Christmas gift ideas? Shop for Christmas Gifts with Purpose  at the BPI Sinag ng Pasko Christmas Bazaar on December 6 at the Glorietta Activity Center, Glorietta Mall, Makati City.

I love to give Christmas gifts that are locally crafted by small and medium scale enterprises. There is a lot of heart in it. If you are like me, you find beautiful gift items from social enterprises that help Filipino communities at the BPI Sinag ng Pasko Christmas Bazaar happening on December 6, 2016 at the Glorietta Activity Center, Glorietta Mall, Makati City.


Many of these social enterprises have been part of BPI Foundation’s iconic BPI Sinag Business Challenge, a program that aims to support and scale-up businesses with the triple bottom line – people, planet, and profit. The Sinag ng Pasko Christmas bazaar, which is now on its second year, is one of the opportunities organized by BPI Foundation to help social enterprises reach out to new market.

With a wide range of goodies that include food and beverage, toys, personal care an home products, fashion and tech accessories, you will be sure to find something to give the important people in your life.


Here is a list of social enterprises participating at the BPI Sinag ng Pasko Christmas Bazaar.

Food and Beverage

  1. Balangay’s Best – seafood snacks and other food items made by fisher folk communities from Bantayan, Cebu
  2. Bayani Brew – brewed iced teas made from all-natural, native ingredients — curiously yummy, ridiculously healthy, and proudly homegrown
  3. Dalareich Chocolates – native chocolate solids made from pure roasted cacao from Bohol
  4. First Harvest – a proudly-Filipino brand, that uses choice ingredients to whip up healthy and delicious food products such as peanut butters and coco jam
  5. GoldenducK – premium salted eggs that use an all natural turmeric dye to give their salted duck eggs a bright yellow hue, instead of the carcinogenic Sudan red dye used in others, and uses 50% less salt than traditional salted duck eggs. They also make duck patties and sisig
  6. Good Food Co. – brings fresh and ethically sourced organic produce from smallholder farmers to kitchens
  7. Hiraya Chocolates – single-origin chocolate bars and chocolate products from cacao beans sourced around the Philippines
  8. Kalsada Coffee – Philippine specialty coffee that aims to support Filipino coffee producers and their dedicated efforts to bring quality coffee to market.
  9. Kayumanggi Organics – wild ginger teas sourced from local farmers from Surigao del Sur and Aurora.
  10. KKK Coffee – coffee products and café that seeks to promote Philippine coffee, not only from bean origins, but also to recipes and to brand
  11. Nutri Delight Delicacies – innovative nutritious delicacies from all over the Philippines
  12. Obrano – hand stitched goods made from genuine leather and handwoven textiles
  13. Saka Brew – premium roasted rice and corn coffee
  14. STEEP Coffee – coffee blends without the need for anything more than boiling water
  15. Theo and Philo – chocolate bars made from cacao from Davao and sugar from Bacolod.
  16. Tsaa Laya – premium line of organic herbal teas

Toys and Games

  1. Karaw Craftventures – a design hub that upcycles scrap materials into artisanal products made by the inmates of the Naga City jail
  2. Plush and Play – safe, environmentally-friendly and educational toys
  3. Civil Defense Board Game – a simulation table top board game that introduces the basics of disaster risk reduction and humanitarian action to players with or without any background in disaster risk reduction or humanitarian work.


  1. Akaba – timeless, high quality and high value travel bags from handwoven textiles
  2. Bag 943 – for every purchase made of these backpacks, another bag is given to an impoverished school kid in the Philippines
  3. Gouache – stylish specialty waxed canvas bags for the active, artistic urbanites and the adventure lovers
  4. Gugu Bags – backpacks for adventurers, woven in Albay and Camarines Sur, and designed and sewn in Naga City by Filipino artisans
  5. Jacinto and Lirio – multi-functional, handcrafted, and stylish leather goods such as wallets, bags, journals, and laptop sleeves, sustainably made from water hyacinth

Clothes, Shoes, and Accessories

  1. Anthill Fabric Gallery – scarves, jackets, skirts, and other contemporary lifestyle products made from Philippine weaves
  2. Habi Footwear – environment-friendly, stylish and comfortable espadrilles and sandals
  3. Klowil – t’nalak woven by the T’boli weavers of South Cotabato
  4. La Herminia Weaving – handwoven cloth from indigenous fibers like piña, silk, abaca, and cotton
  5. Risque Designs – a Filipino lifestyle brand that brings forth modernity and luxury with its meticulously hand-crafted ready-to-wear and ready-for-runway footwear pieces

Personal Care and Home Products

  1. Messy Bessy – natural, biodegradable, non-toxic personal care and home products
  2. MNL Grow Kits – “agriculture in a box” products that lets you grow your own plants from the comfort of your home
  3. Solar Solutions – provider of renewable energy solutions products and services

Assorted Products

  1. Angie’s Yakan Cloth – handwoven yakan cloth, table runners, wall decors, coasters, placemats,pillow cases, bags
  2. Caritas Margins – a variety of fashion accessories, personal care, and food products made by Caritas Manila’s urban poor farmers
  3. Gifts and Graces – fair-trade bags, toys, and accessories
  4. GREAT Women – food items and spices, textiles and silk-based goods, and high-fashion jewelry and accessories
  5. Roots Katipunan – woven bags and artisanal products

Support our Filipino Artisans! Save the Date! December 6, 2016 at the Glorietta Activity Center, Glorietta Mall, Makati City.

Learn more about the BPI Sinag ng Pasko Christmas Bazaar by following BPI Foundation on Facebook .

Books open a whole new world of knowledge, stories, ideas, and advices that can enlighten you, make you laugh, give you a moral boost, inspire you, or introduce you to a different outlook. Here are some recommended books for moms and moms-to-be.

Love You Forever by Robert Munsch – The Canadian picture book Love You Forever started as a song according to the author. It was published in 1986.

“I’ll love you forever,
I’ll like you for always,
as long as I’m living
my baby you’ll be.”

Munsch made up the short song after he and his wife had stillborn babies. The song was meant as a tribute to their babies who died at birth. The song lingered in his head but it was too painful to sing. For a long time, it was just a song but one fateful day, while Munsch was sharing stories at a big theater at the University of Guelph, he was inspired to create a story around the song. The thought later materialized into the book Love You Forever. Kids were the initial target audience of the book but to the surprise of the author, it became a hit among adults as well.

The heartfelt story is a chronicle of the experiences of a mother and her young son. It describes the little boy’s annoying behavior in his youth. Despite her son’s troublesome behavior, the mother never fails to visit the boy in his bedroom to cradle him in her arms and sing him a short lullaby. The nightly display of affection is constant a reminder of how much the mom loves her son.

The boy eventually reaches adulthood and leaves home to start a life of his own. Sometimes, the mother would sneak into her son’s old room to sing the same lullaby as she longed for his presence.

As time passes, the mother grows old and weak. When the son visits his sick mother for the last time, he sings his own version of the lullaby as a tribute the unconditional love that his mom gave him all through his life. He promises to love her forever.

When the son goes home, he takes his newborn daughter in his arms and sings to her the same lullaby that his mother used to sing to him. The legacy of love goes on.

Parenting With Love and Logic by Foster W. Cline, Jim Fay, Eugene H. Peterson -This parenting book helps parents prepare their children for the real world by shaping them into self-confident and motivated individuals.

The authors enlighten parents about the importance of teaching their children a sense of responsibility to help them have a good chance of a bright future. The book stresses the significance of instilling good values through easy and positive steps. Parenting With Love and Logic explains that it is possible to bring up and nurture children without the need for “anger, threats, nagging, or power struggles.”

Confessions of a Scary Mommy: An Honest and Irreverent Look at Motherhood: The Good, the Bad, and the Scary by Jill Smokler – This New York Times bestselling collection features original essays that reveal positive and negative thoughts and deeds of parenting. The book offers the readers a glimpse of the reality of parenting, both good and bad sides. It shares stories and confessions that most mothers would find very difficult to admit.

“If I can’t survive my daughter as a toddler, how the hell am I going to get through the teenage years?”

“I end up doing my son’s wrong, but so much easier.”

“I clock out of motherhood at 8 P.M. and hide in the basement with my laptop and a beer.”

“I pretend to be happy but I cry every night in the shower.”

The Girlfriends’ Guide to Surviving the First Year of Motherhood by Vicki Iovine – New moms step into the world of motherhood with a mountain of questions, worries and fears. The author deals with the common mommy queries and doubts. Iovine gives a hilarious twist to parenting. She offers straight to the point advice and funny observations.

“Baby euphoria”: Is it a mind-altering drug?

“Husband? What Husband?”: Taking care of the big baby, as well as the little baby

“I Want My Old Body Back!”: What you can fix and what you can’t

“The Droning Phenomenon”: The inability to discuss anything but your baby for more than thirty seconds

“Do I Have to Become Carol Brady?”: Conquering your fear of being a less-than-perfect mother

“Competitive Mothering”: Coping with know-it-alls, finger-pointers, and others who try to “Out-Mom” you

Calm Mama, Happy Baby: The Simple, Intuitive Way to Tame Tears, Improve Sleep, and Help Your Family Thrive by Derek O’Neill, Jennifer Waldburger – It is normal for every parent of a newborn to feel overwhelmed by the reality of taking care and nurturing a baby. Parents especially moms may feel nervous about fulfilling the responsibilities of parenthood. It’s quite challenging to get into a schedule with your baby. The daily challenges of feedings, sleeping schedules and diaper changes can be exhausting. It’s not a surprise that many parents feel stressed with all these duties.

The book opens the eyes of parents to the “cause and effect between parents’ mental and emotional states and their baby’s mood and behavior.” According to the authors, the parents’ emotional state may directly affect their baby. For instance, parents who are calm and centered are likely to have calm children.

Clutterfree with Kids by Joshua Becker – Having children is a big blessing in life. They bring love, joy, laughter, energy, and meaning to every home. Despite all these positive things, you can’t deny that children also add clutter. Don’t worry, this little parenting downside has simple solutions. Clutterfree with Kids focuses on how parents can set a balance in their lives and manage clutter by sharing fresh insights.

The book shares both inspirational stories and practical solutions. It encourages parents to reflect on their lives, try new habits and techniques, and eventually embrace positive changes to make their home clutter-free.

The Five Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman, Ross Campbell – Communication between parents and children has a big impact on kids’ attitude and behavior development.

Children have different ways of expressing themselves.Sometimes children may desperately seek attention while other times they act as if you are not there. There are moments when kids display affection but there are times when they don’t seem to care.

A child’s behavior is greatly influenced by their relationship with their parents.
The authors believe that there are five different communication styles and children may use any of the style to express themselves. The book helps parents build fulfilling relationships with their children by “teaching them to speak each others’ love language.”


Photo collage by author.

by Ma. Rachel Yapchiongco, as originally posted at the Philippine Online Chronicles

Rachel Yapchiongco, also known as Rach to her friends, is a Psychology and Marketing Management graduate of De La Salle University. She took up MBA at the same university. Rachel is a full-time mom to a charming young boy and married to an entrepreneur with a passion for cooking. She shares parenting experiences and slices of everyday life on her personal blog called Heart of Rachel.

UPSTART, a Filipino board game is changing the way people learn business. As early adopters and backers, those who pledge through Kickstarter will get to own the game before its commercial release and below retail price. Back UPSTART today. Click here to preorder.

UPSTART Filipino board game

“Entrepreneurship is neither a science nor an art. It is a practice.” – Peter Drucker, management consultant, educator, and author.

Did you know that 8 out of 10 entrepreneurs who start businesses fail within the first 18 months? A whopping 80% crash and burn. When it comes to business, most people will tell you fail fast, and then learn. But the truth is… FAILING HURTS.

UPSTART Filipino board game

There is a new Pinoy board game that launched on October 15 on Kickstarter,  which is set to transform how people experience starting and sustaining a business without the risk. UPSTART, a table-top role playing game (RPG) by Richard Dacalos and Lorena Flores, was created to empower entrepreneurs and challenge the reality that 120,000 businesses fail every day. UPSTART is a board game that simulates the UPS and DOWNS of setting up and sustaining a business. It equips players with the tools & insights to have them take their business to the next level. Players learn lifelong lessons in an environment of fun, collaboration and play.

“You can’t grow a business in a silo so there’s bound to be failure, and it’s from failure that the best entrepreneurs learn to be successful.” adds Flores , a senior marketing strategist and head of creatives for UPSTART. “One reason we created UPSTART was to practice failure… without really failing. We wanted a safe and fun environment where we can uncover our blind spots, our decision-making biases, our strengths and

At an event with bloggers, Flores showed us how to play the board game.  Jane, my partner in Prep2Prime Digital and I teamed up to simulate the game.


Our character background is full-time entrepreneur. One round depicts weekly decisions and goals in real life . Each team was given 50 hours and 3000 cc (the currency in UPSTART).


You then roll and navigate through the board and make choices or deal with chance. Chance is dictated by various cards like life, breakdowns and breaks (opportunities).


The actions simulate real life : (1) Life and general actions, (2) General business conditions, (3) Revenue generation and (4) followers and reputation. Since Jane and I have followers and some reputation, we thought it best to focus on revenue generation and taking care of ourselves and family.


This game is an eye opener to me even if I have masteral units in Business Administration and was once a consultant for small and medium enterprises.  I realized that our consultancy has a long way to go in revenue generation and that our strategy should focus on it.


The UPSTART was initially a private board game played among colleagues, but it began getting noticed when players had success applying lessons they learned in the game to real life.
After two years of testing and product development, seven major game iterations, and more than four hundred players from different backgrounds – from aspiring entrepreneurs to business mavens, from students to corporate professionals, from the Philippines to South Africa – the game is ready to be shared with the world.


“The Kickstarter campaign will give us the ability to scale-up our production and ship worldwide,” says Dacalos.  They need to raise $35,000 though. Based on their calculations and conversations with the multiple suppliers, this is the bare minimum needed to mass produce the game and deliver worldwide.

Dacalos and Flores hope to empower entrepreneurs all over the world to beat the status quo, and shorten their business learning curve.

As early adopters and backers, those who pledge through Kickstarter will get to own the game before its commercial release and below retail price. Back UPSTART today. Click here to preorder.

Remembering our departed loved ones on All Saints’ day and everyday of our lives.

Did you know…the universal symbol of remembering is a candle?

Did you know…letting go of our loved one, but honoring their memory with a symbol is a ritual that brings healing? Sometimes words are not there to express what we want to say, but a symbol that brings meaning to us can help in the grief process.


We can’t know why some things happen…

But we can know that love

and beautiful memories

outlast the pain of grief.

And we can know that there’s a place

inside the heart where love lives always…..

And where nothing beautiful can ever

be forgotten.

Remembering Luijoe, and my immediate family members like my mom, my dad, brothers Ruben and Oscar today and everyday of my life.