Building a #healthierPH with Unilab Foundation

One of the things that I often pray for is good health – good health for me, for my family, and for my dear friends. That small circle however, does not seem to be enough as Unilab Foundation, Unilab’s humanitarian arm, wants to take it a notch (a great notch!) further to include the entire Philippines! Curious as to how the whole country can be rallied to be healthy, I signed up to join the #healthierPH event held last September 16, 2014 at Sentro 1771 in Capitol Commons, Pasig. Unilab Foundation invite

This delectable display of food was already waiting for us when we got there.

Unilab Foundation #healthierPH

The place was set up with a touch of techy-ness to keep up with the “social media rockstars” (ahem ahem, I felt so honoured to be referred to as one) who were the guests of the event. Unilab Foundation #healthierPH

Papers in the form of iPads were ready on the table for taking notes.

Unilab Foundation #healthierPH

On every table, there were these gadget holders (useful for taking selfies!) for us to use. It held the event’s program that was in the form of an iPhone. Unilab Foundation #healthierPH

These were the key words in our media kit, which we’ll later learn are Unilab Foundation’s programs to help build a #healthierPH. Unilab Foundation #healthierPH

The program kickstarted with Unilab Foundation’s Executive Director, Rhodora Palomar-Fresnedi giving the opening remarks. She shared that she used to work for various countries but a bigger calling came, and that was to come back home and be of service to her countrymen. Hooray! Unilab Foundation #healthierPH

How to Build a #healthierPH?

This slide sums up the programs that Unilab Foundation designed to build a healthier Philippines one person and one community at a time. Unilab Foundation #healthierPH

  • Bayanihan Sagad aims to educate and empower the Filipino elderly by promoting active ageing and a healthy lifestyle.
  • Project Inclusion seeks to prove by way of a research study that hiring PWDS, particularly those with Autism and Down Syndrome, is the right thing to do because it is good for the business and it is good for the employed PWD.
  • Leadership Journey helps train doctors be leaders in their profession so that they can lead patients to better health in their role as department heads, hospital directors, heads of missions, and officers of medical societies
  • Play It Forward targets children’s holistic development and aims to significantly improve their physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being through play.
  • Ideas Positive is a venue for college students to share their innovative and sustainable ideas which will address health and wellness concerns of their chosen communities, and more importantly, turn those ideas into reality. 

Okay, so How Can We Help?

To build a healthier Philippines, each of us must volunteer and contribute our share. Now before the word volunteer sends you running and making excuses, this concept of volunteerism has adapted with the digital age. Gone is the idea of having to physically be at a certain place to be able to volunteer. We can all volunteer just by clicking our mouses and tapping our keyboards. No extra money to give? No problem. No extra time to spare? No problem! Through the #healthierPH Volunteer Portal, one can share a talent or simply click the share button to volunteer.

During the event, there were 2 laptops there for the guests to create an account. To be able to try the whole process would take a while though so I waited to get home to get my hands on it. I’ll show you a walk through below.

Unilab Foundation #healthierPH

Apart from the Volunteer Portal launch, there was also an Instagram selfie contest during the event. Among the winners were these two lovelies, Mommy Celerhina of Reigning Still Unilab Foundation #healthierPH

and Kisty of Kisty.net (Oh yes, her hair is really pink! 🙂 )

Unilab Foundation #healthierPH

Oh look, there’s the real social media rockstar getting serious at the event! 🙂 I think he might be having a hard time choosing which activity to volunteer. LOL! 🙂 Unilab Foundation #healthierPH

#healthierPH Volunteer Portal

When I finally got in front of the computer, I went to www.unilabfoundation.org to create an account and see for myself how the whole thing works. To create an account, one can choose to register or use his Facebook account to login. Not wanting to be bothered by a registration form, I chose the latter. Once done, I was shown my profile. There’s my purple girl voluntar (volunteer avatar) at zero points. You can customize the gender and colour of the voluntar by clicking Edit Voluntar on the top right. Unilab Foundation #healthierPH

Excited to get started, I clicked on the Plus sign on the upper right corner and was shown this page, the Volunteer Project List. This page lists all the current programs where I can volunteer. I simply had to click on the button under the corresponding activity that I wanted to be a part of. Unilab Foundation #healthierPH

I tried one of the activities with the X2 multiplier, Blog it Forward. I was supposed to blog about the importance of play in a child’s development and submit it in Unilab Foundation’s Facebook page.

Unilab Foundation #healthierPH

After volunteering for that, I went back to my profile. There was a locked/greyed out gift waiting for me. It said that I can only unlock it once I’ve rendered service. Oh, darn! Unilab Foundation #healthierPH

And so I chose another one, one that does not need to wait. My EQ is low that way. LOL! I chose the simple click and share ones and was immediately rewarded a gift. Yey! 🙂 The item also came with a healthy tip associated with the gift.

Unilab Foundation #healthierPH

After X number of days, I finally finished my the blog assignment. Read about it here. I submitted it and immediately after, the reward reflected in my profile. 2 Chocolates! Yum! 🙂 Unilab Foundation #healthierPH

Wondering what I could do with the items and why my earned points remained zero, I decided to try to Use the items. Unilab Foundation #healthierPH

As I used up the items, my points increased by 10. The three items (2 chocolates and 1 comfy bed with pillow) totalled to 30 points. Apart from Use, one can also Share the item. I haven’t tried the Share though as I have no more items. I’ll have to volunteer some more to be able to give you some. 🙂 I’m almost halfway through the first level and I can’t wait to reach the next! I’m also excited to be rewarded with uncommon, rare, very rare, ultra rare, super rare, mega rare, and special items (whew!) in the future.  🙂 Unilab Foundation #healthierPH

In the spirit of volunteerism and of good health, I urge you to try this too. It’s a different and fun way to share our time and our abilities to contribute to a better and healthier Philippines. BlogSign


A Trip to the Mind Museum

“Did you know that’s there’s a world-class museum here in your country?”, asked a foreigner to his Filipino friend. The Filipino stared blankly at the foreigner, apparently not aware of such a place.

“Weh, seriously?”

In case you’re like the clueless Pinoy, there is indeed. It’s called the Mind Museum, located at the heart of Taguig – Bonifacio Global City, Home of Passionate Minds. Last weekend, we made an impromptu visit to the museum. It being impromptu, I wasn’t able to bring my camera to take photos. What’s this experience if I can’t share it with you guys though? So armed with a borrowed camera phone (my phone battery went dead), I took as many photos as I could to bring home to you. =)

They limit the museum visiting to 3 hours only so there are time slots that you have to follow. You can go in in the middle of a slot but you have to go out when the time is up. If you don’t want to be constrained by this, you can get the all-day pass for an additional P150. If you are a science buff and wanted to visit all the sections and read all the texts, 3 hours surely is not enough. Otherwise though, you’d be done in the allotted time given.

A few house rules.

Once you get inside, you’d be greeted by the robot Aedi. It’s IDEA spelled backwards! =) There will also be  a museum guide to give you a short briefing. Other than that though, you’re basically on your own.

They didn’t have any pamphlets of the museum that we could use as a guide so I’ll share this map that I caught on the second floor.


Clockwise from left: Whirlpool where you press a button and the balls inside go down a spiral motion, Newton’s Cradle, planet balls that you can swing to show Newton’s 3rd Law of Motion – Action and Reaction, Molecule area where you can build molecular models.

Mendeleev’s Periodic Table – a life size periodic table where there are real-life examples inside each element. An example is the banana for Potassium.

Static Ball Van de Graif – This is such an attraction! You can hold the static ball and watch your hairs stand up!


Small Worlds Within – You can use the pointer that acts as a microscope to magnify the many things in the grid, ranging from really small insects to everyday things such as cork and cheerios.

There’s the giant brain and the DNA structure below. There’s also a model on cell parts and a quiz in one of the touch screen monitors.

Sweet, Sour, Bitter, Salty, Umami – Uma-what?! Oooh, I learned about that here! Umami describes savory taste. Examples are cheese and tomato.


What’s a museum without the bones of a T-Rex huh? You can climb all the way up (the stairs, not on the T-Rex!) to take a photo of it up close. There’s also a fossil digging area to complete your scientific experience. =)

Spin Browser – where you can speed up or slow down a certain activity like the flow of a waterfall.

Earthquake! The city is in your powerful hands as you control what earthquake intensity to give it. Watch as the buildings shake and move. Of course, you can pull the strings afterwards to make the buildings upright again.

Here are 5 not so easy steps to become a fossil. 1. Die with good bones. 2. Make sure to be buried under sedimentary rocks. 3. Wait for at least 200,000 years. 4. Wait for an opening in nature to reveal your fossil. You can read number 5 just fine =)

This is one of the two shows that you can watch in the museum. This is called the Nature’s Hourglass. It’s a 3D show depicting the origin of the Philippines. The movie is done in cooperation with ABS-CBN and is a Chito Roño film.


The white dome-like things below remind me of the movie, MIB. They are actually chairs you can sit on to listen to the sounds of space. There are buttons you can press to hear the next and previous sounds. Beware of getting too comfy here! I forgot my new tablet inside the chair! Good thing hubby was the next one who used the chair and found it! Whew!

The glowing spheres show the lifetime of a star. The image below is of the sun and of earth. There’s a lever you can step on for the earth to orbit around the sun, showing the gravitational relationship of the two.

The dome on the right is the Space Shell. You can watch a show here of the the universe in a nutshell. Inside the theater, the viewers have to lie down on a cushion. Be wary of the contents of your pockets as they may slip out while you’re lying down. Yep, we lost our car key here! As for the movie, we found it a bit too blurry, like a 3D movie without the glasses.


It’s all fun fun fun at the upper level! There’s a kaleidoscope, the beauty of PHI, and even arcade games!

There’s the elliptical pool table wherein every single time you hit one ball, it will surely hit the other, so long as they are initially in the position shown in the photo. The two squares at the bottom left are trying to show the pythagorean theorem. a squared + b squared = c squared. With the same pieces, you are supposed to be able to make one big square out of it. The image on the lower right shows that one can hit a target by reflecting laser off of mirrors. You’d have to arrange the laser pointer and the mirrors properly to hit the target.

This is the Gutenberg press, what we now know as the printer. You can try it out by getting a paper (provided nearby), putting ink and pressing onto the plate.

There are also sections of how things work and of different inventions, simple and complex alike.

There are so many fun and different things to do on the second floor, all in the name of Science of course. Now what on earth could hubby be pulling out of the toilet bowl?! All in the name of Science!


Upon our exit, a gift shop greeted us. There were all sorts of souvenirs, t-shirts, polo shirts, pencils, pens, USBs, bagtags, keychains, water bottles, caps, and so many more!

There’s also a booth where you can take a souvenir photo with the caption I had a close encounter with… Your photo will be taken on a green screen and then you can choose which predefined background to use, dinosaurs, the moon, earth, etc. Their products include 3D and 2D 6×8 photos, 3D iPhone 4 case, and 3D keychains.


An extension of the museum is the Science in the Park. You can enter the park using the same ticket used for the museum. Alternatively, if you want to just enjoy the park and not the museum, you can pay P100 to enter. This is ideal for those with children who cannot yet appreciate the Science inside the museum. I can just imagine Ky’s delight when he comes here! There are water fountains, bubble makers, see-saws, slides, drums, flutes, and many more fun activities.

These play things are not there simply for fun however; there is still Science behind it all. As with these slides called Brachistochrone Slides. Looking closer, one will notice that the slides are not the same, one is straight, the other is slightly curved, and the other is curved. Which slide do you think will get you to the bottom the fastest?

For more information, you can visit their website at http://www.themindmuseum.org/


Thanks, Mrs. Fields!

One Saturday morning, we were invited to Mrs. Fields Cafe, Treston International College branch in Taguig to claim our prize.

As we entered, this lovely wall collage of Mrs. Fields boxes and tin cans greeted us. I love the idea! Hmmm…maybe I can do the same for my wall next time…

On the left were shelves of gift items that were for sale. There were giant cookies and tin cans of pretty colors and sizes, perfect for gifts and giveaways. On the right were cozy cushions where customers can lounge around while enjoying the yummy pastries and dishes in the cafe.

Further down is the shelf below, another one of my favorites! The colors were so warm that it’s got a homey feel to it. On the displays were big colorful letters that spelled LOVE and SHARE, true to their campaign of Love it. Share it.

There we met Ms. Salve Francisco, Marketing Head of Mrs. Fields Philippines, who handed us our prize. Aside from the Samsung Galaxy Tab, we were surprised to receive more – a big bag of Mrs. Fields goodies! Whoopeee! Ms. Salve was very friendly and very accommodating, offering us refreshments and pleasant talk. Ky easily warmed up to her and was playing tag with her in no time! On the top left pic, Ky willingly gave daddy a kiss just to get a bite of the cookie that daddy was holding. Share daddy, share! 😀

The cafe was very spacious and cozy that Ky was getting really comfortable. He lounged around the sofas, ran around the place, playing with customers and waiters alike. With him getting comfy, we decided to check the menu. We were surprised to see rice meals and pastas. We learned that they only have 2 branches that serve these dishes, one here and the other at NAIA 3. Since it was already lunchtime and our stomachs were already growling, we decided to take the opportunity to try their dishes. I ordered a fish meal while hubby ordered chicken. Their meals can be enjoyed ala carte or combo where you add a couple of bucks to get your choice of cookie and a drink. We both enjoyed our meal, especially the cookie afterward!

So what’s in the bag? A box of cookies and another of brownies! Ahh, heaven! Oh, and there’s also a P500 worth of GC! More heaven next time! And the boxes are so nice! (You know how I’m such a sucker for these pretty packagings!) Sweet! Thanks so much, Mrs. Fields!


Passport? Check!

Look what came for Ky via LBC today! It’s exactly 10 working days since we applied for his passport (Read about it here). Pretty fast huh? I wasn’t expecting it till next week since they said it’s a 15-working-day wait for regular processing. Nope, not complaining. =)  I’m so glad we opted to have it delivered, instead of having to pick it up, saving us a lot of trouble. Besides, it’s always nice to get something from the mail, isn’t it?


Megamall Passport Experience

It’s high time that we get Ky a passport – a passport to travel, a passport to Disneyland the world! Going all the way to DFA Aseana however, seemed like a terrible chore so when I heard that there’s already a DFA office in Megamall, I jumped the gun.

Setting an Appointment

With everything online nowadays, I decided to try setting an appointment using their website http://megamall.passport.com.ph. After the first few screens of filling up required information, I couldn’t help but laud the government office for providing such convenience. I was still thinking praises in my head when I reached a stump – I couldn’t pick a schedule! Supposedly, I can just click a date and choose my desired time to set an appointment but whenever I do, I get an application error. I’d hit the back button and resubmit but the same error occurs. I made several attempts later and more still in next few days after but all to no avail.

With no other choice, I picked up the phone and dialed their hotline 737-1111. Like all hotlines, it was so hard to get through. I kept getting the recorded message that tells me that all operators are busy and that I should just call again. Well, yeah, I’ve been trying for days already! One Monday morning though, I finally got through. I gave all the details to the operator, similar details that I filled up via online right before the picking of schedule. This time however, I will not be getting an application error! I initially picked the nearest Saturday (yes, they’re open on Saturdays too, ain’t that great!) as my schedule but was later informed that Saturdays are strictly for rush processing, which entails additional cost. I then settled for Sep 28, Friday, 430PM.


I’ll just mention here the requirements I gathered for a minor applying for a new passport. For a full list of the requirement, please refere to their website I listed earlier.

  1. Printed Application Form – You can print the form by going to http://megamall.passport.com.ph/print. Fill in the reference number, print code (both to be provided to you by the operator at the end of the call), birthday, last name, first name, middle name of the applicant. The form will come out as a PDF file, which you have to print in a long bond paper. Fill in all the other blanks but leave the signature part for when you get to DFA.
  2. Original and Photocopy of Passport of both Parents
  3. Original NSO certified Birth Certificate
  4. Photocopy of NSO certified Marriage Certificate
  5. Physical Appearance of Applicant

Getting There

It’s on the 7th floor of the new wing, building C, of Megamall. It’s similar to going to the parking area but instead of the parking, you take a flight of stairs up to the DFA office.

Once There

  1. Go to the front desk and have your application form ready for verification.
  2. Proceed to the LCD panel, click Passporting to get your number
  3. Proceed inside to the waiting area. There are more than 10 counters that are serving customers so it’s pretty fast. There’s a copier and a notary inside as well, in case you forgot to have your documents copied or notarized.
  4. Once your number flashes on the screen, go to the specified counter and present your documents. You’ll be issued a receipt  for you to bring to the cashier.
  5. Proceed to the cashier and pay – P950 for regular processing (15 working days), P1200 for rush processing (7 working days).
  6. Photograph and Signature – To our dismay, we saw a long line of people waiting here. Uh-oh, we’d be here for a long time. Or so I thought. A staff approached us and asked who the applicant was. Upon realizing that Ky’s the applicant, she led us to the right side of the room where there were other young applicants as well. Courtesy lane. Whew! After about 15 minutes of waiting and many merry-go-rounds around the waiting area, we were finally called. Ky’s photo was taken. It was so ugly! Grrr! He was trying to wiggle out of his box seat to go around and walk. Oh well. After that ordeal, I affixed my signature and we were off to the last step.
  7. Courier – we decided to just have the passport delivered for a fee of P120. We just presented the receipt, paid the fee. Our address was taken in another window and then we’re off.

All in all, it was just a 35-minute procedure. The place was brightly lit, well-ventilated and spacious making it a very pleasant experience for both Ky and me. Little Mr. Congeniality was even able to make a few young and not so young friends from the waiting area all the way to the courier! Another plus is since it’s in a mall, I got to run a few quick errands before heading home. Nice!


Our DIY Playhouse

One lazy evening, a crazy thought occurred to me – I will make a playhouse for Ky! I quickly scoured the house and found these two. If I combine them, it’d be just the size I need! This is how it looked when I taped the two together. I then cut out a door in front and windows on the sides.  I was so excited to get a look of the final design that I quickly cut up magazines and glued them all over the front of the house, just to see how it looks. Seeing that it looks nice gave me enough motivation to go on. At this point, I was making too much of a mess that hubby was starting to question what on earth I was making. When I told him what it’s supposed to be, he gave me an incredulous look and asked why I don’t just get a store-bought one instead. I did a quick check on Little Tikes and found that a playhouse costs roughly P20,000! Well, that’s why! At this point, I was starting to realize that the cardboard I used was not strong enough. This flimsy thing would not survive Ky’s rowdiness even for a minute! Luckily, I found these! I wish I’d started with these though because I practically had to redo the whole thing just to sturdy it up. With the new cardboard in, the house seems more stable now. The exterior of the house was covered with magazine pages. I chose pages with more text and less images to make it look plainer, whiter, and cleaner. For the border, I used a wall border that my sister in law gave me from her stash of 8 years ago. =)  I used poster paint to paint a blue border on the window and green on the door. I then attached a styro letter K on the door. Yes, it’s the same one from Ky’s dessert table last time. =)  That’s the interior, as seen through the other window. I posted two small Mickey Mouse jigsaw puzzle boards on both sides of the window. There’s the big boy inside! Oops, he seems to be taking out the magazine pages!If you like this, please help this entry win in Asus Philippines’ Find Your Zen Contest. To vote:

  • go to the Find Your Zen App http://on.fb.me/RmPfAq (voters must first like the Asus Philippines Facebook page)
  • click on ‘Entries‘ and then click on ‘Top10
  • scroll through the entries until you see our DIY playhouse (@cherds on top)
  • click on the ‘Thumbs UP’ sign next to the photo to ‘Like’ the entry

Thanks so much everyone! 😀


Ky’s Whimsical Cat in the Hat Birthday Party

Whew! Finally done with Ky’s 1st birthday party! I do hope everyone had a fab and grand time that day! I’ll share with you some photos and a little writeup of this fun and one of a kind (well, at least here in the Philippines!) themed party.

Inspiration I wanted a party theme that has uniqueness written all over it. I didn’t want the usual Disney characters that everyone seems to be using already. While searching for a theme, I remembered the Dr. Seuss iPad apps that I was able to download back when I was still pregnant with Ky. When he was still in my tummy, I used to read to him, with matching sounds for all the different characters! Being a rhymer myself, I was awed with Dr. Seuss’s skill and creativity. As a tribute to his greatness and as a way to express my own creativity, I thus decided on this theme.

Design Since this theme is uncommon here, there were no available designs from party organizers. If ever there was, I didn’t like it.  so I really had to do my own. The designs I made included those for the invitation, backdrop, entrance, lootbag, nametag,  photo booth, cake, guestbook, and dessert table. Oops! That’s basically everything!

ImageThe entrance design (below) was inspired by the Seussical theme park in Universal’s Islands of Adventure in Orlando, Florida named Seuss Landing.ImageThere is a version of Dr. Seuss’s Happy Birthday to You book that really serves as a party guestbook. I couldn’t find it in any of the bookstores here so I decided to just make a guestbook out of every month of photos Ky has since birth. For the cover, I took a quote from the book and made the last phrase Happy Birthday to Me! as the title.ImageStage and Dessert Table (Ugh! Hate how the organizer didn’t remove the black border on top! Can’t follow simple instructions!)ImageThing 1 and Thing 2 Cupcake TowerImage Cat in the Hat Themed Desserts for the Dessert Table: Cookies, Cupcakes, Cake Pops, Oreo HatsImageLootbags were personalized for each of our young guests, red for the girls, blue for the boys.Image Fun Fun Fun Photobooth!Image


Love as I see it

In celebration of Breastfeeding Month last August, I post here a photo that my lens had caught that truly depicts the beautiful love flowing between mother and child during nursing. Barely a month old, the young baby, aside from getting his much-needed nourishment from his mother, is flooded with loving interactions– smiles, coos, baby talks, and touches. He watches intently, absorbing everything as these are the very things he need to feel happy, secure, and most of all, loved. This is my entry to “Love as I see it.” A project of http://www.islandrose.net flowers Philippines.