Free Milk in Schools

As children are the future citizens of the world their health should be of great concern.  And what could be a more fitting way to promote good health among children than providing them with free milk in schools. This is a health program by governments of countries the world over including the UK, the Philippines, British Columbia, Canada, and Thailand.  Despite its benefits and noble nature, there are different political issues of some sort surrounding this program – corruption, milk quality, milk suppliers, budget and allocation, and many others to name a few. However, as hundreds of thousands of children have availed and have improved health condition every year, this should be  given priority and attention.

Milk is very nutritious.  Many believe in its role in building strong bones, which is not far from the truth. The body uses several nutrients, not just one, in doing whatever metabolism it needs to accomplish for normal body functions.  And milk provides the necessary minerals needed in building and repairing bones. It is a very good source of protein, calcium, potassium, manganese, and magnesium, which all contribute to having healthy bones. It also is a great source of water, which is rich in vitamins like vitamin A and vitamin B complex.

In Thailand, School Milk Program (SMP) was implemented and got full support from central government in 1992.  Since then school children are given free milk for 230 days annually.  Since there are only 180-200 school days in a year, each child gets 1 box of milk to be brought home during the holidays. Foreign children who are born in Thailand and are studying here, get to enjoy this as well. Hoping that this continues, and that Thai government will always look after the good of the future of the nation, the children.

 

So mainly this program aims to promote healthy growth in children. However, it is part of the program to outsource milk from local farmers, and so as a consequence this has tremendously boosts the income of local farmers.

Free Milk in Schools

My kids love this. In fact they prefer this over formula milk. They’re lucky.  I don’t remember getting any free milk during my primary school days in the Philippines.  Have you?

 

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Mother’s Day 2017

It’s Mother’s Day in Thailand.

In my 8 years as a Mom,  I had been greeted by so many friends,  colleagues,  and even acquaintances on Mother’s Day but never  from my own child.  This year’s Mother’s day is different and special.  For the first time I received a Mother’s day letter from my daughter.  Here.


She wrote this in school,  and wanted to surprise me.  I felt a lump building up in my throat as I was reading it.  It is simple but the gesture is just so sweet.  Earlier when we went grocery shopping she bought me a bolster and a towel (which I paid for,  Lol).  It’s OK.  It’s really the thought that counts.  I was so touched!

And then later on she secretly made me another card complete with Thai translation ^_^.

 

Oh so sweet!

 

Maternity Leave is Over: What Now?

Prior to having kids I had been adamant and vocal about the need for mothers to take care of their babies themselves.  It was my intention and it is an ideal thing to do.  Reality bites though,  I have to work, as the case with many moms and dads out there.

Our kids grew up with nannies.  They spent most hours of the day five days a week with a nanny.  Our first child had a Filipino nanny.  She was loving and motherly.  She took care of the kids very well.  Yes,  she had three toddlers under her care.  Our second child on the other hand had a Thai nanny.  She had two babies to take care of.  She was a grandmother and also motherly.  I say we got to experience the best and the worse of both worlds. Both are similar in some ways yet so different in many ways. I will talk about this in length in my next post.

Anyway,  would we have it in any other way?  Well,  I don’t  think so.  We did not have much choice.  As both of us have to work full time (for the visa) , so looking after our then toddlers was simply out of the question.  I think many expat parents share my view on this.  In as much as we want to be there especially during this stage, we can’t,  and all we can do is choose the best option there is.

For Thai expats there are several options to choose from.

  • One is to ask a relative especially your mom and/or dad to look after your kid (for other culture this might be preposterous but for Asians this is acceptable and practical). They could apply for Non-O visa to be able to stay.  Siblings however are not eligible. This is the kind of set up particularly preferred by those whose parents are retirees or are just not working.
  • Second is sending your child to a day care that accepts infants and very young toddlers.
  • Third is hiring a nanny.

If you would like to know more about our experience regarding this please click here.

For expats out there,  which of the following choices above would you prefer?

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Tira-Tira Candy


This grandpa pulls something sticky and stretchy from an elongated pouch. I have to admit it was intriguing in fact we stopped by and watched, together with many others who can’t help it as well. To our surprise,  this grandpa is selling what seems like a candy my husband and I know from our childhood days in the Philippines, the TIRA-TIRA!
The only difference is that this one is a bit on the softer and chewy side.  The TIRA-TIRA we had before were tough and sticky on the teeth,  you would have to chew on it so hard it would feel like your teeth would chip off.
We tried it,  and indeed it is TIRA-TIRA, Thai version.

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Bathe In The Sun At….

Summer in Samal

When we went home to the Philippines for a month long, very much needed vacay, my husband and I decided to book a weekend stay in the Island Garden City of Samal or IGaCOS, the Paradise Island Park and Beach Resort. This is our childhood favorite resort. Since we were kids this resort has been like a… well… a paradise. It seemed like the name Paradise Island was synonymous to GREAT FUN.

Paradise Island Park and Beach Resort is located at Barangay Caliclic, Babak district Samal Island. Please note that Samal Island used to be a part of Davao City before it was declared a city of its own on 30th January 1998; some websites though, still use the old address. This resort can be reached via a boat ride from a port in Sasa Wharf Davao City to the resort or via a Ferry if you so choose to bring your vehicles to the Island with you.

In general, we had a pleasant experience. My husband and I definitely had a great time at the beach. We love the powdery white sand, the blue clear water, and the fresh air. At that time there were only a few guests, so it felt like we had the beach to ourselves. It felt like paradise.

However, there were a few inconveniences.

For example, checking in was quite a hassle as the resort is quite strict with a lot of things. They do have a rule book that you need to familiarize with or else your stay will be ruined. Checking the bags to make sure you have no food, drinks and/or spirits brought with you, as one of the rules in the book says “NO FOOD AND DRINKS FROM OUTSIDE ARE ALLOWED”, was a bit annoying.

It was like we were being searched in a detention camp rather than a resort. Children under 12 years have additional fees. It was quite saddening especially when all the other resorts especially resorts in Thailand would consider them free.  The food and snacks in the resort are delicious but rather expensive. The drinks and spirits are downright overpriced.

And then there is this, no swimming pool. When we were kids it was OK because we never really had any idea about it, but now that we have gone to other resorts it seems like a pool is a given.  Our kids were extremely disappointed. They love hanging around the pool. In fact it is the very first thing they always look for whenever we check in on a hotel/resort.

I guess we sort of overlooked this. We were probably unconsciously expecting it after all these years. Anyway, the beach was irresistibly inviting, even to the kids.  They had so much fun that they didn’t want to get out of the water.  That reminded me of our childhood days. It was a blast.

If you are the kind of person who wants coffee in the morning just right after waking up… you’d be disappointed to know that there are no hotspots or whatsoever in the rooms. I know it’s not really a necessity for everyone but it’s kind of good to have just in case you need one. No refrigerator. Yup… you heard me right. There is no freakin fridge. So if you bought a large bottle of soda or bottled water from the bar or restaurant, drink it while it’s cold. It’s not a deal breaker but it is definitely disappointing since these are the kind of amenities even cheap hotels offer.

But then again when we got to our room that morning Lo and Behold… The room was really clean. The toilet was well maintained. We were able to breathe a sigh of relief as my husband and I are really particular about cleanliness. We have had very bad experiences with hotel rooms even with the pricey ones in Bangkok and in Penang Malaysia. The beddings, the mattress, the floor under the bed are well dusted. We are very particular about this since my husband and kids are all asthmatic.

We’ve been to quite a few resorts and hotels may it be for long vacay or just a weekend getaway, all these accommodations have their own good and bad points.  Nothing is perfect as they say.  But perfection is relative to one’s needs and preferences.

So, Paradise Island Park and Beach Resort despite its imperfection and the inconveniences we had, it was still a GREAT experience generally speaking.

Have you been to any of the beautiful beaches in the Philippines? How was it?

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You’ll Be Forever Remembered H.M. King Bhumibol Adulyadej

 

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The night of 13th October 2016 is the quietest in Thailand history.  The King so loved and revered not only by Thai people but also by foreigners, has died.  People are mourning, and those who have been praying outside the hospital where he was admitted, cried their hearts out upon knowing.  My family and I are one with our Thai friends, colleagues and the entire kingdom in this mournful time.  His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej will forever live in our hearts.  May he forever be remembered by his kindness, good deeds, and love for his people.

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How Do Majorettes Dress Like In Your Country?

Majorettes are dancers doing a choreographed movement, baton twirling.  They perform this during parades together with marching bands.  I remember as a grader I used to envy how great they look in their glossy, skimpy dresses and how awesome to see those tricky baton twirls.  All were always excited to see them. Young girls dreamed of becoming one but were told that only selected few could become one as there are qualifications to meet like one must be tall, slim, fair-skinned (oh so discriminating!) and must be pleasant looking.

Now living in Thailand, it’s amazing to know that anyone could be a majorette.  Qualifications? Nothing like what were mentioned above. Anyone who’s interested is welcome to join.

Amazing Thailand.

And totally amazing costume!

Majorettes here look like Moulin Rouge dancers.

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How do majorettes dress like in your country?

 

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A Month for Dads

December is finally here. On the 5th is the  88th birthday celebration of Thailand’s beloved King, His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej.  In this light, there are three big and exciting things lined up in this part of the world.

Father’s Day is celebrated on the King’s birthday and participated by locals and foreigners alike.  In schools, children give their fathers a “Wai” to show their love and respect.

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Bike for Dad is a nationwide event which will be held on the 11th December 2015 from 3.00 p.m. onward. Unsurprisingly, Bike for dad shirts have been on display in stores as early as November. This is the second time Thailand is holding this kind of event.  Back in August, Thailand hosts Bike for Mom to celebrate the Queen’s birthday, Her Majesty Queen Sirikit; and to pay respect to all moms.

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Krathong Making

Here are the materials needed in making a krathong.

  • Banana trunk
  • Leaves
  • Pins
  • Flowers

Procedure:

  1. Cut banana trunk into 2 to 3 inches chunks.

    chunk of banana trunk wrapped in leaves
  2. Wrap it with leaves. It could be banana or some other kind will do. You may also fold strips of banana leaves into triangular shapes resembling a lotus to cover the chunk of banana trunk with.
  3. Use pins to secure the decoration into the banana trunk base.
  4. Decorate it with different kinds of flowers.
  5. Finally, stick in a candle and incense sticks.

 

Thai people add in the krathong lock of their hair and pieces of trimmed nails.  This is to symbolize that they are want to drive off misfortune and bad things in the past.

 

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