My friend Emma showed me the article of her beloved son, Ariel Llanto who passed away last December, 9 2005. Ariel had hepatosplenic gamma delta T-cell lymphoma, a rare and particularly aggressive disease and lived barely one month after the diagnosis. His April 27 article on the Inquirer’s Young Blood was about Leaving Manila. As a Cebuana who studied college in Manila during the mid seventies, Ariel ‘s observations was evident during my time.

I started to uncover social nuances at school. I have vivid memories of roaming around the campus, trawling for evidence of the disparities, in particular, between the way Cebuanos and Manileños spoke. I winced at the sound of the Tagalog accent and words finding their way to English statements. Many girls — and, to my horror, guys — spoke like Kris Aquino.

An amusing breed, known as ““coños,” acted as if they didn’t know how to speak straight Tagalog, opting to communicate in a mangled mish-mash of Tagalog and English (““Taglish”).

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TurqSpin.gifI’ve been dying to join a [tag]belly dancing[/tag] class ever since my daughter first introduced the idea to me four years ago. Finally after signing a petition, Fitness First The Fort launched “Belly Dancing” wednesday classes. I was late for the 10:00 AM class and ended up watching the women move their bodies to Egyptian music. How exotic.

I caught up with the teacher at the locker area and she said that I can still catch up. She’ll bring colorful hip belts next week for only 700 pesos ($14.00). It costs 750 pesos in Market! Market!

I was brimming with excitement and teased my husband.

“And once I learn the rudiments, I can practice belly dance in front of you.

My second daughter overheard me and shrieked, “I didn’t hear that! How disgusting!

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“You provoked me”, the wife-beater smugly said.

“It is still no reason to hit me” protested the wife.

This is a common conversation that occurs between the wife beater and the [tag]abused woman[/tag]. Wife beaters have a specific pattern that can be seen early in a relationship.

Abusive men often are highly romantic, sweet and protective early in their relationships. They lavish their women gifts during courtship. For them, women are trophies to be won over and objects to possess, and not people to enter equal partnerships with.

This cycle of abuse can be broken if women know how to empower themselves. The new law, Republic Act (RA) 9262 ““Anti-Violence Against Women and Children is not against men. It is against men who treat their women as property.

The following is a true story of how Republic Act (RA) 9262 is working for a battered wife, a close friend who narrated the following events to me (names and certain situations changed):

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1.jpgCreatively-challenged me had a great time at our monthly Compassionate Friends meeting. Instead of our usual sharing sessions, we turned it into a family activity involving [tag]art therapy[/tag]. Cathy arranged a special session with Color Me Mine Philippines just for our group.

laur0.jpgFor this meeting, I also invited my daughter, Lauren. My other daughter had a singing performance so she begged off. Lauren brought her boyfriend along to the meeting with us (We allow a bereaved family member to bring a friend to the first meeting ).

She giggled as she sat down:
Wouldn’t it be funny if someone will approach us and ask how we lost a loved one?“.

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Why are you sending her away?

Oh dear. Am I a bad mother? I thought. My husband called out from the dining room as I was busy fixing the food for my second daughter in the kitchen. M planned to move in to her friend’s apartment near the UP campus. See, she’s taking summer classes coupled with daily singing rehearsals. I tell you, her schedule is crazy. Classes start at 7:00 AM and her rehearsals end at 10:00 PM. Driving from Makati to Quezon City was out of the question. It’s not the gasoline expense . My time is wasted because of our stupid traffic jams. I can do more productive work like fixing the house or letting my business grow instead of getting stuck in traffic. But no…our traffic is so bad that 3 hours of my daily life is wasted down the drain just driving to and fro Makati and Quezon City. Hiring a driver is out of the question. I can’t afford it. Besides, drivers need to rest too.

You know how tiring it is for me to drive back and forth. I said. She needs to be semi-independent. When I was her age, I had no mother to take care of me. I had to mother myself.

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Even if I only stayed for the morning, I had a great time at the iblog 2 summit (view me here and here). Thank you to the organizers of the iblog 2 summit. You all did a great job. Really, a huge success in terms of registrants and quality of the speakers. (View gallery). I don’t have the figures yet but the room was standing room only . We had to get additional chairs. iblog2.jpg I happened to be the moderator of the Personal Blogging Panel and met Joel Yuvienco, Anton de Leon and Mike Abundo. They are so funny and perfectly suited for their topics. Mike Abundo innovated his open forum. He asked for volunteer bloggers to show off their blogs. In turn, Mike recommended strategies to improve the marketing effectiveness of the blog.

My daughter, Lauren just got in the room just before Mike closed the open forum. She readily volunteered her blog. Mike thinks that Lauren has too many “chicklets” in her side navigation. Guess what “chicklets” are!
(photo courtesy of Disini’s gallery)

Lauren protested , ” But I like the “chicklets

I couldn’t stay till the end of the summit because I had to fix some legal problems. Glad to have also met Abe Olandres and Manuel Viloria, JJ Disini, and Adrian Sison. Incidentally, Adrian is about to launch his book on RA 9262 (Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004) this coming June.

And the perks: An iblog2 t-shirt and a Certificate of Appreciation. How sweet.

Rebecca Mackinnon and Dr. Ronald Meinardus

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I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.” (John11:25,25)


I’ve written this many times before. My 6 year old son placed so much faith in eternal life. A month before he died, he bounced up and down on his bed and yelled out loud. With joy and excitement…

“When I die, I will be alive again”

It gives me hope that one day Luijoe and my family will be reunited in heaven with God. [tag]Resurrection day[/tag] or [tag]Easter day[/tag] reminds us that we will have life after we die – a resurrected life in heaven for eternity with Jesus!

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16)

Do you believe in eternal life? Do you believe that our life on earth is a temporary place and our real home is heaven?

May today remind us not only of our Lord’s resurrection but also that of our precious children. Happy Resurrection Day!

Even just the expectation of a mirthful laughter involved in watching your favorite funny movie has some very surprising and significant neuroendocrine/hormone effects. That’s what this paper “”Beta-Endorphin and HGH increase are associated with both the anticipation and experience of mirthful laughter,” stated. Earlier experiments showed that viewing a favorite funny video can offset symptoms of chronic stress, which can suppress various components of the immune responses, particularly those related to anti-viral and anti-tumor defenses.

No wonder my body seeks comedy shows. My hubby knows me better now that whenever the American Idol season starts, I watch it with the anticipation of great entertainment. Naturally, laughter ensues when singer-wannabes become delusionary. Hehehe.

He enjoys hearing the sound of my shrill laughter. Every night, my family and myself watch the “Jacks” Comedy channel and the late night talk shows of “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” and “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” .

What I miss the most are the original jokes of my brothers, Oscar and Ruben (bless their souls!). My family of origin loves to laugh and I thought it was normal to have loud laughter and noise during dinner. Yes, I grew up in a noisy family where song and dance followed after dinner. Good thing our house was located in a huge lot and neighbors were far apart. It came as a culture shock to me when I married a husband whose family was let’s say…quiet. Not much humor. So when my second daughter took after my family’s genes , my hubby often warned her to lower her voice in front of his mother. Oh boy! That used to cause marital conflict. But that soon came to pass after I set my foot down . There is nothing wrong with laughter during appropriate times.

“Why do you think Reader’s Digest has claimed that ‘Laughter is the Best Medicine’ for so many years?”

Hubby has now learned to laugh along with us. There’s nothing like a family who laughs together.

beyond the great wall (View enlarged book cover) Alma Miclat, a friend and co-founder of The Compassionate Friends finally gave me the date for the book launch of their book, “Beyond the Great Wall”. It’s a family journal written by award winning writer, Mario Miclat, his wife, Alma and daughters, Maningning and Banaue. Maningning died a few months after my son’s death in 2000. Unlike me, Alma transformed her grief by starting the Maningning Foundation, whose mission is to recognize, nurture and promote Asian, especially Filipino artists 28 years and below through awards and creative programs. I hope you drop by the book launch to meet Mario and Alma Miclat and eventually buy their book. The book promises to be an interesting read . For 15 years, Alma’s family lived in the shadows of the Great Wall.

Here is the press release:

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catpeeping.jpgA few days ago, as I pulled to the driveway I noticed a cat sitting on its hind legs near the gate. How cute!, Lauren yelled “A rabbit!“. I said No , “it’s a cat” I grabbed my camera phone and took a picture. Lauren wasn’t satisfied . She snatched my cellphone , got off the car and quietly tiptoped towards the kitty. This orange bundle of fur seemed to be staring at the bushes in our garden. I caught sight of Lady, one of our [tag]pet cats[/tag] looking at the same direction as the orange kitty. Hmm, no wonder.

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