ABOVE: Kai Kai and Jia Jia enjoying their honey-flavoured ice cakes. In a recent update to their Red List of Threatened Species, giant pandas were downgraded to ‘Vulnerable’ from ‘Endangered’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Photo credits: Wildlife Reserves Singapore

SINGAPORE – Keepers at River Safari recently threw a birthday bash for giant pandas—Kai Kai and Jia Jia—with honey-flavoured ice cakes decorated with apple and carrot slices, some of their favourite treats.

Male Kai Kai celebrates his ninth birthday today, and female Jia Jia turned eight on 3 September 2016. Their ice cakes weighed a collective 7kg, and took keepers four days to make. 

Both giant pandas arrived in River Safari in 2012 on a 10-year loan from China. Kai Kai and Jia Jia entered their second mating season in April earlier this year, but both natural mating and artificial insemination had been unsuccessful. From weeks of displaying pseudo-pregnancy behaviour, female panda Jia Jia is gradually returning to a quiet life of normalcy.

Keepers and vet remain optimistic for a future Singapore panda cub as Jia Jia is still very young (teenager in human years), and will continue to employ conservation breeding techniques proven to be successful before in other zoos. 

ABOVE LEFT: Nor Faizah Bt Abdul Aziz, 23, Junior Keeper, and Halim Ali, 49, Assistant Curator, putting the final touches on Kai Kai’s cake.

ABOVE RIGHT: Ivan Ang, 26, Junior Keeper, gently placing sliced carrots on Jia Jia’s cake. Giant pandas consume up to 20kg of bamboo daily, and Kai Kai and Jia Jia also enjoy fruits, vegetables and high fibre biscuits. Photo credit: Wildlife Reserves S
Eversince the evolution of selfies and the powerful front facing cameras, there were a lot of brands that promote their line of mobile phones. But me, I only want what is functional. Not that front facing cameras do no good but since I am already a mother of three, I like a mobile phone that suits our lifestyle best.

Honestly, it is very hard to find a gem from the many mobile phone brands out in the market. But since the husband and I believe that a good mobile phone must have a good camera and we find it in Oppo. He has the old one models and he still loves it.

My Oppo R7

So what I really loved about this newest model of Oppo which the #OppoF1s? Let me give you my top three.

1. Customizable fingerprint application launch. I already loved their fingerprint unlock option and now this? How genius is this? VERY. Being an octopus mom of three this will be very helpful to us because time is essential. By pressing different fingers on the button will lead us to the application we set on it. Honestly, I never thought of that and thankful that a brand actually thought about it. A brand we truly love.

2. Dual Sim+Individual Slot. The old models has the option of using  micro SD Card for either nano sim or micro SD. But this time, it has the option of using two nano sim PLUS a micro SD card. I don’t have to use another phone for my other mobile numbers plus I get upgraded memory space. Saves me the energy of lugging too much gadgets in my bag.

3. Selfie Panorama. We are undeniably a big family of 5 now. But don’t you know how we struggle everytime we take family pictures? Too much struggle that the only way we know how is to take selfies. And by selfies, we don’t fit in front cameras. This one is such s genius innovation to it. More room for selfies and more memories to keep for us. 

The rest of its features:

4. 16MP front camera. This one means more crisp photos from front facing camera. What is not to love about it?

5. Beautify 4.0.  Oh I bet many will love this. More instagrammable photos that doesn't need post processing. This one is for you. 

6. Filters. For more drammatic photos, they have built in filters for use. Again, this saves time post processing photos. 

7. 13 MP rear Camera/Good night shots. This is what I love most about this brand. Night shots are drammatic and wonderful because it allows night sensitivity. 

8. 3GB Ram. What can a powerful phone do when it doesn't come with a powerful RAM? It just is amazing how they come up with an improved RAM so we can switch and use applications smoothly without a laggy issue. 

So here they are. Few things why I love this phone brand and how my life changed with it. I am however excited to try their newest release which is the #OppoF1s.

This has been more than a year in my memory that needs to be written and with all the hullabaloos that happened, I just need to find a peaceful yet quiet time to write it down constructively. More than a year ago, we finally went to the coveted place for summer vacation which is the Mountain Province. It was timely though that it was scheduled a week after my daughter’s birthday. Which means we are celebrating her special day traveling and immersion. This trip was supposed to be purely business trip but the hosts were kind enough to tour us around the whole city. 

We left the busy streets of metro around midnight so the kids will be asleep the entire trip. Google map says its 400+ kilometers away and approximate travel time would be 8-10 hours. The only thing we regret though is that it was too dark when we passed by Bontoc, and didn’t witness the beauty of it. We got there at four in the morning. Our travel slowed down a bit when we reached the crevices of the mountains. The roads were literally zigzag and that if you get sick easily, I suggest you bring with you lots of plastics, candies and anti-vertigo pill! Our travel time lasted 6 hours and the total travel time was 12hours! En route Sadanga, we were able to see the beauty of nature. The bed of clouds, the fresh cold air and the smell of the Pine trees is just so heavenly. 

Around 4ish in the morning
Around 6ish in the morning. See how beautiful the view is?
Small community in Bontoc.
Rice terraces
The road getting there was like eternity! We were so eager already to arrive as we were quite sleepy already from the almost 12hour trip and the hunger has slowly kicking in. We reached the barangay where the councilor was supposed meet us but the mobile signals suddenly went off. We were literally hanging on a cliff and our GPS said that we already arrived at our destination. But it doesn't feel like it was a barangay hall of some sort and we decided to go back few kilometers just to call our contact person. Few minutes later, we saw jeepneys taking the road we went to and that was then we were quite relieved that we were on the right track. It was the bumpy road to the barangay hall.

Who wants to pee? Anyone?
Finally, after waiting again for approximately 20minutes, we were given directions to go to the Barangay Hall. The roads were so steep and needs a good driver that with one wrong move can go down the cliff. Finally, we can see a community now--We arrived at their Barangay Hall and surprisingly, they have an internet connection! Don’t get me wrong though, I didn’t go there to be connected with the social media but it is a sign that communication signals has reached the mountains. We were served breakfast--we had a sticky rice (suman), brewed coffee as well as fried sweet potato sticks. 

After the courtesy call and tend to important matters, they served lunch and the vice mayor said he will show us around. This is already around lunch time and yes, our heads were already lightheaded from sleep deprivation. After showing us around, he said to leave the car in one area ang bring our bags because we will be going to their house. He will be our host for the night. In my thoughts, I was expecting that we will stay uphill and somewhere near. This was the most unexpected trek of my life and all of us weren’t prepared! 

*The sequence of photos are composed of our 3km trek. Some are high res photos which are from our SLR and those wide angled shots are from our sports camera. *

See how steep it is?
This is where the fun begins. Hanging bridge approximately 50 meters long and 50 meters deep. 
That point is believed to have the strongest water current because it joins three rivers.
First 500 meters of our 3km trek.
The way to forever, not!
We crossed rivers.
The bridge looks shorter here in this photo but see how small it is?

Crossing rivers.
Second Bridge that we have to cross, shorter than the first one.
Former Barangay Captain carrying my son on his shoulder. 
Our home for one night. 
Small community in one of the barangays.
We went downhill in a steep road and crossed a 50 yards steel wobbly bridge which is 50 meters deep from Chico river. I tell you, I called all the Saints and said prayers before crossing it. They were kind enough to carry our luggage and told us that in 20 minutes we will be able to reach VM’s house. We literally went up and down the hill and crossed two more steel wobbly bridges and very steep pathways. In my heart, I was having fun but I didn’t get to see my children’s faces because they were carried on the shoulders by some of the locals! If it were only the two of us we wouldn’t survive the trek considering the lack of sleep. After almost an hour, of crossing rivers, bridges and rice fields, we finally settled on a wooden freshly varnished house of VM. It was very cold and I did not have the desire of even getting a bath because I couldn’t stand the cold weather. The place was breathtaking. You can see the simplicity of life there. I missed being immersed to the life of the locals and feels like it has been decades since I had immersion during college days. We didn’t have mobile signal. They said in order for you to communicate with people you need to place the cellphone in one corner of the house only. No calls only text messages. Every household is self-sufficient.  Each household should own a portion of rice field and should have at least few hogs and chickens to raise. 

Finally, we have reached VM's house. 
Small community in one of the Barangays in Sadanga, Mountain Province
After the long day, we finally hit the sack and I must say, it was one of our longest day EVER. All of us were dead tired from the unexpected trek.

I don't want to bore you with the long post so I will post the next one separately. 

Stay tuned!

Matte Lipsticks is a thing these days. Local and international brands release their matte lines and if given a chance, I would like to try most of it. Haha! The product that I will feature here in this post is a local brand most of us love. It is the EB Advance Matte Lipsticks. They released matte lippies together with their creme ones. I am not sure though how many shades they have available but I know enough that you can pick something that will suit your fancy.

I am glad that there are local products that can produce good quality lippies which are at par with international brands. Those who are in a budget this is their best option rather than opting to buy fake make ups which can be very dangerous as we do not know the hidden ingredients to it.

Left: Amethyst Rose Right: Red Twilight

Pigmentation: With one swipe, you will get the color you need. The color pay off is very good. However, there is a very slight tugging to it most especially if you didn’t moisturize your lips properly. This is a matte lipstick but it is not-KISSPROOF.

Packaging: It comes in a plastic bullet tube much like the MAC lippies but this one is in white color. For me it is very clean however, when mixed with other make up products, the packaging has a tendency to get dirty because of its white color.

Longevity: This product can last up to 6 hours without any touch up if used with a lipliner. However with constant eating and drinking, it could only last for 4 hours and the inner will totally fade. But this lippie can be good with touch up unlike other matte lippies that you need to remove the entire product on your lips.

Availability: This is a local drugstore make up that is widely available even in groceries nationwide.

Scent: Slight candy scent which is not overwhelming. 

Price: Price point is very cheap and good for those days when you need a little dose of color in your life because that’s what I did. J

What I don’t like? None that I can think of.

This product is highly recommended because the price is affordable and of good quality. This is good to those who are on a budget for make ups like mommies like me. 
The weather the past few months have been very crazy. It has been so unpredictable that my kids have been suffering from on and off flu. Imagine all my three kids getting sick all at the same time, as well as the husband. The prevalence also of dengue fever is quite high right now. My youngest has a lot of mosquito bites here and there and what really irk me are the marks it leaves after the redness.

Honestly, I have tried almost all of the Citronella containing products there is in the market and yes, most works fine and others just a false claim. Thankful that I am, there are support groups of mommies where we/they share their experiences as well as those locally available products safe for our children.

There is one product that most of the mommies have been raving online, which is the brand Coco Haven. This is quite new to my ears and because they have good reviews about this, I tried it to my children too. I got their Bugs Away Cream and it has been a routine since then after their shower. We even finished one tub already and right now on our second. Why does our family loves Coco Haven Bugs Away Cream? Here are the reasons:

  • 100% Natural. This product is made up of natural ingredients that has minimal to no reaction to babies’ skin. In my children’s case, I haven’t had any skin reactions so I know it is safe for them. The ingredients are also printed at the back of the tub so there is transparency and you can easily pinpoint which to avoid just in case you and your kids are allergic to certain ingredients.
  • Mild Scent. I am very particular with scent with regards to what I use to them because strong smell will cause rhinitis also. Strong scent might cause skin irritation as well. This has bearable scent and citronella is just a secondary scent.
  • Therapeutic Claims. Yes, there are some therapeutic claims to it. I have seen how effective it is in eliminating insect marks on my youngest. In about three to four days the insect bites lighten which a generic Cebo De Macho cannot do. The formula is not too sticky just enough to moisturize the skin and prevent it from drying.
  • Very Effective. So I had to wait until this long to check how effective this is against bite marks. During our recent travel, I applied it in the morning around 8ish and didn’t reapply until 8ish in the evening. I was quite worried already as we went to places where there are bushes, trees, grass and basically where mosquitoes breed. Surprisingly upon going to the hotel, I immediately checked my children’s legs and arms, and not a single NEW insect bite. That is how this product is impressive; it stayed on for good 12 hours at least.
  • Locally available. So who is not into local products? This is how I support our local products and at the same time proud that there are promising products that at par with international brands.

Availability: This is available online. You can check their facebook account: Coco Haven and send them an inquiry on how to order. I got mine from previous group buys so this one is at a discounted price.

If you are planning to buy them, you may contact their facebook page: Coco Haven or you may go to 9 months and beyond store because they have stocks there. 

Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored.

Follow by Email