Sunday, June 12, 2016


Exactly a week after my first 32K race in Run United 2 2016 at SM MOA, I was invited by blogger friend Joy Mendiola of to join an event in celebrating the Global Wellness Day. Joy and I have been blogger friends for almost four years but never got the chance to meet because of our busy schedules. I did not think twice in accepting her invitation because that would mean we will finally get to meet in person plus we get to blog about the event which is a well known one that is celebrated every year around the world. I am referring to none other than the Global Wellness Day.

At FTX- Fitness Exchange Gym

Proud member of Global Wellness Day Community
Headed by Ms. Vikki Aquino, the GWD Ambassador of the Philippines, the day's events were held at The FTX- Fitness Exchange Gym where a series of talks were made on finding time for wellness instead of thinking of excuses every time we exercise, engaging in short and easy exercises to start a healthy lifestyle plus accepting one's flaws and imperfections, one day at a time.  

With Vikki Aquino

With the very inspiring Juana Change

With Joy Mendiola

With bloggers and members of the Global Wellness Community

The Global Wellness Day is celebrated every second Saturday of June each year around the world where it is internationally dedicated to a day of living well. It also aims to share its Seven Manifesto on how to start one's journey to fitness. They are as follows

1) Walk for an hour.
2) Drink more water.
3) Do not use plastic bottles.
4) Eat organic food.
5) Do a good deed.
6) Have a family dinner.
7) Sleep at 10PM.

In between talks, there was also a Yoga  and a Zumba class plus complimentary personalized consultations on weight loss/gain, skin analysis, muscle imbalance & fitness assessment. There were also raffle prizes and giveaways given to lucky participants where I was lucky enough to win.

It was a Saturday filled with so much learning, grooving and feeling good about oneself. Now that I learned that this is a yearly celebration where its activities and events are free to the public, I am already looking forward to its next celebration.

One day can change your whole life indeed.

For updates on upcoming wellness activities & events, you can visit  their website @ You can also join the Global Wellness Day Philippines  community @

(Credits to Joy Mendiola for sharing her photos with the bloggers who attended the event).

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Fiber Up to Beat Hypertension

I first heard the word hypertension from a friend four years ago who has it and was taking maintenance meds . When she learned that she was two years older than I am, she got curious and asked me what maintenance I was taking. Since hypertension and maintenance medicine were alien words to me at that time, I told her that I only took Ferrous Sulfate. I felt a bit stupid when she corrected me that Multi Vitamins & Ferrous Sulfate were not considered maintenance medication at all but I was thankful that she did. A little bit of enlightenment goes a long way no matter what your age is.

I thought before that people with hypertension are those who get agitated or nervous easily, the ones who are quick to anger and in dire need of anger management. After a lot of reading and stories learned from people who had it, it  never came across that such behavior are symptoms of hypertension and possibly something else. It was also then that I understood the condition when I looked back on those years that I witnessed them from my Dad, Mom and even my older brother who was born with a congenital heart condition.


According to the Philippine Spciety of Hypertension, " Hypertension is another name for high blood pressure. It is that condition when the pressure inside of your large arteries is too high. Because it does not usually produce any symptoms, the only way to detect hypertension is to have your blood pressure measured. Hypertension affects about 8 million FIlipinos & the most common cardiovascular condition in the world. " 

More than 9 of every 10 people who have hypertension do not have a cause for it that can be identified. One can inherit hypertension from one's parents. If one or both parents have hypertension, one may likely to develop it. However, one can aslo acquire hypertension even if both parents have normal blood pressure.   

Lifestyle plays a vital role in handling hypertension. You have a chance to avoid hypertension by keeping your weight under control, keeping physically fit, eating a healthy diet, limiting your alcohol intake (no more than one mixed drink or one 12 oz. can of beer or one 6 oz. glass of wine daily), and avoiding smoking and medications that might increase your blood pressure.


According to Karen Langston, an Internationally,Certified,Holistic Nutritionist & specializing in Nutrition Education, once can lower down his blood pressure by changing the following:

Reduce salt intake. 

Refined foods, processed foods, canned foods, fast foods are all packed up with hidden sodium same thing with Deli meats, luncheon meats and hot dogs. Frozen, packaged, convenient foods  have also high sodium intake where as whole foods prepared and cooked at home have low sodium content. We all have the power to control our salt intake with a bit of work and consistency on our part.

Reduce sodium. You hear this all the time, and you are saying right now “but I don’t use a salt shaker.”  It is not the salt shaker (it does play a role however, ) it is the refined foods, canned foods, processed foods, fast foods that are high in hidden sodium with these types of foods providing 75 to 80 percent of your daily  intake. Deli meats, luncheon meats and hot dogs are high in sodium. Most frozen packaged convenient foods are also high in sodium. Whole foods that you prepare and cook at home are lower in sodium. You have the power to reduce your sodium intake; it will take a little work on your part, but is well worth the effort. - See more at: You can lower your blood pressure by changing the following:
Adding more Fiber in our Diet   

The “Big F” is FIBER.  It is derived from plants and scores huge in keeping the heart and colon healthy, for better blood circulation and detoxification.
Good blood circulation prevents hypertension.  Sapping bad cholesterol and toxins out of the body by consuming fibrous food, such as oatmeal, also promotes digestive health and prevents colon cancer… aside from boosting good blood circulation., an esteemed medical online publication revealed that "adding fiber to the diet was associated with a significant reduction in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure in people with high blood pressure." also pointed out other lifestyle and dietary improvements which help keep blood pressure levels under control. These include "weight loss, reduced sodium intake, moderation in alcohol use, increased potassium intake, increased physical activity, and following the DASH (dietary approaches to stop hypertension) diet."

Fiber-packed Food

Basically, anyone who wishes to gain the benefits of fiber simply has to eat more fruits and vegetables. Fiber may also be sourced from cereals such as oatmeal. There are many variants of oatmeal---instant, quick cooking, whole grain rolled oats and oat bran. Just find the kind that suits your taste and lifestyle most.

One brand, Australia Harvest Oatmeal, boasts of best quality as it prides itself in coming form the world's best oats-growing region, West Australia. Perhaps it is the best source & superior quality assurance that made the Philippine Volcanoes which is the country's official rugby team sent to battle in international rugby competitions choose Australia Harvest Oatmeal as their Official Fiber Partner. And for good reasons. The Philippine Volcanoes just won their bronze medal in the recently concluded Asian Rugby Competition.

So stay healthy and spread the fitness word.

Fiber up for life !

Saturday, May 7, 2016


"If your daughter always leave the house and prefer to live outdoors for days, it might help her stay at home if you  let her join marathons."

This was told to me by an old man on the upper most floor at the MMDA's office way back 2007 after I went to GMA 7 and asked help from the staff of Jessica Soho's show "Reunions." I could not recall what department I was at that time and completely forgotten the man's name. I just knew that his men found my daughter, Sidney Rain who was then 8 years old at the overpass bridge in Buendia when she left our house and was gone for more than two months. At that time I was still separated and could hardly pay for the room that my kids and I were renting.

For those who will read this story in full with understanding and an open heart, I thank you in advance. For those who are quick to judge and come up with a lot of know it all questions, then with all due respect, I ask you to stop reading right now and browse or click your mouse elsewhere.

My daughter with the free spirit, Sidney Rain

Her full name is Sidney Rain Bucu and was diagnosed with Autism in PGH when she was about four years old At that time I was just a stay at home Mom, unemployed and taking care of  my 7 children where we lived at our old house in the province and their dad visited us every two weeks. Out of those seven kids, three have special needs. Two having autism and one having learning disabilities. They all look normal, even good looking as what other kind people would comment until you look at them closely. Some noticed it instantly and understood where as for others silently judge them with their eyes. You can see them stare at my children for long minutes, whisper or talk about people they knew who act queerly, branding them "autistic" and sadly, some openly, annoyingly display their discomfort at my children. But my children including my Mom had gotten used to it. Autism or any disability is still  questioned and misunderstood by many, until you or a member of your family gets hit with it.

Sidney and Red both have autism. Photo taken at Pasay City Sped Center 2010

Most of my kids are advanced for their age. I have known this even before they started school. Aside from the fact that they all learned to eat veggies with no qualms even the ones with special needs since they learned how to eat solid food, they are the kids who had learned to write their names by just looking at the letters and get a perfect score even if they have been absent for a week due to flu. There are some who fall asleep during classroom discussions and even exams yet still get to pass it. I also have a daughter who can create a swing with an old sack and a rope when she was only four years old and most of them know were the story is heading for most local telenovela whose story lines are quite often predictable. My youngest son, Red who had learned how to hum before he could even talk is very good with roads, just like Sidney.

With Sidney it was much different. She had learned to read and speak in English at the age of three. Her comprehension is way too fast and advanced even with kids beyond her age. She is very good with computers and online games. She also gets bored inside the classroom. She did study in Pasay City Sped, even learned how to bake carrot cakes and brownies but because her mind works so fast she lost interest with the regular classroom setting and does not want to go back.

At times I blame myself for those days that Sidney had left the house and spent her days outdoors, whether there was a typhoon or not and sadly even during holiday seasons. Not that I do not look for her. Despite the challenge of working in a call center and leaving my kids in the evenings so that all seven of them could go to school and all of them could eat three times a day, I found out that the more I look for her, the more she refuses to go home. At times, owners of internet cafe and resorts send me messages even to my friends that they have found my daughter and these are places as far as Sta Rosa Laguna and Bulacan. Sometimes I get to find and take my daughter home after a lot of questioning like the third degree. At times she get to leave again even before I arrive to pick her up. There were also days when people from different DSWD units, police officers and even total strangers were kind  enough to bring Sidney home. Lately because she literally grew up on the streets, she returns home on her own and when she is asked where she had been, she will just answer, " Mom, I am already here."

Some of you may ask if I had sought help from foundations and the big networks ?

I sure did. I wrote countless letters, called and personally looked for foundations who could help me with therapy sessions, even for my kids' schooling. Unfortunately we were not that lucky. There was even one who told me that there were more people whose situations were worst than mine. That even though I have seven kids and three have special needs, I could still afford to send them all to school no matter what.

That  was when I stopped asking for help and threw all caution to the wind.  Perhaps one day all my prayers will be answered in God's time.

Now where does running come into place ?

A lot of people I have talked to while I was in search for my daughter had told me that she walks and runs too fast for a girl of her age. There was even a time that a security guard was called because Sidney just appeared out of nowhere and ran at a bowling alley in SM MOA. With the help of other security guards, they tried to catch her but failed. They were about four security guards and they could not help but laugh at themselves while trying to catch Sidney. I was not into running then because I was more focused on keeping myself awake in the evenings though I have to admit I could hardly catch up with my kids who were all brisk walkers. I also knew  that my small salary was still not enough to engage in sports activities so I did my best to keep healthy no matter how hard it was.

It was on December of 2010 when  my whole family was devastated by a great tragedy. We lost my eldest brother due to a heart attack. He was only 48 years old. We were all affected especially my children because my brother was like a second father to all his nieces and nephews who all call him "Daddy Sonny." It was a turning point in my life to find time for fitness and to always look at the brighter side of life if I want to live longer and see all my seven children grow up to become productive members of the society. That was also the reason why instead of wallowing in tears and worry, my kids and I continue with our lives despite of Sidney's constant absence, choosing to be discreet with it and to the people who we share our stories, knowing that we were all be judged on how we handle it and relying more on faith that one day all this will come to an end.

Three years ago, I joined my first Fun Run. The company where I used to work was one of the sponsors and a Team Leader on the floor had announced that the first one hundred registrants get to register for free. I signed up for a 3K run and  it was a decision I will never regret because it had paved the way for my fitness journey.That was when the old man's voice from MMDA keep haunting me back, thinking that there might be a possibility that he may have been right all along. And after seven years, I have finally listened and followed what he told me.

It was February of 2014 when I finally asked Sidney if she wanted to join a fun run. Being her Mom I knew the answer before I even asked. The reason why it took so long for me to realize that that old man from MMDA who is now just a memory was right was because just like me, I knew once my daughter decided on something, there will be no turning back. Aside from that, words can break or make a person's world who has autism. If I do not keep my promise, that would mean for sure she will leave the house again and will come back home when she wants to.

We all know that joining Fun Runs cost money. Now that the two of us will be joining races, that will be an additional expense to the family's already tight budget.Though two of my kids already finished schooling, two are still in college. Good thing Sidney chooses the race that she joins. She usually visits for updates to check if the in store registration already started for the specific race that she wants to run.

When she ran her first race which was a 5K run at Run United 1 2014, I made sure she was well aware of what she was into. Since I was running for the 10K category, Sidney was all by herself. It was our first time to join a Run United race. Since 2012 I had only joined one race where I ran 5K and most of my runs were weekend ones, from our place to BGC where I also join the Zumba group exercise at the park. We did not even know how to use the D tags. I did not put mine whereas Sidney was informed and assisted by a kind Marshall to put her D tag who may have noticed that my daughter looked "different" among the 5K runners on the first lane. It may have been risky letting my daughter run by herself but before we parted I told her the rules of the game. "To always stay on the right side, to watch out for the plastic cups, banana peels and throw her trash inside the trash bin, to walk if she is already too tired to run and most importantly, never, ever cheat on her run and finish what she had started."

Sidney effortlessly finished her first 5K run at 32 minutes and 40 seconds

After more than a year of running and joining races, Sidney had gotten comfortable with running 10K categories by herself while I now have advanced with joining half marathons. At times, when money was tight, I register her first while I wait for those runners who changed their minds the last minute and sell their kits online. At first I had second thoughts meeting a total stranger just to buy a race kit but I took the risk. That stranger now has become a running friend and who already met Sidney in person. At times when money is really tight, it is only her who gets registered while I ran from the outer lanes, shouting words of encouragement, unmindful of the runners' curious eyes and befriending the Marshalls who were kind enough to allow me after telling them about my daughter who has autism and that I just wanted to run with her. Sometimes, after the race when we can't seem to find each other, I have her name announced so that she will know where to find me. It seems that the two of us are becoming popular without us trying too hard in every race that we join.

I have never instilled the word "fear" on my children. They are aware that words like trauma and phobia exist but to them every fear can be conquered and that would mean we have to face each and every one of them. I also did not pressure them in school. Every parent I believe wants what is best for their children but at times we parents get surprised to know that our children are more adventurous and free spirited than we expect them to be.

With the help of my friends, Sidney had enjoyed her first climb at PICO DE LORO

Every one of us is capable of achieving our dreams no matter how impossible they are. My daughter Sidney still leaves the house but now comes home because she wants to join a race. She may get  impatient when it comes to training but still participates even if that would mean a short run at the park or do warm up exercises. When she joins a race, she wakes up very early on the day of the event aware of the assembly time and the start time of her run. She also makes sure everything is okay from her shoes, race bib, D tag, her music from an MP player and her bottled water. The camera is the least of her worries but being her Mom, it would be great to have her pictures taken while she is on the road running with other runners, just like a normal person. And for that I am grateful for the photographers who take time to capture those priceless moments on the road.

Thank you Running Photographers

The last time she ran was when she accepted the  Sub1 10K PinoyFitness Challenge where she was fully aware that if she did not finish her run in one hour or less, she will not get a medal but still gets a finisher shirt.

For now she was glad and proud she got a finisher shirt. There is still next year to get that deserved medal.

Tired and hungry after finishing the race

And I, being her Mom will be her pacer then. Autistic or not, nothing is impossible as long as you put your heart and soul to it.

(This post was originally written and shared last year and was published on Mother's Day. Photo credits to  Running Photographers, Samantha Anne Bucu and Arla Encanto )

Friday, May 6, 2016


Ever heard of that biblical story about the prodigal son who left his father's kingdom and went back home after wasting all his money? Did you also know that the father welcomed back this son with open arms and even held a feast to celebrate his return?

You may have watched, read or heard a similar story, finding it familiar & predictable since biblical stories are never far fetched when it came to real life.  I believe that all stories whether biblical or fiction are reflections of what happened in the real world. They can never be far from the truth. 

I was not really close to my Mom when I was a kid. I was more of a Daddy's girl, the first princess in the family and my Mom's biggest disappointment. I was the daughter who received early morning sermons because I did not wake up early & was required to take care of my siblings' needs so we will not be late for school. I was the girl who sold ice candies while my classmates happily ran on the school grounds, even during Recognition Days so we could earn extra money to augment my Mom's small income as a teacher. I was the aloof, cold, person who had bad dreams about my mom being a vampire, sucking my blood where I woke up crying, grateful that it was only a dream. And I was the only one in the family who did not finish college, got married unprepared, had kids almost every year, who was unemployed for a long time, financially incapable & whose marriage hit rock bottom, finally resulting in a separation from my husband.

It was hard living with my mom. We had daily fights on almost everything from her traditional and backward ways of thinking too much of what other people would say, of sticking with that old school mindset when it came to education, of being too closed minded on almost everything. There were days when the shouting matches became frequent, unreasonable and too personal. It became unhealthy until one day I prayed that  the daily fights would stop because my kids have witnessed it everyday.

The heavens did hear all my prayers especially when I learned that the fights came from small talk among my relatives whose favorite past time was to watch families fight everyday. It was a huge turnaround in our lives especially when I decided to work in the city and leave some of my kids to my Mom. She understood my decision, fully supported me in my chosen career, made me go through life even if that meant learning my lessons the hard way. But most importantly, she made me remember that there is always a home that I could return to & that she will welcome me and my children back no matter what happens. 


Such was my Mom's love that made me see life differently, loving my children more and appreciating every blessing and blessings in disguise that came my way everyday.

This Mother' Day, Century Mall has an ongoing promo for all Mothers by simply writing her a thank you note.


The mechanics can be found on their facebook page   @
They are very easy to follow and I encourage you to join not just because of the awesome prizes in store to be given away but because  Mothers appreciate what ever little thing you give them, whatever occasion it maybe. I know that for sure because I am also a Mom.

Lastly, show your Mom how you love her everyday as much as you can. She will not be here forever. We are such lucky beings knowing that our Moms are still with us, that they will always be there to welcome us back every time we search for ourselves and decide to go back home.