Author Archives: Toni Tiu

About Toni Tiu

Toni Tiu is a training director, brand strategist, and features writer. She is the author of Wifely Steps, a blog that started out to help newlyweds adjust to married life. It has since evolved into a home and parenting blog where she writes about things close to her heart – good eats, good reads, and the little things that make everyday happy.

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Why I don’t dream the American dream

Sunday, 20 November 2016 | Written by
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I dream of New York. Hollywood has shaped what I imagine it to be – romantic walks down tree-lined streets, orange leaves whirling around… it is autumn in New York after all. I dream of sunny Los Angeles. I yearn to connect with cousins I haven’t seen in years – to have barbecues with them in their backyard, to cialis for sale online enjoy the sunny afternoons with the air cold and crisp. I dream of these and more about the States, but I buycialisonline-treated don’t really dream of living there. I don’t dream the American dream. There are many reasons why I’d love to visit, but there are more reasons why I choose to stay.

I believe that whatever I’m doing now contributes to the success of the country. “May pag-asa pa ba generic viagra cialis canada Pilipinas?,” a friend living overseas asked me once. “Parang wala na eh. Migrate ka na.” I laughed it off, joking that it can be a possibility. The truth is I believe the Philippines, my Philippines has a good today and a good future. Change is coming, the elections of yesterday predicted. Change has come, news headlines of today declare. I’m curious and excited about the road ahead for the country, and I love being part of this evolution. Yes, may pag-asa ang Pilipinas. Kailan ba tayo nawalan ng pag-asa?

My roots are here. Many of my friends have shared that they can’t leave because they feel they are grounded here, in heart and soul. I feel the same way. My family is here. My parents are here. They don’t see themselves migrating, and truth is I want to stay connected with them as much as I can. Time is fleeting; my parents are aging. I enjoy the little moments we spend together – quietly eating a meal at the kitchen table with my Dad, fervently gossiping with my Mom about the latest news in politics or showbiz. “Putulin mo na yang umbilical cord mo sa Nanay mo,” advised a friend united states online pharmacy viagra of mine. I thought about what he said, this strong bond I have with my Mom that I can’t seem to leave our family home, even if I have a family of my own. But there’s a strong, unwritten, unverbalized emotion that I feel when I’m with her. Clingyness? True. Maybe. Love? Certainly. There is a need in me that wants to see my parents everyday, and I don’t think I can deal with being too far from them. It may sound like I’m overly attached to them, but the truth is I know I don’t have an infinite time with them. So I enjoy what time I have with them, squabbles and all. They keep me rooted here.

“Mas aasenso kayo pag nag-abroad kayo,” another friend advised. I thought about it again and had a serious bestotc-viagraonline.com talk with my husband about it. Can we provide a better life for our child if we migrate? Will we have a more comfortable life if we live in the States? Perhaps yes, perhaps not. We won’t really know until it happens, right? I believe your future is what you make of it. I believe that if we live abroad, we can find a way to make life more prosperous for ourselves, for our son. But if that can be done abroad, that can be done locally too. We are hard workers, my husband and I. We try our best today to provide for our child. There are times when we wished we had better work arrangements, better benefits, but the truth and the fact is this: we have enough. Life can be more prosperous for sure. Life can viagra in dubai be more comfortable. But right here, right now, while we strive to make life more comfortable here in the Philippines for our family, we are happy. We have enough.

Perhaps that’s why I don’t dream the American dream. I am happy where I am. There are many reasons why I can move, but there are also many reasons why I can stay. Why walk away when there are reasons to stay?

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Rainy day beauty tips

Monday, 4 July 2016 | Written by
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The weather can wreak havoc on our hair and our skin. When it comes to the rainy season, we can expect our hair to be extra frizzy or have smeared panda-like eyes as we brave the downpour. Here are some tricks to still look ravishing on rainy days, whether it’s just a trickle or a storm!

Stop that frizz! The frizzy look is common during the rainy season. Frizzing of the hair is common because of humidity. Once it rains, the air thickens with vapor. Our hair absorbs the vapor causing it to frizz and give you that big hair look. While we can’t control humidity, we can control the moisture content in our hair! When our hair has the proper amount of moisture, there are more chances of it avoiding the moisture in the air thus avoiding the possibility of frizzy hair. To keep hair anti-frizz, we have smoothen and close our hair cuticles. This blocks out humidity and gives our hair a sleek look.

Begin by using lightweight hair products. Shampoo and conditioner with

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silicone, protein and emollients can seal hair cuticle gaps and smoothen it out. To do this, use a light mousse all over the hair. You can also rinse hair with cold water after your bath to lessen frizz. Through the day, avoid touching your hair with your hands. Your hands have oil that can cause frizz.

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Pull your hair back. If you fear the frizz even with the above preparations, consider pulling your hair back in a chic bun or a sleek ponytail. You can also try putting your hair up in a loose bun when you step outdoors, but once you’re inside your office, let your hair down. This creates a wavy look without the ponytail marks in your hair.

Go light and waterproof. Avoid heavy make-up during rainy days. This avoids not only the heavy, irritating feeling during rainy days, but it’s more likely to be smudged off when it gets wet. Lighten up on the makeup. Avoid heavy moisturizers and foundation. In choosing brands, go for quality waterproof makeup. This assures you that you can get through any rainy day with your face still looking bright and put together. Waterproof makeup is especially important when choosing eyeliner and mascara. But even with waterproof makeup, avoid rubbing your eyes! This will smudge your make-up, and you will need to use a make-up remover to fully get rid of the make-up before applying it anew.

Prepare your emergency kikay kit. While the sun may be shining when you step out of the house, you never know when the rain will pour! Make sure you have back-up essentials in your bag. This way, you can touch up your make-up in the middle of the day with your waterproof make-up and some anti-frizz hair serum.

Pick pencils. Pencils have staying power. Eyeliner pencils instead of powders can be more rainy-day friendly. Their waxy nature can stay put despite the water that comes your way. A matte pencil can give your lips color all-day long too.

Choose your cover. Protect yourself from the rain by making sure you bring around protective gear. Have an umbrella handy with you all the time. Not only do you stay looking pretty and put together, you also protect yourself from sickness. A pair of sunglasses also helps avoid any eye makeup damage. You’ll look chic and glamorous even on a cloudy day!

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You don’t have to hide out at home or hide under a poncho when the rainy day comes. Look bright, beautiful and put-together even if a storm is raging outside with these rainy day beauty tips.

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Read Wide: How to expand your reading fare

Tuesday, 28 June 2016 | Written by
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We all have our comfort zones. From choosing where to hang out to a certain way of approaching work, there are habits we’ve grown accustomed to, styles we feel at ease with. This can also reflect in our taste of movies, food, even books. We can tend to gravitate towards a specific genre. That’s not a bad thing at all, especially if it fuels an interest beyond reading. A colleague loves reading maritime books because of his love for sailing. A friend dives deep into stories set during the medieval times, fascinated by life during that century. Sometimes we like a particular genre because it’s simply stress relief. That would be chick lit for me – my version of the light, romantic comedy.

One of my mentors advised me though that to be better at what we do, no matter what profession you are in, you not only have to read more but to read wide. This means picking up a book or a magazine you normally would not go for, but reading it anyway. The purpose? To expand your knowledge, and perhaps even expand your interests. What can happen for sure is that you have handy information when striking up conversations with friends and strangers too. Because you have read wide, you have more to talk about.

How exactly do you read wide though? There may be initial resistance to reading a book outside your comfort zone genre. How exactly do you choose what other genre to go for?

If you always go for style magazines, move a little to the left or right and try a different magazine topic.

If you always go for style magazines, move a little to the left or right and try a different magazine topic.

An initial hesitation to expanding your reading fare would be “I don’t want to spend on something I might not like.” That’s a fair reason, but it should not ultimately stop you from reading wide. Pick up a random magazine or book – in the waiting areas of a clinic, at home, in the library, at the bookstore. Choose reading material you would not normally pick. If you always choose books from the biography section, move a little and go for the travel section. If the magazine before you at your doctor’s clinic is a celebrity magazine and that’s not up your alley, go pick it up anyway. You may find yourself forcing yourself to read at first, but trust the process. Flip through the pages. Read the blurbs. You may pick up some interesting tidbits. You don’t have to read the whole reading material just yet, but to simply get a feel for it. But if you could read the whole book or magazine, go for it!

You’ll be surprised at the little pieces of information you pick up. I don’t read men’s health magazines, preferring to leave that reading to my husband. One time, I picked up one his magazines though and stumbled upon an article on Green Juice recipes – something we’re both interested in. It made for another source of conversation for us, and we eventually prepared one of the green juice recipes together. Now, when we buys his men’s health magazines, I thumb through the pages and see if any articles stand out again that can benefit both of us.

What is your favorite person reading?

What is your favorite person reading?

Another way to expand your reading fare would be to check out what your favorite personalities are reading. Who is your favorite actress? Do you follow a certain blogger? Do you want to learn more from your company’s CEO but are too shy or don’t have the connection with him? Make a mental list of the people you look up to. Then find out what their favorite books are. Celebrities are easy – they’re just a Google search away. Oprah has a piece on “12 Celebrities on their Favorite Books”. If you like Daniel Radcliffe, know that his favorite novel is “The Master and Margarita” by Mikhail Bulgakov. Rachel McAdams laughs out loud to David Sedaris’ “When You Are Engulfed in Flames”.

For writers you look up to, why not drop them a note? Leave a comment on their website. For bloggers you admire, they would most likely love to engage in a conversation with you too – leave a comment on their blog. For your colleagues and even your CEO, asking about what they’re currently reading makes for a great conversation starter.

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Ask for recommendations. A straightforward way of expanding your reading fare is to simply ask for reading recommendations. Ask your friends, your officemates, the customer service attendant at the bookstore. They will throw various titles at you, and not all will be from the same genre. If they are, pick the title that’s outside your comfort zone genre and give that a go.

If you’re shy about approaching others, you can review what’s recommended on the Bestsellers List of the week. These are often posted in bookstores and you can take your cue from there.

Screen shot from TED talks on "Books".

Screen shot from TED talks on “Books”.

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Finally, read about reading. Better yet, listen to or watch talks about books. TED has a section on its website that is a collection of TED talks on the topic of books. Watch Ann Morgan’s talk on “My year reading a book from every country in the world”. Check out Karen Thompson Walker’s talk on “What fear can teach us”. How about Benjamin Wallace’s talk on “The price of happiness”? Some of these talks may not be about reading specifically, but they offer insights and information that pique your interest in another genre.

There are many benefits to expanding your reading fare. There’s more ammo for small talk. You can learn a lot more than just the usual twists and turns you’ve grown accustomed to. Reading more is a wonderful thing, but reading wide is a lot more valuable. Go for it! Step outside your reading comfort zone and see your world become bigger, deeper, richer.

 

 

 

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Bananas for beauty

Monday, 27 June 2016 | Written by
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We knew bananas do wonders for our health, but did you know they make for a great beauty product too? This delicious fruit is packed with vitamins, minerals and fiber that not only nourish our bodies, these nutrients can also nurture our skin.

Bananas are rich in potassium. This essential mineral is very helpful in maintaining normal blood pressure and proper heart function. But potassium also keeps skin moisturized and hydrates us internally. So if you’ve got dry, dehydrated skin, eating potassium-rich foods like bananas can give you softer skin!

The high levels of vitamin B-6 in bananas reduce swelling, help in weight loss, strengthen the nervous system and protect against Type II diabetes. Bananas’ B-vitamins also protect against free radicals, fighting signs of premature aging. 

Bananas are also rich in Vitamin C, essential for making muscles, tendons and ligaments stronger. Vitamin C also helps keep the immune system strong. Now Vitamin C aids in the production of collagen, fights free radicals and can fight skin oil control.

Bananas really are an excellent source of nutrition for the body, and for skin and hair! Rich in antioxidants, bananas can have a wonderful effect on the skin. Vitamin A helps fade dark spots and scars. The zinc and lectin in bananas are great in protecting germs that trigger acne formation.

Enjoying bananas’ beauty benefits 

Because bananas work wonders on dry skin, you can use bananas as a skin moisturizer. Create a banana face mask at home. In a small bowl, mash a ripe banana. Apply to your face. Leave on for 15 to 20 minutes. Rinse with cold water. Feel how soft and supple your skin is! That’s the potassium at work! As an added bonus, your skin isn’t only softer, you can look younger too because of bananas’ anti-aging effects. 

Try this out on rough cracked elbows and heels too. If your elbows and heels look dark and feel rough, a luxurious banana skin scrub can help smoothen them. Soak your elbows and heels in warm water. Afterwards, massage two mashed bananas onto your arms and feet, focusing on your elbows and heels. Rinse off with warm water. Feel your cracked skin getting smoother! 

Want to fight oily skin? Bananas can help control oil. Vitamins C, E and potassium help give clearer, more glowing skin. Bananas area also natural exfoliants, removing excess oil on the skin. In a small bowl, mash a ripe banana. Add one tablespoon of honey and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Mix and apply to your face. Leave on for 15 to 20 minutes. Rinse off with cold water.

To exfoliate the skin, you can combine mashed banana with other skin-friendly ingredients such as yogurt, coconut oil or oatmeal. Oatmeal’s rough texture can help remove excess dead skin cells, while the coconut oil adds extra hydration to the skin.

Because bananas have bacteria-destroying properties and help reduce swelling, bananas are great for treating acne. Use the banana face mask recipe to treat acne. You can also add honey to further moisturize the skin. Wash off with cold water. Do this regularly to get clearer results.

Regular, consistent application of the banana face mask can also lighten dark spots and brighten skin.

It’s not only the banana’s creamy flesh that have beauty purposes – you can also use the banana peel! The inner part of the peel can reduce puffy eyes and remove dark circles under the eyes. Place the banana peel over your eyelids and leave on for 15 to 20 minutes. Afterwards, remove and wash your eyes with cold water. The potassium in bananas helps reduce the skin swelling. You can eat bananas or use them as an eye mask.

banana-953989_640 Load up on bananas in the kitchen! They not only nourish the body, they make for effective and natural beauty products too.

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Natural ways to clean kids’ toys

Saturday, 25 June 2016 | Written by
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Once you have kids, you begin looking at your home in a different way. Is this safe enough for baby? What if he puts his stuffed toy in his mouth? You begin looking at things around the home, particularly his toy cabinet, that can be potentially harmful. What he is in most contact with, for example, are ones that can raise the most concern – his toys. They can attract dust and dirt, but cleaning them with bleach or the usual detergent is a big no-no. Typical household cleaners usually contain chlorine bleach, powerful in killing mold, virus, fungus and bacteria, but also harmful to our health. Chlorine’s fumes can cause headaches, sting skin and eyes, and result to health issues when exposed long-term.

Thankfully, there are several eco-friendly ways to give your children’s toys a good cleaning, ways that are safe and natural. Here are three ways you can try cleaning your kids’ toys the natural way. 

Distilled white vinegar and water can go a long way. This is one of the most basic, and eco-friendly ways, to give toys a good scrubbing. Think about your baby’s teethers, his wooden toys, plastic amusements. These toys are usually on the shelf or on the floor, and your children can easily put them in their mouths, especially when they are at that stage. Not only are these toys covered in dust, they could get covered in baby’s saliva too! Think about all the germs as well from every hand that has held the toy!

Prepare the water and vinegar solution and get started cleaning. Mix together 1 cup of water and 1 cup of distilled white vinegar. Put it in a spray bottle. Done! Spray the solution onto a cloth and use that to wipe the toys and the cabinet. Lay them out on clean towels to air dry before putting them back in the toy cabinet. Use this same solution to spray toy shelves.

If you’re worried about the vinegar smell, note that the scent goes away after it dries. You can also add herbs like rosemary or lavender oil to neutralize the strong vinegar smell. 

Use undiluted vinegar to clean high-germ areas such as the diaper bin, door knobs, bath mats and counters, tile or linoleum floors, baby’s playmats. With baby playing on the floor frequently, a little vigilance can go a long way! 

Vinegar is a natural disinfectant. White vinegar in supermarkets with 5 percent concentration can kill about 80 percent of germs. Stock up on these not just for salads, but for cleaning the home!

vinegar-768948_640Ideal for food AND cleaning!

Tea tree oil has a clean, invigorating smell that makes it great for cleaning toys. It is also known for its antibacterial properties, so tea tree oil can naturally disinfect baby’s playthings. Add 8 to 10 drops of tea tree oil in warm water. Use a cloth to wipe it on the toy. Afterwards, rinse with water and wipe dry. Your child’s toy doesn’t only smell wonderful, it’s naturally clean too!

essential-768949_640Tea tree oil is not just for aromatherapy!

A big worry among Moms would be the light-colored and white toys. How do you take out stains the safe way? Turn to the sun! Lay out the white stuffed toys under direct sunlight. The stains fade after a few hours. For hard-to-remove stains, try spraying a little lemon juice on it before putting it out in the sun. No need for expensive and harmful bleaches to bring back the white of your kids’ toys!

hangingout The author’s family’s toys getting a good sunning.

You can be tough on germs without using harsh chemicals. These eco-friendly cleaning solutions help do the job of cleaning, giving your toys and shelves some shine, and keeping your kids safe from chemicals.

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Beer Belly linked to Prostate Cancer

Tuesday, 21 June 2016 | Written by
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Do you have a beer belly? If so, you should be worried not just of possible high cholesterol or obesity, but having a higher risk of developing prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer is a disease that afflicts men wherein cancer cells crowd normal cells in the prostate gland, producing a milky fluid that becomes part of the semen.

A new research from the University of Oxford suggested that men with large waists and high body mass index (BMI) are more prone to dying of high-level prostate cancer and prostate cancer-related death than their counterparts. The study also suggested that as the belly fat increases, risks of getting the disease increase by more than 10 percent.

Other risk factors include waistlines bigger than 37 inches. Males with this waist circumference have a higher risk of getting prostate cancer and prostate cancer-related health risks.

Records included more than 140,000 men with the average age of 50 years. Subjects were from eight different countries. The study spanned over the course of 14 years. In this time, 7,000 cases of prostate cancer was determined, with 934 deaths.

Prostate cancer in the Philippines

Prostate cancer is the number two cancer Filipino men die from after lung cancer. In 2005, former senator Raul Roco passed away from prostate cancer. The National Kidney and Transplant Institute shared that 19.3 out of 100,000 Filipino male population have prostate cancer. With the rising number of reported incidents, the Department of Health (DOH) declared June as Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.

Prostate cancer’s symptoms vary per individual. Symptoms may include: difficulty in urinating, weak flow of urine, frequent urination especially at night, burning sensation while urinating, bloody urine or semen, chronic pain in the lower back, hips or pelvis and painful ejaculation.

Risk factors include age (40 years and above), diet and medical history. In countries where a low-fat diet of vegetables and fish are staple, Japan for example, incidents of prostate cancer are historically low.

Early detection of prostate cancer is important for better chances of recovery. Tests used to diagnose prostate cancer include the Digital Rectal Exam (DRE) and Prostate Specific Antigen Test (PSA). The DRE is the only test to detect abnormalities in the prostate. This is recommended for men age 40 and above. The physician inserts a lubricated, gloved finger into the rectum to feel the size, shape and firmness of the prostate. The PSA is substance produced by the prostate. In men with prostate cancer, these levels may be higher in the blood. PSA levels may also increase other prostate-related problems such as prostate infections and enlarged prostate. This test is recommended for men 50 years old and above.

There are many treatments options available depending on severity and need. These include surgery, radiation therapy, hormone therapy and chemotherapy.

 

Avoid these high-calorie food to get rid of that beer belly.Avoid high-fat, high-calorie food to get rid of that beer belly.

Preventing prostate cancer

Maintaining a healthy weight is critical for men, especially with this new study linking waist circumference to the risk of prostate cancer. While there is no exact cure to prevent prostate cancer, men can begin living out healthy practices to maintain a healthy prostate. This includes eating a balanced diet, particularly one that is low in fat. Getting regular exercise is also key to help maintaining healthy weight. Losing excess weight would also be helpful. Vices should be stopped, such as smoking and drinking. Taking sufficient levels of omega-3 fatty acids can also counter toxic fat in the body. This also helps reduce prostate inflammation. 

Start with that beer belly

Beer bellies can be stubborn to remove, especially in older ages when metabolism rate has dropped The fat collected around the midsection can be a result not just of too many beers, but by diets high in fat. Changing your eating habits can truly help you say goodbye to that stubborn beer belly. Commit to consuming less high-calorie fatty food. Pizza, chicken wings, burgers… these all contribute to beer belly stubbornness. Opt for lean proteins and fresh vegetables as much as possible. Fried foods, cheesy meals and red meat should be avoided as much as possible.

With your good health in mind, committing to a healthier lifestyle can be achieved. With a leaner waistline, you not only lower your risk of getting prostate cancer but of other diseases as well.

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Of fathers and daughters

Saturday, 18 June 2016 | Written by
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There’s a special bond daughters share with their fathers. This bond has a unique way of helping shape how these ladies treat themselves and interact with the world. To his daughters, a father becomes the benchmark of what a man should and shouldn’t be. How he treats women becomes a lesson to his daughters on how they expect to be treated. Not all fathers are as demonstrative as mothers, but they show their love for their daughters in their own quiet and selfless ways.

Lessons from Dad on Being a Woman

Martine de Luna, founder of Make It Blissful, shares that her father’s teachings helped her become a woman of strength. “My Papa has always taught me to be unapologetic for my beliefs and principles, and that women can be equally successful as men.”

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Martine and her father, on her wedding day

Camille Depano, author of the bestselling book “#HUGOT: Understanding the Misunderstood, says that her father taught her to “be the best version of myself and that I’m worth the wait because I am loved.”

Even if she grew up with her father overseas, Esmy Abarabar shares that her father still taught her to be a woman of confidence. “This has instilled in me the value of perseverance, hard-work, and love for family.  On being a woman, my Papa has taught me never to be intimidated nor feel inferior to men. If anything men and women complement each other.  By always asking me what I can say about issues or things, he was in fact encouraging me to think on my feet.  Through the years, these conversations and how we would often burst out laughing serve as our bonding moments which I always treasure especially now that we’re halfway across the globe.”

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Esmy Abarabar with her father, on Graduation Day

“My dad taught me that being a woman was no excuse to be weak,” Kim Patrocinio, stylist behind Kimpossible Transformations says. “He taught me how to be independent, to be headstrong, to be resilient and to be decisive. I am his firstborn so he taught me to be a leader and a role model to my siblings. He always told me that I need to be assertive about what I want and to be smart in my choices because that could spell the difference between sleeping on the floor and sleeping on a luxurious bed when I get older! Honestly, I didn’t think I needed a man because of what he taught me.”

 

How Dad made an impact on relationships

Maxine Ignacio, a 21-year-old Theater major, shares how she learned from her father’s traditional values. “My dad is a bit old fashioned and showing of PDA in front of family members is a big no-no. Holding hands is acceptable but more than that is taboo. I really appreciate that he taught me this because in today’s day and age, many teens and young adults do not care about over-PDA. I understand that this is to protect my own and my partner’s image.”

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 Maxine Ignacio and her father 

“My father always told me to look for a man that will respect and take care of me,” shares Eina Garrido, aspiring yogi and PAWS advocate. “Over the years I’ve had hits and misses with men because I was too excited to get into relationships and possibly because I was naive back then. As I grew older and wiser, I kept in mind my father’s values and this helped me find the man I am now with. I sometimes believe that when it comes to finding a man, you tend to look for a little bit of your father in them to know for sure you’ve made the right choice.”

Martine shares her father led by example. “He has always shown us by his example how to be a protector and a provider in a relationship. And so, my husband and my brothers are very doting, protective yet supportive husbands.”

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Camille Depano and her father

“Love will come in God’s time, he always reminding me of this,” Camille says of how her father has shaped her view of relationships. “My father’s love is so abundant that I don’t search for a man to love but then, I realized that I want a man like my father who is responsible, caring, loving, generous and will protect me and will let me feel that I am safe.”

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Kim Patrocinio and her father

“He taught me to love with all my heart, but to choose my partner wisely,” Kim shares.

 

Passing on Dad’s teachings to future kids 

Her father’s teachings on patience is what Eina would love to pass on to her future kids. “Always be patient, understanding and disciplined. Patience helps you with your composure, being understanding makes you more open to any situation and discipline keeps you always in check with your goals and passions.”

“Work hard and be grateful for any work that you are blessed to have,” shares Martine of what teachings of her Dad she would pass on to her children. “Don’t take opportunities for granted.”

For Maxine, it would be the theme of honesty she would pass on. “Above anything else, my Dad valued honesty the most and this is something that I want to teach my future kids. I have always been the type to ask permission before doing something or going somewhere. When I would ask to go to a party, I made it a point to give the EXACT details. Where is it going to be held, who will I be with, what time is it, how will I get there, how will I go home, how much money will I be needing, etc. There came a point when I would just list down the details in this format so that he would not have any other questions. I have always been honest with my parents but of course there are times when I would tell a white lie. Hindi naman palagi. Hindi ako pasaway! Teaching me to be honest and responsible has shaped how I am today.”

 

Dad’s show of love: Acts of Service

“My Papa’s love language is in service,” Martine says. “He reminds me of that Dad in the latest Globe commercial, actually. Even today, he will drive me where I need to go! He supports out businesses, and shows how proud he is about my successes.”

Camille shares the same thoughts about her father’s show of love. “His love language is service. He’s our master chef, he cooks delicious food, super generous (good provider), a strong and courageous man (I always feel safe when I’m with him), He loves my mother very much, so seeing that everyday, I feel more loved.”

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Eina Garrido and her father

“My dad is not very vocal but I believe actions speak louder than words,” says Eina. “He is very understanding and forgiving, he still brings me to work, cooks for me, provides for me and involves me in activities important to him. He makes an effort to understand my interests and makes it a point to remember my favorite things so when the time comes for surprises, he is always on point.”

Maxine shares her Dad is not as demonstrative but she still feels his love. “He shows his love by buying me pasalubong every now and then, by bringing and fetching me from school or gimiks when he can, and by teasing me. He’s not very affectionate when it comes to words and physical touch but he definitely shows his love through the little things.”

 

A different bond between fathers and daughters

“I think daughters know how to love on their dads in ways that sons never will,” Martine says. There is a “darling” kind of appeal, with how my dad views me. I am not a “daddy’s girl” in the superficial sense, but I know he is deeply proud of me as a daughter.

“The bond between mom-daughter is different between dad-daughter. In my case, the mom-daughter bond is the more kulit and lambing kind,” Maxine explains. “Moms usually teach their daughters about day-to-day lessons while the dad-daughter bond is more for life lessons and wisdom. The things that my dad has taught me has more to do with how to become a responsible adult and how to relate with others. How to succeed in life and make a mark in your field of work.”

Eina sums up the magical bond fathers and daughters share. “I choose to believe that every little girl’s hero is their father. Dads just have an enchanting approach when it comes to their daughters.”

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I have white hair! What do I do?

Friday, 17 June 2016 | Written by
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Stumbling upon your first white hair can be quite a jolting experience. Whether you have that first white hair during your college years or after your 40s, that same feeling of being taken aback will be there.

Tumatanda na ba ako? Pumuputi na buhok ko! You begin wondering whether you should pluck it out, have your hair colored or just leave it be. There are several things you can do to deal with white hair. Take a look at the following to see which ones you’re most comfortable trying!

Embrace the White

If you are unfazed by the white and grey, why not embrace the silver look? Celebrities have gone bold with the grey trend (Read: “The grey hair trend: The celebrities who have rocked it”). Ginnifer Goodwin’s pixie look had a lilac-grey touch, giving her hair serious personality. Kate Moss first rocked the grey hair trend in 2010! If you do decide to embrace the white, make sure that your hair style has a modern cut. White hair is commonly associated with old age, so you’d want to look on-trend with a chic look! Get a recommendation from a professional stylist to keep you and your hair looking youthful.

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But if having white in your hair doesn’t sit well with you, you can take the white out. Just don’t pluck your white hair. Dadami ang puting buhok pag binunot diba? We have heard this myth before, mostly from our grandparents. This myth has been debunked. Plucking white hair won’t cause surrounding hair to be white. Plucking is still a no-no though as it can traumatize the hair follicle. Repeated plucking can destroy the hair follicles and lead to a bald patch. If that one strand of white hair is really bothering you, grab a pair of scissors and give it a snip.

This is where hair color comes in too. An all-over hair color can hide any white hair. This is a great step to take especially if almost of your hair has turned white. While home coloring kits are available in drug stores and beauty stores, it would be a great idea to have your hair colored professionally. This is especially helpful if you want to match the hair dye to your natural hair color. If you do opt to go for home coloring kits, make sure you choose brands that are ammonia-free. Ammonia can damage hair, causing it to be dry and brittle. Coloring your hair has to be maintained though, as the white hair can show when the hair grows out.

If you’re not too hot about having your whole head of hair colored, you can try highlights to cover up white hair. With highlights, you can select parts of your hair to be dyed. You will need to have this done by a professional hair stylist and it can be quite expensive, but will be worth the cost when you see the color and shine it gives your hair!

Examples of Hair Markers

 

There are also other solutions that you can play around with that are not as long-staying or pricey as hair dye. Try a hair mascara. It’s exactly like eyelash mascara, only you use it for your hair. It’s a great tool when you need to cover up a few white hair strands on your hairline. Hair mascara lasts until you wash it out. Another temporary solution is a root concealer. Spray it on your white hair near the roots to color them. It will come out after you wash your hair as well.

There’s no need to panic with the first sight of white hair! Keep calm and remember these tips. From a little snip with the scissors to all-over hair color, you can embrace colored hair, and if not, embrace the white!

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My adobo is better than yours

Thursday, 16 June 2016 | Written by
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Adobo is fondly called the “national dish of the Philippines”. There’s a comfort only this dish brings – that tenderness of chicken or pork, flavored with soy sauce or vinegar, sometimes with the hint of dried bay leaves or handfuls of peppercorn dotting that dish of brown.

There’s another wonderful, intangible benefit this simple dish brings – it always takes you home. When you’re home, it reassures you that you ARE home, safe and secure. When you’re away from home, it’s a reminder of home’s comfort. Perhaps that’s why it’s a staple on almost every Filipino restaurant’s menu, even if it is one of the most cooked meals at home.

In his Philippines episode of “Parts Unknown,” during the meal where he tasted some homecooked adobo, Anthony Bourdain shared, “So, the answer, as always, to ‘who makes the best adobo?’ is Mom.” He captured it perfectly. When we think about the most delicious adobo we’ve had, memories of home mostly do come to mind. Mom-made adobos would be the top choice. Even Mikey Bustos created an ode to Adobo with a Let It Go Parody. He sang, “Adobo, adobo, a classic Filipino dish, adobo, don’t you know, white people say it’s so delish, but no one makes, it better than my Mommy.”

Adobo Basics

Adobo, at its most basic, is a 7-ingredient dish. There’s the meat (chicken or pork would be most common), oil, garlic, vinegar, soy sauce, basil leaves, and the peppercorn. A usual recipe would start with the oil heated in a frying pan. The meat would then be added, cooked until lightly browned. After cooking on both sides, the meat is transferred to another plate and set aside. All but a tablespoon of the pan drippings is disposed, and the pan is returned to the burner. Garlic is sautéed over low heat until soft. Then the rest of the ingredients are poured in. The chicken or pork is returned to the pan to cook, covered for about twenty minutes. Afterwards, the heat is increased to medium, the adobo cooked for another twenty minutes, until the meat is tender. This is your basic adobo.

What makes one adobo better than the other? Our Moms cook them differently, and aside from their personal touch, ingredients can also differ greatly. Here are perspectives on why some folks believe their adobo, or their Mom’s adobo, is simply the best. 

A Little Something Extra

“I put the usual peppercorns, salt and sugar to taste, but I add something extra,” shares Miguel, who inherited his adobo recipe from his grandmother. “I put Mang Tomas All-Purpose Sarsa. I put half a cup towards the end, when the chicken is almost tender. It gives a little zing to the adobo.”

Jose adds something different to give his own adobo ‘zing’. “I add Sprite. It makes the adobo a little sweeter too.” 

“Add brown sugar,” shares Yoly, a mother whose kids expect her adobo every Sunday. “It doesn’t make the dish super sweet, but it gives it a rounder taste. Parang nababalanse yun pagkaalat ng soy sauce. My kids absolutely love it.”

“We love our adobo with coconut milk or gata,” says Nini, whose Bicolano family loves spice. “Then we put siling labuyo. Like several siling labuyo. It’s very spicy and very good!”

Replace an Adobo Ingredient

“We’re not fond of soy sauce at home, even if it’s an ingredient in a dish or sawsawan,” shares Paula, who’s eaten adobo without the soy sauce since she was a child. “My mother replaced soy sauce with patis (fish sauce) and it’s delicious! That’s how we enjoy it till now.”

“In our family, we change up the adobo sometimes by replacing the vinegar with pineapple juice,” shares Sunny, whose family prefers their adobo on the sweet side. “We add in chunks of pineapple also. So there’s that’s agaw-tamis-alat that’s so good! Nakakakilig!”

Change up the protein

“We love liver, so we have our own adobo only with chicken liver. As in puro liver lang,” shares Gian of this mother’s adobo. “My Mother mashes some of the liver while it’s cooking, so it’s really soft and mushy when you eat it. Some of my friends say it looks kinda gross, but it tastes really good. The added texture makes it more yummy.”

For one vegetarian, Sam says she can still have her adobo and eat it too. “I use tofu. Fry the tofu first, then add it in later as you would with the chicken or pork. Sarap!”

 The author’s adobo’s style: Saucy with lots of garlic and peppercorns, served with scrambled egg and tomatoes.

Tweak the process

“Marinade galore!,” exclaims Tina, whose adobo is her husband’s favorite dish. “I marinade the chicken overnight in a whole bunch of mashed garlic, soy sauce and vinegar. Then I cook the chicken in the marinade sauce the next day. 24 hours is best!”

“My Mom fries the chicken two times,” shares Tessa. “One in the beginning, then towards the end. The crispy chicken skin is to die for. She also deep-fries the potatoes before putting them in the adobo so they don’t become soggy or mushy with the sauce.”

These are just some ways one family’s adobo can be better than another’s. But there’s no need to compete! All these adobo dishes are most delicious not only because of the ingredients and the process, but because loving memories have been attached to their distinct taste and aroma. Adobo truly is the national dish of the Philippines, the dish that makes one truly feel at home.

 

 

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Simple Steps to Breast Cancer Awareness

Tuesday, 14 June 2016 | Written by
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The rise of breast cancer in the Philippines has been alarming. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the Philippines. It is estimated that 3 out of 100 Filipino women will get the disease before age 75. These scary statistics should serve as a wake-up call for us to acknowledge how serious this disease is, and that we should take active steps to prevent it. Here are simple steps to increasing our awareness about this dreaded disease, and how we can encourage others to be more aware as well.

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Read up on the symptoms and prevention of breast cancer. Equip yourself with information to know what you can be up against. Breast cancer has different symptoms, and some do not have symptoms at all. Symptoms may include a usually painless lump or thickening in the breast., nipple discharge, a noticeable change in the size, contour or shape of the breast, nipple retraction or scaliness. Late signs of breast cancer may include pain, swelling of the breast, ulceration and orange peel-like spots on the skin of the breast.

Learn about your personal risk. Family history makes up for 7% of all breast cancers, becoming a two-fold risk for women with relatives who have had the disease. The National Cancer Institute offers a Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool designed to estimate a woman’s risk of developing invasive breast cancer.

Perform a breast self-exam at least once a month. Breast self-exams are important because they help you become familiar with your breasts feel and look. If you spot any changes, you can seek the help of your doctor as a next step. There are three ways you can perform a breast self-exam: in the shower, in front of a mirror, and while lying down.

When in the shower, use the pads of your fingers and move around your breast in a circular motion. Movement should be from outside to the center. Do this on both breasts every month. Make sure to feel for any thickening or lump. If you spot any changes to your breasts, seek the help of your doctor.

When in front of a mirror, assess how your breasts look. Raise your arms high over your head, and look for any unusual contours, swelling, dimpling of the skin or changes in your nipples.

When lying down, place a pillow under your right shoulder. Place your right arm behind your head. With your left hand, move your finger tips around your right breast in small circular movements, covering the entire breast and the armpit. Squeeze your nipple to check for lumps and discharge. Repeat the exam on your left breast.

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Take a clinical breast exam. A breast self-exam should be performed by every woman at home once a month. A clinical breast exam is performed by a professional trained to recognize any abnormalities that the patient may have missed. This could be your gynecologist or family physician. Clinical exams are a very important part of early detection.

Schedule a mammogram. A mammogram is an x-ray to examine the breast tissue for any abnormalities or suspicious areas. Some breast lumps cannot be felt, and so a mammogram can show a breast lump if it can’t be felt. Lumps can appear as microcalcifications, or tiny groups of calcium. If abnormal cells are spotted, more tests may be recommended by the doctor. Mammograms are recommended for women 40 years and above, to be taken every 1 or 2 years. For women under 40 who have higher risk factors for breast cancer, they can ask their doctor if mammograms are advised and how soon they should get them.

Encourage friends and family to be more aware as well. Support each other with following through on your early detection plans. The sooner we start becoming actively conscious about breast cancer, the better we prevent ourselves against it.

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