Wednesday, 05 August 2020 11:40

Quarantine Eats: Sardines So Good!

Among the usual ayuda given to us during the quarantine is canned sardines. Filipinos often enjoy sardines straight from the can paired with hot rice or its usual sautéed version sometimes mixed with egg. 

As the quarantine continues to be extended, Filipinos are in search of newer ways to cook the dish.  But do not worry as we have collated three ways that canned sardines can be improved and made healthy. 

Below are links to three (3) healthy recipes with canned sardines which we have collated for you from Panlasang Pinoy, a local online portal for healthy Filipino recipes. 


Pandesal and Sardines Pizza

This recipe is perfect for those who love pan de sal for breakfast. The mild and savory taste of the traditional Filipino morning bread brings great harmony to the tangy and salty flavors of sardines, giving the canned good up by levels. 

Find the recipe here: 


Sardines with Patola and Miswa

Tickle your taste buds with this delectable recipe which is best served for lunch or dinner. The easy-to-cook soup works pairs well with warm rice. For the adventurous, you may also prepare its spicy version. 

Find the recipe here: 


Spanish Sardines Pasta with Sun Dried Tomato and Chopped Olives

Impress your family with the Spanish Sardines Pasta with Sun Dried Tomato and Chopped Olives. As sosyal as the recipe’s name sounds, it is a really simple pasta dish that you can make for dinner. Feel free to modify the recipe according to your liking. 

Find the recipe here:

Published in News and Article
Tuesday, 28 July 2020 21:49

Quarantine Eats: Top-up your Corned Beef

Among the usual ayuda given to us during the quarantine is canned corned beef. Well-loved by Filipinos, corned beef is usually served for breakfast. 

As the quarantine continues to be extended, Filipinos have become bored of its usual sautéed version. But do not worry as there are a variety of ways that corned beef can be improved and made healthy. 

Below are links to three (3) healthy recipes with corned beef which we have collated for you from Panlasang Pinoy, a local online portal for healthy Filipino recipes. 

Tortang Corned Beef

Yes, corned beef can be turned into tasty omelets. This easy-to-make recipe is perfect for breakfast with a crispy texture that complements the savory and smooth taste that corned beef gives. 

Find the recipe here.

Kalabasa and Corned Beef Nuggets

One cannot get enough with kalabasa and corned beef nuggets. Serve the healthy dish with ketchup and it is good to go as merienda or even lunch itself!

Find the recipe here.

Corned Beef Lomi Batangas Style

Batangas style lomi is characterized by thick noodles and sauce complete with various toppings. For this recipe, the main topping is corned beef meatballs, a healthy mix of corned beef and minced carrots. The lomi is perfect for dinners and cold weathers.

Find the recipe here.

Published in News and Article

Movement restrictions from the quarantine imposed in the Philippines has forced Filipinos to adapt to work-from-home arrangements. Even students are starting classes now online. 

While this provided for protection for many Filipinos, it has adversely affected their eye health as they now sit for long hours in front of their gadgets. 

The harsh radiation coming from glaring screens, forgetting to blink for long periods of time, and getting less rest because of flexible schedules all contribute to the degeneration of eye health. 

Below are some ways to make sure that your eyes are in top shape. 

  • Eat healthy
    The food you eat is important in taking proper care of your eyes. Fish with high omega-3 fatty acid content such as tuna, fresh fruits, and deep yellow and green leafy vegetables can help improve eyesight. 
  • Exercise regularly
    Exercising regularly helps prevent diseases such as diabetes, cardiac problems from high cholesterol and high blood, and morbid obesity. These problems lead to eye or vision problems. 
  • Wear protective eyewear
    Wear sunglasses when going out especially during noontime. Regularly consult with your eye doctor and wear prescription glasses when advised. Special anti-radiation lenses are available for people who work in front of computer screens. 
  • Avoid smoking 
    Smoking increases the risk of developing macular degeneration, damage to the optic nerves, and other age-related eye problems.
  • 20-20-20 rule
    To reduce eye strain from working in front of the computer, every 20 minutes, look for a space about 20 feet and stare for 20 seconds.

Related read:

Published in News and Article

The malunggay plant, also known as moringa or horseradish plant, is widely popular among Filipinos not only for its use in local soups and broth, but also for its high nutritional value. 

Malunggay leaves are rich in Vitamins A to E, Calcium, Potassium, and Protein. All of which lead to finer motor skills, strengthened immune system, and improved blood circulation. 

Lactating mothers can benefit from the “superfood” because it helps to increase breast milk production.  For people aiming for weight loss, the high fiber content of malunggay may contribute to detoxification and appetite control.  

The best thing about malunggay is its availability and the fact that it is almost always free. Commonly found around neighborhoods, people often share these from one household to another for use as needed. 

While quarantine is still ongoing, below are links to three (3) healthy recipes with malunggay which we have collated for you from Panlasang Pinoy, a local online portal for healthy Filipino recipes



Chicken Sotanghon Soup with Malunggay and Sayote

This recipe is perfect for rainy days and when one is under the weather. A comfort food to many, the chicken sotanghon soup with malunggay and sayote is a proof that healthy food can be delicious.

Find the recipe here: 



Tinolang Tahong with Malunggay

This recipe is a kind of mussel soup which combines the mussels’ rich salty taste of the sea and the strong aroma from ginger broth, lemongrass, and malunggay. The flavorful tinolang tahong with

Malunggay will surely be another dish to your list of favorites.

Find the recipe here: 


Ginisang Sitaw, Kalabasa, at Malunggay with Shrimp 

This recipe is a splendid mix of squash and shrimp which contrasts the green from string beans and malunggay.  The dish, perfect for lunch or dinner, is as packed with nutrients as it is visually appetizing.

Find the recipe here: 

Published in News and Article
Thursday, 11 June 2020 06:39

Munchkins, anyone?

THESE THREE LITTLE kids came knocking on our gate one afternoon while I was tending the distribution of vegetable seeds of GSK CDO. They asked earnestly if I wanted to buy their munchkins. One said, the older among the three, I supposed, that her ate (older sister) made it for them to peddle. I kind of knew what it was for but my heart melted when they themselves, one-by-one, started to tell me that they would use the money they will earn to buy a cellphone in preparation for the new normal ('better normal' Dr. Michael Tan, a columnist of PDI, prefers to call it) in school which is online learning.
Enrolment has started since June 1 through text messaging and filling out of Google forms. Classes will start in August this year. Secretary Leonor Briones of the Department of Education (DepEd) has taken heed of the order of President Duterte not to conduct face-to-face classes until a vaccine is available in the country that is why DepEd has been preparing for blended learning. It simply means that learning is a combination of the use of online platforms, printed or digital modules, and even traditional mediums television and radio.
This is where the cellphone these kids are selling the munchkins to come in useful. They can use it to access their learning materials or to participate in an online class, if there is one or if they have to. But having a cellphone is just one side of the story. Access to the Internet is another.
These kids and their parents can problematize that later. Clearly, what is important for them now is to raise the amount needed to buy a cellphone that would give them a sense of connection to the online world once online learning starts. I bought five pieces. I should have bought more, I know, if not, all of their munchkins that afternoon. Looking at them though, what I am so concerned about is their safety while they go out in the streets selling their two-peso worth munchkin.
Published in News and Article
Wednesday, 10 June 2020 04:50

Rags to funds: A livelihood program

The GK Shell Livelihood Program under the Social Entrepreneurship Program (SEP) of the City Housing and Urban Development Department (CHUDD) in Cagayan de Oro came up for another way to help their members to somehow counter the financial crisis especially in this time of pandemic.
With their sewing skills, the eight (8) members of the livelihood program make variety of rags and sell them either by piece or in bulk.
Among their products are potholders, round rags and door mats/floor rags. Their potholders cost 10php per piece; 1php each for round rags; and the door mats/floor rags are at 100php for every 3 pieces.
The group can also produce sewn face masks in bulk and can be customized according to the clients’ preferences. In fact, they have supplied the City Local Government Unit and MORESCO 1 Foundation with their products.
The amount the group accumulates will be divided among the members for extra income and help to supplement their families’ daily needs.
The members of this livelihood program are among those survivors of typhoon Sendong that hit the city in 2011.
(For more information about this initiative, pop over to this page:
Published in News and Article
Tuesday, 09 June 2020 00:09

How to Hug During Pandemic?

How to hug during a pandemic? The New Time Times has asked scientists who study airborne viruses to teach us the safest way to hug. See posters for details. For more information, pop over to

#NagkahiusaBatokCOVID19 #CDOCOVID19Response #iCanDOit #HealAsOne #COVIDI19PH


Published in News and Article
Friday, 05 June 2020 08:59

COVID-19 Reflection: In safe hands

(Note: This is an opinion piece by John David O Moncada, a Graduate School student from the University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines.)
My mother would have not been reminded that the Kadiwa On Wheels was scheduled in our barangay that day if I did not go home straight from the basketball court to cover Kadiwa first-hand which is a requirement for my master’s program and told her of my whereabout.
Her eyes grew big in surprise and she tapped the table where the large food stall of our karenderya is placed exclaiming “Aguy! Karun man diay to!” I put my arm up and looked at my watch to check how many minutes more before the mobile market closes. There was exactly thirty minutes left and so in haste she asked our two house helpers to hurry their way to the basketball court where more than twenty sellers of agricultural and poultry, and of processed foods, have their products on display.
While our house helpers were gone, I travelled back to the humble beginnings of our karenderya. The year was 1998. My father was still around at that time. Before I left for the required retreat for elementary graduating students, I did the math. By the day that our class goes back home from the retreat is the day that mother opens her store. Although the store was small but mother was enthused. The space was perhaps just two-arm length in width and four in depth. It was in one corner of my grandmother’s two-storey house. The number of viands she sold was not more than five or perhaps there were just five, to be exact. But now, twenty two years after, a lot has changed.
The karenderya has moved places twice but just within the corners of our house. In between the change of places, on 2003, our house was caught in a fire. The karenderya has grown much bigger in space. In 2011, father passed on. Mother has continuously served many customers and now, oftentimes, it feels like we feed the whole village. The number of viands is more than ten, not counting those that are usually placed inside the food stall. But if there is one thing that has not changed two decades after is my mother’s commitment to food safety.
Our house helpers were back from Kadiwa and had with them upo, alugbati, talong, five fingers, patola, a tray of chicken eggs, among others. But normally, she and our house helpers buy vegetables, along with meat, more than what they bought that day.
Inside their eco-friendly shopping bags, the items they buy are packed separately. When they arrive home, they unload the items and place them on a clean table. They rinse the fresh vegetables. After, they wash their hands with soap and warm water. The knives and the cutting boards are sanitized. Different sets are used for the vegetables and for the meat. Wearing their hair nets and aprons, they begin slicing and cutting. After everything that needs to be sliced and cut are done, they wash their hands again. The cutting boards and knives that were used are once again washed as well with hot and soapy water.
The raw meat, the poultry, the fish are kept away from other food. Other perishables are wrapped securely. This is to avoid cross-contamination. The chicken and the pork that has to be marinated is placed in a separate covered dish and placed inside our refrigerator. The rule is that all the perishables have to be refrigerated within two hours.
The grind begins early the next day. It is still dark when they start cleaning and sanitizing the utensils. It is a routine that they never miss doing before they start cooking. They rinse the vegetables they have chopped the previous day. In cooking the raw meats, the temperature is checked to be at a minimum of 145oF. The cooked food is never placed on the same plate that was used to hold the raw food.
The protocols of clean, separate, cook and chill are religiously followed for food safety. Everyday.
It is only when food is safe that human development takes place. And everyone has the right to access of food that is not just safe but nutritious as well. Food safety is so timely a topic especially because we are in a health crisis, and not to mention that on June 7 this year is the second time that we celebrate the World Food Safety Day.
Safety of food is of paramount importance. Making sure that food is safety is not just the responsibility of one or two persons but of everybody along in the food chain.
My mother, through the years, has built like an empire because of her karenderya. She has loyal customers who frown if the karenderya is unexpectedly close, especially on weekdays. She has built a good relationship with a lot of her customers because they are confident that they are in safe hands.
In the morning, the karenderya is a karenderya; and in the evening, it transforms into my study place. Though it is just beside a street where noisy vehicles (and dogs too) pass by but I find a safe place to do my work in the evening. And as a I write this piece, I stare at the large food stall, the red tables, and everything I can find inside the karenderya. I cannot help but be emotional realizing that I am sitting inside the very place that represents my mother’s toil which has not just fed a hundred and more tummies but has also sustained my education, from the elementary all the way to the tertiary level.
Published in News and Article
Susana Paigna or Teacher Bing as she is fondly called shows one of her many collection of books that she brought with her from overseas. She has long been an advocate for story reading for children and wants to organise a book club in barangay Bugo. Story reading, more importantly, even if it is just for five minutes or ten, creates a strong bond between parent and child.
(Note: This is an opinion piece by John David O Moncada, a Graduate School student from the University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines.)
It has become a routine for Susana Ruth, 30, to read stories from a physical book to her five-month-old son in the evenings. She does it not to put her son to sleep but because she believes that reading to one’s baby creates an awareness of the presence of each other.
For her, as a mother and as an educator, reading a book to one’s baby is important because it creates a bond between the mother and the child. Her son’s eyes used to be glued on her and his mouth mimics the sounds he hears whenever she reads to him at night but this has drastically changed, she has observed, after a week of not reading to him. She got worried.
“I just want to bring it back!”
She wants to bring back the love for reading storybooks in young children. She thinks that it would be a fun and meaningful way to spend the home quarantine and more importantly to build a closer relationship with children through story time.
Susanna has always believed in the power of reading. She advocates for it, ever since, to every parent she meets in the preschool her family used to run, known by many in Barangay Bugo as Wonderyears. And even in Abu Dhabi where she works as a behavioral technician for two years now in three educational centers and as a consultant on learning problems among students in two private schools.
Spending time to read a physical book to a child may seem to be a little gesture but it can actually address a child’s behavioral problems. It creates the relationship needed so that the child will look up to the parent as the authority who he or she has to follow. Reading a book to a child even if it is just for five or ten minutes cannot be despised.
Reading books have been replaced by the use of gadgets. Recently, she was invited to speak in an event in Bugo where she shared her perception about the ill effects of digital screen time. She likened it to a drug that affects the language, most of all, she said, and as well as the social skills, and the focus and attention of children. As a preschool teacher, she has observed this and is so concerned about it.
For her, personally, she allows screen time for her five-month-old baby to sing the ABCs but only for about five minutes. Twenty to thirty minutes of screen time for two to three-year-olds is too much for her. But what is important, she emphasized, is the presence of the parent to guide the child while watching the screen. “As much as possible,” she warned, “do not let technology like television or whatever gadget there is replace you as a parent.”
After her Facebook post in of the groups related to Barangay Bugo, many have actually sent her a message to inquire about the book club she wants to organize. She got the Google survey prepared by her former classmate at Xavier University, as part of the process of membership. The downside though is that it seems that these parents do not have books they can pitch in. She was just asking for two as a requirement for membership but it seems that they have none. She even offered parents to buy the two books needed on their behalf which can then be paid later but it seems they are not sure of shelling out money for the purchase.
She has her own collection of books though that she can lend, some she brought from Abu Dhabi penned by famous authors like Eric Carle and Julia Donaldson. These are all character-building and imagination-stimulating kind of books for preschoolers. These are her treasures which she has kept for quite a long time now that is why she wants an assurance that her books will be taken cared of properly when borrowed.
Susana was actually scheduled to fly back to Abu Dhabi with her baby and husband next month, June, but the threat of Covid-19 got in the way. She just really hopes that the book club she has been itching to organize since the start of the quarantine will be established before her family leaves. But it seems that with the uncertainty of the pandemic she still has a lot of time to plan and promote her advocacy and a lot of evenings to spend here in the Philippines when she will have to make sure she does not skip reading a storybook or two for her son.
Published in News and Article
A family of seven (7) from Barangay Kauswagan started a small crops and vegetable garden on a vacant lot to somehow provide food on their table and an additional income for the family as the community quarantine continues in the city.
Mrs. Lucena Bulalajos is a barangay sweeper whose salary is insufficient for the needs of the family. On the other hand, his husband is a jeepney driver whose livelihood has greatly been affected by COVID-19 following the city ordinance on social distancing among passengers in public vehicles. This spurred them to make use of the vacant
lot to construct a garden as the family has been into growing plants even before the pandemic.
“Kay wala naman mi trabaho ug insaktong pangita tungod sa pandemic, naka huna-huna mi na magtanom kay mao man pod na amo hilig ug taas naman pod [among] bakante na oras para among matutokan ang pagpananom para naa mi panghingwaan sa adlaw adlaw na panud-an ug extra income,” Mrs. Bulalajos explained.
(Since we are jobless for the meantime and we have no permanent source of income due to the pandemic, we were thinking about planting because it is what we are passionate about and we have much time to do it, so we could also have a source of food and extra income.)
This vegetable garden started when a family friend who happens to be studying under an agriculture program gave them seedlings. Got interested they bought more and started growing them on April 9, 2020. Since then, the whole family has been helping each other in taking care of the crops and vegetables.
“Matag alas kwatro sa kadlawon magsugod na ug bisbis ug sa hapon sa alas tres magsugod na pod usab og bisbis … kauban ako, akong bana, ug mga anak,” she narrated.
(At four o'clock in the dawn we start to water the plants as well as at 3 o'clock in the afternoon … I am with my husband and my children.)
The family has grown 17 kinds of vegetables, crops and herbs namely: onion leaves (sibuyas dahonan), sweet potato leaves (camote tops), tomato, Chinese water spinach (Chinese kangkong), luffa (patola), lemon basil (bawing), eggplant (talong), chili pepper (sili), pineapple (pinya), corn (mais), malabar spinach (alugbati), oregano (kalabo), moringa (malunggay), string beans (sitaw), cassava (binggala), lemongrass (tanglad), and bok choy (petchay). In a span of one month, the family already harvested the fruits of their labor and earned some money.
The garden doesn’t just provide them with food and extra income but it also serves as a form of exercise for the whole family.
“Dili pod ingon na para kalingawan o kapangitaan apan isip usab na ihersisyo sa amoang mga lawas ug dugang sustansya sa kalawasan sa tibook pamilya,” Mrs. Bulalajos shared.
(It’s not just for fun or source of income but it is also a form of exercise and more nourishment for the whole family.)
With the positive results gained by the family in gardening, Mrs. Bulalajos encouraged her fellow Kagay-anons to do the same especially those who have vacant lots.
“Ang akoang ikaaghat sa akoang mga isig-katao ug kaigsoonan sa palibot na adunay luna maskin magamay man o madako na mamahimong matamnan, buhata ninyo ang pagpananom aron inyong makita ang inyong gihagoan ug masud-ong nga maka-harvest kamo og mga presko na mga gulay na maoy makatabang sa pang adlaw-adlaw na panginahanglan,” she said, emphasizing the benefits of vegetables in strengthening one’s health to fight against the virus.
(I encourage my fellow citizens and relatives around the area who have space, large or small, to grow plants, embark on gardening so you can see what you have been working for and see that you can harvest fresh vegetables which could help with your daily needs.)
Published in News and Article
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