Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Gymboree class

During my recent post, I mentioned that my Bella will be attending L4 class of play and learn at Gymboree located at the Lower Ground Level, Greenbelt 5. We arrived 30 minutes earlier that we used to look and buy socks for myself. My bad! I didn't realized I needed those to accompany bella inside the play area. After, roaming the mall, we still couldn't find a nearby store selling cheap socks so we went back at Gymboree and glad to know they sell it for Php 40.00.

Anyway, while still waiting for our turn. I check the areas at gymboree and saw their cute kid size washroom.

Their resting place

and their nice waiting area with colorful colors everywhere pleasing to the eyes. An invitation for kids.

The play area was also a big place for the kids to enjoy all the facilities.

When the trial class begins, Bella was very eager to come inside the play area. It was a first for her. They were 8 kids in the class, most of which were of the same age as Bella's. I wasn't aware if there is a lesson plan but most of the kids know what to do already when they were given a task. At first, Bella was attentive and follow the instruction as well.

However, with all the toys available, she was distracted and keep on playing instead of participating. While most of the kids were following the instruction given by the teacher, she run around and not minding what the other kids were doing. It was frustrating really.

The one- hour activities were simple to do. Like singing, pushing the log, popping the bubbles, swaying on the big ball, roll the small ball and climbing the stairs. However, Bella was more interested playing by herself. I tried to make her participate but to no avail. Nevertheless, I know she enjoyed it so much. I am now deciding should I push through enrolling her, maybe she'll be more cooperative on the following days to come.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Gymboree enrollment rates

As I have mentioned on my earlier post. I wanted Gymboree information on a different note to be able to give more emphasis on the details given to me.

Yours truly went to Makati to check the gymboree branch and inquire on their schedules and fees. But prior to that, I went to Powerbooks to browse books for Bella. I had a great find which cost me only Php 200.00.

  • Especially crafted for children of preschool age
  • The definitive introductory book to the alphabet
  • Large-font letters in capital and lowercase
  • Colorful visual representation of each letter
  • Familiar and child-friendly illustrations for better comsrehension of the alphabet
  • Practive writing activity for motor skill development
  • Insight to letter-object association
  • Handy with glossy finish
My Bella is not into books as yet but as early as now, I wanted to expose her to learning. I hope she'll be able to appreciate it in her own time.

Anyway, Gymboree is located at the lowel ground of Greenbelt 5. The area was big and spacious with colorful toys and other play stuff pleasing to the eyes which I am sure, my Bella will enjoy ransacking. According to the teacher I spoke with (I just assume she is one), my bella may already be in the Level 4 which is suitable for 16 to 22 months of age. They are called the problem solver, the age that figures out how the world works

They have different classes to choose from

Play and Learn Class 4
Figure out how the world works and become a compentent problem solver through games that uncover patterns and sequences.

Music Class 2 (16 to 36 months)
Dance and sing to a new musical style each month including Latin, Rock 'n' Roll, Classical and more.

ARTS 1 (18 to 24 months)
Discover art hands-on through sculpture, painting, story time, tactile table and more

Global Kids (16 t 60 months)
Let your child explore different cultures as we pretend to go a-travelling around the world each week.

I wanted to see first how it works and should Bella really enjoy being in a class I am planning to enroll her on Play and Learn class which is suitable for toddler her age.

The schedule for Play and Learn L4 is

3PM Wednesday
12NN Thursday
1PM Saturday

The weekend class was full already with 8 kids but I requested the teacher to squeeze Bella in on Saturday for a trial class as I wanted a crowd for Bella which would probably be more enjoyable experience for her. Trial class is Php 500 that will be deducted once you enroll you child.

Also, to be able to enroll your child, you need to be a member.

Annual membership is Php 1,800 that includes 5 gymplay coupons
Lifetime membership is Php 3,600 that includes 10 gymplay coupons. This membership will expire on your child's 5th birthday

on top of enrollment rates:

                 1X/WK   2X/WK    3X/WK    4X/WK    5X/WK    6X/WK
4 weeks    3200       5800          8000        10000       11600       12800
8 weeks    5800      10400        14500      18000        20900       23200
12 weeks  7900      14400        19800      24500        29500       31600
24 weeks  14400    26000        36000      44700        51900       57600
48 weeks  25800    46500        64000      80000        92900      103200

You may also use Gymplay

Member : 1hr - Php 260
              : 2 hrs - Php 440

Non-Member: 1HR Php 320
                     : 2 HRS Php 550

I can't wait for Saturday to come to see how Bella will do with other kids. I hope she'll learn a lot of things on this new adventure and at the same time enjoy every minute of it.

DFA Red Ribbon (Required abroad)

Yours truly felt satisfied today as she have accomplished some things that need to be done accordingly. After our muscle relaxing (according to our TC) dragon boat training this morning, I decided to make some errands as well to make my day more productive.

During our passport application, I forgot to note that DFA required the original SECPA copy of my Bella's birth certificate for her passport and the marriage certificate from me, so I was left with photocopies, the reason why I need to furnish copies again, one to be red ribbon at DFA and the other one for us to keep.

Since I was already near the Harbour Front Centre, in front of CCP Complex, it was timely that there is a NSO office near my current location which is more convenient:

NSO Macapagal Branch

Ground Floor, Lifestyle Bldg. Hobbies of Asia
8 Diosdado Macapagal Blvd. Pasay City 1300
Tel # (02) 833-3780 / (02) 833-8842

The transaction was fast and easy as it took me only 2 hours to have my requested documents. One hour to queue for the certificate application and payment and an hour more to wait for the document to be release. I was already starving from the morning work-out so I grabbed a bite of donut and San Miguel coffee, which I didn't like, at the nearby mini stop to save me some time. I was craving for Mc Donald's big breakfast meal, but I couldn't find one. I even asked a maintenance staff and I heard No with a laugh. I wonder what was so funny about my question.

Anyway, since I have my document with me, I went straight to new DFA for the authentication of my Bella's birth certificate with our marriage contract. However, I was informed that the DFA red ribbon is done at the old DFA office located along Libertad Pasay corner Roxas Boulevard.

Regular processing Php 100 per document (4 working days)
Rush processing Php 200 per document (1 working day)
Time of releasing: between 2 - 4 PM

The transaction was smooth and fast as well. Beware of fixers outside the Department of Foreign Affairs as they will give you false information and convince you to do business with them. Just go directly inside the office and ask the guard on duty for any query.

Please note that DFA Authentication of Philippines documents are required abroad. After collecting the said documents, my next move is to send the DFA red ribbon document to UAE Embassy through DHL, which is already available at DFA compound. Processing would be 5 to 7 working days for Php 2135.00

It took me only a few minutes to have everything done, I just have to come back for the documents that will be release  the following day.

I traveled and went to Makati to finish my remaining itinerary for the day. It was already lunch time and my stomach was rumbling again, so I had my lunch at the food court of Landmark where I also bought some groceries for my Bella. I do my buying of stuff here as it is cheaper compared to other supermarkets.

After checking the varieties of different menus I decided to dine at Savory Restaurant, with their Solo meal (Php 155.00) consists of Quarter chicken, Yang chow rice, mixed veggies + Iced tea (Php 30.00) + Lomi (add on Php 10.00)

The chicken was definitely flavorful even without the gravy. The veggies were limited with variety of beans, carrot, young corn and sayote. Nevertheless, the buttery taste it was crunchy and cooked just the way I like it. I didn't like the Lomi that much though, I hardly see sny noodles and the vegetables, well, what can you expect from an add on promo of Php 10.00?

After the sumptuous meal, I decided to look for the location of the Gymboree to inquire on which class will be suited for my Bella at her age. I got the information on a separate blog for more details.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Passport Application Appointment System

Applying for passport or have your old passport renewed? Better do it early. Since it will take you a month or so for your schedule. I have learned that your passport should be change 6 months prior to its expiration date. All you have to do is log-on to and fill-up the application form to get your appointment date. You have an option to have an individual appointment process or the family application form to ensure that dates for yourself and your family are all the same. Fill-up all the necessary correct information, give a valid e-mail address, since you will receive a link via e-mail to access your application. Print in long bond paper. Should you found out of any typo error in your application, you do not need to fill-up another form, otherwise, your schedule will be change. Just take note of the correction and inform the DFA agent on it. Have all the original documents for your requirements. Bring copies as well to avoid delays, nonetheless, photocopy machines are already available inside for your convenience.

Make sure you arrive at the DFA at your given time
  1. You will be expected to arrive for your appointment at exactly 30 minutes before your schedule.
  2. Even if you arrive early, you will not be entertained until 30 minutes before your appointment.
  3. If you arrive late, you will need to secure another appointment for another day.
We took the bus from Guadalupe to the new DFA Consular Office, located at ASEANA Business Park, Breadco Avenue cor. Macapagal Boulevard, Paranaque City. It was an easy ride, as there are already buses taking those route that will drop you off directly at the office. It is convenient for commuters like us unlike the previous location of DFA.
The building is also new and airconditioned. However, they are very strict with the "No Appointment" policy. They will not allow you to come inside without your schedule. We were scheduled at 2:30 PM, but arrived earlier. Nevertheless, we were still allowed to enter and do the process of the application.
Yours truly will have her passport renewed and have her change of name. For those of you who will be using your husband's surname, your application form should already indicate your new name as this is already their basis for information. Better be equipped with the NSO original marriage contract for this change of details. My mom's passport is also due for the same process whilst Bella for her first and new passport. Wear clothes will collar and any color except for blue since your background will be of the same color. They will not allow you to wear any jewelry, earrings, they even asked me to remove my clear contact lens (so bring your case and solution) and your hair should be fixed showing your forehead and ears. Smile but don't show your teeth. :)

The processing of the application was easy and fast. We were led to the second floor to get the number queue and led to another glass door for the verification of our requirements. Once all the information and documents are checked, they will asked you to pay the corresponding fees.

  1. Php 1200.00 for express (10 working days processing)

  2. Php 950.00 for regular (20 working days processing)
Another door to your left will led you to the photo capturing. My senior and toddler companion were lucky enough to be treated as priority.  We had a hard time making Bella look at the camera that took us a few minutes. Nevertheless, the details and photos were taken in less than 30 minutes which is not the case for yours truly as I was given a number queue to wait for my turn. It had taken us an hour or so to finish.

The whole process was nevertheless convenience.

Let me know your experience.

Monday, September 13, 2010

SSS Digitized ID

Yours truly spent almost the whole day to be able to do the errands in SSS. Social Security System has the most unsystematized system in all Government Agencies that I have dealt with in the past up until now, at least for the branches that I have ever encountered. Every time I ask an SSS employee of the same question, I get different and incomplete answers! They do not have the same information which is so confusing and time consuming.

Last August 20, 2010. Yours truly went to SSS Makati Branch to amend my member's data (E-4). First, I will be changing my Civil Status from single to married. Then I would be declaring my husband and my daughter as dependent.

They do not have any posters for details. No guidelines to assists their members. Second, the information from the form were incomplete, it never said that they would need to see the original. I know I made a mistake for not bringing the original copy of my birth certificate, my daughter's birth certificate and our marriage certificate for verification purposes. But my goodness! If I had known from the moment I came inside their office, that they would require it, I wouldn't spend an hour on queue. Who would have thought of falsifying my documents to amend my own data? Changing my maiden name to married and adding new dependents on my behalf? I would have understand if I would be getting a loan or something but this?! Anyway, I spent less than a minute in front of the person's desk, as he refused to entertain me anymore for lack of my requirements without even waiting if I have questions.

I went back at home to get all my original documents. I brought everything as I have learned my lessons already. Good thing I went early in the morning so I still have time to go NSO to get my Bella's Birth Certificate in Security Paper (SECPA), NSO is such a breeze. I spent less than 30 minutes to finish what I needed and was scheduled to return the following day to collect my NSO copy, since SSS Diliman branch was just across, I might as well make the most out of my time and drop by for some other information.

No quideline as well on where to go, but at least there were counter 1, 2, 3 for the forms that you would need and available persons to ask on your queries.

I fall in line on counter 3 to get a form for the application of new digitized ID since I lost my previous one. I was given the form; however, I couldn't apply for it yet since I need to amend my information for the change of status, so they would be able to use my amended data. On another note, I inquire about my contributions as well. I informed the lady that I was only paid until May 2010 since I was no longer working for the month of June and I wanted to pay it as voluntary. She said that I can no longer pay that month since it was already overdue. I will only be allowed to make payment for the month of July, August, September. So what will happened with that month, if in case I would be applying for maternity benefits? Kelan po manganganak (When are you due to give birth)? Hindi, tinatanong ko lang kung sakali (No, I was just asking if incase.) Hindi na po kasama yon (It will no longer be included). Paano yon (how come its like that)? Answer: Shrug of the shoulder.

Follow-up question, what if I am an Overseas Filipino Worker. Kung OFW po, pede niyo bayaran yung buong taon sa isang bayaran (If you are an OFW, you will be allowed to pay the whole year in full). I thought this would be the best solution since I would be an OFW any time soon, anyway

On counter 2, I fall in line to inquire on my contributions. The person was kind enough to give me a form for Contributions Payment Return (RS-5) and schedule of SS and EC contributions. I asked again the same questions from Counter 3. I get the same response for the missed payment on the month of June. However, here is the confusing part. What if I am an OFW? Kahit na OFW, ganun pa din yung babayaran niyo (Even if you are an OFW, you would still be paying the quarterly payment) What? I was told from counter 3 that I can pay for the full year as long as I am an OFW. Ay, hindi. (No, it's not like that).

When will I get the correct information from these people? Anyway, I still had time to go to Makati branch again to update my information. I arrived at 4:30 PM, I almost did not make it since the guard on duty told me that they do not accept visitors anymore because of the long queue. I just beg him to let me in and finally, I was able to finish the amending of my data. They told me to apply the digitized ID after 2 to 3 weeks from the date of my E-4 application.

I went to NSO again last Thursday get another SECPA copy of our marriage contract. I was schedule to get the said NSO copy today, September 13, 2010. I also went to SSS Diliman branch counter 3 again to inquire if I can already apply for new digitized ID. I showed my E-4 just to be sure that I am on the right track. I do not wish to wait yet again for nothing. She said yes. Finally. I was number 915. While waiting for my turn, I drop by again at NSO to get my mom another copy of their marriage contract. Surprised that I would get it on the same day.

Anyway, I waited until my turn to provide all the requirements for my ID application. When it was already my turn to be serviced, the lady informed me that my information was not yet updated. Goodness! Here we go again! I was told that I have to wait for a least a month to apply for the ID since the data was not yet encoded in the system. Nonetheless, I can already pay the replacement fee of Php 150.00 and get Affidavit re: Loss of SS ID.

Even though I was not able to get the ID, at least I have accomplished the other requirements for the ID application. I paid first the replacement fee from SS Main (just beside the Diliman Branch), went to Quezon City Hall to get a Cedula (Php 65.00 - but somehow cost me Php 70.00) then went back to the Main Branch to get the Affidavit of Loss.

What an exhausting day in dealing with SSS people. I wish they would improve on their system and disseminate correct information to their members. Even their online system was confusing. To be able to get your summary of contributions, they would require your employer's SSS number. What if you do not know your previous employer's data? Would you still contact them for it? What about the voluntary and self-employed members? I hope they would do something about these problems and make a system that would be easier for their members. It would not hurt either if they can also improve about some of their employees' attitude as most of them are not so helpful at all.

Due to exhaustion, I was able to eat a full meal again (as usual).

From the above photos, there is rice and chicken with brownies.  Oh, I love KFCs California Maki Twister. You should try it.

Nevertheless, my day was productive as I have tried accomplish as much as possible in one day to save me time and money.

Should you wish to know about the requirements to apply for your digitized ID, please leave me a message and I would gladly give you the list so you may have it ready prior to going to your branch to save you from the hassle.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Different Airlines

One of my biggest passion and yet frustration is travelling. It was just so sad that the first time I ever ride an airplane was when I reached the age of 25, Dubai bound.

Yours truly was able to experience different airline flights a few times after that from Philippines to Dubai and back and one of my main concern in riding a plane is food. Yes, it is. I forgot how bad the seats where. The movies I have watched, or how old the facilities are. As long as there is good food. I'll forgive them.

Cathay Pacific. My first airplane ride courtesy of this airline. I remembered how naive I was back then as I didn't know how to use the headset for the TV monitor,  but of course, I didn't let anybody notice how ignorant I was. I just figured it out for myself. I tried their wash room several times and enjoyed using the courtesy items. However, I wasn't able to enjoy my ride since I was alone and busy thinking how my life would be in a foriegn country.

So the next flight back for a vacation, I was already with my Far-ouT! Yours truly was able to enjoy the ride back home and notice how their service goes. It was not so bad but I was not satisfied either, their facilities were old. Seats were not well-maintained. The movies to watch were limited. Some of their facilities were not working but I'd still choose to be on this aircraft for good food. Probably the most delicious choices of food that I ever tasted in an airplane. Others may not agree with me though.

Stopover: Hongkong. Airport was huge.  We waited for a few hours for a connecting flight to Manila.

Flight back: It was so inconvenient. We were delayed in our flight and was trying to book for the earliest schedule. The customer service were not helpful and gave us after  week schedule. We had to return for work already so we decided to cancel our flight with them and tried with other airlines.

Emirates Airlines. They have the earliest available flight that can accommodate us. The attendant was friendly and helpful. Even if it cost us a lot, we had no choice so we decided to go for it. It was also the most convenient travel since they have direct flight from Manila to Dubai. After the hassle that we've been through in NAIA. All we need is straight flight back.

I've heard a lot of good feedback with this airlines. Aside from the direct flight that I mentioned, they also have newer aircraft. I was just surprised that I didn't enjoy their food that much and the seats have limited space but the rest of the facilities were working just fine. There were also wide varieties of activities from the monitor to choose from. Due to mental exhaustion, I wasn't able to take a few shots of the airline. This is also the airplane I used when it was time for me to go home to gave birth. I still didn't enjoy the food and wished they would improve on it.

Singapore Airlines. This is my favorite of them all! The service was great. Seats have bigger space. Facilities were clean and working good too. Movies were updated and facilities were cleaned and well-maintained. The food was good, nothing to rave about though. Liquors are allowed in moderation, I love their Singaporean sling, good thing I was still drinking back then.

Stopover: Singapore. I so love their airport! Clean, beautiful and most of all, they have free internet service.

Far-ouT and yours truly decided to go on our honeymoon in Singapore. So we have arrange our flight back from Dubai-Singapore-Manila, and stayed a couple of days in Singapore prior to our return to Dubai. Since I have been reminiscing and back tracking, I'll probably write something about our trip too in a few days.

It is sad that Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) really needs a major! major! renovation. I hope they would improve everything about it. Our government focuses on tourism but they forgot to do something about the area where we welcome our visitors.
I have not tried any local airlines as yet. Hopefully, we'll be able to do that by next year. I'll also be doing something about our bucket list, as we have discussed few already. Yehey, I'm excited!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Green Maple Salad at Pancake

Yours truly just came from a rowing training again. Our team captain already applied the program for the upcoming race and I must admit, I'm not quite satisfied with my performance.  I was exhausted after each set and was not happy with my strokes. I hope to improve prior to the upcoming 3rd leg regatta with more trainings in the coming days.

Dragon boat rowing is not an expensive sport per se. With Php 15 for members and Php 20 pesos for non-members on every training day is a bargain. Aside from the actual boat training, you will be able to have stretching before and after the exercise.

"Stretching after exercise can help to relax and balance tension on muscles that have just been exercised. Traditionally this was done after a cool-down period. Or, you may wish to do the stretching as its own activity separate from your cardio or strength exercise workouts."

So do not take for granted warm up exercise as it has a lot of benefits.

The team also offer free swimming lessons for those who wish to be trained for this. Actually, they recommend this as safety precautions for untoward incident during boat training. Dragon boat training is not a dangerous water sport but there is no harm in being more careful.

Besides, "swimming is considered to be a healthy and relaxing activity. It tones the body and provides an excellent cardiovascular workout as well. Moreover, it also strengthens your heart muscles and improves the delivery of oxygen to the different parts of the body."

Experts and trainers opine that this sport can be of extremely great help to your health and if included in the daily regimen, it is bound to yield marvelous results. (Read more)

For those who wish to join them for a round of runnings, you are also free to join.

Prior to that, my friend and yours truly came up with an idea to meet as well around the area as she wish to get back in shape again. She was not allowed to do rigorous exercise so we planned to have a slow pace running. While waiting for me, she saw a group of aerobics enthusiasts and she tried and liked it. She invited me to join but yours truly was not gifted with grace so I just let her do her stuff while I freshen up to remove the water and salt residue of Manila Bay.

We were I was starving already so we decided to have breakfast. Since she was on healthy living, we dine at Pancake house for some salad for her and my favorite Filipino breakfast, Beef Tapa with extra rice plus a cup of brewed coffee. There was nothing more to say with it as it is the usual deli of the restaurant.

She ordered Green Maple Salad (Php 180.00) served enticingly to the eyes

The plate consist of lettuce, mango, papaya, cherry tomatoes, grapes and chicken with Mango vinaigrette dressing. Yours truly was able to have a taste and i liked the fruit and veggie combination. She ordered Chocolate milk shake for her drink.

We decided to meet again anytime soon for another round of activites.

Just one fine day for today.

Friday, September 10, 2010

If you can't beat Dengue, Fight them

I am one of the mommies who's getting paranoid with Dengue epidemic, even if our government doesn't want to announced an outbreak yet, still, the growing number of children being affected by it, is so scary. I do not want to elaborate further on information about this dengue virus as I'm sure most of you have probably done your homework as well.

I don't want Bella to experience again the trauma of blood extraction when we suspected Dengue on her the last time. As prevention, we made sure that all our areas are free of stagnant water, I use repellent in our room during the day and use mosquito net to protect my Bella and yours truly during the night. I don't take chances even if they only attack during the day.

For added protection, I also put insect repellent lotion on my Bella if we cannot avoid going outside.

I am currently using Jason's quit bugging me! which I bought from healthy options. It is a natural insect repellant lotion spray.

It keeps bugs at bay for up to 3 hours. Deet, PABA and Paraben Free. It is easy to use and safe for kids.

This hydrating lotion helps keep mosquitoes, gnats, horseflies, black and biting flies at bay.

Active Ingredients: Soybean Oil (2%), Geranium Oil (2%)

Inert Ingredients (96%): Purified water, Coconut oil, Stearic Acid, Vegetable Glycerine, Lecithin, Citric Acid, Sodium Bicarbonate, Benzoic Acid, Sodium Benzoate

Caution: For external use only. Discontinue use if irritation or rash appears. Prolonged or frequent repeated skin contact may cause allergic reactions in some individuals. Avoid contact with mouth and eyes.

To Use: Shake well before use. Apply liberally to all exposed areas of the skin every 3 hours.

I just didn't like the strong smell of the product, nevertheless, it is effective on protecting my Bella from the mosquito virus.

I previously used shoo fly 60 ml Spray bottle of Indigo products, I like the smell better, but it doesn't last longer so I have to apply frequently. The reason I check other natural products and came across quit bugging me. I have yet to try Human Nature Citronella Bug Spray.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A-Conquered Mt. Maculot and Mt. Manabu

I have been rearranging my photos and saw again pictures of our climbing adventures and I can't help but reminisce on it. It is one of the most memorable experience of the A-Life and I believe that it deserves a place in my blog. So for the next few days, I will be blogging about the highlights of the A-Life on top of a mountain.

Its been such a wonderful experience to be able to get to the peak. Awaiting the sunset and sunrise. The first time I ever packed my bag for a climb was so frustrating that I almost backed out.  I spent the whole night trying to figure out how to put everything in place only to find out that I have to put all my clothes first into a plastic bag to water proof it in case of rain. Imagine how I need to make sure the bag will stand on its own with my stuff then suddenly removing it again? But I have learned the tricks eventually. Sad, that either of us own a camera back then.

My Far-ouT was the one who introduce me to climbing and as beginner, the first mountain that yours truly was able to climb was Mt. Maculot. It was also our first mountain to climb as a couple. It was a popular day trip destination back then. It was an straightforward and easy climb. Along the way, there are already locals who sell food and drinks, and a sari-sari store even at campsite so nothing to worry about running out of water. I even took a shower as they were selling it for a minimal fee. Most of the trail are covered with trees shading you from the sun. Nothing to enjoy while hiking but when you get to the top, it is a great views of Cavite and Batangas. You can also see Batangas Bay and even Mindoro. The best part is panoramic view of Taal Lake and Taal Volcano. The cliff is also a nice trip down with the rocky formation but you should try it with caution. One wrong move might cost you big time.

I have heard also of ghost stories from this mountain. One was about a guy who committed suicide along the trail on one of the trees and one who jump off the cliff. Thank goodness, we were already far away from the mountain when Far-ouT told me this, otherwise, I won't even get near it.

The first was followed with yet another mountain and another until it became a habit for us.

My favorite mountain to climb is Mt. Manabu. Since it is the lowest peak in the mountain range, it is one of the easiest to climb. Along the way, you will see a lot of flora and fauna, interesting plants also endemic the area. Mount Manabo to some, is about 700 meters above sea level which is about same elevation as Tagaytay City. No wonder about the cool breeze of air at the peak.

The trek is easy which will only be for about two hours. It is more a long walk and a bit of climb. It is not a rough and tumble type of mountain climb at all. Final summit was wide with a clear grass patch sizeable enough for a big group to rest. To the west you would see Mount Makolot, to the south; is the mountain range of Mount Malarayat.

The best part of climbing a mountain is enjoy the scenery with people closer to your heart.

And see another sight to behold.

Take the South Super Highway (SSHWY) and exit on Sto. Tomas, Batangas exit. Take the road to Star Tollway and exit toward Lipa, Batangas. After the Star Tollway exit, turn right. Once you reach Lipa City, turn left on the rotunda with the Mcdonald's Lipa Branch on your right. The next landmark to your right is the Robinson's Mall and further down is the Shoe Mart Lipa City Mall. After that, take the road to the right leading to the Malarayat Golf and Country Club. From that corner, drive down about 6 kilometers more or less and turn right into a smaller street leading to the jumpoff point. If I am correct, the town or Barangay is named Sto. Domingo. You cannot miss it because beckoning right in front of you is Mount Malarayat.

At the jumpoff point, there is a parking lot where one can safely park their vehicles and a sizeable resting shed and toilet for you to prepare for the climb, the place is clean and well taken care of.

100 Special Gifts to be given away

Do you believe that Filipino moms should know about giving their babies the gift of faster growth through better sleep? If you do, then you are a Bedtime Believer!

Bedtime Believers continue to grow in number every day, and so are our fellow online moms. They are also hungry and in need for more information about their babies.

Johnson’s Baby Bedtime would like to ask for your help as we continue to find the best way to share to moms the science of sleep.

It’s very easy.

All you have to do is click on the Johnson image badge on top of my website. Once clicked, you (the reader) will be taken to an online survey. This is a simple survey that will help us get to know our online moms better.

The first 100 moms to complete the survey will be sure to get special tokens especially made for their babies! (A note though: All those who answer the survey can only answer once. Even if they answer multiple times, it will still count as one entry.)

Let us all continue to be inspired to help share to moms the good news about baby sleep! Participate and share in this cause of giving good sleep to more babies every day!


The Nuffnang Team and the Johnson’s Baby Bedtime Family

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

40 Tips for a Better Life

It is such a breath of fresh air when you read feel good messages and advices. It makes you want to be a better person and made you realize and correct mistakes that you did in the past. A reality check every once in a while. A beginning of yet another chapter of the road you are taking. A guide in your A-Life journey.

We are not perfect human beings. We make mistake...Major! Major! ones. I am not judging Venus Raj, mind you. I just believe that it is better to make mistakes when you are younger so you have your whole life correcting it.

We will not know for sure how our lives would become any moment from now, so why not choose a better path? You may even thank yourself when you became a mother who is smarter, kinder, and better at just about everything or a father that would pick and give his son / daughter the word of encouragement to do stuff they thought they couldn't do.

Be the best that you can be. You may not realize until it hit you right in the face so be careful with your decisions, think first before you act. What you were in the past will be reflected of who you will become in the future.

1. Take a 10-30 minute walk every day. And while you walk, smile. It is the ultimate anti-depressant.

2. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day. Buy a lock if you have to.

3. Buy a DVR and tape your late night shows and get more sleep.

4. When you wake up in the morning complete the following statement, 'My purpose is to ... today.'

5. Live with the 3 E's -- Energy, Enthusiasm, and Empathy.

6. Play more games and read more books than you did last year.

7. Make time to practice prayer. It provides us with daily fuel for our busy lives.

8. Spend time with people over the age of 70 and under the age of six.

9. Dream more while you are awake.

10. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants.

11. Drink green tea and plenty of water. Eat blueberries, wild Alaskan salmon, broccoli, almonds & walnuts.

12. Try to make at least three people smile each day.

13. Clear clutter from your house, your car, your desk and let new and flowing energy into your life.

14. Don't waste your precious energy on gossip, energy vampires, issues of the past, negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.

15. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.

16. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a college kid with a maxed out charge card.

17. Smile and laugh more. It will keep the energy vampires away.

18. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

19. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

20. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

21. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

22. Make peace with your past so it won't spoil the present.

23. Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

24. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.

25. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: “In five years, will this matter?”

26. Forgive everyone for everything.

27. What other people think of you is none of your business.

28. GOD heals almost everything.

29. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

30. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will stay in touch.

31. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.

32. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

33. The best is yet to come.

34. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

35. Do the right thing!

36. Call your family often. (Or email them to death!!!) Hey I'm thinking of ya! =)

37. Each night before you go to bed complete the following statements: I am thankful for __________. Today I accomplished _________.

38. Remember that you are too blessed to be stressed.

39. Enjoy the ride. Remember this is not Disney World and you certainly don't want a fast pass. You only have one ride through life so make the most of it and enjoy the ride.

40. Please spread the word to everyone you care about. May your troubles be less, May your blessings be more, May nothing but happiness come through your door!

Isn't comforting to know that you are growing maturely and will age gracefully?

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Et al.

Haven't blog anything since Thursday as I have been quite busy for the past 4 days. After my novena to St. Jude, I decided to buy some stuff for my Bella. She was running out of stock already. There were quite a few ones that should not be missing from her personal fridge. One would be the different flavors of Quaker oatmeal. We usually alternate every morning the Chocolate, Strawberry, Apple, Hazelnut and honey, Banana and the original flavor. Personally, I wouldn't recommend it because of the added sugar. Nevertheless, to lessen the sweetness, we mixed it with fresh milk. Yes still fresh milk, because eventhough her pedia instructed me to give her powdered milk, I am still keen on giving her only fresh milk. However, instead of buying her pasteurized milk every 4-5 days, I alternate it with Anchor UHT freshmilk. Aside from oatmeal, she also love eating Nestle fruit selection yogurt and DutchMill yogurt drink.

Friday was uneventful for Bella and yours truly since her lola decided to take the day off and went to Quiapo church to hear mass. I actually plan on attending a free Running clinic by 8-time Ironman Finisher Arland Macasieb at 6:30 PM in RUNNR, Bldg. B3, Activity area as posted by Jaymie of The Bull Runner. I must say after a long time of hybernating from running, I am unfit for a long run and really needed to be in shape again to have my endurance and stamina back. I miss my Far-ouT most of the time especially during this time as he is usually the one who will more likely to attend this event. Unfortunately, the topic that I missed were the basic exercise physiology, heart rate zone training and racing and running biomechanics. I still went to market! market! though to get a B done and a waxing on some other places.

Saturday was a fun day since your truly met with former colleagues of Sari-Sari Group of Companies and catch up on gossips. We had buffet lunch at Cabalen located at the 3rd level of SM Megamall. It was a feast of Filipino dishes and was indeed a gastronomic binge. What I just didn't like is that, they were slow in refilling the empty food trays and there were also times when their waiters were no where to be found. But other than that, we still enjoyed their food. We still had a lot of catching up to do so we decided to have some coffee at Seattle Best. I wasn't impressed with Mocha Javalava, their version of Mocha Frappuccino of Starbucks, I still prefer the latter over the former. I can't really describe it that much, one thing I remembered though, its as if I was drinking tiny bubbles of coffee. Even Bo's coffee wasn't able to live up to my expectation. Nothing can beat my favorite Mocha Frapp as yet. After a lot of chatting and picture taking, we parted our ways and decided to meet up again within the year for another reunion.

I couldn't recall anymore how much I have eaten during the buffet, it must be a lot since I was not feeling hungry at dinner time until the early morning of Sunday. Well, just to be sure that I will not go hungry before my brunch, I grab a sandwich and coffee for breakfast while I was on my way for dragon boat training.

I still haven't blog much about it but yours truly is an avid fun of Dragon Boat. I was an active member of Sea Dragons way back 2003 but became inactive for quite awhile when I left to work in Dubai in 2005. This is also where I met my better half (that's another story). Anyway, dragon boat rowing is one thing that I just couldn't leave behind. Aside from swimming, I also started to come back to rowing slowly since May. I learned that the team already made a lot of changes, from warm up exercises to the different strokes. I am still trying to adapt to the new forms that they are introducing introduced during my absence and honestly, it was quite difficult to adjust since I am used to the old ones. It was indeed a hard habit to break. Nevertheless, I am making an effort to correct my form during trainings. The team is already preparing for the 3rd Leg Regatta which will be held on Sunday, September 26. After the boat training, there was also an individual run and sprint for each member. As I have mentioned earlier, I was having a hard time running again so I was slow and really feeling the pain of stomach cramps. It was my first to timed my sprint as I usually beg off to do this with Far-ouT before. I am not confident to do a fast run, but was satisfied with 15.36 recorded time. I was quite tired already from the activites but decided to join the team for another boat training. It was exhausting but the body pain was surprisingly nice to feel again.

I wanted to increase my activities in the days to come as I was aiming to make myself comfortable with running before the Avon walk and run on October 3 at SM Mall of Asia open ground. For the record, my Bella is still on breastmilk at 14 months even with the number of activities I am doing right now.  I am actually trying to wean her already from "Dede" but I just couldn't get the heart yet to deny her of it totally.

But sooner than later, I may have to make an extra effort to do this eventually. Let's see. I just want to make it slowly and surely.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

ME-Time first

It was nice to have some ME-time once in a while. Taking time for yourself avoids burn out for moms like me. It isn't always easy to stay away from, but self-care is never a selfish act. Its just a time to relax, refresh, rejuvenate and helps regain control of our lives.

Sharing the necessity of a "day-off" with someone makes it even more enjoyable. My "girl" friend and your truly grab a bit of ME-time just this afternoon to catch up on each other's events.

 We decided to dine on a early dinner at Chicken located at Greenbelt 1, This is my first time to try this restaurant. As I have mentioned on my previous blog, I'm on the safe side when it comes to food and I always make sure that the dish that I'll try are the usual ones, just so to be sure that I will get my money's worth and avoid wallowing if I won't be able to enjoy the menu that I ordered.

Good thing, the place was not so bad. But nothing special.

I ordered their Jerk Chicken (Php 159.00). This was their famous grilled boneless chicken with java rice. The platter also have thin slices of carrot and cucumber on top to make it look sumptuous but I'm afraid, it didn't served its purpose to me. The dish have 3 condiments, consists of vinegar, hot sauce, red bean respectively. I have to say, vinegar and red bean was just right for the dish. I am not a fan of spicy foods so I didn't like the hot sauce that much, the banana was a nice touch. The overall taste was so-so. Just the usual chicken food.

The restaurant also tried a homey ambiance but failed on this concept.

They have other menu to offer, most of it were pasta, salad and some combination of dishes.

My friend ordered a pasta dish that I wasn't able to taste so I can't tell you much about it. I also wasn't impressed with how they take care of their place.

I still enjoyed the food nevertheless but definitely not a place to come back to.

After that early lunch, our catching up time will not be complete without coffee! coffee! At a nearby Starbucks, we ordered the usual. 1 Java Chip with coffee jelly for Pia (Php 175.00) and 1 mocha frapp decaf with coffee jelly (Php155.00) for yours truly and then some french apple tart (Php 70.00) for her and cake oreo cheese cake (Php110.00) for me.

For the record, there are already 2 starbucks branches that we reminded ourselves not to go to, this one and the one located at Serendra. We both didn't like how they prepared the coffee, no shredded ice? We know how we want our coffee to be done and they definitely weren't able to achieve our liking.

The rain started to pour hard already, so we decided to call it a day.

I've been trying to find wooden toys for Bella but found expensive ones. I do not want to invest yet on expensive toys and wait for her to grow up a little more and let her choose the ones she'll enjoy and like. But on my way home, I was lucky enough to find some education wooden toys on sale.

Hope my Bella will like this shape sorters that I bought for only Php 100.00 (original price is Php 150.00)

and wooden domino for Php 70.00 (original price is Php 250.00) which I intend to keep for a while.

Me-time is fun time. Indulge.