Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Paper view



This "log cabin" is a classic. I merely handed over boxes of various sizes to Petrufied and she transformed them -- with the help of transparent tape, glue, scissors and rolled up pages of an old phone book -- into this fascinating plaything. Some kiddies had some fun with it, too.

I tried my hand at crafting simple playthings out of what normally would be considered "junk," like old magazines. There are stacks of glossies at home which, though, still leafed through occasionally, would probably be better off discarded.

But it can be difficult to part with old magazines, even if many of them were acquired at huge discounts (think Booksale and Filbars). So, I got some of them and worked the scissors!

You can do the same with your kids for a few hours of creative fun. Sure, they may have their coloring books, drawing paper and jigsaw puzzles. Toys that whir, light up, beep and make all sorts of fascinating sounds may be part of the lot, too. But it's good to give them opportunities to develop their imagination by helping them see that almost anything can be transformed into play -- and playthings.

Magazines are there to be read and to learn from, but viewed a different way, they can be the stuff of paper hats, boats and even jewelry!

Fashioning some paper necklaces and bracelets for your little girls can also be turned into a teachable moment when it comes to discussing femininity, doing things at the proper time and related issues. How? Let's say a child wants to put on makeup or wear high heels just like mom and other adult women she sees. If you don't really care about the child, you'll let her do anything she wants. She may put shadow on her eyelids, demand a pair of heeled mules or don blinding bling when you go out, and you give in to her and hardly bat an eyelash. But if you genuinely care that she grow up into a fine young woman with a solid character and sound values, you'll take time to explain to her things she needs to understand -- like how certain things are done at the proper time.





While cutting up these magazine pages and linking them into a chain for a pretty necklace, you can tell her that while you have your pearls and other precious stones in your jewelry box, little girls like her can wear children's jewelry, which you're making right now. There are, after all, things to look forward to, like wearing makeup and jewelry, going out on dates, holding down a job, paying bills, getting married, raising children... (though I wouldn't call paying bills something to look forward to, but you get the picture) while for the present, being a child is what is for her to do! When the right time comes, those other things -- grown-up things -- will be part of her life as well.

So, for the moment, it's paper necklaces and bracelets she'll enjoy making and wearing, and she can even choose what part of the comics page she'll make for her jewelry!

Some tips: do assist the child if she's still too young to handle a pair of scissors properly. We don't want any cuts as a result of this crafting session! And, since little hands are still mastering those fine motor skills, some paper strips may end up being uneven and being linked together in crooked ways. That's alright! Though anything worth doing is worth doing well, I think the more important aim in this case is having fun with your little one while imparting invaluable lessons during the fun. Also, even if the jewelry pieces are far from perfect, your child won't mind if you won't. But if you praise her for her efforts and a job well done, she's sure to remember it.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

"Oasis of life"

In May 2010, actor and producer Eduardo Verastegui hosted a United for Life congress to benefit the construction of a pro-life medical center. An "oasis of life in the middle of a desert of death" was how he referred to the planned facility, since it was to be built in an area in which 10 abortion centers were located.

Now, the Guadalupe Medical Center is a 5,000 sq. ft-facility that caters to the needs of pregnant women and their unborn babies, in many cases providing pre-natal care services for free. The 10 abortion clinics are still there (within a one-mile radius of the center, to be more precise), but the presence of the pro-life facility has been responsible for hundreds of babies and their mothers being saved from the consequences of abortion, according to the director of a pro-life counseling center near Guadalupe Medical Center.

It's plain to see that Eduardo Verastegui is out to help make the world better for women and children. Read the story here


* Photo from Eduardo Verastegui official website (Spanish)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Fine dining

Thought-provoking messages in 5 minutes.


The Times of your Life

I still remember the day I got a crystal-clear but non-verbal reminder that I sorely need to get back to regular exercise.

It was a Tuesday and I was in the halls of the House of Representatives. Thanks to Sarangani Representative Manny Pacquiao, I realized just how out of shape I was. I hoped for an exclusive interview and I got it. That it was less than 5 minutes is irrelevant; I got my answers and that's all that mattered.

But one thing I learned is that the world boxing champion walks really fast. I had to trail him from the plenary hall to his office in the adjacent building, and so as not to lose sight of him, I had to semi-run. Hence, by the time his party and I slowed down outside the building elevator, I was nearly out of breath (but of course trying to conceal it).

Small (and irrelevant) details aside, below are several articles I recently wrote for CBCP for Life, the portal launched by the media office of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines not too long ago which focuses on life and family issues and which contains not just news reports but Church documents, position papers of different groups, videos, podcasts, and many other resources necessary for anyone who wants to know more about and understand the issues. Expectedly, there's quite a lot you can read about House Bill 4244 or the reproductive health (RH) bill here since this piece of legislation is right smack in the middle of the whole issue.

Does the RH bill really promote freedom of choice? Can we call it a truly pro-women measure? If we're so family-oriented and life-loving, why is there such a thing as an RH bill that is even getting the rabid support of some dudes on our shores? Here are some articles, starting with the one containing Rep. Pacquiao's briefly stated insights, to shed more light on the proposed measure. Please feel free to share with others --

Commercial interests, lack of information behind support of RH

MANILA, June 3, 2011―Sectors that stand to gain materially from a reproductive health law are among the supporters of House Bill 4244, asserted Sarangani Rep. Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao.

When asked why something like an RH bill is being proposed by Filipino lawmakers and being supported by many despite being a naturally life-respecting and God-fearing people, the solon said that this can be attributed partly to the presence of big companies in the local birth control industry.

“Sa tingin ko ‘yan ay suportado ng mga naglalakihang companies dito sa atin―’yung mga gumagawa ng mga condoms, pills. Iyon ang sumusuporta dito para lumakas ang [business] nila.”

Based on the DKT International website that detailed figures concerning the Philippine market, the company’s program in 2010 sold over 40 million condoms, over 27 million oral contraceptives, over 1 million injectable contraceptives, and over 30,000 IUDs.

Full story


* * * * * * * * * *


RH Bill is anti-women, anti-human – lawyer

MANILA, June 18, 2011—Though often touted by its proponents as a necessary measure that responds to the needs of women, the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill is nothing like the pro-women piece of legislation its supporters make it to be, asserted a lawyer during a four-hour forum at the Sta. Isabel College, Manila.

“Marami diyan ang nagsasabi na pro-women sila. ‘We are for women, they say, but I tell you, nothing can be more anti-women than the RH bill. Bakit? Sino ang pinapalagok ng pills? Babae. Sino ang nagkaka-kanser? Babae. Sino ang ginagamitan ng condoms? Babae,” said Atty. Marwil Llasos, one of three representatives of Filipinos for Life.

And yet who basks in the pleasure everytime, he asked the audience. “Mga lalaki.”

No self-respecting woman should support the bill “because it violates your personhood. Ang babae sa ating pananampalataya ay minamahal, inaaruga at inaalagaan,” he said to the audience, composed mostly of female high school and college students as well as faculty members, who at this point responded with thunderous applause to Llasos’ statements.

The lawyer, also a staff apologist of the Defensores Fidei Foundation, expressed misgivings about the controversial bill for its apparent basic assumption that persons are incapable of self-control and of understanding truths about human sexuality.

Full story


* * * * * * * * * *


Lawyer blasts RH bill’s coercive nature

MANILA, June 20, 2011―The absence of respect for freedom of conscience in House Bill 4244 is among the reasons for one lawyer’s opposing the P3 billion measure.

In a June 17 forum on the RH bill held at Sta. Isabel College, Atty. Marwil Llasos of Filipinos for Life cited the provision concerning refusal to extend reproductive health services (Sec. 28. Prohibited Acts), which states that while the conscientious objector’s refusal due to ethical or religious beliefs is acceptable, he is required to “immediately refer the person seeking such care and services to another health care service provider within the same facility or one which is conveniently accessible who is willing to provide the requisite information and services.”

In other words, if a doctor refuses to perform a vasectomy, for example, because he believes this to be unethical, the bill compels him to refer the patient to another doctor. The lawyer pointed out that this still goes against the first doctor’s conscience “because what you are prohibited from doing directly, you are mandated to do indirectly.”

“At mas imoral po ‘yon. Bakit? Kasi kung siya lang ang gagawa ng paglabag sa kanyang konsensya―halimbawa, nagbigay siya ng condom o pills, nag-perform siya ng vasectomy o naglagay siya ng IUD sa isang tao, siya lang ang nagkasala. But if he is going to refer to another doctor, dalawa na silang nagkasala,” Llasos pointed out.

Full story


* * * * * * * * * *


RH Bill shows State’s failure to protect women

MANILA, June 21, 2011―The State is remiss in its duty to protect the people’s right to health, based on the facts presented by pro-lifers in a June 17 forum on the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill or House Bill 4244 at the Sta. Isabel College, Manila.

Atty. Jo Aurea Imbong, Executive Secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) Legal Office, alluded to a constitutional violation that the State is committing by mandating the distribution of dangerous drugs and devices as part of its family planning program.

Article II Section 15 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution states that “The State shall protect and promote the right to health of the people and instill health consciousness among them.”

The government has been carrying out its family planning program since the mid-1970s, facilitating the distribution of artificial contraceptives and now seeking to pour additional billions of the national budget into a proposed measure to ensure the swift procurement and distribution of the “full range” of contraceptives and reproductive health services despite established findings of grave side-effects.

“Ito po ang mga devices na pinamumudmod sa ngayon,” Imbong began, enumerating a list of drugs that are easily accessible to anyone in the local market in spite of serious health dangers that these pose, which the lawyer briefly explained.

Full story


Here, kitty, kitty

A sighting I had less than a week ago was yet another reminder that I really should have my camera with me at all times.

What is it with these car owners who decide to embellish their vehicles with this cutesy feline character? And they're not feminine-looking vehicles at all -- one I spotted at a parking lot several months ago was a sort of pickup truck, though I have the impression that this is a company vehicle. It probably does deliveries for Sanrio or some other affiliate.

The latest sighting was a shiny, sharp-looking purplish pink four-door number about which I can remember nothing else. I was driving along Edsa, and I just happened to glance at the vehicles on the opposite lane and spot that standout just as it was passing me. It may have been a girly shade of purplish pink, but the car seemed to be fully loaded (how I can tell that with just a 3-second look is beyond me). Still, it would have been nice to get a snapshot of it.

Nothing, however, can beat the first Hello Kitty-adorned vehicle I saw not far from where I live, which I remember from time to time with much fondness. When there's horrendous traffic and rude drivers to contend with, sightings like that one can make my day and actually ease a disgruntled spirit.

He who has faith...



“He who has faith has... an inward reservoir of courage, hope, confidence, calmness, and assuring trust that all will come out well -- even though to the world it may appear to come out most badly.”


B. C. Forbes (1880-1954), finance journalist/founder, Forbes Magazine



Saturday, June 04, 2011

In any language

Here's a TV ad I saw and was charmed by recently, thanks to someone who pointed it out via YouTube. I think no matter what language or dialect the person watching it speaks, the sentiments will be perfectly understood. That's the way the language of the heart works.



To give and to keep

"Among the things you can give and still keep are
your word, a smile and a grateful heart."


- Zig Ziglar, motivational author & speaker



The trashing of a treasure

There have been times that I felt that my own people (lawmakers, to be precise) were selling my country, its heritage and its future to foreigners. It can be quite disturbing (and painful in some way) because aren't public servants supposed to take care of the public? Aren't the people whom they should be serving?

Lately I've been having that feeling again due to developments in legislation. Not a day goes by that I don't think of the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill, partly because reporting the developments concerning this issue is part of my job. But the more I learn about it and the more I understand the tiniest details about its history and provisions, the gloomier I feel about my own government leaders apparently putting other interests above protecting the country and its people. I mean, they can't all be ignorant of the facts.

Then just this week I attended a House committee hearing on the proposed divorce bill. What else will our elected leaders push our people to accept?

Below are articles I recently wrote that shed more light on the issues and developments:


More funds for RH mean less for basic services -- solon


MANILA, May 30, 2011―Allocating millions of pesos for House Bill 4244 means slashing the budget that would have otherwise been spent on education and other basic services, said a member of the House of Representatives in a recent press conference.

Full story

* * * * * * * * * *


RH Bill redundant, similar to int'l agreement

MANILA, May 26, 2011― ParaƱaque Rep. Roilo Golez has underscored the redundancy of a portion of the Reproductive Health bill during interpellation in Congress on Wednesday.


Full story

* * * * * * * * * *


Curb corruption, not population to kill poverty -- pro-lifers

MANILA, May 27, 2011―A legislative measure that regards members of a huge population as the cause of poverty does not provide a proper solution, say pro-lifers who were present at this week’s plenary debates at the House of Representatives.


Full story

* * * * * * * * * *


RH legislation a "cultural intrusion" -- lawyer

MANILA, June 1, 2011—While the formulation of Philippine laws is essentially based on the needs and conditions of the country’s citizens, the crafting of the Reproductive Health (RH) bill cannot be attributed to Filipino lawmakers but to foreign organizations, said Atty. Jo Aurea Imbong, Executive Secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) Legal Office.


Full story

* * * * * * * * * *


Divorce a gross injustice to children

MANILA, June 3, 2011―The cost of divorce on children was among the crucial points repeatedly brought up at Wednesday’s Congressional committee hearing on the divorce bill sponsored by Gabriela Representatives Luzviminda Ilagan and Emerenciana de Jesus.


Full story


Because "11 maternal deaths daily" continues...

...to be used to justify a piece of legislation that will mandate taxpayer-funded procurement, promotion and distribution of the "full range" of birth control drugs and devices -- and tax-funded provision of all birth control services -- here's something to make believers in the Reproductive Health Bill think more about what they are supporting:







There's another eye-opening video -- courtesy of Filipinos for Life -- about this issue, but that one is likely to remind you of Darth Vader :-)
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