Thursday, 26 July 2012

Venice International Film Festival, Philippines Entry

I couldn`t be more prouder to say that I am a Filipino,especially with this news I just stumbled as I browse the net.

Philippines, yes, my beloved Philippines has an entry to the Main Category for the Venice International Film Festival and this is the film by Brilliante Mendoza entitled `Sinapupunan` (Thy Womb). In this film is our very own Superstar, Nora Aunor, who just came back in the entertainment scene months ago after years of hiatus in the U.S.  This film feature Sama (Bajau) in Tawi-tawi, Philippines.

A lot has been said and not said about this southern part of Philippines (Mindanao), but I had this chance to watch an interview with Nora Aunor about her experience filming in Tawi-tawi at one time. Her connection to the place was very moving and just watching how sentimental she was of Tawi-tawi and the life our fellow Filipino lives there, I felt like I wanna go there myself and see it for myself that that part of Mindanao is not as dangerous as they famed it to be.

But thank goodness to a film like this, we would be able to take a glimpse of their life, of the place and of how lucky we are to have such a culture that we can be proud of.

Support and be Proud!!!

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Looking forward for September 2012

One of the best thing about coming back here in Canada is experiencing the four seasons of the year: Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall. We had an awesome Fall when we came back here last September, then the most awesome Winter (which gave us like 3 dumps of snowed week-end only), then a summer-like Spring that felt like we never had Winter.. and right now, the most intense-humid-dry Summer. Can't blame me if I am already looking forward for Fall. :)

But I am seriously looking forward to Fall. Simply because of everything is coming up...

Khloe's Ballet - as soon as first Saturday of September starts, Khloe's ballet is starting. This is a regular Saturday schedule until their Recital Production on May, 2013. Khloe has been asking to go back to her ballet non-stop. Her little brain can't comprehend the fact that there is a Summer break even for teachers of ballet. She's all registered and ready to come back.

September Mondays, All-Star Dancing With The Stars - Not only is DWTS starting again, but most of all, it's an All-Star. I am looking forward for Mario Lopez coming back. My mother is looking forward for DWTS staring again, PERIOD.

September Tuesdays, NCIS Season 12 - Of course, my beloved NCIS. If the teeners are looking forward to Glee, I can't wait for NCIS to start. I miss me some Gibbs, Tony, Ziva, Abby, McGee, and Ducky!!!

September Wednesdays, Survivor (in Philippines) & X-Factor - This is the day when the I become an expert on switching channels. Pick which one.. but both are very promising. Looking forward to watching Survivor showcast places in Philippines. Wonder where they shoot.

September Thursday, X-Factor Result - What can I say? If Mother watched X-Factor and not watch the result, what's the purpose of anticipating? 

Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays - Family Bonding. September means Fall and kids go back to school. Week-end is their time to bond with Khloe. Also means, Thanksgiving and Christmas is on it's way. And it means Birthdays are around the corner, too. 

What can I say? Time flies so fast :)

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Baking with My Toddler

As we enjoy our new place... I can't help but get anxious with things that needs to get done and organized. I haven't had a home to organize for months already that I felt like this is a different start all over again. But with the move happening very smoothly and we got settled really I have to come up with ideas on how make this new home really enjoyable for both my mother and my toddler.

Of course, the kitchen is always my favourite room.

 I haven't  enjoyed cooking and baking this much until now, and it's because of my almost-3yearold toddler, Khloe.

When we were in California and was staying at our own apartment... she was still very young to actually enjoy baking or cooking. I think she was just starting to walk. I remember, I would pull up her high chair close to the counter tops and would give her ladles and wire whiskers to play with. 

But now... she's a big girl enough to roll her own crescent, whisk the ingredients, or even just beat the eggs. Her favourite part is putting  the cup liners on the baking pan.

She loves what we're doing and she would always ask for something to bake.

These activities keep her busy that she is now used to not having her cousins to play with at all times,  and also makes her appreciate home baked and home made foods and pastries.

With this, I am able to stock up with healthy muffins for my mother's breakfast and snacks. I am also able to encourage Khloe to eat home made snacks.. like home-baked french fries. 

My mother's strictness to healthy eating habits made me conscious with buying groceries. Zero calories is very important on the packaging. My blueberry muffin is all whole wheat flour, oat bran   and even, wheat bran. 

This healthy diet is growing on me.

Now I just have to start with a work-out.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Khloe's First Emergency Visit to the Hospital


We were in a Christening Reception when it all happened. Her dad was suppose to be watching her/them.
He was watching alright, but was not able to get to her on time.

One second is all it takes!!!

If blaming is the game, I don't blame hubby, but I could blame the fact that he lacked training and needs to get back to that babysitting/parenting game.

SCENARIO: As a godnmother, I was inside the restaurant with the celebrant and family and friends. The kids went outside for a play. Hubby watching Khloe. My nephew decided to play chase with Khloe on a piggy back ride. He lost his footing and lost his balance, scraped his elbows and (as much as he tried to protect Khloe), Khloe fell off his back. Both of them crying. Hubby didn't came to me right away. First time to see Khloe crying so painfully and non-stop. I am so used to her consolable and I just have kiss her bo-bo away and she'll be fine. Not at this point. I thought she scraped her back. I tried not to look at it because she doesn't want to be moved or touched anywhere. I held her.. she's still crying. We ended up going home early as both kids were un-consolable.

At home, I tried to check where she got hurt. My sister keeps on telling me to bring her for a check-up. I tried calmness. Khloe is still crying and don't want me to move her. She just wants me to hold her and not move. I can't check anything. My sister repeatedly asked me to bring her to see a doctor. Again, I waited until Khloe stopped crying and I can check what happened. It was a couple of minutes before I was able to console her. I checked her back and found no scrape. Then I notice she's not moving her right arms. I thought she broke her shoulder. I tried to move her from the side and she ended up wailing in pain. That's when I decided to bring her and see a doctor. I know.. this is one pain I can't just kiss away. Atleast I know what to tell the doctor.

We went to a walk-in. The clinic is almost closing, so he wrote us a referral to the hospital for XRAy. Getting Khloe in and out of the car and her car-seat was a struggle. When we got to the hospital... the wait was... a wait. I tried to put her to sleep but she wakes up everytime I shifts her on my other arm. Hubby was out mostly to try and find parking for the car. Being this is a FIRST TIME for both of this, for all of these... it was a learning experience. Still, we were so clueless, parking was even a struggle. 

When we got to the one of the emergency room, it took forever for the doctor to come. Good thing Khloe found the bed comfy, she slept the whole time waiting for the doctor. When the doctor came in, he sent us for xray at the upper floor and we came back and waited for the result. After a couple of minutes, we were told, she got a broken collar-bone. Thank goodness she is young enough that her bone will heal back in a jiffy. We didn't get any prescription. We were just told it was a broken collar-bone and that we need to go for a follow-up check the next week with a bone-doctor.

After another struggle with getting her inside the car -- we brought her to Port Dalhousie for a carousel ride. This idea made her face lift up... and for a couple of minutes, we saw that old Khloe back to herself, riding the horse on the carousel. 

This experience showed us how brave of a toddler she was. Despite the pain.... she tried to smile.. to laugh, to play the best that she can. She didnt got sick  which is such a relief. The pain comes and goes especially when she tries or we try to move her. The next day, I was late at work because I need to leave her comfortable in bed resting. I showed her that putting a sling could help her. I came home with her playing her puzzles in a sling.

After three days, she is good enough to run and stumble. From time to time she would remember she got hurt on her right shoulder and she would tell me "Doctor, Mom? Medicine??"

Then, I tell her that she is perfectly fine and that she doesn't need a doctor, nor medicine.

Thank goodness, I have a very strong baby :)

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Niagara Region: Places I Personally Recommends

Since migrating from Philippines and living since in the Niagara Peninsula...
I couldn't be any prouder to call myself a Niagaran-by-Heart, even if I did left it for three years to try California. But the fact that I came back, and decided to stay with my little princess is a testament of how much I love the region. 

A friend asked me to recommend to her other places to see when they visit Niagara the next time (except for the infamous Niagara Falls (Horseshoe Falls) and Fallsview Casino... 

Fact is, I don't know that much places either. I haven't been around Niagara that much. I would know more of places in North California if one would ask me where to go in Bay Area.(Maybe??) But I will try my best to come up with something that would help. And this is mostly a family-oriented kind of scene. (If you ask me which club to go at night -- forget it!!! If not for my job in call center and knew people in bar scenes, I'll never be into one)

If you want detailed places, stop at a Tourist Center (they have one somewhere in QEW)  and you'll get detailed places...

Here's my recommended list:

NIAGARA FALLS (Horseshoe Falls) - I would always specify the Horseshoe Falls because this is the one that we have on the Canadian side. The other one is the American Falls (it might have a name but I forgot what is), but it's the one from the American Side. Parking: There's one close to Table Rock (The Tourist Shop) but you have to pay $20.00. I recommend to park at Fallsview Casino (sometimes when it's not a popular day it would only cost you $5, if you play Casino and get a Players Advantage Card(PAC), show the card when you drive out, cost you nothing, $0. Then stroll down Clifton Hill to experience the breathtaking Niagara Falls. Daytime is good, wait for the mist to subside to get beautiful photos. Nightime is spectacular because of the play of the lights on the water falls. Make sure you bring strollers for the kids, light sweater or coat, weather-wise. Sit on the grass. take your time. I did climbed the tree once when we were too young to be bored there.

CLIFTON HILL (Niagara Falls) - again park in Fallsview Casino (read above post RE: Niagara Falls). When you wanna stroll up (or down) for something to eat, enjoy Clifton Hill. We have the XD Movie Theater  that is full motion (moves). (Haven't experience it yet). There's also the most scariest Hunted House as per my niece. My sister said my niece came out scared and ghostly-faced. Don't forget to try the SkyWheel. Or the Dinosaur Adventure. While at it... along Clifton Hill, you'll see a tower... my nephew's favourite - Skylon Tower. If you're into a romantic mood and have lotsa cash/cards to spare, treat yourself and your guests unto a dinner at the Revolving Restaurant. Tried it with my two friends, twas very expensive but they served me the best and yummiest Salmon Dinner ever. The view of the falls at night, from atop, is worth all the money you spend for the dinner. Again, it doesn't come cheap. If you think too formal is not for you but still would like to try the towering height, try their Buffet on the other level, they charged $35 per person as per my last inquiry last week. (that is plus tax & drink, LOL!) However, if you don't wanna spend money for food but want the KIDS to enjoy themselves, save those coins and small bills, the ground floor of Skylon Tower houses indoor kids fun. All you need is to change those bills to tokens.. and you can sit down there at the dining area as the kids go around and play. 

MAID-OF-THE-MIST. This is a boat ride to experience the thundering water falls. Kids of certain age are not allowed on board. Hence, my hubby and Khloe hasn't experience this yet.

MARINELAND &  SAFARI NIAGARA. Niagara's answer for your zoo escapades, Marineland is located in Niagara Falls while Safari Niagara is in Stevensville (towards Fort Erie). 

GREAT WOLF LODGE, AMERICANA OR FALLSVIEW INDOOR WATERPARK. So far, I have only tried Fallsview Indoor waterpark but I got some info for the other two. Great Wolf Lodge can only be enjoyed if you book the rooms. It's pricey but my family enjoys them.. and watch online for deals. Usually priced between $200 up, with deals, you can get a room for $100plus. Kids could enjoy it so much, I cannot describe it in words except for whatever they say about it, that's pretty much covers how amazing it is. Americana & Fallsview Waterpark are accessible by a day pass or by booking a room. Fallsview is very convenient if you wanna enjoy the Falls scene. Americana on the other hand is driveable.  

BUTTERFLY CONSERVATORY, FLORAL CLOCK, BOTANICAL GARDEN, CABLE CAR RIDE (to New York Side crossing the Whirlpool) & NIAGARA HELICOPTERS -- if you wanna enjoy these beautiful greenery of Niagara, follow the Niagara Parkway (going towards Toronto NOT Fort Erie) and it will lead you straight up to these places. While you're at this locations and you still have the time, try checking out the QUEENSTON HEIGHTS. All you need is a picnic basket, and whatever you need to laze on the grass, hike a trail or smell the flowers.

HAPPY ROLPH'S BIRD SANCTUARY & PORT DALHOUSIE (Saint Catharines). If you want to experience a less hectic place and just wanna enjoy nature at it's best, Happy Rolph's is the place to be. You can feed the ducks, (use to pet) the different animals, little play area, the green grass, follow the trail that would lead you to a rocky lakeside and just breath that air of tranquility. If you wanna enjoy the skin-view beach scene, Port Dalhousie is the place to be. The kids could enjoy a wonderful, fully-restored carousel for a nickel (5 cents) per ride. You can bring your volleyball and test your sports power, or laze around to get that perfect tan on the beach. You can enjoy the stroll as far or beyond the lighthouse. There is also a play area for the kids.(And yes, there is a Tim Hortons in the vicinity).

CRYSTAL BEACH, SHERKSTON BEACH, CRESCENT BEACH, THUNDER BAY BEACH & NICKEL BEACH (Along the beaches of Fort Erie to Port Colborne). Want some sun and beach time? Niagara has all that. Check out these beaches and you don't need to drive hours up north.

CAMPARK RESORTS, RIVERSIDE PARK CAMPGROUND, SHALAMAR CAMPGROUND, WINDMILL POINT PARK, BISSELL HIDEAWAY, are just but a few of Camp Sites for your camping appetite. We did Biseell Hideaway, and although the cabin we booked was pricey, it was all worth it.

NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE WINERIES. Love you wine? Learn how they make them. ENjoy Niagara-On-the-Lake!!!

I know I missed a lot.. but this is what I can come up with as of this moment. Hope it will help you especially for this hella-hot Summer we have!!!!

Getting Filipino TV Shows in Niagara Region of Ontario (Canada)

Moving to our new place means a lot of stuffs to organize and to set up. Considering both my Mother & Khloe's interest is always at the top of my list. The first two days was painful, with Khloe screaming for her "Treehouse" channel after getting bored with her DVD movies. Inside her little brain, she cannot grasp why the same TV is not showing her same favourite show. On the third day... I gave up on my struggle and contacted a provider. I have no choice... I have to settle for what I can have.

What happened was that, days prior to the move, I tried to get RogersTV for my cable provider. RogersTv has TFC (ABS-CBN) Channel subscription. I know my Mother would appreciate it much if I get her a TFC on tv. Unfortunately, after filling up online application and getting a confirmation for a technician to come over, I was not able to complete my online check-out. I tried to contact their customer service and I found out, we have no RogersTV signal in out area. My only option is Cogeco, Bell or Shaw TV(StarChoice).

I tried to work-out the reason why RogersTV didn't work out. I was really excited. So I googled and surfed online as to how or why I can't get a TFC in my area. Until I found out that RogersTv is not availble in our region. Period. The only way I can get TFC is if get the box and pay monthly extra subscription for the Filipino Channels. I rested my case. So I was left with only one choice...

Get BellTV because they have GMA-PinoyTv & FilTv.

When I had everything at the place installed last tuesday and contacted Bell to add the Filipino channels, I was pleased to know that I was actually speaking to a call center agent located in Quezon City. It's comforting to learn from him that Bell is actually considering adding TFC to their channel line-ups. Maybe because of the influx of Filipino immigrants in the Niagara Region who are requesting for TFC. Right now, most Filipinos I know are either subscribed to Cogeco or having their own box.

For now... Mother is trying  to learn GMA-PinoyTv. She has no choice. I let her watch her TFC teleserye from online, connecting my laptop to the small TV we had in the room. The news from 24oras, SAKSI & the likes is a good source of information for her. Atleast, that keeps her updated with what's going on in Philippines right now.

However, when John LLoyd & Bea's teleserye, A Beautiful Affair, will start airing in TFC, I have no choice but to get the box. I think, it's gonna be worth my while and would keep Mother happy.

For now... we just have to enjoy GMA-PinoyTv. I like their news anyways.

New Place... New Home!!!!

Settled at Last!!!

It's been week since we moved to our new crib. It was a hectic day for a move.
The heat was intense. Me & hubby woke up early of friday last week to shop around for last minute shopping and furniture sales. Then we waited to have access for the new pad..  With the help of my ever helpful brother-in-law, Dennis, off they went to haul in the boxes and meager furniture that I had. Dennis borrowed a  truck for our move, and did 2 trips of intense hauling in and out under a surge of crazy humidity and blazing heat with hubby. Then off they went to haul in and out more boxes for my sis' friend.

With the help of Mother & my sis, Clarisa, Khloe was spared of that crazy temperature as she stayed with them at her house. I tried to put away as much stuffs as I can, and set up my kitchen as fast as I can. Thirsty & toasted, I requested to loan a cooler from work and brought home Cook & Cold Cooler from the shop. The cold & refreshing water helped me a lot in not losing my sanity from such a rigorous day.

I decided to spend the night with hubby & Khloe at our new place, especially given the fact that hubby is flying the next day back to California. After some 4 hours, the apartment is almost set-up except for the dining set that my sister, Cherry, is giving us. When everybody thought everyone was hungry and tired enough... we decided to eat out to grab some Vietnamese food.Cherry ended  our tiring day with the promised dining set. 

Next day... hubby flew home...
With that weak determination to cross the border.

I know... he loved the new place.