Monday, December 03, 2007


A-e-l-y? A-i-l-l-y? A-l-e-e? "Mom, how do I spell "Ai-lee's" name?" "Mom, do you know it's her birthday tomorrow? "
"Ailee is my friend, her hair is like mine, her clothes are like mine, the only thing different is our face."
My 4 year old has lots of stories about her friend Ailee. Everyday. Ailee likes this, Ailee likes that, they played this, they played that. One day, her dad asked is she wants to play with Ailee? She told her dad that Ailee actually lives very far-far away, leading her dad towards the window showing how far Ailee actually lives. Daddy challenged her and asked, "how do you like to go to Ailee's house? "I can drive you there!" She answered, "oh no Daddy, it's far, we're going to get lost."

Several hours after (tv, play, eating)... our 4-year old came up to her Dad again and started asking him "What happens if..." questions. This time she asked, "Dad, what happens if i go to my friend's house?" Daddy said, "oh no, you dont want to go to your friend's house" "What happens then if I go to my friend's house who lives far far away?" Dad answered, "you're going to get lost" She quickly replied, "See Dad, that's why i don't want to go to Ailee's house, coz you might get LOST!"

Did I already say that our hunch is that Ailee is my 4 year-old's friend from her very creative imagination?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

First Born

A perfect example to prove my earlier blog.

My eldest daughter is 5. She started kindergarten in September. Fast forward 8 weeks, she's now in 1st grade!

Yes, my daughter got promoted to first grade after 8 weeks in kindergarten. Proud parents we are so give me the chance to just be proud.

My Little Big Girl

Just to let you all in, my little girl who started preschool.... it's been almost 5 months now.
Yes, she never did cry and never does when we leave her at school.
She loves going to school apparently.
Her teachers say she has a very strong personality. She knows what she wants to do, and does it.
If she doesn't like to do something, she really doesn't do it. They love that she's sociable and
loves learning a lot.

My little princess, yes, she's a big girl now.

Asking myself again

1. What bill do you hate paying the most? newspaper subscription, i read the news on the internet, I don't even know why we continue to subscribe to paper
2. Where's the best place to eat a romantic dinner? Napa Valley
3. Last time you puked from drinking? Too long ago to remember, but since I'm not so old yet... Subic, circa 1999
4. Have you ever gotten drunk and danced on a bar?Oh dear, no
5. Name of your first grade teacher?Mrs. Evelyn Garcia
6. What are you doing right now?You mean besides answering these questions? Relaxing and enjoying my first weekend night
7. What did you want to be when you were growing up?I wanted to be doctor, but I ended up going to Law School. Deep inside me, I really want to be a chef. No kidding!
8. How many colleges did you attend?Solid U.P.
9. Why did you get the shirt that you have on right now?Because it's comfortable and easy to match.
10. If you could move anywhere and take someone with you where would you go?Napa Valley
11. First thought when the alarm went off this morning?How minutes I can still SNOOZE.
12. Last thought before going to sleep last night?Of how much I love my family and how I can make tomorrow a better day than today
13. Favorite style of underwear?Victoria Secret Hiphugger
14. Favorite style of underwear for the opposite sex?Boxer briefs.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Losing Our Moms

it's difficult losing our moms. i believe that time will pass, wounds will heal, but the sadness will always be there. it's their presence that we will miss forever and the feeling of pain will always be there. we know that they are in a happier place free of pain, but it's our pain, us who are left here that makes us cry.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

My Little Girl Goes to Preschool

My little princess finally started preschool. We decided it would be the perfect time for her, it's summer session, so they have both work and play at the same time. She'll be acclaimated slowly into the academic world and not be in-shock. She went for her first day last week, and guess what... she didn't cry! I said, ok, that's great, her sister didn't really cry on her first day. Big sister cried on her 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th days.

On her 2nd day, or should I say, supposed to be 2nd day, she got an infection on her eye, so she ended up not going to school. So, today was her second day. Let's see, I called her when she got home and she said that she had fun, she played with her "friends" but was a little "shy". I asked, "Did you cry?" she said, "No Mommy!" (with all the confidence she can muster). Oh well, my little princess, I guess, she really is getting older... she didn't cry.

Can't wait for her 3rd day.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Own Lunch

There was a story of 3 men who were tired of the having the same fare for lunch each and everyday. They all said that if they got the same meal for lunch the next day, they would jump off the building they were working on. The next day, one by one they opened their lunch and each of them found the same kind of meal from yesterday. Yes, they all jumped off the building and died. During their funeral, their wives conferred and 2 of them realized that if they only knew, if their husbands only told them that they wanted a different kind of meal, the wives would have cooked differently. However, the one other spouse sobbed more, cried more, so the other 2 asked why? She replied and said, that it was her husband who actually prepared his own lunch each and everyday!

In life, "all of us prepare our own lunch." If we don't like our jobs, if we don't like the state of our relationships, if we don't like what's happening to our spiritual lives - we have no one to blame but ourselves. Because God has given us free will. He has given us the power to prepare our own lunch. If you want to earn more and be free from debt, if you're sick and tired of your bad habits, if we want to put more joy in our marriages, if we want to grow in our relationship with God - then go back to your kitchen and prepare yourself another dish. Because, you design your own future. You create your own destiny. Ask yourself what kind of future you want to have? What kind of life? What kind of eternity? You decide. YES, we can decide. BUT IT's EASIER SAID THAN DONE. No further comments.

Why Firstborn Children Are Smarter

Read this from Dinesh D'Souza

We are in an age of self-esteem, which is why only firstborns should read this article. It reports on new research that has found that the oldest child tends to be the smartest one in the family. Years ago psychologist Frank Sulloway published a book on this politically incorrect subject, and the latest studies corroborate his research.

In a way we are surprised to find out that eldest children are brighter. After all, siblings come out of the same gene pool and we might presume that they share pretty much the same upbringing and social environment. Still, the facts are that even children close in age raised in the same household are very different in many respects. One respect is that firstborns tend to be Numero Uno when it comes to brains. As a firstborn myself, I find this reassuring.
Eldest children seem to have IQs that are, on average, three points greater than those of the next smartest sibling. For second, third and fourth-borns who will no doubt write to inform me that they happen to be the smartest in their family, the term "average" means that this is a general trend and does not apply to every situation. By way of analogy, men are taller than women and it is no refutation of this general observation to point out that Eleanor is five feet eleven inches and Fred is 4 feet six.

The interesting question is why firstborns tend to be smarter. The main reason seems to be that firstborns get their parents' undivided attention, while subsequent children have to compete for mom and dad's time. This fact also has psychological consequences: firstborns tend to be conservative and believe in the system. Second and third children are typically more rebellious and also in some ways more creative. So when you run into guys like Michael Moore--creative but not very smart--ask if they are second, third or fourth in their family.

The new research also shows that when there are younger children in the house, the intellectual level gets "dumbed down" and therefore firstborns who share the home with other children are slightly less intelligent than firstborns who are only children. Asked what society should do about these findings, Sulloway answers, "Nothing." I agree. We firstborns tend to come out ahead and we'd like to keep it that way.

Thanks for the information Dinesh, it's reassuring, you're right. Obviously, I'm a firstborn too.

Relationships vs Achievements

Yesterday, as I was listening to the radio, a comment was made that people should start concentrating and working on their "people relationships" rather than spending a lot of their time on "achievements"...

Made me think though... I have a wonderful husband, 2 lovely kids, a loving family all-together, reliable and time-tested friends, I guess I've done a lot on people relationships. I'm pretty sure they wouldn't mind if I concentrated on achievements now.

Maybe, that would help me get to the "SELF" I've been trying to make "whole".

Monday, May 21, 2007

How to Nurture a Whiny Child

I read this article from Wonder Time --- how timely, I'm beginning to experience the Whining Years and I really like Dr Crowder's recommendation. I'll try this at home and see how it goes...

Your child winds up from a whimper, to a plea, to a whine — the sound surest to make a parent crack. A psychologist, a day care provider, and a mother offer a guided tour of the whine country.

Carolyn Crowder, Ph.D., co-author of Whining: 3 Steps to Stopping It Before the Tears and Tantrums Start, Tucson, Arizona:
"My three steps to stop whining are: consequences, assertiveness, and contribution. Consequences means whining gets a consistent no; even if whining in a restaurant means you get up and leave. Assertiveness means calmly telling a child what you expect from them; saying you know they can do better, which shows respect. Contribution means giving a child tasks that let him feel like he's making an important contribution to the family. All kids want to feel like they belong and have a say in the family. Feeling like you belong is an antidote to misbehavior."

Audra Jung, lead teacher, Seward Child-Care Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota:"One thing I see parents doing the right way is reflecting the emotion that the child is having. Validating their emotions, paying attention, and saying, 'I can see you're angry because you thought you were going to have more blocks,' is in effect saying, 'I can see you have something to tell me.' That's when you teach them the skills they need to communicate. Even 3-year-olds can have control of their emotions, but it takes coaching. They're not trying to make you mad: Some need is not being met. The wrong thing is to let the whining trigger you — that just shows that the parent is unable to deal with the situation."

Julie Comes, mother of Maddie, 10, Mikayla, 7, and Collin, 4, Lewistown, Montana:"When Collin's sisters are at school and we're alone, and I have to do something, then the whining comes — so we have a place where he goes and sits until he can talk to me in a 4-year-old voice. This works because he just likes to be included. Or I'll encourage him to use different voices. I'll say, 'Can I hear that in a monster voice?' With any of the kids, I try to redirect them from why they're frustrated. I'll make a funny face, and they'll laugh. Distract and refocus. Or if they stomp off, I'll say, 'Stomp for five more minutes.' Or if one of the girls sighs, I say, 'Sigh 20 times.' It ends up in a giggle fit."

Friday, May 11, 2007

Cleansing Me

Days 1 & 2 --- No meat, no dairy (thank you Soy, I lasted today), lots of juice, fruits and vegetables, 1 qt of distilled water, detox/cleanse/fiber capsules (morning and evening)

Days 3, 4 & 5 --- start lemon juice mixture (1 1/2 cups lemon juice, 1/3 - 1/2 cup maple syrup (grade B at Trader Joe's is the best for me, no solid foods (unless you feel really bad and nauseous or have a terrible headache, a banana or apple bites would be helpful)

Days 6 & 7 --- continue the capsules until gone, stop lemon mixture, start eating raw veggies and fruits, add whole grains to diet

Days 8 & 9 --- add yogurt & cottage cheese and small portions of fish, poultry or egg

Days 10 & onwards --- eat a sensible diet so you can live healthy and happy

Today I'm on Day 6 and I couldn't have imagined I could go through Days 3-5. The lowest point was Day 3. My body experienced a healing crisis (described in the website) I had headaches, my legs were crampy, I was irritable but managed to get through the day.... Day 4 was better but Day 5 was the best. My body got the hang of it and I guess I was so looking forward to today so I'm thinking a lot of it was in the mind! Bananas, apples and sugarless gum, helped me get through it and I survived! Survived and lost around 6-7 lbs. How great is that????!!!! Even if it's all water, it's still a good feeling and fact!

At lunch, I had to go to a birthday lunch with my team at work and we ate at Island's. I went ahead and looked up the menu even before going so I wouldn't be enticed to have any of the yummy food. Was so glad to find their version of Asian salad. I had that with my sesame dressing and the chicken on the side (more like aside since I really didn't eat the chicken and just had a little of the dressing)! YES, it was yummy!

The Change I've Been Waiting For

I decided that if I was meaning to change something in my life, the only person who can actually make that change would be no other but --- ME.

I've been telling myself that I would change my eating habits and go back to what I've actually started in 1998. Well, almost 10 years now and when I moved to the US in 1999, a year after and I was back to eating the not-so-good for me stuff. For at least a year, I turned myself into a semi-vegetarian person and I lost weight, felt good, but then that all went away. Recently, I haven't been feeling good, I felt that I've gained so much weight and have not been healthy at all. Gradually, since I had kids I've always wanted to start them fresh, providing healthy alternatives all the time. But I thought, I cannot preach what I don't practice, so I really have to work on something so that I can do this change. Like I said, I've been gradually shifting our kitchen into a healthier perspective. My kids drink non-RBST organic milk, they drink soy chocolate, soy cheese, organic fruits and vegetables, minimally processed turkey sausages, etc. They love carrots, brocolli, cucumber, and fruits! We use organic seasoning, sea salt, soymilk, olive or canola oil, whole grain bread, brown rice and lots of fruits and veggies all the time. So, what else do I need to change. A LOT.

So, I embarked on this Cleansing/Detox program courtesy of Kyle O'Hara
The concept is cleansing through juicing and detox/cleansing/fiber pills. It's a 3-day no-eating program but the routine takes you about 10 days until you can live a healthier yet fuller lifestyle.

Monday, April 30, 2007

I have found you....

I have found the bag, my Kate Spade bag... Hudson Street Francis in tobacco ... when will you find me??????

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


My little daughter has always been meticulous about different things. She's the one who would notice that her placemat's turned around, or her shoes or flip-flops are on the wrong side of her feet, or that her footwear were not next to each other where she's left them... she'll always make sure that her socks would be the same color as her shirt or skirt/pants, she's gotta have all her bling-blings when leaving the house (ring, necklace, bracelet), her hair needs to be fixed a certain way or have some clip or headband.... she gives up if her colorings went outside the black line, she gets mad if you bother her if she's working on something, oh, you better not interrupt her on anything... and I can go on and on and on....

Sometimes I'd think that she's really so cute still because she's young, then I keep wondering how it would be as she gets older... case in point, on the weekend, after she's gone to the potty (which she's perfected by the way, no accidents since), I put her in the bathtub to start bathing... I started fixing her room and bathroom at the same time giving her time to play in the tub...well, she starts shouting "Mommy, Mommy, I can't take a bath here!!!" So I go, "Why?" The little girl answers, "IT's NOT PERFECT!!!" Like, (I was so confused!) "What do you mean it's not perfect?" Then she says, "but it's DOIRTY!". Well, she saw the little black stuff that forms from dust that accumulates and a stain on the side of the tub from her bath toys! Lesson learned, Mommy needs to clean the bathtub and the whole bathroom I guess before our little princess gets in there, yes my 3 year old princess! AHHH!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Gawad Kalinga Inspiration

I've always stood by my belief that the Filipino is an invaluable race. We are God-fearing, loving people who care about our family, our environment and our children's future. The following inspires me as I rear my children towards the future --- I hope that when they are at my age, their concept of being Filipino would be one like that of Mr. Meloto's.

Tony Meloto, the visionary and driving force behind the Gawad Kalinga movement, is gifted with a Doctorate of Humanities, Honoris Causa, by the Ateneo de Davao. He then delivers a speech to the graduates of the university, a challenge actually, for patriotism and heroism. The same message will be given to eight other colleges and universities who have asked Tony Meloto to be their commencement speaker for 2007.

"The Filipino Spirit is Rising" Antonio Meloto
2007 Commencement Exercises Ateneo de Davao University

Today, I feel intelligent. Not only am I addressing some of the brightest minds in Mindanao, but I am also being honored by this prestigious university with a Doctorate in Humanities, Honoris Causa. This is the first doctorate that I have received and I am accepting it in all humility and pride as a recognition of the nobility of the cause and the heroism of the thousands of Gawad Kalinga workers that I represent. Thank you Fr. Ting Samson and Ateneo de Davao for bestowing the highest academic degree on a man who was born without a pedigree- the "askal" (asong kalye) who went to Ateneo and came back to the slums to help those he left behind.

To a person like myself who did not excel in Ateneo in my pursuit of a college degree, receiving this Ph. D. is extremely flattering being fully conscious that my principal role in this movement is to be the storyteller of the many who put in the sacrifice and the hard work and yet have remained mostly unrecognized. It is also exhilarating because it builds on the growing global awareness, triggered by Gawad Kalinga and other movements that have not given up on our country, that the Filipinos can and will build a squatter-free, slum- free and hunger- free Philippines by committing their collective genius, passion and strength towards restoring the dignity and the potential for excellence of the poor, the weak and the powerless.

The Filipino spirit today is rising wherever he is in the world. He is starting to discover that he has the power to liberate himself from being a slave of the past… that he can remove the label stuck to his soul as a second class people from a third world country… that he can correct the scandal of history of being the most corrupt in Asia despite being the only Christian nation, until East Timor, in the region.

In the right setting the Filipino has proven that he can be law- abiding, hardworking, honest and excellent.

Over the years, I have not met a Filipino beggar in my travel to the US, Canada and Australia…not a single beggar that I have seen or have heard of out of more than 2 million Filipinos in the US; many Caucasians, Afro- Americans and Latinos- yes- but no Filipinos. Clearly, it is not the nature of Filipinos to beg if he is in the right home and community environment. The mendicant culture in his native land is man- made and artificial and can therefore be unmade and corrected if we give him back his dignity which is his birthright as a son of God.

In the same vein, we know that the Filipino is not lazy. Time Magazine in its 2006 article on Happiness identifies the Filipino as one of the ethnic groups in America least likely to go on welfare. How many of us know of friends and relatives who would take on two or even three jobs in pursuit of their dreams for a better life. Hardworking when motivated, resilient when tested- that is the Filipino…that is us. It is no surprise therefore that the average income of the Filipino- Americans is higher that the US national average; the former slave is now richer than the master in his master's home country.

We must believe that we were designed for excellence. World- class Filipino doctors and nurses are healing the sick of America and Europe. Our sailors dominate the seas in every mode of marine transport for commerce and pleasure providing every imaginable form of service- and often always, they are the best navigators, the best chefs, the best entertainers. Thriving economies in Asia carry the mark of Filipino managerial expertise in their start-up stage. Filipino CEOs, CFOs, COOs captain top multinational corporations carrying on the proud expat tradition of SGV's Washington Sycip, PLDT-SMART's Manny Pagnilinan, P&G's Manny Pacis and many others.

Sadly, we are top of the line, crème de la crème, the best of the best elsewhere in the world except in our homeland. While the Jews and the Arabs were busy building abundance out of their desert, we were busy creating a desert out of our abundance. Let us put a stop to our inanity and hypocrisy.

Let us stop cracking jokes about our shame and misery. Instead let us celebrate with our hard work and integrity the return of our honor and pride as a gifted people, blessed by God with this beautiful land. Let us honor every great deed, every sacrifice, and every kindness that we extend to our disadvantaged and needy countrymen. Let us put an end to our lamentation. We have suffered long enough. For 400 years, we have been gnashing our teeth, blaming one another, stepping on each other and yet have the temerity at the end of the day to ask God why this is happening as if it was His fault. It is now time to hope, to care, to work together and to rejoice.

Yes, we will rise as a nation if we nurture this emerging beautiful spirit of the Filipino and cultivate an intelligent heart. How? When we show our love for God by being our brother's keeper- giving land to the landless, homes to the homeless and food to the hungry. This is about love and justice in a country where the majority of our people are landless, millions of them living in shanties and slums and 17% of them experiencing hunger in a rich and fertile land. This is not about charity but about authentic Christian stewardship and nation- building.

We will rise as a nation when rich Filipinos will consider the poor as an heir, like our youngest child, equal in worth and dignity with our own children, deserving an equal share in our children's inheritance. A beautiful spirit and an intelligent heart consider the poor as family, see the face of Christ in them, and see the paradise that every slum community can become. That is why every GK home is beautifully painted and the standard of landscaping of every GK village is Ayala Alabang or Ladislawa in the case of Davao. When we build first world communities for the poorest Filipino, we give them dignity and first world aspirations that will motivate them to dream bigger and work harder with support and nurturing. A recent study of GK Brookside, Payatas conducted by the UP Diliman College of Economics revealed an amazing result – the confidence and self- respect of the residents, many of them former scavengers, rose from 17% before GK to 99% after GK; 93% consider themselves better off in terms of quality of life and 96% believe that their economic situation will improve in the future. Clearly the spirit of the poor is rising because those with the most share their best with the least.

This nation will rise if her sons and daughters abroad will see wisdom in helping not just their relatives, which is an admirable Filipino trait, but also the poor they do not know who need help the most. Last night, I arrived from a 1- week trip to the U.S. for the world premiere in Chicago of "Paraiso", the Gawad Kalinga movie, and to attend GK events in Los Angeles and Las Vegas. The movie was a big hit but the bigger hit for me was the phenomenal response of our patriots in America to help the motherland by building self-reliant and sustainable GK communities. The UST Medical Alumni Association of America Board was planning not just building more houses but also hospitals and community health programs through Gawad Kalusugan. USTMAA president Dr. Primo Andres is building a beautiful GK Village for his wife, Sylvia in Panabo, Davao where she comes from as an expression of his deep affection for her. Another Davaoeno, former Cabinet Secretary Cito Lorenzo, joined me in booming Las Vegas to honor Filipino entertainers and realtors who are investing in the rebuilding of their home country. Passion for the Philippines was evident everywhere I went. From successful young San Diego businessman Tony Olaes who spoke about sleepless nights in his excitement to help fund 20 new GK villages with his Filipino business partners to the SouthCal Ancop Sikad Bikers pedaling to build Sibol Schools and the Bayanihan Builders who are retired professionals in Los Angeles repairing homes of neighbors to raise resources to build homes in Bicol, to the 8 nurses in NorCal working extra shifts to fund their individual GK villages. The Filipino exile is waking up and starting to unleash a stream of Patriot Funds that will augment the OFW flow in fuelling the Philippine economy.

Today, I am here to salute the beautiful spirit and the intelligent heart of the people of Mindanao. Many of our volunteers here, like many in other parts of the country, build homes for the poor when they themselves do not own land or home. Christians here starting with caretakers from Couples for Christ set aside fear and comfort to serve our fellow Filipinos in Camp Abubakar and other Moslem GK communities. Your students are going out of the classrooms to learn about life and love of God and country by serving in poor communities. The LGU of Davao led by Mayor Duterte and many throughout Mindanao are doing massive land banking in solidarity with our conviction that no Filipino deserves to be a squatter in his own country. And many families here are starting to understand that giving a part of their land to give dignity and security to the landless and homeless poor is not only right with God but also builds peace, triggers economic activity, improves land values- createsa win- win situation for all.

And to you my dear graduates, what can I say? Congratulations of course for finishing what you began and for joining the ranks of the elite few of the Filipinos with a college degree. I thank your parents for their sacrifice and for giving us sons and daughters who will steward this country better than us. You are entering adult life equipped with a degree from a respected university at an auspicious time in the life of our country. It is your destiny to reach maturity during this great season of hope, this exciting time of awakening, this period of great challenge and heroism. You have the choice and the opportunity to correct the mistakes of our generation and build a future full of hope in this country. You can be the new breed of political leaders who will gain your mandate through visible and quantifiable performance, rather than mastery of the art of winning elections through cheating and corruption. You can be the new captains of business and industry who will work for profit with a conscience, expanding the market base by wisely investing in developing the potential of the poor for productivity. You can be the new elite of this country who will not be happy to send your children to exclusive schools and live in exclusive subdivisions if out of school street children are ignored and Lazarus continues to live as a squatter outside your gates. Who can stop us from claiming our Promised Land? Spain is not our master anymore. America is not our master anymore. Japan is not our master anymore. Our enemies are not the corrupt politicians, the greedy rich, the lazy poor, the religious hypocrites and other convenient scapegoats. Our enemies are not out there anymore. Our enemies are now within us. We have compromised our values and tolerated corruption. We have lowered our standard and tolerated poverty. We have sacrificed the truth for hypocrisy. We have chosen convenience for vision, popularity for leadership…and have chosen despair over hope. Do we fight or do we run? Is there a King Leonides among you who will fight for honor and freedom? Are there 300 Spartans among you who will confront our enemies with extraordinary courage and love? Can you be the army who will lead our people to victory following the path of peace? Are you the generation of patriots who can shout to the world that no Filipino will remain poor because you will not allow it; that no Filipino will remain a squatter because you will not allow it; that no politician will remain corrupt because you will not allow it? If you are, then join us in Gawad Kalinga.

Together, we can build a great nation, first world in the eyes of God and respected by other great nations. Godspeed to you our patriots and heroes. God bless our beloved Philippines.

Monday, March 26, 2007

The Daffodil Principle

The company I work at support fundraising drives for the American Cancer Society. An annual fundraising that I've been participating in is Daffodil Days --- "Give hope. Give daffodils."

Several times my daughter had telephoned to say, "Mother, you must come to see the daffodils before they are over." I wanted to go, but it was a two-hour drive from Laguna to Lake Arrowhead "I will come next Tuesday", I promised a little reluctantly on her third call.
Next Tuesday dawned cold and rainy. Still, I had promised, and reluctantly I drove there. When I finally walked into Carolyn's house I was welcomed by the joyful sounds of happy children. I delightedly hugged and greeted my grandchildren.
"Forget the daffodils, Carolyn! The road is invisible in these clouds and fog, and there is nothing in the world except you and these children that I want to see badly enough to drive another inch!"
My daughter smiled calmly and said, "We drive in this all the time, Mother." "Well, you won't get me back on the road until it clears, and then I'm heading for home!" I assured her.
"But first we're going to see the daffodils. It's just a few blocks," Carolyn said. "I'll drive. I'm used to this."
"Carolyn," I said sternly, "Please turn around." "It's all right, Mother, I promise. You will never forgive yourself if you miss this experience."
After about twenty minutes, we turned onto a small gravel road and I saw a small church. On the far side of the church, I saw a hand lettered sign with an arrow that read, "Daffodil Garden." We got out of the car, each took a child's hand, and I followed Carolyn down the path. Then, as we turned a corner, I looked up and gasped. Before me lay the most glorious sight.

It looked as though someone had taken a great vat of gold and poured it over the mountain peak and its surrounding slopes. The flowers were planted in majestic, swirling patterns, great ribbons and swaths of deep orange, creamy white, lemon yellow, salmon pink, and saffron and butter yellow. Each different-colored variety was planted in large groups so that it swirled and flowed like its own river with its own unique hue. There were five acres of flowers. "Who did this?" I asked Carolyn. "Just one woman," Carolyn answered. "She lives on the property. That's her home." Carolyn pointed to a well-kept A-frame house, small and modestly sitting in the midst of all that glory. We walked up to the house. On the patio, we saw a poster. "Answers to the Questions I Know You Are Asking", was the headline. The first answer was a simple one. "50,000 bulbs," it read. The second answer was, "One at a time, by one woman Two hands, two feet, and one brain." The third answer was, "Began in 1958"
For me, that moment was a life-changing experience. I thought of this woman whom I had never met, who, more than forty years before, had begun, one bulb at a time, to bring her vision of beauty and joy to an obscure mountaintop. Planting one bulb at a time, year after year, this unknown woman had forever changed the world in which she lived. One day at a time, she had created something of extraordinary magnificence, beauty, and inspiration. The principle her daffodil garden taught is one of the greatest principles of celebration.

That is, learning to move toward our goals and desires one step at a time--often just one baby-step at time--and learning to love the doing, learning to use the accumulation of time. When we multiply tiny pieces of time with small increments of daily effort, we too will find we can accomplish magnificent things. We can change the world ....
"It makes me sad in a way," I admitted to Carolyn. "What might I have accomplished if I had thought of a wonderful goal thirty-five or forty years ago and had worked away at it 'one bulb at a time' through all those years? Just think what I might have been able to achieve!"
My daughter summed up the message of the day in her usual direct way. "Start tomorrow," she said.
She was right. It's so pointless to think of the lost hours of yesterdays. The way to make learning a lesson of celebration instead of a cause for regret is to only ask, "How can I put this to use today?"

Use the Daffodil Principle. Stop waiting.....

Until your car or home is paid off
Until you get a new car or home
Until your kids leave the house
Until you go back to school
Until you finish school
Until you clean the house
Until you organize the garage
Until you clean off your desk
Until you lose 10 lbs.
Until you gain 10 lbs.
Until you get married
Until you get a divorce
Until you have kids
Until the kids go to school
Until you retire
Until summer
Until spring
Until winter
Until fall
Until you die...

There is no better time than right now to be happy.
Happiness is a journey, not a destination.
So work like you don't need money.
Love like you've never been hurt, and, Dance like no one's watching.
If you want to brighten someone's day, pass this on to someone special.
I just did!

Wishing you a beautiful, daffodil day!
Don't be afraid that your life will end, be afraid that it will never begin.

Monday, March 19, 2007

You Raise Me Up

since my mom passed, everything's just been kind of plain
i don't even know if i've gone through the grieving stage
or am i just entering into
more and more i feel her absence whenever certain things happen around me
she used to be my punching bag of sorts...
whenever i've had some disagreements with my other half
i'd call her, even just to let out steam
i'd chat with her, if only to migrate my mind into other realities
or, i'd think about her to try and see how she would've handled the same situation...
with my kids, when i'm not sure on how to deal with them, i'd ask her
or even just to brag about something they've done that's impressive
or even just to share their "growing up"
or mainly, just to laugh with her about the crazy things they do
i guess, i'm really just starting to miss my mom
and i won't be surprised if this goes on and on and on....

here are some lines to a song that makes me remember my
mom all the more...but i love it because it does make my
memory of her alive in me...

"when i am down and, oh my soul, so weary
when troubles come and my heart burdened be
then, i am still and wait here in the silence
until you come and sit a while with me

you raise me up, so i can stand on mountains
you raise me up, to walk on stormy seas
i am strong, when i am on your shoulders
you raise me up... to more than i can be"

i know i can move on, as mommy will always raise me up
to more than i can be. i love you Mommy!

Monday, March 12, 2007


Today’s not a very good day
I haphazardly sent out a confidential email
Without password protecting it
My mind’s a blur
I keep jumping from one topic to the other
Maybe I should just go home
My mind is at a shallow stage
I can’t seem to analyze anything
Everything I do, all seems to be half-baked
Maybe, I should just go home
But I can’t
I guess this is what happens
When you don’t put closure
To things that transpired over the weekend
Arguments that never got discussed
Feelings that were never let out
Tears that never flowed down
Too many pieces in a puzzle
Still unsolved
Still left out

Still waiting to be put together….
A Balancing Act columns, featuring interviews with mothers with high-profile careers, is a good read all around.

This piece of advice from Gloria Feldt:
Share your work with your kids daily as a gift to them. Let them be part of it because it is part of you and who you are, and kids want to know that.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Am I an Insightful Linguist?

It's a Monday so don't blame me. I ended up answering's IQ test and here's what I found out:

You scored 127 on Tickle's IQ test. This means that based on your answers, your IQ score is between
117 and 127. Most people's IQs are between 70 and 130

Because of the way you process information, these are just some of the many careers in which you could excel:
Graphic designer
Public speaker

You've got tons of strengths. It wouldn't surprise us if you:
Can clarify complex issues
Can bring new insight to ideas through their fresh perspective
Are good at leading teams

Now let's look at the factors that contribute to you being an Insightful Linguist with a 127 IQ score. Based on the results of your test, Tickle divided your scores into four distinguishable dimensions — mathematical intelligence, visual-spatial intelligence, linguistic intelligence and logic intelligence.

You scored in the 80th percentile on the mathematical intelligence scale.This means that you scored higher than 70% - 80% of people who took the test and that 20% - 30% scored higher than you did. Your mathematical intelligence score represents your combined ability to reason and calculate. You scored relatively high, which means you're probably the one your friends look to when splitting the lunch bill or calculating your waitresses' tip. You may or may not be known as a math whiz, but number crunching might come a little easier to you than it does others. (I welcome this information about me as I always thought that I wasn't good in math, however, this could've been a direct result of my constant practice as a Mom --- you know, balancing the checkbook and paying bills monthly!)

You scored in the 100th percentile on the visual-spatial intelligence scale.This means that you scored higher than 90% - 100% of people who took the test and that 0% - 10% scored higher than you did. The visual-spatial component of intelligence measures your ability to extract a visual pattern and from that envision what should come next in a sequence. Your score was relatively high, which could mean that you're the one navigating the map when you're on an outing with friends. You have, in some capacity, an ability to think in pictures. Maybe this strength comes out in subtle ways, like how you play chess or form metaphors. (now, this explains why I am always the navigator on family trips)

You scored in the 90th percentile on the linguistic intelligence scale.This means that you scored higher than 80% - 90% of people who took the test and that 10% - 20% scored higher than you did. Linguistic abilities include reading, writing and communicating with words. Tickle's test measures knowledge of vocabulary, ease in completing word analogies and the ability to think critically about a statement based on its semantic structure. Your score was relatively high, which could mean you know your way around a bookstore and maybe like to bandy about the occasional 25-cent word to impress friends. (I'm sure my work attests to this, I wouldn't be in Contracts if I was poor in this area)

You scored in the 40th percentile on the logical intelligence scale.This means that you scored higher than 30% - 40% of people who took the test and that 60% - 70% scored higher than you did. Tickle's logical intelligence questions assess your ability to think things through. The questions determine the extent to which you use reasoning and logic to determine the best solution to a problem. Your logic score was relatively low, which could mean that when the IKEA furniture arrives sans instructions, you're more likely than others throw in the towel and have a friend to do it for you. (this doesn't come as a surprise, I would rather just experiment than follow manual instructions!)

You have an uncanny ability to work your way out of sticky situations using your talent with words. Crossword puzzles, debates — you're particularly well equipped to come out on top since you can read people well. Like Charles Dickens, your verbal skills go far beyond having a good vocabulary. Dickens' genius was in the artful and descriptive way he crafted sentences. Also Dickensian, is your keen eye for detail and your adeptness for identifying the best way to express an idea based on your given surroundings and circumstances. Your ability to communicate your vision clearly will take you far. So enjoy being perceptive, and make the most of your abilities as an insightful linguist.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

What Really Happened

A glimpse of Mommy’s last days with her family in the US ---

It was early 2005, at the tail end of our 2 month vacation in the Philippines, when my Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. A few days after returning to the US, I found myself on a plane heading back to Manila for my Mom’s surgery. The successful operation was followed with alternative and homeopathic therapies instead of chemotherapy or radiation. Her decision against chemo & radiation was brought about by her heart condition, as she was recovering from a stroke in 2001, and a history of hypertension.

My parents finally migrated to the US on December 1, 2006. My Mom had lost a considerable amount of weight from the last time I saw her. She would occasionally complain of difficulty breathing and of getting tired easily. There were days when she'll get over it and other days, we'd provide her with respiratory treatments. My dad said that in the past 3-4 mos, she’s been on pain medication for soreness or pain in her back.

In spite of her condition, I witnessed how my Mom managed to ignore any pain and put on her best smile and laughter as she spent those December days with my 2 daughters. She enjoyed her days just being around them, playing “teacher” to them, reading to them, singing with them and watching them perform songs, pretend plays and ballet dances for her. This was all she ever wished for- to enjoy the company of her “apos” (grandchildren).

On New Year's Eve, we brought Mommy to the UC Davis emergency room due to difficulty breathing where she was immediately put into a ventilator. Several chest x-rays and a cat-scan revealed fluid and suspicious and abnormal cells on her chest and lungs. She was kept in the ICU as doctors drained the fluid and treated her for possible infection and pneumonia. On January 2, they tested if they could extubate her but her lungs failed the test so they waited another day. On that same day, we were apprised of her condition while we initiated an emergency visa request for my brother in the Philippines. My Mom’s doctors said that she neither had infection nor pneumonia but that the cancer has metastasized from her breast to her lungs and even to her bones. She had Stage 4 cancer that was very aggressive. Despite this, she passed the second breathing test and the doctor was to extubate her. Before doing so, the doctors explained to her that her lungs may not function satisfactorily and that there is a possibility of putting her in the ventilator again. She said that she did not want the tube back.

A few minutes after the tube was removed, it was apparent that my Mom could not breathe on her own and was gasping for breath. It was so painful for me to see her that way and so I asked her again if she wanted the tube back but she said no, mumbling “walang silbi” (there's no use). I begged to her telling her that without the tube, she would not be able to breathe, and she answered, “mamatay nalang” (I'll just go/die). Mommy’s decision was very difficult for me to hear and accept. Yet, I had to respect it.

Through faith and love for Mommy, we submitted her to God's care --- she was given comfort care (oxygen, morphine, and sedatives) from around 1230 pm. She stayed a little longer to listen to our messages, to which she shed tears especially when she heard Bea's "mahal na mahal kita Lola Mommy” (I love you very very very much) and my brother's voice (saying I love you) on the phone. She passed on peacefully at 9 am in the morning of January 4th (California time).

We are accepting God's will now and my Mom's requests throughout her fight against the disease. We know that the 30 days she spent with her granddaughters certainly meant a thousand days to her. Together with my dad and my brother who was able to come to the US to be with us, we will lay Mommy’s body to rest knowing that her spirit is now in God's bosom and that all her wishes have been granted.


A Message for Mommy

January 19, 2007

As we lay Mommy’s body to its final rest, I would like to go back and remember exactly what I have learned from Mommy’s life here on earth. Her legacy, I should say. Her life, has been pictured by all the stories we’ve heard today, of how she’s affected the lives of the people around her, and through how each one of us who had the chance to know her have seen her live her life.

Words would not be enough to describe Mommy, all her dreams and aspirations, not just for herself, but for us, her children. Having come from humble roots, she dreamt of living a good and comfortable life. I believe this has been her driving force to improve on whatever she already had. She valued her education because she knew that this will allow her to achieve her dreams. And in working towards her dreams, she showed her determination to only be the best in whatever she was doing.

Mommy had a very strong character and that’s why she has always been my pillar and strength. She is my inspiration for achieving what I have and will still achieve in my life. She has instilled in her children, both my brother and I, the value of education. I remember her saying that there is nothing that she could leave us with in this world, but EDUCATION. She always said, “walang katumbas na kayamanan ang EDUKASYON”. Indeed, she and Daddy strived their very best to send us only to the best private schools and then to the premiere university in the Philippines. They supported us all throughout school, knowing that if we went to the best schools and got our degrees, they can let go of us into the world knowing that we would be in good places, wherever we are. Now that I have my own family, this legacy from my Mom would be my inspiration to work hard so that I can also provide my children with the best education.

While growing up, Mommy had always told me that we should CHOOSE our FRIENDS. Knowing my very friendly and trusting character, she always reminded me that not everyone I meet is my friend. For only true friends shine in the darkest of times. I did not understand this when I was younger, but now that I am older; I realize how true her statement was. Indeed, my Mom and my Dad have been surrounded by true friends, who have survived the test of time. These are friends whose lives they have touched by always being there for them, both in good and bad times --- by being there when no one else could be, and by being available to them during the most trying of times. I can attest to her statement now, for indeed, her true friends have surfaced to provide myself, Daddy, and my brother the comfort we need, now that Mommy has passed on.

Mommy will always be my moral conscience. She has always taught me about the love of God and that moral integrity is the utmost building block of one’s character. She never supported any blurry tactics or “panloloko”. She would always tell me that what I do NOW would reflect on me as I live life towards the future. Thus, when faced with doubt in decisions I need to make, I only ask one question, “Will Mommy approve of this?” Only if I can say YES will I know that I have made the right decision.

After Mommy’s passing, a friend of mine said, “Your Mom left a beautiful legacy, and that is YOU.” I can only smile and agree to this statement because I know, that I will continue living my life, based on these 3 things that Mommy has instilled in me --- the value of education, the value of having true friends and of helping others, and the love of God. These, my Mom’s beautiful legacy, I intend to pass on to her granddaughters.