Lifestyle Blogger. Promdi. Filipina.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Getting the Election Fever

With the elections coming up in less than a month, the campaign period has been in full swing. Every single day I hear a campaign jingle for the candidates and whenever I go out, I cannot avoid the onslaught of campaign posters on vehicles, homes or any blank wall along the road. The news is never without anything on the people campaigning for national-level positions. Same goes for social media. 

I don’t know what to feel with how politics is here in the country. So much of what is going on leaves me conflicted about who to vote for.

Image by Andreas Breitling from Pixabay

Politicians have people who put up posters everywhere and give away flyers left and right. In this time of climate change and problems with solid waste management, these posters and flyers will add to the already big problems we have with trash. 

The fact that politicians are debating not on the issues but are attacking each other on a personal level is also annoying. Even with the elections just weeks away I don’t know who to vote for because I don’t know what exactly these people stand for, what their advocacies are and what they think about vital issues that the government needs to take action on. 

How do people make a choice on who to vote for in a political climate like this? Where politicians sing and dance during their sorties and make dirty jokes against the other party/candidates? Sometimes I wonder if my vote will even make a difference when the majority are people who can be easily manipulated due to their financial condition and lack of education that puts them at a disadvantage. 

It’s depressing to think of where our country might be headed if we don’t make the right choice. I’m not really for or against any particular political party. I’m not the kind of person who will tell you to “vote straight” because I would rather have a healthy mix of both parties so that various sectors can be represented. I would like to (ideally) have people who will actually do their job and not use their positions for their own personal advantage.

Image from Geralt on Pixabay

I want people who will make the environment a priority. People who will provide solutions to the problems with trash management. People who will think out of the box and come out with policies that will benefit the entire country, not just big business. 

I hope that people will make the right choice, but the way I see it, none of us are given the right information to make those choices. We need more than politicians who can entertain us, shake our hands and tell us that they will work for us. We need people who will actually do what they promise. Are there even politicians/candidates who can say that these days?

Fingers crossed for all of us in the country during the next elections. May the right people win and help to make our country a better place.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Have You Tried Confetti?

Does anyone remember my old post about the trivia app called HQ? It’s an online trivia game where the contestants have to answer 10 straight questions right to win the pot money for the day. It is US based, so I haven’t been able to win because of all the very American trivia questions that are in the set of questions. I’ve always wondered when they can have a local version and now there is one: Confetti Philippines.  

Photo Credit: Confetti Philippines

Confetti Philippines is an online trivia competition via Facebook Watch. Anyone can join the contests, which are held every Thursday to Monday at 9 PM. All you have to do is be online and registered with a Facebook account when the contest is on so you can answer the trivia questions. If you get all 10 correctly, you win the prize money, which can be as high as $6,000.00! Of course, if more than 1 person gets all 10, that means you will all share the money equally.  Take note that you have to get all 10 right, which means that while you can continue playing once you answer one question wrong, you will only be playing for fun and not for the prize money.

The contest is hosted by Baninay, a vlogger and former PBB housemate.  She’s a very lively and funny girl. As much as I enjoy her as a host, I wish that they didn’t have too much for her to say because sometimes her spiels take too long. Sometimes they have guest hosts too like Bogart the Explorer.

What I like about Confetti is that with friends from Facebook playing with you, there is a bigger chance of winning: if you are not sure of what to answer, you are also shown what answer your friends will enter and it gives you a chance to select the right answer that way. A friend of mine actually won and she admitted that she was copying my answers the entire time, except for the final answer (which I got wrong). The questions are of the multiple-choice variety, so the chances of getting it right are high.

One new thing about Confetti is that if you invite friends to play, you can get an extra life, which means that if you get the question wrong, the extra life keeps you in the running for the prize money. Sadly, even with the extra life, I can’t seem to get myself all the way to win this thing.

Another thing interested players need to know is that you need a Paypal account to receive your winnings. If you think that you have a shot at this, it’s best to set up that account before you start playing just in case. 

The contest is still fairly new, there are still issues with technical difficulties like when I was online and answering questions and yet whenever I enter my answers, I’m told that my entries were lost due to the internet connection.  There were also instances when the game is stopped midway due to technical issues. They move the pot money and add it to the next competition. At one point the prize was actually $10,000.00!

The thing with Confetti is that it can get addicting. You just want to finally get that chance to win every time. I hope that I can get it all right one of these days. In the meantime, I’ll continue playing and have fun with it!

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Summer is Burning Up

First things first, I need to be upfront about this: I hate summer. I’ve never liked the heat, I’m not a big fan of the sun. I prefer my weather to be cold and gloomy. I prefer rain. I know that sounds depressing to some, but for me, summer makes me grumpy and the dark, gloomy, rainy weather makes me feel the opposite. That’s just the way I am. 

I know there are so many more fun activities that can be done during the summer, but you can do the same thing during the gloomy weather right? There doesn’t have to be rain, I’m flexible about that. I just don’t like things too bright, sunny and – most importantly – hot. I mean, does anyone actually LOVE the heat that we’re getting these days? Seriously? We’re all burning up like crazy!

The heat these days has been unbearable. The temperatures that have been recorded have been scary. The way that the heat feels on my skin even early in the morning stings a bit. Let’s not even get started on the humidity that makes the air feel like you can hardly breathe. The air conditioning at work that often felt like it was on North Pole levels doesn’t feel as cold as it usually does because of the heat outside. It’s scary times. Climate change/ global warming is getting worse. 

There’s something about the heat that makes people sick for some reason. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people who’ve had stomach issues recently, myself included. Someone at work felt dizzy from the heat and some have had blood pressure issues as well. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve had major headaches from the heat since the season started. If this will get worse every year, I can’t imagine how we will all survive the summers to come. 

I don’t know what everyone else has been doing to cool down, but for me it’s been about taking cold baths/showers more than once a day. I’ve read that it’s not healthy to take a cold shower after coming in from the heat so I tend to take some time to cool off before I do. 

There’s also the use of air conditioning. As much as I want to save on electricity, I can’t avoid using it because I’d rather pay for power costs than hospital bills at this point. For everyone else doing the same thing, the best tip I can give would be to get your ACs cleaned so that it can function more effectively and efficiently. You will cool your rooms faster and it will not use as much power as when the AC is dirty. 

Image by Ryan McGuire from Pixabay

Believe it or not, last summer I didn't use the AC as much. I opted for cold water in a spray bottle that I sprayed all over myself when it was feeling hot. During days off from work I remember I used to run to the bathroom to splash water on me to cool off. Too bad this year's weather is just too hot for that option. 

Another thing that I plan to do is to set up the huge inflatable pool that we have at home. I’ve been telling my sister that we can just fill it with water and jump in for a soak when it feels too warm. We can just clean and disinfect it when necessary. If I could put in sacks of ice when I jump in I probably would. We can’t all go to the beach to cool off so this would have to do. What I'd give to have a house with a pool though -- I'd love a pool. I'd be there every morning and every night!

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

As much as I would like to chug loads of cold drinks, I’ve read that this is also a bad idea when the body is under extremely high temperatures. Still, drinking a lot of water is the way to go in this weather, as long as it is not too cold. 

I can’t wait for the weather to get better. Does anyone else out there feel the same way?

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Book Review: 29 Dates

I’ve always been a fan of Melissa de la Cruz, which started when I first read her Blue Bloods series (which I still wish could be turned into a movie or TV series in the future). Since then I’ve made it a point to check out her other books whenever they came out. When I read on Twitter that she had a new book called 29 Dates, I decided to give it a try.

Cover credit: Harper Collins

29 Dates is a young adult book about a young Korean girl named Jisu, who her parents have moved to the United States for her studies, where she is also being setting up on blind dates with fellow Koreans to ensure a good future for her. Each chapter of the book features the outcome of each of her blind dates as she also tries to make a home for herself in the US. She falls for the typical bad boy but later finds out that she was going to find the right one during one of her blind dates after all. 

One would think that getting older would mean that I would not enjoy young adult books. These are stories that seem light and simple considering that this is about the romance of a much younger set of people. Usually I have no problem with that, but for this book I do. I love Melissa de la Cruz, I really do, but this is not her best work. 

I felt that the story was a little boring and I was dragging and forcing myself to finish it out of loyalty to the writer. The storyline was also a little too predictable for me and I wasn’t too happy about that either. I actually knew from the first time that the guy she would end up in was mentioned in the book that he would be the one in the end. It was that obvious.

In spite of the things that I did not like about the book, I did appreciate that this was about an Asian main character and that there was a mix of various cultures in the book such as Korean, Filipino and American. I know that Melissa de la Cruz got a lot of criticism about writing about a Korean experience even if she was not Korean. I may not be Korean but I do not think that people should be too bothered about that. She wanted to show a different story, she did her research and presented one point of view. I don’t think her book intends to be THE representation for Koreans or Korean Americans, it’s just meant to be one story out of many and people should not make too much out of it. 

If you are looking for a light and quick read about young love and a story that features Asian lead characters, this might be a good one for you. If you’re the type who overthinks things and looks for something a little deeper, then I suggest that you look for something else.

Monday, April 22, 2019

TV Show Review: Bloom

What would you do if you were given a second chance? If you could be young again? Would you take it? What would you do with it? This is the premise of the Australian TV series Bloom, which I discovered online and finished watching in one week.
Starring The Vampire Diaries/The Originals Star Phoebe Tonkin, Bloom is about a town where five people had died in a big flood. For some reason, in every location where a person had died a new plant bloomed, with fruit that can miraculously turn the person who has it younger. There are only six episodes in the series and it’s a quick watch if you’re interested in finishing the story right away. It can be a bit heavy with its theme but it does make you question the things about yourself, it makes you wonder what kind of person you might be if you were placed in a similar situation. 

There is no explanation for why the fruit was there or how it gives people this “gift” of youth. The effects of the fruit are only temporary – they need to keep eating the fruit to stay young. Without it they go back to their original age. Another thing about the bloom is that you cannot pull it from its roots and carry it away because it rots immediately after you do. You can only take the fruit, but you can’t take the entire plant. This was interesting because this brought out the worst in the people who have taken advantage of the fruit, which becomes an addiction for them. 

In the series, there are five key people who take advantage of this fruit and the newfound youth that they have. Their youth gives them the freedom to do what they felt they were deprived of in their youth and to do things that they regret never doing when they were younger. All of them take advantage of that. 

However, at the end, it affects all of them differently in terms of how they look and reflect on their lives and how they are using their gift of youth: One ends up reliving his youth to the point of obsession, one wanted to use her youth as a form of revenge on the life that she has lived. Another, who had previously lived a life of crime, discovers that his newfound youth helped him to put things into perspective; in the end all he wanted was to finally be able to do the right thing. Two other characters at the end realized that their youth could help with acceptance and closure on where they are at the older point of their lives.  

What I love about the show is that you can tell that it was well made, with cinematography that sets the mood for the story of people full of regret and in search for redemption. All the actors in the series are amazing – both the older and younger actors alike make this a moving story of people yearning to try to make things right with their lives once they were given a second chance. It's too bad it hasn't been shown here in local TV or cable, I'm sure a lot of people would appreciate a show like this. I hope they can stream it on Netflix or something similar for access in our area so that more people can watch it.

Bloom may have a bit of a supernatural/fantasy theme with the fruit and all, but at the core of it is a drama that moves the viewer and asks questions that anyone can relate to: we all have regrets, things we wish we could have done differently and dreams that we wish we could have fulfilled. This show explores that and asks the question of what would we do about it if given the chance? 

After all, as the show’s tag line goes, “You’re only young twice.”


Sunday, April 21, 2019

World of Dance US Season 3

World of Dance Philippines has wrapped up and FCPC Baliktanaw won and is going to audition for the next season of World of Dance US, which is now on Season 3. Here’s what I think about the US version of the show so far:

Image by ArtTower from Pixabay

Another Level of Dancing

The show is on another level of dancing this season. Contestants need an audition score of at least 85 to qualify for the competition. Contestants previously only needed a score of 83. This made the dancers who made it even better than the previous seasons, which makes for an exciting show. One of these dancers is Lauren Yakima, who is the sister of Amy Yakima who previously won on So You Think You Can Dance. Take note, this girl is still young and is in the Junior category. Can you imagine how amazing she would be as she gets older? 


I LOVE the Redemption round where the two highest scoring eliminated acts from the Duels will dance to the same song back to back and the judges will pick their favorite who will move on to the next round. You can see the dancers fighting for their life in this round and it is just powerful to watch. One example of this is Kayla Mak, the contemporary ballet dancer who fought her way back in the Redemption round against House of Tap.

Dance as a Sport 

The performances on the show, with all the amazing moves that these dancers make, just proves that dancing is not just an art form, it is also a sport. Dancers are all athletes who train regularly to be able to accomplish the things that they do on the dance floor. World of Dance shows some of the best there is out there to make that point!

The Dance Community

I love that there is so much love and respect for each other between all the dancers. Yes, it is a competition and they do battle it out on the dance floor, but these dancers leave that all there. Behind the scenes when you see them watch each other, they are nothing but supportive of one another. I love that about them. 

One touching moment that I loved was how dancers had so much respect for Poppin John, someone who has been in the dance scene for 22 years. He is amazing! I loved his performance on the show for the Cut, he definitely deserves the respect that the dancers have for him! 

Asians Dominate

Asians have been dominating the season so far in my opinion. Pinoy kids VPeepz (which my niece is now a part of, just have to get that in there) have had the admiration of the judges for the controlled and clean moves that they have. The Indian group The Kings have them on their feet for their stunt-heavy performances. As for Korean group The Heima, they take breakdancing to a different level and always surprise the judges (and myself) with their choreography.

The Kids are Amazing!

The contestants who are part of the Juniors are so good, they could wipe the other competitors clean with their performances. VPeepz always makes me have tears in my eyes because of how good they are and how proud they are to be waving the Pinoy flag in the competition. The little girls in Crazy 8s are also little powerhouses who can do no wrong – they are adorable!

Diversity in Styles

I love that there is so much diversity in dance styles this year. There is hip hop, breakdance, contemporary, ballroom and ballet. There are some groups who did not make it further into the competition but I think they deserve a shout out for representing their styles well in the show.

The D’Angelo Brothers and House of Tap got me excited about tap dance and how they were performing it. Jonathan y Jorge gave such fun performances for ballroom that they make me want to go out and dance! 

I also can’t not mention some of the contemporary acts still in the running like Derion & Madison and Unity LA, who came out with moving performances in the show.

There is still a long way to go with the show, they are still going to finish with the Cut for the Junior and Upper Team Divisions then move on to Divisional Finals before the final competition. While it would be easy to say that I think this or that person or team could win, if there’s one thing I’ve discovered this season it’s that you can never count anyone out. In the Duels alone most of the lower ranked dancers won over the higher ranked ones. In the Redemption round, the dancers often surprise the judges to the point that the ones that qualified are the ones that you did not expect. 

I feel that some of these dancers are still on the verge of exploding to their best version in the competition. I can’t wait to see it!

FCPC Baliktanaw better step up their dancing because at the level the US show is now, they have very tough competition against them!


Saturday, April 20, 2019

My Big Bad Wolf Experience

Last February, a couple of friends of mine from work and I decided to go to the Big Bad Wolf Sale at the World Trade Center in Pasay City. We had heard of this sale before but have never gone to it. Since the sale also coincided with a long weekend, we decided that we could go and give it a try.  

One thing that I’ve heard from a lot of people was to go at odd hours. I’ve had friends who went at 2 AM, but me and my friends decided that was too early so we opted to be there by 9 in the evening that way we could be traveling to and from the place without any traffic. We were so wrong about that! 

Traffic was super heavy on the roads leading to World Trade and when we got there, the place was packed like crazy. A friend of mine who had also been there advised me to make sure that one of us got in line as soon as we got in because the lines for payment were extra-long. My friend said that by the time we all managed to go around the place, pick out books and traded places in line we would still be waiting to get to the cashier. That ended up being true. 

A little-known fact about me (well, not little known anymore now that I’m writing about it) is that I don’t do well with crowds, especially unorganized ones. This is something that gives me a lot of anxiety and sometimes gives me panic attacks. I hardly talk about it and it’s not something I’d care to admit since I sometimes can’t avoid them for work. If you see me at an occasion where a big crowd is involved and then realize that I’ve walked out, it’s usually because I’m running out to a less crowded spot to breathe.  

But I digress. Big Bad Wolf was crowded, and I panicked to the point where I did not get to pick out as much books as I would have wanted. I didn’t browse much, I just picked off books that I were in view that I was interested in as I passed them. 

As expected, the line we were in crawled around the entire venue. The frustrating part was when we were already headed to the area where the cashiers were, someone went to our line to tell us we were in the wrong place. We were told that we made up our line. Naturally, people started complaining because we were just following one of their guides who had a sign up regarding where to fall in line. No one wanted to move because we had already circled the area at that point.  

After a while a woman with a Singaporean accent went to our line and told us that we were not in the right line. People still refused to start over (I knew I didn’t want to either) so she decided to move us into another line not far from where we already were. She was very rude about it, but I didn’t have the strength to say anything at that point since I was so tired from waiting in line and was close to being stressed out with the crowd. I actually had to take a breather in the almost empty rest room just so I could stop panicking. As much as I wanted to get out and leave, we were already too far into it to just leave the books and quit.  

My BBW Haul

Eventually, we got to pay and leave the venue at 2 AM. I dropped to bed as soon as I got home and my muscles were sore the next day when I woke up. I love books and I love the opportunity to buy them at a discount, but after my experience with Big Bad Wolf, I think that I will stick to eBooks and buying paperbacks at regular prices.

Never again.  It just wasn't worth the trouble for me.


Friday, April 19, 2019

My Unplugged Policy

Back in my early days of working, I remember getting stressed out a lot because of calls from work during days off or after work hours. I used to take pride in the fact that I worked harder than most but after a while, I realized that things just got a little too far. People began to take for granted that they can call me anytime they need anything, even if I am sick. It was only after a friend advised me to stop taking calls outside of work hours that I started to value my time away from work and gave myself a little peace of mind. 

I was supposed to have a separate phone for work until I realized that all I had to do was put my phone on airplane mode. I’ve been doing that daily. Right after I get off work, I turn on airplane mode and I turn it off in the morning. I also put my phone on airplane mode on weekends and keep myself offline (or at the very least, invisible) from online-based messaging apps during my free time. Having this quiet time has been good for me, especially since I get stressed easily.  Since I am often just at home during my free time, this has not been a problem. I only turn off airplane mode during my free time when it is absolutely necessary, which hasn't happened that much.

Image by Dariusz Sankowski from Pixabay

My policy now is that if someone needs to reach me and it is really important and cannot wait until the next work day, I believe there are other ways that they can get in touch with me and they will make an effort to do so. This way I cannot be pressured to do something because they would not be able to reach me right away. Most of the time I’ve discovered that these things can wait anyway. I know it’s sounds a bit extra, but it’s something I’ve needed to do for this past decade for my own sanity. 

Some people I work with have commented about my unplugged policy – some are surprised that I can survive that way. Some have even wondered if I am just avoiding people by keeping myself unplugged at certain periods. For me, going offline and being unplugged at certain hours of the day is a form of self-love. It’s something I desperately need to lay off the stress from work and it gives me time to focus on other important things in my life (specifically, the things and people that make me happy). Some might say that it could affect my quality of work but I don’t care. I need to do it this way if I want to stay sane in the middle of all the work and personal responsibilities I have. Going unplugged is an important way that I feel I can take care of myself and at this point in my life, I will always make that a priority.

With stress being a big factor in a person’s mental AND physical health, it’s important that we all pay attention to what triggers it for us and how we can properly manage that. Going unplugged is my way of doing that. It gives me room to breathe and pay more attention to what I need and want during the time I have allotted for myself. I can’t recommend it to everyone, but this definitely works for me. 

Thursday, April 18, 2019

My Epsom Salt Experiments

If there is one thing that I have been (slightly) obsessed with these days, it’s trying to detox. I know that most people say that our bodies can naturally detoxify itself but I feel that it doesn’t hurt if I can help move things along, right? I’ve been reading a lot on this on Pinterest and one thing that got my attention was the use of Epsom salt. 

One thing I’ve read and tried recently was to use Epsom salt as part of a foot soak. I mixed one cup of it with one cup of apple cider vinegar and warm water. I soaked my feet in for 30 minutes.  I have to admit that I did not feel anything detoxifying about the process, plus the whole mixture smelled bad because of the apple cider vinegar. I did not know how to feel about that. Luckily, the soak helped with the foot scrub I gave myself after. The soles of my feet felt so soft and smooth. I may not have felt any detox effects right then and there but at least I got something good out of it. 

According to the sites I found on this soak, the Epsom salt is supposed to help the body to relax, helping with pain from sore muscles and helps to restore magnesium balance in the body. The apple cider vinegar, on the other hand, supposedly helps to treat fatigue, aches and pains and with cracked skin on heels. 

Since I did not feel any of the anti-stress/relaxation effects that I was supposed to get from my foot soak, I decided to try something else: an Epsom salt body spray. I mixed equal parts of warm water and Epsom salt and placed it in a spray bottle. I then used this to spray my body with the mixture, letting it stay on for 30 minutes. I read that it was optional to rinse it off but the spray left a powdery substance on my body so I had to rinse it off once I was done. 

This was, while inconvenient, more effective than the foot soak. I did the spray before going to bed and I slept very well that night. I felt very relaxed when I woke up the next morning (or should I say, when I OVERSLEPT the next morning). I usually find it difficult to sleep early and to keep myself asleep through the night but with the spray I managed to get a good night’s sleep. 

I’ve read that it is more effective to use magnesium chloride instead of Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) for the salt spray but the former seems a bit more difficult to find than the latter. I’ve seen some magnesium products that can be bought as an alternative to the spray. They are apparently less messy since they don't leave residue after you put it on your skin. These magnesium products such as oils and gels (made from magnesium chloride) can be bought online but they are more expensive compared to using the Epsom salt variety.

Epsom salt can also be used as a soak in the bath, that’s one thing that I haven’t tried yet. Maybe one of these days if I get to staycation in a hotel room with a tub, I’ll give that one a shot. I can soak in a tub of it and put it on my hair since it's good for the scalp too. Maybe one of these days I can do this.

Have any of you ever tried Epsom salt? How has it been for you?

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Matters of the Heart

Once when I was in grade school, my mother told me that I had fainted and that it gave my teacher and my family a big scare when it happened. I don’t remember this, but I do remember having to go to one hospital and doctor after another taking all sorts of tests to find out what was wrong with me. It was at that young age that I found out that I had a heart disease. 

My parents were very protective of me when they got the diagnosis. As much as I enjoyed running as a child, they never allowed me to do sports again. Any dreams I had of dancing, taking classes and such were not encouraged because of how often I got sick. I rebelled against that for a while, taking gymnastics classes without my parents knowing about it, joining the dance troupe and cheering squad in high school and college and going to the gym on school lunch breaks to work out with my best friend. I didn’t want my disease to define me, I did not want it to limit me. But eventually it did.

Today my doctor has not allowed me to do strenuous exercise because of tachycardia, which means my heart is beating too fast. I was told that it could tire and weaken my heart and cause even more issues in the future. I am limited to walking and yoga. I would like to do more since I would like to lose weight but that’s all I can do. At the moment I am taking daily medication to help my heart beat at a normal rate and up until recently I needed to see my doctor at the very least every three months. 

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

During my last visit to the doctor I was told that he was happy with my progress. I had lost some weight (although not as much as I would like) and my heart had a strong, normal heartbeat. I can’t take all the credit – the medication I’m on is probably doing most of the work. Still, I am happy with the news – especially since I’ve been told that I don’t need to go back to the doctor for another six months. That to me is progress!

I don’t know if it’s possible for me to be medication-free one day, but I do hope that it could happen one day. I’m just worried that things could get worse as I get older instead of me getting better. I hope that won’t be the case.

For now, I’ll just keep on taking the medicine that I’ve been prescribed and will do my best to follow the required amount of exercise (if you can call it that) that my doctor has recommended.

I know I rebelled against being careful with my heart (there is a pun in there somewhere for Filipinos reading this), but now that I am older and I realize how short and fleeting life can be, I know that taking care of my health is very important. I wish I could have learned that at an earlier age but it’s better late than never right?


Monday, April 15, 2019

Holy Week Stories

Yesterday marked the official start of the Holy Week for all Christians. I may not be a practicing Catholic (I’d like to think that I’m more spiritual than religious) but I do have a great amount of respect for this season and what it means. 

Image by cgrape from Pixabay

Living in the province always means that the religious traditions for Holy Week are alive and well and still practiced with much fervor. The Catholic Church organizes Stations of the Cross that assigns specific homes/locations that the faithful will visit in the days leading up to Holy Week. Processions are conducted with a long line of statues depicting events during the passion of Christ along with those of various saints, including the Virgin Mary. 

I remember when I was a young girl and used to vacation here with my family during the Holy Week, I used to see people flagellating themselves while either walking on foot or on their knees during this week. Some would even be carrying a cross. It always made me curious about who these people were and what could their sins possibly be for them to believe that they needed to make such a sacrifice during the Lenten Season. 

One of the beautiful parts of Holy Week for me is the “Salubong.” This is when there is a late evening/early morning procession where the Virgin Mary and the Risen Christ travel the town in the hope of finding each other. This culminates in them meeting where a choir of angels (little girls chosen to be part of this event) sing as their lead angel takes off the black veil covering the Virgin Mary’s head.

The salubong is followed by what is known as the Bati, where a selected group of young women dance to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This part is something that doesn’t seem much of a religious activity as it is a traditional one, but the season isn’t complete without it around these parts.

I know that for most this is one of those long holidays that people prefer to take advantage of for vacations out of town but for my family, it’s more of a time to stay at home and reflect on the meaning of the season. I remember as a child that my maternal grandmother would lead us in praying the rosary daily at 6 PM. She used to get mad at us when we would laugh while we prayed because she felt that it was a time for us to think of what the week meant and not a time to laugh and play around. 

A (sort of) new tradition that my family does during Holy Week is to watch a movie that is connected to the Christian faith. I’ve taken to selecting a movie for the family to watch during the holiday and for the past few years we’ve seen Noah, The Ten Commandments. Jesus Christ Superstar, The Passion of the Christ, Son of God and the TV musical, Passion. I have no idea what movie to watch this year, but I need to find one fast. 

What about you? What are your plans for the Holy Week?

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Catching Up With the Game of Thrones Train

Tomorrow is the start of the last season of Game of Thrones. There are only six episodes in this final season and a lot of people, me included, are looking forward to finding out how everything will play out. I know that there are a lot of theories out there, but I prefer to just wait and see how it will all play out. I have my own theories but considering how I have not completely caught up on the show yet, I’m not sure if I have anything right.

Is it nuts that I want to see Jon and Daenerys jointly sitting on the Iron Throne and ruling together? I’m rooting for either one of them to eventually be the rightful heir to the throne but if they can rule together, that would be even better. I am also partial to the theory that the Night King is also related to them too and is also a Targaryen. I’d like to think that there is more to his story and that is how Jon and Dany would end up on the Iron Throne. It might be too much to ask, but it’s just my theory. Like Jon Snow, I know nothing. 

Unlike everyone, I was never a big fan of the show. I remember watching just a few episodes per season and just catching up via recaps online. Now that it’s the last season, I’ve started marathoning the previous seasons to catch up before it all ends. Thank goodness HBO has been helping me with that. I would have preferred streaming and binging on their app but for some reason it’s exclusive to Sky subscribers, something that we do not have here in our area.

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

There’s something to be said about the full season binge that helps you to see the growth of the characters (and the actors) better. It was amazing to see how the younger actors grew up every season. It’s also more exciting to watch it this way – it’s getting me hyped up for the last season!

I think that for the meantime, I will be staying away from social media so that I won’t get updates on the latest season. I’m sure that people won’t be able to keep quiet about it and I would rather binge the entire season when it’s complete. It’ll be a challenge, considering all the Game of Thrones news will probably be everywhere but I’d like to enjoy it on one full day instead of waiting for what’s next every week. 

It’s amazing how the world of Game of Thrones was made and it’s sad to see it go. I don’t think that there is any other TV show that has made the effort in the level that this show has done to make a fantasy world come to life. Each season is like one super long movie that you wouldn’t mind watching. I’m looking forward to watching the spinoff that will be coming out. I have no idea what it would be about and when it will be on TV, but I am excited to see Toby Regbo be part of this world. I was a big fan when he was on Reign and I’ve enjoyed seeing him on Last Kingdom. I’m curious of what role he will have in this new show, I can’t wait to see it!

Is anyone else out there watching the show? Will you watch per episode or binge everything at the end? I can’t wait to find out what you think!

Friday, April 12, 2019

When the Water Supply System Fails

“Water, water, everywhere,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, everywhere,
Nor any drop to drink.” 

Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

Climate Change is real...I think for many of us here in the Philippines experiencing this weather right now know and feel just how real this all is. The heat is excruciatingly unbearable. The humidity only makes it worse. The fact that we are having problems with water is exacerbating the issue too.

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Just recently there were issues with water supply in many areas in Metro Manila. There have been various reasons brought up about why there was a problem with water supply and it got all political really quick but if there is something that we need to take away from this it’s that water supply is an issue that we need to pay more attention to now more than ever. There may be many issues that are causing this current problem but at the core of it all is that when the system fails, it's most likely because we all have.

There may be a lot of water everywhere but not everything is potable. Not everything can be used for our daily needs – that's what fresh water is for...and that is running out. Just because we pay for the service of water supply it doesn’t mean that we should take it for granted. Water is not in infinite supply. With climate change, pollution and overpopulation, that supply is running out fast. 

My family had this water supply problem recently and I can tell you, not having water is the worst thing. You can take away electricity but you can't live without water. Ask anyone.

I remember seeing an interview with someone from the National Water Resources Board explaining how we cannot over extract ground water because it would put us in danger of sink holes. It was also in the news that the water level of the dams that supply water for the Metro have decreased due to the hot weather.

People need to be made aware that the water we use for our day to day needs is taken from groundwater supply or from surface water (like rivers and springs). These are replenished by rainwater, which doesn’t come very often these days. What little supply we have we over extract and waste when we don’t report water leaks. Either that or we pollute our water supply and are not conscious about conserving water.

We can’t keep on complaining when we have problems with water supply. We need to do our part too. We need to remember to be careful with our use of water and make the effort to conserve it. We need to stop polluting our waters. We need to report people who pilfer water and leaks in the water lines. We need to call out the people in charge if we believe there is mismanagement involved. We need to do what we can. 

Here are some tips on how we can help conserve water:

Don’t use the shower. Do it the Pinoy Way: with a pail and dipper. You use less water compared to when you use the shower.

If you want to use the shower anyway, catch the water with a pail and reuse it for flushing the toilet or for watering plants. Take shorter showers if you can.

Recycle water. Reuse whenever you can. 

Turn off the faucet when you’re brushing teeth or washing your hands. Turn it on when you need to rinse only. You’ll save a lot of water that way.

Fill the sink with water when washing the dishes. You don’t need running water to clean your dishes...just leave the running water part for when you have to rinse.

Manage your laundry properly. Don’t do laundry when you don’t have much to put into the washing machine. It’s a waste of water. Schedule your laundry for when you can fully load it to maximize water use. 

Use water-efficient fixtures. There are now so many fixtures (shower heads, faucets, toilets) that you can buy to save water, check out the hardware stores and ask for these items, they will save not just water but money from your bill in the long run!

Check your water lines for leaks. Turn off all water sources then check your water meter. If it’s running check your home for leaks. It’s usually faucets that are dripping or the common suspect – the toilet. Sometimes we don’t notice that it’s continually running water until we try to check for leaks. Monitoring your water consumption will help you to find out if you have them.

Report water leaks in your area. You may think that it’s not your home so it’s not your problem. Wrong. Any leak you see is water wasted that will lessen the supply you will be getting from. Report leaks from lines if you see them (water hydrants that are turned on, water lines that were run over during accidents, etc.). Report water pilferages if you can as well. 

Harvest rainwater. Use this for your plants/garden or for cleaning your car.

Image by Tibor Janosi Mozes from Pixabay

We need to remember that this water is not just for us but also for future generations. If we want our children and their children to be able to have water they can use regularly (without having to line up for rationed supplies), we need to save what we can.  Who's with me on this?

Still not convinced? Maybe Dingdong Dantes could change your mind?


Thursday, April 11, 2019

Book Review: The Accidental Beauty Queen

I’ve always been a sucker for rom-com chick lit books. I’m also a sucker for a good cover. When I spotted The Accidental Beauty Queen by Teri Wilson, I knew that I had to read it. And after I read it, I knew I had to do a book review and share what I thought of it!

I remember reading this and picturing this as one of those romantic Hallmark Movies (of which I am a big fan). It wasn’t that much of a surprise later on when I found out that Teri Wilson actually wrote some of those movies that I have enjoyed watching.

Image by skeeze from Pixabay

The book is about Charlotte, a librarian, who travels to Florida to join her twin sister, who happens to be a contestant in a beauty pageant called Miss American Treasure. When her twin (and Insta-Influencer) Ginny is suddenly unable to compete, Charlotte is forced to pretend to be her sister during the preliminary levels of the competition. 

While it starts out as a task that Charlotte would rather not do, competing helps her to see the pageant world, the world that her sisters has been in since they were young girls, in a different light. It also helps her to see herself in a way that she never had before. 

The Accidental Beauty Queen is not just a story about pageant life. It’s also a story about sisters, about self-discovery and about relationships. It’s got the right amount of drama, comedy and romance in it to entertain the lovers of books from this genre.

Image by Jess Foami from Pixabay

The book is a light and quick read. I was a little disappointed that there wasn’t more because I enjoyed reading it. I loved how the twins were shown as stereotypes of the pageant girl and the nerd but in reality, there was more to both of them than that. I liked how they showed how even the closest of siblings could drift apart but could also find their way back to each other again if given the opportunity.

I also cannot do a review of this book without mentioning the love interest in this story. I found myself swooning over Gray Beckham! I know that I like a book when the characters come to life in my head and I start picturing actual people as the characters in the book. With this guy I was seeing Matt Czuchry the entire time!

I’ve seen reviews that commented on how this was too light or was too much fluff for them. I disagree. It was just right for me. I’m thinking that the people who didn’t like it just weren’t the right market for it. 

For me books like this, like those romantic Hallmark Movies, are feel-good material. If you want to just bask in the happily ever after, the comfort of a story that makes you feel lighter and happier, this is it. Don’t dwell on the details, just enjoy the ride!

If you want to see Parent Trap, Miss Congeniality and Pride and Prejudice combined into a contemporary rom-com, this is the book for you. Leave me a message when/if you’ve read it!


Wednesday, April 10, 2019

The Crown Princess on GMA

Who else is watching The Crown Princess on GMA? To regular readers of my blog, it won’t be a surprise that I am watching this Thai drama now that it is being shown on Philippine TV. I became a big Nadech and Yaya fan since watching the show and I loved it so much that I am more than happy to watch it again, this time dubbed in Tagalog. 

Like I mentioned in a previous post, I found this series to be very entertaining and exciting because of the romance, drama and action. This is so well-made with amazing settings and great actors. To this day I try to keep tabs on the actors from this drama because I’ve become a fan of these people since watching the show. 

The series, subbed in Tagalog, started broadcasting on GMA last Monday, April 8. Since the length of time of each episode in Thailand is different from the Philippines, I think that the show will be on GMA for while – and I’m not going to be complaining about that! 

I love how GMA has been advertising the show by calling Nadech and Yaya the real-life power couple of Asia. With all the shows they’ve done together and how good they are, I think they deserve the title. Anyone who has seen their work, especially this one, would probably agree. 

For the Philippine airing, GMA has selected a song from Christian Bautista to be the theme song of the series. I think it gives the show a more Filipino feel. I would love to listen to the full song if it’s out there somewhere.  

I really hope that the show will have more fans now that it is being shown here in the Philippines. I’m so in love with this show and I hope that more people will feel the same way.  

A little trivia for the new viewers: Nadech and Yaya are not the only actors with a real-life personal relationship with someone in the show. The actors playing Prince Andre and Prince Alan are really father and son in real life!  

Asia’s Next Top Model fans would probably recognize Cindy Bishop, who plays Princess Mona. Filipino History Channel fans might also recognize Prince Will, aka Matthew Deane, who was on Celebrity Car Wars with Diego Loyzaga and Xian Lim.  

I’m looking forward to hearing about what other people think about The Crown Princess now that it’s here in the Philippines. If you’re a fan, please leave a message and share how you feel about the show! 

The Crown Princess is on Monday to Thursday at 10 PM on GMA. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Thoughts on the Holiday: Bataan Death March

Today is a holiday – Araw ng Kagitingan here in the Philippines, otherwise known as Day of Valor in the US, which commemorates the Bataan Death March from 1942. The death march was the transfer of thousands of American and Filipino prisoners of war by the Japanese during World War II. They traveled more than 100 kilometers from Bataan to Tarlac where many were physically abused and killed during the journey. 

bataan death march
Photo from Pixabay

For most Filipinos, myself included, this means another day off from work. I don’t think that many people actually have the Bataan Death March in mind when it comes to this day. Yes, we may be aware of what the day is about, but I think that most of us just think of it as an event in the past. It’s just a moment from our history books that we are being reminded of on this holiday.  

I’ve always been fascinated by history. I am curious about historic events and places as well as how people from different times have lived. It is that curiosity that often makes me look up historical events, people and places when they are brought to my attention and the Bataan Death March is no exception. I’ve seen photos of the march, the emaciated bodies of the soldiers who survived and it is horrifying to even imagine what those soldiers went through during this ordeal.  

Stories of war like this always makes me cry. I remember when I watched Pearl Harbor in the cinema and cried so hard during the attack scenes – I can only imagine how scary and difficult life must have been for the people who lived during the periods of war. I’ve read about how the Philippines was affected by World War II. I’ve seen photos. I’ve heard the stories from people who have experienced it themselves. It is, for lack of a better term, horrifying. It also reminds me of how lucky we are to be living in these times. War and terrorism may still exist in specific areas of the world, but a majority of us are still fortunate to live away from the experience of it.  

We are not like our grandparents who remember what it felt like to live in a period of war and to survive it. We are blessed to not have experienced it. We are lucky because we have had freedom from war our entire lives. We have never lived in fear and uncertainty the way people in that time most likely did.  The commemoration of events like today remind us of the freedoms that we take for granted. It reminds us to appreciate the people who came before us who fought for the freedom that we enjoy today. In a way you can say that they suffered so we don’t have to.   

Stories of a war that has long passed is hard for people to relate to but will always be something that needs to be remembered. We need it to appreciate the life we have now and to remember to pray that our generation does not live to see the ravages of war in our lifetime the way it has for our grandparents.   

Tonight, please say a prayer of thanks for a life of freedom. Please pray for the souls who suffered and died during the death march that happened 77 years ago. If we can’t do anything to commemorate this holiday let us at least do that.

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