Category Archives: Work and Education

Busy, busy learning at home!

Nowadays, with the girls a bit under the weather and my having only one helper, we’ve been spending a lot of time at home. Naturally, the two chubby children want to be literally stuck to me the whole day! How do I keep them entertained (and out of my hair)?

1. Good old pretend play!

One blessing of living on a lean budget is that we do not have the luxury of buying our daughters any fancy high-tech toy (read: no iPads, iPods, Playstations, computer games, etc.). So, to make up for what they don’t know they’re missing, we rely on our human powers to entertain them! There’s more to low-tech high-dramatic play than meets the eye. Many modern educators have written about the value of old-fashioned pretend play in the development of children. For one, children get to exercise their creativity when you give them the opportunity to get into “live” dramatic play. (Tip: Let them come up with their own props, instead of buying them a doctor set or a grocery set!) My girls like to make a house under our dining table, or a makeshift office out of our chairs. Reese, my three-year-old, opens a storybook and pounds on it saying that it is her “laptop.” A friend keeps her preschoolers entertained by giving them cardboard boxes and crayons, out of which they make their house and car.

2. Read, read, read!

Unplug the TV, and have a reading afternoon. Consider reading to your children as an investment. Imagine them reading on their own someday! Then, you can have your own life back! I, for one, dream of reading my own books again.

3. Cook together.

It can be the most simple of recipes, but your child can learn so much when you cook together. Cooking combines math and literacy lessons in one go. Once I drew pictures for a three-step French toast recipe. Reese read the recipe, and we made French toast together for breakfast. Do set safety guidelines before you start cooking. Ideas of simple recipes? Making fresh orange juice, preparing your own sandwich or…pizza pandesal!

4. Do house chores together.

“Educational” does not only consist of activities that will teach your kids their 123’s and ABCs. My husband and I definitely want our girls to learn to pitch in with “homework.” The other day, I was getting so irritated because Reese wanted to stay with me in the laundry room. She didn’t want to play with her toys. Finally, I gave up and told her she could toss in her dirty clothes into the washing machine. She was so delighted! On hindsight, I’m glad I got her involved. After all, I don’t want her to keep hearing that she can’t help me out when she’s so interested in cleaning, cooking, and other adult humdrum chores. How will I reverse it when she’s old enough to really take on her fair share of house chores? (Jack and I do envision a future with no helpers—as strange as it may sound in our yaya-dependent culture.)

Even with these activities, I still have pockets of time during the day when I’m at a loss as to what to do with my mile-a-minute girls. What to do then? Turn on the DVD, and play Hi-Five!…during which I drink my coffee and breathe before the next round.

This post was written by Meg Murrf Trinidad.

The Philippines in 1845-1909 according to Scientific American

Scientific American: Employing the Carabao for Army Purposes in the Philippines

Scientific American is opening its 1845-1909 archive for free, but only until the end of the month. I clicked randomly and found gems like Fifty Years of Photography, the death of Michael Faraday, and the Invention of the Telephone (published a few days before Bell filed his patent). But, given the time frame, I thought that they might have some material on the Philippines. I was wrong—they published a lot of material about us. Below is a selection.

Enjoy the read! Remember: you can’t love someone don’t know, and that goes for your nation too.

They’re only free until November 30, 2011, so save them to your hard disk if you think you’d read them later on 😉

Trade-Marks in the Philippines
Scientific American 88, 371-371 (16 May 1903) doi:10.1038/scientificamerican05161903-371a

Tobacco Raising in the Philippines
Hamilton Wright
Scientific American 96, 152-153 (16 February 1907) doi:10.1038/scientificamerican02161907-152

Gold in the Philippines
Scientific American 80, 356-356 (3 June 1899) doi:10.1038/scientificamerican06031899-356d

Employing the Carabao for Army Purposes in the Philippines
Scientific American 82, 99-99 (17 February 1900) doi:10.1038/scientificamerican02171900-99a

The Pirates and Brigands of the Philippines
Scientific American 80, 51-51 (28 January 1899) doi:10.1038/scientificamerican01281899-51b

Cable Laying in the Philippines
Frederick Moore
Scientific American 85, 326-326 (23 November 1901) doi:10.1038/scientificamerican11231901-326

The Wild Tribes of the Philippines
J. B. Steere
Scientific American 78, 407-407 (25 June 1898) doi:10.1038/scientificamerican06251898-407

Transport Service to the Philippines—I
Scientific American 84, 182-183 (23 March 1901) doi:10.1038/scientificamerican03231901-182

Army Transport Service in the Philippines—II
Scientific American 84, 262-263 (27 April 1901) doi:10.1038/scientificamerican04271901-262

The Laying of a Pacific Cable
Scientific American 87, 133-133 (30 August 1902) doi:10.1038/scientificamerican08301902-133a

Languages of the Philippines
Scientific American 79, 163-163 (10 September 1898) doi:10.1038/scientificamerican09101898-163a

Trade with Our Newly Acquired Territories
Scientific American 81, 178-178 (16 September 1899) doi:10.1038/scientificamerican09161899-178c

The Blood of all Races
Scientific American 88, 238-238 (4 April 1903) doi:10.1038/scientificamerican04041903-238

Natural Products and Resources of the Philippine Islands
M. W. Harrington
Scientific American 78, 355-355 (4 June 1898) doi:10.1038/scientificamerican06041898-355

Pineapple and Banana Fibers
Scientific American 33, 288-289 (6 November 1875) doi:10.1038/scientificamerican11061875-288b

Shipping Submarines Intact to the Philippines
Scientific American 98, 335-335 (9 May 1908) doi:10.1038/scientificamerican05091908-335a

Colonists for our New Public Lands
Scientific American 88, 54-55 (24 January 1903) doi:10.1038/scientificamerican01241903-54f

Volcanoes and Earthquakes in the Philippines
J. B. Steere
Scientific American 78, 395-395 (18 June 1898) doi:10.1038/scientificamerican06181898-395

The Climate of our New Possessions
Gustave Michaud
Scientific American 83, 171-172 (15 September 1900) doi:10.1038/scientificamerican09151900-171

The Civilized Indians of the Philippines
J. B. Steere
Scientific American 79, 184-187 (17 September 1898) doi:10.1038/scientificamerican09171898-184

The Philippine Islands
Scientific American 78, 290-291 (7 May 1898) doi:10.1038/scientificamerican05071898-290a

Some of the Singular Foods of the Filipinos
George D. Rice
Scientific American 84, 35-35 (19 January 1901) doi:10.1038/scientificamerican01191901-35

The Pythons of the Philippine Islands
Scientific American 66, 359-359 (4 June 1892) doi:10.1038/scientificamerican06041892-359

The Government Philippine Exposition
Scientific American 91, 64-66 (23 July 1904) doi:10.1038/scientificamerican07231904-64a

The Plant Products of the Philippine Islands
Scientific American 80, 357-357 (3 June 1899) doi:10.1038/scientificamerican06031899-357a

The Water Buffalo
W. Ross Cockrill
Scientific American 217, 118-125 (December 1967) doi:10.1038/scientificamerican1267-118

A Philippine Leper Colony
Newton Forest Russell
Scientific American 98, 461-462 (27 June 1908) doi:10.1038/scientificamerican06271908-461

The Mineral Resources of the Philippine Islands
Scientific American 80, 114-114 (25 February 1899) doi:10.1038/scientificamerican02251899-114b

Feeling intellectual right now? Try this: Philosophy of Work

Time and moneyHere’s a summary of my Philosophy class on why persons work:

Work is part of the humanization — that which makes a person more human, and different from animals — process of man. By definition, “work is the activity which man exercises in a free and burdensome way, with the purpose of acquiring the means to satisfy his own needs and wants.”Let’s face it. We have to work if we want to achieve something. Analyze the statement closely. Work is clearly a means, and not an end. it is an activity that has an end outside itself. The activity that does not have an end outside itself is contemplation, an end in itself.

Distinguishing roles, as in your role as a CEO and your role as a father or mother, has a tendency to split the personality of the person as if he or she is a different person at work, and at home. [Maybe that’s why there are schizophrenics… hmmm.]

Although work humanizes us, it can also dehumanize us when we start becoming workaholics. We know that we are workaholics when we have already destroyed our social life.

To end, “Work is for man. Man is for others. Man is for God.”

This is a repost from Diary of a Semi-Young Teacher. You can view the original article here.

This post was written by Trish Castro.

Ladies, don’t settle for anything less (a video message from the good guys)

There still are good guys out there. But where oh where are they? They’re just around, and they appreciate us for all that we’re worth. Don’t believe me? Watch this video and see.

You might want to check out the YouTube comments while you’re at it 🙂

More good stuff at

Don't Believe the Lies

The Prize Winner in CJH, Baguio

Back in February, I attended a PLDT Bossings event and won the best prize ever: a three-day, two night stay in Camp John Hay! Call me a geek, but the first thing that came to my mind was that I could work on my thesis in Baguio 😉 Nerdy me finally scheduled a thesis-writing weekend on the last week of March.

But even if I had every inclination to make this a solo trip, I wasn’t about to waste the prize. The room I was given could take a maximum of four people! So I went ahead and brought along the most obvious companions—mom and dad.

Speaking of mom and dad, here they were right after we arrived at the hotel:

Mom and dad sleeping in our deluxe room at The Suites
Mom and Dad knocked out from the trip

They’re really the perfect paper-writing companions. As you can see, I don’t have much of a problem asking them to leave me alone 😀 I unpacked our stuff in the most OC way and fled the scene to scout the area.

We were billeted in The Suites because The Manor was full. But this hotel was equally world-class:

The Suites bathroom fixtures The Manor stuff at The Suites Hallway at The Suites

Here’s the very relaxing lobby area:

Lobby, The Suites Lobby, The Suites Lobby, The Suites Lobby, The Suites

and how it looks from outside:

The Suites at Camp John Hay The Suites at Camp John Hay Entrance of the Suites at Camp John Hay

The hotel experience was so wonderful that I’d go back when I could afford it. I was surprised to find out later that they give a 50% discount during the yearly rainy season, so that’s probably my chance!

I went to the proverbial Mile-Hi, where I spent the rest of that afternoon and where we would eat most of our meals during this trip. The Manor’s restaurant, Le Chef, is very famous but the prices are beyond us. Mile-Hi and the Filling Station (farther down the road) were our meal stops.

Cordillera coffee Liempo Longganisa with garlic rice Beef with broccoli

We wanted to try Chocolate de Batirol but it wasn’t open when we went 😦

Chocolate de Batirol signage Chocolate de Batirol Chocolate de Batirol

And to take advantage of the relaxing air in Baguio, I went around taking photos of the scenery:

135.JPG 146.JPG 136.JPG 197.JPG  025.JPG 018.JPG 183.JPG 221.JPG

We also visited two churches:

1. Baguio Cathedral

Baguio Cathedral Baguio Cathedral Baguio Cathedral

2. St. Joseph Church

St. Joseph Church, Baguio St. Joseph Church, Baguio


And the thesis? No photos. But it doesn’t mean I didn’t get anything done 😛

My fight against backaches: a more comfortable laptop workstation

I work long hours on my laptop, and by the time I log out, I usually have a good ol’ backache. That’s no mystery—laptops are really not ergonomic, and that’s the reason why they’re not supposed to be used for hours and hours straight. But I’m not some rich kid who can buy a separate PC just to have a more ergonomic set up. I knew I was ruining my posture, and while I didn’t have the money for the most obvious solution, I had to be resourceful and find an alternative.

The problem with a laptop is that there’s really no way to make it ergonomic on its own. Your arms must be L-shaped while typing, and your eyes must look forward into the screen. That’s impossible when the screen and the keyboard are attached to each other. To make things worse, I often use an office desk of the usual height, which means the keyboard is too high for my arms and the screen is too low for my eyes. I unconsciously end up frozen in a hunched position, which I’ve little doubt is too reminiscent of Quasimodo.

I thought of two ways of solving the problem: 1) setting the laptop at the right arm height and then pumping out the video on a separate monitor that’s at eye level, or 2) lifting up the laptop screen at screen at eye level, and then using a separate keyboard at arm height. Since I didn’t have the space for a new monitor, I scrapped the first option out. I’ve seen set ups that involved using a laptop lift/stand, so I thought that might work, but then I realized that my laptop doesn’t open up wide enough for these stands. My laptop’s screen would end up facing downwards.

laptop desk, keyboard, DJ laptop stand, and laptop
My home workstation: laptop desk, keyboard, DJ laptop stand, and laptop

Luckily, after months of searching, I found the solution: use a DJ laptop stand and a laptop table. The DJ laptop stand will lift my laptop high without demanding that it open as much as the usual stand would, and the laptop table will hold both the stand+laptop and an extra keyboard. Thank God for that DJ laptop stand. I’m no DJ so I don’t really know what they use these stands for, but I sure am glad that they’re there.

So here’s the full list of components:

Computer chair

Got it from Festival Mall for P1k+. There are better ones out there, but I’m on a budget.

Laptop desk

It was on sale at Handyman for P400, so I grabbed it immediately. But I think prices are ordinarily around P500. Be warned: a lot of laptop desks that are for sale are for your bed, especially the ones at CD-R King. They’re not what you want if you’re setting up a real workstation. Before you buy, make sure that the laptop desk is the right height for someone seated.


Mine is a very expensive Apple Aluminum Bluetooth Keyboard. It retails for around P5k. I had my reasons for buying it, but most people would be fine with an ordinary USB keyboard. There are some that sell for P200 at CD-R King.

DJ laptop stand

The one I got doesn’t seem to be commercially available here in the Philippines. I bought it from this guy here, who shipped it in from abroad. (Edit 2016/10/05: That link no longer works, but I’ve also found the laptop stand at Lazada.) This model is very sturdy and heavy, and it works great for a semi-permanent set up. If you’re a mobile worker and you want to bring it around, you can get a Stanton Uber Stand, but that’s more than three times the price of mine.


You don’t expect to use the trackpad much in this setup. I already had a wireless mouse which a friend gave me as a gift, so I was good to go. But if you don’t have a mouse yet, CDR-King sells a whole slew of USB optical mice for only P150.

A few more photos:

View from the top
View from the top
Box for the DJ laptop stand
Box for the DJ laptop stand
DJ laptop stand
DJ laptop stand