Saturday, October 31, 2015

Working from Home: Is It For You?

I have been working from home since my son is a year old.  My work at home career is purely accident, it wasn't planned.  My father got terribly sick in 2007 so I have to resign from my job then to attend to my father's medical needs (see related post here).  I have tried working outside our home when my father passed away in 2011 but I didn't give up my homebased job (I work as an ESL online teacher) which I do at night.  I only worked outside our home for a year because my mom will be going to the United States and no one has to look after my son.

I must say that I'm a raketista and curacha, engaging to several jobs trying to maximize my time in one day.  I may schedule several meetings and events during daytime and still teach Japanese nationals online at nighttime.  While I talk with my students, I still send emails and other correspondences online.  I still sometimes remind Kib to do the things that he needs to do before going to sleep (pack away toys, take a bath, brush teeth, study, etc.).  I just mute the mic of my headset when I do that, haha.  Truly, I mastered the art of multitasking, haha.

Presently, I'm doing events management, online teaching, blogging, sometimes VA jobs too :)  

Just like any other profession, working from home is not for everyone.  But then, I do believe that it can be learned if one will put time and effort on becoming one.  

This coming November 14, 2015, Marge Aberasturi, also known as The Happy WAHM, will be holding a re-run of "My VA Success Blueprint" at Freelancer.com headquarters at Bonifacio Global City.  Marge has been working from home for nine years now and has always been invited to give talks about virtual assistance.  




Topics for the workshop are the following:


  • Transitioning from Corporate to WAH or SAH to WAH
  • Identifying Your Niche
  • Setting Up Your Work Space (Physical and Virtual)
  • Tools of the Trade
  • Pricing Your Services
  • Marketing Your Business
  • Working with Client
  • Quick tips and real life scenarios 
  • Introduction to Wordpress
There are lots of things to learn to become a successful VA!  Sometimes I do have virtual assistance jobs when I have spare time (I'm busy with my current jobS!).  Working from home needs skills updating, so from time to time, I read online materials to update my current skills.

I do hope I can see you there!  Visit http://margeaberasturi.com/va-success/ for more details about the event :)  





Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Learning Plus Bookstore--Homeschoolers' One-Stop Shop

Homeschoolers, like me, are always on the look for the best educational resources for our children.  Homeschoolers can be seen doing shopping at books and toys fair.  Sometimes, they also buy online because not all educational materials are available locally.  Of course, homeschoolers are also looking for value for money stuff. Homeschoolers are not compulsive buyers; they just wanted to buy the best educational materials and references for their children.  

I was blessed to be invited to the Grand Launch of Learning Plus Bookstore at Fun Ranch last October 16, 2015.


People are patiently waiting outside for the unveiling of Learning Plus Bookstore

Rachael Carman, Davis Carman, Michael Donelly, and Edric Mendoza doing the honors of cutting the ribbon


Learning Plus Bookstore is the first and only store for intentional learners conceptualized and operated by homeschoolers, yay!


Welcome to Learning Plus Bookstore!


This store was born out of the desire to provide more than just books and learning materials.  This store is the brainchild of a crazy, far-fetched dream: a dream of promoting a lifestyle of learning by providing educational products and services customized for every learner and to equip and train intentional learners with the relevant knowledge, tools and skills to live out their full potential.


Store hours of Learning Plus Bookstore

The counter

An inspiring wall inside Learning Plus Bookstore

Learning Plus Bookstore has a huge collection of different textbooks, references, school supplies, and educational toys!

Apart from books, Learning Plus Bookstore also sells school 

Kib reads one of the books being sold at Learning Plus Bookstore


More than enough, Learning Plus Bookstore was born from the desire to enact positive change.  This is an answer to the high and lofty call of breathing life into a movement of millions of learners equipped to excel in living out God's purpose for their lives, transforming nations and making an impact for God in the world.

Learning Plus Bookstore is a store where learners, dreamers, trailblazers, and pioneers can arm themselves with the means to give those grand ideas form and give those ideas wings with which to fly with--for the glory of the Living God.

Learning Plus Bookstore's aim is to enable the learners and empower the dreamers.

Visit Learning Plus Bookstore now!  It's truly a dream come true for homeschoolers to have a one-stop shop for educational materials and curriculum :)



Learning Plus Bookstore is at the Ground Floor of Fun Ranch, Frontera Verde, Pasig City.  Store hours is from Tuesday to Saturday at 10AM-6PM.




Monday, October 26, 2015

Single Mother Woes

It has been six years since I became a single mom (or actually, ever since because my ex-husband was an OFW).  Until now, I still have been waiting for the court decision that I'm finally free from the bondage of marriage.  Court hearings were already done two years ago and until now the decision hasn't been made.  Normally, it should only take 90 days after the last hearing to come up with a decision.  I just feel unlucky that my case was awarded to a pairing judge (look at http://www.chanrobles.com/admincircular134-92.htm#.Vis9phArIq- for the meaning of pairing judge).  Anyway, I'm praying that it'll be sooner than soon.  

No, I'm not getting married very soon.  I just needed it for my own peace of mind, eliminating legal issues from my pending list.  My family is also trying to file a petition for me and my son so we can join them in the United States.  Another reason is I'm also waiting for that decision so I can already jump in the dating arena.  Yes, I'm still hoping that I will have my 'forever', hahaha.

My son will sometimes tell me, "I wish my Daddy is here."  It breaks my heart but what can I do?  I will just tell him, "I don't want your Daddy anymore, just pray to God to give me a new husband," and he will immediately ask the Lord to give me a new husband.  There were times that he would also tell me that he wants a baby brother or a baby sister.  Usually I say, "How can I get pregnant?  I don't have a husband!" Yes, my son knows our family situation because I do believe that it's his right to know and I do not want him to know the truth from other people.  I just always remind him not to tell other people about it because they might not understand our family situation.  He will just tell that it's a secret or he will let me tell it to them instead.

Recently, when he was asked where his daddy is, he said, "My daddy's in heaven."  I didn't teach him to say that to others, I was so surprised.  He said that he lied about his daddy because he doesn't want 'to let the cat out of the bag'.  Somehow my son knows how sensitive our case is.

All the while, I thought I'm okay being a single mom.  But sometimes, when the things get rough, I still miss the feeling of having someone whom you can rely on to and can be your shoulder to cry on to comfort you and help you get out through the messy situation.  Sometimes when man powers are needed (e.g. car stuff), I don't have any choice but to make myself be familiarized with all those stuff.  There are times that I need to be like Erin Brokovich, I need to use my charm in dealing with men so that I will be favored. At dahil dito, minsan naliligawan ako, hahaha.

As much as I wanted to put more hours at work, I cannot because I have mommy duties to fulfill.  I juggle several jobs while I try to also manage the household.  Apart from that, I still homeschool my son.  Recently, my son is struggling with homeschooling that he doesn't want to be homeschooled anymore (another blogpost about this soon).  I cannot afford to hire a househelp and honestly, I'm scared to have one because of lots of horror stories about bad househelpers.  I just pray to God to give me more strength for me to be able to accomplish a lot of things in a day.  I'm also proud to have a son whom I can rely on.  He does some of the household chores and sometimes when I'm not feeling well, he cooks food for both of us.

There are also things that a father should be the one to deal with sons.  I do sometimes say to myself, "I wish there is someone who will be discussing this with Kib."  When my patience is wearing thin, I wish that there is someone who will keep things cool between me and Kib.  I can see Kib's longing for a father figure.  During the times that Kib still sees his father (it has been two years since he last saw his Daddy), he will immediately lean and engage with him.  I feel sad for him growing up without a father figure in his life.  I just hold on to God's promise that He will the father of the fatherless.

I thank the Lord for the daily sustenance He has been giving me and my son.  I thank the Lord for protecting me and my son from harm.  I thank the Lord for surrounding us with the right people who support and love us.  Despite of our unique family set-up, there are still lots of things to thank the Lord for.

I just take one day at a time.  I give my everything to the Lord for His plans for me and Kib. I am praying for my 'forever' too.   Please pray for us also, it'll be very much appreciated.

There, pardon for having a drama post.  I just need to let you know that it's not really a walk in the park being a single mom, having dual roles while keeping my sanity intact.  

Thank you for Spotify too, for calming me when the storms in my life are raging, haha.  








Friday, October 23, 2015

Raise Hands to Hygiene! October 15 is Global Handwashing Day

I do believe that good hygiene practice should start at home.  I always remind my son to always wash his hands before eating or even after doing activities which made his hands dirty.  I always remind him to always change clothes when they're dirty or he's sweaty.  Taking a bath everyday is also a must.  

Sadly, in the Philippines, diarrhea and pneumonia are among the top causes of child mortality.  According to World Health Organization, approximately 13 children die everyday due to diarrhea, totaling to almost 5,000 deaths annually.  In addition, national statistics also indicate that an estimated 37 children under the age of five die from pneumonia daily.  

These two diseases can be prevented IF we only wash our hands regularly.

Truth is, handwashing is not a habit in the Philippines.  In addition to this, water supply and sanitation is still a big problem in the country.

Last October 15, 2015, 8th Global Handwashing Day (GHD) was celebrated around the world.  Founded by the Global Private-Public Partnership for Handwashing in 2008, this day is dedicated to increasing awareness of the importance of handwashing with soap.  Procter and Gamble (P&G), through its flagship soap brand Safeguard, is not onlye one of the founding members of this partnership, but also continues to be a key advocate of GHD in the Philippines.  This year was no different as Safeguard Philippines brought this annual celebration simultaneously to three key cities: Manila, Cebu, and Davao.  I was blessed to attend the Global Handwashing Day celebration in Manila which was held in Tipas Elementary School in Taguig City.






This year's local theme is "Linis Lusog sa Global Handwashing Day" which focused on proper handwashing with soap as cost-effective solution to prevent diseases, including diarrhea and pneumonia.



In three key cities nationwide, Safeguard's celebration of GHD aimed to educate students and parents alike about the surprising, everyday sources of germs.  Through a fun scavenger hunt for germs, students searched through different locations like the school, the home and the playground for germs to collect.  Thinking that they found the germs, they were surprised to discover that there was more than meets they eye.  A UV light revealed that an invisible lotion was unknowingly applied on their skin while they searched through the locations.  This lotion simulated the invisible, disease-causing germs  from everyday items.  This fun activity indeed was an eye-opener for parents and kids that there are germs everywhere and is invisible to the naked eye and proper handwashing is needed to remove these germs to keep our hands healthy and clean.










The advocacy for health is no possible without the support from many partners.  P&G continues to work closely with UNICEF, the Department of Education (DepEd), and the Department of Health (DOH) to promote health and hygiene in communities.  One of the activities being done in schools to promote proper hygiene is the group handwashing.  P&G has built handwashing facilities and implemented hygiene education programs in public schools nationwide.  Safeguard also collaborates with various organizations to help promote handwashing with soap, most recently among 8,000 school children in Tacloban.

Shankar Viswanathan, General Manager of Procter and Gamble Philippines washing hands together with the first-grade students of Tipas Elementary School


Local government engagement is very crucial in this campaign so that it will be a success.  The community is also being called upon to create a supportive environment for health.  This program is not only for schools, but for the whole barangay/town/city.

Left to right: Gerard Basaca of DOH, Deidre de Padua of P&G, Louise Maule of UNICEF and Ella Naliponguit of DepEd posing for the press


Furthermore, P&G, through Safeguard, and UNICEF aims to further improve health by implementing the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) program in more schools.  This will bring hygiene education and facilities to rural areas where the incidence of diseases and the child mortality rate are relatively higher.  "Global Handwashing Day is celebrated annually to advocate the greater attention and investment in programmes that promote and support the life-saving practice of handwashing with soap.  We all have a hand in keeping our families, schools and communities healthy--if only through the simple habit of washing with soap frequently," shares UNICEF WASH Chief Louise Maule.

Kib posing with Ms. Louise Maule--Raise your hands to hygiene!


Health starts with proper hygiene.  On Global Handwashing Day and beyond, raise your hand to hygiene!  Protect your family from disease-causing germs with Safeguard.








Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Oh Mama Empanada, The Best Empanada in Town!

I like eating pastry products.  I consider it as a substitute for rice (remember I'm on Balik-Alindog program, haha).  There were days that my son and I will just eat bread the whole day and it's enough for us (though honestly, sometimes my son will get angry at me because he wants to eat 'real food', haha.  Palagi na lang daw kami diet, ahahaha).  

Last September 26th during the Work-At-Home Expo of Manila Workshops, I was able to meet Ms. Trina Tiutan-Cancio, the girl behind Mama Empanada.  If you miss the original taste of Red Ribbon's empanada, fret no more, Mama Empanada will let you experience it once again :)



Mama Empanada's first bazaar experience at Manila Workshops' Work-At-Home Expo last September 26th.  Trina Tiutan-Cancio is the one on the left. (Photo from Mama Empanada's Instagram account)


Here's the story behind Mama Empanada:



It all started three years ago as a hobby to revive the memories of an old family recipe.  Trina Tiutan Cancio initially made her chicken empanada for family and close friends to enjoy—until friends shared them to other friends, and soon word about this classic chicken empanada got around.  One bite of it immediately reminded one of an old  classic childhood treat.  And truth be told, Mama Empanada’s classic chicken has been compared side by side to Red Ribbon’s old empanada, an all-time classic favorite for so many.  Being the granddaughter and daughter of the family who started Red Ribbon, the original version of this recipe has been passed down to three generations of moms finding its way back to its humble beginnings in Trina’s home-based kitchen, where it was redeveloped and improved in preparation for its comeback.

For others who try it for the first time, it is simply the best empanada in town.  The crust has the perfect marriage of crunch and melt-in-your-mouth goodness. Flavours of the dough and the chicken filling wonderfully come together, where the goodness of savoury and sweet each shine through without overwhelming each other. The memories it brings with just one bite have made this classic chicken empanada a comfort food favorite for so many. Trina’s belief holds true: Even in these modern times, there will always be a special place for this classic treat in people’s hearts and bellies.

I so love Mama Empanada's packaging, very classic!  (Photo from Mama Empanada's Instagram account)

This is how the empanadas are arranged inside the box. (Photo from Mama Empanada's Instagram account)


In 2014, entrepreneur and young mother of three Trina Cancio decided to actively pursue Mama Empanada as a small home business out of her kitchen to sell for the holidays. Its success far exceeded her wildest expectation selling over 8,000 pieces in one month. What was initially sold to family and friends now continues to sell year-round beyond the boundaries of where it started.  Many are repeat customers who crave for its hearty filling of chunky chicken and its signature scrumptious golden brown crust. That’s why everybody can’t help but declare that #oneisneverenough.

Look how the empanada looks like from the inside, the crust is thick, not flaky, and full of filling, not airy. (Photo from Mama Empanada's Instagram account)



The classic chicken is Mama Empanada’s mainstay, while other flavors, still under research and development, will be finalized by October 2015.  They are exploring to offer tuna, pork, and beef flavors.

Other flavors under construction (Photo from Mama Empanada's Instagram account)


To order, you may contact Trina at 0915-8633156.  Mama Empanada comes in 8s (Php280) and 12s (P420) packaging.  Presently, orders are for pick-up at Valle Verde 5. Mama Empanada will try to be present on your favorite bazaars, please keep posted on their future events.

Follow Mama Empanada on their social media sites at www.facebook.com/mamaempanada
and @mamaempanada (Instagram).  

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Shop Online and Get Rewards at ShopBack.ph

Shopping online is the ‘in’ thing these days.  With the heavy traffic in the Metro—especially that it’s already holiday season—people would prefer to stay at home than to be stuck on the road for hours.  Sometimes I also do online shopping because there are some items that are unique and are not available on physical stores.  I can also get the best deals online too.  I can save a lot when shopping online! 

But…do you know that there is a website where we can be rewarded for shopping?   Yes, try shopping at ShopBack - you can get the best deals and savings!

ShopBack is a unique online shopping website where you are rewarded with cashback rewards when you purchase through their website.  ShopBack gets commission from their partner-shops and they split the commission to their shoppers in form of a cashback.  Apart from the cashback rewards, ShopBack also gives their shoppers the latest discount codes, vouchers and coupons from their favorite online shopping websites.  You can buy almost everything, from clothes, beauty products, electronics, novelty items, hotel bookings, among others.   


There’s more!  ShopBack has 42 partner-websites!  Cashback rewards that you can receive when you shop from their partner-websites is up to 30% depending on the partner-shop and current promo.  One reminder though, when you click on the partner-website to shop, you should stay within the redirected tab until the purchase has been confirmed.


Here's the list of ShopBack's partner-websites


Next question is: How does ShopBack works?  Below is the illustration on how to use ShopBack.ph:


It's seamless, right?!


Very easy, right?!

Once the cashback rewards has been credited to your ShopBack.ph account, you can cash it out and credit it either to your PayPal or bank account once the redeemable cashback of Php300 has been reached.

Halloween is coming soon and there’s lots to prepare! Do you already have a costume for your kids? Do you need to put Halloween decors in your home or office?  This is your chance to get the best Halloween costumes and decors for a great price at ShopBack.ph.  Check which online stores have the current promos for the Halloween here.




Don’t forget to use the coupon codes and/or shop at the redirected site to get the cashback rewards!

Do you want to earn instant rewards?  Refer a friend at ShopBack.ph!  You will get Php100 for every referral who signed up and shopped through ShopBack.ph.  To monitor your referrals, you can check this link.

Don’t forget to take this opportunity to earn rewards from your favorite online stores when you shop via ShopBack.ph!  Let me know your experience in shopping at ShopBack okay?!