momandme.jpgThe day Lauren wrote her essay on “Generation Next, Generation Net” 11 years ago, I had no idea I’d end up being a blogger just like her. During those days, diarist or online journallers were relegated to the twenty something and below. Moms did not blog. Our kids must have been so influential in inspiring moms like me to blog. I am not alone. Take a look at JAngelo and his mom, Dine or Aaron Roselo and his mom blogging at AMomandMore.

Having read Lauren’s blog for many years sublimally prepared me for the launch of my blog 10 years later after she started in 1996. Let me count the ways:

1. Content (Good and Original) is King.

Good content shows the blogger’s own personality and flavor. Her story-telling style made it very interesting for her readers of all ages. Good content built a strong readership which she continues to enjoy until the present time. The power of stories to connect, captivate and persuade, creates a great way to grab hold of a reader.

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country homeThe green landscape just took my breath away as we drove on to the countryside. The gust of wind sent a shiver down my spine. I love this place, I thought as we inspected the Sta. Rosa property in Laguna. The fresh countryside air is the best gift that I can ever give my family. Three family members are asthma prone and this is the ideal family home for us, as I hugged my husband. The year was January 2000. While my husband and I poured over the layout of the house, Luijoe was a bit distressed to see that he had his own room which I labeled “Luijoe”. He took my pencil and wrote Luijoe in OUR bedroom. “That’s where I am going to sleep”, he showed an impish grin.

Oh well, he is not ready to move to his own room. I looked at my husband.

Luijoe ran to the cul-de sac and romped on the greenery beside the house as it was slowly being constructed. The move to our country home was scheduled for April 2001.

The plan was simple enough. Lauren and M will finish high school somewhere in the south of Manila while Luijoe would study in Don Bosco at Sta. Rosa. When the girls are in college, they will live in dormitories and drive home for a weekend stay in our country home.

Destiny had other plans for us.

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Traffic was unusually light that Friday Morning. Maningning reached the Far Eastern University from Diliman in less than an hour. Maningning plucked a stem of bougainvillea at the trellis and carried it with her as she greeted the clerk seated at the office on the ground floor of the Institute of Architecture and Fine Arts. She then took the elevator to the seventh floor where her class usually met. The quiz she would give today would be unlike all others.

She was fifty minutes too early. The Brigada Siete TV crew, which featured her later, took a picture of the flowers she left in the women’s comfort room. She walked along the corridor. To one side was the row of empty classrooms, to the other were the railings that guarded people from falling to the empty space below. I should think her heels ached, because stunned witnesses claimed that she removed her shoes. Wings grew from where she felt the pain. The wings lifted her to the railing where she sat for a while facing the classroom walls, to her back the gaping space into her underworld. I imagine how she imagined wings growing from her pained heart. She lifted her head and prepared to lie in the air. But hearts in pain do not grow wings. She fell to the awning six floors below. She was twenty eight.

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Every time I am invited to a new media event, I seek M’s opinion. “Do you think so-and-so event is worth attending?”. And if M is really gung-ho over it, she’d go “mom, it’s an excuse to go out of the house”. See, I don’t want to waste my time in an event if the product/service won’t add intrinsic value to my blogs. I could make better use of my precious time by working on my passive income-generating sites. So far the new media events of the past week were all fun, hip but too expensive.

1. Philippine School of Interior Design Graduation Exhibit dubbed as ““Forty, Filipino, and Fabulous”
interior_design 076.jpgLast Friday was the press preview of the Philippine School of Interior Design (PSID) Advanced Class of 2007 graduation exhibit dubbed as ““Forty, Filipino, and Fabulous” which is mounted in cooperation with the Chamber of Furniture Industries of the Philippines (CFIP). You can watch this exhibit starting September 29- October 31 , at the Paseo Center, Paseo de Roxas cor. Sedeno st., Salcedo Village, Makati City. If you’re in the lookout for an interior designer, you might be able to choose from among the graduating students exhibiting their work from the 19 booths. My favorite was this bathroom called “Salapid” which is a representation of the modern Filipino couple’s sanctuary. See, the problem with a His and Hers bathroom is that if your hubby takes too long to use the bath, you end up waiting for hours on end. The solution is to get inside the bathroom with him, lounge on this “modern interpretation of the sulihiya” chair and relax. View the 19 booths through the Photos of the ““Forty, Filipino, and Fabulous” Exhibit

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siblingsThis photo was two months after Luijoe’s death. Here are my two daughters in their early teens about to release balloons on Luijoe’s 7th birth Anniversary. The sunny skies greeted us as we celebrated that day with balloons, his favorite gummy bear, flowers , candles and incense sticks. All of us signed something on the smiley balloon by Luijoe’s grave. As I look at this photo, I could not imagine my children’s grief until many years after. This was how Lauren expressed her grief 3 years after the death of her brother:

Everyone has their own way of dealing with grief. I chose to deal with my sadness through writing down what I felt in my journal. I suppose I could have talked to my friends about it, but I knew in my heart that they could not comprehend the magnitude of my sorrow and guilt unless they themselves have experienced death, which they haven’t.

During my bereavement, one thing that exasperated me was when people would tell me things like, ‘At least your brother is an angel in heaven now.’ Though I know they meant well by these attempts to comfort me, I did not want to picture Luijoe hovering in and out of the clouds with a pair of wings and a halo. I wanted him to be alive, to be as annoying as little brothers are; anywhere but inside a wooden casket buried six feet under a fine carpet of Bermuda grass.

Grief is a never-ending process. The beautiful thing about grieving is that even though you will never get over the death of your loved one, you will learn to move on and live without that person. Death like any great wound leaves a scar that will heal with time. But the mark will always remain, and so will the memories of your loved one.

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Please join the survey on Filipino Bloggers (this is the last one, promise!)

My daughter and her groupmates are a group of Psychology undergraduate students from the University of the Philippines, Diliman. For their final study in Psychology 118 class (Field Methods in Psychology), they would like to explore the blogging phenomenon in the Philippines. To that end, they are asking your help to fill out this survey that will help them understand what motivates you to blog, how blogging has helped you and how much of yourself is present in your blogs.

They need 250 bloggers by Wednesday.

1. Must be a Filipino by blood or citizenship
2. Must be residing in the Philippines
3. Must own and maintain a personal blog

They would like to assure you that they will respect your privacy, and will render all results anonymous. All blog URLs will be deleted after this study is completed. At the end of the survey, you have the option of receiving the survey results.

If you have any questions about this survey, please email them at: [email protected]

Once again, please join the survey on Filipino Bloggers.

Thanks for your help!

Loida LewisYesterday, I caught up with Loida Nicolas Lewis at her condo somewhere in Makati just before her flight to New York. I have heard so much about her as an industrialist and philanthropist. It was my task to interview her for a University of the Philippines’ (UP) centennial book project to be launched next year for the 100th anniversary of the state university. I read up on her before our meeting to make sure that I didn’t repeat facts already found in the internet or her books. Based on my research, Loida was married to Reginald Lewis, considered as one of the most successful and richest African-Americans and has been described as instrumental to her husband’s business success. After her husband died from brain cancer in 1993, Loida took over the family business and was successful in the company’s growth. At the moment, she is the Chairman and CEO of TLC Beatrice, LLC (the Lewis Family investment firm), TLC Beatrice China (operates retail convenience stores in four major cities in China) and TLC Beatric Foods Philippines (operates a meat processing plant in Naga City).

I am fascinated with her life, her success and faith in God.

tattlerHer secretary showed me the September 2007, 6th Anniversary issue of Philippine Tatler. It features their 834 Fifth Avenue Manhattan home which the Lewis family moved in a few weeks before Reginald succumbed to brain cancer. Reginald became the first African-American to live on Fifth Avenue and one of its “A-plus apartments”. But let not this wealth fool you. Loida is busy with the family-run Lewis College in Sorsogon where they offer college courses and a nursing assistant certificate. Not only that she funded a part of a micro finance project in Sorsogon called PALFSI (People’s Alternative Livelihood Foundation of Sorsogon, Inc.)., She is also Chairman of Business for Integrity and Stability of our Nation Foundation, Inc. (Bisyon 2020). She is such a busy woman and I am indeed fortunate to have been accommodated for this interview.

My interview with Loida lasted for 2 hours which you will read when the book comes out next year. In the course of the interview, I asked her about the loss of her husband and how she dealt with it knowing it can help a lot of readers in this blog. This is what she told me.

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Photo Hunters
Photo Hunters theme this week is Plastic. I know I should be posting a photo of a thing that is made of Plastic. Instead , I chose an I am not Plastic canvas bag from the Not Plastic Project Launch I attended two months ago.

I am not plasticI often use my “I am not Plastic” bag, an earth friendly bag when I am out shopping at flea markets or bringing some extra stuff for the gym. This Not Plastic Project resusable bags as you can see from the photo is a 12″ x 16″ x 5″ cotton muslin carryall with an inside pocket and the catchy statement, “I Am Not Plastic” printed on one side, and Not Plastic logo on the other.

In the Filipino slang, “I am not Plastic” means “I am not a hypocrite”.

Does that statement speak of me?

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royal_elastics 043.jpgI felt sad for the former president, [tag]Joseph Estrada[/tag] (Erap) when it was announced that Erap was guilty of the plunder case. It’s not easy to be locked behind bars. I don’t know enough of the case to talk about it but I suppose the Sandiganbayan examined the evidence given during the past six years. As I saw the dejected face of the former president, memories of my son idolizing [tag]Erap[/tag] filled me. My son would have been really sad for Erap. Luijoe loved hearing the funny Erap Jokes. See my son had a great sense of humor and loved to throw a joke or two. Then he discovered the Erap jokes. One time, my 6 year old boy overheard us laughing to our heart’s content on an Erap joke. He badgered to know the joke. So I narrated the joke

Erap: Miss, do you have a ballpen?
Clerk: Sorry, sir we don’t have any ballpen
Erap (angry): Why did you name your store “Penshoppe“?

Luijoe loved to tell this joke to everyone . One time, Luijoe and I passed by Penshoppe ( a teen fashion store) in Glorietta mall and I teased him if he wanted to go inside with me , so I could ask the same question Erap asked. Luijoe tugged me away. hehe

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In my last post, Manolo Quezon mentioned that “Everything is political, and it all begins with sex.”. I don’t claim to be an eloquent writer as the great Manolo but due to the recent issues on BoyBastos.Com allegedly owned by [tag]Mark Verzo[/tag], I feel I need to say a statement or two.

Sorry folks, but pornography is here to stay. You can write about porn, watch porn daily or host a porn site…but there are two things one needs to learn from the perils of [tag]pornography[/tag].

1. Education is the key.

  • Educate your kids on the dangers of the Internet.
  • Educate parents (most important!).
  • Educate lawmakers, law enforcers and their staff.
  • Teach lawmakers and law enforcers how to handle the Internet as a medium.

Like I wrote in my earlier entry on Lauren, a young internet user in 1996, I made it my business to explore the online world a family affair. We educated ourselves on the wonders and dangers of the internet. Now if you don’t believe that, it’s your problem not mine.

2. Watch out for that part of Republic Act 9208, The Anti-Trafficking of Persons Act of 2003, which punishes ““advertisements” or ““propaganda” in the internet as acts that promote trafficking in persons:

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