Posts

Nicotine Pouches: A New Horizon for Quitting Smoking?

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Yesterday, a new chapter in my learning unfolded unexpectedly. Despite quitting smoking in 2015 after years as a heavy smoker, a client on Upwork introduced me to nicotine pouches—a term I hadn't encountered before. If I knew about this product back then, I might have considered them in my efforts to quit. This article explores nicotine pouches, aiming to inform those contemplating quitting smoking about this alternative. A Brief History of Nicotine Pouches Nicotine pouches stem from older tobacco products like Swedish snus (a moist, smokeless tobacco product from Sweden). The modern iterations, however, are distinctly different—these are tobacco-free sachets that offer a cleaner nicotine delivery. Emerging in the early 2000s, with notable brands like ZYN launching in the U.S. market by 2014, these products have evolved from traditional tobacco usages to incorporate synthetic or purified nicotine with plant-based fibers, providing a smokeless nicotine experience. What Exactly are

Understanding and Accepting the LGBTQ+ Community Beyond Words

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If you're like me, you might find yourself puzzled by the evolving discussions around gender identity. Growing up in Albay during the 1980s and 90s, I witnessed firsthand how terms like "bakla" were delivered with a sting that branded it an insult. Considering this background, my attempt to talk about gender fluidity and other LGBTQ+ topics might seem intricate. If this resonates with you, this article aims to cultivate understanding and respect for a community that is rightfully asserting its place in society. Understanding Sexuality and Gender Through Personal Stories I'm not an expert on this topic, so I reached out to several people to share their experiences, helping me explore the varied and personal nature of these identities. Here are their stories: Bea's Story - Heterosexual : Bea has always been attracted to the opposite sex. Her journey is filled with romantic interests and deepening relationships that reflect a heterosexual orientation, where emotional

Beyond the Buzz: Diwata's Journey from Viral Sensation to Community Beacon

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Photo borrowed from Philstar.Com Imagine walking through the bustling streets of Pasay, the aroma of freshly stewed beef wafting through the air. You're drawn to a small yet vibrant eatery named "Diwata Pares Overload." This isn't just any food spot; it's a place transformed by the very customers who line up daily, their enthusiasm and word-of-mouth turning it into a viral sensation. As Diwata serves pares with a smile, each customer partakes not only in a meal but in the continuing story of a viral phenomenon. Back in 2016, Diwata became a household name after a video of her strutting in a precinct, akin to a beauty queen, captured the hearts of millions online. From living under a bridge to owning a booming pares and siken (fried chicken) business, her story is a testament to the power of social media's magic—or as she would say, her own version of "pixie dust." Bloggers and vloggers from all walks of life began featuring Diwata, hoping the magic o

Pope Francis Apologizes for Homophobic Remarks: A Step Toward Healing

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I remember the first time I saw Pope Francis on television. His simple white cassock, the gentle wave, and the warmth in his eyes felt like a new dawn for the Catholic Church. As someone who has never set foot in Rome or marveled at the grandeur of St. Peter's Basilica, my connection to the Pope has always been through the screen and the pages of news articles. Despite this distance, I have been an ardent follower of his journey since his ascension, always hopeful for the winds of change he might bring. The recent controversy surrounding Pope Francis' homophobic remarks was deeply unsettling. As an advocate and ally of the LGBTQ+ community, I have seen the pain and struggle some of my friends, colleagues, and family have endured. It felt like a personal blow. The Pope, a figure I admired, had faltered. It was a moment of disillusionment, but it was also a moment that demanded attention and reflection. The remarks were not just words; they were echoes of centuries of discriminat

"Hang Up and Submit": A Viral Video's Threat to Filipino Freelancing's Reputation

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I was casually sipping my coffee while browsing Facebook when I chanced upon a viral video of a child handling a work call, even describing how to "hang up and submit" the call as if it were nothing. My immediate thought was, imagine if a client abroad gets to watch this video. While it's adorable that a child is mimicking their work-from-home parent, imagine the potential consequences. Clients abroad could easily form a negative perception of Filipino freelancers, assuming a lack of professionalism or disregard for client needs. This single video has the potential to damage the reputation we've meticulously built as reliable and dedicated workers. The video shows a young child mimicking her mother's work routine, stating, “‘pag may tumawag, hang up niyo lang and submit.” This is alarming because hanging up on a call is a major breach of protocol in the call center world and could result in disciplinary action. This act, while seemingly innocent and humorous, rais

From Betamax to Streaming: A Nostalgic Journey Through Empty Cinemas

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I recently visited the cinema section of SM Cabanatuan and noticed "Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga" was now showing.  There were no lines and the attendant looked bored and sleepy. The vibrant energy of movie-going had vanished, replaced by empty seats and silent halls. It reminded me of when cinemas were the beating heart of our social lives. In the 80s, the excitement of a new movie was palpable. Cinemas in the Philippines offered double features—two movies for the price of one ticket.  After watching the second movie, I would often leave with a headache, my eyes struggling to adjust after nearly five hours in the darkness. The smell of buttered popcorn filled the air, mingling with the musty scent of the theater—a mix of wood, leather, and human odor.  Colorful, hand-painted billboards by local artists adorned intersections, announcing the latest films and drawing us in like moths to a flame. We eagerly awaited the weekends, then hurrying to get our tickets.  Inside, the buzz of

The Dangers of Political Fandom: Why Blind Loyalty Leads to Perpetual Misery in the Philippines

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  "Di ko na maalala, your honor"—Alice Guo kept saying these words over and over again during the Senate hearing about her supposed connections to POGOs, and it's a scary reminder of how blindly we trust. As suspicions of her true identity and allegiance swirled, President Bongbong Marcos himself questioned her background, yet a wave of unwavering support for Marcos quickly followed. One netizen's declaration, " I will trust what MY president said ," sent shivers down my spine. This blind faith in political figures, this unquestioning loyalty even in the face of glaring red flags, is a festering wound on our nation's soul. It is the Achilles' heel that keeps us shackled to a cycle of misery, hindering progress and perpetuating the very problems we so desperately yearn to escape. This blog is not about Alice Guo or Bongbong Marcos; it's about the dangerous allure of political fandom and how it blinds us to the truth. It's about the urgency of