Monday, December 24, 2018

Sylviahera: A journey to life with a silver lining

If someone will do a survey among Filipinos to write down the reasons that make them happy, more likely the top answer would be "family."

It is the same reason why we have millions of OFWs around the world working hard to give a decent living for the loved ones they left here in the Philippines. It is realy unimaginable all of a sudden to be away for a long time from people you have shared almost all the highs and lows of all your life. Sacrifice is an understatement. Believe me, I worked overseas for years almost two decades ago.

A few days ago, I was fortunate to have met in person one of the actresses I really admire, Ms. Sylvia Sanchez. She was given recognitions from in and out of the country because of her almost impeccable portrayal of every role given to her. My favorite perhaps is her portrayal as a loving mother in ABS-CBN's moving drama series "The Greatest Love" where Sylvia gave a performance of a lifetime as Gloria, a woman who have gone through tough challenges in life from being a rape victim to living as a scavenger to survive and at the end suffers Alzheimer's disease. All of these challenges she have faced but still she have shown the essence of being a mother.

On Christmas day, Sylvia will share to us how to keep your family together and how to make each time that you are together memorable, especially when the time comes that the children already have their own lives. This time, it will be through an online reality show called "Sylviahera" that anyone in the world can watch via Youtube and Facebook. When I say anyone, it will also cater not only to fellow Filipinos but also to foreigners curious about Pinoy life. Every episode comes with English subtitles.

At the blogcon held at Bizu, Greenhills, you can feel her presence as a caring mother the moment she arrived. She went around and greeted everyone with "Oh, naka-order na ba kayo?" to "May paborito ako dito tikman n'yo din, ha." or "Pasensiya na if nakalimutan ko pangalan nyo pero tanda ko mukha ng karamihan sa inyo dito."

I was so into the dalandan juice that I ordered when I heard her say at my back, "Kain muna tayo ha, tawagan ko lang si yaya?"

"Mam, Yaya Dub, po ba?", I mentioned in jest.

She laughed and held both my shoulders and literally shook me, "Ay naku, naba-bash na nga ako eh.!"

This is how casual, cool and real Sylvia is. 

In Sylviahera, you will learn about the life and dilemmas of Jojo Campo, a simple girl from the town of Nasipit, Agusan Del Norte in the island of Mindanao who became the actress that we all love now and eventually married a man from a traditional Spanish family.

Presently, two of her kids already followed her footsteps in the entertainment industry and she is already feeling the struggle of bringing everyone in the family together to enjoy a meal she prepared.

One Christmas morning, she went to her hometown alone, built a box that transforms into a one-burner kitchen, and decides to embark into a culinary adventure with a goal of finding ingredients, learning new recipes, and bond with mothers who are also going through the same situation--and eventually rekindle simple, warm moments with the family that she implores to keep together, no matter what... and it is through food and conversation that she expresses her joy and love for them.

Sylviahera is a mother’s journey that will tell us that no matter how seldom a family eats together, it is how much love and preparation you put into it that will make it special and memorable.

Join me, not as a fan of Sylvia, but as one of the 104 million Filipinos, including the noble OFWs around world proud of the way we live, we eat and see our lives with silver lining.

Streaming at @CasaNieves.TV on Facebook and YouTube starting December 25, 2018 at exactly 12:01am (Philippine Time).

Friday, November 23, 2018

Maganda ka ba?

Filipinos, literally and figuratively, worship beautiful images.

We grew up in communities with different patron saints, curved in wood or stone with Caucasian features from the nose to the fair complexion. We associate being white as beautiful that is why we could be the world’s top consumers of Glutathione and just about anything that can lighten our nut-brown skin.

Some may throw in the old saying that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but why do we have this certain affection with oppas and blonde girls. White is just one of the colors and not even included in the amazing rainbow. No thanks to the more 300 years of Spanish rule and spurts of colonial mentality.

Actually, we Pinoys should be proud of our race and color when we talk about beauty because we have proven many times that our looks can stand out amongst nations with all the beauty pageants we have conquered. We have three queens in Gloria Diaz (1969); Margie Moran-Floirendo (1973); and Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach (2015) who were crowned Miss Universe, the most prestigious and popular beauty contests in the world.

Thus, you should always tell yourself, “Maganda ko!”

Out of curiosity, just to get reactions from my Facebook friends, I posted on my wall the question: “How do you feel when somebody tells you, 'maganda ka' or 'you are beautiful'?

In a span of an hour, I got 35 comments/ responses and here’s how the survey answers look like:

12 -  will say 'thank you' to whoever told them
10 – will get flattered. Four of them used the word “kilig” to express how they feel
9 – thinks it’s just a joke
4 – said they don’t know how to react (they can’t ralate, nobody told them this before, etc)

The different responses seems like depends on how one sees him or herself as someone beautiful; just being pleased; accepted the fact that he/ she is not beautiful based on whatever standards of beauty he believes; and for those who do not care how others see them. 

I would like to share the response in the same thread from beauty blogger Earth Rullan: “When I was younger, elementary, I don't think I'm beautiful. Maitim saka two front teeth missing kasi ako saka maliit. Lagi ako tinutukso negra, baluga saka bampira. Nung highschool boyish ako and nobody would really say maganda ako unless ung nanliligaw saken. Pero my father, when I go home crying feeling panget, he would say I am beautiful, he would always say you are the Ms. Universe of my life. Kamukha mo so Gloria Diaz he would always tell me. I think because of what my father told me when I feel down or feel ugly, I developed this belief or confidence na maganda nga ako. So now when people say maganda ako, I tell them thank you. And a sweet smile.”

In the message of Earth, one that strikes me is the word “confidence.” While we can argue how physical beauty should be rated, confidence is something that you cannot tweak or easily added to one's personality. It is developed and comes out naturally when you think you are beautiful in its very essence. published an article about the advantages of being beautiful and here’s the list that they shared. Beautiful people are…

1.      Viewed as healthy
2.      Actually healthier than others
3.      Easier to find partners
4.      More intelligent
5.      More persuasive and can command attention
6.      Has strong social skills
7.      Gets higher sales
8.      Acquire advantage in politics
9.      Looks more trustworthy

Although the list can be a good subject for a debate, why argue when you it is easier and more worthy to reap benefits. So do yourself a favor, find out what makes you beautiful and flaunt it.

Let’s take a look at fast-rising young star Maymay Entrata, the first Big Winner of the combined edition of Pinoy Big Brother: Lucky 7 of ABS-CBN. Maymay made history in Dubai last November 21 as the first Filipina celebrity to ever walk the runways of Arab Fashion Week. The actress, now a certified international model, has been subjected to unpleasant comments like “Not good-looking enough for showbiz” or her love team Edward Barber is “too handsome for her.”


Just recently Maymay was also introduced as the first-ever brand ambassador for local skincare line Megan. She will be the face of the Megan Peel-Off Mask #MegandaKa campaign.

Now the next time you look on the mirror, stop asking, “maganda ka?”

Rather, smile and be proudly say, “Maganda ko!”  

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

The Joy of Parenthood to Go the Extra Smile

Being a parent, I believe, is truly a blessing. Not everyone will experience how it is like to be one. The joy it brings to an individual is simply indescribable.  I even Googled the word “parenthood” and found defines it simply as “the state of being a parent and the responsibilities involved.” But for me, no dictionary can give the real meaning of the “parenthood” than the hearts of loving parents.

While I was browsing to hundreds of photos of the wonderful moments my wife Leah and I have shared with our son, I was brought back to those unforgettable worth-sharing memories of the last nine years and I was able came out a number of definitions to the word.  For me, parenthood is…

1. Not minding to carry a pack of diapers, a can of milk and a stroller to what should be a relaxing weekend family date.

2. Memorizing the theme songs of Adventure Time, Hi-5 and the Mickey Mouse Club House and other silly tunes to be able to sing along with our son.

3. Conceding to change the TV channel for another replay of We Bare Bears even if it means we will miss the last 5 minutes of another heart-pounding episode of our favorite drama series.

4. Smiling even when our shirts got messy with spaghetti sauce and ice cream because we allowed our kid to have it “his way.”

5. Praying that we can change places with our son whenever he is sick and we’ll be the one who are ill instead.

6. Waking up in the wee hours to change our child’s diaper even though we just slept for a few hours and needs to rise up early for work in the morning.

7. Experiencing the greatest joy in our lives even with the simplest things like every time our son says, “I love you, Mommy and Daddy!”

8. Making sure that we put on the best love for the most amazing gift that we ever received in life--- our son Charles.

We only want the best for our son. It is our joy to go the extra mile for him and see him wearing that big extra smile on his face. I am sharing the Hapee Kiddie Toothy Tales video about how to keep our children’s teeth healthy and have a great smile everyday.

Speaking of going the extra mile, allow me to share one of the best surprises we gave for our dear Charles. Back in 2014, two weeks before his 5th birthday, we asked Charles what he wants to get on his special day.

His immediate response was, “A police car!”

We wanted to make it extra special because almost every week, we would already go to the toy store and have him scan the shelves and display racks to find a new police car for his collection. At his very young age, Charles would tell us that he wanted to be a policeman someday “to help other people and put bad guys to jail.”

On the morning of his birthday, Charles wore his police costume that he used in the last Halloween party we attended. We told him that we will go out and meet his cousin Nico. He was clueless that we are actually going to  a police station for a one-of-a-kind birthday surprise.

 The birthday tarpaulin prepared by his Daddy.

But where's the birthday boy? Uh yeah, he's still on duty preparing the police files.

And catching a dude who just littered the street with empty wrappers of  Ding-Dong.

Now, it's time to go to the police station.

And meet with the Chief and some of his fellow police officers.

Eat cake.

 But of course, he has to blow the candle first.

Too bad, they can't party 'till  the wee hours because these men in uniform needs to be dispatched for emergency calls.                                 

But at least, he got his police car on his birthday.

And actually ride the police patrol car with his boys!

Special thanks to SP03 Edwin S. Sison, Desk Officer of Police Station 8 of Quezon City Police District and his fellow police officers for granting our little Charles' wish of celebrating his 5th birthday with his heroes.  The event was even featured in the Philippine Daily Inquirer a week after. 

To our son Charles, we are very blessed to have you as our child. Just keep on giving us those extra smile and we assure you that we will forever go for extra mile in everything we do for you. Keep on smiling towards that brighter future, our Hapee Kiddie son!

Monday, October 29, 2018

“Classic” Practical Ways of Taking Care of Your Timeless Piece

I’m a big fan of pop classics.

My weekend breakfasts taste better with “Bread” and “The Beatles” via Spotify or Youtube.

My idea of a romantic date night is on a couch with Sandra and “While You Were Sleeping” or “Sleepless in Seattle” with Meg. I don’t mind also if it turns out to be a disaster like “Titanic.”   

Invite me to join mobile games, I will bring Scrabble, Boggle, Games of the Generals and other board games.

Yes, I’m your classic Tito and you don’t have to remind me. If you’ll ask me friends about my look, how I dress up or does my #OOTD, more likely they will remember me in my wash and wear shirts than in my long sleeves polo. It’s a bit surprising because I am in my company uniform at least 8 hours in 4 days a week.  The explanation on this could be because I seldom post selfies in corporate attire on social media. I am usually wearing shirts in my FB and IG posts because I am more comfortable with them.

But of course, there are special moments that we get to experience to be in our classy and timeless look. It can be during life-changing events from your first date and wedding that needed you to be in your most photo album-worthy outfit.

In all those “special moments” I have this one timeless piece that I consider fool-proof and a must have. It’s a black blazer that I can put on top of a polo and tie or even on a shirt. It gives me confidence that I am formal enough to meet and talk with my bosses and executives from our companies. It empowers me to be the best me when dealing with clients or making a prospective business partner.

One of the most recent events where I used it is during the 60th year anniversary of our company.  I really have to dress up and look good because we launched our company Almanac, a project which I spearheaded and was one challenging year in the making, sweat and tears not yet included.  Thus, I really have to take care of the blazer because it has been part of a lot of personal and career milestones and important occasions in my life’s journey.  

I am not a clothing expert but my fabrics have a long “shelf life” in my closet. I have pieces that are years old, not only for the reason that I am a sentimental fool but also because I really take care of my clothes and that’s the right thing to do. I would like to share 10 classic practical ways of taking care of your timeless pieces. To easily remember these tips, I am using brand ELECTROLUX to abbreviate my list. And besides, the company is well-known for its quality laundry appliances trusted in millions of households worldwide.

E – nsure good hygiene. If you don’t know it, sweat causes stain.   If your body is clean, your clothes will also be neat and in better condition.

L – earn basic repairs. Do not ignore loose threads or a missing button because a few minutes of sewing will save your piece from being a mere rag soon.

E – mpty your pockets. Get rid of items like tissues or even pens from your pockets before they make a mess on your laundry or holes on your pants or polo.

C – lose zippers and other fasteners to prevent snagging. During laundry, unzipped or unbuttoned pants might tangle with other fabrics or loosely tied strings.

T – ake time to fold clothes along the seams. This will help avoid unwanted creases and to maintain the shape of the item as well.

R – ewash stains. It is important to check clothes to be stain-free before ironing. It’s better to wash the shirt again if there is still dirt.

O –rder of ironing. The correct ironing order to follow is collar first before the cuffs and then the rest of the shirt or blouse.

L – earn to sort clothes to prevent colors from bleeding onto other fabrics. Wet a cotton swab and rub on the corner or seams of an item. If dye appears on the swab, handwash the said item.

U- se the instructions on the tag found on the neck or down the side seams of your shirt. It contains the garment’s laundering instructions to ensure that it stays in good shape.

X – tra Tip: invest on a quality and energy-efficient washing machine that offers the finest clothing care for all your laundry needs.

Electrolux Philippines offers wide range of washing machines such as top load and front load washers designed to provide efficiency and benefits such as ensuring your clothes stay in shape; exclusive Prism drum that minimize wear and tear of fabrics; Cyclonic Tub Clean that automatically cleans the entire tub; variable wash options for better care; and easy access, safe and durable units.

You can experience a whole new way of washing with Electrolux with their range of washing machines that offers optimal clothing care for your lifestyle and keep your classic pieces to look newer for longer use. Check out the Electrolux Amazing Holideals promo by clicking the flyer below.

Now talking about classic look, I would like to end this piece with the timeless quote, "People are not as beautiful as they look, as they walk, or as they talk. They are only as beautiful as they love, as they care, and as they share."

And with my classic laundryman pose :)

Friday, May 25, 2018

Six things you love but you have Zero clue that they are already 60 years old

English Philosopher C.E.M. Joad once said, “Men are like wine. Some turn to vinegar, but the best improve with age. “

Truly, turning 60 is quite a feat thus one of the most precious stones represent such accomplishment. Happy Diamond year to everyone and everything that are in their senior year as of today!

Below is a list of six things you love but you might have zero clue that they are already 60 years old:

1. Frisbee – On 14 January 14 1957, toy company Wham produced the first-ever Frisbee that started millions of play for fun on a beach, in the backyard, at night, with kids, your friends, your dog from one generation to another.

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2. Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat – One of the all-time favorite children's books written and illustrated by Theodor Geisel under the pen name Dr. Seuss and first published in March 1957. The story centers on a tall anthropomorphic cat whose tale was relived in the silver screen in 2003.

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3. Laser - American physicist Gordon Gould recorded his analysis and suggested applications in a laboratory notebook under the heading "Some rough calculations on the feasibility of a LASER: Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation”—the first recorded use of this acronym. Official date of the invention lf laser is on 13 November 1957.

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4. Lego – Godtfred Kirk Christiansen files for patent for the iconic plastic Lego brick on 28 January 2018. From that day on, his company Lego (derived from the Danish phrase leg godt, which means "play well") has made more than 400 billion pieces/ elements of the best-selling educational toy.

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5. Ellen DeGeneres – Her show named after her is one of the most watched syndicated American TV programs. And who would have thought  this actress, comedienne and host just turned 60 last January 26.

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6. SM or Shoe Mart - SM was founded as a shoe store by Henry Sy, Sr., in 1958 in downtown Manila--- a store layout and merchandising concepts never before tried in the Philippines.

Incidentally, this weekend will be an #AweSM “Sweet 60” at SM Supermalls treating valued shoppers with tons of sweet treats, fun deals, and visual delights.

There will be a “Sweet 60” activity area featuring an interactive play experience, where shoppers can immerse themselves in a fantastic wonderland colors and desserts. In collaboration with Boysen, Fruits In Ice Cream, The Dessert Museum, and the Lost Bread – Sm Megamall’s #AweSM Weekend Party is Instagram wonderland where you can splurge on dessert treats and freebies, and snap photos at different activity stations.

Steven Tan, SM Supermalls CEO shared, “For six decades, every kind of celebration and family fun bonding has happened in an SM mall. This time, we are bringing unique, over-the-top experiences we know that will truly delight our shoppers. This is also our way of saying Thank You to our loyal shoppers for making SM a part of their families through the years”.

As part of the #AweSM weekend, a giant logo projection mapping show at SM Megamall’s facade along EDSA, and a relaunch of SM’s “We’ve Got It All Jingle”, sang by Ramonne Rodriquez of The Voice will be witnessed. SM Woman Divas, Frenchie Dy, Radha and Bituin Escalante and SM Little Stars Annatacia Penny and NU Pep Squad performed.

Image credit: SM Megamall FB page

And the best treat of them all is that customers can also indulge in fun summer eats and dining deals in SM malls across the country during the weekend and enjoy exciting promos that celebrates the number 60 – Pay only P60, Pay P60 less, or Pay only 60%!

The 60th year celebration is an exciting culmination of SM’s humble beginnings from its first shore store in Carriedo, Manila, opened by Henry Sy, Sr. in 1958. The party started with the #AweSM launch event early in the week that gathered SM’s partners, tenants, celebrities, and valued stakeholders who have been part of SM’s journey from a one-store operation to one of the Southeast Asia’s largest integrated property developers.

The Sweet 60 activity area will be at Mega Fashion Hall until May 28. For more info about SM’s #AweSM 60 years, visit SM Supermalls Facebook page (@smsupermalls) or check out