“People needed someone that didn’t require a warrant or shield to get things done. Call it a vigilante, or a superhero. Call it what you will, but like it or not, I finally accepted that that someone had to be me.” ―Luke Cage

There’s something that draws me towards the Marvel Netflix Series. The more I watch it, the more I love it. I have grown to love The Defenders and their individual series. I especially love Luke Cage and Iron Fist, these heroes for hire. And yesterday, I was part of the Netflix Stream Team (#NetflixAPCC). I got to see the stars of these two shows and their show runners. Seeing them and getting to know more about them made me love the show, the characters and the people running the show even more.

Here are the things that make me love these shows more:

The Netflix Marvel universe seems to have a very encouraging environment, allowing everyone in the team to feel comfortable and loved.

While listening to the invited guests talk in their respective panels, there was one thing that I sensed was stressed in both panels (Luke Cage’s panel and Iron Fist’s panel). They highlighted the fact that each one in the team know that they have a role to play, but each one helps others in the team to make these shows successful. Mustafa (John Mclever / Bushmaster) tells a nice story about his audition. Usually, when actors audition for roles, the show runner would sit on a table which was at a distance from the stage. In his audition, Mustafa says that Show runner Cheo Hodari Coker went upfront (near the stage) and read the lines with him. When it got to the point where he had to pretend to shoot Cheo, Cheo really played the role and dropped dead on the floor. Mustafa appreciates this and says that with this, he really felt confident and lost all nervousness.

The actors and actresses in the series are almost given the same treatment as the lead role.

In a story (especially if it shares a depiction of “real life”), characters live and interact with other people. In order to fully appreciate the lead characters, you will need to go through the characters surrounding them and how each one contributes to solidifying the role of the lead. I love how the show runners, writers and the production team make most of the characters go through some sort of character metamorphosis. We see, not only the main character, evolve. We see the Bushmaster, Mariah, Shades, Misty, Colleen, Mustafa, etc. go through a character transformation which always keeps us on our toes.

The leads are very professional.

It was so refreshing (and you would be able to feel it, too) to see and hear that both Mike Colter and Finn Jones don’t have the “diva-like” behaviour that you think a lead character would have. Cheo Hodari Coker mentions that Mike arrives early at their set and he knows and has memorized his lines. Raven Metzner, showrunner of Iron Fist, says that Finn always trains and practices hard. Hearing Finn also say that he appreciates Clayton Barber (fight coordinator of the show) is just amazing.

And finally, I love that the story of both these 2 shows, encourages each one of us to be heroes.

I think in the Philippines, most of us are still hopeful and optimistic about how and where our country will be in the next few years. We know that we can achieve success if each one does their part to be the heroes that each one can be. I love Luke Care and Iron Fist, because both series are very relatable. Both shows also have deep lessons to be learned and have characters that we each can relate with.

So, let’s get on and watch these shows. I suggest though that you watch it in this order:

How to watch the Marvel Netflix Series in order

Daredevil Season 1

Jessica Jones Season 1

Daredevil Season 2

Luke Cage Season 1

Iron Fist Season 1

The Defenders

The Punisher

Jessica Jones Season 2

Luke Cage Season 2

And finally, Marvel’s Iron Fist season 2! And I can’t believe I was one of the first who watched it. And guess what, we also watched EPISODE 1.

My thoughts on IRON FIST SEASON 2

I know most of us would have loved to see Daredevil Season 3 first, but after having seen Season 1 of Iron Fist, I’m glad that they came out with this first. I love how new characters were introduced and I love the faster pace of the story. After unveiling and solidifying the character of Danny in Season 1, it’s so refreshing to see a more confident and solid character for Danny. And as usual, I loved how bad-ass Colleen is, and how very well-grounded on her values and virtues she is (or will she still be?? haha). I don’t want to give too much information, but seriously, you need to watch the upcoming season of Iron Fist.

Give it a chance, peeps! It won’t disappoint.

I really enjoyed going to Asiapo Comicon 2018. I am proud to be part of the Netflix Stream Team. Were you at the Asiapop Comicon 2018? What did you enjoy? Share your thoughts with us!

We always tell Zeeka before going into a toy store that she needs to choose a toy that she will let go of before we buy another toy. We tell her that money doesn’t grow on trees, but to explain where money comes from, we’re glad that we have Cashaysayan. Cashaysayan is a book that teaches your little one about money. This book is super helpful!

Before I tell you about the book, I’d like to acknowledge the authors for doing a good job. One of the authors (Divine) is actually a friend, do kuddos to you Divine and your co-authors for writing this book. I apologize it took some time to write this, but I really want to spread the word because I know this will help a lot of kids understand concepts and everything about money and value.

Sharing the authors of this book:

Divine Gil Reyes is the Chief Creative Officer and owner of an advertising and public relations agency. She is a writer, lyricist, and part-time voice actor. Divine has written a musical album for kids about positive values, and several episodes for the children’s TV show “Jollitown,” and a few short films. She hopes to help raise a new generation of dutiful Filipino citizens.

Michelline Espiritu Suarez is a wife to her college sweetheart, mother to five kids, and mistress to three lazy dogs. A Liberal Arts graduate, she is fascinated by history, philosophy, sociology, and literature. Halo-Halo Histories is her midlife crisis in book form. She hopes the series will spark an interest in and love for our common heritage, in children and adults alike.

Joonee Garcia, or “Miss Joonee” to her students, is a music teacher, theater teacher, composer, writer, and occasional actor. She penned the musical “The Princess and the Red Carp,” as well as many childhood music and movement programs. She was the Local Musical Director of the London West End Production of the The Sound of Music in Manila, 2017.

Benjor Catindig is an illustrator, graphic designer, art director, and owner of an advertising and public relations agency. His many works include theater posters; a children’s book, The Legend of Juan Pawikan; and the graphic short story, “Karnabal” (co-written with Joonee Garcia), which was a finalist at the first Philippine Graphic /Fiction Awards in 2007.

About the book…

I started reading this book to Zeeka and she was deeply interested. What I personally liked about it is that we forgot that our money (bills and coins) tell a lot about our history and culture. We always take it for granted (although not when we need to spend it… haha!), but it’s time that we share with the younger generation how it’s created from the time when “value” was created with the exchange of goods to how we acknowledge it at the present.

When I read Zeeka this book, I showed her different bills and showed her the images in the bills. I told her also to observe the different coins that we have.

CASHAYSAYAN: A History of Philippine Money is actually the second book from the wildly popular Halo-Halo Histories, a series dedicated to making the study of Philippine history fun and engaging for young people. I think it’s about time that we dig deeper into our culture and find ways to pass it on to the next generation.

It’s so cool that these four authors came up with this book! More power to all of you.

Regards,

 

 

P.S. Have you read the book? What do think of it?

P.P.S.

Order your own copy online through www.tahananbooks.ph or visit Tahanan Books at Unit 402 Cityland 3 Building, V.A. Rufino corner Esteban Streets, Legaspi Village, Makati City.

Recently, I’ve been feeling a bit stressed with everything that has been happening at home at in our business. It’s mid-year and we need to give more effort and push more to get more clients for our business (Taxumo). For things at home, we need to make things work financially. As you know, my husband and I are “all in” in running the business that we have. We have freelancing gigs on the side, but we both don’t have day jobs and we are working with whatever we get from the business and from our side gigs.

Between this and being a parent, there’s a chance that we’ll go crazy anytime soon! It’s not easy (for both of us) to keep calm, stay strong and keep sane, but we have to. We need to be all of these things for our child and our employees (who we consider to be our other “kids”).

One day, I was invited to go to a Sanicare event. I thought it would just be another event. Amidst all of the things that I was thinking about, I decided that I needed a break from thinking and planning. Plus, I really wanted to have a Sanicare Play Day (#SanicarePlayDay) with my daughter. I decided a play day would be good for us. I missed spending quality time with her.

In the event, there were a lot of nice and really cool activities.

Sushi Making and Creating your own Headband Stand

Zeeka got a bunch of cotton, wrapped it on Nori-looking paper and decorated the top with cute designs! After creating “pretend” sushi, she created a headband stand. She has a lot of headbands at home and this DIY-headband stand will be great for keeping her accessories. After playing, she automatically got some Sanicare wet wipes to clean her hands.

Obstacle course and Playing at the Mini-Playground

This little girl loves exploring. We actually did all of the activities at the #SanicarePlayDay. There was a part with a wooden obstacle course and a wooden seesaw. She played happily in this area, as I watched and wondered on how big she has gotten! I still remember the time when she was still learning how to walk and talk. Now, she’s a brave little lady with her own mind, making her own decisions.

Playing with Sand in a Sandbox

We then played together with sand in the sandbox. I hid things under the sand and she would look for it. She loves treasure-hunting.

Singing in the Rain Photo wall and Frame your Hand Print

We then had our photo-taken and she also did the activity where you get to frame your hand print. She covered her palm and fingers with paint and pressed it against a Sanicare paper towel. It was then framed and we took it home as a keepsake. It was so cute! I loved this the best.

I also loved that all around the venue, there was an ample supply of wet wipes and paper towels to keep out little one’s hands clean.

While having our food, there was a program. I really thought that this was just another event for me until, I heard some things that struck me while Lea (Sanicare Marketing Communications Director) and Bianca Gonzales – Intal were talking. They were talking about Lea’s Sanicare story. She said that when they were kids, their mom would continuously hover over them and would go crazy chasing after them, so as to keep their hands clean while they play.

With Sanicare’s products, parents will have one less thing to worry about (#OneLessWorry) as they won’t need to stress over sanitary worries like these. Then I began to get emotional a bit and think about my situation now. Haha! I stopped myself as people would think that I’m crazy for sobbing in an event with wet wipes, toilet seat covers, paper towels and tissues (then again, there were boxes of tissue all over the place.. haha!).

I think we all just need time for ourselves. This is when clarity comes. We need time to keep sane. It’s nice to know that products like Sanicare go that extra mile to not only to create “functional” products, but also go to the extent of thinking of the situation of different moms and dads — thinking about how to help them keep sane. Being a parent is a huge responsibility. Imagine having that responsibility of forming a human so that they grow to up to be independent, smart, driven, generous, kind-hearted, God-fearing, loving, healthy, etc. It’s hard.

Then imagine having that responsibility and on-top of it all, the responsibility, too, to building up resources to make you capable of presenting that “bright future” to your little one. We, parents, work hard (be it to have a day job, or to build a business or to find clients for your freelancing career, or to grow your profession) in order to provide the best for our children. The “best that we can do” equates to the resources that we build to open up opportunities and to be able to make their dreams come true in the future.

This is what made this ordinary press event into a “not-so-ordinary” event. I went their with my daughter to have a Sanicare Play Day, but I came out stronger, knowing that there are people and brands cheering you on. The universe believes that WE can do it. We just have to trust. There’s something comforting about that fact that we all go through challenges and circumstances, and we know that we will all get through it! We just need to be there for each other.

So, to Sanicare, lots of love to you, too! We’ll be behind you, too, cheering on!

********************************

Sanicare or Sanitary Care Products Asia (SCPA) Inc. went through different challenges from the Asian financial crisis in 1998, the burning down of their main factory in 2012, and the flooding of another facility in 2014. They’ve survived and they’re still standing strong! Read more about Sanicare’s story here: http://business.inquirer.net/217905/sanicare-weathers-storms-with-gods-grace

 

I never could figure out how a rubix cube works. Apparently, Justin Bieber is good at it (I just saw a video of him solving a rubix cube puzzle. Problem solving in Math (like solving a rubix cube puzzle) is a necessary skill we all need every day. Apart from rubix cubes, there are tons of mathematical problems we encounter on a daily basis.

Unfortunately, most kids hate math, and most adults, too. Mathematics and I never had a great relationship until I was 26 years old. When I was younger, I hated Math. Later in life, I realized that I needed it.

From horror teachers to bad test scores, Mathematics has somewhat become a measurement of intelligence. Let’s admit it. When someone says they’re good in Math, we automatically think that he/she is a smart! This perception by many may have caused to lower some kids’ self-esteem, which they may have brought into their adulthood.

Early on, I want to teach Zeeka that  Mathematics and problem-solving is fun! In order to do that, I went on to look for common reasons why people dislike Math. Here are the things that I found.

Solving problems can be frustrating for them.

Schools follow a curriculum that doesn’t follow everyone’s timeline. This means teachers teach Mathematics, give tests and reviews, and grade students according to their lesson plan schedule and not according to the kid’s current skills.

Every kid has a different speed and level of understanding. Most kids today have minimal mastery of arithmetics, especially multiplication and division. So it’s expected that they will also have a hard time when they reach higher levels of mathematics.

This lack of mastery can be frustrating. And so, they end up disliking the subject all the more.

Incomplete and incompetent instructions

Sometimes the challenge also lies in the way Mathematics is instructed to students. Most Math teachers also have a stigma that doesn’t help much.

The traditional way of teaching Maths is through blackboard and chalk, with teachers scribbling formulas on the board. I remember staring on the board trying to understand the equations only to find out I needed to copy it before it was erased. And it sucked not having the time to really get to understand what was being discussed.

There are also times when teachers don’t give full instructions. Some even expect students to know how to do the equation based on what the books say. This expectation can cause some kids to struggle.

The subject causes personal anxiety and embarrassment to some students

Most kids dread being called in front of the class to solve equations on the board. It’s embarrassing and nerve-wracking for some, especially when you don’t get the answer right.

And most of the time, the teachers are not as encouraging either. Most teachers get easily frustrated when kids don’t get the answer right away. This results in more anxiety for the students and creates a negative impact on the subject.

Students rarely see the value of Mathematics in their daily lives

For students, Mathematics only represent numbers and symbols. What they fail to realize and what we often forget to tell them is that Math is present in our daily lives.

The patience and the mental requirements needed in Mathematics make them better problem solvers and also increases their critical thinking skills. It helps them process real-life situations and challenges pragmatically and objectively.

Attitudes in Math greatly depend on how kids experience it for the first time, so I make sure Zeeka gets to maximize hers.

 

So here are some tips on how to make Math enjoyable for kids.

  1. Play puzzles and games

 

 

The best way for kids to enjoy Math is through play.

Puzzles are a good way to exercise a child’s logic. It introduces them to shapes, sizes, and correlation. It also helps kids improve their fine and gross motor skills and spatial abilities.

Make it fun by playing counting games or putting numbers on puzzles to help them learn about sequences and one-on-one counting.

You can check out this website for cool Math puzzles and games ideas to try with your little one.

   

  1. Never say you weren’t good in Math

Remember how mindset plays a strong role in how your kids will respond to Math. So don’t let them hear you say that you’re not good at it or if you dislike the subject.

It’s important to make them feel at ease when they’re solving problems. And it’s also vital for them to give it a try first and acquire a “never give up” attitude.

Also, be careful with how you talk about correcting mistakes.

The key to kids enjoying Math is to let them realize that they can have a do-over. Kids need to know that mistakes are normal and they can always correct them. Make sure to choose the words you use when giving instructions about corrections and always be patient.        

 

  1. Show them how to apply it in real life

Kids need to understand that Math is an inevitable part of life. And the best way to do it is to show them how it applies to everyday things.     

One of the best ways to show the value of Mathematics is by cooking or baking.

The actual process of baking can help kids understand the need to follow a step-by-step guide to get the desired outcome. Adding an ingredient too much, too little, or too soon can affect the end result.

Check out our baking session at Nobu Hotel! Zeeka and I definitely had fun while we had our cooking class.

https://mommyginger.com/staycation-at-nobu-hotel-and-family-bonding-at-dreamplay.html

Make it fun for them, especially for young kids. Count the cups and spoons you use or ask them to read out the recipe to you aloud. Teach them about halves and wholes while cutting. The best part of it is you get to have your cake and eat it too.

 

  1. Enroll them in Math enrichment centers

Math enrichment centers can help kids enjoy the subject with the help of the right level and well-trained supervision.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Children get to experience Mathematics to the fullest because they learn it according to their own pace. Teachers are also expertly trained to assess and recommend the right levels that will enhance their skills.

One of the best ways to experience Math is through Seriously Addictive Mathematics or SAM Singapore Math. I wrote about it here: https://mommyginger.com/seriously-addictive-mathematics-or-sam-singapore-math-what-you-need-to-know.html

SAM Singapore Math makes it fun and easy for kids to learn Math.

Students get to learn Mathematics through play, using toys, tools, and manipulatives. This makes it easy for students, especially the younger ones, to understand mathematical concepts. With this approach, no memorization in Math is needed. Students learn through discussions with trained and certified teachers and also improves their conceptual understanding skills through play. Unlike traditional math lessons from school, S.A.M. Singapore Math helps kids learn math through logic and understanding the ‘why’s’ before doing the ‘how’s’.

Problem solving in Math need not be difficult for kids. But with the right tools, certified trainers, and motivation, Math enrichment programs like S.A.M. Singapore Math can definitely be a good investment.

To learn more about SAM Singapore Math, visit their website here. You can also visit their Facebook Page to see what other moms and dads are saying about them.

Do you have any tips on how problem solving in Math fun for kids? Share them with us below.

Travelling to Hong Kong Disneyland with a Toddler

The last time we had our family adventure out of the country was May last year. We went to Tokyo Disneyland and Disneysea! We obviously had a great time, so this year, we scheduled a trip to go to Hong Kong. The last time I went to Hong Kong was decades ago. I think I was ten! I don’t even think that Disneyland existed in Hong Kong.

Well, we had a wonderful time in Hong Kong. But this article is really for the parents who want to bring their kids to Hong Kong Disneyland. And my point of view and the experience that I will share in this post is really for mothers with kids from 4-6 years old. I’ll probably write one again when Zeeka’s a little bit older and taller (measuring her height here at home has become a “thing” after going to different theme parks).

Okay, so let’s get started. I hope you’re ready for one long article, packed with tips and tricks! haha!

Plane and Accommodations

I actually went ahead because I had to attend a conference for a few days. The conference was at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, which was at near Wan Chai (where I stayed for a couple of nights). The plan was to meet EJ and Zeeka at our Hotel in Hong Kong Disneyland. So to get to Disneyland, you have to take the MTR to Sunny Bay from Central (orange line), then transfer to the Disney Resort line.  I left the hotel at around 8:45 am and arrived at the hotel probably around 9:45 am. Taking the MTR in Hong Kong is actually quite easy. You can purchase tickets via the machines or via the customer service booth.

Disney’s Hollywood Hotel

Okay, so when you get to Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, you need to go straight and turn right to go to the Bus Station (buses that take you to the three hotels in the resort). Their are buses that come and go every 10-15 minutes. These buses are free. Do not try to walk with luggages and toddlers by your side! haha! Although it’s walkable, your kids may get tired. Ride the bus! Also, when we were there (month of July), it was hot! So be sure to use sunscreen.

So for our our accommodations, we booked directly from this link: https://www.hongkongdisneyland.com/offers-discounts/ We stayed there for 3 days and two nights. We got the package with no meals but with park tickets. We figured out that we would eat in the park anyway, because Zeeka would be so excited to leave (which actually happened). EJ and Zeeka arrived at the hotel around 10 am plus. Zeeka wanted to leave to go to the park as soon as she got to the hotel room so we were all rushing to get to park that EJ forgot his phone in the hotel room the first day! haha!

So we got on the bus to go to the park as EJ shared stories of his stressful morning that involved Zeeka asking him that she wanted to pee the minute they arrived at the airport, waiting in long lines then realizing they forgot to pay TIEZA or the travel tax so they had to go back, waiting in long lines again then realizing again that Zeeka left her small backpack at the TIEZA counter, running while carrying a 5 year old girl so that they won’t miss the flight, and finally boarding last just in time before the gates closed. Haha! You could see that energy was zapped out from him, so him forgetting his phone was just “normal” (at least for that morning).

Anyway, when we got to the park, we realized that the tickets were in Ej’s phone, but it was a good thing that he saved it on Google Drive and had sent me the link to the tickets the night before. I used the FREE wifi at the park, which was convenient by the way, and I saved it on my phone. Whew!

So just a few tips…

  • When you’re inside the park, if you come around this time of the year, bring an umbrella, or better yet, buy a cute umbrella (like what we did!) I bought a foldable one with Mickey Mouse on it.
  • For your kids, just buy them a cap. We ended up bringing Zeeka’s umbrella. Oh, but buy water for your kids!
  • Wear sunscreen!

Inside the park

I highly recommend that you download the Hong Kong Disneyland Mobile Application. You can download it from this link: https://itunes.apple.com/app/id1077550649 Also, once you get inside, head for one of the following rides to get a Fast Pass. Note that you can get a Fast Pass again only after the time indicated in the Fast Pass that you got. These are the rides that I remember that have Fast Pass machines: The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars, Mystic Manor, Hyperspace Mountain, Iron Man Experience, etc. (I forgot the rest! Please let me know if I missed anything).

Once you have your Fast Pass, you can start checking out the show schedules, too, in the app. For preschoolers like Zeeka, they will love Mickey and the Wondrous Book (I super loved this, too!), Moana: A Homecoming Celebration, and Mickey’s Philharmagic! They also have parades that you can watch (sad though that we didn’t get to catch the Pixar Water Play Street Party! because we were busy going through the rides and we didn’t get to see the Disney Paint the Night Parade because it rained and they cancelled it.. huhu!). But then again, we had fun riding all the rides.

Zeeka’s top three favorite rides were:

1) It’s a Small World in Fantasyland, which we rode three times

2) Slinky Dog Spin in Toy Story land and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh in Fantasy land, which we both rode twice (tied in second place!)

3) Iron Man Experience in Tomorrowland, which we rode twice, too.

Daddy and Mommy’s favorite rides were:

1) Hyperspace Mountain in Tomorrowland, which I rode thrice (BTW, Zeeka rode this, too!)

2) Mystic Manor, which was cool

3)The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh in Fantasy land and Iron Man Experience in Tomorrowland (Tied in 3rd Place)

*We didn’t get to ride Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars since we couldn’t leave Zeeka with anyone, but I know we would have loved this. We rode a “sort of similar” ride in Tokyo Disneyland and we loved that, so I think this would have been great, too. Zeeka didn’t make the height requirement.

Meet and Greets

Zeeka loved the meet and greets with the different characters. She lined up for Jessie, Duffy and Cookie. We also saw Mickey and Minnie, Moana, Tinkerbell, and other characters. You do have to check out the schedules though because they only come out at certain times of the day, so you have to fall in line.  They close the line after a while.

What I love about Hong Kong Disneyland is that everything is done in an orderly manner. In some rides, they give you numbers, just to be sure that you have seats. The rides’ instructions are in both in English and Chinese. You wont have a hard time communicating with the staff if you have questions.

Dining

For breakfast, we would by at Hollywood & Dine, one of the restaurants in our hotel. Have a budget of around 100 to 200 HKD. They also serve coffee here from Starbucks (just the basic Starbucks variants though). Then for lunch, we would eat in the restaurants inside the park. We ate at the Starliner Diner, which Zeeka loved. We also tried the Main Street Corner Cafe Hosted by Coca Cola. Food there was a little bit pricier but the servings were huge! We should have just split the burger with fries. Food was yummy, too!

We had a lot of snacks from popcorn (which we loved and bought to take to the hotel, too! — that’s how good it was!), to ice cream, etc. And for dinner, we would order one whole pizza from Studio Lounge at our hotel to take to our room while watching Disney cartoons on our TV.

Other tips…

  • Make sure that you bring chewy candy for your toddler on board a plane. It relieves pressure in her ears.
  • Don’t forget ballpens while inside the plane so you can write on the Immigration departure and arrival cards.
  • Slow is fast when it comes to kids. Just relax!
  • Zeeka’s tip is to “breathe in and breathe out” when you’re stressed! haha!
  • Don’t give your toddlers anything that they need to hold or remember, because they won’t 🙂
  • In the airport, the internet is fast. Download shows that you can watch during the flight. Since we went with a budget airline, we knew that we needed to entertain her another way.

And last, but not the least, Zeeka says, “DON’T LEAVE YOUR KIDS!” hahaha!

PS: Watch our videos here!

 

Hope you have a great time at Hong Kong Disneyland Resort!