Archive for  July 2009

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Ito ang Caliraya Lake Watershed kung saan kami ay nakisali sa pangalawang yugto ng tree planting event ng Napocor nung nakaraang taon. Dito namin itinanim ang mga seedlings na una naming ipinunla sa Angat Dam nursery. Makikita rito ang hanay ng mga maliliit na puno na balang araw magsisilbing proteksyon ng watershed na ito upang ito ay mapakinabangan pa ng mga susunod na henerasyon. Isang maliit na kontribusyon para mapangalagaan ang ating kalikasan, makatulong sa pag-mitigate ng climate change at para sa kinabukasan ng ating mga anak.

Hapi LP mga kapatid!

I finally braved it and opened a Cafe Press store! Guess what’s on sale? Of course, Everything Ballet! Right now, I have one design available but I will slowly be adding new designs to the shop. There are ladies shirts, notebooks, pins, bags and other fun stuff for ballet fanatics out there. Here’s a little sample of an Everything Ballet bag looks like:

Isn’t it cute? Unfortunately, it’s not yet available locally but if you do order online at Cafe Press they can ship it to you wherever you are.  So what are you waiting for… check out the store right here —> Everything Ballet

I have been reading on and off about SEO related articles and I have to admit at first it seemed like a foreign language to me. I may not fully understand all the benefits that come with my blog being optimized. I do know in my simplistic way that SEO means your site/blog is coded in such a way that makes it easy for search engines such as google or yahoo to find you. Why is it important for these search engines to find you? It’s all about marketing yourself and making your content accessible to a wider audience.

There are many ways to make your site SEO friendly what with all the link backs, web directories you need to submit your site to, page ranking, meta tags and all that internet jargon you have to sort through, there is a wealth of online resource that is available to the seeker.

Here are a few things I found that you might like to think about as you continue to build/enhance your site:

Quality guidelines – basic principles

  • Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines. Don’t deceive your users or present different content to search engines than you display to users, which is commonly referred to as “cloaking.”
  • Avoid tricks intended to improve search engine rankings. A good rule of thumb is whether you’d feel comfortable explaining what you’ve done to a website that competes with you. Another useful test is to ask, “Does this help my users? Would I do this if search engines didn’t exist?”
  • Don’t participate in link schemes designed to increase your site’s ranking or PageRank. In particular, avoid links to web spammers or “bad neighborhoods” on the web, as your own ranking may be affected adversely by those links.
  • Don’t use unauthorized computer programs to submit pages, check rankings, etc. Such programs consume computing resources and violate Google’s Terms of Service. Google does not recommend the use of products such as WebPosition Gold™ that send automatic or programmatic queries to Google.

Quality guidelines – specific guidelines

  • Avoid hidden text or hidden links.
  • Don’t use cloaking or sneaky redirects.
  • Don’t send automated queries to Google.
  • Don’t load pages with irrelevant keywords.
  • Don’t create multiple pages, subdomains, or domains with substantially duplicate content.
  • Don’t create pages with malicious behavior, such as phishing or installing viruses, trojans, or other badware.
  • Avoid “doorway” pages created just for search engines, or other “cookie cutter” approaches such as affiliate programs with little or no original content.
  • If your site participates in an affiliate program, make sure that your site adds value. Provide unique and relevant content that gives users a reason to visit your site first.

(source: google support for webmasters)

I think – Content is key but it doesn’t hurt to beef up the technicals as well.

Have a great week everyone!

The internet has revolutionized all of us. Our lifestyles have changed… from communicating, to doing business, recreation and even our way of shopping. Imagine yourself, sitting in the comfort of your home and shopping in your pajamas! Isn’t that awesome? Who would have thought of that five to ten years ago?

Five to ten years ago, I had to content myself with whatever the local malls had to offer. Online shopping was still fairly new and sometimes scary. Shipping was limited to certain countries. Credit cards were vulnerable to hackers and there was very little or no means of paying in currencies other than the currency used where the store was located. Fast-forward to today. Online shopping is as normal as buying from your local sari-sari store. Convenience at your fingertips! What’s more if you have a broadband connection, checkout takes just a few seconds. No more waiting in line.

A few months back, I remember doing research on desktop computers because I needed a new one desperately. I was considering whether to get a Mac or a PC and I scoured the net for info and data so that I could compare notes on which one among the two was the better purchase. Value for money, so to speak. I’m a pretty thorough person and I don’t leave any stone unturned till I am fully satisfied with the results. I think I spent hours just doing research and going back and forth between tabs to find the best deal out there. I wish I had found Shopwiki back then. It could have saved me a lot of time and effort because a lot of the information I needed was already there in one place. They have this handy buying guide that helps you compare product information at a glance. That could have been a real time-saver for me back then. Oh well, if you are planning to purchase anything in the future, maybe you should check them out. Who knows, it might make your online shopping more convenient than ever!

(solar eclipse 7/22/09 approx 11 am Philippines)

Nakakakilabot isipin na maaari kang mabulag sa simpleng pagtingin lamang sa araw. Ang aking akala ay puede nang gamitin ang negatibo ng camera para sumilip sa eklipse na ito kaninang umaga subalit ako ay medyo natakot kasi baka mabulag ang aking mata. Mabuti na lamang at tumawag ang aking kabiyak at tinuruan ako kung paano tignan ang naturang eklipse. Sabi nya ay kumuha daw ako ng batya at lagyan ko ng tubig at doon namin masdan ng aking mga anak ang araw sa reflection nya sa tubig. Ako ay naaliw at naisipan kong kunan ito. In-under expose ko ang kuha at nagmukhang gabi ang larawan pero masaya na ako at ako ay nakakuha ng ilang matinong shot. Narito ang isa pang kuha na medyo maaaninag ang aming bubong at ang gilid ng batya. 🙂 Ayos ba? Puede na din maglaba pagkatapos. 🙂

Hapi LP mga kapatid!

We had dinner with my in-laws at Fire Lake Grill located at the exclusive Cliffhouse Tagaytay last night. We were already in the Alabang area earlier and had planned to have dinner at Melo’s but we had a change of plans because my FIL wanted to eat somewhere closer to home. They had an early flight the following day and he didn’t want to be caught in traffic on the way home. So off we trekked back to Sta. Rosa, Laguna. I told the husband that there was a restaurant I watched on ANC’s Shoptalk that they might want to try. I watched Chef Paul Huang being interviewed by Pia Hontiveros (a distant relative of the husband’s family according to my in-laws) and during the interview, it was mentioned that Fire Lake Grill was another one of those awarded restaurants much like our hometown fave Kanin Club. My MIL had a steak craving so I thought this might be a good place to try out.

We arrived at Cliffside Tagaytay a little over 8 pm. The sign said that parking cost P100 pesos. I was quite surprised cause that’s a little bit expensive for parking but they do waive that if you get your parking ticket validated at any of the restaurants inside. It was a bit rainy and windy because the storm was just blowing over and exiting the country but nevertheless who’s to stop you from having a good meal with the family.

Tucked away inside Cliffside Tagaytay, we were greeted with cool, modern interiors inside the restaurant with a view of Taal Lake outside. Of course it was dark so we didn’t get to see the lake but I can, from memory, imagine seeing it even in the dark. I love the chairs! Mine was sooooo comfortable I couldn’t help but comment to the head waiter David about it. My MIL stepped outside to enjoy the cool wind. Chef Paul, owner and executive chef of Fire Lake, was outside as well and he and my MIL started talking. Soon, my 9-yr old son joined their conversation which is not unusual. LOL  They came in and MIL introduced me to Chef Paul. I mentioned to him that I had watched him on Shoptalk and that’s what brought us to his restaurant. He started out as a corporate guy who left the corporate world and pursued his passion for food. Reminds me of  that saying “Do what you love doing and you’ll never work a day in your life.” In my opinion, one of the best business insurance for your business is to love what you do and enjoy doing it because if you do, success is just a by-product. You can find out more about him on his website Fire Lake Grill.

Okay, okay I’m sure you are curious about the food so here’s the tell-all. This is what we tried on the menu:

  1. For starters we had nicely warmed bread and butter. I like the bread because it was sort of crispy on the outside and nice and fluffy on the inside. You can ask for more if you want. Great way to start a meal.
  2. Cappuccino of pumpkin with cinnamon froth and rare beef slivers served in little espresso cups  – reminded me so much of those Iron Chef creations; very creative use of the pumpkin; my MIL loved the idea!  I think I’ll give it :   **** stars
  3. Fresh salad of assorted Tagaytay greens, julienne carrots and capsicum, sliced cucumber and tomato wedges with your choice of dressing – we chose the raspberry vinaigrette. For me salads are mostly the same but what makes it stand out is the dressing. I love how he used the raspberries in the dressing and the greens were crisp and fresh… no brown spots! The husband and I split the salad and we both give this refreshing dish : *** stars
  4. Grilled C.A.B. rib eye steak served with the cutest little Bugs Bunny carrots and french beans sauteéd in butter and with a side dish of your choice – we chose the roasted garlic mashed potatoes upon recommendation of head waiter David and it was sooooo good. I’ll give it : **** stars
  5. Citrus-lemongrass marinated Australian lamb chops (3 pcs) served with those cute little veggies again and with french fries on the side for the kids –  the lamb was tender and juicy (sounds like a hotdog commercial lol), a little fatty though but that’s lamb so… the kids loved it anyway. My son couldn’t help but smile and in the middle of all that yummy goodness he said to me “Mom, this is so heavenly!” So for making my son smile from ear to ear alone I’ll give it : **** stars
  6. BBQ pork loin with fresh cilantro and tomato-jalapeno relish served with rice for Yaya. She was quiet the whole time she was eating and so concentrated on her food. So for making Yaya speechless I’ll give it : **** stars
  7. For drinks, the husband and I had the Fire Lake Grill Iced Tea which is their own house blend of iced tea and local fruits, pineapple being the most abundant in the area. For using local resources and helping reduce carbon footprint I give it : **** stars
  8. Finally, pineapple carpaccio poached in Malibu rum and served with pink peppercorn, candied lime peel and home-made coconut ice cream in a brandy snap basket was our dessert highly recommended by head waiter David. I took a bite and I was surprised to taste something familiar in the dessert that I  normally use in regular cooking. It had peppercorns! I asked David if they were real peppercorns in the ice cream and he said they were pink peppercorns… not as spicy as the black ones but it added that little something to the dessert. Awesome and unique! For being creative I’ll give it : **** stars

Service was awesome. My FIL was happy to meet Chef Paul. Head waiter David was cheerful and attended to our needs and little requests. Our tummies were quite happy. How much did the whole meal cost – approximately 5k++ for 7 people. So it’s roughly around P700 to P900 per pax.  Overall, it was a pleasant and delightful experience to dine at Fire Lake Grill. No wonder it’s consistently been on the Philippine Tatler’s best restaurants list. Check out this little secret and find out for yourself!

Ikaw ba ay nakaranas na ng pagkatuyot? Mawalan ng inspirasyon sa mga karaniwang nakahiligang gawin? Siguro lahat ng tao ay may mga panahon ng tagtuyot. Tulad ng panahon, may mga araw na sagana ang ulan at may mga araw na sagana sa wala. 🙂 Mabuti pa ang halaman na ito. Kahit tagtuyot siguradong hindi sya mauubusan ng kanyang inipong tubig. Ako kaya, paano kaya ako mag-iipon para sa panahon ng tagtuyot?

Hapi lp mga kapatid!

I had no intentions of being heroic but I literally did “stand in the gap” or was it “stand in the way” yesterday and it hurt like hell. We went to a children’s birthday party at Hotel Kimberly in Amadeo yesterday right after church and of course being a children’s birthday party, there were games… not just for the kids but for the mommies and daddies as well. The host called my name to join one of the games and I obliged. I’m normally a reluctant participant but I wanted to be a little “game” this time and so I did. It was a mini race where you had to circle a chair twice, write the word SOS with your butt and then pass on the hat to the next person. I did my part as fast as I could and as the last person turned the corner to run to the finish line I saw her body headed for a fall. Being a dancer, I instinctively recognized that her body was going to crash into the tiled floor and she was going to get hurt pretty bad. So I poised myself to catch her. Unfortunately, the force of her fall was so strong we both crashed on the floor with me hitting my tailbone so hard I was stunned and couldn’t get up. I remember something hitting my cheekbone as well so hard I was in a daze for a few seconds. The first thing that crossed my mind when I was down on the floor was “Oh no! I might not be able to dance tomorrow!” The people around us tried to carry us up. I was disoriented but walked to my seat as if nothing had happened but I felt everything as I sat down. The hubby tried to do TKM (The King’s Method) on me and it did relieve me but it made me want to close my eyes and just sleep. I was scared to fall asleep because I feared that I wouldn’t wake up. My kids were so surprised and couldn’t believe I did what I did. They had mixed feelings of anger and concern… anger at the person who crashed into me and concern for my well-being as well. That made me think hard. I needed to teach them something. They needed to know why I did what I did.

I had one of those “my life flashed before my eyes moments” and “what is the purpose of my life conversations with myself” running through my brain as I was trying to find a little relief from the waves of pain and disorientation. The hubby who’s been studying on kinesthetics and all that dance physiology blah-blah-blah assured me that my tailbone was the location of hundreds of nerves that’s why I was feeling that way and it had just gone thru trauma so it was normal for me to feel that way. I was having a spiritual moment on the other hand. LOL

These are some of the things I learned, realized and remembered all at once:

  • Standing in the gap is hard. I realized that what Jesus did on the cross was so hard compared to what I did. I had it easy. I had a thick layer of fat on my butt to cushion the fall. It still hurts the day after but compared to what Jesus did for us, this is a walk in the park. Jesus had nails thru his hands and feet. His pain was so much greater than mine.
  • Standing in the gap saves lives. I’m no savior but had I not been in her way even if I did not intentionally try to help her, she would have crashed her face into the concrete floor. Newton’s first law of inertia says “An object at rest tends to stay at rest and an object in motion tends to stay in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.” Jesus is the force that stops us in our tracks and saves us from crashing into whatever.
  • Standing in the gap is not faceless. I hardly knew the person who crashed into me. We saw each other just minutes before the game started. No heroics. Just instincts. Standing in the gap is also commonly interchanged with intercession. Many times I receive prayer requests for people I have never met and yet I still pray for them. Sometimes God puts people and circumstances in my heart to pray for whom I have no inkling about and yet I know it is not in vain. This has been my training hence this is my instinct.  Jesus loves us and knows us by name. We are not faceless to Him.
  • Standing in the gap is a choice. My children kept asking me after “Why did you do that, mama? I don’t like it that you got hurt…”. My kids are the sweetest kids in the world and I know they are and will always be protective of me. What I want them to know is that Jesus chose to do what He did. He died on the cross to save us from our sin, by choice. Why? Because He loves us. I can’t say I loved that person. I hardly knew her. I don’t think she realized she needed any “saving” from me. Does God love her. I’m sure He does. But what about me? I’m the one who got hurt? Doesn’t He love me? Why didn’t He spare me from the pain? This passage came to my mind:

New International Version (©1984)
I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,

another version says this:

Bible in Basic English
That I may have knowledge of him, and of the power of his coming back from the dead, and a part with him in his pains, becoming like him in his death;

Sometimes, it’s the painful times, the seasons of hardships and the difficult moments that yield more insight into another person’s life. These times create deeper bonds, deeper friendships that transcend time. They give us a peek into the other person’s heart and soul. We all have friends but those who share their most intimate thoughts and share their deepest pains with us are those who regard us as true friends. We end up “knowing” them beyond words. This incident has made me “know” God more and has made me appreciate and love Him more. It allowed me to peek into His heart and understand why He did what He did for all of us.  I know now that I am His friend.

Have a wonderful week, everyone!

You Are Ballet

You are quite introverted. You enjoy keeping to yourself and cultivating your talents.

You are dedicated and focused. If practice makes perfect, you’re willing to keep practicing.

While some people may dismiss you as boring, you can be quite edgy and interesting.

You can fit in almost anywhere… and your style ranges from conservative to funky.

Well, waddayaknow… hahahaha 🙂

Happy 4th of July to all in the US! It’s one of those days that I looked forward to whenever we were in the US because it’s bargain season galore! If you are out hunting for a bargain then check out these wholesale ipods available in these yummy colors. I’m sure they would make great stocking stuffers for Christmas, don’t you think? You can find them at Liquidation dot com if you are interested.

I think this one’s cute… fresh as a granny smith apple don’t you think? 🙂

Check them out. You might end up getting them at a lower price because it’s the 4th of July. Happy hunting everyone! Freeeedooooom! lol

Both of our kids are sick today – coughs and colds. So this necessitated a trip to our family pedia. After ds had her check up and prescriptions we enjoyed a wonderful dinner of authentic Bikol “pinangat”, crispy pork, corned beef omelette, atsarang ubod topping it all off with homemade avocado ice cream served by our gracious host Dr. Ninong as we fondly call Dr. Almelor.

Our discussion turned to anything and everything under the sun – from the endless stream of patients that kept pouring in to food and even the Katrina-Hayden-Vicki issue.  It got me to thinking later on about women’s rights and who had the real right to sue. I have not seen the video and don’t have any intentions of watching it. I have been asked twice already why I haven’t and my answer to both was a simple “no”. I have a daughter myself and I wouldn’t want her to undergo what Vicki and Katrina are going through.

Who is the real victim and who is the perpetrator? Either way, both have lost a lot already. Who’s rights have been trampled on? Most, if not all of us, know who got trampled the most. Who will win in the courts? A whole team of Mesothelioma lawyers is not enough to sway the court of public opinion. Who stands to benefit after all has been said and done?

If laws are given more teeth to protect women’s rights from being violated in whatever form, most especially in this digital age, then my daughter has a safer future ahead of her. If women will be wiser and more discerning in choosing who they will trust because of this incident then bravo to us. Hopefully, this case will not just be one of those fleeting sensational issues that are forgotten after it doesn’t make the headlines and sell the newspapers and magazines anymore… Hopefully, we won’t just watch from the sidelines and allow any woman to be treated less than how our Heavenly Father has created us… for our sakes and for the sake of all our daughters.

We always hear fashion gurus telling us that the “little black dress” is one of those fashion essentials you must have in your closet. But what about jewelry? What should you invest in when it comes to jewelry? I grew up in a town famous for it’s jewelry making industry and seeing jewelry catalogs around our house was nothing extraordinary. Although I am not the “chunky, clunky” type, I do appreciate good jewelry when I see one. Below are what I think every one should have at least one of in their stash. My jewelry of choice would be earrings and here are some samples of what I would wear (if I could LOL).

Diamonds are classic, timeless and always in style no matter what the occasion.

Pearls are elegant, sophisticated and can take you from drab to fab in an instant.

Real gems and birthstones add that personal touch to your overall look.

What about costume jewelry then? Where does that fit in? With all the high quality hip and trendy fashion jewelry coming out, there will always be room for that in your wardrobe especially if they are as cute as this:

… yeah, yeah it’s ballet of course I’ll wear it hahaha (I found this in etsy – image is linked… I think 🙂 )

So that’s my fashion roundup for this time.