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Checklist for Disasters

There’s a low pressure area threatening to enhance the southwest moonsoon (Habagat) again.  That only means expect and prepare for heavy rains in the coming days. Anyhow, I am sharing with you this illustrative checklist that’s been doing the rounds of facebook walls. This was created by Mr. Romeo Catap, for everyone’s use and guidance.

Stay safe everyone.

Not Your Typical Rags To Riches Story

Like most women, I have a constant love affair with bags. To me you can wear the most plain looking clothes all you want, as long as you carry the right bag to complete the do, then you’re all good.  The first thing I notice in a girl is always the bag that she’s carrying. Personally I think the bag that a girl carries with her says a lot about the kind of person she is. Shallow to some but I am sure a lot can relate to me as well also.  So there you go, I’m not only a shoe fanatic but a bagaholic too.
Don’t get me wrong,  I don’t make a habit of collecting signature bags. I don’t have a closet full of Guccis, Chanels, and Louis Vuittons though it has always been in my fantasy.  Sure I have a couple of expensive ones but they’re either gifts given to me by my husband or a treat to myself for a job well done. Most of them though don’t even cost as much but what I like about them is that each of my bag tells a story of how and why they came into my possession. I am more of an avid fan and follower (not even a collector) of  functional art, bags. 🙂
I’ve already shared a couple of times here that I am sucker for a good story.  Especially one that involves shoes and bags. And this bag story that I am going to share with you is no different, creativity, craftsmanship, and heart all come into play here also. This truly is one for the books. It is the Rags2Riches  story.
I am sure you know Rags2Riches, a social enterprise co-founded by Reese Fernandez which started out helping  women of the Payatas garbage dump turn their rag business around. Here’s a video of Rags2Riches’ history and development.

From the rags and rugs that they make out of scrap materials, Reese and her team sought the help and advice of popular fashion designers,  Rajo Laurel, Armina Aranaz-Aluna, and  Oliver Tolentino, and taught these women how to transform their rags into fashion handbags, eyeglass cases, wallets, notebook cases etc.  Reese and her company, Rags2Riches, also enabled these women to sell these products at top-end shops making them earn thousands a month, enough to provide for their family’s basic needs. To date, Rags2Riches has  already empowered 450  women across 21 communities in the Metro Manila area and continues to expand, making its social impact and eco-ethical footprint in the country more heartfelt than ever. Here’s some of my favorite R2R’s bags:


photo grab from and

I super love their wallets and notebook cases too.

photo grab from

Rags2Riches, aside from providing women fair access to the market and economy, also provide these mothers with additional skills-based, financial and health training for them to reach and maximize their career potential, and for them to enjoy good long-term financial and personal well-being.

photo grab from

This eco-ethical business model which Reese Fernandez  started, earned for herself the recognition of being one of the chosen five inaugural Rolex Young Laureates by the Rolex Foundation in Switzerland in 2010.
Though successfully building on her own idea, Reese acknowledges through her email to me that, “A company is never an initiative or idea of just one person. In this case, R2R is the brainchild of people who want to make a difference. =) We have the best team in the world. =).”  With the great impact R2R has created on the lives of not just these mothers but on the communities that they’ve been helping for the last five years as well, I couldn’t agree with her more. Here’s the whole Rags2Riches team who continuosly uplift the lives of women in marginal communities with their sound eco-ethical business solution and personal dedication.

photograb from

If this isn’t an excellent piece of bag story, I don’t know what is. Next time you decide to splurge on a bag, make sure it has an R2R stamp on it because believe me that bag definitely came from a  good place where People, Profit, Planet and Positive Influence played an important role in creating it, which definitely makes it bag-worthy to proudly show off and carry around.
To know more about Rags2Riches, Inc.’s advocacy and products, visit their website HERE and their facebook page HERE.

UNIQLO to Donate 3 Million Yen to Flood Victims of Philippine Monsoon Relief

I was at SM MOA last week to visit the Uniqlo store there.  We’ve been quite excited about visiting the store since we’ve been looking forward to it eversince SM announced that they’ll be bringing it here. And I have to say, the store did not disappoint. We’ve been a great fan of Japanese stores, we are in fact a regular customer of Daiso, Japan Home, and Muji, so naturally we also fell in love with the classic simplicity of the Uniqlo store at SM MOA.

Been wanting to buy one of the shirt from their Laura Ashley floral print collection and I finally had the chance to last week.  As you know, I love floral prints and I am just happy to be able to  grab one from Uniqlo’s Laura Ashley rack.

Anyway, enough of my Uniqlo shopping adventure which is not the purpose of this blogpost . Actually, I want to share the good news that today  Uniqlo announced that it will donate, thru its brand UNIQLO Philippines, 3 million yen to aid flood victims in Metro Manila and the surrounding areas.  That roughly translates to 1.5 million pesos! As we know, weeklong heavy monsoon rains caused great flooding which in turn caused serious damage  to the whole metro and to the other neighboring provinces.

The donation will be made to the SM Foundation, SM Group of Companies’ socio civic arm and also the parent company of SM Retail, which is Fast Retailing’s joint venture partner in the Philippines for proper disbursement.

Katsumi Kubota, Chief Operating Officer of Fast Retailing Philippines, Inc., during today’s announcement shared that, “UNIQLO is saddened by the current natural occurrences in the Philippines, and we would like to express our deep sympathy to all Filipinos who were affected by this calamity. We stand together with our Filipino friends in providing a helping hand.”
I am happy and grateful with this news as we need all the help me can get right now, from both both local and international groups/companies.  It is only now that we can really see the enormity of the damage that this calamity has brought on us, and from the looks of it we still have a long way to go in terms of bringing relief to the victims. I am just so glad that foreign companies, like Uniqlo, are stepping up and extending assistance to us in whatever way they can.
Arigatou gozaimasu, Uniqlo!

Project NOAH

Do you know of this latest project of the DOST (Department of Science and Technology) that apparently improved the national and  local government’s response  during the recent disaster caused by the Southwest Moonsoon. Project NOAH, as it is aptly named, stands for National Operational Assessment of Hazards.
The project was created by DOST in response to Presidents Aquino’s call for  a responsive program that would immediately prevent and mitigate  disasters. As we know the Philippines, with its location and physical make-up is a hotbed of disasters. Typhoons, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, and earthquake inevitably happen at any given time in our country.
Project Noah is set to enable Philippines’ warning agencies the ability to provide a 6 hour lead-time warning to vulnerable communities against impending floods and to  use advanced technology to enhance current geo-hazard vulnerability maps.
The project’s mission is as follows: ” The Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards (NOAH) program team will collaborate with government agencies to promote and integrate advanced science and technology to enhance disaster management and prevention capacity of the Philippine government. These include: the deployment of instruments and state-of-the-art methods to construct high resolution hazard maps that are relevant to the community and local government units; delivery of readily accessible, timely and accurate hazards information through various media and communication platforms; disaster research and development; integration of disaster efforts by the national government, academe and civil society organizations; and application of a bottom-up approach by communities to resilience against disasters.
I have been dreaming of something like this for the Philippines for a long time, okay maybe something better, but for now,  this will do. Finally, we now have a proper system that would empower not just the people in DOST, the national government, and LGU’s for that matter to take the proper course of action during natural disaster and calamities but us ordinary citizens as well as this site can also be accessed and used by everyone.  With this new system, everyone can take part in ensuring that casualties during calamities will be kept to a minimum as we will be properly guided by the information that we can get at real time from the website.
Through its disaster research and development plans and with the use of cutting edge technologies, it also aims to build disaster resilient communities in the Philippines. It also plans to partner with the academe and other stakeholders in developing systems and tools  that the government can use to prevent and mitigate disasters.
Project Noah looks promising indeed. And really, it’s about time that the government, the academe, and the different NGOs put their heads together and come up with something like this.
To explore and know more about how you can use Project NOAH to your advantage click the icon logo below:


TOMS' One for One Movement

I am a shoe fanatic. My love for the feet candy goes way back. As a child, I have always been drawn to shoes.  It doesn’t matter if they come in pastel or bold colors, in plains or in prints, in fabric or in leather, oh I just love them.  I don’t know what it is with shoes exactly–their artistry, craftsmanship or the brains and the heart behind them– but the Cinderella in me somehow always come unbidden when I am within the proximity of a really good pair.
Aside from shoes, I am a sucker for a good story. Give me both at any given and you’ll definitely win me over. That’s what happened with TOMS and me. Shoes and a Cause, they do things to my heart, they warm me and fill me with so much inspiration.

TOMS  started in 2006 when American traveler Blake Mycoskie, during his travel to Argentina, met children who had no shoes to protect their feet. And because he wanted to help them, he created TOMS Shoes, a company that would match every pair of shoes that  customers will buy with a pair of new shoes to be given to a child in need. One for One. A year after, he returned to Argentina with his family, friends, and staff to donate 10,000 pairs made possible by TOMS customers and the rest as they say, is history.  To date,  TOMS has given shoes to communities in over 40 countries worldwide including the Philippines.

You might be wondering why shoes, why not money, or clothes or food.  Well it’s because TOMS recognizes that shoes do more than prettify the feet. They actually protect children from injury, infection, and soil transmitted diseases. It enables them to be healthy, healthy enough not to miss school. Health and education have always been the driving forces behind TOMS’ One for One Movement. It acknowledges the important role these two play in ensuring the good future of the communities they’re helping. Somehow through the movement, it aims to break the poverty cycle that’s been plaguing most of the third world communities all over the world.
You too can help. How? Imagine if you purchase a pair of TOMS shoes, you’ll be saving one child from being barefoot for the rest of his young life. TOMS recognizes that the feet of the children that  they’re helping  are growing, therefore it works to give shoes to these children throughout their childhood to help them stay healthy and fit enough to finish their schooling.

Also, by supporting efforts made by TOMS Philippines to spread the word and bring the message across, you will be doing these children a whole lot of good. By joining their many fun activities such as Style My Soles and by hitting the share button to let your friends know how they can help too, you are one step closer to ensuring one barefoot child a pair.
Each TOMS’ collection and design is a celebration of art and personal style as well as evidenced by the many fans who have shared how they have styled their TOMS. TOMS has always been an advocate of art and beauty. So in line with this, TOMS will be bringing renowned American artist, Tyler Ramsey to Manila on August 28. Definitely a treat to TOMS fans here in the Philippines.

TOMS was created to share and give.  The desire to help and uplift the lives of barefoot children was what fueled the founder to create the brand.  It was  created to make a difference in a child’s life. That’s exactly what I love about TOMS and come to think of it, that what makes wearing their shoes so much more special too.
To know more about TOMS’ One for One Movement, visit their facebook page here and their website here.

PAGASA's Color Coded Warning Signals For Rains

I don’t know about you but I’ve had enough of this rainy weather. This has been dragging on for days already.  Being a teacher who sometimes gets weary of the daily school grind, I welcome suspension of classes with open arms.  To us teachers, it only means one thing, more time to catch up on work and attend to the other things that’s been piling on our desks. But with the way things are going now, what with floods threatening to endanger the lives of a lot of people and submerging the whole metro in knee deep water, I would give anything for the sun to shine and classes to continue uninterruptedly.
PAGASA recently issued  a new set of weather signals aside from the Typhoon signals that we know by heart, that would hopefully give us a better picture of what to expect in terms of the amount of rainfall. Many thanks to the Doppler radar machines which has been been properly installed and working in strategic areas all over the Philippines. Hopefully this color codes will give us  a heads up on what’s to expect so we can be better prepared for whatever the rains will bring. Here it is for everyone’s guidance.

As of this moment, PAGASA already raised the red code for Metro Manila. I fervently pray that everyone is home safe, this too shall pass!
updated as of: August 9, 2012

Birthday Post + A Giveaway

Yup today, I turn a year older and definitely wiser. I am in that comfortable spot called thirtyish.
I have nothing profound to say this time but thank God for birthdays, for it allows me to take a stock on the wonderful things that happened the past year and just be grateful. Grateful for the love all around. Grateful for life’s many wonderful surprises. Grateful for the dreams that decided to manifests itself in their own perfect time. Grateful for the small opportunities that paved the way for the big ones.
As I turn a year older, I have to remind myself  of this again:


I always believe that birthday is just the prelude to  happy days ahead. Though special in its own way, still, its the every unbirthday days that matter.:)
As  it is my birthday today, please indulge me. Join my giveaway, I am not the only one who deserves to feel special on this day, maybe YOU too?! So,
Like Blancnotes on facebook.
Share this post on facebook and tweet this on twitter.
Comment below with your funny yet touching birthday  wishes or advice. Include your email add, city, URL of your facebook and twitter posts.
And on friday Sunday, my favorite day of the week, will choose the one who deserves to win this birthday gift.

So  tickle my funny bones, make me laugh or make me smile. Make me go awww or ahahaha.  I am looking forward to reading all your birthday notes.:)

Get Organized With Howards Storage World

This is my official entry to the Howard Storage World + Dainty Mom Wow Your Wardrobe Contest.
Last Friday when I got home, this sight greeted me.

You see my mom decided on some home project again and our poor bookshelf got the axe this time. And somehow, I had to fix this mess and make it fit into this one, which is twice  smaller than the original bookshelf.



So yesterday I began the tedious job of getting the books and toys in order. I had to discard some away as they wouldn’t fit in the new wall shelf anymore. After 4 hours of getting things in shape, believe me it took me that long, I realized that there’s a lot more in the house that needs organization. My shoes for one, they’re literally everywhere, in corners, in shelves.
my shoes along the hall way

my daughter's shoes tucked haphazardly in every available space

My bags which are either stuffed in cabinets or hanged in my bag posts needs permanent storage space too as they tend to accumulate dusts there.
my bags' turf

My jewelries and accessories which are stored in little compartments are  begging for some order too.

I have to admit, in my desire to have everything easily on hand, order and organization in our home have been compromised. We don’t have a big house that is why it is has always been a big struggle for us to fit everything in whatever available space we have.  But then you know it hit me this afternoon, while browsing through Howards Storage World website, that the key to a more orderly home is not really how big or  small your available space is but how you maximize whatever big or small space you have with the right stuffs that would help you get everything organized. I sure had one of those Duh?! / light bulb moment!
I literally fell in love with some Howard Storage World space and storage solutions.  So much so that I am beginning to dream of a more organized home using these space saving products and getting excited about it too.  Here are some of them.

Incidentally, Dainty Mom is having a contest right now and I am definitely joining if it means a chance to snag some  fab and functional stuffs from Howards Storage World.

Hmmm, why do I deserve to win a Php10,000 wardrobe showcase from Howards Storage World. Well I guess because I’ll be 34 this Wednesday, which incidentally is the last day to join this contest (hehehe) and after what seems like forever, I have finally finally finally realized that my wardrobe and my home for that matter, do need some serious organizing. And of course, what better way to start it than to win these awesome stuffs from Howard Storage Solution.  If this does happen, it  would definitely be the best  birthday present  too!  🙂
To know more about Howard Storage World, visit their website HERE.

Mustela Giveaway Winner

Thank you so much for joining our Mustela Giveaway. Again, I enjoyed reading all your entries.  I wasn’t surprised that a lot of you do swear by the product as this is really the best one among all the skin care products for babies in the market today.  I am happy to note also that some of you express interest in trying this on your babies. I guarantee you, you wouldn’t regret it.  My daughter and I have been using Mustela products for a good 10 years now,  from dryness to rashes, from itch to burn, they  never fail us .
And now for the moment all of us have been waiting for, the announcement of the winner.  As much as I would want many winners, we can only have one, and the lucky girl is none other Jenny C. Diano! Congratulations Jenny, please wait for my email with instruction on when and how you can pick up prize.

For the others who didn’t win, don’t worry, I have another one coming up this week, so stay tuned.:)