Showing posts with label Reviews & Recommendations. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Reviews & Recommendations. Show all posts

Friday, September 15, 2023

Review: The End of All Skies by Vincent C. Sales

This weekend is the Manila International Book Fair! That means it's the anniversary of The End Of All Skies by Vincent C. Sales! Here are a few pics of us at his book signing today at SMX. Plus, I'm finally making a book review... after one year!

One year ago, the entire family trooped to SMX, and even while we were still clutched in the claws of a pandemic, we all decided that this book launch was such a monumental event, that we all had to be there. When a dream comes true, you have to bear witness! Here's a couple of photos from that day a year ago today:

The boys were still so small! In just one year, they're nearly as tall as me!
Vince getting interviewed by the NBDB

I wanted to share this joyful event with you, my dear Loyal Readers. This was such a happy day. It took Vince years to write his Filipino fantasy novel. It took years of shopping it around. It took years of prayer! And how wonderful that when the fullness of time came, his novel was published by the biggest publisher in the world, Penguin Random House

Vince's publishing journey is not my story to tell, however. I can only tell some of it and only from a wife's point of view. 

So I'll do a book review instead!

I read the book while waiting outside our youngest boy's chess club.

The End Of All Skies is a unique novel. The world building is gorgeous and it takes time to do this so be patient at the start. It's unlike any fantasy world but it's not wholly invented because if you remember all the alamat (myths) we studied way back in elementary school, it's our ancient Filipino stories, our mythical creatures, our old gods. This is why it felt spectacularly imaginative and yet familiar for me as a Filipina, but I think global readers will find it all very new.  

The End Of All Skies is about how dreams big and small dreamt by people big and small can achieve something great and terrible. It's told from many points of view and the ancient Filipino names are hard to remember and there are many. It's best to read it in one sitting so you can follow all the stories. And there are many! 

The destruction of the city Sun Girna Ginar is coming and we see it unfolding from all these characters affected by this great and terrible sultanate and the cruel tyrant who rules it. Whose story is real? Whose story matters? All these stories, vignettes of many lives, all fuse in the middle of the book and then, with the settings and characters established, the plot now moves very quickly. In the end, I realized each story is important because each one, no matter how short or fleeting, contributed to the downfall of Sun Girna Ginar.

The story resonated with me deeply as a Filipino. I think people who were colonized, who struggled with dictators and corrupt governments, who dealt with an alipin (slave) mentality, and who have forgotten their greatness will have a more profound connection with the story. 

I was moved to tears a few times, when I read about heroes who believed the people are worth dying for, about the downtrodden who finally realized they too have power inside them then rose up and overthrew a powerful tyrant, about ordinary people who cleverly faced mythical creatures like tikbalang and gigante to achieve their goals. 

It's a fascinating read! A few reviews said they found it challenging to get into, especially when they're used to just one point of view. I also think people who've never been in a position where imperialists and traitors stole everything from your country will find it fantastical. Sadly in the Philippines, this is still a frighteningly true and relevant story.

The End Of All Skies is worth reading if you're up for something new and different. And powerful and true. 

The language is so beautiful, too. I am a lover of words and the words are so gorgeous, almost poetic. Sometimes I would pause and reread the sentences because they're just so pretty.

I highly recommend! Proud of this #FilipinoNovel. Proud of the Filipino story. May we #NeverForget who we are!

More reviews here at Goodreads! 

If you're going to the book fair this weekend, all Penguin books are at 20% off at the giant Fully Booked booth! Buy 5 Penguin books and you get a cool Penguin umbrella!

Follow Vince on Instagram and like his Facebook page!

Buy The End Of All Skies by Vincent C. Sales from Fully Booked bookstores and Acre's Lazada. It's also available on Amazon, Kindle, Barnes & Noble, Waterstones, Blackwell's, and other global booksellers. 

Sunday, March 20, 2022

We tried the Sunnies Studios Home Optical

Pandemic-caused services review time! Today, I'll share with you our experience with Sunnies Studios Home Optical. It's the home service that Sunnies Studios created during quarantine. And I am SO GLAD for this service!

Kwento muna. I was a sickly child so I stayed indoors most of my childhood. When I was around 10, my grades started dipping. Pinagalitan ako ng parents ko, then they eventually decided mahina lang siguro utak ko. But when I was 12, I had a classmate who said, "You know, you're a really smart person even if your grades aren't that high. I think you can't see the blackboard because you always squint and you take down what the teacher says but you don't copy what's on the board." Then she told me to borrow her glasses and I was amazed because I could see every leaf on the trees! 

I told my parents what happened, we went to an optical shop in Cubao, and the optometrist checked my eyes and said I was really near-sighted. He also said being indoors a lot possibly made me myopic. As Optimax explains, "Studies have found that children who spend more time indoors are more likely to be short-sighted than those who played outside regularly... [Research suggests] that 'exposure to bright light helps the eyeball stay round,' preventing it from elongating in a manner which brings on myopia. Other scientists think it might be because when you’re outside, you’re typically focusing on objects in the distance, encouraging your eyes to rely on distance vision. When we’re inside, we don’t often look at objects further than a few feet away."

So when quarantine was imposed in 2020, I worried about my kids' eyesight. I would tell them to look outside our condo every day, focus on buildings, on cars, on anything far away. But last year, I could tell my eldest boy couldn't see well anymore. But there was no way we could go to the mall for a checkup. So when I heard from our neighbors that Sunnies had a home service, book ako agad!

Here's my review:

The home service is a van fitted out like a small optical clinic. It's very comfortable and efficient. They can accept 3 patients per appointment pero syempre one patient in the van at a time. 

Yung photo medyo mukhang mausok sa loob, diba? That's because they disinfect the whole thing after every patient. Actually, that's what makes the appointment matagal kasi kada consultation, pauusukan nila yung van and maghihintay ka sa labas.  

Ayan, daming alcohol at disinfecting spray. Pati foot mat, disinfecting din!

Okay, so super safe na! That's when the patients finally go in to get their eyes checked. 

Kumpleto ang gamit. Mabait ang optometrist. Okay siya mag-explain ng steps, what your eye condition is, and what your treatment options are. 

So now na alam mo na grado ng mata mo, pili ka na ng frames. There are about a hundred frames you can choose from (disinfected after each appointment!). Maraming styles but syempre hindi kasing daming options kung sa store ka pupunta.

Also, if you have frames na, like gusto mo lang palitan yung lente, hindi sila papayag. The reason is if they accidentally break your frames, ang maipapalit lang nila is a Sunnies frame. Yun ang balak ko sana for me. I have frames na kasi. I just wanted new lenses but my frames are expensive and Sunnies frames aren't.

I'm not being mayabang, ha. I really invest in my glasses because:

1. I'm legally blind so I rely heavily on my glasses to see a foot from my face. So I need glasses that are strong. So I bought titanium frames a few years ago. Titanium is the 4th strongest metal. And my frames literally have been sat on, stepped on, fallen from a height, etc and they don't break! 

2. My glasses are part of my face. My face looks incomplete without them! So syempre kailangan maganda glasses ko.

The great thing about Sunnies frames is they come in many styles and colors and are inexpensive. Very budget-friendly talaga. Basta may required P4,000 purchase. 

So was our bill cheap? No hehe. Diba I said the optometrist will tell you your treatment options? Kasama dun yung lens options mo. The more features you want, the pricier it gets. For example yung mga lente ko, I always choose ultra-thin, scratch-proof, impact-resistant, UV coated, and anti-reflective. Dami, diba??? I used to have photochromic lenses, too, but di ko na afford! 

So after you choose your frame, Sunnies will ask what kind of lenses you want. Vince and Vito wanted the cheapest ones but, like I said, eyeglasses are an essential device. Impaired eyesight is a disability! You can't do much if you can't see! So investment talaga siya.

Umabot ako ng halos 20K for their glasses *faint*! I asked for the same features and chose progressive also for Vince. Hindi na ako kumuha for me kasi sumobra na sa budget hehehehe 

Pero hindi naman mahal lahat! And again I reiterate - since Sunnies frames are affordable, mura actually na ang glasses nila. I was expecting to pay almost 30K for their glasses but nakatipid ako sa lagay. The frames are inexpensive (mga P795 to P1000 lang) and you can choose simple lenses naman. Just tell them what your budget is and they will work with it. Sobrang bait nila! No judgment! Very helpful. 

In fact, ngayong nakaipon na ako ulit, I will book Sunnies Home Optical again for me and the two little boys naman. Pa-check up ko na rin mata nila. After all, dapat annual ang eye checkup, especially now that quarantine is affecting our eyesight.

When you book online, you need to pay a P500 reservation fee that's deductible when you pay. Don't forget to remind them to deduct it!!! You can find more in the FAQs of their site. 

So that's my review! Highly recommended! They accept cash, Gcash, credit card and debit card. I paid via Gcash. So convenient! 

Book Sunnies Studios Home Optical now.

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Review: 7 reasons I love the acerpure cool c2 air purifier and air circulator

I finally have one! I finally got an air purifier for our home! My husband and I have always wanted to get one since we became parents almost 12 years ago. We live along EDSA and also have allergies. But when we were shopping for one before at a baby store, the air purifiers we found were priced at 50K. Pricey! So we decided to just buy air conditioners with air filters.

And then January happened. It really made me realize the fact that I needed to be more proactive in cleaning the air in our home. And this time, when we went looking for an air purifier, the models have become smaller, sleeker, more stylish, and more affordable!

This is the air purifier we got: the acerpure cool c2. And I'm going to do a review!

Okay, background first. Acer is a brand we have at home but our Acer products are a notebook and a tablet, which are both used by my sons for school. So we have a relationship with this brand. So when I saw that they started a new consumer line focused on cleaning the air as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, I didn't doubt the brand. I knew them already. I also liked that the new line is all about a technology that combines "Smart" and "Freshness" so that we can have a "Simple Pure’" lifestyle.

Acerpure is the name of their air treatment line of products. They have 3 now:
1. the acerpure cozy f1, which circulates air
2. the acerpure pro p2, which purifies air
3. the acerpure cool c2, which does both

We had to get the acerpure cool c2, of course!

Here's what I love about our new acerpure cool c2 air purifier and air circulator:

1. It's so beautiful! 
The sleek design makes it occupy very little space. It also looks like R2D2 and that's what the kids call it. I call it Wall-E. Its swivelling head reminds me so much of that little robot that did mighty things. And I feel our acerpure cool c2 is cute but mighty, too.

2. It cleans our air.
And this is the mighty thing it does! And why I really wanted it in the first place! This baby has the Ag+ Silver Coated Filter, which is certified to eliminate bacteria like E.coli and even viruses like the H1N1 and COVID-19. After our COVID experience a few weeks ago, this is the most important feature of all!

Its 4-in-1 HEPA filter removes not just fine dust particles and pollen, it also filters out pet hair. We have a rabbit and hamsters that shed their fur regularly, not a good thing for a family with allergies!

3. It deodorizes our air.
That's another thing I love - our home smells fresher. The acerpure cool improves indoor air quality through 10 million negative ions to get rid of harmful gases like formaldehyde. And I have three boys who like to fart a lot. I have pets that stink. I have neighbors who cook and the aromas of their cooking sift into our condo. And since we live beside a major highway, I keep our windows closed so our home sometimes smells stuffy. But with the acerpure cool c2, not anymore!

4. It circulates air.
We love the True Circulation Fan. It goes left and right and up and down. When they said it circulates air, they meant it! Why the need for the up and down movement? Well, hot air rises, cool air descends. A fan that can make those layers circulate is genius. 

It's so great for my home because even though we're a condo, our living spaces are generously sized so we needed a fan that can circulate air in a big space. The acerpure cool c2 has up to 12 meters of airflow distance. And it also has a 10-speed circulator and 5-speed purifier in case we need more power.

5. It's so high-tech!
We're loving how the Smart Sensor can detect how dirty our air is! As long as the numbers on the LCD display are green, then we know the air we're breathing is clean. It becomes orange when we're cleaning, cooking, or I opened the window, or I haven't cleaned the pets. What you don't want to see is red! The acerpure cool c2 uses a high-performance DC Motor that's powerful enough to circulate and purify the air but at a low energy cost. 

Our acerpure cool c2 also has an app! The acerpure Life can monitor our indoor air quality and send us automatic notifications if it needs to start air-purifying functions. Yes, even when we're not home! But we're always home so we haven't used the app yet. 

6. It's silent.
And when I mean silent, you truly can't hear anything. The fan and the motor - no noise at all!

7. It's only Php 14,999!
Okay, that's not cheap but it's certainly not 50K either. If I had 50K, I could buy 3 acerpure cool c2 units! Definitely so much more affordable and family budget-friendly!

You can tell from my acerpure cool c2 review that I love our new gadget. I highly recommend it! 

For more information about Acer and its new line of acerpure products, follow Acer Philippines on its social media platforms: @AcerPH on Facebook, @acerph on Instagram and @acerphils on Twitter (follow hashtags #AirMadeClean #acerpure #AcerPH ) or go to

Monday, December 13, 2021

Review (haircare): HairReve Hair Rescue Thickening Serum

Hello to everyone, but most especially a huge hello to those with thinning hair like me! Today is a great day for you because I have great news - I have found a serum that will address our hair situation. Yes, I'm sharing with you my new find: HairReve Hair Rescue Thickening Serum. Here's my happy review:

But first, this is me with my long hair. I haven't cut my hair for one year na. Usually, I keep my hair short, shoulder-length, collarbone-length max kasi manipis lang hair ko. As in my baby hair never grew up. It's as thin and fine as the day I was born.

So here I am - no makeup, no blowdry, no hair dye. Actually, no suklay din yan haha I don't think I've ever been this natural-looking since I was in my teens. Hindi ako ma-makeup talaga but as soon as I turned 18, I colored my hair and I've colored it since. Then the pandemic happened and here I am - with graying, thinning hair. 

It's middle age. It could be me approaching menopause. It's the natural events unfolding (a.k.a. AGING haha). I took biotin and that helped. I found tiny baby hairs growing on my hairline. However, I saw the effects on my nails more (stronger, no more peeling), which is good so I continued taking the supplement. And then last July, I discovered HairReve!

HaiReve Serum moisturizes scalp so it's healthy. Effect sa akin: No more itchy, flaky scalp.

It strengthens hair follicles. This is true kasi I was using it, diba, and then I noticed less hair fall nga. But around mid-August or September, I stopped kasi I was super busy. Aba, my hair was falling out again! I started using HairReve asap! Hindi na ulit OA my hair fall.

So what's making all those nice changes to my hair? HairReve is infused with plant-based extracts from Rosemary, Green Tea Leaves, Larch Tree, and Zinc. How do those help? Here, I did my research:

Rosemary - "It works by stimulating scalp circulation and can be used to grow longer hair, prevent baldness or stimulate new hair growth in balding areas. Rosemary oil also slows the graying of hair, promotes shininess and prevents and reduces dandruff, making it a great tonic for overall hair health and beauty." - source

Green Tea - "The epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) in green tea may prevent hair loss by inhibiting the activity of hormones that induce hair loss and promoting hair regrowth by stimulating hair follicles." - source

Larch Tree - "The larch extract: conditions hair to improve manageability and combing, reduces hair frizz in humid conditions, reduces static and fly-away hair, protects hair from heat damage and reduces breakage. It is suitable for all hair types, including ethnic hair." - source

Zinc - "...plays an important role in hair tissue growth and repair. It also helps keep the oil glands around the follicles working properly." - source

Spray, spray lang for great hair!

I really like HairReve! Here are more reasons:

1. It's so easy to use. Just spray on! No applicators, no vials, no need to measure anything. Just spray away! 

2. It's a standalone product. Other hair-thickening systems demand that you use their shampoo and conditioner. Ang mahal ng three products, ha! HairReve is Php 1,399 a bottle. Not cheap but it lasts a loooong time so cost per use, okay na. And yun nga, mag-isa lang siya na product effective na.  

3. It smells good! I remember this famous hair thickening product we had to review for a magazine. Hindi ko ma-take yung amoy! So I asked a guy friend to try it. Sabi niya, "Effective naman pero ang kapal nga ng buhok mo, type daw ng mga girls, pero wala ka namang sex life kasi ang baho ng ulo mo." Hahahahaha!

4. It's not yucky. Yes! Aside from the pleasant smell, it's also just a liquid. Not oily or creamy so your hair doesn't look greasy. And it's so easily absorbed. Spray, massage, done! Ilang minutes lang, tapos ka na. 

5. It's clear. I don't need gloves. I don't need to protect my clothes. It doesn't stain anything!

But is it effective in thickening hair???

Okay, I will admit that I don't use HairReve every day. Once or twice a day ang advised but I wash my hair twice, thrice a week lang. Nasa bahay lang kasi ako. So I really didn't think it was going to work. But look at my hair before:

My hair part is wide.
The top of my head is nakakalbo na.

But look at my hair part now! 

Hindi na kita scalp ko, diba? Wala na rin yung bald spot ko. Also, ang dami kong baby hair! And I guess HairReve is also the reason my hair now is so long. I can grow it kasi before, basta mahaba na hair ko, nalalagas. Mabigat kasi, hindi kaya ng roots. But lately, my hair stays put so napahaba ko siya.

Now, I've been using HairReve since July, stopped for a few weeks, then started again. Also, I haven't been using it daily as recommended. And yet the positive effects are still there. Visible effects!

So I really should use it every day. Maybe the effects would've been sooner and more dramatic! Still, I'm very happy. I highly recommend HairReve!

HairReve Hair Rescue Thickening Serum is available at select Mercury Drug stores and at Lazada. Visit for more information.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Review (book): "Seeds of Hope" by Tiny Buds

I got a Tiny Buds press kit last week. Inside the box, I found three baby-care products, a growing kit (pot, soil, seeds), and a book to read to the kiddos. Honestly, when I saw the cover, I didn't think much of the book. "Oh, just another baby book, not for my school-aged kids." But my youngest boy wanted to read it anyway, and he read it aloud, and we LOVED it! That's why today, I'm going to do a book review of Seeds of Hope by Tiny Buds.

Seeds of Hope tells the story of three tiny seeds that are happy and cozy in the soft, warm earth. After my son read the book, he instantly grasped the metaphor. "Mama, the three seeds are just like me and my brothers. And the earth is our home!"

Now if you think it's all happy-happy-joy-joy, nope. In fact, the seeds experienced many hardships. To the point that two of them said that it's better to just stay deep in the earth, safe and warm forever. But one of them insisted that they should have hope and still go out and learn to face their challenges. The world may be a harsh place but this little seed needs to grow and eventually adapt to or overcome the difficulties.

After he read the story, my boy said, "Mama, that's like you saying you're teaching us many things now because we need to be ready for life later!"

I'm telling you this Seeds of Hope book by Tiny Buds is really good! It's short, easy to read and understand, and teaches important lessons on resilience, courage, determination, and - of course - hope. I highly recommend it for you to get for your kids!

How to get? It's FREE! Together with the Tiny Grow Kit Set, the Seeds of Hope book is a FREE GIFT from Tiny Buds when you buy a minimum order of P1,111 on 11.11 (Nov. 11). That's today! This promotion is happening on the Tiny Buds official Lazada, Shopee, and Edamama stores.

If you still have babies, toddlers, and preschoolers, I'm sure it's easy for you to rack up P1,111 worth of Tiny Buds products hehe They have soooo many great quality products for your kid and for mommy, too.

To be honest, since my kids are big na, I don't buy Tiny Buds anymore. But I will say that until now, I buy the After Bites Natural Soothing Gel and the Natural Baby Fabric Softener. After Bites is my favorite. It really works! Kawawa my kids when they get bug bites and I've tried a ton of creams, oils, and whatever. Tiny Buds After Bites is the one that made the itch and the swelling go away fast. Best! 

As for the fabric softener, actually, Downy user ako forever but last year, I tried the Tiny Buds Natural Baby Fabric Softener for our undies. I love it. I love it super. Gentle and hindi matapang ang amoy (lakas ng amoy ng Downy kasi). So this is my recommended fabcon not just for baby clothes but also for the delicates of the whole family.

Okay, that's my book review and product recommendation for today! Do get the Seeds of Hope book by Tiny Buds, mommies. It's super nice. We really loved it as a family. You will, too!

Follow @tinybudsbaby on Instagram, @tinybuds on Facebook, and through its official flagship stores on Lazada and Shopee. You may also join the “Tiny Buds Family” Facebook Community to learn more.

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Review (book): "Homeschool Moms at the Feet of Jesus" by Teresa Gumap-as Dumadag

Our first year of homeschooling is finally done. It was most definitely not a walk in the park. I think we had some days when we yearned for "school school", you know, real school with real teachers who have real education degrees. That said, I'm happy to report that the kids enjoyed homeschooling more than I did. So that's a credit to me, right? Sigh. Let me tell you I may have made their homeschooling experience great but I truly had a hard time enjoying it. I'll tell you more about my conflicting feelings about homeschooling another day. For today, we'll do a book review of Homeschool Moms at the Feet of Jesus by Teresa Gumap-as Dumadag. 

Homeschool Moms at the Feet of Jesus is a 31-day devotional for homeschooling moms. If you're a dad, you'll appreciate it, too. In fact, since all of us are homeschooling anyway (hello, parents of online distance learning kids!), you will need this book. Every day for a month, you get a Bible verse, a little story of encouragement, questions to reflect on, a short prayer, and then a page of worksheet to write down your concerns and what you're grateful for. It's as simple as that!

The devotional is also part memoir since Teresa shares her own homeschooling journey in every entry. It's obvious that she is very happy with homeschooling (unlike me haha). Teresa is really an educator. Her job as a trainer, coach, and consultant is all about teaching so it's easy to see why homeschooling was the most natural decision for her. It was kinda sweet to see how excited she is about teaching her kids and how much joy she got out of that. I guess that's because she dedicated her homeschooling to God and relies on the Holy Spirit to give her wisdom and the right attitude, and she really is grateful for the privilege of being her kids' teacher. (Frances, take note!)

I got an advance copy of this book so I was able to go through a few days of devotions. Homeschool Moms at the Feet of Jesus is a book I'd have appreciated way back in August last year when we chose to homeschool because of the pandemic. It really addresses the fears and worries of a new homeschooling parent and it may have helped me adjust my attitude. 

Then again, I didn't actually fear homeschooling. I used to be a teacher and I have helped my kids with their homework for years. Many times I explained the lessons better than their teachers ever did. So my ability to teach them was not a worry. I'll talk about my struggle with homeschooling in another post! 

What's so good about this devotional is the emphasis on encouragement and the counting of blessings. Because there truly were many wonderful things that happened because I was my kids' teacher. I saw how they think and process information (okay, this is both a good and a bad thing!), I saw what made them bored and interested and so I was able to adjust the lessons. We had fun for many days! But most of all, homeschooling kept us safe from the pandemic. We're healthy, alive, and learning. That's the most important part. The simple exercise of writing down everything great that happened every school day does wonders. That's the habit this devotional wants us parents to cultivate.

Homeschool Moms at the Feet of Jesus by Teresa Gumap-as Dumadag is available for download on Amazon Kindle for only USD 2.99. From now till tomorrow, July 1, it's FREE! It's also free on Kindle Unlimited. Download your copy now.

*photos courtesy of Teresa Gumap-as Dumadag.

Look back on the blog entries every Wednesday of this June for my reviews of books written by Filipino mommies! Support mommies! Support literature! Support local! I'll try to do a review of a local author, a Filipino mom especially, every end of the month. 

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Review (book): "Abi Nako, or So I Thought" by Jhoanna Lynn B. Cruz

I can't stop thinking about Abi Nako, or So I Thought by Jhoanna Lynn B. Cruz. Her memoir is so full of life and death, love and loss, horror and humor that I thought this more than once as I read her book, "This should be made into a movie!" But to say that seems like I'm reducing Joy's life into mere entertainment. It's not. It's profound and very sad. It's also very funny. It's a life so alive! It's a really good book!

Okay, I've gotten ahead of myself! This week's book review is Abi Nako, or So I Thought by Palanca awardee and creative writing professor Jhoanna Lynn B. Cruz. Well, she'll always be Joy to me because I met her at the 1999 U.P. National Writers Workshop in Baguio, the same workshop where I met my husband. She is wildly funny and deeply serious all at the same time. But that was all I knew of Joy and nothing about her life until Facebook happened. And until Abi Nako. And oh wow what a life!

Abi Nako, or So I Thought is a collection of essays Joy wrote about love - her pursuit of love from men and women, her love for her children, her love for this country, her pained love story with her mother, her love for words and their meanings. It's a series of raw and brutally honest confessionals. It's quite the page-turner, but there were chapters that were so heavy and sad for me that I had to put it down. 

Yes, as with all of us, Joy suffered heartbreak many times over, but unlike most of us, Joy is so brave and relentless to wrestle with her demons and learn from them and then write about it with no fear of judgment. Joy writes about the Cebuano phrase "abi nako." In Tagalog, it means "akala ko", and diba there's a saying, "Maraming namamatay sa maling akala"? "Akala ko" is never a good thing. Joy writes, "The Binisaya dictionary tells us that 'abi' means 'to misconstrue, misread,' while 'nako' means 'mine.' In this language, my misconceptions are not only my own, I must also own them. Thus, I am not just misreading it; it is my own misreading."

Joy's book is all about her experiences of hoping for a better life and then getting her hopes dashed again and again. This is the man for me, or so I thought. Marriage will settle me, or so I thought. Moving to Davao for my lover is romantic, or so I thought. Abi. And then because Joy writes about all these hurts without whine or blame, she also takes responsibility for them. Nako

But it's not all gloom and doom. If there was bleakness to Joy's life story, it's swept away by her persistence to believe in new beginnings even if it means beginning again and again and again. It's her refusal to give up that makes this book so inspiring. It is full of hope. It is full of forgiveness. 

Please get a copy! The language is beautiful. I love words and this book was a love affair with words. 

Abi Nako, or So I Thought by Jhoanna Lynn B. Cruz is only P450 and may be ordered from It's also available in the UP Press shops on Shopee and Lazada.

*Visit the blog every Wednesday night this June for my reviews of books written by Filipino mommies! Support mommies! Support literature! Support local! 

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Review (book): "Snippets of Sanity" by Kaycee Enerva

Hello, mamas! Feeling like you need to breathe in the middle of this busy week? Well, between juggling the household chores, the job(s), the bills, the friends, the husband, and the kids, we're always hoping for a break so that we don't break. 

That's why this week's book review feature is Snippets of Sanity: On Mental Health and Motherhood by Kaycee Enerva. This is a short book, only 5 chapters long. I finished it in one sitting, so if you're a busy mom, you can definitely find time to squeeze this book in.

Kaycee is the blogger behind The Macho Mom. If you follow her on social media, she posts about her life as a single mom, her fitness routines, and her mental health advocacy. She's very bold and honest and raw in everything she says. That's why I like her. She's real. No lies detected!

Her book, Snippets of Sanity, is all about how her bipolar disorder affects everything in her life - her work, her relationships, most especially how she mothers her only child, Geof. You don't have to be bipolar to relate to Kaycee. As mothers, we are responsible for way too much and do too many things. It's tough. 

Kaycee's book made me realize something, too. Because she's diagnosed with bipolar disorder, she's very aware of her behavior, her emotions, of what she can do. She has to or else she might succumb to her symptoms and everything in her life will be affected. Most of us moms, we're like trains. We chug along. Or, what's that positivity word? We POWER THROUGH. Even when we're exhausted, we don't acknowledge our state and our emotions. We don't ask for help. Everything's okay. And then we snap. Or break.  

Reading Snippets of Sanity showed me how it's totally okay to admit you can't do it all, that you have needs, that you make mistakes, that you should tell your kids you're a flawed human being, and to ask for help. Kaycee shows us it's okay to not be perfect, even though we all want to be perfect.

It's hard to raise a parent - the parent being us!

I think all of us - moms or not, mentally well or not - all of us can learn a thing or two from Kaycee and her book. My takeaways are: Be honest with yourself and with others. Be kind to yourself most of all.  

Snippets of Sanity: On Mental Health and Motherhood by Kaycee Enerva is only USD 2.99 on Amazon Kindle and USD 7 for the paperback. Find more stories by Kaycee on her blog The Macho Mom!

*Visit the blog every Wednesday night this June for my reviews of books written by Filipino mommies! Support mommies! Support literature! Support local!