Music

imageMy dear Bianca Angela,
Quite frankly I really do not know where your talent in music comes from. It can’t be from daddy, he’s tone deaf or from me, I can’t carry a tune. But then you being good at it is no surprise considering how earnestly you danced and moved inside my womb before everytime you hear sweet beatiful music play. It must be that your ears were trained early to listen and respond to the melodies of your heart or my heart. There’s a certain kind of music, a certain kind role in the world that only you can play. I hope you will always find the passion to express and fullfill it.
Love,
Mommy

Make It Happen

Build a small house with a rose garden. Be owned by cuddly dogs. Surround myself with my little and my big loves. Fall asleep to butterfly kisses and wake up to warm hugs. Grow old with the person I hold dear in my heart. Write and then write some more. Smile and laugh a lot. This life. It won’t be perfect and it won’t always be easy. But, it will be mine and I will be happy. That’s the plan. That’s the want.

Motherhood

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I think 14 years later, I still haven’t gotten this motherhood thing right. I still haven’t done the whole baking, cooking, arts and crafts, and wash/laundry routine that would make me a qualified homemaker just yet. I probably would have, had tragedy didn’t struck early. The most I’ve done so far are drive my kid to school, teach her how to be a self-starter, and bring her to the best places where we can score good food and great dessert. You could say that I am more close to mastering fatherhood than motherhood. But then again, there are moms and there are single moms. While every woman can be a mom, I guess it takes a badass mom to become a dad too. And yes, I’m badass.

Managing Summer Acne With Proactiv

Summer is synonymous to vacations, thrilling adventures, and  the great outdoors. But unfortunately for some, the high temperature can also spell acne and its complications. The sweltering heat often cause sweating, which when mixed with excessive oil, dirt and bacteria clog skin pores and lead to breakouts. But then the good news is, despite our overactive oil glands this summer, we can still enjoy the sun, thanks to the best pimple-fighting ally: Proactiv Solution! It is the leading anti-acne treatment product in the market that is proven safe and effective for everyone. Not only does it address acne from the roots, it also helps prevent facial blemishes!
How It Works
Proactiv’s mild formulations gently exfoliate skin, remove excess oil, and deliver powerful acne-fighting medicine. Its acne-care system can work alone or in combination with a dermatologist’s prescriptions. Its micro-crystal medicine penetrates pores fast and delivers instant acne-fighting action.
How to Achieve Acne-Free, Summer Ready Skin
Making Proactiv an essential part of your daily skincare regimen is just easy since it only takes five minutes to apply. Its oil-free formulation is designed to absorb excess oil giving face a more mattified appearance.  Skin remains soft, smooth, hydrated, and without the greasy look and feel.
Simple Three-Step System to Acne-Free Skin:
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RENEW
Step 1: Renewing Cleanser
This medicated Renewing Cleanser is made with exclusive micro-crystal benzoyl peroxide. This small, fine particles are designed to quickly penetrate pores and kill acne-causing bacteria on contact. They act as tiny exfoliating beads that gently remove dirt, excess oil, and dead skin cells.
REVITALIZE
Step 2: Revitalizing Toner
This refreshing, alcohol-free toner helps remove impurities and excess oil so skin looks and feels clean, soft and refreshed . The soothing botanical agents in this solution also gently balance the skin tone.
REPAIR
Step 3: Repairing Treatment
This feather light, medicated repairing solution gets deep into clogged pores faster. It is designed to be gentler on the skin. Its oil-free formula makes it safe to use in your entire face.
BONUS: Refining Mask
This rich, deep cleansing mask uses sulfur, a proven acne blemish-fighting ingredient that reaches deep into the pores. It heas  existing blemishes, pampers inflamed skin, and softens and refines the skin’s texture.
This summer, we can definitely beat the breakouts, by using PROACTIV!

Protect Your Skin From the Sun With Daylong

I never thought I’ll manage to run a 10 km in this heat but yesterday morning, I did, thanks to my new sunscreen! When I was training for the marathon, I would wake up as early as 5 am to beat the sunrise. I would clock in a nice 14-16 km long run and a few short runs every week. But then when summer came, it has been very difficult for me to do even a 10. It is because by the time I packed in some decent miles, the sun is already scorching hot and I can feel it burning my skin. So lately, I have been running mostly in the afternoons.  I have to admit that even at this time, there’s no escaping the heat.  A sunscreen is still in order since the sun stays till 5:30 pm. 
I have never been a fan of sunscreen lotion. Well, maybe because I don’t like how it leaves me feeling icky and how its dizzying smell sometimes linger. But when I became enagaged in this sport, I have recognized the need to apply it more often especially when a couple of friends remarked how I seemed to have aged with just a few months of running and also when I learned that two of my friends’ relatives have been diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma a.k.a skin cancer due to severe heat expore. Those harmful UV and infrared radiation are really no joke, mind you. 
When my daughter and I were shopping for a new sunscreen after our supply ran out, we came accross a line of Daylong Sun Protection from Galderma. I decided to try it because I figured if its from the same maker of Cetaphil, it must be good. My daughter has been a Cetaphil user since she was a baby.  We absolutely swear by this product since it cured her of atopic dermatitis.
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Anyway, back to Daylong. I purchased the Daylong Gel SPF50+ for sensitive to oily skin since I have both. And boy, it didn’t disappoint. I put on a generous amount on my skin before a run and it didn’t feel sticky at all! Even when my sweat glands were working overtime, my skin remains grease free. And the best part, no scent! I instantly loved it. My face usually stings whenever I stay too long under the sun even with sunscreen on. Surprisingly, with Daylong, there’s none of that. A clear indication that this product has no strong chemicals and has been dermotologically tested safe. Looks like, I have found the perfect sunscreen! 
There’s a lot to be said about the harmful effects of UVA, UVB, and IR radiation. Premature aging, irreversible sun damage, skin cancer to name a few. If you want to know more about these  hard facts as well as how Daylong can protect your skin down to a cellular level, visit their website at http://daylong.ph. They have interesting reads there. 
Next on our list to try is the Daylong Sun Protection for kids! Yes they have that too. I am excited because my daughter is willing to try the product after letting her know that yes it’s grease free and fragrance free! She loves the great outdoors but hates putting on sunscreen like me. Lets see how this one goes.:) 

Thyroid Cancer and Radiation Plus A Way To Shield Your Baby From Exposure With Belly Armor

When we were seeking treatment for my daughter’s thyroid cancer, doctors often asked whether or not I was exposed to radiation when I was pregnant or Bianca, for that matter, when she was still a baby.  Apparently exposure to radiation along with genetics has been seen as one of the risk factors of thyroid cancer in children. 
Thyroid cancer is considered as a slow progressing type of cancer.  You can have it for years without you knowing it.  It usually manifest itself later as an enlarged thyroid which when tested through fine needle aspiration biopsy yield positive for malignancy. Although common in adults in their mid 20s to late 40s, it is very rare in children.  In fact, only 5 new cases per 1,000,000 children in the US are recorded every year. My daughter, Bianca, had hers two years ago when she was only 12. We didn’t know she had it until one afternoon when we noticed an unusual lump at the base of her neck. After a series of tests, it was confirmed that she had papillary carcinoma.  Our surgeon decided to perform a total thyroidectomy right away and a month after her surgery, she received radioactive iodine treatment.  She has not been declared cancer free yet but she is responding well to thyroid hormone replacement therapy. Although considered as the friendliest among all cancers, I still wouldn’t wish it to anyone, especially to a child, because well, cancer is cancer. The treatment is long term and the risk that it can come back at any given time and in other form will always be there.
As far as I know I wasn’t exposed to any  type radiation when I was pregnant but then again, I might unknowingly have been considering that a lot of what we use everyday emit low level radiation. The alarming thing about low level radiation is that it can have a huge impact not just on babies inside a mommy’s tummy but also to young children in general. Based on studies done by the American Academy of Pediatrics, children absorb two times more radiation in their brains and ten times more on the bone marrow of their skulls. Studies in Yale University School of Medicine and UCLA also showed that mothers exposed to cellphone radiation impacts fetal development that can lead to numerous other problems. 
As our society becomes increasingly wireless, the levels of radiation exposure we receive continue to grow at an alarming rate. As moms, we should be mindful of this and take precautionary measures to shield our kids and even our unborn children from the harm that it can bring. There are products such as Belly Armor in the market today that can do just that. 
 
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Belly Armor is a line of maternity accessories that uses Radiashield Technology.  The Radiashield fabric, a high conductive silver textile with the same shielding property as that of a 1/4 inch thick aluminum sheet protect against everyday radiation coming from cellphones, laptops, wireless towers, and other devices. Things that we use everyday and whose side effects we really don’t give much thought. If you are interested to know more about how Belly Armor products can protect your unborn child and infant, visit their website at www.bellyarmor.com.
 Had these Belly Armor products been around some 13 years ago, I would have bought one for myself in a heartbeat if only to ensure the safety of my baby.  

Six Mom Advocates and Their Inspiring Stories

Much has been said about motherhood being the toughest job in the world, but then ask any mom and you would be surprised to know that at any given time, the task of mothering is less of a burden but more of a joy for most of them.  In fact, some have even wholeheartedly embraced the calling so much that they have took it upon themselves to nurture the community as a whole. They have continuously work to ensure that the needs of other children in the coummunity are provided and met.  They have also empowered fellow women to become good mothers to their children by sharing what they know. This month in Working Mom magazine, I interviewed six amazing moms who have dared to make a difference through their chosen advocacies while staying loving and devoted to their own family. Here they are:
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Michelle Aventajado 
Down Syndrome Advocate
Michelle has been championing the cause of children with special needs since giving birth to her youngest, Evangelina. She chronicles her experiences as a mom of a child with Down Syndrome in her blog, mommanmanila.com.  She is active in organizations such as the Down Syndrome Association of the Philippines, Inc. (DSAPI) and The Center Of Possibilities whose programs caters to children with special needs and their families.


Jenny Ong
Breastfeeding and Natural Parenting Advocate
Jenny is a peer counselor for LATCH, Inc., an organization that provides breastfeeding classes for pregnant women and their families. She supports organizations such as Arugaan, a grassroots community based organization in the fight for the strict implementation of the Milk Code and Filipino Association of Babywearers, a group who strongly advocates the babywearing lifestyle. She is the blogger behind www.chroniclesofanursingmom.com.  She actively promotes the natural parenting lifestyle by giving talks on cloth diapering, breastfeeding and babywearing. 


Janice Trillo
Women and Children Causes Advocate
Janice is the reigning Mrs. Philippines Globe 2014 title holder who represented the country in the recently concluded Mrs. Globe World Finals at Shenzhen, China. She bagged The Philanthropy of the Year award and made it to the Top 16. She’s 37 years old with five kids.  She has been involved in different social and charitable activities in Subic and Olongapo as past President and now Secretary of Rotary Club Subic Pearl. 


Denise Manlapaz
Likhang Bata Online Gallery
Teacher Dindi is the founder and art teacher of Likhang Bata. She was a graphic designer, marketing image consultantant, and advertising teacher before she decided to concentrate full time in sharing and cultivating appreciation for the unique Filipino culture through her online arts gallery, Likhang Bata  (www.likhangbata.weebly.com).  She continues to organizes art workshops, festivals and summer camps in partnership with other institutions. 


Patricia Gonzales-Cruz
Kinder Project
Teacher Tisha has been a childhood educator since 1991. She founded Kinder Project which provides teacher training support and quality teaching materials to the poorest kindergarten classrooms in the country. A class project with her kindergarten students way back in 2002 brought them in Miarayon, Bukidnon where the lack of learning materials fuelled her desire to create teaching tools for classrooms that needed them most. She shares her mission to help in her website www.learninglion.ph


Joy T. Mendoza
Homeschooling Advocate
Joy is a homeschooling mom who blogs at Teach With Joy (www.teachwithjoy.com), a webpage devoted to faith, marriage, parenting, and homeschooling.  She is married to Edric Mendoza, who shares the passion for homeschooling with her and together, they have five children. All homeschooled. 
Check out the inspiring stories of these six amazing women in the Mother’s Day issue of Working Mom magazine. 



Endurance Sports Magazine Feature (April Issue)

I have never been good at any sport growing up that is why I am beyond happy, thrilled, and excited to be featured in this month’s issue of Endurance Sports Magazine. Here, I shared what prompted me to join The Bullrunner’s TBR Dream Marathon, what I learned from the experienced, and how it has changed me since then.
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Benjamin Franklin once said, either you write something worth reading or do something worth writing. Eversince I decided to reinvent myself, I made it my goal to do both.
Thank you Endurance Sports Magazine and Jaymie Pizzaro for the feature, it feels good to be the subject (and not the writer) for a change. Friends, you can read the virtual copy here (http://issuu.com/newleafmedia/docs/041115_endurance_april_for_referenc/c/subjlru) or grab the April issue at your favorite sports store.

Be Summer Ready with Proactiv Kit + Wen Cleansing Conditioner

As much as I love summer, I have to admit that the heat just totally gets to me sometimes. Aside from pimple breakouts, the sun also causes my hair to be frizzy and dry. I’ve been stressing about my hair these days because I am trying to grow it long and healthy again, and the heat and humidity are not really helping.
It is no secret that I have been a fan of Proactiv for a long time as it is the only product that can put a reign on my pimples. If you are like me who can’t stay away from the sun but worry about its bad effects on the face and hair, I am pretty sure you will be excited to know too that Proactiv has partnered up with Wen Cleansing Conditioner. A discount on Wen Cleansing Conditioner is being offered if you purchase a Proactiv kit. WEN® Cleansing Conditioner is a revolutionary new concept in hair care made by the same manufacturer of Proactiv – Guthy Renker USA. It is a 5-in-1 formula that takes the place of shampoo, conditioner, deep conditioner, detangler and leave-on conditioner. It cleanses hair thoroughly without lathering. It does not have all the harsh ingredients that may be found in ordinary shampoos that might strip hair and scalp of their natural oils too. Hair becomes totally moisturized and easy to manage with continued use and what’s more, it retains color better. It is available in two scents: Pomegranate or Sweet Almond Mint.
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Proactiv customers purchasing a Proactiv kit (30-day or 60-day) from the Proactiv Philippines Online shopping site https://my.proactiv.comph can choose to upgrade their kits with an additional product, Wen Cleansing Conditioner 350ml at Php250 discount (if purchased with 30-day kit) or at Php400 discount (if purchased with 60-day kit).
Original Retail Price of Wen Cleansing Conditioner 350ml: Php 995
New Price, as an Add-on to your Proactiv 30-day kit: Php 745
Best Price, as an Add-on to your Proactiv 60-day kit: Php 595
This bundle will be valid until May 15, 2015. Here’s how to avail:
1. Visit http://my.proactiv.com.ph and create an account.
2. Browse the shopping site for products you like, or go straight to http://my.proactiv.com.ph/products.htm. The Proactiv 60-day tab shows a window at the right side indicating Php 400 discount on Wen Cleansing Conditioner 350ml if you bundle it with your kit purchase. The Proactiv 30-day kit tab shows a similar window indicating Php 250 discount on Wen Cleansing Conditioner 350ml if you bundle it with your 30-day kit purchase.
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3. The discount on Wen Cleansing Conditioner is available only for purchases of Proactiv 30 day and Proactiv 60 day kits.
4. For customers who shall avail of the Proactiv money back guarantee, please note that Wen and its equivalent purchase price is excluded from the refund value.
5. Nationwide Free delivery applies to orders of this bundle.

Product Review: Proactiv Renewing Cleanser

One of the things I had to deal with after running my first full marathon last Sunday was my pimple breakout. The following day, I not only woke up to an aching body, I also woke up to a pimple infested face. We’re not talking about modest looking pimples here mind you, we’re talking about big, fat zits. 
Anyway, I kind of expected this scenario already after I spent a total of 7 grueling hours running, with the last two, under the heat of the sun last Sunday. I knew it was inevitable that the combination of sweat, heat, and dust will cause my skin to break out that is why I had my Proactiv Renewing Cleanser ready and on stand by. Personally speaking, it is hands down, the best  post marathon or post exercise facial wash for me.
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You might be wondering what makes Proactiv Renewing Cleanser superior than the regular cleanser / soap. Well, let me tell you that it is because of its formulation. While it may seem counter intuitive, harsh scrubbing does not unclog pores any better than gentle cleansing. In fact, it may actually worsen acne. Although it reduces surface oils and dead skin cells, using harsh products, laden with alcohol and foamy surfactants (detergents) to wash the acne off the skin may cause it to worsen and become more irritated. 
Proactive Renewing Cleanser gently unplug pores because its fine polyethylene beads efficiently exfoliates dead cells and gently relieve impacted pores of impurities. It does not contain any surfactants/detergents unlike many other cleansers. Surfactants are the chemicals responsible for the sudsy foam and lather in detergents.  It strip skin of essential oils and  cause its barrier to become damaged and vulnerable to irritation and impaction. 

Proactiv Renewing Cleanser’s oil free and soap free medicated formula contains advanced micro crystal benzoyl peroxide which when combined with a mild cleanser can lightly and gently wash the skin. Based on my experience, the Renewing Cleanser does not cause a stinging sensation after washing that is why I prefer it over other facial wash in the market. Usually, right after running, I wash my face with it because I know that the benzoyl peroxide penetrates the pores fast.  It attacks and kills acne-causing bacteria thereby reducing the  number of acne pimples. 
Take a look at some of its winning ingredients:
Benzoyl Peroxide. The essential anti bacterial agent that fights acne. The 2.5% concentration is just effective as the 10% found in most solutions.  This low concentration gives an acne-fighting benefit with no side effects. 
Sodium Hyaluronate. This mucopolysaccharides act as humectant that draw moisture to the skin. Mucopolysaccharides are gel like substances surrounding the collagen and elastin in the dermis layer of the skin. 
Polyethylene. These small round beads have no sharp edges that can tear and scratch the skin. These are responsible for removing old and dead cells. This gives my face the squeky clean feel after washing. 
Anthemis Nobilis Flower Extract.  A  botanical extract known for its soothing properties. Skin feels totally relaxed after washing.
The Proactiv Renewing Cleanser is included in the Proactiv Solution 30-day and 60-day kits.  It is best used with the Proactiv Combination Therapy. It is the one that helps remove dead skin cells and impurities that clog pores while the advanced microcrystal benzoyl peroxide in the Proactiv® 3-Step System kill acne-causing bacteria. The glycolic acid and other exfoliants reduce excess oils and dead skin cells.
For better results, use morning and night. Just apply a small (dime-sized) amount to damp skin and gently massage for 1 to 2 minutes.  Rinse thoroughly with warm water and pat dry. If bothersome dryness or peeling occurs, reduce application to once a day or every other day.  If you are going outside use a sunscreen.
Proactiv Solution kits are available at:
a. Proactiv Online Shopping: http://my.proactiv.com.ph
b. Proactiv Delivery Door–to-Door Hotlines: Metro Manila Landline: (02) 729-2222 Globe Provincial: 1-800-8-729-8888 PLDT Provincial: 1-800-10-889-4444 Mobile Number: 0917-801-888
c. Proactiv Mall Kiosks Glorietta, Ground Floor Trinoma, 2nd Floor
d. Watson and SM Department Stores (Beauty Section) nationwi