Photo Hunt theme today is Book(s).

It’s been my dream to write my very own book and have it published. In my blog, I do share snippets of my journey but it’s not organized and it’s not the same as holding on to something physical and leafing through the pages. I am getting closer to that dream as I conceptualize my book. While the dream is a work in progress, it did not deter me from being a co-author of two published books :

1. Fallen Cradle- ““Fallen Cradle” is a book of 22 stories by parents who have a lost a child. My story on Luijoe, My Angel is on page 29. The book launch was held three years ago on May 6, 2006.

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I brought a child into the world and thought my life was complete.
I bowed my head and thanked the Lord for giving this child to me.
My dreams were of the future and of how my child would be,
Of how he would run and play games like hide-and-seek and always run back to me.
How could I live my life without my child – How could I possibly survive?
When the dreams I once had for my child were no longer alive?


Nine years have passed since Luijoe died. Another year marked off the calendar as we confront life without our precious child.

Anniversary dates stare out from the calendar. For most of us, the days of birth and death are the most prominent but so hard to acknowledge. The birthday that brought so much jubilation may now be but a fond and sometimes painfully wistful day of a “what might have been” memory. Then the lousiest day of the year, the day that is etched on some stone in the south of Manila, the day some of our sweetness left us forever. A reasonable amount of preparation in anticipation of this gloomy day and the empty sadness it brings doesn’t really help. We are aware about these death anniversary dates which I’d rather call the Angel date.

You see, our family members are more irritable, tempers fly and tears easily roll down. Then we remember that Luijoe’s death anniversary is nearing. Ah yes, even if we were prepared for it. It is like standing at the shores of despair looking out at the waves below the sunset that is so beautiful while signaling the end of the day. These waves of profound sadness can be relentless and the big one is coming on that date. This knowledge never seems capable of preventing the wave from smashing us into our lonely reality.

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““Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.” Emilie Buchwald

We did it!

While sipping my coffee just before 8:00 this morning, I overheard the lifting of the book blockade by our president over the radio and immediately plurked and twittered with glee:

GMA at DZMM breaking news. Orders lifting of book blockade and suspension of book import taxes.

President Arroyo directed Finance Secretary Margarito Teves to revoke Finance Department Order 17-09 which imposes duty on book importation.

Together with other bloggers, I made a stand and implored our government to break this Book Blockade and remove the imposition of import duties on books. Every voice in Twitter, Plurk, and Facebook and even prayers helped a lot. Cocoy inspired me to make a stand and for that, I thank him for being passionate about this #bookblockade cause among many others, like Manolo Quezon, Robin Hemley, Teodoro Locsin and hundreds more.

I feel victorious too and what I say will just be echoing Cocoy in his Victory!!! #bookblockade Over!

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We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing. George Bernard Shaw

It’s a lazy sunday morning and as is my usual routine, I picked up the newspaper to go along with the steaming brewed coffee that my daughter bought from Guam. A paper ribbon with printed on it is wrapped elegantly around the newspaper. Cute. Inside the lifestyle Section E of the Sunday Inquirer, a two page spread of Sandbox teaser campaign is displayed (see photo above). Finally… SMART Communications launched their latest endeavor, the Sandbox. I have been playing with their Sandbox before this launch. Like a children’s sandbox in a playground, it is both a toy and a tool for creativity, personal expression and interaction.

You know how it is…when children create castles, roads and bridges in the sand and play with their toy cars, dolls and blocks, they meet and interact with other children in a sandbox. That’s what I did when I registered as momblogger (Add me!) and hooked up with my other blogger-friends. I place so much faith in Sandbox not because it serves as the ultimate application for SMART mobile phones, but because it is a social networking site made by Filipinos for Filipinos. Like the real sandbox, I can imagine millions of Filipinos can enjoy and express themselves within the boundaries of this virtual playground. Theoretically, Sandbox sounds great!

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““Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of, but stigma and bias shame us all.” Bill Clinton

Perhaps my husband is right after all. Hubby says in his blog entry, Dr. Hayden Kho Needs Help that “it’s undeniable that Kho is sick and needs professional help from his peers.” Atty. Lorna Kapunan, Hayden’s feisty lawyer mentioned something about Hayden’s admitted “perversity” is a sickness of which he is undergoing ““therapy and spiritual counseling.”

Well, Miriam Santiago isn’t buying that. She says that to prove insanity, you have to prove that a person is so far removed from reality that he no longer has a clear grasp of reality as all the rest of the community sees it”.

I don’t think Hayden is pleading insanity. Is it personality disorder (which may not be the same as mental illness)?

American Psychiatric Association, defines a personality disorder as an enduring pattern of inner experience and behavior that deviates markedly from the expectation of the individual’s culture, is pervasive and inflexible, has an onset in adolescence or early adulthood, is stable over time, and leads to distress or impairment.

Based on the above definition, I encounter mild cases of personality disorders with some people every now and then. Let’s see…

Concerned over a friend who can’t seem to keep a relationship? Shrinks say it’s some kind of borderline personality disorder.

What about that stark, raving mad driver that overtook your vehicle the other gave and gave you a dirty finger? Ooh road rage! And what do you know? It’s called “Road Rage Disorder” or intermittent explosive disorder.

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I’ve been sick with some kind flu since monday but never developed a fever, just a bad cough wracking my body that it now gives me splitting headaches. That would be May 18. Apparently, Health Secretary Dr. Francisco Duque III Thursday night confirmed the first case of Influenza A(H1N1) infection in the country—in a 10-year-old Filipino girl who arrived from the United States with her parents on May 18.

““The DoH confirms today the first case of AH1N1 in the Philippines. She is a female traveler who arrived in the country on May 18 from the United States, whose throat specimen tested positive based on results from the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM),” Duque said.

It is a bit worrisome now that there is one confirmed case in our country. What should one do?

The public should observe proper hygiene, strengthen resistance and do social distancing—avoid going to crowded areas if the need is not urgent. Other precautions:

1. Frequent handwashing

Wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands! “Hand washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after touching objects, surfaces or another person’s hands can physically remove cold viruses,” Dr. Clifford W. Bassett, an assistant clinical professor of medicine at the Long Island College Hospital and faculty member of NYU School of Medicine (Read 10 ways to prevent Swine Flu)

2. Covering up coughs and sneezes,

3. Staying away from work or school if not feeling well

4. Stay away from crowded places

5. Avoid hugging and kissing at public gatherings or the beso-beso. Let’s just wave at each other instead.

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““The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go. Dr. Seuss

My children read books since they were babies starting with picture books then moving on to books that were suitable to their age. I looked forward to the bedtime story-telling activity as my toddlers lay their heads on my arms and begged me to be read not just one book but twelve of them. I miss those days when my fingers would run through their hair, hearing their gasps and giggles after every book is read. One of their favorite book author was Dr. Seuss so well loved because of his unique style of rhyming and bizarre cartoon characters like “Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you.”

Those are treasured days that every parent goes through. During those financially-challenging days, books were difficult to purchase. With sheer bargain hunting skills and patience, a supply of books always filled their bookshelves. Nothing gives me more pleasure than seeing my kids leaf through their new books and inhale the scent as if it is the most heavenly smell there is in the world. My kids had equal balance of time spread across TV, Reading, play and sports. I believe this balance made them the smart and beautiful adults they are today.

Before the advent of this Great Book Blockade of 2009, I knew how to address customs whenever a book arrived from an Amazon purchase. I never had to pay a single custom duty just because I knew that books are supposed to be duty free and VAT exempt. I found creative ways to purchase books from abroad ensuring that I never had to pay a single tax or duties on them. That’s why I could not relate immediately to this blockade issue.

I suppose I cannot exercise my bitch power anymore if I don’t break this book blockade.

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If I wrote a note to God
I’d say please help us find our way
End all the bitterness, put some tenderness in our hearts

Youtube Video Link of Charice’s Note To God or view a clearer and larger video at the media player.

Take note: Charice’s first international debut single, “Note To God” is now #1 in Amazon MP3 downloads all in one day. That is some kind of a record , don’t you think? The song is also #5 in iTunes while Lady gaga in 6th and Beyonce in 9

What an awesome, beautiful voice from a small big singer with a very big heart and big dreams. When she sang this song, I had goosebumps all over. Charice is amazingly brilliant. Yes, Charice Pempengco now goes by one name Charice in her career in Hollywood, like Jojo and Beyonce. Note To God was written by bestselling songwriter Diane Warren and produced by David Foster. The song was originally recorded by pop singer JoJo in 2006. This time I am enamored by such amazing vocal control, The “birit” style is not so dominant now but I notice her low notes vastly improved in a span of two years … truly AMAZING! Charice’s performance is part of a special episode marking the finale of ““Oprah’s Search for the World’s Smartest and Most Talented Kids”.

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“How do you feel? … How do you feel? … How do you feel?” — Computer, “I do not understand the question.” — Spock, TVH

(Photo credits)

There I was at the living room, a 9 year old girl totally absorbed as I sat on the floor, watching Spock with his pointy ears. Star Trek to a child’s mind seemed totally out of this world. Elfin-eared Spock never failed to delight me every week. Hooked and fascinated by all the trek adventure, I watched Star Trek without fail till 1969 but never became a “trekkie”. For some reason, I never went back to it until today when I watched the Star Trek prequel. Sequels don’t interest me most of the time but a prequel, why not? I was interested to know the early days of the “Star Trek” mythology when Spock and Kirk, and the rest of the Enterprise gang, came together. Mr. Spock, one of Star Trek’s most beloved characters, held many memorable moments in both the original series and the Star Trek movies not because of his pointy ears alone.

I never really understood the Spock character then. The “Star Trek” lore is that Vulcans have long suppressed emotions because they are not logical. But Spock has always had to deal with the added pressures of his human side. What did I know about emotions? (Besides, kids were meant to be seen not heard. I digress) In the movie, I realized there is an obvious duality in Spock, in him being half human and half Vulcan. He exhibits internal struggle between Vulcan logic and human passion which I think is quite an interesting aspect of him as a character. I think Spock feels emotion very deeply but he’s just restricted in the ways that he can express it.

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I am not a therapist.

I am not a sex therapist, either.

Neither am I a marriage counselor.

I lead a peer support group for grief recovery every 3rd saturday of the month. That’s about it.

Writing about recovery principles are the stuff that I learned because of my roller-coaster journey to a new life after the death of my son. Naturally, my family life, personal relationships and married life were all affected by this unspeakable tragedy. I came out like a new person, and now having the time of my life. I know some of you can also relate to my journey and it helps you because you see hope. You catch a glimpse of yourself in me but that’s about it. That’s the only help I can give unless it is about grief recovery.

I’d love to help but see, I can only help you if you’re my friend or have known you for some time. Sending me an email me won’t work out because it is only one side of the story. Any advice I’d give you will not be accurate.

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