The Holy Week holds a special meaning in my heart as it’s during this time that my precious son talked about eternal life. How would I have known that he was preparing himself for his death?

When I die, I will be alive again“,
Luijoe (with excitement), a month before he became an angel.

A month or so before Luijoe went to heaven, he asked me questions about angels, death, heaven and graves. I don’t exactly remember when Luijoe started to ask me those things.


This is what I wrote two weeks after Luijoe died.

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I got diagnosed with Diabetes on June 2000, a month after my beloved son died. It was my desire to have another baby at some point so I underwent a thorough medical checkup. The diagnosis should not have stopped me from having another baby but I felt I needed to have my diabetes under control. Perhaps it was because of my deep sadness over my son’s death that I had no desire to take care of myself. I struggled with my overweight body until there came a time that my blood pressure shot up to 160/90 which seemed so scary. My stress test showed distressing results that the doctor thought I needed Angioplasty. An angiogram revealed no major arteries were blocked. Phew what a relief.

Being diabetic made me take some changes in my life like small frequent meals, exercise, and being careful to about infections.  People like myself are 2x times more likely to develop serious gum problems.


Well, diabetes makes my body more susceptible to bacterial infection, since there is a decreased ability to fight bacteria that invade the gums. I was not aware of gum problems until my dentist fitted me with my new invisalign dental braces.  There was a time my gums became swollen. Just by sheer coincidence, Colgate sent me a two tubes of Colgate Total® Pro-Gum Health toothpaste for me to use. I am glad that I am informed of this special toothpaste that may help a lot of diabetic patients out there.

Good oral health could improve diabetes control

People with diabetes can protect their oral health simply  by brushing with a toothpaste specially formulated for gum health. A toothpaste like Colgate Total® Pro-Gum Health toothpaste can help reduce bacteria build-up that cause gingivitis, an early form of gum disease and  provides bacteria protection even after brushing.

Those with poorly controlled diabetes increase their risk of gum problems. Periodontitis can also make diabetes control more difficult. This is because inflammation of the gums can reduce the action of insulin, leading to difficulty in controlling blood sugar levels. Researchers believe that there is a two way relationship between periodontitis and diabetes.

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lifeLife seemed unfair to me before I walked the rocky road of recovery in late 2004. Wallowing in self-pity and hopelessness was a daily routine hoping eventually I’d die soon from my misery. I practiced negativism for almost 4 years until I snapped out of it. It must have been divine providence or my angel nudging me to live a new normal. Or simply, I got tired of hearing my old whiny self. Really, life need not be unfair. Sure the five deaths including some members in my family of origin is unimaginable grief. But here I am, alive and trying to make a difference in this temporary place we call Earth.

How did I do it? A lot of prayers. A lot of self-help books. A grief therapist, yes! A spiritual seminar. A daily aerobic workout. A new wardrobe. A new attitude. Eventually, I reinvented myself but then again, recovery is always a work in progress. I stumble now and then but I always pick myself up, brush the dirt, hold my head up high and walk again.

A high school classmate emailed a list of forty tips for an exceptional, and an enriching life which contains very powerful tips for any phase in our lives. It summarized everything I have learned or am still learning from life. Whether one is in a mid-life, quarter life or job crisis, the 40 tips remind us to keep on going whenever things don’t work out the way we want them to.

Implement whatever you can.

1. Take a 10-30 minute walk every day. And while you walk, smile. It is the ultimate anti-depressant.

2. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day. Buy a lock if you have to.

3. Buy a PVR/TIVO, tape your late night shows and get more sleep.

4. When you wake up in the morning complete the following statement, “My purpose is to ___________ today.”

5. Live with the 3 E’s: Energy, Enthusiasm, Empathy.

6. Watch more movies, play more games and read more books than you did in 2006.

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(This is a post I originally wrote in 2008. )
me and daughters1

When my two girls were in grade school, I’d often hang out with the mommies at the waiting shed, eagerly waiting for our daughters’ class dismissal. We called each other “classmates”. Starting from nursery till sixth grade, I had my gang of mothers. In one of our idle talks, we compared child rearing practices. One of these was handling our daughter’s suitors and request for parties once they reached high school. The topic was met with dread and fear of our daughters mixing with the wrong crowd or better yet, having a boyfriend at so young an age. I formulated my own set of ideas which proved to be a learning experience.

This is not a definitive guide for Filipina mothers since we each impose our own peculiar guidelines for our daughters but maybe you can pick up a tip or two. For the guys, it is a preview of the twisted mind of a typical mom and her feelings towards their daughters’ suitors. With Lauren’s permission to illustrate examples, here are my own guidelines.

1. Just because she is your daughter doesn’t mean she is like you.

I had this notion that my daughters shouldn’t have a boyfriend while in high school, the same way my parents brought me up. I made my rules clear : No dating till 18 years old but you can entertain phone calls, visitors and attend parties.

I thought I was a liberal mother. I mean, look, I still gave freedom for my daughters to mix with guy friends and hang out with them. But then, I learned something much later on. There are two types of teen girls. There is the ligawin, the feminine, charming, smart girl and the suplada, the girl (like me) who likes guys but do not appear charming to them.

One of my girls fell into the ligawin category.

When my twelve year old girl started receiving phone calls from guys, her dad warned me that she might be like his sister who had a boyfriend in high school. I brushed Butch fears away.

No, she won’t have a boyfriend because like me, I didn’t need to have a boyfriend in high school.

There was a NO BOYFRIEND rule imposed and the girls knew that. I thought it was clear.

Until one afternoon…I received a phone call if I could “supervise” the times my daughter and her son were together in either of our homes. I raised hell there and then and started yelling at my daughter to come to the phone. Oh yes, I screamed, to put it mildly. Being a control-freak mother at that time ““NO OFFENSE ON YOUR SON, BUT MY GIRL CAN’T HAVE A BOYFRIEND.” My voice sounded a notch higher than usual.

I started rattling off that my husband would raise hell if he found out she had a boyfriend. I never told Butch that her daughter had a boyfriend. She was only 15. Livid with anger, she was grounded the whole summer.

2. Never set rules in stone. Be flexible.

When I look back at this incident, my anger was not because Lauren had a boyfriend. I was mad that she betrayed my trust. In my anger, I refused to be flexible. Maybe, I should have agreed to the “supervision”. Did it destroy my relationship with her? I guess it did. I felt that it strained our mother-daughter relationship for a long time. I should have sat down with her and set the boundaries of a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship.

Looking back, I don’t have regrets. The boyfriend was a delinquent who kept flunking his classes in high school. The parents eventually sent him to the states. I believe it would not have worked out in the end because my girl was serious with her studies. I met the ex-boyfriend in my home a few years ago. Well, he looked a bit weird with his mohawk hair but I found out he has yet to take up some college education. Go figure.

3. Don’t be too chummy-chum-chum with the suitor or boyfriend.

Mommies tend to empathize with the rejected suitor or the dumped boyfriend. Often, the mommies feel the guy’s pain of rejection. The mom feels bad especially if she believes that this particular guy is very suitable for their daughter. But the daughter doesn’t think the guy is for her. Yes, I was like that too. kawawa naman siya. Kausapin mo!. (what a pity. You should talk to the guy)

I know of a mother who talked to the suitor all afternoon because she took pity on the guy when her daughter refused to see the suitor. In fact, this mom dragged second daughter to talk to the rejected suitor. Funny thing is the second daughter and rejected suitor became a couple. When my daughter dumped a suitor (who often talked to me via instant messenger) in favor of another guy, I was flabbergasted. I uttered the same line too. I felt sad for the dumped suitor.

And my daughter coldly replied eh, why don’t you talk and comfort him?.

4. Trust your instincts. Give your opinion on the guy and let it go.

Okay I was disappointed with her college boyfriend who dropped out of school. I also felt that my daughter was second choice after the guy got dumped by her friend. Still a control-freak mother, I confronted her and minced no words about my honest opinion of the guy. I have my reasons but I’d rather not mention it here. Mothers have instincts , you see. The problem with me was that my approach was old-school, manipulative and controlling. Now I know better. I should have just said my piece then let it go and allow her to make mistakes. But no, I told her she couldn’t see this guy. PERIOD.

That did not prevent them from being together despite my objections. Inspite of my stringent rules, I have to give her credit for not eloping with her boyfriend (a friend’s daughter did just that and had a baby soon after.)

5. Get to know the potential boyfriend material. Do some research.

When my daughters confide their crush, I often ask for a photo just to see how they look like. Often I’d agree and nod “Oy, he is cute.” One day, my girl showed me a friendster url of her crush. Sure the guy was a looker. But what did I see? Oh my…photo after photo, her crush was wrapped around with a different girl. I asked “you want to be another collection?”

If you’re tech savvy, you know there is that nifty search engine at the click of the mouse. The suitor might have a blog too, you know! A word of caution though. Don’t judge the guy based on the blog content alone. Entries may contain sarcasm, embellishment or prone to misinterpretation. But as I mentioned in number 4, say your piece, then let it go. Nagging is not going to stop your daughter from liking a guy.

6. Give basic sex education.

I don’t mean, encourage sex. In fact, I remind them that abstinence is a healthy practice to follow. But things happen. A friend told me that she wished she had given sex education to her 18 year old daughter. Her daughter’s first sexual experience led to pregnancy only because she thought she’d never get pregnant.

So I often say, ““Don’t even believe your boyfriend when he says he has protection”“. Then I add just one tiny drop contains millions of sperm to impregnate you. It takes only 1 sperm cell!. It’s not a comfortable discussion, mind you. My daughters cringe with awkwardness every time I babble on sex education. I’d rather see them cringe during my lecture than see them cringe in pain with an unplanned pregnancy.

7. Express the ideal qualities of a guy.

Eventually, I allowed my daughter to continue the relationship with the guy (in number 4) after I discovered they were still together after a year. I believed it would not last long anyway. Secretly, I was hoping she’d see my reasons eventually. I often dropped hints on the qualities of the guy that would suit my daughters. I don’t really know if they listen to me. Moms know a lot more about their daughter more than they even know themselves. We just hope it sinks in. In the end, it’s their life. It’s their choice. Mothers can only guide.

Funny thing was my daughter ended the relationship with this guy two years later, for the reason that I objected to in the first place. I allowed her to make mistakes. I could have said ““I told you so” after my instincts proved right.

My daughter often tells me that I am a cool mom now that I am more laid back. I had to pass through being an uncool mom to be a cool mom.

Any guidelines I might have missed?

bitchA long time ago, my daughter insisted that I use my “bitch powers” to get Harry Potter Book 7. Is there such a word? I wondered if I should be flattered or not. Does the word “bitch power” sound like a compliment or not?

I turned to my husband “is my “bitch power” a good or a bad thing?” He assured me that bitch means being assertive enough so that I get the results I want. Let me count a few instances:

1. M. third grade teacher marked “zero” on her participation of a group project. I felt it was unfair because she practically did all the work. It was just too bad that the bully in the group told her not to talk during the presentation. Seeing the unfairness of it all, I set an appointment with the teacher. I found out much later that this teacher often received threatening phone calls from parents because they didn’t like her strict teaching methods. The teacher appreciated my bold gesture of questioning the grade. M. got a perfect score after I told the teacher in detail what M. contributed to the project.

2. I started with the guard, then the clerk then another clerk to set things right in the queue of that BPI incident . Naturally, the next step is the branch manager where I finally got the results I wanted. The queue worked out in the end after the Bank Manager lectured the guard on the orderliness of the lines.

3. When my macbook’s hard disk crashed a day after the one year warranty expired, I persuaded the Apple Service center to consider it as within the warranty period. Come on, it’s just one day after the expiration. After a few phone calls, I got a brand-new hard disk.

I believe those instances called for “bitch powers” which work.

My definition of “bitch” is not one who is nagger, or a war-freak wife. I am neither demanding nor mean. In the book Why Men Marry Bitches, “bitch” is described as ” a strong woman who has her own identity and is secure with who she is.” I don’t know how the other bitches in the world work. I define myself as a passionate, loving , loyal wife who will fight for her man , her family and her marriage . When threat prevails, the bitch in me will find ways to curtail it. Lately I established family relationship boundaries and that’s when havoc occurs. My methods may come out offensive or abrasive in a world where one is not used to confrontation or honest exchange of communication.

I choose my battles and practice the art of dedma when the occasion calls for it.

What if I meet my match? Let’s take a look at a recent incident which ticked me off. The person chastised me for promoting an activity which is not within the scope of the group. It was very well within the interests of the group but do I debate my point?

Do I summon my super bitch powers?

No way. For the sake of peace, I practiced dedma. It is not safe to deal with this type of person. I don’t know what’s ticking in their minds.

I’ve always believed that I can’t change people, places and my past but I can change my attitude. No use calling my bitch powers to counteract a negative and unhealthy person.

How about you? What occasions do you unleash your bitch powers, if any?


Asides: My sister reminded me of a forwarded email on bitchology which might interest you :


When I stand up for myself and my beliefs,
they call me a bitch.

When I stand up for those I love,
they call me a bitch.

When I speak my mind, think my own thoughts
or do things my own way, they call me a

Being a bitch means I won’t
compromise what’s in my heart.
It means I live my life MY

It means I won’t allow anyone to step on me.

When I refuse to tolerate injustice and
speak against it, I am defined as a

The same thing happens when I take time for
myself instead of being everyone’s maid, or when I act a little selfish.

It means I have the courage and strength to allow myself to be who I truly am and won’t become anyone else’s idea of what they think I “should” be.
I am outspoken, opinionated and determined.

I want what I want and there is nothing wrong with that!
So try to stomp on me, try to douse my inner flame,
try to squash every ounce of beauty I hold within me.
You won’t succeed.

And if that makes me a bitch , so be it.
I embrace the title and am proud to bear it.

– Babe
I – In
T – Total
C – Control of
H – Herself

B = Beautiful
I = Intelligent
T = Talented
C = Charming
H = Hell of a Woman

B = Beautiful
I = Individual
T = That
C = Can
H = Handle anything

Send this to 5 women to put a smile on their face!!
“If you can’t do something right, get a woman to do it.”

Prayers-Let us send this to the families of the Tausugs. Some of them are reading our posts. (via
Yolanda O. Stern)


In Tausug version

Kainaan, duwa-ahe niyo in mga kaanakan amun nagluwas lungsad hasupaya kamu sumannang. Bang siya makauwih ha wayna kawul pag sarahakan na siya pa Nagpapanjari.,

Mga Kaanakan, anak takamu. Gulgula niyo ako iban ayaw kamu mabugha’, pasandunga niyo yan da ako ha raig niyo.
Hapag lagguh niyo, lasaha niyo he Inah niyo iban sin mga taymanghud niyo. Iban gulgula he amah mo bang hapag balik niya wayna kawul iban baytae siya sin kalasahan mo siya.

Kaasawahan, wayna sasakit sakit dain sin kalawaan kakasi. Duwaa kaw amun tiyaymah sin Tuhan in pagbaug niya iban bang mayan in Sabah makabalik da pa mga Ahlus Suluk.

Mga Kaput Balis sin Sultan: Bang mayan kamu halawum kusug, pangannal mahantap iban pangatayan malanuh misan pa in kaawnan niyo halawum kasigpitan.
Hitukbal ko kaniyo in sasalaman bang magdul in Tuhan makabalik kamu buhih.

Ha mga sila Timakliad na: Kamu na in mga tau gagandilan saltah iban sin dayaw, liyagguh namuh in pagluwas lungsad niyo.

English version

Hold Fast your Hearts!

Mothers, pray for the sons who went home with the currents to seek for you a better roof. If he comes back not to say hello, close you eyes and embrace the heaven at your feet.

Daughters, you are also mine. I hug you close and keep your fears so close to me. Imagine me next to you. Life will go on. You will grow up. Be good to your mother, brothers and sisters, hug your Father if he returns and tell him you love him.

Wives, there is no hole left bigger in a heart, than the one left by a lost beloved. Pray that he has entered Heaven and pray that Sabah shall one day, return to the people.

Royal Sultanate Force: May you sit in your hour of darkness with Clarity of Mind, Honesty at Heart, and Strength of Body for the fight that may not let you see the dawn . I will say my goodbye and if the Almighty bring you safely home, Heaven on Earth is possible.

In Memoriam: You are the gentlest yet the bravest men, we honor you in death.