Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Some Good News

This is a story of another miracle.

CA 125 is a tumor marker that is used to find out if you have ovarian cancer. My cardio ordered me to have  a complete blood test when I was diagnosed with pneumonia/heart failure back in 2008. When the test results arrived my doctor highlighted the CA 125 result since it read I had about 65 U/ml. It was alarming since the normal level should be below 35 U/ml. My doctor then asked me to see my OB for additional tests. I went through the tests twice, but they did not see anything abnormal.

A repeat of the CA 125 test also showed that the level increased to 80 U/ml. That was the time I could barely eat normal food. I was surviving on lettuce and tuna. My local cardio put me on a low sodium diet. I was having asthma attacks every night. We eventually found out after seeing an allergologist that I was allergic to the three Cs (chicken, crabs and cockroaches plus Coca-cola actually).

Apparently nobody gets well from heart failure. My cardio believed that it was what happened to me and not pneumonia. It could have been both, but I was really in bad shape. My local cardio pushed for immediate open heart surgery so they could repair my leaky heart. My parents agreed, but first brought me to Kamay ni Hesus for healing.

And a miracle happened.

My cardio in Singapore was surprised when I went back to see him. He couldn't explain how I managed to get over heart failure. I did! And I wouldn't be blogging today if I hadn't (coz I'd probably be gone by now).

Anyway, but another CA 125 test showed I still had a 44 U/ml of whatever it was in my blood in early September 2009. My doctor then said that I should have another test when I go back to see him. In late September 2009 I found myself in Iloilo and I insisted on visiting the Jaro Cathedral so I can ask for healing from Nuestra Senyora de la Candelaria. I was just there for just five minutes, but I felt the familiar healing hand and I knew then I was healed. (I also asked for healing when I was in Zamboanga a few weeks ago.)

So I skipped getting tested since it's expensive (at least PhP4,500 at Makati Med!), but my cardio scolded me when I visited him a few months ago. I was due for a run of blood tests, so I thought I'd get myself tested for CA 125.

And guess what, I'm way normal again at 18 U/ml. Thank you Lord and Mama Mary =)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Live Curious

My Dad's a lawyer and when I was growing up our dinner  conversations revolved around current events most of the time. He taught us to always ask why and to be very observant. I was oftentimes too observant and curious I'd sometimes embarrass my Dad like when I was five years old and asked his law firm colleagues why they had a little pig (lechon de leche) as part of their party food. The poor pig I said. They ended up not eating the poor little pig. Haha.

Eventually I learned to keep my observations to myself and probed on things suavely. Twas honed in college and when I took graduate studies. I totally enjoyed doing research (okay so that's the nerd in me talking) and I would unbelievably go to other school libraries and even government libraries just to get information. So you can just imagine how much I truly enjoy using search engines.

A few years back the director of Google's international engineering (Kannan Pashupathy) came to Manila and chatted with students. I listened intently to what he was telling the students and he essentially told them that one should always be curious and continue to learn. Ask questions. Keep probing. Keep learning. Keep trying.

And it does make sense to keep asking questions because it is the only way to get answers. Something both my Dad and Kannan both espouse. And it's something I hope my son would learn to do as well. I'm not sure if he has noticed, but whenever he asks me a question I usually encourage him to find the answer by himself and to tell me what he has discovered. (He rarely reads my blog haha).

Anyway, I came up with the idea of making this post when Regatta and NatGeo sent me a very nice "Live Curious" shirt. Salamat mucho! And thanks to the hubby for the nice photo (di halatang I had fever noh?).

So, what have you discovered lately?

  

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

John Lloyd is Apollo

Dear John Lloyd,

I now forgive you for spamming my mail because your character's name in your movie, "The Amnesia Girl" is Apollo.

<3
Aileen



Was it perhaps inspired by this?



I know, I know it was probably just a coincidence, but allow me to dream. Kilig!

Teehee :-)

=============

Update:

Waiiiiiiit a minute... Toni Gonzaga's character name is Irene!


Irene Apollo


Aileen Apolo


Coincidence much?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Divisoria and Christmas Shopping

Forty one days before Christmas and I have just completed shopping for about 20% of my Christmas list. This list consists mostly of family and friends I grew up with (it pays to work remotely haha) and every year when I have time I try to make my gifts or find quirky personalized gifts.

My nephews and nieces are at the age where it's hard to find them gifts. My rule of thumb before was give them gifts that would give their parents headaches! When they were little kids I'd give them toys that would really either mess them up or mess up their home. For those who were visiting from other countries I'd give them huge stuffed toys. And there were times I'd give them something to make them hyper. I did this not because I hated my siblings/cousins, but because I wanted the kids to enjoy. Hehehe.

Since the kids have grown up already I think I'll follow the hubby's way of Christmas shopping and do it by theme. I've decided to make gifts again this year and will be laboring in the evenings to complete my list by Christmas.

Divisoria


Anyway, Divisoria is a treasure trove for bargain hunters. You can get stuff en masse and get big discounts. There's clothes, cute desk stuff, accessories (like belts, bags), small usual stuff like keychains, flashlights, house ware, and even gadgets! On the other hand, if you have time, you can shop for materials and just put things together -- make photo frames, bags, accessories etc.

We went to Divisoria last weekend and made the mistake of going after ten in the morning. We parked our car at SM Mall of Asia and then took a cab to Divi. Traffic was light until we reached the entrance of China town. It took us almost 30 minutes from Savory to Starbucks at Juan Luna. We could've alighted the taxi in front of Binondo Church, but we felt bad for the taxi driver.

If you do decide to brave Divisoria, go really, really early and leave before lunch. We left at around 1 in the afternoon and we were forced to take a pedicab to Dorotheo Jose LRT station to find a cab.

There are other alternatives though...

Uniwide 


Yes, Uniwide still exists! And the place has so much inventory, three hours isn't enough to get around the place. We went there last weekend because I wanted to check out if they had nice Christmas trees. We found one and also reveled at the interesting available home items. Be sure though to dress lightly, bring a fan and take an antihistamine tablet (if you are asthmatic) before you go because the ventilation isn't so good and everything is covered with dust.

Pergola Mall - Robinson's BF Homes


We were lucky to catch the toy sale last month at the Pergola Mall. Robinson's has an "clearance" store at the second floor and they said that they change inventory monthly. They were selling toys and bags at 70% off. Jay and I have a lot of nephews so we went crazy and bought items which we think they would enjoy. I got my Mom a couple of bags she could glam up and she's been decorating them with beads and sequins. This month they're selling Christmas decors.

Dapitan Arcade

My high school buddies and I went to Dapitan Arcade early last month. The shops had a wide assortment of ceramic products, baskets and Christmas decors. We also spotted some shops selling native bags and treasure chests. I actually got a treasure chest set (basket) for just PhP600. If you want to check out the place, go as early as 8 in the morning so you can park your car.

Happy shopping!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The iPed

It was just by chance that Jay and I went to Divisoria last October. We brought Miguel to DLSU for his college entrance exam and it was just 7 in the morning. So we had a five hour wait ahead of us. With nothing to do we decided on a whim to go check out Divisoria. 

Divisoria is a shoppers haven - for anything! Gadgets from China abound both the Divisoria Mall and 168 Mall. It is where budget brands like Cherry Mobile, Torque and MyPhone are given a run for their money. So in short, gadgets are not only affordable in Divi, they are cheap! 

So Jay decided to check out the rumored iPed, a China-made Android tablet. We found a stall at 168 Mall (in front of Get Laud near the food court) that sold various gadgets and they had on their display 2 Android tablets -- 7 and 10 inches. They cost PhP3,300 and PhP5,200 respectively. And for an additional PhP1,000 you can get a keyboard (with case) for the 7 inch tablet.


So does it actually work? The sales lady showed off the tablet to us by jumping from one app to another. She showcased the camera, played a video and a game and showed the office app. She couldn't demo going online since there wasn't internet connection but mentioned that using Globe Tattoo worked. 

We went back to Divisoria last weekend and Jay decided to purchase the 7 inch tablet with keyboard. He got it for PhP4,300 and he's so far enjoying it to browse and watch Youtube videos. 

For the specs and our initial review please visit You Got Tech.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Meet Tabby

Meet Tabby, the fat cat. I'm not really sure if Tabby's his name, but it kinda fits because he's so far the healthiest cat I've seen in our neighborhood.


Tabby's my daily companion at home. He usually hangs out on our wall beside the narra tree. I wonder though if he could smell Pork & Beans (my fighting fishes). They're located near the window by the sala. Well, I hope not since I've grown fond of my pets.

I've been wanting to leave some food for Tabby, but hubby says I shouldn't because this would attract more cats to hang out at our place. Maybe I should just do what my Dad does -- leave out some bigas for birds. Our village is after all a bird sanctuary. 

Friday, November 5, 2010

CaramelDelicious

If you love caramel as much as I do you'll definitely love this new chocolate by Willy Wonka.


Ahhh, one of the perks of blogging! Haha. Thank you Willy Wonka and GMCI for the nice surprise. (Good thing I got over my chocolate allergy!).

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Nerds


Remember this deliciously sweet candy from the 90s?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Things I Learned from the 4th Mindanao Bloggers Summit

It's been four years since Mindanao bloggers came together to start their community/advocacy to promote Mindanao. I remember meeting them back in November 2006 where I originally meant to meet local SEOs, but ended up having a mix of SEOs, developers and bloggers in the group. I just met them to learn more about the them and suggested before I left if maybe they'd like to form a group.

A few months later I was invited back to attend the Davao blog party and then later on I was invited to speak at the 1st Mindanao Bloggers Summit. Due to some unfortunate circumstances I was unable to go and just sent in a video. I was present though in GenSan and Cagayan de Oro for the next two MBS.


Advocacy Blogging

Mayor Celso Lobregat hailed the efforts of the Mindanao bloggers. He said that they have definitely helped in promoting Mindanao. There are a good number of blogging communities across the country, but I must say it is only in Mindanao that I have seen how the blogging community has truly worked on an advocacy as a group. We all know how badly Mindanao has been portrayed in media, but Mindanao bloggers have been showing the good side of Mindanao in the past few years. And this is usually the main topic in their summit -- advocacy blogging. This topic was also the highlight of Juana Change's (Mae Paner) and Jay Jaboneta's talks.

Be a Responsible Blogger

Mayor Lobregat echoed what Danny Arao spoke about during WordCamp. Be a responsible blogger. Blog only facts and have the common sense to not blog about things that won't really help. Jay Jaboneta suggested that perhaps bloggers can write about heroes in their our community. Rule of thumb (methinks), "Love your neighbor."

Content is King, forever

A few days before the summit I was invited to judge for the Philippine Blog Awards - Mindanao. I must say I was amazed with the entries. I had a hard time judging since the blogs were very creative, well-written and well-researched. Most of the content were uniquely Mindanao and written based on the blogger's own experience -- something which made me realize that I should continue to blog with much love and passion for my craft.

Security!

Bobby Soriano scared all of us during his talk about internet security. He flashed on screen hacked accounts of many of the attendees. I was thankful that none of my accounts were shown! He made us understand that it is quite easy to hack accounts when you are using a shared internet network. Using wifi, password protected or not, is not a secure place to access your accounts. So be wary of using open networks especially in malls and coffee shops. His tip: use platforms (i.e. email, blogging platforms) that uses https and not just http. I'm glad that I've been using Google services (Gmail/Blogger.com/Picasa) for my blogging needs. (Maybe I should also just use Orkut full time as a social networking site? Hmmm...). Now I understand why a number of my blogger friends always get hacked.

Some Blogging Tools

Well, I talked about Blogger.com's new templates and other juicy stuff you can use for blogging. You can catch me at the Visayas Bloggers Summit later this month for my Blogging 102 talk.

Thank you to the organizers of the Mindanao Bloggers Summit -- Ryann, Yolynne, Jerome and Blogie! =)


Congratulations! Philippine Blog Awards - Mindanao Winners



BEAUTY AND FASHION: Get Prettified 
FOOD AND BEVERAGE: Kusina Maria
LIFESTYLE: Mindanaoan
TECHNOLOGY: Alleba Blog and Something Geeky

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Hola Zamboanga!

I've wanted to visit Zamboanga for the longest time and I finally made it on my third attempt! Hooray!

My family was anxious about my trip, but I said I was just going to be gone for about 24 hours. I love Mindanao and I have friends all over Mindanao. They call Cagayan de Oro "The city of golden friendship", but to me that extends to all of Mindanao.

My trip went perfectly. Plane took off on time and landed on time. Did not experience any turbulence and the sky was clear. I peered out the window and saw how different Zamboanga's landscape was compared to other places I've been to. I also noted an island and islet near Zamboanga -- Basilan and Santa Cruz I learned later in the day.

Airport to Hotel, literally just a 5 minute walk

My dear friend, Yolynne, was waiting for me outside of the airport. The Garden Orchid Hotel was just a few meters away so we just walked. I didn't even break a sweat. Check-in was a breeze and then we hopped on a tricycle to go to Ateneo de Zamboanga University.

I mused that the school looked a lot like Xavier University in Cagayan de Oro and the building we entered looked like the computer science building of Ateneo de Manila University. I was then surprised by the Sockksargen bloggers who were all sporting DevFest shirts!


We then started the photo walk to Paseo del Mar. We passed the beautiful Metropolitan Cathedral of Immaculate Concepcion. The church was huge and looked very modern.


Zamboanga tour on a Motorbike!



After a few more meters  Avel insisted I back-ride on Arnel's motorcycle since I was on the verge of having an asthma attack. I admit I was terrified since it's been 2 decades since I rode a hopper (take not a hopper and not a motorcycle). Arnel drove slowly and gave me a short tour of the city. We passed by Plaza Rizal, the City Hall, went around Fort Pilar and finally parked at Paseo del Mar.

Paseo del Mar

Paseo del Mar is Zamboanga's newest park/gimmick place. I immediately loved the place because of the breeze coming from the Zamboanga Peninsula. You can also see Basilan and Santa Cruz from Paseo del Mar.



While waiting for the other bloggers (from Davao, GenSan, Iligan and CDO), Arnel, Blogie and I shared a pizza (it was just PhP35!) while watching the hiding sun set. Later on we ate again at Distrito and had some very, very spicy kilawin. After dinner we visited Fort Pilar where Bobby and I learned more about Zamboanga from Yolynne.

The only things I was able to buy in Zamboanga were Spanish sardines, lukot-lukot (great with ice cream!) and a woven wallet. I learned though from Mayor Celso Lobregat's talk the next day at the Mindanao Blogger's Summit that Zamboanga has more industrial businesses. They have more than ten canning factories that produce almost 20 famous sardine brands. And they also have tin can factories that support these businesses. Zamboanga is the fifth largest city in the Philippines. In fact Metro Manila would cover less than one-fourth of Zamboanga according to Mayor Lobregat. Wow!

I didn't get to see much of Zamboanga because my time was limited, but I'm very happy that I did go. I would surely remember the warm welcome of friends and participants of the 4th Mindanao Bloggers Summit.

Iligan, I hope to be there soon! (And many, many thanks for the Chedeng's peanuts!!!).