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Maan

Lifestyle

Sunday at the Laundromat!

I was a laundromat virgin until last Sunday lol!

To be honest, I don’t remember the last time I laundered my clothes. Ever since I got pregnant in 2011, I have used the services of nearby laundry shops. There’s just too much on my plate already, and if I could outsource a task without burning a hole in my pocket, I would.

When I gave birth, I hand-washed Yuri’s clothes myself (except for the times we had a yayey), but I still used the neighborhood laundry shop for the rest. A couple laundromats opened nearby around last year and I wanted to try them (I was so curious about self-service laundries haha) but I wasn’t too fond of the location. They were side by side so the location is pretty much the same. Both are located right by the highway where jeepneys and tricycles pass by (read: dusty) and parking is difficult.

But when a new laundromat opened last weekend that was a lot nearer, I had to give it a try. Apart from curiosity, it was also necessity that “forced” me to try it because I didn’t get to wash Yuri’s uniforms on Saturday (I was able to go home at already 10 pm) and by Sunday, when I was about to do it, I realized I ran out of laundry detergent! So I had no choice but to try the laundromat hehe.

I wasn’t able to avail of their free wash promo because they had it on Saturday, while I was able to visit on Sunday

I took my sister with me because she also had uniforms she needed to wash. We went there at around 11 am on Sunday morning, even when it was hot, because I think there would be nobody else around. And I was right! I just think it’s more comfortable to have the place to yourself. Continue Reading

Kindergarten Lifestyle School

School Fiesta and Intramurals Week – TGIF!

I thought exam week was busy. I couldn’t wait for exam week to be over so that I could finally catch a break.

I was so naive. 

This week was ten times busier than exam week! Last week, we only had to study for the exams, and their schedule, which was 4 days/1 subject per day, was very manageable. I even liked their time, 9:30 am, which I thought was a perfect fit for my work hours.

My hatid-sundo OOTD: my favorite striped shirt, River Island denim jeans (because shorts are not allowed), and Toms.

Yuri’s school is celebrating its Fiesta and Intramurals this week, and I think it’s safe to say I’ve been exhausted since Monday! Yuri is actually enrolled in the afternoon class, but since this week called for various celebrations, they needed to be in school at 7:30 am. Waking up early is not the problem, especially for me because I wake up at 5:30 everyday. The problem is that it throws us off our usual routines — both Yuri and I thrive on routine so it was truly a challenge.

Had to be very quick in preparing Yuri’s baon, for starters! In this lunch box: Mini Oreos, Milkana cheese, yema cake, and a banana

But it was a fun week, and I’m glad I was there. I’m still feeling bitter hehe about their Nutrition Month culmination. Growing up, we just had a simple program, went back to our classrooms after, and had regular class. This time, I didn’t know they had events and activities planned, and I wasn’t there at all while the other mommies were! After that, I made sure I’ll be present in all events.

The Flower Boy

Yuri was given his first ever school responsibility last Tuesday, a day before the school’s Fiesta mass. When I arrived to fetch him, I was informed that Yuri, along with another boy and two girls in his class, will be bringing flowers to the mass. I thought everyone in Kindergarten was required to bring flowers, but they just chose representatives per grade level.

Of course, palengke is the answer! We didn’t buy right after leaving school because I felt it was still too early, so we went home first and took a nap. Well, Yuri did. He didn’t wake up until around 4:45 pm and we still had to go to the neighborhood kiddie barbershop for an overdue haircut. Continue Reading

Messy Wins WAHM Diaries

A Much Enjoyed Mom’s Day Out, Thanks to Sun Life!

My Saturday morning was hectic. I was due to attend an event — Sun Life’s Mom’s Day Out — right after lunch so all the chores I needed to do needed to be done in the morning. And you know what a school-mom’s Saturday looks like! Laundry, catching up on cleaning, preparing for the weekend… actually scratch that, preparing for the new week ahead! I was so busy Saturday morning that I strained my back.

This mommy got pampered!

Even though my day was full, I knew I wouldn’t miss this event simply because this is an event by a company I truly believe in. Last year, I got myself a VUL (I wrote about my Sun Life VUL recently), and when Job goes home, he’s planning to get one, too. Despite the hectic schedule and the strained back, I think Sun Life’s Mom’s Day Out couldn’t have been scheduled at a better date. I love how I was able to just kick my heels, relax, and de-stress during that day!

Didn’t get the chance to have my OOTD picture taken, but I wore a navy blue cardi (from the dept store), a printed navy blue H&M dress (from my friend, Tine), and Toms shoes

Yuri, with his lolo and lola, dropped me off. No kids allowed! Hehe. He had a fun date with the grandparents

The event was held at Park Inn. I arrived at the venue earlier than the others because it is quite near my home, so I was able to observe. Here are some pictures!

We were treated to a dry massage care of the lovely massage therapists of Elysia. It was just exactly what my sore back needed! We ooh-ed and aah-ed to every knead and I personally felt the stress and pressure of the past week evaporate.

With my newfound friend, Angel!

And just when we thought the pampering sesh was done, it was time to eat! The spread prepared for us was not only pretty but also mouth-watering. I love how dainty — and healthy — the dishes were. I couldn’t pick a favorite because everything tasted good!

My plate!

The Balanced Motherhood

When cocktail time was over, we went back to our seats to prepare for the meat of the event: the talk. First speaker was psychologist, Family Life specialist, and author Michele Alignay

Listening to her speak was a delight! She talked about balanced motherhood and how we, as mothers, should value ourselves and put self-care on top of our priority lists. Because there is nothing to give if we are not full in the first place!

Michele Alignay

The concept may sound foreign, especially if you were raised thinking that mothers are to be completely selfless and self-denying. But here’s a statement that resounded strongly to me:

Self-care is my responsibility and my kid/s will thank me someday for taking care of myself. – Michele Alignay

And isn’t that true? Here are more of my takeaways from Michele’s talk that must be shared:

If you feel like your life needs more balance (or, to be more correct, harmony), you need to re-balance, which entails these three things: perception + emotion + action.

PERCEPTION

  1. Affirm your goodness
  2. Release control of things beyond you
  3. Saying “no” is okay
  4. Feeling happy and satisfied is normal
  5. Relinquish some tasks that stress you

EMOTIONS

  1. During emotional highs: pause
  2. Ditch the guilt
  3. Choose to love more (or love from a distance)
  4. Be silly with the kids
  5. Make your marriage matter

ACTIONS

  1. Choose to rest or sleep (over cleaning up)
  2. Give yourself an extra 10-minute shower
  3. Put a little color in your face
  4. Find a spot to reflect
  5. Find a daily physical activity

The goal of self-care is to live a balanced life. And a well-balanced mom has more to give! – Michele Alignay

Preparing the way for our kids’ education

To be honest, I thought that having the VUL was enough. It is one of the best financial decisions I have made; however, I admit that I haven’t really given enough thought to Yuri’s education. Job actually talks about Yuri’s college education from time to time, but I thought it was too early to plan.

Mylene Almonte

Well, our second speaker, Sun Life Mindanao’s cluster head Mylene Almonte, proved my presumptions wrong. If there’s a perfect time to start preparing for our son’s (or children’s, who knows?) college education, it is right now. She explained to us the rising cost of college tuition fees and even gave sample projections for the next 10, 15, 20 years. By the time Yuri goes to college, the costs of education are very likely to be astronomical! So dilly-dallying is not an option.

It’s a good thing Sun Life offers an efficient but “friendly” plan, a My Future Fundto help us parents prepare for the future. Here’s what to do:

  1. Set the goal (target date)
  2. Choose the MFF that matures closest to the goal
  3. Pair MFF with a variable life insurance program that suits the budget

It’s efficient because it promises the benefits of good returns beating the inflation rate and professional management. Perfect for mothers like me who don’t have all the time in the world to study the stock market and manage their own portfolios. And it’s friendly because the fund is liquid and you get to decide your target date. I will update you once we get this policy!

Sun Life love!


I truly learned a lot from that afternoon! I gained (pun unintended) friends, insights, and time for myself. I came out of the event refreshed and with a renewed sense of purpose as a parent, as a partner, and as a woman! Thank you so much, Sun Life Financial!

PS: I’m sure you’ve seen Sun Shorts videos on Facebook! If you’re a mom like me, you absolutely need to watch this video to tug on your heartstrings.

Kindergarten School

Going Frugal: Making Worksheets Without Spending Too Much

It’s examination week… again!

It was also examination week the other week (when we stayed at Go Hotels Lanang), but that time, we were studying for their first monthly exams. Now, we’re I’m busy again preparing for another week of examinations — their first periodic exams this time.

And for me, exam week means printing worksheet after worksheet after worksheet. At the moment, I just finished printing more than 25 pages of worksheets and mock exams. It sounds like a lot of work for the child, but really it’s not. There’s just many pages involved when you take big fonts, generous writing spaces, and attractive pictures into consideration.

(Whenever I make worksheets, I feel a renewed respect for my mother, who had to write everything by hand and use carbon paper to duplicate sheets. God bless the day we finally bought a typewriter, but it wasn’t the most convenient thing to use when making mock exams…)

I didn’t actually realise the amount of printing it takes to raise a kindergartener. It’s only July now, but I think I’ve already used up a hundred sheets of paper. And if you’re on a budget and trying to be frugal, it’s a lot! So how do I save on worksheets and mock exams? Here are the things I do that can hopefully be of help to you.

1. Recycle paper.

Remember those forms that you were never able to fill in or those price lists you requested or fliers you kept but never looked at? Yep, use those! Honestly, I haven’t used a single sheet of new paper yet. All I’ve ever used were used papers, scratch papers, and print-outs with errors or lopsided photocopies. If you have them at home, don’t throw them out! Simply use the clean side of the paper.

You can see on the wrong side of the page that it’s been used before for village transactions.

In my case, I spent one Saturday afternoon (just an hour, really) in our family home office. I’m quite lucky because my mother never throws out things. I dug through all the used papers that she kept in a pile and gathered those that I can reuse. Voila, I now have a ream of scratch papers to use!

I use these drawers (around P450 for 2 drawers at National Bookstore) to store printing paper

Scratch paper kingdom inside

If you don’t have access to this much scratch paper, try asking your neighbours or nearby offices. I’m sure you’ll encounter someone happy to unload his “trash” to someone else!

2. Use dry-erase markers and a thin plastic envelope.

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Hotel Places

Staying at Go Hotels Lanang in Davao

So let me get this straight. The chain of Go Hotels is no luxury hotel — it is a budget hotel that caters to travellers looking for cheap but clean accommodations. I actually book Go Hotels whenever I travel because while the room rates are very affordable, the rooms are clean, the amenities are complete (at least the basics!), and I never had bad experience with regard to customer service.

Image via expedia.com.ph

Yes, I am a cheapskate who appreciates nice things and good service lololol.

Anyway, when I found out sometime last year that they were (finally) opening a branch here in Davao, I was excited. At long last! Then randomly, I stumbled upon a post of a Facebook friend stating how she was able to book a room for just P88/night as part of their opening promo. That’s no typo – it was really just P88/night! And I couldn’t say no to a good bargain. I know Go Hotels Lanang is just 10-15 minutes away from home but hey, that’s still several days and nights of not having to clean, wash dishes, etc!

I forgot how much I paid but I think I paid less than P1,000 for two rooms x 8 nights in total. Winner?

My first stay was last month, just after my birthday and before school started. It was intended to be a mindless staycation, and it was! Yuri, my sister, and I just lounged around, watching horror movies and MasterChef hehe. Of course, I had to work (in bed, though).

My second stay was just last week, which also happened to be Yuri’s exam week! They were having their first monthly exam, so we had to study during our stay. It helped that the place was conducive for studying and really near restaurants and mini-groceries. Because what child does not need to eat while studying?

Let me show you around the budget hotel room:

I forgot to take pictures of the toilet and the shower. They’re passable though; both are clean and the bathroom comes with hot and cold shower + hold and cold rain shower.

Extremely cheap promo rate aside, I really liked my stay in Go Hotels Davao because of the service, amenities, and convenience. It’s nothing like your standard luxury hotel, of course, but for those who are looking for budget accommodations or even for those who just want a staycation without breaking the bank (like me!), Go Hotels is certainly a good option to consider.

Kindergarten Messy Haul School Shopping

Going Frugal: Yuri’s Kindergarten School Supplies!

I know, how late right? We’re now already preparing for our first monthly exams next week (gasp!) and I’m still writing about school supplies. Why not haha!

Okay, seriously, I had photos of Yuri’s stuff all along. I took pictures of his supplies when I was preparing them before the first day of school and stored them in my computer… and promptly forgot all about them. Since I already have pictures, sayang naman if I don’t write about them so here they go! Yuri’s school supplies for kindergarten!

Despite all the excitement and the build-up, we didn’t really buy a lot of things for this school year. It’s mainly because we received free things from friends as birthday gifts (yes, we were ecstatic to receive school supplies as birthday gifts lol!) and from blog sponsors as well (thank you so much, National Bookstore!).

And then for the things we ended up buying, I made sure to get the practical options. As elders say, Yuri is, um, all boy, and can sometimes be a little rough with his things. While I was keen on getting high-quality stuff, I also had to consider cheaper options in case they need to be replaced before second quarter even starts. ‘Wag naman sana! Anyway, here you go!

Necessities

All-white closet basics

All of Yuri’s underclothes I bought from the department store. Save from the black and white socks, everything came from Gaisano Mall’s back-to-school sale. I don’t remember well, but I think the undershirts, briefs, and face towels were more or less P15-P25 apiece. In fairness, they’re quite good! Especially the towels — they’re still super soft even after being washed so many times. The Burlington socks (3 pairs) were around P200. The black and white socks, which are unbranded, were bought from SM’s sale just before school started. A pack with 4 pairs of socks was only around P150! I wish I only bought those because they’re a lot softer and tougher than the Burlingtons. I believe you can find them in SM department stores.

(Just goes to show how branded is not always better!)

Academic supplies

These were also bought from Gaisano Mall’s back-to-school sale (they were a lot cheaper than regular price) save for the box of Mongol pencils and fasteners, which were from National Bookstore.

More supplies

There are a few “free things” in this picture. The plastic envelope is not really free, but we had that since Eye Level days to store Yuri’s workbooks. The workbooks eventually outgrew the plastic envelope so I just hid it in my home office. The Transformers pencil case is a gift to Yuri from one of his village friends, the Westscott Wild Ones scissors are given by National Bookstore, while the Crayola glue was part of the Crayola kit I got for free when I bought Enfagrow milk from Lazada last year. Yup, Yuri got an entire bunch of Crayola stuff as freebie for a box of milk – best purchase ever!

For Yuri’s hygiene kit

Hygiene kit

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Parenting School

A Month of Kindergarten: Discoveries, Adjustments, and Baon Ideas (Help!)

I still can’t believe it’s already the second half of the year. Konti nalang, -ber months na! Christmas na! Hahaha super advanced.

I also can’t believe we’ve been going to regular school for nearly a month now. I thought it would be harder, but really, I think we’re coping just fine. Yuri is still in love with going to school (so far!) and I adapted quite easily. A big reason, I think, is the lack of homework. When we get home, all we need to do is rest and recharge. I hope it goes this smoothly the rest of the school year!

Stuck in traffic! Dili unta ma-late! 💪🏻

A post shared by Marie Angeli Laxa (@marie_angeli) on

Kindergarten is actually very new to me because I didn’t go to kindergarten myself. There are things that surprise me. For example, last Friday, the children attended a seminar with the guidance counsellor. I was pleasantly surprised because the seminar was meaty, and Yuri learned a lot e.g. bad touch vs. good touch and how to act around strangers and people they don’t know.

Good touch!

Our System

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Personal

Piano Lessons and the No-Go Signal

Job and I differ in so many ways. One of the ways we differ is our interests. He’s a very active guy, loves to tinker with things, and loves sports. There are four sports he’s good in: swimming, soccer, baseball, and track and field.

On the other hand, the only sport I’ve ever competed in was Scrabble.

Kainis, ‘no? On top of that, I don’t know how to swim and ride a bike! I’m glad I know how to drive now — at least there’s something I know how to do.

Aside from that, I don’t know how to play musical instruments either. There was not much opportunity for me when I was a child because my parents prioritised education over everything else. Lessons were also expensive and my parents didn’t want to spend their money on that.

Just to make it clear, I don’t feel any resentment over it. I did learn how to write and got to read tons of books because I had all the time in the world. However, I do want Yuri to grow up playing sports, maybe even knowing martial arts, and playing musical instruments. In fact, over the summer vacation, I asked Yuri what he wanted to learn, and he said piano and violin. I kept that in mind and shared it with Job although there weren’t concrete plans made.

The Piano Lesson Promo

I didn’t think about it at all until last Friday. When I went to school to fetch Yuri, there was a lady outside the gate distributing leaflets for what was obviously a music/performance school and I just had to ask for one. I asked her where it was located, and she told me it’s just beside Yuri’s school. OMG!

I studied the leaflet while waiting for Yuri. They’re having a 50% discount promo, and it sounded like a really good deal to me.

Job is off from work on Fridays so I quickly snapped photos of the leaflet and sent it to him and waited for his go-signal. Meanwhile, I was already imagining Yuri as the next piano prodigy.

A go-signal from him is very important to me. This is not just because he’s paying for it or he’s his son’s father. I am a very impulsive person. Making big decisions on the spot is not foreign to me. On the other hand, Job likes to think things through. He never jumps into something without careful calculation, so more often than not, whatever new venture he’s entering, he’s already 101% prepared for it.

A simple decision (like piano lessons!) for me can be made in a split-second; for him, it takes weeks, sometimes months, sometimes years. Now you see why I need his go-signal; I can’t be trusted with myself! I also like to believe that God’s wisdom is better coursed through Job’s method of making decisions. With my style, sometimes I even forget to seek God’s wisdom.

The No-Go Signal

I was already super excited for Yuri to begin his piano lessons (or violin lessons, whichever was preferable). Unfortunately, I didn’t get the coveted go-signal from his dad. I was disappointed, but I understood the decision. I was especially appreciative of the fact that Job explained his reasons. According to him, Continue Reading

Kindergarten School

6 Reasons Why I’m Loving Yuri’s Big School

It’s no secret that Yuri’s current school now was not our top choice when we were initially school-hunting. I didn’t really not like this school — it’s just that I wanted to try something new because almost ten years of my life was spent inside this very campus.

Then again, life rarely goes according to plan, and we found ourselves enrolling in the very school that I voted against! We had to consider the logistics and the practicality of doing so — it’s just the most ideal choice at the moment considering those factors. Buuut after a couple of weeks of going to school and parent orientations, one being the first PTA meeting for this school year, I think I’m realising the merits of the decision.

Going to my first PTA meeting, wet uncombed hair and all

1. No heavy bags for the kids

I recently read in Mommy Fleur‘s blog how her daughter has to deal with a heavy school bag every day. I remember doing the same as a child; all my books (an average of 5-7) stuffed into my backpack together with my notebooks (8-10), pencil case, and other school stuff. And we haven’t included the baon yet.

I was pleased to find out that I didn’t need to buy Yuri a huge bag for school. The young children at school, from preschool/kindergarten to 2nd grade, all have lockers where they keep their books and notebooks. I’m not sure about the graders, but for senior kinder, they also have cubbies inside the classroom where all their stuff — art materials, toiletries, extra clothes — are hidden.

We’re only required to bring home the kids’ books and notebooks every weekend, so for the rest of the week, they don’t have to bring anything save for pencils, some supplies, and their baon. 

Yuri’s bag just holds his handbook, pencil case, a supply case (crayons, glue, etc.), wipes, towel, and a sanitizer. It looks big but it’s actually super light. 

(In fact, during the PTA meeting last Saturday, the teachers reminded the parents not to let their kids use huge stroller bags anymore because they didn’t need to!)

2. Little homework (so far…)

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Personal

Yuri’s Asthma Scare

Almost a month ago, I rushed Yuri to the hospital because he was having difficulty breathing.

I was supposed to write about this, well, almost a month ago, but school-related stuff piled up, my birthday came up — a lot of things happened. Also, I didn’t dwell on this issue anymore because Yuri already got better, not to mention I don’t really talk about our hospital visits here in my blog.

However, as I was looking through my phone gallery, I saw the pictures again and remembered the entire ordeal. I thought I should write about it because it can help a reader who might encounter these symptoms someday.

Yuri’s health scare started early morning of May 24th. It was still dark when I woke up to Yuri making gasping noises. I initially dismissed it for stuffy nose because he was also having a cold.

But it didn’t sound right. He was literally gasping for air. I adjusted his position so that his head rested higher on his pillow and then he seemed to recover. I went back to sleep because I think it was still around 4 am. When the sun rose, he started gasping again for air, and I started to worry because his face was already looking like this:

He was still trying to sleep, poor baby

He was sobbing and I assumed it was because of the stuffy nose (again!). That he was actually unable to breathe didn’t immediately cross my mind. There’s no one in the family who is asthmatic so I wasn’t familiar with the symptoms. I tried to relieve what Yuri was feeling by applying  Eukybear ointment, changing his position from time to time, letting him breathe in some steam — because I kept thinking it must be his cold. It was after he vomited when I finally listened to my gut feeling and took him to the hospital.

Even though I didn’t know what illness he was having, I remembered counting Yuri’s breathing because it was so rapid. I remembered counting up to 60-75/minute at one time — the normal respiratory rate for a 5-year old is just 20-30/minute.

When Yuri’s pediatrician saw him and saw his rapid respiratory rate, she immediately ordered for him to be nebulized for an hour with breaks in between. According to doc, if he doesn’t get better after nebulization, then it’s hospital confinement for him. She didn’t mention, but when I asked if it could be pneumonia, Yuri’s doctor couldn’t confirm nor deny. At that point, she couldn’t confirm, too, if Yuri was asthmatic or not. It all depended on whether Yuri gets better after nebulization.

It was my very first time to see a nebulizer. Like what I said, there’s no one in the family who was asthmatic, so I was experiencing nebulization for the first time. Immediately after the first dose, Yuri started getting better. After 40 minutes of nebulization, he was able to eat for the first time that day. Thank you Lord! More than an hour and four vials of medicine later, Yuri’s respiratory rate was down to 35/minute and was feeling a lot better.

Honestly, I shudder to think about what could have happened if I didn’t bring Yuri to the hospital. It was only after getting nebulized that he was able to breathe, so Yuri would have suffered a lot if we stayed at home and let him “rest.”

We went back to Yuri’s doctor’s office (when we arrived at the hospital earlier, I had to carry him because he was too weak to walk; by this time, he was already fine walking on his own) to hear the diagnosis. The doctor saw Yuri’s improvement so there was no need for him to be confined. However, he was still under observation for 5 days. If his breathing became rapid again, we were to go immediately to the ER. But after 5 days of religiously taking medicine, it never happened again. Praise God!

To be honest, I am still unsure whether Yuri is asthmatic or not. According to his doctor, there were too many factors to consider. It could have been an asthma attack, or it could have been his cold. It could have been a viral infection (bronchiolitis), or it could have been caused by smoke inhalation or exposure to harsh weather (we went out-of-town about a week before this event). Neither I nor Job has history of asthma, but there’s still a possibility since I have allergic rhinitis.

Even though it’s been a month, I am still observing Yuri. This time, I will be more vigilant and I will listen to my gut feeling right away. Mother’s instinct is real!

Here are the things I learned that might come in handy for you someday:

  • Take note of children’s normal respiratory rate. It varies per age, but it can be easily Googled. If your child’s breathing exceeds this without reason, please see the doctor.
  • Without counting breaths per minute, you can easily spot a child who is breathing rapidly. Look out for flared nostrils, high-pitched breathing sounds, and retraction: “the skin sucking in (indrawing) in the chest below the rib cage, above the collarbone, between the ribs or in the neck” (About Kids Health).
  • Rapid breathing coupled with vomiting is never a good combination.
  • Even if asthma doesn’t run in your family, a child might still get it.
  • If you suspect pneumonia, go to the ER right away.
  • If you suspect asthma and you don’t have a nebulizer at home, go to the ER right away.
  • Listen to your gut feeling. It’s better to hear your doctor assure you that nothing is wrong than stay at home and let the child suffer because you think there is nothing wrong.
Kindergarten School

Yuri and the First Week of Kindergarten School

I feel so exhausted! It’s just been one week (actually, four days!) that Yuri was at school, yet I feel like I’ve used up all of my humanly powers. In that short period of time, I realised, I’m not Wonder Woman! And it pains me so much to say that, lololol!

Seriously though, it’s been a really full week. Even if I had two days off (Monday was a holiday and I took a leave Tuesday because it was Yuri’s first day of school), it doesn’t feel anything like it. If anything, it feels as if I just came from an 80-hour work week. Having a student is not easy pala! 

I usually wake up at 5:30 (yes, even in the summer), but before school started, this meant spending time in a devotional, trying to work out, and preparing for the day. This time, it means preparing Yuri’s things, uniform, and baon. He doesn’t have to go to school until lunch time — we enrolled him in the afternoon session because of reasons — but since I have work, as much as possible, I need to get everything done within the first hour of the day.

Later in the week, I would find out that it’s a hundred times more better to prepare everything the night before. Hey, I’m still learning! 😀

I spent Monday and Tuesday doing school-mum stuff. I laundered all his uniform, school underwear (just white socks, white sandos, and white briefs), PE uniform, proceeded to iron them, washed his lunch boxes, water bottles, accessories, prepared his things and requirements, went to the mall to buy the last items still un-ticked on his requirement checklist, and did grocery shopping for baon. The works. I still had time to meet up with my best friend George for dinner, so I’m gonna give myself a pat on the back for that haha.

Well, I also learned that preparing for school a day before it starts and preparing on the first day of school itself were two completely different things. I can’t say I was frazzled because I still managed to have fun, but I think I did use all of my major muscle groups. I did manage to get these snapshots!

Weapon of choice: my trusty Instax 210 + film of course

Yuri’s first day baon: Tuna sandwich, cheese shapes, pizza shapes, and Keebler wafers

On the way to school! I brought him to the barbershop earlier that day so his hair was just freshly cut and styled

Hello, school! Let’s do this!

Welcome to kindergarten, noob mama! I swear, there is nothing more intimidating than a group of confident veteran school-mums when you’re melting into a puddle of nerves.

Hello, classroom! This was a really old classroom, a lot older than I am. The elementary building is, I think, the oldest building in the campus.

It’s good to know, though, that the inside was maintained nicely: clean and spacious and well-lit. A/C units look fairly new and it has an overhead projector na lol!

The adjacent classroom was converted into a playroom just for the K2 pupils. It’s also airconditioned and the place is really clean. Yuri’s one of the early birds so he had the place to himself. His favourite things are the bahay-kubo slide (behind Yuri) and the ball pit (right)!

Segue about the playroom: There was no separation anxiety or any drama among the kids, like at all. This was because they were all put inside the playroom to interact with their classmates, teacher, and titas (teacher aides). Yuri didn’t even look at me once he was inside.

The only “drama” that happened came from a boy classmate who arrived late. By the time he arrived, play time was already over and they were back in the classroom. It did not sit well with the child, obviously, and he cried. It does serve as a good lesson about punctuality for Yuri (and maybe his other classmates too).

Second day baon! Peanut butter sandwich, Keebler wafers, ham & cheese shapes, and a banana

I love PE uniform days because they’re easier to iron bahaha!

I really like the lady guard (the one sweeping the floor). She never fails to smile and she talks to the students, especially the smaller ones, in a motherly way. Also, she allowed me to go inside when I was wearing shorts. In my defence, I did not know the dress code was already being implemented during the orientation week! Oops!

A cut-out star can absolutely make a 5-year old’s day 😀

He didn’t even notice me when I was right there. Hi Yuri! 😀 (Also, he wasn’t wearing his PE uniform because a new schedule was given the day before, the day when he was wearing his PE uniform haha)

It was a fun first week. Right after the first day, my nervousness disappeared, and it’s hugely because Yuri was having so much fun at school. He loves his teacher, the titas, his classmates… the play room! LOL! In fact, for him, Monday can’t arrive quickly enough! As for me, I’m going to enjoy my weekend (I just finished washing his clothes ~again~ and wrapping his notebooks in plastic cover) because next week will be a new adventure!

General Information Money Matters

Adulting 101: My Sunlife Variable Universal Life Insurance (VUL)

Sun Life VUL

There’s just something so “adulty” about the word insurance, don’t you agree?

A VUL is a variable universal life insurance. According to Investopedia, a VUL is a form of cash-value life insurance that offers both a death benefit and an investment feature.

This post is actually 6 months late because I got my very first life insurance policy way back in December last year. I had a draft started, but I never got around to actually writing it. But I remembered it a couple of days ago because my payment was already due lol. Also, a couple of my previous officemates were asking about the VUL. Why did I get Sun Life’s VUL? This is not a sponsored post; I just want to tell you about it.

I never planned to get an insurance policy. Job and I, we decided to start investing in a mutual fund, so that’s what I looked for. After doing some research and comparison, I decided to go pay the local Sun Life office a visit.

Sun Life Davao

(Trivia: During the Expo Mom bazaar in Abreeza last year, one of the booths I visited was Sun Life’s. I got in touch with an agent and even left my details and contact number with her. But she never got back to me, so I just went ahead, visited the main office, and got another agent.)

I met my financial adviser, Paul Chavez, there. I inquired about mutual funds since it was my original purpose, but upon interviewing and assessing me, Paul suggested I get a VUL instead. There were three main reasons that convinced me:

  • First, I have a son who is dependent on me, and he will surely benefit from his parents’ life insurance.
  • Second, we have nothing else (yet) in our portfolio. Because this was our first investment, it’s more prudent to prioritise protection over plain growing of money.
  • Third, it’s not like the money won’t be growing. The projected returns is quite high and we’re getting protection, so yes they’re right – it is like getting the best of both worlds.

Aside from that, there are more benefits outlined here including the VUL’s liquidity (you can withdraw your money if you need it, and it’s called “withdrawal,” not a “loan) and the flexibility of premiums (I treat my VUL as a bank and put in more money if I have extra). Because you can just Google the benefits of getting a VUL, and since I already described a few, I won’t be focusing on that anymore. Let’s talk about my personal experience and impressions.

Why I’m Happy With My Sun Life VUL

1. Because Sun Life is the biggest insurance company in the country and even outside, I feel safe that I am investing my money with the right company. You can do your own research about it and see for yourself the past performance of Sun Life.

2. I have a great agent and I’m very satisfied with the service. Paul is very diligent in reminding me about my due dates, and if I cannot go to the office myself to pay, he adjusts and personally visits me to get my payment. Unfortunately, not all agents are built the same, so please be wise in choosing the right person.

3. There are no penalties for late payments. While I always pay my bills on time, there are circumstances beyond our control (just like what happened to BPI recently).

4. The payment scheme is very flexible. When I first got my policy, I was paying monthly. However, it has gotten more taxing since my schedule is tight, so they changed my mode of payment to quarterly. Just like that!

Sun MaxiLink Prime

5. It’s surprisingly affordable. One of the reasons why I delayed getting an insurance is the cost. Upon inquiring, I was pleasantly surprised to know that it’s not only affordable, it’s also flexible. I have the Sun MaxiLink Prime, and to give you an idea of how much my monthly payment is, let’s just say it’s even cheaper than our Davao City electric bill.

6. Unlike mutual funds and other investment vehicles, a VUL withdrawal is not taxable.

7. Unlike regular insurances, a VUL doesn’t need to fulfil a single, specific need e.g. education. With a VUL, you can decide how you want to use your money, whether you want to use it to fund your child’s college education or build your retirement fund.

I can think of other benefits, but I’m sure a Sun Life financial advisor will be able to better explain it to you. If you think you can benefit from a VUL, try consulting with an advisor. It’s free anyway. In my experience, they didn’t try to upsell me; they looked at my monthly income and my expenses and came up with something that will not be too burdensome for me. All I can say is if you want to protect your loved ones, you need to look into this.

If you’re from Davao and want to consult a Sun Life financial advisor (not all agents are made the same — there are inactive/lazy/unknowledgeable ones who just want to make a sale), send me a message or leave a comment and I’ll give you my advisor’s number.

Personal

Turning 27 and Getting Schooled by Life

The last time I blogged, which was one day before my birthday, I was in a pretty melancholic mood. Things did turn around for the better, as expected, but at that time, I just didn’t have the energy or the motivation to feel upbeat. All I wanted to do was accept that I was being miserable because nothing was going my way.

But as I said, things did turn up for the better. I’m feeling a lot happier right now despite things not being 100% awesome. My smile is back.

Job and I eventually made up — he broke the ice and sent me a message first, but I admit I would’ve sent him the first message if he didn’t already. Knowing him, though, I know hindi niya ako kayang tiisin charot. He also doesn’t have any choice because it’s my birthday, just kidding 😛 In my defense, I really didn’t do anything wrong and was unfairly accused.

My best friend George and I also made up. We didn’t really fight but like some of you pointed out, I was really nagtatampo because of our cancelled birthday date. I wasn’t really mad but was just feeling frustrated, and now I’m totally over it.

Things are finally going my way… NOT!

It was my birthday yesterday, and I had a simple celebration. Why is it that the older you get, the less grand your birthday needs to be? Or is it just me? I just made cheesecake, bought some food, and celebrated at home and at the hotel. You see, early last year, I chanced upon a promo for Go Hotels Davao, which was not yet open at that time. They had an P88/night promo for their opening (which is this year), and I quickly availed. Nothing to lose!

I’m glad to report that my stay at the hotel is uneventful so far (except for the fact that the hotel internet is down right now).

So what is not going my way?

1. The bank fiasco

Guess who’s celebrating her birthday penniless? Me! Imagine my shock, waking up on my birthday, and finding out that BPI has basically shut down operations. My salary is in my BPI account and I haven’t had time to withdraw it. On top of that, I haven’t paid the bills yet and my Sun Life VUL. Gaaah BPI!

(I was able to pay my Sun Life VUL earlier using some of the savings I have with me. Whew.)

Lesson:

Always be ready and always have a backup plan.

2. When the tables are turned

Also, I have another date with another friend, Yankee, this weekend. And due to some unforeseen events, it needs to be cancelled, too. This time, it’s me who needs to cancel! Oh, the irony!

This was a really humbling experience for me. When it was me who had to experience getting “left at the altar” (exagg), I felt very disappointed and hurt. I did not talk to my best friend for a day because of that. However, now that it was my turn to cancel a date which I knew Yankee really looked forward to (and needed!), she felt hurt and sad but she forgave me right away. She also needed to move appointments to accommodate me, but she didn’t blame me for it. I wish I did the same.

Lesson:

Always forgive. 

3. Saying goodbye to a friend

And on a more serious note, I found out that one of my dearest friends from my office-girl days, Kristine, passed away earlier today. Just a day after my birthday. We were almost the same age, so to say I was shocked is a sore understatement. I knew she was ill, but I thought she was coping well. I never imagined that she would die so young. 🙁

I always think of her from time to time because I admire her strength. She had a chronic illness which attacked her internal organs, and she had to miss work regularly to get long treatments at the hospital. But not once did I hear her complain. In fact, she’s a very lovely, brave, caring girl who didn’t want special treatment just because of her condition. In fact, only a few of us knew about her illness.

Kristine is wearing bold yellow stripes, me on her left

There was a time when I randomly sent her a message because I just happened to think of her. Actually, I read an article about her illness, which made me admire her even more. The last time we chatted was when I was in Manila. We weren’t able to meet up because I didn’t know she was in BGC when we went to BGC, so we just ended up chatting. How I wish we were able to meet for the last time.

Lesson:

Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.

Personal

It’s Okay to Not Be Okay Sometimes

I’m your poster cheerful girl. I pride myself on always looking at the bright side of any situation. I have a permanent laugh line embedded into my cheeks.

Of course there are not-so-happy moments, like health scares and relationship conflicts, financial troubles and work-related stress, but I don’t really like dwelling on them. I get affected by them easily, but just as quickly as I get affected, I like moving on right away. I tend to dismiss them and just focus on the positive. Always focusing on the positive is a good thing, I was told. After all, we don’t like feeling sad — at least, don’t! I like feeling bright and happy and healthy and sunshiny.

Well, most of the time.

This week is an anomaly. Ironically, it’s my birth-week, too, but somehow, everything is just going wrong. Not really everything, but you know what I mean. It sounds terribly shallow because I know I have it a lot better than so many people in the planet. But there’s just something so miserable about a supposedly happy week gone awry.

First, I missed my own birthday outing. My family and our neighbours and I were supposed to go out of town, but it got cancelled because of the Martial Law. So they decided to go somewhere nearer instead, just so we could celebrate my and one of our neighbours’ late husband’s birthdays. Unfortunately, we couldn’t decide on a date. They wanted to have it this Saturday, 10th, but I vetoed because I already had a prior commitment with my friends on that day.

So they moved it to last Sunday, 4th. It was okay for me, but another date popped up, that with my fraternity/ sorority brods and sis (yes, just one lol). I prioritised the latter because it’s been 7+ years since I last saw them. In short, I had to miss my own birthday outing lol. I don’t regret it, however, because I had so much fun with my brods and sis. During that day, I realised just how much I missed them. Then again, it would have been doubly better if I was able to attend both,

Second, Job and I haven’t been speaking for *counts fingers* three days now, going on our fourth day tomorrow. I don’t want to give details about our fight, because our fights — if you could even call them that — are usually petty, but not this one. To make the long story short, I told him I’m not talking to him because I need time to process the issue. After a couple of days of sending me messages and not receiving a response, he gave up and now he’s the one not talking to me. LDR is hard, people.

Third, my friends cancelled out on me for our date on Friday-Saturday, the exact reason why I requested to re-schedule our outing (see item 1). In short, I missed out on my birthday celebration with my family and neighbours, for absolutely no reason at all… I know it’s not their fault, but I can’t help but feel bad because it’s just so so frustrating. Also, I admit, it stings a bit to be the one who has to adjust, especially when it’s my own birthday celebration.

On top of that, the cheesecake I was just making earlier is not the right consistency. *gives up*

Like I said, usually, I would choose to not dwell the bad things and focus on the bright side instead. But this time, I decided to just admit that I am sad, that I am not okay. There’s no use trying to feign positivity if it’s not even remotely genuine. I know things will turn out for the better soon, but currently, it’s my birthday week and it’s not looking good. And yeah, maybe that’s fine. I will still look out for the blessings and reasons to be grateful because I know there are a lot, but right now, I just don’t feel 100% happy… and I think it’s okay.

Sponsored

Start Strong in School with Mott’s

Mott’s Apple Juice is my favorite brand of apple juice. I have been buying it ever since Yuri was old enough to drink juice (I think around his 8th month mark?). I used to dilute it with water when he was a baby, and when he grew older, just the juice straight from the bottle. I never had any hesitations with Mott’s because it’s 100% apple juice — no sugar or any sweetener added — plus the fact that it’s chock-full of Vitamin C doesn’t hurt! Now that Yuri’s going to enter school, I’m planning to still give him Mott’s 100% Apple Juice for his breakfast and baon.

Which is why this package as a sweet surprised that arrived at the perfect timing.

We all want what is best for our kids, and Mott’s has a word for us this back-to-school season!


In a few weeks, the kids are going back to school. This is always a most exciting time for families. Waking up the kids on time, getting them to eat breakfast, and hurrying them along before the school bell rings — these morning routines are some of the most rousing that most families will ever encounter.

Parents naturally want their children to start strong in school, so they’d like to give them all they need to have the best preparation possible. Tomorrow starts with what you do today. For your kids to start strong, parents should help them develop the right habits today. They can start by establishing daily routines to get their kids into the swing of things like eating breakfast at eight, watering the garden at nine, and squeezing in some reading at ten. These routines will prepare their children for the everyday schedule they’d eventually encounter in school.

Parents would also like to place their kids’ sleeping routine down pat. A comforting bedtime routine may include a shower, a change of clothes, a reading of the kids’ favorite fairy tale, a prayer, and a good night kiss. These would make going to bed an inviting routine after a day full of adventures.

But the most important preparation for school may yet be a hearty breakfast. A good breakfast will give children the right amount of fuel to start strong in school. They’ll not only have the mental energy to go through complicated lessons, they’ll also have the positive vibes to make new friends. They will also feel less anxious about the whole back to school experience.

What makes for a hearty breakfast? The great news is that there are a lot of breakfast choices for the family’s nourishment and enjoyment. The traditional Filipino breakfast calls for fried bangus or tocino paired with garlic rice and sunny side eggs on the side. Other choices include pancakes and bacon, oatmeal or cereals with fruits, bread and eggs, and arroz caldo with tokwa’t baboy.

All these choices are best paired with the nutritious goodness of Mott’s 100% Apple Juice. The #1 brand of apple juice in the United States (source: IRI, Calendar YE 12.25.16), it is great tasting nutrition that children can enjoy for breakfast as it consists of 100% real fruit goodness with added Vitamin C. Mothers can trust that they are only giving the best to their children as Mott’s 100% Apple Juice doesn’t contain any artificial flavors, colors, or sweeteners. By giving Mott’s 100% Apple Juice for breakfast, the little ones get a strong start to live every day to its fullest.

Mott’s 100% Apple Juice not only comes in 32-ounce & 64-ounce PET bottle for sharing with the family, it is also available in a convenient can that the kids can slip in their lunch box. Children can then enjoy 100% apple goodness in school as well.

Follow Mott’s at https://www.facebook.com/MottsPh/
#MottsPh #StartStrong

This post is sponsored by Mott’s Philippines