How To: Prepare an Aromatic Bath

Nanay always look after our health Even now that my siblings and I are already grown up she still makes sure that we are always in the pink of our health. She was worried about me when I was in my 7th month of pregnancy and caught colds and cough. She advised me to do home remedies before I consult my OB for some western medication: pamper bath and a massage (oh yeah!).

The aromatic bath I prepared consist of boiled Lagundi and Eucalyptus leaves. Lagundi is known to cure cough and as a bath for patients who are sick and women who newly delivered. My mother gave me a warning not to ingest Lagundi as it has abortive effects. Eucalyptus is known for its therapeutic effects to patients with respiratory disturbance such as colds and cough. It has these warming effect that soothes “lamig” or cold wind.


Simple Aromatic Bath Preparation 

  1. Select Lagundi and Eucalyptus leaves. Choose those that are fresh and not too mature. The quantity of leaves depends on the strength of aroma you want for your bath. The aromatic bath I prepared consists of about 500-600 grams of Lagundi leaves and 700 grams of Eucalyptus leaves.
  2. Wash the leaves to get rid of insects, cob webs, etc. Make sure that the leaves gathered were not recently sprayed with chemicals. For the eucalyptus, the leaves can be detached from the mature twigs.
  3. Put the leaves and water in a large pan. Water is around 20 liters.
  4. Bring to boil. I let the decoction boil for about an hour. You will notice that the water will turn brownish during the process. Some oil-like material will also float on the surface. These are the natural oil extracted from the leave.  At home, we have an outdoor stove fueled by wood. It’s best to prepare the decoction in an outdoor stove to save on gas.
  5. Do the chant! Just kidding.


How to use the prepared aromatic bath?

  1. It’s best to use the aromatic bath while it is still hot. Temperature can be adjusted by adding cold water.
  2. Stainless containers are best to carry the aromatic bath as the extract can stain plastic containers. It could stain the bathroom tiles too. So be ready to do some scrubbing after.
  3. Bath as usual. After getting rid of suds, pour the decoction over your body. No need to wash off with clean water.  Enjoy the heat and take slow and deep breath to inhale the vapor.
  4. The prepared dedoction can also be used as hot foot bath.
  5. Follow the aromatic bath with a full body massage and sure you’ll feel better after.

Have a lovely buntis day!




How To: Properly Use Bro Healthcare Card


Membership? Done. 3-month residency period? Observed! Now, a day came that you need to use your Bro Healthcare Card. How to properly use it? Highlight on the word: PROPERLY.

    • Proceed to the nearest hospital that is managed or owned by the Isabela Government and show your BRO Healthcare ID care to the Healthcare Coordinator. The Healthcare Coordinator will then process your admission. Hospitals that are managed by the Isabela Government are as follows:
      • Cabagan District Hospital
      • Roxas District Hospital
      • Cauayan District Hospital
      • Echague District Hospital
      • Palanan Community Hospital
      • San Mariano Community Hospital
      • Villa Concepcion Extension Hospital
      • Gov. Faustino N. Dy, Sr. Memorial Hospital (Isabela Provincial Hospital)
  2. ACCREDITED HOSPITALS. In case the medical services can not be provided by the hospital listed above, a Referral Letter from the Chief of Hospital will be issued to authorize transfer of patient vo an accredited hospital. Bro Healthcare Accredited Doctors and Hospitals – As of May 2014

What if I want to go directly to an accredited hospital? Is it possible?

Yes, it’s possible. As long as you bear a Letter of Authority approved by the Bro Healthcare Office.

How can I get a Letter of Authority (LOA)?

  1. Bring the Referral Letter from the Chief of Hospital or your attending physician to the Provincial Health Office located at the Isabela Provincial Hospital, Calamagui 2nd, Ilagan, Isabela. The current Provincial Health Officer II is Dr. Rosarita B. Mariano.

    The LOA serves as your passport to transfer your patient from a District Hospital or Provincial Hospital.

  2. Once the LOA is secured, proceed to get an approval from the BRO Healthcare Office, G/F Capitol Building, Alibagu, Ilagan, Isabela. If the patient is a beneficiary of the principal member the following documents are required:Capture - BRO
  3. After a successful processing  from the Bro Healthcare Office, you may now proceed to the accredited hospital. Don’t forget to bring the approved LOA.

What if the patient is admitted to an accredited hospital without an LOA? Will Bro Healthcare still cover for the medical services?

It’s a case to case basis. A medical abstract will be required by the Provincial Health Office and Bro Healthcare Office for evaluation. If the medical abstract proves that the case is emergency and that a District Hospital or Provincial Hospital can not provide the services that the patient needs, then it’s a yes. Processing this kind of case is beyond my knowledge but I promise to write about it once information is available.

Processing the LOA will require a lot of leg work and patience. The hassle may be the reason some members by-pass the process. Well, emergency cases will be an exemption. Folks, this is the current process that the Bro Health Care Office spelled out. Let’s abide to it to avoid personal hassles and hassles to other member’s as well. Let’s support this project. I am hoping that soon Bro Healthcare Office will come up with a friendlier processes.

Note: I am simply sharing what I read and heard. For more info, please directly contact the Bro Healthcare Office.

Bro Healthcare Office
G/F Isabela Capital, Alibagu, Ilagan, Isabela
(078) 323 0386

Related Post:  How  To: Apply for Bro Healthcare (Isabela) Membership


How To: Apply for Bro Healthcare (Isabela) Membership

Health is wealth. No wonder, restoring it is costly.

My mother underwent a series of Shock Wave therapy to crush then eventually flush out the stone on her ureters. Philhealth only covers a minimal percentage of the bill (about 5%). Thankfully someone shared about BRO Healthcare. Nanay immediately applied for her membership and enjoyed free Shock Wave therapy. It was a big help to our family so I am also sharing some info for the benefit of Isabelino’s.3b175976ffd6987d6b588babc8db5081e5cfb83559a311a0918135fce58190f9


BRO HEALTHCARE is socialized health insurance system made-in-Isabela for  the people of Isabela Province. It is an effort of the Isabela government to alleviate the people from the burden of the rising cost of medication and other medical services.

The promise: 100% free medical and hospitalization benefits to members with a minimal contribution – PhP150.00 monthly contribution for individual paying members and PhP100.00 annual membership fee for the indigents.

Who are qualified to apply?

Principal member must be a resident and a registered voter of Isabela.

What are the documentary requirements to be a member?

  1. Voter’s ID or Voter’s affidavit – I passed by the municipal ComElec Office to check the validity of my Voter’s ID. Glad it’s still valid. I am still a voter of Isabela.
  2. Current Community Tax Certificate (Cedula)  – You can process this from your Barangay Hall or in my case from the Municipal Treasurer’s Office.

* Bring the original and photocopy of the documents above. Photocopy services is available in front the Health Care Office.

Who are the beneficiaries of a BRO HEALTHCARE Member?

  • spouse of the principal member
  • children of the principal member who are below 21 years old and are single
  • parents of the principal sponsor who are 60 years old and above
  • children who are borne with a congenital disorder

Where can I apply?

Applications can be made in the following offices:

  1. BRO Healthcare Office, G/F Isabela Capitol, Alibagu, Ilagan, Isabela
  2. BRO Healthcare Coordinator Office of Isabela District Hospitals
    • Cabagan District Hospital
    • Roxas District Hospital
    • Cauayan District Hospital
    • Echague District Hospital
    • Palanan Community Hospital
    • San Mariano Community Hospital
    • Villa Concepcion Extension Hospital

How to be a member?

As long as you have the complete requirement for the application, the membership process will be done in 15 minutes. There is a lane designated for new membership. If you have to wait, there are seats available inside Health Care Office.


  1. Fill out the MMDR Form. This will capture your personal info, some important numbers and your dependents. You may also be required to bring documents like Birth Certificate and Marriage Certificate as a proof of relationship to beneficiary.
  2. Submit filled out MMDR Form together with the photocopy of Voter’s ID/Voter’s Affidavit and Cedula. A Healthcare Officer will then encode your information to their database.
  3. Undergo a simple orientation about the program. The Health Care Office makes sure that you understand what the program is all about: where and when to pay for the membership fee, how to properly avail of the benefit, what are the accredited hospitals are few of the things discussed. A pamphlet about the Health Program is given during the orientation. It has a list of accredited Hospitals and Doctors. Bro Healthcare Accredited Doctors and Hospitals – As of May 2014.
  4. Have your photo taken. A beautiful smile is a requirement. 🙂
  5. Pay membership and other fees. Initial membership payment of PhP150.00 peso is required. Additional PhP50.00 (one-time payment only) is charged for the membership card. Succeeding payments can be made in the main Health Care Office or District Hospitals in the province.

    Important: Keep your payment receipts and always bring them when making a new payment for cashier’s reference.

    Monthly Membership Fee: PhP 150.00
    Membership ID Card Fee: PhP 50.00 (one-time payment)

    * A minimum penalty will be charged for late payments of monthly contributions.

  6. Wait for your Healthcare ID. Printing will take only 5 minutes.

My Isabela Provincial Health Card.


Interested groups can directly coordinate with BRO HealthCare office or call (078) 323 0386 or (0917) 966 1668.

When Can I Use the Card?

A three-month residency period will be observed. This means that benefits of the Health Card can be enjoyed 3 months from registration date.

How to Properly Use the Card?
Check this link.  

Recipe#4: Corn and Malunggay Soup

Corn is in season. In Isabela, this is the time when you can see ladies waving boiled corn along the highway. Today, I am sharing a soup recipe which is a favorite of mine since childhood. It’s called Corn and Malunggay Soup.

What you need:

  • 2 cups of white corn
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 5 cloves of garlic, crushed and sliced
  • 1 cup of malunggay leaves
  • Dried shrimps
  • Water
  • Oil for sauteeing
  • Salt to taste

Some notes:

Choose corn that are young. You can check that by planting your fingernail on a seed. Milk-like material will come out when you do that. Use a knife to slice off the seeds off the cob.

A cheap and nutrient-heavy soup.
A cheap and nutrient-heavy soup.

The assembly:

  1. Heat oil in a sauce pan. Saute garlic, onions and dried shrimp until slightly golden brown. Add corn then stir-fry.
  2. Add water to cover the corn. Bring to boil until desired consistency of the corn is achieved. The ideal texture is soft and slightly chunky. More water can be added. Season with salt to taste.
  3. Add the malunggay leaves and let boil for few seconds. Remove from heat. Serve immediately.

It’s cheap but nutrition-rich. Corn is a good source of fiber, adding malunggay leaves to the recipe makes it a super food. Malunggay is rich in iron and vitamins that are beneficial for pregnant and lactating mommies. Ampalaya leaves can also be a substitute for the malunggay.

How To: Survive the Beach While Having a Period

Itinerary is planned.  You have packed your things and supplies for the trip. Then you found out that it’s the time of the month. Such a kill joy. Should you push or back out from the trip? I had this experience last year prior to a trip to Anawangin. It was a bit of a hassle but I still manage to enjoy it. Here’s how I did it:

how to survive the beach while having a period

Bring in the pads and some extras.

Base your estimate based on your flow.  Having too many supply will never hurt. Anawangin is a remote area and I am not sure if the sari-sari stores  in the island have pads. For a 2 days and 1 night trip, I brought 3 packs of overnight pads. Overnight pads are recommended for long travels and prolonged sitting.

I have read that it’s best to use menstrual cup or tampon if going to the beach with a menstrual period because (1) pads can get wet and soggy when submerged in to the water,  (2) it’s noticeable under your suit, and (3) “floating pad” incident may happen. But for me, sanitary pads is still my best option besides there are ways to go around the downside of wearing pads to the beach. If you want to wear flaunt your bikini, choose the ones without wings ’cause it could be seen outside your suit. I opted to wear dark shorts with my bikinis to conceal the adhesives and prevent “floating” incidents.

Wear something dark.

Dark bikini bottom, dark cover-up, dark shorts. Leaks can happen, dark cloths can cover it. 🙂 Dark clothing can also hide those bloated tummies. You can also ask your girl friend to check your rear (but not in an annoying  and paranoid frequency).

Don't let period get on your way of enjoying the beach.  Talisayen Cove, Nov 2013

Don’t let period get on your way of enjoying the beach.

Prepare for the cramps.

Stress and unhealthy foods can lead to menstrual pain. Ibupropen, Midol can be give you comfort. If those two won’t help, go back to the water and forget about the pain. But, but you still need to listen to what your body is saying, it the pain is too much to bare rest for a while. Relax, feel the sun on your skin and listen to the crushing waves. Find ways to interact with your friends while you are out of the water.

Change those pads.

Going out of the water for lunch or going for a trek? Change your pad first. You will feel more comfortable walking around on those dry pads. Changing pads is also for hygiene purposes and will keep you from getting rashes. If you’re out of the water, change your pads withing 2-4 hours to keep you fresh.

Dispose off used pads properly.

Roll it, wrap with paper or plastic then dispose then off in the garbage bins provided. Do not flush them in the toilet nor throw them out the shower window. You don’t want to ruin someone else’s escapade with those pads, right?

Enjoy the beach.

Period is a normal thing for us ladies. Forget the myths that it is not safe to swim if you are having a period. Don’t worry about sharks, they will not smell your blood.


How To: Renew Professional ID

It has been 6 years since I received my PRC license. Just sad that I haven’t really used it professionally. On it’s expiration in 2009 I have never renewed it. I intend to go  back to the academe. This time as a teacher. First things first — RENEW LICENSE. How?

Dec 16 2008: Oath Taking  Ceremonies for NCR Professional Teachers in Cuneta Astrodome, Pasay City

Dec 16 2008: Oath Taking Ceremonies for NCR Professional Teachers in Cuneta Astrodome, Pasay City

According to PRC website, there are 2 ways of renewing: 1) through PRC Central and Regional Offices 2) through SM Malls. Isabela doesn’t have a PRC office. The nearest one is in  Tuguegarao, Cagayan which is around 2-3 hours travel from my town. So the better option is through SM Malls.

How is Professional ID Renewal Done in SM Malls?

  1. Prepare the following and proceed to the Renewal Lane:
    • One (1) passport sized ID picture, close up, in white background and nametag. No smiling please.
    • Come in smart casual attire. Polo shirt, blouse with collar is just fine even if you come in jeans.
  2. Fill-in the renewal Form which you can get from the teller. The renewal form is also downloadable from PRC website. Once finished, submit the completed form and the picture to the teller.
    • Important details to input:
      • date of examination,
      • registration date,
      • expiration date,
      • and license number. 
  3. Queue for phototaking. Yes, you will have your photo taken again. Do your best to look good. This will be the face on your ID for the next 3 years.
  4. Pay assessed fee for renewal (and penalty fee, if any), photo fee, convenience fee and/or courier service fee.
    • Renewal fee – The usual renewal fee is PhP450.00 per renewal year (once every 3 years). There is  a penalty of  PhP30.00 every expired month. For example:
      Capture - PRC
    • Photo Fee:  will be updated soon
    • Convenience Fee: PhP 50.00
    • Courier Service Fee:  PhP 80.00 (optional)
  5. Receive claim stub and receipts. The claim stub comes with a contact number of the SM Business Center for your follow-ups.
  6. Claim the PIC on the date indicated in the claim stub or if you availed of the courier service, you just have to wait for its delivery.

The lead time for the pick-up of delivery of the PIC is another story. If  in a hurry, it’s best to proceed to the nearest PRC instead. Processing time in PRC Centers is around 2 weeks whereas SM Malls is around 2-3 months. The downside of the promised convenience.

Renew your PRC Licenses in Region 2 in these locations:

Capture - SM

Recipe: The Real Spaghetti Carbonara | Antonio Carluccio

Carbonara was introduced to me as a cream-based with lots of butter, cream and mushroom. I watched Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube to check out new post and there I saw an interesting link — The Real Spaghetti Carbonara.

It’s interesting to learn that the real authentic Italian spaghetti carbonara doesn’t call for CREAM. Yes! No cream. Basically, eggs and bacon. Some of Jamie Oliver’s followers commented that a cream-based carbonara that we know can be confused with creamy fettucini.

Check out the video below for a demo on how to cook a The Real Spaghetti Carbonara.

Recipe can be found here.


How To: Submit SSS Maternity Notification in Isabela

It’s my 7th month of pregnancy and I haven’t notified SSS about it. Panic. Panic! Before I faint panicking, I googled on how to notify SSS about my pregnancy.

I learned that expectant moms can do notification online or go personally to your servicing branch or to the nearest SSS Branch. I left my employment in April so my case is a different story. SSS Membership Status: SEPARATED. Online notification could be a very convenient option but for some reason SSS website always gives me an internal problem alert. Sigh! I have to through the other process.

Google, google again. Wow, there’s an SSS near my OB’s Clinic in Ilagan!

Here are  SSS Branches in Isabela where you can transact

Bucag Bldg., Canciller Avenue, District 1, Cauayan City, Isabela
Phone: (078)  634-5286

N.S. Binag Bldg., National Road, Camalagui Second, Ilagan, Isabela
Phone: (078) 624-1409

Musngi Bldg., Provincial Rd., Centro East, Santiago City, Isabela

Phone: (078) 682-7401


Anywhere in the Philippines, the process of submitting SSS Maternity Notification (MAT-1) is the same.

  1. Fill-out SSS Maternity Notification (MAT-1) Form. Note: Use black ink only.
  2. Submit the accomplished form together with the supporting documents necessary.
    • Ultrasound or OB report to prove pregnancy (Hello, look at my belly! :))
    • A photocopy of your SSS ID, just in case
  3. A copy of the “Received” MAT-1 will be returned to you appended on a Maternity Reimbursement Form (MAT-2) and your SSS Transaction Slip. The receiving SSS Staff  will (may) also give you a run through of the requirements for reimbursement. I have mentioned my membership status, the staff highlighted the requirements that I need to prepare.


Bring a photocopy of your Ultrasound/OB Report and SSS ID (2 sets).

Bring a black ballpen.

Don’t forget to smile and thank the SSS Staff and even the Manong Guard who opened the door for you.

SSS Ilagan is a satellite office of Cauayan Branch. I overheard that encoding is done in Cauayan Office. There’s actually a Step 3.1 Have the “Received” MAT-1 photocopied in the next establishment. The photocopy will be the reference of the SSS Staff to encode your notification and the original copy will be returned to you for the reimbursement process.

SSS Branches are open 8:00AM to 5:00PM with no lunch breaks. I went to Ilagan Branch at around 9AM and there were only 2 persons in the line – an elderly and I. In a matter of 15 minutes, my transaction is done.


  • SSS Maternity Notification can be done 60 days from the date of conception but not later than the date of delivery.
  • For members who are separated from employment/self-employed/voluntary/OFW/non-working spouse can submit to the SSS branch nearest her residence.
  • If you are employed, SSS Mat-1 will be submitted by your employer – through the HR department in your behalf. Full payment of the maternity benefit shall be advanced by the employer within 30 days from the maternity leave application.
  • Receipt of Maternity Notification form does not guarantee payment of Maternity Benefit. Payment of benefit will be based on existing policies and guidance.

I am praying and hoping that I will not have any problem with my SSS claim. As far as I know, I am qualified to avail of it. There were cases when claims can be denied. Find out why. 



Cord Care by Johnson’s

For a soon-to-be-mom like me, knowing how to care for the cord of our new borne is a must. I found this helpful video from Johnson’s Baby PH and I think it’s worth the share.

What I Learned?

  1. Umbilical cord falls naturally in 30 days.
  2. Never use alcohol to clean the umbilical cord. Always go for a mild cleanser.
  3. It is important to keep the umbilical cord clean,  free of  moisture. It is also safe to keep the cord uncovered to help natural healing process.

Have a happy mommy day!



Bye-bye Stinky Pillows: Bladder Control How-Tos

My 5-year old sister, Thalia already knows how to control her bladder but that is only true if she’s awake. At night, my parents resort to putting on diapers to keep her underwear and the bedding dry. One time, Thalia wanted to sleep beside me. So I told her, “Alright, as long as you don’t wet my bed.” She covered her face with a pillow to put her self to sleep.

I took my chances of not putting diapers on her that night because I had a plan. I don’t want her to be dependent on diapers.

  1. Make an agreement not to pee in bed and explain why. Call it conditioning. I explained to Thalia why she have to learn how to control her bladder. I explained it in a way she can understand.Here are some of the reasons I told her:
    •  “Don’t wet your bed so you can always sleep  with your “hotdog” pillow”.
    • “Your pee makes our pillows and blankets stinky. Do you want to sleep in stinky bedding?”

      IMPORTANT: Do not use that bladder problem to embarrass your kid. Please.

  2. Let her pee 30 minutes before going to bed. Or to put it simply, Thalia have to go to the toilet before she hits the bed. Reduce fluid intake at night. The same thing applies during daytime nap.
  3. Make a schedule of pee pee time. I wake up 2-3 times at night to empty my bladder. 12:00AM, 3:00AM then 5:00AM. Why so frequent? I am pregnant. 🙂 On those trips,  I would wake her up to ask if she wanted to pee. Even if she said no, I still let her sit on her pee pee pot. There are times that she is too sleepy to get up. So I am left with an option to carry her to the toilet. Pull down her underwear, watch her ’til she’s done, dry her up, pull up her underwear then carry her back to bed.

    IMPORTANT: Keep the path the toilet unobstructed. Keep a night lamp on.

  4. Make a pee pee pot available in the bedroom at night. Thalia would make sometimes make an excuse that she is afraid to go to the toilet. So we made the toilet available in the bedroom. Note to self: Have a flashlight within your reach.
  5. Acknowledge her for a job well done. Acknowledgement encourages the little ones to keep on doing the job – a very good job. 🙂 If she fails, I still assure her that it’s OK then we’ll try again. My usual morning conversation with our little girl goes something like this:
    • “Did you pee?”
      “Wow, very good!” or
    • “Did you pee?”
      “OK, tonight don’t pee. Separate the stinky pillows from the not stinky ones.”

We have been implementing these points for a more than a month now. Slowly, we are gaining success.  Thalia now wakes up voluntarily and let’s us know if she needs to pee. Of course, accidental wetting is still part of the training so be patient. Feel free to share your experience and tips on toilet training/bladder control.