juana change halloween

Halloween is always spent with the kids. I never bothered to wear costume. The current pork barrel issue of corruption is “quite real and causing havoc and carnage” on the people’s lives. I must say horrific.

halloween costume

That is one reason I joined the pre-halloween event “kataKURAKOTan: A Horror Costume Parade vs the Pork Barrel System” where anyone can come in scary Philippine folklore demons/beast costume. Watch the video:

I still wanted to be fashionable wearing a mask that used to be owned by one of kids.

kataKURAKOTan-halloween costume

The protest tomorrow was meant to call on the citizens to persevere in the fight against the monsters of corruption.

kataKURAKOTan horror parade

Neil Doloricon, former dean of the UP College of Fine Arts said that “Pork is politically dead yet continues to thrive under the Aquino administration. Lawmakers are trying to keep it alive in the national budget and the President refuses to give up his own pork. In the horror genre, it would be similar to the undead”.

abolish pork barrel

What these politicians are doing is really scary. They are the real monsters in this country.

pork barrel

But I am not scared. I will continue to fight this battle against the pork barrel system. This is worth the fight.

mae paner

Dreaming of a safer tomorrow? Go further. When I think of the future, the safety of my family and loved ones comes to mind. There are things we can control and those that we can’t. I certainly have control of my driving habits.


I did not know what lay ahead beyond the sign at the door to Ford’s “Caring for tomorrow” campaign . I had told my friends that Ford Philippines was launching the “Caring for Tomorrow” campaign to promote public awareness and safe driving habits, and to invite drivers to pledge to drive safely for their loved ones. Together with Arpee , Wenchie, Rhadem , Kaye, Aleja , Sofie, and Jay , we got to experience the premium advanced features and technologies that Ford is making available across its model range.

The experience was quite an eye-opener for me and my friends. Though, I have test driven the Ford models in the past, this was the first time I saw an overview of all the safety features in various Ford models. Let me show you.

ford focus third age 1

Rhadem, Wenchie and Sofie wore Third Age suits and felt the stiffness of arthritis and poor vision. It’s great FORD considered the comfort of third age passengers like our grandparents. “Third Age is now considered by many to be the “golden years” of adulthood. It is generally defined as the span of time between retirement and the beginning of age-imposed physical, emotional, and cognitive limitations, and today would roughly fall between the ages of 65 and 80+. ” They need special care inside the automobile.

ford focus third age

The men wore empathy suits to feel what it is like to be eight months pregnant. I know how that felt during my eight month of pregnancy. There was not enough room between the steering wheel and my huge belly. You can see that there is comfortable space. Just check the photo below.

empathy suit 1

My friends at the backseat were seated comfortably with enough leg room for stiff legs.

third age inside ford focus

Getting out of the car is also easy because of the booster pads on the seat.

booster in ford focus

I love the idea that Ford even thought of our pets. After all, pets are family members too. Look at the safety seatbelt demonstrated in this stuffed dog.

pet safety

See how the safety engineers are dressed up as Third age users.

safety engineers from Ford Focus

For the Ford Explorer, the main goal of the the inflatable seat belt is for rear-seat occupants. “The advanced restraint system is designed to help reduce head, neck and chest injuries for rear-seat passengers, often children and older passengers who can be more vulnerable to such injuries.”

inflatable seat belt

A game show tested our knowledge on safety practices.

game show ford focus

For instance, what would you do if you are sleepy after a night out with friends? I would take coffee and try to nap a bit before driving. Ford has an answer to sleepy-heads. The Ford’s Driver Alert (in the new 2.0L Ford Focus Sport+ ) uses advanced technology and sophisticated algorithms to analyse driver performance and issues a warning if the driver shows signs of drowsiness or erratic steering.

ford caring for tomorrow

Ford’s MyKey is designed to help parents encourage safe teen driving habits . The easily programmable key limits a vehicle’s top speed, limit radio volume and encourage safety-belt usage by muting the radio until front occupants buckle up. Isn’t that cool? Any parent would want this “guardian angel” feature.

car keys ford focus
(Photo via Arpee Lazaro)

Another safety feature is the hands-free, voice-activated in-car technology using the Ford SYNC, an integrated in-vehicle communications and entertainment system that allows the driver to make hands-free telephone calls, control music and perform other functions with the use of voice commands, radio controls and even the car’s steering wheel.


One of my favorite feature is the the Ford Focus Active Park Assist. I have never mastered the art of parallel parking and I was excited to show Wenchie who had similar difficulty . With just one click of a button, the Focus will actively search for available parking spots and sensors around the car will steer it into the parking spot perfectly. The driver still has full control of the accelerator and brake, but the car does all the heavy hand-eye coordination. The wheels actually pivot the car into place. This is a priceless stress-reliever.

parallel parking park assist

Watch this video taken by Arpee while Jay tested out the Active Park Assist. You will be enthralled.

The Active City Stop low-speed collision avoidance technology is another safety feature to help prevent collisions at speeds up to 10mph, and help reduce the severity of impacts at speeds below 20mph.

Let me point out that most of these safety features are available in the top of the line model of the Ford Focus. No wonder the price is 1.2 million pesos.

active city stop

By the end of the tour, my friends and I were so overwhelmed with the innovative safety features that used to be available only in high-end European cars. The culminating activity was signing a pledge to drive safely because we care enough for the future of our loved ones.

caring for tomorrow pledge to drive safe

I scribbled: I care for the future of everyone. I pledge to drive safe.

driving ford focus

You may also want to read Arpee Lazaro’s article on Ford Focus: A New Level Of Safety.

present at gabay guro 2013

I felt the excitement as I looked around at the MOA Arena in Saturday’s biggest gathering of teachers. I had glanced through the list of celebrities and prizes that PLDT-Smart Foundation’s Gabay Guro prepared for this biggest tribute to teachers. Wow, this amazing production considered the diversity of the teachers’ age and interests. I call this tribute as paying forward to teachers who have shaped the minds of our children.

gabay guro 2013 tribute

As the Pambansang Awit played, I felt tears clouding my vision. Touched by the presence of our teachers , my heart burst with pride and love of country. At the same time, I couldn’t help thinking that the government should give more funds to the education sector.

gabay guro 2013 audience

The entertainers made sure to interact with the audience but it was just difficult to reach to the Upper box. There should have been a celebrity from the upper box going down to the ground level. I loved how the entertainers didn’t just stand there and gyrate to the music. Teachers either clapped or dance to the music. Who would not love the music? My favorite 70’s and 80’s music were being played.

marian rivera gabay guro 2013

Marian Rivera got to dance with the male teachers. These teachers could dance!

teachers at gabay guro 1

The teachers were just thrilled to see their favorite celebrities.

gabay guro 2013

Gifts showered as the show went on. Around 400 teachers received a gift pack from Sun Cellular that could even be used for a load business.

gabay guro gift packs

Though TV 5 artists Edu Manzano and Derek Ramsay were around, this Grand Gathering broke away from the so-called network-exclusivity “barrier”. Artists from ABS-CBN and GMA-7 were present– Ryzza Mae, Anne Curtis, Judy Ann Santos, Marian Rivera, Martin Nievera, Pops Fernandez and Rocco Nacino.

entertainment gaby guro 2013

teacher honored at gabay guro 2013

Edu Manzano, Judy Ann Santos, and Derek Ramsay honored the Gabay Guro scholar-turned-teacher Mr.Labantria

anne curtis

Anne Curtis with Richard Gomez present more prizes to the teachers such as iPad and laptops.

foton van at gabay guro

A teacher is now a proud owner of a Foton’s multi-purpose van while Annalyn A. Dizon of Bacoor National High School, Molino Main received the grand prize : a house and lot from Stateland Inc. Annalyn must be thrilled beyond words. I posted the photo in my instagram and that’s how I found out she was the winner.

teacher who own a house

I asked Annalyn to relate her experience when she found out she was picked as the winner. She wrote this in an email to me:

“When my number was announced we were walking outside the second lower box of the Arena. My co teachers were the ones who heard that and she said ” Anne di ba number mo yun sabi ko di ah ,ano ka ba number mo yun” . Then I ran inside and I heard that Edu Manzano started to count 1 – 10 and they will draw another winner . All the teachers from different schools helped me create noise so that the people in the stage wiil recognize us ..I kept on yelling “andito po ako ,andito po ako ako po ang nanalo” pati na din lahat ng mga tao sa paligid ko. Then Ms. Judy Ann Santos said ” come on down” . I was so happy tinakbo ko ang 2nd lower box pababa sa VIP ng arena na halos di ko na po naramdaman ang pagod ko sobrang panlalamig ng kamay at tensyon po ang naramdaman ko.

This blessing will give our family a new life ,a new beginning for all of us. God heard my silent prayer,our silent prayer ..My husband is working so hard in Dubai as a Sticker Applicator di alintana ang maliit na sahod ,init at matataas n building na pinagtatrabahuhan nya para sa mabigyan ng maayos na buhay ang aming tatlong anak ”

winner of gabay guro
Photo via Gabay Guro Facebook

Annalyn adds, “Ms. Noemi we are living in my in-laws apartment. Our place is in Aniban, Bacoor,Cavite na konting ulan ay bumabaha sa labas at pag super typhoon e hangang bewang sa loob po ng bahay. Mahirap na ok din na malapit ka sa pamilya pero mas masarap padin po ang magsolo sa sariling bahay. My husband always told me maghanap ka ng hulugang bahay na no down. Asiksuhin mo naman. Oo lang ako ng oo pero the truth is umiiwas po ako sa gastos. Di ko lang sinsabi sa kanya . Before I went in Gabay Guro gatherings nag text po uli siya sabi ng husband ko need ko ng feed back sa bahay na pinapahanap ko kahit mahirap pilitin natin kasi lumalaki na ang mga bata. Umoo lang po uli ako Ms. Noemi then after nun ako na ang pinalad na manalo po. Napaiyak po ako ng sobra dahil dun na magkakasarili kami ng bahay ng wala na po iisipin na gastos ,dream come true po itong blessing na ito sa aming pamilya po. God is really Good. I thanked God for blessing me more than I deserve.”

It is so heartwarming to hear her story. May God bless her new home.

As I left theMOA Arena, the teachers continued to take photos of each other, excited by just being together for this grand gathering.

There are more photos at www.facebook.com/gabayguro 

I always challenge myself to be a better person. I also challenge myself to learn something new whether it be a hobby or a course. The opportunity to learn something new came when Coursera opened a six-week course on Understanding Media by Understanding Google. Online media has been my life ever since I turned to blogging in 2006. The course syllabus was really interesting but could I go through the discipline of quizzes, and peer-graded assignments? That I had to see. The online course started on September 16 and I knew it would be a busy month due to my anti-pork activities. There were times I could barely catch up with my readings and cramming everything in one day.

The good news is I finally finished six weeks. Yes, Today I submitted my quiz and essay for week six. I am not sure I will get a high grade but I am sure to pass as I believe the past five weeks have given me satisfactory scores in my quizzes and perfect scores in peer graded assignments.

With all that behind, I’d like to share some of the essays I wrote for this course. But before that , let me explain the rationale of this course.

Most of you know that Google Inc. is one of the key success stories of the Internet era. When I first heard of Google in the late nineties, it was only meant to be a search business. Through innovation and acquisition, Google has touched the lives of nearly every person who lives life online. For instance, Americans spend more than 3,400 hours per year using consumer media, the field where Google’s impact is most profound. I don’t have data for the Philippines but I can safely say that Google is the number one search engine. Citizens of the world increasingly must understand what the company has wrought not only to manage their offline and online environments, but also to interact and engage successfully with anyone in their professional and personal lives.

It is through understanding Google that we can begin to understand media.

google books

The first peer-graded assignment was about Google books. Here is the question.

Is Google’s intention to digitize all the world’s books a good thing or a bad thing, and for whom? Carefully cite at least two sources from the readings or lectures in support of your answer, which should be no more than 300 words in length.

Here is my essay:

 It is my dream that people from developing countries have access to open knowledge. As a little girl, I poured over the encyclopedia series that my father bought for us.  I believe access to books at an early age piqued my curiosity about the world, science and arts. Imagine if every child around the world had access to books at their fingertips.

It is my belief that Google ‘s intention to digitize the books is a good thing because it will provide readers’ “access to millions of books they currently can’t find or have trouble getting through libraries.”

In  countries like the Philippines where I live, public libraries are not available to many cities and even if available, the collection of books is very limited.  Having books within reach will  produce “generations of avid readers and a knowledgeable, engaged citizenry.”  With the digitized copies available online, anyone with access to a network can search for books and get it quicker since Google is known for its greater search results and efficiency. Even if the digital divide is wide in our country, the government will soon  provide internet access to schools with personal computers and tablets. Students can then easily browse the web and search for books to do their research.

Google books will never be a replacement of a traditional library.  Students should still be able to borrow books from the school library. I view digitized books as an alternative when the printed version is not readily available.  I hope to see Google’s digitized books  shared with a   universal library that is established to “make all knowledge available to all citizens” around the world.

What do you think?

“They did not know what we can now sense as we contemplate the course of history: that change begins in the soul before it shows in our lives…” ? Franz Kafka, The Great Wall of China

I had always known that the the Great Wall of China is acknowledged as the world’s most amazing man-made artifact and the world’s longest human-made structure. It ‘s been my dream to visit the Great Wall of China before my knees would give up on me. In fact, there is this famous Chinese proverb about the Great Wall, which says “Not been on the Great Wall, not a great man”. A year ago, I was lucky to purchase plane tickets to fulfil this dream to travel with my husband to Beijing and see the Great Wall which is full of history . I had no idea what part of the Great Wall I would travel but fate was on my side because I chanced upon Janice post on Throwback Travel post: Memories of China where she recommended the Mutianyu portion. Further research showed that Mutianyu is much farther than the famous Badaling Section, and this section of the Great Wall gives a more fantastic view. They also said this section had fewer tourists than the Badaling section.

1on the way to great wall

Butch and I were terribly excited to finally walk the Great Wall. I hired the services of Tristan, the same personal tour guide that Janice used in her trip. The one hour and a half ride to the Mutianyu Great Wall had such a spectacular view of willow trees, farm land, blue skies and cool weather. When we arrived at the Great Wall parking area by 10:30 AM, there were already too many tourist buses causing a jam. If there that many tourists in Badaling, then you can imagine what it is like in Badaling. Just make sure to leave the city early.

2on the way to mutianyu great wall

October is a great time to travel to Beijing. Though the weather was cool, it was comfortable enough to travel. The entrance fee is 45 RMB and as our tour guide bought tickets, I checked out the market but wasn’t too excited about it. I wanted to be at the Great Wall. I didn’t want to hike all the way to the top so we chose the cable car to bring us to the top. The walk up to the cable car station is steep and full of market vendors but you can choose to ride the elevator.

on our way to great wall of china

I thought the cable ride (80 Yuan each) would be nerve wracking but it wasn’t that bad. I got distracted by the breathtaking view.

3in the cable car

Spotting the Great Wall from the cable car , I left my fear of heights behind. Using the cable car brings us to Section 14 of Mutianyu Great Wall.

4cable car

There is a landing for tourists to mill around before the tower.

great wall of china entrance

I expected a lot walking so I wore comfortable sneakers. Indeed , the wall is hilly with lots of stairs.

great wall 1

I could have chosen this path to go to the wall but I chose to climb the steps to the tower.

great wall of china mutianyu 1

I just stood there as I marveled at the grandeur around me. I started to imagine what it was like in 220 BC when the wall was being built.

great wall of china mutianyu 3

The beauty of the surrounding mountains and wall compelled both of us to just stand there and gaze and of course, take photos of ourselves.

great wall of mutianyu 2

It is difficult to explain how beautiful the wall is as you gaze at the graceful curves of the wall lying on top of these mountains.

great wall of china

All I could think of was the amount of men and time spent in building this structure under cold weather conditions.

butch at great wall

inside the tower

inside the tower of great wall of china

Some portions were really steep so I just watched Butch from the tower as he walked off to the next tower.

top of the tower great wall of china

Looking down , I called him out to take a photo of me.

butch beijing

SNAP (That’s me on the left side)

me at the top of the tower

There are no words left for me to describe how beautiful the Great Wall of China is. I am glad we kept taking photos of each other to remind us that we actually were here.

great wall of china mutianyu 7

Walking can be quite challenging as the steps are uneven but all I did was take it one step at a time. It is also a good reason to stop , turn and look around.

great of wall of china mutianyu 6

great wall of china4

We stayed three hours on the wall which is enough time to explore and contemplate about the majesty of this centuries old structure.

market at great wall

Butch helps an American tourist haggle a shirt from 80 Yuan to just 50 Yuan.


I could ramble on and on about the Great Wall. My photos will never do justice to one of the Seven Wonders of the world so you just have to come to Beijing to see it. One of the places in the world I’ve dreamt to see and the experience didn’t let me down. I’ve heard about the Great Wall my whole life and to finally be there was so amazing. Be ready to do some serious hiking if you go there but it is definitely worth it.

mutianyu great wall with butch

The quote “You aren’t a great man until you’ve been to the Great Wall” also means our time here on Earth is not that long and we better make the best of it.

Knowing about two couples breaking up the past month brought me back to a similar breakup 30 years ago. My own breakup story.

I was twenty five years old, at the peak of my career while my twenty-two year old boyfriend ( who is incidentally my husband) was just a Freshman in Law school. Being together for almost six years at that time, I thought it was really us , together and forever. I had been hinting the past months that I wanted to get married one day. Yes , hinting or did I sound like “hey let’s get married or else”.

me and butch 1985

I must have been more in love with Butch than he was in love with me. Head over heels in love. He was after all , very handsome, rugged, funny and smart. On January 1984, he declared he wanted to break up with me because it has always been me, me and me. He wanted to be a free man. As he started blurting the dreaded break-up words , all I could think of was “oh no, he found another girl more beautiful than me”. Pride didn’t want me to ask that question. I calmly took in his words and we parted.

I had written my thoughts in my diary a month after:

breaking up

“I miss Butch…it’s been a month since we broke off…how can I learn to forget him? how…tell me how my dear God? I’m hurting all over…nothing is work working anymore…I don’t know where I should go. All my dreams were meant for Butch…now, I have to start all over again. I’m hoping we’ll talk on February 14. If by then, he’s not around, it’s over and I should brace myself and be strong. Meanwhile I ‘ll just cry a little and miss…miss…miss him and hurt….hurt…hurt…It will take time but I can be strong. I just need some strength to weather this emotional crisis. It’ll be better.”

He didn’t show up on Valentine’s day and I knew it was over. I had written a letter in my diary but I think it was more to release the pain in my heart.

Dear Butch,

Happy Valentine’s day! It’s a day for celebrating love. ALthough we may be apart for good, I just want you to know that I love you….

And I kept crushing out so many words in that unsent letter. I had not only lost a boyfriend but a best friend. Heartbroken, I’d write his name over and over again in my diary like a crazy idiot.


I decided to be busy that summer. Nursing a broken heart starts with taking care of your body. I jogged around the Oval of the UP Diliman campus every afternoon and at night , my officemates and I swam at the nearby pool. It felt good to be energized and pushing the limits of my stamina. My waist line shrunk to 23 inches that I had to replenish my closet with a new wardrobe. I felt like saying to Butch “Look at what you missed”. My boss often asked me Anong nangyari sa school bus mo? (“what happened to your school bus?” ) , referring to Butch who often picked me up from work. I shrugged, giving him an indifferent smirk but inside I was crying. It hurts.

broken heart 2

The important lesson I learned that summer was taking care of myself . I allowed myself a couple of days and even weeks to mope around and cry, just feeling sorry for myself. There came a time to start snapping out of it. I learned that the most important person is ME and not my ex. I believe it is really important to love ourselves first. To love others, we must first learn to love ourselves.

The breakup was a good excuses for a fresh start. It was fun giving myself a makeover, and indulging into sports. It gave me a sense of fulfilment and a big burst of confidence. Time really heals all wounds. The pain I felt that February , a month after the breakup didn’t last forever, even if it felt like it will.

Just when I was getting over my broken heart, Butch came back into my life six months after the breakup. I spotted a dozen roses by the door partly covering his handsome face. I felt my heart bursting and my face flushing.

My boss was yelling,Yari na ang school bus ( “THE SCHOOL BUS IS FIXED!”)

To those in similar breakup stories , I am not saying it will lead to a happy ending. It did lead to a better me.

Just hang in there – it’ll get easier. I promise.

me and butch

“One good teacher in a lifetime may sometimes change a delinquent into a solid citizen.” Philip Wylie

Don’t we all remember the teachers who influenced us when we were children? When I think of teachers, I remember my dad Jose P. Lardizabal (Accounting / MBA teacher) and mom, Salustiana Veloso (English and Speech teacher). I knew the students under my parents were appreciative of their education because they would often rush up to greet them during our family days out. I like it when hard-working teachers are given recognition . Teachers lay the foundation for future generations. The knowledge, values and attitudes they imparted in us made us what we are today, together with the family values. Many times, we never have the opportunity to thank them for their positive impact in our lives. Now, however belatedly we have a chance to give due recognition to those who personify the best qualities of the profession. National Teachers’ Month provides such opportunities where each of us can take time to honor our teachers. Even companies and school give their own tribute.


For instance, the PLDT-Smart Foundation’s Gabay Guro (2G) is throwing the biggest tribute ever for our beloved teachers as it celebrates Teachers Month through a grand gathering on Oct. 26 at the MOA Arena.

Gabay Guro

Hosted by no less than TV 5 artists Edu Manzano and Derek Ramsay , the annual Grand Gathering breaks the so-called network-exclusivity “barrier” as it will also feature performances by the country’s biggest celebrities from both ABS-CBN and GMA-7. Among them – Ryzza Mae, Anne Curtis, Judy Ann Santos, Marian Rivera, Martin Nievera, Pops Fernandez and Rocco Nacino. The Gabay Guro team, led by PLDT-Smart Foundation Chairman of the Board of Trustees Manny V. Pangilinan and 2G Chairman Ms. Chaye Cabal-Revilla, will be there to lend their invaluable support to the teachers.

Not only will the teachers get to be honored by the celebrities and honored guests but a big surprise awaits them —a house and lot courtesy of Stateland, Inc. and a brand-new Foton L200 van – for the two luckiest teachers this year. Other prizes up for grabs are livelihood program packages and cash gifts.

gabay guro1

Gabay Guro is an education arm and a flagship project of the PLDT-SMART Foundation. It is a program run by volunteers composed of executives from the PLDT Manager’s Club Inc. (PLDT MCI). It is the brainchild of MVP’s VP for Finance, Ms. Chaye Cabal-Revilla, and is supported by the PLDT-Smart Foundation of the Manny V. Pangilinan group.

For the last six years, Gabay Guro has been in the business of “changing the lives of those who changed ours” by focusing on the core program of the foundation benefiting the Filipino teachers. The core program is defined by the pillars by which Gabay Guro is anchored on – Scholarships, Trainings, Housing and Educational Facilities, Livelihood Programs, Broadbanding and Computerization and Teachers’ Tribute.

The Teachers honored on this day will surely appreciate the Gabay Guro efforts. Each one of us can still offer our own tribute. The best way to honor to the teachers in our lives is to honor their lessons, the lessons they imparted to us by living a life according to their teachings.

For more information, please visit the Gabay Guro official website, www.gabayguro.com and like the Facebook Page www.facebook.com/gabayguro or follow us on Twitter @GabayGuro, where you can also have a chance to get tickets to the prestigious Grand Gathering at the MOA Arena on Oct. 26.  

There was a time that if you wanted to drive a powerful, responsive, head-turning car, you had to sacrifice a lot in terms of safety. Living, and driving, dangerously was the allure. You would take your chances with a less than safe vehicle as long as you could ride like the wind.

ford focus posing

A survey commissioned by Ford shows over 90 percent of drivers in the Philippines think they are safe drivers, but 40 percent admit they engage in unsafe driving habits. Respondents admitted to the following unsafe behaviors while driving:

1. Using mobile phones – Taking a call while driving (63%), Reading/Sending SMS while driving (59%), Searching for a contact in the address book (53%)
2. Violations – Racing the yellow light (47%), Exceeding Speed Limits (43%)
3. Distractions – Eating and/or drinking while driving (73%)

As a mom, I want to make sure my family is safe whether at home or inside the vehicle so I am always in the lookout for safety features.

ford focus steering wheel

The Ford Focus Experience

With the new Ford Focus, the thrill of a fast and lively car is matched with a combination of smart technologies and cutting-edge safety features which adds another dimension to the already impressive Ford driving experience. You can now be speedy and safe.

I recently had a chance to take the all-new 2.0L Ford Focus Sport+ for a spin, and I was floored from the get-go. The yellow-olive paint job was distinctive enough but that was just the beginning.

The interiors are plush, more so than other cars in its class I have ever seen. The front seats were comfy, with ample headroom and legroom. I took in all the nifty bells and whistles as I settled in. The Focus has hands-free, voice-activated in-car technology using the Ford SYNC, an integrated in-vehicle communications and entertainment system that allows the driver to make hands-free telephone calls, control music and perform other functions with the use of voice commands, radio controls and even the car’s steering wheel. Automobile connectivity has never been this comprehensive. It took a little time to get familiar with, but the friendly staff of Ford Libis were more than helpful in pointing out all the features. The Focus even had an 9-speaker (count!) stereo system. I could hardly wait to take it out on the road.

ford focus voice assisted

The Focus Sport+ is powered by a four-cylinder, 2.0 liter engine which gives it more than adequate punch for its package. Matched with a 6-speed automatic transmission (convertible to manual by the push of a button), its nimble handling is a must for the workday urban driver going through the daily grind of metro traffic. But it can also deliver on the open road with an estimated top speed of close to 200 kph, although there was no need to push it. At 100 kph at the SLEX, there was enough excitement for everyone on board.

ford focus press brake

What is most impressive though is all the smart features, beginning with keyless entry and the Power Start button. You don’t even have to bring the electronic key out of your bag or pocket. Sensors around the car detect the key fob and automatically lock or unlock the car when you touch the door handle.

fordfocus-search for active spot

The Ford Focus Sport + also has Active Park Assist, a godsend for those of me who has never mastered the art of parallel parking. With just one click of a button, the Focus will actively search for available parking spots and sensors around the car will steer it into the parking spot perfectly. The driver still has full control of the accelerator and brake, but the car does all the heavy hand-eye coordination. The wheels actually pivot the car into place. This is a priceless stress-reliever.

ford focus air bags

What clinches the deal for the Ford Focus is its safety features. It has Front Dual and Side and Curtain Airbags. Its Active City Stop feature is a collision-mitigation system which monitors the road ahead for stationary traffic and automatically brakes if sensors detect that the vehicle in front has stopped suddenly. The car also has a Blind Spot Information System (BLIS), which is an orange light which appears on the side mirrors and the dashboard car outline as a caution of unseen hazards. And when backing up of a parking spot with limited visibility, the system warns the driver of impending traffic from either side.

ford focus park pilot

The car has an integrated Electronic Stability Program system that monitors the vehicle’s progress and applies effective, though subtle and almost imperceptible interventions in the braking system and uphill-climb mode. These electronically-assisted improvements in event reaction times adds a great deal of confidence to your everyday driving.

And to round off the overall experience, the Focus also has dual-zone, electronic automatic temperature control climate controlled air-conditioning, automatic headlamps, cruise control, sun-roof and an innovative rear-view mirror that automatically detects and reduces headlight glare.

Safety and style, efficiency, technology and comfort, all go hand-in-hand in the all-new Ford Focus.

A tour for the Caring for Tomorrow campaign

Ford Philippines launches the “Caring for Tomorrow” campaign to promote public awareness and safe driving habits, and to invite drivers to pledge to drive safely for their loved ones.

Contest Poster + Mechanics - Noemi Dado

There will be a sneak peak to future safety and driver assist technologies at Bonifacio Global City, Manila on October 25 and 26, showcasing how innovative technologies can benefit drivers and offer a safer lifestyle choice.

Through an interactive exhibit called “Caring for Tomorrow” Tour, visitors will experience first-hand the premium advanced features and technologies that Ford is making available across its model range. The Caring for Tomorrow Tour is the first of its kind in Southeast Asia and the Philippines is the first market to launch it.

Treat yourself like you already are what you would like to become”Wayne Dyer

You know the saying bilib sa sarili (Believe in oneself) can come off as conceited or even narcissistic. Yet, I practice it all the time. Believing that I am actually a confident person until I actually become more confident.

Four years ago, while making preparations for the launch of Blogwatch.ph, I asked Jane if she could be the emcee.

Jane: I am not a public person kasi, Noemi
me: me too! but I pretend I am.

I am a very shy and quiet person. You can ask any of my high school classmates. Even my high school teacher mistook me for my sister, who is the more sociable person. Yes, I was such a forgettable person. I kept to myself most of the time.

To practice confidence, I act as if. It’s a positive form of pretending. It’s a useful tool to use to get ourselves unstuck. For many years, I isolated from friends . During the rare social gatherings I attended, I forgot how to initiate small talk. It’s like friends or relatives talked to a blank wall. The only persons I socialized were close family members. I realized the gravity of my people skills when I joined a parent’s group of my daughter’s colllege and I couldn’t say a word. I knew I needed to wake up from my zombie state.

I forced myself into positive recovery behaviors, disregarding my doubts and fears, until my feelings caught up with reality. Acting as if is a positive way to overcome fears, doubts, and low self-esteem. I did not have to lie or be dishonest with myself. I acted as if I could speak up in public until I actually gained self- confidence and started to open up. When I started The Compassionate Friends, I was suddenly thrown into the media. The first interview and TV guest appearance terrified me. But how else will my mission get promoted? Acting as if I was confident enabled me to get through with these media exposure.

Along with my grief advocacy, I became a blogger at 48 years old and suddenly caught in the public eye. I never imagined becoming a blogger, and using my blogs to raise online campaign. I did not lose focus on my reasons for blogging.

There are times I lose my confidence. I once told Malou Mangahas that I felt inadequate that I am not a great writer during the PCIJ Training and she just nudged at me “ikaw talaga”.

Each time I face my fears, I gain strength, courage, and confidence in the doing.

So here I am again using my faith that as a mom blogger , I can help push for the three main goals of the #scrapPork network: Abolish the pork barrel system in all forms, accountability of all those who used their pork and to investigate and prosecute those that misused their pork. It is a long battle but with the help of the network, I am confident the goals will be achieved.

If my mind can conceive the mission, and my heart can believe it, I know I can achieve success. The best way to gain self-confidence is to do what I am afraid to do.

I think I am confident, therefore I am confident.

““Getting ahead in a difficult profession requires avid faith in yourself. That is why some people with mediocre talent, but with great inner drive, go so much further than people with vastly superior talent.” Sophia Loren