Life in Pictures : Writing on Me-Time Mornings

rsz_1mbp_pinkIn just a few weeks, we will now be ushering in the ‘ber’ months, if you are like any Filipina mom I know, we all get giddy and excited around what the ‘ber’ months bring, cooler days, family celebrations, reunions, more holidays to bond with kids. Before we welcome September, let me share with you several scenes from my working-mommy-world.

Work Shoes

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My roster of work shoes is a reflection of my season in life. It is a mix of footwear that can take me from posh events to roughing it out with kids to errands days. Mommies, look around the shoes you wear and thank God not for the shoes, but what you wear them for.

Faith Matters

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I have learned to appreciate how God has enriched culture, a culture that stretches out and gets reflected on families, how you decorate your house, how you celebrate with friendships. I am also passionate about faith and it is critical to have both culture and faith aligned with what the Bible calls as truth. Thanking God for taking me to places whose culture and faith are different from mine, tugs at your heart to have the passion to know what to pray for. Opens your eyes from what you want to be thankful for and opens your doors to friendships that allow you to share a kind of peace that can be present even in the midst of being different.

Leaving Footprints

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20150821_091932-1There was this pocket restaurant near Mekong River in Laos that provides an entire wall for any visitor to leave notes. More than just looking at the wall full of notes, brings me to the walls in my workplace that tells everyone what we want to be famous for. As wives and moms, what notes do we want to leave behind and what do we want to be famous for?

View from the Boardroom

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Boardrooms have a way of limiting your views. It is so easy to see yourself as just an integral part of the boardroom, blurring everything else that you need to play as your role. It blurs away your urgent need to go home to complete homeschooling for your kids, or blurs away the weather outside, or blurs away the excessive time you spend in the boardroom. I especially like the boardrooms that gives you the real view outside. It reminds you about the real reasons why you work, the real reasons why you want to excel and reminds you about the beauty of what God surrounds you with as you work, as you play mom, as you play wife.

Kids’ Imprint Everywhere

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Of course, I forever thank God for my boys and mini-me at home. It helps grow me, give me more than enough reasons to be happy, and gives you a reason to get up each morning. Brings you back and clues you in to what makes their world turn. Gives you laughter days, rough it out in play days and even travel days!

Holding Hands While Driving

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I married a man who hears from God, fully trusting his leadership in the family and in our marriage. I am sure that no matter how brilliant my ideas to lead are, the role to be both a mom and dad for my family is something that I have not been wired to play, my big God will always have a way of telling my husband how to lead, without me taking away his role to lead in the family. This is not meant to discount what great things God has been doing for single moms. Thanking God for being the purposeful and Sovereign God who is a personal God of perfect timing, aligned with our seasons and roles in life. So let there just be one driver in the car, but feel free to hold his hand, and squeeze it with love and a wink or smile anytime.

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Wake Up Healthier, Mommies!

rsz_1mbp_pinkWaking up to best health is one of the best things Moms can do to their families. With mommy responsibilities requiring us to get up early and sleep late, we can take all the help we can get in keeping our bodies healthy. To keep up with the demands of being a mom, there is nothing more important than our well-being. You may have everything you may want in life, but being healthy is the most important condition to enjoy life, without limitation or fear. ATC Healthcare believes in the same principle; health is the greatest possession in life.

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Being healthy requires more than just working out and eating the right food. In fact you can follow a specific diet all you like but if not combined with the right exercise and without food supplements like ATC Fish Oil, these can be useless. ATC Fish Oil contains Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Eicosapentaenioc Acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) which aids in lowering blood pressure, triglycerides and LDL cholesterol levels. ATC Fish Oil is also known to have capabilities in protecting the body from heart attack and stroke. ATC Fish Oil is recommended to be taken one capsule with warm water before every meal. ATC Fish Oil is available at P6.00 per capsule in all leading drugstores nationwide. Protect your heart from the stresses of daily living, protect yourself with ATC Fish Oil. To get more tips about heart health, like ATC Fish Oil on Facebook – www.fb.com/ATCFishOilSoftgel.

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Do you hate Workday Mondays? Read up!

rsz_1mbp_pinkI am sure you have heard about Monday Blues, Monday Jitters or Sluggish Monday. I have heard Monday called everything but I am yet to hear one thank God for a Monday! I am not sure if you realize but it has been found out that every person works at an average of 90,000 worked hours in a lifetime. By WORK, we do not just mean those who are employed full time outside the home, this includes students who labor for excellent grades, those who run their businesses, those who run the homes full time, in short, everyone has been created for a form of work, we have been wired to function as how we have been purposed to function. The internet has a lot of things to say about work, media has a long list of opinions, your friends have something to say about it, your neighbour gets to have a say on it, and even your hairdresser has a perspective about your work. But who do we really go to in order for us to find out what ‘work’ should be for?

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When God created me and when Mom gave birth to me, I am pretty sure I did not come with any manufacturer’s manual or a user guide for my mom to use. It just makes sense that the one who has created me is the authority who can also tell me what I have been created for. So when God has wired and purposed me to be the working mom (works outside the home) I am now, it is just right for me to look at Biblical truths that define what work should be for a mom like me.

  1. God created work

10 God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good. – Genesis 1:10

God Himself worked. But what was interesting to see was to discover that work is something that was referred to as ‘good’. So work has always meant to make things better. Work that is not good can very well be named a burden. So when one does say ‘work’, I hope that it does not create an image of discomfort or hassle or worst, unwanted labor. Work has been created to be good and pleasant and a blessing. As we know, God does not add any trouble to any form of blessing. So if work is not something good for you, ask God and see if you are doing that which you have been created to do. Is it right for you to work, if so, do you have the right job? Are you able to honor God with your work? Are you able to balance your priorities (mine is God, husband, children, ministry, work and everything else) with your job? God created work that is meant to be enjoyable, fun and rewarding. Otherwise, we can ask God to redeem the way you view work and God’s purpose of work for you.

  1. God works

God has modelled work for us, instead of asking the angels to do the work for Him. God has always been working in our behalf, even up until today, I do not think God is in the habit of checking out. He is committed to continue to work so He can prepare our eternal paradise. Scientists would know that the Earth if it moves an inch closer to the sun, it will burn and if it moves an inch farther from the sun, it will freeze. Who do you think keeps the Earth on track, or who keeps it away from crashing with the gazillion things in space?

  1. We Should Work

By this, I mean, do the work that God has created us to have. If it is to stay at home fulltime, to work outside the home, to run your own business, so be it! Work is your personal Garden of Eden, it is personal and if you are not yet sure if you are tilling your Garden of Eden at this point, ask God about your calling and what God has created you for. It is most likely aligned with what God has trained you for. God has also made your calling desirable and rewarding for you. This is what work as calling does to moms like us, if you are doing the work you should be doing, you cannot go wrong and will inevitably grow and abound in it. On the other hand, if you are exhausting time, effort and money on work that is not part of your calling, you may be working yourself to death but may never find the joy and the fulfilment that only the ‘work’ God has prepared you for can bring.

If unsure, ask what your strengths, gifting and skills are. What do you find most joyful doing? How are the people around you responding to your role? Whatever your work is, it helps to have a support group who share the same values as you do. Does your support group empower you to be the woman God has created you to become? Does it encourage you to play the roles you play for your family, friendships, work or ministry? Does it create an avenue to raise your questions or share your challenges about your season in life? Does it point you to the truth that is not reliant on what majority has to say or a truth that creates a need for you to please people? Feel free to comment your “why’s” about work below.

ptrdemsPoints used above have been quoted with permission from a Sunday worship service message of Ptr. Dems Villanueva of Victory Nova.

Join my July Blog giveaway here and take home a Salav 1.6L Garment Steamer from Lazada

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To all Moms Who Work Nights and Used to Work Nights, This is For You!

hellokityWith more and more industries demanding 24/7 operational hours, and with more and more women being added to the workforce year on year, it makes sense to take the time to honor all the moms who get to work at night. Just as when the world is gearing up for bed to sleep, moms who work at night get to prep for transit and for an 8 or 9-hour work shift. I used to work nights myself for a collective number of 6 years and working now during the day for close to five years, I will have to say that I have enough years of experience to write about the joys and dips of working nights. Most moms who work  nights would bend over backwards just to make sure the kids will never have to notice that mom went to work while I was sleeping.  And so the vicious cycle of staying up to as much as 18 to 20 hours a day is sometimes required. Moms who work nights would get home and join breakfast, function auto pilot as if she also had 8-hour-sleep. Engage in conversation around news, how everyone will spend their days and plan for the weekends (where moms don’t get to sleep until Saturday night coming off work Saturday mornings).

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Back when I used to work nights, my day hours would stretch to noon, just in time to ensure all kids have taken a bath and your ever reliable household help angel has prepped everything for lunch. Then it is finally time to sleep. Yes, just as the afternoon sun has kicked in, in all its hotness glory, it is time to sleep. Imagine following this rigor every summer. Thank God for air-conditioning units. Unless you leave your bedroom door open, one or two hours into sleep, you hear little knocks on the door, your toddler or any of your kids wanting to cuddle. This is where you can make things work by encouraging kids to have afternoon naps with you. I just hope that what they want is cuddle and not play time because if so, you can say goodbye to your planned 6 hours sleep and ease your way off bed for a 4-hour sleep instead.

Of course, the same cycle repeats itself because before you know it, evening news is on which signals you to get going and prep for work. So how did I make it work while working nights?

  1. God is my 24/7 God – bigger than any of the things I encounter – Working at nights did not have to change the way I see my season with God. Whether you wake up at 5pm or at 5am, you can go get your Bible, read up on God’s promises and believe Him for His perfect timeline and perfect control over things that may seem overwhelming for you. Learned how not to focus on anything that can be a source of worry, doubt, discouragement or tension just by believing who God is and what He can do over my season. Doing this overtime and you certainly realize that you wake up with a fresh supply of faith, strength and joy day on day (or night on night J). Because there are a lot of things I don’t get to do myself or be on top of while I work at night,  all the more reasons that I clung on to God and have Him take care of the things I cannot control and take care of. I may not be able to keep an eye on my family at night but God can. I may not be present on everything during the day but God is present. This is the biggest assurance I had that allowed me to trust, depend and rely on God heavily.
  2.  Communication Is Also Open at Night – ways to communicate may be different, thus, most moms would find communicating challenging. You can maintain normalcy by making ‘how are you doing’ phone calls to husband anytime. If your husband is like mine, he would also be up on my 4am break just so he can ask if I already had lunch. Otherwise, you can always wait until you get home in time for breakfast. It can get challenging only if husband would have a totally opposite schedule than you do. There was a season when I would work nights and husband would be on mid-shift, making it impossible for us to share a meal for 5 straight days. Other than using the phone real-time, this was when a Logbook came in handy. Husband and I agreed to write down our thoughts when we get home and before we leave home. This sustained us for half a year. We still sometimes get back to reading the logbook whenever we thank God for sustaining us through different seasons of our marriage and family life. Where other couples would take aligned work hours for granted, this season ultimately changed the way we view our time with each other count. We would never have discovered that we can arrange a child’s birthday party via a logbook update (that’s for another writing J).
  3.  Do not be such a Darna – this is where you agree to have all the help you can get from your family and friends. Make your schedule work around what is important, knowing when to prioritize taking time off some nights to be there for kids’ milestones. It is an advantage that most school events are during the day, although the downside to it is having less hours of sleep before another worknight. Never commit the mistake of wearing the grouchy hat when you are home. Better ask help from family and friends when things get too taxing for you (e.g. after recreation activities for kids with extended family, afternoon playdate with friends, or even catch up afternoons with your kids’ ninongs and ninangs). Imagine it from your kids’ limited perspective. You never want to be the mom who is always asleep or the mom who is grouchy when awake.

momCritical to making this work is being honest with your spouse. Develop a transparent relationship with your spouse, do not be afraid to seek help or discuss your options when needed.

I am taking my hats off to ALL moms who work nights, moms whose heart for family is just as big as those who work during the day. To all the moms who stay home, work from home or step out of the house to work, thanking you for all your labor and love for all the kids who make up today’s world. For the stay at home moms whose work is equal to those who work full time, thanks for being the kind of mom you are and for showing us all that mommyhood is both fun and fulfilling. Happy Mothers’ Day to all!momsaffiliate

God’s promises whether you sleep at night or during the day:

 In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety. Psalm 4:8

When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Proverbs 3:24

Working Mom, What Type are You?

I don’t know if you realize but it was 1985 when the movie Back to the Future was shown. The movie showed what 2015 will look like when Michael J. Fox (played the Marty role) set the dialler to October 21, 2015. Guess what, they got biometrics, plasma flat screen TVs and video calls accurately. However, there was only one working woman on the movie, Linda McFly, sister of Marty McFly. What the movie missed showing about 2015 is the fact that 68% of the entire women population is now part of the workforce, which we now know as working moms. So with millions of working moms around your neighbourhood, workplace, kids’ schools, communities and church, It makes sense to meet all shapes and sizes of working moms. Please note that from the list below, there is no wrong working mom type to be. You may even be a combination of two working mom types or able to relate to one while developing to be another type as you read. We will look at different types of working moms in the hope that readers like you will be able to identify and know what type you are and be able to relate, help and bless other types you meet.

Boss in Stilettos – Bosses in stilettos are typically your working moms who built and run their own businesses or who assumes one of the highest, if not the highest positions in the company. These are the ones who walk into their offices with the best view in the building or the working moms who are decision makers in the workplace. Now the bosses in stilettos cannot be fooled once they’re home. They make careers out of parenting, sometimes going to the extreme of tiring their kids with too many Train-Me-To-Be-the-Best-Adult program plans, all while their kids attend school and social activities such as regular playdates. Bosses in stilettos also have some of the most expensive hobbies, such as shopping when not doing anything, which we will rightfully call as Bosses in stiletto’s reward system. Do not take offense getting a “No” from this type of working mom, calendar is simply jampacked and will not be able to squeeze in things that will never make her achieve her measures of success. She will most likely be found scouting for the best educational tool or booking the next educational/fun trip with the family versus working on a cross-stitched picture to frame. What will help the Bosses in Stilettos are secured husbands, friends who can keep up with her schedule and family who are willing to adjust reunions to her best available time.

Strengths: knows her priorities, no people-pleasing syndrome, full of faith and focused on meeting life goals.

Potential Weakness: if taken to extreme, can be found not spending time with the kids, delegating everything to household helpers or deciding over the husband. blog7pic1

Caped Working Mom – Caped working moms is of different breed, these are the moms who have more things than they should have on their plates. These are the working moms who need to show up at work for 8 hours, help their kids’ homework every night, attend parent-teachers’ conference, while agreeing to host the next cake party for the neighbourhood, while agreeing to be on the organizers’ board of the upcoming high school reunion. Caped working moms are often found too tired with too many things that they end up cancelling or not showing up at all. If you feel like you are unable to meet your committed deadlines or promised dates, take a self-check and see if you are a caped working mom. Caped working moms never leave their cape at home, they are prone to getting more than they can chew at work, too. Remember the time when you said yes to a co-workers’ simple request that you finish off the rest of her gazillion projects on her desk? Yep, as a simple favour, you said yes. After all, you and your cape will be able to do it. Take a realistic double-turn and look at yourself from a day on day perspective. No scorecard to keep up if you will say no to your kids’ teachers’ whim that you lead the next moms-in-costumes social gathering.

Strengths: best person to ask in a sudden cry for help (the hero who saves the day), always spots a need and a way to be of help

Potential Weakness: may tend to decide to work on everything instead of asking for help, yes-person and unable to follow priorities.

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Auto-Play Working Mom – all buttoned up to the neck and has no ‘pause’ button with anything. Can help a little me-time and downtime with other working moms. These are the ones who are bent on taking all offered ‘overtime hours’ and raking in the cash to the family’s treasure box. Most likely to have one or more kids all under 6 years old. Feel free to ask an auto-play working mom to your next moms’ coffee date and hope she welcomes it. Will be blessed to be surrounded by friends who will proactively ask to help in any way they can and remind an auto-play mom that she can have the best of both mom and wife roles by taking the time to smell the flowers. Offer a non-work-related hobby or two or a make-over! Auto play working moms work best with friends who have the heart to live a work-life-balance. Yep, always show up on a date with an auto-play working mom with a flashcard that says: There is social life waiting after work.

Strengths: Most likely to be promoted and bag that competitive pay rate

Potential Weakness: prone to burnout and may find herself without friends or without a social life.

Butterfly Working Mom – butterflies known for their relaxed flutter, beauty and gentle spirit. Butterflies who are best known to add beauty to any place is the type of working mom who adds value to work, family, parenting and marriage. Butterfly working moms know when to stop work, leave work in the office, wear the apron, cook with loving hands, get dirty playing mud with kids on weekends, while setting up a weekly date night with husband. Butterfly working moms are not afraid to wear jeans with a wedge versus the usual crisp white work-clothes she wears on weekdays. Knows what makes her happy and is not afraid to ask help, seek guidance from another mom friend (may be a working mom or a stay-at-home mom). Not afraid to show passion about love for God, and decides according to the values she believes in. This is a working mom who has learned to delegate when she knows she will be unable to do things on her own, and is not apprehensive about taking a step back in controlling things at home. May find happiness in seeing kids learn and try things on their own, commit a mistake or two and do not expect husband or kids to be perfect. Butterfly working moms cannot be found without a group of other women speaking life to her while wearing numerous hats on her head. Sit right next to her and you will find her speaking to you about how beautiful the weather is or how the Philippines, even with the sad news of crime around is still a safe haven for her kids. The butterfly working mom sees herself as valuable and no different from her stay-at-home counterparts. Secure in her identity before God and her season as a working mom, may be open to shifting to become a stay-at-home mom, if God points her to do so.

Zensibilities Day Spa – Anniversary Promo

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On February 15, 2015 marks Zensibilities Day Spa’s first year of operation. Inviting everyone to come by to celebrate their 1ST ANNIVERSARY.

Zensibilities Day Spa will be giving out FREEBIES to the first 10 clients tomorrow, February 15 plus a lot of surprise PROMOS every hour for the whole day. 

Please reserve early before all slots get taken. See you there on Sunday.

For reservation, please call:

9452838
9580758
09058581028
09466393162

or visit https://www.facebook.com/zensibilitiesdayspa/timeline?ref=page_internal

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No More “Hearts’ Day Hurts“ Day

Flower shops/kiosks mushrooming at every corner, chocolates sales all over the place, date movies showing, long list of concert options, even hot air balloon festivals! Valentine’s Day has evolved over time and with the commercial scene getting creative year after year, I’m sure there will be new things to do by Valentine’s Day 2016.

Take a closer look with me. What’s up for Valentine 2015? Then look through them through the thought balloon of a working mom.

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Working Mom to Single Women : Want to Meet Mr. Right? Pray to be Ms. Right!

Valentine’s Day is never exclusive to those who are in relationships. In fact, it should be an opportunity to look at the Godly friendships you have. Do not expect to have a Godly marriage any other way, other than through Godly friendships. So never commit the mistake of skipping maintaining friendships. However, do not go to the other extreme of keeping a potential-husband-scorecard for all of your guy friends. Friendship should provide an avenue of allowing your real self to show and knowing your guy friends without his best-foot-forward-attitude. Flashback to Jerry McGuire’s: “You complete me” moment. Never miss the fact that your being complete does not depend on and will never depend on your future spouse. God is the only one who can prepare your heart and your character to be complete. It is when you are complete with God that you become Ms. Right. And when you have become Ms. Right, then it is perfect time to meet whoever God has reserved to be your Mr. Right. You never know, the friend you have had for several years now may be the Mr. Right God has, waiting for you. So before you plan to orchestrate a mushy moment with your guy best friend at the Martin, Regine, Gary, Lani Ultimate Concert, be your real self who gets confidence from knowing what God is capable of doing with your future marriage.

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Working Mom to Single Moms: Finding Someone who Loves God more than He does Love you

May sound unfair from the world’s view but it is only through loving God that everything else that needs to be fixed, gets fixed by God (not by you). Because if a man loves God, he will automatically be the best provider for your family, he knows that everything belongs to God and he will make a good steward of what he has been given. If a man loves God, he will automatically make a best dad to your kids, because his parenting will be coming from the heart and will never be just an obligation to pick up. If a man loves God, he will automatically be the man of your dreams because he knows that love and respect is what you need and is on a lifelong project of pursuing you. You will never go wrong with a man who loves God above all. So grow your relationship with God, with your children, with your family, with your career(or studies), watch Tangled with your kids and pay attention as Eugene quotes: “She is a Princess worth waiting for”.

Working Mom to Self: Love is a Decision

Frozen’s Princess Anna’s “Love is an Open Door” may just very well be that, a catchy song. Definitely, not all open doors will lead you to love. If it will, then your love story will be reduced to a string of trial and error experience, breakups and heartaches. Tiring Valentine’s day after another. Love is a decision you make with a covenant with God, after all, there is no perfect marriage. And if you develop the habit of quitting at the slightest hint of difficulty in marriage, then you may very well have given up on trusting God for what He can do over your marriage. Do not start the vicious cycle of jumping from one imperfect marriage to the next imperfect marriage, mistakenly searching for a perfect marriage or a perfect spouse who does not exist. The only way to juggle everything going on with family, house, work, finances, parenting, etc. is to know and value which things will last and which won’t. You can always be at a Valentine dinner all throughout the year. A Valentine’s date is not just a moment you can only have on February 14, but only an expression of what you’ve always had in your marriage for a lifetime. Never equate the size of a bouquet of flowers to how much your spouse loves you, or the cost of the dinner date as a test of how far he will go to show you that he loves you. Sure, these are all good things and if you have Valentine dates as staples in your marriage, make sure it doesn’t define the level of love in your marriage but as an expression of celebration of love and a display of the same unconditional love you have received from God.

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Lastly, Valentine’s Day is also a family day. Whether single, married or a single mom, you can always spend a day or a night of love with your family. This is what Pyromusicals are for, a movie night at home, or an entertaining, singing telegram to kids. That’s kissing “Hearts’ Day Hurts” Day goodbye, for good.

Feel free to comment below about what you will do on Valentine’s Day 2015.

Best Time to Travel? With kids!

With 7,107 islands to choose from in the tropical country of the Philippines, it makes sense to get kids started early with traveling. However, most parents get intimidated with taking their brood to transport transfers, car/plane rides or the thought of serving them whatever local food available. So travel we must, took kids to Caramoan Islands, Polillo Island, Baguio tour and recently, took an Ilocos tour with kids and family. Read on as I pick up on where I left off with learning a thing or two on traveling with kids.

Day 1 Pagudpud Pagod & Pudpud? (Tired & Spent?) Nah! Pagudpud’s a Blast!

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Since Quezon City to Ilocos is around 8 to 9 hours travel time (through NLEX to SCTEX to TPLEX), car ride with kids can make or break the trip. Kids Travel Tip#1 Travel Overnight Since the kids were too sleepy to mind, they just slept their way through the ride and spared ourselves from unnecessary stops and from too many “Are we there yet?” questions. Destination is not a problem for Ilocos because they have tons of things you can do and visit once you’re there.

Cape Bojeador Lighthouse guides international ships from the north away from the rocky coast of northwestern Luzon. Note that restorations are currently underway to keep it in top condition. Never let your kids take off with all the scaffoldings around.

Cape Bojeador - Ice cream/popsicles are great enders for kids, cones are sold from Php40 to Php100 (more costly than when you would buy them from Manila).
Cape Bojeador – Ice cream/popsicles are great enders for kids, cones are sold from Php40 to Php100 (more costly than when you would buy them from Manila).

 

Kapurpurawan Rock Formation and Bangui Windmills

Kids Travel Tip#2 wear appropriate shoes. A sturdy pair with appropriate sole that should be okay with rocks, pebbly beach, sand, slippery rock formation.

Kapurpurawan Rock Formation & Bangui Windmills – There’s no way kids will endure afternoon sun so visit in the morning. Caps/visors/bandannas are ideal to give you squint-free pictures. See my squinting David above
Kapurpurawan Rock Formation & Bangui Windmills – There’s no way kids will endure afternoon sun so visit in the morning. Caps/visors/bandannas are ideal to give you squint-free pictures. See my squinting David above
Agua Grande Resort – rarely visited due to cold water where river meets the sea. Natural pond is kids-friendly, just make sure they stay away from walking or jumping around large boulders of rocks around it.
Agua Grande Resort – rarely visited due to cold water where river meets the sea,designed with an Infinity-pool-style river to sea ponds. Natural pond is kids-friendly, just make sure they stay away from walking or jumping around large boulders of rocks around it.
Pagudpud Beach – Hannah’s Resort had countless animals, movie characters and dinosaur sculptures around the pristine white sand, thus, it is considered the Boracay of the North.
Pagudpud Beach – Hannah’s Resort had countless animals, movie characters and dinosaur sculptures around the pristine white sand, thus, it is considered the Boracay of the North.
Kabigan Falls – 30 minute trek (both uphill and downhill) with several mini-bridges to cross. Kids may opt to skip the bridge and walk across mini-rivers, adds to their nature adventure experience.
Kabigan Falls – 30 minute trek (both uphill and downhill) with several mini-bridges to cross. Kids may opt to skip the bridge and walk across mini-rivers, adds to their nature adventure experience.
Bantay Abot Cave – going up the cave can be tricky. David seen above with a sad face, kids not allowed to climb the highest rock on the cave.
Bantay Abot Cave – going up the cave can be tricky. David seen above with a sad face, kids not allowed to climb the highest rock on the cave.
Patapat Viaduct where adults can get off the car for a pic. Not encouraging kids to pose for a pic as the long and zigzag road is actually a highway and 4th longest bridge in the Philippines, overlooking Pasaleng Bay.
Patapat Viaduct where adults can get off the car for a pic. Not encouraging kids to pose for a pic as the long and zigzag road is actually a highway and 4th longest bridge in the Philippines, overlooking Pasaleng Bay.

Day 2 Laoag Ranked #1 Destination in Region I

Bacarra Leaning Bell Tower & Museum – Keep an eye on the kids as you go close around the tower, the leaning bell tower comes with falling debris once in a while.

Bacarra Leaning Bell Tower and Museum - The flat areas around it provide a big space for play. Just make sure to keep voices down as it sits right next to St. Andrew Parish.
Bacarra Leaning Bell Tower and Museum – The flat areas around it provide a big space for play. Just make sure to keep voices down as it sits right next to St. Andrew Parish.
Caption: Paoay Church – National Cultural Treasure, UNESCO World Heritage Site. Can be a quick historical stop before heading to Paoay Sand Dunes and Herencia Restaurant.
Paoay Church – National Cultural Treasure, UNESCO World Heritage Site. Can be a quick historical stop before heading to Paoay Sand Dunes and Herencia Restaurant.

Kids Travel Tip#3 Happy Kids with Happy Tummies

Saramsam Restaurant – bagnet, pinakbet and pansit. Kids enjoyed these with rice. Iced tea flavor may be too strong for kids, though. Serve them chilled fruit juice or serve them water/soda (like we did)
Saramsam Restaurant – bagnet, pinakbet and pansit. Kids enjoyed these with rice. Iced tea flavor may be too strong for kids, though. Serve them chilled fruit juice or serve them water/soda (like we did)
Herencia serves specialty pizza. Dinuguan pizza surprisingly was a favorite of the kids, they also tried Pinakbet pizza, Bagnet Pizza and Gamet (Seaweed) Pizza.
Herencia serves specialty pizza. Dinuguan pizza surprisingly was a favorite of the kids, they also tried Pinakbet pizza, Bagnet Pizza and Gamet (Seaweed) Pizza.
Craving for Halo-Halo, tried the one right outside Herencia.
Craving for Halo-Halo, tried the one right outside Herencia.

Day3 Vigan Newest Among 7 Wonder Cities of the World

Kids Travel Tip#4 Take the Calesa Ride Vigan Tour made easy. Rented calesas and went on a convoy of horses while singing Pentatonix tunes with kids. They forgot to mind the heat and a long list of city destinations. Calesa drivers charge per hour but they never remind you about the time. Ride with a mental note to track time. One would think that drivers will remind you and take you back to Calle Crisologo after the agreed hour, but our drivers ended up taking us to all Vigan destinations for almost three hours, instead of the agreed one hour ride, thus, getting charged per hour.

Bantay Bell Tower – have extra set of clothes waiting at the foot of the stairs. Be ready with Spanish war trivia around Diego Silang to discuss with kids. Not up for a climb up the tower? Stay under any of the big trees, enjoy the breeze and let the kids do the climbing and exploring.
Bantay Bell Tower – have extra set of clothes waiting at the foot of the stairs. Be ready with Spanish war trivia around Diego Silang to discuss with kids. Not up for a climb up the tower? Stay under any of the big trees, enjoy the breeze and let the kids do the climbing and exploring.
Pagburnayan Pottery – make sure you don’t go in with another tour group so you can watch the potter’s demonstration minus distraction. The kids can also be picked to try pottery with their own hands.
Pagburnayan Pottery – make sure you don’t go in with another tour group so you can watch and listen to the potter’s demonstration minus distraction. The kids can also be picked to try pottery with their own hands.
Hidden Garden – photo ops galore with kids. Don’t make them try the ginger drinks. Most if not all are too strong for kids to take.
Hidden Garden – photo ops galore with kids. Don’t make them try the ginger drinks. Most if not all are too strong for kids to take.
Irene’s Vigan Empanada – kids fave foodie: Tinubong – it’s like tupig in a foot-long bamboo trunk, empanada – put Calle Crisologo on the map for its original and rich ingredients/taste, Carioca – my kids ate sticks and sticks of carioca. Can pass for butsi or sweet, sticky munchkins on a stick.
Irene’s Vigan Empanada – kids fave foodie: Tinubong – it’s like tupig in a foot-long bamboo trunk, empanada – put Calle Crisologo on the map for its original and rich ingredients/taste, Carioca – my kids ate sticks and sticks of carioca. Can pass for butsi or sweet, sticky munchkins on a stick.
Baluarte – look up the bird show schedule before heading to Baluarte so you won’t miss it (only 2 shows a day). Take the option to sit and pet a Bengal tiger (not taking it for kids) or go into the butterfly farm.
Baluarte – look up the bird show schedule before heading to Baluarte so you won’t miss it (only 2 shows a day). Take the option to sit and pet a Bengal tiger (not taking it for my kids) or go into the butterfly farm.

Kids-friendly Ilocos tour, indeed. Travel bottom line: spend travel time while talking and interacting with the kids. It is so easy to lose the main goal of travel: to create lasting, memorable moments with family, while enjoying God’s gift of nature and creation.

Mommy Bloggers Philippines

Happy, Quiet Nooks and Time Hacks

Working moms, how many of you have found yourselves spending your full day at home and waking up the following day more tired than ever? I’m sure there were times when you tried to remember what made you so tired? Mulling over these questions never pointed me to the right answers. After all, working moms wear different hats and we don’t have a way of knowing which hat we wear at a given time. One thing is certain, though, there may never have been a time when you don’t get to wear one. However, life hacks is all around us, why don’t we try to apply it on the 24 hours we have – time hacks! I have realized mine are always coupled with the happy, quiet nooks that I have grown to have and love at the comfort of my home.

Time Hack #1 First busy hours are first restful hours of the day

Wait…what? First busy hours are first restful hours of the day? Yup! The alarm clock rings as early as 4am or 5am and it is time for working moms to get up, prep breakfast and get kids to school. While everything is cooking (I mean, literally), I pick up on some reading, have my notebook and pen ready and play some Darlene Zschech. God has a way of giving us a fresh supply of strength daily through His Words and encouragement and also has a way of giving us appropriate and timely reminder we will need later part of the day. If God knows you will need encouragement and persistence later, He will tell you that ‘all things work together for good’ and that He is never late or too early in answering your prayers.

I wish I can capture the birds' chirping sound when you sit on our swing set in the morning. Happy mornings create happy days!
I wish I can capture the birds’ chirping sound when you sit on our swing set in the morning. Happy mornings create happy days!

Time Hack #2 Welcome Home Habit

There is nothing better than to put your feet up and have several minutes to yourself as soon as you get back home from work. But my reality (memorable and fun, too!) picture is four pairs of small hands embracing me and a spatter of small kisses all over my face welcomes me, sometimes as soon as I open the gate or as soon as I step into the house, depending on how early our house dog has warned the kids in the house about my presence. I have a variety of things I do that never fail to get me a little ‘me-time’ as I prep to dive into the nightly house chores. Take the options below while putting your feet up and have enough minutes to recharge for dinner.

  • kids playtime shower – put the kids in charge for Bumblebee to take a bath and Barbie to shampoo her hair
  • water the plants – have the kids use pail, hose and yes, water guns too
  • quiet box for each kid – quiet boxes can contain each kid’s favorite toy or favorite activity materials. For my boys, Geronimo Stilton books never fail and for my smaller kids, you can bring out a set of three toys every other day, this way, they can also get to play with the toys they already have
Have a shelf full of old toys? Take out a set of 3 to 5 toys every other day for kids to use. Variety of toys each day is the key and you don't even need to buy any more additional toys.
Have a shelf full of old toys? Take out a set of 3 to 5 toys every other day for kids to use. Variety of toys each day is the key and you don’t even need to buy any more additional toys.

 

Time Hack #3 Down Time is Recharge Time

I don’t think I will ever run out of creativity how to spend post-dinner time with myself or with the hubby. The options are endless. As soon as you tuck the kids to bed, (9pm on a school night for our house rules), this is when you can do recharge as part of your prep-to-bed-time.

  • finish off that bottle of sparkling grape juice while finishing up a book. If with hubby, finish off the bottle over quality life talks (no kids talk, no house talk)
  • watch an episode or two of your favorite TV series (note of caution: make sure this habit will not evolve into staying up all night just because you cannot wait to watch the entire season)
  • take a long bath. Not pressed for time, take out your face masks, your exfoliant, your favorite scented body wash and scrub away!
Countless dreams shared and answered prayers come from any of our terrace talks
Countless dreams shared and answered prayers come from any of our terrace talks

All of us have 24 hours a day but each one of us spend them differently. Spend yours wisely and start creating your happy, quiet nooks at home!

Mommy Bloggers Philippines

Lightbulb Moments for my Younger Self

blog3picOver the years, I’ve lost count how many weddings I have attended. But the other night, sat with a couple of lovely ladies preparing for an upcoming wedding. Made me look back at my own and last night brought me back to how I understood getting married was versus how I understand marriage is, 11 years after my wedding. Whether you are married, single, or preparing for a wedding, imagine with me, if I were to write to my younger self (was 25 years old back then) on my wedding day, this is how it would have looked like:

Dear younger self, March 28,2003, on your wedding day, you must have woken up really early, excited for the day and excited to start a lifetime of love and marriage. You showed up with your rose-colored glasses, looking at everything with the lens of giddy happiness that being in love brings. This letter is to remind you about your lightbulb moments.

Lightbulb Moment #1 Walking down the aisle

Most brides walk down the aisle with a room full of hopes and dreams. There’s nothing wrong with hopes and dreams but when you look to your groom fulfilling them, that’s when a lightbulb moment can come in handy. Never miss the opportunity and the truth that your wedding day is a covenant with God. Don’t make it exclusive to just you and your husband. God who is the third strand of your marriage is the only One who will be able to meet your needs. If you still look to your husband to fulfill your needs, it must be a very tiring role you have placed on his shoulder. At the end of the day, both of you look to God who fulfills our needs and in the process, we should get better at accepting if anyone fails. After all, it is with the same lens that God looks at us.

Lightbulb Moment #2 Perfect wedding. Perfect marriage.

It’s common to see a bride have several coordinators, bridesmaids who cater to the bride realtime, plus ushers who spring to their feet if anything is amiss. These are all good. But if not balanced with what you had to do to prepare for a lifetime of adjusting to your husband’s culture, agreeing what family values to have, preparing to manage finances as a couple, believe me, you may have just prepared for the one-day-wedding instead of a lifetime of marriage. Perfect flowers and balloon drops are surely memorable but completing housechores and managing the bills are staples of marriage, if unprepared for, can break the entire reason for the wedding.

Lightbulb Moment #3 The vows

A vow is not a vow without your commitment statements. A vow is not a recap or summary of your love story. It is also not just a collection of what you have discovered about each other while in relationship. It is where you agree with God and God’s empowering to be able to play the role of a wife. It is telling your husband that while everything is okay, you are making the decision that if it gets rough, you will still love him, support and respect him. It is also reaffirming God-given roles as husbands and wives.

If you still think that a wedding or marriage solves things having the mindset: “As soon as I’m married…

  • things will get better
  • life will be easier
  • I will be happier
  • Everyone will be quieter
  • I will finally have peace

Let me burst your bubble. A wedding does not solve anything and should not be taken as a solution for anything. Only God has the power to turn things around. Marriage is not diving head first with eyes closed but opening yourself to the realities of building your own family and a lifetime of walking with God in marriage.

Mommy Bloggers Philippines