Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Parabens Anxiety

Since reading several articles about those research studies linking chemicals, Bisphenol-A and methyl paraben, to breast cancer (and other form of cancers), I became very vigilant with skincare, shampoo and conditioners.

The common question now --- Are we still safe from using cosmetics without checking the ingredients?

Okay, so just last night I went to the mall and checked the ingredients of several lotions, shampoo, conditioners, skincare and body wash, that I've been using for the past years! And to my horror, almost all those products contained parabens! Goshhh

According to a research study in California, scientists discovered that Methyl Paraben and Bisphenol-A (BPA) promote cancer cell growth when these chemicals enter the body, it may also interfere or block the effectiveness of cancer treatment like Ramoxifin. 

Parabens had long been linked to cancer growth, tumors, infertility, nervous breakdown, depression, reproductive problems in the past. Bisphenol-A, aside from parabens, is another damaging chemical that feared to be one of the environmental causes of cancers.

But according to the same study, not all BPA and parabens that enter the body promote or develop cancer cells, but who knows what are our risks? It is better to be safe than take adventure. Now, I am checking products in the net that are paraben-free, organic products are all paraben-free items. BPA is commonly found in cans and hard plastic containers including bottled drinks, canned foods, canned soft drinks among others.

It is strongly advised not to put hot foods on plastic containers or cellophane as heat easily dissolved BPA out from these containers and go directly to the body, microwave oven is even considered as another culprit of cancers and hypertension. Sales receipts are even found to have BPA content!

While still on the look of paraben-free organic skincare, I found at least three items with no paraben chemicals: Myra lotion, Palmolive conditioners, Avon's deodorant lotion.

For more info read my Health and Wellness blog

My Father's Devotion

Last night, I texted my mother about many things...asking updates, exchanging info, among others. Then after five text messages my mother stopped sending replies so I asked her if she already gone to sleep, then a reply came stating that she's busy writing the "sermon" of my father for today's morning service at the church because our parish priest is not in town. Then my mother expressed her disgust and rant once again.

Well, I am very familiar with my mother's mood every time my father ask her to write his "church's sermon of the day" so I just uhmmm laughed and texted her something that stirred her heart.

My father has been serving the Catholic church as a lay minister for more than 40 years now, it's his way of life. He is one of the most enthusiast lay ministers in our town and I had witnessed this devotion ever since I was a child. I would often accompany him to the church doing lay ministerial job when I was still in my elementary days.

His energy amazed me, he always prioritized this voluntary service above anything else, even when he was still at the government office working as a Local Revenue Collection Officer. When I was still living in our place, I could not understand his vigor and devotion. I saw how he carefully managed his time. He would even help build chapels in nearby barangays and would fight hard to steer back people who switched to a different religion back to the Catholic faith preaching compulsively what Catholic religion is all about.

I grew up with numerous bibles, liturgy guides and other Catholic church paraphernalia scattered in his study table, in fact the first magazine I'd ever read was The Columbian, the official magazine of the members of the Knight of Columbus (fraternity of the Roman Catholic men through out the world) published in New York City, USA, and sent to all K of C members world wide, my father is one of the founding members of K of C in our town. 

Unfortunately, my father suffered from hypertension and heart ailment, his high blood pressure sometimes would shoot up to an alarming level. He would come and go to the hospital several times in a year. In 1990s he had abandoned smoking and alcoholic beverages and did not attempt to get back (to those vices), he also stopped eating red meat and foods rich in trans fats and sodium, he would only eat unsalted fish and vegetables. But then the hypertension and heart ailment became increasingly worse partly due to his workload in the parish and in our community. 

In 2009 my father became completely blind with cataract because both his two eyes were affected and I could see how he struggled hard. One of the most agonizing facts is that he could no longer conduct lectures on pre-cana and pre-baptism seminars, community service like organizing cause-oriented activities for ecology and environment, preside a church service on weekdays and family groupings on Saturdays, to cut it shortly, it seemed as though my father's life had ended abruptly.

Everything that could make him happy was stripped from him, the books, the service, the lectures and community talk. But what I'd observed about his personality was his positive disposition. He would still attend mass at Sundays guided by my mother and during weekdays, one of his colleagues in the church would come to the house and gave him Eucharistic host every morning. He would laugh and would talk endlessly despite his disabilities. He never questioned God why of all the things that would be stripped from him it's his vision when it is very useful to him. He complained nothing. He just stayed in the house and every morning he would walk around our block to get fresh air and stretched his muscles. He was full of hope.

Cataract is not really life threatening, the surgery is always considered as safe, but in my father's case, this is not as simple as it sounds because of his health condition. There are people with hypertension who became bedridden after undergoing cataract operation.

He had a regular check up on high blood pressure and heart, but to his chagrin, results revealed that his blood pressure could not endure the sensitive process of eye surgery. He continued hoping and praying. And made a promise that if God will allow him to see again even just one eye he would continue doing the church service. Several more months and the check up revealed the same result. Then I continued praying too, every night, every day, that may God perform a miracle for my father. 

Well, time was my father's greatest enemy. At 71 in 2010, with chronic cases of hypertension, heart ailment and mild stroke in the past, it seems my father's system cannot be categorized anymore as "healthy and sound" to undergo a safe medical procedure, there's a great possibility that he would suffer stroke while undergoing the procedure.

But his strong determination to see the light of the day again was so intense that he made effort to stabilize his blood pressure. He was very careful with his diet. Finally on November 2010 when he decided to give it a go, his doctor said he is in a good condition already to undergo the surgery. According to my mother, while on his way to the operating room, my father was chatty to the staff and even cracked jokes to the nurse assigned. 

During the entire procedure, my father's BP remained normal and did not fluctuate. Two hours later, to my mother's relief, the surgery successfully finished. My mother texted me immediately and I was so happy and thanked God endlessly for the big miracle. The surgery was only performed in one eye because of my father's condition. There should have a huge interval of days or months before the other eye could be operated.

When the bandage was taken the day after, my father said he could see clearly again. Several months later, with only one eye working, he made true of his promise, he returned to serving God and became active in the church again.

What amazes me now is the strong and positive responses of the different medications he took for his hypertension and heart ailment. Well, living in the province, now I know, could really contribute to a long life because foods are fresh and the lifestyle is very simple plus the environment is free from pollution. My father is also a great supporter of alternative medicine. He would make Lagundi syrup in our kitchen. Now, he is taking Agaricus and green tea for body cleansing. 

So when my mother heavily complained last night about my father's super busy life again in the church, I reminded her that God performed miracles many times already in our lives and it is just right to return the graces by serving Him and His church. My father never complained, even how tired and uncomfortable he is, when it comes to Church service he is always there doing all sort of pastoral duties as if God anointed Him to perform all those services for free.

There are First Friday of the month (when our parish priest is out of town) that my father would roam around the town visiting the sick, the disabled, the prisoners and those who cannot come to the church to receive the body of Christ. 

After exchanging text with my mother. Her heart softened and according to her, continued writing the sermon of my father for today's service.

God performed different forms of miracle everyday, we just sometimes tend to overlook it and refused to recognize because we are too preoccupied with our own plans, but God has His own plans that human brains never understand. All we have to do is listen to His message in the form of little miracles everyday.

God is so good, He just delays things but He never forget. That's God's graces...and being a Catholic teaches me so many things in life. I always felt that I am protected by God in many ways, it seems there's a giant halo that covered my whole self because amidst the world's recklessness and hostility of the environment, I am safe from danger, I am living in the city alone and I've nothing to hold on except prayers.


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Songs of the Heart

September is about to end so the tension of working on several requirements for each subject is beginning to surface. But there's one requirement in my managerial communication subject that I love. The songs compilation for six decades where we would write a critique for each song. I love it because I am a music-minded person and I  love analyzing song's lyrics!

But I had a hard time choosing what songs to include in each decade since there are lots of ballad and mellow tunes I love. So I picked songs which represent the depth of my emotions so that it will be easier for me to write a critique.

Some of the songs I selected are The Colours of Love by Billy Ocean, Don't Expect me to be Your Friend by Lobo, Fire and Rain by James Taylor, Why do we always hurt the ones we love by Dan Hill, God Gave me You by Bryan White. 

Songs are melodies of the heart, like sweet-scented flowers spreading its magic of romance, music describes what's beyond those hidden emotions. It helps soothe troubled mind. When I am down and sad and distress, all I need to do is just listen to mellow songs and soft ballad, cry a little bit and figure out why things felt so badly.

I don't want to talk about rejection anymore nor the things that made me so sad lately. I am simply tired blurting words of loneliness, asking questions about life and why people sometimes are unpredictable. I just go on with my life, pursuing my dreams, focusing now on things I need to achieve in the future. I don't want to spend every minute of the day thinking why there's animosity again. That's beyond my control. All I have to do now is just mind my own life. 

I don't want to attract tons of stress. Life is wonderful to be wasted on disappointments, so to minimize tension, I just focus on things that have something to do with my happiness---surfing the net for travel plan tips, writing stories for my short story compilations, writing entries for my 12 blogs, creating another blog, eating good foods and listening to good old songs.

One of my super favorite songs in life is Billy Ocean's The Colors of Love, it perfectly describes what's inside my heart, my longings, my dreams. The questions asked in the song are the same questions I'd been asking for ten years now.

The Colors of Love by Billy Ocean

If I had to paint a picture
To show the world how love can really be
I would use the brightest colours
To create a vision of harmony
It would be a reality
'Cause its only what's inside of my heart
You would see I've always loved you right from the very start

Tell me what is the colour of love?
What do you see?
Is it warm is it tender when you think of me
I see the colour of love when I'm thinking of you
As a picture perfect painting of love forever true

The colours of the rainbow turn grey whenever you're so far away
It changes like the seasons
You're the reason it happens that way
What you see are colours of emotion
Reflecting what I feel deep inside
Now I'd like to take a look at emotions that you hide

Tell me what is the colour of love?
What do you see?
Is it warm is it tender when you thing of me
I see the colour of love when I'm thinking of you
As a picture perfect painting of love forever true

And oh though many may try to keep us apart
Oh the colours that I see in you will shine a light to see us through
No matter what the world will do I'll always love you Ooh ooh ooh

Oh what is the colour of love oh tell me tell me
Oh I wanna know I wanna know - when I'm thinking of you
As a picture perfect paining of love forever true



Friday, September 23, 2011

Everything Went Messy!

Everything went messy today! :-(

Just attended the wedding of Michael and Cathy plus the Christening of their baby girl, Nigella, in Our Lady of Lourdes parish church in Bangkal and God!everything went messy and I was so clumsy the whole time!What's with those misfortunes?

I only ate pasta and bread at lunch because I was afraid if I  had chosen rice instead my stomach will bloat beneath my cotton lavender dress. Around 11:45, I started fixing myself, putting on make up while answering the phone call of my parents (inquiring when I will be transferring to a new boarding house). We left at 1:00 pm for Bangkal.

I seated next to Suzanne while the wedding ceremony was going on. When the picture taking was finished, Neil told me to prepare because baptism will soon to follow, then I stood up and the first misfortune happened, for reasons I couldn't understand, I suddenly stumbled on the kneeler and my poor shoes broke its heels!It was creepy and I was in near panic. My nerves rumbled underneath. What would I do now? I didn't have any extra shoes! 

I really felt sorry for myself....it's a blessing that Suzanne brought two pairs of flat sandals so she offered one pair for me. My mind dishevelled and would no longer cooperate what's going on, it was so upsetting that I could no longer pull a smile in my face in front of my friends. It was so miserable and felt like I wanted to fly home  in desperation. I felt  very uncomfortable and just walked around with empty emotions, cringing with the idea that I was only wearing a very flat sandal below my dress at the baptism ceremony, so embarrassing...huhu!

The christening was held at the back of the Eucharistic altar. I wanted to position in the farther corner of the room but I was one of the godmothers so I should be closer to the baby. It was so disconcerting, standing there with an empty mind, remorsing why my shoes malfunctioned...the snubbing gesture of one friend added to my distress. Why he acted as if I was an alien who just landed from Jupiter? I endured his very hostile treatment because my mind was still incoherent and could not process logically the mysterious occurrences in the surroundings.

I could not concentrate anymore with what the priest was saying because my brain was still gasping in shock with what happened to my footwear, the distant treatment of my friend who was standing just beside me with no hint that he was aware I existed near his position, further nailed my discomfort. Jesus! It was as if he didn't know me at all, but I did not care anymore. My mind was already tired pondering why he always treated me as if he just suffered from amnesia and could not recognize my ugly face every time we meet in public. I feel very exhausted with those never-ending rejections.

After the christening, I left hastily ahead of the group because I still have to attend the acquaintance party of MBA-MPA Society of Addu. While riding a jeep and texted my classmate, I still couldn't reconcile the fact why my shoes gave me a severely depressing day and why a friend, whom I thought a real friend, pointedly snubbed me. Why and why....so many questions again lurking in my mind.

Then I remembered --- maybe Grace was angry with me?

I was supposed to go with my friends to New Bataan, Compostela Valley at 3:00 pm for Grace's burial tomorrow, September 25, but I just couldn't make it because of too many conflicts on my schedule. So I told my two friends to just go ahead.

While resting now and recalled the things that happened earlier...I could not help but think why I am always treated as if I did not deserve  to be respected despite all my effort to be polite and gracious? Am I being cursed?

But I care no more. It is simply tiring.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

It goes Again :-(

Maybe God love me so much because he blessed me with a very strong spirit and endurance to cope up with too much emotional stress and agony in life, it seemed God wanted me to carry the weight of the world around my shoulder to prepare myself for better challenges in the future. But despite  this unmistakable strength supposed I am having now, I started feeling exhausted, my strength started giving in...my endurance seemed faltering. How long could I endure the pretension that everything is okay despite being openly humiliated?

I already travelled this road before and I don't think I can endure a repeat performance. Maybe it's time for me to detach and keep a good distance, oh God how many times I said this?? It's simply tiring, putting too much effort to make everything nice and pleasing in the environment when you are being treated unworthy.

Eleven Signs HE IS NOT INTO YOU

Tired thinking how to maneuver my life without passing the road of agony, I tried mollifying myself by surfing the net to eradicate stress, then I read these very self-provoking signs of "he is not into you" from three different sources. You know when you are endlessly asking how to gauge something, well the following signs will help you understand the bold truth behind those mysterious, seemed-like-incomprehensible gesture.

He is not into you if:

1. He is thoughtful in private but distant in public - When a man is so sweet and seems thoughtful in private, according to one counselling expert from Art of Charm, but very distant when you are in public, that's a big red flag reminding you that he has no interest or whatsoever with you.

2. He is not asking you to go out - if a man is excited or attracted in a woman he cannot stop himself from seeing her and want to take the situation further. If he is not making a move, it's not that he is scared, it's simply that you are not his type. Well, the message is obvious, isn't it?

3. He is not calling you - The line that "I am just so busy these days" is simply rubbish! The truth is, he is simply not interested in you. A man who is head-over-heels in love with a woman is constantly thinking how he would reach her, how he would contact and see her. If all lines died down, then it is simply signs that he is not interested in you.Period.

4. He disrespects you - This is pretty given. Because a man who genuinely loves a girl has a great deal of respect on her. But if he keeps on ignoring you, putting down your values, preferences and simply won't listen to your views and opinions and would never consider your inputs, then it is an obvious signal of disinterest. So please move on.

5. He prefers other people/friends to go out than inviting you - Did he forget to invite you? or simply he did not want you to be there. If a man always look for an excuse of not bringing you out then you will found out later that he treated his friends to a lunch or dinner. Then that's the obvious sign. What else?

6. He keeps ignoring your request - As simple as that. You are endlessly requesting a favour or something but just fell on deaf ears. But then very prompt on other people's request.

7. He takes forever to respond on your call or text - A simple "how are you" that goes ignored for hours means you may not be high on his priority list, especially if he has a track record of replying instantly.

8. He never introduce you to his friends, parents, siblings or cousins - A man who is eager to be your partner in life is enthusiastic to introduce you to his family and friends but if he always find an excuse to keep you from introducing to his closest circle, then a sad reality speaks that he is not into you.

9. He shows no interest at all - If in the middle of the conversation he simply vanish, or if you blob too much and all you got from him is a dreadful "okay" response then maybe it is time to break the conversation and look for other stuff that can amuse you because you are simply not interesting in his eyes.

10. He avoids the "getting-to-know-you" conversations - A man who is interested in you will find ways to know you better but if he cut you in the middle when you begin talking about your personal life or sharing life's plans, then move on with your life, he is not obviously interested in you.

11. He gives so many excuses - Even using the death of his cat just to ensure he is not available when you need him. And so many other excuses just to avoid your presence and conversation.

These are obvious signs that he is not into you, sometimes we kept on ignoring these signs because we are too engrossed with our own belief that someday a miracle will happen. If a man will say, you are nothing but just a friend, believed him because that concept will never change. It will take a deadly virus first to hit his brain before he will change his mind and heart. (from Helium articles)

...Well, the sad truth is that there are really things in life that are not meant to be. Let's just accept it no matter how painful.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Remembering Grace

Dr. Leo Buscaglia, an Italian born American psychiatrist, once said: "Death is a friendly word, because it reminds us that we don't last forever".  But how would we deal the pain of losing a very good friend?

With Grace. at the Mine's view Park during our retreat in Baguio City, April 2008

When I received the sad news that Grace had died, it felt like there's a terrible storm that suddenly hit the surroundings. Its effect, usually, is not right away seen or felt until the storm subsided. So I returned home contemplating how to ask other friends about it without breaking in tears. Then I went on with my usual nightly routines: flipping books, writing case assignment then drifted to sleep.

Then morning came....and still thinking how I would visit her wake. When I exchanged words with some of our friends, a strange grief slowly swarming underneath. Sadness. Sorrow. A mix of distress and silent pain of missing a dear friend. I struggled to hold some ball of tears that popping through my eyelids. But then I remembered one line of Dr. Buscaglia in his book "Living, Loving, Learning" --- What are you holding on?

Death is inevitable, it is our ticket to travel to another dimension where there's no more sorrow, no more pain, only happiness and that's eternity, and in order to go to eternal life, we must pass death. But how can a human brain comprehend its complexities? No one. not even the mightiest and the geniuses. We gotta deal with its effect, with its consequences.
Dinner time one beautiful July evening of 2010

When someone you'd known in life passed away, it's difficult to understand the real meaning of sorrow and acceptance and no matter how you would force yourself to comprehend one reality that life on earth is just temporary, a sting of loneliness still clench somewhere in your heart. That's a human thing. A weakness of the mortals. But we gotta deal with it, because that's what life is all about....

Death, as well as life, teaches us how to appreciate great things in our surroundings,how to deal with the people we encounter everyday and how to value our existence, why we are here and what are our missions. This is just a borrowed life and we just leased a tiny portion of this earth to breath and to find our own niche, but then later, these things will be stripped away from us.

Grace was a very good friend, we worked in the same university, sometimes we spent dinner together with other friends, shared important lessons in life and laughed at our silliest future plans. There were plenty of laughter and humour and teasing. She was so vibrant and lively, so full of life. But those wonderful fits of joy were eventually taken from her when she suffered a terrible, chronic illness which forced her to give up her work. The smile was gone and her energy droop eventually. I saw how she struggled to survive, her willingness to breath another fresh air and hopefully see the beautiful morning once more.

But God has His own plan. A kind of plan that's beyond our control, beyond imagination. I am glad I was given a chance to see her before she went back "home", a kind of home only God knows, something that we cannot visit, not even in our dreams.
Archive meeting, August 2006

I visited her twice during the last few months of her life and chatted about few things. I knew then how she suffered so much, her energy was lost and her vitality was no longer there.  I prayed for her recovery, but towards the end of the day, I realized, there are things that we cannot barter and negotiate from God. We are only children of circumstances.
During our retreat in Cagayan. April 2010

All I have now are memories of a beautiful friendship, that at one point, I met Grace and shared moments of fun and laughter. May she will find genuine happiness in the after life. Read the rest of MY STORY ABOUT GRACE

Below is the beautiful poem from Kahlil Gibran:

You would know the secret of death?


But how shall you find it 
unless you seek it in the heart of life?


The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day 

cannot unveil the mystery of light.


If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, 

open your heart wide unto the body of life.


For life and death are one, 

even as the river and the sea are one.

In the depth of your hopes and desires

lies your silent knowledge of the beyond;


And like seeds dreaming beneath the snow

your heart dreams of spring.

Trust the dreams, 
for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.

Your fear of death is but the trembling of the shepherd
when he stands before the king 
whose hand is to be laid upon him in honor.

Conzace

Conzace is excellent for the skin, this is what I'd noticed after several days of intake.

It is primarily antioxidants which fight free radicals, it aids the quick process of cell renewals making the skin more glowing and youthful. I never experienced any side effects, well, aside from occasional "sleepiness", none of the side effects frequently mentioned by others, like stomach upset and nausea, surfaced in my system.

Each capsule contains:

Vitamin A (retinol Palmitate)                       5000 IU
Vitamin E (di-Alpha Tocopheryl Acetate)     100 IU
Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)                           500 mg
Zinc                                                               25 mg

20% off your first purchase of any brand of vitamins by using the code 20VIT

At first I was hesitant to take this vitamin because I'd read so many testimonies of stomach upset and nausea, so I waited for several months before making a go. After asking our school nurse about it, I thought I better give it a try. They said that when taking vitamins you must take it in the morning after breakfast but I am used to the habit of taking vitamins and supplements at night, so I took Conzace at night but I never take it in a daily basis, just every other day.

I am taking Co-enzyme Q10 when not taking Conzace. Con-enzyme Q10 is another powerful antioxidant supplement that may help delay the process of ageing, just like Retinol supplements, it is also anti-wrinkles and anti-inflammatory. But it is costly, with P30.00 per gel, Co-enzyme Q10 is a bit "challenging", but its effect is wonderful. I know the clearness of my skin texture can be attributed partly to Co-enzyme Q10.


20% off your first purchase of any brand of vitamins by using the code 20VIT

Well, Conzace is a lot cheaper, only P12.50 per gel. According to others, Conzace can help treat various skin orders like pimples and dark spots. 

Prince Harry Turns 27

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Prince Harry as a child carried by his late mother, Diana Princess of Wales "She was the best mother in the world", Harry said when he gave a speech celebrating her 10th death anniversary in 2007
Prince Harry with older brother Prince William one afternoon at Kensington Palace in 1985

The third in line to the British throne just celebrated his 27th birthday yesterday, September 15 without any words from the press how the world's most eligible bachelor celebrated his natal day. In August, the Prince was photographed diving in a swimming pool in Croatia all in his splendid shirt and jeans while partying with his friends. 

In August 31, Prince Harry spent the 14th death anniversary of his mother, Diana, visiting different charitable institutions around London, a crusade closely associated to the late Princess of Wales. When Diana died in 1997, Harry was barely 13 and among the two brothers, it was Harry who took the pain of losing a mother terribly. When he turned adult, the Prince vowed to continue the legacy of his mother by working on different charities. He later founded Sentebale with Prince Seeiso of Lesotho whose mother died in 2003. Sentebale is a foundation aims to help homeless children especially those forgotten victims of AIDS left behind by sick parents.

"Sentebale means 'forget me not', we chose the name as a memorial to the charity work of our own mothers, as well as a reminder to us all not to forget Lesotho or its children" , explained by Prince Harry

Hugging one African child supported by Sentebale
Harry spent the 14th death anniversary of his mother doing charitable activities

Prince Harry is deeply involved with this charity and each year he travelled around the world to generate funds and support for the homeless children. He is a patron to many charities in London where he actively help raised funds every chance he got. Prince Harry who publicly said he and his brother, Prince William, always think about their mother and her influence, assumed the role left by his mother in many charities. Among the two brothers, it was Harry who often seen hugging infants and receiving awards of humanity for charitable causes just like his late mother. One palace aide said "Harry inherited most of the charisma and compassion traits of their mother".

At the halo trust in Africa
Princess Diana first did it in January 1997
The two Wales brothers grew closer to each other

Prince Harry is especially close to his older brother, who would be King someday. The two showed no sign of rivalry and bitterness for their positions in life. William as the "heir" while Harry as the "spare". They would often seen taking joint vacations and tours together when William was still single. And Harry often poked fun with his brother's obvious receding hair and weight gain.




Thursday, September 15, 2011

Shamcey's Mistake

Shamcey Supsup romped off the stage in her skimpy yellow two-piece with the blue sarong wrapped around her neck during the coronation night of the 2011 Miss Universe in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The Filipina beauty finished fourth (just ahead of Miss China, the fifth finisher) in this year's Miss U pageant. Shamcey said she did not expect to land in the Top Ten because she committed a big mistake when she forgot to take off the sarong from her waist because she was so caught up with the walk and the camera around. She took off the sarong eventually when she had her second round on stage and wrapped it around her neck.

Her mistake passed unnoticed....in fact, I was not even aware it was a mistake, really. But when Miss Philippines, Shamcey Supsup, was interviewed by Dyan Castillejo of ABS-CBN, she revealed that she did not expect to land in the final cut of Top  Ten finalists because she forgot to take off her "sarong" (the blue transparent cloth used to cover the lower part of the contestants during the swimsuit competition) as she was so caught up with the walk and the camera. 

She felt that it was a huge blunder which might affect the decisions of the judges during the final round of the swimsuit competition. She also added that her heart beat hammered fast behind her ribcage when the Top Five was called. She said that she was praying hard to make it to the top five because she wanted the whole Philippines to be very proud of her and that she prayed a lot the whole time.

Actually that was what I was scared about. Will I win? I prayed hard. I said to Him I’m gonna do my best for my country for them to be proud of me and please grant me my heart’s desire. That’s just between me and Him. I’m just so happy, very fulfilled,” Shamcey said

When she heard the question thrown by Vivica Fox about whether to give up her religion to marry the man she loves, that's when she knew God was with her because as destiny would have it, the question   was all about faith and religion, and she knew right then what answer to give.

During that time, my heart was beating so fast, I was praying, ‘Give me wisdom. Whatever it is, whatever comes out of my mouth will come from you. Then, they asked me about religion,” She realled.

Glamshot of Shamcey
The Top Five finalists, from left: Miss Ukraine, Miss Philippines, Miss China, Miss Brazil and Miss Angola

Well, as we knew already, Shamcey gave an answer that would make her very famous, like a celebrity, when she strongly defended her faith.

“If I had to change my religious beliefs, I would not marry the person that I love because the first person that I love is God who created me and I have my faith and my principles and this is what makes me who I am. And if that person loves me, he should love my God too.

And as we knew too, her answer created a phenomenon and forever lived in the consciousness of Filipino people. Everybody loves it because it has something to do with the very foundation of Filipino values,--principle and religion.

It carries a great impact indeed...This made me wonder now, what is really the final criteria of choosing the next Miss Universe?

When Lea Salonga, one of the judges, was interviewed why she gave Miss Angola a very easy question, she said that it was a pre-written question, that Miss Universe organizers gave each one of the judges a written question to be asked to the contestants. Lea said that she placed Shamcey on the highest rank but she was unsure how the other judges ranked Shamcey.

The manner of judging during the final round of Miss Universe is done through ranking. Each judge will  rank the contestants, assigning number one (1) for  their choice of a winner, who ever got the lowest number, is the winner. For example, If Miss Angola got a score of 10, Ukraine a score of 15 and Miss Philippines 20. The winner is Miss Angola followed by Miss Ukraine then Miss Philippines. 

Well, it's been three days since the coronation night of the 2011 Miss Universe, but the debate of whether the final decision of the panel of judges placing Shamcey on the fourth spot was fair, continue to dominate the conversation of most Filipino folks. Was it justifiable? 

This issue eventually became very controversial even more when one article revealed that Oprah Winfrey, the Queen of Talk in America, declared her disappointment. She was quoted saying these lines: 

"I have reservations with the results. If the only basis is the Q and A portion, after having been trimmed down to 5, Ms. Philippines deserved to win. What made her different from the rest is that she had no seconds to rethink of her answer as she had no interpreter to break the ice. The rest had their interpreters and having breaks on seconds to think about their answers. Hands down, Ms. Philippines answered straight to the point."

But days later, Oprah's supposed statement was denied by an NBC spokesman, telling there was no truth that Oprah actually uttered it. Well, whether she said it or not, it's just mean that the final decision stirred the consciousness of people from different walks of life, how come one will be put in the lower rank of the contest when she actually blurted words directly from her heart when others were answering through interpreters and we don't even know the authenticity of those words? (if those were actually the real answers uttered by the non-English speaking contestants).

Well, lots of things had been said regarding the result and the manner of judging, so we have to stop it and just accept Shamcey's fate, may be it's not yet the right time for the Philippines to have another Miss Universe title holder.

Shamcey herself was even amazed with the overwhelming support of fellow Pinoys. Asking about how it feels to earn a never-ending support from her kababayans...Shamcey quickly replied...

That alone makes me a winner. I feel like a winner even if I don’t have a crown. Miriam Quiambao told me this; she doesn’t wear a crown on her head. She wears it in her heart. And I wear my crown in my heart,”  She said.


Feel like a beauty queen with this collection of lingerie



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Switching Vitamins

Fine Friday morning....got so inspired finishing my short story collection next month, I don't know I just felt it's time to get it published. I'm also planning to pull out my Smart Quiz book from the i-proclaim bookstore and resubmit it to other publication.

Still contemplating whether to attend the acquaintance party of MBA-MPA Society of Ateneo this September 24 at 8:00 pm....the contribution is just too expensive for me to give a nudge..hehe!

So many things to do now....still have to download 18 songs for our managerial communication subject, a book review of Outliers, two research papers and one reaction paper for our Tamayong day tour this coming October 1...haaaay!All I am praying now is for this semester to finish right away to get a good break. I really need a powerful supplement to get through with the tension in life.

With all the pressure and stress from work and school, my appetite seemed not cooperating. I mean, I don't have any feeling to devour on foods. So I made a different diet plan....I rarely eat rice, except on Saturday and Sunday where I cooked brown rice and steamed Broccoli, the rest of the week is just so revolting, so I just eat whole wheat bread, vegetables and fruits, lots of fruits..then drink green tea with honey, so that all the toxic feelings will be eliminated from my system. 

20% off your first purchase of any brand of vitamins by using the code 20VIT

Then I switched vitamins. After spending two years with 4g and iberet folate, I made a change in taking supplements. Now I tried Conzace and Co-enzyme Q10 because these are powerful antioxidants and best free radical scavengers, fight premature ageing and minimize the appearance of wrinkles and dark spots. I felt good about 4g antioxidants and iberet folate seemed like a perfect vitamins, but their combination forced me to extract P40.00 per day from my wallet which I find very punishing. Co-enzyme Q10 is worth P30 each but I never take it in a daily basis, just 3 times a week. Conzace only cost me P12.50 per day. What I love about Conzace is its amazing effect on my skin. I plan to give my mother Conzace vitamins too when I get home.

Read my review about CONZACE HERE


20% off your first purchase of any brand of vitamins by using the code 20VIT

Monday, September 12, 2011

Miss Angola is the new Miss Universe


Miss Angola, Leila Lopes, the new Miss Universe, crowned by the outgoing Miss Universe, Ximena Navarette of Mexico in a pageant that lasted three hours. It was held in Sao Paulo, Brazil. This year also, Miss Universe Beauty Pageant celebrates its 60th year of existence.

The final 3..From left: Miss Ukraine, Miss Brazil and Miss Angola

Miss Angola, Leila Lopes, was crowned Miss Universe 2011 in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Monday night, September 12 (Tuesday morning, September 13, in Philippine time), making her the first Miss Universe winner from Angola, a country in Africa, the pageant was held at Credicard Hall in Sao Paulo, the largest city in Brazil. Last year's Miss Universe winner was from Mexico, Ximena Navarrete. This year, Miss Universe pageant is celebrating its 60th anniversary.

This is also the first time that the pageant made the semi-finalist cut into 16 adding Miss Portugal who  garnered the most number of votes in the online poll of the Miss Universe official site. Mean while, it was Miss Philippines who garnered the most number of votes, followed by Miss Venezuela, in the online poll conducted by Telemundo, a Latin America website.

Miss Philippines, Shamcey Supsup, one of the strongest candidates for this year's Miss U, placed third runner up disappointing some Pinoys who believed she should have been the eventual winner as she exuded charm, poise and grace on stage. She was full of confidence when she answered the final question and the only candidate among the top five finalists who spoke solid English and did not use an interpreter. She could have win the crown but then of course the final decision relied on the panel of judges which include Philippine pride, Lea Salonga-Chien.

Early on, Miss Supsup, who hails from the same city as Manny Pacquiao-- General Santos City in Mindanao, Philippines, was reportedly pressured and nervous by the stunning achievement of her predecessor, Venus Raj, last year who placed fourth runner up. Luckily, Shamcey was able to outrank Raj in the final standing as she emerged the third placer, and uhmmm, she did not buckle when she gave her answer.

She was given a question that has something to do with faith and religion "Would you change your religion if you will going to marry a man with a different faith?", her answer reflected the true values and culture of the Filipinos when she said " If I had to change my religious beliefs, I would not marry the person that I love because the first person that I love is God who created me and I have my faith and my principles and this is what makes me who I am. And if that person loves me, he should love my God too".

Miss Philippines, Shamcey Supsup, wearing a gorgeous sequinned gown during the coronation night of the 2011 Miss Universe pageant where she placed third runner up. She is one of the strongest and most popular candidates for this year's Miss U. Shamcey won the online poll conducted by Telemundo, a Latin America website garnering more than 2 million votes, she even defeated candidates from Latin American region, Miss Venezuela, Miss Mexico and Miss Colombia. However, it was Miss Portugal who won the official online poll of the Miss Universe Organization.
Wearing a Filipiana National Costume
Glam shot of Leila Lopes of Angola, this year's Miss Universe winner

Miss Angolas' crucial final question was thrown by Lea Salonga. a question which many people refer as "very easy that even an elementary pupil can answer smartly: "If you could change one of your personal characteristics what would it be and why". She answered "Thank God, I’m very well satisfied with the way God created me and I would not change a thing. I consider myself a woman with inner beauty. I have my principles. I have acquired many wonderful principles from my family and I plan to follow this through the rest of my life."


A little history:

Leila Lopes became the second black African woman to win the crown, the first was Mpule Kwelagobe of Botswana who edged out Mirriam Quiambao of the Philippines in 1999. Lopes however is the fourth woman from African continent who became Miss Universe, aside from her and Kwelagobe, Margret Gardiner of South Africa won the title in 1978 and Michelle McLane of Namibia in 1992, but these two women are of white stock so they are not counted as "black Africans".

Major Awards

Miss Congeniality   -  Nikolina Loncar of Montenegro
Miss Photogenic     - Ronnia Fornstedt of Sweden
National Costume   - Sheldry Saez of Panama

Complete list of winners

2011 Miss Universe - Leila Lopes of Angola
First Runner Up       - Olesia Stefanko of Ukraine
Second Runner Up  - Priscila Machado of Brazil
Third Runner Up     - Shamcey Supsup of the Philippines
Fourth Runner Up   - Zin Lin Luo Luo of China

Controversies

Just like any contests, Miss Universe is no stranger to controversies, this year however the issue leaped a different twist. Prior to the preliminary show, Miss Colombia was reportedly went too far with publicity when she appeared in many guesting without undies revealing something that left little of imagination. This vulgarity offended many people and she was heavily criticized. The organizers eventually reminded the contestants to always appear decent and "never forget to wear your undies" when making public appearances. Miss Colombia however did not make it to the top ten.

Originally, there were 91 candidates but representatives from Norway and Zambia decided to withdraw  for unknown reasons.

Miss Angola's answer was not really that amazing as the question thrown to her was not a mind-bogging, pondering stuff but simply like a "common sense question" and she did not even finish answering the question. Anyway, sour-graping is not a healthy attitude hehehe!So let's just be happy for Miss Angola and all the women who made it to the top five.

Despite Filipinos' frustrations, still, everybody is happy with Shamcey's achievement. It's not easy to place on the highest ranking of Miss Universe with all the beautiful women competing, creating publicity just to get notice. One thing for sure, Filipinos, no matter what happen, never forgot to unite and provide support to every "kababayan" who is competing, may it be sports or beauty contest, this strong Filipino tradition is once again reflected in this year's Miss Universe result when Miss Philippines garnered the highest number of votes  in the online poll conducted by almost all websites covering the event. Okay, so we should be happy!

Congratulations to Miss Shamcey Supsup for her great achievement! You made every Filipino very proud!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

2011 Miss Universe


Shamcey Supsup, Philippine representative to the 2011 Miss Universe in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Coronation night will be held this Monday, September 12 (September 13 in Philippine time). She will most likely enter the semi-final round bec.she leads the online voting among the 89 contestants. The winner for online voting will automatically become one of the semi-finalists in the coronation night so please vote for her, link to the voting site is found at the bottom of this post.

The Miss Universe beauty pageant for 2011 will be held on September 12, 2011 (September 13 in Philippine time)at Credicard Hall in Sao Paulo, the largest city in Brazil. For this year's contest, the pageant has 90 candidates including Philippine candidate, Miss Shamcey Supsup from General Santos City, Mindanao, an Architecture graduate from the University of the Philippines where she graduated Magna Cumlaude.

Philippine pride, Lea Salonga, is one of the panel of judges for 2011 Miss Universe

Just today, September 8, Miss Universe owner, Donald Trump, announced the composition of judges for the final night. He mentioned Philippine pride Lea Salonga as one of the panel of judges together with Miss Universe 2003 Amelia Vega of Dominican Republic, Brazilian model, Isabeli Fontana, and four other celebrities. Lea Salonga will be the fifth Filipino in the 60-year history of the pageant to be included in the prestigious panel of Judges of Miss U. Other Pinoys who were once part of the panel were Carlos Romulo in 1974, Josie Natori in 1989, Kuh Ledesma in 1991 and Emilio Yap of the Manila Bulletin in 1994. This year's hosts are Andy Cohen and Natalie Morales of NBC.

In the history of Miss Universe, only two Philippine candidates brought home the crown: Gloria Diaz in 1969 (the pageant was held in Miami Beach, Florida) and Margarita Moran in 1973 (held in Greece). Mirriam Quiambao almost made it in 1999 but she was edged out by Miss Botswana and just settled for first runner-up. After Miss Quimbao, the Filipina who came nearest to the crown was Venus Raj last year (2010) when she placed fourth runner-up. 

Miss Philippines, Shamcey Supsup's glam shot. Image from the official site of Miss Universe

So far, the countries with the most number of Miss Universe winners are USA (7) followed by Venezuela  (6) and Puerto Rico (5). The highest final interview score given in a Miss Universe contestant was that of Lara Dutta of India who won the Miss Universe 2000, she got an almost perfect score of 9.954 and the highest scoring contestant in the evening gown category was Carolina Gomez of Colombia with a score of 9.87 who placed second runner-up in 1994 Miss Universe held in Manila, Philippines. The highest scorer in Swimsuit category was Oxana Fedorova of Russia with a score of 9.88, eventually she became the first Russian to win the title but few months later she was dethroned because of her failure to do the duties expected for a Miss Universe. A daughter of a nuclear physicist, Fedorova managed to finish her PhD in Civil Law upon stripping of the title, it was her first runner-up, Justine Pasek of Panama, who finished the term. 

Ever since the popularity of the internet dominated the world events, several beauty pageants sought the assistance of on-line voting to attract public's participation and this style was adopted by the Miss Universe organizers in the middle of 2000s, now it became part of the final selection, the contestant with the highest votes will automatically gain a spot in the semi-final round.

So let us support our candidate by clicking the "Vote" button in the official site of the 2011 Miss Universe. For Filipinos please support Shamcey Supsup by CLICKING HERE

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Quiet Vacation

Today the Catholic Church celebrates the birthday of Mother Mary! I'll going to attend the mass at the Cathedral this 5:00 pm.

Last night I finally finished my report in financial management but still I cannot afford to enjoy the day and be relaxed because there are still more paperworks to do before the semester ends.

With all the pressure and tension in life, one of  my longings now is to hop in a quiet vacation either in a countryside or in a beach to unwind, relax and feel the sweetness and tranquil surroundings of the mother earth. There's nothing more rewarding in life than being in a quiet and relaxing place with nothing but trees, fresh air and soothing music of the waves and the birds. But since money is just so terribly rare (hehe), all I can do now is just list the places I want to visit in the future. 

Well, hopefully I can really travel even just around Asia first, then maybe Europe (I'm greatly fascinated with Tuscany and Cornwall) or Seychelles or in the West Indies, Mustique Island or French Polynesia perhaps, in the near future. But for now, maybe the best option is to go back home-- to the province-- and relish the beauty of the countryside and the tropical seaside and maybe sit in the sand and listen to the tweeting of the birds and watch the bellowing of the waves while waiting for the dramatic sunset to fade in the horizon. 

Monday, September 5, 2011

Poor You

According to a book, William and Kate, by Christopher Andersen, Prince Charles and the Queen wanted Prince William to marry Kate Middleton in 2013 and not 2011 because 2011 and 2012 will be the busy years for the British royal court as the Queen will be preparing for her 60th year celebration on the throne and London will be hosting the 2012 World Olympics. 

But Prince William worried if Miss Middleton could take another postponement, the commoner woman, who had been waiting all her life to marry the Prince and who had been tailing William since she graduated from high school (her chasing journey carried her to as far as Chile and to St. Andrews University and taking Art History because it is the first course took by Prince William before he shifted to Geography), is already called "waitie Kate" by the Press because of painfully waiting for the moment Prince William will finally propose.

But her life in the world of royalty is a staggering pretension, most people did not actually see her as she and accepted her as who she is, the world is desperately looking for a woman who could fill the shoes left by Diana and who could represent the fascination and sensation that Diana once gave, the world is still hopelessly "in-love" with the late Princess of Wales and though Miss Middleton is very far from Diana, people are amused that there's someone who at last could be referred to as "the other Diana" even in reality she is far from her. In other words, people never actually like her but with the role she magnifies and represents. 

Poor Kate. She will be leaving like a complete robot. And the biggest fear of some observers is that the royal family members might not like this idea and they will be treating Miss Middleton as "not one of them" and she will be isolated later. Royals presumably are still not conforming with the idea that the future British King  chose to marry a non-aristocrat woman coming from a middle class background (in British history, William is the first future King who married a non-aristocratic woman).

Well, it is where the endurance and patience of Kate will be finally tested. How long it will last and how long she can endure it remains to be seen. Days in royalty are not all grand, privilege, sweetness and romantic as Diana found later in her life.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Wish List

Christmas Season in the Philippines kicks off in the month of September and no other countries in the world celebrate Christmas as wonderful and as joyful as the Philippines. Love, unity and happiness are truly felt, there are lots of reunions and gatherings to catch up lost times with family and friends, talking about good things in life...and lots of foods prepared in the table on Noche Buena (Christmas eve) and Media Noche (New Year's eve).

This is my happiest season of the year because of so many wonderful memories. I had a very happy childhood in the province and Christmas and New Year celebrations were fantastic back then. Now, I want to relive it once more by going home this December. Except for Christmas 2009 where I had terrible and painful December memories (it was the time I felt so useless, unattractive, more like a garbage particles), all Christmas celebs in my life were amazing. Christmas carolling in the neighbourhood with my friends and siblings and going to the farm to dig sweet potatoes for Noche buena were my most-cherished Christmas memories.

Now, nothing more is important than spending the rest of Christmas holiday in the province. But beyond the celebration, I am wishing for some material gifts for myself, because I am not expecting somebody would give me with these stuff, I planned to buy it for myself. 
Elegant Diamond and Pearl Double C drop Earrings
White Gold Double C drop Earrings
Deep Red Burberry wallet
Beige and Pink Burberry wallet

It's been a long time that I am aching to possess a pair of "double c drop earrings", I just love this creative product from Chanel, so elegant and gorgeous, originally designed and created by Chanel's Creative Director, Karl Lagerfield, this product is now being copied elsewhere...so it does not necessary to buy the original item because it's so expensive, I just want to buy the imitation hehe, which would only cost me around P300.00...another fascination is Burberry products...just love its design and materials...but then I would not be buying the original items...just imitation hehehe...Burberry is a British brand...