Change The Way You See Love

It was love at first sight. Of course you already care for the life that grows inside you but nothing really compares to seeing your child for the first time. You will forget all of the labor pains the moment you look at the little baby that you carried inside you for 9 months. You will never look at life and love the same way again.

Love unconditionally

My husband and I really did not plan on when we want to have a baby but I guess we’re lucky because at my age, I got pregnant immediately after we got married. I risked my life for her by getting pregnant at 35, and I am willing to risk it again for her should the need arise in the future. If that’s not love, I don’t know what is. Motherhood changes us in so many ways and perhaps the biggest is that we learn to love unconditionally.

Gabby and Nanay

Gabby and I when she was a month old.

Love is giving time to your loved ones

Time is something that’s not easy for us to give up. But when you’re a parent, it is the most important thing you have to give to your child. I wanted to spend most of my time with my daughter especially during her first year so that I can experience her many firsts with her, like eating her first solid food, taking her first step, and uttering her first word. Every opportunity I have, I see to it that I spend time with her like taking her to the park, zoo or on a staycation so that we get to bond as a family. I wanted her to experience a lot of happy memories with us, something she will treasure for life.

staycation in bacolod

We go on staycation so that we get to bond as a family.

I enrolled her in a school near my office so I can attend every special school activity. Unfortunately, as a working mom, it’s impossible to be there always. But thank God for technology, our family can still capture those special moments for us through a smartphone. We can also talk to our daughter through a video call so it’s like we’re there for her physically.

Love is when you do crazy things for your loved ones

The terrible twos period really tested my patience. Sometimes I come to a point when I think I’m losing my mind at how my sweet little tyke can turn into a monster who terrorizes me with her shenanigans. The house is always in in disarray and she turns our walls into her big canvas… sometimes it’s my legs. She makes me do crazy things like make me a horse.

playing horsey

Gabby prefers playing horsey with me than her Tatay.

Love is patient, love is kind has a totally new meaning for me. If you are a parent, you will learn to be patient until your little toddler learns to be kind to you. It’s always a tug-o-war and the toddler always wins.

Love is knowing when to say no

When our daughter turned three, we decided to instill a little discipline because as parents, we are responsible in raising a child to become a good person. When you love someone, you’ll learn to say no to them even if it breaks your heart. There will be times when you’ll have to deny them a toy or a candy but you know that it’s always because you want to mold their character, to make them better persons when they grow up.

Love is in making somebody’s happiness more important than your own

When you’re a parent, your child’s welfare and happiness are more important than your own. You put everything on hold for the sake of your child. There has been opportunities for training and career advancement that I have to let go because I don’t want to be away from my daughter. Her needs come first so I rarely buy clothes for myself nowadays but my daughter has something new every month.

gabby and peacock

Gabby chased around the peacock she saw for the first time. The poor bird must be so scared.

Capturing moments of my daughter’s happiness through pictures is one of my simple pleasures. I love to capture her emotions when she experiences things for the first time, even those silly and funny moments. When my daughter grows up, these photos will remind her that she is loved and she had a happy childhood. And when she’s old enough to have her own family and leave us, these pictures will help us reminisce the past whenever we miss her.

gabby in guimaras

She loves the water so every time there’s an opportunity, I would bring her to the beach.

I believe the best pictures are not the ones taken at the studio but those candid, unplanned moments. The best thing is, we always carry around a smartphone, ready to capture those special moments. A smartphone like Huawei P9 with its powerful 12MP Leica dual-lens camera lets you capture your child’s milestones in professional quality pictures you’d want to keep for life.

Motherhood is a journey paved with love, sacrifices, and even heartaches but I wouldn’t exchange it for anything in the world.


Planning to Invest in Bacolod Real Estate? You Should Read This

5 reasons to invest in bacolod real estate image

Bacolod City was named by Moneysense Magazine in 2008 as the Best Place to Live in the Philippines. After eight years, it’s still true since real estate development in Bacolod is on the upswing. Bacolod is experiencing its best market condition in 20 years. Looking at various factors, it looks like there’s going to be a real estate boom in the City of Smiles in the next 10 years.

If you’re planning to live or invest in real estate in Bacolod, this year is the best time. Here are 5 reasons to why you should invest in Bacolod real estate.

This infographic on Bacolod real estate is brought to you by

bacolod real estate infographic


20+ Awesome and Helpful Events This 2016 in the Philippines

Photo by Efren Pomperada, Jr.

It’s more fun in the Philippines, they say; with all the awesome events and attractions to experience around the country, it’s hardly surprising. But this year, it will be a place not just to have fun, but to get things done. People can look forward to more than 20 exciting events, attractions, and other reasons to travel the Philippines in 2016.

Awesome Celebrations

Photo by Efren Pomperada, Jr.

Photo by Efren Pomperada, Jr.

Partake of a Feast from the Sea

The Seafood Festival, held in Himamaylan City in Negros Occidental every March 31, celebrates the bounty offered by the ocean. Tourists and locals come together to enjoy sumptuous meals made from fresh seafood. This should be Anthony Bourdain’s next stop, right?

Catch a Cultural and Colorful Festival

Held in Binalbagan City in Negros Occidental, the Balbagan Dance Festival is just one of the many Philippine festivals you can catch. A celebration based on history and myth, it’s a time for townsfolk dance in the streets with colorful headdresses and bamboo sticks. Keep an eye out for the giant Golden Unity Serpent, which represents harmony and prosperity.

Watch Filipinos Fight

Pacquiao isn’t the only Pinoy who can fight. At the Kali-Kalihan Festival, held every November in Don Salvador Benedicto in Negros Occidental, ancient beliefs about spirits and unique traditional self-defense and fighting styles are put on display. If you want a different kind of festival, you’ll enjoy this one for sure!

Enjoy a Rhythmic Mask Parade

The most popular festival in Bacolod City, the Masskara Festival, is held every third week of October. People put on dazzling costumes and masks of happy faces, symbolizing the City of Smiles’ uniquely positive character. The Sugarland Hotel has been the mainstay hotel for tourists for years, so it’s definitely a good choice if you need a place to stay.

Beauty and Wellness

Photo courtesy of rhythmuswege via pixabay

Photo courtesy of rhythmuswege via pixabay

Turn Back Time with Cosmetic Surgery

The Philippines is not just a vacation destination. With the boom in medical tourism, people all over the world are now flying in to take advantage of the country’s affordable and quality medical services. Interested in cosmetic surgery? You’ll find it easy to find a reliable medical professional to fulfill your needs.

A Fresh Start for Your Follicles

The Philippines is also a go-to country for those who need to restore their crowning glory, whether it’s due to premature baldness, old age, or any other medical condition. If you’re feeling a little insecure and are looking for hair restoration services, then we’ve got you covered (no pun intended)! NuHart will hold a consultation event in Cebu this February.

Feel the Healing Touch of “Hilot”

After a long day of traveling, you’ll definitely want a massage. When in the Philippines, try the traditional healing therapy called “hilot.” A technique that involves banana leaves, it’s the Filipinos’ answer to other therapies like shiatsu or Thai massage, and it is practiced in different provinces around the country.

Treats for the Ears

Photo courtesy of rioka via pixabay

Photo courtesy of rioka via pixabay

Listen to a Living Legend

You may have heard of Andrea Boccelli, the blind tenor with the golden voice, but have you HEARD him? If not, you can hear his effortlessly beautiful renditions of classics and standards on April 26 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City. The venue is fairly close to the airport, so there are many hotels to choose from. If you prefer a five-star hotel, consider Sofitel at the CCP Complex, located along Roxas Boulevard.

Watch International Alternative Acts

For an edgier kind of music, consider attending the GoodVybes Fest on February 20. Happening at the Aseana City Open Grounds, it will attract acts like Passion Pit, Chvrches, Oh Wonder, and many more. It’s happening soon, so if you want to catch them, better book your tickets quick!

Appreciate Music, Filipino Style

Filipinos are a very musical people, and we can definitely hold our own when it comes to music. From Lea Salonga to the Manila Symphony Orchestra and the Philippine Madrigal Singers, there are many world-class acts to see. It’s early in the year, so no performances have been announced yet, but there will surely be many musical events in the Philippines to expect.

Photo-Worthy Experiences


Photo courtesy of TheHilaryClark via pixabay

Go Up, Up, and Away

The Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Festival, to be held at Clark, Pampanga from February 11 to 14, is a gathering of enthusiasts who have one thing in common: a love for flight. Shutterbugs and spectators can watch creative balloons, radio-controlled toy airplanes, ultralight aircraft, and kites color the sky. Some even take the chance to ride in the balloons!

Visit Vigan, a City Frozen in Time

To experience a slice of Philippine history, visit Vigan in Ilocos. It’s a very well-preserved example of trading towns during the Spanish period, and its is recognized by the UNESCO as a world heritage site. From the cobblestone streets to the horse-drawn calesas, you’ll find many unique subjects and backgrounds for your DSLR camera or Instagram accounts.

See Remnants of History at The Ruins

Go to Talisay City and ask where you can find The Ruins, and locals will surely know what you’re talking about. The remains of a mansion built by a sugar baron in the early 1900s, it has many ornate architectural features, offering great photo opportunities for tourist

Capture the Beauty of Marine Life

A natural haven away from it all, Danjugan Island is host to many beautiful sea creatures. While scuba diving gives you the best chances to photograph colorful fish and corals (use that underwater camera if you have one), you can also walk along the beach during low tide and see starfish, sea cucumbers, and various other marine specimens. Keep in mind that this is a nature reserve, so expect very basic facilities.

The Thrill of a Lifetime

Photo courtesy of lauraelatimer via pixabay

Photo courtesy of lauraelatimer via pixabay

Run off the Road

The Philippines boasts of many breathtaking trail running destinations, such as the one in Tanay, Rizal, and holds a lot of trail running events every year. Need a change of pace from road running? This could be exactly what you’re looking for. Just be ready for steep slopes, river crossing, slippery rocks and roots, and a little more pain than you’re used to!

Brave an Underground River

One of the new 7 Wonders of Nature, Puerto Princesa’s Subterranean River is one to visit for a truly unique adventure. It’s the longest navigable underground river in the world, measured to be 8.2 km long. If you want to collapse into bed right after flying in, check into Palawan Village Hotel, which is just walking distance from the airport.

Experience an Adventure Park

Just south of Puerto Princesa is the Irawan Eco Park, where you can experience a different kind of thrill. From a skywalk above the treetops to a canopy zipline, there are a host of activities that will surely satisfy your craving for nature and adventure.

Get a Dose of Vitamin Sea

If you want a water-based thrill, then consider learning to surf in San Juan, La Union. Just a few hours away from the nation’s capital, there are dozens of spots where beginners can enjoy themselves while being taught by friendly surfers.

Other Things to Try

Photo courtesy of successtiming via pixabay

Photo courtesy of successtiming via pixabay

Visit a Wildlife Sanctuary

Calauit Island in Palawan is arguably the Philippines’ most extensive wildlife preserve. It is home not just to the Philippine crocodile, the dugong, and other Philippine species, but it is also a haven to 108 African animal species. To experience a safari in the Philippines, this could be your best bet.

Satisfy Your Spirit

Being the only Catholic country in Asia, the Philippines is also a good place to include in any global pilgrimage, and there are a lot of churches to visit. In Bacolod City, you’ll find the San Sebastian Cathedral, which was originally built in 1876 as a small chapel. It was later turned into a cathedral, and the bells were taken down and left on the side of the church during its 100th anniversary.

Make the World Better

The thing about traveling is that it tends to open minds and hearts. That’s why voluntourism has become fairly popular. People who have enjoyed going around the world are now giving back. Whether it’s by helping rebuild disaster-hit areas or joining in coastal cleanups, there are many chances for travelers to extend a helping hand to the Filipino people.

There are a lot of places to visit, experiences to try, and events to attend in the Philippines that no one should miss. So if you’re feeling a little bit of wanderlust or just need to get away from stress for a while, consider this list and you’ll be delighted with what the Philippines has to offer.

Patricia Evans is a part time interior designer and a full-time mother. She has worked in Marketing before but she quit her job to pursue her true passion: interior design. When she’s not busy balancing her household and career, she writes about lifestyle, travel, architectural trends, fashion, health, gardening, tea, and cooking.


1969 & 2015: Great Years for the Philippines & Humanity

Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach

There’s a lot more in common to Miss Philippines winning the Miss Universe title in 1969 and again in 2015 than most of us realized. If you were old enough in 1969, or just like me who have enough time to read, then you must realize that both in 1969 and 2015, when Miss Philippines won the title of Miss Universe, the following day  humanity also made history in spaceflight. If you don’t know what I’m talking about then read this because who knows, knowledge of this little trivia will make you a millionaire in a television game show someday.

Miss Universe 1969

Flashback on July 19, 1969, 18-year old Gloria Diaz won the Philippines’ first ever Miss Universe title when the pageant was held in Miami Beach, Florida, USA.

Miss Universe 1969 Gloria Diaz (credits to the owner of the photo)

Miss Universe 1969 Gloria Diaz (credits to the owner of the photo)

Apollo 11 left Earth four days before Miss Universe 1969 pageant with a mission to land the first humans on the moon. It was during the cold war era when USSR and US were competing on who has spaceflight supremacy, so news of the planned moon landing was already in the headlines.

In fact, the final question for Miss Universe 1969 was, ”In the next day or so, a man will land on the moon. If a man from the moon landed in your hometown, what would you do to entertain him?” To which Gloria Diaz answered, “Oh! Uh, just the same things I do. I think if he has been on the moon for so long, I think when he comes over he wants to change, I guess.”

What a simple question, right? But it was Gloria Diaz who had the best answer. Watch how 18-year old Gloria Diaz with her “black hair and black eyes” aced her way to the Miss Universe title.

Apollo 11: First Moon Landing

The following day, July 20, 1969, while the whole Philippines celebrate, humans first landed on the moon aboard NASA’s Apollo 11 which according to Neil Armstrong was “one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” Indeed, what a great time to be alive and witness such a great feat for mankind.

Miss Universe 2015

Who would have thought that almost the same events would repeat itself after 46 years?

On December 20, 2015, after waiting 42 years since Margie Moran was crowned Miss Universe in 1973, Miss Philippines Pia Wurtzbach was crowned Miss Universe 2015 in such a way that in itself was already historic. Host Steve Harvey erroneously announced Miss Colombia as the winner and she has to hand back the crown to Miss Philippines on live television.

Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach

Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach (credits to the owner of the photo)

SpaceX Falcon 9: First Rocket Landing

On December 21, 2015, while we Filipinos still feel giddy with our third Miss Universe crown, humanity made leaps and bounds in spaceflight.

For the first time in history, SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket successfully returned to Earth 10 minutes after liftoff and landed vertically at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida after launching 11 satellites into space.  Before the Falcon 9 success, after launching satellites into space, the first stage of the rocket falls back to Earth and crash into the ocean where it will be recovered for reuse in another mission while the second stage burns up as it re-enters the Earth’s atmosphere (read how satellites work here). 

What could this mean for us Earthlings? This landing paves the way for potentially reusing rockets for space launches which will dramatically reduce the cost of spaceflight and eventually enabling humans to land and live on Mars which is the ultimate goal of SpaceX. This is rocket science literally so you might want to read a brief background on the mission from SpaceX founder Elon Musk himself, who more or less explained it in an English that we lesser mortals could somehow understand (click here).

Watch the launch and successful landing below and even if you still do not fully grasp how this will impact our future, just listen to the jubilation of the scientists and engineers and it will make you happy to be alive and witness this event in our lifetime.

A lot of us probably missed this event because unlike 1969, powerful countries today are no longer competing on who has better spaceflight capability but on who has better military capability. Just imagine, one year defense budget of the US is more than its 50 years budget for NASA.

Spaceflight is already in the hands of private companies such as SpaceX. I have great admiration for its founder and CEO Elon Musk. He is taking us into the future today with his companies SpaceX, Tesla Motors, and Solar City. These companies will help change the geopolitical landscape of the world in the coming decade.

Can you now see the parallels of the 1969 and 2015 events? It’s as if it was written in the stars. Who knows when our next Miss Universe title could be. It could be when humans will first land on Mars or it could be when Miss Universe will be held on Mars. Now, that will give Miss Universe a whole new meaning.


Enjoy Great Deals on Black Friday & Cyber Monday Using GCash American Express

globe gcash amex

Black Friday and Cyber Monday, two of the most anticipated shopping sales in the United States. Black Friday follows Thanksgiving in the United States and huge discounts are offered by retail stores and online shops during this day since this marks the start of the Christmas Season in the United States.

How I wish there’s Amazon Phillipines so that I can avail of the great deals during Black Friday and Cyber Monday especially the Fire tablet for kids. Unfortunately Amazon has not opened it’s branch in the Philippimes yet so the next best thing is to buy at Amazon and have the items delivered to your relatives in the United States and have them send it to you together with their balikbayan boxes. Or if you don’t want to wait, have the items delivered to you by Amazon but then the shipping charges  would be a little expenses. There are also items that could not be shipped to the Philippines due to difficulty in aftersales service such as some electronic items.

But here’s the good news, Globe GCash American Express® Virtual Pay in partnership with My Shopping Box is waiving the annual fee of USD 25 for My Shopping Box and an additional 3% rebate in their international shipments. GCash American Express® Virtual Pay’s subscription fee for this year was also waived.

GCash American Express® Virtual Pay does not use any physical card but is a prepaid virtual card linked to one’s GCash mobile wallet that allows customers to shop conveniently and securely online. With the service, buyers can transfer funds to their GCash wallets by cashing in from their bank account or through any of over 10,000 GCash outlets nationwide.

Likewise, GCash American Express® Virtual Pay provides a personalized U.S. address where the item can be delivered to, granting Filipinos direct access to exclusive U.S. goods. From this address, the item will then be shipped to the buyer’s preferred delivery address in the Philippines.

How to Register to GCash American Express® Virtual Pay

1. Download the GCash App

Download the free GCash mobile app from the iTunes Store, the Google Play Store, the Windows Phone Store, or BlackBerry World. Input the necessary data to register your Globe number with GCash Express® Virtual Pay. You will then receive a text message confirming your registration.

globe gcash app

3. Register with My Shopping Box

Register to My Shopping Box through your GCash app dashboard so that you will be given a US address where your purchases from Amazon or other e-commerce sites will be delivered to your US address before you ship it to your address in the Philippines.

2. Fund your GCash

You can fund your GCash American Express through any GCash payment center, bank deposit, or by linking your BPI account to your GCash. You will likewise be required to register to BPI mobile banking.

If you want to increase your GCash transaction limit from Php5Kto PhP100K, you have to get KYC’ed. KYC stands for Know Your Customer and it is a process required by Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas to validate the identity of a customer availing of financial transactions. You can do that by presenting a Valid ID to an authorized GCash outlet. Since I linked my BPI account with my GCash, I got validated within the day without having to present a Valid ID to a GCash outlet.

globe gcash amex You can now start using you GCash American Express® Virtual Pay  at any online website that accepts American Express as a mode of payment.  This includes Amazon, PayPal, eBay U.S., Zappos, Sephora, Drugstore, GAP, Old Navy, Agoda, the U.S. iTunes Store, Google Play Store, the U.S. PlayStation Store, and Steam Store.

To learn more about GCash American Express® Virtual Pay, visit


Let’s Celebrate #PinayGeeks

ada lovelace day

Every second Tuesday of October is Ada Lovelace Day, an international day celebrating the accomplishments of women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). As a blogger and engineer myself, I feel a little stupid for not having heard of this initiative which started through a pledge in 2009 as an international day of blogging to draw attention to women excelling in technology in order to encourage women to take up careers in STEM.

Who is Ada Lovelace?

While Marie Curie is our hero in the field of chemistry, Ada Lovelace would be her counterpart in the field of computing. Ada is widely held to have been the first computer programmer. She was a close friend of the inventor Charles Babbage and was intrigued by his Analytical Engine.

ada lovelace day

(image credit:

In 1842, she translated a description of the machine by Italian mathematician Luigi Menabrea for publication in England. Babbage asked her to expand the article which she did, and added her own notes which include what is considered to be the first algorithm to be carried out by the machine as well as possible uses of the machine. Although the machine was never created, Ada’s work became one of the critical documents to inspire Alan Turing’s work on the first modern computers in the 1940s.

The more I read about her life, the more I conclude that she was ahead of her time in so many ways. And the fact that most of us do not know her speaks a lot about the lack of recognition for her work. Because she was a woman in an era when women do not have freedom to pursue careers in STEM, if they were allowed to have education at all. And by the way, Ada is the only legitimate child of poet Lord Byron and Annabella Milbanke. If you also haven’t heard of this interesting person, go ahead and Google her. She has paved the way to make it easier for us to do that.

How it is to be #WomenInTech

Earlier this year, engineer Isis Anchalee posted on about her experience working in the tech industry especially the stereotyping she experienced. She encouraged others to use the hashtag #iLookLikeAnEngineer to redefine how an engineer looked like. A lot of women responded on Twitter, including me, and what most of us already know, there really is no typical look for women engineers. Women engineers are as diverse in looks and in background as any profession.

Does the same sexism exists in the Philippines tech industry? As Reinabelle Reyes, Filipina astrophysicist noted, gender isn’t really an issue in science and technology in the country.  Her observation can be supported by a study on science and technology workers in the Philippines from 1990 to 2010 conducted by the Science Education Institute (SEI) of the Department of Science and Technology.

The “Human Resources in Science and Technology in the Philippines” (HRST) study revealed that there were only slightly more male than female ranging from 50.6 percent (2010) to 54 percent  in all three survey periods. This number is way better than that of the United States whose women represent a mere 24 percent of the STEM workforce according to a 2011 study Women in STEM: A Gender Gap to Innovation. However, the same study revealed that engineering, architecture and related professions remain male-dominated while medical professions like midwifery and nursing, remain female-dominated.

Being an engineer myself, I did not feel any discrimination in the university, although the engineering department is still male-dominated consistent with the result of the DOST-SEI study. I observed that Filipinos oftentimes have a natural reaction of admiration for women in fields that have always been male dominated. This may be why people used to put “Lady” on the signage of every female professional posted at their homes back in the old days. Remember Lady Dentist, Lady Doctor, Lady Civil Engineer, Lady Lawyer, etc.? By no means do they have any royal blood but due to their rarity, they were given some royal treatment. There is a certain pride in being a woman in these male-dominated professions in the Philippines.

Today, there is no need for that because the Philippines is one of the top countries in the world where men and women are given equal rights and opportunities. The country ranked 9th in the Global Gender Gap Index 2014 of the World Economic Forum.

Where are the STEM workforce in Philippines

The DOST-SEI study also revealed that the number of science and technology workers doubled in the span of 20 years from 362 thousand in 1990 to 593 thousand in 2000, and rose to 721 thousand in 2010. This represent 40 percent of the 1.8 million Filipinos categorized as “professionals” among the 31 million working population in 2010. However, not all STEM fields increased. There were significant decrease in key professions in the fields of mathematics, statistics, life science, physics, and chemistry while the most numbered occupations were nursing and midwifery, and engineering.

The increase in workers in STEM has a positive effect on our competitiveness and innovation. Our ranking in the 2015 Global Competitiveness Index rose from rank 52 in 2013 to rank 47 in 2015 out of 141 countries (see report here). The Philippines also improved its ranking by 17 spots and now ranked 83rd among 141 countries in the 2015 Global Innovation Index (see report here). However, the decrease in enrollment in fields needed for research and development has a big impact on our level of innovation. The Philippines lag behind in education (132) and human capital and research (121), but performed well in knowledge diffusion (31) and trade and competition (47).

The minority in the Philippines are not women in STEM but the number of those pursuing a career in STEM especially in the countryside. The DOST-SEI study revealed that 211 thousand (29.2 percent) of the country’s science professionals are concentrated in the national capital region, followed by Region IV-A and Region III with 127 thousand (17.7 percent) and 89 thousand (12.4 percent), respectively. The Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao has the least number of S&T workers with only around five thousand.

The numbers are so glaring my eyes hurt. As in everything else in the Philippines, the farther you are from Metro Manila, the lesser opportunities for you.  We do not suffer so much from gender inequality but in economic disparities between different regions in the country.  So much so that most of our STEM workforce look for opportunities abroad. Based on the same study, the number of our STEM overseas Filipino workers also increased from 40 thousand in 1990 to 113 thousand in 2010.

The Path to a Road Less Traveled

In the recent National Science and Technology Week, the DOST agencies namely Science Education Institute (SEI), PSHS System and the National Academy of Science & Technology spearheaded the exhibit “She for We: Highlighting the Role, Life and Achievement of Filipina Scientists in the Local and International Scientific Community.”

The exhibit highlighted the role of DOST Filipina scholars and scientists in different fields. The exhibit will also go around the country through the Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao S&T cluster exhibits in order to encourage more girls in the regions to pursue a career in STEM.

DOST's She for We Exhibit at the 2015 NSTW

DOST’s She for We Exhibit at the 2015 NSTW

It is not only once that I’ve heard parents tell their daughter that she couldn’t be an engineer because it’s a man’s job. If there are parents reading this and if you see in your child an interest in STEM, I hope you will give them your full support. The Philippine Science High School has 13 campuses scattered all over the Philippines and provide scholarships to qualified students.

The national government also increased the allocation for DOST in the 2016 budget by 3.3% from P18-billion to P18.6-billion. Every year, DOST provides scholarships to undergraduate and post-graduate degrees in different priority fields. You don’t have to leave your province because you can enroll in various educational institutions both private and public, which are considered center of excellence.

Pinay scientists, engineers, mathematicians and technology experts (#PinayGeeks) have already proven that gender is not a hindrance to reach your dreams. The government is also giving equal opportunities to men and women to pursue a career in STEM. With this privilege comes a responsibility to serve the country and I hope our STEM graduates will have the heart to serve the country especially in the countryside where they are needed the most.

A Planet that Shines

Ada Lovelace Day is about sharing stories of women in STEM in order to create new role models for girls to encourage them to pursue a career in STEM.

Let me share with you the profile of Dr. Josette Talamera-Biyo. She is a multi-awarded teacher and currently the Director of the Science Education Institute of DOST.

Dr. Biyo was born in Janiuay, Iloilo and has a Bachelors Degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Philippines in Visayas, and Masters and Doctorate degrees in Biology from De La Salle University.

Dr. Biyo planned on pursuing medical studies but instead took up a career in teaching. She started as Biology teacher in her hometown’s St. Elizabeth Academy (now St. Julian). In 1995 she accepted a science teaching position in the Philippine Science High School – Western Visayas campus in Jaro, Iloilo City.

Given the limited resources and realities in the province, she developed innovative methods in teaching science research to her students. She took her students on field trips to coastal areas and mountains of Panay Island to study local plants and animals. She established networks with research and educational institutions where students can take their summer internships to further enhance their knowledge. She also established a science library and conducts scientific forums for the students. In short, she made science more fun for the students and fostered a “culture of science” which encouraged her students to do their own researches.

dr. josette biyo

Her hard work didn’t go unnoticed. She was hailed by Metrobank Foundation as one of the Outstanding Teachers of the Philippines in 1997. The following year, she was awarded one of the Ten Outstanding Young Filipinos by the Philippine Jaycees and Gerry Roxas Foundation.

But her most noteworthy recognition was when she bested 4,000 teachers from around the world to win the 2002 Intel Excellence In Teaching Award during the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Louisville, Kentucky. She is the first Asian to receive the prestigious award.

A judge from the panel asked her why she chose to teach in the rural area when she could have gotten a teaching position in a prestigious university abroad or in the Philippines. Dr. Biyo replied, “And who will teach these kids? I did not get my PhD to check papers. I got it to teach children.”

On the same year, the Lincoln Laboratory Aerospace Division of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology renamed a minor planet previously known as “Planet 13241” to “Planet Biyo”. It is a fitting tribute to such an outstanding educator who equipped and inspired her students to do their own science research.

Dr. Biyo became the Campus Director of PSHS-WV, Executive Director of the whole PSHS System before she became the Director of DOST-SEI in 2014. I haven’t had the opportunity to meet Dr. Biyo personally but her equally passionate sister, Mrs. Janiba Escanlar was my high school teacher in Values Education. (That’s just me trying to make my six-degree connection.)

I hope a lot of students will be inspired by Dr. Biyo who came from the province yet succeeded in the field of science education. To quote her, “We are molding the minds and most especially the hearts of our students”.

I’m sure she molded a lot of hearts through her example because compared to the mind, the heart is harder to influence. As the Director of SEI which is mandated to undertake science and technology manpower development, I believe with her background and experience, she can really do a lot of innovations in science education especially for the young minds in the Philippine countryside.

If you or somebody you know wants to pursue a career in STEM, visit the Science Education Institute website for scholarship programs or you may inquire through your nearest DOST Provincial Office.

If you are already one of us #PinayGeeks, who among the women in STEM influenced you or you look up to? I would really appreciate if you share your thoughts.

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Review: GT Papaya Lotion

I was recently in Cebu and was given a GT Cosmetics gift box which contains different GT soaps and GT Papaya lotion. I really don’t bother so much with skincare but I think I should start giving more attention to my looks now since people are starting to give me beauty products. Ok folks I got the hint. Kidding aside, GT Papaya Lotion looks promising and it’s actually made in Cebu.

GT Papaya Lotion

GT Papaya Lotion comes in an attractive  75ml packaging that’s  small enough to carry around in your bag. The GT Papaya Lotion has a 3-in-1 formulation – it’s a whitening, moisturizing, and SPF40 sunblock. It has pure papaya enzyme to help whiten the skin and collagen that helps reduce signs of aging. I really don’t plan to have really white skin but when you start to mature, your skin tend to get dry and uneven so we need that extra care.

gt papaya lotion

GT Papaya Lotion comes in a handy packaging that you can carry around in your bag.

The lotion is creamy in consistency and just one pea-size is enough to cover my arm. Just don’t apply too much because it can feel a little greasy. It has a mild, sweet scent that’s not overpowering. Look at the image below of my arm before and after I apply GT Papaya Lotion. I did not do any photo-editing except to crop and if you look closely you can see some uneven spots which are no longer noticeable after application. GT Papaya Lotion instantly whitens the skin like it is concealing the age spots. I can’t still say if it will totally remove the age spots in prolonged use.

gt papaya lotion before and after

Before and after application of GT Papaya Lotion (no photo-editing was made)

I’ve been using the GT Papaya Lotion for almost a week now and so far, my skin has no negative reaction. Although I haven’t noticed a dramatic whitening effect, the GT Papaya Lotion moisturizes well. I just need to apply once on my arms and legs. It’s just my hands that I need to reapply every time I wash them.

About GT Cosmetics

I did some background check on the company, through Google of course and I was inspired by the humble beginning of the company. Engr. Leonora Salvane, a Chemical Engineer, started the company in Liloan, Cebu in 1994 producing only 50 bars of soap per day. Today the company has two modern production plants, one in Liloan, Cebu, another in Marilao, Bulacan and another one in Liloan is under construction.

From a purely family business, GT Cosmetics now employs a total of 350 employees to handle soap production and produces more than 700,000 items across all product lines monthly. Their products are available nationwide at Watsons, SM Supermalls, Robinsons Malls, Gaisano Malls, and Prince Hypermart chains, among many others. It is also exported to the United States and Canada. Filipinos who want to try their product can even buy through

My Verdict on GT Papaya Lotion

After I finish the whole tube, I will update this post but so far here’s what I observed:

What I Like

  • Handy packaging
  • Mild, sweet scent
  • 3-in-1 Formulation
  • Immediate whitening effect
  • Locally-produced. I usually prefer local products.

What I Don’t Like

  • Can feel a little greasy when you apply too much

If you’ve tried GT Papaya Lotion please let me know of your experience.


Globe Business furthers its commitment to uplift state of PHL environment

TAKING ON a significant role in promoting sustainability and conservation, Globe Business has been at the helm of collective efforts to champion the cause of the environment. inspiring large companies and organizations to make their businesses better and greener.

For the past years, the enterprise ICT arm of Globe Telecom has actively implemented a “green blueprint,” working closely with corporate clientele which share its advocacy on various fronts. These include creating greater scale and impact for the telco’s programs on solid waste management via its large-scale initiative “Project 1 Phone,” energy conservation with its commitment to the Earth Hour and Earth Day celebrations, carbon offsetting through the successful stagings of the Cordillera (Cordi) Challenge, as well as biodiversity and habitat protection by partnering with organizations such as the Philippine Eagle Foundation.

“Sharing the larger vision of Globe Telecom as an environmentally-responsible telecommunications company, we are committed to promote conservation and sustainability. We accomplish this by reducing the impact of our business operations to the environment and help our employees, business partners and clients achieve this promise. With robust systems in place, we are able to manage our environmental impact and integrate them into our Corporate Social Responsibility management,” said Globe Sr. Vice President for Enterprise Group Nikko Acosta.

For the past years, Globe Business has likewise been working closely with the Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF), a nonprofit organization dedicated to save the Philippine Eagle and its habitats, one of which is in the Arakan Valley in North Cotabato in east central Mindanao. The collaboration has benefited agroforestry projects of the Forest Corridor Development Program, community-based initiatives program and empowering communities through solar energy, among others, in that particular area.

On June 12, Globe Business will lead efforts to release Philippine Eagle “Pamana” inside the Mt. Hamiguitan World Heritage site, which is the natural home to the same species of endangered birds.  Pamana was rehabilitated by the PEF for three years after suffering from gunshot wounds, and its reintroduction to the area will contribute to increase and improve its population once it finds a mate and breeds. The ceremony on the other hand is a concrete manifestation of Globe Business’ support to the PEF in reviving and ensuring the protection of the biodiversity in the Philippines, particularly in Mindanao.

Using innovative means to power Pamana’s flight to freedom, Globe Business is employing Globe Rewards facilities as well as mobile money channel GCash as a platform for donations, which will support the Philippine eagle’s acclimatization, mobilization of monitoring teams and tracking using a satellite GPS system, as well as the education and awareness campaigns around the Mt. Hamiguitan. To donate in denominations of 40, 20, 10 and 5 Globe Rewards points, Globe customers may text DONATE<space>PAMANA<amount>and send to 4438, while GCash account holders may follow the steps after dialing *143# and choosing “GCash” in the menu.

One of the biggest campaigns mounted in the country which heeds the call for environmental sustainability, Project 1 Phone of Globe Telecom continues to expand its reach by leading the promotion of proper disposal and recycling of electronic wastes (e-wastes). Acosta confirmed that by engaging Globe Business customers as well as Globe customers as a whole, e-waste collection increased by 111%. As of May 14, 2015, total e-waste collected from the program has reached 958.4 kilograms, or about 1 ton, from 3,850 mobile phones collected and recycled. This is equivalent to .4 cubic meters of space saved as landfill, translating into 7,563.23 carbon dioxide emission or CO2e reduction.

Entire proceeds from the collected e-wastes were donated to Habitat for Humanity to build classrooms in Aklan which were affected by Typhoon Haiyan in 2013. Funds raised through the program were channeled to build 46 classrooms in Aklan, seven of which were adopted and recently inaugurated by the Platinum segment of Globe.

Globe Business was also instrumental in involving enterprise clients and other organizations to join the rest of the world in celebrating this year’s Earth Hour last March and help heighten awareness on the widespread effects of climate change. It also renewed its support to the cause by working hand-in-hand with the entire Globe organization in switching off at least 90% of LED-powered office lights during the Earth Hour around the country. The enterprise ICT segment of Globe encouraged the telco’s employees and customers to shut off lights in their respective residences as well as pledge the number of watts they will save.

Kicking-off the environmental and livelihood sustainability thrusts of Globe Business for 2015 was the sixth edition of the Cordi Challenge, considered as the premier conservation initiative for the Cordilleras and its surrounding locales. It helped establish nurseries for the Roots and Shoots program of the Cordillera Conservation Trust (CCT). At least 200,000 seedlings in elementary schools within beneficiary municipalities covered by the project will replenish bald mountainsides, support the enhancement of community watersheds, and prevent landslides in critical areas toward reforestation of approximately 214 hectares of land in the area.

Acosta reported that as of May 27, the Cordi 6 has raised more than P1 million, which will benefit the CCT’s Roots and Shoots Program. Overall in the past six years, Globe Business has enabled the rebuilding of the forests of the Cordilleras and empowered the communities who act as stewards of the forests for the 107 seedling nurseries established in 11 municipalities


If You Think Coke Life is Healthier, Think Again

coke life bottle

Just because it is called Coca-Cola Life and comes in a bright green packaging, doesn’t make it healthier than it’s Coke regular cousin. I’m not sure if Coke Life has reached Philippine shores yet but I saw several friends posting in Facebook. I can understand the excitement considering this is only the fourth Coca-Cola branded product launched in its 128-year history. What concerns me is when people think Coke Life is healthier when it’s not.

Coke Life was first launched in Argentina and Chile in 2013 where the product was created through research done in the two countries.  This is the first version of Coke to contain the sweetener  steviol glycosides which is extracted from the leaves of the plant Stevia rebaudiana. This is really nothing new in using stevia as sweetener. In fact, a local company in Bacolod, Herbanext Laboratories Inc. is using stevia as sweetener for their products and produces their own brand of stevia-based sweetener. But of course they don’t have the marketing muscle of Coca Cola so we don’t hear much about them.

So what’s the hullabaloo with Coke Life with stevia? Well, basically because stevia extract is 200 times sweeter than sugar (sucrose) without the calories. And because there are claims that aspartame which is the sweetener for Coke Lite and Coke Zero is cancer-causing, a plant-based alternative is considered healthier. I guess that’s where we get the impression that Coke Life is healthier because it has sweetener from stevia. So is it really healthier? Let’s take a look at the label.


coke life

Photo credit to Ige Ramos

The US Food and Drug Administration mandates that ingredient in food labels should be listed in decreasing order. So whatever is listed first, that is the ingredient with the biggest amount. This is also the same in the Philippines. If we read the list of ingredients in the label of Coke Life, Sugar is clearly listed next to Carbonated Water and Sweetener from Stevia last. Take a closer look at the Nutritional Information portion of the label, Sugar amounts to 17g. So if you drink a 500ml Coke Life, you will be getting 34g of sugar which is equivalent to 136 Calories!

So why would you care? If you care about your health, then you should count those calories. I started to read labels seriously when I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. After I gave birth and my sugar level became normal, I remained conscious of the calories because I’m already at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

I think it’s about time that we should read and understand food labels because if we don’t, we won’t know what we are ingesting. Food ingredients can be harmful to our bodies if we are ingesting more than the allowable amount. If you already have diabetes, please consult your doctor first before getting too excited with Coke Life.


2015 DOST Scholarship Qualifiers

Qualifiers to the Department of Science and Technology – Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI) Scholarship Program reached an all-time high as 5,303 high school students clinch a slot in the country’s premier science scholarship program.

Te 2015 DOST scholarship qualifiers breached the 3,982 mark of last year’s passers, up by 33 percent, a record for the scholarship program established in 1958.

Out of the total number of passers, 4,475 qualified as scholars under the RA 7687 Scholarship Program, scholarships for gifted students who belong to economically disadvantaged families; while 828 passed under the DOST-SEI Merit Scholarship Program.

Municipalities and congressional districts covered by the DOST-SEI Scholarship Program has also increased from 1,443 last year to 1,568 this year with the inclusion of 125 municipalities having DOST scholars for the first time.

Moreover, incoming DOST-SEI scholars, as well as those who are ongoing, are set to receive bigger stipends and other allowances starting school year 2015-2016. All DOST-SEI scholars will receive P6,000 monthly stipend (from P5,000) under the Physics/Applied Physics, Geology, Mining Engineering, Agriculture, and Fisheries courses, while under the other DOST-SEI priority courses will receive P5,000 monthly stipend (from P4,000); book allowance of P10,000 per academic year (from P5,000); tuition fee subsidy of P10,000 (from P8,000); and MS/PE clothing allowance of P1,000 (from P500).

2015 Dost Scholarship Qualifiers by Glady Reyes