How to be a better Filipino for the New Year, Part 1

As the previous year comes to a close, now is a great time to reflect on the year that was and make plans to make the incoming year a better one.

If you’re a Filipino, that would also mean becoming a better Pinoy.

We are all very well aware that the Philippines has problems, some big, some small; but I believe that the state of the country largely depends on the individual excellence of every Filipino. When the people improve, the country improves.

Sadly however, we have a very self-defeatist and unpatriotic attitude. It’s reflected in the way we behave in social media, how we perceive ourselves and our country, and, perhaps most importantly, in our wallets.

In my humble attempt to inculcate change into my countrymen, here are some tips on how to be a better Filipino for the New Year.

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The best gift ideas for those who are clueless

The Christmas celebrations are around the corner, and with that comes the occasionally stress-inducing responsibility of choosing gifts for people, lots of people.

While choosing a gift is an easy task every now and then, oftentimes you can’t help but end up confused or clueless on what the best gift idea actually means.  It could be because you drew someone you barely know in the company Kris Kringle; or because you need to get a gift for that person “who has everything”; or, let’s face it, the opposite gender will always be difficult to buy gifts for (I’ve been married for almost 20 years, yet I still struggle on what to get wifey every Christmas or birthday).

Whatever the reason for your gift-choosing struggle, maybe some of these tips will help you in your quest to come up with the best Christmas gift idea.

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How to optimally fuel your travelling athlete

The kiddo had a blast travelling with these guys…till he got sick, that is.

My son has just arrived home from a week long absence as he played a huge soccer tournament in Cebu. He is often travelling to play the sport he loves, competing in the biggest junior events of the Philippines, like Thirsty Cup (this trip), Ceres Cup in Bacolod, Palarong Pambansa in Vigan, and Pilipinas Cup in Clark…not to mention many cities he goes to in-between those big ones.

Sadly, he got sick during the trip and played all his matches with a fever. In fact, the on-site medic did not allow him to play the last match, where his team lost to the eventual champions in a tense and heartbreaking quarterfinal match.

While I could blame many factors for his sudden sickness, like the city’s dirt, the multiple-hour video game binge he had with a cousin the day before the matches started, the heat, and so on; I cannot ignore that we forgot to pack some things for his performance and health, things that he badly needed.

This unfortunate turn of events made me reflect: what are the travelling essentials needed for my son’s optimum performance? Soccer is an intense sport often played under intense heat, and so every trip has to be planned carefully so that he’s peaked and ready to win.

Of course, perfect planning doesn’t always happen (like this trip), even after years of travelling the circuit; but what does it look like when you nail it? Here’s what I think should be packed to optimally fuel your favorite athlete. Ready? Let’s go!

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Three tips on how to make those New Year’s Resolutions stick

We just stepped into a new year, and you know what that means: New Year’s Resolutions.  If you’re reading this a bit later into January 2018, are you still on track; or have they already been thrown out the window?  According to New York Times best-selling author, Jon Acuff: only 8% of New Year’s Resolutions are fully realized, 92% don’t see the light of day. What a dismal statistic; but a dismal statistic that hits home, I’m sure.

Speaking of Jon Acuff, I’ve just attended a webinar of his, where the author and speaker himself went live (technical difficulties and all) and gave three tips on how to crush your goals for 2018. I would like to transfer some of these golden nuggets to this blog, as all of us, me definitely included, need all the help we can get.

So, ladies and gentlemen, here’s three tips on how to make those New Year’s Resolutions stick.

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Ditch commercial sports drinks and make your own

I am not a fan of sports drinks.

For one, they’re not a frugal choice at all. Each of these bottles cost P40-60 and after a hard soccer match, my son can guzzle down one whole bottle in a single sitting. In a festival-type tournament, he plays 4-5 matches in a single day, so I can spend P300 a day just on the sweet stuff! Now, if it’s a tournament that my teen daughter also competes in, that amount can easily double: P600 per day for sports drinks alone!! That’s nuts.

But that’s not the worst part.  The worst part is reserved for what they actually are: basically non-carbonated soda. They’re full of sugar (almost as much as actual sodas), artificial flavors and colors, high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) or even artificial sweeteners like sucralose, and not much else outside of the electrolytes they’re touted to provide the thirsty athlete.

But don’t take my word for it. Studies have vindicated my opinion on these drinks. Check out this article, as well as this one.

What I do instead is to come up with my own electrolyte drink that’s much better for my kids and for my wallet as well. I have two recipes, which are:

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Sunscreen? Not a fan. Here’s why.

A few months ago, I came back from a trip from the nearby town of Camp Phillips, Bukidnon as all three of my kids competed at the Del Monte Cup soccer tournament. Since we arrived a bit early, when things were still being set up, I was able to observe people do their thing to prepare for the competition ahead.

For most of them, this included slathering on the sunblock or sunscreen.

Since virtually everyone was doing so, it got to the point that even when I was standing quite far from people, I couldn’t get the chemical scents of various sunscreen brands out of my nose. We’ve just had summer vacation here in the Philippines, so I assume that whether you’re hitting the beach or hitting the sports fields, it’s been the season to slather on the sunscreen.

You might be shocked to discover that I am not a fan of the stuff, and I advise you to ditch it as well. Now, I understand that I am a minority here…and right now you’re probably looking for your jaw that just hit the floor. Even my children succumbed to peer pressure during the tournament and used the stuff before their matches began. Nevertheless, I say no to sunscreen and I will give three reasons why; ending with alternatives to use instead.

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