A Dose of Good News: Music Finds Its Way Back to Marawi through Coke Studio

We salute Coca-Cola Philippines and the Coke Studio artists for doing their part in helping Maranaos and the city of Marawi.

Music will once again be heard in the streets of Marawi City and in the hearts of Maranaos as the government and members of the private sector work hand-in-hand to rebuild the city, its communities, and homes. In support of various efforts, Coca-Cola Philippines, through Coke Studio, spearheaded a hydration drive in evacuation camps, including the Maria Cristina Evacuation Camp, Buruun Gym, Sta. Elena Evacuation Camp and Saguiaran Gym, where around 5,000 Maranaos are sheltered.

Each family received various Coca-Cola products, including three 6-liter bottles of Wilkins Distilled water, and Coca-Cola shirts, while young local musicians sang OPM hits for the crowd. Customer partner Shakey’s also provided snacks for the evacuees.

The evacuation center in Saguiaran, which has one of the biggest concentrations of Maranaos, hosted a mini-concert featuring a Coke Studio bands The Ransom Collective and Franco. They sang their own songs and distributed hydration kits to the evacuees.

“This is our way of showing support and solidarity with the Filipino people – to be able to contribute in the rebuilding process. Music is one of the things that threads through every person, regardless of age, religion, culture, and socio-economic bracket,” said Stephan Czypionka, Marketing Director of Coca-Cola Philippines. “We are committed to help the communities that we serve, especially in times like these that we have to come together to rebuild not just the physical structures, but most importantly, the lives of the people.”

Coke Studio was launched early this year and successfully changed the OPM landscape with its creative collaborations with various artists. It also served as a platform for teens and young adults to come together, drawn by their common love for music.

The Filipino youth is also coming together to help rebuild Marawi, driven by their passion for music. A benefit concert at the Mall of Asia concert grounds, and a recyclables collection drive are just some of the fund-raising initiatives to build schoolhouses through the Little Red Schoolhouse program implemented by the Coca-Cola Foundation Philippines.

The construction of a school building is part of the commitment of
Coca-Cola Philippines through the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation’s (PDRF) United4Marawi campaign. The Company also joined the PDRF in a three-day medical mission for the evacuees in Iligan City. Volunteer health care professionals provided check-ups, surgical procedures, and psychiatric intervention to the evacuees.

The Company also provided for the daily hydration needs of the members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines stationed in Mindanao.

“We are committed in helping rebuild Marawi and the communities impacted by this conflict. In partnership with relevant government agencies, we in the private sector will be bringing our sustainability initiatives to the area,” said Jonah de Lumen-Pernia, Public Affairs and Communications Director of Coca-Cola Philippines. “Our 5by20 entrepreneurship programs will be provided for the spouses of soldiers deployed in Marawi, while water systems will also be installed in the communities. We’ll also build a Little Red Schoolhouse.”
Coke Studio staged a benefit concert for the rehabilitation of Marawi on Saturday, December 9th, at the MOA Concert Grounds. Coke Studio artists such as Abra, Gab and John of Urbandub, The Ransom Collective, Gracenote, Moonstar88, Autotelic, Ebe Dancel, Franco, Reese Lansangan, BP Valenzuela, Sandwich, Noel Cabangon, and Curtismith, joined various school bands for the benefit concert. A collection drive of PET bottles was done on site to help raise funds.

They Call It Fertility Charting

If you have been trying to get pregnant with no result, you shouldn’t be concerned and hurry to jump to conclusions that you are infertile. You will get more reliable information from a fertility chart. Now that you have made your first fertility charts, you will be impatient to know the interpretation of your chart.

  • Normal Two-Phase Fertility Chart

This type of fertility charts tracks the normal two-phase menstrual cycle and are characterized by the fall in temperature of a woman before ovulation and menstrual cycle along with a rise in the temperature of the 2nd phase cycle by at least 0.4 Celsius. The duration of the temperature during post ovulation is between 12 and 14 days.

  • Estrogen-Progesterone Deficiency

During the second phase, the temperature of the body will rise slightly. The slight difference in temperature between the first phase and second phase shouldn’t be more than 0,2-0,3 Celsius. If you have this type of fertility chart, you will be able to deal with issues caused by the deficiency in Estrogen and Progesterone. A gynecologist will suspect that the fertility issues in a woman are caused by hormonal disorders when a fertility chart repeats the above pattern from cycle to cycle.

  • Anovulatory

It is normal for a healthy woman to experience at least one anovulatory (i.e., when ovulation doesn’t occur) cycle during the year. However, if anovulation occurs from cycle to cycle, a woman will not be able to conceive, since conception cannot occur without ovulation. Anovulatory does not occur with any prominent rise in temperature throughout the cycle. You should visit your doctor, whenever you have the following repetitive pattern three months in a row.

  • 2nd Phase insufficiency

This pattern is associated with the probability of a woman having miscarriage rather than that of infertility. In other words, it’s possible for a woman to get pregnant yet is risky. How does the chart work? Shortly after menstruation, the basal temperature begins to rise, while the woman will not experience any fall in temperature before menstruation. Also, the 2nd phase lasts for less than ten days. You should visit your doctor, whenever you have the following repetitive pattern three months in a row.

  • Estrogen Deficiency

The temperature curve of a woman tends to be chaotic unlike the previous types of fertility charts. The fluctuations don’t fit into any type, described above. A distinct deficiency usually causes this pattern in estrogen. Also, irregular factors may also be among the culprits.

So, you can get some clues about your condition, when you analyze your chart curves. Your fertility chart should be the first indicator of any possible fertility issues when you have difficulty in getting pregnant; however, this is not a diagnosis yet. For instance, women with irregular cycle lengths (28-34 days) may not ovulate in the middle of the cycle, that is, 14th day of the month. The women may ovulate between 14th and 20th day which is a norm for them.

Common Errors in Fertility Charting and How to Avoid Them

  • Use a proper BBT thermometer:

The common thermometer used to measure our body temperature when we have cold or flu shouldn’t be used to measure your basal temperature because they are not accurate enough. Rather, purchase a BBT thermometer, and you will be able to get an accurate temperature within 0.1 degrees.

  • Take your temperature at the same time each morning.

This is very crucial, yet most women desperate to get pregnant overlook it. Before taking your basal temperature, you should be asleep for at least 6 hours. Also, you should take your temperature before doing anything else- even before going to the bathroom. However, the time you do this is very important, and it includes weekends. It should be at the same time every day, before even getting out of bed!

  • Note the reading immediately, in writing.

You should note your reading immediately in writing and not rely on your memory after you have gone back to sleep. Many BBT thermometers remember the last recorded temp, so you could refer back to your BBT once awake and ready to transfer your temperature to your chart. You can also transfer this to your chart as soon as you can to see if there are any signs of increase in the fertility of your body with the latest data. If there were any unavoidable changes in the way you took the reading (for instance, you were a few minutes later than usual), then you should note this on your chart.

  • Take a vaginal reading rather than an oral one, for much greater accuracy.

Most women take oral reading which is less accurate. It is because of the external factors that can influence the temperature reading of your mouth. The factors include cold or sleeping with the mouth open. In order to avoid the possibility of anomalies between various thermometers, you should use the same type and make of thermometer for every reading. You should also use the same method of taking the reading as well.

  • Avoid alcohol

You should avoid alcohol consumption or anything that can disrupt your fertility if you are really serious about getting pregnant. However, if you drink alcohol, then note it on your chart. It is because alcohol can be responsible for any variation in your normal reading patterns.

Although, a woman has the best part of a week to get pregnant, this varies from person to person. Your difficulties in getting pregnant may be due to bad timing. When you use the fertility charting methods and avoid the common errors described above, you will get the best help possible and the best possible chance of timing things right. And if you want to increase chances of conceiving a girl or boy in particular, timing is key.

Before concluding on your reading patterns, it is advisable for you to meet your doctor for a professional diagnosis and treatment. Your doctor will need an ultrasound examination and a hormone test result. That’s why you should set your worries aside even if you’ve got a reading pattern that is unfavorable and set an appointment with your doctor.

Saying Thank You

In this journey called life, we will always have our share of challenges.

On some days, these challenges can be more difficult to live with. And they can sometimes drag for days, weeks, months. Some can even last for years. When they do, it can be an easier choice to complain.

Yet when we take time to reflect and think about our life, our past, there is always something to be thankful for.

Perhaps what is needed now as we face our problems, our pain is to choose to thank God anyway. To thank Him for everything that He has done so far and to thank Him in advance for how He will come through in the midst of our concerns and challenges.

By all means, let’s tell God what burdens our hearts, our minds. But let’s not forget to say a word of thanks or sing a song of gratitude, too.

Finding God in Music, Nature, the Movies

How does the Lord speak to you? How do you experience His love, His presence?

My number one answer would be nothing less than through His Word, the Bible. All God’s promises are written there. Along with His purpose for you and me, His guidance and of course, His plan for the world.

Aside from God’s Word, I also experience His presence through music. There are times He speaks to me through songs. Lately, I have had some down moments and this was one song which I sensed that God used to comfort me:

There’s this line in the song: Your world’s not falling apart, it’s falling into place which just really blessed me 🙂

Nature is also something that just amazes me and brings me much closer to the Lord. Whether it’s the quiet waves of the sea (or a body of water for that matter), the green majesty of the mountains and plains as they are covered by grass, the blue skies and the movement of the clouds — these move me to praise and thank God.

New Zealand has such amazing scenic places reminding me of God’s handiwork.

I have also experienced watching some films that really gave me a moment of introspection. It’s like God was saying something, reminding me something through the scenes of the film, the characters, even its music. One such film that touched me was the movie, The Age of Adaline. The story is about a woman who doesn’t age. While it may seem a good thing that a woman stays in the literal same age year after year, this reality was not something she can celebrate. After all, while she stays the same, all her loved ones continue to age and then die. The film reminded me that not all seemingly good things are really good for us. And that eternity is meaningless without the people we love, without God.

I am thankful that God can use any medium He wants to speak to us, inspire us and even rebuke us (Psalm 24:1).

Inspiring Instrumental Music

While I enjoy all kinds of music, there is also a special place for instrumental music for me.

Somehow instrumental music, particularly piano instrumentals, are just very inspiring and refreshing for me. And this is especially true for Christian music, including Christian hymns.

I enjoy just listening to it. Sometimes, I play it while I work on my computer. I also do so when I play games on the computer or on a tablet. It is often one of the last things I do before I go to bed for the night.

I am truly thankful to the the Lord for the gift of music.

I’m sharing here a beautiful playlist of instrumental hymnal music as played by the pianist David Baroni. For more information on ordering his music, you can go to his YouTube channel.

Enjoy 🙂

Reminders on Getting a Car for Work

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And so the time has come for you to seriously consider getting a car of your own for your work. Perhaps you are tired of commuting. You want privacy as you travel to and from work. Sharing a seat with a stranger no longer works for you. And you are tired of waiting for your ride. You want to just hop into your own car and drive away. So what now? How are you proceeding in purchasing your own car?

Here are some basic reminders that might just be helpful for you as you get yourself and your pocket ready to make that purchase:

Budget Matters. One of the very 1st things you need to consider as you prepare to purchase your car is your budget for it. How much are you willing to spend for it? How much money do you actually have? If you find yourself short in cash, will you be getting a loan? What are the payment terms for the loan and how will it impact your regular monthly budget and expenses? You need to carefully think through these things.

Preference and Need. Do you already have a specific car in mind? One you like because of its distinct features? Before you go all out for this car, think also if it will actually serve your need well. I think there is a difference in terms of what you prefer and what you need. For instance you may prefer a sedan but it may not be what you need if your work or business means lots of travel and bringing stocks and supplies with you. Perhaps what you need is a pickup truck. Now to help you make up your mind, you may need to do some research. This means visiting car shops and dealers and asking your friends who are familiar with the car you need. This can also mean finding more information online. You can find more car information, including prices and car reviews at Cars.com.

Right Timing. Just as there are seasons of the year when the timing is just right to go shopping for home or office items as a special sale is ongoing, it is also true when it comes to buying a car. A lot of car dealers, for instance, have a sale or special offers and discounts during the Christmas season or even during their shop or store anniversary. You can take advantage of these offers.

May it be that you find just the right car for you. And yes, don’t forget to drive safely 🙂

Your Provision is Coming Soon

It is incredibly easy to worry.

When you have lost your job or your source of income begins to dry up and all the bills keep coming anyway, it is so easy to wring your hands and feel a quiet panic rise inside you. It is easy to be afraid, to get worried. After all, how are you going to make ends meet? And yet you have professed your belief in an all-sufficient God. Why is it so easy to worry instead of hold on to your faith in God’s provision?

One answer, I think, is that we see with our eyes our needs, our lack. But we can not literally touch and see God here and now. We know He is with us but He escapes our finite senses. And we, too often, would try to think how He would provide and of course, we come up short. We both wonder how and will He really provide this time?

Scripture says that God is able to provide and He can do so in ways beyond what we can fathom. What can help us then from being swallowed up by our fears and our worries from our present lack? What can help strengthen our faith?

It helps if we choose to look back on those times when God came through for us, when He provided what we had needed then. If we have walked long enough with the Lord, I am sure we have our own collection of stories of his sufficient provision, of his timely intervention in the past. This is the time to remember as the Psalmist says in Psalm 77: 11-12:

    I will remember your great deeds, Lord;
    I will recall the wonders you did in the past.
    I will think about all that you have done;
   I will meditate on all your mighty acts.

It is so easy to worry, to fear and yes, to forget. And so today, before you let fear and worry hold your heart and mind tightly, choose to remember how God has been there for you in the past. And choose to hold on to His faithful word. Call on Him and ask Him to meet your need (Jeremiah 33:3, Matthew 7:7-11). Believe that His answer, your provision is coming soon.

note: This post was first written on 9 June 2015 and was kept in one of my files. I found this again tonight and decided to share it here.

5 Inspiring Quotes on Change

Lately, I have been reflecting some of the sudden and not-so-sudden changes that I have been facing this year.

Some of these changes were natural and rather easy to make or go through but some were quite challenging, totally unexpected.

Thinking about these changes reminded of some quotes about change. Here are 5 of them which I find particularly inspiring:

Change is the end result of all true learning. – Leo Buscaglia

I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination. – Jimmy Dean

Without change there is no innovation, creativity, or incentive for improvement. Those who initiate change will have a better opportunity to manage the change that is inevitable. – William Pollard

A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. – Margaret Mead

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. – Reinhold Niebuhr

Want to Have a New Hair Style?

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