5 Tips To Boost Your Immunity During The Holidays

Friday, November 27, 2015 2 Comments A+ a-

The holidays can get really stressful, especially if one doesn’t know how to handle stress and if one is too sick to even handle anything. But this shouldn’t be so. This is the season of celebration and merriment, and clearly, sickness and stress has no space for a festive time like this. So why is it that every holiday season, we hear and read stressing news about how the occurrence of diseases are high during the months of January and December?

Saddening as it already is, CNN even mentioned about several studies that show how a person has a greater chance of dying on Christmas, the day after Christmas or New Year's Day than any other single day of the year.

The holiday season is the perfect time for family reunions and celebrations so isn't it just ironic that statistics says that it is also one of the most dangerous times of the year. Lucky for you, because this blog is specifically written to help you avoid adding up to the numbers of the deadly statistics. So read on to know how you can stay healthy and strong during the holidays in five easy ways which is really easy to remember, just remember your FERN-C!  

Food plays an essential part in every living thing’s overall wellness and health. While it is a fact that eating is necessary to survive, we should not eat voraciously that we turn this tool for survival into a tool for our non-survival. 

On many occasions, we take our health for granted. We often forget (or rather, disregard) the right kind of food to eat and the right amount of food to consume. What more now that the holiday season is fast approaching? It is during this season that we attend parties after parties, reunions after reunions and gatherings after gatherings. Add to that the fact that the bulk of the food laid on the dining table are those that induce either hypertension or diabetes (and at times, both). Considering all these, how then can we stay healthy (but not starved) during the holiday season? 

It’s actually pretty simple: eat the right kind of food at the right amount. Now, you won’t read anything on here asking you to cross out lechon and leche flan on your Noche Buena list, but rather, you’ll come across tips that will help you enjoy tasty dishes while still staying healthy. 
Cooking your own holiday dishes means that you prepare your own food. You see, meals served at fast food chains and restaurants are not always supervised. More so, improper preparation of food may lead to contamination when certain types of ingredients, especially those which are raw, have not been washed well. This is why it is very important that each time we prepare and cook dishes, we must always make sure that the kitchen, tools and ingredients are all properly cleaned to avoid food contamination.

More often than not, Christmas desserts like leche flan include too much sugar that will undoubtedly make everyone extra hyper and extra closer to having diabetes. As an alternative, instead of using processed sugar (those that can be bought almost anywhere), you could use kalamay, panutsa, honey or even the juice you get from fruit cocktails. It is as sweet as the processed sugar but with less risk for diabetes. 

As an even healthier alternative, instead of preparing too sweet desserts, why not prepare slices of sweet fruits instead? Your family and your guests will surely satisfy not only their sweet tooth but their health as well! Here are some of the easy-to-find fruits that will surely boost your immunity: 
All these fruits are packed with Vitamin C, an immune-boosting essential. They are also loaded with bioflavonoids which are phytonutrients. For a quick explanation of what phytonutrients are, these are naturally-occurring compounds that cause beneficial reactions in the body, including an added immunity boost. So make sure to include these fruits on your Noche Buena and Media Noche! (Adapted from Source)

Make use of your resources! Search the net for over thousands of healthy recipes. You could even ask the help of the seasoned cooks in your family for their recipes. If, for some reason, you can’t find a healthy recipe, you could still use the traditional recipes, all you have to do is substitute a few artificial ingredients for a healthier alternative. Here are some commonly used artificial ingredients / drinks with their immune-boosting and more natural alternatives:

Wondering how you will avoid the irksome and annoying greetings of “Uy, parang tumaba ka!” come January when work and school resumes? Exercise! Physical activities as simple as regular walking or jogging help antibodies and white blood cells move through the body faster, which then helps in detecting illnesses earlier. Aside from this, exercise also aids in increasing the blood circulation which may help trigger the release of hormones that "warn" immune cells of intruding pathogens (infectious agents that cause disease or illness to its host).

So start moving your way to a healthy and strong holiday season thru this simple exercise tips (they're so easy you won't even notice that you're actually exercising):
Right after attending the early morning Simbang Gabi, why not go for a jog and see the sunrise instead of going back to sleep? You could even ask your friends or relatives to go with you to make it more fun (and probably more bearable)! You’ll also find that eating steaming hot bibingka and puto bumbong is even more enjoyable and guilt-free when done after an hour or so of walk-jog-run, instead of doing your usual routine of Simbang Gabi → bibingka / puto bumbong → sleep again.

If you're feeling extra challenged, why not do this Holiday Workout Challenge that I've prepared specifically for this occasion! It's pretty simple: each you time hear the sentences (written in red), you must do the corresponding exercise (written in green). You don't have to do them right away after you hear these words, you could simply make a tally and do the exercises during your allotted time for exercise (you must allot a time for exercise). Having lived in the Philippines for all my life, I'm pretty sure that most (if not all) of these will be uttered to you by your friends and relatives during the months of December and January!
Make use of the long vacation to exercise! Since your friends and other relatives are on vacation as well, why not make them your exercise buddies? You could even use the lively Christmas songs as your playlist for the exercise! Hearing Christmas songs such as Feliz Navidad will really make you jump and hop and clap and sing for no reason at all. You could even be your younger nieces’ or nephews’ dance instructor for the traditional intermission number in every Christmas family reunion. Here are some song suggestions:

Additional calories are burned if you also sing while dancing! If you don't have any idea what to do, remember this: everyone is entitled to their own dance steps! Go crazy and invent your own dance steps, even if they consist only of repetitive jumping, clapping and waving your hands every now and then. The important thing is that you move and burn those extra fats. Although, if you really want to do some serious exercise steps, you can follow Neila Rey's Christmas Wrapper exercise sets:

For a more comfortable sleep, make sure that you change your bed linen, pillow case and blanket on a regular basis. Doing so will not only help you get rid of undesirable microscopic bugs lurking in your bed but it will also help you from developing allergies. Also, changing your bed essentials will help you ensure a good night sleep, which is one of the easiest and surest way to boost your immune system. With proper sleep, your immune system will be able to store the information that it collected from invaders, making it easier for it to recognize germs readily and to get rid of invaders effectively.

Since it is the holiday season, it is understandable that getting enough sleep would be a hard feat to achieve. One way to work around this problem is to make sure that you give yourself ample naps throughout the day. According to research, 10 to 20 minutes of nap is best and is enough to make you feel alert. It is also advisable to divide chores to avoid stress from rushing to get all the holiday preparations ready. This way, all members of the family won't feel overworked and groggy during the Christmas or New Year countdown. 
Surround yourself with kids and feel young-at-heart! This is one good way of saying "no" to vices such as smoking and drinking. I've noticed that adults don't smoke or drink whenever they're near children, so use it as an opportunity to slowly stop from doing these deadly vices which compromise your immune system. Being around children also makes you happier than usual (honestly, who can't be happy when you're with children?). On that note, did you know that having a happy mood and a daily dose of laughter can boost your immune system? You see, laughter stretches your muscles, burns calories and produces a natural energy booster!

When in parties, offer to drive for your friends or relatives so that they won't force you to drink. You could also bring your car when attending gatherings, and be sure to tell your friends about it so that they'll be responsible enough not to let you drink and so that you'll know that no matter how insistent your friends/relatives can get, you have to say "no" for any invites to drink. Better to pass up for some alcohol shots than to pass up on a good holiday season because of a driving accident.

To complete the five simple ways to stay healthy and strong this holiday season, don't forget to have your daily dose of Vitamin C! We need to take Vitamin C on a daily basis because it is a water-soluble vitamin, meaning, human body can't store it, unlike some animals. Extra amounts of this vitamin leave our body through urine, hence we need an ongoing supply of Vitamin C. So make sure to include Vitamin C in your family's stock of vitamins! 
One way of ensuring that you have your daily dose of Vitamin C is by taking FERN-C. It is sodium ascorbate, a form of Vitamin C which is more bioavailable and alkaline (this means that FERN-C can be taken even by acidic people). For over ten years, FERN-C has helped in keeping every Filipino family strong and healthy by boosting our immune system. It is also a potent anti-oxidant that increases body resistance against infectious diseases. So this holiday season, complete your immune system booster pack with FERN-C! For daily maintenance (not just during the holiday season), take 1-2 capsules. If you're experiencing symptoms of colds, take 3-4 capsules daily. FERN-C may be given as is, or dissolved in fruit juices, water, or any cold beverage of your choice. FERN-C can also be taken even on an empty stomach, so even if you don't have the appetite to eat when sick, you can still take FERN-C.

Because of the hundreds of benefits that one can get from this vitamin, it is no wonder that different types and brands of vitamin C have proliferated in pharmacies nationwide. As a guide for would-be buyers, I've summarized some of the advantages of sodium ascorbate (FERN-C) over ascorbic acid:
As shown above, we can see that both forms of vitamin C boost our immune system and act as an anti-oxidant. But, the similarities end there. Unlike ascorbic acid, sodium ascorbate (FERN-C), is more reactive in building connective tissues and antibody structures, more effective in killing some viruses and bacteria, and is also more soluble (which means that it is absorbed better by the body). Aside from this, sodium ascorbate also has additional benefits which ascorbic acid doesn't have, including sodium ascorbate's function in preventing cancer, in improving cardiovascular diseases (like heart attack and stroke), in hastening wound healing and in promoting good eye health (by promoting healthy capillaries and soft tissues which are abundant in the eyes).

FERN-C, being the first non-acidic vitamin C in the Philippines, has undoubtedly changed the way Filipinos view the importance of boosting their immunity. It is manufactured by FERN, Inc (Filipino Entrepreneurs and Resources Network, Inc), a company which develops entrepreneurs through distribution of high-quality products, including FERN-C. 

Having been in the market for 10 years, FERN-C has helped a lot of users with their different health problems. To hear about their testimonials on how FERN-C has positively changed their life, watch this video:

Aside from the numerous testimonials given by FERN-C users, interested buyers can also be assured of FERN-C's superb quality by the roster of awards and recognitions that FERN-C has received since its release on the market:
  1. From 2008 to the present, FERN-C has been awarded the Superbrands Philippines' Choice. 
  2. FERN-C has also been issued the Food and Drug (FDA) Certificate of Product Registration (CPR) No. DRHR-1009 after passing the highest requirements and standards of registration for pharmaceutical products. 
  3. FERN-C also carries DSM's "Quali-C" and "Quali-Blends" trademark, which guarantee peace of mind for consumers. DSM maintains Good Manufacturing Principles (GMP) and Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) to ensure a safe and controlled environment.
  4. FERN-C has also been certified by the Office on Muslim Affairs. This means that the processes and ingredients used in producing these supplements follow the strict practices and beliefs of the Islamic Law.

FERN-C can be bought in leading drugstores, convenience stores and groceries nationwide (including Watsons, Puregold, South Star Drug, Generika and Rose Pharmacy). For a more detailed list of stores, please visit FERN-C Store Finder here. For more details, visit FERN-C's website at fern-c.com. Also, make sure to follow them on their social media accounts for updates and for a chance to win amazing prizes on their Pre-Holiday Special Social Media Challenge:


INSTAGRAM (@ferncofficial)


Have a #StressFreeChristmas and #HealthyHoliday with #FernCSubokNa!


About Page: Updated!

Monday, November 23, 2015 0 Comments A+ a-

Hi guys! How's your Monday doing so far?
I'm posting this (really) short blog post to update you of a recent change I've made on the "ABOUT" page. Please do visit it at http://pawprintstamped.blogspot.com/p/about-blog-author.html or you could always check out the "ABOUT" button below the title header of this blog. 

Happy Monday!

#Wonderful World of Wonder: The World of Teaching, The Wonder in Teaching

Friday, November 20, 2015 0 Comments A+ a-

Why do you want to shift to the College of Education?

Possible Answer #1: Well, quite frankly, because this is one of the most under-populated colleges in the university, so it's really more of the case of you needing more students to enroll than me needing a college to shift to.
Possible Answer #2: I want to shift to the College of Education because I want to teach children and I think that to be able to do so, I need to learn how to be a competent one. And, shifting to this college would make me become a competent teacher.

Some three years ago, when I was still looking for a college to shift to, the one staple question that was always asked to me during panel interviews went like this: Why do you want to shift to [insert name of college]? To tell you the truth, I was so depressed, so frustrated, and so hopeless that I didn't really had the heart to even try to pretend how eager I was to apply for their college. As much as I want to be honest and give the first possible answer, I couldn't really do that in reality so I gave the second possible answer instead. My answers were all like this, generic-looking because I was too lazy to think of a personal answer and resorted to Googling smart-sounding answers for possible interview questions. I've applied for five different colleges that I wanted to shift to, but I really had no particular college in mind. Any college would do, as long as I get to shift out of my college that I've fallen out of love with and that I've learned to hate back then. As undeserving as I was (because of my insincere answers), I was luckily admitted to each of the colleges I've applied to, but for some reason, I chose the College of Education. The first few days into the opening of classes and I still don't have any idea why I found myself inside the corridors of Benitez Hall. I was pretty much like a zombie, aimlessly walking and becoming more and more lost of my purpose in life (but hey, even zombies unconsciously know that their purpose in life is to munch on humans). 
Image Source
Some would advice me that this feeling of being lost and confused is just a normal phase in any college student's life. But I was too tired and too stubborn to listen to them. I was that depressed. But, in one class that I had in my first semester as an Education student, this one professor told us this on our second meeting: 
"Sino ang mga shiftees dito? Sino ang mga Educ students talaga simula freshman year? Now, I asked you this because I want to see who needs help. Help, in the sense that I want to help you realize your reason why you chose this course. Yung mga nag-enroll as Educ freshmen at nandito pa rin after 2 or 3 years, you don't need much help, because at some point, you've already established what you want to do with your life. But you shiftees, need help. More than me teaching the syllabus of this subject and more than me requiring you to pass this course, I want to help you realize why you chose this course, why you're going to love this course and why you're not wrong in choosing this college, whatever your reasons may be."
It was safe to say that, for the last few months, after playing "deaf" and "blind" to any kind of encouraging statements, this professor's question got into me. For a moment, I wanted to believe that I was still a deserving student of this university, never mind that my previous college wanted me out of their turf. For a moment, I wanted to believe that somebody still believes that I have the potential to succeed, never mind that my ambitions has been crushed by my previous professors. And for a moment that stretched up to this day, I believed.

In my new college, the requirements were as heavy as before and the deadlines were as deadly as before. But the one reason that made everything seem more bearable were my professors. You see, they were more than just professors. They were teachers, parents, friends and confidantes all rolled into one human being. They made me believe in teachers again, but more than that, they made me believe in myself again. And for that, I'll be forever thankful.

With their aid, I've realized why I needed to fail. I've realized that I needed to feel all those pain for me to realize that one way to prevent my depressing experience as a misunderstood student is to become an understanding teacher (among all the other characteristics that a good teacher must possess). And while I'm still far from being the good teacher that I've envisioned, I'm pretty sure that I am very much on my way, with big thanks to my life-long teachers.

Why teach?

For those who wants to solve their attitude issues, you may want to take a lesson or two from teachers. See, when you're a teacher, you learn a whole lot of things (and no, further studies isn't even on top of this list). You learn how to manage a class of 30 to 50 students of varying needs and characteristics. Don't forget to add to that the parents and/or guardians that you must also learn to face for each student you have. You learn how to manage your temper and how to make use of what little time you have. Undoubtedly, being a teacher really does wonders to your attitude!

For the longest time in my college life, I've been lost. And it is with this profession that I've found myself. I've learned that to become a teacher, I need to sacrifice a lot of things, but I also learned that I don't need to sacrifice my ambitions to become a teacher. I've always wanted to become a veterinarian, an artist, an environmentalist, a story-teller and a writer. But being a teacher makes me come close to being all these. I become a veterinarian and an environmentalist each time I teach my students how to take care of the environment and the animals. I become an artist each time I teach art and appreciate the artworks of my students. I become a storyteller and a writer each time I introduce a new story and each time I invent my own stories to use for my class. I'm practically everything who I want to be in this profession!
I want to become the likes of my professors. I want to be that someone whom my students would consider as a hero. I want to become that someone who will make them want to go to school, someone who will make them dread the idea of weekends, and someone who will make them eager for Mondays to come. I want to become that teacher.
It is no secret that in our society, while we applaud the heroism and dedication of teachers, we still do not think that highly of them. Based on the statistics alone from our university, of the 70,000+ college applicants, only a very, very small portion put "Education" on their first choice of course. Of this already small number, more than half of them shift out on their sophomore year. No wonder that in our college, the population of graduate students largely outnumber the population of undergraduate students. With this in mind, I teach because I want to inspire others to teach too. I want to inspire others to look beyond what one will get from teaching, but rather, look at what the others will get from your teaching. I want to change the society's notion that education is a course to be avoided because it will not yield us profitable returns. Because while this may be true, the heartfelt gratitudes that you'll get from those whose lives you've touched are just priceless.  
I know that there will come a day where I will consider quitting this profession, and so, I will continue teaching, and continue finding more reasons to let me remember why I chose to become a TEACHER in the first place.

The world of teaching, the wonder in teaching.
This is my world of wonder.
The photo in the meme (outlined in orange) shows the little buckets of crayons that I use in my class. My students give color to their masterpieces with these little "buckets of joy".
Philippine Airlines flies to Auckland, New Zealand 
starting December 2015.

BIYAHEROES: Laoag na ma-stress sa APEC! Book online instead!

Thursday, November 19, 2015 0 Comments A+ a-

The APEC Summit creates a four-day holiday for the tenants of Metro Manila. Flights are being cancelled and the flow of traffic is expected to thicken within the city as main roads are scheduled to be closed for this congregation, If you’re still thinking about what to do over this long weekend, this hiatus can be best maximized with an out-of-town road trip/adventure to places like Vigan or Laoag.

Laoag na ma-stress as there’s no need to line up at bus terminals or commit to a long drive in order to reach these distantly beautiful destinations. Biyaheroes has partnered up with Partas Transport in order to provide a seamless online reservations system that lets you book and even choose your bus seats online! Offering Express First Class Vigan/Laoag and Pasay/Cubao routes, this cuts your travel time by up to four hours as there is only one stopover and no passenger pick-ups will be done along roads. 
You can book your seats roundtrip, and via Dragonpay, you can settle payment in major banks (whether it’s online or over the counter), payment partners such as Bayad Center, Cebuana Lhullier, LBC, SM Bills Payment, and other popular options found nationwide. 

Online reservations have a 2-day cut-off and a fixed 10% extra service charge per booking or P50 for bookings P500 and below. This gives you Biyaheroes points, cool freebies, and the convenience of booking and paying anywhere for the guaranteed seats of your choice. Book directly at the Biyaheroes website and enjoy this provincial commute easily for this holiday.

Save your energy for exploring! Unwind in the countryside and get to know the Philippines better with historical destinations, awesome food trips, and beautiful sceneries from Vigan and Laoag. 

Biyahe na, biyaHEROES!

Taking Gifting to the Next Level

Thursday, November 12, 2015 0 Comments A+ a-

It's that time of the year again! I don't know about you, but there really is something in the air come Christmas season. Everybody seems extra jolly, everything seems brighter and more colorful, and everyone feels like smiling and singing all the time! 

As a child from not so long ago, I've listened to adults saying (or rather, complaining) that Christmas is an occasion planned by adults and celebrated by kids. But, as I am entering into that complicated phase in life called adulthood, I find this opinion false because, Christmas was, is, and will always be for everyone! If one truly knows why we celebrate Christmas, then it wouldn't really be that hard to realize that this occasion knows no age. Most adults think that to celebrate Christmas is to add yet another burden to their already long list of things to think about, and the bulk of this "burden" comes from the idea of being "required" to give gifts. But, really though, why the idea of gift-giving every Christmas season?

Christians all over the world celebrate Christmas every 25th of December to remember the gift given by God to mankind some 2,000 years ago: the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Aside from this, another reason why we have the custom of gift-giving every Christmas is to remind us also of the presents given to the infant Jesus by the Three Wise Men, whose gifts were frankincense, gold and myrrh. Since then, the giving of gifts has been part of the Christmas tradition as a way to show our love and to share our blessings to others, as well as to celebrate and to remind us always of the greatest gift given to mankind: Jesus Christ.

Throughout the years, the Christmas tradition of gift-giving has continually evolved. One such change is the inclusion of writing a wishlist. With wishlists, loved ones no longer have to guess what gifts they should give you (but then again, they're your loved ones so they should know the gifts you'd like to receive). So for my loved ones, here's a list of the things I'd like to receive this Christmas:

  1. PLANE TICKET TO ANYWHERE IN THE PHILIPPINES : I believe that I've been yearning to travel  ever since I learned how to walk. See, my parents always told me of stories when I was still a toddler, crawling my way to just about every spot and nook that my tiny legs and arms could take me to. As a young adult, I don't even remember how many travel websites I've bookmarked, how many links I took a screenshot of and how many notes of travel ideas I've scribbled just to have the next adventure planned to satisfy the wanderlust in me. This is why a plane ticket to anywhere in the Philippines would be very much appreciated by a traveler like me!
  2. HARDBOUND SET OF THE HARRY POTTER BOOK SERIES : I know that I've read all the Harry Potter books a gazillion times, but that wouldn't stop me from dreaming of owning a brand new hardbound set of the HP book series. The magic still hasn't died down for me (and I don't think it will ever die down). I own only two HP books (Book 2 and 6), one of which was bought from a thrift store. Owning a hardbound set of the HP book series would be pretty much like owning a Firebolt - which I would most definitely ogle at and probably brag about to non-Muggles before even actually reading!

    *For those who also included books in their Christmas wishlist, here's a list of some of the bookstores you can find in SM Supermalls: National Bookstore (Metro Manila Branches: SM Las Piñas, SM North EDSA Annex, SM Fairview, SM Mall of Asia, SM Manila, SM Marikina, SM Muntinlupa, SM North EDSA, SM San Lazaro, SM Southmall, SM Sta Mesa, SM Sucat, SM Valenzuela), Fully Booked (SM Mall of Asia, SM North EDSA, SM Megamall) and Powerbooks (SM Megamall).
  3. DSLR CAMERA : Part of the necessities of being a blogger and an adventurer is to have a trusty and quality camera to document just about everything. Everybody who knows me knows that I absolutely love taking photos! While I'm no fan of taking selfies (it's a really rare occasion for me to take selfies or to take any photos where I'm included), I'm really keen on taking photos of people, places, nature, and animals. So much is my love for taking photos that the bulk of the storage of my laptop, desktop computer and smartphone are allotted to photos (not to mention that of the 14 downloaded apps in my smartphone, 5 of those are photo editing apps)!

    *You may visit SM Cyberzone for your camera needs. The following are Metro Manila SM Supermalls branches with Cyberzone Stores: SM Store Cubao, SM City Fairview, SMDC Light Mall, SM City Manila, SM City Marikina, SM Megamall, SM City North EDSA, SM Southmall, SM City Sta. Mesa, SM City San Lazaro, SM City BF Parañaque. You may also visit the SM Cyberzone website for more details.
  4. THE LATEST ADOBE PHOTOSHOP SOFTWARE : Ever since doing a hands-on activity using Adobe Photoshop back when I was still in high school, I've never relinquished the idea of being a professional Photoshop editor someday. I never ceased to be amazed by the numerous pubmats displayed in my university's walls, and I've always admired bloggers who produce and edit their own infographics/photo on their respective websites. For my blog, I use online editing tools like piktochart.com as well as Microsoft Office PowerPoint - yes, you read that right, the trusty Microsoft Office. This is why I've included the latest Adobe Photoshop software on my Christmas wishlist! I'm pretty sure that I wouldn't mind shelling out a few more bills to have a professional tutorial on using this awesome digital tool!

    *Visit SM Cyberzone to purchase your own Adobe products. The following are Metro Manila SM Supermalls branches with Cyberzone Stores: SM Store Cubao, SM City Fairview, SMDC Light Mall, SM City Manila, SM City Marikina, SM Megamall, SM City North EDSA, SM Southmall, SM City Sta. Mesa, SM City San Lazaro, SM City BF Parañaque. You may also visit the SM Cyberzone website for more details.
  5. MEMBERSHIP AT FITNESS FIRST : Fitness has been my greatest problem as I entered my twenties. The idea of earning and handling your own money is still a new experience for me - so much so that I buy food just because I can and I ride a cab for a trip that will cost me only the minimum jeepney fare or a 20-minute walk. Obviously, this bad habit of mine resulted to a drastic and negative change in my lifestyle and health. I did try to remedy this by exercising and dieting... but only did so consistently for 5 days at most. This is why I badly needed a membership and a personal trainer at a fitness gym like Fitness First. Thinking about all the pounds I would accumulate over the holiday season makes me more desperate to have this gift!

     *You may visit a Fitness First gym at any of the following SM Supermalls branch: SM City Fairview, SM Megamall, SM City North EDSA and SM Mall of Asia. You may also visit Fitness First's website for more details.
  6. INVESTMENT : As I've mentioned in my fifth wishlist, food is my number one weakness not only when it comes to health issues but to money issues as well. It's a good thing that I don't shop for clothes and shoes, because I already spend a considerable amount of money for food alone. As I'm nearing my mid-twenties, I realized that there is no better time to start saving for the future than now. So lately, my recent Internet searches is mostly about investments. This is why, part of my grown-up wishlist is to visit a BDO branch to talk about investments. With this plan in mind, I would gladly welcome any sorts of financial help (from my loved ones) to jump-start my investment plans!

    *Learn more about investments by visiting a BDO branch near you. Here are some Metro Manila BDO branches conveniently located inside SM Supermalls: SM Makati, SM Nagtahan, SM Megamall, SM Aura Premier, SM Center Las Piñas, SM Center Valenzuela, SM City Fairview, SM City Manila, SM City Marikina, SM City North EDSA, SM City Novaliches, SM Sta. Mesa and SM MOA. You may also visit BDO's website for more details.
  7. ESSENTIALS FOR MY BEAUTY REGIMEN : Any make-up paraphernalia is a big no-no for me that in my whole life, there had only been exactly 7 occasions where I (grudgingly) donned make-up : 4 graduations and 3 family weddings where I attended as the bride's maid. Even though I don't do make-up, I do have my own beauty regimen which is strictly limited to facial washes, lotions and cleansers. For anyone wanting to gift me with these, they can always go to any Watsons branch because they have a very wide array of affordable yet effective beauty must-haves!

    *You may visit a Watsons Personal Care Store at an SM Supermalls branch near you. 
Of course, Christmas is definitely not just about waiting for somebody to grant you your wishlist. What makes Christmas sweeter is the idea of making somebody else happy, that you remembered their wishes and made those wishes come true. Without really having to ask what they would like to receive this Christmas, the many years that I spent with them gave me a lot of gift ideas for my loved ones:
1  For Pudrams and Mudrams: Their very own e-PLUS card and a dinner buffet at Vikings! My parents are, undoubtedly, the biggest movie junkie of their age. They are also the biggest fans of buffets (I think you would have guessed by now where I got my penchant for movies and food). They would even often joke about how they wouldn't eat or drink anything hours prior to their buffet splurge! Talk about dedicated buffeteers! I'm sure that this Christmas, they'll definitely love to go on a movie marathon with their e-plus card and have a dinner buffet at Vikings afterwards! (Get your own e-PLUS card on-site by visiting an e-PLUS booth at SM Cinema lobbies. Visit their website or Facebook page to know more. Satisfy the foodie in you by visiting a Vikings branch at the following SM Supermalls branches: SM MOA, SM Marikina, SM North EDSA, SM Lanang Premiere, SM Jazz Mall, SM City BF and SM City Bacolod).
2  For younger Sis: What better way to surprise my kikay and fashionista sister than to gift her with clothes from FOREVER 21? While I'll never understand why it always takes her close to forever whenever shopping for clothes, I'd still be glad to accompany her as she dress her way to look forever 21! (You can shop at FOREVER 21 at any of the following SM Supermalls: SM Megamall, SM Makati, SM City Cebu, SM Megamall and SM Aura Premiere). 
3  For Bae: For my special someone, I'd gift him with a brand new pair of Merrell hiking shoes! Even if I'm not there with him during his hiking adventures, I know that he'll be safe and he'll reach the top with no sweat with his hiking shoes. (Get your own pair of hiking shoes at Merrell concept stores located at SM North EDSA Annex, SM City Dasmariñas, SM Lanang Premiere and SM Ecoland Davao).
4  For Manang Jing: After working diligently to keep our house clean, Manang Jing definitely deserves a day of pampering and relaxation. This is why I'm going to gift her with a manicure + pedicure + whole body massage package from Posh Nails! I hope that through this, she'll feel how loved she is and how thankful our family is for her. (Reward your hardworking and deserving helpers with a day off at Posh Nails. Find one nearest you at the following locations: SM Megamall, SM Fairview, SM Ilo-ilo, SM North EDSA, SM Consolacion, SM Sta Mesa, SM Clark Pampanga, SM Dasmariñas, SM Baguio and SM San Fernando Pampanga).
5  For Barack (the dog): My biggest fan/baby pooch would definitely make tampo if he realizes that I forgot to gift him this Christmas, so I made sure to include him on my list of loved ones to gift! I'd spoil him with chew toys from Pet Express to also divert his attention from chewing on our slippers and shoes (whose population is decreasing at an alarming state). Even so, I love this pooch so much that I still wear my chewed on slippers (he's probably just adding a touch of his own art to our mundane slippers, who knows?) Looking for gift ideas for your furry friends as well? Check out Pet Express stores at the following locations: SM Cubao, SM Dasmariñas, SM MOA, SM Hypermarket Makati, SM North EDSA and SM Masinag. 

Having a hard time thinking up of gift ideas for your loved ones? Worry not because SM Supermalls definitely got it all for you! Simply check out this guide for gift ideas:

Giving gifts is not only limited to your loved ones. Remember that God didn't give Jesus to a selected few -- He was a gift to mankind, so instead of limiting the Christmas tradition of gift-giving to people whom you love and know, why not stretch that circle and give back to others?

ACTS 20:35
In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way 
we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how He Himself said, 
"It is more blessed to give than to receive". 

This Christmas, let's all take gifting to the next level: involve yourself a little more, and be more selfless in this season of giving. There are a lot of ways how you can give back to others this Christmas. Here are some ways how you can take gifting to the next level: 

VOLUNTEER AT YOUR LOCAL SHELTER  Whether you're a big animal lover like me, or have a big heart for the children or for the elders, I'm pretty sure that there's a nearby shelter where you can volunteer to help. Let these people and animals realize that Christmas is truly an occasion for everyone! For a start, you can volunteer at the following shelters (click on the respective shelter to direct you to their website): CARA Welfare Philippines, PAWS (Philippine Animal Welfare Society), and Bahay Tuluyan.

ADOPT, DON'T SHOP  Christmas season is the season of giving, so why not give a furry friend a chance at having their own forever home and family? Now that Christmas is fast approaching, one of the stores that are often crowded by Christmas shoppers are pet shops. While I 100% believe that these buyers want nothing but the happiness of their loved one, why not consider visiting an animal shelter instead of visiting a pet shop? There, you'll find hundreds of cute and sweet aspins (asong Pinoy, not asong kalye) and puspins (pusang Pinoy not pusakal) that is every inch as adorable and cuddly as those cats and dogs "with breed" that you'll find in pet stores. Not only will you give these pooches a second chance at a life full of love, but you'll also lessen the demand for pets supplied at pet shops. You see, some of the pets that are up for sale at commercial and/or unauthorized pet stores are most probably from puppy mills (an establishment that breeds puppies for sale, typically on an intensive basis and in conditions regarded as inhumane). Learn more about pet adoption here.  

DONATE: I'm pretty sure that the number one thing that comes into your mind when it comes to gift ideas for children are toys. Now, I'm not here to debunk that popular opinion, but rather, present another gift idea that children would also definitely love to receive this Christmas: school materials! This Christmas, instead of giving the usual assortment of toys for children (because I'm pretty sure that the bulk of what they're going to receive are either toys or money), why not give or donate school materials? You'll be surprised how genuinely excited they would be once they get a hold of a brand new notebook or pencil! This is also a great way to get them really eager and enthusiastic for the reopening of classes come January! 

EDUCATE YOUR LOCAL COMMUNITY'S DARLINGS: Just recently, I had the pleasant opportunity to teach the little darlings of Barangay Culiat in Tandang Sora, Quezon City. Teaching out-of-school children is not easy, not to mention that you're doing it for free, but the warm hugs and toothy smiles you get each time you visit them is priceless. They're hungry for knowledge, and you'd be surprised to know just how much excited they are to learn. So this Christmas, why not give them the gift of knowledge? It's your own selfless way of giving back to those who have taught and educated you --- to pass on the knowledge they have shared with you because knowledge are among the many things on this world that is meant to be shared.


BE THE REASON BEHIND A CHILD'S SMILE : Of course, kids are still kids, and toys will always have a big space in their hearts. So this Christmas, be the reason behind a child's smile! Through the SM Christmas Bears of Joy, shoppers get to buy two bears for only Php 200: one you get to keep while the other is donated to children from the various orphanages and charitable institutions through the SM Cares program. To know where you can buy the SM Christmas Bears of Joy, please find the nearest toy fair booth locations near you as seen in the images below. You may also visit SM Cares Facebook page for more info and updates.

So start early and start shopping to avoid the Christmas rush! Do check out below some essential Christmas shopping tips I've listed for a hassle-free and stress-free holiday shopping!


A merrier and longer Christmas awaits shoppers nationwide as SM Supermalls, the country’s number one holiday shopping destination, spreads the season of giving and joyfulness through the launch of its “Merry SM Christmas 2015” campaign this October. Beginning October 1, all of SM’s 52 malls will be adorned with grand Christmas garlands, lights, and visual Christmas countdowns that are perfectly accompanied by the continuously played well-loved Christmas carols. All mall decors are expected to be more thrilling as the season progresses with a series of special events happening soon including the Grand Christmas Centerpiece Launch, Toy Fair, Meet and Greet with Santa Claus and other popular characters, and the Grand Christmas Parade. (Read more from source)

For more updates about this year’s “Merry SM Christmas” campaign, visit SM’s official Christmas microsite (https://www.smsupermalls.com/merrysmchristmas2015) and follow its official social media accounts on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/smsupermalls), Twitter (https://twitter.com/smsupermalls), and Instagram (https://instagram.com/smsupermalls/) and get an insider access to all the fun happenings at SM Supermalls nationwide through Viber (http://chats.viber.com/SMsupermalls). Shoppers can actively share their holiday merriments inside the SM Supermalls by posting their photos on social media and adding the hashtag #MerrySMChristmas2015.

Have a Merry SM Christmas!