Saturday, September 26, 2020

The Importance of Values

The older I'm getting, the more I'm realizing the importance of values. Don't get me wrong. I'm no saint. In fact, looking back at the person that I was a decade ago (or even just a few years ago), I can't help but cringe at the life decisions I've made and the lack of values I used to have.

If I could, I'd go back and give my past self several slaps in the face for being so insensitive, reckless, and utterly stupid. However, the beauty of it is that I have (thankfully) grown into a better person (or so I'd like to think) and am always open to being corrected, schooled, and changed. Despite being much older, I admit that I still have a lot to learn and improve on; and I think that's an important thing to know and admit.

This year has been a major eye-opener for me. Before (specifically when I first moved here), I always tried to befriend everyone that I met. Because I was new to the country and was no longer in school, I was worried that I wouldn't be able to make any friends; so I befriended practically everyone who crossed my path. And while I did meet a select few awesome people along the way, the truth of the matter is that I wasted a lot of time with people I had absolutely nothing in common with and didn't even like to begin with.

I spent sleepless nights and early mornings with toxic people who did nothing but talk shit about other people all day. I wasted hours building fake friendships and relationships with users and losers. This year, however, I learned how to not tolerate shit from anyone anymore. I would honestly rather spend all my time alone curled up with a book at home than be around people who have zero values.

I realized this change in my mindset pretty early on this year. While I have no qualms sharing my blessings with people who haven't experienced the expensive beauty that life sometimes has to offer, there was this one particular person who took crazy advantage of that. She never had any money and always mooched off of me and my friends. She even borrowed some money from me and never paid me back. I even took her on trips and to hotels with me. In the end, she disrespected my home, my friendship, and my beliefs; and I now wish I could've taken all of my time and money back.

Soon after that, I dated someone with values that didn't sit well with me. As nice as he was (or should I say as nice as his car was lol), he eventually showed his true colors by making homophobic remarks and practically worshipping the Filipino government. He cheered when people lost their jobs and constantly made fun of the LGBT community - something that really did not sit well with me on any level. It was hard to school him, too, because he was always convinced that he was right. Add to that the fact that he was disrespectful to his own family and I just knew there was no future there whatsoever.

Don't get me wrong. I'm sure traits like the ones mentioned above might not be deal breakers to other people, but I believe that you should figure out early on what kind of people you want to surround yourself with. Find people who won't make you roll your eyes on your end of the phone. Find people whose remarks won't get your blood boiling at crazy temperatures. There's nothing wrong with little healthy arguments and disagreements; but if they say things or do things that aren't aligned with your beliefs and values, don't be afraid to drop them from your life.

You deserve peace of mind. You deserve contentment. You deserve growth. And you deserve to surround yourself with people who lift you up and make you a better person. I used to be such a negative, angry She-Hulk; but surrounding myself with amazing people has turned me into a better person overall. You can do the same by deleting people from your life. You'll feel much better and become a much better person in the end because of it. Trust me.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Eyes on the Future at Taiwan Excellence Online Product Launch

Four Taiwan Excellence Award winners from the ophthalmic medical equipment industry in Taiwan recently demonstrated their most innovative products during an online product launch jointly organized by Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA), the foremost trade promotion body in Taiwan, and Taiwan’s Bureau of Foreign Trade.

QA session, from left: Mr. William Wang, Co-Founder & President, Crystalvue Medical Corporation ; Mr. Johnson Chang, Sales Manager, Medimaging Integrated Solution Inc.; Ms. Pandora Yang, International Sales Manager, BenQ Materials Corp; Mr. Eric Chu, Co-Founder, In-Trust Technology Co., Ltd.

According to estimates from IEK Consulting of the Industrial Technology Research Institute, the global ophthalmic medical equipment market is estimated to reach $58.4 billion by 2023. The three major areas of this market are vision care, surgery, and diagnosis and monitoring. Bulk products of significance are optical lenses, contact lenses and “fundus” cameras, a complex optical system designed for imaging of the eye’s retina.

Revenue from Taiwan's ophthalmic medical equipment industry has grown steadily in recent years with a turnover of approximately $7 billion. The auxiliary and remedial category, which constitutes the “contact lens industry,” has the most outstanding performance. The export ratio of this “invisible champion” accounts for 1.53% of global sales. Taiwan’s ophthalmology industry accounts for approximately 0.3% of global sales, where it combines technologies that include optics, electronics, motors, and big data calculations. Taiwan is highly proficient in ICT technology; and with this significant advantage, the ophthalmology industry has demonstrated great potential.

From left: Mr. Johnson Chang, Sales Manager, Medimaging Integrated Solution Inc; Mr. William Wang, Co-Founder & President, Crystalvue Medical Corporation; Mr. Mark Wu, Executive Director of Strategic Marketing Department, TAITRA; Ms. Pandora Yang, International Sales Manager, BenQ Materials Corp.; Mr. Eric Chu, Co-Founder, In-Trust Technology Co., Ltd.; Ms. Vivian Chen, Manager, IEP Healthcare Section of Strategic Marketing Department, TAITRA

As a trusted world partner, Taiwan Excellence upholds the spirit of innovation by selecting products that best represent the image of Taiwan's industries. On this occasion, the companies awarded were Crystalvue’s Non-Mydriatic Auto Fundus Camera that uses automatic 3D tracking, reduces human diagnostic error and is sold in over 50 countries worldwide; Medimaging’s Digital Portable Tonometer (DPT 100), which uses air-jet pressure detection to avoid contact with disease and infection; BenQ’s Miacare CONFIDENCE Color Contact Lens, which adopts silicone hydrogel technology and provides contact lens wearers with all-day comfort; and In-Trust’s Aurai Hot & Cool Eye Massager, the first in the world to use water circulation and water wave massage to reduce intraocular pressure without risk of any harm.

Taiwan Excellence award-winning products showcase the best of Taiwan’s industries, which provide smart solutions for consumers’ daily lives. According to TAITRA, more events focusing on medical products, including dentistry and assistance devices for the elderly, will be held in the coming weeks.

For more information, click here.

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Better days are coming.

In terms of my personal life, I am in a good place. A very good place, even. Work is amazing. My voice acting "career" has really taken of. Family life is relatively calm. I have a new happy crush. (Okay... Not new... Resurfaced would be the better term.) And my friendships - the ones that matter - are now stronger than ever.

However, I'd be lying if I were to say that I am completely content. I am not. There are days when I feel like an animal in a cage. Days when I wish I could break free, breathe in the fresh air, and really live.

I miss escaping the noise of the household, heading to an ultra cold coffee shop, finding my special spot, and consuming unsafe amounts of caffeine with my earphones on and music at full blast. I miss losing myself in rows and rows of books and graphic novels in my favorite bookstore. I miss drowning my bad vibes in my favorite bar and playing beer pong until I can no longer speak or see straight.

I even miss freezing in the cold meeting rooms at our bi-monthly work meetings as I observe the changes in my workmates' appearances, moods, and... weight. :p I especially miss going on one-on-one meal dates with Syrena over noodles and fruit shakes. And I miss biking down Aguirre and beyond with the wind whipping at my face mask-less face. AND MY GOD, DO. I. MISS. GETTING. WAXED!!!

So that's why I got dressed in this strawberry dress today. If you know me at all, I'm not really a dress person (unless it's an event or a special occasion), much less a pink person. But the message behind this dress is a special one.

First taking over TikTok during quarantine, the pink tulle dress is dotted with sequined strawberries with a plunging neckline built only for those with a much bigger "future" than mine. The original version of this dress was designed by New York fashion Designer Lirika Matoshi and costs quite a bit of money (or so I've heard), but getting sent this knock-off didn't change the message for me in any way. 

Aside from making you feel happier, the dress also makes you feel hopeful. It is supposed to symbolize that there are better days ahead. (It's just a bonus that it serves as a reminder to people that I am, in fact, a woman and not a bro.)

We may still be stuck at home right now, but this dress reminds me to keep dreaming. Dreaming of days when I can prance around in it at a museum, at a party, or even just along that street behind The Mall of Asia overlooking Manila Bay. (I'm easy to please.)

It allows me to dream of better days to come when traveling will once again be a constant part of my life. When I can head out and hear people gasp in shock to see me in a pink fluffy dress. Days when I don't rely on social media to interact with people. And days when I can honestly say that I am in love with life once again.

What do you miss the most right now?

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Important Financial Skills to Equip Yourself with Amidst a Pandemic

Did you know that in June 2020, over 30 million Americans claim to be unemployed?

A Forbes article in July 2020, reported that the United States already has 51 million people unemployed, and there is no assurance if these numbers will decrease in the coming days as the worldwide financial crisis lingers.

A decade after the most recent recession, the global economy is heading into another one. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to keep people at home, it also continues to shutter businesses causing financial crisis - not just in the United States, but almost anywhere in the world.

Everybody gets hurt during a recession. As output falls, many people lose jobs and those who are seeking jobs find it hard to find one.

This pandemic has exposed how vulnerable our finances are. The fact is, we are not prepared when disaster, calamities, economic collapse, and other major problems relating to finances come. This pandemic showed us that it is not enough to have money; but we should be financially literate, above all, so we can manage our life well, especially in trying times. 

How financially literate are we? Many people are now unemployed, while others are working reduced hours due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now more than ever is the time that they need to be financially literate for them to be able to make smart and effective financial decisions. Financial literacy can help people stretch their dollars further and avoid taking on huge amounts of debt.

Being financially literate is a skill set that’s lacking in most people around the globe. In the United States, studies found out that 43 million Americans or 17% are struggling with most (if not all) aspects of their financial lives. There are 135 million or 54% struggling with some aspect of their financial lives and 29% or 73 million people are spending, saving, borrowing, and planning.

Th U.S. has the world's largest economy yet it ranks 14th when it comes to the percentage of adults who are considered financially literate.

This is the picture of financial literacy not just in America, but in most parts of the world. As people continue on this uphill battle during this difficult time, now is as good a time as ever for everyone to acquire or increase their financial literacy skills.

One of the fundamental pillars on financial literacy is budgeting, which simply means balancing your expenses versus your income. It involves a process of creating a plan to spend your money and it allows you to determine in advance whether you will have enough money for the things you need or would like to do. Budgeting is one of the most important skills we need to equip ourselves with everyday in almost everywhere we go and in everything we do. 

However, with a lot of people losing their jobs nowadays, how should you budget on a limited or reduced income? 

First, consider minimizing your biggest expenses such as housing, food, and insurance. Keep grocery costs low by shopping in bulk,and buying seasonal and local produce. Cook simple yet tasty meals that only require a few ingredients. Pay in cash, and avoid loans and credit cards so your dollars will last longer.

If you're really finding it hard to budget your daily or weekly finances, you might need a budget calculator. This online personal budget planner is very handy and so easy to use. It estimates your biweekly, monthly or even your annual income; and converts that to the recommended budgetary guidelines. The budget planner shows how your spending habits compare against others and how the spending habits of people from different income level and age groups change dramatically. 

The initially set percentages can be adjusted to suit your needs and budget. The total row shown at the bottom of the calculator presents how close your percentages are to 100% and how much you might need to change your spending habits to match your current income.

Having a skill in budgeting will empower you as it will allow you to manage what you have wisely. With COVID-19 still putting everyone at risk, millions of people are struggling to make ends meet. This is a most challenging time, but having the right financial knowledge will give you the confidence to make informed decisions about you personal finances and create a more stable financial life despite the pandemic.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Being cooped up at home is no joke.

I have never considered myself to be an extrovert. Ever since I was a child, I liked hiding in a corner during parties away from the crowd. At school, I built shabby forts in nearby forests or cemeteries that I could retreat to during break times. At home, you'd find me somewhere quiet reading a book or playing video games on my Gameboy. And yes, I preferred my Gameboy over the PlayStation because it gave me more me-time. I also had private conversations with my stuffed toys and - more often than I'd like to admit - with myself.

I was the weird girl at school. The loner. The outcast. The different one. I preferred reading a book while listening to rock music on my Discman in an empty gym or even a bathroom stall over gossiping with other girls over lunch. (Yes, I hung out in bathroom stalls sometimes because it was the only place I could get some privacy when I became a little "popular" in high school because of my dad's esteemed position at work.) And although it might not seem like it, I am still like that today.

People think I'm outgoing because I go out a lot and drink and socialize. The truth is: I don't like the socializing part. I give everybody who tries to talk to anyone at my table the evil eye, and I absolutely HATE it when I don't get informed about people who will be part of our nights out. The fun in the socializing part only happens after I've had too much to drink. See, tipsy Anj is veeeeeery different compared to sober Anj.

Sober Anj still very much likes hiding in her room, reading a book in a nook, playing video games in the dark, and talking to herself to sleep. So, when the quarantine was first announced, I thought it would be easy peasy living for me. But boy, was I wrong!

While it is true that I have had far more time to read books now and have read more books in the past five months than I have in the past five years, and I have finished video games I otherwise never would've finished if there wasn't any quarantine... I have to admit that quarantine is complete hell.

There is no me-time in quarantine. In quarantine, I am stuck in a small house with my noisy and irritable family 24/7. A house where, the moment I wake up, someone is breathing down my neck because deliveries woke then up, something needs lifting, someone posted something funny on TikTok, or the dog took a shit somewhere he shouldn't have.

There is no escape in quarantine. While I could escape the outside world and retreat to my room pre-quarantine, there is no way to escape the inside world of the house during quarantine. As much as I want to leave and find some peace and quiet at a nearby coffee shop, I can't. It isn't safe. And let's not forget that most of my favorite coffee shops are closed now, having not survived the economic repercussions of the pandemic.

There is no peace in quarantine. I've been immersing myself in work throughout the past five months - mostly because I want to feel like I'm doing something productive with my life. Something important. But no matter how many auditions I do, how many books I read, how many languages I learn, how many articles I produce, how many videos I shoot, how many people I interview, or how many small businesses I help out; it never feels like I'm doing enough.

Granted, I may be doing that thing where I'm working myself to the bone and turning work into my boyfriend again, but I can't be bothered to find love right now, either. I have lost complete interest in practically anything that doesn't involve work or productivity, and that isn't necessarily a good thing.

Quarantine has definitely taken a toll on me - physically, mentally, and emotionally. I don't go anywhere, but I'm always exhausted. I'm always exhausted, but I can never fall asleep when I need to. I can never fall asleep when I need to, so I tire my eyes out until they shut on their own. It's definitely not the situation I had originally imagined it would be.

I am finding myself unexpectedly missing all of the things that I used to take for granted before all of this happened. The sleepless, crazily busy out-of-town trips for work; the quick coffee catch-ups with friends I hardly see anymore, the spontaneous "where are you"s in the middle of the night when I'm getting ready for bed, and the "two botts lang" lies that all served to be much-needed mental and emotional breaks. Breaks that I now have no idea where to get from.

Some people have been telling me... nay, reminding me... that "other people have it worse". I'm sure some people have said the same to you at least once during quarantine, too. Well, I'm here to tell you not to listen to them.

Just because your problems may seem less important than other people's problems doesn't make them invalid. It doesn't make you ungrateful or insensitive. No matter how small or petty some people might think your problems are, a struggle is still a struggle. If it bothers you, it bothers you. If it makes you feel bad, then it makes you feel bad. Don't beat yourself up for feeling sad about anything you might be feeling bad about.

No one can really know what your mental situation is like, how you feel, or how badly something is eating you up; so fuck what people say. In fact, let me start by saying: I fucking miss the beach. I miss putting on a women bikini and lying under the sun. To an outsider, that may sound like such a "privileged statement". But if you know about my mental struggles and my family situation, then you'll understand why I need to get away.

Stay home. Stay safe. Wear your masks. Wear your shields. Help end this, so we can all live semi-normally again.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

What Would the Rooms of The Umbrella Academy Look Like?

Are you a fan of 'The Umbrella Academy'? I've been a fan of the comics since I was in college. I had soft copies, a hardbound version, and even a figurine of The White Violin. I loved her so much - as much as I loved Death in 'The Sandman'. Add to that the fact that I loved Gerard Way, and absolutely everything about 'The Umbrella Academy' simply fit so nicely into my college life.

Fast forward to 2019. I was given the opportunity to watch the very first episode of 'The Umbrella Academy' on Netflix before anyone else. It was the un-finalized version, but I already found myself falling in love with the action, the music, and the cast that when I got to meet, interview, and hang out with Robert Sheehan and David CastaƱeda in Singapore; it was the highlight of my year.

Channeling my inner Numbers 1, 7, and 4.
Photo by Mimai Cabugnason.

When I finally watched the entire Season 1, though, I was a little disappointed... Granted, I was comparing it to the comics far too much. Rumor didn't look the way I had imagined and wanted her to look. Number 7, when she finally became the White Violin, was nothing like the figurine I had had on display for more than a decade. And there were moments in the show that I was unsure how to feel.

But I have learned to separate the comics from the series since then. And with that mindset, having been given the opportunity to watch Season 2 before anyone else, I finished it on an ultra high note. IT WAS AMAZING. (That's all I can say for now, but wait for my review when we're finally given permission to publish it. :p)

For now, here's a throwback to a Netflix event I attended last year for the launch of Season 1. The event gave us the chance to delve into the rooms of The Umbrella Academy and what those rooms might look like:

The Common Room

Special thanks to Netflix, PLDT, and Smart for this awesome experience!

I got to take home one of these masks from the Singapore press con.

Pick a door. Any door.

Number 1

As you might know, Number 1 spent a lot of time on the moon. As such, the entire room is pretty much space-related with some workout equipment lying around. Number 1 is ripped for a reason, after all.

Gear for moon living.

I'm not entirely sure why everything was kind of... tiny. Was it to make us feel as big as Number 1? :p

Number 2


I have a special place in my heart for Dave, but for his character in the show... not so much. :p

Being the bitter justice-seeking guy that he is, the room has cut-out cardboards of people for target practice.

Photos of Hazel and Cha Cha can be found in the room, too - also for target practice?

Number 3

The main character I was a bit disappointed by in Season 1, Number 3 is a famous star.

Records adorn the walls for this reason.

She also has a beauty corner for all of her prettifying needs.

My face pretty much shows how I felt when I saw her in the show.

Me, still unsure about how I feel about Allison. :p

Number 4

This is probably MY FAVORITE ROOM OF ALL TIME. Hahaha. In true Klaus fashion, the entire room looks like a bar.

With the ability to talk to the dead, it really isn't no wonder why his room is a bar, though.

The poor guy needs this.

 Add to that everything he went through during the war, and it really isn't no wonder why he needs booze so much.

 I feel you, Klaus. I really do.

I also feel the need to point out that Robert is the nicest and most humble celebrity I have ever met and hung out with so far. Love. Him.

Number 5


My general love for baby boys aside, Aidan Gallagher is my favorite actor in 'The Umbrella Academy' series. He is such a great actor. His character is amazing (especially in Season 2). And if you follow him on social media, you'll see all of the causes he supports and speaks out about. I love people with values.

Since Number Five is actually much older in age, the room is a mixture of his intelligence and his young looks.

Gamer and movie posters are on the walls alongside skateboards. Different time zones are on the clocks, as well, to signify his time-traveling abilities.

The blackboard is filled with scientific calculations (for space-time manipulation, perhaps?)

Shoes on the bed. Oops!

Of course, Dolores is here, too!

Number 6

I don't think this is really a spoiler, but Ben is dead in the show, so I guess that's why the room looks like this. I wish they had put more of Ben's actual personality into it instead. :(

Number 7

And now for my dream room! Vanya is a bit of a loner, having been isolated from the rest of her siblings. Thus the very loner, very me vibes.

Books everywhere! And spot the violin!

A typewriter! (I swear this room feels like it was built for me.)

I love how Netflix reused their set for their 'You' event for this. :p

I also spotted a photo of her siblings, which made me tear up a bit.

In my element.

Mimai and I walked up a very dark, very sketchy set of stairs to get this photo. :p

But we also got to drink unlimited wine, which I took complete advantage of. :p

Which room is your favorite? :)

'The Umbrella Academy' Season 2 starts streaming on Netflix on July 31, 2020. And trust me when I say that it's even better than Season 1.

And if you haven't read the comics yet, PLEASE DO IT NOW AND THEN GEEK OUT WITH ME. :D