“No one school is right for every child. When searching for a school for your child, the question is not whether a particular school is good or bad, but whether it’s the right school for your child. You might ask the school, ‘What is your definition of a successful child at this school?’ or ‘What kind of child would find success here?'” David Harris

school-dayIt must have been two years ago that I told my daughter to write a guest post in my blog on bullying. She didn’t hesitate to share her experience to my readers because doing so will raise awareness to parents that their kids should never ever be bullied at school.

One thing I do know is that a lot of the insecurities I have about myself is rooted in the fact that I got bullied a lot during my early elementary school years….they pass it off as play, or maybe an early life lesson: the world can be a terrible place filled with people who will treat you with undeserved cruelty. I do understand that kids have to grow up and learn that hard lesson someday, but I think anyone under the age of ten is too young to deal with that much reality. At that age, it’s important for children to learn to accept or at least respect people for exactly who they are instead of making fun of their differences. What kind of lesson will be passed on to them if their elders shrug off bullying as something totally normal?

Her reflection of her bullying experience just tore me apart. I felt so helpless because during those days, children just had to deal with bullies. I considered moving schools but all the schools in the nineties were just Montessori-imitations or the usual large traditional schools. Parents are fortunate these days because they face a wide range of options aside from traditional Catholic schools that I attended to. Take for example, homeschooling that my friends, Jen and Julie are doing to their young kids. Then there are the non-traditional schools , the alternative to traditional schools.

As a mom blogger, I get a chance to visit non-traditional schools and check out their curriculum and programs. This is an opportunity to share these information to my readers and for them to discern if this is the right school for their child.
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Christmas is most truly Christmas when we celebrate it by giving the light of love to those who need it most.– Ruth Carter Stapleton

Christmas lights always gives me that warm fuzzy feeling that glows inside for the entire season. It brings me so much joy. Childhood memories of twinkling lights and Christmas carols are enough to lift my spirits during the holiday season. Through the years that I lived in Pasig, the lights in the Meralco compound never fails to mesmerize me as the car passes by.

It never occurred to me that Meralco has been opening its gates to the public for a long time now, giving delight to kids from ages 1 to 92. Yes, not just young kids but kids at heart like me. I didn’t have to think twice being invited together with other bloggers to witness the Christmas lighting tonight.

CEO Manny Pangilinan together with other very important guests marked the lighting event. For Meralco, lighting up their Ortigas compound symbolizes the light of Jesus Christ whose coming to the world brings joy and hope to the young and old.
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Photo from Jane Uymatiao. Me and Assistant Cultural Affairs, Joe Tordella with Jay de Jesus on far left and Juned Sonido at the center.

The government inviting bloggers is slowly catching on. The Singapore Tourism Board brought me to their Singapore Food Festival 2009 and also Singapore Food Festival 2010. Our own Philippines’ Department of Tourism invited a few bloggers to the Black Eyed Peas Concert and Meet Apl de Ap in Singapore. It was a matter of time that the embassies in the Philippines would invite bloggers to their reception or events.

The Embassy of the United States in Manila is not far behind. Jay de Jesus, the Emerging Media Specialist for Public Affairs of the US Embassy recommended a few bloggers to a reception hosted by Counselor for Public Affairs, Richard W. Nelson to welcome their new and current Cultural Affairs Attache, Alan R. Holst, and Assistant Cultural Affairs Attache, Joseph Tordella.

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A Jewish proverb says “No matter what happens, travel gives you a story to tell. ” I just came from my husband’s hometown for a Father’s day weekend. It might just be an ordinary place to travel for most of you but see, there is a story to tell. Since we moved to our new home in Pasig in 2007, my husband felt our new home was the ultimate vacation destination. Except for a brief trip to Singapore, we never traveled within the Philippines as we used to in the past. I nagged him to take us back to his birthplace because the kids missed travelling with us. Unfortunately, only one daughter could join us as the second daughter couldn’t leave work. Being in a different place is always an opportunity to take a break from the computer, bond with my husband and daughter. This is just the beginning of a series of travel in the Philippines and elsewhere for the year 2010. Of course, a travel is never complete without photos and I took lots of them. Above are just a few.

National Geographic Energizer Ultimate Photo ContestI am back in Manila and eager to start work when I saw this email in my inbox. The sender, the awareness campaign of National Geographic and Energizer who asked me if I was interested to share the Energizer Ultimate Photo Contest with my readers. The thought of travelling to the Greek Isles will surely interest everyone. I thought you might be interested in this unique opportunity which is now in its third year so I am sharing it with you.

What is it about? (EDIT: Found out the contest rules are “open only to legal residents of the fifty (50) United States and the District of Columbia who are at least eighteen (18) years old “)

1. Send in your best photos – in categories like Animals/Wildlife, Travel and Weather – for a chance to win a National Geographic Expeditions trip for two to the Greek isles and a featured in an Energizer ad in the December issue of National Geographic magazine.

2. Entry is open until June 30th at http://www.nationalgeographic.com/pictela. National Geographic photographer Jim Richardson serves as a contest judge, and will also be doling out photography tips and participating in a Q&A session on the contest website.

3. ALL photography skill levels are encouraged to enter – one of last year’s winners was shot by a zoo employee on a regular point-and-shoot camera!

The deadline is next week, June 30. Send your photos here at http://www.nationalgeographic.com/pictela

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jc-de-los-reyesI have been swamped lately with our interviews of presidential candidates in blogwatch.ph. One of these candidates, JC de los Reyes of Ang Kapatiran party moved me so much. Let me make it clear. I am not supporting a presidential candidate as of the moment. But I like JC de los Reyes, the humble person and public servant, and pretty much how I felt when I met Nick Perlas that I even wrote about his views on new politics. These are competent but not too popular presidential candidates. Well, not yet because they are not given a chance by the Filipino people and more so with media. JC de los Reyes was not invited to the de La Salle forum or even the upcoming January 14 Romulo debate in AIM. But really, these presidential candidates have the compassion, the vision and the clear platform. Truly new politics. It frustrates me that traditional media do not give the same media mileage given to Manny Villar, Gibo Teodoro, Dick Gordon etc. Let the electorate decide not those stupid surveys to bring in ratings or brisk sales.
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Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us. Hal Borland

Peace , love and prosperity is what I wished for 2009. Though Ondoy hit us and to this day, our cars are still in the shop, life is good. When I wondered what was coming for 2009, I told myself the best is coming, the very best in life and love had to offer, the best God will send and claim it as mine.

As the year ends, I feel blessed to be offered the position of Features Editor of Vibal’s Foundation, Philippine Online Chronicles (POC) in recognition for the editorial work I do for blogwatch.ph.

How did I end up in an election watch project anyway when my only exposure to politics was my student council days? I had long envisioned myself to be of service to our country. Perhaps blogging is one way. New media events just fell into place. Sure, I am a blogger but a new media publisher is the more accurate word, because I create content, collaborate and connect.

Here are the events that brought me to the challenge I face today.

It started when Carlo Ople, the New Media Consultant of Senator Mar Roxas back in August 2008 invited me for a bloggers’ meetup and I almost choked:

““Whaaat? I hope you won’t ask me to endorse him or something”.

mar roxas
Another meetup with Mar Roxas in early 2009 brought me to the realization that politicians will actually meet with bloggers as election nears. I resolved to meet up with each candidate if an invitation is offered to me. It seemed important to share my thoughts to my readers in a simple and effective format.

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blogwatchAfter dinner, I’m usually in front of the TV, digesting and unwinding with a glass of tea. Normally, I prefer coffee over tea, but I feel that the latter is a more agreeable beverage for the evening. Not only does green tea aid in digestion and relax the digestive process; it can also stimulate the mind and keep your nervous system in excellent form. These days, I am busy with a new project called blogwatch.ph (Voters education) . I usually have some more work to do after dinner, and tea is the perfect drink to help me stay awake and focused without causing insomnia. Can you tell that the word “VOTE” is plastered all over my face that my husband bought me this tee as one of his Christmas presents.
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Irrespective of who wins, I believe the biggest winner tonight is the blogging culture in the Asia Pacific itself– Ming and Tim, Founders of Nuffnang.com

It’s 1:42 AM and I have just uploaded the photos of the biggest blogger event I have ever attended. I loved it. The event was well organized, food was great, and meeting bloggers from 3 other countries is something different from other blogger events attended so far. The Nuffnang Asia Pacific Blog Awards gathered over 400 bloggers from Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines and Australia. Around 31 Pinoy bloggers flew all the way to Singapore.

Photo via Ada Lajara. Glamorous Filipina bloggers gather at the Link Hotel before proceeding to the Pan Pacific Hotel for the Awards Ceremony

After 2 years of community building, Nuffnang.com presented the first ever Asia-Pacific Blog Awards at the Pan Pacific Hotel.

with Nuffnang co-founder Tim

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