Category: Books

Of books and proposals: a post-Valentines Day post

Let us welcome 2018 on the blog with love, love, love!

It was a heavy January (let us save this for later), but February is sure heartwarming. HeARTS month it is!

So, here’s a little story about our engagement 11 years ago.

“Lord, a smart guy will do. Kahit hindi gwapo.”

He gave me a #Mensan, a high IQ guy. The good looks came as a welcome bonus.

Not even exerting effort!


October 2007 when he asked me if I was ready to take our relationship to the next level. I said yes. Nothing fancy schmancy. But I was in for a surprise.

December 2007, Ton and I visited MV Doulos, the oldest passenger ship and now a floating bookstore. I was clueless of his “paandar”–a cookbook with a paper on page 143 which says “Will you marry me?” Then on bended knee, he showed a small box with the engagement ring. We were alone in that area–the cookbook area–and it was a perfect moment for just the two of us.

We celebrate ten years of our marriage in November this year. As a post-Valentines date (never on Valentines Day), Ton and I visited the Big Bad Wolf Book Sale. Reminisced the engagement scene (took photos at the cookbook section) and shopped for books (yet again, since he and our daughter “dated” here already a few days ago).

We love to read…and eat. We also love to cook, sometimes.

I am happy to be married to Ton. I know that we are together come hell or high water. And we will overcome many more, as long as we are together, and with God as our Center.

Happy belated Valentines Day, Mein Schatz!


Without Wax,

Deine Schatzi Em =)


Philippine Proverbs: A golden book of wisdom

“May kasabihan po tayo…” (We have a saying…)

This is a familiar line to our generation. A local television noontime show has this motto-memorization, er, mini-beauty pageant for little girls giving nuggets of wisdom as they introduce themselves.

Words are wisdom, and these are compiled in one book called Philippine Proverbs.

E-vite for the event.
E-vite for the event.

National Book Development Board head, Ms. Neni Sta. Romana-Cruz chose 105 proverbs from a bigger selection from master folklorist Dr. Damiana Eugenio, who compiled various folk literature that includes stories, legends, myths, folk songs, among others. The proverbs come in about 20 Philippine dialects, and translated to English for commonality.

It is an easy read, and I try to savour the language, especially those unfamiliar to my ears (well, eyes, in this case). I actually read them aloud then read the English translation. Some dialects would have similar sayings to English, some cross dialects, that one can be found in several different regional groups.

The book was launched in a very intimate (but filled to the brim) venue last March 15. Friends, family, fans, and mommy bloggers (like I am) were in attendance. It was an afternoon of local Filipino kakanin, quick Proverbs Bingo game, and a small skit of a couple who spew proverbs while fighting, (which made some of us panic a bit–the elder lady beside me was one).

We were able to have our copies sign by the author herself, along with the illustrator, Eisen Bernardo. His lively drawings and vivid colours made the book easy to the eyes.

Author and Illustrator at the middle, flanked by mommy bloggers (and their babies).
Author and Illustrator at the middle, flanked by mommy bloggers (and their babies). Photo credit: Mommy Joy Barachina Lojo.

And since there were other books on sale (some by the author herself too), I got a couple for my husband and kid, which I had signed as well by Ms. Neni.

Thank you, Tahanan Books, for inviting us to this launch.

“Ang gamot sa kalimot ay paalala.”

“Bukas, kwento na lang ang lahat.”

“Time is gold.”

These are but a few of the sayings I carry to heart all the time.


Just like in an autograph book in high school, what is your motto?


~ Touringkitty

REVIEW: 7 Things Every Wife Should Know (Viviene Bigornia)

For newlyweds and almost weds.
For newlyweds and almost weds: a manual of sorts.

In life, there are things that are not really learned in school. Like entering married life. We read books about marriage, and there are just so many.

This book came my way just in time for our seventh anniversary which we celebrate this November. The perpetual learner that I am, I needed a refresher.

I can’t believe it’s been seven years already of being married. It seemed like only yesterday! My husband and I know each other for half of my life, been married to him for more than a quarter of it, and now taking care of our little angel who is turning five this year.

What a ride, a bumpy but happy one so far. And this book served as a great reminder of the vows we’ve made for each other on that most wonderful day of our lives.

The author, Viviene Bigornia takes us on her own journey as a wife and how she has nurtured it through the Lord. I liked that the book is Bible-based and God-centered, two important things in our married and family life.

The book is simple, easy to read, and informative. A lot of good-to-know information are written. Scriptures help you reflect on what God wants a wife to be to her husband. I also like that it had reflection pages at the end of each chapter, and that it encourages you to reflect and express yourself.

Whether you are single and preparing for marriage, a newlywed, or “veteran” wife, this book is a great read and a great reminder that we, wives, are God’s gift, and to be a perfect gift to our husbands, we must also prepare ourselves in all aspects.

Want to get your own copy? Touringkitty readers are being treated to a 15% off! From P395 to P335. Send an email with the subject line 15%OFF. This will be up until the end of February. And it’s free shipping! Perfect Valentines Day gift.

It is also available via Amazon or the author’s website.

N.B.: I received an e-book of 7 Things Every Wife Should Know for review.


~ Touringkitty

Buqo’s 36 Days of Christmas

We’re counting down the days til Christmas, only a month to go, and here’s a gift for you, ready, get set, go!

Buqo, an e-book reader application, is giving away free e-books and magazines for 36 days starting November 26!

It's three times as fun as the 12 Days of Christmas!
It’s three times as fun as the 12 Days of Christmas!

I have been using buqo to read local magazines and e-books, some I’ve gotten for free in the past. Yes, they carry e-book versions of local publications and magazines through this app. I have recipe books and parenting magazines in just one go–in a tablet.

Here’s another chance, no, make that 36 chances to get 36 books each day, for free!

How to do it?

1. Download the buqo app on your tablet device. Whether you have iOS or Android, buqo works perfectly in both.

Buqo iOS (App Store):

Buqo Android (Google Play):

2. Starting at 11:00AM of November 26, a free book or magazine can be downloaded through a special banner on the buqo app. Take note, you only have 24 hours to download the freebie of the day, so I suggest you set a schedule already.

3. Take first dibs on what’s in store at the beginning of each day by connecting with buqo’s social media accounts:




Voila! a new e-book or magazine in your tablet!

How’s that for a Christmas gift? Remember to share this with your friends and family, and give the gift of reading something new everyday to them.

Let me know what you’ve downloaded so far by commenting below.

Visit to know more about the service.


~ Touringkitty

Ex Libris Philippines: a Book Club with a helping hand

If books can talk, they will have a lot to say.

Since books cannot do the talking, book clubs came to be. Book clubs whose members share the same love for reading by sharing stories about their favorite reads.

One book club that I discovered does more than reading books. They help send students to college.

Ex Libris Philippines, is a nonstock, nonprofit organization for book enthusiasts. The group believes that the nobility of ideals and great vision should not just exist in the pages of books or in the minds of authors long-dead and gone, but in reality. Their Scholarship Project helps send deserving but financially challenged U.P. students to school. Their past four fundraisers have helped fund the education of 22 scholars, some of whom have graduated with honors already.



Gabriela Francisco, the valedictorian of our music graduating batch in 2008 and fellow voice degree graduate, talks more about her book club and NGO, Ex Libris Philippines. 

Touringkitty (TK): When did you start Ex Libris Philippines, and what is the club’s purpose and goal?

Gabriela Francisco (Gabi): Ex Libris Philippines began in 2007 as a book club, but one with a mission: to live out the ideals we read about in books, in daily life.

TK: Who started it? Your backgrounds? How did you come up with this organization?

Gabi: The founders are from UP Diliman. Natasha Francisco, the Founding President, also founded the college org, Ex Libris U.P. Most of Ex Libris Philippines’ members are also from UP. (Natasha is Gabi’s twin sister–TK)

TK: What projects do you have? What are your plans for this year and for the next years?

Gabi: Currently we have annual fundraisers for our Scholarship project, but in time we hope to have several more. We were also in the last event of National Book Development Board (NBDB) held at High Street, Bonifacio Global City. We had a book swap booth.

TK: Who are your scholars? How do you choose them? Are they all from UP? Will you open to other universities as well?

Gabi: Right now we can’t afford to help those in other universities like Ateneo because their tuition fees are too expensive. So we aim to help those who REALLY need help. Ours is more of a need-based scholarship, than a merit-based one. But of course, grades DO matter. And so we have several scholarship grant recipients who graduated with honors already.

TK: What does your organization champion? Who are you in service of?

Gabi: We are a book club with a mission, a conscience. Sure, we meet and discuss books like all other book clubs. But it’s not enough, for us. We need to LIVE OUT what we read about. We exist to help others. In the end, that’s what literature is all about: loving words, and living out that love with concrete acts.

And this is one of their projects we could all support.


Ex Libris Philippines will have a blocked screening of X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST on May 24, 2014, Saturday, 7:45 pm, at Power Plant Mall, Rockwell, Makati.

Watch the movie (I know you’ve been waiting for it!), and give a helping hand to deserving UP students.

~ Touringkitty

For more information about the blocked screening and the NGO:
Gabi Francisco 0920-9470835

Good Board Books Come Cheap!

I appreciate Book Sale more now that I have a child. I used to just browse for books and often end up with nothing. Now, every trip to Book Sale we go straight to where the board books are.

Yup, board books. We got a handful already, and we haven’t stopped buying. Yet. Especially when they come super cheap!

My recent discovery were these lovelies:

All in good condition! The CD is even included in Rhinoceros Tap!

What if I told you that these three cost less than a thousand pesos? Actually, less than three hundred pesos! Isn’t it great?

Now, you might ask, who is the author of these books? She is no Mother Goose or Dr. Seuss but I tell you, she’s amazing!

Friends, meet Sandra Boynton! I was surprised to find out she’s American because her humor sounds English. Check out her super funny website (scroll over her name and the link is there).

The first book we bought was But not the Hippopotamus, which my husband purchased from a book sale at their office. It talks about a hippo who doesn’t belong, but in the end, he was invited by all the other animals. Simple, really cutesy doodles of animals, easy to follow rhymes.

Meanwhile, the two other books I got from Book Sale store at our nearby mall.

The first I took notice of was the Rhinoceros Tap. I was surprised that it was from the same author, and that it has the CD inside, for only P140! Really a good buy because the book is in super good condition and not taken out from a library! We played the CD immediately upon getting home, and the little one danced to the original jazz tunes. Super like!

What I liked more about this book are the notation and chords found on the latter half of the book. Pictures and big words are on the first part. Sight readers that we are, we sang along while the CD is playing.

The last book, Snoozers, is for kids, just like ours, who has a hard time sleeping. So I read to her the melodious rhymes as she kept on running around our bed. So long as she hears the rhymes and sees me flapping the book, she sits down and listens.

I really appreciate also that Aria shows a love for books. She gets all her board books before snoozing either for a daytime nap or for bedtime. She isn’t eating them anymore unlike when she was just a few months old, but she kept on flapping them and blabbering as if she really can read.

What other books can you recommend? Share them here!

~ Touringkitty