Saturday, June 02, 2012

Rainy? Happy!

It's 10 o'clock in the morning, the skies are in an endless state of showers, with nothing much to do, I thought, "why not think of the alternative things to do here at home, with what I have?" I, then started to think of coming up with a list on how to best spend my day without catching a cold and spending a centavo, having to rely on available resources without leaving the comforts of our home.

First priority would be, of course, sustinence.  Good thing I dropped by the local super market and got some happy junkies. Would this be enough? Hopefully.

 Snacku - A super tasty rice crackers overly sprinkled with what their company claims to be healthy vegetable poweder. Personally, I wouldn't care less, the taste is uniquely  satisfying!

My first taste of this charming snack was way back in the 90's and somehow it hid somewhere and then recently made a relieving comeback. (Thank you Regent!) 

(Photo credit: Owen Segovia Bayog Photography)

Piattos - This thin octagon-shaped chip just so happen to bring delight to my taste buds like anytime of the day, rain or shine. Best flavor for me is roast beef. And just a tip, it's nice to pair it up with just about any sandwich that you can fix from what you can find from your cupboard and fridge.

Ferrero Rocher - The wonders of this chocolate is just out of this world!  The chocolates consist of a whole roasted hazelnut encased in a thin wafer shell filled with hazelnut cream and covered in milk chocolate and chopped hazelnuts. Even though it's "pricy", it's just so worth it! (Thanks Manang Nellie Ann!)

(Photo credit: Owen Segovia Bayog Photography)

Nissin Ramen Sea Food - "Basta noodles, Nissin!" Before, I wasn't into noodle soup but when I went to Japan and tried the famous ramen, I thought, I just have to find the best alternative when I get back home without declaring bankrupcy due to overpricing. The best I got then is Nissin Ramen Sea Food, ( for only P10.00 per pack.) 

This package is also very convenient to prepare. Imagine, just pour hot water and leave it for 5 minutes and voila! Oishii!

(Photo credit: Owen Segovia Bayog Photography)

Kopiccino - With this one, I have to thank my daughter Nadine for the introduction. At P8.00, you get a creamy cappuccino with fun choco sprinkles! Why not? And the best part is you don't need any high tech gadget to prepare it. Talk about a laid back afternoon!

Kopiccino is manufactured in Thailand and is distributed here by the Kopiko group. I tell ya, this is fun coffee!

And since the whole family is on "idle mode", the only way to keep all of us entertained is watch movies, movies and movies. Here are the top 5 on my list...

Safe House - It stars Denzel Washington (who also produced it) and Ryan Reynolds. A young CIA agent is tasked with looking after a fugitive in a safe house. But when the safe house is attacked, he finds himself on the run with his charge. Fight scenes are realistically impressive.

The Journey 2: The Mysterious Island -  Sean Anderson (Josh Hutcherson) partners with his mom's husband (Dwayne Johnson) on a mission to find his grandfather (Michael Caine), who is thought to be missing on a mythical island. Cassie and I loved the part when they actually carried an elephant. If this mammal is only a handful, then we want one. :D

 Mirror Mirror - This is my favorite because Julia Roberts, as the wicked queen is just adorable. I just can't stay irritated by her bratty sarcasm. And also this movie had a different twist wherein Snow White does not get poised anymore. Who says princesses should stay naive and "diabetically" sweet?  

J. Edgar - J. Edgar Hoover, powerful head of the FBI for nearly 50 years, looks back on his professional and personal life. Directed by Clint Eastwood and stars Leonardo DiCaprio as J Edgar. The movie gets interesting 'til the end. It's definitely worth watching.

Safe - Mei, a young girl whose memory holds a priceless numerical code, finds herself pursued by the Triads, the Russian mob, and corrupt NYC cops. Coming to her aid is an ex-cage fighter whose life was destroyed by the gangsters on Mei's trail. Who else would best fit the ex-cage fighter but Jason Statham. A surely Must See!

After all these thinking, the shower became very few drizzles. Enough to leave the house and do some walking yet I am so not into it. Heavy rain or not? This is what I'm doing today! 

Enjoy the cool weather!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Thank you, My Angels...

I woke up rather early today and found one of the greatest gifts I have ever gotten in my life. Nadine, my eldest daughter, posted on my facebook page, their gift to me for Mother's Day. Tears ran down my face as I try to reminisce with every photo of the slideshow because I never thought any of those moments would also be meaningful to them as much as it were for me.

Being the coolest mom (in Nadine's point of view), is priceless for I know that I only raised them on ways I know how. I started wondering which part I'm cool at. Is it because I still dig their music genres?  Or is it because I cook a mean adobo? I don't exactly have any idea of what their criteria is but nevertheless, I am grateful that they see my parenting skills that way.

I became a mother at 18 with so little knowledge and extremely unprepared. But despite of it all, I bravely fought my fear of being unfit and tried my hardest to be a good one. I would stumble from time to time yet I never thought of stopping to do things right.

By 30, I had another blessing, this time, with every bit of intention to make things work to the best of my capacity.

With two children at hand, I would still fall to the ground and falter. But miraculously, I would get back on my feet, as if nothing happened.

Nadine and Cassie have always been my strength and even if I would get lost along the way, they are just there, waiting for me to make up to them.

I know I'm still full of imperfections but God knows I try my hardest. 

To my children, Nadine and Cassie, always remember that I only want the best for both of you. I've seen how cruel life could be as a result of my mistakes and I never want to see anyone of you have a taste of it. I hope you both understand why I would sometimes be overly strict. Please learn from me and my mistakes, my sweet angels.

Keep in mind that as long as I am breathing, I will be beside you both. 

I love you both so much and thank you for remembering me on this special day.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Are We Ready for K-12?

Everybody seems to talk about the latest buzz about K-12. What is this program of the government and how will it impact me as a parent of a child that would be affected by this? What good will it do to my kid? 

I did a little research online about this matter in order to achieve a better understanding of this program. 

Simplifying K-12 

The K-12 model involves Kindergarten, six years of elementary education, four years of junior high school (Grades 7 to 10) and two years of senior high school (Grades 11 to 12). The two years of senior high school intend to provide students time to consolidate acquired academic skills and competencies relevant to the job market.

Through two additional years in senior high, DepEd aims to provide students with specialized training in their area of interest, whether they hope to work after high school or pursue college or vocational training.

The K-12 program seeks to level Philippine education with the rest of the world, with 12 years of basic schooling a global standard. Only the Philippines, Angola and Djibouti continue to have a 10-year basic education cycle.

Although K-12 is yet to be given the passage of legislation, DepEd Assistant Secretary for Programs and Projects Elena Ruiz is quite confident that this will be implemented. (It just means "It's A Go Sago!)

Now, what else do we need to think about. I saw an article by Isagani Cruz discussing the pros and cons of this program. (See

The PROS (which is basically the side of the government, well-heeled and articulate leaders from the academe, the business community and the media):
  1. “Enhancing the quality of basic education in the Philippines is urgent and critical.”
  2. “The poor quality of basic education is reflected in the low achievement scores of Filipino students. One reason is that students do not get adequate instructional time or time on task.”
  3. International test results consistently show Filipino students lagging way behind practically everybody else in the world. In the 2008 mathematics exam, for example, we came in dead last.
  4. “The congested curriculum partly explains the present state of education.” Twelve years of content are crammed into ten years.
  5. “This quality of education is reflected in the inadequate preparation of high school graduates for the world of work or entrepreneurship or higher education.” If ten years were adequate, how come employers do not hire fresh high school graduates? How come most high school graduates flunk the UPCAT?
  6. “Most graduates are too young to enter the labor force.” Since most children start Grade 1 when they are 6 years old, they do not reach the legal employable age of 18 when they graduate from high school today.
  7. “The current system also reinforces the misperception that basic education is just a preparatory step for higher education.” Why prioritize the minority of high school graduates that go to college?
  8. “The short duration of the basic education program also puts the millions of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), especially the professionals, and those who intend to study abroad, at a disadvantage. Our graduates are not automatically recognized as professionals abroad.” The best examples are our engineering graduates, who are condemned to international jobs not befitting their professional status due to our not having a 12-year basic education cycle.
  9. “The short basic education program affects the human development of the Filipino children.” If we believe that 17-year-old high school graduates are emotionally, psychologically, and intellectually mature, why do we require them to get parental consent before they get married?

The CONS (which are basically the madlang people whose pocketbooks would be adversely impacted by the proposed additional 2 years of basic education):
  1. Parents have to shell out more money (for transportation and food) for the education of their children.
  2. The government does not have the money to pay for two more years of free education, since it does not even have the money to fully support today’s ten years. DepEd must first solve the lack of classrooms, furniture and equipment, qualified teachers, and error-free textbooks.
  3. We can do in ten years what everyone else in the world takes 12 years to do. Why do we have to follow what the rest of the world is doing? We are better than all of them. Filipinos right now are accepted in prestigious graduate schools in the world, even with only ten years of basic education.
  4. As far as the curriculum is concerned, DepEd should fix the current subjects instead of adding new ones. The problem is the content, not the length, of basic education. As an editorial put it, we need to have better education, not more education.
  5. A high school diploma will not get anybody anywhere, because business firms will not hire fresh high school graduates.
  6. Every family dreams of having a child graduate from college.
  7. While students are stuck in Grades 11 and 12, colleges and universities will have no freshmen for two years. This will spell financial disaster for many private Higher Education Institutions (HEIs).
  8. The drop-out rate will increase because of the two extra years.
Both seem to present issues worth discussing but the way I see it, as a parent who does not have much of a choice once this law is passed, I will have to see what I can do for my child's smooth transition.

 K-12 promises better quality education coupled with high tech error-free tablets to replace textbooks in order to ensure accuracy of information to be disseminated to the students. (I think this will motivate our students not because of the correct information thing but rather the fact that at last, they can use high tech gadgets without having to buy them. I would imagine them being so overjoyed because "Tigas na ang school materials ba, high tech!) I am not sure however as to how these children can take care of these tablets, long enough to maximize its shelf life.

With the 10 year basic education, we already lack classrooms and worse, more or less 20%-30% of the existing classrooms in every public school are dilapidated that during PTA meetings, we are constantly  being pleaded by the advisers to do something to keep the roof from falling. Frankly speaking (as a law-abiding, tax-paying citizen), it's not our job, it's the government's. If they can hardly maintain these fixtures, how can they add more rooms, etc to accommodate more students? (I believe we've always had the budget but we are just dominated by crocs. Sad but true.) 

The government believes that with K-12, graduates will  have better chances of landing jobs. I could still see a high rate of unemployed college graduates who continue to search for work while others have jobs that are completely unrelated to their courses.  I hope this promise is not wishful thinking.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Goodbye Anger!

Have you ever been to a point of being angry enough to lose the cool? What I mean is something like wanting to strangle a person for stating the obvious or probably because you just woke up on the wrong side of the bed pushing you to be irrational for the next 24 hours? Too bad I'm one of them. 

I can't say it's with the genes since my dad was also hot tempered but regardless to its origin, I don't see anything right about it. So I am taking an effort to correct this attitude to make my life way better.

As I googled for articles about anger management, I came across a write up of the American Psychological Association. I was glad that the article wasn't too technically written and in lay man's terms for everyone's better comprehension.

The basic anger release is expressing, suppressing and then calming.  

  * Expressing is not being aggressive but rather, assertive. Because in the first place only you can identify what it is you want to happen to avoid conflict. Unexpressed anger usually is the more dangerous one because the problem will never be resolved since it's never discussed, getting back at people indirectly, without telling them why, rather than confronting them head-on. I have to admit, I belong to this category which could actually kill meaningful relationships.

  * Suppressing is mainly holding on your anger and diverting your attention into something positive. Too bad if you are surrounded with a chaotic environment that you just have to look deeper into yourself to find your "happy place". 

  * Calming refers not only to the external behavior but it also compliments the internal behavior of your body such as a steady blood pressure to soothe your way to the process.

 Charles Spielberger, PhD, a psychologist who specializes in the study of anger, if all these fails then  someone—or something is going to get hurt. 

Here's the Best part of the article. It discusses about the different ways to keep anger in a manageable level.

  * RelaxationBreathe deeply, from your diaphragm; breathing from your chest won't relax you. Picture your breath coming up from your "gut."

  * Cognitive RestructuringLogic defeats anger, because anger, even when it's justified, can quickly become irrational. So use cold hard logic on yourself. Remind yourself that the world is "not out to get you," you're just experiencing some of the rough spots of daily life.

  * Problem SolvingMake a plan, and check your progress along the way. Resolve to give it your best, but also not to punish yourself if an answer doesn't come right away. If you can approach it with your best intentions and efforts and make a serious attempt to face it head-on, you will be less likely to lose patience and fall into all-or-nothing thinking, even if the problem does not get solved right away.

  * Better Communication - It's natural to get defensive when you're criticized, but don't fight back. Instead, listen to what's underlying the words: the message that this person might feel neglected and unloved. It may take a lot of patient questioning on your part, and it may require some breathing space, but don't let your anger—or a partner's—let a discussion spin out of control. Keeping your cool can keep the situation from becoming a disastrous one.

  * Using Humor - Anger is a serious emotion, but it's often accompanied by ideas that, if examined, can make you laugh.

  * Changing Your Environment - Sometimes it's our immediate surroundings that give us cause for irritation and fury. Problems and responsibilities can weigh on you and make you feel angry at the "trap" you seem to have fallen into and all the people and things that form that trap.

Give yourself a break. Make sure you have some "personal time" scheduled for times of the day that you know are particularly stressful.
With all these alternatives, no one could say, "I didn't have a choice!" 

For the full article here's the link:

Monday, April 02, 2012

A Movie Worth Watching (Again!)

Last night, while browsing on my collection of ignored dvd's, I came across a movie that I haven't watched for like 7 years and to my surprise, it was still working. I didn't even realized then that it was a Lenten season presentation, just fit for the coming Holy Week. The movie was the only Robin Padilla one that I have and it costars Johnny Delgado, Rufa Mae Quinto and directed by Mark Meily.
La Visa Loca is about a Jess, played by Robin Padilla, who has been aiming to get a US Visa in order to be with his fiance but failed to pass in the interview. The whole concept of the movie is the protagonist's perseverance to find ways just to get a visa up to the point that he lets himself be a "Kristo", the one to be nailed on the cross. 

One may find the movie light-surfaced but beneath it all, I know for one that a lot of Filipinos would smile and somehow relate to one of the characters. Like Johnny Delgado's character for instance. He plays the stubborn father of Robin who lied of his wife's true state in order to hide the fact that she abandoned them to live with an American just to live her dream.
Evangeline Pascual, who plays Robin's mother, showed a common obnoxious attitude of a Filipina that happens to curse Filipinos like she isn't one, now that she is tied up with an American. I've seen this in real life. Seeing those who marry foreigners who just forgot where they came from can sometimes give me chills. 

Various scenes made me end up with a grin on my face, like the one at a strip club where the establishment did not serve red meat because it's Holy Week as the strippers go on with their show like they would do every night. 

Scenes at the US embassy although a bit exaggerated, were also fun to watch. Like one interviewee who said that he wants to go to the US to see snow but his destination is Hawaii. I laughed hard on this because I know this would happen if the applicant was not properly briefed by his or her travel agent. I've been interviewed once and I can say that the shrugged shoulders were a normal sight for those who got denied while to those who made it, either they would jump for joy or brag of their victory outside the embassy.

All in all, Thumbs up to La Visa Loca. A movie worth watching over and over again. Thank God I found the dvd!

Have a safe Holy Week everyone. 

Monday, March 05, 2012


The Heat is on! School ends in a couple of days and I am just so excited to think of all the things I can do with Cassie! I bet she is ecstatic as I am to have all the free time. Besides I am pretty sure that her granny also has activities for her like joining the annual Daily Vacation Bible School and perhaps even tutoring. So I will have to set activities for her.

1.  General Cleaning. Of course, with Cassie's hectic schedule at school, her things are tossed aside like crazy. So, in order for us to have a murmur-free summer from granny, we have to make sure that everything's back in place before starting our "Summer Fever". An ice pop would definitely perk up a tired Cassie after the cleanup. This would also be a good training ground for her to appreciate how easy life can be if you don't start messing up. :)

2.  Water Fun - We have always motivated Cassie to compete in swimming. Although, she hasn't been able to practice recently, she is still looking forward to compete this April. Allowing Cassie to surpass her boarders is the key in preparing her on how to compete in the "Adult World". This is the best training since she is taught the value of perseverance and how to compete against herself and overcome her limitations. Also to let her know that it's paradise to beat others but it's heaven to see that one could overcome boundaries. Hopefully it's not too late to prep her for the summer qualifiers.

3.  Scribble, Scribble, Scribble - Cassie has a bit of an awful handwriting. Writes some letter in awkwardly reverse ways, not minding the value of the lines on her paper. She will be given an hour each day to practice writing in order to develop speed and control over her mind and digitalis. In order to make it fun for her, I will encourage her to start a diary, where she can write everything she's done this summer. I bet it would also improve her vocabulary and hopefully get rid of her developing scatterbrain.

4. Revive CRIB Photography - As early as 6 years old, Cassie has been taking photos with her dad. I know she has an eye so I will personally make sure she will get back on track and start loving photography again. It's not just taking clear pictures but what's more important is capturing what stories life has to show through photographs. I am positive that she'll do good in photography that's why I'm giving her 1000% support.

5. The Gang - Life would be depressing for Cassie not to have time with "The Gang"! Ei, nothing violent about it. Her "Gang" consists of kids in the neighborhood that she plays with...hehehe. From, badminton, to driving a "trisikad", it only means more fun fun fun!

6. Granny Time - Cassie would be spending a lot of time with granny because I know she'll miss her much when she goes to the US this August. Lots, of malling, Greenwich, Chowking and trips to the TDC office. Better be good and behave Cassie.

7. Cartoon-Athon - Cassie would sometimes think that watching cartoons would keep her a baby forever. Even if she watched them 50 times, she just wouldn't budge. A good quality time with mommy too that is. So I better start preparing the dvds and checherias and it's gonna be MOVIETIME EVERY TIME!

8. Cooling out would be the next best thing in this scorching heat. For sure, Cassie will demand coolers like halo-halo, maize con hielo, ice pop and the all-time favorite, ICE CREAM!

9 and 10. MOMMY-TIME! I have been depriving Cassie of quality time when I was working so I'll make sure I make it up to her. (That's why it's occupying two slots!) I still don't know what specifics that we are going to do but for sure, no matter how simple they will be, we'll have super fun because we're together.

I hope Cassie will like what I have in store for her. Nothing spectacular but intricately thought of.

Happy Thoughts This Summer!

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Simplifying "Happy"

A lot of those who know me would describe me as a carefree person and others for sure would secretly think of me as a happy-go-lucky one. Why is that? It's because I smile and laugh a lot. Even my sister thinks I haven't grown up yet (which in that case, I hope she doesn't think I'm autistic for having stagnant mental growth).

Well, I am elated that some of these people who think poorly of me would waste their time trying to figure me out. I guess they are just afraid of minding their own business and solving their own problems that they have to feast on me. Nevertheless, this article will attempt to put an end to everybody's curiosity why I am simply a happy person.

Let's define the word happy. In the Webster Dictionary, the word happy means enjoying or characterized by well-being and contentment. Simple right? 

But however incomplex it may seem, achieving contentment is like reaching the stars with your bare hands. Since every person is unique, no specific goal could ever be the same.

As for me, contentment comes in a variety of packages for every life department there is.

Family Department - 
     * Healthy family members
     * A loving and supportive husband
     * Great and happy children
     * A wise mother
     * A practical sister
     * A warm home to live in
     * Existing harmony brought about by reasonable compromise
     * My mom's cooking

Friends Department
     * Despite the distance of some of my closest friends, I still trust them to wish me well.
     * Practically fun crowd
     * Share the same indulgence I have in food
     * Regardless of the age gap, I have found trustworthy young friends
     * Learning from each others' real-life experiences making us much better people.
     * Over-all, I have very true friends.

Career Department
     * I've been able to try different kinds of jobs that widened my horizon.
     * Have been to a lot of places, met different kinds of people, learn from their respective cultures and harmoniously worked with them
     * Defeated my fear of being in new crowds, places, etc.
     * Learned to be diplomatic without jeopardizing my life principles
     * Continues to persevere in order to earn my keep

Personal Department
     * I'm glad that despite the extra weight, I am still miles away from killers like diabetes and hypertension (which literally run in the family)
     * Can naturally adjust and blend in like a chameleon
     * Has always tried my best to be fair and objective
     * Thankful that God made me who I am

With these things, why shouldn't I be happy? It's definitely not the amount of money I have in my pocket nor the laurels I have gained that would define my contentment.  I have done thousands of wrong decisions but I have remained strong to face all consequences and I survived. I think as I continue my journey in this life, I would always hope for another chance  without the greed in my heart that would just defeat my purpose of living a peaceful, contented and a happy one.

Have you ever asked yourself if you're really happy? Give that thought time and you'll be surprised that you're already happy, it's just that you never noticed it. 

Happy Thoughts!