Friday, April 30, 2010

Day 120: The TRANSFORMERS have my vote

In ten days, the Philippines will choose its national and local leaders in an election that is said to be unprecedented since this will be the first automated elections in our country's history.  All camps are giving that final push to their campaigns to make their respective candidates known, felt and heard.

As I've mentioned in my earlier blog post, this is the first time in almost twenty years that I've been active and cared about any Philippine elections. It was a case of "once bitten, twice shy" for me. As a young adult, I looked forward to the very first opportunity I had to exercise this right and was really very excited to do it.  However, when subsequent elections didn't bring about competitive choices and some of them wreaked of being rigged, I just lost hope. 

I believe it is motherhood that has led me to be proactive once more about the future of this country.  I have three young children whose future hangs in the balance. As their parent, I have the obligation to make the right choice towards progress of this nation. I don't really care for me anymore, I doubt if I'd still be able to see the Philippines great again in my lifetime but I care about my children and theirs so they may be the ones to enjoy the fruits of my choice. I've been quite vocal about who my choices are for the two top positions in the country.

Having worked in Human Resources, I know the rudiments of job application and hiring. If you distance yourself and really just think about it, the elections is just a nationwide job application exercise. A bunch of people trying to get into a limited number of job slots, right? These are the processes in job hiring and what I think are their equivalent in modern day election process:

1. Job Application/Job Fair = Filing of COC's
2. Testing (Verbal/Non-verbal, Personality/Psych) = don't you think there should be?
3. Preliminary Interview = Forums
4. Comprehensive Interview = Debates

The applicant advances to the next level only if his qualifications and performance deem him fit to do so. A government position is really just that - a job position and Filipinos play the part of HR during elections. If you owned a company and you were hiring to fill in critical and vital positions, would you choose applicants who are merely popular, rich, "well-connected",  or religious/morally-upright? Or would you choose based on credentials, personality, past performance and the ability to blend into your organization? When certain candidates begin to refuse psych tests and turns down invitations for debates, you've got to know that those are 'red flags'. What have they got to hide? In my line of experience, those who got the job were those who really had something to show in terms of ability, talent, personality, leadership and passion.

So when I used the same method dictated by HR practices, I came up with my own choices for the top positions of this country - RICHARD GORDON and BAYANI FERNANDO. Both have proven track records in terms of holding executive positions, have stellar background/foundation (RJG in Law and BF in Engineering), have shown their unique personalities that get the job done, have exhibited passion in whatever endeavor they undergo and can truly be called leaders of our time. They've faced every forum and stood at every debate, standing behind their plans and programs for the country. No other tandem is as ready, prepared and able to put into action their words as these two. Whatever the rest are still promising to do, RJG and BF have already done and can duplicate for the rest of the Philippines. In my mind and in my heart I believe that. Choosing DICK GORDON and BAYANI FERNANDO is a choice I can be proud to tell my children, a choice that I know can change their future.

There are still many who are puzzled and undecided. Spend the remaining days before election time to scrutinize all those who are running. Maybe the best way is to get hold of that side-by-side comparison of achievements and platforms, cover the names and faces and just look at what each one has got to show. Then pray for discernment. Only then will you get your answer. 

Day 119: My Princess

It wasn't too long ago when I held Cailie as a tiny baby in my arms. I remember being thrilled to see how fair-skinned she was, with lips that could rival that of Snow White's. For a long time, she remained tiny and small for her age. There was a point I was alarmed about her size but many friends assured me that as long as you see her active and bright, there was nothing to worry about.

And how right they were! My princess may still be on the petite side but she has grown so much over the last few years. She's certainly taller (which explains why her long pants now look like capris) and heavier. Whereas before, she would burst into tantrums when asked to wear dresses and skirts, she now looks forward to dressing up and being fashionable.  It was just a matter of time before she discovered the world of being "kikay".

Cailie is very expressive, "malambing" and thoughtful yet she's tough and formidable when she needs to be. With her Kuya by her side, she was able to take advantage of learning the English language painlessly. I could see that she got her love for school and learning from him too.

She's a doting "Atchie" to Shobe, CeeJae, many times helping Kuya take care of the "bunso" in the family. I guess she's pretty secure in her place in the family that's why our initial fear that she may resent having a new baby never materialized. Cailie adores CeeJae!

Sometimes, I do wish time would not pass by so quickly...I still want to enjoy my babies as they are now. I'm sure before I know it, my little princess would be all grown up and ready to face the world.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Day 118: The Love of Teaching

It was disheartening to know that my son Jarred's K-II teacher won't be coming back to teach in the school this coming school year.  She's also Caitlin's summer school teacher. I admire her patience and dedication in teaching the children. Teacher Lolibeth goes out of her way to reach out to all her students and works hard to make sure each child achieves the best of his/her ability.

Throughout the past school year, she was a constant supporter and inspiration to her students to do their best in all their endeavors.  She always had her listening ear and heart available to parents whenever we had questions and inquiries regarding our children.

I'm sad to see her go and I feel sorry that the future generation of K-II children in school won't be able to experience the Teacher Lolibeth brand of teaching, caring and loving. However, I am sure that she will be a blessing and a wonderful addition to the institution she will be transferring to.

***Teacher Lolibeth, thank you for sharing your full self to our children and taking care of them while they are with you in school.  We admire your selfless dedication to their welfare and learning. We will continue to pray for you and we look forward to seeing you around.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Day 117: Sticky

Every day since Cailie started with summer school, she brings home a new skill, a new learning.  Today, apart from their usual drills with phonics and writing, they had a "cut and paste" activity. I could see the wonder in her eyes as she was guided by the teacher to cut out pictures and glue them onto her activity paper. 

With unsure but steady hands, she squirted the glue on the pieces of paper by herself and stuck them on her work. It was a wonderful feeling to see these little victories of my princess.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Day 116: Stillness

While waiting for my daughter to finish summer class today, I gazed at the empty playground in front of me. There was none of the usual noise and action-filled banter among children.  The silence gave me enough opportunity to think about the many blessings God has bestowed upon me all these years.

There may have been times I questioned Him for the many twists and turns my life had taken and it is only now that I fully understand what it means when God said "I've known you long before you were born." and "My plans for you are great".

He's letting me season with every hardship and difficulty, allowing me to become a better and stronger person each time. My fervent prayer is that He continue to watch over me and guide me to make the right choices and decisions.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Day 115: CeeJae turns 1!

CATHLEEN JANELLE - "CeeJae", our bunso and the baby of the family turns one year old today!  Devoid of a grand party, the best gift was Daddy's presence (he came home just to celebrate with his little angel).  To celebrate this special day, we prepared food - my special baked spaghetti, bam-i, humba, lechon manok, cake and ice cream.  Since it was also the 8th birthday of FJ, the grandson of our family friend, Manang Rose, CeeJae gladly shared the party with him.

It was a simple celebration but it was obvious that little CeeJae enjoyed it...I think she loved the food most of all! In the company of her two older siblings and friend, she had a long day of play and ended up dozing off early in the evening.

To our sweet are God's wonderful gift to us.  Daddy, Mommy, Kuya and Atchie love you very much and we are always here for you.  Happy Birthday sweetie!!!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Day 114: A Sneak Peek

Tomorrow is a big day for the I'm whipping up my special spaghetti sauce.  The sauce takes time to develop flavor (I add a splash of red wine for extra boldness) that's why I make it earlier.  Tomorrow, I only have to boil the noodles and prepare the bechamel sauce and bake the whole thing.  The aroma of the sauce has filled the house and I'm doing my best to ward off my son from consuming some as topping for his rice tonight.

Can you guess what special day is tomorrow?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Day 113: Kuya Jarred on video

While taking my afternoon nap, I didn't realize that my son tinkered with the camera and made this video.  It was only after I recharged the camera battery and uploaded the photos and videos to my computer that I discovered what he did.

Being left in charge while his Dad is away, he highlights what he does everyday as the Kuya and the "man of the house". 

Friday, April 23, 2010

Day 112: Up Close with Senator RICHARD GORDON

The day started out as an ordinary Thursday...I accompanied my older daughter to summer school and planned the rest of the day like I always do - pass the time with the kids during the 5-hour brownout, have our meals, take our afternoon nap, catch up with online work and duties and conduct online classes.  However, today took a different turn...a few days ago, I found out that Sen. Richard Gordon was visiting my city but I didn't know how to get details about his itinerary.  Fortunately, some online friends helped me out and managed to hook me up with the people preparing for the senator's arrival.

While waiting for my daughter to finish her class, I received information about Sen. Gordon's itinerary.  I was pleasantly surprised when the coordinator asked if I wanted to meet him? Of course!!! With the info on hand, I went home with my daughter to fetch my son and younger daughter.

When my eldest asked, "Where are we going Mom?", I told him "We're going to spend some time with Senator Richard Gordon." To which he asked, "Who is he?"  And I replied, "He's a senator of the country who is running for president, our family is supporting him."  When he asked why, I said, "Well, he is the one who can help our country become better, become as progressive as Singapore." Wittingly he said, "Oh, I'd love that..."

Our group of four trooped to the airport to find "red shirts" patiently awaiting the "Kidlat's" arrival.  In full force, all four of us were also in red to show our support.  Since I haven't been active in these kinds of things in a long time, I expected security and escorts to keep us in arm's length from the coordinating group.  But no, we were let into the plan for the day. How wonderful was that?

It was great to discover that a couple of my co-BCBP Breakfasters were also staunch Gordon supporters.    It took less than an hour before Sen. Gordon and his entourage to arrive.  Upon his arrival, my camera never ceased clicking...

Surprisingly, his entourage was composed of a small team of volunteers...true volunteers! His assistant was a teacher at my alma mater who I think just took a leave to help out in the campaign.  How cool is that? He wasn't heavily guarded, I actually didn't notice any for the people who met him became his guard, his shield.  Despite the scorching heat of the sun, he brought out his beaming smile and warmly shook the hands of people he met along the way.  Mind you, he asked the names of people as he went past them.

First stop was at the civil aviation office for a mini press conference with local media.

Excerpts of his responses are here:

From the airport, the convoy of volunteers and supporters went to the local Magic FM station along J.C. Aquino Avenue.  Since the space there was quite small, most of us just waited for him at the lobby of the building. After the radio interview stint, everyone beelined for Marjorie's at Imadejas Subd. for a quick late lunch.  It was over lunch that the good senator proved he wasn't camera shy as click upon click and shot upon shot, he managed to beam his million dollar smile and trademark thumbs-up sign for every person who wished to have a photo taken with him.  And although pressed for time, you wouldn't see him rushing or denying people of the opportunity to converse with him. He was open to conversation, in fact I thought he genuinely loved a good banter. I also observed how attentive he was whenever someone would open up certain issues about the city or region.  And mind you, he took notes.

After everyone had a chance to recharge, off we went again to another radio interview, this time at Real FM over at PECIT. Even though, the day was proving to be quite long and tiring already, Sen. Gordon didn't show a bit of stress at all.  In fact, he was as passionate (if not even more so) with his words as he was during his first press con.

The final meet-and-greet session was at Alicia's Resto where he faced an audience composed of local businesspeople, masses, teachers and the youth.  Upon seeing that the table and chair set up for him was up on stage, he immediately instructed for the table and chair be brought down directly in front of the audience.  After being introduced, Dick Gordon did what I thought was pretty cool and heartwarming - he sat there, on top of the table, relaxed to face the questions from his audience.  It was like an ordinary "no holds barred" barangay meeting or like a brainstorming session at the workplace.  His words that struck me most were these: "When I am your president, you will see me just like this, visiting you maybe every two months, if possible.  I will ask you - Kumusta na kayo? Kumusta na ang Butuan? At kung meron magsabi, katulad ng isang negosyante dito, pagpalagay mo...Naku, yun BIR dito kinokotongan ako...Ora mismo, ipapatawag ko yang taong yan para malaman kung ano ang nangyayari." 

"I will be a 24/7 president, I will be on radio and tv at least every week; I will make use of all forms of media and technology to make sure you see me and you can communicate with me.  You can contact me on my cell, basta huwag lang kayo hihingi ng load o mountain bike at bawal mag 'I love you' kasi selosa misis ko."

It was a candid outpouring of his desire to serve this country and its people.  And every time I'd hear his voice break, I knew it was out of frustration that a lot of people are still gambling away the future of this country and the younger generation.  Here is a man, raring to WORK and DISCIPLINE our country and our people to bring us back on the world map...and yet, many question his winnability.  That's it?  You're banking the entire future of our children and grandchildren on the question of winnability?  He has the track record, the experience and the qualifications, let's make him win! 

By the end of the day, I would have wanted to follow his convoy all the way to Cagayan de Oro but I had 3 young children to take care of so I had to beg off.  With a tight embrace, I wished the great senator well for the duration of the campaign.

My continued prayer is for more and more people to get enlightened and seriously look at the qualifications and platforms of all the candidates - national and local.  As Sen. Gordon has said over and over, "You don't even have to choose me.  But the least you could do is think it over and make a principled choice, a principled vote."  

When he left Butuan City, his only reminder were the words, "HUNA-HUNAA" (in English - Think, in Tagalog - Mag-isip).  And that's exactly what each and every qualified Filipino voter should do in the next two weeks.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Day 111: Gwyneth and Jarred

It was rare to see these two together like this so I snatched the opportunity to snap photos.  Gwyneth and Jarred - the two kids of Kinder II who vied for top spot in graduation.  Well, it wasn't really neck in neck as Gwyneth clearly swept past ahead of the pack as early as the 2nd quarter.  And so, it was she who bagged the gold and Jarred, came 2nd with the silver. 

I was in awe as I saw these two discussing the English/Filipino names of vegetables and fruits posted on the wall.  I had fun watching them and little did they know, I was capturing every moment on film...

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Day 110: My Treasures

During times of uncertainty and doubt, I only have to look at three innocent faces to know that I am on the right track and that I've made pretty good choices in my life.  Twenty years ago, I would've scoffed at the idea of being a stay-at-home Mom and wife.  I'd probably say "Why put to waste many years of study just to become a domestic diva?".  Well, that was exactly what I thought of being domesticated then.  I thought I'd be doing a great disservice to my parents who sacrificed a lot to make sure I got topnotch education.

Fast forward to today...I'm a proud domestic goddess and a happy stay-at-home Mom - roles I never thought I'd choose when I was still in the corporate jungle.  When I made the decision in 2001 to focus all of my energy on family and home management, I wasn't sure I was making the right choice.  Now, looking at the lovely photos of my three young children, I know, deep in my heart, I did well.  Not many women are given the opportunity to stay with their children 24/7 like I do as most women now need to balance family life and a career.

I'd have to say that there are times I miss being part of the hustle and bustle of corporate life but not so much that I'd choose to go back to that path.  I love where I am now and what I'm doing.  Taking care of three children under 8 with only the parenting partnership of my hubby is no easy task.  It requires a lot of patience.  Every single day is chaotic...what I'd call joyful chaos.  It's loud, crazy and messy at times but above all, it's fun and fulfilling.  Getting a kiss and a tight hug from my kids at the end of a busy day only strengthens my belief that I did right.  I'm responsible for raising three lives and I'm going to make sure they grow up as good Christians with great dignity and ambition.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Day 109: Mother

This small statue was a Christmas gift from hubby's boss about 3 years ago. It depicts a mother in an embrace with her child.  During that time, all of the wives received such gift. It was sort of a tribute to us, our sacrifices, understanding and support to our hubbies and their work. Over the years, it has had its share of accidental falls, hence the chipped pieces here and there. Every time I look at it, it reminds me of my distinct role and responsibility to my family. I'm proud to be called a mother and I relish everything that is associated to being one - joy, sadness, success, failure, fun, hardship, blessings and sacrifices.  

I also remember my own mother - her love and sacrifice all these years, my mother-in-law - her own hardships to raise all 5 of her boys as wonderful Christians.  These two women are my inspirations in being Mom to my 3 young children.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Day 108: The Power of Prayer

I'm a person who believes in the power of prayer.  In more than a few occasions in my life, prayer has always been my weapon - against accidents, pain, sorrow and disease.  It has also been my steady partner in times of joy and success.  God heeds all of our wishes, although there may be times when his answer is not necessarily the one that we expect, He always answers our prayers.  Only He knows the deepest desires of our heart and He gives only what is best for us.

The Lord has brought us to a path that is uncertain.  We don't know exactly what His plans are but we are just His followers...His will be done!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Day 107: Betrayal

I received terrible news today that literally broke my heart.  I knew that the world my hubby is entering is a dirty one but I never thought we'd be receiving a blow so great as this one.  The person we trusted and had faith in betrayed us...with such great timing and swiftness!  

I could accept it easier had it been anybody but for someone who calls himself a man of God, it is unthinkable!

You know who you've hurt our family may think you won the battle, but you haven't won the war!

I just pray that the Lord goes easy on you when judgement time comes...

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Day 106: Playground

One of the reasons why Cailie is so excited about going to summer school is the fact that she gets to have fun at the playground after her lessons.  I think it's an early lesson on negotiation skills.  She agrees to do her best during class and in return, I allow her to have some time for play.  A fair deal, don't you think?

Today, her Kuya and Shobe joined her for some fun and laughter at the school playground.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Day 105: From Sounds to Reading

When I was about 5 years old, I remember my Dad buying me a yellow book entitled "Reading with Phonics".  It became my steady partner while learning how to read.  I learned AEIOU from there and how to slowly blend other sounds to form words.

Well, children nowadays have certainly moved forward from those days...learning to read has become so much fun as it is being integrated with music and singing.

"1...2...3...4...When we hear these sounds you'll see, ready to read and so we'll be...

Aa - apple, Bb - ball, Cc - cat and Dd - doll, Ee - egg and Ff - fan, Gg - goat and Hh - hand, Ii - inchworm, Jj - jam, Kk - kite and Ll - lamb, Mm - monkey, Nn - noodles, Oo - octopus and Pp - poodles, Qq - quilt and Rr - rail, Ss - sun and Tt - tail, Uu - umbrella, Vv - vase...we're nearly through, see my happy face...Ww - wagon, Xx - box, Yy - yarn, do you see a fox?...see him in the Zz - zoo, it was fun and now we're through, if we sing this well indeed, it's now time for us to READ!"

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Day 104: Steady Hand

This is Cailie's 2nd day of summer school.  In today's activities, she exhibited amazing control of her motor skills while coloring the outline of her own hand.  Observing her, I thought that she is quite advanced compared to her Kuya when he was her age.  I also noticed remarkable difference in their attention span and organizational skills.  Cailie would painstakingly put back all her school materials in her bag as soon as she was done with them without the teacher instructing her to do so.  Is it because she's a girl?  Is this a gender trait of some sort?  Well, it was something new for me and indeed something amazing to watch.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Day 103: Cailie in Summer School

Today marked the first day of summer school for Caitlin Alyssa at her Kuya Jarred's school.  She woke up early to take a bath and have breakfast.  It was quite obvious how excited she was as she herself prepared her small bag with a pencil case, notebook and some snacks. For a first timer, she did very well with her first lesson on sounds and coloring a picture.  We were all with her today to cheer her on.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Day 102: Blog Exposure

Thanks to my good friend and high school batchmate, Caren Bayhon-Yrastorza for featuring one of my favorite recipes on her food blog.  I've been following Caren on her foodie adventures for some time now.  Her recipes and food styling pics are awesome!  I've tried several of her tried and tested recipes and all of them have become winners for my family.  One of the more popular ones is her Baked became the star of our Noche Buena feast back in 2008.  When I was invited to feature a recipe on her blog, I didn't think twice.  I  shared a family favorite - Adobong Pusit.  Read more about it here.  I was really tickled pink when I saw the feature on her blog...sarap pala ng feeling! 

Monday, April 12, 2010

Day 101: Sunday at the Park

After Sunday mass, the kids asked to do a quick round of the nearby Rizal Park.  There were quite a number of people who were on relax mode and were spending the day with their families.  Some were busy clicking their cameras and others were thick in bargaining with the sidewalk vendors for popcorn, kakanin, samalamig, balloons and fruits.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Day 100: My Election Journey

To jumpstart the 30-day countdown to the May 10 elections, I'm publishing this as a repost from the original Facebook Note I posted on my profile...

Lessons from the Campaign Trail: MY ELECTION JOURNEY

My Business with Villar

This has been long overdue. I’ve been mentioning several times on my Facebook profile that I will share my journey in choosing the future leaders of this country. In exactly one month from today, we will have our first automated elections and we will be deciding the fate of the Philippines once more.

Prior to this coming elections, the only time I exercised my right to vote was in the 1992 elections. As a first time voter, I had so much hope and vigor. It was during the Ramos administration that we achieved being a tiger economy. We were about to take off when it was again time to choose a new leader. I didn’t bother voting during the 1998 elections, of which Joseph Estrada was a strong candidate. Suffice to say, I lost confidence and hope then.

The Philippines went downhill from then…Fast forward to around late 2008 when certain personalities began to send feelers regarding possible candidacy as President for 2010. One of those whose name was beginning to make noise then was Senator Manny Villar. I thought to myself, “Wow, entrepreneur…self-made, rags-to-riches…pwede, parang may liwanag ang bukas ah.” And so by early to mid-2009, I had my eyes on Villar for the presidency. It was also during this time when I started researching about his background. Was he really that poor Tondo boy portrayed in that very first ad he came out with with Boy Abunda then interviewing him? I began to take off my rose-colored spectacles to finally see who and what my very first choice was. The C-5 controversy was also one of biggest issues that didn’t sit well with me. It wreaked so much of him being a shrewd and strategic businessman. It dawned on me then that “My gosh! He’s a businessman, he will treat the presidency and the country just like a business.” That can’t be good. In one of the most recent interviews that featured his wife, Rep. Cynthia Villar, her responses confirmed my fears. More than once, she said that they are businesspeople kaya di sila basta basta gumagastos or nag iinvest lalo na sa usaping pang kampanya. And when asked about their love story and relationship, her reply was so businesslike too – “We, Manny and I are a match, pareho kaming may interes sa negosyo, we think alike.” I didn’t feel nor see anything that would indicate of love or emotion then. The image of Barrack and Michelle Obama then came to mind…I thought, what endeared them most to people aside from Pres. Obama’s qualifications was the true emotional chemistry they had as a couple. You could see that they loved each other genuinely. I didn’t see that with Manny and Cynthia. I thought, theirs might have been a business marriage to begin with. And so, I was left with doubts…

Noynoy and his bombshell of an announcement

It was 3rd quarter of 2009…I have to admit, I was one of thousands of Filipinos who mourned the death of the late President, Cory Aquino. During her funeral, a sense of nationalism started to burn in my heart once more. It had the makings of what I felt during the 1986 People Power Revolution. And wow! That feeling was awesome! I thought, something big is going to happen…people are starting to question…starting to get impatient and frustrated with the current state of the country.

And bang! Weeks after, Sen. Noynoy Aquino came out of nowhere to announce his bid for the presidency. I thought…”There you go! Finally, a hero out of the ashes…” My doubts then started to turn into hope once more. That yearning and pride of being a Filipino began to once more burn in my heart after decades of slumber. He began saying that Filipinos can now dream again…those who want to serve the country need not be pedigreed nor rich…”Kahit sino, basta gusto at handang maglingkod sa bayan, ay maari nang sumubok at mangarap.” This was the battlecry he said of his party then. As a congressman and senator, Noynoy Aquino wasn’t much a personality I knew about… I thought maybe he was just shy or softspoken. I was hoping his true statesmanship would come out shortly after his announcement to run. After all, he is Ninoy’s son, right? I waited, and waited, and waited…forum after forum, interview after interview, debate after debate…I was hearing the same things over and over and him clutching a paper that looked so much like a “kodigo” every single time didn’t sit very well with me. His answers were always motherhood statements, “de-numero” and “praktisado”…I was looking for the “how”, his exact plans for the government and all he could muster was “Hindi ako magnanakaw…” Ok…corruption is a big problem of this country but it definitely is NOT the only problem and it can’t be solved by saying you wouldn’t be corrupt.

The final nail to the coffin was something personal. People close to me were planning to run for local posts in a province and at the time, Noynoy and his Liberal Party were the ones who showed hope for virtual unknowns and green apples. Di ba nga, sabi niya, “kahit sino ka pa, pwede ka nang mangarap”…And so they applied for party nomination. When the deadline for filing of candidacy was already nearing, news broke left and right about personalities jumping ship from the administration party to LP and likewise for celebrities gunning for local positions. Left and right too, Noynoy and Mar began to raise the hands of these people…old political faces changing ships, celebrities with ties to Noynoy’s uber popular sister, Kris. LP was approving nominations left and right…of these people – ones with pedigree and popularity. And so, what happened to my family members who were unknowns? With no nomination in sight and the deadline finally came, they instead chose to run as independent candidates. The hope and light that Noynoy and LP initially rallied about turned out to be an empty blackhole. Clearly, it wasn’t about ability and willingness to serve the people that was important…it was who you know, how many know you and how much you had.

Just in time…The Transformers: GORDON-BAYANI

I had always been an admirer of Sen. Richard Gordon. Likewise, I had high respect and regard for MMDA Chairman Bayani Fernando. Even though their names would crop up every now and then about possible run for the presidency, it wasn’t sure then that they actually would. And so while I was dealing with the Villar and Aquino chapters of my election journey, their names remained on park bay with me.

On December 1, 2009, Sen. Richard Gordon and Chairman Bayani Fernando, filed their certificates of candidacy for President and Vice-President, respectively and aptly named their team, The Transformers. They finally sealed their fate. And from park bay, their names captured top spot in my mind and heart. From the start, I noticed theirs wasn’t the traditional campaign. They simply did away with the strategy of numbers by not having a senatorial line-up. It was simply a tandem of Gordon-Bayani. Every opportunity to talk, they grabbed…every forum, every interview, every debate…they were there…oh and yeah, even those that didn’t push through because the top candidates backed out. What the other candidates had in terms of money, pedigree, popularity and machinery, they made up for by walking, talking and being with the people. Following their campaign sortie schedule, you’d be surprised if these two were still getting enough rest as they would fly in or drive to one city/town and in several hours they’d be in another place. No posters, stickers, fans and t-shirts were being given away…if you wanted one, you were free to download their templates online and had them done yourself.

At the onset, I admired their “no-nonesense”, straightforward plans regarding the country’s pressing problems. With every issue, they had a specific and measurable plan of action. Definitely, no motherhood statements whatsoever. In my journey, the only thing I wanted most was for my candidate to answer the question “HOW?”…Give me specific ways to counter the main problems of this country. And please, enough of the “Labanan ang korupsyon” and “Tapusin ang kahirapan” slogans…PAANO NGA?

Listen to both Sen. Gordon and Chairman Fernando every time they have an opportunity to speak out to people…they both go to the specifics…even if some of those measures will mean hard work, discipline and sacrifice for the Filipino. Never did I hear them promise that that like superheroes, they would eradicate corruption and poverty…their battlecry has always been VOLUNTEERISM and A CHANGE IN MEN. What they’re offering the country and Filipinos is the opportunity to change philosophies and beliefs – “pagbabagong magmumula sa puso at diwa ng bawat Pilipino”.

Many people get swayed and attracted with promises of other candidates that would seem that “magiging sitting pretty na lang ako…si _________ at si __________ naman pala ang tatapos sa problema ng bansa.” How is that possible? No one man can do that. It takes each one of us under a clear and competent leadership of one to begin a change that will be lasting and complete. Most of those I know who do not favor the Gordon-Bayani tandem say that “mahirap na…magiging iron hand sila”…Wait a minute…don’t you think that is exactly what this country needs? We’ve become a country who has totally forgotten what true discipline is. We’ve gotten used to the short cuts, under the table management. Is this the kind of mentality and state we want to pass on to our children and grandchildren? What’s so bad about discipline? Is it because discipline will mean we have to get up on our feet to work and exert effort? If that’s your answer, then tama nga na tawaging TAMAD ang Pinoy. Have we lost all sense of decency and integrity now that we are satisfied to just sit pretty in one corner and watch some “hero” miraculously save us from hell?

I would gladly go with that person who says, “I need you to partner with me in changing this country, I cannot do it alone.” That is the right choice - he who needs every Filipino man, woman and child to become a partner in nation-building and the reinstatement of discipline and law. We have a stake in this country so we need to take up our role in making sure it gets a bright future. We have the moral obligation to bequeath a country that our children and grandchildren will be proud of. With an open heart and a sound mind, I am proud to be a partner of GORDON-BAYANI in their quest to achieve a Bagumbayan.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Day 99: Kick!

While I was observing my kids during playtime, I noticed that they were role-playing.  Kuya Jarred was playing the part of a karate instructor while the two girls, Cailie and CeeJae were supposed to be his students.  They would stack up the boxes of toys and when they were already piled high, they'd take turns in either kicking or punching these until they'd topple down on the floor.

All three of them really thought they were karate experts.  It was so much fun seeing them in their most unguarded moments.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Day 98: Faces

An afternoon of fun spent by making faces...

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Day 97: Amusement

It was another super hot day with the usual 5-hour scheduled brownout.  To pass the time, the fam bam decided to spend a few hours at the local mall.  Armed with large cups of thirst-quenching sago't gulaman, we first hit some shoe stalls to look for wedge sandals for me and outdoor shoes for hubby.  It was only hubby who got lucky and scored a pair of casual shoes for a steal.  Passing by the amusement center, the two older kids begged to be allowed to play.  Armed with 5 tokens each (P50 worth total), they scrambled for their favorite video game and ride.  To get better mileage, they shared rides with each other which I thought was such a smart strategy.  It was only CeeJae who didn't seem to appreciate the joys of arcade games yet.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Day 96: Joyride

With the harsh effects of El NiƱo worsening the power crisis in the city, the family spent a large part of the brownout time going around the city.  It was a joyride that brought us to places we haven't noticed before.  Dropping by a small merchandise store, we picked up new sunglasses - one each for hubby, Jarred and myself; and a watch for little Cailie.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Day 95: New Life

The commemoration of Jesus' rising from the dead this year was celebrated in utter simplicity.  We just went for Easter Day mass at St. Joseph Parish.  All three kids were in their best behavior (well, we did keep them busy munching street sold popcorn).  There was a prior plan to let them join an Easter Egg Hunt at the local hotel but the weather was so hot and we thought it might be too dehydrating for them to be in an open field at 3:00 in the afternoon so we just stayed home and had a DVD marathon.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Day 94: LaPiS - COCONUT

The theme for Lasang Pinoy, Sundays for the next two weeks (April 4-17) is COCONUT.  I decided to go ahead and feature my own Holy Week masterpiece which made use of coconut cream.  For the longest time, I've been intimidated to try my hand at preparing "Guinataang Tilapia" (St. Peter's Fish in Coconut Cream).  I always had the impression that it was just too much work and difficult to make.

Well, this Black Saturday, I decided to bite the bullet and go ahead with my plan to face this cooking challenge.  Armed with information I got from Google, I pretty much formed my own strategy to this dish.  Combining the Bicolano style of stuffing the fish with tomato salsa and my own style to cooking guinataan dishes, I came up with a winner of a dish.

GUINATAANG TILAPIA (St. Peter's Fish in Coconut Cream)

1 kg tilapia, cleaned, scaled, gutted and halved
2 pcs thumb-size ginger, julienned
2 medium red onions, sliced 
4 cloves garlic, minced
5 medium tomatoes, seeded and sliced
2 bunches lemongrass, pounded
5-6 pcs banana chili (siling pansigang) or bird's eye chili (siling labuyo) if you want it extra spicy
coarse salt
1 cup thick coconut cream
2-3 tbsp fish sauce (patis)
2 tbsp canola oil

Combine the garlic, half of the tomatoes, ginger and red onions with some coarse salt then stuff into the belly cavity of the tilapia pieces.  Season the outside of the fish with salt then set aside.  In a wok, heat up the oil then saute the remaining aromatics - onions, ginger and tomatoes until wilted.  Then add some fish sauce.  Pour in coconut cream and simmer until the natural oils surface.  Quickly slide in the tilapia pieces and chilis.  Cook until fish are done and coconut sauce is creamy.  Serve with hot rice.

LaPiS-button is a bi-monthly FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY meme, Pinoy style! 

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Day 93: LaPiS - FLOUR

It's the last day to feature this theme for Lasang Pinoy, Sundays and so I make a photo-finish of an entry about it.  Aside from cooking, I also have a passion for baking and although I rarely have the time to explore many baking challenges, it remains to be one of my favorite stress busters.

This is a batch of brownies I made with sprinkles of chocolate candies on top.  They came out more gooey than cakey due to the lesser proportion of flour to cocoa I used.
Suffice to say, it was wiped out by my kids even before I could manage to store some in the fridge for another day.

Lasang Pinoy Sundays is a bi-monthly food photography meme, Pinoy style!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Day 92: Binignit/Guinataang Halo-Halo (Mixed Fruits and Root Veggies in Coconut Cream)

Having lived in the Visayas and now in Mindanao, I've observed how this simple snack item makes a regular appearance during Good Friday.  Almost every household prepares a huge pot of this creamy snack.  For this year, I asked our neighbor to just prepare a double batch of Binignit to include our family.  This is what we had for most of today.  Gorgeous chunks of banana, sweet potato, taro, yam and jackfruit with tapioca balls swimming in creamy coconut was a complete meal in itself, with the root vegetables taking the place of rice as carbohydrate source.  It is only now that I understand why this is a staple during Good Friday.  Since it's a day of fasting and abstinence, Binignit or Guinataang Halo-Halo can give the required daily sustenance while keeping you full throughout the day.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Day 91: Lovely in Green

During a visit to Kuya Jarred's school today to get his graduation photos and report cards, little Cailie decided to don another new shirt from Lola and Tita Tintin.  She chose this Old Navy hooded shirt in green with black stripes paired with her old denim shorts.  Cailie wore her Old Navy flip flops and pink sunglasses to complete the look.

She gamely posed for me as I took shots of her from different angles.  I'm so glad she's beginning to take interest in girlie fashion as she used to refuse anything that looked feminine.  Gone are the days she'd don a baseball cap and refuse to remove it unless it was bedtime already.  Whew!!!