Monthly Archives: February 2014

What does February 28 mean to you?

What does this day mean to you? It may be your birthday; it can be your parents’ anniversary; or your most awaited pay day; or it can also be just another day in the calendar, but to me and to over 300 million people worldwide, February 28 is a very special day. It’s World Rare Disease Day!

care for rare

According to the Philippine Society for Orphan Disorders: In the Philippines, persons born with and afflicted with rare or orphan disorders are a vulnerable and special population. A disease or disorder is considered rare if it affects 1 in 20,000 individuals or less, as defined by the Institute of Human Genetics of the National Institutes of Health, University of the Philippines Manila.

Quick Facts:

  • There are 6,000-8,000 rare diseases
  • 75% of rare diseases affect children
  • 30% of rare disease patients die before the age of 5
  • 80% of rare diseases have identified genetic origins
  • Other rare diseases are the result of infections (bacterial or viral), allergies and environmental causes, or are degenerative and proliferative

“Common” characteristics of rare diseases

  • Rare diseases are often chronic, progressive, degenerative, and life-threatening
  • Rare diseases are disabling: the quality of life of patients is often compromised by the lack or loss of autonomy
  • High level of pain and suffering for the patient and his/her family
  • No existing effective cure for most rare disease

e-Poster

Today is a day to pay homage to these amazing people and their families who are heroes in their own right. I am really blessed to have met some of them through the Volunteer Youth Leaders for Health Philippines. It is really awesome to meet people who, despite their condition, have extraordinary zest for life. I am forever proud to say, I love someone who is rare!

In celebration of this wonderful day, join me in lighting a candle and saying a prayer for the children who have succumbed to their rare disease and for those who are gravely battling their condition. From now on, I hope that February 28 will be a special day for you too!

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What can you do with 100 pesos?

A hundred pesos seems like a really small amount but if put to good use, it can double, triple and even multiply to a hundredfold its worth. The question “What can you do with 100 pesos?” popped out of nowhere when I recalled this saying posted on the wall of my old bedroom back at home that says, “The greatest acts of love are done by those who are habitually performing small acts of kindness.” Indeed, spending an extra hundred bucks is not that hard to do when you do it for a worthwhile cause like making someone else (even someone you don’t know) smile and be happy.

Therefore, I challenge you, my dear reader, to put aside a hundred pesos from your next pay day or allowance and do one of these Eight Random Acts of Kindness:

1. Share some Chow!

It’s definitely inconvenient to eat on the go but when you’re commuting your way to work and don’t have time for breakfast, eating while in the cab is your only option. However, it can be awkward to be the only one eating while Manong driver is stuck with imagining the taste of the heaven-sent food you’re devouring. That is why, a random act of kindness is to share the divine goodness of your nutriment. Buy snacks for two at 7 eleven before riding the cab and share the food with Manong driver when you start munching your goodies.

An ideal breakfast on the go: a small cup of 7 eleven Peppermint Mocha paired with donuts of your choice. This super yummy drink is only 25 pesos. Since you are buying for two, you have enough cash to spare for two delicious donuts that go perfectly with this hot drink.

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photo c/o 7eleven website

2. Share the Buy 1 Take 1 Madness!

Buy a minute burger buy 1 take one bacon cheese burger and share one to the cab driver on your way home. If you start your day with kindness, it is also fitting to end it with kindness. You can give the burger to anyone else really. You can give it to your colleague at work who goes the same route home, or the child begging for alms, or the tricycle driver who has a GY (graveyard) shift too. Anyone is eligible to share a buy 1 take 1 with.

The burger is also only 55 pesos, which means you have change to buy drinks for two.

minute burger

This is really yummy! Totally worth your buck.

3. Give some sweet treats!

You can pick an ordinary day and make it extraordinary by giving away sweet treats to your friends and even enemies in the office or at school. If you’re not in the mood for getting quizzical looks from people who know you, then give these treats to random strangers instead. They can be anyone who pass you by, the kuya who sells taho, the manong who sells candies, the traffic enforcer, the late-for-work employee, or the high school student who crosses the street.

Goldilocks’ Choco Rhumble has a really nice packaging that makes it a ready-to-give-away gift. You can even use post its, and write something encouraging for the person you’ll be giving it to. It is only 19 pesos and with your 100 pesos, you can choose 5 people to give this sumptuous treat.

choco rhumble

photo c/o Goldilocks website

4. Paburger Naman Dyan!

This was actually the catch phrase used by Mcdonalds in one of its TV ads a few years ago. The phrase which in English would literally translate to ‘Treat some burgers!” is a  colloquial way of pressuring someone to treat his/her friends to some Mcdonalds burger and this later evolved to treating your friends out in general. A Burger Macdo is 25 pesos so you can give away 4 burgers to your friends. You can maybe even use the good old paburger naman dyan phrase before you give it to them.

On a similar note, there was this one time, I heard someone in the radio teasing another DJ to treat their friends because it’s his birthday and the announcer said that he’ll be giving out Angel’s burger. That gave a good laugh, but when I actually tried this burger, it tasted decent. For only 23 pesos you’ll get two burgers already. Talk about quantity! You can give away eight burgers to people you know.

angels-burger

5. Offer it to your Church or local community.

This may be imperative to some or a wild concept for others. Nonetheless, whatever community you believe in, supporting them with whatever meager means you can is always accepted with welcoming arms.

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Church in Caramoan Island, Philippines.

6. Remember the ones who have gone before us.

Being kind is not limited to the living. The next time you visit the cemetery, bring extra candles (worth a hundred bucks) and light them for other tombs too, especially for the ones who silently cry for some visitors. While you’re at it, say a little prayer.

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photo from wikipedia.org

7. Celebrate the Occasion!

There are 12 months in a year, and every month has more than one special occasion. Pick one and celebrate it in your own simple way. You can give snippets of celebratory tokens to commemorate the occasion. This month, for example, you can spread the love on St. Valentine’s Day by giving rose-shaped candies with heart-shaped notes about the glory of love ( just like what I did).

You can also pick other non-formal occasions like National Sisters Day, or even unheard of occasions like You’re So Beautiful Day… (make it up if you will)!

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Some sweet treats with sweet messages for my office friends.

8. Be Santa for a day!

There are really kawaii (cute) school supplies like notebooks, pens, erasers that cost just 10 pesos a piece. Buy 10 things of your choice and place some cheerful notes on them. Give these away to everyone you meet on your way to school or work in classic Santa Clause style. Do not forget the “Ho Ho Ho!”

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My lovely niece, Bebe.

Think of it this way, the more good that you give, the more good you will receive. If you have heard of the law of attraction, then it simply means that you attract the things that you put out to the universe. Why not be a good energy in this vast space?

At the very least, you allow a little ray of sunshine to brighten someone else’s day. Even a simple yet sincere good morning goes a long way. In these small acts, you are restoring people’s faith in humanity, including yours.

What other small acts of kindness have you done? Let me know!

(Kinda) Book Review: The Fault in Our Stars

Thanks to Facebook, I saw the trailer of the movie release of this book even before I actually read it.  My officemate posted the video and I immediately approached her the next day and asked if I could borrow the book. (Thank you @Joan.)

The title was familiar but I had no clue on what the story was about. Needless to say, I am not a John Green fan. I am sorry Nerdfighters! In my defense, it is solely because I have never heard of him. No, I have never seen his YouTube vlogs too. However, with this book, I might be joining the fans club, though I am not sure if I am nerdy enough to do so.

Fault

Now off to the book review. It is a fresh take on a sad love story. It follows teenagers Augustus and Hazel Grace who cross each other’s paths in a support group meeting for Cancer patients. Love is always more enriched with death involved but Green’s manner of telling the story spices it up even more.

It is fairly predictable but what amuses me the most is John Green’s writing style. He really is a nerd, in a good way. This is one of those books that don’t just make you feel, it also makes you think long and hard. He also placed more depth into the lead characters. The protagonists are 17-year olds but they are not described stereotypically.

There are good amounts of laughter and excitement in the book that I can relate to, especially with teenage “kilig.” Since Cancer is part of the equation, pain, lots of pain, plus depression, and all other emotions attached with dying are also common factors in the story. Oh, poetry is also evident, which I really enjoyed too.

I call The Fault in our Stars refreshing because I have never read something like it before. Being a sucker for melodramas, (thanks to years of Korean drama exposure), I truly enjoyed the author’s take on Cancer love stories. Green’s world is quite different from mine, so that is why I am still testing the waters of his nerdy universe, but I really appreciate the new set of vocabulary words and concepts I got from this book.

Metaphorical resonance. Hamartia. Cancer perks. Oblivion. Pain demands to be felt.

This is more of an author review than a book review but I definitely enjoyed reading The Fault in our Stars and this won’t be my last read on Green’s work.

I give it 3 ½ stars. The movie will be released this June. I will watch it and highly suggest that you do, too.

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Book Review: The Time Keeper

the time keeper

It took me a million years to write another book review but this book is just too good to pass up.

The Time Keeper is a tale about three souls connected by time. It is written by Mitch Albom (one of my favorite writers ever) and published in 2012. I really don’t know why it took me two years before reading this but I’m so happy that I finally did.

The story is divided into three parts. It follows the lives of three totally different people living in three different worlds but who are connected with their insatiable greed, desire, and hatred for time.

It features Dor, an ancient man who first measured time, later dubbed as father time; Sarah, a 17-year old smart girl who falls in love with the wrong guy; and Victor,  an old-aged business mogul who is diagnosed with Cancer.

I won’t divulge more on their stories but will provide actual quotes from the book that just melted my heart. These are the lines depicted in particular moments of the characters’ stories that somehow reflected mine during some point in time in my life.

“She knew what it feels like to lose your place in the world.”

The author talks about Alli, Dor’s wife who, together with Dor, was shunned by society. Losing your place in the world, this is something I dreaded, still do. I first felt this straight after college, when I was technically unemployed and clueless with what my life was for.  Do you know what it feels like to lose your place in the world?

“Sometimes, when you are not getting the love you want, giving makes you think you will.”

Sarah felt this way over Ethan, a pretty boy who surprisingly gave her attention. This line resonated how I used to deal with things. When you don’t get the attention or affection that you want, you just give more to fill in the gaps.

“When we are most alone is when we embrace another’s loneliness.”

Loneliness is such a commonplace. Who wouldn’t resonate to that?

“Hurting ourselves to inflict pain on others is just another cry to be loved.”

This line reminded me of a friend who is often in trouble at school for doing careless things. It made me realize how desperate she was for the love of her family.

“She had been so consumed with escaping her own misery; she hadn’t considered the misery she might inflict.”

This made me miss my parents. When kids grow up and try to live independent lives, their parents remain the same. Worrying and caring for them from a distance.

 “With endless time, nothing is special. With no loss or sacrifice, we can’t appreciate what we have.”

This is my favorite passage in the book. It encapsulates the morale of the book.  Albom drives home the point with this line. This book reminds us that God limits our days to make each one precious. I hope that you, my dear reader, realize just how precious your life is. Make every moment count.

I give this book four stars! Cheers to the only life we have!