Aww… I wish I had small kids. I would be dressing them up for Halloween or just play dress-up.

H&M for children

I visited the preview of this year’s All for Children collection at H&M building. I expected to see the children’s line only but I was pleasantly surprised to see even men and women’s collection. I am such a fan of H&M because their size large fits me perfectly.

HM preview

Before heading off to the children’s collection, I wanted to try on their coats first. This one cost something like 6,000 pesos.




There are so many gorgeous dresses for me but unfortunately I could not buy any pieces in this showroom.

HM dresses 1

Finally it was time to check on the “All for Children” Line.  They offer an innovative way to play dress-up, with a fantasy world of pieces with a contemporary edge. This Ninja turtle will surely be a hit.

all for children from HM


The activewear-inspired collection is for children of all ages, and will be available from October 30th in selected H&M stores worldwide, as well as online.

all for children HM Philippines

Twenty-five percent of sales from the All for Children collection will support UNICEF in helping the most vulnerable children of our world to build a better future through education.

all for children 5

The collection offers an adventure into the forest, with pieces that use color, texture and prints to reflect woodland flora and fauna.

all for children 4

The results are perfect for autumn play, and include items such as a down vest with a reflective feather print, a glow-in-the-dark terry sweatshirt with bat wings, and a jacquard-knit poncho decorated to resemble a folkloric owl.


Functionality is equally important, so the collection contains pieces such as a coated cotton parka with a pile lining, thermal base-layer garments to help keep kids warm as the temperature drops, and a reversible blazer with a reflective insect print.

All for children 1


all for children 3

Accessories help create a complete fantasy world: gorilla gloves, beetle-shaped bags, a headlamp with fox’s eyes, and a faux-fur raccoon’s tail.

all for children 2


all for children 6

“We wanted to present a totally new way of dressing up – one with style as well as imagination. It’s great that such fun pieces will raise funds for such an important cause,” says Emilia Mravec, designer, New Development.

H&M for children UNICEFpartnership

H&M launched the All for Children initiative with UNICEF in 2009 with a $4.5-million donation to help children in some of the world’s poorest communities. Initially concentrating on southern India and Bangladesh, H&M’s support to UNICEF has so far positively impacted the lives of over one million children. This autumn’s All for Children collection is a chance for customers to make a personal contribution and help UNICEF give children a better start in life through early education and development.


It’s good to know that H&M is part of UNICEF efforts to make a difference in the lives of over one million children.

social media apps

When the youngest in our family was growing up, the Internet had just started up here in the country. I do remember having to listen to the whistling handshake of older modems as connection was established. However, what did that mean to our youngest sister? Surprisingly, when she was around twelve, we let her have access to the Internet, and I am glad to say that she is more or less well-adjusted, if not savvy about online concerns.

However, it’s important to note that before she went online, she was immersed in a family that encouraged reading (she still has her library, as do I), and that we were also very much involved in making sure that if she did watch movies, we would be there with her (for the most part). Thus, she has developed a healthy appetite for good movies… and outstandingly whacky B-movies as well.

The key, in retrospect, with how my sister was prepared for the Internet was that we had already been preparing her somehow through the way we introduced literature to her, and that also, thanks to how history turned out… there was no chance for her to be exposed to the Internet at a younger age.


Living in the Online World
That sort of preparation, sadly, isn’t possible anymore, because the moment our future generations are born, they are Instagrammed. Heck, I’ve seen my friends post photos of ultrasounds on Facebook. The idea of slowly introducing a child to the idea of using a mobile device, social media, and the whole concept of being online is rapidly becoming an exercise in futility.

Mobile phones
Yes, let’s say it clearly: most, if not all mobile telecoms do have options for parents to use when it comes to giving their kids mobile phones and keeping them safe. In general, this would be to give them limited-use mobile phones, where they can only receive calls from and call to people on an authorized list.

While that sounds safe, do remember that all phones are hackable, if you know which store to go to. Unlocking features can be done, and cheaply, for the most part.

The issue becomes even more complicated if you will give them an Android-OS phone or touchscreen mobile phone. Messing around with software is something kids can do much better than adults can.

In general, you should only give a mobile phone to your children if you think they are already responsible enough to have one. And if you won’t give them one, don’t think they won’t have access – phones are cheap now, and a simcard / phone set can be as low as 900 pesos – well within range of student savings, and can be hidden from parents. It’s better that you give them the phone, in that case.


Social Media
Now, all parents have probably read or heard about the various social media horror stories, mostly centering around how children are victimized by abusers, kidnappers, and molesters who pose as other children. Make no mistake, this is a possible scenario for every child, and this is the reason why there is a valid sense of dread for parents when they learn their kids are active in social media.

However, social media, like all online tools, is by nature neutral – it’s on how it is used that the problems start.

Reasonable solutions
One of the big issues when it comes to regulating cellphone and social media use is that what parents would define as reasonable would most definitely be unacceptable to kids and teenagers. Here are some pointers on how to manage the situation:

Be prepared to negotiate
When setting up your rules and requirements, do make sure you have logical arguments ready. Gone are the days of children following their parents without question – because if they do, you should be suspicious. For example, if you say that you won’t give them cellphones until their eighteenth birthday, then you should be honest enough to say that you are afraid that they will be kidnapped or abused. From there, you can start negotiating with them to an acceptable win-win – for example, they can only take their phones with them if they are going out with friends or on field trips. In addition, that they absolutely cannot drop a call on you. And yes, there is absolutely nothing wrong with making them work for the cellphone or mobile device they want, be it through good grades, helping around the house, or just making sure they come home on time and always ask permission truthfully when they are going out somewhere.

In the case of social media, asking for their password is an instant brick wall, so you should tell them that at the very least, you should be friended, with a limited profile access. And the younger they are, the more access you should be given.

There is nothing wrong with setting some lines that you won’t erase in the name of protecting your kids, but you should also remember that it’s the approach to the situation and conversation that will determine if they will understand and do their best to follow you, or if they only look like they are following your rules.

Also: don’t be afraid to set punishment guidelines. After all, they should still learn that breaking the rules will entail consequences.

digital citizen2

The mobile conundrum
With iPhone, iPad, and Android mobile devices now becoming the norm, the idea of always being online and always having your system on changes the way that parents should deal with online and telecommunication rights, simply because everything they worry about with their kids is literally in hand.

One ethically questionable but effective way to control or at least monitor mobile device usage is to install monitoring applications – but this approach is a blatant issue when it comes to privacy. Another way is to use parental lock applications and limit all the uses for the mobile device. Unfortunately, this approach will, more often than not, encourage children to find ways to either unlock the functions… or get a new, “personal” mobile device.

Keeping the lines open
As scary as it may sound for parents, the one useful and proven way to protect your kids when it comes to cellphones, social media, and mobile devices is to simply set the rules, and keep your communication lines open. No amount of strict policing will cut it these days. What is important is that they understand that the rules you set are there to help them, not to hinder what they think is theirs by right.

Photo: “Instagram and Other Social Media Apps” by Jason Howie, c/o

Written by Richard Leo Ramos , as originally posted at the Philippine Online Chronicles

Mothers will do everything to save their child. Veronica Nyamod must have been so tired, walking wearily for more than four hours just to bring her frail one-year-old son , Stephen Nyamod to a clinic near Reke, South Sudan. A BBC report wrote a story on a South Sudanese village two months ago where mothers and children resorted to eating water lilies . South Sudan faces a food crisis. A clinic run by the International Rescue Committee has been treating up to 16 children every week ever since 1.1 million people including 550,000 children were forced to flee their homes due to the fighting between government and rebel forces.

Despite the treatment that Stephen received from the clinic, he failed to show signs of improvement. Stephen weighs only 5kg (11 pounds) and has been losing weight. Such a heartbreaking image of a child who weighs just as much a three month old baby. His mother tries to soothe him as he cries at the doctor’s clinic.

“I only want him to get better. I am lucky we got to the clinic in time. We didn’t have enough food back in the village. There are so many other sick and malnourished children there”, the mother was quoted in a BBC report.

south sudan children

The warning signs were everywhere. The conflict forced famers to flee their homes and now missed the planting season. The United Nations Security Council expressed “grave concern” about the situation and described it as “currently … the worst [food insecurity situation] in the world.”

When you hear such terrible news, one begins to ask is there anything one can do?

Action is being taken now before it is too late.

UNICEF ,the world’s leading advocate for children warned that up to 50,000 children could die of malnutrition by the end of 2014 if they do not receive help.

UNICEF and partners have screened more than 60,000 children against malnutrition and immunised more than 260,000 children against measles, which can be deadly in an emergency.

UNICEF aims to distribute hygiene kits and safe water for cooking and drinking to 450,000 displaced people . UNICEF is also providing safe places for children to learn and play, and reuniting children separated from their families. There is so much work to be done and UNICEF can’t do its work without your help.

Children are dying. More will die soon if we turn our backs on their pleas for help. You can help the vulnerable children with the care and resources they need to survive this food crisis in South Sudan . Every donation will go a long way .

food crisis in south sudan

Here is how you can DONATE to help UNICEF meet the urgent needs of children in South Sudan.

Photo via Flickr. Some rights reserved

Written by Edel Cayetano , as originally posted at Philippine Online Chronicles

working-mom-and-daughter-300x200 (1)After realizing the benefits of being a working mom, you have now decided that working part-time or full-time is the best option for you and your family. Now here are mommyversal survival tips from Parents Online and other web sources to get you through your challenging but rewarding decision:

  1. Let go of the guilt

Working mom’s guilt is practically an epidemic, but rather than dwelling on how you’re not with your child, think about how your role in the company is benefitting your family. Accept that there will be good and bad days, know that you are not alone and discuss your feelings with your partner or a support group.

About Parenting also suggests that you: 1) write down your motivations; 2) stay away from people who make you feel guilty; 3) considering the source of anti-working mom comment; 3) taking a day off just to spend with your child; 4) remembering that all moms have challenges; 5) accepting that trade-offs are inevitable and; 6) bear in mind that life changes.

Also check out Margie Warrell’s letter to working mothers: stop feeling so guilty on Forbes.

  1. Find quality childcare

Accept the fact that you can’t do it all and accept help from your extended family. In Pinoy culture, supportive grandparents are more than happy to care for their apos during a portion of the day. You may also ask your network of friends and family for references to nannies, babysitters and daycare centers.

  1. Don’t dilute your presence with distraction.

“We can be with our kids 24/7 and yet never be fully present to them,” says Margie Warrell of the Forbes. ‘Turning off’ from work and other distractions may be easier said than done, but it’s crucial to be intentional about being fully present to your children whenever you are with them by minimizing the multi-tasking as much as humanly possible. As Jessy Lane of Baby Center shares, “I’ve learned it’s not about the quantity of time I spend with my family, it’s the quality.

Being disciplined and setting time limits on things you can do while the kids are sleeping (checking email, making phone calls) and avoiding wasting time at the office are just some ways to limits distractions.

  1. Anticipate tasks and get organized.

Jessie Lane, wife to Rusell and mother of five year-old Rylee, reveals her secrets on being a successful working, fulltime mom by detailing her daily schedule. In it, she shares getting organized and completing mundane tasks the night before. She also works in tandem with her husband and they “help each other out in sweet little ways to keep it all running smoothly.”

  1. Create and organize a family calendar.

Figure out your family’s priorities. Mark your calendar with dates when bills are due, a chore chart for the kids, a list of school and family events, extracurricular activities, birthdays and more. Bottom line: be on top of scheduling challenges.

  1. Communicate with your employer.

Before talking to your employer or HR representative, crate a written plan detailing what you need. Research on whether other employees have flexible arrangements and use this information to your advantage by tailoring your proposal to the terms that your employer has already embraced with your coworkers. Try to be as open and honest as possible, but also be prepared to present alternative solutions, like a trial period of your projected work schedule so you can show how the arrangement won’t restrict productivity.

  1. Stay connected during the day.

You can still stay connected with your kids even when you’re not together physically. Parents online suggests recording yourself talking or singing on a video or recording your voice reading along to a children’s book for moms with younger kids, and giving an older child something special in the morning – a personal note or a good luck charm – to remind her of you during the day. Hang pictures of yourself and your partner so the kids can see your faces and call your child during your breaks at work to help you get through a rough day and let her know you’re near.

  1. Mom and son exercisingCreate special family activities.

Family time is paramount, and since there will never be enough of it, it should be cherished and enjoyed. Make time for your kids during the week and on the weekends to nurture your family dynamic and allow everyone to bond. Serena Norr of Parents Online suggests creating activities that regularly fit in your schedule so everyone knows what to expect and what to look forward to. And when you do have family outings, avoid talking about work or checking your phone. Instead, focus on your kids’ interests such as friends, classes and hobbies.

  1. couple datingSpend time with your partner.

It is important to nurture your relationship with your partner since he will be the number one person by your side. Try to have monthly date nights to get closer, feel rejuvenated and enjoy each other’s company. “Often, if you’re busy with work and home, your partner is the first to get neglected. Fostering this relationship will bring back some excitement to the marriage or partnership and help you “check in” with each other.”

10. Create moments for yourself.

Manage your time wisely and fit in valuable “me” time regularly. You need to take a breather and recharge while also taking care of your personal needs. “Because your time is divided between your home and your career, make sure to manage your energy well. You can’t be an effective spouse or parent if you’re cranky, so take time to care for yourself to feel relaxed and effective,” says Wiss through Parents. Do simple things for yourself like reading your favorite book before bedtime, fitting in time for exercise or treating yourself to a spa day. And of course, eat well and get enough rest.

Being a mother is wonderful, hilarious, messy, exhausting, frustrating, rewarding and beautiful all at the same time. Embrace it and keep in mind that in order to create a happy and healthy home for your family, you need to feel happy, healthy and fulfilled too. Raising kids and keeping a career at the same time is hard, but it is possible. With determination, a clear set of motivations and a lot of help from your partner and your families, you will get by.

*Woman and young girl in kitchen with laptop and paperwork smiling” by GSCSNJ, “mother and son practice pilates for pregnancy” by sean dreilinger, “My Husband and I” by Spenser. All photos c/o Flickr, published under CC license. 

I grew up in a bakeshop, smelling freshly baked bread every morning. You know how that aroma is, right?  It’s heavenly. My mother thought of using her baking talent to augment her teacher’s salary  by starting a small bakeshop. That small business grew and made enough income to finance seven of us to Manila for college. I am a great believer that entrepreneurship can bring most of us into financial independence. It was that belief that prompted me to work at the UP Institute for Small Scale Industries and provide consultancy services to small and medium enterprises.

sally's home bake shop

Along with our bakery , my mom built a small sari-sari store for her baked goodies and some dry goods. The bake shop has long been gone but we, siblings hope to revive it one day. I wonder if we did open our bake shop in this technology-driven age, would we also use those online stores like SariSariStore.Com/1780? I recently attended the launch of this iconic Filipino one-stop-shop. Providing a free space where businesses can market their products and where consumers can find what they’re looking for is just so convenient for both the entrepreneur and the potential buyer.

1780 by sari sari store

1780 by SariSari brings focus and creates demand for Philippine heritage products that have yet to make an impact in the market, highlighting the sheer variety of regional delicacies and crafts available in the Philippines and making these products easily accessible for Filipino families across the country. In collaboration with a number of Philippine artisans, 1780 by SariSari puts a modern flair to a variety of traditional Filipino products.

chocolate cupcakes

Owner of hand-crafted cupcakes store Sweet Patti Cakes – Patti Grandidge, exhibits a taste of the Philippines by creating limited edition cupcakes which incorporate Kablon Farms’ chocolate using organically grown cacao. Local designer and fashion influencer Amina Aranaz works in collaboration with one of 1780 by SariSari’s merchants to craft a bag using native Philippine materials, which will be sold exclusively on the site. Aside from promoting food and craft products, 1780 by SariSari is joined by traveler and tourism influencer Ivan Henares who discusses his advocacy towards heritage products and sites around the country.

Visit their main portal at, or check their facebook page at to see more of the featured products that are available online.

Paniya Clutches

Paniya Region 8

Paniya Clutches uses local materials like buntal (palm tree) straw and acacia wood to make beautiful, one-of-a-kind clutches as part of their high-end fashionable products using native Philippine materials and proudly crafted by Filipinos

Jackfruit Marmalade

Jackfruit Marmalade

Using jackfruit, which is readily available year-round, FORWARD (the Federation of Rurban Women’s Association for Reform and Development) joined the Plant Now Pay Later program which allows them to plant the fruits with resources from the government, which they can pay back after the harvest season.


Marbell Bell Pepper Sauce

Marbell Bell Pepper Sauce

Marbell’s Bell Pepper Sauce uses ingredients that can be found locally, such as coconut sugar, brown sugar, onions, garlic, salt, powdered black pepper, and Native Philippine chili; it also includes vinegar that the company personally ferments for 2-6 months in their kitchen.

Mommy Juling’s Atchara

Mang Juling's Atchara

Mommy Juling’s atchara products are freshly made, with the production process leading up to packaging taking only 2 days, so that each package retains the crunchy flavor that Mommy Juling’s is known for.

CT South Tropic Fruit Wines

CT South Tropic Fruit Wines - Mango

Using fruits fresh from the farms in Mindanao, South Tropic’s wines carries a variety of wine flavors including: mangosteen, passion fruit, durian, jackfruit, pineapple, and dragon fruit, among others.

Kablon Farms

Kablon Farms

Kablon Farms sells chocolates that are made with cacao grown under the canopy of fruits and flowers on the company’s plantation that gives one a taste of home-grown favorites such as dark chocolate and spicy dark chocolate.

Banigs by the Badjaos of Zamboanga

Banigs by the Badjao’s of Zamboanga

Banigs by the Badjaos of Zamboanga are not as simple as they appear: it can take anywhere from one to three months to produce a single mat, with more intricate and complicated designs and colors taking longer to make.

Josephine’s Jewelry

Josephine's Jewelry

The designs of Josephine’s Jewelry are one-of-a-kind pieces from materials sourced from across the Philippines, using a variety of metals such as silver and gold, and jewels (such as topaz, opal, or even diamonds).


These products are simply amazing.  By highlighting the best that the Philippines has to offer in terms of gastronomy and craftsmanship, 1780 by SariSari looks forward to contributing to the economic growth of the whole country.




Written by Edel Cayetano , as originally posted on Blog Watch, Philippine Online Chronicles.

“A mommy can work and be a mommy too.”

This is what working moms try to tell their kids (and themselves) as they struggle to strike a balance between family life and keeping a career. As a working mom, albeit a first timer, I am still getting acquainted with the changes in my young family’s life and mine, and I tell you: it is not easy at all. Because of this, I have also asked myself whether it is best to transition from being a career woman to a full-time, stay-at-home mom for the sake of my child, and of course, my family.

Experts, however, would disagree with this option. According to the New York Times magazine, quitting your job to be a full-time mom is probably a bad idea. “Women are finding out the hard way that by opting out of their careers at the height of earning power, they’re opting in to a host of unexpected frustrations,” says Erin Gloria Ray of the said magazine. These frustrations include “relying on two completely unreliable entities – a high-earning spouse and the economy,” the risk of starting all over again should you decide to return to the workforce, and increased levels of stress and chances of depression. Feeling regret and wondering where one’s career could have gone are also eminent among those wanting to opt back in.

“Working mothers are happier and healthier than stay-at-home moms”

According to the American Psychological Association, working mothers are happier and healthier than their non-working counterparts. “Employment helps women and their families,” says Cheryl Buehler, a professor of human development and family studies at the University of Carolina, through Time magazine. At the core of Buehler’s study is this: get a job, whether full-time or part-time.

Here are seven ways part-time or full-time work benefits mothers according to Michelle Larowe of Your Tango:

  1. It allows moms to live out their purpose. Every woman is meant for something special, and for many women, this extends beyond being a mother. Passions, talents and interests often guide a woman’s career path and choices, and if these are left unfulfilled, mothers may feel unsatisfied and even resentful.
  2. It gives moms financial control. As valued financial contributors, working mothers aren’t forced to rely solely on the income of their spouses and feel confident in their right to make financial decisions for their family.
  3. It helps moms maintain their identities. Being a mother doesn’t exclude moms from being their own unique individual, and one way to maintain and nurture their sense of self is to have a career. Also, as children grow up and discover they are separate beings from their mothers, this becomes even more vital. “Mothers who don’t have their own identity may have a hard time separating and letting their child grow,” as Your Tango says.
  4. It allows moms to build and maintain social connections. Even though being a mother is filled with busy days and constant companionship, many mothers experience loneliness and isolation. With this, being able to build and maintain social connections could be a sanity saver.
  5. It gives moms a sense of independence. “Working full-time can put a woman in the driver’s seat of her life.” She also has a sense of self-sufficiency and self-reliance.
  6. It forces moms to require more of their spouses. Being a working mom allows cultivating a more involved role for spouses and dads while having a dual-income family.
  7. It gives moms the opportunity to be a special role model for their children. Working moms set the bar for having a solid work ethic, and they also teach their children the value of prioritizing, decision-making and sacrifice.

Watch out for the second part of this feature: survival tips on how to be a happy, healthy working mom

*“Mother and daughter” by Andrea Gutierrez c/o Flickr. Some rights reserved.