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

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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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Yes, a cup of tea or coffee with friends is a joy. Tita of Manila lang ang peg! LOL I treasure my time with my friends. I can spend h...

Of Life and Tea


Yes, a cup of tea or coffee with friends is a joy. Tita of Manila lang ang peg! LOL

I treasure my time with my friends. I can spend hours with them just chatting.

But do you also feel that you have friends for certain kinds of activities that you do?

For example, if I want to go high-end shopping, I would want to go with Friend A, B, and C. If I will go flea-market shopping, I'll have D, E, F. If I want to watch movies, I'll have G, H, I with me. If I want to go lunch, movies, till coffee nightcap, I'll go with J, K, and M. If I want to go book shopping or bookstore hopping, I have another set of friends for that, too. I have friends who enjoy doing sporty stuff with me. I also have a set of friends who know when to keep quiet and keep their distance when I don't feel sociable. If I want to go joyriding and just be quiet with our thoughts, I'll have to be with my best-friend-husband. Ha ha!

For the rather serious stuff, such as telling secrets or pouring out your emotions, I also have a different set of friends for that. I have another set of friends who give me spiritual inspiration motivation, too.

I now realize that perhaps, this is the reason why I have several groups of friends, or I belong to several groups of friends. I can also blend with different kinds of people. Sometimes, I can be friends to all groups but each group cannot ever mix.

I have this particular friend who felt she couldn't fit in with some of my friends. Lately, however, she found herself friends with them and she shared with me her surprise. So, I told her, cést la vie! But she thanked me for not leaving her side ever. Ha ha!

But, you know what? Life is ironic sometimes. When I was at the lowest point of my life sometime ago, I didn't find solace in the bosom of my friends. I found it in my few acquaintances who didn't blink an eyelid to run to my rescue.

In retrospect, I kinda like this arrangement because I have plenty of friends to go to or to run to. I'm not saying, though, that I prefer certain friends over the other. It's just that each of them has an important role in my life, which makes me a whole person.

Do you have different sets of friends for the different seasons or moods of your life, too?


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Made through canva.com Things aren't always what they seem. My friend and I were Viber calling yesterday, and we talked about how...

Always the Children

Made through canva.com

Things aren't always what they seem.

My friend and I were Viber calling yesterday, and we talked about how families seem to be okay in public but in truth they are not.

No marriage is perfect, of course. Living with another person from another background and maybe status in life is not easy. Staying married can be both challenging and exhilarating. As for me, I am blessed that I have a really good marriage. I have my mom to thank that for. She told me that she had prayed for it since I reached puberty.    

But whatever it is, bear this in mind: Children are like wet cement. Whatever falls on them makes an impression.

I am sure you've heard of the latest  breaking news about Patricia Cruz Bautista and Comelec Commissioner Andy Bautista. I cannot imagine how the children---aged 8, 13, 14, and 16---must be feeling right now.

Actually, there are many couples out there whose marriage are going through a rough path. Their stories may not be as publicized but for it to be known even within the clan, which spills over to the baranggay, have the same effect on children.

I always feel for the children.

From the time they are aware of what's happening until their teen years, they often feel awkward and inadequate. That is why we as parents need to constantly assure them of their worth. If that is not supplied, the effect can be debilitating.

Whenever someone comes up to me and shares with me their marital woes, I would always get teary eyed when they talk about their children and how their children are coping.

They will be the most hurt, I tell you. The worst that can happen is that they will bring the hurt and the disappointment with them until they grow old. In fact, some say, if a person is hurt while they are young, they may never recover from it. Don't you know that most of them who fall into depression or have mental illnesses trace their deep hurt from their childhood? So, think of the lives you may ruin. Sad.

So, please let's spare our children from hurt, humiliation at all cost.


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The siblings at The Ruins, Talisay, Bacolod City I know this happens. I also know that most of us moms, we take it personally. I ofte...

If Your Teener Retreats to His Room for Hours, Don't Take It Personally

The siblings at The Ruins, Talisay, Bacolod City

I know this happens. I also know that most of us moms, we take it personally.

I often hear stories of teens start to answer in monosyllables (Thankfully, my teens vie for our attention and race against each other to tell us their stories, LOL). They lock themselves in their rooms. They are always with their gadgets. They spend most of their time with their friends. They answer back. And the list goes on...

Of course, we try our best to engage them. In fact, we should, just so we know that they are not into trouble or in trouble. But I always feel, we don't need to hover. I steer away from being a helicopter parent.

This article, No, Your Teen Doesn't Hate You. It's Just Summer, is very enlightening. Here are some of the points:

Teens need alone time. Every one does no matter at what age, don't you agree? At this age, they are trying to establish some independence but at the same time still managed by our rules. It can be confusing. Remember we were teens once. Healthy adolescents usually strengthen their ties to peers and adults outside the home as they loosen their ties to their parents. There are also moments that they seek out our presence and withdraw. Don't take it as rejection.

Complaining isn't unusual. Adults complain, and so do teens. There are moments that we don't feel good about things, but it doesn't mean we hate it or we are ungrateful. Turn a listening and understanding ear to their gripes and that will be a big help to their growth. To be empathetic at this time can go a long way.

Teens hear you, even when their eyes roll. This happens when you talk to them about crushes or when we raise touchy subjects. Welcome the grunts, hear them out, and when they raise sensitive subjects like sex or relationships, I asked their thoughts about it. For example, the first time they raised the topic of girlfriend-boyfriend, I asked them, "what does BF-GF mean?" They shared that it's having someone you like to be with all the time, talk to all the time, and you have this huge feeling of care. It's having a best friend but of the opposite sex. I actually liked their answer a lot! Ha ha! So, I give them assurance that there's nothing wrong to feel that way towards the other person. But respect toward the other should always be there. And respect means not doing something that will embarrass or shame the other person. I think they got it. I hope they did! Then, to lighten the mood, I added that the girl they're seeing should not be more "maldita" than me. Ha ha! That became our secret joke whenever they would tell us that they have a new girl crush.

Teenage quirks don't last. Decades ago, psychologist Anna Freud, said that an adult structure of personality takes a long time to emerge, and that a typical teenager does not cease to experiment and is in no hurry to close down on possibilities. I agree. We were teenagers once. We did change for the better, although we shouldn't discount the fact that the guidance of our parents, our teachers, and the presence of peers in our lives play an important role in who we are today.

For now, we guide, we chill and embrace the teenage years of our children.


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