Early Christmas gift
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Only eight days before Christmas and I already got my Christmas gift from God.
Lots of people don’t know what to give me for Christmas. I was once voted hardest to give a present to in my family—harder than my parents. It’s true I have most of the things I need, so the simplest things really make me happy, like my favorite Muji toast

Muji toast

or pointsettias

Pointsettia tree from Grace

But only God knows what I really want.

Last week my son got sick and my world just stopped. You can see from my blog that I hardly went online.
He was cranky on Wednesday after school. On Thursday he had diarrhea about 17 times. I made him stay home.
The following day he insisted on going to school for an exam he didn’t want to miss. I agreed on his condition that he come home after the exam.

Against the doctor’s advice, I gave him 2 mg. of Imodium before sleeping and before going to school.
When he came home at noon he was already running a fever. He fell asleep in the car, weak and tired.
I felt scared and helpless. I called a nurse to help me at home. The nurse and I decided to stop the Imodium and treat him with Dolan, liquids, and a low fat diet.
At night the fever only got worse. The nurse actually panicked and wanted to take him to the E.R. in the middle of night.
Luckily it was only 1:30 AM. I took a chance and texted Dr. Aye Nuguid for advice. He called and told me to let him rest for two hours, nothing by mouth. My son fell asleep.

In the morning we had a new nurse who helped us get his stool and urine samples to the hospital. By 6 PM I had the results. Texted it to Dr. Aye, who gave us a prescription for gastroenteritis.
Soon after his first dose of medicine, my son’s fever started to go down and I started to calm down.
My son still has the runs but no more fever. He’s been back to school.

As a mom I suffered so much during those four days. I felt paralyzed, praying a lot until I fell asleep.
Thank God for the nurses and the doctors, we didn’t have to go to the hospital. Everything was treated at home, which is the most convenient setup for everyone—and cheaper too.
When my son started to get well, I started to get well. In my head I couldn’t stop thanking God for this early Christmas gift. For what does any mom want but to see her children well and happy?

After this, I really couldn’t ask for more.

That said, I am back to the land of the living. I will resume blogging because I have loads of prizes to give away—from tons of Oishi chips to books and cookie butter and Samsung Galaxy phones. Watch for it!

P.S. If you need a private nurse to care for you at home or in the hospital, I highly recommend you contact Moritz at (0917) 512-2441.

Solaire Presents: Solaire Yuletide Symphonies
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Don’t miss the newest and one of the biggest musical fountains in the country: Solaire’s very own signature musical fountain—a synchronized fire, water and light show accompanied by your favorite Christmas carols sung by Solaire’s guest choirs and other live performances.

Solaire Symphony1
Solaire Symphony2

Come to Solaire and witness this limited engagement spectacle on December 12 and 15, 2013 at 6 PM.
Solaire Resort and Casino is at Aseana Avenue, Parañaque City
For more information, call (02) 888-8888.

How Justin Bieber ended up in Tacloban
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Yesterday I woke up with Maria Ressa’s tweet that Justin Bieber had arrived in the Philippines, on his way to Tacloban.

Unreal, I thought. I grew up seeing only has-beens visit the country. Never in the height of the career.
Of course things have changed since the last few years. Justin Bieber has been here but not One Direction.
Madonna still hasn’t been here and she’s past her prime (sorry Grace!).

The rest of the day, Twitter was all about Bieber in Tacloban.
Based on accounts, Bieber and his group landed in Manila around 5 AM via private plane.
He arrived through the help of TV5, PLDT, SMART, and MVP, whom he reached out to for assistance in his #GiveBackPhilippines advocacy.

Bieber expressed that he wanted to personally visit Tacloban and meet Yolanda survivors. His team didn’t want to announce his arrival and make it commercial. They asked that it be low-key and no-frills.
With that, PLDT and SMART arranged a private plane for his to visit Tacloban. The plane used is owned by gameshow host Willie Revillame (check out the tail).

Justin Bieber arrives in Tacloban
Justin Bieber arrives in Tacloban

After resting in Manila, Justin arrived in Tacloban around 2 PM, assisted by UNICEF on ground.
He sang “a series of Christmas songs and some of his hits as well, including Baby,” said Kate Donovan, a spokeswoman for UNICEF.

Justin gave away T-shirts to the kids of Tacloban and played street basketball, including a one-on-one with Coach Chot Reyes of Gilas Pilipinas.

Justin Bieber in Tacloban
Justin Bieber in Tacloban
Justin Bieber in Tacloban
Justin Bieber in Tacloban
Justin Bieber in Tacloban

His manager, Scooter Braun, said it was a very touching and emotional day for Justin, as you can see in these photos provided by SMART.

Justin Bieber in Tacloban
Justin Bieber in Tacloban
Justin Bieber in Tacloban
Justin Bieber in Tacloban
Justin Bieber in Tacloban

He returned to Manila in the evening and met with executives and endorsers of SMART, TV5 and PLDT at the Edsa Shangri-La Hotel.
His manager, Scooter Braun took time to thank those who made the visit possible.

The meet and greet lasted for about 30 minutes, very quickly. No time to make chika. Those who had a chance to take photos with Bieber were in and out within a minute.
Justin Bieber with SMART executives Ramon Isberto, Olan Pena, Tina Mariano and the SMART engineers who were among the first responders to rebuild network and communication lines in Tacloban after Yolanda.

Justin Bieber at Edsa Shang

With SMART Broadband Team and endorsers Anne Curtis, Kobe Paras and Rico Blanco

The Smart Broadband Team with Justin Bieber and endorsers Anne Curtis, Kobe Paras and Rico Blanco

L-R: Mikyle Quizon, Dani Barretto, Justin Bieber, Claudia Barretto, and Juliana Gomez

Justin Bieber with Digital Ambassadors Mikyle Quizon & Dani Barretto with Julianna Gomez and Claudia Barretto

With SMART endorser Jasmine Curtis-Smith

Justin Bieber with Smart endorser Jasmine Curtis

and Billy Crawford

Justin Bieber with Smart endorser Billy Crawford

The Smart Postpaid Team with endorser Anne Curtis thanked Justin Bieber for extending his help to Yolanda-stricken areas in the Philippines.

The Smart Postpaid Team and endorser Anne Curtis thanked Justin Bieber for extending his help to Yolanda-stricken areas in the Philippines

To know more about Justin’s #‎GiveBackPhilippines‬ campaign, click HERE.

10 Things condo owners should know
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I’m a condo owner. Just a small, beautiful studio at the Shang that I decorated with the help of Kellyn See and Rex Gapuz.
When the unit was turned over, I was extremely disappointed because of what we got versus what we expected, based on the showroom model we saw. Our condo unit was much smaller, had cheap cabinetry and bathroom fixtures.
We had to tear everything down.
After so much work, finally the wallpaper I ordered from the UK has arrived but needs to be installed. Once finished I will share with you new photos.

Our studio

I’m not a condo expert, but a friend of mine who works in the industry sent me a check list of what condo owners need to know (apart from the surprise I mentioned above). Here’s what it says:

A residential condo is a most viable dwelling place nowadays in urban areas because of the convenient lifestyle it offers to unit owners. The requisites for a hassle-free living are all there—location, security, amenities, and being part of a thriving community. Indeed, condo living makes life easier.
But before deciding to live in a condo, be it a vertical or horizontal development, one should know the following before purchasing:

1. The property developer is the one who chooses the location where to build its residential condo project.
2. The developer will initiate pre-selling of the property, residential and commercial units, all throughout the construction phase.
3. The developer assigns third party property managers to oversee the interiors, security, common areas, and overall aesthetics of the residential condo before the turnover of the building. Clients may consult any concerns about their units with the assigned property management officers.
4. When the building is finished, a representative of the developer together with the client will inspect the bare unit to check for any apparent defects, which the industry refers to as punchlist. The most common defects found during punchlisting are minor detailing works.
5. Upon turnover of the unit, the unit owner signs an acceptance form signifying his conformity that the unit is in perfect condition at the time of inspection.
6. Unit owners, upon acceptance of the unit, relinquishes all the responsibilities from developer.
7. The developer usually gives at least one year warranty from hidden defects that may arise.
8. Upon full turnover of the property to unit owners, the residents should form a homeowners association that will take control of the condominium building (security, maintenance, house rules, and regulations) assigning in-house contractors and utility personnel, among others. The association is also responsible for the appointment of the property management company that will oversee the daily operations of the condominium building.
9. Remember that as a unit owner, you will be part of the association wherein you share the ownership of the common areas of the building. The association dues that each unit owner pays is used for the maintenance, security, utilities, and other expenses needed by the association to manage the property. Individual ownership only pertains to the condo units purchased.
10. The developer relinquishes its right over the operations of the building once the association is formed by the homeowners.
(End quote)

That said, be careful when you choose a condo. Sometimes it’s best to buy after the building is finished and units are done, so even though it’s more expensive, what you see is what you get.
Once you’ve moved in, make sure your association that collects the monthly dues spends the money wisely. You don’t want to see couches with holes and carpets with stains at the lobby. Hopefully your garbage disposal doesn’t stink and the building and its utilities are maintained. Because if shit happens, the developer is no longer liable. It’s your investment after all.