Updated August 6, 2013- Updated for reporting and getting a cab in Metro Manila

To report crime via social media: Tweet @NCRPOReact or Cellphone number 0999-901-8181 or 0915-888-8181

Send your complaints to LTFRB hotline 0921-4487777 /02- 426-2515.

Report abusive cab drivers via web or an app www.taxikick.com or

TO get a cab: Check @grabtaxiPH . Here is their website: http://grabtaxi.com/

Much as I want to share the good news, I believe you need to read this. My daughter was nearly victimized by a modus operandi yesterday night but she wasn’t because the scene sounded so familiar. As the surreal incident unfolded, she slowly planned her escape. I used to think this stuff happens only in forwarded emails where I can’t verify the truth of the content. Turns out one of these forwarded notes or emails have some truth.

I learned to let go of my two adult daughters as early as college but totally letting go once they graduated. My girls got to use the public transportation system only in college. By that time, I learned to let go of worry. I am aware of the dangers and risks in our transport system but I didn’t want them to live in a perpetual cloak of fear. During their pre-college years, it was either me or the driver that brought them to school or any destination in Manila. It was easier to control their activities when they were younger since they were a bit obedient in those days with limited social life to boot.

My only request from my girls are SMS updates and be safe and responsible. Not a small feat to ask.

I was expecting my daughter to be at the MRT station in Megamall at 8:30 PM but it was taking her some time. I dragged my husband to drive for me since I was so tired. She sent me a text message, that indicated the plate number of the cab. It is normal practice for my girls to take down the plate number. I pray to high heavens for a blanket of protection to my girls as they commute or drive.

Before I could reply, she called me:”Mom, I nearly got victimized from a modus operandi but nothing was taken from me.

I am here at the Makati Public Safety Authority (MAPSA) outpost near Cash and Carry. Please pick me up here”.

Glad that she was safe, I am thankful that she left the taxicab during a traffic stop.

When we picked her up at the nearby KFC restaurant, the first thing she told us “I read this facebook note about a modus operandi and felt it was going to happen to me..”

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There is no other choice. Choose a healthy lifestyle. I am diabetic and though my blood sugar is controlled, my cholesterol level is quite high. It is a genetic predisposition that my siblings continue to battle daily. I have removed pork and beef in my diet but still struggle with high cholesterol levels.

My new-found friend, Jean Goulbourn invited me to try her other advocacy for the weekend and to take a walk in the path of natural healing and enter a journey into optimum well being. Her company, Global Vital Source (GVS) had this weekend session in New World Hotel, which was called the called the digestive clean-up or DCU, part of the Clean and Nourish regimen that GVS offers. We were a large group of 34 but eager to know more of

Digestive clean up is akin to an internal spa. It is supposed to be a natural method of cleansing the body. It is a detoxification method of cleansing that causes the discharge of accumulated toxic matter from the digestive tract, liver and gall bladder.

Two days before, I received a text message to refrain from coffee and fatty foods. Vegetarian diet was suggested. At around 8:00 PM the night before my weekend overnight, I had to fast. No food or water. Off I went to the venue, the New World Hotel in Makati, at 7 a.m. on a Saturday. The GVS staff were already there ready to take our weight , blood pressure, waist measurement and materials. A medical technologist took blood samples for blood chemistry.
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MLQ Message for Vee Press E-books’ launch

I regret being unable to join my good friend Noemi Dado on this extremely happy occasion. She and her husband are the best kind of friends any writer can ask for. She can agree to disagree and can find the whole path where neither integrity nor civility ends up being compromised.

I don’t know how Noemi gets her energy but it is amazing. So is her level of achievement. She takes teasing with aplomb and finds ways to do more and more without sacrificing family or friendship.

This Momblogger is a walking typing talking institution. Long may she remain so. Read her, learn from her, debate with her: enjoy her work as she enjoys learning and sharing with the world.

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veepress-ebook 018

It has been ten years since my beloved Luijoe was taken away too soon. The positive resolution of my grief reached its peak just this year as we established closure with our past, never forgetting the love and memories of our son. The pain will always be a part of me because grief is the price we pay for love.

It surprised me one day when Vee Press , the digital publishing division of Vibal Foundation approached me if they could convert the grief category of my blog in to an ebook. I agreed only because this is not just about my story. It is a story of love, hope and the courage to let life go on. It was not easy re-writing the blog entries and the past events. Vibal Foundation hired Triccie Cantero, a free-lance editor to check on my entries. I was appalled at all the grammatical errors in the first two years of my blog. It discouraged me to continue on but I thought this was my way of giving back the blessings in my life. I am full of gratitude. It was the thought of giving hope to those who have lost someone that encouraged me to finish it on time before the launch. It was also difficult because tears would fall as I recalled some incidents in the past. (oh yes tears, a proof of love and that love lives on.)

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Don’t we just love family meals together? It’s the perfect time and place to reconnect and to show my girls that they are our priority. Sitting across the table is where and when I find out more about my children’s likes, dislikes, and daily life. Now that they are adults, it is the place where I discover their career plans or frustrations at work. It is actually the family conversations that are important — they are one of the few times parents can find out what their children are up to (and vice versa). As my daughters’ social lives get even busier, it becomes a challenge to get the family to sit down. During these special meals, I make it a point that I dish up something new on the dinner table.

Happy family meals together are long-time tradition that is timeless.

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Carlos Celdran is flamboyant to the extreme, a one man show of history, criticism, and trivia, the most entertaining ticket in town. ~ Lonely Planet ~



Indeed, I never knew these walls could talk so much by the way Carlos Celdran brought these walls to life in his most popular tour, “If these walls could talk”. I was never that interested in History but today changed all that. It is my daughter’s 23rd birthday today and she wanted to celebrate it by learning more of Old Manila by way of a walking tour. I sent an SMS to Carlos that M will be joining this tour and he told me to join. I have joined one of his walking tours in Escolta, Quiapo and just Old Manila and enjoyed his unique historical perspective. I was not prepared for this tour though because we were having a lunch celebration nearby and I was dressed in sun dress with heels. Good thing I always bring my hat.


I thought the walking tour might be a good time to revisit Old Manila and its past glory and reflect upon its state. This is not your ordinary walking tour, mind you. Carlos makes you crave for more stories as he delivers a hilarious, irreverent educational historical walking tour of the walled city of Intramuros. My ex-boyfriend (now husband) and I were fascinated with Manila that we often dated here back in the early 80’s and admire the Renaissance-inspired architecture.

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Photo from Jane Uymatiao. Me and Assistant Cultural Affairs, Joe Tordella with Jay de Jesus on far left and Juned Sonido at the center.

The government inviting bloggers is slowly catching on. The Singapore Tourism Board brought me to their Singapore Food Festival 2009 and also Singapore Food Festival 2010. Our own Philippines’ Department of Tourism invited a few bloggers to the Black Eyed Peas Concert and Meet Apl de Ap in Singapore. It was a matter of time that the embassies in the Philippines would invite bloggers to their reception or events.

The Embassy of the United States in Manila is not far behind. Jay de Jesus, the Emerging Media Specialist for Public Affairs of the US Embassy recommended a few bloggers to a reception hosted by Counselor for Public Affairs, Richard W. Nelson to welcome their new and current Cultural Affairs Attache, Alan R. Holst, and Assistant Cultural Affairs Attache, Joseph Tordella.

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There are times I find my husband too gooey and sweet for words. For many years, I always thought that he just wants to flatter me. I won’t bother placing the cute nicknames and code words we give each other in this blog. Our daughters have been brought into it also especially when we use a phrase that makes sense only to the four of us.

They say these sweet-nothings pave the way to a playful, resilient, and satisfying relationship with each other. I thought it was crazy when he deliberately mispronounced my name that I followed suit a few years after we got married. One study on couples’ “insider language” published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships reported that the more goofy nicknames, made-up terms a couple used, the higher their relationship satisfaction tended to be. So all those lovey-dovey words uttered on my ears are healthy for a relationship, huh?

“Using nicknames and made-up language is an easy way to inject positive communication into everyday life,” Jamie Turndorf, Ph.D., a New York City relationship therapist. says. In fact, it’s probably the single easiest thing you can do to keep your romance going strong.

Our secret language remains a secret.

A weekend trip to Kota Kinabalu just before the hostage crisis was an opportunity to be just by ourselves without our adult children admonishing us for PDA. You can really tell your kids are adults when they start to lecture you on proper behavior.

Anyway, thanks to those seat sales, and for only 1,250 pesos for the plane fare , Butch and I spent 3 days and 3 nights in Kota Kinabalu. The sight of lush green cover on the mountains and exotic flowers seemed a wonderful respite from the city jungle. I keep telling Butch that we needed a vacation, just the two of us. August was the preferred month to travel, fearing another Ondoy would strike our home. It is not easy to leave home after Ondoy flooded my home when I left for Singapore . Butch felt the same fear but I said we have to let go because the weather is never predictable. I left word to my daughters to drive the cars to their dad’s office for safety, which is just nearby in case the flood water rose on one side of the street.

So there we were in Kota Kinabalu, just the two of us, our first vacation in a place with no relatives or friends, without the kids tagging along. Just the two of us uttering our pet names and secrets codes that build a connection between us.

Do you use cute nicknames and code words to your significant other?

Slideshow of Photos

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


Did you know that the Philippines has the highest incidence of depression in Southeast Asia? In 2004, there were over 4.5 million cases of depression reported in the Philippines.

Jeanne Goulbourn shares her wisdom on depression.

““Depression is a condition that knows no social class; it could strike anyone regardless of intelligence, educational attainment and financial standing.”

This wisdom she has learned in the midst of pain brought about by the sudden and untimely demise of her well-loved daughter, Natasha, who suffered from depression. As she grieved over her daughter’s passing, Jeanne said she asked God what losing her daughter meant, and prayed for a sign. The sight of over 100 dolphins convinced her she had a higher calling to help people with depression.

“I prayed that if I see five dolphins, Natasha might be in hell. If I see 10 dolphins, could she be in purgatory? But God, if you show me a lot of dolphins, more than 10, I know my daughter is with you. We saw about 108 in Puerto Galera,” she recalled, saying the sight was so rare it even brought the boatman to tears.

Like Jeanne, we know our grief will always be a part of our life and we eventually find ways to resolve it. She and a group of friends from various sectors formed the Natasha Goulbourn Foundation (NGF) five years after the death of Natasha. Its primary advocacy is to promote awareness on depression.


Not many know what depression is. I have written about suicide prevention and mental health before just to raise awareness. I don’t claim to be an expert on mental health. It’s just that in the course of my grief work at the Compassionate Friends Philippines, I’ve come across a few observations of these mental health issues.

1. Shame often prevents a person from seeking medical help because of this stigma towards mental illness. And even if they ask for help, the gravity of their problem is minimized as mere despair. Oh yes, I know of one death by suicide from a friend because of this reason alone.

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