BrainFit Studio Philippines: Giving children the learning advantage with fit brains

During my experience at the recent Blogapalooza, my friend I had a chance to drop by at the booth of BrainFit Studio Philippines. We instantly got interested with BrainFit because we’re moms of kids aged 10 and below, and what BrainFit offers can supplement our kids’ educational needs.

BrainFit Studio Philippines

BrainFit Studio Philippines

BrainFit’s mission is to accelerate the child’s learning through brain fitness. This is done via its programs that enhances the child’s learning capacity by addressing various areas. BrainFit focuses on building each of the child’s Brain Pillars, namely (1) sensory motor coordination, (2) auditory and language processing, (3) visual and spatial processing, (4) attention and memory, and (5) social-emotional self-regulation. These comprise the key cognitive abilities that form the foundations for learning. Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of these 5 Pillars help understand your child’s brain health.

So how does BrainFit therefore address your child’s learning needs based on these 5 Brain Pillars? Through its programs that are run according to the SMART Protocol:

  • Set personal objectives by understanding the child’s needs and setting desired outcomes with the parents;
  • Measure with CognitiveMAP, a profiling tool that tells which brain fitness program meets the child’s needs;
  • Adapt activities to abilities, at the same time monitor progress and adjust the cognitive exercises accordingly throughout the duration of the program;
  • Re-wire through focused practice, as training frequency and intensity are vital for maximum results; and
  • Transform brain for total performance, helping the child learn better, think faster, focus longer, and remember more, and at the same time re-evaluating him or her to measure gains.

The SMART Programs, which are based on key neuroscientific principles, are as follows:

  • SMART Moves – to strengthen the Sensory-Motor Brain Pillar
  • SMART Listening – targets rapid improvements in listening and language skills
  • SMART Vision – uses proven and personalized gym-based programs and table-top visual activities to improve the Visual Brain Pillar
  • SMART Focus – retrains the brain to think more clearly and attentively, and with razor-sharp focus
  • SMART Emotions – includes activities that help children regulate their feelings, develop social and relational skills, and build a confident outlook in life

BrainFit has programs for children aged 4 to 18, but according to their website at http://brainfitstudio.com, they also have Baby Programs for toddlers (from 3 months to 3 years old).

Free trial classes are given at BrainFit’s stand-alone studios located in Greenhills (call 725-8500 or 0917-5991992) and Binondo (call 554-0381 or 0917-7761689). BrainFit also has in-school studios at Makati (at Playworks, formerly Toddlers Teachers, in Salcedo Village) and BGC (Active Fun). For more information on BrainFit Studio, visit their website at http://brainfitstudio.com or check out their Facebook page, BrainFit Studio Philippines.

ZAP: Earn with your purchases, pay with your points

One of the products I was introduced to last Blogapalooza was ZAP. It’s a rewards program established in 2013 here in the Philippines that lets people earn with every purchase.

ZAP Philippines

ZAP Rewards Program

Technically, when you spend a certain amount at any of the over 450 ZAP merchants in the country, you earn back a certain percentage, ranging from 5 to 20%, of that amount using the mobile number you registered in ZAP. You can redeem points, called CashBack points, when you buy anything from any partner merchants.

To put it simply, imagine this: you buy sneakers at Adidas worth PHP 3,000. With ZAP, you get 5% CashBack points (around PHP 150) just by typing in your mobile number on the store’s ZAP terminal. You can then head to Happy Lemon and use those CashBack points to buy a milk tea.

So easy, right? What’s even special about ZAP is that its platform needs no cards or mobile apps. You just have to enter your registered mobile number on the ZAP terminal and you get points that you can use right away!

ZAP does have a mobile app, free for download on iOS and Android, that shows you a list of the places where you can get the best ZAP deals. Also, ZAP also has what they call the ZAPtag that you can use to tap on the terminal instead of manually entering your registered mobile number. But actually, just getting your number registered is enough for you to instantly enjoy the services and perks ZAP has to offer.

Partner merchants of ZAP include Beyond the Box, Crossfit, Elorde Boxing Gym, GNC, Puma, Converse, Periwinkle, Louis Phillip Kee, Status Hair Salon, Shangri-La Cinemas, Greenhills Cinemas, Pepper Lunch, Kitchitora of Tokyo, Jack’s Loft, Borough, Plaza Cafe, Figaro, Red Mango, Sugarhouse, and Mrs. Fields.

Ready to get ZAPped? Go to www.zap.com.ph and register your mobile number. Signing up is free! :-)

Going on a buffet tour at NiU by Vikings

Thanks to Blogapalooza, I got a chance to experience a buffet tour by NiU by Vikings. This was one of their blogger activities (aside from the Instagram contest that day that I failed to join — both hands were “tied” to loot bags and stuff) wherein participants get to see and feel the interiors of the restaurant, and experience some of the food offered as well.

NiU by Vikings

NiU by Vikings

NiU by Vikings is a member of the Vikings Group (you know, that eat-all-you-can resto that everyone’s raving about). But compared to Vikings, NIU has a more, should I say, upscale feel to it. From the tables and chairs to the private rooms to the grand piano in the middle of the restaurant, it felt really classy.

NiU by Vikings

Part of the interiors. Yeah, didn’t get a chance to take a good picture. There was a ladder in the middle of the resto… the were fixing something in the ceiling that time.

One of the waiters gave us a sort-of tour. “Sort-of” because during the tour, bloggers were all about taking photos of this and that and going their own way. My friend and I tailed behind him, hoping he’d give more background about Niu and its menu.

The food featured during the buffet tour looked very enticing. Beer below zero degrees and a selection of wines were part of the buffet, too. Weird, though, that from the entrance, the dessert bar came first before the hors d’ouevres, drinks and the main course. I dunno, maybe that’s just me. Or it’s probably laid out per cuisine. Not sure, actually.

NiU by Vikings

The blueberry cheesecake had a cakey texture. Nevertheless it was good.

NiU by Vikings

Some sort of mango cheesecake with a green tea bottom layer. Sorry, I can’t remember the names of the stuff we ate. Haha!

NiU by Vikings

Imported cold beer, part of the buffet.

NiU by Vikings

Enjoy unlimited rounds of drinks!

NiU by Vikings

One of the hors d’oeuvres, with sisig on top. This was one of our favorites.

NiU by Vikings

Lechon Macau with yellow mustard at the bottom and cucumber on top. Eat it in one go — delicious!

NiU by Vikings

Fish ready for grilling.

NiU by Vikings

Little slices of stromboli.

NiU by Vikings

My plate of delicious food from NiU by Vikings.

We had a taste of some of their food and drinks. Now, this was the part that kinda bothered me personally: We were part of the first batch of buffet “tourists” and there was no designated place for us to sit down and enjoy the food. The waiter who assisted my friend and I during the tour suggested that we sit at the waiting area outside the resto where there were no tables. Uhm, okay. How about our drinks? Hmm. So we waited a good few seconds before we were ushered to a nearby table (take note, I am 7 months on the baby way, with Blogapalooza loot bags on one arm and my bag on the other, one hand carrying the plate of food and the other hand carrying the drink).

Also, midway during our “critiquing-the-food” mood, we were told that we only had 5 more minutes to finishing up. Well, that part I didn’t mind much because the next batch of bloggers were already coming in.

In my opinion, the bloggers’ buffet tour could have been organized better, but that’s fine by me. It doesn’t change the fact that the food served to us (while limited) was really, really good. And, given that my friend and I should go there during their regular hours, I’m pretty sure we would have better enjoyed the experience.

NiU by Vikings is open for lunch from 11:30 AM to 2:30 PM and dinner from 5 PM to 10 PM. Rates are at PHP1,088 + 5% surcharge (weekday lunch) and PHP1,388 + 5% surcharge (weekday dinner/weekend or holiday lunch and dinner). Kids below 3 feet eat free, while child rates (above 3 feet or over 3 years old) range from PHP300 to 700. Senior citizens aged 75 and above are entitled to a certain discount.

NiU by Vikings is located at the 6th floor of SM Aura Premier in Taguig City. Reservations and walk-ins are allowed. For more information, visit their Facebook: niubyvikings or Instagram: NiUbyVikings.

Thoughts on my first-ever Blogapalooza experience

Whew! Pagoda Cold Wave lotion ang peg! Hahaha! That’s why I didn’t immediately post about my Blogapalooza experience.

It was great for a first-timer like me. I was with my blogger-friend who writes at Wordsmith-Not (it’s also her first time to attend) and we enjoyed going around the booths in SMX Convention Center in SM Aura.

Blogapalooza 2014

My friend, Ria, and I at Blogapalooza 2014. Credit goes to her for the photo.

It’s crazy that despite bringing a point-and-shoot camera and my phone with me, I wasn’t able to take much photos as I wanted to. I was too busy going around the booths, asking exhibitors about their products and services, and joining some fun games.

We were there for only a few hours, but we managed to find some interesting products, services, and activities there. There were booths there that we unfortunately failed to visit because we had to proceed to another venue for an activity (more on that soon). Some booths were also unmanned when we got there, so we just proceeded to the next one.

One thing I didn’t also get to do was meet other bloggers, particularly mom bloggers. I guess I was just too shy to approach them. Sorry!

And because I was preggy and I had to go home for mommy duties, my friend and I went home at around 4 PM.

Blogapalooza 2014

Some of my Blogapalooza 2014 loot. Incomplete because my daughter started taking some stuff while I was arranging them. :)

All in all, it was tiring but fun. I enjoyed going to the booths of Krispy Kreme, Zing, Niu by VikingsVictoria Court (hooray for 25% discount, LOL!) and AMPR because of their activities. Brain Fit resonated well to me and my friend, since we’re moms. Gaming Library was cool because they have Cards Against Humanity (which I discovered through a video just last week) and some other great games. Sample Room gave out wonderful treats as well. And the pretty lady from Canon took a photo of us and even searched for us around the venue to give our pics personally — one copy each.

I’ll be checking out the PR kits I’ve received from some of the exhibitors and will be posting them soon on this blog.

Thanks Blogapalooza 2014 and When in Manila and Our Awesome Planet for this wonderful event. Next time I’ll have to be there early and do away with shyness to maximize the experience. :P

Press release: Cord blood, a new hope for Leukemia

NOTE: Below is a press release from Cordlife Philippines, the first and only umbilical cord blood and tissue processing and cryopreservation facility in the country. With facilities around Asia including Singapore, Indonesia, India, and Hong Kong, Cordlife aims to provide Pinoys and Asians with high-quality cord blood processing and storage services to protect their children’s cord blood stem cells. Cordlife Philippines is registered with the Department of Health (DOH). Find out more about Cordlife Philippines at http://www.cordlife.ph and Like their Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/CordLifePhilippines.

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Cordlife Philippines

Cord blood, a new hope for Leukemia

A video of a mother from Quebec fighting against leukemia recently went viral in YouTube. Her desperate plea – to find a compatible umbilical cord donor, the only hope for her second battle against leukemia[i].

Mai Duong, a 34-year-old Vietnamese-Canadian mother is among the many patients diagnosed of cancer every four minutes. Leukemia – cancer of the body’s tissues that are responsible for forming blood including bone marrow and lymphatic system is among the top eight common cancers in the Philippines.

In 2005, the Philippine Cancer Society recorded 4,202 new cases, 2,243 of which is among males with 3.9 percent incidence rate while 1,959 cases were recorded among females with an incidence rate of 3.6 percent. With an average 5-year survival rate of only 25 percent, an estimated 3,498 deaths are expected with 1,863 in men and 1,635 among women[ii].

Normally, the body produces and grows the white blood cells in an orderly way. But for people with leukemia, their bone marrow produces white blood cells that are abnormal either in number or function.

The symptoms of the disease varies from fever or chills, persistent fatigue and weakness, frequent or severe infections, unexpected weight loss, swelling of lymph nodes, bruising or bleeding easily, frequently recurring nosebleeds, visible red spots, bone pain or tenderness and excessive sweating at night[iii].

Beyond the physical pain that leukemia patients experience, they are also susceptible to emotional stress and anxiety. And when it comes to the trauma and emotional pain, the patient’s family is no exception.  Studies showed that anxiety and posttraumatic stress are common to leukemia patients’ families during and even after suffering from the condition. Researchers found that childhood cancer treatment has a long-term impact on parents and families, thus, highlighting the need for psychological interventions during and after the cancer treatment[iv].

But what gives the patients and their families a sense of hope for recovery is the life-saving effects of stem cell transplantation, including that from umbilical cord blood.

Like Duong, Ryan Foo is also among the many leukemia victims who conducted a nationwide search for bone marrow stem cells. Foo suffered from leukemia at a very young age and found hope of recovery after his baby sister, Rachel was born. Rachel’s cord blood was collected and was processed and stored in Cordlife’s cord blood banking facility. Ryan has been in remission following the successful transplantation in Singapore in 2002[v].

In 2005, cord blood transplantation for a 9-year-old female diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia was performed according to Philippine Journal of Medicine. The family had to search for one year before finding a cord blood unit in Japan that matches their precious child. The cost of the cord blood unit was about six-folds of how much it would have cost had they banked the child’s cord blood vi.

Recent researches have proven the life-saving effects of umbilical cord blood stem cells in many life-threatening diseases including leukemia. Comparing cord-blood transplants with current standard leukemia therapies, two new studies indicated that leukemia patients who require stem cell transplants but do not have bone marrow donors now have greater chances to proceed with the treatment through the use of umbilical cord blood cells.

“Cord blood opens the door to provide transplants to thousands of leukemia patients who otherwise would not get a transplant,” said Mary J. Laughlin, M.D., of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center in Cleveland, in an article published by the Journal of National Cancer Institute[vi]i.

Laughlin, lead author of one of the two studies in cord blood technology published in the New England Journal of Medicine, also added that cord blood has two important advantages on bone marrow diseases.

With cord blood, there is faster identification of appropriate units for transplant. This is important since some conditions require urgent delivery and thus, delays are something medical providers aim to eliminate. Also, with cord blood, patients are more likely to get acceptable transplants because of the higher possibilities in the matching of donors.

Laughlin also added in the same report that they are suggesting the expansion of national cord blood registries to improve access to cord blood and eventually provide patients with more chances of getting matches.

“The more [cord blood samples] we bank the better will be the match and the availability to patients,” Eliane Gluckman, M.D., of the Hôpital Saint-Louis in Paris, said in the same article.

Gluckman also confirmed the possibility of cord blood transplantation in adults and noted its growing development in cancer research.

She said that “many transplant centers thought it was not possible to use cord blood cells in adults. Now, more people will become aware of this possibility.”

In addition to this, a breakthrough in cancer research was recently seen through a study led by the Loyola Medical Center oncologists. They found that growing cord blood stem cells in a laboratory before proceeding with transplant will significantly improve the survival and boost the number of patients who could benefit from it.[vii]i

Today, Filipinos can now benefit from these breakthroughs in cancer study by banking their babies’ stem cell-rich cord blood. This unique, highly-advanced service is now available in the country through Cordlife Philippines’ cord blood banking service which helps parents protect their child from the dangers of life-threatening diseases including leukemia.

“Stem cells are at the forefront of one of the most riveting and revolutionary areas of medicine today. While this could be a leap from the traditional treatments available, my fellow doctors and I do recognize cord blood stem cell transplantation as a standard form of treatment for various blood disorders, specially leukemia” Dr. Arvin Faundo, Medical Director of Cordlife Philippines.

With continuous advancement in cord blood stem cell applications, it’s imperative that parents seize the one chance to save their baby’s cord blood. For more information, download Cordlife’s FREE infopack @ http://www.cordlife.ph or call them at (02) 332 – 1888.

 

REFERENCES:

[i]Retrieved from: http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2014/09/16/cord_blood_donor_found_for_quebec_woman_battling_leukemia_for_second_time.html

[ii] 2005 Philippine Cancer Facts and Estimates, Philippine Cancer Society. Retrived from: http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/151649/news/leukemia-facts

[iii] Mayo Clinic. Retrieved from: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseasesconditions/leukemia/basics/symptoms/con-20024914

[iv] Retrieved from: http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/ccp/65/1/120/

[v] Retrieved from: http://manilastandardtoday.com/2014/01/13/stem-cell-technology-can-save-lives-/

[v]iI For details, refer to Cordlife Schedule of Fees.

[vi]i Umbilical Cord Blood Offers Another Option for Leukemia Patients. Damaris Christensen. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Vol. 97, No. 4, © Oxford University Press 2005. Retrieved from: http://jnci.oxfordjournals.org/content/97/4/253.full

[vii]i Retrieved from: http://loyolamedicine.org/newswire/news/multiplying-stem-cells-umbilical-cord-blood-donations-increases-survival-leukemia-and