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Who says being a stay-at-home-mom is boring? There is drama in everyday life.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

On Letting Go

It was a sad week for friends and relatives.  A friend's father passed on and a 6 year old distant relative didn't recover from heart surgery.


T lost her mom to pancreatic cancer not more than 4 months ago.  I was just telling her how impressed I was about her strength.  Then, the news about her father's passing on just surprised us. Someone remarked that, maybe, he just wants to be with his wife.

At first, I couldn't believe that someone can die from loneliness or heart-break.  But, I must have known four cases wherein the spouses pass on soon after their loved ones go.  Sinundan talaga, hanggang kamatayan.

I am in awe of their bond.  But, love, as strong as theirs, transcends death.

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The news about a 6-year-old niece passing on is devastating. I did not know her personally but I was in tears the moment I heard about it. She underwent surgery to correct a congenital heart problem. She survived the surgery but didn't recover from it.

I, too, have a six year old daughter, so this is very close to my heart.  I could barely imagine how to prepare her for such a life-threatening procedure.  I couldn't imagine how you prepare a child for death.  How do you teach the child's siblings to move on, when you are struggling too?

I have so many questions.  No answer seems adequate.

When all is done, there is only peace, comfort and love.

That is the beauty of letting go.




Happy Thoughts, Happy Places


July must have been the month I have traveled most in the past decade.  Next would be May.  It is both an exhilarating and agonizing experience going through the photos in my Facebook Memories.

So, while the memories are still fresh, I decided to unbox my scratch map to document the places I've visited in the past.  As you can see, it is still a work in progress.





Asia is still the most visited region because of its proximity.



Europe comes in next.  Slovenia and Slovakia are too small to be noticeable here.



The markings on the United States map are confined to tourist spots and a few states where I spent time during business trips.




I do not plan on setting foot in all continents, but I still want to scratch off a few more cities in my bucket list.  I am still hoping to experience food-tripping in Montreal, chasing the Aurora Borealis in Scandinavia, being in awe of the Hagia Sophia in Turkey, watching the sunset in Santorini, being mesmerized in Russia.  I am still undecided about Latin America and the African continent.

As St. Augustine once said, "The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page."  I have barely begun.  I hope to finish the book in this lifetime.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Birthday Celebrations 2016


Vic's birthday and mine are a month apart. We rarely hold parties for ourselves. It's usually a special dinner with the kids and a big meal shared with our extended families. 


However, I plan to make it a tradition to travel to celebrate our birthdays. Last year was Tokyo. This year, we decided to go to Hong Kong. We missed the place. 

This year we decided to go about it differently. We didn't stay in our usual Marco Polo hotel. We explored parts of the city that aren't  familiar to us. 


Hotel Pravo

I like this hotel because it is in the center of TST. It is 2 blocks away from Harbour City  and 2 blocks away from Nathan Rd. It is surrounded by small restaurants that locals frequent. It is also quite accessible by MTR. TST and East TST MTR lines are just a block away. 



The interiors are very modern. You'll be greeted by a dark reception area and hallways. However, the rooms are well-lighted despite the black and white interiors. 



The room we were given has a separate living room. 











Toiletries are from a luxury label though I find the scent too strong. 



Our reservation also came with a free local smart phone. Unfortunately, the Internet couldn't be shared. 

What I like best about the place is the free mini-bar. Drinks are refilled everyday. We bring them out with us so we never had to purchase drinks to go with our meals. 

I would have wanted the bathroom to have more hooks. There was only one towel bar to accommodate our towels and clothes. The sink was too cramped for our own toiletries and hand towels. 

Causeway Bay

It was my first time to visit this place. We spent our morning in Ikea. We came out satisfied with our loot and morning snacks. Shopped some more at H&M. We hung out at the Flagship Apple store to rest our tired feet. 

Mongkok

We visited Mongkok in the past. I was only familiar with the Ladies' market and the usual HK stores.  However, due to my father's request, we ventured into a building dedicated to Hi-Fi audio equipment. I never knew about these kinds of stores in the past. 

Food Republic at Silvercord

A trip to HK is not complete without a visit at Silvercord.  During the lunch hour till early afternoon, we find it hard to get seats for a big group of travellers.  However, my husband and I discovered that the place is practically deserted in the evening.

Delicious Kitchen

A five-minute walk from Hotel Pravo is a popular local joint called Delicious Kitchen.  It is known for its double pork rib.  To my Filipino palate, it tastes like a breaded version of our tocino.  It is sweet and crunchy, with a little bit of 5-spice powder.  Serving size is good enough for two.  Try it out during your next visit.


Now, I know what they meant.  You truly discover something new every time you visit Hong Kong.  





Tuesday, May 3, 2016

My Wiki

Just for fun, I tried this Wiki applet on Facebook. This is what it said about me.


Amazingly, it felt like it was really about me. From what I've seen on other people's Wiki profile, they all seem accurate to me. 

Give it a try. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Temperance

I have always been bothered by people who have no care in the world when it comes to spending.  Maybe, because it is not who I am.  Because, if I were in the same position, I know wouldn't be like that.

Growing up in a Catholic environment, Ivalued simplicity and moderation.  I often heard the term "solidarity with the poor." We were given the means to strive for our desires.  But, we also have minds to temper our desires.

According to Merriam-Webster, temperance is the habitual moderation in the indulgence of appetites or passions.  In plain English, it is self-control.

As a parent, I always think of the impression of my actions on my children.  I think about my spending habits, about over-indulging on food and drinks, about rewarding myself with too much time on the computer.

Temperance, moderation, simplicity.  These are values I want to instil on my children.  Because children who are over-indulged are not self-reliant, do not respect boundaries and are narcissists.  

It doesn't mean that just because you can, you should.  Remember, too much of everything will kill you, even love.

A Guide To Kidzania

When I took my kids to Kidzania in BGC there were only 2 things I knew.  (1)  It is a great place for kids to do pretend play.  (2)  It is less expensive if we go on a weekday.  Apart from that, I knew nothing.

To access the facility, you must "check-in" at the Cebu Pacific Desk.  They will hand you your boarding passes that will serve as your entrance tickets.  Each child will be given checks for 50 Kidzos, the currency used inside the facility.

Upon entering the main area, look for the bank, operated by BPI.  Have the checks changed to the local currency.  This money will be used to pay for the training facilities.  With the initial amount, a child can enjoy 3 activities. Most activities require participants to pay 15 Kidzos.

In case you run out of money, your child can earn them by "working" for the utility companies.  The kids will earn money depending on the complexity of the task.

I am not sure if you can bring in food.  But, we were able to slip in bottles of water.  Expect that food is more expensive inside.  A variety of food choices from Purefoods, Goldilocks, McDonalds are available for purchase.  However, you can ask your child to undergo a training in McD for a free burger.  There is a Purefoods assembly line and a Coca Cola bottling machine available on site.  I am not sure if they give out freebies too.

If your children are big enough to roam around by themselves, a waiting lounge for adults may be found at the second floor. Just walk past the Cebu Pac simulator.   Adults may charge their gadgets and surf the Internet using the provided laptops.  Coffee is available from McCafe.  This lounge is off limits to kids.

Most of the activities range from 15 to 30 minutes.  Each activity can accommodate 6 people per session. Only a few can accommodate more than 6.  So be prepared to wait.  It is unfortunate that activities begin at the same time.  If you find your kids lining up in one activity, transferring to another activity will not give them a better chance of getting into another one sooner.  They will most likely line up again, unless there is no current session taking place.  Lines were specially long for the Fire station and Hospital / E.R.

Passport are available for purchase at the entrance. The only benefit I see in getting one is that passport holders pay less when attending training sessions.

Field trips.  If you go on a weekday, there is a possibility that you are sharing the facility with hundreds of kids and their companions.  I am not sure if coming on a weekend would mean less time waiting.

Shifting.  Kidzania has implemented two shifts:  morning till 2PM and 3PM till closing time.  Each shift will end with a parade from the Talent Center.  If you consider the waiting time in between activities, you will most likely enjoy 3-4 activities per visit.

My children were able do the Driver's traning by A1, race track driving at Shell, McDonald's kitchen training, Pilot and Crew training at Cebu Pacific, a 1:1 Pit-stop training and an E.R. training session.  There were lots of other stations we wanted to try out but there wasn't enough time.  Be prepared to be coerced into coming back so your children can try out the other activities.

Lastly, if you find yourself with extra Kidzos, you may keep them for your next visit, or you may deposit them at the bank.  Just don't forget to get an ATM when you do.

Maps, ticket prices and schedules may be found at their website.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Unemployment in the Philippines

I get irritated when I hear that the Philippines has a high unemployment rate.  It is true, there aren't much high-paying jobs available for those who are qualified.  But, there are enough jobs to help out those living below the poverty line.  Just check out how many opportunities are there at POEA.

Several times, I've been stood up by applicants who said they will show up for an interview.  Several times, I've offered training opportunities but trainees are too preoccupied with other stuff to complete their training course.  Several times, I've offered jobs to people who, after a short time on the job, have decided to quit because it was "too difficult."

Well, Dear, nothing in life is easy.  Even getting a ride to work is difficult.  Besides, it is all in the mind.  With no perseverance, patience, hard-work and resilience, you will never get beyond what you have now.  Without the proper attitude, one will never be equipped to handle greater things.  We know that with greater things, come greater responsibility... and greater pay.

So when we speak of unemployment, is it really because of lack of opportunity? Or, is it because they choose NOT to work?




Friday, January 22, 2016

Post Christmas Party

I operate a business that is open 7 days a week.  Our only break is when the mall is closed on some days of the Holy Week.  Because the nature of our business is different, I couldn't celebrate Christmas during the holidays or any weekend, for that matter.  Luckily, my employees agreed to postpone the party till the crazy Christmas rush is over.

My staff requested to hold it in a videoke joint.  I took them to the nearby place called Music 22.  It is a decent place with lots of private rooms, friendly wait staff and affordable rates.  I just supplied food and lots of drinks.  All they had to do was entertain themselves.  What a revelation it was.  For a group of 9, only 1 couldn't carry a tune.

It looks like this much needed time away from work did wonders for them.  Our sales the following day spiked up!

We shall definitely do it again.

Here are the biriteras of Big Apple Spa.




Thursday, November 5, 2015

Christmas Gifts

I've started buying Christmas gifts for friends.  I have randomly picked out items for people in my list.  I also made mental notes on what to get for the special persons on my list when my budget comes in.  In the process, I made my own list to give to myself.


I've been thinking about getting new pair of sunglasses or enrolling in a short course on Pastry Arts or Bread Making.

... Or a pair of neutral travel flats

... or, maybe, a rotating waffle maker 


Yup, nothing too lavish.  No bags this time around.  

I know I am too old to be making wish lists.  But, it's done.



Wednesday, November 4, 2015

On Travels and Travelling

Travelling is my escape.  To some people, travel equals shopping.  Some equate it to a lifestyle brag-worthy on social media.  To me, it is a rejuvenating and an eye-opening experience.  It is my food for the soul.   It is my annual retreat.

Unfortunately, with our present commitments and responsibilities plus children to consider, it has become difficult to orchestrate an escape.

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Ever since we entered the second quarter of the year, I've been hinting about going on a trip.   I saw that the coming months were quite demanding so I wanted to meet the demands with a calm and relaxed disposition.  The year is about to end and no trip took place.   Sadly, even our annual year-end trip isn't pushing through this time.

Needless to say, I survived.  But, I am ThisCloseToLosingIt. One thing that is keeping me sane is the light at the end of the tunnel.  I am seeing two trips next year.  One to Japan with the kids, because we couldn't let the VISA go to waste.  The other one, hopefully, will be in EU.  My husband and I have never been to EU together.

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JAPAN.  I know it is an expensive place but the kids haven't been there.  This is a good opportunity to teach them that travel is not ALWAYS equal to shopping. This will be a cultural and historical trip.

EUROPE.  I am thinking of Switzerland, KÖln, Barcelona, Brugge and Bruxelles.  I am planning to visit friends in Paris and Amsterdam, and maybe, Stockholm too.  Will there be time to chase the Aurora Borealis?  I haven't figured out the actual itinerary.  I am still daydreaming at this point.  Budget and time constraints are still not in the picture.

I hope to get good deals during the travel fair in February.  Wish me luck!