Bridge the Generation Gap by Making Lolo/Lola Tech Savvy!

Kids now are so techy savvy that their whole life revolves around computers and the internet. My own kids would rather be online than watch TV these days. And when school’s out, like today — the last day of exams, they are with friends at the nearest internet cafe to play games. Their interests and lingo have become worlds apart from those who have remained in the era before the advent of computers.

I am one of the lucky parents who have kept pace with our children in terms of technology use. But when I go to visit my Mom who is in her 80s, I still see a person who does not know how to use a mobile phone, writes letters by hand and sends them via snail mail, and does most of her written activities with a pen and paper still. She prefers it that way but it also saddens me since there is not much common interest to keep conversations going between her and my kids for long. After a while, my kids drift off to their own conversations while Mom ends up conversing with us, her children.

Then, just the other day, I got the surprise of my life when Mom’s decades-long American penpal added me up on Facebook. It really made me think that if only my Mom (who is now widowed) became comfortable using a computer, how much more meaningful her life could be if she had direct contact with all her friends and relatives instead of being limited to snail mail.

In the book “The Five Things You Must Discover Before You Die”, author John Izzo wrote about cultures that have lost this connection between the young and the old. This can be observed mostly in cultures with very advanced technology. Tribes and clans, where the senior citizens continue to play a large role in leading and are looked up to, are few and seem to be a dying tradition. And yet, Izzo discovered that in talking with the seniors to gather data for this book, there was a richness to the wisdom and life experiences of the seniors that the youth would truly benefit from. Likewise, seniors seem to gain back some of their youthfulness and vitality when engaged with the very young generation.

MUSIC was the generation gap of my youth. My parents could not understand the “noise” that my friends and I would often love to listen to or dance to at discos. In the generation of our children, the generation gap is TECHNOLOGY.

How do we get the very young communicating again with their much older family members?

Bayan Telecommunications conducted an informal poll via Plurk and Facebook (2 social networking sites), which revealed that, given the chance, 87% of young people want to continue communicating with their grandparents (lolos and lolas). This same poll revealed that 81% of Filipinos are still close to their grandparents and 57% still visit from time to time. And yet, ironically, the Internet Age is also responsible for further widening the generational gap between a younger set that is used to the internet as a communications and research tool and an older generation that does not know where to begin and is in danger of being left behind.

This realization became the foundation for Bayan’s newest advocacy, Teach Lola – an initiative to bridge the communication gap between the younger and older generation.

This advocacy rides on the initial resounding success of Lola Techie, who has been seen in tarps all over the metro besides TV ads. Lola Techie aims to show that senior citizens are just as capable of enjoying the benefits of the internet just as the generations after them.

Lola Techie

“Project Lola endeavors to teach the older set about the computer and the internet. It offers training on such diverse topics as how to operate a computer, where to find the appropriate icons to click, how to write and manage e-mail, how to go about instant messaging, and how to navigate the intricate world of social networking sites,” Tunde Fafunwa, Chief Executive Officer of Bayan Telecommunications, shares.

The program has 2 components:

1. Teach Lola trainers;

2. An official website (www.teachlola.com) where anyone can download manuals for free.

For the first wave, Bayan employees’ grandparents were the first targets. 20 trainers from all departments in Bayan were taught by teaching partner, Learn.ph, to educate the targetted grandparents as well as spearhead events that will aim to bring more apos together with their lolos and lolas.

Aside from recruiting more people to become Teach Lola trainers, Bayan is enabling other people as well to participate through a do-it-yourself process. An online manual is available at the official website which anyone can download. Anyone can likewise update the Teach Lola modules, akin to how user-generated updates are done in Wikipedia. This means that more people nationwide and globally can get involved in this initiative.

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It is really not far-fetched that lolos and lolas will eventually latch on to the internet.

Lola Techie’s presence on Plurk, Facebook, Twitter, Multiply and YouTube gives us a glimpse of what could be. And guess what! A large majority of her followers are my kids’ generation! Just 2 months into the launch of Lola Techie, she already had over 90,000 Facebook fans, more than 4,000 Multiply contacts, and almost 2,000 followers in both Twitter and Plurk. This does not include hundreds of thousands of views of her videos on YouTube. And Lola Techie interacts with all her contacts on these sites. Imagine what it would be like for your children and their grandparents — sitting together in front of a computer, interacting and playing or chatting! How wonderful that would be to behold.

I am personally very happy that such an advocacy is being launched. I hope we can really get many of the youth involved to bring what comes naturally to them to their grandparents, for whom this can sometimes be a very intimidating obstacle.

One last thing. Here’s a teaser for the Teach Lola program.What a world it would be to see our seniors become tech savvy…

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Krispy Kreme brings on a Chocolate Karnival

When I brought 3 of my blogger kids to Bonifacio High Street’s Krispy Kreme (KK) to attend the launch of their chocolate doughnut line, I thought we would just go there, listen to an introductory speech, be treated to samples of the doughnut and that’s it!

What greeted our eyes when we came down from the car was this — a full carnival at KK complete with clowns on stilts and bikes, carnival music playing, lots of games for the kids inside, and free-flowing doughnuts and beverages. They even had a Leaning Tower of Pisa Chocolate made of KK boxes!

Krispy Kreme in carnival mode

Brewed coffee served at your table on demand (woot!)

Brewed coffee served at your table on demand (woot!)

My kids had fun playing the games like Doughnut Ring Toss, Stack It, Speed Stacker and Pachinko. M2 met this 11-year old speed stacker who truly amazed us with his stacking abilities. Mind you, he stacks cups 3 levels high in seconds!

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Pachinko

View of the Doughnut Ring Toss and Stack It games

The Leaning Tower of Chocolate

Another view of the Leaning Tower of Chocolate

My mommy blogger friends came with their young kids. It was my first time to see most of the kids whose names I was already familiar with via our online communications so it was a thrill to meet them. My own kids seemed so grown-up beside all these young ones!

with Julie, Chats, Noemi, Cookie & kids

with Julie, Chats, Noemi, Cookie & kids

With Lynn, Feng, Chats, Julie & kids

With Lynn, Feng, Chats, Julie & kids

 Lunch was served to us all – pasta, sandwiches, chips & dip. Afterwards, there was a magic show inside (but there were so many people already that I dared not try to squeeze my way in.

The assembly line of Krispy Kreme was covered with a brown curtain. Wow, that made the unveiling of their new chocolate line even more exciting. I got a good view of it as I was standing right at the entrance to the production area. When Az was allowed into the area, I instinctively followed him, as did Noemi. Only the 3 of us bloggers got INSIDE! But…we were required to wear the KK hats for good measure.

From our vantage point, we were able to see the glazed doughnuts roll down the conveyor belt. The chocolate syrup was flowing and everyone hooted and clapped as the first line of doughnuts went through the chocolate “waterfall”, coming out on the other side with dripping chocolate syrup. Yummmmmy!

This picture, courtesy of Noemi, shows me eating the chocolate glazed doughnut fresh from the production line.

Taken by my friend, Noemi

Here is a short video of that moment. I got to interview Az as he took his first bite of the chocolate delight.

My kids and I had a blast that afternoon. Never mind the summer heat. The fun, carnival mood made us forget the humidity. And the company was just purrrrfect…

On your next visit to Krispy Kreme, do try all their chocolate varieties. 

KK Poster Choco Karnival

KK Chocolate Products

Glaze your friends too! Visit www.chocolatekarnival.com.

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Urban Time’s Brand Ambassadors

Urban Time, the country’s upcoming and hippest watch boutique, introduced its 5 brand ambassadors to the bloggers last March 25.

Urban Time SM North EDSA Mall

The search for 5 young girls to become the icons of Urban Time were launched on the web. Part of the scoring came from online votes while another part came from 3 judges, one of whom was my good blogger friend, AJ Matela.

In the end, 5 young and vibrant girls from 5 different schools made it:

 

(L-R) Miki Hahn from La Salle International, Portia Silva from Ateneo, Anna Monica Villaverde from Trinity University of Asia, Stephanie Sol and Rachel Rustia from UA&P

(L-R) Miki Hahn from La Salle International, Portia Silva from Ateneo, Anna Monica Villaverde from Trinity University of Asia, Stephanie Sol and Rachel Rustia from UA&P

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Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf’s 12 Cups of Giving

I love coffee. Period.

Last year, in order to get my 2 girls the planners they wanted, I was at this coffee shop almost daily ordering a cup of coffee. This year, though, I told myself I would not do that. After computing the cost of daily coffee at that shop, I figured it was an expensive way to buy a planner.

But I have changed my mind after attending the blogger event hosted by Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf (CBTL) at Boni High Street.

I confess I had no idea what the event was all about except that I was drawn to the word “Giving” in the text I got from Geiser Maclang.

C1 came along with me. As we entered CBTL, we were surprised to see bloggers huddled around tables talking with people who had brochures laid out. That was how I found out that CBTL was launching its Christmas program, 12 Cups with The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf: Give in to Giving. At each table were representatives of each of the 12 organizations being supported by CBTL this Christmas.

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Here’s how it works. Every cup of coffee or tea you buy, which is covered by the program, gets you a stamp on a card. Once you complete the 12 stamps on the card, you get to choose your favorite cause/advocacy from the 12 supported organizations and CBTL will make a donation in your name. Not only that! For having completed the card, you also get one of the 3 CBTL limited edition commemorative journals specially designed by 12 of the most important Filipino artists in the country today — FREE! And if you get to donate to all 12 organizations (that means 12 cards x 12 cups = 144 cups), CBTL will give one year’s supply of coffee!

Notebook 1

Notebook 1

Notebook 2

Notebook 2

Notebook 3

Notebook 3

Whatever your advocacy is, there is sure to be one organization from this lot that you can help. Here are the 12 organizations you can help support via CBTL as well as the kind of support CBTL will donate in your name after you complete your 12th cup of giving:

1. Kababaihan Gabay sa Bayan (KAGABAY) – poverty reduction through social, political and economic empowerment of women. CBTL will donate P600/child for their education needs.

2. The Restorative Justice Program of Caritas Manila – service to prisoners and their families through formation, paralegal assistance and outreach. CBTL will donate P1,000 under your name for values formation class materials per school year for inmates.

3. The Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) – animal protection and care. CBTL will provide medicine for animals under PAWS’ care.

4. Bahay Tuluyan – serves streetchildren. CBTL will give a birthday present for a child worth P250 under your name.

5. Haribon Foundation – conservation of Philippine biodiversity. CBTL will adopt a seedling under your name.

6. Cartwheel Foundation – education for the country’s indigenous people. CBTL will donate P8,000 for educational materials, curriculum development, tuition, teacher training & seminars, and school supplies for each student per school year.

7. Kythe Foundation – supports children with cancer; its Child Life Program seeks to alleviate the anxieties of a child during hospitalization. CBTL will sponsor an unforgettable kids’ outing for the kids and the volunteers.

8. Autism Society Philippines (ASP) – committed to the wellbeing of persons with autism spectrum disorder. CBTL will donate P2,000 for books needed for autism disorder awareness.

9. Philippine Cerebral Palsy, Inc. – aids cerebral palsy victims. CBTL will give a patient P1,800 per month to help in their medicine and rehabilitation.

10. Philippine Band of Mercy (PBM) – attends to indigent Filipinos suffering from cleft lip & palate, congenital cataract & glaucoma, hydrocephalus & meninggoceale. CBTL will give P8,000 for the operation of each child & become the leading provider of comprehensive craniofacial health services for the less privileged.

11. Resources for the Blind – seeks to ensure that blind students have access to the same information that sighted students have. CBTL donate P1,000 for the production of Braille textbooks.

12. Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) – seeks to improve the quality of life for Filipinos through corporate citizenship. CBTL will sponsor a child’s medical consultation worth P200.

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Representatives of the 12 NGOs with Paolo del Rosario of CBTL

I had the chance to speak with Coffee Bean’s Marketing Director, Paolo Del Rosario, who enthused about the program. I told him that I was very touched by their gesture to support not one but TWELVE NGOs. And Paolo assured me that this is going to be a yearly thing with CBTL and not just a one-shot deal. Much later, I also had the chance to meet CBTL’s Managing Director, Walden Chu, who was likewise very enthusiastic about their program.

If I had to spend my money on coffee, this is were I would plunk it down. Not only do I actually enjoy CBTL’s coffee and tea (Chai Latte and African Sunrise are my all-time favorites) but their food fare, for a yogini, is very healthy and tasty. There is a CBTL on the ground floor of my yoga center and we would often hang out here before or after classes over cups of coffee or tea. With The 12 Cups of Giving program, CBTL has earned my respect and admiration — not just for their good food but more so, for their generous hearts for the marginalized among our citizens.

A big THANK YOU to Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf for giving us good coffee, tea and food while giving us this rare opportunity to give back a little of ourselves to society as well.

The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf is located at TriNoMa, SM The Block, Gateway, Ortigas Park, Paseo Center, Bonifacio High Street, Mall of Asia, convergys Ayala Avenue, Salcedo Village, Alabang Town Center, Rockwell, Robinson’s Ermita, Greenhills Promenade, Robinson’s Galleria, Eastwood, Tomas Morato and 2 more branches in Cebu.

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Bratpack Greenbelt 5 Opens With a Bang!

The flagship store of the trendy and sporty bag people, Bratpack, opened recently at Greenbelt 5.

Bratpack Greenbelt 5

Bratpack Greenbelt 5

I was there at GB5 for a lunch date with friends at Cibo and saw the Bratpack people setting up in the lobby area right outside Cibo. Seeing all the bags hanging on display made me recall my school days when I almost always went around school with a backpack. Truly, the contents and the type of bag one carries says a lot about the personality of its owner!

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When my daughter C1 bought a backpack, we went for JanSport after seeing the other varieties around. JanSport was the one that met our standards not just aesthetically but functionally, with its wide, foam-padded shoulder straps which I found very good since the books she used to bring home felt more like boulders and I was really concerned about possible injuries to her shoulders and back.

To this day, this backpack is still here with narry a tear or damage. It has weathered all the use (and abuse) it has taken after being lagged all around C1’s school daily.

When I got to the Bratpack launch, people were milling around and getting some food to eat. I immediately spotted Noemi and Bong and joined their table. Much later, more blogger friends arrived and so I went table hopping to get some of them in photo ops.

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I also got a good look at the latest styles in bags that Bratpack was offering and noted that not only did they retain the functional look but they had evolved from plain colors to bright, spunky prints as well! And some of the bags were fashionable enough for the office (something I noted since I now work).

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They had a contest going on to color some fashion templates as you wish so Noemi and I got right down to being as artsy as we could be (which was quite an effort for me as I had not doodled and colored in such a long time!). But it was fun and I must say, the outcome of what I did was not too bad. Even C1 liked it!

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My attempt at fashion designing

Another riddle contest had us guessing what the items were as well as in which Bratpack bags they were located. 10 bags were given away to 10 lucky bloggers who were able to guess correctly 3 times.  I was lucky to be the 2nd winner and my bag was the pink & black backpack!!!! Of course, when I got home, who else would beg to have it but C1, the JanSport lover.

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I won the cute pink & black Jansport backpack! Here I am getting it from Brian Kong, Bratpack Marketing Officer

And here are the 10 lucky blogger winners!

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Whatever one’s lifestyle or personality, Bratpack seems to have just the right bag for you, as can be seen from the different types of bags, colors, sizes I saw. And yes, their Greenbelt 5 store is HUGE (designed by renowned graphic design house Team Manila)! Wide open space to move around and ogle the bags for whatever your sport or fashion sense dictates.

Their 3 major lines are JanSport, Timbuk2 and Hedgren. But at Greenbelt 5, they carry new brands that cater to more lifestyles: skate brand DC and Sector9, Sanuk the surfers and beachbums, Skull Candy for music lovers, as well as Eastpak and Life is Good.

I will be going back soon as it’s just along the pedestrian walkway from my office in Makati. Their laptop bags are worth checking out!

Bratpack has branches at Greenbelt 5, Robinsons Place Manila, Robinsons Galleria, SM Cagayan de Oro, SM Davao, SM The Block, SM Pampanga, SM Southmall and Ayala Cebu.

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California Pizza Kitchen’s Bloggers Night

Manila’s famous (or more aptly, infamous) rains and floods could not dampen the bloggers’ enthusiasm and determination to attend California Pizza Kitchen’s (CPK) bloggers night at CPK Glorietta 3 last Sept. 10.

It had been raining all day and fiercely at times. Some bloggers were deliberating whether they would still go or not. So I thought that if I left the office at 7pm, I would still be in time for the event. What a surprise met me when I got there a little past 7 pm to see the 2nd floor function room of CPK practically full of bloggers already!

At the registration area, I saw several CPK boxes marked with themes. We were supposed to pick out a theme we wanted. I selected the theme “More Than a Massage” as I was fascinated by its health theme. We found out later that whatever theme we chose corresponded with a new pizza flavor which CPK arranged for us to make.

This was a meet & greet affair. Got to meet Archie Rodriguez, the President of the CPK franchise in the Philippines.

With Archie Rodriguez of CPK

With Archie Rodriguez of CPK

Also had time to chat up emcee RJ Ledesma. I told RJ that I knew he was a yoga teacher and first saw him at Vinyasa. When I introduced myself as the one behind the yoga blog, The Yogini from Manila, it turned out he actually heard of my blog. There and then, we began chatting like 2 people who found something common to talk about.

With RJ Ledesma and wife Vanessa

With RJ Ledesma and wife Vanessa

Later, I also met Brad Geiser, one of the partners behind Geiser Maclang which prepared this event for CPK. I had long wanted to meet Brad who was just a buddy on a social networking site. Another buddy on that network was Jen who was there with her husband Stan.

With Brad Geiser

With Brad Geiser

An eyeball with Jen who I only knew as "jencc" for the longest time

An eyeball with Jen "jencc"

It was a night of pure fun. I think most of the bloggers there were a lot younger so you can imagine the energy filling the room.

We watched a video about CPK’s beginnings. Gift certificates were later given to those who successfully answered the trivia questions. Next, we were asked to decorate our CPK boxes (they dumped art supplies on each table like colored glue, ribbons, decals, crayons, etc) with the best PICK-UP LINE we could think of. This was really hilarious because these bloggers turned out to have really HOT minds! For the life of me, I could not think of any pick-up line. I began with one that said “Taste Heaven With Me” but stopped after seeing that this was sooo tame compared to some others. Haha…

The best part, at least for me, was when we made our own pizzas depending on the theme we chose. Very aptly, my pizza was the Thai Chicken one, which was so healthy because of its ingredients: scallions, chicken, bean sprouts, carrots and peanuts AND garnished with cilantro. I started out with a pizza crust, then one by one added the ingredients with the help of CPK’s friendly staff. My finished pizza was then marched off to be cooked in a hearth oven (the secret to the delicious CPK taste).

My pizza recipe

My pizza recipe

My pizza BEFORE it is cooked

My pizza BEFORE it was baked

The pizza I made!

My Thai Chicken pizza after it was baked

Next time you visit CPK, try one of their other pizza flavors:

1. BBQ Chicken Pizza – the most popular pizza and one of the original recipes of the founders

2. Greek Pizza – made from Mediterranean spiced grilled chicken and Mozzarella cheese, topped with a chilled Greek salad of cucumbers, red onions, fresh tomatoes, Greek olives, Feta cheese and lemon-herb vinaigrett and served with homemade Tzatziki sauce and chopped Italian parsley

3. Jamaican Jerk Chicken – made from grilled Jamaican Jerk spiced chicken breast with spicy sweet Caribbgean sauce, Mozzarella cheese, applewood smoked bacon, mild onions, roasted red & yellow peppers and green onions

4. Cajun Pizza – made from blackened chicken and spicy Andouille sausage with Creole sauce, roasted red and yellow peppers, mild onions and Mozzarella cheese

Here are more pics of the night:

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