5 Small Plants for a Tiny House Bathroom in the Philippines

Early in 2020, Francis and I took a five-hour from Nueva Ecija to San Felipe, Zambales to check our chosen venue for our wedding that November. Sadly, that didn’t push through because of the pandemic. But we still took home several design ideas from that Liwliwa resort that we are now incorporating in the tiny house we are building for our little family.

My personal favorite are the plants lining up the bathroom window in their Abaca Rooms. I love the idea so much that an open-air, free-flowing window is one of my few special requests for our bathroom. Just like in that resort, I am planning to line it with small plants and they are going to look amazing.

But what plants should I have in our small bathroom? Here are some of my options and why I am likely choosing them.

  1. How to Choose a Plant for Your Tiny House Bathroom
  2. 5 Best Small Plants for a Tiny Bathroom
    1. Golden Pothos
    2. Snake Plant
    3. Lucky Bamboo
    4. Spider Plant
    5. Aloe Vera
  3. How I Plan to Take Care of Plants in the Bathroom

How to Choose a Plant for Your Tiny House Bathroom

According to The Spruce, there are three considerations when choosing a plant for your bathroom: low light, high humidity, and temperature swings.

The good thing is, the plants in this list are already thriving where I am and have been tried and tested to withstand the conditions of Filipino family bathrooms. By ordinary I mean most of us do not have hot and cold options in our showers. The weather here in the Philippines is fairly constant – just humid almost all of the time – so I am pretty confident that these are good options for our tiny house bathroom.

5 Best Small Plants for a Tiny Bathroom

Here are 5 of the best plants that will thrive in a highly humid environment like the bathroom, are readily available in the Philippines, and are known as natural air-purifiers:

Golden Pothos

Mom’s Golden Pothos

The golden pothos is a beautiful trailing vine that thrives in low to bright indirect sunlight. I remember the an office I went to at the height of the pandemic. There were lots of golden pothos in their bathroom and it looked fantastic.

The golden pothos is known to filter gaseous toxins from the air so I think it will be great as a hanging plant for our outdoor kitchen as well.

Snake Plant

Almost every Filipino home in the provinces has a snake plant, so it was amusing for us when plant shops started selling them for thousands of pesos at the height of the pandemic. Anyway, snake plants deserve the love because they are beginner-friendly, can live in high humidity places, and tolerate low to bright sunlight. They are known to be almost impossible to kill.

For our small bathroom, I am looking for the dwarf variety.

Lucky Bamboo

Lucky bamboo plant
Lucky Bamboo Plant (Source: Elton Sipp on Unsplash)

The lucky bamboo is known to thrive in places with low light and has the reputation of being nearly indestructible, so it looks like a good option for this anesthesia-brain mama. The only drawback is it is sensitive to the chlorine in tap water, but we are getting water purifiers for our sinks anyway.

Now, I’m not Chinese and I’m not really into feng shui ANYMORE but if the lucky bamboo will bring good fortune in our bathroom, I say, why not?

Spider Plant

Spider plant
The Spider Plan at the Office Grounds that I AM NOT going to Steal

Spider plants are reportedly highly air-purifying so they are perfect for the bathroom. They also do not appreciate direct bright sunlight.

The spider plant is one of those plants I don’t normally consider particularly special because I see it everywhere. And by everywhere I mean in all schools here in our city. (Francis and I work for the Department of Education.) So I’m pretty sure I can find one in no time. In fact I see one from my office window. Now I just have to convince our gardener to give me one.

Aloe Vera

With all this plant talk, you would think that I have green thumb. But this mama is all purple, baby! Believe me, I tried, but I do not have the gift (or the discipline) to look after them. But even for me, aloe vera is a no-brainer since it doesn’t require a lot of tender loving care. This low-maintenance succulent is also used for sunburn, dry skin, and hair growth so it’s wise to have them at an arm’s reach.

How I Plan to Take Care of Plants in the Bathroom

The Future Home of the Small Plants

We all know that the primary requirement for plants to live is sunlight. As you can see in the photo above, our plants are not going to get a lot of direct sunlight at the bathroom window. I plan to take them out once in a while so they can adequately photosynthesize.

Here are some other reminders for taking care of bathroom plants:

  • Water them with filtered or distilled water.
  • Choose a planter with holes to drain excess water.
  • Do not place them on the floor.

I consider myself lucky to be in the same compound with in laws who know everything about plants. I’m sure I can count of them to help this purple thumb with looking after these beautiful plants.

How about you? Do you put plants in your bathroom, too? What plants do you find suitable for your bathroom and how do you take care of them?

Until next time!

Love lots,

Reading in Infancy Boosts Literacy – Study

If you are still looking for a sign to start reading books to your child, this is it.

According to Carolyn Cates, PhD, lead author of the study that involved 250 pairs of mothers and their babies, findings suggest that reading to children as early as infancy gives a boost on their language, literacy and early reading skills.

“What they’re learning when you read with them as infants,” Cates said, “still has an effect four years later when they’re about to begin elementary school.”

This is the finding of “Early Reading Matters: Longterm Impacts of Shared Bookreading with Infants and Toddlers on Language and Literacy Outcomes,” which was presented at the Moscone West Convention Center in San Francisco last May 8.

This is indeed exciting news for us reading advocates slash new moms. My 10-month-old has just recently started to be interested in actually flipping pages (not just drooling on them). I have already bought a few books for our personal collection, and I have more in the school library. This gives me further motivation to try and engage her in reading, even if she just wants to tear off the paper for now.

How about you, mom? Do your kids love reading? How did you make them love to read? Share it in the comments below!

Happy National Children’s Book Month!


Thanks to Natasha Hall @ideanaire for making this photo available freely on Unsplash 🎁 https://unsplash.com/photos/9rBmRhysF9Y

Are Adarna’s Books on Martial Law “Radicalizing” Children Against the Government?

“Not good.”

I am not the type to pay attention to foreigners making content about the Philippines. (You: Oooohhh… a “I’m not like other girls” type.) But when Neil Gaiman captioned his retweet of Rappler’s news on the red-tagging of Adarna House’s sale of its books on Martial Law by sitting government officials, I was alarmed.

Adarna House was accused by Alex Paul Monteagudo of the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency, of “subtly” radicalizing children against the government. Lorraine Badoy of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict called the publishing company “demonyo” for allegedly “planting hate and lies” in the hearts of its young readers.

I promised my husband that I will refrain from writing about Philippine politics in this blog. But as a librarian and a reading advocate, whose love for books was influenced by Adarna House, I take offense.

The bundle consists of five illustrated storybooks that tell about Martial Law in the Philippines. Here are brief summaries of the books:

ITO ANG DIKTADURA

Idea at titik: Equipo Plantel; Guhit: Mikel Casal

A translation from Spanish, “Ito ang Diktadura” is a non-fiction illustrated book written during the times when many countries in the world are under dictatorship. It describes the general environment under these autocratic regimes and shows Ferdinand E. Marcos among other dictators.

SI JHUN-JHUN, NOONG BAGO IDEKLARA ANG BATAS MILITAR

Kuwento ni Augie Rivera; Guhit ni Brian Vallesteros

“Si Jhun-Jhun” is one of the five books that tell about different important periods in Philippine history, created in collaboration with UNICEF. It is a coming-of-age story of a boy whose family was torn apart by human rights violations.

EDSA

Kuwento ni Russell Molina; Guhit ni Sergio Bumatay III

How can a counting book ever radicalize its reader against the government? Because this just a picture book with a few words. The words are terms and phrases popularized by the People Power Revolution of 1986.

THE MAGIC ARROW

Story by Bolet Banal; Illustrations by Korinna Banal

“The Magic Arrow” is a beautifully illustrated magical story of a king who repressed his kingdom and got defeated by one man’s bravery.

ISANG HARDING PAPEL

Kuwento ni Augie Rivera; Guhit ni Rommel Joson

A personal favorite, “Isang Harding Papel” is a story of a child whose mother is a political detainee. It shows how a mother’s love can grow hope and happiness in the midst of darkness.

I am adding this short comic book although not included in the original bundle:

12:01

Russell Molina and Kajo Baldisimo

“12:01” is the story of a local band who experienced the horrors of Martial Law on a night they accidentally violated the curfew.


How are these books radicalizing children against the government? Is the Philippines:

  • in a dictatorship
  • in an abusive dictatorship
  • going to be in an abusive dictatorship

again? If not, why should the government be offended? Why should the government be afraid?

Perhaps NICA and NTF-ELCAC should listen to Imelda Marcos:

Perception is real; the truth is not.

xXx

Buttttt I digress. Instead, let us read this beautiful poem by Alberto Ríos in 2017:

DON’T GO INTO THE LIBRARY

The library is dangerous—
Don’t go in. If you do

You know what will happen.
It’s like a pet store or a bakery—

Every single time you’ll come out of there
Holding something in your arms.

Those novels with their big eyes.
And those no-nonsense, all muscle

Greyhounds and Dobermans,
All non-fiction and business,

Cuddly when they’re young,
But then the first page is turned.

The doughnut scent of it all, knowledge,
The aroma of coffee being made

In all those books, something for everyone,
The deli offerings of civilization itself.

The library is the book of books,
Its concrete and wood and glass covers

Keeping within them the very big,
Very long story of everything.

The library is dangerous, full
Of answers. If you go inside,

You may not come out
The same person who went in.

9 Ways Quitting Facebook Made Me a Better Mom

Hi, friend! Welcome and welcome back to the blog.

I deactivated on Facebook in mid-May. This was neither a quasi-experiment on how I will fare without something that has been a part of my life since 2009 nor a social media “fast”. This was simply an attempt to limit my exposure to triggering events.

You would think losing a platform that holds 13 years worth of memories and connections is going to be hard, but I have been deactivating my account every so often for an array of reasons. Deactivating and deleting are easy. The hard part is finally seeing how much control Facebook has on me… and that I allowed it.

That Facebook is harmful is not a novel idea. Numerous studies have demonstrated how the platform – and most social media with a similar design – is affecting its users wellbeing. Granted, some people can use social media in a healthy and productive matter. I am not one of them. I have a ton of mental health issues that are caused, influenced, and exacerbated by an addiction to social media.

Being a new mom is already difficult, and social media was not helping. With consistent exposure to people I compare myself to and to people who bring out the worst me, I became increasingly angry, discontented, and generally unhappy. I am not the mom that my child deserves.

So I quit Facebook for good. These are what I noticed happened:

I hate my body less.

I am one of the women whose body got destroyed by pregnancy. At ten months postpartum, I am ten kilograms above my pre-pregnancy weight. I found I got jealous of other moms who easily bounced back, moms who glowed, and moms who had time to take care of themselves. I also compared myself to my own pictures from my size 2 days that kept popping on my memories. I already have had body dysmorphia for many years now, and passively getting exposed to familiar people who were able to get fit increased my self-loathing.

Leaving Facebook did not magically make me lose weight or cure my body image issues. I am still 10 kilograms above the weight I’m comfortable in. But not getting exposed to people that I can compare myself to, I found that I am starting to get bothered less about my weight. I am still casually trying to shed some pounds, but I am not on a race with anyone anymore.

I became at peace with my milk supply.

Breastfeeding and pumping groups are a treasure trove for first time moms. But they can also be an abyss for those with insecurities, as you are consistently exposed to other moms’ “successes”. These groups are filled with inspiration and valuable information on galactogogues and silicone inserts, but also plagued by messages like “true low supply is a myth” and “just add one more pump”, making you feel as if you are not doing enough.

With my tendency to compare myself to other people, I just became more and more stressed and anxious. Possibly, my milk supply suffered because of it.

These groups never meant harm. They only wanted to be a community. But most of the time, I felt like a failure compared to other mothers whose breastfed babies are fat, whose freezer stashes overflowed, who never even have to think about supplementing. I felt judged and shamed for even thinking of feeding formula that I refused to give formula to Sprout… and now, at ten months, she’s just 8.4 kilograms. We’re now mixed feeding and so far we’re okay.

I stopped comparing my child to other babies.

My Sprout failed her hearing tests during the newborn screening, and when she turned four months and did not laugh yet, I cried and cried, thinking for sure she was deaf. After all, my Facebook friends’ babies around her age were already giggling a lot. Other babies were hitting their milestones in advance. They were also more plump. All of them also have teeth.

In reality, my ten-month-old is hitting her milestones just in time. We are yet to have her hearing checked at Philippine General Hospital, but as far as we know she can hear us. She laughs a lot, turns when we call her, jumps when she hears loud noise, knows her caregivers and cousins by name, imitates sounds, and dances when she hears music. She can even hum the Aaah part of “Yellow Brick Road”. She doesn’t gave teeth yet, but I now know I still have 8 months before I have to be concerned.

Without other babies to compare her to, I give my baby some slack.

I realize what we have is what we need.

We are not rich, but by no means are we poor. But when I was active on social media, I got jealous of younger people who earn twice, thrice, four times my salary. I got jealous of families who regularly go on vacations. I got jealous of parents who can buy their babies high end stuff. I got jealous of parents stay at home and homeschool their kids. And I got jealous of new moms who can afford therapy and pilates. The grass is always greener on the other side.

But once I cannot see the other side, I have realized that our baby has everything she needs. She is surrounded by people who love her. Some we bought ourselves, but most were given. She has a crib, a stroller, a rocker, a booster seat, a car seat, toys, and lots of clothes. We never missed her pediatric check-ups and vaccines. Her grandparents’ farm gives her fruits and vegetables. We can buy her lactose-free formula. We were also able to get her admitted to a private hospital when she got sick. We have a car to take her places when we want. We are actually doing well.

I have become more attentive to my child.

With my 8 to 5 office job, I only have about 4 to 5 hours to spend with Sprout on weekdays. When I was always on my phone, that was even less. Now that I’m only playing listenable YouTube videos, checking email, and typing ideas, I have so much free time. Whenever I’m with her when she is awake, I can give her my full attention instead of fighting the need to check my phone.

I rediscovered things I love doing.

Since quitting social media, I have been able to read novels and think of stories again. These are things I have been passionate about long before I first logged into Facebook in 2009. Admittedly, thirteen years is a long time and many things have changed. But there are things that are always there, just buried. I was too busy chasing the latest and coolest interests, hobbies, and lifestyles that I abandoned by “boring” passions.

I hate people less.

In this video, Verity Ritchie discussed the way social media is used to radicalize and fuel hate among unsuspecting users. This definitely happened to us in the recent years leading to the highly polarizing Philippine elections. The more I read my Facebook friends’ thoughts, the more I became annoyed and irritated at many of them, even if they had been nice to me all these years. Familiarity indeed breeds contempt.

To be honest, this is the strongest reason I quit. I hoped to stop being angry, and as long I read people’s thoughts, it’s impossible. You know what? It worked.

I only see things I actively seek.

I will never really understand the algorithm of Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter but I know they expose me to posts I would not actively seek. Quitting social media gave me back the power to see only – sometimes, mostly – things I want.

Yes, this could be dangerous. I could be confining myself in a small bubble and becoming apathetic to everything else that is happening to the world. But I cannot handle so many things all at once. I have to protect my peace.

I realized I don’t need Facebook.

Of my two thousand Facebook friends, only one noticed that I am gone, and I have been gone for a month and a half before it was noticed. Truth is, I will not lose friends because I quit. I have always known that most of my “friends” on social media are not really friends – just connections. I am still friends with my real life friends even if I leave Facebook for good.

There was nothing worth not missing out on, too. There was almost nothing I needed to know, nothing that has to do with me that I cannot find outside of Facebook. I began thinking, maybe that infamous Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) is an illusion, manufactured by Facebook so it would be hard to leave.


I had not logged in since I deactivated. The only reason I have not fully deleted my account is Messenger. I made another account for work-related stuff but I have zero friends there. My Instagram, TikTok and Twitter accounts are also permanently gone, and the only social media I have are this blog and YouTube. And I am better.

I am not saying I am better than other moms. I am not better because I am not on Facebook. I am simply better than that version of me who was addicted to social media. I have become a better mom for my child because I am a happier mom.

The only thing I regret is not doing it sooner.

-End-

Photo cover from: https://unsplash.com/photos/OwvRB-M3GwE?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditShareLink