past, I have thrown away phone chargers, CD players and the like, just in the dumpster. Now, I will try to find a disposal center for it. I know some malls have those e-garbage dumpsters, as does the school I teach in.

5. I will plan my trips more efficiently. Given the nature of my job, it is difficult to not drive to work. However, I am committing to being more purposive in planning my schedule so I don't waste time going back and forth thus lessening my consumption of gas. Also, I'll take extra steps to ensure my car is in tip-top shape so it doesn't use up more energy than necessary.

With these steps I hope I can start becoming a caretaker of our earth as well. I think it is about time for me to stop taking and taking from Mother Nature. While giving back may be minimal, I think honoring and caring for what is given is essential. to continue reading...

October 14, 2009

Choosing the Right Infant Formula

In light of the recent Typhoon Ondoy calamity in the Philippines, I was initially confused about the news that infant formula was not an encouraged donation as relief goods. I could not reconcile the idea that despite the big need for baby milk in evacuation centers, it was not being allowed. But as I read through articles and discussions as to why it was not allowed and/or encouraged, it did make sense to me. I do agree 100% that breast milk is best for babies and for as long as it is available, I feel that infant formulas should be the last option for mothers to choose. However, given the fact that after being subjected to such intense trauma, many of the mothers were unable to feed their infants adequately. While I try not to encourage formula feeding early on, I do recognize that at times, mothers (much as they want to do so) really cannot breastfeed for long. For example, many mothers do not have the opportunity to be a stay-at-home mom. Ergo, after a certain period for maternity leave, they are forced to go back to work. Some also have health issues which may limit their capacity to breastfeed. Given these factors, it seems the best alternative a mother can do is find the best infant formula available. However, parents should not be fooled in to thinking that the more expensive the formula, the better it is. Just because pharmaceutical companies can easily advertise and pump up a brand for a product doesn't equate to better nutrition and quality. In fact, store brand formula IS nutritionally equivalent as popular brands.

While there are cheaper alternatives for milk substitutes for babies, this should not be an excuse to not breastfeed. In the US, it is interesting to note that the WIC or Women, Infants and Children program is taking steps to encourage breastfeeding by decreasing subsidy earmarked towards formula and other baby food products that can actually be addressed by breastfeeding. As such, families under the program now need to take more practical steps in managing their subsidy, which can include breastfeeding longer, opting for less expensive yet equally nutritional formula or go with branded milks. In the case of the situation here in evacuation centers, especially since the long-term effects of this storm seems apparent, I think having options for cheaper and yet good quality milk is essential. But as the experts say, breastfeeding is still best for babies.

Post?slot_id=67862&url=http%3a%2f%2fsocialspark to continue reading...

October 13, 2009

My Favorite Word: SALE!!!!

Sale, sale, sale!!!

Everywhere I look I find new announcements for sales. I don't know if that's a good thing, but for me, it makes me spend WAAAAYYY too much!!

The shopaholic in me wants to get loose!!! I do need new shoes and clothes....

Note to self: avoid these shops!!! yeah right!!!! See you in Trinoma!!!

Other branches of Ecko and Zoo York also on sale. to continue reading...

"I need to lose the baby weight"

I wish I had that excuse!

Seriously though, it the last four years, I've slowly piled on the pounds. I was always a fat child, but at one point in my life, I was actually skinny. Well, that was when I had undergone a medical crisis. However, since then, I began to gain weight again. Now that I'm trying to lose the weight again, it's so much harder. I think its a combination of age, lifestyle and time constraints that is making it so much more difficult to lose weight, as compared to when I lost almost 80 pounds years ago. Sometimes I am almost tempted to try something like
Proteinex or other similar slimming supplements to help me get started. I'm a little bit scared to try, though, because I don't know how it will affect me. to continue reading...

October 10, 2009

Sweet Treats for Everyday Heroes

The past two weeks have shown the triumph of the Filipino Spirit. Business communities and establishments all around have also extended their helping hands in countless ways from being donation drop-off centers to offering discounts and free services for those affected by the tragedy.

Tomorrow, Krispy Kreme Philippines invites you to join in on their efforts to raise more money for the support of victicms of Typhoon Ondoy. By simply purchasing an Original Glazed Donut, you help raise funds that will be distributed to the Philippine National Red Cross Rizal Chapter and the ABS-CBN Sagip Kapamilya foundation.

Truly a sweet treat for today's heroes...the Filipino! to continue reading...

October 7, 2009

My Choice? I WANT SAGO!

If I were to think back to what really introduced me to my whole new world of blogging (as I'd like to call it) is an event I attended last year in Taste Asia. That's where I met one of my favorite bloggers: Jonel of LetsGoSago. Hindi ako sumisipsip ha!  Honestly, it is through the evolution of his blog that I got interested in making my blog a venue for my advocacies as well as using it for fun and games as well. What I like best about LetsGoSago is that I get to see so many new places and things with just a click of my mouse. Plus I get to go join in on some events too! Oh, and of course, I love Sago's contests too! to continue reading...

Quick Click Files.

In my job as a teacher, whether with the little ones or in the undergraduate level, I find that using music and film clips are highly effective. However, since some viewing sites are blocked in my school, I have to find ways that allow me to easily find such materials. At times, I have some video presentations that either I or my students create and it is so difficult to share these files, especially when they are huge and heavy. Sometimes we succeed in using video hosting sites but then if you don't know the file name, it can take time to find the right video or clip you are looking for. Not so long ago, someone mentioned that using Rapidshare Search can make the job easier. I have yet to understand how it works, but based so far on what I've read, this definitely is more user-friendly. Have you tried it? to continue reading...

A+ for ASUS!

I got a notification from ASUS in my email today about the company's efforts in helping the victims of Typhoon Ondoy. As per their press release, they are extending special services to those whose ASUS products were damaged in the flood. These services includes all notebooks, Eee PCs, motherboards and video graphic cards including accessories such as LCD panels and adapters. Plus they are giving 20% discount on other spare parts as well. This is really great news to those who are now struggling to get their lives back on track. Marketing Manager Jason Teh states that they're efforts in helping victims highlights what ASUS stands for: providing heart touching service.

The special services offered to typhoon victims runs till October 31. Customers can visit the ASUS service centers at the following venues:

ASUS ROYAL CLUB: #14 United St., Bgy. Kapitolyo, Pasig City
ASUSWORLD MEGAMALL: 4/F Cyberzone, SM Megamall Building B, Mandaluyong City (+632 6382955)
ASUSWORLD VIRRAMALL: 4/F Virramall, Greenhills Shopping Center, San Juan City (+632 9943497) to continue reading...

Shopaholic Needs New Clothes.

I have to admit it: I can't fit in to most of my clothes anymore. Yup....this is me acknowledging defeat for now in my weight battle. I remember how exciting it was to go shopping for new clothes when I first lost a LOT of weight. It was such an exciting experience! However, now it is frustrating and disappointing. To be fair, I'm glad to see how differently clothes are now sized, as compared to before. It seems finally, manufacturers have realized that one size fits all is not always true!

However, one thing that still is exciting to shop for is shoes! Like most girls, a shoe binge in any store is like therapy to me. Now that its more rainy and cool, I think I'll invest in a good pair of boots soon. Maybe I can even get some scarves and stockings or tights to add to my diminishing wardrobe. The only thing that frustrates me when it comes to shoe shopping, however, is having to ask for my size all the time. I wish my feet were a little smaller so I can fit the display sizes. to continue reading...

Awaiting my Red Cup.

Christmas is definitely in the air, despite the recent series of devastating natural events that have plagued not just Manila, but parts of Asia as well. While we can't deny Christmas will definitely be more quiet and less extravagant than the usual, I can't help but feel a little bit excited about the holidays. Whenever I am stuck in traffic, I enjoy hearing Christmas carols playing. It helps me feel less stressed and annoyed at the fact that I am sitting in my car wasting time because of another traffic jam. One thing I am really looking forward to in the upcoming weeks is the arrival of Starbucks' Red Cups. If I'm not mistaken, it comes out around October/November. I really hope this year they have Peppermint Mocha Fraps again, as I missed that immensely last year. Plus I hope their planner is nicer than last years. As usual, I ended up using less than a months worth of this years planner hehehe! to continue reading...

October 4, 2009

Back to School.

Tomorrow students of all ages will troop back to school. No, it is not the start of the school year, but a fresh start after the devastating typhoon that ravaged the country. Over the past seven days, school officials have worked hard to get schools and classrooms that are not being used as evacuation centers back to normal. Just this morning, I read on my FB page that med students were being asked to clean out their lockers so that they can be hosed down. However, one problem with many school lockers is that they're made out of wood, unlike a gym locker which is usually made of metal or steel. Also, unlike the detached lockers for sale, these tend to be built in to the walls.  To make matters worse, these wood lockers tend not to have slats on them, so if it did get flooded, it would definitely take longer for the water to seep out of it. I shudder at the thought of molds that may be growing in there if left unattended for longer.

I suppose, in some small way, its a good thing that often times, here in Manila, a kids locker is more for storing school and emergency supplies, such as a health kit with extra clothes, pad papers and the like.Books are not often encouraged to be left in there as kids have so much homework nowadays. Also, most moms prefer to have their kids bring home their books for advanced reading. I'm sure many students need a lot of new supplies. Hopefully, they were able to salvage a lot of it, thus lessening the burden of new purchases in the middle of the school year. to continue reading...

Caring for Our Mental Health.

According to the DOH calendar, Oct. 5-9 is National Mental Health Week. This commences with the celebration of World Mental Health Day on October 10. Being a graduate student of psychology and a lecturer of the same, it is encouraging to know that there are efforts being made to bring awareness about caring for one's mental health. In line with this, I am launching my new blog, temporarily here in Blogger, (I already bought the domain, where it will be transferred shortly :-) ). I hope to use this as a portal to help dissimenate information about mental health issues and disorders, as well as to promote wellness by encouraging people to understand what menal health care is all about. Do check it out! :-) to continue reading...

October 2, 2009

Rebuild, Renew, ReLIVE.

When I saw the devastation Hurrican Katrina brought over New Orleans, I never imagined that my country would face it's own devastation. That's what Typhoon Ketsana (locally known as Ondoy) did. I was awestruck at the power of nature. I could not believe how whole homes were swept away and inundated with water. Almost a week has passed since that fateful day, but still, those deeply affected by the storm have yet to rebuild their lives. I pray for them as they try to start their lives anew. It saddens me to hear how some construction supply distributors or stores have increased rates for cement and the like in a span of a week.  To make things worse, flood victims report that their homes are being robbed now by looters. Even water closets, kitchen sinks, and light fixtures have been stolen from their already devastated homes. I understand that the law of supply and demand really dictates a lot of this price movements, but given the severity of the storm I think businesses should try to help out by not jacking up prices yet. I wish I had a magic wand to help rebuild all these damaged homes so all those who were caught by this storm can once again live happy and healthy lives. to continue reading...

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