Do you catch yourself yelling in your mind any of these questions?

“I’m so busy! I don’t even have time to eat.”

“I need more than 24 hours in the day.”

“I don’t have time for that.”

“I wish I had more time for myself.”

Well, if you do, then just say “I need a break”. Sometimes it is just not possible but you can always take a quick break. Creating more personal time tops the list of goals many of us hope to accomplish. It takes as little as 15-30 minutes a day of uninterrupted, relaxing “me” time.

Break times for young urban professionals and even stay at home moms are valuable because it gives a few minutes to unwind from the stress. Whether it’s going on a five-minute stroll , taking a snack, or keeping abreast with the latest news through twitter or facebook, one needs to find different ways to feel renewed.

One of the many ways for a much-deserved break is a yummy twist with the new Jollibee KIT KAT Mix-ins. Great news for KIT KAT lovers and fans of Jollibee vanilla soft serve ice cream. This is the latest delightful dessert from Jollibee and the perfect respite from the summer heat. The exquisite combination of creamy vanilla soft serve and KIT KAT’s crunchy chocolate goodness is such a scrumptious treat for only P38.

jollibee mixins

Take note that you need a “me” time and there is no need to feel guilty no matter how short or long it can take. Your little break gives you an opportunity to relax, refocus and recharge. And when you do that, you can go back to your responsibilities with greater focus, commitment and enjoyment.

selfie with kit kat jollibee mix ins

I did just that and bought the Jollibee KIT KAT Mix-ins at the Jollibee drive-thru at Tiendesitas. I was supposed to get down and chill inside Jollibee but the parking space were all occupied. Much to my surprise, the combination of vanilla soft serve ice cream and Kit kat bits were beyond my expectations. Those crunchy chocolate bits are just delicious.

kit kat jollibee mixins

So, make your breaks yummier , a bit more indulgent and fun with the crunchy chocolate goodness of the new Jollibee KIT KAT Mix-ins, now available at all Jollibee outlets nationwide.

For delivery, call Jollibee Express Delivery Service hotline at 8-7000 or log on to

On March 29,1994, the Philippines connected to the Internet for the very first time.

My internet history dates back to circa 1995. Don’t you just miss the modem’s hissing sound as it cranks to connect to your good old ISP? The kids today and future generations will be missing out on the iconic sound of the dial-up modem. Listen:

Internet service providers were so expensive then. My first internet provider was Virtual Asia. It was 500 pesos for 15 hours! Not even enough time to browse.I believe the first website I visited was Yahoo and my first email address was from my ISP ( and later on, Hotmail. The first online person I knew in the real world was Ken Ilio, a batchmate in the university. After so many years, we finally reconnected using this new technology. Then I got to meet Manuel Viloria through Virtual Asia.

internet safety

My first web project was in 1996, an Internet Safety Page for World Kids Network (WKN), a children’s fun website. See that icon to the right? That ‘s supposed to be me, the Internet Safety Head for WKN and a Kid Coach. I was known as Robotica by kids around the world. The site had a mini tutorial on creating webpages and I wrote that page in notepad. Writing about The 10 Golden Rules on Internet Safety was greatly inspired by my own parenting experience with my children .

pope john paulI discovered HTML in 1996 and pretty soon, I was creating websites. The Vatican surfed for children’s choir right after Christmas Day of 2000 and landed on the website I created for the Manila Children’s Choir. There were not that many websites then for children’s choir. I guess I was lucky that the Vatican found us. The event was a gathering of children’s choir around the world to sing for the Pope on closing day. I feel so blessed that the only family member to have been blessed by the Pope is my second daughter.

her-blog-entry Oh yes, I had a lot of good and bad internet experiences. One good thing is my daughters learned to meet new friends via the internet. She is known to be the Philippine’s first blogger which Abe Olandres documents in Tracing Back the Philippine’s Blogging History.

The record for oldest and probably the first blog that ever existed (which was created and maintained by a Filipino) is currently held by Lauren Dado. She was only 10 years old then. Her online journal ( was first published online on December of 1996, almost 9 years ago. The Wayback Machine was only able to archive Lauren’s online journal from October 1997 but her very first entry was dated on December 22, 1996. It is still up until now though she has a new blog site at

You can still read Lauren’s 1996 diary archives at the Wayback machine.


Incidentally , the word “blog” from weblog was not coined until 1999. The term “weblog” was coined by Jorn Barger in December 1997. The shorter version, “blog,” was coined by Peter Merholz, who, in April or May of 1999, broke the word weblog into the phrase “we blog” in the sidebar of his weblog.

My stint with WKN lasted only till 1999. By that time, I had learned enough about basic HTML, File Transfer Protocol (FTP) and how the world wide web worked.

While I used mIRC for group chats, I discovered the ICQ “instant messaging” service in 1997. My ICQ Universal Internet Number (UIN) still exists today (641900). I can still remember its uh-oh sound, as recorded below:

From Virtual Asia, I transferred services to Compass Internet in 1997 then Sky Internet in 1998. In the latter part of 1999, I finally got a cable connection, Destiny Cable . That was such a novelty. I think they are the first broadband internet provider. I used them for 8 years and today I am a Globe DSL subscriber with mobile internet from Globe and Smart.

Blogging only started in 2006, with my daughter serving as inspiration on the blogging style and in managing a community of friends. I lost my son in 2000 and I used my blog to reach out to others who may need grief support. When I look back at my grief journey, the turning point came when I became a blogger. It must have been my angel that touched me that one night.

I chose to be a citizen advocate making change happen, one blog post at a time, one tweet at a time. 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.

Those were the days. Now what will our kids say in 10 years? What does the future hold?

I will be updating the celebration of the Philippine internet here:

How many children do you see playing on the streets, running and screaming around during summer? That looks like a distant memory nowadays as most kids opt to stay inside their houses or in internet cafes to play on computers and tablets. Long gone are the days wherein kids are the life of the neighborhood.


Magna Kultura, a Philippine based NGO believes that children should continue playing traditional Filipino games. Not only to preserve our cultural heritage, but also to develop their mind, body and character.

Why is Larong Pinoy important?

Many relevant studies show that playing outdoors is more beneficial for kids compared to playing with computer games. Children who spend more time with gadgets tend to be more laid back, lazy, insecure, lacking in social skills and difficulty in accepting defeat.  Children who are more physically active, on the other hand, have improved physical and motor skills, they are able to develop strategic logic and adapt well to their environment. They also learn the value of cooperation and teamwork.

Here are some of the most popular Philippine Games for kids:

1.      Sipa – A ‘sipa’ is made of washer with colorful threads attached to it. Two or more kids could play this game. The objective of the game is simple. One has to toss the sipaupwards and kick it several times with his foot, elbows or head and make sure that the sipa does not fall onto the ground. The player who has the most number of kicks wins the game. Sipa is also called ‘Sepak Takraw’ and it is our ‘Pambansang Laro.’

2.      Luksong Tinik – four or more participants are needed to play this game. The players are divided into two teams with equal number of members. The two teams need to assign a ‘nanay’ for each team. The other players will be the ‘anak’. The ‘nanay’ of each team are supposed to be the high jumpers.  A slipper toss will decide who play first. The ‘nanay’ and her ‘mga anak’ will jump one by one on obstacles assembled by the other team. If the ‘anak’ makes a fault and touches the obstacle, the ‘nanay’ will jump for the ‘anak’ to save her. If the ‘nanay’ also touches the obstacle, the jumping team will lose and the other team with take their chance.

3.      Tumbang Preso – This popular street game requires three or more players. Each player is given a ‘pamato’, which they will use to strike a flattened empty tin can.  The tin can will be placed in an upright position and will be guarded by a ‘taya’. The other players will aim to strike the tin can while the ‘taya’ is guarding it. The ‘taya’ could freely tag any player who comes near the tin can as long as the tin can is still in an upright position. When the ‘taya’ tags a player, the tagged player automatically becomes the ‘taya’. In the event that one of the players is able to strike the tin can, the ‘taya’ should immediately put the tin can in an upright position before he could tag the players again.

4.      Patintero – Six to eight players are needed to play this fun, outdoor game. After dividing the players into equal teams. Participants need to draw a rectangular playing field on the ground which is usually five to six meters and is divided into four equal parts. A coin toss will determine who among the teams will run or will be tagged. The objective of the runners is to run back and forth the lines without being tagged by the other team. When a runner is able to cross back and forth from point A to point B without being tagged, the running teams will earn one point.  If a runner gets tagged, the teams will change places and the other team will have the opportunity to score. The first team to win three consecutive points wins.

5.      Tsato – Tsato can be played by two or more players wherein each player has one flat stick and a one short flat piece of wood. A small square hole is dug and the short flat piece of wood will be placed on it. Player A needs to hit the wood up in the air and hit it as far as he can with his other stick. The farther the distance of the wood (the number of stick length is the usual gauge on the distance of the wood from its starting point), the more points for the player. If player B catchers the wood of Player A after he hits his wood, the points for that hit is not counted.

6.      Agawan base -This is an all-time favorite game among children. There are two teams with two opposite bases. The goal is to tag the players of the other team without being tagged. Players will merely run around trying to bait themselves for the other team, while other teammates will try to tag those who will run after them.  If a player is tagged, he will become the prisoner of the other team and he could only be rescued if the prisoner’s teammates are able to tag their opponent’s base. The team that can tag the other team’s base will win.

7.      Ten-twenty – This game could be played by four or more players by using a stretched garter. A pair needs to face each other from a distance and stretch the garter around them. The member of the other pair will be the jumpers and will need to do a jumping ‘routine’ over the garter. The garter will start around the ankles of the other pair and will progress to knee height, then around the armpit.  The aim is to perfect the jumping routine.

It is the duty of parents to expose their kids to real, physical games and not limit them to the comforts of their electronic gadgets.  By playing Filipino games, children educated with the importance of Filipino culture and they are also able to bond and have fun with their parents, siblings and playmates this summer.

by Tanya Jamon-Navarro, as originally posted at Nasaan na ang mga larong pambata? at the Philippine Online Chronicles

by Amihan Euza Mabalay, originally posted at Counting happiness in 100 days , Philippine Online Chronicles


With our fast-paced multi-tasking life, we often get drowned in seemingly never-ending workload, household and parent duties to fulfill. Sometimes we forget to pause and find delight in the moment. Oftentimes, we neglect little things that value the most.

In this age of modern technology wherein popular culture has taken over our lives, social media consumption has been equated to happiness to consumerism. The Philippines was recently dubbed by Time Magazine as the ‘selfie’ capital of the world, with the cities of Pasig and Makati with the most number of ‘selfie’ images taken. From the word itself, ‘selfie’ is done for the benefit of oneself, either for self-exploration or plain narcissism.


We just love connecting through social media. The same medium that introduced us to ‘selfies,’ food porn, memes and other individualized online content prove that it can veer away from materialization of culture.

Project 100happydays” challenges everyone to find happiness in everyday lives, no matter how small and simple it is. This global social media photo sharing/chronicling challenge aims to make people realize that they can be truly happy. A lot of people have actually joined the challenge, which explains many posts counting days (Day 1 and so on) with hashtag #100days  all around Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Though we see the ‘selfies’ as entries, the 100happydays site claims that the project is not to show-off one’s possessions to please others or make them envious of one’s life or “happiness.”

Dmitry Golubnichy, the 27-year-old Swiss behind the project says that “being happy is a choice and everyone can be happy just by appreciating little things in life one has instead of engaging in the constant chase for ever rising internal & external expectations, which leaves no time for being happy.”

The campaign is similar to the 2008 project “365 grateful” of Queensland-based Hailey Bartholomew. Bartholomew was then fighting depression from personal, motherhood and marriage problems when she encountered the help of a nun who told her to appreciate at least one thing each day in her life. She started capturing these on Polaroid camera and then posted these on Flickr. Since then, inspired people began to do their own versions. Bartholomew has released a book on the project, co-authored by her husband and is currently making the documentary (film) version.

Real happiness

Apparently,100happydays and other similar photo challenge projects with the themes focused on gratefulness, gratitude, life appreciation and happiness can well serve its purpose if participants can keep themselves and their entries socially sensitive. It would be more substantial and inspirational if people refrain from posting entries glorifying individualist interests (e.g. shoes, pedicured nails, fancy food, “outfit of the day,” and more). After all, genuine happiness doesn’t come from these trivial material things. Happiness emanates from our self-identification, self-worth and understanding of our role and purpose in this world. It is also hinged on the good, real relationships we have with the people around us.

Cyberspace may have gained us a thousand virtual friends or followers who “like” or “love/heart” our posts. But in reality, our real relationship with people around us is what really counts. If everyone appreciates small and random acts of kindness, then our immediate surroundings – our workplace, school or home can be a better place.

Social media popularized (and also corrupted) the abbreviation YOLO (“You only live once”) which makes this apt for the search for happiness of those who have joined and would like to join the 100happydays challenge – we only live once so we must make the most out of it, savor every moment, and appreciate every grain of happiness.

Like any “trending” topic on the Internet, the #100happydays  hype will soon end. But these kind of challenges or projects will always be significant for those who are struggling to find their happiness in the midst of everyday busy and (sometimes, monotonous) life.

Life’s true joys are those that don’t have price tags, so start sharing your happy days! Carpe diem!


Images Top photo screencaptured from Some rights reserved.

carlos mangco new lawyer

Congratulations to my nephew, Atty. Carlos Mangco, for passing the Philippine bar exam! His dad is my late brother, Oscar Carlos Lardizabal. Like my sister said, my brother must be smiling ear to ear in Heaven. A lot of credit goes to Belle, Carlos’ mom who raised my nephew with such loving support. I am also proud that he is the first Lardizabal lawyer. My uncle studied law before World War II but was killed. I heard that my late uncle studied law because of land grabbing cases and needed to learn the law to seek justice.

carlos mangco with my brother

Congratulations to all the new lawyers!

Here is the complete 2013 Bar results

TOP 10:

1. Nielson Pangan – University of the Philippines — 85.8%

2. Mark Xavier D. Oyales – University of the Philippines — 85.45%

Dianna Louise R. Wilwayco – Ateneo de Manila — 85.45%

3. Rudy Ortea – University of Batangas— 84.2%

4. Eden Catherine Mopia – University of the Philippines — 84.05%

5. Tercel Maria Mercado-Gephart – University of San Carlos — 83.9%

6. Manuel Sarausad – University of Cebu — 83.8%

7. Katrine Suyat – San Beda College Manila — 83.75%

8. Michael Tiu Jr – University of the Philippines — 83.70%

9. Marjorie Ivory Fulgueras – Ateneo de Manila — 83.65%

10. Cyril Arnesto – University of the Philippines — 83.60%

golden girlsA few years back, my husband and I facilitated a grief support group for Grief Share . My friend, Cathy assigned me to 4 lovable golden girls, with age ranging from 67 to 81 years old. I was turning turn 50 years old that time. As I watched them, I couldn’t help but smile at these brave and feisty widows . Laughing, crying and talking with these golden girls opened my eyes to living old gracefully.

After going through the discussion on the “Emotions of Grief”, I asked Eden (not her real name) on how she manages to look so young and bubbly at 81 years old. Eden showed a calm disposistion and sparkle in her eyes .

In her perfect , modulated English diction, she listed three tips.

1. Of course you know, eat a healthy balanced diet. She added that she doesn’t take pills for any ailment. Just vitamins and minerals. Oh wow , and here I am taking prophylactic medication for my high blood pressure and diabetes.

2. Exercise regulary. I play tennis 4 times a week.
(I was pleasantly surprised at her stamina. Imagine I was 49 years old that time and I begged off playing badminton with Abe because of my shoulder aches.)

3. And most importantly, peace of mind.

I asked “how do you achieve peace of mind?”

Eden continues “I lift all my problems of the day to the Lord. Every day I have problems but when I pray before bedtime, I know the Lord will take care of me”

Of course I knew that. My thoughts rattled off. I was captivated as I listened to this “time machine” who shared her wisdom and experience with me.

Eden is not done talking yet . She explained that when her husband was still alive, they’d both pray together every night without fail. “And you know what? we never faced any heavy burden the next day”

Ack, I twisted my hands.

I felt guilty. A few days ago, my husband and I had a small argument over who did more work on the house improvements. Apparently , he felt guilty that I did most of the work. I tried to lift his spirits “you did a lot of work by giving me the money to buy this house”. He continued to whine. Getting impatient with his self-pitying tactics, I shut myself in my bedroom. “I have no patience for this”. Staying in my room while he got holed up in our meditation room downstairs helped us cool our heads off. But we should have talked it out again and prayed before calling it a night.

Eden’s tips to living old gracefully is not new. We all know these secrets but to actually see 4 single young-at-heart women assured me that old age is something to look forward to.

Ask any golden girl her secrets and you’ll probably get the same answers.

I’d like to make it clear that even though I write about parenting and family life, I do not claim to be an expert. I share family experiences and some of my parenting styles that worked or didn’t work for me. You can take what you like and leave the rest.

A few years ago, a group of bright UP students requested an interview on my parental views and experiences on the Children’s Right to Participate. I didn’t have time to research about Children’s rights before the interview but I read up on it after I arrived home. Below is the UNICEF’s Children’s Right To Participate .

Read More →


senate hearing cybercrime bills

I was not supposed to be one of the resource persons at the Senate Hearing on the Cybercrime bills but I had to tell my story because no one else have shown an actual threat on cyber-libel.  I promised to make it a one-minute speech. Due to time constraints, I was not able to say everything I wanted to say so here it is:

I am Noemi Lardizabal-Dado otherwise known as mom blogger in social media. I have been online since 1995 with my children. My kids taught me to be the tech-savvy mom I am today. In 1996, as internet safety head of a  global fun site for children , I soon drafted the 10 golden rules on online safety for young kids. 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 so I kept watch over my children . I continue to do so 19 years later, but this time watching  over the children of my friends by using social media for social good.

In the mid-90s, my children were using PCs but the kids these days use mobile platforms. “Almost everyone is now connected online. You can find bloggers younger than 10 years old. They are on social networking sites as well. Social media has become the new conversation platform,” as my friend Jane Uymatiao writes in “A Parent Worries over the Anti-Cybercrime Law

senate hearing on cyberlibel 1The  Generation C or connected citizen is not only web-savvy but opinionated. “The kids of today are very outspoken and candid”  more candid than I ever was as a teenager. Jane adds “that libel can be relative, depending on whether the party offended is thin-skinned or not. One person may take offense at something written while another may just shrug it off. Now comes this law.”

The youth talk of fashion, music, books and many other things and at times get frustrated at products and services.  Most of these kids turn online to talk or rant to their peers .

I am here to present an actual case of a libel threat.

This happened to a young writer  in a piece she wrote about a clothing store. As an editor of an online media site, I received a letter from the lawyer of this clothing store and threatened to sue me if I did not remove the offending paragraph.  The last part of the demand letter ends with this:

“your failure and or refusal to comply with the afore-mentioned demands will constrain us to institute the necessary civil and criminal  suit against you in order to protect our client’s interest”

Imagine the look of dismay of the young writer when I informed her that she had to remove that paragraph. In my opinion, the paragraph was not malicious. It was a statement of a fact , found all over the internet. As you can see, truth is not a defense. There were other conditions, that I had to issue an apology.  The young writer was visibly upset and traumatized by this experience.

Why was I singled out among the other bloggers? Was it because I was more identifiable than others.  Other blog posts used screen names or were anonymous.

Can you imagine a young child being told by a parent that she/he might have committed libel? Our kids are outspoken but they are good kids. Just imagine if any of our kids was slapped with a libel charge. What if that was your kid? A kid of your friend? What an injustice!

We pave the way for our children  to be future leaders by nurturing them in body, mind and spirit including their online lives.  I agree with my fellow mom  that “the controversial provisions of this law only serve to sow oppressive fear instead of constructive formation.”

I ask that the cyber libel provision be repealed as well as the rest of the cybercrime prevention act.

at the senate hearing

Photo of the Senate Hearing by Arpee Lazaro. Used with permission. Some rights reserved.


 Originally posted at the Philippine Online Chronicles.