Shop from Abroad and Ship to the Philippines through Kango Express

I love shopping from Amazon and Sephora. The thing is, I usually have to fill an entire balikbayan box to make it more economical to ship my goods all the way to the Philippines. It's ideal if I am truly intending to ship a number of things that are bulky and heavy, but not so much for one or two small items, especially if I am trying to meet a tight timeline.  Enter Kango Express.

I learned about Kango Express from Rowena's blog.  I have been eyeing this facial toner from Amazon and was not really planning on purchasing anything else, so I thought it was the perfect opportunity to test the services of Kango Express.
I went to the site ( and registered for an account. It's very easy to follow, just put in the necessary information and click on submit.
They will then assign you to a US and UK shipping address.  These addresses are what you will be using when shopping online. 

Then you start shopping.  It's that simple!  You don't even need to inform Kango beforehand that you will be sending anything their way. 
I ordered the facial toner from Amazon on January 27 and had it delivered to my US Kango address. I then received a confirmation from Kango Express on February 4 that they have received my package from Amazon. They have asked me to put in a detailed packing list which is basically a description and the price of the item I ordered. Not sure if this is something you can enter before the package arrives to avoid delay.
Anyway, Kango confirmed on the same day, just a few seconds after I submitted the packing list,  that my package was already scheduled for delivery. Two days later, they advised me that it was on its way to the Philippines. Yay!
Now at any time during this stage, you may submit your payment via the Kango Express website. The facial toner I ordered measured 7.8 x 4 x 1 inches and weighted 1.2 lbs. The shipping from Kango cost me US$18.60 which is less than a thousand pesos. The facial toner costs around P20k in the Philippines as opposed to only P9k+ from Amazon. Adding the P1k shipping fee from Kango Express, I still saved a good 50% compared to the local rates.
The package finally arrived on February 11. This is exactly 15 days from the time I ordered it from Amazon and only 7 days from the time Kango received the package from them. I am pretty impressed!   
The item arrived in very good condition. They even had an inflated PolyAir for the extra space in the box. This is to ensure the contents are tightly secured during transit.
I am now thinking of ordering some small items from Sephora. I hope my experience will be consistently pleasant. Do try it out and let me know what you think.
Kango Express
RAF International Forwarding Phils Inc
+632 820 2920 to 25


Easter Playland at The Podium Mall

The long weekend in the Philippines starts tomorrow. If your family will be in town this weekend, why not bring your kids to the Easter event at The Podium Mall this Sunday? There will be special performances from Trumpets Philippines and Make Believe Productions. Furthermore, Strawberry Kiss from Shopkins will be there at 1pm and 4pm!
You may also register your kids for a mall wide egghunt that will be fun for the entire family!
Register by showing a receipt worth P1,500 from the mall stores and present it at The Podium Mall's customer service at the ground floor.  Registration is open from March 17 to 27 only.
Have a wonderful Easter, everyone! Hope to see you there!


Bento Birthday Parties

Both my children celebrate their birthdays during the first quarter of the year. We usually do a joint birthday celebration for them and invite all of their close friends and family members.  This year, I decided to make their parties separate but to keep them very small. For Dawn, she was turning 5 so I asked her to only invite 5 of her friends to our house.  For Troy, on the other hand, I asked him to invite 8 friends, also following his birthday age.  We decided to keep his party in school separate since he also wanted to celebrate with all his classmates.

Dawn wanted a My Little Pony themed party while Troy wanted a Star Wars themed party. With that, I ordered fondant cakes from Jennie of Love Desserts for the two separate occasions. I also decorated our place with pastel balloons for Dawn's party and long 'light saber' blue and white balloons for Troy's party. 
Now here's the fun part. I ordered themed Bento boxes for the kids and they all loved it! We served this in Troy's school party too. It's the easiest way to instantly up your game for themed parties. My kids were ecstatic when they saw their meals. I did not tell them until the day of the party so that it will also be a surprise for them.
I love Bento Mommas! It looks good and tastes great! We had cheese sandwiches and nuggets for Dawn's party and Spaghetti and nuggets for Troy's. I also appreciate the fact that they were very accommodating with our special requests. They created a special box of Pomodoro spaghetti with cheese sandwich for our vegetarian guest.

Check out Bento Mommas' other creations through their Instagram page @bentomommas . You may also inquire by writing to them at



McDonald's National Breakfast Day Just Got Better

A lot of us started this workweek celebrating McDonald's 4th national breakfast day.  Thousands of Filipinos woke up earlier than usual and headed to one of the 400 participating McDonald's branches nationwide that served free McMuffins from 6am to 7am. This included the brand's most recent endorsers Alden Richards and Main Mendoza, popularly known as "Aldub", who served the customers at the McDonald's Bluebay Walk! I am not really a fan of "Aldub" but it would have been wonderful to get free breakfast and do some celebrity sightings on a Monday morning (yes, sometimes I can be chaka like that).
The breakfast event was lead by McDonald's Philippines Presdient and CEO, Kenneth S. Yang. "We celebrated our first National Breakfast Day in 2013 to share the goodness of a McDonald's breakfast to more Filipinos," said Yang.
This year, McDonald's took serving breakfast to a whole new level. After the March 14 event, the servers went out of their comfort zone and served breakfast to those people and organizations who were unable to visit McDonald's at the designated hour due to the nature of their work.
Watch this video and see what I am talking about. It is worth 2:59 mins of your time.
Aside from the fishermen, McDonald's also served breakfasts to some security guards, hospital staffs, and public school teachers.
Thank you, McDonald's Philippines. Your generosity is contagious.


Thank God in Faith

Two years ago, Dens and I have decided that since we're spending a lot of time studying the Bible with our friends, why not schedule a weekly Bible study with our kids too. (Check out this old post about our Bible study routine here).  We are not so rigid with our routine and usually forego the opening prayer and just do a closing prayer before we sleep. But what we try to always incorporate is our thanksgiving time.
During our recent Bible studies, I have seen some improvement in how the kids share their praises.  Up until last year, it was almost always 'I thank God for my family' or 'I thank God for papa/mommy' which are not bad things to thank God for, but they were very general praises. We have been encouraging them to be more specific with their thanksgiving by also being specific with ours. For example I would say 'I thank God I was able to spend time watching Peppa Pig with Troy this morning on our way to school. I super enjoyed laughing so hard together on the funny parts'. And these days they would also share more specific things like 'I thank God I was able to score a goal during soccer practice today' or 'I thank God I was able to eat ice cream with sprinkles yesterday. 
Last Wednesday, during our Bible study, Dens shared how happy he was that he was able to have a half-day date with Dawn that day. They went to the grocery together, ate ice cream, and checked out some new cars in a showroom. Then during Dawn's time to share, she said "I thank God for my super fun date with papa and I also thank God for the super fun date I will have with mommy" When I heard this, I reiterated my promise to schedule a date with her and we started talking about what we wanted to do on our date. But more importantly, I realized how Dawn thanked the Lord for something that has yet to happen.
Isn't that what faith is all about? Trusting the Lord means thanking God in faith for things that have yet to happen.  So long as we are praying in line with God's promises in the Bible, then we can already thank God in advance. God never breaks his promises and we can rest in the assurance that when He says He has a great plan for our life, He really does! When He asks us to trust Him, it means that we can REALLY trust Him. He will not fail us.
Matthew 18:3 says "And he said: "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." The truth is, we almost always overthink God's promises. Logic tells us that miracles are impossible in this day and age, but God says BELIEVE. How about we try having childlike faith instead and see where that faith brings us? I challenge you to study God's word and claim His promises. Then thank Him in faith for the wonderful future that He has in store for you.


Our First Family Run #mommymilkshakerun2016

Last Sunday, our little family of four woke up at five in the morning and prepared for our first family fun run.  We finished 3k and it was awesome. 
Flashback to 2011 when I just gave birth to Dawn. My cousin was telling me about a run for breastfeeding awareness and invited me to join.  I was not into running then so the thought of waking up in the wee hours of the morning after a practically sleepless night was not my idea of fun. 
Years later I learned more about the Mommy Milkshake run but was still not convinced. I figured I already did enough running while chasing the two kids and did not need to register for such an event.  
Last 2014, I started running for fitness.  During family trips, I will wake up early on some mornings and run. My kids know my routine and would already ask 'Mom, did you jog this morning?' as soon as they wake up -- side note: I call it running but they know better that it's not exactly that.  Anyway, I joined a few runs since then (3k, 5k, 10k) and really enjoyed it.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago when I got an invitation to run in this year's Mommy Milkshake event. I did not hesitate and immediately accepted the invite for me and Dawn. I was hesitant to confirm for Dens since I knew he hated waking up very early, and I knew that Troy might not do it if he knows his dad is not joining.  So imagine my surprise when both of them readily said yes to waking up at five in the morning and running with us. Yay!

A few days before the event, Dens spoke to some friends about running and realized the danger of bringing the kids to a possibly crowded event. He told me maybe we should just not bring the kids. I explained that this will be a family-oriented run and I know they will make sure it is safe for the kids. But his concerns silently became my concerns so I started praying and orienting the kids every night before the run.

The big day finally arrived and we found ourselves at the corner of 34th and 9th street in BGC at six in the morning. And it was not crowded at all!  They had a lot of fun booths for the kids and a few play area where the kids can enjoy while waiting for gun start. I immediately felt relieved and thanked God for a great run ahead of us.

The kids enjoyed going around the booths and even writing on the message board before the run began.

After some stretching an dancing, off we go! I love how Mommy Mundo kept the crowd small.  Unlike other runs that I have joined, you can actually run even at the gun start!

Towards the last leg of the 3k run, our family raced each other towards the finished line. Guess who won?

After the run, Dens told me he was glad we came. Our fears were, obviously, unnecessary and the event fostered discipline and good team spirit within the kids.

I hope to run with my family again in the next Mommy Milkshake event. You should too!

**Some photos are from Mommy Mundo c/o earbuds productions.


Random Thoughts on My Son's Eight Birthday

Troy turned eight yesterday. As I was having breakfast, I thought about the day he was born. I was reminded of his beautiful loud cry in that operating room and the congratulations from visitors that were not present during my first delivery.  It brought me back to the many nights I stayed awake wondering whether I will ever get pregnant again, or those days when I would allow myself to think about the empty crib in the beautifully decorated baby's room and wonder whether we would ever use them. Then I saw a photo of my now eight-year old boy. Then I cried.
From the time you decide you want to have a baby to the time the healthy baby finally arrives, Motherhood is never easy. Somewhere in between, there's always a story to tell. Whether it's about the fear of infertility, going through miscarriages, or perhaps experiencing infant loss, a lot of us have walked that path. The threat of unfulfilled dreams is, a lot of times, the hardest to accept.
The past 10 years has been quite a journey. There were those difficult days in 2006 when I just wanted to sleep all day until I wake up from a seemingly bad dream. Then there are happy days in 2016 when all I want to do is to enjoy all 24 precious hours with my children.  This is where 10 years has brought our family. I look at my children now and I am reminded of how much God has been with us through the years. He did not allow me to stay in that black hole I have placed myself in ten years ago. And the miracle in all of this is that all I needed to do was to simply trust in Him.
Whatever stage you are in right now, do know this. Pray and trust in Him even when facts tell us otherwise. Trust in His good plans for your life.  Because I tell you, once you decide to surrender your worries to God, you will experience the joy of living that abundant life that He has always intended for you.   
Jeremiah 29:11
"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."



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