Sunday, March 28, 2021


In 2004, my family invested in real estate. We bought a 240sqm lot in the heart of Quezon City. We thought it was the perfect timing, because the kids were just toddlers and were not enrolled in a school yet.


It took us four years, to have the courage to build our very first home. We used some of our savings, but a large part of the building expenses came from a bank loan. I remembered physically visiting several banks, personally inquired on their mortgage packages and installment interests. After several meetings with bank managers, we chose a mortgage package with this condition: 10 years to pay with a fixed rate of 10.5% per year for the first five years.  


We built our house in 2008. In 2018, we were thankful to have fully paid our bank mortgage. We are now on our third year of being debt-free and we are primed to think and plan for another investment. 



We are contemplating to purchase a small farm lot, where we can build our second home away from the hustle and bustle of city life. A small property where I can pursue my dream of becoming an organic farmer. A safe haven where the family can rest, unwind and bond at the same time.


But the question now: is it wise to invest in real estate when we are in the middle of fighting the Covid war? In an article in Lamudi, an online real estate marketplace, it is reported that when the pandemic happened, the real estate industry saw a big change in buyers’ preferences. More people are interested to buy house and lots than condominiums. The interest shifted from vertical to horizontal residential real estate now.


With this real estate trend, my husband and I think we are on the right track with our plan of investing in a farm lot and building a small house. Surprisingly, the pandemic has given us the opportunity to save. My second child got a college scholarship. And working from home eliminated expenses like eating out and commuting. 



The pandemic made us realize that our dream home must truly be our sanctuary. It is not just a house and a roof, it will also be our office (since we are both working from home since March 2020), a school for my teens (both of them are attending college online classes).  



Presently, I have a small garden in front of our house. But I plan to expand my hobby into something big scale. Would love to have my own farm with lots of veggies, fruit trees and a greenhouse for my herbs. We also, at present, have 2 dogs and 9 cats and they will be needing more space for them to roam around. We also plan for a bigger kitchen, as we want to aim for sustainability – the idea of farm to table living.



During the pandemic, people became busy with home renovations. With more time, they redesign spaces that will suit their needs. The ordinary bathroom was transformed into a home spa to create a relaxing ambience. Decks were added in the garden to fit all the plants grown during lockdown. A house and lot investment will let you do home improvements when your budget permits. You have to deal with certain restrictions in condominium improvements.



With horizontal real estate, properties are set apart. It is the perfect condition for social distancing. And with increasing infection cases in the city, the dream of breathing fresh air in a farmhouse will truly contribute to a healthier lifestyle.


Dream house design #1 on our future farm house
photo credit:

Dream house design #1 on our future farm house
photo credit:

After assessing what our dream home goals are, there is the financial side that we need to consider. When we applied for the mortgage of our first home, I remembered visiting different bank websites just to calculate how much will be our loan interest, given the loan amount that we are confident to borrow. Mortgage calculators are truly helpful in deciding the loan amount and the monthly amortization that would best fit your income. 


I know that we are still in the middle of a health crisis. 2020 was a challenging year for the property industry. But reports are pointing to signs of recovery. And while many people are getting interested in investing in houses and lots, as a potential buyer myself, I think it is still important to determine your needs and goals in choosing the types of real estate investments to pursue. Your property purchase should match your lifestyle and life goals.








Wednesday, March 24, 2021



I remember the shift that I made in 2013. From being a full time TV writer for the Philippines’ number one TV network, I decided to resign and focused my energy to freelancing. The pay is lower, the writing opportunities are very irregular, but somehow, I enjoyed the freedom that came with freelancing. The freedom to work from home; the freedom to accept assignments that truly matter to me; the freedom to work on based on my chosen schedule. And after eight years, I am still a freelance writer and still enjoying it.



In 2016, I wrote my very first blog article. I envisioned my blog to be my online journal. Just sharing with my readers different personal experiences and interests. 

But 20 blog articles later, I discovered, that I can actually earn from my blog!  From being a freelance TV and events writer to a lifestyle-travel blogger, I now consider myself an influencer. 


My background on TV production has given me an edge in terms of content creation. I have a great experience in writing scripts and witty captions for different brands. I can write, shoot and edit videos. I have the basic know-how in photography. So the shift from TV to digital content was not a major concern.

In the past five years, this is where my earnings come from. But I am trying to challenge myself to strengthen my grip on more than one platform to help myself and the businesses I collaborate target a broader audience.

  1. BLOG ARTICLES. I do write articles for different brands to create awareness for their products. Brands that believe in what I write and my advocacies as an urban gardener, mom, wife, traveller and entrepreneur reach out and we create a special collaboration. 
  2. BLOG ADVERTISEMENT PLACEMENT. This type of collaboration are for brands who want their logos to be featured on my blog site.
  3. FACEBOOK POSTS. This is the most rewarding, both financially and creatively. I enjoy doing content for facebook because I get instant gratification when my followers interact with me. I started by posting creative photos with witty captions, but slowly transitioned to video production.
  4. YOUTUBE. Another social media platform that I enjoy. Video production is really my cup of tea. As an added bonus, in a span of 6 months, I have monetized my youtube account, thus providing additional income for me as a content creator. Youtube also lets me do dual roles, as a host and interviewee.
  5. INSTAGRAM POST / STORY. Recently, I have proven that Instagram is a valuable platform for influencers like me. On a regular basis, I do research on photography to further enhance my creativity in taking pictures.


Partnerships related to travel are the best! I get to travel (sometimes with the entire family), explore places, and at the same time get paid. I will always be grateful to these travel opportunities!  And I love to read the stories of other influencers who make it big in the niche of travel and lifestyle!   


After the global pandemic, I hope to continue to travel more. My goal is to promote local Philippine destinations. To contribute to the development of Philippine tourism and in my own little way, local businesses bounce back from the negative impact of the pandemic. But for now, I will immerse myself on the latest travel trends.


  • Strong engagement. Connect with audience. It is not always about the followers. There are the nano influencer. According to market research, brands prefer to work with nano influencers (those with a following of less than 100k)  lesser followers but good engagement rate
  • Know the scope of work and deliverables and ALWAYS submit on time. Creates that trust in the brand-influencer relationship. If you are truly willing to help the brand grow, you should always respect deadlines
  • Accept brands / campaigns that are truly aligned with your advocacy, mission and values as an influencer. This is the only way a social media influencer can create relevant content.



It will continue to thrive as brands acknowledge the power of the social media influencers to push the popularity of products and brands. And with E-commerce taking center stage during this pandemic age, people are encouraged to become digital savvy and do online shopping. Content creators should continue to come up with articles, videos and posts that are geared towards building loyal customers.

With Zoom meetings and conferences getting popular, the pandemic ushered in the shift from LIVE to VIRTUAL events. What other platforms are getting the thumbs up from people globally? Live Streaming, live virtual events – as they offer real time connection and information.  




Tuesday, March 23, 2021


The damage of getting your house razed by fire is insurmountable; fires at home can break out anytime and anywhere and can damage livelihood, household appliances and more. In 2018, the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) recorded a total of 14,316 incidents of fire from January until December. 

This is why every March is Fire Prevention Month in the Philippines, and BFP’s campaign for this month is safety consciousness among our people every day of the year as a positive preventive approach to a problem that can be solved by more caution, vigilance, sobriety, exercise of common sense and respect for the law.” It is a campaign that focuses on exercising vigilance at home and keeping oneself knowledgeable on the best way to protect your home and family from destruction brought about by fire. 

“Cebuana Lhuillier has always committed to be of help to the Filipinos at all times, and our call for Fire Prevention is a reflection of that, our insurance products that aims to keep our clients protected at all times is a complementary effort to our advocacy for this month.” said Jean Henri Lhuillier, President and CEO of Cebuana Lhuillier.

PJ Lhuillier’s insurance arm, the Cebuana Lhuillier Insurance Brokers, Inc (CLIB), has also expressed its support for BFP’s campaign through the years. It has been a staunch advocate of having Filipinos insured, posting almost a 35% contribution to the total number of insured Filipinos through microinsurance. CLIB has also worked together closely with the Insurance Commission in promoting microinsurance in the country, they have settled over more than 5,300 million claims worth over Php 500 million  they have serviced  over 16,500 claimants. Cebuana Lhuillier Insurance Brokers’, Inc. is also the first and only ISO-certified insurance broker in the Philippines.

Also launched this month in conjunction with the celebration of the Fire Prevention Month is a promo dubbed “Panalo ka sa ProtectMax” where clients of the ProtectMax product of CLIB get a chance to win Php 25,000. The promo is open to all clients who will purchase 5 ProtectMax COCs; these 5 COCs are equal to e-raffle entry. For the promo, 20 lucky raffle winners will be selected and will win Php 25,000. 

“This Fire Prevention month, it is very important to drumbeat awareness on fire safety and prevention, and the importance of being protected. CLIB believes that an information and education drive is very important to ensure that everyone is well-informed against conflagration.” said Cebuana Lhuillier Insurance Brokers’ Inc., Jonathan Batangan.

For clients who are interested to keep themselves protected without having to go to Cebuana Lhuillier’s more than 2,500 branches, they may purchase Home Insurance via the ProtectNow app or website, just log on to to see CLIB’s full range of products online.

They’ve also mounted the #SunogFreeWorryFree: ProtectMax Kontra Sunog webinar which aims to highlight the importance of being ready for untoward situations especially fire, and the importance of having protection whenever there are threats of conflagration.

Thursday, March 18, 2021


Sun Life Philippines will rally Millennials to hit the restart button on their dreams with a new digital campaign that prompts them to claim a new beginning in their journey towards a brighter future.

Entitled “Ito ang Araw Mo,” the campaign launches on March 8 with a digital video highlighting the unique experiences of today’s generation, such as graduating in a virtual ceremony, exploring gaming as a career, pursuing online entrepreneurship, and starting a new family in extraordinary times. It will be posted on Sun Life’s social media assets, @SunLifePH on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to ignite the Millennials’ motivation to chase after their personal pursuits.

The “Ito ang Araw Mo” campaign takes inspiration from the pursuits of the Millennials who are keen on building their career, growing their wealth, and finding self-enrichment amid the pandemic.

“The times we are in may have pushed Millennials to put their goals on hold, but it also brought out their creativity, resourcefulness, and undeniable spirit. They are well equipped to fulfill all their dreams, even as they navigate their way in a new environment,” Sun Life Chief Marketing and Client Experience Officer Gilbert Simpao said. “It all begins with recognizing the start of this new chapter in their lives, taking control of what they can accomplish today, while working on their bigger goals in the future with Sun Life as their partner.”

To inspire and enable them with specific actionable to-dos, Sun Life will hold an interactive workshop entitled “Build Bright Habits to Reach Your Goals” on March 20, 10am, featuring international author, speaker, and life coach Dr. Christine Carter and AHA! Behavioral Design Managing Director TJ Agulto.

These bright habits on self-improvement, relationships, and personal finance will be reinforced through a Facebook community where they can avail mini mentorship programs, weekly challenges, and exclusive promos in the company of their fellow goal-achievers.

Those ready to craft their financial plans and be experts in handling their money are encouraged to seek the help of a Sun Life advisor, who can help them create a financial roadmap that matches their needs and will put them in a better position to make their plans a reality.

“Ito Ang Araw Mo” updates and other relevant information will be posted on Sun Life’s various online platforms for those who wish to take part in the activities and for those looking for added inspiration.

“There may have been a tremendous shift in our lives, but Millennials have the power to realize their goals and aspirations. It can start today,” Simpao said. “Ito ang araw nila, and it would be Sun Life’s honor to be their partner for life in this journey.”

Sunday, March 7, 2021


Moms are certainly #mamazing and most even possess undeniable skills like kitchen wizardry. They are known for making special, healthy, and delicious meals for the family, no matter the budget. Their cooking is so well-loved that many kids grow up comparing dishes to the ones their mothers made.


Ajinomoto Philippines Corporation (APC) is supporting moms everywhere to make more amazing meals with the Eat Well, Live Well. Stay Well cooking show. Hosted by #mamazing celebrity mom Iya Villania and chef Jose Sarasola, the 10-minute cooking show airs every Friday, at 11:20 am on GMA-7, with episodes also uploaded on the Ajinomoto Cookmunity® Facebook page.

“With our newest cooking show, we want to help moms and even any member of the household discover and make better choices for their family through simple yet delicious recipes that anyone can do at home. Through the help of Iya and Chef Jose, our #mamazingmoms and homecooks can easily whip up their own nutritious and delicious dishes perfect for the family just by using the AJI-NO-MOTO® Umami Seasoning or AJI-GINISA® Flavor Seasoning Mix, says Roann Co, APC General Manager Marketing and Public Relations.


The “Eat Well, Live Well. Stay Well” cooking show treats viewers into 13 exciting episodes, which feature different recipes fit for every meal and occasion in the household. With every episode, #mamazing moms and homecooks can learn more ways on how to use the versatility of AJI-NO-MOTO® Umami Seasoning and  AJI-GINISA® in making healthy, delicious, and even low-sodium dishes.  


Meanwhile, APC also launched the “I Love Ajinomoto” microsite, a virtual cookbook where moms and homecooks can share their recipes and get inspiration from their fellow kitchen wizards. To encourage them to contribute, APC rolled-out the I Love Ajinomoto contest with exciting prizes up for grabs.


To join, interested participants just need to visit and share a recipe using AJI-NO-MOTO® Umami Seasoning or the AJI-GINISA®. Apart from moms, anyone in the family who is at least 18 years old can join in too. Submissions just need to include the complete recipe, a photo of the final product, and a picture of the family doing the heart gesture with the dish. Participants can even submit more than one recipe. 


Each week, up to top five recipes will be featured on the Eat Well, Live Well. Stay Well cooking show on GMA-7Senders whose recipes were shared will also receive a gift certificate and a selection of Ajinomoto products. 


“We are excited for our #mamazing moms and homecooks to share their recipes and even have it featured on our Eat Well, Live Well. Stay Well cooking show. We hope that this initiative can inspire Filipino families to serve more delicious and healthy dishes for more enjoyable meal times,” adds Co. 


The I Love Ajinomoto contest and Eat Well, Live Well. Stay Well cooking show are both part of APC’s Eat Well, Live Well promise, which aims to create quality products and services for good food and better health among Filipinos. 


Do you have a #mamazing recipe to share? Simply visit and your dish might be the next star to be featured on theEat Well, Live Well. Stay Well cooking show!  


Meanwhile, visit and follow@mamazingmoms on Instagram for more information. 

Monday, March 1, 2021


Summer is now here and in the middle of all the sweltering heat, Salmon HQ has the perfect summer food for you: their famous Salmon Sashimi Cake and Tuna Sashimi Cake. Not only is salmon good for the heart but salmon is also good for the body since it is considered a healthy food. 


Salmon contains a specific type of unsaturated fat called omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids lower your risk of dying from heart disease, according to Mayo Clinic. The omega-3 fatty acids in salmon help keep your heart healthy by protecting the health of your blood vessels.


Tuna, on the other hand, is a lean source of protein. Tuna also contains iron, potassium, and B vitamins. It is also an excellent source of selenium, a trace mineral that acts as an antioxidant and may reduce your risk of heart disease and other chronic conditions


Sashimi contains lots of omega-3 fatty acids which is good for both the brain and health. The fatty acids help in lowering the cholesterol in the bloodstream which is always a good thing. These fatty acids also help in promoting good eyesight while the omega-3 fatty acids help stimulate the brain so it can work properly.


These three combined makes Salmon HQ the perfect go to place for your summer eats. You get to eat something delicious and healthy for both your brain and your body. If that isn’t a win-win, we don’t know what is. 


Salmon HQ also offers the best sushi bake this side of the Metro. What sets them apart from the rest is that you can still indulge in their sushi bake because they can easily replace the rice they use with cauliflower rice for those who are mindful of their weight or are trying to lose weight for a small price increase. 


Recognized by Our Awesome Planet, we know that their different sushi bake is definitely food for the Gods. If you are feeling adventurous, try out their Aburi Baked Scallop Baked Sushi or their Takoyaki Baked Sushi. Trust us, you won’t regret it because it will be the experience of a lifetime. 


To order, message them on their Facebook Page


PS. Salmon is also the perfect food to have during lent so make sure to order yours soon.