O.C. Mom in Manila

It's a Dirty Job but Someone's Got to Do the Disinfecting

Out Nesting

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I am 37 weeks already so I’m off panic-nesting.  Part of the nesting is migrating my blog to a new host.  Good luck to me and thank you to the best digital consultant ever The Painter’s Wife.

Photo by booleansplit from everystockphoto.com

See you next week, hopefully, if I don’t get buried in rubble!


Written by Kris de Guzman

August 17, 2011 at 7:14 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Mommy Milkshake Run 2011

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If you’re lethargic like me, then once in a while, try to attempt some physical exertion.  Tomorrow’s MOMMY MILKSHAKE RUN is one of those perfect times to do this.  The complete opposite of the CamSur Ironman, which is happening tomorrow also, the Mommy Milkshake Run is a relaxed and fun 3k and 5k run/walk (note the “walk” slid in there just perfectly for the family target group) designed specially for moms, moms-to-be, babies and kids, daddies and families.

Janice of Mommy Mundo, who is organizing the run, said there are very few slots left and they were surprised at the turn-out of kid registrants this year (in a few years’ time, we’ll really have tons of runners out there)!  Maybe because the registration fees are affordable — P250 for kids and P400 and P500, for 3k and 5k respectively, for adults.

I’m already at 36 weeks so i don’t think I should be doing any 5k or 3k walking (unless we want to bring home a baby to a still unfinished nursery – will I ever think it is done?).  And when I asked M if she would like to run and said it’s just like the Happy Run she joined with Tito Drew Arellano in 2009, she said “I think that’s going to be sooo tiring.” (Hmmm, taking after her mother, I see…)

Dada and 1.5 yr. old M in The Happy Run in 2009

So, we will just visit the brunch and breastfeeding expo at Mercato Centrale which I believe starts at 7am. According to Janice, there will be booths and activities showcasing mommy and nursing products and accessories, there will be fun and informational talks and activities for moms as well as kids.

For further inquiries, call 4709925 or email info@mommymundo.com.


Written by Kris de Guzman

August 13, 2011 at 10:57 am

Our First Baby Shower Gifts: The Plush Pad and Tooth Tissues

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I had a wonderful pregnant surprise last Monday night.  LBC delivered a big package to my house and it was from my good friend from college, Tine.  She sent me 2 super nice things (and OC things too because she was the ultimate OC when we were in UP) for the baby.

1. The Plush Pad

It’s a changing pad with a super chic design and get this, it has memory foam on where you lay down the baby!! How plush is that indeed? =)  Now, I have to bring a mat to put under the changing pad for when we go out.  I can’t let anything touch this thing!

2. Tooth Tissues

I did a post recently on oral hygiene habits one should start at a young age but I never put anything for babies because we normally just used gauze for M’s gums when she was small.  These Tooth Tissues are perfect for the new baby though.  I copied this from the back of the pack:

As practicing dentists, Drs. Grace Lo and Jonathan Korn know the importance of cleaning babies’ teeth after feedings and before bedtime. As the parents of two young children, they found that it was not always so simple. They were determined to find a simpler, more pleasant way to begin good oral hygiene with their own two daughters. Tooth Tissues is the result of their efforts.

The Tooth Tissues are all natural and unflavored. They are soothing for teething gums with aloe vera.  They are fluoride-free, paraben-free, and formulated with xylitol, to fight cavities.

Thank you Tine for my first baby shower gift!

Tine distributes these products locally and she will have a booth in the All About Baby Bazaar this Saturday in the Rockwell tent.  The Plush Pad and Tooth Tissues will be sold there, (where I shall buy more Tooth Tissues for the baby’s stash).  I didn’t want to ask Tine how much these are because they’re her baby shower gifts to me but you can find out in the bazaar.


Written by Kris de Guzman

August 11, 2011 at 8:00 am

O.C. Mom Recommends: Car Seats

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When I was a kid, I remember playing (while standing) with my brother in the back of our Hi-Ace or sitting in the hatch of our Corolla DX smooshed against the rear windshield. Such things are unheard of now, just like the idea of a car seat in the Philippines was unheard of around 20 years ago.

In the Philippines, we don’t have a car seat law but we decided it was a safety must for our daughter from infancy.  M has gotten so used to a car seat that she “panics” if we start the car and she’s not yet strapped on.  Because of the car seat, my husband or I can actually go out of the house with only M and we’re sure she will be safely strapped in the back seat.  We don’t need yaya to be THE car seat, especially when we bring M to school.

M asleep in her carseat. NOTE: Make sure the chest belt is across the chest and not like this.

Some parents say it’s overkill here because with all the traffic, we don’t go past 60kph anyway.  That’s one argument but personally prefer to err on the safe side.  I don’t want to impose my own beliefs on others though so if you cannot afford a car seat or it’s more trouble to fight with your child to go into a car seat, then I do suggest you keep your child in the rear seat with a seat belt and NOT allow him or her to sit in the front passenger seat (the death seat as others call it).  You may be a safe driver but there are crazy drivers out there and I read somewhere that most injuries and accidents happen to the person sitting in the front passenger seat.   I think, instinctively, the driver protects himself/ herself first, which brings the other side at risk.

We had a hand-me-down Graco car seat up to when M was 2 (until I realized car seats have an expiration date).  We bought a Britax car seat on Amazon on a 2009 trip where we needed to have a car seat everywhere we went while in Canada.  For our next baby, we got a convertible Britax car seat again from Mothercare, which is surprisingly not far from the U.S. price, if you include shipping and duties.

You can read up on reasons for using a car seat and some guidelines on installation from BabyCenter.

What’s your car seat brand and why did you choose it?


Written by Kris de Guzman

August 10, 2011 at 9:28 am

7 Recommended Oral Hygiene Habits (For Kids and Adults)

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According to doctors from the American Dental Association, as mentioned in Everyday Health, “Researchers have found possible connections between gum problems and heart disease, bacterial pneumonia, stroke, and even problem pregnancies.”  Thus, it is very important to have good dental hygiene from Day 1.

So here are my own tips on developing good oral hygiene habits (for kids and even adults because some adults haven’t developed these habits yet, haha):

1. Brush regularly after meals or at least once in the morning and once at bedtime (on the average, I actually just brush 2x a day because I can’t stand brushing my teeth in public places.)

  • My daughter loves this musical toothbrush and the Hello Kitty flashing toothbrush.

    Use a regular toothpaste without Triclosan.  Use only a small amount and smear your toothbrush with it.  You don’t need an inch of toothpaste like how the TV ads show.  For kids, just use a pea-sized amount.  Even if there are no bubbles, it’s OK.  There is still some cleaning happening.

  • Use a toothbrush with soft bristles for kids and at most, medium bristles for adults.  Hard bristles can cause micro abrasions on your teeth and even inflame your gums.
  • Brush for 1 minute for the upper teeth and 1 minute for the lower teeth.  For kids, I like the Firefly toothbrush which lights up for 1 minute (My daughter also likes the one with music.).  It’s a great signal and reminder for kids that they shouldn’t stop brushing until they’ve finished the 1 minute cycle, twice.
  • It’s important to change your toothbrush after an illness so that you throw away the bacteria and virus as well.

2. Floss at least once a day, before bedtime. 

  • If I remember my stats correctly, less than 1% of the world population flosses its teeth.  Some people say they can’t go to sleep if they have ill feelings toward their spouse.  Well, I can’t sleep when I haven’t flossed yet.  (OK, OK, different scenarios – haha.  I just want to show the seriousness of it.)  And I have to floss with Reach, which I hoard.
  • My daughter likes the Firefly Kids’ flosses because they’re colorful and she can easily grip them.

3. Scrape your tongue.

  • A healthy tongue is a pink/ red tongue, no white stuff on it.  It’s important to brush or scrape the tongue all the way to the back (yes, it makes me gag, especially now that I’m pregnant).
  • My daughter loves her tongue cleaner and gets mad when yaya forgets and says “Finished!”.

4. Rinse with filtered water.  (And let me state here that I OWN AQUASANASTORE IN THE PHILIPPINES, FOR FULL DISCLOSURE because “someone” might leave comments again)  You can absorb chlorine and other chemicals through bathing and more so, from gargling.  I always tell my Aquasana Shower Filter customers to brush their teeth in the shower so that they brush with filtered water, especially if their kids swallow the water (which they tend to do to our horror!).

5. Use a Steripod to cover your toothbrush.  101gramsofeyecandy’s Morning Meest post had a link to the Mythbusters experiment showing  E. coli present in your toothbrush bristles!  The Steripod is the most practical solution to this.  It has thymol, which kills 99.9% of bacteria or viruses present on the bristles for about 3 months.  Just remember to rinse your toothbrush before using it.

6. Replace your toothbrush, Steripod, tongue cleaner at least every 3 months.

7. Schedule your dentist’s appointment religiously 2x a year.  I normally schedule ours (the whole family, including household staff) around specific occasions — my birthday and my daughter’s birthday (about 6 month’s apart) so that it triggers a reminder in my head.  I also schedule on iCal with the standard alerts (email & alarm).  When I was in corporate, we had accredited dentists but I preferred to go to my cousin because I knew she was very thorough.  She did prophylaxis and scaling, which is very important because some plaque can really build up under your gum folds.

Thank you to my friend Kat for introducing me to her in-laws who are the distributors of Firefly and Steripod in the Philippines.  They gave me a set of Firefly toothbrushes and Steripods, which I was already using before.  Those are the things you just love receiving (haha, my O.C. thrills!).

Firefly and Steripod are available in Watsons and SM. Be a fan like me on their Facebook fan pages for Firefly and Steripod.

Firefly Original – 129.75
Steripod 2 pack – 314.00


Written by Kris de Guzman

August 3, 2011 at 4:40 pm

My Slight Detour With Samantha Sotto

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I’ve written about my internationally-published author friend Samantha Sotto a few times on this blog.  It’s not because I’ve run out of material to write about (seriously!) but I can’t help be amazed and proud of her (and of myself that I know her)!  So to brag even further, I just want to tell you (all 12 of my readers, up from 7 the last time I checked) about the time I got re-acquainted with Sam 2 years ago.

Sam was one of our marketing bosses in that great multinational over in Bicutan.  I never worked with her but I did share a room in one of our team building sessions in Baguio.  We got along because we wanted to sleep the earliest despite everyone calling us killjoy.  After she retired into motherhood and her ice cream kingdom in 2003, I hardly saw her until 2009 when we coincidentally scheduled our NY trips around the same dates.

My husband and I were in the U.S. to attend an Aquasana training session in Dallas, and New York was the holiday part of our trip as I had never been there.  It was Sam’s and her husband’s first trip to NY as well and they were there to meet Sam’s agent, Stephanie Kip Rostan.  One of our good friends, Francine, had just moved to NY and she had taken the role of resident NY tour guide quite seriously.  There were 4 different groups (all of whom left corporate to be entrepreneurs, a student or a wife) who would be in NY and oddly, we would be there around the same dates.  Francine, the ultimate O.C., suggested common itineraries where everyone could meet up.  It was like our very own Slight Detour tour group in New York.

The first stop for any tour group (especially a Filipino tour group) — lunch!  The burger in Burger Joint was highly-recommended by Francine who liked it better than the famous Shake Shack burger.

The tour group (including people ordering behind us) enjoying lunch at Burger Joint, Le Parker Meridien Hotel.

After, we walked off our heavy meaty lunch on 5th Avenue where we took photos in front of The Plaza Hotel, the setting for movies like Brewster’s Millions, Princess Diaries (where Queen Julie Andrews lived), Bride Wars (another Anne Hathaway movie) and one of my daughter’s favorite books with naughty child character Eloise (who lives in tippy top floor of The Plaza Hotel).

The group still fresh and standing upright as our boots had just been used for a few blocks.

We walked to Columbus Circle and took the Subway from there, our first ride (well, for the NY newbies) in the NY subway.

The group waiting for the subway to take us to dessert.

Shelley, Sam’s main character in Before Ever After, would have stopped to admire these mosaics on the walls of the subway platform.

Dessert was at Cafe Lalo, the setting for the one way EB (ugh, hate this term) of Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks in You’ve Got Mail.

An animated conversation outside Cafe Lalo. What WERE we talking about?

The rest of the tour included more eating venues: dinner at the original Bon Chon (which we had no photo of because we were very hungry), sake at this Jap resto, and dessert at Chikalicious, which had the best red velvet cupcakes (Francine swears it’s better than Magnolia Bakery. I wouldn’t know because after Chikalicious, I didn’t want to try anything else.).

The group with high blood sugar around the cupcake graffiti right across Chikalicious.

The tour continued on the next few days but I won’t bore you with the details of shopping, shopping and more shopping.  New York was one of our best holidays because we spent it with great friends, Francine’s OC non-trad itinerary and the start of a renewed friendship with Sam and her husband.  My husband and I were really planning on going back this year to support Sam on her U.S. book launch but my unplanned due date wouldn’t let us.

It was a good thing that the Philippines had its own Before Ever After book launch last Wednesday and my mom blogger friends and I got “backstage passes” with Sam.  Thank you to ManilaMommy for the photo =)

samantha sotto - before ever after

At the risk of sounding showbiz, I really feel honored to have experienced a small part of the Before Ever After journey, particularly that trip to NY.  And I feel so touched that she put us in the acknowledgment section.  It was totally unexpected (and now, I feel like an international rock star!).  I don’t normally read the Acknowledgments of some books but you have to read this one.  It’s amazing! (Clearly an unbiased opinion.)

Congratulations Sam!  We’re so proud of you. =)  This is probably your craziest but happiest birthday ever!

P.S. If you haven’t bought the book yet (where have you been??), call your nearest National Book Store or Power Books and ask if they have stock.  If you live outside of the Philippines, pre-order from Amazon to get a big discount.

Written by Kris de Guzman

July 29, 2011 at 8:24 pm

Obsessed About An EDSA Billboard

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Every time I pass by EDSA going to Makati, I see this Myra Billboard.  It’s been up for a while and it’s actually changed its execution 3 times.  The first was just a plain tarpaulin execution.  Then, they revised and added a sheer fabric over it to serve as a curtain of sorts, like Iza Calzado was coming out.  And then last and current, they added some 3D pop-out hands pulling back the “curtains” and some pop-out curtain material.

Now, my question is … who owns that hand on the left?  Freaky.

Yes, I notice weird things.  Traffic can do that to a person.  (I have to admit that my convent-raised prudish eyes couldn’t bear to look at the Volcanoes billboards – pre-regulation – for more than a few seconds.  Hahaha.)


Written by Kris de Guzman

July 25, 2011 at 12:35 pm

Posted in Signs

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