Migs and Alaine

Chronicles of a Happy Married Life

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Do it Right Campaign

I grew up in a Catholic environment and even studied in a Catholic school where no one talks about sex like it’s Voldemort. Sex education doesn’t seem to be a big thing here in the Philippines, some even consider it as a taboo.  Since I became a mom, I have joined a number of parenting groups on Facebook and as I observe, Filipinos are aware of Responsible parenthood or family planning. Most of them post their concerns on FB closed or secret groups because some are embarrassed to ask relatives about family planning. I do not understand why some Filipinos tend to make fun of people who buy contraceptive pills or condoms. There was a time when a photo went viral because a man holding a bouquet seems to unmindfully drop a condom while getting something from his pocket. The condom dropped near his shoe.  Majority of the comments were nasty. I feel bad for the person because who knows if he’s set to a romantic date with his wife? Maybe, one of the factors why the Philippines is still a third world country is because we fail to educate ourselves about sex. This is why we didn’t turn down the invitation to attend the Launching of Do It Right Campaign last August 16,  2019, in Makati.

11 organizations launched the campaign urging the Filipinos to show their support openly for family planning and reproductive health.  I  would like to quote FPOP Executive Director, Nandy Senoc’s words: “When youth and women are empowered, there will be no teen pregnancies, no early marriages, no unwanted pregnancies or abortions. When women are well informed, the fight against poverty is already halfway won”.

I could not think of anything better to add to these. it’s high time that we become more open about our stand about family planning and bear in mind that safe sex does not only help you prepare for your family’s future, you may also be able to save lives by being vocal.  You might be able to reach a person who’s unaware that he/she can acquire sexually transmitted disease thru unprotected sex.

If you want to know more about this campaign, please visit Do It Right’s official Facebook page: www.facebook.com/DoItRightPH we have also discussed this on the vlog.

Feel free to ask any questions or if you think we missed anything, please feel free to share your insights on the comment section.

Henry and Sons introduces transparency platform for coffee

In the recently concluded World Food Expo Manila, Henry and Sons President and CEO Michael Harris Conlin launched croptomarket.com—a digital transparency platform that displays a detailed information of coffee from the farmers to the retail market. During his presentation in the forum “A Taste of the Cordillera” last August 9, Conlin explains how customers can access the transparency report on every can of coffee purchased from Henry and Sons. By scanning the QR code on the can, the website will appear on the screen that shows information about the farmer where the coffee cherries were purchased, and the process of roasting and manufacturing of the coffee beans until it reaches its target consumers. It also reveals the breakdown of cost of the product—from crop to market.

In partnership with the Saddle Hartwell Lumbag Coffee Growers Association through the Foundation for Sustainable Coffee Excellence, Henry and Sons also introduced the Nano Lots coffee series featuring the backyard farmers from Itogon, Benguet namely Lolita, Cayamdas, Hilda, and Rita. These coffee cans are the pioneer products to utilize the platform.

The Foundation for Sustainable Coffee Excellence is the advocacy arm of Henry and Sons geared to address the major issues in the coffee farming industry. Its connection to the farmers began when the foundation provided an aid to the residents of Itogon, Benguet after typhoon Ompong struck the town in 2018. Mining, which used to be the community’s main source of livelihood, greatly contributed to the landslide that left the town devastated. Learning this, the foundation started to work with the farmers to help their town transform into a fully sustainable coffee growing community.

Conlin, who is also a social entrepreneur, aims to demonstrate transparency, accountability and trust throughout the agricultural value chain and to positively impact the Philippine agricultural sector through the new platform. “Now, the consumers can truly see how their hard-earned money helps the entire value chain,” Conlin states.

The featured coffees will be available at Rustan’s Department Store, The Giving Café, and at Henry and Sons’ e-commerce website TheVault.ph.

Premier The Samgyupsal Review

It’s hard to deny the Korean influence here in the Philippines when it comes to music, TV shows, and food! Even before the KPop explosion, there were already a number of restaurants that offer authentic Korean dishes. For the past years, Unlimited Korean BBQ has been popping out everywhere. We have tried a number of restaurants with prices ranging from the cheapest to the most expensive. Last week, we went to Premier The Samgyupsal in San Juan to check out what they have to offer.  Premier The Samgyupsal was very easy to find.  The challenge is for groups who won’t opt for carpool since their parking is very limited.

As soon as we entered the restaurant, we were greeted by their staff. They have a good number of staff members to accommodate customers probably even during the busiest hours/days. Plus, it’s so easy to get their attention if you need anything. They have a built-in push button on their tables that will show your table number to their counter. No sign languages, no screaming for extra lettuce! LOL!

This is the first Korean restaurant that served us more than 15 side dishes! Our favorites are kimchi, fish cake, anchovies, purple radish, and sweet corn. They even served “kilawin” but we aren’t a fan. There were also two kinds of soups that were served to us. Seafood and Kimchi Jjigae. Side dishes and the soups alone were already very filling.  They use Japanese short-grain rice so, if you love to partner Samgyupsal with steamed rice, you will definitely love it. We opted for unli-mix which is Php500/head (Unli MIX Dinner: 580/head (From 4pm to 3am daily) & Lunch: 500/head (From 11am to 4pm daily.).

They didn’t lie when they named their restaurant. They did not compromise the quality of their meat. Fresh, Tender, Juicy meat with Coconut Charcoal Grill. Plus, the owners said they use real aged Samgyupsal with an imported machine.

Ice creams and beverages are not included in the package but they do have a wide selection of drinks from fruit juices to beer. Best part? No time limit for diners. Every group of 10pax is entitled to have one more person to eat for FREE!

What we didn’t like: their restroom. The condition of their restroom does not suite the restaurant’s premium vibe.

Check out our video clip here:  https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=2377648829175709

The Carmelence Lodge Tagaytay – Review

We’ll never forget the first time we traveled out of town with our baby. We’ve come across The Carmelence Lodge’s Facebook page while searching for a place to stay in Tagaytay. We read good reviews from their previous guests and we thought that maybe we should give it a try since we also wanted to visit relatives in the South. The Carmelence Lodge is located at Villa Carmelence 3, Tagaytay-Nasugbu Highway, Maharlika West, Tagaytay City (just beside Robinson’s Tagaytay).

We arrived at The Carmelence Lodge 15minutes before Check-in. Their staff seems too exhausted when we got there. It was a 30-minute wait before we got our room keys. Our room also came with free breakfast but the front desk staff forgot to ask us about it. They have don’t have a lot of breakfast options but you’re supposed to choose ahead of time so they can have it prepared and served to you according to your preference. We shrugged it off because maybe, she was just having a bad day or she woke up at the wrong side of the bed?  Who knows?

We love our room. It has a little kitchen, a decent toilet, and washroom. Their comforter and pillows are also awesome for a lodge – comparable to the ones used in hotels. The place was quiet and the staff was polite too.  Their food is also reasonably priced but I wish their brewed coffee was served hot. Overall, we had a great stay.

We booked our room via Agoda for only Php2,600/night.  For people who’d like to explore Tagaytay on a budget, we highly recommend this place.  It’s also near Sky Ranch if you’re planning on a side trip to the park. The internet signal strength is superb too. Perfect for people who are able to bring their work anywhere or those who need to be online all the time.

For more details, please visit The Carmelence Lodge’s official Facebook page.

 

 

Green Sun Hotel Review

We booked a hotel room at Green Sun last September 28 – 29 when I attended an event in Makati. As you all know, I am a first-time-mom and since I work from home,  I do not have an idea how it feels to be separated from my son even just for an hour.   Hotels in Makati are quite pricey so we had to look for an affordable but clean and child-friendly hotel. After searching through our favorite hotel booking apps and checking out different hotels’ Facebook reviews, we decided to spend a night at Green Sun.

As soon as we reached the hotel, we were immediately greeted and assisted by their security personnel.  Although no bell cart was available, one of their staff still offered to carry our bags.

We booked their Deluxe room that comes with a Queen size bed, television, mini-fridge, hair dryer and an electric kettle. Just exactly what we needed for a short stay.  Our room was clean – no traces of cigarette smoke. We just find the bathroom a bit small especially the space for the toilet bowl. The Hotel rooms have different artworks that make each one unique.

This hotel is definitely for art lovers! Aside from enjoying your room, you may also opt to spend some time checking out the beautiful art pieces at the lounge.

Our room comes with a breakfast buffet but we couldn’t wait until the next morning to try their food so we didn’t waste any time and hit Soma Bistro for some snacks. Unfortunately, their bibingka is not available.  We got turon, pancit canton and palabok instead. Price is just about right considering that you’re eating in a bistro inside a hotel. Their bistro’s staff were very courteous. I forgot to bring my nursing cover and had to breastfeed my baby. None of them gave me a “duh” look, called our attention or stare.  I felt secure breastfeeding my son in public because I never felt judged.

The following morning, we got to try their breakfast buffet. For a small bistro, I like that they only have few food choices.  I just noticed that they do not serve bacon.

My son’s first staycation didn’t happen in a 5-Star Hotel. But Green Sun gave us one of the best hotel experience we’ve ever had. We are definitely coming back!

Green Sun is located at 2285 Chino Roces Avenue (Pasong Tamo Extension), Makati City.

Baby Care Plus Review + Giveaway (CLOSED)

As a first time mom,  I always keep my options open for baby essentials. I wanted to try different products in hopes of finding the perfect match for my baby’s skin. Before I gave birth, I was gifted with a set of Tupperware baby care plus that I was able to use on my baby when we got home from the hospital.

I was hesitant to use it at first because Tupperware was not known for making baby essentials. One night Chuck had a big poop explosion. Something that the wet-wipes department can’t handle. So we used the baby bath and gave Chuck a quick shower. We immediately noticed that it is really mild and left our baby with no rashes or any signs of irritation.

I personally love the  Baby Care Plus+ Bath because it smells good even after several hours. I am glad that Tupperware released a bigger size that comes with a pump for easy dispensing. It’s easier to use because I don’t have to worry about spills. Saves me money and time too! Baby Care Plus+ Bath has Lamesoft Skin Protector that forms a natural barrier around baby’s skin to protect it while gently cleansing. It’s mild formula won’t irritate your baby’s delicate skin. You’ll definitely enjoy every cuddling moment with your little one because of the mild scent that stays on your baby’s hair and body.

I must admit that Tupperware proved me wrong in doubting this product just because it is fairly new compared to the brand that we also bought for our baby (same brand that my mother used when I was a baby). I am glad I tried Baby Care Plus.

Do you want to win a package from Tupperware too?

It’s easy! Just follow the steps posted on our Instagram account.

*Prize must be claimed by the winner at any Tupperware branch nationwide. https://goo.gl/forms/KhBcTb3mCY4OAFd73

This contest is open until Sunday, October 14, 2018.

Breastfeeding and Marriage Difficulties

This post is a bit late for Breastfeeding month.

I had a catheter and dextrose on when Migs handed me our baby so I could try to breastfeed him.  This was few hours after I gave birth and after my son was given formula milk because I couldn’t breastfeed him while I was at the recovery room. Before I was transferred to our hospital room, the nurse said that my baby’s pedia already left a prescription for a formula milk. We still tried to breastfeed our baby because that’s what Migs and I have agreed to do even before I gave birth. Why not? There are a lot of benefits that we can get from breast milk and if my body can produce milk, I’ll feed my baby with it.  Sadly, we received zero support from the hospital staff. We were not taught how to massage the breasts for possible clogged ducts, etc. Although instructional videos are readily available online, getting help from a professional is still a huge thing.

Recovering from my C-Section and being frustrated with breast feeding, I somehow feel depressed.  My son knows how to latch but would only cry whenever I try to nurse him because he ‘s not getting any milk. I’ve cried countless times and have tried to pump milk round the clock so I can feed my baby with breast milk but I am only getting 10ml – 20ml per session. I thought pumping every 2-3 hours would help increase my milk supply. I have tried everything from malunggay (moringa) capsules to essential oils but nothing seemed to work.

My frustration hurt my relationship with Migs as I became a slave to my breast pump. I am always exhausted. I felt that the time I needed to recuperate from my operation were wasted but I couldn’t stop because I wanted to give what’s best for my son.

Good thing one of my friends told me about Arugaan, a support system for women with infants and young children. They have seminars for breastfeeding mothers and they also offer home visits for those who’d like a lactation massage. I immediately reached out to them.

I was visited by Ms. Rhea last September 3 and was given a lactation massage as well as some tips on how to successfully breastfeed.  I was so relieved seeing so much milk while being massaged. I almost cried knowing that I will be able to nurse my son on demand and I don’t have to worry about my supply. I couldn’t thank Araguan enough for helping me especially Ms. Rhea. She was very accommodating and she still answers my questions even after our session.

I have been nursing our son on demand since September 3 and have only been pumping milk 3 times a day – whenever I am working. I get to sleep and eat better now which also means that I get to spend more time with my boys (Migs and Chuck).

If you want to know more about Arugaan, please visit their official Facebook page.

 

Build Your Own Wealth

Most Filipinos believe that supporting their parents once they are old is the best way to show “utang na loob” (debt of gratitude). Although the Church (whichever religion you are in) is teaching us about leaving and cleaving,  many couples still struggle to leave their parents because of the obligations that are either given to them or they feel that they need to do. That being said, the concept of having an extended family or a shared home became a norm in our country and sadly, it becomes harder and harder to break the chain.

It’s never too late or too early to invest. Migs and I used to practice traditional way of saving money. We used to save a portion of our income to our preferred bank. When I was 22 years old, I tried investing in a life insurance but I failed because I wasn’t really ready to invest yet but I was able to invest on Memorial plans which I do not regret. We thought we were doing well because we were able to save money for our car, a beautiful wedding, leisure, down payment for a house, etc.

Our wake up call was when Migs got sick. Although our Health cards covered the hospital bills, we had to spend a portion of our savings considering that he has been sick for a year. I also had to let go of some of our signature bags and some pieces of jewelry. It was tough and the reason why I am sharing our experience is because I don’t want anyone especially young couples to experience the same thing.

As soon as Migs is back on his feet, I have reached out to several financial advisers so we can start preparing for our retirement fund.  In the end, we chose to sign up with Sun Life. We felt that everything that we need and looking for are in one package. Sun Life phone app is also user friendly and lets me monitor our plans wherever we are.

After signing up, we decided that we are ready to have a baby by 2018. But guess what, about 2 weeks of getting our retirement plans – we are already pregnant. It seemed like everything was perfectly planned.

What did we learn from Migs’ near death experience that convinced us to sign up for a Life Insurance?

As parents, it is our responsibility to raise our children no matter what the circumstances may be. We should not obligate them to give us everything that they worked for when we’re old, not even a portion of it. Why? Our children never chose us to be their parents. If you think you cannot send your children to an exclusive school – then don’t. We always have options. Send them to a public school and still be able to provide their basic needs or find another source of income in order to afford your preferred school. We don’t need to live a life full of debts just to be able to fit in or prove something.  After all, it’s our family that we should be worried about not a certain status that we’re trying to portray.

As children, let’s allow our our parents to enjoy their retirement fund. They have already raised and have spent their resources for us. They are not our emergency fund. They have worked to hard to provide all our needs.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that it’s bad to help a family member in need. But we should know our limitations too.  Part of leaving and cleaving is putting your immediate family’s needs first.

 

Happy weekend!

 

How Ketogenic Diet Changed My Life

Just like other women, I battled depression because of the pressure brought by some family members and friends because they thought I couldn’t bear a child. If Migs wasn’t supportive, I wouldn’t be able to get over it. I have shared my experience thru a blog post that I published last year. It was comforting to read comments from strangers who expressed their support as well.

Migs and I decided that we should just focus on things that would make us both productive.  I chose to quit my job and decided to become a Stay-at-home-wife. It was fun because I have all the time in the world to prepare my husband’s meals. We both tried ketogenic diet (we had cheat days too!)  and religiously go to the gym every 6:00 AM. This lasted for nearly 3 months.

Fast forward to October 2017, we opened a business and have been very busy that I forgot record my monthly period. I knew I had spotting but I thought it was just caused by stress. So, I never really recorded it. Plus, I have done so many pregnancy tests in the past that I no longer want to be disappointed. I was at the point where I couldn’t care less about fertility as long as I have my regular check-up with an OB and a pap smear, then I am good.

Everything was doing well until I was rushed to the hospital on the eve of our 5th wedding anniversary. I thought I was having another vertigo attack.  After an hour of waiting at the Emergency room, the Doctor came back congratulating us.

We visited my OB the day after and found out that I was already 7 weeks pregnant! It wasn’t really a happy story. My sense of smell was very sensitive.  Migs had to ditch all the onions and garlic at home. I was very picky when it comes to food that I lost 3kgs. But everything went back to normal when I reached my 4th month. Now that I am on my third trimester and have gained almost 8kgs, I started cutting rice from my diet again with hopes of having a normal delivery.

Five years of married life and here we are – busy preparing for our little one’s arrival. I am now 34 years old and I am still amazed with how amazing my pregnancy turned out.

If you want to know more about Ketogenic diet, I suggest that you visit your doctor first and join a community where you can get tips and exchange recipes too. You may want to check out this Facebook Community.

Here’s a photo of me taken last week.  We can’t wait to see our little one!

 

More photos posted on our Facebook page.

Celebrating Motherhood

It has been more than a year since I left my corporate job for a more healthy and chill life. I have applied for several home-based jobs before I landed one a month after I resigned.  Joining several Facebook communities whose focus is on legit home-based jobs helped me prepare for interviews. One of my favorites is Filipina Homebased Moms (FHMOMS), a group created by a Filipino mother with the mission to help fellow parents, mothers especially, to find jobs suitable to their lifestyle through onlinejobs.ph.

I like how the group members share their views with working from home and even share job opportunities. They also have a line-up of seminars that you can sign-up to in case you are clueless with working from home or if you just want to upgrade your skills.

Last May 12, 2018, I was privileged to be invited to an exclusive FHMOMS event sponsored by Pampers. The event was held at Mom and Tina’s Bakery in Pasig City.

It was a short yet meaningful event where speakers discussed different topics. It is really helpful to attend events like this for soon-to-be-moms like myself. My favorite topics where Healthy Baby food ideas and Homeschooling.

If you are a mom planning to have more time with your family by working from home, or if you already are working from home and needs a support group, I suggest that you join Filipina Homebased Moms and follow their Facebook Page too.  It always feel good to be in a group who share the same passion with you and understand your needs and frustrations.

I hope you all had a meaningful mother’s day celebration!

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