Ordinary things that make life extraordinary.

Ordinary things that make life extraordinary.

Category: echos moments

Mellow Yellow Monday 023: A pair of yellow birds

After two days of holiday food and merry-making, my head is throbbing and my stomach, errrm, not settled. I think the acid in my stomach is acting up 🙁 I better buy nexium before this condition goes out of hand! I think most people are experiencing this situation. Holiday food – at least in the Philippines – could be very oily, too sweet, and laden with lots of fats and cholesterol. Good thing is that over the counter drugs for acid reflux, high cholesterol, among others, are now available without so much fuss. You can get your medication conveniently. Also with the help of the Internet, these medications are also available online. The other day, while browsing the Internet, I came across the Canada drugs site and was amazed at the convenience it brings to its consumers. You place your order for prescription and non-prescription and generic medications. They also have medications for pets. A lot of people attest to its low price and fast and efficient shipping and services. How good is that? If only we have the same here in the Philippines. Mothers like me could save time and spent it on other household or mommy tasks.

Speaking of tasks… I was on chaperone duty for my son. His school went on a field trip. One of the stops was Zoobic. It’s a zoo in Subic, get it? Lol. Anyways.  birds have always fascinated my son and when we reached the birds section at the zoo, he spent longer time looking at these gorgeous yellow birds:

Aren’t they gorgeous? They’re indeed a crowd-drawer. Plus they are so noisy!

Either they are young parakeets or Amazonian parrots. I forgot now. There was a sign o the cage but I could not remember anymore. Please help  with the info?

It took awhile before my son had enough of these birds. He was asking me lots of questions — questions that are actually feelers that he wants to have birds like these for pets. Of course, the mommy radar is quite strong on this one. I think he is too young to have pets and besides I, for one, don’t like caged birds. I want them to live in their natural habitat. So I asked him to wait till he is big enough {three birthdays more} and see if he still wants to have birds as pets. By then he can decide whether he is able to take care of birds, or any other pets, on his own because MamaGirl doesn’t have extra pair of hands 😀

Christmas eve feast and some reminders

It’s the Christmas eve now here and the house is abuzz with activities!

First, I am happy that today and tomorrow are my days off, how great is that?!? What’s better than this? Well, my sister is also not working on these days! So this means that we will celebrate Christmas all together.

As I am looking at the food being prepared now, my plan to lose weight will have to be set aside. I mean, come on, give this working mama a break! I’ve been working on graveyard shift for how many months now and, because I’m always sleepy and tired when I get home, I could not make the food that I want to eat. We rely on the easy prito (fried) or instant, packed or canned. Not really great for someone like me. So since today and tomorrow are holidays, I am allowing myself to eat what I like to eat especially during holiday season. I know many of you can relate to this feeling. Tonight, for our Noche Buena, we’ll have the usual pancit canton (braised egg noodles), menudo (sort of like pork stew), tacos, among others, and brownies, and buko-macaroni salad for dessert. Oh, these dishes may be modest, or common, compared to others with extravagant spread on their tables, nevertheless, my mouth waters by the mere mention of these foods.

Ooh, sugar, cholesterol, fats, you say… I know!  Aside from agonizing about how to lose weight, I also have to give attention to the bad cholesterol from the holiday foods later on! But I’m not panicking yet because this online article cited several tips on how to lose cholesterol. So, to those who have high cholesterol or someone who just wants to know how to have a healthier body with low cholesterol level, I’m sharing you some of the tips:

1. Eat more fruits and vegetables. EVERYDAY. Fruits and vegetables are low in saturated fat and are rich in fiber that prevent cholesterol away from the heart and its absorption. They are packed in nutrients and anti-oxidants that are great for the heart!

2. Avoid fatty foods, especially trans-fats that come from most dairy products, fat from meat and poultry, especially the burger, fries, pizza, and fried chicken from fast food. Use healthy oil such as canola oil, olive oil, and grapeseed oil. Try to avoid using  butter and margarine.

3. Garlic intake. Studies reveal that consumption of garlic can lowers the bad cholesterol and increases the good cholesterol in our body. Garlic also helps to thin the blood, hence, preventing heart attacks. Garlic is good, after all.

4. Eat your beans. This includes lentils, chickpeas that are low in saturated fat and rich in soluble fiber that is so heart-friendly. They also contain lots of iron and Vitamin B.

5. Eat oats several times a week. Whole oats are much, much better than quick oats as they provide a more heart-friendly nutrients such as Vitamin B and with lots of fiber that help lower cholesterol and prevent heart diseases.

6. Lastly, go nuts! I mean, eat more nuts, such as almonds, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts and pistachios are highest in unsaturated fats and lowest in saturated fats. Also, remember to choose the unsalted varieties.

So there you have it.
The holiday feast is upon us but please eat moderately. Afterwards, let’s go back to our healthy diet and, take note, to have a healthy heart, just remember the five tips I just mentioned.

So anyway, just before I get busy just like everybody else, allow me to greet you all a very merry Christmas and a wonderful new year!


Hello guys and gals!

The holidays are just around the corner so… Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to us all! I can’t believe it is now a year since I came back from my volunteer stint with VSO Jitolee in Kenya. One year has passed and, my, how life has changed. I remember the excitement and great anticipation I had last year counting the days that I would finally be back to my land of birth and be with my son, husband, and family once again. I got teary-eyed every time I heard my co-volunteers in Mombasa mentioned “Christmas”, “family”, and “celebration”. I don’t know with others but in my family, Christmas means family members coming home for one big celebration and reunion. This year though is different. We won’t make it to our family Christmas because of work.

Anyways, one of my cousins came home for the holidays. He is based in the US as a nurse, a head nurse in one of the units in the hospital where he works. His is one success story. Small-town boy, finished his nursing course, worked in our city before getting an opportunity to go the US to work. He started at the very bottom of the ladder, studied (again) hard and worked his way up.  He told us that even doctors who aspire to have a higher-position are taking a medical management course to help them achieve it. Another family friend, who is in the UK at the moment, even went an extra mile and took a consultant interview course to ensure she was fully-equipped with tools and skills needed to clinch a position she was aiming for. And it worked because, the last time I heard, she was promoted. Also I noticed that more and more medical professionals are considering the medical teaching course. They might be doctors who don’t exactly practice their profession full-time and spend half of their time educating other doctors. Instead of doing the surgery, for example, they are teaching other doctors how to teach.  That’s the teach the teacher course. In NGO words, that’s a trainer’s training course.

Back to my cousin… I envy my cousin because he is really doing good in his profession. He has a nice house, drives his own car, and probably sooner or later, he’ll be a green-card holder. Will it be not too late for me to enter the medical and medical care profession? Had I excelled in the sciences and we had the financial resources, I would have probably considered this. Having said that, I’m happy with my work. Development work is very challenging but it has its own rewards.  It took me to least developed countries and contributed to helping people help themselves 🙂 Excuse the digression. I think I’m just getting the holiday blues.

Mellow Yellow Monday 020: Stilt-house

I was digging through my files to find what to post in today’s MYM when I chanced upon this old photo taken some two years ago in Binangonan, Rizal. This resort – the name escapes me now – is a favorite venue for trainings and workshops by the VSO Bahaginan. I’ve been here many times during my pre-departure training and I can see why VSO loves this place.

It is very cool, quiet, and relaxing in this place. My favorite area has to be this stilt house – this is where I liked spending quiet moments by myself or with my Hippo batchmates at VSO.

My favorite place to hang out to during my stay there. The familiar sight of the yellow flowers and the sign reminds me of my training days with VSO Bahaginan.

So many happy memories were made in this place. As of present, two of my batchmates have already gone to heaven, and the rest are currently in different countries finishing their assignments. Hopefully we could all gather again.

I’m a survivor!

Yes, I am so.
But I am getting an addiction. Caffeine addiction.

It’s been two months since I started with my new job. I thought I was not going to last this long because I’ve never been the one to pull an all-nighter even when I was still a student. But, as time goes by, I’m surprised my body is coping well with the graveyard schedule. But I felt like a somnambulist in my early days and weeks at my new workplace, walking aimlessly never fully awake.

Coffee became my new best friend – and I’ve learned to like my coffee strong. It keeps me awake and somehow now I am addicted to it. My sister is afraid that too much caffeine will adversely affect my health. But it’s not like alcohol or drug addiction, I reason out. But still she frets; she says addiction is addiction, period. To avoid that scenario, she suggested I eat apples instead when I feel drowsy while at work. Apples have natural elements that boosts one’s energy. Plus, she says, they are more digestible and gives enough fuel my body needs to get going. Hey, wait a minute. That’s going too far, don’t you think so? I’m only experiencing coffee addiction, and not something serious. And I’m supposed to be the older one, how come my younger sister is telling me all of this? LOL.

Mellow Yellow Monday 015: Cheesy birthday cupcakes


My birthday cupcakes – cheesy, yummy cupcakes!

my birthday cupcakes

I quietly celebrated my 3*th birthday with the family – without my husband who is in far away Roxas. But I’m not going to dwell on that as he’s going to be here with me and my son soon enough.

Thank you GOD for another year of adventures, excitement, fun, ano pa?! I hope everything will be a success and our lives will be with ‘everything’ =) Salamat sa mga friendship!

Seriously… I thank the Lord for the continued blessings He is giving me and my family. For the gift of love, happiness, hope, strength, and perseverance, and for a close-knit family that makes life beautiful, despite the circumstances… all these will keep me going and going and going… just like the energizer bunny!

Thanks to all those who remembered and greeted. Appreciated it a lot.

Daghang salamat… Madamo gid nga salamat… Maraming salamat… Asante sana..Okorn charan…THANK YOU guys…..I wish we all have the ‘beri beeri’ BEST things in life! =)

Here’s to another year of making good memories. And, oh…Happy birthday to me!

When it rains…


… it pours. So the saying goes.

Generally, this English idiom connotes a negative meaning. But for my case, this quote has taken an opposite connotation… which is a good thing! No, make that gold! Since I returned home after my placement as a VSO Volunteer in Kenya, I had difficulty in finding a job that fits my qualifications and experiences. But

Thanks to the help of my siblings, I am well on the right track with my career on the other side of the Philippines. I’ve had offers and now am training for a new job. Entirely a whole new world to me but, hey, MamaGirl has to do what she’s got to do, right? It’s an opportunity that presented itself to me and I am treating it like it’s a precious gold bullion for it comes only once in a blue moon.

So yeah, I’m training… and coping well. Despite my initial reaction to type of job I chose not to be picky but be thankful for the blessings that come pouring in. I know things will be better in the coming days. Now, I’m off to make some soup. Nothing fancy, just some veggies and chicken and with the help of chicken broth in bullion (or cube, as advertised on TV), we’ll have this nice, steaming bowl of soup to warm us on this stormy day.

Mellow Yellow Monday 011: Yellow flowers


Yellow flowers decorated the stage on the day of my boy’s graduation ceremony. We were surprised that he was chosen to be part of his class presentation and he memorized his lines very well without much prodding from me.

school presentation He loved to be on the stage – errr, make that center stage. Funny thing was when it was their turn to do their presentation, they all went up the stage. My son (second from right) noticed that he was a few feet far from the microphone so he moved places so that the mic is directly in front of him (talking about hogging the mic!). As you can see here, he was too close with the other boy and the two were jostling at some point. While I was proud that he did well in the class presentation, his delivery flawless, I was embarrassed with the jostling and all, but hey, kids will be kids.

Pondering some thoughts

In other words, nag-esep-esep ang MamaGirl, hehehe.

This post is about one of those moments where I’m not wearing my mama hat but instead I’m wearing a working-mama hat. Prior to my posting in Cambodia and long before the Kenya assignment, I already finished several units (about two semester’s worth) on my masteral degree in public administration in my hometown. At that time, I was aiming for a position in one of the city government, if not provincial government positions, as I already passed the civil service exams, albeit sub-prof only.

But, as luck would have it, I didn’t finish the public administration degree as mid-way through the first semester of my second year (I think, can’t remember exactly now) I was accepted as a Volunteer Agriculturist in Cambodia in 1999. It was my first international assignment and my first international trip to a country that has just gotten itself out of the long years of civil war and genocide. Then the infrastructure was in total disarray, if not non-existent, and so my hopes of continuing my studies via Online Schools had to be set aside as  Internet was very expensive and unreliable; besides I traveled regularly to four provinces in Cambodia time was a problem too. I had to keep further studies aside to focus on my work.

So what is it I want to study again if ever I have an opportunity again? Not public administration again, I’m afraid. Since I’ve been thrust into development work I was thinking of pursuing any online degree programs in project management or any other development-related studies. This degree coupled with my already-existing development work skills would enable me to work effectively, efficiently, and with more positive results should I continue with development work.

I somehow confided this to a co-volunteer in Mombasa and she enthusiastically urged me to go ahead. Now that I have no more other commitments I feel it is time that I consider this again. But, really, it’s bad timing. I have all the time now but financially it is not possible. hehehe. If only there is a resource for people like me who’d like to study and secure a scholarship or a student aid from the government, like this one I found here:  http://studentaid2.ed.gov/gotocollege/collegefinder/advanced_find.asp, it would have been great. Is there anything like this in the Philippines? Hmmm… I need to do more research I suppose and keep all my fingers and toes crossed.

Okies, tama na ang drama a. Back to reality na, gotta hit the sack now.

Toodles, noodles!

Some random quote…


… that I read somewhere.

A groan grasps the peanut near the offending anthology.

Does this mean anything to you? I’m not sure what it means but it caught my attention anyway :{

Shadow Shot Sunday 007: Diani beach

SSS #2 button

My favourite spot in Diani beach, Mombasa, Kenya. Taken while I was serving my one year volunteer assignment there with VSO Jitolee.

Imagine sitting there, under the shade of a big tree, the beautiful beach view and the lull of the sea breeze… heaven.

Signs, signs 004: Don’t feed the monkeys




I am mighty scared of monkeys, I don’t know why. Stuffed toy monkeys are cute but the real ones – and there are lots of them in Kenya – I try to keep a safe distance.