Thursday, November 4, 2021

Witness the Secret Christmas Garden at SM Southmall

The holidays are here once again and there’s no better place to celebrate it than right at every Southies’ second home. SM Southmall is known for their larger-than-life, picturesque Christmas centerpieces that are perfect backgrounds to our holiday photos. This year however, SM Southmall unveiled their first ever experiential Christmas centerpiece!

Abundant trees in varying sizes surround the whole display with a pathway leading to and unveiling the mystery of a secret garden. At the heart of the centerpiece is a 35-feet towering Christmas tree adorned with blooms and thousands of sparkling lights with giant elegant reindeers around it. Be transported to a Secret Christmas Garden at the mall’s Food Street Concourse.

There’s a lot more in store!

SM Southmall wants to bring back the joy of shoppers through fun and ‘southtacular’ activities you may safely enjoy (even with your kids)! Here are four ways you can fully enjoy Christmas with SM Southmall:

The South Pole Express. Another first for the mall is their Christmas drive-thru experience with immersive displays and interactive moments that families can enjoy in the safety and comfort of their cars. Let us all aboard The South Pole Express starting December 1st!

South Yuletide Markets. The Christmas bazaar will have a display of different knickknacks and gifts you can take home to the family. The South Yuletide Markets are there for the holidays so check them out at the Event Center and South Yard (near Door 4).

The pandemic cannot stop Santa Claus from visiting SM Southmall. He will be at the Door 4 driveway to bring the Christmas cheer to as many Southies as possible! Drive thru with your kids on December 24 – 25 and say hi!

The Big South Sale is also something to look forward to on November 19 – 21. Up to 70% off on festive finds! Check out some last-minute Christmas gifts for your family without the long wait and shipping fees! Get a chance to drive home in a brand-new MG ZS Compact SUV with every P3,000 single or accumulated receipts from any SM Southmall store.

Spread the spirit of giving this Christmas and purchase a pair of Bears of Joy. Customers get to keep one bear and the other one will be donated to the kids of SOS Children’s Villages. Just drop by the Bears of Joy booth at the Food Street Concourse and purchase a pair for only P250 until December 25.

Christmas may be celebrated differently this year but its spirit is still the same! Stay up-to-date on all the holiday fun and events happening down South! Visit @smsouthmall on Facebook and Instagram for more information. #SeeYouDownSouth

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

5 steps to improve your finances

Photo courtesy of Instant Loan

Finances tops everyone’s list of priority and having a good financial health standing is really crucial in achieving money goals. If you are looking for ways to improve your finances, there are practical techniques that you can quickly incorporate paving the way for a stronger financial foundation.

Make a Budget Plan
The initial step to strengthen your finances is to make an effective budget plan. This will simply be the basis of how you will utilize your income. Your budget should not only focus on spending but must equally prioritize debts payment, savings and eventually manage monthly cash flow. Your budget will set the foundation in reaching your financial goals.

Photo courtesy of The Motley Fool

Debt Reduction
Commit part of your budget in reducing your debts. Learn and understand how you are managing your debts with your paycheck. You might not realize that a huge chunk of your income goes to credit card interests. Have the discipline to set aside a certain amount to cover not only the minimum amount due but also the principal. Having a lower debt means that you are on your way in improving your credit score while decreasing interests.

View more for tips on how to repair your credits.

Cut Down on Expenses
Together with your budget plan you must record and track your every expense. This will allow you to gauge how much you should cut down on costs and how much you can eventually save. By decreasing your expenses, you are on your way to putting some extra money for your debt reduction. Cutting down on cost will also mean changing your lifestyle - be practical with your choices, learn how you can lower down costs on your utilities, and visualize how much you can save every time you consider lowering your expenditures.

Photo courtesy of Lifehacker

Find Ways to Increase Your Income
It could be a hobby of just baking cookies or pastries which you enjoy doing in your spare time but think about this as an income opportunity. A garage sale will also help declutter your home while you earn extra. The idea is to find another way to earn either by utilizing your talent or skills which could easily add a few hundreds of dollars or even more on a monthly basis.

Increase Your Savings
Your financial goals should also consider saving up for the future. The money you save should also cover an emergency fund as well as for your retirement. 

Photo courtesy of Sinapu

What good it is to work hard for many years without having a clear plan of having a comfortable retirement? It is recommendable to save up at least 20% of your income. Consider investing now into a good retirement plan that can assure you a stable monthly income when the time comes that you decide to stop working.

Amidst the pandemic, it might be really hard for most people to improve their finances. Make small steps at a time. You need not be in a hurry to make to life better. A small improvement each day, will make a big difference in the future.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Hassle-free, fun online video games to enjoy with the whole family

Without the normal routine we used to enjoy, life could sometimes feel so boring. No more dine ins, no more parties and get-togethers, no more outdoor activities. Maybe not all was lost but we were limited because of the pandemic. What we can do now is to enjoy everything that is inside the home so we can be sure we are safe at all times.

One way to keep our time inside the house less boring is thru online video games. Let me share you a site where you can find a lot of games to enjoy with different categories. offers fun and free online games which can quickly be played from the browser. The main goal of the site is to add a bit of joy to people’s lives while they are stuck at home due to the pandemic. The site is somewhat nostalgic to those who used to love playing via console, such as those from the Nintendo era.

What makes’s video games unique?
When we hear the word online games or mobile games, one thing that comes to mind are apps that need to be downloaded from a specific source to be able to play with it. But you would be surprised because this site is a bit different because there is no need to download the games, just play directly from the browser. 

Another feature of the site that you’ll love is that it has no ads, no paid upgrades and no addictive loops unlike the many online games that exist today. The app does not follow the trend in online gaming, such that it will not require you to register or set-up an account. You’ll feel a bit safer as you don’t have to provide your personal info.

The games are very casual, but not all are easy to finish or easy to beat the opponent. There are a lot of games to choose from. Are you a fan of arcade games? Neon Invaders is for you if you just want to chill and enjoy. Controls you can use are the left and right buttons on the keyboard to dodge and move. While you can use the space bar to shoot. 

There are also games for comics fans – Avengers, Spiderman, Batman and Incredible Hulk. The Avengers Hydra Dash: Marvel Running Fight Mission Game is a must try. It features various members of the Marvel Avengers team which you can unlock as you win each battle. You can play this game in both desktop and mobile. This game might be a bit harder for young kids because it needs the right strategy to defeat the opponents but they’ll enjoy this for sure especially the nice graphic. 

Of course, the site will never forget to offer educational games for the kids and for the kids at heart. Math made fun with Guardians Defenders of Mathematica, test your typing ability or accuracy with Zombie Typing, play and make music with Virtual Xylophone and more.

A lot of games to discover from the site. And each game will surely give you a less stressful day even if you’re staying at home longer than the usual.

Saturday, August 28, 2021

How to transition your child from a Tricycle to a Bicycle

The decision to transition your child off his or her training wheels is often a difficult one. As a parent, you may dread the possibility of witnessing a crash or tumble. Unfortunately, this is often part of the process. While getting the right bike in kids bike sizes can give your child the best chance of success, the achievement of transitioning is ultimately one your child must make on his or her own.

Choose the Right Trainer Bike
There are currently several good options for training your child to exhibit the balance necessary to ride with fewer than three wheels. A tricycle is probably the most common and classic children's bike. Tricycles are perfectly acceptable options for teaching pedaling skills for keeping up with adults and older siblings. They don't, however, teach children to balance very effectively. Unfortunately, transitioning directly from a tricycle is more likely than other options to result in spills and minor injuries.

As they transition kids away from their first trikes, many parents opt for bikes with training wheels. Training wheels allow kids to practice balance, as training wheels are slightly offset to allow a bike's two main wheels to work alone. Although training wheels are a tried and tested method of weening children off the security of a tricycle, they can create an overreliance on the support of additional wheels.
Recently, up-to-date parents have been using balance bikes. Balance bikes are built somewhat like your men's or women's step through bike and allow your child to reach the ground with their legs. Balance bikes have no pedals, so they are designed specifically with balance in mind. Together with a tricycle, balance bikes can help kids develop riding skills significantly earlier than they might otherwise.

Choose the Right Time
There is no one "right" time to switch your child to a standard bike. The right time is whenever your child has developed the maturity, balance, fitness, and coordination to successfully ride a grown-up-style bike. You should judge this for yourself but understand that the sooner you get your kid used to riding a training bike, the sooner they can progress to the next step.

Use the Right Safety Equipment
Whenever you feel that your kid is strong and coordinated enough to make the switch, choose a day to go for it. Although it may take more than a single attempt, the process can take as little as ten minutes. The single most important piece of safety equipment is a helmet, so don't cheap out on this critical safety item. You may wish to pad your child like a knight at a jousting match with various elbow and kneepads, but these can sometimes throw a small child off balance. Watch over them carefully and prepare to be amazed as they ride off by themselves.

Riding a real bike is a milestone in every child's life and you should be proud when yours has finally done it. Remember, safety first, so make sure to invest in a good, safe, lightweight bike from a reputable manufacturer.

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Call for Nominations: 39th National Book Awards | August 9-27, 2021

The National Book Development Board and the Manila Critics Circle invite you to submit your nominations for the 39th National Book Awards.

This year's awards will cover books published in the Philippines in 2019 and 2020. This does not include e-books or other non-print books (those without printed versions), young adult and children’s books, and/or Philippine editions of books previously published by foreign authors.

There will be two divisions: Literary and Non-Literary, with specific categories within each division. Read on for the eligibility criteria for book nominations:

1. Books authored by Filipinos or non-Filipinos, individuals or groups. Except for books authored by members of the MCC, the Board of Judges, and the NBDB Governing Board and Secretariat, there are no restrictions in regards to authorship;

2. For the Literary Division, books are published in any of the following languages: Filipino, English, and Meranaw.

2.1. Books published in Meranaw within the last 3 calendar years (2018-2020) are eligible for nomination.

2.2. For translations, the following books are eligible for nomination:  A book translated from one language into a Philippine language, English, or Spanish. A book translated from one Philippine language to another Philippine language.

3. The reputation of the publisher, distribution, and actual sales figures are not relevant to the awards.

For the complete rules and guidelines on the 39th National Book Awards, please visit:

Submit your nominations through the official online form: and the required copies in any of the following formats:

1. Seven (7) printed copies; or

2. Two (2) printed copies and a digitally watermarked PDF file of the printed copy, and a signed waiver for each title from the publisher and copyright holder.

Please address your submissions to:
Executive Director III
National Book Development Board (NBDB)
3/F and 4/F Regalado Hive Building, Regalado Avenue
Fairview Park Subdivision, Fairview
Quezon City  1118

Note: Books mailed from outside Manila will be accepted if postmarked on August 27, 2021.

Questions? Kindly email:

Thursday, August 5, 2021

4 ways to collect rainwater at home

The rainy season is here! That means hot drinks, sweater weather, and calming sounds of the rain pit-pattering on your roof. While the current season makes up for the previously hot and humid days, the rainy season is also a reminder that the water falling from the sky is nature’s blessing to the world.

With rain, crops grow, and dry patches of land become moist and nourished once again. Rain also returns water that has evaporated from lakes, rivers, and streams. In many ways, rain gives life and refreshes parts of the Earth. That said, here are four (4) ways to collect rainwater at home and save one of the most important resources we have: 

Create A Rain Garden
The rainy season in the Philippines lasts for several months. Many people take advantage of that by building rain gardens in their backyards. Create your own by finding a low spot in your yard. Clay soil is excellent as it slows down the flow of water. However, you can work with loam soil as long as it can hold water quite well.

Storing water via a rain garden is perfect for keeping your plants watered throughout the dry and humid seasons. Even in the summer, you’ll maintain a green lawn and lively-looking plants.

Use Your Downspout
Downspouts are integral to all households. Whether the house is a traditional Filipino bungalow, or a modern townhouse similar to what Camella Homes Calamba offers, downspouts are house features that help homeowners keep rainwater out of their roof and save it for washing or watering their plants.

Place a large container, such as a water barrel, below your downspout. If your downspout is a little too low to let your water container fit, connect a hose and use that to transport the rainwater to your barrel. You can also use smaller containers and buckets to carry your water. After the rain subsides, you’ll have stored water perfect for cleaning your car or bike, watering your lawn, and washing your walls and roof gutters.

Use Rain Chimes
Do you want to have a water fountain but don’t want to spend a ton on installing one in your garden? Rain chimes are decorative and sustainable alternatives to a water fountain or pond. Hang them below your roof gutter’s spouts and watch the water cascade down the chimes like a waterfall. Place a bucket or barrel below the chime to catch the water.

Install A Water Reservoir
If you’re after reducing a huge amount in your water bills, installing a water catchment system is a worthwhile investment you must make. Having a water reservoir helps you store water that can power your entire home.

A rainwater catchment system comprises a cistern, downpipes, and a large underground tank equipped with filters and pumps. When it rains, the cistern captures the water, then flows through the pipes where the filters sift sediments and debris from entering the main tank. Then, the pumps will push the filtered water through the downpipes leading to your shower, water taps, and toilet.

Installing a rainwater reservoir may be a hefty investment at first. However, you’ll save tons of water and money from your water bill. You’ll also do Mother Nature a favor by conserving water.

Collecting rainwater is a sustainable and affordable way to store water for cleaning or watering your plants. Take note of these four methods and see which ones will work for your home.

Sunday, August 1, 2021

When does Refinancing make sense?

A lot of people aren’t aware of refinancing and the huge opportunity they are missing. One reason, maybe because lenders are not explaining its benefit to the borrowers. Oftentimes, refinancing is not being discussed before or during the contract signing of a loan. It might be because when a borrower refinances the loan, it means a decrease in the payment and less collection on the part of the lender. While it is true that only a few lenders are truly concerned of the welfare of their borrowers, there are still a lot of borrowers who are not going through it because of burnout – hassle and a lot of paper works required when refinancing.

But because it is pandemic, there’s an ongoing economic recession in most parts of the world, and a lot of people had lost their jobs or shutdown their businesses, anything that would mean “savings” must be grabbed. 

This pandemic has caused the interest rates to fall, as low as 2.5%. Data from S&P Global shows that the average interest rate for the 30-year fixed mortgage is now at 2.98%. Interest rates today are the lowest since 2000, and for those who availed a 30-year loan contract for home mortgages, this could be the perfect timing.

What is Refinance or refinancing?

Refi, short term for refinancing means replacing an existing debt obligation with another but under different terms. Usually, it is a loan or mortgage where the terms of an existing credit agreement is revised and replaced, which is favorable to a borrower’s interest rate, payment schedule, and/or other terms outlined in the contract.

Refinance becomes in demand nowadays because there is a substantial change in the interest-rate giving the borrower a potential savings on debt payments from a new agreement. Since our current pandemic situation and global downturn caused the interest rates to fall at an all-time low, now is the best time to refinance mortgage loans, car loans, student loans, and the likes. If you are new into refinancing, try this free online mortgage refinance calculator to see how much you will save.

The calculator comes in handy anytime and anywhere you go. It’s so easy to use and to understand results. You simply have to fill up the three parts, first is the information of your Old Mortgage :

Home price – the actual price of the property
Down payment – the initial amount you paid, the portion you paid in the early stae of a purchase
Original loan amount –no need to fill in, calculated automatically
Original APR – the interest rate applied to the loan, higher than today’s interest rate
Original loan term – length of loan in years
Time left on original – time left to pay the loan in months

Second portion, you need to inquire with your lender - the Mortgage Refinance Terms:

New loan amount
New loan term in years
New interest rate (APR %)

Last which you also need to work and discuss together with your lender - the Refinancing Closing Costs:

Discount Points
Origination Points
Other Closing Costs

The results will show the comparison of your old loan versus your new loan where you will clearly see that the monthly payments had decreased significantly. It will also show how much your total savings would be. It is also a good thing that the closing cost is shown in the result, so you can prepare to save for it before you apply for refinancing.

The big savings shown in calculator clearly proves that refinancing really makes sense at this point in time. By refinancing, you can also acquire an influx of cash for a serious financial need.

Sunday, July 4, 2021

World Vision invites you to run for clean water in Global 6K Run

Every child deserves clean water to drink and for handwashing to help keep them healthy. For some people in rural areas living in vulnerable conditions, it takes a long walk to be able to get them.

A study released by World Vision revealed that six kilometers (3.7 miles) is the average distance people in developing areas would have to walk for water. This journey for clean water takes hours every single day.

This is why World Vision is launching the Global 6K Run, a virtual running event that aims to promote fitness and health during the pandemic while raising funds for the needs of World Vision’s most vulnerable children and communities.

Through this virtual run, World Vision aims to make clean water more accessible by raising funds to build multiple water facilities in Laurel, Batangas and other communities in need. These facilities will not only provide drinking water but also water for hygiene and sanitation purposes, especially since one effective way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is through proper sanitation and hygiene.

Joining World Vision’s mission for clean water in the Global 6K Run is its Celebrity Ambassador Enzo Pineda, who has been a staunch supporter in the child-focused organization’s multiple initiatives for children, including health and wellness.
“I am truly honored to become a part of this initiative by World Vision. While many of us miss gathering for runs and marathons pre-pandemic, the Global 6K Run is a wonderful opportunity to be fit and healthy despite the many limitations as well as participate in a cause that’s extremely timely today,” Enzo Pineda shared.

Anyone can register to participate in the global event and contribute to World Vision’s goal. Since it is a virtual run, it doesn’t matter where one is because they can walk, jog or run anywhere. And with every registration, clean water is provided to one person through World Vision’s water projects.

Interested participants can register for the Global 6K Run from July 1 to August 15, 2021. There are several mileage options to choose from, including 6K, 12K, 24K, or 60K, which can be tracked by a fitness tracker app. Individuals who will submit proof of completion of the run will get a Global 6K event shirt!

“Clean water is crucial for our physical health and safety, especially in this pandemic where the importance of hygiene is emphasized. World Vision’s Global 6K Run is a global movement to make clean water more accessible to everyone, regardless of where you are,” said Mr. Rommel Fuerte, National Director of World Vision Development Foundation, Inc.

“We are inviting everyone to be part of this change through this run. To become an inspiration for many, while being fit and healthy in the process,” Mr. Fuerte added.
To register for the World Vision Global 6K Run, please visit

For more updates on the event, like and follow World Vision on Facebook,

To know more about World Vision and its other initiatives, you may visit or follow World Vision’s official social media pages /worldvisionph on Facebook, @worldvisionphl on Instagram, and @worldvisionph on Twitter.

About World Vision
World Vision is a Christian relief, development, and advocacy organization dedicated to working with children, their families, and communities to overcome poverty and injustice. Inspired by its Christian faith and values, it is dedicated to working with the world’s most vulnerable people. It serves and collaborates with all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender.

Thursday, May 6, 2021

FDCP’s Sine Kabataan Awards P100K Film Grants to 10 Finalists

Ten (10) young filmmakers have been selected as finalists in the 4th edition of the Sine Kabataan Short Film Competition and will each receive a PHP 100,000 grant as fund to use in the production of their respective short films. 

Organized by the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) and as an accompanying youth film competition with its banner Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino (PPP), Sine Kabataan gives a platform to all aspiring young filmmakers aged 18 to 30 and provides an opportunity to expose their fresh talents. This serves to encourage the youth to develop their creativity and originality in storytelling, touching on important issues of today as perceived by the youth. 

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Louie Sangalang survives Episode 5 despite passive team role in The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition

LOUIE Sangalang's voice was hardly heard in Episode 5 of The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition.

But his supposed passiveness for Team Valor in the business challenge shouldn't be looked at as a shortcoming on his part.