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Monday, December 10, 2007

Yogurt

Not sure if you would agree but I find that yogurt is really healthy. It's good eaten alone, with fruit or as a salad dressing. I'd like to share the recipe with you.

In a pot, heat 1 liter of milk until just warm. Dissolve 3 tablespoons plain yogurt and 1 tablespoon of sugar. cover and keep inside the oven or in any warm, dark place for about 10 hours.

Milk can be either liquid or powder. When using powder, reconstitute it with 3 cups water to 1 cup milk proportions. I use the High Calcium, Low Fat Monami Milk. So far, it has yielded the best tasting yogurt.

Sugar can be omitted if you are on a diet. I added it to the recipe to let the bacteria grow faster. I remember that technique from breadmaking.

So, there you are. Happy eating!

Kumon and my Daughter

Remember my older post about Kumon? So far it has done great wonders for my daughter. She is now one of those people who are being trained to take the MTAP Math competition sponsored by MetroBank. It was a tough elimination since she goes to a school of scholars. And to think that she sort of hated the subject before. Now she professes her love for it because it, according to her, is so easy. Well, like I always say, the down side is the lack of analytical thinking. I'm now trying to check on ENOPI. My friend says it's a good Math school. She teaches there, so what can I expect?

SeaMed Review Center

I've just recently taken the nursing board exam. It was not quite easy but not quite hard either. Although I can't say I studied hard for it, it was a good thing I studied on burns, perioperative techniques, and emergency nursing. The nursing board are really trying to be sure that when an emergency situation comes, the pinoy nurse will know what to do.

For those who would be taking the philippine board, I'd like to recommend the SeaMed Review Center. Sir Mark Asuncion (he's kwenek to us reviewees), Dr. Malvar, Sir Laboy and Sir Villegas are the best reviewers. The downside is that the review takes only 4 hours but those 4 hours are really worth it. The rationale is that you will take home the tests so you can answer and study them and they will give you the same test the following day which you can do at a faster rate because you're already familiar with it. Makes sense. They have a computer room where you can review too until 5 pm. In case you don't want to go through the trouble of lining up at the PRC, you can ask them to file your application for the NLE with them for a fee. I paid 1,500 php. Don't worry, they're legit. If you want to go to PRC yourself, that's fine too.

By the way, SeaMed is located at 867 G. Tolentino St. Sampaloc, Manila. tel # 735-2579. It is just actually almost at the corner of Tolentino and Quezon Boulevard, just about 2 corners before reaching the corner of PRC. They are next door neighbors of Pentagon and Carl Balita's Review Center.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Here comes the rain again...

The rain can be viewed differently by people. As for myself, I like the thought of the suspension of classes. But having 3 days in a row and having it for 2 consecutive weeks will mean that my daughter's school year will have to be extended to fulfill the DepEd requirement of 200 days or so.

What irritates me is the fact that DepEd, City hall, the school administration and parents all point a finger at each other as to whether the children should attend class or not. During the last typhoon, children were allowed to leave the house only to be sent back home right after they got there. That was a really silly move. However, I do appreciate the recent announcement that when the parents do decide to not let their children attend class during a heavy rain or a storm, that children will not be marked absent. The problem is that the child will have to forego class work and even run the risk of not being able to cope with the activity because she wasn't there. Still, I find that the authorities who are supposed to take action are trying to elude public scrutiny by pointing a finger at each other. I hope they feel what the parents feel...

Friday, May 25, 2007

The Passing Away of a Good Man


I mourn.

When a man dies, those who love him weep. But when a good man dies, a multitude of people mourn and grieve for his passing. Such a man is Boy Ruiz. Manager of PLDT General Santos, Boy is known to many as GVR and to us, his former colleagues, as Boyaks. Amiable and hospitable as he is, Boy has made many friends even while working as a QC Inspector, as operations Assistant to the late Manuel Figura, as Manager of Zamboanga Exchange and, prior to his assignment at GenSan, as manager of Davao Exchange. He is well loved by his peers, his colleagues, superiors, subordinates and business contacts. Being fair and compassionate are among his best traits, not to mention being able to reach out to those who need his help but are either afraid or shy to ask.

But what makes a man a good man? It is when people closest to him attest to it. When dealing with people outside of one's own family, it is often a practice to put one's foot forward. But the people who feel one's stress, hate and disgust are the members of the family to which he belongs who in the process are hurt the more. In the case of Boyaks, his wife Lolit and children Jay, Giselle, Gail, Raprap and Henry love and adore him. Of course, he isn't perfect. Only God is. But, when you assign points to attitudes and characteristics, this guy's better side outweighs the other. Boyaks has been a good provider, a good husband and a good father, such that virtues are not to be heard but seen in his deeds. Even his children act in a manner that shows their breeding - with finesse but not aristocratic, kind and gentle but strong enough to face challenges - characteristics that he and his wife Lolit have molded them into. As I always say, you cannot hide the light. And when it is out, everything around it glows. Like Boy, the children emulate what they see and experience in their own family.

I remember how we used to have fun in Cebu. We had our "barkada" who would be busy during the VisMin Sportsfest as we were always part of the organizing committee. Not only during the sportsfest, our team was forever the working committee in every event or activity - sinulog, christmas parties, company launchings, etc. I was coordinator while Boy was the executor. I remember how we had won during a choir competition. He was always the binding force of the group. Even when he was inspector and people shun away from QCI people, feeling threatened by them and all, Boy managed to make people comfortable having him around.

We stayed in their lovely home a few days before he died. I texted him about getting a discount for a hotel somewhere in Davao but he insisted that I and my family stay with them for the whole duration of our vacation. It was a good idea. After all, aside from the fact that it will save us some money, we had not seen Boy nor Lolit for about 16 years or so. He was my officemate in Cebu and Lolit's office was just above ours. It was an opportunity to catch up with each one's life. Boy had texted me about not being able to meet us the day we arrived (May 18) because he'd be flying in from Zamboanga the same day. We were going to stay overnight at the Pearl Farm anyway so I told him we'd just meet them the following day when we would've checked out from the resort and would be staying with them already. So, from May 19 to May 21, we stayed at their home. We had a great time. Our hosts were very hospitable and kind, food was great and there was nothing more you could ask for. However, the part where we were supposed to catch up was not realized because from the day he left his home, Boy felt really sick. I remember how Lolit described the way Boy looked when he got back from Zamboanga. It was touching when he tried to get up to greet us but probably did not have enough energy to stay up that he excused himself right away. We joked about him being old and stuff and that he shouldn't be doing the garden for a long time because it would be hot and his blood pressure would shoot up. He said he felt a little better the day we left and was apologetic that he wasn't able to entertain us because of his condition. Of course we understood. We had spent a few minutes in their bedroom to get to chat with him a bit. I chuckled at how he thought my daughter was me when he called me while looking at her. "Manoy Boy nandito ako. Anak ko yan." and he said "Ay akala ko ikaw talaga." I call him Manoy because while working in the same department for the same manager, we learned that we are actually cousins.

After leaving Davao, I intended to call the family to ask how they were and to thank them again as they were lovely people that you couldn't thank them enough. But I wanted to surprise them with a little blog with some pictures and all. So, while I was writing my blog yesterday, just barely 3 days after we had we got back from davao, I got the tragic news from my husband. At the prime of his life, in his mid 40's, Boy passed away.

Looking back at how he insisted that we meet, the fact that they had gone to Cebu to have their properties fixed, how he had worked and almost tired himself at the garden in their home in Davao the day before he flew to Zamboanga, I guess he was trying to say something to us. The tragedy is a great loss to his family and friends and associates. However, I know that Boyaks will want everyone to move on after we have grieved. Gilberto V. Ruiz died but he left a mark in our hearts that will remain till we meet him again.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

A Silver Medal and A Scholarship


Tears of joy ran down my face as I stood there, reading out her name and reconfirming that it was really she that they were referring to. I was filled with awe and happiness that I had told the cab driver who I didn't know about her.

Can you blame me for being so proud? My daughter is graduating from her elementary education this March and she is one of the silver awardees. On top of this, we just learned that her application for scholarship was accepted and will be going to the Pasig City Science High School.

What's the secret? It was a dream,hard work, determination and the will power to persist. There were times in the past when my daughter would think she was not good enough because she got an average grade in Filipino (which happens to be her waterloo) and she cried over having 1 to 3 mistakes in some other exams. But I kept telling her that if she prepared and studied well, what ever the result would be acceptable to us. There was no pressure and she was happy. I asked her to engage in other activities such as playing the flute and doing kumon. I also asked her to exercise in the morning when she awoke. I prepared the food she ate both at home and in school. We went out on weekends as a family. She prayed and we prayed for her. She was in a good school (Mother Goose Playskool and Grade School is the 7th among the best elementary schools in the Philippines). I taught her about finances and about investing. She read a lot. Best of all, she is a good daughter, friend and student. Perhaps these things combined spelled the difference and we thank the Almighty for the blessings. Truly, when it rains, it pours.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Mother Goose PlaySkool - A Blessing to Children

Recently,
I've been reflecting as my daughter is about to graduate from grade 6 and her commencement exercises are up next week. Did I and my husband make a good choice of the school to send her to? About 8 years ago, I took time out from work to look for a school where I could let my daughter study. She was, at that time, enrolled with a school near our home and it was quite convenient for her to just go there. But my attention was called by the teacher because she was not doing her class work and insisted that she already knew what the subject was about. Fortunately, I chanced upon a neighbor who is a "true blue" educator and he adviced me to look for a school that would challenge my baby enough. According to him, my daughter was showing signs of underachievement because she was bored - that the tasks were too easy for her. So, just shortly before the end of that school year, I was off on a mission to look for a good school for my baby. And then I found Mother Goose Playskool. I have not looked for another school since.

As a mother, I want the best education for my child. All parents do. I'm convinced that this is the best gift we parents can give our children. But not all parents are blessed to find such a school where there is a holistic approach to teaching, combining excellent academics with play, socialization, good citizenry and spirituality. Being involved in my daughter's education was one of the keys to it. In fact, it was the major key. I had made a crude list of what I wanted the school to have. Topping the list is the school's ability to give quality education,followed by proximity, the values taught to the children, and the teacher-student relationship. I had gone to 5 different schools during that "mission" and at each school I requested to be toured. In 4 of those schools, I was privileged to sit in during the class and was able to assess whether that school would be enjoyable for my child. Meeting the "would-be" teachers, I learned what they taught and how they delivered those lessons in class. I took time to check out the works of the children and observed the children themselves, taking mental notes of how they related with each other and with the people around them.

Among those schools, MGP (Mother Goose Playskool) was the best. It still is. The children are challenged with work enough to interest them and to sustain that interest as well. They cater to all kinds of children and yes, even those who belong to the extremes of the learning curve - both the gifted and the mentally challenged. Even those with behavioral problems. I remember seeing a diagnosed autistic kid when he started out as a child who was isolated and how, over the years, he had been able to come out of his shell and interact with the others. The children treat each other like members of their own family - with genuine love and concern for each one.

Children love MGP and never want to leave. At one point, we offered my daughter the chance to move to another school. She simply looked at us with her puppy-dog eyes and walked away. To my surprise and amusement, the parents of the other kids had similar stories to tell. Why would they want to leave anyway when they're having a great time?

With all honesty I dare say that I did not make a mistake. In fact, we've been blessed to have our daughter go to one of the Philippines best schools - Mother Goose Playskool and Grade school.
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