Bloggers Meet and Greet with Joy Rojas on April 18. Please sign up here here

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Lao-tzu

I remember running (half-walking) in that Island Cove “Amazing Race”. I remember feeling proud that I made it that far. I felt proud as I saw the distance I traversed. Now I finally understand runners like my friend Cathy and Pia as they inch closer and closer to their goals. I am not surprised that Joy Rojas will run 5,000 kilometers in 120 days, through 12 states and four time zones in the United states of America.

I first met Joy Rojas in early 2006 when she interviewed me and two of my friends for The Compassionate Friends. Her article came out in the Sunday Inquirer which paved the way for the awareness of my support group. The success of the article comforted so many bereaved parents and eventually inspired me to be a blogger so I could spread the awareness further.

Now I want to give back, and help Joy achieve her dream.

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Let me interpret regular programming to shamelessly promote my daughter’s online ukay ukay store.

If her Ukay Manila blog is a showcase of amazing ukay finds from places in Manila, the Ukay Manila Store brings the best of the ukay-ukays to you in a dust-free, convenient, and professional environment.

You will be surprised at the lovely finds she discovered all over Manila.

So check the Ukay Manila Store or its mirror site at Ukay Multiply

Jay Bautista, Nielsen Company executive director for media

If there is anything that excites me more is research findings or trends related to my interests like the internet. I was holed up at the Emergency Room of the Medical City early this morning because my daughter had to be given anti-rabies shots because her pet cat bit her hand without provocation. My daughter, knowing how I love research studies told me to go ahead to the Yahoo! & Nielsen Release of the First-Ever Internet Habits Study for the Philippines but I got there after the presentation of the study. Good thing I was able to catch up with Jay Bautista about some aspects of the study.

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My beautiful daughter, L is 23 years old today.

I used to tell my children that I built a house when I was 23 years old, thanks to the funds from my dear daddy old boy. M said she’d do the same when she turns 23. L didn’t say anything and then surprise, surprise, a month ago, she announced to us that she found her condo. She invested in a condominium (rather a shoe box) at the age of 22 years old, with her own savings, nary a single centavo from us.

This girl of mine is very frugal. She doesn’t like eating out much. Eating out in restaurants like Pepper Lunch where she thinks there is little value for the food is beyond her means. As a college student, she never complained about her allowance. Buying unnecessary gadgets seemed sinful to her. Whenever I give her money to buy brand new outfits, she turned to ukay-ukay clothing much to my chagrin. Lauren indirectly helped me pay for her college tuition. Whatever material gifts we shower upon her is all a bonus for being a frugal daughter.

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You’ve heard it in the news. My favorite local peanut butter is contaminated with Salmonella. Samuya Food Corp., manufacturer of Ludy’s Peanut Butter Sweet and Creamy and Ludy’s Peanut Butter Spread pulled out their products from the shelves to quell public fear that its products are tainted with salmonella.

For the latest Philippine news stories and videos, visit GMANews.TV

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Photo Hunt’s theme for today is YELLOW. Let me introduce you to Kippy Cat once again. You first met him on Mother’s Day and later on during my trip to the USA. Kippy Cat was my son’s favorite yellow and black striped tiger stuffed toy when he was a young boy. He is also my travel mascot.

I showed him off to the pet cats of my sister in San Fransciso. Kobe (photo above) lies beside my Kippy Cat.

Oreo, another pet is naturally curious and sniffs at Kippy Cat.

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Update: April 23, 2009: US Marine, Daniel Smith is acquitted by Court of Appeals

I admit. At first, I was on Nicole’s side but as the case unfolded, I had my doubts. My heart went out to Lance Cpl. Daniel Smith especially when he got convicted. I am not a mind-reader but I watched his eyes on television as if screaming of innocence. I wrote

Do you honestly think without reasonable doubt that Smith is guilty of rape? Though not a popular opinion, I have been having doubts he is really guilty. But then again , we will let the Courts of Appeal or the Supreme Court decide. The evidence will speak for itself .

Justice will be served.

(Edit at 11:00 PM- Nicole doubts she was raped. Read her affidavit)

Is this the justice served? Nicole is now in the US for good. Evelyn Ursua, Nicole’s lawyer said that in the letter, Nicole and the mother were ““tired of the case and do not want anymore to be bothered by it because ‘there is no justice in the Philippines.'”

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Update: My Earth Hour 2009

Remember Earth Hour 2008?

Earth Hour 2008 – Zero Hour at Roxas Boulevard, 8:00 PM

Where were you last year? I remember I was at the SM Mall of Asia and restaurants and other establishments were eagerly awaiting the approach of the Earth Hour. Did you know that last year, we ranked 9th in terms of global sign-ups? Another plus is that last year’s Earth Hour initiative generated 56 MWh saved in Luzon alone. We can significantly increase the savings by just participating in Earth Hour 2009.

This year, Earth Hour 2009 is going to be at 8:30 PM on March 28, 2009.

In terms of Earth Hour countdown events, there will be an event at the SM Mall of Asia on March 28, 2009 form 7PM-10PM as well as in Cebu and Davao. Various LGUs nationwide will also be holding their own Earth Hour countdown events.

Taking the first step is as easy as turning off a light. This is an easy task as we keep our lights to a minimum anyway. I am sure you do but Earth Hour 2009 wants to send a message to the world.

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A parent’s love knows no boundaries. Remember the movie, Lorenzo’s Oil? Failing to find a doctor capable of treating their young son Lorenzo’s rare disease, adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD), Augusto and Michaela Odone sought their own cure. Lorenzo died on May 30, 2008 at the age of 30 though but lived 16 more years when they found the cure.

I had the pleasure of meeting another loving mother, Vilma Dee (read her story) as one of our members in The Compassionate Friends Grief Support Group. No, she did not find a cure for her daughter’s very rare disease called Wilson Disease, diagnosed at the late stage of the disease. Wilson disease is a genetic disorder that prevents the body from getting rid of extra copper. Through sheer research, she discovered contact persons abroad that provided medicines for her daughter. Her daughter didn’t live long but Vilma continues to save lives by being the contact person for Wilson Disease in the Philippines. Mary Graper, president of Wilson Disease Association (WDA), praises Vilma, ““I never imagined she would be doing as much as she has been doing for the last seven years (since her daughter died) . . . . Despite her great loss, Vilma is determined to help others in the Philippines so that they would not suffer the same loss as she had.”

Good thing her heart is big enough to accommodate all of them.

Another mother with a big heart is Cynthia Magdaraog, President of the Philippine Society for Orphan Disorders (PSOD). She had no idea back then that her 10 year old Dickoy had a rare disease called Pompe Disease. She was only told that her son had muscular dystrophy. Cynthia went as far as the USA for consultation and got the correct diagnosis, Pompe Disease, a disorder which causes the deterioration of the body’s muscular system. She was told that her son won’t live long but today, at 28, Dickoy goes about his day on a wheelchair, and aided by a breathing machine. He even managed to get a degree in Industrial Design as well as lead a productive life by forming and running a business of his own.

Cynthia Magdaraog, PSOD President and a parent of Dickoy, who at the early age was diagnosed with Pompe disease

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