Monday, December 22, 2008

Reflexology Slippers at the Legaspi Sunday Market

Mike, a Japanese, has been in the Philippines since the 1990s. He personally weaves waraji slippers using the indigenous abaca material. The slippers are woven in a way that the lumps press the crucial reflexology points once the slippers are worn. In this way, organs like the kidney, lungs, heart, etc. get a "massage" while the wearer is walking.

The hubby and I got a pair each for PHP550 and PHP500 respectively. I figured it is cheaper than Havaianas and my very dependable Crocs. I get to strengthen vital organs while walking and support the abaca industry at the same time. Moreover, the slippers are hand made by Mike, who produces three pairs a day.

Perfect for malling!

Prices: PHP500 for smaller sizes; PHP550 for bigger sizes
Location: Legaspi Sunday Market, Makati City
(Herrera to Rada Streets corner Legaspi Street, Legaspi, Makati City)
Store hours: 7 in the morning to 2 in the afternoon

You may call or text Mike at 0920 889 3545

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, everyone!!!!

Thank you very much to all my friends, most are newly found, for these amazing few weeks. Thank you for welcoming this newbie into the blogging world. I will be taking a break from blogging for a few days to celebrate Christmas, but I will be back here after New Year's day.  All your new posts are stored in my Google reader so I will be able to resume our conversations by then. 

Have a blessed Christmas.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Google Reader Makes My Blogging Life So Much Easier

When I started blogging a few weeks back, I stumbled upon a completely new world of bloggers. Of course, I want to read all the recent posts of the 76 blogs (and growing) I am following. At first, it was daunting, I had to go to all the individual sites, then, scour for recent posts. The whole process was tedious and tiring.

I thought I would be unable to keep up, as I am crazy busy myself. 

Then, I got smarter. I started to experiment with the different elements and widgets google has to offer. Eventually, I began to understand that the Follow this Blog button is not just a new design, but is a very useful element if used together with the Google Reader. The reader feeds you all the recent posts of your bookmark. You have the option of an expanded or list view. If you want to comment or read an entry, you just click link. Amazing!

Image courtesy of

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Getting Pregnant

Today we mark our 9th year wedding anniversary. The hubby and I really wanted the date, December 19th. While preparing for the wedding, we carefully selected the marriage rite and the mass readings, but we were oblivious to the readings of the day.

It took us some time to realize that the mass readings for December 19th will always be on the two barren women who were granted the special blessing by God to bear children: the mother of Samson in the Old Testament and  the mother of John the Baptist.  During the early years of our marriage, I was amused at the readings. Later on, I was alarmed. Oh gosh, I am not barren, am I? Then, much  much later on, I was filled with hope. It took us eight years to conceive. In those eight years, my period was never delayed nor missed. There was no conception, no miscarriage, no nothing. 

The Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth

Twice, I attempted to consult with an ob gyn intending a full work up, but I never managed the work up. The tests were invasive and the costs were very expensive. We knew time was ticking. Medical experts consider us infertile for we had been trying to conceive for more than a year without success. I was concerned but was certain that I would conceive.

 On the eighth year, the hubby and I asked John Paul II, who had passed, to pray for us by using this prayer card. I asked God to open my womb just as He did to Sarah the wife of Abraham and Elizabeth the mother of John.  The next week, I went to a therapist who did foot reflexology to clean my fallopian tubes, ovaries, etc.

Six weeks later, I had difficulty getting out of bed. My migraine was horrendous. I was dead tired. I slept through the day. Office was calling but I was just zoned out. I forced hubby to take me to ER after his work because I hated missing work again after just taking a leave to go to the province to vote. :) At the Makati Medical Center ER, the interns checked me for neurological impairment, for flu, etc., eventually, I was asked to give a urine sample. After almost an eternity, I was called in by  the intern who told me matter-of-factly that I was pregnant. 

I was stumped. 

Each day that my belly was growing, I could not believe that I was pregnant. It was a difficult pregnancy and a more difficult delivery. I had to undergo regular ultrasound examinations, which allowed us to witness the growth of our daughter from a mere humping tadpole to a martian like creature, to a recognizable baby. Click here for a good view of life inside the womb.

Of course, the pregnancy was a ridiculously happy time but was  punctuated by occasional anxiety when I would spot, or had preterm contractions at 6 months, with at least three false alarm emergency trips to the delivery room. It was particularly challenging for me because I am a bit of a control freak. You know, I have issues with ice skating because I cannot control the slippery ground. I am a first born. Yada, yada, yada. But I clung fiercely to the hand of God knowing that he would not pull the rug from under me. 

It was, then, I realize that fertility is a fragile gift and that God is the lord of our fecundity. We delude ourselves into thinking otherwise, but He is and will always be the author of life. As Master Shifu was told in Kung Fu Panda, control is but an illusion. 

I am writing this account in gratitude to God's gift for my baby and to holy intercessors Mother Mary, St. Elizabeth, St. Joseph, to John Paull II, as well as avid fans, i.e., my in-laws, relatives, and dear friends, for many were more impatient than us all those years of waiting. I thank the guardian angels and archangels for protecting my daughter in the womb, and to St. Nicholas of Bari for helping me make ends meet. Special thanks to St. Josemaria Escriva who until now inspires my day with real concern for others as I begin a new chapter of my life.

The hubby and the baby are featured in the December 2008 issue of the Baby Magazine, page 68. Hope you grab your copies!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Tagged Again: Fun Google Post!

Thank you, Amy, for this fun tag!

The Rules are-

" Use Google Image to search the answers to the questions below. Then you must choose a picture in the first page of the results and post it as your answer. After that tag 7 people."

1. Date of my birthday

2. The place I'd like to travel to

3.  A favorite place      

4. A Favorite Thing

5. A Favorite Food

6. A Favorite Color             

    7. The City I Live In

8. The City I was Born in

9. A Nickname I had


10. A College Major


11.  Name of First Lover

12.  A Bad Habit

13. A Hobby


14. Current Three Wishes


The Charism of Healing

On September 14, 2000, the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, then headed by the current Pope, released the Instruction on Prayers for Healing. It is most interesting that the the document encourages the sick to really pray for healing by noting that Our Lord Jesus Christ never "hinted any reproach" to anyone who prays for healing. Instead, he only complains of the lack of faith of the droves of people who go to him. I am urged by this observation to pray my brains out for my intentions. Perhaps, I need to pray like the widow in the parable of the unjust judge. 

Second, the Vatican also recognizes that the Holy Spirit confers the  gift or the charism of healing to any person he chooses. Such a gift is freely given and does not depend on the person's class, category, or group. The document identifies the existence of a charism of healing when healing transpires due to the intercession of a particular person who is given the gift to heal. Otherwise, if the healing is attributed to certain sanctuaries or places of healing, then, technically there is no charism of healing to speak of. 

The document is most helpful especially in the discernment of spirits to acertain the  source of healing (or vision or revelation for that matter), as there are three current sources: (1) good spirit; (2) evil spirit; and (3) auto suggestion. The article of Fr. William Most discusses discernment of spirits here

I've Been Tagged!

Many thanks Melanie of Life in Bellevue    for this award.

 Here are the rules of this award: 
1. Each blogger must post these rules.
2. Each blogger starts with ten random facts/habits about themselves.
3. Blogger that are tagged, need to write ten facts about themselves. You need to choose ten people to tag and list their names.


So, here are my ten, weird, random, little known facts or habits about myself. 

1. I get affected by celebrity marital breakups. Seriously! I can't stand Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt because of all the brouhaha over the Jennifer Aniston thing. I am not even an Aniston fan. 

2. On a similar vein, I don't like the local Dingdong Avanzado and Marian Rivera the more, because of what happened to Avanzado and Karylle. I think fame has gotten into Avanzado's head. I am not and have never been a fan or a follower of any of the actors, but  after the Karylle breakup, I can't stand any of their endorsements, trailers, shows, etc. 

3. I am stumped that Melanie of Life of Bellevue had the book author of the book she read and blogged about posted a comment on her blog

4. I am very grateful to John Paul II for his prayers so I can have my baby.

5. I talk to my guardian angel everyday and to my family members' guardian angels.

6. I personally experience the guardian angels' prompt and very effective response every time I ask for help, like to protect my daughter when she was in my womb during a challenging pregnancy or to get parking space, etc.

7. I am convinced that when Jesus said your faith will move mountains, He meant it literally and not just figuratively.

8. Pacquiao's mother said that she is related to my maternal grandfather. Hahahaha.

9. I and two friends once walked through a snow storm in Halifax, Novia Scotia. We were the only souls out in the streets that time.

10. And oh, we are on Baby Magazine for the December 2008 issue. 

Passing award to: sunnysideup, thea, libai, dez, ella, jigi, pat, joy,  dred, leah, pinoysbest. 

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Home Massage

Having a good home massage in Metro Manila is a hit or miss affair. 

Once I was made to wait for almost two hours for the massage therapist to arrive with not a word from the massage service provider or the therapist. When the therapist got in, there was neither an apology nor an explanation given. 

Second, I do not get consistent or good service. One time, the hubby kidded that the massage service was in a bind to fill in my request that it had its househelp put on a therapist's uniform and call on my door. The therapist obviously doesn't know how to massage. I was just eager to have the massage over and done with.

Finally, there is always the issue of security. I have heard of theft. I also have concerns about bringing in complete strangers into my home. For a long time, I settled with going to spas for my massage. Eventually, I had to curb my spa going. It was getting too expensive to be done regularly. 

That was until I met Nanay Shionny.... 

Nanay Shionny used to work with a home service massage. Prior that, she was with Lasema Spa in Makati. But, earlier on she trained in massage therapy in her hometown, Cagayan de Oro,  before she was 20 years old. She was considered a hilot, a term she does not particularly like, and has helped stroke patients, women who just gave birth, etc. Only in Metro Manila did she seek employment as a home massage therapist. After resigning from the home massage service provider, she has been accepting her own clients.

I have benefitted from Nanay Shionny's seasoned massage therapy. Moreover, I can now have a massage in the comforts of my home knowing that the therapist can be trusted. Most of all, I get to de-stress without costing me an arm and a leg. After all, PHP250 an hour is practically a steal!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Baby Bottle Cleaner

Baby products are getting really expensive these days. The hubby and I feel guilty about scrimping on things like BPA-free bottles, pedia care, etc, but, we had to draw the line at a  PHP500.00 (roughly USD10.00) per baby bottle wash. We get it that we have to give the baby chemical-free products, but PHP500.00 is still PHP500.00. Yet, we could not see ourselves settling with Joy, Axion, Dawn, or what not.  

Good thing we stumbled upon this little booth at the Legaspi Sunday market, which sells organic soaps and shampoos. I don't know the booth's name or the owners, but my previous post discusses another one of its products. This booth happens to sell Pure Soap as well. The soap label reads:

This is the soap to use when you can't allow traces of fragrances, residue, odor or dirt to remain. Ideal for fine china, crystals and silverwares. May also be used for baby's utensils, microwave ovens and refrigerator interiors.

We have been using Pure Soap for months' now not just on baby's utensils but on our regular dishes as well. It turned out to be cheaper than commercial dishwashing liquid. A liter costs about PHP300.00, but it lasted us for a couple of months. Not bad, eh?

Monday, December 8, 2008

I Swear I Got More Hair!

At the risk of incurring legal liability from the shampoo who used the above tagline, I will just have to seek permission for its use, as it most accurately describes my experience with the Rain Forest Gugo Shampoo. 

The hubby and I first visited the organics booth sometime last year at the Legaspi market. We were curious about the organic soaps that were of different flavors and beautiful colors. We were enticed into buying as it was dirt cheap compared to LUSH. LUSH is very good, but the pocket is not as deep.

I immediately noticed the Rain Forest Gugo Shampoo displayed by the side. I easily convinced my husband to buy it as his developing tonsure was starting to be a more regular topic of conversation. It also helped that the booth owners, whose faces I will recognize anywhere, but whose names I failed to get, assured us that their products were truly chemical-free.

My husband and I used the shampoo and stopped buying other shampoo. We were happy because the gugo shampoo was very economical. A 1-Liter size lasted us for months. We were content that it was not laden with all those scary poisons you hear about in your forwarded emails. 

Then, one time I was combing my hair and I noticed baby hair on my hairline! I was ecstatic. You see, back in high school when Debbie Gibson was cool and Michael Jackson was still partly black, Aqua Net hairspray was in every girl's kikay kit... and it was in mine as well. I was using Aqua Net like there was no tomorrow. I teased my bangs when I wore my hair up. I teased my bangs when I wore my hair down. However, I wore my hair, my bangs have to be teased. The teasing started in Grade 6 and probably ended with my high school graduation.

All those years of merciless backcombing and loading chemicals onto my hair contributed to the depletion of the ozone layer and thinned my hairline. I don't say recede, just thinned. A girl notices when her hair is not as lush at should be. Certainly, I noticed.  

Going back to that "aha!" moment while combing my hair in front of the mirror, at first I was puzzled. I did not remember having portions of my bangs cut down to an inch. Then, it dawned on me that I had baby hair. The hair growth was amazing as it happened after my child birth which typically causes hair loss. 

I am also happy to report that the hubby's tonsure is no longer as evident. 

Prices:     PHP300 for 1-Liter bottle
Location:   Available at the Legaspi Sunday market, Makati City
Herrera to Rada Streets corner Legaspi Street
                Legaspi, Makati City
Store hours: 7 in the morning to 2 in the afternoon; open on  Sundays only

Wheatgrass, Anyone?

I saw this wheatgrass stall at the Salcedo market. I dared the hubby to try it with me. It smelled like grass. It has an initial bitter taste, but a sweet aftertaste. Mr. Tanco owns the stall and has an amazing back story on why he started juicing wheatgrss. His story is here

An ounce of wheatgrass is equivalent to a kilo of raw vegetables. Now, isn't that amazing? It seems that the most important component of the wheatgrass is its chlorophyll, which is similarly structured to our own red blood cells. Taking in chlorophyll benefits the body:

 Natural live energy
- Natural active enzymes
- Natural anti-bacterial
- Superior detoxification agent
- Washes out drug deposits in the body
- Neutralizes toxins
- Purifies liver
- Improves blood sugar levels
- Naturally improves strength, endurance and disposition
- Improves sense of well-being
- Cures acne
- Prevents and fights cancer
- Dissolves scars in lungs
- Cures chronic sinusitis
- Overcomes ear inflammation and infections
- Prevents tooth decay
- Pulls poisons from the gums
- Eases sore throat
- Cures psoriasis
- High in enzymes
- Reduces high blood
- Reassembles red blood cell molecules
- Helps reduce the absorption of carcinogens
- Helps eliminate bad breath   

For more details, click here

Chlorophyll wheatgrass is available at the Salcedo market and the Legaspi market. A one ounce shot costs PHP75. You may also avail of the wheatgrass at:

Bizu Alabang Town Center
Corte de las Palmas
(632) 809-2498

Bizu Greenhills Promenade
Greenhills Shopping Center
(632) 724-2498, 726-2496

Bizu Greenbelt 2
Along Esperanza Street fronting Greenbelt Residences
(632) 757-2498, 757-4749

Head Office
2158 Pasong Tamo, Makati City
Green gate beside Caltex fronting King’s Court
(632) 812-6451, 812-602

Friday, December 5, 2008

Beautiful Things

After updating my blog list, I realize that my preferred blogs involve those that have to do with home design, preferably, French, Country, or a mix of both or more. Funny, but some of these blogs are written in a language I don't understand. I just savor the pictures.  I may not be blogging on design, but to me looking at beautiful designs is a great stress reducer. After all, a thing of beauty still is a joy forever. 

Thursday, December 4, 2008

My Amazon Wish List Part II - Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers

Next on my wish list is the Robert Sapolsky M.D./National Geographic documentary, Stress: Portrait of a Killer and Sapolsky's book, Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers. Sapolsky is a Stanford University neuroendocrinologist. The video and the book will expound on his theories on stress:

  • Our body does not distinguish between real stress, like running for your life, and psychological stress, like, worry about money, mortgage, workplace issues.
  • Under stress, the body aims to survive and it will turn off other aspects that are not essential like, reproduction, growth, digestion, tissue repair. "You run for your life, this is no time to ovulate."
  • A zebra that escapes from a predator, will then turn off its stress response. We, humans, are unable to do so and we do it nonstop. We stress out for protracted periods for purely psychological reasons.  
  • Eventually, the stress response is more damaging than the stressor itself.

Sapolsky notes that the zebra gets terrorized for roughly 3 minutes. Then, after the predator is gone, the zebra is either dead or is once again roaming the savannah. It doesn't go around getting stressed out by a potential predator. Humans, on the other hand, anticipate  stress and emit what is called, anticipatory stress response.  

Coping with Stress
Sapolsky normally concludes by saying that "having a shoulder to cry on" helps us cope with stress. Trustworthy and reliable friends are key. 

Commit to stress management activities regularly. It should be something we do on schedule and not simply  when we feel like it. 

Maintain perspective as well. If you feel stressed about work, think, of somebody else who may be dying at that very moment. Breathe, then, get back to work.

Finally, don't be the stressor to others. We usually do this when we displace our own stress to those who work for us or those who are lower in hierarchy than us. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

My Amazon Wish List - The Female Brain

I have  been visiting and re-visiting my wish list for the past several weeks.  I dream that when I get a windfall, one of the first things I will do is finally proceed to checkout. My wish list is not expensive at all, but, with all the other things I need to pay for, it will have to wait.

One of the books, I am so eager to get my hands on is Louanne Brizendine's The Female Brain. I have exhausted all the snippet view and limited view I could find in google books as well as the extensive excerpts from I even left a question on Dr Brizendine's blog message board about infertility around last year and, I am happy to say, she quickly answered. It doesn't hurt that of the 119 reviews on amazon alone, 65 of those gave her 5 stars even if they do not all agree with the contents of the book.

Reading her book will help me understand the changes that continuously take place in my body. My eventual understanding of these changes will help me cope better and live fuller. Below is an excerpt:

The "nervous system environment" a girl absorbs during her first two years becomes a view of reality that will affect her for the rest of her life. Studies in mammals now show that this early stress versus calm incorporation—called epigenetic imprinting—can be passed down through several generations. Research in mammals by Michael Meaney's group has shown that female offspring are highly affected by how calm and nurturing their mothers are. This relation has also been shown in human females and nonhuman primates. Stressed mothers naturally become less nurturing, and their baby girls incorporate stressed nervous systems that change the girls' perception of reality. This isn't about what's learned cognitively—it's about what is absorbed by the cellular microcircuitry at the neurological level. This may explain why some sisters can have amazingly different outlooks. It appears that boys may not incorporate so much of their mothers' nervous system.

Neurological incorporation begins during pregnancy. Maternal stress during pregnancy has effects on the emotional and stress hormone reactions, particularly in female offspring. These effects were measured in goat kids. The stressed female kids ended up startling more easily and being less calm and more anxious than the male kids after birth. Furthermore, female kids who were stressed in utero showed a great deal more emotional distress than female kids who weren't. So if you're a girl about to enter the womb, plan to be born to an unstressed mom who has a calm, loving partner and family to support her. And if you are a mom-to-be carrying a female fetus, take it easy so that your daughter will be able to relax.