Celebrate 2019 New Year Countdown at Timberland

2018 has been a very rich and productive year for me.

I can say I made a lot of memories worth smiling about, and it makes me think how everything unfolded in God’s perfect time. I became a mother and I built a new business! I believe these things are worth celebrating. 🙂

I know that you, my merfriends have also a lot of things to celebrate and to be thankful for the year that was. You have probably laid out a thrilling itinerary for the Christmas holidays already!

But do you have something planned for New Year’s Eve?

So just in case if you’re the type who’s too busy to scour for places, deals, or treats, but is very much eager to book, allow me to unload you that cargo and invite you to a 2019 new year countdown dinner!


Timberland Sports and Nature Club, located at Timberland Heights, San Mateo, Rizal is hosting


POP, FIZZ, CLINK, and KISS: 2019 New Year Countdown at Ridge Cafe, where you’ll be served delectable dishes for media noche with live entertainment! It’s a perfect way to celebrate and cap off 2018 with family and friends!


It’s also an amazing opportunity to catch up with loved ones as you get serenaded with the coolest tunes that will make you remember how you ended and started a year together.

And then after a hefty and hearty dinner, welcome the new skies of 2019 as you drift to the sweetest sleep in their relaxing deluxe accommodations! And did I mention that they’re at 20% off?


Don’t go home just yet as you can continue bonding with your family and friends in their swimming pool, gym, Jacuzzi, and sauna! What a wonderful year to say goodbye to 2018, and embrace our new friend –2019!

So better screenshot this page, or download the event’s poster and start sending them to your loved ones!

You may contact Timberland Sports and Nature Club for more information!

Address: Timberland Heights, Brgy. Malanday, San Mateo, Rizal

Tel: 793 5700 local 5751 and 5743

CellPhone: 0998 965 2859

Email: whats-on@timberlandclub.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/timberlandsportsandnatureclub/

Advance Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


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Top 10 Places You Shouldn’t Miss When Traveling to Australia (A Bucket List)

For someone who hasn’t been to Australia, Googling and reading blogs might be the best option to start jotting down that much-coveted itinerary.

However, as I started my search I can’t help but notice that Australia is pretty much like the Philippines, as far as the beaches are concerned. They have wonderful resorts and sceneries with cascading white sands and sparkling waters alongside them.

And I happen to discover how rich their nature is as well! Take cue on the following to include in your bucketlist! 😀

Read on, my merfriends!

  1. Alice Springs Desert Park


I am not really an animal person, but this place might just make me one. The Australia’s Central desert environment are effortlessly fashioned to make everyone enjoy, understand and appreciate the extraordinary ecosystem the plants, birds, animals and select people from arid regions are able to create.

They have carefully designed a program to leave every traveller a discoverer of beauty and a wonderful storyteller.

  1. Victoria’s High Country


With my travels, I often allot a certain laidback day, wherein I can explore the city just by walking, and checking out the places where my feet takes me. This place looks interesting because it has a kaleidoscope of gourmet restaurants and amazing views.

You can also rent a car to go drive down the Alpine Road and discover beautiful high country tow, and learn about its opulent history.

I believe this would be a great venue for couples to take prenuptial shoots. With its enigmatic snow gums and lovely grass beds, who wouldn’t be drawn to show looks of love while being captured on camera by your supportive photographer friends?

  1. Ayers Rock Resort


There are a lot of activities that every traveller can experience in this place, whether he or she is traveling alone, in a couple, or with some family and friends.

You can ride camels while enjoying the awesome sceneries, go Uluru sunrise viewing, participate in dot painting workshop, join ecology and museum tours, and learn about Anangu and Australian Aboriginal culture and traditions.

I am always fascinated about a place’s history. It always reminds me how people took care of a place and how it has changed and developed through time, with or with them, with or without their help.

  1. Kings Canyon


Kings Canyon is located inside Watarrka National Park in the Northern Territory. Catching the sunrise from atop is an amazing experience to share both with friends and strangers. It is always nice to talk about the long and winding trek you had to take to get there. But of course, the view is always worth it.

You can also dine under the stars after a good helicopter flight all over the area.

  1. Kangaroo Island


This place is one of the best places in the world to see and experience native wildlife up close. You can actually walk on the beach together with a colony of sea lions. Take breath-taking photos with its picturesque rock formations. It’s definitely a good place to visit with friends and family!

  1. Byron Bay

byron 2

Byron Bay has a lot to offer too, especially to adventurous travelers! It is Australia’s easternmost town, and is a home to gushing beaches, lavish rainforests, amazing international dining experiences and modern recreational activities.

You can swim and surf, vex on delectable carefully prepared dishes, climb fascinating clifftops and mountain trails.

And for the adrenaline junkie, prepare yourself and go crazy with a guided freefall from extreme altitudes of up to 4.3 km (14,000 feet)! Whoa, Skydive Byron Bay, here I come!

  1. Thredbo, New South Wales


Skiing is definitely a must-try, especially for an Asian girl like me, and what better way to enjoy this than to head on to Australasia’s longest ski run – The Thredbo Supertrail. Get ready to burn some calories and a thigh muscle endurance fest as you tread on the 5.9 km groomed snow!

Don’t worry; there is a trail perfect for all skiers!

  1. Flinders Ranges


The rugged landscapes and craggy edges of the Flinders Ranges in South Australia boast one of the most theatrical and intriguing backdrops in the country. It has an intense Aboriginal history and configures a nesting place for wildlife.

It has a famous outback pub that offers an interesting menu of delicious and exotic food you can only try in here, plus you can use luxury swag to sleep and cuddle under the stars.

Plus it’s an exciting prelude to explore the Wilpena Pound the next day!

  1. Lake Eyre

lake eyre

Officially known as Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre is an unbelievably vast, dry real estate of glimmering salt in the outback of South Australia. It’s so wide it crosses and occupies some parts of three states.

On a dry weather, the lake transforms like a land mirror, reflecting the sky, as though being there makes you the meat of a heaven sandwich. Its wondrous illusory effect has been a great tourist attraction making travelers around the world include it in their trip’s schedule.

And every eight years as it takes on a considerable amount of water, the lake becomes an oasis, serving as a stage for migratory waterbirds and a meadow for emerging wildflowers.

Truly reminds me of my dream destination, Salar de Uyuni salts in Bolivia!

  1. Buchan Caves Reserve

Buchan Caves

I have been a fan of caves, and have been visiting so many since I was a child, that was why when I went to Batu Caves in Malaysia, I was then reminded of how nature was able to form such bewildering and astonishing landscapes hidden from the sky.

That was why I find the same ardour for Buchan Caves Reserve. A guided tour can be availed to see and explore the stalactites and stalagmites that roam the Fairy Cave and the calcite-drawn edges of the Royal Caves’ little pools. And can you believe you can also see wombats and at least 60 species of birds inside? I can’t wait to go!

Soon I will be ticking off my bucket list one by one, but probably when Calum turns a year or two. Meanwhile, get your visas at Gogozing, and they’ll help you how to get to Australia!

Gogozing Logo

Contact them at Facebook and Instagram to know more, and lets make our Australian Dreams come true!

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Oh, Organic! – The Sweetest and Safest Way to Hair-Free Skin

Two-months into postpartum, I can say that my body is slowly getting back to its pre-pregnancy state, and I’m trying to get all the help I need.

When it comes to unwanted hair, I only go for the natural and organic.

Hey Sugar 2

You’ve probably already heard of sugar waxing. You’ve heard that it’s an organic process that uses deliciously natural ingredients administered by expert aestheticians. The whole process involves removing unwanted hair while exfoliating your skin. The end result is smooth, soft, glowing skin.
It’s all true.

Hey Sugar
The ingredients used in sugaring are all natural—and by all-natural, we mean ingredients that you could actually eat. This means it’s perfect for sensitive skin. You don’t have to worry about strange additives or weird unpronounceable ingredients.


The process also involves a thorough exfoliation after removing unwanted hair, which is critical to the entire process because it will help prevent ingrown hairs, and make sure that the whole process is pain-free.


All things considered, it’s almost impossible to imagine you’d go with any other grooming

Hey Sugar 3

I am so happy we have better options in keeping our bodies and our skin healthier and more beautiful!


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The Naked Fusion’s Organic Soaps to Quench your Thirsty Skin

A lot of things can change in a woman’s body during pregnancy, and one of the most affected if I may say is the skin.

I have always taken pride on how my Mom took care my sister’s and I’s skin through the years, and that’s what I envision in doing to my son now that I am a mother.

That is why it is very timely that I got to know The Naked Fusion.

Ever since I got pregnant, I have been obsessed with organic and natural products. I wondered if I actually lived under a rock for so long for not opting to use vegan and cruelty-free products, but hey, it’s not too late, is it?

The Naked Fusion is an organic brand of beautifully handcrafted soaps that are beverage-inspired. They have a wide array of soaps for all skin types. They are 100% natural, made with certified organics, cruelty-free and vegan.


Best for: Normal | Sensitive | Dry |Irritated Baby Skin (6 months above) | Children

Glamor is a mild blend of chamomile extract, lavender, and goat’s milk that are bound to keep your skin sophisticated like a glass of champagne. With continued use, it promises healing of irritated skin and other minor skin conditions. If you have extra sensitive skin, this is the perfect soap for you.

I also love how this soap can also be used for babies. I can’t wait to try this on Calum once he’s 6 months or older.


Best for: Normal | Oily | Acne-prone skin

Plush is a sweet concoction of sage flower, bearberry and licorice extract. It delicately prevents aging and skin pigmentations while ensuring skin remains supple, fair, and moisturized. The lavish feeling upon regular use will seep through like that of the red wine.


Best for: Normal | Oily | Acne-prone skin

As soaring as a sip of vodka, Dandy brightens up the skin while keeping it soft and hydrated all throughout. Infused with lavender, peppermint, and rice milk, your skin will definitely thank you for a calming bliss together with your senses.


Best for: Normal | Sensitive | All Skin Types

Taking inspiration from the youthful character of rum, Buoyant is here to help you achieve young-looking skin. Enriched with aloe vera leaf extract, sweet almond oil and oat, this beauty will leave your skin extra moisturized and hydrated with regular use.


Best for: Normal | Sensitive | Mature and Dry

Like the wild tequila, Lucent will leave no trace of dryness. Empowered with the healing extracts of shea butter, aloe vera gel, and Himalayan pink salt, Lucent is bound to help you purify your skin with much moisture, while inhibiting sagging.


Best for: Normal | Sensitive | Mature and Dry | With Skin Conditions

Just like the refined whiskey-like skin, Savvy is fuelled with Acapulco extract, cocoa butter, and sandalwood essential oils that are great ingredients in healing minor skin diseases, fade out dark marks, and improve the elasticity of the skin.

I think this will greatly help my belly skin in recovering post-pregnancy.


Best for: Normal | Oily | Acne-prone skin

Just like the mysterious classic gimlet, Enigma is combined with the purifying benefits of activated charcoal, tea tree extract and aloe vera gel to help combat pimples, heal acne scars, and promote cell regeneration naturally.


Best for: Normal | Oily | Acne-prone skin

Carefully concocted as craft beer, Fussy prides itself with empowering ingredients such as goat’s milk, Himalayan pink salt, and bearberry extract that promise to lighten skin and improve its elasticity.

Just by writing I can already feel how thirsty my skin is. I cannot wait to use them and share with you the results. And did I mention that they all smell refreshing too?

Get yours today at:

Website: https://www.thenakedfusion.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NKDFusion/

Instagram: @nakedfusion

Contact Number: (+632) 806 4504

Email: nakedfusion@gmail.com

Keep your skin happy! 😀

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My Story on Giving Birth at Home, in the Water, with NO Anesthesia

I gave birth to an 8.1 lbs (3.7 kg) baby boy, at home, in the water, with no anesthesia.

Yes, and I’m still alive! Yay! 😀

Exactly a week ago, at this very moment, September 4, Tuesday, around 11:30 PM, I was in Marikina, writhing in pain, praying that I may survive the night and give birth finally.

I can say I am quite proud to be one of the few lucky moms who remember everything about what happened when she gave birth, from the beginning up to the end.

I would like to share with you my story.

September 3, 2018 – Monday

4:00 PM

It was my schedule to visit Ms Aileen Vinoya, my head midwife of Marikina Maternity Clinic and Lying-In that night, but prior to that, I had to do my little errand of shipping a product to a client. I was fearful to not be able to send the parcel knowing that I am due anytime.

I said goodbye to my husband as he was still busy doing something at work that time. We have agreed that he will be following me to Marikina as soon as he is done.

6:00 PM

I arrived at the clinic and was courteously greeted. I had an internal examination, and the results are looking good. I was 1 cm dilated, the baby was lying low already, but my cervix was still thick. I had some Borage Oil capsules inserted to organically persuade my cervix to dilate more.

I was also given dates, which are believed to help speed up dilatation. I was so happy to go home that night. My midwife said to go back to the clinic same time the following day.

10:00 PM

I was already having Braxton-Hicks Contractions (false labor/irregular practice contractions) since my 37th week, but this time I observed that they were becoming more regular.

I downloaded the “Contraction Timer” app to help me time and monitor the pattern. I was a little shocked and excited when they were becoming more intense. I had to ask my sister to lightly massage my lower back because they were starting to become more uncomfortable. The intervals were at 6 to 8 minutes already.

September 4, 2019 – Tuesday

12:00 AM

John arrived in Marikina, and we started to prepare the room to which I will give birth anytime. I tried to sleep but was only successful to manage an hour’s slumber. I wasn’t able to sleep the entire night already because the pain was getting stronger and stronger. I had to wake John or prod him to squeeze my back because it was painful already. I said the pain was 4/10.

4:30 AM

We were dancing to the tunes of K-Pop songs. The hip swaying was helpful, and dancing kept my mind off things. I was enjoying, and consciously forgetting that I was about to face a large feat of excruciating pain, which I chose in the first place by the way.

We texted our birth team to give them an update. Our group chat was a little silent at first because I know that they were all sleeping. I was relieved to get a reply after 30 minutes! Ms Aileen requested that I go to the clinic in the morning, instead of in the evening.

8:00 AM

We told Ms Aileen, that we can’t go anymore, because I wasn’t able to sleep and our intervals were at 4-5minutes already, with 1 minute duration.

I particularly remembered that in the “Birthing is a Blessing” class.

Plus, my mucus plug has already made its debut.

9:30: AM

Ms Alaina Balida, our other midwife arrived to check on me. She said I was already 2 cm dilated. Actually, there’s not much progress in there, because I have been labouring for 12 hours already! Golly, I have a stubborn cervix. I had another Borage Oil insertion to promote dilatation.

1:30 PM

I had to eat lunch to conserve my energy, but I was too preoccupied with the pain. I didn’t have any appetite to ingest anything. My husband even bought Vigan Longganisa (my favourite) for me!

My doula, Ms Jen Faiwas of Pinay Doulas Collective arrived and gave me the comfort I cannot imagine my gentle homebirth without. It was such a relief because John can rest and sleep, while Ms Jen takes over.

This is me getting so pampered and relieved with the birth ball, while Ms Jen puts out the fire in my abdomen.

3:00 PM

Ms Aileen arrived and our internal examination revealed that our baby is lying even lower, that it will only take me a few pushes to get him out. But there was a problem, my cervix won’t dilate. She then realized that our baby’s head is not aligned to my cervix’ opening.

Ms Jen asked me to do some lunges to correct the misaligned baby head and cervix. I also did some squatting on the bed for an hour.

I was so shocked when they told me that I was able to sleep during that exercise. My knees and thighs were burning after though. But Ms Jen was such an expert with these exercise positions that I never hesitated in following them.

4:00 PM

It turns out that baby changed positions, he was lying so low in my back, his back facing my spine, hence the loooooooong and tumultuous anguish.

6:00 PM

I was already crying. These were the first tears I shed during this 27-hour labor.

I was practicing excellent breathing exercises because allowing more oxygen to penetrate the tissues actually helps. But during this time, they were not as effective.

I still couldn’t eat dinner. I was whimpering already, and letting a few silent shrieks in between. It was sooooooo painful, it felt like my lower abdomen was being rolled on by bulldozer trucks continuously, or I was being broken and destroyed from the inside.

I felt like my body is rebelling against me like it never belonged to me, I couldn’t control the pain. It was just there. Taunting me like a little fly that won’t go away. I then remembered what was said during the birth class, that we should welcome the pain. Feeling pain brings me closer to my baby.

And so I welcomed it. Embraced it like its strength. I let it fill me up because I know these labor pains won’t be forever. I just have to endure it while it lasts. And it will be over soon.

8:00 PM

I was in agony. I was on fire. I can hardly describe the amount of soreness my body can still inflict. My intervals were 2-3minutes.

10:00 PM

I was shouting in between contractions. My birth team then recommended that I take a hot shower. I was hesitant at first because I think I cannot walk that far anymore to reach my aunt’s bathroom who lives next door. Our residence is a compound.

When I found what’s left of the strength I so bravely collected for the past 10 months, I agreed to take the hot shower. We didn’t have a continuous heater shower at home.

John and I were alone in the bathroom. He was very patient and careful in pouring the hot shower on my lower back. It was like a glass of water putting out a big fire or conflagration. Futile, but it’s better than nothing.

I told him I can’t do it anymore. I said I was prepared for the pain, but not for more than 24 hours of pain. I wasn’t expecting to go into labor this long. He said what I told him to say to me when I am about to give up, “Is this what you really want?” “Are you sure? We have gone by so far, and the next few hours are just shorter than what we have already survived.”

I agreed, and I thought that if I were to run to the hospital that night, I was pretty sure the doctors will slice me up and declare that I have to agree on an emergency C-section.

I thought about getting a scar in exchange for more hours of pain. I then settled with the more hours of pain.

10:30 PM

I was crying, and my face was already that of an unpaintable subject. I asked for any form of pain relief because it was already unbearable. I could have sworn I was totally being sliced from the inside to two tiny writhing pieces.

Ms Aileen told me that “Sayang naman. Try pa natin intayin. Intayin natin mag 6cm, kasi 1cm na magdadilate every hour.”

I agreed. She encouraged me that I can do this, and it was possible to see the baby in a few hours. Welcome the pain, we will see your baby very very soon.

11:00 PM

It was during this time that Ms Aileen said my shrieks and pain tolerance were already that of an 8 cm dilatation, but mine was just on 4 cm. I asked if she can give me any pain reliever.

She then inserted an IV and locked it with a heplock. I was given Buscopan diluted in water. But honestly, I didn’t feel any form of relief. It was like a placebo, but nevertheless, I was glad she honoured my request.

11:30 PM

I lied on the bed, and my birth team started massaging me. I was asked to lie down on the edge of the bed. They lifted my leg, placed it down, knead my muscles and my blazing lower back. Ms Jen, my doula offered me honey sticks and buko juice.

All those massages actually helped because I found relief, and I was so grateful.

Until I had the urge to push.

It was one of the weirdest and unknown phenomena to me. I mean, I studied Maternal and Child Health in my Nursing course in college, but it was never fully elaborated on what a woman actually feels when she was about to release the baby.

I felt a strong push-like contraction created by the muscles of the upper portion of my uterus. It felt like it had a mind of its own. And the baby inside sort of straightened up to align in the small opening of his grand entrance to the world.

I said, I think I can push.

Everyone fell silent.

They were waiting. I pushed. Ms Aileen was encouraging, and she said it was just like pooping. Ms Jen reminded me to take a deep breath before I push. She said I had to exhale long and put my head down.

It was not enough. My birth team said I should relax and to not pressure myself. It will come. So while there was no urge, I just have to gather my strength and rest.

September 5, 2018 – Wednesday

12:15 AM

I was already pushing for 45 minutes, and to no avail, there wasn’t much progress. I told them I was too tired already, my hips were powerless. I don’t have the strength to push anymore.

Then they offered that I use the pool already.

I was thinking I cannot probably stand and walk anymore, so I said I will just stay on the bed. I know this was not the plan. I specifically wanted a gentle waterbirth, to give birth underwater while maximizing gravity. I know that lying on the bed was not the best position to introduce our baby, into the world.

My sacral bone at the end of my vertebrae will be constricted and will not be able to move, and provide ample space as the baby goes out. I will probably tear down there, big time.

These thoughts filled my mind as I attempted another push.

12:30 AM

After the push, I had a series of pushes after. They were all unsuccessful. That is why when Ms Aileen said that I should try and go to the pool, I agreed. Maybe the pool will make things turn.

I anchored myself and stood like a helpless little child. I stepped into the water, and I suddenly felt the gush of reprieve as the warm water caressed my burning lower back.

OMG. Why did I ever think of not giving birth here 15 minutes ago?

I felt more alert when I was submerged in the water, waist down. John followed me into the pool to support me.

I felt the urge to push 3minutes into the pool. I clung on the rims of the swimming pool, and mimicked a slightly bent-over position, thinking I might imitate those powerful women who gave birth this way in the videos I watched on Youtube.

I pushed and pushed, but this child is not going out yet.

I felt weak, and a total pathetic. Maybe I wasn’t cut out for this. Maybe I was not like those women. Maybe I didn’t prepare enough, was not strong enough. Maybe I was not meant for this.

I had a lot of doubts. But my birth team, including my sister, husband’s mom, my dad’s girlfriend, were all cheering for me!

They asked me if I wanted to eat so I can have more energy. I said, yes. I ate honey sticks, buko juice, banana and ice cream.

I then changed to another position, facing John.

He was quite excited because if I give birth this way, he will be able to catch our baby.

I pushed and pushed, and pushed some more. But the baby just won’t go out.

I was seriously believing that I will give birth this way. When nothing happened, I then changed into my third position.

I sat on John’s lap. I pushed when the urge came, as expected, still nothing happened. See, I was now pathetic-er. And I was getting more and more frustrated.

1:00 AM

My birth team was so supportive, they said it’s okay. I should just take my time. And all I had to do was just push, I was already 10 cm dilated, and they can actually see baby’s head already.

Ms Aileen said I can actually touch and feel baby’s head if I try to poke. I was scared, so I refused.

After more pushes, I decided to really take my time and rest. So I attempted to sit on the pool floor, and remove myself from John’s lap, in the middle of this little movement I felt the strongest urge to release.

I said, “WAAAAIT. May urge!”

I pushed, and shouted like there are no neighbors! I shouted like I have never shouted in my life. Ms Jen reminded me to inhale deep, and release via a long blow, and keep my head down.

I did everything they told me, and for the first time, their voices started to go louder, and cheered for me even more!

I had my eyes closed while pushing so I cannot see their faces. They were all chanting “Push pa Viaaaaaa! Kaya mo yaaaaan!”

I opened my eyes a bit, and looked down. I saw the head. His head. My baby’s head. Underwater.

I told myself I had to make this looooong push, even if it is the last thing I do. I have to get him out!

I made a loooooooong push, then a series of even longer pushes!

1:05 AM

And finally, the baby came out! He had a little cord coil around the head which was released asap by my midwife. I saw the long umbilical cord that connected my baby to me.

He was given to me, and I felt the softest skin ever.

They suctioned his nose to get excess water, and I held him and I felt the most joyful moment in my life.

I said, “Hi! Welcome to earth baby Davion Calum Alistair!”

He had his eyes wide open. He looked at me like he knew me. Like he recognized my voice. He looked at John, and then moved his face to see my sister above me.

He didn’t cry a loud one, he just whimpered with confusion and fascination to what little he can see.

It was a beautiful birth. It was like a spa, only in a different version. 😀

We took some photos, and then after 15 minutes, I stood up, and lied on the bed while holding Calum. He was quiet in my arms. Ganun pala yung unang yakap. Parang ayaw mo na syang bitawan.

Calum was big and long.

Weight: 8.1 lbs or 3.7 kg

Height: 50 cm

A lot of people sooner told me that his size was like that of a 1 or 2 month old, and it was already a marker for a caesarean baby.

Since I had him on a normal spontaneous delivery, I had natural tears. I stated that there will be no episiotomies in my birth plan, which my team was very supportive of.

I never noticed that my water broke, because it was still intact even before I went to the pool.

I’m guessing it burst while I was already submerged under water.

Ms Aileen then elegantly stitched me up. After that, I changed into my clothes and walked to the dining hall to eat dinner. Haha

Finally, I have the appetite to eat again! Nakakagutom kaya manganak! 😀

2:30 AM

We had delayed cord clamping. It was also part of my requests because I want Calum to be able to get all the stem cells, oxygen, and blood components he can get while his placenta is still viable. Semi-lotus birth was a non-negotiable.

John was the one who cut the cord, I thought it would be meaningful if he will be the one to do that. We then lighted a little cake to celebrate the birthday of our son.

Through all this, I learned that to give up is not an option.

I am Via Galang-Tancuan, and I gave birth to an 8.1 lb (3.7 kg) baby boy via natural unmedicated water birth, with NO anesthesia.

And I am proud and grateful to be able to find and utilize the strength and bravery God gave me. We are stronger than what we think we are. We are women.

Birth Team:

Midwives of Marikina Maternity Clinic and Lying In:

Ms Aileen Gay Gaa Vinoya and Ms Alaina Balida


Ms Jen Faiwas of Pinay Doulas Collective



Look Whooo is Almost Due Mom-to-Be Giveaway

Golly, time flies so fast and I’m turning 37 weeks on Tuesday, August 7! Which means, the merbaby can come out anytime soon!

To celebrate this huge milestone, I am conducting a “Mom-to-Be Giveaway”!

A Baby Shower honoring mom-to-be

If you are following my Encyclopevia Facebook Page, you would know that this started last week. But fret not, you still have two weeks left to join! 😀

You can win awesome prizes for yourself, or you could give the winnings as gifts too!

This giveaway is made possible by my generous sponsors. 🙂

Madison Hotel 101 + Tower

Madison 101

  • I have written and mentioned this hotel many times on my blog and social media posts. I had their premiere accommodation as my bridal suite when I got married last year. Great location, great place, and affordable rates. You can actually use my code: “VERSAHEEL101” to get 30% discount on your staycations!

Mermaid Island

Mermaid Island Logo 2

  • This is the new baby just got out. If the baby in my tummy is my biological child, Mermaid Island is my brainchild. I have conceived the idea last September 2017, and I have finally given birth to it this June 2018! Shocks, parang 9 months in the making din! 😀
  • My love and immense need for 100% natural and vegan cosmetics paved the way for me to open my own makeup and skincare line. Currently, we are offering edible lipscrubs, moisturizing tinted lipbalms, dipbrow pomades, and lip and cheek clay stains. I will definitely blog about this new venture soon! 😀

Gogozing Migration

Gogozing Logo

  • This is an independent Australian immigration agency based in Melbourne, Australia, and Seoul, South Korea. They provide top-notch immigration services to businesses, families, and individuals worldwide.

If you are planning on traveling, studying or even migrating to Australia, I highly recommend you check them out. They give the most effective yet practical strategy in achieving your tourist and/or migration goals.

Check out my interview with the CEO of Gogozing Migration!

Now that you know the sponsors, you may now check the mechanics below 😀



To honor my ‘mom-to-be-hood’, I’m celebrating it with a giveaway! 😀

You can win the following awesome prizes:

1st prize : 1K Worth of GC from Madison Hotel 101 + Tower

2nd Prize: Beauty seacrets from Mermaid Island

3rd Prize: Dining GC from Ramen Bar in Greenfield

Are you ready? 😀

So here’s the mechanics:

  1. Like Encyclopevia in Facebook and follow me on Instagram


  1. Like Mermaid Island in Facebook
  2. Like Gogozing Migration in Facebook
  1. Tag 3 friends in the comments below (3 Names = 1 entry) You can add more entries, by putting ANOTHER COMMENT with another 3 names. (So I can count easily! Hehe :p )

The more entries you send, the more chances of winning! 😀

  1. Finally, share this on your Timeline with the status

“I want to win awesome prizes from #EncyclopeviaGiveaway!”

That’s it! 😀 You have to do all of the above to make your entries valid. I will check ha? 😊😊

You may join by visiting this LINK.

I may have to say that this giveaway is open for Philippine residents only.

I will draw winners via random.org on Aug 19, at 8PM via Facebook Live on my Encyclopevia Facebook Page. 😀

Good luck merfriends! 😀

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7 Things to Do When Preparing for Your Maternity Shoot

Last week, I finally had the courage, and time to have my maternity shoot. 😀

It was such a surreal experience; it was a first time for everyone! My hair and makeup artist, the photo and video team, my husband, and of course, me!

I know it can be unnecessary, since we have so much to prepare for birth and the days after that, but I definitely wanted to push this idea to document this wonderful miracle while I can. And of course, it won’t be possible for me not to write about it here. Teehee!

So I’d like to share some tips and a guide on what you need to do just in case you’ll be holding your own momma-shoot!

  1. Find a Comfortable Venue

I was 35 weeks when I had this shoot, and according to some of my readings, the best weeks to hold this photoshoot is when you are between your 28th to 35th. In this time, at least your tummy is showy enough to be captured, and at the same time, safer. We don’t want to be bothered by the fact that you can give birth any minute while posing for the camera, do we?


Photo Credit: http://sanrafaelriveradventure.com/

I tried looking for studios, and a good AirBNB place, but all the places I’ve looked for are either too cramped, doesn’t allow photoshoots, or are waaaaaaaaaaaaay too expensive!

Good thing, I stumbled upon a post in my feed about this cute getaway place in Bulacan. It’s called San Rafael River Adventure, and the place actually looks divine! 😀

They have a lot of fun activities that you can use for other types of shoots, like the prenup. But since I will just be using the entire accommodation, this should be enough.

It is highly important that you feel comfortable with the location or your venue, because of our condition. This is not the shoot where we can be adventurous. Leave it to the prenups and getaway trips! 😀

I booked the Glass Stilt Cottage, which is newly constructed by the way. I can’t believe I have a view of the lake in front of me! They have a comfy bed, and a jacuzzi. The space outside was enough to cater at least 6 people. There was a hammock, a sliding sofa, good lighting and a breezy weather to top it off. The air condition was good inside as well, plus the windows were perfect for those silhouette shots I was eyeing. Plus I thought that their rainy season promo was just perfect! So, what does a pregnant girl got to do? Book it right away of course! 😀

I am happy that the resort was very quick to reply, and I was given the available dates. I made a group chat, and voila, scheduled it right away together with the available dates of my team! 😀

2. Create Your Mood Board

I am a very bad pregnant-person-slash-client. Grr. I bash myself.

Oh well, I know I have to prepare for this weeks ago, but I was only able to send this to my team two days prior to our shooting day. I was too busy with some other things that I rarely had time to browse Pinterest or create a mood board.

But being the good crammer that I am, I was able to whip one just in time. Hehe 😀

Since I got a really good deal with Grid Studio too, (they are our civil wedding photo and video team by the way); they offered me unlimited shots, so yeah I want to maximize that. 😀

I thought about 5 sets and took inspiration from the things I found online, and of course with the available props and wardrobe that I have.

a. Whimsical Woman

I bought this pink ensemble way back in May, thinking it could be a good alternative for a bridal robe for my church wedding. But turns out, it could serve its purpose at an earlier date!

I also bought these flower crowns in SM. I couldn’t decide which one I like more, so I got them both. Haha Ayoko na pahirapan sarili ko! (I don’t want to have the burden of thinking which one is better!)

b. Simple and Laidback Mom + Hubby

I saw a lot of simples, and laidback shots that are perfect to include baby things, and the husband too. It looks soft on the eyes, very loving, and “very family”.

c. Boss Mama

This one is credited to my working-productive-self! Even though I’m pregnant, I am still very hands-on in my business especially that it’s new and the brand is just starting to pick up.

I always tell myself, I will not lose my identity and individuality just because of the new role that motherhood could bring; more so, it will be a big improvement. I will be a much better version because I’m adding a new role in my resume.

d. Boudoir

I actually wanted one before prior to getting married, but due to time constraints and indecisiveness, I wasn’t able to come up with one. Hopefully, when I get my body back post-pregnancy!

So in the meantime, I thought why not have one while expecting? It’s a totally new form because for once in my life I am not skinny, and I’ve got a few extra curves to flaunt. 😀

I can’t wait to share the silhouette photos! 😀

e. Summertime

Since I love wearing a bikini, and there was a Jacuzzi in our venue, there was no way I would pass on the opportunity of wearing one.

It was very funny too, because for once in my life, I have to buy an extra-large bikini! Haha 😀 I was pretty sad when I didn’t get the color I wanted because I was too big for the available Large size. Goodie, they have this red one that can fit my baby bump.

Which reminds me, I actually had a mini shoot wearing a bikini when I was in Bataan. I was 18 weeks here, and you could see how I just look ‘busog’.

3. Find a Good Maternity Shoot Team

This was easy. I was able to establish a really good relationship with my civil wedding photo-video-HMU team that I thought about them instantly. They actually haven’t done any maternity shoots, so this made the whole experience more exciting.

I actually thought of getting other suppliers, but I realized I will still get a better deal if I get my original team. I also saw some studios offering maternity shoots. Sure they are cheaper, but what I didn’t like is that they don’t give raw files of the photos, and they will only release like 5 to 10 shots, printed and edited. Plus there was no video too.

Grid Studio offered me unlimited shots, a video, printed photos and raw files, plus we can shoot anywhere I like, so yes, there was nothing left to discuss.

Elaine Cordova Makeup Artistry is such a good find too. She has done my makeup for a blog photoshoot and at my actual wedding, and I am really satisfied. She has great skills, plus I don’t have to burn holes in my pockets just to avail her airbush makeup. Elaine is also very instinctive, she knows what you want, asks for your makeup pegs, and deliberately retouches you every now and then, without you even asking.

4. Know Your Poses

Expect a lot of dreamy looks and belly-touching poses on a maternity shoot. So be sure your nails are polished! If you gain some weight and some extra chubbs in your face like I do, be sure you know your angles so you can still achieve the looks you want.

It’s also good to research poses with your husband/partner so things could go on smoothly. I am so happy that Rose and Michael of Grid Studio are very directive when it comes to poses. It was amazing how they handled and directed us even though it was also their first to cover a maternity shoot.

5. Prepare Your Props

We weren’t able to buy a lot of props, but good thing I was able to nick some of the random shopping baby finds we had. Plus it is so helpful that friends and family also gave their baby gifts earlier! Haha More props for us!

Here is the list of the props I think would help add more character to a maternity shoot:

  1. Baby clothes
  2. Baby shoes (Be gender specific)
  3. Baby socks
  4. Baby toys
  5. Ultrasound Photos
  6. Baby book / Storybook
  7. Pregnancy book
  8. Stuffed toy (I had a kangaroo with a little joey in its pouch)
  9. A figure of the first letter of baby’s name (We didn’t have time to find one. Sad. )

6. Get a Good Night Sleep The Day Before

Please do! It’s good for your skin, and to rid those circles under your eyes. Plus it helps you to have good energy for the entire day!

I only had an hour’s sleep though. I was finishing bulk orders ready for delivery the next day, that’s why. I think my strong desire and excitement for the shoot to happen are what sustained me to last the whole day! 😀

7. Enjoy Being Gorgeously Pregnant and Pose the Belly Away

Honestly, I was extra weary that I won’t look great in this shoot, because I’m fat, my skin is dry, my belly button is protruding, my linea nigra is so apparent, my face feels like it’s going to burst, etc.

But hey, I am a walking miracle! That should be enough to keep me happy and make me feel beautiful. So I just accepted all these flaws that I have in my head, after all, these are all normal for a pregnant woman, duh?

So I just prepared myself that I won’t get the usual results in this photoshoot, unlike the past ones. I have to accept that early on. I will look different. Very different. But there’s a growing life inside me, and this little one is going to change my life forever. And being able to document that in a maternity shoot is already a blessing. Truly, something I would treasure for the years to come.

If you are thinking of having one too, I highly recommend it! It doesn’t have to put a big dent on your wallet though. You can always have the kind of shoot you want, whether in your home, studio, in a DIY setup, on the beach, or anywhere you find it comfortable doing. You just have to do your research, and be resourceful!

Go my mermom merfriends! 😀 Be confident and strut that baby bump soon! 😀 You only get pregnant once, or twice, or thrice! Haha 😀 Whatever the frequency is, it would be a great keepsake for your family to remember by, and a great photo to show the little one once he is outside too!

I will share my final shots when I get them!

Enjoy your pregnancy! I’m popping soon!

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Top 10 Reasons Why Filipinos Are Migrating to Australia

As far as many countries are concerned, I find Australia being extremely attractive. Obviously, if you are a keen follower of this blog, you might have noticed how often I write about this country.


I have never visited Australia by the way, but I’m really hoping I get to go sooner. Well, maybe next year after the wedding, and of course after I give birth. Golly, I can actually pop in 2 weeks! 😀

Haha 😀

Anyway, I’ve done my research and these definitely made me more ecstatic on visiting the country soon, plus I realized that I also share the same sentiments with fellow Filipinos in terms of reasons of going there. No wonder, more and more are opting to migrate there!

Here are top 10 reasons why Filipinos are traveling, or even migrating to Australia:

  1. The Food


Source: https://www.lonsdaleinstitute.edu.au/blog/12-iconic-foods-must-try-australia/

The food is something you should watch out for when you go to Australia. The result of multiple Michelin star restaurants, cafes, bistros, fast food chains are basically credited to the huge migrant population across the country. You can lavish on varied dishes and diverse cuisines, and they are all made from the freshest ingredients farmed and cultivated in Australia.

To also highlight the food enthusiasts and talents of the country, TV cooking shows such as My Kitchen Rules and Masterchef Australia are also quite popular where amateur chefs vie to win awesome prizes and much-coveted fame and titles.


  1. The Coffee Culture


Source: https://www.australia.com/en-nz/things-to-do/food-and-wine/a-coffee-lovers-guide-to-melbourne.html

Are you one of those people who always have to supply their coffee fix? I have a lot of friends who can’t even function right if they don’t get their coffee! Talk about how my merhubby is one of them! 😀

Now if you answer yes, Australia has another attraction to keep your traveling feet itchy to visit.

Australia is quite famous for their coffee culture –everyone seems to be drinking coffee here. There are so many coffee shops all over, serving hot coffee or cold variations especially in major cities. Migrants definitely have another reason to love about this country!


  1. The Climate



Coming from a tropical country with only two seasons to enjoy, the summer and the rainy, it’s also quite a huge charm to experience the other three – the spring, the autumn, and of course, the winter. More reasons to update social media with cute Instagram-worthy photos!

Australia seems to be very ideal as its temperate weather provide such a homey feel to its residents. As spring, summer, autumn, and winter are all present in the east coast, the full experience of basking under the summer skies and sunny spring, as well as the coolness and breeziness of winter and autumn are completely enjoyed.

However, due to the country’s location in the Southern hemisphere, the seasons are reversed, wherein winter happens in July to August, and summer is felt from December to January.

  1. The World’s Most Liveable Cities


While I was more familiar about Vienna, Austria and Toronto, Canada as two of the most liveable cities in the world, I also happen to find out that Melbourne, Australia is the top one in the list of the most liveable cities in the world. Not to mention that Adelaide and Perth also come in 6th and 7th place.

The recent report by The Economist Intelligence Unit, which ranked 140 cities by looking at “30 qualitative and quantitative factors across five broad categories of stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education and infrastructure,” produced this data according to EIU.

The Economist ranks each city a total score out of 100 for all these categories, and Melbourne’s overall rating was 97.5. Melbourne now occupies the top position being the winner in 2017 – it’s 7th year in a row.


  1. The Social Security


After knowing that Melbourne, Australia is in the top 1 in being the most liveable city in the world, it is no wonder that they have excellent social security.

In Australia, a master program called Centrelink by Social Security Department is readily available to provide social security benefits such as student benefits, sickness, unemployment, and many others. You can even extend these benefits to your family members, which I think is extremely helpful.

This is rewarded to migrants who have settled in Australia for a minimum of two years though.


  1. The Healthcare


Being a nurse, I have always wondered why free healthcare is not extended in most hospitals here in the Philippines. I mean, wouldn’t it be beneficial for all and at the same time more life-saving especially for our less fortunate brothers? Anyway, that’s a different topic worthy of a discussion in a different time.

Australia, on the other hand, has this wonderful benefit. If you are an Australian Permanent Resident, you and your family have a wide access to free medical treatment, procedures, facilities, and medicines. Now, who wouldn’t want that?


  1. The Education


Source: https://www.internationalaffairs.org.au/australianoutlook/internationalising-australian-higher-education/

I actually have attended a seminar here in Manila about possible educational opportunities in Australia that will yield you better credentials and give you greater potentials in getting better and high-paying jobs.

University fees vary from state to state, and the schedule can also be flexible enough for you to get part-time jobs. You can study, at the same time earn.

Should you have any financial incapacity to support your education, you can also take advantage of the Higher Education Loans Program (HELP). This program can cover tuition fees, university materials, miscellaneous fees, and many more depending on your situation and eligibility.


  1. The Indefinite Living Condition


If you are holding an Australian Permanent Resident Visa, you have the privilege to live in Australia whenever you want to. Your Visa is valid for 5 years so you can travel in and out of the country given that your visa is still valid. After 5 years, and you wish to settle down in Australia indefinitely, you can do so as well.

Should you have plans of traveling outside Australia after such time, you’ll have to apply for a Resident Return Visa; and you may have to check though if you are eligible for it. Anyway, you can always follow up and work on your requirements.


  1. The Trail to Australian Citizenship


Source: https://www.arlaw.com.au/news/news-on-australian-citizenship-ombudsman-report/

Applying for Australian Citizenship status, you have to remember that you would need to live and stay in Australia for four years prior to your application to become eligible. You also have to prove and be of good character while you are living there, the same as maintaining good English language proficiency. You would need to take and pass the citizenship test as well to demonstrate and prove adherence to the Australian community, responsibilities, and way of life.

Should you qualify to become an Australian citizen, a big advantage is waiting for you.  If you are a migrant moving to the country, you should know that Australia honors dual citizenship and that children born to permanent residents in Australia can apply for citizenship even if their parents don’t yet qualify.


  1. The Economy and its Opportunities


The Australian economy is known for its stability and solid foundation especially to all those who have experienced working in the country for many years. Consequently, this also allowed the Australian dollar to have the reputation of being one of the strongest and safest currencies in the world. For migrants coming from most South East Asian countries, such as the Philippines it is simple and affordable to send money back to their countries of origin.

In terms of minimum wage, Australia’s rates are quite high compared to other countries. While Australia offers $17.70 per hour, in United Kingdom it is just $AU14.66 per hour, in New Zealand $AU14.22 per hour, in France $AU14.98 per hour, in Germany $AU13.17 per hour, in Canada between $AU10.45 and 13.81 per hour depending on the province, and in the United States a far distant $AU10.08 per hour.

With this in mind, it doesn’t seem like a shock to anyone with a job in Australia to be able to afford rent and food regardless if they are working in a gasoline station, salon, restaurant, retail outlet, hotel, office, or if they are a professional.

With about 10% of Filipinos living and working abroad, sending money home is important and is deemed second nature in most Filipino family settings. According to the World Bank, in 2016, OFWs sent home $29.9bn, trailing only behind India and China, contributing about 10% of the country’s GDP – and according to the data of Philippines Statistics Authority, Filipinos in Australia accounted for 2.2% of all remittances in 2016.

OMG. Researching about Australia opened a lot of new facets for me, and at the same time brewed the dream of also experiencing a similar or even greater system sometime in the future for me and my family, whether it is here or somewhere in the world.

Gogozing Logo

For your Australian Migration inquiries, you can also check out Gogozing Migration and find out more details on how you can visit or migrate! Follow them on Facebook, and Instagram as well! 😀


I hope you enjoyed reading this blog, as much as I did writing it. Did this make you want to go to Australia more? Let me know in the comments! 😀


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Hello Kitty Then and Now: From a Child’s Toy to a Lady’s Best Friend

I am 29 years old, married to a beautiful man, and pregnant to a sweet baby boy (his kicks always try to reach my hand whenever I absent-mindedly touch my belly, take note, I’m not even pressing on my bump), and I am still a big fanatic of Hello Kitty.

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I remember buying sooo many Hello Kitty items when I was younger. I usually get the pink ones, while my little sister gets the blue versions. I spent most of my childhood in different cities in the Philippines because of my dad’s work, and we stayed in Butuan City in Mindanao the longest – 6 years.

I recall that there were no malls back then, and I was pretty appalled. Haha 😀

People who are close to me know how “maarte” I can get.

In Butuan, there was probably only one store that sells nice girly things. It’s just a little boutique in the center of the city, and naturally, you wouldn’t be surprised to know that most of the little girls drag their moms there to buy them whatever. The stocks are very limited too, so when you get a pretty item, you suddenly become a star in your class.

I can say my sister and I were two of the hoarders, and my mom was extra-giving too, so lucky us! 😀

Recently though, I came upon a new brand of sanitary pads that illustrates the face of Hello Kitty – Softex. My 10-year-old self would’ve been so excited to get her period I guess.

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Softex is based in Indonesia, and that will explain some of the foreign words you can see in their packaging.

I got curious so I immediately tried their pantyliners.

I was kind of giddy because normally I only get 20 liners in one packet, but theirs have 5 more! 😀

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I love how ultra-thin it is, given how the liner contour fits perfectly. My thighs have decided they want to go extra meaty to support my baby weight, hence my concern for feeling uncomfortable in trying new pads. I am quite happy that Softex pantyliners did not disappoint. 🙂

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They also come in Comfort Slim pads that you can use during your red days, no matter how heavy the flow is.

The interior has a pillow-like feel for extra comfort, with breathable layer and has a 1-second absorption rate! 🙂

Softex Comfort Slim pads utilize SILKTOUCH Surface Technology with BICOMPONENT fiber that combines super-soft fiber with a strong inner fiber that has a 2mm thickness that you’ll barely feel. The housed in an aluminized packaging with an open/close sticker are also incorporated in the design package to ensure utmost cleanliness.

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You can also try their Comfort Slim Long pads specially made for heavy flows and night-time. The wide backguard ensures you don’t leak and stain the sheets, and helps you achieve that good sleep and sweet dreams!


The innovative pack of extra long, ultra-thin, hypoallergenic pads is the lady-down-there’s new best friend!

I’m giving birth next month, and these pads will sit on the dresser waiting for me to use them soon! 🙂


You can buy them in the following stores:  Puregold, select branches of SM Health&Beauty sections, Watsons, Robinsons, Waltermart, Ministop, Shopee, Lazada, BeautyMNL


Follow Softex in their social media channels:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SoftexHelloKittyPH/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/softexhellokittyph/


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5 Tips on Applying for Australian Visa

One of the countries I would really want to visit in the future is Australia. I have a cousin who lives there, and she has been very keen on me touching Australian floors very soon.

I was actually hoping to go with my merhubby to spend our honeymoon there, but apparently, we found out that we were already expecting a month after we got married! Haha 😀 Turns out my Australian dream vacation will have to wait.


Photo Credits: https://askmigration.com/the-perfect-guide-to-applying-for-an-australian-visa/


Well, I can always visit there, especially once my little merbaby is out and about. And since we are talking about visiting this amazing country already, I would just like to share and key in the tips I have collected while I was rummaging for ideas on how we can apply for an Australian Visa.


  1. Know Your Visa

I have never gone to a country that needs visa applications, so this is relatively new to me. And I found out that there are different kinds, depending on your purpose. There is the Visitor Visa (subclass 600), Carer Visa (subclass 116) and Partner Visa (subclass 820 and 801).

  1. Prepare Your Supporting Documents

Just like any other visa application, you have to prove your identity and your capacity to sustain your stay in Australia. Some documents you may need to prepare are the following:

  • Travel documents
  • Birth Certificate
  • Personal Assets
  • Work Experience /Company ID /Certificate of Employment
  • Financial or Bank Statements
  • Travel History
  • Marriage Certificate
  • Land Titles
  • Latest Payslips
  • Most recent Income Tax Return

If you are not paying for your stay, you have to show supporting documents of your trip sponsor.

  1. Don’t Book Your Flight Just Yet

It is recommended that you apply for your visa first, before securing any airline ticket. Of course, we are hoping for positive things, and gaining the approval, however, it is better to ensure having a visa first.

But since we are in a time of promo fares and cheap airline tickets, you may take a chance on booking a flight and getting a schedule that will still allow you to have enough time to prepare and process your visa. And maybe more ample days to shop for your #ootds!


  1. Be Healthy

OMG! I was actually surprised to know this as well. Apparently, there will also be a medical exam that you should pass in order for you to travel to Australia. I believe this is necessary to ensure that you are healthy enough and fit to travel abroad, plus this can also mean that they want you clear of any unwanted diseases that could pose harm to anybody along the way.

So, ensure enough sleep and get your diet in line merfriends! 😀

  1. For Females, Be Sure to Properly Schedule Your Medical Appointment

arrival 2

If you’re a female, be sure to schedule at least a week after you finish your period. The medical exam could be quite expensive, and it would be sad if you have to repeat tests just because of the ‘red days’.


I am happy to have learned these this early, as it can help me prepare ahead of time, and of course to have the pleasure to share these with you!

Are you visiting Australia soon? Are you planning to spend a vacation, study, work or even live there?

Gogozing Logo

You may check Gogozing for more information about Australian visa applications, and learn how they can help you fulfill your Australian dream! 😀

You can also like and follow them on Facebook and Instagram! 🙂


And don’t forget to snap photos with the koalas and kangaroos! 😀


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