Justin Turns 12!

Oh how time flies! Justin turned 12 last July 7. I wanted to have a birthday video of him to relive his wonderful childhood memories before he officially becomes a teenager, and I realized it wasn’t easy. It took me 4 hours to look for pictures to include in the video, but it took my son less than an hour to make a video from these photos, complete with music and effects. One of these days I’ll ask him how to do that. I first posted this on Facebook on his actual birthday when I realized there was one photo missing, so I had him insert that picture for this final product.

Happy birthday, Justin! Your Dad and I love you so much, and we will support you every step of the way!

Posted in 12th Birthday, Birthday Video, Happy Birthday | Leave a comment

Hong Kong Trip 2017: The Peak Tower + Hong Kong Park

My son and I traveled to Hong Kong for the first time last October 2017. I was actually just an accidental tourist because parents were not required to accompany their sons to the the LSGH Grade School Student Council Officers Leadership Immersion and Benchmarking Program in Kowloon. But because it’s my son’s first time to travel outside the Philippines, I simply had to be around to see that he’s okay. Well, we weren’t actually together during the 5-day trip because we were billeted on different places, but it gave me peace of mind knowing that I was just nearby in case my presence was needed and also because his Dad wanted me to be there, too, despite the extra expenses.

Hong Kong-bound mommies

I, together with four other moms whose sons were also in Hong Kong for the SC leadership program, stayed at the Hyatt Regency Hong Kong, Sha Tin. While I didn’t have a photo of our adjoining rooms, we really had a comfortable stay at this elegant hotel. Also, the hotel’s location was convenient for us because it’s adjacent to the University MTR station which allowed us to travel to and from the hotel with ease. On our first night in Hong Kong, we visited our boys at their YMCA dorm in Kowloon.

On our 2nd day in HK, our mommy group visited The Peak Tower. The Peak Tower a.k.a. The Peak is a popular, stylish and modern architectural landmark in Hong Kong that houses various shops, restaurants and entertainment places, including the Madame Tussauds Wax Museum and the Sky Terrace 428.

Photo credit: thepeak.com.hk

They say you’ll have the ultimate Peak experience if you’ll buy a Peak Tram Sky Pass, so that’s what we did. This allowed us to ride the Peak Tram and enjoy the wonderful views at Sky Terrace 428.

Inside the Peak Tram

The Peak Tram is the quickest way to get to Sky Terrace 428.

At the Peak Market

Tourists can buy souvenir items for their family and friends at the Peak Market.

Having lunch at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.

We stopped by Bubba Gump restaurant first to have lunch.

At the Sky Terrace 428

The Sky Terrace 428 is the highest viewing platform in Hong Kong.

Stunning HK view from the Sky Terrace 428

The Sky Terrace 428 gives a breathtaking 360-degree panoramic view of the city.

At Madness 3D Adventure

We also had fun and wacky photo moments at Madness 3D Adventure located at Level 1 of the Peak Tower.


On our way back to our hotel, we passed by Hong Kong Park.

Hong Kong Park is an 8-hectare public park in Central Hong Kong known for its beautifully landscaped gardens and water features.

Some of the park’s major attractions include an aviary, a conservatory and children’s playground, among many others.

Our 3rd day in Hong Kong was spent shopping at Tsim Sha Tsui and Mongkok, but I have no pictures to show. Sigh! Our 4th day was spent at Hong Kong Disneyland with our boys, which deserves another blog post.

Posted in Hong Kong, Hong Kong Park, Madness 3D Adventure, Peak Market, Peak Tram, Peak Tram Sky Pass, Sky Terrace 428, The Peak, The Peak Tower | 2 Comments

Five Reasons Why Sharks Are Intelligent Creatures

Sharks are carnivorous hunters known for their fins, huge bodies and numerous sharp razor teeth. They are at the top of the marine food chain and have stayed king of the oceans not because of the way they attack their prey but because of their unique group dynamics that makes them great predators.

In celebration of one of Discovery Channel’s Shark Week, here are five reasons why sharks are among the ocean’s most intelligent creatures:


Great white sharks have learned to use different hunting strategies for different preys. At Mexico’s Guadalupe Island, white sharks have learned to attack giant elephant seals from behind to avoid their sharp canines and to retreat while their prey bleeds out to avoid a struggle. When attacking smaller harbor seals, however, sharks simply pluck them from the surface and drag them down until they suffocate.


Great whites do not automatically know how to hunt seals; they have to learn how to do it. At South Africa’s Dyer Island, for instance, young great whites are often seen clumsily attacking their prey and usually missing. After years of practice, they eventually “graduate” to hunting at nearby Seal Island, where old veterans like Colossus have a 48% success rate when attacking seals at the surface. Never giving up, sharks learn through trial and error.


Because competition for prey can be fierce, white sharks have figured out a clever social ranking system to avoid brutal fighting. They have learned to display specific behaviors like circling, fin flapping and tail thrashing to establish dominance or contest kills without resorting to violence.


Sharks commonly approach divers and boats to investigate in a non-threatening way. They also take test bites of potential prey to get a better sense of what they are; in fact, most shark attacks are simply test bites. Sharks may also play. Porbeagle sharks have been spotted seemingly playing with kelp and driftwood, and great whites have been observed tossing live seals repeatedly into the air.

While we think of sharks as solitary creatures, they do occasionally band together. Seven gill sharks work together to encircle their prey; one will play decoy while another attacks from behind. Whale biologist Peter Best reported seeing a group of white sharks working together to move the carcass of a beached whale into deeper water so that they could feed on it more easily, suggesting that they also understand the basics of flotation.

Discovery Channel’s Shark Week will feature an awesome lineup of jaw-dropping episodes this 23-29 July at 8:10 pm! Don’t miss it!

Posted in Discovery Channel, Press Release, Shark Week, Sharks | Leave a comment

PWD ID: How and Where to Apply + the Benefits and Privileges

I have been visually impaired for years. The medical certificate that I recently obtained from my ophthalmologist sums up his findings: “generalized visual field depression with relative sparing of the center (right eye) and left-sided hemianopsia (left eye), secondary to pituitary adenoma.” In layman’s terms, I have no peripheral/side vision in my left eye and my right eye is practically useless. You can read the full story about my medical condition on this previous blog post.

It has taken me so long to apply for a PWD ID, partly because I was still in denial. Initially, I didn’t want to accept the fact that I am not my normal self anymore, that there are now limitations to what I can do. I also didn’t want people to pity me or consider me a weakling or a useless person if they know about my medical condition. I also didn’t want to be a burden to anybody. That’s why I still carry on with my usual wifey/mommy duties as if nothing happened, although this hasn’t always been easy.

Another reason why I haven’t been getting a PWD ID is because my son didn’t approve of it. While he didn’t want to admit the real reason why, I know that the thought that his mom is a PWD breaks his young heart, but seeing his mom fighting and not giving up, he finally consented to me getting it. So I finally got my PWD ID last month and am now enjoying the benefits accorded to people with disabilities. With this blog post, I hope to help people like me obtain their own PWD ID and know the benefits they are entitled to.

Who Are Qualified to Get a PWD ID
Section 32 of Republic Act No. 7277, as amended, also known as the “Magna Carta for Persons with Disability” recognizes and protects the rights of persons with disabilities by giving them certain benefits and privileges. According to the NCDA website, the following can apply for a PWD ID:
• those with permanent disabilities
• those suffering from disabling diseases

How to Apply
Manually fill out a PWD registration form and submit the following: two 1×1 ID pictures, proof of disability and voter’s certificate. I was also asked to submit a full-body picture.

Where to Apply
PWDs or their representatives can get the PWD registration form from any of the following locations:
• Office of the Mayor
• Office of the Barangay Captain
• NCDA or its regional counterpart
• Any DSWD office
• Organizations with Memorandum of Agreements with the Department of Health (DOH)
• DOH Online Registration (www.doh.gov.ph/pwd_registry)

Processing Time
I was told to come back 10 days after I applied for a PWD ID, but I got mine after more than a month.

Validity Period
The PWD ID is free and is valid for 3 years. Once it expires, you can renew it for a minimal fee.

How to Use the PWD ID
For groceries and medicines/medical services, present your PWD ID and the corresponding booklet. For restaurants and cinemas, just show your PWD ID.

Benefits and Privileges
PWDs with PWD IDs are entitled to the following:
• at least 20% discount and VAT exemption in: (1) hotels, restaurants and recreation centers; (2) theaters, cinema houses, etc.; (3) medicines; (4) medical and dental services; (5) fare for land transportation and for domestic air and sea travel; (5) funeral and burial services
• 5% discount on basic necessities and prime commodities
• educational assistance
• provision of express lanes in all government and commercial establishments.

Visit the NCDA website to know more about the PWD ID and the complete list of benefits.

Posted in Persons with Disabilities, PWD, PWD Benefits, PWD ID, PWD ID Application, PWD Privileges | 3 Comments

IELTS Helps You Realise Your Dreams of Studying, Working and Living Abroad

If you aspire to study, work or live abroad, then you should consider taking the IELTS test. The International English Language Testing System or IELTS is the world’s most popular English language proficiency test for higher education and global migration. Recognised by more than 10,000 organisations worldwide, the IELTS is proof of an individual’s proficiency in English.

IELTS helps many Filipinos achieve their dream of getting into an educational institution, becoming a professional or starting a new life in English-speaking countries, like the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Ireland and the United States of America. Oxford University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Australian National University are among the prestigious universities that require IELTS for their admission.

In 2017, more than three million individuals took the IELTS test in over 1,200 locations around the world. In the Philippines, the British Council conducts IELTS in different provinces in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao up to four times a month.

IELTS is designed to test one’s ability to use English in four areas: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. There are two tests to choose from, each with a different purpose. IELTS Academic module is for those pursuing higher learning or professional registration abroad. IELTS General Training, on the other hand, assesses one’s English ability in the workplace and social context.

Test takers receive a score based on the 9-band scoring system that identifies their English language proficiency from non-user (band score 1) to expert user (band score 9). IELTS is not a pass or fail test, however, as the recognising organisations set the band score they require individuals to achieve.

Nervous about the IELTS test? Don’t be! The British Council will help you achieve the IELTS score that you need. The British Council has recently launched the Learning Hub where test takers may take advantage of the free orientation talks and selected workshops if they register their test with the British Council. They may also get unlimited access to the Learning Hub’s IELTS Library.

The new British Council Learning Hub is located at the British Council’s new office on the 7th floor of The Curve at Bonifacio Global City in Taguig City. Learn more about the British Council Learning Hub at British Council IELTS.

Posted in British Council, British Council Learning Hub, English Language Proficiency, IELTS, IELTS Academic, IELTS General Training, International English Language Testing System, Press Release | Leave a comment