January 30, 2015

Dignity for the Fallen

I'm writing this blog post in response to this question posed by Rappler:
Were you disappointed with President Aquino's decision to forego the heroes' welcome?

Disappointed is putting it mildly. I am dismayed at the insensitivity, at the apathy; I feel despondent because of the apparent lack of care by the government, especially by the supposed "father" of our nation.

Sadly, I haven't seen a real form of empathy from the most powerful man in the nation since the tragedy. There is only apathy.
Image from Rappler

I cannot grasp the amount of grief the families of the 44 have now. The news affected me because Job used to be in the military before he got into an accident that broke his thigh bone, but that's the extent of my connection. I only have a limited understanding of their brokenness.

Given the President's background and upbringing, I don't doubt that he couldn't fully grasp it, too. But one doesn't have to be a superbeing to empathize. I believe a great leader will forget his personal troubles and embrace his men in a time of darkness. We call it compassion. Sometimes, it also goes by the name of courage.

I hate to criticize the President in this blog because I know he is placed above me as a person of authority for a reason, but I truly struggle to understand his ways.

I believe a great leader wouldn't disrespect his men by deliberately missing their return - even inside caskets. I couldn't comprehend what could be more important for a Commander-in-Chief than meeting his men who died in service.

But that's not all. Aside from the absence, there's also a lot of finger-pointing, fault-finding, blaming. We're living in a culture of blame, and blaming is the cousin of cowardice. No one takes responsibility; no one wants to be accountable for the deaths of many.

The memory of the fallen is thrown to the ground and repeatedly stepped on.

Yes, there was clear miscommunication; it's hard to deny that. But I will also say with conviction that I don't believe the "defense" excuse of the gun-firers. The death of 44 people from one side and so few (I heard it was 8) from the MILFs only means an ambush attack. Unless proven absolutely wrong, I will stick to my belief that what happened is not a misencounter but a massacre.
(UPDATE: I read a post saying that the encounter couldn't have been a massacre since both parties were armed. I agree. However, according to a video of the encounter, the firefight lasted for 12 hours until the SAF ran out of bullets. When they did run out of bullets, they surrendered. What the other party did was shoot "the SAF surrendering troops point blank." Was it not a massacre yet? I beg to know. Read this article for more information about the video.)
In the end, who is accountable for all of this? No one?

If the "leaders" couldn't take responsibility for it, who would? What is the point of a "national day of mourning," as if we need to be reminded to mourn? We're already mourning; what we need are answers, the truth, and justice. And for the fallen, dignity.


UPDATE: I just read this.


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January 29, 2015

For A Special One

Source: http://thepleatedpolkadot.blogspot.com

Today is the birthday of one of the most important men in my life: Job!

As I was waiting for 12 midnight last night to greet him, I was innocently browsing posts upon posts about (my) Leo - the 90s Leo. Just an occasional binge session. I know Job will confidently say na ka-level nya lang si Leo, and if we were physically together, I would jokingly poke him in the ribs. Annoying! But still, no matter how big of a star Leo is, I will never replace Job with him.

Riiiight. As if may chance. Harharhar.

Anyway, as much as I would love to include a photo here, I still haven't recovered my photos from my old phone. So here's Leo:
GIF from a compilation in this beautiful Buzzfeed post

Hehehe. That's Leo for the benefit of you girls. I have a mental picture of my own Leo, thank you very much!

On a serious note, I have a personal prayer for Job. I actually pray about every aspect of his life daily, and today is no different. Most of all, I pray for his faith to grow even more stronger and for him to grow even closer to God.

But since my prayer is too personal, I decided not to share it here publicly. However, I got a couple of nice prayers from the interwebs (okay, Pinterest), and it is my hope that they will lead you to pray for your own relationships and special someones. Here they are:

Source: marydemuth.com

Source: thenewlywedpilgrimage.com

So ladies, let's not cease praying. Even when it's hard to do, even when it's inconvenient, as these are the times when we usually need to pray. Remember that we need to cover our loved ones, especially our partners and husbands, with prayer. Be blessed, everyone!


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January 28, 2015

Product Review: Happy Call Double-Sided Pan

I am not the best cook in the world. Okay, scratch that: I am not a cook at all. I do have the interest and I do enjoy spending time at the kitchen, but as a yaya-less WAHM, more often than not, I do not have time to cook at all.

In fact, I recall that one of the tips I gave in this post about preparing to be yaya-less is to be armed with numbers of nearby food delivery service. Right? Right?

But recently, I have been enjoying cooking yummy grilled food (healthier, right?) without having to worry about smoke and without having to leave my work.

The answer? A Happy Call double-sided pan.
I have heard of this product years ago, but we only bought one late last year. And we haven't looked back. This is no sponsored post, but it truly has made cooking easier, healthier, and more time-efficient for me.

The other night, for example, I had to cook dinner quickly for my sister, Yuri, and me, so I got out a couple of slices of chicken (we pre-marinate then and stick them into the freezer). I had to microwave the slices to hasten the defrosting.

Then I took out the Happy Call pan and smeared a tablespoon of olive oil. Actually, you don't need to put oil since the pan is nonstick, but I like putting olive oil in the food my son eats. I also like its smell, which may or may not be my primary reason.

(Sorry for the quality of the next three photos. I was only able to use my cellphone's camera during the evening while cooking.)

January 27, 2015

Where's My Mojo?

Source: amazon.com

I'm a retrospective person.

I do not usually get into trouble for being that, but what happens is that I tend to compare what is happening now to what had happened in the past. This little fixation of mine is what got me hooked on apps like Timehop where I can conveniently compare what is happening now to what had happened a year ago, 2 years ago, and so on.

So one day, near the beginning of January, I stumbled upon a Timehop of a Twitter post I had made exactly a year ago, announcing that I had made blog drafts that would feed my blog for the next couple of weeks or so. Christmas kasi is usually a low-season for us essay teachers, so I could use my free time to churn draft after draft.

Fast forward to present day. I now have a million (actually just around 15) photo folders that had been sitting in my computer since last year. I had planned to write blog posts for every folder before the year ended; obviously, that didn't happen.

Aside from that, I'm struggling to write. I am not in a mental block because I actually have a list of topics I need to write about. I had the free time until last week but didn't bother writing. What's happening to me? Where's my blogging mojo?

I've been trying to read other blogs for inspiration but that hasn't made an impact yet.

For now, I'm convinced that I lost the verbal diarrhea because of busyness as a yayaless mother and full-time WAHM. I do not have the same free time as I used to have before.

But aside from this, I think I'm also losing the inspiration to write! It's like I need to exert a lot of effort to start writing, unlike before when writing just comes naturally and I had to physically stop myself from finishing one draft after the other.

Does this mean I no longer love writing? Oh noes! As a writer, that does not sit well with me at all. Which pretty much means I still love writing after all. So why am I finding it so difficult to do? Why do I feel like I'm perpetually stuck in a rut?

Have you ever been in this situation? What did you do to get out of it?

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January 26, 2015

Lunch at Probinsya Buffet

Photo from Probinsya's Facebook page

Yesterday was my parents' 32nd anniversary and they planned to eat lunch at Vikings. However, I opposed because I am on a diet and may not enjoy it anyway.

Before anything else, OOTD as usual haha:
On Yuri: department store polo shirt, Circo shorts, and his new Oshkosh loafers 

Since everybody was still busy, Yuri and I just used the self-timer of the camera. We kept running back and forth, which Yuri enjoyed. No wonder I forgot I was still wearing pambahay slippers.

So anyway, they compromised and started to look for another restaurant. But Papa really wanted to eat buffet so we agreed to eat at a cheaper buffet where I can still eat without feeling sorry for wasted money.

Thus, Probinsya.
This is my only photo of the restaurant's facade because it was blazing hot outside. It is still January, isn't it?!

This is how cheap Probinsya is:

January 23, 2015

How to Apply for a BPI More Fun Prepaid Card

This is part two of my post here.

And no, I am not paid to do this post. I am just amazed at this discovery and want to share it with you.
Before I begin, let me reiterate the difference between a prepaid card and a debit card. First, while you can use both cards for physical transactions, you can't use debit cards online (at least in my experience!). Usually, in online transactions, when they ask for credit card details, you can't input your debit card details. (An example is GoDaddy.)

Second, you can't withdraw your money from this prepaid card. So when you decide to get this, make sure you only deposit your "extra" cash.

Application


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January 21, 2015

BPI More Fun Prepaid Credit Card

So I just got myself a credit card.

My first one, in fact, as I had always just borrowed mother's CC for unavoidable transactions. I was wary of getting one because I don't want to be into debt; thus, I almost always pay for stuff in cash. If I use a credit card, I like to pay it as soon as I can.

So why have I gotten myself a credit card?

Well, because it's prepaid.

Remember what I said in my last blog? When I told you how we waited for almost 3 hours in BPI? Ito yun. I was lining up to claim by BPI More Fun Prepaid Credit Card.
Why did I choose this over other credit cards? 

Again, it's prepaid, which means if I use it, I'm not using the money I don't have. On the contrary, I will be spending my own cash (in card form). Think of it as the child of the credit card and the debit card.

What is the difference between a prepaid credit card and a debit card?


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January 19, 2015

Saturday Errands and Dates

I almost never go out during Saturdays, or any weekday for that matter, because I'm always home, working. Very exciting, I know. But last Saturday was an exception because I scheduled different errands during it. Since two of the errands involve banks, I didn't have any choice but to go out on Saturday. So I also set the other appointments on the same day.

I realized I don't have a selfie with Yuri! That's because we were in a hurry na that morning. But I did take some selfies when I got home that night (not that it matters but I'm showing them anyway):
Striped shirt from the loot from Left to Vary, Forever 21 jeans, bib necklace from Mama

I am so into striped shirts these days. Can you tell me where to buy affordable striped and Breton shirts? Pretty please? I'm also very into bib necklaces. Lakas maka-donya.

Bank Appointments

First, we had to go to Robinsons bank to open an account. While waiting for mother afterward, Yuri and I went inside Cybergate supermarket. The last time I've been there was when I was still in college. Anyway, nothing fancy, but Yuri and I ended up buying Panda biscuits and these:
I think this was around P60
P36, if I'm not mistaken

I've been curious about brownie crisps since 2013 pa yata but I don't see any brands sold here. Imagine my surprise to see a pan of them made by who else but Cream-O. We (they) ate the Brownie crisps yesterday, and in fairness, they're yummy.

We tried the yogurt snack this morning and I like how it is not overly sweet. In fact, it just tastes like yogurt and fruit. And it has no preservatives! The cups were very small though haha.

Next, we were off to BPI at Abreeza. Mother needed to deposit some money while I was there to claim a new credit card. I'm so excited to show it to you! I will make a separate post for it.

We actually waited for more than 2 hours at BPI: we went in before 1 and got called at almost 3. Then when I came to the desk, my number was wrong pa pala! Naku, nagmakaawa na ako and said my son and I (and mother, by extension) haven't eaten lunch yet. I'm glad to inform you that BPI employees are sympathetic so I got entertained and didn't have to fall in line again.

Shopping - sort of

January 18, 2015

Endurance

This is just one of the Words I received yesterday when I sought God's comfort:



Thank you, Lord. This is enough; You are enough. Have a blessed Sunday, everyone!


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January 16, 2015

How I Came to Like Pope Francis

Although my mother wrote "Catholic" in one of my recent real estate forms with conviction, I simply am not. Although I conform to their way of prayer and going to church, I am doing so out of a desire to obey. I am a Born Again Christian, and though I believe Catholics are Christians, too, there are many aspects of the system that I can't adhere to.

One of them is the concept of a "Vicar of Christ" or a person who represents Jesus on earth. Jesus is not absent in the first place and doesn't need a proxy. If there's a "Vicar of Christ," it should be the Holy Spirit.

Source: http://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org

Since the concept is not in the Bible, I cannot subscribe to the idea in peace. The same goes for apostolic succession.

That doesn't mean I don't view Pope Francis as a godly Christian leader. In fact, in my eyes, he is that. I expect him to be that.

I was initially touched when I found out he wanted to visit the typhoon victims in Tacloban. Pope or not, I believe this is a good example to follow when it comes to loving the poor. But to be completely honest, I considered that it could be just another publicity stunt for popularity.

I guess I've been a doubting Thomas.

So yesterday, when he arrived in the country, despite my sister's excitement, I feigned nonchalance and continued doing my basic Pilates. Which is very hard, by the way. Oh the things you do for love.

And I digress. Anyway, so the Pope arrived and the crowds on TV were cheering. Almost every post on my social media feeds was about him. Then he finally stepped out of the plane and his cap was blown by the wind. I smiled and my tween sister couldn't stop laughing.

Source: dailymail.co.uk

I must admit that he seems to radiate godliness when you look at him. I was touched when I saw him hugging the little boy. He must be genuine after all. Of course, my skeptical self quickly caught up and I thought maybe, again, this was just a popularity stunt.

Why did I keep accusing the Pope of this? It's because I judged him through the articles written about him. Articles that portray him as a Pope who was willing to compromise what is written in the Word to be popular. Which, in hindsight, could be incorrect. In my judgmental eyes, I was convinced that you couldn't just believe that a person is godly based on what you see.

Then the irony hit me like a ton of bricks.

I came to like the Pope not because of what he did and not because of what I read or heard or saw. It's because of what God clearly told me that afternoon.

My opinion was that "... you couldn't just believe that a person is godly based on what you see." How hypocritical of me. If I shouldn't like a person based on what I see, what made me think judging was any different? I shouldn't judge a person based on what I see because I cannot see his heart. Only God can. I need to be wary of declaring people as inauthentic in their faith just the same as I need to be wary of believing anything thrown at me.

In other words, I should be slow to judgment and criticism. Instead, I need to be more compassionate and believe in the goodwill of people - or believe in the presence of goodwill in the first place. Those were the words God spoke to me when I knee-deep in judging and criticizing.

Pope Francis had been an undeserving victim of my unfair prejudice. With that said, let me clarify that I look up to him as a Christian Church leader, nothing more and nothing less. But now I truly want to believe in his goodwill and godliness and that he doesn't have agenda other than bringing the Light of Christ to those who need it.

I only hope the people view him as a human leader, not as someone divine, certainly not God.

What are your thoughts on his visit?


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January 14, 2015

The Curious Tale of Kuya Biscuit, Trucks, and Other Stories

I genuinely like time alone with Yuri. At home, it doesn't feel like I'm an adult stuck with a kid (who happens to be my son) and just need to tolerate him. Instead, I often look forward to talking with my 2-year old because I sometimes burst into laughter and I sometimes learn.
TRUCKS

Yuri is 33 months old but knows more trucks and machines that any of us at home combined. I think the only one who can beat his knowledge of machinery is his dad. For example, one day, Yuri asked me to form a truck with his Mega-bloks.
Me: Anong klaseng truck gagawin ko?
Yuri: Big rig.
What is a big rig and how in earth am I going to make it out of blocks? I formed what looked like a regular truck instead and he was satisfied. Whew, disaster averted.

Last night, he wanted a "snow pyow" or snow plow.
I think I need to send my son to mechanic school or something.

IF YURI SUMMONS YOU TO DINNER, RISE AT ONCE.

January 13, 2015

On Dresses and Milestones

I love wearing dresses. Well, I don't wear dresses too often nowadays (because it feels cold), but they're always my first choice.

The thing about dresses is that, for women, they usually remind us of a special occasion. I don't know about you but I think I celebrated almost all the important occasions of my life wearing a dress! For example, yesterday, I read that the UPCAT results are now out. How exciting for new Iskos and Iskas! I was reminded not of my first day as a UP student but of my graduation. I, of course, was wearing a dress:
Apparently, it's hard to find your angle when you have to take a pic with the Oblation. Harhar. Same goes for the dress. I'm sad that the photos I have with Oblation don't give justice to the dress. Why don't I have a decent photo on my Graduation Day ba?

Anyway, the reminiscing led me to look for a graduation dress. It's not that I don't like what I wore. Personally, I prefer classic designs. However, I can see a couple of things I want to alter like a deeper neckline and longer sleeves. Wait, what neckline does UP allow? Okay, so maybe just a slightly deeper neckline.

If I were to graduate this year, what will I wear? I found this cute dress on topswedding.com:
I think this graduation dress is pretty enough. I love the material and I dig the neckline. The color's also perfect for the ceremony (UP requires cream-colored dresses). However, since UP gives strict requirements, I think it'd have to be altered to have sleeves and a longer hem. It's a good thing the dresses on the website are tailored and not off-the-rack.

Hmm, I wonder when I would get to wear a tailored dress again? :-)

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post.


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January 12, 2015

Balik Alindog 2015

Hi friends, how was your weekend? Mine was spent entirely at home for some reason. I have separation anxiety na with the mall. Chos.

But I have several stories to tell. Let's begin with my newest journey to lose weight.

I love you, goodbye.

See, I checked the scale and found out I am now more than 10 kilos heavier than I was the year I gave birth. While some women want to have their pre-pregnancy weight back, I want to go back to my post-pregnancy body. I posted this photo during last year's attempt to lose weight and I'm posting it again:
Sorry for the bagong-gising face, but look at those arms. Well, one arm. Oh those arms. I want them back! Haha. Kasi that's the slimmest I've been throughout my adult life. Thank you, breastfeeding! And I'm determined to lose weight again and keep it off - for real this time.

I attempted to lose weight last year. But even if I consistently worked out and ate healthy, I had to stop during the notorious rotational brownouts in the city. We had 7-hour daily brownouts and I just didn't have the energy to work out and diet anymore. That caused my downward spiral.

Hopefully, the situation this year will be different. For example, I'm taking it easy this year. I just started working out last week and I didn't do the 45-minute runs I used to do last year. I think rigorous exercise would only burn me out and I might quit easily.

So what I'm doing now is using this nifty app called Sworkit. I love it. It's nicely designed (important app criterion!) and easy to use. Best of all, it has a wide variety of exercises and I can choose my comfy level. Oo, beginner. Haha!

January 11, 2015

Book Review: The Sacred Year by Michael Yankowski

Source: booklookbloggers.com

I'm sorry; I just can't be at peace with this book.

I've read many Christian books and this is the first book that drew many questions from me that is not in a good way.

The writer, Michael Yankowski, is a Christian motivational speaker. Paraphrasing the book's summary, he got disillusioned with his lifestyle and decided to pursue a year of "focused engagement with spiritual practices" to experience faith.
Guided by the voice of Father Solomon--a local monk--Yankoski's Sacred Year slowly transforms his life... His story will resonate with those who wish to deepen their own committed faith... for their own authentic encounter with the Divine.
I have conflicting feelings about the book. The summary above alone should've been a red flag. Referring to God as merely "the Divine" and spiritual realizations guided by the voice of a monk? They seem harmless until you realize that throughout the book, there isn't much focus on the Christian God and Jesus' Gospel.

January 9, 2015

10 Money Habits to Leave Behind in 2015

Background image from exchangeratecalculator.com

Last time, I wrote about the things that I intend to not take with me in the new year. One of the things I wrote is this:
6. The mentality that being financially ignorant is cool
I've written personal finance posts for a year, but being the human that I am, I still succumb to temptation and forego saving and spend on unnecessary things. Looking at my account, which should've contained more, I learned that it is uncool.
But it is a little vague, isn't it? I thought about it yesterday and figured I should remind myself (and you) of the things we should stop doing if we care to have a financially independent lifestyle in the future. Here they are:

1. The One-Day Millionaire attitude

WHY: Because I've been like this and it has always led to buyer's remorse. Also, you won't have any money left for an emergency.

SOLUTION: Pay yourself (savings) first and give to the church or the community. Then pay all of your bills next. Invest some amount, and divide the remaining into categories of your budget. With the amount remaining, I doubt you'll still be in the mood to spend.

Source: popsugar.com

2. Disregarding emergency funds

WHY: Because so many people are unprepared for real emergencies, and this is the reason why so many people get buried in debt.

SOLUTION: Build an emergency fund by making an account (preferably without ATM) and depositing a certain amount monthly.

3. Spending so much to maintain an image or make an impression

January 8, 2015

Capping Off the Afternoon with Green Coffee

After eating a hearty lunch at Belito's Vineyard, my friends and I, with the exception of Hazel who had to attend a party, went to have some coffee (read: dessert) at Green Coffee, which was just down the road.

I have fond memories of Green Coffee. It used to be my favorite coffee shop when I was still an office girl. You know, when I still had the time to actually go out to have coffee. My teammates- slash- friends- slash- kumares and I used to go to their main branch at Torres so often after work that we already had our usual table. We also loved the friendly barista who memorized our names on our second visit. Talk about great customer service!

Anyway, getting to sit down in the same coffee shop, albeit in a new branch, caused me to be a little nostalgic.
Photo by Christine Mata

However, it was no match for the trip down memory lane that my friends and I took. We were so loud and there were two toddlers pa in the group that I said we should've stayed in private Belito's. Buti na lang we were not the only loud ones hehe.

Here are what we got:
Chocolate-chip muffin (I think this was P95)

January 7, 2015

My Final Fun and Frugal Shopping Finds for 2014

A day before New Year's Eve, we shopped for our and our relatives' respective Media Noche celebrations. I ended up buying a few more things as gifts to others and myself as I realized I didn't buy anything for myself for Christmas. Not that it's necessary, just to clarify, I just want to indulge the kuripot shopaholic in me before the year ends.

This means I shouldn't break the bank, so what I bought were affordable, as in cheap finds. I know, right? Before I show you my finds, here's us before going out:
Both that shirt and those shorts used to be loose on me. Now, gaaah!
(Department store polo shirt | Forever 21 denim shorts | the usual Crocs and Coach | Aeropostale watch) 
On the boy: Mothercare shirt | Circo shorts | Nike shoes

We were off to our usual mall, SM Lanang Premier, to do the grocery. However, we first went to Robinsons Cybergate because Mama, ever the bargain-hunter, told me of a place that sells cheap clothes there. So off we went to Robinsons Cybergate! The place is called Left to Vary, and they have two puestos in the mall. We just went to one near the road because the sizes of the clothes in the puesto near the grocery are too large. 

In fairness, there are a lot of clothes there. They are all brand new naman and some are branded. Because they are too cheap, I cannot attest to their authenticity. However, it's still fun to pick out clothes and I was there to look for tops as I don't have a lot of them. That's in preparation for my classes; I don't want to wear dresses then hahaha. 

But I didn't see a lot of clothes I want that time probably because they didn't have new stocks. I'm planning to return nalang next time. Anyway, here are my shopping finds:
Unbranded striped top (original price P300, on sale at P150) and Terranova long-sleeved top (original price P300, on sale at P150)
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