WITH lots of time in their hands and no one to share it with, senior citizens go to Sunshine Place in Bel Air Village to have their bodies, minds and souls enriched with activities that would stall or slow down dementia and Alzheimer’s disease from creeping into their fragile systems.

For the 150, and growing, members of Sunshine Place, a day is never boring and is filled with socializing even among friends who haven’t seen each other in decades, but are rekindling ties just now.

In fact, they have reached a point where they call Sunshine Place—a five story recreational and spiritual center for those 50 years old and up to their early nineties—as their “second home” and a “fun place.” Many balikbayans who have retired have chosen to return and frequent Sunshine Place.

Physical, artistic, play and dance and wellness lectures are conducted regularly at Sunshine Place—some are for free (and covered by the membership fees) while the others are paid (like the art lessons, special dance lessons, Ikebana and others).

The building of Sunshine Place used to be rented by law offices and other tenants until it was bought and renovated by the Felicidad T. Sy Foundation in September 2014.



Now it has a massage room (which used to provide magnetic therapy to the seniors) right beside the administrative office. 

The second floor is called the senior hub lounge where art lessons are held and a social area cum dining area and mahjong/board games take place. Here is where a cross section of members regularly meet for the different daily activities. 

Also on the second floor is where the chair exercises and chair dances are taught not just for seniors but for all those interested to learn and practice.

At the third floor is the Foot Zone for foot reflexology and body massage which has 16 restful rooms, five of which are family rooms (with up to five or six massage beds) conducive for family pampering and bonding.

At the fourth flour is the dance studio and the Vivify beauty lounge where seniors could retouch and blow dry their hair after fun-filled dancing and exercising so that they still look beautiful for their next event for the day.

On the fifth floor is the roof deck with chapel and where music classes are held. It also can be rented out by companies, schools and organizations or social groups for their social events, anniversaries and Christmas parties. (In fact, now the weekends of December are already fully booked with deposits already paid).



Every day, activities are pre-planned by the administrative and operations staff of Sunshine Place, including special quarterly parties and socials so that members interact and socialize with each other.

Free attendance on activities are rolled out on a monthly basis and should there be any materials or kits necessary for the activity, members are encouraged to bring their own materials or purchase those ready-made kits from the front desks. 

These free activities are: bingo, mahjong, scrabble etc; how to series; arts and crafts; travel; movie marathon (although this is not being emphasized as seniors can watch for free with their ID cards in major cinemas); group karaoke and piano musicals; medical talks and roundtable consults; tech savvy senior talks and workshops; spiritual counseling and talk, recollection and holy masses (every Friday noon).

Selected classes also have free admissions such as new class launches; one featured regular class of the month; 30-minute senior fitness program for cardio workout; strength; flexibility; agility and stability and three additional class sessions on selected regular class full-course enrolment. Paid classes are yoga for professionals (in surrounding offices before going home) and zumba or ballroom dancing (open for non- seniors).

This May, Sunshine Place is holding a luau party where dancers would be in Hawaiian costumes during the evening socials. The staff really goes all out in preparing and planning for such social activities. (They just finished a Valentine’s party in February and Easter egg hunting last April).

Just recently, a noted chef demonstrated how to cook kakanin and the caregivers and yayas of the seniors attended since the elderly are not expected to remember the recipes.



Clarita V. Cabochan at 84 is a busy bee with her nine CVC supermarkets and her son’s Pandayan school and office supplies chain of 100. But she finds time since March 2016 to go regularly to Sunshine Place with her caregiver, Marlene Mijares, who encouraged her to try Sunshine Place two years ago right after her husband’s death left her devastated and depressed.

She is eager to attend the rehearsals for the luau and her painting classes in Sunshine Place, where she said she met her classmate of long ago Lourdes Cornista Vanasco, 83, a talented lady who taught English at Harvard. 

Her kids are now on their own with their families. She lives with her caregiver only but on Sundays the entire brood of close to 50 gather for dinner at her home in Pasig. 

She said she discovered her talent and fondness for painting only at Sunshine Place and had since been painting. She goes to Sunshine four times a week during the morning until lunch. 

She produces one painting a day, mostly on outdoor scenes, and some are displayed at home and her children’s homes while others are being bought directly by friends, relatives and former classmates. 

She was surprised on finding out that the paintings could be exhibited and sold right at Sunshine Place, for a minimal curate fee.

Her caregiver, Marlene Mijares, said the late Congressman Cabochan (during Cory Aquino’s time) was a collector of paintings but never realized his wife had such a talent. He died in 2014 of heart condition. She has cared for a lot of politicians and an American citizen for the past 15 years.

Cabochan admitted that her frequenting Sunshine has helped her a lot physically, socially and emotionally. 

She used to go to Sunshine with a cane from her bad back, now the cane is gone. Her motto in life is “you have to keep moving” and she does social ballroom, yeba with sound tracks of Filipino OPMs (lower impact dance) and zumba.

Vanasco drives herself in an SUV to Sunshine from her place in Mandaluyong. She lives with her unmarried sister and three maids since her husband died. 

She is at Sunshine every Monday for zumba and lunch and Wednesdays for yeba and painting, which she joined six months ago and finished 11 paintings, mostly trees and flowers. 

She taught applied rhetoric and business English at Harvard, English department. Between her and her late Italian husband, they have four PhDs in economics, Italian literature and applied English. 

Hilda Reyes, though only in her fifties, is now a regular (non- senior) member of Sunshine Place who says that she takes so much delight in interacting with the elderly. 

She said she finds so much wisdom and fun in them. She is the center head of Sunshine Place. What challenges her and Cheryl de Vega, operations manager, is mapping out activities year-round for the elderly to ensure that their days on Earth would be prolonged and filled with happy memories. In the process they both grow and enjoy the challenges.

Nora Vinluan, 70, goes to Sunshine every Saturday for Tai Chi and mass on Fridays. But this would depend on her schedule in office, where she is a COO of a finance company. 

She was a busy banker, development consultant and now a finance person. She said she finds Sunshine Place a refreshing to meet old friends, whom she did not meet for so long. She encourages her lawyer husband, who recently suffered two strokes, to keep vocalizing as he is still a litigator and teaches in Ateneo. He has become a member of Sunshine Place ahead of her (she enrolled two years ago).


"Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something." - Plato


Imagine your cellphone load being eaten up by this inconsiderate receptionist.

Q:  Hello, is the air-conditioner in your office working today?

A:  The serviceman came yesterday afternoon. We complained about the summer heat.

Q:  Just answer the question directly! Yes or No?

A:  Well, I hope so – because our customers are getting mad at us. It’s not our fault.

Q:  So, is that a Yes or No?

A:  I think it’s okay.

Q:  Yes or No? You’re eating up my cellphone load!

A:  Ah - yes, po.



Adults should answer questions the way they were taught in Grade 1: Yes or No. Ironically, most folks nastily describe clear communicators as ‘mataray’. Does it mean that being unclear, talking in circles, and wasting other people’s time without answering the question has become the norm



Does this scenario sound familiar?

1. The lovely contestant fails to focus on the entire question.

2. She chooses to concentrate in just one word.

3. Then, she smiles confidently as she recites everything she knows about the selected word. The result: blooper galore.



Many teachers reward students for delivering lengthy answers to simple questions. That practice leads the youth to believe that long answers make them seem amazingly brainy.



Simple questions deserve simple answers. 

1. FOCUS on the ENTIRE QUESTION – so you grasp the real meaning of the question.

2. AVOID irrelevant details when you deliver your response.

3. Answer the question DIRECTLY.


Remember these keywords:

• Who. What. Why. When. Where. How.

• YES or NO.


Mindless and incoherent answers give the impression that you are scatterbrained. Don’t give people grounds to make fun of your bloopers. If you want to level up, call me. Hay naku!

Vivien Mangalindan is available for Customer Service Training, Interpersonal Communication Skills Coaching, and Public Speaking Seminars. * She is also a Broadcaster. Be entertained as you get informed every Monday at 3:00 p.m. Tune in to SHOW AND TELL RADIO on DWBL 1242 AM radio - with video LIVE streaming on YouTube and Facebook: Show And Tell Radio. * Read her column online in Facebook: Hay Naku Pinoy. * Do you want your products and services to be featured on her show? Text 0918-521-5400


Text and photos by Ma. Cristina Padilla-Sendin

DUMAGUETE City, the capital of Negros Oriental, is dubbed the City of Gentle People. 

In 2014, it was ranked 5th on the list of best places to retire, as published by Forbes.com, a US-based online business magazine. 

Visiting the city and its surrounding towns provided me an answer to the Dumagueteños’ warmth and friendliness and Negros Oriental’s captivating charm making it a “magnet” to retirees.

Lake Balinsasayao

Serenity and Solace – Commune with Nature

Negros Oriental boasts of mountains, lakes and waterfalls that will capture the heart of nature lovers and weary and tired souls. Situated 14.5 kilometers west of Dumaguete City, the town of Sibulan,are the twin lakes of Lake Balinsasayao and Lake Danao, small but deep crater freshwater lakes, separated by a narrow mountain ridge, positioned between four mountains. 

A café serves as a viewing deck before going down to Lake Balinsasayao. For more adventurous travellers, they can hike to the mountains to see Lake Danao at the other end. 

Or one can go on a boat ride to traverse Lake Balinsasayao, climb a few steps to the view deck to marvel at Lake Danao. 

The smooth boat ride initiated us to the serenity of the surroundings. 

Only the chirping of rare birds can be heard, while other birds hover gently above the lake. The ascent to the viewing deck is a feast of lush greenery – towering trees, plants and ferns I rarely see, wild vines – a tableau of verdant scenery.

An undescribable feeling of tranquility and awe enveloped me as I slowly examine the 360 degree view of the two lakes encircled by the majestic mountains of Mount Mahungot, Mount Kalbasan, Mount Balinsasayao and Mount Guidabon. 

My travel cousins and I could not control our selves as we shouted our thanks to the almighty God for these marvelous masterpieces.

Giant sea turtle at Apo Island

Excitement and Energy – Snorkel and Swim with Sea Turtles 

Just the thought of swimming with the sea turtles makes this wanderlust’s heart beats fast. Imagine the thrill if this becomes real, making it an experience of a lifetime. 

Going to Apo Island, 30 kilometers south of Dumaguete, enabled us to meet these sea turtles face to face. Though huge, they are very gentle creatures, accustomed to gliding with humans in the clear, azure and shallow waters of Apo Island.

Apo Island is home to more than 600 species of fish and 400 corals. We were lucky to catch sight of more than 20 kinds of corals with different colors, sizes and shapes looking like brain, flowers, broccoli, lettuce, mushrooms, threads, etc. – in one area of the island. 

We also got a glimpse of blue starfish and blue and black-striped water snake.

Halo-halo in Buko

Savory and Stimulating – Taste the Local Fare, Heighten the Sight and Smell, and Bathe in the Hot, Natural Pool

Visiting Dumaguete is not complete without going to Painitan, inside the market. Here, Dumagueteños, and tourists alike, eat their breakfast in an alley of stalls offering the local delicacy, Budbud Kabog, the Dumaguete’s version of suman, made of rice and millet (a group of highly variable small-seeded grasses). 

Budbud has to be paired with Sikwate, hot chocolate made from the homegrown “tablea”. There’s no escaping these delicacies, including the Puto Maya, sweet sticky rice cooked in coconut milk, poured with sikwate. What a hearty way to start the day!

Another famous food destination is Jo’s Chicken Inato, where the grilled chicken is the specialty. It has a special marinade making its taste distinct from other grilled chicken. 

It is also the home of the halo-halo in buko shell. Seafoods abound in Dumaguete and we sampled fresh seafoods at Lab-as (Visayan term for fresh), a restaurant along a strip of food establishments facing the sea.  

For pastries, Sans Rival is the place to go. People line up to buy sans rival, original silvanas and chocolate silvanas. Fact is these also serve as “pasalubongs” being brought even as hand-carried items in planes.

Tourists bound for the hot spring will pass by clouds of steam rising from the mountainside. This is the Mag-aso Steaming Ground or sulfur vents in Valencia, Negros Oriental. Travellers stop here for photo opps. The hottest portion can even boil an egg, as shown in an experiment.

Noticeable as we go farther are the red rocks that abound means we are nearing the Red Rock Hot Springs. We did not plan to bathe there but the inviting warm water made us take a dip. 

It is believed that the water here has therapeutic properties owing to the high mineral content. It was a refreshing and stimulating plunge.

Pulangbato waterfalls

Our final destination that day, Pulangbato Waterfalls stirred our eyes by its uniqueness, mainly the reddish color of the rocks. The water is not actually red but the rocks and stones beneath, beside and below the waterfalls are red.

A trip will not be complete without paying our respect and thanks to God through a visit to the Dumaguete Cathedral, with the famous Belfry, Campanario de Dumaguete, at its side.  

The belfry served as watchtower during the 1800s, to warn residents of impending pirate attacks so the people can escape.

So much wonders to explore and gentle people to meet, in so little time. 

A second visit to Dumaguete and in Negros Oriental is truly a must!

People only see what they are prepared to see.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

A quick search online defines PERCEPTION as: the way you think about or understand someone or something.



We were all having fun at a neighborhood get-together last weekend. Everyone in the room kept laughing as we shared jokes and bloopers from the book STUPID IS FOREVER, the movie DUMB AND DUMBER and our favorite MR. BEAN.

All of a sudden, my neighbor Dina burst into tears and shouted: “If you think I’m dumb and stupid – why don’t you just say so? You don’t have to make fun of me just because you’re more intelligent!”

The room fell silent. Where did that outburst come from? The party was ruined – all because of one person who didn’t find our sense of humor funny. Her perception was her reality.



We soon found out that Dina was the not-so-bright  one among five siblings in the family. Her inferiority complex was a hang-up that she carried through life. 

She didn’t enjoy comedy because she believed it was cruel to laugh at people and call them dumb or stupid. Dina refused to understand that we were laughing at funny stories from the book and the movie.

What a burden to have a negative person around. No wonder she had difficulty making friends at work and in her personal life. 



If you think low self-esteem is a problem, there is the proverbial other side of the coin. 

Yesterday, Henry was so sure of himself - but absolutely in the wrong. He failed to do research and get the back story before delivering his report. He contemptuously blurted out ‘information’ based on gossip, hearsay and backstabbing from folks infected with ‘crab-mentality’ syndrome. You can just imagine what happened during the group discussion. Henry melted in sheer shame. 

He delivered his presentation based on incorrect input – and made a fool of himself due to his arrogance. He trusted his followers and buddies who were nothing more than selfish sycophants who aimed to gain his favor by flattering him with one-sided reports.

Henry was so sure that he was right. His perception was his reality.



You can’t go on living in a world that’s merely a figment of your imagination. Your perception becomes your reality. 

• Are you insecure like Dina?

• Are you conceited like Henry?

Conduct a reality check. Ask for casual coaching. Call me. Hay naku!


Vivien Mangalindan is available for Customer Service Training, Interpersonal Communication Skills Coaching, and Public Speaking Seminars. * She is also a Broadcaster. Be entertained as you get informed every Monday at 3:00 p.m. Tune in to SHOW AND TELL RADIO on DWBL 1242 AM radio - with video LIVE streaming on YouTube and Facebook: Show And Tell Radio. * Read her column online in Facebook: Hay Naku Pinoy. * Do you want your products and services to be featured on her show? Text 0918-521-5400



“Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” –Stephen Covey

As a broadcaster, trainer and facilitator, I am constantly faced with instant feedback. 

• Viewers and listeners call or text me on the spot.

• Seminar participants express their opinions during open forum.

Instead of getting upset over occasional negative feedback, I use it as an opportunity to connect with my audience. Sincerely caring to understand people’s pain points has opened doors of opportunity for me. Quite a number of these negative feedbackers have become my valued clients and faithful friends.



Years ago, I was elected president of an organization. During the first monthly meeting, I kept receiving unfriendly remarks from an elderly woman in the front row. I could have easily told her to stop being disruptive – but I chose to take the high road.

Aiming for a ‘win-win’ situation, I invited her for coffee and discovered that she was in charge of her company newletter.

• Problem: she wanted a role in our organization.

• Solution: I assigned her as head of our newsletter team. Why not? She was very much qualified.

Fast forward: the woman and I soon became friends. Over the years, we became best friends. It’s amazing how a seemingly hostile situation led to a treasured friendship. All it took was my desire to understand – rather than be understood.



Instead of being defensive and counter-attacking when you receive negative feedback: identify pain points. Ask simple questions to help you understand: 

• Who? What? Why? When? Where? How? 

Seek first to understand - so you can be more connected: at work and in your personal life. Hay naku!


Vivien Mangalindan is available for Customer Service Training, Interpersonal Communication Skills Coaching, and Public Speaking Seminars. * She is also a Broadcaster. Be entertained as you get informed every Monday at 3:00 p.m. Tune in to SHOW AND TELL RADIO on DWBL 1242 AM radio - with video LIVE streaming on YouTube and Facebook: Show And Tell Radio. * Read her column online in Facebook: Hay Naku Pinoy. * Do you want your products and services to be featured on her show? Text 0918-521-5400


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Sunday, 19 January 2020
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