Alternative Gifts For Christmas

Alternative Gifts for Christmas

I have been wracking my brains on what gifts I could give for some of my friends who really are the kind who would appreciate an experience more than an actual present.  I also have a few friends who I’ve known for so long that I don’t know what to give them anymore. Then of course there are those who would just say “bahala ka na” which makes it even worse hahaha!! I mean these are people I know who would genuinely appreciate anything you would give them which also means I have to think harder!

Because I am not a bajillionaire naman who could splurge on a trip for them (ala Oprah or Ellen haha!) I figured out these three alternative gifts to give to our loved ones this Holiday season would actually be a fit for them. I can personally vouch for these too because I’ve tried them myself and love them!


A writing class, a knitting class, a make-up class, doll making classes,  a watercolor workshop etc. There are so many workshops going on in and around the metro. The thought is for the friend to spend some time with herself in a new creative environment which would hopefully help spark her creativity or at the very least allow her to relax. Personally, I would have so much fun in a make-up class with a friend. I don’t have a clue about make-up or and it would be great to just have fun with a group of friends to rediscover our faces. Of course the side comments, “chakahan” and support are a given “kaya mong ipantay kilay mo girl!!!”

  • Make-up

For make-up classes led by a FUN teacher contact my good friend Eli Ypon at Makeup with Eliza

makeup with eliza ypon tile

Personally, Eli made me more confident to take control of my kilay and to choose a foundation that actually matched my skin color (I can’t believe I went through my 20s and early 30s wearing generic beige on my skin) More importantly she is very machika, you won’t get bored and intimidated promise!

  • Ayala Museum Workshops

Ayala Museum offers a lot of fun and interesting workshops too. I am not a member yet of the museum but I am a subscriber of their newsletter so I get dibs on their upcoming workshops.  Their first one for 2015 is  by my idol Jessica Zafra. I hope Ayala Museum still has slots. I want to sign up, birthday gift ko na sa sarili ko to haha. I am such a fan of Jessica! It would be an honor to just bask in her snarky, witty presence (ooops fangirl haha)

jessica zafra ayala museum workshop

To get updates on future Ayala Museum activities like their FB page here

  • One Core

For a class that is an investment in your emotional and spiritual self, check out One Core:

I am a big fan of One Core and the Discover Your Core I attended with good friends was a really enriching experience. If you and your friends want something different AND fulfilling do sign up for the Discover Your Core weekend. It will definitely strengthen your ties and make you appreciate each other so much more. (The crying sessions are so cleansing too)

discover your core weekend poster

Coach Pia offers free sessions and the One Core blog is a great resource for materials on their recent seminars. Go check them out here

  • Manila Workshops

Last but not least, Manila Workshops offers the most diverse line-up of workshops. From investing in the stock market for beginners, to sketching workshops, baby sign language to party planning, they have a lot covered so be sure to sign up for their newsletter here

manila workshops


If you know of a cause close to your friend’s heart go ahead and make a donation on her behalf. It’s the gift that keeps on giving and it also shows that you care as much about her causes and advocacies as she does.

  • World Vision, Habitat for Humanity and ICanServe

Whenever our office Kris Kringle comes along I always request that a donation be given to World Vision. A donation during Christmas time will go toward a Noche Buena basket for a family that World Vision supports. A one-time donation is definitely possible and you may request a receipt too from World Vision :) You can actually still make a donation by clicking on the link here

world vision noche buena gift

Habitat for Humanity also has their own Noche Buena gift packs which you can check out here

This one is for Patty :) The ICanServe foundation advocates for early breast cancer detection and provides women with information so that they can make the best decisions on their health. When you make a donation on someone’s behalf they can provide a note card too.

Check out your local parishes and orgs as for sure the have outreach programs too!

If you’re a Deal Grocer subscriber then this is easy. I’m always on the lookout for good deals and Deal Grocer offers some of the Manila’s best. I once gifted my nephew and his family vouchers to the Mind Museum. It was a steal because the tickets came out at 50% off per person. My nephew could not stop talking about his experience and him and David are already making plans to go next year. Visit Deal Grocer, click on Experience to see more deals!

mind museum passes at deal grocer

What’s super about all of these? You can all buy them online! That’s less stress and less hassle for everyone!

Happy shopping guys!

Monday Musings

How are you guys? Anong balita? :) We went on a weekend tip to Nuvali and stayed at Seda Nuvali. I will be posting about our stay soon. I have a few posts sitting in my drafts folder too that need to see the light of the day before the madness of the Holidays rushes through.

Also the holidays and the impending end of the year make me a bit reflective and a bit contemplative. I have always wondered where I will be in the next 5 years and where the blog will be and which direction will it take. I have always considered this space to be my journal and also as a resource be it applying for an SSS ID or buying a cake for my kid’s birthday party. It’s also a journal of the friends that I have made and the relationships that I have forged along the way. The blogging world has been tremendous in connecting me to amazing women and it has also made me realize how much precious my space is most especially when I receive earnest emails from new parents who have been blessed with a babe with special needs.

But I realize that because blogging has gotten to be so popular, there is a lot of us writing out there already. There is just a lot of noise being put out there. I am part of the noise for sure but what makes me want to keep writing is knowing that my noise has become your noise too. And because of that, thank you for coming back to this page to read up on my family and on my (mis)adventures. Thank you for choosing to bookmark this blog and to comment. Thank you for the encouragement, for joining my giveaways and for connecting with me.

I am still thinking and contemplating but I know I will continue to write in some shape or form. Thank you again for sitting by me all throughout the years ;)


cs lewis


Patty B

patty balquiedra


I remember the first time I “saw” Patty. I was googling reviews for Louis Phillip Kee because I was looking for a new salon to try a short hairstyle that I wanted for myself. I came to a blog and the writer was Patty AND she had the hair I wanted. It was short, clean and stylish. I loved her review because it was honest but it packed a lot of info, including the salon’s contact details.

I never went to to Louis Phillip Kee’s salon but I kept coming back to Patty’s blog.

I remember the first time I “talked” to Patty. I was watching Pororo and Friends and for the life of me I could not figure out what was going on with Pororo and his gang so I tweeted, “Pororo and friends, are you all on drugs?” Patty answered back with something like “Yes they all seem high!!” and I was so surprised. I checked her profile, and it was the blogger I followed. I followed her back and tagged each other in online conversations.

I remember the first time I met Patty. It was a SoMoms event and I finally got to meet her! She was part of the second batch of moms but you’d never know it. There were no awkward introductions and she felt right at home with the group. We went together to events and talked so much more in our Facebook group. I told her how much she inspired me for facing the monster that is cancer with such grace, humor and yes, style. She wrote about her battle separately in her blog but then linked it up to her main blog because she had so much more to talk about outside of Cancer. Patty even opened up an online shoe store “YellowBird” while she was in recovery.  She kept a consulting business on the side too. Her relationship with her daughters is extraordinary. She celebrated her oldest’s debut and cheered her on during the finals of the dance competition. She doted on her youngest daughter who is just as wacky and witty as she is.

There was still so much to do. There was still so much life to live.

I am not ready to bid you farewell, Patty. The news that woke me up this morning is so hazy. I cannot believe how soon it is. I am not ready yet.

But I know you are, dearest Patty. You are a woman clothed in grace. Your fears are so small compared to your faith.

I can only wish to be half the woman you are Patty. Idol kita! You are a woman of strength, substance, style and sensibility. I will miss your stories and your funny zingers. I will miss just being around you. I will miss you. I miss you.

patty balquiedra 2

I can’t bring myself to bid you goodbye yet. It’s just too definite. It’s just too soon.

I know you will be around. I will always remember you when I hear Bruno Mars’ Treasure or Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off. They are your songs. I will imagine your dance steps and know that in that moment everything was alright. And whenever I make lamutak Noah, I will make extra lamutak for you. Pati extra singhot because you loved doing that to Noah.

Oh Patty :( I can’t believe it.

But I hope you know that you have always been loved by us and by my family. We will always pray for you. Please pray for us too when you’re not too busy living it up with your dad in Heaven.

Thank you for being who you are Patty. I love you so much.

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