““The end result of your life here on earth will always be the sum total of the choices you made while you were here.”

I have choices. We have choices, more choices than we let ourselves see.

People may feel trapped in their relationships, their jobs and their lives. They may feel locked in a controlling or caretaking behavior.

Feeling trapped is sympton of codependency. A long time ago, I use to be a codependent. I should know. Yup, I drove myself crazy and my family even crazier. Haha.

I often heard myself saying “I have to take care of ..”.

“I have to say yes”

“I have to control …”

” I have to behave this way, think this way, feel this way…”

I know I was choosing not to see choices. It seems that being trapped is really an illusion. Are you really trapped?

I know I am not anymore.

All that unhealthy behavior changed seven years ago when I recognized that I had choices. Healthy choices.

I an NOT controlled by circumstances, my past, my expectations of others or unhealthy expectations for ourselves.

I choose what feels right for me, without guilt.

I have options.

Recovery is not about acting perfectly or according to someone else’s rules.

Recovery is about knowing we have choices and giving ourselves the freedom to choose.

I choose to open my thinking and myself to choices available to me.

I make choices that are good to me.

I choose to be happy.

I choose not to live a life of misery despite losing a son.

I choose to try to do good for others.

I choose to use my blog as a vehicle for advocacy.

I choose to love my country and do what I can to help.

I choose to live a meaningful life.

I choose love above everything, because

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

Have you made choices that are good to you lately?

Here are some thoughts to ponder on about making choices. These quotes are culled from Dr. Shad Helmstetter’s book called ““Choices.”

““The choices we make by accident are just as important as the choices we make by design.”

““Choosing to live your life by your own choice is the greatest freedom you will ever have.”

““Whatever you choose, you might as well enjoy it. It is your choice.”

““When you have a problem, make a choice…you’ll feel better.”

““No one else can ever make your choices for you. Your choices are yours alone. They are as much a part of you as every breath you will take, every moment of your life.”

““You may think that in life, a lot of things happen to you along the way. The truth is, in life, you happen to a lot of things along the way.”

““Some people choose to live by complaining. Other people choose to live.”

““It is your programming that has created your choices in the past. It is the choices you make today that are creating the programs of your future.”

““There is no life as complete as the life that is lived by choice.”

““It is only when you exercise your right to choose that you can also exercise your right to change.”

““If you were given only one choice: To choose or not to choose, which would you choose?”

““Another person’s choice is nothing more than another alternative for you to consider.”

““There may be a thousand little choices in a day. All of them count.”

““The choices we make in the heat of emotion would be better if left for some other day.”

““Listen to the quietest whispers of your mind. They are telling you the choices that will help you the most.”

““If you’d like to know what your choices have been, look at yourself and the life you have lived. What you see is the choices you’ve made.”

““Who knows what you could accomplish in life if you made more of the right choices along the way?”

““You cannot manage your life if you do not manage your self. You cannot manage your self if you do not manage your choices. Manage your choices, and you will manage your life.”

““Learning what to choose, and how to choose, may be the most important education you will ever receive.”

““Those who choose to succeed always do better than those who never choose at all.”

““The highest levels are most certainly filled with those who chose to be there.”

““Even the best of choices is only as strong as the choices that stand by its side.”

““It is the big choices we make that set our direction. It is the smallest choices we make that get us to the destination.”

““Each day that passes, your choices will come and go. They are like diamonds in a chest of jewels, each waiting to be discovered.”

““If you have to take time to make a choice, take time. Then make the choice.”

“Children learn how to deal with relationships by what they see on TV. They see people having casual sex and using obscenity-laden language… I don’t see how it could possibly be good for kids.” – Faye Steuer, professor of psychology at Charleston College (Charleston Post and Courier, August 25, 2005)


More than a year ago, a  13-year-old boy shot his 16-year-old friend inside a mall then killing himself . So tragic and unbelievable. It just broke my heart for someone so young to feel so much despair.

Did the boy even get the chance to talk to someone much wiser about his emotional problems? People were quick to blame the security of the mall.

Someone points out it is possible that media “played a role in distorting the values of young people to lead them to over-the-top emotionalism and a hunger for ultimate acts of drama for the sake public attention or impact? ”

With media and access to the internet available to everyone, the process of maturation has completely changed — if not accelerated at breakneck pace. Change in the world today has become reckless and there is no stopping the endless shifts of trends and fashions. Media and the worldwide web play major roles in the everyday lives of almost everyone especially the young. What kids see and hear and absorb shape how they think, feel and react to circumstances in their awkward developmental years.

I knew the dangers of technology that enters a young kid’s lives when internet arrived in our household in 1996. Media whether it be TV or the internet has an impact on the behavior and development of children. The amount of sex and violence on TV today dwarfs what was on when I was a kid. Can we blame media? There are things we cannot control but we as parents can surely control the TV and internet time of our kids. Most kids tune into the world of television long before they enter school. I do not know the circumstances of the kids involved in the malls shooting incident. I believe too much of anything is bad for our children and that means being tuned to TV , gadgets or internet for long periods of time.

There are other activities to distract our children and this includes a board game, a game of hide and seek, playing outside, reading, working on crafts or hobbies, or listening and dancing to music. The possibilities for fun without the TV and computer is endless.

TV and the world wide web is full of stories and commercials that depict risky behaviors such as sex and substance abuse as cool, fun, and exciting. A discussion about the consequences of drinking alcohol, doing drugs, smoking cigarettes, and having premarital sex is always a good idea.

I took it as my responsibility to monitor content of TV programming and internet time and set viewing limits to ensure that my kids did not spend too much time on it.

It is worrisome thinking about other children and the negative effect of media on their emotions and behavior.

Does media play a role in distorting the values of young people? So what can we do? Parents, educators and relevant government agencies can work together to minimize the negative effects of media and at the same time celebrate the positive aspects.

The blame game is utterly useless now. Action starts in our own homes.

“I really believe that we do damage children by the messages we show them when they’re too young.”- Marshall Herskovitz, co-executive producer of Thirtysomething

Don’t judge me unless you have looked through my eyes, experienced what i have, and cried as many tears as me. Until then back-off, cause you have no idea.


Today Matthew Warren died of suicide. He is the son of Rick and Kay Warren who must be facing the most painful moment in their lives. There is no pain more gut-wrenching than losing a child. My heart and prayers go out to them at this most difficult time.

““No words can express the anguished grief we feel right now,” Warren wrote in a letter to his congregation.

A long time ago, I too lost a son and I found hope and courage in Rick Warren’s The Purpose-driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For? . The book inspired me to move beyond the pain of losing a son and work on my new normal. Because the book talks about starting a service, I initiated the The Compassionate Friends Philippines Chapter with the help of Cathy Babao and Alma Miclat.

I can’t be there to hug Rick and Kay Warren for their loss and thanking them too for giving me the courage to live this new normal after the death of my son. What I can do is to continue on with my advocacy on suicide prevention and grief education such as ways to comfort the bereaved.

In most of my meetings with the bereaved, a common complaint is the insensitivity of concerned friends or relatives. I see it also in some of the insensitive tweets addressed to Rick Warren questioning the circumstances of his death. Some may not know what to say and blurt out the wrong words.

I have had my own share. I know the depth of concern they have towards us but in their enthusiasm, they blurt out the most insensitive remarks. Newly bereaved are very sensitive to these remarks.

Many parents feel they were being unjustly judged and criticized by those who could not possibly understand because they have not experienced the loss of a child. Compassionate Friends USA shares the proper response.

Our wonderful, concerned, well-meaning friends don’t know. They can only imagine how the newly bereaved feel. They haven’t personally known (thank God) the disbelief, the shock, the anger of losing a child or any loved one. Instead of bringing relief, those words just seem to add to the hurt and the grief. There are no words that will make it all right that someone we loved has died. But there are ways that can soothe the hurt, ease the loneliness and add to the healing. Recently, my sister visited The Compassionate Friends to get tips on how to comfort a family whose daughter died of suicide.


I’d like to share some of the ways to comfort the bereaved:

Read More →

Updated: I posted this 7 years ago and thought of bringing it back in the light of Erap’s recent campaign bid for Mayor of Manila.


April 12, 2006: With the start of Joseph Estrada’s plunder trial , the Erap jokes are back again in circulation:

Jinggoy: dad, kita madadalaw ngayon. May urine test ako bukas. ( Dad, I can’t visit you today. I have a urine test tomorrow)
Erap: Okay lang anak, aral kang mabuti ha. (that’s okay, son. Just study well.)

Erap might have been accused of many things but he left behind a legacy, “the Erap jokes”. My son adored Erap simply because of his famous Erap jokes. He found them funny and wanted to know more Erap jokes. We even bought the Erap joke book. Here is one of Luijoe’s favorite Erap jokes.

Erap buys a ballpen:

Erap: Miss, do you have a ballpen?
Clerk: Sorry, sir we don’t have any ballpens
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 was shocked at my suggestion…”NO, MOM!” He pulled me away towards the play area.

Hehe. My son must have thought I was crazier than Erap.

More Erap Jokes:

Jinggoy: Dad, manganganak na po misis ko. (Dad my wife is about to give birth)
Erap: Dali tumawag ka ng ambulansya at dalhin natin sa Jollibee (Hurry, call for an ambulance and bring her to Jollibee)
Jingoy: dad bakit po sa Jollibbe (dad, why at Jollibee?)
Erap: May free delivery doon (There is free delivery over there)


US Doctor: Mr. President, you have a brain tumor.
Erap: hahahahaha
US Doctor: Why are you laughing?
Erap: I’m laughing because in the Philippines I have no brain but here, I have 2 more!


Erap gets really mad when he sees the next sign :”JFK LEFT”. “See?” he scolds his driver. “We’re so late even the airport left already”.

Updated April 3, 2013– I am reposting this since Alan is running again for senator (Check Senator Alan Cayetano’s profile and platform here). In May 2007, I wanted to write about Alan just before election day but I felt uncomfortable writing about politics in 2007. I only became active in citizen media during the latter part of 2009. My question back then was “is there a way to write about politics without selling your soul?” I found out that it is alright to disclose any affiliations with a politician or a political party.

It is on this note that my affiliation with the Cayetano family started when my husband, Alan’s father Rene Cayetano among other lawyers were partners of a law firm in 1998. The CASElaw firm still exists today but my husband is now just a name partner.

This is the Alan Cayetano I know…
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