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Modern ways of flying

>> Friday, 15 January 2016

It's been 7 years since I last flew. That's when we migrated here and a year before that I had the business trips and flew on my own while pregnant with Alexus. I remember it was the time that American Airlines had a bug or glitch in their system and my flights in different states were affected. I also remember using kiosks for checking in back then.  Today, I'm flying on my own again, hopefully the next ones would be business trips going around Canada and around the world. :)  Gone are the days of long queues. Well there are still lines but there are more people using the kiosks. I was nervous to try it first,  I probably looked like a kid looking at a new toy. But like all new things that need to be conquered and explored, I did it. A few swish and touch on the screen and voila, I printed my boarding pass and secured an aisle seat.  The passport is the key, as you would have to scan it for the machine to capture the information from the barcode - cool! Well only the Millenials would say, that's so easy, that's not a big deal! Not for a near fifties woman like me hahaha.

Since I am also going to the U.S., I had to go thru the security process of scrutinizing docs, luggage and all.  In that lane going to the U.S., you will have to pass by kiosks again for another pass - security pass where passport will be scanned again, you will have a picture taken and probably have finger printing, I didn't do that because my passport was Canadian but to me the little kiosks looked cool again! I was even able to choose the picture to print in the pass unlike the picture taken by those border immigration officers whenever we go to New York.  My wish is for a miracle that the Philippine government will replace the lag lag bala gang with these kiosks.

The security scan was the thing I didn't like best, you have to remove jewelries, that I didn't have anyway, remove shoes and waited like a decade for the bags to come out. I was hoping they will not let me bring out the Knorr cubes and Sinigang mix with bayabas that I brought for my sister. Pinoy pasalubong siyempre hahaha. Anyway, the Pearson airport is a modern airport and the waiting area at the gates are cozy like a lounge. Before I forget they also have free Wifi that's why I am able to post this in my blog while waiting to board. Wala lang, I just want to compare the ease and comfort that I experience today with my past life at NAIA and other Asian airports. I could be mistaken as it's been ages since I boarded on an airplane and I'm sure that the airports I've been to have improved a lot too. Just killing time here. Here's the lounge with free use of wifi and iPads in comfortable and cozy chairs.


15 for 2015

>> Thursday, 31 December 2015

Over the years, the events in our lives will come and go but  the joys and good memories from the experience stay in our hearts or so I thought.  When Dadilo was diagnosed with a brain tumor and he told us that a big chunk of his memory got lost,  I think that there is a possibility that anyone may have memory loss.  It is more painful than any physical pain to have forgotten some important details in our lives.  So while we can, we need to cherish and feel the joy of being with our families, explore the places we never thought we will set our feet on or simply breathe and live the blessings and favors that God bestowed upon us.

Here is a snapshot of our family's travels for 2015:

The year 2015 was special because of the many events that happened in my life.  I usually would list top ten events but this year I have 15 for 2015:

1.  I successfully completed my Project Management Certificate at University of Toronto.
2. Lito and I renewed our marriage vows a day before my 47th birthday.
3. Mama and Dadilo returned to Canada.
4. My sister Wendy and her family (Carter, Candy and Carlisle) visited us in Toronto.
5. We travelled to Niagara Falls, Ottawa, Montreal and Old Quebec City.
6. High School "Besties" and our families had a reunion - Joy and Carlyn in New York.
7. Our original bible study cell group had a reunion and our families are growing bigger.
8. I took driving lessons and still learning how to drive.
9. My career is doing well and hopefully moves to the next level.
10. I got hooked on "Aldub" and admires the moral lesson in courtship and friendship it promotes.
11. My kids have grown taller and are excelling in school. Aloysius moved up to High School.
12. We had a "no snow" trip to Blue Mountain Ski Resort this winter.
13. Aloysius had a one day work experience at Molson through the Take your kids to work day program and he enjoyed talking to my Managers, Directors and peers.
14. Kyle won in the Art Calendar contest.
15. Alexus celebrated his 7th birthday with a Minion Party attended by his classmates and friends.

Thank you Lord for these wonderful memories. May you continually bless us this new year.


Lessons learned from the Miss Universe incident

>> Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Being a Filipino and a fan of beauty pageants, I was so excited to watch the Miss Universe 2015. I even participated in the voting system. Of course, I used my critical judgement in selecting the rightful candidates to be in the finals. Miss Philippines without a doubt stood out both in the swimsuit and evening gown competition. The Q&A in the semi finals was not a casual talk but put Miss Philippines bet Pia Wurtzbach in the hot spot who came out with a safe answer and nailed it for the judges.

It was exciting and suspenseful as the pageant progressed especially when they announced the top 3 and Miss Philippines emerged as one of them. We were shrieking and clapping when Pia gave the best answer. Now you can just imagine how we and the rest of the Filipinos all over the world were patiently waiting for this moment because it has been 42 years since Philippines had her Miss Universe title.  When Miss USA was called to become the 2nd runner up, I told myself that this is it, Philippines is going to win because Miss Colombia's answer to that Q&A cannot beat that of Pia's.  But then the incident happened, Steve Harvey mistakenly announced that Miss Universe is Miss Colombia instead of Miss Philippines. That incident hurt not only Miss Colombia and Miss Philippines but also the Filipinos and Colombians who were expecting their candidates to win.  It stole Miss Philippines' crowning and victory walk moment. It stole the limelight from Pia who remained humble and poised under pressure.

Confidently Beautiful with a Heart

When Pia was finally crowned and was ready to do her walk, she tried to approach and comfort Miss Colombia who was unbecoming of a true sport and a Lady by crying like a child. But the ladies surrounding Ariadna shoved Miss Philippines and told her to step back.  Pia did her walk while the other ladies were shouting Colombia Colombia! The atmosphere which was supposedly jovial turned out to be like a boxing arena or a gladiatorial fight. But our newly crowned queen has remained calm and poised. She kept smiling even though deep inside she's hurting. She had her proper crowning moment backstage and there she poured her tears out, away from the cameras and audience view. She was humble and didn't complain but rather commented that the traditional crowning ceremony is so 2015 with a smile. What an attitude!

So, What's in it for me anyway?

It's been 24 hours and I still cannot get over it, well I think most of the Filipinos are.  Before hitting the sack last night and after waking up this morning I kept on reading updates about the Miss Universe 2015.  Like most of the Filipinos and Colombians and other fans, I'm following everything from that event, down to the last replies, what could have beens and even nasty comments and bashings. I would not call it patriotic but I would side with Pia not only because she is a Filipina but more so because Miss Philippines deserved to win that crown. It is the pride and honor that this victory meant and we Filipinos have been longing for this in the past 42 years.

Lessons learned from this incident

I've read so many comments about this incident but there is one that I am reposting here because it is timely and relevant to all of us regardless of our circumstances. Thanks to Dhee Jhey for these lessons:

Everything happens for a reason. God is in control of everything. Now ask why would He allow such thing like this to happen?

1. The whole world is watching, God wants to show us that earning everything in this world means nothing to Him but what matters is what's inside our hearts and how we treat other people.

2. Unexpected incidents reveal what is really within us. We can't rehearse for it, we don't know when it is coming and this event shows a lot of revelation from all the candidates, especially their true colors.

3. Beauty will fade but the goodness of a person's heart lasts eternity. Most of the time we put value into things that are seen while things that are unseen are the most important.

4. Those who humble themselves will be lifted up, those who boast will be put in shame.

5. It is not what people around you says that matters but how God looks at your heart. And He will entrust you with what He thinks you can manage.

I hope we realize these points so we can understand why the Miss Universe 2015 incident happened and what we can learn from it.  I want to quote Miss Colombia saying "Everything happens for a reason."


Strategies to teach your child to read - Part 2

>> Friday, 13 November 2015

My previous post was for parents with children who know how to read.  The following will benefit those moms with younger children.  I remember Aloysius became interested in books even if he didn't know how to read yet as early as 4 months old. That's when we started the mommy and child-reading-routine.

With younger children, you need to give them hard board books so that even if they chew on them, or they throw them or spill milk on them, they will still be readable.  These books have great pictures and colors in them that children get glued at looking at them.  This is the perfect opportunity to introduce reading to them.

Here are the tips:
1.  Look and point at the picture.
2.  Get your mouth ready to read.  The child will be looking at the picture and at your mouth while you are reading.
3.  Tell your child how does the word begin. Emphasize on the sound i.e. O - the mouth should form the O too.
4. Read the word all the way through.
5. Start again.  Skip the word you want the child to learn.
6. Ask the child, does it make sense? He would now recognize the word you missed.
7. Be consistent on the pronunciation of the word. if you say it differently, the child will notice it, if not, ask him "Does the word sound right?"
8. Go back and re-read the whole sentence.  You can ask him to point the picture and the word.
9. Give your child lots of chances to read the story again and again.  This is the key to successful reading.  It is called fluency.

The more your child reads, the more confident and successful he or she will become.


Strategies to teach your child to read - Part 1

I met my youngest son's teacher today at the Parent-Teacher meeting.  It was a fruitful conversation learning how my son is doing in school.  Alexus is turning 7 this month and I am so proud to receive the teacher's report that Lex' reading is excellent, Level S or DRA 34 Lexile 750.  I don't know what all these meant but I was so happy to hear that his reading is advanced, even more advanced for ages 8-9. I am so thankful that my kids love reading and I hope they will continue to read real books even with ebooks and electronic information are available online.

I want to share the tips I used to encourage my children to read.  Children are never too early to read and we as parents can help them become proficient in reading as soon as they recognize our voice and read our lips.

1. Read to your child everyday.
Reading aloud builds positive attitudes toward reading, stimulates interest in books and exposes your child to a variety of reading materials. This should be a fun, relaxing time for you and your child. This is our family bonding time before we read God's word and do our family prayer and devotion.  Kids look forward to each night's reading time.

2. Visit the library weekly.
We do it at least every three weeks because that is the maximum number of weeks we can get hold of the books we borrowed.  On the way to the library, I am asking them what they plan to borrow.  Are they going to get the same author (our favorite is Robert Munsch)?  or get the next the series (Geronimo Stilton, Captain Underpants, Wimpy Kid etc.)?  Get many different varieties of topics: mysteries, nonfiction, science fiction, animals, poems, rhymes, etc.  You and your child may go to the library with no plan in mind and pick out whatever interests you as you browse.

3. Look for accessible materials.
Help your child see that reading is found in every aspect of our lives,  help them read to you the recipe as you cook or bake together.  Read all the boxes and labels as you shop together. Have you child find signs as you travel somewhere, or when you are in a mall or a restaurant.

4. Have your child read to you everyday.
Children need positive feedback and genuine interest from their parents about their reading abilities. Be excited to hear your child read to you everyday.  Sometimes you child may choose a book that is much too difficult but has beautiful pictures.  Instead of reading, have him or her tell you about the pictures using as many details as they can.

5. Share book talks.
After you have read a story aloud or your child has completed an independent reading assignment, have him do a retelling of the read aloud or reading assignment. Retelling helps children review and organize the book. Listen for the following: Does the retelling makes sense? Have your child used the same story language and pattern from the book? Do you have questions?  you can use the following:
-What was your favourite part? why?
-What didn't you like? Why?
-What would you have done? Why?

I hope you can benefit from these because I did. My 3 children are worthy of these and the time spent on reading has paid off.  The return on this investment is long term.  Happy reading.


ALDUB nation and ALDUB Libraries

>> Monday, 26 October 2015

I admit I am an ALDUB fan, although I already swore oath to Canadian allegiance, I am still a Filipino by heart and will be part of the culture that makes all Filipinos uniquely special, one of which is ALDUB nation. It didn't surprise me that I became glued to Filipino TV show Eat Bulaga with the animated dubsmashing of a new character Yaya Dub. Add to it the split-screen romance blooming between Yaya Dub and a good-looking lad named Alden Richards. It felt "kilig" and good and the whole new way of making the audience yearn for more " kalyeserye" brought back memories from my  teenage years. Watching the show became a regular thing for our family, even my young kids laugh at the gimmicks, even sing and dance along but the 3-sisters (Nidora, Tidora and Tinidora) characters added more spice to the love team. The lessons about love, courtship and relationships taught the viewers - some of which have adapted to the fast-tracked, modern ways and missed out on the real values. Lola Nidora ensures that we learn about the right way and that there is a right time for everything.

"Tamang panahon" is the venue for the split screen pair to finally have more time to be with each other as the previous attempts have been cut short due to unavoidable circumstances. Of course, I got excited, I wondered about what's in store for Alden and Yaya Dub at that moment. Meanwhile, the show is going to be held at the Philippine Arena, the biggest indoor arena in the country. It is supposed to fill 55,000 viewers.

What surprised me and made me emotional is the objective of the Eat Bulaga show to donate the ticket sales/proceeds to charity - to build libraries in public schools all over the country and they will call it ALDUB libraries. That is an amazing initiative! ....scenes from my elementary and high school days came flashing and it made tears fall down my cheeks. I hope my kids will be able to read this:

I love to read and always loved books. I think it was triggered by the fact that in my early years of studying, there was scarcity of books in our library. Only when you are given the chance to get hold of one, you will appreciate the joy of reading and learning.  I went to a public school in Pasig (then a municipality) and the books were shared, unlike in the private schools where each student use their own books.  Let's say a typical class have 40 students, most of the time, the number of books available are only 4. The 10 students per group share the book. During high school, I volunteered to become a student-librarian so I will have access to the books available in the library, I took the opportunity of reading Sawyer, Huck Finn, Austen, Odyssey, Iliad, Othello, Wuthering and other Literature in that library, there were only few Filipino classics. The books were old, and pages were brown, fragile and dusty but because the characters and scenes in the novels seemed more interesting, the physical attributes of the book didn't matter. By the way, I belonged in the highest section class and my schools were in Pasig City close to the capital so can you imagine a scenario in a public school in Isabela or in Dumaguete or in Tawi-Tawi? You will be lucky to see 4 books in a class.

My nanny back home told me that the reason why she stopped studying and opted to work as a nanny instead was because there were no books and no classrooms even in their province. My heart sank thinking about the plight of other school children in the Philippines, it is totally the opposite here in Canada.  But I am also sad that with the abundant, newer books, crisp pages and endless varieties here in Canada, children don't read books on their own unless asked by their parents or teachers. Isn't it ironic, don't you think?

ALDUB gave us hope. With the successful Tamang Panahon show and its fundraising that reached 20 million pesos, I'm pretty sure the books will fill each library for the Filipino school children. I am so thankful to ALDUB and Eat Bulaga. They're taking advantage of their popularity for a good cause, it may fade but they will leave a legacy, the ALDUB libraries will make a great impact to our country.  You are not only making us happy and excited everyday but you also gave hope to education and the future of this nation. May the Good Lord bless you more. Salamat sa inyo!


Book Review: The 7 Habits of Happy Kids

>> Tuesday, 29 September 2015

The 7 Habits of Happy Kids by Sean Covey

I'm sure this 7 habits phrase is familiar to you. The other bestselling book entitled The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People was written by Stephen Covey.  The 7 Habits are based on powerful Principles that have been enriching lives for generations - principles such as responsibility, vision, respect, teamwork and balance. It is a proven philosophy for adults and teenagers that can now be applied to kids. I am just one of the parents who are interested in bringing the 7 Habits into our home and into our kids schools, that why we are reading this book for the nth time. I am thankful that Sean, the son of Stephen Covey took the next steps in creating a version for teens and kids.

This book teaches kids timeless values and principles contained in the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People - from figuring out how to take charge of their own lives to discovering why balance is best. The characters depicted in the stories might be the same as our children and their different moods, situations and personalities. They can relate to each story as it might have happened to them or they have encountered them in their friends or classmates lives. Each story illustrates one habit or principles that will help our children apply the 7 habits in their activities. After each story, there's a section called Parent's Corner which has some suggestions on how to bring out the habit in that story.t also include list of questions to ask kids and small steps/ tips that kids may start practicing.

Here are the 7 Habits of Happy Kids:
1. You are in Charge - Be Proactive
2. Have a Plan - Begin with the end in Mind
3. Work First then Play - Put first things first
4. Everyone can win - Think win-win
5. Listen before you talk - Seek first to understand than to be understood.
6. Together is better - Synergize "together everyone achieves more"
7. Balance feels best - Sharpen the saw.

Of all the seven Habits, my favourite is the 7th as it talks about balance and it is also aligned to our family's three goals - Feed your Mind, Feed your Body, Cleanse your body.  We feel better when we are balanced, when we take time to renew the four parts of who we are: body, heart, mind and soul. I like the part when Covey explained in the parent's corner that as the car has four tires, we as people, also have four parts. And to be healthy and happy, all parts need time and attention.

The explanation in the story is simple but adults can relate very well.
"You use your heart when you play with your friends." Build and Nurture good relationships.
"You use your soul when you find something quiet to do that makes you fresh inside." Reflection and time to spend with God through prayer.
"You Use your body when you exercise." Physical activities make you well.
"Use you mind when you read." Knowledge is power.

My children remembered  the illustration we saw on a Christian TV show about the soul man and spirit man fighting or getting weak when the body is weak or in sin and how the relationship with Jesus Christ can lighten and bring the joy, peace and love to the soul man, spirit man and physical man. We need Christ as He is the only one who will make us live a balanced and complete life that he desired for us to have. How blessed, how marvellous this life is and we thank God that even in storybooks or inspirational books like these, it is still going back to Him. Read this book and God will reveal himself to you and your children too. God bless.


About This Blog

My blog is about ME as a wife and a mom to Aloysius, Achilles & Alexus. MYSELF as a career woman, and IRMEE as my other roles - a daughter, a sister, a co-worker, a friend and all my discoveries in this wonderful life that God gave. I'll also share my latest finds in food, fashion, gadgets and places.

The rest is anything under the sun, so read on.

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