year of the horse
Photo via @HiroshiShih

Gong Xi Fa Cai! Gong Hey Fat Choy!

I enjoy surfing through the various Feng Sui sites on what lies ahead for the Rooster, the year I was born based on the Chinese Lunar year. I know that it is just a guide but it is fun nonetheless to read about my Chinese Animal sign. Who isn’t curious about what’s in store for 2014 ? I am aware the feng shui tips are based on general predictions for my Chinese zodiac sign so I just need to be discerning.

The Feng Shui master lists down a lot of details like career, wealth, love ad even social life. What I found interesting is the career path:

Rooster (1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005)—This is a creative year for Roosters. They will have better luck. Financially, it is beneficial for them to make investments. They can consider starting a new business or purchase properties.

The Roosters amazing organisational skills will help them out a huge amount in the year of the Horse and they will find that they enter the year fully prepared for whatever lays ahead. A great way to get ahead this year would be to write a wish list of what they wish to achieve this year and check back on the list regularly and add to what they would like out of this year. Career for the Rooster will go very well during the year of the Horse as they will be fully prepared for any changes or adaptations required for the year ahead; this will get them a lot further than they think. The Horse year is a fast paced one and may take the Rooster by surprise as they like to prepare for everything beforehand but the Rooster would do well to act on impulse at times and snap up opportunities that are given to them as this will work well in their favour.

rooster chinese zodiac sign
Photo via

Another Chinese Zodiac site says that ” plenty of new opportunities will come in the way of the Chinese Rooster people in 2014. These people will excel in planning and business development in this year. Period between April and August will be a period of good luck for many roosters. These are possible and will have big gain due to positive stars – Heavenly Star #6, Golden Deity and Zheng Guan (Authority).”

Early this year, my friend and I decided to embark on a new chapter in our lives: Speaking and social business consulting. I wrote about it on January 6. It’s amazing how friends are supportive of this new phase of our lives. Who would have thought I’d get back to business consulting? Opportunities are already on our plate. It is just a matter of formalizing some of these and moving forward to start on the consulting project. It will surely be a fast paced one for me.

As I explored other site, I found out that Roosters should not expect too much too soon. “Things will turn out better quickly when the rooster, at work, employs diplomacy and plays politics for a while. It is a good year with the family. Lots of loving and caring.” Another site says, “it is important that Roosters be on guard against conceit and impulsiveness. They need to be patient, maintain their level-headedness and work hard so their problems will be solved.”

2014 Rooster Luck
Photo via

Playing politics is something that does not come easy to me but let’s see. Even with out this tip, I should start employing diplomacy in my work. Patience is not a problem for me though. The good year with the family is promising because I am planning to visit my daughter in Europe together with my husband and another daughter.

There are more interesting signs to watch out but overall, “Roosters will continue to experience excellent luck this year, too. Plenty of good luck energy, success and prosperity are all predicted to come your way in 2014. Being mindful of the need to balance the strong/yang energy with the gentle and nourishing yin energy is the key to your absolute success this year, be it in business, relationships or in exploring totally new vistas. Beautiful luck is expected in your romantic life, too!”

Photo via

There is definitely much more to every human being that just the Zodiac signs one was born into. Exploring feng shui tips might help improve one’s energy and make you more aware of the potential the Wood Horse 2014 year will bring for you and me. Don’t forget – we have the power to create our own fortunes and futures.

Gong Xi Fa Cai. Gong Hey Fat Choy!

Take a look at the Chinese New Year 2014: ‘Wooden horse’ celebrated in online art

How time flies. It’s been four years since Blog Watch interviewed then Presidential Candidate Noynoy Aquino for his platforms. It was an intimate tête-à-tête and I thought we would have more of these talks if elected as President.

These days, I am often asked this question “so what happened to the social media plan of our President?”

noynoy aquino and me

Since the June 30 inaugural and our interview with then Presidential candidate Noynoy Aquino in February 2010, attempts to communicate and engage directly with the President was often met with silence. I got a reply once but I was told the President was busy. This came shortly after he was accused of “noynoying”. Proposals to initiate a twitter town hall meeting and a yearly coffee chat never got a reply. The President or his communication staff do not look too kindly on criticisms, whether they are constructive or not.

Maybe the President will engage with social media users once his communication team gets it. Secretary Coloma seems so old school. I once approached him in the Palace in late 2010 and told me it will take time.

While Jane, (my friend and partner in crime), and I are busy with Blog Watch and our individual advocacies, we remember that we also need to be sustainable. Tonight was a business meeting with the Vibal Group. While waiting for Tin and Sally , we ordered our Pumpkin soup and Cesar’s salad. To my surprise, Jane gasped “Pnoy is here”. I glanced to my left and saw the President walking towards the table next to us which was separated by a divider.

I kidded Jane, “maybe we can have a photo op. I have seen Carlos Celdran do it in Facebook. I also see him with photos ops from ordinary citizens”. Ever since that 2010 Blog Watch interview, Jane and I never had another photo op. Sure, we were invited to the Palace on Inaugural day and other media events but we never had a chance to even go near him and have another photo. Maybe this time. Of course , I did not want to just approach their table . There was also a chance that he will refuse but I will take that risk. The opportunity soon came when he looked like he was leaving the restaurant.

Looking at his direction, I meekly asked “Can we have a photo with you?”, motioning my hand towards Tin, Sally and Jane.

He seemed to be in a good mood because he readily agreed without any hint of hesitation. He motioned his hand towards someone in the room to take our photo. Oh , a camera man with his large DSLR. (I guess he does not want a repeat incident after that Napoles fiasco where he will claim that he did not know us) I handed my iPhone to the camera man while Jane handed her Samsung to another PSG ( or assistant).


president noynoy aquino and photo ops

I then told him “We interviewed you when you were just a presidential candidate in 2010“.

To jog his memory, I said “Blog Watch”. (see photos)

He smiled and looked pleasantly surprised “in Vibal!” That probably sounded like music to Tin and Sally.


He remembered. Maybe he thinks we, in Blog Watch are too critical . All I can say is that is democracy at work. We want him to succeed as President and we call out on the promises and platforms he told us before he was President. I hope to engage with the President’s communication team and sit down with them on what construes as “constructive engagement”. I want to remind our government to focus on how to be social, not on how to do social.

It is also my hope the President remembers the social contract we discussed four years ago so he can deliver all of these before his term ends in 2016 .

I recall a conversation with a friend of my daughter who spent an weekend with us. While having breakfast, the discussion turned to money matters. She gushed over Lauren’s responsible spending habits despite her financial independence. But of course, I instilled money management early on in their lives. Mind you, my daughters are thrifty but know how to spend and party hard.

condominium project

My family is no stranger to financial challenges. If there is one thing I often remind my children, it is “no matter the state of our financial situation, we need to implement some sort of money management or else all that money will be gone in an instant.” The worst financial challenge we faced was in 2004. Call it martial law, but hard times called for drastic measures.

Under my strong-woman rule, I imposed a few family rules that my loving husband adapted nicely too. He had no choice, right? Let me share a few of my rules that might be useful to you because I know each family sets their own rules. This is what we discussed.

1.First, let’s set up priorities: know our regular expenses.

Take critical look at our expenses and remove out those that don’t give real satisfaction. The number one priority is food, housing, education and clothing but then again there are limits to this. Junk food is definitely the least priority. Buying luxurious home decors is also a no-no. What about clothing? Let’s not buy branded items at all.

2. Limit use of Credit.

We canceled a total of 3 credit cards and kept one credit card each together with a local credit card (BPI credit card). Using a credit card is not all that bad. In fact, whenever we get a housing loan, these loan companies check our 6 month credit card statement to see how good we are in paying our credit on time. Even the US embassy takes a look at your credit card history (when you bring these documents over but they don’t keep it of course). So make sure your credit card history is solid. What we avoid is buying on impulse.

3. Put a plug on those spending leaks

Impulse buying , frittering away small amounts here and there on ““little” things, can add up to a surprisingly big amount.

  • Avoid shopping for groceries when your tummy is grumbling. You’ll buy more of those tempting treats that can run up your bill.
  • Avoid ““killing time” in the malls. (You’re sure to come away with something you hadn’t planned on buying.) Use a budget and keep within it. Once you can resist the temptation of spending ““small” amounts, you’ll have more money for the things you really want.
  • Avoid eating out for dinner and instead, let’s have home cooked meals.

4.  Don’t be careless when shopping

There is always pressure, to buy things. Our wants are greater than our needs. This leads to buying things we don’t really need and to buying without comparing values and prices. Identify your weakness and declare a moratorium in buying it. If your weakness is shoes, for instance, commit to stop buying a new pair in the next six months. My husband is a shoe collector freak which ended when I declared “war”. The kids did not get expensive toys. They were very happy just browsing at the bookstore not minding the toy store at all. Packed lunch for school helped save on meal expenses. The occasional money allowance was necessary to empower them on how to budget.

5. Save even just small amounts.

I told the kids that once they graduate, financial support for most of their personal needs will be cut. Sure they could live with us only to save for their future home. When Lauren started to work in 2007, she suddenly found herself spending her salary. To encourage her to save, I demanded rent from her. I told her that saving just a little will amount to big amounts in a few months. Lauren was only twenty-two years old when she invested on a condominium project. Today, she now lives in this condominium. M, my second daughter moved to Australia using her own money to apply and travel to Australia for a year at around the same age. She has since moved to Europe last year.

6. Establish cash reserve

Financial experts recommend that every family create a cash reserve of at least 50 percent of their annual income. My dad was very good at maintaining liquidity. I fail in establishing that 50% cash reserve because I placed some of our cash in investing on real estate. Though not as liquid as cash, real estate investment protects me from two-digit inflation.

I think I might have ingrained the saving thing too much when I told my girls that I planned on having my birthday dinner in a restaurant. I thought they’d be happy that for once, we will be eating out. I never expected their reaction.

Mom why make other people rich? Let’s just have dinner at home!

I was surprised, But we barely eat out for dinner! It’s a treat and it happens only once a year.

Their firm response: Mom, dinner at home is so much better! Let’s save.


There are many ways to live within our means without scrimping our lifestyle. How have you managed?

transparent-butterfly2.jpgDon’t you think this is a lovely butterfly? Whenever a butterfly flutters about in the garden, I smile with the thought that Luijoe is in another life with greater beauty and freedom. But I believe the butterfly’s life cycle – metamorphosis – represents my new life after the death of my precious son.

THE EGG: As a little girl, my whole world felt safe under the loving arms of my parents – much like the butterfly egg attached to a leaf somewhere.

THE CATERPILLAR: The caterpillar is my life before the death of Luijoe. My husband and I are contented that God gave us two girls and a boy. A perfect family. I go through the day as a full time mother attending to my chores. Nothing can break this happy bubble, I thought. And then Luijoe is gone. I change!

THE COCOON: After his death, I shut myself off from friends and even family because I felt they could never understand my grief. It is what protected me from the horrible pain. I withdrew from life because of all the painful memories. Numbing the pain, I curled up in my cocoon.

THE BUTTERFLY: The pain lessened and I began to heal as a flicker of light and a little color emerged. Breaking free from my cocoon , I reached out to touch life again. As I discovered the brilliant colors around me, I become more like a butterfly sipping some of the nectar from life.

“We are healed to help others.
We are blessed to be a blessing.
We are saved to serve,
not to sit around and
wait for heaven”
from Purpose Driven Life

I transformed my grief to a positive resolution by starting The Compassionate Friends Philippines , the largest self-help organization for bereaved parents, siblings and grandparents in the world.

In our Compassionate Friend’s circles, the butterfly represent the lives of our children who have died. Their spirit lives on and our memories live on, often in fleeting moments . And that we may be able to build a new life after the death of our beloved children.

I see many butterflies in my life now: blogging, renewal of friendships lost through time, new friendships because I went out of my comfort zone and a new me, a new normal.

Life is good.

I  smile as I flick through the photos from my little red wooden box. As I gaze at the photos of my children, the laughter springs to life in my memory bank. Life has not always been nice and dandy but that is not to say it remained sad or lonely. Life is  about making a choice: should it be sad or happy? dark or bright?  I wish I knew that life were about choices when I was at the deepest pit of my misery but thanks to loving friends, I got out of it and chose a life that is happy and bright. When made that choice, it does not mean I will ignore feelings of sadness. It means working towards the goal of a happy and bright future.

my daughters

A brighter life for me will be cherishing my golden years and contributing to the future of my children.  I made this choice after I decided to live a new normal after the death of my son.  I know I will not be as young and vibrant so I needed to prepare living a comfortable life beyond my golden years. That meant fixing my finances through long term investment and  a sound retirement plan.  I deserve to have the self-esteem and peace that accompanies financial responsibility. The future of my children does not only lie in providing them material wealth.  Helping out in community activities also contribute greatly to my children’s future. What better legacy is there than making a difference in my children’s life by being of service to others?

brighter life website

Everyone has their own ideas of a brighter life. Sites like provide inspiration. You may also ask yourself “How do you imagine a Brighter Life? Is it having comfortable lifestyle? To be able to provide for your family’s needs? Perhaps you want to leave behind a lasting legacy?” Just like a friend you can talk to, the Brighter Life website provides lessons in life and financial advice. Divided into five categories, it is easy to relate to because it tackles relationships with five aspects of our lives: finance, health, family, career and the future.

Topics in personal finance is quite useful to me. Though my family invested in real properties and Sun Life Financial Investments, I also want to know more about stock investments.  Being a newbie in the stock markets, it is heartening to read articles like the “The Road to Becoming Stocks Smart”.  I can relate to the writer’s fear of the unknown. I need to conquer that fear too by getting to know the ropes of the stock market.

There are more topics that will surely enlighten you. My good friend Randell Tiongson writes about Pinoy Style: Financial Planning. Randell has “ personally been a witness to many individuals who had relatively good income and yet failed miserably with regard to being financially secure.” Preparing for a brighter with a financially secure future requires taking action today:

1.Increase your cash flow;

2. Reduce or eliminate debt;

3. Take baby steps in savings and investing;

4. Review your finances periodically;

5. Communicate with your family.

For more tips about personal finances, visit

With Coy at the Celebrating the Lucky 0917 with Globe in 2010. Photo credit: Jane Uymatiao

Oh God. No. He is way too young…he is just as old as my eldest girl. Another fine young man gone too soon. It breaks my heart. There are no words to express this gut-wrenching pain. I reach out to his family because the death of any child, regardless of cause or age, is overwhelming to parents, who can never be fully prepared for their child to die before them. The death of a child is the most devastating loss ever.


As I scroll through his timeline on Facebook and Twitter, I read bits and pieces of his meaningful life from friends and how they got to know Coy. He was still a student when I first met him in 2007 but he was already into Video blogging or Vlogging. As I look back at my email archives, I feel like he is once again talking to me. I commented a lot on his “CokskiBlue – Pinoy Vlogs, Videos and Vodcasts” . These posts are no longer shown in his blog.

We had one thing in common. We were both Cebuanos and reside (or I used to reside) in Lahug. I didn’t know we were neighbors. Though not the best of friends, we often interacted in many events. I got to work closely with Coy during my term as President of the 2008 Philippine Blog Awards. The videos were simply amazing. He inspired me to create videos in my blog but of course, I could never come close to his talent.

When he worked for Globe in 2009, I joined some of his campaigns. He was so excited when I was one of the finalists in three categories. Such a charming man who has achieved so much and improving the lot of social media users like me.

Singing in this video for the “Philippine Blog Awards 2009 v.2: “Jingle”” is simply creative. My blog was even sung by him “mommy…”

The medium is something I want to take offline so those without internet connection can also get the message. I will always remember Coy whenever I create a video blog post. Thank You Coy for the inspiration.

Dealing with losing a friend

Friends are overwhelmed with shock , denial and sadness all rolled together. Coy is at rest now but it is us , those who loved him that are grieving so much. I know this is supposed to be a post about Coy but I want to help his friends who are all devastated.

There is no way out of this pain, only a way forward.

At the 2011 First Globe Tatt Awards. Here I am as a Finalist for Ball Breaker category

I am sure many will ask “Is there a relief from this pain?…Is there nowhere I can go to turn aside, to get away?”

I’d like to share what the grief experience is from years of helping out bereaved families at the Compassionate Friends (Grief support after the death of a child).

You will catch yourself thinking. “I want to go back. Go back before the illness.” But that no longer exists. The grief is a watershed and it has cut us off forever from that world— the life we knew with our loved one…, the life before THIS happened..

We keep rewinding the past, remembering, wishing until the thought pattern is established in our brain: this is your world now; this is what your life is like.

It will take a bit of time to go forward. Each one grieves differently. Some move forward quickly. Some take time and step backwards.

Convinced, ever so slowly, we begin to go forward one baby step at a time , into a new sense of time and relationships, including a new relationship with the one who has died and a new relationship with ourselves.

This is the new normal, knowing Coy lives in our memories and in our hearts and that love lasts forever.

Our other option is to stand still and we may try it for a while. If we do this, we will turn into stone. So we must keep moving..and in the only direction forward. Keep moving , even if it is only one baby step at a time. Forward into a new normal, into unknown adventure, and unknown territory. We will get there.

A poem on his facebook wall shows another option:

“You can shed tears that he is gone,
or you can smile because he has lived.

You can close your eyes and pray that he’ll come back,
or you can open your eyes and see all he’s left.

Your heart can be empty because you can’t see him,
or you can be full of the love you shared.

You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday,
or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.

You can remember him only that he is gone,
or you can cherish his memory and let it live on.

You can cry and close your mind, be happy
and turn your back. Or you can do what he’d want:
Smile, open your eyes, love and go on.”

Yes that is the direction that we will choose eventually but today and the next couple of days, we will be grappling with the pain. The grief is fresh. It is alright to cry. Coy will understand that we are crying because we loved him dearly. Grief is the price we pay because of love.

And yes, there is no way out of this pain, only a way forward.

We love you Coy. Gi-mingaw mang ko uy.

Blog posts about Coy Caballes:

Video Tribute by Kring

Goodbye, my friend Coy by Jane Uymatiao

This Was Coy. He Will Be Missed
by Marcelle Fabie

#ThankYouCoy by Tonyo Cruz

Paalam Kaibigan by Markku Seguerra

The work of the eyes by Marocharim

Filipino Blogging Community Mourns: Coy Caballes the Filipino Vlogger Will Always Be Remembered by Vince Golangco

Coy by Yoshke

Remembering Coy Caballes a.k.a. CokskiBlue #ThankYouCoy by Micaela Rodriguez

Regarding Coy by Gang Badoy

Of Death and Blogs by Mark Delgado

“If someone cries in front of me, I consider it a gift.” , a friend told me one Saturday afternoon.


Every third Saturday of the month, I receive this gift during the monthly meeting of The Compassionate Friends. I am honored to receive it.

It’s quite common to hear oh she is so brave! when the broken-hearted person appears controlled and poised in the face of grief. How is someone supposed to feel when their heart is broken?

And yet we continue to admire those who do not show their grief in public, who receive condolences as though the occasion were a pleasant Sunday afternoon blabber. He was so brave. I was proud of him. He didn’t break down, not once, and so on and so forth…we hear people say.

Really, whose benefit is this tight hold on our emotions? For the griever’s sake? For the sake of the consoling friends, who may be afraid of being swept into their grief?

Crying tears is not just for those that lost a loved one.

If a little kid says May I cry or should I be brave?, how should the mother react? There is conflicting feelings about crying. It is difficult to allow children the freedom of tears because most of us were stopped from crying when we were little. Our well-meaning, but misinformed, parents may have distracted, scolded, punished, or ignored us when we attempted to heal our childhood hurts by crying. Some of us were stopped gently: “There, there, come on, don’t cry,” while others were stopped less kindly: “If you don’t stop crying, I’ll give you something to cry about! So stop it….”

You probably read somewhere that crying is somehow good for us. William Shakespeare, for instance wrote, “To weep is to make less the depth of grief.” The poet Alfred Lord Tennyson once wrote about a woman who learned her husband had been killed. “She must weep,” the writer said, “or she will die.”

According to Dr. William Frey, a biochemist and director of the Dry Eye and Tear Research Center in Minneapolis, Minn., one reason people might feel better after crying could be because they are “removing, in their tears, chemicals that build up during emotional stress.” Frey’s research shows that tears, along with other bodily secretions like perspiration, rid the body of various toxins and wastes. Dr. William Frey compared the normal moisturizing tear with the tear caused by emotion and found that stressful tears contained ACTH or adrenocorticotrophic hormone. ACTH is a hormone associated with high blood pressure, heart problems, peptic ulsers and other physical conditions closely related to stress.

There is just one word of caution about crying.

People who cry easily should feel glad they’re in touch with their feelings. But if they’re crying a lot in response to criticism, they should try to get some counseling. This kind of crying is an alarm bell of a far deeper hurt; it could signify a loss of self-esteem that is triggered whenever anyone says anything negative.

Probably the best advice of all regarding tears comes from Charles Dickens. In Oliver Twist, Mr. Bumble, the parish beadle, is a less than sympathetic character. But he’s got the right idea when he declares that crying “opens the lungs, washes the countenance, exercises the eyes, and softens the temper.

So when another friend wept in front of me today, I understood the gift of healing.

Have you had a good cry lately?

Photo via Flickr. Some rights reserved.

One thing I love about my change planner are suggested actions. Last Monday, January 6 was Cuddle Up Day!

cuddle up day

Snuggle and cuddle. It’s high time to warm it up with someone special or well, something special (your stuffed toy, your pillow, your pet cat and dog, all up to you)

me and butch 1985

Cuddling is quite a normal activity for me so it is always a “cuddle up day” everyday. I think it is one trait that endeared me to my ex-boyfriend (ahem husband). He liked that I would nestle my head on his shoulder and wrap my arms around his waist . Cuddling as a form of communication helps couples have a more rich relationship. That is just how I am. I remember as a little child how I would sleep beside my parents and cuddle my daddy old boy. When my girls were younger, I enjoyed cuddling them as I lulled them to sleep. There are many ways I cuddle if my husband and children are not around. With two pet cats at home, I get the chance to cuddle them like babies.


Hugging and cuddling feels great. Who doesn’t like cuddling? Our brains reward us by releasing a calm-inducing hormone/neurotransmitter called oxytocin, also known as the “cuddle” hormone. There is a study that ‘Cuddle hormone’ oxytocin can stimulate brain activity in autistic children. Cuddling does have health benefits. That warm fuzzy feelings are nothing compared to the benefits we get from the release of oxytocin.

Even if you are single, hugging your friends will reap the same benefit as cuddling. A simple as a hug will also increase the oxytocin levels. Go get a pet too. Studies show that “snuggling doesn’t have to be with our fellow humans to increase oxytocin. Any positive touch will elicit a release of oxytocin.”

Have a feel-good day every day. Give someone a hug.

I am excited about 2014 for the possible opportunities that will come my way.  The start of the new year offers a wonderful opportunity for me to reflect on 2013 and to set goals for the months ahead. I took concrete steps on the direction of this blog ever since I started in 2006.   Yesterday, I blogged about “Speaking and Consulting” as possible income opportunities.   It is another business model to sustain my advocacy in using social media for social good. Sure, I will still get ads, sponsorship, create content and collaborate with projects but I want to diversify. I am in control of my blog and I know I need to take risks to reach my goals.

I believe bloggers can generate revenue by being a blog and social media entrepreneur. There are many benefits of being one.  Some of the things you can do is creating and sharing relevant content; building and managing online communities (managing a forum or Facebook page) ; becoming a digital advocate or influencer; starting a blog movement or communities of like-minded people; building a blog network; creating a win-win social media campaign; helping out with the online presence of NGOs; and building social media presence for people or businesses.

Readers often ask me tips on how to tap the potential of their blogs and social media network. The question on their minds is “How?”

While I would like to sit down with them, I believe I won’t be able to deliver all the tips in one day. You can also do it by trial and error like I did but it will take years to acquire those skills.  If you want to fast track your blogging direction, the best recourse is to acquire the skills and knowledge from resource speakers who walk the talk, and are subject matter experts.

I came across, the Ateneo – DigitalFilipino Digital Entrepreneurship Program called,  Blog & Social Media Entrepreneur Course “with the aim of creating a movement – to encourage the growth of online entrepreneurship and serve the growing needs of businesses locally and internationally.”  Janette Toral partnered with Ateneo De Manila University and eLearning Edge to offer this program which started in 2010 , to support her advocacy in developing more “blog and social media entrepreneurs” in the country.  They combine online course access, hands-on activities, and consultations via webinar. See the modules in the infographic below:

blog and social media entrepreneur

One advantage of this intensive 14 – week online mentorship program is one can learn at any time of day and from anywhere as long as one has internet access. How convenient!

Another advantage is this program is different from similar courses in the market because it goes beyond the creation of a project plan. The one-on-one consultation plays an important role during this stage as well where Janette Toral also collaborates, if necessary, to help carry out a participant’s project.

What makes the program unique in comparison to other programs available is it required completion of a live project per module. As a result, by the time a student finishes the program, they have three projects in their portfolio.

Want to increase your income for 2014?  Grab the opportunity.  Consider being a Certified Blog and Social Media Enterpreneur.  Ideal students for this program are those who aspire to establish their own “personality” brand. They will be able to use the skills and experiences learned in doing the same for others – person, product, service, company and advocacy.

Investment for the program is only P25,000.00. It may look big at first but can be easily recovered by an entrepreneur on their first two projects.  The online class starts on January 25, 2014. Contact Janette Toral (@digitalfilipino) on Twitter or send a private message on facebook.

How time flies. The year 2014 is my eighth year as a blogger. When I look back at my grief journey, the turning point is the day I became a blogger on February 25, 2006. It must have been my angel that touched me that one night. I embraced twitter a year after including facebook and other social media networks.

Never in my wildest dream did it occur to me that this new life without my son would open doors to an even more meaningful life. Three years after in 2009, an opportunity presented itself to me to be part of the Automated elections in a PCIJ training. I grabbed the chance. I felt sad that the democracy that we fought so hard in 1986 was getting fragile. I felt the same heaviness in my heart as I saw the corruption slowly destroying our country. What will happen to the country that my children will inherit one day? I wanted take an active role in advocating social change.

jane and myself 3

My good friend Jane Uymatiao (@philippinebeat) together with other citizen advocates in Blog Watch are committed to make a difference in the lives of the Filipino people by helping them make more informed decisions. We help make things happen , one blog post at a time, one tweet at a time , to advocate social change as well as serve as a nonpartisan citizens’ watchdog and collective conscience for transparency and good governance. Being part of that positive change is a meaningful life to me. Blog Watch Citizen media, an emerging media is so much a part of my life aside from this blog.

To sustain an advocacy requires time and money that could have otherwise gone to saving up for our senior years. This is where Jane and I talked about developing our income channels yet doing what we are passionate about: advocating for social change.

Why not offer our services? Though, Jane and I are invited as social media resource speakers, we don’t actively promote ourselves. For 2014, we have moved to a new direction: expanding our services to include social business consultancy, and more topics for social media and pro-active parenting with a new category on “Reinventing One’s Life”. Jane writes about this new chapter in her life.

Here is a general background of the services Jane and I are offering:

1. Social Business Consultancy

Social media presence is no longer a “nice to have” feature of your business. It is a “must have” to be present on social media and give personality and better customer service to your customers and clients. We can help you align your business goals with social media engagement. Applying a new philosophy and methodology to your digital approach will naturally make your business and your overall strategy…meaningful and social.

2. Social Media Resource Speaker

Speaking topics include:

a) Personal branding
b) Brand advocacy- effectively turning customers into brand advocates is a company wide effort
c) Social media content
d) Developing a crisis communication plan
e) How to develop social-media enabled leaders in their spheres of influence
f) Using social media to advocate for social good (company advocacy work, disaster risk reduction)

3. Pro-active Parenting

Speaking topics:
– A safe school program to prevent bullying, abuses and discrimination
– How to establish a digital trust fund for your children
– Teenagers: Why they Should Care About their Digital Footprint
– Parenting in a digital landscape

4. Reinventing One’s Life

Speaking topics:
– Rediscovering Passion in One’s Prime
– Learn the power of forgiving and letting go
– Loving and taking care of yourself
– Finding purpose and meaning in one’s prime
– Developing a wellness mindset

With this new thrust, we will be able to achieve a better work balance, as we continue to earn adequately to sustain our advocacy and boost our retirement savings.

For more details about how Jane and I can work with you, please send me an Email at noemidado @ or the form below