Luxury of Time

What I miss most about my life before is having a lot of time in my hands. I don’t have the luxury of that anymore. A typical day for me is waking up at 4:00 in the morning to prepare things, heading out of the door as early as 5:40 to pick up my carpool kids, working till 4, and dropping off carpool kids again before heading home. And well, my day doesn’t end there. When I reach home I barely have enough time to change before I leave again for tutor. If I’m lucky, I get to be home by 8:30 to face the other tasks that await me. By 11, I am ready to call it a day. Weekends are pretty much the same except for school. When I am not teaching, I am doing my lesson plans, writing articles, and running errands. My friend asked me one time how I manage to do all these things without loosing my sanity. It is quite simple actually, I do it all in the name of Jesus who gives me strength. I must agree, life this way is kind of stressful but it is a happy kind of stress. You have steady work, you can provide for the family, you get to help people, make them happy, not everyone gets to be blessed like that. When you see things this way, you’ll appreciate more the things that make your life “crazy.” And well, there are a thousand ways we can thank and glorify God in return. One way is by performing our tasks with all the cheerfulness and gratefulness that befit His true servant.

Beauty Hacks by Alex Gonzaga

As an actress, comedienne, and TV host, it is part of Alex Gonzaga’s job to take good care of herself, especially her skin. Being on the limelight, her face has to be camera-ready at all times. The 27 year old actress knows that to maintain a clear and radiant skin, she has to keep a healthy lifestyle, from what she eats to what she does off-cam.


Alex graciously shares some beauty hacks guranteed to keep face acne-free. Here are some of them:

1. Get as much sleep as you can

Getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep has been proven to reduce one’s stress level. Stress which causes the sebaceous glands to produce more oil leads to the formation of acne. Alex explains, “Sleep helps the skin recover after a long tiring day so I make sure I get enough rest every night.”

Personal Tip: Studies have also shown that cell regeneration happens between 10 pm to 2 am, so make sure to sleep no later than 10 so your body can benefit much from skin cell regeneration.

2. Drink lots of water

Increasing the amount of water you drink is a great way to hydrate skin and flush out internal toxins from the inside out. Alex shares that she always keeps a bottle of water to keep herself hydrated during long hours of shoot.

Personal Tip: Add lemon to your water to balance the PH level of your body for a more glowing skin.

3. Exercise

Physical activity cut down stress and improves blood circulation. Exercise efficiently distributes oxygen to skin cells and carries wastes away. Alex adds, “I do pilates regularly. It is fun and a great way to relieve stress.”

Personal Tip: 20-30 minutes of moderate to intense exercise everyday is enough to improve blood circulation. You not only glow, you burn (fats) as well.

4. Sleeping without makeup on

No matter how tired she is after a long day at the set, Alex religiously takes time to remove all traces of makeup from her face to make sure her pores are not clogged with sweat, dust, and dirt.

Personal Tip: Choosing the right make-up is important as well. Some make-ups have strong chemicals and harmful ingredients that can make skin react thereby causing breakouts. Make sure to check the active ingredients in the product before you start using them. It is always safe to choose organic and hypoallergenic.

5. Invest in over-the-counter product

Alex swears by Proactiv, the leading anti-acne treatment product which is safe and effective to use by almost everyone. Alex shares, “Proactiv has always been part of my beauty regimen for six years. Its specially-formulated ingredients help treat and prevent acne.”

Personal Tip: Composed of the complete 3-Step System to knock out acne, Proactiv is very economical, safe, and easy to use:

Step 1 is the Renewing Cleanser, an oil-free, soap-free medicated exfoliating cleanser with U.S. prescription-grade benzoyl peroxide that kills acne-causing bacteria.

Step 2 is the Revitalizing Toner, a refreshing alcohol-free toner that refines and purifies pores.

Step 3 is the Repairing Treatment, a feather-light, invisible medicated treatment that kills acne-causing bacteria.

Every Proactiv kit comes with a free Proactiv Refining Mask, a rich, deep-cleansing mask formulated with sulfur, a proven acne- fighting ingredient that reaches deep into the pores where blemishes begin.

As Alex puts it, “Proactiv use only requires less than five minutes a day. It’s convenient and it works!” Take it from her, she sure knows her way to a smooth and acne-free skin.

Dear Sweetheart


My sweet man, I will forever mourn for “us” and for the happy years that will never be. I may have learned to live with this pain but I will never completely get over your loss. Everytime I hear a too familiar song, chance upon our favorite spot, or catch a whiff of your perfume…everytime Bianca and I celebrate a milestone or make a dream come true, you still come alive in my heart. There is no end to my grief because there’s no end to my love for you. Know that wherever this life takes me, I will always carry you in my heart.😌 Happy anniversary, sweetheart.

Happy Halloween

First, happy halloween to all! I know Halloween is not something unique to us Filipinos but like all things American, we have wholeheartedly embraced this tradition like it is our own. I know of a lot of people who spend tons of money in order to achieve the perfect halloween look. Children and adults for that matter look forward to this holiday because one, they get to dress up and be the fantasy character of their dreams, and two, they get to throw parties and eat all the sweets too.

Now, who says only normal kids can dress up and enjoy halloween! Children with special needs can join in the fun too. Check out this heartwarming Buzzfeed video of Oregon dad, Ryan Weimer, who started a nonprofit to build kids in wheelchairs amazing Halloween costume. Now, be ready to be touched and be inspired.

Go to if you want a kid on a wheelchair to have his dream costume. Happy Halloween!

The First Filipina Face of Proactiv

I got word from my brand partner, Proactiv, that they have finally found the perfect Filipina who embodies the brand. Last month,27-year-old actress and comediene, Alex Gonzaga, joined the roster of Hollywood elites as the first Filipino endorser of Proactiv.


Although I am not particularly fond of Alex, I have to admit that her charm and not to mention her loyalty to the brand makes her a perfect Proactiv endorser. Shares Alex, “The Proactiv 3-Step System has been an important part of my daily skin care routine for years! It is effective and easy to use. I am so thrilled to be the first Filipina face of Proactiv and tell everyone all about my experience using it.” She further adds, “It’s mild formulation gently exfoliates my skin, removes excess oil and delivers powerful acne-fighting medicine.”

Being an in-demand celebrity, she knows first hand how stress and fatigue can take a toll on the skin. She spends long hours taping, doing shoots, and attending to mall shows. She also puts on pounds of make-up which can cause damages on the skin such as zits and breakouts. If there is one person who can sincerely and credibly share how Proactiv’s dermatologically tested ingredients make skin clear, radiant and acne-free, it is Alex.

I was quite impressed when I learned that even with her frenetic schedule, Alex purposely finds time to do her Proactiv’s simple and easy 3-Step System. She explains her step by step beauty regimen as:

STEP 1: “Before going to sleep, I apply Proactiv’s Renewing Cleanser. You can feel it gently removing impurities in your skin with its exfoliating beads.” Akex shares.

The Renewing Cleanser is an oil-free, soap-free medicated exfoliating cleanser that kills acne-causing bacteria. It has U.S. prescription-grade benzoyl peroxide which are ultra-fine micro-crystals that penetrate the pores fast while being gentle on the skin.

STEP 2: “I follow it up with the Revitalizing Toner,” Alex continues.

Proactiv’s Revitalizing Toner is a refreshing alcohol-free toner that refines and purifies pores. Its Glycolic acid exfoliates dead skin cells to help keep pores unplugged while its botanical-rich formula soothes and hydrates acne-prone skin.

STEP 3: “I just squeeze a pea-sized amount of Repairing Treatment on my palm and spread it on my face,” she adds.

The Repairing Treatment is a feather-light, invisible medicated treatment that kills acne-causing bacteria preventing zits and acne.

Proactiv is available in 30-day kit (P 2,495.00) and 60-day kit (P 3,995.00). It is exclusively distributed at all Watson stores nationwide. Each Proactiv kit comes with a free Refining Mask. This Refining Mask makes a great leave-on spot treatment at night for better complexion in the morning.

Alex was warmly introduced as the new Proactiv brand endoser during a Press Launch last September 29 at Buddha Bar Manila. Says Proactiv Philippines General Manager, Mari del Rosario “We are proud to have Alex Gonzaga as the first Filipina face of Proactiv. She is beautiful, spontaneous, and hip. She fits the brand perfectly. With Alex heading our local campaign, we hope to reach out to more Filipinos and encourage them to take a step and fight acne today.” Welcome aboard, Alex!


When I took this little girl under my wing a few years ago, I knew right away that she’s totally different. She was grade 2 then. For one thing, she can’t sit still or stay inside the classroom for long. She’s quite something else too. She had no qualms speaking her mind, didn’t care one bit about her classmates or teachers’ opinions, and worst she would cry and beg every morning for me to send her home because she misses her mom. She was like this for 3 straight years.

Her teachers would often find themselves at their wits end trying to figure out a way to make her sit, listen, follow, and focus in class. Her fourth year in school was almost the same minus the crying episode. While the rest seemed to have given up on her, her mom and I never got tired believing that one day, she’ll make a complete turn around. Faith, hope, and love, we gave her a lot of that.

And my dear Chloe, she did not disappoint. On our fifth and last year together as mentor-mentee, and on her final year in grade school, she made it happen. She managed to make herself be what her family and I hoped and prayed for her to be. Clearly not perfect but right enough to make the Lord equally proud and happy too.

My Chloe, she has since moved to high school. I thank the Lord that she made her different than the rest because through her I witnessed yet another one of those amazing miracles that would make me continue to believe that no matter how uncertain things may seem at the start, with faith, hope, and love, all shall be well in the end.

Gawa ni Femi

One thing I love about instagram is that it provides a visual feast for the eyes. One account I follow there that never fails to make me smile everytime it post update is Gawani Femi.

gawa ni femi logo

This account is owned by Femi Cachola, an artist and crafterpreneur, who does amazing things with pots. She paints and gives each of them a character, and calls them potheads. The result is pretty amazing especially when you match them with the right succulents or cacti plant.

Here are some samples of her artworks:

Mimi an Otaku who is passionate about all things Kawaii


Lala the Karaoke Queen who is crazy about musical theatre and singing contest


Jojo who just love real and made-up stories


Vivi who finds uncommon exciting and weird amazing


Popo the real man’s man with his love for action movies, tools, old spice, and bacon


Dada the bookworm


They look good together too!

pothead 1

potheads 5

potheads 2

potheads 4

potheads 3

potheads 6

These are just some of the potheads that Femi cleverly and skillfully created. She organizes and facilitates craft parties and workshops as well. Her products are available online and at some selected stores.

Femi and her potheads are also doing the rounds of art festivals and fairs. You can connect with her in instagram here and facebook here to get the latest updates on her potheads’ whereabouts.:)

With the holidays coming, I am sure all of us are looking for a unique gift to give to friends. One that would make them squeal in delight and amazement. Gawani Femi potheads are perfect christmas gifts. I mean, who would not fall in love with them, they are quite charming plus they are proudly Filipino made. Let’s support local art!

Saturday Reflections

“What we are, is God’s work. He has created us, in Christ Jesus, for the good works he has prepared.”

I remember when I was a kid, I dreamt of becoming big someday. At least that somebody whose very presence is admired and sought by many. I envisioned myself many times conquering the stage, the courtroom, the boardroom. Well, I must say that reality is actually a distorted version of fantasy. One that is really quite funny if you think about it but also a bit enlightening in a way.

One of the things I am proud of in my 37 years of existence is that, I have managed to become that somebody at least to my loved ones. I am Mom to Bianca, Mrs. Dela Cruz to my students, and wife to Nan. I have conquered many places too, the stage as Bianca’s stagemom, the classroom as the funny SS teacher, our home as the former wife of Nan who is now resting in peace with the Lord, the road as the running mama, and the publising world as a writer/contributor for parenting magazines.

I have become sought after too. Kids come knocking at the faculty’s door looking for me when I am running late in class. And my very presence, well, it isn’t lacking in admiration especially among grade school children. A simple dance routine in clubs or an intersting powerpoint presentation in my class are enough to earn me a standing ovation. People, 7-9 year olds to be exact, call out my name, stop to say Hi, and even request for a picture.

When we find ourselves living a life different from what we imagined or taking a path different from the one we originally planned, know that it wasn’t accidental, we didn’t make a wrong turn. This is actually all part of the God’s grand master scheme for our life. We are exactly where God wants us to be right at this moment because He believes that this is the best way we can carry out His mighty plans. So where ever you are, whatever you have become, live out God’s amazing purpose for you.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

This October, I am one with the thousand others in celebrating Breast Cancer Awareness Month, wether it be in remembering every cancer patient, family, relative, or friend who has lost their battle to breast cancer or honoring the survivors and those who are still courageously fighting with the disease.

I know first hand how physically, emotionally, and even spiritually trying this disease can be both for the sick and her family. My only daughter, Bianca, was diagnosed with a different kind of cancer, Papillary Carcinoma (Thyroid Cancer in layman’s term) back in 2012. Sometimes the memory of her difficult experience during surgery and RAI treatment still knock the wind out of me. The fear alone that this lifetime disease would recur in the future is enough to stress the life out of anyone.


My daughter is not cancer free yet but we are certain in time, she’ll be. I am sure a lot would agree with me when I say that when you have invested enough in this fight, you’ll do everything to achieve victory. That’s what my daughter as well as the other cancer patients, survivors, and care givers I know have been doing. And it is for this reason that I have nothing but deep admiration for them for remaining positive and strong in the face of this dreaded disease. Their tenacity, will power, and faith during and after the ordeal are truly inspiring.

Despite the heartache, I still must say that I would always see cancer as a blessing rather than a misfortune in my family. It is because it has become a way for us to receive God’s amazing grace and boundless blessings. It also continue to serve as a great reminder for us everyday to celebrate life and its many big and even little yet significant victories.

Chronicles of a Reluctant Widow: Grief

To grow old with her beloved and to pass from this life together are the prayer and longing of every wife that loves. Not all get lucky though and are granted a happy-ever-after, some are simply blessed in a different way. Yesterday, I listened with a heavy heart as a dear friend recounted painfully her last few days with her husband. While she was sharing, it suddenly occured to me that grief is never the same for everyone for the very reason that we each have our own unique story of love and the breadth and depth of that love can’t be compared with another. So it is not right, even for me to say, I know exactly how she feels. I also realized that from the many stories of love I heard from fellow widows, one thing seems to be certain. It is, when there is love there is no such thing as too much, too little, too long, nor even too hard. And it is always, you are, we are, enough.

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