On Learning and Buccaneering

I’ve always been a learning and self-development fan. In my teen years, I’ve always been naturally drawn to self-help books. I remember my mom noting that Oprah, Dr. Phil, etc. are my favorites. This was broadcasted over local channels as we didn’t have cable then and the internet wasn’t readily available yet. (Hard to imagine, I know!)

Since years back, and especially when the pandemic started, I have been intentionally taking courses online. I find it truly amazing that there are a lot of options out there. There’s Linkedin Learning, Udemy, Coursera, EdX, and many others. I’m super pumped to take courses and even certifications offered by very good universities/ colleges /companies/accrediting entities with minimal investment. For this year, I plan to do just that and a couple of classes too based on my hobbies.

I have thought of going back to the University and investing in formal education. For my role now and previously as a leader in Human Resources, this may be the next natural thing to do, but considering my current lifestyle and my priorities (son grows up so fast) and the availability of vast resources which offer short, medium and even long term flexible education, I decided that this is what’s best for me now.

Years ago I have read a book called The Secrets of Buccaneer Scholar by James Marcus Bach. It made a dent and impacted me personally so I am sharing it with you. He reasons that the ability to educate oneself—to learn how to learn—is crucial and that we should nurture one’s natural curiosities and passions through the whimsical learning process he calls “buccaneering,” and those who understand this fundamental principle will come to dominate this new world.  I agree much.

Flexible, online learning – no matter how flexible, can STILL be tiring. We all need to find the time and I am recommitting myself to writing, reflecting and immersing myself in learning once again.

May you find joy and FUN in learning and developing yourself, so you bloom, blossom and grow, wherever you are.


SM Center Angono’s Holly Jolly Christmas 2021

As the popular Christmas carol goes, “Have a Holly Jolly Christmas, it’s the best time of the year,” SM Center Angono kickstarts the Holidays with the same festive feels.

The Holly Jolly Christmas at SM Center Angono highlights huge merry making decors that come in shiny, red, green and gold at the mall’s activity area at the Upper Ground Level. Surrounding Christmas trees are adorned with hundreds of hollies and sparkly ornaments. Shoppers in Angono and its neighboring towns can take beautiful holiday pictures at the Christmas centerpiece after some purposeful shopping.

Yuletide songs, on the other hand, are heard through the beautiful voices of The Art Capital Youth Singers of Angono during the launch.A light up ceremony highlights the Christmas launch led by Mayor Jeri Mae Calderon, Vice Mayor Gerardo Calderon and other local officials of the municipality of Angono. They are joined by SM Supermalls Regional Operations Manager Cid Victoria and SM Center Angono’s Assistant Mall Manager Paolo Gunao.

“This 2021 has still limited us in many ways but we will always be thankful for the opportunity of dressing up our mall every Holiday season. It is our wish that through these decors we uplift spirits and bring smiles to the faces of our shoppers who visit us every day. We hope that our Christmas offerings at the mall will delight our shoppers as they celebrate this meaningful season,” says Paolo Gunao, Assistant Mall Manager of SM Center Angono.

Follow SM Center Angono on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for official updates about the lineup of promos and happenings this Holiday Season.

Of Super Heroes and Sunshine

Sharing with you all an article I made for PMAP magazine for International Women’s Month 2019. May you be encouraged!

Push. Hustle. Grind. Juggle. I find that a lot is expected from professional, working women today. At work, she should be competent, strong for her tasks, relatable and reliable. At home, she must have an endless supply of love and patience to care for everyone she loves. She has to strike that ever elusive balance between professional and personal life, keep it all together and yet look gorgeous in selfies!

How I wish I can tell you that I’m like that – a mixture of Captain Marvel and Wonder Woman rolled into one, but I am definitely NOT.

I work in the ever evolving world of Human Resources where we deal with people and issues about people every day. In our world, every employee is our customer. We are expected to be kind, fair and have a ready smile when we implement policies and create various programs to attract, engage, inspire and retain the right talents in the organization to support our business goals.

I’m also a wife, mom, daughter, sister, relative and friend. I’m also a driver, braving the morning and evening traffic to go to and from work. There are days when I get overwhelmed because people count on me. And yet, when I look at my son, sleeping soundly at night, I just know that I have to always be at my best.

Let me share with you three things that help me. May you find it helpful too.


You can give your best in everything when you’re recharged and filled up.

I read something inspirational every day and I hold on to my faith when times get tough. My long commute to and from work becomes a blessing when I listen to audiobooks and downloaded videos of favorite speakers, authors, teachers and thought leaders. Listening to them simply “lights” me up. I listen to different kinds of music too (mostly easy listening) and sing in the car when I feel like it. Watching calligraphy videos soothes me. I love getting hugs from my son.

What fills you up and makes you come alive? Do more of that.


Learning new things will stretch you but the benefits will far outweigh the effort. Instead of trying to control everything and feeling bad (because you really cannot control everything), be a learner instead and learn all you can. You’ll not only be wiser, you’ll be significant! You add more value to your workplace and relationships and get to help more people simply because you chose to learn, be stretched and be valuable. When was the last time you learned something new?


Even a super hero needs a side kick. God rested on the 7th day. I remind myself to take care of “me” so I can be my best self. I once got sick for a couple of days after I pushed myself too hard to accommodate a very tiring schedule. I now know better. Take a break, treat yourself and give your body the care it deserves.

We don’t need super powers to juggle all our responsibilities. As we celebrate women in the workplace, offer a smile and an encouraging word to women colleagues and friends and watch it brighten their faces.

You may not be a super hero but you can be a bright ray of sunshine wherever you are.

Shane Bonza-Rapanut is the HR Lead for Learning and Organization Development in PHINMA. She’s passionate about learning and shares her thoughts at www.bloomblossomandgrow.wordpress.com.

Link: https://www.peoplemanager.ph/post/of-super-heroes-and-sunshine

Big Bang 2020!

The year started with much turmoil and controversies. The massive fire in Australia, Eruption of the Taal Volcano which affected hundreds of thousands of people and establishments, and the corona virus outbreak. As a mom, I tend to worry.

Despite what is happening, I still believe that this year is a great year. When we ended 2019, we all had high hopes for the coming year and that hope still applies today. I am personally believing that this year will be a year of ACCELERATION and STRENGTH. I believe that God is still faithful and will provide opportunities for us to fulfill our purpose.


I recently had my birthday and it is during those times when I get to look back and reflect on my past and look forward to where I am heading. I’ve read somewhere that plotting your life in 7-year increments help. As I look back, I’ve seen moments of weaknesses and regretful flaws and areas of indecisions, which I am not proud of. My progress was stalled until I learned my lessons. (I’ve forgiven myself). There were many opportunities lost and “stolen” and I realized that it is only by His grace that I am able to achieve most of my goals and eventually get to where I am now.

Acceleration is when you are propelled upward and are presented with opportunities to level up. It could be in the form of an assignment or a challenge that would force you to learn “on your feet”. It’s those “Big bang” moments, nothing short of miraculous, that suddenly leads you in another direction.


I want to be strong – physically, mentally and spiritually. I want to “play with my strengths” and be more courageous and strong-hearted, ready to where He leads me.

May this year present us with many opportunities to level up and make us stronger as we choose to turn to God who is our helper, our strength, hope and protector.



What’s new with Macao Imperial Tea?

Are you fond of milk teas, specifically MACAO IMPERIAL TEA?

You’d be glad to know that they’ve opened a super cool and hip branch last Saturday at SM City Masinag.

Grand Opening Day, SM City Masinag

Look how colorful and neatly packaged each of these drinks come in.

Uji Matcha, Over the Rainbow and Cranberry
Uji Matcha, Over the Rainbow and Cranberry
Lots of pretty options to choose from
Cheesecake and Pearl Milk Tea, For You (Special drink), Cream Cheese Oreo Milk Tea

Aside from serving hand crafted, yummy milk teas, this new branch overdelivered by providing a super cool and relaxing ambiance making it an ideal place for get togethers.

It is not surprising for a LOT of people to line up just to have a cup of especially-made treat from Macao Imperial Tea.

There’s surely a drink that calls your name! Visit them and you’ll be glad you did!

Heavenly goodness of Avocadoria

Have you tried the new craze in town? Most likely, you’ve heard already of Avocadoria.ph which specializes in decadent avocado-based desserts by Chef Czarina.

I know for a fact that Avocados are different from other fruits. I know this because lately, I’ve been trying to watch what I eat. Most fruits are high in sugar and carbohydrates but not avocados. Avocados happen to be  filled with healthy, essential fats. I just love plain avocados with a little milk or as toppings on salad. Naturally, I was drawn to avocadoria!

Avocado Lover

I was given my first ever Dream Lover by Avocadoria and oh my! It’s really heavenly!!!Big chunks of avocado in avocado ice cream, with and almond nuts, tapioca pearls and with a dash of chia seeds and flaxseed. It is really good and yummy!

No wonder Avocadoria is all over the city!!! They recently opened at SM City Masinag and I’m just happy to be there and experience it for the first time.

They offer the following signature treats:

  • Avocado Ice Cream Cheesecake (P550/one tin),
  • Avocado Lover (P110/8 oz, P125/12 oz) which has avocado soft-serve, avocado slices, nuts, crushed graham crackers, flax, and chia seeds;
  •  Avocado Dream (P90), which is avocado ice cream served in an avocado shell and topped with pastillas
  • Avocado Shake which is made by real avocado with fresh fruit topping of your choice: avocado, mango, chico, guyabano and jackfruit.

From me to you: This one is a must try! 

Hard Lessons on Personal Finance

I’ve always wanted to write something about handling money.

I had several credit cards too soon and I wasn’t prepared to handle them. I was young and inexperienced then, going on shopping sprees and buying items I don’t really need. I learned the hard way.

I remember standing at a cash register, heart beating fast and unable to move because my card was declined and I have no cash with me! I experienced receiving reminders from collectors because I maxed out my line. I’ve been charged with penalty fees for failing to pay my account on time.

Fast forward to today, I always pay fully what I owe the bank each month. I’m sensitive to fees and charges so I pay my dues in advance. My credit rating improved a lot and banks often send me cards without me applying for them. So how did I get from A to B? Gory, hard lessons in handling money.

  1. LIVE SIMPLY. A simple life is a beautiful life. Refuse to accumulate stuff you don’t really need just to impress others. Be grateful for what you have.
  2. KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN NEEDS AND WANTS. Before paying for the items in your cart, make a final check and ask yourself “Do I need it or do I want it? Buying can be emotional. Chances are, some of the items there are not really in the “needs” category.
  3. CATEGORIZE PURCHASES. Gas, Groceries and Medicines are paid via credit card. As much as possible, pay for other expenses in cash.
  4. GET YOURSELF OUT OF DEBT AS QUICKLY AS YOU CAN. Don’t lose hope when you are deep in debt. There are ways to get out but be faithful in paying for your “freedom.” What I did was transfer my balances to one or two cards to consolidate all my credit. A huge portion of my annual performance bonuses and other unexpected cash rewards went to credit card payment. I told myself – I am paying for my financial freedom. It was painful. It took years! But I am glad I made my choice then as I am reaping the benefits now.
  5. EDUCATE YOURSELF. Research and educate yourself about personal finance. Know where your money is going. Be aware of what gets money out of your pocket. Do more of what puts money in. Read books and get to know people who are financially free.
  6. ENLIST SUPPORT. Tell your close friends to support you towards your journey to financial freedom. They would know then why you can’t join them on shopping sprees and constant eat outs.
  7. PRAY. Yes, pray. Pray for guidance and wisdom. Be a good steward of what God has given you. Seek to honor Him through your finances.

It can be done! Financial freedom is possible if you make a conscious effort to go after it. What comes with it? The luxury of peace. Joy that comes when you slowly build your savings up and invest for your future. Generosity – being a source of blessings for others in need. Lastly, a story to share and encourage others who go through what you went through. It’s truly, madly, deeply worth it!

Unplugged and Play!

It is so true that technology is taking over family life with almost 63% of parents admitting they need to make an effort for face-to-face time.

Like Lukas, most kids nowadays spends most of their leisure time online with their gadgets. This is why we were truly happy when we learned that SM Masinag promotes undistracted family bonding with Unplugged and Play, an outdoor summer fair WITHOUT any gadgets – just pure fun activities for the entire family!

Happy to be here!
Excited Kiddos!

Unplugged and Play is an extra large playground for kids and their families to enjoy! It includes the following:

Ball Pit, Giant Obstacle Course and Huge Jousting Challenge
Extra Sticky Wall
Giant Soccer
Giant Dice and Board game on the Rights of Children – UNICEF
Extra Exciting Rapelling
SummerTreats and Surprises are up for grabs at various booths and bazaars
– Refreshments and Face Painting gigs

Catch Unplugged and Play at the following malls: SM City San Mateo on May 11 SM City Marikina on May 18.

TIPS: The event is open to all. Simply present single or accumulated receipts from any tenant in the mall for at least P1,000.
Little kids must be accompanied by an adult.
Kids MUST wear socks.

Unplugged and Play is one of the many exciting events of SM Supermalls for Everyday is Playday at SM Campaign.

My Faith Goals for 2019

January 2019 is almost ending and I just can’t help but feel that I haven’t really spent the time I needed to reflect on 2018 and really plan for 2019.

Churches and Fellowships I know have scheduled their annual  prayer and fasting to really set aside time to pray and seek God’s guidance throughout the year.  It is typical to create a list of to-do’s or craft a list of resolutions to start the year.  Similar to that, what we (me and my friends and church mates) do is to make a list of or FAITH GOALS.   These are goals, usually big ones that require us to stretch our faith and rely on God to see them accomplished.

Aside from my usual goals for myself and my family, my goal for the year is to:


I tend to stress about things and would often need to remind myself to just be still and cast all my worries and cares to God through prayers.  We were never designed to carry so much burdens and loads.  We were even commanded NOT to worry!  What causes stress anyway? My stress comes from FEAR – fear that all things will not be up to par and go wrong. I realized, eventually, that I have to be grateful instead.  Being thankful gives me joy! Focusing on what I am blessed with diverts my focus off worries and fears that saps my energy and enthusiasm.

I began my 2019 Faith goal with a long list of things to be grateful for. And wow! They are many.  And so I decided to start my 2019 days reciting all the things, people, events I am blessed with!


Image by We heart It, Pinterest

For this year, I want to have consistent quiet time to meditate, pray,   journal, commune with God.   Often, I have tried to accomplish tasks, pushing myself harder, when my inner gas tank is running empty.  This doesn’t have to be.  It’s not just about being more of an introvert, it’s more of connecting with God and letting Him fill you up – trading your sorrows with hope and your pains with His Joy. Call it recharging your inner strength so you can face the day bravely, serve others and be an inspiration to many instead of dragging them down.


I believe that we are called to serve. We are to be God’s hands to others and be a visible representation of Christ to them. For many years, I have been trying to discover myself. I’ve tried many things, changed jobs, listened to a lot of people, observed their ways, read many books and was charmed by many movies and stories. Ultimately, the question I would like to answer would be: How can I serve in a way that is me – with my strengths and skills and at the same time, my limitations too? I am willing but how? I have an idea for this year. I’ve started and started small and will continue to start new stuff for this year.

I am believing and praying that 2019 is a year of elevation and purpose. Dreams put on hold will push thru. Provision will flow simply because my hope is not on myself, my skills, my abilities – it is on God who created me and has a purpose for me – to bloom and blossom and grow so I can help others bloom, blossom and grow too.

Magical Christmas Carnival

SM City Taytay literally wowed everyone during the 2018 Christmas Launch with its theme: Christmas Carnival! Truly, Christmas, everyone’s favorite time of the year is here!  You could actually feel the Christmas vibe when you enter the mall!

The event area was decorated well in red, gold and white and the carnival theme brought me back to the joys of carnival rides and exciting shows when I was still little girl.

Everyone was treated to a spectacular event with wonderful numbers hosted by the lovely Ms. Saab Magalona!

A series of wonderful numbers followed inspired by THE GREATEST SHOWMAN movie.  The numbers were enhanced even more with Jugglers, contortionists, heart-stopping acrobatics, songs, dances and other theatrics.

Stunning and heart stopping performances


Carnival Fun!

Carnival Jugglers

Christmas Mascots

The event was graced with the presence of Town officials and SM Management and look – Santa flew all the way from the north pole to be with Kids! (And kids at heart too.)


YOu may also see a video presentation through this link: https://www.facebook.com/bloomblossomandgrow/videos/268827467156935/

Visit SM City Taytay and don’t miss the chance to enjoy and have photos of this year’s theme: Christmas Carnival.