Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Jurlique Skin Care Line

The skin does not lie--what you see is what you get. And as the body's largest organ, there is a lot to see. Today, people are more aware of what they put in, on and around their bodies. I've had phases in my life when I was younger, when I was more "experimental" when it comes to trying out products just to see which ones I'm more "hiyang" or which products suits my needs. And because of this bad habit, there were times when I'd see blothes and skin patches on my skin, I'd also get pimples or red itchy spots and these were the downside of my curiousity. Since then, I've learned my lesson, and I had to learn it the hard way. As I got older, I've always been very particular with what I use and what I put on my skin, especially on my face.

Recently, I came across a product called Jurlique--I don't know how long it's been made available in the Philippines because it doesn't have any print ad neither does it use any celebrity endorser unlike other known brands in the market today. What Jurlique rely on is word of mouth. But in South Australia where Jurlique had started and was made, it has provided a natural approach to beauty for more than 20 years.
Jurlique products are made from South Australia.

Jurlique developed biodynamic beauty products since 1985. It was founded by a chemist Jurgen Klein and his wife Ulrike, long before there was a global buzz about the benefits of organics and going green, from the herbs and flowers they planted--calendula, lavender, chamomile, marshamllow, rosemary--to the product that became Jurlique, at their farm in South Aurstralia. They tend the earth on their certified organic and biodynamic farms, growing the herbs used in their products.
They have everything you need for all skin types, even for babies.
At Jurlique, beauty is defined not by unattainable ideals, but by sustainable conncetions--to oneself, to the community and to the earth. Beauty is not manufactured or processed. They conncet their customers to the beauty of the natural world. I was fortunate enough to sample its products and had my facial treatment as well. Jurlique boasts of a complete line of skin care and bath line that gently but effectively addresses the needs of different skin. Their best sellers include Herbal Recovery Gel, Daily Exfoliating Cream, Rose Hand Cream, face mists and essential oils.

I really enjoyed the facial. I would've fallen asleep if only I hadn't been thinking I'd be late for my next appointment that day. But it was truly a relaxing facial. It started with  a spray of the facial mist that smelled like freshly squeezed lemons, followed by a cold cream, then a warm towel with citrusy fragrant. It was later followed by facial massages and more creams, some smelled of dama de noche or flowery scent. I had no idea what Zyrah (my therapist) had been putting on my face, except that it felt heavenly and I trusted her. I know organically made products are not harmful and aren't tested on animals. I went out of Jurlique shop feeling refreshed, after my skin got its exfoliation, nourishment and the whole treatment package it received. And my skin? It felt so soft, like that of a baby's. It never felt like this with ohter products I use, perhaps it's time I switch to Jurlique. Be aware though that facial treatments are done from 1PM until 6Pm only and with prior appointment.

Jurlique gives their customers free facial (worth P1,000) by appointment for a minimum purchase of P4,000 in a single purchase. Jurlique hs branches in Rustan's Tower in Shangri-la Plaza, Rustan's Makati and their flagship store in Greenbelt 5. For more information visit http://www.beauty.naturalhealth.ph/ or http://www.jurlique.com/.

Jurlique's flagship store at the Ground Floor or Greenbelt 5 in Makati.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Batibot is Back on TV5!

"Pagmulat ng mata, laging nakatawa sa Batibot
Tayo ng magpunta tuklasin sa Batibot
Ang saya ang tuwa
Doon sa Batibot, tayo na tayo na
Mga bata sa Batibot maliksi masigla
Doon sa Batibot, tayo na tayo na
Mga bata sa Batibot, bata sa Batibot
maliksi, masigla"

Remember that jingle from Batibot in the mid-80's? It's funny that I knew it by heart having been a fan of the show for years. I grew up watching both Batibot and Sesame Street, but I've learned to love Pong and Kiko more than Bert and Ernie. Perhaps because I could understand them better since they speak in vernacular, unlike their American counterparts, Bert and Ernie who'd always argue with each other. As a child, I loved listening to Kuya Bodjie Pascua's stories. For me, he's the best story teller ever! I could vividly recall how he would roll his eyes each time he'd tell a story with much enthusiasm. I've never seen anyone like Kuya Bodjie tells a story. He's simply the best. I also liked sisters Ningning and Gingging as well as Manang Bola who taught me Ba-Be-Bi-Bo-Bu.

The famous puppet duo from the show.
The Batibot trademark--the smiling sun behind the clouds.

I felt sad when the show had to bid television good bye in the early part or mid-part of 90's. Sad because kids will no longer have that chance to know friends like Pong and Kiko and the rest of the batibot neighborhood like Kuya Bodjie, Ate Sienna, Kapitan Basa etc. When Kyle was born in 2002, I wished that if Batibot would not resurrect on screen, they should have at least have re-reuns of the show so that kids like him would be able to watch the Philippines own educational show for television.

There have been other educational shows for television that soon graced the boobtube. Shows such as Atibapa (Awit, titik, bilang at iba pa), Bulilit, among others. But nothing compares to Batibot. They tried but they never duplicated the success of the show.

It's such a good thing, TV5 decided to bring back Batibot on TV. Just like Batibot's trademark logo, behind the clouds, the sun still smilingly shines on them. Batibot is back on TV. Yes, you're reading it right folks. Of course, the old cast, Ate Sienna and Kuya Bodjie may no longer be a part of the show, but it promises a whole new Batibot show that kids will love. I hope this new show would not disappoint its viewers though. I do hope it will be just as good as its old show since they are from the same brains behind the first Batibot show.

Batibot airs on TV5 every Saturdays at 8AM.

Batibot Photos were taken from the internet.

Dusit Thani Manila's Uniquely Designed Christmas Tree

Philippine Star Columnist and socialite Celine Lopez designed this tree.
 You must have seen a Christmas tree as a fresh pine tree or synthetic ones made from fiber optics or plastics. Well, I guess we all have them at home or in the malls. You may have seen trees in different colors too, from bright ones to dark ones. They also come in different sizes and height as well. But you may not have seen unique Christmas trees that are specially designed by popular personalities.

Socialite and Philippine Daily Inquirer columnist Tessa Prieto-Valdez put Barbie dolls on her tree.
 I had the opportunity to visit Dusit Thani Manila's unique Christmas trees designed by well-known personalities from different fields. Philippine Star columnist, author and socialite Celine Lopez had her tree made up of white roses and silver balls. I think her tree looks classic and elegant, maybe it has a bit of her personality. As for extremely fashionable Ms. Tessa Prieto-Valdez, she had her tree done with tons of Barbie Dolls in gowns created by different designers as well. Thereby making her tree as unique as she is. Ms. Prieto's buddy, eventologist and Tweetbiz host, Tim Yap had his own tree designed with loads of Hello Kitty dolls and Swatch voodoo dolls. On the other hand, famous designer Rajo Laurel had his trees filled with hangers clothed in somewhat pinkish or peach color.
  Thai airways also had their own tree with purple silk and gold trimmings ornaments. While HSBC had their tree designed in white candle-shaped with red and transparent balls. The uniquely designed trees will be on display at the Dusit Thani Manila's lobby until the end of this month. There's also a ginger bread house made from real marshmallow, biscuits and chocolate bars. Inside were yummy goodies you can buy as gifts. To complete the Christmasy feeling, wafting in the air is the smell of Bibingka (rice cakes) and Puto Bumbong sold in the lobby.
Eventologist and TV host Tim Yap had tons of Hello Kitty and voodoo dolls.

Thai Airways had purple silk and gold trimmings within the tree.

HSBC used white candle-shaped ornaments for their tree.

My Mom, my friend Tita and Kyle behind the ginger bread house.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Guess What I Found Today?

I promise everyone this will be the last time I will talk about Dingdong Dantes, okay. I have mentioned before in my previous blog entries that I knew Dingdong from way back. I actually have an autograph of him when he wasn't a big star yet, and it's such a privilege to know him from way back and be able to meet him again, now that he's finally recognized in the showbiz  industry. No, this isn't a case of "Dingdong Dantes hangover". It just so happened that I had to fix quite a few things in my room, and while I was rummaging through my stackful of things, when suddenly my beloved journal/diary fell on my wooden floor with its pages open, and inside it was Mr. Dantes' beautifully-written autograph.

I could not help but smile, reminiscing the good 'ol times of my youth. Time really flies when you're having fun. It all seemed like yesterday. But then, that's the good part about life, just like my journal, each day we live, we turn on a new page to write down wonderful memories to keep.

The autograph I was too shy to ask a decade ago.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Writing and all the other stuff

Like Madonna, I have the awful habit of sleeping next to my phone. Even if I’m in the middle of nowhere. I hyperventilate when my phone has no FM signal. I get panic attacks when I realize I need to do things, you know, on my own. I try to keep it real. I still write snail mail letters up to this day using my own left-handedly writer chicken-scrawl handwriting when needed. I still prefer showing my face rather than Skypeing it. And as much as I love Facebook, I still send real gifts as opposed to the virtual gifts that are supposed to be just as good these days. I text my friend even if I will be meeting her an hour later or we’ve been together the entire day. I have an annoying habit of mindlessly screaming at people even if I don’t have my perma-earplugs for my music player. I used to be in an exclusive relationship with my PC until it crashed and left everything with it. It was the most scathing breakup of my life. I know I should give it a chance again, but I’ve since reverted to the more old-fashioned diaries—well, of course, that’s aside from this blog where I type now.

Since time immemorial, I have honed my love for writing. I remember I had my very first journal when I was ten. After more than seven years of writing for print as a contributor writer, I became a frustrated chef, photographer, and traveler. I write in blogs which today have become more popular than the traditional journal or diaries. What better way to share my adventures and misadventures to the world than to publish it on a blog site, right?

Life is Fair

One of the first times I thought life wasn’t fair was when all my friends seemed to have a love life and I was left without any significant other. I simply can’t relate to all their stories. So as not to feel totally left out, I’d eat with gusto then proceed to crack a joke or two so that the conversation would be different as we shift topic.

At home, my Mom would admonish me, she’d say, “You’ve gotten too fat, mag-diet ka nga.” That’s not just coming from my mother because even my uncle and friends would tease me about it. Being overweight has a devastating effect on women’s lives. Big is definitely not healthy. I’m not happy with my size though I admit that in ten years, I became quite comfortable with my body—with my being fat. I find nicknames such as Telly Tubby, Miss Piggy, Titanic, and Incredible Bulk hurtful and insulting. Slim women were always considered more attractive and intelligent. Sad but true, I believe society discriminates against overweight people. You kinda know something was wrong if the prince even in your own dreams, never chooses you to be his Cinderella. So I grudgingly accepted my fate. I thought I’m not as bad as Pruella or even Sardella—I may not be Cinderella, but there must be someone for me, too. I continued to be a fat teenager and then a fat adult.
But then in school, when everybody would be wracking their brains before an exam, I would just breeze through my books. Call me a braggart now, but at the time, I couldn’t understand why some of my classmates were having a hard made up of what happens to you. Ninety percent of life is decided by how you react.”

In other words, we really don’t have control over the ten percent of what happens to us. We cannot stop the car from breaking down. The plane will be arriving late, which throws up our whole schedule. A driver may cut us off in traffic. We have no control over this ten percent. The other ninety percent is different. You determine the other ninety percent. It’s not what happens to you that makes or breaks you, it’s your reaction to each situation which does. So the next time life throws you a bunch of lemons, react by picking up its pieces and making it the sweetest-tasting lemonade ever. Yes, life is indeed fair.

The Scent of Christmas

It is twenty nine days to go before Christmas and the scent of Christmas morning wafts from my oil burner. Purposely thanking God that the scent of Christmas morning is now sold in a bottle. Aside from its religious significance, Christmas is like a spice pouch that flavors six weeks of my life. A spice pouch, I learned recently, is a gauze pouch where you put the spices you want to flavor your broth. When the dish is done, you take off the pouch and the broth has all the flavors that emanated from it. I don’t want to take off the pouch because I don’t think my broth is done. And then, like a gentle ring from my alarm clock, something inevitably reminds me to let go, that happiness is not distilled into one event, one accomplishment, one dream, and one spice pouch.

A couple of Christmases ago, I felt the strain of induced artificial joy. What I really wanted to do was skip the whole thing and sleep out the holiday stress, so I tried to escape to my room—only to be urged by one family member after another to join in on the festivities. Aaargh!
Happiness is a continuous as a gurgling brook. You don’t really know where it ends and where it begins. It just flows, in torrents at times, in trickles in others. Happiness is a voyage, not a destination. Growing up, I used to pretend to have fun during Christmas season. Afraid that if I made a big display of my bah humbug Scrooge-like attitude, everyone will make it their personal project to make sure you’re as possessed as they are by the Christmas spirit.

Many times we wait for something to happen before we claim happiness—high grades, a whistle-bait figure, a marriage proposal, promotion, a new car, a baby. Sometimes, we pin all expectations of happiness on getting there—somewhere. And if we do get there, we sometimes find the feeling is incomplete.

From my TV life coach Oprah (who doesn’t know it yet) and one of her expert guests, I learned that there’s such a thing as “destination addiction,” and a lot of us suffer from it. The singles fail to count their blessings, like their freedom, for instance, life can be fulfilling. For the longest time, I would think that losing weight would help me in the love department and would make my happiness beyond compare. But since it was not meant to be, I mean not bound to happen, I’ve focused instead on the wonderful gift—my nephew and the joy that he brought into our lives.

There will always be something lacking in our lives. A new house, a better cook, an LV bag, or a 50/50 vision. As the essay on happiness proclaims, “The truth is, there is no better time to be happy than right now. If not, then when?” Your life will always be full of challenges. It is better to admit as much and decide to be happy in spite of it all.

PMAP's High Flyers Video Making Contest

So what happens after college? I remember being scared when I was in my senior year. I was scared of what the future will bring. I’ve always thought that the world revolving around me would be hanky-dory-peachy-keen, just as long as I find a high-paying and satisfying job after I graduate from college. I was about to test my floppy wings on unthreaded territory—the corporate world. Frankly, at that time, I wished I could crawl back into the lower batch. College was a struggle that taught us survival, discipline, determination, and patience.

Every year, young men and women leave the hallowed halls of the academe and setting their sights on building a successful career, making their first million, buying their first car or any tangible benchmark that publicly screams and spell the words…S-U-C-C-E-S-S. The question is how to achieve all these goals?

The economy is not getting better. Jobs are few and hard to come by, judging by the percentage of graduates who already have professional jobs. Employment rates have dropped. But what made matters worse is that based on a recent study, forty percent of graduates failed in their quest to get a good job. They lack the necessary skills needed to clinch their desired position. Although these graduates have potentials, they lacked in behavioral and communication skills, technical competencies, and critical thinking.
Dingdong Dantes explaining the content of the video.

PMAP Academe Industry Committee Chair Mr. Vicente Kilayko

Just recently, I’ve attended a press conference of The People Management Association of the Philippines (PMAP) held at the Dasmarinas Room of the Intercontinental Hotel in Makati City. To address this alarming problem, PMAP launches an advocacy through a school video campaign to give students direction and guidance and to prepare them through the job market. PMAP aims and encourages the youth to hone their full potentials and develop themselves by going beyond the requirement needed for the job.

In 2009, PMAP made a video uploaded on You Tube dubbed “Booksmart is not Enough.” The seven-minute video shows real life situation and presents ways on how to develop initiative and critical thinking, and improve communication skills. It also showed that youngsters with insufficient knowledge of the different facets of their chosen industry aren’t qualified for the job. They also encourage youngsters to converse in English and confidently express their ideas fluently during job interviews. The said video is being shown to incoming college freshmen in both private and public institutions during orientations through Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations (COCOPEA).

The PMAP people with Dingdong Dantes

This year, PMAP challenges the youth to come up with their own short video showcasing the three top qualities needed in order to clinch that lucrative job in prestigious companies: Initiative, Communication Skills and Critical Thinking with their High Flyers Video Making Contest. The PMAP High Flyers campaign video ad featured celebrity actor Mr. Dingdong Dantes. The contests is open to all enrolled students in both public and private school ages 16 to 21 years old and composed of a maximum of five members. There will be top ten finalists. They will have a chance to win a barkada trip for five to Boracay with accommodation, a special foundation Culinary Arts Class from Global City Innovative College, a roundtrip airfare to Singapore and other exciting prizes. The contest is held in cooperation with SEAIR and Global City Innovative College.

For more information on the contest mechanics and other details, and to download the entry form, please check out the PMAP High Flyers on Facebook. Like the page to access it. Contest duration is from November 25, 2010 to February 28, 2011.

What are you waiting for? Start shooting your videos with your barkada. JOIN NOW!

A bigger size of the mechanics can be seen on PMAP High Flyers Facebook Account.


It happens to everyone. I hate to say this but I do things that seem completely idiotic and worthy of great, big smack on the forehead. With a reputation like mine, there are days when I think that perhaps I really am a flake—a bit harebrained sometimes, or was just born that lucky. Back in high school, peer pressure would get to me, and I used to beat myself up about horrifying memories that kept replaying over and over in my head. Is there any way of salvaging a shredded dignity when it has been picked at by the school vultures? If it is true what they say about birds of the same feathers flock together, why do my friends not suffer the same as I do? Not that I wanted them to suffer though. Could it be that I was the love duck in a pond of swans? As I got older, I eventually gave up on trying to change what I could not control, and just embraced who and what I had become.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Day I met Jose Sixto Dantes III

We met in 1999. I was part of the student council and my college invited him to grace our college fair. It was a big deal back then because I came from an all-girls school. I was basically shy back then, I couldn't even look a guy straight into his eyes and I don't know why but each time I would see a guy, I turned speechless.  Jose Sixto Dantes III was part of a teen television show and an afternoon soap opera, Anakarenina.  He's got a boyish smile, a chiseled face, and braces then. He was a Philisophy freshman then at the San Beda College. He looked so dapper in his white shirt. I asked someone to hand him a paper and signed it for me. Why? Because I didn't had the guts then to talk to him. Jose Sixto Dantes III was kind enough to sign my paper which up to this day I have kept inside my locked journal. He made an impression, a lasting one--he's kind enough to sign it for me despite all the girls ogling at him, surrounding him with admiration.

Fast forward to November 24, 2010...I saw him again, only this time, I was able to talk to him. Yes, I finally had the guts to strike a conversation even for less than 5 minutes. I'm done with school, I don't know if he's able to finish his course though. He had to transfer back to Ateneo then. He's still the same guy, he hasn't changed, except maybe he looked mature now. He lost his babyfats (good for him...How can some people like me seemed to have them forever?). Dingdong Dantes is popular now and he recently won as Best Actor for TV in portraying Cholo in GMA's version of Korean soap opera Stairway to Heaven. We were told that from a shoot in Vigan, Ilocos Sur, he went straight to the presscon just to attend to his commitments. Quite impressive, I say. He must be that professional. And when it was my turn to talk to him, I wanted to make him remember how we met some years ago. But I reallized, it would only reveal my age and what if he had long forgotten that encounter? I don't want to be embarrassed. Anyway, to make this long story short, I had taken photos of him with my Mom, my Kyle and I asked fellow blogger and my good friend, Mommy Vix to take our picture as well. Too bad, she didn't had the chance to take pictures with Dingdong. Another friend,

My impression of Dingdong when he was still unpopular and now that he's famous are the same. I was glad to know that despite gaining  his popularity, he's still the same person that I met some years back with a few improvements, of course. I'm no showbiz follower, but it's nice to see movie and TV personalities like Dingdong being able to keep their feet on the ground despite of fame. Am I starstruck? No. I still like Piolo Jose. But it felt good to see Dingdong Dantes again after almost a decade.

The author with Dingdong.

What am I doing in a press conference? I'll be writing about that soon on my blog. But for now, that's Dingdong for me.

Special thanks to Mr. Richard Mamuyac and Mommy Vix.

Mommy Alert: Beware of Methylmercury

I just read an article from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Total Nutrition by Joy Bauer, it says that concerned high mercury content in some species. This is important because fish has become a favorite dish for many kids and is often recommended to pregnant women. Here are some information from that article that may be helpful to you:

  • Nearly all fish contain trace amounts of methylmercury, but it is not harmful in such low levels. Long-lived, larger fish feed on other fish and accumulate the highest levels of methylmercury. These fish include shark, tilefish, swordfish, and king mackerel, and pose the greatest risk to people who eat them regularly.
  • The primary danger from methylmercury in fish is to the developing nervous system of the unborn child. Thus, pregnant women and who may become pregnant should completely avoid these high-mercury fish. Additionally, it is important for nursing mothers and young children to avoid eating these fish as well.
  • Recommendation for Tuna: It is okay for pregnant women and women who may become prgnant to eat fish as long as they limit total fish consumption to no more than twelve ounces per week. As for tuna, the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), reccomends that you eat only 6 ounces or less of albacore tuna per week. Albacore is the white kind, and it contains more mercury than chunk light tuna.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

What I learned from Plants vs. Zombies

The zombies about to eat the plants while being shoot by peas.

I don't understand why Kyle had been wanting or should I say yearning to play this game called Plants vs. Zombies. He'd been bugging me for ages. I made him explain why he wanted to play something like this. He further discussed the mechanics of this game and he had done this with much enthusiasm. I'm sorry if I seemed to have lived on another planet, but I have not heard of Plants vs. Zombies until Kyle told me about it. You see, I am not into video games. NEVER, not even when kids back then were so into Super Mario and his brother Luigi or Atari or Street Fighter, not even Pacman.Call me a killed joy, but it never had my interest. I remember being fascinated with computers, but I would only watch when someone is playing a video game, but for me to really play a game is probably impossible.

To be honest, it's only when I had Kyle that I started to play video or computer games. But there has to be a reason behind it. Either Kyle did something good or he deserves a reward for me to finally gave in. Just like what happened yesterday. If you're reading my blog, you must know that he had won 2nd place in an art contest last week. Hence, when I asked him what reward does he like, he said he wanted to have the Plants vs. Zombies game download. At first, I was hesitant...I thought, "Why would I make him play this game when I don't even understand the game?" Eventually, I figured, this is better than violent based games Kyle and I used to play at Timezone like Time Crisis and Tekken6.

So while Kyle played the game after I had finished downloading it, I've observed how it was played and all. I soon began to understand why people of all ages seemed to have been hooked with it. It's easy to play.
As I observed Kyle in silence, I realized that the game teaches one a lot of things. Just as the plants need sunrise in order to grow, kids need constant care and nurturing. There are zombies everywhere and you can't always be there to protect your kids, but there's trust in God. And with Him, you couldn't ask for more. Just as Kyle's goal is to advance to the game's next level, God gave us our kids to nourish and protect, but a parent's ultimate goal is to make his or her child grow in wisdom as he grows old.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Goodbye Chapped lips!

It's almost Christmas. You must have felt your lips starting to chap with a few hurtful slits here and there. It's the season to be dry--for your lips that is.
So to avoid such discomfort, I suggest using Carmex Lip Balm. It's  made by Alfred Woelbing and it's been trusted for years since 1930's. It not only heals your chapped and dry lips, but also protects them. It moisturizes and it also has SPF. 
The best thing about this product? Aside from not being tested on animals, it's so easy to carry with its small pot or jar. But it's also available in the slick stick we're used to. It's available in three different flavors, mint, cherry and strawberry. But personally, I like the plain poriginal flavor. It tasted a bit mentholated but it's made in such a way so that it will be effective.
Carmex lip balm ends cracked lips and the torture of having them.

How to help your children love reading

How do we encourage our kids to read? Reading is a great bonding activity between mother and child or among the family. First of all, we should fill our home with reading materials like books, magazines, newspapers, and even cookbooks. Start seasonal traditions. Pick a special book to read together every year during the holidays.

It’s also important to connect your kids to books they want to read. Let the interest of your child guide his or her choices. Picture books are great for everyone, especially for family read-alouds. It’s okay to suggest some of your favorite books to your child or books that you may have read when you were his or her age, but do not be pushy. Help your child become a successful reader by talking, listening, and reading together.

Infants and toddlers—Reading and talking to very young children builds knowledge about words and language they will later use in learning to talk and read. Read often with infants and toddlers and talk about what you are reading. As a general rule, NEVER “baby-talk”. Some parents “baby-talk” to their toddlers because they’d find it “cute”, but it isn’t advisable because kids will definitely have a hard time later in life trying to properly pronounce a word just because he was used to “baby-talk”.

For ages 3-5—Choose books with simple concepts like numbers, shapes, or colors, as well as books that encourage children to participate. Point out details about books, such as titles, authors’ name, and illustrator’s names.

For ages 6-8—Reading does not come naturally. This is a skill that has to be practiced. Research suggests that children need to be exposed to words between 6 to 60 times before they can memorize and read them fluently without stopping to sound out words.

For ages 9-12—Children need ongoing encouragement and should be surrounded by book-rich environment at home. Exposing children to a wide variety of reading materials such as science fiction, mystery, and nonfiction helps build vocabulary and comprehension.

For ages 13-15—Now, more than ever, adolescent readers need parental support to maintain the reading momentum needed in preparation for standardized tests.

You may sign up for a free newsletter for more tips on how to help your child read and learn at www.scholastic.com/bookfairs/family.

Philippine Daily Inquirer's Read-Along: Encouraging kids to Love Reading

My Grandma used to say, "A child who READS is a child who LEADS." As a child, she would often set aside story time with me despite being busy with household chores and working as an employee in a governement agency. At that time, I didn't understand its importance, all I knew was that she would read to me my favorite stories as a way to make me go to sleep at night or take my afternoon naps. She would read to me stories from the bible, fables, fairy tales and sometimes, she'd even make up her own story especially if I seemed bored.

I have to thank my Grandma because she had instilled in my young mind the love for reading. Unfortunately, nowadays with numerous ways to while away one's time, kids are more into TV or play their PSP, chat on the net, use game consoles or text on their mobile phones. They no longer have the time to sit back and skim a book and enjoy reading in the truest sense of word.

It was such a good thing that there were people who never stop encouraging kids to take up a book and read, not only as a requirement in class but also for pleasure. Hats-off to The Philippine Daily Inquirer for creating the Inquirer Read-Along. The project that started some years ago aims to encourage kids as young as Grade 1 to love reading. They would invite celebrity guests as story-tellers for a day, giving them the opportunity to share their talents and at the same time making the story-telling fun for children.

We had the chance to go to the Read-Along session last November 6, 2010, held at the Inquirer office on Chino Roces in Makati. Actor, Comedian and Impersonator Jon Santos was the featured celebrity guest for that day. He first came as President Noynoy Aquino to the delight of the kids. In fact, the younger ones thought he was actually the President in flesh. But the older kids who knew who he was, couldn't stop giggling and was laughing out loud.

Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon Jesus Paje also graced the event and explained to the kid audience on how they could help save mother earth on their own little way.
The Sophia School Storytellers also brought the house down when they read and acted "Sina Dilat, Kindat, Kurap at Pikit." Jon Santos came back later and read some more stories from Adarna Books; "Ang Bisita Ni Haya" and the latest Adarna book "Mahabang, mahabang,mahaba".
The kids truly enjoyed the Read-Along session. What we loved about the Inquirer office was the library. It was probably the only library that was kid-friendly. It has a wide collection of children's books, there was even a children's reading-area where you could see comfortable bean bags in pastel colors.
The Inquirer library also had a project called "Books for Books" where a child could trade in his old books for other used books that he liked. They even have a Junior Inquirer Club, where membership is free and there are a whole lot of activities lined up for its members. They'd even get invited to special events and they're always welcome to attend Read-Along sessions.

Inquirer's Read-Along sessions are held every second and last Saturdays of the month. Pre-registration is a must. First come, first served basis. Please call 897-8808 local 329 and look for Ms. Ellen Caparos or Ms. Girlie Refran for details. You may also read Junior Inquirer, every Saturday. It's never too late to get your kids into reading. I guarantee, your kids will enjoy the sessions. What's more, they even get lots and freebies. It's like hitting two birds with one stone: getting them to love reading while they're learning and having fun.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Amazing Children

I attended an inter-school academic contests for elementary and high school yesterday only to give my dear nephew some moral support. He's entered into two categories, arts and crafts and mathematics. But I did not realized that my coming to the said event would make me gushed in amazement! Imagine, blind kids dancing tinikling? What if they injured their feet since the guys holding the bamboo were blind themselves? What about those deaf kids dancing to the upbeat Hawaiian music? Were they able to hear the music? Why were they able to movie in sync with the music?

I don't know how you'd be able to describe it, except for being amazing. I was dumfounded, geez. The next thing I knew, I saw myself teary eyed. It was truly a fun day being with children, especially those kids that have special needs. Seeing them upclose gave me a different view in life. They may be special alright, but they're incredible in so many different ways. They can even do stuff regular kids aren't able to do.

Kyle, showing off his art work. He finished 2nd place.

My nephew Kyle doing finishing touches for his art entry.

Blind kids dancing Tinikling. Amazing!

Deaf children performs a Hawaiian dance. I wonder how they hear the music.

 My nephew finished second place and got a silver medal for his art work. However, he was eliminated in the mathematics contest because he was simply too tired to count and solve math problems having gone from  the art contest.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Fourth Wise Man

Since it’s around 30+ days to go before Christmas, I am going to share with you a special story in the hope that it will also touch your hearts the same way it did mine. I have actually written this article on my past blog entries on Friendster and had actually written about it on MOD Magazine, but I’m publishing it again because I want to share it with my new friends. This is an inspiring story, which will nourish our souls.

The Fourth Wise Man

The story begins with the four wise men planning their trip to Bethlehem to visit the King of the Kings. The group was about to leave when the fourth wise man suddenly met an emergency. His servant got terribly ill. So the three wise men, Melchor, Gaspar and Balthazar set off without him. He remained at home to attend to his servant’s needs.

At this time something was happening at Israel. King Herod ordered the massacre of all newborns. Upon hearing this, the fourth wise man wasted no time and left immediately to look for Baby Jesus and save the precious child’s life. Upon arriving in Jerusalem, he at once chanced upon a group of soldiers raiding several homes and grabbling all the babies they would slaughter. The fourth wise man hurriedly approached the soldiers who were carrying babies. Exhausting all efforts to save the lives of the infants, he finally offered the soldiers a bribe too tempting to refuse in exchange of the babies’ lives. The soldiers, being corrupt as they are, accepted the bribe and freed the children. One of the babies whom the fourth wise man paid for was Jesus, and he never knew. He looked for a sign but never found it.

The wise man returned to his home. Frustrated but not resigned, he continued the search for Baby Jesus. Years passed and the wise man was still searching. Day and night he searched but never found Jesus. Because he was devoted in his search for Jesus—his time and life spent on his journey, he lost all his wealth. He had no money in his pocket and hardly any food to eat but his hope never wavered.

His spirit was strong and his soul was full. Somehow he knew that his faith alone will last him through the days of his life. And true enough; he gained more strength by devoting his time in helping the sick in the leper colony. But working for others proved to be too taxing for his servant that he left the fourth wise man.

By then Jesus was already a man, preaching in different places…telling stories about a man who nobody knew. Jesus was telling about the fourth wise man. And these stories were called “Parables.” Remember the parable of the prodigal son wherein the son left his father only to return? The wise man’s servant left him only to return upon realizing what he had done.

The wise man who was already weak and old heard of the man Jesus, who was telling stories to people. Finally, he said to himself, “It’s time to meet my Master.” He hurriedly set out to meet Jesus Christ face to face. The person whose life he saved but never knew.

When he arrived in Jerusalem, the fourth wise man saw a crowd. There was an uncanny silence yet he heard cries and pleas. As he waded his way through the crowd and reached the top of the hill, there he saw the man whom he had searched all his life—Jesus.

But it was too late; Jesus was already nailed to the cross. Ad this time, there is nothing he could do to save his life. The fourth wise man stood at the foot of the wooden cross and kissed the feet of his Master and wept. “Lord, all my life I searched for You only to find You here. What have You done to deserve this? I could have saved You. But I came too late. I have failed.”

Jesus looked through his eyes with a faint smile and said: “All my life I was also searching for you. And now, you are here. You have come for me and I am glad you came. We will be together again someday. You saved my life and this life I give for you.” Then, the Lord closed His eyes, bowed His head and breathed His last.

--The Fourth Wise Man was made into a movie. It starred Martin Sheen as the fourth wise man. Rent a video or look for it in You Tube, if you can.

Real Friends

Friends…are they for REAL? Someone asked me, do they still exist in this day and age? Well, I don’t know about you but as far as I’m concerned—I still have a couple of friends worth keeping. I even had friends whom I’ve known way back in grade school. Anyway, here are some tips on how to become a good friend and in that case, you wouldn’t need to look for them because they’ll start hunting you. How’s that? Check this out:

  • Focus on what you can give a friend, not what you can get out of the friendship. If being happy is your only motive for wanting someone to be your friend, then you’re not being a real friend. Don’t get caught up in keeping tabs on who has given most in the friendship. Give to your friends regardless of how much they give to you.

  • Encourage your friend. Real friends inspire and push each other to be the best that they can be, rather than drag each other down. They are happy when other people achieve their goals.

  • Be willing to forgive. Don’t let hurt turn to grudge. This is one sure way to destroy a friendship. Forgive your friend and move on.

  • Tactfully point out their mistakes but be willing to accept yours. This is one way to show concern for others. If you really care, you will tactfully point out a specific example for his own good. But once you’ve brought the problem to your friend’s attention, don’t harp on it all the time. Don’t walk away from friendship when you see some of your friend’s faults. Be patient with a friend as he or she tries to change. Realize that nobody’s perfect.

  • Be reliable. When you say you are going to be there, be there.

  • Don’t try to control your friends. Real friendship does not mean you always have to be together. It may be tempting to have a fun person all to yourself, and fell threatened when your friend spends time with others. When this happens, let her be. Admit it, you guys will also get tired of each other if you’re always together. You need time to spend with others as well. If you’re afraid to let your friends out of your sight, you are probably afraid of losing them. There might be some problem you’ve had to fix in yourself, say you have insecurity issues to work on. Good friendship will endure time spent apart. You and your friends may learn to appreciate each other even more.

  • Be there for both the good and the bad times. It’s so cliché but it’s true. Celebrate with them if your friends are excited about something. But don’t be there just for the good times. When a friend is upset about something, give them your full attention. Most of the time, what friends really need is a sympathetic ear, someone who could listen and understand their feelings.

  • Learn to accept personality differences in your friends. Be careful not to evaluate other people by how you react in a particular situation. Do not automatically take your friend’s behavior personally.

  • Don’t be a blabbermouth. Learn and be willing to keep each other’s secrets.

  • Don’t let arguments destroy your friendship. Don’t keep arguing until you get mad with each other. Just drop it or change the topic. Your desire to win the argument may ruin your friendship.

Follow these steps and for sure, you will have a good relationship with all your friends…

Here’s my message to all my friends: It isn’t everyday that I get a chance to say, thank you for the friendship. I may not offer the greatest kind, but it is certainly my best.

The Quilt of our Lives

No matter how one feels, the world goes on…Life imitates art and art imitates life. We have been sucked into the world of telenovelas, most of which have a happy ending. Of course, there’s the scriptwriter who could make all things possible, such as the untimely demise of the villain.

I sometimes thought heaven and earth will be moved in my favor. There are times that I expect too much, hoping that things would go as I have planned. There are moments that I have worked very hard in earning praises and accolades and even other people’s approval. But today, I realized that reality is totally different from soap-opera script. You might be able to make your own dialogues and actions, but things can’t happen the way you want to.

Most fictional plots would entail a happy ending, but in real life, there may not be any reconciliation after a separation, or a possibility that saying goodbye to a friendship means no chance to get together again. No matter how people would beautify life with poems and flowers and all that stuff, reality, unlike fantasy, has hardships, pain, fears and most of all, disappointments.

No, I’m not being pessimistic. I had been afraid in the past of getting into the dark side, but then today, I feel that I haven’t done good enough in the scoreboards of life, and I have been too idealistic not to realize that reality means survival of the fittest in this society—in my emotions, in the decisions that I have made.

Today, I have to learn that being strong physically, emotionally and spiritually is what people need to live in this jungle of life. I have to learn to be content with what the world has to offer and not ask for too much. I have to understand that each one of us has his or her own work to do and I have to stand on my own. I have to prepare myself for the crisis that may come, and for whatever fate that I will be meeting.

I will be my own main woman; I will no longer fool myself that the world is all rosy and like a bowl of cherries. Starting today, I will face reality bravely, practice in what I believe, standing up for myself and for the rights that I am fighting for. No matter how defeated I may feel or how overwhelmed I am by the tests of life, life must go on.

Her closest chums seemed to be fed up with her stories. But she’s been living under a veil of sadness—and grief. None of her friends know of her secret pain. “I don’t think I have the courage to share it with such familiar people, who could readily chastise me for being such a “martyr,” shares *Therese.

Five months have passed and it still pains her. She needs time—to heal, to move forward and to grow. “I guess with the healing process, I’ll also need to dispose my heart as well. I know that’s a nice way of venting my pain…”

“I have come to terms with the fact that our relationship shouldn’t have been as a couple but as plainly friends, “says Therese. The mere mention of her ex was enough to make her blood pressure rise. Therese swears she won’t fell in love—yet. “I’m moving on full-speed. I’m starting all over again, reinventing myself,” she adds. Therese had taken up where she has left off, starting on a clean slate, looks forward the future with a more positive attitude. “Being the father of my children, I admit my ex still means a lot to me but in a different way now.”

I will never comprehend up to now why *Orange left me for a woman five years older than he is. He really fell in love, I suppose, but did he have to lie about it? I’ve always thought that he could have at least enough care for me to say he did not love me anymore and he had fallen out of love—but I had to find out about it when I inadvertently took a look at his text messages.

Alone again, naturally. It’s not unusual for a person to be alone. After all, each one of us was born alone, right? But pain and injuries are part of playing a game. Even in the games called love and life, one must fall, cry and suffer a little in order to rise. Cry if you must, let it out. Crying is a sign of a strong character contrary to what we have been made to believe all our lives. It is a very human reaction.

There may be times when no matter how much we love someone and how much we want to be with that person, we can’t make that person spend as much time with us for reasons we can’t control and sometimes comprehend.
This so-called season of joy wouldn’t look like it for many who would be spending Christmas alone, wishing there would still be that special person they can share it with. Many of us would just be staring at a distance, watching happy couples pass by and regretting our own loss. Behind all the glitter and the celebration, some of us would sit in our dark and lonely rooms, crying over what could have beens. Unfortunately, this is reality for some people, it bites painfully, and leaving a scar only time can heal.

Heartbreaks last as long as you want and cut as deep as you allow them to go. The challenge is not how to survive heartbreaks but to learn from them and move forward. Whether it be a painful memory, a broken relationship, someone who broke your heart or someone who passed away, we all have to move on. Dwelling on the past and seeking happiness in things you can never retrieve are not good and may be two of the worst things you could do to yourself.

It’s important to stop bawling and grieving over the past—that’s a good sign of moving on. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you deny or reject your past. Your past is still part of you and it makes you who you are. Part of letting go is simply accepting and admitting to yourself that the past is over—it is finished, done and complete. Realize that there’s nothing left for you to cling and hold on to except all those wonderful memories.

Reality check: The true essence of love is giving and just giving unselfishly. It does hurt because in giving up of one’s self, it creates a void in our hearts; that void will not be filled up yet until we’re able to find someone who will love us again and treat us well, the way that we deserved. Let us remember that when we are suffering in silence and bleeding emotionally, God will always find a way to our hearts to ease our pain and heal our wounds. We may be grieving over the loss of someone we love. But Christmas is all about HOPE; it is all about the better things to come. It is all about accepting what we have lost, believing we will find it again and with faith, know that we will be able to keep it FOREVER.

Relationships, I believe are work in progress and step-by-step process to a solid foundation of trust and blurry roadmap to the “land of promise.” It will eventually change though, and we all just have to accept that (It’s silly how I never practice what I preach.) However, there is still no better feeling than knowing that someone adores you and cares for you—an emotion which men fully understand but find hard to sustain.

Reading my past essays really helped me cope with my feelings of doubt and distrust in people I meet. I’m already cynical as it is, but that awful breaking up added more fuel to my already alienated character. The one good thing about this is that it turned me into a stronger and realistic person (yes, the good old days of illusion fantasies are over).

Good things don’t last forever no matter how we want to perpetuate the moment. And you know what, that’s the good thing about them—because maybe something better will come our way soon. Maybe even sooner than we think.

As for loving another after a hurtful relationship; it would always happen. The broken past will always stay behind because the new one will be the present and a hopeful future will never mend the broken one. You see, our hearts is like a new white linen. Every relationship or memory—joyful or hurtful, is like a patch sewn on the linen. Soon the heart will be a colorful quilt; with so many memories and heartache to cherish and remember from time to time.

*Names had been changed.

P.S. This blog entry was inspired by the recent event I’ve attended, “Happily Even After”—a forum on single moms.

A Christmas Present

One Christmas, I received a present
A glass crystal so lucid and exquisite
But a shadow in my head was talent
Notwithstanding the artistry in it.

I soon decided this limpid piece to my family I would share,
I would fill it with happy memories, with love, understanding and care.
Our hopes and dreams in it I placed and the sorrows of our
Hearts as well, the failures together we fought and faced—
The FUTURE that only GOD can tell.

But without a blink this fragile thing…slipped…fell… and shattered,
Those careless hands I kept wondering—tears dropped, no word was uttered.
As I looked at the broken glass, I remembered the clandestine behind,
The prismatic colors I thought would last,
And now the answers I tried to find.

Despite the pain it caused
I learned to forgive and still love, and for all the hopes that we lost,
Comfort and strength from up above.
I know it’s hard to move on—so hard to put the pieces together,
The Happiness and love I will long…from the pieces of my home FOREVER.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Smart Parenting and Cordlife's Baby Shower

Calling all mommies-to-be, don't miss this chance to attend Smart Parenting Magazine and Cordlife Philippines' "Baby Shower" event happening on November 20,2010, from 1:00PM-4:30PM at the Richmonde Hotel in Libis, Quezon City. Admission is free but pre-registration is a MUST.
To register, please send an email to babytalk@ph.cordlife.com, provide your name, address, telephone and mobile number, email address, expected date of delivery, your OB-Gyne's name, and how did you learned of the event. There will be parenting talks, games and surprises in store for soon-to-be moms attending the event.
You may also log in to Cordlife and Smart Parenting Magazine's Facebook account for further details.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Single Moms Forum: Happy Even After by Sex and Sensibilities

Ms. Ana Santos, founder and editorial director of Sex and Sensibilities

We recently attended an event called “Happily Even After” organized by Sex and Sensibilities held recently at Starbucks, Home Depot Ortigas Branch. It was Sex and Sensibilities’ way of reaching out to single mothers. Empowering them and giving them hope and inspiring them to move on with their lives happily even after a broken marriage or a broken relationship.

Rearing a child into this world can be extremely difficult. Single mothers are faced with myriads of responsibilities, and they are often subjected to public scrutiny and intricacies, which they had no choice but to deal with alone. In the Philippines, there’s undeniably a huge demographic of single moms but they have very few support systems or support groups. Sex and Sensibilities founder and editorial director Ms. Ana Santos understands these needs being a single mom herself. Along with fellow journalist and single mom, Ms. Karen Kunawicz, they shared their thoughts on being a single parent and how they’re able to overcome all the challenges after the storm in their lives.

Ms. Karen Kunawicz, writer, poet, journalist, comic book editor and single mom shares her experiences and inspires the others.
After a failed marriage, how will you start? Here are the tips Ms. Ana and Ms. Karen shared with their audience composed of single moms during the event.
  • Put yourself together first. Ms. Ana emphasized that Filipino women were taught by our parents and the society to be self-sacrificing. We would always prioritize ourselves last. But this should’ve to be changed, especially after having gone through a painful relationship that has ended. Just like in an aircraft, when you’re with a child, the rule has to be put the oxygen on yourself first, before you put it on your child. This means, you have to learn how to love yourself first so that you could spread the love that you have. Treat yourself right so that others will do the same. You can’t be a good parent if you’re not a happy person.

  • Stay away from negatrons. Be wary of the people who seemed to be trying to help you but only wants a piece of information. They’re the type of “friends” who’d be asking for nifty little details that are quite too personal. This type of people would only give you feelings of isolation, guilt and shame. They’d feed you nothing but self-doubt. How would you know if the people around you are this type? Simple. They ask annoying questions and seemed to be prying on your life. They’re simply vexation to one’s spirit and will to move on and look forward. Self-preservation is key, there’s nothing to be guilty about.

  • Cheer yourself on. Empower yourself with little things that you like to do. Be passionate about it. Try to learn new things on your own. Ms. Ana said she learned how to drive a car, and she realized she could actually do stuff she thought only men can do.

  • No idle thoughts. The hardest person to be with at this time is yourself. Don’t be afraid to get some help if you really need to. Do shopping if that will keep your sanity for the moment. Buy that gadget you’ve been jonesing for, if that’ll make you happy. Squeeze your creative juices by making your hands busy with gardening, scrap booking, cross-stitching etc. Money is an issue but never let it get in your way.

  • Look good and feel good. It’s about time for you to get that makeover. Ditch that long hair for a wash and wear hairstyle if you dare. Or have that curly locks rebounded for an honest-to-goodness straight hair. No matter how small your moves are, it’s a good start.

Popular Psychologist Dr. Margarita Go-Singco Holmes, Mommy Rica and yours truly.

One of the single moms who attended the event had a free makeover from The Body Shop.

  • You need to be honest with yourself and the people around you, especially to your child. You need to show people that you’re doing okay. You don’t have to pretend, just be honest about it. Give yourself some time. Just don’t wallow in self-pity because it won’t do you any good. There’s no time to be self-absorbed anymore or “emote time”. You have to will something in order to achieve it. Rest assured, soon things will get better than you expect them.

  • Find time to cultivate time with your child. Lovingly explain to your child the situation you’re into. Again, be honest about it. You must have a “father figure” for your child, be it your brother, an Uncle or a good guy friend. It’s always important to treat your child with respect, no matter what his or her age. Ms. Karen mentioned that we’re lucky because as Filipinos, one of our positive cultures is being child-friendly. A child is always welcome at any home. There’s always someone to rely on, say a Grandma, Grandpa, Uncle or Aunt—any immediate biological family member would always be willing to help in any way they can.

Her child looks on while she's being made up.

The lootbag given was filled with Nivea products and lipstick and 10 ml perfume from The Body Shop.

For more information regarding single mom forums and talks as well as future events please visit http://www.sexandsensibilities.com/

The Body Shop : We Need Your Signatures

Inspired by The Body Shop’s founder, Anita Roddick and her commitment and passion for justice, The Body Shop continues her fight against human trafficking, bringing awareness of this modern-day slave trade to world leaders and the global community.

Working alongside their global partner ECPAT, The Body Shop Philippines is launching a petition upon governments to give children greater protection against trafficking. The petition aims to put more funds to the anti-trafficking campaign to improve law enforcements and for the provision of services to victims.

In the Philippines, 60,000 to 100,000 children are trafficked annually (through both cross-border and international trafficking), and most of these girls are to be sexually exploited. The Philippines also ranks fourth in the world in terms of countries with the highest number of prostituted children.

Through the sale of The Body Shop’s Soft Hands Kind Heart hand Cream and Stop Sex Trafficking Bag for Life, The Body Shop raises vital funds for crucial intervention and to support children and young people who are victims, or at risk of trafficking. All profits from the sale items are donated to ECPAT Philippines. This will help provide temporary shelter for the victims, for their education, counseling and legal assistance.

In 2011, The Body Shop will be presenting our national petition to the government. It will represent a show of hands by everyone who signed up to Stop Sex Trafficking of Children and Young People. It doesn’t end there. Because this is a global campaign, the objective is to join hands with thousands of other signatories around the world by taking our petitions to the United Nations.

If you think you’ve seen something suspicious or are affected by trafficking and want advice, email protect@ecpat.net or ecpatphi@i-manila.com.ph
In an emergency call 925-2803

Your signature really can make a difference. Please help us. Visit any The Body Shop store branches to sign the petition form or online at www.thebodyshop.com.ph/stopsextraffickingpetition.

Expo Mom Bazaar on November 20

Find unique gift ideas for your loved ones this season in Expo Mom Bazaar on November 20, Saturday at the Rockwell Tent, Powerplant Mall, Makati from 10AM-8PM. It’s time to shop! Thank you…

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tips on Holiday Home Decor

Czarina Ledesma, Rustan's resident stylist, and Ferdi Salvador

Christmas is fast approaching. The question is, are you sure you’re house is ready to host endless parties? Have you finished decorating your house for the season or you’re still confused if you’re still going to use stuff from last year’s decors? Fret, not! There’s hope and this article may help.
Rustan’s Department Store in Makati recently held a free holiday décor workshop to help unleash the Martha Stewart or Colin Cowie in everyone. Ferdi Salvador and Czarina Ledesma gave talks on how to discover tried and tested ideas on how to decorate our home without breaking the bank for the holidays. Both are partners of The Event Architects, Ferdi is the Director of Style of the Discovery hotel chains and co-host of TV show F.A.S.H. Even Rustan Department Store’s resident stylist also shared his ideas; I wasn’t able to get his name…because I had to admit I had arrived late for the talk…(Sorry!) but just in time to share with you what we have learned during their talks.

The speakers explaining the do's and don'ts of Holiday decorating.

On decorating your home for the holiday, the speakers gave importance on assessing what you have. Whether it’ll be you grandma’s old baul, or that China Cabinets that most Filipinos have, you have to know where you must place them so that their beauty will get noticed.

When trying to mix and match, do not forget the color wheel. What goes together, goes together. But don’t be afraid to mix unique color combinations as well. You see, Christmas isn’t all about red and green, silver and blue, red and gold. Purple, lavender and some brown are great. Done gray with blush, sea foam green and burnt orange looked good together.

With furniture, check out with what you have. Try to have a “rigodon” of things inside your house. Meaning, your old China cabinet which used to occupy your kitchen may be put in the living room for some “homey” feel. Vintage items can look cool with some creativity and passion. If you ever decide to buy something, always look for quality—it has to be something you’re going to use for a very long time.
As for Christmas trends in 2010, modern look and non-traditional look is advised. Look for greens. Shapes may be different. Things had to look more fluid instead of structural heavy pieces. Bold colors may be used like pinks, blues, copper and red. With themes, décor is more playful and pretty much anything goes. But NEVER overdo your decors. Instead of using faux poinsettia flowers, use fresh flowers and bleached them for that “tie-dyed” look.

Yours truly

With fellow attendee, my new found friend, Ate Norma Galera.

Salvador also suggests using LED lights instead of the usual Christmas lights. These LED lights uses less energy, and are not prone to short-circuit. You may also use fiber optics. If you decide to stick to old style Christmas lights, make sure it’s ICC marked for assurance of its quality that it had passed the standards. Garlands are highly flammable so avoid putting them near the candles.

The famous bag lady, designer Amina Aranaz-Alunan also attended the event with husband Rafael Alunan. (not in photo)

To tablecloth or not to tablecloth—you see, some tables looked wonderful in their own right even without tablecloth on. Consider the type of mood you’d want your guests to experience. Divisoria had a lot of Irish linen designs to choose from, just dip them in gawgaw and dried before using them. For the candles, if not using a candelaria, heat a spoon with a candle’s glow, then scoop inside the circle of a candle’s tip, that way it’ll follow the candle’s melting. When using a scented candle, see, feel and smell the scent for a whole experience. For votive candles, put water inside the candleholder, just to be safe. Add your favorite scent so that your guests will remember you. Try to use jasmine, chamomile, anything citrusy will do. But never use something as heavy as patchouli. Why? It might kill your guests’ tastebuds. Rosemary is good as it enhances the flavors of every food.

Try to consider music, for cocktails, jazz and songs by Sergio Mendez never fails to delight guests. Dine the way you want but surprise your guests in your own way. For al fresco dining, you may use a diffuser, or oil burner with scented oils. If you want to try, you may also use dama de noche plant as centerpiece if the party is at night. Create a signature drink, be it as simple as rhum with coke, or mix red and white sangria. If you have a lazy Susan table, serve Mongolian cuisine with a Golden Buddha as centerpiece. Old huge mirrors are also great centerpieces too.

Always label foods when in buffet, that way, your guests will know what they’re being served. And consider their diet requirements and beliefs as well, so ask them beforehand. Don’t forget your guests; cater to every age if necessary. Ex. A game room for kids, where they could play, draw and color. (Just make sure your walls aren’t white!) Don’t be a martyr; it’s okay to ask for help. If you have helpers, which Ferdi and Czarina likes to call DDs or domestic divas, train them properly how to help you and in serving your guests.

Czarina Ledesma giving out pointers on how to properly handle a buffet table.

And when your tablecloth had been stained with food or with melted candles, don’t fret. You may use salt or baking soda, vinegar or white wine. As an etiquette, give a token even as simple as candies in a cute jar so they will end the night with smiles on their faces knowing you appreciate their coming. If you bring a dessert to a party, it could be served. But if someone gave you a bottle of wine, party etiquette dictates not to open it and serve to your guests. Lastly, never drive when drunk. Have fun and enjoy the holiday parties!

One of the tables that they filled with decors and centerpieces.

If you’re interested to learn more, please call up the SOFA (School of Interior Design), they offer different courses like 3D design presentations, furniture styles, renovating on a budget, etc.
(632) 8928807 loc. 104

If you need help with organizing your house for parties, call TEA
The Event Architects (TEA)
(632) 5863752

What will you do if you were in my shoes?

I don’t know what it is about us Pinoys that makes us so incapable of waiting patiently in our spot. It happens all the time. Whether it’s at the airport, a movie theater, fast food restaurant, or traffic—we Pinoys always try to find ways to bypass the line and create our own line—so we can get ahead of everybody.

It happened to me recently, I was at the North station of MRT 3. I was about to buy tickets for us (Kyle, my Mom and I) as we’re going South bound. It was a weekend, so I wasn’t in a hurry. There was one person ahead of me who was transacting with the ticket seller. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, a lady came near me (I was so sure she’s not a senior citizen yet)—and subtly positioned herself on the right side of the line, in between the man before me and myself. In my mind, “Wait a minute, is this lady about to sneak in the line?” I was struggling a little bit, kind of staring at her, waiting for the slightest move on her part that would indicate that she was indeed trying to pull a fast one. When the man who was ahead of me finished his transaction and left, this sneaky lady suddenly cut right in front of me (like the way they do in playing basketball) and she told the ticket seller she was heading somewhere south.

Blood rushed to my head, I was pissed. But for a second I debated with myself—“Do I let this rude person get away with it?” Or do I take the higher ground to let it go?” That split second felt like an eternity. I was telling myself, “In the whole scheme of things, allowing this person to go ahead will not affect my life. I am not in a hurry, anyway. She, on the other hand, might really be in a rush. Also, allowing her to go ahead might earn me brownie points in heaven. But darn it, I can’t seem to accept the fact that she’s pulling a fast one at—my expense! She should be taught a lesson. She can’t do this and expect to get away with it!

At the end of that nanosecond debate, I decided to just grin and bear it. Sweating the small stuff would only worsen the scenario. After all, I don’t want to fight with anyone. Even if my eyes rolled in surprise that I’m shutting my mouth for the first time.

I’m sure a lot of you does relate with my MRT 3 experience. You must have experienced a person cutting in front of you. And it pisses you off, right? Then you say, “Hay naku, mga Pinoy talaga!” As sad as it seems, though, I think we’re being a bit too unfair to ourselves. Pushing and shoving and trying to be the first in line is not exactly a Pinoy invention. One writer I know says it’s human nature. Sure, Westerners seem to be more disciplined when it comes to lining up. But they can be crazy too.

We could see on world news what kind of chaos happens in other countries. So really now, this knack of being impatient in lines is a universal thing. The animal nature in us tells us, “Go and get what you want—kill everyone who blocks your way.” But our conscience tells us, “Now, now behave. You have to act like a decent human being. Line up properly and wait for your turn.” So it’s a war that goes on your head and unfortunately, everyday we have to fight it. You could only shake your heads and go utter, Tsk, tsk, tsk…”
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