Trip Down To Taal Lake

19 February 2013

It's not our first time to get a closer glimpse of the Taal Volcano, but it is our first time to be back again after 10 years. After hearing mass at the Carmel Church in Lipa Batangas, we decided to go to Tagaytay via Talisay. But before heading up to Tagaytay City, we went around Talisay for the kids to have a closer look at the Taal Volcano.
My son Frankie has always been fond of seeing a real volcano. One of the things he only see and read about in books and on television. The closest he can ever relate to with is the Taal Volcano. Even if he have seen it several times, he makes us feel that each visit we make to Tagaytay it's always his first.
With so much excitement, he'll start asking, "are we going to see the volcano?", "are we going to see the volcano?" Over the weekend, Frankie was able to take a closer look of the beautiful Taal Volcano. He was very happy. As a matter of fact, he was overwhelmed how big it is as we went closer.
The Taal Lake was peaceful. We can smell the fresh breeze coming from the lake itself. Base on my observation, the fish pens are not crowded anymore. Makes the whole lake look cleaner. We wanted to go in a resort and spend some time by the shore of the lake, but we weren't prepared, maybe on our next visit.

As for me, I am very satisfied and happy that I'm able to take my children out on adventures like these. It's a simple trip but we get to bond, it's educational and fun. I can't wait for our camping trip.

Finding Inspiration: Miranda Kerr's Definition of Grace

When I read her definition of what "grace" is, I knew I need to share it not just to make a point, but also to spread on what being graceful is all about both inside and out. Good if we can all apply it in our daily living. 

On Good Manners:

One of the things I'm very particular of, and I've been very quiet about are issues towards those who have money but who aren't fully aware of what etiquette is.  "For me", base on what I've experienced, I can say that having money, doesn't follow that a person also have good manners. Hard truth, in reality, we can't just walk to a person and tell him or her "hey, mind your manners". A well-mannered person never bash on somebody else. A well-mannered person always look for the good in everything. A well- mannered person knows when to speak and knows when to remain silent.
Grace is often described as being elegant, merciful and kind. I made this blog post because something in the past was trashed over me. I wasn't able to give a feedback thinking that it is such a waste. But I knew that there will come a time that I'll be writing about it still...

In my experience, I have been bashed by those who talks about "grace" or being  "graceful" all the times.  

Where is grace when a person loves to look for mistakes on other person's work in life, a fault- finder. Where's grace when a person gets upliftment by feeding on a person's imperfections. 
Where is grace if you like taking advantage of other people and giving them false hopes and beliefs of who you truly are. 

Where is grace in all that?

On Forgiveness & Faith

It's so sad how I was looked down upon so much.  How people can be so mean so that they can gain self- confidence. At first, it kinda bugs me, but looking at my mother, who's entire life is being spent as  a stay at home mom.  Like me, people likes to look down on her. But she gets through everything as if nothing happened.

I don't understand what some people have against housewives... really? What do we have that you loathe the most?

My mom's strength is my strength. The thought that I/ we have nothing to lose makes me/ us stronger. I was taught to forgive instantly. What's important now is to take care of my family and to have dignity. We do react... sometimes we get angry. But in the end, we gain nothing from it, better to search for inspiration instead.

On Gratitude

This entry is important to me, because after months of being silent, I'm able to share my thoughts and feelings through the words of a person who doesn't even know me. A person who's oceans away from me, a person whose world is far different from me. Even with that, she was able to share a meaningful take on what "grace" is.

Miranda Kerr is a role model to me. A mother, a wife, a successful model but she reflects a humble "Being" to the people and you will feel that she's being truthful. Her definition was very inspiring. It is something worth thinking everyday in life to become a better person and to do good towards the people that surrounds us.

“Grace is gratitude, surrender, faith, forgiveness, good manners and understanding.”- Miranda Kerr

What He Loves The Most

If there are men who are into things like cars, bicycles, gadgets like cameras, or an over-all collector, my husband on the other hand, is a guitar man. Even before we met, music has been part of my other half's life. We met through my brother who plays bass for my husband's band back then.

I want to share part of his life as a music lover because as he goes along his journey, there were stories or experiences that inspired/ inspires him not as just as person, but as a family man. When we were preparing for our wedding, I had a personal talk with him as to what we want for each other as we grow old together. From me, the only thing I asked was for him to continue his music. Our first years as a couple was a bit of a struggle. It's normal to make adjustments, especially financially. One of the first source of income we had was when he had private lessons on Jazz music. It paid our bills, milk and diapers for our baby, and groceries.

Two of his most loved guitars that helped us go through those moments are his Ibanez AS80 (which I call the"sexy guitar" because of it's curves) and the Ibanez AF120. These were gifts from his dad during his visit in America in 2001.
I've seen, heard and felt both guitars play. It was very soothing to the ears. Of course if the player is good, it's sounds like as if the sound is putting the person into deep relaxation. Another story behind these guitars was when my late father- in-law had a stroke. For a son, the feeling is devastating. When it  happened, my husband who was my boyfriend then, was in a hospital in GA taking care of his dad. He gave me a call and shared to me what he has done. That he has given up everything to the Lord, that for every note he's going to play, it is offered to The ONE above.
It was one of the most touching things I've heard in my life and it was the most moving too. Even up to now, I hold on to that experience of my husband. It's one of the inspirations that motivates me. Surrender, wait for nothing in return it will make you a better person. It the following years, he would always play music for everyone, even my family. It's been years since he bought a guitar. I even asked him one time on when he plan to add another to his collection. He told me that, he not the person "who just buy guitars". For him, he'll know if it's the one, first thing he'll do is to try it.

A worthy guitar that can go in line with the others? Every time we would go out, one of my husband's stops are guitar shops. Any musicians reading this? I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. There's a famous shop here in the Philippines called Audiophile. It's a guitar shop that sell Ibanez guitars. In every mall we go to, Audiophile is a must to visit. As a matter of fact, as a frequent buyer and visitor my husband was able to make friends.
During our visit in Audiophile shop in Cubao, an acoustic guitar got my attention. From the looks of it, it sure is beautiful. The moment my husband went inside and asked for the guitar if he can try it, I knew that it's "the one" guitar he has been waiting for. And so my husband tried it and he was blown away by it's performance and added features. It's an acoustic- electric guitar.  He seldom see things that he really wants, but once he finds something worthy of his money, consider it sold! But this time, he asked for my permission. It was being sold for almost Php17,000. So I said yeah, buy it. I'll be happy to see you happy. For me, it's the thought the he has been working so hard and everyone truly deserves a reward at the end of the day. Only, it took years for him to get that "worthy" reward for himself.
Let's face facts first. As much as I wanted to spend Php 17,000, as a housewife, I can't just let go of that kind of amount. For Christmas this year, he told me that when he asked permission to buy it and I said yes to the Ibanez Montage, it was already the biggest Christmas present for him. So there you go, a gift that was well- appreciated by the person I love the most.
While unboxing his Ibanez Montage, I told him, that he should display his beautiful guitars. It can be a source of inspiration to his everyday life, to me and even his children. Actually, he would put our kids to sleep just playing his guitar. Mikee our baby and Frankie our eldest son, would smile at him, the next thing you know, both are already fast asleep.

For display, we decided to hang it first like the ones in guitar shops. The Ibanez Montage is the one on the left with the tag. And right beside it is the famous vintage Ibanez 1973 "Lawsuit Guitar" which my husband bought from a friend who needed financial help at that time. Later on, the Ibanez AS80 and AS120 will join the display.
Every guitar has a story. I'm so grateful that I became part of his journey as a musician. I'm happy to have met such an artist. Music, it feeds ones soul with love and passion...

An Early Preparation for SY 2013-2014

15 February 2013

In school, I grew up having a tutor. It helped me cope with the advance lessons I get. Some might think that having a tutor means that the person is poor in academics. That's partly true but, for me, as a parent, I believe that having a tutor for my kid helps boosts his knowledge in various subjects. As early as January, my son's school registrar handed me the enrollment form for the coming school year. And time sure flies by so fast. I mean, I thought we just enrolled him for school. Now, the school year is ending and we have to prepare for a new one.

Part of the preparation was to look for a good tutor. Since my son's previous teacher left to pursue her studies, we are now in search for a reliable teacher. At Tutorspree they offer the best way to find high quality private tutors for every subject. We noticed that for the past summers, even if I give my son activities at home to  do, we still end with so much time unused. My husband and I talked to him and asked if he wants to do a few sessions with an activity he loves. With a quick yes, we will enroll him to a summer class of his chosen interest.

With the summer school activities, a good tutor and of course our family bonding, I can say that our son is ready to face another fun year in school.

A Quick Time Out--- We Head For Tagaytay

05 February 2013

The beginning of 2013 was pretty hectic for us, especially for me. It's school work and hangover from the holidays that's been bugging me. Plus, 2 weeks after the new year my youngest son got terribly sick. To sum it up, the first month of 2013 was pressuring.  We all want our kids to recover fast and of course, we don't want them to get sick. Through the years of being a full time mom, I've learned a lot of things everytime my little ones would get sick. As much as possible, I stay away from hospitals and do home treatments with the help of our family doctor. But with the recent situation with Mikee, I "almost" gave up and thought of bringing him in a hospital.  It was very draining.

We were able to solve the health issue by changing and adjusting my son's milk in-take and diet. Thank God that good results came out immediately.
Once my son got better, we decided to go to Tagaytay to relax. My husband went on leave and as an additional blessing, a relative from GA came to visit us. Tagaytay City has always been our quick getaway destination. We never get tired of it. We love the cool climate, clean air, the view of the good 'ol Taal Volcano and tempting restaurants.
Our first stop for the day was Paseo de Sta. Rosa. It was a beautiful morning to go for a relaxing stroll around the area. When we got there, most of the shops were still closed, few were already open. We window shopped a bit looking for nice things that we can purchase on our way back from Tagaytay.
In Tagaytay, we first visited our favorite place. The Taal Vista Hotel. Chillaxing with a great view, windy morning and photo fun moments with my family.
Then, we had lunch in RSM where we also spent time with our Tita from GA, Perry and his family. We enjoyed so much Filipino dishes. There's Kare-kare, Signature Bulalo of Tagayatay, Lumpiang Sariwa, Pancit Malabon and Crispy Pata. For dessert, we feasted on Leche Flan, Buko Pandan and Ice cream for this kids.
The view from the second of RSM Restaurant was spectacular. We've been in and out of RSM Tagaytay but it was just recently when we found out that they have a second floor. Anyway, aside from the great view, we were also enjoying the cool breeze and acapella songs from the musicians of RSM.

File Your Taxes Today!

04 February 2013

When it comes to taxes everyone needs to take note of the process with regards to filing our taxes. Sometimes, due to the load of work we have, we tend to forget or at least, be aware of the recent changes or updates on tax laws. Here in our country, in the private sector, it's the company who's handling the processing of the employee's taxes. If you're going to look, yes, it's not really a problem. But what about those who have businesses and those who handle the filing of their taxes themselves? Like what I've mentioned earlier, those with a busy schedule tend to forget or disregard issues when it comes to their taxes.

In other countries, e-files is already available so that the citizens can file their taxes immediately and clear things in case the have some concerns with the process. An irs form was made available for each state. The irs form is a tax form needed to file your federal and state taxes. There is also a guide that will walk you through your tax return so you don't need to know which tax forms to file. Here are the irs FAQ.

Music To My Ears: Making Room For Our Music CDs

01 February 2013

Usually, I get rid of our old stuff every time I do some general cleaning. Clothes, shoes, bags, furniture, kitchenware. But during my last cleaning session, I took out our old original music CDs and found room for them to be displayed and to be listened to once again. 

I grew up exposed to music.

1. My dad is an excellent piano player.
2. Both my brothers are good guitar players, bass and lead. And one of them can sing by the way.
3. My dearest husband is a very good jazz guitar player as well as an over-all musician.

Other than these, with me, my brothers and my husband growing in the 90's, we got exposed to the sound of the Alternative genre. I had a collection of cassettes. Then, we slowly shifted to the era of music CDs.

Being with musicians, knowing some famous music writers and bands, we developed a relationship with the music industry with full respect and promised ourselves to buy original CDs both OPM and foreign. 

For the past months, my husband and I have been in search for original CDs. Hard to find Alternative albums. We met with several online sellers. Some offered a pretty nasty price for over-used CDs, with cracked CD casing and scratched discs. But there was this one seller, a collector of music CDs. He owns a total of 5000 CDs, not counting the ones he already sold. When we found out that he's a collector, we knew that the stuff he's selling are in good condition and we were right. His price ranges from 250- 400php depending on the genre, title and condition of the CD itself. Most of the CDs featured in the photo above were bought from this online seller. Feels like we hit a gold mine of rare music CDs or at least the ones that are not available in record bars anymore.

Right now, I'm still in process, making room for more music CDs. Writing a new list of titles to be ordered :D We're also in search of a vintage record player. We found one and it comes with cute set of speakers. Still thinking about it though...