Cold vs. Flu

Yesterday I was literally bedridden. 
My head hurts when I start walking my way to the kitchen to get food.
It’s a feeling that one just wishes to go away.
Now that the “BER Season” is here, one could easily catch these things. But I wonder, is it the common cold? or The Flu? 
Doing more research, I found out that, although the common cold and the flu share many similar symptoms, they are 2 different conditions.

Below is a representation on how to differentiate a cold vs. the flu.

*image from

Apparently, there is no cure for the common cold. All you can do to feel better is treat your symptoms while your body fights off the virus.

For the flu, your doctor will probably recommend that you treat the symptoms until you feel better. In severe cases, your doctor may prescribe an antiviral medicine. Antiviral medicines can shorten the length of time you are sick with the flu. These medicines come as pills, syrup or in an inhaler. 
Here are some suggestion on how to treat cold and flue symptoms:
  • Get plenty of rest, especially while you have a fever. Rest helps your body fight infection.
  • Stop smoking and avoid secondhand smoke, which can make cold symptoms worse.
  • Avoid alcohol.
  • Drink lots of fluids such as water and clear soups. Fluids help loosen mucus. Fluids are also important because they help prevent dehydration.
  • Gargle with warm salt water a few times a day to relieve a sore throat. Throat sprays or lozenges may also help relieve the pain.
  • Use saline (salt water) nose drops to help loosen mucus and moisten the tender skin in your nose.

There is no over-the-counter medicine that would help cure a cold or the flu. Medicines can just help relieve some of the cold or flu symptoms.

As always, the best way to go is preventive maintenance. You can reduce your risk of catching a cold or the flu by washing your hands frequently, which stops the spread of germs. Eating healthy, exercising and getting enough sleep also play a part in preventing colds and the flu because they help boost your immune system.

If you are sick, make sure that you cover your mouth when you cough and wash your hands often to prevent giving your cold or flu to others.

Looking at the list above, what I had most likely is the flu.
Oh well, I hope I get well the soonest!

Bike to Work for Fitness

I am retyping  and posting an article written by Fara Manuel of The Firefly Brigade for the 10th Tour of Fireflies Newsletter where yours truly was featured for an interview about Biking to Work.

“They are ordinary people with extraordinary abilities. They are everywhere among us. They are bike
commuters! In the streets at sundown, it has become a pseudo-bike parade for menial workers who bike commute. Their bikes become make-shift carriages & extensions to shovels, construction materials and what-have-you’s. But this street parade is not at all exclusive. More and more “weekend” or recreational cyclists are joining the trend!

*Urban Assault : going down the stairs of Luneta
(Photo courtesy of Karen Menez)
Mountainbiker, Rissa Falvo is a 38 year old, Control Systems Design Engineer for a multi-national company and a mother of four. Her commute? a 20km or 50 minute bike ride from Makati to Alabang.


RF: It all started three years ago. Since the route is from Makati – C5 – Taguig – Bicutan – Service Road – Alabang, it is not a feat one that one can do daily. I remember though, there was this instance that I tried to do it for 2 consecuttive weeks – daily. Realistically, with the distance to my office, once or twice a week is doable.
RF: At first, it was a thing I did just because I can. Eventually, it gave me a sense of empowerment riding my bike – a Zen like experience pedaling throught the streets at dawn. It gave me a different feeling of strength that I could tackle the daily grind in the office considering I made it in one piece – amidst the speeding vehicles, big trucks along servie rode and reckless jeepney drivers.

READ MORE HERE…..  10th Tour of the Fireflies Newsletter (Page 8)

RF: Take it slow- try it out during a weekend, in a comfortable paced enjoyable ride. Plan your route – if you could fine a route that would be an alternative to the busy main road, go for it – better use side streets. Do your research and be knowledgeable in safety practices while biking in a public road – try – it has an informative article on “How to Not Get Hit by Cars’ Be predictable. Be confident and illuminate yourself like a firefly. :)”

*XC Splash MTB Race

I hope in doing so, some would consider biking as a form of exercise in their quest for fitness.

It Takes 21 Days to Form a Habit..

Here’s a secret, fifteen (15) days ago, I added an activity in my To-Do-List :
A 30-45 minute work out EVERYDAY.

I know that most people would advise against a daily workout, but if one is building a habit, one should be consistent until it reaches a point when it gets to be human nature already; like breathing air.

¹The 21 day habit theory as sourced from The Aristotle Blog “Dr Maxwell Maltz wrote the bestseller Psycho-Cybernetics. Originally a Plastic Surgeon, Maltz noticed that it took 21 days for amputees to cease feeling phantom sensations in the amputated limb.

From further observations he found it took 21 days to create a new habit. Since then the ’21 Day Habit Theory’ has become an accepted part of self-help programs.

Brain circuits take engrams (memory traces), and produce neuroconnections and neuropathways only if they are bombarded for 21 days in a row.

This means that our brain does not accept ‘new’ data for a change of habit unless it is repeated each day for 21 days (without missing a day).”
Whew! now that geeky stuff and references are out of the way, we continue with our conversation.

I am now in day 15 and I have 5 more days to go for this 21 Day Challenge with myself.
Yes my friends,I talked myself into working out everyday.

In the past, I did all the tricks that I could think of to trick myself into working out.
I kept with me this handy notebook that I log my workouts in.
I had nice little stickers used as a reward on the days that I worked out with the idea that I’d fill up the whole week of my moleskine with stickers indicating that I did a workout the whole week.
Sadly, because it was not a habit, I was not successful in having it ingrained in my system.

I know that we all want to be fit and healthy, but those things don’t just happen. Those things are planned, monitored and done.

When I decided to go for the whole 21 days, the first few days were fun.
Week two though had been a challenge and this was the time when I have to be creative.
Will power and commitments will be compromised and questions would creep in — why am I even doing this to myself? I sometime ask.

Being creative had me incorporating workouts with family time.

*My 12 and 11 y.o. stopping for a pose during our jogging session

The other weekend, I invited two of my kids for a run at Bonifacio Global City. Yesterday, I had my 11 yo girl accompany me in the gym to lift weights while her sisters took a swim.
Combining activities that create fulfillment for myself further strengthened the habit because of the reward it brings.

*My youngest doing a set of 10reps of dumbbell presses

Creativity would help you take out the monotony factor in the equation.

This would help you out with drafting your Plan B in case Plan A does not work out.
Challenge yourself to do a positive change for 21 days in a row.
Start with something small and start NOW.

By the time you finish the challenge, you have programmed your brain making it easier for you to keep going with your new habit.
So decide what positive habit you want to build and act on it!


Mental Fitness: Exercising The Mind

It was around noon time when my brother and I took the MRT from Ayala to Quezon Ave Station to attend a learning event at the Executive Lounge of Hotel Rembrandt in Tomas Morato. 
The dark sky shows signs of impending rain but we were decided on finding out more about “Blogging for Fun, Fame and Fortune” –  indeed, with such a catchy title, who would not be that curious enough to travel from one side of the metro to the other?
Photo taken from


We made it just in time, and while Jeffrey Yu, the founder of The Learning Addict Community was presenting the TLA concept to us, the words he uttered made such an impact on me that I decided to blog about the topic.   “Mental fitness is equally or even more important that  physical fitness, learning is one habit you don’t want to break”.
We have always been told that we SHOULD train our body, exercise, eat clean….but have we considered that, as with our body, our mind should also be “trained”, “exercised” and have constant diet of good thoughts and ideas?
When was the last time we read a good book?
When was the last time we had intellectual interaction that had us brainstorm on various ideas?
When was the last time we consciously “trained” the mind to replace negative thoughts with positive ones?
Listening to the resource speaker, Alvin Tan, had all of us laughing, taking down notes and thinking at the same time.  It was a very good Mental Fitness exercise.

True enough, one cannot consider himself totally healthy if he is mentally drained, emotionally unstable or has lost his energy in life.

Since your mind controls your body, mental fitness is therefore just as critical, as having a strong and fit body.
We all know that muscle atrophies if we do not use it, similarly, the mind, if not used, will deteriorate – which in effect will have an impact on the quality of one’s life.

Think of the mind as a muscle that needs constant stimulation in various ways every day to maintain mental fitness. If we do not schedule for time to exercise our muscles, it becomes weak. If we fail to focus on developing our mental fitness, we become moody, tired and prone to disease.

As with exercise, one would need to choose what is enjoyable for him as a form of mental fitness.

1. Brain Puzzles  I had a friend who loves finishing up crossword puzzles and Suduko.
Puzzles like these can improve your brain’s speed and memory as these games rely on logic, word skills, math and more. You’ll get benefit more by doing these games a little bit every day — spend 15 minutes or so, not hours.
2. Read books  use travel time wisely. I always bring a book with me for instances like being caught in traffic, which is a quite common thing in the metro.
3. Learn a new skill  I am currently considering of joining a Zumba Class from Gold’s gym even if I know I have two left foot just for fun. (good luck to me!)
4. Attend training events  you could check The Learning Addict for their training events; would appreciate if you would include a note that you found them out from this blog.

5. Listen to audio books that is one of my favorite way of motivating my workouts.

These are just some of the examples in developing your mental fitness, and as for my brother and I, after spending 3 hours of our time exercising our minds and expanding our thoughts on the various possibilities of blogging, our curiosity was satisfied and it was time to leave.

It was already dusk and the heavy rain had passed as we braved the Saturday MRT crowd on our way back to the other side of the metro.

We felt accomplished, met new friends and armed with additional information with the topic that we came there for.

Mental fitness is indeed important, and as I close this entry, here is a challenge for you :


Being FIT and STRONG..

What does this really mean?
For most of us, it means being physically fit.

*image from the web

Lifting the heaviest weight one can have, running the longest mile with the fastest P.R. or even carrying your groceries without the help of your yaya or hubby or whoever.

Today, is one of my little girl’s birthday.
This day had me contemplating on the other meaning of STRENGTH.

Yza Mae, is a sweet kid who is kind hearted, dreams big and loves life.

I remember when I was in the hospital eleven years ago, the doctor was wondering why it was taking long for her delivery — and eventually found out that she was in distress due to an abnormal dual cord coiling on her neck — after grueling hours of operation, she survived.

Her doctor had announced that she is a lucky kid, with a lucky birth date – 9.9.00.

As she grew and developed into a fine young girl, we felt proud having her around as she did very well in school without much of our assistance.
She also was active in outdoor sports and was quite popular, together with her big sister, in their street games.
Her big sister is the physically stronger one while she is more of the strategic thinker and doer.

As a mom, I made it a point to expose the kids in physical activities and outdoor sports like running, mountain climbing and even trail biking.

I was proud to have accompanied an 8yoYza to the Bonifacio Global Trails biking all the way from our house in Makati.– 5kms away, and back, in a single-speed BMX bike.

Another instance that had me amazed was when we joined the 5Km Men’s Health Urbanathlon – she was the youngest person to join the race at 10 years old, while her other sisters ran with her to support and take pictures.

During those times, she was battling with another kind of race. The race for her eyesight.

She was under medication for Optic Neuritis — and had countless tests (MRIs, vision exams, etc) and had all three specialist; Neuro Pedia, Optha Neuro and Optha Pedia monitoring her vision.
After much prayers, monitoring and willpower, she was miraculously healed.

After a year, another battle was in order.
She noticed that her heart rate wasn’t beating normal.
It was so fast that it made her feel weak even just climbing up the stairs.
It was alarming for her since she was so used to being active — and now, simple movements make her feel tired.
We had her checked for thyroidism and results showed that it was all normal.
Eventually, we had her visit at Pedia Cardiologist — and after having various of blood tests and 2D Echo, she was diagnosed to have Mitral Valve Prolapse.

We researched on the topic and had found out that she would expect her hormones to act up a bit.
If she was used to not craving for sweets, there would be cravings.
If she was used to being competitive in her outdoor activities with friends, there would be changes.
If she was used to being poised and cool, there would be mood swings.

Everytime the symptoms come up, I just remind this 10yo girl that it will pass.. and that she needs to be STRONG – and even if the battle is hard for her, with constant prayers, support from family and a positive mental attitude, she always wins.

She still joins their P.E. class, she still runs, she still swims — when she feels her heart beat’s racing like a sprinter, she stops for a while, recover, and does it all again.

She may recover from Mitral Valve Prolapse like how she did with the Optic Neuritis, or she might just have to live with it (I pray for another miracle of course) — but, as with all of my other kids, in her own special way, she inspires me.

Getting to know her and being tasked to help her grow as a person is such an honor — I cannot help but be excited of what the future brings for her.. through her, I realize that being fit and strong is not just about physical strength, but also mental, emotional and spiritual strength.

Thank you Yza for coming into our lives.

Time: Our Friend

Exactly six months ago .. I had my blog entry for the year..

I know, I know!  That is not the way to work on a blog!
Excuses like, “I was too busy..” “Office workload and deadlines were way too much…” yadda yadda yadda..

The list goes on and on.

After assessing what had transpired, I found out that, it’s not about the things that you HAVE to do, it’s about HOW you schedule the things that you WANT / NEED / HAVE to do!

Everyone is pressed for time. Everyone has their own personal deadlines. Everyone is BUSY.
Heck, that’s one of the reasons why we cannot even “Squeeze in a workout” in our super duper busy schedule.

Time management is a skill that most of us are not born with, but as with every skill, it could be learned.

Time is the great equalizer. We need to use our time more efficiently.. so you ask, how do we do that?

As with every activity, like maintaining a blog, or your own physical fitness, we need to PLAN our goals and MONITOR progress.

We also need to asses what is most important to us.
Remember that there is always a list of what needs to be done – and be aware that we cannot do it all.
We just need to KNOW which of the bullets on our list is TOP PRIORITY.

Time Management is a habit – it is not something you can learn easily.
According to Steven R Covey’s book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, there are four possible categories for the things on your to-do list:

  • important and due soon (Quadrant I)
  • important and not due soon (Quadrant II)
  • not important but due soon (Quadrant III)
  • not important and not due soon (Quadrant IV)

 Knowing what your “things to do” are and working on it based on the quadrants is a good habit to start.

So, let’s all start making a list and write “GETTING IN A WORKOUT” in all caps and flag is in Quadrant II  cause we don’t want to reach to a point when it gets to be in Quadrant I.

See you in the gym!