Be a hero, wear a Santa sombrero. #LahatSanta is  giving everyone an exciting opportunity to become Santa to poor kids.

Santa Claus is so much a part of my childhood memories as it reminds me so much of my father who played the role of Santa Claus. Dad is not around now. He died 14 years ago on a Holiday season of all months. Perhaps he wanted to remind me about the spirit of Santa Claus. I don’t know if you believe in Santa Claus but I believe Santa Claus lives in each one of us to make a difference.

Santa Claus is anyone who loves another and seeks to make them happy;
who gives himself by thought or word or deed in every gift
that he bestows;
who shares his joys with those who are sad;
whose hand is never closed against the needy;
whose arm is ever outstretched to aid the week; whose sympathy is quick and genuine
in time of trouble;
who recognizes a comrade and brother in every man he meets upon life’s common road;
who lives his life throughout
the entire year in the Christmas spirit. –

EDWIN OSGOOD GROVER, Vicki Howard’s The Book of Santa Claus

We can all be a Santa Claus through the Save the Children new Christmas campaign #LahatSanta giving everyone an exciting opportunity to become Santa to poor kids.

What is the #LahatSanta campaign?

Be a hero, wear a Santa sombrero

Lahat Santa is a new fun way to celebrate Christmas. Save the Children encourages individuals , schools and companies to wear their Santa hats, raise funds in their own creative way and make the holidays much more meaningful by donating to Save the Children programs.

Upon signing up on, participants get a free fundraising kit , which includes a coin bank, Christmas poster and a Santa hat. The Kit includes ways you can fundraise, from bake sale to the good old Christmas caroling– it is up to the participants how they’ll spread the cheer.

With every Lahat Santa hat comes great responsibility. A commitment to Lahat Santa campaign could mean life-saving support for a child. A donation can provide treatment to babies suffering from malnutrition  and help expand their programs that could impact their lives in the long run.

Steps to join #LahatSanta campaign

  1. Sign up on to receive a FREE fundraising pack which includes your coin bank, Christmas poster and your Santa hat for December 15. Tips and ideas are included there too.

2. Plan your fundraising activity and gather your family and friends from work and school to help you out. Whether this is through a garage sake, good old caroling, selling artwork and doing Christmas dares, Because you are the Santa, be as creative as possible.


3. SEND your donations to Save the Children, The sooner they receive it, the sooner they can put it to good use.

4. Wear your Santa hat on December 14 and have a shout out post or selfie, using the hashtag #LahatSanta selfie to show us how you are fundraising for children.

Save the Children believes that all children have the right to fair and equal access to nutritious food. We know that the rate of stunting of 33% is largely due to inequality of access to nutritious food, long periods of hunger and a lack of nutrition during the first 1,000 days.

halloween traditionWhat happened to Halloween day? Why is Trick or Treat celebrated way earlier than October 31? Where is the fun in moving it to an earlier date? Those were some of the questions my kids asked me in 2006. My three children celebrated Trick or Treat only on October 31 whether it was a weekday or weekend. Then that all changed when our village changed the date because it was just convenient for them to facilitate the kids in costume. My kids often say that it is like moving Christmas day to December 20. Something like that.

Wikipedia states that

Halloween (or Hallowe’en) is an international holiday celebrated on October 31. Halloween activities include trick-or-treating, ghost tours, bonfires, costume parties, visiting haunted attractions, carving jack-o’-lanterns, reading scary stories, and watching horror movies.

I do not understand. Maybe I am trapped in the American tradition that my husband brought to our family since we first celebrated it 25 years ago. Maybe the Philippines has its own version on how to celebrate Halloween.

I remember the day my dear husband reminded me to dress up the little girls into witches for Halloween. “Halloween?” I thought Halloween was only done in the Western countries. ” Yes you have to dress them up as witches”. As a little boy in the late sixties, he pranced around the neighborhood begging for candies and yelling “Trick or Treat” . According to him, the Halloween “Trick or Treat” originated in the Philippines during the sixties when the Americans living in the village started the tradition. In the early nineties, Halloween was not yet commercialized. No little kids doing trick or treat inside the malls.

The Trick or Treat was limited to Ayala Land villages, where most American expatriates lived. There were a few masks and simple decors in National Book store but that was it. No costumes. I had to be creative. I designed a witch costume with yellow piping and a dressmaker executed it. A balikbayan sister from San Francisco brought in the hat, the candy corn candies, the fangs gum for props.

halloween traditionWe drove all the way to visit the kid’s grandparents in Alabang just for the spooky Halloween experience. As usual, the beaming stage mother dressed up her adorable girls as cute little witches. The Trick or Treat party at the club was fantastic. The kids were dressed in typical Halloween costumes like vampires, ghosts, witches, and devils or even pumpkins.The eerie decors added to the thrilling experience.

halloweenThe Trick or Treat adventure in this swanky Alabang village is something else. The houses compete with each other on the scariest theme. Most of these houses had tricks. In one house, the kids were terrified of the candle-lit pathway that led to a vampire rocking on the chair. Complete with spine-tingling music as you walk towards the vampire, it even freaked me out. One of my daughters scurried away as soon as she saw the ghoulish figure. For many years, the girls spent their Halloween with their grandparents in this Alabang village until Luijoe arrived in our lives.

LuijoeLuijoe’s first Halloween in 1994 was spent at his aunt’s village. She started the Trick or Treat experience in her own village. 1994 saw the year when malls and the like started to sell costumes and more Halloween decors. My husband just adored his little boy. It’s no wonder that Halloween is such a painful experience for my husband. The past years, he used to hibernate in our bedroom avoiding the little kids knocking at our doors. But that is just how he was then. I love giving candies to these kids as I imagine my precious Luijoe hovering nearby. I am sure Luijoe is around me all the time.

5.jpgMy little boy posed his cutest smile ever. “sigh” I miss my boy. As I gathered the photos for this entry, I could not help turning misty-eyed pouring over these precious memories . “Was he really that cute?” “How I wish I can just rewind the past and hug him all over again!” Pictures and memories are what is left of him. Of course, his love rings true in my heart. But yes, I digress. And the tears well up again as I write this.

The girls who were then in their pre-teen years continued to be witches until their early teens. That’s when they designed their own costumes or innovated their wardrobe.

6.jpg7.jpgLuijoe’s last two Halloween was dressed up as a little devil. How he liked playing the naughty little imp to the hilt. This little devil is now my angel . His impish grins just makes me smile. Kids are just so adorable aren’t they? I miss my kids as little kids and being the stage mother fussing around them. Now that they have grown up, I’m just there when they need me.

8.jpg12.jpgAfter Luijoe died in 2000, the girls continued the Trick or Treat tradition with their younger cousins. Costumes are now based on themes other than traditional horror, such as dressing up as a character from a TV show or movie. Ahhh…. I miss the traditional Halloween costumes. L in this photo is behind the fence because she was traumatized by an 11 year old bully who grabbed her whole bag of candies. Demand for candies is just so much that after an hour, we always ran out of treats.

Our kitties are not exempt from trick or treat.

The girls have outgrown the costumes but the ghost story telling or watching horror movies never dies. I don’t have to don the witch’ hat and spook them out. I don’t need to line the garage with eerie candle-lit lighting. No need for the masked monster by the rocking chair. They can entertain themselves now.

So that’s how my family celebrate Halloween. What’s your tradition?

There is the ASEAN University Network (AUN),  an arrangement between 30 + universities in the ten ASEAN countries, where your children can cross-enroll for other courses in college. 

What future can our children look forward to? Of course, there is the future of the Philippines and then there is the ASEAN, our community, our future.  The ASEAN is at the heart of Asia and feels so close to home. As a mother, I have always been open to opportunities for my children whether here or abroad.  Well, my children took such opportunities to work abroad .  One of them works in the ASEAN region.

So, for moms with kids in high school and college, do you want to find out what opportunities there are for your children especially in the ASEAN region?

The role of  education is important in promoting a better quality of life for children and young people, and in providing them with an opportunity to participate in and benefit from the realization of a prosperous ASEAN Community 2025.  Universities in the ASEAN are working on providing more opportunities for student exchanges within the region, credit transfer systems and improving quality assurance mechanisms.

Mula sa Masa, Volume 2 Issue 1

Wouldn’t you want your children to take advantage of these opportunities and help achieve the vision of the ASEAN community in 2025?

There is the ASEAN University Network (AUN),  an arrangement between 30 + universities in the ten ASEAN countries, where your children can cross-enroll for other courses in college.

ASEAN Higher education

The idea for such AUN “stems from the 4th ASEAN Summit of 1992. In that Summit, it was agreed that ASEAN member countries must work to promote cooperation by enhancing awareness of ASEAN among the people in the region through the expansion of ASEAN studies as part of Southeast Asian Studies in university curricula and the introduction of ASEAN student exchange programs; to help develop a regional identity and solidarity; and to promote human resource development in the region. The original intent was to establish an ASEAN university, but it was ultimately decided that a network of existing universities would be more feasible.”

AUN even developed the Asean credit transfer system. The system allows students to check online to find which courses will be accredited by their home universities.  If you are a student from the University of the Philippines, De La Salle, Ateneo de University or UST, check out the academic calendar and the procedure to apply. (Download the AUN-ACTS student manual)

ASEAN Higher education

ASEAN Higher education

ASEAN Higher education

ASEAN Higher education

The online application is easy to use. Just check the courses offered in the ASEAN member state university and  select desired category as follows.

Undergraduate student exchange
 graduate student exchange
 Credit earning/short programme

For example, when I searched under Singapore > National University of Singapore (NUS), I discovered that the university only has the Undergraduate Student Exchange.

These are the minimum requirements to apply for AUN Student Exchange Program under ACTS scheme:

1. Enrolled as a degree student at one of AUN (ASEAN University Network) member universities

2. Have completed at least two academic semesters at home university

3. Have good academic standings at home university

4. Have good English proficiency in both speaking and writing

5. Have great interest to learn cultural diversity of ASEAN countries

With the vision of an ASEAN Community in 2025, parents need to acknowledge the critical importance of higher education as one of the catalysts in accelerating ASEAN’s economic, political and sociocultural development agenda  . Let’s start with our children.

ASEAN community is our community , too.


My mother died when I was 19 years old.  I wished she were around to give me nuggets of wisdom. I ended up praying to my mom asking for guidance whenever I stumbled along the way. Most of the time, I was on my own with the help of my siblings. We often talked among ourselves and try to resolve our challenges. Most importantly, I learned to nurture my inner child. I learned the art of loving my inner child after I realized that there were many aspects of my life that were left unresolved. Now, that I am older and wiser, I look back and talk to my 19 year old self because it was the year before I met my husband. I guess I would have been a better me, if I knew all this then.

19 year old

1. Build your skills. Don’t rely on your college education.

2. Your ‘re beautiful

3. They didn’t know any better.

4. You ‘re smart

5. Keep dreaming

6. When you are caught in a gossip, it is possible they gossip behind your back

7. Prayers are helpful.

8. Envision your future.

9. Love yourself more.

10. Don’t be trapped in labels.

11. In recovery , it’s usually two steps forward , one step (or giant step) backward.

12. Love never dies .

13. Life gives you a second chance .

14. Cats are stress busters.

15. One is never too old to start a new career or change paths

16. Have an interest in people. Learn small talk.

17. Get involved with a community project

18. Volunteer . It’s a wonderful feeling to get involved on something higher than yourself.

19. Intern . Work at the bakeshop, the family business

20. Watch your diet.

21. Exercise daily. Join a sport like volleyball

22. Read more

23. Write more.

24. Build communication skills.

25. Study a foreign language.

26. Feelings are never wrong. Know how to transform it to something positive .

27. There is always a choice. Sad or glad?

28. Though Love is unconditional , there is a time for tough love.

29. Practice as if

30. Communicate with your parents and reach a compromise.

31. A crush is fleeting. Hormones are responsible

32. Nurture your inner child.

33. Value your time with your family of origin. They won’t be with you forever.

34. Save more. Spend money on experiences and education, not material things.

35. Stop smoking

36. Keep in touch with your best friends.

37. Reach out to your first cousins on your mother side.

38. Your life does not revolve around your boyfriend. Socialize more.

39. Drop your course in BS Food Technology and take that Business course you have always wanted.

40. Grades are a good start in getting a job, but it is not an assurance you’ll be successful in real life. However, your biggest assets in the real world will not be your grades but the fact that you’re personable and you know a lot of people.

41. Everything is going to be okay.

42. Don’t worry too much about what other people think about you

43. Explore the islands around the Philippines.

44. Be more adventurous. Go past your curfew.

45. Sit alone in silence for at least ten minutes every day.

46. Don’t wait all day for your boyfriend to visit.

47. Take more pictures.

48. You are not going to marry your first boyfriend.

49. Time will heal the loss and pain of a broken heart.

50.  If you fall, pick yourself up, and keep moving forward.

51. Unresolved hurts tend to haunt you back in future relationships. Learn to forgive and let go.

52. Don’t be afraid to fail because you will always learn something.

53. Spend more time with dad. This is one thing I wished I did more. I chose to live away from him after college graduation because he was a strict dad. But now looking bad, I miss him a lot.

54. Take care of your teeth.

55. Wear sunscreen.

56.You will not end up  going to work in the field you studied, and that’s okay.

57. You do not need a relationship to feel complete. Love yourself first.

58. Invest in quality wardrobe pieces.

59. Be open to trying new things.

60. Mom was right. Your siblings are your best friends for life.

Want to add to this list? What is one thing you would tell your nineteen-year-old self?

The Second Digital Congress is so relevant to me as a blogger and my brand “momblogger”. The Congress focused on the culture envisioned to aid marketers in adapting to digitalization as reflected in the theme, “DX: The Culture of Digital Transformation” but I looked at how it  continues to transform me as a blogger.

The best part of the Digital Congress was meeting Brian Solis  who I have been following for the past seven years.   He is a principal analyst studying disruptive technology and its impact on business at Altimeter Group.

The question I had was is blogging still relevant? Brian says he still blogs.  His advice is blogging more and publishing more to stay relevant.

Genuine useful content.

Utility is the new viral.

I have been blogging for close to twelve years and my objectives in 2006 (grief recovery) is not the same as today which is to use technology for social good. I find myself blogging less especially in the long form content. My main platform is Twitter.  I guess I want to give immediate feedback on twitter.

As a blogger, am I headed in the right direction of digital transformation? Let’s look at part of the presentation given by Brian Solis.

Digital Transformation

Brian Solis defines digital transformation in six stages:

  • Business as Usual
  • Present and Active
  • Formalized
  • Strategic
  • Converged
  • Innovative and Adaptive

The future of work is all about digital transformation that will require careful collaboration, and thoughtful planning. The sixth stage, “Innovate and Adaptive” is when a culture of innovation becomes top priority.

As a blogger, I know I constantly need to innovate my strategy. How?

Your brand is defined by those who experience it.

This reminds me of a course I took on Content Strategy where four audience experiences are best summarized as follows:

The first one, is it makes me smarter
about things that I care about.

The second is that it looks out for
my interests.

The third is that it’s convenient.
By that I mean that it’s easy to access.
It’s readily available.
I don’t have to work hard to get it.

And the fourth one is,
it gives me something to talk about and
share with others.
What we call the social

I believe I give all four audience experiences but it can still be improved by publishing more.

Brian Solis gives a tip:

Close your eyes for a moment and think about the last time you had a truly great experience…an experience that moved you…that captured your heart, mind and spirit. What about it was so special? Now, bring it to life for someone else.

Experience is something you feel, something you sense and interpret…it’s measured by how you react.

Life is about experiences,

Technology brigs to life new experiences

Relationships are made through shared experiences.

Great brands are the assemblage of great experiences.

As I think about how it relates to my “MomBlogger” brand, I remember my goals a year ago.

My focus as a citizen advocate allows me to bring out underplayed stories, fight for women and family issues which are close to my heart. That is who I am. It makes me happy to be of help to others and at the same time it allows me to leave my digital footprints behind.

Are my goals still relevant? What digital transformation is needed?

The first I need to do continue the form of narrative storytelling in the ways that my audience wants to successfully build a relationship with me.

RCBC is now in the final stages of upgrading its clients’ cards with EMV chip-enabled cards. Visit your branch of account during the recarding period which has been extended to November 15, 2017. Starting November 16, 2017, all remaining RCBC magstripe cards will be automatically deactivated 


The announcement for the availability of the new design for the RCBC MyDebit MasterCard will be at their Official Facebook Fan Page.

Nobody likes to think that their card is being secretly used by someone else.  I remember the time my other debit card still had this magnetic strip. Around 3,000 pesos was siphoned by someone buying software online. I only found out about the loss the following day. It is not easy recovering the money. It took over a month for the money to be redeposited back to my account. The skimming and cloning needs to stop.

It makes sense to upgrade to Europay Mastercard Visa (EMV) chip enabled card.  BSP (Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas) mandated all banks to make the shift to Europay Mastercard Visa (EMV) chip enabled cards. EMV is a global standard for cards equipped with computer chips and the technology used to authenticate chip-card transactions whether debit, prepaid and credit card. It’s that small, metallic gold square you’ll see on new cards. It’s a computer chip, and it’s what sets it apart the new generation of cards.

Who doesn’t want to feel secure in their  transactions? It’s great to know  that shifting to EMV cards is part of RCBC’s thrust to ensure safe and secure transactions for its clients. Did you know magnetic stripes on cards contain unchanging data, which makes it easy for anyone to replicate the data?

It is one reason the old magnetic strip cards are prime targets for counterfeiters, who use stolen card data to withdraw or purchase. There is a level of comfort knowing it is difficult to counterfeit EMV cards. Unlike the magstripe technology, every time an EMV card is used for payment, the EMV chip creates a unique transaction code that cannot be used again. It ensures safer transactions by authenticating each card and generating one-time codes for each payment. This makes it difficult for anyone to steal the cardholder’s account information.

To enjoy the new EMV technology and its enhanced security features, RCBC clients can easily upgrade by going to their branch of account during the recarding period which has been extended to November 15, 2017. The upgrade to the EMV chip enabled card is free. All you need to do is present only one (1) valid photo-bearing Government ID to upgrade their ATM Debit or their MyWallet cards completely, for free. Upon receipt of their new EMV card, RCBC clients can proceed to the nearest RCBC or RCBC Savings Bank ATM to activate their card.

Starting November 16, 2017, all remaining RCBC magstripe cards will be automatically deactivated and can no longer be used in any transactions.

Drop by soon so you can make the shift before the deadline to enjoy more secure card transactions.

I really didn’t want to comment on the latest attack from a pro-Duterte blogger (the video has since been deleted) but I owe it to my friends who were concerned. I posted this on social media to squash the lies about my medical condition and my  life as a blogger. Here is what I wrote.

My friends have been prodding me to reply to vicious personal attacks by someone fixated in spreading lies and innuendoes. The agenda and motivation behind these falsehoods are unclear to me. But for the sake of those kind and caring people who have shown their concern, I would like to state for the record that I am NOT sick with cancer and have never claimed to be a cancer survivor.

In all my years a blogger/social media practitioner and doing advocacy work, I have learned not to dignify these baseless and vile claims, except to say that , the people who matter—my family, my true friends, and community— know my true worth. They know what I am about. And that is more than enough for me to shrug off these futile attempts at discrediting me.

I sincerely want to thank all those who sent messages of support. My heart is full. Because of you, I am more than ever committed to ensuring that truth , reason and justice prevail in the realm of social discourse and public engagement.

Bloggers have been quiet for the longest time. I think the last time was 2012 when the anti-cybercrime law was passed.  When Rappler raised the issue of the 14 bloggers getting accredited at the ASEAN 50th celebration in early August, bloggers are now back in the limelight. Sadly, the recent Senate hearing on Fake News was unfair to bloggers by putting the  blogging community in a bad light and focusing on the worst practices of the two partisan camps.

Here are my recent thoughts on the blogosphere.

philippine bloggers

Bloggers are not journalists

Bloggers are not journalists but it doesn’t mean I am not accountable for my writings. As a blogger (and because my husband is a lawyer), I am aware of the libel laws even before the CyberCrime Prevention Act of 2012 . I respect people’s privacy even before the effectivity of the Data Privacy Act.  It’s just following the norms which govern ordinary human relations. If I wouldn’t say it to that person over a cup of coffee, I don’t post it. The best defense against anything that would curtail our freedom of expression, be it online or offline, is to express ourselves in words and deeds that are thoughtful, truthful and honest.

That is why, bloggers should know the relevant laws on Data Privacy Act of 2012 or the Republic Act No. 10173; The Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 or Republic Act No. 10175 ; Anti-Photo and Video Voyeurism Act of 2009 or Republic Act 9995

´Bloggers and Social Media Users as Personal Information Processors

´Bloggers and Social Media Users Obligation to Respect and Accountability on the Privacy of Others

´Bloggers and Social Media Users on Hacking, Anonymous Comments and Publishing

´Libel issues concerning bloggers and social media users

´Copyright Issues vs. Online Content

Bloggers are, like it or not, part of the world at large. They are not immune from political and societal forces. Neither are they exempt from the norms which govern ordinary human relations. Shouldn’t bloggers abide by the same high standards to which they hold others?  You are who you appear to be. Bloggers should do their best to rely on accountable sources. If those sources were/are not accurate, admit it. Disagree without being disagreeable. I believe in always staying on the higher ground without resulting to name calling. If it is incendiary, don’t post it. Respect the privacy of the people you write about especially their personal information. Just because personal information is in the public domain, there is no implication much less a grant of consent to process such publicly available data.

Though I believe in dissenting views, I enforce a commentary policy where “I reserve the right to remove comments, words or phrases that are defamatory, abusive, incite hatred and advertise an email address or commercial services or just plain spammy. I also reserve the right to remove posts that to my opinion are off-topic, irrelevant, ad-hominem, personal attacks and or just plain rude.”

Serious thoughts on blogging

My daughter was tagged by fellow blogger, Tonyo Cruz a few months ago. Allow me to share her thoughts on blogging.

As with anything in life, it’s important for bloggers to be able to answer (or at least give serious thought to) these questions:

1. Why am I doing this?
2. What ideas or values do I stand for?

philippine bloggers

I started blogging as a way to connect with people, and to share what I thought were my unique insights into dating, fashion, and being a fiercely independent woman in the world. In that respect, I’ve been rather successful. I may never have had a million pageviews, but I met some really amazing people I would have never otherwise encountered. Many of them are still very good friends to this day (and as you know, good friends are hard to find!).

But I stopped blogging when I lost my focus. At some point, blogging became less about the community and became this aspirational, commercial activity. There is nothing wrong with wanting to project an ideal self into the internet or desiring some form of compensation for your work (and blogging IS hard work). But this was not what I wanted for myself. This fake, aspirational self that I was presenting is not what I want to bring to the world. And at the time that I stopped blogging, I had no clue who I was or what I stood for. I had no business foisting my half-baked ideas onto an audience until I was sure about what I had to say.

I have no opinions over the latest blogging drama in the Philippines because I really don’t know much about what’s going on. But I do know that anyone with a platform and a voice has a responsibility to their readers, to the blogging community, to the brands they work with, and to the rest of the world. As a public personality, your words and actions carry more weight than you realize. Like it or not, you have to be your best self. You owe it to your brand partners to be a good representative who embodies their values. You owe it to your readers to be some sort of role model for them.

Otherwise, all you are creating is a lot of empty, self-serving noise. The world doesn’t need any more of that.

This is why reasons I stopped, too: being a role model was too much pressure. Being a “personal brand” felt dehumanizing. I didn’t want to live up to some aspirational ideal in exchange for freebies and a few sponsored posts. I just wanted to be me, away from the eyes of strangers.
So really, if you have a blog or are some sort of influential Internet personality, you would do yourself and everyone a huge service with a bit of self-reflection. Why are you here? Why are you doing this? What ideas or values do you stand for?
I’m still figuring these out for myself.

On a National Bloggers Association

While I do agree with a collective set of ethical standards for bloggers , I am not convinced on the establishment of a national blogging organization. Bloggers are so diverse and may not want to belong to one big group for one reason or another. A blogger told me “if bloggers in the Philippines feel that this is necessary given the circumstances (i.e. for political bloggers to differentiate themselves from rabid Duterte supporters), then by all means they should. However, a national blogging association is not something I want to be a formal member of, nor would I want it to define my identity as a (semi-retired?) blogger.” She added that “just because you have a blog, and I have a blog, doesn’t mean we stand for the same things. I would not want to be part of some organization and be loosely associated with anyone who held very divergent political and moral beliefs from mine”

Before the establishment of an organization, a set of ethical standards should first be deliberated and agreed upon in a conference or summit, then the rest can follow.

It is good to have guidelines and let’s start from there.

Today October 5 is World Teachers’ Day. The United Nations’ (UN) World Teachers’ Day celebrates the role teachers play in providing quality education at all levels. This enables children and adults of all ages to learn to take part in and contribute to their local community and global society.

world teachers dayMy sewing teacher looked like she was going to burst an artery when she saw the cross-stitch pattern on my apron. The next thing I knew, the apron sat on my head. I recall the humiliation but thankfully, none of my classmates laughed. Maybe they did not want to be in my position. I was in third grade but I knew what she did was wrong. How could a teacher not tell me nicely that the original fox pattern-turned-catlike was all wrong? True, my sewing was horrible, but did she have to humiliate me? I can’t recall what happened after that. All I knew is I hated sewing classes and probably all teachers. She made me feel that I was hopeless in my sewing abilities. I got the message that “I can’t” sew rather than “I can” sew with proper guidance. Perhaps this incident discouraged me to try harder in my academics.

Pretty much of my grades during elementary and high school were at best mediocre. Among the four girls in my family, I had the lowest average. I wanted to make my dad proud of me, to see his smile when he looked at my grades. Sensing my dejected look , my dad talked to me ““Don’t worry. I had grades like yours too. In college, that is where I found out I was smart.” His words were like a light bulb.

There is hope. I can be smart.

College came and just as my father had promised, I found my path. My father believed in me where teachers failed to. Every day of my life, I commemorate my father’s memory by carrying his name attached to my married name. He made me believe that ““I can” do it even when I wavered in my self-esteem. How many of us have that one inspirational person who made a significant impact in our life?

There are pointers to recognize a child’s self worth. Some do’s and don’ts shared by esteemed child psychologist, Dr. Honey Carandang are worth mentioning at this point:

1. Spot the child’s area of competence and start to increase his self-worth through that area.

2. Don’t label the child. Labels have a way of becoming self-fulfilling prophecies.

3. Don’t insult the child’s person. When criticizing the behavior, provide alternatives. Suggesting a different way of doing something is always better than saying, ““You are lazy and you don’t know how to sew.”

Dr. Carandang adds: ““A teacher, parent or significant adult has that power to build or put down a child’s self-worth, which is being developed with every interaction he/she has with the adult.” This reminds me of my favorite song ““Greatest Love of All” popularized during my college days that I sang to my dad together with my siblings. The words of the song goes like this :

“I believe that children are our future

Teach them well and let them lead the way

Show them all the beauty they possess inside

Give them a sense of pride to make it easier

Let the children’s laughter remind us how we used to be”

world teachers day
Not about to be haunted for life with my traumatic sewing experience, I took up the challenge that I could actually sew something. I managed to come up with cross-stitch projects as I patiently breast-fed my youngest child. These projects are now displayed on my kitchen wall, a proud statement that the ““I can’t do it” is a challenge they can actually take to ““ I can do it” one day.

I’d like to believe that the greatest gift we can ever give to our children is a healthy and positive self-concept. This concept of self-worth is also what our country needs today.

This post is in honor of my parents who were also teachers. My dad Jose P. Lardizabal (Accounting / MBA teacher) and mom, Salustiana Veloso (English and Speech teacher), not only gave me the greatest gift of all but taught many students out there.

Update: I wrote this post on April 11, 2008 because there were  mean comments supposedly written by my husband, my daughter or myself. Yes, someone assumed the name of my husband, or my daughter. The mean spirited bloggers and commenters have been around since the internet started. I want to share what it was like in 2008 when facebook was not yet that big as it is today . There are now 50 million facebook users in the Philippines.

mean spirited blogger

I just read nasty comments attacking a friend of mine. That blog is not a healthy place. Once you go against the negative mentality of the community, you are attacked. Unhealthy people gravitate towards negative energy. That same negative energy attracts more negative energy at such exponential rate, than positive attracts positive. Where there is negative energy in abundance, a gang is created. Once formed, they support each other to target anyone who are not within their frame of mind.

Group meanness is even more fun because of the team spirit.

Do you think these mean-spirited last long in the blogosphere? (By definition, mean-spirited means Having or characterized by a malicious or petty spirit.) Unless they have nothing better to do, have lots of energy and motivation behind them, the mean spirits tend to fizzle out one day. Most mean-spirited folks get the thrill of hurting people by posting nasty comments and the occasional mean blog post. I’ve had my share of being called “demonic” names. I tried to settle amicably with this person but instead my email was posted on their blog leaving out a teensy significant detail why my daughter got mixed up in her tirades towards me. I thought by now it’s been settled but six months has elapsed and what do I discover? My monicker is being used in blog comments trying to make it appear that I posted “nasty” comments. How malicious and petty! Move on, shall we?

Let’s not bother why these people act the way they do. I just know that Hurt people hurt people.

So how do you respond to the mean-spirited blogger or commenter? Lorelle lists down tips on how to deal with these mean spirits in her entry, Mean Spirited Comments and Blogging

There are two choices when faced with a mean-spirited blogger: Respond or Not Respond. Both have risks.

Whichever choice you decide, do not move on your first impulse.

There’s something else you need to consider before you make a decision. Many hateful bloggers want your reaction. If they get a strong enough reaction, you might blog about them. Some trolls use inflammatory comments to attract attention to themselves and their blog. I think of this as the ““Howard Stern Effect”. The more outrageous people are, the more curious people are about them. If you feel their actions are just a device to get your attention and the attention of others, for good or bad reasons, put that into the formula before you decide which way you want to respond.

To my dear friend. There is no place to hide from nasty people in the blogosphere. Bloggers address varied opinions and wisdom to the world but negative responses are bound to happen from such entries. I told you that bloggers agree to disagree in a healthy manner. These come in the form of criticisms, but others come out mean-spirited, malicious and petty. I know you are discouraged now to blog. It’s quite disheartening to think about the dark side of blogging, but if you intend to be a serious blogger, you need a thick skin to last a lifetime of blogging.

See my thick skin?

As Lorelle said “Don’t let them beat you down. Stay focused and clear headed. If you purposely inspire negative reactions, then run with it. Enjoy getting what you asked for. If you don’t and get smacked, think it through, respond with care, and keep on blogging.”

Remember there are more people who care about you than that mean spirited community. You don’t want to be mixing with them.

Have you been the target of mean-spirited bloggers? What did you do about it?