Intensify, Do not Defy! (What Filipinos Can Do to Help Our Country)

Philippines is not a hopeless country. It is only hopeless when we do lose our hope to hope. In this post, let me share to you the content of the book “12 Little Things Every Filipino Can Do To Help Our Country”  by Alexander Lacson. I will discuss the first six and will do the rest in another post. Read it and broadcast it to more Filipinos if you find it helpful. What are the six things that we can do to help our country? Here are those:

1. Follow traffic rules. Follow the law.
This is the first thing we can do to help our country because we always encounter rules and laws to follow in our daily life. Following these rules and laws require discipline, and discipline is what we need for nation building.

In one hostel in Singapore, there was a rule that by 11pm, the lights should already be turned off. However, there was a Filipina still fixing her things beyond those hours. A British man turned off the lights without telling her. For us that was quite rude, but it was understandable since it was in the rule to turn off the lights by that time. This Filipina got really mad up to the extent of shouting and pointing her fingers to that foreigner. The foreigner stayed calm and said (with great emphasis), “Read and understand. It is already 11 o’clock”. It was just a very simple rule but she failed to follow. She was a Filipina leaving a bad impression to a foreigner that we Filipinos do not know how to read or just so obstinate to follow the rules. It is a bit depressing to bring such undesirable culture to a foreign land.

Here in the Philippines, we keep on legislating laws but we lack the proper implementation of it. For every law implemented, there must be someone who should supervise the enforcement of that law to make sure that everybody follows. Every violation of rules and laws, be it just the simple one should have a corresponding penalty. In this way, we can discipline our people.

2. Whenever you buy or pay for anything, always ask for an official receipt.
It is important to ask for an official receipt when we buy or pay for something  because the price we pay already includes the taxes. That tax being stated in the receipt needs to be forwarded to the government. If we do not ask for an official receipt, the tax we pay for something will just go somewhere else.

3. Don’t buy smuggled goods. Buy local. Buy Filipino.
Smuggled goods are goods that are brought illegally to the country. If these goods are secretly brought to our place, the government is not able to impose and collect appropriate taxes for these products. As a consequence, these goods are being sold at cheaper prices. Logically, the cheaper the price, the more people will patronize. Now the problem is, the local companies will have a hard time competing with these low-priced products. It will lead soon to company shutting down and company shutting down will lead to terminating workers and terminating workers will lead to taking away the hopes and dreams of those people who rely to these workers.

When we buy imported products, we support the foreign companies, their employees, their economy and their government. But when we buy Filipino-made products, we are contributing for our economy development. We are helping our local companies, their employees, and those people who rely to these workers. Support Filipino people by supporting Filipino products!

4. When you talk to others, especially foreigners, speak positively about us and our country.
There are many beautiful things that we can tell about our country. The Filipino people are talented, cheerful and friendly. Our place is blessed with wonderful nature. We have the Underground River, Rice Terraces, Chocolate Hills, and many other natural wonders that can truly be proud of in the whole world. We have what it takes to excel.
It is important to tell nice things about our nation because in this way, they will be curious to visit our country. If there are a flock of foreigners coming in, it can boost our economy.

5. Respect your traffic officer, policeman and soldier.
Our security officers like the traffic officer, policeman, and soldier are in flak because of the undying bribery issues. There are security officers that can be enticed by money, but there are more officers who walk on the right path. Let us respect our security officers by not tempting them to receive any money. Let us respect our security officers by following their signals. Let us respect our security officers by smiling at them for helping you to surpass the traffic. Let us respect our security officers by saying “thank you” for the good thing they do.

6. Do not litter. Dispose your garbage properly. Segregate. Recycle. Conserve.
We all want to rusticate in a clean and green environment and bestow a safer and better Philippines to our children. To do this, we should start giving value to our environment and must go hand in hand to achieve the change we want.
Our government spends billions of pesos to haul the garbage every year. But if we Filipinos apply the proper disposal of garbage, this money will go into something useful. The at most 7 billion pesos spend for the garbage disposal alone can be used for other important government projects and programs.

It is important to segregate our wastes because segregation makes the recycling of materials easier. Those biodegradable materials can be modified again into something useful and some people can make money out of them. The non-biodegradable materials do not go as waste directly. They can also be utilized as fertilizers. With proper disposal of garbage, no waste become waste.

SM Cebu has a way of conserving and recycling things. Every Wednesday, they use boxes and paper bags once you buy your groceries instead of utilizing plastic bags. If you bring your own bag, you get an additional two points in your SM Advantage card. This is just a simple system to observe but it will be a big help if everybody follows. Next time that you purchase some stuff, you can bring your own bag or just simply carry it with your hands when you buy small things.


Five good values that should be inculcated among preschool children

It is important to start instilling good values to children as early as preschool age because it will be a part of them later on as they grow and develop.

There are many good values out there, but here are five of them that should be emphasized among preschool children:

1. Autonomy – Sure children need our help and guidance! However, there are things that they can do on their own, and we should allow them to do those things. Not letting children to do things that they can do all by themselves will have effect on their confidence, which will subsequently affect their development. Let your child start doing the things that they can do such as carrying their bags, wearing their clothes and eating their own meal.

2. Respect. Respect is not only the way how you should treat adults or how you should treat the rights of your peers. Respect is also knowing how to use polite expressions like “thank you”, “sorry” and “excuse me”. Teach your child to automatically say “thank you” when someone did nice things to them and “sorry” when they hurt somebody accidentally or unintentionally. Also, teach children when to say “excuse me”. When two adults are talking, let your child say “Excuse me. Can I talk to you first?” Rather than just blurting out while adults’ conversation is going on.

3. Friendship. Friendship pertains to being kind, caring and loving to peers. Let your children understand the value of friendship so as not to hurt their friends whom they interact with most of the time.

4. Determination. There are some children who easily give up when facing a problem. Teach your children to persevere and not to give up. When they imbibed the value of determination, there will never be a problem that they cannot surpass!

5. Honesty. Honesty is not only to tell the truth, but also to do what is right. Teach your children to be honest, not just in words, but also in their actions.

Teaching children good values is the best thing that we can do for them so that they grow responsibly and soon become a good citizen of the society.

Five factors to consider when choosing a preschool

Rapid brain development occurs during the preschool years. This is why it is important to choose a good preschool to give your child a good headstart. What are then the factors to consider when choosing the best preschool for your child?

Below are the five factors to consider when choosing a preschool:

1. Teacher. The teacher is the one with direct interaction with the child. The teacher is the one who runs the classroom. The teacher manages and controls everything. Therefore, the quality of the teachers is the main factor to consider when choosing a good preschool. It is important to ask the following questions: (a) What are the qualifications of the teachers?; (b) How long have they been teaching?; and, (c) How are they upgrading themselves with the latest trends in education?

2. Curriculum. There are schools with pre-planned topics and lesson plans for the children. A good preschool develops their topics based on the child’s interests and needs.

3. Environment. The learning environment is regarded as the third teacher. Check whether the learning resources and materials are well-maintaned and safe for the children. Also, check whether the materials are age and developmentally appropriate for the kids.

4. Teacher-Child Ratio. It is vital to check the ratio of the teachers and the children because the lower the ratio, the better the quality of education. This is because the teacher has more time to interact with each of the children in the class.

5. Outdoor learning experiences. Learning is not only confined in the four walls of the classroom. It is also essential to consider whether the children have field trips and outdoor walk for them to apply or make connections of what they have learned from the classroom to the real world setting.

Wishing you all the best as you choose a good preschool suited for your child!


Mangrove and Its Benefits

Mangrove is a small tree that grows in coastal brackish water. Many people know that it serves as a home for fishes and other sea creatures. However, there are still other benefits that mangrove does. These are the following:

  1. It protects shorelines against storm, waves and flood. Its tangled root systems help in destabilizing sediments which prevent erosion.
  2. It improves water quality. It filters pollutants and traps sediments coming from the land.
  3. It supports biodiversity. It is a place where endangered and threatened sea animals live some if not most of their life.
  4. It is used in making furniture and building houses and boats because it is water resistant and durable.
  5. It is a source in making charcoal. Woods of the black mangrove and buttonwood trees are used in producing charcoal.

The Istana

The Istana, which means “palace”, is one of the important landmarks in Singapore as it is the official residence of the President and the working office of the Prime Minister. It is close to the public on most days and is only open for people on public holidays such as follows:

  • Chinese New Year
  • Labour Day
  • Hari Raya Puasa
  • National Day
  • Deepavali

There is a $2 admission fee for foreigners and $4 additional fee to be able to view the function rooms of The Istana such as the Reception Room and the State Room. You will also have the chance to see all the gifts that was given to the President by other countries. However, just do take note that photography inside the building is not allowed. 

Singaporean citizens and permanent residents have free entrance to the Istana and an additional $2 fee to see the selected function rooms.

6 different types of cheese (you might have not known)

I love cheese! Well, who doesn’t? However, as an Asian, I only know few kinds of cheese such as mozarella, cheddar, parmesan, among others. 

Last week, I encountered six types of cheese that were new to me. These were the following:

1. Gruyere Reserve – a hard, yellow cheese from Switzerland

Price: 75sgd per 1kg

2. Drunken Goat – a goat cheese from Spain. It is white and soft with an acquired taste.

Price: 70sgd per 1kg

3. Lincolnshire Poacher – a hard unpasteurized cow’s milk cheese from England

Price: 84sgd per 1kg

4. Prima Donna – cheese from Netherlands

Price: 53sgd per 1kg

5. Mimolette – cheese traditionally produced from France with a distinct color.

Price: 85sgd per 1kg

6. Boer’n Trots – cheese from Netherlands. It is different to all other cheese because of its white spots.

Price: 66sgd per 1kg

Among all these cheese types, I like Boer’n Trots the most because it tastes very similar to “Carmelado”, a milk candy traditionally made of carabao’s milk and sugar from the province of Masbate, Philippines.

Watch the review of these six kinds of cheese here.

    State of Desolation

    What do you feel when you think everything has shattered and you are left in despair? What is going in your mind when you think the world conspires against you? Do you feel alone? Depressed? Angry? Upset?

    Whatever you feel at that chaotic moment of your life, feel it! Do not be in denial of what you really feel. Be accepting. Accept it! It is only when you accept that you will be able to find out the root cause of the problem and come up with sound solutions. If you need to isolate yourself, be alone for a while or stay away from others and reflect, then by all means do it if that what will help you alleviate the pain.

    I was in the same state six years ago. I had relationship problem, and then issue at work. I had problem here, problem there, problem everywhere. I had great friends and colleagues who were there to listen, advice and comfort me or even served as my clown just to elicit that smile from my face. But, I still felt messy! I had to introspect, and from that introspection, I realized that time that my friends and colleagues could only help on the superficial level of what I was going through. If I had to eliminate the root cause of my problems, then I had to deal with the inner part of myself. That’s because problems stemmed from the inside and not from any outside force! Only when I dealt with the problem myself that I was able to move on and be happy with life.

    In a nutshell, be accepting and move on! There’s no point to be stuck somewhere… let your life flow!

    Five things to do during volcanic eruption

    After witnessing and experiencing a volcano erupting in Sumatra, Indonesia last December, the following are the things I have learned on what to do during volcanic eruptions:


    1. Stay calm. It is something that is out of our control because it is part of natural forces.

    As you all know, the third largest earthquake that hit the world was the 9.1 up to 9.3 magnitude that was felt in the West Coast of Sumatra and triggered the deadliest tsunami killing 230, 000 up to 280, 000 people in 14 countries with Indonesia particularly Aceh in Sumatra as the most damaged place.

    Not only Sumatra has tsunamis and earthquakes, it has also active volcanoes. In fact, Mount Sinabung of North Sumatra had its biggest explosion last year. Curious, thinking that the place was a disaster-prone area, I asked our tour guide, “Why are you still here?” His answer was simple… because he was “born” there. Then, I further asked, “So, what did you do during the 9.1 earthquake. What would you do if Mt Sinabung erupts?” His reply was, “Nothing we can do. We just need to dance to its rhythm”.

    So, during volcanic eruption, stay calm and dance to its rhythm! It is something that we cannot control.

    2. Follow government warnings and heed to the authorities evacuation orders. When the authorities said leave the place, then leave. I know it is painful to leave your house, land and your livelihood, but your life is more important than all of these.

    Mount Sinabung started to erupt in 2010 after its last eruption in 1600. Government advised people to evacuate in 2013 but only in 2016 that all people have evacuated the danger zone when there was a pyroclastic flow that killed 7 people. Do not wait for this incident to happen. Evacuate right away when it is needed.


    3. Stay indoors with all windows and doors closed especially if you have respiratory ailments. When there is falling ash, remain indoor with windows and doors closed until ash settles. In Sumatra, there were cases of deaths of people who suffered from asthma. So, if you have asthma or any other related ailments, stay indoor or evacuate the place immediately.


    4. Wear mask and goggles. When a volcano erupts, ashes are flying everywhere. Protect your eyes by wearing goggles or eye glasses (not contact lens) and use mask or damp cloth to help you breath.


    5. Do not run your car or truck engines. It can stir up volcanic ash that can clog engines and stall vehicles. Not only that, when the car is running fast, it can trigger ash to fly around, thus drivers will not be able to see the road or the upcoming car. Road accidents can happen. If you have no option but to run your car, then run it at 35MPH or slower.

    These are the five basic things to do during volcanic eruption. Keep safe everyone! Stay calm and evacuate immediately!

    What Hari Raya really means to the Muslim Community


    Ramadan is a fasting month, and Hari Raya Aidilfitri signals the end of Ramadan. Hari Raya is not only a festive occasion for Muslim to be happy about because of delectable food, but there is a more important reason than that! Hari Raya is a time to ask for forgiveness, reconcile and renew relationship with others and strengthen their bonds amongst relatives and friends.


    “Day of Celebration” is the literal meaning of “Hari Raya”. “Selamat Hari Raya”, which means “Happy Eid”, is the main greeting used in Malaysia and Singapore. “Maaf zahir dan batin” which means “I seek forgiveness (from you) physically and spiritually” is another greeting that we also hear during this festive season.

    Today, we were invited by our colleague, Teacher Ariffah, in their house. Malay has one month of fasting, and one month of celebration to end Ramadan. On the first and second week of Hari Raya, they open their house to their family and relatives while on the third and fourth week of Hari Raya, they invite their friends in their house to have a sumptuous meal together.

    It was a nice gathering today with Teacher Ariffah as our gracious host! Thank you, Teacher Ariffah and husband, for inviting us and opening your beautiful home to us!

    It is always great to learn other’s culture. Learning about other’s culture is an amazing and priceless experience as you get to have a deeper understanding of how other people live.

    No matter what our race or nationality is, we are all the same… We are all human! It does not matter whether you are Malay, Chinese, Indian or whatever your nationality is… we are all human beings… We are one! We all must live in peace and harmony!


    Selamat Hari Raya! Maaf zahir dan batin!




    Three things to do when you feel suffocated at work

    No matter how driven you are and committed to the world you have chosen, there will come to a point wherein you will be overwhelmed by the heap of work you have to accomplish, and that makes you reach the highest peak of exhaustion. Worst comes to worst, it leads to unhapiness when you realize that you are no longer meeting the standards or producing the best results you are aiming for. You are feeling not happy, too, because you neglect to complete the tasks you have set for yourself.

    What should be done in case you are suffering from exhaustion at work? Remember, G…O…D… GOD which stands for…

    G – Give yourself a time to be alone. Drop all the things you need to do. Being alone will provide you tranquility. Introspect. Is it still the life you want to live? Are you still walking towards the achievement of your goals? If yes, then, go and breathe! Have a break. Your work will never leave you. It will always be there waiting for you until you are energized and ready to get back and sit and finish them all.

    O – Out to a new place. Seeing a new environment which you have not been to gives a relaxing feeling. Sometimes, you are tired or even unhappy because of your routinary activities. Try something new! See something new! Being in a place entirely different from what you always see makes you recharged. This will make you gain back the strength and energy to do the things you need to accomplish in your work.

    D – Date your friends. Nothing can beat it to be out with good friends. It drops down the stress level when you are with them laughing together and doing the things which all of you enjoy.

    We are like computers. When a computer has too many tasks, it hangs. What do we do with it? We shut it down, and restart again. Just like us, when we have a lot of things to get done, we need to suspend our work for a while, gain the strength that we need, and restart again.