Code 1.1

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Visiting the Exhibit of Relics of over 300 Saints

After Sunday mass, Marti and I visited the month-long exhibit of Holy Relics of over 300 Saints at our parish church, the National Shrine of the Sacred Heart in San Antonio Village, Makati City.

The display was already fascinating but when the curator (forgot her name) told the story of how the relics came to Manila, we and all of the visitors there were utterly amazed!

According to the curator:
Back in early 2000, Filipino Clifford Chua joined the World Youth Day in Rome. One very cold night while preparing to sleep at their camp, Clifford saw another camper shivering near him. Out of pity, he offered a beach towel and 3 pieces of "Skyflakes" crackers. Eventually, the shivering slowly disappeared and the camper was grateful.
The following morning, the camper returned the towel to Clifford and expressed his thanks for his help. Turned out the camper was a Frenchman and they exchanged addresses, promising to keep in touch. The young men started corresponding to each other after they returned to their respective countries and eventually the Frenchman invited Clifford visit him one day in France.
Five years later, on his way to the 2005 World Youth Day in Cologne, Germany, Clifford decided to visit his friend in France. He expected to be toured around the Frenchman's parish but to his surprise, his friend was living in a 17th century château. It turned out Clifford's friend was a French nobleman belonging to a royal family! So as they toured around the chateau, Clifford noticed a chapel being renovated and saw two small frames embedded on the wall about to be demolished. Upon closer look, the frames contained the very rare relics of ancient 365 Saints! He asked his French friend what would be done to the relics but did not get an outright answer.
Upon his return to the Philippines, Clifford could not get the relics out of his mind: wondering and feeling sorry if those relics just ended up in a storage somewhere.
 A few weeks later, Clifford received a parcel from France and upon opening same, he could not believe that it contained the 365 relics, given to him by his French friend as a gift!

Marti infront of the relics from the Italian Church freighted to Manila
The latest update is that when His Eminence Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales visited the exhibit this month, Clifford decided to donate all the relics to the Archdiocese of Manila where it would now have a permanent home and where people can view and venerate them.

Relic of the Holy Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ

Relic from the Cincture of the Blessed Virgin Mary and
from the Cloak of St. Joseph

One of the frames containing over 100 relics
embedded in the wall of the chapel in the French château 
Relics of the Children of Fatima

St. Marie Eugenie,
Patroness of Assumptionists

St. Magdalene

St. Martin de Porres
The 12 Apostles
(Judas was replaced by St. Paul)

Here's a video of the exhibit and I hope you could visit before it ends on Sunday, November 28 2010:

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Monday, October 18, 2010

My Marti just turned 11!

Whew, time sure flies really, really fast! My Marti just turned 11 years old last October 8, 2010 and although we had a very simple celebration, Marti was very happy. And that's what's more important!

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Anderson Cooper on Vince Vaughn's Gay Joke

Sometimes bullying is not physical, mere insults could just be as devastating. This was my fear for my Marti when he started schooling in my Catholic alma mater. Was afraid that he'd be teased as an "illegitimate child" or "fatherless", knowing how kids could be cruel especially in a strict environment like that. Thank God nothing like that happened and Marti is known as one of the friendliest in his school. Even got surprised that he had friends in different grade levels!

Anyway, was surfing the net and read an article from the Huffington Post about Anderson Cooper discussing his shock to seeing a previes of Vince Vaughn's latest movie where he makes a "gay" remark.

From the article, Cooper says:

As Anderson (without naming Vaughn or the film) tells Ellen (on the Ellen Degeneres Show):
I was sitting in a movie theater over the weekend and there was a preview of a movie, and in it, the actor said, 'that's so gay,' and I was shocked that not only that they put it in the movie, but that they put that in the preview, they thought that it was okay to put that in a preview for the movie to get people to go and see it.

I just find those words, those terms, we've got to do something to make those words unacceptable cause those words are hurting kids. Someone else I talked to recently said that the words people use and the things people say about other kids online, it enters into their internal dialogue. And when you're a kid, it can change the way you see yourself and the way you think about yourself, and the worth that you give to yourself. I think we need to really focus on what language we're using and how we're treating these kids.

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Fighting Dengue: Homemade Mosquito Trap

Overheard Anthony Taberna and Gerry Baja of DZMM's Dos Por Dos yesterday discussing the alarming mortality statistics of dengue or dengue haemorrhagic fever in the world and learned that there was a homemade mosquito trap that is economical but so effective! Problem was the instructions were in Chinese (to see the actual website of the Chinese version click here)!

Luckily, I found this other site which explained the instructions in English though there were no pictures included.
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Grace To Be Born

Through Brother Bo Sanchez, I came across Grace To Be Born: a refuge for unwed mothers and unwanted babies. Being a single mom, this place and the people behind its cause tugged at my heart. Piquing my interest, I corresponded with Brother Rey Ortega who heads the shelter and found out that they are now supporting 11 mothers and 14 babies. Although they receive donations, they still need a lot such as Bonna milk for newborn babies, Bonnamil milk for babies 6 months and older as well as baby clothes. I promised to help in any way I can to support the mothers and babies there so if you are interested to donate, you can check their Needs List here.

Am planning to visit the shelter by the end of September to deliver baby stuff I gathered so if you want to donate but don't have the time to go there, I can meet up with you at a mutually convenient place to receive your donations. Please e-mail me at or PM me at
I'll make sure these are delivered to the shelter care of Brother Rey.

For more information on Grace To Be Born, you may contact: (Mr. Rey Ortega) (Mrs. Myrna Ortega) (Jan Capili, RSW)
02 - 501 0965

God bless!
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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Tips on How to Handle Lying/ Dishonesty in Children

Had some difficulty in handling Marti when I found out he started lying about school projects. I solicited help from my sister, his Papa, his teacher including the guidance counselor. In the end, our concerted efforts paid off and I've seen a lot of improvement in my son when it comes to honesty.

Found this helpful article that advises on such a problem:

Parents - Are You Inadvertently Encouraging Your Child to Lie?

  • By age two, 20% of children will lie
  • By age four, 50% of children will lie
  • By age 12 lies peak and by age 16 there is a decrease to 70%
Reassuring news for parents came in that researchers found that there is no link between telling fibs in childhood and a tendency to cheat in exams or later in life. Healthy intelligent children tell more elaborate lies. By age 7 it is important to teach the basics of the importance of honest and the negatives of lies.
  • Yelling or screaming at children or washing their mouths out with soap or smacking them increases the likelihood of lies
  • The harsher the consequence the greater the motivation of the child to lie to avoid punishment
  • Long drawn out angry discussions, lectures and reprimands aimed at preventing lies increase them as a way to avoid
  • Remaining calm
  • Showing understanding
  • Finding out how your child feels about the lie
Pay attention to what your child lies about. This may give you a clue as to whether rules are overly strict and in need of some modification. Lies about money or possessions in older children might signal a need for a part-time job.
If your 5 year old gets a note from the teacher about being disruptive in class and doesn't bring the note home you will likely get a call from the teacher. Your child when asked is likely to deny any knowledge of the note.
At this point even though you may feel frustrated, angry and disappointed, it is best to stay calm. If you are calm and treat lies as a part of growing up, you will be able to say something neutral like, "I guess you didn't want me to see the note from your teacher." If you pass judgment and pressure your child, you are unlikely to learn what happened and why your child was disruptive.
The why is not important what is important is that you don't encourage your child to lie with by over reacting. Instead, you want to connect to your child, by saying, "Sometimes it is hard to sit still in class. Is it harder for you before recess or after recess to sit still and pay attention?"
What you will have done is connect to your child. You may learn what it is that your child is struggling with or feeling. Instead of becoming upset and overreacting, you will be inviting a discussion about what was behind the note and made yourself available as a resource, thereby enhancing your ability to have positive influence.
After a brief talk, natural consequences are best. A short note to the teacher by your child saying they did not give the note to you and a request for a new note is sufficient.
By taking a few moments and considering the unthinkable, that you are encouraging your child to lie when you are harsh or punitive, you will be able to shift your mindset. Parenting is filled with stresses but no matter how difficult the situation or how unbelievable the new research, you can avoid undesirable results by connecting, staying calm, listening, clear limits and fresh starts.
Parents, are you interested in additional powerful parenting information to free you from the daily frustration of unmet parenting expectations? You can discover other powerful resources to effective parenting at
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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Tips on How to Make the School Year Stress-Free

Making the School Year Successful and Stress Free, Parent's Guide to Ensure Their Children's Success

With the end of summer comes the inevitable stress of getting your children ready for another school year. This, of course, is stressful for parents, children, siblings, and even grandparents. We all hope that our kids will be safe, have great teachers, and perform well in school. Below are some things to consider in order to help your child have a successful school year.
1. Do not compare children to siblings. People perform better in different areas and it is difficult to live up to unrealistic expectations. Children are individuals and should only be encouraged to perform to the best of their ability. For some, that might be a 95 average, while for others, it might be a 75 average.
2. Celebrate each and every positive moment and downplay the negatives. Nothing puts a child in shut down mode more quickly than being scolded for bad grades or incomplete homework assignments. Understand that students who struggle are looking for an excuse to stop working altogether. Too often, parents provide that excuse by yelling, taking away privileges, and making the child feel worse than he or she already feels. You need to find out what the problem is before you can fix it. Are the assignments too difficult? Has your child gone for extra help? Have you contacted the teacher? Is a tutor necessary? You need to walk before you run and you must also investigate before you "fly off the handle". Catch your kids doing something RIGHT!
3. Set up a plan. Don't take privileges away; add MORE privileges into the mix. Not only does this help to motivate your child, but he will certainly think you have gone crazy and the shock alone will send him to the books! If your child wants free time of 20 minutes, say "NO, you can have 45 minutes but ONLY after your work is done." Students should take SHORT breaks from work every 20 minutes in order to re-energize. Breaks should be taken away from the study area. As the school year progresses, you can wean the rewards. Many people think this is bribery but it is not. Clearly you are going to give your child a choice while letting him or her know that whether they want the free time or not, the work must get done. Extra privileges are simply a bonus.
4. Don't OVERHELP! Of course there is no such word as overhelp, but so many parents fall into this trap that I decided to make it up. Enabling is a huge mistake. Students learn by figuring things out for themselves. They do NOT learn by writing down regurgitated facts that they quote from their parents. Don't tell, ASK. If your child asks for the capital of New York say, "What do you think it is? Where can you look up the answer to that question?"
5. Get them organized. Depending on the level, students work best in looseleaf notebooks. Spiral notebooks make it difficult to save work when it is returned. Spiral notebooks also force children to throw their work in a folder which gets very disorganized. All papers should have your child's name and date. The notebook should have different sections. Examples of appropriate sections are Classwork, Homework, Tests and Quizzes. Students need to learn that when studying for a unit test, they can review all relevant classwork, homework, and quizzes in order to review material that they have learned. Supply them with a holepuncher for teacher handouts so they can be placed CHRONOLOGICALLY in the proper section of the notebook.
6. Communicate. You should speak on the phone, via email or snail mail with your child's teacher as often as possible. Progress reports come out every five weeks and by then half the quarter is over and this is too late. Look at your child's grades and tests every so often WITH your child. Do NOT make negative comments. Your child should show you each page of his or her notebook and explain to YOU how the notebook is organized. Don't say, "This notebook is a mess." Instead, say, "This is a good start but what can you do to make this even better?" (Warning: If you touch your child's notebook you will get the cooties so stay away)
7. Don't compare. If your child's friend is getting a higher grade in a class than your child, that has no bearing on your child's performance. All children learn in different ways. There are a variety of modalities with which children learn and some children react better to certain teachers and perform differently in certain subjects.
8. Clean Learning Space. A child's desk should be neat, well lit, have a semi-comfortable chair. No studying should take place in bed. Pens, erasers, pencils, paper, paper clips, stapler...all should be within reach.
9. If you need to take your child's cell phone during study time then do it. You are paying the bill so you make the rules. If you need the computer off when your child is studying then do it. Otherwise text messages and instant messages will rule their universe. There are far too many distractions in our society and while you can't always limit those outside of your house, you can certainly control them inside your own home.
10. Team effort. If your child is to succeed, he or she needs you, the teacher, and personal commitment to work hard. You MUST set expectations high and except no less than 100% effort. You need to all work together with your child on a daily basis in order to succeed. If grades start to fall or problems arise, you must act swiftly and be in organized mode, not panic mode.
If possible, it is a good idea to visit colleges with your child NOW. If a child is only ten years old this is still a great time to let them see what hard work can accomplish. There is nothing like the look on a ten year old's face when he or she sees a college library, swimming pool or gymnasium.
Best of luck for a successful and stress free school year.
Keynote Speaker, Seminar Leader and Consultant, Marc Hoberman is the Director and Lead Facilitator of Grade Success, Inc. Marc is the staff writer for Canada Camps Magazine. He has trained students, teachers, and corporate executives nationally through a variety of Personal Improvement and Training Methods. Marc has been featured on both television and radio. He has also led workshops at the New Jersey and New York State Reading Conferences as well as the International YAI Conference. Marc was a featured speaker at the 2006, 2007, and 2008 Tri-State Camping Conference in Atlantic City, New Jersey! From the classroom to the boardroom, Marc continues his mission to "help people realize their full potential." For more information on Marc and Grade Success's products, tutoring services, and various programs visit or call 1-914-329-0151
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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

What's in a Name? You are!

Been  depressed recently, stressed with family issues and financial burdens. Last Sunday during our usual mother-and-son lunch date, was in a daze again thinking of ways to increase my passive income streams when Marti suddenly said, "our family sure has unique names, don't we Mama?" He probably noticed I was unusually quiet.

"Ah you mean Asti's name? Justice Freeman?" I replied.

"Yup, and your name. How did Mommy get your name again?"

"Well, I remembered that it was Daddylo (my Mom's father) who asked her to use Millicent since it means 'strength' in Hebrew. But Mom also told me she thought it was appropriate when the name seems to be an abbreviation for million cents. She said the first time she saw me she knew I was going to be rich!"

Marti and I laughed about the reminiscing but right there and then I realized my son unwittingly gave me the encouragement I desperately needed: and it was in my name!

Sometimes, we are so overwhelmed with worries when we hardly realize that God had already given us the gifts to overcome any and all of our problems. In my case, I was in despair and yet what I sought for was already given to me from birth.

Do you believe that God chose your name for you? He said "Do not be afraid, I am with you. I have called you each by name." So know the meaning of your name and love it!

My son's name was from my Dad and from Ricky Martin to whom I was obsessed with when I was pregnant. Later on we found it's true meaning:
Robert---means 'boss'
Martin---means 'warrior'
which Marti now prefers to tell especially when Ricky Martin has come out of the closet ;-D
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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Baby Number 2: Tough Choice for a Single Mom

My sister and I have been known to be baby-obsessed and as early as 8 years old we were already trusted to look after our infant cousins, mostly girls. That's why whenever I'm asked what was the happiest part of my life, I quickly answer that it was when I became a mom!

Having Marti was both planned and unplanned. Being a mom has always been in my plans but being a single parent was by choice. Either way, the journey has been nurturing and enriching emotionally and spiritually. 10 years later, something inside (biological clock?) has been ticking louder and louder everyday. And when my very first nephew Ästi was born and Marti was so ecstatic, it finally hit's time for Baby Number 2!

But for single parents, it's not that simple and the most obvious reason of course is the lack of a spouse/ partner. Haven't been in a serious relationship since Marti's Dad and although I have gone on several casual dates, none was even close to "boyfriend"-material (ugh that words seems so outdated for my age).  Adoption and artificial insemination did cross my mind but decided against them. Adoption looks more complicated than single parenthood and  a.i. seems...well...where's the fun in that? And with Marti's wit, I'm afraid my next child would be even sharper so how would I answer the inevitable question, "Mom, where's my Dad?"

So now I'm resetting my biological clock with an earlier alarm and keeping my fingers crossed: by 2012 I will have Baby Number 2. How to accomplish that is what I'll work on until then...
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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Lessons on Effective Single Parenting

Found an interesting article about single parenting:

Lessons on Effective Single Parenting - How to Raise Well Rounded Kids

Whether you are a single parent by choice or by circumstance, the rules on effective single parenting basically remain the same. Any single parent should use these rules as their guide so that they can successfully raise well-rounded kids.
The first thing to know about effective single parenting is that being one doesn't mean you have to be alone. Having people to help you and a solid support group you can rely on cannot instantly diminish the feeling of loneliness but it can keep you balanced emotionally and in dire cases, financially. Your family members and closest friends can help you build an atmosphere where your children would never feel that they lack something in their lives - especially love and warmth.
Effective single parenting means separating your feelings of anger and bitterness from your children. If you are dealing with a divorce, remember that whatever happened to you are because of your life choices so do not ever put the blame on the kids. Also, be sure to give them an assurance that it's not their fault. Kids are very sensitive when facing issues such as death or divorce and your assurance will give them a sense of security.
The challenge of being a single parent means you have to deal with the financial burden of raising kids alone. Effective single parenting encourages finding financial stability while giving your kids their needs. The key here is in making your kids understand that the needs of the family come first and their wants are secondary to this priority. This doesn't mean you deprive them. Teach your kids to be frugal and learn the value of every cent that comes in. If they can't have the luxuries they want, teach them to be creative.
Every child loves their parents' dependability. Effective single parenting would tell you to be a solid rock your children can lean on. Create an atmosphere that would make them feel that they can trust you and that you will always be there to love them. Children grow better when they feel that they don't have to change themselves just to reach your possibly unrealistic expectations of them.
Many men and women have managed to raise great kids despite being single parents. If you use these tips on effective single parenting, you will find that despite being alone and despite the trials, raising your kids is still a pretty rewarding experience.
Jamie is a freelance writer who enjoys fitness and the outdoors. She loves to make healthy smoothies and juices using her Blendtec Total Blender. In addition to writing, Jamie loves to spend time with her three kids and their two dogs.
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Monday, April 26, 2010

When Marti spends the weekend with his Papa...

It was another weekend without Marti and it's times like these when typical-single parent-loneliness creeps in. Although blogging takes up much of my free time nowadays, still can't help missing my boy when he's not around with his usual endless chattering and warm hugs and kisses.

Anyway, was surfing the net and searched for things to beat boredom and found this article. It's here where I learned about stumbleupon and Stumbleupon is quite interesting, just install the toolbar and when you feel like learning new stuff, just click the S button and you'd get random stuff personalized to your preference. has hundreds of online games you'll never grow tired of.

If you're not the couch potato-type like me, you can take up a new sport or a hobby. How about badminton? Or a shot at photoediting?

How about you, what do you do to fill up your free time?
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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Funny Single Mom Movie: The Back-up Plan

"Fall in Love, Get Married, Have a Baby...not necessarily in that order."

Heard about how funny this movie is! It stars Jennifer Lopez who is a 30-something New Yorker who is tired of dating and decides to have a go at motherhood through in vitro fertilization, only to meet Mr. Right on the same day!

Opening soon across the Philippines , “The Back-Up Plan” is distributed by Columbia
Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.
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Friday, April 16, 2010

Solo Parent Act of 2000---Benefits and Privileges of Solo Parents in the Philippines

photo courtesy of

It's tough enough being a solo parent but being a single mom in a traditionally Catholic country is even tougher. Well, I heard stories of discrimination but thankfully so far, none has come my way. I did get to be an expert in gracefully dodging propositions from mostly rich married men.

Anyway, single parents should know their rights and privileges and not a lot know about the Solo Parent Act of the Philippines which was approved by President Joseph Estrada in 2000 and promulgated in the same year.

Through this law, single parents will have these benefits among others:

  1. Parental leave of seven (7) days every year provided the parent is an employee who has rendered service for more than a year, in addition to leave privileges
  2. Flexible Work schedule
  3. Medical Assistance---comprehensive medical program provided by the DOH for single parents and their children
  4. Educational Benefits for children of solo parents.
To avail of the benefits, one must apply for the solo parent ID at the from the City/Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office. To get a Solo Parent ID, the parent needs to present: 

  1. Barangay certificate residency in the area
  2. Documents /evidence that the applicant is a solo parent (e.g. death certificate of spouse, declaration of nullity of marriage, medical certificate (if incapacitated)
  3. ITR or certification for the barangay/municipal treasurer

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Fancy Cloth Diapers

When I had Marti, my Mom made these beautiful crochet-trimmed cloth diapers which I used as burp pads. For the arrival of my very first nephew Justice, I wanted to make the same for him but after 11 years, only 1 piece remained of Mom's handmade diapers.

Good thing was able to find this pattern from Etsy so now look at my finished products!
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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Wise Advice from my Son

Just turned 35 last Sunday, 11 April 2010 and my son asked me what was my birthday wish. Told him that my wish was to spend another 35 years of my life with him and hopefully soon with my better half.

Like most kids with single parents, Marti is hopeful that his Papa and I would eventually end up together. Since I've always been honest with my son I explained that that may not come true because his Papa got married a long time ago, even though  he insists that his Papa is also now single (have no idea what that really means). I explained further that his Mama is not getting any younger so I should settle down soon for him to have a complete family and the siblings he had always wanted.

What really touched me was Marti's advice on how I can get my wish. He said, "Mama, didn't you say when God closes the door, He opens a window? Maybe you need to close a door in your life so that God can open a window." Deep words for a 10-year old. Hmmmm, Marti really made me think hard about this stage in my life. So now I'm trying to find that "door" to close so that I could finally receive the "window" that God has planned for me and my son.

Have a blessed day!
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