Category: Family & Relationships

World Sight Day 2013



285 million people are visually impaired. 80% don’t have to be. Together, we can raise awareness for visual impairment around the world by wearing sunglasses inside on


With TOMS Eyewear, the One for One™ Company Helps Give Sight Around the World Through Prescription Eyeglasses, Cataract Surgeries and Medical Treatments

This year, to show support and raise awareness for WORLD SIGHT DAY TOMS  challenges people to wear sunglasses inside on October 10th, 2013. Whether you’re at work, in bed, at a restaurant, inside a movie theatre, at the mall, in the library or anywhere your day might take you, “Be Shady” and show your support for WORLD SIGHT DAY.

WSD 2013 - Evite

World Sight Day is an annual day of awareness created to focus global attention on blindness, visual impairment and rehabilitation of the visually impaired. Blake MYcoskie, founder of TOMS related that, “Nearly every single human being can identify with not being able to see clearly, whether it’s personally or through knowing someone who has had an issue with his or her eye sight.”  He also shared that, “Realizing that so many millions of people are struggling with this issue each and every day, we feel compelled to continue to do our part to raise awareness and help those in need.”

 According to WHO and VISION2020, the magnitude of visual impairment and blindness and their causes have been estimated as follows:

     About 285 million people are visually impaired worldwide.

    39 million people are blind.

    19 million children are visually impaired.

    About 90% of the world’s visually impaired people live in developing countries.

    Globally, uncorrected refractive errors (often correctable with glasses) are the main cause of

    visual impairment.

    Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness.

 Leading up to World Sight Day 2013, TOMS is activating both online and offline through the creation of a dedicated microsite, and will be harnessing the power of social media and numerous events.  Online, TOMS supporters can go to to learn more about this important issue and find out how they can personally participate.  Visitors can also download World Sight Day toolkits that include uniquely inspiring eye charts, and are invited to utilize a new hashtag, #BESHADY, through social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

To promote this day, TOMS will team up with celebrities and our TOMS com­munity to create collateral with people wearing sunglasses to inform and get everyone excited about the day. Collateral will encourage people to post a picture of themselves wearing sunglasses inside on social media to raise awareness for WORLD SIGHT DAY.

So on October 10, 2013, let’s join TOMS and “Be Shady” together to raise awareness for visual impairment. Keeping the same momentum and excitement of ODWS, we will focus on World Sight Day as the day to rally together to bring awareness and ultimately an end to preventable blindness and visual impairment by wearing sunglasses inside. This campaign will help educate the world that visual impairment is a serious problem and we can start fixing it today by purchasing TOMS Eyewear. Every eyewear purchase helps give sight to a person in need.

Since its launch, TOMS ( targets to help give sight by the end of 2013 to over 150,000 people in need in 13 countries through the purchase of TOMS Eyewear. TOMS helps give sight through sustainable eye care organizations worldwide that use TOMS’ support to provide patients with prescription eyeglasses, sight-saving surgery, and medical treatment. TOMS’ giving program is supported and administered by the company’s lead sight giving partner, Seva Foundation (  Based in northern California, Seva has been implementing sustainable blindness prevention and sight restoration programs for over 30 years. Seva programs and partners have helped nearly three million people worldwide to see again.

About TOMS: In 2006, American traveler Blake Mycoskie befriended children in a village in Argentina and found they had no shoes to protect their feet. Wanting to help, he created TOMS, a company that would match every pair of shoes purchased with a pair of new shoes given to a child in need. One for One™. Last year, TOMS evolved from a shoe company into the One for One company,and is now addressing an entirely new need in addition to shoes through eyewear – helping give sight to people in need around the world.

Loudbastard: For The Love Of Music

It is not everyday that I come across a product that I would really love and rave about. Though it doesn’t take much to please me, it actually takes a lot for me to write about something.
I am an avid music fan and like any other music buff, I give much importance to the way I enjoy my sound. It is no secret as well that I have always been very vocal about my support for anything local and sustainable.  To actually find a product that marries both is a pure joy in itself. So let me share with  you this amazing local company that is behind this genius of a product.
Loudbasstard is a local company that was formed in Cebu last October 2012.  Their products, specifically their sound amplifiers, are made from natural materials and are created by skillful and talented Cebuano artisans. This company came about because of the founders’ passion to spread and share the love of music.

The Loudbasstard bamboo amplifier is a genius in itself. Made from homegrown bamboo, it merges evolving technology, industrial design, and sustainability. Each piece is organically hand-treated, hand-cut, hand-dyed and hand-packaged in Cebu, Philippines.  Check out this video to see how this amazing product is made:

A Loudbasstard amplifies the sound from a mobile phone about two times its present volume.  It fits most mobile phones and comes in eight colors.  What I like about the loudbasstard sound amplifier is that it isn’t just a piece of technology, it is an excellent piece of handicraft. It pays homage to our local artisans in Cebu whose talents are simply remarkable. To me, its beauty lies in its simplicity, ingenuity and sustainability.
To know more about Loudbastard, visit their website here (CLICK HERE).  And if you want a Loudbasstard of your own, you may purchase them at the airport, Republic of Banilad Town Center, and at The Give Project store in SM North Wing.
Let’s support our local artisans, lets enjoy our music with Loudbasstard, and buy Pinoy.:)

Care to Share

I have always been very vocal about my support for anything handmade. I am a great fan of the creative minds and hands behind them. Recently, my friend Irene’s amigurumi dolls caught my attention not only because she did a wonderful job crocheting eleven of them but also because of her purpose in creating them. You see, these dolls were created to support the “I Share. You Share. We Care” project of her brother-in law, Gerry Lita. They represent the eleven beneficiary kids of the project. Here are some of them.
I Share has been partially supporting the schooling of eleven kids from a marginal community in Cabuyao, Laguna for the past two years now.  I  Share provides them with complete sets of school supplies for the year including school uniforms and a small amount of at least 500 monthly for their snacks and other school needs. To date, it still continues to do so.  Sad  part though is it is running low on funds. These amigurumi dolls were lovingly created in the hope that it will help generate the funds needed to support and sustain the cause. Those who will make a pledge in kind or in cash, wether on a one time, monthly or quarterly basis in exchange will get one of the dolls.
I always believe that it really doesn’t take much on our part to change the world. And that our actions need not be grand as well for it to be considered life changing. In fact, our little concerted efforts and actions can do the trick. As simple as sharing your extras to help others and living up to the teaching of 2 Cor 9:7-8 can make a difference already.
In case you want to step up and help, you may send me a note at or pm  I Share at their facebook page here. Everyday we spend a lot on little stuffs that give us quick dose of happiness like a box of insanely expensive J. Co Donuts and Starbucks coffee. We get googly eyes when we see expensive designer bags, clothes, and shoes.  We don’t even think twice in buying them. If we can afford such luxury I guess we can afford to help one child stay in school as well. We’re not asking for much, whatever you can give as long as it comes from your heart will do. Believe me, it will not only give you quick dose happiness but a lifetime supply of blessings as well.

Chronicles of A Reluctant Widow #7: Leap of Faith

Answered prayers are not magic, they’re miracles and love. And since they’re love, the answer is not always a yes. Sometimes its difficult to understand why certain things need to happen or why things did not go as planned. Yes, we know that they do happen for a reason but many times, the reason is simply lost to us.
Our faith dictates us though to trust that everything will make sense in the future. To believe with all our heart that God will reveal His great design for us in His own perfect time. It moves us to wait patiently without questioning His purpose nor demand for an answer.
His loving grace, if we just allow ourselves to fully embrace it, will aid us as we finally come to terms with our current situation. We are never alone in our painful journey, He’s just right there beside us. It is just that sometimes we are blinded by fear and numbed by pain that we fail to see and feel His presence.
It will be good to remember that when we want to do little else but pull our hair out or throw our hands up in the air in frustration and surrender, there’s always heaven to look up to and God to call on. When we want nothing but to run up to the hills screaming in despair, there’s that peak at the top where we can take that big leap of faith. God is just right there waiting to catch us with open arms.
Post originally created for the Eat and Cheat Cancer Book Project

Our Role As A Social Media Influencer

Me As A Social Media Influencer
I remember starting this online journal back in 2008 when my husband gifted me with my very first laptop. At that time, I rediscovered my love for writing and was excited at the thought of stringing words into meaningful sentences again. All I wanted then was to write, write, and write. I didn’t care much if people read my posts. I was my own writer, reader, and follower.
When one of my blogpost about my experience as a scoliotic patient got quite a number of hits from people suffering from the same physical condition as mine,  I began seeing blogging in a different light. When people started turning to me for questions and referrals on how to best deal with their situation,  I realized that without intending to, I have become a social media influencer myself.
From then on, I started taking my passion for writing and sharing ideas seriously.  Since I envision this little space to be a source of inspiration to others, I began presenting information here in a way that would empower readers and make them take proactive steps to change the/their situtation. And as  Blancnotes become more and more visible in the netosphere,  I also felt a pressing need to be extra mindful of my duties and responsibilities as a social media influencer. If you are wondering what a Social Media Infuencer is, here’s a video from Janette Toral which pretty much sums it all up.

You As A Social Media Influencer
Nowadays, social media influencing isn’t only confined to bloggers. In fact anyone who posts his reactions, thoughts, and opinions  in their own blog page, facebook, twitter, google, and IG accounts is considered a social media influencer himself. As each one of us engage in some form of social networking activity everyday, we are influencing and forming other people’s thoughts. Therefore proper care especially in the choice of words to be used must be exercised for whatever consequences that may arise from our innocent article or  simple status message  can proved to be irreversible.
Our Role As A Social Media Influencer
With the elections in the offing, a lot of candidates are turning to social media influencers to make their online presence known. I have to admit that at some point I have written a couple of articles here on some electoral candidates that turned out to be quite a disappointment.  I have to agree though with Ms.Janette Toral  in her article Tapping Social Media Influencer To Inform or Misinform that, “If we have helped in the past in spreading the word about them and their advocacies – and having doubts at the moment, I think it is important for that to be articulated and let those who interacted with us then and now help process our thoughts on this subject.” The job of a social media influencer doesn’t stop when the article gets published or when the status message have been posted, we always have to set things straight if need be. As social media influencers we have to make our online presence count by promoting fair, honest, and truthful exchange of opinion and ideas.
In the end, our aim as social media influencer should not be about gaining some sort of power with our words. It is about affecting change, inciting people to think, and mobilizing them to take action whether it be in major decisions that would affect our country such as the upcoming election or in pressing environmental concerns and issues that affect our community.
Do you think you have become an effective and responsible Social Media Influencer yourself? I will be happy to read your thoughts here.

True Love

I believe that true love happens only once, my little infinity with Nan taught me that. If by any chance, a person comes along, a person who has the capacity to love with the same passion and intensity as (if not more than) Nan..a person who also knows exactly how to make her girl feel adored, cherished, and loved…a person who would love and care for me the same way Nan did to my mom, I wish him not for myself but for my daughter, Bianca because I had more than enough of that kind of love from Nan.
Today, I remember the beautiful love, the special bond and the deep connection that I shared with my lover, bestfriend and better half. There’s always that sadness and longing in remembrance but there’s also that extreme joy in knowing that I was lucky enough to have found my true love at a time God deemed perfect and that the little time we had together amounted to the happily ever after that I always dreamed of for myself. Happy Hearts Day everyone, wishing you all the same special love that I shared with my husband. Wherever you are, I hope you are spending this day with your one true love, if not, you still have the rest of the 364 days to make up for today. #chroniclesofareluctantwidow

On The State of Our Airports and The Digichive Issue

An online article reacting on reports that Philippines has the worst airports in the world caught my attention yesterday.  Not so much because the news comes as a surprise to me (it does not since I have read about it a couple of times already) but because of the rather disturbing issue associated with it.
I am admittedly not a seasoned traveler but  I’ve been to some of our airports a couple of times to honestly say that they aren’t as bad as others claim them to be.  Most of them are  well kept and clean though we can’t really discount the fact that some if not most of them badly need a major make over too.

Busuanga Airport

 (Busuanga Airport)

I remember when we landed at Cebu International airport, the first thing that came to my mind was, it doesn’t look like an international airport at all, it looks rather beaten and old.  And when my group was at Busuanga airport following our trip to Coron, Palawan, I was rather shock to discover that they don’t have an xray machine, the airport personnels literally check each and every luggage themselves.
The few occasions I got to travel overseas,  I also can’t help but compare NAIA terminal 1, 2, and 3. In my personal opinion, NAIA 2 and 3 can hold their own against other international airports in Asia in terms of upkeep, façade and facilities but can’t say the same thing with NAIA 1.  It needs more than a facelift, it badly needs a total renovation especially since it is the official landing strip of almost if not all international inbound flights . It can do with a newly improved look.

NAIA 2 (I liked that's its relatively small, no chance of getting lost and missing the flight)

NAIA Terminal  2

NAIA 3 (The wide space tends to make that trip to the boarding gates rather tiring)

NAIA Terminal 3

With the big influx of tourists and travellers coming in and out of the country everyday, you would think that MIAA would have by now accumulated enough funds to start or continue their upgrade and upkeep projects, but sad to say that’s not the case at all. Everyday it is loosing money due to mismanagement of funds, income, and revenues.  The news on about the Digichive Philippine’s  aiport advertising contract  issue with MIAA is a prime example. According to the article, MIAA has not been getting its fair share of advertising revenue from  Digichive, the ad agency that has been managing the ad spaces in our airports.  It was reported that Digichive pays only about 13.5 million advertising revenue to MIAA when the revenue that it should be receiving is supposed to be much more than that. When Mr. Honrado took over the management and decided to rebid the exclusive advertising concession rights, Digichive scrambled to offer a much higher revenue commitment than what it has previously been giving. And when Digichive didn’t win, it requested a temporary restraining order on the awarding of the project to the highest bidder. I don’t know, this act definitely looks shady. The fact that Digichive Philippines gave a meager advertising revenue to MIAA than what it rightfully deserve all these years does cast a shadow of doubt to its integrity and intention.  My two cents, we should know better by this time based on how the events are playing out.
My hat goes off to MIAA’s general manager, Jose Angel Honrado’s wise move though. I agree with Mr. Honrado’s decision of putting the exclusive advertising concession rights up for bidding, this gives equal footing to all interested parties. I personally believe that every contract that a government agency enters into has to be transparent and has to go through proper bidding process.
Hopefully, when MIAA manages to bring some order to its revenue collections, it will prioritize the upgrading of all the security and navigational equipments of our airports, improvement of  all their facilities, expansion of those with limited space, and completion of pending airport projects & addition of more airports in key provinces.

Driving Myself Nuts

One of the hardest part of loosing Nan is perhaps filling his shoes. It’s just too big for my 5 inch feet. When he passed away, I am suddenly thrusted with  all these responsibilities that I made myself believe that he and only he alone  can do.  I am Your Highness, The Queen, and The Master no more. The girl who used to spend her free time stretched out lazily in the sofa with her feet  propped up high in front of the telly happily watching an episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians or some other reality flicks now finds herself dog tired and just about ready to collapse in bed every night. So next time you see me and notices the few extra weight I’ve lost, please be polite not to mention it, its not because I went on a crash diet or been too depressed to eat, it’s actually because  my muscles and bones are now hard at work. In tagalog, nagbabanat nako ng buto ngayon! Tapos na ang maliligayang araw ko at hanggang dito sa lupa naririnig ko si Nan na humahagalpak sa tawa  sa langit.
Anyway, the most difficult among the thousand tasks that I have to do now is driving and maintaining the car. It has been giving me so much stress (read: pimples. I wasn’t born to love driving I guess, I was born to be the pain-in-the ass passenger, and man! was I good at it when Nan was alive. Anyway, since I now value every peso even the 5 and 10 centavos, I had to ditch the driver which I had for only about three weeks (who am I kidding, I am no rich kid) and take over the steering wheel. Last time I drove was five years ago and I used to bribe Nan everyday before with a promise of a full night of passion just so he would drive us till at the gate of Ayala Alabang Village where I would take over and try not to crash the car until I reach my parking space in Woodrose (which is in sort of like an open field). So technically it wasn’t really professional or even non-professional driving, it was only student driving.
Anyway, of course when you drive you have to learn the tricks of the trade right. I noticed before how Nan and the other drivers seem to communicate perfectly  just by flicking the lights . I find it rather cool actually but never really tried it before. And so I asked my good friends at work how to do it, and they just said you just flick this stick behind the steering wheel. So one day when on the road, a car did “The Flick” to me, and so I had to flick back right? Excitedly I flick the stick behind the steering wheel, and ‘lo and behold, water squirted out and the wiper came woooshing back and forth, I flicked the wrong one. And you know, this little monster beside me a.k.a my daughter just had to let out a loud guffaw. I had to redeem myself so I practiced and practiced until I was ready to do it to other drivers. I was waiting for the perfect moment to strike and when it did, I flicked perfectly, at every car turning, every person crossing, and every jeep in my wat that the little monster beside me had to shout, “Come on!” and “What the heck!” all in one breath.  Next time you see me on the road, please please respond to my flick.
One of the tiring part of maintaining the car was of course cleaning it. I never really understood why Nan had to clean the car everyday, I do now. Dirty car is a sight for sore eyes especially if you are the one driving it and you happen to be a girl. I don’t want to see the look in people’s eyes when I step down from my dirty car and hear people whisper behind my back, “Ay yan yung balo, depress sya dipa sya makapaglinis ng sasakyan.” And so I went to Ace Hardware and bought myself  those chamois rug thingy that absorbs water and some tire black. I refuse to use Nan’s old ones, I want my armory new. I did manage it to clean it good the first time. I was so proud of myself. I have watched Nan a hundred times before that I got it  right on the spot. Oh well, except for the tire black. Okay I didn’t know you have to apply it using a sponge. The first time I applied it on my tires, I used a rag and they looked like they’ve were peed on by dogs and not like brand new looking tires. It didn’t help also that the birds like to poop on my car after I cleaned it. I can’t understand why of all the cable wire hanging in our street, they like to stand and hang out on the one that is directly on top of my parking space.  I did try to move the car  a little a couple of times to avoid getting shot by bird poops, but somehow they still manage to do it. Among the 6 cars parked in our streets, mine was the only one getting bird poops everyday. Why these birds like to do that to me is beyond me.
I’d like to believe that I am getting rather good at driving everyday day though. I have managed to  avoid running over the traffic enforcer in the middle of the road by a hair line, stopped the gas man just in time before he pour the unleaded since I forgot to say diesel, park the car decently in front of our house everyday without having to go down and check (okay, well not as often as I used to now), bring the car to the autoshop for oil change (good thing I was able to track down Nan’s patient mechanic, if it would have been another one, he would have just about pull his hair in frustration with my no-brainer-car-related-duh questions) and expertly avoid getting a ticket for coding by waiting surreptiously at the corner before I make a turn where the traffic enforcers are. I’ve mastered the trick of waiting and trailing closely behind cars with the same number codes as mine (it never fails, they get flagged down while I speed away). I have also proudly avoided ramming the car in my front and at my back the first time I tried squeezing in between two cars to park (I saw the drivers of the cars run in panic though and laughed at their helpless expression as I do my trial and error parking thing). I also can drive now with the radio/ipod on unlike the first week I went back to driving where I want nothing but complete silence lest I loose my concentration. I also don’t hang on to the steering wheel for dear life and has allowed myself to adjust the seat a little far back and relax while driving.
For the longest time, driving or anything remotely close to is has been at the top list of  my greatest fears. Loosing Nan has forced me to face this fear. It’s not as hard as I thought it would be, it is still my number one stressor but I think I can really do this now. I know he would have been proud of me, he even told his friends a week before he died, “Yung misis ko mas matindi magmaneho sa akin yon, sya na nga magdadala nito e (referring to our car and me, e hello ako lang naman misis nya e so ako yon diba).”  He had so much faith in my driving capabilities that I really wouldn’t want to let him down. If Nan knew that he was going to die that day, I am sure he would have told me all the tips and tricks he knew about driving but as it is he himself didn’t know so I am left to discover them on my own.
There’s this one road that I have been avoiding to take because it suddenly slopes up way too high, a climb as Nan and I would call it.  I have been avoiding it.  I have been so afraid to take it because it is steep, sharp and you can’t see way beyond it ( yes it is that high). I always hold my breath everytime Nan drives up to it before and he always executes it perfectly. I guess that somehow explains most of what I am feeling now, I am so afraid of so many things because I can’t see beyond them since my compass, my Nan, is now gone. Last Dec. 27, I decided to take the climb to  finally put an end to my misery since I know at some point I have to muster the courage to take it. I simply can’t avoid it forever. And so With Bianca beside me, and my mom at the back, I hit the accelerator, did some magic with the clutch, and took the climb. And surprise surprise, I did it, I actually did it. It wasn’t as high as I thought it was and it wasn’t as hard as it seems.  When I managed to get us to the top, we were so relieved, happy, and jubilant that we all shouted while raising our fists in the air, “Wooohoooo!” And oh, I also did manage to grab the steering wheel just in time before it hit the tricycle on the opposite lane. I have to remember that I am not supposed to let go of the steering wheel especially during moments of extreme excitement.
I think, I really am driving myself nuts.

Honda Donates 1 Million To Victims of Typhoon “Pablo” in Mindanao

With the news of widespread devastation, loss of lives, and displacement of families and communities caused by typhoon Pablo in Mindanao, Honda Foundation Inc. lost no time in reaching out to its partner institution, ABS-CBN Foundation Inc., and donated Php1million to sustain rescue and relief efforts to severely affected areas.
HFI is the corporate social responsibility arm of the subsidiaries of Honda Motor Co., Ltd. (Japan) in the Philippines. The subsidiaries of Honda Motor Co., Ltd. (Japan) in the Philippines are comprised of Honda Philippines, Inc., Honda Cars Phils., Inc., Honda Parts Manufacturing Corp., and Honda Trading Phils., Ecozone Corp.
HFI had also donated to victims of strong typhoons such as Ondoy, Sendong, and Habagat.