Monday, July 30

My Reasons for Homeschooling

When my eldest child turned four years old, we enrolled her to the nearby Montessori school. I have read their school profile, names of their graduates and where they transferred after their pre-school education and of course, the teachers' academic background. The school is really following the Montessori method of learning as set by their foundress Dr. Maria Montessori. Parents may not know it but some Montessori school just used the name to attract more students but they don't really have the Montessori method of teaching. In my kids school they strictly adhere to the method of highly individualized instruction to assure each and every student the best education every parent wants for their child. My child stayed there until the fourth grade. We transferred them to a big school (means large population) because we (hubby especially) think there's no challenge anymore in their previous school because they have only seven students in each class. At present, my two kids are really enjoying their new school with their new friends. One thing good from their former school, they were taught lessons that were so advanced for their grade level so my kids feel they're ahead of all of them (yabang pa). Since my two girls are all so used to the regular school, we let them stay on.
When my only son Pio started going to pre-school at 3 years old, he was enrolled to another Montessori school (with minimal tuition rate) but I found out that the school is not at far with the school of my two girls with their learning and teaching methods. We were thinking then that he's gonna play anyway so why do we have to spend 4o grand just for a two-hour daily play time. So I thought my son is just playing and learning the ABC's, numbers, shapes, colors, nursery rhymes (which I also taught him way back). One time, when I asked him how's school he responded that his teacher is a nagger (he used a tagalog term for it). I was shocked where he got that word. Then when I started to say something, he would tell me, "Mama, zip your mouth". I've noticed also he's becoming naughty, more naughty. Before another school year starts, I've heard from my sister that Bro. Bo Sanchez is managing the Catholic Filipino Academy for home schoolers. I attended some seminars, orientation and Bro. Bo's talk. My hubby and I decided to just homeschool my only son. There I met parents who are currently enrolled in the school. They were all enjoying teaching their kids in their own home. So why was I convinced to do so.
First, I get to teach him his lessons. We were provided lesson plans and eight textbooks. From there I can explain things more if he doesn't understand a certain topic (which regular school teachers won't do for one kid) and explore some more. There's no pressure to finish a task. We study at his own pace. If he understood the lesson, we go to the next. If he doesn't, we go back. The principle is to teach, then give him test. Then re-teach, re-test again if the score is not satisfactory. We give the test, we give the grade.
Second, we have more family bonding time. We also don't have to get up early. My two girls would wake up at 5:30 or 6:oo a.m., only to wait another 30 minutes while the school bus picks more riders. Then in school, they wait again for another 30 minutes. So they spend 10 hours of their waking time away from us (about 2 hours of waiting). One thing more, we want to strengthen family bonds, how can we do that if we don't get to see them often.
Third, my son would not be labeled as stupid, slow-learner, row 4 kid or something as what some teachers are doing. No parent would want to hear those words labeled to their kids.
Fourth, I wanted to avoid bullies. I have encountered so many people bullied in their younger days and they still carry the hurt/ resentments and it really affects their relationship with other people.
Fifth, to minimize negative influences and temptations in school. Some kids would bring the latest cellphones, ipods, gameboy, etc. to show off to their peers. Others would show each other how much they have in their pockets. One kid I know was sent to the principal's office because of stealing. He reasoned out that older boys in school forced him to do so or else he'll get hurt. Some would get the younger ones baon. Worse, in some boys' school, some bullies taught the pre-schoolers to call their peers some names (like a man's private part). In a certain instance, the school bus assistant touched the boys genitals. What could we do, if that happened to our kid in their school.
Lastly, for financial consideration. At the Catholic Filipino Academy we would pay the tuition rate of P16, 200.00 (more or less $350) which includes the lesson plans and the textbooks. Whatever extra money we have, we buy more books especially the ones they like. We don't have to spend on uniforms, school bus, school supplies, school's fund-raising activities, etc.
We also have the monthly parents/kids activity for their socialization. They also have art classes every Friday. Some parents teach their kids different sports like basketball, soccer, baseball etc. While some moms enrolled their kids to ballet, voice lessons or figure skating.
As I progress becoming a homeschool parent and really experienced some great changes in my son's attitude and learning abilities, I am now convinced more than ever that we made the right choice. Not only that, I am homeschooling all my kids next school year (as some mothers I met have been doing for the past 6-8 years).

Thursday, July 26

Krispy Kreme's Latest

Pio with the three favorite doughnuts

Pio at Krispy Kreme Greenhills Branch
(with drive thru)

chocolates & almonds

Hershey's Cookies & Kreme

New York Cheesecake

This afternoon, hubby has a meeting at the Greenhills area. As usual, Pio and I would tag along since it's our free day again (he's homeschooling). We went to the Krispy Kreme store in the area (with a drive thru pa), and I'm so happy they have new doughnuts with the mouth-watering Hershey's chocolates. I won't let this day pass that I don't get to taste these doughnuts so I ordered the new ones. Each doughnut costs P38.00. Never mind, they're so yummy....

This is not a paid post...

Late Dinner at Bulalo Fiesta

the resto's signboard

bulalo sa sinigang

chicharon in a basket

the chili squid

When hubby wants to eat again by midnight or just wants to go out, he would always bring me to the nearest bulalohan. There, we would order the same dishes- chili squid, chicharon, daing na bangus and of course, the bulalo. They cook the bulalo the traditional way, like the nilagang baka, or the one with sweet corn on the cob and they also prepare it in sinigang sa sampaloc. They all taste good. By the time we get home, we're too full, we can't sleep---so I blog more, he he.

Tuesday, July 24

Am I Weird?

Oh well, I was tagged again by Cookie (of ScroochChronicles) to state weird things about me. I'm beginning to enjoy this tagging thing, remember I'm a new blogger...

Here it goes:

1. I am so scared of cockroaches. I would scream everytime I see one flying in our house.

2. I am terrified of stray dogs, I was bitten by one when I was 5 months pregnant with my son.

3. I have an OCD. Some friends call me oc-oc. I would pour alcohol on our doorknobs and on our dining table to make sure they're clean, canned goods are arranged neatly in the cabinets so with the clothes and shoes, toothbrushes, towels, socks, bedsheets. And I can go on...

4. I eat green mangoes with fish sauce (patis).

5. I would iron all our pillows and our bed once a week, I need to get rid of dust mites (my kids have skin asthma).

6. I usually post my helper's daily work schedules on the ref's door.

7. When I go out, I would count (in my mind) all the appliances that were unplugged from the sockets when I'm already in the car.

8. I can put on a happy face even on my low moments.

9. I take time to call LTFRB to report smoke belchers and taxi drivers who refused to convey passengers, write columnists on various issues and even text GMA some suggestions or complaints (I get answers too, I bet from her staff).

10. I would give generous tips to cheerful hard-working people but not a single centavo if the service is not good, esp. to some taxi drivers who would force an additional pay aside from the metered fare.

11. I finished law school but didn't take the bar (I haven't reviewed wholeheartedly for it).

12. I would memorize the faces of passengers (and some drivers) when I would take the MRT, buses or fx vehicles (my Dad told us to do so when I was younger for security reasons).

Am I weird? I'm tagging Raqgold, Chats and Kim.

About My MOM

I was tagged by Raqgold, my first time. Here I'm playing this tag.

10 Random Facts About My Mom

1. My mom, Aurora, is a Kapampangan, although she's born and raised in Manila. That's why she's really a good cook. How I wished I could get even 1/4 of her cooking skills.

2. She shares birthdays with my youngest sister (and a wedding anniversary also).

3. She met my Dad in Congress (funny thing, I also met my hubby in the Senate) while she's working as Executive Secretary while Dad is Chief of Staff to a Manila congressman.

4. Went to the banking industry, but resigned to be a full-time mom to us.

5. She's got 4 cs's (like me), gave birth yearly from 1969 to 1972. Who can beat that?

6. I consider her a supermom and super martyr. She goes to church everyday and so pious.

7. She loves to shop and buy new furnitures every two years. I get the hand-me downs. He he.

8. She's quite tactless (like Kris Aquino), say anything she wanna say even when they're embarrassing already.

9. When she was still a baby, during the war, an American soldier often played with her, good thing they didn't take her away from my grandmother.

10. She's one smart lady. And I love her to the max....

Now, I'm tagging Rachel, Julie and Cess.

Friday, July 20


Today is my grocery time since the ref is almost empty. And tomorrow, our helper will have her birthday day off. During weekends I'm a one-man army here at home. By Sunday, I would be attending also a seminar on another business opportunity offered by my college classmate and kumare, Joan. Don't worry this is not ala-Francwiss, she texted me. Hubby almost invested there. God is so good indeed. We've been duped before of our hard-earned money. That would be for another post. Well, this is my grocery lists:
Golden Fiesta cooking oil
Datu Puti soy sauce and vinegar
a dozen of eggs & quail eggs, red eggs (SM Bonus or Surebuy)
Nestle Fresh milk (for Nicole)
Nestle Corn Flakes
Purefoods Chunkee Corned Beef
Purefoods Pork and Beans
Ligo sardines
Purefoods or Maling luncheon meat
Dole pineapple tidbits (for breakfast desserts)
Safeguard or Irish Spring soap (for hubby)
Ivory or Tender Care (for me & kids)
Surf detergent powder and bar
Zonrox cleanser (for the kitchen's use)
Domex cleanser (for the bathroom)
Joy 2-ply tissue paper
Milo (powdered milk chocolate)
Nescafe Gold instant coffee
Coffeemate creamer
NIDO 5+ milk (for Pio & Gabbie)
Purefoods hotdogs
CDO burger patties
Pampanga's Best tocino & skinless longanisa
SM Bonus sweet ham
Dairy Creme butter
Magnolia mango powdered juice
Lucky Me instant noodles
Knorr Cream of Asparagus soup/Cream of Corn soup
SM Bonus or Surebuy sugar
Eden cheese
Royal elbow macaroni
Pantene Glossy Shine shampoo
Johnson's baby shampoo
Band Aid alcohol
PH Care feminine wash
Pond's facial cleanser
Close-Up or Hapee toothpaste
Alaska evaporated milk
quaker oats
frozen mixed veggies (corn, carrots & green peas)
Dizon ripe mangoes
ponkan, apples, bananas

at the wet section:
labahita (my favorite)
daing na bangus
ground beef & ground pork
pork liempo cut
pork pata
beef shank (for bulalo)
beef mechado cut
beef tapa
magnolia chicken wings/ drumsticks
chicken adobo cut
magnolia chicken tocino/ chicken teriyaki

There I have my lists, I'm gonna print it and go straight to SM or Rustan's. But when I'm in Makati area, I go to the Landmark's grocery (it's much cheaper there compare to the two).


Here's more my friends (from Nestle Club), enjoy your mommy works....

Clean out your ref
Before buying food, clean out your ref first. Do this regularly so you get the most health benefits (and savings) from the food. Don’t stock up more than you have so that you enjoy your food at its freshest.

Think small and big
If you have budgeted an amount that has to cover a wide variety of goods, buy the smaller sizes so you stretch your peso to afford the wide variety that you need. On the other hand, when you have extra cash, go for the big sizes because you get savings on volume discounts.

Save through technology
Want to connect with friends and relatives abroad? Lean how to email or voice-chat over the internet- it’s for free! Ask your teen to teach you how to use the internet. Example, instead of buying recipe books, search for recipes through

Bathroom Makeover
Re-arrange toiletries by placing them in spare baskets or clear food containers. If short on space, hang a large, colorful drawstring bag at the back of the door and use it as a hamper. Add a picture of a place you dream about or put a fragrant plant inside to keep it smelling nice.

Flaunt the Freebies
Get old calendars with breathtaking designs, artistic food menus, hip party invites, printed handkerchiefs or colorful postcards. Place these in a frame for display. Liven up the kitchen or your living room by hanging dishes or any interesting item on an empty wall.

T-Shirts as Throw Pillow Covers
A child’s T-shirt fits very nicely as a throw pillow cover. Turn shirt inside out and sew neck and arm openings closed. Stuff with cotton or old pantyhose until you have just the right plumpness, then sew the bottom part. This is a great thrifty idea!

New Life to a Lost Sock
There are many ways to recycle socks that have lost their partners. Why not use it for applying furniture polish, floor wax and other types of cleaners?

Mystery Keys
Mystery keys are those keys that you keep but don't actually know what they open. To avoid the mystery key syndrome, when you get a new key, immediately trace the new key and label it and file this information. It just takes a little time at first but will save you hours and hours of searching (not to mention the headaches) if you have to match keys to the right locks.

Moisturize as You Clean
When using rubber gloves to clean, put your favorite hand lotion or moisturizer it will help slip hand easily into the rubber gloves. And while your cleaning, it will moisturize your hands especially if you handle warm water.

Handy Spice Bottles
Spice bottles can sometimes be so pretty that it's a pity to throw them away. Recycle them by using these as containers when storing spools of thread. Put the strand through the hole of the bottle to prevent tangles. Spice bottles can also store embroidery needles or hold craft things like safety pins, sequins, buttons, glitter powder, etc... Or you can fill these up with flour and use it to sprinkle flour to meat or fish before frying to prevent it from stick to the pan.

Get the Dirt Off Those Pans
For stubborn dirt on aluminum pans, boil the pan filled with 3 tablespoons of cream of tartar and 1 quart of water. Boil for 10 minutes. When the pan is cool, with just a little scrubbing the hardened dirt will come off easily, then wash and rinse the pan well.


Kid's Play
Instead of having your kids watch TV or play video games all day, why not play outdoor games with your kids? Bring out the kid in you by playing patintero or hide and seek, or simply engage them in a game of habulan- something to keep you active!

Outdoor Fun
You don’t need to spend much for your family to enjoy. Take the fun to your backyard! Why not play some music at your garden and dance with the kids? You could even try dining outdoors, under the stars, with a lantern or candlelight and exchange stories. In this way, you create an intimate atmosphere for treasured memories.

Water Balloons
To make get-togethers more exciting, why not break up families into two teams (combine young and old and mix families for more fun). The teams stand a distance from each other and toss water balloons back and forth. The person who pops a balloon is out. Another water balloon is given to that team. Teams keep going until only one is left...and everyone is wet! This is best played outdoors.

Musical Dress Up
Let your teen organize this one- something interesting to make parties more memorable. Fill a black garbage bag with weird stuff (e.g. a mask, a green-colored wig, a moustache...). Play musical chairs and pass the bag. When the music stops, the person left holding the bag grabs something to wear from the bag (without looking in). The game continues until the bag is empty...and everyone looks silly. Take group pictures for posterity!

Spill the Beans
Delight your party guests with this simple yet enjoyable game. Pass around a bag of chocolates and tell people to get as many as they like but not to eat them yet. After everyone has gotten from the bag, then tell everyone that this is a game. For every piece of chocolate that they took, they have to tell the group one wish they want to come true for the coming year. This is a great way of getting to know your friends and relatives, as well as help them achieve their dreams.


Easy, Painless, Splinter Removal
Working with your hands you're bound to get you a splinter sometime or the other. Just put white glue on the splinter area. Let it dry and then peel off the dried glue and the splinter will come off with it.


Pest Repellant Recipe
A recipe to keep pests away from your plants: blend together 1 peeled onion, 2 peeled garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, and 3 cups water. Strain and refrigerate the liquid and coat your plants the next day.


My friends have emailed me, telling me they've been reading my blog. Thank you so much. They (like Au Reyes) copied my posts and saved them in their computer files. Au asked me to post more so she doesn't have to search in other sites. For your requests, here's more (straight from Nestle Club website).

Encourage the writing of thank you letters.
For sure, your child will be receiving gifts for their birthdays and for christmas. The very next day, before he or she forgets the excitement over the gift, sit your child down and have him write short thank-you notes. Tell him how happy his card will make the person who gave his present.

Walk the talk.
Use the words “Thank you” and “You’re welcome” often. Speak respectfully to others and before long, your little ones will be emulating you. As they say, if a parent does it to a child at home, then he carries this to school where the child infects his friends.

Saying grace before eating.
“Thank you Lord for the food we eat… the people who prepared it for everything.” Letting your child lead the prayers at the table teaches the child the value of gratitude and dependence on the Almighty.

Blanket for Bonding
Enhance your child’s imagination with this fun activity: lay on a blanket one afternoon and share with each other the hidden images you find in the drifting clouds. It’s surely something for your family to engage in to create simple yet unforgettable bonding moments.

Thursday, July 19


As I was watching DZMM's teleradyo this morning, I catch up on Dos Por Dos (one of my favorite radio show). There's a news that AFP gave an ultimatum to the MILF to surrender the ones responsible for the killing of 14 marines. The MILF even boasted in another interview, that they have actually killed 30 soldiers. I cannot comprehend for the life of me, how these trigger-happy bandits (like the abu sayyaf) would kill our soldiers in what they say as an encounter, and behead them as well. I cannot imagine also the grief of the soldiers' parents when they see their sons in these condition. I have so many Muslim friends, they too condemned such acts.
I remembered my hubby's bestfriend and classmate in the academy (who's supposed to be the best man in our wedding) was killed by the rebels. First, they were kidnapped. When the rebels are about to kill the civilians, Ronnie pleaded to let them go and offered his life instead. Yes, they killed him and mutilated his body. When my hubby went to the airport to fetch the cadaver, the mother is in so much grief. The father asked my hubby if that's really their son. He noticed that the box is shorter, son is a six-footer. Hubby didn't tell them that his legs were also cut. What a waste! He was such a good man, intelligent and a loving son also.
Now we lost of many of our soldiers who are only doing their job. The job they have pledge their lives with, that is to protect our country, and to protect us. Do we just keep silent or do something? We want justice....Justice For the Marines.

Wednesday, July 18

More Kids Pics

nicole & bea playing with chopsticks at oki doki

my mom & only grandson, pio miguel in MOA

pio's homeschool books

pio studying in our room

kids clowning around at MOA's Nat'l. Bookstore

gabbie inside the school bus

gabbie playing around before going to school

pio & jocjoc (of dzmm)

I am so excited to use my new phone (n70), given by hubby. Here, I've posted more pics taken recently in our home, at the mall of asia, dzmm studio and even inside the school bus. he he he. Bear with me guys, I just love to take pics of my kids even they're asleep or while taking a bath. My cabinets are full of photo albums and photos on cute picture frames are displayed everywhere. I have a new assignment from hubby, to scan all of our pictures and save them in a disc. I think I would be needing more discs, and more time.

My Journal - Another Busy Week

My Friday, Pio and I accompanied some friends from Canada (TFC subscribers) to watch Wowowee. Former classmate is a writer for the show. We were scheduled to be at the studio at 10:00 a.m.. We stayed at the nearby Starbucks before the show. But kids 4 yrs. old and below are not allowed in the studio. Our friends just proceeded to watch while Pio and I just visited his Ninang Joan at DZMM (who's also a newswriter). Besides, hubby doesn't want me seen on tv. Nakakahiya daw. Pio wanted to see and meet Ted Failon, Korina Sanchez and the child Jocjoc. My son is always watching dzmm's tele-radyo with his Papa. Ted has left the building and Korina's in the States for a two-week vacation with my former boss (Sen. Mar Roxas). We just chanced upon Jocjoc (not his real name). I took pictures of Pio and the kid.

Last Saturday, kids, hubby and I attended a birthday party for my classmate Jane's 2 year-old son Diego in their Alabang home. We travelled from Quezon City to the South. We got stuck in traffic in Balara area, then in Katipunan. Another traffic in the Alabang area going to ATC. My left foot is already swollen (I was limping actually). But I can't cancel going to the party. My kids have prepared for it. Besides, I don't want to tell my friend Jane that we're not coming as I have confirmed our attendance days ago before the party. I know how it feels when invited people (esp. those who confirmed) don't show up to my kids' parties before. And Jane's family is going back to Japan before the month ends. Her hubby is working as Unilever Brand Manager for the Asia Pacific. The party is ok, kids had fun. We ate and run for my hubby has another appointment to attend to. By Sunday, we all rested at home (helper's on a day-off), just ordered food for our lunch and dinner and have them delivered.
My kids are doing ok in school but the projects are coming one after another. So that means I'm gonna be busy with so much school projects. I do the research works because they don't have the time to do so. Nicole goes to school at 7:00 a.m. and arrives home at 4:00 p.m.. She's so tired that she easily dozed of to sleep. When she wakes up, it's already dinner time and she has to rush to do her homeworks and studies for exams. Gabbie goes to school at 12:00 noon and goes home at 7:00 p.m..By the time, she gets home, she's so cranky already. Have to talk to her, ask her how's school, offer snacks or we all have an early dinner. I have to control my emotions everytime she'll throw tantrums around. She had convulsion when she was only one year old. The neurologist had her confined for a week with daily injections of phenobarbital. Our pedia-neurologist told us not to use this med for it has bad side effects. Instead, she gave valium tablet (to avoid future seizures). I did stop using pheno and never used the valium and I thank God I don't have to use those meds. Results of EEG are normal. Some friends are now telling me she might have a chemical imbalance, one of the symptoms is the daily mood swings (plus she walks on her toes). Anyway, that explains why we treat Gabbie differently. Mom said we're playing favorites, (I remember one blogger was accused of the same by her hubby) and I explained to her why. Anyway, I still teach Pio his daily lessons. Good thing we can accomplish a week's lesson in just one sitting (just like Teacher Julie and son Julian). I told my former college classmate Marowe (Bo's wife) that Pio and I are really enjoying our time. But I admit there were times also that homeschooling will put some stress with the mother (or whoever is the tutor) especially when the child doesn't want to study or if he's thinking of watching cartoons or playing in the computer. In my case, if Pio is not in the mood yet to study, I let him play while I blog. He he he. I still do some errands and has a helper already. I have time to bloghop and watch tele-novela (am also baduy, as hubby jokingly decribes me). Have to enjoy few days more before I get down to real work. I'm being offered to head a division at the Business Permit and License Office of one city government here in MM. I'll probably hire a tutor for Pio or bring him to my sister while I work. Hubby is also busy with his security business (he supplies, trains security escorts for vip's, politicians, ceo's). Our helper, Flor will take care of Nicole and Gabbie for the meantime while I look for another help. Of course, I will still do all mommy responsibilities. I just wish I'll enjoy my new job and still have so much time for my family.

Sunday, July 15

How to Conquer Clutter

I've been wanting to get rid of stuff in our home which we don't use anymore. The old school bags and shoes I gave to our laundrywoman. She even asked for used socks which my kids aren't wearing anymore (gave her toys also, without telling my kids). I don't know what to do with my rice cookers (3 of them), thermos, cordless phones, electric fans and the electric mosquito repellers (3) which are not functioning anymore. Plus the 2 computer monitors, 1 cpu, 1 old printer. I still have Nicole's crib, which I don't want to dispose of because of sentimental reasons (while Gabbie's crib I gave to a friend, the strollers, playpen and walkers I gave away to my cousins). The cabinets are full, where I store christmas decors, toys, kitchenwares, my paperweight collections, old letters/bills/receipts/manuals and office papers. Now, there are lots of school notebooks, projects, exam papers in my kids bedroom (I put them inside a box) and more books (they've used last year). Im thinking of giving away or selling the stuff that I don't need anymore but the books, I keep. They come in handy for projects and homeworks. Good thing Nestle Club just send me an email on this topic. I'm again re-printing and posting it here.
How to Conquer Clutter

As time goes by, we tend to accumulate a lot of clutter in our homes. Many times, dealing with clutter can be overwhelming.

Start small. Tackle the most urgent clutter- usually the bills, letters, and mail. Set aside an hour each day and go drawer by drawer.

Focus on one area at a time. Toss items that belong somewhere else into a box and return them to the correct place later on. This way, you can finish one area at a time and not get distracted with clutter that belongs to another area of the house.

Give yourself a target date to finish an area. For example, a kitchen could take up to 3 days. Break up the big task into daily tasks to make it more manageable.

Think logically. Items used daily should be easily accessible. Bed linen can be stored under the bed. Towels can be stored in overhead cabinets in the bathroom. Rarely used items like Christmas d├ęcor should be stored up high, in not-so-easy to reach places.

Sort by type and label. Have different boxes and sort out things by type. Label them so it is easier to remember where you stored the item. If you haven’t used certain items in years, maybe it’s time to give them away.

Tuesday, July 10


view from the 2nd floor

kids playground

Pinoys favorite pastime, malling

waiting for their prize at the Timezone

kids playing at the arcade

Pio Miguel before playing hoops

father and son at veneto pizzeria

Pio, the car racer

kids posing & asking, are we in glorietta?

Last Saturday, we're supposed to go to Tagaytay but since hubby had his boys Friday nite-out, he's not so thrilled to drive that far. And I haven't tried driving outside of Metro Manila yet. So we just decided to go malling at Trinoma, the new Ayala mall in North Edsa just across the SM City Mall. We arrived before lunch, there are few people at this time. My kids and hubby played at Timezone. After playing, they got their prizes. Off we scoured the area for lunch. There are a lot of empty spaces inside the mall. Some stores/shops are just setting up for their soft openings. Decided to eat at Veneto, a pizza house. We ordered carbonara (pasta), veggie salad and their special pizza. Their pizza serving is huge. Got so full. My kids have enjoyed this day with their Papa (he seldom goes malling)....

Monday, July 9

My Journal

I'm feeling lazy. I don't want to get up early. But I have to prepare breakfast for my kids. Good thing, a new helper arrived. Actually, she's a former helper who came back to work again for me. I was so tired the past few days mostly because of too much household chores. Yesterday, I drove hubby to the airport. He flew to the province to do some business. Then, my kids and I went malling at the Mall of Asia (MOA). I was wearing my 3 inch high-heeled sandals. By midnight at home, I've found a small wound on one of my toes. Nicole accidentally step on it while we're attending mass. Whew, it pains so much. I can't sleep either. Hubby is not home pa, and I missed him already. I have no one to whine with. I have a very low tolerance to pain, that's why. Whenever I have migraine, I always think I'm gonna die.

I missed work also. I wanted to work. I missed talking to people (the constituents), following up papers in other government agencies, and actually helping our fellow Pinoys. When I was still working as ES, I get some perks. I received so many gifts on Christmas, got a lot of invites for product launching, concerts, benefit fashion shows, stage plays, movie premiers. I attended parties/cocktails/ribbon-cuttings if my boss can't make it. Plus, the fruits (lots of mangoes, rambutan, bananas, lanzones, etc.) and veggies (lettuce, carrots, potatoes from Baguio) which local leaders brought in our office whenever they're in Manila. Going back, I'm scheduled to do consultancy work again but I can't totally leave my kids with only one helper around. And I'm also home schooling my only son. No choice but to do multi-tasking again. Way back in college, I was attending marketing 1 and marketing 2 at the same exact time on different class, different rooms. I was shuttling from one room to another every 15 minutes. Whew, I don't know how I did it. Then in 1998, I was working for 3 different companies (one as Account Executive and the two as Consultants). I would go to the three offices everyday, spending 3 hours of work (mostly paperworks) plus another two hours of field work. Oh boy, I have no time for my baby back then. My mother was the one taking care of her (my first born). Hubby and I would only watch movies to unwind.

Anyway, I'm excited to work again. Hope I'll find one more helper to ease household chores. Of course, I will still teach Pio his lessons before I go to work. And fix our home. all the mommy works.

Thursday, July 5

Working in the Senate

As I started working, I was tasked to receive, compile, and answer all letters/resolutions requesting for funds. I have to encode them using Lotus (now Excel). This would be our master lists, where the name of the sender, date received, town/province, name of projects, amount requested, political party affiliation (for mayors, governors, reps.), number of voters, and the boss' garnered votes in the province were labeled in each column. So it's not that simple to just receive the letters, compile and answer them. A lot of data should be gathered and encoded. Everyday, letters come, the minimum we received daily are about 30 requests from the local leaders. Their requests vary, usually asking funds for the construction of roads/ bridges/school buildings/waiting sheds/basketball courts/barangay halls/farm-to market roads/irrigation systems/solar driers/deepwells and other infrastructure projects, some asked funds for procurement of school textbooks, school chairs and tables, computers, laboratory equipments, medicines for their hospital or health clinic, etc. Ordinary citizens also send letters. I've read so many of them asking for funds for their kids' tuition fees, school shoes, cellphones, funds to start a business (which we gave one), payment for hospital bills, payment for their disconnected meralco bills, funds for repair of their homes, funds to bury their dead relatives, funds to buy fish/seafoods for their business, funds for chemotheraphy, funds for pocket money for representing the country abroad (my boss even gave his dollars from his own pocket), funds to get a visa, funds for boat/plane fare going to the province. The list is endless. Sometimes, I didnt go home just to finish the master list, so many back-logs from the previous staff. Imagine, in the middle of the night in our office, I was encoding these letters with our office secretary. I had headaches reading their stories. I was so affected back then. For the first time in my life, I have memorized all the towns/cities in every province in our country. Even the political party affiliations of every elected congressmen and governors. As I was typing this post, I can't recall anymore those details, I had 4 cs (anaesthesia took those away, he he). Thank heavens, me space na uli to store new, nice memories.
Anyway, we have a standard reply for the local leaders and for ordinary constituents. If my boss knows the letter-sender, his request will surely be approved. Or the if sender belongs to the same political party. While some requests were referred to other government agencies concerned. For some small requests, we either grant or deny them, depending on who my boss was. What I meant was, I had worked with around eight legislators. One would deny them, one would grant them. I have worked with one, who was so kind-hearted. He told us never to turn down small people, even offer them food/coffee when they come in the office and give them transportation money. I remembered, he instructed one employee to go to PGH to give the money being requested by the mother of a sick child. Our staff arrived in the hospital too late for the child had died. My boss really cried infront of me. I cried too. That was one reason why I think my boss gave millions of his congressional funds to PGH & other govt. hospital to cover for the medical expenses of the indigent patients. I was so fortunate having worked for him. He was one of the best legal minds we had in government (that inspired me to get into law school). And he was so generous. He shared his food to us especially when we're working overtime and even his books. We always have gifts from his trips abroad. There's always a fatherly advice if he thinks you need one (got one, when I was planning to get married). Really treated people equally. Too bad, he's gone now. But the wonderful memories will stay with me....
Going back to my office work, we have encountered people who think the office is like PCSO. They go there, give their letters, tell us their sad stories. We give them money. Then after one week, they're back again. We checked their files, we called the hospital or the doctor who issued the prescriptions for the needed meds. If they're real, we give help. One time, a women told us (she also has a letter) that her husband died. So we helped her. Two weeks after, she's back, asking money for her husband's sick of brain tumor. I got sick of her lies, I told her we knew her. That in her previous letter, she said that hubby died. How come husband is still alive now? Prior to that, on my way up, she was in the same elevator I took. I saw her laughing, talking with other ladies with her, she even powdered her nose. I felt they're conspiring with one another to get money from our office with their sad stories. So how will we know if the others' predicaments are true. I have encountered one couple asking for help to go back to their province, somewhere in Mindanao. I've asked a pilot-friend's help. Request was granted. They can ride the C130 plane. But the couple doesn't want to. They're scared to ride a plane. Oh my, they wanted money instead. I gave them money (for jeepney fare & snacks) to go to Villamor Airbase if they really wanted to go back to the province. One guy asked for the same, when I saw his release papers from jail (from a murder case), I instructed our staff to give him the transpo ticket (got discounts for the boat ride). How can one decide whom to give help to and whom to turn down. This is quite a dilemma back then. Following our boss' order, we give them food to eat and transpo money (for jeepney/bus rides). But the walk-in constituents asking for money grew. We set limits, we didnt accept them all in our office. We just asked them to give letters and call us to follow up for it. I think there's even a syndicate going around the senate offices with the same modus operandi. The real indigents, especially the ones confined in hospitals, we give all out help. These are the things we do in our office aside from the main task of our boss, which is legislation...

Monday, July 2

Working At The Senate

As the Senate session starts this month, I have been thinking and re-thinking if it's ok to post my previous work. Right after college, my friends and classmates started job-hunting. We gave out application letters and resume to marketing companies and ad agencies. I've always dream of working for a big ad agency as a copywriter (one who thinks, drafts the storyboard) or an account executive (handling the agencies' accounts). Our professors in UST made quite an impression on me. They work in the agency on mornings and come to class after their office work. They teach well and also get some ideas from us, their students. One time, our professor instructed us to make a copy for a certain brand of car. I did a nice one. After few weeks, it's on tv but we never got paid for it, I bet my professor was, he he. We made lots of storyboards, public relations and marketing strategies even the actual tv commercial. We even had it aired over Channel 9 as part of our thesis, thanks to my Ninang who gladly worked things out at the network. I was so excited doing these things in school. So I set my eyes working for an ad agency...

Oh, I'm veering away from my topic. I never got the chance to work for one, the agency. Instead I was hired as a writer/legislative staff to a newly-elected Senator. My good friend asked me to go with her, I got interviewed and got hired on the same day. Wow, I don't even have any backers. I'm just a walk-in applicant. That's the beginning of my very colorful career, working in the Philippine Senate. What could be a better job for a newly-grad...

As I started working, I learn the ropes little by little with the help of my colleagues who would become my wonderful friends as the years went by.

To give my readers an idea, here's the office set-up. Each Senator can get a staff of 20-50 employees. If the Senator gets a Committee Chairmanship, he can still add more staff. They are all in the Senate payroll, government pays for them (not from their personal pockets). In our office, we have the Legislative Group-composed of legal secretary, researchers, lawyers, speechwriters. They are the ones who serve as back-staff to our boss in the Session Hall or during committee hearings.

The Political Group/Constituency Unit headed by a Political Officer/ Constituency Officer- those who handle and facilitate numerous requests from walk-in constituents, political leaders, government officials (mayors, governors, congressmen. brgy.captains, etc). This group also includes the Project Officer. The one who handles the Senator's projects, the most sought after staff in the office.

We also have the Media Group/PR Group composed of press release writers, Public Relations Officer, and a secretary. They write press releases, give it to the media reporters covering the Senate, fax them to radio and tv stations. They arrange for the Senator's press conferences. They make sure that their press releases will be printed on the papers the next day. They initiate tv and radio interviews. The more publicity, the better.

The Admin Group includes the office accountant, personnel officer and another secretary. The Senator also has an Executive Secretary and Appoinment Secretaries, aside from the Executive Assistant. Of course the office has a Chief of Staff (usually related to the boss).

By the way, each Senator has a monthly allowance of P2 million for the staff salaries, travels, office rentals, newspaper/magazine subscriptions, office supplies/equipment, food allowance, representation, etc. and the so-called MOOE (maintenance and other operating expenses). Plus they each have a P200 million fund for their priority projects which they will identify, wink here.

This would be the first part. So many things to share with you guys...