I had the chance to watch Salt last Wednesday thanks to NuffnangPH and Heaven Ice Cream. Hubby and I, and one of our sons, enjoyed the movie (and the free ice cream :p) tremendously.

If you're thinking about what to watch this weekend, my review of Salt at HerWord.com might help you decide :)



WIN ONE OF SIX TICKETS I'm giving away for Ambient Media's Show Tickler this coming Saturday, July 31, 2010.

This will feature artists who will be holding concerts later this year. So watch out for their individual shows too!

Mechanics: (edited as of 7/30/2010, 12:00nn)
1. Create a blog post in your blog about this contest and add why you would like to watch the concert. You can use the photo below.
2. Entitle post with "Writermom is Giving Away Tickets to Ambient Media's Show Tickler on July 31"
3. Include a link back to this post
4. Leave the URL of your blog post in the comments section after completing steps 1, 2, 3
5. Contest runs until tomorrow night, July 30 at 9:59 p.m. All comments are moderated and will only be published once entries are validated. The first six bloggers to comment (with valid entries) will win one ticket each. In case a winner is not able to confirm his/her attendance, extra tickets will be given to succeeding comment posters. If less than six responds (sorry, I know this is really short notice but I was only given the go signal yesterday), winners might be given two (2) tickets instead of one.

Please make sure you can come on July 31. You can claim your tickets at the entrance. I'll PM the winners more details tomorrow night or Saturday morning, at the latest. See you on Saturday night! :)


Ambient Media
in cooperation with Repertory Philippines
present
Show Ticker
Enjoy a night of Music and Fun 
with Gerald Salonga & FILharmoniKA 
together with their special friends

By Special Invitation
6pm - 9pm July 31
Greenbelt 1 Onstage Theater

Featuring:
Ai-Ai delas Alas
Rachel Alejandro
Bituin Escalante
Ednah Ledesma
Jett Pangan
Aiza Seguerra
Louie Tan
and many more....


I use two mobile phones with two different sim cards. I prefer to call/text contacts using the same network provider as much as possible because it's more economical that way. Lately, I've been having trouble (again) with one of my phone's navi key. I guess the phone's age is catching up with it and having it repaired (again) would no longer be cost-efficient.

I am not a big fan of changing mobile phones just so I could keep up with other people. It's hard transferring hundreds of contact numbers after all. And since I use my phones mainly for communication purposes, I only replace them when they can no longer serve their purpose.

So before my phone becomes totally useless, I'm scouring online contests first to see if I can win a replacement instead of buying one. I found one at the Gadgets and Tech's website where the owner is raffling off a brand new Samsung GT-E1175T phone and a PhP2,000 gift card from Power Mac Center. I'm intrigued at this phone's "Fake Call" feature. Might be useful someday. Hmmm...


If you want to get a shot too at winning this phone, mosey on over to Gadgets and Tech to get more details on the contest rules. I sure hope I win, though :p



Last May, a friend of mine in the U.S. sent me his copy of the Iron Man 2 book after he found out how much I loved watching the movie (particularly Robert Downey Jr. :p). Due to my very busy schedule, I only got to start reading it a couple of weeks ago. I enjoyed the book in the sense that I was able to understand a little more the complexities of Tony Stark’s and Ivan Vanko’s inventions. But, due to the sometimes heavy technical jargons, I have to admit I still didn’t “get” everything.

Whenever I finish one of those techie chapters, I would stop reading lest my eyes start glazing over and just resume the next night. I didn’t feel like crowding my brain with so much information I’m not likely to use in my lifetime :p To illustrate, here’s a headache-inducing sample from page 194:

“The lasers were derived from the European HiPER project to develop laser-powered fusion. Like HiPER, Tony was using neodymium glass in his lasers, but he had made a few tweaks, including a much-improved chirped pulse amplification to get more focused delivery of energy from each laser, as well as the King Kong of optical frequency multipliers that took the frequency of each pulse way up into the ultraviolet.”

I guess I’m not just into these kinds of sci-fi-like stuff. Too, I got confused when, in the last several chapters, the description of Iron Man’s suit suddenly shifted from Mark IV to Mark VI. In the movie, weren’t there only five suits (including the portable Mark V they call “football” in the book)?

I might have gotten lost somewhere but I didn’t want to go back and check where I made a wrong turn. I just thought that the book version, which says on the cover “Based on the Screenplay” must have been written hastily to ride the Iron Man 2 wave while it lasted -- thus the rush to finish it, and thus the typo errors. Oh well, at least I enjoyed the other parts that made for more normal reading. Still, it took me more than a week to finish this book, which is slow in my standards.


Back in college, I remember playing my dorm roommate’s cassette tape copy of the Beaches film soundtrack over and over. At the time, the most popular song there was Wind Beneath My Wings but I loved listening to I Think It’s Gonna Rain Today more.

I also remember seeing the movie with my friends but the details were hazy now. All I could remember was that it didn’t have a happy ending and that Bette Midler sang some great songs.

Three days ago, I finally found time to open a copy of the book which I bought from Booksale a few months ago. I was hooked from page one. I was almost halfway through the book when the alarm went off and I realized it’s time I prepare the kids’ breakfast so they won’t be late for school.

I wanted to continue reading but I had to attend to my writing deadlines and household chores. I finished the book last night. It made me want to watch the movie again and see how much it deviated or not from the novel. Here’s hoping I find a DVD copy soon.


The other day, I blogged about a concert which I, and two of my kids, went to last night. We had such a great time. Please watch this video I took where the Novo was accompanied by Oktokanto.



You can also find a clip of Oktokanto playing a lovely rendition of "Kalesa" in my other blog.




Divine ice cream pleasure is HEAVEN Ice Cream.

Give in to the richest, smoothest, and creamiest by NESTLÉ Ice Cream. Revel in the exquisite goodness of its four sophisticated flavors—Belgian Chocolate Bliss, Strawberry Dream, Vanilla Almond Secret and Butter Pecan Obsession. HEAVEN Ice Cream is made with only the finest ingredients and contains no artificial food colors. Available in 800mL(Php 175) & 450mL(Php 115) tubs across supermarkets, groceries, and convenience stores nationwide.


I have already tasted two flavors of Heaven (Vanilla Almond Secret and Strawberry Dream) and I could honestly say they are yummy!


Like many parents who are raising kids in this high-technology era, I am very much concerned about what my children are getting from playing game consoles and going online. In fact, our PC at home can only be opened by my husband or myself using a password upon boot-up. This assures me that when both of us are not at home, the kids can't just log in and surf away.

Sure, there are many advantages to being able to research information seemingly at the speed of light. But there are lots of dangers too that we must be vigilant about.

When I saw this poster from someone's profile in Facebook, I immediately sent an email and signed up to go. I am very interested to know more how I could enforce safety for my kids when they use the internet.


If you are also interested to attend, please visit www.websafetyforparents.org for more information.

Here's the seminar's promotional video containing alarming statistics about kids and online activities:



My brother plays classical guitar. This coming Saturday, his group, the Oktokanto Guitar Ensemble, will be playing at the Philam Theater with Novo Concertante. Let's listen to world-class Filipino musicians!

I am watching with one of my kids. Hope to see some of you there, too :)


Tickets are now available at PhP 300.00;
A fifty percent (50%) discount is offered if you come in groups of five (5) or more.
For inquiries, please contact :
Marla: +63917.829.1987 or MarLa_Pabs@yahoo.com
Emil: +63917.857.3645 or mayonse@yahoo.com


I just saw the online version of my son's review of LazerXtreme at the Manila Bulletin Funpage website. Please read the article to find out more about this new gaming place that you can bring the whole family to.

The article came out in last Saturday's paper. What made this one extra special is that the accompanying photo to the article featured three of my sons. Of course, I bought extra copies :p


Here's sharing the video I took of Daniel navigating the Laser Maze.



I am a staunch advocate of the green movement. My husband and I believe in the importance of living an eco-friendly life and leaving as few carbon footprints as we can. We have large canvas bags for grocery shopping, six garbage cans in the kitchen for segregating our trash, two sacks under the kitchen sink for separating white and colored scratch papers, among other things. We also try to instill in our children to never leave even the smallest candy wrapper just anywhere.

Thus, I am always interested to hear about people and companies that are making efforts to implement earth-friendly programs. Needless to say, I was very glad to find out this week that Sun Life Financial Philippines (SLFP) is adding a new milestone to its exemplary track record by having a “green” building constructed at the Global City in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig.



This P2 billion structure is scheduled for completion in the second quarter of 2011 and is aiming for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Core and Shell requirements for gold certification. For those who have heard of LEED for the first time, this is an internationally recognized green building rating system which was developed by the US Green Building Council. It aims to guide building owners and operators on a concise framework for implementing green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions.

According to LEED consultant Davis Langdon & Seah, the Sun Life Centre “will promote a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in key areas: energy savings, water efficiency, carbon emission reductions, improved indoor environmental quality, stewardship of resources and education on sustainability practices.”

Riza Mantaring, SLFP President and CEO, affirms that making the Sun Life Centre a green building aligns with their company’s focus on long-term sustainability, not only in business but also in the environment. “Providing a healthy environment for our various stakeholders allows them to work more efficiently and become more focused and productive. In other words, a green building makes strong business sense for our employees and agents and for our building tenants,” she further explains.

To know more about the amazing features of this structure, please visit the website exclusively dedicated to this wonderful project: http://www.sunlifebuilding-phil.com




All my kids are no longer babies and toddlers but my third son has cerebral palsy and don't walk nor talk. He is already 12 years old but is still a baby in many ways. He's the one I can still use baby cologne on or massage with baby powder and will not protest he is no longer a little child :)

Like many little ones, James always sleeps better after a warm bath, massage and soft music at night. Which is why I can still claim to be a believer of Johnson's Baby's bedtime routine. I'm glad to have attended several Bedtime Discovery events where I got to swap stories with other moms and learn about the science of sleep. I also wrote an article about this for Manila Bulletin's Moms&Babies' section last February.


Last June, I further blogged about effective bedtime activities that work for me and other moms. And last week, Johnson's Baby, together with Nuffnang, held the culminating event that wrapped up the Bedtime Discoveries series of mommy get-togethers. Moms were given recognition through a very nice AVP that showed several statistics as well as quotes from different blogs. I was surprised and pleased to see mine among them (around 1:57). Three mom bloggers were also given awards based on different criteria.

Here's sharing the very nice video that Johnson's Baby prepared. A big thank you to Ms. Chinkey Llave of UM for helping me acquire a copy of the said AVP :) Please do watch and be inspired.



I was supposed to blog about this yesterday. Unfortunately, Typhoon Basyang wreaked havoc on my online schedule by leaving our area without electricity for more than 24 hours. No electricity also meant no dial tone (go figure, PLDT has not been acting on our complaints since Typhoon Milenyo in 2006!) and no internet access.

Anyway, I wanted to share with you guys the news that there is a chocolate and ice cream show happening at the World Trade Center which started yesterday and will run until tomorrow. I plan to drop by this afternoon and take a peek.

Although I'm not a big fan of chocolate, I'm always game when it comes to trying out new tastes. Ultimately, I'd probably end up buying treats for my kids before I leave the venue.

If you're wondering about the entrance fee, I heard that it's P100 per person. 


Learn a lot about personal finance in MoneySense magazine's current issue. Get tips on building wealth in stocks, real estate, business, and more!



My articles in this issue:
~ COVER STORY - A Happy Pinoy: Bam Aquino on being a social entrepreneur, pp. 41-44
~ James Yap on Planning Ahead, p. 36
~ A 360 Degree Turn - Story about a doctor turned entrepreneur, pp. 39-40
~ Save Big on Remittances, pp. 78-79


How do you deal with aches and pains at the end of each tiring day? I found an effective way. Please read my review of the Spa Essentials line at HerWord.com

To find out more about each specific product, kindly continue reading below.

Official Press Release: Find Wellness in a Bottle

Perhaps one of the biggest dangers of modern living is stress. Medical science has long acknowledged how prolonged stress weakens the physical body and makes it prone to disease. Stress is also a key cause of mental and emotional imbalance. To prevent disease – whether physical or mental – and to get back the richness of one’s life, one needs to minimize and control stress levels.

Using the power of aromatherapy, Spa Essentials’ affordable wellness oils offer a range of benefits to help everyone with the stresses and strains of everyday life. A range of products is offered using 100% pure and natural essential oils, which can be applied using massage or inhalation. General effects include a reduction of stress and tension, feeling of well-being, balance and calmness and anti-bacterial effects to help the body heal and support the immune system.

Using powerful stress-fighting chemical compounds from plant essences, these aromatherapy wellness oils from Spa Essentials is a delightful and pleasant solution to relieve stress and combat its effects. The Spa Essentials’ wellness oils are as follows:

SLEEP EASY
Tired of counting sheep? Get a good night’s sleep with our Sleep Easy line, with Himalayan Cedarwood and Lavender essential oils to help you rest easily. Available as Massage Oil and Linen Spray.



STRESS RELIEF
Had a busy day? Relax your mind and body with our Stress Relief line, containing Lavender and Sweet Orange essential oils to help you feel at ease. Available as Massage Oil and Linen Spray.



BREATHE EASY
Have a stuffy nose? Clear away stuffiness with our Breathe Easy linen spray with Peppermint, Eucalyptus, and Tea Tree essential oils to help soothe breathing. Available as Linen Spray.



ACHES AND PAINS
Aching body? Revive tired and sore muscles with our Aches and Pains Massage Oil, with Ginger, Peppermint, and Rosemary essential oils to relieve your exhausted body. Available as Massage Oil.



ENERGY
Need to get up and go? Jumpstart your day with our Energy line, infused with Peppermint, May Chang, and Lemongrass essential oils to help you feel uplifted. Available as Massage Oil and Linen Spray.


Though pocket-friendly, the quality of essential oils used in Spa Essentials has not been compromised. Customers are guaranteed to get 100% pure and natural essential oils with the complete benefits of aromatherapy.

Spa Essentials’ Wellness Oils are exclusively offered at Watsons Personal Care Stores and at Beauty by SM. Add them on facebook at www.facebook.com/watsons.spaessentials, join the ongoing contests, and win Spa Essentials products!




I had the pleasure of being invited to yesterday's Sun Life event where Piolo Pascual was officially introduced as their newest celebrity advocate. I was truly impressed at Piolo's views about protecting one's dreams and securing one's future. (Kindly watch out for the article about him in MoneySense magazine's Sept-Oct issue.)

Piolo with Sun Life's Mylene Lopa, Marketing Services Head, 
and Greg Martin, Chief Strategic Marketing Officer

Part of the Press Release reads:

Piolo Pascual is known as a man with a great passion for pursuing his dreams. No longer just an awarded actor, he has ventured into producing, photography, charity work, running and singing. It seems he can go as far as his dreams will take him. Yet, he also knows the importance of protecting his dreams from uncertainties or for whatever challenges the future holds. This is why it was fitting for him to be the latest spokesperson for Sun Life’s It’s Time campaign, specially on the lesson of proper financial planning in order to protect one’s dreams.

Piolo himself believes that Sun Life is the best partner he has in ensuring his financial preparedness. “I trust Sun Life because Sun Life has been in the Philippines for 115 years and it has fulfilled its commitment to its clients throughout this time. The It’s Time advocacy is such a noble initiative, one that can help millions of Filipinos fulfill their dreams. This makes me proud to be part of the Sun Life family and their advocacy," shares Piolo.

Aware that life can throw unexpected surprises, Piolo is confident that he can cushion himself from life’s uncertainties. The shy boy whose attention was drawn to the stage for acting in his younger days has now evolved to the confident personality that he is.

Relying on his fame is something that he will not leave to chance. “Since life offers no guarantees, we must always protect our dreams from uncertainties," he explains. "It is never too early to aspire for great things and never too late to protect your dreams, not only for yourself but also for your loved ones. It’s Time,” shares Pascual.

Today, Sun Life's new TVC will start airing in different local channels. In case you haven't caught it yet on TV, here it is:



Last night, we celebrated my second son's 15th birthday. Wow, where did the time go?!

To celebrate, I dropped by Pizza Hut on my way home and bought the Pair Deal which only costs P399 for two pizzas. I also availed of the BPI treats using my grocery transaction receipts and chose two pasta dishes plus one Caesar salad (not in the photo because I was already hungry by the time I got home and "attacked" it with gusto).



I also got us a rocky road ice cream log cake from a stall that I forgot the name of (senior moment, tsk). I can't find the box anymore so hubby probably already threw it away. Anyway, since I'm not too fond of anything chocolate, unlike hubby and the kids, I didn't quite enjoy the cake as much as they did.


Oh well, as long as my family's happy, I am, too. Happy Birthday my dear Josh!


Hubby and I watched the press screening of Predators last night. It is a fast-paced movie with some impressive special effects.Will post a more detailed review soon.

For now, go catch it tomorrow as it opens in cinemas nationwide.



I was at the Food and Nutrition Research Institute in Bicutan yesterday to attend the media briefing for the 36th FNRI Seminar Series. We were presented with results from the 7th National Nutrition Survey. (More on this when my full writeup comes out in one of the publications I write for). The theme of this year's program is "Pagkaing tama at sapat para sa kalusugan ng lahat."

There were food and non-food product stalls in and outside the lobby. One of our hosts introduced me and a writer-friend to a booth promoting an instant rice meal.

We got to try some tasty adobo-flavored rice with real meat bits. It turned out that Quikeats was developed with the help of FNRI-DOST. According to Mr. Noel Lim, president and founder of 5NI, the company that conceptualized the product, Quikeats is not just another instant meal. It offers a decisive advantage and benefit for the consumer because it is made with iron-fortified rice.

According to their press release: "Instant Rice is rice that has been precooked and dehydrated so that it cooks quickly by rehydrating it. Regular rice requires approximately 20 minutes to cook while instant rice is ready for just 10 minutes. Aside from its convenience, instant rice is nutritious since it is fortified with iron, a macronutrient that is needed by our body to help build and maintain blood supply thus preventing anemia. Iron deficiency may lead to impaired mental and physical development, less resistance to infection and low capacity for work. Fortified Instant Rice may help Filipinos who are found out to be lacking with this nutrient."

5NI offers Quikeats to everyone looking for a fast and convenient meal with a significant dose of nutrition. What also great about this product is that the packaging was designed to be biodegradable!

Watch out for this product in supermarkets and grocery stores in the next few weeks. Mr. Lim shares that they will also be coming up with Beef Steak and Seafood flavors so I'm also watching out for those.

For more info, you can contact Five N and I Food Corporation at tel. nos. 9362588 and 5421335 or email fnifoodcorp@gmail.com


From a good friend of mine who's connected with the company:

50% off on all Francesco shoes!!! Buy now while there are still sizes.

Branches are at:
= Teens & Kids Zone, 3/F Glorietta 3
= 2/F Shangri-la Mall
= G/F Alabang Town Center (opposite National Bookstore's side entrance)

Sale ends on August 15th.


My sister called me around noon yesterday. She said they have extra tickets to the Cecile Licad and FILharmoniKa’s concert last night. I didn’t have to think twice. I have heard FILharmoniKa before and love that orchestra. But I especially wanted to hear Cecile Licad play live. My eldest son, who is taking piano lessons, agreed to go with me.

Hubby and I rushed to get our grocery shopping done so Leland and I would not arrive late at the Philam Theatre in UN Avenue at 8 p.m. We made it with time to spare.

I was instantly transported to music heaven when the orchestra, conducted by Gerard Salonga, opened the program with an excellent rendition of Lupang Hinirang. Philam theater must have been built with room acoustical design in mind because the sounds reverberating throughout the whole theater were very good.

There were only four compositions played but they were long ones. The first was El Sombrero de Tres Picos (The Three-Cornered Hat) and was performed by FILharmoniKA. This is a ballet piece written by Manuel de Falla, a Spanish composer of classical music. It is filled with lively and vital passages that come from traditional Andalusian folk music.


The second piece, Noches en los Jardines de Espana (Nights in the Gardens of Spain) was also composed by Manuel de Falla. Cecile Licad joined FILharmonika on stage for this one. According to the souvenir program, Noches was originally meant as a set of nocturnes for solo piano, but was later expanded to become a piece for piano with orchestra.


Finlandia by Finnish composer Jean Sibelius was the third piece and it was performed again by FILharmoniKA. This one is a symphonic poem that is deeply etched in the Finnish national identity. It is meant to evoke images of war and an oppressed people’s struggle and eventual triumph over a larger, more powerful foe.


Last piece, again with Cecile Licad, was The Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 22. It was written by French composer, conductor, and pianist Charles Saint-Saens. This piano concerto is said to be considered by many as their most favorite Saint-Saens composition.



After the program, requests for an encore ensued. Cecile came back three or four times, if I remember it right, to play solo piano to the audiences’ delight. Although I am not a super fan of classical music, I do know how to play the piano (passably) and admire anyone who can magically play the instrument. Cecile deservedly earned the title “a pianist’s pianist” given her by The New Yorker and is definitely a world-class Filipino artist in her own right.

Cheers for a great night of music! I'm now off to dust my violin's case and try to resume playing again.
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