Monday, November 30, 2009

Speaking the Love Language of Receiving Gifts

Receiving Gifts. What a very conspicuous love language. It is also the most readily misunderstood. I have realized that now.

You see, receiving Gifts is not my love language. Nor is it my son's. But it is the love language of my wife, whom I love very much.

Receiving Gifts as a love language requires something material. That's the "bad" news. But that material thing does not have to be expensive. That's the "good" news. But then make no mistake about it: it must be sincerely given the way love ought to be expressed.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Emotionally, Men and Boys Are Like Electric Submarines

Electric submarines run on batteries. They need to surface to recharge. Men are like that. Deal with it.

Men keep their emotions private, by design of nature. It's the way we're made. We're like electric submarines that surface from time to time to recharge, and dive again to the deep for months.

My son didn't want me to leave home one day and just sat beside me as shown. Actually, he didn't let go of Daddy for a few minutes. My wife saw what was happening and took this shot.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Is Fatherhood About Reason? or Intimidation?

Do Filipino fathers uphold reason or intimidation at home? Filipino (or "Pinoy") fathers raising boys may find this question a bit confrontational. Pinoy fathers usually demand obedience. Questions from kids are most unwelcome.

What if this path of Pinoy fatherhood leads to mediocrity? What if our sons grow up not asking questions because they KNOW something bad happens. Then we have a country that's easily intimidated by warlords, exactly what we're seeing nowadays. Not good.

My son has brains (as I believe every boy has). Moreover I think my son has street-type brains. He has the precious gift of expressing himself when he missses us, and he has developed the knack of developing his cases about why he should sleep on our bed with us tonight, why he should come with us to community gatherings, etc.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Why Sun Duo Helps Me Be a Better Father

Thanks to Sun Duo, my six-year old son now has a way of calling me anytime through our landline. These calls are mostly heart-warming. Yes, the calls sometimes make me feel awkward in front of business colleagues, but that's nothing compared to hearing your loved ones at the other end.

The whole great thing about Sun Duo is that I don't have to worry about additional phone bills for these calls. None. Zero. Believe it or not.

I subscribed to Sun Duo primarily to save costs in starting up a business and to allow business contacts with landlines to call me anytime, as if I'm in an office. It also allows me to call my partner who uses a different network for FREE. I did that by dialing the landline number of his Duo subscription in his network. Sun Duo to me was (and is) a great deal!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Speaking the Love Language of Quality Time

Quality Time is simply the love language of spending time solely for the other person. To spend such time with a loved one can really get through the hearts of people who speak this language, my wife and son included.

To people speaking other love languages, the funny thing about Quality Time is it's intangible. If it's intangible, how can we give it? That guestion have driven many people mad.

Someone whose love language is Words of Affirmation will find Quality Time people absolutely difficult to spell. While poems and songs can make world class singers envious, these won't mean much to the Quality Time person unless these are recited or sung by the loved one himself, and with no one else around to distract that magic moment.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A Slice of Life of a Filipino Father

One Friday, the call for fatherhood really caught me. After several days of leaving early and coming home late at night, I saw my hands putting the following in my To-Do List: bond with family, be a father to my son
    Father and Son at SM IMAX ready for the 3D movie ahead.

    Next to that in the List were:
    • prepare powerpoint presentation, do flipchart version (just in case)
    • do analysis of ROI, review pricing scheme, factor in seasonality
    • get two more sales people, repost vacant position in JobStreet
    • etc etc etc

    Monday, November 9, 2009

    Speaking the Love Language of Physical Touch

    Among Asians, I think Filipinos are most expressive in terms of physical touch. That can be debatable, depending on whose perspective you take.

    Anyhow, take a look!

    Physical Touch is about hugging and kissing family and friends. Among women, that usually means a lot of "beso beso." Among men, that can mean a lot of high fives, low fives, round-house fives, etc. We see this all the time, with slight variations depending on the region of origin.

    Friday, October 30, 2009

    Four Things a Filipino Father Must Provide His Kids

    Filipino Fatherhood is a cultural thing. We raise Filipino boys in a vastly Catholic environment where it's taught that a father's business are to provide, protect, and priesthood in the family.

    These roles lie deep in the subconscious of every Filipino male. These roles are also the source of a Filipino male's dilemma.

    Let's dissect one these roles just a little bit today, that of the Father's Business #1: Providing for the Family. There are four dimensions where a Filipino Father provides for his family: the material, emotional, mental and spiritual levels.

    Sunday, September 20, 2009

    Posts about Cory Aquino Transferred

    Earlier I made posts about President Corazon Aquino. I thought better of these posts and transferred them to my Pinoy Tales blog ( that tackles national issues that are close to the heart of Filipinos.

    You may simply click the following links to access those posts:

    Tuesday, July 21, 2009

    Speaking the Love Language of "Words of Affirmation"

    From this post on, allow me to dwell on each love language I listed in my earlier post. Let me start with "Words of Affirmation."

    Mano Po. From the standpoint of Love Languages, Mano Po is a strong word of affirmation for the father from the children. Photo extracted from revcruz at (
    The words "mano po" are strong words of affirmation for the parents from
    children. We return such honor by saying, "Mabait na bata." (Good Kid!)
    Photo extracted from "revcruz" at

    How does one speak that language? How do we communicate with him?

    Friday, July 17, 2009

    Caritas in Veritate (Love in Truth)

    Caritas in Veritate ("Love in Truth") is the latest encyclical from Pope Benedect XVI. In the first paragraph of the encyclical, it says (emphasis in bold mine)
    "Love — caritas — is an extraordinary force which leads people to opt for courageous and generous engagement in the field of justice and peace. It is a force that has its origin in God, Eternal Love and Absolute Truth."
    I won't go into an in-depth theological discussion. There are sites for that. What I seek to write about is its implication on parenting in a family setting, the basic social unit of every society (of course you already know that, don't you?).
    Photo extracted from Gilbert Rondilla at (
    Photo extracted from Gilbert Rondilla at (

    Wednesday, July 8, 2009

    The Five Love Languages of Parenting

    The first time I heard about "Love Languages," I was still single. It did magic in my relationship with my girlfriend (now my wife). I learned in due course that the same languages are used in parenting.
    The Filipino Family. Photo from the collection of "dantehipolito" at Flickr ...
    The Filipino Family. Photo from the collection of "dantehipolito" at Flickr ...

    The Five Love Languages was a book written by Gary Chapman. It is available in National Bookstore, Power Books or Fully Booked. What a gift to people serious about parenting!

    Monday, July 6, 2009

    The Purposeful Father

    Someone sent me a note, "Marvin, I don't know what purposeful father means." At first I thought this guy needs a lecture on parenting.

    But then he said further, "I just want to be a full-time father." That froze me for half a second.

    Many Filipino fathers wish to spend moments with their family as this one. Photo from
    Many Filipino fathers wish to spend moments with their family as this one does. Even the time they're away is dedicated to that purpose. Photo from

    He turned out to be a Filipino father working overseas, while his family stays in the home country, the Philippines.*

    I told him, "Rest tonight my friend with the thought that you are a purposeful father."

    Wednesday, July 1, 2009

    Purposeless Fathers? Oh no!

    Have you seen purposeless fathers moving around? If you're reading this, chances are you're not one of them. The reason why I asked what makes you cry is for you to get in touch with your life purpose.

    Now, stay with me. If I sound weird, this is because you don't hear people discuss this in schools, much less in the companies where you work 10, 20, 30, 40 years! No, they don't.

    [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="446" caption="Man in deep thought. Photo taken from"]Man in deep thought. Photo taken from[/caption]

    If truth be told, they don't even normally discuss this in the Church! They tell you to get in touch with God. They tell you to know Jesus. They tell you to pray for the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. They're all setting you up to the right path.

    But what is it that makes you move?

    Monday, June 29, 2009

    What Makes You Cry?

    This time I'm turning the tables and I ask you to tell us ... what makes you cry? Whatever that may be, your life purpose won't be very far away from it.

    General Douglas McArthur was a great general in world history. You have an idea what made this general cry? (The image shows the General during initial landings at Leyte, Philippine Islands, in 1944. Photo courtesy of
    General Douglas McArthur was a great general in world history. You have an idea what made this general cry? (Photo courtesy of

    You may revolt and say, "What!?! What question is this? Who0ooo cares, man? Who cares?"
    If you have nothing to cry about in this world, what sort of life would that be? Won't it be a kind of existence that's boring, annoying and meaningless? Is that how life should be lived? Tell me.

    Saturday, June 27, 2009

    When Your Father Cries

    Fathers out there may find it uncomfortable reading this post. I understand.

    No father wants to cry, much less be seen crying, especially by his children. Among children, I guess no one wants to see their father cry.

    [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="317" caption="A father cries holding the clothes of his child. Photo from"]A father cries holding the clothes of his child. Photo from[/caption]

    But truth be told, it does happen. Believe it or not. A father cries. You have been warned, so be prepared.

    Thursday, June 25, 2009

    10 Ways to Kill An Association: Which One Have You Mastered?

    A satirical article in our club bulletin (the Rotary) surprised me one night. On page 3 was "Ways to Kill an Association" which really got me laughing.

    Later I asked myself why I found that article very funny, but that's getting ahead of my story.

    [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="333" caption="Does anyone remember how Andres Bonifacio died and why? These days, we need living heroes: real men, who stand for principles, regardless of cost. May you be that kind of hero to your kids. (Image from Wikipedia)"]Bonifacio Monument in Caloocan City[/caption]

    Do you care to know what the funny article said?

    Monday, June 22, 2009

    "8 Things I Learned as a Father" by Anton Diaz

    Anton Diaz is one of the most passionate fathers I have met, and one of those most willing to share their learnings to others. Frankly, he's one of those who are supporting me--morally and technically--in going ahead with this blog site, Most people know Anton Diaz as the man behind and as one of the most successful internet marketers in the Philippines. This time, we'll see the other side of Anton Diaz, his fatherhood.

    [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Anton Diaz the Father, with Kids Aidan and Joshua"]Anton Diaz, the father, with Kids Aidan and Joshua[/caption]

    Being a Father of 3, I'm starting to appreciate the celebration of Father's Day. As I reflect on the last 4+ years of raising two boys and expecting a new baby, I would like to share with you the 8 Things I learned as a Father:

    Saturday, June 20, 2009

    Can You Truly Live Without The Unconditional Love of Your Father?

    The unconditional love of his father for his children is a powerful force in one's life. The lack of such love can cripple a person forever. There are countless true stories around to prove that.

    [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="A Father's Unconditional Love is more powerful than most of us think. And the lack or absence of it is much more damaging to a person that most of us think. (Photo by Thomas Hawk @Flickr)"]A Fathers Unconditional Love is a much more powerful force in our lives than most of us think. And the lack or absence of it is much more damaging to a person than most of us think. (Photo by Thomas Hawk @Flickr)[/caption]

    Let me share two stories today.

    Edward Lee, Edward's father once tearfuly pleaded with him to reform his happy-go-lucky ways. He was very lazy in school. In high school, he was kicked out. But never did his father waiver in his unconditional love for him.

    Thursday, June 18, 2009

    Three Things Every Father Must Know About Fatherhood

    What is Fatherhood to you? What pictures do you see when you hear the word "Father"? Who are in those pictures? What feelings do those pictures generate in you? Are the feelings pleasant?

    Most of us may define the word "Father" according to our experiences of our own father. Conversely, we are the embodiment of the word "Father" to our kids. What do you think your kids see? What do you think your kids feel?

    Hard questions, aren't they?

    Friday, June 12, 2009

    Happy Independence Day!!!

    Today is Philippine Independence Day. June 12, 1898 is a date Filipinos remember as the day when then 28-year old General Emilio Aguinaldo declared the independence of the Philippines from Spain.

    [caption id="" align="center" width="400" caption="Venue of the Declaration of Philippine Indepence on June 12, 1898. Photo taken from,_Cavite).jpg"]Venue of the Declaration of Philippine Indepence on June 12, 1898. Photo taken from,_Cavite).jpg[/caption]

    It was a very short-lived independence though. The Americans whom Aguinaldo thought to be his allies turned out to have other ideas. It colonized the Philippines and ran after Aguinaldo as a bandit. It wasn't until July 4, 1946 when the Philippines had its "real" independence.

    Friday, June 5, 2009

    The ONE THING Fathers Want on Father's Day

    This year, we celebrate Father's Day on June 21, 2009. Being a Dad, I wanted to write today about what I want from Father's Day. Then I realized I wasn't sure what to write about! I couldn't believe it!

    Pressing on, I confessed to myself that hugs and appreciation from my family will be great enough for me.

    Fathers Day

    But then maybe it is just me who wanted that, I thought. So, I sent a question to friends of mine who are also Dads...

    "What ONE THING would you want on Father's Day?"

    I got a handful of responses, all of them very interesting.

    Wednesday, June 3, 2009

    Seven Other Ways of Using Your Television

    Granting we do not really need a television at home (see previous post), what do we do with our existing TV sets now? Throw them out the window?

    [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="An Abandoned TV, Photo courtesy of Roo Reynolds at"]An Abandoned TV[/caption]

    Not too fast. Keep your TV right where it is.  Just throw away the antenna or cancel your cable subscription. Then focus on more productive ways of using your TV.

    Here are some ideas you might relate well with...

    1. REPLACE TV Programs with Wholesome Movies via DVD/VCDs

    Of course everyone watches DVD/VCDs these days. But I'm talking here about substituting TV programs with your favorite movie on DVD or VCD as a habit! That way, you have absolute control over what your TV spits out into your home. That's the ultimate "parental guidance" for kids, especially very impressionable boys.

    Tuesday, June 2, 2009

    Five Reasons Why You Do Not Need a Television at Home

    Everyone has a television. So, should you have one too?

    The reasons why we do not really need a TV tuner at home varies from the practical to the profound. Let's start with the practical ones and progress to the more profound.

    [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="LCD Home Television. Oh, how far it has evolved since its invention! But do we really need one at home today? How many have asked that question?"]LCD Home Television[/caption]

    1. Who's really having a great time with your TV? and I mean, really? Traditional TV (the "CRT") is becoming obsolete, while the expensive LCD TV is becoming the "IN" thing. Getting one is not cheap. Question is, who really watches your TV as you labor to get it paid? Is it YOU? or your househelp?

    Sunday, May 17, 2009

    What Every Filipino Boy Should Know About Filipino Women

    What have you been told about Filipino women? And how do you see Filipino women today? Is there congruence?

    Well, I'm 40, and I do have my own share of these derived impressions about Filipino women.

    But there was one thing my father said when I was around ten that I could never forget. He said, and these were the exact words, "Women are strong. In fact, women are sometimes stronger than men."

    That didn't make any sense to me then. But having heard it from my own father, I could not just dismiss it. Thirty years later, that conversation came to my mind again.
    Illustration of Malakas and Maganda, the first man and woman of Philippine folklore, awakened and emerging from a split giant bamboo.
    Illustration of Malakas and Maganda. The first man and woman in
    Philippine folklore, came out from a giant bamboo.
    Now I guess I have a fair idea of what my father was referring to, and I'll spill two of them for you today:

    Wednesday, May 13, 2009

    Ten Little Known Ways to Bond With Your Boys (Despite Your Busy Schedule)

    When you're busy, it can be tough to bond with your kids, especially your boys, in their early years. When we arrive home we're tired and we just want to eat, rest and sleep. With whatever time we have at home outside of eating and sleeping, there are other stuff we need to do as well: bond with your wife, fix the plumbing, install a frame, etc.

    So, how on earth can we bond well with our boys who model us (whether we like it or not)?

    [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="This is what my son did with his lego pieces one day. I'm proud of it, and he knows it. This photo is the evidence of that. This photo is our bond."]This is what my son did with his lego pieces one day. Im proud of it, and he knows it. This photo is the evidence of that. This photo is our bond.[/caption]

    Taken largely from my own experience (and I hope you share yours too here), let me share some of the ways I bond with my five-year old son:

    Tuesday, May 12, 2009

    If You Don't Send This to the Mother of the House, You'll Hate Yourself

    It was Mother's Day last Sunday, May 10.

    How many of us remembered? How many of us greeted the mother of our sons that day?

    Interestingly, thanks to the wonders of the internet, there's one more way of greeting our wives and mothers on Mother's Day.

    Click on the image below.

    [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="490" caption="Snapshot of "Breaking News" Video produced by CNNBC."]Snapshot of Breaking News Video produced by CNNBC.[/caption]

    Cool, isn't it?

    Thursday, May 7, 2009

    Fathers, Do You See Yourself In Your Son?

    Some fathers see themselves in their sons. Sometimes that creates feelings of joy. Sometimes that creates a feeling of frustration. What's your experience?

    Michael PardiƱas shares with us his story. He is a thirty-some business owner of Recipe Food Manufacturing, Inc. that operates in Balagtas, Bulacan. He lives with his family in Quezon City. He's married to Christine, and he has two boys namely Miguel (8 y/o) and Lorenzo (1 y/o).

    [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Photo of Michael Pardinas with wife Christine and sons Miguel and Lorenzo. Photo was taken in January 2009."]Photo of Michael Pardinas with wife Christine and sons Miguel and Lorenzo. Photo was taken in January 2009.[/caption]

    I met Michael for the first time as a fellow member of Epsilon Chi Fraternity in UP Diliman. While I was basically a visiting brod that time, I had this impression of him as a private person. This was decades ago.

    It was therefore a pleasant surprise when Michael graciously agreed to an interview about what he discusses with his kids on the dinner table (the same interview I gave to Bo Sanchez earlier). I made it clear to him that the interview will be published, and he was OK with the idea.

    So, here we go...

    Monday, May 4, 2009

    Who Else Heard This Myth From Western Friends?

    Myths abound in Filipino culture. And they're all lovely. But one myth comes from Western friends, and I don't know who else have heard this one: that Filipino society is matriarchal.

    Do you think so?

    Amorsolo - Ina at Anak
    Painting by Fernando Amorsolo entitled "Ina at Anak" as featured in

    We have a matricentric society. But are we matriarchal? That is the question.

    I found interesting discussions about this in the net too:
    1. The word "matriarchal" is used loosely by commenters "The Saint" and "Ira" to refer to their experience about gender biases in schools and in corporations;
    2. Commenter "Annabelle" used the word "matriarchal" because we have a woman for a President;
    3. Commenter "Fatherpose" (obviously a non-Filipino) used the word "matriarchal" to impress their perception that Filipino men are "wimpy"
    4. A Wapedia entry entitled "Religion in the Philippines" debatably interprets the major roles played by women in pre-colonial Filipino history to mean that the Filipinos are basically matriarchal.

    Monday, April 27, 2009

    Three Things the Bo Sanchez Family Talk About at the Dinner Table

    It is humbling to get a response from a famous lay Catholic evangelist, Bo Sanchez, about the question, "What do you talk about at the dinner table with your boys?"

    You see, Bo speaks on Sundays live at the Kerygma Feasts in front of thousands of people, writes a lot of books, have TV and radio programs here and there, runs many NGOs, runs many websites (,,,, etc.), sits down shoulder-to-shoulder with bishops and cardinals and and does many other stuff you'd think only Superman can do.

    An updated photo (2013) of the Sanchez Family.
    Source: Catholic Filipino Academy website

    Then, here comes an email from a newly created blog asking him, "What do you talk about with your boys at the dinner table during meal time?" Would you expect a reply in just a few days with an excited, "Hi Marvin, Sure!  My pleasure."

    Well, he actually did! Now we have a peek about what goes on at the Bo Sanchez dinner table on meal time.

    Monday, April 13, 2009

    Ten Heart-Shaking Insights From James Dobson's "bringing up BOYS"

    Bringing Up Boys
    The book "bringing up BOYS" pulled me like a powerful magnet one day in a bookstore in Greenbelt, Makati. It was written by James Dobson, an unfamiliar name. The cover design wasn't attractive to me either. So I was sure it was the title that mercilessly tugged me that day.

    After hovering around the shelf for 30 minutes and inspecting the book three times, I decided to buy it. After all, I had a 3-year old boy that time (now the boy's five years and nine months old). This boy was (and is) very much like me...and deep inside I was desperate about how my wife and I should raise him up into the kind of person we wanted him to be.

    Maybe a little education would help, I thought. Forget about being stingy for the time being.

    Was this feeling of being at a loss about sons a normal feeling among fathers? or was it just me?

    Tuesday, April 7, 2009

    Raising Filipino Boys 101

    Parents, especially Fathers, don't you wish there's a course such as "Raising Filipino Boys 101" in any university or college somewhere near? I'm wondering how many of us have felt clueless, at one time or another, about our role as parents, or as fathers, in raising boys.
    Father and son, one Sunday morning at the
    University of the Philippines Diliman grounds
    Some of us may have simply handed on to our kids the things we have learned from our parents. But then, others may have found themselves simply learning the new tricks of the "trade" along the way. The rest, most likely, are still groping in the dark.

    Either way, I hope many of us have discovered that father-son relationships are the most special in the world of parenting. Yet there doesn't seem to be a lot of literature covering this subject.

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