And The Winners Are…

On Monday afternoon, Alphonse helped draw the winners for the Okasaneko Chornicles’ 3rd Blog Birthday Giveaway. As my special guest, he did a really great job of keeping the raffle drum rolling. (He loved the raffle drum so much he had a hard time giving it up long after he had drawn out all the winners’ names.) I was very proud that he resisted the urge to tear the raffle stubs I made of the entries into itty-bitty pieces.  He took his job very seriously, as you can see, handing each piece of paper to me very carefully, sometimes, almost gingerly.

Taking his job seriously

I won’t keep you waiting any longer. I know that the Sylvanian Kitty girls are just as excited to announce the winners.  Of 32 official entries,  here are the winners’ names and the items they won from this raffle:



Congratulations to all the winners!

Please expect an e-mail (or a private message if you’re in Facebook or Multiply) from me this week. Thanks for joining, friends, but best of all, thank you for always dropping by my little corner of the Internet. I really appreciate it. Here’s to another great year of blogging!


Thank You!!!

The entry period for the Okasaneko Chronicles’ 3rd Blog Birthday Giveaway ended last night at the stroke of midnight. Thank you to all those who responded and sent in their entries. I will draw the winners tonight and post the names within three days. I will also send personal e-mails to winners so they can tell me where to send their prizes.

We have a dozen prizes to give away and this being a first for me, I will try to take the lessons I learned from this Giveaway experience and use them to make the next one better, and yes, bigger.

Once again, I express my sincerest thanks to Sanrio Gift Gate Philippines, Ban Kee Trading,, Autism Society Philippines, and The Fairy Godmother for their generous spirit. You all gave from the heart and I appreciate it very, very much.  God bless you all!

New Kids on the Block

I am eating humble pie.

Whe I first wrote Sylvanians for the Masses, I must admit that I didn’t get Epoch’s marketing strategy on their new EU releases. It felt like a backward step for a company that has been producing finely crafted toys for 25 years. And so, while I appreciated the additions to my collections (you know collectors, they’ll collect just about anything even remotely related to their area of interest), I wasn’t in a hurry to acquire them all and when I did, I wasn’t at all that thrilled to open them. So they simply lay in wait in their sturdy card cases till I could summon enough interest to play with them.

Imagine my surprise one day, when reading a business magazine published by Globe Telecom and finding an article entitled “Launching a Mass-Market Line” ( Masigasig, volume 4, issue 7, August 2010), it suddenly dawned on me that even under different scenarios, local experts in marketing and management concur with the introduction of a low-cost line, or what they refer to as “second-tier” product line. Targetting differents segments of the market, they say, can actually boost company sales as these products serve different needs. Dr. Eric Soriano, a professor from the Ateneo de Manila Graduate School of Business, says it best:

“When you offer different products that serve different market segments, your consumers need not go to your competitor, because you already offer them an alternative.”

Moreover, he “sees no cannibalization” and considers this decision to broaden market segments as protective of the primary line. In this case, while he talks of a different matter altogether (he bases his opinions and recommendations on a case of appliance makers who introduced second-tier brands to counter cheaper brands in the market), I can clearly make the connection to this particular case of Epoch and their mass-market Sylvanians.

But how do I get over the “lack of prestige”  of the new line? It seemed unlikely, at first, to find anything good to say about them. The only thing they had going, I thought, was the low-cost factor. The answer was simple: open the box and play with them.

And I did. Humble pie has never tasted as good as this.

They’re not photogenic, mind you; either that or my photography skills are not enough to showcase them at their best. Their clothes seem too simple and lacking in charm. They have single colors and none of the distinctive markings of more refined Sylvanians. But when you do take them out of their packaging, you will fall in love with them! Their flocking is amazingly plush and thick, making their coat seem luxuriant compared to their Flair and Epoch JP kin. The joints are well manufactured and none of them are too tight, or worse, too loose. Their clothes, which seem simple and unstructured, are soft to touch and made of good quality material. Instead of ribbons to tie clothing, these use garterized straps that are easy to loop over bodies and heads. Best of all, these critters have got the cutest tails ever!

I am four sets short of the entire line and only because I have yet to see the sister with accessory boxes shown below.

The furniture sets are made of good quality plastic that is not brittle and easily broken. They have no sharp corners or edges. They adhere to original furniture designs and while they did away with the tiny accessories, they did not scrimp on detail. The piano, for example, has a moving keyboard. The closet doors of the sink/counter open, as also the little drawers of the desk and chair set. The dining table and chairs feature designs in relief on the tabletop and chairs’ backrests. Perhaps the only things that are missing are paddings for the sofa, bed and baby crib, but even those can be easily remedied by a crafty person.

The beginner’s set is actually a version of the newly released JP Sycamore Cottage. This set features a gray rabbit sister with a bed and a square dining set (table with two chairs). At just PhP1500, it is cheaper than the starter set featuring the Chocolate Rabbit sister (then again, the latter has more furniture and accessories).

Ban Kee Trading, the company that distributes Sylvanian Families in the Philippines, released this with the purpose of introducing Sylvanians to young kids. Because this line is both parent- and child- friendly, they see this as a way of opening the market to new collectors who might want to continue collecting even as they get older. Moreover, the single furniture sets allow parents the flexibility to plan their purchases according to their budgets without ever sacrificing quality.

All in all, this new line complements the existing JP and UK lines very well. I’ve grown to love these new Sylvanians as much as my standard ones. They may be different, but different isn’t necessarily bad.

(See new pictures of these Sylvanians over at New Sylvanians.)


Three more days before the giveaway entry period ends. Please join and get the chance to win cool prizes!

Want Prizes?

Today, I was looking at the entries to the Okasaneko Chronicles’ 3rd Blog Birthday Giveaways and I was very pleased to see the numbers growing. You can still join until November 14. The contest ends one second before midnight of the 15th, so any entry received until 11:59:59 pm of November 14 is still valid.

I noticed, however, that there have been some confusion on where to post and what to post, and since we’re all friends here, let’s just say I ♥ you all and forgive the little mistakes. If you took the time out to visit this blog, write a comment, and leave your well wishes on this blog, as long as you indicate that “I want to win in Okasaneko Chronicles’ 3rd blog Birthday Giveaway,” you’ve got one entry for the raffle drum.

To make things clearer, however, let me point out some more helpful tips for posting and re-posting.

  1. Comments must be left on the blog entry “Now 16, Forever Sweet.”  
  2. For FB postings, please make sure that your FB status post is viewable and please put the link in the comments box of  “Now 16, Forever Sweet.”
  3. To  blog about the contest, I ask that you link the Official Giveaway Rules and include the picture with our blog giveaways sponsors (see below). You can resize the picture if it’s too big.

I do have pictures to upload now so if you want any of of these prizes, then, join, join, JOIN!!! I hope these whet your appetite to win freebies!

One winner will receive this very helpful Autism Society Philippines Directory of Resources, which lists down all available schools, therapists, and other professionals, for children with autism. This comes with a bright neon green angel baller band, also courtesy of ASP.  (Note: Because this book will be of greatest use to those in the country, raffle of this prize is limited to local readers only.)

Two winners will win a set each of this lovely charm bracelet with enamel autism and puzzle charms, an enamel autism awareness pin, and a “I ♥ someone with autism” badge pin featuring Alphonse’s brother Alex as a cutie ten-month-old doing a kissy face. These are all courtesy of Alphonse (amd Alphonse’s mama!).

And to Sylvanian fans out there, or simply anyone who wants to see what Sylvanian Families are like,

Ban Kee Trading, exclusive distributor of Sylvanian Families in the Philippines, will be giving away these prizes to four lucky winners! Two will receive a box each of  the 25th Anniversary Limited Edition Baby Students and two will each receive a furniture set with a Limited Edition 25th Anniversary Forest Fairy key fob. Absolutely divine!

So, far, we have 12 prizes up for grabs! What are you waiting for? Join, join, JOIN!!!

Now 16, Forever Sweet

Today, Alphonse turns sixteen.

It never ceases to amaze me when I look at him, now almost grown up. He stands three inches taller than me, fits into men’s clothing, and sports a slightly disheveled moustache which matches the smattering of hair in his armpits. Everywhere I look, I no longer see a trace of the baby or the child he once was. All I see is a man.

The truth is, I miss my baby. I miss the sweetness of his breath in the morning. I miss the softness of his unblemished skin. I miss being able to carry  him in the crook of my arm to sing him to sleep.

 I miss the way he fits in the side of my body when he curls up in bed with me.

I miss his chubby cheeks and his round, heavy body. I miss the hibernating porkchop and his pouty lips.

I miss his childlike smile, the one that erases all my fears away. 

But even as I miss those mementoes of his childhood, I marvel at who he has become today. Almost a man, but not quite. Loud, quirky, opinionated, determined. Headstrong and bullish. Sweet and trusting. 

It has been a long journey from then to now. There were many days of pain and heartache, and of grief and despair, but for each one of those miserable days, our lives were blessed a millionfold by what we have learned living with and loving him. Alphonse has taught us patience and tolerance, forgiveness and acceptance, gratitude and surrender. Most of all, he has taught us how to love without hope or thought of reciprocity. We love him because we do, and not because of anything he does to make us love him. It’s as simple as that.

Happy birthday, our dear sweet child, our Alphonse.  Papa, Mama, and Kuya Alex love you so much.


While on the subject of birthday celebrations, this blog also turns a year older this month. Happy 3rd birthday to Okasaneko Chronicles!

In 2007, when I started blogging, I was lucky to get even just ten people a day to read my blog. Three years later, despite the lack of promotion (I’ve never really been very big at that) and the freedom to express myself, those numbers have multiplied exponentially. In this little corner of the Internet I call Kittymama’s home, I have made many friends. I have also become part of a larger community of people I would never have met were it not for this wonderful experience. Thank you to all those who have come, visited, read, lingered, commented, returned, or even just glanced at the pages of my life. I am humbled by your kindness and love.

The Okasaneko Chronicles’ 3rd Blog Birthday Giveaway starts today so please be sure to leave a comment in this blog post to join. You can read the mechanics here for the full details on the giveaway. Many, many thanks to all those who have helped make this giveaway a reality: Sanrio Gift Gate Philippines, Ban Kee Trading, Inc., BusinessWorld/, Autism Society Philippines, The Fairy Godmother, and Alphie (who is none other than Alphonse, the birthday boy who wishes to share his birthday blessings with his Mama).


One More Day!!!

The Okasaneko Chronicles 3rd Blog Birthday Giveaway is one day away and I’m reminding all of you to please join! I have really cute prizes to give away courtesy of the generous sponsors of this gift raffle. Even as I write this, however, one more  request for sponsorship is in the works and hopefully, this, too, will be received favorably. 🙂

Over the weekend, I received a gift pack for this giveaway from one of Alphonse’s eco-minded godmothers. Since she refuses to be identified and wishes to give anonymously, I have christened her “The Fairy Godmother” in this giveaway for her unexpected surprise.

Human Nature products are all-organic, natural and ethical products from Gandang Kalikasan, Inc., Gawad Kalinga’s arm in social enterprise. Thes products are 100%  Filipino, from materials to production, employing GK residents and communities to provide fair trade and sustainable livelihood for them. There are very few products like these in the local market and the few available are often imported and expensive. Human Nature is affordable and does what it claims to do, with no hype and no frills. 

These are the products Alphonse uses regularly and which his godmother feels this blog’s readers will appreciate: a 200 ml bottle of Human Nature’s 2-in-1 moisturizing shampoo and body wash with aloe vera, egg white and mandarin, a 50 ml bottle of yummy-smelling Sugarcane hand sanitizer in watermelon (triclosan free), a 50 ml bottle of this amazing DEET-free, safe-for-even-small-kids Citronella bug spray and this cute eco-bag that turns into a tiny strawberry. How eco-friendly is that?

I’m going to post the mechanics for the giveaway TONIGHT so watch out for it!

Herword is Our Word

Today, I am featuring the gift sent in by Ms. Judith S. Juntilla, my editor at, and Ms. Melody Bonus, the site’s webmistress, and it’s a beauty!

CH Carolina Herrera eau de toilette 1.7 fl.oz (50 ml) natural spray 

I’m not a big perfume person (I live on Philosophy’s Baby Grace and Amazing Grace, with the occasional spritz of Clinique Happy or Estee Lauder Pleasures Exotic) so I feel totally unqualified to review this. Instead, I will let the experts speak their mind to you:

The new Carolina Herrera perfume is floral, with a fresh start and an oriental finish. The composition is opened with fresh notes of bergamot, orange, grapefruit and a juicy melon. In the sweet heart there are Bulgarian rose, jasmine and praline. Cinnamon, woody notes and leather lock the composition down. (source:

Carolina Herrera CH features bergamot, orange, pomelo, melon, rose, jasmine, praline and cinnamon over woody base notes. (source:

I don’t know about you guys but I am just about sold on this. Were this not sealed new in cellophane, I’d be tempted to take a whiff or two and let my senses soar with the pleasure of a deeply luscious scent. Moreover, I love the aesthetics of this bottle. Deep red, in leather and metal, this bottle plays upon the imagination as well.

CH is expressed in leather, metal and intense red. A fusion between classic tradition and contemporary innovation, the fantasy and romanticism (source:

There’s a great review of this scent on the net and you can find it here. Check it out if you want to know more.

I am deeply grateful to for their support. As a voice of the Filipina woman, has advocated for the Filipina’s many roles in society. is also my home, where my writings have reached an audience of similar interests and passions.

If you want to win this beauty, be sure to come back for the 3rd OC Blog Birthday Giveaway! Five more days before it starts!