Talaang-Buhay: My Newest Space in the Web

After a short blogging break, I decided to try blogging using my native language, Filipino.  The blog is called Talaang-Buhay. Talaan is my first attempt to blog in Filipino/Tagalog. My objective is to share snippets of my colorful childhood in a rural community as well as the challenging life in an urban setting since teenage years until now. 
Here’s the screenshot of my newest blog:
To my readers and followers, I am appealing to you… Please do visit my website. Thank you so much! 
Happy weekend! 


Thea’s project in English is donation of old or new storybook. I went home early yesterday and bought a book from a local bookstore. I bought a Wizard of Oz book which is re-published by a Filipino publisher, priced only Php99.75. 
Here’s the photo of the book I got from Lampara Books website 
I like how the publisher created a easy-to-read versions of classic novels. While browsing the book at home, we noticed a Glossary of terms and study guide at the second to the last page. Then, a list of over 50 (i think) tittles from the Illustrated Classics Collection on the last page. Thea and Yohan said that they want copies of some of the books in the list. So, we agreed to have a book hunting trip soon.
By the way, her teacher instructed that they have to write a dedication for the readers in the book. Here is Thea’s dedication:

Dear Readers, 

                 I’ve seen the “Wizard of Oz” play and I liked it. Hope you’ll enjoy the book version, too.

                                                                                                 much love,

                                                                                                 Yasmin Zaballa

Home Improvement Project 2014

We started our home improvement plan last year. So far, we have completed the renovation of second floor which include conversion of former bedroom into a living room, and repainting.  We bought a new sala set. Unfortunately, after a number of jumping of the kids in the large couch, it is slowly wearing out, hence, it’s no longer comfortable to sit on it.  Purchase of new and sturdy sofa will be scheduled later, anyway it is not our priority now. 
Our project this year will be the replacement of the 9-year old refrigerator and installation of shelves for additional storage, a must-have in small apartments like ours. 
Take a look at my inspiration board for shelves and cabinet design.  

*photos are not mine

GSP-Mandaluyong Council Star Badge Fair 2014

Girl Scouts of the Philippines-Mandaluyong Council Star and Junior Badge Fair was originally scheduled last September 20, 2014 but postponed due to inclement weather. It was conducted yesterday at the Mandaluyong Elementary School Gymnasium. 
Thea participated in the said event. I took a half day off from work and accompanied her. Even though she already experienced this last year , she was very excited for another round of challenges and additional badges. She already have four badges for completing last year’s challenges. 

After the preliminary activities like invocation, Star Scouts Promise, and Troop Yell, each troop/school consist of more or less 20 Girl Scouts visited the stations one by one. There were seven stations representing the seven themed challenges which include Spirituality and Well-Being, Preparedness, Heritage and Citizenship, Family Life, Arts, Environment, and World Community. Each participant will receive badges corresponding the completed challenges. To know more about these challenges, read the Eight-Point Challenge at the official website of the Girl Scouts of the Philippines .  
Here are the snapshots of the event. 
presenting their troop yell
the girls listening attentively during the knot tying session

 they went outside to look for plants and animals that start for letters A-Z

Thea’s artwork: an owl made up of brown paper bag and color paper cut-outs.  She made a smaller version of this at home last night and gave it to Yohan. 
It is really important to involve our children in activities like this. Aside from additional experiences, the badge fair as a whole, will help the children to be well-rounded and responsible citizens.
Congratulations to Thea for another job well done! Kudos, also to the other participants and organizers of the event. 

Low Maintenance Houseplants

Container gardening and indoor gardening is perfect for people who live in small apartment. Houseplants is one of the easiest way to create a “greener” home. Now, check this out!

10 types of house plants that are easy to grow:

1. Aloe

Size: To 3 feet high and 3 feet wide
Growing conditions: Bright light; 65 – 75°F; moderately dry soil

2. Anthurium

Size: To 2 – 3 feet high and 2 feet wide 
Growing conditions: Medium to bright light with no direct sun; 65 – 80°F; evenly moist soil 

3. Asparagus Fern

Size: To 18 – 36 inches high and 12 – 36 inches wide.
Growing conditions: Medium to bright light; 60 – 75°F; evenly moist soil

4. Peace Lily 

Size: To 1 – 6 feet high and 1 – 5 feet wide
Growing Conditions: Low to bright light; 60 – 85°F; evenly moist soil

5. Peperomia

Size: To 6 – 12 inches high and 6 – 12 inches wide
Growing conditions: Low to medium light; 60 – 75°F; moderately dry soil

6. Snake Plant 

Size: To 6 – 48 inches high and 6 – 36 inches wide
Growing Conditions: Low to bright light; 60 – 85° moderately dry soil

7. Cast-Iron Plant 

Size: To 1 – 2 feet high and 1 – 2 feet wide
Growing conditions: Low light; 45 – 85°F; evenly moist soil (barely moist in fall and winter)

8. Christmas Cactus 

Size: To 8 – 12 inches high and 6 – 18 inches wide
Growing conditions: Bright light; 70 – 80°F (55°F in fall); moderately dry, well-drained soil

9. Dieffenbachia

Size: To 1 – 6 feet high and 1 – 3 feet wide
Growing conditions: Low to medium light; 65 – 80°F; evenly moist soil

10. Philodendron 

Size: To 1 – 10 feet high and 1 – 6 feet wide 
Growing conditions: Low to bright light; 60 – 80°F; moderately dry to evenly moist soil

Actually, there are more than 10 plants that we can cultivate at home, inside the house, that is. I’ll update the list soon. I will buy snake plant and philodendron on Friday. I’ll post photos of my own plants soon. 

source: http://www.midwestliving.com

credits to the owners of the photos via Google images

Just Write, Never Get Tired

“Writing is the only way I have to explain my own life to myself.” 
                                                                                                ― Pat Conroy, My Reading Life

Writing is my hobby, writing is part of my job, too.  I’ve been writing essays since my childhood days. I pursued an IT degree in college but I got higher grades in English and Business Communication than in Programming and other major subjects. After college graduation, I landed a job (which is my job until today) that requires extra efforts in research and technical writing. When blogging was introduced, I joined the bandwagon and created my very first blog site. 

Writing requires extra ounce of motivation and inspiration. However, there will be instances that our creative juices run dry. As a blogger, I have my own share of this.  In fact I can not count how many times that I lost my interest in keeping this blog updated. Why? maybe because I’m busy, I’m upset, or affected by the negative news and write-ups involving bloggers. 

My friends recently told me to continue to write. They reminded me to never get tired of expressing myself. Just write, write, write. Never lose interest in the things I am passionate about. Thanks to my friends for waking me up, for inspiring me to write again. I am lucky to be surrounded by optimistic, like-minded people. So, here I am, trying to regain my mojo because writing is the only I can explain my own life to myself. 

P.S. Watch out, new blog coming soon! 🙂 

On Homeworks and Study Habits

Thea has a short attention span when it comes to studying and doing homework. She’s an active child who loves to babble and sing. She’s also showing interest in creating stories of her own and draw her favorite cartoon characters. However, studying and doing homework on a regular basis are yet to be established. Sometimes, I feel guilty because of very limited time to guide her. I often go home later because I have to render overtime at work. Weekends are spent on different chores, but I see to it to help her in anyway I can. Lack of an established routine might be also one of the reasons. That’s why I’ve been researching about the proper way of developing good study habits for children. 
Some say it is best to establish a routine, others say creating a child’s own study area at home. Thus, good study habit is developed along with good organizational skills. 
Thea doing her Geometry Project last year. 

The following photos were taken last night. I helped her complete her project in Mother Tongue: 

Teacher’s Note: Handwritten. We used washi tapes as page border.
her cousin Joie did this for the cover page.
Here are the tips I bookmarked from the website A Better Child
  1. Use checklists (help child get into the habit of keeping a to-do list)
  2. Organize homework assignment
  3. Set a designated study space (we already have one. need to get her some sort of drawers or cabinet for school supplies)
  4. Keep organized notebooks 
  5. Conduct weekly cleanup  
  6. Keep a master calendar 
  7. Prepare for the day ahead (pack schoolwork and books in the child bag before bedtime so that nothing is left behind when she leave for school the following day. same goes with the uniform and accessories)
  8. Provide needed support while child is learning to become more organized

So, that’s it! I am thinking of buying a book shelf or a small cabinet for her books and school supplies. It would be a perfect gift for her MTAP Graduation this coming Saturday. 
PS: Please forgive me for some grammatical errors in this post. I just came from a blogging hiatus (again) and trying to gain back my writing mojo through this post)

Press Release: 38th National MILO Marathon

More than 40,000 runners expected to break the record

Manila, Philippines, 23 July 2014 – The country’s biggest and most prestigious footrace will once again welcome children, students, aspiring runners and professional athletes to its running routes as the 38th National MILO Marathon takes its act to Manila for its fifth qualifying leg on July 27 at the SM Mall of Asia grounds, Pasay City. With more than 40,000 participants expected to run on Sunday, another historic record of the most number of runners in a single race is anticipated to be achieved. 

The gun start for participants of the 42K run is at 3:00AM, the 21K run at 4:30AM, 10K run at 5:00AM, 5K run at 5:35AM and the 3K run at 5:30AM. The starting line will be adjacent to the finish line at the Seaside Boulevard of SM MOA.

38th National MILO Marathon Manila Race Route Map

The winners of the 42K division race will be awarded a cash prize of Php 50,000 and a trophy, while the victors of the 21K division will receive a cash prize of Php 10,000 and a trophy. Runners who finish within the specified age-bracket and cut-off time per division will also receive a coveted slot in the National Finals on December 7.

Elite runners including former National MILO Marathon Queens Jho-an Banayag, Mary Grace Delos Santos and Aileen Tolentino, and Philippine National Games champion Rafael Poliquit, are raring to go head-to-head in the esteemed international race event for a chance to be crowned the National MILO Marathon King and Queen. 

In line with MILO’s steadfast commitment in enhancing the holistic development of Filipino athletes, the 38th NMM MILO King and Queen will be sent by MILO to Japan to showcase the Filipinos’ resilience, strength and excellence as they compete in the Tokyo Marathon in 2015. The Tokyo Marathon is one of the six grand prix races in the world, joining Berlin, Boston, Chicago, New York, and London in the illustrious list of major international marathons. 

Young racers will also join in the fun in the 3K and 5K divisions. Celebrity running enthusiasts are also expected to participate in the running events, including MILO R2 APEX Running School founder and The Biggest Loser Philippines coach Jim Saret, his wife and fellow coach Toni Saret, and 2014 The Biggest Loser Pinoy Edition: Doubles contestants Ralph David Du, Yves Christian Du, Patricia Castillo, Bryan Castillo, Francis Asis, Mark Andrew Mavrides, Jepoy Arcilla, Tristan Nueva, Carl Lazaro, Cayen Lazaro, Patricia Martinez and Ma. Victoria Joy Nebreja.

The 38th National MILO Marathon is made possible by Timex, the Bayview Park Hotel Manila, ASICS, Lenovo, Manila Bulletin and Gatorade, along with endorsements from the Department of Education, Philippine Sports Commission and the Philippine Olympic Committee.

For more information on MILO Philippines, log on to the official website (http://www.milo.com.ph) or the MILO Philippines Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/milo.ph). Follow MILO on Twitter (@MiloPH) and Instagram (@MiloPhilippines).

Nutrition Month 2014

This year’s theme for the 40th Nutrition Month Celebration according to the National Nutrition Council (of the Philippines) is Kalamidad paghandaan, gutom at malnutrisyon agapan. The Department of Education (DepEd) encourages government agencies and schools to participate in celebrating this annual event. 
Thea’s school scheduled a series of activities for the Nutrition Month. I think I haven’t blog about her new school. We transferred her to the public school this school year. Husband and I chose Doña Pilar C. Gonzaga Elementary School because it is under the Special Science Elementary School Program of DepEd
They had an Interpretative Dance Competition yesterday. Thea was one of the participants for Grade 3 team. I took a half day off from work and watched the program. Grade 3 emerged as the Champion for Primary Level Category (Kinder-Grade 3). Thea jumped in happiness and I smiled and raised a “thumbs up” sign to her after the announcement of winners. The Chairman of the Board of Judges announced that they will have a repeat performance on Monday, June 28 during the Flag Raising Ceremony. 
Here are some photos captured by my wonky tablet device. 

I’m Back…

It has been a month since my last blog update. As usual, I have been busy offline. In fact, I have so many stories to share, just don’t know where to start. The main reason of my temporary hibernation is that I’ve encountered so much challenges, professionally and personally speaking.
Now, my blogging mojo is back and I am happy to announce that things are slowly falling into place. I have learned many lessons from the things that happened during the past few months. I realized that we should never invest too much emotion in one thing because we will end up hurting ourselves. That’s so typical of me in the past. Likewise, I learned a lot about genuine friendship, about choosing the right person to be with and tell our stories. 
Blessings are continuously pouring in and I am constantly praying that He will be always at my side in every step of the way.
Let me end this short blog entry by sharing this motivational quote from Helen Keller. 
Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.
                                                                                                     – Helen Keller