Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Hello Makati! Saw Dad's Old Office

Went to meet a friend this morning in Makati. His office was near one of my Dad's former offices. I was sad though to see the building abandoned already. Makati was surprisingly quiet. It felt more like a Sunday than a weekday. We were even able to park on the street by the building we visited. I guess not many people go to the office yet. It really felt like it was a Sunday. 

It was a rare treat to dress up today. I wore pants and a blouse! And shoes! I just normally wear a t-shirt and pambahay shorts  at home. I started wearing a t-shirt when I began hanging out in the craft room. I did that to feel a bit dressed up in case I had to get a delivery (which I never do since the boys forbade me hehe). Well, now I wear a t-shirt so they can be used and laundered. It's a good practice since it forces me to be more productive. 

I wanted to check out the new restos in Magallanes. There's a new nook there where the famous windmill resto used to be. I'm not sure when Starbucks, Pancake House, Krispy Kreme and Yellow Cab moved to the area, but it's a nice area since you can just drive through or do curb pick-up for your orders. We decided to get take-away at Pancake House. We were sitting outside when it started pouring, so we were forced to go inside.


Surprised to see that Pancake House now sells bread and ready-to-cook food! They have Pancake House spaghetti and country sausage, Teriyaki Boy chicken teriyaki, Dencio's krispy sisig, Yellow Cab toaster pizza and many more. We'll try it next time, but it's interesting to see how they expanded their menu to include ready-to-cook items. 

After getting our food we ended up in Krispy Kreme since it was still raining. Got tempted and got an OG card. We've been consistently buying doughnuts at KK the past two months so though we could maximize our purchase and give Mom free doughnuts too. Registering took a bit longer than expected, but we went home with half a dozen free doughnuts! Yay! By the time we left, the sky was blue again. That made it easier to get to the car hehe. 

Suddenly bright skies! Moody po si sky!

Traffic has always been light, the few times I've had to go out. Yay! I hope it stays this way since my legs start swelling when I sit too long. Hope my new cardiovascular doctor can figure out what to do with me. It was a nice day to go out today. Seeing Dad's old office building reassured me that we're going the right direction. :)

#BeKind #StaySafe

Monday, May 30, 2022

Adulting: Updated SSS Record

One thing I learned from taking over my Mom's affairs the past few months is to also put my affairs in order. Sweetie and I have been busy ironing out a lot of paperwork. I rarely go out since I'm immunocompromised, so any outing has to be well-planned. I realized I also need to put my affairs in order because Miggy will eventually have to take over everything. Maybe I'll have him take care of things when I reach the legal retirement age. I told him this morning that we'll make sure to minimize guesswork when the time comes. 

I was cared for really well when I was an OFW. The only thing I had to take care of every two years was pay the POEA fee. Paying SSS, Pag-ibig (HDMF) and Philhealth was purely voluntary since when you work abroad companies don't contribute for it. I remember I had to pay Pag-ibig whenever I had to get the travel certification so I didn't need to pay for travel tax. Eventually though when things were processed online they didn't enforce payment anymore. So I did not see any need for it since my Mom said what they receive monthly is just PhP5k from SSS. Philhealth though was very useful when my parents were hospitalized. So parang hassle lang?

Well, I'm now required to submit proof that I'm not getting any benefits from SSS. I couldn't register for my account online and despite following up the past two months, no one answered my inquiry online. After some research I realized that maybe the best way to iron things out was go to a branch and update my details. Printed the forms from the SSS website and spent most of the day yesterday filling them out and making copies of the ID requirements. 

Found out there's a SSS branch nearby so Sweetie and I walked in today. Everything went smoothly since the crew were all very helpful. I was really surprised to find out that my SSS account was still "temporary". I already had several jobs before I left for Singapore and all my previous companies supposedly paid the contributions. Well, at least now I know how many months of contributions have been made. 

I requested for the UMID and they're giving it to me for free since I never had an SSS ID before. The process was quite fast and they even asked me to select which of the three photos I wanted to use. The processor laughed because I told her I wanted the one where my dimple was prominent, hahaha. She was pretty chill probably because there wasn't really a lot of people. It was hard though to get my fingerprints (as usual!). I told her Singapore Immigration also had a hard time capturing my prints. She volunteered some of her hand cream so we could bring out my shy fingerprint. It will take six months though before I could get the ID (hello bureaucracy!). 

I was told if I have friends who still don't have their SSS UMID, they can just walk in to have it processed. Just print the form from the website and bring complete documents (original and photocopied). The experience overall was good. It was just hard to park and get up the steep stairs to the office (they do have a PWD chair you can ride). Thank you to Ms. Joyce and the UMID in-charge (sorry I didn't get your name) for the professional handling of my needs.

And if you need to register for a SSS account, here are the steps:

The next thing I need to do is get a PWD ID. Yun nga lang step 1 palang sa Barangay health center, di na happy experience. How do they expect physically challenged people to go up very steep stairs? Tapos 4:30pm palang wala na yung doctor. Bumalik daw ako ng 8am kasi 10 people lang ina-accommodate nila. OMG?

#BeKind #StaySafe

Sunday, May 29, 2022

Craft Room Update

We've now lived in our new home for six months now. Slowly working on fixing our home. There's a lot of things that need to be repaired and we still have a lot of unopened boxes! We decided to get help already from an architect to get things going. Maybe we'll finally be able to have visitors by Christmas! 

I've been spending most of my time in the craft room. I wanted to customize cabinets for it, but it's going to take time so I just got steel cabinets. We've moved it around a few times and it gave me a chance to re-arrange my fabric. I'm not satisfied with it yet, so I might re-arrange it one more time. I also need to organize the sewing accessories better. I'm thinking of getting a thread organizer, but I'm holding off buying anything since I'm waiting for a proper room design. 

I also got a bench for the room. It's a cute dark pink bench which I use whenever I feel like resting. Miggy sits on it whenever we eat at the craft room. The bench also doubles as storage, so that's been useful for me. I'll make a quilt cover for it when I'm done with the memory quilt blanket I'm working on. I had the bench customized by a shop in Tarlac. 

The craft room has it's own toilet and bath. That's one reason why it's the perfect tambayan for us. We used to hang out in the dining room, but I had to move downstairs at the beginning of summer. Last week I had a brilliant idea to spruce up the bathroom. Thought it would be cute to upgrade it with Hello Kitty items. I found a rug set and a cute box on Shopee. I was looking for a towel holder, but so far have not found any I like. I just got the rug and box first and will do further improvements later on. 

The craft room is functional for now, but it needs to be improved. The space will be more useful with proper cabinets and hopefully by then I don't have to keep my sewing machine on the floor when I'm not using it. The sewing table I got from Spotlight was a good investment, but I don't think it's going to last long and it's too fragile to move around. Maybe I can have a portable one made so I can sew anywhere hehe. Slowly but surely.

Happy Sunday everyone!


Saturday, May 28, 2022

Free Septic Tank Cleaning by Maynilad!

Woke up while dreaming because the doorbell was ringing. Peeked out of the window and greeted manong. He said Maynilad was offering free septic tank desludging service. They've been going around our neighborhood the past week and was hoping they'd visit us too. I said yes and the Maynilad truck rolled in after a few seconds. Instant pala!

Our new home is a renovated old home. We realized after moving that there's a lot of things we need to know about our home. Good thing the contractor showed us where the septic tank is located. We had a very traumatic experience in our first home (story here). Just remembering what transpired makes me cringe. I immediately said yes to manong since I have no idea when the septic tank was last cleaned. 

I know that the septic tank should be desludged every 5 years, so it's best to get it done whenever Maynilad offers the service. It's free anyway. The crew were very patient in trying to open the septic tank cover. They eventually recommended to drill a hole since the cover was stuck. Good thing they had the means to do it. Soon enough they did the procedure. Boring a hole took a long time, but they finished everything in about 30 minutes.

Sweetie found some leftover cement and the crew took care of covering the hole. They recommended to change it with a septic tank lid so it will be easier to service next time. We'll add it to our long to-do list. I'm just glad we got this done today. I don't want to deal with the same issue we had in our first rented home (we moved out in less than a year from that home because it had so many issues). And since Maynilad is going around our neighborhood, I requested them to visit my Mom's home also since there was unknown dirt coming out of the basement bathroom when it flooded.  

You can check when Maynilad is doing desludging services in your area through their website or you can call them too at 1626. If you miss the Maynilad service, you can just opt to get a company to do it for you. 

Just a friendly reminder to check your home's septic tank (do this whether you own or rent your home)! Why? Read my blog post from 12 years ago. What we went through will make you cry. 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Friday, May 27, 2022

Finally, Clean Teeth!

Finally went to see a dentist today! It's been over two years since I've been to a dentist. We wanted to go to one while we were in Singapore, but we got busy with my other doctor appointments. It's a bit complicated for me to go to one because I'm required to do antibiotic prophylaxis before doing any procedure. It's required to make sure germs to get to my heart during the procedure. 

The dental office sent a lot of reminders yesterday. They're following strict protocols since we're still in the middle of a pandemic. The clinic's door was literally padlocked. They had to open it before you could get in. That gave me some comfort since I'm immunocompromised and I'm a germ magnet! Hehe. Miggy went first and I helped me put on part of his PPE. It was a struggle to put his hairnet on, haha. We both had to wear a hairnet, shoe covers and a neon orange protective gown.

Doc Jay was on leave so another dentist took care of us. She was in full PPE and she also wore a face shield. I can just imagine how cumbersome it is to have to wear PPE all the time. I also noticed they had a filter (or exhaust) in front of me during the procedure. Maybe that was meant to capture any potential germs I would have excreted. The dentist took extra care with me because I told her I'm a bleeder plus I'm taking blood thinners (not a good combo IMHO). 

TBH I really prefer our dentists here than in Singapore, that's why I didn't mind waiting. I just made sure to floss everyday and that helped because I just did cleaning. I was really surprised they did not have to do any pasta. My dentist in Singapore must've done a really good job, but the dentists here have "feather hands" (ano ba kasi english ng magaan ang kamay?).

Now is the best time to go to a dentist. I've been monitoring cases in our barangay and it's been almost zero the past few weeks. I'll schedule Mom also, but I'll need to convince her first haha. She also needs to have her eyes checked. 

Happy weekend everyone!

#BeKind #StaySafe 

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Exorcising Bad Experiences

When you are faced with life threatening disease, i.e. a pulmonary embolism, you will most likely have mental health issues. What worries us most is the possibly of dying unprepared. It's a sad reality because the mortality rate is high. My doctor reminded me about this earlier this week. He said, "You could have died." Yes doc, twice. And that's the reason why I have to fiercely protect my health, physically and mentally. 

Being part of a support group for pulmonary embolism survivors has helped me a lot in the past three years. Most of the members are from the other side of the hemisphere because that's where PEs are more commonly diagnosed. I think though there are similar PE survivors here in the Philippines, it's just not as easily diagnosed (took more than a year for mine to be detected in Singapore). 

One of the members sent an important reminder for us -

I was spiraling down again because of the events happening around me. I had to stop watching the news and make important decisions regarding destructive relationships. The stress was not good for me and I ended up sick again. My chest x-ray have some worrying results, but it seems my doctor is chill about it. Following the reminder from my support group, I'll just be chill about it too. Do not panic when your doctor isn't concerned about your findings. 

I was 8 years old when my Mom got me my first journal. She told me I should write down my experiences, whether it's good or bad. I eventually found it helpful to vent my frustrations through writing. And that's what I did the other night. I poured out 35 years worth of hurt. It felt like a huge tree bark* was pulled out of me when I finished the note. This was followed by two full days of chest pains and nausea, but I think I'm much better now. I was able to talk about it with my Kuya without getting teary eyed. It's now all just in black and white**.

*It was no longer just a thorn

**There is an NLP technique where they help you minimize seemingly large issues. The important issue is represented by a full color picture, as you progress it becomes black and white and it eventually disintegrates.  

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Meet Our Resident Yellow Vented Bulbul

My doctor told me I can't have pets anymore. It felt like a sentence because I was hoping to have one. My friend JD was going to give me a puppy, but the boys did not agree to it for many reasons. I was sad then, I feel more sad now because I'm no longer allowed to have pets. 

Well, I noticed we have a lot of birds in our neighborhood. They have been hanging out at our place more often lately. Aside from birds, stray cats also like to sleep at our place. They like staying under my car and sometimes on the garden walls. Every so often I also see squirrels running across telephone lines. 

Photo by Miguel Apolo

Just hearing the birds singing make me happy already so I thought maybe I could put up a bird feeder. Apparently, this isn't allowed by RA 9147 according to my friend. He suggested I instead put up a fountain that can serve as a bird bath. He said this will also be beneficial for other insects like bees. I just need to make sure to change the water everyday to prevent mosquitoes from breeding. 

Watch 'til the end (Vid by Miguel Apolo)

I looked around Shopee and found several options. There's a solar fountain you can just clip on a rail. There's a solar fountain with stand. You can just get the solar fountain and then look for a stand locally. We'll probably just get the solar fountain and look for a nice, sturdy stand locally. This would be nice for our pocket garden and it would be easy to change the water whenever we water the plants. Hope to find a nice stand somewhere near. 

No pets, no problem! I will just focus on appreciating those that are around me. I will also feast my eyes on cute pets I see on my stream. :)

#BeKind #StaySafe

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Makati Med Looks So Different Now

I haven't been to Makati Med for almost 10 years now. The last time I was there was to visit Titay or Tito Ben. I needed to see a doctor since I haven't had a face-to-face check-up since I got home. The booster shot seemed to have a bad effect on me because I've been having chest pains for a few weeks now. I've also been having frequent asthma attacks. 

Any chance to go out is a treat for me! Good thing we went early because we were able to find parking. I felt a little lost when we reached the ground floor. Everything looked different! The lobby now looks like the hospitals in Singapore. There are two towers now and I was clueless on how to get around. Luckily they have a lot of security staff you can inquire from. 

My doctor's office used to have wooden interiors. It's now mostly all white! My pulmo at Makati med  is my original doctor. His wife was my original cardiologist. They've been taking care of our family for several decades now. I hope they can unearth my old xrays so they can compare and maybe get a better view of what has happened to me. 

The best thing about the new look of Makati Med is the improvement in processes. I was ordered to do a chest xray. I just went down to the ground floor, presented the memo and I was done in less than 20 minutes. By early evening I received a message that I could view the results in the app. I could also easily share the information to others (i.e. my doctors in SG) by sending them a link (only available though for seven days). They just need a browser to view the xray.

Something really funny though happened. I've gotten multiple xrays already and I'm familiar with the process. After they took the shot, they hurriedly asked me if I removed my bra. I said yes. I was puzzled why they asked me. They had me wait while a senior radiologist checked the xray. He reassured me everything was okay and let me go. I realized the staff who run the xray were probably pretty junior. They mistook my sternal wires as bra wires. Hahaha! That's the first time this happened to me. Maybe the pandemic has really kept rare creatures like me away from hospitals. 

I'm still giggling about it until today. I'm still really wary about going to the hospital, but I trust my doctor. If he says it's safe for me, then I just need to be extra cautious and follow protocols. Praying what they found in my xray can be resolved easily. That means I really need to be stress free!

#BeKind #StaySafe

Monday, May 23, 2022

Childhood Favorite: Dayrit's

My love affair with Dayrit's is like a tale as old as time. I was a young child when my parents started bringing me there. I first tried the sizzling spaghetti, but since it was served really hot I still preferred my Tita Olive's spaghetti. It was the ginormous cheeseburger that sealed the deal for me, for life! My family rarely dined out, but whenever we did it was either we eat at Good Earth, Dayrit's or Jade Garden. 

When Sweetie and I were stuck in Singapore for almost 2 years we'd search for Dayrit's on Grab. Haha! We knew it was impossible, but that's how bad we missed it. When we arrived in November a friend promptly sent us goodies from Dayrit's after we finished our quarantine. I was ecstatic and promptly cooked the hamburger steak. Few days later I made some chorizo pasta (recipe here!).

So after my check-up today we grabbed the opportunity to dine at Dayrit's. It felt like stepping back in time because everything looks the same. They just had more goodies available to bring home. We decided to dine in and I was happy to see that most of the waiters were still there. I had my favorite cheeseburger and special iced tea (it's really different!) -

Sweetie had roast beef sandwich -

And Miggy had spam and baked potato. We were wondering though how they made the spam so huge. 

Got home and made telebabad with Mom. Discussed with her what needs to be done to fix her house. I was hoping we'd be halfway through it by now, but there are things holding up the renovations. It honestly took me two years to convince her that we need to fix the house. She finally said yes when I came home. Well, I hope we can get things going and maybe soon we can bring Mom out for a spin too. 

Doing happy things is helping stabilize my health. My doctor though told me this morning I can't have pets. I feel really sad about it since I was hoping we could get a puppy. A friend tried to give me one, but the boys did not agree since I'm already a handful (hehe). Maybe I could negotiate to at least have fighting fish? :)

#BeKind #StaySafe

Sunday, May 22, 2022

The Blues

Life hasn't been the same since the ninth of May. I could feel everyone is on the edge and strangely it's as noisy as ever. I'm still having a hard time processing things, so I have been quite disengaged. I don't feel safe. My priority for now is my health since I haven't been feeling well. 

So for now it's -

Happy Sunday everyone! Hope you are all having a good weekend. 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Saturday, May 21, 2022

It Went Down with a Bang

I was just about to start blogging when I got a call from Mom's helper. I wondered why they were calling me from the garden and I heard Mom say in the background, "Nahulog yung puno!" With the constant rain from the past week I wasn't surprised when Mom said a tree fell in her garden. The helper echoed it and I thought okay I just need to get help to take it out. 

Sometimes though things can get lost in translation and bad connectivity. Mom's helper prefers to converse in Bicolnon. So there was a huge gap in what she wanted to tell me. I asked her to show me what they were looking at and that's how I finally found out that the garden wall gave way. It came down with a big bag. 


Well, I wasn't really surprised it happened. The wall is probably just a wee bit younger than me. It has see better days and probably eroded through the years. The engineer who inspected the house said that we need to reinforce the base of the garden area. Yup, he's right and I hope I can finally get the approval of my siblings to proceed. 

My biggest concern was to cover the gaping hole left by the wall. I SOS'd the homeowners association for help and luckily they were able to help and Mom is secure.  They'll probably need a bigger truck when they clean up the creek on Monday (scheduled before this happened). Thank you Lord for guardian angels! <3

#BeKind #StaySafe

Friday, May 20, 2022

Kitchen Re-opening!

Alas! It's rainy season again according to PAGASA. Yaaaaas! It's been raining everyday for a week now. I am happy because it's not so hot anymore. More importantly, my plants are very happy because they're getting properly hydrated and getting vitamins from the rain. Our drum is also almost full now since we've been collecting rainwater. 

I haven't cooked for two months now. It was too hot for me to stay in the kitchen for long periods of time. We've also been eating in the craft room to avoid the heat. I had heat exhaustion in March and I realized that's how fragile I am. The only time I go out is when I water the plants late in the afternoon. Well, since the weather is cooler now I was finally able to cook again last night!

It was Daddy's birthday yesterday, so I made some of his beef mustasa dish. I made it with liver spread this time and it brought back happy memories of Dad teaching me how to make it. It's the only dish I learned from him because he would cook so fast and never measured anything. I prepare food like it's a science experiment by measuring everything haha. Daddy learned to cook from the original cooks of Casa Moderna in Naga (used to be called Moderna Bakery). He said that's where he hung out after school and they taught him how to cook. 

Here's how to make my Dad's beef mustasa dish.

My next target is to make adobo. I'll start with easy dishes since I'm still re-building my stamina. The booster shot did a number on me and I'm still reeling from its effects. Hibernating from the heat is done and now I need to get moving to regain the strength I lost. If the rain continues maybe I can bake some cheese cupcakes soon. 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Thursday, May 19, 2022

A Few Days with La Sallian Brothers in Rome

Br. Armin Luistro, FSC yesterday was elected to be the first Filipino superior general of the Brothers of Christian Schools. This was really happy news for me. I'm sure he'll be able to contribute a lot to the La Sallian community worldwide because of his vast experience. I was also happy to see photos and videos of the occasion and it reminded me of the time I was able to spend with the La Sallian brothers in Rome a few years ago. 

My lazy blog post in 2020 didn't fully capture the amazing experience I had when I spent time with them. The time I spent at the La Salle headquarters in Rome (Casa generaliza istituto Fratelli Scuole Cristiane) is a cherished memory. I had been mourning the death of Br. Gene Tiangco, FSC. He took me under his wing when I was a student and he passed away a few months before I went to Rome. Spending time with the La Sallian brothers healed me. I felt the same love and care Br. Gene showed me and I knew in time I would find someone like him again. 

There was nothing but joy when I arrived in Rome. The name of the La Sallian brother who picked us up at the airport escapes me. It was a jolly ride from the airport and I learned a lot about the history of the Generalata from him. First order of the day was eating at the cafeteria. Then we had a short tour of the place. We thought we were going to stay at Casa La Salle (a hotel), but they made us stay in their quarters. Sweetie came with me, but we slept in separate beds haha. We also whispered to each other when we talked because we didn't want to disturb the brothers. We later on found out that they usually watch Netflix in the evenings LOL. 

The three most memorable experiences for me were:

(1) Realizing that the "ball" in the church that the Brother was hand gesturing to me was actually St. La Salle's head. [photo on this post]

(2) Seeing the relics of the saints. I was only familiar with them because the buildings in our campus was named after them. 

(3) Br. Bob Schneider, FSC (the most recent superior general) showing us the hallway which held the paintings of all previous superior generals. From St. La Salle they were able to build over a thousand schools across 77 countries in the past 300 years (source). It really does take just one spark to get a fire going.

I was also with Br. Ricky when I first saw St. Peter's Square. We walked from the Generalata to the train station and then walked again to the restaurant. I fell behind so Br. Ricky stayed with me (I had just started my treatment for pulmonary embolism when I went to Rome). 

The brothers did not want me to come home haha. I wish I had taken up the offer to stay there and teach them tech. I also wish I had taken up the offer to stay longer with them and see Rome with them. I turned down the offer because it didn't seem appropriate at that time and maybe I would have allowed them to adopt me if I hung out longer hahaha. 

Happy, grateful memories that I would always cherish. Maybe someday I'll get to visit them again. I pray all of them are well <3

#BeKind #StaySafe

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Breakfast Date with Sweetie

Sweetie surprised me the other day when he told me were going to go grocery shopping in person. I was shookt! I've been ordering groceries online since April 2020 and found his request unusual. I guess I've been moping around since Monday last week he probably thought I needed a change of environment. I was even more shookt when he told me we'll have breakfast out. OMG! This was all new to me. 

We attempted to go out yesterday, but I woke up with a headache so it was postponed. I barely had any sleep last night (#anxiety), but I pushed myself to get out of bed. I looked forward to eating something other than oatmeal (my cardio's mandate is to eat oatmeal for breakfast). Ahhh, it was such a joy to eat at Cafe Breton. The last time we ate at Cafe Breton was many years ago when Sweetie kidnapped me for a quick date. 

I got the excalibur and Sweetie got the dracula. The crepe was delicious as usual. It was my first time to try the excalibur and the combination of ham, emmental cheese, fresh cream and asparagus sauteed with onions and mushrooms was really tasty. I paired the meal with a cup of cappuccino. It was absolutely fulfilling since we waited years to eat there again. 

After breakfast we ran some errands. I was almost wiped out by noon, so rested at Krispy Kreme. They have a nice bundle for 2 at only PhP225. It includes 2 iced coffees and 2 original glazed doughnuts. It was a great refreshment and it's always a good idea to be full before doing groceries! Hahaha. Of course, we brought home food from Makati Supermart Coffee Shop for our late lunch with Miggy. 

It was a great day to go out. Still taking a lot of precautions and socially distancing ourselves to be safe. I was able to make 3k steps and it felt good, but I was pretty wiped out halfway through our grocery list. Probably need a check-up soon just to be on the safe side. 

Have a happy day everyone! Let your light continue to shine. 

#StaySafe #BeKind

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

When Your Parents Grow Old

I always thought my Mom would remain the same forever. The feisty tiger mom  who made sure I would learn to be independent and successful. I was lucky to be the youngest because she was much more strict with my siblings. She was still strict until I finally moved out of the house when I got married. 

Mom was our rock when we lost Dad. I didn't even see her cry. She took care of everything and just kept busy with her garden and crafts after. We were so worried we had Titay move in with her. She ended up taking care of Tito Mon and Titay until they passed on. She's the strong one. To her being too emotional is nonsense. 

She's now 86 years old and she has more energy than me. She still spends a lot of time gardening and doing crafts. Her memory though isn't as sharp anymore, but she's feisty and stubborn as ever. She refuses to move in with me and wants to remain independent. We're lucky because she has no maintenance meds and just takes vitamins. 

I realized though that we should have mandated to take over managing her home and finances. That's how the thief took advantage of her. I asked to take over it when I got home last November, but she refused saying that things were working well for her. Good thing the bank started sending automated messages whenever a withdrawal was made. That's how I caught the thief. So for those with elderly parents, do check their finances because bad people can take advantage of them. 

I've been doing Mom's groceries. The good thing about it I can order more healthy food for her. I remove unhealthy food from the grocery list that's sent to me every other week, i.e. noodles or canned goods. My siblings also send her food every so often. The bills are easier to manage now since I've been able to enroll all of them online. Gcash has been my best friend for paying bills haha. 

Taking care of an elderly parent should seriously be part of what they teach in school. Everyone has to go through it and it's easier if you understand what you need to do. I grew up thinking my parents would remain the same forever because that's what they told me. Mom made it appear that things were going well in her home. If not for the bank's SMSs I wouldn't have known the extent of the damage the thief was doing. 

Keep your parents happy while they're still around. Give them what they want even though sometimes it's not practical hehe. 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Monday, May 16, 2022

How I Deal with Trolls

It was late 2006/early 2007 when I first encountered a troll. I was new at my job and he targeted me. He even threatened to email our president to tell him about me. The troll did it through blog posts and everything he said was not true. I immediately reported it to our PR lead and he advised me to ignore it and don't engage. The troll even made me a mistress! He did it several times, but I just ignored it. 

Good thing I was given that advise because the troll just got tired and stopped. A few years ago I was the target of trolls again. Friends alerted me about it. They were discussing my political affiliations and beliefs. They couldn't find any because I never really posted anything. I focused on my work and just continued to do the job at hand. 

It went on for some time and they started to uncover who my friends were. I was worried that they would target my family next. I think it helped I had close friends in Davao because that confused them a lot! I did the same thing and alerted the PR lead in the Philippines. She also told me to ignore it and they'll take care of it if it escalates. They stopped when I told a close friend about it. Almost immediately the trolling stopped. (I honestly don't know what he did to stop them or what his involvement with them was). 

So I continue to ignore them. Nowadays it's harder to identify real people versus fake accounts. I noticed this when I was still in Singapore. The "Filipinos in Singapore" group had a lot of trolls in it and they were pretty nasty people. I would randomly check profiles and lot were new accounts, obviously fake. It was useless to engage because they would just attack you if you tried correcting them. The group eventually became this place of negativity so I just stopped reading. Honestly, the tech companies who own these apps should do a better job of policing it. Also, companies who have been involved with these troll armies should be held accountable.

The best way to protect yourself from trolls is not to engage them. If you encounter one, report their profile. It's also important to make sure that your online properties are kept private. Don't just keep accepting invites. If you must do something, just share verified sources (preferably from valid news outlets). 

Family and friends are best enjoyed in person and in real life. 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Learn

Apparently the quote I used yesterday from Bishop Rey wasn't really made by him, but by another person. I only found out from schoolmates who pointed out things that were untrue. Another instance was the supposed interview on ANC. It was shared by a trusted friend. Another friend dispelled it. Goes to show that it's very easy to fall for fake news. 

At this time it is best to check the source of information. With so much disinformation happening, it might be best to avoid social media for now. I'm not completely staying offline, but I've kept myself from re-sharing what I read. Taking everything with a grain of salt for now since I don't really know anymore what's real and what's not. 

It's just noise and it won't help my mental health. I told myself after getting an anxiety attack last Monday that I have to protect myself better. It will probably be like this for a long time. One thing I learned this week is silence is golden. It is the best way to center yourself again. With so much uncertainty, it's really important to be grounded so you don't get swallowed by it.

“Earth hath no sorrow that heaven cannot heal.” - St. Thomas More

Have a blessed Sunday everyone.

#BeKind #StaySafe

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Dear First Time Voter

I hate to break it to you, but it won't be the first time you will be disappointed. I have been voting for almost 3 decades now and only one presidential and vice presidential candidate I've voted for won, PNoy and VP Leni. I've had so many TOTGAs, but it never stopped me from hoping and praying that someday the right leader comes along and gets elected. 

Art by Tarantadong Kalbo

As Bishop Rey, Diocese of Imus said, "I am beginning to think that God never meant for Leni to win. Here mission was to waken us up... God showed us that if we get together and worked together, things happen. And maybe that brief moment was actually a glimpse of heaven." You may have been too young during PNoy's time, but we had good governance and that translated to a better economic environment which brought in a lot of investors. Corrupt officials were caught (pork barrel scam) and our debt was reduced which gave us good marks for credit.[more here] Of course, the administration had it's ups and downs, but I was so inspired and contributed back to the country where I could. 

The past six years was full of disappointment. I couldn't even continue the crisis response projects I started during the previous administration. I let things stew for awhile and then had the opportunity to contribute again. It was harder, but I pushed hard until I succeeded (read here). It was challenging, but I told myself to focus on the students and what was needed. That was what helped me have the strength to fight for what was right.

I know it hurts. I have friends both older and younger than me who are still having a hard time. Embrace the pain, but learn for it. Allow it to make you stronger. In time you will be able to use it to help others and contribute back to your country. We're lucky now because VP Leni and Senator Kiko are there to lead us and hone us to be better citizens.

"At alam ko ang aking kaya, alam ko ang hindi 
Alam ko ang kailangan upang makapagsilbi 
Hangga't may kabutihan, hangga't may pag-ibig 
Liwanag ang mananaig"
- Nica del Rosario, from the song "Rosas"

#BeKind #StaySafe

Friday, May 13, 2022

How I Dealt with the Thief

I have been staring at the screen for an hour already. I've been writing and deleting my draft. I just feel empty today and just going through the motions. The only good thing that's happened today is I've finally fully taken over my Mom's FB profile. I've been unable to change the mobile number associated to her account the past few months, but I was able to disassociate the kawatans number from it. 

Mother's Day with Mom

Well, not anymore and that fight isn't over yet. In the meantime, I've been able to slowly manage Mom's home better. I'm getting all her bills online, so it's been easier to manage now. I've been able to fix her accounts and I'm slowly rebuilding her savings. 

On election day I bumped into the thief. I smelled her before I saw her. She was right behind me and Miggy. I told the association office it was okay for me to let her in the subdivision so she could vote. I was just wary that she'd attempt to go to my Mom's house. Well, I didn't need to worry about her voting while we were inside the polling area. They weren't listed in any of the precincts. I also checked and good thing she did not attempt to go to my Mom's house.  

I know we'll be okay. A friend reminded me earlier that God is truly taking care of me. I've been able to dodge many bullets. I'm still processing what's been happening. Knowing that I have the biggest and most powerful backer of all behind me (God, of course), makes me less anxious. He is writing my story, your story, our story and I'm sure it will be beautiful. 

#BeKind #StaySafe


Thursday, May 12, 2022

Visited Tagaytay After 4 Years

It's been a few days since we've been plunged into despair. I wasn't feeling well when I woke up this morning, so I went back to sleep. It was after lunch when I woke up. I went through this phase last year after I had my second PE. My doctor said it was PTSD. I guess it's been triggered and I just hope it doesn't last. 

I've had to safeguard my safe space the past few days to protect my health. I'm lucky I'm surrounded by friends and my Ates and Kuyas in my neighborhood. They have been providing support and company. That's how I've been coping. There's so much misinformation out there, so it's best to take everything with a grain of salt. 

Just before the elections I was finally able to get together with some friends. We met up in Tagaytay and ate at Sonya's Garden. The last time we got together was in November 2019 and we also had good food back then. Good thing the crew at Sonya's Garden allowed us to stick around even after their lunch service. It was really great to see my friends in person and we spent it reminiscing and laughing at old memories. 

Laughing probably helped burn everything we ate at Sonya's Garden because we ended up having merienda at Bag of Beans (Twin Lakes). The last time I was there was in 2018 and the place had aged well. Saw the Taal Volcano and it's so different now from before. Still beautiful, but it will probably take a long time before it goes back to it's old glory. 

I was soon tired and needed to rest. We planned to be home by 5 in the afternoon, but it was already 7 in the evening when we finally left for home. We wanted to go back to the hawaiian bbq place, but it was already closed. We decided to have dinner at RSM (new one near the rotonda) since we needed to stretch our legs. It was a huge place, but there was just a handful of customers. It was a good rest stop for us and we ended up bringing home more food haha. 

It was good to look back at happy memories today so I could get going. I'm making myself busy by spending more time with my plants and sewing. Hopefully my veggies would finally be productive and I'm targeting to finish my tshirt memory quilt blanket soon. 

Hope you are all feeling better and coping well. Remember, Papa God loves us. 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Shine Your Light

I did not want to get out of bed today. I felt paralyzed yesterday and had to prioritize taking care of myself. The anxiety attack felt like I was having another PE and it's not a good feeling. I had to create a safe space for myself to recover. I still have so many questions and wished my Dad's still around. He would have helped me understand and make sense of what's happening. 

Art by Robert Alejandro

I was in a better headspace last night and asked Kuya if he could do NLP for people in pain. So many people are going through the different stages of grief. I decided to keep silent for now so I could recuperate and think more clearly. I snoozed (and removed) a lot of the enablers and apologists in my stream. I realized their moral values are different and I don't need them in my life.

Last night I realized that the government that is supposed to protect its citizens has been compromised. They worked on it for decades. The whole electoral system is controlled by them. There are many videos of rampant cheating circulating and many stories of vote buying being told. Comelec claims there has been no report submitted. This morning Comelec said that claims of cheating will be hard to prove. It looks like they are not interested at all to investigate even if complaints are submitted. 

I wanted to ask my PolSci professors last night what should we do if the system has been compromised? The answer came even before I asked - 

Professor Danny Arao was one of my favorite professors. He created "Kontra Daya" and has been out in the streets protesting. My other professors have been serving as political analysts. Much as I'd like to join, my health would not allow me to, so I looked for other ways to help. 

I thought about changing my profile photos and the theme of my blog. I realized that's not the right thing to do. The fight is bigger than the candidate I voted for. The fight is to save our country from ruin. VP Leni Robredo stood as our liwanag sa dilim (light in darkness), but each one of us can shine our own light. It's not the time to feel downtrodden. Our option now is to accept or to fight for what is right. 

There are many ways to help, here's a list to check where you can contribute:

PPCRV - FBwebsite

1Sambayanan - FB, website

Kontra Daya - FBwebsite

If you are a witness to cheating/vote buying, have information on VCM breakdown etc., do report it. You may also contribute by sending food/drinks where needed. 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Tuesday, May 10, 2022


I had an anxiety attack last night. It was so bad I thought I was having another pulmonary embolism. Checked my oxygen saturation and it was normal. A friend pointed out I was having an anxiety attack. I immediately stopped watching the news and went to the bedroom to lie down. The boys gave me some ice cream and that helped calm me down a bit. Eventually used some peace & calming oil. It was already 3 in the morning when I finally fell into a fitful sleep. 

I have so many questions and the PM in me tells me it was just impossible for the transmissions to come in so fast. How could they have possibly reached those numbers when friends who are part of the BOC were still counting at city-level. Many precincts have also not closed because people were still voting. There were many, many posts last night, but I did not want to remain hopeful. I told myself to cling to what I learned at my previous job. When in doubt, look at the data. Determine the truth through data. 

So that's what I'm holding onto. The truth. I want to see first the true details of the data. That's how I will accept things. That's how I will cope. I was woken up by my tablet this morning. It strangely auto-played the Cebuyaas video of Doc Tricia speaking at the rally. She was sharing about how much fake news her family has experienced. She pointed out that they felt they were not alone because there was so many who have been defending them. She also reminded that the work doesn't end at the rally and that there is so much to do. 

VP Leni Robredo said the same thing in her statement last night. There are anomalies and it's best to get to find out the truth. If it's true that the numbers for us to win is not enough, our fight doesn't stop here. We have to continue the work. Ninety days may not have been enough and what that tells me is there is still a lot of work to do. 

And that's how I'm coping now. I'm trying my best not to overthink and be too emotional. It will not be good for my health if I do. Let's hold on to the truth and then go from there. 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Monday, May 9, 2022

Election 2022: The Guards have Changed

I had a short chat with Tito Mel while I was in line to vote early this morning. He's now 88 years old and headed the PPCRV in our parish since it's inception. I told him my Mom didn't come out to vote yet. He gave a few tips to get her going and said hope she'll vote this afternoon. I told him I'll try to bring her again if she's feeling better. 

Tito Mel is now retired. His children took over leadership of PPCRV, but they have also retired from it. When I went to the voter assistance tent to get my cluster number I realized I didn't know anyone anymore. All the volunteers were new faces. In 2019 I still knew some of them. Some of my friends who were volunteers of PPCRV decided to be Namfrel pollwatchers which is also very important. 

The guards have changed. My titos and titas in our neighborhood who used to run things have all retired, a lot have passed away too. It's now the time of the younger generation to take the lead. I was gone for a long time and trust that the turnover of duties has been smooth. Growing up I experienced being a volunteer for PPCRV, Namfrel and I was once a pollwatcher too. It is hard work, so be nice to them because they are there to protect your vote. 

The teachers are the heroes of the election. I really appreciated that the teachers in my precinct made sure that no one could see your ballot. They chased voters who did not cover their ballots with the folder. I didn't have any issues feeding my ballot into the VCM. I checked the receipt and the names I voted for were correct. 

Here's some tips if you haven't voted yet:

1. Know your precinct number and cluster. You can check through:

- COMELEC precinct finder

- Listings posted outside the polling center

- Voter assistance center/tent

*Do check your barangay FB group if there are any precincts that have been relocated. 

2. Have a list on hand. Include the number of the candidate and list out their last name in alphabetical order. This will make sure you don't take too much time and you don't overvote.

3.  Bring water and a fan and wear comfortable clothing.  

4. Be patient! 

Good luck and keep the faith!

#BeKind #StaySafe #VoteWisely