Sunday, December 22, 2019

A look back at 2009: the year of terrible endings and one most wonderful beginning

My kids asked me today what 2009 was like. It wasn't really because they were thinking of writing a blog post about the decade (that would be me). They were talking about life before they were around and wondering what kind of horrible life that must've been for Vince and me. Haha my kids. So full of themselves.

Funnily enough, they were kinda right - it was horrible the year before they came into our life. It's not funny, of course, because 2009 was breathtaking in its horror. The months before that, in late 2008, my mother had suddenly died and then my wallet got stolen so I was still reeling. Then 2009 greeted us with the news that Vince's baby, the tech magazine T3, was getting the axe. Vince was beyond devastated. It was the end of a happy career and he had a very hard time coping. I couldn't comfort him, however, because I was still dealing with Mama's death and fighting the credit card charges. 

We sold our pickup truck and that was another thing I cried about but it was nice to have money again after we dealt with the financial blows of Mama's death and the credit card theft. That year didn't get any better as rumors of other magazines getting killed off, including mine, celebrity title OK!, set everyone on edge.

Our baby bunny

To make things worse, our dearest rabbit Galady got sick in August and deteriorated rapidly. Our days were filled with caring for a poor, disabled bunny that we'd rather see sick than dead. But the inevitable happened and she crossed over the Rainbow Bridge right after my birthday in November. Vince and I were inconsolable.

Then I was offered the dazzling opportunity to become editor in chief of the much bigger and more prestigious title, Good Housekeeping. The big bosses at Hearst over at NYC talked to me, loved me and my work, and offered me the job. I agonized for weeks because I loved OK! and my staff so so so much. Finally, I said no to Good Housekeeping (and the big raise) to continue doing what I truly loved but I knew I disappointed people and that felt heavy.

I was so sad and stressed out all of 2009 that I would forget taking my birth control pills off-and-on. Finally, all that forgetfulness resulted in my period not making its monthly visit in December. I thought it was the stress but it turned out I was pregnant.

I was pregnant!!!

And for that alone, I can never really say that 2009 was a bad year. All that horror culminated in a new life and what a gloriously happy life it has been! Ten years of absolute joy.

So when my kids asked about the year before they came into our life, I said, "Well, I missed my mama very much, your Papa lost his dream job, and our beloved bunny wabbit Galady died. But it turned out to be such a great year after all because I became pregnant with Vito."

"Yeah, Papa said I'm your lucky charm," Vito grinned.

"You're more than our good luck, kiddo," I said. "You're the life that ended all the sadness and deaths. That's why your name means life."

I keep remembering this verse when I think of Vito: "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." 2 Corinthians 5:17. Old things have passed away. All things have become new. And, oh, how new and oh so wonderful!

Our baby boys

How amazing that I can look back on that year and be thankful for it. Life has its good and bad but I know, no matter what happens, I'll always think it was a good life because my dreams came true, I married my great love, and we had our three boys. So incredible!

If you're in a dark place right now, my friend, hold fast. It's going to be all right. You just need to believe it and keep going. God bless you!

Friday, December 20, 2019

You can #DoMoreNow if you lived in a home near it all

Well, it's the holidays and what does that mean? Traffic! The traffic is so terrible, it takes away the joy of the season. More and more often, my husband Vince and I are finding ourselves talking about moving away from the city because life in Manila is becoming even more toxic every day.

What gives us pause, however, is we actually really love our home. Our condo is in the middle of everything, it's safe, and has great amenities. That said, even though we're near everything, the traffic makes everything seem so far! Plus, in a few years, it will be really tight because our 3 sons will be teenagers and teens need privacy and that's why we're thinking maybe it's time to look around for a new home.

We have a non-negotiable list of our requirements in finding a good home. It has to be in a safe community, of course. It has to be near an amazing school for our boys. It also has to be near a good hospital because I'm paranoid like that. A mall has to be a short drive away so we can shop for our needs without going all the way back to Manila. And of course, our new home has to look nice, too! So, upon the recommendations of friends and the invitation of Avida Land, we drove to Nuvali to check out the Avida properties there. Take a look at what we saw!

Welcome to the Trista Model, floor area: 85sqm 

Light-filled staircase! 
One bathroom at the landing for all 3 bedrooms upstairs
Adorable girl's bedroom
Cozy boy's bedroom
Brightly lit master's bedroom!

I wasn't able to take photos of the downstairs floor since we had a shoot for Avida Land so the crew had camped on the first floor. There's a living area, a dining area, a kitchen, a bathroom, and a spare room that can be turned into anything you like: maid's room, storage area, or home office. You can see the first floor in this video we made:

That's not my voice, by the way =)

Anyway, the floor area is smaller than our condo now but we saw that the other houses in the neighborhood just extended their floor area. That's possible because the lot area is pretty big (check out the first photo of this post). There's enough for a front yard, a backyard, and a 2-car, even 4-car garage. So if you have just one car like us, there's plenty of space for expansion.

Okay ang Nuvali area, mamas! For schools, it's near Xavier Nuvali, Beacon Academy, Brent International School, Miriam College, and Caritas Don Bosco. Then kahit looban siya, it's a short drive from many commercial centers like Ayala Malls Solenad, The Landmark, S&R, Robinsons Supermarket, Walter Mart, and so many more! For hospitals, there are The Medical City and QualiMed. So convenient!

Everything's a short, tree-lined drive away!
Nuvali Sta. Rosa really looks like a fantastic idea! It's urban enough so we won't feel like we're in the middle of nowhere and yet it's filled with fresh air and so much quiet. I can imagine my kids biking on the streets, making sure our rabbit Bunny Blue doesn't devour the garden because of course we'll have a vegetable garden. I'll walk our corgi (I'll have one or two one day!), swim in the nice village pool, hang our laundry to dry under the sun and in the fresh breeze. And our kids can be home from school within minutes instead of the hours it now takes!

Our trip to Avida Nuvali made it really obvious that we can do more every day in the right community. SIGH. Please pray for us! We really do love our home and we truly wouldn't mind staying here forever. But maybe one day, God has a bigger home planned for my family and it may be waiting for us in Avida Nuvali.

*This post is brought to you by Avida Land. For more information, visit their website,

Monday, December 09, 2019

Cooking ginataang kalabasa and sitaw just got easier!

Looking for a vegetable dish to serve your veggie-resistant kids? Serve them ginataang kalabasa and sitaw! I mash the kalabasa and mix it with their rice so they literally can't separate the squash from the rice. And the sitaw, well, it takes convincing but they did agree the texture feels like meat so they ate it. And I love it that this healthy and delicious dish just got easier to cook with Coco Mama!

The kids can help cook, too!

Not a sponsored post! I'm just really happy with this mom find. For gata, I used to go to the palengke to have my coconut milk grated fresh. Not anymore! This Coco Mama is fresh and masarap! Highly recommended.

Here's the recipe sa likod ng pakete but mine doesn't have sili because my kids don't like spicy food. I also usually use tinapang isda with this (it adds a lovely smoky flavor), but my kids will NOT eat tinapa so fine, fine, I used ground pork.

If you're vegetarian, you can definitely take out the meat. If you're a meat-eater and trying to transition to a veggie diet, this dish is wonderful because the sitaw has a good consistency na parang karne.

Tada! Sarap sarap sarap nito sobra! I can't wait to cook other recipes with Coco Mama gata! Please share your gata recipes!

Thursday, December 05, 2019

Your guide to organic babywear and conscious baby fashion

As parents discover the endless benefits of eco-friendly outfits for bubs, the need for organic fabric has been on the rise. Now parents want safer clothing pieces for their little ones, the more reason for choosing organic babywear.

To match the rising need, almost every bub’s shop now has stores packed with eco-friendly outfits for bubs. And not just the simple cloth pieces you know of, but nice cute baby outfits that will make your little one look gorgeous. 

Wouldn’t you want your little one to look great, too? Of course, you’d want them to look cute and adorable. So, why not refresh your baby’s wardrobe with some cute organic babywear. 

So, where can you find eco-friendly outfits for bubs? Well, the options are inexhaustible. You can find organic clothing pieces in almost all baby shops. Even so, there some specific bub stores packed with exceptionally cute clothes that will make your baby look adorable. 

Here’s where to get stylish organic baby outfits. 

If you need some stylish organic rompers and overalls, Boden should be your one-stop-shop. The cute baby rompers and overalls are made with rich cotton that’s comfortable on the little one’s skin. In addition to this, the cloth pieces come with snug-fastening elastic hems for an easy stretch, and straps that are adjustable to keep up with your baby’s growth pace. They’ve got lots of fashionable pieces, and so, you can always get something adorable for your little one. 

Touched By Nature 
If you’d like to go organic from the crib sheets to baby clothes, Touched By Nature is the brand for you. They offer a variety of clothing pieces ranging from organic layettes, bodysuits, socks, and pants to organic headbands for your little princess. They’ve got some cute playful patterns and animal prints that look great on your baby. Also, don’t miss out on their adorable tights and burb clothes, which are quite affordable. 

Would you like to dress your little one in a cute hoody or sweater? Well, Oeuf is the brand for you. They’re best known for organic sweaters and hoodies. So, if you’d like some warm organic babywear to get ready for winter, check out what Oeuf has to offer. Their clothes are made from eco-friendly and hypoallergenic materials such as 100% cotton. Their products are a bit pricier, but they’re worth it. 

Beya Made 
Beya Made is best for gender-neutral baby outfits. The brand makes clothes that your baby can grow into. So, if you’d like to get cloth pieces that your little one can wear even when they become toddlers, Beya Made is your one-stop-shop. You’ll especially love their adorable rompers, tops, dresses, and pants. Not only are they amazing but also gender-neutral and durable. Want to keep up with your little’s one fast growth? Check out Beya Made for cute eco-friendly outfits for bubs. 

Art & Eden 
Wondering where to shop for colorful-patterned organic apparel for your little one? Well, Art & Eden has it all. The brand offers colorful patterned hoodies, dresses, and pants made from organic fabrics. The colorful-patterned clothing pieces contain organic dies that are less harmful to the baby’s skin. Again, the pieces are made from GOTS-certified organic cotton, which makes them safe for your little one. If you need some cute dresses for your little princess, Art & Eden is a wonderful brand. 

Jazzy Organics 
Now that you have organic onesies and rompers, it’s time to get organic baby blankets too. It’s all organic, right? Well, Jazzy Organics knows this too well. Apart from offering adorable rompers and hats, it has cute organic baby blankets that you don’t want to miss out on. It has got a collection of GOTS-certified organic cotton baby apparel with super-soft blankets for little ones. So, grab a stylish baby blanket from Jazzy Organics for your little one. 

Now that you know where to get eco-friendly outfits for bubs, it’s time to go shopping for baby clothes.

For local shops, look for organic clothes and skincare products from SP Organics, Baby Soy, and Tiny Buds Baby.

* This is a guest post, with my edits. To place a guest post, email for my rates. 

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

Review: Flawless Nano Power Peel

Hello mamas! I'm going to do a short review of what I've been doing to my face lately—the Flawless Nano Power Peel. Hindi naman siya regular. I'm in my 40s so I my skin is thinner now. Too much exfoliation and peeling can harm skin. So twice ko pa lang ito nagawa, every 2 months, but I am very happy with it because my face now is really smooth and the texture is finer.

What is the Nano Power Peel? Here's what I got from the website:

"Nano Power Peel, P2,200
Propels corundum crystals onto the skin to slough off dead skin cells, rejuvenate, lighten, and even out skin tone. It also helps reduce the appearance of certain types of scars."

Every session at Flawless starts with me sanitizing my hands and getting a fresh kit of tools for maximum hygiene. Here's my pretty aesthetician with my unopened kit. Then I climb onto my therapy bed, get aromatherapy to relax, get a heated bag for my hands, and get a hand massage, too. That's why I like Flawless—it's very affordable but the experience is luxe.

Sorry—not diamonds but crystals! The peeling session is after my steaming and pricking. The peel feels rough on my skin but buti na lang magaan ang kamay ng aesthetician ko. She was very gentle habang pinapasada niya yung wand. So hindi masakit.

Here's what I look like—my whole face underwent the procedure save for the sensitive skin around my eyes and mouth. She repeats the procedure again, so dalawang beses iikot yung wand sa mukha.

After the wand, the dust is gently brushed off. The sand goes into everything—hair, ears, mouth, nose, neck, cleavage. Haaay, nakakaloka siya. Lalo na kasi kailangan next day pa ako pwede maghilamos so I go to sleep feeling sand everywhere!

Pero WORTH IT. Look at my super fine complexion! My acne scars are fading. My skin tone has improved. Malapit na sa glass skin levels. I love my Flawless Nano Peel! Must book a session before the holidays para mega ganda ang glow ko. Try niyo na rin!

P.S. Happy anniversary, Flawless! Thanks for being the start of my beauty journey last 2016. I never thought I'd be free from my acne (my constant companion since I turned 14!) but thanks to you, I'm finally rid of that pesky problem. Congratulations on helping other people with their skin problems and giving us the confidence to face the world!!! 

*ERRATUM: Price of treatment updated to reflect current one.

Tuesday, December 03, 2019

Welch’s invites everyone to share the sparkle this Season of Giving

PRESS RELEASE - Christmas is a time to thank those who bring sparkle to our lives: our kids and spouses, our mom and dad, and our family and friends who all bring us joy. How great would it be to share back the sparkle and celebrate the Yuletide with a feast that everyone will love?

My family's favorite is the white grape. Super happy drink!

This Season of Giving, treat your family and friends to a Christmas celebration perfectly paired with Welch’s line of Sparkling Juices. Fizzy but guilt-free, Welch’s Sparkling Juices are the bubbly, alcohol-free beverages that both kids and adults will enjoy—even expecting mommies can drink this bottle of bubbly goodness! 

Heart-healthy and delicious, Welch’s Sparkling Juices are pressed from the freshest Concord and Niagara grapes across America by farmer-families. This 150-year tradition of Real Grape Goodness has made Welch’s one of the most loved beverages in the world, especially by Filipinos who enjoy organizing great moments with friends and families. 

Available in both Red and White Grape flavors, Welch’s Sparkling Juices are easy to mix with other beverages to concoct a variety of unique bubbly mocktails. Add a splash of your favorite juices and discover the goodness in each sip. 

Each bottle of Sparkling Juice is tastefully prepared and packaged, making for an excellent and convenient Christmas gift. Truly, it’s an unforgettable holiday feast when you share the sparkle to those who make life sparkling.

Dear family and friends, you now know what you're getting this Christmas!
A product of USA, Welch’s products are widely available in retail stores across the Philippines. To learn more about Welch’s Sparkling Juices and recipes this holiday, visit or follow WelchsPH on Facebook and Instagram.

*To be featured on Press Release Tuesdays, send it to

Monday, December 02, 2019

Manuel Baldemor for MBaldemor x beabi Limited Edition Floral Symphony Collection

I buy my giant fans and brandless containers from beabi. I love it for being so anonymous. So I was quite surprised that it launched a collection of bags that had a big name on it: Manuel Baldemor.

Here I am with Mr. Baldemor and the beabi VIPs. I won a bag sa raffle!
Mr. Baldemor is a painter, sculptor, book illustrator, and printmaker. He's a writer, too. Basically, he's someone I would want to be when I grow up! He started painting at 8 years old and became a folk artist. He told us at the exhibit and launch at Ronac Art Center that he's always loved flowers because he was surrounded by them in childhood. “Flowers, for me, are universal, a symbol of peace, love, and have unspoken language of diplomacy,” Mr. Baldemor told MEGA magazine.

I wore a dress with tiny flowers to match my floral surroundings.

So for beabu, Mr. Baldemor selected three of his paintings for the MBaldemor x beabi Floral Symphony Collection. This is beabi’s way to bring Baldemor’s art to a wider audience and to make art wearable and functional. It's also a lovely way to add beauty to our endless chores and errands, right, mamas? 

The Mbaldemor x beabi Floral Symphony Collection consists of three designs: Flowers Are A Joy Forever, Flowers Speak From The Heart, and Amazing Grace. The MBaldemor x beabi Floral Symphony Collection is only available at all beabi stores nationwide and online at until stocks last.

I finally met Doll Up Mari beauty vlogger Mari Perez!

Or you can get your own bag from ME! Yes, I would like to share my Mbaldemor x beabi tote bag with a Loyal Reader! All you have to do is leave a comment below telling me your favorite memory of flowers. It could be the first rose you ever got, your wedding bouquet, the crushed flowers your little one gives you from your garden—anything! I just want to know.

Make sure to also tell me your Facebook name with your answer so I know how to contact you in case you win. Comments will be published when I pick the winner. I'll announce who won next Monday! 


The winner is Shirley Mae Tabora for telling us her love story with a touch of the divine.