Time for Gratitude

Turkey, football, Black Friday, food, family get-together are the hallmarks of Thanksgiving. My hope is that my fellow beings also include being thankful to Mother Earth during this season. Here are some tips on how we can express our appreciation to Mother Earth:

1)Do not participate on Black Friday. Instead of buying new things for gifts, I challenge you to create, recycle, upcycle or give the greenest of them all – time. If you must purchase things then practice eco-friendly shopping and use your own eco-friendly bags.

2)Use real utensils & plates or recyclable ones. Practice one plastic material (even if recyclable) per person for the day.

3)Compost discarded foods. For info on how to start composting and info on what can be composted: http://www.earthmachine.com/how_to_compost.html

4)Purchase local, organic (if you can) and sustainable produce.

5)Do not purchase bottled water; use filtered water instead with home filtration units.


‘Namaste’ which means: “I honor the place within you where the entire Universe resides; I honor the place within you of love, of light, of truth, of peace; I honor the place within you, where, when you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, there is only one of us.” — Mahatma Gandhi

The actions that each individual takes at home affects the entire world as we are one.  As our world cries for sustainability, the more we need to show our gratitude to one another as brothers and sisters, as caretakers of our Mother Earth. Namaste.




Los Angeles: More Incentives to Save Water!

Dear Readers: I’m sharing with you a press release from LADWP released today, August 20, 2012

LADWP More Than Doubles Investment Water Conservation Rebate Programs to Encourage Customers to Keep Saving Water at Home and Work

Department to Invest $23 Million for Fiscal Year 12-13;
Up from $10 Million Last Fiscal Year

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) has committed $23 million for its popular Water Conservation Rebate Program for homes and businesses, offering incentives as generous as $3,000 for a pH-Cooling Tower Controller for commercial customers and $8 for each rotating sprinkler nozzle for residential customers. These rebates, which are designed to encourage water conservation and help customers save money on their bills, are available during the current fiscal year, ending June 30, 2013, until the funds are spent. The Department’s $23 million investment this year more than doubles last year’s budget of $10 million.“We are incredibly proud of the fact that our customers have achieved the lowest daily water use per person on record in the City of Los Angeles – just 123 gallons per person per day,” said James B. McDaniel, Senior Assistant General Manager of the LADWP Water System. “That is the lowest customer water use in the nation for cities with a population greater than one million.  Between our rebate and incentive programs, water conservation awareness programs and water efficient building requirements, we continue to head in the right direction.  That helps the environment and helps our customers save money.”

Los Angeles, which receives average annual rainfall of about 15 inches per year, is dependent upon purchased, imported water to sustain its population of 3.9 million residents. In a typical year, the City receives more than 50% of its water supplies from the California and Colorado River aqueducts, about 35% from the City-owned and operated Los Angeles Aqueduct, with the balance pumped locally from underground sources and stormwater recharge. Water conservation, together with recycled water, stormwater capture and local groundwater cleanup and management, are part of the Department’s Local Water Supply Program, which LADWP is expanding to further reduce reliance on more expensive imported water to keep costs low for customers.

Rebates offered for residential customers include:

High Efficiency Toilet $100
High Efficiency Clothes Washer $300
Rotating Sprinkler Nozzles $8
Weather Based Irrigation Controller (less than 1 acre) $200
Weather Based Irrigation Controller (over 1 acre) $25 per station
California Friendly Landscape $1.50 per square foot

Rebates offered for commercial customers include:

Weather Based Irrigation Controller $50 per station
Central Computer Irrigation Controller $50 per station
Large Rotary Nozzles, per set $13
Rotating Nozzles for pop-up stray heads, per nozzle $8
Multi-Family High Efficiency Toilet $175
Commercial High Efficiency Toilet, Tank Type $175
Commercial High Efficiency Toilet, Flushometer $300
Zero Water Urinals $500
Ultra Low Water Urinal $500
pH-Cooling Tower Controller $3,000
Cooling Tower Conductivity Controller $625
Dry Vacuum Pump – per .5 HP $125
Connectionless Food Steamers, per compartment $610
Ice-Making Machines $1,000
In-Stem Flow Regulator, per regulator $1
California Friendly Landscape $1 per square foot

Information and applications for the residential SoCal Water$mart Rebate Program, available to tenants, homeowners, and landlords, can be obtained online at www.socalwatersmart.com.

Information and applications for the commercial rebates are available at www.mwdsaveabuck.com. Other tips are available at www.bewaterwise.com.

LADWP water customers can obtain free water conservation devices, including bathroom faucet aerators, kitchen faucet aerators, and low flow showerheads, by calling the Water Conservation Hotline at 1-800-544-4498 and press “0” for rebates.

Dad’s Astonishing Health Miracle

My father is 80 years old and has Stage 5 renal disease.

In December of 2011, I flew home to the Philippines to care for him after he had a heart attack. Simultaneously, my 75-year-old mother was in another operating room having her gallbladder removed. Ay naku!

After a grueling 16-hour flight, I saw Dad and Mom both looking very frail. After a few days of recovery, they slowly improved and were discharged to our provincial homestead.

The doctors warned that my father was close to complete kidney failure, with less than 15% of normal function. In addition, he required a heart bypass. At home we watched his diet carefully and he slowly got stronger. His creatinine level, an accurate indicator of kidney function, began dangerously high but incrementally started decreasing. I felt that Dad was out of immediate danger, so I left to go return to my responsibilities in the U.S.

A few weeks later, I learned that Dad’s creatinine went up again. This was disheartening but not a surprise. My father and mother — in fact, my whole family – love eating, though impartial observers might accurately call it “overeating.” Food is the way we show our love for one another, offering sustenance and pleasure to each other, always encouraging extra helpings, so much that sometimes it’s physically difficult to get up from the dining table.

My father had to come to the U.S. for continued care. My husband and I, with the consent of Mom and Dad, decided we should live together as a family. In order to maintain each other’s privacy and independence, we converted our former garage into a cozy apartment, which we now call “The Casita.” Instead of lawns, we have bountiful and beautiful vegetable gardens, front and back. The air is fresh and cool, and we always have plenty of delicious (and amazingly fresh) organic vegetables to eat.

This got me thinking. After reading many books on Kidney Disease, and in consultation with a dietitian, we adopted a strict vegan diet for my Dad. The results have been staggering.

Dad is happy to share these numbers. He hopes others might find similar wellness through a radically low-toxin diet.

5/18/2012 Before Vegan Diet 8/16/2012 After 3 Months on Vegan Diet
Symptoms of Kidney Disease
Itching Moderate to Severe None to Minimal
Fatigue Moderate to Severe; Sleeping almost every hour or two Min to Moderate; Takes a nap in the afternoon
Edema in the feet Moderate None
Edema in the hands Min to Moderate None
Balance Loses balance from sit to stand; crisscrosses feet when starting to ambulate Good balance; Ambulates from 30-60 min. 4-6 times a week; gardens; squats without losing balance
Exercise Unable Walks 30-60 min. 4-6 times a week
Weight 175 lbs. 150 lbs.
Blood Pressure 151/69 113/69



Lab Results

5/18/2012 Before Vegan August 16, 2012 After 3 Months on Vegan Diet
Glucose 96 82 (normal 83-110 mg/dl)
Cholesterol 241 145 (normal <=200 mg/dl))
Triglycerides 122 97 (normal 0-150 mg/dl)
Potassium 5.2 4.7 (normal 3.5 – 5.2 mmol/L)
Phosphorous 6.5 6.9 (normal 2.3-4.7 mg/dl)
Protein 7.1 6.3 (normal 6.1-8.1 mg/dl)
Creatinine 5.63 7.82 (normal 0.7-1.3 mg/dl)
Urea Nitrogen 72 120 (normal 8-26 mg/dl)

As you can see from the tables above, aside from his kidney-failure-related escalations, Dad’s vital measurements have improved in every area. This has accompanied an obvious improvement in my father’s quality of life. Now he walks daily, he gardens every morning, and his balance and agility seem like those of a younger man. His cardiologist reduced his heart medications and found Dad no longer needs a heart bypass. He hasn’t reversed his kidney disease, but his health has improved dramatically. For three months we’ve been able to prolong the need for dialysis by switching to a vegan diet and regular exercise. Although Dad will eventually have dialysis treatment, his nephrologist claims that the frequency will be less because every other system of his body is in good shape.

A vegan diet isn’t for everyone. But after seeing my dad’s remarkable turnaround, I’m convinced it can be a genuine “lifesaver.”


A mentor is not merely a wise teacher but a trusted supporter.

On Saturday, May 19th, at the book launching of “My Filipino Connection: The Philippines in Hollywood,” the new book by Philippine Inquirer columnist Ruben V. Nepales, I was reminded of the vital importance of mentorship. The book profiles notable Filipinos in Hollywood – yours truly being on one of them. None of us would be where were at (or featured in “My Filipino Connection”) without our mentors.

Prosy Delacruz, a Los Angeles’ Fil-Am community leader, cited Mr. Fritz Friedman, Vice President of Sony, as one of her mentors in the community. I, too, have many mentors, and Ms. Prosy Delacruz is at the top of the list.

At my stage in life, I’m now being called a mentor. It’s such an important role, not only for the growth of the individual but for the advancement of our community. I’m proud to serve, and I thank all of my mentors for your wisdom, generosity and tremendous support.