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2019 BTS Summer Package Vol. 5 (Korea Version)

Featured Posts


How to Keep a Garden in the City.

It's been more than a year since I moved out of our ancestral home and started living in the city. And while I do love and enjoy the convenience of living in a place where everything is easily accessible - supermarkets, convenience stores, pharmacies, even my son's school - there are a few things about our ancestral home that I miss from time to time. 

For starters, there's my niece and nephew, who lived next door to our old place. I miss their noise and laughter, and being able to see them, play with them, and shower them with hugs and kisses everyday. I miss my grandmother, who also lived in another house next door to mine. I miss going through her fridge and pantry, hanging out in her bedroom, and talking to her about random stuff. Most of all, I miss our sprawling garden, which was one of the best, and my most favorite feature of our ancestral home. Our garden had all sorts of plants - ornamentals, shrubs, climbers, creepers, trees even. My grandmother was the 'plauntie' of all 'plaunties', and she tended to her plants lovingly despite her chronic back pain. 

Sunshine and laughter - my mother and my grandmother in the garden.

When we moved to our new place here in the city, it never really dawned on me to start keeping a garden, let alone grow a plant indoors. But then COVID-19 happened, and this whole gardening craze started because people were confined to their homes and turned to all sorts of recreational activities to cope with the pandemic. I was one of them.

I started with a small Adolphi plant that I got as a gift from my sister-in-law, and the next thing I knew, our tiny apartment became some sort of urban jungle. My boys are not complaining, though, and they find it really funny whenever I'd come home with a new plant, new pots, or gardening tools on the rare occasions that I would leave the house to run errands or do the groceries.

The succulent that started it all.

If you're thinking of starting your own urban garden, here are some tips:

Size Up Your Space
Whether you have a tiny hallway, a small patio, a bit of a balcony, or an entire rooftop, you need to measure how much space you've got to give you an idea of how large your garden can be. For instance, majority of the houses for sale in Toronto have yards that are perfect for container gardening. Another option is vertical gardening which work well for apartment dwellers or people living in small spaces.

Pothos varieties.

Pot 'em If You Can't Plant 'em
Potted plants are the best option if you don't have gardening beds. In choosing the perfect pots, consider the following - what plants will you grow, how many pots do you need, will you grow multiple plants or different plants in one pot. Self-watering containers are a good option if you're a gardening newbie or a busybody that can't stick to a regular watering schedule. If you have limited space, you might want to consider using hanging pots or windowsill pots as well. 

Choose Your Plants Wisely
When choosing or shopping for plants, you always need to keep in mind how much space you have at home. Don't overcrowd your plants, and don't dream of growing plants that are too big for modest spaces. Choose plants that grow up rather than spread out. If you're leaning towards vegetables and herbs, only plant those that you will actually eat. Some urban gardeners grow plants that go together with their favorite dishes - like tomato and basil for their pasta, and rosemary and thyme for sauces, soups, and stews. 
Aglaonema varieties.

Follow the Sun
Make the most out of your gardening space by choosing plants that can thrive in different locations. Flowering plants love the sun, and will grow well in a patio that basks in sunlight or a bright windowsill. Plants with bright or variegated foliage are most suitable near bright windows, but out of direct sunlight. Snake plants, ZZ plants, and peace lilies are great for growing indoors, as they are known for their resilience and ability to proliferate even in dim corners.

Have Fun
Gardening is an activity that's good for the mind and body. It's a great stress-reliever especially during these times, and it's a fun and relaxing way to get in touch with nature, get some sunshine, and even work up some sweat. It's also a wonderful learning experience, especially for the first-time gardeners. Mistakes are inevitable, and you might end up killing a plant or two along the way, but you can always try growing them again. 


5 Things to Consider in Buying Your First Home.

Owning a home is one of the biggest, if not the greatest, achievement in your adult life. For our family, it's one of our ultimate goals - something that my husband and I have been working on for the past few years. It's also one of the many reasons why my husband has been working himself to the bone in a foreign country, and why I try to get as much side hustles as I can, even in the midst of a pandemic. 

Planning for your dream home is an exciting and exhilarating process, especially for first-time homeowners. For the most part, it can also be challenging, tiring, and very stressful. There were a lot of things that my husband and I considered as we started planning for our new home, and here are some of them:

Saving and planning, and saving some more.

Truth be told, our budget was initially, our biggest concern. Well, it was more of a constraint, actually. Sure, we have some money saved up, but not enough to pay in cash upfront for a ready-to-move property. 

My husband and I thought long and hard about how we can stretch our budget, computing all the the fees that we need to pay should we choose to buy a house that's ready for occupancy. We considered getting a loan either through bank financing or through Pag-IBIG Fund's Housing Loan, and did our research regarding mortgages, amortizations, and the like. With the help of a mortgage calculator, we were able assess our capacity to pay for the home loan deposit, and to project our monthly mortgage payment with different loan scenarios.

Our neighborhood in Seoul has everything - from supermarkets to karate dojos.

When it comes to buying a home, the location is our topmost priority. As someone who has enjoyed the convenience of living in the city and in the suburbs, I want our new home to be safe, secured, and accessible, if not smack dab in the middle of everything - hospitals, supermarkets, malls, the police station, and of course, my son's school. Living on the outskirts of the city might be cheaper, but considering the travel expenses, or how much time it will take to get to my son's school or the hospital in case of an emergency, I'd prefer to spend a bit more for a home within the city proper that's accessible to almost everything.

Are we ready to take the plunge?

Land Developer
There's probably a hundred or so real estate developers in the country today, and quite a handful of them stand out because of their excellent track record and their ability deliver high-quality projects. With so many land developer brands to choose from, and with so many real estate properties sprouting up, it is important to look into their reputation and credibility, the quality of their work, and their ability to meet construction deadlines. We sure don't want to invest our hard-earned money in a house that's haphazardly done!

This was my "dream home" back in the 90's. 

Style and Design
House styles have evolved over the years, and most of the packaged homes being sold today are inspired by American, Mediterranean, or European architecture. Decide on the type of the house that you want and the design that best fits the size of your household and your lifestyle.

When I was a kid, the dream house that I envisioned was something like Kevin McAllister's house from the movie "Home Alone" - a grand staircase, spacious rooms, huge windows, and carpeted floors. But now that I'm a mom and I do all the home cleaning myself, I realized that a simple, minimalist house style would be better. Cleaning the house is a big chore, and I certainly would not want to break my neck while clearing away cobwebs from an eight-foot-ceiling. 

Coming soon, and claiming it!

The Current Market
The real estate market can be very volatile, all the more now that we are still in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Surprisingly, the housing market is still booming and thriving despite the global crisis. 

Here in the Philippines, we've seen a great demand for pre-selling properties primarily because of the equity payments that can be paid on a monthly basis and not cash upfront. Most buyers are also acting fast because they have this notion that real estate prices will surely increase once the pandemic is over. 

If your savings are more than enough or if you are fortunate to be employed in an industry that has not been depredated by the coronavirus, it might be best to strike while the iron is hot and purchase your dream home now. My husband and I are taking advantage of this situation, and we're excited to see our dream home, the first home that we can actually our own, finally come to life.


Bring My Pet to the Vet | Royal Canin's Campaign for Improved Pet Healthcare in the Philippines.

Global leading pet nutrition manufacturer and provider Royal Canin recently launched its Bring My Pet to the Vet (BMPV) campaign as part of its commitment to champion responsible pet ownership among Filipino pet parents. Pet owners across the Philippines can now access over 20,000 free pet checkups and 4,000 BMPV care kits for their furry friends through the Royal Canin Club mobile application, as well as other pet rewards made available on the platform.

Over the past year, more Filipinos are turning to pets as their trusted quarantine companions. However, a survey by Kantar shows that 93% and 50% of cat and dog owners, respectively, do not get their pets checked regularly. The survey also highlights that most owners only bring their pets to the veterinarian for vaccinations and medical procedures, reflecting how wellness checkups are not common in the Philippines.

Have you visited your vet today?

With this, Royal Canin introduced the BMPV campaign to encourage both new and old pet owners to bring their pets to the vet as early and as regular as they can, and understand the importance of pet preventive healthcare and medicalization. The campaign also underlines the role that veterinarians play in Filipinos' pets' lives, as it provides a platform for pet owners to connect with their trusted vet partners and clinics, ultimately building a more connected and engaged pet community in the Philippines.

This year, Royal Canin leverages its mobile platform, the Royal Canin Club app, to strengthen its 2019 Bring My Dog to the Vet (BMDV) campaign and relate to more pet owners nationwide. To claim the free checkup, pet owners just need to claim the free consultation voucher under the mobile application’s rewards, find the nearest clinic in the store locator by selecting the Vet feature, and reach out to the clinics directly to book their appointments for consultation. On the day of their appointment, pet owners need to present their generated checkup QR code on their Royal Canin Club app to avail of the free consultation. Afterward, users are encouraged to complete their post-checkup survey for more amazing perks and rewards in the application.

Cats need some vet care, too!

Royal Canin’s BMPV campaign seeks to redefine its previous campaign, which gave away 3,000 free consultations for Filipino pet owners through the company’s website. Now made available on the Royal Canin Club app, it becomes a culmination of two purposeful pet preventive healthcare campaigns. It hopes to further educate pet owners about the signals to watch out from their pets to guide them and encourage them to work closely with their vets in achieving optimum health for their beloved furry friends.

“We, at Royal Canin, recognize the value of preventive pet healthcare and the important role that our veterinary partners and clinics play in one’s pet’s life. Through our new Bring My Pet to the Vet campaign, we hope to instill this mindset and become a platform for pet owners to build a stronger bond with their veterinarians as we work together to safeguard the health of their pets even during such unprecedented time,” says Adriann Eusebio, Royal Canin Philippines’ Country Director. “We want to highlight how important it is for pet owners to have access to credible and reliable pet information, as we continue to improve our services with our loyal customers and partners giving us actionable insights about pet healthcare along the way.”

Free vet visits - one of the many perks of the Royal Canin Club app.

As the vet checkups require physical visits, Royal Canin ensures everyone that their partner veterinarians and pet shops follow the strict safety protocols of the government when taking in patients and customers. The company works closely with vet clinics to ensure that all pet owners secure appointments first before their visit to avoid overcrowding in their establishments.

“We understand the safety concerns of our partners and customers about going out to visit their vets amid the pandemic. With the lockdowns still in place, our BMPV campaign also ensures to encourage pet owners to become responsible citizens, as much as they are as pet parents, and abide by proper COVID-19 protocols of their vet partners and clinics to avoid the spread of the virus, “ adds Eusebio. “At Royal Canin, we aim to enforce extra precautions to address our customers’ concerns and are committed to improving our services by opening our lines of communication for improvement.”

For more information on Royal Canin’s Bring My Pet to the Vet campaign, pet owners may download the Royal Canin Club application, read about pet healthcare information, and claim their voucher through the platform. One may also visit the Royal Canin Philippines on Facebook and Instagram at @RoyalCaninPH for more details about the Royal Canin Club app and other updates about the brand.


The Greatest Gift a Mom Can Get in the Newest McDonald's Ad.

With the world closing down and our lives revolving around the four corners of our homes, it has become all the more evident how hard our moms work to meet all our needs and give us a life of comfort. From daily housekeeping jobs of cleaning and cooking, to managing businesses or working a full-time job, helping children transition to blended learning, and finding meaningful ways to bring happiness to homes; moms have continuously put their families’ needs over theirs.

So this Mother’s Day, McDonald’s celebrates the moms who tirelessly give their all just so their children have a happy life and a happy home. Through the launch of their new online video ‘Himbing’, McDonald’s makes us realize that celebrating moms doesn’t always have to come in grand gestures and luxury gifts. Sometimes, the best way to pay tribute to her is to give her what she needs the most— a break from everything to rest and relax, even just for a day. This, alongside hundreds of Filipinos who have expressed heartwarming relatability to the video, sheds light on the idea that giving our moms time to just slow down and breathe is truly one of the most valuable gifts we can give her.

The greatest gift a mom can get on Mother's Day. :)

“McDonald’s has always been about ‘simple, feel-good moments’. We hold that true in whatever we do and offer. In these extraordinary times, we wish that all the more for all the moms who work so hard to take care of their families. So this Mother’s Day, we released a video to show just how easy and simple it is to give moms the gift they need the most: tulog na mahimbing. We hope we all remember that sometimes, it's the simplest things that can make one the happiest.” said McDonald’s Philippines Marketing & Channels Head Oliver Rabatan.

Show your love and appreciation for mom by giving her the gift of a well-deserved break and a treat to her McDonald’s favorites.

See how McDo says #LoveKitaMa through this video:


100+ Creative Pinoy Dishes on the "I Love Ajinomoto" Virtual Cookbook!

Planning a menu daily can be a challenge --- and if you are looking for new recipe ideas that you can enjoy with your family, the I Love Ajinomoto virtual cookbook is the perfect kitchen partner you can use! Featuring over 100 creative Filipino dishes, the microsite compiles nutritious, delicious, and easy-to-follow recipes shared by moms and homecooks across the country.

“Mealtimes allow families to bond and create meaningful moments together. Through the I Love Ajinomoto microsite, we want to celebrate the kitchen creations of moms and homecooks across the country and likewise help households make easy, delicious, and nutritious meals that their family can enjoy,” says Roann Co, APC’s General Manager of Marketing and Public Relations.

From fish, meat, to vegetable recipes, the featured dishes in the microsite are an interesting mix of healthy and delicious choices. Made with love using AJI-NO-MOTO® Umami Seasoning and AJI-GINISA® Flavor Seasoning Mix, all of them are perfect as ulam or as snacks that families will surely enjoy.

Try these winning dishes from the I Love Ajinomoto virtual cookbook!

Healthy Meals for Immunity
Immunity-boosting meals are a must especially during this time. Recipes such as the Calcium-rich Baked Potato with AJI-GINISA® by Josephine Borromeo, Healthy Chicken Soup with Malunggay and Talbos ng Kamote Leaves by Elizabeth Salazar, and Healthy-nolang Manok by Candice Salarete are some of the nutritious meals you can easily whip up at home.

Vegetable Recipes with a Twist
If you are looking for ways to level-up simple veggie dishes, you can check out the Lumpiang Kalabasa recipe by Marissa Zamora, Oh My Healthy Ginisang Petchay With Tokwa by Maricris Vergara, and Tortang Squash by Hilda Vasquez.

Must-try Unique Dishes
For those who want to experiment and try something new during mealtimes, you can take inspiration from the Kikiam Sardines recipe by Jacqueline Agravante, Cheesy Lumpia with Ilocos Longganisa by Rhea Damo, and Tuna & Veggie Sushi by Prelel Yu. These will surely surprise the palate of your family!

These recipes were part of the I Love Ajinomoto online recipe contest. From January 8 to April 2, 2021, homecooks shared more than 100 recipes on the microsite. For their entries, homecooks submitted their complete recipe, together with a photo of the final product, and a picture of their family doing the heart gesture with the dish.

Eat Well, Live Well, Stay Well on GMA 7.

Thirty of the best dishes were featured on the Ajinomoto Eat Well, Live Well. Stay Well, a weekly cooking show hosted by celebrity mom Iya Villania-Arellano and Chef Jose Sarasola on GMA-7, airing every Friday. They were picked based on the appetite appeal of their dish, and creativity and mood of their family photos.

The featured moms and homecooks also received a gift certificate worth P1,500 and a selection of Ajinomoto products. Some of the winning recipes include the Eggplant Fingers by Jacqueline Agravante, AJI Tofu with Mixed Veggies by Roxanne Montierro, Rosie’s Pinangat na Hiwas by Rosie Mendenilla, and the Baguio Beans Ala Bicol Express by Jennylyn Cleofas.

“We were delighted by the delicious recipe submissions of our moms and homecooks. We are overwhelmed by the love and thankful to them for making Ajinomoto a part of their kitchen journey. We hope that this initiative reminds everyone that making delicious and healthy meals for the family can be easy and fun,” says Co.

The I Love Ajinomoto virtual cookbook and contest are part of APC’s Eat Well, Live Well commitment, which aims to create quality products and services for good food and better health for Filipinos everywhere.

To learn more about these exciting recipes, check out and visit for more information.