Category Archives: Home and Family

Top 5 Reasons Why You Must Teach Your Children Filipino

Okay, so after all these years, I’ve really had it with Filipinos who don’t know how to speak in Filipino. As Philippines celebrates Independence Day, and with more Filipino kids not even capable of understanding or speaking in Filipino, I think it is high time to make a case for our mother tongue.

A Parent-Inflicted Child Disability?

Well, we’re not talking about a disease but, a crippled sense of culture. No, we’re not even going to talk about their sense of history (not yet, anyway but, I will soon), we’re just going to tackle more about children whose parents don’t teach them how to speak in Filipino. I don’t mean to be critical of how these moms and dads are raising their kids but, it has become very disturbing why these kids, being raised by Filipino parents, living in the Philippines, and attending regular Philippine schools are only being taught English.

Where my children attend school, kids like my son who know, live and breathe Filipino, are already finding the fact that majority of their classmates cannot even understand the language, absurd.  A friend of mine who teaches in the same school has also been complaining about their students who are making their profession doubly hard by parents who aren’t teaching their children Filipino.

As I wonder why these parents put their children in such an awful situation, I can only think of 5 reasons why every Filipino child “needs” to learn to speak and understand Filipino:


Reason No. 1: They live in the Philippines.  In case you missed, Filipino is the national language. If you’ve been to southern provinces in the Visayas and Mindanao or, have been colleagues with people who were raised in these areas, they would sometimes even hesitate to converse with you in Filipino because of the regional accent. They probably wouldn’t talk to your son or daughter who only speaks in English, although they will perfectly understand what he or she is saying.

In short, you are gravely depriving your children of the opportunity to connect, socialize, and collaborate with his or her own countrymen.

Reason No. 2: Filipino is part of the educational system. There is, in fact, a compulsory subject in school which is “Filipino”.  Your child is guaranteed to fail it if he or she hasn’t been taught how to speak and understand the language.

My son who is in Intermediate School tells me that some of his classmates don’t even know what the meaning of very common words like, “paaralan (school)” or “tumatakbo (running)” is. He says, “kawawa naman (how pitiful)”.  Whenever they have drills or exams, the teacher has to translate every word to these children every time.  Indeed, it is a pitiful situation, isn’t it? Besides, children who perfectly understand Filipino have to put up with the burden of spending more than enough time on one topic to accommodate their classmate’s “parent-inflicted disability”.

Reason No. 3: It’s best that they are capable of communicating in both Filipino and English. Our culture has very deep links with the English language. Even today, older people who were taught in the American system of education back in the days when American soldiers and missionaries taught in public schools would beat a college student when speaking in English.

Too much Tagalog is not the reason why our English is of a poorer quality now than it was about two or three generations ago. Still, we are the Number 1 destination for voice-based back office operations (including call centers) because we are very adaptable when it comes to learning, not only English, but also other foreign languages in general. Those people who are thriving in the industry grew up in an educational system that had both Filipino and English in the curriculum — they didn’t have to be taught English exclusively since birth to speak the language well.

Reason No. 4: Filipino is a uniquely beautiful language. If you know your history well, you must know that Filipino (once called, “Tagalog”) is a hodgepodge of many local dialects and foreign languages woven into a meaningful system of communication. It has a unique brand where not every word can find a proper English equivalent.

To this day, we still use words with origins that can be traced back to the Sanskrit, Chinese, Bahasa, Español, and, yes, even English. If there is “American English” and “British English”, we have “Taglish (Tagalog and English)” which, more and more people, even our institutions, including the media, have learned to embrace over the years.

The regional dialects are just as beautiful. If you have the chance to teach your children Ilocano, Visayan, Chavacano or, something else, you should. People appreciate it when you take time and exert effort to learn to converse in their dialect. Your child will be able to more easily connect with others.

Reason No. 5: Your child is Filipino. Don’t you want him or her to love and appreciate our Filipino heritage? Even my relatives who grew up in the US and friends with Filipino parents who grew up elsewhere understand Filipino, most of them can even engage in ordinary day-to-day conversations in Filipino. It will be a shame for your children not to know how to speak it most especially when you are raising them in the Philippines.

Our Filipino language is alive and continues to evolve. As Filipinos, it is our responsibility to keep our heritage alive. Part of that responsibility is to make sure that we enrich our national language and make sure it develops further. It is one of the most important links that connects us to each other, and, as parents, it is our responsibility to our country to make sure that our children treasure it as well.

If you are raising your children to embrace Filipino as their own, Hooray! Otherwise, I hope you give it another thought. It’s not too late for them to learn.

subscribe-now-button

Advertisements

The most empowering firsts for women

“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we might fear less.” — These words were spoken by Marie Curie, the Polish scientist credited for the discovery of two elements, polonium and radium, which became instrumental in the development of x-rays and cancer therapy. Her thirst for higher knowledge brought her to Paris because, as a woman, she was not allowed to attend the university. In 1903, she became the first woman to win a Nobel Prize (Physics) and the first person to win a second Nobel Prize (Chemistry) — the only person by far to win the prestigious award in two different branches of natural science.

Five inventions and landmark policies that empowered women the most

The road to success indeed was not easy for us, women, to pursue. Other than our sheer commitment and dedication, there were also five major changes that allowed us more time to think about what we want, go after our wildest dreams, and be respected for doing so.

emblem-2122144_640

1. Modern contraceptives.  It was not until the use of diaphragms and condoms in the 1800s that birth rates started to decline. At the same time, women married and had children at a latter age. Modern contraception allowed women to delay pregnancy under the principles of birth control, which was earlier termed “voluntary motherhood”.

In the US, Margaret Sanger established the first birth control clinic and was arrested several times for doing so as it was then prohibited under the Law. In France, the 192o Birth Law likewise prohibited access to birth control. It was not until the 1960s to early 1970s when prohibitive laws were reversed, favoring the wider distribution of birth control pills and devices.

2. Equality in the workplace. Before equality and non-discrimination in the workplace became a norm in modern societies, women were forced into slavery, some work for less compensation doing the same work as their male counterparts who earned more for the same level of effort, and women could not take on higher posts because they were not allowed to attend institutions of higher learning.

The founding of institutions that advanced women’s rights, such as the National Women’s Trade Union League in the US, then later, international institutions that advanced workers’ rights, most especially the International Labour Organization of the United Nations, set the standards for women to be able to access decent forms of employment that did not discriminate based on their gender. The subsequent attendance of women to earn university and post-graduate degrees later allowed them to move up to become leaders in their respective organizations.

3. The right to vote.  In the US, women’s right to vote was not granted until 1920. In the Philippines, following Independence and consistent with the 1935 Constitution, women were granted this right. Beyond being given the responsibility of choosing a leader, women could freely express their opinions. Soon after, women also pursued election for political office.

4. Trousers by Coco Chanel.  Trousers have been worn by women throughout ancient times but, it was Coco Chanel who popularized the use of trousers in modern societies, following the war. Chanel made trousers fashionable, and it became a style staple for working women. Trousers allowed women the freedom of movement. She was once quoted as saying in reference to pants, ”I gave women a sense of freedom. I gave them back their bodies: bodies that were drenched in sweat, due to fashion’s finery, lace, corsets, underclothes, padding.”

5.  Participation in the Olympics.  Though the exact date when women were allowed to join the world games is still widely debated, it wasn’t until 1900 in Paris when Olympic events, particularly in croquet, were opened to women.

A toast to women: International Women’s Day

In celebration of International Women’s Day, we celebrate the contributions of women to the world: from creating humble homes, raising respectable children, serving in wars and changing the course of history, women were in the midst of it all. Women worked behind the scenes, and were forced to exert more effort to become successful in their chosen fields because, in many parts of the world, women faced discrimination, many still do today.

subscribe-now-button

Finding LOVE at Age 46

“The best love is the kind that awakens the soul; that makes us reach for more; that plants a fire in our hearts and brings peace to our minds.” — Noah to Allie in “The Notebook” by Nicholas Sparks

Whether you are celebrating Valentine’s Day with a special someone or all by yourself, stories of love — all forms of it but, most especially the romantic kind — will keep being created. The best love stories will keep being told through the end of time.

It’s not hard to understand why we love ‘love stories’. They evoke so much human emotion, raw and pure, the only kind of truth that can only be spoken by our souls. It is the story that touches our lives or, at best, one in which we play the role of the lover, partner, friend, soulmate. The role is relative to somebody else and does not exist without the other — always remembered and never to be forgotten.

No boyfriend since birth

Is there a right kind of love? Is there a right time for love? This is the love story sought and now lived by Marifel Somera-Orden who, after all, did not “grow old alone and lonely,” her fears in her own words.

16763704_1542078959153784_810490255_o

Not so long ago, Marifel longed for her own romance too. She spent decades thinking to herself, “How come other women had men to call their own and I don’t?” Nobody courted her, and, in all terms, was living the life of a ’dalagang Filipina’ (colloquial, means ‘never been touched and never been kissed’) who was an inch close to becoming ‘matandang dalaga’ (old maid). “I started thinking that maybe something was wrong with me.”

“Who would comfort me in times when I feel miserable?”

Now married with a good man by her side, Marifel will finally be spending Valentine’s Day with her very own special someone. “There was a time in my life when Valentine’s Day was never a good day for me. I pitied myself as I envied the ladies walking down the streets, bouquets on one hand and chocolates on the other. That was why I would often just stay at home, watch anything but a romantic flick on tv, and binge on junk foods.”

Her plans for this year’s Valentine’s? “We’ll have a quiet dinner, nothing fancy. We’ve just recently spent for home improvements so we promised not to gift each other but, we’ll see if I get flowers for Valentine’s.”

When the love bug strikes

Marifel had a number of communities where she belonged to but, stayed put in the same place of work for decades. It was the last place she or anybody who knew her would have thought she’d find the one who would win her heart.

Marifel and, her husband, Erwin, were work colleagues. Erwin joined the same company in 2009. “I didn’t like him at first,” she confessed. “He seemed to me like he had walls built around him that nobody could tear down.” Both frequently argued over the stuff that mattered at work but, mostly, over little things that most people wouldn’t care about. Soon enough, their officemates began to notice their love-hate relationship and started teasing them.

“It wasn’t until 2011, during a business trip in Palawan, when I realized, that I was absolutely attracted to Erwin.” It was one of many work-related trips that they’ve shared before then. This one in particular allowed them to get to know each other better. “We stayed at a farm inside a rural university. We didn’t have tv so there was nothing else to do after conducting the trainings.”

So, they ended up telling each other stories night after night. “We’d lie down on the same bed, hands clasped and skin to skin.” “Nothing kinky happened,” she would immediately clarify, “but those moments made me feel electrified”. “Those were the first few moments of my life to be so intimately and dangerously close to a man. I remember feeling giddy and it felt good!”

“On the final night of our stay, I felt sad because that meant our evening conversations would be over soon and I’ve grown to look forward to the habit.” Habit it became. Once they were back in Manila, Erwin and Marifel would continue talking for hours every night.

The proposal

The two would spend many years and many other adventures together before they made it official that they were an item. “In March 2014, while we were off to spend time together at the Manila Ocean Park, he asked me, ‘Are you taking me seriously?’ and all I could manage to say was, ‘huh?’” Then Erwin told her, “Basta seryoso ako sa’yo at pakakasalan kita (Never mind, just trust me that I am serious and that I will marry you)”. Marifel’s breath was taken away, “Heaven!”

It wasn’t until December 2015 when Marifel got formally proposed to.  While the two were attending a Christmas get-together dinner, Erwin pretended to be sick. “So, I checked up on him, who allegedly was resting at an upstairs room.” She didn’t expect to find Erwin to be kneeling on the floor with three red roses in hand, red petals all around, asking her, ‘Will you marry me?’ “That was just the beginning of wonderful times ahead of us,” Marifel exclaims.

Asked about how it felt like to finally find the love of her life, Marifel relates, “I feel happy, content and at peace”. “I am finally home with my one and only.”  She says that she feels an unexplainable joy inside of her and she knows that it was God who answered her heart’s desires.

Life as a married woman

On 16 July 2016, Marifel and Erwin were joined in Holy Matrimony to their happiness and to the joy of their families and friends.

“Married life is blissful, exciting, comforting. It gives me joy and peace. I feel safe and protected.” “Some lust is a must,” she adds as she bursts into laughter. “It can’t be perfect though. We have those moments when nobody would want to stand down. We’ll wait until it’s calm to iron out our differences but, we never let a day pass by without making up.”

“My weaknesses are his strengths and vice versa.” Marifel and Erwin create more happy memories by taking long drives, out of town trips, eating in their favorite restaurants, and  just spending time at home seated close to each other while listening to good music and holding each other’s hands.

Finding true love

To women who feel stuck and are in the same place where she was before finding the love of her life, Marifel says to, “Pray for the man who deserves you. God hears your heart’s desires and will grant it in His perfect time. Keep believing even when it seems impossible.”

13782110_1320088984686117_6042335970877154869_n

“I had three wishes for my love life,” she recalls. “First, I wished to marry a best friend. Second, I wished for a man who will take me for what I am and love me for who I am — with all my bad moods and my excess cholesterol,” she says as she breaks out to a loud laughter. “Lastly, I wished for someone who will be proud of me and shout out to the rest of the world how much he loves me. I got all of it.”

After she accepted Erwin’s marriage proposal, Erwin let everybody on Facebook know that 2015 was the last Christmas he would spend as a single man. “He is not that type of expressive,” Marifel says.

Believe in the power of love

The famous classic writer, George Orson Welles once wrote, “If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story.” That’s why you must keep your faith and keep finding love in and with people around you. Romance is but a chance but to keep sharing your love will always be a choice.

What is your love story? Share your story with us by commenting below.

subscribe-now-button

Valentine’s Day dating ideas

Surprises! That’s why we look forward to life events and annual celebrations like Valentine’s Day.  Special dates such as these are proof that people enjoy being flattered, and I say that even for those who despise February 14 — you know, people in red, dating couples, cupids, flowers?

Top 5 dating ideas for this Valentine’s Day:

Feel like you’re stuck with the usual reservation at a formal dining or exclusive dating venue? Before expanding your ideas for your Valentine’s date night, there are some considerations you have to make. Consider the amount of time you have to execute your preparations, how much you are willing to spend over a date, and what your and your partner’s interests are.

These five suggestions are guaranteed to make you rethink your Valentine’s Day dating options:

Option No. 1: Head down memory lane. If you have been with your spouse, partner, girlfriend or boyfriend for a considerable number of years now, a look back at the good times and memories that you both treasure will create a different kind of Valentine’s Day experience.

Prepare a rough sketch, like a treasure map, of all the places you’re driving to for the rest of the night or the weekend. Make it more interesting by composing riddles or dropping hints of what each of those places marked on your map is. For example, you can just put there, “You had me at ‘Hello’” to indicate that that’s the place where you first became romantically attracted to your partner. Work from there: where you watched your first movie, where you became engaged, some secret place only the two of you know about, and so on and so forth. You’ll be surprised how those wonderful memories will rekindle your romance.

Option No. 2: Date like teenagers. Go to an arcade or the local amusement park. Play video games to team up or challenge each other. Shoot the most number of toy soldiers or toy Indians with a pellet gun or burst tiny balloons with darts to win prizes. If your heart health will still allow it, ride the roller coaster and scream at the top of your lungs. When you’re done with the rides, pig out on corndogs, pizza, fries and nachos. Top the experience with a shared cone of ice cream and seal the night with a kiss and a warm embrace.

Option No. 3: Set out on a road trip. It’s a great time to check out new places or, to visit some secluded resort you both love being to. Plan to see historical places, try local eats, party at local bars and dance the night away with total strangers and with only each other to trust. The beauty of travelling with your significant other is that it teaches you both to trust each other and have faith in each other because you don’t know anybody else where you are.

Make sure to make a list of everything you might possibly need on the road to keep your date comfortable and convenient. If you’re both feeling more adventurous, forget the reservations. Pullover whenever you feel like you need one — even for a hot booty call, just make sure nobody else is watching.

Option No. 4: Go stargazing. Check out local astronomy clubs. These orgs would often have special Valentine’s Day tour and stargazing offers. Sign up yourself and your partner, and prepare to spend the rest of the night out in the open and under the starry, starry night. Better yet, get a telescope and head outdoors — just the two of you (and kids, if you have little ones). Don’t forget to bring a guide of the constellation, knick knacks and some drinks. If you have space in your backyard, you can simply set up a mat or pitch a tent right there.

Option No. 5: Private movie viewing. How about doing everything right in the convenience of your own home? Have food delivered or cook up a beautiful dish and dessert for two. After dinner, cuddle up on the living room floor with a freshly and nicely popped tub of popcorn to share. You know what happens next.

The Dating Game

You can reserve a hotel room, even book a private jet to take you and your partner to a secluded island. No matter what dating option you choose, the point of dating remains the same: it’s spending a romantic time — not just any other quality time — with the person you genuinely love and who loves the best and the worst of you to the moon and back. Don’t forget to say, “I love you!”

Top 10 Valentine’s Day gifts for her

Ernest Hemingway is credited for the advice, ”Better to have lost and loved than never to have loved at all.” Aren’t we all just taking our chances? We’re betting our lives on our significant others with whom we are risking and betting the rest of our lives with.

If you’re contemplating on giving your woman — wife or girlfriend (it better not be both!) — a little something special this Valentine’s, there’s a good chance that you’ve chosen well. It is the best time of the year to let her know that if only because Valentine’s Day is celebrated to give the very special people in our lives the recognition that they deserve for loving us in return for who we are — all the shortcomings and imperfections included.

Chocolates vs. Flowers

Any or both will make your wife or girlfriend blush so there’s really no point in debating which one is better. The real question is, “What will make her happy?” Since men often complain about women being so hard to please, let me breakdown here why that may not be entirely true.

Here are 10 best Valentine’s Day 2017 gift ideas for her:

candles-2000135_1280

1. At-home microdermabrasion devices. Want to see her happy and smiling everyday? Give her this gift that keeps giving the moment she opens your gift box and in the years to come. A single session of microdermabrasion can easily cost upwards of US $100. That means, every time she uses this device, she gets to save that much! Plus her skin gets a health boost from the faster skin cell turnover facilitated by this device.

snip20170211_2

2. DIY age-defying laser treatment. If you thought that Item No. 1 is a great idea, have a look at this at-home beauty device. Lasers provide better precision, more accurate skin peeling which minimizes unnecessary skin damage during the exfoliation and treatment process. Since it is more advanced, you’ll have to spend more for this item. Again, since it’s  a gift that keeps giving, your girl will be able to save more in the long run (If you’re the one paying for her treatments then you can expect expenses on your credit card extension to go down.)

snip20170211_1

3. Physicians Formula Healthy Wear SPF 50 powder foundation.  Give her the gift of a flawless coverage without the irritating fragrances and harmful parabens. It is formulated to protect skin from UV damage using only mineral sunscreen ingredients, prevent  inflammation and restore skin health.

 

snip20170211_6

4. Juice Beauty Green Apple Nutrient Eye Cream, 15 ml. Rich in vitamins and moisturizers, that include Vitamin C and E, Co-enzyme Q10, alpha lipoic acid and peptides, this eye cream will help keep your woman’s eye area look and stay youthful. It improves the appearance of dark under eye circles and hyper pigmentation while also revitalizing dull skin.

snip20170211_8

5. Humidifier. This is a gift that actually benefits you too. Not many people realize how important this piece of small home appliance is. Air indoors can get stuffy or too humid. It can suck out the moisture from the skin which dries it up, as well as cause stuffy nose, start a cold, make throats itchy and cause lips to become cracked and swollen. The solution is simply adding a humidifier to your room.

snip20170211_9

6. Wireless headphones. For your girl who knows and loves her music, trust only a good quality headset to deliver her music — make it wireless. This headset allows her to dance and twist around the house and be carefree anytime she wants without being limited by wires and while both of her hands are free to swing to the music too.

snip20170211_10

7. A cleaning assistant. No, not a maid. Get your wife or girlfriend a robot vacuum cleaner that allows her to do something else besides sweep your home or apartment — like maybe cuddle up with you.

 

snip20170211_7

 

8. Home-cooked meal. Women love surprises. We’ll be flattered if you’d cook up something special for us on Valentine’s Day, most especially when you don’t really cook and had one of your friends or family members or YouTube teach you how to. Learn some of the best recipes to cook for her here.

9. A Weekend Spa Treat. Take her to your favourite spa location or, make the experience extra special by booking a weekend spa package at an out-of-town location. An inexpensive, relaxing and sensual back rub from you made extra special with a signature cream or essential oil concoction that you put together will best any spa service your money can buy.

10. An engagement or marriage proposal. If you seriously think it’s about time and she is the woman you’ve been waiting for then, put a ring on that finger. If you’ve been married for a long time, it may be timely to renew your wedding vows.

So, what’s it going to be?

At the end of the day, it all boils down to how well do you know the most important woman of your life? If you’ve been spending time talking to her and really listening to her, it shouldn’t be challenging to think of a suitable gift for her come Valentine’s Day.

Woman, drop your man  a hint by forwarding him this piece.

Happy V!

subscribe-now-button

Valentine’s Day Gifts for Him

This article contains product suggestions aligned with our affiliate marketing initiatives.

Host Mario Lopez has this to say about men: “There’s three things men always talk about — women, sports, and cars.” Hey, as much as we’d like to believe him, we know our men better than Mario Lopez does. There’s one thing we can all agree to, I guess, and that is men are complicated animals we love to hate but we love to love more.

Valentine’s Day can be big in certain cultures. It kind of is in the Philippines. It’s funny how even if my friends, and even I too, who loathe the prominence of red on V-Day and ladies running around carrying bouquets, still think it will still be nice to be remembered with a little token or an out of the ordinary text message on Valentine’s. If you feel that way, then the man of your life probably does want to feel extra special on V-Day too.

Here are some V-Day gifting ideas that will fit the personality and interests of your man:

For the workaholic.

Give your man the most convenient pair of men’s jeans perfect for use during his downtime. He deserves one for the hard work.

snip20170130_5
Levi’s 505 Regular Fit Cool Max Jeans

 

How about gifting him with a comfortable pair of shoes to stroll with?

snip20170130_6

How about pimping his ride for a more relaxing, more convenient drive?

Snip20170130_7.png
Zifeeling All Weather Delux Edition Full Set (Headrest and Lumbar) Flax Car Seat Cover

 

For the digital hobbyist.

If he just spoiled himself to an SLR, support his new hobby by getting him camera accessories to make his play more enjoyable.

Tripod to manage camera shakes and so that he can be part of the frame more often than not.

snip20170130_1
Andoer Pro Carbon Fiber Tripod for SLR Camera Ball Head Monopod

 

These days, SLR cameras usually only come with an 8GB memory disk. Imagine the volume of images he can store in this memory chip! It’s exactly what he needs for longer hours of uninterrupted shooting.

snip20170130_3
SanDisk Memory Card 128 GB

If you’re a couple who loves to spend time at home going over your old DVD collection, or checking out available movies on iflix or YouTube, level up your experience with a Smart Internet TV. Hint on spending V-Day at home.

snip20170130_4
Sony KDL-48W657D 48″ Full HD Internet TV

 

For the fitness buff.

Time and sweat are of the essence when working out for health or working out to lose weight are his priority. Give him the gift of precision.

snip20170130_8
Casio G-Shock Men’s Watch GWG-1000GB-1A Black

 

Today’s outdoor adventure wants to be able to move with all of the basics but also while keeping his gadgets safely tucked away. As a bonus, this bag is RFID protected.

snip20170130_9
Pacsafe Camsafe Z25 Laptop Backpack (Charcoal)

 

 

For the handyman.

If your man likes spending his free time tinkering his car, this will be a welcome addition to his car care collection.

snip20170130_10
Lotus LPW1450 1400W Pressure Washer (Grey) Free Bottle Soap

 

One of the all-time, best gift ideas for the DIY lover are tool sets. This drill set will help him do countless handiwork around the house — and you’ll be happier seeing the frames hung and the shelves installed. Okay, hold it, let’s just say he likes it more than you do (haha).

snip20170130_11
Bosch GSB 500 RE Impact Drill-DIY Tool Set – 06011A01K0 (Blue)

 

You can also reserve a spa getaway for an entire weekend (Ask a relative to look after the kids.) Most of all, consciously be conscientious and kind on Valentine’s so that you and your partner can spend a great time together.

Our techie lives: Are we getting it right?

Where my son attends school, we only get to meet his classmates’ parents and teachers about once every quarter and probably once or twice more for special programs. I always notice how different it was when it was my mom attending Parent-Teacher Conferences in my school. The parents used to talk and knew each other quite well. We don’t. I can’t even remember majority of their faces and there are only about 25 students in class. Nobody talks anymore.  Everybody is staring on their screens — sons and daughters beside them, tinkering their own gadgets.

Are we babysitting our children with gadgets?  How is it affecting our health and relationships?  Is it limiting or helping our children’s smarts?

***

Currently, an estimated 7.4 billion people are roaming the earth.  3.5 billion or, roughly half of whom, are interacting online in various ways.  A third of those who have Internet access are connected with some form of social media.

In the Philippines, 44.4 million, also roughly half of its 102 million population, have Internet access and 47 per cent are interacting on social media.  According to the 2016 Report of We Are Social, we spend 3.7 hours on social media, the highest number in the world; an estimated 74 per cent of Filipinos are mobile users; and, on the average, we spend 5.2 hours on our laptops and desktops, and another 3.2 hours on our mobile devices.

In the US, a study conducted by the non-profit, Common Sense, in 2015 revealed that teens (13 to 18 years) get 9 hours of screen time, on the average, while their tween counterparts (8 to 12 years) get 6 hours.  You know what’s even worse, their parents could be spending more time onscreen.  In a report made by market research think-tank, Nielsen, American adults spend at least 11 hours on their gadgets everyday!  In a recent report commissioned by Nokia, researchers noted that the study’s subjects checked their mobile phones 150 times a day.

***

The experts are asking the same questions we, parents, are also worried about.  In 2013, the growing trend in gadget use was the subject of a policy statement made by the American Academy of Pediatrics.  The statement indicated that children below two years old should not get any screen time.  Unfortunately, the same statement does not provide guidelines for tweens and teens.  It does, however, also recommend parents not to install either TV nor Internet access in their children’s bedrooms.

Child development experts are only beginning to recognize the possible issues around children’s cognitive and overall development in relation to tech gadget use.  A quick search of available studies on this area took hours to finally return very limited results.  That said, we’re all in the dark.

One of the studies we’ve come across with was the “Direct Measurements of Smartphone Screen-Time: Relationships with Demographics and Sleep” published in 2016.  A reported 653 participants  were observed.  The study concluded that there is a strong association between screen time and poor sleep.

In another 2015 study published in the journal, Computers in Human Behavior, it was concluded that media consumption among children (4 to 8 years) and pre-teens (9 to 12 years) resulted to ill-being, defined in the study as encompassing psychological, physical, behavioral and attention aspects. As for teens (13 to 18), every aspect of media use was a factor that contributed to ill-being.

In “Sleep and use of electronic devices in adolescence: results from a large population-based study”, researchers found out that gadget use can delay a teenager’s sleep by an hour.

***

What we know so far are inconclusive.  Some experts are pointing out the potentially negative impact of too much screen time on a child’s cognitive, affective, verbal and behavioral development because of the limited interaction of the child with other human beings.  Some experts, on the other hand, are pointing out the unprecedented stimulation young minds are getting from various apps on our devices.

Maybe the debate can find middle ground after all.  Might moderation be the key? Maybe. Since gadgets are also now being attached to the word, “addiction”, perhaps taming our children’s and our own appetites for tinkering our gadgets is the solution that we’re looking for.  The next question now is how do we make the leap?

subscribe-now-button

Are we losing our children to technology?

I’ve said several times before that millennials are not my favourite bunch of people, most especially when it comes to work. I never really cared to figure out what was wrong with them or, if there was really anything wrong at all, but assumed that it had something to do with the lack of passion, drive, care, sense of responsibility and, above all, patience. This clip from an interview with Leadership Coach Simon Sinek, brought to my attention by a new friend over at erikabrennan.com, is an eye opener.

There could be something wrong with the environment where young people are being exposed to. Now, with many of us parents ourselves, the challenge of bringing up younger people to be “better wired” is at hand. How do we raise our children to become better focused and better able to connect with other human beings?

Excerpt from an interview of Simon Sinek from an episode of Inside Quest http://www.insidequest.com/ as posted by David Crossman on YouTube.

subscribe-now-button

Do you believe in Santa Claus?

santa-gifts

As a child, I was brought up into the tradition of believing that a stout, jolly man clad in red suit with a long, white beard who constantly watched over children existed.  Then, on Christmas eve, he would deliver gifts to children all over the world who made his ‘good’ list.  I loved the gifts back then but also the idea that there was this kind-hearted man who looked after children’s welfare.

Was I devastated when I found out the Santa Claus that came to my home was just my mother? (My dad was away most of the time when I was younger.)  Some of the magic was lost — temporarily.  When I had children of my own, the magic was revived.  Of course, they believe in Santa Claus or Kris Kringle or whatever name you may call this adorable, generous man on his sleigh.

Why I still want to believe in Santa

My religion believes in Jesus Christ, Nativity, Bethlehem and the Three Wise Men.  However, as much as my faith in my religion is unfaltering, I’d rather not bring up religious beliefs here because religion, ironically, always breeds serious misunderstandings.

As far as Santa Claus is concerned, I want to keep believing in him for these three reasons:

1.  I want to keep believing in magic.  We call magic by many names — it’s faith, it’s hope — and, sometimes, magic is all I need to keep going even when times get tough.  The thought that there are things that go beyond the reality we know of inspires me to live through challenges.  Isn’t that the same foundation of religions too?  Believing in another world, in afterlife, things we cannot see or hear or feel but believe anyway?

2.  I want to keep believing in the inherent kindness of humankind.  There are way too many bad things humans do to each other these days, from deadly terrorist attacks to sexual abuses to petty crimes.  It’s hard to trust one another these days but, I’d like to keep believing we can do better, most especially among us, adults.  At times, I still see glimpses of that kindness from total strangers who help me, for instance, find my way when I am lost or, go out of their way to serve beyond my needs.

3.  I want to help keep the spirit of Christmas alive.  Santa Claus is the reason why gift-giving is so intertwined with Christmas and why it is the season children love to live the most.  Stories of a St. Nicholas and his good deeds, including rescuing children from imminent harm and danger, are stories of hope and kindness that I wish will keep proliferating throughout generations to come.  It is this spirit of Christmas that allows us to be more in touch with each other — to have quick get-togethers and go out of our mundane lives to exert more effort (not necessarily more money) in bringing happiness to the people we care about the most.

Do you believe in Santa Claus?  Answer here

The best 90s movies to watch and enjoy once again with your children

tmntFeeling nostalgic this weekend?  How about going through your old collections of VCDs and DVDs from 1990s?  Or, you can also catch some of these well-loved movies online.  These movies from the 90s will give you and your kids a much-deserved break from the heroes and heroines of Marvel and DC Comics.

1. Beauty and the Beast.  With the real life remake release date set for March 2017 with Emma Watson as Belle, there’s no better time than now to recall how the story unfolds.  Belle offers herself to be imprisoned by a beast in place of her father.  She later discovers the palace is enchanted and the Beast is the prince.  If the movie catches your little girl’s fancy, how about getting her a LEGO Disney Princess Belle’s Enchanted Castle or a Disney Princess Story Set-Beauty and the Beast so she can relive the magic over and over again.

2.  Aladdin.  Introduce your kids to the culture of the Arabian Peninsula without having to leave your couch.  Besides Aladdin and Princess Jasmine, acquaint them with the story of the magic lamp and the Genie in it.

3.  Pocahontas Marked by the growing environmental issues of the time, Pocahontas tells the tale of an American Indian princess on the verge of colonization.  It challenges the very concept of civilization and criticizes the direction it is taking, particularly leading to environmental degradation.

4.  The Lion King Your children will be familiar with Kion as The Lion Guard is currently being played in Disney Junior.  Introduce them to Kion’s grandfather, Mufasa, and the journey of his father, Simba, towards becoming the rightful successor as king of the Pride Lands.

5.  Mulan.  This Disney movie started revolutionizing the roles of female leads, becoming more than just princesses waiting for their knight in shining armor to rescue them.  Mulan tells of the bravery of a girl who takes his father’s place in the army to save him from imminent and certain death.

6.  A Bug’s Life Watch how an ordinary ant, Flik, transforms into the only hope his colony has to survive.  See how he overcomes the challenges with the help of the most unsuspecting bugs he encounters along the way.

7.  Stuart Little.  One of the greatest lessons to impart to your children is for them to love each other despite gigantic differences.  The adopted mouse son, Stuart, and his boy brother, George, will show them how.

8.  The Mighty Ducks.  The story unfolds when Gordon Bombay (Emilio Esteves) is forced to render community service after receiving a ticket for drunk driving.  The initially disinclined hockey coach soon found family among his young team, that included Charlie Conway (Joshua Jackson).  Remember those Mighty Ducks hockey shirts?  How about this for old time’s sake?

 

be3ae0_acca645815844ef3a707e99a28486e8a
Tour the towns of Laguna de Bay

 

9.  3 Ninjas.  Share laughter from start to finish with this hilarious adventure of three caucasian brothers who are trained by their Japanese grandfather in martial arts.

10.  Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.  Another hilarious film series which was later followed up with “Honey, I blew up the kid” in 1992 and “Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves” in 1997.

11.  Baby’s Day Out.  Follow a day in the life of this unsuspecting baby being chased by kidnappers.  Enjoy it all over again as your own children cheer for the adorable little one.  Give your baby the best, most durable stroller.

12.  Free Willy.  Troubled teenager, Jesse, finds the most unexpected friendship with Willy, a dolphin trapped in an amusement park.  Jesse later helps Willy escape into the open sea.

13.  Home Alone.  Be entertained once again by Macaulay Culkin back when he was adorable, cute and sober.  Let your children cheer for Kevin McCallister as he defends his home from robbers.  Get your holiday decorations into fifth gear with a Nativity Set.

14.  Richie Rich.  Watch Culkin again as the filthy rich boy who treats his friends to arcade right in his own home!

15.  The Indian in the Cupboard.  Your children will love how an Indian toy figure comes to life along with countless other toys later in the film.  With the New Year coming up, it’s a good time to play Indian.  How about a tipi to go with it?

16.  The Witches.  The adventure begins when ruthless witches turn a boy into a mouse.  The witches appear really creepy in this film so it may not be appropriate for very young kids.

17.  Casper.  Have your children watch the friendliest, cutest ghost who is incapable of giving people a scare.  See how he develops a friendship with his house’s newest occupants.  Casper is briefly brought back to life as Devon Sawa when he bids farewell to his human friend, Kat Harvey (Christina Ricci).

18.  Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  Another one of those 90’s originals your children are likely already familiar with because of the latest remake.  The original is still more wholesome.  Get your kid into gear.

19.  Toy Story.  Enjoy the heartwarming friendship of Andy’s toys, led by Woody and Buzz Lightyear.  The first film came out in 1995, with sequels released in 1999 and 2010.  A fourth release has already been sealed and will be showing in theaters in 2019.

20.  Jurassic Park.  Is there any boy who does not love dinosaurs?  Treat your boys and girls to this wonderful misadventure with the largest reptiles that ever walked and ruled the earth as they come to life once again in Jurassic Park!  The 90’s trilogy was followed up with a fourth installment in 2015.  A fifth installment is underway and is set for release come 2018.

 

time-1739629_1280
Should you be budgeting your time or your energy?

 

21.  The Parent Trap.  This movie will make you fall in love again with the charming Lindsay Lohan back when she was just being an adorable up and coming star in Hollywood.

How can we forget the countless, unforgettable roles played by the Robin Williams?  Below is a very select few of his most unforgettable 90’s films your kids will likewise enjoy:

22.  Hook.  An adaptation of the all-time, well-loved tale of Peter Pan, this movie stars Williams alongside Julia Roberts as Tinker Bell.

23.  Jumanji.  Watch Williams and two siblings, Peter and Judy, brave a fantastic realm of otherworldly creatures from a board game that comes to life.  A sequel to Jumanji is set to be released in December 2017, top billed by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

24.  Mrs. Doubtfire.  Get teary-eyed once again over witnessing the odds a father is willing to take to stay close to his children.

The versatile acting genius of the late, great Robin Williams certainly leaves more films that cater to your teenagers.  Recall also from the 1990’s: “Dead Poets Society,” “Good Will Hunting” and “What Dreams May Come”.

subscribe-now-button