Sunday, November 28, 2010

Jump! And the Net Will Appear

"Jump! And the Net Will Appear" -- That's the title of a book I read a few years back in time. It's also a title that roughly describes what I just went through the last two months. That explains a pause in my posting.

"Star Jump" by Stuart Anthony

To cut my recent story short, I have seen that a business venture that I have spent time on has not been working. It has been either that the business concept has been the problem, or our marketing approach has failed or perhaps I simply wasn't suited for it. I don't know. I have simply acknowledged that I need to move on.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Parenting Tips and the Ways to Bring Up an Awesome Grownup

Parenting Tips and the Ways to Bring Up an Awesome Grownup
By Chloe Bilboa Platinum Quality Author

It might look like a classic Western flick, but tots will involve you in standoffs, OK Corral-style. Effective parenting advice for youngsters 2 to 12 years of age would include you bringing up excellent children who'll succeed during their grownup lives, along with you surviving to tell the tale. It is a difficult task with no instruction manual, but seeing your toddlers mature into wonderful individuals will provide you with profound happiness in the long run.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Raising Kids -- Surprisingly Smart Parenting Tips for Dads and Moms

Hats off to these smart parenting tips for new mums. Here they go (emphasis mine):
  1. You won't need half the crap that you bring to the hospital with you. And it will be a pain in the butt to carry it all home.
  2. There are tons of stupid baby gadgets out there. Don't get suckered into things like baby wipes warmers, knee-pads for crawlers, etc.
  3. It will be much harder than you ever expected, and so much more rewarding than you ever expected.
  4. Let your partner help. Insist that your partner helps.
  5. Even with a newborn, you need time alone. Give the baby to your partner, a grandparent, anything, and get out of the house for an hour, ALONE! Get a pedicure, buy a book, or just go grocery shopping by yourself, at least once a month.
Source: What advice would you give to a new mum about raising kids? at Yahoo! Answers
What I like most about these tips is that it says, "Let your partner help. Insist that your partner helps." This is a cool call for husbands (like me) to help in parenting, isn't it?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Raising Kids and Swapping Parenting Tips? Five Reasons Why This is Cool

I pray this initiative to swap tips on raising kids through a magazine in Sioux Falls succeeds. Every parent needs tips. Come on, we exchange tips about golf all the time. Why not about raising kids? Doing that right may mean far more to us in our last breath than a series of holes-in-one.
New Magazine Offers Resources For Parents

SIOUX FALLS, SD - Online groups and play dates help parents swap tips about raising kids, and now Sioux Falls parents can find that same kind of advice in a magazine. With children come questions, and the answers can sometimes be hard to find.

"We really don't have anything right now that we can get lots of good information about parenting, tips, lots of advice from other parents, which is hard," mother Leigh Jerzak said. But a group of local parents hopes to change that.

Gosh, how true. We have marriage and family gurus filling up our channels. Tips from other parents are as good. I remember a movie about someone closely following the advise of a popular parenting counselor. Later, he discovered that the counselor had no child and never had one. What a funny story.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Homeschooling -- Building a Family Who Loves

A fundamental homeschooling attribute found expression in one of the blogs I stumbled upon. Building a family was mentioned in the third paragraph of the Guest Family Homeschool Mission Statement:
Give generously to each other as we honor others above ourselves, building a family who loves, encourages and enjoys one another. As a family we will give generously to others, instilling a purpose that is outward and sacrificial in God’s love.
Source: Waiting for Perfect @
One of the most common objections encountered by parents who go into homeschooling is this: "How about the socialization of your kid?" To answer that question, here's a picture for immediate gratification:

Friday, September 3, 2010

Learn Filipino Book for Filipinos and Foreigners Alike

This Learn Filipino book available in Amazon is a fascinating find. Being a non-Tagalog native speaker myself, I see the importance of this book.

It's not just for foreigners. It is also for Filipinos who don't speak "Filipino." Yes, there are many Filipinos in the Philippines who do not speak "Filipino" as their native language. They need this book as much as foreigners.

How come? You might say.

In the latest (1987) constitution of the Philippines, the word "Filipino" got a new meaning. From then on it also referred to the "national language" of the Philippines.

The thing was, the national language up until 1987 used to be Tagalog. It was spoken by people in Metro Manila and adjacent provinces. So, the "Filipino" language referred to by the constitution was actually Tagalog, but with words incorporated from other Philippine dialects.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

What turns men into fathers? Check this out.

I welcome this news with a grain of salt:
What turns men into fathers?

Why do men suddenly turn from macho to cuddly bears around babies?

Now, a new research answers why. A study has shown that levels of oxytocin, the ‘cuddle chemical’ released into the blood during labour, also rise in new fathers.

Not just that, their bodies see a sudden surge in prolactin, a hormone more commonly linked to milk production in new mothers.

I welcome the fact that certain hormones act inside a man's body when a baby is born. But the danger with attributing fatherhood solely on hormonal activity is to associate fatherhood with the feminine side of parenting.

That, to me, does not do justice to fatherhood and to parenting as a whole.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Secure in Father's Arms: Investigating the Pain Brought by the Hostage-Taking in Manila

Building a family has among its pillars the provision of security to kids. It is an integral part of fatherhood. It is both a reward and a responsibility to see your kids gather around you.

Police commandos assault a bus in a hostage-taking incident
at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila on Aug 23, 2010.
Source: CBC News | Manila bus hostage-taking ends with 9 dead

Why do kids love to gather around parents? They do it even when parents want to be alone sometimes. Kids simply do that. Or, they at least yearn to do that.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Raising Kids, the Cultural Divide and Maria Venus Raj

Had cultural differences in raising kids and building a family come into play in the recent Miss Universe pageant?

An uproar among "smart" Filipinos, who wish they were the ones in front of Alec Baldwin, happened after this interview (emphasis mine):
The Hollywood star asked the 22-year-old Filipino-Indian, “What is one big mistake that you’ve made in your life and what did you do to make it right?”

Raj replied, “You know what, sir, in my 22 years of existence, I can say that there's nothing major major problem that I've done in my life because I'm very confident with my family, with the love that they are giving to me. So thank you so much that I'm here. Thank you, thank you so much.”

Source: Even Bush, US journalists couldn't answer Venus Raj's question |
I couldn't help but squeeze my own thoughts on that question. What big mistake could a 22-year old Filipino girl possibly admit in front of the entire world, while her own mother was watching?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Filipino Family Customs and Traditions, in the Eyes of Foreigners

Current Filipino family customs got a fair description in at least two sites that discussed Asian culture and tradition. I found that pleasing because they were written by foreigners.

At, the description focused on respect to elders, ways of communicating and the status of women:
Faithfulness to the family is a tradition that is characteristic of Filipino society. This family loyalty is apparent in the fact that there are no booming businesses for retirement homes or orphanages in the Philippines. xxx In their communication with each other, speaking politely is important as is speaking with a gentle tone of voice. xxx Unlike other Asian countries where women tend to be in more subservient positions, women in the Philippines have had high societal positions since precolonial times.
Source: Filipino Customs (

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Think of Maria Venus Raj

Any woman who fancies herself to be Venus Raj during these times may as well think again. Here you are walking and smiling and chatting with other beautiful faces representing other nationalities and cultures. You know that, every minute, you are under the scrutiny of the most merciless of judges.

Melody Gerbasch (left, RIP) in a happy
moment with Venus Raj (right).
But at one point you have to muster the courage to bravely say "No" to the wishes of billionaire Donald Trump for contestants to go through topless photoshoot.

What you need at this time is a lot of inspiration.

Yet inspiration is the very thing that you are not getting much from home:
For Filipinos who had a strong distaste for these incidents and who feel a deep shame for the most recent of these, think of Venus Raj. Her good friend just passed away, and here comes this news. She is surrounded by the world, in flesh. What do you think she feels right now?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

So, You Want to Get Married and Have Kids? (Part 3 of 3)

Getting Married and Having Kids series really talks about building a strong marriage foundation (Part 1),  baptism into fatherhood (Part 2) and  fatherly decisions (Part 3, this post).

My mentors have taught me that there are three basic decisions that a father needs to make:
  • The decision to provide for the family
  • The decision to protect the family
  • The decision to be a moral beacon for the family

Providing for the family

Filipino culture, and almost every culture, vests the responsibility for providing for the material needs of the family on the father. These material needs primarily refers to food, clothing and shelter. Higher needs would include education and recreation.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Raising a Modern Day Knight? Absolutely!

Raising a Modern-Day Knight: A Father's Role in Guiding His Son to Authentic ManhoodRaising a Modern Day Knight -- This book grabbed my attention one night as I was browsing the internet about fathers and sons. I was surprised at the popularity of the book in the search pages that I wondered why I never encountered the title in my previous searches.

I saw a site that showed the first chapter of the book. I read reviews about it. I read blogs written by parents who read the book, and applied it in their own families. Boy, I was really hooked.

The book was written on the premise that men of today did not have the rite of passage from boyhood to manhood that men of olden times had. The author was saying that many boys left their homes for college without really knowing--deep inside--whether or not they were already men.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Stunning Early Child Development Findings and Why Parents Need to Pay Close Attention

Early child development has been discussed just a bit in a seminar that my wife and I have attended years ago. Yet we've been deeply shaken. The seminar has said that 50% of the child's mental programming happens at 0 to 4 years old. An additional 30% takes place at 5 to 8 years old. Then another 15% takes place at ages 9 to 15 years.

This article seems to reaffirm what the seminar has said:
Early Childhood Experiences Have Lasting Emotional and Psychological Effects
Experiences between birth and age 5 matter significantly to children's long-term emotional and psychological health, and changing these experiences for the better pays dividends, according to an editorial and several new reports in the May issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

So, You Want to Get Married and Have Kids? (Part 2 of 3)

My eldest at 18 hours.
At this point, you are now happily married, and your next wish is to have kids. Your prayers have been granted. Something came out of your wife as small, tender and vulnerable human being called the baby.

You are now a father. Congratulations!

In my case, I trembled the first time I carried my baby. It was my baby! I couldn't believe it! My baby!

The other thing I could not forget was the way the one day old baby (whom the mother-friendly hospital brought to my wife's bed) searched me out when he heard my voice. It was as if he was saying, "hey, I know that voice!" I was speaking to my wife's womb, telling stories to my kid while he was still inside.

After getting promoted to being a "father" you may find that some things change faster than you can comprehend them.

Friday, August 13, 2010

If You Love Your Kids, Teach Them about Compound Interest NOW!

I'd say that there are two things that we, parents in the family, can pass on to our kids for which these kids will be eternally grateful for:
  1. Knowledge that we, parents, LOVE them; and,
  2. An understanding of what compound interest is.

I can see some eyebrows go up. What the heck is Marvin talking about here? compound interest? What has that got to do with kids and parenting?

I understand you.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Filipino Fathers Play a Valuable Role in the Family, says a US study

Having talked to several people about their fathers, I get this impression that most Filipinos recognize the valuable role that fathers play (or could have played) in their lives. It doesn't matter what the actual experience was.

A study done in the Philippines by a US-based researcher appears to have validated that assertion.

Exploring the Role of Filipino Fathers: Paternal Behaviors and Child Outcomes
Scott E. Harper, Oklahoma Christian University, Oklahoma City,

Using data collected from an urban Southern Visayan province during the Summer of 2006, this study examines a sample of 133 Filipino fathers to consider potential relationships between father behaviors and child outcomes. Increased paternal psychological control predicts increased problematic child outcomes, with sons being more affected than daughters. Furthermore, increased authoritative fathering is associated with decreased externalizing problems of children as well as fewer internalizing problems for sons but not for daughters. Increased father involvement predicts improved sibling relationship quality for children. Other factors predicting problematic child outcomes in the overall regression model include father education and number of children in the household. Overall, findings support the idea that Filipino fathers play a valuable role in the lives of their children.


Sunday, August 8, 2010

So, You Want to Get Married and Have Kids? (Part I of 3)

A lot of single men want to get married, have kids, build a family and live happily ever after. In this post, I'd like to show you how "happily ever after" may look like.

It takes the guts of a real man to read on. Are you man enough? Then read on ...

After all the celebrations of wedding, honey moon and settling down, you will realize (I pray you actually do) that you are no longer just yourself! You are someone else's husband!

You now go around saying, Hello, I am Mr Tarzan and this is my wife Jane. Multiply that a thousand times and people around you will start saying, Ah, that's Mr. Tarzan! Yeah he's married. His wife is Jane. They met in Africa.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Robert Kiyosaki's Cashflow Game is Good for the Family

It seems to me that the Cashflow game invented by Robert Kiyosaki is the ONE big investment that each family can make for their kids. Seriously, I really think so.

My wife owns the violet color. She got out of the rat race first in this game.
Learning how the world of money works is like learning how to ride a bus or a train. I mean, hey, we can't do without it! Yet, people actually go through life without learning how it works.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Obama Family Vacation Raised Eyebrows?

The first family in the United States clearly had fun in their latest vacation. But fun with the family seems to have raised some eyebrows in that country. Hey, I'm suffering. Don't rest, Mr. President!
An active first family is on the move in Maine
By Felicia Sonmez, Sunday, July 18, 2010

BAR HARBOR, MAINE -- President Obama and his family aren't just getting outside the Beltway on their brief vacation here -- they're getting outside, period.

Since their arrival Friday afternoon, the Obamas have been biking, hiking and boating their way around Mount Desert Island, the third-largest island on the Eastern Seaboard and home to the 47,000-acre Acadia National Park


Sunday, August 1, 2010

In Fairness, Your Kids Would Enjoy at Museo Pambata

In my post last week I was concerned about the Huey war helicopter in the museum for kids where I brought my family. In fairness to the Museum, there was actually much more to it for your kids than the Huey. I would actually recommend that you bring your family there. Your kids would enjoy.

This was an example of the nipa hut constructed on top of tree stumps that our Mindanao tribesmen used to live in. Yeah, it was a nice experience for my kid to go up that hut, but the displays also taught a lesson about how this lifestyle caused forest degradation.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Where has the Knight in the Family gone?

You can find an amusing story "The Knight in Shining Armor" in the book Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus by John Gray. The story is in the chapter about Discovering our Different Emotional Needs, specifically on page 138 of the 1992 edition. Parents in the family will do well by reading at least this chapter.

What I like about that story is the way it illustrates how women in the family, with all their good intentions, can almost always turn off their men and boys. It illustrates how the Knight in shining armor of the olden days really still thrive in the genes of men even up to this day.

The question is, how does the family appreciate the Knight?

Let me relate to you the story as shortly as I could. But I suggest you get your own copy of the book because every page of it contains wisdom that one would rather learn from books that from having to learn it the proverbial "hard way."

Here goes the abridged story . . .

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Is Fatherhood Worth Celebrating?

Father's Day is way past this year, but a post with the same title as mine examines Father's Day and gives advise on fatherhood.

The post was written by a woman. Now, something in her post bothered me a lot (emphases mine):
BEING a father is not easy, it is one of the biggest tasks any man looks up to. Recently, the world celebrated Father's Day to honour and celebrate fatherhood, paternal bonds, and their influence in the society. It complements the Mother's Day. But are men really worth celebrating?

One would wonder why men should be celebrated because when compared to women, many believe that men are not as valuable xxx Also, every woman wants a man she can be emotionally attached to, someone who shares her commitment as a partner and who will not place his career above the family life; most men do not fit into this picture.


Sunday, July 25, 2010

A Rare Family Gathering That Warmed My Heart

Right after Holy Week this year, my wife, my children and I had the privilege of spending time with the larger family (my mother, siblings, nephews and nieces) in Cagayan de Oro City and Malaybalay City. I was grateful for my elder sisters who sponsored our air fare :)

It was a great experience to be part of the larger family again. We had lots of photos together, ate meals together and traveled together, a very rare event these days when each one already has his/her own career and own places to live in.

We gathered to attend an important ceremony for our youngest family member who joined the Carmelite nuns. We assembled in Cagayan de Oro City, then proceeded together in a convoy to Malaybalay City the next day.

Friday, July 23, 2010

If you don't read the Five Love Languages, you might hate yourself later

What I might strongly recommend as an important chapter in the Manual for Fathers (if there is one) is the Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. No kidding there.

The book provides an emotional road map that I believe men can relate to in the same way that men relate to an actual road map. To navigate in unfamiliar territory, we look for a map, don't we? The book reduces the nebulous subject matter called "love" into something that's all of a sudden logical, relatable and doable!

The truth is, dealing with loving relationships is a cross men carry. I have read psychology and biology materials that scientifically support that view. So, let's carry the cross well, and with style!

Yeah, I know golf and football are more interesting topics. I just happen to be someone who wants my wife to hand me my snacks and drinks with a smile and a kiss, while I watch ESPN. That requires an X-Factor called a great loving relationship.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Do You Make This Mistake in Parenting?

Help for parents may be needed in some areas of parenting, especially on expectations from kids. Being happy with our kids and expecting our kids to make us happy are two very different things!
If you expect children to make you happy, you will be disappointed.
Too many parents link their well-being to the mood of their offspring and end up miserable and guilt-ridden
'I have never been so happy as when my first child was born – and this was partly because my life was no longer about me." This is how one of my friends explains her euphoria at the birth of her daughter xxx But do children, once the initial thrill is past, make parents happier? A brilliantly argued article, in New York magazine, maintains that having children does not make us happier at all.
Source: Kate Kellaway, The Observer, 11-July 2010

Sunday, July 18, 2010

An Amazing Discovery at the Museum for Kids

A Huey helicopter at the Museum for Kids? That's an amazing discovery for my family, indeed.

For someone who knows that UH1H "Huey" helicopters are deadly war machines flown in battles against insurgents in the countryside, I find it absolutely weird that I see one of them sitting in a museum for kids. No, it didn't matter that they have repainted the thing with kiddy colors and designs.

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Love Language of Acts of Service

The so called "Acts of Service" is one of the Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. The person with that love language will appreciate love more when you do something for him or her, like mixing coffee in the morning, iron clothes, open doors for him/her, buy groceries for him/her, etc.

The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That LastsI grew up washing clothes of my elder brothers, scrubbing the floor at home, etc. I hated those days, but lived through it for as long as I did it only for my family. So, when someone acted as if he wanted me to serve him, resentment would set in. You would hear me mumble, "who do you think you are? you lucky {tot-tot-tot-tot}!" Or among Filipinos one might say, "ano ka? sinuswerte?"

Little did I know that because of that attitude, I locked myself out of a segment of the population who would put their lives on the line for me. You see, when some people around you do something for you, they're actually saying something! It will be sad to blind ourselves from that truth.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Parenthood sucks? What are they thinking?

Parenthood sucks, or so everyone keeps saying? Everyone? Let's examine this further.
Not On Board With Baby
Parenthood—the condition, not the TV show—sucks. Or so everyone keeps saying.

It’s no surprise that Jennifer Senior’s insightful, provocative New York magazine cover story, “I Love My Children, I Hate My Life,” is inciting much chatter—nothing gets people talking like the suggestion that child rearing is anything less than a completely fulfilling, life-enriching experience. (Source:
To readers not used to western slang, the word "suck" used this way means "to be disgustingly disagreeable or offensive" ( Filipinos are kind-hearted people. But one can't say "parenthood sucks" here and remain likeable.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

My Birthday Gifts for My Son

My son's birthday was a month ago, and the birthday gifts that I could give were my time and attention plus some special food that my wife prepared. It was a very happy birthday for him.

We all simply stayed home on his birthday, had chicken for lunch and ice cream at mid-afternoon. In the evening, it was even more special. There was the usual dinner, plus chocolate cake.  We also sang the usual Happy Birthday song.

After dinner I asked him what DVD he liked to watch, and I would watch it with him. He chose Passion of the Christ. Up to this time I didn't know why of all the kiddie movies available, he chose that!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Our Hunger for Roots

The following remark about the Philippines from A Short History of South-East Asia (4th Ed) drew my attention:
". . . contemporary Filipinos lack a concrete pre-colonial history from which they can draw inspiration and create national myths. There is nothing in the Philippines' past remotely comparable to the golden eras of Angkor in Cambodia, Pagan in Burma or Majapahit in Indonesia." (page 125)
Not only do I agree with this, I could also feel it. There is hunger among Filipinos for a glorious past that simply wasn't there. We resented the Spanish, the Americans and the Japanese who colonized us, but we could find no national identity beyond what these conquerors had provided us.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Fatherhood is Prayer

The closest thing I can compare fatherhood with is the vocation of priesthood. You don't stop ministering to your parishioners even when you're eating your meal. Priests pray for the people too and officiate mass for them to link collectively with the Divine.

That's what fathers do at home or otherwise.

It's more like being a police officer who doesn't stop arresting pickpocketers on his or her way home from his shift at the station. It's also more than being a soldier who does not rest from responding to calls of duty even in the middle of a vacation.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Inflatable Pool vs Summer Heat

While some friends were out there on the beaches and resorts for their Summer get away, we had an inflatable pool at home to fight summer heat. We chose to stay home this Holy Week to spend time together, and to have private moments of contemplation.

It was amazing how much T I M E you could "earn" when you didn't have to pack bags, carry them around (with the kids) and unpack them ... twice: to and from the destination. We would however have our own share of all that in the following week.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

My Son Just Graduated from Prep in Homeschool

My son just finished prep school, at home. Yeah, you read it right. My wife's his teacher, most specifically his home school teacher. A few days ago he graduated or "moved up" along with other home school kids of the Catholic Filipino Academy, the home school provider.

My son poses with Bo Sanchez during the Moving Up Day (photo courtesy of Rene Espinosa, a fellow home school parent)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

How to Give P1 Billion to Your Child

I can do something in the next five years, and nothing after that, which will then give my two kids close to P1 Billion each by the time my son turns 57 and my daughter turns 52.They can then retire and just do whatever they want with that money.

Unbelievable? Bo Sanchez has taught me something mind-blowing today.

I did my own calculations on MS Excel. What I found was I can put P5,000 every month, consistently for the next five years, into stocks that grow 20% per year on average. I then leave the money there until they grow to P1.8 billion 45 years after.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Missing Your Family

My wife's smile warms my heart everytime I come home in the evening. I see my wife in the kitchen taking care of food. My son shouts, "Yehey" and run towards me to ride on my back (yes, even before I'm able to put down my computer bag). Then upon seeing that, my daughter comes to let me carry her in my arm (note, that's singular, coz my other arm supports my son at my back.)

Get the picture? I have kind of gotten used to that.

But once upon a time my mother-in-law in the province was sick and my wife was visiting her. Eighty-year olds needed more time and attention that we would like to think, and so my wife extended her time there to bring her mother to a doctor. I wanted my wife to do that. My mother-in-law was (and is) a very nice and supportive woman. I was so blessed. She deserved the time and attention. The least I could do was let my wife do her duty.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

I'm back to Blogging! (Again ^_^)

Hey I'm back :) It has been more than a month since my last blogging post. That's long. When I put up this blog, I wanted to build a habit of posting once or twice a week. That takes focus and real will power; not because it's difficult, but because blogging isn't something you do with your kids around.

When I'm unable to blog, that's because I'm busy doing some real parenting work at home, after my work in business and service. (That's actually a lame excuse, hehe).

Thank God tonight I rediscovered my passion for singing. Singing felt like it was the only thing I love at home that I could do with my rowdy kids around. Reading a book? Nah! Watching a  movie? Nah! Blogging? All the more, nah! nah! nah!

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