Today is September 1, the start of the -ber months. Obviously.

A Pinoy pride, we start celebrating (or prepping for) Christmastime once we flip our calendars to September. Hence, the Philippines is dubbed as the country with the longest holiday season, from September 1 to January 6 (Epiphany or Three Kings’ Day).

In time for this, I list down certain places in Antipolo you can visit to get you into the Christmas spirit.

Christmas attractions in Antipolo

1) Sumulong Park

The plaza, formerly known as ‘Gitna’ (middle) since it strategically located at the center of this bustling city, is a favorite gathering place of Antipoleños. Every year, the local government sets up a giant Christmas tree made from recycled materials right in the middle of Sumulong Park, the plaza’s new name.

For this year, the tree lighting ceremony may fall on November 17. The trees around the area (and actually along the major roads in Antipolo) are all dressed up with LED lights too.

The plaza is on the right side if you are facing the cathedral. It’s really easy to find.

christmas tree in antipolo plaza made from recycled materials
Image source

2) Casa Santa

Inside Jardin de Miramar is Casa Santa where you will see thousands of relics of St. Nicholas, about 3,700 of them. The Casa is a great place to educate your kids about Christmas traditions around the world. A real Santa Claus graces the museum on select dates.

There’s a souvenir shop where guests can buy huggable Santa rag dolls, t-shirts, keychains and other holiday-related mementos.

Lucky for us because we can go there whenever we want as it’s just a two-minute of walk away from my mother’s house. An entrance fee of Php180 per person is required, though. Steep, but definitely worth it.

casa santa museum inside jardin de miramar in atipolo
Image source

3) FilInvest East

FilInvest East is Antipolo’s answer to Mandaluyong’s Policarpio Street. The Christmas Village features a Santa village, Belen (Nativity) and houses covered with Christmas lights.

The best thing about this is it’s free although you need to line up from the gate. The management implements a no ID, no entrance policy.

I read from a blog that a prior reservation is now required due to the influx of guests inside the subdivision to the annoyance of other residents.

christmas village in filinvest antipolo
Image source

4) Ynares Center

Another local hangout come Christmas season is Ynares Center. I guess it’s safe to say that the opening day is one of the most awaited events by the Antipoleños.

Long before there were malls in the city, there’s Ynares tiangge. Kid-friendly rides are also available, and they are really cheap (between Php5 to Php20). Among the attractions are the Belen and the giant Christmas tree.

Ynares Center usually opens from the first week of September and runs through the first week of January.

ynares antipolo tiangge and carnival rides
Image source

5) Robinsons Mall

Robinsons Place Antipolo has its own 30-foot Christmas tree lighting event happening on the second Saturday of November.

Last year, the event also included wonderful tales and entertaining shows for kids. In 2015, there are animated displays while in 2016, Yes Belen entries, a local competition, was on display on the facade of the mall.

From November to December, there are also musicals, mini concerts and chorale performances. So let’s hope there will be the same this year.

Tidbit

Christmas is also written as Xmas.

Unlike popular belief that it’s a way of the seculars to celebrate the holiday minus ‘Christ,’ X is actually derived from the word Χριστός which literally means Christ in English. And -mas is an old Latin word for mass.

No matter how you look at it the fact remains—Christmas is and will always be a religious tradition. Period.

Enjoy the season!

July is Nutrition Month, and this year’s theme is ‘Healthy Diet Gawing Habit—for Life.’ [Apparently, you’ll see several Facebook posts about that from moms whose kids are in pre-school.]

Of course, Joyland Playschool Childcare and Learning Center is not to be left behind. We’re supposed to celebrate Nutrition Month on July 28th, but the Head Teacher (HT) needed to postpone due to inclement weather. We were finally able to have ours on the 1st of August.

Before that, I bet you didn’t even know what Nutrition Month is all about.

healthy diet hawing habit for life july 2017 nutrition month theme

What is Nutrition Month?

Nutrition Month is an annual campaign observed every July. It is created by the Presidential Decree No. 491 under the regime of then President Ferdinand Marcos. The same decree also created the National Nutritional Council (NCC), the government body whose main task is to help promote greater awareness on the importance of nutrition among the Filipinos. This year is the 43rd Nutrition Month.

Further along, the celebration follows a focal theme every year to highlight an important and timely concern regarding nutrition.

What are the objectives of this year’s Nutrition Month?

Since 2017’s campaign aims at increasing awareness of how important a healthy diet is, it also purports to:

– help the Filipinos distinguish between healthy and unhealthy foods for better food choices;
– encourage the food industry to produce and make healthier food options available; and
– advocate policies in support of an enabling environment for healthy diets.

What is a healthy diet anyway?

As part of the healthy lifestyle, a healthy diet is considered as the foundation of good health. Our body requires a healthy diet to function and grow and develop properly. With this, a healthy diet considers both the quality and quantity of the food we consume.

Balance, variety and moderation are the three pillars of a healthy diet. Put simply, eating chicken is good. But a bucket of fried chicken? Well, it could have bad effects on the body. Eat well or eat irresponsibly and suffer the consequences in the future.

Further, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) defines a healthy diet as a diet that:

– includes a variety of foods from different food groups;
– meets the individual needs for calories and nutrients;
– is safe, with no risk from toxins, bacteria, mold or chemicals;
– is enjoyable and culturally acceptable; and
– is available and sufficient each day and all year round.

What is an unhealthy diet?

An unhealthy diet, on the other hand, is composed of energy-dense but nutrient-poor foods. It also includes:

– low fruit and vegetable consumption;
– high sodium and low potassium consumption;
– high trans fatty acids and saturated fats consumption; and
– high free sugar intake.

Are Filipinos eating healthy foods?

Yes, I know you the answer. 😀 😛

Going back, the program had three parts. First, getting to know your veggies and fruits. The students are asked to bring vegetables and fruits so they would know what each looks like. Each student presented the veggie or fruit assigned to them. Sasha brought a pineapple.

nutrition month healthy diet gawing habit for life

Second, playing Nutri-Bingo. HT and co-teachers prepared bingo cards wherein instead of the usual B-I-N-G-O, the cards contain Go, Grow and Glow. Each card costs Php20 and each parent-and-child tandem is required to have two cards. The patterns that we needed to complete are the L-shaped, U-shaped and the block (punuan). Sadly, we didn’t win any of the prizes. 😥

nutrition month nutri bingo

Third, tasting the healthiest pancit. Before the actual celebration, we had a prior meeting (last July 15th) to discuss the activities on July 28th (supposedly). HT also divided the parents/students into three groups: nursery and kinder 1A, kinder 1B and prep. We’re in the second group. Our contribution is Php100 each, and we decided to go for the usual pancit and egg sandwich. We didn’t win the contest either. Haha.

nutrition month healthiest pancit

The criteria for judging are 20% aesthetic, 30% palatability and 50% nutritive value (60 points for carbohydrates, 40 points for vegetables and 25 points for protein) for a total of 100%. But all of us get to taste all three entries, so yes that made it worth every peso spent! 😛 And based on the pic above, it easy to decide which one is the winner.

Yes, it is the biggest bilao with veggie shanghai, fried prawns and kalabasa (pumpkin) nuggets. It’s not bihon, but miki and vermicelli. It’s the healthiest indeed! Not to mention, the accompanying drink is pureed ripe mangoes; real mango fruit, not the powdered juice drink.

healthiest pancit nutrition month

With that kudos to Joyland, HT and co-teachers and all parents and students who participated! It’s a successful Nutrition Month celebration I must say.

You’ve probably heard the saddest news of today—Chester Bennington of Linkin Park is dead! He was gone at 41.

Depression got the best of him, the cross he needed to bear all his life. I still can’t believe that he would take his own life. Yes, he is strong on the surface, but not all the way through. 😦

As we pay tribute to the man behind our teenage years’ soundtrack, here’s the lyrics and video of Leave Out All the Rest from the band’s Minutes to Midnight album.

RIP

Leave Out All the Rest

I dreamed I was missing
You were so scared
But no one would listen
‘Cause no one else cared

After my dreaming
I woke with this fear
What am I leaving
When I’m done here?

So if you’re asking me
I want you to know

[Chorus]
When my time comes
Forget the wrong that I’ve done
Help me leave behind some
Reasons to be missed
And don’t resent me
And when you’re feeling empty
Keep me in your memory
Leave out all the rest
Leave out all the rest

Don’t be afraid
I’ve taken my beating
I’ve shared what I’ve made
I’m strong on the surface
Not all the way through
I’ve never been perfect
But neither have you

So if you’re asking me
I want you to know

[Chorus]
When my time comes
Forget the wrong that I’ve done
Help me leave behind some
Reasons to be missed
Don’t resent me
And when you’re feeling empty
Keep me in your memory
Leave out all the rest
Leave out all the rest

Forgetting all the hurt inside
You’ve learned to hide so well
Pretending someone else can come
And save me from myself
I can’t be who you are

[Chorus]
When my time comes
Forget the wrong that I’ve done
Help me leave behind some
Reasons to be missed
Don’t resent me
And when you’re feeling empty
Keep me in your memory
Leave out all the rest
Leave out all the rest

Forgetting all the hurt inside
You’ve learned to hide so well
Pretending someone else can come
And save me from myself
I can’t be who you are
I can’t be who you are

My daughter, Adele

JULY 9.

I cannot forget this date; one unfortunate date indeed. What happened stuck with me like a magnet, a tattoo. I almost lost my #adelemyadele. Yes, it’s my fault, and I [still] felt bad about it.

Here’s what happened.

Around 9 AM last Sunday, while I was folding clothes, I heard my daughters playing outside. When I hear them scream, that means they’re fine. Nothing to worry about, so I do the household chores as usual.

My elder daughter went inside to put back the toys they are playing with. I ask her, “Where’s Adele?” Sasha said, “She’s outside waiting for me.”

She then proceeded to where her sister was. She came back running. It was so sudden that I felt something’s wrong. She blurted out, “Ma, Adele’s gone!”

I jumped out of bed and sprinted outside as soon as I heard what Sasha said. Panic set in faster than I realize. I’m naturally a lunatic—so many awful buts and what ifs on my mind. Fear consumed me, but I cannot let it get the best of me. Not now.

Outside, there was no sign of Adele whatsoever. I asked my neighbor selling viands if she saw my daughter passed by. No. I went to the sari-sari store Adele frequented and asked if someone saw her around. No.

I ran until I reached the second store. An old man sitting in front of the store saw me and asked, “Are you looking for the little girl?” I answered, and he said, “She went there.” while pointing to the direction going to the main street.

I sprinted again with all my might. My elder daughter was following me; I know as I glanced back to check on her.

Looking at the right side from where I stand, I didn’t find her. I looked on the other side, then I saw this tiny figure from afar. That’s #adelemyadele! I run again as fast as I could.

When I was already a few inches from her, I scooped her from the ground. I hugged her so tight fearing I might lose her again. And obviously, my daughter had no idea how far she was from her sister and me.

That temporary separation is insane. And I sincerely pray that no parent will experience that ever. I cried as soon as we got home; my hands still shaking. That was so close. An almost that I will never want to happen again.

I was lucky because I found her quickly. But that was one of the most frightening 10 to 15 minutes of my life that felt like a lifetime (and all because of my negligence).

——————————————————————————————————————————

Well, I may not be in the position to say this, but let’s be a community of concerned parents who may learn a thing or two from one another. Shall we?

If ever you face the same July 9 situation, would you know what to do?

1) Try not to panic

It’s kind of difficult, but you really need to try hard not to panic. Don’t be hysterical. Hyperventilation is possible, and you won’t be able to focus on the task, which is finding your missing child. So, stay sane.

2) Do a quick search

A cursory search is a must. Think of the places where your child may go and check the areas that come to mind. Think of what might catch her attention and go there. If you live near a creek, fountain or any bodies of water, check there first.

3) Call her/his name

Some people say that it’s unwise to call your child’s name out loud because a child predator may take advantage of the situation. On the other hand, experts say that calling your child actually deters the predator from doing anything harmful. If your kid is within earshot, he or she will respond to your call.

4) Get help fast

Ask the people around. Also, once they become aware of your situation, they will offer to help. They can also give out information, so more people will come looking for him or her.

5) Call the police

If not the police, you may report about your missing child on your barangay help desk. Don’t wait for 24 hours before you do this. That’s a ridiculous idea. The sooner, the better.

These are some of the things that you can do if ever you lose your child. However, the above only applies to a small community setting like where we live. It will be a different scenario if your child gets separated from you on the park or shopping mall.

Just the same, though. Be alert. Do something. Or be proactive about it. If you go somewhere crowded, make sure you brief your kid what must be done in case he or she gone missing. Put an ID bracelet on him or her. And, make sure your child knows your real name.

In the US, there are AMBER Alert and Code Adam. The first one is a child abduction alert system while the second one is a missing-child action plan of retailers.

When a child is believed to be abducted, an AMBER Alert must be issued so that all the citizens may spot the abductor quickly based on police information. An AMBER Alert mainly consists of the name and description of the abductee and description of the abductor. A description of the vehicle and its plate number is also included if available.

At the stores, when a Code Adam is called out, the management needs to mobilize its employees to comb bathrooms, fitting rooms and aisles and check and guard exit points. No child leaves the premises without the authorities questioning the adult and the child.

How I wish we have something like these in the Philippines. Losing is a child is a nightmare. But the concept will seem surreal until that nightmare-ish incident actually happens to you. And when you are in that situation, you’ll appreciate each, any and all the help you can get.

So, thank you to my #sashabelle for telling me about the situation as fast as she could. Thank you to the old man sitting in front of that store. I don’t know him, but he is a familiar face. Thank you to my neighbor who told me to look after my daughter better. It was an eye opener. Finally, thank you God for letting me find her.

I am really just so thankful…

Hallyu is real!

And there is an ongoing popularization of the Korean culture in the Philippines. In fact, Koreans are everywhere from Baguio to Cebu and in other key cities.

The Filipinos’ love for everything Korean is ever-growing. I, myself, caught the Korean love bug thanks to several unpretentious K dramas on my USB. I’ve finished several dramas from All About Eve, Irene, Jewel in the Palace, Queen Seon Deok to Love in the Moonlight. I’ve already lost count of how many Koreanovelas I’ve watched; I can’t name them all either [because I already forgot some of the titles.

The latest was the Goblin: The Lonely and Great God, starring the swoon-worthy Gong Yoo of Coffee Prince and Train to Busan.

Controversial as it is [but not necessarily because of the excessive product placement], Goblin captures the attention of the viewers—religious or secular.

From watching how the Goblin Couple’s sad love unfolds, I came to realize three things.

3 things I learned from Goblin

1) A kiss is powerful

For most Korean dramas I’ve watched, there are very few kisses that happen on the first few episodes. The same with Goblin, the first kiss occurred in the seventh episode. It was also during this episode when the ratings started to skyrocket, displacing ‘The Legend of the Blue Sea.’

It was the grim reaper and Goblin’s Sister’s kiss that proved how powerful a single kiss can be. It can make you forget then remember. Or, remember then forget about it if you want.

All the more reasons why a kiss is more than just a kiss. As a matter of fact, about 90% of the people remember their first romantic kiss than their first sexual encounter. A personal thing, kissing also makes you happy and healthy. That’s just how formidable a kiss can be.

2) Love is even more powerful

Choosing between sadness and love, the Goblin Bride would always say, ‘sad love.’ It’s better to love than not to experience love at all, right? Come to think of it, why would someone sacrifice anything for the sake of other person’s happiness? To the point of risking your own life and happiness like what the goblin did?

Love is an undeniable emotion; the energy that pulls all elements together. We all want to love and be loved, saying this with the Grim Reaper on my mind. So yes, we seek love, consciously and subconsciously, above all else.

3) The Almighty is the most powerful of all

He won’t be called the Almighty for nothing, I guess. With ineffable, infinite power and might, He created all things awesome and not-so yet all this exceed our understanding.

Such incomprehensible omnipotence we test sometimes. This is what happened to the Goblin, Grim Reaper and Goblin’s Sister with the Goblin Bride as the consequence of this.

Whatever it may be, Goblin is a highly-recommended series. It’s very unique; I cannot think of any K-drama that comes close to this story. I heard it even deposed ‘Descendants of the Sun’ in the ranking game.

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