I often correct myself whenever the kids used to ask me “mom can we afford to buy _______?”. See, my standard reply is always ” I don’t have money” and true enough, money was always tight. I changed my words from limiting ones to those with a positive energy vibration. I say ” I don’t have the cash right now but we will soon have and make priorities for our needs”.

When asked “Do we have enough?” I answer with “Yes there is plenty” which affirms that there is enough for us in the family. If you ask the angels for just enough, that’s exactly what you will get. Try asking for ‘plenty’ and affirming  ‘plenty’ and you’ll always get much better than what you expect.

I soon found out the words that I say have a direct impact upon my finances. of course, there is that matter on financial management. Even if I have enough, I set priorities. One thing I appreciate with my two daughters is that they never ask for expensive or the latest gadgets, just the basic needs like computer or cellphone and don’t really mind hand-me-downs from me. I am proud that they save their hard-earned income for their education or real estate investment.

Sometimes, a painful situation will wake us up to the role that our vocabulary is playing, as a woman named Caryn discovered. After she was laid off from her engineering job, she started telling people, ““I am unemployed.” Caryn desperately searched for a new job, without success. Then she realized that by continually saying that she was unemployed, she was creating that situation. So she stopped using that word, and shortly afterwards, she was offered an engineering position that would pay all of her bills.


I believe that just changing the words I was using with myself and others brought abundance very quickly into my life.

Here are some affirmations that I often say daily.

I am open to receive.
I am open to abundance.
I am very focused and persistent.
I am wealthy and successful, everyday, in all that I do.
I am always supplied with whatever I require.
I am prosperous, healthy and happy.
I am ready to receive all that I require.
I am worthy of receiving abundance.
I am the source of my abundance.
I am a brilliant and savvy business person.
I am open to opportunities.
I am commited, determined and passionate about what I do.
I am capable.
I am a master at what I do.
I am a success.
I am generous.
I am happy, healthy, and wealthy.
I am wealthy in every areas of my life.
I am open to the flow of great abundance in all areas of my life.
I am so happy and grateful now that I make PHP_____ per month.
I am becoming more prosperous and successful every day.
I am talented and resourceful.
I am building a successful and important business that will assist in making a difference in my life and the lives of those I touch.
I have an abundance of whatever I require.
I have absolute certainty in my ability to generate any amount of income I choose.
I have unlimited abundance.
I have more than enough.
I have all the resources I need right now to become a multi-millionaire.
I have all the skills, intelligence, contacts and money I need right now to create an incredible masterpiece with my business.
I give and receive freely.
I value my time, energy, and money.
I consistently attract success-minded entrepreneurs to assist me to grow my business.
I deserve to be prosperous.
I focus on what I love and draw it to me.
I trust that the universe will always meet my needs.
I give myself permission to have what I want.
I expect and receive the very best.
I accept good things into my life with gratitude.
I have much to offer the world.
I allow myself to enjoy life.
I bring love to everything I do.
I appreciate all that I have.
I always do my best.
I give myself permission to be, do, and have what I want.
I use my thoughts and emotions to attract abundance effortlessly.
I have great abundance flowing into my business, which affords every luxury that I desire.

Indeed, what you say is what you get.

Update March 26- Mommy Blogger Contest Entries with the top 3 most number of Qualified Comments

1. Tina Ong 191

2. Cai Sio 147

3. Tin Dychiao 131

DEADLINE is March 21: Get a chance to win a PictureMate PM245 or a LabelWorks LW-300. Check out my contest/giveaway below the cut for more details.

epson eventAll moms are busy moms. Now even if my kids are all grown-up, I still need a system for everything. Being organized brings so much peace of mind and a balance between having grace for yourself and doing hard work. There are many ways to organize and one of them is setting up labelling system especially with our laundry. With adult children, our clothes get often mixed up. Of course , one way is to use a pen to mark each clothing item. But how cool is that? What about the photos taken from my digital camera? Does it need to be forever floating in the “cloud”?

At a mommy blogger event organized by Epson , they showed us how to turn the ordinary to an extraordinary. I loved how they showed two products that every mommy can use: the Epson Label Maker and the Epson Picture Mate. The Labelmaker creates perfect labels every time while the Picture Maker is your friendly mobile photo lab.

You will be amazed with these two Epson products but let me show you why:


Epson LabelMaker LW-300

my epson labelworks

Don’t you love a system where you can churn out labels in a fast and efficient way? Epson showed us with this lightweight and portable LW300 that accepts 9, 12  and 18 mm tape widths. It is also ideal for your home office labelling , including filing, storing, asset tagging and barcode printing. At home it is great to label your medicines and those pretty generic bottles at the kitchen.

epson labelworks 2

With a wide selection of tapes, sizes and colors , I can be sure one is right for me. Imagine, I have the choice of standard, transparent, pastel, metallic, ribbon , iron-ons and specialist cable wrap labels.  Each tape is 8 meters long and quite economical because it leaves minimal margins and less waste.

epson label maker 4

It is quite user friendly. In each box, there is a default black ink on white sticker label. Just remove it and place directly on the slot. It needs six triple A batteries though.
epson label maker

It is so simple to use especially with its ergonomic buttons.  Now you will be so amazed at the 14 font types and 10 different styles (bold, shadow, outline,)  457 symbols and 87 frames for cool designing on your label. There are dedicated buttons to give quick access to fonts, frames, cutting and printing functions.  It can also store up to 50 custom label designs for instant recall.  The backlit LCD screen gives a clear view whatever the light conditions are.

epson labelworks1

The first thing I did is label my Label works. It is so pretty. I will be using my Epson Labelworks to label my clothes so it is easier to sort out the laundry and store in our respective cabinets.

ribbon labels from epson label maker

Janice , Mommy Mundo created a ribbon label. Love it? I am sure you do.

Epson PictureMate PM 245: Your Mobile Photo Lab

What is the use of those awesome digital photos if they cannot be printed. I know we can have online photos but it is also good to organize some of these selected photos in a paper album. I have always wanted to print family photos or even my customized photos instantly and with a photo reproduction that lasts?  Epson showed us the Picturemate PM 245 with it s Epson Micro Piezo print head technology. It aims to deliver superb and lasting photo prints at amazing print speed and low cost.

epson picture maker

Look at how handy it looks. Photo printing is made easy even without a PC. It can create 4 x 6 photo prints  in lab quality in 37 seconds. As an added bonus, it comes with the option of borderless printouts.  Wow, I can now easily customize printing to fit various photo sizes for IDs, passports and visas. With just one click, I can print multiple copies in multiple sizes.

epson picture catridge

I can produce 150 4R prints with a picture pack that costs only 1200 pesos or 8 pesos for each 4R print. Now that’s affordable considering I can create my customized printing needs.

epson picture maker8

According to Epson, the smudge , scratch, water and fade-resistant Epson Claria photographic inks  creates such vibrant photos that last up to 200 years. Direct printing is done through the built-in memory card or connecting the digital camera using PictBridge or USB direct,  The tiltable 2.4″ LCD screen allows you to view and make last-minute effects before printing. Now you know why it is so amazing!

After the mommy blogger event, we all had a photo shoot and to test drive the printer. It is so nice. Now you know why I believe the Epson LabelWorks & PictureMate makes organizing so much easier and fun!

picture maker 5

I will be using the Epson PictureMate for printing out the family travel photos that are stored in my hard drive.

Suggested Selling Prices

The Epson Picturemate PM 245 SRP is 7,995 pesos and the Photo cartridge T5852 with the 150 sheets 4R is PHP 1,200.

The Epson Labelworks LW 300 SRP is 2,268 pesos while the LW 400 is 3,175 pesos. Cartridges are : ?9mm Tape SRP: PHP 582.00
12mm Tape SRP: PHP 582.00

LabelWorks Tapes and PicturePack are available at Printers2Go at or email [email protected]

Contest Mechanics

1. Just write on the comment section below “I WANT PICTUREMATE AND LABELWORKS ” and your reasons why
i.e. “I WANT PICTUREMATE AND LABELWORKS so that I can creatively feature my baby’s milestones on the scrapbook I am making for her.

2. Multiple entries/ comments from the same commenter will only be counted as one entry.

3. Winners should be based in the Philippines or have a Philippine mail address.

4. Please make sure your name in the comment section matches your ID card which will be used in claiming the prize.

5. If I get chosen to be the top 3 mom bloggers with the most number of valid comments, I get the chance to raffle either a PictureMate PM245 or LabelWorks LW-300 so help me promote this blog post too.

i. Most number of valid comments – (1) PictureMate PM245 worth 7,995 pesos
ii. 2nd most number of valid comments – (1) LabelWorks LW-400 worth 3,175 pesos
iii. 3rd most number of valid comments – (1) LabelWorks LW-300 worth 2,268 pesos

5. Deadline for comments: March 21, 2014

gossipNo, it is not part of the 12 commandments so we often think that is perfectly alright to gossip especially when we are offended by someone. It is a nasty way of getting even. Some people even call it therapy so they make fun of their victims. No wonder back-talks are so rampant. It happens in the office, sari-sari store hang-outs, bars and wherever two or more heads come together.

We could even be guilty ourselves when we subconsciously join in the chatter about somebody else. There is some kind of thrill in contributing information (more often an exaggerated version) and making a juicy item even juicier at the expense of other people. Does it even come as a surprise that tabloid blind items are devoured like hotcakes?

But gossip is not just plain senseless chatter. While we often think that telltales are harmless and passing, it can actually be a bad reflection on the rumormongerer. Yes, that could be me and you. M.Farouk Radwan explains in his article “The Psychology of Gossip” that it is a sign of “low self esteem, jealousy, frustration, anger and weakness.”

“Ate, magandang salita po ba ang hinayupak?” (Is the word “hinayupak” good?) Mimi’s maid asked. There is no direct translation of “hinayupak”. It is coined from the Tagalog term “hayop” or animal.

Mimi wondered where the househelp picked up the word. “Well, it depends. If it is said jokingly, it is okay. But if said when mad, it could be bad. Why?”

“I overheard your mother-in-law call you ‘hinayupak kong manugang’ (loosely translated as an animal-like daughter-in-law) as she spoke to her sister and it did not sound good.” No wonder her husband’s relatives give her a funny look and a cold shoulder treatment during family gatherings.

A few months after, her mother-in-law’s storekeeper remarked at Mimi, “You’re not that bad. Your mother-in-law told me you have an attitude.”

Norman had it worse. His production assistant spread the rumor that he has been keeping the office kitty to himself and uses the money to renovate his house. The technical people came to Norman’s defense. He was just not the type to do it. He has always been fair and square with them in the distribution of talent fees even of food during production work.

Norman was lucky his good reputation protected him from the vicious gossip of a young gossiper.  It was just quite unfortunate for Mimi to be an unwitting victim of one person she trusted.

Going beyond skin deep, jealousy might have been the main reason why the production assistant spread lies about Norman. The girl is an only child used to getting all of her parents’ attention. It must have been hard for the brat to accept that someone was getting better praises so she attempted to discredit her immediate supervisor.   Lucky for Norman, his colleagues’ belief in him quashed the bad press release before it went too far.

Mimi’s mother-in-law, on the other hand, may have been driven by a sense of low self-esteem. She is person with disability and tried to compensate her physical weakness with a strong presence. Her voice is booming and bosses everybody around with her nitpicking in an attempt to put up an air of superiority. It must have been harder to sustain her superficial confidence when her son married a professional whom everyone found quite pleasing so she did everything to discredit her daughter-in-law with every opportunity she gets.

Understanding the psychology of the tittle-tattler may help the offended party to be more magnanimous but more often than not, the ugly scars stay.  It took a while before Norman forgave his erring subordinate but he made sure walls were built between them. Mimi may have chosen to forgive her mother-in-law out of love for her husband but the crack of distrust forever stays in her mind affecting their relationship one way or the other.

Gossip hurts way deep than we can ever imagine. No wonder it is aptly called backstabbing.   Pope Francis put it succinctly as he branded gossip as murder. In his September 14, 2013 homily at the Vatican, he pointed out that “when we participate in this sin, we imitate Cain’s gesture in killing his brother Abel.”

He expounded on the First Letterof John the Apostle, “anyone who has hatred for his brother is a murderer, he walks in darkness, he who judges his brother walks in darkness,” and that those who judge or speak ill of others are “Christian murderers.”

Ouch! That means we are no better than the cold-blooded criminal in death row. So how do we bite our tongue in the face of very tempting chinwags?

Pope Francis gives a heavenly motivation for a down-to-earth advice. Although some people believe certain persons deserve to be gossiped about, he encouraged the Mass-goers to “Go and pray for him! Go and do penance for her! And then, if it is necessary, speak to that person who may be able to seek remedy for the problem. But don’t tell everyone!”

The spirit may be willing to change but the flesh is too weak to resist. That is where the grace comes in.  Pope Francis adds, ““We ask for grace so that we and the entire Church may convert from the crime of gossip to love, to humility, to meekness, to docility, to the generosity of love towards our neighbor.”

Amen to that.

(Written by  Jasmine B. Barrios at the Philippine Online Chronicles)

Photo: “The boring life of a gossip” by Sili[k], c/o Flickr. Some Rights Reserved

Originally posted at the Philippine Online Chronicles/ Blog Watch

online libelAs one of the petitioners in the Philippine Internet Freedom Alliance (PIFA) versus the the Cybercrime Prevention Act  or Republic Act 10175 , I believed that the law only increases the lavish power of Philippine libel laws.  United Nations Human Rights Council is correct in calling Philippine libel law ‘excessive.’

The Supreme Court (SC) does not seem to agree with the United Nations. Today, the SC “ruled on the constitutionality of online libel when it further declares that Sec 4 C4 which penalizes online and cyber-libel is not unconstitutional with the respect to the original author of the post.” It means that those who participate in the libelous statement or message after it is posted violates Constitutional principles. Yes, it is safe for you to share this article to your social media network.

Atty. Harry Roque in a statement , said that “no less than the U.N. Human Rights Committee has already declared that Philippine Criminal Libel Law is contrary to Freedom of Expression. The Court’s decision failing to declare libel as unconstitutional is therefore contrary to Human Rights Law. “

I am so disappointed at the SC decision on online libel . I welcome though, their decision on the unconstitutionality of the provisions such as the Take Down clause and the decision to strike down the real time gathering of information. The fight to protect our internet freedon and hashtags #notocybercrimelaw continue in social media.

Though my lawyer-husband warned me that  “libel has always been a crime, whether committed online or the old-fashioned, printed way”, I am dumbfounded at the higher penalty. In the case of libel, under Article 355 of the Revised Penal Code, the penalty for libel ranges from P200 to P6,000  on top of the six months to six year-long jail time . The penalty would be increased by one degree higher under the Cybercrime Law. If I am charged with libel, I could end up in prison for 12 years. Penalties for online libel is far more severe than the penalties for offline libel.

Rep. Terry Ridon of Kabataan party-list says that “the upholding of the provision for online libel poses imminent threats to many content creators. Libel in itself has been abused for so many years to harass and malign journalists. What’s stopping cunning individuals from exploiting the new online libel provision? I see none”

Inday Varona, former  head of citizen journalism site, said  “ we tried to monitor the patently libelous posts. But the problem with libel as a criminal offense is, it encourages reprisals even when a post is true, fair and motivated by the best intentions. A criminal case is always a cause for concern. You think warlords care about the effort you took to be fair and truthful?” I agree with Inday that the SC decision  “only makes citizen watchdogs vulnerable to people in power with the resources to harass voices of dissent.”

nagtweet sa twitterThe Bloggers and Netizens for Democracy (BAND), composed of petitioners in G.R. 203469, are going back to the Supreme Court soon to file a “motion for partial reconsideration” regarding its decision on the draconian Cybercrime Law. I will join the fight to decriminalize Philippine libel. Goodness gracious, our country is one of the few countries in the world that still considers libel a criminal offense.

In the meantime, how does one protect from being sued for online libel? “Writing well is the best defense”, my husband tells me. In other words, the best defense against anything that would curtail our freedom of expression, be it online or offline, is to express ourselves in words and deeds that are thoughtful, truthful and honest. It will force those who have anything at all worthwhile to say online to write well. My husband assures me that I won’t go to jail as longas I write well. He adds that “there’s nothing like a virtual gun to the head to make one choose his words wisely. And to craft one’s writings carefully and deliberately.” This includes writing opinions based on facts, and using words like “alleged” or adding a question mark to a statement. I have a lawyer to consult so it is easier for me to ask if I am being libelous or not.

I have no desire to spend the rest of my prime time years in jail so I will make sure I slug it out online with finesse.


Photo by Noemi Lardizabal-Dado. Some rights reserved.

valentine's dayIn all the 36 years that Butch and I have been a couple (as steadies for 7 years and as married couple) , not once have we celebrated Valentine’s Day outside the home. During the 7 years that we dated, he’d say “I don’t want to celebrate Valentine’s day but let’s go on a dinner date on the 16th”. So theoretically, we did celebrate Valentine’s day but not on the 14th of February. When we got married, I ‘d cook a simple dinner just to celebrate the romantic nature of the day. Then the kids came. Their teachers often required a Valentine card project for daddy or mommy which prompted me to celebrate Valentine’s Day at home. For the children, Valentine’s Day meant candy hearts, cutesy cards and excitement in the air. Now I didn’t want to be a killjoy. I’d decorate the house with heart shaped balloons, heart shaped cookies , red ribbons and other party fan fare. It was a family celebration of love.

I never really understood why my dear husband loathed Valentine’s day until last night…. He can’t be the Valentine’s Day equivalent of Dr. Scrooge. Butch is a very romantic person. He says the most sappy phrases ever and that’s probably the reason I fell in love with him. Now back to the reason for this Valentine’s Day aversion. I teased him, “Will you buy me flowers?”. He said “not on the 14th. Flowers are very expensive that day”. He reminded me, “Didn’t I just buy you carnations a week ago?”

I laughed. “So it’s an economic reason?”, I joked. He nodded. Ah now I recall, Butch was only 18 years old when we first became steadies. Naturally, he didn’t have the money to buy me the overpriced flowers or presents. All these years, I always thought that he wanted to be unique. Kuripot lang pala. (or is it being thrifty)

Tonight, as restaurants are filled to the brim with loving couples, I prepared an Italian-themed dinner. The non-celebration or not eating out on Valentine’s Day is our tradition carried through the years.

safeter internet day

In support of Safer Internet Day, I wrote about How my daughter turned me into a digital mom in 1996. Wow, that’s over 18 years ago. There were just websites and online journals in those days. The internet was not complicated as it is today with so many new technologies.

The question remains :

“How do we keep our kids safe online?”

“How do we reach our kids?”

As parents, let’s not try and race them with today’s technology. We’ll eventually lose. We , the parents have the edge in wisdom and that’s how we keep our kids safe when they venture into the cyber-world.

We need to understand the technologies better to know how they should and should not be used. We have to recognize where the real world begins and ends so we can help our children develop boundaries in both worlds. Parents also need to venture into the online world of our children to help them navigate the tricky waters, learn the rules, learn from our adult experience and still be safe.

cybersafe book In this book I own, “Cybersafe : Protecting and Empowering Kids in the Digital World of Texting, Gaming and Social Media”, I stumbled upon some myths which parents need to know.

The author, Dr. Gwen Schurgin O’ Keefe says that the “two of the biggest generators of myths is the disconnect in how parents and kids use digital technology , and how kid use digital technology compared with how their parents think they do. This includes not just the internet but vieo games, music, cellphones….the entire digital world.”

The book shares a list of the digital myth perspective that many parents take for granted as “safe” or acceptable but “in reality not what any of us are doing”.

1. Social networking is dangerous

Dr. Gwen says that “social networking can be safe and often is, if done thoughtfully, age appropriately and with a conscious following of stated age limits and privacy rules. ” Parents need to be involved on how their young teens manage the privacy settings or digital footprints

2. Predators track down kids in real life from their addresses online.

Online predators maybe foremost on our minds as parents, but the reality is that only 1 in 7 kids are solicited by online predators. Most encounters are from other youth and not intended to lure at all . Studies show predators don’t have the technologic capabilities to found our kids from their online addresses.

3. All online “friending” is dangerous.

The rules of friendship off-line extends to the online world including the act of friending. Dr. Gwen adds that “the best guideline is to only friend people you know and have a connection with off-line. Friending only becomes iffy when we add people to our lists who we don’t know well or at all and when we fail to set our privacy to “friend only”.

It is good to stress to our children that what goes online, stays online.

internet safety

4. All online discussions with strangers are dangerous.

In the offline world, we meet strangers everyday , be it the bank teller, security guards, clerks , doctors and many others. Dr. Gwen says that by observing our behavior with these people, our children learn tha it’s oOK to interact with these type of strangers and when they become more independent they’ll understand how to negotiate these social norms , whether in person, by phone or online.

We should help our children understand how to create a safe buddy list, keep personal information private and not to meet online friends off-line and to know their time limits online. When my daughters and I went to the United States for a choir trip, I allowed her to meet up with her online friends who was accompanied by their parents. Seventeen years later, they are still friends.

5. Online games are safe if they use cute cartoon characters.

This is so not true. I once saw a naked anime character. Cute doesn’t mean safe by any stretch of imagination. Dr. Gwen says it is important “to check all the kids your kids are playing….If you have a younger gamer at home, look past the character and first check the rating. If the rating is not appropriate for your child’s age, that’s your first red flag. Second, check the content of the game yourself, to see if it is appropriate for your child. Third, are there other players with whom your child will be interacting? If so, those players may be adults and the game just took on a world wide meaning that isn’t something to enter without thought.”

6. Updates for anti-virus software don’t need to be purchased.

There are a lot of free antivirus programs but these are very basic. One needs to get a full and comprehensive protection plan against more sophisticated threats such as Trojan horse. One would also need an anti-spyware protection. Having an Apple macbook spares me from having some of these threats. Still I am careful when I surf to unsafe sites. Google now stops us from browsing if there is a threat to a website.

before you click
Photo via

7. Parents know their kids.

Dr. Gwen stresses that “this is one of the most commonly expressed phrases from every parent I know, but the honest truth is we have to admit we’re getting to know our kids as they grow up!” The best we can admit is that we’re aware of the people our teens want to be and help them with that process.

Our teens can easily outsmart us especially if the strict rules are unreasonable. For instance, my husband disallowed sleeveless tops for the girls for the longest time. How would I know that they would bring it with them when leaving the house? In the end, the kids will behave just like all the others kids their age, in one way or another.

8. The other kid is the bad guy.

It takes two to tango, right? Regardless of the situation, there are always two sides of the story. Dr. Gwen adds “when it comes to their kids, defenses go immediately and most parents quickly aim at the other child and family”. Are you willing to recognize that our child may not be innocent all the time? In cyber-situations, Dr Gwen says “our teen is likely as others to be part of the issue, from cyber-bullying, to sending inappropriate texts and e-mails, to not handing the receiving sext correctly. ” Parents can help their kids understand online misunderstandings, by helping our kids be realistic about their own behaviors and to own up to their role in a situation that does not come out too well.

9. Handheld gaming does not connect to the Internet

In the early 2000, this was not true. Today’s handheld devices now connect to the internet mostly via wi-fi. This means our children can easily communicate with others through chats set up through games.

real world and digital world

10. Cell phones are fine for young kids.

The purpose of the cellphone is essential. Some schools don’t allow it. I recall giving cellphones to my two girls so I could easily communicate with them but they were not allowed to bring it to school. If you must give a cellphone to your child, avoid smart phones. Phones that call are more appropriate. Dr. Gwen recommends that high school is the appropriate time to consider a cellphone.

11. Everything kids are storing is stored off-line

What happens online stays online . Every time teens post publicly, they are leaving their digital footprint. A digital footprint is the data trail one leaves with everything our kids do online. Data is being stored from their smartphone to the Internet and social networks. Parents can gently remind their teens on caring about their digital footprint through this article, Teenagers: Why You Should Care About Your Digital Footprint .

12. Kids would never post in the nude for a picture

Remember the STC Cebu Bikini controversy on Facebook? The poor girls were not able to be part of the graduation exercise.  In this age of social media, this will not be the last instance of STC students posting comments , pictures in Facebook or other social media sites.  Let’s face it, kids will always be influenced by peer pressure. We have to continually remind our children that what they post online will not always be private , even if posted as “friends only”.

13. Kids will not use their webcam for any stupid things.

Same as number 12. Some kids can do dumb things online. They just have to know what happens online stays online. That has to be repeated often enough for them to get it.

digital footprint

14. Kids don’t hack other kids.

Dr. Gwen says “just like nice kids sometimes say mean things to kids online, nice kids sometimes hack other kids’ computers.” I don’t recall my daughters ever being mean to kids online. I never gave them more than an hour online to venture out and hack someone’s computer.

15. The reason kids use headsets and microphones when playing games is to listen to game sound effects without disturbing the family.

I discouraged my kids to use headsets when we are not at home . That is because they may not be able to hear a phone call , fire alarm or something.

Dr. Gwen adds that “the best way to learn what your kids are listening to is to listen with them”. I always took note of the music they were into. I once recalled this song in 1999 which had lyrics “horny horny”. My six year old son then asked “What is horny?”. I looked at the horrified expression of my daughter who tried to explain that “horny” meant the devil. Some lyrics are just not age appropriate especially if music is shared to the whole household.

16. Xbox is a game device.

That is just the tip of the iceberg, says Dr. Gwen. Playstation 3, Xbox, and Wii are multimedia entertainment units that can run everything fro games to DVDs, to music and can even connect to the internet. With the convergence of content into devices, future devices will likely have many more applications than today’s “games” and digital devices.

You have just gone through 16 myths. Parents must learn to drive the vast cyber-space, the internet, its components and the issues that surround it. This helps narrow the digital divide between the parent and their digital native. It also sends a clear message to our kids that we know how to use and understand technology and we are there for them online as well as offline.

Source: “CyberSafe. Protecting and Empowering Kids in the Digital World of Texting, Gaming, and Social Media.” by Gwenn Schurgin O’Keeffe , Ameican Academy of Pediatrics.

digital citizens

How could I not resist Lauren, my then 9 year old daughter’s question in 1996? One day while I was busy with my emails, she walked up to my desk begging to create a web page using HTML. The question seemed so natural like she was asking for candy but running inside my head was what is that MONSTER?… HTML ? The internet was such a novelty during those days that parents were both afraid and excited about its benefits for the kids. I took the risk and introduced my children to the world wide web.

lauren in 1997

I was often questioned why I allowed them to go online. Questions often raised were: Am I not afraid of pedophiles? Am I not wary of the pornography? What if the online friend is really some serial killer? Relatives and friends frowned on the internet. I felt like I was a parent from outer space. Even my daughter’s homeroom teacher chastised her for talking about the internet. I believe the teacher was just ignorant or intimidated about it. After all, in 1996, there were less than 12,000 internet users in the Philippines. It wasn’t cool for a kid to be online during those days.


There were no hard and fast rules. One thing was clear though. I am a parent first. In the real world, one aspect of responsible parenting is never having to allow children to wander aimlessly and alone into unknown territories. So, too, in the vast cyberspace called the internet. Responsibility towards my child’s off-line behavior is the same responsibility for my child’s online activities. Parents can empower themselves and establish web safety awareness in their homes. Start them young. The best defense is for parents to make exploring the online world a family affair.

roboticaI drafted my own Internet safety Guidelines for parents, teachers and children to read in World Kids Network where I was  called Robotica, their Internet Safety Head from 1996 to 1999. The guidelines are basically the same even in the age of connected technology ( gaming centers, cell-phones), digital devices and social media sites. My 10 Golden Rules on internet safety  were inspired by my own parenting experience and my children’s internet experience is still applicable 18 years later:.

1. Your child should only log on with your approval. Sit down together with your child and read the guidelines contained in their favorite kid site. Assess which may or may not apply to you and your child. If you have to, you can plan and formulate your own safety guidelines together.

2. Since the on-line experience should be a family affair, the computer should be easily accessible to family members. This makes online activities an enriching experience.

3. The computer should be located in a room where there is adult supervision.

4. Be clear on the length of time spent in the computer or other connected technology.

5. Let your child post your family’s e-mail address even if he/she has her own.

6. As you go on together with your online experiences, your child will soon be better equipped to deal with various online situations even if you choose to leave them on their own as I did when the girls left for their college dormitories.

The negative feedback and suspicions towards online activities often made me wonder how the internet molded my children’s perspective in life. I found the answers now that my children are in their early twenties. I believe my kids got exposed to global thinking , varied ethnicities , cultures and religion which they might not have learned in the classroom. The biggest surprise is that I gained so much more in the process. My children taught me a lot about being a mother in this technology-driven world.

Is it any wonder that 18 years later, I am a 56 year old tech-savvy mom blogger?


(In my next post, I  talk more on  Internet safety: Myth versus Reality)

This was the original Golden Rules on Internet Safety I drafted in 1996:

internet safety

1. Ask your parents for permission before you log on!

Read the internet safety tips together with your parents, teacher or guardian.Let them know what you are up to on-line. Only use the Internet when your parents have given you permission, and only for the time they allowed you to use it.

2. Tell your parents to spend time with you while online .

You might want to know some guidelines that your parents are concerned in the use of the computer such as time and the places to go in the World Wide Web.

Show them your favorite places in the internet. Tell them about the people you meet on-line, and the things you talk about. Let them know of your keypals and their traditions. Get them involved in your on-line activities!

3. Post your family’s e-mail address even if you have your own!

It’s neat to have your own e-mail address but it is always a good idea to post your family’s address, and then inform your own address after you are absolutely sure that the sender is trustworthy.

4. Do NOT give out your home address, parents work address, or school information. This also holds true for telephone numbers.

If you are entering a contest, or registering to enter new site, discuss it with your parents or guardians first and get their permission! Show them the site, and the reason why you would want to give out your address. If you have a PO Box, use that as your address!

If you want to become “snail mail” pals with someone you should talk to your parents about it first, and get their permission to give out your address.

5. You should NOT use your real last name while you are on-line, especially if it is unusual.

A better idea is to use your middle name as a last name, or have fun and make one up! If you do decide that you would like to use your real last name, please talk to your parents about it first!

6. Never agree to meet anyone, anywhere without talking to your parent or guardian about it and getting their approval.

People may not be who they say they are! If you do decide to meet with someone that you have met on-line, talk to your parents first. If they agree to the meeting, have them come with you and meet in a public place (where there is a lot of other people around)!

7. Never give out your password to anyone for any reason!

The ONLY people that NEED to know it, already have it, no matter what they tell you!

8. Don’t reply to any e-mail messages if you feel that they are offensive, strange, mean or upsetting to you.

Show the message immediately to your parents or teachers or any adult you trust so they may take the proper action or advise you on what to do . This is usually the best solution.

Don’t get discouraged if you receive messages that make you uncomfortable. Most of all don’t imitate those kids that write rude messages.

You can also write to us at [email protected].

9. Don’t send scanned pictures of yourself or your family to anyone unless you have your parent’s approval.

If you have a homepage,your parents should also determine the pictures that you should put.

10. Stop right away if you see or read something on a Web site that is upsetting or offensive to you.

Some sites are not meant for children and you might have accidentally reached that site through a hyperlink. Talk to your parents or teacher about it.

uphold rh law

Did the parents of this poor boy know that they had a choice on the size of their family? Did they know about sex education? It saddens me that the Philippine bishops misrepresent the RH Law as something that promotes abortion and of adolescent promiscuity. I feel these bishops have been intellectually dishonest and ignored the good faith of the RH advocates. They have failed to proclaim the life-saving and values-formation character of this public health measure.

It is my dream that couples will know about these choices, once the Reproductive Health Law (RH Law) is in place.

I am blessed to be married to the love of my life for the past 29 years, my boyfriend for 7 years. He is my one and only lover and to see our children are truly miracles of God and a union of our love. What more can I ask from God? A baby is a gift of life. Tears of joy always overcome me in every birth of my children. They are truly God’s greatest gifts ever given to me. I wish every mother receives this gift of life.

It is this wish that prompted me to support the Reproductive Health Bill in 2008 and now pushing that the RH Law will finally be implemented.

The Catholic Church here in the Philippines are insinuating that the RH Law is about abortion, at least based from pro-lifers on Twitter.

contraceptives from the Catholic church

More than 12,000 Catholics from five continents answered questions in a massive survey commissioned by Univision and conducted by Bendixen & Amandi International. Topics covered included all the issues most likely to generate lively discussion among Catholics all over the world. Here’s how they responded through this result page.

What I found out is that 78% of Catholics support the use of Contraception. In the Philippines, 68% support contraception. This is an eye-opener for the Catholic Church.

survey of the catholic church

Part of the RH Law is about using contraceptives so you can have babies only when you want to, and so you can achieve a family size you can comfortably support. It is about producing children with love and producing them responsibly so your limited resources can provide them a good life, not one where they sleep in sidewalks. It is about helping women avoid the health complications caused by closely-spaced births or unplanned late pregnancies. Caring about all these things is being concerned with life.

To borrow the words of RH Advocate, Beth Angsioco, “In the name of reproductive justice, our Justices should uphold the RH law.” The health and well-being of millions of our mothers and children now hang in the balance as the future of the RH Law as it is now being deliberated in the Supreme Court.

See the survey results

Catholics around the world more liberal than the Vatican

*Cringe*. I am sure some of you are not too comfortable about the topic especially with our children. But….Let’s not be in denial.

Parents need to wake up to reality.

32% of the youth aged 15-24 engage in sex and 78% of this is unprotected sex, according to DRRP and UP study.

Data from YAFS 4 indicate that 32 percent of young Filipinos between the ages of 15 to 24 have had sex before marriage. This shows a significant increase from 17.8 percent in 1994 and 23.2 percent in 2002. By age groups, more of those in the 20-24 age group had sex before marriage (54 percent) than those aged 15-19 (17 percent).

The highest premarital sex prevalence were found in the National Capital Region (NCR), (40.9 percent), and Central Luzon (39.1 percent) while the lowest was in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), (7.7 percent).

Beth Angsioco, reminds us “Let us not forget that per the respondents’ profile, more than 70 percent of them are Catholics. Yet, the Catholic hierarchy and its allies are blocking the implementation of the RH law, the law that can help young people responsibly manage their sexual lives.”

Just before I had kids , a friend told me that her daughter was only 18 years old when she got pregnant. This happened during their first date. She expressed regret that she should have never assumed that her girl will never have sex before marriage. She says she should have lectured her girl about protection. My friend’s story left such an imprint on my mind that I resolved to teach my girls all I can about sex education when the appropriate time came. I knew I could not leave it to the school to teach them about it.

Let’s see…

What is happening to our sex education?

Sex Education

With the Reproductive Health Law still in TRO, sex education is left hanging in public schools. It is optional though when the law is in effect. Let’s look at this statement from Dr. Angelita Aguirre, head of Human Life International. (CBCP: Scrap sex lessons)

““The module should be scrapped. It does not have the emotional, psychological and spiritual dimensions of human sexuality. This is very important,”

““The code of morality is high. We are not pagans. We would like to pressure everybody indulging in a conjugal act to get married first,” she said.

Aguirre pointed out that the modules did not mention that a person had to get married before having sex.

Saying NO is easy for some kids but not everyone has a strong will. Sex Education goes beyond just saying “NO” .

Source of photo:

As a concerned parent of two girls, I took an active role in teaching the basics of sex education even if their Catholic high school included a bit of sex education in their curriculum. Much as I want my two girls to get married first before having sex, this kind of sex education strategy (get married before having sex) does not make sense to teens these days. First of all, some Catholic schools instill fear of committing mortal sin even on sexual feelings. Why can’t they explain about raging hormones instead of judging their feelings? It’s a confusing time for teenagers. Most often, these high school girls turn to their girl classmates for relationships. How many girl-girl relationships are occuring in all girl schools? Often, the school turns a blind eye because these relationships won’t induce pregnancy. Secondly, our teens are exposed to sexual images in magazines, TV, movies and the internet.

The issue of morality can be taught separately from sex education. Morality is taught in the Christian Living Education or its equivalent like Values Education.

God has a strong view of any kind of immorality, so we should try to err on the side of purity. For example, the apostle Paul said that the Church will be presented to Christ as a pure virgin bride:

I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him.” (2 Corinthians 11:2)

sex education lectures
Photo source:

My mother discussed sex openly with me when I was 15 years old. I knew the morality issue already and formed my own beliefs at that age. Mom didn’t have to go through the graphic details but what struck me was the responsibility of the sexual act. In the same manner, I discussed sex education with my two girls as “are you ready to have children?

When they blurted “NO WAY“, I added “Then you should abstain until you are ready“. My own definition of “readiness” is when one is married but I didn’t want to explicitly state that fact yet.

I continued “Don’t even believe your boyfriend when he says he has protection“.

They giggled. I gave a clear example of a family friend who got pregnant at the age of 18 because she thought she wouldn’t get pregnant at that age. Besides it was her first time.

Then I continued “just one tiny drop contains millions of sperm to impregnate you. It takes only 1 sperm cell, mind you!

Then I proceeded to explain how the second daughter and Luijoe were conceived …and…

ewww. I dont want to listen now

I explained condoms, birth control etc are not fool proof methods of birth control.

We need to teach them responsible parenthood together with the sex education. We don’t need to teach everything but at least give them the basic facts. Along the way, the children can do some more research on their own.

Phillipine Catholic Bishops Oppose Sex-Ed in Schools, Say it Should be Left to Parents is true if all parents know how to discuss sex with their children. We can’t assume parents know how to discuss sex openly. Some might be uneducated to understand the anatomy of reproduction and thus fail to grasp natural birth control methods.

The schools together with the parents can bridge the gap of sex education.

If you are a parent, are you ready to tackle the topic of sex education with your children?

Photo source:

(This was originally written on July 2006 )

world cancer day

As a young teen, my almost perfect world started to crumble when my mother died from breast cancer complications in 1976. Life was never the same without a motherly touch but  dad pulled it off so well. He became our mom and a dad at the same time. In In 1999, my 40 year old brother, Oscar died of leukemia (AML- 6) after an unsuccessful stem cell transplant in Bethesda, Maryland.  It is sad to lose two family members to Cancer. I am aware that cancer is  preventable by just having a healthy lifestyle and disposition. This is one reason I want to share World Cancer day with you.

Today, February 4 is World Cancer Day and a new global cancer report compiled by UN Agency, The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) shows1:

  • As a single entity, cancer is the biggest cause of mortality worldwide2  – there were an estimated 8.2 million deaths from cancer in 2012
  • Global cancer incidence over four years increased by 11%* to an estimated 14.1 million cases in 2012 – equal to the population of India’s largest city (Mumbai)3
  • Cancer cases worldwide are forecast to rise by 75% and reach close to 25 million over the next two decades

The release of the World Cancer Report underpins the 2014 World Cancer Day theme ‘Debunk the myths’. The data shows that the world cannot afford to sit back and continue to let the global cancer burden grow. For more information on how to get involved, please visit:

What are the four myths?

Read through the myths by clicking thelinks to website or hearing my bubbly audio posts.

Myth 1: We don’t need to talk about cancer

Truth: Whilst cancer can be a difficult topic to address, particularly in some cultures and settings, dealing with the disease openly can improve outcomes at an individual, community and policy level. Read more.

My bubbly post:

Myth 2: There are no signs or symptoms of cancer

Truth: For many cancers, there are warning signs and symptoms and the benefits of early detection are indisputable. Read more.

My bubbly post:

Myth 3: There is nothing I can do about cancer

Truth: There is a lot that can be done at an individual, community and policy level, and with the right strategies, a third of the most common cancers can be prevented. Read more

My bubbly post:

Myth 4: I don’t have the right to cancer care

Truth: All people have the right to access proven and effective cancer treatments and services on equal terms, and without suffering hardship as a consequence. Read more

My bubbly post:

world cancer day2
Click to enlarge (via PTV)
1. World Cancer Report 2014. IARC. Available at:

2. WHO Global Health Observatory. Available at:

3. City Mayors. Available at:

4. De Martel C et al. The global burden of cancers attributable to infections in the year 2008: a review and synthetic analysis. Lancet Oncol 2012;13:607-15

5. Ferlay J et al. GLOBOCAN 2012 v1.0, Cancer Incidence and Mortality Worldwide: IARC CancerBase No. 11 [Internet]. Lyon, France: International Agency for Research on Cancer; 2013. Available from: