Sunday, December 10, 2017



I have lived 29 full years of my life in Malabon.  A sleepy old fishing town that became a city in 2001... I was raised in a community with lots of weird but interesting superstitious beliefs.

One of them, the story of the flower known as "Baston ni San Jose".  My nanay believed that when it blooms, there is something special about to happen. When we transferred from Malabon to Quezon City 9 years ago, we brought with us one huge pot of this plant. But it was just last year that I decided what to do with it.  All those years... it has bloomed maybe once or twice. And yes... it brought me some luck!



It was just recently that I learned that its english name is Amaryllis. And it used to be the favorite flower of lifestyle guru Martha Stewart (sosyal!).  Thanks to a dear friend Victor for giving me these info  :)

The bulbs we call Amaryllis are in the genus Hippeastrum, originally from South America. Hipeastrum hybrids, now grown commercially in South Africa and the Netherlands, come in an increasing range of colors and sizes.


I observed over the years, that my Amaryllis didn't really need much care. I practically left it growing in one shady part of the garden. Sometimes, I would forget watering them. And, very seldom did it flower.

So one weekend, hubby and I decided to replant it.  The bulbs were too crowded in one pot, so we had a hard time removing them one by one.

We were so surprised to discover more than 30 bulbs, of varied sizes, in the single pot. All of them have strong root system.  We did not know what to do with it.  Replanted around 10-15 of them in black plastic bags.  

The rest, we placed in a plastic container.  Then I forgot all about it. After 2 weeks, I remembered that I had to continue with my replanting. Lo and behold -- the rest of the bulbs didn't die.  They were looking very much the same as we left them, under a table.   I thought  "hindi pala maselan".

Replanting the Amaryllis is very easy. Just put a bulb into the soil, just enough that the neck and shoulder of the plant is just by the rim of the pot. The bigger the bulb, the bigger the pot. Choose a pot that is stable -- clay pots are ideal -- because the plant has the tendency to be "top-heavy" when its full grown. So it needs a sturdy pot.  Water the pot regularly, keeping it moist, but not soggy. 

Surprisingly, you still have two other choices of how to plant your amaryllis.  It can also grow well in water and coco peat. 

Friday, December 8, 2017


I have featured CHILL by Nooks twice already in this blog.  And I will repeat... I really love this brand because it promotes Filipino creativity and ingenuity.  Their knitwear are really one of a kind!  Wearing it means, you are truly proud of you Filipino roots.  Handwoven, I consider them "works of art".


But there are more things to discover with this brand.  They invited me one Sunday morning to check out their pop-up store in Legaspi Sunday Market.  I am a HUGE fan of weekend markets, because it is where I discover new and exciting things -- from food, to crafts, fashion, furniture and many more -- I am really a captured audience!  I can spend my entire day exploring... come rain or shine, weekend markets will always be one of my happy places  :)


That particular Sunday that I visited, CHILL by Nooks brought their Spinning Wheel for the shoppers to experience.

Honestly, it was my first time to see a spinning wheel. All I know about it, is from a fairy tale story.  Remember Sleeping Beauty?     


Spinning is the process of making yarn of thread from fiber.  Yarn is the raw material for all clothing and textile.  


In 2008, Nooks began the shift into natural sources of fiber which were abundant in the Philippines. As a flatknits manufacturer, they relied heavily on cotton as their raw material. These yarns/threads were all imported.

Mother and daughter picking cotton at Bayawan, Negros Oriental

Cotton was previously a major farm produce.  When the Philippines' garment industry weakened, yarn spinning mills closed and no one bought cotton from farmers.  The country has 22,000 hectares available for farming cotton. Sadly, barely 500 hectares is being utilized for this purpose now.  Over the years, CHILL by Nooks have met many weaving, knitting artisans and designers, who had no idea our country is a cotton producer.  Sadly they weave beautiful textile using polyester and other synthetic fiber -- because these are the only yarns/threads available to them.


Cotton from the Philippines comes from Ilocos, Negros, Iloilo, Saranggani and Cotabato. After harvest, it is separated from the seeds through ginning. These are then packed in bales of sacks.  In preparation for spinning, yarns must be carded to further clean it of impurities. Carding produces slivers which are used to feed into the spinning wheel.




Nooks made the Spinning Wheel to signify the “Missing Middle.” Our country’s farmers cannot sell their cotton because it had to be converted into yarns and threads which were needed by textile designers and manufacturers who wanted to use local fiber if only
these were available.

Thus, the HAND SPINNING COURSE makes it possible for designers and textile enthusiasts to envision products that are truly Filipino. If cotton is sourced from our farms, 
spun into yarn and woven or knitted into finished products, then this makes for a supply chain that is easily traceable- from farm to fashion.

Nooks developed a spinning wheel similar to what has been used in centuries past.


Because honestly... I AM!

Personally, I didn't have any problem putting my foot on the wheel.  Its holding the cotton, gently and delicately for spinning that is a bit of a problem for me.  It broke several times while I am spinning.  But after several minutes, my spinning groove worked perfectly.  And I enjoyed it.  There is something incredibly soothing and meditative in the spinning experience.  More interestingly, I found out that people who knit, paint or garden are drawn into spinning :)

To spin the yarn, my hands were working to draw the fibers from the bundle of cotton, while my first two fingers and thumb were twisting the fibers together as the yarn was drawn into the bobbin.  The yarn is spun around the bobbin that is rotating from the spinning of a drive band that is attached to the wheel. Foot pedals are used to spin the wheel in a clockwise motion.

If you are artists who are into knitting, there is definitely excitement in making your own yarn/thread. 


CHILL by Nooks now offers workshop on hand spinning that includes:  the setting up and assembly of the spinning wheel;  hand spinning fiber into yarn;  finishing the spun yarn to set the twist;  and preparing the yarn by coning or in skeins/hanks to be dyed.

But wait... there's more!  There are also workshops for DYEING and KNITTING.  These will be the topics of my next articles!  So stay tuned!

If you are interested in attending the workshop visit

You can also drop by the Legaspi Sunday Market to experience hand spinning  

Wednesday, December 6, 2017


Have you heard about the technology called InCelligence?  In layman's term, it is the capacity of the cells to heal itself.  For it to heal -- it needs nourishment, protection and renewal.  And we get these things from food, exercise and healthy lifestyle.  Plus of course, supplements that boosts healing.

Let's hear it from the expert -- I interviewed Ms. Gen Blasurca to explain more about the InCelligence technology, and how are we going to benefit from it!  

Monday, December 4, 2017


As an advocate of healthy living and an urban gardener -- I always encourage my children to eat healthy. And that includes eating fresh fruits and veggies.  And to make fruits and veggies accessible to them, I grow them in my little backyard garden.

As of now -- I have full grown lemon, atis and guyabano.  Papaya trees come and go in the garden.  I am still waiting for my very first harvest of star apple and avocado  (crossing my fingers they will also bring sweet fresh fruits)!


According to a recent study by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute, fruit consumption in the Filipino households has decreased by as much as 50% since 1978.  This is sad. I also observed that prices of fruits in public markets and groceries have gone up in the last few years. This is also one of the reasons why I chose to grow my own fruits.


Recognizing this gap, Fruitas Holdings Inc. launched the "Fruitas Habit" -- a nutrition program which aims to improve the health of Filipinos, especially the children, by educating them on the benefits of daily fruit consumption, and the numerous ways to enjoy eating fruits.  

Here are some of the activities Fruitas started aimed in getting the Filipinos achieve a healthier lifestyle.

Saturday, December 2, 2017


 I am an avid fan of apple cider vinegar.  Been using it for several years now.  Primarily, my husband uses it for cooking... and it is my favorite -- salad!

For my KANI SALAD, i just put in kani, orange, arugula from my urban garden.  Then drizzle it with my apple cider vinegar mixed with honey. Simply yum!

Or my MUSTARD CHICKEN SALAD.  Cooked chicken breast on mustard. Then toss in mango, feta cheese, lettuce harvested (again) from my backyard garden with my favorite dressing -- apple cider vinegar with honey!

Apple cider vinegar with honey is a perfect dressing, not too sweet, not too sour.  It complements whatever fruit you put in. Just add something salty, mustard chicken or feta cheese or kani and you will enjoy it for sure!


HEALTH BENEFITS.  It contains amino acids and antioxidants that are good for the body. Some studies have showed that daily intake can help lower blood sugar levels and fight diabetes.  But MrsWise believes that patients with diabetes need to consult first with their doctor before taking apple cider vinegar on a regular basis, especially if you are on medication.

HELPS IN WEIGHT LOSS.  Although this is not a major concern for me hehehe... I think my dear readers, you will be interested in this. Apple cider vinegar intake may increase the feeling of "fullness" or feel more satiated and help people eat fewer calories, that may eventually lead to weight loss -- with proper exercise and balanced diet.

HEALING POWER.  It fights seasonal allergies because it helps break up mucous in the body and support lympathic drainage. It is good for the immune system and can clear sinuses.  I will try this because December to January I am plagued by the cold weather that I always catches cold.

Its all over the internet, that apple cider vinegar also has other uses like hair conditioning, pet care, as a cleaning agent, and as a weed cleaner (which I like because it becomes my partner in urban gardening). Very useful for a person like me who likes using things natural and chemical-free  :)