Fertility Crisis in Japan

I had encounters with Japanese people through my online teaching job and they mentioned that they are really having a population issue.  They say that their generation is getting old, meaning, fertility rate is low.  

We all know that people in Japan have always been very hard workers and get very little downtime.  For the longest time, children in Japan went to schools six days a week, which only gave them Sundays off to unwind.  However, even though Japanese kids no longer attend schools on Saturdays, they are required to attend after school clubs which take place after school or on Saturdays.  In other words, the Japanese people from a young age have been working hard and have gotten used to living lives that involved mostly work with very little leisure.

Because Japanese women are working as well, due to the high cost of living in Japan, couples have very little time to spend with one another.  They have no free time and end up having to give up their occasional dates as well as their dreams to start a family.

As a result, Japan has entered a vicious cycle of infertility as well as low spending which meant more losses and a population decline of 1 million people within the last five years.  And if nothing is corrected in this situation, experts are forecasting a severe economic downturn, and any kind of social and family life will be completely nonexistent.

The life of an average Japanese couple consists of them both waking up early, and getting ready for work.  One of the partners finishes work late at night, has dinner, does a little reading, showers, and washes up and then goes to bed.  The other partner leaves work closer to midnight, and goes to the convenience store to pick up dinner, then goes home, washes up, and gets ready for bed to start the same again, while he or she tries not to wake his or her other half who needs some sleep in order to function the next day.  

It is clear that couples in Japan do not have much time for each other to bond and to build strong relationship.  They spend each other's time on earning and building their careers rather than to build a strong and loving family.  In this case, couples are encouraged to undergo counseling.  Invest in a good relationship with your spouse by undergoing counseling, and Regain.us can help.  Check out how Regain.us can help couples here.  

Japan is the one country that is incredibly advanced in regards to technology, however, that advancement is coming at a severe cost.  The economy is shrinking, families are no longer created, and people are living longer while there is a shortage of a pension and social security type fund.  There are also fewer people to care for the elderly since couples in Japan are having fewer children and less young workers.

During the early 1950s after World War II, Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida wanted to make sure that Japan's economy was built up.  He made sure that large corporations offered their employees lifelong job security and were successful in making Japan economically healthy for a long time.  However, there was a cost to that economy growing which was business had required more from their employees; meaning, women were working more and had to delay having kids, and as a result, fertility rates in Japan had declined.

Many Japanese women want to work, and were raised with having a strong work ethic, and don't want to become housewives.  After a long day of work, they don't want to be cooking, and doing housework and as a result, more and more Japanese women have been putting off having families until they are too old to conceive.  If they try to conceive after 40 years old, they end up having fertility issues.

In 1899, Japan started recording how many births per year occurred, and the amount of newborns per were never less than what it clocked in 2017, which was 950,000.  Based on the statistics, it appears that women have been having 1.4 births only, and sociologists have found out that in order for a population to remain steady, there should be at least 2.1 births per woman.

Due to the realization of this demographic time bomb, Japan has had to make some serious changes in order to encourage the creation of families among couples.  Japan is being forced to realize how important innovation is, and they can be creative with robotics technology.  They may be able to replace humans with robots in some cases so couples can have more time together, and start families earlier.  That being said, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, has set a goal of 1.8 births per woman by 2025 and wants to make sure that this goal is being met.

To prepare Japanese people in achieving this goal, Japan is now allowing men to play with dolls so that they can understand fatherhood.  The government is creating speed dating events so that young people can meet.  

In reality, we know that dolls and speed dating won't resolve the crisis.  Japan needs to create a better structure that will support family planning which it failed to do in the past, and this is why there is a fertility crisis.

It's not only Japan that is facing fertility crisis.  North America, United Kingdom, and Australia may also end up facing the same issue in the near future, if these countries won't do something to address the population issue.  

However, fewer young people, teenagers and young adults in their early 20s are not yet sure if they not only want to have kids; moreover, they are also unsure of getting married as well.  For sure, many young people want to go to school and have their own careers, and there are others who want to enjoy having their freedom without being pressured by anyone to have kids.  There are also many young people who are afraid to have kids because they do not like what is happening to the planet due to severe political differences and violence all over the world.  They are also very much concerned about climate change and how will this affect children in the future.

While there are still people who opt to have their own babies and fertility treatments are widely utilized these days, it is still an underlying concern that in 10 to 20 years from now, there will be fewer births in other parts of the world like what Japan is experiencing at present due to the above-mentioned reasons.

We cannot erase the fact that there will always be problems and political issues around us, and it will continue to scare younger generations.  Social media and the news are also to blame in spreading negative reports which makes people think that our world is no longer safe for young children.  If there will be a major decline in the population in the UK, North America, and Australia for these reasons, the government must formulate programs to encourage people to have children in order to support the economy.  The current population crisis in Japan might serve as a wake-up call for other countries in order to prevent such problem in the near future.

Let's Help Handog Lingap Raise Funds!

Whenever I can, I donate and help people and organizations to make their dreams of helping the impoverished come true.  I also do volunteer work whenever my time permits.  I am now also teaching my son to have a heart of helping others and spending time in volunteering.

When an email was sent to me asking to spread the love about the upcoming project of Junior Chamber International (JCI) Manila, I just can't say no because they have a good cause and I do hope that God is also knocking at your hearts to share whatever blessings you have to make this project a reality.

Now on its 10th official year, JCI Manila's Handog Lingap 2018 is putting together another day of fun and learning for indigent and special kids with bigger, better, and more sustainable things in store to help them thrive.

On the latest report of UNICEF, approximately 1 out of 7 or roughly 5.1 million Filipino children are living with disabilities.  With the lack of understanding and resources available to them, these kids suffer from unmet health needs and societal stigma which ends up limiting their development and opportunities.

JCI Manila has been an instrument in helping children with disabilities in making our country a better place, recognizing the role of each child in our nation's future through their flagship and legacy project, Handog Lingap.

This coming March 12th, 2018, over 800 indigent children with special needs and their teachers from public schools in Manila under the Department of Education's Special Education (SPED) Program, will be treated to a day of fun and learning including several activities to help them explore their potential.

With this, Handog Lingap is raising Php800,000 to make this event possible.  They are asking people to sponsor a child for Php1,000 each. This will go directly to the event for the kids, for their meals, gifts, transportation, among others.

In addition, swimming classed to be spearheaded by Bert Lozada Swimming School will also give the children an interactive physical activity which is important to their physical development.  There will also be a Disaster Preparedness Workshop by Frederick Dalena, which will equip caregivers and kids with knowledge on how to save their lives in various stressful situations.  Moreover, a transition programs forum will also be held to start the dialogue on how to best to transition children from SPED schools to employment.

Handog Lingap 2018 Project Chairman Francis Tailon said that for this year, they wanted the activity to be bigger and better. "We are celebrating a decade of bringing joy to these kids this year and we would like to reach more children and make a lifelong impact in their lives.  We want to equip them with important life skills, giving them the chance to improve their quality of life, empowering them with compassion and inclusion, and giving them the support they need to succeed," Tailon added.

This event won't be possible without your help!  

Interested individuals and corporate supporters can check the official crowdfunding page HERE on how they can help.  You can also check out their Facebook and Instagram accounts for information about Handog Lingap.  They also accept donations in kind. 

It takes a village to raise a child, so without your generous heart, these underprivileged children won't have a bright future ahead of them.

Shakey's Louisiana Shrimp Pizza for a Limited Time Only!

I love seafood!  I love pizza!
There are times that when I'm too lazy to prepare meals for me and my son, I would order pizza delivery.  However, now that I'm into balik-alindog, I have to control myself eating pizza, waaah!

Every time we go to Bataan, seafood is always being served because we can buy it fresh and there's a small market (talipapa) just across our ancestral house there.  

So happy to know that Shakey's is now offering Louisiana Shrimp Pizza at a limited time only, embracing two of my most favorite food!

Shakey's Louisiana Shrimp Pizza is inspired by the rich cuisine of Louisiana, USA.  Arguably one of the most flavorful cultures in the world, Louisiana cuisine is a delicious melting pot thanks to French, African, American, and French-Canadian cultures.  Louisiana is the number one provider of shrimp, oysters, crab, crawfish, and even alligator meat in the United States!

Shakey's Louisiana Shrimp Pizza has plump and juicy shrimps on top marinated in Cajun spice blend, with strips of freshly cut basil leaves to make the pizza tastier and appetizing. Louisiana Shrimp Pizza is a thin crust pizza with special herbed garlic sauce.  Light and delectable, this pizza is definitely a catch for your taste buds!  Perfect for Lenten season and people who are watching their diet won't have guilt feeling of eating something that has high calories!

Shakey's Louisiana Shrimp Pizza became available in all Shakey's restaurants since February 14th and will be enjoyed by everyone until April 30th.  This is also available for delivery, just call their hotline 77-7777 or order online at www.shakeyspizza.ph.

I can assure you, this really tastes delicious as we had the first dibs!  It's truly a one-of-a-kind pizza that everyone should try and taste.  Enjoy Louisiana Shrimp Pizza with your loved one!

Wow Macau! Our Day Trip Experience in Macau

Kib and I were back in Hong Kong last month, but this time we also went to Macau.  We never had a chance to go to Macau the first time we went to Hong Kong last year because the weather was not good and we were already short of funds, hihi.

They say that Macau is not a good place for children because of the casinos, but on the other hand, it can also be a good place to learn history too.  Macau has rich history that everyone should also know about.  

Macau has been a Portuguese colony from mid-16th century until 1999.  Macau is smaller than Hong Kong (44 square miles) so you can really go around the island in one day.  Because of its Portuguese influence, Portuguese is the second language in Macau (next to Cantonese).  You can also see Catholic churches in the peninsula too.

You can go to Macau directly from the Philippines via airplane or via ferry in Hong Kong or via mainland China in Zhuhai district.  If you will go to Macau via Hong Kong, don't forget to bring your passport with you.  It takes about 1 1/2 hours by ferry.  You can take a ferry to Macau either from Hong Kong side or Kowloon side.  In our case, we rode the ferry on the Kowloon side.  Every hour, a ferry leaves going to Macau.  It is advisable to buy tickets ahead of time especially if you have plans to go to Macau on a weekend because ticket rates on weekends are higher than regular rates.  Sadly, there is no child rate for ferry ride.

Waiting for our boarding to the ferry going to Macau

Turbo Jet.  You can ride a ferry going to Macau either at Hong Kong side or Kowloon side.  Ferries leave hourly, you can check the schedule on Turbo Jet's website

I wasn't able to read in advance on how to go around Macau.  To maximize our time in Macau, we already hired a tour guide to help us go around Macau.  Buses are the most popular mode of transportation in Macau and just like in Hong Kong, there are specific routes for each bus number.

Our tour guide, his name is Omar.  He has a group who usually waits for Filipino tourists at the ferry station and offers their tour services to them

Macau's local currency is pataca.  However, if you're from Hong Kong, there is no need to change your Hong Kong dollars to Macau pataca as it is also widely accepted there.  However, you need to also be ready with your credit card too just in case.

Here are our pictures in Macau:

Senado Square.  It's currently decorated with stuff for Chinese New Year

St. Dominic's Church.  No masses are held there, basically the church is only for viewing by the tourists and praying.  There is also museum inside.  You can go inside for free

Macau is just a small island, so most people live in small apartments like this

Streets in Macau are also narrow.  This road is also being used by vehicles so make sure to stay on the side

St. Paul's ruins, the best known historical landmark in Macau

Some of the unearthed ruins of St. Paul

A crypt was also unearthed underneath St. Paul.  You can see there remains of Japanese and Vietnamese martyrs and some church relics

This lotus-like building is Grand Lisboa.  It illuminates at night

Macau Observation Tower

Hilton Hotel in Cotai area. In Cotai, you can see the grandest hotels and casinos

Street signs in Macau

Studio City in Cotai
Inside Galaxy Hotel.  A giant dog statue will welcome you at the entrance

The diamond show inside Galaxy Hotel

Paintings on the ceiling at The Venetian

A show inside The Venetian

Gondolas inside The Venetian

At the entrance of The Venetian

A replica of the Eiffel Tower at The Parisian.  It's my second time to see a replica of the Eiffel Tower, the first was at Shenzen, China

A tree-like building in Macau

Other hotels and casinos in Macau

You can stay at Macau for a night should you like to try going to the casinos and try your luck.  If you wish to just have a day tour in Macau, better to stay until night (around 8pm) to see the night lights.  The ferry going back to Hong Kong and Kowloon is until 11pm.

Put Macau on your itinerary the next time you visit Hong Kong, it's worth it!

M2 Concentrate Tea Drink for Your Balik-Alindog, Children, and Breastfeeding Journey!

Nowadays, people are now becoming more and more health-conscious.  Mommies are now preparing healthier meals for the family.  Parents are exposing their kids to activities that will boost their health and discourage them to spend their time on gadgets.  Parents look out for the best stores online and offline where they can buy healthy food for the whole family.

You have already seen my posts on my Facebook page that I'm into fitness journey this year (will blog about this soon!).  I'm so glad that in a month that I'm into this road, I have already seen results and people around me were inspired to go on to fitness too.  Now that I'm advocating healthy living, I would be glad to share with you some of the food that you can eat without having that guilt feeling of getting fat or eating food with poor nutritional value.

Recently, I was asked if I wanted to try this nutritional drink for me and my family.  I immediately said yes because it is made by a Filipino company NatureEarth (I like supporting locally-made products).  When the product was delivered to me, I just remembered that I already had an encounter with this product!  I bought a bottle at a fair because it has a good taste.

M2 concentrate tea drink is made from malunggay, okra, and ginger.  For those who don't like eating okra and ginger, this drink is perfect for you!  While it has the aftertaste of ginger, it doesn't sting of a ginger tea.  In addition, you won't have to think of the sticky texture of okra while drinking this healthy beverage.  

M2 concentrate tea drink is packed with powerful nutrients, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, iron, potassium, and calcium.  Since malunggay, okra, and ginger are low calorie vegetables, drinking M2 will also be beneficial for women who are into balik-alindog program just like me, hihihi.  This drink can also be a good source of nutrition for your children.  

Me rehydrating myself after my daily workout with M2

I also let Kib drink M2 because its yummy and nutritious!  He also likes ginger

Since one of the main ingredients is malunggay, I just also found out that this beverage is also perfect for breastfeeding moms!

Breastfeeding can be beneficial and rewarding for both mothers and babies, but at the same time entails a lot of hard work and can be a bit tedious.  In order to keep quality breastmilk supply sufficient, it is essential to always stay hydrated because breastfeeding can make the nursing mother really thirsty.  This means that nursing mothers need to be sipping liquids most of the day.  But most important of all, the health and nutritional state of the mother must always be at the optimum to make sure quality milk is being produced for her baby.  Although water is good, it can get a bit dull as well as lacking nutritional value and content.

Check the nutritional benefits of M2 concentrate tea drink and its ingredients

It is a known fact that malunggay is a good enhancer of breastmilk.  A lot of products has already been created using malunggay leaves because of its high nutritional value not only for the breastfeeding moms but for the whole family.  

To further prove the nutritional benefits of malunggay to breastfeeding moms, NatureEarth, the manufacturer of M2 concentrate tea drink, conducted their own research using this beverage in the span of three months.  The breastfeeding mothers who participated in this research noticed that they felt better after drinking M2 daily.  No one got sick during the 3-month research, their bowel movement improved, their breastmilk supply increased, and some even claimed that their skin got better.

If you're a breastfeeding mom, M2 concentrate tea drink can really help you increase your breastmilk supply!

Almost 50% of this drink is made of malunggay

You can purchase M2 concentrate tea drink in all Robinsons Supermarkets and Andoks Litson Manok stalls.  You may also follow their Facebook page (M2 Lactation Club) for more product info and updates.

Cheers to healthy living this 2018!

Our Magical Stay at Disney's Hollywood Hotel

It is everybody's dream to stay in a Disneyland hotel to match up their Disneyland theme park visit.  However, it'll also mean that you also have to pay premium for you to experience staying there.  But when you will think about the once-in-a-lifetime experience versus the money that you will pay for it, I would say it's all worth it.

We stayed at Disney's Hollywood Hotel for four days during our winter holiday in Hong Kong.  Disney's Hollywood Hotel is one of the hotels inside Hong Kong Disneyland Complex, the other two are Disneyland Resort Hotel and Disney's Explorer Lodge.  Disney's Hollywood Hotel is the smallest and cheapest among the three hotels.  I checked the rates for the three hotels to compare the prices for the same room type, the rate at Disney's Hollywood Hotel is half of the cost of the same room in Disneyland Resort Hotel.  You can check the amenities of these three hotels on Hong Kong Disneyland's website.

Disney hotels are family hotels, so expect a lot of family guests with young children.  All rooms have two double-sized beds.  They do not have rooms designed for couples (no single queen sized bed), so I won't recommend Disneyland as your choice for honeymoon, not unless you want to have separate beds, haha.

Check the pictures below of Disney's Hollywood Hotel:

Here are the pictures of our hotel room:

You can ask to replenish your toiletries daily!  They would even give you hotel slippers daily too!

There is also a room on each floor where you can fill up the ice bucket in your room with ice and buy drinks at a vending machine.  In addition, Disney's Hollywood Hotel provides all guests with unlimited supply of bottled water.  There are two bottles of 1.75 liters of water in your room and they replenish it every day.

To get to Disney's Hollywood Hotel, the most convenient way is to ride the taxi from the airport.  You can also ride the Airport Express train, however, you have to make two train transfers and ride the free shuttle service going to the hotel.  Taking the train is more expensive and stressful than taking the taxi.  Take the blue taxi (Lantau taxi).  You will pay around 150 HKD and add 5 HKD for each luggage.  In our case, we paid 166 HKD.  You have to pay the taxi driver in cash.

To go to the Disneyland theme park and to the train station, the hotel provides free shuttle service to all guests.  The shuttle service is very organized; people line up and once the seats are filled up, passengers have to wait for the next shuttle.

Disney's Hollywood Hotel has an outdoor pool, but since it's winter, it'll be too cold to swim, so they took the opportunity to do maintenance on the pool.  

I would recommend families who would like to visit Hong Kong Disneyland to try to stay at a Disneyland hotel at least for one night to have a magical experience that your children won't forget.