I am no stranger to death and dying. Let me count the ways:

  • 1976– My mother, succumbed to breast cancer
  • 1990– My 28 year old brother, Reuben died from Fulminant, Hepatitis A
  • 1999Oscar, my 40 year old brother died of leukemia (AML- 6)
  • 2000– My beloved son, Luijoe died
  • 2003– Dad died of diabetes complications, after being bedridden for 4 years.

Two of the above deaths were quite sudden without grief preparation of inevitable death unlike an illness where there is time to weep. Every death is not an ending . It offers new beginnings, an opportunity, to seek the meaning and purpose of the death.

family photo in the seventies

We all must face death. Perhaps we can even find grace in it. If it is our time to move on , we need not fear death. If it is nearing the time to say goodbye to a loved one, then pray that their transition be graceful and peaceful.

The ones left behind are those that feel this tremendous loss. I always pray that God gives me a long and healthy life so I can still be around for my family. Sure it  is everyone’s dream to live a full life specially with our loved ones but  I never know for sure what the future holds for me.

family photo

What is something that I want to end in order to begin?

With so many deaths in my family, it took time to struggle with my new normal. I could not help but reflect on the losses in my life.  The five deaths in my family  left me so devastated that I often found myself saying “Bahala na” to my future.

No to “Bahala na”. Bahala na (come what may), is something that may not  END to most of us. Yes, it is okay to pray and lift our burdens to God. I know God is with me all the time and when HE is with me , HE wants me to help myself. All I think is an increase and abundance in my life. It is time to create a meaningful yet comfortable life and live purposefully.

This is the advice I learned from a good friend:

Let go of the pain. Do something different today and welcome happiness back into your life.


Questions to ask “Who will take care of my family if , something unfortunate happens to me?” “How will I meet my basic needs when I can no longer work?”

My preparations include health maintenance program , life insurance and mutual fund investment. I even have a notebook that lists all the things that need to be done in the event of my death.   Preparing my family is the least I can do to minimize the pain of losing a loved one.  I talked to my children that I may not be around forever but I can at least prepare them for life without a parent. Though they are done with school, they dream of a comfortable life too. Leaving life insurance is one way that sufficient money is left behind to meet basic living needs or prepare them for future goals. I believe that a life Insurance plan ensures that my family is financially secure even if tomorrow I am no longer around to care for them. It is one legacy that will live forever in those I leave behind.

Another plan is having enough to tide me over during my golden years of over 50 and above. I do not expect my children to be burdened. I often remind myself that health is wealth and  I need to prepare for accidents, complications, if ever, on my diabetes.

I can’t leave my fate to a “Bahala na” attitude.  Taking responsibility for my finances enable me to take focus off money. It frees me to do my work and live the life I want. I have choices. We have choices, more choices than we let ourselves see. I learned through my painful experiences . It takes courage to let go of the past , things and people that hinder my growth. What I can control is doing something today and achieving a new normal.

As Mahatma Gandhi tell us, “learn to live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”

mahatma ghandi


Time And health are two precious assets that we don’t recognize and appreciate until they have been depleted. – Denis Waitley

Riding a train on our way to Abbottsford five years ago, I pondered over my vacation to Melbourne. All I could think of at first was how expensive this vacation is. Everything cost more than back home and that is partly because I am staying in a hotel in the central business district. Once I started converting Australian dollars to pesos, I feel like I am splurging when that is not really the case. The standard of living is just high here. But see, life is short fretting on material things that it is actually the time spent with my daughter that is most precious. There is a tendency for human beings to have this infinite capacity for taking things for granted. I don’t want to make that mistake.

I loved spending time with my daughter. She is like me in so many ways. We enjoy the arts, having lazy brunches and just chilling and enjoying the scenery. My daughter wanted to show me graffiti art in Hosier Lane where graffiti is not considered vandalism. Graffiti has long been a part of human history, but it wasn’t until the emergence of hip hop culture that graf began gaining recognition as an art form around the globe.

I like how supportive the City of Melbourne is towards their artists. The artwork decorating the walls near number 1 Hosier Lane and near Misty Place at number 3-5 Hosier Lane have been approved as registered street artwork. There is symbolisms out there for every artwork.

I get into the mind of Banksy , a prolific graffiti artist from Bristol, UK, whose artwork has appeared throughout Bristol, London and other locations around the world to understand graffiti art.

Is graffiti art or vandalism? That word has a lot of negative connotations and it alienates people, so no, I don’t like to use the word ‘art’ at all.

“Graffiti is one of the few tools you have if you have almost nothing. And even if you don’t come up with a picture to cure world poverty you can make someone smile while they’re having a piss.”

“People say graffiti is ugly, irresponsible and childish. But that’s only if it’s done properly.”

” I never use sketchbooks in the way you imagine a “real” artist does – perched in a terrace cafe with a pencil capturing the essence of their muse. I tried that once when I was on holiday with a girl, but her nose came out so big in the drawing that she never let me touch her again.”

“Bus stops are far more interesting and useful places to have art than in museums. Graffiti has more chance of meaning something or changing stuff than anything indoors. Graffiti has been used to start revolutions, stop wars, and generally is the voice of people who aren’t listened to. Graffiti is one of those few tools you have if you have almost nothing. And even if you don’t come up with a picture to cure world poverty you can make somebody smile while they’re having a piss.”

“A lot of people never use their initiative because nobody told them to”.

“Art is not like other culture because its success is not made by its audience. The public fill concert halls and cinemas every day, we read novels by the millions, and buy records by the billions. ‘We the people’ affect the making and quality of most of our culture, but not our art.”

“I like to think I have the guts to stand up anonymously in a western democracy and call for things no-one else believes in – like peace and justice and freedom.”

“Writing graffiti is about the most honest way you can be an artist. It takes no money to do it, you don’t need an education to understand it and there’s no admission fee.”

“A lot of people think that scuttling around stencilling images onto buildings in the middle of the night is the action of a sad, frustrated individual who can’t get attention or recognition any other way. They might be right, but I’ve done gallery shows and, if you’ve been hitting on people with all sorts of images in all sorts of places, they’re a real step backwards, painting the streets means becoming an actual part of the city. It’s not a spectator sport.”

“Remember crime against property is not real crime. People look at an oil painting and admire the use of brushstrokes to convey meaning. People look at a graffiti painting and admire the use of a drainpipe to gain access.”

“T.V. has made going to the theatre seem pointless, photography has pretty much killed painting but graffiti has remained gloriously unspoilt by progress.”

I can discern the political nature behind the art. These artists definitely think outside the box. I know I have limitations in my visual literacy but I allowed an open mind to appreciate their work. I believe that to truly appreciate a work of art, we must bring with us nothing from life, no knowledge of its affairs and ideas, no familiarity with its emotions.

Most of the photos attributed to my daughter M, using a Nikon D7000. Some are from my iPhone

Did you know that you will spend 20,000 hours on your bed over a seven year lifespan ? It’s worth taking some time and effort to make sure you make the right choice . I have written about how Moms need the gift of sleep . Sleep is the key for renewing and rebalancing the body and mind.

sleep specialist uratex

A sleep that is clean, rejuvenating , refreshing and seductive is something to consider.  I got introduced to Uratex latest innovation that revolutionizes a sleeping experience with the introduction of four new mattresses:  Perfect Serenity Aura Fresh, Orthocare Biorytmic, Senso Memory Ultima Plus and Premium Touch Romance.

uratex sleep specialist 1

Let’s take a look at these four innovative mattresses and think what mattress will be right for you (and your partner too).

Perfect Serenity Aura Fresh

Worried about odors in your bed? The Perfect Serenity Aura Fresh may be the answer to your problem. This mattress has odor-repelling qualities that offer a fresh, clean sleeping environment. Its cover is formulated with complex compounds that effectively eliminate all unwanted odors from the body so your body smells fresh while you sleep. it also features a convoluted high-resilient foam with an egg crate design that allows air to flow freely.

uratex perfect serenity

Orthocare Biorytmic

This mattress uses advanced sleep technology using rejuvenating minerals responsible for restoring energy and regulating the body’s biorhythm. As you sleep, it helps reduce stress and provides better balance and concentration. Honestly, I don’t know how that is possible but a fellow media who was with us swears he felt so good after lying down on the Orthocare Biorytmic mattress.

orthocare biorytmic uratex

For  pressure relief and back support, the Orthofirm foam gives  firm comfort feel all night long.

Premium Touch Romance

The Premium Touch Romance is my favorite.  It is perfect for my romantic husband and myself.  Keeping the love (and sex) alive doesn’t have to end with the day, right? Seriously, this mattress is all about inspiring passion and desire for your significant other.

uratex premium romance

So what makes this different? The secret lies in the mattress which is infused with the essences of ginseng, ylang-ylang and cinnamon, giving it a sweet and spiced romantic ambiance.

uratex premium touch romance
When I tested it out, I didn’t smell a thing . I only noticed the fragrance when I caressed and rubbed the pillow . Very seductive.

Senso Memory Ultima Plus

If you often feel warm and need a refreshingly cool sleep, then this mattress is for you. The Senso Memory Ultima Plus is specially designed with a cooling technology that helps you fall asleep faster. What makes it different from others is that its memory foam is blended with Hydragel beads that absorbs heat.

uratex premium mattress

Wrapped with a Cooler knit fabric, it provides an enhanced cooling effect and has been proven to lower body temperature by up to 2 degrees Celsius. Its plush comfort layers delicately adjust to your body’s movements while you are asleep, relieving you from painful pressure points.

senso memory ultima plus uratex

There are also traditional pillows that offer the same sleep technologies to complement these innovative mattresses. Both mattresses and pillows are treated with Sanitized that protect against growth of bacteria, odor , mildew and dust mites.

So, what do you think? Aside from comfort, which sleeping experience would you add ? Clean, rejuvenating , refreshing or seductive? I already know what I want.

Visit the Uratex area at Our Home , SM Megamall A if you want to test out these four mattresses.

The greatest wealth is health. After all , “it is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver”. The entire Step Diet premise is simple: Walk 10,000 steps a day and trim your portions by a quarter and you will lose weight, simple as that. Move more, eat a little less.

I met those goals so I was excited that Samsung Gear offers a better and more affordable wearable for you to start a fitness regimen.

samsung gear fit 2

I am sure some of you may have tried working out and you can say it’s easier said than done. I know because I have been there. It’s already hard enough to set aside ample time and reserve so much energy into staying fit, but it gets even harder when things are holding you back from giving it their best.

unleash yourself

It takes a lot of motivation and inspiration. I love walking with sounds because it moves me to walk faster. Any fitness animal knows the struggle is real when they need to switch songs through their smartphone just to get the right song that keeps them pumped up for their workout, all on top of having limited movement because of earphone cords that always get in the way. Not only that, but anyone who’s tried keeping track of their progress know that looking through their smartphone risk tripping, especially when running.

Samsung all-new Gear Fit2 and Gear IconX can help you reach your fitness goals, and  keep pushing for greater performance, too.

comparing fitbit and samsung gear

See the all-new Samsung Gear Fit2 beside my Fitbit Surge? Not that I am ditching my FitBit, but you might want to compare wearables.  The Gear Fit2 is a GPS sports band that promises a bulk-free and advanced fitness experience. There lies the difference. The Gear Fit2 looks elegant on my wrist unlike the bulky Fitbit Surge. There’s no need to bring around a heavy smartphone for progress tracking because the Gear Fit2 will help keep you motivated to outdo your last fitness record – may it be in terms of length of time, number of reps, or calories burned.

samsung gear iconx

With its stand-alone GPS tracking capabilities, the Gear Fit2 can help fitness animals easily monitor not only location, but also their burned calories, distance, speed, route, time, hours of sleep, and stress levels to keep them fit and healthy.
With its Social Challenge capabilities, the Gear Fit2 also allows fitness animals to challenge one other into doing fitness routines that can help create motivational friendly competition amongst friends, pushing themselves more and outdo their best records.

samsung gear watch

Worried about water or sweat breaking your device? Don’t be. The Gear Fit2, with its IP68 rating, is water and dust resistant, all wrapped into a sleek and lightweight band-type design compatible with any style.

samsung gear fit2
Thanks to other features available on the Gear Fit2 like a 2GB storage capacity to store up to 500 songs, and a curved Super AMOLED Display for easy viewing of their fitness data, the Gear Fit2 is truly an essential companion for fitness animals.
However, being able to track one’s workout progress is not enough for fitness animals to achieve their goals. Movement and focus are equally important. Imagine doing a 10km run with wires hitting the face. That would immediately distract a fitness animal from truly focusing on his or her full goals.

I like that the Gear Fit2 has exercise options. When I did the squat in the right position, it would register the count. I did 29 squats in one minute.

squats using samsung gear

The all-new Samsung Gear IconX helps with just that. Having a truly wireless design, these cord-free fitness earbuds and help motivate fitness animals to push themselves more with its in-ear fitness tracker, something the market hasn’t seen or any other earphone device can do, with real time updates on time, distance, speed, heart rate, calories burned, etc. Equipped with audio feedback, the cord-free earbuds provide fitness animals with a coach’s voice in their head – literally – to push them further into achieving their goals and the most effective training they long for.

samsung Wearables
But it doesn’t stop there: The Gear Icon X allows fitness animals to listen to up to 1,000 songs on its 4GB storage. Now if you use Spotify, you can connect your smartphone’s bluetooth to the ear pods. Controlling the music player is done much easier, too, thanks to its Smart Touch function: users will be able to control the volume, or select play, pause, and skip with just a few simple taps on a Gear IconX earbud.

Gear IconX_Product

Samsung has also taken into consideration the safety of its Gear IconX users. The cord-free earbuds have an ambient noise feature that allows fitness animals to still hear their surroundings and be aware of their environment without sacrificing the need for a seamless music experience.

One of the best things about Gear Fit2 and Gear IconX is their compatibility beyond Samsung, working with Android 4.4 or above and 1.5GB RAM devices. Both fitness devices have the ability to function without the other. Too bad for iOS users like me but I have a second Android phone.

Anyway, I should stop writing now and work my way to 15,000 steps to wealth. Health is wealth after all. Do you agree? Join me.

The Samsung Gear Fit2 and Gear IconX are now available at Samsung Experience Stores and authorized dealers nationwide for only P8,490 and P7,990, respectively.

Wow, the kilig factor is still alive a year after. The AlDub phenomena is a year old. Two factors strike me on why ALDUB, this “Kilig Pa More” KalyeSerye is a hit : the kilig factor, of course and the timeout experience. I am not surprised ALDub phenomenal romance is celebrating its first year anniversary.

Starting 12:00PM today, July 16, AlDub fans can join the conversation on Twitter to mark the first year anniversary of supercouple Alden Richards @aldenrichards02 and Maine Mendoza @mainedcm by Tweeting with #AlDub1stAnniversary hashtag to unlock a special heart emoji. This Twitter emoji pays tribute to the global AlDub phenomenon and celebrates the romance that has taken the Philippines and the world like a perfect storm.

emoji heart

By including #AlDub1stAnniversary hashtag when composing a Tweet, a special Twitter heart emoji will appear after the hashtag in the sent Tweet. This is the first time that Twitter has created a customized emoji for a TV show in Southeast Asia.

“As a partner of Eat Bulaga, Twitter has witnessed the rise of AlDub from a local sensation on Philippine television to a global social TV phenomenon. It is powered by the love of fans all over the world, and the creativity of the show producers. The recent launch of the emoji for AlDub’s first year anniversary celebrates the show, the AlDub love story, and most importantly the fans who have flocked to Twitter to express their love and support over the past year,” said Pratiksha Rao, Twitter’s Head of Media Partnerships in Southeast Asia.

Looking back, the AlDub love team debuted on July 2015 in the ‘Kalyeserye’ segment of the popular noon-time TV show Eat Bulaga before they became one of the most well-known personalities on Twitter. Eat Bulaga’s Twitter account (@EatBulaga), which constantly keeps fans updated on the show by live-Tweeting each telecast and sharing behind-the-scenes images and videos, has added over 1.8 million followers in the past 12 months (over 200% growth) from 880,000 to 2.72 million followers today.

The record breaking 41M Tweets for #AlDubEBTamangPanahon concert on October 24, 2015 placed the Philippines in the Guinness World Records, making #AlDubEBTamangPanahon the most used hashtag in a 24-hour period.

On October 25, 2015, Maine’s Tweet thanked the Dabarkads and AlDub nation for their love and support, accumulating over 76,000 ReTweets and 133,000 Likes, which made it the 2015 Golden Tweet for the Philippines.

The love team’s road to stardom continued as AlDub’s Valentine’s day campaign #AlDubIsLove amassed over 4.1 million Tweets from February 12 to 14, 2016. This marked an iconic moment for AlDub fans as they received personalized autographed posters from Alden and Maine on Twitter.

The recent release of the first movie starring the AlDub couple, Imagine You and Me, on 13th July also generated mass conversation on Twitter with over 7.9 Million Tweets about the movie in the one week leading up to its release. Set in Italy, the movie was discussed on Twitter by fans globally with the top five countries that generated the most conversation about the movie being the Philippines, United States, Canada, UAE and Australia.

Finally, Eat Bulaga and the AlDub couple have used Twitter to innovate and create special moments for their fans globally. Recently, they surprised a few lucky fans by Tweeting personal video answers to their questions.

Fans should follow @EatBulaga (Eat Bulaga), @mainedcm (Maine Mendoza), and @aldenrichards02 (Alden Richards) on Twitter to get real-time updates on the AlDub love story, participate in the conversation, and get behind-the-scene moments first on Twitter.


How do we explain natural disasters to our children, and how do we fulfill our role to protect and nurture them? In two natural disasters, I was not home to comfort my children. I remember the strong earthquake in 1990 that struck Northern Luzon and also affected Metro Manila. My children were below four years old then. As the earth shook beneath me, I could only think of my two children left behind at home with their caregivers in Pasig. Were they traumatized?

The two girls didn’t seem terrified but in the next few days, one daughter scribbled what seemed like an earthquake scenario. I took it as a sign that she wanted to express her experience. Speaking to her calmly, I explained that earthquakes cannot be predicted but I will do all my best to keep everyone safe. To give assurance, I initiated earthquake drills at home and showed them the earthquake kit by the door.

Can you imagine the children affected by floods such as the Yolanda (Haiyan) disaster? There are many ways to help them deal with tragedy such as art therapy, play, or reading a book.

happy water sad water

And there is Read for Hope. Read for Hope started as an outreach activity in response to the Yolanda tragedy in Tacloban, Leyte in 2014. The team, composed of young professionals from Metro Manila, gave aid in the form of a mobile library and post-trauma relief to the students of Cabuynan Elementary School located in Tanauan, Leyte. In 2015, the team extended its activities in Guiuan, Samar with a Resiliency and Leadership Seminar for High School Students and Basic Computer Literacy Program for teachers.

During their first trip to Tacloban last May 2014, they talked and played with the kids recovering from the trauma of Yolanda . The children used to love taking a bath in the middle of a hot day and they enjoyed playing in the rain and they loved to swim at the beaches nearby. They could do it all day every day like normal kids do. But when the Read of Hope were there, the children were scared. Scared of the slightest downpour. Terrified by thunder and lightning. Traumatized to even go near the beach. This experience inspired them to write a book.

read for hope

It  came up with this story book, entitled Happy Water, Sad Water: A Story To Prepare Kids for Floods and The Aftermath. The group got inspired to help them overcome this fear. Inspired to share their story so we can all learn from their experience.  It aims to raise awareness for the environmental effects of global warming and climate change among children today and at the same time raise funds for the group’s upcoming efforts.

Read for Hope

The e-storybook aims to raise funds for the reconstruction of the library in Sulangan Central School, Guian, Eastern Samar on August 25-28, 2o16. (Learn more about their past efforts here.)

The e-storybook is priced at P300, but any amount of donation will do. Read more on how you can help.

(updated) A friend wondered why my husband married me in the first place. I laughed. Without batting an eyelash, I smiled “because I am a bitch. Maldita!

Why Men Marry Bitches: A Woman\'s Guide to Winning Her Man\'s HeartThey say that it starts in courtship. In the book, “Why Men Marry Bitches“, Ms. Argov says it is true “men love to chase women” and we must let them do that. I’ve never read the book but I have my own definition of being a “bitch”. Oh how I remember how I played hard to get just so Butch would suffer. I even had another suitor just to show him that he’s not the only guy in this world. At that time, Butch had a girlfriend but dumped her when he started courting me. (I later found out it was the girl who pursued him). After three months of wooing me, we became steadies for 7 years before tying the knot. Even though he was still at Law School, I told him this: “if we don’t intend to marry on our 7th year, I’m moving to the States with my sister.

We married on our 7th year.
anne-taintor-bitchMy definition of “bitch” is not one who is nagger, or a war-freak wife. I am neither demanding or mean. The book describes the “bitch” as ” a strong woman who has her own identity and is secure with who she is.” I don’t know how the other bitches in the world work. I define myself as a passionate, loving , loyal wife who will fight for her man , her family and her marriage . When threat prevails, the bitch in me will find ways to curtail it. Lately I established family relationship boundaries and that’s when havoc occurs. My methods may come out offensive or abrasive in a world where one is not used to confrontation or honest exchange of communication.

Whenever my sisters and their spouses are in town for a reunion, we tease our husbands that they can now commence their support group. I don’t know if my husband is traumatized whenever I am in my “bitch mode”.

So why did my husband marry a “bitch”?

I have no idea so I send an instant message . His reply:


Yes, that’s life. He can’t explain it.