Zero-Waste 101 For Beginners (Like Me)

I started to become aware of taking care of our surroundings when I was in high school.  I attended a talk about waste segregation and the effect of throwing trash anywhere can make a huge impact on the environment.  Since then, I have been very conscious of throwing trash everywhere.  If there is no trash can available, I put the trash on my bag or pocket first and throw it once I see one.

Honestly, I feel sad whenever I see people carelessly throw their trash on the streets especially when they are riding a public vehicle.  I have this urge to approach that person and tell him/her to pick up his/her trash.  There are cases wherein the trash bin is already beside him/her and yet people don't care at all to put the trash inside the trash bin.  In addition to that, people will just leave their mess on food courts, they do not even wipe the table nor organize their trash for the easy pick-up of the busboys.

As early as now, I teach my son how to throw trash properly.  I always remind him to throw it on the trash can and not just leave his trash anywhere.  I am also teaching him to segregate the recyclables so we can give it to our relative for them to sell.  

These days, the talks about having a zero-waste lifestyle is getting raves on social media.  While I am aware of recycling trash, there are still other ways of minimizing trash at home and I am in the learning process on living a zero-waste lifestyle.  

I have been chatting with a friend on Facebook about this topic and I'm so glad that she patiently answers all my queries about Reduce, Reuse, Refuse, and Recyle.

Slowly, I am adapting to zero-waste lifestyle.  While I know that I have been doing some ways little by little at present, I want to step it up and be part of our lifestyle.

I know you're curious about zero-waste lifestyle; basically it's minimizing biodegradable and non-biodegradable trash thrown in the landfills and by using products that can be used over and over again.

Some people say that going zero-waste is something only rich people can do.  Actually going zero-waste doesn't have anything to do with your socio-economic status; going zero waste is something that EVERYBODY can do.  It is more of your willpower and not of your spending power.

Are you ready to go zero-waste?

There are lots of things that you have to change on your lifestyle, but you are not required to do everything all at the same time.  To be honest, it's hard, so just do whatever your energy can do one at a time.  You are not also required to do everything, just do whatever you think you can in your capacity to make our world a better place to live.

I'll give you ways that you can easily do and as a start in having a zero-waste lifestyle:

1.  Bring your own utensils.  Instead of using disposables, bring your own stainless spoon and fork with you.  When ordering take-outs, tell the personnel not to include disposables.  

2.  Refuse the straw.  Drink straight from the glass instead.  If you can't resist, you can have your own reusable straw and always bring it with you together with your utensils.  Reusable straws can be made of silicone, hard plastic, stainless steel, glass, or bamboo.  Just choose whatever you are comfortable using, just wash them thoroughly after each use.

Having your own straw lessens trash

3.  Bring eco-bags whenever you shop or do your grocery.  Bringing your own bag whenever you shop lessens the trash at home.  Some shops give rebates to their shoppers who bring their own bags.  Even if the shopping bags of the establishments are made of paper, better to refuse if you will only buy a small item which can fit on your bag.

In Hong Kong, if you want your purchases to be in a shopping bag, you have to pay extra for that, so it is common for Hong Kong residents to bring a luggage whenever they shop.

Look how much plastic you will accumulate if you will not bring your own eco bag when shopping

4.  Buy in bulk.  Buying in bulk may seem to be heavy on the budget, but if you will do your computation based on the small packages that you buy on a regular basis, you will save a lot too.  Buying in small packs/sachets add to the trash.  Just have small containers at home should you need to bring or use small quantities.

5.  Sort trash.  Recyclables like paper, plastic bottles, and cans can be sold to the junk shops, so have a dedicated space for recyclables in your house and you can either sell it or donate it.

6.  Bring containers when you do grocery shopping.  You can put your meats and vegetables inside the containers.  Some groceries do not accept containers though, so you can try going to the local market for your meats and vegetables shopping.

Road to zero waste: it's my first time to bring a microwaveable container in doing grocery! I always bring an eco bag whenever we go grocery shoppinh and I just took a risk in bringing containers for meats. Good thing SM Hypermarket in Cainta accepted my containers (some supermarkets do not). They even tried to put it in a plastic but I refused. Well, some of the veggies that I bought at the grocery were still in a plastic, what I did I just put all of them in one plastic and all the tags are in that plastic. I still have a long way to go in minimizing waste at home but by doing something little by little will make a huge impact. How about you, what are you currently doing to minimize waste at home? #zerowaste #ecofriendly #ecoliving #reuse #reduce #refuse #recycle #environment #shopping #groceryshopping #smhypermarket
A post shared by Donna Donor (@donababe) on

The list goes on.....just start on those things I mentioned above because if you will try to do everything to go on a zero-waste lifestyle, it will overwhelm you.

If you want to step up the challenge on going zero-waste and if you're accustomed in doing the above-mentioned simple steps, you can do the following:

  • using cloth menstrual pad/menstrual cup/cloth diapers/cloth wipes
  • ecobricking
  • composting (traditional, vermicompost, bokashi compost)
  • bringing containers for take-outs
  • switch on using shampoo and conditioner bars

Going zero-waste is something that needs sheer determination, but you can do it one by one!  No need to do all of the things I mentioned above, it's really hard to be a purist, but by doing something little in your own way will create a big impact to our environment.

Go zero waste!

Dimsum Cravings at The Dimsum Place

One of the things that my son and I love doing is checking out new restaurants.

I have been eyeing to eat at The Dimsum Place at Il Centro, Sta. Lucia Grand Mall these past few days because it's near from our place.  However, whenever my son and I will pass at that restaurant, it's always full!  This made me more curious about the dishes that they offer.

The Dimsum Place is a Chinese restaurant offering dimsum, noodles, congee, and Chinese pastries on their menu.  They also accept short orders (meaning, packed food in huge servings).  Currently, there are two branches in the Metro Manila (Il Centro and Fisher Mall).  The prices of each dishes at The Dimsum Place are affordable.  You can check the menu below:

They really have lots of choices on their menu, and they still have other dishes that are not mentioned above, like their noodle and fried rice dishes.

Their bestsellers are pork and shrimp siomai, chicken feet, crispy radish cake, sweet and sour pork, special jumbo siopao, and of their noodle dishes.

My son and I tried the stuffed eggplant, stuffed tofu, crispy radish cake, fried fish fillet roll, crispy fried shrimp dumplings, cucumber with century egg cold plate, stir fried noodles with egg, shredded beef brisket fried rice, fragrant beef ribs, and taro balls.  Their servings are huge, so it's really ideal for sharing.

My son and I enjoyed tasting all of them!  

My favorites are the stuffed tofu, taro balls, cucumber with century egg gold plate, and stuffed eggplant.  All other dishes tastes equally good too!  

There are still lots of dishes to try on The Dimsum Place!  For sure my son and I will be back to taste the other dishes on the menu.

To know more about The Dimsum Place, you may visit their Facebook page.  You may reserve tables in advance if you're coming in a group as they have a tendency to be full during lunch and dinner.  

Celebrate Your Birthday at Your Favorite Restaurant!

July is our favorite month, and you know why:  IT'S OUR BIRTHDAY MONTH!

Kib and I like doing something new during our birthday month and one of the activities that we do eat!  We like eating something special during our birthdays and it's a bonus if the crews at the restaurant will sing a Happy Birthday Song and give us a special treat.  It's really fun to celebrate birthdays while being surrounded by strangers and everyone greets you on your special day!

I remembered celebrating our birthday at Movie Stars Cafe years ago and we were given a small piece of cupcake with a candle on it while everyone is singing Happy Birthday.  My son felt so special during that day!

A post shared by Donna Donor (@donababe) on

I'm so glad to know that more and more establishments are giving special treats to birthday celebrants should they chose to celebrate the occasion at their place.  I've compiled a list of establishments which give birthday treats to their customers, thanks to the help of friends who helped me build my list!  
  • Starbucks -- if you have a registered Starbucks card, you are entitled to a free slice of a cake of your choice for your birthday!  You have 60 days after your birthday to get your free cake.  For you to get your free slice of cake, you have to order any handcrafted beverage.

  • Vikings -- if you go at any Vikings buffet restaurant on the exact day of your birthday, your meal is free provided that you are with one paying adult.  However, you can still avail of the birthday promo during the month of your birthday if you are accompanied by four paying adults.  Just present an ID bearing your birth date.

  • Ippudo -- eat at Ippudo restaurant during your birthday month together with your four (4) friends and you can have a bowl of ramen for free!  Just present an ID bearing your birthday when you visit any Ippudo branches.  There is no limit on availing your birthday ramen as long as it is within your birthday month.
At Ippudo.  Too bad we're only two, we weren't able to avail of the birthday promo

  • Ramen Nagi -- avail of your birthday ramen as long as you are accompanied by one paying adult.  Order one Butao King and you will have another bowl of Butao King for free!  Just show your ID showing your birthday month.  Unlike in Ippudo, you can only avail of this birthday promo only once during your birthday month.
Happy to know that Ramen Nagi has a birthday promo, it is one of our favorite restaurants!

  • Petron -- yes, not only food establishments offer perks on your birthday!  If you are a Petron Value Card holder and your card is registered, Petron will give you additional points on your card when you gas up 30 days from your birthday.  A text message will be sent to you as proof that the additional points were credited to your card.  This special bonus points can only be availed once.

  • Kidzania --  kids holding a PaZzport is entitled to a discount when they visit Kidzania during their birthday month provided that he/she is accompanied by two paying companions.  The discount gets higher and higher depending on the level of citizenship of the PaZzport holder and the frequency of visit during the birthday month.  

A post shared by Donna Donor (@donababe) on

  • The Alley by Vikings -- located at UP Town Center, same with its mother company, The Alley also offers free buffet to the birthday celebrant if he/she eats there on his/her exact birthday, provided that he/she is accompanied by one paying guest.  Don't worry, your plate can still be free if you are accompanied by four paying guests should you were not able to eat there on your exact birthday.

  • Yabu --  birthday celebrant can get one free katsu on his/her birthday month provided that he/she will be accompanied by at least three paying guests who will order full katsu meals each. The birthday promo can be availed repeatedly during the birthday month, just show an ID with birthday on it.

  • Sambokojin -- Dine three days before or three days after your birthday with one paying guest and your meal is free!  Present your ID showing your birthday before ordering.
We love the wide variety of dishes at Sambokojin!

  • Shakey's -- if you're a SuperCard holder, you're entitled to one large thin crust pepperoni pizza on your birthday month.  What makes this better is that you can get your birthday pizza AND avail of the other perks of SuperCard together!  Either you get 10% discount on your dine-in purchase or get buy one, take one on your take-out or delivery pizza.  
So happy that I was able to get my free birthday pizza and avail of the buy one, take one pizza at the same time!

  • Manila Ocean Park -- Avail of Sea Breeze (Php760 per person) or Marine Voyages (Php995 per person) with three paying guests and your ticket is free!  Just go to Manila Ocean Park on your birthday month and show an ID with your birthday month to avail of the promo.
Kib was so enamored to be kissed by a sea lion!

  • Four Seasons Hotpot -- birthday celebrant can get his/her meal for free if he/she visits Four Seasons Hotpot with one paying guest on the day of his/her birthday.  Otherwise, he/she can still avail of the birthday promo within his/her birthday month if he/she will be dining with three paying adults.  Just present an ID bearing your birthday to be eligible for the promo.

  • Churreria La Lola -- get free Classicos Jr. three days before or 3 days after your birthday when you spend at least P120 to avail of the birthday promo.  Show a proof of your birth date (e.g. valid ID) upon ordering.

  • Hi-Rice Grill -- located at Marcos Highway in Pasig City, birthday celebrant can avail of the promo during his/her birthday month provided that he/she is with one paying guest.  

  • Other establishments such as TGI Fridays, Flaming Wings, Mamou, Gloria Maris, Torch, Chili's, Itallanis, and Amici will give the birthday celebrant a special treat (small cake, ice cream, etc.) and the whole crew will sing a Happy Birthday song.   No need to show proof of birthday, they will just happily give their treat to you.

Birthday promos may change yearly, so better to check it out if there are changes on the promo.  

If you still know of any other establishments that offer something special to the birthday celebrant, let me know so I can add it up on the list.

Enjoy birthday celebration with your loved one!  Memories built during celebrations are worth every centavo :) 

Prime Mom Club Launches Series of Workshops

Cooking is one of the activities that me and my son do together.  Before, he only helps me in stirring and cutting, now my son is now into cooking full meals.  I'm so glad that he loves to cook.  I can now rely on him whenever I feel sick and can't prepare meals for the two of us.  Sometimes he would even ask me what I want to eat and he'll prepare it wholeheartedly.

Now that my son is into serious cooking, I am more challenged to step up my dishes.  I have to learn new dishes to also keep my son's interest in cooking and interest in eating.  I also have to be innovative in putting ingredients together and to prettify the plate so that it will look appetizing.  

I am so glad that Mega Prime has come up with putting up Prime Mom Club to help mommies in managing their respective homes.

Prime Mom Club is a community that aims to support moms in being kitchen savvy by enabling them with tips and delicious recipes using Mega Prime's products.  Prime Mom Club had its pilot workshop for mommies last July 20, 2018 at Prime Hotel, Quezon City.  The workshop is all about equipping moms to level up their knowledge and skills in preparing delicious, nutritious, school-ready meals for their kids and the whole family.  The first Prime Mom Club Workshop included food preparation tips from a nutritionist, bento box workshop by Kat Maderazo of Bento by Kat, kitchen tips from Chef Nino Logarta, and cooking secrets by Marian Rivera.  Marian Rivera is the first-ever member of Prime Mom Club.

Check out the photos from the event:

My son also actively participated during the event.  He helped out Chef Nino Logarta in preparing the dishes and even asked Marian Rivera a question during the question and answer portion!

Kib helping Chef Nino Logarta during the event

With Ms. Marian Rivera

Mega  Prime boasts of premium canned products.  Each can contains carefully selected, high quality ingredients that are processed to preserve the authenticity of their taste and flavor.  Mega Prime is known for their sardines and canned tuna, but in 2016 they introduced canned fruits and vegetables in the market.  The canned fruits and vegetables are in easy-open cans, making it easy for moms.  Mega Prime's roster of canned fruits and vegetables include Whole Mushrooms, Pieces and Stems Mushrooms, Whole Kernel Corn, Cream Style Corn, Green Peas, Garbanzos, and canned fruits and canned sweet preserves.  

Some of the canned products of Mega Prime

Do you want to be part of Prime Mom Club?  Sign-up at and get the latest news and tips on preparing mouth-watering dishes for your family!  Get exclusive invites and a chance to receive special gift items and products of Mega Prime!  You may also see Marian Rivera in one of the events.

Be a Prime Mom!  Prepare the best dishes for your family!

Pancake House Pairs Its Classic Pan Chicken to Other Pancake House Favorites

Pancake House is one of my favorite restaurants in the Philippines.  I like that it doesn't get too crowdy and their servings are huge.  I always order their Classic Pan Chicken because the size of their chicken is big and it doesn't have much oil when served.  I also like their tacos because it's affordable.

I got extra happy when I found out that my two favorites at Pancake House are now on one plate, weee!

Happiness overload!  My two favorite dishes at Pancake House are in one plate!

Pancake House has been industry for four decades now and they are serving tried and tested recipes which has captured the taste buds of Filipinos.  Their superb line-up of dishes made people to go back for more.  

Apart from their classic pancakes and waffles, Pancake House also offers Classic Pan Chicken because Filipinos love eating chicken.  The Classic Pan Chicken is one of the favorites that customers order at Pancake House.  

For a limited time offer, Pancake House will be offering Classic Pan Chicken Solo Plates!  For as low as Php185, Classic Pan Chicken will be paired with other signature dishes at Pancake House!  All of your favorite dishes at Pancake House are all on one plate!

In addition, customers can order Classic Pan Chicken Solo Plates at any time of the day.  And oh, all Classic Pan Chicken Solo Plates comes with one glass of iced tea.

Hurry!  Classic Pan Chicken Solo Plates are only available until August 31st!

To know more about the latest offers of Pancake House, you may follow their Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts.  You may also visit to know more about Pancake House.

Our Relaxing Experience at Balay Hilom Spa

One of the activities that I love is getting a massage.  

Once a month I schedule a massage from my favorite massage therapist.  Massage is a way for me to relieve stress.  After getting a massage, I get a good sleep and my stiff muscles loosen up.  Massage is one thing that makes me happy, hihi.

I had an invite to try the services of Balay Hilom Spa in Katipunan Avenue, Quezon City.  Balay (Ilonggo word for house) Hilom (means heal) specializes in giving traditional Filipino massage to their clients.  It is truly a house of healing because after your session with them, you will feel relieved from sore muscles and everyday stress.  The ambience is sooooo inviting; it looks like a nipa hut and you can smell peppermint all over the place.  You can also hear the sound of a kulintang (traditional musical instrument from Mindanao) playing at the background to match with the overall theme of the place.  Balay Hilom Spa is a bit dark to relax your eyes from glaring lights.

Balay Hilom Spa from the outside

At first, they will welcome you with their house blend tea.  I bet it is a combination of local herbs because it tastes really good.  Ms. Ana, the receptionist, said that their house blend tea is one of the reasons why people go back at Balay Hilom.  We were also given slippers to use while we are having our treatment.  

The reception area

Hallway on the left going to the therapy rooms

Hallway on the right going to the therapy rooms

Waiting area for the clients

This miniature instrument is being struck by the receptionist to call the therapists

Tip jar, the left is for female therapist and the right is for male therapist

Some chairs that can you see at the entrance on your left

Display rack of woodworks by Filipino artists

The slippers they provide to the clients

After drinking the complimentary tea, our feet were soaked in warm water for few minutes.  Then, we were led to our massage room.

Balay Hilom's house blend tea

Our feet were soaked in warm water before we started our massage therapy

The massage room has curtain partitions, they can open it if you are in a group.

Inside the therapy room

We had their signature Hilot Balay Hilom.  

Kib felt a bit ticklish at first, but after a few minutes he fell asleep.  After the session he said that he felt relaxed although his back was a bit sore from the pressure applied to his stiff muscles.  I told him that it is normal and it will be gone after a day or two.  

Hilot Balay Hilom is different from the usual massage that I get.  The massage started from the back going down to the legs.  The technique is more of hagod (gentle massage strokes) with minimal application of pressure on certain parts of the body.  This technique is really relaxing because the massage is more on healing the whole body and not just to soften stiff muscles.  The hot towel that they also provided after the massage has a relaxing smell too!  We were given another cup of their signature house blend tea before we go home.

Indeed the whole experience was worth every penny!  I rarely go to a spa because I feel that the money that I paid is mostly for the amenities and not the experience itself.  In Balay Hilom Spa, apart from experiencing their traditional massages, they also use all-natural ingredients on all their treatment and these ingredients are truly Filipino.

Have a spa date with your loved one at Balay Hilom Spa!

Balay Hilom Spa is at FBR Arcade, Katipunan Avenue (C-5), Loyola Heights, Quezon City (across Ateneo de Manila University).  You may visit their Facebook page for the rates and packages they offer.  While they accept walk-ins, it is better to schedule an appointment with them especially during weekends.  Balay Hilom Spa is open Monday-Sunday from 2:00pm-11:00pm.

Kib's Latest CognitiveMAP Assessment Results at BrainFit

Since Kib is homeschooled, I do not have means to assess if he is at par with kids his age and if his social skills are improving.  I am very much thankful at BrainFit because it gives me an idea on what areas I need to improve on to Kib.

Kib had his first CognitiveMAP assessment three years ago (please see post here).  I got an email from BraintFit again if I wanted Kib to have assessed again.  I said yes and scheduled an appointment with them last March 6, 2018.  The CognitiveMAP assessment lasted for almost two hours.

Curious about CognitiveMAP assessment?

CognitiveMAP is a proprietary process that BrainFit Studios worldwide use to measure the brain fitness level of the child prior to brain fitness enhancement.  Aside from allowing the BrainFit teachers to precisely identify areas for improvement, this analysis of cognitive skills also enables the teachers to help the child achieve success and peak performance.

Each child has a unique cognitive profile.  The uniqueness of the child's brain profile ascertains that the child is receiving the most optimal cognitive improvement programme to result in the best possible improvement.

Ideally, a new CognitiveMAP assessment should be done at every milestone of improvement as recommended by the child's brain fitness trainer at BrainFit.

Part of the CognitiveMAP assessment is that a parent should also answer a questionnaire to determine if the parent's expectations are aligned with the CognitiveMAP results.  It includes a list of skills and which skill a parent thinks his/her child needs to improve on.  

Here are the list of skills:

  • Attention/Focus
  • Over-activity/Impulsiveness
  • Gross motor skills/Balance
  • Fine motor skills/Handwriting
  • Listening/Following Instructions
  • Reading/Comprehension
  • Speech/Language Skills
  • Learning Speed/Ability
  • Academic Performance
  • Memory
  • Confidence/Motivation
  • Emotional regulation/Social skills

The results of Kib's CognitiveMAP assessment reflected his strengths, average skills, and weaknesses.  

Strengths (areas of the assessment which showed Excellent and High Average scores):

  • Fluid intelligence or Non-verbal IQ (essential for integrating information, grasping patterns, understanding relationships, applying logic/reasoning and problem-solving)
  • Visual memory (essential foundation for visual-based learning, spelling, visualization and attention/focus)
  • Visual spatial-relations (essential foundation for learning alphabets and numbers, grasping geometrical and Math concepts, and organization of space)
  • Eye control accuracy (essential foundation for accurate reading, eye scanning and attention/focus)
  • Working memory (essential ability not to only remember a sequence of verbal information, but also to manipulate the information, critical for Math performance and multi-step sequential problem-solving)

Average skills (Average scores):

  • Handwriting speed (reflection of sensory-motor processing speed and fluency)
  • Sensory-Motor: Balance (essential foundation for body posture, mental efficiency and attention/focus)
  • Fine motor regulation (essential ability to control finger fidgets and motor restlessness, allowing one to stay attentive and focused)
  • Visual reaction time (essential ability to process and respond to auditory information rapidly, critical for efficient learning and quick thinking)
  • Visual impulse control (essential ability to not overreact to visual information, critical for accurate processing of visual information, examination performance and social skills)
  • Overall attention ability (essential ability to focus, concentrate and not daydream, critical for learning and school performance)
  • Auditory attention (essential ability to focus on verbal information, critical for absorbing of verbal instruction)
  • Visual attention (essential ability to focus on visual information, critical for accurate visual processing)
  • Visual discrimination (essential foundation for reading, Math learning, handwriting, accurate work and attention/focus)
  • Visual form constancy (essential foundation for learning the alphabet, numbers, shapes, sizes, orientations and other spatial concepts in Math)
  • Eye control relative speed (essential foundation for reading and eye scanning speed)
  • Social skills (essential ability to behave and interact positively in social situations, critical for positive emotional functioning)
  • Crystalized intelligence or Verbal IQ (essential for acquisition of word knowledge and general information, understanding of verbal concepts and reasoning ability)
  • Number fluency (essential ability to rapidly process information and important foundation for reading, comprehension and recall of Math facts)
  • Number memory (essential ability to remember a simple sequence of numerical verbal information, critical for recall, attention/focus and Math learning)
  • Word memory (essential ability to remember a simple sequence of non-related non-verbal information, critical for recall, memorization of facts and attention/focus)
  • Sentence memory (essential ability to remember sentences, critical for the ability to follow directions, effortless comprehension and fluent writing)

Weaknesses (Poor and low average scores):

  • Overall impulse control (essential ability to give careful thought before acting, critical for examination performance and social skills)
  • Auditory impulse control (essential ability to not overreact to verbal information, critical for accurate processing of verbal information, examination performance and social skills)

I reviewed Kib's previous CognitiveMAP assessment and I would say that he improved especially in his motor skills.  BrainFit recommends that he should be more involved in doing physical activities to further develop his motor coordination.  He also still needs to work on his impulsivity.

I highly recommend that you let your child undergo CognitiveMAP assessment at BrainFit.  It will help you understand on what areas of your child's development you need to put more focus on.  The teachers at BrainFit are also highly skilled so you can entrust your child to them.

To know more about BrainFit, you may visit their website at  You may check their Facebook page for updates.  You can also email them at or call 668-2719, 725-8500, or 0917-5991992 for appointment and other inquiries.