Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

I’m a Disney baby, but of all the Disney princesses, Snow White is my least favorite. Well, her and Pocahontas. I don’t like Snow White because she has an annoying singing voice, Pocahontas because she seems a little too flirtatious for my taste. I thought twice when my Fully Housewifed friend May asked me if I was interested to watch the play. If it were just me, I’d say no. But it’s never just me these days (or years :P). I asked my daughters and Danae was very interested. So we decided to watch it as a family. May helped me with my queries, connected me to her friend who is the mom of the child playing Fred the dwarf (and in charge of the blocked screening), and we were allowed to upgrade our tickets to Orchestra. The tickets were affordable too — early bird rate of 560Php per head (no charge for Gianna because she didn’t occupy a seat)!

It was quite easy to get to the venue. We found a nice parking spot in Greenbelt 1 near the Cinemas, walked less than a minute to On Stage, claimed our tickets at the front of the house, lined up. We were there at 3pm. They opened doors at 4pm for the 4:30pm show.

We had to finish some of our snacks while waiting in line because food and drinks are prohibited inside, and we had to leave our bag of other snacks with the lady/guard (which we claimed later on of course). We waited an hour to get in but it was worth it. Center seats, 7th row, great view of the stage. And I got the aisle seat I needed in case I had to head out and attend to Gianna’s needs.


Show is until Dec 10! :)

It was a great show! The talent is undeniable — the singing and the acting, from Snow White, to the Queen, the mirror (the voice), the woodsman/prince (same actor), and the dwarfs. I was hoping to see Bituin Escalante as the Queen, but Christine Flores did not disappoint. I loved her! Becca Coates, who my kids say is 17 years old and was apparently part of The Sound of Music (Danae and Noelle’s first play), played a lovely and believable Snow White. My favorite dwarf was Flubber, while my girls liked (Noelle wanted to be) Fred. I like how they did the story — light, funny, sweet, not creepy at all, and they did not go heavy on the love story. It did have the typical and ridiculous damsel-in-distress saved by the prince fairy tale ending, but that part was not at all the message. The most valuable lessons were kindness, true beauty, and even friendship.

But those aren’t the best parts. The best parts are my children!

Danae was a little bummed that she had to miss her classmate’s sparty, but she enjoyed the play so much that she has no regrets. She’s inspired to become an actress, not on film or tv, but in theater. She seriously asked me how she can become one. Acting workshops, here we come! Soon!

Noelle got to yodel with Snow White on stage! (No picture because phones/cams weren’t allowed during the play ugh!) She raised her hand so fast that Snow White immediately noticed her and called her. She made no hesitations heading to the stage and yodelling in front of many people. Snow White even complimented her outfit and taught her to curtsy. Noelle’s confidence was impressive! We’re proud of her for asserting herself. It was the first time she did something like that.

And Gianna was the best baby. She had no problems with the dark. She responded to the characters with sounds and kept waving at them. She wasn’t afraid of anything. She didn’t cry at all. She watched, breastfed, and watched! It was her first play, at 1 year and 2 months. Amazing. :)



They announced that their next production is The Secret Garden. The girls have asked us if we can watch it. We haven’t said yes yet, but we did tell them that these are the kinds of experiences that we want them exposed to and that we are willing to save up for and spend on. I’m grateful for Repertory Philippines for making quality theater affordable and accesible. I enjoyed watching plays with my parents when I was young (Joy Virata was frequently the lead actor then, and now she’s the director/producer). I’m glad we can continue the tradition with my own children. They will love and appreciate theater, now as spectators and maybe in the future as the story tellers. :)

Flubber might be the dwarf on the left most, and Fred (Sophie Atienza) is the one on the right most. :)

Danae was excited to get an autograph from Snow White and Noelle was happy saying that Snow White waved to her and knows her haha. :)

Pizza! Pizza! 

We went grocery shopping two weeks ago when I saw this….

pizza seasoning! :)

pizza seasoning! :)


just herbs. no salt. :)

….and got inspired to make pizza with the girls. I wanted to make our own pizza sauce, so that it’s not full of sodium and preservatives. IMG_5039 We used fresh tomatoes. I instructed Noelle to peel them with her fingers but that proved to be difficult and too time-consuming. I just took out the centers with a small knife, and she helped me slice the tomatoes. IMG_5042   I asked Danae to crush the garlic with a mortar and pestle. We sautéd the garlic in butter until translucent, then added the tomatoes and olive oil. :) We sautéd the garlic in butter until translucent, then added the tomatoes and olive oil. I added fresh basil! And pizza seasoning, salt and pepper to taste. The pot was nearly full of tomatoes, therefore it took a longer time to boil them all into a sauce — maybe 2 hours. IMG_5044 You can also opt to add mozzarella cheese into the pot. We used store-bought pizza dough (one day I'll make my own), spread the pizza sauce which was on the stove for around 2 hours until it became saucy, put mozzarella cheese and more basil. You can add whatever ingredient you want. My kids like cheese and they're okay with basil. so we kept it simple. :) We used store-bought pizza dough (one day I’ll make my own), spread the pizza sauce, put mozzarella cheese and more basil. You can add whatever ingredient you want. My kids like cheese pizza and they’re okay with basil, so we kept it simple. I wasn't able to take a picture of the new batch of cooked pizzas, so this is the one we made the first time. I tore up the basil leaves then and didn't put enough on the pizza. :) I wasn’t able to take a picture of the new batch of cooked pizzas, so this is the one we made the first time. I tore up the basil leaves then and didn’t put enough on the pizza.


There was so much sauce left over after making two whole pizzas! I would probably add more basil and take out as many seeds from the tomatoes as I can next time, but otherwise, I can’t wait to use it for pasta or just plain bread. :)

Summer Fun at Villa Escudero

The other tourist spot we went to this summer was Villa Escudero in Quezon. My cousin and I went there together, with my family, when we were young. This time, it was our kids’ turn. We hired a van to accommodate us all and it took us about 3 hours, with a couple of stops, to get there. It’s still a beautiful place, with better facilities. I honestly just wanted the kids to experience eating lunch by the waterfall like we did as kids haha. Although we failed to check out the museum and watch the cultural show, I’m happy that our kids got to enjoy the place.

The pink building behind the plane is the museum. We decided to go straight to the waterfall when we arrived and visit the museum in the afternoon, but then it closed at 5pm. We were too late.  Tip: visit the museum first!

The pink building behind the plane is the museum. We decided to go straight to the waterfall when we arrived and visit the museum later in the afternoon, but then it closed at 5pm. We were too late.
Tip: Visit the museum first!

You pay Php1,250 per head on weekdays, Php 1,400 on weekends and holidays. Only children below 4 feet are charged half, while babies like Gianna are free. That's inclusive of the carabao ride, entrance to the museum, use of the pool and rafts, all you can eat lunch at the waterfall. :)

Php1,250 per head on weekdays, Php 1,400 on weekends and holidays. Only children below 4 feet are charged half, while babies like Gianna are free. That’s inclusive of the carabao ride, entrance to the museum, use of the pool and bamboo rafts, all you can eat lunch at the waterfall. You can bring chips in, but not much else. :)

 Luningning was our carabao. We were amazed at her strength. She carried us, our stuff, and the musicians who played nice Filipino music for us. :)

Luningning was our carabao. We were amazed at her strength. She carried us, our stuff, and the musicians who played nice Filipino music for us. :)

A field we passed during our carabao ride. :)

A field we passed during our carabao ride. :)

Not sure if this is still in use.  A visit to the museum would have been helpful, haha. :)

Not sure if this is still in use. A visit to the museum would have been helpful, haha. :)

the waterfall! :)

The waterfall! :)

the waterfall from where we ate :)

The waterfall :)

lunch by the waterfall! :)

All you can eat lunch by the waterfall! They have water dispensers but other drinks aren’t part of the entrance fee. I ordered buko juice in its shell for Php40. Grilled pork, grilled tilapia, pancit and other Filipino dishes. On a banana leaf, with your bare hands. Yum. :)

the water was cold! the kids enjoyed wading and getting wet! :)

The water was cold! The kids enjoyed wading and getting wet! :) Tip: Be there by 11AM because the place got surprisingly packed by 12PM.

i don't have a wide shot of the pools but they have 3 that look pretty well-maintained. :)

I don’t have a wide shot of the pools but they have 3 that look pretty well-maintained. :)

i don't have shots of the swimming pools, but they now have 3 that look pretty well maintained. swimming in the lake is prohibited, but the kids enjoyed fishing (for which they had nothing to show haha) and rafting. :)

Swimming in the lake is prohibited, but the kids enjoyed fishing (for which they had nothing to show haha) and rafting. :)

danae insisted on going rafting and my cousin's hubby accommodated her. thank you tito vincent! :)

Danae insisted on going rafting but King was not with us, so my cousin’s hubby accommodated her. Thank you tito Vincent! :)

the kids were fishing here, and the structure they are in is where they held the cultural show. i think it's also a restaurant. the show was quite lengthy and my cousin said it was great. i of course had to stay with my kids who were sometimes in 3 different places at the same time haha. :)

The kids were fishing here (Php100 for the rod, and I think you can keep or have whatever you catch cooked), and the structure they are in is where they hold the cultural show. It’s also a restaurant. The show was quite lengthy and my cousin said it was great. I of course had to stay with my kids who were sometimes in 3 different places at the same time haha. :)

The kids enjoyed swimming so much that we got out of the pool area late! We missed the carabao ride back. It would have been a tiring ten minute walk back to the front, if not for the electric shuttle. That’s also when we were told that the museum closes at 5PM. They have accommodations as well, but we only opted for a day trip. Click here for more information.

It was another memorable time for my kids. Even though they don’t see their cousins often, they will have these awesome memories to always go back to. I thank the Lord for opportunities like these. :)

Summer Fun at Manila Ocean Park

It was a busy time in our household last month because we hosted my cousin and her family. It was my nephews’ and niece’s first time in Manila ever, as they reside in Cebu and San Carlos city, Negros Occidental. So about two months ago, their mom and I planned some activities for them to make it a memorable visit. One of the places we decided on was Manila Ocean Park (we were hoping to drop by Manila Zoo and Luneta Park too but failed to). IMG_0065 The Park

My family and I have been to Manila Ocean Park before when Danae’s pre-school had their field trip there, but that was more than  five years ago I believe. I did enjoy the oceanarium and the jellies, Danae kicked and giggled at the fish spa, and the only other thing I remember about the place was their mermaid show (because I found it very funny hahaha…sorry). Well, that and the facts that you pay for every attraction you want to enter and that one ticket equals one entry only. You choose which attractions you want and pay accordingly at the ticket counter. You enter each attraction, you exit, and there’s no going back unless you have another ticket. I find that odd because usually, you pay an entrance fee and are free to go in and out of whatever area you want to check out. Anyway, I was up for new, fun memories that my kids would make with their cousins. We searched online and discovered the summer promo! We went for the 13 attractions, which is really 11 because Trails to Antarctica has 2 parts and the other so-called attraction is a souvenir (go figure). Instead of it costing 4,350 Philippine pesos per head, it was Php990 per head. And when we got there, there was a promo on top of that! If you’re a group of 7, you could get the Php990-deal for Php890 per head. So we paid Php890 for 7 of us and then Php990 for the rest, except of course the baby. She, and anyone under 2 feet, is free.

Promo was until may 31 (I'm so sorry I was not able to post this sooner), but I'm sure there are other promos. I saw one on metro deal. :)

Promo was until may 31 (I’m so sorry I was not able to post this sooner), but I’m sure there are other promos. I saw one on metro deal. :)

The Attractions

The twins, my two other nieces, met us there. We arrived right before noon, and we were able to visit the Birds of Prey Kingdom first, and then catch the Bird Show at 1:15. There weren’t many people yet, and two of my nieces were chosen as volunteers for the show! Danae volunteered but kids were not allowed. That was a fun experience haha. IMG_0035

No pictures of my nieces volunteering. We were busy taking videos and laughing. :)

No pictures of my nieces volunteering. We were busy taking videos and laughing. :)

We saw a shark and touched a huge sting ray at the Sharks and Rays Dry Encounter (we forgot to buy our photo — cameras not allowed in this area) before we had our late lunch at North Park (there are restaurants inside, even a lunch buffet). We caught the 3pm Sea Lion Show (there was also a 5pm), in the same stadium as the bird show. We noticed a lot more people filling up the seats. We went straight to Trails to Antarctica. There was a snow village, which according to them was so tiny, it was literally just for a photo op. I did not go in because Gianna was not allowed due to the extreme cold I guess. I did get the kids to feed the penguins! It was Php300 for 2 people, but you could add Php100 for an extra person. That was my favorite part — that they not only got to see them, they got to be in the enclosure with them and feed them (touching was not allowed). They had a nice hallway with interactive stuff about Antarctica, which led to the fish spa and the Back of the House. 11304064_1072657429430928_86560067_n 11350013_1072657382764266_2144795017_n They all went into the spa to have a relaxing (and ticklish) 30 minutes with little fish eating the dead skin off their feet. And then right by it was the the Back of the House, where you could see what they do at the back of the house. Near the spa was also the Aquanaut and Glass Bottom Boat Ride, but we did not avail of those.

Back of the house. This is how they clean Manila Bay's water and use it. They also have a breeding room for jellies and small fish.

Back of the house. This is how they clean and use Manila Bay’s water. They also have a breeding room for jellies and small fish.

We got to the Penguin Talk Show right in time, around 530pm, where there is this funny penguin (cartoon and voice) talking to the audience. It was a treat for us since he singled out my girls and one of their cousins. My girls enjoyed that greatly. The Jellies Exhibit was nearby and it was our last chance at 6:15pm to visit it before it closed, so we went thru it quickly so we could make it in time for the Symphonies Show.

jellies! :)

jellies! :)

The stadium was packed! I didn’t expect much from the fountain show, but I enjoyed that a lot. It wasn’t hot anymore and I was comfortably (though my chair was broken) seated. There was music, fire, water. At the climax of a couple of songs, the water shot up extremely high and sprayed practically everybody as it came down. Everyone got a kick out of that one. There were fireworks at the end too. IMG_0167 We did the Oceanarium last since we could still catch the last entry time at 7:15pm. We were excited about all the fish! We were literally the last ones there. My phone died right about that time, and as much as I wanted to take more photos, I no longer could. IMG_0279 IMG_0281 IMG_0307

Was it worth it?

It was tiring and many times uncomfortable because of the heat, but it was worth it. I’ve seen better bird shows and sea lion shows, but it was worth it. Our kids learned and they made memories. They will look back at these times fondly as they grow up having good relationships with their cousins. I love my cousins and I love that my girls love their cousins too. :)


Motherhood. It’s probably one (out of 3, I think) of the craziest things I got myself mixed up in. Fulfilling and life-altering, but crazy nonetheless. :)

From painful labor and difficult, scary, and potentially life-threatening deliveries, from bringing the breastfeeding baby wherever I had/have to go, breastfeeding while driving, playing, eating or homeschooling, drinking hot soup while carrying a sleeping baby, carrying a baby with one hand and pushing the stroller with the other, taking a bath with an audience (baby in stroller or crib right by the door), to traveling with an infant, traveling with a toddler, traveling with a pre-schooler and a baby without King, traveling sick with two kids, and then soon (hopefully never ever again sick) traveling with three!

From juggling schedules especially during summer, driving them to and staying with them at parties, play dates and classes, to homeschooling one child and then two, homeschooling two while pregnant, and then homeschooling two with an infant.

From fun, laughter, joy, interesting conversations, quality and quantity time together, playing and reading, making memories everywhere we go, to heartaches, disappointments, tears, fights, heartfelt confessions and heartfelt cries, deep conversations, and hard lessons on love and forgiveness.

I tell you, it’s a crazy ride, but one that I am willing to be in. Through the incredible ups, frightening downs, exciting loops, surprise turns, and even the steady (or messy) transitions, I’m all in. No matter how painful it has gotten or it might get, no matter how close I have been to giving up (a bit overdramatic maybe? hehe), no matter how many times I have actually said I give up (because trust me, the nappy changing and sleepless nights are the “easy” part), no matter if I could turn back time and other less crazy rides were offered to me. I would still get on this one. I love my children. They are each a blessing to me and King. And by the grace of God, I will get better and better at loving them the way He wants me to.

I am a perfectly imperfect mother and I pray that through my imperfection, my children will see and learn how much they need God. That God is the only One who is constant, the only One who is always there, the only One who is truly reliable, the only One who knows and gives what is best, the only One who loves perfectly and makes us whole. As a mother, even with the help of my most awesome husband, I experience this truth every single day. I need Jesus. I can’t do it without Him. And though consistently inconsistent me has had days or moments of doing motherhood without Him, I pray that He will enable me to always go back at His feet, humble myself before Him and give up the reins, receive His mercy, and entrust to Him the hearts and lives of my children. 😊

Thank you Lord for this gift of motherhood! Thank you for blessing me with three beautiful warrior princesses. Thank you for the honor and privilege to co-parent with King, to raise and take care of our girls. Thank you that even though it becomes overwhelming, your grace is sufficient. I am comforted by the truth that I don’t have to be everything to my children because YOU are everything. 😊



How blessed am I?

How blessed am I? I’m married to a man who loves Jesus… a man who honors his father and mother… a man who loves, leads, and provides for his family… a man who loves his children through his time, words, and actions… a man who honors and serves his mother-in-law… a man who has answered God’s call to love, lead, serve, disciple and pastor God’s people… a man who enjoys working with a team and does not mind doing the dirty work… a man who has great creativity, foresight and has a gift for pioneering… a man who is loyal, faithful, reliable… a man who is patient and forgiving… a man who makes people laugh… a man who is simple and down to earth… a man who loves to cook… a man who enjoys traveling… a man who is active and fun-loving… a man who can move, groove and make it look good… a man who truly enjoys life…

Yes, I am very blessed! But not only for the reasons you think.

I am blessed because my husband is NOT perfect.

Because he is not perfect, I have less reason to put him on a pedestal and make him my idol, and I have more reason to depend on, seek, trust, and surrender to God. Because he is not perfect, I get to learn, adjust, exercise my faith, and grow in character. Because he is not perfect, I “get a pass” on my own bloopers and blunders and get encouraged to do better next time. Because he is not perfect, I learn to be grateful and love him even more for his wonderful qualities. Because he is not perfect, I get to watch him grow and learn from him. Because he is not perfect, I have a front row seat to God’s glorious work in and through his life. Because he is not perfect and I am not perfect, I learn unconditional love — to give it, to receive it, and to be completely amazed at God’s ability to lavish it on His children.

Because he is not perfect, I am incredibly blessed.

Happy birthday babe! I love you. I see how much you love me with all you do for me and our family. Thank you and may the Lord richly bless you with the desires of your heart! :)IMG_8703.JPG

Music and Our Kids

My girls like music. They like singing and dancing. Of course they hear different songs everywhere and of course they tend to like the catchy but not-so-wholesome songs these days. One time, Danae saw a choir competition on tv, and of all the songs she could have recalled, “spaghetti pababa” was the one that stuck! They catch some of the lyrics right away without thinking about what they’re actually singing. Danae also knows the “clean” versions of some songs, which means she is aware of the dirty ones. King and I don’t approve, but as much as we would want to control what they listen to, obviously we can’t.

Case in point, last week. We were all in the car, driving out of Festival mall. The radio was on. King quickly changed the station to one we thought was the “safest,” where they play cool, smooth, wholesome music. Just as he said the words “this is the safest,” the lyrics “I want sexual healing” softly and smoothly came out of the speakers. Hahaha. Thank God it wasn’t catchy enough that the girls missed it. I for one am not yet prepared to explain what sexual healing means.

It just proves that there is no such thing as safe. We can sometimes request the music to be changed (I’ve done that at a resort before — music had very foul language), but we can’t always protect our children from bad influences – yes, songs are not just songs; they can alter our mood, influence the way we feel, our values, the language we use, and how we act. We can only teach our children to be wise about choosing what songs to listen to.

What we try to do is check the lyrics with them and explain what they mean as much as we can. We always remind them that though the beat is nice, some songs do not teach them good things, and many of them do not teach girls to respect themselves. We tell them that these artists are definitely talented, but we don’t agree with some of their life choices and with the messages they share in their music. We teach our children to think first before adopting a certain artist’s views or a certain song’s message. King and I are never shy to tell them when there is a song we don’t approve of. Our girls usually listen, especially when they themselves realize what the song is teaching them. Otherwise, they tell us that they only like and sing certain parts of the song, and we somehow find middle ground.

It’s tricky because we don’t want to be legalistic and restrict them from listening to music, but we can’t also just let them listen to whatever they want. Tricky because it’s hard to separate the music from the words, the artist from the message. Tricky because there are some topics that they will not and should not understand yet. Tricky because we can’t brainwash them to only like classical or Christian music. I myself enjoy grunge, alternative music and I just love Pearl Jam. Well maybe they won’t have much (or any — here’s hoping!) angst to be attracted to it, but I guess it’s fine if they learn to like it too. I certainly prefer it over cheesy, shallow, boy bandy songs which my girls gravitate to. But then again, I’m 37 and they’re 9 and 6. Their preferences will change and their taste in music will perhaps mature. They will grow and gain the wisdom they need to choose what and who they will allow themselves to be influenced by.

You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is beneficial. 1 Corinthians 10:23 NLT

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2 NLT

What do you do with music and your kids? I’d love to gain perspective from other parents regarding this matter. Looking forward to reading your replies. :)


Guardians of the Family

A little late and no, I have not seen the movie, but see what I did there? Hehehe. I thought this title apt because of how our older daughters are so protective of us. Many times I don’t feel the need to ask King where he’s been and with whom, well mainly because I trust him, and because my daughters are usually way ahead of me. Sometimes they ask out of curiosity, but when King comes home late, sometimes Danae asks to make sure her dad didn’t do anything inappropriate (which to her mostly means spending time alone with another woman). Her tone and her sigh of relief give her away. She’s been aware of adultery for quite some time now (though she has no actual reason to be concerned, neither in the past nor in the present, at least not in our family) and we always reassure her that Daddy and Mommy love God, love each other and love them too much to hurt our family that way. We also urge her to always pray for us. I tease King that he needs to answer not only to me, but to our daughter who seems to be more strict than I am haha.

I thought Danae was only protective of her dad, but I’ve seen how she is protective of me too. We were watching How to Train your Dragon 2 in the cinema last year, and I was seated between her and a man. She, Noelle and King were on my right. the man was on my left. I was 7 months pregnant with Gianna. First she offered to switch seats with me. Of course I declined and told her I was okay. I would rather that I be the one to sit beside the stranger. She seemed uneasy because she would look in my direction and ask me if I was okay. She confirmed her worries when I asked afterwards. I thanked her for her concern and King reassured her that he was watching over me too.

Noelle surprised me a few months back as well. It was a tight squeeze in the hospital elevator, and Noelle put herself between King and a woman. I was about to tell her to come to me where there was more space, when she mouthed, “I’m protecting Daddy.” I nodded and quietly relayed the message when King was also about to tell her to go around the stroller. We let her be and King thanked her.

Last week, while walking in a mall, I caught Noelle looking at King, after which she said, “Ok good, he looked away.” There was a huge storefront ad with a woman in her undies. Noelle was checking if her dad looked at it, and I’m pretty sure she was ready to tell him to look away if she had caught him doing so (not that King has a habit of looking haha). Just the other night at a video store, she warned King not to look at the music video that was showing a scantily clad girl.

Our children watch us constantly. They watch what we do with each other as husband and wife, what we do with them as their parents, what we do with and around other people. They watch us even when we’re not aware of it. They expect no less than us practicing what we teach them (such as remembering boundaries, and protecting our minds and hearts by wisely choosing what we watch, read and listen to). They hold us to the same standards we hold them to. They are always always watching.

And it is a blessing to know that though they watch us to see if we walk the talk and hopefully only follow our good example (obviously we set bad ones too), they also WATCH OUT FOR US. They are like our guardians, our watchmen. They don’t just watch us make mistakes, they warn us against making them. They remind us that they care and therefore we should always also take great care of each other and our marriage. I always tell our girls that we are a team — we help each other out, we work together. That’s exactly what they’re doing being vigilant children. They’re helping me and King keep our marriage secure and our family intact.


A very old pic, but perfect, don't you think?  haha.  little guardians of our family. :)

A very old pic, but perfect, don’t you think?
little guardians of our family. :)

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1Peter 5:8

Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. 1 Corinthians 16:13

Grateful for 2014: My Mom is Alive

It was December 5. The two older girls were in their MAPEH class. King, Gianna and I were just beginning our lunch at a Christmas party in Alabang.


Apparently my mom, who lived on her own in Makati some days of the week, had contacted my brother because she was not feeling well. When my brother arrived without a key, my mom could barely get up, walk, and open the door for him. She was very dizzy, and according to my brother who told me later on, she looked terrible, like a corpse almost. My brother called King and asked him to get to Makati right away to help him.

King did not even think twice. He didn’t finish his lunch. He immediately figured out a way to get to Makati since our car was prohibited that day due to number coding. I was the one who had a lot of questions because I had the baby with me, and my friend Bianca was set to give the older girls a ride to where we were after MAPEH. I needed to know how we were going to get home. Big thanks to Edrei and Thine for switching cars with King, and then giving us a ride home.


Ambulance, ER, ICU, regular room. It was my brother and King who took turns staying with my mom, as I could not because where I go, Gianna goes. It was too risky for the baby. The girls and I were not able to even just visit her.

Her sugar levels were high and she was given insulin. Her blood pressure was also very high. Her brain was swelling, hence the need for her to be in ICU. According to King, he could talk to my mom, but she would doze off pretty quickly. She was always sleepy, and her speech would slur every now and then. She could move her entire body while in bed, but was unable to stand or walk.

My mom suffered a stroke, and what was affected was her cerebellum, which is responsible for balance.


I learned later on that she was a candidate for brain surgery, but thank God her doctor said that she would only need physical therapy to learn to stand and walk again without falling. She was discharged from the hospital after 9 days.

I thought she would have a hard time doing regular things, but though she needed some help, she quickly adjusted and took care of herself in the bathroom. She uses a wheel chair and a quad cane to help her move about, and she can’t drive anymore or live alone anymore, but she is doing great! We have even gone around the mall during the holidays!



She moves so much faster than she used to when she first got out of hospital. Her therapist, who comes to the house 3 times a week, says she is doing better and getting stronger. My mom says she still gets dizzy at times, but she can also feel her improvement. And also a big plus is, NO MORE SMOKING! She has not smoked (I destroyed her stash) since the day she was brought to the hospital.

We thank the Lord that my mom is alive and well! I told her the other day that after three strokes (yes she has survived two before this one), she is a walking miracle. SHE IS A WALKING MIRACLE. Amazing that her previous strokes never left any evidence on her body and mind. And I know that it won’t be long before there wouldn’t be much evidence of this stroke either. God is good.

Our eldest daughter lost her Wowo too soon, and our two younger daughters lost the opportunity to be loved by him. And so we are very grateful that our tres marias have many years more to enjoy their Wowa. :)


Grateful for 2014: Gianna

It’s 2015! And before I can think about what I’m looking forward to this year, I need to share what I am grateful for the past year. God, family, friends, church, ministry are constants, but there are 3 specific things that stand out about my 2014. I want to begin with the obvious – Gianna.

Oh, my Kaitlin Gianna. God has blessed me with such a beautiful baby girl! She was born on August 12, via c-section, and right away we noticed that she didn’t cry continuously. Danae and Noelle were both big cryers, but Gianna had a gentle cry and was just quiet some of the time. She was fair and chubby at 3.1kilograms. It was the first time I experienced “skin to skin” and immediate latching with my baby almost as soon as she came out of my womb (they cleaned her a bit first). They didn’t do that with my first two, maybe because it was in a different hospital.

Another great thing about St. Luke’s is they consider the mom and the baby as one unit. Where mommy goes, baby goes too. At first I wasn’t too happy about it because I’ve experienced rooming in and not rooming in the baby, and rooming in exhausted me. But then I figured it wouldn’t be so bad. It was best for baby.

Gianna was with me in the recovery room, where I stayed a few hours because my blood pressure was not yet stable. I was there so long that I thought to ask the nurse if she could bring Gianna out to meet her sisters. She accommodated me, even though she couldn’t contact King right away. The sisters met for the first time that night, before the two big sisters went off to stay with my in-laws.

first picture of the tres marias :)

first picture of the tres marias :) Gianna was around 8 hours old :)

I didn’t get to see my older girls that night anymore because we were moved into my room really late. Our first night with Gianna was good. She cried, but she would latch onto my breast fairly easily, and then she would fall asleep. The nurses were helpful in changing her nappy. By morning, however, a doctor came in to tell us some news.


The doctors extracted blood from Gianna while I was in recovery to run some tests. I can’t remember if it was protocol or a precaution or both, but I never expected the results we got. Gianna’s white blood cell count was markedly high, about 25,000 more than normal. They said clinically, she was alright, but her white blood cell count could not be ignored. She had to be given AT LEAST one week’s worth of antibiotics intravenously, and the hospital policy was for her to be monitored in the NICU. They took her away that morning.

All day I could not go down to breastfeed her because the catheter was still in me. Good thing they sell pasteurized breast milk in the hospital so they could feed Gianna. They are very strict about giving babies breast milk –- no formula and no sugar water. As soon as they removed the catheter late that night, I went to see my little love. It felt good to hold her again, but it hurt to see her on IV. On her third day in the NICU, I saw that she had nothing connected to her, and the nurse said they were going to reinsert AND draw blood. I couldn’t help but cry for her at that point. It was my first time to have a child stay in the NICU.

It was also sad that the two other girls could not visit their sister in the NICU. Children not allowed.

In the NICU :(

In the NICU :( 2 days old

I didn't stay for the re-insertion and blood extraction. I was already crying just knowing about it.  I would not have been able to bear seeing it. I'm thankful for the kind, loving nurses there, who took good care of Gianna.

4 days old. I didn’t stay for the re-insertion and blood extraction. I was already crying just learning about it.
I would not have been able to bear seeing it. I’m thankful for the kind, loving nurses there, who took good care of Gianna.


In the NICU, the pedia extracted Gianna’s blood so they could do a blood culture. After the first day upto the last (I forget how many days were necessary), no growth had formed in the blood culture. Her bilirubin levels (jaundice) were also high but not high enough to require phototherapy. They also extracted blood to check her white blood cell count again after so and so days. What was supposed to be 7 days of antibiotics became only 5 days! It was not any particular infection, but we were just grateful that nothing worse came up. She entered the NICU on a Wednesday and was discharged on a Sunday. We were able to go home the next day!


6 days old. The girls only got to see their baby sister again that Sunday, and thanks to our friend Varsha, we got our very first family picture with Gianna. :)


We had some issues during the first two months. Gianna lost weight on her first two weeks of life. We got concerned because although it is normal for an infant to lose a little weight after being born, Gianna still did not gain weight after two weeks. I was still emotional and all, and it made me sad to even consider giving her formula at such a young age. I was determined, however, to help increase my milk supply by eating more malunggay and being faithful in taking my malunggay supplements. By our next appointment, she had already gained weight!

I was so happy to hear about the weight gain, but then at 5 or 6 weeks, her jaundice had not disappeared. Daily morning sunning for about two weeks should have done the trick, but it didn’t. The pedia required a blood extraction to check her bilirubin levels again. The result was extremely high. If I remember correctly, the normal range is .2 to 1 (I don’t know the unit of measurement, sorry). Gianna’s was in the mid twenties! I was ordered to stop breastfeeding for a while.

It was inconvenient, because I had to pump my milk to keep the supply going (I would much rather feed directly) and wash bottles and all that, but I obeyed. I was concerned that Gianna wouldn’t take to the bottle and the formula, but to my surprise, we had no problems. It was a first for me to give my baby formula so early and she was/is the first among the three girls to be okay with drinking from a bottle.

My poor baby girl had to go through more blood extractions that week. King was the brave one who held her through it. My heart could not take the sight of her getting hurt. I just comforted her afterwards. Thank God her bilirubin levels went down enough that we did not need to confine her for phototherapy, and it was a confirmation that her jaundice was caused by breast milk and not problems in her liver. I also finally got the go signal to go back to full breastfeeding!

waiting for blood extraction.

in hospital, waiting for blood extraction. brave 1 month old baby. brave  daddy.


Gianna is now nearly 5 months old. She is healthy and strong, and she is such a happy baby. We immediately noticed her smiling while she was asleep as a newborn, and when she was about a month old, she smiled in response to our voices and faces. I was even honestly concerned about her eyesight because she wouldn’t focus on my eyes. I remember the two older girls looking at me while breastfeeding, and Gianna did not seem to be doing that. What a joy it was to finally lock eyes with her when she was more than a month old! And now the looks that she gives me – oh so heart melting. She looks, sometimes stares at me, and then when I acknowledge her, she gives me the sweetest smile. And she ALWAYS does this, even when I’m across the table from her. Sometimes she stops from feeding to give me a smile haha. That always makes me giggle in glee.

August 12 Kaitlin Gianna - 265

2 weeks old, smiling as she slept while sunning

August 12 Kaitlin Gianna - 570

nearly a month old, smiling as she slept

almost 5 months old :)

almost 5 months old, smiling at daddy :)

The way she responds to King and her sisters is just priceless too. She likes to “talk” to and “sing” with King. I guess she knows how loved she is. Her sisters can’t get enough of her, and she most of the time doesn’t mind being “man-handled” haha. She reaches for and touches our faces now when we are near her. She just really makes our hearts smile.

about 6 weeks old. i put tape so her ear would properly fold. worked like magic!

about 6 weeks old. i put tape so her ear would properly fold. worked like magic! thanks to our pedia for the encouragement to “fix” it.

4 and a half months old :)

4 and a half months old. first Christmas. :)

talking to daddy and touching his face :)

talking to daddy and touching his face :)

Her cries are louder now, but she’s still a very good baby. She enjoys her mini baths, although she didn’t at first haha. I’m excited to get her a bathtub and see her enjoy being IN the water. Sometimes she’s just quiet in bed or her carrier, checking out her surroundings, and so I get to eat and not get frazzled when we’re out (well most of the time, haha). She’s usually calm when I change her diapers too. I literally thank her for being such a good baby.

When she wakes from sleep, as long as she has had enough sleep, she doesn’t cry. I catch her awake, entertaining herself with either looking at the light, checking out her hands, or “talking” and kicking her legs. And then that smile…..sigh. She has started laughing too, but we find that a tad difficult to elicit haha. It’s such a joy to wake up seeing this pretty baby beside me every morning. Weird, but I really feel so loved when I see her.

Kaitlin Gianna :)

Kaitlin Gianna :)

Just like her sisters’ first names, her first name Katilin means pure. Gianna means God is gracious. And God has certainly been gracious to us, blessing us with such a beautiful princess. I am just so grateful for her. I can’t wait to witness God display His grace in and through Gianna’s life. :)