Archive for  March 2010

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15 Posts

I have been struggling with stye since the other day.  The first time I ever had it, I thought it was pink eye (sore eyes).  Upon looking at it my wife said it was kuliti. I never new what this was.  Do I need to buy discount prescription glasses if my eyes were ruined as a result? As I searched for this over the net, I found that it was due to a blockage of the sebaceous glands in  the hair folicles of the eyelids.   I tried the recommended treatment of a hot compress.  While it did not relieve the pain fully, it enable me to do the traditional remedy of plucking out an eyelash.   After doing so my eye watered for a while but significant relief came.  I guess there is wisdom to traditional treatments after all.

Its almost June so a lot of couples are most likely busy preparing for their weddings. A wedding is a public expression of a couple’s commitment for one another.  It is regarded as a Covenant, a three party contract between the bride, groom and God.  In a covenant, there is a set of terms, the commitment and the sign.  In marriage the terms are read in the form of a question. The spouses in turn express their agreement to the terms.  To seal this they give the sign in the form of the wedding rings.

I remember purchasing our wedding rings.  During this time, my parents still had some reservations to my marriage plans so I had to shop for the rings for myself. (I should have waited a few months later when they gave their blessing).  Naive as I was, I bought a nice looking 22k gold pair of rings in a trip to Malaysia.   They looked nice and elegant.  After the wedding, I realized that they were too soft and easily deformed.  Years later, mine accumulated so much deformation stress that the band just broke in two.  Another problem was that my wife started having allergies with her ring. The explaination is that the alloying agent used may have been a material she was allergic to.  So she wore her ring on a chain around her neck. I should have known that there were Jewelry buying guides online that I  could have checked out before buying those rings.

So I planned to replace the rings with something else. Something in silver or platinum. Something like this:

Platinum Engraved Wedding Band

Platinum Engraved Wedding Band

This unique hand engraved wedding band is crafted in beautiful platinum. 950  platinum.
Price: $3,500.00
(I found this online through Shopwiki.com)

Fortunately, after 10 years of marriage, my parents decided to give us their wedding rings.  While these are silver instead of gold, these carry more character, as they were passed on from one generation to another.   They are sturdier and neither of us have had allergies so far.  Perhaps it would be a good idea to pass on these wedding rings to one of our children someday.

Today, our son and daughter performed at the school where they have ballet lessons.  We woke up at 530am and got to the place at around 7am.  This was just in time for the agreed call time with their ballet teacher.  They had 2 runs of their dance and then they were set.  While waiting for their time to be called, they were given juice and some little cakes.  As they were about to go to the performance area, my daughter says she needed to go to the bathroom for some heavy relief. I told her to hold it.  It was a good thing that she was able to do so.  After their performance, I cancelled my plans for the morning and rushed home thinking about the scale of the mess she needed to make (Think of the hemorrhoid relief she might need, ha! ha! ) .Good thing it was not as bad as I thought it would be.

I think the moral of the story is for me not to give them juice early in the morning particularly during performances.  When your kids have a show, it would be a time to be adventurous with your food or drink choices.   Stay with proven staples until after  the show.   You would not want to risk ruining your kid’s pretty costume.  In my case, this would be regular tasty bread and water for breakfast. Stay away from stuff with mayo or are acidic in nature. These usually spoil or cause violent reactions in your child’s sensitive tummy.   A pinch of prevention is definitely better than a pound of cure.

Today our son passed his level I reading achievement test in Kumon.  We are so proud of his achievement considering he is a 10-year old doing Grade 9 level reading work.  He was also very  happy  after hearing the news. Problem was that he kept on asking us if we were happy about his victory.  It was as if he was fishing for compliments. While intellectually he can do high-school stuff, deep inside he remains a kid.  No human growth hormone can accelerate the development his character and temperament. Anyway, God loves him so much that he did not allow this attitude of pride to continue.  In Ballet class, he was sent out for not listening and was reprimanded by the teacher for being distracted and disruptive.  Later tonight he said that he realized that God had humbled him.  It is really good that he is learning his lessons early, saving him from the big heartaches in the future.

In my son’s ballet class today, their teacher asked the kids how old they were. Most of the girls indicated that they were turning 10 this year.  When the teacher realized this, she told her students that they needed to have 3x per week classes starting July.  She stated that in Classical Ballet, a dancer’s time is limited and that upon reaching 10 no time was to be wasted.  Before even getting their first acne treatment, the teacher intends to start them on pointe work.  She says 3x per week training would ensure that the kids are strong enough to do more demanding pointe routines.

While it is good to get kids on pointe shoes soonest, it is normally not advisable for them to do this before 10.  Doing so would lead to growth problems because children’s bones are more cartilagenous in nature.   They also must have demonstrated strength in routines done on regular ballet shoes.   The bleeding toes are definitely not for the faint of heart.

Pointe shoes are the distinguishing mark of a ballerina from other dancers.  The seemingly effortless moves on stage result from years of tears, dedication and hard work.

Today was quite crazy as it was so busy and I had only 3 hours sleep the night before.  The latest eye cream review would be of help now, considering  our sunken, aching eyes. This deviation from our normal Monday schedule was due to a prayer conference my wife was attending.  We had to leave quite early because the kids had to be dropped off.  At the end of the day, it paid off as we got fresh new insights about our role in the coming days.   We even got to rethink the motivation behind our leaning towards certain candidates in to upcoming elections in the Philippines.  Bottom line, no matter how crazy our day is, God is in control.

To prepare myself for the day, I usually start praying after I wake up.  I ask God to have his way with me and some direction about what to pray for and do for the day. I then read the Bible for a few minutes.  At the end of the day, I do the same thing only this time with the kids. I usually find myself centered throughout the day as I go through it walking with God.  Christianity is never about dead rituals and religion but rather about a close relationship with the Christos.

I was recently talking to a friend and colleague about strenghening the web presence of our group.  My point was that most of my recent inquiries in ballet were leads from the web.  It seems that a website is a good marketing collateral for our service.  She had some difficulty grasping web concepts so I used the simple analogy of a warehouse.  I told her that our website is a bunch of data that needs to be in stored in a data “warehouse”.  The warehouse space is allocated by the “warehouse” owner known as the hosting service.  Since we want people to visit our warehouse space, we need to put a physical address for people to easily find it.  This is what we call a URL or a domain name. A good one would be something like www.weightlosswand.com, because it tells the public outright who you are.   The space can be divided to public and private sections.  The private section can be where we can have secure collaboration among team members while the public storefront is where everyone can learn about or purchase your services.  The web isn’t really as mystical as people think.  Small business owners would really benefit from the web as it levels the playing field in a lot of scenarios.

With the death of our friends’ mom, we have been traveling back and forth to the Sta. Mesa, Manila area.  As it is our tradition in the Philippines, we stayed up late during this wake to support our friends.  We would then travel home to Sta. Rosa, Laguna past midnight. It was quite stressful for my wife because of all the trucks that were traveling during this time of night  They were practically kings of the road. This makes you want to get additional low cost car insurance plans because of the risk you are taking as you travel with these monsters.  Anyway, we got the Jesus insurance plan which is more than enough to get us home safely.

Here are some tips for those travelling past midnight along the Southern Luzon Expressway (SLEX)

  • 1. Don’t go beyond 80 km/h.  This is especially true southbound before Alabang.  The construction of the Skyway extension has some lanes closed between Alabang and Sucat.
  • 2. Don’t take the service road.  Trucks usually take this route. With elections coming, last minute road work is going on.  Half the road is closed between Bicutan and Sucat.
  • 3. Frequently look far ahead.  With lanes closed, you’ll have to watch for arrows indicating lane merges.  You’ll see this near Carmona.
  • 4. Don’t challenge trucks and buses.  They are just too big and can hurt you seriously.

Hope this helps. Have a safe trip

Last Sunday, the mom of two of our dear friends was rushed to the hospital. The 84 year old lady was eating her food when she suddenly slumped.  It was later found that she had aspirated food.  This is the condition wherein the victim gets gastric contents into his/her respiratory tract. We then got into prayer for this dear old lady.  She went into cardiac arrest but was later revived.  A private  hospital room with a heart monitor, under the care of a private nurse, was her home during the last hours of her earthly life.  Finally, less than 24 hours after the incident, her blood pressure dropped signifying her return to her Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

While it was sad to see her go, it was indeed a joy to see someone to finally go home to the Lord.  In her earthly life this lady was an excellent mother and a passionate artist. As an artist, the ballet costumes she did looked splendid on stage and were unparelled in elegance, functionality and artistry.  Her wedding gowns were truly works of art.  My wife was a radiant sight during our wedding day when she wore a golden dress with a matching peacock train.  As a mother, she constantly supported her daughters during their ballet dancing and teaching careers. She also cared for us dancers. She was the type of lady who would tell you if you needed a nose lift or have your eczema treated.  She will be dearly missed.

As I was driving this past few days I whispered a prayer in her native Ilonggo “Tita, madamo gid nga salamat”. It was just assuring that the Lord reminded us of this word, ” To be absent in the body is to be present with the LORD”.  Thank you Lord for this wonderful lady who has blessed us so much with her life and talent.

Its summer in the Philippines and you have found a good place for your child to start training ballet ( or any other dance for that matter).  Have you ever thought about what you should be doing in preparation for the 1st class?  First order of business is to get your kid in the right attire.  Before the 1st class, you should ask the teacher about the attire.  In ACTS Manila ballet schools we have a prescribed uniform ( fuschia sleeveless leotard and a skirt of specified length ) so it would be a waste to buy something other than what is called for.  You should also ask about how the hair should be done.  Second item would be teacher’s gender. I’ve had some kids refuse to join my class because I was male! (As if they didn’t have any fathers!) If you know before hand that the teacher is of opposite gender to your child, you may want to prep the him/her.  Thirdly, be ready with food and water.  Kids can get really hungry and thirsty after class.  Fourth, make sure your child has gone to the bathroom prior to class.  Lastly, prepare for things that need to be paid for. Uniforms, tuition, registration, etc.  Don’t forget promotional items or coupons giving you discounts or free classes.

Ballet is a wonderful experience for little girls and boys.  They get to dance out fairy tales instead of just reading them. I wish you and your child the best in your ballet experience.  If you live in the Sta. Rosa, Laguna area, you can reach me at 09083020319 for ballet classes.  Mention this blog for a free class.

In my last entry, I blogged about our recent ballet pictorial.  As my wife does the post production part of the shoot, we have been staring at all the student’s photos for quite a while now.  In so doing we noticed a few more items worth some attention.  First and foremost, would be the smiles.  As I stated in my previous entry, we had to constantly remind kids to smile.  It was not a surprise to see good shots getting archived because the kids were not smiling.  Second would be jewelry. Just because your kid has a pictorial, doesn’t mean that you have her wear all your loose diamonds.  You have to follow the artisitic direction of the producer.  Its funny if your kid has the role of a simple village girl and her ears sparkle.  Lastly, the weight! Please STOP your children from always going to McDonalds or eating  chips and chocolates.  If you don’t think their fat, look at their pictures. It even gets worse when they get on stage.  The worst thing that could happen is if they won’t fit in their costumes come recital time.  Give them real, nutricious, high quality food.

The weekend was quite busy for us.  It was the pictorial of ACTS Manila ballet schools.  While Saturday was not so bad as it only involved my wife, Sunday engaged all four of us.  We woke up very early to be at the pictorial site at 730am.  The shoot started around 830am, with my daughter’s ballet class. About an hour later, it was my son’s ballet class. At around 10:30am,  it was the turn of my students to be photographed.  The whole morning was practically a family affair.  After lunch, it was back to my wife’s monopoly of things to do.

Perhaps your kid is about to have look into that Canon camera in a ballet pictorial setting. Here are some practical tips:

  • 1.) Come early! – In a production pictorial setting, you have to put on a costume or wear special make up.  For this reason, call time is usually 1hr before the scheduled shoot.  By coming late, you run the risk of not wearing the costume properly or putting on the best make-up.   In some cases, you may even damage the costume.
  • 2.) Wear make-up before getting to the site. – If your circumstances permit and no special make-up is required, you should have your kid wear make-up before arriving at the photoshoot.  This way, you can focus on his/her costume.
  • 3.) Keep the kids busy. –  Do what you can to keep your kid preoccupied while sitting down.  Bring books or games that will keep him/her from running around and destroying his/her costume. Pictorials usually take long because of the number of kids to be shot, so you have to bring quite a number of books and games.
  • 4.) Bring food. – Because of the long wait time, bring along some snacks.  However, don’t let your kid eat brownies or other dark colored stuff unless you want his/her teeth to have stains.  You should also stay away from messy stuff like cream pies as they may spill on the costume.
  • 5.) Bring a good container for the costume. – Bring a container that keeps the costume from being damaged during transport or storage.
  • 6.) Practice your child’s smile. –  It’s interesting that we had to nag kids to smile. Have your child practice smiling the night before. It would even be better if you have a mock pictorial!

Hopefully this makes your pictorial experience more memorable in a positive way. Smile!

Its that time of the year, when school is about to end and parents are scrambling to get their kids into activities.    A lot of parents would try to get their kids into dance.  What style should they get into? Where do they train? The answers really depend on what your goals are for your kids.

When choosing a style for your child you should consider the what of the following aspects you want to develop:

1.) Musicality

2.) Acting/Character on Stage

3.) Expression and creativity

4.) Physical control/flexibility

5.) Physical strength

If you want musicality, then jazz, tap and hip-hop. The dependency of these styles on beats and syncopation makes them ideal for this goal.  For character and acting, the classical is the best.  It teaches you to carry yourself like a prince or princess.  If you want to foster creativity and expression, then nothing beats contemporary.

As far as physical training is concerned,  Classical Ballet and Contemporary develop great control over muscle groups.  Classical leg battements and port de bras define peripheral muscles.  Arabesques and pirouettes develop the back and abdominals.  Contemporary contractions and releases develop the core. Think about contemporary dancers rolling like on the floor like rugs.   Hip-hop is known for exposive moves.  Jazz is notable for pelvic and hip isolations.

Among the styles, contemporary appears to confuse some people.  A co-teacher of mine in ballet commented that contemporary is like jazz.  They are actually not.  To understand what contemporary, we go back to its roots.  In the early part of the 20th century,  dancers hated the “fairy tale” like quality of ballet so they developed a more realist, earthy style known as Modern Dance.  In this style, dancers would use the floor and contract their bodies.  In the 60’s some dancers emphasized that natural movement was dance.  Improvisation and natural movement marked what is known as post-modern dance. The combination of Modern and Post-Modern  is now called Contemporary.

After choosing the style, you then consider the teacher.  Is the teacher really a dancer? How long did he/she dance? Where did he/she get the training? Is he/she part of a guild or network of teachers that oversees the quality of instruction? Are the rates reasonable? In my case, I danced for about 3 years before working in industry for 15 years.  After that I returned to ballet as a teacher.  I am part of the Christ centered  ACTS Manila consortium of teachers and ballet schools.  You can call me to compare my rates with other teachers in my area.

Only after considering the teacher should you consider the studio. I have taught ballet in small kindergarten classrooms.  A good teacher should be able to improvise teaching methods to meet the needs of the students.  I teach in 60 sq. m. church hall at Laguna Bel Air 2, Sta. Rosa, Laguna, Philippines.  You can call me at 09083020319 for a free ballet or contemporary class.

If you are looking for a place to stay in Makati that’s priced reasonably, one of the options you might consider is staying at the BSA Towers along Legaspi St. right across Greenbelt 5. We’ve had the opportunity to stay there a couple of times and so far our experiences have been pleasant. I’ve read mixed reviews about the place so I’d like to add my 2 cents worth to help you decide whether you want to stay there or not.

CONVENIENT LOCATION

One of the major factors we took into consideration was convenience – mainly for my in-laws’ sake. They are senior citizens and not quite as mobile as before so having Greenbelt 5 directly across the condotel is a big plus. No need to get caught in traffic and wait for hours just to get to a mall.

This is the view from the balcony of Room 1208.

we can see Greenbelt 5 and beyond…

the entrance to Greenbelt 5…

PARKING

This factor might not be important if you are a business traveler flying in from a province or another country. However, if you live in and around NCR (National Capital Region) and you have your own vehicle, having your own parking slot is a big plus. Some condotels do not provide secure parking spaces, unlike BSA Towers, where we were alloted a parking slot within the building. If you are not ready to risk your car being “chop-chopped” or if you haven’t said yes to that auto insurance quote you’ve been offered, then you might want to consider staying at BSA.

STAFF PERFORMANCE

We had a problem with one of the bathroom faucets in Rm. 1208. There was just hot water coming out of the faucet and no cold water to mix it with. Having two kids with us, this was not safe at all. I called the front desk to have the Maintenance check it and shortly after, they sent someone to fix it. It turned out that the cleaning guys forgot to turn on the cold water valve under the sink. Problem fixed. I also called in a couple other requests which I’ve forgotten already but overall, the staff were courteous and polite.

Here’s how the bathroom looks like in the Master’s bedroom:

HOTEL CONDITION/CLEANLINESS

Generally, the building is old. The lobby is small and looks more like the hallway of an office building rather than the lobby of a hotel, so don’t expect something grand. The room we stayed in was decent. No broken furnitures etc.  I’m not quite sure about the other rooms, though. All I can say is, if you stay in Room 1208, then you’re good.  Housekeeping is daily and the sheets are changed everyday. Our room package did not include breakfast but I wouldn’t miss it anyway. Last time we stayed at BSA, they served breakfast in bento boxes. It was probably good while hot but mine was already cold when I woke up so I didn’t really enjoy it.

ROOMS/ACCOMODATIONS

There was nothing glaringly wrong with the room we stayed in. The living area was spacious. The kitchen was small but adequate. I did have to switch a few appliances around to make the work area more efficient but overall, it was ok. The dining table was a bit small for us because it could only accommodate 4 people. We ended up taking turns during our meals. The balcony doors were locked, for safety reasons probably. The beds were comfortable. Our room was a bit small and they had to configure the beds in such a way as to fit 2 twin beds, a cabinet and a mirror as well. The bottomline: the room met our needs and so we were quite satisfied with it. Again, I can only speak for us and our experiences in the room we stayed in.

Here’s the kitchen…

… the kitchen, one of the bedrooms and one of the bathrooms…

… our bedroom

VALUE FOR MONEY

I think if you’re not looking for a resort hotel, but something more practical, affordable, and accessible then, BSA Towers is worth the stay. It may not have the other amenities of the larger hotels like a pool, a gym etc. etc., but  it makes up for all that in many other ways.

***BSA TOWERS is managed by Quantum Hotels and Resorts

One little note, I just want to commend the security guards of Greenbelt 5 for helping out with the wheelchair. When my in-laws go to a mall, I usually get a wheelchair for my father-in-law to use around the mall. Some malls allow you to use and keep the wheelchair while you are there. Greenbelt 5 has a different procedure. They don’t allow you to keep the wheelchair with you. Instead, they bring you to your destination and you can just inform the guards to let them know you need to go somewhere else. What was really nice about them is that when we were done malling and called security for the wheelchair, they even brought my father-in-law right up to the doorstep of the BSA Towers. Kudos, to you!!!!

I survived! I took another trip to Divisoria a few days ago and I can now say to myself I won’t get lost anymore in this jungle of a marketplace. This time I even have pictures to boot! I planned to get to Divisoria early but unfortunately, I got too excited planning my trip the night before and ended up leaving late the next day. I left the house around 9am and expected to arrive at around 10:30am but I got caught in a monstrous traffic jam. I ended up in Divi past 12 noon. Tsk tsk! BUT all things work together for good so I guess it was all for a reason.

My entry route to Divisoria was through Binondo where the you see the famous Chinatown arch landmark after passing the Jones Bridge and the original Savory restaurant. The next landmark you will find is the rotonda where you will see the Binondo Church. Traffic was so bad, I got off at Starbucks and began my hunt in Juan Luna St. Take a look at where I got off.

This is where Juan Luna St. starts coming from Binondo.

**JUAN LUNA STREET

WHAT YOU WILL FIND: t-shirts (wholesale), t-shirt printing, commercial paper, printing and binding supplies, office equipment and supplies and a lot of banks in

Juan Luna Bridge – On the left side of the bridge, you will find  Ilaya and Tabora, New Divisoria Mall, M. de Santos etc.. On the right, you will find Juan Luna Plaza, Meisic Mall and 168 Mall. If you go straight up, you’ll end up on C.M. Recto Ave. where you will find Tutuban Mall.

** I turned left 2 streets after the bridge and bought 2 packs of jewelry foam from this lady who didn’t mind my taking a picture of her.

**COMMONER’S COMMERCIAL

This is how Commoner’s Commercial looks like. These guys were sport enough to “candidly” pose for me. Ü

WHAT YOU WILL FIND: acrylic boxes (be sure to bring a sample of the item you want to box so you can choose your size), plastic bags, sando bags, plastic bags with adhesive, kraft paper bags, round magnets, french fries boxes, plastic containers, cups and boxes for food or baked stuff, acrylic sheets, bubble wrap, cling wrap, colored wire, jewelry tags, paper and other packaging stuff.

** MORNING GLORY

Not quite sure if this is Morning Glory or Good Morning but nevertheless they’re both on the same street and both of these store sell sewing stuff.

WHAT YOU WILL FIND: all kinds of beads, thread, glitter, ric rac, lace, fabric flowers, sequins, buttons, ribbons and all kinds of jewelry and sewing stuff that you can imagine.

**WELLMANSON SEWING NOTIONS

I don’t have a picture of the store, but yes, there is a Wellmanson store in Divisoria.

WHAT YOU WILL FIND: jewelry making materials, findings, beads, jewelry tools, glitter, feathers, ric rac, lace, swarovski crystals, little wire tie twisties,

**TUTUBAN MALL COMPLEX

I just discovered that Tutuban Mall was divided into three buildings – am not quite sure if this is how they’re called : 1) Prime (where National bookstore is)  2) Block (the building with the escalator 3) and Cluster (the one parallel to Recto)

99 Slice and Dice Steak resto – So far this is where we always eat when we are in Divisoria.  We usually have the beef salpicao and kangkong. Affordable and tasty.

I discovered that there were other interesting places to eat just outside Tutuban Prime, near the parking lot. Maybe we’ll try them next time:

This is where we parked. This is directly behind Tutuban Prime.

I asked the security guard to pose for me (feeling John L. hahaha) Ü

Finally, this is what happens when the malls close. NIGHT MARKET!!!!!!! Pardon the blur. I was trying to shoot while in a moving car. Ü I just wanted to show how the shopping is still relentless even at night.

If you’ll notice, my pictures start out bright under the heat of the summer sun and end with  street lights and headlights galore. That’s how long it took us in Divisoria. I think I’ve walked my feet to death. It felt like walking on a treadmill that you can’t get off from. aaaaack.

Overall, despite all the hassles and difficulties of shopping here, Divisoria is still the mother of all markets hands down.

Check out the first post I did on Divisoria here—> http://teystirol.com/2009/11/17/decoding-divisoria/

Hope this post helps someone. HAPPY SHOPPING EVERYONE!!!!!