Let’s Sing “Bahay Kubo”

life in the Philippines

Bahay kubo has a new version.

I bet, families today can relate to this one:

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taken out from a Facebook post


Last time I was in Manila (which was just in January 2014), high-rise condominium buildings are sprouting everywhere. This is the new version of our “bahay kubo”.


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The Kumkang Kids at Dwight School Seoul

north korea, The 601 Habit

The Kumkang Kids had a very active day last month with the ladies of The 601 Habit and the volunteers.

It was a rainy day, a day you wouldn’t wish for when you have sports activities planned out for the kids. But we got the gym of Dwight School Seoul whose management allowed us to use for our July’s Give-Back Project, “Sports Day with Kumkang Kids”.


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Kids posing in front of Dwight School Seoul entrance


My second-grader goes to Dwight but he wasn’t able to attend our July activity with Kumkang as he had a Saturday training with his taekwondo school. He was preparing for Kukkiwon or his Dan promotion test.

We immediately allowed the kids to settle down and oriented them about the activities. They were made to choose which sports they would like to play and introduced them to their respective coaches.


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Me orienting the kids with special help from Katherine Corteza-Kim who did the translation

The “Sports Day” wouldn’t have been possible if we didn’t have volunteer soccer and basketball coaches. So, we are so happy to have several kind-hearted men who volunteered their time and effort with us and the Kumkang kids. Special thanks to Josh Ovenden, Zaldy Aquino, Eric Matias Olivare, Clement Sagra, Isagani Ceniza and Harley Boy Maceda Ortiz.


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Kumkang kids, ladies of The 601 habit and the volunteers at Dwight School Seoul gym

We also had special lady volunteers who helped us during the day’s activity. Ms. Gennie Kim didn’t just volunteer her time with us, she also gathered our Filipino basketball coaches. Ms. Katherine Corteza-Kim played with the kids and was a big help in translating for me and Josh. Ms. Myla Ellorando, president of Akbayang Pinay sweated it out with the kids and joined them in their games.

Bus and lunch were sponsored by our major Give-Back Project major sponsor, the CJ Welfare Foundation. They have committed to stick it out with us for one year and we are glad that our commitment to Kumkang School and the kids are carried out every month without fail. And that is largely due to CJ Welfare’s support.

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bus provided by CJ Welfare Foundation

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pizza overload provided by CJ Welfare Foundation

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Rep. Jasmine Lee with the ladies of The 601 Habit helping the kids during lunch time


Just look at their faces while playing. Precious!

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Rep. Jasmine Lee

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More pictures of these happy faces are here in our Face book page.

Photo credits: Jack Rusl


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Back to School for Second Grade

education, Firstborn

Another milestone happened last Monday for LeRuof, my firstborn. He is back to school! As a second-grader.

Bus pick-up was changed for this school year and I am happy with the new location. Bus H is picking up my son at the corner where I could easily see them from my veranda:

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I watched my husband walk my son to the bus stop. And there goes the Dwight School Seoul school bus ready to bring the kids for their first day at school for 2014 – 2015.

This veranda window will see through the 4 seasons of this school year:-).


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An Evening with Piccasso

shopping, skin care products, women

When the opportunity for a free make-up class came, I didn’t allow myself a second thought of attending it. I need it:-).

Core Global, Inc., a boutique marketing firm here in Seoul, offered this make-up class to bloggers featuring Piccasso products. Piccasso has make-up brushes and false eye lashes which had been exclusively used by people in the beauty industry.


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Piccasso make-up brushes

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Piccasso Eye Me false lashes


Yeah, the products weren’t available to the general consumers. When the products became known in the fashion and entertainment industry, interest from the general consumers followed. So, the company launched Piccassobeauty.net for the products to be more accessible worldwide.

It was a classy evening. We were treated to some cookies, muffins, cheese and wine while the lecture and make-up demo was on-going.

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The make-up class kicked-off with the pretty volunteer named Chelsea. She possesses a very nice skin tone and ideal facial features. There weren’t too many things that were done on her but her transformation was very attractive, simple and beautiful.

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Since the participants have all different skin tone and facial features, our songsaengnim went around and gave us some advice. Mine was, I wasn’t using the right foundation and I was using the wrong lip color… not too encouraging, eh?


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Myla getting some tips from the expert:-)


I’ve learned a valuable lesson on how to use the foundation brush. You see, I just paint my face in any direction (that gives you a pretty good idea of my make-up skill). As to the right foundation shade… hmmm, let’s see when my current bottle is done. The right lip color? That’s my perennial weakness.

Aside from the make-up lessons, Myla and I went home happy with our loot – we got 4 sets of Eye Me false lashes, a Piccasso foundation brush, a brush kit and a bottle of wine. I could do more of this self-development sessions. Interesting!


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a “Me” evening


For those interested to purchase some Piccasso products, head over to the Piccasso site now!

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Is there an Estrada who Posseses Even Just a Little Bit of Decency?



Because this one has no sense of shame!

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Face of a man devoid of any sense of shame and decency


Jinggoy willing to be Binay’s running mate

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Use for my Old Scarves


I’d been restless and I’d been wanting to do something… anything. “The Nesting Place” by Myquillyn Smith + Hubby coming home tomorrow = living room make-over using old scarves I couldn’t bring myself to use anymore.

So here goes:


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bold colors contrasting the dainty uphosltery

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lamp head color is cream, wall color is cream = scarf serves to break the monotony


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i can’t afford to buy a new table = kiddie table is now covered with pale pink scarf


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used old scarf with accessory bought from Singapore for counter-top divider


I’m taking to heart this restlessness to make and see something new… must be workings of getting a year older in a few days.


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“The Nesting Place” by Myquillyn Smith

books, household

“You don’t have to wait for perfect conditions. Create your home now, wherever you are. You have everything you need.”

This is the part which struck me most from the whole book. For the longest time now, I had been continually hoping that our family will settle in a big, spacious house where I could do the interiors just the way I want. I had been dreaming of ample space to put my ideas on home decorating into reality. I used to tell my husband I wanted a library, a living room, a dining room, a playroom, a big walk-in closet. Instead, we have been living in a small 2-bedroom apartment. The good part of this deal is, we are in a good area, accessible to a lot of things. The area is home to expensive apartments, thus the small cuts. Bigger (and more expensive) apartments are beyond hubby’s company’s budget. For 6 years, I had been moving furnitures around the house when the desire to see something new comes. I can’t paint nor put on wall stickers. So, really!

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It was perfect timing when I saw this book from BookLook Bloggers. I had to read it. And I am glad I did! I realized I had been making excuses to friends who come over to the house…. “The house is a mess”… “What do you expect when you have two boys?”… This book made me realize I shouldn’t be making excuses, at all. I welcome my friends to the house because I enjoy having them. And I guess, they enjoy coming to the house because they feel at home, too. One time my husband told me, “even if we live in a matchbox, you would still find a way to invite friends over”. And it’s true. As the author said, “maybe you’d just like to have a home where you are free to have people over and focus on them instead of all your home’s imperfections”. 

It’s really from experience that I agree with the author when she said that it is our ‘buts’ that hinder us from doing what we want. I had been struggling with limitations in decorating and buying things for the house. When we first moved here in Seoul, we thought we will  be staying here for only a couple of years. Furniture were bought with the thought that all these is temporary.

Well, we will be on our 9th year here early next year:-). Indeed, “much of the beauty that arises in our homes comes from the struggle we wage with our limited resources” (quote from Henri Matisse, modified by the author). I still recognize the limitations of our home but at least now, I have the consciousness not to allow myself to be hindered by these limitations. And the important thing is, I calmly accept that “You don’t have to wait for perfect conditions. Create your home now, wherever you are. You have everything you need.”


I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.


The Bone and Vinegar Experiment


So far, this had been an effective reminder to the kids not to drink soda:-).

It was on their insistence that we try this experiment from a science book given to them two years ago. We set aside 2 chicken bones. One bone was covered on its own while the other bone was dipped in vinegar and covered for two days:

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After 2 days, the two boys wanted to see how the bones differed from each other. One broke the bone covered as it is while the other one broke the bone dipped in vinegar. This really scared them off:

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The bone cut in half on the left side had its bone marrows still intact and firm. The bone on the right side was easier to break and the insides were easily taken out. A little bit of explanation about the effect of acid in our bones made the two boys panicked for a good number of minutes. They then asked for milk and vegetables.

They became too scared to drink coke.

I’ll count the days till the spell is broken:-).

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Bringing the Kids of Kumkang School to the KOICA Global Village

north korea, pinoys in korea, The 601 Habit

Four Saturdays ago, we, at “The 601 Habit”, had the opportunity to bring the kids of Kumkang School to the KOICA Global Village at Seongnam-si, Gyeonggido.

The KOICA Global Village is located in a sprawling area which also houses various KOICA buildings including dormitories for visiting KOICA volunteers and staff from other countries and training centers.


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KOICA at Seongnam-si


Together with our volunteers, the ladies of “The 601 Habit”, the Principal and kids of Kumkang School were welcomed by Mr. Joonsung Park, Director of the Legislative & Public Affairs Team of KOICA. Representative Jasmine Lee, the Philippine-born Member of National Assembly was also present to attend the lecture and tour especially scheduled for the kids of Kumkang School.


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The 601 Habit with KOICA’s Director for Legislative & Public Affairs Team, National Assembly Member Jasmine Lee and Kumkang Principal 주명화 Ju Myung-hwa.


KOICA or Korea International Cooperation Agency is Korea’s government agency that grants aid and technical assistance to developing countries through the implementation of its ODA (Official Development Assistance) programs. The KOICA Global Village offers tours and exhibits to visitors most of which are free. You can check current exhibits in KOICA’s website. Last June 28, we brought the Kumkang kids for a lecture and exhibit of the Republic of Congo. A KOICA Global Village staff first lectured about the role of KOICA and the kind of assistance it provides. She then went on to lecture about the life in Congo.


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lecture about KOICA and the Republic of Congo


The kids were eager listeners and willing participants during the guided tour.


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guided tour



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trying on a musical instrument


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trying on traditional dress


Kids had the chance to play in the KOICA grounds after lunch.


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play at the KOICA grounds


More than the grateful kids, we are more thankful for the accommodation extended by the KOICA Global Village. A KOICA bus was also provided to safely transport us all.


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And as always, the CJ Welfare Foundation provided for the packed lunch and the snacks of the volunteers and the kids.


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lunch provided by CJ Welfare Foundation


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pizza snack provided by CJ Welfare Foundation


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pizza snack provided by CJ Welfare Foundation

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pizza snack provided by CJ Welfare Foundation


This “Give-Back Project” is increasingly getting to be a collaborative effort and there are more and more people and groups willing to help out. May we continue to have the resources and the time to give to these kids who have traveled far to get to a safe place as where they are now.

Bless them and bless our partners, sponsors and volunteers.


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Changing of the Royal Guards at Gyeongbukgong Palace

life in korea

One of the must-see places in Seoul is the Gyeongbukgong Palace. One of its main attraction is the changing of the Royal Guards. This reenactment is fashioned after the Changing of the Guards at Buckingham Palace.




The changing of the Royal Guards happen everyday except Tuesdays and they do it 3 times a day at 10am, 1pm and 3pm.


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