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Budgeting During the Pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic has definitely made life difficult for everyone. Regardless of the socioeconomic status, this pandemic continues to sweep across the globe and cause damage in almost every aspect of our lives - physical first and foremost, as well as emotional, mental, and social, at times spiritual, and worst of all, financial. 

Aside from the health and wellbeing of millions of people, this disease has also threatened the livelihood of many - from entrepreneurs, to small and medium-sized enterprises, and even established companies and large scale industries. Many have lost their jobs, most businesses had to close temporarily, and some even had to totally cease operations or file for bankruptcy. 

During these trying times, how can we manage our money and take care of our finances? Here are some tips on budgeting during the pandemic.

Budgeting is very important, now more than ever.

Analyze Your Situation

There are three things to consider for you to be able to get a good grasp of your financial situation - your earnings, your expenses, and your savings. If you still have a steady income despite the pandemic, that's great. But if you or anyone from your household has been laid off or given a salary cut, then there's definitely a need to make adjustments to your budget.

You also need to check your savings as this can tide you over and help you with your expenses. Having a bit of money saved is good, but having saved more is better since we really have no idea as to when things will get back to normal

Prioritize Your Expenses

Before you check out that luxury brand lipstick or limited edition sneakers from your online shopping cart, think twice or thrice and ask yourself - "Do I really need this right now?" 

When it comes to spending, you need to prioritize the essentials first: food, utilities, housings costs, and insurance. These are your non-negotiable expenses - basic needs that you really need to spend money on month after month. 

Lee Sung Kyung in Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo (2017).

Then comes your variable expenses, or costs that can change over time. This includes your spending on gas, clothing, personal care products, travel and recreation, or even that Venti Flat White that you have to have every morning on your way to work - or so you think. Categorizing your expenses will help you determine which ones are the most important, and which ones you can do without. 

Spend Wisely

Work hard, be frugal, spend smart. 

Spending money wisely means getting the most out of your money's worth. You can do this by taking advantage of sale events, couponing (using vouchers to get discounts on products), and using cash back apps if you are purchasing online. With the cash back feature, you get back a percentage of the money you spend. Some credit cards also offer cash back programs, but be wary when using your credit card as there is a tendency to overspend when you're mindlessly swiping (or tapping) at the check-out counter. 
Jin swiping his rare Black Hyundai card.

Reduce Your Debt

Budgeting, saving money, and paying off your debts might seem impossible with the current financial situation. There is a way to work around this, only if you avoid adding more to your debts. Because of the pandemic, many companies are giving leeway to customers and helping them work around their bills by extending payment due dates and reducing interest fees. Some companies even have payment schemes to help their customers get by during these trying times. Get to know more about debt payoff here.

Without a doubt, the COVID-19 pandemic has plunged us into a whole new world of uncertainty. But with the right budget and a positive mindset, we will be able to get by. Always see the good in everything. And as the cliche goes, every cloud has a silver lining. 


Lukot-lukot, Bilog-bilog and Financial Literacy.

Visa, the world’s leader in digital payments and Tanghalang Pilipino (TP), the multi-awarded resident theater company of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), are launching a new version of their financial literacy themed play “Lukot-lukot, Bilog-bilog” (LLBB). The five-episode web series will be free for streaming starting this September.

Launched in 2017 as an interactive musical that is supported by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), LLBB features the story of teenager Gwyneth as she struggles to handle her finances and learns the value of proper financial management with help from her family and friends, and some Filipino heroes brought to life.

It’s important to teach young Filipinos how to make smart financial decisions and the Lukot-lukot, Bilog-bilog theater performance has been extremely successful in helping us achieve this objective. This year, we wanted to create new stories that are relevant in the new normal, while making the play educational and entertaining. We are excited to partner again with our trusted allies in financial education such as Tanghalang Pilipino and Teach for the Philippines to introduce the web series, to expand our outreach to more Filipino children and young people in the country,” said Dan Wolbert, Visa Country Manager for the Philippines and Guam.

Lukot-lukot, Bilog Bilog.

Written by Eljay Castro Deldoc and directed by Avic Ilagan, the new LLBB stories feature five web episodes that focus on various financial topics such as the concept of promotional sales, value of saving, basics of credit, earning additional income, and scam awareness and prevention.

The protagonist is Gwyneth, a teenage girl who will embark on a journey to financial literacy with guidance from characters like Lolo Sally and best friend Jing-Jing. The new web series also introduces new roles such as Gwyneth’s mother Blessie and friend-turned-admirer Aaron, with special appearances from Philippine national heroes and cultural icons.

Well-known financial literacy experts Salve Duplito and Rose Fres Fausto are also featured in the after-show interviews with Lolo Sally to enlighten the audience by providing financial education tips. Through their helpful insights and easy-to-apply tips, viewers will gain a deeper understanding of financial literacy concepts and gain better money management skills.

With Filipinos relying heavily on digital platforms to access media and entertainment, the web series is accessible through the social media sites of Tanghalang Pilipino (Facebook, YouTube) and its other non-profit organization partner for children’s education, Teach for the Philippines ( It will also be showcased on Visa’s Facebook channel.

To reach remote parts of the country with limited access to the internet, LLBB also adapted this web series into a radio play which will air in local radio stations nationwide via the radio networks of Manila Broadcasting Company and Cultural Center of the Philippines.

We are thankful to partner again with Visa for the new LLBB stories. The success we had with the live performances of LLBB in theaters and on campuses showed how impactful theater is when it comes to education. The new LLBB web series will further prove that theater as a medium remains relevant and versatile to help not only the youths but viewers of all ages to become better in managing their finances,” said Carmela Millado-Manuel, Tanghalang Pilipino Company Manager.

Since its debut four years ago, LLBB has reached over 37,000 students and educators across the Philippines. Fans of the show can watch the original story again via Tanghalang Pilipino’s YouTube page. For more information about Visa and LLBB, visit

Check out these behind-the-scenes photos of this highly of the popular play:

Philippine cultural icons like the Katmon tree will help Gwyneth
in her journey in the new LLBB series.

Philippine heroes like Josefa Llanes Escoda will make appearances
in the web series to guide the characters in their financial journey.

From the stage to the screen, Tanghalang Pilipino will showcase
Filipino theater talent in the new LLBB series.



The McDonald’s Famous Twister Fries Is Making A Glorious Comeback!

Coming through! 
The return of the iconic and long-awaited crowd favorite comfort snack is finally here! The McDonald’s Twister Fries is making its way back to the spotlight and we know you won’t be able to resist these delicious, perfectly seasoned, crispy, and golden curly fries!

My all-time favorite Twister Fries is coming back!

With the Twister Fries making a comeback to McDonald’s stores on September 15, you’ll be able to get the same great-tasting fries you love and missed. Savor the flavor and let it fill your tummy when you order it on its own or as an add-on to your McDo favorites like the Big Mac or Coke McFloat.

But for a limited time only!

As all good things come to an end, the Twister Fries will be available for a limited time only and will be retreating backstage before you know it. So don’t miss your chance and be sure to make the most out of this glorious comeback! Level up all your McDo meals with this mouthwatering snack, which will be available in Regular and Sharing sizes!

Great for solo or sharing! (Not sharing mine, though haha!)

What are you waiting for? You already know the drill! Get McDonald’s great-tasting Twister Fries you love before it’s gone! Order it now via McDonald's Take Out, Drive-Thru, McDelivery, Grab Food, and Foodpanda!

Save the date - 09.15.2021!

For more information, follow McDonald’s Philippines on Facebook to stay up to date on all McDo announcements.


There’s More to Obesity than Meets the Eye.

As the world finds itself preoccupied with the COVID-19 pandemic, doctors have come to address and shed light on an equally critical pandemic that has been affecting the world, including roughly 18M Filipinos – that is Obesity.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the worldwide prevalence of obesity nearly tripled between 1975 and 2016. Statistics from 2020 showed that 39% of adults, are considered obese – almost two out of every 5 persons.

President of the Philippine Association for the Study of Overweight and Obesity (PASOO) and obesity expert, Dr. Mia C. Fojas mentioned that in the Philippines, as far back as 1999, obesity was already one of the country’s most serious health concerns.

It was relevant then and even more so today
“It has taken years to recognize obesity as a disease with almost 40% of the population of Metro Manila at this point being either overweight or obese,” revealed Dr. Fojas.

“There are so many complications attributed to obesity, including metabolic, mechanical and even mental diseases, hypertension, diabetes, thrombosis, dyslipidemia, and many others,” Dr. Fojas added. The PASOO president stressed the relevance of obesity awareness in light of Covid-19, “Obesity is known to impair normal bodily function and to confer harm or morbidity especially now in this pandemic. Obesity is one of the comorbidities that can worsen a patient’s condition.”

Obesity Prevention Awareness Week Webinar, a call to knowledge and action
As obesity is truly a health concern, Proclamation No. 162 known as the Obesity Prevention Awareness Week was signed on August 21, 1999 by then President Joseph Estrada. This is observed every first week of September with PASOO as the mandated lead agency.

In line with its commitment to drive change in diabetes, obesity and other chronic diseases in the country, Novo Nordisk Philippines, conducted a media forum with a multi-disciplinary group of key opinion leaders in the field of medicine and health & wellness in observance of Obesity Prevention Awareness Week.

As part of Novo Nordisk Philippines’ the Body of Truth obesity advocacy campaign, the program was designed to shed light on the truth and dangers of obesity as a disease as well as the ways by which Filipinos can come together to stem this silent pandemic even beyond lifestyle changes and exercise.

Experts on this program include the President of the Philippine Association for the Study of Overweight and Obesity (PASOO) Dra. Mia C. Fojas, radio personality, talk show host and multi-awarded physician Dr. Bles Salvador, life and fitness coaching couple, founders of FITFIL challenge, and former coaches of The Biggest Loser Philippines Jim and Toni Saret, and was moderated by the Senior Medical Manager of Novo Nordisk Philippines, Dr. Cyrus Q. Pasamba.

Obesity is a disease
One of the key learnings discussed was the hard truth that obesity is a disease. Dr. Fojas mentioned that obesity is known to impair bodily functions, causes characteristic signs and symptoms, and confers harm or morbidity. It affects 30% of Filipinos nationwide and afflicts 40% of Filipinos in Metro Manila.

Probed further on the matter of how obesity is diagnosed, the PASOO president said, “It is not just the weight, it is also the waist circumference that correlates well with mortality and morbidity, like hypertension and other illnesses associated with the disease.”

Beyond the body mass index (BMI) of 29 from the World Health Organization and International Obesity Taskforce for Asians, it really is the waist circumference threshold of 90 cm for males and 80 cm for females that are the key determinants for obesity diagnosis, even beyond the weight and the height of an individual.

Dr. Bles Salvador furthered the discussion when she cited many patients’ concerns and ailments that trace their roots to obesity, and stressed that if left untreated, is indeed life threatening.

“We even have 13 types of cancer identified that are all associated with obesity, and even under the findings of the Center for Disease Control that at the start of the pandemic 78% of those diagnosed with COVID were found to be obese.” according to Dr. Salvador.

The bottom line is that having obesity increases one’s inflammatory markers, lowering immunity and resistance to diseases and comorbidities including insulin resistance, hypertension, diabetes, metabolic, and mechanical issues.

Women and obesity
One of the questions raised was if women, more than men, are prone to having obesity.

For Dr. Fojas, “Physiologically, women are engineered to store more fat, having less muscle mass and more abdominal fat to protect internal organs.”

Dr. Salvador, an OB-GYN, spoke of her experiences where patients approached her for common diagnostic procedures because of recurring infections or a variety of ailments like diabetes, polycystic ovarian syndrome, gynecological cancers, as well as infertility only to find out that most were rooted in weight issues and obesity.

“Women have fat-friendly hormones like estrogen and progesterone which really respond to adipocytes and fat cells,” added Dr. Salvador.

One of the more troubling observations of Dr. Salvador was the impact of obesity on family life wherein sufferers cannot join activities of their children, are subject to inadvertent hurtful words, and other stresses. In the course of her practice, she has created a formula wherein she would advise patients to lose ten pounds, adjust their lifestyle, and if needed, take proper medication to see and sustain marked holistic improvement.

Movement is key
Dr. Cyrus Pasamba of Novo Nordisk Philippines mentioned that due to the various lockdown permutations for the past 17 months, more and more people are suffering silently from obesity or “quarantine fat” as they have limited opportunities to move, to go to the gym, and often rely on high-calorie fast food deliveries.

Coach Jim and Toni Saret stressed the importance of movement, how we in this pandemic must strive to consciously find ways to be physically active to prevent and control obesity, and to increase our immunity to fight Covid-19.

Coach Jim Saret explained that our bodies can only take in enough calories per day and anything we do not burn will be stored as fat, so over time fat accumulates, and we gain weight.

“Lifestyle is a big factor, and, in this pandemic, we need to be more conscious about moving because we are consuming a lot of calories but move less as we continue to stay home more.”

Coach Toni added, in this pandemic “Our metabolic and fitness age has surpassed our biological age because of our sedentary locked-at-home lifestyle. Movement and exercise defy this metabolic aging process.”

The prevention and cure for obesity
When one is starting to gain weight, PASOO president, Dr. Fojas advised to first target a 5 to 10-percent weight loss to achieve ideal BMI or waist circumference and to consciously live a healthier lifestyle. This of course can be done by healthy diet and exercise.

The fitness and wellness couple Coaches Jim and Toni Saret echoed this by saying, “Exercising is just moving.” They advised everyone to move more, even while sitting down. This principle will be the focus of the interactive Body of Truth 8-Week challenge and community to be launched in the Body of Truth Facebook page ( ) on September 13 to help people kickstart their health journey.

Shin Min Ah (Cosmopolitan Korea, 2018).

“What if exercise and diet are not enough to address the issue,” asked Dr. Pasamba, since obesity as a disease has been proven to have farther reaching complications if not diagnosed early. Coach Jim acknowledged this and mentioned that they have been advising people to seek medical advice prior to engaging in any diet or fitness regimen.

Dr. Fojas added, “Normally, people approach fitness experts first on matters of weight. However, there is a need for people to consult their doctors first, as all doctors are qualified to assist, diagnose, and manage patients especially on matters concerning the prevention and management of obesity.”

In addition, Dr. Fojas stressed that there are instances when medication is needed especially for morbidly obese-classified patients. There are medicines, like over-the-counter ones and injectable GLP-1 Receptor Agonist drugs, among others, that can be prescribed by endocrinologists. These are options used to treat the disease.

In the end, the right knowledge, information, and treatment are key to beat obesity. These can be done by healthcare professionals who are able to provide the right diagnosis and proper guidance. They are the very same experts who will pave the way so we can all beat obesity as one community.

For more information on obesity and the chance to join the Body of Truth 8-Week challenge, please visit


Panasonic and Mandaluyong City join hands to bring back the Filipino smile with nanoeTM X technology.

Panasonic, as part of its global campaign to spread the anti-Covid technology of nanoeTMX has recently donated nanoe air purifiers and nanoeTM X generators that have been verified to have inhibitory effects on the novel coronavirus to the City of Mandaluyong for use in City vaccination centers.

(L-R) Communication & Product Planning Manager Francis Serrato, Mandaluyong City Health Officer Dr. Alex Sta. Maria, Panasonic Air-Conditioning Philippines CEO Masaru Toyota, Mandaluyong City Mayor Menchie Abalos, Life Solutions Group Country Head Yosuke Tanaka, and SM Vice President Christian Mathay.

The social good initiative was welcomed by no less than Mandaluyong City Mayor Carmelita “Menchie” Abalos and City Health Officer Dr. Alex Sta. Maria last September 3, 2021, at the SM Megatrade Hall vaccination site. Panasonic representatives, Masaru Toyota, Panasonic Air-Conditioning Philippines (PACPH) President & CEO, Life Solutions Group Country Head Manager Yosuke Tanaka, and Communication & Product Planning Manager Francis Serrato were present during the turn-over.

“We truly are grateful to Panasonic for providing our city’s health workers and our Mandalenyos with the gift of safety and protection brought by the nanoe and nanoeTM X anti-Covid technology,” Mayor Abalos said.

The Mandaluyong City Health Officer, Dr. Alex Sta, Maria added, “With the nanoeTM X generators and nanoe air purifiers, we can all breathe a sigh of relief as we enter our vaccination sites with a little more confidence in knowing that we have added layers of protection against Covid.”

“We in Panasonic truly believe that we all must do our part, to act together to protect ourselves, our families, and most especially our front liners, our doctors, nurses, and health workers against the pandemic. Our nanoeTM X technology has been proven to help improve air quality we breathe indoors", said Masaru Toyota.

Yosuke Tanaka added, “In the next few months, Panasonic will continue to reach out to a number of LGU vaccination sites to help make these areas safer not just for doctors and health workers but also the vaccinees as we act together against the pandemic.”

To find out more on how one can protect their homes, offices, and other areas against the resurgence of COVID-19, check out