Monday, May 9, 2016

Timeless Musings: Ambeth Ocampo's Books on Rizal & F. Sionil Jose's Take on the Duterte Phenomenon

I didn't exactly know what happened. 

We went to good ole National Bookstore with the original intent of buying books for my son. There was nothing strange about that. What was rather unusual was that I purchased more books for myself than for him!  

I didn't regret buying Mr. Ocampo's books at all for the author is able to make Philippine history interesting and brimming with so much life. He is indeed a master storyteller, so effective in fact that I continually asked myself whether I was reading history or reading the synopsis of a Korean Drama

Mr. Ocampo is successful in separating Rizal the Man from the Myth, thanks to the author's painstaking research from the hero's first-hand works and letters. While reading my Ocampo Book Haul, I can't help but see Rizal as an ordinary man struggling with similar dreams and fears.

In the book Meaning & History, Mr. Ocampo explains this concept further.

"So by dissecting Rizal the myth, and by juxtaposing this against the real historical Rizal, one attains a glimpse of this "imagined" national identity.

We create Rizal in our own image and likeness using both memory and amnesia to suit our ruffled conscience. How we will see Rizal in the coming century will be a clear expression of how we see ourselves.

Rizal both in life and in death showed the Filipino people a capacity for greatness. Only when we share this view can we fully understand Rizal and consequently ourselves." ( Chapter: Memory and Amnesia, page 19)

Ambeth Ocampo
April Book Haul:
Rizal's Teeth, Bonifacio's Bones by Ambeth Ocampo
Ambeth Ocampo's Meaning & History
Death by Garrote by Ambeth Ocampo

Mr. Ocampo further noted, "...that what made Rizal the hero he is today was his capacity to rise above his physical limitations and to attempt great deeds."

Mr. Ocampo's highly-esteemed colleague, National Artist F. Sionil Jose echoed a similar view during one of his talks which I was fortunate enough to attend . He said, "Rizal matched wits with any white man" which garnered the world's respect. Proof is that many nations have adopted Rizal as their hero as seen in many landmarks and statues from around Asia, Germany and in Spain, Mr. Jose added. 

A Candid Shot of National Artist F. Sionil Jose 
During One of His Talks

Many regard Mr. Jose as a sage of our times for he's able to make sense of history, politics and current events like no other. No wonder a number of our kababayan want to know what the National Artist's thoughts are on the 2016 Presidential Elections.

On April 27, Mr. Jose posted his views on his Facebook Page with emphasis on the supposed "Duterte Phenomenon."

"Why Duterte" by F. Sionil Jose

This was not the first time that the National Artist shared razor-sharp views on how the government should be run as seen in his now famous Open Letter to NoyNoy published in the Philippine Star on May 23, 2010.

He ended the letter with a passionate plea for the CHANGE he has longed to see but couldn't for sooo many years.

"I am 85 and how I despair over how three generations of our leaders failed! Before I go, please let me see this unhappy country begin to be a much better place than the garbage dump our leaders and people have made it..."

F. Sionil Jose's Official Facebook Page

Ambeth R. Ocampo's Facebook Page

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Mother's Day Musings

Truth be told, I don't want to miss my mom because it only reminds me that she's no longer of this world. 

Every time I look at my son, my mind always brings me back to those moments when my mom lovingly gazed at me without saying a word. I remember a particular instance wherein I was in the study room hitting the books for an exam, when mommy just stayed in the doorway staring at me with a mesmerized smile on her face.

Mommy and I sometime in 1973

That moment was buried in the deepest recesses of my soul, unuttered until now. I couldn't decipher what that look was all about not until I had my own son. 

Just to see his face makes my heart flutter like no other. He doesn't even have to do anything nor say anything to make me happy. I simply am because he is there!

My son and I sometime in 2008

However, as much as I want to be the best mom possible, I fall short of my calling most of the time. There were instances, I think, wherein a hug was more comforting than a reprimand or a word of encouragement way better than a critique. In the end, I still chose to admonish maybe because I was too tired or too stubborn to understand my son's predicament.

Now in my early forties, about the same age of my mom in the picture above, I realize that my mom was also far from perfect. But what makes her the perfect mom is the way she loved me; pretty much similar to the mother in this immensely inspiring video.

"How one generation loves, the next generation learns."

Much of what I know about love and sacrifice, I've learned from just watching my mom apply it in our daily lives which according to her was a product of "grasya" or what we refer to in the bible as God's Amazing Grace. 

I once asked my 7 year old son why we love the way we do. His reply which he learned from attending Sunday School for the past four years, left me dumbfounded --but in a good way. 

"Mama," he responded, "we love because He first loved us." (I John 4:19)

Friday, April 29, 2016

Cooking 101: Our Version of Yellow Cab's Charlie Chan Chicken Pasta

Despite craving for Yellow Cab's extremely popular Charlie Chan Chicken Pasta, my "motley crew" and I didn't dash to the nearest YC branch. We opted to whip up our own version instead as a wonderful way to bond while saving our precious pesos in the process. 

What We Used:

  • 250 grams of angel's hair pasta, cooked according to package directions
  • olive oil
  • 150 grams of diced chicken meat
  • ground cashews and roasted peanuts
  • 2 packs of Clara Ole Kung Pao Pasta Sauce
  • Lee Kum Kee Oyster Sauce to taste
  • salt and white pepper to taste
  • brown sugar to taste
  • chili pepper flakes to taste
  • scallions or spring onions
  • lemon juice

What I Did with the Pasta:
I love cooking pasta so without going through the preliminaries, I basically assigned and authorized myself to do the job!
  1. After putting in just enough water in the pan, I added in a handful of salt to make the pasta distinctly more flavorful. I got that tip from constantly watching Giada De Laurentiis's show on the Asian Food Channel.
  2. A minute after the water boiled, I added in the pasta and allowed it to cook for a few minutes.
  3. Since Angel's hair cooks much faster than any other pasta types, it just took a little under 4 minutes before it turned out al dente. A minute before this happened however, I was already scooping the pasta out of the pan to preserve the chewy texture that I dearly love.
  4. Coating the Angel's Hair with a some olive oil is actually my favorite step because by this time, I can freely devour my pasta sans the sauce!

What We Did with the Sauce:
  1. After mixing in some salt, pepper and lemon juice to our chicken, we let it marinate inside the fridge for about two hours. 
  2. Afterwards, we sauteed the meat in oil, added in some nuts and cooked both for a few more minutes.
  3. We then poured in the Clara Ole Kung Pao Pasta Sauce and cooked until everything's been heated through.
  4. A tablespoon or two of oyster sauce tossed in with some lemon juice, sugar, salt and pepper flakes did make a difference in the over-all texture of the sauce.
  5. As a fitting finale, we added in the pasta as well as some scallions for freshness. 
Need I say more? 

Our Version of Yellow Cab's Charlie Chan Chicken Pasta!

Yay! Angel's Hair Pasta was sooo easy to make; it even turned out al dente in no time!

Hmmmm...I can most definitely devour all the garnishings in one sitting!  


I used Fujifilm X-A2 for this particular blog post.

Photo of Fujifilm X-A2

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Bitten by the Blogging Bug Once Again

Looking back, I can't believe that I've only made 6 blog entries for 2015! 

Mommy duties have definitely taken over my life this past year highlighted mostly by creating reviewers and mock tests for my Grade schooler. I still can't believe how complicated lessons have become considering that my son is only in Grade 2!

What My Thoughts Are

More than just making good grades in school, I have a greater dream for my son and that's where I've focused my body, mind and spirit onto for the past couple of years. 

In a more romantic sense, you can say that I've been gripped by a dream and there's no way of escaping it...

Allow me to give you a short background. A decade before my son was born, I heard our Senior Pastor then, now our Pastor Emeritus, talked about the need to raise up mathematicians and scientists here in the Philippines. 

He then went about re-introducing one of the greats, Thomas Alva Edison, whose thirst for knowledge was only quenched when he began creating a plethora of inventions including the most celebrated of them all- the electric light bulb.

However in the bestseller "Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation," author Steven Johnson offered a different  viewpoint.

The natural History of Innovation New York Times Bestseller
Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation by  Steven Johnson 
Thanks roluist for the copies!

"Folklore calls Edison the inventor of the light bulb, but in truth the lightbulb came into being through a complex network of interaction between Edison and his rivals, each contributing key pieces to the puzzle along the way." (page 231)

Honestly, both sentiments make sense. 

In Edison's own words, he described his innovative process this way:

"My principal business consists of giving commercial value to the brilliant, but misdirected, ideas of others...Accordingly, I never pick up an item without thinking of how I might improve it." 

Sites about the great inventor are usually rife with inspiring quotes believed to be from Edison himself which zero in on the value of perseverance, faith and hope amid life's difficulties.

At the very heart of the scientist's interesting story of course, is God's predetermined plan. That's why I gravitate toward this standpoint most of all:

"God wanted to give light to the world in the most literal sense, and he chose Thomas Alva Edison to let it come to pass."  (Paraphrased from our pastor)

What My Recent Meditations Have Become

Most of the time, I can't help but wonder why some life events do come to pass while some of the things I desperately want simply don't- no matter how much I prayed or fasted for them.

During these times, I get the impression that when my desire for getting the answer exceeds that of my yearning to know more about God Himself, He usually waits it out and begins a process of changing my thoughts and heart to make them in tune to His will.

I've also noticed that when my primary motivation is to give Him glory through a life of excellence, He does open doors that no man can ever shut.

An open door did come to us in the form of a supplementary program called Eye Level, formerly known as E.Nopi. How I even discovered that such thing even existed is worth telling.

What I can say is that for the past 8 months since my son's enrollment into Eye Level's Math Program, his Mental Math and Critical Thinking have drastically improved.

Proof is his Silver Medal for the 2015 Eye Level Math Competency Test!

Eye Level Philippines
2015 Eye Level Math Competency Test: Silver Award 

What I'm Most Grateful For 

I'm deeply appreciative not only for the medal itself but more so for what it represents. It involved motivating my son to commit his extra time not just to take note of his regular school load, but also to keep track of his Eye Level lessons daily.

The medal also symbolized the fruits of my son's labor in answering drills and booklets just so he could calculate correctly without written carryovers. 

Eye Level Math's Basic Thinking Booklets

It also depicted extra hours spent whenever my son and I tried to comprehend certain items in his Critical Thinking Booklets that were beyond our natural abilities.

Eye Level Math's Critical Thinking Booklets

Aside from my son's progress in Math, another thing that I'm most thankful for is that last month, I had the opportunity to celebrate my 6th Anniversary as an Internet Voice Talent operating out of a homebased studio.

Allow me to sum up how utterly grateful I am this way:

"I'd like to thank my manager, my LORD GOD, 
for allowing me to realize what my DNA really is 
which proved instrumental in the creation 
of  a not-so-known home biz here in the Philippines.

My heart overflows with gratitude 
to my hubby for his support 
as well as to my clients' trust 
in giving voice to their projects."

"God gives us the vision, then He takes us down to the valley 
to batter us into the shape of the vision, 
and it is in the valley that so many of us faint and give way. 
Every vision will be made real if we will have patience."
                                                (Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest)


Quotes by Thomas Edison

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

3 Reasons Why We Adore Alona Beach In Panglao Bohol

Alona Beach in Panglao, Bohol never goes out of season. Lush greens hovering above crystal-clear, azure green waters and powdery white sand can calm any restless wanderer. Its sand may not be as fine as that in Boracay; but, the island offers a much more serene hideaway, almost free of litter and annoying tauts.

White Sand of Alona Beach In Panglao Bohol
Stunning Alona Beach in Panglao Bohol

Gorgeous Views

Since the rise of social media, it's beyond unthinkable to not prioritize selfies and famfies over anything else! Alona Beach rose to the occasion by providing the #fambam with striking photos throughout our stay.

Alona Beach In Panglao Bohol
Hubby Bala and Bebe Tutapel braved the sun's scorching heat just to capture this "golden" moment.

Alona Beach In Panglao Bohol
Kuya RJ and Ate Ikay striking a pose along Alona's powdery white sand. 
Taken by Roland Luistro of Bakasyonista and Balitang SF

Swimming Time on Alona Beach In Panglao Bohol
    Mama Lydz, Tita Ren and Ate Ikay splashing through Panglao's refreshing waters.
Taken by Roland Luistro of Bakasyonista and Balitang SF

Alona Beach In Panglao Bohol
The #fambam (with Momshie Leng and Tuts) hiding from the sun's 
"nakakaitim" rays beneath the island's iconic rock.
Taken by Roland Luistro of Bakasyonista and Balitang SF

Peaceful Hideaway

Boracay's electrifying energy may have awaken the #fambam's fun-loving side months before; but, Bohol's laid-back nature gave us a contrasting dose of peace and serenity. There weren't much visitors during our stay which somehow made us feel that we had the island all to ourselves.

Alona Beach In Panglao Bohol
The Balingki siblings taking a stroll around the island.
Taken by Roland Luistro of Bakasyonista and Balitang SF

Refreshing Waters

Nobel Prize winning writer Toni Morrison once said...

"All water has a perfect memory and is forever trying to get back to where it was."

Indeed, Panglao's waters left the #fambam with a treasure trove of memories that will keep our Bohol escapade alive in years to come.

Alona Beach In Panglao Bohol
Water Fun with the #Fambam!
Taken by Roland Luistro of Bakasyonista and Balitang SF

Alona Beach In Panglao Bohol
Bala and Tuts enjoying Pangalo's cool waters!
Taken by Roland Luistro of Bakasyonista and Balitang SF

Alona Beach In Panglao Bohol
 My smart and pretty niece doing one of the things she does best-- swimming!
Taken by Roland Luistro of Bakasyonista and Balitang SF

Alona Beach In Panglao Bohol
Bala pulling a "Richard Gomez BENCH TVC stunt" from the '90s   
Taken by Roland Luistro of Bakasyonista and Balitang SF

Alona Beach In Panglao Bohol
Fathers and Sons Having Fun! 
Taken by Roland Luistro of Bakasyonista and Balitang SF

Saturday, April 11, 2015

National Bookstore Invites You To 13 FREE Arts & Crafts Events This Summer!

Thinking of creative ways to spend your summer?

Why not take advantage of National Bookstore's 13 Arts & Crafts Events offered absolutely free between April 11 and May 3 ?

Great thing is, you can participate in any of the following summer activities to your heart's content:

  • Basic Manga Art & Story Workshop
  • Basic Sketching & Card Making
  • Binocular Making
  • Blocks Assembly
  • Clay Painting
  • Coloring & Drawing
  • Crafts Making & Face Painting
  • DIY Arts & Crafts
  • Doodling & Coloring
  • Drawing & Painting
  • Face Painting
  • Fashion & Art Workshop
  • Scrapbooking

Simply refer to the schedules below to make your very own Workshop Calendar this summer.

Important Reminders:
  1. Customers may participate in any of the activities for FREE. No purchase required.
  2. Registration for each activity begins at 10 am at the Customer Service Counter of each respective store.
  3. Each activity has limited slots. First come, first served.
  4. Activities will last from 2 to 5 PM.

Don't forget to bring the rest of the #fambam to make learning more fun!

"Man's mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions."  (Oliver Wendell Holmes)

National Bookstore 2015 Fun Summer Activities

Kaye Langit-Luistro: Tagalog Voice Talent with Studio
Kaye Langit-Luistro: Tagalog Voice Talent with Studio

Friday, April 10, 2015

Join the 2015 McDonald's Kiddie Crew Workshop!

Now on its 2nd week, this year's McDonald's Kiddie Crew continues to thrill and at the same time inspire kids from 5 to 12 years old about the value of hard work and discipline all coiled up in a fun way!

My son Tutapel had a grand time in last year's workshop that's why he can't wait to participate in this year's event as well.

I, for one, got excited when I saw the new hat, shirt, bag and toque designs! :-)

Curious on what usually happens during the Workshop? Do check out this link to see my son's fun-filled experiences last year.

And to register for this year's McDonald's Kiddie Crew Workshop, simply go to the nearest McDonald's branch and choose your preferred workshop sked:

Workshop Dates are as follows:
Week 3:  April 13- 17
Week 4:  April 20-24
Week 5:  April 27- May 1
Week 6:  May 4-8
Week 7:  May 18-22
Week 9:  May 25- 29

Registration Fee is Php 595 inclusive of shirt, cap, bag, toque, artwork materials, pins/badges at the end of every activity, certificate and meals for 5 days.

McDonald's Kiddie Crew Workshop 2014
Registration Venue: All Participating McDonald's stores


Thursday, April 9, 2015

Unboxing Tous les Jours' Love Inspiration Fresh Cream Cake

It has often been said food has a way of transporting us back to the past. And I think it's the same with cakes. They, too, have a way of tapping into our memory bank like no other.

For instance, my earliest recollection involving these confections was during my 7th birthday. I remember becoming mesmerized by a gorgeous white cake in front of me and how heartbroken I was at the same time when my cousin smudged its glorious icing.

That memory was still very much alive in my head when I took this exquisite Inspiration Fresh Cream Cake by Tous les Jours out of the box. I made sure that the edges remained untouched and the over-all design, unaltered.

I can't even begin to narrate the horror I must have felt, if for some sloppy reason, this particular Tous les Jours Artisan Cake got destroyed in the process!

Any Tous les Jours fan would know that you don't just buy a TLJ Cake for the taste but also for its over-all concept. For one, I like how the Inspiration Fresh Cream Cake comes in a classic heart-shaped design bursting in red and white!

When I finally had my piece of the cake, I can't help but feel comforted by TLJ's soft, moist chiffon cake bearing its signature sweet 'n' tangy taste. On the contrary, my nieces and nephews found the cake too sour for comfort. 

"It's the yogurt..." I explained. "It's an acquired taste, alright. But once you get used to it, you can't help but ask for more." 

For some reason, I saw them finish their share and before long, they even asked for a second, third helping- and even apiece for later...  :-) :-) :-)

Unboxing Tous les Jours Inspiration Fresh Cream Cake
"May you live to be as old as the number of Instagram pictures 
you took of your birthday cake."      (Anonymous)

Tous Les Jours Philippines
Ground Floor, SM North Edsa The Block
UGF, SM Southmall
Ground Floor, North Parking Bldg., SM Mall of Asia
Corte de las Palmas, Alabang Town Center
Ground Floor, Greenbelt 5
1st Floor, Shop 3 Techno Plaza 2, Eastwood City


Monday, April 6, 2015

Review: Michael Todd (True Organics) Charcoal Detoxifying Facial Mask ♪♪♪♪

Around October of last year, I received a product for review from Michael Todd (True Organics) which turned out to be a beauty brand popular among Hollywood circles and powerful glossies worldwide.

I've been using Michael Todd's Charcoal Detoxifying Facial Mask since then and I believe that 6 months is more than enough time to collate and analyze my findings and lay them out in a review.


The facial mask comes in a 100 ml (3.4 fl oz.) bottle bearing warm lavender tones. The product claims that mineral rich Charcoal is able to exfoliate and draw out impurities and toxins and clear the skin of excess oil, dirt and other pollutants.

Product packaging shows that Michael Todd Charcoal Detoxifying Mask is:

"...formulated with Hyaluronic Acid and Vitamin C for increased penetration and moisturizing. Mild action  and the presence of natural soothing agents reduce irritation and inflammation associated with sensitive skin. Exfoliates to remove dead skin, impurities and toxins, moisturizes and firms, improves elasticity and pliability of the skin, unclogs pores allowing skin to breathe and facilitates movement of skin oils. Turn lackluster looking skin into healthier younger looking skin."

Michael Todd True Organics Charcoal Detoxifying Facial Mask


  • I may have found the mask's smokey, ash-like scent overpowering at first; but, on second try, I've begun to fully embrace it. 

  • I loved the mask's silky feel and how it was fully absorbed by my skin. In fact, I consider Michael Todd's version two notches higher than the other leave-on masks I've tried before-- in terms of texture, absorption level and over-all effect. 

  • When I first applied the facial mask, I was rather expecting it to leave an uncomfortable sticky feeling. My fear proved to be groundless when I felt like I just had a simple facial moisturizer on - and nothing else.

  • The built-in pump dispenser surely made every use, fairly fast and simple.

  • Compared to Korean Mask Sheets that somehow left a plumper-looking skin, Michael Todd's Charcoal Mask made my skin feeling and looking remarkably fresh, clean and hydrated.

  •  Even if I put the mask on for an hour, an hour and a half - even if the  recommended time is only 15 minutes - I've NEVER experienced any form  of skin irritation. 


  • I couldn't think of anything that I don't particularly like about the mask EXCEPT perhaps about the shipping time. In my case, I was able to acquire the product from the nearest postal office in our area, sometime between 2 and 3 weeks from the time it was dispatched from the US to the Philippines. 
Michael Todd True Organics Charcoal Detoxifying Facial Mask

My Verdict:

♪♪♪♪ Great! Highly recommended. 

How to Use:
  1. After cleansing, apply an even layer over face and neck. Avoid eye area.
  2. Leave on for 10 to 15 minutes and rinse.
  3. Follow with toner and moisturizer.
* May be used 2 to 3 times a week.

 Michael Todd True Organics
Charcoal Detoxifying Facial Mask

What's more:

Michael Todd currently offers 20% slashed off prices from their product lines to my blog readers, anywhere in the world. Do visit this link to avail of the discount.

Michael Todd True Organics
Charcoal Detoxifying Facial Mask 
($34 USD or around Php 1,500)

Michael Todd