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We took a little out of town trip yesterday with our kids for their annual homeschool achievement test. Our kids together with their friends took the Metropolitan Achievement Test at Westfields International School and thankfully they all passed! woot woot! It was approximately a two-hour drive to Angeles, Pampanga. A bit stressful because I volunteered directions to get to NLEX. Hah! I’m not a driver but I’ve had lots of practice being a backseat navigator (yup, loooooong drives across the Arizona desert with a rest area map in my hand hahahaha). Now, I’m not much for road signs but I have a hidden compass somewhere in my brain that tells me, YOU”RE LOST!!!!  EPIC STRESS! Oh well, I think stress is one of the best fat burners around or maybe not? We did get there in the nick of time and we had lots of yummy cupcakes (thank you, Chots!) to comfort our rattled nerves.

Bottomline, the kids passed! After that, we hied off to Clark to do a little Duty-Free shopping therapy. I was still a kid when I went to Clark and all I remember was a huge toll-booth looking gate with lots of US soldiers checking if you had a gate pass before allowing you in. What was unforgettable to me was the Commissary with lots and lots of imported goodies (well, I had my eyes on the candies). I still remember the Pop Rocks I got back then. I was amazed how those little rocks popped and fizzed in my mouth! Ahhhh, the simple joys of childhood…

Clark has changed quite a lot since then. Gone is the big gate. So are the American soldiers. No more Commissary. Lots of Duty-Free shops though. What I found so cool was those digital timers attached to stoplights that countdown the seconds till the signals change color. I wish we had those in Manila. There were also certain parts of the landscape that reminded me of California. Well almost. The intense tropical heat kept reminding me I was still in the Philippines.

Overall, it was a lovely day spent with the children and with friends. A bit tiring but I know  that when I will look back to this day, I will probably forget all the stress and just recall the time spent with my kids and my heart friends.

A few pics from our trip:

Our son was recently confined for Pneumonia. While it was still in it’s early stages, our doctor decided to have him confined to ensure that his condition did not regress. He had to have Cefuroxime shots via his IV fluids. He was also given a mucolytic and an expectorant to clear his lungs. The first day was quite difficult for the little boy as the phlegm was making him vomit a lot. I sure beat an apidexin treatment considering the material coming out of him. As the second and third days passed, it was a lot more manageable. Now he’s home arguing with his sister.

Our kids acquired pulmonary infections after swimming last Tuesday. Some think it was the exposure to the cold water after the extreme heat in the city’s ambient. The heat in Manila has been quite extreme the past couple of months, reaching more than 38OC. Our house typically feels like the boiler room of a submarine. This sauna like experience is definitely better than taking herbal phentermine. Its common for builders to make houses in appropriate for our tropical climate. I guess, they designed sauna baths rather than houses.

Our family recently watched Prince of Persia. My 85 year old dad, said that it was a movie that was filled with killing from beginning to end. What do you expect from a video game movie adaptation? I personally found it entertaining considering the parkour-like stunts that made you forgo studying any thermotox review. It inspired me to develop more athletic dance choreographies. Storywise, it wasn’t that bad. The tension between Dastan and the Princess was quite interesting as well. This is a movie, I’d get for my video collection.

It’s not easy to deal with respiratory illness once it hits a person. Illnesses such as pneumonia, asthma or bronchitis are not that easy to manage especially with young children. The adage “an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure” is easier said than done. Children don’t care whether their backs get sweaty from playing. They couldn’t care less if it causes them to cough later on. For them the pleasure of playing is greater than the threat of sickness. Adults, on the other hand, who are stricken with emphysema due to smoking aren’t necessarily eager to give up that electric cigarette altogether. I know one person who smokes 3 packs of cigarettes a day and was advised by his doctor not to stop because it would affect his body rhythm all the more. These scenarios are  definitely not ideal especially if it happens to a family member. Therefore, it is important to know how to deal with respiratory illnesses before they strike. Consult with your family physician on what to do if you have a loved one that is prone to these sicknesses.

The sequel to the Phantom of the Opera musical, Love Never Dies opened last March. The story takes a drastic twist from the original where our villians are now protagonists and heros are now the opposite. The Giry’s, who helped Raoul and Christine in the first musical, are now the main antagonists. Raoul is no longer the Knight in Shining Armor of Christine. This role now goes to the Mr. Y (aka the Phantom). The best eye cream for our anti-hero is when his son, Gustave, unmasks him at the very end.

I watched a video of the Phantom of the Opera yesterday. It was quite refreshing to watch this wonderful piece of musical theater after a couple of years. I first watched this in Broadway in 1997. I first watched the video a couple of years later. It is interesting to note that the hideousness of a person, like the Phantom, doesn’t really come from external appearances. It rather comes from the rancor in one’s heart. No amount of eye wrinkle cream can remove the wrinkles and scars of the human soul. It’s only the blood of Jesus that truly heals a wounded heart and turns it into one of joy.

The recently in concluded ballet recital of ACTS Manila was quite sucessful. It just made clear our vision that Ballet is our way of shaping society for God. Every step we take, every number we perform is a testimony to the great abilities our God has to establish the principles of His Kingdom on earth. All the sleepless nights and rehearsals were worth it. The extra doses of vitamins for women were all for a worthy cause. Excellence…Faith…Social Transformation.

Today was the first day of classes in De La Salle University. I met my Physics 2 lab class for the first time. I introduced the subject coverage for the term. I also introduced myself to the kids. I talked about careers and jobsearches I’ve made in the past. I really don’t think they’ll be looking for a Philadelphia job soon but I just want them to learn the hard lessons I’ve learned in my career. One of the things I told them was for them to handle and guard their data well, particularly because they are engineers. Hopefully, they won’t forget what I say and be agents of change in their generation.

Last night I was watching a show about stylish houses in the Philippines. The featured house was a family getaway in Tagaytay. The outside had a european Chalet look to it but the inside was quite Asian. The interiors were done quite well rendering a hotel like look. The high ceilings and balconies gave a more relaxing feel appropriate for city dwellers looking for a rural getaway. I just wonder how it would be like if the house used log furniture. As long as the logs are sustainably harvested, it would probably be wonderful.

When people talk about repentance, we think about really feeling sorry about something we have done and not doing it again.   I got a different understanding of this concept yesterday.  It’s actually a two fold process which starts with recognizing that we died with Christ. It concludes with offering our lives to the LORD as instruments of righteousness.  Before, I thought repentance was like changing the channels of your Samsung TV   from a bad channel to a good one.  The problem with my perspective was that I assumed I had the remote. Effort still depended on me. The Bible says that everything is from Him, exists through His Power and intended for Him (Rom 11:36).  Jesus is the remote holder, His death enables me to change the channel from my show to His.

It’s almost unbelievable how memorably hot summer 2010 is. It almost reminds me of summer in AZ except that it’s more humid and sticky here. I recall how short summer was last year and how the rains came earlier than usual. I don’t mind the sun as long as it’s windy but when the temperature hits fever-grade and no matter how many fans you turn on or windows and doors you open without relief from the heat, it’s really really not cool (figuratively and not). As a result, the kids are now sick, and in our house, when one gets sick the rest get sick as well. Makes me wonder whether the vitamins I took while they were in my tummy were really the best prenatal vitamins for me. Although the kids are much stronger now and less prone to sickness, I wonder if I could have done it differently and taken other supplements instead. Oh well, I just wish that cooler days would come soon. Please summer, a few degrees off would be just fine!

WordPress or Blogger? That is the question! Whatever I learned about both platforms I learned out of necessity. I created my first blog in blogger and have since transitioned to wordpress. I’ve kept my first blog in blogger to this day for sentimental reasons but I think I prefer the ease of the back-end admin panel of wordpress.

Lately, by necessity once again, I am rediscovering blogger and I am quite surprised by the numerous improvements that have taken place. Of course there is still much to be desired but there are numerous ways to achieve certain things that wordpress offers. One of the many new features  that blogger has added is Pages. I can now actually add additional pages (maximum of 10 to-date) to my once single-paged blog.  There’s also a new feature where I can even design my very own template. Isn’t that neat! I have just scratched the surface but I’m going to find out more soon enough as I update my blogger hosted blogs. I still have to do a lot of research and maybe while I’m at it, I’ll probably do a little googling on some medical equipment I need for an assignment.

Catch y’all later.

In this day and age, vanity and discontentment with one’s natural appearance is common.  It is not usual to know someone who recently had facial surgery, breast enhancement or taken extenze.  The question is whether or not this is a pleasing act before God. The question really is why you undertake such treatments?  Is it to please yourself or someone else? Is it to satisfy your lust or pride? Is it to please a loved one? Ultimately is it done out of love?  Remember that on top of the motives, we have to remember that when we play around with nature, there are consequences that will bother us later on.

Its been over a year since I started teaching ballet.  Since then, I have lost about 30 lbs.  For a lot of people, its really the lack of physical activity that leads to being overweight or obese. The best weight loss supplements can’t beet engaging into physical training. It forces the individual to take ownership of his or her weight problem. Whatever the nature of the training is, it has to be something you really like.  For me , Dance works best because there is a level of performance I push for.  You experience a certain level of frustration when your body fails to achieve the artistic expression you desire. Its not just looking good but being able to communicate your thoughts and feeling somatically.