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Toward the end of last year, I was looking for some career change. I couldn't quite pinpoint what I wanted. All I knew was that I...

When an Unexpected Opportunity Comes



Toward the end of last year, I was looking for some career change. I couldn't quite pinpoint what I wanted. All I knew was that I needed to do something new, and that it had something to do with being creative and being on my own. I guess working from home gave me that sense of independence, of freedom from a boss. The home is just too conducive to using your time your way, ha ha! 

One alternative I saw was to go full blast on blogging. I could blog and blog, attend events and partner with brands---things that I should have done way back in 2004-2005 when I started blogging. I remember at that time, there were only a handful of us mom bloggers, or even bloggers in general. Because we were then a small community, we knew each other. I was part of the first iBlog summit and at one point became a member of Digital Filipino, which helped me find my way in the blogging industry. But I had a day job, and I had to put that priority over blogging.    

Yeah, I thought to myself, I could do full time blogging, or even vlogging. 

So, as I was finding my way, I went to two events in September last year (2017): the Mindful Mom Re-treat of MommyMundo (September 17th) and the Get Blisstified 4 (September 20th) of Martine De Luna and Kimi Lu, a life coach. 

All these in the hope of finding my new purpose in terms of career. The two events were a great help. 

The Mindful Mom Re-treat made me appreciate my being a mom at this stage of my mommyhood right now. I am past the breastfeeding and the toddler days. My kids are now grown up and doing well themselves. I so wanted to tell the other moms in the re-treat to just hang in there and all their challenges will sure come to pass, and they will have again their own time.  

The Get Blisstified gathering helped me define my purpose and direction for my blogging. I realize that I occupy a special niche and that is being at midlife and parenting teens. My vision was:

   Photo Credit to Get Blisstified 4 

I already had a good outline for this. I was so excited then! 

Little did I know that the venture I took before I went to the Get Blisstified event would take much of my time (again) from blogging.

Inadvertently, I have put up a (million-dollar) business and my team is growing fast in a span of only seven months. It's sheer hard work like all business ventures, but then I realize that from this business I can finally start to save up and prepare for my retirement. 

I didn't feel that way when I was working (for others) for 27 years. I couldn't see what was waiting for me at the end of my working years. When I started working, I had better opportunities because I graduated from a top university in the country. When I joined the corporate world, I already finished my master's degree, so, I got a higher pay than the rest. Because of my work ethics and the skills I learned, I rose from the ranks. I was enjoying a good pay and a good position, all right. But the obligations to pay grew with my salary also. It was understandable as I had a growing family. Together with my husband, we made investments for our children's education on top of our daily expenses. In fact, we bought a house only recently.     

Then life continues to happen, and for all you know, you're at midlife, thinking of what happens after all this. 

If I won't work, will I be able to maintain my lifestyle?

When the kids are grown up and have families of their own, can I rely on them for my daily needs? No assurance, at all,and I don't expect them to. I wouldn't give them that burden. We pay forward, remember? 

Who will take care of us when we are old and gray?

My parents are pretty independent because by the grace of God they have pension (Papa even enrolled himself to a hospitalization plan!) and income from their inherited properties. 

I pray that when Wizheart and I would reach their age, we would be as independent and would still be enjoying life and what it has to offer. 

But we know that we don't work for our retirement when we are already retired. We have to start preparing for it now while we can still work and earn. We have to start by zeroing in on debts and saving up, and investing in activities that will give us that passive income. 

What about you? At what stage in your life are you in? And what are you doing to prepare for your old age?

This is old age kicking in! Ha ha!    

I am in midlife and I am in an interesting stag of life, actually! 



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I carry this fear that my sons would grow up to be rude, irresponsible, and unhappy individuals because I am not there 100%  when the...

What I Learned from My Teenage Sons



I carry this fear that my sons would grow up to be rude, irresponsible, and unhappy individuals because I am not there 100%  when they were growing up. You see, I would go to the office an hour or two away from home. I would leave at 7:00am and would be home by 7:00pm (if I'm lucky!), and that was when my nannies and I would do the substitution game.

The fear stems from horror stories we often hear about children growing up with nannies. My fears though are unfounded, and I have my nannies to thank for doing half of my mothering job.

My sons are now older, and in fact I observe are more mature than their teenage years (18 and 15). They are growing up to be responsible individuals, and quite independent! We are now down to one household help, who was also the nanny of the younger one. Yet even when Ate Ta is out of the house or goes on a vacation, my boys can cook their meals, bake simple pastries, do their laundry and can do household chores. They can even cook or fry food better than me!

Well, here's a disclosure: they don't do household chores on a regular or daily basis. They don't have a schedule to do this and that. Perhaps, because we always have househelp around, or in times of their long absence, I always have my mother with me. Or maybe because, Wizheart and I didn't also have household chores assigned to us when we were kids. I really don't know. But when push comes to shove, they will do the dishes, the laundry, vacuum, and cook. So, yeah, I am surprised that they seem to be programmed to know how to do these things because they can do it well.

Now, that I have been working from home for the past three years, I look at my growing boys and I can't help but be amazed.

When did the tantrums stop?

When did they learn to make decisions on their own?

When did they  know when to stand for their beliefs and when to follow because they have to?

How did they learn what is right and wrong, and always go for what is right?

Who told them to tell us the passwords of their gadgets? 

Who told them to always pick up the phone when we call them?

Who told them to inform us of their whereabouts and what they are doing?

How did they know that a conversation is a two-way street? (You see, this family loves to share stories with each other!)

When did we start relying on them to run errands, do stuff, keep house etc.? 

Did my husband and I give a sermon every day OR did we just show them the way?

I realize, it is more with the latter. We show them the way.

People close to us know that we are more of giving positive reinforcement and showing them the consequence of their actions. We don't also go on lengthy and repetitive discussions about what went wrong. Once a child realizes what he has done wrong, we don't need to keep on harping on it. "One word is enough for a wise man," is our unwritten rule in the house.

We nurture openness in our home. At the start, we don't ask---or now we text---them what/where/whom they are (with), instead we tell/text them how we are spending our days. And they can observe that when their father is out of town or out of the country for a business trip, their father would text his days' activities several times in a day, LOL. As a result, they do the same.

That's basically our dynamics.

It is still a work in progress as parenting doesn't end even if our children themselves grow old and gray.

But yes, what I am learning from my teenage sons: we sow understanding, compassion and love, and these are what we reap.


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I have an 18-year-old, and don't I feel old? Not at all! In fact, I feel small! LOL My elder son, Gabo, whom I nicknamed after th...

I Have an 18-Year-Old, Don't I Feel Old?


I have an 18-year-old, and don't I feel old? Not at all! In fact, I feel small! LOL

My elder son, Gabo, whom I nicknamed after the Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez, has always been our source of pride and joy. From the time he started school (at 4 years old), he has always enjoyed going to school. I can't remember a time that he expressed boredom or any desire to be absent. He never even wanted to be late!

He always wants to be in school and not just being there but actively present in all academic and exrta-curricular activities. And every day since, till to this day, he always has stories to tell. 

Gabo and I (including his first and second nanny and the whole household) didn't have an easy start though.  When he was only a few days' old, he would be crying all the time. He wouldn't want to be laid down. I  had to sit and hold him in my arms from midnight till morning because if I would lay him down to the bed or his crib, he would wail! That crying and wailing lasted till he was two years old, I think. Ha ha!

When he was about two years old, he was not very friendly as well. Several times, he bit his playmates and quarreled with them. That started me worried about his social skills. But, we just observed his behavior.

Thankfully, when he got a little older and wiser, he changed for the better. He became the most friendly and loving child to all of us. I observed that the change in behavior began when he was able to appreciate his birthday parties. Every year till his seventh year, we would throw a big party for him (and his younger brother) with all the party paraphernalia. In fact, his friends in the neighborhood look forward to his parties every year. Only then did he become more sociable.

I think that's the purpose of birthday parties---they teach us to socialize, make and keep friends.

In his early years, Gabo would easily get cough which would often end up as asthma. Being an active young boy, he would be running around the neighborhood with his friends, and when he would fall or trip, for sure the next day, he would be coughing. So, we would bring him to his pediatrician every time.

Then one day, we learned that swimming is a good and effective cure for asthma. So, we would let his nanny take him to the villas clubhouse and let him play and swim. That went on for sometime until we noticed that they had stopped going. When we asked, we found out that Gabo almost drowned or felt that he was drowning when the nanny failed to hold him tightly.

Oh no! Phobia will not have a day in the life of my kid!

We immediately enrolled him at Lozada's Swimming Classes. By doing so, we would be hitting two birds (be cured from his asthma and get over his phobia) with one stone so to speak. At first, Gabo was hesitant even to go to the pool. But slowly, he conquered his fears and survived his phobia, and no longer suffers from asthma! He has become a good swimmer, even winning medals in his school swimming competition. See him in action here when he was learning to swim and play basketball.

It really pays to be attuned to your child's day-to-day struggles and triumphs, and help him deal with  it early on.

For the past 18 years, Gabo has kept on conquering challenges both in academics and sports. He has it easy, in fact. He may not be number one in his classes though he has good grades, but he occupies a comfortable niche that he won't go unnoticed or be forgotten by his classmates and teachers, and even by his friends. He is quite popular among his peers and a favorite of his teachers! He he!

Our relationship is not without bumps. We disagree on some things and agree on other things. He has a tendency to insist and stand by his decision even if it's a bit off. We would put our foot down, of course, after showing him the pros and cons of his decision. I for one would always end the argument by telling him, "You take a long hard look, Gab, if what you are going for will be good or bad for you. I think you already know what is good and bad." He would go quiet for a few hours, go to his room or any other spot in the house, and then would come back to me and hug me and say sorry. Even now in his senior high school and he stays in a condo near his university, we would deal with him the same way, and the ending would always be him acquiescing and seeing the value of what we are trying to tell him.

It is not easy, as we are aware of kids rebelling or getting depressed from being reprimanded. So, we strike a balance of being strict and loose, but always making him feel that we are here ready to listen to him, see his side of the story, and that he is welcome to decide for himself  but with our guidance still. 

Gabo will be entering college in five months' time and will be pursuing an engineering course just like his father. He will be taking civil engineering.

I pray to the Lord Almighty that He will guide him in all his undertakings and keep him away from temptations that would hinder him from fulfilling his dreams.

I can see that he is a good man; a loving son, brother, grandson, and friend.

As for me and my husband and family, we will be here supporting him 101%!  We love him dearly!     


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And Man Will Live Forevermore Because of Christmas Day



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Marriott Manila’s German Executive Chef Serves Authentic Oktoberfest Spread A flavorful German Sausage in beef stock served with pretze...

Have an Authentic Oktoberfest at Marriott Manila

Marriott Manila’s German Executive Chef Serves Authentic Oktoberfest Spread

A flavorful German Sausage in beef stock served with pretzel and mustard dip to be downed with beer

Join the world’s largest fair, Oktoberfest, the authentic German way, without flying out of the country.

Simply visit Marriott Manila’s Greatroom lobby lounge, and have Executive Chef Meik Brammer, a German native, at the forefront of the festivities. With Chef Meik, you can expect only an authentic and marvelous celebration.



"Prost!" like a true Bavarian with the overflow of beer, served either draft or bottled. An ice cold beer starts at Php 250 only. Featuring a selection of Paulner wheat beers like Hefe Weissbier and Munchner Hell, and local beers from San Miguel Corporation.

Beers are not good with an empty stomach, so they crafted a menu of classic German grubs with price starting at Php 320, good for sharing.

Obatzda, cheesy delicacy to go with pickle derkins, tomato and rye bread

Beef Goulash, a hearty thick stew

This beer-fest runs through the whole month of October. 

Germany has never been this close to home, so swing by!

German Bar Chows by Executive Chef Meik Brammer

For inquiries, advance orders and reservations, call (02) 9889999 or visit manilamarriott.com. To keep up on their latest offerings, follow @marriottmanila at Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter and, @manilamarirott on Instagram.

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#momonfashion via on Instagram

MomOnFashion on IG!


#momonfashion

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Finally, my sked opens up for the Mommy Mundo's Mindful Mom Re-Treat. I will be attending Session 1 tomorrow, and I can't wait!...

MommyMundo's Mindful Mom Re-Treat


Finally, my sked opens up for the Mommy Mundo's Mindful Mom Re-Treat. I will be attending Session 1 tomorrow, and I can't wait!

Stay tuned for my takeaways! 


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Mooncakes by Marriott Manila is Your Mid-Autumn Festival Must-Have Taking its name from the fact that it is always celebrated in the m...

Celebrate Mid-Autumn Festival with Moon Cakes

Mooncakes by Marriott Manila is Your Mid-Autumn Festival Must-Have


Taking its name from the fact that it is always celebrated in the middle of the autumn season, the Mid-Autumn Festival (popularly known here as Mooncake Festival), is the second grandest festival in China after the Chinese New Year. According to the Chinese lunar calendar, the festival falls on the 15th day of the 8th month.

For this year (2017), it will fall on October 4 and will prolong to Oct. 8. It falls right on my birth week, LOL.

On Festival Day, families gather around and offer sacrifice to the bright full moon, eat moon cakes, and express strong well wishes toward family members and friends who live afar. Thus, moon cakes come to symbolize family togetherness and prosperity.

Marriott Hotel Manila joins the festival by offering its guests with moon cakes sealed in an elegant oriental two-layer box. Mooncakes by Marriott are meticulously handcrafted and come in variety of authentic fillings derived from delicious Chinese flavors. Flavors include the white lotus that has a fragrant and sweet taste; red bean on the other has earthy and lingering sweetness to it; and pineapple paste is a zesty surprise to the collection. This must-have mooncake package can be purchased per piece at Php288 nett or a box of 8 pieces for Php 2,488nett at the Marriott Café Bakery, located at the ground floor of the Main Hotel, and at Man Ho Chinese restaurant, which is at the ground floor of West Wing.

Join the festivities by sending out this thoughtful gift box or enjoy it for yourself under the brightest moon every year.

I got a taste of these authentic yummy Chinese Mooncakes by Marriott sometime in 2012 when my husband stayed at Marriott Ningbo, China.

Call 988 9999 or visit www.manilamarriott.com for more details. To join
ongoing conversations, Like Facebook.com/MarriottHotelManila, Follow @marriottmanila on Twitter and @manilamarriott on Instagram.


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I am now here in Larena, Siquijor. This is the place where I spent my early years. I go back and forth from Larena and Iligan City, where my...

Larena and Pudong

I am now here in Larena, Siquijor. This is the place where I spent my early years. I go back and forth from Larena and Iligan City, where my father worked.

When my father retired from government service, he decided to settle here in Larena where he grew up. He was born in Maria, another municipality of Siquijor. He had to come home to oversee the properties left by his parents (how my fraternal grandfather from Carcar, Cebu ended up in Larena, Siquijor, met and married my fraternal grandmother who is from Larena, Siquijor is another story worth telling, lol). My uncle, who was older than my father, settled himself in Manila, and had given my father the blanket authority to decide on everything.

I like going home to Siquijor, stay in Larena and visit Tulapos, another town in Enrique Villanueva where I was born and baptized. Tulapos is the hometown of my mother.

Over the years, Larena has become a busy town, with people and vehicles coming and going 24/7. It's a town that doesn't sleep, lol! It's getting to be busier and acquiring city-like characteristics.

Last year, the town soft-opened its version of a supermarket, called Prince Hypermart Larena. It's much like the big supermarket that is a one-stop-shop for grocery items, clothes, shoes, home & kitchen appliances and more. This Friday, August 25th, Prince Hypermart Larena will have its grand opening, boasting of a bigger space for shopping options.

In the area of the Prince Hypermart will be built the bigger Larena port area, which will house a more modern ferry terminal and transport terminal.

Last month, the Siquijor Home Depot opened in Nonoc, Larena. Folks in  Larena can now buy their construction and renovation needs without crossing to nearby Dumaguete or Cebu.

In the pipeline is another big market to be vending farm  produce and livestock.

Of course, there are already banks aside from the rural bank (PNB, Landbank, EastWest Bank and in the town of Siquijor itself, there's a Metrobank and DBP), a state college (Siquijor State College), restaurants, stores, Internet cafés, inns (which are often fully booked), and the old stores owned and run by Chinese-descent families.

I am sure there are many more improvement projects in the offing. And when I go back again in a few months' time, I'd see more improvements in the town.

For now, what I enjoy in Larena is still the old activities that stay till today. I appreciate the ringing of church bells every day, although already a recording since the old bell had been broken and has yet to be restored, before the holy mass or before every church novena activity. The bell will ring for one hour before the mass. Once the bell stops ringing, it means the mass has already started. I suppose the ringing serves as a clock also in the olden days. I sure use it to time my dressing up for church, he he...

The same bell will ring every 6:00 am, 12:00 noon, 3:00 pm, and 6:00 pm every day to signal Angelus and Divine Mercy. This will be heard all over town.

What I miss most about Larena is seeing people walking to church, to the market, and to events. I remember those nights when people all made up and dressed up and in high heels walking to the tennis court (now called the Queen Gate) to attend the town fiesta dance. I feel it was more fun that way. These days, though, people take their cars to anywhere, even to the nearest corner.

Despite the noisy motorcycles and automobiles every minute of the day, I simply love the place. It is actually home for me. In fact, I would miss the noise when I go back to Manila, where my neighborhood is super quiet, the complete opposite! LOL.

When Larena gets all modernized, my wish is for it to be like Pudong, China, where the old and the new Shanghai sort of faces off each other.

If you find yourself in Larena, you can check out these places.


Dumalaay, where you get the best view of Larena sunset.

Triad Café, a café on top of a hill, which on one side overlooks Larena bay. 

 Triad Café, a café on top of a hill, which on one side has scenic mountains. 


What I want Larena to do is preserve its rural ambiance and at the same time embrace some modern things. I think the foreign tourists would like that, too. So, Larena needs to come up with a brand (tatak Larena) experience that tourists would go back to again and again.

Read about Larena some more here.


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