Earth Hour

Monday, December 25, 2023

Monday, June 19, 2023

Resurrection Hand Balm from Aesop: Intense Hydration with a Soothing Smell

Moisturizing hands is an essential self-care practice that promotes healthy and well-nourished skin. Our hands are exposed to harsh environmental elements daily, frequent handwashing, and other activities that can lead to dryness, roughness, and even cracks. Moisturizing hands helps to replenish and lock in moisture, preventing dehydration and maintaining optimal skin hydration levels. Some moisturizer ingredients also attract water molecules from the air and bind them to the skin, improving its ability to retain moisture. That is why using hand moisturizers regularly can contribute to softer, smoother, and more elastic skin.

I am a big fan of hand moisturizers, which help alleviate skin irritations, redness, or inflammation, making them particularly beneficial for maintaining my sensitive skin health. I  also suffer from skin conditions like eczema once in a while. A friend recently told me to try the Resurrection Hand Balm from Aesop. She said it made wonders for her dry hands plus the balm really smells good.


Aesop is a renowned Australian skincare brand that offers a range of high-quality beauty products. Known for its distinctive apothecary-style packaging and focus on botanical ingredients, Aesop has gained a reputation for producing effective and luxurious skincare, haircare, and body care products. It uses a combination of plant-based extracts, essential oils, antioxidants, and other natural ingredients in its formulations. 

Aesop Resurrection Hand Balm is one of Aesop's popular hand care products. It is a rich, non-greasy hand cream specifically formulated to moisturize and nourish the hands. The hand balm is enriched with a combination of nourishing ingredients, including mandarin rind, rosemary leaf, and cedar atlas, which lend the balm a refreshing scent.  Additionaly, it contains moisturizing agents like shea butter, cocoa seed butter, and sweet almond oil, known for their hydrating properties.

I've been using the product for almost one month now and I am quite satisfied with it.  The Resurrection Hand Balm is lightweight and absorbs quickly, leaving behind a non-greasy finish without any residue on the skin.   once used it while my hands were extremely dry and irritated, and it relieved the tightness that usually results from such conditions.   really love the citrusy scent that lasts a long time which is also soothing to the senses.  dditionally, while I am aware that it is primarily for the hands, I applied the product on other parts of my body, and it worked fine with my knees, heels, and elbows.

I recommend using the hand balm as needed throughout the day, especially after washing your hands or whenever your skin feels dry or in need of extra care.

Friday, May 12, 2023

ChatGPT: Conversations Redefined by AI


Artificial intelligence (AI) has made remarkable strides in natural language processing in recent years, paving the way for more engaging and interactive human-machine interactions. Among the many advancements in this field, ChatGPT stands as a groundbreaking language model that has captivated users with its ability to generate human-like responses. In this blog post, we delve into the world of ChatGPT and explore its impact on conversation and communication.

Understanding ChatGPT:

ChatGPT, developed by OpenAI, is built upon the foundation of the GPT (Generative Pre-trained Transformer) architecture. Through extensive training on vast amounts of internet text, including books, articles, and websites, ChatGPT has developed an impressive ability to generate coherent and contextually relevant responses. It has learned to understand and mimic human language patterns, resulting in remarkably human-like interactions.

The Power of the Transformer Architecture:

At the heart of ChatGPT lies the transformer architecture, a deep learning model that has revolutionized natural language processing. Unlike traditional models that process text sequentially, transformers employ self-attention mechanisms, enabling them to capture relationships between all the words in an input. This capability allows ChatGPT to understand complex language structures and dependencies, making it adept at generating fluent and contextually appropriate responses.

 Conversational Engagement:

One of the most fascinating aspects of ChatGPT is its ability to engage in conversations with users. Whether it's answering questions, offering suggestions, or simply engaging in small talk, ChatGPT provides an interactive and dynamic experience. Users can engage with the model by giving prompts or asking questions, and in return, they receive responses that strive to be informative, creative, and relevant.

The Limitations:

While ChatGPT has garnered widespread attention and admiration, it is essential to understand its limitations. ChatGPT is a machine learning model trained on vast amounts of data, and while it can generate impressive responses, it does not possess true understanding or knowledge. It may occasionally produce incorrect or misleading information, highlighting the need for human verification and critical thinking when using its outputs.

Promoting Ethical Usage:

OpenAI has made significant efforts to promote the ethical usage of ChatGPT. They have implemented measures to address potential biases, provide clearer guidelines for human-AI interaction, and actively encourage user feedback to improve the system. By ensuring transparency and accountability, OpenAI aims to mitigate risks and foster responsible deployment of AI technologies like ChatGPT.

Applications and Future Developments:

ChatGPT has found applications in various domains, including customer support, content creation, and educational tools. Its versatility allows for diverse use cases, and as the technology progresses, we can anticipate further advancements. OpenAI continues to refine and enhance ChatGPT, working towards building more intelligent and valuable AI systems that benefit society. 


ChatGPT represents a significant milestone in AI language models, showcasing the power of deep learning and the transformer architecture. It has redefined conversations and provided users with an engaging and interactive experience. While there are limitations to be aware of, ChatGPT serves as a testament to the incredible progress made in natural language processing and the immense potential for AI to augment human communication and understanding.

Monday, May 8, 2023

Salawikain: Filipino Nuggets of Wisdom and Life Lessons

 I met some friends from college over the weekend; during our chat, one of them blurted out a Filipino saying, “palay na ang lumapit sa manok,” or “It’s the palay (rice) that came to the chicken.”   We laughed and then wondered if Filipinos still use these sayings or what we call “salawikain” in daily conversations.

Salawikain are short sayings that offer wisdom, insights, and guidance on various aspects of life. These proverbs are deeply rooted in Filipino culture and used by elders to impart moral values and lessons to the younger generation.

Our discussion shifted to these sayings, and we had fun explaining what we thought they meant. Let me share some of the salawikain that cropped up during our talk.

 Let’s begin with the one that started the conversation,”palay na ang lumapit sa manok.”  or  “It is the rice that came to the chicken.” The saying connotes that someone got lucky since the opportunity presented itself to him. Often though, it takes a negative meaning, like in our chat, where the speaker talked about a friend who had an affair because the woman made the first moves. What else can he do since “palay na ang lumapit sa manok.” NOTE: I know this example could trigger some people, but I do not intend to cause harm, and  I am just putting some context.

If anyone wants to say something unpleasant and doesn't want to name the persons involved, she'd probably say "Bato bato sa langit, tamaan ay huwag magalit" or "rocks in the sky, whoever get gets hit should not get angry."  If it is something that should remain secret, the speaker should be warned that "may tainga ang lupa, may pakpak ang balita" or "the ground has ears and stories have wings," which implies that stories could spread fast 

One of the most well-known Filipino proverbs is “Kung may tiyaga, may nilaga,"  which translates to "If one has patience, he will have soup." This proverb highlights the value of hard work, patience, and determination in achieving one's goals. Perhaps our ancestors used nilaga as a metaphor for hard work because it was hard to cook before pressure cookers and slow cookers. Nilaga consists of beef slowly boiled until the meat is tender before adding potatoes, cabbage, and other vegetables. Of course, they only have wood stoves and clay pots to cook in, so it must have taken a lot of patience and hard work.

A similar proverb is "Habang may buhay, may pag-asa." (While there is life, there is hope.) This proverb reminds us that no matter how difficult our circumstances may be, there is always hope for a better future. My favorite salawikain reflects the Filipino’s resilience and our ability to make the most of what we have: “Kung maigsi ang kumot, matutong mamuluktot” or “If the blanket is short, learn to curl.”

 On the flipside is the saying, "Ang taong nagigipit, sa patalim man ay kumakapit,” which means, "A desperate person  will cling even to a sharp edge." This proverb suggests that people will do whatever it takes to survive in difficult situations, even if it means taking risks or doing something unlawful.

 Filipino proverbs often encourage people to remain humble and treat others with respect. For example, "Ang hindi marunong lumingon sa pinanggalingan ay hindi makakarating sa paroroonan." This proverb says, "Those who do not look back at where they came from will not reach their destination." This proverb reminds people of the importance of remembering their roots and acknowledging those who helped them along the way. 

"Huwag kang magtiwala sa di mo kakilala,"  (Do not trust people you do not know) cautions against trusting strangers.  "Ang sakit ng kalingkingan ay ramdam ng buong katawan," (The whole body feels the pain of the smallest finger) stresses the importance of every part of society and that the problems in a small area could affect the entire community. Finally, “aanhin pa ang damo kung patay na ang kabayo” (what’s the grass for when the horse is already dead) teaches us to solve our problems immediately and not wait until it is too late.

Filipino proverbs play an essential role in Filipino culture and are an excellent way to impart wisdom, values, and insights to the younger generation. They offer guidance on various aspects of life, including relationships, work, and personal development. Whether used in casual conversations or formal settings, these proverbs are integral to Filipino culture and identity.

Do you know any salawikain aside from what I shared?  Please share in the comments section.

All images created using Canva

Saturday, April 1, 2023

Hallow: The App for Catholic Meditation and Prayer for the Holy Week

The Holy Week begins tomorrow, and many of us Catholic Filipinos will observe the practices we usually do during this period.  For some, this is an excellent time to meditate on the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ.  While some Filipinos do the “pabasa,” reading of the passion narrative through song, not all of us can do it. We would just observe through the recitation of the Way of the Cross, and praying of the rosary, and others.  Now, there's a new app that could help us in our meditation and prayer life named Hallow.

Hallow is a popular Catholic meditation and prayer app that offers audio-based guided meditations, daily reflections, and Bible-based content to help users deepen their spiritual practice.  The app has gained popularity among Christians looking to incorporate meditation into their daily lives.

One thing that sets Hallow apart is the quality of its content. The app offers a wide range of meditations and reflections based on scripture and the teachings of the Catholic Church and designed to meet the needs of users with different spiritual backgrounds and preferences. Aside from guided meditations, it includes audio recordings of various prayers, such as the Rosary, Angelus, and the Divine Mercy Chaplet. The app also provides prayer challenges, which focus on specific themes and are usually time-bound. The current challenge is the #Pray40 Challenge for Lent. If you want to test your knowledge, there's daily trivia on the Catholic faith.

I downloaded the app from the AppStore and now regularly listen to the Daily Reflections on the day’s Gospel with Jeff Cavins and Jonathan Roumie, the actor who plays Jesus Christ on the TV series “The Chosen.”  I listen to the Sunday Sermons of Bishop Barron, the founder of the Catholic organization Word on Fire. I started listening to the Catechism in a Year with Father Mike Schmitz, which started early this year.  

I also like the music section, which contains chants, and contemporary and traditional music. Last Christmas season, the app featured the entire album of Christmas songs from Andre Bocelli and his family. They recently added a lo-fi playlist that you could play while getting ready in the morning, studying, or working. 

With over 400,000 Filipino users across the globe, Hallow started offering meditations and prayers in Filipino in October last year. Yes, you can pray the rosary, Divine Mercy prayer, selected novenas and other prayers in Tagalog. I follow Fr. Franz Dizon's daily reflection on the gospel in Pagninilay Ngayon. There is also a section on the life of the saints named "Buhay ng Mga Banal."  

Many users praise the Hallow app for helping them deepen their faith and improve their prayer life. The app's user-friendly interface is easy to navigate, making it easy for users to find the content they want. The app also offers a community feature that allows users to connect with other members and share their spiritual journey.  

I have just one issue with this app, and that is the voice and delivery of some of the prayer guides. I know that prayer should be meditative, but the guides speak so slowly that some of the prayers take longer to finish than usual. 

Hallow is also affordable. The app offers a 14-day free trial period, after which users can choose to subscribe to the premium version of the app. The premium version gives users access to more meditations and features but is still affordable compared to other meditation apps on the market. At about PhP600 a month, the subscription is worth the cost.

Overall, the Hallow app is an excellent tool for Christians who want to deepen their spiritual practice through meditation and prayer.  The app's high-quality content, user-friendly interface, and affordability make it popular among users.

Images from Hallow

Friday, March 17, 2023

Enjoying my new Echo Dot with Clock from Amazon

I finally got hold of the Echo Dot with Clock I ordered from Amazon earlier this year.  The fifth generation Echo Dot came out on Octobe 22 last year. After using the device for a couple of months, I can say that it is a powerful and versatile smart speaker that is perfect for anyone looking to bring the power of Alexa into their home.  This compact smart speaker provides all the voice-controlled features of the standard Echo Dot and a convenient LED display that shows the time, temperature, and other helpful information.

The box contains the new Echo Dot with Clock and its wall charger.  One of its standout features is its stylish design.  The device is compact, sleek, and attractive, making it a great addition to any room in your home.  The buttons to increase/decrease the volume and to turn the microphone on/off are conveniently placed on the top.

Setting up is incredibly easy.  All you need to do is plug it in and connect it to your Wi-Fi network using the Alexa app on your smartphone or tablet.  Once connected, you can use Alexa to control your smart home devices, play music, set reminders, and even make phone calls.

The clock display on the Echo Dot with Clock is clear and easy to read, and it can be customized to display the time in a 24-hour format or a 12-hour format with or without AM/PM.  The device also has a snooze button, which makes it perfect for use as an alarm clock in the bedroom.

One of the most impressive features of the Echo Dot with Clock is its sound quality.  Despite its small size, this device delivers clear and powerful sound perfect for listening to music, podcasts, or audiobooks.  I synced Spotify with the Echo Dot and can now listen to my favorite tunes simply by asking Alexa.  You can pair the device with another Echo Dot with Clock or a compatible Echo device for stereo sound.

The Echo Dot with Clock is an excellent addition to any smart home.  Its compact size, powerful sound, and versatile capabilities make it an incredibly useful device.  The built-in clock display is a nice touch that sets it apart from other smart speakers on the market.  If you're looking for a high-quality smart speaker with a clock display, the Echo Dot with Clock is definitely worth considering.