Gawang Kamay's DIY Pop-Up Fair at Ayala Marikina and Ayala Feliz This December

Christmas is only few weeks away!  Who's excited for this much-awaited holiday?

There are lots of activities that we can do for this holiday season, and one of the activities that we can do together with our family is....SHOPPING!  In Metro East, two new Ayala malls are opening just in time for the holidays: Ayala Marikina and Ayala Feliz.  Ayala Marikina is located near St. Scholastica Academy and Ayala Feliz is along Marcos Highway in Pasig City.  

One of the activities that these malls will have on the grand opening is to have a pop-up fair which will be spearheaded by Gawang Kamay.

Gawang Kamay is a community collective brand established to support and showcase local artists, crafters, and creative entrepreneurs through events, collaborations, and more.  Gawang Kamay's advocacy is to gather local individuals in different parts of the Philippines to showcase their innate talents through their masterpieces.  It is Gawang Kamay's passion to help these creatives and business owners to grow their market by creating events that will highlight their products and services.

Gawang Kamay has been organizing pop-up fairs and workshops for several months now, and has helped small business and entrepreneurs in making their products known.

DIY Christmas: Holiday Pop-up Fair will showcase hand-made products which can be given as a gift this holiday season.  During the event, there will be live performances by local artists, live art by WeeWillDoodle, exhibit and art installations from different artists and individuals, DIY stations, workshops, handmakers' booths, talks for aspiring and emerging creative entrepreneurs and more!  Truly this event can be a family bonding activity as it'll make your time going to the mall worthwhile.

And oh, if you want to become part of this event by becoming an exhibitor, there are still slots!  You may email or visit their Facebook page for more info.

See you there!

My Career As An Online ESL Teacher

I guess most people wish to have a homebased job, especially right now that the traffic is getting worse.

I have been working from home for the past ten years.  The decision to work from home is because my father's illness in 2007 (see my blog here).  I have to resign from my day job because I have to do the logistics at home while my father is in the hospital.  I do not want my mother to be stressed in thinking about running the household; I just wanted her to focus on taking care of my father.  In addition, my mom doesn't have the energy to take care of my son anymore and I do not like to hire a nanny for Kib (I've heard a lot of horror stories about nannies).

I'm a licensed teacher by profession.  I've taught in a regular school before doing a homebased job.  Teaching English to foreigners is not new to me; it was my last office job before I decided to work from home.  

To teach English effectively and efficiently, you must have a good running computer, stable internet connection at home, quiet home office environment, and a good working headset with noise cancellation function.  Yes, before you start working from home, you have to invest on the gadgets that you needed to work.  Apart from that, you must have at least six months' equivalent of emergency fund while you are looking for an online job.  

To be an ESL teacher, you must have a good command of English language.  While ESL approach is more direct than teaching English in a classroom, the teacher should be able to explain the use of a particular word or grammar concept to the student.  Being an ESL teacher also requires that the tutor can speak English fluently and with correct pronunciation.  In ESL, the teacher is expected to check the four aspects of English language learning from the student: listening, reading, speaking, and writing.

To apply for a job as an ESL teacher, you must prepare your resume.  Some companies would look for your credentials if you are qualified for the position (teaching experience, teaching license, educational attainment, TESOL certification, etc.).  If you don't have any teaching experience yet, there are some companies who would still accommodate your application to assess if you have a potential to become an ESL teacher.  You will undergo the application process (interview, grammar test, teaching demo).  Once you have passed the application process, the company will already give you an offer.

ESL teaching in a home setting can have various set-ups.  Some companies will require you to have fixed working hours and there are some companies which will give you flexible working hours.  However, some companies expect you to open your schedule at nighttime.  There will be some companies who would also encourage you to open schedules at daytime, but there will be only few students because most of the students are either in school or at work.  You can start teaching as early as 5AM.  Since you will be teaching foreigners, your working hours will be based on the country of origin of the students.  For example, if you will teach Japanese or Koreans, their time zone is one hour ahead of the Philippines.

ESL companies have their lesson materials, but teachers are also expected to do online research as a supplemental material during class.  The teachers are also expected to give constructive criticisms to encourage the student to improve their English skills.  The teachers are also encouraged to show enthusiasm during the class and be also open to listen to the students if they have any special requests.  

Apart from the above-mentioned expectations, the ESL company also implements other rules.  It is expected from a teacher that he/she will be loyal to the company and not to have conflict of interest.  The teacher should also be professional in dealing with students.  While this job offers you a possibility of meeting a prospective girlfriend/boyfriend, the teacher must control himself/herself on not entertaining the idea.

It's fun meeting people from different nationalities and learning their culture.  Students love it when teachers ask them about their way of life because it shows your interest too.

Do you like to teach?  This can be a career for you!  

Mommy Bloggers Send Help to the Kids in Marawi Through Blog Campaign

Blogging is all about sharing what's new in the market on a first-person perspective.  Blogging is also a way to inform people about certain issues and what must people do about it.  Blogging is a way to tell life stories to inspire people.

I started my blog in 2012, primarily to document our homeschooling journey.  Eventually, blogger-friends encouraged me to write more and eventually write other stuff aside from homeschooling (see my post here).  Since 2014, I've been actively blogging and enjoying every single moment of it.

Blogging can also be a way to send help to people, and I'm so glad to be part of this campaign led by Mommy Bloggers Philippines.

In the effort to help families in war-stricken village in Marawi City, 100 mommy bloggers collaborated to bring boxes of Nutri10 Plus syrup, DayCee Vitamin C syrup, and several toys, to 100 kids in Marawi City.  The donation was made possible by SinagTala Foundation, a non-profit organization headed by Ms. Kaye Koo.  SinagTala has been sending help to villages in Marawi City since the war erupted by providing shelters to children in a playroom which also served as a mini-school.

Wert Philippines gave out these goodies to 100 children in Marawi City together with some toys for them to play with

Ms. Kathy Koo of SinagTala Foundation and Lany Lyutz of Mommy Bloggers Philippines during the turnover of goodies to be sent to Marawi City 

My son had tried Nutri10 Plus before (see my review here) and I'm glad to know that they are willing to provide supplements to these children because Nutri10 Plus can really help in boosting energy and appetite of the children.  On the other hand, DayCee can supplement the daily Vitamin C requirement of the children.  

Through the Nutri10 Plus syrup, DayCee vitamins and toys, Mommy Bloggers Philippines extended their help to uplift the children's spirits and restore their health as they start on moving on with their lives after the war.

Soldiers help out in distributing the goodies from Mommy Bloggers Philippines

Here are the 100 mommy bloggers who helped in this campaign:

Thank you, Wert, SinagTala, and to everyone who helped in extending our help!

To learn more about the benefits of Nutri10 Plus syrup, you may visit their Facebook page.

Be Proactive! Prevent the Spread of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases

One of the responsibilities of a mother is to make sure that their child is in top health condition.  When her child gets sick, the mother is the number 1 solution-finder.  On the other hand, to prevent her child from getting sick, the mother is the one finding ways to prevent it from happening.

Vaccination has been a very controversial topic among forums because a lot of people blame vaccines for getting sick.  In addition, vaccines are costly, thus not all people can afford to have one.

It's good to know that Mommy Mundo has come up with a series of talks called "Mom Protect".  This is in partnership with Philippine Foundation for Vaccination to help address the concerns on keeping the family healthy and to educate mothers on proactive family prevention.

Mom Protect: A talk with moms, by moms, and for moms

"Mom Protect" highlights the importance of awareness and access to new and better health prevention methods as family and well-being is any mom's top priority.

Dr. Cecilia Montalban, President of the Philippine Foundation for Vaccination said that a lot of parents are misinformed about vaccinations.  Not all doctors are also knowledgeable about vaccines, it's a specialty called vaccinology.  Through "Mom Protect", Dr. Montalban hopes to correct any misinformation about vaccines, "By leading moms to helpful, effective, and efficient solutions against vaccine-preventable diseases, we'll be empowering them to live worry-free through proactive protection and prevention," Dr. Montalban stressed.

Dr. Cecilia Montalban giving a primer on vaccination

During the talk, Dr. Montalban strongly urged all attendees to take a proactive approach when it comes to family.  "Prevention is always better than cure, especially if the cure is not always available.  Advances in medical science have given us highly effective ways to avoid the pain and costs of diseases through vaccination," Dr. Montalban added.

Proactive prevention constitutes a three-pronged strategy: Awareness, Diligent practice, and Sharing.

  • Moms are encouraged to become actively aware and alert by reaching out to their doctors to know more about prevention methods they can do or apply at home.  This is also to ensure that they are thoroughly updated on new medical developments that might be of help in the future.
  • Diligent practice of learnings received--even when children are past toddler-age--is recommended as consistency is key in building and fortifying family health and resiliency.
  • Passing accurate information forward to other mothers is important.  Moms are encouraged to join communities online to connect with people who share the same experience and those who have successfully combatted these illnesses.

Through "Mom Protect", Mommy Mundo and PFV aspire to give Filipino families peace of mind amid public health concerns by thorough preparation together.

Dr. Cecilia Montalban, Ms. Lyn Ching-Pascual (host), and Ms. Janice Villanueva of Mommy Mundo

Never be afraid to ask questions about vaccines to your doctor before getting one. 

Bottomline is, whether you take vaccines or not, mothers should make sure that their families will be far from getting ill and be wise enough on which action to take.

Stay healthy everyone!

BIC Gives Brighter Future to Filipino Children

As parents, we always dream of a bright future for our children.  As much as possible, we try to give the best to them, working hard so much to support our child's aspirations in life.  We also teach our children values that will help them to succeed in life so that they will value life more as they grow old.

But, what if the family belongs to the poverty line?  How do you think the children can have a bright future?  

I'm so glad to know that there are non-government organizations (NGOs) and corporations which support the dreams of these kids.  They have this genuine desire to create a bright future for them and to also instill good values to these children that they would pass on the kindness they have receive.  

Last October 26, 2017, BIC Product (Asia) Pte Ltd., in cooperation with its distributor partner in Philippines--Filstar Distributors Corporation--, is set to kick off their biggest social campaign in Asia, #BICBrightFutures.  As Champions of Education, BIC believes that a bright future is for everyone.  As such, BIC will be giving half a million of stationery products to Children's Hour, Yellow Boat of Hope, and Kariton Klasrum to help kids as they pursue their dreams.  To date, this is the biggest donation BIC has ever made in Asia.

Ready to have fun and mingle with kids from Children's Hour and Kariton Klasrum

BIC executives handing out the 500,000 stationery and school supplies to Children's Hour, Kariton Klasrum, and Yellow Boat of Hope together with the iconic BIC mascot

Apart from the donation of school supplies, BIC has also treated around 200 children from Children's Hour and Kariton Klasrum at Kidzania Manila for a one day of fun and excitement as they determine what kind of job would they like to have in the future.  Children got to explore adult world by choosing in over 100 role-playing activities in Kidzania Manila.  Each of the children were also given a BIC Bright Futures workbook where they wrote down their goals and dreams.  

Frederic Dumon, Deputy General Manager of BIC Product (Asia) Pte Ltd. emphasized the importance of writing in achieving our dreams and goals in life.  "We have always believed that bright futures are written by hand.  As adults, many of us have become what we are today because we put pen to paper and wrote down our ambitions.  That act of writing down our aspirations makes the dream seem real.  Today, we want to inspire less-fortunate children to dream and work for their futures, because after all, everyone deserves a bright future, Mr. Dumon said.  

Mr. Dumon also mentioned that even if we are already living in the world where technology is given much emphasis, he reminded everyone that we must always go back to the basics of writing down everything first before immersing oneself in technology.  "It is true that we are living in a changing world and while handwriting might seem trivial for some, let us not forget that handwriting is still essential to a child's development.  The act of handwriting alone helps develop a child's cognitive and motor skills, helps boost memory and creativity as well as promotes self-confidence and interpersonal skills," Mr. Dumon emphasized during the event.

Mr. Frederic Dumon, Deputy General Manager of BIC Product (Asia) Pte Ltd.

During the event, Efren Penaflorida, 2009 CNN Hero of the Year awardee, education advocate, teacher, social worker, and founder of Kariton Klasrum, inspired everyone by telling the story of Kesz Valdez, one of the former students of Kariton Klasrum and now a volunteer.  For young people to achieve their dreams in life, Mr. Penaflorida gave a powerful lesson in Kesz' life:

  • Believe that you can have a brighter future.  Do not let poverty be a hindrance for you to change your future.  Strive hard and always bear in mind that you can reach your dreams no matter what.
  • Excel in every work.  Education is a very powerful tool in fighting poverty.  In everything you do, do things excellently.  Practice doesn't make something perfect, but it makes progress.
  • Stand firm on what is true and noble.  Cheating is not an option to succeed in life.
  • Think of ways to improve yourself.  When growth stops, decay begins.  Decisions that you will make today will impact your future.
Mr. Efren Penaflorida of Kariton Klasrum

BIC feels strongly about giving back to communities where the Group is present in the form of product or financial donations and volunteering.  As part of its strong societal commitment, the BIC Corporate Foundation for Education was launched in 2016 focusing on fighting for universal access of education as a basic human right.  Through this foundation, BIC is engaged in the fight against school drop-outs, access to education for girls and women and environmental education.  In the same year, the global company has made 112 donations to promote education giving more than 6 million pens to children in need.

The whole event truly gave these less-fortunate children a brighter hope and a brighter future!  You can see in their eyes how happy are they to have that kind of experience, which will be kept in their memory bank forever.

Children from Children's Hour and Kariton Klasrum having the time of their lives at Kidzania Manila

Cheers to BIC for brighter future!

BIC is a family-owned company listed in the Paris Stock Exchange and a world leader in stationery, lighters, and shavers.  For more than 60 years, BIC has honored the tradition of providing high-quality, simple, inventive, and reliable choices for everyone, everywhere, every time.  A world leader in the consumer goods, 30.9 million BIC products are purchased every day worldwide (18.9 million stationery products, 4.2 million lighters, 7.1 million shavers, and 0.7 million promotional products).

Filstar Distributors Corporation prides itself as having been the exclusive licensee of Hallmark in the Philippines since 1974 and the exclusive distributor of BIC Stationery products since 2001.  Since then, Filstar has evolved to be a distributor of not just these two distinguished brands but of other world class brands that supplement and enhance the self-expression industry.  In 2013, Filstar expanded its partnership with BIC to cover BIC Lighters and Shavers categories.

For more information about BIC, you may visit their website at  You may also follow them on their social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram).