It's Showtime!

I almost wanted to call this post "The Day I Guested in Showtime"...but that would be too deceiving. Because the truth is, the day I visited Showtime - I was one of the Madlang People!!!
One thing that many people may not know about me (okay, fine, maybe a lot of you do know) is that I love seeing movie stars in person.  It fascinates me to see how they look and act beyond the magic of the camera lenses.  I rarely watch television these days and am not updated with the new movie stars. But I know the ones that have been on screen for a while now and stalk follow some them on Instagram.

So when my sister got us VIP tickets to watch the popular noontime show, It's Showtime, I happily joined her.  Amidst my excitement, I was still hoping to conceal my chaka-ness and wished oh-so-hard that we will not appear on television. Well, the wish was not granted and we got our 30 seconds of fame.
photo taken by my friend, Cathy
Let me take you back to the morning of the taping. About an hour before the show, we were ushered to the holding area for all VIPs. We did not enter through the same entrance as the rest of the Madlang People.  
While waiting to enter the studio, we walked around and saw these signs on some of the doors. Dressing rooms!  Of course we did not attempt to go in. Baka mahuli pa kami ng guards (and besides, wala si Anne Curtis!)
After about 30 minutes or so, we were asked to enter the studio. The studio was a lot smaller than I imagined it to be.  My mind was panicking thinking that the chances of us being seen on television were pretty high.
We tried our best to sit somewhere inconspicuous only be asked to transfer to the seat near the aisle on the second row.  Oh well...
Then they started prepping us for the show. They told us how to cheer, raise our score cards, dance, and sing the Showtime song. Chaka overload. They threatened to move us to the back if we did not participate.  Much as I would not mind to be placed at the back (i.e. less chances of camera face time), I also did not want the embarrassment of being asked to go to the back (a.k.a. walk of shame).

And as we were looking around the crowd, we spotted the guys from the You Tube sensation Hey Joe Show! If you have not seen them, you need to visit their channel. They do really funny interpretations of the Filipino traditions and speak bisaya fluently! So without hesitation, Tammy and I went and had a photo taken with them.
And then the show started. And while we were singing and dancing the Showtime theme song, the Duterte look-a-like stood beside me. I had to stop dancing and get my phone for a quick selfie.
Amidst our kakahiyang television exposure, watching It's Showtime was really fun. More than the show, I particularly enjoyed the commercial breaks (and, of course spending time with my sister! hello suan!). That was when you get to see the stars in their natural element.
So that was our Showtime experience. I'm happy to have enjoyed that day with my sister.    It was a memorable day and definitely one for the books.




Honey Oatmeal Bars

My 5-year old daughter and I love to bond in the kitchen. We love to cook, bake and whip up new creations together. From our usual Banana Pancakes to our newly discovered Oatmeal Cookies (thanks to my friend Tin). 

I'd like to share this very easy no-bake dessert that we have been making the past weeks. It's only made up of 3 ingredients.


*The choice of spread will determine the flavor of your oatmeal bars. Here are some tried and tested spreads that you can use.

You can use any honey. I have tried all types from processed, raw and even Manuka honey. I won't recommend the latter since Manuka has a distinct taste that not everybody appreciates. Raw Honey is my safest bet.

Step 1: You mix your honey with the spread and warm it in a pan or microwave
Step 2: Once melted and warm, you mix in the oat until the oats look cooked
Step 3: You spread the mixture in a flat dish and leave it out to cool
Step 4: Once the mixture is no longer warm, you put it in the refrigerator to harden overnight
Step 5: You cut into bite-size squares and serve!
Try and and experiment different flavors. My 5-year old daughter can actually do most of the steps herself sans Step 1 with the pan and microwave. It's super quick and easy to make. Perfect for that instant dinner you are hosting or your kids' snacks to school.



The Fun Thing About Swimming

One Sunday in August, we brought the kids out for a swim somewhere down south. Since I do not like to bother myself with having to shower all over again, I decided early on that I would not swim. Dens brought his swim gear just in case but was also pretty much undecided. The kids, of course, were ready with their suits and pool paraphernalia.
When we got to the pool, the kids changed and asked why Dens and I were not changing. I told them I did not bring my swimsuit anymore since I was not really planning to swim. Dens, on the other hand, said he will just rest for a while.
So I brought the kids to the pool.  I sat and watched the two of them swim and play with their pool toys. They looked like they were enjoying themselves the whole time. After about twenty minutes, my 8-year old son came up and asked me to check on their dad.
Troy: "Mom, can you see if Papa is already done resting?"
Mom: "I think he's not planning to swim anymore. Maybe he just wants to rest."
Troy: "But I really want papa to swim with us"
Mom: "It's okay, Troy. You and Dawn are having fun naman"
Troy: "We were just playing our toys so that we won't get bored while waiting for Papa. The fun thing about swimming is being with you, Papa and Dawnie."
My heart broke a little when I heard that.  I almost wanted to jump in the pool in my sundress. Needless to say, Dens immediately joined them in the pool.
I realized then that being around them does not necessarily mean spending time with them. We need to engage with them and do things that they love.
Since then, my husband and I have intentionally spent more "active" time with the kids. Dens has learned to dress up a Barbie doll and I am still trying my very best to learn how Minecraft works.
Being a parent involves a lot of intentional hard work.  We must not allow the time to pass and then realize one day that our kids have grown up too fast. Let's make sure we engage with our kids and not just 'be present' for them.  Just being in the same room with the kids does not count.  Learn what your children love and do those things with them. It's time to pick up the [Lego] pieces and build memories with them. Yep, pun intended.



How the Tornado Strengthened My Son's Faith

Contrary to my recent post about ordinary weekends, last weekend was anything BUT ordinary. 
My husband and I were on our way home when my 8-year old son called my husband's mobile phone.  His opening line was "Mom! So grabe what happened to us!" I was not alarmed. At least not yet. I just asked "Why? what happened to you?"   Then he said "Well, I was playing Wii in the room and the TV suddenly shut down. I went out of the room and checked the big window [from our hall].  Then I saw a tornado coming towards our house!"  I was a little concerned but I thought 'it could not have been a tornado!' So I prodded further and asked "Who were you with and what did you do?" Then he said "I was with Dawn (my 5-year old daughter) and we called Yaya". Then the three of us hid behind the door of your room because the roof of the basketball court behind us was already flying into the tornado." Okay. That got my attention. And it made me want to be home with my children as fast as I can.
To my knowledge, it is the first time a tornado in this scale has ever hit Manila. Seeing the uprooted trees and fallen posts outside our house was surreal. I could not believe this happened in our city. Floods are frequent and we even prepare ourselves for possible earthquakes. But a tornado is not in the list of natural disasters that we worry about in Manila. The videos that were recorded look like clips from a movie. It was unbelievable.

The tornado has definitely hit Manila big time. But in our own little world, the big tornado was also a big God encounter for our little boy.  You see, a few nights ago while we were having our family Bible study, Troy told us that sometimes he wonders whether God is indeed real. He said it's not always easy for him to believe because he cannot see God. Dennis and I assured him that we understood his concerns. We explained that this is where faith comes in. We told him how answered prayers are God's ways of showing us that He is real. Our son did not look convinced but he said okay. Then we prayed together and Troy prayed that God will help him believe. It's an ironic prayer but isn't that the same prayer uttered by the father of the little sick boy in the book of Mark? "Lord, help me overcome my unbelief"

Then last weekend's tornado happened. That same night, as we were about to sleep, we stayed in bed talking about the tornado. Dawn said "It's the worst day ever!". Then Troy said "You know, Dawn, it's the worst day ever but it's also the happiest day ever!". So I asked him why he said that. He said "Because, mom, Dawn and I could have been hurt by the tornado but we weren't. That makes this the happiest day ever, right?" And I said "You're actually right! Okay, so let's just call this the happiest day ever then".  Then he said "You know, when I saw the tornado coming towards our house. I was thinking the glass in our window will not be strong enough to protect us. But I was not so afraid. I felt that God was like a force field there protecting us."  And right there and then, my son encountered our God, His protector.
That night, the tornado cut through the power lines so we did not have electricity. When we got home, my daughter asked if we can pray for the electricity to be restored.  In our prayer, my son said "Lord, please please restore our electricity even while we are praying". I had to do a double prayer to ask God to please please answer his prayer so that he won't be disappointed. But our prayer concluded and the electricity did not come back.

Before we slept, my son prayed his usual bedtime prayer. He thanked God for protecting our family and prayed that nobody got hurt. Then, to my surprise, he thanked God for restoring the electricity.  After he prayed, I asked why he thanked God for restoring the electricity when it clearly hasn't happened yet. Then he said "It's okay. I know God heard us and He will bring back the electricity later". I hugged and kissed him. And tears filled my eyes. I knew God has awakened the faith of our little boy.
The tornado last weekend may have uprooted our trees, destroyed our roof, and cut off our electricity. But we will not allow it to destroy our faith. As Genesis 50:20 says "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives."

Amen. Thank you, Lord


Ordinary Weekends
We do not have big things planned this weekend. And that's all right.
Our weekends start slowly on Friday with an early date with my husband.  That is usually followed by a movie date at home with the kids when they can sleep a little past their usual bedtime. Saturday and Sundays are filled with the kids' extra-curricular activities, church and visits to the mall.  We pretty much have a standard weekend routine. Nothing grand unless we are invited to an event or we're celebrating an occasion. But that's perfectly all right. We thrive on routine and celebrate the ordinary.  
You see, there will come a day when the kids will have their own families and spending time together means having to schedule an appointment. Those are the days when these lazy weekends will become a sacred memory. I would hate to look back and wish I that I had paid more attention to the ordinary days. Cherish the season and enjoy the moment.
I'd like to end this post by sharing an excerpt from Katrina Kenison's book "The Gift of an Ordinary Day".  
"The bookshelf in my own living room is full of photo albums, nearly twenty years worth of well-documented birthday cakes and holidays,  piano recitals and Little League games.  But the memories I find myself sifting through the past to find, the ones that I’d give anything now to relive, are the ones that no one ever thought to photograph, the ones that came and went as softly as a breeze on a summer afternoon.
It has taken a while, but I certainly do know it now–the most wonderful gift I had, the gift I’ve finally learned to cherish above all else, was the gift of all those perfectly ordinary days."
Here's to a beautiful ordinary weekend.  TGIF!


The Honest Crop

I wish I can stop my kids from eating chips. I really do.  But since I love eating chips myself, I have no right to deprive my children of the same. With that in mind, the next best thing is to look for healthier alternatives that will taste just as good. I have ordered from several companies that produce healthier snack alternatives but none of them appeal to my kids (or even me!).  Well, to be honest I did find a few good ones but they were way too expensive to sustain in our weekly grocery shopping list. So I had to keep on looking.
Last week I have finally found the perfect combination of healthy + reasonably priced chips through The Honest Crop.  They are a local company that sells 100% Real Vegetable Crisps baked in Coconut Oil.  And I have to tell you, they taste sooo good! My close friends and sisters would always tease me that when I recommend any snack to them and say 'It's healthy!', you can almost always be sure it tastes like cardboard. I promise you, these do not taste anything like 'healthy'!
photo source
I tried the sea salt, BBQ, Cheese, and Sour Cream flavors and cannot choose a favorite. They are all very very good. Most of the chips come in two bag sizes ranging from P45 to P160.

If you would like to try them, you may follow their order instructions here or reach out to them directly at the contact details listed below.

Viber/Mobile: +63947 899 8904

Try it and let me know what you think!



What is Your Comfort Food?

Mine is not exactly food. It's a drink.
It's a cup of Chai Tea Latte. I like mine non-fat, extra hot, no foam
My love for Chai started in Hong Kong back in 1999. I was on a business trip and my colleagues treated me to lunch at an authentic Indian restaurant. I am not a fan of strong spices so the food did not impress me too much. But the drink was definitely a game changer. I stepped out of that restaurant without remembering the name of the drink that would soon haunt me. After my trip, I had cravings for that spiced milk tea that I did not know the name of. I just knew there were hints of cinnamon and ginger mixed into the hot drink.
Six years later I was on a business trip to Australia and found a small café that was popular for their Chai Tea Latte. I did not know what it was but the description of the drink enticed me to give it a shot. Lo and behold, it was the same drink I tried back in 1999! And so my love affair with Chai began.
The only problem then was that Chai was not readily available in Manila. I would drink it only during my business trips to Australia. It was my safe haven in between and after stressful client meetings. I would drink multiple cups in a day just as one would be addicted to coffee.
Years later, Chai started becoming increasingly available in the popular coffee shops in Manila. It has, since then, been my almost-daily stress reliever in the office. It reminded me of those cool and sunny days in Martin Place where I would review my notes prior to my client meetings. It brought me back to those days when, for once, I do not mind sitting alone in a restaurant.
Several years later, Chai remains to be such a comfort drink for me. I now have new memories of Chai. Enjoying a book in Starbucks while waiting to fetch my daughter from ballet practice, movie dates with Dens, and good times over Chai in Coffee Bean with friends and family.
Funny how a simple drink has so much history. One sip is all it takes. And just like that, it's 1999 all over again.


Potential Cause of Your Hair Fall

Last week I had a little scare. While I was taking a shower on Monday evening, chunks of my hair started to fall. The same thing happened on Tuesday while I was removing my hair tie. During those days, I was starting to feel very weak which I initially thought was just muscle pain from my Monday workout. But by Wednesday, I did not have any appetite anymore and only craved for cold food such as pineapple and iced candies.
I started to do a little research on what may possibly cause this sudden and severe hair fall and weakness in my body. My research lead me to one very simple but accurate answer.


I realized that the symptoms started after my 30-minute run last Monday. I remember forgetting to bring my water bottle and only drank tea when I reached the office. I got busy at work and totally forgot to hydrate the whole day. On Tuesday and Wednesday, I was drinking tea all day which was practically a diuretic. 
As soon as I learned about the effects of dehydration on my hair, I started to intentionally drink liters and liters of water.  I noticed the weakness in my body slowly going away. By Friday, my hair fall was back to the normal number. No more chunks of falling hair.
We are often encouraged to drink water to flush out toxins from our bodies or to achieve supple and beautiful skin. But we often overlook the fact that each hair shaft is made up of 1/4 water.  This means that when we become dehydrated, our hair functions 1/4 less effective and becomes weak. Thus, causing hair to fall. Imagine how simple that was! 
If you are experiencing severe hair fall, try drinking more water. You may just be a drop away from saving your tresses.


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