Sunday, December 6, 2020

Check Out These Creative Ways to Have Fun with Your Kids During the Pandemic

Is quarantine getting you and your kids down? With limited options of fun, you might have run out of ideas on how to keep the family entertained. Well, to help fellow struggling parents out, Jack 'n Jill Knots has launched Club Knots, a Facebook page dedicated to providing creative and fun activities that you and your kids can do together.

Club Knots offers unique ideas for arts and crafts. The page will feature video tutorials that moms, dads, and their little ones can watch together to guide them in co-creating creative playtime tools.

Check out inspired ideas like Elephant Puffs, Shadow Play, and more. Bonding moments at home are going to be more creative and fun with these activities while enjoying yummy Choco Knots, Berry Knots, and Milky Knots.

Want to win a gift pack for your little ones? Just fill up this Rafflecopter form:

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Follow Club Knots on Facebook and get started with your family-time creative projects today!

Choco Knots, Milky Knots, and Berry Knots are products of Universal Robina Corporation (URC), makers of C2, Piattos, Cloud 9, Magic Crackers, and many other well-loved Pinoy products. URC products can be bought in supermarkets, groceries, convenience stores, and sari-sari stores nationwide.

Saturday, November 28, 2020

I re-watched 'Dawson's Creek' for the first time in 20+ years.

I first watched 'Dawson's Creek' when I was 10 years old. That was pre-teen me. Innocent, clueless, and with a lust to experience the teenage world. I remember falling madly in love with Pacey Witter - manly, caring, and cute - and wishing I would grow up to be just like Jen Lindley - effortlessly beautiful, fashionable, and wise beyond her years. I was so obsessed with the show, I even took notes while watching it, typed the script in our clunky new computer on MS-DOS, and saved it into diskettes. I even bought the original soundtrack and the books, and I remember reading them to my sister on our bunk bed at night.

I hadn't watched 'Dawson's Creek' again since then, though. I never got the DVDs. I never made an effort to stream it. I never even thought about it much. In fact, I completely forgot the show existed until I saw it on the 'Coming Soon' section on Netflix. The nostalgia sank in, the butterflies fluttered in my stomach, and I watched it the minute it came out. Here's what I discovered:

They didn't sound the way that I remembered.

When Dawson Leery first spoke, I was a little shocked. I didn't remember him having that kind of voice. And then I realized we lived in Germany when I was 10 and we watched it dubbed in German. That's right. I never watched 'Dawson's Creek' in English. Lol. It took me a while to get used to how whiny everybody sounded; and to be honest, I was a bit surprised by how whiny everybody in the show was, in general. Was Dawson always that annoying? Was Joey? I remember my sister loving Joey back in the day... but why?

I grew up to be nothing like Jen Lindley.

As much as I adored Jen, I didn't grow up to be like her. You'd think that if you idolize someone, you'll do your best to be more like them... but that clearly isn't what happened. In fact, I didn't even grow up to Joey. I grew up to be... Andie McPhee.

It's sad to admit that while watching her on the screen now, but she is me. I am her. I can't find a single thing about Andie that I cannot relate to. I was a nerd. I was obsessed with getting good grades and I applied to a gazillion colleges... not because I wanted to go there, but just because I wanted to see if I could get in (this is a toxic trait I still have to this day). I even have a gay brother!

And then there's the mental illness. 'Dawson's Creek' sucked at portraying mental illness (and homosexuality while we're at it) to be honest, but the fact that she had one hit far too close to me. I just wish I had someone like Pacey, too. Though the way Andie ended up handling that... I can already see how things might've panned out for me if I had a Pacey of my own.

I would probably date Dawson in real life.

I loved Pacey and I still do now that I'm rewatching it. But let's be honest: a geeky Spielberg-loving filmmaker with a room that looks like all of the rooms I've ever had? Dawson is the geek of my dreams. He just needs a new haircut.

'Dawson's Creek' touched on so many issues.

All I really remember about 'Dawson's Creek' - the title song aside - is that it was fun to watch. I never remembered it as a "serious" show. In fact, whenever I talk to people about coming-of-age series, I always talk about how much I miss 'The OC' and 'One Tree Hill' because they portrayed the sad realities of teenage life well. It turns out 'Dawson's Creek' did that, too. They've got everything in there: wild sex lives, peer pressure, divorce, scandals with teachers (lol), suicide, homosexuality, mental illness... though I am still just on Season 2 at the moment and that's when I realized...

I never finished the show.

This makes sense, really. We left Germany a mere year after 'Dawson's Creek' first aired. I was 12 and on the verge of experiencing real teenage life for myself. By the time we moved to the Philippines for my first couple of high school years, I was so immersed in the transition to teenagehood and discovering boys and first kisses and first heartbreaks that I didn't make time to watch shows on TV anymore. I am in the second half of Season 2 at the moment and have no idea how this show is going to pan out.

I hope Pacey doesn't get back together with Andie, though. He deserves better.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Investing in jewelry pays dividends.

Precious stones, gemstones, and jewelry have always been connected to human culture since time immemorial. These beautiful adornments continue to hold real meaning and value. Throughout the course of history, jewelry has been offered as a trophy, an amulet, and sometimes, even art. It perfectly symbolizes love, a celebration of milestones, and of course, the ultimate representation of wealth.

The line between jewelry and money has always been intertwined with each other. To this day, jewelry continues to be used as currency, inheritance, and investment. But investing in jewelry requires the right knowledge and responsibility. It is a wise and valuable asset to have as it continues to grow in value every year. In fact, many investors prefer investing in jewelry more because it is less risky than other markets.

Interestingly enough, while the value of the world’s currencies constantly fluctuates, gold, diamonds, and other precious metals and stones, on the other hand, has remained stable. Despite the many global economic downturns, including the current pandemic that has severely affected the world’s economies, the value of jewelry has held strong.

Though the price of gold, gold jewelry, diamonds, emeralds, sapphires, and other gemstones and precious stones also fluctuates, its value however has never truly depreciated significantly. Their value continues to steadily appreciate over time.

“What’s beautiful about investing in jewelry is that it is timeless and its value does not diminish. Real jewelry becomes more valuable over time and it is a great investment asset to have as it pays dividends in the future,” said Tyzianna Teves of Just Jewels.

From November 23 to 29, 2020, Just Jewels, one of the country’s highly respected stores of real and authentic jewelry, will be holding their Bright Beginnings Black Friday Grand Sale on Facebook,, and at all the Just Jewels branches nationwide. The Grand All Out Sale will likewise guest Sofia Andres in the Facebook Live selling event on November 23, November 27, and November 29. There will also be raffle prizes, games, and many more exciting activities for the attendees.

For more information on the Just Jewels Bright Beginnings Black Friday Grand Sale, visit

Saturday, November 7, 2020

I haven't written a sad post in a while.

I haven't written a sad post in a while. I checked. Although I have written many an angry post in 2020, I hadn't written a sad one. The last sad post that I wrote was back in September 2019 when my dog died. So coming to this space wine-drunk to type as tears run down my cheeks feels a little strange and unfamiliar. But here we are. Sad and heartbroken. Lost and alone.

The other day, I received a message that bore some unexpected news, and I found myself paralyzed in my seat. I was in the middle of writing an article, but my fingers froze as I stared at the iMessage notification at the top-right corner of my screen. And the tears just flowed. They didn't flow silently, either. They came with that weird and awkward hagulgol sound; but since I didn't want to alarm my family or explain the sudden outburst of sadness, I ran to the bathroom and scream-cried into a towel instead. Not my finest moment, I have to admit. But it happened. I'm not entirely sure where it came from. I mean, I know where it came from, but it was a place hidden so deep inside of me that it came as a surprise.

A quick backstory: I've had the worst luck with men. I've dated douche after douche after douche; and when I do start talking to someone I might like as more than a casual thing, I get hit with the "I'm not looking for anything serious" card or the "I'm scared of commitment" card or the (my favorite) "Do we need to put a label on it?" card. No, we don't need to put a label on it, sir; but I would like to know where I stand. Am I a friend with potential or am I just a friend with benefits?

To be honest, this never really bothered me before. Casual dating was my thing. I was a very social and drunken girl pre-COVID so I didn't really have the mindset to dwell on things too much. Heck, even during quarantine, I dated a douche and felt absolutely nothing afterward.

So when I started talking to you (again) and I found myself constantly checking my iMessages to see if you had sent anything and I found myself thinking of you whenever I saw certain memes or certain food; I didn't say anything. I didn't want to admit that I was getting what they call *shudders* feelings. I didn't have feelings. Some people would even say I didn't have a heart. Some guys would even say I merely used them for sex. And yet there I was, scream-crying into a towel in the bathroom.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not in love with you or anything. However, for the first time in three whole years, I could actually imagine myself being in a relationship again. You know, doing the whole pet name thing. Posting someone's face on social media. Bringing someone to family gatherings. Introducing someone to my friends. Geeking out with someone about movies. Having someone I could pig out with and workout with - ahhh, the perfect balance. You got me. You understood me. And I really wanted to see where that could have gone. But that's not happening anymore.

Given my international background, meeting people who can understand me and the way that I am - blunt, carefree, and annoyingly unclingy, unjealous, and walang pake - hasn't exactly been easy. I have lived here for a decade now and I've only met two guys I could really, truly connect with on every level. You were one of them. And the idea of having to let you go before we even had a real chance at anything stung quite a bit. Okay, a lot. Not quite a bit.

But it's okay. Really. I'm all for supporting your dreams and seeing you grow and witnessing how you achieve everything you want to achieve. But it still sucks. I did like you for real, after all. Even though I was in denial and downplayed it all the times when I talked to my friends, it became pretty clear just how much I liked you when I cried in the bathroom.

Maybe this just isn't our time (even though this was already our second chance after I screwed up the first time). Maybe it's God's way of telling me that I have absolutely no chance of finding love in this country. Maybe it's His way of telling me it's time to pack up and leave. Or maybe I'm just destined to be alone. I'm so tired of being alone now, though. You've made me realize that.

I want to have someone to turn to when I have amazing news and when I have bad news. Someone who will cheer with me when things go well at work and who will comfort me when something unfortunate happens. Someone who doesn't pester me all day long, but still makes me feel important and wanted. Someone who doesn't just see me as a mere option, the last resort, a booty call, or a casual fling.

It's funny because I've been avoiding relationships like the plague for three years now, and now here I am, practically longing for one. Maybe not with you particularly (though I think that could've potentially worked out if we had tried - not gonna lie), but you've made me realize that I need and want something more than what I've been getting in the past three years. I just wonder if it's even in the cards for me at all.

Friday, October 30, 2020

The Jollibee Champ (MY FAVORITE JOLLIBEE BURGER) is Back - and Even Better!!!

If I'm being honest, I don't really know when the Jollibee Champ was actually phased out. All I know is that whenever I go to Jollibee and ask about it, it's like it's never there. I never asked if it was gone-gone (because I was scared to hear the answer). I always just told myself it wasn't available for the day. :p

It turns out it was phased out earlier this year, but the good news is that IT IS BACK!!! And obviously, out of fear that it could get phased out again, I HOARDED!!!

Char! Special thanks to Jollibee for sending these over!

The best part is that while the original Champ is back with its 1/3 lb 100% pure beef langhap sarap patty, Jollibee has made things even better by introducing two new variants to make us even happier!!!

I'm not a huge fan of bacon; but in case you are, there's the Bacon Champ, which features two strips of bacon in the same delicious burger.

And then there's my new favorite! You can fight me on this, but PINEAPPLES MAKE EVERYTHING BETTER. I love pineapples on pizza and yes, I love them in burgers, too. Say hello to the Amazing Aloha Champ, which is indeed AMAZING!!!

Not gonna lie: I think I finished this baby in less than five minutes. Heh. This new Champ variant turns the classic Champ into a sweet-savory burger with honey mustard dressing and two juicy pineapple rings.


“We’re very happy to bring back a product that has received so much clamor from its loyal fans. The return of the Jollibee Champ is a result of the passionate clamor for everyone’s favorite langhap-sarap BIG burger made even better with two new variants to satisfy more cravings for different flavors,” says Cathleen Capati, Jollibee AVP for Bestsellers category.


The Jollibee Champ burgers are now available in select 324 Jollibee stores. The classic Champ is available solo starting at Php150, while the Bacon Champ and Amazing Aloha Champ are at Php185 and Php199, respectively. You can win Jollibee GCs here to try them out for free! :D

a Rafflecopter giveaway


If you can't wait, just have your favorite Jollibee Champ burger safely delivered to you via the Jollibee Delivery App,, #87000, GrabFood, foodpanda, and LalaFood! Also available in Drive-Thru and Take Out counters at select Jollibee stores.


For more info and updates on Jollibee products, like Jollibee Philippines on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter and Instagram: @jollibee

Friday, October 23, 2020

Magnum Pints: A Belgian Chocolate Indulgence Carefully #MadeToBeBroken

Ever since quarantine started, I have been looking for ways to keep my mind stable, happy, and at ease. Some of my favorite small pleasures include binge-watching stuff on Netflix and reading new books. Being a lover of sweets and food, however, activities like that simply do not feel complete without something delicious to munch on.

This might seem strange to some; but with the recent rainy weather, I've been craving for ice cream like no other. See, back when we lived in Germany, ice cream was my go-to snack for rainy days. And my go-to ice cream ever since I was a kid? Magnum.

Just when I thought Magnum couldn't get any better, the brand has introduced a new way to make me-time even more pleasurable during quarantine: their all-new Magnum Pints.

Just like the iconic ice cream bars, each tub is expertly crafted with Magnum’s thick made-to-be-broken Belgian chocolate, which lines all sides of the pint from top to bottom. If you have come to find that Magnum ice cream bars simply aren't enough to satiate your ice cream cravings, their new products would be perfect for you.

Inside the shell is smooth Madagascar Vanilla ice cream and shards of more Magnum Belgian Chocolate. The pints are available in Magnum’s three signature flavors: Classic, Almond, and White. Almond is my personal favorite, but they're all reeeeeally good.

Magnum Pints are perfect for a midday pick-me-up, a reward after a tough task, or even a surrender to late-night cravings.

What makes the Magnum Pints unique are the fact that they are carefully #MadetoBeBroken - a beautiful contradiction that explains the incredible care taken to create each tub and the fun new ritual behind it.

Here's how it works:

● WAIT. Allow your Magnum Pint to thaw for 3-5 minutes.

● CRACK. Squeeze the pack on either side and smash your spoon through the top. Hear that satisfying crack of the thick Belgian chocolate shell that envelops the velvety vanilla ice cream. Smell the aroma of Magnum’s signature Belgian chocolate.

● INDULGE. Mix the chocolate shards with the vanilla ice cream and enjoy this simple pleasure - you deserve it!

Experience a new type of indulgence that’s #MadeToBeBroken with the all-new Magnum Pints available at Php360 in all leading supermarkets and convenience stores nationwide. For more information, visit the Magnum Philippines Facebook page.

I'm also hosting a giveaway for anyone who might want to experience this delicious new offering from Magnum! Join here:

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Tuesday, October 20, 2020

I'm Finally Going to Learn Japanese!!!

I. Am. So. Excited.

As you probably know by now, I can speak several languages. However, I never really learned a language that I actually wanted to learn before. The languages I know were all learned out of necessity. This marks the first time I will be learning a language for me; and as such, my excitement is through the roof.

I have always wanted to learn Japanese. In fact, it's the only language that I really wanted to learn (at least before I fell deep into the BTS and KDrama world).

I have actually tried to learn Japanese on my own before what with my intense love for anime, Terrace House, Japanese food, and their whole country, in general. However, I found it too hard to learn the alphabet on my own and understand the inner workings of the language without a real person to teach me about it. Unfortunately, I couldn't find any places to learn Japanese here in the South, either, so that dream kind of fell to the wayside with time.

Well, I am oh-so-proud to announce that thanks to the pandemic, Jellyfish Education is making it possible for me to finally learn Japanese from the comforts of my own home. The best part is that their classes are ultra affordable at only Php5,250 per month!

The classes use the Babel method, focusing on communication skills and allowing students to improve their vocabulary, grammar, and listening skills through quizzes and practice activities.

The N4 and N5 classes come in packages of 60 hours with each session lasting for five months at an hour per session. Plus, if you sign up now, you'll get one month free! Just get in touch with them and let them know you got the news from me. ;)

What are you waiting for? Sabayan niyo na ako and let's learn Japanese together para fun!!! :D

You may call 09487112357 (Smart) or 09179486404 (Globe) for more information. They're super helpful and will patiently answer any questions you might have. Conversely, you may email them at or :) You may also like their Facebook page here. See you there?

Saturday, October 3, 2020

'Record of Youth' is a Beautiful Series About Following Your Dreams

I started watching 'Record of Youth' yesterday and I am already up to date with all of the episodes. As much as I love Korean dramas, I went into this with zero expectations because I hadn't watched any of the KDramas of the cast members before.

Now, I can finally understand Anne Curtis' love for Park Bo-gum. While he isn't necessarily my type of oppa looks-wise, I have to admit his acting is absolutely PHENOMENAL and that made me fall for him almost immediately.

In the first scene alone, he immediately showcased what he was capable of and I have been in awe of him in every episode since. Even when he cries, it makes me want to cry with and for him. I love him so much! (Please send your favorite Bo-gum series recommendations my way ASAP!!!)

Looks-wise, Byeon Woo-seok is much more my type. However, Bo-gum completely overshadows him in this show with his acting prowess. Still, he is just as much of a joy to watch alongside Park So-dam, who immediately captured my heart.

I love seeing more real and relatable people in KDramas, and she was one of them. The struggle of doing her day job and doing her makeup raket afterwards to be followed by video editing at home... I may not be a makeup artist, but that just all hit so close to home.

Their undeniable chemistry aside, I absolutely love how 'Record of Youth' gives us a peek of what life is like behind the lives of models, actors, makeup artists, and content creators.

Let's face it: our parents' generation doesn't really understand what we go through in these fields, and the struggle to make a mark in such a huge industry isn't exactly easy.

We see how all of that unfolds in 'Record of Youth' and from different perspectives: from a rich kid with a super supportive tiger mom to a not-so-well-off kid with an unsupportive family to an independent hard-working kick-ass lady who doesn't let her boss get her down.

So far, I have found absolutely nothing wrong with this show. It is relatable and real, and peppered with so many subtle life lessons and reality checks; I will definitely enumerate everything I've learned from the show once it's over.

I was able to ask the cast members a few questions prior to the release of the show and they encourage everyone to watch it, as well. Park Bo-gum points out that "there is a lot of fun in watching the changing feelings of the characters", while Park So-dam says that "you will be able to empathize and heal as you see them go through their lives."

She adds: "'Record of Youth is a healing drama where you can see stories about love, friendship, and family. Youths with different personalities meet, worry, and fight."

Byeon Woo-seok adds, "It's a drama for youths who don't despair at reality and work hard. It's also a wonderful show that makes you think about the hearts of family and friends. There are gem-like lines that linger in your heart and it's created with a fun and warm perspective that shows the worries that youths these days have, which anyone can relate to. I think viewers will be able to enjoy the drama in an additional way of they think about the characters' hearts."

If you haven't started watching 'Record of Youth' yet, I highly recommend doing so. You won't regret it. I don't always go out there and shove KDramas down people's throats lol but this is one of the ones that I will most likely recommend every time somebody asks me for a good KDrama to watch.

Have you started watching 'Record of Youth' yet? What are your thoughts on the show so far? :) Geek out with me in the comments section!

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Working out isn't always about weight loss.

Someone sent me a message the other day saying I was never fat to begin with. The intentions were sweet, but what you might not know is that I actually weighed almost 200 pounds in college (I’m 5 flat). I was a binge eater - the kind who would eat two family-sized pizzas on her own (with Coke!) followed by two pints of ice cream.

That's why progress photos are so important to me. I feel the need to document what my body looks like every now and then because I want to make sure I'm not falling back into old habits and becoming the unhealthy blob of fat that I was back during my college days. Here's my latest progress photo:

MAY 29, 2020 vs SEP 25, 2020

Two months into quarantine, I started feeling my old college habits creeping in. I was practically inhaling cups of rice and ordering two cups of milk tea a day. Food has always been comforting for me, but let’s face it: unhealthy eating habits lead to less productivity, less energy, and a negative mindset.

Don't get me wrong. I'm all for the movement of loving your body and accepting it with all of its flaws; but I also believe that you still need to make a point to look after your health and ensure that you don't abuse it by filling it with junk. (But that's just me. *shrugs*)

On the flip side, I was a size zero late last year and everyone said I was so skinny. I hated that just the same, if not more. I know that people meant for those comments to sound as compliments (since most people in the Philippines equate skinniness with beauty, for some reason), but my personal goal for the past few years has always been to look and be fit and strong - not to lose weight or get skinny. (It’s really just a matter of preference.)

I work out primarily for the positivity that it brings. It makes me feel good to finish a killer workout I know the Anj of a few months ago never would’ve finished. It makes me feel good to know that when someone needs help with heavy lifting, I can get it done. Working out has always been a challenge and a competition for and with myself - physical proof that I continue to become stronger as time goes by.

I still remember the exact date and time when I decided that I needed to add some workouts into my life. I was in my obese state (as mentioned earlier) and had just given birth to Syrena about two months prior to that when I found myself in the stupid position of almost falling off a cliff (long story). Anyway, I slipped and for a split second, I saw my life flash before my eyes. My first thought was of my 2-month-old baby girl who would've been left without a mother. It sounds funny, but I swear it was such a scary moment for 22-year-old me.

I knew that if I had slipped, no one would've been able to carry me up because I was too heavy and I knew that I wouldn't have been able to carry myself up, either. When I got back to the city (we were at the beach), I made a vow to change my lifestyle. I had to start with yoga because my ankles and knees couldn't handle anything more intense than that; and from there, I've dabbled in a bunch of other workouts to keep myself un-bored.

So there you have it: my decade-long fitness story in as small of a nutshell as I could put it (hopefully) without boring you. :p What's your fitness story? Would love to read it!

Saturday, September 26, 2020

The Importance of Values

The older I'm getting, the more I'm realizing the importance of values. Don't get me wrong. I'm no saint. In fact, looking back at the person that I was a decade ago (or even just a few years ago), I can't help but cringe at the life decisions I've made and the lack of values I used to have.

If I could, I'd go back and give my past self several slaps in the face for being so insensitive, reckless, and utterly stupid. However, the beauty of it is that I have (thankfully) grown into a better person (or so I'd like to think) and am always open to being corrected, schooled, and changed. Despite being much older, I admit that I still have a lot to learn and improve on; and I think that's an important thing to know and admit.

This year has been a major eye-opener for me. Before (specifically when I first moved here), I always tried to befriend everyone that I met. Because I was new to the country and was no longer in school, I was worried that I wouldn't be able to make any friends; so I befriended practically everyone who crossed my path. And while I did meet a select few awesome people along the way, the truth of the matter is that I wasted a lot of time with people I had absolutely nothing in common with and didn't even like to begin with.

I spent sleepless nights and early mornings with toxic people who did nothing but talk shit about other people all day. I wasted hours building fake friendships and relationships with users and losers. This year, however, I learned how to not tolerate shit from anyone anymore. I would honestly rather spend all my time alone curled up with a book at home than be around people who have zero values.

I realized this change in my mindset pretty early on this year. While I have no qualms sharing my blessings with people who haven't experienced the expensive beauty that life sometimes has to offer, there was this one particular person who took crazy advantage of that. She never had any money and always mooched off of me and my friends. She even borrowed some money from me and never paid me back. I even took her on trips and to hotels with me. In the end, she disrespected my home, my friendship, and my beliefs; and I now wish I could've taken all of my time and money back.

Soon after that, I dated someone with values that didn't sit well with me. As nice as he was (or should I say as nice as his car was lol), he eventually showed his true colors by making homophobic remarks and practically worshipping the Filipino government. He cheered when people lost their jobs and constantly made fun of the LGBT community - something that really did not sit well with me on any level. It was hard to school him, too, because he was always convinced that he was right. Add to that the fact that he was disrespectful to his own family and I just knew there was no future there whatsoever.

Don't get me wrong. I'm sure traits like the ones mentioned above might not be deal breakers to other people, but I believe that you should figure out early on what kind of people you want to surround yourself with. Find people who won't make you roll your eyes on your end of the phone. Find people whose remarks won't get your blood boiling at crazy temperatures. There's nothing wrong with little healthy arguments and disagreements; but if they say things or do things that aren't aligned with your beliefs and values, don't be afraid to drop them from your life.

You deserve peace of mind. You deserve contentment. You deserve growth. And you deserve to surround yourself with people who lift you up and make you a better person. I used to be such a negative, angry She-Hulk; but surrounding myself with amazing people has turned me into a better person overall. You can do the same by deleting people from your life. You'll feel much better and become a much better person in the end because of it. Trust me.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Eyes on the Future at Taiwan Excellence Online Product Launch

Four Taiwan Excellence Award winners from the ophthalmic medical equipment industry in Taiwan recently demonstrated their most innovative products during an online product launch jointly organized by Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA), the foremost trade promotion body in Taiwan, and Taiwan’s Bureau of Foreign Trade.

QA session, from left: Mr. William Wang, Co-Founder & President, Crystalvue Medical Corporation ; Mr. Johnson Chang, Sales Manager, Medimaging Integrated Solution Inc.; Ms. Pandora Yang, International Sales Manager, BenQ Materials Corp; Mr. Eric Chu, Co-Founder, In-Trust Technology Co., Ltd.

According to estimates from IEK Consulting of the Industrial Technology Research Institute, the global ophthalmic medical equipment market is estimated to reach $58.4 billion by 2023. The three major areas of this market are vision care, surgery, and diagnosis and monitoring. Bulk products of significance are optical lenses, contact lenses and “fundus” cameras, a complex optical system designed for imaging of the eye’s retina.

Revenue from Taiwan's ophthalmic medical equipment industry has grown steadily in recent years with a turnover of approximately $7 billion. The auxiliary and remedial category, which constitutes the “contact lens industry,” has the most outstanding performance. The export ratio of this “invisible champion” accounts for 1.53% of global sales. Taiwan’s ophthalmology industry accounts for approximately 0.3% of global sales, where it combines technologies that include optics, electronics, motors, and big data calculations. Taiwan is highly proficient in ICT technology; and with this significant advantage, the ophthalmology industry has demonstrated great potential.

From left: Mr. Johnson Chang, Sales Manager, Medimaging Integrated Solution Inc; Mr. William Wang, Co-Founder & President, Crystalvue Medical Corporation; Mr. Mark Wu, Executive Director of Strategic Marketing Department, TAITRA; Ms. Pandora Yang, International Sales Manager, BenQ Materials Corp.; Mr. Eric Chu, Co-Founder, In-Trust Technology Co., Ltd.; Ms. Vivian Chen, Manager, IEP Healthcare Section of Strategic Marketing Department, TAITRA

As a trusted world partner, Taiwan Excellence upholds the spirit of innovation by selecting products that best represent the image of Taiwan's industries. On this occasion, the companies awarded were Crystalvue’s Non-Mydriatic Auto Fundus Camera that uses automatic 3D tracking, reduces human diagnostic error and is sold in over 50 countries worldwide; Medimaging’s Digital Portable Tonometer (DPT 100), which uses air-jet pressure detection to avoid contact with disease and infection; BenQ’s Miacare CONFIDENCE Color Contact Lens, which adopts silicone hydrogel technology and provides contact lens wearers with all-day comfort; and In-Trust’s Aurai Hot & Cool Eye Massager, the first in the world to use water circulation and water wave massage to reduce intraocular pressure without risk of any harm.

Taiwan Excellence award-winning products showcase the best of Taiwan’s industries, which provide smart solutions for consumers’ daily lives. According to TAITRA, more events focusing on medical products, including dentistry and assistance devices for the elderly, will be held in the coming weeks.

For more information, click here.

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Better days are coming.

In terms of my personal life, I am in a good place. A very good place, even. Work is amazing. My voice acting "career" has really taken of. Family life is relatively calm. I have a new happy crush. (Okay... Not new... Resurfaced would be the better term.) And my friendships - the ones that matter - are now stronger than ever.

However, I'd be lying if I were to say that I am completely content. I am not. There are days when I feel like an animal in a cage. Days when I wish I could break free, breathe in the fresh air, and really live.

I miss escaping the noise of the household, heading to an ultra cold coffee shop, finding my special spot, and consuming unsafe amounts of caffeine with my earphones on and music at full blast. I miss losing myself in rows and rows of books and graphic novels in my favorite bookstore. I miss drowning my bad vibes in my favorite bar and playing beer pong until I can no longer speak or see straight.

I even miss freezing in the cold meeting rooms at our bi-monthly work meetings as I observe the changes in my workmates' appearances, moods, and... weight. :p I especially miss going on one-on-one meal dates with Syrena over noodles and fruit shakes. And I miss biking down Aguirre and beyond with the wind whipping at my face mask-less face. AND MY GOD, DO. I. MISS. GETTING. WAXED!!!

So that's why I got dressed in this strawberry dress today. If you know me at all, I'm not really a dress person (unless it's an event or a special occasion), much less a pink person. But the message behind this dress is a special one.

First taking over TikTok during quarantine, the pink tulle dress is dotted with sequined strawberries with a plunging neckline built only for those with a much bigger "future" than mine. The original version of this dress was designed by New York fashion Designer Lirika Matoshi and costs quite a bit of money (or so I've heard), but getting sent this knock-off didn't change the message for me in any way. 

Aside from making you feel happier, the dress also makes you feel hopeful. It is supposed to symbolize that there are better days ahead. (It's just a bonus that it serves as a reminder to people that I am, in fact, a woman and not a bro.)

We may still be stuck at home right now, but this dress reminds me to keep dreaming. Dreaming of days when I can prance around in it at a museum, at a party, or even just along that street behind The Mall of Asia overlooking Manila Bay. (I'm easy to please.)

It allows me to dream of better days to come when traveling will once again be a constant part of my life. When I can head out and hear people gasp in shock to see me in a pink fluffy dress. Days when I don't rely on social media to interact with people. And days when I can honestly say that I am in love with life once again.

What do you miss the most right now?

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Important Financial Skills to Equip Yourself with Amidst a Pandemic

Did you know that in June 2020, over 30 million Americans claim to be unemployed?

A Forbes article in July 2020, reported that the United States already has 51 million people unemployed, and there is no assurance if these numbers will decrease in the coming days as the worldwide financial crisis lingers.

A decade after the most recent recession, the global economy is heading into another one. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to keep people at home, it also continues to shutter businesses causing financial crisis - not just in the United States, but almost anywhere in the world.

Everybody gets hurt during a recession. As output falls, many people lose jobs and those who are seeking jobs find it hard to find one.

This pandemic has exposed how vulnerable our finances are. The fact is, we are not prepared when disaster, calamities, economic collapse, and other major problems relating to finances come. This pandemic showed us that it is not enough to have money; but we should be financially literate, above all, so we can manage our life well, especially in trying times. 

How financially literate are we? Many people are now unemployed, while others are working reduced hours due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now more than ever is the time that they need to be financially literate for them to be able to make smart and effective financial decisions. Financial literacy can help people stretch their dollars further and avoid taking on huge amounts of debt.

Being financially literate is a skill set that’s lacking in most people around the globe. In the United States, studies found out that 43 million Americans or 17% are struggling with most (if not all) aspects of their financial lives. There are 135 million or 54% struggling with some aspect of their financial lives and 29% or 73 million people are spending, saving, borrowing, and planning.

Th U.S. has the world's largest economy yet it ranks 14th when it comes to the percentage of adults who are considered financially literate.

This is the picture of financial literacy not just in America, but in most parts of the world. As people continue on this uphill battle during this difficult time, now is as good a time as ever for everyone to acquire or increase their financial literacy skills.

One of the fundamental pillars on financial literacy is budgeting, which simply means balancing your expenses versus your income. It involves a process of creating a plan to spend your money and it allows you to determine in advance whether you will have enough money for the things you need or would like to do. Budgeting is one of the most important skills we need to equip ourselves with everyday in almost everywhere we go and in everything we do. 

However, with a lot of people losing their jobs nowadays, how should you budget on a limited or reduced income? 

First, consider minimizing your biggest expenses such as housing, food, and insurance. Keep grocery costs low by shopping in bulk,and buying seasonal and local produce. Cook simple yet tasty meals that only require a few ingredients. Pay in cash, and avoid loans and credit cards so your dollars will last longer.

If you're really finding it hard to budget your daily or weekly finances, you might need a budget calculator. This online personal budget planner is very handy and so easy to use. It estimates your biweekly, monthly or even your annual income; and converts that to the recommended budgetary guidelines. The budget planner shows how your spending habits compare against others and how the spending habits of people from different income level and age groups change dramatically. 

The initially set percentages can be adjusted to suit your needs and budget. The total row shown at the bottom of the calculator presents how close your percentages are to 100% and how much you might need to change your spending habits to match your current income.

Having a skill in budgeting will empower you as it will allow you to manage what you have wisely. With COVID-19 still putting everyone at risk, millions of people are struggling to make ends meet. This is a most challenging time, but having the right financial knowledge will give you the confidence to make informed decisions about you personal finances and create a more stable financial life despite the pandemic.