19 January 2009

Natural Remedy for Insomnia

Nhil / Call Center Gal posted this question:

"I got a question for you. Is there a herbal/ alternative medicine that you can recommend to someone who has insommia?"


Dear Nhil,

Insomnia may be caused by many factors such as stress, hormonal imbalance, habit, etc.

I wouldn't go and state flat out that there is a single cure for your ailment, but I can offer a few suggestions to improve your condition without the aid of drugs:

1. Try and sleep earlier than usual. For some reason, this works for me. I get sleepy early in the evening but tend to brush it aside, being too early. This, for me, brings on a point-of-no-return, where I simply find it hard to fall asleep past a later time. During the times that I did give in to the lure to retire early, I found those to be the most restful and most rejuvenating of sleeps I have had.

2. Take something warm, rather than cold before sleeping. Warm calamansi juice, for example, helps. Chamomile tea, if you can find some, is best.

3. Try not to snack too late in the night. They tend to keep you awake after.

4. Try meditation. Lie down, keep your mind blank of all thoughts, focus on your breathing, give in your entire body to gravity, and you're there...

5. Exercise. Try swimming or biking in the early afternoon, for instance, and keep at it for at least an hour, no matter how leisurely your workout.

6. Try acupuncture. Believe me, no matter what the therapy is for, that night's rest is usually one of the most restful. My friendly neighborhood acupunturist is one of the most reasonably priced. Email me if you're interested, and I can send you contact details.

7. Try the Wet socks therapy. It is not clear to me why this helps in sleeping disorders, but many have claimed that it promotes restful sleep. All you have to do is take some cotton socks, wet them thoroughly, wring them well and place in the freezer for 10 minutes. During these 10 minutes, get yourself a hot foot soak. Immediately after the soak, wear the cotton socks from the freezer and wear another layer of nylon or wool socks over that. Go straight to bed. Do not remove until the following morning. As the body tries hard to warm the feet and dry the socks, it is said to aid in blood circulation. I guess that means you'll sleep quicker and better.

Then, of course, if all of the above fails, try Melatonin. You can get this at either Healthy Options or your neighborhood purveyor of natural remedies. It can be quite expensive, but it is the most natural sleep aid available. The human body actually produces melatonin to aid in the sleep process. You may simply want to augment the body's supply. Again, with all medicine, this included, they may pose unique risks to the person. Take at your own risk.

I hope you finally get the sleep you deserve!

In the Light,

Ang Kuwago

18 January 2009

An Indian in the Philippines

Dear Angkuwago,

Pleasant greetings to you and your family! I was hoping you would be able to help me manage with my stay in the Philippines. You see, I will be travelling again from India to the Philippines soon. The last time I visited your country, I subsisted only on rice from your fastfood and packed food/pickles I had taken with me for the trip. I am vegetarian as yourself, and could not find much options. Most of my colleagues had no idea how to help me. Wherever I was taken, during the few times we attempted to be adventurous, I could not determine which were vegetarian and which were not. Having visited my country, and understanding our culture, I believe you would appreciate my predicament fully.

I will be staying in Makati and my hotel room will have cooking facilities.

Respectfully yours,



Dear Santosh,

I am sorry you had to make do with the measly meals you had. I fully empathize with you. I frequently struggle with the same predicament, even in my own country. It is not typical for Filipinos to know where to take a guest to a vegetarian meal. In fact, many have twisted notions of what a vegetarian is. Believe it or not, in the Philippines, and this is based on experience, most people think that vegetarians eat seafood.

Do not take anything with "bagoong" or "patis", as these contain seafood. The sweets are usually safe, mostly made from rice, flour or coconut.

Of course, the easiest way to go about it is to visit the nearest grocery --even the local ministop or 7-11 -- and pick up some steamed rice and a few cans of "moondish" laing/ginataan (there are several variants), garbanzos (chickpeas), noodles or baked beans. Just make sure to read the labels/ingredients. Then, of course, there are the more 'elegant' options...

Around Makati, there are a few places to go for a sumptous vegetarian meal or to purchase a few stocks for cooking in your hotel room. Without straying too far off your operating zone, here are a few suggestions:

1. Bodhi

There is a vegetarian fastfood outlet located at the food court of SM within the Glorietta complex. It is located at the basement, tucked neatly among dozens of other food stalls. I wouldn't recommend you try any other stall there, except for the ones that sell fresh fruit juices/shakes. Almost everything else sold there probably has some sort of meat in it.

Bodhi's food contains no garlic or onions, so if you are a vaishnava, then this would be perfect for you. Most of their fare are made of mock meat versions of common dishes found in the Philippines which would otherwise would have been prepared with meat. A perfect way to get a glimpse into our country's staple dishes.

2. New Bombay Canteen

Located at the Saggitarius Bldg. along Dela Costa St. in Salcedo Village is a quaint Indian canteen, whose roots can be traced to the former Shoppersville(?) complex along Buendia, where a Citiland Condo now stands. I used to frequent the old canteen, which reminds me so much of typical eateries in India, ever since my Indian partners first took me there years ago. I have become friends with the owner, Minaxi, who still does some of the cooking. Among all the Indian places around, I would highly recommend this. Although they serve both veg and non-veg, I have grown very comfortable with this place. But do let them know if you prefer the meals prepared without onions or garlic.

New Bombay also has branches at the Columns and at the Food Choices of Glorietta 4, although the latter may have limited options. I do not see Meenaxi

3. Queens

Another Indian restaurant located along Jupiter St. They serve Thalis daily, which I found to be very reasonable priced and authentic. I would highly recommend this place. I have grown fond of this place as well.

4. Kashmir

Located along Pasay Road. I have not been there in a long time, but remember being impressed with their food. Might as well give it a try.

5. Veggie Boutique

This is the place I go to when I need my frozen vegetarian goods and other veg cooking ingredients. It is convenient in that I find many of the items I would usually need to source from so many different places, all under one roof. They are located at 532 Camia St., Palm Village -- a stone's throw away from Rockwell. It is a home-based operation, so you may want to call before visiting (+63.2.896.1215).

6. Taj Grocery

I often visit Taj to get my Indian ingredients, incense and some cooked Samosas which I freeze until craved for. You can find most of the spices, pickles, chutneys, dahl, papad, noodles, besan, mixes, paneer, basmati rice and whole-wheat flour you'll need here. I also get my life-saving pudin hara and other meds here. They are located along Bagtikan St., near the corner of Pasong Tamo.

7. Assad Mart

Although I have never been to their Jupiter branch, I am a patron of their UN Ave. branch. If their Makati branch is anything like it, it should be well-stocked and cheaper than other places.

8. Chimara Neo-Vegan Cafe

At the Greenbelt cinema floor, you will find Chimara at the far end corner. They mostly serve meals wrapped in pita bread, which does not appeal too much to me, but enjoyed by most people I take there. Not all their options are vegetarian, mind you. Read the menu carefully. Try their tofu chips, popcorn and soy ice cream, if you chance upon it being available.

So there you have it, my list of recommended places to visit when you arrive in Manila. These are my personal favorites, and considering your requirements, I think you would appreciate too. Of course there are other middle eastern/Indian restaurants such as Bollywood (Greenbelt 3), Prince of Jaipur (The Fort/Shell McKinley/etc.), Hossiens (The Fort), Cafe Med (Greenbelt I), Swagat (Rada St., Legaspi Village), Tandoor Spices (Kamagong Ave., San Antonio Village), and probably other places to get vegetarian grocery items (Healthy Options, Rustans Grocery) -- but which I have unfortunately not been to in quite some time, or even not know of. I therefore cannot make a reliable recommendation to you on that note. You may, of course, want to seek and try them out if you wish.

Also, prices of groceries are much more expensive than what you are used to, so be prepared for the price difference. Indian goods are in less demand here than they are in India, naturally.

You can also explore some of the other places around Makati. Just make sure you communicate your dietary concerns with the chef or manager, if possible. Usually, Japanese, Italian or Korean restaurants would be your best bets.

With this, I hope your stay in the Philippines this time around will be better than the last.

In the Light,


11 January 2009

Getting to KL Sentral and Singapore

Dear Kuwago,

[]........how do I get to KL from the LCC? I heard it is still very far....and how best do I get to Singapore from Kuala Lumpur?......[]


note: I simply pulled the actual question off the original email, since there are details which are quite personal - Kuwago


Dear Marie,

You are right, KL proper is still quite a distance from the airport. From KLIA (Kuala Lumpur International Airport), there is a train called the KL Ekspres which can take you directly to KL Sentral.
KL Sentral is where you want to go. Although it is not exactly smack downtown, it can be considered as their main transport hub, and you can readily go anywhere from there. However, since you will be arriving via their LCCT or Low Cost Carrier Terminal, which is yet another terminal apart from KLIA, I suggest you take the bus instead. It is a lot cheaper (RM9) as compared to the train (RM35) or even the taxi which can reach as much as RM100. The buses are stationed just outside the terminal, to your left as you exit the building. Choose a nice bus since not all the buses are well maintained. If you really want to try the KL Ekspres, you can take a bus (RM1) to the KLIA and board from there, although that would set you back at least another 15 minutes. The trip via bus from the LCCT to KL Ekspres is around an hour, while the train takes a little less than 30 minutes. You, however, run the risk of delays in boarding a bus to KLIA, then you have to walk to the train terminal, then wait for a train to arrive/leave. I have always found the red Air Asia buses from LCCT quite comfortable, practical, efficient and very affordable.
However, if you have the time, do try the train. It is quite an experience.

As for your trip to Singapore, there are many choices: Bus, Train or Plane.
I have never tried the train, but I do know that it leaves from KL Sentral and that there are options for day and night trips. I was told the train coaches have sleepers on the night trips, which are quite comfortable and are a practical option to another stationary night's stay in KL. You can leave at around 9PM and arrive in Singapore after a decent night's sleep at around 6AM. Friends who have tried it swear by it.
If you are commencing your trip from KL proper, consider the distance back to the airport if you intend to take the plane. Although the plane ride lasts less than an hour, it will take you at least an hour to travel to the airport and yet a few more hours before your plane leaves.
My choice has always been the bus, Aeroline to be precise. They have double decker buses which leave from strategic locations across KL, and believe it or not, their prices are similar to a taxi ride from KL Sentral to LCCT!
What I do appreciate are the meals, comfortable seats and most especially the on-board restrooms. There are only 3 rows on the upper deck, which offers a lot of leg and elbow room. On the lower deck, there is a lounge that can seat several people. If you're the friendly, chatty type, come on down to the lower deck to meet new friends. If you want to rest and take a nap, the upper deck is for you. The trip is an easy 5 hour journey, inclusive of a brief pit stop somewhere along the highway.
I have tried other bus companies, but I think I like Aeroline the most. Their terminals are strategic (I usually board at the Corus Hotel Terminal, where there is a lounge at the hotel lobby for passengers), buses are well maintained, drivers are professional and staff are courteous. I always feel safe and secure with them. At the Singapore end, you get off next to Vivo City Mall. Grand.
Before you leave KL, make sure you have all your travel documents ready. You will need them at the border.

I hope this helps. For more information, visit the following sites:

For the LCCT website - http://www.klia.com.my/LCCTerminal/

For the Aeroline website - http://www.aeroline.com.my/

For the KTMB (Train) website - http://www.ktmb.com.my/

For the KL Sentral website - http://www.klsentral.com.my/

In the Light,

Ang Kuwago

06 January 2009

Remedy for Dengue

Dear Kuwago,

I have not come across that information regarding the Mahogany tree. It is interesting. What about Dengue, is there a natural cure for that? They say it is not curable.

Ms. Quito


Dear Ms. Quito,

When I realized that your chosen pseudonym actually alluded to the topic, I was in stitches. :-D

Well, you are correct, Doctors will actually tell you that there is no pharmacological cure for Dengue. In laymans terms: no commercially-available medicine has ever been proven to cure dengue, that is. But that doesn't mean it cannot be treated.

Ancient cultures have known for centuries that illnesses are best treated not by addressing the symptoms alone, but that the individual in his/her entirety be the subject of the intervention. That means that you simply do not bandage a wound, but make the body capable of healing itself properly. Some will heal faster than others, and that is simply due to their unique makeup.

In the case of Dengue, there are those who are bitten by the carrier and do not display symptoms, and yet there are those who are infected and fall ill. Then, there are those who recover after a few days, and those who require transfusion due to hemorrhage, and worse, even expire.

I have come across two plants, both available in the Philippines, that are claimed to help the dengue-stricken recover. These are the Tawa-tawa plant (Euphorbia Hirta) and the common Papaya (Carica Papaya L.).

Let's start with the Tawa-tawa. This is a common weed found abundantly around the country mostly in open spaces. You most probably have seen it, but didn't know what it was. There have been many recoveries associated with the use of this plant, and even government doctors have acknowledged their efficacy as a treatment. It is a remedy that local healers or 'herbularyos' know well of. The decoction: Uproot around 15-20 plants. Boil the equivalent of 8 glasses of water separately for 5 minutes. Lessen heat. Drop the plants, roots included in the boiling water. Keep it on a slow, rolling boil for just another minute. Have the patient take in no other liquid except this for the next 24 hours.

It is easy to underestimate the lowly weed, isn't it? And to think it has the power to cure such a formidable ailment.

For the Papaya: Take two leaves from the mature tree. Remove the actual leafy part from the stalk. Discard the stalk and remove any remaining sap from the leaves. Take these green leafy portions and grind/crush them. Wring them using cheesecloth (a clean one!) and have the patient ingest the raw liquid that you are able to squeeze from them. Do this just once a day on an empty stomach.

Most report results in just as little as 24 hours, even for advanced cases of hemorrhage.

Isn't it remarkable how Heaven has blessed this country with drugs so easily accessible and for free!

These plants seem to boost the body's immune system, which is essentially what is needed to protect the body from illness and recover from it. In bouts with Dengue, the indicator of recovery would be the platelet count and the WBC. Improvements in these indicators were noted with the use of both plants.

We have also heard that Talbos ng Kamote is another effective cure, but I have yet to confirm these claims. I have not heard of as much successes as compared to those who have tried Tawa-tawa and Papaya.

A few more guidelines to help the patient recover better, from this or any other illness, is to remember the following:
  • It is best to purge the system with an enema at the onset to help aid the body's natural healing capabilities;
  • Do not eat more than is required. It is actually better to fast at this time. Take your queue from your body;
  • Have plenty of rest;
  • Take in plenty of fluids such as water (not distilled) and natural fruit juices;
  • Eliminate causes of un-natural noise (such as construction, cars, exhaust pipes, chatter, etc.) from the surroundings;
  • Try to take in sunlight during the early and late parts of the day;
  • Keep the temperature warm to comfortable, not cold and chilly;
  • Massage the extremities gently (hands, feet and scalp) at least once a day, to aid blood circulation;
  • Meditate deliberately twice a day for just a few short minutes to clear your mind of useless clutter and reinforce the healing process;
  • If possible, take in fresh air as often as you can;

Sickness and healing is part of the natural cycle of life. They build immunities and make for you a better body. Just weather it out, and you will emerge from it a better person.

I am sorry I have no pictures, I am sure you can find some on Google, but If you need more information, or sources of the Tawa-tawa plant, email me privately.

Again, a disclaimer: We do not really know how effective these cures are or if there are any side-effects. Results could possibly be entirely circumstancial and more research is required to reach a definitive conclusion. Try these at your own risk.

But heck, for me, and me alone, I would go for these natural cures any day!

In the Light,

Ang Kuwago

04 January 2009

A New Year, A New Direction

Dear Readers,

While it has always been my fervent wish to help other people find their center and uplift their spirituality -- with the goal of building a better world for all of us -- I feel that simply writing about my observations and passively sharing about my insights fall short of meeting these aims. As such, I have decided to steer this blog in a new direction; A path that I feel will better help those who need our guidance the most (Yes, we will be inviting sages and gurus to share their wisdom from time-to-time, and they will be introduced in due time). Starting now, this will not just be a common, run-of-the-mill blog, I will now accept questions, and I will endeavor to answer them to the best of my abilities.

The questions you may send should fall within my/our competency, namely: Vegetarian food/cooking, Farming, Gardening, Education, Natural Healing, Music/Drumming, Art, Sustainable Lifestyle, Spirituality, Parenting & Homeschooling. Topics of general interest are welcome. Feel free to send in your most nagging dilemmas.

Please email all questions to: angkuwago[at]gmail[dot]com

There are some rules which I need to lay down, and I do ask that everyone be guided by these simple guidelines:
  1. We will treat all communication with utmost confidence. Please use a pseudonym, otherwise we will supply one if and when we post your question publicly.

  2. Please limit your questions to those within the competencies indicated above. We may also entertain questions related to marketing, business, systems troubleshooting and ISO-related topics, but these will be posted in the proper venue at quago[dot]wordpress[dot]com. If the questions are personal in nature, please indicate whether you prefer a private reply instead. Otherwise, they may be posted publicly;

  3. We reserve the right to answer certain questions only, particularly those of specific interest. Although we will try to answer all relevant questions, there may be those that are just "out of sync". Sorry;

  4. We reserve the right to moderate comments in the spirit of maintaining harmony. Sorry again. But feel free to post your comments, especially if they add a new complementary flavor to the topic-at-hand. Although we respect all religions and points-of-view, I cannot possibly allow the thread to progress to the point of chaos, as we see so often;

  5. No questions lewd, violent or pornographic in nature;

I have decided to employ this new method for this blog since it will help keep me on my toes, considering that I constantly wrestle to find time to blog in between handling the dozens of clients that rely on my services for their businesses.

And also, a disclaimer. We take no responsibility for any outcomes that may result from any recommendations we will make in this blog. Every individual possesses their own free will, and what they make or do out of our posts is entirely their decision. This blog represents the unique point of view of this blogger and his friends, and nothing more.

Please take note that these rules may change. We will edit as deemed fit.

Do expect some "normal' blog entries from time to time, but this Q&A format will be the general direction we will be moving towards.

More Light in the New Year for us all.

Ang Kuwago


And now for the first question of this blog, as asked personally by a relative during a recent family outing. We were taking a stroll out at this huge garden in Tagaytay, when he started asking me about the natural healing properties of the various trees and plants we saw. I thought I would share my reply to his question on the healing properties of one of the most common trees around us, and think you may likewise find this interesting:

Ang Kuwago,

What about this tree (Mahogany), what does it cure?



Dear Bembol,

Although the Mahogany tree is more commonly used as timber material for furniture-making, owing to the beautiful yellowish hue of its wood, I recently learned of an ailment that is treated by ingesting its fruit: Diabetes.

I learned of this during a trip to Malaysia, where a friend ordered a bag-full of Mahogany fruits. There, they are known as "Sky Fruit". The fruit of the Mahogany typically splits into many seeds when mature, and these commonly fall to the ground.

In my haste to see how it tasted, as I was excited for these abound in the Philippines, I immediately skinned the rind off and popped a single seed into my mouth, just as my friend quickly barked off the instruction NOT to bite into it. Too late.

It was the nastiest, most bitter thing I have ever tasted in my life. Ever. No wonder I was asked to swallow immediately. One seed a day, so they say, to treat diabetes.

In fact, it is somewhat of a cure-all in Malaysia, used to treat impotence, heart disease, alzheimers, skin disease, high cholesterol, stomach problems, poor blood circulation, etc. Containing flavonoids, saponins, essentially fatty acids, minerals, vitamins and anzymes, it is now being processed into tonics & juices which promise cures for many ailments.

In the Philippines, it grows in abundance. We even have a few at home.

An opportunity, maybe?

In the Light,

Ang Kuwago

[photo courtesy of http://fusion.sas.upenn.edu/caterpillar]