Manic Monday: Fun Field Trip at Sta. Elena Fun Farm and BT Christmas Party!

Hi everyone!!!  Today is Peter Parker’s 3rd birthday, and we have just arrived home.  Walang party, kasi mahirap maghagilap ng bisita, ergo, umalis na lang kami.  I’ll tell you about his birthday celebrations later alligator.  Kwento ko muna activities namin last week.

Last week was a Stress Drilon-filled!  I almost had no idle day, beginning on Monday.  In fact, it was a manic Mondaygood thing it was sprinkled with lotsa fun!

Sta. Elena Fun Farm

sta. elena fun farm

Let’s begin with the first highlight:  Raviv’s class field trip at Sta. Elena Fun Farm!  Randy and I accompanied our little boy to his field trip.  Randy drove the Q5, because only one companion was allowed to ride the IRRI coaster along with the kid.  It was timely because we had to drop off our tutor to our Sta. Rosa office, and Sta. Elena Fun Farm was just in Cabuyao—only 10 minutes away from our Sta. Rosa office.  We first went to Raviv’s school and told his teacher of our plan, and then traveled right away.  We were so lucky because when we arrived at Sta. Elena, the school coasters were just right in front of us!  It’s as though we left together with them—we were neither early nor latejust in time!

entrance gate sta. elena fun farm

Sta. Elena Fun Farm was indeed fun and had lotsa activities for the kiddos.  Look at what kept us busy the entire Monday morning:

farmer boy sta. elena fun farm Raviv got excited when he saw these capiz parols!

First stop: Farm animals rides!!!

Meet Choc-nut, the carabao that does not stink!  He/she gave Raviv and me our first kariton-pulled-by-carabao ride

carabao ride sta. elena fun farm

kariton ride carabao sta. elena fun farm

And then it was time for some Tatay and son bonding on a horse ride:

horse backriding sta. elena fun farm

horse ride sta. elena fun farm
Parang nasa Baguio lang!

After the rides, we then proceeded to interact with farm animals!

rabbit feeding carrots sta. elena fun farm

girl carrying rabbitFeeding the bunnies

Raviv and the guinea pigs


fishing at sta. elena fun farmFishing…pero wala kaming nahuling isda!

PC160114 PC160124

Cute quip

Raviv:  Punta ako sa London!  Sa London!

Me:  Huh?  London is far away baby!

Randy:  Ibig n’yang sabihin gusto n’yang pumunta sa bridge!

Me:  Bakit?

Randy:  London bridge!

Ay ang slow ko!!!  Hahaha!

And then something caught Raviv’s interest…

[Read more...]

UPCAT 2014 Results Released Two Days Before Christmas!

Alarm bells early Monday morning

Last night Randy and I slept late, as we consider Mondays our day off (we work the hardest on weekends).  More so this Monday, as we have already been bitten by the Holidays bug.  But then something roused us from our deep slumber before 5 A.M.: consecutive beeps of my mobile phone and of his iPad.  I tried to ignore it but shortly after, I heard another series of beeps.  And then Raviv, who has been waking up quite late for the past months, woke up early too.  So I had no choice but to wake up and check my cellphone.  This was what removed any trace of antok in me:

2013-12-23 18.43.44

At first I thought it was a joke, or that Arianne (the student who messaged me), was mistaken!  After all, the previous UPCAT results were released in February this year!  Way, way AFTER the release of the ACET and of the DLSUCET!  As far as I know, the earliest previous UPCAT results were released mid-January, and definitely NOT before Christmas!  But then I also saw another message:

upcat passer 2014

And then I got a notification of a “mention” on IG:

2014 upcat passer

So I checked my news feeds on Facebook and true enough, almost everyone awake was posting something about the UPCAT.

Ambivalent feelings

Like what I’ve said in the past years, I really get ambivalent feelings whenever the UPCAT results come out.  And this batch’s result is no exception.  Of course, I feel great when I receive “thank-you” messages or even when I read status posts of my students expressing their extreme elation.

upcat passer 2014 brain trainbrain train review center the best sa upcat [Read more...]

Glory of Love

Why the title?  Because one of the famous lyrics of that song is

I am a man who will fight for your honor…

Pero baligtad.  Kasi ‘yung girls ang nagfa-fight for the honor of the guys here in my stories ;)  Starring Yaya Isay and Ate Alona :)

Our household has two pairs of lovebirds.  Our helpers being couples is a double-edged sword:  it’s good because 1) They’re not kitiki-text as their “babes” are working with them; and 2) Because they’re happy that they get their dose of romance—wholesome ang ibig kong sabihin—as they go out at night and have dates on their days off.  But it’s also bad because 1) They tend to always side with their jowas; and 2) They’re a package deal—you keep one, you keep both; you get rid of one, you get rid of two.

Anyhoo, I just want to share with you how bemused I was how proud our Ate Alona and Yaya Isay are of their Kuya Peter and Kuya Dodong, respectively.  Adonis na adonis ang trato sa kanila nina Yaya Isay and Ate Alona!  And that’s great of course.


Yaya Isay + Kuya Dodong

992947_381557251950567_702714627_n Ansaveh ng KathNiel sa inyo?!?

Nanay Dew: Si Ate Vi (referring to Raviv’s Cousin Yoona) takot sa boys no?  Ayaw niyang sumama sa mga lalaki.

Yaya Isay: Pero kay Dodong sumasama ‘yan Ma’am.

Nanay Dew:  Oo nga e.  Kay Dodong niya lang gusto.

Yaya Isay:  Siguro Ma’am mga gwapo lang ang gusto niyang samahan (sabay ngiti).  Marunong mamili si Ate Vi, ‘no?

Ano’ng say n’yo?!?

[Read more...]

Familia BRAIN TRAIN’s Post-Summer Summer Outing in Tagaytay Highlands

Being in the education supplement business, we only get to have a vacation after everyone’s vacation.  To cap off our summer UPCAT Review Season, Familia Brain Train went to…the exclusive, members-only Tagaytay Highlands!  Too bad because several members of the Brain Train borgata (hehe, mafia ang peg namin) cannot make it.  The notice was quite short and several have already made plans.  We cannot afford to move this outing to another date because everyone was also swamped.

Anyhoo, the outing must go on.  We cannot let this chance to unwind go by.

We started off by having our traditional picture-taking against the most recent Brain Train UPCAT passers.


Against the iconic yellow tarpaulin

On our way, we picked up more Brain Train teachers.

Because our Sta. Rosa office was en route to Tagaytay Highlands, we stopped there to have breakfast and of course, for some photo ops.

The fairest of them all

As we were waiting for the other vehicles to arrive, Randy realized something: nagkasama-sama sila ng mga ka-level niyang teachers!  Magka-level ng ano?  Ng kaguwapuhan daw.  So he said it deserved a moment.

2013-06-05 07.40.52

L-R: Melvin Acio, mi amor, Engr. Marco Lao

(By the way, I posted this on Facebook.  Sabi ko, “Sino’ng pinakagwapo? Like if Randy; Comment if Marco [the one showing off his biceps] and Share if Melvin [the Budoy and Boy Pick-up Lookalike].  Puro Likes.  Haha.  Panalo si Randy [though ‘yun naman pinakamadaling gawin.  Hihi])

But then we realized someone was missing…another handsome lad was missing!  In fact, I think he’s the most handsome in all of Brain Train.  So of course, picture again.  This time with the soon-to-be Brain Train capo…

2013-06-05 07.55.07Now we’re talking!  The picture was complete ;)

And before finally leaving, another picture-picture!


Welcome to Tagaytay Highlands!

And then finally, we have arrived at Tagaytay Highlands!

Before we did any activity, we first—you guessed it right—took even more pictures!


Tagaytay Highlands was really a sight to behold.  The first time Randy and I visited the place (another Brain Train outing about four years ago), we were in awe.  It was as though we were in Europe!  The rolling hills, the cool crisp air, and the well-manicured grounds really took our breath away.





First Stop:  The Clubhouse

Our first destination was supposed to be the Tagaytay Highlands petting zoo.  But we got lost along the way, and ended up at the Clubhouse.  It was a welcome distraction because it wasn’t just Raviv who played around.



Raviv enjoying the Tagaytay Highlands playground


Second Stop: The Petting Zoo at Tagaytay Highlands

Not long after we got to the zoo.  Entrance fee to Tagaytay Highlands zoo was about P130++ per head.  There were the usual and not-so-usual farm animals, plus snakes, tortoises, monkeys, fishes, etc.  Here are photos of the animals:


The cute animals of Tagaytay Highlands. Hihi

Hukhukhukhukhuk!  Joke!  Anyway our favorite part were the cockatoos that perched on us.

[Read more...]

BT Went Neh-she-nuhl (Part 4): Birthing Pains and the Joys of Seeing the Baby

Continued from BT Went Neh-she-nuhl (Part 3): The Comfort Zone and the Signs of Labor


Birthing Pains

I mentioned that we were able to practice as a complete cast just once, remember?  In fact, on the day of the event, the cast was supposed to do a run-through and blocking practice on stage for the first time in the morning (yes, the day of the performance was also the day we stepped on the stage).  Again, SUPPOSED is the operative word because, guess what: our SUPPOSED run-through practice did not materialize.  So talagang one full practice lang ang cast!  I was soooooo nervous and agitated.  I really wanted that run-through!  One of the reasons was because, the night before the other cast members suggested required me to dance ala-Indian belly dancer, while I thought that all along I’d have been just sitting as a judge!  So I wanted to practice that, plus my exag rampa as the Bb. Pilipinas winner-judge.  I calmed myself by primping, hehe.

In the dressing room just a few hours before the start of the program

Until the last hour before the start of the event, I was still hoping against hope we could do a run-through, but it never materialized, I dunno why.  So minutes before we let our hundreds and hundreds of audience in, we got together on stage, prayed, and wished each one luck.

And of course, picture-picture.

The cast plus other BRAIN TRAIN teachers just minutes before the show.

[Read more...]

BT Went Neh-she-nuhl (Part 3): The Comfort Zone and the Signs of Labor

Continued from BT@20 Went Neh-she-nuhl (Part 2): Conception and Morning Sickness

(Sorry for my blogging hiatus.  The Ladagas went to Mindanao sans a yaya and I took care of Raviv the Raging Tornado full time!)

The Comfort Zone: Hormones Stabilize

When the event sponsors have already handed in their sponsorship; the script of the teachers’ presentation was already put together; the film rights, projectors, screen, and other paraphernalia suppliers were already finalized and the ticket sales were rolling, we were all able to sigh a breath of relief.  But these few days of semi-petiks mode was short-lived, for just after a few days after…

Ticket to BT@20: Going Neh-she-nuhl

[Read more...]

BT@20 Went Neh-she-nuhl (Part 2): Conception and Morning Sickness

Continued from BT@20 Went Neh-she-nuhl (Part 1): Ovulation & Fertilization


Although we have already identified the parts and the highlights of the program, we still do not know the specifics.  Most pressing was, what exactly will the teachers do?  Early on, I kept on saying that the teachers’ performance should not be something boring…you know, it should never be the typical “basta-lang-makaapak-ng-stage-ang-teachers” performance, which I (and definitely everyone else) hate so much!  It ought to be something that EVERYONE in the audience would enjoy, whether the person in the audience reviewed at BRAIN TRAIN or not.  I actually thought of doing away without a performance from the teachers, for fear that the non-BRAIN TRAIN audience will boo us because our boring performance will just delay their watching of what they were there for: to watch UPCAT the Movie.  But since we have a pool of seasoned theater actor-teachers (including yours truly, though I don’t belong to the “seasoned” category, for I only starred in one play in college), sayang naman.  Moreover, Irvin said that we need to put the BRAIN TRAIN stamp on the event.  Speeches were definitely a no-no!  From the start, I ruled having opening remarks, message of thanks and the other usual ho-hum “program red tape” (hehe) that would have made the program boooooo-riiiiing.  Being boring is so un-BRAIN TRAIN, ‘di ba?  So I consulted the “master storyteller/hari ngimpromptu”, Oscar Laborem “Pong” Garcia on Reg Martinez’s birthday celebration to give the story line.

Regina Martinez’s birthday celebration at the BRAIN TRAIN HQ (L-R: Jayson Relevo, Irvin Domingo, Pong Garcia, and Regina Martinez)

He suggested an American Idol-style BRAIN TRAIN-teacher application auditions concept, with Randy, me, and Edu Jatulan as the judges.  Randy would have been Simon (parehong mean, hehe); I would have been JLo (pareho kaming fab), and Edu would have been Randy Jackson (er, do I need to say why?)  But Randy immediately begged off.  You see, my husband HATES the spotlight!   [Read more...]

BT@20 Went Neh-she-nuhl (Part 1): Ovulation & Fertilization

Dankë, merci, gracias, grazie, arigato, toda, mahalo, thank you, maraming salamat–here are international ways saying how grateful we are for making our event, BT@20: Going Neh-she-nuhl (“National”) a huge success! With just about two months of “gestation period”, we were able to fill the 700-seat capacity of DL Umali Hall…in fact, there were even some who were already sitting on the aisles!  Puno kung puno!

DL Umali Hall

[Read more...]

Surprise: May Essay na ang UPCAT! (What to do?)

Have you read this?

If you consider yourself UPCAT-ready, then only one thing will surprise you:

 1. For the first time, UPCAT examinees will be asked to write an essay.

The UPCAT previously consisted of multiple-choice questions in four areas: Language Proficiency, Science, Mathematics and Reading Comprehension.
Consider bringing more food for your snacks as the addition of the essay portion to the exam will make the UPCAT longer this year, bringing the actual duration of the test to four hours and 20 minutes.
 And is probably scaring you.

Image courtesy of

Easier said than done, but then, DON’T PANIC.  That will only do you more harm than good, as I’ve written on my most previous post.
OK, here’s what to remember:  if you’ve done pretty well  on your language proficiency and reading comprehension subtests, there really is no need to panic.  Essay writing is an application of those:  kinarir mo ang pagiging Grammar Nazi?  E ‘di flawless ang syntax ng essay mo!  You understand passages pretty quickly?  Then chances are, your train of thought is pretty fast as well.  That also means you also have good vocabulary!  I remember our Essay Writing Contest for FREE UPCAT Review winner, Dwight de Leon…he aced the language proficiency subtest.  So there really is a connection. [Read more...]

Review: When the Brain Train Folks Got Brain-Drained and Scatterbrained Playing Scattergories

Yeah I know, you also got brain drained because of the title.  But I promise you’ll like this post. :)

Our driver/utility staff Peter celebrated his 30th birthday last Monday (July 2).  The Brain Train gang was in attendance of course.  For the first time ever, our post-eating bonding was not the usual BRAIN TRAIN concert (aka, videoke, bey-beh!), much to the delight and serenity of our neighborhood (I’m sure!).  Instead, we played Scattergories!  See, Randy and I bought a Taboo Philippine Edition last week, and it came with a free travel edition of Scattergories.

Image courtesy of

If you’re not familiar with how to play Scattergories, here are the mechanics, as explained by Wikipedia:

The objective of the 2-to-6-player game is to score points by uniquely naming objects within a set of categories, given an initial letter, within a time limit.

  1. One player rolls a 20-sided letter die to determine the first letter used. The timer is set for up to three minutes.
  2. One player starts the timer. In the time allotted, each player must attempt to think of and write down, in the first column on the pad, a word or term that fits each of the 12 categories and starts with the rolled letter.  Any number of words in the answer is allowed, as long as the first word starts with the correct letter. For example, with a category of “vegetable” and a letter of “C”, words such as “cauliflower“, “carrot” and “collard greens” are acceptable, but “broccoli” is not (wrong initial letter), nor is “citrus” (wrong category).  [Read more...]