February 27, 2015

Going Korean at Korea Town and Arirang (Plus A Dragon Up Close!)

Last week, during the Chinese New Year, my friends and I decided to get together and eat lunch somewhere. Chinese would have been an ideal and fun option (though none of us is Chinese) just to "belong." However, we also thought Chinese restaurants would be full on CNY, so we decided on another Asian cuisine instead: Korean.

PART 1 - KOREA TOWN
Photo from JM's phone
The kids were given big glasses of iced tea on the house. Thank you!

My friend, Christine, knew of a place that serves cheap but yummy Korean dishes, and we gave it a try. It's Korea Town, which can be found among the cluster of restaurants in Victoria Plaza's parking lot.

Yuri and I were the first to arrive, and because it was only my second time to go Korean in a genuine Korean restaurant, I was quite taken aback when everyone, including the lady whom I presumed to be the owner, bowed down and said "Annyeonghaseyo!"

Being the smooth, cultured woman that I am, I sheepishly waved my hands and said, "Hello." Then I avoided eye contact and darted into the nearest table.

Let's not focus on that part of the meal.

The first thing I love about Korean dishes is the free side dishes. I love kimchi (I have
a steady supply at home) and I live on sweet potato. Come to think of it, I can thrive on Korean side dishes alone!

I took this photo when we were almost finished eating the side dishes harhar

The second thing I love is the yummy-ness of the food. I've never eaten Korean food that I didn't like, and I'm referring not only to restaurants but also home-cooked meals of Korean students whom I used to tutor back in college.

Let's give Korea Town a verdict:

CUSTOMER SERVICE

I don't have any complaints about the staff at all! They were all very attentive, even the owner. In fact, again, the owner gave Yuri and Andrei iced tea on the house. Also, our waitress was not only lovely and pleasant by also clearly knowledgeable about Korean fare. Which should be expected, but some places still employ clueless staff.

FOOD

February 25, 2015

Respect

During the last couple of nights (it could have been more), I fell asleep before Yuri did. I was always exhausted for some reason. If I didn't know better, I would have thought I was pregnant. Haha!

Last night was an exemption. You see, I found myself a little involved in an "indirect altercation" between two former schoolmates from UP. One, also a mother, is an acquaintance, while the other I am not very familiar with. I wasn't able to sleep right away because the scuffle got me thinking.

It started when the latter posted an angsty status regarding parents, which may or may not have been offensive, depending on whom you talk to. The other party, my acquaintance, wrote a reaction to that status. Several comments were made, and a sorority sister of mine commented that the original post would offend any mom. I guess the specific details are not necessary here. The point is that they disagreed and I took a side because I was disappointed with the show of behavior.
Source: http://www.inedc.com/

This made me think of some things such as how common it is now to disrespect other people. To be fair, I'm referring not only to the one who wrote the offensive status but also to the ones who wrote personal attacks as comments (I tried my best not to do it, but if someone says my comments were also personal attacks, I apologize). I think this is because everything's being done online.

It's so easy to hurt people because you don't see them as people but just names with thumbnail photos attached. It's also easier to attack people because you only have to write behind each other's backs; no confrontation needed.

I guess I also learned from that experience. I commend my mommy acquaintance for taking down her reaction because it shows humility. I need to learn that, too, because when I get reactive, it often becomes a matter of pride and being right just for the sake of being right. And yes, sometimes, being quiet - and staying quiet - is the best thing to do.

This scuffle also reminds me of all the times something I wrote caused virtual strangers to personally attack me and my beliefs. Again, it's an online thing. It's easy to make an attack behind a glowing screen rather than in person.

I know that freedom of speech shouldn't favor anyone, so if I can write about anything, they should be able to say anything they want, right? Wrong, because your right ends the moment it steps on the rights of others.

Blogging about something in a personal venue using gentle words and logical reasons doesn't, in my opinion, step on anyone's rights. But a hurtful comment does.

Suffice to say, I think my acquaintance might have been a bit reactive and emotional in her reaction (redundant), but I'm sure she already realized that.

Conversely, I still stand by my belief that the original post, though it might have conveyed the poster's feelings, stepped on the feelings and beliefs of other people. Come to think of it, he actually had a point. A relevant point. But he didn't have to curse and insult to deliver the message. Simple.

At the very least, this is only my opinion, and, at the end of the day, it doesn't always matter. If you feel I was offensive, just call me out.

Have you personally been disrespected online? On social media or in your very blogs?


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February 23, 2015

A Matter of Disqus

Hey, I'm quickly checking in just to tell you that if you left a comment and didn't get a reply or if you left a comment and it didn't get published, I'm sorry!

I'm new to Disqus; I think I only began using it a couple of weeks ago, and I thought that unlike IntenseDebate, Disqus doesn't deliver comment notifications. I figure I will just manually check my blog posts from time to time to read the comments - which, of course, is easier said than done.

In other words, I was only able to read the first couple of comments for each post because I only check blog posts a few hours after I publish them. And in other words, yes, I haven't read some of your comments. I'm sorry. I'm beginning to backread now and am checking and replying to comments.

Also, I just approved pending comments that have been pending since last week. What. I didn't know some comments need to be moderated! #ignoramus #noob

Anyway, I also checked my Disqus settings, and what do you know, there's an option pala to receive email notifications. Oh well. Hay life.

(By the way, I switched from IntenseDebate to Disqus because after years of waiting, the former still has not come up with a mobile-friendly version for Blogger. Ano ba! Sayang because I like the CommentLuv plugin that goes with it. Oh well.)

That's all, folks. Enjoy the rest of your Monday (if you're in the Philippines)!

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What I Learned from a Homeschooling Seminar

Last Saturday, I attended a seminar on homeschooling. It was perfect because my real estate brokerage classes were cancelled that day and, even though it was alumni homecoming in UP, I didn't plan on attending it. Long story. Anyway, let's talk about the seminar.

I actually got invited to it Friday afternoon, short notice, but since I'm really into homeschooling, I immediately said yes and was determined to work around my schedule. Fortunately, my mom didn't have an appointment for Saturday afternoon so I was able to leave Yuri with them.
Must. lose. weight.

Unsolicited OOTD: 
Topshop white shirt, Bershka turquoise shorts, Gibi sandals, and kimono blazer from eBay (I think this begins my love affair with kimono blazers)

The seminar, by the way, was organized by the Lighthouse Homeschool Network. Upon arriving, I was surprised to see a full room. I know homeschooling was popular in Manila and other places (like the US), but not in big city-small town Davao. That was surprising but pleasantly surprising.
Another pleasant surprise was the fact that kids - kids - ran the program. The emcees and the speakers were all homeschooled kids. I was impressed! One of the kids was even named Yuri; I wasn't able to take a picture of him, though! The homeschooling parents only stepped in to answer the questions during the open forum.

To be honest, I think I already know a lot about homeschooling since I have read about it and studied it sooner last year. Of course, being with actual homeschooling moms taught me more things. Here are the things I learned from the seminar:

1. A homeschooling kid can finish high school in one year.

February 20, 2015

BrainFit Studio is Coming to Davao!

I have good news for everyone living in Davao City. Only I think you, guys, already know because I wrote it in the title! Still, it doesn't undermine the fact that BrainFit Studio will finally be coming to Davao!
What is BrainFit Studio?
This is the official description of the enrichment center:
"BrainFit Studio is the leading provider of neuroscience-based brain fitness programs in Asia. It originated in Singapore and is already over 10 years in the region with over 5000+ data-based results from programs conducted across Asia.

Our Brain Fitness programs seek to enhance the child's learning capacity by addressing opportunity areas across (i) attention/focus (ii) auditory processing (iii) visual processing (iv) sensory-motor (v) socio-emotions.  The key targets are children aged 3 to 18."
I think our preparation for our homeschooling journey this year (this June, to be exact) is kind of an open book here in my blog. I'm still constantly searching for materials and supplementary services that can help us. So imagine how pleased I am when the bringer of Manang's Chicken to Davao contacted me to introduce his cousin to me. His cousin, in turn, told me that she is going to open a new enrichment center in the city. Little did I know that she was referring to BrainFit Studio!

I have heard a lot of great things about BrainFit and wanted to try it; the problem was the lack of a center here. Now, it's no longer a problem and I really want to hear more about it!
BrainFit Studio wouldn't be opening until March 16, but on Wednesday, February 25, they are going to hold a free seminar for everyone interested in the program. It will be held at Park Inn (behind SM Lanang) at 9-11 am. Kids are welcome, and freebies will also be given.

So, shall I see you or shall I see you?


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February 19, 2015

Featured on Looking At The Bright Side.com


Hello, everyone!

I don't have any blog post scheduled for today, but I'm featured on LookingAtTheBrightSide.com for this week's edition of Thankful Thursdays. Here's a snippet of what I wrote:
When Chinky asked me to write for her regular Thankful Thursdays blog feature, the first thought that popped to my mind was perfect, just perfect. I’m in the middle of a bad week and now I’m asked to write about what I’m thankful for. Why now?

Then I quickly berated myself and thought, Lord, is this you at work? I realized that I shouldn’t be complaining because despite the bad things, I’m blessed. I’m more than blessed; I’m favored and I don’t even deserve it. Here are just three of the many things that I need to be grateful for:
Please visit this link to read more: http://www.lookingatthebrightside.com/2015/02/19/thankful-thursdays-with-maan-laxa/.


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February 18, 2015

Frugal Beauty Haul from Watsons

Another perk of being a student once more (at least for me!) is having a legitimate reason to buy skincare  products and some makeup. Thus, before our classes officially started a couple of weeks ago, I went on a trip to the ever reliable Watsons to buy said beauty products.

You see, because I'm just home everyday, I didn't find the need to buy stuff for my skin. A compact of Maybelline pressed powder and a tube of either Human Nature lipgloss or classic Carmex would suffice. But I wanted to appear more "professional" in class, so I needed to buy "stuff." However, I also wanted to remain frugal so I chose to go to Watsons rather than cutesy Korean shops. Anyway, I'm rambling, so let me show you what I've gotten (I don't remember the specific prices so I'll give you a rough estimate and try to be as accurate as possible!):

1. Pond's Flawless White BB Cream
I wanted to try Holika Holika since I read Ms. Ro of Animetric's review of it. But I don't know where to find it, so I settled for a tried and tested brand. It works naman and it doesn't make my face look ghastly white. I still want to try other brands though; maybe next time, I can try a Korean brand!

A tube costs around P300, but Ponds products were marked down at P50 less, so it was just around P250.

2. Watsons Foot Peeling Mask with Papaya and Lactic Acid

I have rough skin on my feet. Yeah, TMI, I know, but it's kind of annoying because all the scrubbing in the world wouldn't make it soft and smooth; it only turns my feet's skin raw. I wanted to try Foot Appeal because it got raving reviews, but then I saw this far prettier box!

This was on sale from around P200 to just around P80. I wasn't able to try it yet but I shall make a review once I am finally able to do so.

February 16, 2015

Life as a Student

Okay, a review student for only 8 weeks, not a full-fledged student. I actually still have a scholarship for Masteral and Doctorate degrees in UP (#humblebrag #sorry), but because of my strong aversion to oral recitations and quizzes, I don't think that scholarship shall ever be used.

I digress.

So I've been a "student" for a couple of weeks now, swallowing my aversion to all things academic to perform my daughter-ly duty. Ang drama ba? No, actually, my mother influenced me to take up a real estate brokerage board exam not so I can follow in her footsteps in the field but because she knows employment is not in my blood. Well, yeah, she got that right.

I digress again! Ano ba!

Okay, if anyone thought real estate brokerage was easy, he's so wrong. I mean, I also thought the same before the first class started. I'm reality, we have to know so many laws and so many concepts and do so many computations. Eek!
But there are things I love about being a "student" again. The first thing I love the most about being a student is, I'm not gonna lie, time alone. I only go to classes every Saturdays and Sundays, but believe me, those weekends are the biggest amount time I have ever spent alone as a mother. Because I know Yuri is well taken care of at home, I don't have to worry about him at class and can fully focus on learning and on myself.

The second thing I love about going to school is picking out outfits. Well, it would have been fun if only I didn't gain weight. But I did so my wardrobe choices are limited at the moment.
However, now, I have a legitimate reason to buy new clothes!

February 13, 2015

The Story of Yuri's First Bible

We are able to buy Yuri's first Bible November pa of last year so this is a late, late post!

Anyway, we really wanted to buy Yuri his own complete Bible months before Christmas. We have Bible stories naman, some sets here and there, but we wanted to buy an age-specific complete Bible to imbibe the habit.

So last year pa, I was so busy looking for appropriate Bible. Unfortunately, the ones that are available on local online stores don't have favorable reviews on Amazon. I don't know why din, during that particular time, there weren't many early learners' Bibles in the local National Bookstores. (Ngayon marami-rami na, and that was just months ago!)

Because of that, I decided to order one from Amazon.

That was my last resort because even though stuff are generally cheaper from Amazon than locally, I didn't want to pay extra for shipping. More than that was the hassle of having to deal with more transactions.

However, I still wishlist-ed my choices. Despite the immense popularity of The Jesus Storybook, I didn't like it because it was extra-biblical. I like to be conservative and stick to those that are strictly Biblical. One of my codes was The Lion Storyteller Bible. But it's published for an older crowd (5 year olds +).
Image from Amazon

I didn't order right away because I was still weighing the options. Well, it was mainly because I was reluctant to order a book abroad.

Until one day, I found myself in Abreeza. We weren't supposed to be in Abreeza but just decided to eat lunch there because we were already hungry. I never expected to see this popup booth in the middle of the the second floor.
It's only the booth of OMF Literature, one of the best Christian bookstores and distributors in the country. Of course I needed to check.

February 11, 2015

Exhausted!

Source: internetcafedevotions.com

It's a few minutes before 6 am, I just woke up, and my body feels tired and achy-breaky all over.

I wasn't even able to work out so there is only one reason for this tiredness: work!

I have been feeling exhausted since last week. I know this is because I have begun working looonger hours because we've been required to be a lot more meticulous at work. So now, a single job takes a lot more time. For example, if I used 30 minutes for an essay before, now, I'm using around 50 minutes.

Unfortunately, this means reduced output throughout the day, and I'm being paid per essay. Before, I worked from 8 to 4:30, but now, I'm working from 8 to 6, with reduced pay. Ugh.

Well, I'm not here to complain about work again. I'm here to say I'm so tired of being exhausted. You know that feeling? Because of my longer hours, I'm no longer able to get more things done. Because I slump before my laptop for 9-10 hours, my body feels the effects, too. I get muscle aches all over.

And I'm not even losing weight! I no longer have the time or energy to clean up Yuri's mess, much less actually work out. And because of stress, I find myself eating more. Huhu.

Then I also couldn't churn out substantial blogs anymore. After working, we eat dinner, wash up, and before Yuri gets to sleep, I already fall asleep. Yesterday, I fell asleep on Yuri's playmat while watching the news -  as in TV Patrol at 7 o'clock.

What's worse is that I don't remember the last time I had a decent devotional. I haven't touched my planner-slash-devo notebook (see review of Certified Positive planner here) and haven't had a long prayer with God for the longest time. Because, you're right, I keep falling asleep.

This morning, I was berating myself for falling asleep again last night. I had planned to finally do a decent devo but, you know, I fell asleep again. I even left my cellphone plugged into the power bank. But while I asked God for help (and deliverance?), He reminded me of this simple poem I had read so many months ago:

February 9, 2015

And We Can Uplift Each Other

I don't remember the last time I blogged lightheartedly. Oh I remember pala. It was during Job's birthday the other week. Was it only 10 days ago? It seems like a lifetime.

Last week, I felt down for reasons I will describe below. However, there was also one thing that occurred last week that forced made me to remember the happy things. Look at this photo:
You see toys; I see hope.

This photo was sent to me in an envelope containing more photos and a letter. A thank you letter. See, the envelope came from World Vision. Aside from the photo above, there were other photos depicting a handsome smiling boy in a shopping cart with her mother, shopping for toys and clothes.

The boy is a 3-year old, almost the same age as Yuri, and one of my World Vision sponsors. The letter came from him and his mom, thanking me for my meager contribution to their joy. Joy not because of the toys and clothes but joy because of the hope that we can help each other and uplift each other. It's not impossible pala.

And it made me rethink some things in light of a different context:

February 7, 2015

What's Up: Future Home Plans

Hello!

I’m sorry for not posting in the last few days. I’ve been too busy, busy, busy! You see, I decided to go back to work and still hunting for a freelance writing gig – not to augment my income or add stress to my life (harhar) but, well, just to explore writing more.

But the biggest reason why I haven’t been able to blog lately is this: I’m beginning my review classes to become a real estate broker.

Actually, it’s Saturday night now, and I just came from the first day of our class. What we discussed earlier was not very different from what we discussed last year, when I attended the seminar to become a real estate salesperson, but it’s a very important refresher. I also expect to learn a lot more in the next 15 days of my life. I will write about this on Monday.

But aside from preparing myself for the board exam and, ultimately, pursue a career in professional real estate brokerage (when? I don’t know haha), the lessons we heard also remind me of my own house. And how excited I am to finally transfer (which won’t happen after 3-5 years but I’m patient), and, you know, interior design.

I admit that several times throughout the day, my mind drifted off as I started to imagine what our house would look like. I imagined the bigger things like the paint on the wall, the floor tiling, the living room set and the dining room set down to the mundane stuff like curtains.

Because our house is on the small side (to put it mildly haha), I know I need to stay away from thick drapery. Aside from making the house look even smaller, they would also make the inside feel stuffy. So I’m thinking of using lace curtains instead. I started looking for them and found this on www.cwotop.com:
These curtains can be found here: http://www.ctwotop.com/baby-blue-blackout-custom-read-made-simple-lace-curtains-with-rose-lace-p-818.html. Aren't they lovely? I like how they provide enough shade but are not too thick that they cause the room to feel stuffy. On the contrary, I think they make the room feel fresh and airy!


Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. 


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February 4, 2015

Searching for the Bright Side

Hello! Are you having better, brighter days?

As for me, I'm trying to "move on" and return to regular programming, but several occasions throughout the day, I still find myself vividly imagining what the 44 must have felt during those grueling hours of combat. Actions, gestures, words and all.

And, no, I don't know anybody from the troops, but that's just me. I find it scarily easy to empathize and get involved because it's my second nature to put myself in another person's shoes. Most of the time, it's a blessing, but at times like this, it can be a curse. For example, I'm so immersed into this tragedy that it almost engulfs me. Even Job is a little scared for me; he has to consciously steer the conversation into a "safe" topic.

But the truth is, aside from the infamous incident we all know now too well, I'm personally sort of going through a crisis myself.
Source: www.levo.com

I hate to talk about my petty worries at a time like this, but I also know that I have to release my feelings in my blog.

February 2, 2015

As The Bloody River Clears Up

The 44 SAF troopers' lives and the 19 Moros' lives are not the only reasons for mourning. We need to mourn for the country as a whole, too.

Your see, as the muddy, bloody river clears out, the President's involvement in the operation also becomes clearer.

Apparently, he had been involved in the operation from the very start, contrary to what he said in his first speech. Worse, it was a "secret" plan between him and suspended Purisima, with the direct involvement of Ochoa. Sources say that on the day of the operation, PNoy was monitoring everything real time. They even claim he was in Zamboanga on purpose so he could travel to Maguindanao quickly when the SAF captures the terrorists (Source).

So he expected a successful operation. Obviously, the opposite happened. We also know about the tragic lack of communication and coordination, a fault ex-SAF chief owned up to. But as Commander-in-Chief, shouldn't the President overlook and assure that everything was, indeed, in order? It seems like he was in a hurry to get the operation over and done with.

But why?

The government's involvement is now clearer, but the President's motives become much more doubtful. Was the intention of sending cops to Mamasapano only to capture the terrorists? Or was there something else?
Image from Rappler

Noynoy, Noynoy, what have you done?

Some say that aside from the money, it was for a Nobel Prize for Peace (Source). If this is true, then it must be wonderful to receive a prestigious prize bought for a heavy price - the blood of 63 people.

Some say it was Purisima's saving grace. And some say it was an attempt to secure Liguasan marsh for its oil.

There are so many reasons coming out to attempt to explain the motive behind this poorly coordinated operation, but one thing is for sure: all are selfish interests and none are worthy of bloodshed.

Here's what I think should be done:

1. All of the top officials involved, including the President, should be subject to questioning and investigation. 

I believe they are primarily accountable for this, and it is not only Napenas that should be removed from his position. They should explain why the operation was kept secret from DILG, PNP and AFP and why there was an utter lack of proper coordination.

PNoy's refusal to send reinforcement must also be clarified because, in my opinion, the lives of 44 troopers (the ones in dire position during the call for a reinforcement) is more important than protecting the Peace Talks. After all, it was the MILF who first violated it.

PNoy's motives should also be questioned. If he is proven to have broken public trust, he should be impeached.

2. MILF should also be questioned and probed. 
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