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Sunday, December 27, 2020

Christmas 2020: How we made it a little more special this year

Merry Christmas, Everyone! Time flies so fast! Without knowing it, Christmas Day has passed and the months of preparation and planning all paid off. If you have been following my blog, you would know how much I love Christmas and why it's my favorite time of my year (yes, I love Christmas more than my own birthday) 

Anyway, with the pandemic and all, we are to celebrate this year a little different. Different does not really mean it's a bad thing or something negative.  

To be honest, I found this year's celebration more meaningful and memorable, and here's how we did it.

1. Christmas Lighting Event -  The Christmas tree has been the centerpiece of the festive season as early as the 16th century where families brought trees into their homes and decorated them.  This is something that I also look forward to as a kid and adult. 

When the "BER-months" started this 2020. I read in one of the mommy groups that one member said she doesn't feel like putting up a Christmas tree this year because of all the problems that are happening and a response to her post struck me the most. "This is actually the best time to put up the Christmas decorations at home. Because of these challenges and problems, the more we need some holiday cheer."

And I agree with that. Thus, we decided to put up the best Christmas tree that we could have and since we miss Disneyland, it's just right to have a Disney-themed one. 

To make it more special, we had a Christmas tree lighting (home-edition) last December 8 where we celebrated it with food and music. 

2. Simbang Gabi - It is a Filipino tradition where one attends a nine-day series of masses in anticipation of Christmas. The mass is celebrated early in the morning and it is believed that if you complete all nine days of Simbang Gabi then your wish or special prayer will be granted.

In our case, we attended the 4:30 AM mass of The Manila Cathedral via live streaming. This is actually my first time to complete all nine days and this is one of the things I am truly grateful for in the new normal. In the new normal, we don't have to go to the office so, I don't really mind waking up so early or not getting enough sleep since we're just at home. 

3. Virtual Noche Buena - I grew up celebrating Christmas at my grandparent's house where my grandparents, cousins, uncles, and aunts are all present. It was such a big celebration and we look forward to my grandma's cooking. Gifts were overflowing that we ran out of table space. 

Unfortunately, when we grew up and started having families of our own, we no longer got together as we celebrated Christmas in our own homes. Some have moved to another city and are not home during the holidays. 

Thus, this year was a little special since we all got together again via Google Meet. My family from the different parts of the country and abroad were present during our virtual Noche Buena.  

We some special Christmas presentations and games while we waited for midnight.

As you can see, this year's Christmas may be different that we even have to skip some of our traditions. However, this doesn't mean that we can't make new ones. 

So whatever you are going through right now, we hope that you were able to have a Merry Christmas, and wishing you a brighter and better new year. 


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Monday, December 21, 2020

Time to Gas Up! 50% off on Petron fuels tomorrow, December 22

December 22 is a special day for Petron! 

This holiday season starting December 14, Petron is treating their Petron Value Cardholders through the 12 Days of Merry promo where they have the chance to win a one-year supply of fuel, scooters, laptops, motorcycles, and other gadgets. Each day, a new promotion and prize/ reward is up for grabs. 

However, Day 9 (December 22) is quite special since Petron President and CEO Ramon S. Ang is extending the special promo even to non-PVC cardholders. Customers can enjoy 50% off on all Petron fuels when they gas up on December 22, 2020, between 11AM to 1PM, at over 1,100 participating Petron stations nationwide!

** Please note that this does not apply to P.O., Bulk, or Fleet accounts. 

What a perfect Christmas gift for all! So, be sure to gas up tomorrow as this may be the last fuel sale of the year. 

Love promos like this? Connect with us on Facebook 

Sun Life Concludes 125th Anniversary with an Online Christmas Concert

Christmas this year may be different but the celebration continues because the true essence of the season is the birth of Jesus Christ. We celebrate it by honoring the people that we love and value. We celebrate it with utmost gratitude to God who is the giver of everything that we have. We also say thank you to everyone who loves and supports us. 

No wonder Sun Life Philippines chose the theme, HIMIG NG PASASALAMAT as they concluded its 125th anniversary. They brought together two of the most talented musical groups in the country, Ben&Ben and The Company, in a virtual OPM Christmas concert especially for clients, advisors, and employees. 

The event was held on December 18, 2020, at 8pm hosted by Sam Oh. Sun Life’s brand ambassadors Piolo Pascual, Matteo Guidicelli, Enchong Dee, Inigo Pascual, and Charo Santos-Concio also made an appearance. 

The Mandaluyong Children’s Choir also performed a special number. 

The event is exclusive for Sun Life clients who registered for the concert where they have access to a virtual venue that will simulate a live setting, making the experience more interactive. Raffles prizes such as Sun Life Prosperity Card, loaded with P5,000 credits which can be invested in any of the Sun Life Prosperity Mutual Funds, an overnight stay for two in a Seda Hotel of choice, gift certificates, and P50,000 worth of investment credits were also given away. 

Now, here's the best part? 

A replay of the concert will be shown to the public on December 28, 2020 via Sun Life’s Facebook page at So, in case you are not able to attend and register or if you are not yet a Sunlife client, you can watch this beautiful concert. 

According to Sun Life Chief Marketing and Client Experience Officer Gilbert Simpao,  “For us at Sun Life, this is an opportunity to thank our clients, advisors, employees, and partners for their continued trust and support throughout our 125 years in the Philippines. More than that, this is also a chance for us to pay tribute to those at the frontlines in our battle against the pandemic and various calamities. We look forward to bringing some yuletide cheer into everyone’s homes. The year may have been a challenging one, but there is still reason for us to be thankful and celebrate Christmas.”

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Looking for a bank that fits the Japanese standards?

When Japanese entrepreneur Mr. Hayato Yazaki came to the Philippines to set up his business, he looked for a bank that fits the Japanese standards for a good partner. Mr. Yazaki runs Izumi Global, an education company that provides after-school learning using the Nippon Math method for children ages 3-11 years old. It also provides licensing and has more than 10 branches. 

Mr. Yazaki asked from among the Japanese community in Makati about the local banks, so he could choose one that fits his needs. After picking out one Philippine bank, he started his relationship with it by opening a personal bank account. This was so he could experience for himself whether or not the bank lives up to its reputation. 

Trust and reliability, he said, are very important. These values are part of the Japanese mindset and are considered crucial when engaging in a long-term commitment. Mr. Yazaki, however, added he goes beyond these considerations, as he also looks into speed, overall performance, even the personality and attitude of the people he deals with. 

The bank he chose was BDO. Mr. Yazaki said that he appreciates BDO customer service in the Philippines. “Ms. Lyn Lazona and Ms. Hiromi Shimoda of the Japan Help Desk are always a message away. If we have questions or asked for a meeting, they are always quick and willing to oblige. I think being under the Japan Help Desk really made the service speedy and convenient for us since they know Japanese expectations and requirements.” 

A reliable partner during the lockdown 

When the pandemic struck and the quarantines and lockdowns were imposed, Izumi Global faced a lot of challenges. They had to quickly convert to online classes as children are not allowed to go out. The company also had to consider their licensees/franchisees, whose income also depends on their support. 

To answer the needs of both their students and franchisees, Izumi Global had to secure a shipment of educational materials. Mr. Yazaki didn’t think this was still possible due to the constraints brought about by lockdown but to his surprise, BDO’s Ms. Lyn went out of her way to help him secure the shipment. “We were expecting that the documents would be delivered through courier. Instead, Ms. Lyn went through that extra effort that meant a lot to us. If no one assisted us with the requirements, the shipment will be abandoned and we cannot get our study materials. We almost had to cancel the online program for the students.” 

According to Mr. Yazaki, his bank made sure that even during the lockdown, their transactions proceeded at a nearly normal pace. While some transactions were a bit slower, they made up for it with convenience by shifting the processes online. For him, the confidence he places on BDO and their relationship is well-deserved and meets his exacting ideals as a Japanese client. 

For more information on how BDO can help your business in good times and bad times, visit

Friday, December 18, 2020

Crisis or not: Cash Management Services help business thrive during pandemic

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) serve as the lifeblood of the economy. Thus, support for these enterprises is essential to keep the economy going.

One of these businesses is that of Alex Ong, who operates Transorient Container Terminal Services (TCTS), a customs bonded warehouse, and trucking service. Essentially, TCTS acts as an extension of port storage services outside of the ports themselves.

Mr. Alex Ong, who owns Transorient Container Terminal Services (TCTS), said BDO’s cash management services allowed his company to continue its operations despite quarantines. 

Knowing how valuable it is to ensure smooth and speedy operations, Alex applied for BDO Unibank’s Cash Management Services’ (CMS) suite of offerings, including SME Business Online Banking.  This helped TCTS run smoothly and continue operations despite the disruptions caused by movement restrictions and social distancing regulations, resulting from the pandemic.

Essential business partners

Ong points out that during a crisis, like what happened when the pandemic hit and the government was forced to declare an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), it is vital for essential businesses to work together.   In the case of TCTS, the help it got from BDO allowed the company to continue its operations.

Ong said that he was very concerned about their messengers who still had to go to banks and other premises to collect or deliver checks so he instructed his staff to shift to online transactions.

Employees of TCTS observe healthy and safety protocols to ease the spread of COVID-19. 

His next dilemma was how to continue operating as close to normal as possible. According to Ong, BDO’s cash management services allowed him to resolve both the issue of safety and business continuity, as his company was able to make payments to shipping lines, port management companies, suppliers, and other billers using BDO's e-payment facility.

TCTS warehouse in Sta. Ana, Manila

"ICTSI made it mandatory for clients to pay online. So it's good that we already have the SME Business Online Banking facility of BDO," Ong explained. Soon, he hopes to activate the online collection facility so that TCTS would be able to collect payments online as well, from their consignees.

Relying on CMS

Cash Management Services involves managing the flow of funds in an organization or business. Every business has collection and payment needs which if not managed may cause funds to be misplaced, lost, or untracked.

A CMS provider becomes a key partner in terms of assistance in the management, tracking, and reporting of funds so he can focus on running the business.

In the case of Alex Ong, it was easier for them to adapt to BDO’s cash management services because they were already transacting online with the port management companies. TCTS is a good example of how openness to change, new technologies, and new processes can benefit a business.  It also shows that having the right bank partner helped them thrive during a crisis. 

For more information on BDO’s Cash Management System, call (632) 88407500; email; or visit

Thursday, December 17, 2020

FEATURED STORY: Pampanga's Best owner on how to balance life and work during these challenging times

The new normal posed even more challenges to people we rely on: parents and bosses. Denise Alelis, third-generation owner of Pampanga’s Best can relate.

Helping mommies balance life and work during challenging times

Denise Alelis helps run a family business that’s a half-century old: Pampanga’s Best, arguably the most recognized brand when it comes to tocino (salty-sweet cured meat), a favorite Filipino dish. While running and sustaining a business has become quite difficult during the pandemic with all the community quarantines, times are especially challenging for mom-entrepreneurs like Denise.

According to her, months of living in the so-called new normal have been stressful because of multiple challenges and concerns that she has to face daily.

Her greatest challenge during the pandemic is the community quarantine. For 53 years, their business depended on transacting with various dealers in cities and provinces all over the Philippines and nearly all of these transactions were done face-to-face, with payments made in cash.  Their customers would also go to supermarkets to buy their favorite tocino. 

The lockdowns and quarantines, however, made it very difficult for their sales agents to travel to dealers. Even customers were unable to go to the supermarket to buy Pampanga’s Best products. Dealers had difficulty making payments in cash because of travel restrictions.

The obvious solution was to shift as many transactions as possible to online but it was not that easy. “There were dealers who did not welcome this shift right away, like our dealers in the palengke.  They were saying that they didn’t have any mobile banking or that they didn’t know how to use it. We were able to solve that by giving them training. There was a learning curve that we had to hurdle.”

Online selling meant that payments would have to be made online as well.  This meant shifting more of these transactions to mobile banking.

“We had an incident during the start of the ECQ where one of our sales agents was unable to trace a cash payment made by one of our dealers. Hindi namin mahanap yung deposit slip ng payment. So, after that we decided to shift all payments online through mobile banking because they can be monitored and tracked more easily,” she said.

Shifting transactions online began as a response to pandemic restrictions but it turned into an opportunity, eventually.

“It was actually during ECQ that we posted our highest sales. By going through these online channels and transactions, we were able to sell more products,” she said.

According to Denise, she and her team have become more dependent on the mobile banking services by BDO.  For their employees, they now get their salaries through cash debit cards.

“Before the pandemic, I had to go to the office to release our employees’ salaries. Now everything is released through their cash debit cards. Going cashless limits face-to-face contact so that helps prevent transmission of disease: we’re not holding on to cash that could be contaminated and we’re preventing close-in physical contact as well.”

Denise has been with her branch for years. She opened her first savings account when she worked at her first job (before she joined the family business). She appreciates how her bank is helping her cope with the challenges of the pandemic because it spares her from a lot of stress and anxiety. 

“Even though we’re in the middle of a public health crisis, my bank has always been there for me; very reliable and dependable during these challenging times,” she said.

BDO continues to provide products and services that help mompreneurs like Denise get the relief, ease, and convenience they deserve so that they more easily attain work-life balance. For more information on how BDO can help keep your business running in good or bad times, visit

You may check the different BDO products and services that have helped mompreneurs like Denise.

BDO Cash Card – BDO Credit Cards – BDO SME Loan – BDO Digital Banking - BDO Savings or Checking Accounts - Cash Management Services -

Do you have your own story to share on how you were able to find ways in these challenging times? Click here to share your own story. 

Thursday, December 10, 2020

We can now do bank transactions on a weekend as BDO Mall-based branches open on Saturdays

Given that not all bank transactions can be done online, banking on weekends has been very important for us since this is the only time we can actually visit our branch. This also a common predicament of those who have an 8-5 job Mondays to Fridays since most banks are all already closed by the time they get off from work. 

I remember that there were some instances where I had to skip lunch just to go to my old bank. Thus, we are happy to share that the mall-based branches of BDO are now open on Saturdays. 

This is in line with the bank's move to open all branches nationwide to aid in the gradual economic recovery. BDO Unibank Inc. has re-opened its mall-based branches for Saturday banking until 4:00pm, since December 5. 

In the photo is the BDO branch inside SM Mall of Asia A. 

About BDO Unibank, Inc.

BDO is a full-service universal bank, which provides a wide range of corporate and retail banking services.  These services include traditional loan and deposit products, as well as treasury, trust banking, investment banking, private banking, rural banking, cash management, leasing and finance, remittance, insurance, retail cash cards and credit card services.  

BDO has the country’s largest distribution network, with over 1,400 consolidated operating branches and more than 4,400 ATMs nationwide.  It also has full-service branches in Hong Kong and Singapore as well as 15 overseas remittance and representative offices in Asia, Europe, North America, and the Middle East.

BDO ranked as the largest bank in terms of total assets, loans, deposits, and trust funds under management based on published statements of condition as of March 31, 2020. For more information, please visit

Gift Your Loved Ones this Holiday Season with UNIQLO’s 12.12 Special Offers

Can't help but excited after learning that our favorite brand, UNIQLO is geared up to treat shoppers with 12.12 special offers, providing a one-stop-shop for holiday gifts for the whole family. Shoppers can find the best present for themselves or for their loved ones LifeWear items, designed to fit anyone's everyday clothing needs.

Shoppers can enjoy the following deals online or in all stores nationwide. So, if you are just like me who's still doesn't want to go out to shop, shopping online is your best option as it is very convenient and easy. We were able to order twice already and had no problems at all. 

So, without further ado, here are some special 12.12 deals you shouldn't miss: 

  • Women’s Wireless Bra - The Women’s Wireless Bra lineup features a molding cup design that contours and fits any shape and size of a woman’s body comfortably. The padding provides support and lays flat to the body creating a beautiful bust line. It is also constructed seamlessly making the bra invisible under the clothes. 

Offer: Php 990 from Php 1,290, exclusively available at UNIQLO Online Store from December 11 to 13.
  • Kid’s and Girl’s Easy Shorts - Made with 100% cotton material, the Kid’s and Girl’s Easy Shorts give a cool and sleek feel. It also has an elastic waistband to make it comfortable and easy to move around when doing daily activities. 


Offer: Php 390 from Php 590, exclusively available at UNIQLO Online Store from December 11 to 13.
  • Women’s Joy of Printed (JOP) Lounge Set - The Women’s Printed Lounge Set’s top is made out of breathable cotton material and its bottoms are made out of stretch jersey material. The geometric patterns make it wearable indoors and even outdoors. 

Offer: Php 790 from Php 990, exclusively available at UNIQLO Online Store from December 11 to 13.

  • Men’s DRY-EX Designed Polo Shirt - The Men’s DRY-EX Designed Polo Shirt is made with DRY EX fabric that dries sweat or moisture quickly. It also features anti-microbial and anti-odor technology for a cool and fresh feel.

Offer: Php 790 from Php 990, exclusively available at UNIQLO Online Store from December 11 to 13.

As an additional treat, shoppers can also get a free medium-sized Eco-Friendly Bag when they shop online from December 11-13, either by using the Click and Collection delivery option or by purchasing a minimum spend of P5,000 (single receipt). 

For more updates, please visit UNIQLO Philippines’ website at and the UNIQLO App. You may download the UNIQLO App via Google Play Store or Apple Store. 

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Existing BPI Kaya Savings Account will be automatically converted to a Regular Savings Account

Do you have a BPI savings account with no maintaining balance? 

If yes, then more likely that's a Kaya Savings Account, and here's an important update for you. 

Effective January 15, 2021,  all existing Kaya Savings Accounts will be converted to Regular Savings Accounts. This means that you now need to have a maintaining balance of Php 3,000 or else you get a Monthly Service Charge of Php 300 for Falling Below Required ADB.

On the bright side, this means that your savings account is eligible to earn interest if you maintain an ADB of at least Php 5,000 plus, you won't be charged Php 5 per transaction anymore. 

Please note that there will be no new card will be issued upon conversion. Your existing card remains valid and effective. 

You may read the full details here:

That's it for now! Feel free to share this post. 

Let's connect on Facebook -->

Monday, November 30, 2020

Starbucks Flagship Store is now available ONLINE.

You can NOW order your favorite Starbucks merchandise and collectibles online! 

If you have been following my IG account (, then you'll know that I have been collecting Starbucks ICON tumblers and YAH (You are Here) series mugs. I also enjoy collecting their Christmas ornaments which I plan to use in the future to make a Starbucks themed Christmas tree once I have enough decors. (This year, we're having a Disney-themed tree and will post about it soon)

Anyway, Starbucks merchandise is one of the reasons why I get excited whenever I go to Starbucks because simply, we can never have enough tumblers and mugs. (LOL!)

Thus, I am happy to share that Starbucks finally opened their official store in Lazada. This means that you can get all these exclusive collectibles and merchandise delivered straight to your doorstep. Not to mention they may great holiday gifts so yes to easy and more convenient Christmas shopping. 

Here's the direct link to the Starbucks Flagship Store and check available merchandise, here.

Let me share some finds that you shouldn't miss: 

1. StarbucksxKateSpade Collection - This is going to be released on December 1st and this is one of the most exciting offers from Starbucks this year. This will sell out fast so watch out for it for this Starbucks and Kate Spade collab. 

Order via this link > 

2. Starbucks 12oz Tumbler Red Cup Holiday - This is part of the Red Holiday Merchandise Collection. It features the 2020 design to commemorate this year's release. 

Order via this link > 

3. Starbucks 14oz Mug You are Here (Boracay) - Traveling may be challenging nowadays because of the pandemic so here's your chance to score this Boracay YAH mug without leaving your house. 

So far, this is the only YAH mug available but there are several YAH tumblers available such as Pampanga, Cebu, Iloilo, Batangas, Bulacan, Baguio, CDO, Quezon City, Makati, and Bacolod. You can check the YAH tumblers here.

Order via this link >

4. Starbucks 14oz Badge Mug 23rd Anniversary - This is a Philippine exclusive ceramic mug with the 23rd Anniversary metal badge. They also have some tumblers with the siren design. This is definitely a must-have if you are a collector as these come in limited quantities only. 

Order via this link >

There are still a lot of available items in the store. Will update this post soon. For now, you can head to their store and see for yourself. :) Click here to visit the Starbucks store

Friday, November 27, 2020

No remittance fee for donations to typhoon victims via BDO Remit; BDO Foundation sends relief packs

With the volcanic eruption in January, the pandemic that we are continuously battling, and the series of typhoons that hit the country a few weeks ago, 2020 is definitely not our favorite year. 

However, despite these challenges, we still believe that this year is not 100% bad. If we see it through the lens of gratitude, these experiences provided an opportunity for us to step up and help one another. It gave us the opportunity to be a better person and to teach us to be more compassionate and to bring out the best in us as we learn to serve and be of service to our fellow men and woman. 

This is not just about individuals or public servants. The private sector, businesses, and corporations have provided huge help in making sure we survive these challenges. 

To help its fellow kababayans hit by typhoons "Quinta," "Rolly," and just recently "Ulysses," BDO Remit—the remittance service brand of BDO Unibank—has waived the remittance fee on donations from overseas Filipinos coursed through different foundations. 

The zero remittance fee for these donations started last November 4 to December 31, 2020. 

"The year 2020 has been very challenging. But we have to recover, and we have to be there for our Kabayans who are in dire need of help. Hopefully, with this, we can encourage more donations from our overseas Filipinos to those adversely affected by the recent typhoons," said BDO senior vice president and remittance head Genie T. Gloria. 

Overseas Filipinos may remit their donations free of service fees via any BDO Remit office abroad to BDO Unibank's corporate social responsibility arm, BDO Foundation, Inc., the Philippine Red Cross, GMA Kapuso Foundation, Inc., and ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation, Inc. 

BDO Remit has nine subsidiary offices outside the Philippines. In Asia, BDO Remit has offices in Macau, Hong Kong, and Japan. In North America, BDO Remit is located in Daly City, USA & in Toronto, Canada while in Europe; BDO Remit has presence in the United Kingdom. For the complete list of addresses, visit, go to Remittance Services and click BDO Remit international network. 

Meanwhile, BDO Foundation, in coordination with BDO and BDO Network Bank branches, has already begun sending relief packs containing food and drinking water to families hit by Typhoon Ulysses. 

This is the latest disaster response initiative BDO Foundation has undertaken. Earlier, it has distributed relief goods to more than 36,000 families hit by Typhoons Pepito, Quinta, and Rolly. 

Relief work in Rolly-stricken provinces is still ongoing. 

BDO Foundation has already distributed relief packs to almost 11,000 affected families in Albay, Camarines Sur, and Catanduanes, the provinces hit hardest by the super typhoon. 

In line with its disaster response advocacy, BDO Foundation immediately sent relief packs containing food, rice, and drinking water to more than 14,000 families stricken by Pepito and Quinta in Bulacan, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, and Quezon—provinces hit hardest by the typhoons. The corporate citizenship initiative was made possible by officers of BDO and BDO Network Bank branches, who helped gather beneficiary information and identify barangays that needed assistance. Logistical support was provided by local government units and partner non-governmental organizations. 


BDO Foundation aids areas hit by Typhoons Pepito and Quinta. In line with its disaster response advocacy, BDO Foundation immediately sent relief packs containing food, rice and drinking water to more than 14,000 families stricken by Pepito and Quinta in Bulacan, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija and Quezon—provinces hit hardest by the typhoons. The corporate citizenship initiative was made possible by officers of BDO and BDO Network Bank branches, who helped gather beneficiary information and identify barangays that needed assistance. Logistical support was provided by local government units and partner non-governmental organizations. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Be inspired with these stories of finding ways despite great uncertainty

The pandemic might have slowed down many businesses in the country, but Maylin Remo Natan knew she had to keep going. She had clients to service, employees to pay, and her own earnings to consider.

But because BDO branches remained operational, Maylin was able to fulfill her duties, making sure that for Trucklane Corporation’s partners, employees, and herself, life did not stop.

According to Maylin's story, because BDO remained open despite the pandemic, she was still able to: 

  • Complete her FOREX transaction
  • Cheque encashment
  • Get approval for her business loan
which helped her continue with the business operations. She is also thankful that her relationship manager advised her to set aside some money when business was doing good as she could have never seen the pandemic coming. 

Do you have your own "Finding Ways" Story? Share it here

Monday, November 23, 2020

Insider Tips on How You Can Make the Most Out of Your MIBF Experience

Hello avid readers and book lovers!

The Manila International Book Fair is definitely one of the most awaited events every year. I remember going crazy seeing all the books at the SMX Convention Center last year and the year before that since all the big book publishing and distributors are all in one place. Not to mention, most of the books are available at a discounted price. There were lots of irresistible deals and offers. It was also a wonderful experience to meet some of our favorite authors who graced the event and was available to sign our precious books. 

However, this year is going to different. Due to the pandemic, it was impossible to have a live event. Thus, the organizers decided to have the first-ever Manila International ONLINE Book Fair. Since it's ONLINE, anyone can now join and buy their books as long as they have an internet connection. Yes, they can even cater to international orders. 

Anyway, let me share 6 tips on how you can make the most out of your MIBF experience. 

1. Registration is FREE - No need to pay anything to join the book fair. All you need to do is enter your name, email address, and phone number when signing-up in order to get access to the website. 

2. Attend Free Events and Seminars -  There are a lot of FREE webinars and talks from November 24-30. These are hosted on MIBF's Facebook Page, Youtube Channel, and Zoom. Some events even provide certificates (in case you need one for work) Other event hosts and sponsors are also giving away exciting freebies and prizes.  

You may check the full schedule of upcoming events here. 

3. 24-hour Shopping Experience - The website is open 24 hours so you are free to browse and order at your most convenient time. 

4. Get First Dibs on Newly Launched Books - There are a lot of books that will be launched during the Manila International Book Fair. Thus, this is your chance to be one of the first few book buyers. 

You may order these newly launched books here. 

5. Order from Multiple Sellers - There are a total of 58 exhibitors joining the event with thousands of book titles available. So feel free to add-to-cart. 

6. Discounts and Promos - You can check both the Special Offers Page and Exhibitors’ Homepage for surprises and exclusive deals

Thursday, November 19, 2020

BDO Unibank and Network Bank Branches are all open with longer banking hours

It's almost 250 days since the quarantine period started in the Philippines and we can say that this pandemic has definitely changed the way we live. With almost everything shifting to online and digital transactions like e-commerce, webinars, virtual events, and online classes, there are still some things that we have to do offline.

For us, these are bank transactions. Despite the availability of online banking, there are still instances that we need to go to the branch to transact and this is the reason why are happy to know that the branches of BDO Unibank, Inc. and BDO Network Bank are all open to serve more clients. 

It is great that BDO is able to keep its products and services within reach amid the General Community Quarantine (GCQ) or Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) guidelines and keeping their promise to find ways for their clients.

When ECQ was declared, BDO strived to keep as many of its branches open while observing health and safety measures. In Luzon, about 130 stayed open in March. This number would more than double to 500 a month later and reach the 800th mark in May. Come June, as more cities were placed in GCQ, 1,000 or nearly all of its Luzon branches have been serving clients.

Meanwhile, in Visayas and Mindanao, all branches remained open.

“We understand the value of having financial access during this challenging time, be it for paying for utilities, loans, or everyday essentials to survive the day. Today, we are operating at a 100% nationwide, thanks to the commitment and resilience of BDO’s 38,000-strong workforce, a true testament to our ‘We Find Ways’ service philosophy,” said Nestor V. Tan, president, and CEO.

While many establishments are still operating on shortened business hours, BDO and BDO Network Bank branches are open until 4:00 pm and ready to accommodate various banking needs, including Forex and encashment requirements.

BDO assures clients that its branch personnel, including its office-based employees undergo regular health checks while its premises are managed under the most stringent safety protocols. Inside every branch, personnel, and clients are required to wear facemasks and face shields at all times, apply hand sanitizers, and observe social distancing.

“We would like to thank our clients for their continued trust in BDO. We remain committed to finding ways for you and your business,” concluded Tan.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Taiwan’s medical power shines in SE Asia, helping Philippine patients regain new lives

The Ministry of Health and Welfare of Taiwan and the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) organized recently the “Join hands with Taiwan to create a healthy and happy life” webinar, which was held at the Taipei International Convention Center.

During the meeting, five physicians and experts shared the latest medical technology, treatment methods, and services with regard to bone marrow transplantation, reproductive medicine, depression, cerebrovascular disease, and telemedicine consultation with friends in the Philippines and other Southeast Asian countries to offer more treatment options for patients in need. The event attracted around 900 viewers who participated online and were able to see the live broadcast in real-time.

(From Left) Mr. Onag, a patient from the Philippines, Dr. Chi-Cheng Li, Hualien Tzu Chi Hospital, 
Dr. Pin-Yao Lin, Lee Women’s Hospital, Ms. Elina H.L. Lee, Executive Vice President, TAITRA,
 Mr. Chin-Tang Wang, President, Medicrowd Smarthealth Co., Ltd., Dr. Ping-Sheng Lu, Landseed International Hospital

In her speech, Executive Vice President Elina Lee of TAITRA stated that various countries had recognized Taiwan’s epidemic prevention achievements. To share epidemic prevention information with the international community, TAITRA launched the “Taiwan Global Anti-COVID-19 Pavilion” in June this year. For decades now, Taiwan has already established a sound medical system as it recruited the best medical talents and adapted the best technologies to provide high-quality medical services.

Dr. Chi-Cheng Li, Director of the Center of Stem Cell and Precision Medicine of Hualien Tzu Chi Hospital, said that allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation is often the ultimate cure for blood cancer or major blood diseases. Before, two unrelated people have only one in ten thousand chances of matching the bone marrow hematopoietic stem cells. But now, through the “half-matched hematopoietic stem cell transplantation technique,” the possibility of successful matching is as high as 90% in relatives, which significantly improves patients’ survival rate.

For 51-year-old Filipino patient Ronel Onag, who recently returned to the Philippines, he graced the event to share his journey and experience recovering from the “half-matched hematopoietic stem cell transplantation” and shed tears of joy. “I am very grateful to Director Chi-Cheng Li and the medical team at Hualien Tzu Chi Hospital for their care and the factory owner and friends for the initial connection. In September of last year, I was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. It was tough to accept my illness. My wife and I felt very sad and helpless. Fortunately, I have now regained my health with everyone’s help.” He also encouraged other patients not to lose hope and stay positive!

Mr. Onag, a patient from the Philippine gave Dr. Chi-Cheng Li of Hualien Tzu Chi Hospital a thank you card 

Dr. Pin-Yao Lin, Director of the Department of Reproductive Medicine at Lee Women’s Hospital, shared also a case from the Philippines, Mrs. Li (39 years old). Women who are over 35 and have recurrent miscarriages can improve their embryo implantation rate and pregnancy rate through preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) and preimplantation genetic screening (PGS). Mrs. Li also shared her experience of seeking a child through a pre-recorded video. She already experienced two miscarriages before the age of 37 so she decided to undergo PGS for the remaining frozen embryos at the hospital that Dr. Lin recommended. They quickly learned that one of the embryos carry abnormal chromosomes and chose to implant the other two with normal chromosomes to avoid the risk of another miscarriage. She eventually gave birth to twins in 2019 and became a happy mother.

Besides sharing successful cases of superior medical services in Taiwan, the event also invited Cathay General Hospital, Landseed International Hospital, and Medicrowd Smarthealth Co., Ltd. to share psychological and physiological health management and application tools with Chinese people worldwide. Dr. Mao-Xiang Xiao from Cathay General Hospital mentioned a new “r-TMS (Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation)” treatment for depression. The repeated and concentrated magnetic pulses stimulate the brain’s emotional management area allowing neurons to release serotonin and other cognitive function hormones to relieve depression.

Dr. Ping-Sheng Lu, the Neuroscience Center of Landseed International Hospital, said that Asians have a higher risk of cerebrovascular disease than Western people. Reports show that the prevalence rate of cerebral aneurysms in Asian adults is 7%, and with the popularity of imaging inspections, more and more early discoveries are made. Also, unruptured aneurysms treatment by transarterial catheterization is minimally invasive compared with traditional craniotomy.

Finally, President Chin-Tang Wang of Medicrowd Smarthealth stated that more than 1,000 cooperative physicians provide telemedicine consulting services online on their medical network. During the epidemic, this service’s utilization rate increased significantly by 47.8%, of which ENT (increased by 135%) and psychology (increased by 41%) were the most significant. President Wang emphasized that digital healthcare is a global trend, and the new coronavirus disease has accelerated this trend. Taiwan’s achievements in epidemic prevention have attracted worldwide attention, and its medical technology is among the world’s best. This is a new opportunity to globalize Taiwan’s medical services, where the online to offline (O2O) integrated “all-customer” service model will be the future of healthcare.

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Breakup Manual - Part One

I had the chance to go through my old stuff last weekend as I was trying to declutter before the holidays. I was surprised to find my old "Breakup Manual" that I made around 20 years ago. It was actually a compilation of short stories, poems, and songs that helped me get through when my heart was aching. 

I'm happy to share this with you. Unfortunately, I have no information about the source or the names of the original author. In case you have information, kindly let us know so we can give proper attribution for this post. 

If you are confused or frustrated with your current relationship because you feel your partner is not "romantic", please continue reading below.  

This one is entitled TRUE LOVE. 

My husband is an Engineer by profession, I love him for his steady nature, and I love the warm feeling when I lean against his broad shoulders.

Three years of courtship and now, two years into marriage, I would have to admit, that I am getting tired of it. The reasons of me loving him before has now transformed into the cause of all my restlessness.

I am a sentimental woman and extremely sensitive when it comes to a relationship and my feelings, I yearn for the romantic moments, like a little girl yearning for candy. My husband is my complete opposite, his lack of sensitivity and the inability of bringing romantic moments into our marriage has disheartened me about love.

One day, I finally decided to tell him my decision, that I wanted a divorce.

“Why?” he asked, shocked. “I am tired, there are no reasons for everything in the world!” I answered. He kept silent the whole night, seems to be in deep thought with a lighted cigarette at all times. My feeling of disappointment only increased, here was a man who can’t even express his predicament, what else can I hope from him? And finally, he asked me: "What can I do to change your mind?”

Somebody said it right, it’s hard to change a person’s personality, and I guess, I have started losing faith in him. Looking deep into his eyes I slowly answered: “Here is the question, if you can answer and convince my heart, I will change my mind, Let’s say, I want a flower located on the face of a mountain cliff, and we both are sure that picking the flower will cause your death, will you do it for me?” He said:” I will give you your answer tomorrow….” My hopes just sank by listening to his response.

I woke up the next morning to find him gone, and saw a piece of paper with his scratchy handwriting, underneath a milk glass, on the dining table near the front door, that goes…. My dear, “I would not pick that flower for you, but please allow me to explain the reasons further..” This first line was already breaking my heart. I continued reading.

“When you use the computer you always mess up the Software programs, and you cry in front of the screen, I have to save my fingers so that I can help to restore the programs. 

You always leave the house keys behind, thus I have to save my legs to rush home to open the door for you. You love traveling but always lose your way in a new city, I have to save my eyes to show you the way. 

You always have the cramps whenever your “good friend” approaches every month, I have to save my palms so that I can calm the cramps in your tummy.

You like to stay indoors, and I worry that you will be infected by infantile autism. I have to save my mouth to tell you jokes and stories to cure your boredom. 

You always stare at the computer, and that will do nothing good for your eyes, I have to save my eyes so that when we grow old, I can help to clip your nails, and help to remove those annoying white hairs. So I can also hold your hand while strolling down the beach, as you enjoy the sunshine and the beautiful sand… and tell you the color of flowers, just like the color of the glow on your young face. 

Thus, my dear, unless I am sure that there is someone who loves you more than I do… I could not pick that flower yet, and die.. ”

My tears fell on the letter, and blurred the ink of his handwriting… and as I continue on reading… 

“Now, that you have finished reading my answer, if you are satisfied, please open the front door for I am standing outside bringing your favorite bread and fresh milk…"

I rush to pull open the door, and saw his anxious face, clutching tightly with his hands, the milk bottle and loaf of bread.