Every now and then, I get bombarded with text messages from wives asking for my advice on their marital woes. The thing is I am not a counselor and I can only speak for myself. The fact that the person on the other end is a stranger makes it difficult for me to reply back with any sort of friendly advice.

You know the most common text messages I receive are :


The Other Woman

      or suspicions of the latter because of questionable text messages caught in their husband’s cellphone.

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned

2. Tired of changing their husband’s dysfunctional habits or attitude.

It’s not that simple to say leave thy husband especially if one promised to love and honor till death do us part (except abusive behavior because I don’t believe a wife should be a punching bag). I can’t blame these women because I too was once caught in trying to save my husband from despair. Simply said, my life’s focus was on changing my husband instead of myself. Of course, I didn’t know better. I thought being a martyr was the way to go instead of being true to myself, the feisty and bitchy me.

Rather than focusing on my husband, I reinvented myself.

love yourself

Many of us have gone so numb and discounted our feelings so completely that we have gotten out of touch with our needs in relationships. And this is true for all kinds of relationships. We can learn to distinguish whose company we enjoy, whether we’re talking about friends, business acquaintances, dates or spouses. What do we do?

1. We all need to interact with people we might prefer to avoid but we don’t have to force ourselves through long-term or intimate relationships with these people.

2. We are free to choose friends, dates and spouses. We are free to choose how much time we spend with those people we can’t always choose to be around, such as relatives.

3. We can decide how much we want to spend our days and hours. We’re not enslaved. We’re not trapped. And not one of us is without options.

If you look over at my About Me Page, you will see the journey I’ve travelled and continue to take. I changed a significant portion of my routine and lifestyle. I lost weight, maintained a healthier lifestyle, initiated a grief advocacy, expanded my online business and started blogging. I focused on changing myself instead of my husband. The change encompassed a couple of years and which still evolves to this present day.

We may not see our options clearly. Although we may have to struggle through shame and learn to own our power, we can learn to spend our valuable hours and days with the people we enjoy and choose to be with.

If I had a way, I want to share this prayer that I often say to myself.

God, help me value my time and life.

Help me place value on how I feel being around certain people

Guide me as I learn to develop healthy, intimate, sharing relationships with people.

Help me give myself the freedom to experiment, explore and learn who I am and who I can be in my relationships.

We don’t have to be relationship martyrs. Love yourself first.

The end result is a loving and healthy relationship.

my husband and myself

How in love we both were ( and still are). Sinulog 1985 holds precious memories as that was the day Butch asked my dad for my hand in marriage. On that day, the two loves of my life finally got to talk for the first time. In all the 7 years that Butch and I were steadies, Dad never spoke a single word to Butch except “hi and bye”. That day, I finally asked Dad why he treated Butch that way . Dad’s two lame explanations were that he didn’t want Butch to be too familiar and secondly , he didn’t know how to talk to the boyfriend of his daughter. Oh well, that was cleared up that fateful Sinulog eve.

My then fiancee, now my husband of 30 years. Taken on the stage of Sinulog 1985 celebration

My then fiancee, now my husband of 30 years. Taken on the stage of Sinulog 1985 celebration

Born in Cebu, the Sinulog Festival was alien to me until I went home to Cebu on January 1985 for my “pamanhikan” (engagement). My dear father, was the overall organizer for the 1985 Sinulog Festivities. Sure I have seen old women dancing in front of the Santo Niño at the Basilica. You gave them money to dance and ask blessings from the Sto. Nino. In the Sinulog version, the dance moves two steps forward and one step backward to the sound of the drums.

Sinulog 2012

Sinulog 2012

As Sinulog nears, I remember my dad. After all, he suffered a stroke while promoting the Sinulog in California. In 2007,  I did a search for the origins of Sinulog, no word is mentioned of my dad, Jose P Lardizabal. One thing I have learned about my dad’s illness is that you know your friends at your worst times. One by one, dad’s friends forgot about him. Due to dad’s incoherent speech, he was often ignored and humiliated. I can’t blame them for the distance. There are a handful of friends who stayed behind who had compassion over a sick man. Inspite of his disability, my dad is a great man who lived a new life without his speech faculties. In my little corner of cyberspace, I want to remember dad.

sinulog 85 chairman jose lardizabal

Back in 2007, and with the help of my sister, Lorna who assisted dad during the Sinulog, I was able to piece something about dad’s last Sinulog as the overall organizer.

Dad was the chair for the Board of Judges committee — to judge the higantes and floats, starting 1981. I helped him find the judges and investigate their reputation and credibility. It is possible that the 1985 festival was the largest since it started but I do recall that even 1981 had already elbow-to-elbow crowds. I cannot remember the numbers. All I truly remember is that the 1985 model was a great organizational model.

The Sinulog Festival that started in 1980 was a modestly-managed event. David “Boy” Odilao had started this project as a competition among school-based dance troupes. 16-year old Shelley Ann Roper from Connecticut, USA, the Rotary Exchange student hosted by the Rotary Club of Cebu-West (and who was living with us in our Lahug home) who was a member of the Southwestern Dance Troupe, was acknowledged as the first American to dance in this first official celebration that had commercial appeal. Shelley certainly stood out : blonde hair, fair skin, dancing barefooted in Sinulog attire.(read more of Lorna’s comments below)

My sister graciously scanned the Sinulog 1985 souvenir program (see below). Sinulog 1985 as my dad predicted was the longest and most colorful Sinulog celebration in Cebu City since it started in 1981.

plaque of recognition to jose p lardizabal sinulog

It was a pleasant surprise that my dad received a posthumous award in ” grateful acknowledgment of his being one of the original incorporators of the Sinulog Foundation and of his wisdom and unwavering support in the institutionalization of the Sinulog Festival.”

A 2010 posthumous award given to my dad, Joe P. Lardizabal, who was one of the original Sinulog Foundation's board members (board of trustees). To the left is Ricky Ballesteros, Executive Director of the ExecCom, Sinulog 2016, and to the right is one of the original volunteers since 1981, Dolores Suzara, project director (festival director) of the Sinulog Foundation, Inc. My sister, Lorna Lardizabal-Dietz, received the award in behalf of my family

A 2010 posthumous award given to my dad, Joe P. Lardizabal, who was one of the original Sinulog Foundation’s board members (board of trustees). To the left is Ricky Ballesteros, Executive Director of the ExecCom, Sinulog 2016, and to the right is one of the original volunteers since 1981, Dolores Suzara, project director (festival director) of the Sinulog Foundation, Inc. My sister, Lorna Lardizabal-Dietz, received the award in behalf of my family

Ricky Ballesteros, Executive Director of the ExecCom, Sinulog 2016, informed my sister that he told the committee that these original board members (and other unsung heroes among the volunteers) needed to be recognized because if it wasn’t for their start-up efforts, resources, and sacrifices, the Sinulog Festival wouldn’t be what it is today.

Dad must be smiling .

smiling dad

Sinulog 1985 holds precious memories as that was the day Butch asked my dad for my hand in marriage. On that day, the two loves of my life finally got to talk for the first time. The glitters, the dances, the fancy trimmings and the pageantry are only expressions of how important Santo Niño is but for me Sinulog is a day filled with treasures of love .

Sinulog 1985 Cebu Souvenir Program, From Lorna Lardizabal Dietz’s Archives by Lorna Dietz

by Ma. Rachel Yapchiongco as originally posted at “Beat the post-holiday blues”,Here are some ways to combat post-holiday blues Philippine Online Chronicles


The holidays are over … it’s time to face reality.  All the presents under the tree have been opened; holiday photos have been uploaded; no more gorging on delicious food except for a few leftovers; and no more Christmas get-togethers and parties to attend.

Students are back in school, employees have returned to work and business people have resumed operations.

It’s not a surprise that some people feel down after the holidays. Leaving all the merry activities behind to go back to the daily grind is not exactly a jump-for-joy mental picture.

Are you still longing for those cheerful and carefree days of socializing, shopping, gift giving, traveling, feasting, and spending time with people close to you? No matter how great a holiday is, there is always an end. Cherish those happy moments but don’t let them prevent you from returning to your usual routine. The more you mope about it, the more susceptible you are to stress. You don’t want to start the brand new year with negative feelings. Here are some ways to combat post-holiday blues.

Stay connected with people dear to you. Christmas season is an opportunity to spend quality time with people who mean most to you. When the holidays are over, don’t let distance or busy schedules hinder you from holding on to the bond that you renewed during the Christmas break.

Take advantage of today’s modern technology to stay connected. Keep in touch through phone calls, text messages and emails.

You don’t have to wait until Christmas to have another get together especially if you live in the same or nearby cities. Set up a quarterly get together or if possible, do it more frequently.

Start eating well again. Feeling sluggish? All those parties and potluck dinners may have taken their toll on your body. During the holidays, you may have been guilty of over indulging in fatty foods and sweet desserts. It’s time to bounce back after the holiday food coma.

Skipping meals and going on a drastic diet are not solutions. In fact, they may do more harm than good. The best game plan is to think of your next healthy meal and work your way up from there.

Avoid fatty and salty foods. Eat more vegetables and fruits. Say no to junk food and soda. Make sure that you choose lean meat and take it easy on the sauces and gravies. You don’t have to deprive yourself of dessert but lessen it.

Get back in shape. Have you suddenly noticed that your old pair of jeans doesn’t feel as comfortable as before? Do you have to struggle to button it on? Well, don’t be surprised if you gained weight after all that holiday binging. You’re not alone. A lot of people have weight issues after a long holiday.

Instead of regretting eating all that delicious food, why not begin the year with a new exercise routine or simply resume your daily fitness activities? Put on your walking shoes again, do yoga, hit the gym, or sway to the music and follow the moves of your Zumba instructor. You’re free to choose your form of exercise.

You probably have some holiday leftovers inside the refrigerator. Don’t waste all the effort of exercising by binging again. You often hear the line, “drink moderately”. If you want to lose that holiday weight, why not apply the saying to food as well?

Better yet, ask a friend to exercise with you. Plan a work out that you can do together. You can encourage one another to exercise as often as you can to get back to shape.

Give yourself time to ease back to your usual routine. Reality can be a little harsh after a period of relaxation and fun. When traveling, it is best to give yourself time to settle back when you arrive home. The body and mind need time and space to return to normal routine especially if it means resuming a hectic work schedule.

If you arrive at night and you are expected to report to work the next morning, your mind and body might find it hard to adjust within a short period. Give yourself at least one full day of rest before going back to work or facing chores.

You can also pamper yourself by getting a massage or having your nails done to ease the transition.

Cope with jet lag. Traveling overseas is fun and exciting but jet lag can be a bummer. Jet lag is a possible reason behind your post-holiday blues. Some symptoms include feeling sleepy during daytime, difficulty sleeping at night, lack of coordination, and loss of appetite.

A good way to deal with jet lag is by helping your body adjust to the local schedule. Medicine.net suggests that if you arrive at noon local time (but it’s early in the morning where you came from), resist the urge of having breakfast and proceed with lunch. Get a lot of sunshine during the day by going outdoors. According to experts, sunlight signals the hypothalamus to lower down the “production of sleep-inducing melatonin during the day,” which launches the course of resetting your internal clock. It is also advisable to do the same with children and infants. When traveling east, you lose time so try to keep the child awake until local bedtime. On the other hand, if you are traveling west, you gain time, so wake your child at the local time.

Listen to soothing music. Huffington Post suggests that music is capable of stimulating the senses and lifting your spirits. According to a neuroscientist named Daniel J. Levitin, “music enhances certain pathways in the brain that are essential to cognitive and emotional health.”

The de-stressing benefit of music reduces prevalence of stress and burnout. Listening to soothing tunes can become a simple wellness activity.

Dwell on the positive. It feels good to relive happy memories of your holiday. Focus on the positive by doing something creative such as starting a journal. It’s a brand new year and it’s a perfect opportunity to start one. You can also write thank you notes to people who made your holiday special. If you are artistically inclined, consider sketching or painting a favorite scene during your holiday as a keepsake worth cherishing.



Photo c/o Pixabay. Public domain.
Rachel Yapchiongco, also known as Rach to her friends, is a Psychology and Marketing Management graduate of De La Salle University. Rachel is a mom to a charming boy and married to an entrepreneur who has a passion for cooking. She shares parenting experiences and slices of everyday life on her personal blog called Heart of Rachel.

Exactly a year ago, I wrote 10,000 steps to wealth. My goal then was to reach 10,000 steps a day. After all , “it is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver”. The entire Step Diet premise is simple: Walk 10,000 steps a day and trim your portions by a quarter and you will lose weight, simple as that. Move more, eat a little less.

I was only using the “Pacer” iOS app to track my steps. While I was at the gym, I discovered my 30 minutes workout at the treadmill was 3,599 steps. I never attained the 10,000 daily average steps. I learned 10,000 steps a day was too much for me. Though the body is willing to walk more, I experience pain on my toes after walking an hour or so.

On November 6, I decided to buy a Fitbit surge for an accurate measure of my fitness goals. I bought my fitbit from a local supplier found in facebook. My friend who owned a fitbit flex, lost 10 pounds just by walking 10,000-15,000 steps a day. That’s so inspiring. Though I learned of Fitbit a few years back, I thought it was expensive.  But health is wealth and I decided to invest in the more pricey Fitbit Surge.  Unlike my friend,  I did not aim to walk that much. I can easily reduce my calorie intake coupled with a goal of 7,500 steps. Counting steps and number of calories motivates me.

fitbit surge

My goal was to lose 10 pounds. I decided to lower my goal to 7,500 steps and 1,300 calorie intake because it was reachable.  Those are my minimum goals but I can always aim higher. At the gym, my fitbit measured only 3,000 steps for a 30 minute treadmill exercise. Walking around the house takes around 2,000 steps. I took extra steps walking inside the gym and the mall. I don’t have a conducive walking environment in the neighborhood because of stray dogs littering the streets. But this did not deter me from looking for ways to walk.

fitness goal

The UP Academic oval is such a beautiful place to walk. I can imagine the oxygen I breathe in. All these lovely trees brings so much positive vibes. I can only go here during the weekends because there is just so much traffic during the weekdays.

UP academic oval

There have been four instances that I reached 10,000 steps a day but I met my goal of at least 7,500 steps a day. And the result? I didn’t expect to lose weight in less than two months. Well, I have lost seven pounds. The fat from my belly is  slowly disappearing.  I guess I am happy that I only have three pounds more to go, but no, I  want to lose nine more pounds. Those nine more pounds are vanity goals. The last fats to go will always be my flabby arms. There also is a friends’ option where you can see their progress. Of course you want to look good in front of your fitbit “friends.”

I face many challenges while walking. There is still that toe pain after walking 10,000 steps. I feel breathless sometimes. Though my angiogram in September showed insignificant clogging, I am taking it easy. I don’t run or walk too fast. I take aspirin before I walk. At times , my blood sugar level becomes too low that I feel dizzy and get blurred vision. I bring candy with me all the time. I may need to see my endocrinologist to adjust my diabetes medication.

ten thousand steps goal

My fitness goal for 2016  is to reach an average of 8,000-9,000 steps a day. Walking gives me a happy feeling that I look forward to. When I need additional steps and can’t walk outside for some reason , I turn on the video, Jane Fonda: Walking Cardio Workout : Level 1. I know some of you will laugh “JANE FONDA”. She is a role model for prime time women like myself. When I was 23 years old , I followed her exercises and lost 20 pounds back then. I love her. If you want to start increasing your steps, this article “How Many Steps Per Day to Lose Weight?” is a good start.

Anyway, I should stop writing now and work my way to 8,000 steps to wealth. Health is wealth after all. Do you agree?