Monday, July 31, 2017

New Rules on Balikbayan Boxes Take Effect Aug 1: What You Need to Know
The customs bureau requires more detailed lists and receipts for brand new items.
1. How much is the ceiling on the value of tax-free items?
The CMTA increased the ceiling on the value of tax-free personal items that can be sent via balikbayan boxes to Php150,000 from Php10,000. The law also raised the de minimis value of goods subjected to duties from Php10 to Php10,000, which shall be adjusted to keep up with inflation once every three years. The increase in the value of minimum goods subject to import duties lessens the discretion of customs officials to inspect goods and impose taxes, according to lawmakers.

In a Facebook post, Bureau of Customs commissioner Nicanor Faeldon appealed to overseas Filipinos sending balikbayan boxes not to abuse the tax-free privilege to minimize the loss of potential government revenue.

Ang programa pong ito ay isang pribilehiyo at regalo ng gobyerno sa ating mga kababayan. Kaya po tayo'y nananawagan at umaapela sa likas na kabutihan ng ating mga kakababayan na huwag po itong abusuhin para sa tunay na pagbabago,” (This program is a privilege and a present for our fellow countrymen. That’s why we’re appealing to the innate goodness of our countrymen not to abuse (this privilege) towards genuine change,” he said in a Facebook post.

2. Who are qualified to send tax-free balikbayan boxes?
Filipinos staying abroad whether for employment, education or permanent residency may avail of the tax-free balikbayan box privilege. They are referred to as Qualified Filipino While Abroad (QFWA), and are defined as follows, according to CAO 05-2016:

*Overseas Filipino Workers or Filipinos who work abroad either with passports issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs and certified by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) or the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) for overseas employment purposes or those who work in a foreign land on a contractual basis;

*Non Resident Filipinos or Filipinos who have sought permanent residency abroad but have retained Filipino citizenship;

*Resident Filipinos or Filipino citizens staying abroad temporarily and hold any of the following visas: student, tourist and investors;

*Recipients of the balikbayan boxes must be a relative of the sender up to the fourth degree of affinity to qualify for the privilege.

3. How many balikbayan boxes can qualified overseas Filipinos send?
Qualified Filipino working or living abroad can send up to three balikbayanboxes in one calendar year (January 1 to December 31) tax-free, provided that the contents of every shipment only amount to Php150,000 each. If you ship an item or items exceeding Php10,000, the BOC will consider the parcel as one of three availments of the privilege for the year.

The BOC reminds OFWs that these balikbayan boxes must only contain personal and household effects only. The privilege cannot be used for the shipment of items for barter or commercial use.

4. What are the correct procedures for sending the balikbayan boxes?
Here comes the tedious part. To assure the BOC that the boxes sent home contain only permitted items, the bureau is requiring senders to accomplish information sheets that will detail the contents of the shipments. Everything in the box, even secondhand items, must be declared, including their value and quantity. If the box contains new items, the sender must provide the necessary receipts to certify their value.

Faeldon clarified, however, that gifts, groceries and other secondhand items need not to be provided with receipts but must still be declared on the sheet with a corresponding “approximate value.” He cited a used shirt bought for Php500 as an example, which may only have an approximate value of Php100 once shipped.

Senders may download these sheets online or may ask for copies from accredited consolidators or foreign freight movers. The BOC requires senders to prepare three copies of the forms for the consolidator, deconsolidator and the sender.

To check the veracity of the sender’s declared list of items in the balikbayanbox, the BOC said the shipments will undergo X-ray examination under the supervision of a BOC personnel. If ever the bureau finds an item or box “suspect” then it will be opened or “100 percent physically examined.” Once a discrepancy is found, the BOC will “segregate the shipment and will be released upon compliance with existing rules.”

Otherwise, the BOC will assess if the shipment can avail of the CMTA privilege and be shipped accordingly.

Aside from the information sheet and some necessary receipts, the sender must also provide a photocopy of his or her passport to certify citizenship.

5. How much is the processing fee?
There is a processing fee of Php250 that the sender needs to pay to the BOC for each balikbayan box to be sent home. Even a parcel containing items less than the de minimis value of Php10,000 are subject to the processing fee.

Any sender and/or deconsolidator caught violating the rules is liable to fines of up to Php300,000 and even criminal prosecution.


consolidator definition
1. a firm which groups together orders from different companies into one shipment
2. a firm which groups together bookings made by various travel agents so as to get cheaper group fares on normal scheduled flights

deconsolidator definition
 1. a firm which groups together orders from different companies into one shipment
2. a firm which groups together bookings made by various travel agents so as to get cheaper group fares on normal scheduled flights

Friday, July 28, 2017

Parrots BFF beyond in Sickness and in Health bids Goodbye

credit/source: and The Dodo Note: Even I should say goodbye to Lucky Lou,she is in a better place. Their friendship goals Lucky Lou and Coco is one of the most sincerest one I have seen/watched. When I featured this video story of their friendship last May 17, 2017 entitled Parrots BFF beyond in Sickness and in Health. Lucky Lou was still alive but had been diagnosed with Lung cancer. I have also seen their story when Lucky Lou passed away but I do not have the heart yet to post it but now Coco seems to recover from the loss of Lucky Lou and still continue to give joy to everyone maybe I too, should say goodbye.

Actress Angelina Jolie admits she has this condition calls Bell's Palsy

What is Bell's Palsy?

Bell's palsy is a form of temporary facial paralysis resulting from damage or trauma to the facial nerves. The facial nerve-also called the 7th cranial nerve-travels through a narrow, bony canal (called the Fallopian canal) in the skull, beneath the ear, to the muscles on each side of the face. For most of its journey, the nerve is encased in this bony shell.
Each facial nerve directs the muscles on one side of the face, including those that control eye blinking and closing, and facial expressions such as smiling and frowning. Additionally, the facial nerve carries nerve impulses to the lacrimal or tear glands, the saliva glands, and the muscles of a small bone in the middle of the ear called the stapes. The facial nerve also transmits taste sensations from the tongue.
When Bell's palsy occurs, the function of the facial nerve is disrupted, causing an interruption in the messages the brain sends to the facial muscles. This interruption results in facial weakness or paralysis.
Bell's palsy is named for Sir Charles Bell, a 19th century Scottish surgeon who described the facial nerve and its connection to the condition. The disorder, which is not related to stroke, is the most common cause of facial paralysis. Generally, Bell's palsy affects only one of the paired facial nerves and one side of the face, however, in rare cases, it can affect both sides.

What are the symptoms?

Because the facial nerve has so many functions and is so complex, damage to the nerve or a disruption in its function can lead to many problems. Symptoms of Bell's palsy can vary from person to person and range in severity from mild weakness to total paralysis.  These symptoms may include twitching, weakness, or paralysis on one or rarely both sides of the face.  Other symptoms may include drooping of the eyelid and corner of the mouth, drooling, dryness of the eye or mouth, impairment of taste, and excessive tearing in one eye. Most often these symptoms, which usually begin suddenly and reach their peak within 48 hours, lead to significant facial distortion.
Other symptoms may include pain or discomfort around the jaw and behind the ear, ringing in one or both ears, headache, loss of taste, hypersensitivity to sound on the affected side, impaired speech, dizziness, and difficulty eating or drinking.

What causes Bell's Palsy?

Bell's palsy occurs when the nerve that controls the facial muscles is swollen, inflamed, or compressed, resulting in facial weakness or paralysis. Exactly what causes this damage, however, is unknown.
Most scientists believe that a viral infection such as viral meningitis or the common cold sore virus—herpes simplex—causes the disorder. They believe that the facial nerve swells and becomes inflamed in reaction to the infection, causing pressure within the Fallopian canal and leading to ischemia (the restriction of blood and oxygen to the nerve cells).  In some mild cases (where recovery is rapid), there is damage only to the myelin sheath of the nerve.  The myelin sheath is the fatty covering-which acts as an insulator-on nerve fibers in the brain.
The disorder has also been associated with influenza or a flu-like illness, headaches, chronic middle ear infection, high blood pressure, diabetes, sarcoidosis, tumors, Lyme disease, and trauma such as skull fracture or facial injury.

Who gets it?

Bell's palsy afflicts approximately 40,000 Americans each year.  It affects men and women equally and can occur at any age, but it is less common before age 15 or after age 60.  It disproportionately attacks people who have diabetes or upper respiratory ailments such as the flu or a cold.

How is it diagnosed?

A diagnosis of Bell's palsy is made based on clinical presentation -- including a distorted facial appearance and the inability to move muscles on the affected side of the face -- and by ruling out other possible causes of facial paralysis. There is no specific laboratory test to confirm diagnosis of the disorder.
Generally, a physician will examine the individual for upper and lower facial weakness.  In most cases this weakness is limited to one side of the face or occasionally isolated to the forehead, eyelid, or mouth.  A test called electromyography (EMG) can confirm the presence of nerve damage and determine the severity and the extent of nerve involvement.  Blood tests can sometimes be helpful in diagnosing other concurrent problems such as diabetes and certain infections.  A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) scan can eliminate other structural causes of pressure on the facial nerve.

How is it treated?

Bell's palsy affects each individual differently.  Some cases are mild and do not require treatment as the symptoms usually subside on their own within 2 weeks.  For others, treatment may include medications and other therapeutic options.  If an obvious source is found to cause Bell's palsy (e.g., infection), directed treatment can be beneficial.  
Recent studies have shown that steroids such as the steroid prednisone -- used to reduce inflammation and swelling --are effective in treating Bell's palsy.  Other drugs such as acyclovir -- used to fight viral herpes infections -- may also have some benefit in shortening the course of the disease.  Analgesics such as aspirin, acetaminophen, or ibuprofen may relieve pain.  Because of possible drug interactions, individuals taking prescription medicines should always talk to their doctors before taking any over-the-counter drugs.
Another important factor in treatment is eye protection. Bell's palsy can interrupt the eyelid's natural blinking ability, leaving the eye exposed to irritation and drying.  Therefore, keeping the eye moist and protecting the eye from debris and injury, especially at night, is important.  Lubricating eye drops, such as artificial tears or eye ointments or gels, and eye patches are also effective.
Other therapies such as physical therapy, facial massage or acupuncture may provide a potential small improvement in facial nerve function and pain.
In general, decompression surgery for Bell's palsy -- to relieve pressure on the nerve -- is controversial and is seldom recommended.  On rare occasions, cosmetic or reconstructive surgery may be needed to reduce deformities and correct some damage such as an eyelid that will not fully close or a crooked smile.

What is the prognosis?

The prognosis for individuals with Bell's palsy is generally very good.  The extent of nerve damage determines the extent of recovery.  Improvement is gradual and recovery times vary.  With or without treatment, most individuals begin to get better within 2 weeks after the initial onset of symptoms and most recover completely, returning to normal function within 3 to 6 months.  For some, however, the symptoms may last longer.  In a few cases, the symptoms may never completely disappear.  In rare cases, the disorder may recur, either on the same or the opposite side of the face.
Note: When I was in college my father suffered from this condition Bell's Palsy. I can not recall what is his medication if he has any aside from maintenance he takes for hypertension and heart disease. He was advised by his cardiologist to have physical therapy ( physiotherapy) I know it was an added expense for his treatment but he did it for how many sessions and memorized the exercise/routine until he feels he can do it own his own by facing a mirror exercise his facial muscle, So far it has not gotten back thank Heaven up to present. You just need perseverance and patience to do this exercise as much as you can for treatment because it really takes time.
Additional Article for more Information:

Image result for bell's' palsy image
image /symptoms of Bell's Palsy

Some Kinds of Plastic that you can lessen to use Watch

Note: Many more to replace just as you usually use such as Use Eco bags when you go shopping and buy grocery items and in the market. me when I go to the supermarket if it just small and light items I use it w/ Eco bag because I always have it in my bag wherever I go, it is reusable and washable and box for big and heavy items which I can no longer carry because of my back pain.

credit/source: and David Wolfe and

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Rubella or German measles symptoms, treatment and prevention

the rubella rash on a childs back
Public Health Image Library(opens in a new window) (PHIL),
Department of Health and Human Services, Centers
 for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC-USA)

Rubella (German measles) is an infection caused by the rubella virus.

How rubella is spread

Rubella is spread:
  • When an infected person talks, coughs or sneezes small droplets containing infectious agents into the air. The droplets in the air may be breathed in by those nearby.
  • By indirect contact with hands, tissues or other articles soiled by nose and throat discharges.

Signs and symptoms

Rubella infection in a woman in the first 8 to 10 weeks of pregnancy results in death of or damage to the fetus in up to 90% of cases. Multiple defects are common (for example, deafness, blindness, brain and heart damage, and mental handicap) and late complications are being increasingly recognised. The risk lowers to about 10 to 20% if the mother gets rubella at 16 weeks gestation and defects are rare after 20 weeks.
In other people, rubella is a mild disease. Symptoms, when present, may include:
  • fever
  • headache
  • runny nose
  • conjunctivitis (inflammation of the lining of the eyelids and eye)
  • rash (see image)
  • swollen glands (especially at the back of the neck)
  • joint pain.
Symptoms, particularly joint pains, are more severe in adults.
Image courtesy Public Health Image Library (PHIL), Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC-USA)


Rubella is diagnosed by a blood test. Clinical diagnosis based on the appearance of the rash is unreliable.

Incubation period

(time between becoming infected and developing symptoms)
16 to 18 days with a range of 14 to 23 days.

Infectious period

(time during which an infected person can infect others)
Up to 7 days before and at least 4 days after appearance of the rash.


There is no effective antiviral treatment for rubella. Treatment of symptoms includes plenty of fluids and pain relief if required. Paracetamol may be used to reduce fever and pain. Aspirin should not be given to children under 12 years of age unless specifically recommended by a doctor.


Pregnant women

In addition to the above prevention points, all pregnant women:
  • Should be tested for immunity to rubella prior to, or during early pregnancy. If found not to be immune, MMR vaccination is given after delivery of the baby but before discharge from the maternity unit. Rubella vaccine should not be given to a woman known to be pregnant and pregnancy should be avoided for one month after vaccination.
  • With suspected rubella or exposure to rubella should seek specialist obstetric advice, regardless of a history of rubella or rubella vaccination. Rubella re-infection, often without symptoms, can occur in individuals who have had previous infection or vaccination, although fetal damage is very rare in these cases.

Useful links

1 – In South Australia the law requires doctors and laboratories to report some infections or diseases to SA Health. These infections or diseases are commonly referred to as 'notifiable conditions'.
Image - Rubella. Image courtesy of Public Health Image Library(opens in a new window) (PHIL), Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC-USA)

Related article


Rubella cannot be treated with antibiotics because they do not work against viral infections. Unless there are complications, rubella will get better on its own.
Any pregnant woman who has been exposed to rubella should contact her obstetrician immediately.
Rubella usually is mild in kids, who often can be cared for at home. Monitor your child's temperature and call the doctor if the feverclimbs too high.
To ease minor discomfort, you can give your child acetaminophenor ibuprofenRemember, you should never give aspirin to a child who has a viral illness, as its use in such cases has been associated with the development of Reye syndrome.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Mumps on Symptoms, causes, prevention and treatment


Mumps is an extremely contagious viral infection of the salivary glands that most commonly affects children. The most obvious symptom is swelling of the salivary glands, giving the patient a "hamster-like" face.
The affected salivary glands are called the parotid glands; sometimes, the mumps virus can also cause inflammation of the testis, ovary, pancreas, or meninges (membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord).
Once someone has had mumps, they usually become immune to future infections.
To reduce the spread of mumps, the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine is often given at an early age to build immunity to the virus. Since the MMR vaccination was brought in, there has been a 99 percent decrease in mumps cases in the United States.
Fast facts on mumps
Here are some key points about mumps. More detail and supporting information is in the main article.
  • Mumps is extremely contagious.
  • Around 20 percent of people with the mumps virus show no symptoms.
  • The MMR vaccine is incredibly safe.
  • There is no antiviral treatment for mumps; only the symptoms can be treated.

Symptoms of mumps

The symptoms of mumps normally appear 2-3 weeks after the patient has been infected. However, almost 20 percent of people with the virus do not suffer any symptoms at all.

Initially, flu-like symptoms will appear, such as:
Over the next few days, the classic symptoms of mumps will develop. The main symptom is painful and swollen parotid glands, one of three sets of salivary glands; this causes the person's cheeks to puff out. The swelling normally does not occur in one go - it happens in waves.
Other associated symptoms can include:
  • Pain in the sides of the face where it is swollen.
  • Pain experienced when swallowing.
  • Trouble swallowing.
  • Fever (up to 103 degrees Fahrenheit).
  • dry mouth.
  • Pain in joints.
Rarely, adults can contract mumps. In these cases, the symptoms are generally the same, but sometimes slightly worse and complications are slightly more likely.
Causes of mumps
Mumps is due to an infection by the mumps virus. It can be transmitted by respiratory secretions (e.g. saliva) from a person already affected with the condition. When contracting mumps, the virus travels from the respiratory tract to the salivary glands and reproduces, causing the glands to swell.
Examples of how mumps can be spread include:
Sneezing or coughing.
Using the same cutlery and plates as an infected person.
Sharing food and drink with someone who is infected.
An infected person touching their nose or mouth and then passing it onto a surface that someone else may touch.

Individuals infected with the mumps virus are contagious for approximately 15 days (6 days before the symptoms start to show, and up to 9 days after they start). The mumps virus is part of the paramyxovirus family, a common cause of infection, especially in children.

Treatment for mumps.

Because mumps is viral, antibiotics cannot be used to treat it, and at present, there are no anti-viral medications that can treat mumps.

Current treatment can only help relieve the symptoms until the infection has run its course and the body has built up an immunity, much like a cold. In most cases, people recover from mumps within 2 weeks.
Some steps can be taken to help relieve the symptoms of mumps:
  • Consume plenty of fluids, ideally water - avoid fruit juices as they stimulate the production of saliva, which can be painful.
  • Place something cold on the swollen area to alleviate the pain.
  • Eat mushy or liquid food as chewing might be painful.
  • Get sufficient rest and sleep.
  • Gargle warm salt water.
  • Take painkillers, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
FYI Drinking plenty of fluids may help to relieve the symptoms of mumps.

Complications of mumps
Complications are more frequent in adults than children, the most common are:
  • Orchitis - testicles swell and become painful, this happens to 1 in 5 adult males with mumps. The swelling normally goes down within 1 week; tenderness can last longer than that. This rarely results in infertility.
  • Oophoritis - ovaries swell and are painful; it occurs in 1 in 20 adult females. The swelling will subside as the immune system fights off the virus. This rarely results in infertility.
  • Viral meningitis - this is one of the rarest of the common complications. It happens when the virus spreads through the bloodstream and infects the body's central nervous system (brain and spinal cord).
  • Inflamed pancreas (pancreatitis) - pain will be experienced in the upper abdomen; this occurs in 1 out of 20 cases and is usually mild.
If a pregnant woman contracts mumps in the first 12-16 weeks of her pregnancy, she will have a slightly increased risk of miscarriage.
Rarer complications of mumps include:
  • Encephalitis - the brain swells causing neurological issues. In some cases, this can be fatal. This is a very rare risk factor and affects just 1 in 6,000 cases.
  • Hearing loss - this is the rarest of all the complications affecting just 1 in 15,000.
As rare as some of these complications are, it is important to seek medical advice or help if an individual suspects they or their child, may be developing them.

Tests and diagnosis of mumps

Normally, mumps can be diagnosed by its symptoms alone, especially by examining the facial swelling. A doctor might also:
  • Check inside the mouth to see the position of the tonsils - when infected with mumps, a person's tonsils can get pushed to the side.
  • Take the patient's temperature.
  • Take a sample of blood, urine, or saliva to confirm diagnosis.
  • Take a sample of CSF (cerebrospinal fluid) from the spine for testing - this is usually only in severe cases.

Prevention of mumps.

The mumps vaccine is the best method for preventing mumps; it can come on its own or as part of the MMR vaccine. The MMR vaccine also defends the body against rubella and measles.
The MMR vaccine is given to an infant when they are just over 1 year old and again, as a booster, just before they start school.
Anyone born after the 1990s would most probably have been given the MMR vaccine but, if unsure, it is always good to check with a doctor.
The mumps vaccine is routinely given to children in 82 countries. In many of these countries, encephalitis and deafness related to mumps have nearly disappeared.
An adult can be given the MMR at any age; a doctor may advise someone to take the vaccine before traveling abroad to certain regions, including:
  • India
  • Some parts of Africa
  • Southeast Asia
  • Japan
  • Pakistan
Other reasons someone may be advised to have the MMR vaccine in adulthood is if they are:
  • Working in healthcare e.g. hospital or medical facility.
  • Working or attending somewhere with lots of young people, such as a college.
  • Working in a school or around lots of children.
If suffering from cancer or a disease that lowers the immune system, a doctor would need to be consulted before the MMR vaccine is considered.
However, individuals are not advised to have the MMR vaccine if:
  • The patient's immune system is seriously compromised.
  • The patient has had an allergic reaction to neomycin (a type of antibiotic) or gelatin.
  • The patient is pregnant or soon to be pregnant (in the next 4 weeks).

MMR vaccine side effects

Most people given the MMR vaccine do not suffer side effects, and the disease itself cannot be contracted from the vaccine. A small percentage might develop a rash or fever and possibly aches in their joints.
Less than one in a million will suffer a severe allergic reaction from the MMR vaccine.

Preventing the spread of mumps

There are a number of precautions that help prevent the spread of infection; these are:

  • Washing hands with water and soap frequently.
  • Not going into work/school until 5 days after the symptoms start.
  • Covering the nose and mouth with a tissue when sneezing or coughing.
Reviewed by University of Illinois-Chicago, School of Medicine


Note: All information are credited to the original writer's source and references.