[This message was delivered on January 21, 2018 at The Feast Trece as a testimony in relation to Talk 2 (Self-love and Selflessness) of the Series “Fullness.”]
My Story Of Learning How To Love Myself
Growing up, my older sisters somehow felt that I was the favorite child. We would have the usual squabbles. I won’t get into the details anymore, but it was crazy! Now, of course, we’re past all of that already, but what they didn’t know was that I had a self-esteem issue. I felt that I was not good enough. I knew they were smarter than me because they got higher grades in school.
On hindsight, I believe my feeling of not being good enough was tied to how, as a young child, I hero-worshipped my dad. Don’t get me wrong. I felt loved growing up. I was not the subject of verbal abuse or anything like that, but it was the little things I picked up as a child that brought it about. Growing up, I somehow picked up on the disappointment of my dad whenever I didn’t perform up to par. Since I hero-worshipped him, you can imagine how picking up on those disappointments affected my self-esteem.
One concrete example was when I took the entrance exams for law school. I took the LAE of UP College of Law and the exam for Ateneo Law School. When my dad found out I only took two exams, he said “Bakit hindi ka nag-take sa UST (his alma mater)?” (Why did you not take the exams of UST?) So the obedient child that I was, I took the UST Law Entrance Exam.. and when I passed only the UST exam, my dad went “oh, bakit UST lang ang ipinasa mo?” (“How come you only passed the exam of UST?”) I share this without any bitterness in my heart. In fact, every time I tell this story, I always say it with amusement. Because I know deep down that I wasn’t loved less by my dad – he just wasn’t shy about verbalizing his disappointments. However, for someone whose love language is Words of Affirmation, that was devastating to the self-esteem.
I don’t take it against my dad because I know that parents try to do the best they can, the way they know how. And now, being a parent myself, I know that I already did a number with our eldest (our beautiful, kind, loving, smart 8-year old) so I’m striving to correct the damage I have caused this early.
I know that in our imperfect human state, we can only hope to emulate the perfect love of the God the Father.. How? By striving to be the face of Jesus to our children – every day, at every moment.. and we look to our Spiritual Mother, Mama Mary, and her profound love, to lead us and show us the way.
Learning to love myself
So how did I overcome my self-esteem issue? How did I learn to love myself?
In 2006, my boyfriend then (who is now my husband) convinced me to take the PSI (Purposeful Stewardship Institute) Leadership Success Seminar (I think it was a week or two before the bar exams). It was truly a life-changing experience that I just knew I had to take the 2 other programs as well – the Starshooters Program, and the Heroic Leadership Course. I didn’t attend with the goal of working on my self-esteem issue (in fact, I don’t think I was aware of its existence then until the program helped reveal it to me and helped me to actually get rid of it). It’s like each program started peeling away the thick layer around my being labeled “I’m not good enough” and replaced it with “I am beautiful” and “I believe in myself” – not because of who I am (on my own), but because of whose I am. It was in the Heroic Course that I came to have a deeper appreciation of Genesis 1:27 (NIV)–
27 So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
This biblical passage addressed my internal struggle, as discussed in Riches Within Your Reach by Robert Collier. We were given a copy of this book during the Course, and in the Chapter entitled “The God In You,” the verse from Genesis was elucidated in this manner:
“There is a Spark of Divinity in YOU. What are you doing to fan it into flame? Are you giving it a chance to grow, to express itself, to become an all-consuming fire? Are you giving it work to do? Are you making it seek out ever greater worlds to conquer? Or are you letting it slumber neglected, or perhaps even smothering it with doubt and fear?”
To give you a better appreciation of the message, here’s a short video about the Heroic Leadership Course (this video is of another class, not my own, but it still resonates with me):
I just love how we can experience God in various ways (like in the celebration of the Holy Mass which is an integral part of The Feast gatherings). At Heroic, I experienced God and the God In Me connecting in different and in intense ways. In the very last part of the video, there’s a hint on one of our activities for the ropes course that was extra special for me. Unlike my details-oriented, predominantly Analyst husband, I had no exact idea as to how high up from the ground we were supposed to be. All I knew was when I was down below, I could still see my classmates way up there so it should be alright. When it was my turn, all throughout the climb, I kept telling myself “I can do this.” By the time I got to the rope and looked down at the ground and at the tiny specks that were my classmates, I knew ignorance truly was bliss! It took some time, but the moment I jumped was a moment of complete surrender. I surrendered my fears, my feeling of unworthiness, of not being good enough. I surrendered to the great I Am.. and at that moment, the last chain came off. I was free – free from the self-doubt that kept killing the Spark of Divinity in me! I believed in Myself and it was invigorating! I believe in Myself! How can I not, when I am created in God’s own image and likeness?
You don’t need to attend expensive seminars and personal development programs IF you are able to get this.. But in my case, I was a bit slow. I was a big work in progress (I still am – we all are – continuously).
The message of today’s Talk is spot on. Self-love IS essential to Selflessness. As I was preparing for this sharing and recounting my Heroic Leadership Course experience, it dawned on me that that is what being a hero is all about. It’s about being selfless. And one of the most important tools I was given in the discovery of how to become a heroic leader – of how to become selfless – was that of self-love.
So join the party! Love yourself today – the way God loves and forgives you… and be the selfless hero you were designed by your Creator to be.
“The celebration of World Autism Awareness Day is our yearly reminder that autism is real and in our midst. We simply cannot close our eyes to the fact that everyone has to act and do something for the welfare of persons with autism, whether you are a parent, a relative, a teacher, a community worker, a doctor, a therapist, a government leader, a legislator or simply as a human being that cares for persons with ASD.”
Advocate/Core Member of the Autism Society Philippines &
Directress of Independent Living Learning Centre (ILLC) Davao
By Ernesto C. Perez II
Every year on April 2, we celebrate World Autism Awareness Day. This day was declared as such by the United Nations General Assembly in 2008 in order “to highlight the need to improve the quality of life of children and adults, who are affected by autism, so they can lead full and meaningful lives.”
Autism is short for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). It is a poor taste of words when you call adults or children diagnosed with ASD as “autistics”. The politically correct terminology is “persons with autism.”
There is a growing number of families in the Philippines who have children diagnosed with ASD. Today is the most appropriate time to tell this nation what ASD or autism is all about. The following paragraphs are based on the book authored by Stephen B. Edelson, M.D., entitled “Conquering Autism: Reclaiming Your Child Through Natural Therapies.”
Autism is still recognized and diagnosed almost exclusively through its behavioral symptoms. In young children the signs of the disorder are puzzling but distinctly recognizable – behaviour such as rocking, recoiling from being touched or held, becoming fixated on a particular object, toe walking, hand flapping, tantrums, an obsessive desire for sameness, and a fear of even the smallest change in the environment.
For a person with ASD, social interactions are never easy, and may require mastering a set of skills that don’t come naturally. Therefore, the next time you are seated beside a family with a child who exhibits the recognizable signs listed above, in a restaurant or other public places, please don’t judge that the parents cannot discipline their child properly. What the family needs is understanding and support – not rude stares or uninformed suppositions.
However, it is interesting that in the United States, about 1 in 10 people with ASD displays exceptional abilities in skills such as art or memorization of numbers or names. Perhaps 1 in 100 are identified as savants because of their remarkable abilities.
Intriguingly, if a child begins to recover from the debilitating symptoms of autism through treatment, these exceptional abilities seem to disappear along with the illness, according to Dr. Edelson.
But most importantly, a diagnosis of ASD can be the beginning of a long struggle and challenge for a child’s parents, who must watch their son or daughter retreat into a mysterious and lonely world they cannot enter.
Parents must endure daily tantrums, obsessive behaviours, special education programs, endless trips to developmental pediatricians as well as speech and behavioral therapists. The outcome of these therapeutic efforts is never guaranteed. In severe cases, children with ASD may never be able to function on their own, while those with milder cases of ASD may go on to have independent and productive lives as adults.
Dr. Edelson said that autism is a neurobiological disorder, an illness that involves multiple organ systems. According to him, this disorder is triggered by toxic injury during a crucial window of neurological development.
And, as scientific research advances there may be a cure in the near future for ASD. This cure is the light at the end of the tunnel for children and adults diagnosed with ASD, including the parents and primary caregivers.
Meanwhile, living with a child diagnosed with ASD is a constant challenge. Yet, it reminds us of God’s infinite love for everyone of his creation. That despite such struggles, God is always there providing constant blessings to both children and parents.
Children diagnosed with ASD are angels living in our midst, granted they may need more attention, love and understanding. But, we should likewise extend that love and understanding to the parents and caregivers who live and care for these angels.
Happy World Autism Awareness Day!!
Atty. Ernesto C. Perez II is Managing Partner in PEREZ VALENCIA & PEREZ Law Firm in Madrigal Business Park, Muntinlupa City which was established in October 2001. His main areas of practice cover the laws on succession, property, real estate, community associations, private corporations and renewable energy.
He is the Chief Entrepreneurial Officer of REALTTORNEY PROFESSIONAL REALTY SERVICES, a real estate firm based in Cavite. His website www.realttorney.com provides insights and useful information to real estate service practitioners, as well as current and future homeowners about the real estate industry in the Philippines.
He is also Atty. K’s better half and partner in raising 2 (soon to be 3) wonderful kids, one of whom was recently diagnosed with ASD.
Last week, I came across a friend’s post in a social media site stating that she has participated in a “pay it forward” chain. Possibly inspired by the 2000 film carrying the same title as the novel it was based on, this chain urges people to send surprises to friends who are supposed to pass on the gesture to 5 more of their friends and so on. This reminded me of another film released in 2007 – Evan Almighty – with the message that changing the world can be done with “one single act of random kindness at a time.” Inspired by these reminders, I decided to introduce a new section to this site to invite your attention to individuals who and pursuits which could benefit from an act of kindness.
Our first feature is Lyca Gairanod, one of four finalists in The Voice Kids Philippines Season 1. All the finalists’ stories manifest the indomitable spirit of the Filipino (Juan Karlos never met his father who abandoned him and his mother died just last year, Darlene’s father is a tricycle driver, Darren’s parents went to Canada to pursue work opportunities), but it is Lyca’s story that has decidedly hit closer to home. You see, she is from Amaya, Tanza, Cavite – the same town my father-in-law hails from. Being based in a coastal town, it comes as no surprise that Lyca’s father is a fisherman. Tatay’s father was likewise a fisherman. Lyca has been helping her mother collect, rummage through and sell junk, while Tatay’s childhood years had likewise been spent doing hard work. They both pursued their dreams despite their circumstances and the lives they were born into. Tatay fervently dreamt of being a lawyer, and become a lawyer he did. He did not stop there either as he found a way to be able to take up his Master of Laws degree from Northwestern University in Illinois. Whenever I watch Lyca perform, I am reminded that sometimes, people with nothing but a dream and the will to rise above their circumstances just need a break.
And what a break Lyca will get indeed should she be hailed the first grand champion of The Voice Kids Philippines. Prizes at stake are: One Million pesos in cash, a one-year recording contract from MCA Music (Universal Music Philippines), a house and lot, a home appliance showcase, a musical instrument showcase and One Million pesos worth of trust fund.
In performing a random act of kindness, the recipient must have no way of repaying you. I suspect, however, that it has its own rewards. In Lyca’s case, while her audition piece (“Halik”) showcased her vocal prowess, it was her rendition of “Pangarap na Bituin” in the semi-finals which got me. She touched my soul with her clean rendition of an OPM classic the caliber of which sadly seems wanting in modern day emphasis on prurient desires and glorification of foreign culture. What we have in Lyca is not merely a charity case, but The Voice that resonates with the Filipino soul.
This weekend being the Finale (6:45pm on July 26 and 6:15pm on July 27), it would be an opportune time for you to show a random act of kindness. As many of you may be aware, the voting public determines the winners in the live shows of this franchise. So check out the voting mechanics below and help make a Little Superstar’s dream come true.
Kasambahay Law Series: Part 3 – Online Registrations and Saturday Office Hours give you 3 less excuses
In a previous post, I showed sample computations and pay slips for your kasambahay. Here is a summary for the other salary brackets, as promised:
|SALARY||SSS||PHIL HEALTH||PAG-IBIG||TOTAL PREMIUMS||TOTAL EXPENSE OF EMPLOYER|
Please be reminded that for salaries of Php5,000 and above, your kasambahay’s share in the respective premium contributions may be deducted from his/her salary. So out of the Php895 total premiums due as reflected in the table above for a salary of Php5,000, the employee’s total share (Php354.20) will be deducted from the salary (see breakdown in previous post). In effect, your total expense for a Php5,000 salary will be Php5,540.80 should you deduct your kasambahay’s share from his/her salary.
These figures may also vary slightly, such as if you opt to register your kasambahay as an Individually Paying Member instead of an employee (read on below).
Now that you know how much to pay, how do you go about it?
First of all, register your kasambahay and the employment contract with your Barangay. I have yet to confirm with our barangay if they have a mechanism for this already, but based on the officials from neighboring barangays who had documents notarized in our office last week, they have yet to set it up.
Several news reports over the past weeks have made mention that a one-stop registration procedure is being eyed for implementation by local government units and homeowner’s associations. That would be a WELCOME convenience! In the meantime, here is how you can go about registering with the individual agencies:
For PhilHealth, you have two options. You may register your Kasambahay as either an:
1. Employee, or
2. Individually paying member
In either case, you may register your kasambahay ONLINE. Just fill up the fields required in the website, attach the documentary requirements as pdf and jpg files (among other formats allowed), click on the “submit” button, wait for email confirmation. Read through the Terms and Conditions for the mechanics. If, however, you or your kasambahay prefer to personally effect registration, you may review the registration procedures and requirements for employees or individually paying members before proceeding to your nearest PhilHealth office.
If you have been previously paying SSS contributions for your household help using your own SSS number (like I have), you may continue to do so until you are assigned an ER number for that purpose. Better be proactive and ask for your ER number already. If your kasambahay has yet to be registered, see/download the guidelines below from SSS:
Good news for those who cannot devote a weekday for registration. You have two more saturdays this June to work on this, so delay no more!
You may access the HDMF Online Registration system here. You just need to create an email address for your kasambahay and input their cellphone number as well (this is where they will receive confirmation of their registration and their Registration Tracking Number which they will need to verify their permanent Pag-IBIG ID Number).
If you are hiring from an agency, I suggest you request to have them register the propspective helpers (if they’re not yet initially covered) so it will be easier for you to either just update their membership status (as your employee) or continue paying for them as individually paying or voluntary members of the 3 institutions (although I have to verify with SSS because in my case, the Tagaytay branch required mine to be registered as my employee – this was prior to the effectivity of the Kasambahay Law).
On the next article in the series, let us discuss payment of contributions and reportorial requirements for the same. To get a copy of the Q&A Primer on the Batas Kasambahay, click here.
I remember the first time I received a pay slip. I was 2 years out of college and we were invited to be among the field enumerators for a project of the Development Academy of the Philippines (yes, your government finds ways of making your iskolars work for you). It was a short stint anyway and I wanted to get a feel of having a paying “job” while waiting for another school year to start in the Facultad de Derecho Civil (law school). The job title turned out to be a fancy name for doing house-to-house census survey in the heat of summer, but I was excited. I got my TIN from the BIR and when pay day came, I received a pay slip with my month’s wage. What an empowering feeling it was!
In a previous post, I summarized the benefits which you, as employer, are required to give your domestic workers or kasambahay. I mentioned that aside from the employment contract and the certificate of employment, the kasambahay is entitled to receive a copy of the pay slip every pay day.
Before your blood pressure reaches an all-time high, take a deep breath. Relax. I made things easier for you.
You can download Learning Mom’s Sample Pay Slips for Kasambahay (based on the IRR-prescribed Form BK-2). Get a copy of the sample pay slips as shown below, which you may edit accordingly.
Name: ______________________ Date : _____________
Pay period: __________________
|Take Home Pay||Php2,500.00|
I agree with the above wage computation and acknowledge receipt of the same.
Signature of Kasambahay
Take note that for a monthly wage rate of less than Php5,000.00, you, as the employer, should not deduct premium contributions on SSS, PhilHealth, and Pag-ibig from the kasambahay. These are charged to you. Therefore, in the example above, on top of the Php2,500 basic wage which you pay directly to your kasambahay, you are required to remit the following contributions in his/her behalf:
Php 270 to SSS;
Php 150 to Philhealth;
Php100 to PAG-IBIG
total monthly premium contributions: Php520
So how much would be the total contribution of your kasambahay, subject to salary deduction, if basic wage is Php5,000? Here is your sample pay slip under such scenario:
Name: ______________________ Date : ______________
Pay period: __________________
|Take Home Pay||Php4,645.80|
I agree with the above wage computation and acknowledge receipt of the same.
Signature of Kasambahay
How about your share in the contributions as employer?
|Less:||Employee’s Share||Employer’s Share|
|Total Employer’s Share||540.80|
|Take Home Pay||4,645.80|
Therefore, you will be shelling out Php5,540.80 per month – but only Php4,645.80 goes directly to your helper, while a total of Php895 will be remitted as follows:
Php 520 to SSS;
Php 175 to Philhealth;
Php 200 to PAG-IBIG
Remember to keep copies of the pay slips for a period of three (3) years. You can find more sample computations (especially since many are giving salaries in the range of Php3,000-Php4,000) as well as registration procedures in another post as this is quite lengthy already.
I feel you. I know you’re thinking “Do I really have to do this? I’m busy enough already as it is.” I’d like you to, however, consider this. Whatever little inconvenience may be caused by this requirement, I’d like to think that some good can also come out of complying with it. Perhaps when our kasambahays see the stack of pay slips piling up month after month, and they have nothing to show for it other than those pieces of paper, they will finally come to realize that while the barangay back in the barrio depends on their monthly padala for their sustenance, they need to also look out for themselves and their future. So go ahead and issue those pay slips. If that simple act could uplift them somehow, your family will only be the better for it.
Kasambahay Law Series: Part 1 – Are you ready to give these mandated benefits to your household help?
For most mothers and homemakers, “It’s hard to get good help these days” could vie for the title of greatest understatement of the decade. We’ve all had our share of first hand encounters so I will not belabor the point anymore. After the lies, the theft, the broken appliances, the headache, the numerous replacement requests and countless lowering of expectations (sorry, just couldn’t make do without the drama here), I decided to take a more proactive approach. I decided to include the hiring of highly efficient, loyal, reliable, honest househelp and nanny in my Attraction Journal. Yes, really. Before you read on, I want you to take a moment right now and commit to focusing on what you want rather than on what you don’t want. Thank the Lord for giving you an angel of a helper – as if you already had her/him. This works in all other aspects of our lives too – something I’m still trying to master myself 😉
Benefits under RA 10361
Whether yours is a God-send right now, or you’re just making do with the one you have, you are mandated to give these benefits to your general househelp, yaya, cook, gardener, laundry person (must be on an occupational basis – not occasionally or sporadically) after their first month of service, under the Domestic Workers Act or Batas Kasambahay:
a. MONTHLY MINIMUM WAGE –
(cities, first class municipalities);
b. ANNUAL SERVICE INCENTIVE LEAVE WITH PAY
– 5 days
c. 13th MONTH PAY
d. SSS BENEFIT
e. PHILHEALTH BENEFIT
f. PAG-IBIG BENEFIT
g. DAILY REST PERIOD
– 8 (total) hours
h. WEEKLY REST PERIOD
– 24 (uninterrupted) hours,
subject to offsetting, accumulating, waiving in exchange for payment of daily rate, and similar arrangements.
Be reminded that should you be paying more than the minimum wage set by law, you cannot now arbitrarily adjust the salary under the principle of non-diminution of benefits expressly provided for.
Take note that for SSS, PhilHealth, Pag-IBIG, the premium contributions should be shouldered by you, and NOT DEDUCTED from the salary of the househelp if such salary is below Php5,000.
I have provided sample computations to be reflected in the Pay Slip in a separate article. Yes, you are required to give a Pay Slip every pay day, and to keep a copy of the same for 3 years.
Aside from the Pay Slip, other documentary requirements are Certificate of Employment, and Employment Contract. For those hiring helpers directly, you can download the Sample Employment Contract here.
I will write my thoughts on this law in a separate article. How about you? Are you ready to give these benefits to your kasambahay?
May 8, 2013
I am somewhat in the middle of a “quarter life crisis.” I have always thought how good it must be for others who have always known exactly what they wanted to do/be when they grew up, while I struggled to make sense of what I was put here on earth for. Like the disciples then who had yet to comprehend God’s grand design, I am still struggling to understand now my part in bringing it about. Having children has given me some clarity as I recognize that my foremost role at the moment is to bring them up to be loving, compassionate individuals who are able to realize their potential while serving God and community. A question, however, remains to be answered – what do I do with the “Atty.” He has blessed me with, and how does it figure in my present calling?
How about you? Are you facing some crossroads or are you in the midst of soul searching yourself? As we continue to contemplate on our life purpose and on whether our current actions stir us closer to or veer us further away from it, let us pray for spiritual maturity to be able to recognize the truth when the Holy Spirit reveals it to us.
Our Preschooler’s First School Field Trip, Part Two: Asociacion De Damas Filipinas, Manila Ocean Park
After filling our stomachs and minds in the Gardenia Plant and the Mind Museum, we still looked forward to the other items in the day’s itinerary.
Some kids took their lunch inside the bus on the way to our next stop:
Asociacion De Damas Filipinas (orphanage) in Paco, Manila. I was looking forward to my daughter experiencing interacting with kids in the orphanage (“Annie” is in her most-watched-videos-list so it was easier to explain the situation). The last time I was in this particular orphanage was, I believe, in college – with my blockmates from UP Manila. I am glad to note that it is still around to continue its mission. My daughter joined the game “The ship is sinking” but the adult-guided activity tended to have groups of kids from school together on one hand, and kids from the orphanage together on the other. This was followed by song and dance presentations from both groups, then the gift-giving. Liz felt shy and asked me to come with her. We walked up to a girl who was the only one in her row without a gift still. She broke into a big smile which betrayed the nonchalant stance she was hiding behind just seconds before we approached her. I pray that precious little souls like these would be met with a constant outpour of love and would truly feel and experience God’s love in their lives. May they grow up to be adults who have learned to deal with rejection/loss and who will use their experiences to minister to others. After the gift-giving, her pre-school friends wanted to retire back to the bus so my daughter naturally wanted to go with them. After some time, I was finally able to convince her to go back to the orphanage to say goodbye to the kids. I told her we’d also go see the huge belen right outside the orphanage so she finally agreed to get off the bus.
Our last stop was at Manila Ocean Park in Luneta. For this particular trip, Seri Fantasy World was the destination. This worked out great for me because this section is not included in the discounted package I had earlier bought at a Travel Expo for the Oceanarium, Trails to Antartica, Jellies, Fish Spa, Marine Life Show and Musical Fountain Show (will post about this family field trip in a separate article). For Seri Fantasy World, 3D Cinema Plus was supposed to whet our appetite. However, the film clip that was presented to our batch (mixed schools and ages) was about the hunting season – which naturally upset some of our preschoolers, Liz included.
Next was Kids’ Paradise – a huge indoor play area which is sure to be paradise for any group of kids. My daughter’s particular batch of kids was no exception. Being used to sharing only a pair of each set of swings, slides, and animal “spring rides” in their school, the kids ran and played around to their hearts’ content. Without needing to count to 10 to wait for her turn at the swing, Liz swung away in blissful solitude before checking out the other nooks the Kids’ Paradise had to offer.
Trick Art Museum was up next. While waiting in line for our turn, Liz indicated she was ready to go home already. I decided to stay at the Wendy’s kiosk on the ground floor – near the escalators so we could eat and rest while waiting, and see the group come down on the way back to the bus once everyone’s done. After sitting at for a few minutes, she changed her mind and off we went to check out each art masterpiece “come to life” and connect (literally) with the one appreciating it. You’d have to check it out for yourself to see what I mean 😉 Better make the Trick Art Museum one of your earlier stops so you’d still have enough creative energy to work around the pieces 🙂
She was so exhausted I had to carry her around almost the entire maze – which, as the name suggests, is filled with mirrors. This makes it extra tricky to get out of. If you want to try this out, always remember to keep your hands in front of you so you do not bump into mirrors. If you have kids with you – be extra careful.
After an exhausting day, some co-parents and I decided to treat the kids (and ourselves!!) to dinner at Pancake House located in the ground floor. It took us mommies 3 days (for some, more) to fully “recover” from this intensely physical chaperoning experience.
After the field trip, we went back to Manila Ocean Park as a family. I have barely scratched the surface of this theme park with these posts. In a future article, I will recount our experience on the main attractions – like the Oceanarium, the Sea Lion Show, the Musical Fountain Show.
Last November 29, 2012, my daughter joined her first field trip with her pre-school classmates. The mommies seemed more excited than the kids who had no idea what was in store for them. At the same time, some of us were apprehensive about tending to and chasing after our overly eager kids on a 1:1 ratio (no hubbies, no yayas as back up). I particularly liked the fact that the itinerary included a visit to an orphanage, and aside from the Asociacion De Damas Filipinas, I haven’t been to any of the other places on the list so I was also curious. My husband, the pragmatic, appreciated the insurance coverage included in the fee quoted to us.
First stop: GARDENIA PLANT TOUR in Mamplasan, Biñan, Laguna
The Gardenia Plant Tour being first on the itinerary, the kids were naturally very excited at this point. All throughout the short video presentation, the actual plant tour, purchasing at the bread store and then the photo ops, the kids were all attentive and in very high spirits. Things were looking good.
Next stop: MIND MUSEUM in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
When we entered the doors of the Mind Museum in Taguig, however, mayhem greeted us. Being an interactive museum, kids of all ages naturally found their curiosity piqued. It was a challenge explaining some things to my daughter, what with other little (and not so little) hands likewise exploring the materials at the same time. It was at this point that I started mulling about going on a family field trip instead of joining a crowd. Aside from our school, there were several other schools likewise on their field trip on this particular thursday before a long weekend (must be why many schools chose this date for their field trip as well).
Among my personal favorites were the Static Ball and the Web of Life. Liz didn’t want to experience the Static Ball, but was content at laughing her heart out at the sight of mommy’s and the titas’ hair. We weren’t done exploring the second floor when we were told a show was coming on in a few minutes so we hurriedly went down to the Spaceshell (a small planetarium). We caught the one about the creation of the moon (and I was happy to point out an example of the effect of gravity – the concept of which I had explained to my daughter just a few moments ago). After about 5 minutes, she lost interest in the film, and chose to lie down on her tummy instead, but still keeping her silence (to my amazement). Then a 2 year old schoolmate started crying his way out of the Spaceshell, followed by several other preschoolers. Taking the cue, Liz asked to go out as well, telling me later that she “got scared of the Earth” (the film graphically showed how rocks colliding with the earth formed into the moon, thanks to gravity).
I took this chance to change her diaper (thankfully she agreed to wear one just for this trip after I told her there would probably be very loooong lines in the comfort rooms, and the bus ride would be quite long as well). I then suggested we explore the rest of the museum, but she had enough and wanted to “go to the orphanage already,” so I took her to the museum store while waiting for the others. She chose to get a nice puzzle and board book set about the rainforest which was made from recycled materials.
The coaster with the 3D dolphins was my idea. I gave in to the ref magnet with the 3D penguins after she insisted she “will find something to stick it on,” but put my foot down on the miniature animal displays. It seems she enjoyed going around the store more than the museum itself.
Two down, two more to go: Asociacion De Damas Filipinas, Manila Ocean Park
My three-year old daughter asked that question out of the blue the other month. She was looking at the image of Jesus in the bedroom, and was probably wondering how come unlike her other interactive toys, this particular image is silent all the time. If you have a toddler, you know that they ask endless “whys” and “why nots.” But this question took me by surprise. I explained to her that this image of Jesus is a symbol, a representation of the real Jesus who is alive and who talks to us in many different ways – – like the butterflies she sees in the garden every day, which is Jesus’ way of saying good morning to her. I also told her that he talks to us all the time, but sometimes we can’t hear him talk because we are too busy and too noisy to listen to him. So we need to be silent and to reflect from time to time to hear what he has to say to us. I know it’s probably too much to take in for a three-year-old, but her conclusion made me laugh inside. She asked, “So we need to be quiet?” This question, coming from a toddler who can go on and on and on talking all day, was naturally met with an emphatic “YES!!!!”
I told the story to her teacher and my co-parents and, knowing my daughter, we all had a hearty laugh at the conclusion she came up with. As I further reflected on this exchange, however, I have come to realize that it was God’s way of talking to me – reminding me to take time to be silent and to momentarily drown out the commercialization that tends to undermine Christmas every year.
Thank you, Jesus, for the sweet reminder. I must have been too taken with my daily monologue that you had to belabor the point through my daughter. Happy Birthday, Jesus! As we welcome another New Year, I will take time to be silent – to reflect with gratitude on all the blessings and fulfilled promises as well as to ponder on my mistakes and shortcomings in 2012. As the fireworks fade and the torotots (trumpets) give way to silence on this new day, I pray in anticipation of even greater blessings in 2013. Thank you, Lord and I look forward to new learnings and experiences this year!