Can’t Miss Events: 38th Manila International Book Fair

It is the time of the year that book enthusiasts, bookworms and bibliophiles unite for the annual Manila International Book Fair. This is the third year of my visit to SMX to check and acquire books for me, my son and my husband.

This year, the book fair was expanded by utilizing the two floors of SMX Convention Center. The first floor of the book fair is for different publishing houses, books suppliers and stores which has different genres and specialties, while the second floor of the book fair showcased publishing houses and book suppliers for children literature. Not only you can get books for a fraction of a price but also, you can check out the booths which offers school and office supplies and arts and writing materials at a discounted rates.

Since I already visited the Manila International Book Fair for two consecutive years, I already had an idea and plan on where to visit my favorite publishing house to avail discounted books. I even scored a free entrance tickets to the book fair by following one of the local publishing house that joins the book fair annually. And just like the previous years, hubby allowed me to browse and shop for books as long as I don’t overspend. As usual, he gave me a budget of two thousand pesos to shop for books. My target materials for my son is workbooks and teaching aids to supplement in his school activities and further his interest with different subjects. I, on the other hand look for inspirational and informative materials that will help me for my quiet times.

Here are the list of my selected stores where I acquired the books

  1. OMF Literature: A good friend of mine from CCF church, Mico gave a recommendation to scour the OMF publishing house for good books priced at 60 pesos. I found different titles on their bargain bins and if it weren’t on sale, I would paid 2,460 pesos but I only paid 360 pesos for the six books I bought. There are also interesting titles and devotional books which is discounted for twenty to thirty percent.
  2. CSM Publishing House: Last year I discovered a treasure trove at CSM Publishing House. They sold book copies of local Christian authors at cheaper price. Most inspirational and devotional books are sold at around 200 – 300 pesos each but when you purchase at CSM publishing house during the book fair, you may be able to get the books at 100 pesos. It is priced almost 60% less compared to its retail price at book stores. There are also books you can buy two for 100 pesos. I was able to purchase few copies and was even contemplating on buying their planners which is sold also at 100 pesos.
  3. Learning is Fun Booth: This is where majority of my son’s books were purchased. Last two years ago, I was able to get a lot of stuff from this booth because of their bargain prices. This year I was still able to purchase a few books and workbooks. There are still affordable copies in their booth but I hovered for an hour to check out their stocks.
  4. Adarna Publishing House: After my trip to the first floor of the book fair, I also checked out the booths at the second floor of SMX convention for children’s books. This year, I decided to also include local copies of children’s book for my son’s reading list. One of the booth is Adarna Publishing House which has a wide array of local copies and special deals. I was able to purchase a book bundle at 99 pesos.
  5. Vibal Publishing House: Vibal Publishing House also offers wide variety of local copies of children’s book and was able to purchase three books for my son. They are the ones behind Chikiting Books. The usual price of the books ranges from 99 pesos each. I let my son choose which titles he wanted to read and we were able to purchase the books at 60 pesos each.
  6. Other Features of the Bookfair: Aside from the usual books and learning materials sold at the book fair, there are also numerous book signings with local authors and digital materials to aid students and schools. In addition, the expansion of the book fair was a nice improvement since it shows that more people are flocking during this period to check out the booths and stores for discounted rates of books. There are booths from Enchanted Kingdom if you want to avail discounted tickets for teacher and a discounted passes for Museong Pambata.

Based on my three years’ experience attending the Manila International Book Fair, there are also three things I learned: 1) Better to scour books early (so that means arriving early at the venue) 2) Get a nice comfortable footwear (to save your feet) 3) Save up for the copies and books you want to acquire at the fair.

First Floor Venue of the Fair

Second Floor Venue – Mostly Children’s Books and Fan Signing Area

My loots for this year! Not only I was able to get affordable books, but also affordable school and office supplies. Was able to score a Calligraphy pens for cheaper price.

Hope everyone had a blast attending the Manila International Book Fair! Til’ next year!


MommyMusings: Work-In-Progress

Time flies so fast and as much as I hate to admit, sometimes I miss my son’s toddler years. It was the time of discoveries and exploration. There are things I learned and discovered being a parent. No matter how many books, articles and tips you read being a parent, it will always be a “work in progress”. Working in progress as a parent means trying to be a good negotiator, a nutritionist, a supporter of no gadgets hobby, a librarian, teacher, nurse, coach and other endless roles to teach my kid. Looking back, I feel nostalgic over my son’s first coos, his natural baby scent and his twinkling eyes when he laughs. But even though I am nostalgic on his “first” moments, I am also glad that I am way past those diapers changing days, his terrible twos, struggles when we travel and guessing which food he likes best.

Now my son is already in pre-school, I love seeing him donning his school uniform, being the lead singer inside the classroom, showing me his good works at school, talking to me about his dream of becoming a pilot or a chef, requesting for his favorite food and showing me his favorite toys. I love the thought that I could bring him at different places because he can appreciate places and experience, he talks and ask questions non-stop and becoming more observant than ever. What I learned about being a parent working in progress is that you will always make mistakes and used those mistakes to learn. As I tread through this challenging, funny, heart-warming and tear inducing younger years of my child, allow me to share some of my realizations and learnings about being a parent.

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

As a mother and parent especially to our first born, we tend to be overprotective and anxious on caring our child. I learned that it will never be helpful if we keep on making mountain out of a molehill. Though it is very critical for us to observe our child’s milestone, too much worrying and anxiousness will never help us. In addition, do not be anxious if your house looks like a mess and not having IG worthy moment to post around the house. Sometimes the great moments are not captured in camera (or phone) lens but in the eyes of the parents and children. Enjoy the times you spent with your child and chores will come in later. After all, how many times will you get to laugh with your kid or had fun in the garden while playing with a hose or mud?


Comparison is Never the Solution

Now that social media and information are readily available and handy to us parents, it is hard not to compare our kids based on what we see on the social media. TV, print ads, Internet and even friends or acquaintances (no matter how far they are to us). These have a profound impact on us especially on getting tips on how to raise our kids and what products we need to use in order to become an effective parents – To become an effective parents, never compare our child to his or her contemporaries, questioning his/her capacity against others. All kids are unique, so we are as parents. No parenting methodology provides one size that fits all. As a parent it is still our discretion to decide, which works for us and effective for the peace of our home and family.


Nobody is Perfect so you are not a Super Parent

As a parent, we tend to be anxious that we would be labeled or grouped in the bad parents category. I learned that it is OK to say when there are times you feel sad, tired and frustrated. It is ok to take a break and it is ok when you need alone time when things get too overwhelming. We are all normal beings. There are days when the sun shines and there are days when rain pours. I learned not to pressure myself if things did not go well – like when my son woke up late because I overslept too, I was not able to prepare breakfast, I forgot to sort out our clothes, I forgot to buy his favorite snack at grocery and I just feel so tired that I need a break. We are not Transformer’s Autobots or airplane’s autopilot. The world will go on if we commit few bloopers and mistakes. At the end of the day, we learn a lot from our bloopers and mistakes, and sometimes looking back it will make us laugh and appreciate life.


Love Yourself

Having a “me” time is not bad. One of the things I still struggle is making a habit on meditating. But when I do make a quick devotion in the midst of my busy schedule at the office, I am still reading and answering my “Busy Mom’s Book of Inspiration”. The book includes insights and tips on motherhood, parenting and family that are based on bible verses and quotes. One of the passages tells about mother’s love to her children, and in addition loving and appreciating ourselves.

“Be glad when they succeed and concerned when they struggle, but your personal happiness shouldn’t rise and fall based upon what’s going on with your child. That’s too much pressure for anyone, especially a kid. Love them and care for them, but don’t make them the center of the universe. ”

When we became parents we tend to prioritize our kids above anything else and think of ways to make them feel loved. Most of us would admit that we tend to shift our focus more on our kids. But we should not forget to take care of ourselves. No matter what life situation we are in, never forget to take care ourselves – it could be spending a day in a spa, doing yoga, have catch up dinner date with our closest girlfriends or mommy friends, a date night with our hubby, buy a makeup and be pretty, do your favorite arts and crafts activity, or just get a good book to read for a quick break from reality. Never forget the things that make you smile or the dreams you want to become a reality. A happy wife and mother is also an equivalent of an effective wife, parent and individual.


Prayer Works

As parents, we all wanted our kids to grow up God-fearing and good individual. Raising our kids is a challenge because we exert our effort in ensuring that our kids grow in a loving and caring environment. We are most proud when we heard them doing their own prayers but one of the most effective tools on how we deal being parents is through prayers. Prayer for a longer patience when every tactical plan for discipline goes awry, prayer for protection, prayer that someday my son will grow up a better individual, and prayer that he will be able to enjoy and learn a lot in his new school.

I know prayer works and a lot of times when we think we are a failure as a parents, it soothes and comfort us knowing that our prayer to God that we are being steered in the right direction.


KISP – Keep It Simple, Parents!

I learned that being a parent, we need to keep things simple. I know we all want an IG moment of “awwww” and “likes” in our profile but always remember that simple moments and things create a lasting impression in our child’s memories. They might not remember the grand birthday parties they had when they turned one year old but the times when you kissed their ouchies, play with them on a sunny afternoon, do errands with them and travel to new places.

In addition, do not force or pressure our kids to do things we wanted to do. Let them explore their interests and hobbies. I learned that as a parent, it is also important to observe and see which objects, things, subjects our kids wanted. Do not force them to learn dancing when what they love is singing and do not force them to learn a lot of things all of once that in the end they really don’t know what they wanted because everything offered to them is too overwhelming.


I know in the future that there would still be lots of learnings and realizations, but one thing that I always remind myself that I am not perfect and there are lots of things to learn, what is important is that working in progress as parents means trying his/her best to provide and bring out the best in our kids. We should not forget that as parents our kids look up to us as their role models, inspiration and source of strength. Enjoy the small moments with laughter and smiles because one day, we will look back to them as our fondest memories as family.

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Can’t Miss Events: Kevin Kwan’s Manila Book Tour

Last month FullyBooked announced that they will host Kevin Kwan for his book tour of his newly released book, Rich People Problems. Kevin Kwan is the author of the international best-selling trilogies: The Crazy Rich Asian (2013), China Rich Girlfriend (2015), and the most-recent Rich People Problems (2017).

A few months back, I just bought my first copy of Crazy Rich Asian and fell in love with novel. The book is funny, entertaining and addicting. I fell in love with the book’s characters Rachel, Nick, Astrid and Charlie. After buying my first book (with blessing from my very understanding husband), I got the second book and recently purchased the third and last book of the trilogy. Not only that the book is quite addicting but I also love that the background of the story takes place in the beautiful country of Singapore. The Crazy Rich Asian book is also turned into a movie and just last June 2017, the shooting and filming wrapped up in Singapore.

Since I love the book and looking forward to see the upcoming movie, I did not miss the chance to attend Kevin Kwan’s book tour. He already visited Philippines last 2015 to promote China Rich Girlfriend book and came back again to promote his newly released book and the upcoming movie. Thankfully the schedule for book signing is located to various places in Manila so there are five choices and schedule for me to choose. I chose going to FullyBooked’s flagship store in Bonifacio High Street in Taguig City for the registration and book signing activity.


The event started at two o’clock in the afternoon and you can almost feel the anticipation of each and every book fans who went. After a few minutes Kevin Kwan appeared and started the event by reading one of the excerpts of Rich People Problem which is during Rosalind Fung’s Christian Fellowship Banquet at Fullerton Hotel Singapore. The audience laughed at the funny story lines between Eleanor and her friends remarks and the incident that happened during the Fellowship Banquet.

After Kevin read a few excerpts of his book, the host proceed with a question and answer portion. Kevin gamely answered all the questions regarding on his book’s characters, inspiration and personal preferences. The audience was also given a chance to personally asked Kevin about the book and the movie. I was also lucky to personally asked him a question about his book. I also took mental notes for some of the key takeaways during his question and answer portion:

About the Books:

  • Kevin Kwan has a personal inspiration for Astrid Leong’s character in the book
  • Some parts of Kevin Kwan’s trilogy is based from his personal experience while growing up in Singapore and United States
  • The different locations mentioned in the trilogy are also based from Kevin Kwan’s travels such as India, Sydney, London and Palawan, Philippines.
  • In Rich People Problems book, the famous scene at Rosalind Fung’s Christian Fellowship Banquet where someone hurled a laksa was based from author’s personal experience
  • It took him fifteen years to publish his first book – Crazy Rich Asians and it went international best seller
  • The challenge in writing the book is that there are too many characters and story lines. (It was his answer to my question)
  • The first character he wrote in the book is about Eleanor Young
  • He was a creative director for some of the famous magazines around US, working for Martha Stewart, Oprah and other publishing houses.
  • His first love was writing, so he just decided to take a try. There was an instances that his first book proposal was rejected by different publishers, but he did try and finally get to publish his first book
  • Kevin shared to his audience that for the next book he will publish would focus on one of the characters of the Crazy Rich Asian Trilogy

About the Movie:

  • Kris Aquino is part of the cast of the Crazy Rich Asian movie – Kevin Kwan said that Kris did all her best to impress the movie director Jon Chu and the movie producer to get the part
  • Aside from Kris, there are other Filipina actresses that were suggested to audition for different roles – Kim Chiu and Heart Evangelista were suggested to audition and some Filipino actors as well.
  • The movie was shot in Singapore and Malaysia
  • Kevin Kwan also helped in selection of lead actors and casts
  • Initially, HBO offered Kevin Kwan to do a series with the book but it was instead turned into a movie – which fans are eagerly waiting for the release of the trailer
  • Crazy Rich Asian movie was Henry Golding’s first acting debut – he was the lead actor and cast as Nicholas Young
  • It was twenty six years since the last time Hollywood produced a movie with whole Asian actors as cast. The last movie was Joy Luck Club (which is written by Amy Tan) and was also an inspiration to Kevin Kwan.

After the question and answer, audiences was asked to line up and do the book signing and picture-taking. I was thankful to have my book signed and personally meet one of my favorite authors. I must say that the feeling is very elating and surreal.

It was no secret that I love reading and collecting books by my favorite author and it was a real delight to have my book personally signed by my favorite author. I am looking forward for Kevin Kwan’s new books and the future and the movie. It was one of my weekends best spent.

P.S. Thank you to Fullybooked for organizing Kevin Kwan’s book tour and special credits to the pictures 🙂 (the ones without watermarks)

Happiness Project: The Joys of Spending Weekends at Home

Weekday’s flurry of activities is overwhelming. There are numerous errands to attend, activities to be finished and things to plan and organize. For working and busy parents, it is a never ending tasks to accomplish. Weekends became your sacred time to replenish and renew your strength and bond with your family.

When I was younger, weekends for me is equivalent to going to mall for shopping, eating and meeting up friends; have a quick weekend getaway at nearby provinces or if my budget allows; and lastly fly across different islands and go the beach to refresh.

Currently, weekend for me is a different approach. You always do your stuff with your family. It is also the time where you need to rest and accomplish all your personal errands. Having a family should not hinder you from doing things you love but you get to see the different perspective of life. I know looking back at my previous activities, there are changes in my routine and tasks. I get to appreciate having to sleep longer, having my own personal quiet time, catch up with my reading and playing with my son. There is a joy in doing simple things. Sometimes, the simple things that keep you happy all weekend, will make your work week bearable and glitch free.

Don’t get me wrong I still love to do weekend trips to mall from time to time and staycations / vacations outside our home, but taking a break in the comforts of your home and appreciate simple things make you grateful and appreciate the stillness of life.

    • There is a joy in weekend fun in village – walks in the playground, swimming in the clubhouse, biking around the village and jogging at the nearby amusement park
    • There is a certain joy when you cook with the family. As simple as cooking pancakes for breakfast, baking cookies for afternoon snack or preparing dinner with our kids.
    • Sometimes it is fun to binge watch your favorite rom-com movies or catching up with your favorite TV series
    • I love weekends wherein I could lie in my bed while reading books. It is a great feeling to relax while holding your favorite book and keep yourself warm by your cozy sheets
    • Weekend naps and rest are best when you are surrounded by the earthy scent of natural oils in diffusers and dehumidifier.
    • Simple activity such as going to market for fresh produce and grocery makes you look forward for weekends knowing after your errands you will cook your favorite lunch or dinner.
    • Hubby and I has this one habit every weekend that we always love: Having a fresh brewed coffee or steeped tea during weekend breakfast. It feels good having coffee outside your house while enjoying the morning mist.
    • Listen to your favorite music while cleaning your house
    • Decluttering your home, it is a good feeling to see your spaces and corner in order.

Sometimes staying at home looks boring especially if you have a car to get around the nearby malls or places of interest. But as they always say, there is no place like home, especially if you spent the weekend lounging and resting. In addition, staying at home means less expenses on eating out and buying unnecessary stuff while you were in the mall. I also noticed that I appreciate less noise and peaceful surrounding compared with the usual hustle and bustle of crowds. Your home becomes your valued sanctuary during your rest period.

How about you, what are your simple home activities you love to do every weekend or de-stressing activities that make you feel like staying at home for the weekends?

[Image credit from Heather Stillufsen of Rosehill Designs]

Travel Tales: Nature Trip at Singapore Zoo

As I continue to provide details on our 2016 Singapore trip, one of our unforgettable experiences is in Singapore Zoo. Among all the other places of interest, Singapore Zoo is one of my son’s favorite places that we visited. Singapore Zoo is one of the most popular tourist attractions along with Jurong Bird Park, River Safari and Night Safari. For my son’s birthday, we decided to bring him to the zoo and have fun on his special day by meeting all the animals he saw on the books and TV. And I guess I was right on hunch to bring him in the zoo because I believe he will have a best time of his life. Even after our trip, he keeps on telling stories to his grandparents and friends on his trip to the zoo and all the animals he met and saw.

Based on the Wildlife Reserve website, Singapore Zoo occupies 28 hectares (69 acres) on the margins of Upper Seletar Reservoir within Singapore’s heavily forested central catchment area. The zoo was built at a cost of S$9 million granted by the government of Singapore and opened on 27 June 1973. It is operated by Wildlife Reserves Singapore, who also manages the neighboring Night SafariRiver Safari and the Jurong BirdPark. There are about 315 species of animal in the zoo, of which some 16 percent are considered to be threatened species. The zoo attracts 1.7 million visitors each year.


Getting there was quite far from our place of stay. We used the Singapore’s MRT and almost stopped at all train stations across Singapore. It took us at least an hour and a half to reach the nearest station to go to the zoo. We alighted at Woodlands Station and traverse the Causeway Mall to find a taxi that will bring us to Singapore Zoo. We paid 10 SGD for the trip and then went inside to avail the tickets. After getting our tickets our journey and experience with Singapore Zoo starts.


Upon getting inside we were able to meet monkey hanging from the tree and otters rolling around the pond. My son was so excited seeing the animals. The zoo also uses hidden barriers and natural enclosures that you feel that the animals are in open display. There are hidden barriers with grass, moats and glass enclosure. Another feature of the zoo that I love is that it is well-maintained and has many animal species on display. I had to admit, I’ve been to different zoos before in the Philippines but seeing a lot of animals that I only used to see on Internet and books are a surreal experience. It was my first time to see these animals:


Polar Bear






White Tiger

Tree Kangaroo

Big Tortoise




Wild Dogs



Plougshare Tortoise


Pygmy Hippopotamus




Komodo Dragon





Aside from animal display, my family and I watched two animal shows which feature the Asian Elephants and Nature Conservation which is very appealing and enjoyable with kids. My son was in awe seeing elephants at work and showing off their skills and the different types of animals which shows their different talent and skills while educating people the importance of wildlife conservation and taking care of nature. The schedule of the shows is being listed in the Singapore Zoo pamphlet they distribute to the visitors.

Another highlight of our trip is that we let our son experience feeding of the animals. We fall in line with Giraffe Feeding activity so that we would be able to meet the giraffe up close and personally feed it. You have to pay 5 SGD to avail the giraffe’s foods which consist of sweet potato and carrots. My son was so excited and happy seeing the giraffe first hand and able to experience the feeding. After our feeding, he wouldn’t stop talking about it. We also availed the free tram rides in the zoo because the zoo is so large and would take more time to walk all the places of interest. We even used the map to check if we already covered all the animals we wanted to see. It took us a day to visit the zoo and I must admit that it is tiring to roam around and check out all places. During the last leg of our visit in the zoo, we already availed the tram rides because our feet were already sore from whole day of walking. The experience of Singapore Zoo was a memorable, fun and one of a kind experience for our family. It made me realized that it was a good decision to spend my son’s special day in the zoo because it was one of his memorable trips.

What I Love Singapore Zoo

  1. It is clean and well-maintained.
  2. Though the place is quite far to city centre, it is accessible to all types of transportation. There are also buses that offer trips to the zoo and you need to check the schedule of departure and location. In addition it is also near within Woodlands MRT and getting a taxi going to and from the zoo is not a problem.
  3. It was fun experience seeing animals for the first time. (Hello white tiger and polar bear)
  4. I love their animal shows. Everyone will enjoy their shows especially the kids
  5. The zoo offers knowledge on animals and encourages everyone to protect the wildlife
  6. The 2.50 SGD chicken legs sold at their food kiosks. (It was a quick and delicious snack). You can also bring your packed lunch. Restaurants lines and tables tend to be full during lunch hours so it is also best to bring packed lunch – just ensure that you clean the place after eating.
  7. The ticket kiosks for online reservation. It was an automated machine which produces your tickets in an instant
  8. The zoo is managed by Wildlife Reserves and has the support of Government of Singapore. I loved the fact that Singapore Government is taking part in conserving wildlife and each animal is adopted by different organizations and companies across Singapore. (It reminds me of Philippine Eagle Conservation Center in Davao City)
  9. It exceeded my expectation. I had to admit my zoo experiences in the Philippines were very far from what I’ve seen in Singapore. I wish our country would also improve and upgrade Manila Zoo in the Philippines because I’ve seen how Singapore ensure that even though they are progressing economically, they are also taking an active role on promoting wildlife and nature conservation. Plus, it is very educational to see the animals up-close and learn about their habitat.
  10. I also had a good time with the giraffe feeding session with my son.


Tips while visiting Singapore Zoo

  1. Make sure you wear comfortable clothes and shoes. While our visit is not too hot on a November day, it is still best advised to dress comfortably. Also wear shoes or slippers that will provide comfort because most of your visit will be walking around the area.
  2. Reserve tickets via online website. When you get via online website, you have complimentary tram rides during your visit. The complimentary tram ride saved us at least 45 SGD because each times your ride a tram you need to pay 5 SGD for each person. We tried the tram rides three times and it saved us time from walking and the money we saved was used for our lunch.
  3. Bring insect repellants. Make sure you apply insect repellant lotion and stickers especially to your kids prior to going to the zoo.
  4. Bring water and light snacks. Strolling across the zoo can be very tiring especially to your little ones so it is best to have a quick drink and light snack especially on peak hours on restaurants.
  5. It is best to go there early so you may be able to see the whole zoo and shows offered. The zoo opens as early as 8:00 AM.
  6. Bring extra shirts or clothes during your visit. You may want to change your clothes after a whole day of strolling at the zoo
  7. Time your visit. Check out the shows and feeding schedule in the pamphlet. It is fun to experience the animal shows and animal feeding. (That is why it is better to arrive at the zoo early in the morning)
  8. Enjoy the day!
  9. If you have toddlers or pre-school kids, it is advisable to bring strollers in the zoo for convenience. There are also available strollers for rent but you need to shell out few Singapore dollars to avail it. The strollers for rent are first come first serve basis. So it is best to bring your trusty strollers with you.

Our Singapore Zoo is one big memorable experience for us!

Andy Speaks: Reason, Season and Lifetime

One of the things I love during my breaks is reading quotes and mantras. I came across this very interesting blog because of this poem that really makes sense. Looking back on my younger years, sometimes there is a lingering doubt on trusting people and when to let go when things did not work out. Later on in life, I realized that people come, go, change, grow and leave. This poem is a good leverage for us to realize that nothing is permanent in the world and we should be grateful that God gave us people who will stay with us for a lifetime, people who came and left for a reason and people who stay for a season to teach us important lessons in life.


Reason, Season, or Lifetime

People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.
When you figure out which one it is,
you will know what to do for each person.


When someone is in your life for a REASON,
it is usually to meet a need you have expressed.
They have come to assist you through a difficulty;
to provide you with guidance and support;
to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually.
They may seem like a godsend, and they are.
They are there for the reason you need them to be.


Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time,
this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end.
Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away.
Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand.
What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled; their work is done.
The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.


Some people come into your life for a SEASON,
because your turn has come to share, grow or learn.
They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh.
They may teach you something you have never done.
They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy.
Believe it. It is real. But only for a season.


LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons;
things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation.
Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person,
and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.
It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.

— Unknown



How about you? Are you a reason, a season or a lifetime for someone’s happiness and life journey?

Andy Speaks: Reminders from Dad

Fathers are special creatures. They are considered the very foundation of our home and the leader of the family. There are lots of commercials and advertisings that will remind of this special day and why our fathers are the superheroes of our lives. Some of the commercials are funny and heart-warming and above all I can truly relate to some of the clips. But what makes Father’s Day special to me is that I am glad and blessed to have a father who is our source of strength and inspiration in our lives. He was a great provider to our family and a loving spouse to my mother. When I had a family of my own, I did truly appreciate to have a wonderful father growing up because he instilled discipline and lessons that defines who I am today.
Just in time for this special day, allow me to share some of the wonderful reminders from my dad:

Be Nice and Courteous

My dad used to work in a multinational company for twenty years. In all of those years, family outings and get-togethers were being organized in their company to promote camaraderie among employees and their family members. Most of his colleagues became our family friends. Every time we attend these family outings, my father always remind us to be nice and courteous to his work mates and their family members. He never forgets to remind us to use “Po” and “Opo” and behave nicely. Even during the time I am already working, he keeps on reminding me the value of being nice to everyone. What he means about being nice to “Everyone”, includes managers, boss, co-workers, janitors, security guards and other office personnel. My dad always says that you will never know when you will need someone’s help so it really pays to be nice and courteous all the time

Save, Save, Save!

One of my favorite lines from my father is “Piso nalang ang kalabaw, hindi ka pa makabili dahil wala ka naipon”. My mom and dad always remind me to save up for the rainy days especially during the time that I started working. During my single days, my parents knew that I have an impulsive habit to buy clothes, shoes, bags and then later on splurge on travels. All through the years, they keep on reminding me the value of saving during rainy days because you will never know what will happen when you are dire need of money during life’s emergencies. And now that I have a family of my own, having a savings is really a must. Throughout the years, my parents’ advice to save came in handy especially in times of sickness, retrenchment and emergencies.

Dress for Success

My mother used to say that my dad has a fine taste for clothing for someone who loves simple and classic clothes. When I started working he keep on reminding me to dress up nicely and wear something appropriate so that it show and impose respect by how you look professionally. He always reminds me to choose classic pieces and accessories. He says that for a person who is working in a corporate field, a woman should be dressed tastefully and elegant. He keeps on reminding me that dressing nicely has an impact with managers and colleagues. It is one of the lessons I carry on till now. One of my unforgettable moments with my father was when I invited them in my former office for a vaccination schedule. My family went all the way to Libis and meets me at our office lobby. My father was used on seeing me with my tattered pajamas and my bird’s nest hair at home, so when then met me at the lobby, he did a double take on my look. That time I was wearing black blazer, black slacks, white shirt and black stiletto high heels. My mom told me later on, that when my father saw me in our office, made his heart swelled with pride not only because of my professional look but also seeing his daughter working in a corporate office.

All People Bled Same Blood – Never Feel Inferior with Others

My father used to tell me that never to feel insecure or inferior to others. All people bled the same blood and all people have different strengths and weaknesses. Never allow other people to make you feel less of a human. One of the things I always I appreciate with my father is that he never compare us to other kids or other cousins. He always says that there is no joy in comparing ourselves to others and try to see the best in ourselves. Growing up, these words increase my self-esteem and confidence in facing different challenges when dealing with other people.

There are Blessings / Opportunities in Failures
My father used to tell me that “Failures are often blessing in disguise” and it was indeed true. I have experience different failures in life and at times even moments of sadness but having a father who cheers you up and keeps you good spirit somehow makes the difference. This is one of my treasured words of wisdom from my father, it did encourage to me try and persevere. No matter how hard the path towards your goal and dreams, the Lord will always guide us towards our right direction.

Travel (Travel the World if possible)
When I was a little kid, I love riding the ships and airplanes going to our province. I love watching the sunrise, sunset and the deep blue waters of the sea. I love asking my dad a lot of questions about how ships work, where our ship / airplane is heading, what are those abbreviations found in the airport / ship tickets and a lot more. My dad patiently explains each and every answer to my questions. He does not mind if I go exploring the whole ship or observe the airplane from my window seat. My father encourages me to travel and discover places (if time and budget permits and if and only if I have enough savings to cover for my travel and emergency fund). He said that there is a difference kind of rush in travelling and it was a surreal experience because one day you were just watching it from the Travel Channel and then later on you will see yourself walking around the famous landmarks or places. Travel also helps you learn a lot about culture, communication and history which helps you to become more open minded and conscious at the ways of the world.

I also used to remember during the time when I was asking for permission to fly out of the country. At first my dad would not allow me to do it because I am on my own, but I told him that it was him who encouraged us to travel. After all the discussion of pros and cons of travelling, he relented, told me to take good care of myself and even asked my mom to give a little shopping allowance in case I wanted to buy something in Singapore. Eventually I fly to Singapore, had the best time of my life and learn to appreciate life’s different kinds of journey.

Invest in Sturdy and Lasting Items

My father always reminds me not to buy impulsively and save up for an investment worthy pieces. Be it a house, car, clothes, a piece of jewelry, furniture and appliances. He told me that sturdy and quality branded items last longer compared to cheap and short term use finds. He also tells me to plan for things to buy or home improvement needed to ensure that the budget will cover everything and will not end up in a less than satisfactory results. I also appreciate that since he knows about home planning and improvement, he was the one who helped us in layout and planning of our house. With his help, we were able to achieve our initial plans for our house layout and made it livable for our family.

No Self Respecting Woman will go After a Man who Has No Integrity

My father always reminding me about valuing myself while in a relationship, he also tells me that when a guy has a good intention in a woman, the guy will do the pursuing and wooing; not the other way around. He also tells me that when a man fell astray it is no use to go after him just to preserve the relationship. And never ever be the woman who steals someone’s husband or become a mistress. Hard as it may sound and quite old-fashioned, but seem true to me. I guess my father like any fathers would want to see his daughter being treated nice and fair.

Education and Knowledge is very important

My dad values education and knowledge very much. He was the one who struggled to ensure that I will finish college even if it means losing his entire company package so that I would be a able to get a good education. Though during our tough times while I was studying I even volunteered to apply as a service crew or student assistant so that I would be able to finance some of my college tuition, my father vehemently denied my suggestion. For him, it is more important to see me graduate and get a degree. He insists that he is the provider in our house and will do in all his power to sustain my education. His only request for me is that I study hard and provide good grades so that I would be able to finish my degree earlier. I did not disappoint my father when my grade slips arrive in our house and graduated less than four years. When I am already working, he encouraged me to take trainings and graduate studies to fortify my career.

Never Use the Excuse that you are a Woman

My father raised us up to be firm and tough. He taught us how to fix things in the house (he is our handyman), how to plan and manage resources. He always reminds us that being a woman is not an excuse to perform certain things that a man can only do. Every time he fixes or improves stuff in our house, he let us watch and sometimes ask for assistance. This way, we know how to perform simple fixes around the house. In addition, my dad teaches us the value of planning and problem solving. And always believe that we will make a difference and be someone in our chosen field.

Value your spouse.
My father showed us what love is all about. It is unconditional and timeless. Despite the distance and disagreements, your spouse is your greatest partner and companion in life. In thirty years of my existence, I saw how my father appreciates my mother and his devotion to us. I never saw my father lift a hand to my mom or even saw them argue. My mother explained to me that just like any normal couple, they also had disagreements and misunderstandings but they never showed it to us because they want to instill in relationships that respect and love is very important. Sometimes we see them tease and banter each other but at the end of the day, my parents’ relationship is one for keeps.

Value your Real Friends
My father always taught me the value of friendship and always reminds me to treasure the friends I had in my life. He always says that having lifelong friends is a blessing and treasure. He also says to choose your friends wisely and carefully. Do not take your friends for granted and be there for them not only in times of fun but also in need. He always reminds me to choose well on who we should keep as friends.

Know where you are going (and returning)

When I was a little girl, one of my favorite activities to do with my father is looking and discovering directions. When I was growing up, it was instilled to me to observe and take note of the landmarks when going to a new place and learn how to return from your point of origin. My dad always reminds me to take note of my surroundings and landmarks. Up until in adulthood, not only I became an observer for directions and landmarks in places I visit but I also applied this with my goal setting direction. Always have an escape plan in case things don’t go the way we planned. Sometimes my hubby teases me for being paranoid but I told him that it make sense to be careful and observant. This trait was also the reason why I love travelling and discovering new places because I love looking for landmarks and doing observations in different locations.

Have a timeline for your dreams and goals.

One of the things that my dad always reminds me of is setting a timeline for all your dreams and goals. He told me that dreams will be dreams and goals will be just goals if we don’t put a timeline that will motivate me to start performing and executing my goals. Having a timeline set, you will be able to determine where you are, what are the things you still need to do and how long will it take you to reach your goal.

Give a Firm Handshake

My father always reminds me that nothing speaks of professionalism when you give a firm hand shake. It signifies commitment and respect. I used to remember that my dad and I would practice doing handshakes. Later on in life, I find it very useful especially when dealing with different colleagues in the corporate world and meeting new people. A firm handshake becomes your trademark in introducing yourself to new and/or potential mentors or friends.

Above all the reminders, I am thankful to God because I had a dad who supports and motivates me, a dad even if I am already married eager to fetch me or give me a ride to work, still loves to buy me watch, help us fix our lights and wirings, play with my son, catching up anf having our favorite Sunday lunch and always a sweet and loving dad!

Andy Speaks: Desiderata




gerund or present participle: comparing

1.estimate, measure, or note the similarity or dissimilarity between.

“individual schools compared their facilities with those of others in the area


form the comparative and superlative degrees of (an adjective or an adverb).

“words of one syllable are usually compared by “-er” and “-est.””

The word compare is a vast and meaningful word when used. It is used to measure and/or note similarities and dissimilarities across different things, people and events. But how could this one simple word can destroy our plans and goals if we are not careful? When we were young we experienced being compared with our siblings, when we were students we were compared to our contemporaries and see if we can fare well in academics and school activities, when we started working, we were compared to our peers and colleagues to see how we measure up to the standard performance evaluation of the organization and when we had our own family we compare ourselves how are we doing in terms of parenting, career and achievements with contemporaries. Isn’t it a bit taxing that right from the start we were being compared to different people at different events and ages of our lives? And now that social media had become a norm in our daily lives comparison becomes an unending habit. How many times do we check the update of our friends and relatives in social media having a glimpse of their semi-charmed life? Did we ever talk to ourselves wishing the images that we are seeing are us? Sometimes we cannot avoid the envious feeling while browsing endless newsfeed in Facebook and Instagram. It stirs anxious thoughts, why it wasn’t me? You know deep in your heart you are capable of achieving and doing the things you see in the social media.

Then the competitive spirit sinks in. You know you were raised to be competitive and you will do at whatever cost it will take to prove that you are not lagging behind based on the things you see. You try your best to fit in, you try your best to have the best holiday, you try your best to prove you were a good parents to your kid and you try your best to look happy while deep inside your thoughts and jealousy is slowly eating you up. Most of us yearn for approval and validation. It is inherent to our core being. Seeing endless images of happiness, travels, relationship goals, children, family and achievements makes us think big about ourselves. Even if we had a grand plan for ourselves drags us down because of we feel like what we are exerting is inadequate. Our insecurities and frustrations that stem when we are still young becomes more powerful because we are set to prove to the world that we are at par and can do the things other people can do. There is nothing wrong with dreaming, planning and goal setting. Success tastes good when we ticked off our dreams and goals.

Dreams and goals are meant to be fulfilled. But always remember, God always know our perfect time. Not everyone can do activities and things at the same time. That is why life is called a journey. Not everyone who is trudging the road goes into a straight path. The path towards success can be murky, muddy, dark, ominous, rocky and sometimes risky. Our happiness lies on simple things and not on luxuries. Our happiness and success will all come together if we learn to focus on our choices and do things the right way. Throw away the jealousy and envy; walk straight through the path where you are headed. Not all people go to one destination. Our world is vast and full of places to see and enjoy. Find your niche and where your passion lies. Not all people arrived at one destination. Look at crossroads as pathway to learning. Comparing is never an answer nor the day to day glimpse of other people’s lives in social media. Our life is our choice and our choice depends on how we trudge our own journey. Always pray and wait for God’s perfect time and learn to understand what “Desiderata” is all about. It is a great reminder for us to be grounded and focus on the things that matter most to us.

When times get too tough and a simple reminder will do, just read this beautiful poem….


P.S. This poem is a personal favorite of mine, it keeps me grounded and sane when all craziness and chaotic thoughts try to dug deep in my psyche.

Travel Tales: Saturday in Singapore – Culture Tour and Museum Hopping

On my earlier posts last December 2016, our Singapore itineraries were planned according to the places of interests around Singapore. Due to my limited time during my first visit, I wasn’t able to drop by in their museums. My good friend Yani, recommended it to me during our 2011 meet-up. As much as I love history, I also loved seeing artworks and visiting museums. In some of our local trips, it is impossible not to visit one museum around the area. I always love the history behind the pictures and artworks. I wanted to understand the sculpture and media being used and what purpose or meaning it serves. On our trip to Singapore, I did request to my husband that we allocate one whole day of exploring Singapore museums. There are six National museums in Singapore and supported by Singapore Government. These are:

  • 8Q SAM
  • Singapore Art Museum (SAM)
  • National Gallery of Singapore
  • National Museum of Singapore
  • Asian Civilization Museum (ACM)
  • Peranakan Museum

Aside from these major museums, there are other museums across different locations in Singapore and not to mention the heritage centers which also features the culture and local people of Singapore. To be honest, I thought that allocating one whole day for the museum hopping, we would be able to cover the six National Museums. I guess I underestimate the time will be spent because one whole day is not enough to explore and see the interesting artworks and learning about the diverse and inspiring culture of Singapore. We were only able to cover half of national museums which are:

  1. Singapore Art Museum (SAM) – Singapore Art Museum is a contemporary art museum which showcases on arts in Singapore and neighboring Southeast Asia countries. When we visited the museum, we were also able to experience and see the Singapore Biennale 2016. The Singapore Biennale features the contemporary artworks of more than 60 artists across Southeast Asia. What is also a revelation to us during our visit is that they featured some of the Filipino artists and their works. The exhibition runs from Oct 2016 to February 2017. The Singapore Biennale 2016 is titled “Atlas of Mirrors” and the fifth exhibition to date. We were lucky to visit the exhibition and happy to see our very own local artists thriving in the international scene. Our tour in Singapore Art Museum was one of the kind because it is not the usual gallery with paintings and artworks hung on the museum. Artists used different media to convey their message and story behind each contemporary artwork. Artists used music, space, local materials, stones, paints and lights to tell stories. In short, you need to expand and explore your thoughts to understand the artworks being featured in each room. I also learned that the Singapore Biennale is also collaborates with our fellow Filipino art curators. One of the highlight in our visit was seeing an artwork produced by a fellow Filipino in the museum’s courtyard. Singapore Art Museum is also accessible via MRT because it is location right next to Bras Basah station. Plus it is near with Food Republic and Tim Ho Wan restaurant in a few minutes’ walk. You can start your museum tour with SAM because it is near MRT and accessible to different food centers.
  1. Peranakan Museum – Peranakan Museum is one of a kind museum. This museum features wide collection of artifacts which depicts Peranakan culture. Peranakans are Chinese immigrants who settled on Malay Archipelago which includes Singapore. The artifacts and wares inside the museum are richly influenced and depict the interesting culture and traditions of Peranakan settlers. The building is a sister museum of Asian Civilization Museum which showcases everything about the diverse culture of South East Asian countries. The museum also boasts the world’s most distinctive collection of Peranakan culture. The building is located in Armenian Street near Singapore’s City Hall and you will pass by interesting houses along the way (which I took a picture).
  1. National Museum of Singapore – The National Museum of Singapore is one of the oldest museums in Singapore. It was known before as Singapore History Museum. Of the three museums we visited, this is where we spend our late afternoon exploring and learning about how Singapore started and their journey on being one of the most progressive countries in the world. Since I am an avid reader of world histories, I am quite amazed how Singapore was established. I am also happy to learn more about their beloved leader Lee Kwan Yew and his famous speeches which made me appreciate more of what Singapore is today. Hubby and I scour the different galleries that depict the start; the struggles and their journey towards success of making a little nation become one of the richest countries in the world. I also loved one of the galleries dedicated on the education and childhood experiences of Singaporean kids because they highly valued education and believes in equipping quality education means success of their people. At an early age, Singaporean kids are taught to read early and appreciate books. Teachers and parents encourage children to read. It made an impact to me to encourage my son to love and appreciate reading. I love the façade of the building and it was sitting right beside the Fort Canning Park in Stamford Street. Hubby and I planned to drop by at the park but due to time constraints, we forego the idea and head towards Esplanade to meet my dear friend.

All in all, we had a great time spending with Singapore’s National Museums. We learned about the culture and tradition of Singaporeans and been able to witness one of their Singapore Biennale. If you are planning your itineraries in Singapore and will be staying for a week, try to visit their museums. The buildings are well-maintained and taken care of. Plus if you plan to visit a lot of museum better get the Singapore Museum pass to avail discounts on their entrance fee.

If given a chance again to go back to Singapore, I would also love to drop by in these museums:

  • National Gallery Singapore
  • Singapore Philatelic Museum (just a few minute walk from Peranakan Museum)
  • Asian Civilization Museum
  • Singaport MINT Museum (A Toy Museum)
  • Chinatown Heritage Centre
  • Art and Science Museum in Marina Bay Sands (My husband and son will really loved it)

Tips on Singapore Hopping in Museum:

  1. Time your visit. Singapore National Museums held exhibition and festivals. You may check on their website on the dates of their exhibition. Due to time constraints we were only able to cover three museums. If you have lots of time to spend in Singapore, you will also enjoy visiting their museums. Most of their national museums are near with each other and you need to have lots of energy and one pair of strong feet because there will be lots of walking and sight seeing to do.
  2. If you are on a budget constraints, check out the promo dates and schedules for free viewing of the galleries and museums. Some museums offer free entrance on Fridays or late at night prior to closing. Best to check again their websites and announcement
  3. Be mindful of museum etiquette and ask if photography is allowed. Some museums do not want flash photography or do not allow any cameras at all. So it’s best to ask around with the guides hovering around galleries.
  4. If you are planning to visit a lot of museums best to get the museum pass. Most of the museums have entrance fee and if you are planning to visit more than one museum get the pass to avail discounts.
  5. If you are with kids, make sure to bring water and little snacks. Museum hopping can also be tiring!

Andy Speaks: Amazing Women Part 2 – Small Dreams, Big Friendship

I know I am a bit late for my series of tribute to the significant women for the International Women’s Month. Please bear with me for I have been very busy lately. I don’t know how I manage but by the grace of God I can still keep up. I don’t know how I can juggle being a wife, a parent, a working mom and a church volunteer but somehow there is a sure strength from God.

In addition to my series, I would never go far in searching for amazing women. I would like to include my high school friends who had been with me for the longest time. Looking back at how we started I thank God for giving me such a wonderful blessing called my high school best friends.

It all happened during the last year of our high school. It was our orientation when I found out from the official school list that I was moved from a different section. Moving from another section means, goodbye to my group of friends (who I’ve been friends with the longest time in high school) and goodbye to my crush (Haha!). I feel so rotten being transferred to another section. During those days I feel like I’ve been sentenced to be exiled at St. Helena. After the orientation, I went home and I cried my heart out in my room. For a fifteen year old during those times, I felt defeated and miserable. I was already racking up on thoughts and fears about adjusting again and fitting in with my new classmates. When my father found out that I have locked myself in my room and was crying the whole day, he talked and coaxed me that life must move on. He did not laugh nor scold me for my misery. Instead, my father encouraged me not to feel defeated but think of the “failure” as a blessing of disguise. He even told me that I might find a new set of friends and God has a better plan for me. Little did I know, my father has a way of predicting good things to come and it had happened.

Bible Quotes About Friendship Bible Quotes On Friendship Quote Addicts

Image from

During our first day of class, I feel rotten about my transfer but I attended my classes. There I met my “classmates” that were also moved in our section – Lyn, Isabel, Grace and Riza. We knew each other because were all classmates since second year high school but we have different set of friends. Adjusting to new section was bearable because we were familiar with each other. After that, we became buddies in our class. We began sitting together and hanging out during breaks and recess periods. In our group, I knew Lyn longer from the rest of our friends because we were classmates since elementary days. Gradually, I learn how to accept my fate in my newly assigned section. As time goes by, we became close to each other and our group was formed. We were inseparable during assignments, projects, PE classes, exam periods and even during lunch. At school we love to hang out at our favorite bench under the mango tree beside our library. After school we love to hang out at Lyn’s house because it was a few minutes walk near our school. At Lyn’s house, we love to talk, cook and watch movies until late in the afternoon. Aside from hanging out we also love exchanging stationary letters, calling each other on the phone, and strolling at Pavillion Mall for Goodwill bookstore and Olivarez Plaza for National Bookstore. At the mall, we would spend hours walking, eating snacks or just sitting in the bookstore aisle reading books.

When I thought my last year in high school was a failure, it was all soon became a blessing. School activities and classes became bearable with my friends. We watch and support each other’s back. I used to remember we all have different crushes but we did not mind not having any boyfriends or going into a relationship because we enjoy each other’s company. For us life was easy and simple because we enjoy our friendship and we even planned to go to same college if our selected degrees are available.

One of my memorable talk with my friends was when we visited Saint Claire Chapel to pray that we will passed our National Secondary Achievement Test (NSAT). It was three months before graduation from high school. While seating in one of the chapel’s bench, we were discussing our dreams and plans for the future. Isabel or Mommy Bhey as we fondly call her, shared that her dream was to travel to different places in the Philippines and nearby countries. Lyn and I agreed too that it was also our dream to travel. That afternoon, we agreed that when we finished our studies in college and had our careers, we will travel the Philippines together. During that time, we didn’t even knew if those dreams will come true but we were hoping for the best.

As our friendship tread through college, got our degree and even had our careers, Mommy Bhey and I worked together in our first job, while Lyn decided to go full time in their family business. We still manage to see each other and catch up. It was our yearly tradition to visit Lyn in their restaurant at Tagaytay and have a good laugh at our experiences in our job and share different stories in life. When things get rough or each of us just wanted to breath or relax, we text or call each other just to talk or sit together doing nothing. When we have enough money to travel, our meet-ups became an out of town trip to relax and have fun. Lyn’s spontaneous call would result in an unexpected booking of flights, spur of the moment road trips, overnight at different places and sleepovers. Our families were so familiar with our group that sometimes we don’t bother to ask permission anymore because we established trust with our parents. We also grew close with each other’s relatives because we get to see and meet them during special events and celebrations.


Image is from H. Stilufsen

What I always loved and appreciated in our friendship that it stood through test of times. We support each other dreams and happy for one’s achievement. Our characters and personality blended perfectly well. We never compete and compare with each other but rather we support each other’s back. When someone experiences heart break or loss, we cry together. When we feel happy and giddy, we laugh and dance together. When someone got tripped, we laugh at her (haha! Just kidding!). When we feel like eating out till our tummies hurts, we just go anywhere to satisfy our cravings. When we feel we just want a break, we go together wherever our feet brought us. We support each other’s life events. We never hide or sugarcoat our opinions to each other and knew each other well to feel that something is amiss or wrong. We knew each other’s quirks and temper. During our younger years when we were dating or going out with someone, we were so comfortable with our friendship that we share the details of our observation and opinion about the person our friend is dating. We always have no-holds barred conversation and we knew each other’s preference and taste. We know how a certain situation or things that made us go ballistic. In short, we were sisters who will always be there for each other no matter what time and event is coming.

As I wrapped up this entry, I am always and forever grateful for meeting and having such good friends from high school. Since our friendship has been growing including our dear Fourth Year High School adviser, our husbands and kids, it was our ultimate dream to have an out of town getaway / get together. I know by God’s grace, we will be having one. Looking back our little girl’s dream became a reality and happy for the experiences we share in bonded across different islands in the Philippines. Our small talks became an inspiration for us to do better and reach for our small dreams. My friends are such an amazing women and inspiration in my life!


Snapshot of our friendship. Some of our most memorable trips…