August 29, 2014

5 Things You Can Do With Your 5000 Pesos

Suppose you have a spare P5,000 lying around, waiting to get used. How will you use it?
Background image from

If somebody asked me that question 2 years back, I'd probably say I don't know, which is true for two reasons. First, I knew zilch about handling money (I'll probably just ask Job about it). Second, even if I was a kuripot spender, because I don't track my money, somehow it always manages to get "lost," so I rarely had P5,000 to spare.

But what if you are unlike me 2 years back and want to be financially wise? What if you're tired of spending your money on senseless things? Your spare cash could be more than P5,000, or less, but for me, this is the magic number in finance. You can do magic with this humble amount.

August 26, 2014

Teaching Toddlers Obedience


Is your toddler testing your patience by testing his limits?

I want to begin this post with this disclaimer: I don't know much. Yuri is my only child and he did just turn 2 five months ago (he's 29 months today!). Which means my experience as a mom to a 2-year old is not worth anything, really.

But let me tell you this: I've never experienced a "terrible 2" moment. Yet. Seasoned moms will tell me that I'm speaking too soon, and maybe I am, but apart from the fact that Yuri is not really prone to throwing tantrums (he is kinda dramatic though...), we're beginning to curb the tendencies by teaching him to obey.

August 25, 2014

Yaya Woes: Probably the Last Straw

Last week, I talked about how we got so mad at Honey, Yuri's yaya, for insisting to go home (even when she just went home several weeks before) and for insulting us.

Of course, when she got home Monday morning, we scolded her, and because she insulted us - my mom especially - we made the decision to just pull her out from school and let her go.

(What made her and her sister's remarks especially insulting was that we were planning to give her a graduation blowout and completely erase all of her debts. Tapos ganun pala ang sinasabi nila about our efforts?!)

But after seeing her cry, repent, and ask for one more chance (spot the movie lines), we decided to forgive her and let her continue schooling and working.

However, we wanted to talk to her sister and/or mother. But she cried again and begged us not to. Hmmm.

August 23, 2014

If you have to marry your partner where you met them, where would that be?

I just saw this photo on my Facebook feed today and it caught my attention. I was like, thank goodness I don't have to do that because if I have to marry Job at the place where we met each other, it would be at the....


Long story! Let's just say he and my brother (who did not know each other) met separate vehicular accidents almost at the same time. It sounds funny now, but I pray that never happens again! :D

Now, what about you? If you have to marry your partner where you met them, where would that be?

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August 22, 2014

What it Means to Live Within Your Means

Many of us have surely thought of ways to live a financially comfortable life. I know I have, and I have my reasons. But if we all have the same aspirations, why is it that only a few actually get - and stay - rich?

What separates those on their way to financial freedom from those who, let's just say, are on the totally wrong route?

The answer is simple - too simple actually. Those in one of the two groups live within their means.

C'mon. I must've heard of that a thousand times already. Can't you give me something new? A surefire way to get rich?

Unfortunately, no. You must have heard of the advice a thousand times, and the reason for that is that it works! Coupled with the practice of delayed gratification and having financial knowledge, the principle of living within your means is the surefire route to financial independence.


August 20, 2014

An Ikea Wishlist

I know many of you would probably agree with me: there should be an IKEA store in the Philippines!

I drool over many of the furniture pieces from IKEA, and I imagine that our house, when it finally gets built, would be fully decked out from top to bottom with IKEA pieces. You see, they are not only pretty but also space-efficient. And based on the US website, they are pretty affordable!

That's why I was ecstatic when I found out that there was an IKEA reseller in Davao city with a pwesto just at Abreeza Mall. I checked their Facebook page beforehand and am happy to report that they carry almost everything I like. So last Sunday, I finally visited them to see the items in person.

Unfortunately, I saw that the items were overpriced. For example, the Mala Easel, which was really what I was planning to buy only costs around $15 in the website. That's just around P645. But in the store, it costs P3,500. Partida sale price pa yan. Original price is P4,100. I know they're adding the shipping costs and rental fees to the prices of the products, so it's understandable, but that doesn't mean I have no choice but to patronize them, right? I need to make the most out of my money!

When I got home, I computed how much it would cost if I order the easel directly from the website. Again, it's $15 or P645, right? I might have it shipped through, for example, My Shopping Box, which charge $2.99 per pound for sea freight. Since the easel weighs 14 pounds, I would have to pay $41.86 or roughly P1,800. In total, I would only have to pay P2445, and I don't have to get out of the house.

If no one talks me out of it, I might just do that! 

(There's one more big IKEA reseller in Davao City, and they have a real shop which is even nearer my home. I just sent them an inquiry, but they don't carry the Mala Easel huhu.)

Aside from the Mala Easel, I also drool over many other items from IKEA. Here's an early Christmas wishlist hahaha:

August 19, 2014

Persona Non Grata? Really?

So some of you might have already heard of the news about Ramon Bautista here in Davao. I wasn't there, but apparently, he made a remark about the people in Davao being like hipon. For the clueless, it's an expression used to refer to people who have great bodies but not-so-desirable faces.

It is a derogatory remark, for sure, and I must admit it's quite offending to call someone, much more a group of people, "hipon." But I wasn't there. I'm not even sure whether he was really referring to the people or to the actual seafood hehe. However, I do understand that the joke was not tactfully delivered and RB ended up looking just rude.

But let's give the poor guy a break. I know how he must feel because there had been several times in my life when a rude remark went out of my mouth, different from what I intended to say! My motive was innocent but I ended up offending a person. That's life. We're all people. We're not perfect. I'm sure RB didn't intend to offend Davaoenos that night because, hello, what good would come out of it? He just was not thinking.

According to news, he already apologized to the crowd during that night. Apparently, it was not enough for people continued to lambast him. And then last night, I saw this on RB's Instagram:

And you know what? After reading that post, I no longer felt offended. In fact, I gained a new respect for the UP professor and comedian not only because of the repeat apology but also because he did not attempt to defend himself. He offered no explanation for his tactless "joke" but instead, just humbled himself and said sorry. Even when he already did say sorry. Even if he still got attacked and bullied. For me, that's courage.

I thought everything was going to be alright. However, just today, I read this news about Ramon Bautista being declared persona non grata in my city. Wait, what?! If you ask me, I think that's just unfair. He didn't commit a crime! Yes, what he did was rude and offensive, but that alone doesn't warrant a punishment as serious as not allowing a fellow Filipino enter a Philippine city. Even the mastermind of the Maguindanao massacre who infamously grinned like the Cheshire cat, before he was imprisoned, wasn't declared persona non grata!

But that's just me. I don't know anything about the law. I don't know anything about politics or how defending women's rights are is supposed to work, at least according to them.

But I know compassion and forgiveness and grace and showing them to people who least deserve them. RB was certainly not faultless, but then again, neither are we. Neither are our leaders. However, we strive to continue to show compassion, forgiveness, and grace. In my heart as a Christian, as a mother, and as a woman, that's the mark of true leadership.

I hate to see my beloved city be known as a hardhearted city that can't forgive.

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August 18, 2014

False-Alarm Kidnapping, Firing Yaya, and Other Stories

The past weekend was Kadayawan weekend and we originally planned it to be a weekend of mindless mall-hopping and (window) shopping. But more things happened that made a supposed uneventful weekend, well, eventful!

I'll start with the regular, steady stuff before I tell you about the juicy stories, ah-key?

1. My Only Kadayawan Find

There must be something wrong with me because I am no longer excited by sales. Mas excited pa ako for book sales and garage sales hehe. So despite the many sales all over the city, unsurprisingly, this was the only thing I bought:
Montessori Letter Work

I first discovered this book in my internerd-blackhole, (you're welcome), and it's unique because it uses the Montessori concepts of textured letters (Google sandpaper letters) and teaching children not letter names but letter sounds. I subscribe to these philosophies so I knew I had to get it.

In the website, it costs $11, free shipping, or around P473. It's quite pricey for a board book, and while I'm willing to invest in it, I just had to shop around. That led me to local bookstore chain, Fully Booked, that sells it for only P398! Almost P100 less! Yay!

So yesterday, first thing we did was go to Fully Booked in Abreeza and when I finally found it, I never let go. Haha!

But the best thing was that when I was paying for it, the cashier told me it was on sale, so it was now just P318! Perfect! Based on the original $11 price, I saved... do the math!

2. The "Stores" I've Been Waiting for are Finally Here!

August 16, 2014

Make Your Own Moon Sand in Minutes

how to make your own moon sand
Last summer, when we were at the beach, I discovered that my toddler absolutely loves the sand. He could play with it for hours and not even look up when we call him. I love it because sand is actually a sensory "toy" that's perfect for toddlers.

Unfortunately, we can't be in the beach everyday.

Fortunately, I came across "moon sand" when someone in my Instagram feed sold it. Living in the Philippines and in a city where the beach is minutes away, I thought, "I don't have to buy that. I'm sure I can make that."

So during our next beach trip, while I was nursing Yuri, I asked my cousins to get me sand!

Now, moon sand is more than just sand. Because of some added ingredients, it is actually more moldable and, therefore, more fun and educational!

I am aware that there's a commercial brand, Moon Sand, available and you can buy that, but if you have some minutes free, I really think you should make it instead.

Many versions call for flour and baby oil, but mine is more tropics-friendly and pantry-forgiving. This is because I use these ingredients:

August 15, 2014

Suicide Is Not Unforgivable


Robin Williams has been dead for days now, and most of you might have read dozens of news-related stories already, but I chose to write this one today because truth be told, I didn't know what to think... about suicide, in particular and in general.

It wasn't until last night that I was finally enlightened.

I was raised as a Catholic who believed in mortal sin or sin that cannot be forgiven. It includes murder, and since suicide is virtually a kind of murder, it is automatically unforgivable. At least that's what the "doctrines" say. I believed that one automatically went to hell when he commits suicide.

Well, that really bothered me because in high school, a friend of mine, a pretty girl who is a "rich kid" who got everything she wanted, took her life by hanging herself with a scarf inside her closet. She was only 16.

But the idea that suicide was unforgivable remained. I'm ashamed to say it now, but I looked with disdain at those who commit it. You can throw stones at me because I'll be honest: I condemned them. In my eyes, they just did not fight hard enough.

Fast forward to several years when I became a Born Again Christian. I got to have a clearer understanding of Jesus and the Good News. Despite my many sins, I am saved. Halleluiah! But I still wasn't so sure about those who commit suicide. Truth be told, I never really bothered.

News about Robin Williams came, and though I adored him, I still was pretty much convinced that suicide was unforgivable.

Until last night.

August 13, 2014

What's Up Wednesday

Yes, I have chubby, baby hands. You can say it to me - just not to my face, okay?

If I were asked what my secondary needs are, I'd probably say the first is an internet connection. If you work from home like me, you understand why!

But I lost internet connection yesterday. And my backup internet, my SmartBro, was very weak and wasn't much of a help. So even though I wanted to work, I had to be absent yesterday.

Which actually turned out to be a good thing. Not the missing-work part but the away-from-the-laptop part! Because yesterday, I was able to do three things for the first time: make moonsand, play with Yuri, watch a fun movie, and attend a focused group discussion (the details of which I won't divulge).

When I realized the SmartBro wasn't getting me anywhere, I knew I had to miss work. So I turned the TV on and tried to "relax." But even though there was an interesting show, I couldn't sit still. In other words, aligaga. I wanted something to do and remembered the sand we collected from Samal last summer. I checked our pantry and saw cornstarch. I thought I'd finally do the project I've been meaning to do all summer.
And boy do I not regret it! The moonsand was very easy and fun to make and Yuri had a blast playing with it.

August 11, 2014

I Wish I was Homeschooled

I am a self-confessed know-it-all, (I know many find it annoying; see, I "know" it again!) but the truth is that almost all that I know I learned on my own.

After graduating from college, I have been asked a number of times if or when I'll take up a Master's degree. My mother, after learning that my cousin is taking up Master's in UPOU, has always tried to convince me. It's partly because my scholarship also applies to a Masteral. Sayang nga, but I really don't want to do it.

Though the charm of a new title is there, I just was never really interested.

That's not to say I think less of those who continue schooling. On the contrary, I admire them! For there really are people who benefit the most from formal instruction. But I'm not like them.

August 9, 2014

Lovely Kerosene Lamps

I mentioned last Wednesday that last Sunday, we "ventured" into the southern part of the city just to go to Book Sale.

Well, aside from Book Sale, we also discovered that NCCC Mall's grocery store is a lot bigger and grander now! The range of products is just awesome; as a grocery-loving family, we were like kids in Disneyland. I've never been to Target but I'm imagining that must be their peg.

I saw cool building toys (logs, not bricks) and dollhouses and toy kitchenettes. It's a shame that the kitchenette was pink; girls lang ba ang naglulutu-lutoan? But what really caught my attention was the whiteboard easel. I don't know what I was thinking and di ko kinuha ang price. Now I can't compare it with IKEA's Mala easel. If only I can show you the toys. I really regret not taking any photos!

Obviously, I didn't get any of those toys (aiming for that easel), at least not yet. Because I spent na for books and haven't paid my tithes and bills yet. So what I got was just this:
kerosene lamp
I know what you're thinking: in a world of LEDs and batteries, what am I gonna do with a kerosene lamp?

August 8, 2014

Finance Friday: You Need an Accountability Partner

Image from Google

Left to my own devices, I would have probably wasted my money on beautiful but unnecessary things.

But I did not.

I may be a master of delayed gratification but that doesn't mean I have self-control of steel. To be honest, I think of shopping all the time! One of my favorite pastimes is online window-shopping where I admire beautiful things. Bags, shoes, furniture, books, homeschool supplies - these are only some of the things in my perpetual want-list. But I haven't given in to buying any just yet.


Because I have an awesome accountability partner: my mother.

August 6, 2014

Book Sale Loot from Sunday!

My post from Monday, which is about our decision to raise Yuri to speak primarily in Filipino, received a lot of attention, and while it received positive feedback, it also received several negative reactions. I was prepared for that because I know many have a different opinion. But I wasn't prepared for the hurtful comments! Outside the blog, I actually received comments calling me absurd and insecure! It's sad how, despite the language, some just choose to be rude. But it's equally enlightening to know that some people can share their opinions while showing grace and respect. So much learning from a single post!

Anyway, let's move on and talk about something lighter. What about books? :-)

You see, last Sunday, after a long long while, I was finally able to revisit my most favorite store in the world: Book Sale.
Book Sale philippines
When I was in high school, my mom and I would always go to Book Sale (and Bookshop before) to buy books. I maintained the habit and still tried to visit when I was in college. When I graduated and had a job, whenever I get my salary, my first stop is always Book Sale.

Unfortunately for me, there are only three branches in Davao City: 2 of them are in the south (we live in the north) while 1 is in the heart of the city that is not very child-friendly (think Quiapo). With a toddler in tow, I simply couldn't visit Book Sale on a whim now!

So what I did was regularly visit the online shop of The Learning Basket. And I did score a lot of great finds there! Our copies of Where the Wild Things Are and The Very Hungry Caterpillar are from it. It's clear that the owners only sell books which they and their children would read, too. But with the shipping fee, it tends to get expensive. Plus, palagi akong nauunahan haha!

(You can see more of our books here.)

Well, last Sunday, I really planned to go to Book Sale.

August 4, 2014

We're Raising a Filipino-Speaking Child

"We're teaching him English and Tagalowg and some Bisayuh," said my tall American neighbor when he and his 2-year old son passed by our house one Saturday.
I'm pretty impressed that the little mestizo playing with my little chinito spoke Tagalowg and Bisayuh. No offense meant, I was truly impressed! I'm amazed at the idea of a true foreigner who wants his son to know and speak this land's language.

You see, I wasn't an English-speaking kid (ever). Nobody I knew at school (I went to three schools during my childhood), at home, or just about anywhere spoke in straight English. Or what we affectionally call "spokening in dollars." Classy.

In fact, my peers, who were all children of middle-class parents like I am, spoke using vernacular language. Tagalog, Bisaya, Hiligaynon. My childhood language was an interesting mix of Tagalog and Masbateno (which didn't come in handy when I had potty accidents at school but that's another story).

No one spoke English, unless we're reading books, singing Spice Girls songs, or quoting lines from Pocahontas. Just having a grasp of that foreign language was enough. Suffice to say, the kids I grew up with and I were pretty terrified of our school's speak-in-English-or-bayad-piso rule.

When I entered motherhood, I was pretty surprised to see little children speaking straight English. Of course, there's nothing wrong with that, but I assumed that one of the parents must be a foreigner, thus the need to learn the language. Imagine my surprise to know that both parents were pure-blooded Filipinos. But don't get me wrong; I have nothing against teaching Filipino kids English.

Globally competitive, it's what they say. I, of course, want my son to be globally competitive, too, so buy him a lot of books for his toddler library.

But what, to me, came as a shocker was finding out these same kids could barely speak a single Filipino word. Is that even a bragging right now when a child doesn't understand the language of his land? Is there shame in speaking Filipino?

August 1, 2014

Lunch at Sea Green Cafe and Lifestyle Shop

Sea Green cafe is only the hippest healthy restaurant in Davao City. Or so I heard. So from the first time I came to know about it, I knew I should try it.

After months of craving, I was finally able to eat at Sea Green last Sunday. I was one happy gal!
Sea Green is this quaint little restaurant in the middle of the city that gives off strong country vibes. It's popular for serving only fish and vegetables and only fresh ingredients. Thus, Sea + Green. Love! Also, I wasn't kidding when I said it's tucked in somewhere in the middle of the city. We almost got lost because we're from the north and not very familiar with Torres-Marfori area. (Just go to Mercury Drug Garcia Heights and make a right. Or left, depending on where you are from. Ang labo ko lang.)

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