What Winter is Like in Nashville

Before moving to Nashville in the USA, I experienced the coldest natural temperature in Baguio City and Tagaytay City during the month of January. It must have been 14 degrees Celsius, which is about 57.2 degrees Fahrenheit. A lot of Americans would probably say that that is great temperature!

But for Filipinos, that’s sweater weather! It’s great to huddle inside the home and sip a good cup of Kalinga brew.

When we came to Nashville, though, I realized that 14 Celsius or 57.2 degrees Fahrenheit is nothing compared to the cold winter here. I mean Nashville is located somewhere in the Southeastern part of the continental USA. It doesn’t get too cold compared to the Midwest and Northern cities and states such as Chicago, Detroit, New York, and Wisconsin. But it still gets cold.

Heck, our Filipino bones can get frozen below 10 degrees Celsius.

Here’s what winter is like in Nashville.

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My Father: Pastor, Farmer, Church-Planter

Today is my father’s 62nd birthday. I decided to write some things about him and his life work. 

My earliest memories were set at the seminary where my father studied for his Master of Divinity in Dasmarinas, Cavite. I must have been 3 or 4 years old then. All my life, he had been a pastor and I daresay a good one at that.

He had never been a district superintendent. But I have seen his leadership skills in the churches where he served.

When we moved from Union Theological Seminary from Cavite to Roxas, Isabela to take on his first assignment after seminary, the church building was pretty small. With the growing number of church-goers, they needed a bigger space.

I grew up as a young boy in that church. That is also where I attended my first Christmas Institute and got connected to this life-giving stream of ministry with youth and young adults.

Although Papa did not oversee the renovation of the church until its completion, he left behind a bigger structure that was on the way to being finished.

My father also organized at least two congregations during his time at Roxas United Methodist Church–one at Dannal, Paracelis, Mountain Province. One can only reach that village by riding motorized boats at Simimbaan, right by the Siffu River dam.

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No Honking Allowed by Stephanie Calmenson & Antongionata Ferrari

Every week I write about the books that we read for my son. He is currently 4 years old and loves a good book! I am not a professional book and illustration reviewer or critic, but I can write about the book, what I think about it, and how our son reacted to it.

Book Information

Title: No Honking Allowed
Author: Stephanie Calmenson
Illustrator: Antongionata Ferrari
Published by Holiday House, New York
Text Copyright 2017 by Stephanie Calmenson
Illustration Copyright 2017 by Antongionata Ferrari
No. of pages: 35

About the Author & Illustrator

Stephanie Calmenson is an author based in New York. Here’s some information from her website, http://stephaniecalmenson.com:

“I began my professional life as an early childhood teacher and had the pleasure of reading to children and discovering which books captivate them. When budget cuts left me looking for work, I became a children’s book editor and got to see how a book is made. Planning to go back to teaching, I enrolled in a Master’s Program in Education at New York University where I took a course called, “Writing for Children.” My very first story was published in a children’s magazine. I was off and writing!”

According to Castoro Online, “AntonGionata Ferrari is one of the most renowned illustrators in the field of children’s literature in Italy. In 2006 he won the Andersen Award as Best Illustrator of the Year.”


No Honking Allowed by Stephanie Calmenson & AntonGionata Ferrari tells the story of Rex, a dinosaur who just got a new car and his friend Stego who gets to ride with him. They enjoy the features of the new car: the sound of the engine, the brakes, and the horn. Ooops, but in the city, there is a rule: No Honking except for safety.

As Rex and Stego travel through the city, Rex wants to honk his horn for just about anything: remind a speeding car to slow down, help a dog owner untangle a leash, warn a dino about to litter, and just about anything. But Stego reminds him not to do so because of the rule.

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Buses from Baguio City to Cagayan Valley: Nueva Vizcaya, Isabela, Cagayan

It’s not easy to find information about bus travel from Baguio City to Cagayan Valley and Northeast Luzon.

I looked at Facebook, did a Google search, but in the end, what worked is a simple crowd-sourcing question on Facebook, and a quick trip to the terminals in Baguio City.

Here are the buses or vans that you can take to travel from Baguio City to the towns and cities of Nueva Vizcaya, Isabela, and Cagayan provinces. Although it is not a province within the Cagayan Valley region, you can also go to Kalinga from Baguio City.

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5 Tips on Traveling with a Toddler on a Long Flight

Travel time from Manila, Philippines to the USA is usually between 16-24 hours including layovers. When we traveled, our son was 2.5 years old. He was very young and it comes with a lot of challenges!

For one, we were traveling with 7 big boxes, which we checked in. On top of that, we had three carryon luggage, my backpack, and a small bag for his needs. Here’s a list of 5 tips for traveling with a toddler on a long flight.

Anticipate your toddler’s needs.

Look at the number of hours you’ll be traveling, plan for her meal times and pack some formula, snacks, and other food items you will need. Security at the airport will let you carry some bottled distilled water as long as it’s sealed and unopened. Most airlines would also have food for young kids available. Do check with your airlines at least 2 weeks before your flight.

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The Berenstain Bears Play Football by Mike Berenstain

Every week I write about the books that we read for my son. He is currently 4 years old and loves a good book! I am not a professional book and illustration reviewer or critic, but I can write about the book, what I think about it, and how our son reacted to it.

Book Information

Title: The Berenstain Bears Play Football
Author: Mike Berenstain
Published by: Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins Publisher
Copyright 2017 by Berenstain Publishing, Inc.
No. of pages: 30

About the Author:

Mike Berenstain is continuing the legacy of Stan and Jan Berenstain who started the Berenstain Bears series. Mike writes and illustrates the books. According to the official Berenstain Bears website, “He lives and works in the rolling countryside of Eastern Pennsylvania–a place that looks very much like Berenstain Bear Country.”

Please visit http://www.berenstainbears.com/ for more information about the Berenstain Bears books.


“The Berenstain Bears Play Football” is a fun family story about playing a sport outside the home, instead of just watching it on TV.

Football is such a big sport in the United States that watching the Superbowl on TV has become a big family event. In the Bear Country, the Berenstain Bears were supposed to watch the Grizzly Bowl, which is the equivalent of the Superbowl in their world.

The story even takes a jab at the air time that commentators and ads receive. When the cubs got bored waiting for the game to start, they decided to play a game instead. What better game to play than Football?

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My Reliable Swiss Gear 21-Inch Carryon Luggage

My work requires me to travel internationally frequently. And that is why it’s very important for me to have reliable checkin and carryon luggage.

For 5-10 days of travel, I have found the right carryon luggage. I can still have it checked to my final destination usually. But if I carry it with me into the plane, I can take it and go out of the airport right away. No waiting at the baggage claim area.

My reliable carryon luggage is a 21-inch dark grey SwissGear spinner luggage.

Spacious! I can fit in about 15 shirts, 3 pairs of pants, 2 shorts, a pair of shoes, my slippers, and several underwear & socks.

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My 2017 in Books (or a Report on my Goodreads 2017 Reading Challenge)

The annual Reading Challenge by Goodreads is an awesome way to inspire people to read and log the books they read on the site. In 2014, I read 40 books; 60 books in 2015; 52 books in 2016; and 15 books in 2017.

Here are some interesting tidbits for my year in books:

I read a total of 15 books in 2017.

That is significantly less than my usual 40-52 books a year over the 4 years. But that’s okay. Earlier this year, I decided to read only 12 books so I could spend more time thinking about and digesting the books I read.

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Do We apply for a Green Card or Go back to the Philippines?

We’ve been in the USA now for almost 3 years. I had been on a work visa and we recently renewed it. So we can stay here until the early parts of 2020 without any problems.

This also means that we can apply now for a Green Card or Permanent Resident status. The big question is should we?

This process can be complicated and we may need the help of a lawyer to apply for it. I asked some friends of mine about the process and did a bit of research. I also asked for quotation from some lawyers.

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Review of Do Not Take Your Dragon to Dinner

Every week I write about the books that we read for my son. He is currently 4 years old and loves a good book! I am not a professional book and illustration reviewer or critic, but I can write about the book, what I think about it, and how our son reacted to it.

What the Book is About

Do Not Take Your Dragon to Dinner is a fun book about table manners with dinosaurs! Which kid is not going to be happy learning about table manners if there are dinosaurs in it?! The book addresses the reader it provides some tips on organizing a dinner treat. It includes NOT taking a dragon to dinner.

It then goes through the different scenarios if you insist on bringing your dragon to dinner. They disturb everyone, they stink, they will grab a phone, burp loudly, pound on the table, plays with the food, and many other crazy things that anyone should not do on a fancy dinner table.

But toward the end, it affirms the bond between the narrator and her dragon and suggests eating dinner at home instead. She also gives some tips on how to teach a dragon some table manners.

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