Luijoe meadow somewhere in the North, where his grandparents live today

The Holy Week is one of the most memorable time of the year. Being a “cafeteria Catholic” my religious faith is at best mediocre. Luijoe, my innocent and religious 6 year old son often chastised me for not praying hard enough .


Painting on the wall of Church of Holy Sacrifice, UP Campus

I felt like a terrible mother who led a ho-hum religious existence. Gosh, we learn so much from our children , don’t we? It is the Holy Week which reminds me of my son. The image of the dying Jesus when he blurted out  “Woman, behold thy son, Behold thy mother” struck a chord in my son’s heart.

Luijoe photo taken at Luijoe meadow during Holy Week 2000

Every night, Luijoe pointed to that image asking me over and over again what it meant. He pointed to John the Beloved “Who is he? How is he related to the Mother of Jesus?” Strange he asked about John. I cuddled Luijoe in my arms and explained that the dying Jesus wanted John the Beloved to take care of his grieving mother. How was I to know that my own son would die the following weeks? During the funeral, I remember those last words and took it literally to mean that my family or my friends would take care of me in my bereavement, that there would be “John the Beloved” who will help me.

luijoe meadow

When a death as devastating as the loss of a child hits you, one tries to find meaning. One tries to make sense out of it. The time came when I realized that those last words were not about me. It was about me helping those who are in pain , because the grief journey is not easy. My son made sure that I would not be alone in this journey as long as I continue to help others. He made sure I remember to be the “John the Beloved” and be compassionate to other people’s pain.

luijoe meadow1

I look back and reflect on that poignant scene. It is my son’s way of reminding me that I will find comfort and still be a comfort to others:

He who was nailed to the cross, wanted to spare His mother further pain, not only for that moment, but for her entire future. He put her in the care of the apostle whom ““He loved” and whom He knew would care for her in return. Even as Jesus was dying, He went beyond himself to addresses someone else’s need.

Luijoe meadow at night, taken by Sean, my brother-in-law 2010 Christmas day

The Seven Last Words remind me of my son who died so young yet I know he continues to live in me through my work, my actions and devotion. Luijoe is with me everyday.

Here is something soothing:
Mozart Ave Verum Corpus por Leonard Bernstein

I am listening to “Tomaso Albinoni- Adagio in G Minor by Gizatto” as I write this post.

I’m exhausted. Not from work but from trying to figure out things from 3:00 PM till midnight yesterday. That’s all I can do. I can only do so much. It is not my job to control people, outcomes, circumstances, life. There is magic in letting go. Sometimes we get what we want soon after we let go. Sometimes it takes longer. Sometimes the specific outcome we desire doesn’t happen. Something better does. I trust that by letting go, I have started the wheels in motion for things to work out in the best possible way.

I may not be there yet but I’m closer than I was yesterday – Natalia Campbell

The way my life is unfolding is good.

Who I am and the way I do things is good enough for today.

Who I am and the way I did things yesterday was good enough for that day.

Today, I will let go and take in healing thoughts.

At times like these, I need to think healing thoughts.

Life is like riding a bicycle . In order to keep your balance, you must keep moving Albert Einstein
When in doubt about my timing or present position in life, I assure myself that all is well. I am right where I am meant to be. I reassure myself that others are too.

When I ponder the future, I tell myself that it will be good. When I look back at the past, I relinquish regrets.

When I feel discomfort, I know it will pass. When I identify a need, I tell myself that it will be met.

When I notice problems, I affirm there will be a timely solution and a gift from the problem.

When I worry about those I love, I ask God to protect and care for them. When I worry about myself, I ask God to do the same.

When I think about others, I think of love. When I think of myself, I think of love.

I watch as my thoughts transform to reality.

Today, I will think healing thoughts.

“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end” Seneca , Roman philosopher, mid-1st century AD

healing thoughts.jpg

Photo via Flickr by Abigail Batchelder. Some rights reserved.

Photo via Flickr by Abigail Batchelder. Some rights reserved.

Candies are a no-no in the house except on Valentine’s day, Easter Holidays and Christmas Season. I only display them on the table because they are pretty and colorful. I know I shouldn’t tempt the kids with these goodies but that’s not a problem because they are conscious of the amount of food they eat. They also know that they are at high risk of diabetes. The hubby is quite lucky as he doesn’t have this genetic problem and can tolerate high carbo diets. The strange thing is he can’t take in high amounts of protein due to gouty arthritis.

so anyway….

I remember the last time I organized an Easter Egg hunt was 20 years ago. Since our house didn’t have a big garden that time, I thought of placing the eggs inside the house. I added a twist. To find the eggs, they were given clues which led to another clue and so on and so forth. I can’t remember the clues now but I wrote it in riddles. I dubbed it an Easter Egg detective hunt. Two of the eggs were strategically placed inside their dad’s shirt while he was napping. I caught the hunt in video. The look on one of my daughter’s face as she found the eggs was priceless. Laughing and laughing! I know, I know… I can get “crazy”.

“What do you want for pasalubong? I will prepare a balikbayan box.”, my siblings asked via Skype. I always look forward to reunions. It is not often my siblings from the US come home to the Philippines. The last time we were together here was in 2003, when our father died.  So when a wedding in the family last January got scheduled, everyone made travel plans.

2016 Photo by Widengrens Creative Media

2016 Photo by Widengrens Creative Media

The  balikbayan box is so precious because it conveys love in a box, and also  represents hard work and love for our family and friends.

Photo via Flickr by Jeff Youngstrom. Some rights reserved.

Photo via Flickr by Jeff Youngstrom. Some rights reserved.

When I picked up my siblings from the international airport, I often wonder what is inside each of those balikbayan boxes. A Manila Bulletin article  “What’s the most precious thing you’ve ever put in your balkibayan box?”  gives us a glimpse.

My favorites are: the iPad2 I sent my wife for her birthday and the laptop I sent to my daughter so she won’t have to go to computer shops anymore for school stuff. —Randy Villegas, Saudi Arabia

My mother has cancer and I send her medicines… I find comfort in the fact that even if I can’t always be with her; I can still take care of her with the medicines that I send. —Doeleth in KSA

I saved just so I can buy clothes, shoes, even groceries that I can fit in a big balikbayan box. Opening these boxes has been a favorite bonding activity of my family. —Aileen in Dubai, UAE

Photo via Flickr by Angela Sabas. Some rights reserved.

Photo via Flickr by Angela Sabas. Some rights reserved.

The balikbayan box that my siblings prepare truly represents the love and joy of giving.  It is different for every one. One sister packs her balikbayan box with food items while another sibling puts in towels and bedsheets.  Another family member, sends books or costume jewelry from garage sales. These are items not normally found in the Philippines. But see, there are many common items inside the balikbayan box like canned goods, chocolates, bedsheets, clothes, or personal care products like lotions, perfumes, make-up, and gadgets like mobile phones and  tablets. Sometimes, there are very specific items like a particular pair of shoes or shirts bought on sale. Then, there is the Overseas Filipino Worker (OFWs) who prepare the box for months, as they watch out for sale items.  Whatever the gift items, our OFW or balikbayan family member is sending love inside the box when they bring it home or sent through a courier.

Photo via flickr by Island Pacific. Some rights reserved.

Photo via flickr by Island Pacific. Some rights reserved.

But there are times, you want to send it ASAP like birthday, graduation or anniversary gifts. The delivery date of a balikbayan box is usually not reliable. It could take 60 days or, even longer to arrive. Sometimes, when there is an occasion, or the item is perishable, it becomes a challenge. It’s a good thing there are now options like iRegalo that allow you to easily send items . Their site,, allows you to buy items like smartphones, flowers, and other gadgets online. They will then deliver nationwide in the Philippines.  Now, that is so convenient.


Pretty soon, iregalo will be  introducing new product categories  to give the OFW choice and control. Now this is something to watch out for. How exciting!


quorn pose

I was at the Great British Festival last weekend to check out Quorn, a deliciously healthy meat alternative . Ever since I chose to be semi-vegetarian (or pesco-vegetarian), I have been searching for food alternatives. I tell you , I am so impressed.


I ate pasta, longaniza and chicken nuggets. It tasted exactly like  real chicken nuggets.  I was not able to taste any weird flavors that I often associate with soy products. I swear by it . This is one reason I am sharing it in my blog. I am so excited that it will soon arrive in the Philippines.

quorn 1

Did you know that excessive meat consumption is harmful to your health and even to the planet? Pressing health issues such as obesity and heart diseases have been linked to excessive meat consumption.  That is one reason, I chose to be pesco-vegetarian.   And did you know that meat production is one of the biggest causes of greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change?

Quorn Infographic

Food production is a major contributor to emissions and thus climate change. Livestock specifically is estimated to contribute over 14% of greenhouse gas emissions – a greater share than transport.

Let me share Quorn’s press release on the “Top 10 reasons why Quorn is better for you and better for the planet”



Quorn aims to combat these issues by delivering their mission – to help the world eat more healthily and sustainably.

Here are 10 interesting facts you should know about Quorn:


Quorn is a deliciously healthy meat alternative that best replicates the taste and texture of meat, perfect for creating healthier versions of your favorite meals.

Hamblokes Lifestyle Large


Quorn’s main ingredient is MYCOPROTEIN,  a naturally healthy protein that is meat-free, low in saturated fats, but high in protein and fiber.  Mycoprotein is made through fermentation, a process similar to how bread, beer and yoghurt are made. It is non-GMO.


buffalo bites 435450

Quorn products are vegetarian.

It has a Vegan and Gluten-free range, ideal for the health conscious and health conscious to be.


Quorn has a full range of great tasting products — from ingredients that allow you to cook from scratch to ready to cook/ ready to eat options.

  1.        YOUR DIET BUDDY


Quorn generally has 200 fewer calories per meal and 0% cholesterol. Now your journey to #twentysixTHIN and achieving those #bodygoals will be much easier!

  1.         BETTER FOR YOU
  • High protein, high fiber
  • 85% less saturated fat than lean beef
  • 200 fewer calories per meal
  • 0% cholesterol


  • Quorn products have a carbon footprint approximately 90% less than beef and 75% less than chicken.
  • It uses 40-90% less land and water than different meat options.
  • Quorn Foods is the first global meat-alternative brand to achieve third-party certification of its carbon footprint figures.

Quorn aims to be the best at helping consumers eat less meat.  It is recommended by doctors, nutritionists and heart foundations all over the world.

  1.        WORLD LEADER

pepperoni pizza 435450

Quorn is the world leader in meat alternatives, with over 3 billion servings made over the last 30 years.


Quorn is present in many countries in Europe; in the U.S, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and soon in Asia. Arriving in the Philippines soon, get ready to taste the deliciously healthy goodness of Quorn!

For more information, visit and


“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” George Bernard Shaw

social media week
I caught the George Bernard Shaw quote a few days ago and it made me reflect back on my life. It is almost 16 years that my son passed away.

I do not recognize myself from the person I was in the past. I am more confident. I appreciate myself more. I have a new life, helping bereaved parents through the Compassionate friends , blogging and advocating social change for social good.  I am having the time of my life and feeling beautiful, loved and being loving.

I was a full time mother from 1987 till 2005 where I stayed home most of the time. Though I am proud to be a mom, I knew I was more than just a mother after finding myself in an empty nest. The desire to do more started when the kids went to college. There was this inner desire to provide public service like my father did.

In losing my son, I was meant to bring out my service oriented nature to other bereaved parents and the nation. Not that it had to take a death to push me there. I had to seek the meaning of life, and why I outlived my son. It brought my dormant talents of organizing and initiating service oriented projects (,,, Philippine Blog Awards)

me and Te Amo Floristeria

I did not find myself. I had to go beyond my comfort zone, innovating myself, doing things that were not the old me.

Writing is not one of my talents. I had to learn to write creatively for the blog. I promoted my grief recovery blog not knowing that this was the start of my NEW NORMAL. I am now in online publishing and using this to bring awareness to my advocacy. Aside from grief recovery, I embarked into citizen media for voters education , and as a features editor for Philippine Online Chronicles. Me, an editor? From a homemaker , I am now thrust to a whole new world of media. Never in my wildest dream did I imagine I would be on TV, newspaper, radio, magazine as a resource person for grief, then later in blogging. Blogging gave me new friends, reconnected with old friendships, brought me to travel places. It taught me to be more confident.

I am happier. My son’s life ended too soon but I had to experience this pain and learn to go out of my comfort zone and reach out to others. That is the meaning of life I had to discover for myself.

It took me a long time to realize that grief is inevitable and that misery is optional.

What does do good is doing good. I decided to lead the second part of my life differently and better than I would have imagined “in the name of my son, Luijoe. I know that as I reach out to bereaved parents through The Compassionate Friends”, the world is changed in some small way for the better, and then the actions taken become my living tribute to my son. And then Luijoe is never entirely gone.

Life is good.

digital marketing future of media