How I reduced our electricity bill by at least 40%



It’s been a while since I last blogged. Like many of you, most of my updates have been taking place in Instagram. But I wanted to share this story in detail, and it goes beyond the confines of Instagram and Facebook. So I’ll do it the old fashioned way, by writing an entire blog. It has been a while but this is so worth the comeback: I will tell you how I was able to reduce our electrical bill by at least 40%.

First, a little update about my life. My daughters have grown a lot, and so have their needs and interests. I used to blog about cute mommy things for toddlers and babies. I now have a teenager, soon another teen, and a tween. With all the things I do at my work, my small business, my humanitarian work, volunteer work at school and more, the central and most important thing in my day-to-day life is actually managing our home and our family.

It has been a very blessed life so far; I can’t complain. I am grateful for everything that has happened and continues to unfold, even if sometimes life gets overwhelming and out of control. One thing I know we can all relate to is when the monthly household expenses go haywire. What, I spent that much on coffee? The Skyway? Gas? And our Meralco bill? You all know what I’m talking about. Thankfully, these days, I am now a much better planner, and that barely happens. I use tools and new technology that are efficient and convenient in order to help me become more productive and progressive. I think women who balance career, social obligations, and family life may find this helpful too.


For Celebrity Living Dec 2009
This is our guest room at home as photographed by Celebrity Living in Dec 2009 (Photo by Cyrus Panganiban, makeup by Carmel Villongco). Look at how tiny my girls were! We still like hanging out here because it is the coolest place in the house.


This is the guest room now.  It is where I like to relax in the afternoons during the summer months. This is where I like to nap, read, and catch up on my shows. It is the coolest part of our house because our walls in this room are made of old adobe blocks. So it feels cool like a cave. And since June 2018, we upgraded our old air conditioner here to a Carrier Smart+Cool Window Room Inverter Air Conditioner.


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That is what the Carrier Smart+Cool Window Room Inverter Aircon looks like in our guest room. Yes, I know I need drapes. Working on that.


We live in a traditional antique-style Filipino house built in the 1960’s. It is constructed like an old “bahay na bato” with the ground floor made of adobe walls and the second floor made entirely of wood. Our windows are like museum-pieces, made of capiz shells intricately framed by lattice-work wood. Despite all the architectural features that make it a very cool tropical home – cross-ventilation, high ceilings, ventanillas on our second floor, our modern lifestyle required us to install an air-conditioner in all parts of the home. Mind you, we barely turn on everything at the same time, except maybe when we have a party.

To give you an idea of our set up, here are the air-condition units we have in our home:

Bedroom 1 – wall-mounted, split-type inverter aircon
Bedroom 2 – wall-mounted, split-type inverter aircon
Study – window-type aircon (not inverter)
Kitchen – wall-mounted, split-type inverter aircon
Living room – standing, split-type inverter aircon
Family room – standing, split-type inverter aircon
Guest room – window-type inverter aircon

The most used aircon units are the ones in the two bedrooms. We use them every night continuously for around 10 to 12 hours long. Then we often use the one in the family room and the guest room. During the school-year the kids use the study room a lot. For that one, I am always on their case about not using the a/c too long because it is not yet an inverter. Our refrigerator is also an inverter. But our washer and dryer are not.

So let me show you our energy consumption in terms of peso cost. The highlighted parts in green indicate the time when we switched our aircon units into Carrier inverter air conditioners. The blank parts mean I lost the bill.


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As you can see, in 2015 and 2016 our Meralco bill would go up as high as P17,000 to P18,000 per month! I could not imagine how on earth we thought that was okay. When we had our two bedroom units switched to Carrier wall-mounted inverter air conditioners (XPower Gold) in February 2017, you can see that our electrical bill went down dramatically to P9,418.

For comparison, I added up all the bills and got a monthly average. In 2016 before we had inverter air conditioners, our average monthly bill was P15,498. But in 2017, it went down to P11,011. And in 2018, even lower at P9,919. So basically in 2017, on average our monthly bill went down 29% from 2016. And by 2018, it went down another 10% from 2017. And if we compare our bill in 2018 to 2016, our average monthly consumption went down 36%. I hope these numbers are not confusing you. Basically, our monthly electrical bills have gone down immensely even though we use our aircons for extended periods, if not even longer than before.

Here is the other chart that tracks our energy consumption for the past three years. It is an expanded version of the chart I posted above. For some reason, our house has always had two Meralco bills. For purposes of keeping things simple, I have indicated one bill as “Up” and the other one as “Down”. The total monthly expense are highlighted in yellow, as are the energy consumption rates shown as “KWH” or kilowatt per hour.


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We can compare July 2017 at P9,740 to July 2016 at P17,010. That is a 42.7 decrease in our electrical bill, on a same month comparison.


The process of drafting our monthly expenses in to a chart was really hard. It took me days. I felt like I was in school again. But I did it. Good thing I kept most of our bills.


To show you how meticulous I was, here are the bills for February 2017 on the left, and February 2016 on the right. The total for February 2017 is 6081 + 3337 = P9418. And the total for February 2016 is 12,770 + 2325 = P15,095. That is a 37% decrease on a month-to-month comparison.


Last year, I wrote a blog about how I use the Carrier Smart+Cool system to help me manage and track the energy consumption of the Carrier inverter unit in our guest room. The Carrier Smart+Cool system is a free downloadable app that you pair with the Smart plug that comes with the Carrier Window Room Inverter Air Conditioner unit. By using the Carrier Smart+Cool app on my phone, I am able to control my electricity bill, monitor my aircon’s power consumption, schedule when I want it to turn on, and have the convenience of turning it on and off from anywhere. There is a real time Live Chat that allows me to get help whenever I need technical support. I can even schedule maintenance, like cleaning, for my unit and all our Carrier units.


I can turn on the aircon using the Carrier Smart+Cool app on my phone, even while I’m away or just working outside in the garden. That way when I get inside, the room is already cool.


With the Carrier Smart+Cool, I can set a budget for our aircon consumption, either in peso value or kilowatt measure. And Carrier Smart+Cool system actually lets me know when I’ve reached my limit.


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When my parents were visiting Manila, they were staying in our guest room. They loved that I had the aircon set on a schedule. I set it to turn on every 8pm and to turn off at 6am the next day.


In addition to tracking my aircon unit’s consumption in real time, I can also set a reminder for maintenance. I have to admit that I sometimes forget to have our aircon units cleaned. With the maintenance reminder of the Carrier Smart+Cool, I can make sure our Carrier inverter aircon units are regularly cleaned. A well-maintained aircon will continue to perform efficiently.


This is how the Carrier Smart+Cool plug looks like. It comes with our Carrier Smart+Cool Window Room Inverter.


Once the Carrier Smart+Cool app and plug are paired, you can also use the remote or manual controls.


It took me a few days to organize my charts based on all our Meralco bill records. It was difficult, but it was a very good exercise. It made me even more aware of our energy consumption. With the Carrier Smart+Cool system, my life has gotten so much easier now. No need to make charts and graphs because the Smart+Cool app does it for me.


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Here is an example of how I tracked one week’s energy consumption in my Carrier Smart+Cool app.


And here is a conversation with a friend a few days ago. I am confident whenever I recommend this product to my friends.


In our family room, our Klarwind from 2017, a floor mounted inverter aircon from Carrier, continues to give our family comfort without me having to worry about our electrical bills. Since it is also a Carrier inverter, I know that it is energy efficient. The kids love doing their art projects in the family room.


Not only has the Carrier Smart+Cool given me a comfortable and cool home, it has given me the peace of mind knowing that I would not over-spend on our monthly budget. I am confident that my family is comfortable and safe at home.


With the convenience and efficiency of our Carrier Smart+Cool system, I spend less time worrying about our bills and have more time to pursue other aspects of my life. And because we were able to drop our monthly electricity bills to up to 40% less, it is much lighter on our family budget. We are able to travel more and do what we love as a family. I also get to go about my business outside the home without worrying too much.


I have since returned to TV, with a new show called CREATE. It is produced by Cignal network and airs on Colours and ONE News. So even while I am away taping my episodes, I can turn on and off the Carrier Smart+Cool and set budget limits.


I have a travel show produced by an airline, and it takes me around Asia. Sometimes I am able to bring a daughter, which is such a huge gift. In Cambodia, I was able to bring Sophia. She learned so much about their history. I love it when my work gives me a chance to also be hands-on as a mom.


And we have been busy as weekend farmers. This our little place where we get fresh air, and fresh produce right on our land.


Patrick and I are working on our little farm shed. We have a long way to go. Like, we need walls. And as early as now, I am planning to put a Carrier air conditioner in that shed. Haha. Farm life, Daphne-style! So whenever we are on our way home from our little farm, I usually turn on our Carrier Smart+Cool Window Room Inverter Aircon while we are about 15 minutes from our city home. By the time we get in, the room is nice and cool.


And whenever we can, we travel as a family. I especially love our extended summers in our other home in Canada. Grateful for the reduction in our electricity bills!


Many of us women are balancing our roles at work, in school, in our communities, and most of all in our families. Having tools and new technologies that help us perform our roles more efficiently does wonders for our overall frame of mind. For me, the Carrier Smart+Cool Window Room Inverter Aircon has given me less worry, less time planning and making charts and lists, and the confidence in knowing that my aircon is working efficiently and costs less than before. With that, I am able to do more with my time, and I literally can have long and peaceful sleep at night.


If you are looking for an upgrade or a new air conditioner, check out the Carrier products at


Belo Collagen Melon Smoothie



Belo Collagen Melon Smoothie


Collagen is the most prominent protein in our body. Collagen makes up 75% of our skin and is the main component of connective tissues that make up our tendons, ligaments, skin, and muscles. It has many functions, including strengthening our bones and giving our skin firm structure. When we’re babies, our collagen levels are at the optimum 100%. By the time we are 30, we have 20% less collagen, at 40, it’s 40% less and by 50, our body’s collagen supply is tapered off by half.

As we get older, our body produces less collagen, making our skin lose firmness and elasticity. When collagen is depleted, wrinkles appear. We do not want that, of course. One of the ways to increase of collagen in our body is through food intake, like pork skin and bone broth. Not everyone is okay with that kind of diet. Thankfully there are supplements that can help restore collagen in our body.

Belo Collagen Melon Smoothie is a food supplement that comes in a packet. You simply mix it with 250 ml of water and you get yourself a refreshing smoothie that tastes just like a melon milkshake.  It is made up of marine collagen. Each sachet is packed with 5000 mg of high-absorption collagen, perfect for a daily collagen refill.


Each sachet of Belo Collagen Melon Smoothie has 5000 mg of collagen.


It is so easy to make. Just mix one packet with 250ml of water. And you get a melon smoothie that is good for your skin.


Here’s to restoring my skin’s elasticity and smooth out lines with the Belo Collagen Melon Smoothie. It’s so yummy and refreshing.


The Belo Collagen Melon Smoothie is available in Lazada. If you like iced coffee or milk tea, this is a good alternative because it’s actually good for the skin. So drink your daily collagen refill.

#BeloCollagen #BeloCollagenMelon.


K&Company Holiday 2018



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The K&Company Holiday 2018 Collection is another beautiful set. I saw the pieces trickle in gradually in the Powerplant Mall, Shangrila Plaza, and Rustan’s shops, and each time left me breathless. I have been wearing K&Company since the first year they opened in Rockwell. It is a sense of joy and pride for me, to have a very long and continuing relationship with a homegrown brand I love. (And on a personal note, being their muse for almost 18 years forces me to maintain my weight and shape so I can keep wearing all my K&Company dresses.)

This season expect an even more elevated use of lace in their otherwise classic shapes and cuts. Kathering Cheng, the woman behind K&Company, pushed lace to take on a deeper dimension with laser-cut silk appliqués. New silhouettes include the emphasised butterfly sleeves in diaphanous materials seen in long and cocktail dresses. Colours range from classic fiery red to a delicate dove grey.

The 2018 Holiday collection was launched in the newly renovated shop in Rockwell designed by Ivy Almario. True to the brand’s identity, the new interiors are elegant and understated. The new K&Company shops have sleek brass fixtures and delicate materials such as padded walls in pale blush, a luxurious velvet couch in sage green. The curved counter is made of Volakas marble and is framed by a wall of brass cutouts lit in soft LED lights.

The evening was catered by BIZU with pretty hors d’oeuvres such as beef tenderloin, wagyu, salmon canapés topped with flower petals. To complement the beautiful and luxurious atmosphere, cocktail drinks and tea were infused with flowers as as well.

It was a beautiful evening attended by K&Company’s longtime, loyal friends and family. Congratulations K&Company!

All photos by Medal Elepano.




Follow K&Company in the Instagram and Facebook. You may also shop online at their webshop.



Gingersnaps Holiday 2018



Gingersnaps Tile


I was so happy to have hosted the Gingersnaps 2018 Holiday Preview. It’s becoming a wonderful tradition – to ring in the holiday season at Gingersnaps. I love planning my daughters’ outfits for Christmas dinner and for the various parties we have lined up. The clothes are always so pretty. And this season is no different. Lot’s of east-meets-west inspired outfits for boys and girls.

The preview event allowed the guests to shop for the holiday collection in advance. By now the items are starting to trickle in to the stores. So you may find these pieces at your favourite Gingersnaps branch.

It was also a good time to meet the winners of the Gingersnaps Model Search. Five thousand kids joined. 50 made it to casting call. 10 were chosen as winners. To us, all the kids are winners. All the kids are adorable.

Check out some of the pieces from the Gingersnaps 2018 Holiday Collection…


Lace, tulle, embroidery.


Blue and white ruffles and separates.


The cutest fashion accessories at really affordable prices.


Ruffled top and skirt in tulle. And that sweet cupcake bag.


Headbands and jelly wallets.


Trinkets like pens that light up.


We will always see red in holiday collections, but Gingersnaps does it with a twist. Loving the patches and pins.


This is the sweetest blue cardigan. Definitely getting this for Stella.


I’m sorry I am obviously biased when I post too much about girls’ clothes. But Gingersnaps boys’ fashion is really on point too. Loving that preppy little man outfit, complete with a tennis cardigan.


Separates for boys


The lovely invitation


So honoured to have been asked to host the Gingersnaps Holiday Collection.


Gingersnaps’ Sabrina Uy at the lovely “enchanted garden” setting.


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Gingersnaps 2018



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Gingersnaps 2018


26Fashion Stylist Pam Quiñones styled the children during the model search and fashion show.


Gingersnaps 2018 Model Search




The Gingersnaps casting call.



Instagram @gingersnapsph
Facebook Gingersnaps Philippines



National Museum of Natural History





Earlier in 2018, I started hosting a new TV show called CREATE. It aired in Colours channel carried through the Cignal cable subscription, and continues to air in ONE News. The show is about profiles of creative people. One episode focuses on one subject. Our first season ran well, we are now about to produce our second season. We took a break because I went on a 10 week vacation in our Toronto home. I thought it was more than appropriate to end our first season with a profile on Dominic Galicia, an architect I respect so much.

I have come to know Dominic’s work in the two decades I’ve lived in the Philippines first through the churches he’s built, and the many houses I’ve featured in Urban Zone. I love what he has done in the National Museum of Natural History.

The original neoclassical building was built in 1930 by Antonio Toledo as the Agriculture and Commerce. It had been used as the offices of the Senate of the Philippines for some time, until the National Museum started to integrate the three buildings into a museum complex – including the National Museum of Anthropology and Fine Arts. The pitch of Dominic Galicia Architects and Periquet Galicia interior architects won the bid for the restoration of the National Museum of Natural History and construction started in 2013. It took five years to complete.

The visual focal point of the new National Museum, of course, is the Tree of Life that stands in middle of the atrium.


The architect, Dominic Galicia, explains to me the metaphor of the “Tree of Life” – it is both biblical, mythological, and philosophical.


One of the requirements of the project was to make use of the central space created in the inner courtyard. It once was open and exposed to the elements. Dominic and his team though of creating a central structure like the tree with its canopy covering the space. It is interesting to note that the original structure of the museum does not bear any of the weight of this new structure. It is fully supported by the trunk of the “tree.”


The edges of the canopy of the Tree of Life do not rest directly on the roof and walls of the old building. The weight is completely supported by the trunk of the tree which houses an elevator inside. The Tree of Life is not only symbolic, it is also functional.


A current highlight when visiting the National Museum now is the taxidermies body of Lolong, the world’s largest crocodile caught and placed in captivity, who has now become the iconic “superstar” of the museum. He was caught in Agusan del Sur in September 2011 and unfortunately died while in captivity in February 2013.


This is the taxidermied body of Lolong, displayed in the main atrium.


Lolong’s tail






The walls and windows surrounding the museum were lined with translucent prints of wildlife indigenous to the Philippines. This is the tarsier.


View from upper ramp


I was led to the base of the Tree of Life, where Dominic Galicia showed me the entrance to the elevator.


The elevator shaft in the middle of the trunk is encased in glass.


View from inside the elevator, looking up.


Once you are on the top of the Tree of Life, the elevator opens to this walkway that leads to the galleries. The view from here is quite spectacular.


We continued our interview here.


I asked Dominic to show me the gallery where the 700,000 year old rhino bone was. Since we shot on a Monday, while the museum was closed, the gallery was locked. The actual bones of Lolong is prominently displayed, hung from the ceiling.


This corner gallery is a very impressive space. It used to hold two floors. The project’s interior architect Tina Periquet removed the second floor. The tall arched windows give the larger space a unified feel. Notice the hexagon patterns repeating itself on the mosaic floor and the coffered ceiling? Not only is it visually appealing, it is also symbolic of the shape of DNA, which is the foundation of all the fossils and artefacts displayed in the Natural History museum.


The display cabinet of the 700,000-year-old rhinoceros bone and hacking tool was empty.


Looked like some final touches were being done in the display case. The 700,000 year old rhino bone was on the table. Note that the room was locked. None of us entered.


I think the rhino bone should be the star of the museum more than Lolong, the crocodile. But that can be debatable.

This find is so significant not just to the Filipinos but to the rest of the world. A bit of a background, the artifacts (bone and tool) were found in an a river flood plain in Luzon beside a butchered carcass of a rhinoceros. “The ancient toolmakers were clearly angling for a meal. Two of the rhino’s limb bones are smashed in, as if someone was trying to harvest and eat the marrow inside. Cut marks left behind by stone blades crisscross the rhino’s ribs and ankle, a clear sign that someone used tools to strip the carcass of meat.” (Source, National Geographic linked below).

Researches estimate the age of the remains to be 709,000 years old. The earliest evidence of Philippine hominins were found in Callao Cave, and dated to only 67,000 years ago. This rhino bone and tool suggests that the Philippines was occupied before the known origin of our species, homo sapiens. One of the questions is how did early hominins get to the Philippines in the first place. Read more in this National Geographic article, published in May 2018 here.


The ramp to be experienced going down.


A big treat was getting to walk in the private halls and offices of the museum. My imagination was working full force. What could be inside these cabinets?


Interesting artifacts and fossils


I did not touch


Still in progress when we visited in May 2018.


With the production team of CREATE. Exclusively shown in Cignal’s Colours and ONENews channels.


Dominic Galicia, architect.


Watch the full episode here: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.