Category Archives: health

Nothing sweet on this candy

Nicefood manufactures this cigarette candy

My favorite isle in the grocery is the sweets section.  While going through different products, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw these candy cigarettes!

The idea of a five-year-old pretending to smoke these sweets makes me angry.  Manufactured by Nicefoods, I wonder if the business owners have kids, because manufacturing them as sweets  have an underlying context:  A subliminal consent that smoking is good.

Candy Cigarettes were introduced in the early 20th century. It is plausible that these candies can influence children to smoke when they are older because  later in the 70s, countries like the U.S., Canada, Ireland, Norway, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia have already banned selling these candy cigarettes ( read here).  Sadly, we have yet to realize the effects of these cigarette sweets to kids.


Stop hunger: Plant

photo by

Every time I pass by Old Balara, Quezon City, I couldn’t help but smile every time I see the island between the roads in lush greens.  I have noticed since June, squatters in the area have planted small vegetable gardens.

Old Balara island turns into patches of veggie gardens

Old Balara is  where  the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewarage System (MWSS)  is located. It’s also a short-cut road to Commonwealth.

The reason why I write this is because according to SWS survey, there are 4 million Filipinos experiencing hunger right now.  If this country were Africa, I would say that it’s a difficult scenario.  However, we are blessed with tropical climate, and fertile land.

Because of budget constraints, poor households have converted the  islands in Old Balara into small vegetable gardens.  These are simple ways for the poor to have a sustainable life in the city.

There’s also a new way of planting that doesn’t actually need land – they call it vertical gardens.  It’s a big rave in Europe right now because they grow vegetables in buildings.

vertical garden by Patrick Blanc

When I used to work for the Israeli Embassy, I had a very good conversation with the Agriculture Attache.  He told me that “Agriculture can help your country alleviate itself from poverty.  You have very fertile land, and yet you don’t use that opportunity.  You would rather import rice in other countries. But if you concentrate in developing your agriculture, imagine the money you could save.”

It’s true.  Filipinos, however, like to complain and blame.  This time, people should really follow the Old Balara vegetable road island- I really think it’s  an ingenious idea.

Bugs, humbug!

e. coli up close

I have been getting lots of bugs these past few days – from the internet to my body. Solution: remove them!

I thought it was flu, but I just got my flu and h1n1 vaccines two weeks ago! Maybe it’s a new strain? After three days of being weak,  fever, and bouts of diarrhea,  I decided to admit myself to Medical City last night.  After a round of blood and stool tests – it was determined to be E. Coli.

Good thing it happened to me and not my baby- that would have been the worst! It would have been better if it was entirely avoided though.

It’s rainy season, and you have to be more careful with the food you eat, and most especially your drinking water.  Make sure the food is cook well, and, definitely, boil the water.

I still feel weak.  So hasta la vista, till i get better.

Hypchondriac me, and you?

I recently had a breast cancer scare.

The Philppine Breast Cancer Society recommends that women in their 30s should get a mammogram yearly.  I was oblivious about the rule, but I went to my OB-gyne two weeks ago because of  some breast pain.  She told me to get a mammogram (read past blog).

I was confident that my mammogram will just be negative, and that I was just being a hypochondriac.  When the results came out, it recommended  that I had to get an ultrasound as well! That really, really scared me.

I panicked.

I couldn’t believe that it’s happening to uber-health-conscious- me!

It scared me to high frequency that I started planning a will for my son.

When I had an ultrasound last Monday,  I found out that I have around 15 cysts in my breasts.  I decided to have four doctors opinion .  Anyway these cysts, said the  doctors, are not cancerous, it’s symptomatic- it comes and goes.

I still have to go back to my OB again, just to have a final go.  The breast cancer scare experience has turned me into a  health vigilante. Definitely, I am going vegan.

Hyperchondriac, me?

I was never a worry-wart when I was single- ( check my photos and video here)  I would cliff jump, dive in deep waters, and could even finish a bottle of wine. But ever since I became a mom, a lot of things have changed, more particularly,  I have become uber cautious.  I realized that women are very delicate beings – we can easily get post partum depression, urinary tract infection, and breast cancer.

For the past six months, I experienced being admitted to the hospital for pneumonia – due to low immunity from lack of sleep since I gave birth.

A month ago I had my first root canal.

And today, my first mammogram.

I have been feeling some breast pain in my left boob (yes, i wrote BOOB)  since I weaned my baby a month ago.  My ob-gyne advised me to have a mammogram since she could feel some fibrocystic cysts.  These cysts are not cancerous but she advised me not to wait until there’s a lump in the breast to have a mammogram.

“As soon as you are in your 30s, it’s best to have your breast checked yearly,” says my ob-gyne.

Maybe it’s the age? Maybe it’s  just a coincidence? But I am more conscious of my well-being now. I want to be there to witness my son’s milestones.  I want to grow old and see my kids graduate in college. I want to feel how it is to be a grandmother as well.  Whatever it takes, just to live longer, I would do it, even if I have turn into hypochondriac.

Losing a limb for a very sweet biz

Santa Malonzo shows a box of her kakanin.

Malonzo's amputee neighbor lounges outside his house for some sunshine

A. Mabini st. in Cainta, Rizal is known for selling the best kakanin (sweet rice desert) in Manila. It is also a street where you can see several amputees in wheel chairs lounge outside their homes for some morning sunshine.

According to Santa Malonzo, owner of Santa’s kakanin, most of the people in that street has been passing down the kakanin business for generations. Some of her neighbors had to be amputated due to diabetic complication, more specifically, gangrene.

Diabetes is a serious chronic metabolic disease characterized by an increase in blood sugar levels associated with long term damage and failure or organ functions, especially the eyes, the kidneys, the nerves, the heart and blood vessels.

” Every day, we would wake up, and cook kakanin since we were kids. And of course, we have to taste the kakanin daily,” says Malonzo

“But I don’t have it; maybe Diabetes is just hereditary, ” says Malonzo.

Diabetes, however, can be acquired. In a report by International Diabetes Federation (IDF) for its 2009 Diabetes Atlas, there are 3.4 million Filipino adults with Type 2 or acquired diabetes.

According to a report done by Oxford Health Alliance, annual cases of diabetes in the country have gone up by 2.5% yearly since 1993. Of which, about 1.4 million Filipino adults (aged 20 and above) have acquired the disease in the last five years.

Mangoes help prevent breast and colon cancer

Summer is here, which means mangoes are back in season!  According to Science Daily,   a new study by Texas AgriLife Research food scientists has found that the fruit prevented or stopped cancer growth in certain breast and colon cell lines.

Scientist couple, Dr. Susan and Steve Talcott,   found that the fruit showed some impact on lung, leukemia and prostate cancers but was most effective on the most common breast and colon cancers

“What we found is that not all cell lines are sensitive to the same extent to an anticancer agent,” says Susan Talcott. “But the breast and colon cancer lines underwent apotosis, or programmed cell death. Additionally, we found that when we tested normal colon cells side by side with the colon cancer cells, that the mango polyphenolics did not harm the normal cells.”