My husband caressed my protruding belly and felt our baby move. His smile turned to a frown as he knitted his brows, ““We need to pack up and move to the mountains.” I stood up and responded, “No, we’re staying put. I know something good will happen. I just know it.” My stubborn refusal started a minor spat when he remarked about my naivete that a civil war will soon erupt because then President Marcos will make sure he will still rule the country.

A few days after on February 22, 1986, my heart raced when I heard over the radio that Juan Ponce Enrile holed up himself at Camp Aguinaldo. There is hope, I thought. I couldn’t help getting worried though. Will the dictator budge? Will there be a civil war?

Then the call for People Power came. I told my husband he has to go. Fighting the dictatorship was a struggle I fought for as a student at the state university and felt sad I could not participate in this one big rally.

I prayed, listened, and moved around the house for the rest of the days. On February 25, 1986, I felt my baby tumble with joy inside my belly as the announcement from the radio blasted out that indeed Cory Aquino was our new president. That baby, Lauren, is now a 28-year-old lady turning 29 next month. It’s been 29 years since my joy came in a stream of tears. There were many reasons worth crying for , a sigh of relief from the threats of a civil war, the challenges facing the new President, for the citizenry who finally showed the courage to challenge the Marcoses.

I smiled and touched my belly gently, assuring my unborn baby that she will now be born in a democracy. I loved our new president. She offered hope to the future of my baby. As a new mother, I desired nothing else but peace, not the turmoil that was about to explode with the cheating of the elections done under a dictatorial regime.

A year after People Power 1, I dressed up my little Lauren with a “People Power” shirt.  I can’t help feeling sad , sometime tearful at the situation we are in right now. No real change except a change in trapos, and oligarchs. I often ponder, What will the future of my children be like in the Philippines?

my daughter

My second daughter came in September 1987, a few days after a coup attempt threatened our fragile democracy. My two girls are EDSA 1 babies, just like the millions of others aged 24 to 29 years old who have no memories of those glorious People Power days.

It is not surprising that an entire generation born after EDSA 1 are the vibrant youth. President Noynoy Aquino believes it is very important to engage our youth ““when it comes to the EDSA 1 celebration… to explain to them what it meant to our democracy and to pass on to them the spirit of the revolution.”

How do I exactly explain the spirit of EDSA 1 that I want my babies to pass on? Twenty-nine years later, a new era of democratic politics in the Philippines arrived. Progress has been slow. The fault does not lie with the People Power Revolution or with Filipinos as a people. The full potential of our country has yet to be tapped.

The spirit of EDSA 1 showed our capacity for greatness and willingness to sacrifice for the country’s good. It is inherent in each one of us. I thought it was enough to have a wonderful president and let her do the job. I failed to be vigilant, remaining apathetic about politics. I know now that the hope of our country lies in an empowered citizenry. It is so easy to sit in the comfort of our couch and rant as each new problem faces us in front of the television screens. I constantly discuss with my two girls about the critical issues that our country faces. Not only do I discuss about them, but I also participate actively in specific causes such as supporting the Reproductive Health Bill or pushing for the passage of the Freedom of Information Act. My EDSA 1 babies have taken it upon themselves to be involved in their own capacity, with no prodding from my side.

To my dear EDSA 1 babies, and to parents who want to pass on the spirit of the People Power revolution, the power lies in you. There is only one power that can face and surmount the misuse and abuse of the powers of the presidency and that is the power of an aware, vigilant and organized citizenry. If we won’t try to know what is happening to our country, nothing will also happen to us. People need to know how things are being run by those in power. If they see something is wrong, they should be able to bring it to light. Start discussing issues with your children. Participate in an advocacy that you are passionate about, be it in reproductive health, pork barrel, cybercrime law, voters education, freedom of information or any cause that is good for our country.

It’s time we all stood up and do our share. Stand up and be counted. The hope of the country lies in you, the power of an active citizenry.

““I don’t have any formula for ousting a dictator or building democracy. All I can suggest is to forget about yourself and just think of your people. It’s always the people who make things happen.” Corazon Aquino

by Lean Panganiban, as originally posted at Philippine Online Chronicles

Sometimes, you need more than conventional wisdom and obvious advice to get yourself back on track. These productivity hacks might seem strange, but they can help not only to jumpstart your life, but make it big out there. You guys are open to pitch in. Leave tips you swear by in the comments section below.



I’ve no idea how many internet stories you’ve read on how some successful person quit their job or got fired and dove straight to another company or launched an impromptu backpack adventure to the Amazon jungle. Mindlessly quitting your job without a plan isn’t really a wise thing to do. You may feel liberated, but the lack of income can really take its toll on your finances, especially if others are depending on you. Come up with a plan or have enough savings to tide you over for the short-term future, THEN, quit. Quit your job ONLY when it makes sense.

work balance


This is a pro-tip from Happiness Project author, Gretchen Rubin. The rule states that you should do anything that presents itself, right away, as long as you can do it in a minute. This means doing any task—from wiping off eraser crumbs from your desk, to filling in a form, to answering an email in a minute or less. According to Rubin, this rule is very effective in getting things done because it keeps all those small thing, nagging tasks under control. If done right, it can make your life more serene and less overwhelmed.


On a lazy day inside your gloomy office cubicle, there’s nothing better to do than to listen to this song. Feel inspired to launch into your own little happy dance after.



Turning something upside-down, whether physically by flipping a piece of paper around or metaphorically re-imagining the process can help you see patterns that wouldn’t otherwise be obvious. The human brain has a bunch of pattern-making habits that often obscure other, more subtle patterns at work. You might want to ponder what a relationship issue or problem would look like if the least important outcome were the most important, and how you’d try to solve it then. Changing the orientation of things can hide the more obvious patterns and make other patterns emerge.

Relationships CAN be as easy as making pancakes.

Relationships CAN be as easy as making pancakes.


A lot of people swear by these! Maybe there’s some kind of weird psychic link between doing relaxing things and good anger management. Why does it work? Maybe it’s the soft sheets and olive-scented pillows, maybe it’s the warm water relaxing you, or maybe the fact that your mind is on other things. Whatever it is, it’s a mystery!


I am late in my twenties. Like all yuppies out there, I am having a hard time not looking at my phone for an hour or so. But when I do leave my phone alone and look at my family while we’re having dinner together, you can see my them light up. Also, they become a lot more talkative and livelier.

#4: BRAG.

Describing why and how you got a stable career after college is the new COOL. I won’t go deep here as you probably get it already. But believe me, it works!

WHEN YOU’RE GOING THROUGH A QUARTER LIFE CRISIS (let’s talk about when you’re smack dab in the middle of one!)


Children think and speak with disregard to convention and that is often helpful to us, adults.

Ask a child how they might tackle a problem, and you might be surprised how uncomplicated a thing is in their eyes. This doesn’t mean that you have to dash out and build a rocket ship because a child told you so—the idea isn’t to do what the child says, but to walk your own thinking into a more unconventional path.

Sometimes, non-conformity is cool. Just don't let the humans and chief get you.

Sometimes, non-conformity is cool. Just don’t let the humans and chief get you.


The universe is huge and you are tiny. Now, think about how the earth seems in comparison to you. Think about how even in this universe, the earth, the other planets, our sun, are just specks inside the huge dust of it all. You will be surprised to know that there are 300 billion other stars in our tiny corner of space. This 209-second video will make you question your life and your existence. Out of the quadrillions of creatures in this planet, we’re the only ones with soul and awareness of all these. This awareness allows us to create and understand, tread on this world lightly, and ultimately connect to something higher.


I am not suggesting you dump the old ones, just add more to your list. Seek out successful, bright, funny, interesting, wonderful women (or men) and make them your friends for unselfish reasons.


Depending on what you feel the day you read them, inspirational quotes can be misleading sometimes. Stop regurgitating these self-help clichés and do the actual work instead. You might find this article helpful.

*Photos owned by the author. 


by Ma. Rachel Yapchiongco as originally posted at the Journaling For The Soul, Philippine Online Chronicles.

Never underestimate the power of blank pages and a pen. They can immortalize thoughts, preserve memories and create lasting impressions. Think of a journal as a window to your soul. You can write whatever you want. You can share your thoughts, ideas, secrets, feelings, worries, fears, dreams, and more.

Journaling is a process of self-reflection. It lets you share a big part of yourself without worrying what others may think or how others would react.

Time flies so fast. Each day passes by like a blur. You can keep those memorable moments by writing them down on paper. In this digital age, it is now possible to create an online journal but writing by hand seems more special and intimate.

Use your journal to share day to day experiences. It feels good to share happy moments and little triumphs in life. But life is not always a bed of roses. We all have our own share of ups and downs. You can write about the good and bad times. Sometimes it helps to write down things that made you cry  or drove you to get mad.

Here are some tips to help you start your own personal journal.

Find an ideal time and place to write. Write on your own time. There are people who prefer to write in the morning when it’s quiet and peaceful. Others like to write before going to bed so they can reflect on things that happened that day. Find the best time that works for you.

Look for a comfortable place where you can write without interruptions. Most people like to write at home but you are free to write somewhere else like a public library, park or coffee shop. It is all up to you.
Keep your journal personal and private and keep it in a safe place. That way, you don’t have to worry about someone else reading your most intimate thoughts and feelings.

Keep your journal simple. Begin by getting a new journal. Dealing with a blank page can be a little overwhelming especially if you’re new to journaling. Keep an open mind.

The good thing about making a journal is the freedom. There are no rules. You don’t have to be concerned about format, grammar, spelling, or how legible your handwriting is.

Sit down and think of what you want to share. Just keep it simple. The purpose of journaling is to reflect about yourself and not to impress others .

Don’t be afraid of making your first entry. There is no need to feel pressured on filling an entire page. You can write a few lines and reserve the rest of the page for another day.

Decide what you want to write on your journal. A good way to start your journal is to reflect about your life. Ask yourself if you are happy and satisfied with your life.

You can write about things that happened on a particular day. Focus on the highlights of your day. Reflect on things that you are grateful for. It can be as short as five things or as many as you can think of.  Prioritize quality and not quantity.

Share simple happy moments that you might forget later on. Writing about a moment preserves it into a lasting memory. Several years from now, you can go through your journal and reminisce about the good old days. You’ll be glad that you took time to write down those precious snippets of happiness.

When you travel or visit a new place, you can share about your experience.

As you get more inspiration in your journaling, you’ll likely find it easier to write more entries from the heart. Journaling for the soul brings out the deeper essence of writing. Make your journal an intimate connection to yourself. Write down goals or plans. Express your innermost thoughts and emotions. Share feelings of love, happiness, sadness, excitement, despair, aspirations, hope, and even thoughts of hopelessness.

You can also draw or put photos on your journal. Some people find it easier to express themselves through drawing or sketching.

There will come a time when you look back at your journal and appreciate how you’ve grown and developed as an individual. Journaling also gives you an opportunity to learn from mistakes and reflect on difficult situations to make you stronger and wiser.

Journaling has been known to help reduce stress, improve mental and physical health, and boost self-esteem. Experts recommend journaling to people who are struggling with grief and loss. Writing can give you a sense of relief during difficult times in your life.

Be consistent in journaling. Try to spend a moment each day to write your journal entry. Encourage consistent journaling until it becomes a welcome habit. Write thoughts and feelings while they are fresh. It is easy to lose the raw feelings and inspiration if you postpone your writing for another day.

Sometimes life can become too hectic and busy. If there comes a time when you miss an entry, do not be too hard on yourself. Just jump right back to journaling.

When you enjoy writing, journaling becomes something to look forward to rather than a task that you need to finish. Learn to embrace the joy of journaling for your soul.

Photo c/o Flickr. Some rights reserved.

valentine's day from my sonIt was sometime January 2004 as I was wheeled through the Operating room of the Philippine Heart Center for an angiogram procedure. Three doctors told me that my heart had blocked arteries and I will need an angioplasty. Two diagnostic tests revealed the necessity for an angioplasty. At that time, all I could think of was the expense, something like 500,000 pesos ($10,000). As I hovered between sleepy state and consciousness , I remember thinking that it was alright to die. I would soon be rejoined by my son. No big deal. As I lay there on the operating table, my cardiac surgeon motioned me to watch the procedure on the TV screen. The sight of my beating heart made me queasy . A few minutes later, the surgeon announced “There is no blockage”

I sought for my sister, a doctor who watched the procedure. She confirmed that I didn’t need angioplasty.

I found out that I had a “spastic heart” which didn’t require an angioplasty. My grief during the past 4 years took a toll on my heart.

In the recovery room over 11 years ago, I mulled over the death of my son . Life did go on even if my heart was broken. I didn’t know how physically broken it was. Our heart is fragile even if the heart muscles are strong. It goes on beating even during the darkest hours . When devastation made its mark , it felt like my heart would never know joy again. The diagnosis awakened something in me. God had given me another chance in life, perhaps to help others or continue to give love to others. One thing I knew for certain, that day marked my road towards a healthier grief journey. I discovered that the heart mends itself, but not like before. There is a scar in my heart which will always remain there. There is a tender spot inside where once the gap was wide. It is healing.

I am grateful that my heart is healing . I am grateful to be alive to give love and receive love.

Happy Love Day to all.

My precious Valentine’s Day Memory. Though death has taken you away from me, my son, my love for you will never die. Love never dies.
happy valentine

“To love and to be loved by you, our child,…an honor and so blest,
Our time on earth cut short, it’s true … But We Sealed It With a Kiss.”

I never realized the value my children placed on their toys until M. interviewed me for her research paper a few years ago on “Toys and Games I played with” for her Psychology course.

She said “Thank God mom for the girly and not so girly toys”.

In this day of digital toys and gadgets, I believe parents should never forget that the best toys for children are ‘open-ended’. Such toys encourage children to play using imagination, creativity and problem-solving skills such as

blocks – one day your child uses them to build a tower, and the next day he might bring the block up to his ear and pretend it’s a phone

balls – they’re great to bounce, look at, roll, hold and throw

cardboard boxes – these can stand in for so many things, including pretend shop counters, ovens, cars, boats and doll houses

dress-ups-  with some hand-me-down clothes and bits of fabric, your child can become anything or anyone he likes

crafty bits and pieces – coloured paper, stickers, crayons and washable markers can get your child started on a masterwork.

I recall my childhood days and the fun my siblings and I had when we used a chair as our “car”. We pretended the carton box of the refrigerator was a small doll house.

I chose their toys wisely because we didn’t have substantial income when the kids were younger. My husband was still at Law School when the 2 girls were born. I bought toys that nurtured their imagination and creativity. Whether it was toys classified for boys or for girls, I chose it for its educational value.


L. and M. loved Lego blocks. They had lots and lots of LEGO blocks. They had the larger DUPLO blocks when they were toddlers. At that time. Lego was sold in disassembled bricks, so they were free to create any figures their young minds could imagine. Even until the age of 9, they spent all afternoon ignoring their Barbie dolls and instead built fortresses, houses, schools and whatnot. No wonder, I gave the Barbie Dolls away to my younger nieces. It was gathering dust.

polly pockets

At the age of 5 or 6, I bought Polly Pockets during a trip to Hongkong’s Toys-R-US. Polly Pockets were cute tiny boxes that fit in my girl’s tiny pockets. Inside contained a miniature house with a miniature doll slightly larger than a nail. Each house was unique. I bought 7 of those and the girls created a little village. I still kept these toys and I just found out they are valuable today. But I noticed the entire population of the village was female. Until Max moved into the neighborhood.


polly pocketpolly pocket 2polly pocket 3polly pocket 4polly pocket 1polly pocket necklace

Mighty Max shared the same concept with Polly, pocket-sized and tiny, except that instead of pianists and dressmakers, Max was an adventurous young boy who always had to free himself from the clutches of mummies and zombies. So instead of a normal house or bathroom, Mighty Max was contained in a dungeon, a mad scientist lab or an Egyptian tomb. Instead of a pet cat or dog, he had the undead chasing after him. Max had many possible things going on for him: he could get stuck in a trap, locked in a jail cell, trapped to the other end of the wall, find secret pathways leading to treasure basically, he led a more exciting life than Polly.

When M. was in nursery, she told her girl classmate about all the adventures she had with her Legos.

““Yuck!” she frowned. ““Diba pang-lalaki lang yun?” (Isn’t that for boys?)

My girls never looked at it that way at all. Today whenever they pass by a toy store, or when they visit their younger cousins, they can’t help noticing that little girls today don’t play as much Lego blocks as they did. As a child it didn’t matter to them if the games they played were masculine or feminine, as long as it provided hours and hours of fun and creativity.

One tip to know: “The way your child uses a toy is often far more important than the toy itself in determining the toy’s effects on your child’s development. Thinking about how your child might play with the toy can help you decide whether it’s the right one for you and your child.”

As originally posted on Valentine’s Day aka Single Awareness Day (Or how to love the most important person in your life)Valentine’s Day aka Single Awareness Day , Philippine Online Chronicles

You are in the middle of a city where flower shops abound, artisan chocolates call out to you, teddy bears suddenly peek from every store window in the mall and restaurants offer date-deal combos. There’s a cold breeze in the air – the perfect moment to hold someone’s hand in yours – only, there’s no one to hold.


It is Valentine’s Day, you’re single and it’s perfectly fine.

“Being dateless on Valentine’s Day can evoke feelings of loneliness and self-doubt, especially for those who are believers in the mythology of true love,” according to Chif’s ‘Being Single on Valentine’s Day: A Survival Guide.’ “It is portrayed in he media, particularly in relentless flower, fragrance and jewelry advertising, as the singular day of the year set aside for love, romance and passion.”

So what can you do when you are feeling the chilling blues of being single instead of being swept away by the fiery desire of love?

love yourselfInstead of being defeated by how Cupid’s Day “ought to be” celebrated, there are ways on how single men and women can seize the day, says Dr. Laura S. Brown, Psychology Professor at Argosy University, Seattle. “Love is not about a particular day, or about cards, flowers, or even being in a relationship. The illusion that coupled people are happy and well-loved can feed feelings of loneliness or isolation for people who are not with someone, and wish they were.” Brown says. Putting things in perspective and realizing the illusory nature of this holiday, she adds, can be the first step in feeling better about being precisely who and where you are.

According to Brown, the most important message that singles should bear in mind on Valentine’s Day is that “love is not just for couples; it is for all of us.” Ditch the idea of V-Day as a mere glorification of romance and join in the celebration of love in general – love for yourself, for your family, friends, community and for the world, as Your Tango suggests.

With that being said, here are some ways that single men and women can have a fun, meaningful Valentine’s Day without worrying about the pressures and pitfalls that often come with the holiday:

1.     Get some perspective.

“Do not define yourself by your relationship status. Your relationship status does not define you,” saysChiff. Rather than sulking on Valentine’s Day,celebrate your strengths and achievements that testify to you being a completely empowered person, a person who has room for love should it come along but who does not need such a relationship to feel happy and worthy right now.

It would also help to realize that Valentine’s Day is a commercial holiday – and not necessarily about togetherness and intimacy. Just think of all the money you are saving!

2.     Get together with people who love you.

Make sweet time for people who do love you – friends, family members, the people who matter most in your life. And be in the moment for God’s sake (leave your smartphone and tablet alone!). Doing little acts of love will not only put a smile on their faces, it will also plant one in yours.

3.     Indulge in yourself.

Spend the day loving yourself by doing whatever you want – be it pampering yourself with a lavish spa treatment or staying at home, gorging on take-out food and watching every movie your celebrity crush has ever been in. Stop beating yourself up and give in – you deserve it. But don’t bite more than you can chew – it wouldn’t feel good to worry about reducing your expenses just because you splurged way too much on indulgence.

4.     Go after your passions.

Use the day to start or finish something you’ve been meaning to pursue. Finish that book which has gathered dust on your bedside table, redecorate your room or study that piano piece. While you’re at it, find something new to love. Interested in taking up yoga? How about boxing? Always wanted to try out pole dancing? Challenge yourself to do something you’ve never done before, or seldom get to do because of your schedule.

5.     Send love someone else’s way.

Research shows that one act of kindness generates a domino effect of goodness. Send Valentine’s Day cards or flowers to those close to you or better yet, volunteer locally and help out people in need. AsYour Tango says, seeing a face light up from your small gesture will fill you with love and make the world a better place.

6.     Snuggle with a pet.

Ella Ceron of Thought Catalog suggests adopting a cat. While dogs will love you unconditionally, “a cat’s indifference will keep you humble and remind you that sometimes, the kind of love you have to earn is pretty freaking great.” If you’re not exactly a feline lover, get a puppy or dog sit for your friends who are out for a dinner date. Unconditional love and snuggling is sure to uplift any mood.

7.     If you are single and you don’t want to be, be honest with yourself with what’s keeping you from being in the relationship that you want.

Find ways to work on becoming the person you’ve always wanted to be, the person your dream partner would fall in love with. Chiff recommends taking up yoga, volunteering, creating art, making meaning and acting to change the world. “It is into the fullest lives that love is most likely to fall.”

If you think your match may not be in your current friends and acquaintances, expand your social circle. Be open in meeting (or dating) new people, find out what’s happening in the singles scene and try going to parties that let you celebrate the day as an unattached person – but keep your love expectations in check.

8.     If you are single and you like it, affirm your choice.  

If being single is your choice, love it. Think about all the good things about being single, from being the sole decider of how you should spend your free time, to not fighting over the remote control, to keeping your space as clean or as messy as you like. If people tend to rub your singleness on your face on Valentine’s Day, breathe easy, smile and tell them you like being so, and you’re perfectly fine with it.


A mother looks forward with much hope and excitement for her new baby. Not all are lucky to make it to full term birth like 26 year old Mira of Bulacan who gave birth to twins but never got to see the light of day. Her twins named MJ and JM were lost to the world’s largest killer of babies: preterm birth complications. I can just picture the tragedy and the grief, with questions on “Why?” , “What if”, “Why God?” , “if only” especially “if only we could afford the medication”. Is medication expensive and inaccessible to the poor? It is not entirely true.

Possible interventions are within reach today, just like the 19 year old Sara, who gave birth to a preemie. Her baby survived and passed the critical stage due to medical intervention. Mira’s twin babies are now part of the infant mortality cases in the Philippines.

hinga hingalo ni baby

Across 184 countries, the rate of preterm birth ranges from 5% to 18% of babies born. The Philippines ranks second in the number of premature births in Southeast Asia, eight worldwide and 17th in deaths arising from preterm birth complications. Complications often plague preterm babies and is the leading cause of deaths among children under 5 years of age and is responsible for nearly 1 million deaths in 2013. This is called neonatal respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) , which is the second leading cause of death among premature infants in the Philippines and the leading verifiable one.

It is for this reason that the Philippine Society of Newborn Medicine (PSNbM), together with the Department of Health, Philheath, and the Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital joined forces in championing a campaign set on the prevention of needless deaths in children and also meeting the millennium mortality goal in child mortality is met . There are many initiatives going on now.  Breastfeeding is always the desired food for these tiny babies.

kangaroo mother care

Over at the Fabella hospital, mothers of preemies are encouraged to practice the Kangaroo Mother care. Kangaroo care is a technique practiced on newborn, usually preterm, infants wherein the infant is held, skin-to-skin, with an adult. Kangaroo care for pre-term infants may be restricted to a few hours per day, but if they are medically stable that time may be extended. Some parents may keep their babies in-arms for many hours per day. Kangaroo care, named for the similarity to how certain marsupials carry their young, was initially developed to care for preterm infants in areas where incubators are either unavailable or unreliable. Despite the limited number of neonatologist, there are efforts to train health workers in the far flung provinces

The Hinga|Hingala ni Baby movement will inform the public about the gravitas of preterm morbidities and mortalities and its implications on an individual and national level starting with this documentary video below, that offers a behind-the-scenes look at the local cases of child mortality specifically those from Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital , the institution with the most number of premature births in Manila.

The #hingahingalo campaign aims to inform everyone on the top prebirth complications and existing interventions and drive audiences to the right channels where they can avail of these interventions.

Contact #HingaHingalo ni Baby campaign via www.psbn.org.ph or check their https://www.facebook.com/pages/Philippine-Society-of-Newborn-Medicine-Inc/

nissan-teana-posingBuying a new car is exciting. My ten year old red car was breaking down so often in the early 90s, that fixing it was not worth it anymore. While the law requires a basic level of car insurance called third party insurance, I wanted more coverage. Comprehensive insurance is the type of coverage I apply for, ever since the brand new car of a family member was forcibly taken away at the parking lot in Ortigas center. He had no choice but to surrender the car keys because a gun was aimed at him. Fortunately, the family member was not harmed. The sad part is the car was not insured for theft. Goodbye 800,000 pesos! One never imagines that a car will be forcibly taken away from us and I didn’t want that to happen to my brand new family car.

I only had two requirements that my car insurance policy:

1. The Market value of the car, in case of theft
2. Reputable insurance company

Shopping around for car insurance were limited to accredited companies of the car companies. The world wide web was not yet around so I had to rely on word of mouth or familiar names that I had seen on TV or the newspapers.

I picked up lessons on car insurance policy in the past 20 years. The car insurance can be very pricey especially in the first few years. The insurance expense was not a burden with just one car but I had to reconsider another insurance company when I got a second car. It pays to get three quotations. This second insurance company was more affordable than the previous one. This insurance company lists a table for each car model and the appropriate premium. Not content with the default premiums, I always requested for a discount and I got it. “Ask and you shall receive” is something I learned.

cars damaged by Ondoy

The most painful lesson of all is not reading the fine print. The relentless rains from typhoon Ondoy (Ketsana) in October 2009 resulted to severe flooding in Luzon, particularly in Metro Manila. We were not spared , with waist deep brown waters inside our two-storey house. This included the three Honda cars in the garage: a seven year-old black CRV, a 10 year-old Silver CRV and a two month old white sedan. I did not worry about the damage because I was just grateful that everyone was safe.

The time came when I called the three insurance firms about their coverage. I discovered the comprehensive insurance of our 10 year-old SUV did not contain Acts of God (or Acts of Nature). Only our seven year-old SUV and the newly bought sedan got full coverage. I received 320,000 pesos, a percentage of the market value of a seven year-old Honda CRV, which was 600,000. It was not enough to buy a new car but together with the insurance claim of the white car, I was able to buy a brand new SUV. My husband was the one who junked my usual car insurer and got another one because it was very cheap. I never bothered to find out why it was cheaper by 3,000 pesos. The ten year old SUV was sold for scrap and I used it to make a downpayment for a second-hand car.

So now, my requirements for car insurance must have this criteria:

1. Acts of nature
2. Market value of the car, in case of theft
3. Reputable insurance company

I recently learned that 9 out of 10 Filipinos overpay for car insurance. I always compare insurance policies to ensure I get the best value for my money. I used to compare via the phone but now I can do it so much easier these days online! MoneyMax.ph compares all major insurance companies and policies to get you the best deal. It is totally free and independent.

My advice: when you plan to buy a car or renew your policy make sure you compare with www.MoneyMax.ph.


I still remember my first pregnancy, my first bundle of joy. It was such a beautiful occasion yet filled with anxiety. What will the future hold ?

bundle of  joy

I wanted to make sure my babies would have the basic needs in life like education, food and extra curricular activities. I was stay-at-home-mom because I wanted to be there for my children, to be part of their development and see them grow.  I am glad that God has been good to us and we never lacked for anything because I knew my priorities in the household.   New parents are fortunate these days because of the availability of information in family finance.  To help expectant parents or parents of newborns journey into their new life stage, Manulife Philippines has now made life insurance more accessible through its “Bundle of Joy” advocacy. Anyone who wants to build a more secure future for themselves and their family is invited to be a part of Manulife’s Bundle of Joy community by signing up here.

Expectant moms and dads, and parents of children under one year of age are entitled to a FREE one-year term life insurance coverage worth PhP 100,000. Furthermore, everyone who registers online can also access good reads and helpful tips from experts,  join various promotions and win exciting prizes and freebies.

Ryan Charland President & CEO Manulife Philippines with kids during the launch of Bundle of Joy Advocacy

Ryan Charland President & CEO Manulife Philippines with kids during the launch of Bundle of Joy Advocacy

I was able to interview Ryan Charland, President and Chief Executive Officer, Manulife Philippines on the other products and services they will offer. With this promotion, Manulife will surely have a database of parents , and from there, Manulife will engage with the parents to see what they can offer. He adds “Manulife’s Bundle of Joy is part of our continued advocacy to reach, secure and protect as many Filipino families as possible.”

With the help of Manulife’s Bundle of Joy,  parents will be able to access life insurance coverage by having them register online and become part of a community that can support their responsibility as parents. I do hope Manulife tries to reach out to these new parents. I know one of the concerns for parents is the college education of their children.  The Bundle of Joy advocacy is a great start.  Financial protection should be in every new or expectant parent’s checklist as the first step towards securing their family’s future.

Just visit  Manulife’s Bundle of Joy website at www.manulifebundleofjoy.com.ph or like Manulife Philippines’ Facebook fan page at www.facebook.com/ManulifePH.