Monday, August 21, 2017

Piero is 3!

Piero is 3 years and 6 weeks old today. Yes, this is a birthday post 6 weeks delayed! A big part of the reason for the delay is Piero himself. In the last 6 weeks, his development has been huge—he's suddenly talking clearly, he's drawing real drawings (not scribbles), he's agreed to take baths without screaming bloody murder, he finally agreed to get a haircut (so we booked that salon appointment ASAP), he's asking TONS of questions and he won't let you go unless you answer them. It's been a fascinating few weeks, everyone!

We're so grateful that the Terrible Twos are over!!!

Today, I'll share with you a few photos from his little birthday. As usual, we had to have the cake early in the morning. We've given up dressing up the boys for the pictures—dressing up really early in the day just for pictures puts them in a bad mood so we're all in sleepwear with unwashed faces and unbrushed hair here. My mother would've been so disappointed haha She was very particular about keeping up appearances!

If there's one thing motherhood has taught me, however, it's you need to pick your battles. And much as it would be lovely to be like one of those stylish Instagram mommies with their stylish Instagram kids, my kids would rather be sloppily happy. So be it!

Piero's obsessed with Spider-Man now so he wanted a Spider-Man cake. We got one from Goldilocks. And he loved it!

He leaned in close to blow out his birthday candle...

And got cake all over himself!!! Sticky icing everywhere! Cake destroyed! Brothers amused! But I saw Piero start to get upset that his Spider-Man pajama top had frosting so I whisked him away and changed his shirt (thank goodness we have LOTS of Spider-Man shirts!), washed him up, tried to get as much icing off his hair as I could, and then we went back and blew out that candle again!

And had some cake. Hooray!

Disaster averted! Birthday party rescued!

Now for the gifts!

Piero got gifts from his brothers and his Mama and Papa and he was super happy. But he was even happier when we all piled into the car and went to Kidzoona!

We have soooo many photos of the birthday boy and his brothers enjoying Kidzoona! They were so happy! But little boys need to rest their excited little bodies so we all went back home for Piero's favorite - ube ice cream!

Dear Piero, you're such a character. Always bossy, always loud, always filling up the room with your personality, always insisting that you must have your way in a house where everyone is bigger than you. You never let anything make you feel small and you never give up or give in. While you're just like your parents, we have a sneaky suspicion you're going to be so much more than Papa and Mama will ever be simply because you insist on being gigantic in every way.

I pray that you'll always be stubborn and assertive. I'll just need to ask God that He show me and your Papa how to teach you to be a very good and righteous man so that you can use that stubbornness and aggression to fight for the weak, the small, and the downtrodden. I see big things coming your way, little boy. And you will take them on like the giant that you are! I can't wait to see this happen, my dearest Piero! Happy birthday, Mr. P! We LOVE you!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The luxury of principles

I almost got hit by a taxi today. I was very careful, crossing the street, but the taxi sped up to overtake the asthmatic jeepney chugging uphill and the taxi driver didn't see me till the last second but thankfully I saw him and stopped. Because I have a really bad temper, I raised my fist to smash his hood but I saw that he had passengers—a woman and small kids—who all looked frightened. So instead of getting mad, I stood in front of his car and wagged my head and finger at him like he was a naughty boy. Then we both went off to wherever we needed to go.

See, this is my life these days. There are so many things happening in my industry, in our country, in the world, and I want to raise my fists, march on the streets, write scathing articles, scream! But I don't. Two reasons: (1) As a working mama of three small children and with no household help, I'm too busy and too tired; and (2) As a working mama of three small children, I've been warned that being critical of the government and being basically disagreeable may hurt my career. While this second reason doesn't matter to me (if you refuse to work with me because of who I am and what I believe in, then why would I want to work with you?), it has tempered my fury and so I sit quietly.

I've been sitting here quietly while thousands of my fellow Filipinos are murdered (see the latest on the drug war's "bloodiest night" here), while mommy bloggers are insulted (Cat Antonio rages against this here), while all bloggers are sneered at (Earth Rullan breaks it down here), and while the most convenient means of transportation for me and my children was taken away from me and many other working people (you can read about that here).

But for me, I keep my head down and do my mommy work. These days, all that matters is peace and quiet.

These days, I also keep thinking of this Mel Gibson-helmed movie called The Patriot. It's about Benjamin Martin, an American war hero who retired to be a farmer because he just wanted peace and quiet with his family. When conflict with the British government threatens this peace, he refuses to fight and he gave this reason: "I'm a parent. I haven't got the luxury of principles."

Ironic, right? Parents, the moral compass of their children, not having the luxury of principles. And it's true. I see it on my Facebook feed. The ones who are most vocal, the ones who march on the streets—they're not parents. They're the single people, the childless couples, the ones who don't have a lot to lose, except maybe their lives, which isn't much apparently in these times when you fight for people's rights and then you get threatened with murder.

And that's why parents can't have principles. If we lose our jobs or our lives because we dared to fight for what is right and decent (as what happened to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, which reportedly suffered an ad boycott and then had to be sold because they were critical of the administration), then what happens to our children?

I'm not defending my inaction. To be honest, I don't even know what action to take. I have protested many times on Facebook but that honestly feels like impotent rage. I have discussed what upsets me with many people that don't share my anger and I initially thought that was more effective except that they haven't changed their minds at all. So I guess dialogue doesn't work either. So these days, I've calmed down, I've gone on living. I've kept the peace.

In The Patriot, Benjamin Martin is told, "You have done nothing for which you should be ashamed." And Benjamin replies, "I have done nothing. And for that I am ashamed."

Despite all his precautions, Benjamin's family still suffered unimaginable consequences. When there's a war, after all, no one is spared. Even those who survive it.

Now here's the thing: My motto has always been: "The brave may not live forever, but cowards never live at all." My one defining trait has always been courage, but now that I have kids, I want to survive. It frightens me that to survive, my principles are the first casualty. What frightens me even more is the gnawing worry: Will doing nothing actually save my family? In the deepest part of my soul, I know the answer is no because they will grow up knowing their mama kept her head down when she should've been rising up, and they will feel ashamed.

Well, there is one brave act I do with my head down. I pray. Prayer is an act of courage because you choose to believe when there is no hope left. Some people will scoff that that's the most inactive activity to do in times like these. Maybe. But I've been vocal, I've fought back, I've discussed respectfully, I've shared real news and informative articles, I've done what I can and those didn't feel very effective in the face of looming evil and economic despair. In my life, however, I've seen that prayer works and that God moves quietly and mightily. I've never prayed for our country before, never really prayed for my career before, but now I do. It's the only thing I know I can do, the only thing I believe will work.

And you, even if we don't share the same politics, I'm sure we share the same love for our country, our fellow Filipinos, and our children. If you also share my faith in God, let's pray that His will of perfect love and true peace reign over our nation. Maybe that's one principle—our belief in faith, love and peace—that we can have together and work with together.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Turn your blog into a business! Sign up for the next Boss Bellas workshop!

I'm doing another workshop for Boss Bellas, mamas! This time we'll talk about turning your blogs into a real business—something I know very well!

If you recall, last year, my friends Ginger Arboleda of learning company Manila Workshops, online tax filing tool Taxumo, and mom blog Mommy Ginger, and Martine de Luna of blissful lifestyle blog, branding services and workshops Make It Blissful created a business called Beauty Biz Bliss. With it, we wanted to pool together our knowledge and help other working women create passion businesses, juggle work and family happily, and prioritize self-care while doing all that. We called our little community Boss Bellas.

After a fabulous launch, we went on a very slow start and then fizzled out. Last year was very busy for all three of us, individually. This year is just as busy but Ginger and I are finally focusing on Boss Bellas again and we have a few workshops lined up for you!

The first Boss Bellas workshop was Mompreneurship 101, a gentle and encouraging get-together for moms who want to start a business or had just started one. Iyakan kami buong workshop hahaha. What a lovely and honest gathering! But hindi lang warm and fuzzy feelings siya. We also discussed lots of practical tips for overwhelmed business mamas and addressed questions on taxation. I was so inspired!

Here are a few photos I'm sharing from Photography by Lianne, the official photographer of our workshop. Photography by Lianne actually takes photos—not of workshop events haha—of the most adorable family and baby portraits so do check them out.

Ginger and me! Si Ginger ang totoong boss bella kasi marami siyang companies. Ako, boss ko sarili ko and sarili ko rin ang inuutusan ko haha

My new friend, Lique! She is such a gentle soul. And so talented! For your design and branding needs, please check her out at

Oooh, I learned so much from Monique. She is a superwoman! She's also the founder of Klaseko so if you want to enroll your kids in school or enrichment classes from the comfort of your own home, visit

Now here are the working mamas who joined us that fun afternoon!
All of these wonderful women—though they look nice and gentle—they are formidable. They take care of their families while managing businesses. They are not just bosses, they are women who made their dreams come true and work hard every single day despite criticism and discouragement, physical and mental exhaustion, and the most crushing mom guilt! Gosh, I'm so inspired by these mamas!

For the second Boss Bellas workshop, we'll be helping bloggers make money from their blogs. If you're a blogger (and by that, I mean you already have a blog that you update regularly) and you want your blog to make money, do sign up! I'll talk about getting brands to work with you, how to make a media kit, how to pitch to brands, how to respond to proposals from brands, how to behave properly as a blogger, and how to register your blog as a business and pay taxes.

The Boss Bellas: Blog Your Way into Business will be a fun afternoon on August 26, Saturday, at Pen Brothers co-working space at Makati. The workshop fee is P1,800, but if you register before August 16, you get the early bird rate of just P1,200. And that's me giving away all my secrets!

Okay, can't wait for this workshop! I've a TON of secrets to share. You're going to learn a lot and we're going to have super fun. See you there, blogger mamas!