This is my Dad. His name is Ben. Thus the Ben Lucas Miguel and Ben Markus Mikhael names of my boys. 😆
He used to work as an aeronautical engineer for PAL and Lufthansa. I have many happy memories of free flights and personal tours of airports and airplanes.🤣 One time, when I was 13, he smuggled my sister and I into the airport and into the Mabuhay lounge so I could meet @boyzoneofficial and my pubescent crush @rokeating (pics to follow😂) My dad wasn’t around much because his job took him to many places overseas. Everytime he would come home, my sister and I would always have the latest Archie comics or Walkman or digital diary (I know, stop it) that unpacking his suitcase was an adventure in itself.
In 1998, my Dad was one of the few thousands who lost their jobs because of the recession and I remember him spending days and nights reading through classified ads for a new job. He said in passing and this has always stuck with me: your principles will not put food on the table. Which at that time, struck me as odd. Aren’t you supposed to make your principles the basis of everything that you do? Aahh. What a sheltered, privileged life I lived. As I grew older (and wiser, I pray), the meaning of that sentence evolved too. Just by example, this particular moment in time defined who I will eventually become. Not a a housewife (still a dream though) but an honest, hardworking mama:
Lessons from Dad: 1.) Humility – position and title don’t matter. It’s what you can literally bring to the table that does, at work or at home. 2.) Gratitude – that there are still opportunities instead of none. 3.) Hardwork – will pay off. Perseverance, dedication, an honest job and a whole lot of heart will make you a good provider for your family.
They hired him back but he got a better offer. 😊 He got sick in 2002 and was diagnosed with leukemia and passed away in 2005. It’s been 16 years but I can remember January 12, 2005 like it was yesterday.
For those who still have dads, how lucky you are, so hug them tight. For those whose dads are no longer here, how lucky we are to have them watch over us from heaven. Happy 16th up there, Daddy.❤ i hope I make you proud.
Mama got a little bit sad today. The news about the girl found in the bathtub after a night of partying with friends is the kind of news that no mama should ever get to hear. It made me think about how little time we have left in having you as little boys who we can keep under our watch. Soon enough, you will go out on your own, choose friends of your own, have a life on your own that in many ways do not include us. And it makes me think if we can ever do enough to mold you and shape you and most of all to protect you from all things bad out there in the real world.
Mama’s prayer ever since both of you were in my tummy was always: Mama Mary, please guide, bless and protect my boys and keep an eye on them and keep them away from sickness and harm. You see, way before you were even born, I was already preparing myself for moments that I will have to watch you from afar, watch you walk away and lead a life completely separate from us. I don’t think I can ever prepare enough yet I know those days will soon come. As much as I want to keep you under my watch and under the same roof all the time, I know that would be too selfish of me. I am bringing you up to be independent, adventurous, street-smart men. As the second half of my daily prayers go: I pray that someday my boys grow up to be happy, healthy, extraordinary people who will someday make a positive difference in this world. And I know that in order to bring that prayer into life, I must let you go and let you be. Did you know Mama cried in the car when we first dropped you off in big school? Yes, Mama is a massive (bad word that starts with B) but this massive (bad word that starts with a B and ends with an H) cried watching the video when you first walked (Mama was at work), cried when you said your first words (Mama was at work again), cried when you drew me your first ‘love letter'(Mama was at work but came home to this), cry silently when you give me a hug out of nowhere and just because. So you can imagine how you growing up makes me feel. Mamas can be tough but we’re big piles of fluff and tears when it comes to our babies. I know you will tell me again I am OA but dude, it’s the truth.
My dear boys, Mama won’t always be around to pray for you, to watch over you and to protect you. And while we are still here and we still have the finite (a.k.a limited) time to dictate (a.k.a. tell) you what to do, how to do it, where to go, who to be with, I wish to share with you one of the most magical ‘gifts’ you can forever give yourself: FRIENDS. Friends are family that you get to choose.
You see, friends are the people who will get to share your amazing journey in discovering what you want and who you want to become. You will go on adventures with them, share the same likes and hobbies and things with them (like gaming and music and sports and some other stuff Mama doesn’t understand), they will be the ones you will find so easy to talk to because they will understand you (and know what you’re talking about – like what flexin’ and rage quitting means (!?!?) and who Elias of WWE is (?!?!) and who Lany is (!!!). Sometimes, you meet people you have nothing in common with but they end up making your world so much more colorful and you become friends. From now until a long time from now, you will meet many different kinds of people and many of them will become your ‘friends’. Please take into heart when I say: Friends are family that you get to choose. I pray with all of my heart that you choose people who will love you for who you are and not for what you have or what you can do for them. I pray that you choose people who will in somehow, someway take our place when we are not around: to guide you to choose what is right, to care for you when you are sick and to make you laugh after you cry, to pray for you and with you, to remind you to keep on keeping on and to tell you when you’ve had more than enough, to keep you safe and protect you when your defenses are down, to learn with you and grow with you and most of all, I hope you choose people who will make you feel like you are home at anytime of the day, anywhere in the world. You see, my dear sons, home is not only a house. It’s not the place where we live. Home is where we should feel most comfortable to be our true selves, to not feel afraid, to be safe and to feel at peace. And Mama’s prayers will always be about those: praying you will always find home, and that you will always have guidance and protection and peace of mind surrounded by family and friends you get to call family.
I’ve always believed that in my heyday (like, ew, this makes me sound ancient) wherever I went, whoever I was with and whatever I decided to do, my Mommy has sent her angels ahead to sprinkle my places of travel with her prayers of love and protection and I believe the same. Not all angels come flying in white dresses with wings and shiny bright halos. Sometimes angels are the people you play with during recess, the people who share with you half of their snacks (pre-Covid this was), the people you happen to share a nice song with (like Lil Nas or Dua Lipa who did not turn out to be a boyband – my bad.) Basically ‘angels’ can also be your friends – the people you choose to become part of your life and who choose you to become a part of theirs. My prayers can only do so much, boys, that’s why when you read this, take into heart: Friends are family that you get to choose. Mama and Daddy will not always be around, but we pray that angels keep you safe everyday and always.
We were never really taught about credit and taxes and managing funds in school and what little I knew of it, I kind of picked up from books and magazines and tidbits of overheard adult talk.
I was always amazed at how much power a microchipped piece of plastic can yield. Blinded mostly, by the sheer convenience of just swiping away hard earned salary I literally couldn’t see. There’s a huge difference between paying cold hard cash and paying with a card, and it’s mostly psychological. No money in my wallet, nothing to spend. Simple. Credit card equals “I’ll pay this right after. Will go to the bank. Promise. Wipe this clean next payday.” Etcetera etcetera. The lies I told my 20-something self are now so cringey. 😅
Unless you were born into a family of financial gurus (I wasn’t) or was fortunate enough to be exposed to financial literacy during the developmental ages (nope, not I) or was born with an uncanny knack for math, fund management and self-control (def not me!), well then, my friend, we’re probably on the same boat. 😆
When we’re young and impressionable, we don’t initially pay attention to the interest rates or annual charges or the other details in the fine print. Until we have been sucked into the abysmal world of credit card debt.
At one point, I had 4 credit cards with credit limits exorbitant enough to pay for ten of my neighbors’ children. And as i was young, wild, free and reckless, didn’t really bother much with due dates and what nots. Until the bank and the bank’s collection arm started to bother me with it. Bothered me enough to awaken my financial conscience and take control of my wanton spending. What did I swipe for? Shoes, gadgets, bags. Mostly revolved around those items. Long story short, I slowly paid off my credit cards and stuck with only one.😊
Now, I usually prefer paying with a debit card instead. Or cash. Because out of sight, out of mind (this refers to my virtualy tucked away money, whether I really do have money to spend or not) and tangible money or money I can see/smell/touch, triggers my visual brain that no-money-in-wallet means nothing to pay for my shopping.
So what are the simple steps in saying no way josè to piling up credit card debt?
1. Read the fine print a.k.a. T&C (Terms and Conditions) of the bank. Some banks offer low interests rates and zero annual fees. Collect and select.
2. Be aware of your due dates. Calendarize it. Write it down. Set an alarm. Tell your mother. Do it. Pay on time.
3. Self-control. If you don’t need it, don’t buy it. No Lizette, you don’t need 30 Muji ballpens, 10 notebooks and 5 different sizes of acrylic boxes plus a cute stapler.
4. Use the reward points. Credit card companies usually have marketing promos. “Get a free 2 piece Jollibee chickenjoy meal for every Php5000 single receipt purchase.” Yes! That means that’s one free lunch somewhere in the future. Most people use this feature to redeem miles for their #travelgoals but I’m really just happy with free meals.
5. Relative to #2: Pay on time. And pay in full. If you can. The idea of a credit card is to pay for something in advance. This is where the old adage comes in: Give credit where credit is due. (?!) And when credit is due, pay it pronto. This means you are a responsible, trustworthy adult who has enough discipline to maintain good credit standing in all aspects of the banking universe and with this, you can sleep in restful peace.
6. Relative to #5: If you have current credit card billS, the trick is to pay this off with consistency and persistency. Slowly but surely is the key to success. If you’re a visual person like me, type up or write up your budget and expenses in excel file and use the hoarded multi-colored highlighters and Muji pens to really see where your money goes.
Financial awakening is similar to the process of mourning: Denial (WTF I.do.not.spend.that.much.in.a. month!), Anger (pistingyawaanimalkulerabitok kamahal ba diay!), Bargaining (dear self, if you stop spending, I swear I will…*insert half hearted promise*), Depression (huhuhuhu self pity crying) and then finally, Acceptance and Awareness. And I would like to believe that this is where the real journey towards financial freedom truly begins.
Thank you for taking time to read as I’m really just writing this to remind myself not to repeat my past mistakes. 😇 The road to financial awareness is an interesting, but tough one. If you see me at the mall with my credit card, please approach me and check if the items I’m purchasing are essentials.😅 Catch you on the next installment of #moneymatters 🤗
What is the most useless thing you bought during quarantine?
I bought hair curlers and glass nail files and bags but I have massive hair fall because of stress, super short nails because I can only manicure one hand and hello, I have pretty bags but I have nowhere to go.😅
Coronacoaster has besmirched my better judgements. And ate away my supposed savings with useless things to fill that wide gaping hole caused by missing window shopping, malling and retail therapy.
As I wallow in self abomination at my complete lack of self control, I got to thinking: How prepared are we really for the things we don’t quite expect?
Documenting my journey of shoulda-woulda-coulda’s because someday I want to look back and pat myself at the back for getting over the add-to-cart quarantine addiction.😅
Fun fact: I wanted to become a teacher when I was a kid. I grew up in an academically inclined family, my maternal grandparents were teachers in Masbate, my paternal grandmother was a college librarian, and P.E. teacher, my grandfather worked in the University of the Philippines Cebu College, and my dad was an aeronautical instructor and engineer. I remember receiving lesson planners when I was about 7. Ahahaha! 😂
I will always be thankful for my parents who worked very hard to give me and my sister the opportunity to study in schools that has made all the difference in our lives because of the quality of education, the classmates we have who have turned into friends who we also now consider family, and he overall experience that has shaped us into lean, mean, hustling machines. 😉
Today, I hope to pay it forward by grabbing the opportunity to help other children have a fantastic educational experience.
I came across a Facebook post of a friend asking for help for public school elementary teachers requesting for donations for bondpapers to be used for printing student modules and decided to ask for help from my batchmates and officemates. I thought, if we reach 10 reams of bondpaper, that would be great! Less than two hours later, my friends came through and we were ate 30 reams! This morning I woke up to donations of more than 70 reams of bondpaper! Bless your kind hearts. 🥰 Amazing how collective effort can make a bigger difference!
The focus of of the first virtual Brigada Eskwela is the continued children’s education despite the pandemic we are experiencing. Since many students don’t have gadgets and don’t have access to internet connection, the schools will provide them printed Modules.
One module per student and per subject will be distributed each week and some modules contain 10 to 20 pages each.
One ream of short bondpaper (containing around 500 sheets) costs around 177 Philippine Pesos or around three (3) U.S. dollars.
We all know the government and the schools have budget allocations for these, but wouldn’t we rather actively participate than just sit back and watch? 😉 I’ve always been a believer that a little help goes a long way. I hope you share my sentiments of giving these in good faith and momentarily setting aside our pandemic-induced politicizing. Hahaha. Let’s pay it forward! 🙂
Your donations will be distributed to four (4) teachers from different schools in Cebu. Rest assured, your donations will be properly documented.
If you’re interested to become a Brigada Hero, you can send your donations through:
Aromatherapy has become part of my family’s daily routine. The two essential oil must-haves in our home, and easily the kids favourites, are Lemon and Eucalyptus.
Eucalyptus essential oil when diffused helps relieve respiratory ailments. When one of us feels the onset of stuffy and runny nose, eucalyptus is our go to oil to diffuser. Its properties are also know to help in clearing respiratory tract and stimulation bodily circulation. Its soothing minty aroma helps alleviate stress, irritability and tension at the end of a long day.
Lemon is one of the best selling and most commonly used essential oils simply because of its happy aroma. This is my favourite oil to diffuse in the morning to jumpstart a workday. I use it to help fight off of sleepiness, tiredness, anxiety and depression. There are studies that show that lemon helps with mood and stress regulation. Other uses of lemon essential oils are for skin care (they say it helps with acne!), relieves pain and helps with symptoms of colds.
I haven’t really tried ingesting essential oils and have only routinely used these with a diffuser. We likey the smell of diffused oils when you go inside a room. 🤗 YL has a line called Vitality that you might want to check out if you want your all-natural journey to go up a notch.😉
This pandemic has given us the perfect opportunity for self-discovery. We’ve all been fighting bouts of anger, confusion, fear, depression and anxiety through varying levels of acceptance and forms of adaptation (cooking, baking, planting, bartering, excessive online shopping, the works – hey, this is human evolution in the modern age!)
Pre-pandemic self-care seemed simple. Not to mention accessible. And taken.for.granted. Who would have ever thought that simple things like coffee breaks or ice cream runs or midnight joyrides or a hug and beso-beso – and simple dining out with friends and families – would someday become distant memories (for now). But we gotta do what we gotta do, yes?
So while our lives are currently on semi-pause, sharing with you a couple of the pandemic self-care essentials that have helped me keep my sanity in the past 130 days of quarantine.
1.) Sleep – An extra hour or two of slumber always keeps the depression demons away. The average adult needs 6 to 8 hours of sleep a day. Take that power nap and don’t deprive yourself of beauty sleep. You will thank yourself for it. 😊
2.) Exercise – Quite surprised how quickly gym instructors and enthusiasts adapted and offered online sessions. I joined an online mat Pilates class, mainly to stretch out my back and hip muscles since I sit on my office chair around 10 to 12 hours per day. Super helped my chubby muscles, not to mention, mat pilates is a good way of grounding yourself.
3.) Food – Now where to start with this. This is one subject that I am an expert in simply because I consume so much food. Hahaha. My palate-related judgements have always been on point. 😉
a. I like to eat food that I do not cook. Haha. No, Seriously. There’s something about food that someone prepares or someone buys you that speaks volumes to me about how much they care. Food (and eating is perhaps my unique love language)
b. I’ve always been a believer that mealtimes and food are meant to be shared and having someone else cook (or buy me food) is a love language that makes me feel more appreciated, thus this makes me a propagator and habitual practitioner of ‘together-apart’ meals! If there is a will, there’s a way! Quarantine and border control and this pandemic have not been hindrances in showing people you are thinking of them and you care.
*p.s. for all family and friends who sent me food in the past few months, thank you! *
4.) Grounding techniques– I learned about grounding techniques through one of the health and wellness seminars offered by the company I work for (Gotta love Maxicare!) Grounding techniques are used to bring you back to the present and keep your ‘what-ifs’ (what-if’s: example: fear of the future) at bay. As grounding techniques usually center around the five basic human senses: see, hear, taste, touch and smell, I made sure to have an activity with one of each:
a. Smell – Aromatherapy has so far been my favourite. There’s something about a nice smelling room that uplifts the spirit and inspires the soul. I have amassed a collection (or an obsession) over the past 60 days. Please don’t tell my husband how much these oils costs. Haha. My favourite scents are lemon in the morning and eucalyptus in the evening.
b. Touch – I have also developed an obsession with silk. Pillowcases, scrunchies, sleeping eye masks, pajamas. Running your hands over its silk smooth goodness just feels so nice and offers you some sort of calmness and peace. Maybe because you just want to sleep and wallow in silk. Haha. Also, recommending bleeves (blanket with sleeves) – made of super fluffy ultra soft cuddle fleece for that feeling of extra comfort. Best paired with silk, but of course. 😉 Inserting here too: Massage. Oh how I miss my monthly full body and foot massage it makes me want to cry. Self-massage will have to do for now.;-)
c. Taste – See # 3 above. 😉
d. Hear – My spotify playlist as follows: Calming Acoustics, Stress relief, 90’s pop (hahahaha yes, they invoke happy carefree memories), John Wick soundtrack and Nine Inch Nails (for the times I want to drown out negative thoughts. Yes, MarketingMama always has been and always will be a rock chick)
e.) See – Arrange and re-arrange. Marie Kondo the crap out of every room. There is a place for everything. Seeing your stuff organized and clean will also give you a sense of peace (and accomplishment). *Disclaimer: next to impossible with children in the house. I make do with my bedroom and work space. Hahaha. Also, I have meticulously color coordinated my curtains for this month and bedsheets and pillowcases and towels in white and pink. Don’t tell my husband because he doesn’t know because he is color blind. Nyahahaha.
5.) Write it Down – all the jumbled thoughts in your head, let it out and put it on paper. Writing (together with reading) has been my favourite form of therapy since childhood. There’s just something about getting lost in a book or in your thoughts while putting together a piece. I guess it helps you connect to your self more and it blocks out unwelcome negativity too. 😊
6.) Online shopping – Guuuurrrlll if it makes you happy, add it to cart! Your money, your choice.
But don’t forget to set aside savings for future rainy days and other pandemic essentials!
Have you ever woken up to a pillowcase full of hair? Or do you vacuum or sweep several times a day and notice clumps and clumps of hair on the floor? Well, I have and it’s been mildly disturbing and highly stressful to do the math in my head : if I shed this much hair in a day, it’s only a matter of time until I become completely bald! I have honest to God thought about shaving my head off in the hopes of re-stimulating my scalp for fluffy hair growth.
I vetoed against this fantastic fantasy of anti-hair fall. So, it has come to exploring alternative treatments: shampoo 3 times a week, coconut hair spa aaaannnndddd SILK SCRUNCHIES.
Silk scrunchies are claimed to lessen hair friction and tension as compared to traditional hair ties since it has a natural slippery feel. Theory is, because of this, silk scrunchies are gentle to use on dry, damaged and brittle hair to avoid breakage.
I got my fabulous stylish silk scrunchies at www.lilyandadora.com . They’re Philippines based and have a whole line of mulberry silk products like pillowcases, sleep masks and headbands, perfect for self care!
Their products come in lovely packaging with super thoughtful extras (comes with a personalized note and alcohol pad!)
Let me just get right down to it. After sitting right through ninety minutes of the movie, I just sat there in disbelief that I wasted precious minutes of my me time watching this poor excuse of an erotica film. Don’t get me wrong. I’m the kind of wife who shares porn sites with her husband who absolutely thinks his wife has the most undiscovered porn potential in the hole universe, but I digress. The point is, I have no qualms about erotica or rated R movies, as these are just deviations of artistic and poetic licenses.
I actually read through all books of Fifty Shades of Grey and actively voiced out my opinion on who should play Christian Grey (I was rooting for Alex Pettyfer to play him, by the way). And whilst conservative citizens lobbied that the franchise was romanticizing porn and BDSM, us non-traditionalists revelled in the idea of having our wildest fantasies play out on screen. Poor little small town girl gets swept off her feet by a rich handsome CEO who has psychological issues due to childhood trauma that emotionally cripples him thus sex to him is a psychological game. We get it, we get it. It is what it is: a form of entertainment. The basic foundation of the story plays around every girls basic fantasy: some rich guy falls madly in love with me, drives me in a helicopter, buys me a car, want me for my body but is fascinated with my mind and wants to marry me. You can sell these concepts to any girl any day, in any given form and one way or another, she will relate to it.
I’m not a professional film critic nor do I have the credentials of a screenwriter, but based on my humble, common consumer opinion, the power of art lies in successfully enabling your audience to relate to the message your trying to get across.
So given these precedents, let’s move on to the review of the lousiest movie I have seen during this enhanced community quarantine era. And because of most of us have been Netflixing our way out of this situation, I choose to believe that we have mutated into some sort of film connoisseurs, therefore, I declare the following statements valid and not open to discussion given the fact that I am a mother, a womens rights advocate, a film specialist (I’m running out of Netflix movies to watch honestly), but above all else, a girl who demands the highest level of respect in all ways possible.
Point 1: Unless you pull off a John Wick Mafia like storyline, then no. That don’t impress us much.
Point 2: Dear sweet Laura. You are very lost baby girl! Very lost and very wrong representation of females.
If you’re unhappy in a relationship, baby girl, walk away.
If somebody dictates what you wear, this is a red flag baby girl.
If somebody kidnaps you, scream, call for help, run, do what you can. Save yourself, baby girl.
If a stranger touches any part of your body without your consent, baby girl, say no. If someone forces you to have sex with him, baby girl, that’s called rape.
If somebody truly loves you, he won’t tie you up and force you to watch him get naked with some other girl. He’s sick in the head, baby girl. You deserve better.
If some guy isn’t open to letting your family know about him, leave him baby girl. Your family will always be a part of you.
There will be a time when we become blinded by material possessions, but remember this, baby girl, you can always buy these things for yourself through honest, hard work. People will try to buy your affections, but baby girl, please know that you cannot be bought. You are priceless.
To all the baby girls out there, please know your worth. You are so much more than an object of fantasies. Manipulation and abuse can easily be masked by the fanfare brought about by money, sex or even love. There’s so much more to love than sex. True, unadulterated love takes time. You cannot force someone to love you or force yourself to love someone in a specified time frame.
At the end of the day, us parents can only pray that we brought up our baby girls and baby boys to know the fine lines between lust and love and right and wrong and that we continue to teach them the correct answers if someone asks “Are you lost, baby girl?”
A little backgrounder: Skin911 is one of the leading facial and slimming centers in the country offering affordable non-invasive cosmetic procedures such as laser hair removal, facials, whitening injectables, slimming treatments and so much more.
These services, which are widely marketed as beauty treatments for the stars, the rich and famous and the affluent, are made accessible by the Skin911 franchise to people like you and me. We read about these in magazines and browse thru instagram posts but our budgets have no margins for facials that cost 2k per session. #truestory
With Skin911, these flights of fancy are aspirations no more. Self-love achieved. Within our budget. 😉
You’d think that after almost 10 months in operation for Skin911 Consolacion, I would have tried all our clinics services. But no no no, opening the clinic while 7 months pregnant, breastfeeding, maternity leave, going back to work, eldest son starting grade school, the prophesized 7-year-itch marriage drama; life has been one big, hectic, chaotic beautiful mess. And in recent weeks, I have come to realize that in the process of trying to juggle and keeping it all together for everything and everyone else, I have lost all sense of ME.
So here I am, in an act of resolution slash desperation to love myself a little bit more, starting my Skin911 Consolacion Blog Series.
Procedure: Dermapen or Microneedling.
Microneedling is a dermaroller procedure that uses small needles to prick the skin. The purpose of treatment is to generate new collagen and skin tissue for smoother, firmer, more toned skin. Microneedling is mostly used on the face and may treat various scars, wrinkles, and large pores.
I have always had bad oily acne-prone skin. I have tried a lot of treatments, facials, ointments, creams, oral medication, you name it I’ve probably tried it. Microneedling or microdermabrasion is a non invasive procedure designed to rejuvenate collagen production aiming to give you younger, fresher, more refined looking skin.
First, the aesthetician gives a simple facial to clear your skin and applies a coat of anesthesia and leaves it on for 30 minutes. After this, a dermapen is used to mildly penetrate your skin. A dermapen is made up of tiny, sterile needles. This usually takes around 15-20 minutes and is absolutely pain-free, thanks to the topical anesthesia applied earlier. Post procedure, an ointment is applied and your skin will typically show signs of redness.
The second session has yielded far more visible results than the first. 24 hours post treatment, the skin on my cheeks have started to peel off and my acne spots have dried up. As advised by our trusted aestheticians, no make up, minimal sun and dust exposure in the next 72 hours after treatment.
Crossing my fingers for more positive results from my Microneedling treatments.
Skin911 Consolacion October promo for Microneedling 4+1 sessions for only Php5,000. For inquiries and appointments, send me a message or call us at (032) 423 4536.
Follow this blog for more #MarketingMama and Skin911 Consolacion updates. 🙂