Lifestyle Blogger. Promdi. Filipina.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Book Review: Flipping The Script


Miri dela Merced’s film director grandfather and Pabs Paglinauan’s studio head grandmother had a huge falling out that ended Lolo Ikong’s career. At seventeen, Miri finds herself in the same summer film internship program as the down-to-earth film studio heir Pabs, whom she’s decided to automatically write off, just because of his lineage. As Miri gets a crash course in her expectations vs the reality of what it's like to work on a real movie, her true feelings for Pabs become harder and harder to ignore. In between attending outdoor screenings of classic Pinoy movies and battling monster production assistants together, can flipping the script on a decades-old grudge be only a few sequences away? 


Flipping the Script is a Young Adult Romance/ #RomanceClass book that was released last February 15, 2019. 

I have to admit, I was not sure if I would like this book when I first started reading because the lead was a Senior High School student. Being in my 40s, I was not exactly feeling like I could relate to the story of "youngsters" anymore. We never had Senior High in my time so it was a concept that was new to me when I was reading the book.

What surprised me is that I enjoyed Flipping the Script -- not necessarily because of the love story itself but more because of the story of friendship and camaraderie that the group of interns had throughout the story. It's one of those stories where the main story meshed so well with the story of a group, which is refreshing to read since most romances concentrate on just the main character and her love interest alone. Friends are usually relegated to the background but in this case, the friends have enough interactions to make the reader relate to them as well. I found myself imagining this as a movie -- it had all the elements of a romantic, Star Cinema-esque film.

It was definitely more simple when we weren’t friends. It was easier hating Pabs, but I must admit that falling for him is a lot more interesting.

The romance between Miri and Pabs was a hate-to-love and Romeo and Juliet kind of story: families with grudges against each other, a hate for each other that develops into love, all while being involved in the world of Philippine cinema. I think my age made me a little less kilig over the romantic parts. They were nice for me in the "oh look at these kids...I remember being young and in love" sense than in the OMG-What kind.

I would have loved it more if the book was a little longer because there was so much about the other characters that I would have enjoyed diving into, particularly Miri's mom, who just seemed so interesting from the get-go.

The book is a light and quick read that you would enjoy reading on a weekend. Apart from the main characters Mira and Pabs, it has a good mix of annoying, interesting and funny characters that you want to get to know better...which is why I really wish that the book was a little bit longer.

To sum up, I enjoyed reading the book and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a light and quick romantic read. I'm very happy that there are more Filipino writers producing quality work and I encourage everyone to support them so that we can discover and enjoy more books like this one!

About the Author: 

Danice Mae P. Sison realized she wanted to be Harriet the Spy when she was very young. Since then, she has been digging out from real life experiences, pop culture obsessions, and her growing TBR pile of young adult and romance books for inspiration. She works in pay television as a channel manager, and has previously contributed as an author on the anthology Start Here. Flipping the Script is her first book. 

Website | Email: | Twitter |

Note: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Another #MeToo Story

So many things have been running through my head.

Something happened a while back that had me thinking – wondering really – if I know people as well as I think I do. If I know myself well enough to trust my judgment about things that happened.

Someone I know, someone I trust surprised me by acting in a way that felt a little too touchy-feely for me. Something that I felt uncomfortable with because it felt inappropriate the instant that it happened. I froze immediately, that’s how uncomfortable it was for me. 

Photo by Antonio DiCaterina on Unsplash

Where does one draw the line, what is considered inappropriate? Doesn’t the mere fact that one party is in a relationship with someone else automatically mean that certain gestures of “affection” are not proper expressions of friendship? It’s not even just that gesture that I was uncomfortable with. Something else happened that I felt was too slow for it not to be deliberate, for it to be brushed off as an accidental thing. If I am right about that, this person would know what I am talking about. If it was really accidental, any normal person would apologize, but since I did not get an apology, my head is swaying over to the side of it being deliberate.

My head is like a cache of #MeToo thoughts right now. I have been second guessing myself and doubting myself since Day 1: Did I do something to encourage that kind of behavior? Was it my fault? Does the fact that I froze and tried to offset the situation by shifting the conversation mean that I was OK with it? Am I being too much of a prude? Am I being overly dramatic? Am I reading too much into this? Should I say anything? Should I NOT say anything?

I feel like if I called this person out on what happened, things could blow back at me. I could be made out as a liar – why would someone like him do that to someone like me? I could be made out as bitter since there was a phase of flirtation with the person in the past when we were both single. My feelings could be dismissed as being too “assuming” due to our history. I have talked about this to someone who knows our history, and that person dismissed this as a “boys will be boys" thing; that we were close enough at some point that the behavior he showed is "normal" among friends with that kind of past. Another friend who also knows both of us, on the other hand, said that was happened was harassment already.

I’ve been trying to shut out that moment from my head for a while now. I want things to go back to where I can look at this person as my friend. Someone I’ve trusted since the first time we met. Someone I’ve known for a long time. It breaks my heart to think of that person in that way because this is someone I have always had the utmost respect for. Am I that bad a judge of character or am I just misinterpreting things? Did this person change somewhere along the way and I just did not notice?

It’s been difficult to process my thoughts and feelings about everything. This person is an inevitable part of my life, it’s not like I can just delete the role of this person in it. I’ve told a friend that I will choose to give this person the benefit of the doubt, that I will choose to believe that what happened was not intended to make me feel uncomfortable even if it did. I will choose to look at the years of friendship we have had so far instead of that one brief moment. Easier said than done though.

When I hear this person’s name, when I talk about this person with other people, I get a flashback of that moment. A flashback of that time when I felt that my trust in this person was betrayed. I wish I could just forget and take away the discomfort, but it’s still there. 

The idea is distracting my brain and I haven't been able to think clearly because I am constantly doubting myself and my judgment now. Maybe in time things will get better for me. For now however, I present a façade where I pretend that it never happened even if my brain is screaming at me that it did.

Do I have a point with all this? Not really. I guess I just realized that although I have experienced some #MeToo moments in the past, it never involved someone that I cared about and trusted before. It’s much more difficult to process my feelings about it all because of that.

Thank you to the friends who listened, believed and supported me when I shared my story. You have helped me more than you know.


Thursday, February 14, 2019

My Delicate New Year's Day

I’m in the middle of writing a love story and the songs that play in my head whenever I think of the main characters in my “novel” (or novella, depending on how long it actually ends up) are the songs Delicate and New Year’s Day by Taylor Swift. For now my working title is My Delicate New Year's Day, just because those songs are playing in my head. In the beginning I used to listen to Kelly Clarkson's Catch My Breath while writing this one, but the first two songs are the ones that give more feeling to what I'm writing at this point.

Some people have asked me why I’m writing a love story. Maybe it’s because I’ve had my share of love and heartbreak. Maybe it’s because if I can’t have a love life, I can make a fictional one that people will enjoy reading about. Maybe I just love to write...I don’t know. I just enjoy the idea of it I guess. 

Photo Credit: Pexels on Pixabay

I know that there are writers who say that they try not to put personal things into their stories but for me I think that I can’t help it. While the stories in my head are about people that are so far from who I am, I do put in instances that were taken from my own personal experiences. It could be things that have happened to me or things that I have seen happen to other people. I think it’s because, as they say, you have to write what you know. It’s not that the stories are my stories per se, but that some bits and pieces of what happen to these characters are taken from real-life events, albeit with some exaggerations or artistic license in terms of interpretation.  

Take this idea for example: in my story, one of the characters has a soft spot for another character because of an act of kindness that this character has done in the past. It made me think of how sometimes we take the random acts of kindness we do for other people for granted, but to the other person that would have been an important event in their life that resonates for a long time. I got this idea from something that happened to me. 

Back when I was younger, I remember visiting a place from my childhood that meant a lot to me. Only thing was that it felt so different. The sense of belonging I felt for the place wasn’t there anymore. I felt like a stranger in a place that once felt like home. I felt like maybe it was the wrong idea to go back. I remember at that moment running into someone who had this big smile, greeting me and remembering me and asking how I was doing. That might have been a small gesture to that person but to me, that was greatly appreciated. To this day I remember that moment and that smile and that feeling of being welcomed/ accepted. I always remember that person with a smile in my face and hoping that person is still as nice as I remember. I took that experience and turned it into something I could use in my story. A little seed planted that gives the events that follow some justification.  

For me I think writing about things that actually happened in real life, like the one I just shared, means it's something people may be able to relate to instead of a “too good to be true” event that is more fantasy than reality. That’s probably why I like Taylor Swift’s songs Delicate and New Year’s Day. They talk about things that could happen to anyone.

In Delicate, she wonders if the other person thinks of her and how she pretends he is hers all the time because she likes him. I’d like to think that many of us have been through that. The lines that ask if it’s cool that she admits to telling him that she likes him and if it’s too soon to say those things...I think that’s something a lot of people have felt at one point or another too, myself included.

With New Year’s Day, the part that I love the most is when she asks the other person not to be a stranger whose laugh she’d recognize anywhere. Don’t we have those people who we wish we’d have in our lives forever? I think that’s what that line is about. Not wanting them to be the people who drift out of our lives and become strangers that we will recognize in the future. I don’t know about everyone else, but I’ve had friends who have drifted out of my life who I wish were still around so I can relate to those lines.  

Hopefully I can finish this story I’m writing soon so I can share it with everyone. Until then, I’ll be listening to Taylor Swift as I complete this story that has been pre-written in my head.  


Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Zero Waste Idea: Drink Dispensers

These days there has been a lot of talk about solid waste management and how the world is drowning in trash, with governments all over the world thinking of ways to manage the trash that keeps growing and growing because these things, particularly those made of plastic, are not biodegradable. They will be around long after any of us living today have passed on.  

Photo Credit: PDPics on Pixabay

I’ve seen videos of some countries that repurpose and recycle plastics to hollow blocks for construction, chairs, roads etc. I think that these good efforts that should be shared all over the world to reduce the amount of existing trash today. But I also think that apart from managing the existing trash that we have we should also be making an effort to minimize the creation of additional trash. 

There are so many people who have made the effort to open and support stores that focus on selling products that skips the usual packaging but letting customers simply refill their containers for their purchases. While I love this concept, it is still very rare and inaccessible to those who would want to support the effort but cannot afford to travel/pay extra to do so. 

We need to remember that the majority of the people in the world cannot afford to go zero-waste because the products they can afford are usually those that are in plastic packaging. At this point it’s not just the people/consumers that need to make the effort to support a zero-waste world but also the manufacturers who make these products and package their materials in plastic as well.  

One of the most-used plastic these days the plastic bottle, particularly for water and other bottled drinks, it made me wonder if it would be possible for manufacturers to “repackage” their products by allowing consumers to refill their drinks via tap/dispenser. I’ve seen a water station that does this: you pay the cost of the amount of water you buy and then you can dispense that amount from their tap. We’ve seen dispensers for sodas in fast food places that dispense according to volume – why can’t we do that for other drinks as well? People could come into the stores, enter the volume and drink you need, pay (the same way you do with a vending machine) then fill your container with your purchase. I think this will work well for those convenience stores where people go to buy drinks at the last minute.  

Photo Credit: sl3p3r on Pixabay

If customers are given an incentive of a lower price if they bring their own bottles/containers that would be a great way to encourage people to ditch the plastic bottles and bring their own containers to buy their drinks instead. Obviously, this is just an idea, I have no idea how logistics would be for this kind of concept, but I think this would be a nice alternative that could be looked into.  

In the meantime, it would be great if we all could bring our own cups/bottles when we go out so that we can skip on the plastic bottles/cups for our drinks. After all, a lot of establishments now allow you to use your own container for buying their drinks to avoid the use of plastic. 

Sometimes I think it’s too late for us and the environment with the amount of plastic there is in the world today. But there are still moments when I think that we can still do something to reverse everything or at the very least, reduce the additional impact we can have on the environment.  

What do you think? 

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Percy Laureti Bag Review

When Meghan Markle aka the Duchess of Sussex was still dating Prince Harry of England, I was obsessed with the way she dressed. I loved how her looks were both very casual and laid back but still fashionable at the same time. One particular look that I loved was during their first public outing at the Invictus Games in Toronto, Canada. She was wearing a white button-down shirt, distressed jeans, flats and was carrying this brown leather tote, which was identified as the Day Market Tote in Cognac by Everlane (priced at around $175).  

I was obsessed with that bag! For one, I’ve always been more a fan of totes than small dainty bags. I feel like I always need to bring along too much stuff so small bags are out. Whenever I do bring one of those small bags out of necessity, you can bet that those bags are crazy stuffed and busting at the seams because I can’t minimize the things I bring along whenever I’m out.  

But I digress. We were talking about Meghan Markle’s bag, the Day Market Tote, Of course, I cannot afford to buy a bag like that and honestly, I’m not particularly keen on buying expensive bags because even if there were ever a time that I could afford it, I would probably wreck that bag anyway. I’m just not the dainty type. It’s more about the look and function instead of the brand name and the presumed quality for me...which brings me to my point: I wanted the same look, just without the high price that would make me vomit if I were ever to ruin the bag in some of my usual but random clumsy accidents. 

I found the right bag for me via the brand Thomas Laureti (zero waste friends: the package was delivered in a box. I was so happy that they did not use plastic).  OK let me invite you to my confusion when I say this because I don’t understand myself: the bag is branded Percy Laureti, but the brand’s site that I got the bag from is called Thomas Laureti. For the purpose of clarity, let me just call the bag the Laureti from now on. 

The Laureti bag I found was the 2 in one bag. It’s a brown bag that is similar to the Day Market Tote, the only difference is that it has a matching bag that you can use as a pouch bag or shoulder bag. For the price I thought that it was a very good and practical purchase. I also found another bag, the reversible. This one is also similar in look and size as the Day Market Tote but the difference is that you can use both the inner and outer color of the bag. I chose the brown and black version instead of the two shades of brown.  

I’ve been using the 2 in one bag daily for work. I find it practical because I use the tote to put my papers in it when I have to go out for a meeting. It’s also large enough for me to put everything I need in it for the day. The smaller bag I haven’t had much use for (because I hardly use small bags) but it’s been handy when I need to bring a smaller bag for certain occasions.  

While I love the bag, disintegrating little by little through time. The inner lining of the bigger bag flakes a lot so everything gets brown specks on it whenever I put it in the bag. The outer lining in the edges (have no idea what they’re called) keeps flaking off as well. I guess this is normal wear and tear since I use the bag daily but it’s sad to see it practically wasting away. I wonder if this can be fixed because I love this bag. 

The smaller bag, on the other hand, still looks brand new because I hardly use it. I love that this one has an inner lining – which means that it doesn’t flake on the inside. Maybe one of these days I can find more use for this one.  

As for the reversible bag -- surprise! It’s been more than two years (I think) and I have NOT used it yet! I’ve been so used to the 2 in one tote that I have not gotten around to using this one. Will post a review on it when I do. But for now, I like looking at it because it still looks new (hahaha).  

If you’re interested in these bags, there is a Thomas Laureti page on Facebook. They have a website but lately my malware scanner has been telling me that the site is compromised so I won’t share that one! Hope they fix it soon!


Monday, February 11, 2019

Jurassic World Alive: The App Review

My nephew is currently in his dinosaur phase. There was a time when he was obsessed with cars. Then he progressed to construction vehicles (oh how he loved his excavator). He then moved on to trains (specifically Thomas and Friends) and now it’s dinosaurs. This has been the longest obsession so far; he’s been at it for more than a year or so. Because of that, everyone in the family has been giving him gifts that are in line with that dinosaur theme.  

Our little one is only 5 but he has seen all the Jurassic World movies (thanks to a cable marathon during the holidays) and he loves them so much he can name much more of them than I can. It has become a bonding activity for us to have him school me on the names of the dinosaurs he has in his toy collection. Sometimes he even draws them for me. He’s that hooked to this! 

One other thing we’ve done for him is to download games that are dinosaur-related. One of those games is Jurassic World Alive, which is basically Pokemon Go for Dinosaurs. It’s an augmented reality game where you can catch dinosaurs and put them in your collection. From that collection you can form a team of your best dinosaurs that can go into battle with other players to win prizes that range from cash/coins, darts and DNA from dinosaurs that you can create or make into hybrids. I love that the game isn’t too complicated for a kid to play, but still has features that even an adult would enjoy. 

One cute thing that my nephew likes to do with the game is take photos of the dinosaurs with the AR mode. He takes photos of the dinosaurs from different parts of the house, sometimes with some members of our family. He finds it amazing that he can have a photo of himself with his favorite dinosaur (which, at the moment is the Brachiosaurus). He also enjoys just looking at the dinosaurs in his collection. He checks out the names and tries to read them. The best part of the collection for him would probably be that he could pet the dinosaurs and get a reaction from them – he keeps calling me to show me that when it happens! 

At first, I was just playing the game to collect dinosaurs for my nephew but after a while it has been something that I enjoy doing to pass the time. I find it amusing that many members of my family now have the game on their phone or tablet just so that the little one can play the game whenever he is with any one of us.  

Out of all the features of the game I love the battle stage the most. For one thing, I crack up whenever I see my nephew win battle after battle because I’m thinking that the other online player has no idea that he (or she) was beaten by a 5-year-old. I love that the battle is a very easy to understand part of the game that a kid can do it, but it is still a game of strategy and decision-making that makes me impressed that my nephew wins a lot at it.  

If you’re looking for a game similar to Pokemon Go or you’re looking for something featuring dinosaurs that isn’t too complicated to play, you may want to try out Jurassic World Alive. It’s a good game. I like it and I think you might too! 

*All photos are screen captures of Jurassic World Alive, credit Ludia Inc.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

My Plus Size Shopping Experience

I am a plus-sized woman. There’s nothing I can do to deny it. I have not fit into regular-sized clothing in years, specifically since I had my surgery that removed my thyroid. My attempts at weight loss is a continuous struggle (that I will discuss in a future post). The biggest (pun intended) problem that I have with the weight, however, is the fact that it is so hard to find something good to wear. 

Photo Credit: gonghuimin468 on Pixabay

I hate shopping for clothes. Even when I was of a “normal” size, I didn’t enjoy the whole process. I hated having to choose and try on so much when I only needed one or two pieces. Now that I’m of a certain weight, that process has become harder because being plus-sized has its pros and cons. OK, more cons than pros at the moment if I am to be completely honest. 

For one, plus-size clothing stores are rare. Yes, there are online stores, but which ones can you trust? Which ones have a good return policy in case the clothes turn out to be sub-par or of the wrong size? 

I currently have my select few that I go to, but then there is another problem: the lack of options. I find that most of the plus-sized clothes that I find are of a certain style that is just not me. It’s frustrating. I’m not a printed clothes type of girl but I find myself having to choose printed items because most of the choices are printed. So many to me are so frumpy and I can’t get myself to buy them, much less wear them. 

Another issue is the sizing. I find that most stores have different measurements. What can be XXL here, can be XXXL in another store. Or an XXXL can be an XXXXL...and so on and so forth. I find myself buying stuff a size bigger just to be sure that it fits, even if it means wearing something a bit too loose for my taste. I once bought a dress that was my size but it ended up being too short for me.  

And what is it with clothes being super fitting and of a certain style for plus-sized women? I agree with embracing the curves but some embrace it too much that I feel like I’d look like a super stuffed sausage in them! I just can’t picture myself wearing any of them! It's either I end up looking like that or I will look like a pregnant woman or worse, a grandmother in the outfits!

My friend advised me to just buy clothes overseas. Just order from international online stores and choose from there. It sounds so simple but the practicality of it all just gets to me. I find myself thinking of the exchange rate, the shipping fee, the issue with returns in case there is a’s just too much work for me.  It's not even about the price specifically, since I'm willing to pay extra as long as it's something I'd be happy with. It's just the process of it all that I can't handle.

Oh, and has anyone heard of the horror stories of buying plus sizes from China? My goodness, they usually end up being so small! I just can’t picture putting myself into the stressful process of needing an outfit, buying it overseas, waiting and discovering it’s way too small and that I have to return it!  

I know someone might say just lose the weight and buy from the regular-sized clothes again. I wish that it were that simple. I have health issues that make that a challenge, let me put it that way. I’m considering buying fabric and just looking for someone to sew clothes for me. At this point that is an option that I am taking seriously because I am so frustrated about this. 

If anyone can just point me to a good and reliable plus-size seller/store, I’d appreciate the suggestion! 

Saturday, February 9, 2019

My Attempt at Eco-Bricks

These days, it is very important to keep our trash as little as possible. In these times where countries are shipping trash to other nations because they have nowhere else to put it, it’s become very important to be able to go as zero waste as possible. If we can’t, we should at least have some sort of waste management plan. These things can (literally) last forever, so we should know what to do with it.  

One example of doing this is the making and use of ecobricks.  As defined in the Ecobricks website: “An Ecobrick is a reusable building block created by packing clean and dry used plastic into a plastic bottle to a set density.   Ecobricks enable us to take personal responsibility for our plastic.” The bottles are used to build various things that range from furniture, to designing gardens, parks and other structures.  

It all seems easy to do at first. If you take it at face value, it’s about putting your plastic waste into a plastic bottle. Simple, right? Not really. Turns out when I first started to try it that I was doing it wrong. I wasn’t putting as much plastic in the bottle. I wasn’t packing it in as much as I should. I ended up with several bottles that weren’t packed properly. 

One thing I did right was to make sure that the plastic I put in was clean. The wrong part? Not shredding it for packing. Some people don’t either, but I found that shredding it would make it easier to everything into the bottle. The fact that the bottles needed to have a set density meant that it should be packed tight and shredding it would help.  

Another thing I did wrong? Not using a stick to pack the plastic in better. I also didn’t follow the advice to put similar colors together and all that. As much as I wanted to, it would have been too much of a hassle to store too much trash in my room just to set the colors. I usually just put my trash in the bottle when I needed to throw it away. 

After six months I ended up with three bottles of what could be ecobricks. I think that I could do better but I didn’t. I think I lost enthusiasm for it when I found out that there were no places nearby that accept ecobricks. I ended up just giving them to the trash collectors.  

Still, I think that making ecobricks is a good thing to do. I for one became more self-conscious about the trash that I throw away. I think I make more of an effort now to be as minimal as I can when it comes to trash, particularly plastic. I think that even if no one accepts ecobricks in our area, it helps to minimize the amount of trash if I put them all in the ecobricks because it packs them in so that it doesn’t take up as much space that it would if they weren’t in those plastic bottles. 

While I am happy that schools teach and encourage schools to make ecobricks, I was a little disappointed that some schools required their students to produce a certain amount of ecobricks to contribute to their school. I’ve heard of parents who had to produce more trash than they actually would have if they weren’t required to make ecobricks. They also did not teach them that they needed to clean the plastic before they are packed into the bricks. Not doing so could produce methane that could bloat the bottles and pop the caps open in the long run.  

I think the message in all this is that while it is good that we can manage our waste by making ecobricks, the better alternative would be to avoid producing that much trash as much as possible. If manufacturers could find a way to for the packing of their products to be biodegradable, that would be best. It starts with us as individuals but if we want to keep this up to save the planet the big companies (and the government) need to do their part to make sure that everyone is working together to minimize or eliminate plastic waste altogether. 

Friday, February 8, 2019

Tips for OFW Families

My mother was an OFW for around ten years before she went home to stay with the family. My brother in law, on the other hand, is currently as seafarer who is gone for months at a time for work. I guess you can say that in that sense we are an OFW family. It's not easy. I don't think it ever is. It has its ups and its downs. Based on our experiences I think that there are lessons that can be learned and should be shared with other OFW families like ours.

Photo credit: skeeze on Pixabay

Save for a Rainy Day 

I know that it seems difficult. For the OFWs themselves, it feels difficult because the reason you are away from your family is to earn enough money for everything they need on a daily basis, so saving can seem to be a challenge but it is very important. You never know if you need to go home out of schedule due to some unforeseen circumstance. For the families being sent the money to, saving is also important for the same reason. Something needs to put away every month. That small thing monthly will be bigger later and will come in handy when you need it the most. 

Never forget your PAGIBIG, PhilHealth and SSS Contributions 

This is very important. We've had experience with this. My brother in law had an agency that did not pay for his contributions. When my sister had to go to the hospital, she didn't get to use her husband's PhilHealth because apparently the agency did not pay for his share.  

My mother, on the other hand, was not able to pay for her contributions as well. She retired without getting anything from PAGIBIG and SSS because she did not have enough contributions to satisfy the requirements for retirement benefits. No matter how big or small those benefits would have been, just the thought of a regular pension would have been a big deal for my mother since she's no longer working. After working overseas for years, it would be a good reward to have something during your retirement years to look forward to.  

Have a Budget/Don't Live Beyond Your Means 

This again goes for both the OFW and his/her family. Remember to have a budget so that you don't overspend with anything that you don't actually need. The thing that seems to be a problem with the OFW life is there always seems to never be enough money because there's too much you need to pay for. With a budget you can limit that because you identify your priorities. It will help you to not live beyond your means.   

Be Careful with Loans 

That being said, there are times when you cannot afford but to take on a loan (especially if you did not follow my first advice). It happens. But you have to be careful. As much as possible do not borrow from loan sharks because you will be paying so much more than you actually took on. Always remember to pay for your loans on time and include it in your budget. It might be difficult but you'll be thanking yourself in the end for making sure you do it right.  

Learn How to Say No 

It's not a big surprise that it's the OFWs who get a lot of requests from other people. Since they earn dollars, people seem to think that it won't be a big deal to borrow money from them. The OFWs, on the other hand, might feel guilty and not want to say no. 

Thing is, you have to learn how to say no. You are working overseas for a reason, to provide for your family. The reason you are overseas is to do that. You cannot stretch yourself thin to help other people to the point that what you provide to your family is sacrificed in the end. Unless you can fit it into your budget, just don’t do it. 

Don't Be a "One-Day Millionaire" Whenever You're Home 

This is something that a lot of OFWs have a tendency to do. To make up for not being home for a long time, they spend their money on gifts, parties, etc. It’s all to the point of where these people no longer have enough money for when they need to go back overseas and they end up borrowing money just so they have enough for their expenses to go back. It all goes back to proper budgeting and learning to say no. After all, you don’t want to be an OFW forever. 

Final Words

I know that all these things are easier said than done but if we want to make sure that all that time away from our family was worth it, it would be good to do all we can to make that time worth it in the end.


Thursday, February 7, 2019

Nothing is Guaranteed

In a few days I will turn another year older. 

The more I get older the more I feel like I’m living on borrowed time. The more I feel the need to reflect if I have been making the best of my life, if I have been living up to my full potential and doing what truly makes me happy. The more the years go by the more I want to enjoy every moment of my life while I have it. 

I learned very young that in life, nothing is guaranteed. I had a favorite cousin who died in his early 20s. I’ve seen an aunt suffer through and succumb to cancer at a young age, just when she had married and had a baby. My father died suddenly of a heart attack in his 50s. I had surgery and tests for possible cancer. While the results were benign it woke me up to the fact that life could end at any time. Years later the doctor had told me during my checkup that I was at risk of having a heart attack. I was at risk of becoming like my father.  

It doesn’t matter how much planning you do with your life. Things can happen that will change everything in a blink of an eye. It’s not just about life and death. It’s about the unexpected changes, about the cards that you’re dealt that can alter everything with the way you live your life. It’s about how sometimes, no matter how careful you are, no matter how hard you plan your life, some things happen that you can’t do anything about. The only thing you can do is let it happen and take it from there. As Tim Gunn once said, “It is what it is, make it work.” 

My co-worker once asked me after my surgery, cancer scare and heart diagnosis why I didn’t seem to be scared. It’s not that I’m unafraid. I am. I don’t want to die. Not yet anyway. There are so many things that I want to do with my life, so many things that I have yet to experience and enjoy. But, to put it bluntly, when you die, you just do. If it’s my time, it doesn’t matter what I do, it’ll happen. Which is why I would rather not dwell on that. I’d prefer to do my best to enjoy every moment I have and do my best to live it right.  

Six months after my doctor told me about my heart issues, I was informed that my heart has improved. This was thanks to my family looking out for me, my medication and my efforts to become healthier. I think that what happened to me was an example of doing what I can and letting God do the rest.  

For me, every day is a new day and a new chance to make myself a better person. I’m not perfect, but I'd like to think that I’m doing what I can with my life to make sure I do right by myself and other people. I try to say what I want to say and do the things that I want to do because I am not sure if I can do it again tomorrow. I want to follow where my heart leads, then takes things as they come from there. 

In these times where we are always rushing from one thing to another, where we living for the approval of others, where we live, accumulate and waste ourselves like we will be here forever, we have to remember that we are just like the people who have come and gone before us. Nobody lives forever. We are all on borrowed time. Nothing is guaranteed.  

I sometimes ask myself if I am making the best of this borrowed time. If I have done enough with the time I have been given. I try, but I don’t know if I do. 

What about you? 

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

World of Dance Philippines -- The Story So Far

Has anyone been watching World of Dance Philippines? It’s the local version of the US World of Dance competition that is being judged by Jennifer Lopez, Ne-Yo and Derek Hough. The local version follows the same format: dancers are categorized by divisions: Junior, Upper and Team (for the US version though there is a Junior and Upper Team).

The people who pass the Qualifiers are weeded out by the Duels within the divisions. After that the divisions are thinned further with the Cut, to see who makes it to the Division Finals. Each Division Final winner will then go to the finals to be the World of Dance Winner. In the Philippines, that means taking home and the chance to be part of the Qualifiers for the US version of World of Dance.

In each round, performers are judged based on Performance, Technique, Choreography, Creativity and Presentation – each with a maximum score of 20 points. The average total score of each judge will be the final score of the performer. For the Philippines, the judges are all celebrities who are well known for their talent on the dance floor: Billy Crawford, Maja Salvador and Gary Valenciano. They are doing an amazing job with the critique for every performer. I love that it hasn’t been all praises and they are really giving comments that can help improve these performers in terms of their craft.

So far, the Qualifiers are still ongoing and the performers who make it through that round will move on to the Duels. I’m very excited to see that! I hope that the producers choose to have people who have the same style to compete against each other so that there can be a balance of different styles during the Division Finals. Here’s some performers that I've seen so far who I think should compete against each other:


Ace of Spades vs Little Warriors vs Cool Kids Crew – These groups remind me so much of The Lab. I can’t say they are in the same level yet, but I think these kids could get there!

Ken San Jose vs Dhao Mac - They have similar styles but I have to say, Dhao is way better. But then again, Ken could surprise me by coming up with someone better.


Renz Serrano vs El-John – Both solo performers, both choreographers who gave such intense performances. This could be a fierce showdown!


Crossover vs FCPC Baliktanaw vs Le'Go Fam – Both groups strike me as performers who could join the World Hiphop Championships, there is no way these two shouldn’t have a dance-off!

Hiraya vs The Exporters – These contemporary groups need to face-off because they are both so good. If they go against a similar group it would make them level up their performances more I think.

Some To Watch Out For

Apart from these performers there are also those who made it in the Qualifiers that caught my attention: 

Gensan DSK (Junior) – These kids reminded me of World of Dance US 3rd placers Swing Latino, only they are the Junior Version! 

Thy Grace (Junior) - They didn’t score as high as the other groups but I see potential in this one.

Asaf Goren (Upper) - If you’ve seen So You Think You Can Dance, you’d recognize Asaf as a former Top 20 finalist. The only one who had the guts (or the nerve) to talk back to Nigel Lithgow. He seems nicer (?!) now, he actually seems humble. Anyone from the SYTYCD family is someone I’d root for. 

Davnor JC Duo (Upper) - These two were so good with their stunts and graceful with the dancing, although I feel there was more stunts than dance at some point. I can see them being a bit like World of Dance US contestants Charity and Andres is they can balance out the dancing and the stunt work. 

Move to the Groove (Team) - They remind me of the Desi Hoppers from Season 2 of World of Dance in the US because they fused ethnic Filipino music into their performance. I’d love to see more of that!

Overload Crew (Team) - They were good, funny and had some tricks. Reminded me a bit of the humor that Poreotics had in some of their performances.

The Addlib (Team) - I don't think any of the teams dance like they do. Can't really duel them equally with the other groups because their style is different. 

Cedrich and Tintin (Junior) - It’s too bad they didn’t score high enough. I think they were really good. I have to agree with Gary V that Tintin was just on another level and her partner needed to step up. I can bet that if he does, they can be a pairing to watch out for.

Josef Lachica (Upper) - I don't think he is similar in any way and talent to the others but he is someone to watch out for.

There is also one other pairing from the Upper Division that needs to be mentioned. Luka and Jenalyn were former contestants on Season 1 and 2 of World of Dance in the US. They have the highest score in the Qualifiers so far.

I think that Luka and Jenalyn have shown the other dancers the level of talent that they have to be in to win this competition. Watching them you can just see that out of everyone they are just on a whole other level already, which most likely comes from the fact that they have competed against amazing dancers in the US version of the show. 

In my opinion, as good as many of the dancers are that I've seen in the qualifiers, they still are not at the same level as the dancers in the US competition. Then again, this is just the Qualifiers, I don't know how far any of them can step up in the next stage of the competition. I think the judges have been able to point out that while they do have the qualities of being top dancers, there are still some kinks that need to be improved. There are some performances that needed cleaning up, so needed to be more in sync, some needed to improve on musicality etc. I hope that the dancers will all keep the advice of the judges in mind during their performances in the next round. I hope everyone improves in the next stage.

That being said, I cannot wait for the next stage of the competition. I look forward to seeing these people (hopefully) blow me away in future episodes!


Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Why is There So Much Hate

Empire actor Jussie Smollet was in the news recently after he was attacked in Chicago in what was reportedly a racist and homophobic attack. I don't want to go into further detail of what happened as I don't know all the facts but it saddens me that our world is surrounded by so much hate to the point that people attack other people without any provocation.  

Photo from Wokandapix on Pixabay

It's sad to think that while so many people are horrified at the attack on the actor, this is something that isn't new. It's just been magnified because of the fact that Jussie is a celebrity. Attacks based on a person's race or gender (or for being different in general) happens more than we'd like to believe, it's just that we either tend to look the other way or want to stay out of trouble and ignore it, especially if it's something that has not happened to us directly or to someone we know personally. 

When you look at the core of this it's that people are being attacked for being different. For being someone that is outside of what someone thinks is right. For thinking or believing in different things. I'm not going to choose sides and say who is right and who is wrong, that for me is not the point. The point is that these days, people would rather attack other people for being different and for believing in different things instead of accepting and respecting that there will always be people who have different beliefs and opinions from what we have.   

Take social media for example. I've read people shaming other people for posting something that they do not agree with or believe in. Trolling and making fun of someone for being different. Attacking them for not being what they want these people to be. Why do people do that? Will attacking someone online make that person change? Does going after a person that way convince someone to agree with you? More importantly, why do you want to force that person to think like you do? Besides, when is violence ever the answer? If you force someone to have the same beliefs that you do, where is the satisfaction in that? That person only agrees to avoid violence, not because you were able to convince that person to agree with you. Sometimes, we just have to agree to disagree and make peace with that.  

Why can't we all just learn to embrace the fact that everyone is different, and that those differences are what makes the world a diversely beautiful and colorful place to live in? Why can't we learn to accept each other for who we are and respect that while we may have different opinions and beliefs, we can work and live together in harmony because of mutual respect for each other? 

I don’t understand why we would all want to be the same anyway. Do we all want to be clones of each other? That would be pretty boring if you ask me.  

I know that it’s cliché to ask but why can’t we just all get along? 

Monday, February 4, 2019

Who are Those Masked Singers?

Sometimes there just some TV shows that can get so crazy, it's so hard to look away. The Masked Singer on Fox is one of them. I can’t get enough with the whole guessing game about who the masked singers are!

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

The US version of the Korean show King of Masked Singer, this show features 12 celebrities in costumes and wearing elaborate masks as they perform for an audience that includes four other celebrities (Robin Thicke, Jenny McCarthy, Ken Jeong and Nicole Scherzinger) who try to guess who are the faces behind those masks. Every week, the audience votes off one performer who then takes his or her mask off in front of everyone. 

I had no idea who the first three people were who were unmasked but I think that’s because I'm not familiar with any of them (Bull - Antonio Brown, Tommy Chong - Pineapple, Terry Bradshaw - Deer). The fourth one, Margaret Cho (Poodle), was someone I was familiar with, but I wasn't able to guess who she was from the clues given. Tori Spelling (Unicorn) on the other hand was an easy guess because the clues were such a giveaway.  

There are only 7 more celebrities left to be unmasked and I am looking forward to the episodes to come because the masked singers left have all been surprising audiences with their performances. I'm guessing that some of them are just coming out of their shell so the singing is getting better as the episodes go.  

There are singers that I'd like to keep on longer than the others in this one. I hope that the ones I'd love to stay on get to stay as long as I hope they do! Here's the order of the singers I'd love to go and my guesses on who they are. Most of the internet seem to have the same guesses so it will be fun to see if we're all right! 

Raven - This is Ricki Lake, based on some sleuthing online. The performances are OK but the other ones left are even better. 

Alien - This one I think tried to hide her talent a bit at the start, which is why her latest performance had everyone surprised that she could sing. Everyone agrees this is La Toya Jackson and based on the latest clues, I think they're right.

Monster - This one I'm on the fence on. There are so many clues but since I'm not that familiar with anything about the person that people think this is, I'd have to take their word on it being T-Pain even if my gut is telling me it could be Nelly. If it is T-Pain, I'm definitely surprised that he can sing like that!

Lion - Everyone says that this is Rumer Willis and I have to agree. All clues point to her. I look forward to her performances because they keep getting better and better.

Bee - The thing that excites me about this one is that everyone is in agreement that this is Gladys Knight...and she's been singing modern songs. It will blow people away when she's unmasked!

Peacock - This one is Donny Osmond, but some people say it could also be David Hasselhoff. I'm more Donny than David on this one. I enjoy his performances because they are always on a higher level, which could be because he did say that he's been performed in Las Vegas.

Rabbit - This is the one that I'm most excited about because I'm convinced that this is Joey Fatone of Nsync. I was hoping that this was JC but the latest clues make it obvious that this is Joey. I'm so happy that people are getting to see that everyone in Nsync, for this show Joey in particular, is talented. I hope he doesn't get voted out until the very end because I have been enjoying every single one of his performances. 

I'm so happy that these celebrities can show a different side of them and entertain the audience with talents that they would not have been able to share given the preconceived images people already have about them. I can’t wait to see the next episodes. This has been so fun for me to watch! 

Sunday, February 3, 2019

For Zero Waste Girls

To the guys who tend to read my blog, this may be the post that you’d like to skip. I don’t think you’ll get much from it. It’s about that time of the month and some zero-waste concerns about it.  

My sister and I were talking about how difficult it was to go zero-waste when we had the tendency to use too many sanitary pads when it was that time of the month. We have been so used to the use of pads during our periods for our entire lives so it seemed like there was no other alternative for us. 

I told my sister that I have been meaning to try cloth pads but I have been scared of doing so unless I only planned to stay inside the house. My periods tend to be normally heavy and I have had my fair share of stains from it when I use sanitary pads. It seemed more than likely that I would get worse stains if I used cloth pads. I can’t really know for sure until I try, but I am NOT going to try it if I’m going out that’s for sure.  

One thing that I think I will try out even if I am not at home are the cloth liners. At the very least, I’d like to be able to reduce my “feminine waste” by skipping out on pantiliners. I’m still not sure if that will work out but I certainly hope it does. 

An option that my sister talked to me about was the use of tampons. It’s not that popular here in the Philippines (although it surprised me watching Keeping Up with the Kardashians that Kourtney does use pads as well) so we were both curious about it. We wondered if tampons were biodegradable. Based on a Google search we found out that they are, but that it takes more than six months. 

Photo from PatriciaMoraleda on Pixabay

We then talked about the use of menstrual cups, which we ended up making up all sorts of worst-case scenarios for (removing a full one having the most of those messy and embarrassing situations). Another thing that we were concerned about was getting TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome). I remember reading about this but with regard to tampons. My sister worried that since menstrual cups were also put inside the body that meant that there was a possibility of TSS with these cups too.  

It scares me to think of putting a menstrual cup inside me. I have this irrational fear that it would get stuck. Or that by the time I get it unstuck that everything in it would just splatter everywhere. What if it happened when I was in a public bathroom? There’s no way I can recover from that! 

I really wish that there was another way that women could be zero-waste at that time of the month. I wish that there were other alternatives that don’t involve me making worst-case scenarios involving those other products. Can’t these sanitary pad makers make their pads biodegradable too? Please tell me that they can! 

Saturday, February 2, 2019

The Day After Tomorrow

I was flipping channels over the weekend when I chanced upon the movie The Day After Tomorrow. I’ve seen the movie before but I couldn’t help but watch it again because I wonder if the reality shown in the movie is closer than ever. 

In the movie, Dennis Quaid is a scientist whose climate projections have predicted a drastic climate shift. He tries to warn the US government about the fast-approaching dangerous effects of global warming, which was dismissed by the US Vice President. In the end, the climate predictions made turned out to not only be real, but had such devastating results where countries in the northern hemisphere froze over and only a few survivors made it out alive. 

With the weather in the northern parts of the US being freezing cold these days due to the polar vortex, I can’t help but wonder just how close to reality the movie is in the years to come. It’s scary to think that things could end up the way it did in the movie but with the way things are going these days, I can’t say that I’ll be surprised if it did. Given the fact that even in a tropical country like the Philippines we are getting temperatures that can even be colder than some parts of the US, I think that the climate reality in the movie is not that far behind. Maybe not as extreme as entering into another ice age, but we will definitely be feeling more significant changes in our climate and environment because of global warming. Sad and scary, but true. 

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want it to go to that extreme. No one does. But the thing is, what are we really doing about it other than talk? I admire the countries that talk the talk and walk the walk but there are still SO MANY that are not following suit. It could be because some countries are still chained to big businesses that cause the type of pollution that is affecting the environment, it could be because politics is delaying any significant action or it could also be because there are still a majority of people who are climate change deniers.  

I’m enjoying the cold weather right now and honestly, I would love to have cold weather like this all year round but the thought that this is because of melting polar ice caps is heartbreaking. It makes me think of how much the sea level is rising, about how the world is drastically changing and fast. 

It gives me hope that there are many people who are making an effort to help save the environment. The people who truly commit to a zero-waste lifestyle. The people who are working towards the widespread use of renewable energy sources. The lawmakers and leaders who are putting their foot down on creating legislation to push for a zero-waste lifestyle and the use of renewable energy. I just hope all these actions to be more environment-friendly are not just for show and not something that people are doing because it is the popular thing to do. I hope we do it because we believe in it, because we are committed to it. That we are doing it to make sure that our children and our children’s children have a world that they can enjoy the way that we did when we were all younger. 

There is still so much to be done and there are those who say that it is all too little too late. That scares me. I wonder if the people who are in power, the people who have the resources and connections to make things happen, are scared too...or at the very least sad about it. 

Does anyone want a Day After Tomorrow scenario? I know I don’t. 

Friday, February 1, 2019

One Last Time -- The Hamildrop

Last month, Lin-Manuel Miranda released the last of the Hamildrops: a version of the song One Last Time (44 Remix) that features former US President Barack Obama reciting a passage from the farewell address of George Washington.  

Hamildrops is a series of songs from the musical Hamilton that were released monthly last year. One Last Time is the song from the musical that portrays the time that Alexander Hamilton helped Washington write his farewell address. 

I remember getting goosebumps when I saw the performance of One Last Time during the Kennedy Center Honors last year, I never imagined how much more I would feel that when I heard this song with the voice of Obama doing the farewell address.  

Though, in reviewing the incidents of my administration
I am unconscious of intentional error
I am nevertheless too sensible of my defects
Not to think it probable that I may have committed many errors 

I shall also carry with me the hope
That my country will view them with indulgence
And that after forty-five years of my life
Dedicated to its service with an upright zeal
The faults of incompetent abilities
Will be consigned to oblivion
As I myself must soon be
To the mansions of rest 

That farewell address of Washington must have been really something to hear in full. Hamilton is truly an amazing writer, basing on the passage featured in this song. It presents someone who for me epitomizes a good leader, someone who recognizes that he is not without his faults and who recognizes that he is only human and acknowledges his weaknesses, knowing when it is time to walk away. How many leaders do we know who is like that? 

Like the scripture says:
“Everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree
And no one shall make them afraid.”
They'll be safe in the nation we've made. 

There is something about Barack Obama’s voice and the fact that he is someone who is from this lifetime that makes the lines from the farewell address more real. It hits you more than it would if it were from someone in the past because you know this person. You’ve seen him (albeit only on TV) and you know his legacy as a leader. The song and Obama’s voice made me wish and dream of a similar leader for our country, someone who dreams and works for a good future for his country and his countrymen. 

For the nation we've loved and we've made
We're gonna teach them how to say goodbye...  

In a country where so many do everything they can to stay in power, where political dynasties are a normal part of Philippine politics, I admire how Washington was able to walk away from the power he had as President. I only wish that more people in politics were like him, who knew when to walk away and to give way to the future leaders who could do more and build on what he had started. 

This song will always remind me of one of the best qualities of a true leader. It will always give me goosebumps and that warm feeling in my heart whenever I hear it.  

Thank you for this song Lin Manuel Miranda. 
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