pet cats
I don’t know about you but I just adore cats.I have four felines at home: Billy, Missy , Zoey and Nomi.  They are the most huggable pets ever and they keep me company now that the girls are living independently .  Having a pet can be so comforting especially if one gets stressed out. For sure techniques like meditation, yoga and blogging can be therapeutic. But owning these furry lovable felines can also have many stress relieving and health benefits.  Let’s see.

1. Cats can improve your mood– Never mind if certain online characters are serial attention-seekers breathing down your necks. It’s almost impossible to remain in a foul mood when a super-soft furry cat rubs up against your legs begging to sit beside you. Once my pet kitty cat starts purring at me, I feel the weariness of the day melting away. My cute and cuddly stress-busters calm my nerves, make me smile, help me sleep better and even push me to exercise more. There is evidence that just 15 to 30 minutes of quality time with a cat can calm your nerves and boost your mood.

When you spend time with a cat, your production of serotonin, a chemical that boosts feelings of well-being, goes up, and your cortisol levels go down. Cortisol, along with high blood pressure, is a result of stress, and can lead to high cholesterol and hypertension. This means that spending time with a cat can keep you healthier in the long run

Want to be healthier? Get a pet!

2. Cats Stave Off Loneliness and Provide Unconditional Love Cats offer unconditional love and companionship. During the day, my family isn’t at home so I end up being alone in my corner of the world. I enjoy comfortable silences with them as they snuggle close to me.

A 2003 Swiss study “found that having a cat in the house is the emotional equivalent of having a romantic partner. As well as initiating contact much of the time, studies have shown cats will remember kindness shown to them and return the favor later.”

But cats really do have the upper hand in these relationships. After thousands of years of domestication, cats have learned how to make a half purr/half howl noise that sounds remarkably like a human baby’s cry. And since our brains are programmed to respond to our children’s distress, it is almost impossible to ignore what a cat wants when it demands it like that.


Billy is so huggable.
3. Cats Can Reduce Stress, Sometimes More Than People Of all the reasons why cats (or pets in general) have great health benefits, it is this fact– “While we all know the power of talking about your problems with a good friend who’s also a good listener, recent research shows that spending time with a pet may be even better! Recent research shows that, when conducting a task that’s stressful, people actually experienced less stress when their pets were with them than when a supportive friend or even their spouse was present! ”  Missy, reminds me to stop working and relax.

missy and me
In fact, these cats don’t judge me; they just love me. You should check out my cat photo gallery.

Do you have pets?

 I aspire to spread awareness, interest and advocacy of what ASEAN can bring for our children’s future and how it benefits citizens in the ASEAN.

aspire asean awareness

My goals in my prime time years is to be productive, continue to learn, and educate myself to new career paths. To aspire to be the best that I can be. No one is ever too old to grab opportunities.  You must have read my post on  my involvement  with the year long activities of the Association of South East Asian Nations or ASEAN 2017 summit as Senior Consultant for ALL Media Engagement under the PCOO led Committee on Media Affairs and Strategic Communications (CMASC),  ASEAN National Organizing Council (NOC).  I have never been so busy in my life travelling all over the Philippines, covering the ASEAN roadshows or school tours.

aspire asean awareness

I find my ASEAN work so relevant  not only for the Philippines but for the rest of the nine ASEAN member states.  It is my goal to spread awareness and advocacy of what ASEAN can do for our children’s future.  Megawati Sukarnoputri , the daughter of Sukarno, said that “the future of our country lies in the hands of today’s children which is why the duty of ensuring our children’s future not only lies in the hands of their parents, but society as well.”  Giving kids a bright future is  ASEAN’s responsibility . Since January, I have been part of the ASEAN CMASC campaign to spread awareness and educate the public about the ASEAN. Our objective is to let every Filipino and ASEAN citizen know what their stake is in the Community.


I love what I do and I will continue to aspire to be the best I can to spread awareness to our ASEAN citizens. You might also want to read my article on the 10 opportunities and benefits for citizens in the ASEAN. I also have written about Opportunities for your children in the ASEAN.

So far my travels have brought me to Davao, Pampanga, Baguio, Boracay, Cebu and Iloilo.

asean awareness

ASEAN launch and ASEAN -PCOO roadshow

During the first event as the Chair of ASEAN, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte opened the important gathering with a speech that further discussed the theme  “Partnering for Change, Engaging the World.

Launch of the chairship of the ASEAN Socio cultural pillar in Pampanga

Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) aims to enhance efforts towards a “People-oriented, people-centered ASEAN.” 


ASEAN PCOO roadshow in Baguio

The attendance of the roadshow at the Elizabeth Hotel was so huge that the hashtag #ASEAN2017 trended from 9:00 AM till 1:00 PM with  its peak at number 2 at around 11:25 AM that February 3.

Covering ground activities of ASEAN Senior Officials’ Meeting in Boracay

Human rights were included in the the 23rd Meeting of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR).  The following commemorative activities will be the Launch of the Regional Action Plan on Mainstreaming the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the ASEAN Community; AICHR Youth Debate on Human Rights; and 50th Anniversary Edition of the AICHR Booklet and Video.

ASEAN PCOO roadshow in Cebu and launch of the ASEAN Information Kiosks

The  roadshows also include the launch of the ASEAN information kiosks where  comics and other reading materials, written in different Philippine dialects are distributed free of charge.

ASEAN information kiosk at the Iloilo City Hall

17th ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Council (ASCC) Meeting and the school tours

In the Iloilo meeting, two key documents of ASEAN Leaders’ Declaration on the Role of Civil Service as Catalysts for Achieving the ASEAN Community Vision 2025, and the ASEAN Declaration for the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers will be submitted to the 30th ASEAN Summit to be held late April.

I am glad I have the gadgets and tools that I need to be mobile and efficient in the crafting of digital content on the event highlights and share it to my social media network such as twitter, facebook, Instagram , and LinkedIN. Though only 58% of the Filipinos are online ,  the combination of offline activities as well  online engagement will  allow citizens to understand how ASEAN benefits them. This way, no one is left behind as CMASC reach out to those without access to the Internet or traditional media.

acer aspire

I continue to aspire to raise ASEAN awareness on our campaign that speaks to everyone, from all walks of life– from government workers, media, NGOs, civil society, the academe, business sector, the youth and event the grassroots communities.

You might also want to read my article on the 10 opportunities and benefits for citizens in the ASEAN. I also have written about Opportunities for your children in the ASEAN and the  Six thematic priorities of the Philippines as ASEAN chair.

Where to Seek Help: Domestic Abuse & Violence Against Women in the Philippines

Today March 8 is International Women’s Day

I will be bold and campaign against violence and …

  • educate youth about positive relationships
  • challenge those who justify perpetrators and blame victims
  • donate to groups fighting abuse
  • speak out against the silence of violence
  • be vigilant and report violence
  • campaign for the prevention of violence
  • abstain from all violence, physical and otherwise
  • volunteer your help at a local charity
  • recognize coercive control and redress it

Today, I will share my campaign for the prevention and how to seek help for those suffering from domestic abuse and  violence against women here in my own country, the Philippines




HOTLINE FOR DOMESTIC ABUSE is +632-922-5235 or +632-926-7744
Women’s Crisis Center
3F ER-Trauma Extension
Annex Building of the East Avenue Medical Center in Diliman , Quezon City

Electronic violence: Map reports of violence. Submit reports on electronic violence against women at ph.

More help numbers to contact :

Department of Social Welfare and Development
(02)931-8101 to 07 or your local social welfare office

NBI Violence Against Women and Children’s Desk (02) 523-8231 to 38 or 525-6028

Philippine National Police
723-0401 to 20 or your local police

 Here in the Philippines, one in five Filipino women aged 15-49 has experienced physical violence since age 15. There is more. One in seven women who were married experienced physical violence by their husband. Three in five women who experienced physical or sexual violence reported experiencing depression, anxiety, and anger.

If you know an abused friend or relative or if you yourself are abused, please be empowered. Read on. Contact numbers to seek help below the entry.


“You provoked me”, the wife-beater smugly said.

“It is still no reason to hit me” protested the wife.

domestic abuse This is a common conversation that occurs between the wife beater and the abused woman. Wife beaters have a specific pattern that can be seen early in a relationship.

Abusive men often are highly romantic, sweet and protective early in their relationships. They lavish their women gifts during courtship. For them, women are trophies to be won over and objects to possess, and not people to enter equal partnerships with.

This cycle of domestic abuse can be broken if women know how to empower themselves. The  law, Republic Act (RA) 9262 “Anti-Violence Against Women and Children (VAWC) is not against men. It is against men who treat their women as property.

The following is a true story of how RA 9262 is working for a battered wife, a close friend who narrated the following events to me (names and certain situations changed):

Maria, a businesswoman has been a battered wife for 15 years. She’s married to a successful engineer who is soft-spoken and a Sto. Nino devotee. Who would have imagined that she silently suffered from physical and verbal abuse all these years? I would have never thought and even her own family. Her sister knew of her predicament just recently and got referred to GABRIELA, the same women’s group that lobbied for the law to be passed. GABRIELA, in turn advised her to help Maria file for a protection order. But Maria would hear none of it.

Nooo. It was my fault anyway.

How embarrassing.

What will the neighbors think?

I’m a failure.

I can still take it.

Maria coined a lot of excuses.

The battered wife thought that the law will never work but she promised her sister that if her husband resumes his abusive behavior, she will consider the filing of criminal charges.

Everything was nice and dandy for almost a year until her husband succumbed to work-related pressures. That night , he drank way too many beers and just threw a fist at Maria’s head without provocation.

Maria saw stars spinning as the blow hit her. Steadying herself, she stood up and ran out of the house. Her husband repeatedly hit her in the arms as she vainly struggled to set free from his hold. In her hurry, she forgot to bring money and her cellphone. She also left her teenage daughter. In desperation, Maria dashed to the barangay office to file a complaint. She remembered RA 9262. Immediately after hearing her complaint, three barangay tanods accompanied her to the house.

“They responded to my plea” she thought.

The barangay tanods negotiated with the husband to allow Maria to enter the house peacefully and get her things.

The next day , she filed for a Barangay Protection Order (BPO) and got it within the hour. Maria went to the East Medical Center earlier and acquired a medico -legal certification which she showed to the barangay captain.

The BPO was served to the husband. Enraged, “How dare she do this to me? How dare she destroy my good name?

Fearing the wrath of her husband, Maria worried for her future safety. That’s when she decided to file for Temporary Protection Order (TPO). Maria was accompanied by a barangay worker to the Women’s Assistance Desk at the Police Station where the policewoman (in civilian clothes) prepared her statement. She was told to reproduce 10 copies of the complaint, together with the medico-legal findings, the BPO, the barangay blotter and submit it to the Fiscal’s office.

Would you believe it? She was granted her TPO within the day.

Together with a court order, law enforcers visited their conjugal home and ordered the husband to pack up his things and leave the house. After being reassured that her husband already left peacefully, only then did Maria re-enter her home.

Criminal proceedings will follow suit. The protection orders are not a guarantee that Maria will be safe but it will be a deterrent for the husband. Violation of the TPO is punishable with a fine ranging from Five Thousand Pesos (P5,000.00) to Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50,000.00) and/or imprisonment of six (6) months.

Aside from physical abuse, the law also protects women from , psychological or emotional, sexual violence and economic abuse.

domestic abuseSo battered or abused women, married or single, don’t despair. Be empowered. There is hope. My friend , Cathy recently wrote a column on Are you a Rihanna? She relates that batterers do not look like batterers at all. So don’t be fooled. Cathy has more to say on domestic violence:

The road to this “empowerment” however, is long and narrow. Often the battered spouse takes the abuse for many years before she finally wakes up. There is the cycle of violence to grapple with. As Nina put it so aptly : “Batterers do not look like batterers. They are often very charming and look like they can do no harm.” In her case, she said that often, after her husband would abuse her, he would transform into the sweetest, most apologetic person in the world. “I thought then that since he was sorry with my love would be enough able to change him .  Rihanna issue with her. “It’s a vicious cycle, and after a while, the battered wife or partner begins to feel like she deserves the beating, and so she continues to believe him and take him back after every apology. It’s like an addiction of sorts.”

There continues to be a very strong stigma attached to domestic abuse in this country. Either the women refuse to speak up because of “hiya” or because they feel they have no place to go and are more often than not, financially dependent on the abuser. Other family members may refuse to step into the problem because they feel it is not in their place to do so. Other women are told by elders who know no better, “just bear it, he will change.” Martyrdom is not a virtue especially if you have children who see the violent acts taking place. Violence should have no room in any family, and it must never be tolerated. As one other battered friend who had found the courage to break out of the cycle once told me, ““What will your ““hiya” do, if the violence escalates and one day all that is left is a lifeless you?” If you find yourself in this situation or know of someone who is, speak up for yourself or speak out for your loved ones.

This also holds true even for unmarried couples. Speak Out Against Domestic Violence!. Under the Republic Act (RA) 9262 ““Anti-Violence Against Women and Children , the victim need not be the one who applies for the protection order. There are roughly 20 victims in one day. Domestic violence is not limited to one social class. Many of the unreported cases belong to women belonging in the upper class of society. The figures could be higher than 20 victims a day.

Violence against women in any form is a crime. But you are not at fault. You did not cause the abuse to occur. You are not alone. Break the silence.

There are laws to protect you. Get help now.

Where to get Help

HOTLINE FOR ABUSED WOMEN is +632-922-5235 or +632-926-7744
Donations in cash and kind are welcome at the Women’s Crisis Center, 3F ER-Trauma Extension, Annex Building of the East Avenue Medical Center in Diliman , Quezon City
In Manila, call these numbers to ask for help:

Department of Social Welfare and Development
(02)931-8101 to 07 or your local social welfare office

NBI Violence Against Women and Children’s Desk (02) 523-8231 to 38 or 525-6028

Philippine National Police
723-0401 to 20 or your local police

PNP-Women and Children Protection Center
410-3213 or your local barangay women and children’s desk


Download The Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children Act of 2004 (Republic Act No. 9262) and other Resources

Republic Act (R.A.) 9262: Law for the Protection of Women and Children

    • Even if skeptical of the law or afraid of your abusive partner, be prepared for a



Here are valuable resources from Atty Bing Guanzon and Atty. Adrian Sison:



Judge Rebecca Mariano issued a Temporary Protection Order on May 4, 2005, the first Protection Order to be issued under the Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children Act of 2004 or Republic Act No. 9262.

Say “NO” to violence against women. Sign up at

Photo via Flickr

It’s okay to burst into tears – crying is your body’s way of releasing stress. There, there, new Mom, it’s okay to cry.

Congratulations on your bundle of joy, New Mom! You’re in for a ride of late nights and milky burps, poop explosions and numerous nappy changes. It’s not all stress though. You’ll find the simplest joy in an infant’s grip on your finger, tiny baby yawns and milky breaths. It’s going to be an emotional rollercoaster New Mom. I’m already giving you a heads up that there will be times when you’d want to give in to tears. In case you are wondering, it’s okay to cry.

let the tears fall

let the tears fall

New Mommy Tears

When my son was only a few weeks old, there were nights when he wouldn’t stop crying. I did all I thought would pacify him. I nursed him. I carried him, rocked him and sang him lullabies till I ran out of songs to sing. (I even ended up singing my high school’s Alma Mater song). He still wouldn’t go to sleep and kept crying.

“Am I doing something wrong?,” I thought. I was angry with myself for not knowing what to do. I was irritated with myself for feeling so helpless. Add to this the many conflicting instructions I’d get from elders. “Huwag mong buhatin! Baka masanay!,” one party would advise. “All babies need hugs! Huwag mong istress!,” said the other. I was open to learning but when contrasting pieces of advice would pop up, I would stress out. Confused, there were many times I’d burst into tears. Baby in my arms, I would sob my heart out.

Eventually the baby would calm down. I recall the reasons to some of the crying bouts – he was wet, he was hungry, and there are other crying bouts I simply cannot recall the reasons for. All I remember is the frustration with myself and the eventual relief when my newborn dozed off to sleep.

There were moments when I’d handle it well. I’d wake up to cries in the middle of the night. Then as if I’ve been doing it all my life, I’d change the baby’s diaper while I was half-asleep, nurse him, sing him a lullaby and go back to bed. It wasn’t all that bad, but still I was very tired. Sometimes I wanted to cry from tiredness.

A familiar scene from my youth takes on a different meaning.

Breaking Dawn: Newborn edition

There was one night I remember so well that I feel it just happened yesterday. I was rocking my crying baby to sleep and he just wouldn’t stop. Midnight turned to three a.m. Three a.m. turned to dawn. My son didn’t seem to want to stop nursing. I was looking out the window and I wondered, “Why is this scene so familiar?” I realized that the last time I had seen the sun rise was in my early twenties, when I’d get home early in the morning from a night out with friends. Then I felt the tiredness weigh down on me even more. I couldn’t help but smile at the contrast though. Life really was changing for me.

You’ll be fine, New Mom.

There, There, New Mom, It’s Okay to Cry

Dearest New Mom, I write to you because I want you to know that crying during those first few weeks is normal. It’s okay to feel helpless during these starter weeks. It’s okay to be confused, to be a little paranoid about each sound the baby’s making. It’s okay to burst into tears – crying is your body’s way of releasing stress. There, there, new Mom, it’s okay to cry.

A friend of mine gave me a heads up on this crying game during my baby shower. She said there would be moments like this. I was crossing my fingers it wouldn’t happen to me but I’m glad I listened to her and remembered her advice when I was trying to hold in the tears. I didn’t feel so alone knowing other Moms felt this too.

A strong support system helped ease my tears. There were times that when I’d feel the waterworks coming, I’d turn to my husband and say, “I’m going to cry, okay? Just let me be. I don’t need any solutions or advice. I don’t need you to do or fix anything. I just need to cry.” I’ve observed that men have this knee-jerk reaction to solve things when presented with a problem. The first times I would cry, my husband gave me tons of pep talk. There were times when it would work, there were times when it didn’t. Over time we both realized that it was also just fine if I cried it out and he simply sat beside me and held me. Having him by my side was enough to help me feel better.

After a few months, the sobbing sessions eased out.I was feeling more connected with motherhood as the weeks and months progressed, and I learned how to trust my instinct more. I became more in tune with my baby’s cries, knowing immediately what he needed. My confidence grew, and tears came by less frequently. Less tears from the baby, less tears from me.

So dearest new Mom, it’s okay to cry. However, if you don’t feel any better after a bout of crying or are having ill thoughts about the baby and those around you, seek medical attention. Having the baby blues is different from postpartum depression. Crying out is normal but only to a certain degree.

Remember that crying doesn’t make you less of a Mom. Let the tears fall. Let the stress out. Then take a deep breath. You’ll feel so much better!

by Toni Tiu, as originally posted on “It’s okay to cry (A letter to a new mom)” Philippine Online Chronicles.

Photo Credit: Vickilgh’s Pictures via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: higlu via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Your Alter Ego (Angelica Lasala) via Compfight cc

A simple ‘thank you’ can save a life, brighten up a bad day, and even change the world. It makes the person hearing it want to return the favor, pay it forward, and better person.

In a world that’s been taken over by emoticons, stickers, Viber groups, and Facebook chats, it’s easy for honesty and sincerity to take a backseat. Ironically, now that our days are filled with easier and more convenient ways to communicate, the quality of our personal connections have dwindled. Have you actually looked someone in the eye and apologized in the last few weeks? When was the last time you thanked someone—truly thanked someone—in person and from the heart?


A little gratitude goes a long way

There are plenty of ways to express our thanks and apologies without actually using words—a simple Minions sticker smiling that adorable smile on screen is usually the weapon of choice online. While it’s hard to resist the call of those little yellow creatures in denim overalls and goggles, it’s just not the same as actually saying the words. Ever since we were little kids, our parents would urge us to mind our manners, often asking us what we should say after hurting our siblings or our friends. And whenever our favorite tita would hand us a huge playset for Christmas, our mothers would be right there behind us, whispering, “Now, sweetie, what will you say?” Saying “thank you” and “I’m sorry” has been hardwired into our brains from the moment we learned how to speak, but somewhere along the way, it became harder and harder to say the words. Sometimes, they even come out automatically without any emotion from deep within, so what happened?

“In the 21st century, with so many different ways to communicate without even using words – email, voicemail, text messaging – it’s amazing that people don’t routinely acknowledge the kindness of others in one way or another,” says Rebecca Cole, author of Flower Power and co-host of Surprise by Design from the Discovery Channel. A lot of us have forgotten to say ‘thank you’ for even the most mundane things, not realizing that those two little words have the power to change big things. The simplest courtesies such as receiving our orders from a waiter or getting directions from a stranger on the street deserve our thanks. We even forget that not only does hearing the words ‘thank you’ make the receiver feel appreciated, but it also makes the person saying it feel good as well. It’s basically a win-win situation, isn’t it?

Thank You Mummy

“Receiving expressions of gratitude makes us feel a heightened sense of self-worth, and that in turn triggers other helpful behaviors toward both the person we are helping and other people, too,” says Francesca Gino, author of Sidetracked: Why Our Decisions Get Derailed, and How We Can Stick to the Plan. “I spend a lot of time working inside organizations and see teams working together to accomplish a task, usually with a deadline. Oftentimes, you don’t see the leaders going back and actually thanking the team members. Those are situations where expressions of gratitude from leaders could have wonderful effects,” the Harvard Business School associate professor continues.

A simple ‘thank you’ can save a life, brighten up a bad day, and even change the world. It makes the person hearing it want to return the favor, pay it forward, and be a better person. Just by thanking your husband for taking out the trash makes him feel truly loved, and merely appreciating your mother’s neatly packed lunch can help her get through the rest of her busy day. “My husband is now working for a start-up. I received flowers and a note from his company’s CEO thanking me for my understanding because my husband had been up all night working on a big project,” Gino shares. Moments like that one “really makes me think more carefully every time I am the one expressing gratitude to others. I don’t want to miss opportunities…I learned from my own research and now try to say ‘thank you’ much more often.”

It’s never too late to apologize

When it comes to saying sorry, on the other hand, our big egos and puffed up pride often get in the way. We may easily mutter the words without really meaning them, or worse, by being sarcastic about it. In apologizing, it’s important to know the impact it has on the people around us and the relationships we are in.

Asking For Forgiveness

Every time you say “I’m sorry”, you are showing the other person that he or she is respected. It builds trust and mutual respect in a relationship, which means that you value the state of the relationship rather than your own ego. Apologizing properly also helps you move on from your mistakes after owning up to them, and in turn builds a strong foundation between parties. As long as you are sincere in your apology, saying sorry also lifts that burden off your chest as instant relief washes over you. You certainly don’t want to prolong any bad blood, do you? A proper apology will straighten everything out. According to psychologist Guy Winch, author of Emotional First Aid, “An effective apology doesn’t just heal the wound for the other person. It’ll dissolve your guilt, too.”

Still, it’s not all about saying “I’m sorry” just for the heck of it. “Apologizing can be really bad communication. There are people who apologize for everything, and it can be related to assertiveness and self-esteem issues. It can send subtle messages that my needs are not as important as yours,” says marital therapist Dr. Guy Grenier. “We shouldn’t apologize for our own needs, but we should apologize for being thoughtless or careless.”

“It’s not appropriate just keep saying ‘I’m sorry’ for everything,” says psychotherapist Catherine Morris. “It’s appropriate when you become aware that your partner is truly wounded. If you’re not sincerely sorry, it should invite some dialogue.” Basically, whenever we apologize, we have to truly mean it—and strive to change our behavior so that our mistakes won’t happen again. “When my daughter was young, she would do something and then very quickly say sorry. I would say that I’m more interested in seeing your behavior change,” Morris shares. “It’s easy to say sorry; it’s harder to spend the time to understand why you’ve hurt someone and to work on not hurting them again.”

In the end, apologizing heals wounds, and having an attitude of gratitude also makes you more appreciative and at peace with your own life. So why not start mending relationships and begin thanking someone today?

Written by Cathy Dellosa-Lo as originally posted at Philippine Online Chronicles

Images: Thank You from, Thank You Mummy and Asking For Forgiveness from Flickr. Used under Creative Commons. Some rights reserved.