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Thursday, April 29, 2021

Book Feature: Where Silence Ends: A Memoir + Exclusive Author Interview with Angela Ruiz

Where Silence Ends is the captivating memoir of a Mexican-American, mother-daughter duo and their chillingly beautiful family journey of generational trauma and healing was published last March 2021 in time for the celebration of Women's month. 

Now, we have the privilege to interview the author, Angela Ruiz as she shares with us more about this beautiful memoir. 

1. Can you share with us something about the book that is not included in the blurb?

I wrote the book at 32 years old, but in reality, this journey was in the works for over a decade. My mother first approached me when I was 16 years old and voiced that one day, she’d like to write the story of her twisted and yet triumphant life with me. Alas, Where Silence Ends is the result of a tiny seed growing roots and shooting up towards the sun.

2. What inspired the idea for your latest book?

As I mentioned, this book was a long time coming — but the final inspiration to dive all in was an ayahuasca ceremony I participated in. Ayahuasca is a powerful mixture of nature that helped awaken my consciousness to my purpose at that moment. The message came through lovingly, and yet somewhat forcefully: “My Dear Beloved, write the book!” And so, I did.

3. How long did it take you to finish writing this book?

It took me two and a half years to interview over 15 people, transcribe the audio, and write the book to begin rounds and rounds of editing with my trusty editor. My team also transcribed the entire book into Spanish during this time. I love the process of creating through writing, and though this is my debut novel, I hope to write another book soon.

4. What part of the book was most challenging to write and why?

What a great question. Honestly, I remember my chest feeling heaviest as I wrote the last 3 chapters. This was a combination of coming towards the end of writing my first book, and more so than anything, processing all the emotions and stories I was holding throughout the 2 years of writing the book. It’s an intense read, there is no way around that, but I also try and stay true to who I am and who my mother is — and we are women filled with love and happiness. My hope is that the lightness in such a dark story shines through.

5. What do you hope your readers take away from this book?

I believe every reader will take away what serves them most. There is so much to learn from a raw story of a Mexican American family dealing with generational sexual abuse, and unfortunately, so many people in this world can relate. My hope is that it helps readers find even more strength than already exists within them and inspires others to use their voice.

6. If you’re planning a sequel or write the next book, can you share a tiny bit about your plans for it?

Absolutely! I’m thrilled to share this. My next book is somewhere between a sequel and a parallel partner of Where Silence Ends. This next book will be all about my dad’s life, although I think I’ll make it fiction rather than non-fiction — yet largely inspired by true events. His life story is fascinating and brings to life so many aspects of my beloved Mexico, the intricacies of immigration, and what so many people refer to as the American dream. There are several characters that will appear in my dad’s story that is also in my mom’s story, so I’ll be using the same names for those characters — keeping the two books connected with special little details as such. I feel a rush of excitement when I think about starting this next book.

7. Where can we buy your books?

Where Silence Ends is my debut novel and can be purchased on Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, and almost any other online platform that sells books. Simply search “Where Silence Ends, Angela Ruiz.” I hope that all readers or someone in their lives will benefit from this story.

8. Where can readers find out more about you and your books?

I invite you to visit my website:

Here you’ll find some gems in the form of author photos, featuring me and my mom together. You can also contact me through my website. I love hearing from readers and connect.


Thank you, Angela, for agreeing to this interview. We are thrilled to learn more about you and your book and we are excited for the sequel as well. 

For those who are interested to order the book, you'd be happy to know that a portion of every purchase will be donated to providing therapy for survivors of childhood sexual trauma. Just go to


We love supporting authors! Do you want to promote your book? 

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Best Practices in Managing Credit Card Debts in the New Normal

The health crisis has been ongoing for over 12 months and with the recurring wave of infections happening across the globe, it seems that there is no end-in-sight available anytime soon. 

Due to the crisis, many aspects of our lives have suddenly become different. We experienced major changes in the way we work, our children's educational system, even our dining, and shopping habits. On a larger note, the crisis has greatly impacted the economy, job security, and personal finance. 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the current US unemployment rate is at 6%, or 9.7 million are unemployed as of March 2021. While in the Philippines, the most recent report by the Philippine Statistics Authority states that as of February 2021, unemployment worsens in the country as we now have 8.8% or 4.2 million Filipinos reported jobless compared to the 5.3% unemployment rate in January 2020. 

What does the current unemployment rate have to do with credit card debts?

This simply means with all the uncertainties happening right now, having a credit card debt or other outstanding loans may not be a good idea. There is a huge possibility that further lockdowns might take place and unemployment (whether permanent or temporary) or reduced income will continue to rise in the next few months. 

What can we do about it? 

If you are currently employed and still continue to have a source of income right now, first you need to do is stop borrowing. If you have some outstanding credit card debts, prioritize paying them off as well. It will help you save money since it means that you don't have to pay more interest (which is just money down the drain) 

Don't you think it is better to keep or hold on to my money? 

Though having cash on hand is good especially during emergencies, paying off your credit card debts will give you peace of mind. Remember that when the unexpected comes (like unemployment or loss of income), it won't be an excuse to miss out on your obligations. You will continue to incur more penalties and charges which just makes the situation worse. 

Instead, you can use your credit card as a lifeline during emergencies. 

I am not really sure if I have to capacity to pay it in full. I have limited resources. 

If you have limited resources, it is best to come up with a plan on how you can pay your credit card debts. Find out how much is your income and how much funds you can allocate for payments. Compute what portion of your actual payments go to the interest and the principal. If you are not sure how to do it, you can use a free credit card payment calculatorIt will also give you insights into how monthly payments are left if you are just paying the minimum or a certain amount.  

Once you have this information about your payment capacity, you can contact your bank and ask for a payment arrangement. Usually, they can offer lower interest rates or lower minimum payments. All you need to do is ask. 

I am already in trouble and have missed some payments. 

According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, amnesty and relief programs are available to help delinquent cardholders pay off their outstanding payments and restructure their credit card debt. 

Thus, do not lose hope when you are in this situation. If you have already incurred some late fees and penalties, don't be scared to reach out to your bank. Instead, let them know your situation and the hardships that you are facing. Many companies are able to waive or refund fees to help their clients during this time of need.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Book Review: Woman of Faith by Karen Agreda – Cabunilas

It was an ordinary Wednesday night and I have a new book in the mail. Being the typical me, I excitedly opened the package to check. I planned to just browse through the pages quickly however, I really had no intention to read that night as I was so busy with tasks.

Little did I know I couldn't put down the book and finished reading it in one sitting. 

Woman of Faith is not your typical inspirational book but rather it is a genuine testimony of a strong and faithful woman who went through a lot of challenges and hardships, how she and her family were able to hold on to their faith to withstand all the trials and enjoy the blessings they have received today. 

One thing that is unique about this book is that it has a lot of bible verses. The author responded to their life's trials with prayer and unwavering faith. She generously shared her favorite bible verses and how God's words have given them strength all throughout the years. 

What I love about the book? It is such an easy read as if you are just talking to a friend. Her story is not something that is too good to be true but rather it is something genuine. Many of the author's life experiences are relatable one way or another. As a reader, you will laugh and cry as you read. 

Through this book, Author Karen Agreda - Cabunilas shared the gift of hope to the world. The book also celebrates family, friendship, love, and God's miracles -- everything that makes life worth living for. 

Thus, if you are someone who’s going through a difficult time right now, this book is for you. 

If you are someone who has big dreams but thinks that it is impossible, this book is for you.

About the Author

Karen Agreda - Cabunilas is a woman who strived hard to achieve her dreams. She started from scratch and all she had in hand was her faith. From being an online seller, she is now the owner and CEO of her own company, JKAR Realty, and Consultancy. Her husband, on the other hand, owns and manages his growing construction company and handles several branches of their hardware supplies store. To date, they own several businesses and properties that they did not even imagine having. From nothing, they are now enjoying all their answered prayers with faith in their hearts. 

Through this book, the author wants to share what our faith can do. 

She is also the author behind the blog, Karenspirations


Title: Woman of Faith
Author: Karen Agreda-Cabunilas
Publisher: Central Book Supply, Inc.
ISBN: 978-621-02-1208-2
No. of Pages: 119
Size: 6 x 9 inches
Edition: 2020
Binding: Softbound

You may order your copy through Central Books

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Get 20% cashback when you pay using Shopeepay in Puregold Branches Nationwide

Shopee, the leading e-commerce platform in Southeast Asia and Taiwan, partners with Puregold to offer its customers a safer payment method via ShopeePay, its integrated mobile wallet. Starting today, customers can pay for their groceries using ShopeePay in over 406 Puregold branches nationwide and can enjoy up to 20% cashback starting today until December 31, 2021.

With more Filipinos embracing cashless transactions and digital payment methods gaining traction, Shopee continues to offer a wide range of digital payment options to cater to Filipinos' evolving needs, including ShopeePay, our mobile wallet.

According to Puregold's President Ferdinand Vincent Co, “Puregold is excited to partner with ShopeePay for this initiative. At Puregold, we want to give our customers only the best kind of service and overall quality shopping experience, and that includes easier and safer payment methods. Through the convenience of digital payments, we aim to increase customer enthusiasm while consumers maintain their purchasing power.”

Martin Yu, Director at Shopee Philippines, said, “We are always thrilled to partner with one of the Filipinos’ favorite brands, such as Puregold. Through ShopeePay, we strive to ensure that users can shop and pay with ease. In addition to the ease of use, ShopeePay offers several benefits to users which include convenience, a seamless user experience, security, and greater cost savings. Shopee will continue to collaborate with more brand partners to make paying for online purchases easier for Filipinos amidst the pandemic and beyond.”

For shoppers opting to pay via ShopeePay, here are six easy steps to follow:

  • Inform the cashier you would like to pay via ShopeePay
  • Go to your ShopeePay wallet action bar and tap “Scan.”
  • Click QR / Barcode
  • Enter your 6-digit ShopeePay PIN
  • Present generated QR code to cashier for scanning
  • You will receive a confirmation of your payment
Download the Shopee app for free via this link and pay for groceries via ShopeePay to get 20% cashback on Puregold purchases.

Sunday, April 18, 2021

What's Special about Enesco's Disney Jim Shore Collection?

Are you a Disney fan? Do you love collecting Disney stuff? 

If you are a Disney Collector, you might have seen several figurines from Enesco's Jim Shore Collection. There is no doubt that it is beautiful but have you ever wondered why it is expensive. Here in the Philippines, each figure costs around Php 2k - Php 10k+ per piece. 

Enesco Beauty and the Beast
Product Link:

Product Link:

So, what's special about these figurines?

These figurines are made from high-quality stone resins with intricate styling and attention to detail. Though they are mass-produced, each piece is beautifully handpainted.

Among all the products sold by Enesco, Disney Traditions™ by Jim Shore is my favorite. In this collection, he has combined classic Disney characters with folk art designs including quilting, rosemaling, and tole painting. 

If you do not know Jim Shore, he is an award-winning designer from South Carolina.

His passion and love for American folk art made him work for decades developing his craft and manufacturing his own designs. He is known for his fresh interpretation of traditional motifs combined with his unmistakable style of combining diverse color palette and timeless images from American and European folk art allowing him to create truly unique and beautiful pieces.

Jim has received many recognitions from prestigious trade organizations including ICON HONORS Life Accomplishment Award in 2012. Thus, owning a piece from this legend is a joy for all collectors.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Lumina Homes: Transforming Dreams To Reality in Bacolod City

Everyone dreams of having their own home. One place that you can call your own where you can settle down and build a family. It does not need to be huge. As long as it's decent and comfortable, it is already something you can be proud and happy to have. 

Unfortunately, no matter how simple this dream is. Many are still unable to afford to buy their dream home. Ordinary workers who are having a hard time making ends meet feel that this dream is quite remote and impossible. 

Luckily, today this is no longer true. 
Lumina, the affordable housing segment of Vista Land and Lifescapes, Inc. and the top real estate developer in the Philippines is offering friendly-priced yet quality housing. Making every Filipino's dream of owning their dream home a reality with their continuous development projects all over the country. 

If you are from Bacolod, Lumina Homes adds more delight to the City of Smiles as it builds its newest community on the eastern part of Bacolod City.

Lumina Homes started to recognize Bacolod’s booming potential in 2016 when it opened its first community with affordable house and lot in the city through Lumina Bacolod. It is located in Brgy. Vista Alegre, with 35-hectare development land, offered around 4,000 house and lot that were all officially sold out in just two years.

This year, Lumina Homes plan to develop another community with offers of affordable house and lot through their 45-hectare acquired land in the east of Bacolod City. This site is just a drive away from Bantug Lake Ranch, a recreational development that houses scenic waterfront and various leisure activities. You can enjoy adventures like horseback riding, boating, and fishing in just a quick drive. The proposed project is also just a couple of minutes away from other fun and enjoying places like Campuestuhan Highland Resort, Guerrero Farm and Nature Park, Melba’s Farm Guest House, and other popular commercial and business facilities.

It is also remarkably convenient and accessible as the main roads have ongoing road-widening projects that will make the site closer to the New Government Center and the New Silay-Bacolod International Airport.

Lumina Homes' latest offering in Bacolod City, like its signature developments will feature affordable residential units and amenities such as shuttle service, mini gardens, parks, and playground, covered multi-purpose hall, and provision for commercial area.

Mega Deal of the Month Featuring Lumina Bacolod East.

Now, here's the best part! You can now reserve your slots through Lumina Homes Mega Deal of the Month Paynagaaan Extended DP Promo. 

Avail of a house and lot from Lumina Homes in Bacolod East for as low as
Php 6,799 per month for 36 months for its Single Firewall home model. This is from its previous price of P10,198/month in 24 months.

You can also avail of their Rowhouse models as low as Php 5,219 per month for 36 months from 7,829/mo in 24 months before this promo began.

Aside from the extended downpayment promo, any home model can be availed by using a Pag-IBIG housing loan, instead of a bank loan as the only financing option. Other promos are:

  • 50% Off on Reservation Fees
  • Free Water Application Fee
  • Free Electricity Application Fee
  • Free HOA Membership Fee

Make sure to plan and have your reservations made within the month, as the promo will only run until April 30, 2021.


Live Selling sa Brgy. Lumina Bacolod.

Live Selling sa Barangay Lumina is a digital way to replicate house and lot purchase experience during an Open House event with some fun elements added like games, freebies, all-out inventory, and limited-time offer through Facebook.

As another way for Lumina Homes to connect with partner networks and interested home seekers, Live Selling sa Barangay Lumina is an interactive activity that allows house and lot reservations by simply commenting "mine" during the live stream. After the live streaming, the Lumina Account Officer will coordinate with the acknowledged "mine" comments to assist in officially proceeding with the house and lot reservation.


You can tune in this April 24, 2021, at 2pm. Saturday to the Official Facebook Page of Lumina Bacolod for your chance to “mine” your dream house and lot while winning exciting prizes and freebies!


The Winner ‘TECHS’ It All.

Achieve your #BahayGoals and get a chance to win a pocket WiFi through Lumina's 'The Winner Techs it All Raffle Promo' when you reserve your own 2-storey Lumina house and lot from April 1 to June 30, 2021!

Most of us are living in a digital world ever since the start of this pandemic. We will always look for fast and dependable internet access, especially that being "connected" is necessary nowadays. Internet is like the bread and butter for people doing Work From Home setup and simply because most people are encouraged to stay at home for safety.

Here are the mechanics of The Winner 'Techs' It All Raffle Promo (Homebuyers Category)

1. Homebuyers should reserve 2-storey house and lot for sale in any of these participating Lumina Homes project locations:

  •         Polomolok
  •         Concepcion, Tarlac
  •         Cauayan, Isabela
  •         Pilar, Bataan
  •         Sariaya, Quezon
  •         Sorsogon
  •         San Pascual, Batangas
  •         Camarines Norte
  •         Bacolod East
  •         Capiz

2. The reservation of the chosen house and lot should be made using Lumina Homes

3. The homebuyer should also subscribe to the Lumina Newsletter and the email address for the subscription should match the one used during the online reservation.

4. Promo runs from April 1 to June 30, 2021.


How to Subscribe to Lumina Homes Newsletter?


Here are the three easy steps on how to subscribe to Lumina Homes Newsletter:

  1. Open your browser and go to
  2. Scroll down, and you will see the Lumina Logo with "Subscribe to the Newsletter" on the left side corner at the bottom of the page.
  3. Click the line, enter the email address you used during your house and lot reservation through Lumina Homes Online, and click send.

And that's it! You are now registered to have an entry for The Winner TECHS It All Digital Raffle Promo. There will be ten winners nationwide of brand new broadband or pocket WiFi.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Did Ariel of The Little Mermaid Teach Us to Become Hoarders?

Disney's The Little Mermaid has been a big part of our childhood. I mean who hasn't watched that movie at least once in his/her life? 

I remember when I was little, I wished that I could be a mermaid with a beautiful voice like Ariel. I would even sing my heart out in public without realizing I was out of tune. 

As a kid, Part of Your World by Jodi Benson was my national anthem. 
If you are not familiar with it, you can watch this music video

Look at this stuff
Isn't it neat?
Wouldn't you think my collection's complete?
Wouldn't you think I'm the girl
The girl who has everything?

And these few lines from the song stuck with me even up to this day. Every time I go home after a shopping trip or just see my latest haul, I can't help but sing these lines. I feel like I own the world and that I am ready with emergencies or whatnot because I make sure I have "everything" available. 

I've got gadgets and gizmos a-plenty
I've got whozits and whatzits galore
You want thingamabobs?
I've got twenty!
But who cares?
No big deal
I want more

And this made me realize - Did Ariel influence me to become the "hoarder" that I am today?  Does the song/ movie teach little girls to become materialistic? 

But then, if you listen to the song further... 

I wanna be where the people are
I wanna see, wanna see 'em dancin'
Walking around on those, what do you call 'em?
Oh, feet

You will realize that no, that is not the case. Instead, the song/ movie teaches us that experience, people and relationships matter more. No amount of material things can replace the emptiness and longing to spend time with our loved ones. 

The song also made me realize that it is important that we learn to enjoy our lives. We don't need to just work, work and work. Instead, we must grab the opportunity to travel and explore the world when we can. I think this health crisis has taught us a valuable lesson on seizing opportunities because we will never know what will happen next. 

Being quarantined for over a year and literary not going out for months was possible because I held on to my previous experiences and wonderful memories. I really do not mind going out because I do not have many regrets. Though I still feel down from time to time, I just reminisce on our previous trips and travel experiences and that immediately makes me feel better. 

If you are a parent, it also important that you spend quality time with your children. It is not enough that you provide all their needs and wants. Your time and attention are more meaningful and it is the best way to show how much you love them. 

So, to answer the question -- Ariel is not teaching us to become hoarders. Instead, she inspires us to live our lives fully. Let us dance, walk and be with the people we love. :) 


Are you a Disney fan? Let's connect on Instagram. 

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Lumina Goes All-Digital and Future-Ready for Homebuyers and Sellers

Many businesses have been forced to halt operations temporarily, and in the worst-case scenario, completely shut down due to the health crisis. Given the circumstances, the present situation has also compelled businesses to adopt remote work environments and develop coping business strategies.

The majority of interactions with clients and employees must be virtual in the new normal, where physical separation is required. Given the circumstances, conducting business through mobile and online transactions is one of the most advantageous ways to continue doing so despite restrictions and quarantines.

Lumina Homes, Vista Land's affordable housing arm, seeks solutions to the crisis.

With its digital innovations, Lumina Homes is a future-ready real estate developer and one of the first real estate companies to have ready technology to offer homebuyers in the Philippines and abroad a safer and all-digital home buying experience.

Here are some of the digital innovations developed by Lumina Homes to make their services and the home-buying process easier and more accessible to every Juan, whenever, and wherever homebuyers require it.

Explore Lumina Homes in 3D 

Without leaving your seat, you can take a virtual tour of your future home. Explore Lumina Homes in 3D! All you have to do is visit Lumina Homes' official website and go to the homepage and browse for Virtual Tours of:

  • Aimee Rowhouse is a 22 square meter home with a provision for one-bedroom and a minimum lot area of 36 square meters.
  • Angelique Home Model is a 35 square meter home with provision for two bedrooms and a minimum lot area of 36 square meters. Angelique Home Model is also available in Townhouse and Duplex type of house.
  • Angeli Home Model is a 42 square meter home with provision for three bedrooms and a minimum lot area of 36 square meters. Angeli Home Model is available in Townhouse, Duplex, and Single Firewall type of house.
  • Signature showcase area of Lumina Homes that includes a preview of what a typical Lumina Homes community looks like. 

Lumina Homes Online

Lumina Homes Online is a one-stop home reservation site where homebuyers can search for currently offered house-and-lot units and pay the reservation fee with a debit or credit card, GCash, or over-the-counter.

Lumina Homes Online, launched in 2017 for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) customer and the working-class who are just too busy to visit a Lumina Homes site has now developed into a valuable resource for both sellers and property investors as the pandemic remains to restrict physical transactions.

Lumina Homes in Online Shopping Sites

Lumina Homes continue to grow by leveraging digital innovation and the popularity of e-commerce services. 

It acknowledges the increased development and technological demand and represents a significant milestone in the real estate industry. Lumina Homes has an official store on Shopee as well as Lazada. 

Lumina Online Payment

The Lumina Online Payment is a site that allows homebuyers to easily settle their Lumina home dues utilizing online banking, credit cards powered by Pesopay, and digital wallets like AllEasy and GCash. The payment portal also displays all other reliable online payment channels, as well as step-by-step guidelines.

Lumina Online University

Lumina Online University is a training portal that provides sales training for Lumina Homes' sales partner networks.

At Lumina Homes, the perspective of the sellers is just as important as the journey of the buyers. Lumina Homes intends to support its sales network in adjusting to the changes of the real estate market, ensuring that they are exceptionally stable and persistent in their shared goal of providing affordable homes, even though we face challenging days as a result of the pandemic.

Lumina Online Appointment

The Lumina Online Appointment Scheduler makes office visits more convenient. 

When you book an appointment online for the contract signing, document submission, and other services, you can avoid the lines and save time!

Lumina E-text

Lumina e-Text is a text messaging service that responds to specific types of inquiries using keyword templates. Customers can now expect an immediate response by following the below SMS inquiry template and send to (0919) 072-1399 or (0917) 818-1875. Text messaging fees will apply as usual.


  • For outstanding balance inquiry, text LUMINABILL<space>10-DIGIT SALES ORDER NUMBER. Example: LUMINABILL 2500000000
  • For reference numbers needed when paying through local payment centers, text LUMINAREFNUM<space>10-DIGIT SALES ORDER NUMBER. Example: LUMINAREFNUM 2500000000
  • For the list of payment channels available, text LUMINAPAYCTR<space>10-DIGIT SALES ORDER NUMBER. Example: LUMINAPAYCTR 2500000000
  • For inquiry of last posted or credited payment, text LUMINALASTPAY <space> 10-DIGIT SALES ORDER NUMBER. Example: LUMINALAST PAY 2500000000
  • For total payments you have made, text LUMINATOTALPMT <space> 10-DIGIT SALES ORDER NUMBER. Example: LUMINATOTALPMT 2500000000
  • For updating your mobile number on Lumina Homes' system, text LUMINAMOBILE<space>10-DIGIT SALES ORDER NUMBER <space>11-DIGIT NEW MOBILE NUMBER. Example: LUMINAMOBILE 2500000000 09171234567
  • For updating your email address on Lumina Homes’ system, text LUMINAEMAIL<space>10-DIGIT SALES ORDER NUMBER <space>NEW EMAIL ADDRESS. Example: LUMINAEMAIL 2500000000

With Lumina e-Text, Lumina provides its customers with an additional and faster method of accessing and updating their account information.

Lumina Admin Virtual Assistant

Meet Juan, Kabarangay! 

No need to visit, stand in line, and proceed to the nearest Lumina Homes Office for your immediate concerns! 

Lumina Homes created Juan Support to prioritize the safety and convenience of Lumina Homeowners. Juan, your virtual admin assistant who is always able to answer your housing questions like:


  • Payments concerns
  • List of requirements for housing loan
  • Statement of Account
  • House construction updates
  • Home improvement restrictions
  • Title processing

Lumina Homes is committed to delivering a more refined home buying journey to customers and sales network partners and will continue to innovate to provide the absolute best home buying experience.