A Modern Bahay-Kubo

I mentioned in my previous post that my niece failed to bring our digital camera to take photos of the on-going house construction.  Fortunately, they sent me some pictures an hour ago. Though the pictures are not clear, I felt elated while looking at them.  Two thumbs up for our collaborative efforts. I gave small amount of money for the materials during the start of house construction, then my sister got free construction materials from a foundation who conducted relief assistance/outreach in our barrio. My brother and nephews work together in building it, with minimal fee.  That's what we call the  bayanihan spirit.  Thank you so much to my brother who is an artist/painter turned experienced carpenter.  Craftsmanship at its finest, teehee!  He deserves a bonus from your's truly. 

Here are the photos of what we call our modern bahay kubo, cottage-like house:

the materials for the upper half of the walls will be plywood. 

I suggested maximizing the small area by adding a mezzanine bedroom.  More clearer photos, soon!

Top 5 Beaches and Resorts in Sorsogon

We're building a new house in my hometown Irosin in the Province of Sorsogon.  My mother's old house was destroyed two months ago, during the onslaught of Typhoon Nona 

As described by my sister, the house being built by my brother looks like a resort cottage or cabana.  I can already imagine how cozy the cottage like house would be.  My niece recently visited the folks back home but forgot to bring a camera so she can take photos of the house.  

Speaking of cottages, as summer approaches I dream of spending time with my family in one of the beautiful beaches in Sorsogon.  To give you ideas about my Top 5 Beaches and Resorts in Sorsogon, I compiled them as a reference and also a part of my bucket list. 

1. Vito's Subic Beach  Resort in Matnog, Sorsogon

Vito's Subic Beach Resort is located in Subic Daco, Barangay Calintaan, Matnog, Sorsogon. I'd like to bring my family there to experience its pinkish white sand and crystal clear water. 

2. Elysia Beach Resort in Donsol, Sorsogon

Create memories in a tropical playground with a close encounter with one of the largest, gentle sea creatures - the whale whark.  Elysia Beach Resort is an ideal place to stay in Donsol. 

3. Nature Hot Spring Resort

The Municipality of Irosin is known for its relaxing hot springs.  Nature Hot Spring Resort is located in Monbon, Irosin, Sorsogon.  I have visited this resort once in April 2010.  This resort, by the way is owned by one of my relatives (from father side). 

4. Paguriran Island in Bacon, Sorsogon

Those rock formations shown in the photo above look amazing, right? Experience the breathtaking view of pinkish white sand, pristine water, and fascinating lagoon of Paguriran Island which is less than a hour drive from Sorsogon City. 

5. Dancalan Beach in Bulusan, Sorsogon

This beach resort is located near my hometown but I haven't got the chance to go there when I was still staying in Irosin.  Looking forward for a beach experience in Dancalan on my next vacation. 

Websites I Love: Real Living Philippines


This is the second edition of the "Website I Love" section here in my blog where I feature my favorite, most-bookmarked sites.  

Real Living (RL) Philippines is an online version of the best-selling home magazine with the same name.  The website is my source of inspiration for beautiful and practical home design ideas.  It also features celebrity homes which inspire readers in achieving their dream home.  RL also offers a wide array of ideas and helpful tips for affordable and attainable decorating, organizing, renovating, and shopping.  Their partnership with interior designers and brands make their home and living tips more valid and practical.  In fact, most of the photos in my home improvement inspiration board came from Real Living. 

I'm drooling for this cozy living room design. 

How about you, where do you get inspirations for your home improvement projects? Have you visited Real Living Philippines site or read their magazine? Can you recommend other home and living websites?  Shout out your thoughts in the comment box below. 

Happy Friday, everyone! 

How to Grow Sprouted Onions

Few weeks ago, I noticed three pieces of sprouted onions in my refrigerator vegetable drawer.  I remembered the saved step-by -step procedure on how to grow onion on my Pinterest Urban Gardening board.  I devoted few minutes last Saturday in planting those sprouted red onions, grabbed my gardening tools and followed the simple procedures I got from Pinterest. 

Here's How: 
  1. Purchase some onions and allow them to sprout in your pantry or drawer.  
  2. Peel the outer layer, avoiding the roots that might be growing between layers. 
  3. Carefully cut around the base, removing the rest of the second half of the bulb until the innermost layer is left. 
  4. Grab a small pot (plastic, terracotta or up-cycled planters), fill it will soil and plant your sprouted onions. Water them, and place them in an area in your garden that receives ample amount of sunlight. 

Presenting,  three pots of red onions! 

New Plants: Euphorbia milii

Found these two new babies yesterday.  Based on my research, these are called Euphorbia milii, otherwise known as Crown of Thorns. 

Plant Facts:  

Euphorbia milii is a species of flowering plant in the spurge family.  It originally came from Madagascar. It can grow up to 2 feet in height.  For limited garden spaces like mine, pruning off the growing tips may control plants height. 

transferred into green pots 

For light requirements, crown of thorns plant needs bright light to full sun.  It is easy to grow and drought-tolerant, and loves slightly dry, sandy soil.  This succulent stores water in its stems just like cactus, so no need to water it everyday.  

How to propagate?  Take 3 inches stem cuttings in spring or summer.  Dip the cut ends in warm water for a few minutes to stop the flow of sap then allow to dry for 24 hours before inserting into barely moist potting mix.  Cuttings will root in about 6 weeks. 

Caution:  Wear thick gloves when handling this plant because thorns are sharp and toxic. Its milky sap can irritate you skin, eyes, and mouth. 

A Hero's Welcome for Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach at the Makati City Hall

I skipped lunch and had mixed fruits instead because I just returned to my desk after being one of the crowd who cheered and welcomed our Miss Universe. The City Government hosted a short program for the hero's welcome for Miss Universe 2015 Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach at 11:30am today at the Makati City Hall Building 1 Lobby. 

I was able to take some photos despite tight security and wrong camera hehe. I should have brought my other camera instead Sony Digicam. 

the stage and red carpet 

Pia alighted from a black Audi car 

a short conversation of Mayor Peña and Ms. Pia Wurtzbach before they delivered their speeches

Finally, a close up shot of our #QueenP. A million thanks to the photographer, Rachell Dignos. 

Again, Congratulations Ms. Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach, the Philippines is truly proud of you! 

On Establishing a Daily Routine

loving the positive change in our daily routine.We go to work early, go home early and eat dinner between 6:30 to 7pm, after that shower, then review/homework time with Thea and Yohan. Bedtime is at 9:30.smile emoticon‪#‎happyfamily‬ ‪#‎simplify2016‬ ‪#‎happywifehappylife‬ ‪#‎teachermama‬

That't exactly the status message I posted on Facebook last night.  This is part of my goal this year - to simplify life, less worries and stress.  Establishing a daily routine will really help us achieve this objective. The present academic status of my first-born and the upcoming Achievement Test of my preschooler also signaled the adjustment in our daily routine. Thea is having difficulty in coping up with the lessons in Mathematics. We are thinking of hiring a tutor or enrolling her in a tutorial center, maybe this coming summer vacation.  For the meantime, we are doing our best to help her in Math and other subjects. Yohan, on the other hand, needs more practice in writing ABCs, and numbers 1-20 which will be the main areas in the achievement test next month.

Truly, we are enjoying this positive change in our daily routine.  Little by little, we are experiencing the good results of it.  Just like yesterday, Thea said that she was able to solve all the three problems in Math quiz, and got a score of 16 (out 20 questions) in Science quiz.  I consider that as a significant improvement in her performance.  

That's my short blog update for now, a blessed Thursday to all! mwuahhh! 

My One Word for 2016 is Simplify

We’re already in the middle of January but it’s not too late to lay down our plans for the next 365 days of our lives.  How do you plan? Do you schedule sort of a meeting with your spouse, family? Or you prefer listing your plans / goals in a journal?

Personally, I’ve done both.  My husband and I talked about our plans for this year and set our priorities.  I also utilized the power of journal writing – in my small notebook where I jot down my daily activities as well as short-term and long term goals.

When a fellow mommy blogger Pehpot shared her one word for 2016, I was inspired to come up with my own “one word”

The word SIMPLIFY has a different meaning to every person. It could mean focusing more on the needs and less on wants and whims.  It could mean getting rid of clutter either at home or workplace.  For other person, it could mean staying away from negative persons and spending more time with the people he or she loves.  It could also mean simplifying our daily routine, dropping things or activities that cause stress and chaos.

This year, I will SIMPLIFY my life by…

evaluating my commitments.  I’d like to focus on the most important things to me and my family. The cue word here is to Prioritize!   

simplifying home and work tasks.  Finding the balance between a hands-on homemaker and a full-time career woman may be difficult. However, by focusing first on the most important task can make my life easier.  Not only that, there are a bunch of ways to lessen stress at home and at work such as automation (computers and software are useful tools), delegation (assign tasks to household helper and train the children to do household chores early on), eliminate (unnecessary things, like too much time on TV, Internet, etc.)

complaining less.  I will try my best to avoid complaining about price hike on basic necessities, nega-vibes people around, traffic, etc.  Instead, I will count my blessings every day and praise God for His overflowing grace and guidance.

learning to say no.  This is quite hard but doing this will help me live a simple, uncomplicated life.  Learn to say no to gimmicks, well,  hindi rin naman ako gimikera.  Learn to say no to persons who have tendencies to abuse my being kind-hearted.   Learn to say no to whims and wants of my playful kiddos, pero paminsan-minsan, i-grant din naman ang wishes nila.  Thus, finding the balance and setting priorities straight are the key phrases here.

getting rid of clutter.  I’ve been reading good reviews about the Konmari method of de-cluttering.  I’m implementing this slowly at home.  In fact, last Sunday, I started organizing our wardrobe cabinets. 

spending more time with my loved ones.  Celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, celebrate life.  I want them simple yet meaningful.  One of the biggest event I am looking forward this year is my Mama’s 80th birthday. We will go home (to Bicol) for a family reunion.  My brother who is currently based in Dubai will go home, too. I want to spend more time with my Mama. I remember one quote which says "Love your parents. We are busy growing up that we tend to forget they're growing old"  I wish her good health long life because kahit may edad na siya ang dami pa nyang pangarap, dami nya pang plano

That's my one word for 2016. How about you? Head on to comment section and share  the best word that will inspire, motivate you this year. 

How to Make a Terrrarium

Thea's project in Science is a terrarium which covers second to fourth quarter of the current school year. Thus, she needs to maintain it until the last grading period.  Her teacher inspects the project from time to time.  The most recent checking was last January 4-8, 2016.   The terrarium was left in their classroom for three weeks and brought home again after their grades were recorded.  Thea felt bad because she got low score. Apparently, her classmates over-watered Thea's terrarium,  nilunod sa tubig, sa halip na spray lang binuhusan yata.  Partly my fault kasi hindi ko siya nabilhan ng spray para sa pagdidilig nya.   

The final rating of the project will be on March. To save the plants, we fixed the terrarium last night.  Here is the output. 

fish bowl terrarium with cactus and  small plants and few decorative knick-knacks 


How to Make a Terrarium

You will need:
  • Container - any clear glass container such as jar, goblet or wine glass, fish tank/bowl 
  • Pebbles 
  • Potting Soil
  • Cacti/Succulents, Small Plants 
  • Charcoal (optional)
  • Small ornaments 
  1. Choose your desired container.  For Thea's school project, we used a fish bowl. 
  2. Arrange the first layer, about an inch of pebbles.
  3. You may add few pieces of charcoal that help remove bad odors in the terrarium. 
  4. Add another layer of pebbles to prevent the soil from settling down the base of the container. 
  5. Arrange the plants. You can put 3 or more plants, depending on the size of your container. 
  6. Put the potting soil.  Make sure that it is firmly packed to hold the plants in place. Use rubber gloves, especially when you have cacti in your arrangement. 
  7. Finish your project by adding varied color of rocks and small ornaments. 
That's it and you're done! 

Latest Family Photos

With our previous setup as an OFW family, having family photos was quite difficult.  It is because my husband is often absent during special occasions.  Now that we decided to stay together, we make it a point to have our photos taken l just like what happened last New Years Day.

These are our photos, serious shots and wacky ones hehehe.

Taken during our reunion, with Nanay (hubby's mom) plus a super kulit photobomber hahaha

What can you say about our photos? 

Container Garden and a Pot of Snake Plant


This will be a very short post...

I worked in my tiny garden earlier this evening.  Since I was not able to purchase a bromeliad yet, I decided to get few small plants for my container err dish garden or whatever they call it. All three plants were neatly arranged in a rectangular pot. Don't worry I you can see the actual setup once I posted a photo of my new project. I also transferred the snake plant in a bigger pot.

Here is the most recent photos of my garden. 
 Notice the three "babies" beside the dish garden? they are my newest finds from my   
favorite plant supplier. The photos now are much clearer, that's why the dirt in the pots are visible which reminds me to clean it with a sponge later. 

caladium heart, snake plant, and I think the one in the smallest pot is a money plant. 

The hanging plants need to be trimmed already

My next project will involve succulents. My succulent dish garden before did not thrive maybe because of over-watering. 

Happy Gardening! 

DIY Projects Inspirations

For year 2016, I'd like to focus on DIY projects at home. I've been compiling inspirations and ideas from Google and Pinterest.

First is on urban gardening. Have you heard about living wall art and dish garden? I want them in my humble abode. I will maximize the available spaces at home like balcony, window sill, and even walls. Here are my models. Note: credits to all the owners of these photos. 

Next is this almost no-sew upholstery project which I've seen from the blog sweetwaterstyle.blogspot.co.il
Head on the page for the easy to follow instructions on how to make this cushion. This is perfect for my wooden sala set.

After repainting our kitchen and bedroom walls, I'd like to do this frame/bag organizers at the entryway. No more school bags left lying on the floor, ayt?

I can't wait for 2016 for this project! Hopefully, we can change the curtain rods and purchase new curtains before New Year. 

How about you, what are your plans for next year? What hobbies do you want to engage in? Don't be shy, share your thoughts in the comment section below. 


My Gratitude List for 2015

2015 is an eventful year for me and my family, a year filled with joys and happy memories.  There are some challenges but with God's powerful guidance, we are able to surpass them all.

These are the things I am thankful for:

1. Spent New Year's Day with my mom and siblings in my hometown.  After more than a decade, I was able to celebrate new year with my loved ones back home. It was one of my most memorable experiences this year.  Despite the bad weather condition at that time, I was able to bond with my family during our week-long vacation. 

2. OFW Family No More! We are really grateful for this wonderful blessing from up above.  My husband finally settled here after several years  of working abroad.  

3. Meaningful Birthday Celebrations.  Thea celebrated her 9th birthday with her friends.  The kids as well as  the grown-ups had fun during the cupcake decorating session hosted by moi and the birthday girl.  Yohan turned 5 last month. It was his happiest one because Papa who missed his 4 birthdays, is already here! 

4.  10th Wedding Anniversary. Hubby and I celebrated our 10th year as married couple last August 20.  We had a simple celebration together with the kids. 

5. More out-of-town trips. Whether work-related or personal, I enjoyed conquering new places. We discovered the beauty of Tanay, Rizal last summer.  I experienced my first ever air travel when we had a planning workshop in Puerto Princesa, Palawan.  I also attended various seminars in Tagaytay and Pampanga. 

6. Able to blog again.  I temporarily stopped blogging due to some personal reasons.  I also revamped this blog and finally got my own domain, too. 

7. Realized the value of genuine friendship. A mix of professional and personal issues at work caused so much stress to me and my friends.  Thankfully, we are able to handle it with all humility and control.  I am grateful to those individuals (in case you're reading this, you know who you are) who remained as my friends despite my topak and all. 

8.  Good health for me and my family.  I am thankful because no one in the family got serious illness this year.  Yohan was spared from a surgery last May when the pediatric surgeon confirmed that the lump previously seen in the ultrasound is not related to hernia but only swollen tissue which eventually disappeared after medication.  Hopefully, Papa's blood sugar level will  become normal with the help of proper medication and exercise. Actually, I still have to encourage him to engage in regular exercise.... 

9.  Continuously perform in the choir despite some challenges.  I am a choir member in our Church.  Due to erratic schedule at work which include series of out-of-town seminars last September to October, I temporarily took a leave in the choir.  I am grateful for the blessings and opportunity given to me to continuously serve the Lord by performing my duties despite all the challenges.  

10.  Blessed with  a simple and happy life with my family.  I could not ask for more.... 

Perhaps I missed a thing or two in the list but counting my blessings everyday may help me enjoy a happy and contented life...

love y'all! 

Typhoon Nona (International Name: Melor)

Typhoon Nona hit Southern Philippines early this week.  According to PAGASA, Nona made its first landfall around 11:00 a.m. last Monday (December 14) over Batay, Northern Samar.  Then, it made a second landfall on Monday night in Sorsogon province.  I am from Irosin, one of the towns in Sorsogon.  

My family was affected by the typhoon.  My mother and my niece evacuated to my aunt's house while my sister and her two children stayed in their house during the typhoon.   Unfortunately, their house was destroyed, according to my sister, it cannot be repaired anymore. We really needed to build a new house. Same as my brother's, they need to build a new house - in the vacant lot in front of my Mama's house. 

Good thing the communications lines are already working. I'm able to talk to them through SMS (no calls for now since they are saving their cellphone's battery). There's no electricity yet but cellphone charging services are available in the town proper courtesy of business owners with generator sets. 

We will send them groceries and some amount of money so that they can start buying materials for the new house.  Hearing this kind of situation makes me feel sad. I've experienced this several times during my younger years in the province. 

I am praying that all the families and individuals affected will be able to recover quickly after the calamity. In that way, they can welcome the fast-approaching new year with a happy heart...

Websites I Love: Pinterest

Looking for ideas and hacks on home improvement, parenting, DIY crafts, gardening, beauty and fashion, and everything in between?  Join Pinterest and  you'll have tons of ideas on whatever project you love to try.  


I so love Pinterest. There are many interesting and helpful tips that bloggers and website owners share through their Pins. 

How does Pinterest works?

First, you have to Sign-Up. You can consider linking either your Facebook or Twitter account when you sign-up.  It will make it easier for you to find your friends, favorite blogs and brands to follow on Pinterest but if you prefer to start with just your e-mail address, it's okay. You can always go back later and tweak your account settings a little bit to connect your social accounts. 

How to Pin

Install Pin It Button to your web browser.  To add a pin to one of your boards, click either the Pin It in your bookmark bar or on the website you're currently reading. 

How to Create a New Board

To create a new board, click the "Add +" button in the upper right-hand corner of your Pinterest main page. 

You can also like or add comments in the article that you are "pinning"

Here's a glance of my Pinterest main page... my profile is http://www.pinterest.com/wengzaballa/.

You can add me if you want and I'll be glad to be your Pinterest budddy. 

Happy Pinning!