Thursday, December 08, 2016

Knowing the Difference Between Personality and Character

"When your circle of friends decreases in size, it actually increases in value." I am a believer of that quote. For many years, I've said YES to so many people in attempts to avoid conflicts and preserve personal and professional connections. However, I slowly and painfully learned that not all of them deserved to be nurtured because they were one-sided relationships.

Oprah Winfrey said, "Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo,
but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you
when the limo breaks down."
Based on a lot of bad experiences in the past, I've found that not everyone who appears to be nice, funny, and friendly all the time can be trusted. Instinctively, I knew what qualities I want to see in people I'd want to surround myself with but couldn't exactly explain how and why I came to that point.  

That question was finally answered when I recently attended a Personal Branding workshop at La Vie Institute located at Commercenter in Alabang. I experienced several light bulb moments that day as our mentor, Ren Ming Zi, clarified ideas that used to be amorphous concepts in my brain. She affirmed the validity of the many thoughts that have been going around in my mind and I am grateful for the enlightenment.

"Character is doing the right thing when no one is looking."
One of the top things that resonated with me is the differentiation between Personality and Character. Finally, it's now easier to for me to grasp why I've never warmed up to certain people or why I drifted away from some. In a nutshell -- it's because we don't share the same values.

Have you experienced meeting individuals who appear to be very likeable because they love paying others compliments, they always have a smile for everyone, and are generous in giving gifts? I am not saying all of them are not genuinely nice but I've honestly encountered fake ones. 

going with the flow is not always a good thing
learn when you have to say NO

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Pru Life UK's 2016 Relationship Index Reveals Helpful Results for Filipinos

Filipinos are known to value our families much more than those from other nations. This is evident in the way we try to take good care of our elderly and the efforts many of us make to give our children the best lives possible.

Filipinos are known to highly value family
photo credit: Imagefully.com
This 2016, Pru Life UK launched Asia’s first Relationship Index, a study across ten (10) Asian countries that measured peoples’ satisfaction with their primary relationships and what can be done to improve them. These pertain to relationships with partners, children, family, and friends.

Results showed that the Philippines ranked second (next to Vietnam) out of 10 Asian countries in terms of relationship fulfillment with a satisfaction score of 79/100. This means Filipinos’ primary relationships, on average, fulfill 79% of their desired relationship needs.

“Relationships are at the heart of our business. We know our customers buy our products to protect the people and relationships they care most about. We also know that good relationships are crucial to our happiness and good health,” explained Pru Life UK CEO and President Antonio de Rosas during the Index’s media launch held in Dusit Thani, Makati City.

Q and A moderated by event host Tonipet Gaba with Antonio de Rosas, Rose Fausto,
Marie Lee of IPSOS, and Gizelle Villareal-Camua of Pru Life UK

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Blog Giveaway: 2 Sets of Personal Finance Books by Chinkee Tan and Marvin Germo

Parents, I believe, are the best teachers who should guide our children towards a successful future. Unfortunately, many of us are not equipped to transfer adequate knowledge about personal finance

my son, at age 9, already learned that small things add up over time
That's one of my frustrations, actually -- my generation's lack of education on properly handling money. Filipinos are fortunate these days though because so many resources are available to those who are willing to learn. 

As part of my personal advocacy to help improve fellow Filipinos' financial literacy, I am giving away a set of two personal finance books each to two of my readers, courtesy of CSM Publishing, a publisher of many helpful and inspiring books.  

two sets of books for two winners!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Wüsthof Launches Classic Line and Holds Knife Skills Class at Gourdo's

I learned to cook proper meals when I became a wife and mom more than 20 years ago. It's one of the ways I show my love for my family -- to provide them with delicious and nutritious meals that I enjoy making in the kitchen.

a good cook knows how important sharp knives are in the kitchen
One of my pet peeves though is having to use dull knives. Most times, trying to sharpen existing ones that were poorly made would just give us damaged blades. Some knives also break off from their handles. So, over the years, my husband and I kept buying various types of knives that could help us be more efficient in preparing and cooking meals. 

Imagine how glad I am to finally be able to attend a Knife Skills Class at Gourdo's where I learned so much about knives! The class featured Wüsthof knives, which are being manufactured in Solingen, Germany for over 200 years.

Chef Brando after demonstrating how to cut a whole chicken

Thursday, November 24, 2016

What to Prepare and Expect Before Getting a Mammogram

Earlier this month, I posted a giveaway for a free 3D Tomosynthesis Mammogram at Health Cube because I really wanted to encourage other women, especially those who NEED to undergo the procedure, to be proactive when it comes to our health.

I underwent the procedure myself because I don't want to take chances. I've learned years ago that when it comes to our wellbeing, it is better to get diagnosed early with whatever medical condition we have rather than find out about it too late and be needing intensive and more costly treatments. 

a bit nervous but ready for mammo
Prior to your mammogram appointment, here are reminders from Ms. Tes Mendoza of Health Cube Advanced Medical Imaging Unit:
  1. Do not apply deodorant, perfume, and/or powder on your underarm and near your breast
  2. Undergo the procedure 7 to 10 days AFTER the first day of menstruation to minimize discomfort
  3. If you underwent a previous mammogram/breast ultrasound before, please bring the results
  4. Wear a top with skirt or pants instead of a dress
mammo technicians' monitoring area

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

La Granja de Reyna: a Place for Planting and Reaping

Martina Reyna is an agricultural engineer by profession. She worked in government for four years before deciding to cultivate her in-laws' large plot of land in Tacloban City. According to her, La Granja de Reyna's original area was 15.8 hectares, the first property bought by her husband's parents in 1935 for P500 and a sack of rice. 

a view from the top of La Granja's hill
Many years later, as neighboring owners started selling their lands, the Reyna property expanded into 51 hectares with one hectare donated for senior citizens. Tina started developing La Granja and registered it with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in 1994. It is now home to 13 varieties of fruit trees, 5000 coconut trees, high-value crops used as salad ingredients, and several kinds of livestock. 

one of the lettuce plots
The farm harvests around P2,000 worth of lettuce in a day and supplies these to Chowking and Ocho, a local restaurant in the city. It also produces a continuous supply of organic fertilizer totaling 500 bags per week, ready for delivery. 

a beautiful torch flower growing at the entrance of a hut

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Filipino Artist KC Nevada: Merging Passions and Changing Lives

A very chosen few are gifted with the talent for art and it is heartwarming to know when someone with that gift uses it not only for personal expression but, more so, for making a difference.


Korina Carla “KC” Nevada became aware of her innate artistic abilities when she learned ballet as a very young girl. Her natural gravitation into theater arts helped KC understand herself better as well as how to interpret the world around her. Painting became the springboard from which her style of passion-based art evolved. 

Born and raised in Baguio City, KC took her first painting lessons at age eight under local renowned artist, Ted Caia. This began her understanding of the technique, balance, and harmony in painting.

a beautiful painting of trees

Friday, November 18, 2016

Countless Lessons Filipinos Should Learn from OMRO (Organikong Magsasaka ng Rehiyon Otso)

Sometime last year, a group of farmers from Region 8 met during an Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) seminar on Organic Agriculture Internal Control Systems (ICS). Mike Pedroso recalled talking with his fellow farmers during the five-day seminar where they all agreed that the 'high' they get from those kinds of trainings usually last for about two weeks before it wanes … and only returns when the next training happens.

OMRO entrusts these planting materials to poor farmers
who need a push in the right direction
"So we decided to organize ourselves so we can help other farmers beyond the government's reach," shared Mike. Thus, Organikong Magsasaka ng Rehiyon Otso (OMRO) or Organic Farmers of Region 8 was born, composed of members coming from the six provinces of Eastern Visayas.

Recently, our group of Organic Agriculture Bloggers met several OMRO members in Mike Pedroso Farms located in Calbayog, Samar. There, we were invited to join their tree growing activity (read all about it here) and were inspired by each of their stories on how they struggled to develop their farms, found success through hard work, and are now helping other farmers.

Jun Paredes, OMRO President, believes that small things
can lead to success if utilized properly
OMRO President Jun Paredes affirmed how important it is for them to be able to share what they've learned in the course of improving their own farms. "Knowledge cannot be stolen. No rich man could ever steal what is in your mind and in your heart."

This noble transfer of learnings and materials is their basis for creating the KITS Journey, which they partnered with the Lakbay Alay (sort of like a sacrificial travel) project. These initiatives entail OMRO members to leave their farms for a few days to visit far-flung areas so they can unselfishly share Knowledge, Inputs, Technology, and Services to farmers who need them.

organic produce are healthy, safe, and chemical-free food

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Mike Pedroso Farms: An Armchair Farmer's Journey to Developing an Integrated Diversified Organic Farm

Nestled at the foot of a hill in Carayman, Calbayog in Samar, Eastern Visayas is an integrated diversified organic farm that started as a dream. Back in 1986, Engr. Mike Pedroso was still working in the corporate world when he became, what he called, an "armchair farmer." 

Engr. Mike Pedroso carrying two bags of pandesal for our breakfast 😋
"I was a subscriber of an agriculture magazine for two years. Reading them was how my love for farming developed," he recalled. In 1994, Mike had an accident that left him immobile for 21 days and had him underwent physical rehabilitation for four months. He spent this time making plans to go into farming someday.

Finally, he decided to leave the corporate jungle in 1999 and began cultivating his piece of land by walking a kilometer each day carrying five seedlings to plant. "It was only then that I realized the magnitude of challenges our farmers face and why many of them remain poor," he confided, lamenting that farm-to-market roads are not being given priority by the government. Instead, the infrastructure budgets mostly go to the continuous repairs and improvements of highways and main thoroughfares.   

new life growing on a jackfruit tree branch

Monday, November 14, 2016

5 Tips for Newbie Runners From Someone Who Used to Be One

If you’ve been saying you want to start leading a more active lifestyle and you think running might work for you as a good form of exercise, this post is for you! ☺ 

I was a reluctant runner in the past, you know. But once I decided that I needed to do this for wellness and my children’s sakes, I never had regrets that I shouldn’t have started running in the first place.

a shot from one of our practice runs
I’m writing this post to encourage friends and new acquaintances to pursue running because it’s one of the cheapest forms of exercise (unless you register in actual races) that do not require a gym membership. Here’s sharing five things I did as a newbie runner more than two years ago:

1. Identify the reasons why you want to run. Here are mine:
  • to keep myself as fit as possible so I don’t easily get tired; I no longer go huffing and puffing when I climb long flights of stairs and I am now very confident to walk long distances (think middle of the Skyway to Magallanes or Ayala – I’ve done that!) when I get stuck in heavy traffic for more than an hour or two
  • to maintain my current body size because I don’t want to spend for a whole new wardrobe if I get bigger
  • most importantly, to stay healthy so I would be around longer for my children, especially since my third son has special needs
Keeping your goals in mind will always motivate you to keep on pushing yourself to suit up and run.

pain, train, push, sweat, fuel, and finish!

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