Finding Freedom and a Mom’s Breastfriend in Avon Fashions Body Illusion

Looking at myself in the mirror sometimes makes me say “Who are you, and what have you done to Via?”

As a new Mom, a lot of things changed – my daily itinerary, my eating and sleeping schedule, my spending habits, my clothes, shoes… my body.

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Looking back my mother would have not believed that I can actually get a normal BMI for once, and all it took was to get pregnant and become a mother like herself.

But I’m grateful in every way, and always looking at the brighter side of these changes, specially how blessed I am to have functional body parts that are actually able to nourish a growing little life.

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I told myself that this new role will demand and ask so much from me, and I have to be prepared to handle it. I read a lot of books, searched online, and asked mommy friends about how I can better adjust to this new phase in my life. I knew I have to rise over, and be more.

And so I shall.

That is why I always appreciate even the littlest of things that can make me manage this new role effectively and seamlessly.

Good thing I found Avon Fashions’ new Body Illusion.

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It has been the lightest and most comfortable underwear I’ve ever worn! These new bras and panties actually feel like second skin, and are perfect for my nursing clothes.

Most of my nursing dresses are made of soft cotton and light fabrics that is why I particularly need to wear undergarments that don’t put obvious dents on unflattering areas.

Plus I won’t have to worry about stubborn straps saying hello to strangers. It’s quite a dealbreaker when you need to adjust intimates in public places, especially when I am carrying my baby. The frustration and itch to fix is quite a pain – and my hands are full!

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I am so grateful that Avon finally launched this advanced innerwear line, as it answers my woes as a busy entrepreneur and a hands-on mom. The support of being able to do tasks without anything getting in the way is such a relief!

I’m wearing Sonia, the non-wire seamless pull-on bra (P899) and panty (P299) are my new best friends! They make me feel confident and extra sexy too! The extreme flexibility with its pull-on form factor, complete with ultra-soft fabric and moulded cups are a breather from the other unruly intimates I’ve tried before.

There are no hooks too! Wearing this actually reminds me of something like putting on a shirt! This feature ensures seamless back and sides, and provides comfortable support even without the wires!

It truly is the perfect foundation to any outfit that gives its wearer the perfect silhouette for limitless movements and confidence.

Check how interesting my mommy movements are prior to getting a picture-perfect shot!

My arms are like the bra I’m wearing, as Body Illusion offers different levels of control, so are my arms making sure Calum is safe and following his little fidgets.

From smoothing to shaping to sculpting, to flatter my figure, I’m quite happy and satisfied that despite our small scuffle, we finally had come to the conclusion to sit down and pose for the camera.

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And look, no photo-bomber bra straps!

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Avon Fashions Body Illusion is available through Zalora, Avon Representatives, or via Avonshop.ph. Follow Avon Philippines on Facebook and Instagram to learn more.

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Got Lumps? Get them checked out immediately

I remember a lesson back in my college years in Nursing when we were taught on how to properly palpate our patients to feel any form of lumps that may signal a medical concern.

I believe this skill has been a great help for me especially when I need to check some of my family members who expressed worry about something either movable or not in some parts of their body.

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When you feel a lump in any part of your body or an accumulation of mass under your skin, it always makes you stop, feel it again and think about why or how you got it. Many lumps are harmless.

These can be associated with physical activities such as exercise and commuting, or curable, minor health conditions. If they persist, however, these lumps can be a sign of something more serious.

Non-serious lumps are usually soft, mobile or can move or change shape when touched, located in the superficial layer of the skin, or can grow large and painful with activity but diminishing in size with rest. For these types of lumps, mostly resulting from rigorous physical activity, there is an immediate first- aid relief, though: get rest, apply ice and compression.

Other types of lumps can be brought about by other conditions which need further assessment.

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Types of lumps in the body

 According to National Health Services UK, the following are areas where lumps can appear that are indicative of diseases and health complications:

 

  • Mumps – This is the swelling of the parotid glands on the side of the face, most commonly occurring among children. Patients may experience headaches, joint pain, and may have high fever for a few days.
  • Allergic reactions – A person allergic to peanuts, strawberries and seafood can develop lumps and swelling under the skin. This can be life-threatening if accompanied with difficulty in breathing.
  • Dental abscess – Bacterial infection may form on the inside of the teeth, in the gums or even in the bone structure surrounding the teeth and lead to lump and swelling on the side of the mouth. This can be accompanied by infection and fever.
  • Salivary gland stone – Chemical in the saliva can crystallize and form a stone, which causes a lump and swelling near the jaw area.
  • Swollen lymph glands – Swelling in the lymph glands often signals an infection. Once the infection is treated, the lump subsides. However, recurring lump or swelling of the lymph glands could be an indication of a more serious health condition like cancer of the lymphatic system or head and neck cancer. Such cases require a complete and thorough medical assessment.
  • Skin tags – These are wart-like, skin-colored growths that hang off the skin. It can also occur in the armpits, around the groin area, under the breasts and even on the eyelids.
  • Goiter – This is an abnormal enlargement of the thyroid gland which is usually caused by a lack of iodine in the diet.
  • Mastitis – This is most common among pregnant and breastfeeding women.Breast tissues become swollen and painful due to an infection.
  • Hernia – Swelling or lump occurs in the abdomen or groin area when an internal organ pushes through weak spot in a surrounding muscle that holds it in place.
  • Lumps in the testicle area – They could be due to swollen veins, build-up of fluid or some form of inflammation. However, some lumps can indicate testicular cancer.

Lumps

If you are experiencing one of these conditions, it is best to get lumps checked out for immediate relief or to get a complete diagnosis as your lump may indicate something more serious.

 

Lumps that can be a cause for worry

Lumps should be assessed by your doctor if they are not associated with any physical activity or if the lump and its accompanying conditions worsen. Instead of losing sleep over it, ask your doctor to perform a complete diagnosis of your lump.

Characteristics of lumps that can indicate more serious illnesses include pain and redness, swelling or growing bigger, lump is hard and doesn’t move, lump grows back after being removed, lump in the breast or testicles, and swelling in the side of the neck, armpit, or groin area that doesn’t go away.

Not all types of lumps indicate cancer. However, a lump is one of the telling signs of breast cancer, Hodgkin lymphoma and testicular cancer. These diseases can be easier to treat if patients are diagnosed and assessed early.

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Hope From Within symbolizes the optimism that novel treatments like targeted therapies and immunotherapy bring to cancer patients, and promotes ongoing education on the importance of early diagnosis, having an open line of communication with doctors, and completing treatment. Initially, it encourages “Test-Talk-Take Action” against lung cancer but already expanded to include melanoma, head and neck cancer, Hodgkin lymphoma, gastric, and bladder cancers.

Learn more about cancer and how we fight it. Get early screening and know your treatment options.

This might save a life.

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Swimpeccable Eats at 8 Seas Food Park Adventure

My appreciation for mermaids and seas is nothing new to you my dear merfriends, that is why imagine the delight on my face when I saw the design of 8 Seas Food Park Adventure!

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It was like a pier, with big floaters and a ship! I truly felt like a mermaid who turned into a human. 🙂

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I have already posted an introduction in my Facebook page how I felt about going to events now that I have a 5-month old baby. I was really excited to try different dishes from this new food park given that it is so near our place.

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CHICKAPIG

https://www.facebook.com/ChickapigPh/

(02) 451 29 26 | 0932 849 4560 | 0917 862 1212

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This one is a great choice for families and friends when dining out as their food concepts are generally preferred by Pinoys. Showcasing family tradition and culinary passion, Chickapig is driven to satiate and invoke customer loyalty by offering tasty food and appetizing atmosphere.

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I enjoyed their sisig and chicken wings. I am a big fan of the latter that is why I am quite picky and tend to veer on more familiar tastes such as garlic parmesan and honey lemon.

They have adequate servings so there’ll be no hunger pause buttons. I believe pairing their food either with rice or standalone can still be mouth-watering, and definitely worth trying.

KOCCO

https://www.facebook.com/Koccotea/

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As a breastfeeding mom, I’m quite thirsty all the time, so aside from water, it is a great treat to drink flavoured liquids from time to time.

Kocco Tea Kitchen offers tea, milktea, iced tea, lemonade, coffee, and frappe for all drink junkies out there. I am more of a milktea person rather than liking coffee. I actually grew up thinking coffee is only for adults. 😀 Haha That is why this is a haven for me.

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I ordered Strawberry Daiquiri Lemonade and it was thirst-quenching as well as refreshing. I didn’t even know I was about to finish it right before I start the next meal.

I also find this little nook quite cozy. It’s intimate and very discreet. I think most youngsters would enjoy trying out their swills.

SAMGYEOP SA TIMOG

https://www.facebook.com/SamgyeopSaTimog/

0906 046 4224

I am not a fan of Korean Buffets because I find the smoke quite annoying, to which I am very allergic. That was why I was a bit hasty on trying this restaurant.

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But as I was trying on the appetizers and the unlimited meat, I finally found why Pinoys are so addicted to this type of dining. It’s a great fuel after a hard day’s work and it’s a great way to unwind with friends.

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The unlimited deal is such a steal too, because for only 299PHP you get to have unlimited pork, while at 399PH you get unlimited chicken, beef and pork meat!

Both prices include the side dishes such as kimchi, fish cake, cucumber, atchara, raddish and carrots, peanuts, vegetable curry, lettuce, japchae, and kimchi soup. You also get to have three sauces: ssamjang, yangnyum and sesame oil with salt and pepper.

They also provide melted cheese that goes well with everything! 😀

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I actually had a lot of inquiries from my Facebook MyDays and Instagram Stories upon posting!

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With the sprouting unlimited samgyeopsal around Timog Avenue and Tomas Morato, Quezon City, SamgyeopSaTimog has the lowest price! It’s a great excuse to finally give in and enjoy good times with your good friends! Plus, ending it with a coffee jelly puts everything satisfyingly delicious.

There are many other interesting food junctions in the park, to which I want to try on my next visit. What better day to go than Valentine’s Day?

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On February 14, Thursday, 8 Seas Food Park Adventure is having a Valentine’s Day Special called “A Pair 2 Remember”. Come in twos, as friends, siblings, child-parent, boyfriend-girlfriend, husband-wife, exes, almosts, unlabelled, etc. enjoy a hearts’ day set meal at 999PHP that’s good for two!

Enjoy the lovely night with some bossa nova at the background too!

See you there! 😀

8 Seas Food Park Adventure

122 Timog Avenue, Quezon City

https://www.facebook.com/8seasfoodpark/

0933 642 6683

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Tasting Soogba’s Authentic Bacolod Chicken Inasal and More

Spending 6 years of my childhood in Butuan City (Mindanao), has let me experience a lot of things, otherwise not typically familiar to a growing kid in more urbanized cities or the country’s capital regions.

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I go to the beach every Sunday just because, and we know almost everyone, everywhere (since the town is pretty small).

One of my favourite ways of cooking is called “Sugba”, or most commonly known as “Ihaw” in Tagalog.

Sugba means “broil” or “grill”, and it could also be “a restaurant where food is cooked in a grill, hence I think where this new food junction I recently tried got its inspiration.

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Soogba is a restaurant that offers the most authentic Bacolod Chicken Inasal in the metro. Along with this, they also offer other grilled dishes such as chicken barbecue, spicy chicken neck, gizzard, atay (liver), and isol (chicken ass).

Carlo Tanalgo, Soogba’s Chef wanted to let Metro Manila taste the real Bacolod Chicken Inasal,

“Inasal” is a modified Filipino lechon Manok, and “asal” means in a stick. It is seasoned generously with calamansi (a Filipino resonant of lemon), coconut vinegar, pepper, orange, lime and annatto. The chicken meat is subjected to immense heat over hot coals while being clobbered by the prepared marinade.

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A common dish in the Visayas region, and the famous go-to food of travellers and even locals of Bacolod, is finally here in Quezon City, and only costs for as low as 150php!

I was able to try Inasal, Isol, and their best-seller and own recipe of Original Spare Ribs and I felt engulfed with the mixture of delectable flavours! They even make their own sauces and chicken oil.

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I didn’t expect I’ll appreciate their version on these foods.

It was nothing like anything I tasted before. The meat is cooked evenly and their juice just bathes everything nicely.

I knew right then and there I had to take John with me here next time! He is the REAL Inasal fan!

Chef Carlo also says “Soogba is about the food experience and customer satisfaction.” True enough, dining here didn’t disappoint.

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You can visit Soogba at 8 Seas Food Park Adventure at 122 Timog Avenue, Quezon City.

Follow and contact them through the following

https://www.facebook.com/Soogba-324800078042078/

0917 153 7311

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The Naked Fusion’s Organic Soaps to Quench your Thirsty Skin

A lot of things can change in a woman’s body during pregnancy, and one of the most affected if I may say is the skin.

I have always taken pride on how my Mom took care my sister’s and I’s skin through the years, and that’s what I envision in doing to my son now that I am a mother.

That is why it is very timely that I got to know The Naked Fusion.

Ever since I got pregnant, I have been obsessed with organic and natural products. I wondered if I actually lived under a rock for so long for not opting to use vegan and cruelty-free products, but hey, it’s not too late, is it?

The Naked Fusion is an organic brand of beautifully handcrafted soaps that are beverage-inspired. They have a wide array of soaps for all skin types. They are 100% natural, made with certified organics, cruelty-free and vegan.

GLAMOR

Best for: Normal | Sensitive | Dry |Irritated Baby Skin (6 months above) | Children

Glamor is a mild blend of chamomile extract, lavender, and goat’s milk that are bound to keep your skin sophisticated like a glass of champagne. With continued use, it promises healing of irritated skin and other minor skin conditions. If you have extra sensitive skin, this is the perfect soap for you.

I also love how this soap can also be used for babies. I can’t wait to try this on Calum once he’s 6 months or older.

PLUSH

Best for: Normal | Oily | Acne-prone skin

Plush is a sweet concoction of sage flower, bearberry and licorice extract. It delicately prevents aging and skin pigmentations while ensuring skin remains supple, fair, and moisturized. The lavish feeling upon regular use will seep through like that of the red wine.

DANDY

Best for: Normal | Oily | Acne-prone skin

As soaring as a sip of vodka, Dandy brightens up the skin while keeping it soft and hydrated all throughout. Infused with lavender, peppermint, and rice milk, your skin will definitely thank you for a calming bliss together with your senses.

BUOYANT

Best for: Normal | Sensitive | All Skin Types

Taking inspiration from the youthful character of rum, Buoyant is here to help you achieve young-looking skin. Enriched with aloe vera leaf extract, sweet almond oil and oat, this beauty will leave your skin extra moisturized and hydrated with regular use.

LUCENT

Best for: Normal | Sensitive | Mature and Dry

Like the wild tequila, Lucent will leave no trace of dryness. Empowered with the healing extracts of shea butter, aloe vera gel, and Himalayan pink salt, Lucent is bound to help you purify your skin with much moisture, while inhibiting sagging.

SAVVY

Best for: Normal | Sensitive | Mature and Dry | With Skin Conditions

Just like the refined whiskey-like skin, Savvy is fuelled with Acapulco extract, cocoa butter, and sandalwood essential oils that are great ingredients in healing minor skin diseases, fade out dark marks, and improve the elasticity of the skin.

I think this will greatly help my belly skin in recovering post-pregnancy.

ENIGMA

Best for: Normal | Oily | Acne-prone skin

Just like the mysterious classic gimlet, Enigma is combined with the purifying benefits of activated charcoal, tea tree extract and aloe vera gel to help combat pimples, heal acne scars, and promote cell regeneration naturally.

FUSSY

Best for: Normal | Oily | Acne-prone skin

Carefully concocted as craft beer, Fussy prides itself with empowering ingredients such as goat’s milk, Himalayan pink salt, and bearberry extract that promise to lighten skin and improve its elasticity.

Just by writing I can already feel how thirsty my skin is. I cannot wait to use them and share with you the results. And did I mention that they all smell refreshing too?

Get yours today at:

Website: https://www.thenakedfusion.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NKDFusion/

Instagram: @nakedfusion

Contact Number: (+632) 806 4504

Email: nakedfusion@gmail.com

Keep your skin happy! 😀

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My Story on Giving Birth at Home, in the Water, with NO Anesthesia

I gave birth to an 8.1 lbs (3.7 kg) baby boy, at home, in the water, with no anesthesia.

Yes, and I’m still alive! Yay! 😀

Exactly a week ago, at this very moment, September 4, Tuesday, around 11:30 PM, I was in Marikina, writhing in pain, praying that I may survive the night and give birth finally.

I can say I am quite proud to be one of the few lucky moms who remember everything about what happened when she gave birth, from the beginning up to the end.

I would like to share with you my story.

September 3, 2018 – Monday

4:00 PM

It was my schedule to visit Ms Aileen Vinoya, my head midwife of Marikina Maternity Clinic and Lying-In that night, but prior to that, I had to do my little errand of shipping a product to a client. I was fearful to not be able to send the parcel knowing that I am due anytime.

I said goodbye to my husband as he was still busy doing something at work that time. We have agreed that he will be following me to Marikina as soon as he is done.

6:00 PM

I arrived at the clinic and was courteously greeted. I had an internal examination, and the results are looking good. I was 1 cm dilated, the baby was lying low already, but my cervix was still thick. I had some Borage Oil capsules inserted to organically persuade my cervix to dilate more.

I was also given dates, which are believed to help speed up dilatation. I was so happy to go home that night. My midwife said to go back to the clinic same time the following day.

10:00 PM

I was already having Braxton-Hicks Contractions (false labor/irregular practice contractions) since my 37th week, but this time I observed that they were becoming more regular.

I downloaded the “Contraction Timer” app to help me time and monitor the pattern. I was a little shocked and excited when they were becoming more intense. I had to ask my sister to lightly massage my lower back because they were starting to become more uncomfortable. The intervals were at 6 to 8 minutes already.

September 4, 2019 – Tuesday

12:00 AM

John arrived in Marikina, and we started to prepare the room to which I will give birth anytime. I tried to sleep but was only successful to manage an hour’s slumber. I wasn’t able to sleep the entire night already because the pain was getting stronger and stronger. I had to wake John or prod him to squeeze my back because it was painful already. I said the pain was 4/10.

4:30 AM

We were dancing to the tunes of K-Pop songs. The hip swaying was helpful, and dancing kept my mind off things. I was enjoying, and consciously forgetting that I was about to face a large feat of excruciating pain, which I chose in the first place by the way.

We texted our birth team to give them an update. Our group chat was a little silent at first because I know that they were all sleeping. I was relieved to get a reply after 30 minutes! Ms Aileen requested that I go to the clinic in the morning, instead of in the evening.

8:00 AM

We told Ms Aileen, that we can’t go anymore, because I wasn’t able to sleep and our intervals were at 4-5minutes already, with 1 minute duration.

I particularly remembered that in the “Birthing is a Blessing” class.

Plus, my mucus plug has already made its debut.

9:30: AM

Ms Alaina Balida, our other midwife arrived to check on me. She said I was already 2 cm dilated. Actually, there’s not much progress in there, because I have been labouring for 12 hours already! Golly, I have a stubborn cervix. I had another Borage Oil insertion to promote dilatation.

1:30 PM

I had to eat lunch to conserve my energy, but I was too preoccupied with the pain. I didn’t have any appetite to ingest anything. My husband even bought Vigan Longganisa (my favourite) for me!

My doula, Ms Jen Faiwas of Pinay Doulas Collective arrived and gave me the comfort I cannot imagine my gentle homebirth without. It was such a relief because John can rest and sleep, while Ms Jen takes over.

This is me getting so pampered and relieved with the birth ball, while Ms Jen puts out the fire in my abdomen.

3:00 PM

Ms Aileen arrived and our internal examination revealed that our baby is lying even lower, that it will only take me a few pushes to get him out. But there was a problem, my cervix won’t dilate. She then realized that our baby’s head is not aligned to my cervix’ opening.

Ms Jen asked me to do some lunges to correct the misaligned baby head and cervix. I also did some squatting on the bed for an hour.

I was so shocked when they told me that I was able to sleep during that exercise. My knees and thighs were burning after though. But Ms Jen was such an expert with these exercise positions that I never hesitated in following them.

4:00 PM

It turns out that baby changed positions, he was lying so low in my back, his back facing my spine, hence the loooooooong and tumultuous anguish.

6:00 PM

I was already crying. These were the first tears I shed during this 27-hour labor.

I was practicing excellent breathing exercises because allowing more oxygen to penetrate the tissues actually helps. But during this time, they were not as effective.

I still couldn’t eat dinner. I was whimpering already, and letting a few silent shrieks in between. It was sooooooo painful, it felt like my lower abdomen was being rolled on by bulldozer trucks continuously, or I was being broken and destroyed from the inside.

I felt like my body is rebelling against me like it never belonged to me, I couldn’t control the pain. It was just there. Taunting me like a little fly that won’t go away. I then remembered what was said during the birth class, that we should welcome the pain. Feeling pain brings me closer to my baby.

And so I welcomed it. Embraced it like its strength. I let it fill me up because I know these labor pains won’t be forever. I just have to endure it while it lasts. And it will be over soon.

8:00 PM

I was in agony. I was on fire. I can hardly describe the amount of soreness my body can still inflict. My intervals were 2-3minutes.

10:00 PM

I was shouting in between contractions. My birth team then recommended that I take a hot shower. I was hesitant at first because I think I cannot walk that far anymore to reach my aunt’s bathroom who lives next door. Our residence is a compound.

When I found what’s left of the strength I so bravely collected for the past 10 months, I agreed to take the hot shower. We didn’t have a continuous heater shower at home.

John and I were alone in the bathroom. He was very patient and careful in pouring the hot shower on my lower back. It was like a glass of water putting out a big fire or conflagration. Futile, but it’s better than nothing.

I told him I can’t do it anymore. I said I was prepared for the pain, but not for more than 24 hours of pain. I wasn’t expecting to go into labor this long. He said what I told him to say to me when I am about to give up, “Is this what you really want?” “Are you sure? We have gone by so far, and the next few hours are just shorter than what we have already survived.”

I agreed, and I thought that if I were to run to the hospital that night, I was pretty sure the doctors will slice me up and declare that I have to agree on an emergency C-section.

I thought about getting a scar in exchange for more hours of pain. I then settled with the more hours of pain.

10:30 PM

I was crying, and my face was already that of an unpaintable subject. I asked for any form of pain relief because it was already unbearable. I could have sworn I was totally being sliced from the inside to two tiny writhing pieces.

Ms Aileen told me that “Sayang naman. Try pa natin intayin. Intayin natin mag 6cm, kasi 1cm na magdadilate every hour.”

I agreed. She encouraged me that I can do this, and it was possible to see the baby in a few hours. Welcome the pain, we will see your baby very very soon.

11:00 PM

It was during this time that Ms Aileen said my shrieks and pain tolerance were already that of an 8 cm dilatation, but mine was just on 4 cm. I asked if she can give me any pain reliever.

She then inserted an IV and locked it with a heplock. I was given Buscopan diluted in water. But honestly, I didn’t feel any form of relief. It was like a placebo, but nevertheless, I was glad she honoured my request.

11:30 PM

I lied on the bed, and my birth team started massaging me. I was asked to lie down on the edge of the bed. They lifted my leg, placed it down, knead my muscles and my blazing lower back. Ms Jen, my doula offered me honey sticks and buko juice.

All those massages actually helped because I found relief, and I was so grateful.

Until I had the urge to push.

It was one of the weirdest and unknown phenomena to me. I mean, I studied Maternal and Child Health in my Nursing course in college, but it was never fully elaborated on what a woman actually feels when she was about to release the baby.

I felt a strong push-like contraction created by the muscles of the upper portion of my uterus. It felt like it had a mind of its own. And the baby inside sort of straightened up to align in the small opening of his grand entrance to the world.

I said, I think I can push.

Everyone fell silent.

They were waiting. I pushed. Ms Aileen was encouraging, and she said it was just like pooping. Ms Jen reminded me to take a deep breath before I push. She said I had to exhale long and put my head down.

It was not enough. My birth team said I should relax and to not pressure myself. It will come. So while there was no urge, I just have to gather my strength and rest.

September 5, 2018 – Wednesday

12:15 AM

I was already pushing for 45 minutes, and to no avail, there wasn’t much progress. I told them I was too tired already, my hips were powerless. I don’t have the strength to push anymore.

Then they offered that I use the pool already.

I was thinking I cannot probably stand and walk anymore, so I said I will just stay on the bed. I know this was not the plan. I specifically wanted a gentle waterbirth, to give birth underwater while maximizing gravity. I know that lying on the bed was not the best position to introduce our baby, into the world.

My sacral bone at the end of my vertebrae will be constricted and will not be able to move, and provide ample space as the baby goes out. I will probably tear down there, big time.

These thoughts filled my mind as I attempted another push.

12:30 AM

After the push, I had a series of pushes after. They were all unsuccessful. That is why when Ms Aileen said that I should try and go to the pool, I agreed. Maybe the pool will make things turn.

I anchored myself and stood like a helpless little child. I stepped into the water, and I suddenly felt the gush of reprieve as the warm water caressed my burning lower back.

OMG. Why did I ever think of not giving birth here 15 minutes ago?

I felt more alert when I was submerged in the water, waist down. John followed me into the pool to support me.

I felt the urge to push 3minutes into the pool. I clung on the rims of the swimming pool, and mimicked a slightly bent-over position, thinking I might imitate those powerful women who gave birth this way in the videos I watched on Youtube.

I pushed and pushed, but this child is not going out yet.

I felt weak, and a total pathetic. Maybe I wasn’t cut out for this. Maybe I was not like those women. Maybe I didn’t prepare enough, was not strong enough. Maybe I was not meant for this.

I had a lot of doubts. But my birth team, including my sister, husband’s mom, my dad’s girlfriend, were all cheering for me!

They asked me if I wanted to eat so I can have more energy. I said, yes. I ate honey sticks, buko juice, banana and ice cream.

I then changed to another position, facing John.

He was quite excited because if I give birth this way, he will be able to catch our baby.

I pushed and pushed, and pushed some more. But the baby just won’t go out.

I was seriously believing that I will give birth this way. When nothing happened, I then changed into my third position.

I sat on John’s lap. I pushed when the urge came, as expected, still nothing happened. See, I was now pathetic-er. And I was getting more and more frustrated.

1:00 AM

My birth team was so supportive, they said it’s okay. I should just take my time. And all I had to do was just push, I was already 10 cm dilated, and they can actually see baby’s head already.

Ms Aileen said I can actually touch and feel baby’s head if I try to poke. I was scared, so I refused.

After more pushes, I decided to really take my time and rest. So I attempted to sit on the pool floor, and remove myself from John’s lap, in the middle of this little movement I felt the strongest urge to release.

I said, “WAAAAIT. May urge!”

I pushed, and shouted like there are no neighbors! I shouted like I have never shouted in my life. Ms Jen reminded me to inhale deep, and release via a long blow, and keep my head down.

I did everything they told me, and for the first time, their voices started to go louder, and cheered for me even more!

I had my eyes closed while pushing so I cannot see their faces. They were all chanting “Push pa Viaaaaaa! Kaya mo yaaaaan!”

I opened my eyes a bit, and looked down. I saw the head. His head. My baby’s head. Underwater.

I told myself I had to make this looooong push, even if it is the last thing I do. I have to get him out!

I made a loooooooong push, then a series of even longer pushes!

1:05 AM

And finally, the baby came out! He had a little cord coil around the head which was released asap by my midwife. I saw the long umbilical cord that connected my baby to me.

He was given to me, and I felt the softest skin ever.

They suctioned his nose to get excess water, and I held him and I felt the most joyful moment in my life.

I said, “Hi! Welcome to earth baby Davion Calum Alistair!”

He had his eyes wide open. He looked at me like he knew me. Like he recognized my voice. He looked at John, and then moved his face to see my sister above me.

He didn’t cry a loud one, he just whimpered with confusion and fascination to what little he can see.

It was a beautiful birth. It was like a spa, only in a different version. 😀

We took some photos, and then after 15 minutes, I stood up, and lied on the bed while holding Calum. He was quiet in my arms. Ganun pala yung unang yakap. Parang ayaw mo na syang bitawan.

Calum was big and long.

Weight: 8.1 lbs or 3.7 kg

Height: 50 cm

A lot of people sooner told me that his size was like that of a 1 or 2 month old, and it was already a marker for a caesarean baby.

Since I had him on a normal spontaneous delivery, I had natural tears. I stated that there will be no episiotomies in my birth plan, which my team was very supportive of.

I never noticed that my water broke, because it was still intact even before I went to the pool.

I’m guessing it burst while I was already submerged under water.

Ms Aileen then elegantly stitched me up. After that, I changed into my clothes and walked to the dining hall to eat dinner. Haha

Finally, I have the appetite to eat again! Nakakagutom kaya manganak! 😀

2:30 AM

We had delayed cord clamping. It was also part of my requests because I want Calum to be able to get all the stem cells, oxygen, and blood components he can get while his placenta is still viable. Semi-lotus birth was a non-negotiable.

John was the one who cut the cord, I thought it would be meaningful if he will be the one to do that. We then lighted a little cake to celebrate the birthday of our son.

Through all this, I learned that to give up is not an option.

I am Via Galang-Tancuan, and I gave birth to an 8.1 lb (3.7 kg) baby boy via natural unmedicated water birth, with NO anesthesia.

And I am proud and grateful to be able to find and utilize the strength and bravery God gave me. We are stronger than what we think we are. We are women.

Birth Team:

Midwives of Marikina Maternity Clinic and Lying In:

Ms Aileen Gay Gaa Vinoya and Ms Alaina Balida

Doula:

Ms Jen Faiwas of Pinay Doulas Collective

**,

Via

Look Whooo is Almost Due Mom-to-Be Giveaway

Golly, time flies so fast and I’m turning 37 weeks on Tuesday, August 7! Which means, the merbaby can come out anytime soon!

To celebrate this huge milestone, I am conducting a “Mom-to-Be Giveaway”!

A Baby Shower honoring mom-to-be

If you are following my Encyclopevia Facebook Page, you would know that this started last week. But fret not, you still have two weeks left to join! 😀

You can win awesome prizes for yourself, or you could give the winnings as gifts too!

This giveaway is made possible by my generous sponsors. 🙂

Madison Hotel 101 + Tower

Madison 101

  • I have written and mentioned this hotel many times on my blog and social media posts. I had their premiere accommodation as my bridal suite when I got married last year. Great location, great place, and affordable rates. You can actually use my code: “VERSAHEEL101” to get 30% discount on your staycations!

Mermaid Island

Mermaid Island Logo 2

  • This is the new baby just got out. If the baby in my tummy is my biological child, Mermaid Island is my brainchild. I have conceived the idea last September 2017, and I have finally given birth to it this June 2018! Shocks, parang 9 months in the making din! 😀
  • My love and immense need for 100% natural and vegan cosmetics paved the way for me to open my own makeup and skincare line. Currently, we are offering edible lipscrubs, moisturizing tinted lipbalms, dipbrow pomades, and lip and cheek clay stains. I will definitely blog about this new venture soon! 😀

Gogozing Migration

Gogozing Logo

  • This is an independent Australian immigration agency based in Melbourne, Australia, and Seoul, South Korea. They provide top-notch immigration services to businesses, families, and individuals worldwide.

If you are planning on traveling, studying or even migrating to Australia, I highly recommend you check them out. They give the most effective yet practical strategy in achieving your tourist and/or migration goals.

Check out my interview with the CEO of Gogozing Migration!

Now that you know the sponsors, you may now check the mechanics below 😀

LOOK WHOOO IS ALMOST DUE (Giveaway)

Me!

To honor my ‘mom-to-be-hood’, I’m celebrating it with a giveaway! 😀

You can win the following awesome prizes:

1st prize : 1K Worth of GC from Madison Hotel 101 + Tower

2nd Prize: Beauty seacrets from Mermaid Island

3rd Prize: Dining GC from Ramen Bar in Greenfield

Are you ready? 😀

So here’s the mechanics:

  1. Like Encyclopevia in Facebook and follow me on Instagram

instagram.com/encyclopevia

  1. Like Mermaid Island in Facebook
  2. Like Gogozing Migration in Facebook
  1. Tag 3 friends in the comments below (3 Names = 1 entry) You can add more entries, by putting ANOTHER COMMENT with another 3 names. (So I can count easily! Hehe :p )

The more entries you send, the more chances of winning! 😀

  1. Finally, share this on your Timeline with the status

“I want to win awesome prizes from #EncyclopeviaGiveaway!”

That’s it! 😀 You have to do all of the above to make your entries valid. I will check ha? 😊😊

You may join by visiting this LINK.

I may have to say that this giveaway is open for Philippine residents only.

I will draw winners via random.org on Aug 19, at 8PM via Facebook Live on my Encyclopevia Facebook Page. 😀

Good luck merfriends! 😀

**, Via

7 Things to Do When Preparing for Your Maternity Shoot

Last week, I finally had the courage, and time to have my maternity shoot. 😀

It was such a surreal experience; it was a first time for everyone! My hair and makeup artist, the photo and video team, my husband, and of course, me!

I know it can be unnecessary, since we have so much to prepare for birth and the days after that, but I definitely wanted to push this idea to document this wonderful miracle while I can. And of course, it won’t be possible for me not to write about it here. Teehee!

So I’d like to share some tips and a guide on what you need to do just in case you’ll be holding your own momma-shoot!

  1. Find a Comfortable Venue

I was 35 weeks when I had this shoot, and according to some of my readings, the best weeks to hold this photoshoot is when you are between your 28th to 35th. In this time, at least your tummy is showy enough to be captured, and at the same time, safer. We don’t want to be bothered by the fact that you can give birth any minute while posing for the camera, do we?

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Photo Credit: http://sanrafaelriveradventure.com/

I tried looking for studios, and a good AirBNB place, but all the places I’ve looked for are either too cramped, doesn’t allow photoshoots, or are waaaaaaaaaaaaay too expensive!

Good thing, I stumbled upon a post in my feed about this cute getaway place in Bulacan. It’s called San Rafael River Adventure, and the place actually looks divine! 😀

They have a lot of fun activities that you can use for other types of shoots, like the prenup. But since I will just be using the entire accommodation, this should be enough.

It is highly important that you feel comfortable with the location or your venue, because of our condition. This is not the shoot where we can be adventurous. Leave it to the prenups and getaway trips! 😀

I booked the Glass Stilt Cottage, which is newly constructed by the way. I can’t believe I have a view of the lake in front of me! They have a comfy bed, and a jacuzzi. The space outside was enough to cater at least 6 people. There was a hammock, a sliding sofa, good lighting and a breezy weather to top it off. The air condition was good inside as well, plus the windows were perfect for those silhouette shots I was eyeing. Plus I thought that their rainy season promo was just perfect! So, what does a pregnant girl got to do? Book it right away of course! 😀

I am happy that the resort was very quick to reply, and I was given the available dates. I made a group chat, and voila, scheduled it right away together with the available dates of my team! 😀

2. Create Your Mood Board

I am a very bad pregnant-person-slash-client. Grr. I bash myself.

Oh well, I know I have to prepare for this weeks ago, but I was only able to send this to my team two days prior to our shooting day. I was too busy with some other things that I rarely had time to browse Pinterest or create a mood board.

But being the good crammer that I am, I was able to whip one just in time. Hehe 😀

Since I got a really good deal with Grid Studio too, (they are our civil wedding photo and video team by the way); they offered me unlimited shots, so yeah I want to maximize that. 😀

I thought about 5 sets and took inspiration from the things I found online, and of course with the available props and wardrobe that I have.

a. Whimsical Woman

I bought this pink ensemble way back in May, thinking it could be a good alternative for a bridal robe for my church wedding. But turns out, it could serve its purpose at an earlier date!

I also bought these flower crowns in SM. I couldn’t decide which one I like more, so I got them both. Haha Ayoko na pahirapan sarili ko! (I don’t want to have the burden of thinking which one is better!)

b. Simple and Laidback Mom + Hubby

I saw a lot of simples, and laidback shots that are perfect to include baby things, and the husband too. It looks soft on the eyes, very loving, and “very family”.

c. Boss Mama

This one is credited to my working-productive-self! Even though I’m pregnant, I am still very hands-on in my business especially that it’s new and the brand is just starting to pick up.

I always tell myself, I will not lose my identity and individuality just because of the new role that motherhood could bring; more so, it will be a big improvement. I will be a much better version because I’m adding a new role in my resume.

d. Boudoir

I actually wanted one before prior to getting married, but due to time constraints and indecisiveness, I wasn’t able to come up with one. Hopefully, when I get my body back post-pregnancy!

So in the meantime, I thought why not have one while expecting? It’s a totally new form because for once in my life I am not skinny, and I’ve got a few extra curves to flaunt. 😀

I can’t wait to share the silhouette photos! 😀

e. Summertime

Since I love wearing a bikini, and there was a Jacuzzi in our venue, there was no way I would pass on the opportunity of wearing one.

It was very funny too, because for once in my life, I have to buy an extra-large bikini! Haha 😀 I was pretty sad when I didn’t get the color I wanted because I was too big for the available Large size. Goodie, they have this red one that can fit my baby bump.

Which reminds me, I actually had a mini shoot wearing a bikini when I was in Bataan. I was 18 weeks here, and you could see how I just look ‘busog’.

3. Find a Good Maternity Shoot Team

This was easy. I was able to establish a really good relationship with my civil wedding photo-video-HMU team that I thought about them instantly. They actually haven’t done any maternity shoots, so this made the whole experience more exciting.

I actually thought of getting other suppliers, but I realized I will still get a better deal if I get my original team. I also saw some studios offering maternity shoots. Sure they are cheaper, but what I didn’t like is that they don’t give raw files of the photos, and they will only release like 5 to 10 shots, printed and edited. Plus there was no video too.

Grid Studio offered me unlimited shots, a video, printed photos and raw files, plus we can shoot anywhere I like, so yes, there was nothing left to discuss.

Elaine Cordova Makeup Artistry is such a good find too. She has done my makeup for a blog photoshoot and at my actual wedding, and I am really satisfied. She has great skills, plus I don’t have to burn holes in my pockets just to avail her airbush makeup. Elaine is also very instinctive, she knows what you want, asks for your makeup pegs, and deliberately retouches you every now and then, without you even asking.

4. Know Your Poses

Expect a lot of dreamy looks and belly-touching poses on a maternity shoot. So be sure your nails are polished! If you gain some weight and some extra chubbs in your face like I do, be sure you know your angles so you can still achieve the looks you want.

It’s also good to research poses with your husband/partner so things could go on smoothly. I am so happy that Rose and Michael of Grid Studio are very directive when it comes to poses. It was amazing how they handled and directed us even though it was also their first to cover a maternity shoot.

5. Prepare Your Props

We weren’t able to buy a lot of props, but good thing I was able to nick some of the random shopping baby finds we had. Plus it is so helpful that friends and family also gave their baby gifts earlier! Haha More props for us!

Here is the list of the props I think would help add more character to a maternity shoot:

  1. Baby clothes
  2. Baby shoes (Be gender specific)
  3. Baby socks
  4. Baby toys
  5. Ultrasound Photos
  6. Baby book / Storybook
  7. Pregnancy book
  8. Stuffed toy (I had a kangaroo with a little joey in its pouch)
  9. A figure of the first letter of baby’s name (We didn’t have time to find one. Sad. )

6. Get a Good Night Sleep The Day Before

Please do! It’s good for your skin, and to rid those circles under your eyes. Plus it helps you to have good energy for the entire day!

I only had an hour’s sleep though. I was finishing bulk orders ready for delivery the next day, that’s why. I think my strong desire and excitement for the shoot to happen are what sustained me to last the whole day! 😀

7. Enjoy Being Gorgeously Pregnant and Pose the Belly Away

Honestly, I was extra weary that I won’t look great in this shoot, because I’m fat, my skin is dry, my belly button is protruding, my linea nigra is so apparent, my face feels like it’s going to burst, etc.

But hey, I am a walking miracle! That should be enough to keep me happy and make me feel beautiful. So I just accepted all these flaws that I have in my head, after all, these are all normal for a pregnant woman, duh?

So I just prepared myself that I won’t get the usual results in this photoshoot, unlike the past ones. I have to accept that early on. I will look different. Very different. But there’s a growing life inside me, and this little one is going to change my life forever. And being able to document that in a maternity shoot is already a blessing. Truly, something I would treasure for the years to come.

If you are thinking of having one too, I highly recommend it! It doesn’t have to put a big dent on your wallet though. You can always have the kind of shoot you want, whether in your home, studio, in a DIY setup, on the beach, or anywhere you find it comfortable doing. You just have to do your research, and be resourceful!

Go my mermom merfriends! 😀 Be confident and strut that baby bump soon! 😀 You only get pregnant once, or twice, or thrice! Haha 😀 Whatever the frequency is, it would be a great keepsake for your family to remember by, and a great photo to show the little one once he is outside too!

I will share my final shots when I get them!

Enjoy your pregnancy! I’m popping soon!

**, Via

Hello Kitty Then and Now: From a Child’s Toy to a Lady’s Best Friend

I am 29 years old, married to a beautiful man, and pregnant to a sweet baby boy (his kicks always try to reach my hand whenever I absent-mindedly touch my belly, take note, I’m not even pressing on my bump), and I am still a big fanatic of Hello Kitty.

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I remember buying sooo many Hello Kitty items when I was younger. I usually get the pink ones, while my little sister gets the blue versions. I spent most of my childhood in different cities in the Philippines because of my dad’s work, and we stayed in Butuan City in Mindanao the longest – 6 years.

I recall that there were no malls back then, and I was pretty appalled. Haha 😀

People who are close to me know how “maarte” I can get.

In Butuan, there was probably only one store that sells nice girly things. It’s just a little boutique in the center of the city, and naturally, you wouldn’t be surprised to know that most of the little girls drag their moms there to buy them whatever. The stocks are very limited too, so when you get a pretty item, you suddenly become a star in your class.

I can say my sister and I were two of the hoarders, and my mom was extra-giving too, so lucky us! 😀

Recently though, I came upon a new brand of sanitary pads that illustrates the face of Hello Kitty – Softex. My 10-year-old self would’ve been so excited to get her period I guess.

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Softex is based in Indonesia, and that will explain some of the foreign words you can see in their packaging.

I got curious so I immediately tried their pantyliners.

I was kind of giddy because normally I only get 20 liners in one packet, but theirs have 5 more! 😀

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I love how ultra-thin it is, given how the liner contour fits perfectly. My thighs have decided they want to go extra meaty to support my baby weight, hence my concern for feeling uncomfortable in trying new pads. I am quite happy that Softex pantyliners did not disappoint. 🙂

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They also come in Comfort Slim pads that you can use during your red days, no matter how heavy the flow is.

The interior has a pillow-like feel for extra comfort, with breathable layer and has a 1-second absorption rate! 🙂

Softex Comfort Slim pads utilize SILKTOUCH Surface Technology with BICOMPONENT fiber that combines super-soft fiber with a strong inner fiber that has a 2mm thickness that you’ll barely feel. The housed in an aluminized packaging with an open/close sticker are also incorporated in the design package to ensure utmost cleanliness.

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You can also try their Comfort Slim Long pads specially made for heavy flows and night-time. The wide backguard ensures you don’t leak and stain the sheets, and helps you achieve that good sleep and sweet dreams!

 

The innovative pack of extra long, ultra-thin, hypoallergenic pads is the lady-down-there’s new best friend!

I’m giving birth next month, and these pads will sit on the dresser waiting for me to use them soon! 🙂

 

You can buy them in the following stores:  Puregold, select branches of SM Health&Beauty sections, Watsons, Robinsons, Waltermart, Ministop, Shopee, Lazada, BeautyMNL

 

Follow Softex in their social media channels:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SoftexHelloKittyPH/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/softexhellokittyph/

 

**, Via

 

 

 

My Experience in Interviewing the Gogozing Founder, Edward Rimmington

It’s been raining for 6 straight days already! How wet can we be?

Anyway, I am just so happy that I got to do this interview waaaay before the whole metro is dripping wet from the constant downpour.

Let me share something about work on this post since I rarely really write about the behind-the-scenes of the brands and people I work with.

I am just really excited about this one, and quite challenged too, that is why I came prepared. I wrote my own questions and reviewed some interview tips on the web to guide me in my first ever interview blog and vlog.

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So one afternoon, with my pregnant belly, and hardly-fitting corporate dress, I went out to meet Mr. Edward Rimmington, the Founder, and CEO of Gogozing.

About the Company

The term “Gogozing” means ‘Let’s go!’ or ‘Let’s do it. This is a popular expression in South Korea with “Go” coming from English word “go” and “Zing” being the sound of someone heading fast towards their target.

The “Zing” word actually reminds me of the movie Hotel Transylvania. I quite remember that it was part of the script of the lead characters, for it has such a positive ring to it.

The “Gogozing Migration” brand is built for people who want to go to Australia therefore “Let’s go” or “Let’s do it” provides that warm cheer and encouragement.

Gogozing Logo

Gogozing Migration is an independent Australian immigration agency based in Melbourne, Australia, and Seoul, South Korea. They focus on providing high-quality immigration services to businesses, families, and individuals worldwide.

The company focuses on being trustworthy, reliable and 100% consumer-centered while selecting the most effective yet practical strategy in achieving client’s migration goals. They provide tourist and migration visas to Australia and are also very keen in helping Filipinos kickstart their Australian dream.

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I was extremely impressed on how Mr. Rimmington was able to set up his company in such a young age, and how he was able to utilize his past working opportunities to recognize the need for Filipino migration assistance.

First thing is that I learned that he is a registered Australian migration agent (MARN: 1688177) who prior to establishing Gogozing Migration, worked and lived in South Korea in the field of international business. He was primarily involved in the consultancy and aiding enterprises from all around the world to enter the South Korean Market.

 

Inspiration to Start

While living in South Korea, Edward had his own share of experiences dealing with migration matters. It gave him a whole new perspective about people wanting to do business and starting a new life in a different country. He found that there were a lot of people who needed extra assistance and guidance about what they should do so their visas could be approved, and how can they adjust their lifestyle in a foreign land.

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It was during this time that Edward got inspired to start Gogozing Migration. He thought that with his in-depth knowledge of international business and Australian Migration Law, he would be able to help others regarding their migration concerns. He thought that with a friendly and forthright approach, Gogozing Migration will be able to effectively help those who would want to explore their future in Australia.

And did I say he also speaks Korean? It was a shocker, but I still managed to keep my cool.

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Honestly, I do not know much about migration, but this one definitely opened up a whole new world for me. I learned many things and at the same time, I gained friends! 😀

Mr. Edward Rimmington is such an inspiration, especially for startup founders. This only makes me believe that it only takes an eye and a deeper understanding to recognize a problem and provide a solution.

I was actually surprised that we got to finish sooner than I expected because I thought it would be too tedious and difficult. But apparently, Mr. Rimmington was a natural, and I was too! Haha Or I became comfortable later on since I got to shoot some scenes at the end part of the interview.

I am thrilled to show you guys how this interview will turn out, so watch out for my vlog very soon!

To know more details you can check them at Gogozing Migration, Facebook, and Instagram! 🙂

Till then merfriends! 😀

 

**, Via