Friday Night-out: Donating Blood in Singapore

About 4 years ago, many good souls touched my heart when our family’s heart was broken. Dad was diagnosed with liver cirrhosis and we were told that his case was terminal with only less than 6 months to live.

The agony was unbearable knowing that you only have 6 short months or less to show how grateful you are to one of the two people who sacrificed so much for you.  I wish I could bring him to all the places he’d like to see before everything’s over. I wish I could give a part of me so he would live longer. We’d see Dad happy and active one moment, and the next moment, he’d throw up blood. His haemoglobin would drop to an average of 4g/decilitre (normal haemoglobin level for a male is 13.5 to 17.5 grams per decilitre) and we will all be out looking for 2-4 bags of blood for his blood transfusion. It was a tough routine.

I wished, I could give a part of me so he would live longer, but I couldn’t.

I was heartbroken but healthy and with a weight less than 100lbs. I was rejected as a blood donour for Daddy. The struggle to find blood in the Philippines was real and we needed 2-4 bags every month. From then on, donating blood became part of my long bucket list.

Note to self: I will take care of my body and be healthy so that a part of me can help save lives and heal families’ broken hearts.

The inspiration: Two good souls (Enzo & Carina) will always be a part of me because they gave their blood to Dad, a total stranger to them whom they knew the situation via twitter, without asking for anything in return. Together with one of my best bosses and friend, Kaoru, who courageously donated her blood though she knows that Philippines is not as advanced as Japan; our family friends and lastly, to the couple with a big heart, Ellese & Jhong, for almost sharing with us a platoon of army donours when we needed them the most. 🙂

The push-factors: Great neighbours with big hearts turned into friends here in Singapore, Anna & Belinda, who’s happily donating blood regularly to help save lives (Shh..they already receive medals for it. LOL). Plus, the fact that:

  • every blood donation burns approximately 650 calories based on studies
  • you may have a lesser risk of cancer as new blood cells are regenerated
  • free medical examination as they screen your blood and looks out for transmitted infections such as Malaria, Hepa-B and Hepa-C, HIV and Syphilis
  • Blood donours are given priority when there’s an urgent need for blood (this is true especially in the Philippines. But hey, if there’s no enough supply for emergency use, how will all these matters?)

The process: We went to one of the blood banks at Dhoby Ghaut as walk-in donours on Friday night. The process is thorough but as easy as 1,2,3…

I’ve never had a chance to donate in the Philippines but my husband and sister say that they give”zesto” and water (sometimes instant noodle!) for refreshments but in Singapore, they pamper a donour like crazy making sure that you’ll feel like the hero that you are (they even put a bandage on your arm!).  For first-timers, aside from treating you extra careful, you’ll feel like you just passed a frat’s hazing when they give you your “welcome kit.”

There are 5 blood banks in Singapore at the moment and HSA’s website has a very comprehensive information if you’re ready to save lives.

For more information about donating blood in the Philippines, please visit here or talk to my sister who’s a regular blood donour. 🙂

Stories are everywhere but those translated into songs are my favourite.

A conversation with my niece, Rei, over the weekend inspired me to write about #PublicRecord by Us the Duo. She was telling me how much she likes storytelling and how stories are everywhere and are presented in different forms. I fully agree with her cause I love stories.

Stories are in movies, books, essays, photos, social media posts and of course, songs. A story is powerful- it motivates, it serves as a warning sometimes, it uplifts, it shows the beauty of us and being human.

Storytellers are amazing people. I can talk about how amazing my friends in Viddsee are for telling various stories across Asia through short films (will write more about these amazing people one of these days) or how brilliant my cousin Joee is for launching an album with all her amazing stories turned into songs (My favourite is the “Song for Mati”) for hours. But what’s more remarkable to me is when these storytellers collaborate with others to tell more interesting stories and this is what the #PublicRecord project is all about.

Us the Duo asked their fans to submit their stories and they’ll write songs about them. Five fan stories were chosen and they were incredibly written.

I’m me” is my favourite.

Saudade, a Portuguese word that talks about the feeling of profound longing, nostalgia or missing someone or something, is another favourite mainly because it captures my feeling towards Dad. Saudade is a good feeling, he never leaves.

If you know me, you’ll know that Us the Duo is one of my favourites ever since I heard their song/wedding vows which eventually became Book of Life’s OST.

Hope you don’t stop sharing stories wherever you are. They make life more interesting. Rei will agree for sure.

30 Things Before 30

They say that you have a lot of time when you’re 20, that’s okay. 

But now that I’m half way done with the ‘glorious 20s,’ I say that no matter how much you try to get things right when given a chance to do or have it, sometimes, you just need a few more tries to get it… just right. And you got to do them and learn from them in your 20s. You have to fall, fail and be fooled (sometimes!) so that you know what suits and best for you. 

I find myself glorifying my good old energetic days lately- Trying almost everything and finding something new each day. When I moved here in Singapore, I felt like a boring old maid struggling to live life while coping up to herself losing each piece day by day. (Haha. Yes, an exaggeration but it’s quite close.) 

My diagnosis is I am putting so much pressure to myself that I panic for not living my life the way I know how it should be. So today, I’ll be back to be a blessing to others and making other feel happy about their lives. And since it should begin with me, I’m sharing some of my 30 things before 30 (I removed some too cheesy goals) just like my 25 things and looking forward.

1. Witness the beauty of Sakura and join “Hanami.”
2. Eat pizza or have wine/coffee while sitting at front of the Trevi Fountain.
3. Learn Flamenco in Spain.
4. Pay all our loans and raise funds for parent’s retirement. (Filipino thing! Haha)
5. —
6. —
7. Read a book while enjoying Maldives with a beer.
8. Experience & learn how to make mojito in Cuba.
9. Cook a dish for a house party.
10. Learn a new language and use it.
11. See the beautiful Angkor Wat.
12. (Party for Dad’s 60th!) Appreciate the Aussie way of life.
13. Eat Pho Ga in Vietnam.
14. Learn Cooking.
15. Walk in streets of Tokyo and ride a train.
16. Drink local beers in Laos and Germany.
17. Have 2 successful businesses.
18. —
19. Skydive.
20. Watch in open air cinema in Kamari & take a photo of the sophisticated Santorini.
21. Have a photo with Eiffel Tower.
22. Ride the Trans-Siberian Express across Asia.
23. Ride a gondola.
24. Live in a foreign country for 3 straight months.
25. Climb up the Great Wall of China.
26. Have a photo taken in Roman Street.
27. —
28. Host a house party.
29. Find my passion.
30. Maintain a good blog that I can always read and reminisce the good old days.

Last month, I just crossed out the 24th in my list: Live in a foreign country for 3 straight months.

Beauty in East Asia means skincare, while in SEA it’s makeup: Hakuhodo

Interested in Asia? I found this interesting article from that might be helpful.

ASIA-PACIFIC- East Asian women focus more on skincare, while makeup takes precedence in Southeast Asia, according to a Hakuhodo study on the perception of beauty products across 14 Asian cities.

Part of its Global Habit survey, which conducts around 900 interviews in each of 34 cities (more than 1,000 interviews in China and in India), this report spans 14 Asian cities in East Asia (China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Korea), Southeast Asia (Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia and Singapore) and India. 

The report polled the use of 21 beauty products including skincare and makeup and found that more than half were used by at least 50 per cent of women in Seoul, Hong Kong and Taipei. Women in Seoul use the most beauty products by far, with more than 50 per cent using 18 of the 21 products. At the other end of the spectrum, women in three Chinese cities, Southeast Asia and two Indian cities are limited to a few basic items.

One product stood out as almost universally used. Around 90 per cent of women in East Asia use facial cleansers and more than 70 per cent in Southeast Asia (except Jakarta where the figure is still above 60 per cent). Regionally, the lowest use of cleansers is in India, where only 40 per cent of women use them. 

Across Asia, Japan and Korea lead beauty fashions and trends. In Hong Kong and Taipei, women look to Japan more than local trends, but in Southeast Asia, beauty trends from Korea the West lead the way, particularly among younger women.

In China, Japan and Korea have roughly the same degree of influence in Guangzhou, while Korean beauty is the archetype in Shanghai and Beijing.

When it comes to choosing beauty products, price is a factor across all markets. This is combined in Hong Kong and Taipei with a demand for high quality. In Seoul, women care about brand reputation and environmental friendliness—a point of difference for the city. 

In China, women care about brand image, but also convenience and service, particularly in Beijing. In Southeast Asia, women in Vietnam prioritise packaging, Malaysian women require ease-of-use, and in Bangkok, innovation tempts women into buying. 

Grab that International Conference!

You might have high expectations on this post and expect that I’ll be able to feed your hungry passions for blogging and connections but this is highly derived from personal experience that you might or might not relate (if you don’t dare to be a little crazy).

For the past 2 years, I have been invited to the following conferences:

with famous Indonesian Bloggers, Nonadita and DianParamita,
and the famous Political Filipino Blogger, Tonyo Cruz.

Southeast Asian Blogger’s Conference November 2011, Bali, Indonesia
Blogfest Asia 2012- November 2012, Siem Reap, Cambodia

And yes, to my juniors and friends who are inspired with my craziness, here are some of the things that I think I did to be able to be invited –have airfare, hotel accommodations, meals and tours paid by the organizers and had the opportunity to meet awesome people in the region.

1. Travel or Socialize. 

I got my first invitation to the Southeast Asian Blogger’s Conference in 2011 (here’s from a Cambodian friend and blogger’s post whom I met in the Bali Conference and organized the Blogfest Asia 2012) from a guy who coincidentally had the same interests and college degree as me (I met him when I was traveling in Jakarta earlier that year). As a backpacker who blogs and documents about my personal thoughts on the place I travel and how I can show that place how it is to be a Filipino, probably, he thought that it’s easy for him to pick me up to attend from the Philippines since I got a so-so decent blog, a flexible personality (euphemism for not high maintenance. Haha) and will say “yes” in a week notice and without notice on what I’m supposed to do. 🙂

Growing up, I’ve attended a lot of conferences as a Girls Scout, SK Chairman and a campus writer so I think I learned how to smile when they put you on spotlight. 🙂 So, when someone invites you so that they can fill in an empty slot for a blogger’s conference, grab it! It’s a win-win, you’ll need to do a lot of smiling but that’s the start of your unlimited opportunities.

2. Keep an open mind in meeting people, online and offline. 

For some people, the internet gives them freedom to be themselves, say anything they want that sometimes they couldn’t say or do offline, freedom from geographical limits and distances, and from judgments and long list of qualifications that our “normal” world requires. Just like what we normally do in our everyday encounter with people when we do our usual routine, we have to keep an open mind whenever we encounter people online, never judge and be responsible in whatever you post. You never know, that person might be the organizer of the biggest conference in Asia or you’re being stalked by the organizers, watch out!

3. Search for opportunities. Create opportunities.

I am always saying this, “if you feel like there’s no opportunity for you, create one” cause that’s the only time you’ll feel accomplished on that “something” that you are very passionate about. Just like when you say “I want to win a lottery” but you never bet your favorite numbers, opportunities sometimes are within your reach, you’re just too intimidated with them.

Search for conferences in whatever level you want (regional, national, worldwide) and maybe you could also search for the qualifications that’s consistent in their lists and try to have some of them in your things to learn or achieve because you have to go nearer to your goal by building foundations on their basics. (i.e. blog that has been maintained for years, accreditation to group of bloggers, etc)

Have your strategy in your online image and be consistent, unless you have a character that you’re playing and trying to have fortune on, it’s important to be consistent with you self offline and online.

And don’t forget that blogging is a form of social media, so include in your strategy the consistency with your social media network profiles.

4. Just do it.

One frustrated friend once told me that I was lucky to have been invited, maybe it’s because I was a consistent honor student in elementary and high school. Whaaat does it have to do with blogging? Do people ask you nowadays if you were first honor in kinder then they respect you upon knowing that you were? It’s all about your present self. Some people might just be so lazy to share their experiences thinking that it’s too normal but you have to remember that what’s normal for you might not be normal for some people on the other side of the world. And of course, if you’ll have amnesia someday like one blogger said, a blog is a good tool to use to remember! haha.

The bottom line is just do it. It will lead somewhere someday.

Think about why you would like to blog. My friend and a wonderful wife and blogger, Lhen Crystobal, always remind me that bloggers should not lose themselves in the process. We should remember why we enjoy doing this from the very beginning.

5. Get in touch with the right people.

After you have given opportunities, never forget about the experience and the people. If you want to be taken seriously, take things seriously online and offline. It’s a small world and the Internet makes our world smaller than it used to be so post, email, follow and get in touch with those people that you want to be associated with or you want to learn from. 

But at the end of the day, everything depends on your passion and where you want to go because knowing your destination will help you figure out if you have arrived.

For the fun side of the Southeast Asian Blogger’s Conference, here’s what the lovely Indonesian Entrepreneur, Ollie’s compilation of the fun times:

Forgetful Blogger

“Do you want me to take your picture?” was how Kris and I started a conversation when me and my Japanese friends were trying to take our photo before boarding. 

Kris is fun. So I decided to introduce him to my Indonesian girlfriends/ bloggers.

“I want to be a blogger.” He’s funny, so the four of us started a fun blogging tutorial.

And yes, he was the gatecrasher in Blogfest Asia 2012!

I thought it will end in Siem Reap together with his thoughts that he might have an amnesia someday and his only proof of existence and memories is his blog. But I was wrong. 

I read this in his blog:

My First Tumblr blog is dedicated to my three new friends I met in Cambodia!  They have not only accepted me as their new best friend but also introduce me to the art of blogging!  So I can say whatever I want!  I wanted to visit Cambodia for the long weekend, but who would have thought I would meet three dedicated bloggers!

And I suddenly miss the three of them 😦 

We are so proud of Kris and we hope that he’ll be more inspired to share and blog. Keep us posted with your adventures!

Follow everything that Kris forgets at