Category: Press Releases

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

Touringkittyps: 10 Gift Suggestions from The Mind Museum

Who says giving Christmas gifts are only for the young ones?

The Mind Museum gives us 10 gift suggestions this Yuletide season. You might think these gifts are only for science geeks, but with their wide array of museum activities and products from the Mind Museum Store, there’s definitely one for everyone.

1. The Scientific Date: How about a date in an artsy but science-themed gallery, or stargazing in cozy couches in a custom-made planetarium? Surprise your loved ones and the young ones with All Day Passes or gift certificates to The Mind Museum! With over 250 hands-on, minds-on exhibits and live experiment demonstrations that unveil the remarkable science behind living and non-living things, a date or two in The Mind Museum is definitely a unique and exciting way to spend time together this Yuletide season. (The Mind Museum tickets all day passes is sold for only Php750/php)

Back when we were dating, my husband and I love to visit museums, and now our daughter loves museum visits, too! Always a great date day for the three of us.

A visit in their outdoor park, Science in the Park during the middle of this year. Aria and Dad trying out the giant bubbles.
A visit in their outdoor park, Science in the Park during the middle of this year. Aria and Dad trying out the giant bubbles.

2. Name the Stars after Your Loved Ones: Do you know that you can literally leave your mark in The Mind Museum by naming one of their virtual exhibits? You can leave your names or your loved ones’ on digital exhibits found in the different galleries in the Museum, through a fixed donation that come with e-certificates. Imagine the delight of seeing your family’s name imprinted on the virtual stars that make up a constellation, or name a specific kind of dinosaur that inhabits a virtual era in history. What’s more heart-warming is that all proceeds for this program go to supporting the institutions’ project of giving free museum visits to public school kids. (Virtual exhibits’ price ranges from Php1,000 to Php5,000, depending on your choice of show. For more information, visit

It might be interesting to have a star named after my daughter, Ariadne!

3. The Key to Endless Discovery: A year-round, all-day admission to the first world-class science museum in the country—how does that sound? Interactive exhibits, a thoughtfully designed planetarium, meticulously laid-out 3D shows, and exciting science demonstrations await your lucky gift recipient. The Mind Museum’s Unlimited Science Pass also gives free admission to over 300 worldwide science museums, discounts on travelling exhibition tickets, birthday packages, and purchases inside The Mind Museum Store. And because the institution always interlinks its efforts with expanding the knowledge of today’s generation, this unli-pass directly supports free museum passes for underprivileged kids. (For a group of four or more, avail the Unlimited Science Pass for only Php2,250/pax. Visit for more information)

4. All for Science, All for Love: To celebrate the holidays in a different, more meaningful way, why not sponsor a trip for public school kids this Christmas? You can even ask your family or friends to join you in spearheading this project to further enrich the sense of wonder of these young ones. Don’t worry, The Mind Museum’s doors are open to plan and accomplish this advocacy of embracing and sharing the true spirit of the season. (To inquire about this project, please send your email to

Don’t forget to give! It’s nice to receive but definitely much nicer to give.

Want more? Here’s what’s in store at The Mind Museum Store.

The Cultural Center of the Philippines Arts Education Department (where I used to work) back in 2012 in one of our exposure trips. The Mind Museum Store behind us.
The Cultural Center of the Philippines Arts Education Department (where I used to work) back in 2012 in one of our exposure trips. The Mind Museum Store behind us.

5. If these shirts could talk: Let your friends “wear their wit” with these design shirts that are exclusively available in The Mind Museum Store! These shirts come in different colors and are tastefully designed with vibrant graphics and statements that will truly make science a cool fashion statement of choice this holiday season. (Prices range from Php379.75 to Php499.75)

My Mensan husband would looove these!
My Mensan husband would looove these!

6. Of Puzzles, Papers, and Pencils: Instead of those tired old notebooks or planners, try giving the young ones (or even your family and friends) these funky Human Anatomy Notebook and Science Alphabet Notebook! They’re, indeed, a safe space for random thoughts, important lists, or mind babbles. Here’s a tip: pair these notebooks with Puzzle Color Pencils and let its colorful tips become their wand to create their DIY-diary. (Human Anatomy Notebook and Science Alphabet Notebook are sold for only Php379.75, while Puzzle Color Pencils set is sold for only Php649.75.)

Love scribbling? Get these cool notebooks to unleash the science geek in you.
Love scribbling? Get these cool notebooks to unleash the science geek in you.

7. Own the Universe: While these kids are taking baby steps towards their dreams, you can show them the momentary short-cut in seizing the universe, literally, through the Star Planetarium! Projecting 3D stars, planets, and constellations, this amazing contraption also includes 3D glasses for a more mesmerizing virtual representation of what’s above and beyond the world we’re living in. (The Star Planetarium set is sold for only Php2,579.75.)

My daughter has a fascination with all things in the sky, so this will be a great gift to her. Calling Ninongs and Ninangs!
My daughter has a fascination with all things in the sky, so this will be a great gift to her. Calling Ninongs and Ninangs!

8. Unearthing the Dinos: Be a paleontologist and travel back to the era of dinosaurs with the special edition of Dino Excavation Kit. Dig for the bones hidden in the gypsum block, assemble them and enjoy your very own miniature dinosaur skeleton replica. Top it off by learning more about the fossils you have just uncovered. (The entire Dino Excavation Kit is sold for Php2,699.75.)

We love playing treasure hunt at home, so this will be a good introduction to   fossils and dinosaurs. So far, the big purple one only does the trick.
We love playing treasure hunt at home, so this will be a good introduction to fossils and dinosaurs. So far, the big purple one only does the trick.

9. Tricks and Treats: Put a little ease and fun in teaching kids using playing cards that are exclusively sold at The Mind Museum store. You can either get What’s GNU?—a 3-letter learning game deck or go for a game of speed and visual tricks with Hyperswipe! Grab these cards now, be the learning and game master at the same time, and let the enlivening game itself, too, serve as an added gift to these kids! (What’s GNU deck costs Php9,49.75 while the Hyperswipe set costs Php1,349.75.)

Family day will surely be more fun with these board games.
Family day will surely be more fun with these board games.

10. Build Your Own, Learn on Your Own: Teach your young ones the basics of gardening, without having to worry about landscaping your backyard, with these innovative plant miniatures! You can either let them grow the Sweet Leaf, which grows leaves that be used as a natural substitute for sugar; the Mini-Melons that will actually produce sweet mini cantaloupes in less than 2 months; or get really out-of-this-word with the Curious George Outer Space Adventure Garden that will even allow them to experiment right in their mini pots! (Sweet leaf and Mini-melons cost Pho829.75 each while the Curious George Outer Space Adventure Garden is sold for Php1,229.75.)

Start small and green! Let kids enjoy plant miniatures right in your own home.
Start small and green! Let kids enjoy plant miniatures right in your own home.

Whether you’re giving or you’re the one wishing, The Mind Museum caters to your needs. Happy shopping, and beat the holiday rush by doing it this early.

Visit The Mind Museum at the 3rd Avenue of Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. Check their website for ticket prices and schedules.

~ Touringkitty

From Boys to Men: Kilyawan celebrates 20 years of music

Kilyawan Concert

The boys are now grown men, with grown voices.

The Kilyawan Boys Choir (Kilyawan Core Group) reunites in this special one-night only concert this Saturday, November 8, 2014, 8:00 PM at the Music Museum.

The Kilyawan Boys Choir celebrates their 20th anniversary this year with a series of concerts and performances. Early this year, the Kilyawan Male Ensemble traveled to Japan to compete in the 7th Fukushima Vocal Ensemble Competition where they bagged a Silver Prize for Category III. Last September, they presented a concert, entitled Beyond the Score, featuring the Consortium of Voices, the umbrella organization of choirs formed under the leadership of the Kilyawan Boys Choir, Inc. Founder and Artistic Director, Mark Anthony Carpio.

The group traces back its roots as the Claret Boys Choir formed in 1994 by Mark Carpio, current choirmaster of the Philippine Madrigal Singers. The Kilyawan Boys Choir derives its name from the songbird Kilyawan, or the Golden Oriole, whose male counterpart is said to be a better warbler or singer. An award-winning and sought-after group, the Kilyawan Boys Choir has performed and competed extensively in prestigious halls in the Philippines and abroad. They bagged the Vocal Ensemble A Cappella Category Championship trophy in the 5th World Choir Games in Austria in 2008. Aside from the boys choir, the Consortium of Voices has expanded and formed the Kilyawan Male Choir and the Voces Aurorae Girls Choir.

Singing for this concert are pioneer members of the Kilyawan Boys Choir. Rem Valenzuela recalls, “This is the group where I learned how to sing. It has been 20 years and we share not only our music but our friendship with you. Before joining the Philippine Madrigal Singers, Kilyawan exposed me to beautiful music making.” Rem, an alumnus of the Kilyawan and the Philippine Madrigal Singers, is a Registered Nurse who is currently taking up medicine.

The boys are indeed grown men now, who are professionals, among them a lawyer, corporate managers of multinational companies, entrepreneurs, and a sound engineer.

Something to watch out for in this concert is a singing choirmaster. Mark will be singing with the ensemble the whole time, and not conducting.

“The Guys are very excited in this reunion concert. They have stopped singing together since 2009 because of studies and career opportunities here and abroad,” said Hazel Copiaco, manager of the Consortium of Voices.

Be prepared for a concert of pure a cappella music—from pop, dance, classical, alternative to the mushiest of love songs.

Tickets for the concert are at P500 and P300. For ticket reservations contact 0917-8169349.

Kids Workshop: Not just your ordinary play area

We started bringing Aria to play areas when she turned one, exactly on her first birthday. Since then, we’ve enrolled her to different play groups once in a while.

Now that she’s four, she’s more active, ever wanting to discover and do more things physically. She loves running, climbing, jumping you’d think she’s a boy. But she’s not.

Anyway, we recently discovered a play area that is not just an ordinary play area. Activities were happening every 15 minutes or so, that the kids were not only playing by themselves, but also learning and having fun with other kids!

kids workshop1

Kid’s Workshop is like a hole in the wall in Shoppesville Arcade in Greenhills. I do not frequent the place, so I’ve not known this until we were invited to visit last month. Unfortunately, Aria had weeks of cough and colds, so we had to always reschedule, until we weren’t able to make it on September. But the Kids Workshop team had been very accommodating to us (special thanks to Ms. Glenda, who unfortunately we weren’t able to meet that day), we were still able to visit a couple of weeks ago.

It was a Saturday, before lunchtime, when my daughter and I got to Greenhills. I made sure she’s eaten a snack before she plays, because knowing her, she could have hours of fun in a play area. I was actually surprised that it was not just a play area, but the kids, with the help of activity facilitators, they:

kids workshop2
did storytelling,
kids workshop gh 3
had some art activities (this you pay separately),
...had games...
…had games…
kids workshop gh 6
and even more games!

The activities were great breaks from the usual play, which ran every after 15 minutes or so. Aria got to try out the many stations of this 100 square meter area:

She had fun riding the horse.
She had fun riding the horse.
Slide! Her favourite.
Slide! Her favourite.
Rock climbing + my left hand caught on frame!
Rock climbing + my left hand caught on frame!
Super Aria! They had  these capes on the racks for their Superheroes party in the same afternoon.
Super Aria! They had these capes on the racks for their Superheroes party in the same afternoon.
Mini-library and kitchen area. Lots of books!
Mini-library and kitchen area. Lots of books!

Aria got to try an art activity as well. Along with my sister (in photo), they made this:


Aria's interpretation of a bug! What colourful one!
Aria’s interpretation of a bug! What colourful one!

So, if you’re looking for a place where you can let your kids play safely (and maybe while you can do your shopping or pampering), visit Kid’s Workshop. Along with their very helpful and nice team of teacher guides, plus their safe equipment and facilities (they have CCTVs installed and a clear system of registering your child and fetcher), kids and parents will have a wonderful and enjoyable time.

Thanks, Kid's Workshop! Looking forward to our next visit.
Thanks, Kid’s Workshop! Looking forward to our next visit.

Visit their website and Facebook to learn more about their upcoming events, rates, and activities.


~ Touringkitty

Hail Mary the Queen Children’s Choir hosts Children’s Choir Festival

A gathering of the best children’s choral groups in the metro will happen this Sunday at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

In its desire to showcase the talents and musical excellence of Distinguished Children’s Choirs from all over the Philippines, the Hail Mary the Queen Children’s Choir (HMTQCC) conceived of an avenue to bring together these exceptional choirs. As such, in 2009, the Halina’t Umawit – a Philippine Children’s Choir Festival was born. The festival also gave the opportunity for other choirs, conductors, music teachers, music lovers and students the occasion to listen and learn the different styles, and performances that make each choir unique in a way that defines them.

The Festival derives its name from Psalm 95 and Psalm 98 of the Bible. It is an invitation to come and sing praises to the Lord for His wondrous deeds. The festival song, “Halina’t Umawit,” composed by Jude Roldan completes the event with all choirs singing on stage interspersed with hand clapping and feet thumping.

This year’s festival will be held on October 26, 2014 – Sunday at 7:00pm at the Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo Main Theater of the Cultural Center of the Philippines and will feature top choral groups from all over Metro Manila:

Hail Mary the Queen Children’s Choir, host choir
Maria Theresa Vizconde-Roldan, Conductor
Jude B. Roldan, Music Director

Himig Bulilit of St. Paul College of Paranaque
Losaida Gonzales, conductor

Miriam College High School Glee Club
Nancy Roman, conductor

St. Scholastica’s College High School Glee Club
Danny Monte, Conductor

Tiples de Santo Domingo
Eugene delos Santos, conductor

The Festival will also feature “We Are All God’s Children,” the official theme song for the Papal Visit in January 2015, with music by Noel Espenida, lyrics by Jamie Rivera, and arranged for treble choir by Jude B. Roldan.

The Festival has featured in the past years these outstanding children’s choirs from all over the Philippines:
Ateneo Boys Choir
Baao Children’s Choir from Baao Camarines Sur
Calasiao Children’s Choir from Pangasinan
Colegio de Sta Rosa – Makati Himig Roseña
Hiyas ng Pilipinas Children’s Choir
Immaculate Conception Academy High School Glee Club
Kilyawan Boys Choir and the Voces Aurorae
Las Pinas Boys Choir
Mandaluyong Children’s Choir
Samiweng Singers from Ilocos Norte
St. Paul Pasig High School Chorale
St. Scholastica’s Academy Marikina High School Glee Club
Vox Angeli Children’s Choir

The organizing choir, Hail Mary the Queen Children’s Choir is one of the most awarded Filipino children’s choir internationally. It is the 1st ever Children’s Choir of the World at the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod, July 2013 in United Kingdom. They have extensively toured and competed in US and Europe, and recently, recorded the Official Theme Song, We Are All God’s Children for the 2015 Papal Visit with Ms. Jamie Rivera.

Tickets for the 6th Halina’t Umawit are available at the CCP Box Office at 832-3704 and Ticketworld at 891-9999. Tickets are sold at P1000, P800, P500 and P300. Special Discount: Students 50%, Senior Citizens, Persons with Disability, Military and Government Officials and Member of the Philippine Choral Director Association 20%.

For more ticket inquiries please call/text: Patrick Yap 09178050079 or Dinna Sarmiento 0917-540-8787.

PRESS RELEASE: Dvorak’s Rusalka (Philippine Premiere) on September

The University of the Philippines College of Music will bring to life Antonin Dvorak’s heart-rending lyric fairy tale opera, Rusalka on September 11 and 12, 7:30 PM at the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino in Pasay City, and on September 23 and 24, 6:30 PM at the Abelardo Hall Auditorium, University of the Philippines College of Music in Quezon City. This production is directed by Alegria Ferrer with set and lighting designs by Dan Silvestre and David Ohm. The production will also feature Grupo 20/21, a chamber orchestra conducted by Josefino Chino Toledo.

In the cast are brilliant young Filipino sopranos Fame Flores and Bianca Camille Lopez, who will alternate in characterizing the difficult main role of a water sprite (serena) named Rusalka who aspires to love a human being but, in the process, was rejected and who, therefore, learnt the hazards of loving a fleshly creature that a human being is.

Rusalka’s Philippine premiere will be adapted to a Filipino setting, particularly to the time of Isabelo de los Reyes (1864-1938), whose contribution to knowledge of Philippine folklore is pioneering. An ilustrado intellectual of late 19th to early 20th centuries, de los Reyes documented narratives of living Philippine folk beliefs and practices of his time in order to build an archive of Philippine culture so as to understand the uniqueness of Philippine society in relation to universal truth and science.

The love that Rusalka learns in dealing with a human being in this fairy tale opera, though originating far from the Philippines, is one such truth and Isabelo de los Reyes would have easily understood its universal message. In homage to him as a cosmopolitan Filipino nationalist who is celebrating his 150th birth centenary this year, UP College of Music juxtaposes, without translating, the original music of this opera that will be sung in English with characters whose names are familiar to Filipinos such as the spirits of the environment.

Tickets at P600 each for the CCP shows and P500 each for UP are now on sale, with discounts offered to currently enrolled students. Tickets are available at all TICKETWORLD outlets and online at For further details, please call UP College of Music at 926-0026 or 929-6963 or through UP trunkline at 981-8500 local 2639.

Visit or;
Like the Rusalka Page at or tweet with #RusalkaPhil2014.

Touringkitty Eats: Counting Calories with The Good Box

I have always wondered about food boxes. One, I wondered if their food is delicious and two, I wondered if it really works.

I seriously gained weight when I started eating healthier. If you follow me on Instagram (please follow @touringkitty) you’d notice my posts on #healthyeating and all I’ve been experimenting on my small kitchen. Since I resigned from full-time work exactly a year ago, I have gained about 20 pounds. I looked better, but I have been packing so much pounds already that I feel like I have to diet.

And this food box came my way.

I had the opportunity to try a day’s worth of meals from The Good Box yesterday, and here’s how my meal for the entire day looked like:

My food for the day!
My menu for the day!

I must admit, when I took out all the food from the bag, I was like, so this will be it? Where’s my rice?! =)

Here’s what’s on the menu:

What's on my menu?
What’s on my menu? Let us count the calories!

The delivery guy came with my goodies almost late in the evening the other night, good thing we’re still awake. So, as instructed, I placed everything in the refrigerator and reheat them the following day.

My breakfast was this:

Eggs Italiano, Fruit and Fruit Juice: I steamed the bread and egg, so it got a little soggy. But my breakfast was filling nonetheless. In between my breakfast and lunch, I munched the Popcorn Ball.

Lunch was Couscous with shrimp and salad. Ok, so at this point, I was really feeling I was counting the calories, so I almost ate something else after having this! I was about to go to teach then, so I had the afternoon snack, which was two digestive cookies.

The dinner was yummy! I had Vietnamese Tofu Noodle in Lettuce Wrap, plus a serving of jello.

I also made sure I was properly hydrated (plain water did the trick) after each meal. As I found out from their Calorie Requirement Chart, it was a giant drop from 2,000 calories (estimate for my age) to 1,200 calories that day. I had a busy afternoon that day and since I am also still breastfeeding, I had to take in a little more calories (I cheated, actually, because I ate a little rice meal after I had the digestives, just before I headed to my choir rehearsal!).

If you want to lose weight yet eat healthy and delicious, try The Good Box. They have meals for different caloric requirements. I cannot vouch for its effectiveness as I have only tried a day’s worth of food. They cater to various diet programs and offer at least a week’s worth of food boxes delivered to your doorstep everyday.

Another thing I liked about The Good Box is that they use biodegradable containers. As you’ve seen the photos above, those are not plastic containers, but something made out of sugarcane that is called “Bagasse.” It will turn into compost in 12 weeks. Add to that, they source most of their produce from Gawad Kalinga’s Enchanted Farm. Pretty neat, right?

Want to lose weight? Start by eating healthy! Check out their website and Instagram (@thegoodboxph).

~ Touringkitty

Find your bliss in blogging

I started blogging four years ago (July 2010 to be exact), with the sole purpose of creating an online journal of my pregnancy.

I thought that was it. But I discovered so much about blogging by attending workshops, interacting with bloggers, and being more active in social media. It has been such a great time, not to mention a great responsibility curating and creating content.

Are you interested in creating your own voice online? You might be interested to attend this workshop:

Bring out the storyteller in you.
Bring out the storyteller in you.

Want to build a blog that you’ll love to create — and that others will find joy in reading? Then this workshop is for you.

Blissful Blogging 101 is a workshop on how to create a meaningful blog with a brand and a purpose. You will learn the key components that can help you —

  • Learn the art of “blissmaking” and writing in a way that attracts and engages readers while staying true to your beliefs;
  • Know and analyze the different types of blogs that are successful at getting readers & building a community;
  • Learn how to craft an Editorial Plan for at least a month to two months worth of blog posts, which will help guide you in creating the kinds of blog posts your blog will publish on a regular basis;
  • How to complete your blog-building through social media engagements, even your own events.
The Instructor:
Martine de Luna is the editor-in-chief and founder of the blog (formerly She has been blogging for five years, and has received awards for her blog ventures, including the 2011 Philippine Blog Award for Best Home & Parenting Blog, and the Little Steps Asia 2013 Best of Mom & Dad Blogs award from Little Steps Hong Kong. Today, Martine is also a freelance digital strategist who coaches women on how to position themselves authentically online, through blogging and social media.

Here’s what you’ll receive at the Workshop:

  • Worksheets, both printed & electronic versions
  • Workshop “editorialize your blog”: Create a blog mission, blog plan and offline strategy for your blog (Group work)
  • Food & drinks — Provided by Eats Happy! and The Juice Hut
  • Access to our exclusive Mastermind group on Facebook, where you can receive further tips on blogging and engage in a real community that will support your blog.


1:30 PM –  Welcome & Overview of the workshop

2:00 – Talk: What is Blissful Blogging?

3 PM – Workshop: Become the Editor in Chief of Your Blog (interactive workshop and group work; presentation). Food will be served during the session.

4:15 PM – Group presentations “My Blissful Blog”

5:00 PM – End

For information on how to sign up & pay, please visit or email today.

The School of Academics and Arts: Learning through the arts

TSAA integrates their lessons into arts activities.
TSAA is said to be the first school in the country to offer an Arts-Integrated Curriculum.

Last week, my daughter and I paid a visit to the The School of Academics and Arts. I was not able to make it to their bloggers’ event because I was out of town. I thank Ms. Dimples for arranging our visit.

We met Ms. Cherry Napala, the School Principal. I realized I was not able to take many photos, only because Ms. Cherry and I had so much to share about education and the arts! We talked while my daughter was outside with Cherry’s daughter, who was nice enough to play with the little one.

Aria spent much of her time in this playhouse outside.
Aria spent much of her time in this playhouse.

Here are a few pictures that I took:

As soon as we entered a room, she tinkered on the toys she saw. This was their Kinder Room.
As soon as we entered a room, Aria would examine the toys she saw. This is the Kinder Room.
One of their teachers decorating the bulletin board.
One of the teachers decorates the bulletin board. The tree was handpainted by one of them, too.


Notice the shape of their tables?

The school, Ms. Cherry explains, believes that the arts is the best tool for learning. Unlike other schools which offer arts and music programs only after school hours or during summer, TSAA uses the Arts-Integrated Curriculum, a proven method backed by research used in other countries. The arts is used as a vehicle for learning, so that every day, there are activities in music, arts, dance, and others integrated with their lessons.

The school is the brainchild of Audie Gemora, a known theater and musical actor, director, and producer, who envisioned the school as a home for academically and artistically inclined students. Other partners of the school include UP’s Dr. Evalyn Hizon, and music teacher Emmy Cayabyab (wife of Ryan Cayabyab).

Here are some salient points that Cherry shared with me:

1. We have both left and right brains, so why not use both in learning? It’s not only the left brain we should nurture through memorization and drills, but the right brain as well by enhancing creativity and imagination. Contrary to the belief that artists are not smart, Ms. Cherry and I both agreed that this is not true. Artists can excel in academics as well.

2. Arts education should start at a young age. Kids need a good, solid, and proper arts education foundation. It’s much harder to correct bad practices later on.

3. Arts education should not only be done during lazy summers, but the whole year round. In TSAA, the kids will do lots of arts activities as they learn. Just like any other habit, arts should be done regularly. In the case of TSAA, the children experience arts every day.

4. Arts education entails a certain kind of discipline, which can be used as one learns academic subjects. One needs hours rehearsing a certain piano piece or song, and a lot of focus and concentration. I started playing piano at age four, and the discipline of practicing piano has given me the same concentration I needed to study other academic subjects.

5. As parents, we need to invest in arts education. TSAA may be a little expensive than others, but they make learning more fun with arts activities as they learn other academic subjects. Is it not that we learned our ABCs using songs? In the same way, learning about other subjects can be made more fun and in a more creative way.

The students will be happy to know that TSAA does not give assignments. They believe in work-life balance, which is essential for the holistic growth of a child or an individual. School work remains at school so that the students can have more time to rest and bond with their family. I wish it was like that in schools and the workplace!

Their class size is very small, at about 10 students per class, which ensures individualized learning.

As for exams and grades, Cherry said that they have a different system of grading through practical assessment. They follow the K-12 Curriculum and abide by the grading system of the DepEd, only their manner of grading is suited according to each student.

TSAA teachers are trained to integrate arts into their lessons. I have observed schools in other countries and they have a strong foundation in music and arts education. TSAA tries to follow that model.

If you want your kids to be future artists, they offer after-school activities, too. Cherry showed me their music studio rooms:

Rooms are sound-proofed.
Rooms are sound-proofed.


I believe the arts is such a powerful tool for helping students to learn. With the ever dynamic world we have, families are looking for learning methods other than the traditional one for their children. TSAA is one option.

TSAA opened its doors in its new location at Davila Street, Makati City (near Shopwise Pasong Tamo). They offer programs for children as young as 1.8 years old. Visit their website, Facebook Page, email tsaa.makati(at)gmail(dot)com or call 0925.550.2766 to schedule a visit.


~ Touringkitty

FrancoPhil 2014: a little something for all your senses

Touringkitty experienced France! You can, too.
Touringkitty experienced France! You can, too.

See, hear, taste, and experience France. Here in the Philippines.

Yes, you don’t need a ticket to Paris to do all these. The Embassy of France in Manila and the Alliance Francaise de Manille is bringing France to our country through these activities:

Brave New Worlds: My Utopia in Your Dystopia
Contemporary art exhibit
April 26 to June 12, MET Tall Galleries, Metropolitan Museum of Manila

A collection of 50 artworks by 24 European and Filipino artists, this exhibit showcases the parallelism of practice among Filipino and European artists, and how they create art in the verge of cultural breakdown. Painter Manuel Ocampo curated the exhibit. The exhibit opened April 26 and will run until June 12, as the country celebrates Independence Day.

In line with the exhibit, French artist Fabrice Hybert will be coming to Manila for a meet-and-greet session at the MET on May 21. French video and film screenings will also happen in May at the METlab. Sign up for the meet and greet here. I’ll be there so I hope to see you there, too!

Visit the MET at the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Complex, Roxas Boulevard, Manila. Museum hours are from 10am to 5:30pm, Monday to Saturday; and closed on Sundays and holidays. For more Email, Facebook page:, Website:

Pockemon Hip Hop Dance Concert
May 28, Samsung Hall, SM Aura Premier

The Pockemon Crew pays tribute to cinema and the origins of hip-hop in New York during
the 1940s through an electrifying dance performance.

Launch of “Photographing Heritage”
June 9, Alliance française de Manille

Renowned French photographer Ferrante Ferranti will be visiting the Philippines in June to photograph the UNESCO World Heritage declared Baroque Churches of the Philippines in Intramuros, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur and Iloilo. To raise awareness on the issues of the preservation of heritage and climate change, he will also be visiting Bohol, Cebu and Samar, areas affected by the supertyphoon and earthquake last year. Ferrante will be leading a
series of conferences in the country about ‘Photographing Heritage’.

French Film Festival
June 9 to 15, Greenbelt 3 cinemas

Bringing the best of French cinema to Filipino audiences for almost 20 years already, this year’s much awaited French Film Festival is set on June 9-15.

Quatuor Parisii String Quartet Concert 
June 10, Samsung Hall, SM Aura Premier

Classical music lovers will be treated to a concert by Quatuor Parisii String Quartet on June
10 at the SM Aura Premier Samsung Hall. The string quartet, composed of top prizewinners in instrument and chamber music, was formed in 1981 and is extensively touring the world, bringing both classical and contemporary repertoire to many audiences. This will be their first concert in our country.

Fete de la Musique
June 21, A-Venue Open Parking Area in Makati and Plaza Maestranza, Intramuros

Fete de la Musique is a much anticipated event in France. I remember passing by one event during one of our concert tours with the Madz. This year, watch out as two venues play host for this rocking event.

Tete d’enfant Modern Circus Show
October 7,  CCP Little Theater

Finally, this will push through! I heard about this project last year when I was still working at the CCP. Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino would be an interesting venue for this circus act.

Semaine du Goût – French Gastronomy Week
October 16 to 24, Manila and Cebu

French and Filipinos speak the same language–that is, food. “Gastronomique”, the two-week Semaine du Goût, or French “Week of Taste” will be celebrated in Manila and Cebu from October 16 to 24 to promote the art of choosing, cooking and eating good food in the Philippines through a series of seminars, workshops, dinners, and food markets. Renowned experts in winemaking and gastronomy will grace the festival.

So, mark your calendars! And share this with your friends and family, too. Activities like these open doors to different cultures without the need to travel abroad.

For further information about the events:
Sabrina Durand, Cultural Coordinator
Alliance française de Manille
0917 892 8986 / 895 7585