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Today, I receive all God’s love for me. Today, I open myself to the unbounded, limitless, overflowing abundance of God’s Universe. Today, I open myself to your Blessings, healing and miracles.Today, I open myself to God’s Word so that I become more like Jesus Everyday. Today, I proclaim that I’m God’s Beloved, I’m God’s Servant, I’m God’s powerful champion, And because I am blessed, I will bless the world, In Jesus Name, Amen.

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The Great Wall of China in Mutianyu

The Great Wall of China is referred to in Mandarin as Wanli Changcheng (10,000-Li Long Wall or simply very long wall) BEIJING, CHINA- S...

Thursday, June 13, 2024

Breville taps Pinay barista champ as brand ambassadress

While the Philippines actually falls under the “Bean Belt”—an equatorial zone of the biggest coffee-growing countries in the world—it still lags behind the emergence of a revolutionary movement that reshapes the peoples’ connection to a cup of Joe.
(L-R) Breville Philippines Food and Beverage (F&B) Business Unit Manager Elijah Marie Cortez-Flores, Breville Philippines Ambassadress Vanessa Maclang Caceres, and IAJWC President Ma. Cristina S. Llamo

Nevertheless, it’s not too late for this nation to firmly establish its own coffee culture, wherein majority, if not the entire populace, have a general knowledge and appreciation of this well-loved drink, coupled with their strong familiarity, exposure and use of available technologies in the market to make a cuppa.

With this in mind, IAJ Wellness Corporation (IAJWC), the exclusive distributor of Breville in the Philippines, has officially signed up multi-awarded barista and famed content creator Vanessa Maclang Caceres as the country’s ambassadress of the leading small kitchen appliances brand from Australia.

Impressed by the rich and mature coffee culture of various countries, IAJWC President Cris Llamo dreams of replicating such trends locally, where Filipinos do not merely drink coffee but dive deep into the art and appreciation of its unique flavors and origins.

“Hence, our partnership is aimed at raising more awareness on coffee culture and appreciation in the country,” she said during their contract signing held recently in Makati City.

“We want to be in the forefront of educating the people about Third Wave Coffee. That’s why we really want Vanessa to become our ambassadress because her vast knowledge of the industry will be of big help to elevate the peoples’ understanding of specialty coffee,” added Elijah Marie Cortez-Flores, Food & Beverage (F&B) Business Unit Manager at Breville Philippines.

Being an ambassadress, Ms. V (her online monicker) or Mamita (as fondly called by her colleagues) will mainly help promote the brand’s coffee category, plus other kitchen appliances through her social media contents. With her new role, she will also work closely with the brand in equipping the frontliners, which include promo merchandisers, with the most up-to-date knowledge about specialty coffee in order for them to effectively sell Breville products to customers.

“Transfer of knowledge should not go wrong. We want to make sure that our people who interact with the customers are saying the right things about coffee and how best to enjoy it using Breville products. So it’s important to have somebody like Ms. Vanessa, who's been in the industry for a long time—19 years to be exact. There's a wealth of information and experience that we can learn from her,” Llamo said.

“Through her hands-on training, we also believe that we will be able to foster a deeper appreciation for Breville products, especially the espresso machine category,” Flores added.

Elated by their confidence, Caceres is very thankful of their partnership. She quipped: “I’m happy that they trust me with this partnership. I’m really grateful to train their frontliners and share my knowledge on Third Wave Coffee to other people.”

(L-R) Breville Philippines' PR Agency Partner CatPR Head Nadine Tan, Breville Philippines Food and Beverage (F&B) Business Unit Manager Elijah Marie Cortez-Flores, Breville Philippines Ambassadress Vanessa Maclang Caceres, and IAJWC President Ma. Cristina S. Llamo

Breville Philippines started to tap her in March 2023 for Women’s Month using the Breville Bambino Plus. Little did she know that her first encounter with this small espresso machine would make her a firm believer and, eventually, ambassadress of the brand. She said: “It’s not like other similar products, wherein everyone can pull a shot of espresso. No one can do steamed milk that is much better than Breville.”

What Caceres loves about the brand is its innovative wide array of products that do not only address the complications of coffee-making processes, but the whole kitchen concerns as well. Their designs go hand-in-hand with functionalities, befitting the requirement of each client.

Although Breville is positioned as a premium brand, it’s worth the investment given the endless possibilities it can do for the buyers. No wonder it's now Vanessa’s constant kitchen companion.

“It’s really a part of my daily life. Once you have it in your kitchen, you cannot stop using it. That’s why you really get your money’s worth,” she stressed.


Founded in Sydney in 1932, Breville has become an iconic global brand that enhances people’s lives through thoughtful design and brilliant innovation, delivering kitchen products to more than 70 countries around the globe. Breville is the kitchen appliance brand that delivers innovation based on consumer insights, empowering people’s potential to do things more impressively or easily than they’d thought possible in their own kitchen.

The brand was introduced in the Philippines in 2010. Under the exclusive distribution of IAJ Wellness Corporation, select Breville products are available in over 100 retail stores across the nation.

Tuesday, June 11, 2024


There are two ways to obtain a TIN ID card in the Philippines:

In-person application:

  1. Visit your nearest Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) branch. You can find the address of your nearest branch using the BIR RDO Finder .
  2. Get a queuing number and wait for your turn.
  3. Fill out BIR Form 1904 for new applicants.
  4. Submit the completed form along with the required documents, which typically include a valid government ID and a recent 1x1 picture.
  5. Pay the processing fee (if any).
  6. The BIR officer will process your application and print your TIN card. You may need to attach your photo and sign the card on the spot.

Online application:

  1. Visit the BIR website  and go to the eServices section.
  2. Look for the ORUS icon and click on it.
  3. Complete the online application form.
  4. Upload scanned copies of your documentary requirements, such as a valid government ID and a recent 1x1 picture.
  5. Submit the online application.
  6. The BIR will process your application and send you your digital TIN ID via email within three working days. The digital TIN ID is valid and can be used for most transactions.

Important notes:

  • You can only apply for a TIN ID in person if you are registering for an individual TIN with the "00000" branch code.
  • The BIR advises against availing of services from online sellers who claim to assist with TIN ID applications. These services may be scams and could result in you getting a fake TIN ID.
  • For more information on applying for a TIN ID, you can visit the BIR website  or contact the BIR hotline at 8538-3200.

Monday, June 10, 2024

How to obtain Philippine Passport

Hey everyone! So, you're finally planning that dream trip abroad? You've got your itinerary all set, but there's one crucial step before you can jet off: securing that Philippine passport!

Fear not, fellow travel newbie! This blog is here to be your guide.

Step 1: Schedule Your Appointment Online

Gone are the days of lining up at the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) super early. The DFA now requires online appointments for both passport applications and renewals. Head over to their website ([DFA OCA Appointment]) and secure a slot.

Step 2: Gather Your Documents

While waiting for your appointment, get your documents in order. The requirements can vary depending on your age and situation, but here are the essentials for new adult applicants like me:
  • Confirmed Online Appointment (proof you booked a slot)
  • Original and photocopy of PSA-authenticated Birth Certificate (make sure it's on security paper!)
  • Accomplished Application Form (downloadable from the DFA website)
  • Valid Government ID (check the DFA website for the complete list of acceptable IDs)
  • One (1) Photocopy of your ID

Step 3: Prepare for Your Appointment

Double-check that you have all the required documents. Dress appropriately (think formal attire) and be prepared for a security check.

Step 4: Application Process at the DFA

On your appointment date, arrive early and follow the instructions. The staff will typically guide you through the process, which includes:

  • Verification of documents
  • Fingerprint scanning and photo capture
  • Payment of processing fee (choose between regular or expedited processing)

Step 5: Claiming Your Passport

After processing, you'll be informed on how to claim your brand new passport. This usually takes around a week for regular processing and a few days for expedited.

Bonus Tips:

  • Check the DFA website ([DFA Passport Requirements]) for the complete and updated list of requirements based on your specific situation (minor applicant, lost passport, etc.)
  • Be patient and polite during the application process.
  • For inquiries, you can contact the DFA through their email address ( or their official Facebook page.

There you have it! Getting a Philippine passport may seem daunting at first, but with proper preparation and this guide, you'll be well on your way to your next adventure.

So, what are you waiting for? Book that flight and get ready to explore the world!

Sunday, June 9, 2024

Getting Your Unified Multi-Purpose ID (UMID) at SSS: A Step-by-Step Guide

The Unified Multi-Purpose ID (UMID) card is a very important document for us Filipinos. It streamlines transactions across various government agencies, making your life a bit easier.

If you haven't gotten yours yet, don't worry! This guide will walk you through the application process at the Social Security System (SSS).

Check the Deadline: As of November 2023, SSS has stopped accepting applications for regular UMID cards. They are now offering the UMID ATM Pay Card which requires either an existing UMID card or a pending application.

Things to Prepare:
  • Original and photocopy of a valid ID: This could be your passport, driver's license, or any government-issued ID with your photo.
  • One Other Valid ID: In case your primary ID doesn't have both photo and signature, bring another valid ID that does.
  • Photocopy of IDs: Make sure the photocopies are clear and complete.
  • Accomplished UMID Card Application Form: You can download the form from the SSS website or get a copy from your nearest SSS branch.
  • Tax Identification Number (TIN): While not mandatory, having your TIN can help expedite the process.

Two Ways to Apply:

1. Walk-in:
  • SSS Branch: This is the traditional route. Find a branch accepting UMID applications based on your SSS number coding. Take note of their operating hours.
  • Fill out the UMID application form. Be sure to write neatly and provide accurate information.
  • Submit the form along with your IDs and photocopies.
  • Have your biometrics captured. This includes your photo, fingerprints, and signature.
  • Receive an acknowledgment stub. This contains your reference number for tracking your application.

2. Online Appointment:
  • Head on at My SSS Online please log in to your account or create one if you're a new member.
  • Navigate to the "Appointment System" section and choose "UMID Card Application" as the purpose.
  • Schedule an appointment for biometric capture. Choose a branch and date/time that works for you.
  • On your appointment day, go to the chosen SSS branch. Bring a valid ID and a printed confirmation email from My SSS.
  • Have your biometrics captured.
  • You'll be notified when your UMID card is ready for pickup.
After Applying:

  • Track the status of your application. You can do this through My SSS online or by calling the SSS hotline.
  • Claim your UMID card. Once notified, proceed to the branch where you applied and present your valid ID to claim your card. There are specific timelines for claiming, so be sure to take note of the deadlines.

Additional Tips:

  • Dress appropriately. SSS branches have a dress code, so avoid sleeveless shirts, shorts, and slippers.
  • Bring a pen. You'll need it to fill out the application form.
  • Prepare for a wait. Applying during peak hours can mean longer queues. If you can, schedule your appointment or visit during less busy days.

With these steps and a little preparation, getting your SSS UMID ID should be a breeze. Soon, you'll be enjoying the benefits of this handy card!

Saturday, June 8, 2024

How to Obtain Voters ID in Comelec

As of June 8, 2024, the Philippine Commission on Elections (COMELEC) is currently not prioritizing the issuance of voter IDs. However, there are alternative solutions for now:

1. Check Voter Registration Status:

-You can verify if you're already registered to vote online through COMELEC's website (

2. Obtain Voter's Certification:

If you're registered, you can get a Voter's Certification from your local COMELEC office. This certification serves as proof of registration and holds the same validity as a voter ID for most purposes.

Here's how to get a Voter's Certification:


Valid ID (e.g., passport, driver's license)

Accomplished application form (usually available at the COMELEC office)

Minimum fee (amount may vary)


Visit your local COMELEC office.

Secure and fill out the application form.

Submit the application form, valid ID, and fee.

Pay the processing fee.

Wait for your Voter's Certification to be released (processing time may vary).

3. Stay Updated on Voter ID Issuance:

COMELEC is considering resuming the issuance of voter IDs. You can monitor their website ( or news outlets for announcements regarding the resumption of voter ID applications.

Thursday, June 6, 2024

JAPAN: Best Keep Secret Pass

Hey there, fellow budget traveler! Japan offers an awesome way to experience Japan on a shoestring. Using this limited pass you can journey from Tokyo to Osaka via a classic route.

The Seishun 18 Kippu (青春18きっぷ, Seishun Jūhachi Kippu), literally translating to "Youthful 18 Ticket" or more poetically "Springtime of Life Ticket", is a special discount ticket issued in Japan. It allows travelers unlimited rides on local JR trains (Japan Railways Group) for a set period of five non-consecutive days within a designated seasonal period.

Here's a breakdown of the key points about the Seishun 18 Kippu:

Validity: 5 non-consecutive days within a designated seasonal period

Price: 12,050 yen (around $110 USD) (as of June 2024)

Availability: Sold during specific periods throughout the year that coincide with school breaks in Japan (Spring, Summer, and Winter)

Where to buy: Midori no Madoguchi (みどりの窓口) ticket offices at JR stations, authorized ticketing agents, and some convenience stores (limited)

What it covers: Unlimited rides on local JR trains (not bullet trains) throughout Japan during the validity period


Very affordable way to travel long distances on JR line

Great way to see the Japanese countryside and experience local train travel.


Limited to local JR trains (not bullet trains) so travel times can be long.

Tickets sell out quickly especially during peak travel times.

Requires careful planning as you need to factor in longer travel times on local trains and plan your itinerary around the 5 non-consecutive day validity period.

Additional things to consider:

Time vs Cost: The Seishun 18 Kippu is a very affordable option, but be prepared to spend significantly more time traveling because you'll be on local trains. Bullet trains can cover the distance between Tokyo and Osaka in about 2.5 hours, while local trains can take up to 12 hours or more.

Flexibility: The Seishun 18 Kippu requires more planning and flexibility since it's valid for non-consecutive days and doesn't allow for stopovers.

Accommodation: Since travel time is longer on local trains, you might need to factor in the cost of accommodation along the way depending on your itinerary.

Overall, the Seishun 18 Kippu is a great option for budget-minded travelers, especially students, who have plenty of time to explore Japan during their school breaks. However, keep in mind the limitations on travel speed and flexibility compared to using bullet trains.

Wednesday, June 5, 2024

TAIWAN: Still No Visa Until 2025

Calling All Barkadas! Taiwan Trip Anyone? 🇹🇼 Still no Visa Needed for Filipino Passport holders until next year!

Hey everyone!

So, have you been itching to get out of the country for a bit? Maybe you're craving some bubble tea, night market eats, or a hike up some beautiful mountains? Well, I have some fantastic news for all my fellow Philippine passport holders! Taiwan is waiving visa requirements for us until July 31, 2025!

That's right, folks! This is our chance to explore this amazing country without the hassle of visa applications and extra fees. So, pack your bags (and your appetite!), because Taiwan is calling!

Why Taiwan?

Taiwan is a beautiful island nation with a rich culture, stunning scenery, and of course, some of the best food in Asia. Whether you're a history buff, a foodie, or an adventurer, there's something for everyone in Taiwan.

Here are just a few things to add to your itinerary:

Taipei: The capital city is a bustling metropolis with world-class museums, delicious street food, and stunning views from the top of Taipei 101.

Tainan: This historic city is known for its ancient temples, delicious food scene, and laid-back atmosphere.

Kaohsiung: Taiwan's second-largest city has a beautiful harbor, a vibrant nightlife scene, and plenty of historical sites to explore.

Sun Moon Lake: This stunning lake is a popular spot for hiking, biking, and boating.

Taroko National Park: This park is home to dramatic cliffs, waterfalls, and marble caves.

Planning Your Trip

So, how do you start planning your visa-free Taiwan adventure? Here are a few tips:

Book your flights and accommodation: With the visa waiver in place, expect a surge in tourism. Book your flights and hotels well in advance, especially if you're planning to travel during peak season.

Research things to do: Taiwan has so much to offer, so it's important to do your research and figure out what interests you most. There are tons of travel blogs and websites out there that can help you plan your trip. Consider if you want to focus on the bustling city life or the serene beauty of nature.

Learn some basic Mandarin: While English is spoken in some tourist areas, knowing a few basic Mandarin phrases will go a long way. There are many apps and resources available to help you learn some basic phrases before your trip.

Pack for all weather: Taiwan has a subtropical climate, so be prepared for hot and humid summers and mild winters. Depending on where you go and what you plan to do, you might also need to pack for rain or hiking.

Let's Go!

This visa waiver is an incredible opportunity to explore Taiwan without the added hassle of a visa application. So, grab your barkada, start planning your itinerary, and get ready for an unforgettable adventure!

Do you have any questions about planning a trip to Taiwan? Leave a comment below and let's chat.

P.S. Don't forget to check the latest travel advisories before your trip. Just to be safe! Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 4, 2024


Hey everyone!

Good news, to all Metro Manila Motorcycle enthusiasts! 

I am super excited to share some awesome news with all my fellow riders out there especially those who are based in Metro Manila!

The Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has launched the MMDA Motorcycle Riding Academy (MRA), and it sounds absolutely fantastic! This academy is basically a dream come true for anyone who wants to up their motorcycle game.

Here's the gist of it:

  • Free Training: That's right, you can learn valuable skills and become a safer rider completely free of charge!
  • Expert Instructors: You'll be guided by people who know their stuff, ensuring you get the best possible education.
  • Comprehensive Curriculum: Whether you're a beginner or looking to refine your skills, the MRA has something for everyone. They'll cover everything from road safety principles to mastering your motorcycle.
  • This is a fantastic opportunity to not only become a better rider but also a safer one for yourself and everyone on the road. Big thanks to the MMDA for this brilliant initiative!

    How to Get Involved


    Please prepare the following documents on the day of your training schedule (Ihanda ang mga sumusunod na dokumento na kailangang dalhin sa nakatakdang artoaw ng iyong pagsasanay ng motorsiklo):

    1. Photocopies of Driver's License/Student Permit or any Government Issued ID
    2. Parent's Consent (if applicant is 17 years old)
    3. Barangay Clearance or Certificate of Employment (if employed)

    Note: You are required to bring your own protective gear such as;
    - Helmet
    - Jacket
    - Pants
    - Shoes
    - Boots
    - Gloves
    - Elbow Guards
    - Knee Guards


    The free two-day course includes basic road emergency response; road traffic rules and regulations; motorcycle orientation on basic parts; control and operation of motorcycles; demonstration of static position and moving position, and motorcycle skills practice and demonstration.

    Online enrollment link 

    In the future, this blog can be a hub for all things motorcycle-related in Metro Manila. We can share updates on the MRA program, riding tips, reviews of gear, and even awesome riding routes to explore.

    Let me know in the comments what kind of motorcycle content you'd be interested in seeing!

    Ride safe,

    Cha of Travelonshoestring 🙏 ✌️ 

    Monday, June 3, 2024

    The Strength We Find Within: A Heartfelt Reflection

    Hey everyone!

    Today, I want to take a moment for some honest reflection. Lately, I've been feeling a bit lost, a little adrift in the vast sea of life. Maybe some of you can relate? We all go through periods where the world feels overwhelming, and questions about our purpose and place in it start swirling.

    For me, these moments often lead me back to a core belief I hold close: the incredible strength we all carry within ourselves. It's a strength that might feel buried sometimes, overshadowed by doubts and anxieties. But it's there.

    This strength isn't about brute force or achieving the impossible. It's about the quiet courage to face our fears, the resilience to pick ourselves up after a fall, the compassion to navigate life's storms with grace. That's the unwavering trust we hold in our own hearts, even when whispers of insecurity cloud our judgment.

    Maybe you're feeling lost right now too. If so, I encourage you to look inwards. What sparks joy in your heart? What makes you feel truly alive? Reconnect with those passions, nurture them. Because within you lies the strength to not only weather life's storms, but to thrive.

    Let's not forget the incredible human beings we are. Let's tap into that inner strength and create a life filled with meaning and purpose

    Remember, our Place in the Universe has a blessing from our creator, Our God the Father in heaven.

    There's so much wonder and complexity in the world. Whether you believe in a higher power, a universal force, or simply the incredible power of nature, it's humbling to consider our place in it all.

    What gives your life meaning? Without God we are nothing. All glory and honor to God! 🙏

    #gratitude #reflection #faith

    Sunday, June 2, 2024

    Aesthetic Cafe

    Check out this aesthetic Cafe in Baguio City

    So, if you're feeling the blues, plan a trip to Baguio, ditch the generic coffee chains and embark on your own quest for aesthetic cafes and hidden gems. Trust me, you won't be disappointed!

    Do you have any favorite hidden cafes in Baguio? Share your recommendations in the comments below!


    Saturday, June 1, 2024

    PHILIPPINE GENERAL HOSPITAL: A Guide to Booking Appointments at PGH

    Hey everyone! We all know that the Philippine General Hospital or simply PGH, is a fantastic resource for affordable medical care. But let's be honest, scheduling an appointment can feel like a challenge in itself. Fear not, fellow human beings! I'm here to share the experience of my brother and some tips to navigate the appointment system.

    Option 1: Brave the Phone

    Pick up the phone: Dial the PGH trunkline at (02) 8554-8400. Be prepared for wait times, so grab a cup of coffee and some patience.

    Operator on Deck: Once you connect, request to be connected to your desired clinic. There might be a separate number for specific departments, so you can try searching online for the clinic's contact details beforehand.

    Appointment Magic: Once connected, explain to the clinic staff that you'd like to schedule an appointment. Be clear about your condition and any medical history relevant to your visit.

    Option 2: Face-to-Face (For the Determined Souls)

    Head to PGH: This option requires a personal visit to the hospital.

    Information is Key: Go to the Information counter and explain that you'd like to schedule an appointment. They'll likely ask for a valid ID and might direct you to the specific clinic for booking.

    General Tips for Success:

    Time is of the Essence: PGH appointments tend to fill up quickly. Call or visit early, especially for in-demand clinics.

    Do your research: If possible, check the clinic's operating hours beforehand. Some clinics might have specific schedules for new patients or follow-up consultations.

    Bring Your Records: If you have a previous PGH case number, bring it along. This helps expedite the process.

    Patience is a Virtue: Unfortunately, waiting times can be long at PGH. Bring a book, some music, or a friend for company.

    Bonus Round: Online Appointment System (Limited Availability)

    There have been talks about an online appointment system for PGH. While it isn't widely available yet, keep an eye out for updates on the PGH website ( or their official Facebook page.

    Good news! I was able to confirmed from my brother the link he used in order to book an appointment at UP-PGH.


    Register the name of the patient first. Then book an appointment to your desired specialist.

    Remember, this is just a guide based on my brothers's experience. Things can change, so
     don't hesitate to ask the PGH staff for clarification if needed.

    Have you conquered the PGH appointment system? Share your tips and tricks in the comments below!

    Wednesday, May 29, 2024

    The Ungrateful Arm

    We've all been there, right? You help someone out, pull them up from a rough patch, and then...poof! They vanish, leaving you feeling like you fed a stray dog a gourmet meal only to have it steal your wallet. Well, buckle up, because we're here to tell you the tale of our metaphorical "stolen arm."

    There we were, with open arms. We assisted and opened our doors to this crew when they were facing some serious hardships – no electricity, no food. It was a rough situation, and we wanted to help. We empathized with them, figuring they just needed a hand getting started. We offered support, a metaphorical plate full of kindness and generosity.

    At first, they were all "thank you so much," and "you're a lifesaver!" It felt good, you know? Like we were making a difference. But slowly, slowly, things changed. The gratitude faded, replaced by a sense of entitlement. They started taking our help for granted, expecting more and more.

    Then came the kicker. One day, we caught them with their metaphorical hands in the metaphorical cookie jar. Not just taking a cookie, mind you, but trying to claim the entire bakery as theirs! They rewrote history, pretending like our help never even happened.

    Let me tell you, folks, that stung. It felt like they'd devoured our entire metaphorical arm, the one we so freely offered. All that was left was a gnawing sense of betrayal.

    Here's the thing, though. We learned a valuable lesson. While helping others is a noble act, it's important to have boundaries. Not everyone deserves your open arms. Some folks will take advantage, and that's okay. It doesn't mean you stop being generous, but maybe you become a little more discerning about who gets a seat at your metaphorical table.

    So, to those who've taken advantage of kind souls like us, a word to the wise: Remember where you came from. And to those of you with kind hearts, keep helping, but choose wisely. Because sometimes, that metaphorical arm takes a long time to grow back.

    P.S. On a lighter note, this whole experience has definitely given a new meaning to the phrase "don't let someone take the shirt off your back" because apparently, they'll go for your whole arm if you let them!

    Saturday, May 25, 2024

    A Broken System: The Plight of Indigent Patients at PGH

    The Philippine General Hospital (PGH), a beacon of hope for so many Filipinos, is facing a crisis. A crisis not of treatable illnesses, but of a lack of resources to treat them. Today, I want to talk about the shortage of beds and medical professionals crippling PGH's ability to care for indigent patients.

    We all know someone who has relied on PGH's services. It's a lifeline for those who can't afford private healthcare. But what happens when that lifeline becomes strained? Patients, many critically ill, are turned away due to a lack of available beds. Imagine the despair, the fear, of being denied treatment because there's nowhere to lay you down.

    This isn't just about beds; it's about the overworked and understaffed medical professionals. These dedicated individuals are stretched thin, unable to provide the level of care each patient deserves. Burnout and compassion fatigue become real threats, further jeopardizing the quality of care.

    This situation demands action. I urge the Department of Health (DOH) to take a serious look at PGH's needs. Increased funding is crucial to expand bed capacity and hire more medical staff. We need a long-term plan to ensure PGH can continue serving the Filipino people effectively.

    To our esteemed President Bongbong Marcos Jr. and Vice President Sara Duterte, I implore you to prioritize the health of our nation. Investing in PGH is an investment in the well-being of countless Filipinos.

    We cannot stand by and watch this vital institution crumble. We need strong leadership and a commitment to ensuring quality healthcare for all.

    What can you do as an ordinary Filipino? 
    • Share this post. Let your voice be heard.
    • Contact your representatives and urge them to prioritize healthcare funding.
    • Donate to organizations that support PGH.

    Together, we can make a difference. PGH's patients deserve better, and with your help, we can make it a reality.

    #SavePGH #HealthcareForAll #SupportOurDoctors

    Wednesday, May 22, 2024

    Temple of the Golden Pavilion

    Kinkaku-ji (金閣寺, lit. 'Temple of the Golden Pavilion'), officially named Rokuon-ji (鹿苑寺, lit. 'Deer Garden Temple'), is a Zen Buddhist temple in Kyoto, Japan.

    Saturday, May 18, 2024

    De La Salle University: Full Scholarship for PhD Students with P35,000 Monthly Allowance

    Good news peeps! 

    De La Salle University (DLSU) is giving away a fantastic opportunity for doctorate students! They are offering a full scholarship program called the Saint Miguel Febres Cordero PhD Scholarship Program, which covers full tuition and miscellaneous fees. But that's not all! Scholars will also receive a monthly stipend of P35,000 for four years.

    This prestigious scholarship is open to applicants admitted to any of DLSU's PhD programs, including both straight PhD programs and those following an MA-PhD track. The best part? Financial need is not a deciding factor! All qualified applicants are encouraged to apply, regardless of their background.

    Here's why this scholarship is truly impactful:

    Financial Freedom: Focus on your research and studies without worrying about tuition or living expenses. The P35,000 monthly stipend allows you to fully dedicate yourself to your academic pursuits.

    Open to All: This scholarship program removes financial barriers, making a PhD education accessible to deserving students from all walks of life.

    Prestigious Recognition

    Being chosen as a Saint Miguel Febres Cordero scholar is a mark of academic excellence and will undoubtedly enhance your future career prospects.

    Standing Out from the Crowd:

    While admission to a DLSU PhD program is the primary requirement, an endorsement from a faculty member in your desired department can strengthen your application. Reach out to professors whose research aligns with your interests and demonstrate your passion and qualifications.

    Beyond the Scholarship:

    There's no mandatory service requirement after graduation, and you won't be penalized if your PhD studies extend beyond the typical four-year timeframe. The scholarship provides flexibility and support to ensure your academic success

    Ready to Take the Next Step?

    Visit the DLSU website for a complete list of PhD programs and to learn more about the application process. You can also reach out to the university directly at for further inquiries.

    After all, pursuing a PhD degree with a scholarship program from De La Salle University could be the perfect stepping 
    stone for you. Check the official DLSU website  to learn more about the application process and deadlines.

    Friday, May 17, 2024

    Kansai Pass or Bust: Conquering Kyoto and Osaka on a Budget

    Hey travel buddies!

    We thoroughly enjoyed Japan's Kansai region, and we're here to spill the matcha on whether the Kansai Pass is worth it . Spoiler alert: it depends! But fear not, We'll break it down to help you decide.

    No More Kansai Thru Pass...

    First things first, the beloved Kansai Thru Pass is no more! As of May 2024, it's been replaced by the new Kansai Railway Pass. While it offers similar benefits – unlimited rides on trains and subways in the Kansai area – there are some key changes.

    The New Kansai Railway Pass: Friend or Foe?

    • Price Hike: The new pass is a bit pricier than its predecessor. We're talking 5,600 yen for a 2-day pass and 7,000 yen for 3 days (ouch!).
    • Bus Blues: Sadly, unlike the Thru Pass, the Railway Pass doesn't cover buses anymore. This might be a dealbreaker if you planned on exploring further flung areas.
    • JR Trains MIA: Another thing to note is that the pass doesn't cover JR trains, which are a major player in the Kansai region.

    So, is it worth it?

    Here's our take:

    • For Budget Backpackers: If you're sticking mainly to Osaka, Kyoto, and Nara (all easily accessible by subways and private railways), and want to maximize your travel budget, the Kansai Railway Pass can still be a good option.
    • For Adventurous Explorers: If your itinerary includes places like Koyasan or Himeji Castle (which require JR trains or long-distance travel), the pass might not be the best fit. Consider buying individual tickets or a JR Pass depending on your specific needs.

    June in Kansai: What to Expect

    June is a great time to visit Kansai – the weather is warm but not sweltering, the rainy season hasn't quite hit yet, and the crowds are still manageable. Here are some highlights:

    • Hydrangea Heaven: June is hydrangea season in Japan, and the Kansai region boasts some stunning displays. Check out the Meigetsu-in Temple in Kamakura or the Hase-dera Temple in Nara.
    • Festival Fun: June also sees some lively festivals, like the Tenjin Matsuri in Osaka (a vibrant boat procession) and the Hozuki Festival in Kyoto (where people light paper lanterns).
    • Hiking Adventures: As the weather gets warmer, June is a good time for outdoor enthusiasts to explore the region's hiking trails, like those around Mount Takao or Mount Inari.

    Our Kansai Pass Adventure

    Since we focused on exploring Osaka and Kyoto, the Kansai Railway Pass worked well for us. We zipped around on the subways and private railways, hitting all the must-sees – Osaka Castle, Dotombori district, Kinkaku-ji temple, Arashiyama bamboo grove – without breaking the bank.

    Final Thoughts

    Whether you choose the Kansai Railway Pass or explore your options, the Kansai region has something for everyone. With its rich history, vibrant culture, and mouthwatering food, it's a destination that will leave you wanting more.

    Have you used the Kansai Pass (or the new Railway Pass)? Share your experiences and tips in the comments below!

    Happy Travels,

    Thursday, May 16, 2024

    Casio Watch Rings Are Back in Japan and My Inner Child is Screaming!

    Hey everyone,

    Remember those awesome Casio watches we all rocked back in the day? The ones with the catchy tunes and that somehow managed to survive numerous playground tumbles? Well, get ready for a major nostalgia trip because Casio's Standard Series is back, but this time in a much tinier form – watch rings!

    Photo not mine CTTO 

    Yes, you read it right. Those iconic digital, analog, and even calculator watches we loved are now a miniature replicas that double as rings! They've hit the capsule machines all across Japan, and let me tell you, my inner child is absolutely thrilled.

    For those unfamiliar with the magic of Casio's Standard Series, these were the go-to watches of our youth. We had the classic F-91W with its digital display, the ever-so-useful calculator watch (hello, teenage math problems!), and the timeless analog designs like the MQ-24. These watches were about functionality, affordability, and a whole lot of retro charm.

    Photo not mine CTTO 

    Now, imagine these iconic designs shrunk down and transformed into rings! The second edition of Casio watch rings boasts six different models, including some new additions like the CA-53WF Databank watch (remember that one?). Each ring captures the essence of the original watch with incredible detail, considering their size. Plus, there's even a secret model waiting to be discovered – the thrill of the hunt is real!

    Photos not mine CTTO

    So, if you're ever in Japan and spot those familiar capsule machines, keep an eye out for the Casio watch rings. You might just score your favorite childhood watch in a whole new form!

    Who knows, maybe I'll even do a follow-up post with pictures of my ring collection (fingers crossed for the secret model!). Until then, happy hunting, fellow Casio enthusiasts!

    Wednesday, May 15, 2024

    Family, Food Finds, and Friendly Business Chat at IFEX 2024

    The last day of IFEX 2024 turned into a delightful family affair (with a dash of business thrown in)! After a big family event at the Marriott Hotel's Grand Ballroom, my brother Yummytales and I decided to squeeze in a visit to the World Trade Center. What a good decision that was!

    IFEX, for those who haven't been, is a treasure trove of all things food and ingredients. It's a chance to discover new favorites and stock up on old ones. And guess what? We stumbled upon a small world moment right there at a booth!

    We were waiting for our change after buying 6 Camalig pinangat (we missed this dish so much!). As fate would have it, my cousin-in-law (wife of my first cousin, whom we'd just seen at the Marriott) arrived with my nephew! Turns out, his wife is the seller at the booth!

    They sell these unique, well-packaged pinangat for a very reasonable price. They even had a promo: buy 5, get 1 free! I ended up paying only Php 415 for 6 pieces. Bonus: these pinangat have a shelf life of a year if frozen! Needless to say, our 6-pack lasted a mere 3 days. Wish I'd bought more! Yum!!

    Their recipe is fantastic. Not just because they're family (although that doesn't hurt!), but because it's truly delicious and super convenient. It can be steamed using a rice cooker or even microwaved (just add some water!).

    Next stop? A booth from Aklan selling a variety of baked goodies for Php 499! And guess what? I even got my Php1 change back! ( Some vendors don't give change anymore) This delightful assortment included 1 pack of broas, 1 pack of garlic bread, 1 pack of egg cracklings, 1 pack of otap, 1 pack of biscocho, and small plastic of half barquillos filled with polvoron. They even have a distributor in Metro Manila – perfect for future cravings!

    The day wasn't just about shopping, though. We were also treated to some delicious samples from a lovely couple from Tiaong, Quezon. They offered me a small VCO bottle and one sachet of coconut oil, and it seems they were giving them out to other customers who passed by their booth as well. What a generous couple! Thank you ma'am and sir!

    Now, onto a different topic related to my business. While at IFEX, I had the opportunity to discuss a situation with Aice Philippines. They had a new reseller right across from our store, and I wanted to ensure fair competition considering our long-standing loyalty since their launch back in 2018. The conversation was friendly and informative, and hopefully, they'll consider the situation.

    Finally, a quick shout-out to Ms. Luz Soriano. Unfortunately, it was closing time when we reached her booth, so we missed a chance to say hello. Here's hoping for an invitation to the next CITEM event, Ms. Soriano!

    Overall, IFEX 2024 was a whirlwind of family, food finds, and a productive business discussion. It's definitely an event I wouldn't want to miss next year!

    Tuesday, May 14, 2024

    The Little Flower Retreat House in Baguio

    Baguio's magic lies in its ability to surprise you around every corner. This past trip, I found myself captivated by the Little Flower Retreat House – a stunning piece of architecture that whispered of a bygone era. The day started off peaceful, almost eerily so. On the way to Vanilla Cafe, we passed by an old retreat house. We find the gate open but the compound strangely quiet. We ventured inside, snapping photos of the beautiful facade bathed in the cool mountain air.

    The silence was almost eerie, with the grand facade standing tall against the backdrop of towering pines. The lack of people added to the quietude, making the atmosphere feel almost mystical. We captured photos of the building's intricate details, its beauty undeniable.

    A statue of St. Francis of Assisi stands tall at the corner. So we'd had some photos taken with the statue as well. His gentle gaze and outstretched hand offering a sense of calm amidst the quietude. In hindsight, the statue's presence might have even subconsciously influenced the atmosphere of our visit.

    St. Francis, the patron saint of ecology and animals, is known for his message of peace and love for all creation. His presence at the retreat house feels deeply significant. Perhaps it serves as a silent reminder of serenity, a counterpoint to the initial unsettling feeling.

    The Little Flower Retreat House continues to surprise me. It's a place of captivating architecture, a touch of mystery, and now, a connection to St. Francis of Assisi. This unexpected detail serves as a reminder to be present in the moment, to appreciate the hidden stories waiting to be discovered in the places we visit. So next time you're in Baguio, keep your eyes peeled for the Little Flower Retreat House, and who knows, you might just find yourself on a little adventure of your own.

    Monday, May 13, 2024

    Yearning for the Summer Capital's Chill

    NCR heat got you down? Me too. As someone currently residing here, all I can think about lately is the crisp, refreshing air of Baguio. Ugh, how I miss those cool mountain breezes!

    Baguio always holds a special place in my heart. It's the perfect escape from the scorching Philippine sun. Just stepping off the bus and being greeted by that cool air instantly washes away the stress and sweat.

    Don't even get me started on those cozy nights! Bundling up in a sweater, sipping hot chocolate with a view of the twinkling city lights - pure bliss. NCR just doesn't offer that kind of atmosphere. Here in NCR, it's just aircon all day long, which dries out your skin! 

    I miss strolling through the strawberry fields of La Trinidad, the scent of those sweet berries filling the air. And who can forget the amazing selection of local crafts and Ukay at the night market in Baguio? Here in NCR, the ukay shopping options just fail in comparison.

    Okay, maybe I'm romanticizing it a bit, but the truth is, Baguio offers a unique experience you just can't find down here in the lowlands. It's a place that rejuvenates the soul and makes you appreciate the beauty of cooler climates 💯 percent!

    Anyone else out there dreaming of a Baguio escape? Please comment below and share your favorite memories of the Summer Capital! Maybe we can even plan a virtual trip down memory lane. In the meantime, I'll be here searching for the strongest fan and coldest drinks I can find.



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