Nearly December Again

December Gift Giving

Christmas Season

We’re almost halfway through the so-called Ber months. Here in the Philippines, Christmas lasts longer as Christmas trees and decorations are put up at home as early as September. We are Muslims and we don’t celebrate Christmas but we can’t help but feel the happiness this season brings.

Season of Giving

This is known as a Season of Giving. Gifts are now being bought by most people who have money to spend as early as now. Most employees will receive company bonuses or 13th month pay by end of November till December so expect some Christmas shopping rush around mid-December. It’s not just the upscale malls that will have lots of patronizers but even markets and  bazaars will be full especially come November.

The Best Time to Shop

Store owners say it is best to shop in the bazaars now when the price is still lower compared to when Christmas time is nearing. I’ve experienced this last year, bought a couple of blankets as gift to kids. When I went to Divisoria in October it was just P150 each but when I came back in December to buy more I already got it for P180-200 each. There was no way I could get it for P150 as there were lots of buyers already.

So, are you ready to shop?

Let’s put on our most comfy clothes and shoes as we spend the whole day shopping in malls or bazaars, wherever we prefer. Bring your family and friends for a fun-filled shopping day and so someone can help you with your baggage too. Don’t forget your list of ‘To Buy’ so you won’t forget anyone on your ‘Gift List’. When you shop now, there’s still more time for you to go back to do some more shopping when you need it… I’m quite sure you will…  And thank you in advance!

End of Ramadhan Celebration

Eid Mubarak (Blessed celebration) to all the Muslims everywhere! Eidl Fitr or Festival of Breaking of the Fast is on July 6, 2016. This ends the muslims’ obligatory month long fasting during the month of Ramadhan.

Have I mentioned I am a Muslim?

Oh yes, I am.

Born to muslim parents, dad from Cotabato City and mom from Marawi City, a combination of basically Maguindanao and Maranao in my blood plus a whole lot more including Arab & German. Dad is a Datu and mom is a Bai which makes me a product of a Royal Family.

Wondering about my head veil or hijab?

I use it from time to time. I know I should use it all the time but then I wasn’t raised to do it and still struggling with it at times. I compensate for the lack of hijab by wearing clothes in modesty… properly covering my body without need to show cleavage or legs.

Muslim couple

My husband is a Balik Islam or Revert.

We prefer to call those who convert to Islam as Reverts because it is said that everyone is born a muslim until their parents make them Christians, Jews or any other religion. So when people become a muslim again they revert back to their original religion when they were born.

Our kids are all Muslims.

Filipino Muslim family

We believe that there is only One God and that is Allah and Prophet Muhamad is the Messenger of Allah. We pray the obligatory prayers as much as we can, these are 5 every day. We fast during the month of Ramadhan which lasts from 29-30 days eating suhoor before Fajr prayer around 4am and then taking nothing the whole day except when the sun sets for Maghrib prayer around 6:30pm. My husband, eldest daughter and I have gone to the holy place in Makkah to perform Hajj or pilgrimage. We stayed in Jeddah in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the late 90’s. We give Zakat or alms to the less fortunate, first to our families then to the community. I’ve mentioned the 5 Pillars of Islam and Alhamdullillaah (All the praises and thanks are for Allah) that we are able to perform these acts.

Real Muslims are Peace-Loving People

Nowadays when you talk about Muslims, most people’s first impression is Terrorists. This is a label we abhor. We are as civilized as anyone could be. Becoming a terrorist doesn’t need a religion. They have their own set of beliefs… far different from what the Quran (Holy book) really teaches us as well as the Sunnah (Ways) of the Prophet Muhamad. Regardless of what others say, I suggest you find a Muslim friend and see for yourself.

And by the way, we may be Muslims but we don’t represent Islam as a whole. We are just human beings capable of doing mistakes and sinning. Do not judge Islam by what you see in us. We are struggling to perfect our deen (faith) and we hope to be successful but until then we are just like the rest of you… always trying our best to please the Creator.

I hope I have enlightened you in one way or the other about my religion. Today is the last day of fasting in this holy month of Ramadhan. Tomorrow we will spend Eidl Fitr with the rest of the family. Have a great day everyone!

Getting Organized!

I love browsing websites that talk about organizing the home. Around last year I started on Pinterest and fell for organizing tips. Seeing images of how to organize different stuff made it more appealing for me.

I thought about writing my own ways of organizing things at home, it took me a while to do so but here I am. This will probably be a series of articles that focus on some organizing tips that I personally do or some things that I saw that interests me and will probably try to do. That is the best word to put it – try 🙂

First, I am not a very organized person. Well, I say that but my family thinks I am. I don’t think I’ve perfected the organized way of life. For them, the way I keep things in its proper places is already organization. For me, it’s just keeping things tidy … for a while.

We’ll start with the organized clothes cabinet.

I try to keep the clothes cabinet in good order. We don’t have a walk-in closet that houses all our clothes, shoes, bags, accessories. We have a cabinet for the clothes and the shoes, separately. We have hooks for the bags and shelves for accessories.

The shirts are separated for sleeping, daily wear at home and for outdoor. Jogging pants and shorts go together. Underwears, hankies and socks are in separate bins. Office or outdoor blouses, polos and pants are hung. This way we know where to get what clothes to use for the moment and where to put clothes after laundry.

I know others organize their clothes by color coding. They have a big closet that’s why they can do that.

I have young boys and I always start organizing their cabinet and have them maintain it. They share one cabinet so we need to divide it equally so they know where their clothes belong. I say that they can keep things in proper order for at least a week or two. My eldest daughter already has a well-kept cabinet. Problem is she’s got lots of clothes and most are not used for a long time. This we’ve got to fix J

The shoe cabinet has 5 layers for 5 of us. But this doesn’t fit all our shoes anymore. My daughter and I have shoes under our beds… those used occasionally. The boys have big rubber shoes that  don’t fit in as well. For this we need to build another storage. This will be a project to start soon.

The boys and I don’t have much accessories. I’m not very fond of these little stuff but my daughter is. She’s got lots of bracelets, necklaces, rings, earrings, watches, shades, headbands, and all these other cute little things and she’s got some baskets to keep them together. I guide her on what she can do to keep all of her stuff and not be an eye sore in her room.

We’ve got lots of bags. We dispose our least loved or most used by sending to family and friends who might need these. But reality is that we purchase new bags once we’ve given to others. There’s a bag for ordinary days, for errands, for grocery, for day shopping, for occasions, for outings and whatever activities we can think of. We have wooden pegs on the wall to hang our bags.

As of writing, I need to do some organizing again before I can take a picture of our cabinets. Next week is already the start of classes and I’ve been busy with so many things preparing for the coming school year 🙂

Boracay Vacation 2015

Summer vacation in the Philippines is April to May. Regular classes are on vacation except for those few schools which just recently changed their academic year from June to March to August to May.

Vacation Destinations

Our family loves to go on simple outings. The usual getaway is the beach. We’ve been to some beaches in Cavite and Batangas which we can travel by land for an hour or so. We have also been to the summer capital of the Philippines – Baguio. It has a cool climate all year round. We’ve also been to Subic in Zambales as well as Puerto Galera in Mindoro.

Boat Ride Adventure

Boracay_boat_rideThis year we went to Boracay. You can usually go there by plane but we opted for an extra adventure – we went through boat. We parked our car in the Batangas port. The boat ride was around 9 hours. Going to Boracay from Batangas was an overnight stay. While Boracay to Batangas was a day trip.

We’re a family of 5 so we stayed in the cabin. The cabin was good for 4. My hubby bought a ticket for another class but stayed in the cabin the whole time. We just paid extra so he can eat with us. There was a restaurant for the cabin passengers.

You won’t go direct to Boracay island. The boat’s destination is Caticlan, 15 minutes ferry ride away from Boracay. So once we arrived in Caticlan port we went out and went into another port area for the ferry ride to Boracay. From Boracay port we rode a multicab that led us to the area of the apartelle that we rented in Station 2. Boracay had these areas such as Station 1, 2 and 3.

Love Boracay

Boracay is a regular community island. All the while I thought it was just the beach and the sand plus the hotels and restaurants. But of course tourist stay in hotels or apartelles near the beach and don’t usually need to go out to see the entire island. Everything you need is on the beach front area.

We stayed in Boracay for 3 nights. The shallow part of the water had moss. They say that it’s there every summer time. But once you pass that part the water is clear. You can see fishes around even when  you just take a closer look and without goggles. The sand is very soft. Your feet sinks in it.

At night there were fire dancers on some restaurants by the beach.  It was a busy place whether in daytime or nighttime. There were lots of restaurants which we commonly see in the city. We opted for going to market to buy what we want to eat and have the caretaker of the apartelle cook for us however we want it for a fee. They also cleaned the dishes and dining area which made it convenient for us.

On our second day we rode the banana boat and we did parasailing. We’ve already tried the banana boat before in Puerto Galera where we were thrown out of the boat 2x. This time in Boracay there has been a new rule that they are not allowed to throw out the passengers anymore for safety purposes.

Boracay_Parasailing

Boracay_Parasailing

As for the parasailing, our 3 kids went ahead of us. They were natural adventurers. My hubby and I love to see our kids experience these things at an early age. It was our first time to do this. It was such a breathtaking experience to be up there even for just 15  minutes.

 

 

On our last night I was able to experience the Boracay massage that everyone says is very good. Indeed, it was! I was able to sleep very comfortably. Ready for the next day’s travel.

Hopefully we’ll be able to go back to Boracay on another summer. Or probably another beach destination next year. I’m thankful that my family is able to do these things. It may not be too much for others but it is enough for us.

Family vacations are the best! To our next vacation 🙂

The Loss of a Pet Cat

I don’t know how to start. I’m still grieving. I lost one of my pet cats just last night. His name is Ryu. He has a brother named Ken who is 10 minutes older than him. Yes, we got their names from the famous Street Fighter movie.

My cousin who breeds cats gave them to us almost 4 years ago, June 2010. They were born on March 27, 2010. I got both male cats because it was my first time to have a pet and I wasn’t sure how I could handle if it were a male and a female and they would eventually have babies. So I settled for the brothers.

I remember in their second week at home I almost wanted to send them back to my cousin because I got tired looking after their mess. But in exchange of having another baby I agreed to let them stay.

Here’s the story. My husband and 3 kids still want to add another baby to our family. I was in my mid-30’s then so I didn’t want to have another baby. When I wanted to return the cats they struck me a deal – if the cats stay they won’t ask for another baby. And so that’s how the cats stayed.

More than 3 years of taking care of them, feeding them with their favorite cat food, Princess cat, bathing them once a month, bringing them to my sister’s house when we sleep there overnight, paying a friend to stay in our house to take care of them when we go out on long vacations. My kids go to school and my hubby goes to work so I stay at home doing online work with my 2 cats and 2 turtles too. Though I don’t have much interaction with the turtles that used to be 4 at first. I only need to put food in the aquarium and remove the dirty water then fill up with a clean one every once in a while.

Two weeks ago Ryu wasn’t feeling well. He was trying to pee but nothing comes out. The next day, Tuesday, he won’t drink water by himself. I bought a dropper and manually gave him water with Hydrite. That night we brought him to a pet clinic which was open for emergencies. The initial findings was Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease. The doctor said this was fatal for cats. He put a catheter and manually extracted urine which had blood. He also passed out some stones.

The doctor suggested that we confine him to the clinic so he put on a dextrose. When we left I was afraid I would lose him I cried. My husband somehow didn’t understand my sadness. He said he will get well soon. Everyday my husband called the doctor to ask for Ryu’s condition. On Friday the doctor removed the catheter and he was able to pass urine by himself. He asked us to bring him some food and if he eats it then we can bring him home the next day. And Ryu did!

On Saturday I was excited to take him home. We brought cooked chicken liver requested by the doctor. He showed us how to give it to Ryu along with the medicine. Of course, we needed to buy some medicines which were in tablet form. We had to make sure he would drink it. And Ryu was home!

He was still weak and didn’t smell good. I had to wash him up twice to lessen the odor. He was eating just a little bit and drinking water. But we had to force him to eat the chicken liver with his medicines 3 times a day.

On Monday he was able to climb on the side of the small plastic tub and drink water. That was his favorite. I let him be. The doctor said this wasn’t bad at all. So all the while I thought he was getting better. When I went out of the gate one night, he even followed me but he just slumped in the middle of the street. I thought he just didn’t want to move some more so I put him inside again.

On Tuesday he wasn’t drinking water so I had to use the dropper again. And he wasn’t eating at all anymore. All those days at home, he didn’t poop even once. My husband and I knew something was still wrong with Ryu. Wednesday was worst! He was almost not moving.

That evening I cooked fish tilapia. I know he loves to eat it. But when I put it in front of him he just smelled it but didn’t even open his mouth. I tried to force it in his mouth thinking that he was just too weak to open it but he won’t eat it at all. I gave him water through the dropper but he won’t accept it. That time I was already in tears. I knew that if he won’t eat his favorite food and won’t drink he won’t make it too long anymore.

When my husband came home he fed him with the medicine but like what he did earlier he won’t open his mouth anymore. When my husband was able to force him he gave out a cry. And I was already crying too. I knew he was in pain. He was so weak and couldn’t even move. I was terrified at the thought of losing him. My husband was already talking to me and telling me to prepare myself for what is coming. He had pet dogs before we got married and he knows this kind of situation. I didn’t know. This was my first and I couldn’t accept it.

He told me to stop crying because Ryu might just be holding on to his dear life because he felt me. He felt how sad I was. So after I cried I laid Ryu on a white shirt and told him to take a rest and go to sleep. I prayed on him. I prayed that if he will continue with his life in pain I don’t want it that way. I wanted him to have a good life here with us and if that’s not going to happen anymore then may God relieve him of his pain already. He was just lying down motionless.

My husband told me to leave Ryu there because there was nothing we could do. At one time I said we should bring him to the clinic but he said the doctor may not accept him anymore with his present condition. For all we know, the doctor let him out because he knew he couldn’t do anything to save Ryu’s life. So he better be with us on his few days left and be happy again with his brother and with his family – us. For the sake of conversation I said that he almost looked well again after he left the clinic. He even ate his food to show the doctor that we can bring him home already. Why did all those things happen but end up like this? My husband says that he might have just did what he must do so he can be home with us already. He knew what was already coming.

When I woke up this morning at 5am he was already in a used up plastic tub and covered in the clothes that we gave him that night. My husband says he fixed him up at 1am when he saw that he was already dead.

I cried a lot today. My kids cried a little bit too. Their father is the only strong person at home. He says this happens to everyone including our pets. We’ll just need to be strong. We still have Ken and we should take care of him well. And Ken was extremely close to us from the time that Ryu was in the clinic. He wanted to be always around us which wasn’t like him when Ryu was with him. Today, Ken has been “meowing” a lot. Probably looking for his brother or probably telling us that he’s still here with us.

My husband went home early afternoon because he knows how sad I am. I am grieving so much. Probably because I’m the one who stays with them the whole day. I love them so much.

I haven’t talked with anyone who’s lost a pet before and felt as much grieve as I am right now. I will eventually find one in the next days to come when I get to talk to my friends. But for now I will have to accept that Ryu is gone and will never be with us. We will take care of Ken the best way we can. But after him I don’t want to have another pet anymore. It hurts so much to me now I don’t think I can handle another loss.

I am planning to put his picture here but I can’t seem to find the courage to look at him yet.

Death Penalty Research for my Future Lawyer Daughter (God willing)

This is somewhat hard for me as I am for death penalty and I am researching for my daughter who’s assigned to the “against death penalty team”. I am to search for the clamor and financial aspects.

Why am I doing this?

She’s in the office working from Monday to Friday 8am onwards as a Recruitment Specialist in the Human Resources Department. She just had her midterm exam in the Legal Ethics subject last Tuesday from 6-9pm. She has been reviewing so hard since last week taking Cobra energy drink to be able to study the whole night.

She will also have her midterm exams on Saturday for the other 2 subjects (she’s only taking 3 this semester). One of her subjects’ midterm is a debate. Her team’s topic is about death penalty in the Philippines and as I said they are rooting for the against factors.

She has already informed me about this last week. She texted me earlier and asked for my help in doing the research. She needs the outline, facts and basis but she will come up with the explanation and conclusion.

Mommy’s homework

I have 3 kids and they are in post graduate school (Bachelor of Law), Grade 8 and Grade 6 respectively. As a mom I have always assisted them in their homeworks. It’s more like I’m also studying with them. That means I have gone through preschool and primary for 4 times, thrice in secondary, twice in college and now taking up Law. I’ve included my own learning in those figures. I did not take up Law so this is my first 🙂

kids_homework
Kids doing homework

I guess every mom whether working full time or not have experienced this. We never cease to learn and re-learn the lessons in school as long as we have kids. No matter if our kids are very smart or just average there will always be those times when they will ask us to help them out with their homeworks and not to mention projects as well.

I say moms because I’m a mom but my husband helps in the homework and project chores as well. He teaches math to our kids. That’s his forte. And the rest of the subjects are mine. Unfair, right? I know 🙂  And he does the hard projects especially those needing some construction tools like hammer, nails, screwdrivers, saw and wood. I get the stitching (though I’m not good at it at all), drawing (my kids do the drawing and I just guide and cheer on them), poem creation and simpler stuff.

“Seek knowledge from cradle to grave.”

I’ve always lived by these words ever since I was a kid. I’ve heard it somewhere before and have never forgotten about it. This is applicable for knowledge from school and knowledge from life and everything there is to it.

In work, I never say no to tasks given to me. If I don’t know how to do it I do some research. We are now in the internet age and we’re so lucky. Finding things are easier these days than during my school days where I had to go to the library and research from books, books and lots of books.

Back to my research

Well, as of this writing I’ve taken a bit of a break from doing my research about death penalty. The few minutes blogging plus the coffee and black velvet cake I had (the cake is courtesy of my daughter who gave it last night. Probably a bribe? Hhmmm…) would probably give me the energy to get back to my research 🙂

New Year and the Virtual Assistant Mom

happy_new_year
Happy New Year!!!

Happy New Year!!!

It’s been so long since I last wrote on my blog. Anyway, I started my blog the same time I was starting to work for other employers online. I learned about WordPress from one of my first employers and since I loved writing (if only I had the time to seriously do this) I decided to open an account.

Here we are now in 2014, more than 3 years after I first worked online. Glad to say that I have stayed with one of my first employers who also started his online business the same time I was. We were meant to be together in the online world 🙂

He goes up and down the ladder still searching for his own place in the world wide web. I was there for him, while he was still a nobody, when nobody knew him, when his business model was seriously hit by the latest Google algorithms, when he never quit searching and learning and modifying his strategies and never letting go of his dreams to conquer the now known digital marketing world. Great lessons I learned from him, right?

And I can say that we’re still strong together. He never fails to show appreciation of whatever work I’ve done for him. I know how to follow instructions quite well and good. I’m a fast learner and absolutely not a dumb girl at all. I would say that a dumb, slow learner does not have a place to work in the online world. The employers working at the other side of the world is asleep while you are working and when he awakes he expects that you’ve done a good job, if not excellent, on the tasks he gave to you. You can’t go back and forth with instructions and questions all the time. An instruction given today and a question you have will be answered tomorrow and then you’ll work on it the next day. That’s 2 days loss for your employer.

Moving on, I’ve been working for 1 year and a half with another employer who also owns a blog and that’s her part in the online world. Probably just like me, she wants to share her thoughts on things that she’s read on the web or experiences that she’s had. She has other businesses but not focused online. I still need to remind her to please post a blog so that her site still gets traffic. (I wonder why I don’t remind myself as well? 🙂 )

And then a year has passed working for another employer who’s based in the land down under. Wasn’t my first time to work with an Australian but I should say I love working with her. She’s a perfectionist… and so am I. We both want things done to the best of our abilities. We can’t just say that this is okay. Everything needs to be well done. And yes, she appreciates my work and has given me more tasks after she has learned to trust me. I’m like her Executive Assistant in the real corporate world. She calls me and introduces me to her colleagues and staff as her Primary VA. Sounds like an autobot to me 🙂

And one great thing about her trust in me is that I have referred a friend and a sister to work for her too and she has accepted since I vouched for them. So far so good. I make sure that my referrals are doing their work properly and as expected. Haven’t heard any problem about them yet.

So with a husband and 3 kids to take care of, household chores to do daily, friends and other family members to spend time with and an online work to do, I’d like to end this on a happy note… I am by all means not just an assistant but a manager. I manage all these things and a lot more on the side not with great ease but with strength and determination. And I feel a sense of fulfillment doing all this.

I thank God almighty for all the blessings that He has given me and may He always guide me to the right path and continue to give me happiness and success in all the aspects of my life – family, home, personal, work. Amen.