A breastfeeding room in the offices makes a more comfortable, happier mom which will equate to a more productive employee

It was 1986 when I went back to work when my daughter was only 4 months old. I was still breastfeeding her at that time so I had to bring along bottles and an insulated container to bring home, my breast milk filled bottles. Mommies are so blessed these days. There are so many aids to help breastfeeding moms and now , even a law that encourages breastfeeding in the workplace.

I didn’t have a breastmilk pump so I chose to express breast milk by hand. You can just imagine how I juggled my work with hand expression. Even with limited resources back then, I felt motivated the breastmilk to my baby girl.

While visiting the breastfeeding room at Philips Philippines Inc., I marveled at the array of breastfeeding paraphernalia.

This Breastfeeding month, Philips Philippines Inc. is partnering with different private institutions in the country to raise awareness on the importance of breastfeeding by creating environments that are comfortable for a nursing mother.

This means providing support for moms who wish to breastfeed– in public, at home, at work or out-and-about – providing guidance and designing products to make their journey comfortable.

To help every mother in the community understand the essential benefits of breast milk, Philips AVENT provides nursing mothers with innovations that enhance her breastfeeding journey even after mothers return to work.

Look at this breastfeeding container. A mom need not bring bottles to work.

A sterilizer completes the breastfeeding aids. Moms don’t need to bring their breast pump to work .

I believe breastfeeding moms should feel comfortable wherever they choose to breastfeed, whether at home or at work.  This breastfeeding room really looks so comfy.

I am glad there are more breastfeeding friendly workplaces and companies who believe a more comfortable, happier mom would equal to a more productive employee.

The most unspeakable grief is losing a child, a death of a child… and what more to allegations that Kian Loyd Delos Santos “died amid allegations that he was framed by three police officers”. The police said Kian fought back which prompted the police to shoot him back. CCTV footage shows otherwise. How could Kian pull out a gun from his gartered shorts ? The police should have frisked the boy first before dragging him away. It is unbelievable. If this won’t outrage you , nothing will.

unspeakable grief kian death

When the unthinkable and the unspeakable happens like the death of a child especially one that has been killed in the custody of the police, who wouldn’t feel outraged by it all ? Yes , the death of any child killed under horrendous circumstances must be condemned. And to those saying there should be just as much outrage over the death of child from drug addicts…well, excuse me, I have written about death of a child under any circumstances in this blog and place them under the “Grief in the News” category.

The death of a child under police custody caused a huge  outrage because the police is supposed to protect our children. Is this what the police means on its motto to “serve & protect” the people?

Take note, 31 children have been killed so far amid the government’s war on drugs.

Imagine the grief of the mother. They will not be able to bring back their child but they can certainly look forward to filing a case. The father of Kian says even if they won’t win the case, they want to seek justice.

Imagine if Kian is your child or your friend’s child.

Anak natin sila. Betty adds : “And how we treat them–how we stand up for them, or not, may very well determine our future as a nation.”

I have not seen so much outrage. Will this now translate into action? My friend Inday says this is what we can do.

The survivors, the families of the fallen, do not need our pity. They need our empathy. They need our rage.They are us. Mother and father, brother and sister, son and daughter, friend and lover.Their fight is our fight.

We don’t fight to dispense charity. We fight for our future.
There, on the mean streets and the pockmarked trails, they need us.
We need THEM. They are the spark to conscience.
Small huddles and big rallies; home visits or funeral vigils; the painting of schools or the staging to protest art exhibits.
The ways of protest are many.
But we must start NOW.

Two days after Kian’s death, there is more outrage on social media.

Nothing can bring Kian back to his parents but justice over their son’s death will save the future lives of your children. How many more precious lives does our country have to lose on a War On Drugs that is implemented wrongly?

“We believe in you” is not just a tagline for RCBC. “We Believe in you” is “a battle cry to show our unwavering support and trust to the indomitable Filipino spirit. 

I believe in many things. I believe in dreams. I believe in the power of love. I believe affirmations fill my life with abundance.  I believe balance is not something I find, rather it is in something I create.

My husband and I believe in being together on dates every weekend. This is the balance I create. I look forward to Saturdays as it is our usual lunch date or a time to visit Salcedo market to buy our regular stock of organic vegetables and fruits. One Saturday, I needed to drop by the RCBC ATM machine to withdraw some cash before proceeding to the market. That’s when I spotted the new RCBC logo behind the closed doors of the bank.

RCBC rebranding

I nudged at my husband to point out the new logo with the tagline “We believe in you”.  Its previous dark blue color is now replaced with a light refreshing sky blue that lifts my spirit . It is interesting to see the traditional elements remain, particularly the prominent hexagon which distinguishes the Yuchengco Group of Companies. My husband and I know this too well because RCBC has been our bank for many years now.

It was a few days later at the launch of the RCBC rebranding that I got to understand that “We believe in you” is not just a tagline for RCBC.

RCBC we believe in you

RCBC President and CEO Gil A. Buenaventura stressed that “We Believe in you” is “a battle cry to show our unwavering support and trust to the indomitable Filipino spirit. At the same time, this new corporate thrust is meant to encourage Filipinos not only to dream, but to pursue their passions and dreams, and turn them into reality – whether it’s traveling to your dream destination, venturing into a new business, or purchasing a new home or car”.

RCBC we believe in you

I like RCBC’s positive tagline because it is an affirmation.   Dreams give me something to hold on to, while I work towards them. “We believe in you” sparked a light inside our head and got us thinking about our financial future during our lunch date.

My husband and I took a fresh look at our dreams and even dared to dream big. The challenging part is transforming those dreams into financial goals.

What do I want to happen in our financial future? What financial problems would I like to solve? What bills would I like to be rid of? What would I like to be earning at the end of this year? The end of next year? Five years from now? Ten years from now?

My husband and I dream to continue working with a passion till we croak ; save enough and continue building our health fund . But most importantly, we envision travelling and visiting our two daughters who are working abroad.  It is one reason we are planning to embark on a Camino de Santiago tour in 2018 and meet up with my daughters in Europe.   All of this will entail a lot of planning but our bank believes in us and will be our partner to help us succeed.

RCBC we believe in you

The tagline, “We Believe In You”, is not just a positive and personalized message to bank clients like myself. The message resonates to a wider and more diverse audience, particularly millennials who now comprise a third of the Philippine population and about 25% of the entire Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). This tech-savvy generation is also financially knowledgeable and expect varied and individually-tailored banking products and services which RCBC is poised to deliver.  With its new logo and tagline, RCBC wants to show that it offers an easier, more accessible and rewarding banking experience for its present and future clients.

Start believing today.

RCBC we believe in you

So, like a forgotten fire, a childhood can always flare up again within us. ~Gaston Bachelard

Photo credit: mindbodysmile.com
A young blogger once asked me “what should I settle now before I get married?”

My answer to similar questions is this: release hurts of the past and love your inner child. I told her to resolve and release hurts of the past especially unresolved issues with parents…it is important to nurture one’s inner child even until our adult life.

No matter how old you are, a little child lives within who needs love and acceptance. My mother died just before I turned twenty years old and I was never able to let go of my hurts until much later in life when I thought I had breast cancer. While waiting for my surgery in 1996, I felt the fear and anxiety that mom had to go through with her breast cancer. I told mom in my heart that I forgave her for all the hurts that she inflicted upon me and sought the same forgiveness for anything that I had caused to hurt her. The tears just fell and I felt a baggage unload from my heart.

I understood much later in life that unresolved hurts tend to haunt you back in future relationships. Reflecting down memory lane, I think I was attracted to my ex-boyfriend because his personality somehow resembled my mother. My mother was difficult, emotional and hot-tempered. Of course, I didn’t want a difficult husband but unconsciously I ended up with one, at least in the first few years of our married life.

See, my mother rarely praised me or validated my self-worth. She wasn’t even loving or at least she was not demonstrative with her love except to our youngest brother. Instead, she continually criticized and berated me and even indulged in slapping and pinching even if I was already in high school. She didn’t know any better too. I found it difficult to understand why she was so mean to me. Now that I am an adult, I know it was not about me. She had problems but turned her ire on my siblings and myself.

(Photo credit: Edgarandallenpoe.com)

I learned the art of loving my inner child after I realized that there were many aspects that were left unresolved. As a child, when something went wrong, I believed that there was something wrong with me. Soon the idea came that if I could only do it right, then mom would love me, and she wouldn’t punish me. Since I was only a child, I thought parents were supposed to do that. In time, I believed I was never good enough. Sadly, it was only after my mom’s death that I blossomed under the love of my dad who was a silent parent when mom was alive.

Without a mom and far away from my dad (since I became independent after college), I learned to summon my the parent inside me. True, there is a parent inside each of us, as well as a child. Louise Hay explains :

And most of the time, the parent scolds the child almost nonstop! If we listen to our inner dialogue, we can hear the scolding. We can hear the parent tell the child what it is doing wrong or how it is not good enough. We need to allow our parent to become more nurturing to our child.

I have found that working with the inner child is most valuable in helping to heal the hurts of the past. At this point in our lives, right now, we need to begin to make ourselves whole and accept every part of who we are. We need to communicate with our inner child and let it know that we accept the part that did all the stupid things, the part that was funny looking, the part that was scared, the part that was very foolish and silly,every single part of ourselves.

Love is the greatest healing power I know. Love can heal even the deepest and most painful memories because love brings the light of understanding to the dark corners of our mind. No matter how painful our early childhood was, loving our inner child now will help us to heal it. In the privacy of our own minds we can make new choices and think new thoughts. Thoughts of forgiveness and love for our inner child will open pathways, and the Universe will support us in our efforts.

(Photo credit: Phoenixrisingpublications.ca

It was through forgiving my mother that I was able to unburden the past and move forward as a parent to my children and as a loving wife to my husband.

If you’re a woman, no matter how self-reliant you are, there is a little girl who’s very tender inside you that needs help. If you’re a man, no matter how macho you are, a little boy inside you craves warmth and affection.

As I said earlier, if you plan to settle down, resolve the conflicts of the past. Learn to forgive yourself and the one who hurt you. Continue to nurture and love yourself.

These days, I embrace my inner child by treating myself once in a while to fun events, ice cream, candy or a new toy (er gadget). I allow myself to laugh and play more.

Use the affirmation: I am perfect, whole, and complete, just as I am. The more you repeat this statement of truth about yourself, the quicker you will release the past.

Updated  August 7, 2017: I first wrote this last May . I  updated this blog post to add the media accreditation for the ASEAN 50th anniversary celebration 

Some of you have probably noticed I’ve been tweeting a lot about ASEAN 2017 since January this year. It is part of my work as senior consultant for the Committee on Media Affairs and Strategic Communications, led by the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO). Finally, the first big event , the ASEAN 30th Summit and Related Meetings finally happened. This is it!

Before I write about my views on the statements released by ASEAN , let me share my experience covering the summit.

asean 30th summit

Read my other articles on ASEAN:

ASEAN beyond 50: What does the future hold for the youth?

“This is our future” – the school children at the ASEAN School Tour

Opportunities and challenges of women in the ASEAN

10 opportunities and benefits for the citizens in ASEAN

Opportunities for your children in the ASEAN

Sharing my social media experience at the 1st ASEAN Social Media Strategy Meeting

The Philippines as ASEAN Chair: Six thematic priorities

The ASEAN community 2025 vision: What is in it for me?

ASEAN, a region of opportunities for the citizens 

It’s my first time as a blogger  to cover an international event. I applied for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting held on 18–19 November 2015 in Manila but it was revoked at the last minute.  Don’t look at me.

Asean information booth

This time around, bloggers got accredited to cover the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) 30th Summit. The thing is, I could not cover the meetings just like the rest of the media due to security reasons and also because we were more than 1,400 . There was an information channel, email blast , international broadcast center, and press releases . Nothing beats being right there at  an event and I will get to that experience in a bit.

Media Accreditation

Like the past media accreditation for ASEAN , I had to sign up at the Asean2017.ph website. The registration is buggy. I had to repeat the process all over again and then I get this duplicate record

As to the agency I represent, I put Blog Watch and wrote a letter of request which I needed to be attached in the form. Within 24 hours, I received a confirmation.

READ MORE: Jane’s post on What is all this ado about bloggers at #ASEAN2017?

READ MORE: Sonnie’s post on recent media accreditation of bloggers and other issues.

READ MORE: Juned’s post Asean and Social Media Coverage

The International Media Center

The International Media Center was something new for me.

Main Briefing Room.

Bloggers (Left to right) Jane , Tess Termulo and Marvin Germo

Fortunately, those without laptops had desktops for their use at the main briefing room.  Each table had a charging station for our gadgets.

asean 30th summit

Bloggers at the main briefing room at the ASEAN 30th Summit (Left to right): Ace Gapuz, Sonnie Santos, Mark Macanas, Tess Termulo and Jane Uymatiao

The social media lounge was for everyone to use , especially for those that didn’t bring their laptops…or when their laptops died from overuse.

Social media corner

It was the place to chit-chat, sip coffee  and socialize as the main briefing room is meant for writing in peace and quiet.

READ : Notes on ASEAN Summit 2017, Part I: My Personal Story

bloggers at the social media lounge

The  RFID card was or the Radio-Frequency IDentification is so cool. I think everyone stopped to get their photo taken. Awesome, isn’t it?

The social media coverage

One needed to sign up at the Information desk for Pool Coverage . I was fortunate to get a slot to take photos till the Opening statement of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting .

A van took the photographers and social media practitioners like myself from the Pool Waiting area to the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC).  The thing is I don’t carry huge gadgets like those professional DSLR and a step ladder so I am told to step back to give way to them.

This is why my photo of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers is not taken from the center. Hmm, maybe I should bring my humongous DSLR next time just so I get a better view.

The iPhone7 Plus has an excellent  zoom feature so I managed to get a shot of Acting Foreign Secretary Manalo in his Opening Statement.

The ASEAN foreign ministers released a statement shortly after their meeting.

“ASEAN is mindful that instability in the Korean Peninsula seriously impacts the region and beyond.”

What a strong statement but silent on China?

There was limited media slots for the Opening Ceremony but if I got an invitation , I could cover it. As a guest of the the Opening Ceremony of the ASEAN 30th Summit, one needed an invitation. I was lucky to get an invite just the night before April 29 from my friends at PCOO .

A shuttle  brought us to the International Media Center to PICC.

Yes, it felt like a fiesta with all the dancers at the lobby.

Everyone had to be inside the PICC by 9:00 AM even if the Opening Ceremony would start  at 10:30 AM.  I understand all these security precautions for the sake of our  10 Asean leaders and even for us, the audience.

I was early enough because the shuttle took me there around 7:30 AM.

The President then delivered his Opening Statement where he emphasized the importance of unity, solidarity, and cooperation among the ASEAN member states.

What stood out is that ASEAN leaders be resolute in achieving a drug-free ASEAN which I hope puts an end to killings and that the drug lords are caught  and charged.

Before the family photo was taken, the ASEAN spirit was sung accompanied by a beautiful dance number. I took this live on facebook and a lot of viewers enjoyed the scene. With my left hand on my iPhone taking the video , I used my right hand to take photos. Notice the shakiness of my live video. It still got a modest number of hits .

This is such a historical moment for me, seeing all the 10 ASEAN leaders.

The ASEAN family photo

The Opening ceremony was pretty  quick but I still had to wait for the press conference by President Duterte . It is my first press conference with a President . Only 150 who signed up got access.

The press conference schedule was  at 7:10 PM but by 5:00 PM, we were brought to the PICC holding area. One line was formed for reporters while the other line for photographers and videographers before we could walk out towards the PICC Meeting room.

The bloggers got a good position just a row behind the seats assigned to the government officials.

The President arrived late , and was probably tired but he mustered to say in jest, “Anak ka ng… Kung ganito lang ang summit, kanselado na ‘yung sa November (If summits are like this, then let’s just cancel the one in November)”

The President then  read a prepared statement but he seemed eager  for the questions from the media. He appeared to be in high spirits with the press that  Saturday night, “even joking that the media should have been invited to the gala dinner with ASEAN leaders and other dignitaries.”

Here is a video of the press conference:

His guests at the Gala dinner were waiting for him so he cut short his press conference . We only had 30 minutes. He had already left the podium but went back to announce that women can have their photos taken with him.

“I am not trying to be a show-off, but I’ve noticed that after every conference, a lot of mostly women would want to have a picture with me. Women, come up and we’ll have the pictures”

I thought he was kidding.  Of course, I wanted a photo with the President. For Prosperity’s sake just as I had the chance with four past Philippine presidents. (The next day , I was surprised our selfies  got featured on page 4 of the Philippine Inquirer)

Lastly ,  not all media got the same giveaways and bag . An Inquirer reporter made such a big deal out of it.   There was another bag distributed to “others” and no phone was in it. Instead, a USB charging/power port was in the bag along with a  notebook and pen, dried mangoes, utility bag and a bamboo speaker. PCOO explains the giveaways in a press statement.

I will write a commentary   about the issues raised at the ASEAN 30th Summit

  1. Why was ASEAN silent about the “the subject of China’s  reclamation activities and military build up in the disputed South China Sea”? (Update: Our Blogwatch article on the South China Sea)
  2.  The Chairman’s statement 30th ASEAN Summit .
  3. The budget for the Philippine hosting.

The controversial  issues left behind by the ASEAN summit  are disappointing but, I must say the Philippine hosting is a success. No major security threat while the delegates and leaders were in our country. The small successes of Asean  include the Philippines and Indonesia allowing a roll-on, roll-off (Roro) vessel route from Davao to General Santos then to Bitung, Indonesia, which cuts the trip from two to three weeks to one or two days. There is much room for improvement in the media access especially for bloggers . But let’s take a look at the last two paragraphs of the President’s opening speech  that look at the positives.

Let us remember: ASEAN has a compelling narrative of positive change [that] we can hold up to the world. Through our distinct ASEAN way, our region – with all its promise – stands at the center of the future of the Asia-Pacific region.

Let us with brave hearts and firm mind resolve to do all we can to make all our aspirations a reality. [This] will be the lasting legacy of ASEAN not just for our peoples but for the whole world.

Each one of us play a part in the vision of ASEAN.

Covering the 50th anniversary celebration