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Maan

Birthday Events Restaurant Review

Yuri’s 6th Birthday Celebration + Review of Cafe Andessa

Cafe Andessa is one of my favorite local restaurants. Aside from being one of the restaurants closest to our suburb (read: mountains lol), I love the ambience and their food is always delicious!

But it’s only late last year when I discovered that they can be exclusively booked for events and private dinners. We were invited by our clients (in real estate), and I made it a mini-mission to know how much they charge for exclusive bookings. Of course, I promptly forgot about inquiring until it was almost Yuri’s birthday. We actually booked the place just a week before our desired date. Good thing they were still available!

Aside from Yuri’s birthday, we were also celebrating his Moving Up and my sister’s Moving Up, which is why we chose to have the celebration on the 28th (the day of my sister’s Moving Up). Also, it was the day before the long weekend, which was ideal.

Let me tell you upfront that I am very very satisfied with Cafe Andessa! But before I explain why, here are some pictures of the event. First, the OOTDs taken at home! Hihi pagbigyan na

And the photos taken at Cafe Andessa. I really reaaaally regret not being able to take a lot of pictures. I don’t even have a single picture of the dishes! But these were on our menu: chicken pastel pie, beef caldereta, sweet and sour fish, spaghetti, fried suman, fresh fruits, and pineapple-orange juice.

We had so much fun that evening, and I can say that our guests — both the kids and the adults — had a great time, too. We prepared silly games, guessing games, which was kinda hard because of the venue’s limited space. But we were able to do it, much thanks to Cafe Andessa’s superb customer service. Here’s my verdict!

Photo grabbed from MJ Crave’s Escape

Location

As of now, though you can easily reach the restaurant by commuting, its location is still a bit hidden. However, it’s right in front of the new Gaisano Mall that’s currently being built, so once the mall’s done, it wouldn’t be so hidden anymore! Parking is okay; there is enough space for several cars.

Price

When you book the place exclusively for your event, you have two options. First is booking the entire place and second is booking half the place. In order to book the entire place — which we did — they are asking for a minimum headcount of 45 pax. I’m not sure whether they count the kids or not, but I counted the kids on my guest list just to be on the safe side.

I’ll let you in on the price. It’s just P250 per head! It’s very sulit given these inclusions: use of the place for 4 hours, 3 viands, 1 vegetable/noodle dish, dessert, and unlimited drinks. I’ll discuss the food next.

Food

The primary reason why Cafe Andessa was on top of our choices was the food. Their food is always so delicious, authentic, and they don’t scrimp at all on ingredients. When we inquired, we were surprised at the amount of food included given the low price. Other restaurants charge much higher for less food!

It’s already a given that their food is yummy, so I wasn’t surprised when our guests went back for seconds, thirds, even fourths. But the biggest pleasant surprise was the serving. When we got there, there were already warmers for each dish. I thought that was it. As the night went by, I noticed that they kept on refilling each warmer. Super sulit! 

And that’s not all. When we were getting ready to leave, the waiter immediately packed all the food left from dinner. I thought that was it (are you noticing a pattern now?), but the manager told us to wait for a while as they’re still packing the food from the kitchen that wasn’t served. What, meron pa?! We went home with so much food that we had to distribute most of it to our other guests who remained. Super duper sulit!

I only got to take a picture of the buffet table huhu

Unfortunately, I don’t have a single photo of the cuisine because I was very busy jumping from table to table. I don’t think the other guests were also able to take a photo.

Customer Service

As if my rave about their food and pricing is still not enough, I will add one more thing. The staff from Cafe Andessa is one of the most pleasant, polite, and approachable restaurant staff I’ve ever talked to. They’re really easy to talk to and was okay with most of our requests (nothing outrageous!). I called the manager a couple of times before the event and was never unpleasant or unprofessional.

During the night itself, they were very accommodating to us and all our guests and we never felt intimidated. Plus, they didn’t even have to tell us that there was still food left in the kitchen because, in the first place, we never even considered that there are still leftovers after all those refills. But they did! So thank you because the leftovers served as our food for the next couple of days LOL!


So do I recommend Cafe Andessa? If it’s not yet obvious, I very highly recommend them! The price is very reasonable (it was actually unbelievable IMO), the food is absolutely delicious, and you will be met by the kindest staff. If you’re planning on hosting a dinner and live somewhere near the north of Davao City, consider Cafe Andessa!


For Cafe Andessa’s menu for exclusive dinners, please click here.


 

Birthday Davao Events Events

Happy Coincidence: Yuri’s Birthday + Firefighter for a Day

Happy Easter everyone! So… Yuri turned 6 last Monday, March 26th.

Aaaahhhh, I have a 6-year old!

*regains composure*

There honestly wasn’t anything special planned for the day because his birthday celebration was already scheduled for Wednesday, the 28th. I had the day off so we were just planning on playing with his new gifts from his Tito and Tita and a new bike from his dad and me.

By mid-morning, we realized we needed to go back to the grocery to buy some more supplies and loot bags for the party. So we went to Gaisano Mall, where there were a lot of cheap party supplies.

Imagine our surprise when we saw that there were a lot of firefighters in the atrium. Actually, the thing that caught my eye was this!

Grabbed from the BFP Davao Facebook page

A mini rappelling station! Needless to say, we were thrilled to join the event and abandoned the mission to go to the grocery. Thank you mother for volunteering to get the supplies hihi. In my defense, she was the one who thought we should let Yuri attend this one-day event instead. Which just happened to fall on Yuri’s birthday. What a happy coincidence!

There were 6 stations to complete, and once a child completes all stations, they can get a prize. Awesome! I’m not even ashamed to say we spent 3 hours in the atrium for this. I’ll show you each station through pictures.

Coloring Area

First, we went to this area where other kids were coloring the materials given by the BFP. Yuri only colored a couple of pages (not a fan of coloring…) and we proceeded to the next station.

1st Station – Education

In this station, they showed the kids the different equipment and tools used for firefighting. I took photos of the different equipment, but they’re too many to attach here!

Red Cross Station – Rescue 

Yuri was so excited to try this one! He almost stumbled upon one of the ropes on the floor hehe. After pretending to be rescued, he then pretended to help rescue another kid.

2nd Station – Firefighting 

It’s not clear in the picture, but there was water coming out of the fire extinguisher. The goal was to put out the “fire” in the burning houses. What a creative way to teach!

3rd Station: First Aid (Bandaging)

One of Yuri’s proudest moments (and mine as well lol!) happened in this station. Out of his “batch” of kids (obviously except the kuya of the younger kid beside Yuri), only he was able to tie the bandage. The BFP personnel even asked him to do it twice, and he did it. Good job, Yuri!

Funny because as soon as the other parents who were next in line saw this, they immediately started teaching their kids how to tie a knot. At that moment, I was so glad Yuri wears bathrobes that need tying!

Tying a simple knot, like buttoning, is a life skill, guys! Don’t forget to teach your kids this!

4th Station: First Aid (CPR)

Yuri had so much fun doing CPR, complete with hand compression (proper hand placement, too) and rescue breaths. He wanted to try it on me when we got home. I saw how “vigorously” he had done it on the dummy, so I had to say no lol!

5th Station: Knot Tying

While Yuri knows how to tie a knot, he had difficulty managing the thick ropes provided, so I had to step in and help him. We need to practice, but we haven’t got ropes at home?

6th Station: Rappelling

This was the most popular station in the Fire Square, for obvious reasons! By the time we reached this station, there was already a long queue of kids. Still, we patiently waited for our turn. I asked him if he was afraid, and he said no. Yuri was so thrilled when it was finally his turn to rappel! Too bad he was wearing Crocs, which were slippery, but for a first-timer, he did quite alright IMO. He wants to do it again!

If you want to watch Yuri’s videos rescuing, doing CPR, rappelling, and more, here is my Instagram post:

Both of us learned a lot — and I was at my peek stage mom mode. Hey, I’ve never “rescued” someone before using real Red Cross equipment. I’ve never given someone (even a dummy) CPR and I have certainly never rappelled before! Yet my kid who just turned 6 did it all!

It’s a shame that it was just a 1-day event. I know a lot of other kids would love to join the Fire Square, too!

Kindergarten School

Farewell, Kindergarten + What I Learned About Schooling

It’s been a full 9 days since Yuri’s Moving Up ceremony, and I still can’t believe the school year is finally over! It’s been an awesome first year of regular schooling and we’ve made a lot of new friends. I also saw my son develop good study habits and self-discipline. But the highlight of the year, for me, was probably seeing Yuri do things on his own, meet people — both kids and adults — on his own, get along with everyone, and realising that he will do just fine.

As for me, I’m amazed that I’ve been able to keep up with preparing a healthy baon everyday. Yes, it’s a big deal for me! They were not as bongga as the ones I made from scratch and lovingly arranged in his container in June, but at least there were still fruits, cheese, and the occasional homemade food. It’s still an achievement for me, but that doesn’t mean I’ll stop striving for better.

Going back to the Moving Up ceremony, Yuri got three awards: With Honors, Star Reader, and Enthusiastic Learner. I mentioned quite discreetly in my last post that we were involved in a little drama in the days leading to the ceremony; it had something to do with the awards I mentioned above. I don’t think about it anymore and I’m just hoping it wouldn’t happen again. After all, it’s already been resolved so move on na!

Yuri’s Learning Style

No one in his class got an award higher than With Honors because of the school’s grading system. It’s not a big issue as long as the educators fairly assess each child as a unique individual. You see, Yuri doesn’t struggle with academics but he’s timid and is not a performer. He performs when needed (e.g. when he was made Joseph in their Christmas play) but he’s not as comfortable in the spotlight as other kids are. He prefers being in the back or being in the corner, quietly doing his own thing. Which is okay!

He certainly didn’t inherit this trait from me because I am epal lol but I relish in Yuri’s uniqueness. He is a doer and whatever he puts his heart into doing, he tries his best to do well. Unfortunately, this can mean being pitted against the performers, the speakers, and those who just shine effortlessly — which I try to understand because there’s more than 30 kids in his class and comparison is unavoidable. Good thing he aces his examinations, even the on-the-spot Stanine academic assessment done by the school.

Yeah, I am fully aware that this is a strong argument for homeschooling, but Yuri’s gonna be kawawa if I push on homeschooling since I really do not have the time it takes to be a full-time educator huhu. Because formal schooling is our best option, I’m just hoping and pushing for the “reserved” kids to also be recognised fairly. 🙂

Moving Up Ceremony

Anyway, here are more pictures of Yuri’s Kindergarten Moving Up ceremony! Theirs is very special because they are the first batch of kids ever to use the school’s newly built auditorium. As in they were still finishing it less than two weeks before the ceremony. It was exciting to see the kids sing and dance. After all those rehearsals, I could only imagine the relief their teachers felt — they can finally breathe now!

Before the program started, with his friend Christopher

From the school’s official Facebook page (my sister insisted on going upstage, too, because she’ll never have the chance again haha – she’s graduating, too, but they’re not going to use the auditorium)

From the school’s official Facebook page

From the school’s official Facebook page

With his classmates (right) Jhia and Isabella, and AM batchmate (left) Zoe

With his classmate, Carl

With his classmate, Toffy

And with his best friend (“bro,” he corrected me), Antoine

With Tita Angel, their teacher aide

With Teacher Han, their substitute teacher

With Teacher Lorraine, their adviser who just gave birth in December, and Isabella

With Teacher Dinah (left), their Christian Living teacher, and Teacher Grace, their prefect of discipline

The ceremony ended early in the afternoon, and after taking pictures with virtually everyone we see inside the auditorium, it was time to go. We’re scheduled to have a more formal graduation + birthday celebration next week so we just ate an early dinner at Bistro Selera.

And the boy was treated to a giant cotton candy!

It was a very fulfilling year, and while I’m feeling a bit nostalgic, I am glad that kindergarten year ended on a high note. I am looking forward to another fun-filled and learning-filled year. First grade, here we come!

Lifestyle School

Messy Life Lately: Moving Up and House Renovation

OMG, I thought I would be able to blog once final examinations are done. Well, Yuri has had his final examinations done for more than two weeks now (the last day of their exams was last March 2nd pa), but I barely blogged. I didn’t know I would be even busier after final examinations!

I’m such a noob school-mom. I had no idea there would be so much to do after the final exams and before their Moving Up ceremony. Costumes, rehearsals, schedules… I was not prepared at all!

For starters, the PM kids (us) had to adjust their body clock again because they had to go to school in the morning to be with the AM kids. And because they only had a total of 8 days to prepare for their Moving Up (and we are talking about 5-7 year olds here), for the final week of rehearsals, they were expected to be in school for the whole day. It was a major adjustment for us since we’ve never had to stay in school for more than 4-5 hours.

I appreciate that they didn’t make the kids wear intricate costumes (part of the school policy), so at least there’s less hassle on our part as parents. However, no matter how practical, we still had to buy costumes and their Moving Up attire.

Moving Up

But finally it’s done! Yuri’s class had their Moving Up ceremony last Thursday, March 15th. I’ll be a bit cheeky here and mention that there was a bit of drama that happened to us at school, but that was already resolved — all’s well that ends well. Special mention to my friends, George and Yankee, to whom I vented. Thank you for listening!

The ceremony itself was bittersweet. It was so much fun watching the kids sing, dance, and perform. It was truly a culmination in every sense of the word, and we were filled with pride watching how much our children improved. Of course, it was doubly fun witnessing the ceremony with my co-parents who also became my friends.

I’ll stop here because Yuri’s Moving Up deserves a different post, but I’ll show you some pictures!

These kids were the first group of students to use the school’s newly-built auditorium

Grabbed from the school’s official FB page

Grabbed from the school’s official FB page

With my pretty co-parents 🙂

Renovation

But more than the preparations for Moving Up, the thing that’s been bringing me a lot of hassle is this:

This used to be the back part of our house. It had housed our washing machine and the clothesline. We don’t do our laundry at home anymore — in fact, our clothesline was barely used and our washing machine had been unused for the past 2-3 years. So we decided to take the wall down and convert the unused space into a new, more spacious kitchen. It’s exciting but when there’s a renovation taking place inside your own house, it’s very stressful because it’s messy, it’s dirty, it’s dusty… Lahat na!

In fact, because our current kitchen is virtually covered in cement dust (cleaning is futile because once they start working again, it’s going to be covered in dust again), we’re relying on food delivery 75% of the time. And because it is so uninspiring to stay in the kitchen, I have stopped making healthy food. I’m back to eating carbs (because you can’t make me wash veggies and make salads in this condition) so I’m just carefully watching my portions na lang.

I can’t wait for this renovation to be over!


On the brighter side of things, I can now finally say that it is officially SUMMER VACATION! We’re gonna be busy, busy, busy, but the nice kind of busy. My planner is going to be full… I can’t wait regretting enrolling Yuri in different summer classes and complaining about hectic schedules! 😅

School Summer

Hello March, Hello Summer!

Raise your hands with me if you also can’t believe it’s already March!

Wasn’t it just yesterday when Yuri was starting kindergarten? I still vividly recall how frazzled I was during the first day (I ironed everything…down to Yuri’s socks — now I know better!), how I looked forward to the orientation and the first PTA meetings, how we made friends in class… Of course, it wasn’t that long ago, only 9 months ago, but you know what I mean!

In fact, just earlier this morning, I went to the school’s PTA General Assembly, the second for this year (the first one took place in July). As usual, I got out of the general assembly feeling more stressed than usual (loooong story), but it’s okay. I’m just rejoicing because Yuri’s final exams are finally over!

Yes, they had their final exams last week. Ang aga, ‘no? I am not complaining at all! It’s been terribly busy for the past two weeks, with all the work + real estate commitments and studying with Yuri for his finals. I’m so glad it’s over. Tomorrow, they’re going to start rehearsing na for their Moving Up ceremony. We’re still going to school but at least, no more stress na (at least for this aspect).

While I love taking Yuri to school, I’m looking forward to summer break when I don’t have to dress up and get out of the house. I can almost taaaste it. On the other hand, I want Yuri’s summer break to be productive, and we’re already starting to plan for it. Here are some of our plans:

1. Swim School

I’m waiting for Red Cross Davao to make their announcement regarding this year’s summer swimming lesson schedule. We missed last year’s so now I’ll make sure to enrol Yuri in their program as early as possible.

2. Jollibee Mini Managers Camp or McDonald’s Kiddie Crew

Isa lang, not both! I’ve heard good things about either two. I like McDo because the nearest location to our house is more convenient. However, I think Yuri prefers Jollibee because he likes the uniform better. Whichever works, honestly.


Apart from this two, I’m also thinking of enrolling Yuri to a music school. Yes, I’m still not over this ambition! However, while I want our summer break to be productive, I don’t want it to be hectic. Still, if I can find a sweet spot in between to achieve a balanced schedule, I might as well take it (with Job’s consent, of course, since he already vetoed last year LOL).

What are your plans for summer?

Kindergarten Lifestyle School

School is Almost Over!!!

I can’t believe it. There’s only 1 week of formal classes left for Yuri! After this week will be their final examinations, and after that, practice for moving up. The weather is chilly right now, but I can almost smell the sweet scent of summer (break).

Guess who needs new jogging pants?! Ang ikli na!

With two of Yuri’s classmates

(By the way, their jogging pants don’t look like that ha haha. I just erased the name of the school. You know na, mahirap na)

Funny because I still have several school-related posts sitting in my drafts, which I never got to finish. I guess I’ll  have to wait until the next school year to work on them again… LOL I’m so bad at this, I often wonder how come I’m still blogging! (Speaking of pending posts, I’ll probably be able to post them all once school’s over, so yay!)

From our school’s FB page

Yuri’s class hasn’t had formal classes for about two weeks now — actually, the whole school. They spent a week rehearsing for their Sama-Sama, which is the school’s culmination event for the year. I remember my first Sama-Sama back in 1996… or was it 1997? I was new to the school, a transferee, so I had no idea what Sama-Sama means. The school celebrates its fiesta every August, so what could this event be?

Imagine my glee when I found out that aside from the field demonstrations and food stalls, there were carnival rides in the campus! I didn’t ride on the big rides because my parents didn’t allow me, but I did have a great time trying the other attractions.

But that was more than 20 years ago. There’s more regard for safety now and regulations are a lot stricter, so there wasn’t any single ride at school. Actually, there hasn’t been for a long time. Instead, the students — and the parents — enjoyed the food stalls (bawal junk food!) and the program. There was even a magic show, which was fun.

Oh, and the kids danced, too!

Formal classes will resume this week, and by next week, they will be having their final examinations (paulit-ulit haha). I will be busy again with making worksheets and studying. And then we will all be busy with the preparations for moving up. But after that, freedom! Hurrah to the last stretch of school year 2017-2018!

PS: I’m planning to enroll Yuri (and myself!) to a swimming school in the city, but let’s see what happens. What are your plans for summer?

General Information

5 Things I Learned After Someone Stole My Identity Online

This was a rough week. Actually, scratch that. This was a terrible week.

So terrible I just had to go attend a Zumba session (yes I’m doing Zumba! I’ll blog about it sometime soon!) despite my hectic schedule and had my hair coloured and highlighted, which is something I’ve never done before (referring to the highlights).

It all started on Monday. Oh wow, was it just 6 days ago? Looking back, I feel like it happened way back, as in weeks back. That’s how tough this week was. It felt like it had lasted forever!

But I digress. It was Monday afternoon when someone I didn’t know sent me a message on Facebook. She basically asked me if I was this specific person selling LV bags on Facebook. Um, that was easy. No, I’ve never sold bags — whether online or offline. I was alarmed when she proceeded to tell me that someone has been using not only my name but also my pictures.

It was hard to accept that I just became a victim of identity theft.

A loooot has happened, so I’ll tell you about it in bullet points, avoiding the specific details:

  • I had the Facebook account reported. Thanks to all the people who helped!
  • I went to the NBI Cyber Crime Unit to report the incident. The person in charge wasn’t there.
  • The next day, I went back to the NBI. After almost 2 hours of waiting, the person in charge finally arrived. Not much help; he didn’t even get my name. Thanks so much, NBI.
  • Later that night, two more people I didn’t know contacted me to let me know that they were scammed by the person pretending to be me. They reportedly paid the scammer a big amount of money.
  • I immediately went to our local police station to file a blotter report. This was already late, but they were very helpful and accommodating. Kudos to my district’s chief of police!
  • The next day, I went to the Davao City Police Cyber Crime Unit carrying 20+ pages of printouts. First, I was immediately entertained, unlike NBI. My statement was taken, I filed a complaint report, and the investigator was very thorough in going through all the details of the incident. I went back home feeling very relieved because my name is cleared and someone is finally working on my case.

That’s it. I tried my best not to disclose anything specific, but to be honest, I’m still wary of sharing my story. Still, I think a lot of people would benefit from this — especially fellow bloggers like me who rely on social media. Here are the lessons I learned from this terrible experience.

1. Never use your complete name online.

This was my first faux pas. Even though I’m using only my nickname in my blog and in all my social media profiles, there’s one thing I overlooked. I listed my complete name in my “Other Name” in Facebook. As I’m not someone who looks at my own profile often, I have forgotten that the “Other Name” is publicly listed right under my profile name.

2. Never give out specific details about you, your life, or your family.

To be clear, I’ve never mentioned the following details about my life whether in my blog or in social media. I just included this because it is an important tip that everyone should know. 

Never state your address, your background (how many siblings you have, etc.), your middle name, your parents’ name, your spouse’s full name, your children’s full name, your children’s school. Anything a thief can use to assume your identity.

Also, if possible, avoid posting your child’s/children’s pictures publicly. This is a big lesson for me.

3. Make your Facebook profile as private — and unsearchable — as possible.

My Facebook is private. Or so I thought. After this incident, I realized that the default setting of my album pictures is Public instead of Friends Only. There’s an easy remedy for this. Just go to settings, then click on privacy, and then choose “limit past posts” (or something like that — I’m sharing from memory).

But even if only your friends can see your posts, you’re still not 100% safe from identity theft so you should…

4. Only accept friend/follower requests from people you personally know.

In defense of myself, I try my best to only accept friend requests from people I know. That’s why I never thought I would become a victim of identity theft — I’m not Facebook-famous and I don’t have a lot of friends and followers.

However, I’m also guilty of accepting friend requests from people whom I have a lot of mutual friends with — even if I can’t really recall who they are. That’s what I’m working on right now. I’m going through every single Facebook friend I have and immediately unfriending people I don’t really know.

Don’t be afraid of offending people. If you’ve unfriended someone who turns out to be a relative or someone you personally know (perhaps they changed their name or something), just apologize and add them again. Better safe than sorry!

5. Here’s a not-so-obvious one: avoid posting or commenting on public Facebook groups.

Here’s another angle I’m considering. Just last year, I became a member of a very big Filipino community in Facebook. I’m not new to Facebook groups — in fact, I was fairly active in the Breastfeeding Pinays group years back when I was still breastfeeding — but I must admit I’ve never considered the possibility of someone using and abusing another member’s identity. I actually can’t back this up, but hey, it is possible.

While I’ve never posted in that particular group (the unnamed Filipino community), I occasionally comment on posts that I think are interesting. It never occurred to me before, but now that I think of it, almost 400,000 people — possibly even more — could see these posts/comments. These may not be necessarily revealing in your opinion, but in the eye of an identity thief, you can be easily seen as a potential victim. So be very careful!


This has been a very horrible incident. As I have mentioned to some friends, this is not something I would wish on my worst enemy. Even though a couple of people have commented that I’ve been dealing with this problem so calmly, to be honest, it is one of the most stressful events of my life. I would gladly go through difficult labor again rather than this incident.

Still, it’s also an eye-opening event. I have learned so much from this, and I’ve seen the things that I should be more careful about. I realize that I might’ve been too lax and that I should be more proactive in making sure no one will be able to use and abuse my identity. I am praying that this will all end soon and that it will never happen again to me or to someone I know.

To everyone reading this, you can never be too careful, especially on social media. There are people out there whose minds don’t run like ours. They are not afraid to steal and will not hesitate to do evil things for their own benefit. It is our job to protect ourselves and our families.

Kindergarten Parenting

My Child Doesn’t Like Reading Storybooks…And It’s Okay (Plus a Few Finds from Booksale!)

I was raised a reader. I probably spent the most part of my childhood and early teenage years curled up in bed or in the couch, reading a book. I also don’t believe in keeping books looking pristine and like brand new. You would know which of my books were my favorite: they look tattered and full of dog-eared pages. I tried to stop this habit in high school because a lot of my friends were very careful in handling their books. But it wasn’t me. I preferred (and still prefer) having books that look like they were read.

So when I had Yuri, you bet all I wanted was to raise him to be a reader, just like me. When he was a baby, I bought more books than toys and made sure he was surrounded by them all the time. I gave books as presents. I even wrote about his books constantly in my old blog (this was how his library looked like 4 years ago – the collection’s grown a lot bigger now). We read all the time and I religiously read him bedtime stories.

Until he lost interest in the classic story books I bought. He refused to be read books and only wanted to play.

I wasn’t really devastated — I just accepted that maybe he just wasn’t into books as much as I am. When he finally learned how to read when he was 4 years old (thanks, Eye Level!), I thought it would spark his interest again. Well, he liked reading alright… only he preferred to read road signs, car models, and things written on walls. Books not so much. Our books remained unopened and I didn’t buy any new story books for quite a long time.

Instead, I bought him maze books and activity books, which he devoured! I just thought I shouldn’t push it because he might see reading as a chore. So I let him be.

On his fifth birthday last year, his Tita Hazel (aka his Tita Girlfriend lol) gifted him with a thick science book. It was a great addition to Yuri’s ~untouched~ library. I left it in the bedroom with full intention of transferring it to the bookshelves, but life happened, and I completely forgot about it.

It wads ~thicc~

One day, Yuri discovered the book by himself…and by 11 pm, I had to force the book away from him because he didn’t want to stop reading! Continue Reading

Money Matters

8 Tips to Get Started in Investing in Your Own Property

Contributed by Mandy Yanga

Who doesn’t want to have their own property, right?

Admit it—you’ve always dreamt of investing in a property. You’ve probably even exhausted the books, magazines, and blogs about it—that is, about success stories, about how to do it properly, about tips, and so on. More than that, you’re also hunting for actual properties, such as poring over the listing of the townhouse for sale in San Juan, among others.

But if this is your first time investing in your own property, then it’s easy to get overwhelmed and to be confounded by the whole process, which is why people sometimes quit before even getting started.

If that’s the case, then you’ve come at the right place. This article will explore the tips on how to get started in investing in your own property.

1. Know your budget

This is a very important step to get started. It’s as easy as listing down all your assets, your income, and taking into account your expenditures. Doing this will give you an idea on how much available money you have for investing.

Plus, don’t forget that you can (and you will need to) apply for loans. If you’re employed and have a stable income, then it shouldn’t be that difficult for you to secure a loan.

2. Acquire a pre-approval

Contact your bank regarding a pre-approval for your loan. This will give you an idea on how much you can actually borrow before you begin looking for prospective properties.

In fact, this stage can also be considered an extension of knowing your budget.

3. Keep in mind the ongoing costs

Ensure that you also allot sufficient budget for ongoing expenses, such as insurance, general repairs, and so on.

And once you finally have a property, do your best to do routine checks on it so that you can avoid expensive maintenance issues in the future.

4. Start budgeting

Now that you already know the basic financial matters that you need to take into account, it’s time to dive into this task—it might not sound very alluring, but this is crucial in guaranteeing that your income and expenses are balanced.

5. Identify your goals

What exactly do you want to achieve? What are you looking for?

To make your goals more specific, you can set a deadline for each of them as well. This can also serve as your guideline.

6. Opt for a growth area

This is especially important if you consider on having your property rented. It’s recommended that you choose an area where there’s a demand for rentals, such as being in close proximity to schools and other establishments. The townhouse for Sale in San Juan is also an excellent choice.

7. Be smart

In order for you to make smart decisions, it’s important that you arm yourself with the necessary knowledge. Read a lot about the market and about investing. This will also help you in avoiding property peddlers.

8. Always stick to your goals

It’s advisable to always, always be cognizant of your goals—about what you intend to achieve, and when you should have them accomplished, and so on.

Key Takeaway

Everyone wants to have their own property, whether it’s for residential or business purposes.

Before you visit that townhouse for sale in San Juan, however, there are certain things that you need to take into consideration to make your investment more seamless.

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Where There is Care, There is Family

You can never underestimate the power of a single act of care.

I am blessed to have been born into a family where caring for each other is the norm. We have many imperfections, but at the end of the day, these are the people I can ultimately count on. And while belonging to a family is something that is very easy to take for granted, there is one thing that reminds me of how grateful I should be.

You see, my mother never knew her real parents.

She was adopted as a baby. As you can tell, it wasn’t an easy life at all, but fortunately, her adoptive father, whom she still fondly calls “Daddy” to this day, loved her like a biological daughter. They did not have a lot, but “Daddy” made sure she felt loved and cherished. Despite not attaining a high level of education, he sent my mother to school and taught her a lot of things. To this day, decades after Daddy’s death, he is still the kindest, smartest, and most generous person in my mother’s eyes.

Even though I never knew Daddy — my grandfather — I grew up knowing a lot about him through my mother’s stories. I knew how much he impacted my mother’s life. But is it possible that adopting my mother also changed his life?

You can imagine how moved I was when I watched this heartwarming video by Vicks. Inspired by a true story, the video revolves around a man whose life undergoes a complete 180° turn when he takes an abandoned baby under his wing. From a person who doesn’t care about anyone else, he becomes a different person when he learns to love and experiences how it is to be needed.

“A single act of care not only has the capacity to transform lives, but can transcend social norms, definitions and stereotypes.” 

How true. Even against all odds, a single act of care can transform lives and love can create miracles.

This was a rough man softened by the smile of an innocent child. From a tough tambay to a devoted father. I was deeply moved by how powerful a touch of care is! I don’t think I can ever find the words to accurately describe the message being conveyed here. You need to watch the short video! Tell me what you think about it in the comments!

PS: Please don’t hold me responsible for your teary eyes.

PPS: I never knew my grandfather — my mother’s Daddy — but after watching this video, I am now confident that it was not just my mother’s life that changed when she got adopted. I may never know for sure, but I am convinced that two lives were transformed the very day my grandfather met my mother.

About Vicks®
Vicks®, the world’s #1 selling cough and cold brand*, offers a portfolio of trusted products that are used by millions of people in more than 70 countries around the world. The Vicks family includes: Vicks VapoRub™ Ointment, Vicks BabyRub™ Ointment, NyQuil™, DayQuil™ and Vicks® VapoDrops™. As one of the most globally recognized brands, Vicks is proud to have helped relieve cough, cold, and flu symptoms for generations. Headquartered in Cincinnati, OH, Vicks is owned and distributed by Procter & Gamble.
Lifestyle Planning

Review: Design Your Life Back to Basics Planner

Last week, I posted this on my Instagram and Facebook and got a few positive feedback about the planner I’m using…

Guess which one among the six planner options I ultimately chose?

If you think it’s Design Your Life’s Back to Basics planner, you’re right! I was planning on buying it myself, but when my group of friends’ gift exchange came up last Christmas season, I decided to have my Secret Santa buy it for me lol! Thank you, Hazel, for fulfilling my wish!

As I mentioned, I got quite a few comments on both my Facebook and Instagram posts about the planner I am using. A former professor of mine even commented on how rare it is to find planners with vertical orientation. Actually, that’s perhaps 85% of the reason why I chose this planner. At first, I really wanted the Limitless planner. I loved its classic black cover and I think it really fits me. Even now, I still think it’s very pretty.

However, I will not be using the cover to plan, right? The actual planner pages are faaar more important than a pretty cover. So far, I’m loving my Back to Basics planner. I’ll show you why!

Design Your Life Back to Basics Planner

Barely a week since I started using it and the cover is already dirty. I accidentally placed it over a piece of paper with wet marker ink…

Design Your Life Back to Basics Planner

Happy to have big writing space again. Here the planner page compared to a personal size planner insert from my Kikki K!

A pocket plus the set of stickers the planner comes with

Opposite side of the pocket page with moooore stickers plus some Instax photos and the page for personal info

Back to basics!

Design Your Life Back to Basics Planner

Contacts, obviously 😀

Design Your Life Back to Basics Planner

I already edited the planner “manual” with my own legends and codes, but the personalization really is up to you

It also comes with this bookmark which you can use as a ruler

2017, 2018, and 2019

List-gasm! Two pages of lists <3

I’m loving this “Last Time” page. What better way to track haircuts and dentist appointments!

The “Monthlies” page. I don’t have regular monthly appointments or events so I’m using it for bill tracking

Design Your Life Back to Basics Planner

A sample of the monthly planning page. I love that it has a “Pending” section for tasks you weren’t able to accomplish last month

Design Your Life Back to Basics Planner

And a sample weekly planning page. Vertical orientation FTW! Here’s how I’m using the divisions: first row for personal stuff, middle row for Yuri stuff, and the third row for work-related stuff.

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General Information

Mommy Bloggers and Nutri10Plus for Marawi

Mommy Bloggers Shared The Love To Kids In Marawi Through Nutri10Plus Syrup Vitamin Blog Campaign

(Press Release)

One of the outstanding qualities of mothers is their devotion to providing quality nutrition to their children. This is primarily done by preparing healthy foods and giving effective supplements to sustain and nourish their growing family needs. Nutri10Plus Syrup, a multivitamins packed with Chlorella Growth Factor (CGF), Taurine, Lysine, Zinc and Vitamins C, A, D3 B1 and more, had been assisting mothers all around the Philippines in developing children with strong bodies, active brains and healthy appetite.

During the moving up ceremony where Kaye Koo of SinagTala Foundation helped in disseminating the Nutri10Plus and DayCee vitamin pouches to the kids

Military officers helped in distributing the Nutri10Plus Syrup and DayCee pouches to the kids

In the effort to help our co-mommies and their children in the war-stricken village in Marawi, 100 Mommy bloggers from Mommy Bloggers Philippines community had collaborated to bring boxes of Nutri10Plus Syrup,  DayCee Vitamin C Syrup and several toys, to a hundred kids in Marawi through SinagTala, a non-profit organization headed by Ms. Kaye Koo. SinagTala had been sending help to villages in Marawi since the war erupted and it had sheltered hundreds of children inside the Playroom which served as the mini-school and play area of the children.

Military officers helped in distributing the Nutri10Plus Syrup and DayCee pouches to the kids

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Lifestyle Parenting

A Grandmother’s Wisdom

It’s back-to-work day! And I am savoring the remaining days before back-to-school day. I just want to share with you a simple thing that happened today. It was a very simple thing, but I admit I’m hoping it will never happen again!

While eating lunch, I didn’t know that Yuri was playing with a stray thread from his shorts. He knotted it twice and thrice and accidentally wrapped it around his finger tightly. I didn’t notice it at all because he didn’t want to show what he did.

I only discovered it when I noticed that he couldn’t lift his hand all the way to the table. I looked at his finger and it’s already swollen because of the thread wound tightly around it. I wasn’t able to take a picture anymore because, hello, action first siguro. Anyway, it really was swollen I was afraid a slight nick would cause the finger to bleed. It was also stressful because there’s no room for a pair of scissors to fit in the gap between the thread and the finger. I also didn’t have time to go look for the seam ripper which I don’t even remember when I last used.

The offending piece of thread (sorry for my dry, dry hands. I went swimming the other day and they haven’t recovered yet haha)

I wasn’t at the point of panicking…yet… but I was having trouble figuring the solution out. Until I called my mother. She simply told me to use the nailcutter. Brilliant. Very carefully avoiding the skin, I was able to snip at the thread and set the swollen finger free.

I’m embarrassed to admit that such simple solution didn’t occur to me. Then again, there’s another level of wisdom only grandmothers know, which could only come from experience. Who knows which one of us siblings led her to this kind of knowledge? Teehee.

Personal

My One Word for 2018 and Looking Back at 2017

I started choosing a One Word for the year back when the year 2015 was ending. I discovered it from co-bloggers blogging about their One Words and thought it was a great idea.

In my experience, it works in such a way that it is so much easier to remember a single word than a list of resolutions. Right? For example, my One Word for the year 2016 was Commit. Throughout the important changes that transpired that year, I remembered that single word, which became my driving force to commit and remain steadfast in my beliefs. That year also turned out to be the year Job flew to KSA to work, which made my One Word accurate.

When 2017 came, my One Word was Push. 2017 was a very steady year and I can’t say that there were a lot of changes that happened. However, what happened was God blessed me in the aspects that were already present in my life — even when I didn’t deserve it. Thank you Lord! I celebrated my second year in Stay At Home Mum and was made Operations Manager, which means more responsibilities lol. No complaints! This was also the year I got serious again about our finances. And Yuri also started formal schooling, which pushed me to become a better mother. I failed a lot, but my One Word reminded me that I need to keep on pushing.

For 2018, my One Word is…

Move. 

Two aspects. First, the literal meaning of Move. I literally need to move haha! Seriously, though, even though I have been watchful of what I eat, I still lack physical exercise. My schedule is full, but I am sure I can spare even 15 minutes of exercise each day. After all, my elliptical bike is just there in the living room and has been there since 2016. I should have had muscles of steel already if I just used it everyday lol. I already have the means (elliptical bike + free zumba lessons in the community twice a week), I just need to have the self-discipline to actually do it!

Second is the metaphorical Move. I feel like I’ve been in my comfort zone for too long. I stopped driving this year because I prefer being in the passenger seat — and I realized that applies to my own life, too. I stopped being in charge of my life. Oh yes, I did things, I initiated stuff, and I never really felt out of control. However, I stopped trying new things and taking risks. I settled for whatever was nakasanayan na and I let things happen to me instead of making things happen.

In short, if I look at it at a good way, 2017 was, again, a very steady year. If I charted 2017, it would appear to have a steady line that rises ever so slightly. It’s good but there’s very minimal movement — every day was more or less the same.

And if I look at it at a bad way, my 2017 was a passive year. I pushed forward but I didn’t really grow. I am very thankful for the blessings I have received, but I need to change some things.

I have no idea what’s in store for me this year (then again, who has?), but I feel like this is the year when I need to go out of my comfort zone and just move. 

What is your One Word for 2018?