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.  


On Yeng Constantino’s “Ikaw”

The official music video is out yesterday. Saw it this morning and I was like: Aw, pinagpawisan ang mata ko. (My eyes sweated out! Read: I cried!). Knowing Yeng and her passion, you will not doubt that she meant every word she wrote and sang. One word: Sincerity!

It’s everyone’s wish to find love. Sometimes, we even wonder if love will come. If it will come, when will it be?  When it comes, there will still be questions. Is he the one? Am I the one for him? There will be doubts that why love requires faith. Finding love-real love is like  finding a rare treasure.

 Proverbs 18:22: The man who finds a wife finds a treasure, and he receives favor from the LORD. (NLT)

Ikaw” is a story of Yeng’s quest for love. She longed for love, she doubted love to come and now she have found it. She have found the one whom she decides to love for the rest of her life. She have found the proper noun for the word “Ikaw”. The “Ikaw” whom she considers a gift from God, the “Ikaw” that defines love.

Ikaw ang pag-ibig na hinintay
Puso ay nalumbay nang kay tagal
Ngunit ngayo’y nandito na

Ikaw, ikaw ang pag-ibig na binigay
Sa akin ng Maykapal
Biyaya ka sa buhay ko
Ligaya’t pag-ibig ko’y ikaw

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.

The Joy of Waiting: Week 33

Two of my friends gave birth the past two weeks. Baby Sophie is now 33 weeks. I could feel her weight gain each week. There is now more stress on my back and middle joints. Getting up from bed is becoming a struggle. There is pain. There are discomforts. But excitement still outweighs them all.

Week 33 is also characterized by stronger kicks and jabs. I wonder what our little baby girl is doing inside. One thing I have observed, she seemed not to like pillows on my tummy. She wants to kick them away. It’s becoming a habit to rub the tiny lumps she creates on my tummy whenever she moves. I do this little guessing game of what part of her are those lumps. I think I felt her foot once,another time her knee. It’s really amusing to see my belly in different shapes. Sometimes it’s pointy but most of the time it resembles the shape of a supermoon. 🙂

My “basketball belly” gives a hint of Sophie’s position inside my belly. She’s head down, facing my back – the ideal position for delivery. Sophie can still do some back flips and other stunts ’til the delivery day. I hope she will be on that position when it’s time for her to come out.


Panic Happens

Panic wrapped me last night. There is an trace of unknown discharge on my shorts and I was like ‘what is this?’. I went through my notes of preterm labor signs. One pointer says: If there’s a discharge, do the sniff test. It smells like ammonia. False alarm, it’s just urine.  I do my pelvic floor exercises but leaks still do happen. Pipi laughed at the situation but I know panic crawled into him too.

After that moment of panic, I went back to bed to talk to Sophie. Rubbing my tummy, I ask her to hang on until week 37. She answered with a ticklish kick on my side as if saying ‘Yes, mommy. I will!”. I am now so much in love with our little Toffee Pie.

Birth plans: Delivery Day Wishes

I finished putting checks on my birth plan and gave a copy to Pipi. He thought birth plan was a medical insurance plan. I was like, ‘No, Lalabs! This is a list of procedures I wanted to be done to me and Sophie on D-day. It’s like my delivery day wishlist’.

I did not enroll for any birth class but I am gearing up for vaginal birth. I have communicated that to my OB and she is supportive of it. I wish there are birth classes in our community. Unfortunately, our rural health has not organized one yet. So to educate myself, I read and watch videos about labor and delivery. I also talk to some of my friends who are already mommies and ask about their delivery experiences.

Proper breathing and delivery positions are few of the important things I have learned. One birth expert says that labor and delivery is a natural process that we, women undergo. Our body knows how to breath when we go through it. All we need is a nice, slow, deep breathing to get the oxygen our body needs. Not the hee, hee, hoo, hoo breathing that we see in movies.

I initially picked semi-reclined position during delivery. That is prior to watching the best positions to do so. Now, I have reconsidered squat and hands and feet. These two positions makes gravity work for you and prevents tailbone injury. It looks awkward, yes! I will have to forget about the awkwardness. What’s important is for Baby Sophie to come out safely, with ease.

I want Pipi to be on my side when I push Sophie out. I am excited to see Sophie and her father have their first moment together. I am also hoping that there will be no conflicts on Pipi’s schedule so that wish could be fulfilled. Who will cut the cord? I want Pipi to do it. I am now imagining how he would feel on the cord-cutting ceremony. A ribbon-cutting ceremony to the outside world.  I want to capture that moment and immortalize it so keep the cameras and smartphones fully charged!

Other wishes: bring home the placenta for an old tradition. I will be blogging about that soon.

As I read more about labor, delivery and birth plan. It made me understand I can actually have a control of what’s gonna happen on D-day. But of course, these ideals can still change as need arises. I am really claiming that vaginal birth. Please, Lord please. Let’s do this!


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.


D-day Preparations: Baby Cloths

One financial advise for first-time mom: DON’T BUY SO MANY STUFF FOR YOUR BABY UNTIL SHE IS BORN. I heed that advise. Last Friday, we went to SM City Cauayan to purchase Sophie’s first set of cloths. It feels like shopping for your supplies for school opening just that we are shopping for baby cloths. Another yes-I-am-now-a-mom moment.

Nanay was in-charge in choosing Sophie’s cloths. Her principle: it must be cotton, soft and absorbent. She’s really particular that the material should be pure cotton.

Here are few of the stuff we bought:

  • Pyjamas – set of 3 for newborn and another set of 3 for 3-6 months
  • One-sides tie shirt – 3 pieces for each: long sleeve, short sleeve and sleeveless
  • 3 pcs of sleeveless shirts the kind with buttons on the shoulder
  • 3 bonettes
  • 3 pairs of mittens and socks
  • A few dozen of lampin
  • Bibs

The kind sales lady who assisted us suggest that we also buy onesies. I don’t think Sophie will need that. Di ba mainit at hassle gamitin ang onesie?  My siblings and I wore cloth diapers. I will also do that with Sophie. It’s economical, a bit of a hassle yes but I am sure Sophie will be more comfy. I don’t want nasty chemicals sticking on her butt. 🙂 Curity All in One washable diaper is a choice plus some Chino Pino for absorption pads.

I had the items sitting inside my room for almost a week. I did not really go far from my bed these days because of the pain I feel on my abdomen – must be Braxton-Hicks. Mother bugged me to start preparing Sophie’s cloths ’cause we won’t know when exactly she’s coming out. So OK, I started taking out the small cloths out of there packages. I am tempted to cut the cloth labels, Sophie may find them irritating.

The sun is shining bright, a perfect laundry day. I instructed Ate Berlin to use Perla ’cause it’s mild and no fabric conditioner. We have also invested in small hangers and sipit for the very small pieces of cloths.


Plantsa, plantsa din after ng labada. Am I ironing Sophie’s cloths to get rid of bacteria? No. Sunshine have already made the cloths sterile. Ironing is done to get rid of the creases.


Cloths are now ready for packing. I am storing them in a plastic container I bought from Ace. This will be the same box I am taking to the hospital on D-day.



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

Farm Life: Trying Out the Upland Rice Variety

In our farm, we currently produce rice, corn and tobacco. The rising cost of producing corn convinced my father to shift to upland rice and maybe concentrate on it in the future.  His new found discovery has been a topic for in conversations he had with other farmers.

This breed of rice can thrive even on the lack of water supply. There are irrigation canals in our farm but we have never benefited from it. Irrigation water never reached our farms. The farmers’ solution to the absence of irrigation is deep well that requires gasoline or electricity to pump up water from an underground source. In times of drought, expenses goes higher and in the end there will be lower profit.


Upland rice growing alongside the corn.

A farmer does not have to go through the process of sowing and replanting. Load the seeds to a mechanical seeder and it’s good to go. Planting rice can be done in a short period of time even by a single person.

Lesser expenditure is expected because of it’s low-maintenance characteristic. Expect no expenditure for molluscicide – pesticide against mollusks or kuhol. Dry soil is not a conducive breeding ground for these pests. Also, there’s no need to maintain dikes. Wetland variety requires dikes to lock in the water in the puddles.

The seeds is not widely available. My father and I have already checked the IRRI in San Mateo, Isabela. The IRRI storekeeper advised us that this kind of variety is still on the process of evaluation. Luckily, we are able to get some in Cagayan through the help of a relative from Apayao Province.


This breed of rice can be harvested in four months time (120 days) a month longer than the wetland variety. It was our first cropping season and we are hoping that the outcome is what we have expected.

Thoughts: Hapee for Happy Mouth

After brushing, I have to drink a couple of glass of water because my mouth feels dry. I thought I am just thirsty but having dry, chapped lips too might mean something else. Pipi also has mouth concern-bleeding gums.

20140518_125706It’s nothing to be alarmed with the bleeding. His gums are simply sensitive (or he could be brushing his teeth in a wrong way causing trauma to his gums).

When I was younger, Sensodyne  was my dentist’s recommended brand. But it’s too expensive and I didn’t like the taste. A friend recommended using Hapee Gold Gumtect ’cause she thinks that my mouth may need some kind of a “moisturizer”. Gumtect contains Vitamin E to soothe and smooth damaged tissues and Allantoin to speed up the growth of new tissues in the gums. It also has Triclosan which is known to reduce plaque and tartar build up.  (Source: Hapee Gold Gumtect insert). 

I gave it a try and there was no dryness. And no morning breathe. 🙂 Could it be possible that my former toothpaste is too harsh for my mouth? I bought a tube for Pipi and asked him to try my new discovery. He said it also works for him. 🙂

I am using this toothpaste for more than 2 years now and still happy with it.

Note: I am not paid for this post. Only sharing a pleasant experience. 

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.