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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…)

Continue Reading

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!

School Shopping

Unique Back to School Finds at Gaisano Mall’s Grocery!

I know I’ve been mentioning Gaisano Mall a lot nowadays, and no I’m not paid to do it. It’s just my current favourite grocery at the moment! One of my absolute favourite things to do, which I may or may not be proud of, is to grocery shop, so I’m bound to have flavours of the month. Sometimes it’s SM, sometimes it’s S&R, right now it’s GMall!

The school year is about to start and I am not yet done with shopping. To complete my back to school shopping, aside from the usual bookstores and online shops and department stores, I’m planning to check out GMall’s grocery (again) because I spotted unique finds that I was not able to find anywhere else.

Like Pop-Tarts, Yuri’s current favourite hehe

Here are pictures of what caught my eye! (Forgive me for the poor quality; I was trying to be discreet as I was not sure whether taking pictures was allowed!) Continue Reading

Kindergarten School

Eating My Words About Our Kindergarten Plans (AKA We’re Finally Enrolled)

I still remember explaining, quite adamantly, why I don’t want to enrol Yuri in my alma mater. 

I don’t have anything personal against the school. It’s just that it’s the school my older brother and I went to most of our lives (except college), and my younger sister, who is entering her final year of junior high school, is still going there. I just want to try something new, which is why I actively scouted for other schools earlier this summer. The school has to fulfil my small criteria, and it shouldn’t be my alma mater.

Well ha ha ha.

Life has a funny way of making you eat your words, lol. A month ago — I just forgot to write a post about it — a week after I had Yuri take an entrance exam at Holy Child, where despite scoring well, we were waitlisted because they were prioritising old students, I irrationally panicked because what if no slot opens for Yuri? I know; it’s irrational. But staying true to my Type A-personality, I just needed a Plan B. Also, it was already the middle of April, not much time left (at least in my view). The other schools I wrote about I no longer considered, but there’s one school quietly waiting for my approval: the alma mater.

Thinking there was nothing to lose, I scheduled Yuri for another entrance test in ze alma mater. My original plan was to compare which school Yuri likes better. I was still planning to phone Holy Child for a follow up if a slot opens up.

Then, this happened and we lost our helper

A little backgrounder for those not familiar with my story: Yuri and I live in my parents’ house while Job works abroad for a couple of reasons. First, Job is not comfortable with the idea of Yuri and me living alone. Second, my dad is a dialysis patient, my mother is out everyday working, and my tween sister is still too young to take care of my dad if ever the need arises.

Back to the topic. Our helper, because of reasons, left, so we’re back to being help-less again. Our household will not fall apart in the absence of a helper, of course, but it was nice to know there’s an extra pair of hands around especially now that Yuri will be going to school. I built plans considering those extra hands, so when they left, I needed to amend the plan.

Bottom line: to make our lives easier, the most ideal thing to do right now is enrol Yuri in the same school my sister goes. Our routines would be much more streamlined, academic and extra-curricular schedules will be aligned, and in the unlikely event that I won’t be able to go to Yuri right away,  at least my sister is just there in the same campus. It just made perfect sense, and four weeks ago, Yuri was finally enrolled.

Right now, even though I’m sure I will still shop around for another school next academic year, I’m completely content with the final decision (Yuri doesn’t seem to mind either way). I’m just focusing on the most exciting task at hand: completing the boy’s school supplies. LOL!

Lifestyle Mixed Mess Shopping

Dental Appointment + Outfit Twinning + School Supplies Shopping

Happy mother’s day! Personally, even though I’m a mama myself, I don’t really celebrate mother’s day. However, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it either. So if it empowers you as a mother, go ahead and celebrate your being awesome!

Dental Appointment

Last weekend was another full weekend for me. Saturday was Yuri’s and my sister’s dental appointment. My sister had her teeth “molded” in plaster in preparation for her braces. Her teeth were overlapping so she needs to have them fixed.

Yuri was also scheduled for a check-up. Good news is that unlike last year, where he didn’t even want to sit on the chair by himself, now he did it willingly and without any prodding.

The bad news is that some of his molars had decay (this, despite brushing his teeth 2-3 times a day — sugar is the culprit, as usual) and our dentist recommended filling them in. Yikes! Yes, we are serious about dental hygiene, but Yuri does eat a lot of bread and pasta and sweets. So there. Also, I’m also suspecting Yuri’s current toothpaste, but it’s just a suspicion not to be taken seriously lels.

Dentist’s tip: Even if your oral hygiene is great, if you eat a lot of carbs and sugar in between brushing, you’re still at risk of getting cavities. In her words, it’s not just how often you brush your teeth but what you eat in between. So limit carbs and sugar! 

As we all know, filling requires taking out the decaying part of the tooth by “grinding” them. She told me she will have to refer me to a pediatric dentist because most boys Yuri’s age don’t cooperate and need to be sedated. I wasn’t comfortable with the idea of sedation, and I think our dentist (she’s been our dentist since I was a toddler) noticed that, so she asked me if I would like her to try filling just one tooth. I agreed, of course. I’m much more comfortable with her compared to a new dentist.

“Grinding” hehe

Yay yay yay! Yuri did not only fully cooperate but also didn’t even cry. Thank you, Lord! He flinched at the first touch of the “grinder” but didn’t move away from it or complain. When Doc was done, he even gave her a thumbs-up sign. We could’ve proceeded with another tooth but there was another patient waiting so we’ll return next week. Hopefully everything will be finished before the school year starts.

Tired from the appointment? Hahaha

Outfit Twinning with Yuri!

I may not necessarily celebrate Mother’s Day but that doesn’t mean I won’t dress up for it! My close friend, JM, sells twinning outfits for mothers and daughters, but occasionally, she sells mom and son outfits. When one came out in Yuri’s size, I just had to get it.

Dress from Mommy Trends, old cardigan, old Coach bag, Crocs flats
Yuri: Shirt from Mommy Trends, Oshkosh shorts, Converse sneakers

Wow I miss doing an OOTD! I rarely have OOTD photos taken nowadays because I feel insecure about how I currently look lol but I just can’t help it with this outfit. I find it so cute! I love that it’s not tacky (in fact, you will need to be really observant to notice that our outfits match) but they look good together.

It’s in the details

And I’m not just saying this because JM is my friend. I really love the clothes and I love how I look in it haha!

School Supplies Shopping

Why is it that the younger the student is, the longer the list of supplies?! Yuri’s requirement list, which we got from school after we enrolled (which reminds me — I forgot to write a post about it!), is an entire bond paper filled with names of supplies. And that’s just the basics.

I wasn’t planning to buy school supplies earlier because I wanted to set a date for it to get everything done. However, at Gaisano Mall (we like going to Gaisano Mall now because the Pop-Tarts are there haha), I saw that the entire atrium was turned into a school supply fair. While I love National Bookstore, the prices are lower in GMall. For example, a box of Crayola So-Big in NBS is like P110; there, an exact same box is just P88. Elmer’s Glue is P25 for 50 ml; there it’s just P19. A big difference considering my tendency to hoard, and the fair is right there in front of me, so I decided to just buy whatever I could buy.

There were also socks, underwear, uniforms, bags, lunch boxes and bags, even hygiene stuff. Virtually everything a student’s going to need for school. So I bought na what I can buy. 

Just a feeeewwww of what I bought. I didn’t take a picture of the entire haul anymore because it’s just boring academic stuff lels

I was personally curious about the lesson plan notebooks and the So Big Crayolas. They’re required to use lesson plan notebooks (with blue and red lines), and I saw K-12 ones from DepEd itself. So maybe it’s also a requirement in other schools? I don’t know. I do remember that when I was in Grade 1, we used lesson plan notebooks, too.

Yuri has never used So Big crayons. When he was about 2, I bought him toddler crayons that he rarely used since our old crazy yaya misplaced them. I saw them again just last year and they’re still unused. Yuri has always used regular crayons and never had a problem using them even when he didn’t know how to hold a pencil. So it came to me as a surprise that his school is requiring So Big crayons. I thought they were for nursery students or something. I didn’t know Senior Kindergarteners were also using them. Will the teacher allow Yuri to use regular crayons if he finds these jumbo ones too uncomfortable to use? Hmmm….

There were some items on my list that I didn’t find there but at least I’m already more than halfway done with school shopping. Woot woot!

How did you spend your weekend, mommies?

Lifestyle Messy Weekends Personal

Broker Duties, Lunch with Friends, and Discovering Where to Buy Pop-Tarts!

I had a full day last Saturday. It started quite early (at least for me, because I don’t usually get up early on Saturdays) at 9:00 am and, as usual, Yuri was with me the entire day. It seems like he has completely adopted to being out and about — he prefers it over being left at home.

Which is completely fine with me because Yuri is at this age where he can take care of himself (most of the time) and he can even help around (with tiny tasks like getting himself a cup of water). Also, the boy tends to be silly so he’s very welcome company!

Real Estate Broker Duties

In the morning, we went to the Open House event of this new subdivision called Diamond Heights. They’re relatively new but their houses are selling literally like pancakes. It happened that they also started accepting reservations during the Open House event so it was literally a full-house. There were a lot of brokers and clients there.

With the brother of our client (the client works in Dubai)

We went there early but were already 13th in the registration form. It was a bit stressful because our client wants a corner lot, and there were only a handful of corner lots being opened for reservation! Thank goodness we were still included in the first 10 buyers because our client was already there with us. Because of this, our client enjoyed a nice promo and was able to choose a good corner location.

Lunch with my Soul Sisters

We don’t really plan it, but it seems like meeting with my closest friends since college happens once a month. This time, there were only three of us because JM is busy organising a wedding in Kidapawan City while Christine is still in Japan. It’s easiest for Hazel, George, and I to meet up because we just live in Davao City.

Red Corner, Gaisano Mall branch

Yuri and his tita-girlfriend, Hazel

This time, we decided to have lunch in Red Corner. I already wrote a review of it last year, and it’s pretty much the same, except for the branch. While it was in their Mabini branch last time, this time, I was able to eat at their newly opened branch in Gaisano Mall.

Cookies and cream milkshake

Cheese fries

Golden Boy burger

Food was pretty much the same. This time, though, I just ordered a regular burger (Golden Boy) for Yuri and me because we already ate at the Open House event. The bread still tastes good and the patty just as juicy. I just wasn’t totally crazy over it this time, probably because I wasn’t very hungry.

Taken by Hazel

We also had coffee (I had matcha) at Little Dorothy Cafe, which has the same owner as Cafe Annabelle’s.

Hazel, George, and me (grabbed from Hazel’s cam because all the pictures on mine are the crazy ones)

Grocery Shopping with Yuri!

When we were in college, a meet-up or even just a regular hang-out entailed long hours of partying and drinking and whatever we wanted to do. Because we are all adults now, a meet-up just means 2-3 hours of eating, drinking coffee, and chit chat. After that, we need to part ways to take care of our respective responsibilities lololol.

Upon parting ways with Hazel and George, Yuri and I proceeded to do our (my) favourite chore: grocery shopping! I don’t know what it is with grocery shopping that makes me feel so euphoric. Shopping for clothes and even bags doesn’t even feel remotely the same. If you want to boost my mood, bring me to a grocery store.

Somebody please take a decent picture of us…

I especially like doing groceries at Gaisano Mall because they have everything. I love SM, but it is GMall’s grocery that has everything (okay, maybe except the shoes and clothes). In fact, one of the reasons why it took me long to get an S&R membership is because I can pretty much buy a lot of US goods in Gaisano Mall anyway. I get it that S&R has its own perks, but in a pinch, I would choose to shop at GMall’s grocery. They’re a lot cheaper most of the time!

(It’s a pity it is so difficult to park at Gaisano Mall, though!)

Yuri and I took our sweet time (pun not intended) browsing the snack aisles. My 5-year old was particularly delighted because we discovered they’re already selling Pop Tarts! In single packs! You see, I don’t like buying a whole box of Pop Tarts because it’s pretty expensive for just a snack — not to mention it’s not good for Yuri anyway.

Pop-taaaarts!

We (or was it just I?) also had an awesome time looking for things Yuri can use for school. We already have a list of requirements, but we’re not going to buy all of them until next week. Still, it was fun “canvassing.” I even bought Yuri a lunch box because it was priced at 50% off. It was a Biokips lunch box. I was originally looking at the Lock and Lock ones, but Yuri wanted the Biokips better. I don’t know why; they look the same to me. But I bought it anyway since Yuri likes it and it’s on 50% discount. Not bad!

Plus, I may or may not have bought a few bento tools to go with it.

Obviously, I had so much fun at the grocery store last Saturday hahaha. I took a lot of pictures so stay tuned for my next post about the School Finds that piqued my curiosity at GMall!

Mixed Mess Parenting Personal

Last Day at Eye Level + Nighttime Toilet Training

This post has been sitting in my… wait for it… drafts for way too long!

It’s been terribly hot this summer — where’s my summer breeze to make me feel fine? — but just last night, we had a strong thunderstorm. It was the same as the thunderstorm we had a couple of Saturdays ago where our electricity even got cut off for 5 hours.  And for the first time ever, our home office flooded (a little bit). Thank God it occurred to me to check the office just when the leaking started. (God has been giving me small reminders lately that went on to reveal bigger things. Thank you, Lord!)

I actually meant to post this almost a full month ago. For time reference, Yuri’s last day at Eye Level was on April 8th, and he got fully nighttime toilet-trained on April 13th.

Last Day at Eye Level

There’s nothing about Eye Level that both Yuri and I don’t love. Honest. I already made a proclamation of love here so I won’t go into details anymore. I just want to say that Yuri entered the enrichment centre literally illiterate (does that make sense? haha). Seriously. He just turned four then and before that, I didn’t think it was important to pressure him into learning how to read and write. After all, he wouldn’t be three forever.

(I have nothing against parents whose children were taught to read and write earlier. Different families, different priorities.)

By the time he turned four, though, I knew our time was up: he needed to learn how to read and write. When I enrolled Yuri to Eye Level’s English program May of 2016, he didn’t even know how to hold a pencil. After assessing him, we started at a pre-literacy level, where we even struggled with writing lines! I loved teaching Yuri, but for some reason, teaching him how to draw straight lines, crooked lines, and curves brought me at my wit’s end.

But after persevering, both in the centre and at home, suddenly Yuri was zooming through writing letters. We had to learn the correct strokes (I was lax at first but later learned to abide by the rules — penmanship does matter). At first, he got B’s and C’s on his booklets, but later on, they became all A’s. After several months, he was already on to reading and forming simple words.

From not knowing how to hold a pencil, he’s already writing and reading and spelling words.I know this is in no way an extraordinary feat, but for us, who started the year illiterate, this was amazing progress. And I credit much of it to Eye Level. The one-on-one hands-on sessions as well as the engaging activities and exercises helped a lot. 

Last day at Eye Level today 😭#sepanx

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However, Job and I, even though we are 101% satisfied with Eye Level, decided to pull Yuri out after 10 months of being with the learning centre. This is plainly because Yuri is about to enter formal schooling for the very first time in his life. We felt like we all needed a break from any sort of pressure and just focus on resting and transitioning to school life this summer. We didn’t even enrol him to any summer class this year. I also want Yuri to be able to focus on schooling alone when it starts. By the time he adjusts to our new routines, we may come back to Eye Level. This time, we will be going for Math instead of English. Who knows?

Nighttime Toilet Training Saga

My mother has been nagging me about this for so long. You see, even though Yuri got successfully potty-trained before he turned 2, he has still been wearing pull-ups at night. I don’t know; I just felt like he wasn’t ready yet. Each morning, he wakes up with a full pull-up and he does pee a lot at night. In the early days, I tried having him wear his cloth diapers at night. But barely an hour into sleep, he wakes up because it’s already full of pee. So I just shrugged nighttime toilet training off and waited until he was ready.

I knew he was ready a couple of weeks before he turned five. He still wakes up with a wet pull-up but that’s because he pees upon waking up. It’s also the perfect timing because it’s summer and he pees a lot less during the summer. But then, we travelled and I felt like it wasn’t the best time to toilet train. We were sleeping in a hotel room on a hotel bed, after all! I just didn’t want to risk it.

Heels over head 😂

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When we got back from our vacation, I waited for the next long weekend to come. It happened to be the weekend of the Holy Week. Our first night of no-pull ups happened on the night of Maundy Thursday. I just followed the basic pieces of advice: not giving too much liquid at night and peeing before bedtime. That’s it.

And it was a success! I didn’t get to sleep much that night, though. I was so paranoid he would wet the bed so I kept waking up to check. Nonetheless, he woke up with the bed fully dry and the first thing he did was pee. Teehee. It really does make a difference to wait until the child is ready.


My takeaway from this mothering experience? There’s no competition when it comes to nighttime toilet training. After all, it’s a bodily function that is not easily controllable. We might have used up more pull ups than kids who got toilet trained earlier, but it’s okay. There’s no use pressuring a child who just couldn’t keep his bed dry because he can’t help it. Because I decided to wait until I was sure Yuri was ready, he didn’t have to feel pressured or frustrated. Because we waited, nighttime toilet training for us was super easy, stress-free, and tear-free!

Actually, come to think of it, this can be applied to teaching literacy, too! In other words, raising a child shouldn’t be a competition.

Lifestyle My Christian Walk Personal

Refreshed, Recharged, Re-energised!

I can say that I already 100% recovered from the theft that I discovered just last week.

I credit a huge part of the “recovery” to Job, who has always been there to rescue me. Nope, he did not catch the thief for me. After all, I refused to file a police report against the maid because of personal reasons and because it would be totally unfair to her if the thief turned out to be someone else. I am aware that the chances of it not being her is really slim, but there’s still a chance to consider.

How can I explain this… Let’s just say I did not want to risk it because I’ve been to her home, and I saw how dire her living conditions were. The farmers in remote areas that I have visited and stayed with in the past lived in better conditions that she did. Some of you might be shaking your heads at me right now, but I know I wouldn’t be able to forgive myself if her story turned out to be true. I might have lost a considerable amount of money, but I know it will come back to me in the form of blessings and provisions. Whoever the thief is, I leave his or her fate to God.

So where does Job come in here? I already mentioned that he will be replacing the money that I had lost, but more than that, it’s his simple assurance that he will always be there to come to my rescue. It doesn’t mean that I need to be rescued, nor does it mean that I am someone who cannot take care of herself. It’s the simple fact that there is someone who looks out for me and prays for my well-being, someone who cannot stand the thought of me bothered over little things like money, and someone who shines God’s light for me every single day.

When I was down and deflated, he reminded me of God’s promises — and also reminded me that I’ve been through things that were a lot worse and will probably go through bad things again. It’s just how life is, and our God’s faithfulness will see us through.

A Quick Getaway to Clear the Mind

While God and Job helped me get over this “minor” problem, it was this holiday weekend’s trip that really made me forget all about it. Buda (Bukidnon-Davao road) will always be one of my favourite places to go to, because despite it being still technically inside Davao City (even after 2-3 hours of travel), it always makes me feel like I’m away from the rest of the world.

Credits to The Life Chaser for this beautiful picture of Buda Road

Amazingly, there was cell signal in the rest house that we stayed in. I was pleasantly surprised because we didn’t have signal at all in Jive Resort before. However, getting data connection was difficult. I only captured enough data signal to post a signal photo, and then after that, nothing. Everyone spent the weekend without an internet connection, and it worked really well because nobody was glued to his or her phone. There was also a TV but we didn’t even need to plug it in. Everyone just spent time together through laughter and jokes, eating, sharing stories, walking, swimming, and just resting. Real rest — without a screen involved.

I also realised one thing. If I was able to spend an entire weekend without even thinking about Facebook, that means I could spend a whole less time on social media and spend it on more meaningful things instead. I am planning to reduce my time on Facebook and only go online (after work) to talk to Job or post a blog or do something of equal importance. Oh, the wonders unplugging does!

Also, the fact that the climate there is cold all year round while it is smoking hot in the city helps. A lot. Hehehe

Fog! Sorry for this crappy picture. Remind me to sit in the front seat next time 😛

I spent the long weekend in a Buda rest house with my family and our neighbours, and I felt my stress melt away. It wasn’t a particularly stressful time at work (both as an operations manager and a real estate broker), and I didn’t have a lot of personal problems, so the weight I was carrying was solely the theft’s. Still, I knew I needed a getaway and a quick recharge, and well, the weekend at cold, reliable Buda did the trick!

I just came home this afternoon and haven’t prepared pictures, so even if I want to blog about the trip and recommend the rest house right now, I won’t be able to do so. Not that I have taken a lot of pictures — we were wet half the time so I barely had time to hold a phone! Also, I haven’t even blogged about our day trip to Davao Oriental during the Holy Week-end yet, so I don’t really have a right to be blogging about my Buda trip lololol! But stay tuned for both blog posts, please!

What do you do to recharge?

*Featured picture from Choose Philippines
Kindergarten Lifestyle School

Incredibly Excited for Kindergarten!

We had our last session at Eye Level a couple of Saturdays ago. It’s an enrichment school (formerly Enopi) so we didn’t really have to have summer vacations — and we certainly didn’t have to stop as both Yuri and I loved Eye Level — but I felt like giving him a break since he’ll be going to regular for the first time in his entire life. Yuri misses his classmates, but I just want him to enjoy this summer vacation. Also, it’s not as if he’s pining away after it hehe. We may go back to Eye Level once he’s fully adjusted to schooling, so who knows?

As for regular school, I still have a full month and give or take 2 weeks before it starts.

Aaaand I can’t stop online window shopping for school supplies. It’s like I’m addicted to it. I even dream of school supplies. Then again, I shouldn’t be so surprised — I find every excuse in the world as a valid reason to shop. Well, at least I’m not spending money! Err, at least not yet…

His hair was already too long in the wrong places, and I wanted to have him get a decent haircut before we make a first appearance at school lol

There was a new barbershop in the neighbourhood that also caters to little kids, and the haircut here costs almost half of what I used to pay for at Fun Cuts Just For Tots at SM Lanang. We love the place and how near it is to our house! And the cut’s not bad at all. Win!

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about our three initial school options for kindergarten. Those three were supposed to be initial choices, which meant I should’ve been adding more choices. However, I think I’ve already looked into all possible school choices in our area, and I didn’t find anything worth adding. If you didn’t get to read that previous post of mine, I am really just looking for a good school that is near our house. This is the first time Yuri will be going to a regular school and I don’t want us getting up extra early for a 45-minute travel. Of course, once he gets older, our priorities will shift and the accessibility of the school, while still important, may no longer top the list.

I originally planned to go to all of those three schools to inquire and maybe have Yuri take entrance exams. However, we ended up going to only one school. Here’s why:

  1. Little Leaders Learning Village is the most expensive out of the three. To be honest, even though the price difference is almost negligible, I cannot reconcile with how it’s more expensive than the other two considering it’s the smallest (it literally just occupies a unit in a commercial building). Also, correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m not sure if it has an open area where the kids could run around. This is very important for me because I grew up running in playgrounds. I’m sure it’s a nice school, but it’s not the one for us.
  2. PNJK is officially out of the option because of a neighbour who has a certain reputation. I don’t want to go into details, but let’s just say that I don’t want to risk it. Don’t get me wrong; he’s not a threat to society, well at least, but he seems to just hate his Filipino neighbours (even though he’s Filipino himself). It’s just not worth it.

Sooo, by law of elimination, that means we’re left with one option: Holy Child! It’s not like we’re left without a choice, though. It was already on top of my list mainly because it is super near home, and I do think it’s a good school for kindergarten.

I failed to take a picture of the campus and the classrooms. I’ll take pictures once we’re enrolled.

Just last Wednesday afternoon, we went there to inquire. Since we were already there, I asked the person in charge if Yuri can take an entrance exam. It was already 3:30 in the afternoon, and the in-charge was quite hesitant because Yuri might not be able to finish on time. I asked her how long it takes to finish it, and she said it depends on the student. It is possible to finish early though, she said, so I went ahead and paid for the entrance exam anyway (P200), hoping Yuri can answer despite being unprepared.

I adored the examiner. She was so well-spoken and her voice was well-modulated. I loved her techniques, too!

And he passed! It didn’t take him long, thank goodness, and I was just observing from where I was waiting. I am not going to tell you how exactly the examination went; all I can say is that I liked the method of the examiner and she was really kind and helpful and accommodating. She even praised Yuri a couple of times when he finished the exam, and I was absolutely grateful for the affirmation. And yes, a little bit flattered, too, lol!

However, we weren’t able to enrol yet because they are prioritising their old students last week. I’ll have to wait for Wednesday to inquire whether a slot is available for Yuri. Realistically, I think there would be since we’re not a particularly big community and some kids might get transferred to bigger schools. But I really hope there is because we snooped around the kindergarten area (with permission, of course!) and Yuri really liked what he saw. When we went to SM Lanang later that afternoon, he even told me what he wants to put inside his table: his lunchbox daw, his pencil case, etc etc.

The fact that Yuri suddenly became super excited didn’t help… me. Because he’s excited, the excitement that I had already felt since the beginning of this month intensified further. We still haven’t bought school supplies yet — save for some that were given to Yuri as gifts or were bought in advance because naka-sale hahaha — and now I can’t stop looking at websites, blogs, and even Youtube vlogs (I just re-discovered how fun watching Youtube vlogs is!). I’ve been all over eBay, Amazon, even Shopee and every single kids’ online shop out there. I am a woman obsessed!

The obsessed mum and the exasperated child

I’m afraid I might overbuy and buy stuff that aren’t even needed, but then again, who doesn’t? Still, I want to stay practical and ~rational~ in this kindergarten school supplies shopping thing, so I’m doing all the research!

What were/are your kindergarten must haves? What do I need to buy? What can I do without?

Birthday Lifestyle Yurisms

Yuri Turns 5

It’s been a full month since Yuri’s party! And I have a looot of drafts in my backlog. #mustfindtimetoblog

Anyway…

I can’t believe I already have a 5-year old!

Wasn’t it just yesterday when I had a semi-permanently attached baby to my boobies?!

Yuri’s real birthday was on March 26, but we were scheduled to be out of town on that date so his birthday celebration was held a week earlier. It was a truly intimate party (yes, a McDonald’s party can be intimate because they only require a minimum of 10 people!) where I invited people close to us. Continue Reading

Kindergarten Lifestyle Preschool School

Comparing My Three Initial Choices for Yuri’s First Big School

So we’re officially graduating from our unique preschool setup. Now, it’s time to look for Yuri’s big school for kindergarten!

About a week ago, I finally learned how much the tuition fee for the school I really, really wanted was. It was admittedly a bit higher than what I was hoping for — it’s around 10k higher than our projected budget — but Job gave me the go-signal. The fact that it is a really good school and comes highly recommended by everyone makes it easy to forget the slight difference anyway.

(Okay, it’s Davao Christian High School.)

I’ll be back when Yuri learns to wake up at 5 am. T.T (taken from DCHS’ Facebook page)

But there are two major drawbacks that keep me from finally choosing that school.

  1. Both branches are far from where we live. The distance is fine for an elementary student, but for a kindergartener who will be going to school for the first time in his life, I think it is quite far.
  2. Chinese is required in their curriculum. None of us speaks Chinese or can even remotely understand it. We would have to hire a language tutor, which I think is an unnecessary expense. I’m not even sure whether my son needs to learn Chinese. So, yes, it’s one of the major things that’s making me unsure.

While I’m still hoping we can go to Davao Christian when Yuri grows older, for now, I don’t think I should push it. You see, I actually have just a few non-negotiables for Yuri’s kindergarten school, so we can go choose another.

  • It has to be good. It doesn’t have to be big; it doesn’t have to be progressive. I just want it to be good (good environment, good teachers).
  • It has to be relatively near. Yuri’s not exactly the best when it comes to waking up early so I wouldn’t want to add to our stress.
  • Of course, the tuition fee must fit our budget.
  • There must be a place around or outside campus that is conducive for work.

So yes, I’m busy looking for a school! It’s fun but it’s also a little bit frustrating because almost all of the schools that seem interesting are in the south and I live in the north. Whyiii! 

There are good schools nearby, of course. I’m just jealous because almost all of the cool-sounding progressive schools are in the south *pouts* lol. Anyway, these are my options so far (as my list is still growing):

1. Little Leaders Learning Village

Taken from Little Leaders’ Facebook page

Reputation: I have eyed this little school ever since I started looking for a preschool for Yuri (and before we ultimately decided to semi-homeschool). The school is a progressive Catholic school, and I have heard good reviews about it. Since it’s just beside our cooperative, where we keep some of our savings, I’ve walked by it a number of times already. However, I’ve never been inside. (Also, cute name.)

Location: It’s just less than 10 minutes away and conveniently located near commercial areas in the city. In fact, just in front of it, a new Gaisano Mall is being built.

Fees: I sent their Facebook page an inquiry (I haven’t gotten around to school-hopping yet), and they sent a response rather quickly. For Kinder, the tuition fee is around 36k — not sure if this already includes the 4k miscellaneous fee or not.

Conducive Place for Work: I’m not sure but there are restaurants nearby. But they are not the most conducive places to work (for me), so if we choose this school, I’ll probably just go home to work.

2. Holy Child College of Davao

Taken from Holy Child’s Facebook page (will try to take a full picture when I visit)

Reputation: Holy Child is a pretty well-known school in Davao, and they have a handful of branches around the city. I know a lot of people who graduated there, as well as teachers who taught there. I pass by their campuses all the time, but I’ve only been inside their main campus.

Location: Fortunately, one of their branches is literally 5 minutes away from home. I have yet to explore it, but I will anytime soon.

Fees: I also sent their Facebook page an inquiry, although it took almost a week to finally get a response. I get it, though, since it’s Graduation and Moving Up season. According to the response, tuition fee is 32k and it already includes the miscellaneous fees.

Conducive Place for Work: It’s in the middle of a residential area so there aren’t many establishments surrounding it. However, it’s a relatively easy problem to solve as our house is just so near — I can just work at home instead.

3. Philippine Nikkei Jin Kai International School

Taken from Panoramio

Reputation: Among the schools in my list, this is the school that I know best because I went there in first grade. Back then (lakas maka-tanda), it was only a tiny school with a tiny playground with a tiny library filled with Japanese books (I can still remember “reading” a Japanese Pinocchio). It’s a good school and I also know a lot of people who graduated there. Japanese is a required subject, but I learned basic Jap in first grade and in college so the prospect is not as scary.

Location: It’s not super near, but it is located on the route that I know best because it’s near Eye Level.

Fees: I haven’t inquired yet, but they published their 2015-2016 schedule of fees online so I’m going to refer to it. According to it, tuition fee + miscellaneous fees for kindergarten is 33k, inclusive of books.

Conducive Place for Work: Its location is actually teeming with places I can work and it’s only a couple of minutes from SM Lanang Premier. Not good for my wallet, though, lol!


My parents have been insisting on my alma mater, but it’s always received an immediate scrap from me. Nothing against my high school alma mater; it’s just that my 2 siblings and I have gone there for a total of 21 years already. And my younger sister is still in middle school! I’m just itching to try another school, really!

Obviously we haven’t made a decision yet. We haven’t done any physical school hopping yet, only digital, and I’m still on the lookout for other options. If there are mommies here who hail from Davao, can you please offer me school suggestions? Thank you!

Davao Events Messy Haul Shopping

My Finds from the Christmas Bazaar 2016

Chino's Deli

I admit that I had much more fun browsing the items on sale during last year.

I would say that the products sold by the booths last year were much more interesting than the ones on display this year, but maybe that’s just me and my hobbies speaking. You see, while I love dressing up, I don’t really get excited about hangers and piles of clothes. And shoes. And bags. And makeup. Don’t get me wrong; I love all of those things just as much as the next girl, but come on, I see all of those in malls and online stores everyday.

When I visit bazaars, I expect to discover unique knick-knacks, browse hobby stores and stores that offer products we don’t often see in malls and boutiques, sample locally made food products… So I was quite disappointed with this year’s bazaar’s lack of those things.

I found myself missing the craft, artsy, hobby, party, local organic food stalls from last year. Where were my handcrafted soap, planners and diaries and colouring books, locally made chocolates, and calligraphy stuff? Oh well.

However, I did not come home empty-handed. Okay, I almost never come home empty-handed from whatever, but yeah, you get the point. I did find stuff that sparked my interest and even discovered things that I’ll surely buy again (totally saving those business cards, guys!). Here are my finds from the Christmas Bazaar 2016. Continue Reading

Christmas Events Shopping

Christmas Bazaar 2016 at the Davao Convention Center

My co-workers, Sarah and Jona, and I are regulars at local bazaars.

More often than not, we end up buying more food than we had planned!

This year’s Christmas bazaar is no exemption. Since the bazaar will be there until Sunday (November 30 was the first day), and we went yesterday (where there was a huge downpour!), here’s a quick post about what you can expect from it. This is by no means an extensive description of the entire bazaar. Instead, here are pictures of booths and stalls that caught my eye.

15240144_10211128793238726_1485166881_n 15271660_10211128779238376_837103330_o 15240197_10211128780118398_253117348_n 15280900_10211128782678462_1322678443_n 15280996_10211128791558684_513351116_n 15281172_10211128783478482_1625203103_n Continue Reading

Lifestyle Planning

My New, Unplanned Planner for 2017!

Kikki-K Tangerine Personal Planner

I used to own a dark pink Webster’s Pages Colour Crush planner.

Webster's Pages Color Crush in Dark Pink

Webster’s Pages Color Crush in Dark Pink

Well, I still own it. However, I cannot use it because I accidentally damaged it when I deposited Job’s salary into his bank account — long story, but I’m gonna tell it anyway haha.  There’s a BDO (Job’s bank) in Riyadh but it’s too far from where he lives and, according to him, it’s much cheaper to send his money here for me to deposit than for him to travel all the way to BDO. Very well, then!

I wrote his bank account number in my planner and also saved it in my phone for back up. When I was in the bank, I referred to the bank account number saved in my phone. If you know me, you would also know that I had to cross-check the number with the number that was written in my planner (and then double check it, thrice).

Because I was trying to do everything quickly before the line gets longer, I also  quickly opened my planner… and broke the snap. Huhu!

I tried to get it repaired at Mr. Quickie; apparently, they don’t repair broken snaps. And I don’t know where else to look, so I strategically bemoaned my loss at Job. I especially emphasised the part where I accidentally broke the snap while running an errand for him. He, of course, volunteered to replace my planner. Yay!

(Disclaimer: I am usually not like this. I just really need to use a planner! My friend, George, can testify to this. During the days when I was planner-less, I kept forgetting the things I needed to do.)

I was planning to replace my Colour Crush with another Colour Crush (I function best with refillable binder planners), but changed my mind due to two reasons.

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First, I was afraid I’d just break the snap again — the snap had always seemed a little bit too fragile. It’s safer to assume that all Colour Crush planners are made the same way rather than assume I just had a lemon.

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Second, I wasn’t planning on buying a new planner at all. In fact, since binder planners are refillable, I was planning to use my Colour Crush until it gives up on me. Well, it did give up on me ahead of schedule. Since I was buying a new one anyway, and since I’m planning to use it for a long time, I figured why not upgrade?

So behold, my new planner, a tangerine Medium Leather Personal Kikki.K planner!

Kikki K Tangerine Personal Planner

I bought it secondhand, so the price is roughly the same as a brand new Webster’s Pages Colour Crush. Job actually wondered why it costs lower than he expected, so I told him I didn’t order a brand new one. He was happy, lol!

More pictures of my new baby: Continue Reading

Homeschooling Lifestyle Parenting School

On the Fence About Homeschooling

I missed the local homeschooling conference in Davao City last weekend.

I had really planned to go, but during the last few months, we’ve been on the fence about homeschooling. I can talk about the benefits of homeschooling and how homeschooling has helped Yuri grow for hours — and really, I still believe them to be true — but the other side of the truth is that we don’t think it’s going to work for us next year.

Despite the schedule that I had established in the beginning of this school year, we haven’t been able to follow it. Because of my busy schedule, juggling work, real estate events, blogging, family, household chores, and my personal life, homeschooling just slid down the list of my priorities.

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Hear me out. I’m a full-time working single mum whose partner lives and works over 5,000 miles across the globe. I don’t have household help. Everyday I do not only take care of Yuri; I also assist the rest of the family, especially my dad who undergoes dialysis twice a week. I planned to homeschool after work, but most of the time, the only thing I want to do after I’m done with work is to rest.

I don’t think I can do it next year. Continue Reading