SSS Expanded Maternity Leave Law

April 15 was the date when we confirmed that we were having our 5th baby. Lots of thoughts came running through my mind—from initial checkups to prenatal vitamins up to SSS maternity benefits. Since it’s my fifth pregnancy, I know that I won’t get any benefits from SSS. From my previous knowledge, this benefit will be obtained up to your 4th pregnancy. It doesn’t matter if you were not able to apply for this in other pregnancies. As long as you’re beyond 4th, you won’t get any. THAT HAS BEEN CHANGED! In 2019, President Duterte signed into law the Expanded Maternity Leave Bill. This law is also known as Republic Act No. 11210, or the β€œ105-Day Expanded Maternity Leave Law,” which extends paid maternity leave from 60 days to 105 days. I wasn’t aware of this because my last pregnancy was way back in 2013.

And so my 5th baby arrived in November 2020. I wasn’t able to file an SSS maternity benefit claim because I wasn’t aware of this new law that extends the maternity leave for new moms. That’s why we should always stay updated.

Then I was able to talk to a fellow mom who gave birth one month ahead of me, and she was the one who informed me of this Expanded Maternity Law. Aside from extending the number of days of paid maternity leave to 105 days or 3.5 months, it is now unlimited! Meaning, even if you’re beyond your 4th pregnancy, you may still avail of the SSS Maternity Benefit! How awesome is that?!

So then I researched and then I compiled all the requirements needed for late filing of maternity benefits. Here are the requirements that I’ve gathered:

1. MAT-2 Form (fully accomplished) — make sure you let your employer sign this if you are employed

2. Letter of explanation — since I wasn’t able to file MAT-1 or Maternity Notification form

3. PSA birth certificate of your child — make sure it’s from PSA already…When I submitted a copy of my son’s birth certificate from the municipal registrar, my application was rejected. My employer needed to reapply using the PSA certificate.

4. Proof of pregnancy — my baby’s ultrasound… Make sure to submit a complete set of ultrasounds for the three trimesters. When I got rejected, that was one of the things that they added to the list that I need to submit—-a complete obstetrical history

5. TWO valid IDs with THREE signatures —make sure that you use your UMID as one of the IDs πŸ™‚

For you to have a better idea of the requirements that were missing, here is a screenshot of my BPR Maternity Claim info from my account on the SSS website:

So I compiled all the additional requirements, and I asked my employer to submit them again. And voila, I was able to get approved, and I received the money through my employer after one month of application.

Please note that you may claim your maternity benefit until your child is TEN years old. If you weren’t able to file it before your pregnancy, don’t fret. You may still file and claim it. Just don’t wait too long to do so.

For self-employed and voluntary members, you may submit maternity notification and apply for maternity benefits online using the SSS website. You just need an account there.

You may also check your eligibility for maternity benefits using the SSS website. You may view my post here.

Good luck! Hope you’ll be able to claim your maternity benefits just like I did mine πŸ™‚

Pregnant during a Pandemic (late post; this was a 2020 entry)

Today, I’m craving for Coffee Project’s Pesto and Mushroom Pasta. I’ve been craving for Burger King’s Whopper since the other day (maybe because I saw their promo). Good thing, today is a holiday, and my husband agreed to go to our condo to get some more things left there. Thus, I had my chance to satisfy my cravings for this week.

It’s quite hard to be pregnant during a pandemic like what I’m experiencing right now. You have to wait for days or weeks for your cravings to be satisfied. In our case, I have to wait for the day my husband will go out to buy groceries—and that’s every Saturday. For this week, it fell on a Friday because it’s a holiday and tomorrow is my mother-in-law’s birthday.

During my first four pregnancies (five if we’ll include Zedd), I got to eat what I wanted right away. I had an excuse—being pregnant, haha! But now, due to the threat of coronavirus and this current community quarantine measures, the key is to time it properly and wait.

Oh well, that’s just the way it is. We’re still blessed because all of us are healthy. May the good Lord keep us healthy always.

Thank you for this day, O Lord! May You also provide for the needs of others. May You also protect all the pregnant women out there and may their cravings be satisfied. Amen.

Bangkok, Thailand Trip 2019 (Part 3)

The next day, Sunday, we woke up early to have breakfast at McDo again. Then we prepared to go to the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre—-art museum across MBK, which was a few steps from Lub-D.

Here are some of our photos inside the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre:

After we have visited all the parts of this museum, we entered Siam Discovery to check out what’s inside. Here are some of our photos there:

I would like to apologize for the blurry photos. I was in a hurry to take these photos as I didn’t want to be left behind. There were a lot of people. I was so amazed by the architecture of this mall. The team who has designed this was able to use the different shapes to come up with an artistic, sophisticated, and unique design, which would surely astonish any visitor who comes here for the first time.

Then we went back to Lub-D. We prepared to leave this place, which became our shelter for two nights. Thank you, Lub-D, for a comfortable stay. πŸ™‚

Then we ate lunch at the cafeteria where we ate dinner last night. We had the dishes which we previously had because we liked its taste and we didn’t want to try other dishes. Talk about being scared of disappointment..haha πŸ™‚

After lunch, we headed to MBK to buy some “pasalubong.” We were able to buy some tamarind candies, also some shirts and the traditional pants from Thailand. It was still early when we checked the time so we decided to have some coffee in a shop there named “Black Canyon.” The coffee was too strong! I wasn’t able to finish mine, but Hubby did. We also tried their green tea cake. It was okay but too buttery.

When we had killed enough time in Black Canyon, we explored some more and we saw this shop called “Animate.” It has a lot of anime stuff. There were even standees of popular anime characters outside this shop. Of course, DZ1 was thrilled!

Finally, the time to leave MBK arrived. It was still a few hours before our flight, but Hubby’s allergic to being late. Thus, we always head out early, especially when we’re visiting another country. We were able to book a Grab driver right away. This time, he wasn’t a talkative one but still friendly. We arrived at the airport after 30 minutes or so due to mild traffic. When we’re inside the airport, it was noticeable that there were a lot of Chinese people traveling together. In fact, there were several groups. Even when we went to the restroom, the place was full of Chinese women who talked to loud. There was even an incident when one of them didn’t line up even a girl who was lining up called her attention. She just went straight to one of the cubicles. I would say that Chinese woman was quite rude and inconsiderate. There was another one who went out of her cubicle while still pulling up her panties. The scene was quite shocking to me as I haven’t seen anything like those instances in the Philippines.

Our experience with Air Asia had not been so delightful this time. We waited for two hours before we’re boarded for our flight. As a result, we arrived late in our country, and it was a Monday. We’re still planning to go to work and Hubby has to bring DZ1 to her dorm. On top of that, we had to fetch DZ3 and DZ4 from my mother-in-law’s house.

It was a tiring Monday as expected due to or delayed flight, but we were able to manage. Hubby was the most exhausted of us all.

I would say this Thailand trip was exhausting but full of new experiences, which will be saved in one of our books—so many memories to be recalled when the time comes. Thank you, Lord, for this Thailand trip and for bringing us home safely. πŸ™‚

Bangkok, Thailand Trip 2019 (part 2)

We booked a Grab taxi for our trip to Wat Pho. We decided to ride a taxi since we’re not familiar with the place and there were four of us—thinking about convenience which was just a little higher in price as compared to taking the train. The first Grab driver who took our request was a girl, and we were so amazed by that! But then, she declined our request after a few minutes, stating that traffic was bad where she was. So we sent another request to any nearby driver. Luckily, after a few minutes, another driver accepted our request. It was also a lady driver! There were a lot of lady Grab drivers in Thailand.

The lady driver was not so young; maybe she was in her late 50s or early 60s. Really amazing, right?! She was quite friendly. But the thing is, she doesn’t speak English that much. She just said “hello.”

As we spent some time in the car and she asked us where we are headed, we said we’re going to Wat Pho. Then she checked her phone. We realized we’re headed the wrong way when she stopped the car to check her phone again. She was saying a certain place, and we just answered Wat Pho, the temple of the Reclining Buddha. I turned out there’s another place with that name—Wat Pho—and we booked the other one. When we finally understood each other, she asked us if we’re willing to pay the first bill for the trip that was done and rebook another one. What are we supposed to do? Do we have a choice? Of course! So, we paid for 2 trips….that was quite sad.

Finally, we arrived at Wat Pho, the temple of the reclining Buddha!

This is the main entrance gate. We paid 200 Baht each for the entrance fee.
Near the main entrance, there was a mini museum which displays the history of the temple and other important facts about Buddha, traditional medicine, and Thai massage.
DZ1 beside a Chinese guardian figure in one of the doors of the main temple where the reclining Buddha is housed.

Wat Pho is the home of the 46-m long reclining Buddha, and it is one of the oldest temples in Bangkok. Its original name was “Wat Photaram” or “Podharam”—thus, it’s now called Wat Pho. This name refers to the monastery of the Bodhi tree in India where Buddha achieved enlightenment. You will be astonished as you see this very large image of Buddha personally. I sure did! Oh, and just a reminder, you cannot enter the temple wearing mini skirts or shorts. Make sure to wear pants or sarong πŸ™‚

Before you enter the temple of the reclining Buddha, you will be given a mini bag to put your shoes after removing them. Then you have to return that bag upon exit.
Good thing, there was a family who asked us to take their picture. In return, they also took our photo πŸ™‚ We forgot to bring the extension rod for our camera, haha!
These are some of the 108 bronze bowls in the corridor which represents the 108 auspicious characters of Buddha.
Also, along the corridors are framed displays of facts about Buddha and other historical information.
The inner design of the whole temple and the framed illustrations, which looked like handmade, are really exquisite.
If you go out, you will be further amazed as the architecture of the buildings there, which have what they call “chedis” or stupas, are really jaw-dropping! These are the large stupas.
I love this photo of Hubby! Very candid!
It was really hot there, just like here in the Philippines, but we can’t let this opportunity pass without having a photo together πŸ™‚
There were also statues outside showing how to balance, just like when doing yoga.
Here are some of the thousand Buddha statues in Wat Pho.
Here’s a photo of DZ1 and DZ2 outside Wat Pho. They decided to sit on the metal bars for the bikes first while resting.
There were several Tuk-tuks parked outside the vicinity of Wat Pho.
And, yes, we tried their famous Thai coconut ice cream. It was so yummy! πŸ™‚
You may have the plain coconut ice cream or you may request for some chocolate toppings, just like what DZ1 was having in this photo.

After eating ice cream, we crossed the street to wait for our Grab driver who will bring us to Chatuchak Weekend Market.

Look at their streets, so clean!

This time, we were satisfied with the driver who accepted our request—-he speaks English better than the first auntie driver πŸ™‚ Also, when he learned that we’re not Thai, he changed the music station to one which plays English songs. Cool! It was an SUV so it was more spacious as compared to the mini car driven by auntie driver.

Upon arrival at Chatuchak, we saw this delicious-looking pancake roll with ham and cheese inside. It was only only for 20 Baht!

The yummy pancake roll with ham and cheese πŸ™‚
We’re at the Chatuchak Weekend Market now πŸ™‚ Yahoo!

We started walking around the Chatuchak Weekend Market, and I was so amazed with the things they sell there. The clothes were so stylish, with good texture, and they were cheap given their good quality!

There were lots of products to choose from. There were clothing, toys, gardening stuff, and of course—-food! We visited a gardening store first as I was looking for seeds to bring back home. I was searching for lavender seeds or plants, but I found none. I just bought the usual seeds, such as mint, peppermint, sunflower seeds. Then after shopping from the gardening shop, we got hungry and decided to try the noodles in this weekend market. We found this shop which seemed to have a lot of customers. DZ2 and I chose a seafood noodle soup; Hubby chose a pork-based one; DZ1 had chicken-based soup. We really enjoyed our noodles. They were so tasty without the aftertaste of MSG. It tasted like they used authentic spices and herbs to give each noodle’s distinct taste.

Yummy Thai noodles πŸ™‚
*The owner was very good in speaking English so it wasn’t hard to order.

After eating, we decided to walk around some more. DZ1 bought two rings, one for each of us. We bought some pasalubong for our relatives and friends. I also bought an artsy pencil-cut skirt. There were so many clothes that I wanted to buy….but I didn’t as I was trying to be a minimalist. I didn’t want to bring home so much stuff only to be conflicted by which one I should give away or remove from my closet. So we just walked around and looked at all those good stuff—-window shopping at its best πŸ™‚

Finally, we all wanted to go back to Lub-d to get some rest. We got tired from all those walking, and it was quite hot. It was just like we’re in Divisoria, but spaces were wider and no jeepneys and other vehicles were passing by while you’re shopping. We used Google maps to find the train station.

We took some photos outside Siam Square when we got out of the train as the station exit was near that mall. We didn’t go in yet as we were so eager to lie down and have some rest first.

We went back to Lub-D and rested for an hour. Then we ate dinner at the nearest local restaurant. It can be compared to our “carinderia” in the Philippines. Most of us ate rice and spicy seafood and chicken. DZ1 ordered a Tom Yum Soup, but it so happened she didn’t like it very much. I think liking that soup would require an acquired taste.

We went back to Lub-D after dinner and rested some more. The almost-whole-day tour really used up our energy. After resting, Hubby asked me to come with him to this local bar which sells craft beer. He said it’s close to Lub-D. He was correct—it was close to Lub-D. But there was a scary and challenging path that we took when we followed the directions in Google maps. It required us to walk in the narrow sidewalk of the main road! There were literally fast cars moving while we’re walking in that narrow sidewalk and it was a little uphill! I wasn’t able to take some photos as I needed to concentrate in walking.

Finally, we saw the neon lights from the bar which says “cold craft beer.”

The official name of the bar is “FEAT LAB,” and it’s just a small place, which has 4 or 5 mini tables for customers. Hubby was so happy when we found it and ordered as soon as we entered the shop.

After finishing his first bottle labeled “CHA TRI IPA,” he ordered another one and another one after that.

Hubby’s second bottle, “OUTLAW BREWING”
Hubby’s third bottle, “PEAK A BREW.” This was the one with the highest alcohol percentage.

While he was enjoying his beer, I was also enjoying my Thai milk tea. It was much better than the 20-Baht Thai milk tea which we bought that morning in the mini marketplace. Well, it should be as the price was much higher.

They used these bottles and cans as display in their shop.

Hubby was so delighted with their craft beer offerings! πŸ™‚ But of course, we cannot stay there all night. So after three bottles, we paid and started walking that scary path again. Hubby said that trip to the shop was worth it. Before going back to Lub-D, I asked him to treat me to McDo. I’d like to have some of their pies again.

When we went back, DZ1 was still awake and was listening to some music.

We cleaned up and started getting ready for bed. What a day! Thank you, Lord, for this tiring but wonderful day in Bangkok! πŸ™‚

Bangkok, Thailand Trip 2019 (Part 1)

It was an early Thursday morning when we left my sister-in-law’s house to go to the airport for our Thailand trip. I, together with my husband and two children, woke up early to prepare for our journey. We left our two younger children with my mother-in-law (MIL), and they stayed at my sis-in-law’s house for two days before they go back home to my MIL’s house.

It was an early Thursday morning when we left my sister-in-law’s house to go to the airport for our Thailand trip. I, together with my husband and two children, woke up early to prepare for our journey. We left our two younger children with my mother-in-law (MIL), and they stayed at my sis-in-law’s house for two days before they go back home to my MIL’s house.

We arrived at the NAIA terminal 3 airport at around 6AM. We checked-in first, and when we were settled, we had a light breakfast at Kopi Roti. When we were done, we headed to our assigned departure area.

By 8:30 AM, we started to board the plane. DZ2 was so excited because it’s his first time to ride a plane.

My children were sitting with me in the same row, while my husband was sitting a few rows behind ours.

After approximately three hours, we arrived at Don Mueang Airport in Bangkok, Thailand. There, we met the senior members of Synodevon Mousikos (the orchestra group of my eldest).

Together, we tried to look for transportation to bring us to St. John Mary International School where their orchestra will be performing the next day.

We found it hard to find a ride going to our destination. I think it’s because of the language barrier. The Thais mistook us for locals so they were trying to talk to us in Thai, but then they realized that we were not locals so they just shy away. Luckily, after waiting for about 20 minutes, we were able to find a driver who’s willing to give us a ride to Saraburi. The driver even gave us a bag of longan.

From the Don Mueang Airport to SJMIS in Saraburi, it took us approximately one hour including the stopover at a gas station. This is a note that one should remember: YOU HAVE TO MOVE OUT OF THE VEHICLE WHILE THE FUEL IS BEING REFILLED BECAUSE THEY USE LPG AS FUEL. Unlike in the Philippines, wherein we use unleaded gasoline and diesel, the people usually don’t go out of a vehicle while refilling in a gas station (though it is also recommended to go out).

After the practice, our host brought us to their lovely home. They also prepared yummy dinner for us (they’re really generous and hospitable). I really liked the native corn there. It’s so sweet!

The next day, we woke up early to go to SJMIS. We rode with our family host. They also have a van like ours πŸ™‚

While DZ1 was practicing, hubby, DZ2, and I went out of the campus. There was a Burger King just outside the school. After eating there, we took a walk, and we saw a nearby place wherein you can eat local Thai food. Too bad we’re too full to eat again πŸ™ I just bought a delicacy with sweet coconut. It was really delicious!

Synodevon Mousikos played awesome music there at the SJMIS theater! πŸ™‚ They played soundtracks of different movies and series, from Avengers to Game of Thrones.

After the show, we immediately went to Siam. Our host, who became our friends, in Saraburi helped us get a van to Siam. DZ1 and DZ2 were so tired that they slept during the whole trip. Then after an hour, we arrived at our destination.

We took the subway going to Siam Square. There we saw an ad showing the photo of spinach pie in McDonald’s. It looked so yummy! But we were so tired to line up, and we just wanted to reach our hotel.

Along the way, we took photos of the scenery. It’s very much similar to the cities in Manila, but there’s a difference in an overpass bridge which I’ve seen there. They used art in providing seats and shade to the people who’d like to rest after going up the stairs to cross from one side to the other. Here’s a photo of these artsy mushrooms:

Finally, we’ve gone to the side in which our hotel is located. Thank God! While we’re walking, DZ2 saw a vendor selling slices of watermelon. We were so amazed when we heard that one slice is 10 Baht (20 PhP)! It’s so cheap as compared to the price of watermelon in the Philippines. We told DZ2 that we’ll go back there. We had to put our bags down in our hotel first.

At long last, we reached our destination—-Lub D. It was a colorful hotel in Siam. We were able to get a room for 4. We’re booked for the next day already, but for this night we were not able to get a prebooking. Thankfully, there’s one available room for us.

As we walked up to third floor, we saw colorful metal grills as lining up the stairway. At the ground floor, there were washing machines for doing one’s laundry

Our room has 4 bunk beds, and each one has a mini light for reading. There was a metal cabinet to put our things. The room is quite small, but it was liveable and okay especially if you’ll use it for sleeping purposes only.

After resting for a few minutes, we went out to have dinner. On our way to Lub-d, we saw food stalls across Lub-d, and that’s what we checked out for dinner. We saw mouthwatering, authentic Thailand street food. We didn’t know what to choose. There are a lot of choices!

Finally, after making several rounds, we were able to buy food to satisfy each one’s hunger. FTM bought vegetable pad thai. DZ1 bought shrimp on a stick. DZ2 bought balls on a stick. Hubby bought chicken pad thai. What a dinner! We were all full after this Thai food fest!

After eating, we walked a bit to digest the food that we consumed. Since it’s quite late, the two malls across each other are both closed πŸ™ So we decided to go back to Lub-d.

My husband decided to go to the bar of Lub-d to check their menu. The bubuts and I stayed inside and started to go to sleep.

The next day, we woke up early to get breakfast. Good thing, there was a McDo that’s very close to Lub-d, just a few steps away. Of course, we wanted to eat authentic Thai food in Thailand, but we’d also like to see for ourselves the difference between our local McDo and that McDo in Thailand. We found out that they have this very yummy and creamy spinach pie. I can eat it all day! They also carry corn pie, but they don’t have the apple pie which we have in our country. The spinach pie waa better tasting than the corn pie. My son ate McDo porridge. That one was also not offered in the Philippines.

The McDo that we visited is at the ground floor of Holiday Inn Express in Bangkok, Siam.
DZ2’s McDo porridge with egg πŸ™‚
McDo’s Corn Pie πŸ™‚
McDo’s very yummy Creamy Spinach Pie πŸ™‚

After eating at McDo, we decided to walk around. We saw this mini marketplace which sells affordable food and vegetables. There were fried mini donuts (10 Baht for a pack), Thai milk tea (20 Baht), pad Thai (ranging from 50-100 Baht—much cheaper than the pad Thai we ate last night in the food festival), and other kinds of street food. I bought a cup of dessert, which consists of small sago and red beans with coconut milk. So yummy! And it’s only for 10 Baht! The counterpart of this in the Philippines is what we call “Ginataan”.

Small green sago and red beans with coconut milk πŸ™‚
That mini marketplace is close to Siam Stadium Hostel. I forgot to take a photo due to excitement πŸ™‚

When we’re fully stocked in the tummy, we headed toward the Jim Thompson House Museum.

This street sign leads to the Jim Thompson House Museum.

Most of our photos are outside the museum as we were not allowed to take photos and videos inside the museum. We were asked to leave our valuables along with our shoes before we entered the museum for the tour. When we’re done with our tour inside Jim Thompson’s House Museum, we prepared to go to Wat Pho.

To be continued in Bangkok, Thailand Trip 2019 part 2.

Earn from these Online Jobs in the Philippines

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

March 15, 2020 was the start of the lockdown here in the Philippines due to COVID-19. There were a lot of people who lost their jobs and businesses. Several unexpected things happened, and currently we’re all looking at a very uncertain future.

According to CNN Philippines, there are 7.3 million Filipinos who are unemployed in April. This accounts for 17.7 percent unemployment rate in our country. This is a sudden jump from 5.3 percent in January of this year. If we will compare the current rate to that of last year, which was 5.1 percent, it means that there’s an additional 5 million Filipinos who became jobless due to COVID-19.

Several industries were affected by this pandemic. According to MSN’s Moneysmart, industries, such as travel, events, Grab and taxi drivers, food and beverage, and retail, were the ones greatly affected by this phenomenon. Though this article setting was based in Singapore, it was the same as the situation in the Philippines—-perhaps anywhere in the world where lockdown was implemented.

Good thing, Filipinos are resilient and resourceful. We found a way to earn money by looking at this situation as an opportunity to sell a variety of things online. Thus, there was a boom in e-commerce due to this online selling.

But not everyone would like to join this online selling craze—-especially with the virus still out there and the vaccine is still not available. With the pandemic still hovering over us, many people would prefer to work from the comfort of their own home, and I am one of them.

So what can we do? Do you have a stable internet connection? Do you have a pc or laptop? Good news! You can apply for an online job!

I found this article from MSN or Microsoft News. I am convinced that the content of the said article will greatly help us in finding an online job, whether full time or just a side hustle.

These are the websites listed in that article, and you can apply for positions such as data entry jobs, transcriptionists, SEO or search engine optimization specialist, virtual assistant, and web designer or developer:

  1. Capitaltyping.com has jobs ranging from business administration, data entry services, language translation, online customer support, and transcription services. Check out their website for more information: https://www.capitaltyping.com/
  2. Onlinejobs.ph offers the same online varieties as Capitaltyping.com but it has more online jobs in its list—its name fits its online presence. Most of the Filipino freelancers get their online gig here. If you’re a web designer, PHP developer, or mobile app developer, you may also find a job appropriate for your line of work on this website. Check out their website for more information: https://www.onlinejobs.ph/
  3. Outsourcely is another freelancing platform for virtual assistants, web designed, graphic designer, social media manager, and other online jobs. If you’re looking for a long-term remote work and you’d like to get the exact amount stated in a project, this company is the right one for you. Check out their website for more information: https://www.outsourcely.com/
  4. RemoteStaff has the catchphrase “Empowering Remote Working Relationships” when you visit their website. It is composed of an all-Filipino staff to guide and help you find an online job. I think that’s a plus πŸ™‚ This company offers the same kind of positions as offered by the previous three companies above. Check out their website for more information: https://www.remotestaff.ph/
  5. Upwork is the last on the list from the MSN article. I’ve seen this company in several articles recently—-mostly those with Filipina Homebased Moms (FHMoms) as contributors. If you’re familiar with Elance-oDesk, that’s the old company name of Upwork. So one could say that they’ve been in this online job platform business for quite a long time now. You’ll also see that on their website, they’re trusted by more than 5 million businesses who are looking for specialized talents. Check out their website for more information: https://www.upwork.com/

Good luck job hunting! I pray that you will find the most appropriate job for your skill and circumstance.

Violet Evergarden

I started watching Violet Evergarden in February 2018, when it was just released weeks ago. I was browsing Netflix on a Sunday evening, mentally distracting myself from the fact that the next day was a Monday. And suddenly, I come across Violet Evergarden. Of course I was intrigued by the trailer! I loved historical animes with strong female leads and the trailer was so beautiful that I had to watch the anime. I didn’t expect to get so hooked on the anime.

Come Monday afternoon, I watched the rest of the available episodes, as it was still ongoing. While watching I would be seen with a Nutella jar and a spoon, eating Nutella while crying over the episodes. I didn’t expect it to be so emotional! Especially with the scene parts with Violet and Gilbert. Of course I had to get emotionally attached to a character who was MIA! (SPOILER: He’s not dead yet! According to the novel and he might make an entrance in the movie coming next month.) Honestly, I’ve shed so much tears in my Violet Evergarden journey.

I love how the anime portrays the tragedy and the aftermath of war. It just portrays the happy and sad moment in and after the war so perfectly. The anime also discussed the stages of grief (See: Episode 8-10 and other filler episodes.) so perfectly that it portrays the emotions a person goes through these stages accurately. Of course it also gave light to many other social issues like discrimination, poverty, and more.

The anime was such an eye-opener to it’s audience that it got so many people hooked on it. And if you’re looking for an anime that has action, a strong female lead, letter-writing, and emotional discussions- then this is the anime for you! I strongly recommend this anime to anyone who is interested in anime recommendations, and I hope you enjoy watching it. You won’t regret it, I promise!

Image: Kyoto Animations

5 tips on Staying Awake at Night

(Tips from a pro.)

From a “Baby Thesis” to studying for tests, I’ve pulled all-nighters lots of times in my life. Sometimes just for anime or k-drama marathons! So, here are some tips on how to stay up all night!

1.) Stretch from time-to-time!

One of the most effective ways that I’ve come across while trying to stay awake! Every after 30 minutes, I would do simple stretches for about 2-5 minutes. There are actually studies that states that stretching actually wakes up your body and improves thinking!

2.) Consume caffeine early in the night.

Studies state that a cup of coffee’s effects usually show after 10-15 minutes but the “peak” shows after 45 minutes. Not only that but even after 6 hours your body has only used about 50% of the caffeine that you’ve consumed. When I know that I’ll stay awake all night, I always consume caffeine at around 10pm. It helps me stay awake and alert!

3.) Consume sugar!

Like coffee and tea, consuming snacks that have sugar keeps me energized! After consuming it, I always seem to feel so energetic! Honestly, this is the trick that I always do every time I pull an all-nighter. I can skip caffeine or stretching, just not this.

4.) Maintain good posture.

If you’re pulling an all-nighter to do some school stuff I highly suggest that you sit up straight and maintain good posture. Honestly, this works wonders. When I do this my mind is clearer and the sleepiness goes away.

5.) AVOID LYING DOWN AT ALL COSTS!

Never, I repeat, never lie down! On a couch or bed, avoid lying down at all costs. I speak from experience, I promise. Every time I would lie down anywhere, I would fall asleep in a few minutes. Be strong! Resist the call of the bed (couch)!

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You can do this! Stay awake! :))

“Viajero” Summary

By F. Sionil Jose

Viajero is a story about a young man figuring out his identity as a countryman. The story begins in the 1940s with Badong, an orphan in the Philippines. He was found by Apo Tale, who soon adopted him as his grandson after their meeting. Mayang, Apo Tale’s blind daughter became his Mother. Badong would soon adopt the name Salvador dela Raza which means β€œsavior of the Filipino Race” in Spanish.

After a while, Japanese men barged in their home in the middle of the night, causing Badong to escape, and was found by Captain James Wack. Badong was taken in by James Wack and soon adopted him: Badong’s name was changed to Buddy Wack. James Wack wife’s name was Roxanne, and they had a daughter-Jessica.

Roxanne was mugged and killed in an alley in East Oakland by a bunch of Negroes, one day. Leaving James Wack with two children to raise on his own.Β 

Buddy fell in love with Serena, an East Asian. Both had a passion for history. But their love was forbidden, for Serena was about to marry someone through an arranged marriage by her parents

In Viajero, after losing the love of his life, Buddy journeys to the Philippines, where he meets Jose Samson, to learn more about the culture of the Philippines and to figure out how important the history of one’s country is to a person.

The book ends with Buddy confident about his identity and knowledgeable on the history of the Philippines. It ends with Buddy reminiscing on the events that took place in the Philippines in the 1940s. It ends with Buddy feeling content with what he has learned. It ends with. Buddy and James Wack.

“Balut!”

Isang sanaysay tungkol sa Balut.

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Ang tao ay may β€œ5 senses”: ang pang-amoy, pang-lasa, pang-hawak, pang-kinig at ang pang-tingin. Sa sanaysay na ito ay tatalakayin ko kung anu-ano ang mga naaalala ko sa β€œBalut” kapag ito ay ginamitan ko ng aking β€œ5 senses”.

Ano nga ba ang Balut? Ang Balut ay isang pagkaing Filipino, ito ay ang  nilagang itlog ng itik na pinaniniwalaan na pampalakas ng katawan. Ito ay karaniwang kinakain sa mga inuman at maari rin iterno sa sitsaron.

Kapag ako ay nakakatikim ng Balut, aking naaalala ay ang masarap na sabaw na niluluto ng aking lola, isang sabaw na siya lang ang marunong gumawa. Ang lasa, masarap kapag may kahalong suka, ngunit maari rin itong kainin kahit walang suka. Isa pang kagat, aking naaalala ang mga araw ng aking kabataan kung saan nakikipaglaro ako sa aking mga pinsan, at kakain ng Balut para sa merienda. Ang mga tawa namin at ang kakaibang lasa ng sisiw ng Balut. 

Ang aking mga mata, kapag aking nakikita ang Balut, napapaluha. Naaalala ko ang aking lolo na pumanaw na, ang Balut ay isa sa kanyang paboritong pagkain. Maaalala ko ang kanyang tawa kapag kumakain siya na Balut, ang kanyang mg hirit, β€œBalut, balut! Tara, kainan na!” Ako’y talagang napapaluha kapag nakakakita ng isang Balut.

Kapag ako’y naka amoy ng isang Balut, ako’y napapalaway, dahil sa β€œaroma” nito. Ako’y nagugutom kapag nakakaamoy ng Balut, kahit kakakain ko lang. Anuman mangyari, ako’y laging magugutom kapag ako’y naka amoy ng Balut.

Para sa akin, ang Balut ay isang bagay na malapit sa aking puso. Pagkain lamang ito, ngunit maraming alaala ang dala nito. Sa amoy, sa lasa, sa itsura, marami ang aking maaalala. Hinding-hindi ako magsasawa  sa Balut sapagkat masyado malaki ang halaga nito para sa akin. Muli, ang Balut ay masarap, wag mong kakalimutan β€˜yon.