Calling All Expectant Parents! First Time Parents Workshop Series 2017 on its 3rd Run this Year!

When two people get married, one of the goals that they have is to have their own children.  Once they get pregnant, the expectant parents are very excited to prepare for the coming of their first child.  They announce it on social media, document all the pre-natal check-ups, shop for baby essentials, and even attend classes to prepare them for the coming of their baby.  Friends and family are excited about the coming of the baby!

Manila Workshops, in partnership with The Parenting Emporium, has been conducting First Time Parents Workshop Series for the past four years now.  MW and TPE saw the need to educate expectant parents about taking care of themselves during pregnancy and of their firstborn once he/she comes out of the world.  

For the third time this year, First Time Parents Workshop Series will be held on June 3 and 10, 2017 at The Parenting Emporium, #29 1st Street, New Manila, Quezon City.


What makes this run different from the earlier runs this year is that attendees will be learning more about Delivery Options.  It will give attendees options to choose on how they wanted to give birth to their firstborn.  Nowadays, there are traditional (hospital procedure) and non-traditional ways of giving birth.  

Aside from Delivery Options, topics included in this series are: Newborn Care and ENT Care for Pregnant Women and Babies, All About Breastfeeding, and Baby and Toddler Care and Nutrition.

While this workshop series is ideal for expectant parents, we also do welcome parents who need refresher, relatives, caregivers, or basically anyone who would like to know more about pregnancy, newborn care, breastfeeding, and baby and toddler care!

I've been organizing this workshop for parents for four years now and I would be happy to see you on the third run this June!  

Sign-up now!

Tiny Buds Opens Its First Pop-Up Store in Glorietta 3

As a parent, we want to only use the products that are safe for our baby and children.  We do not want to harm our child's skin nor put our child's overall being into danger.  As parents, we should practice reading the label and knowing the ingredients of a particular brand and educate ourselves about these ingredients if they are safe or not.

Even if I no longer have a baby, I still prefer using products that are safe for my son and myself.  Yes, I prefer using baby products on myself because I know that they only use ingredients that are mild and does not contain harsh chemicals.  

Now that organic products are on the rise, I'm excited to use them on my daily needs because I know that it won't hurt me and my son.  It's good thing that organic products nowadays are already becoming more and more budget-friendly compared before that only those who are affluent can buy them.

I've been hearing about Tiny Buds already and some of the mommies I know are using this product.  I've also been hearing good reviews about this product so I got excited when they invited me to the launch of their first-ever pop-up store at Glorietta 3 last Sunday, May 21st.

Tiny Buds is the only store at Pop Retail Lab which sells baby products.  You can immediately see them as you enter because of their eye-catching set-up

Tiny Buds is now becoming one of the premier local baby brands in the Philippines.  They are one of the pioneers of natural baby care in the Philippines, having the first one to introduce never before seen natural alternatives to everyday baby products such as baby powder made entirely from rice, diaper rash cream that soothes rashes using berries instead of petroleum, and laundry products for babies made out of coconut!  They have been in the industry for five years now and a lot of celebrities and online influencers are attesting to the quality of their products.  Tiny Buds is slowly blossoming, and the opening of their first-ever pop-up store was indeed an important milestone for them.

Tiny Buds' goal has always been to educate as many parents as possible to read the labels of the products available in the market, so that they will become aware of the hidden toxins and eventually choose the natural brands that they can trust.

Tiny Buds believes that now, more than ever, being a responsible parent means making choices that are nourishing not only for your child, but also for the world they will grow up in.  They are proud to say that more and more parents have switched into using natural products for their children.  

Now that Tiny Buds is growing, they have moved to a more challenging mission to further promote their cause.  Tiny Buds has started with their latest campaign, 'Save the World'.  Tiny Buds is donating a portion of their online sales to environmental conservation projects, particularly with WWF.  Every time a customer purchases an item at, there is a corresponding number of Tiny Buds points donated.  Each month, the points accumulated on the website represent how big the donation will be.  

Just like on their online sales, Tiny Buds will also donate a portion of their sales from their first-ever pop-up store at Pop Retail Lab in Glorietta 3 to WWF.  

Watch out for future activities of Tiny Buds for parents!

There are a lot of exciting things in store for us courtesy of Tiny Buds!  They will also be launching new products very soon!

In planting these seeds, Tiny Buds hopes to empower parents and remind them that every tiny step will impact the world and steer it towards a greener future.

Congratulations and more power to Tiny Buds!  I am excited for your growth!

Tiny Buds are available in Baby Company, Robinson's, Rustans, Landmark, SaveMore, Waltermart, and other leading department stores and groceries nationwide.  Their first pop-up store is located at Pop Retail Lab at the 2nd floor of Glorietta 3 (beside Mercury Drug).  You may learn more about Tiny Buds at and on their Facebook and Instagram accounts.

Back to School Shopping at National Bookstore

Few more weeks and another school year will start again.  Parents are now busy enrolling their children and completing the materials they need for school.  

I remember when I was still studying, my family dedicates one weekend to buy all the materials my siblings and I need for school.  My parents involve us in school supplies shopping so we can personally choose the notebooks and pens we wanted to use for the whole school year.  We usually buy all our school supplies at National Bookstore because it has all the things we needed.

Now that I already have my own child, National Bookstore is also my choice for buying school supplies.  Sometimes, we do also make a stop at National Bookstore because Kib likes to read books there.  

Kib is such a bookworm!  Our National Bookstore trip won't be complete without stopping to the books section to read

With the changing needs of the Filipino families, National Bookstore has made school supplies shopping very easy, convenient, and budget-friendly!

Some of the items that you can buy for your children this coming school year at National Bookstore

National Bookstore has already compiled the basic school supplies a child needs in their Grab & Go Packs.  There's no need to buy each one by one, visiting one aisle to another, to save both time and energy.  

Aside from the Grab & Go Packs, National Bookstore has Low Price Deals and Budget Bundles.  You can buy items as low as Php20, Php50, and Php100 each.  Buy 12 notebooks for the price of P10 each is available as well.  

Apart from these exclusive Back-To-School deals, National Bookstore still has its Best Buy items.

If you opt to shop in stores, National Bookstore has something in-store for you too!  For every Php500 purchase, you can get a backpack for just Php100, and for every Php1,000 purchase, customer gets a free tote bag to carry all your purchases.

No time to go to their stores?  You can call their delivery hotline at 8888-627 or shop online at  When you call their delivery hotline, make sure you prepare a list of supplies you needed and they will have it shipped to you.  If you're not sure of what to buy, the National Bookstore customer service specialists can recommend supplies for every grade level so you can still pick what is best for your children.  At their website, it is easy to shop for school supplies as it has a dedicated page for back-to-school needs.  School supplies are also classified by grade level so parents can immediately see the recommended supplies for each student.  It's so simple to shop online!  Just choose the items you wish to purchase, check-out, and have them delivered at your doorstep.  

More good news!  If you purchase items worth Php1,000 and above thru the hotline or thru the website, shipping is free!  

The store's floor layout has also improved, making it easier to go around and shop for the items you need.  With bigger labels for customers to see, customers can easily locate the items they need and all items are arranged strategically so that customers won't have a hard time looking for one item to another to make most of the shopping experience.

You can easily spot the items you need with these big signs inside the store

Aside from school supplies, National Bookstore is also now selling lunch boxes, mosquito patches, personal care products, even emergency, survival, and first aid kits.  Some National Bookstore branches carry world-renowned brands as well.  This is for those who also put value on style on their everyday needs.

Brands such as Caran d'Ache School Line and Blackwing Pencils are a must-have of those who are inclination towards arts.  Online, a German brand, is for those who want to have a pen that will make them a standout in class.  For fashionistas, Kate Spade is a must-have brand to complement their everyday style.

No need to go last-minute shopping!  Head on to the nearest National Bookstore branch near you and get the best value for your money!

Kib shopping for the school supplies he needs for the coming school year

At the cashier paying for the items we bought

For only Php25, you can donate one notebook and two pencils to those children who cannot afford to buy school supplies

To get the latest updates, you may follow National Bookstore on social media (Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube).  You may also visit National Bookstore's blog,

The Learning Basket: Your Online Bookstore for Your Children's Books

Most parents would like to build a library for their children, and I am one of them.  I have been buying books for Kib whenever there is an opportunity and I also have friends who have been giving books to him on a regular basis.  I have blogged about my book loots here and here.  His bookshelf is full of books that I've already put some of his books on the overhead shelf.

I am so glad that Kib has a passion for reading.  Whenever we go to the mall, he would ask me to drop by at the bookstore because he likes to read.  He would sit at one corner and read.  Sometimes he would ask me to buy a book, but whenever I said that I do not have enough money he would not insist.

A post shared by Donna Donor (@donababe) on

A post shared by Donna Donor (@donababe) on

To be frank, books are not cheap.  I can only afford to buy brand new books when they are on sale.  Most of the time I only buy second-hand books for him.  I am so glad that there is The Learning Basket which sells quality second-hand books at an affordable price.

Originally, The Learning Basket is a blog written by one of its co-owners Mariel Uyquiengco.  She writes about intentional parenting and providing meaningful activities for children to do at home.  Eventually, The Learning Basket evolved into an online store, selling second-hand quality children's books.  While most of the items they sell are pre-loved children's books, they also sell brand new hard-to-find classics too.  The book selection from their store is not just any book; they make sure that these are highly-recommended children's books written by award-winning authors.  Aside from books, parents can buy educational toys which promotes creativity, imagination, and open-ended learning.  Thirdly, The Learning Basket also offers workshops and seminars for the family.  They teach about preschool homeschool, positive discipline, reading, and early childhood development.  Indeed, The Learning Basket is a parenting hub.  They embrace the quote, 'You are your child's first and best teacher' by making the parents realize that children can learn a lot from them.

Sanne Unson and Mariel Uyquiengco, the ladies behind The Learning Basket.  They are bestfriends since college days

And oh, should you be interested to purchase any of their books, you can click my link: You can also click The Learning Basket's logo on my sidebar found at the right side of my blog.  I can attest that the owners are very lovely people and they will accommodate all your questions about the books that you are interested to buy.  You can also request books to them should these are not currently available at their shop.      

Happy reading and happy shopping!

Our Latest Adventure: Mountain Climbing

I climbed mountains when I was still single.  I was introduced to this hobby when I was still working in the bank.  I had been to several mountains in Luzon, like Mt. Romelo, Mt. Batulao, Mt. Pinatubo, Mt. Maculot, Mt. Natib, Mt. Pulag, to name a few.  I wasn't able to climb a lot of mountains compared with my friends because I also have lots of activities during weekends too.  The last time that I climbed mountains was in 2004.

Now that I'm having my milestone in few months' time, I have written mountain climbing as one of the things in my bucket list as one of the things that I wanted to do before I turn 40 (see blog here).  I really wanted to go back to mountain climbing on the premise that I can already bring along my son with me.  

Kib is already 10 years old, and I guess that this is the right time for me to introduce him to the mountains.  We did a lot of travels in the past, engaged in different kinds of adventure during our travels (ATV ride in Boracay, island hopping in El Nido, zipline in Tagaytay, several animal encounters, sandboarding in Paoay, waterfalls trekking in Pagudpud).  I wanted my son to try different activities especially those activities that involve the environment so that he will have more appreciation and concern about the environment.  

Last March 2017, my mountaineering friends organized an anniversary climb.  We went to Mt. Maculot in Cuenca, Batangas.  I also packed Kib's backpack so that he will have an authentic mountain climbing experience.  

My friends and I met at Petron SLEX.  I brought my car with me and fetched a friend in Bicutan.  From Petron SLEX, my friend drove my car.  So happy that I didn't drive all the way to Batangas, weee!  We had a short stopover at Jollibee in Lipa exit to buy our packed lunch.

At the jump-off, we registered and organized our stuff before starting our hike.  We also did some stretching exercises and prayed for a safe hike.  Kib was so excited at first  but when we already started with our ascent, he already start complaining.  My friends teased him so he challenged himself to hike until the campsite.  We had a stopover lunch at the middle of the trail.  It was a slow hike for me because it has been years since I climbed mountains and I wasn't able to do some exercise in the past days.  Anyway, we tagged this as a 'senior executive climb' because all of my friends are already in their 40s (and one just celebrated her 50th birthday), haha.

When we reached the campsite, we started pitching our tents.  We just rested for an hour before going to the Rockies.  It was my first time to go to the Rockies because I have fear of heights (ironic isn't it?!).  I conquered my fear of heights by getting to this part of Mt. Maculot and my friends encouraged me to have photos taken near the edge of the mountain.  I need to take some deep breaths before releasing my hands from the rocks and have my photos taken.

Kib didn't make it to this part of the mountain because he's really scared, and the steps are too high for him.  He just waited for us from the other side of the mountain.

At night, we shared dinner and had some fun conversation while drinking liquor.  It is somehow necessary to drink liquor because it is too windy at the campsite.  It'll help you warm your body and get a good sleep.

It was still windy when we woke up the following day.  We just had breakfast and after that we already packed our things for our descent.  We were able to go back to the jump-off by 11a.m.  We had a stop at SLEX to eat lunch before heading home.

Kib and I really enjoyed our first mountain climbing together.  I've asked my friends when is our next mountain climbing activity.  I already bought new shoes because the shoes that I wore got broken.  I am already excited to use my hiking shoes on our next adventure.

And before I forget, there's telco signal at Mt. Maculot!  I was able to post pictures on Facebook and Instagram real-time and was able to even do a Facebook Live to update our friends who weren't able to join our climb!  

What about you, what activities do you do together with your kids?

Give Your Mom A Day-Off this Mother's Day

Mother's Day is fast approaching, and I guess a lot of people got excited recently about the celebration of Mother's Day this year.  As early as May 1st, I have already been receiving a lot of Mother's Day greetings, and last Sunday, more people greeted me, thinking that it was already Mother's Day.  

Mother's Day is always celebrated every second Sunday of May.  However, there were historical accounts that Mother's Day was celebrated by ancient Greeks and Romans.  There are other records that Mother's Day started in UK.  Moreover, two women, Anna Jarvis and Julia Ward Howe also made this special day for mothers special too.  Whether the origins of Mother's Day came from the ancient or modern times, what's more important is that there is a special day in our calendar where we can honor our mothers and thank them for all the sacrifices they made in raising up a good family.

They say being a mother is the toughest job in the world.  They work 24/7, no holidays, does multiple roles in the family (a chef, a doctor, a gardener, teacher, driver, etc., yet not every one in the family recognizes his/her mother's efforts.  Well, this is your chance to show how much you value and love your mom!

I am proud to say that I have a wonderful son.  At times, he would cook for me and serve me breakfast in bed.  He would also give me a massage and open doors for me.  He would also gladly does chores at home.  I have written in my blog on how my son treated me like a queen on one Mother's Day celebration (read it here).  

Solane, the leading provider of LPG solutions at home and companies, reminds everyone to show their love and appreciation to the woman who ceaselessly devotes herself to the family.  This occasion is another moment that falls in perfectly with Solane's Dapat Lang campaign, a program that emphasizes the importance of doing the right thing--for the family, for others, and society as a whole.

Dapat lang we honor and make our mothers feel special, and we can definitely do so through these five simple heartwarming deeds:

  • Cook breakfast for mom.  Mothers are usually the first ones to wake up early to prepare meals and baon for the kids.  This time around, let mom sleep a little longer and prepare her favorite breakfast food.  Make it even more special and let her have breakfast in bed.  Not only will mom admire the gesture, but it's also guaranteed to be a good kick-start to Mother's Day.
  • Let mom enjoy a work-free day.  Being head of the household means overseeing if the house is clean, ensuring the pantry is stocked with food, and cooking food for the family.  Without a doubt, it can get tiring for our moms.  On Mother's Day, help her by volunteering to do the household chores and let her sit back and relax.
  • Spend time together.  Set other aside all other plans and enjoy the rest of the day with mom.  Gather the whole family together and celebrate an adventure-filled day like a picnic in the park, outdoor barbecue, a hike or swim, or an out-of-town trip.  This will definitely make mom feel special!
  • Pamper our mom.  This is the perfect time to make our mothers feel like queens for a day.  After all the chores she's been doing, treat her to a quick session of mani-pedi, an hour worth of massage, or even something as simple as putting cucumber slices on her face for an affordable at-home facial that will immediately make her feel like royalty.
  • Surprise mom with a simple gift.  Celebrating Mother's Day doesn't have to be grand or expensive.  Simple gestures like making a hand-made card with a short but sweet message, offering a long-stemmed rose, or baking a cake will surely warm her heart.  As they say, it's the thought that counts!

Whatever your plans may be this coming Mother's Day, make your moms feel special on this day!  Treat her like a queen!  Don't forget to say "I love you" and say affirmations to her.  Dapat lang!

Unleash Your Child's Creativity at Sparklelab

Now that the Philippine educational system is shifting into K-12 curriculum, one of the five strands in Senior High School is STEAM (Science and Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics).  A lot of parents would like their children to go into this path as it offers a lot of opportunities to them when they eventually pursue a science-related course in college.  I'm so happy that even before children reaches Senior High School level, there are now centers which offer activities related to STEAM to help them prepare for what lies ahead of them.

One of these centers is Sparkelab.

"There is a place called Sparklelab where strange and wonderful things happen.  Where Lego's, sewing kits, code, motors, pipe cleaners, inflatable pools, and solar cells converge in peculiar and compelling ways.  It is our maker shed at Sparklelab where kids, teens, and adults are able to move through inspiration, play, design, media, and lounge spaces seamlessly, as they work individually and collaboratively to create unique toys, games, wearable fashion, and gadgets."

Sparklelab was founded by Rosanna Lopez in 2013 and this year, Jacqueline van Ende joined as CEO.  Both women have good background in teaching and promoting creative thinking among children and adults.  

Sparklelab designs play-based learning experiences mainly focused on STEAM.  They offer a year-round program for children and teens (after-school during school days and summer workshops during school vacation).  Sparklelab aims to prepare kids for success in the future by teaching the 21st century skills such as Imagining, Research/Finding inspiration, Exploring, Tinkering and Experimenting, Designing, Procedural Thinking, Collaborating and Connecting/Sharing, among others.  Sparklelab wishes to create creative problem solvers, innovators, and lifelong learners by making learning extraordinary.

Here are the year-round programs that Sparklelab offers to children ages 7-18 years old:

GAMEMAKERS--Gamemakers is a series of workshops that focus on game design and development.  Young people play games, modify games, learn how to play critically and reflectively.  

Children will learn how to create objectives, define rules, develop mechanics, and scaffold challenge thus designing unique, playful experiences in physical and virtual worlds.

Gamemakers are divided into two programs.  Gamemakers 1 will teach kids to create board games, card games, and role playing games.  Gamemakers 1 will also give children an overview of developing digital games on which Gamemakers 2 will concentrate more on.  On the other hand, Gamemakers 2 will teach children how to create digital games using Scratch, a programming language.  Children will learn to write the narrative of their own game, design core mechanics, components, and the likes, and eventually build their own video games.

TOY MILL--Toy Mill workshops lie at the intersection of arts, designing and engineering.  Young people will play with toys, study them, tear them apart and put them back together again.

Children will experiment with a variety of materials, discover their properties and imagine the possibilities that each material affords.  Young people learn about circuits and bring their toys to life, making them talk, move and see.

GET REEL--Get Reel is a series of workshops that focuses on storytelling.  Young people explore the concept of narrative as expressed in films, games, animations, books, graphic novels and performance art.

Through the course of Get Reel, young people learn about character, setting, plot and point of view.  They develop their own narratives and express them through their medium of choice.

SPARK--Spark is Sparklelab's program on robotics, electronics, and physical computing.  Tinker with little treasures like motors and sensors, speakers, and LEDs.  Children will learn how to build their own robots and meet quirky little creatures who run on AI.  Furthermore, children will come across greater challenges and earn new skills--like coding, soldering, and creating with Arduino and Raspberry Pi.

STITCHES AND CIRCUITS--Stitches and Circuits is a program that focuses on e-textiles, wearable technology and soft circuits.  This course is perfect for every geeky fashionista!  Children can create light up shoes, solar-powered head gear, or hoodies equipped with joy sticks that can redefine games on the go.

All programs mentioned above consists of 6 sessions of 3 hours each session.  One workshop costs Php8,500 with a class size of 5-12 kids.  Children are welcome to have a free trial, just contact Sparklelab for appointment.

While most workshops at Sparklelab are designed for older kids, they also offer program for younger kids ages 3.5 to 6 years old.

BYTE SIZE--Byte Size is Sparklelab's flagship program for young tinkerers, scientists, artists, and engineers!  Byte Size class is for two hours for 8 sessions and can only accommodate maximum of 8 kids per session.

Sparklelab's summer program is ongoing until June 10!  Inquire with them for the schedule.

While Sparklelab is holding their own classes, they are also working with other schools, companies and organizations.  They organize pop-up Sparklelab events during school fairs and mall activities.  They also conduct teacher trainings about play-based education in STEAM related subjects.  Sparklelab also help museums and companies design play-based educational experiences to their visitors and employees.

Kib had a taste of what Sparklelab is.  He tried the Get Reel class together with our children.  Their group used Lego, blocks, cars, and other toys in their story, while the other group used clay for their animation.  After both classes created their stop-motion animation, they presented it in front of other children and mommies.

Check out the photos below about Kib's learning experience at Sparklelab:

At present, there is only one Sparklelab branch, and it's in San Juan City.  They will be announcing their new home in San Juan on their website and social media accounts so stay tuned!  They will also open to other places in Metro Manila very, very soon!

Never be afraid to discover something new!  Who knows, you might be raising a future Einstein or Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg :)

Visit Sparklelab's website at for more info.  To register to any of their classes, you may visit  You can also visit their Facebook page.  You may also inquire via mobile at 0917-8014778