Monday, May 31, 2010

Day 151: DVBS 2010

Every year, towards the end of summer and just before the start of the school year, my son's school hosts DVBS - Daily Vacation Bible School. For 5 straight days, they attend bible studies that are creatively-themed and filled with fun activities, songs and dances.  Fresh from her summer lesson stint, I let little Cailie join her Kuya Jarred for this event. From the minute she was handed her theme shirt, I knew it was a good decision to let her join. Even though there were a lot of preschool kids in her group, Cailie didn't go through the usual "separation anxiety" mode when I had to leave her during the first day. She just went about her activities and joined her class. Oh boy, my baby is indeed growing up!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Day 150: The Balanghay

This is a replica of the Balanghai boat which is the vessel used by the Malay settlers in the Philippines during pre-Hispanic times. It was the first wooden watercraft discovered in Southeast Asia and of the specimens unearthed in Butuan City, the oldest was dated back to 320 A.D. This meant that trading between the Philippines and the world had existed as early as this time. Most Balanghais were used to transport clans and families from the rest of the world into the Philippines. These watercrafts were entirely made of wood, including the pegs (nails) that were used to hold the planks together. The existence of the Balanghai showed the life of the early Filipinos which centered around fishing, trading, warfare and communication.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Day 149: BCLP 12

After attending BCBP Breakfasts since late last year, hubby and I are now eligible to undergo the Brotherhood Christian Life Program (BCLP). It is a 9-day journey consisting of 11 talks to reacquaint ourselves with our Christian life and the Brotherhood of Christian Businessmen and Professionals (BCBP).

So for the next 8 Saturdays, we will be attending 3-hour sessions together with our BCBP brothers and sisters. It will be a wonderful journey for both of us.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Day 148: Philippine National Flag Day

Today marks the Philippine National Flag Day to commemorate the very first time it was displayed in battle back in May 28, 1898. 

From today until Independence Day, June 12, we are enjoined to observe flag days wherein all government offices, business establishments and private residences are encouraged to display the Philippine flag. 

Let us pay respects to our country and to the flag we have sworn allegiance to by remembering all those who have sacrificed their lives for the freedom and democracy we have now.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Day 147: Doe-eyed

There's so much to be seen in our eyes...they are truly the windows to our soul. For this one-year old little lady, there is so much confidence and innocence behind those round orbs. It's as if CeeJae is telling me, "I can handle it, Mom. I'm made of sturdy stuff, you know."

Yes, my sweetheart, I know how a strong and advanced baby you are...but it's still a dangerous world out there. I need to protect you until you're ready to make it on your own. Until then, baby girl, rest assure that Daddy and Mommy will keep you in the secure fold of their love.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Day 146: Home

The reality of leaving the home I've known for the last 3 years hasn't really sunk in yet and I don't expect it to ever sit well with me. Ever since I left my parents' home  12 years ago, I've been someone who is NPA (No Permanent Address) and although we've managed to settle down in a nice house in General Santos City from 2001-2007, it never  felt like home...and I always preferred those out-of-town stays in hotels more. It was only when we moved to this handsome duplex in 2007 that I felt truly at home. 

It isn't something I can probably explain in's just how I feel in my heart. I've found peace and tranquility here...a place to call my own (even though we're just renting).

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Day 145: "Chloe" makes my day!!!

My day has been made very early this 2:56 am (MNL time) in fact.

I dozed off around 10:30 pm last night, and made a mental note that I had to wake up around 2:00 am to catch Mary Lynn Rajskub (Chloe O'Brian in the Fox series 24) in a Twitter chat. It was 20 minutes past the hour of 2 when I finally roused from sleep. When I rushed to the computer, there were already tons of questions posed to "Chloe". It was fun reading all the fan comments and q's. I posted several questions, hoping and praying she'll eventually be able to answer even just one of them. 

One of the questions I posed was this:

@rajskub #dammitchloe What was the hardest thing you had to do as "Chloe"?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Day 144: Self-Portrait

Believe it or not, I took this photo myself. With the  help of a small tripod, I propped my point-and-shoot on top of the television and made use of the timer function to click the shutter.

Since I couldn't get a perfect angle and distance, it took several tries before I decided I had enough decent shots. This "photo shoot" was done right after midday during a brownout. The room was like a sauna hence the sweat marks on my blouse and on my face.

Well, for a shoot that took less than 30 minutes to complete, I came up with some pretty good shots. 

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Day 143: Hawaiian Tuna Melt

After nearly two months of non-food posts, the foodie in me couldn't resist but feature what we had for breakfast today. Tuna is a well-loved staple in my household. I reckon it was a taste acquired during our 5-year stay in General Santos City, the tuna capital of the Philippines.  I make it a point to serve tuna-based dishes to my family from time-to-time. One of these is a regular breakfast or snack-time favorite - Pan de Tuna

Here's my quick and easy recipe...


3 cans Century Tuna (Solid in Water), drained and flaked
1 small can pineapple tidbits
1 pouch Mayo Magic or Salad n Sandwich spread
1/4 cup grated cheese
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
Cheez Whiz

In a bowl, mix together the flaked tuna, pineapple, mayo and cheese. Season with Italian dry herbs, salt and pepper. Spread tuna spread on one side of slitted pandesal and Cheez Whiz on the other. Toast in the oven for 3-5 minutes. 

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Day 142: Endangered

On my way back to the car after grocery shopping this morning, I chanced upon a small crowd along the sidewalk. Curious about the apparent commotion, I eased my way into the throng and discovered these animals being shown off by their handlers. When I saw these poor things being paraded for all to see, I had a sagging feeling inside. My first thought was that these may well be endangered species and shouldn't be peddled along the streets. I saw two uniformed policemen looking over from afar and decided to approach one of them to ask whether they knew which agency I should contact to report about the incident. Well, of course, they didn't know and I wasn't surprised that they didn't seem bothered by what they were seeing.

Further research online revealed that out of the three species above, the Philippine Sailfish lizard has been classified by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) as threatened or having high risk of endangerment in the wild. On the other hand, the Asian Palm Civet (Alamid) was categorized under least concern by the same entity and there wasn't any conservation status tagged to Monitor lizards. My primary fear about the Alamid is that there have been studies that have linked it to the SARS virus outbreak some years back. Regarding the Monitor lizard, their predatory nature and large size are factors that can hinder having them as pets.

For most people in the crowd, these animals seem to be some form of entertainment for them and it didn't seem they were concerned about their status. Personally, I think it really should be the lookout of every Filipino to be more conscious about our natural resources and ensuring their safety and care.

If you have any information about which government agency I should deal with to report this incident, please feel free to leave comments on this page. Your assistance is greatly appreciated.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Day 141: My Favorite Yellow

With the fever of the elections behind me, I can now feature something in the color yellow which has nothing to do with politics. Banana is my all-time favorite fruit - latundan, lakatan, saba - you name it, I love it! I like to eat it ripe, boiled, fried, in turon, or as maruya. I don't remember exactly how it ended up to my favorite but I guess it's because it's the easiest fruit to eat and I always found it around the house while I was growing up. My kids have taken after me - all three of them love bananas too! 

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Day 140: Telltale

In my previous post, I marveled on my beach tan and new hairstyle. What the photo on that entry failed to show is what I'm featuring here.

You don't have to look closely to notice the telltale signs of's screaming right at you. That's right, within my crowning glory nestles hundreds of silver strands, glimmering and shining for all to see. I'd have to say that premature graying runs in my family. My maternal grandmother has been sporting the coolest all-white 'do for decades now. My Mom has shared the same color in the last 5 years...imagine my current hairstyle in all-grey.

My stylist has tried to convince me more than once to have coloring and highlights done. He says it will do my short style justice. Wow! I'd love to but breastfeeding since 2006 has prevented me from going the dye route. If my 2nd daughter decides to follow her Atchie, it'll take me until 2012 (at the earliest) before I can consider having my locks colored. For the time being, let the silver in my hair remain as a symbol of growth and maturity.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Day 139: Sun-kissed

I'm a beach babe but I hate staying out in the sun too long so I've never really had a proper tan for several years now.

I didn't realize I spent quite a longer period under the sun during our brief summer sojourn in Padre Burgos. As a result, I came home with quite a sun-kissed look.

I was really planning to feature my new hairstyle in this entry but when the photos revealed my summer complexion I just couldn't resist blogging (and bragging) about it. I love my color and I love my hair! What do you think?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Day 138: Waiting for Daylight

In life, there are many surprises - some will sweep us off our feet and others may shock or even disappoint us. I'm the type of person who abhors getting rocked or being jolted out of my comfort zone. I absolutely hate it and it takes me a while before I can fully adapt and accept changes in my life. Suffice to say, I'm for those types of surprises that excite and bring happiness (hey, I'm only human...with human frailties).

As I look upon the horizon, I can see part-darkness and part-light...with yesterday's sorrows and failures behind me, I can only see today's uncertainty...and yet, there is a radiance that peeks in to tell me that tomorrow is another day and that I should embrace it with newfound hope and joy.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Day 137: Shaolin Girl

Compared to her two older siblings, CeeJae was born with a thin patch of hair and sported it until she turned 1. In contrast, Jarred and Cailie had thick and long hair by their first birthday. To remedy this, we decided to have her head fully shaved off to enable faster growth of her hair. Taking after her Kuya Jarred, we discovered that CeeJae has a perfectly-round head which makes her look like a little Shaolin master.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Day 136: Nuts over Coconuts

One of the best things I enjoyed during our short vacation in Padre Burgos, Southern Leyte is having my fill of fresh young coconut juice and its flesh every single day. Picked and cracked open right at my side, it was a refreshing way to cool off under the scorching heat of the sun. 

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Day 135: Familia Roden's Summer 2010

With a little over a month before a new school year begins, my family and I managed to sneak in a final beach frolic to cap the summer of 2010. Set in the rustic shoreline of Padre Burgos, Southern Leyte, the kids had their fill of sun, sea and stones (there wasn't much sand in the area). It also gave us the opportunity to reconnect with relatives from hubby's paternal side. My children never ran out of playmates as cousins and neighborhood kids always flocked them wherever they went. Refreshing summer breeze, crystal-clear sea water and the company of family and friends, summer in Eastern Visayas proved to be a wonderfully memorable one.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Day 134: Dawn of a New Day

Waking up to find this breathtaking scene before me gives hope for tomorrow and the future. There's so much to look forward to and a whole lot more to be thankful for.

May the beauty of God's creations continue to inspire us to become better Filipinos, better human beings and better Christians.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Day 133: Now it can be told...

For nearly a year now, the information on these pictures had been kept secret from my side of the family and most of my friends. A few friends and relatives did find out several weeks before elections through inconspicuous news articles online that they stumbled upon. I had my reasons for keeping mum about hubby's and my brother-in-law's political bids. If your family is a lot like mine, you'd understand why. Part of our campaign strategy was changing the mindset of people, opening their hearts and minds to what truly mattered. It was a different way of doing things given the limited resources we had.

Although the brothers failed in their election bid, they were successful in imparting themselves to the people of Southern Leyte and in letting them know that there is an alternative to the status quo. In hindsight, we bring with us numerous lessons and realizations foremost is that change IN men is not an overnight's a long and tedious process, one that maybe this experience allowed to begin. That in itself is a great achievement. Another huge success is embarking on a campaign that wasn't anchored on money but rather taken on foot and human energy. Presenting oneself to people face-to-face, going from barangay-to-barangay mostly on foot was certainly unorthodox but it was done.

After the election dust has dispersed, it all boiled down to what the people wanted and last May 10, the people of Southern Leyte made their choice. To a vast majority, the status quo was something they still could live with for the next 3 years.

To our friends and family, who in one way or another gave their support, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. For everyone who prayed for our safety during the entire campaign period, daghang salamat! 

Let me take this opportunity to thank the following people...

For their financial pledges and support:
Mrs. MARNIE H. GORDON-SAMBALIDO and the GORDON Family (Olongapo)
Mr. and Mrs. NONI LEGAS (Sultan Kudarat)
Atty. KATE A. GO (Cebu)
Ninang GINA T. FUENTES (Davao)
Engr. BRYAN REROMA (Canada)
Ninong and Ninang JOJO & CHICHI MACHACON (Davao)
Ms. JASMINE N. ONG (Quezon City)
Mrs. CHARITO C. NOVIO (Manila)
Mr. and Mrs. ALFREDO P. RODEN, SR. (Cebu)
Anonymous Donor (Cebu)

For volunteering their time, effort and energy during the campaign period:
Mr. and Mrs. ARTEMIO O. RODEN (Bato, Leyte)
Mr. and Mrs. LOLONG R. CELDRAN (Padre Burgos, Southern Leyte)
LENLEN PELIÑO (Padre Burgos, Southern Leyte)
JANET PELIÑO (Padre Burgos, Southern Leyte)
MARIO (Bato, Leyte)
Pastor RON (Pintuyan, Southern Leyte)
Pastor VERTUDAZO (San Ricardo, Southern Leyte)
Mr. and Mrs. ROMULO ALBA (Butuan City)
DXKS (Surigao City)

For their prayers and words of encouragement:
Mrs. EMIE R. LLANILLO and Family

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Day 132: Ballots Cast 170 & 211

Even though our entire family trooped to the Santo Rosario Elementary School before 10:00 am on election day, it was nearly noontime when hubby and brother-in-law, Jeff, finally got to vote. Since it was already lunchtime and the BEI's had to take their break, it left my father-in-law and myself still in line waiting for our turn.

It was a good thing that the poll assistants took the initiative to make a list of those still in line  so that they still retained their place in the line after the noontime break. 

I got a text message from my father-in-law that the voting had resumed and they had already called the first 20 people on the list.  I was glad that in the nearly two hour break, I was able to have a decent lunch with my family and had a short nap to recharge. When I got to the school, there was still a pretty long line there although the people were now waiting for their names to be called as the polling people already had a list of those previously in line.

After about half an hour of waiting, I found myself finally inside the polling precinct. After the initial identification check, I was given my copy of the official ballot. For someone who actually read up on the entire process and knew of the do's and don'ts, I didn't think I'd still feel a bit clammy and scared once I got the ballot. After choosing a seat, I carefully set my ballot down on the table, taking extreme care not to crease or fold it unnecessarily. I paid careful attention to my marking pen and the position of the hand holding it too. I didn't want to blot the sides of the ballot in fear that it may invalidate it.

Since I knew my list of candidates by heart already, it only took me about less than 3 minutes to accomplish the entire thing. I took another minute or two to check front and back, making sure I didn't overvote and I shaded the ovals correctly. When I approached the PCOS machine, I had to wait awhile as there was a lady who was having a problem feeding her ballot. I believe it was the 3rd or 4th time her ballot was rejected. I saw the tears slowly forming in her eyes, the hope in her heart that for the final time, her ballot gets fed into the machine. And thank God, in her last chance, she made it! Ha! Then it was my turn to feel afraid and unsure...I was praying over and over, "Dear God, please let my vote be counted...please!"

I glanced at the screen to look at the ballot count as advised by my online volunteer friends right before feeding in my ballot. After inserting my ballot, I waited for a few seconds and I whispered a prayer of thanks once I saw the word "CONGRATULATIONS" on the screen. I was vote #211 in my clustered precinct. Later on, I found out from hubby that his was vote #170. It was a milestone in Philippine election history and we knew we had to take a photo of our index fingers as proof. We now sport the latest "in" thing - indelible ink on our finger.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Day 131: Right to Suffrage

After nearly two decades, I find myself lining up once again to exercise my right to vote. There were a lot of differences this time around - for one, this is the first time in Philippine election history that an automated election process was conducted, another thing is that I shifted precincts from the city in 1992 to the barrio in 2010. I didn't experience the crowded feel and confusion I did when I voted in QC.  There were only about 500+ registered voters in our clustered precinct so the line was pretty much shorter than in most areas and there was quite an order and organization in both the people and the process.  

It was fun to observe both the old and young alike experiencing pre-voting jitters...unsure of the process and yet excited to exercise their right. To most, the PCOS (Precinct Count Optical Scanner) was like an alien monster that they had to overcome only to breathe a sigh of relief upon seeing the word "CONGRATULATIONS" on the screen as soon as their ballot was fed into the machine. Lining up may have lasted hours but the voting process itself took only about 5 minutes or less. The elderly certainly changed their initial impression of the automated election process once they experienced how easy it was compared to the old way of doing things.

It was far from perfect and it was not without its share of problems and criticism but certainly, this year's elections was a huge step towards a better election process in the future.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Day 130: PILIPINAS and SoLey...on a balance...

This is the paradise in SoLey that's awaiting a bright tomorrow...Together with the rest of the nation, its future is hanging on a balance.

Today is Election Day...Go out and exercise your right to vote!

Your country and fellow Filipinos need you to make a stand for a principled choice. Whatever happens to us and the future generation lies in your mighty hands.

I pray that tomorrow will be as clear and as beautiful as what you can see here. I see hope and peace on the horizon. May God keep us in the safety of His bosom and may He bless us all!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Day 129: Mommy and Mama

On this special day, I pay tribute to two mothers who are my inspiration and source of strength in my own journey in motherhood.


Thank you for all the sacrifices you've done to give us a good life and a bright future. It is only now that I understand how difficult it must have been for you to balance your duties as a dedicated pediatrician and your obligations as a wife and mother. 

Please forgive me for failing to acknowledge your efforts by focusing on what I couldn't see. I learned to appreciate your brand of motherhood only when I became one myself. It was a trying experience for me. 

I will never forget how you rushed to my side when I gave birth to Jarred and Cailie. We were spared so much hardship with you at the helm during my two deliveries. You taught us well, Mom. So well, in fact, Jerome and I made it on our own when our bunso, CeeJae was born. You'd be proud of us...

As a doting Mommy Lola, you never cease to think about your grandchildren and provide for their needs. The kids always remember you whenever they get hold of the precious toys or wear the attractive clothing you so lovingly gave them.

Thank you will never be enough Mom. Please remember that we love you very much!


How can I possibly put into words the gratitude and love I have for you in raising a wonderful son like Jerome? You've had your share of hardship and trials in raising 5 boys, almost all on your own. It must have been chaotic and scary but you've managed and all of them grew up to be exceptional young men.

Thank you for accepting me into your family and treating me like your own. I value the assistance and support you give us whenever we need a hand with the kids or we're strapped for cash.

When Mommy wasn't able to come home when I gave birth to CeeJae, you were the one who assisted us in taking care of her. You made sure I was well enough to care for the new baby myself before you returned home.

Your apos look forward to their Cebu visits because they can spend time with you. I'm touched by your generosity and kind heart. 

On this day, I wish my two mothers a very HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!!! Both of you have taught me to cherish motherhood and enjoy its ups and downs. I love you both! 

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Day 128: A Song of Hope

The very first time I heard this song, it moved me to tears. Listening to it awakened the dying embers of my love for country. More than anything, it gave me gave me reason to believe I can dream again - not for myself but for my children and theirs. 

Before viewing the video, look at the lyrics below first, scan one time. Then play the video while looking at the lyrics. *** I purposely blocked out the lyrics containing names so as you can appreciate the song for its message and not as campaign material.

Regardless of who you're choosing to lead this country, may you find strength, inspiration and hope in this song as I have.

Jose Villanueva III

Gumising ka na, buksan ang iyong mata
Sabayan ang pagsikat ng bagong umaga
Bumangon ka na, wag kang mag-alala
Sa biyahe ng buhay kasama kita
Sa hamon ng bukas, sa bawat pagsubok
Abutin ang tagumpay hindi tayo susuko
Ikaw ang pinaka–hihintay mo
Ikaw ang pagbabago, tayo ang pagbabago

Bagong bayan, bagong puso,
Bagong pag-asa, bagong kamalayan

Pilipinas tulong-tulong, hindi uurong
Tayo ang bagong bayan… (woooh… woooh…) Repeat 4X

Gising, bangon, tumayo na
Harapin mo ang bagong umaga
Sumabay ka na tatagan ang iyong puso
Manalig, mangarap hindi ka mabibigo
Tayo ang makabagong bayanihan

Tayo ang bayani ng bayan
Ipagmalaki mo ang iyong kulay
Ngayon natin ipakita ang ating husay
Pumiglas sa gapos ng kahapon
Wasakin ang pader ng iyong utak ngayon
Sa pag-asa na bukas taas noo
Matayog ang lipad ng pangarap mo
Sa bawat laban lahat tayo ay bida
Sugpuin ang kalaban, ang tuso, ang siga
Panahon na para buhayin ang pangarap
Tayong lahat magsisilbing liwanag.

Bagong bayan, bagong puso,
Bagong pag-asa, bagong kamalayan
Pilipinas tulong tulong, hindi uurong.
Tayo ang bagong bayan… (woooh… woooh…)

Tayo ang bagong bayan… (woooh… woooh…)
GORDON AT BAYANI (woooh… wooooh… )
Tayo ang bagong bayan… (woooh… woooh…)
GORDON AT BAYANI(woooh… wooooh… )
Tayo ang bagong bayan… (woooh… woooh…)
GORDON AT BAYANI(woooh… wooooh… )
Tayo ang bagong bayan… (woooh… woooh…)
GORDON AT BAYANI(woooh… wooooh… )
Tayo ang pagbabago
Ngayon na ang pagbabago, Bagong Bayan
Gordon at Bayani. Tayo ang pagbabago
Ngayon na ang pagbabago, Bagong Bayan
Gordon at Bayani.