Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Look at What's Happening Soon!

Are you ready? Is your wallet ready? Are you ready to burn plastic? I AM! I can't wait!

Check out what happened during the last Members' Treat Sale here.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Today is National Banana Split Day!

And that is why Five Cows Resto and Ice Cream Bar is giving you the opportunity to try their Old-Fashioned Banana Split for just 69pesos! That's 58% off the original price of 165pesos!

I screamed for Ice Cream and got this great deal for Five Cows today! Only P69.00 for an Old-Fashioned Banana Split! 

Get this great deal only through Ensogo!

Purchase of vouchers is limited to a minimum of 2, and a maximum of 5 per person, but you may use as much vouchers if you're going as a group.

To see this deal, visit Ensogo today!

Five Cows Resto & Ice Cream Bar
4th Level, Trinoma Mall, Quezon City (near the cinemas)
For reservations, please contact:
Phone #: (02) 9013748
On Facebook:

Friday, August 19, 2011

Making Waves in New York to Help Out Filipino Kids!

Below is an article written by eKindling on the website - a feature on my favorite cousin and wonderwoman, Ayesha! I am reposting this for all of you to read. Be inspired! 

From Investment Banking to Community Co-Investment with Ayesha Vera Yu of Advancement For Rural Kids
Investment banker turned social entrepreneur Ayesha Vera Yu is changing the lives of Children across the Philippines

Ayesha Vera Yu makes things happen! As CEO and Co-Founder of Advancement for Rural Kids (ARK), Ayesha has been intimately involved in developing the vision, implementing the mission, and ensuring that the organization makes a real impact. Prior to ARK, Ayesha “sold her soul” and “worked like a dog” in investment banking for 12 years as a Director at the largest French Bank, BNP Paribas. In 2006, Ayesha invested in restructuring the family farm into an organic and integrated one – where carabaos, chickens, ducks, and goats live happily with rice and vegetables. Ayesha studied biology and chemistry at Mount Holyoke College and received her MBA from Columbia University. She lives in NYC, and you can reach her at

My cousin, Ayesha, with first-grade kids of Sibariwan, Capiz. 

You co-founded a non-profit called Advancement for Rural Kids, can you tell us about it?

Advancement for Rural Kids partners with communities to improve primary education and health of children in rural areas in developing countries, starting in the Philippines.

In addition to the local communities, ARK collaborates and partners with volunteer professionals, students, schools and universities to develop innovative solutions that will keep kids in school, in better health and armed with the critical tools to access opportunities that would lead to a future devoid of poverty.

ARK’s programs are school-based, community-managed, financially sustainable at the local level and results-oriented and include:

Keystone feeding program - ($15/kid/year) for a nutritious lunch of protein and vegetables
Provisioning of school supplies - ($5/kid/year), for donated books and computers
High school scholarships - ($50/kid/year) for school fees, uniform, supplies, and much needed tutoring
Infrastructure projects like rain water catchments, school houses etc.
For-profit projects for the community (currently in development)
We have grown exponentially since we founded ARK in December 2008. Now, ARK sponsors over 1,260 students and partners with over 700 parents and teachers in four villages in Dumarao, Capiz.

What was the inspiration for ARK ?

In January 2008, I visited my family’s farm in the village of Sibariwan in Dumarao, Capiz. The first grade teacher in the local school, which was 15 minutes away from our farm, heard that I was in the village. Breaking away from Pilipino tradition (especially in the provinces), the teacher was so persistent in her visits and invitation, and would not let me leave the village without meeting her students. When I walked in her classroom, over 50 kids ranging in age from 4 to 11 were excitedly shouted in unison “good morning maam”. I saw 3-4 kids huddled around each textbook that was literally in tatters. I saw a gaping hole taking up almost a third of the ceiling and found out that if it rained, class is suspended and that kids get sick. I saw students holding pencils that are 2 inches long and learned that teachers come out of pocket for students’ school supplies and test papers as students barely come to school with food, much less supplies. Given the teacher’s initiative, the beaming kids, despite the shocking conditions, I could not leave without trying to help. So I took whatever cash I had, $300 or so, and handed it over to the teacher to get the roof fixed and the kids some school supplies.

I went back to NYC and told Jerry Topitzer, my co-founder, about my experience and showed him pictures of the school and the kids. A month later, Jerry and I heard back from the teacher. She happily reported that the roof was fixed in about two weeks. Because the parents banded together and volunteered to fix the roof for free, there was excess money to buy school supplies for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd graders, accounting for 2/3rd of the school population!

While the finance sector was getting enveloped by doom and gloom in 2008, we were presented with a teacher who went out of her way to find a solution to what she knew to be a problem; a group of parents that would work together for the betterment of the whole; and a model for co-investment. At this point, we could not just sit idle and do nothing!

In December 2008, Jerry and I went back to Sibariwan, this time with some more donated funds, books and two computers - and despite only 1 day’s notice, were welcomed by over 400 parents, teachers and students in the pouring rain. It was during this visit that we saw intimately that people have ideas and understand (much better than us) ways to solve the challenges that face them. Donated books and computers, and locally purchased school supplies, were not going to make a dent in improving education if the kids are hungry. Our meetings with the community – and listening to the parents, teachers and community leaders led to an idea to try to solve what was clearly one of the biggest issues: malnutrition. With the donated funds we decided to pilot what would later become our keystone feeding program, which we launched in January 2009. This important initiative has proven to get kids back to school, fight malnutrition and spur weight gain, while providing additional income to the local community.

What inspires you to do the work that you do?


Seeing kids excitedly pouring over books and selecting them over toys as prizes on our student workshops…

Seeing student attendance levels go from 70% to 90% within a week, and seeing students gain, on average, 10 lbs within 3 months of implementing the feeding program…

Learning that ARK scholars like 15 year old Jurel Evangelista would wake up at 5am to get ready and prepare his lunch by himself while the rest of the household slumbers, walk to school for an hour and get to school by 7am on time for class every day! He, like the rest of the 49 scholars, are committed to finishing 4 years of high school, are getting better grades than they got previously, and are excited to be a step closer to their dreams…

These positive, tangible and measurable results excite and inspire me.

Who or what have had the biggest influences in your life as a changemaker?

My mom is the ultimate change maker. I have idolized her for as long as I can remember. To discuss how she influenced me would be another interview altogether.

What's one of the failures/challenges you experienced in your changemaking career? And how did you overcome it?

The first challenge has been trying to communicate, coordinate, and continue to keep everything on track in the Philippines from over 8000 miles away in New York. We have been able to overcome that with the continued commitment of the teachers who call us at least twice a month and email the required reporting. Typhoons, patchy cell service, and language barriers all present challenges. Cultural differences are also not to be underestimated – living in a fast paced urban area like New York, one has to adjust expectations with regard to the pace of life in the rural provinces. Lastly, everyone in the community has different perspectives and often some members may not be used to ARK’s methods of community development. For any program, we look for community contribution or counterpart. We also audit to ensure effectiveness and to account for every expense. Not all parents and teachers are used to being accountable for every peso that is distributed to the school. Expenses that are not supported by receipts have to paid by the program members, team leader and school head. This rigor requires training and consistent reinforcement but it is so critical for us to demonstrate our effectiveness and differentiate ourselves as an organization.

How can those reading now get involved in ARK and why do you think it's important to get involved in giving back to the Philippines?

Like us on Facebook at Visit and support us on Email us your ideas and wishes at

For Filipinos, it’s not a question of why it’s important to give back in the Philippines. Filipinos all over the world already do this! We send money, clothing, balikbayan boxes packed with chocolates and spam all the time. Repatriations prop up and fuel the Philippine economy right now.

The more appropriate questions when we give back - whether it’s family or a nonprofit organization are: Can you trace your dollar? Is the program sustainable, and the results immediate and long lasting? Do you want to just hand out money, or do you want to co-invest with a community or a parent who is doing something effective to get themselves out of poverty?

~~~ o ~~~

A Feeding Program at one of the ARK-partner schools in Capiz.

Packing children's books donated by the good people of New York! 

Advancement for Rural Kids (ARK)
- improving primary education for rural communities in developing countries

My cousin is an amazing woman. I cannot even begin to imagine how she does it. Imagine being on top of the corporate ladder and giving all that up to help kids in her homeland. She lives in New York and yet, her heart is with the Philippines. 

If you're willing to help out or are interested in finding out how you can be a part of ARK, like their Facebook page here or visit their webpage at

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Let Me Tell You a Secret.

Today is R's birthday. Things have been pretty civil (more like nice) between us for a while. Although there are days when I don't hear from him, and days when I don't think about him, things have been pretty much okay.

Two nights ago, over the phone, we talked about past birthdays. And how, during one of those surprise parties I threw for him, he declared to his friends that he will be the best father to A. Bittersweet. And although he isn't exactly the best dad in the world, I'd like to think he is trying his best - at least as best as how he knows 'best' to be. He was never dad, exactly, to M or KY. So he's only had practice with A (a little bit with RL). And he hasn't been there as much, really, for the little boy. Who knows how much of an influence or an inspiration his dad was in terms of being a parent... So yea, I suppose in his eyes, he is doing okay. Not to say, he could be better. But that's just how it is, for now.

An old photo from R's Friendster account, showing him with baby A.
His shirt (sent by a relative from the US) says World's Best Mom. Hehe.

In that same conversation, which turned out pretty pleasant, we talked about that first birthday surprise in Rockwell, 10 years ago (or was it 11? I forget) - one he doesn't quite remember, except for the part where he tells our server his real age, after being sang to and given a brimming bowl of vanilla ice cream. And we had a good laugh about it.

Time flies. There are days when I think about the good times, and then, there are days when I wish the good times overshadowed the bad. Right now, we're okay and the kids are happy. And I guess that holds importance in family relationships, right? I'm not saying we're fixed or we'll ever get to the point where all is well, but right now, we're fine and that's dandy.

And of course, with all this talk about age, the topic of change came up more than once. Last night, I had asked if he thought that at his age, it was okay to be doing what he was doing. He answered in the form of silence. I don't want to appear like the consenting wife, but at this point, I only wish he is safe and is keeping himself protected from harm and disease.

Times have changed and wounds heal. R, sadly, hasn't changed. Today, his phone is ringing off the hook, and he's probably enjoying his day with his "friends" - friends who think they are more important than family... who think it is cool to be part of that secret life R has been living. But guess what? I know a secret you guys don't.

See, a week ago, on one of those late night conversations with R, he mentioned it was his birthday soon, and his friends (who were with him in the car while he was on the phone with me) had asked how old he was going to be. R, nonchalantly, replied he was going to be 30 on his birthday. 30.

A pretty random number now, don't you think?

I somehow recall celebrating the same birthday 10, maybe 11 years ago. And back then, I was caught off guard as I remember him telling me he was only 26!

You do the math.

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Dear Heavenly Father, 

Today, I pray a hedge of protection around R. 
May the blood of Jesus cover him
 and keep him away from sin. 
I also ask that You reveal Yourself to him
 and that he gets to experience Your love
 and how it is to be Your child. 

In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Accentuating the Positives

There are a number of things I would like to change. And this would be one.

From this day forward, I am taking my eyes off the negatives, and will start accentuating the positives. After all, with God, ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE. We only need to believe.

Count your blessings with me! Check out my other blog: COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Books For Less Warehouse Sale!

Love books? Don't mind previously-owned ones? Then this SALE is for you!

Books for Less is having a Warehouse Sale! Currently ongoing 'til the 20th of August!

Hurry! You only have a week to catch this Sale! The Books For Less Warehouse is open from Monday - Saturday only.

A and I decided we'd check out the sale today. The catch was... the warehouse is open until 5pm only. So we rushed to Pasig and got to the sale with about 15 minutes to browse and shop. We were lucky though, because they were still cleaning new stocks, so that allowed us to look around for half an hour or so. Then it rained really hard, so they gave us another 30 minutes. Yay!

It was a task to look around (read: garage sale) and the books were dusty (an understatement, actually). But that's part of the thrill, right?

Book Heaven! Discounts apply only to books P75 and above. 
Not to worry though, these books were P10 each!
Nice selection of children's books. A went crazy looking through stacks and stacks of good reads.
This could take hours!
These novels went for P15.00 and up. Happy-joy-joy!
An hour is just not enough to check this sale out. Must.Visit.Again.
A wants to go back and dig for more books. Not that we didn't spend more than we had planned today. But yea, looks like we're going back for more.

Our Books For Less loot... well, some of it. Dent on the pocket: P910.00 - not bad!
See you there?

Visit their warehouse at 643 Mercedez Avenue, Pasig City. Sale hours are from 8am to 5pm only, Mondays to Saturdays.

Want to get updates on upcoming events such as this? Like Books for Less on Facebook here. Or check out the Books For Less website here.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Enchanted Kingdom Deal!

My kids are I were just talking about how we should take RL to Enchanted Kingdom since he hasn't been there. He's been to Disneyland in Hong Kong about 6 times already, so he should be ready for EK, right?

Anyway, we were discussing how expensive it is to go to EK nowadays, gas and toll included. So imagine my delight when I received an email notice from Ensogo last night!

EK Passes for P300 each! Great deal! Only from Ensogo Philippines!

Yes, that's 40% off the regular day passes at Enchanted Kingdom! P300 instead of P500! Hurry, as of 12noon today, they've sold over 1,850 passes (and they're only selling a limited amount).

Don't you just love these deals from all these coupon sites? Ensogo makes purchasing easy by offering Bancnet payment options! Just key in your Bancnet ATM card number + pin, and voila! Purchase done!

To see the deal, click here. To join Ensogo and avail of other great deals (up to 90% off!), click here.

Don't Rain on Her Parade!

Dear You,

Actually... you, you, you and you!

If you think this post was meant for you, then you're probably right.

Love, K

"And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?" Mark 8:36 (NLT)

Friday, August 5, 2011

New Blog!

I started a new blog. Yes, you read that right. A new blog.

This one's different though. I needed to start this blog. You see, I've been wallowing in my depths of despair (Anne of Green Gables, I know) and needed to combat the devil from stealing my joy.

It's called Count Your Blessings - a Daily Photoblog of Thanksgiving. - Excuse the mess, I haven't worked with html codes in years! 
Join me on my journey as I count it all joy.

Visit my new blog here.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Devil's Out to Get You!

I came home late last night (not late-late, but later than usual) and found A on the couch eating dinner. I took a second look and saw her crying. So I asked her what was wrong, and she started crying out loud.

Scary, freaking loud.

After a few more tries at asking her what was wrong, she wailed, "The demons are chasing after me!" (more wailing)

"What do you mean? Do you see them coming for you?" (I know, I know, stupid question, but I had images of old men chasing down my daughter, and not the spirit-type-of-demon)

After much prodding, she wails back, "I can't see them, but I feel them!"

The house echoes her cries. I fear that even the nuns across the street think we have Linda Blair happening over at our place. Nyar.

So I march A up to the bedroom, and try again. (Did I mention I was freaking out already, and nearing a major heart attack?)

I called my mom and asked for help. She tells me to pray with A. I was freaking out (Lord, I know I should've reacted in prayer at first option, and I am sorry I gave in to my demons by getting all worked up on what I thought was happening). Sigh.

So we prayed.

And I asked her again. This time, careful with my choice of words. "What was happening? Did someone hurt her? Did something happen in school? Etc? Etc?"

"I feel it because of all the bad stuff happening to me."

Okayyyyy... like what? (For a while there, I expected the daddy-answer and I was ready with my speech on how demons existed, excuse the pun, kekeke)

"Like the things RL does to me." (What? Like how?)

"Like he gets my toys and writes on my notebooks, and he gets a new toy today, and I have to study."


Anyone here have the demon of sibling rivalry in their home? Turns out, she just woke up from a nap (one I told the nanny she shouldn't take unless she is done with homework and studying for her 4 quizzes for today - note: thank goodness, classes were suspended!) and was scared she was gonna get punished for not studying. And we did stay up 'til past midnight studying because of that nap, and that episode! Read: more huffing and puffing.

Demons. She probably was right. The demons were out to get her. I was livid. And I know I was wrong. She's just nine and is probably as stressed out with school. Sigh.

Pray for us!

Psalm 91
New International Version (NIV)

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
Surely he will save you
from the fowler’s snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
You will only observe with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.

If you say, “The LORD is my refuge,”
and you make the Most High your dwelling,
no harm will overtake you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

“Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”

Related Posts with Thumbnails