Friday, December 14, 2007

Comfort and joy

As has been the case with past issues of the magazine, putting together Baby's December issue "fell into place" as far as synergy of topics was concerned. Along the way, I noted that there would be a story on helping a friend or a family member overcome a miscarriage, and another about dad of 6 Paul Perez -- whose brood happens to have a little boy who has been undergoing chemotherapy treatment since he was 3.

Then there's the interview with Tina Alejandro, an old schoolmate of mine, whose thirtysomething-year-old family business Papemelroti is a strong as ever (she's the "ti" in "Papemelroti"). The story isn't about the business, though, but about one experience she recounted to writer Nicole Bautista when she volunteered to keep a cancer-afflicted little boy company in a hospital. Needless to say, it's a very moving story (Nicole's talent at narrating is exceptional). Given that Christmas here has developed into a highly commercial occasion that sometimes ignores the real significance of the season, I wanted to include at least one article that would keep readers grounded and remind them (us all, actually) that the newborn King in the manger is central to this yearly celebration and gift-giving. And Tina's story was it.

This is beginning to look like a tearful issue, I thought when nearly all the stories were in, and who wants tearful for Christmas -- a time for rejoicing?

Then came the writeup about a couple who had waited 13 years for the wife to finally conceive. Icon, the fruit of the 13-year wait, turns one this month. Talk about stories with happy endings =)

There's lots to read in this issue -- my favorite is the photo-heavy spread on how to convert "junk" into toys. You'll just have to get your own copy if you want to know what's beyond the cover you see here (y the way, I'd love to know what you think of it). That's 12-month-old Andrea Isabelle Limbo gracing our cover, as photographed by Ralph Alejandrino.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Look what I found!

I hope you're not tired of seeing all things Baby on my blog lately! I did make attempts to write about other things, but the few times that I did try, this pc kept shutting down on me before I could hit "publish". So I'm keeping this post short so as to increase my chances of posting a new entry.

So here's the cover NOT of the latest issue of our magazine but of the recent anniversary issue (October 2007). I wasn't able to post it when it first came out, so here it is. The cover boy, Goyuito (I can't remember his real name as it's quite long), was 11 months at the time of the pictorial, and we loved him--curly hair and all! He is adorable--and we're not the only ones who think so. Some agent has called the office, wanting to know how to get in touch with the little tyke. Looks like a modeling career in the offing!

Here's the press release to give you an idea of what's in this 100-page issue:

Baby magazine celebrates 11th birthday!

Fun and freebies mark Baby magazine’s 11th anniversary issue this month, with entertaining reads and great giveaways in 100 pages! Kiddie parties are made easier with party-planning tips, ideas on choosing gifts, and a directory of suppliers from food and entertainment specialists to cake makers and entire party package providers. To let everyone in on the celebration, Baby is also holding exciting contests, with fabulous prizes courtesy of ReBirth Spa, Big & Small Co., Playtex Baby, Bumblebee & Co., Adarna House and Bosom Buddy. One contest has readers trying to match celebrities with their kiddie photos.

Topics covered in the October issue of Baby are spotting possible developmental delays through your infant’s fists, distinguishing milk allergy from lactose intolerance, the power of doing chores in boosting children’s self-esteem, preparing little flower girls and ring bearers for weddings, and safety tips around the house for curious toddlers.

Feature stories include the vital role that dolls play in little girls’ development, making the family computer and Internet access tools in raising your kids, and a fascinating look behind fictional superheroes Superman, Batman and Spider-Man.

Baby magazine is available nationwide at National Bookstore, SM Department Store baby section, Baby & Co., Babyland, Power Books, Bufini and selected mag:net plus outlets. For subscription and other inquiries, pls. call 728-3655/56.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Hot off the press next week!

Got 10 minutes. Haven't posted in a while. Latest issue coming out next week. No question about it. Posting a picture of the cover and a copy of the press release about what's inside. ** After seeing the photo on this post, I must say that it doesn't do justice to the real cover. The colors are much "yummier," the whole picture more "alive." But anyway, very little compares to seeing a baby in all his gleeful spirits, colors notwithstanding:

Keeping children well-grounded, choosing a good school and curbing kids’ “must-have” mindset are among the topics covered in Baby magazine’s November issue, which focuses on the rudiments of long-term planning for one’s children. Other articles include a Dad’s guide to choosing a family car, essential life lessons that every child needs to learn, and the difference between proactive and reactive parenting.

Other topics covered in this latest issue are understanding infants’ sleeping patterns, getting toddlers to eat, putting more fun into bath time, the basics of teaching kids to speak a foreign language, and investing the family’s “extra” money wisely.

In the pregnancy and post-partum pages, read about safety tips when traveling while pregnant and nutrition facts to keep you in tiptop condition till your baby arrives, as well as things you should know about your first post-delivery OB appointment.

Regular columns in this monthly magazine are “Baby’s Doctor” by Dr. Lourraine Co, “Childbirth 101” by certified childbirth instructor Rome Kanapi, “Feminine Lines” by OB-Gyne Dr. Rebecca Singson, “Pediatric Dentist” by Dr. Fina Lopez, “Family Finance” by Antonette Reyes and “Fatherspeak” by Manny Escasa.

Baby magazine, a publication of Marathon Publishing Co., is available nationwide at National Bookstore, SM Department Store baby section, Baby & Co., Babyland, Power Books, Bufini and selected Mag:net Plus and Mio Magazines outlets. For subscription and other inquiries, pls. call 728-3655/56.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Better late than never

Okay, so I'm starting to look like a magazine due to all the time and energy I've been pouring into work. Good thing if I looked anything like the cover models who appear on our magazine!

So here is the September issue of Baby magazine. Interesting reads inside, and we've been getting positive feedback from parents who really get a lot from the articles.

Will keep this short. More next time -- when that will be, I can't say for sure. Soon, I hope.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

More Baby love!

Here's what'll be making its way to bookstore shelves in less than a week!

What's inside? Just scan the cover -- plus staying on top of things when your toddler turns rowdy, first aid for burns, making study fun for kids, high heels and maternity belts, and tips for managing remittances from abroad.

Maxine Sanchez, our cute cover girl, was 8 months old at the time of the shoot (a little over 2 months ago), and breaking into a smile was so easy for her! She did hit her head on the living room floor--twice!--though, but she bounced back quickly. Next week will have us on another shoot involving three adorable babies, and their moms.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Shake it up

There's a place in the UP Diliman campus that sells fresh fruit shakes for P20/glass -- it's a home converted into a simple eatery that serves simple dishes. "Lutong Bahay" I think it's called, and it's very near the Shopping Center and the post office. It's been around for many years, I'm told, but only discovered it last year through an old colleague who brought me there with the promise of really cheap and yummy fruit shakes. He wasn't kidding.

Today my mother and I dropped by the place and had our fill. She had mango, I tried the watermelon. Both are yummy! Here's a photo of the nice girl wrapping up our treats. If you care to know the prices and what's available but can't decipher the writing on the white board, here's a closer look.

Everything except for the halo-halo (which costs P25) and the saba con yelo (can't remember, can't read) can be had for P20. Did I mention that the shakes are yummy?

Sunday, July 22, 2007

He who is named

Being child-like... something to be cherished. But I wouldn't want to be any of these children. "Because I want to" seems to be the driving force behind the actions of some parents -- particularly those involved in these incidents. I can't read minds, which is why I have trouble seeing anything noble in the intentions behind what they have done.

Came across these stories at Feminine Genius. The book "Are you my mother?" is a great take-off point so I put my own version of the P.D. Eastman children's book, which a Google search yielded.


Motherless by decree
I don't think P.D. Eastman imagined in her wildest dreams what this question could dredge up legally, ethically, and medically within fifty years of the publication of her classic children's book.

[An] unmarried man, Roberto d.B, had made arrangements with an unmarried woman friend to have her eggs donated to him for the purpose of being fertilized in vitro (outside her womb). (It is unclear whether the eggs were fertilized by his sperm.) And he had made arrangements with a second woman (the "gestational carrier" or "surrogate mother") to have her carry the embryos to term. (Although the decision states she had family responsibilities, it does not state whether she was married or had sexual relations with any man during the relevant time; if she were married, there would have been an issue about whether her husband was the father of the twins.) When the second woman delivered the fraternal twins in 2001, the hospital reported her as the mother. The man sued to have her name removed and his name listed as sole parent, the father. They both argued that she had no genetic link to the children and never intended to be their mother. The trial court agreed to add his name as father, but to retain her name as mother. An appeal was taken.

So legally, now, these are two six-year-olds with no mother, birth certificates with blank spaces, and a psychological nightmare that only God can heal.

It is clear that the court implicitly held that, although the twins were delivered from the womb of this woman, she was not their mother. There can be only two reasons for so holding. One is that she did not intend to be their mother, but the court expressly states that her intent is not a factor in establishing or not establishing parentage -- any more than it is for men. The alternative justification for this implicit holding is that she was not genetically linked to the children and therefore could not be their mother.

Aint this grand. The deconstruction of gender and consequent restructuring of family and rights allow these two children to be hatched at the whim of a man with a mission to use his seed to stick it to the system.

Read the rest of Motherless by decree at Feminine Genius


Sometimes on the way to your dream, you get lost and discover a better one.

- Proverb

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Flea markets, boundaries and the daddy factor

Yesterday after work, I passed by Greenhills Shopping Center, with the goal of snapping up some good buys (read: affordable and of good quality). Shoes needed replacing, and wardrobe in general needed some, "punch." I like going to the Greenhills tiangge ("flea market") as haggling is part of the shopping experience at this place. I wasn't disappointed -- in less than an hour, I headed for home with some pretty neat items within my budget. But that's not really what this post is about. In one of the stalls, as I waited for the saleslady to return with some tops I requested in my size, a couple happened to pass by. The woman perused a bunch of spaghetti-strapped, lace-fringed clothing items on display while her husband watched. She fingered the pieces one by one, apparently deciding on the right colors then he said "Ha? 'yan? They look like undergarments!"

"Well, this is what she likes," she replied.

I casually glanced at the bright-colored items and then at the couple while inwardly cheering "Go, daddy, go!"

It depends on the parents. You are the parents. It's up to you to guide your kids into making wise fashion choices. Do not lose your confidence in bringing up your kids properly... went on in my mind, hoping for mental telepathy to do its thing at that moment.

The saleslady I was waiting for arrived at that moment, my good buys in hand. The husband apparently held his ground because he and his wife walked away without purchasing any of the spaghetti-o innerware-being-marketed-as outerwear pieces. I know he somehow reiterated his protest over his daughter wearing something like that but I was too busy with settling my own purchases to catch the exact words. My thought as I walked off with my shopping bags: sometimes a Daddy really needs to put his foot down, especially when it comes to guiding his daughters, even when it's only about the seemingly insignificant issue of fashion.

Guess what -- all that is just an intro! I really wanted to share a post I read at Modestly Yours a couple of weeks ago (two posts actually). The first dwells on an incident that's not hogging the headlines anymore yet the lessons that can be drawn from it are timeless. I'm posting it in full. The second, which touches on fashion choices, is quite sensible and thought-provoking (which all entries in Modestly Yours are); it springs from the recent death of designer Liz Claiborne and takes off from an article in The Wall Street Journal. Both posts somehow weave the role of parents into these matters, but the second zeroes in on the crucial role of fathers, plus the sense of propriety in general.


An Open Letter to Paris Hilton

Dear Paris-
Congratulations on being released from jail last week. We don't know each other, but due to the choices you've made in the last few years, I can't so much as log-in to my email without reading the latest headlines about you, so since I know what's going on, I feel compelled to offer my take on your situation.
You and are close in age and I grew up in a privileged family too, although not nearly as wealthy as yours. But there's one thing that my parents were able to give me that your parents' endless money apparently could not buy for you - boundaries.
It seems that up until last month, your life was just one big party after another and there wasn't any form of attention or exposure that was too much for you. Although I read about how during your first few days in jail you would not let yourself eat or drink for fear of being photographed on the toilet by one of the guards as your jail cell had no privacy. I'm sorry that you had to go through that.
About twenty days ago your party ended. Not when you went into jail the first time, but after your wealthy, well-connected family pulled out all the stops to get you on house arrest, and the judge sent you back to the slammer anyway. That was probably the first time in your life that someone enforced boundaries even though you're 26 years old.
I believe that you must have felt completely hopeless and helpless at that point. From riches to rags. (It was "The Simple Life," but there was no make-up and crew. It was just you and that small cell.)
Feeling helpless isn't always a bad thing, though. There's a verse from Psalms that says "From the depths, I have called out to You, God." Sometimes we are only motivated to call out to God when everything we have has been stripped away. Apparently that happened to you in jail.
I know people are debating about whether or not this change in you is real, but for your sake and for the sake of all the kids that look up to you, I hope it is. (I have two small girls who I would shelter from your escapades anyway if they were to resume, although what goes on in the media ends up trickling down to the rest of society no matter how hard you try to stay away from it.)
Paris, fame and wealth are not virtues or vices. They are responsibilities. For whatever reason God decided that you should be born into one of the most wealthy, well-known families out there today. The fact that you were born rich and famous was not your choice, but Paris, what you do you do with that money and fame lies solely on you and might well be the very purpose of your existence. So please, take a look at what you've been given, and make yours a meaningful life.
Best wishes for the future,
Allison Shapiro


[Author Naomi Schaefer Riley] then quotes a woman dear to my heart, Stacy London, the co-host of "What Not To Wear:" "You don't want to show too much skin at work--unless you're a lifeguard." True. Ms. London, whose father is Herb London, president of the Hudson Institute (a conservative policy research organization), attributes to her father the instillation of "a certain sense of propriety and right and wrong in me, which plays into my fashion sensibility."

Read the whole thing here

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Baby love!

Okay, so this is what has been keeping me and everyone on our team very busy the past month -- making me feel like one of those dogs in a previous post, tee-hee! The magazine's July issue has finally hit the stores! It was out early this month but then we've been busy with the next issues, so blogging has also taken a back seat.


Baby mag focuses on raising twins

Multiples are the focus of Baby magazine’s July issue, offering articles on coping with the demands of rearing twin infants, encouraging individuality, and the fetal development of twins. There’s also a feature wherein parents of twins offer insights on raising multiples, with doctors sharing their expertise on the matter, and twins themselves revealing how it is to grow up with a twin.

Other topics covered in this latest issue of Baby are easy-to-make food for toddlers, tips on calming a crying baby, first aid for your kids’ bleeding and head trauma, choosing the right baby carrier for your child, and how to make storytelling more fun for you and your kids.

In the pregnancy and post-partum pages, discover solutions to morning sickness, backaches, tiredness and other common pregnancy discomforts, and learn about easier recovery after a C-section. Obstetrician-gynecologist Dr. Rebecca Singson discusses breastfeeding for the career woman in her column, while childbirth instructor Rome Kanapi presents a fascinating description of what actually happens during labor and delivery.

Other columns are “Baby’s Doctor” by Dr. Lourraine Dizon Co, “Pediatric Dentist” by Dr. Fina Gupit-Lopez, “Family Finance” by Antonette Reyes and “Fatherspeak” by Manny Escasa.

Baby magazine is available nationwide at National Bookstore, SM Department Store baby section, Baby & Co., Big & Small Co. Shangri-La, Powerbooks, Bufini and selected Mio Magazine Shop branches.

Monday, June 11, 2007

The incredible little inedibles

More remarkable finds via Modish, a blog I've been visiting daily for its innovative works of art such as these from Pukashell Creative Designs (though I'm still looking for the puka shells in them tiny creations):

Sweetheart cake pin

Bonbon magnets (these are crocheted)

Fairy cake (great for collectors of miniature "delectables" -- crocheted, too)

Sweet treats dessert ring

Life goes on...

Well, now that I finally got to reach the "post-create" page, I've forgotten the things I'd been wanting to blog about the past three days. That "firefox has encountered a problem and needs to shut down" pronouncement has been flashing on me more often lately, thus thwarting any plan to post anything. But at least this time the message would pop up before I got any writing started.

To start (and to make this post brief, hence the dreaded message appears again!), the following illustrate my condition the past two weeks or so. Lots to do at work as deadlines loom -- but I love what we're putting together! It's tiring, though. Here's basically how I felt, especially the last week:

Boy, am I pooped. There must be an easier way to do all this work...

I'll just catch a little shut-eye...

and it's back to work! Good thing my teammates are good at what they do...

...but what if I don't beat the deadline?

Enough already... there's nothing left in me. And besides, my eyebags are getting worse.

Hurrah!! Submitted my last story!! I feel like going to a spa and getting pampered. =)

And this is what I did a lot of the past weekend. And no deadlines or magazine layouts made it to my dreams.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Friendships at Hogwarts

There will be no Quidditch matches in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. That much I know after scanning the Wikipedia page of the latest and final installment in the Harry Potter series.

The approaching movie playdate notwithstanding, some things about the books by J.K. Rowling are a classic, not bound by cultural trends or geographical borders. An insightful piece by Andrew Byrne sheds some light on it. An excerpt:

Imagine for a moment what these books could have been like. If you read the Arts and Culture pages of today’s newspapers, their reviews of books, plays, television, you get a constant flow of dysfunctional situations. The general message is one of depression at the state of modern society. In Harry Potter you get a completely different world view. Instead of a general mush of gloom and self-indulgence, you have a world of clear cut values. These values are not sugary and naive. The world Rowling depicts is very much a battleground, evil and good are locked in struggle, and often it seems that evil is getting the upper hand. Not a few succumb to its pressures. Or prefer to bury their head in the sand. But good wins out in the end.

We see this world through the eyes of a young orphan. He has a deprived home background (the Dursleys household, where he has been living and treated unlovingly since his parents were murdered shortly after his birth). From this background he has been liberated by being given a place at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Here he finds people who understand him and who offer him a home, a double home, both at school and in the holidays (the home of the Weasley family, a large and poor family, parents and seven children, all of whom have been students at Hogwarts).

Read Lessons from the Hogwarts threesome

In the meantime, I found some photos of younger Harry, Ron and Hermione.

Research, experimentation & the human being

GALVESTON, Texas, May 28, 2007 ( - In a fundamental discovery that someday may help cure type 1 diabetes by allowing people to grow their own insulin-producing cells for a damaged or defective pancreas, medical researchers at the University of Texas have reported that they have engineered adult stem cells derived from human umbilical cord blood to produce insulin.

Full story here

While the above illustrates the kind of scientific research that apparently keeps the welfare of human beings in mind at every stage of study and experimentation, here's something about some results of administering the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine, Gardasil. The death of a 12-year-old is one of the reported cases.

Three deaths were related to the vaccine. One physician's assistant reported that a female patient "died of a blood clot three hours after getting the Gardasil vaccine." Two other reports, on girls 12 and 19, reported deaths relating to heart problems and/or blood clotting.

Full story here

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Music & play

Two news reports I got from MercatorNet's weekly newsletter Family Edge:


Teenagers who insist that listening to music helps them study are at least beginning to show good taste. New radio listening figures in the United Kingdom show that nearly half a million under 15-year-olds tune in each week to the Classic FM station -- reflecting growth of 100,000 a year in recent years. The surge was initially fuelled by interest in sound tracks from films like Harry Potter and Star Wars, but word of mouth seems to have taken over.

"These figures prove that today's iPod generation is increasingly turned on by classical music," said Classic FM's managing director, Darren Henley. "Mozart and Beethoven remain as relevant today as they were in their own lifetimes." Peak time for young listeners is between 7pm and 9pm -- when they use the music to "chill out and relax" while doing homework -- and the station has been targeting them with their own request shows. "More than 70 per cent of the requests we get are from students taking exams and tests," says Mr Henley. How well they do is another question. ~ London Telegraph, May 12



Photo: Sabine Sauer/ Der SpiegelAgeing Germany is not going to be allowed to sit back and worry about the dearth of children. The country's first playground for seniors has been opened in Berlin, inspired by public exercises seen in China. The equipment in Preussen Park is designed for people at least 1.5 metres tall, and children can only use it with adult supervision. Simple gym equipment made of stainless steel is laid out on a layer of bark under a canopy of trees. The gear includes a flexibility machine, a leg trainer and a back-massage machine. Total cost 20,000 euros -- one quarter of the cost of a children's playground. ~ Der Spiegel, May 9

Another try

A week ago, I had finished typing a blog entry but before I could click on "publish," some message flashed on my screen, telling me that something went wrong with Firefox and so it had to shut down. Attempting to save what I had written proved futile. After that, I lost all motivation to type the whole thing all over again.

So this time, I'll keep this first post brief and hit "publish" right away.

Oh, that artwork up there is by a Hungarian artist named Irisz Agocs and it pretty much sums up what the past couple of weeks in Manila have been like (rainy). The wet season has indeed begun, and it's going to be like this until around October.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

A week later...

Comelec tally: Chiz overtakes Loren for No. 1

By Edson C. Tandoc Jr., Jerome Aning, Cathy C. Yamsuan
Last updated 02:18am (Mla time) 05/20/2007

MANILA, Philippines—Senatorial candidate Francis Escudero yesterday dislodged fellow Genuine Opposition candidate Loren Legarda from the top spot in the senatorial races, based on the canvassing of the Commission on Elections.

Helped by votes from his home province of Sorsogon, as well as those from Iloilo City and the results of the Local Absentee Voting, Escudero chalked up 1,875,192 votes—giving him a narrow 180-vote edge over Legarda, who posted 1,875,112 votes.

When the National Board of Canvassers adjourned its session yesterday shortly before 5 p.m., there were still eight GO, two Team Unity and two independent candidates in the Magic 12.

In the tallies of the National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel), the GO ticket was still at the forefront by a ratio of 7-3-2.

Full story at the Phil. Daily Inquirer

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The counting begins

Yesterday was Election Day in the Philippines, ending months of campaign sorties, the playing of pop songs horribly mangled into campaign jingles blared from loudspeakers everywhere, and TV commercials featuring the "senatoriables". For some reason, I've been quite apathetic this election season, though I did go to the polling center several streets away and cast my vote.

It's too early to tell who will be sworn into office, though Mayor Sonny Belmonte and Vice-Mayor Herbert Bautista of Quezon City were unopposed this time.

Got these updates:

May. 15, 2007 05:54:00

Escudero leads in 1st release of Namfrel quick count results

Genuine Opposition (GO) senatorial candidate Francisco Escudero topped the first release of the National Movement for Free Elections’ (Namfrel) partial and unofficial tally with 18,784 votes gathered from 602 out of 288,864 precincts.

Seven other GO candidates are also in the top 12 of Namfrel’s initial list while two Team Unity candidates made it to the Magic 12. Independent candidates Francisco Pangilinan and Gregorio Honasan are ranked sixth (14,512 votes) and ninth (12,699 votes), respectively.

Escudero is closely followed by GO colleague Loren Legarda with 17,729 votes and Panfilo Lacson with 16,929 votes. Benigno Aquino III is fourth on the list with 16,009 votes and Manuel Villar is fifth with 15,420 votes.

The rest of the GO candidates in the top 12 are Allan Peter Cayetano (14,124 votes), Anthony Trillanes IV (13,449) and Aquilino Pimentel III (12,477).

Posted by : Alex Villafania at Namfrel HQ in Mandaluyong


May. 15, 2007 06:45:00

Initial, partial, unofficial AMA tally results as of 6:39 a.m. of May 15

The top 12 senators based on the latest partial, unofficial AMA Quick Count:

Escudero, Francis Joseph (Chiz) 888,577

Legarda, Loren (Loren) 820,969

Lacson, Panfilo (Ping) 767,904

Aquino, Benigno Simeon III (Noynoy) 760,810

Villar, Manuel Jr (Manny) 724,671

Pangilinan, Francis (Kiko) 713,686

Cayetano, Allan Peter (Companero) 631,716

Arroyo, Joker (Joker) 586,603

Trillanes, Antonio IV (Magdalo) 553,885

Honasan, Gregorio (Gringo) 553,758

Angara, Edgardo (Ed) 551,397

Pimentel, Aquilino III (Koko) 539,023

Posted by : Joey Alarilla at

This is not about Paris Hilton..

.. but it is she who clearly illustrates an oft-ignored point, demonstrated by the photo -- taken in the context of the way she normally chooses to dress.

From "Resisting the raunch culture that objectifies girls":

Many parents feel powerless to resist the objectification of their daughters. But others are fighting back. A new modesty movement is sprouting in cities from Denver to Atlanta, with Pure Fashion shows drawing crowds of modesty-conscious mothers and daughters, new retailers like Shade Clothing reporting multi-million dollar sales figures for clothes that keep private parts private, and feisty online communities like encouraging rebels against raunchy culture.

The girls and women behind this movement say they are not looking to revive gunny-sack dresses or relive the 1950s. They simply want to be seen as more than the sum of their body parts.

Their modesty message is controversial in the era of Paris and Britney. Yet it is also common sense, as even Paris seems to know. How else to explain her uprecedented choice of collar and covered neckline for her recent court appearance? It seems that even America's quintessential girl gone wild realizes that when she wants to be taken seriously, she must stop the striptease and show some self-respect. [bold letters mine]

Full story at

Fame & fortune

An excerpt:

[Clinical child psychologist Oliver James] defines the symptoms of the "affluenza virus" as "placing a high value on acquiring money and possessions, looking good in the eyes of others and wanting to be famous." The disease, a 21st century one, can lead to emotional distress: depression, anxiety, addiction and personality disorder. To further his researches, the author visited seven world centres of affluence where the deadly virus lurks: New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Shanghai, Moscow, Copenhagen and New York, where he interviewed selected victims of affluence. As other people are always fascinating – even those James dismisses as boring because they lead blatantly shallow lives – these interviews are the most interesting part of his book. Indeed, they evoke feelings of pity: how can such privileged people lead such hollow, empty lives? Yet one must still inquire if the author’s jet setting investigations have led him to diagnose a new disease or to re-label an old one.

Two thousand years ago, in Palestine, a rich young man, was invited by an itinerant preacher to sell all his possessions, give the money to the poor and to seek the kingdom of heaven. He chose not to and we are told he "went away sad, for he had many possessions". So the burden of riches is not new. It is James’ contention that this "sadness", fostered by rampant capitalism, is no longer the privilege of a few but can grip whole societies. In Sydney, apparently, it has become a pandemic. He quotes a Sydney woman, aged 35, who says, "It made me very angry to realise I had been persuaded… that there is no value in family, friends or home life and it is considered despicable to want children."

Full article at MercatorNet

Incidentally, MercatorNet's site has a new look, even opening articles to comments. Check it out!

Monday, May 14, 2007


Tiffany is no ordinary Golden Retriever. She is absolutely adorable, but it's still more than that. Read what its volunteer puppy raiser wrote in this short piece:

Tiffany is a golden retriever who was bred and trained to be an assistance dog for Canine Companions for Independence. As a volunteer puppy raiser, my family and I brought Tiffany home when she was eight weeks old. As she was the third puppy we had raised for CCI, we thought we had seen it all until our new girl slipped while playing with our black lab and broke her leg at only nine weeks of age! We think that two months of being carried around and cuddled (in a pink cast!) helped Tiffany grow up to be one of the sweetest and most loving dogs ever. Her leg healed perfectly and we cried when Tiffany, at 18 months old, had to return to CCI to complete her training. In November, Tiffany graduated from the program and, although I miss her every day, I am very proud of her; she now works as a service dog for someone in her new family who truly benefits from her unconditional love!

See more pictures of this cute canine at The Daily Puppy.

(I just had to post this one because there's something that draws me to injured puppies!)

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Sowing the seeds

"When people spend more time planning the wedding than planning their marriage, it is no surprise when the marriage fails because no one bothered to plan for it....

"When people spend more time investing and trying to obtain what it is they do not have than investing in what they already have, it is no surprise that a marriage goes bankrupt because nothing was invested in it. "

Paul Catalanotto, from his latest blog entry, "It Is No Surprise ..."

Hat tip: Dawn Eden

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Extraordinary art for everyday, plus 'yummy' soap

In the past, I'd reserve weekend blogging for posting "light reading" material. It looks like I'd forgotten about that for a while...

Since it's been a while since I've posted anything on art (along the lines of crafts, vintage jewelry, quirky appliances and home decor, and indie art), I'm doing so today.

Okay, after posting all the pictures, I realized the time. Need to go out for a while but I really, really would like to click on "publish" already and show you such wonderful works of art. Hence, I'm doing so sans proper captions and links . . . [8 hours later, I'm back!] and now I'm supplying the erstwhile missing info.

Don't you just love flower vases that make those pretty blooms even more beautiful? The vases above by Scholten & Baijings -- a European company -- have a somewhat feminine vibe while playing on the unconventional. It's amazing how the interesting design, while itself a good conversation piece, still works with the flower rather than removing the focus from it.

It's amazing, too, how ordinary materials can be turned into works of art, such as old chopping boards, flatware, faded bric-a-brac -- even bottlecaps! For a quirky place to hang your apron, dishtowel, oven mitts and other kitchen essentials, the Hanging Butcher Board with Hooks from WhimSy love is it! The bottlecap pendants are made by the same artist, and I must say, I had never thought of bottlecaps as the stuff of fashion accessories before coming across these! I've always associated bottlecaps with Bert of Sesame Street (he had a bottlecap collection), but they do make quirky jewelry pieces, after all.

Now, would it have occurred to you at any time while savoring those spaghetti dinners that the fork with which you were twirling the noodles could possibly be transformed into something like what Georgia Varidakis has fashioned? I now see flatware in a whole new light...

Ditto with artists like Talula, who sees beyond the faded, forgotten and tarnished pieces we usually spot in old boxes or lying on dirty sidewalks and often dismiss as "junk." "Home of trinkets & treasures, all revamped, redone, deconstructed, and reconstructed into fabulous jewelry, destined to be handed down to lovers of all things unusual, odd, old and timeless," is how she introduces her pieces at her Etsy page.

Rosanna Bowles' collection boasts of china that is more formal than these numbered pieces, but I think these are cute while still being elegant. Plus, they can come in handy when you've got a toddler or preschooler just starting to master their numbers! Just don't let them handle the precious breakables, hehe.

On second thought, let me show you the artist's other tableware pieces...

And look! Yummy brownies and chocolates! Except they're not for eating. They belong in the bathroom and they go on your skin, not on the dessert tray!

These are among a wide assortment of sumptuous-looking soap treats crafted by Soap Cafe that you'll get a kick out of, definitely! Get a load of the cherry cheesecake soap slice and there's even "Krispy Klean" donut soap! I wonder what's on the menu at the "Entree Soaps" category, which I haven't perused yet. One thing's for sure -- users will get to enjoy these without putting on any pounds, hehe.

Exec. saves man's life

This is on today's issue of the Phil. Daily Inquirer, and after reading it I had wondered why editors decided to print it now as the event took place late last year. Skimming it revealed that the older Mr. Silva marked his 75th birthday recently. Hence, if not for Mr. Lafferty's efforts, Mr. Silva may not have lived to celebrate such an occasion -- and certainly would not have had any need to add another person to his guest list (Mr. Lafferty, of course).

The younger Silva recalls to the Inquirer that he and his father, Romeo, were lining up at the Nagoya airport for a layover from a long 12-hour flight from Detroit, Michigan, when his 74-year-old father suddenly slumped to the ground.

In his panic, all that he could blurt out was “Tatay, Tatay, lumaban ka (Father, father, fight).” He could not even bear to touch his father for fear of making his condition worse.

Lafferty, on the other hand, who was traveling with his wife and two youngest children, was about 10 persons behind the Silvas when he heard the shout, and saw the elder Silva fall to the ground.

His instinct to help kicked in and he rushed to Silva’s side. He felt for a pulse, realizing that there was none, he ripped his shirt open and immediately gave CPR to try and restart his heart.

It had been a while since Lafferty last gave CPR, which was why he was running through the steps in his mind while compressing hard on Silva’s heart to make sure he was doing it right.

Full story at the Phil. Daily Inquirer

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Staying true to his calling

From "Saintly scientists: Hate the disease, love the diseased," by Caroline Moynihan, writing about one of the fathers of modern genetics, the Frenchman Dr. Jerome Lejeune. She quotes the scientist, whose process for beatification has recently been opened:

"With their slightly slanting eyes, their little nose in a round face and their unfinished features, trisomic children are more child-like than other children. All children have short hands and short fingers; theirs are shorter. Their entire anatomy is more rounded, without any asperities or stiffness. Their ligaments, their muscles, are so supple that it adds a tender languor to their way of being. And this sweetness extends to their character: they are communicative and affectionate, they have a special charm which is easier to cherish than to describe. This is not to say that Trisomy 21 is a desirable condition. It is an implacable disease which deprives the child of that most precious gift handed down to us through genetic heredity: the full power of rational thought. This combination of a tragic chromosomic error and a naturally endearing nature, immediately shows what medicine is all about: hatred of disease and love of the diseased."

Read the whole thing at MercatorNet

'Intimidation' huh?

Bottom line is, when one sees the tiny person who's slowly growing inside the belly of the expectant mother (like this 3-month-old fetus in the photo), it's difficult to think of him/her as merely a blob of tissue. And abortion providers and advocates and don't like that.
Women need all the facts before making an abortion. A Georgia bill will simply give the woman the opportunity and option to view the fetal image and the fetal heartbeat at the conclusion of an ultrasound. It’s likely that when these young women see fingers, toes, and a beating heart, they better understand the life within them. The bottom line of money and politics seem to be driving the abortion industry--two poor ethics at best. But why does everyone need to try out a new car before they own it? It’s good to see what you will get before you purchase. And certainly buying a new home mandates a ‘looksee’, or maybe several, before you become the owner. What is it about a new baby that pro-abortionists don’t want you to see? It’s very interesting when one realizes that the doctor and/or nurses usually view the ultrasound of the baby while performing the abortion. But it’s against rules to let the mother see it.

Read the whole thing at

** This reminded me of a previous entry I posted here about the deception that really goes on in abortion clinics, according to those who have been part of the abortion industry. Read "When it's big money they want, they'll say anything"

Sunday, April 29, 2007

'Critical thinking'

In defense of film critics
The Monitor
's movie critic weighs in on why viewers and reviewers don't always see eye to eye

A back-to-basics of sorts

Dean Abbott's blog entries span practically the entire spectrum of topics to be blogged about. Okay, that's an exaggeration but the pieces he writes in Inspired by a True Story really are remarkably diverse, which is why it's become a regular read for me. Table Talk: Thoughts on Hospitality is a terrific post that got me thinking about the art of entertaining, which seems to be fast disappearing in today's world. Much is to be appreciated about being invited to a meal at someone's home; much, too, is to be learned about gracious entertaining and about being a good host/hostess. And much is lost when the art of entertaining is replaced by "entertaining" sans our parents' generation's refinement or by treating our guests to nights-out.

For some reason, reading the piece made me hanker for life away from the bustling city. I'm also reminded of my best friend who, along with her husband and two children, decided to move to Davao City (in the southern Philippines, about an hour's plane ride from Manila) and build their life there. Needless to say, there are trade-offs that come with the relocation, but based on her stories, the gains outweigh the losses, particularly as regards the upbringing of her kids in an environment that brings one closer to what are essential in life.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

In black and white

So many thoughts came and went the past couple of weeks even before I could blog about them. Instead of trying to recall what they are, I'll share some photos I found this morning as I opened an old CD lying around near the bookcase not far from this computer I use.

My late grandfather was many things but he was primarily a scientist. Photography was one of his interests, thereby letting him document a lot of his travels and important events during his 76 years (he died in 1972). A cousin of mine -- also a photography enthusiast -- gathered the prints and slides that we found hidden in old cabinets and boxes, painstakingly scanned them, restored many of them and stored them in CDs.

I haven't bothered counting them but there may be over a thousand of these pictures. And looking at them has made me feel quite nostalgic (even though I have no idea who some of the people in the photos are).

The one above shows (left to right) my uncle, dad and auntie sometime in the 1930s. They grew up in the country so I think this shot may have been taken in their yard or somewhere near their house. This other photo is of my grandmother holding either my dad or one of his siblings. Probably mid 1920s or early 1930s.

And check out partying in the 1920s! Written on the photo:

"Annual Ball, UPSILON SIGMA PHI, Feb. 21, 1926, Manila Hotel"

What a refreshing change from the kind of attire one sees nowadays, even in formal functions. And there's no mistaking men for women and vice versa!

Oh, the women here are garbed in what's called the "kimona," the Spanish-inspired national costume. It can be worn with some variations but this is basically how it looks.
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