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A Londoner returns to Manila...cannot seem to adapt...Dazed,confused, or, perhaps, a Displaced Person (DP)..?This is my blog that is just about my life back in the Philippines -everything...travels and travails, lost and found, experiences to be shared to anyone who cares to read my blog...Everything is my OWN personal opinion based on my OWN experiences...Love it? Hate it? or bin it?

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Who Am I Meant To Be... and My Allergies....

       Allergies, resolving life's past issues, blocked emotions...

 I do not know what it is about returning or coming or moving back (right now it seems like a temporary thing for me for reasons you will read here) to the Philippines that made me "overly=sensitive" to my physical environment, food, and air, and everything else really. It seems that suddenly I am so sensitive to cigarette smoke (even my neighbours at the compound think I am so dramatic when I tell them to refrain from smoking that I recently got into arguments with the male owner who is also a big-time smoker), or some food I eat, or people burning rubbish, all types of chemicals, especially paint thinners, even shampoos, soaps and hair conditioners, garters on my bras, knickers not made of cotton, hair dyes/colouring, and more...

I wonder if it is because I was never really exposed to them in the past (as I now lived in an area in the North that is known to be one of the most-polluted cities in Metro Manila), or that I was going through the perimenopausal stage (I read you become sensitive to these substances), or that I have emotional blockages, frustrations, and issues that are manifested by getting irritated to all of those supposed allergens.

It would be good to discuss reasons here but they are just my personal analyses really based on my readings and research as I try to find out the cause of all these "too many irritants" affecting me constantly that life for me became "unbearable" - seriously. At the same time, based from my experience, I can suggest and perhaps, advise some of my personal products that may help those who also are quite sensitive to the irritants I mentioned above.

But, these are my personal experiences that worked for me, and I still adhere to such products and practices.

For example, just very recently, I went to this large fast-food chain, McDonald's in Matalino Street (in Quezon City, Metro Manila), for my usual cup of brewed coffee (Starbucks can be too expensive really!) together with my youngest son, CJ. I decided to try their sandwich with sausage and egg, well, just a two bites really as I am trying to go back to my vegan diet (not easy in Metro Manila - but that is another story). 

Two hours after, my hands started itching. Then I got this rash on my lower right ankle. Okay, so I didn't mind, and the day went on. I went back to McDonald's, hanged out, on my laptop, and tried to use their Wi-Fi (which is really crappy), and even tried to charge my mate's Ipad, ignoring the rash and itchiness on my hands thinking they will eventually go away. Well, after three hours of stay, CJ met me there after school; he had lunch, then suddenly a loud noise, smoke, and a sting on my back! Whoa! The charger of the Ipad exploded! Crap!

 I called the manager. I was told he was in a bloody seminar. An assistant manager came. She tried to assist. I told the security guard to sort the matter. He called the assistant manager. Time passed. I waited. Finally, I went to the counter and was told they had to speak with the customer service over the phone. Apologies. Assistant manager said they ask electrician to come (up to this time, three days after, none came and no report came regarding the reason why my Ipad charger exploded).  I then suggested for them to call the local Barangay. 

Note: For non-Filipinos not knowing this, a Barangay (Filipino: barangay, [baɾaŋˈɡaj]) is the smallest administrative division and basic unit of government in the Philippines, and the local term for a village, district or ward. In colloquial usage, it often refers to an inner city neighbourhood, a suburb or a suburban neighbourhood, and whenever there are complaints, we file them at our own Barangay where we live, or where the crime, complaint or event took place.

Anyway, the Barangay representative came. I told him what happened. He took down notes. I read. The assistant manager also read. I just said I was not filing a complaint but just want the event documented (excluding the allergies which was not in my mind at this time). Quite tired really, I went home. Around 7 o’clock that night, the itchiness became worse even the rash on my ankle. Hmmm….not really good. From the looks of it and my Googling, looked like allergies. To what? Think…yeah, the McMuffin sandwich with sausage and egg! 
           Rashes spread all over my neck and chest on third day

 How can I be allergic to egg when I can eat chicken? Or why then did I had Tuna with Egg sandwich at Starbucks twice last week and did not get this reaction? Maybe the eggs were not fresh? The manager, finally done with his seminar told me, eggs have “Best before 27th August 2012,” and I ate on 23 August. I told the manager over the phone that my charger exploding did not really hurt my back but more of the rash and the itchiness that were bothersome as I cannot stop scratching. He insisted on going to the E.R. I vehemently disagreed – no way, I get a shot of Benadryl and an IV again, feeling high, dozing off, and then waking up like a zombie! I said I will take something and observe myself.

                 Red rashes, very itchy on my right ankle

I took this antihistamine, scientific name, Cetirizine Hydrochloride which when I Googled, is a “Second generation antihistamine; piperazine-derivative, carboxylic acid metabolite of hydroxyzine” which is for allergies like mine. I took u antihistamine, unbranded, or generic, 10 mg from RiteMed at 8 pm. I applied Caladyrl on the rash at my right ankle but the itch persisted throughout the night giving me no sleep at all!

 I dozed off at midnight, woke up several times due to the itch, and fell asleep again,  waking up almost 9am the next day feeling woozy, literally falling off when I forced myself to get up. I didn’t wake up on time, CJ late for school, and headed back to McDonalds, as the itchiness lessened 50% only! Then I rubbed rock salt on my palms and between my fingers to lessen the itchiness. It helped a somehow.

        On third night, 25 August, rashes spread to my hands as well

               Very itchy and my fingers got swollen too

  The manager was apologetic, of course. He forced me to see a Dermatologist at the nearest hospital, Philippine Heart Centre (PHC). We went but seeing I had to wait for three more hours, I insisted to come back as I needed to bring CJ at PCMC.  Of course, the rain caused traffic and we were late returning to McDonald’s. Again, the manager left word to assistant manager we should go to E.R. of PHC. I said no as I know they treat more of patients of life threatening illnesses due to stroke or heart disease. Ahh…the assistant manager was so insistent. I said sure, okay, we go. We were at the E.R. of PHC, and after a few minutes the doctor told us our situation is not life threatening and were not of stroke or heart life-threatening illnesses! What did I say…?!

I insisted to go home whether McDonald’s liked it or not. But that night, the rash became rashes and itchiness on my hands worsened, such that the next day my fingers were swollen. This time I decided to see the dermatologist (and abstract painter as well, she told me later, a nice, friendly doctor who never hurries you during consultation), Dr. Montina Alcantara -Macam, as McDonald’s manager had wanted me to see (I wanted an allergologist really).

I rubber lemons on my rashes to lessen the itchiness and swelling
          (rock salt also minimises the itchiness)

I also take two glasses of warm water with a slice of lemon before sleeping and upon waking up as part of detox from toxins of food taken

Verdict: Allergic reaction to the processed meat (sausage) which probably has food colouring.

Someone told me having bouts of allergies, especially in very unusual ways, repeatedly, and being oversensitive to factors in my environment is no longer “normal.” And how our life, or spirituality, or our Chakras are intertwined into this is the subject of future other blogs. For now, I am focusing on my experience with one McMuffin sandwich at McDonald’s as a food allergy that could be related to my “imbalance" Chakras - Allergies (Heart Chakra); Food Allergies – Navel Chakra ( and my current life.”
Seven Chakras

Moving on, I read that an allergy is an “exaggerated” immune response or reaction to substances that are generally not harmful – unless they cause death. As I said earlier, when I came back to Manila, I suffered about of Allergic conjunctivitis, various allergic reactions (usually environmental), even allergy to mold, dander, dust, or Atopic dermatitis (eczema), Contact dermatitis, Drug allergies (penicillin and aspirin), Food allergies ( seafood, some fishes),Hay fever (allergic rhinitis)…anymore? Yeah, I get allergy-like reactions to hot temperatures, hot weather, sunlight, or other environmental triggers. Sometimes, friction (rubbing or roughly stroking the skin) will cause symptoms too, including sweat, extreme loud noise (which are normal for other people), strong perfume, using earrings of fake gold or silver, wearing rubber slippers….

Honestly, sometimes I am even like paranoid that any moment something, or some smell occurs that will trigger allergic symptoms on me.

 I read: “A specific allergy is not usually passed down through families (inherited). However, if both your parents have allergies, you are likely to have allergies. The chance is greater if your mother has allergies.” My Mum has none but my Dad has some. However, I never suffered them except for rhinitis ( my stay in the UK cleared this). In, you will know more of this….

In this case, diagnosis was an allergic reaction to what I ate that morning: the McMuffin sausage and Egg sandwich. I was prescribed another type of Antihistamine, called, Generic Name: levocetirizine (LEE voe se TIR a zeen), Brand Names: Xyzal, which is “used to treat symptoms of year-round (perennial) allergies in adults and children who are at least 6 months old. Xyzal is also used to treat symptoms of seasonal allergies in adults and children who are at least 2 years old. Xyzal is also used to treat itching and swelling caused by chronic urticaria (hives) in adults and children who are at least 6 months old.

If you Google, you will read these: Xyzal may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be alert. Drinking alcohol can increase certain side effects of Xyzal. Tell your doctor if you regularly use other medicines that make you sleepy (such as other cold or allergy medicine, narcotic pain medicine, sleeping pills, muscle relaxers, and medicine for seizures, depression, or anxiety). They can add to sleepiness caused by Xyzal. Call your doctor if your symptoms do not improve, if they get worse, or if you also have a fever.

Dr. Macam told this is Xyzal is a “First Generation Antihistamine” which means the drowsiness is lesser as I cannot take the side effects of being woozy and lethargic. I even read it is a “State of the Art Antihistamine,” whereby the sedation side effect is cut into half! I am taking my first Xyzal of 5mg tonight (and will tell you later). I was prescribed seven Xyzal to take once days for seven days or until allergic symptoms are gone. However, in my experience, when I got allergies last year due to chemicals found in this rebonding of hair (and that is another story), I used Virlix, a “ potent second-generation histamine H1 antagonist that is effective in the treatment of allergic rhinitis, chronic urticaria, and pollen-induced asthma. Unlike many traditional antihistamines, it does not cause drowsiness or anticholinergic side effects. [PubChem],” 10 mg once a day plus oral steroids (yes, awful experience) in which the former did not give me that terrible sedative effect when I wake up.

NOTE: For more information regarding feedback on Xyzal, you can check out his link:
For information on Virlix, please see:

Added to this,  Dr. Macam prescribed this cream for skin allergies and her own “Oatmeal Powder” to be used for feet and hands (on a bowl of water mix this Oatmeal Powder, soak both hands and feet, then apply the allergy cream). 

 To end this three-day saga, even if I was disappointed with the initial handling of my complaints on  my allergic reactions to the Egg and Sausage McMuffin at McDonald’s, and their seeming lack of knowledge of the contents of the food they serve (which is very important, to be honest), one thing for sure, they were courteous, polite and never stopped offering me coffee, or meals for CJ (too bad I do not eat burgers), or concerned with my well-being (hopefully they were sincere, or maybe just worried I will sue them, hahaha), including that of CJ’s.  Perhaps, it will not be too much to mention their names: Anne Estepa, Liza Maniquiz and Angelito Ang of McDonald’s Matalino branch.

Allergies. There are those childhood allergies that are possible to be treated in various ways. And there is this allergy that occurs on your adulthood to your mature years, so I was told by my GP or general practitioner not too long ago. She said it just happens. But I think there is more to that really. Both genes and environmental factors play a role, of course. But in a person with allergies, the immune response is oversensitive. When it recognizes an allergen, it releases chemicals such as histamines. which fight off the allergen. This causes allergy symptoms.

Now, my BIG question to myself is “Why now and How did this happen Now?” Recurring allergies for four years? Normally to my environment is for me – very unusual.

 On my next blog, I will discuss results of these medications, and the if there is any relation between blocked emotions, issues and personal unresolved situations in our lives that manifest into allergies which really is  “a hypersensitivity disorder of the immune system.” And why I get allergies because my immune system is down or weak and why such…? Because really, I have noticed that I seem to be sensitive to so many in my environment that I even learned the term: “Highly Sensitive Person,” or HSP, and why various blocked and unresolved personal issues may cause allergies.

Have a great weekend!


Note- Top and bottom photos from Oprah magazine
 Seven Chakras, Image Source:

 Oprah Magazine - always a fave inspiration...

Monday, December 5, 2011

Finding a RELIABLE and DECENT Domestic Helper in Manila

It has been such an endless struggle for anyone in Manila, Philippines who needs to hire or employ a decent, honest and well-trained domestic helper, nanny, driver, or any type of household helper. Sadly, many, if not, most of them will rob you, steal your stuff, lie to their teeth, or even kidnap your kids. Yes, this may sound unbelievable but it is true. We have so many cases of this in this country.
I have my own share of sob story which I will be writing about in my next blog - it went to the police, and all the way to the Department of Labour (DOLE), and as of this writing, I am waiting for what the next step of DOLE as the said agency (WNCK) has been operating illegally.
So, sitting down, helpless, and been sick (allergic rhinitis and flu), I realised why don't I just open my own with a mate? Since my parents owned a manpower agency that deploys various kind of workers (office, cleaners, professionals) to local companies here (government, private and multi-national), why not expand the service?
I just feel I understand both sides of the coin: the needs and frustrations of the client, and the mind-set of a temporary staff (cleaners, helpers, drivers, etc.). Hopefully, with the kind of European and American training we will give to these staff (domestic workers), we can make them better employees! First, they have a problem with work attitude. Second, they lack discipline (as most Filipinos are-truth only).
So, read on.
It definitely will be a more efficient service. Pass the word around, please.

 All images from
Right People. Right Mind.

Our network is increasing fast and we continue to provide domestic helpers of high quality to various households. We also deploy workers such as housemaids, houseboys, nannies, housekeepers, caregivers, midwives, nurses, drivers, gardeners, building attendants (janitors), merchandisers, and so on.
We’ve set up a user-friendly platform which is called DIY. It works by enabling potential local employers to quickly find the type of domestic helper by browsing the online profile and photo of applicants. We strive to provide the easiest, fastest and user-friendly environment for foreign domestic helpers and employers to have direct communication via telephone allowing employers to have the INITIAL contact with prospective candidates as well as undergo one-on-one negotiation and hire ideal helpers to meet its household needs. 
Aside from direct hire processing, we also provide full agency service where we arrange interview between the employer and the applicant. Once you’ve already decided who among them you’d like to hire, what we will do next is take care of all the necessary processing that will bring the domestic helper of your choice to you.
We make sure that everything is done smoothly and proficiently for every one's satisfaction. We are a REGISTERED COMPANY.
We are managed and owned by an expat from the UK who has 20 years of experience in HR, recruitment, outsourcing,  supervision of staff, and the process of hiring and firing, including WESTERN-trained staff who made sure you will be serviced SMOOTHLY AND EFFICIENTLY and FAST. The service that we provide is not only exceedingly satisfactory it is designed as well for your convenience.
The owner, a single mum, had experienced the hassles of finding the right and LEGITIMATE domestic worker here in the Philippines, and now has found the solution to help others in the same boat as hers.
We provide you not just EFFICIENCY in the WESTERN way, but also, our helpers are:
1. PROPERLY TRAINED - baby care, household cleaning, building cleaning and maintenance, car maintenance and care, and care for the sick and the aged.
2. They are required to submit their ORIGINAL AND LEGAL documents such as the NBI, Police and Barangay Clearances, valid IDs, pictures.
3. We have exhausted all possible means for background check of their families, relatives and past employers.
4. They have been rigorously interviewed by our panel.
5. We have given them all CLIENT BRIEFING - including good manners and right conduct.
6. We select ONLY those that have passed our RIGID and STRICT requirements even before they are deployed to you. 
Please follow the following steps:
1. Send us an email of what domestic worker you need, including details of age, background and experience.
2. We will get back to you asap.
3. Then we will telephone you once we have the candidates that you can interview on the phone.
4. Once you have made your choice based on this telephone interview, we will deliver the domestic worker at your convenient location for a minimal fee.
5. Contracts are then signed.
6. We charged a minimal service fee for all costs incurred.
Please fill up below. Or send us an email at with your contact details.

                       SEE US ALSO AT:
119 Scout Fernandez, Quezon Cty

  CALL US AT: 63-2-394-8605 OR AT 09224293004 (SUN)


DOMESTIC HELP SERVICES - Tuesday, December  6, 2011

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