Monday, December 31, 2007

An hour of Pleasure, A day spent in Bliss

2007 is a trying and emotional time for me; it is also my busiest year, but I survived it. I always believe in the power of prayer, every endeavor I do I always ask the Lord to guide me to make the right decisions and never leave me during my darkest hours.

Another thing that I do is treating myself every now and then to some “perks” like pedicures, facials and spas. It helps me recharge my batteries so to speak. I don’t consider shopping a perk because as my husband put it, it is my favorite pastime.

This time my gift to myself was visiting my favorite spa, the Red Bamboo Spa at Riverbanks, Marikina City. I regularly go there maybe 3 to 4 times a year as a reward for a job well done be it in teaching or in business. It’s a good way to de stress and sooth the soul. I went there with my mother(its my Christmas gift to her) and we spent an hour of pleasure, being pampered like princesses.

During the hour that my body is undergoing Swedish massage, my mind is clear and this time I let all the pain and disappointments I encountered during the year flow out of my heart and let hope, my dreams and goals energize me for the coming year.

After the spa, we spent the day window shopping and eating my favorite pasta dish. We then went to Gateway Mall after going over the shops at Riverbanks, it’s the only time I can shop in leisure.

I even got myself a souvenir for my day of bliss, I finally bought my new Nike Free 5.0 shoes and I even got it at a discount in Gateway Mall.

Recharged for the new year ahead but I am also thankful for this 2007 it made me who I am today.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

A Memorable Christmas

Our Christmas this year can be considered “uneventful” or simply quiet, meaning this year we got to spend the holiday with just the family, no relatives from the province visiting or cousins stopping by. It was the time where you can just relax and bond with each other. The usual Christmas season for us is one big family reunion where relatives from the province arrive before Christmas and stays with us till January and our relatives here in the metro drops by to see them at any given time.

I consider this Christmas season very memorable, it is when I got to bond with every member of the family during the Noche Buena preparations, each one has prepared a dish and for the whole day we work side by side while cooking.

I also gave in to my son’s request to bake goodies, we made chicken empanada and boy he got to really got his hands dirty but enjoyed every minute of it, my parents prepared our favorite asadong baka, while my husband prepared a prawn dish which he calls “shrimp ala cham” (it was really prawns thermidore), my brother was in charge with the drinks while they all help me prepare for my 2kg roasted garlic chicken. The prawns and roast chicken recipe came from the Yummy Magazine November and December issue.

We decided to make our feast healthy buy removing the rice and replacing it with bread, fruits and Caesar salad, even our drinks is just combination of pineapple and fresh oranges.

Even gifts exchanged were also simple but the laughter and cheers were priceless. While tidying up my brother remarked that our Christmas this year is one of a kind for this was the only year that we changed all the food we make for Noche Buena but he really enjoyed it, we all did.

Making Christmas Feasts not just delicious but also healthy as well is one practice I would like to make as our family’s tradition, plus encouraging everyone to help prepare it makes Christmas really memorable.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Sending Love this Christmas

Many say that Christmas should be spent with your family. In our case where many families are apart due to economic reasons, many of our countrymen are abroad to earn a living for their families, Christmas can be a sad event. I am very fortunate that my husband does not have to go abroad anymore to earn a living, but it can’t be said of many families in the country.

Luckily there are different ways for families to be together and keep in touch, there are the mobile communications, online chat and or emails and IMs. Keeping touch with each other is not difficult anymore, love ones are just a text message or phone call away.

Technology today is also keeping up with the needs to the people, OFWs abroad can now send a Christmas gift to the Philippines through online stores. You can make your families feel loved by using these stores where you can pick products for them and have them delivered at home even if you are not in the Philippines.

This kind of innovations enhances the relationships families have even if they are apart. We can see more and more products emerging from the market to suit the needs of OFWs and their families in the future.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Importance of True Friendships

A friend of mine called me up last week just to say hello, it was both a surprise and a delight to talk to her again. She was my classmate in High School, we’ve been only classmates for a year then I was moved to another section for the remaining three years. We have been close then but lost touch after high school; we met again in a school reunion four years ago and became close again since.

I lost touch of her two years ago, and was regularly trying to contact her mobile phone ever since so it was really a surprise when she called. She entered a monastery to be a nun two years ago, I know of her plans and accompanied her in some of her search for the right order for her. I just did not know what order she had chosen and when is entered.

Today she is out of the monastery for a mandatory period of soul searching to help her decide if she really wants to be a nun. I am so happy for her and can’t wait to meet her again.

In reflection, friendships are like gift of jewels in our lives, they come and go in your life, they fill you heart with happiness and even at times that so don't see them often, that deep in your heart they never really gone because they are part of you.

In this holiday season let us cherish our friendships, even if we are physically apart we can reach out to them though phones, chat or emails. I have many friends abroad and miss them too, a simple email with pictures attached maybe just the thing I need to be with them this Christmas.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Lessons Learned in Joining my First Tiangge

One of my dreams was to join a tiangge or bazaar, I was supposed to join one last November but it did not push through due to problems on logistics. I was lucky to join one this week at PSBA, they are celebrating their foundation day. The tiangge runs for four days and my brother who is studying there help me manage my booth. I did not earn much but I treat it as an important lesson for my business.

Lessons Learned:
The most important – study your market very well and make products that they will likely buy. Since my market was mostly students I had to price my products low and have products that appeal to them.

Pick a location that has a lot of foot traffic.

Make your booth attractive so that it easily attracts customers. Put tarpaulins, posters and make colorful decorations that reflect the products you are selling.

Have fliers ready to be handed out to interested buyers, so that they can contact you if they want to purchase from you even after the bazaar is over.

Have friendly and helpful sales people. One of my advantages is having my brother and his friends mind the booth, since they are of the same age bracket as the customers it was easy for them to make a sale.

Lastly, have your objectives on why you are joining the bazaar and evaluate it after so you can check if you have achieved them. From there you can make a list for improvement as guide for your next bazaar.

As for myself I joined this bazaar to give me a first hand experience on what goes on in bazaars and what aspects of my business needs to improve before I join again next year.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Managing MyLittleBaker

The Christmas season is the peak season for my home based business and it keeps me "very- busy-that-there-is-not-much-sleeping-anymore" kind of busy but what I realized is that in making your business grow, you have to grow with it too.

I started with just making chocolate lollipops seven years ago to having a whole product line that can hardly fit a short bond paper. Things can get complicated really quickly especially when you have deliveries scheduled. With all of this happening I have to develop business management skills fast.

Supplier sourcing alone takes a lot of time and money. Looking for low price cost on my supplies like nuts, baking supplies and chocolates is done in October. Encountering out-of-stock supplies at this stage is nerve racking. Even remembering where to buy flour that cost the lowest can sometimes be a dilemma specially if that information is not readily available or I can’t remember where I bought it. I have three stores where I buy my supplies and I easily forget things when I am tired or preoccupied.

So as my busiest season draws to a close I decided to do the following information systems when I have some free time on my hands. I would like to develop my own inventory system and a business directory.

The inventory system is already a necessity for me for I have so many ingredients in stock and I need to keep track of them, maybe I can include a shopping list feature so that I won’t forget a crucial ingredient when I’m buying my stocks. Maybe I’ll add a recipe list also so that I know what ingredients I need if I want to bake or cook something. A Business Directory is also good, where I can put all my contacts and suppliers, I can also put all my prospective clients in that directory too so that when I do marketing and sales pitch with ease. I would also like to advertise my business more, maybe join Business Directories too, like Asian Business Directory. I can’t wait to make it big in this business.

I do have a computer degree and I am computer instructor too, so I have to practice programming once in a while so that my skills won’t be rusty. Looking forward to using Visual Basic again after all this baking going on. But before that even happens, my kitchen awaits as I am preparing for my tiangge in PSBA this week.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Preparing for the Christmas Feast

My parents are great cooks, maybe that is why I am so keen on learning to be a great one also. During the Christmas season I make it an effort to prepare something new for the whole family to taste and judge for themselves.

Many of my products on my online store MylittleBaker comes from these recipes, they are tried and tested by my tough testers that only the best ones make it. On the picture above there are my work of love, the Tipsy Leche Flan, Minicakes and The Fruitcake.

The Tipsy Leche Flan. I love leche flans but I only eat them during special occasions same with a little alcohol drink. So last year I decided to experiment a bit and put this two together and to my delight I was happily tipsy and it also help me control eating leche flan meaning I eat a few spoonful every meal to savor not like eating the whole llanera full.

The Minicakes. I love cakes and what better occasion I can share my love for them than on Christmas season? During these times we have many visitors during different times of the day, so I serve them these home baked goodies. I now have chocolate cake, carrot pound cake, cream cheese cakes and carrot cake all in mini. I have found recipe for mocha flavored ones that I am dying to try this Christmas.

The Fruitcake. I started making fruitcakes last year, and I am proud of them they taste so good. I lovingly brush brandy on them regularly so that when you eat them they taste just right. I even have them in minicake version so that you can eat one anytime you want without the hassle of cutting from a big cake.

This Christmas, I am trying my hand in roasting turkey who know I might make a perfect roast bird on my first try.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Meet My Little Baker

This is my second year to sell online homemade chocolates and baked goodies thru my website And the source of my inspiration is my little baker, my son Lorenzo. He is four years old and he really interested in cooking and baking.

He really helps while I am baking, he reminds me that I need eggs or flour or other things and just recently he demands to wear an apron too. I was really glad that I have his chef uniform and apron made.

I know his interest is cooking is because of the environment and his own interests, as you can see he loves to eat and appreciate it really well. I decided to nurture that interest but I won’t discourage his other interests.

He loves books, toy trains, singing and dancing. We buy books at Goodwill when we go out and let him decide what books he wants to read. He has a passion for toy trains, his father offered to buy him one of those remote controlled cars but he just wanted the trains. So we bought one, it’s his eight toy train, and it seems since he is two I have been giving him toy trains for Christmas.

He also has this talent for music and rhythm, even if he just listened to a song for the first time he can sing parts of it after. We watched a play last October and he listened to our National Anthem for the first time and was moved by it. Now we are teaching him to sing it, just have to straighten his lyrics and we are good to go.

As for his baking skills, I decided that now is the time I will let him learn and let his hands work, maybe we can create some goodies we both like to eat.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Investing for the future

We have recently bought a subdivision lot somewhere near Antipolo City, the community is designed to have a farm/garden homes and even have a cooperative to help you sell your produce. I loved the location and the view; it has a cool climate and is overlooking Laguna de Bay, the largest lake in the country. It will take three to five years to develop the subdivision but that’s okay for us for we don’t have the budget to build the house on it at the moment. At least now we have the motivation to save more for the future.

I’ve always wanted to have a farm, growing up in Manila you have a very different environment than what you can experience in the provinces. Lucky for us that my father comes from Bicol where the family lives a farm, such happy childhood memories like playing in rice fields and moving goats from one place is one of my precious experiences during summer breaks. Now I can look forward to have my own little farm and my son can have the experience on living in one. We are planning to make it a vacation home someday.

I believe having a real estate is a good investment and if ever we decide not to live there in the future we can always sell the land. I would also like to have a condo unit someday, owning a condominium unit now is expensive even though they are sprouting around the metro left and right. I always tell myself I’ll buy a condo unit when I have more money than I can spend. Maybe someday there will be affordable condo-housing units like the HDB properties in Singapore. It is commendable how the Singaporean government made housing affordable to their citizens and at the same time solving squatting problems. We have to admit Metro Manila is getting crowded and we even have more squatters living here than people who owns or rent an apartment or house.

2007 is really a big year for me, so many changes, new experiences and I believe the best is yet to come. The future seems bright.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Filipina Superwoman

I took my sweet time in deciding on how I can fully describe a Filipina at her finest and make it an entry in the "Filipina Writing Project" . There are so many facets of a Filipina that I don’t even know where to begin, but then my son showed my just last night what he thinks about me.

I am his mommy, his teacher mommy, his doctor and a good playmate. In his eyes I play different roles in his life that is when I realize that being a Filipina we can consider ourselves a “superwoman”.

What is a Filipina?

Her own woman
A Filipina can play a lot of role but she is her own woman. She knows what she wants in life, secure in her person making her sexy, independent and exciting. She can also be aggressive in pursuing in her career goals and in doing so become successful in anything she puts her mind to.

A Wife and Mother
Being one of the most sought out life partners by Filipinos and foreigners alike. I got to talk to different men of different nationalities and I ask them why they prefer to have a Filipina wife. Their answer is that Filipinas are nurturers we take good care of our husbands and children. The family is the number one priority for the Filipina, we love our husbands with all our hearts and take good care not just our immediate family but our extended family as well. We even consider our close friends family. We even personally manage our homes, the laundry, house cleaning and cooking.

The Teacher
As a Filipina mother we are the first teachers of our children that is why we are called “ILAW ng TAHANAN” (light of the home). We teach our child their first words and we are the ones with them when they experience the “firsts” in their life – first trip to the barber, their first trip to the playground. We are the ones that hold their hands and assure them that it is okay to play with other kids or talk to a roomful of people. Even our OFWs play the role of a teacher to their wards. I even watched a TV/documentary saying that the future leaders of nations are being taken cared today by our fellow Filipinas.

The Doctor
I remember when I was a child that every time I got hurt my mama always kisses my wound to make it better. Even as a teenager pimples, cramps and even broken hearts are consulted to her. She is the first person we think of when we are hurt we trust her with our life. Today my son Lorenzo calls me “Mommy Doctor” whenever I clean his wound or even giving him a kiss on the knee when he falls down.

The Career Woman
One great thing about our country is that as Filipinas we have the freedom to pursue careers. Filipinas are known to excel in their field be it in public service or in the private sector not just here but also in other countries.

The Entrepreneur
Being a businesswoman is second nature to Filipinas. It is a natural for us to see opportunity to make a sale. At one point in our life we attempted to sell something to friends and neighbors. There are many stories about how a Filipina mother raised her family just by selling in the market.

These are just a few roles that a Filipina play. She is really a superwoman. Being able to juggle different roles at the same time is second nature to us; we are mothers, sisters, wives, career woman and teachers. Doing these roles with panache and grace we can face the world and say “We are a Filipina and we are proud of it!”.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Too much Information

I have been in cyber "hibernation" for more than a month, before this happened I was so sure that I can handle the workload that I have. I’ve been teaching in two universities teaching 13 classes with 4 different subjects. I’m also a wife, a mother to a son attending nursery and manages a home without househelpers or “katulong”. I cook, clean the house and wash clothes on Sundays. I can’t even remember a day when I can just sit back, do nothing and relax all day.

This is my life this year, aside from blogging and having my online choco-baking business on the side. My friends were concerned that I will burn myself out. I had managed well for a couple of months but when the final examination period(mid september to october) approached I was in a frenzy and my mind was so preoccupied about finals, last minute lectures and grade computations that I had trouble even thinking about other stuff like blogging and conceptualizing my website for the Christmas season. It was it seem I was running on autopilot, multitasking as much as possible like washing clothes while preparing lectures and final exams or checking test papers.

I then realized that I have information overload. My mind was so focused on the finals examination period that is refuses to think so something else. Even today when I open my blogger account I could see my drafts that piled up because I can’t force myself to blog. I can’t even play my spider solitaire, my mind was somewhere else to even play a simple game.

I even stopped logging on the net, just check my emails every other day and totally stopped surfing or reading blogs. I was cyber hibernating and I am not happy about it.

I had survived the killer finals period and thanks to my family(my brother helped me check test papers till the wee hours in the morning for weeks) and the full support of my understanding husband I finished all my obligations in school and decided to take a leave of absence in teaching and focus on my family life and business.

Now slowly but surely I am blogging again and for starters will blog about all my adventures I had when I was in “hibernation”.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Credit cards thru my perspective as a consumer and entrepreneur

Just got a letter from the credit card company today, it said “Being a valued credit card holder we have increased your total credit line by Php 50,000.00”. I said to myself “Wow! As if I’ll use my credit card to spend that big an amount. I’m not that suicidal”

When my husband came home from work, I greeted him with “Love, we can readily buy a car now”. He asked “How’s that?” I replied with, “We can use our credit cards for all three on them now has 6-digits limits.” Hahaha. I told him that as a joke, for it amuses me how much these credit card companies tries to please you so you can spend more. Having credit cards today is common and at times necessary.

I know many may say you can live without credit cards and your life is richer. I know that maybe I can have much more money saved if I don’t have them but as a consumer I availed them because of it gives me convenience and at times security.

First of all my husband occasionally goes abroad and before we had credit cards it was hard for us to secure extra pocket money, especially if he has to extended his stay there. With the credit card I know he has the purchasing power to buy things necessary for his travels. Convenience in shopping is one of the things I like about the plastic, since you don’t need to bring large amount of money while shopping. Having a large amount of money with you especially during mall sales makes me nervous, for you have to constantly be on your guard against pickpockets and snatchers, where is the fun in that?

We have been using plastics for seven years now, and while reading messages in one of my e-groups, I read a post about consumer activism and how as good cardholders (pays on time, no late payments, etc) we should demand to these credit card companies to remove the yearly membership fees. I saw in Oprah that this practice is being done in the US. I hope this consumer activism will flourish in our country we really need this kind of actions.

As an entrepreneur, I’m currently studying about having online payments for mylittlebaker. I know that having credit card payment facility on my site would be beneficial for the business for it allows transactions 24/7 anywhere anytime. Anticipating what kind of payment scheme your customer will likely use and how as a business owner will you monitor your transactions can be fascinating and at times a confusing.

Good thing now there are companies that can provide you payment facilities where you can accept credit cards in the Philippines with Email Billing that will help you monitor as well as manage your client billing system.

Credit cards today is already an integral part of both the business sector and consumer what we can do is to regularly assess its worth to us, if it make our life easier then we continue to enjoy the benefits it gives us but if in our assessment it just makes us loose money maybe we should think of just cutting the plastic.

To Teach or not to Teach

I have been teaching in college for nine years now, these past few weeks I am faced with one of the hardest decisions I have ever made, to stop teaching so I can dedicate my time to my growing hobby turned business and at the same time be at home more for my son.

It’s really been a soul searching journey for me; I laid down all my cards at the table so to speak and analyze every reason why I want to teach and why I want to work from home.

My motivations when I chose a career in the academe are the flexible hours and I wanted to take up my master’s degree then. Another reason is that I am a people person, I love to interact with people and the great way to do that is by teaching. I was a programmer before but after a few months with only a few people to talk to and mostly the computer as a companion I became really depressed, it was a really demanding job and I realized I crave for people interaction.

Those were my reasons nine years ago, and at present it seems I have accomplished what I have set out to do, I have earned my Master in Information Technology degree in 2006 and due to the flexible hours I enriched myself through the various seminars and trainings I had like the baking classes, cooking classes, IT seminars, business seminars. Now there is no excuse for the flexible time for as my son grows I realized I need to give more time and attention to him too.

I asked myself I am just teaching because it has become my comfort zone? Have I overgrown it? Am I ready to move on?

Looking back this past year it seems indeed I have move on…
I have put my business online, enjoyed the sales and friends I made because of it and now offers are coming in, new avenues for business are opening up for me.

The only reason I have now for teaching is the love I have for my students but I have to face reality, I have another life besides teaching. So today I asked for a temporary leave of absence for the coming semester and we’ll see if I can come back to teaching the next school year. I may not teach fulltime ever again but perhaps one day a week for a few hours would be possible.

I will miss my students but it is not really goodbye, in today’s technology I’m only an text, an e-mail or a Instant Message away.

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Blogging Project

My class in Introduction to Information and Technology have this blogging project, I gave them 5 blog post assignment(one post per week) with specific topics that will end this semester. It is not compulsory, it is to be their final project I let them choose between blogging or the traditional 30-paged term paper about how to earn money online.

My students are freshmen BSBA students so the topic on the research is interesting/beneficial to them. Its been a very long and tiring week on keeping tabs on each of them as they create their blogs. One of our difficulties was there is no computer laboratory at PLMAR that has internet connection, so our communication during this writing project is thru text messaging, yahoo messenger, email and friendster.

After a few sleepless nights checking and linking blogs to my tech site the digitized youth, which I made specially for my students in mind, I now have the pleasure of reading their blogs (and of course grading them).

It is only the second week of our writing activity but I personally gained a deeper understanding of my students. I got to know them outside our classroom and discovered how beautiful and interesting each one of them are, as individuals. And now, I am looking forward to their next posts, I still have to add my comments to their blogs though.

I would also like to invite you to read their blogs they are still newbies but I see a great future in their blogs.

Happy Reading!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

A house or a business? What should I choose?

One of our dreams is to have our own house, and were on the planning stages on when, where and what do we need to have one. Owning a house or pursuing a business is on my mind nowadays, I have to decide which one would have to be first, for if we acquire a house first most of our financial resources would be pooled there and it would take years to pay off a housing loan and there might not be enough money left to start a business. While if we put our financial resources to support/put up a business, that business might grow and then we can have enough savings to buy the house we really wanted someday. It might take a few years but at least I would have an inspiration to really make the business a success.

As of today we don’t really have the money to purchase a house in full and can only pay the down payment, and that’s for a house that is not even our dream house for houses on sale today are really so expensive. I am also checking very carefully on mortgage loans and mortgage loan processing requirements of different banks to be able to assess if we can really afford to have loans.

At present it seems we will go with the business first, but still getting all information about having your own house is really reassuring that maybe you can’t afford it today but you can work hard for it and maybe have it in the future.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Entrepreneur Philippines' 60th Networking Night: Bazaars and Suppliers Special

I attended the networking night of Entrepreneur Magazine’s 60th Networking Night last night which was held at C3 Events Place. It was my first time to attend their networking events which is being held quarterly and I was very thankful that I did.

I am in the process of preparing my online business for the Christmas season and was looking for alternatives where I can sell my products at a physical store perhaps for this coming season. I am considering leaving my teaching work and become a full time entrepreneur and so I am looking for ways for my business to be sustainable by itself.

The event’s topic was about the Night Bazaars and Suppliers Special was really an eye opener for me. A few week’s ago when my husband suggested that I concentrate on my business fulltime I told him that I might need a small store or even a foodcart to sell my products but since I am alone I can’t bake and mind the store at the same time. What I need is a place where I sell at weekends and so that I can bake at week days to prepare for it. I was looking for alternatives and was looking a space to rent at malls and even LRT/MRT stations and having attended the event last night made me realize that maybe joining bazaars would be the answer to my problems.

The Networking Night is a casual business get-together organized by Entrepreneur Philippines Magazine and is open to both existing and aspiring entrepreneurs. They invited Marga Mendoza, Lifestyle Network Project Specialist; Prime Sarmiento, Entrepreneur's Associate Editor and expert in Quiapo suppliers; Judy Cruz-Malabanan, experienced bazaar organizer; and Pinky Antonio of PLA Events to share their expertise and experiences of how to strike a great deal! Margaux Salcedo, another bazaarista and entrepreneur hosted it.

The event was a success I estimated that there were almost 200 or more people that attended some were budding entrepreneurs like me, others already have established businesses and was looking for suppliers or future customers. I was really inspired at the end of the event and made contacts with some of the attendees promising to meet again and bring samples of my goods and maybe strike a deal or two. I even won an imported handbag during the raffle.

What lessons I learned last night:

  • Most people that shop at bazaars are looking for new and unique products.
  • When joining bazaars keep in mind of your operating expenses so at the end of the day you can determine if you profited in your venture.
  • Manage your booth personally and create a relationship with your customers.
    In pricing you products, consider the cost of your rentals(plus other operational expenses) and your target market (in selling to a high end market your can raise your prices)
  • In joining bazaars or in engaging in any other businesses take risks, overcome them and be a success.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Teaching My Students How to Blog

It is my third semester to teach my students about blogging. I started it last year with my computer engineering students in PUP as an additional topic and to my civil engineering and AB History students in the Intro to IT subject. I did not found it hard to teach the topic for most of the students regularly surfs the net and knows the ins and out, specially email, egroups and friendster and they are on their 3rd to 4th year in college. Some of the already have blogs and almost everyone wants to have their own blogs. We just discuss the basics like how to get started, where to get the free site and how to maintain their blogs plus what to blog about and what not to, and the students do the rest with minimal supervision from me. Then I regularly visit their blogs for additional extra points on their final grade and its not compulsory.

This semester is quite different from the previous ones, I teach Intro to Information Technology at PLMAR (Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Marikina), to freshmen BSBA, BS Criminology and CareGiving students. Almost half of the students in the classes have no computer background let alone an Internet experience, we stared with the basic terminologies in computer and had discussed up to networking and the Internet. It’s really rewarding when they tell you stories where they use the terms we learned like WIFI and 3G and using wikipedia. I taught Blogging under our topic Multimedia and the Web, where I discussed and brought samples of Podcasts and Screen captures of popular blogs and of course You Tube, and encourage them to surf to some sites like pinoytopblogs, video blogs, photoblogs and podcating sites.

When they started creating their own blogs came the problem, we don’t have a computer laboratory with internet connection at school so they rent at computer rentals and surf on their own after class without my supervision. Some of the students can’t seem to access their blogs after signing up or others are too scared to try alone. Since this Monday, Aug 27 is a holiday, I scheduled an Online conference in Yahoo Messenger at their request so that I can assist them as they start creating their blogs. It was a success but it was very exhausting for me, trying to instruct at most five students at a time using chat as a medium on what to do till they successfully publish their first articles. Some had already published their first articles while some students just ask assistance in getting the blog and promised to post articles soon.

I am planning to put links to their blogs in the next few days as they start blogging and we plan to have a contest on the Top 10 blogs coming from them at the end of the semester. I’ll be featuring their blogs at my other blogsite digitized youth. Hope this activity enables them to have a happy time blogging.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Book Review: The No-Cry Discipline Solution: Gentle Ways to Encourage Good Behavior without Whining, Tantrums and Tears

I am very thankful that blogs were invented, since I started blogging April of 2006 new doors were opened, I had the opportunity to meet great and extraordinary people and I started to really get to know the real me, know my strengths and weakness and it enabled me to become a better person.

One person I have gotten to know through blogging is Elizabeth Pantley, a parent, educator, a mom like me and an author of eight books for parents including the best-selling No-Cry Series: The No-Cry Sleep Solution, The No-Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers and Preschoolers and The No-Cry Potty Training Solution. I was flattered when she e-mailed me and told me that she read my blog and it seems we share the same ideas on parenting. She asked me if I want to have a copy of her new book The No-Cry Discipline Solution: Gentle Ways to Encourage Good Behavior without Whining, Tantrums and Tears and give my review on it, of course I agreed for I am really interested on what I can learn on parenting. I take parenting very seriously, I have several subscriptions on parenting sites and own several books on the subject.

I have received her book though snail mail just over a week ago and enjoyed reading her book. I would like to share what I have learned reading it.

About the book:
The book is written for parents of children aged two through eight and tackles about how parents know that raising children is one of the best and rewarding job but disciplining them is can sometimes be challenging, complicated and frustrating. It teaches parents on how they can promote good behavior, how to be firm without the shouting and the tears and how discipline can be effective through a positive and fun ways.

It was tested by hundreds of families worldwide and in every childrearing situation: working families, single and stay-at-home parents, twins and multiples, and children of varying age and temperament, is documents how the No-Cry Discipline help and made a difference in their lives. The book has dozens of ‘real life’ examples and tips from parents worldwide.

My reactions to the book:
The book for me is exciting, informative and to my surprise very touching. There were parts of the book were I cried, it was really heart warming specially how tips given by other parents are placed just on the right part of the page and it seems that they read what is going on your mind at that precise time. One memorable part of the book that still remain with me till now is the part were the author shared about when she and her son Coleton were walking in a busy street and being a typical kindergartener, curious about everything Coleton keeps lagging behind, and being in a hurry she shouted at him to hurry up and quit dawdling. And when he did catch up with her, with tear-filled eyes said, “Next time you feel like being mad at me, why don’t you just hug me instead and then tell me what you want me to do”, we as parents sometimes do that, shout at our child for the smallest reason that makes the child more confused and inevitably hurt.

The book really reached out to me as a parent, it understood what I am going through and offers great advice on topics and situations that I struggle as a parent.

To my surprise the book really reflected and affirmed by beliefs on parenting and enhances the skills I currently have. It gives specific solutions to everyday problem which I find most helpful for it gives perspective to what seems to be a very big situation but when we step back and think about it the solutions are very simple and how the situation can be avoided in the future.

One of the lessons I learned by reading the book is knowing your goal as parents – It is about raising your child, looking ahead, envisioning you child as a teenager then as an adult, ask yourself what kind of person would I like him to be? then start planning now how can your child be that person in the future for our actions today affects his future. This lesson had a great impact on me, for I consciously try to mold my son to be respectful, kind, loving and happy person, but was afraid to let other people know that that’s what I am doing for they might say I am too controlling or to that effect.

My Recommendations:
While reading the book I thought of several friends who would be helped by this book. I highly recommend this book to parents that have children aged two through eight, especially first time parents who have insecurities in their abilities in parenting. I have met parents who seem to not understand or know how to approach or communicate with their children; I see their children being withdrawn and have no confidence in undertaking new things. I would have told them that if they hug their children more and talk to them at their level and be less judgmental, their worries will be gone. This book will be great for them.

The No-Cry Discipline Solution: Gentle Ways to Encourage Good Behavior without Whining, Tantrums and Tears is available at Barnes and Noble, Borders, Books A Million, Book Sense, McGraw Hill, Powells. I am just not sure if its available in the Philippines though.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Marimar 2007

GMA7 is making a remake of Marimar and will be televised starting Monday. When I first heard about it I was upset. Remaking something as good as Marimar would surely be unacceptable, specially thinking local stars portraying my favorite star Thalia, really pissed me off. But looking at the promotional pictures and getting a glimpse of the video piqued my interest, something in me took noticed and now I am looking forward to the telecast this coming Monday. Even my friends who were as addicted to Marimar ten years ago are all excited. Looking at the pictures I got from, indicated that the soap is well made, I hope so.

When Marimar was aired in RPN 9 in 1996 I was really hooked, even coming home early from work just to watch it, come to think of it, almost all of Manila was hooked with the Mexican Telenovela. I even watch the two concerts of Thalia when she came here in the country, and I have been a fan ever since I even have her latest album.

The Marimar Plot

Marimar is peasant girl. She lived by the sea with her grandparents, and fell in love with Sergio, the son of the owner of an "hacienda". To spite his father and his young stepmother, Sergio marries Marimar; however, he falls deeply in love with her

Sergio's stepmother, Angélica, despises Marimar because of her poverty, naïveté and innocence. She cruelly embarrasses Marimar, often demeaning her as an individual in front of her friends and guests.

Sergio decides to go away to earn enough money to take Marimar away from his father's house. After leaving Marimar alone with his family, Angélica frames Marimar and tells the cops that she stole a bracelet from her. Marimar is sent to jail.

While Marimar is in jail, Angélica orders one of her servants to burn down her grandparents' hut with them inside, killing them both. She then forges Sergio's handwriting and writes a letter to Marimar stating that he never loved her and wants a divorce. At this moment, Marimar decides that she will exact revenge from Sergio, his father, and Angélica.

My Expectations:

It still too early to say if this remake still have the same effect it had ten years ago, all I can say is that Marimar has a special place in the Filipino's heart I just hope this remake will not tarnish it in any way. I'll be watching the telecast next week and will give my verdict then.

My World's New Look!

Welcome to Sweet World!!! I have Categorized Myself!

It's been weeks since my last post and I have really missed blogging. There are several reasons why.... the most notable is that we were sick! As in my whole family, it started with my son catching the virus at school making him sick for more than 2 weeks and ending it with both me and my husband being sick at the same time last weekend its was really one nasty bug for we had the fever, cold, cough, running nose and allergy, the whole ensalada at the same time. I still have the cold and the cough today lucky for me there was no classes last weekend.
Another reason is the improvement of my blog, I've been meaning to do it for the longest time and luckily after a few "no classes/suspension" I had finally the time to do it.

Here are the new things I accesorized myself with:

Proudly Pinoy Logo - I am proud to be a Filipino and being inspired by Yatot I also displayed the logo.

Pinoy Moms Network - I have been a member for a few months now and now finally I am proud to flaunt it.

Categories - I have been wanting for the longest time to have categories in my blog and now thanks to FreshBlog and Ted for writing the bookmarklet. It took me a few sleepless nights but it was worth it.

Technorati - I have a technorati account for the longest time but only had updated the code recently.

Now that my Blog had a makeover expect more juice and sweetness from me, I have this reviews I am raring to start and experiences that I would like to share.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

My Final List for the Top 10 Emerging Influential Blogs in 2007

Here is my final list for the writing project Top 10 Emerging Influential Blogs in 2007. This is a writing project of Janette Toral that would be identifying new and emerging blogs that are making an impact to its readers in 2007. My final list is composed of blogs regulary read and helps me in my life, whether in my work or my personal activities.

Here are my FINAL LIST of Emerging Influential Blogs in 2007 :

An Apple a Day
I like it being informative on a variety of topics nde nakakauyam

Studies in Technoprenuership
I like the discussions on everything IT

Software and Web Development
This site really made me stay put. Its really informative specially on topic of software development and having additional income through your blogs

Stay at Home Mom
Her blog about family makes me happy and gives me food for thought as I am considering being a stay at home mom too.

Like everything about her blog most specially the recipes the she shares
Its about the journey of losing weight, I am interested for I am also in the same journey. It’s nice to know you are not alone.

The D Spot
I like the way she shares her experiences in raising children
Really make me happy for its all about FOOD!

The weblog of Paolo Mendoza
The litanies of a philosophical basard. What I like about his blog is that most of his interests are my interests too, the difference is he gives a different perspective on them that is why I keep reading.

A writer's blog by Yatot Chronicles
What I like about his blog is it reflects how proud he is of being PINOY, his blogs also have different flavors or topics that is really timely and interesting.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Preparing my Online Business for the Holiday Season

One of the my major preoccupation nowadays is redesigning my online business website MyLittleBaker, I have been surfing the Web for ideas, tips on how to maximize my website so I can maximize my profits this coming Christmas season. I sell chocolates and baked goodies and my peak season is Christmas and this year I intend to give it my all.

Here are some nice I ideas I learned while surfing:

  • Increase inventory of top-selling Holiday items by as much as 1000 percent.
    You already know your bestsellers based on the last few years' sales so it is safe to increase your stock of these items.
  • Do E-mail advertising/marketing by October
    It is a good practice especially if you have many contacts to send them e-mails about your business and your products just in time when they are already thinking about the Christmas gifts they want to give to their friends and family. You can even start earlier especially here in the Philippines where we usually start the Christmas season when the months end with “ber”. I’m not really an expert on this online marketing stuffs but I know it is really effective in bringing customers to your website and there are events that you can check out if you want to know more. Join the 1st Internet and Mobile Marketing Summit on August 9 and 10.
  • Have Pre-Christmas promos or a short survey on your site by November.
    If you want to get a feel of your customers’ thoughts on what they plan to buy this Holiday season try to engage them in answering short surveys with the promise to give discounts when they buy from you during the season. It can be in the form of a pay-per-click promotion.
  • Reflect the Holiday theme on you website by November
    Make your online visitors feel the Christmas Season through your site and would likely encourage them to buy what you are selling.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Parents as "Suhay"- Sugo ng buhay

When I attended the Parent Orientation at my son’s school I learned a new word “SUHAY” it means sugo ng buhay or protector/guardian of life(my interpretation of sugo). The school director, Msgr. Alfonso Bugawan told the parents present how important is their role in their child’s life. He told us at as parents we are the “suhay” of our children.

I would like to share the Acronym PARENTS that he had given. He says that it can guide us in bringing up our children.

P – Presence
As parents we should not say “we don’t have time” for our children. He said we should give our children the “gift of our presence”

A – Accountability
We must be a more transparent and accountable parents. When we make promises to our children we should not break them for they trust us fully as the first person they trusts we are also teaching them how to trust other people

R – Reconciliation
Give them understanding on the level as children. When we get angry they may not understand why we are angry, try to explain why. And learn to say sorry to them after.

The four magic words of reconciliation
I’m Sorry
I Forgive You
I Love You In spite Of
I Thank You for Being a Child

E – Example
Set example for your children with thoughts and actions

N – Never, Never give up
Never give up as parents in spite of hardships

T – Trust in GOD. Trust in Self. Trust in others

S – Sharing ourselves to others

Father and Mother I Love You

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Lorenzo Goes To School: A month after

It’s been a month since my four year old son Lorenzo started attending Nursery at Immaculate Conception Cathedral School and our life as a family will never be the same again.
Immediately after Lorenzo started schooling my husband and I realized that our daily routines must be altered to adjust to Lorenzo’s school needs but what took me by surprised was that some of our beliefs or some of the way how we raise our son would also be reevaluated and changed.

I had this notion before that when Lorenzo goes to school his every need in relation to teaching him about reading and writing will be taken care of at school and I would just be at home marveling on the progress he is making. I WAS WRONG.

I realized that sending your child to school meant that the things he learned at school should also be reinforced and practiced at home. I realized that the amount of assignment a Nursery pupil can be overwhelming for both the pupil and parent.

Attending the Parent Orientation and PTA meeting help me a lot in knowing what I can expect for the whole year while Lorenzo’s attending school. It was also pointed out to us parents that educating our children is not the sole responsibility of the school but also of the parents as well. We were also given the school’s grading system; this was when I realized how strict the school in grading students.

Lessons Learned:

  1. Giving your child a good education is not just in choosing a good school for your child but is also a partnership between the school, teachers and parents. Having a good relationship between the parents and the teacher will be beneficial for the child’s education

  2. A child needs structure in his life, give him routines to follow. My son is an only child and we had this belief that being a child meant giving his unlimited playing time, we want him to enjoy his childhood so we just let him play all day long with his toys but it proved to be a problem in school. He had a problem in staying put in his chair while they are having their lessons and easily gets bored and goes to the place in the classroom filled with toys. If I had known this will happen I would have organized our routine to include a time to play, rest, learn, eat and sleep.

  3. When he arrives from school let him tell you about his day in school. His pediatrician gave this advised. She says it is a good way of letting his review the things he learned in school and makes a routine to tell you everything that is happening to him so that when he grows older you as parents will not be worried that he is keeping secrets form you.

  4. Have a time and place for him to study at home. Last summer I redecorated his room to include a study area and I had set a study time for him an hour before his bedtime. I made his study corner conducive to learning to include a study lamp which he adores and every night without asking him to do so, we go to the table and review his books and do his assignments.

  5. Have a time to regularly meet his teacher and form a good relationship with her. I gave up a teaching load on Fridays just so I can visit my son’s teacher during Fridays. It’s not that I don’t trust her with my son but it is to ask her about the progress my son is making and to consult her on how I can help in improving my son education. As you know my son has a problem paying attention to class early on and their classes follow a strict schedule and if I don’t supplement his lessons at home my son will be left behind in class.

  6. My child’s education is important. I believe education is important to the success of an individual and as a parent it is the one lasting gift we can give our children. After a month I realized that my son comes first than any career I have, that education these days is so competitive and being there for him while he is studying is important. I promised myself that in the next few years I will find a way to be a stay at home mom and just find ways to earn by taking care of my home business and limiting my teaching load.

Monday, July 09, 2007

How the Internet help make my dream business come true

Having a business seems one of those things that seems I can’t live without in my life, since I was in elementary I usually find myself selling something, on school days I sell sandwiches to my classmates because they seem to love the sandwiches prepared by my mother, I even sell them made-to-order. I always have these 20 to 30 sandwiches to sell at school. On summer breaks I put a table in front of our gate and sell chicharon with vinegar to my neighbors or anything that they might buy. I did not do it for the money but for the joy of selling something.

It did not even came to my mind to pursue a course on business in college because I fell in love with computers in high school but after graduating a degree in computer engineering and pursuing a career as a programmer, the business bug came again and came in the form of an IT consulting venture which did not succeed maybe because we were all young and having big money coming in, we were unprepared on how to handle it. The good thing that it did was make me aware that I can’t avoid going into business, that sooner or later I would have my own business.

By year 2000 I discovered chocolate molding and loved it! It was fun making those different designs, plus I save money on just making them then giving them as Christmas gifts to friends and co workers. I get this HIGH in making chocolates, the smell and of course the taste. Do you know all my students since 2000 gets a free taste of chocolates I make every semester? Little by little I started to sell chocolates without realizing that I had loyal customers that regularly orders.

Marketing my chocolates was hard for me, I usually only sell them to friends then the friend tries to sell them also to their friends and they ask me to provide brochures. Printing brochures proved to be a difficult and costly. I tried sending the brochure through e-mail but some are prevented by firewalls of my friends companies or sometimes the file is too large(due to the pictures) that my friends did not even bother to open them.

By 2006 I was finally convinced by friends to put up my own website(MyLittleBaker) where I can place my chocolate creations so I can sell them easily. And it Worked! The Internet enabled me to realize my dream of having a business. If it were not for the Internet maybe I would be stuck in just selling my chocolates to those who knows that I make them and what they look and taste like.

Having my own website opened up my world, I made new friends, got new ideas on what products to create, that I know my customers will like and made marketing my chocolates much easier and of course made my earnings more than double.

Share your own story. Know more about Internet Marketing. Submit an entry to the Boomerang Awards: the 1st Internet and Mobile Marketing Awards.

Monday, June 25, 2007

At Summer's End

It's been two weeks since the start of classes, weeks filled with adjustments for me and my family. For me it is time to go to work again as a college computer instructor and for my son it is the start of a new chapter of his life, SCHOOL.

One of the reasons why I chose to teach than to continue my career as a computer programmer is the freedom to choose my time when to go work. I really wanted to have a family so before getting married I shifted to teaching. One of the great things about teaching is that you have summer and Christmas breaks or vacations, but its downside you also don't have a source of income during the whole summer. At least you have a time to try new things and indulge in activities that you can't do when you are working in an office.

Summers are a great time especially if you have kids, you have a time wherein you can really bond with each other. This past summer is really a special and memorable time for me and my son Lorenzo. We really got to bond, it's the time where it is only him and me, his yaya left last February and I am still waiting for the new one my mother in law promised to provide.

We spent the whole summer together even just going to the supermarket to buy supplies became an adventure for both of us. We went to church, ride the LRT, which is his favorite part of going somewhere. Hit the malls and played the day away. Took afternoon naps together and even got to prepare meals together and sometimes spent the day watching his favorite videos.

One new experience for both us is playing video games, I am not much of a gaming person and my ideal game is spider solitaire or tetris so playing Nintendo video games specially playing Paper Mario, a role playing game was really a first in which Enzo was both my partner and cheerer as we blunder along with Mario and getting lost in the forbidden forest. The video game became one of the bonding activity for my family specially when playing Mario Kart(a car racing game). Don't worry now the video game is tucked away waiting for the next vacation to be played again.

It is school time now me and my son, the summer spent only a memory, but a treasured one for both of us. Since I am working again, there are times that I miss those summer days. I know my son also misses those times for sometimes he requests his lolo for afternoon naps like the ones we shared and there are times he asks me when will go to SM.

My son's world is expanding now he has classmates and is in love with his school bus and school, I know that there will come a time that summers will not be spent with just me anymore luckily I have a few summers more to spend alone with him. Summers that I will plan to give us maximum enjoyment and will give more memories to treasure.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

My New Toy

My Blog have been silent for a week now, its because of my crazy schedule as the semester have started and teaching in two universities, having a son attend preschool, and caring for my family without a house-help made my life a little crazy.

I knew it would happen. Attempting to teach at two schools located in different cities in the metro would be challenging, plus having my son’s school right in between. What saved me is some future planning, meals planned two weeks before, schedules on the whiteboard in the kitchen, a supportive family and buying my new toy.

I’ve been planning on buying a laptop since January I realized that I’ll be needing one specially if I am serious in pursuing my online business. I first made sure that my son’s tuition is all saved up for its not good if I have a laptop but my son can’t attend school because of no money. Then think you ways and strategies in buying my laptop without adding to our current expenses.

My life in going through changes at the moment and my new laptop really is a nice tool to help. It is an ASUS A8FM with a core 2 duo processor, 1GB memory and an 80GB hardisk. It came with a free ipod shuffle. I am one lucky woman!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Lorenzo's First Day in School

June 13, 2007, Lorenzo's First Day in School. The day started early for me, making breakfast and preparing the clothes to wear plus the things to bring like water and the cameras, Lorenzo's class starts at 11:30 and we will be picked up by the school bus at 11am.

With the food ready, I woke-up Lorenzo at 9 but he is still wants to sleep, carrying him down the stairs and making him sit on the chair, I allotted 30 minutes for him to eat. By 10am it is bath time and at 10:30 we were all ready and waiting. The truth was we had a struggle to make him take a bath and dress up for he wants to go to SM Mall of Asia instead of going to school. He was only appeased when I told him we are going to SM after attending his class.

His mood changed when he saw his school bus, jumping up and down he was excited when he saw kids his age at the bus. We decided to get the services of a school bus because if we commute going to school he have to battle the traffic and the elements specially with the rainy season and riding the jeepney and walking to school will take its toll in his energy specially with a heavy bag to carry. My husband pointed out that he will be safer with the bus than going by public transport.

When we went to his classroom he went to sit first, looking around he spotted the toys and asked my permission to play with them, Teacher Manel says its ok for its still early, it was only 11:15. The class started with the teacher giving the kids stickers with their name on it. The class is small with only 12 students in the class. We parents were allowed to observe the class for it will be only for an hour and I have the whole session in video, his regular class is for three hours. The teacher introduced herself in class and told them that they are in nursery and what section they belong, checking the attendance was next. At the start of the class the toys were removed from the tables and the students sat at their appropriate seats, blue for boys and pink for girls. Lorenzo was restless and started to roam around the room when the teacher started to talk.

The next part was making the students form a line and the kids were praised for following the teacher. When the teacher produced a rope for the kids to hold, that is when Lorenzo started paying attention to the teacher and following what the teacher asks. Holding the rope with the teacher in front they toured around the classroom with the teacher introducing all the areas, the science corner, play area, the dining room, bathroom for boys and for girls, the bedroom and entertainment section where the class can watch videos and then go back to their seats.

The next activity was the distribution of their bags and school supplies like crayons, scissors, pencils and papers and books. Their tuition includes all their school supplies that they will use in class and the food that they will eat for the whole year. Am I one lucky mom or what? All I have to buy was the uniform. The last activity was singing which my son enjoyed, luckily it was all caught in video for he was shy at home when his lola and tita requested him to sing. The song was “if your happy and you know it clap you hands….”. I'll put the video in you tube when I finished editing it.

After that the teacher thanked all of the kids for behaving and gave each of them a star at their right hand and they will receive many more stars in the days to come if they are good. The class ended with a prayer, the same prayer we used to pray when I am still studying there. “Angel of God my guardian dear, to whom God’s love commits me here. Ever this day be at my side, to light and guard, to rule and guide. Amen.”

I say the day was a success for not a tear was shed. We were told that we will not be allowed anymore inside the classroom the next day and would have to wait outside. At least now I am content, I know that my son is in good hands and I also realized how independent he already is. I am so proud.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Choosing a Preschool for My Son

It’s my son’s first day of school tomorrow and after two weeks of waiting my son will FINALLY go to school. It has been two weeks of waking up in the mornings with Lorenzo coming to breakfast with his bag in tow telling me his ready to go to school. I hope everything goes smoothly tomorrow, the batteries of my digital camera and camcorder are being recharged at the moment in preparation for the BIG day, meals and clothes planned and prepared. I’ll blog his first day on my next post.

I was very particular about the school my son will be attending. Even before I had him I already have a mental list of the kind of schools my future children will go to.

Here are the things considered when looking for a school for my son:

It must be near our home and readily accessible through different modes of transportation. If it is in walking distance the better.

Legitimacy and Reputation of the School
The school should be licensed and registered and receives good feedback from the existing parents of students enrolled there. Meeting and knowing graduate from the school would be good.

The School’s Program Philosophy
Knowing their method in teaching children and their approach to learning must be clear and what will be the activities being done during school hours should be evaluated by parents if it fits their own beliefs and approve the kinds of activities the child will do.

Environment and Facility
Looking and evaluating the school’s facilities is important. Are the classrooms well ventilated or air conditioned. Is there enough area for playing and are they child proofed? Is the school clean and secured? Is there an adequate medical facility.

The School Approach to Discipline and Teacher-student Ratio
Is the school’s approach to discipline reflects the way to want to discipline you child. Any verbal or physical abuse should not be present in any school. Is the Teacher-student ratio just right for his age, could the teacher handle the size of his class specially children at the age of 3 or 4 years old? Can the teacher cater to each of his students’ needs during classes?

Affordable Tuition Fees
Is the amount of tuition fees reasonable for the kind of services they are giving? Are there payment plans available.

Teachers and Principal
Are the Teachers enthusiastic, patient and interested in their students? Does the principal reflects the schools philosophy in education. Are they approachable?

Child Readiness to go to school
Does your child show interest in going to school? Is he comfortable in the school’s environment? Is he ready to be left alone to teachers? Is he ready to interact with other kids?

It took me two years looking for the right school for my son and did not expect it to be the same school where I graduated in Elementary. My son attended another school much nearer our home in summer of 2006 but I was not satisfied with what they were teaching him, the school was just in a space in a ground floor of a building and there was no open spaces for children to play, plus the tuition fee cost more than fifty thousand pesos a year.

Early this year we visited my former school and was surprised with the changes they made(I attended school there 20 years ago). They offer preschool now and the school facilities were upgraded to accommodate preschool children. Met and interviewed the teacher(to ensure good quality they only have class for the nursery level) observe the class and toured the preschool classrooms(they offer nursery, kinder and prep). It also helped that the current principal was my teacher and the tuition was affordable(half of what the first school was asking for). The decision was finalized when my son asked to visit the school again, he enjoyed our first visit and is already comfortably familiar with the school's facilities specially the canteen.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Hello Mommies! . . . sweet mommy joan signing in!

I am excited to tell everybody that I recently joined the Pinoy moms network. And I would like to share some tidbits about myself.

Hello my fellow mommies! My name is Joan Piñon, I am a mommy to Lorenzo, my 4 year old son. My dream is to become a mother since I was a child and having Lorenzo fulfilled that dream after 2 years of waiting.

I joined the Pinoy moms network to reach out to mothers like me and to learn more about motherhood from fellow mothers in the network.

I catalog my life through my blog Sweet World of Joan. I have been blogging for a year now and now trying to regularly put entries on it. I am a very passionate person that I believe is reflected on my blogs. My life at present is a life filled with planning and decisions to be made, my son just started schooling and I want to be there for him but I have my work too. I am now considering of just being a stay-at-home mommy but I still have to weigh in everything and hopes that this network will give me insights in the decisions I will make.

At present I am a working mom and a budding entrepreneur, I am a university instructor for nine years now teaching computer engineering subjects at Polytechnic University of the Philippines and starting this semester I will also start teaching in Pamantasang Lungsod ng Marikina. I also have this hobby I rediscovered when I got married and turned it to a home-based business, cooking and baking. I baked sweet goodies like crinkles and macaroons but my specialty are molded chocolates, which I sell at Christmas. You can see some of my goodies at my website

Many people who first get to know me will get a weird impression for it seems my life and interests are filled with different things seemingly unrelated to each other. I hold a masters degree in Information Technology and teaches computer/technical subjects and at the same time I have a vocational certificate in Baking(which I took immediately when my graduation in my masters was confirmed) plus numerous seminars on baking and chocolate artistry.

Even my students are amused on my interests and even ask tips in baking and cooking, of course they also enjoy the free treats I bring specially when I am experimenting on a new treat. But I believe the two worlds can be interrelated, just see how I applied my masters degree in putting up my online chocolate business.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Graduated Recently? How did you choose the companies you want to work in?

I had an opportunity to catch up on a student of mine who recently graduated, we chatted the afternoon away and talked mostly about his career path and how he choose the company he works for at present and his future career moves. He gave me his permission in blogging some parts of our conversation.

I left out his name and the companies we are talking about for his privacy. I had the opportunity to help him prepare in applying for his current company that is why I have some knowledge of his expectations.

Backgrounder: A recent computer engineering graduate, he is aggressive, above average academically and have the technical knowledge and background in technical support. At present he is being trained in one of the prestigious multination IT company and has a big possibility in being trained abroad after his training here.

And our conversation starts…..

How are you now? Have you started your training?
I really want the work here(his current company) but we have not yet started in my training program. That's why I’m taking chances in applying in other companies. Since I’m a fresh grad, I’m still in the process of wandering around wandering in the sense that I still observe the industry, still observe how can I find ways to push myself around. It’s like collect & collect and then select which company that I would like to work for.

What are your major considerations in choosing an IT company to work for?
What I’m looking for in a company frankly speaking is as much as possible I want it to be a well-known multinational company because I believe there are a lot of opportunities they can give me. And companies will be after you in case you are going to resign or things like that.

Second, is the kind of work that I will be doing, Why? because if I’m not happy with what I’m doing, it will just bore me and I will never be productive as well.

Do you mean the kind of work is more important than the amount of salary you will get?
I’m looking for a kind of work wherein I'll be productive in my chosen field. Salary and benefits would just go second, for me if you are happy because aside that your in a big company and at the same time you like your work salary and benefits would just be like an added perks, a bonus something like that

What is your impression on unknown or starting IT companies as an alternative employer?
It’s ok to work for them as long as you are on the right field. Nothing can beat the real experience on your own field, the actual work and you are not underemployed. But it’s also a personal decision

If there is an offer from an unknown small IT company, what will you look for in the company to even consider working for them?
The kind of work. If I’m exposed to the IT-environment why not right. As I’ve said experience din yun but sometimes u really have to be at your best at that company kasi minsan ang basis ng IT-industry today coming according to my co-workers who already have an experience is mahirap pag lilipat ka na ng company kc minsan hindi rin kinikilala, that's they’re opinion.

My impressions
In my opinion and observations from conversations with graduates applying for a job that the reputation or popularity of an IT company is one of the important factors they are considering. Another consideration is the kind of work that they will do, the work must be in line with their career paths. Most graduates looking for a job look for work where they can be trained and enrich their existing skills and put it in use. Salaries and perks are secondary.

The perceived benefits job seekers can have in being employed in these popular companies “attracts” them in applying. Maybe small and starting out companies could work on their popularity by improving their public relations through adverstising or engaging the services of a public relations company thereby making the public and job seekers know about them and their services. Public relations for IT companies are very helpful specially nowadays that there are so many IT companies and there tends to be confusion on what they are and what kind of services they offer.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

School Days. Rainy Days

I bought my son Lorenzo his school uniform yesterday and since then he can’t seem to part with it. This morning immediately after waking he brought it out and asked to put it on with his new black shoes and proudly parade it to everyone, he even wants to go out of the house and really go to Immaculate.

I have to explain to him that he have to wait till next week to go to school. I have to take his picture so that he can see himself in his uniform anytime. His school bus is also ready and we are counting the days for his first school day.

Tonight we had a very rainy night, heavy downpour, thunder storms and a very long brownout. We had dinner in candlelight and even before we finish eating the flood can inside the house, flood in the bathroom and leaks on the roof.

I concluded that this is the start of the rainy season. We receive a very wet welcome from this season. We live in an apartment compound and every door had been flooded, it was suppose to be repaired this summer by the landlord, promises, promises.

Now I realized that it is really time to look for our own house, maybe not this year but definitely NEXT YEAR.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

My Top 10 Emerging Influential Blogs in 2007

Joining this The Top 10 Emerging Influential Blogs in 2007 challenge of Janette Toral is really a good way of knowing your fellow bloggers. It keeps you updated in what is going on in the blogosphere and at the same time it enriches you when you are reading blogs of other people.

Here are my Emerging Influential Blogs in 2007 :

An Apple a Day
I like it being informative on a variety of topics nde nakakauyam

Studies in Technoprenuership
I like the discussions on everything IT

Software and Web Development
This site really made me stay put. Its really informative specially on topic of software development and having additional income through your blogs

Stay at Home Mom
Her blog about family makes me happy and gives me food for thought as I am considering being a stay at home mom too.

Like everything about her blog most specially the recipes the she shares
Its about the journey of losing weight, I am interested for I am also in the same journey. It’s nice to know you are not alone.

The D Spot
I like the way she shares her experiences in raising children
Really make me happy for its all about FOOD!

Looney the martian
I am proud of this one, this is a blog of my student. I taught him how to blog and feels happy that my students practices blogging.

Here is my list so far, I'll be updating them regularly.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Enzo is Going to School!

My son Lorenzo is already four years old and we reach an important landmark of his life, “Going to School”, he will be attending Nursery this June 5, 2007. As a mother I am filled with pride, excitement and anxiety.

Pride because I know that my child is intelligent and is an avid reader at his age (he surfs the net almost daily – under supervision of course). Excitement because I look forward of him learning to read and write, telling me about his day in school and hearing him sing new songs. Anxiety because this is the first time in four years that I will let him go and be supervised by someone else besides me(Oh its tough being an mommy and educator for your standards in teaching is high).

I know at his age many will say he started late in attending school for most schools now a days offer nursery as early as 2 ½ yrs old. I don’t really believe in putting children to school unless they are ready and really want to attend one. There might be a case of school burn-out in the future as I witness from my cousins who went to school too early and when it really counted(around senior high school to college) did not want to go to school anymore reasoning that they are already fed up in going to school.

He will be going to school in Immaculate Concepcion Cathedral School in Cubao which is also my alma mater. I can’t believe that its been 20 years since I graduated in that school and is happy about the way the school developed into the way that it is today.

Well that’s it for now. I’ll be blogging about how I chose this school among others in my next articles.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Getting Money Wise

While having my summer general house cleaning done I came across this little booklet about Getting Money Wise, it was a free supplement from a Good Housekeeping Magazine which I bought a few years ago.

I knew I read it all before and reading it again today gave me a new perspective on my family’s immediate and future plans. My son will start his schooling this year and tuition fees and maintenance like the school bus, uniforms etc, need to be included in the family budget. I have plans for buying equipments for my home business and they are not cheap plus I am looking into having a store in the mall. We plan to purchase a house next year. Big Dreams, Big Investments and Big MONEY.

The booklet really helped me check if our financial plans are feasible or not. Here are some tips from the booklet I want to share.

Get Loan–Savvy
If you plan to get a loan here are guide questions you should ask yourselves before getting one.

  1. Do I really need to borrow money?
  2. How much money should I borrow?
  3. Where should I borrow?
  4. How will I pay back the loan?
  5. What should I use as collateral?

Before taking a loan do your homework, shop around for the most reasonable bank interest rates and best rate protection plan. Do not borrow on a whim, there should be a need, because it will cost you more money to pay back the loan.

Being Swipe/Credit Card Smart

  1. Choose the best card for you
  2. Set a budget and work within it. Don’t fall into the trap of buying things just because they are on sale. Schedule when to best use your card without going over your personal limit. Use your card responsibly. Budgeting helps you organize your spending.
  3. Check out offers made to you. Read your statement of accounts for ongoing deals and promotions that may give you better value for your money.
  4. Never skip payment to avoid late payments and fees and finance charge
  5. Pay at least the minimum payment due. But don't make it a habit. The minimun payment is not the only anout you owe. You will be charged interest on the portion of the balance that you don't pay by the due date.
  6. Spend as you earn. Don’t overextend your credit card limit. Don’t spend more than what you can repay.

We have three credit cards and they are included in our monthly budget, believe me they eat a lot of the family budget. But we use them for special purposes like installment of big items like my video camera, aircondition unit and vacation packages (that's what the installment madness is for) and for emergencies like hospitalization down payments. We have a card for the household groceries and minor expenses.

I believed that I use them wisely and using them on big purchases is planned into the family budget. In choosing the right card for you look for special features of the credit card, there are cards that have hospitalization insurance, a drugstore card or a card specially intended for car owners. Instant Internet Remittances using Credit Card. One of our cards even have an electronic card specially intended for online payment use.

Monday, May 14, 2007

The Search for Red Ribbon's Tiramisu

This mother’s day celebration was indeed memorable for my family(my parents, a younger brother and my own family) , we went to church in the morning and spent the day strolling around Araneta Center in Cubao. Window shopped for my son’s school shoes and bought him a new toy and a new blender for myself. Went to Shopwise for some items needed for the afternoon’s special snacks. We had a prepared it already before we left the house in the morning.

The Tiramisu:
My husband decided to surprise me with Red Ribbon’s Tiramisu Meltdown as a Mother’s Day Gift, that was the plan. He went to the Red Ribbon store early in the morning and said that he will meet us at the church. After an hour he went back home frustrated and told me that my gift is not yet available and said that he will go back again after the mass. That was when he told me about the tiramisu gift.

Many of my friends know that I so loved chocolates and cakes and a few weeks before I have this late night cravings for chocolate mousse, not just any choco mousse it must be “Red Ribbon” and was disappointed when he brought home one of a different brand. So at present my target was the Tiramisu Meltdown of Red Ribbon.

The Search:
After the mass we went back to the Red Ribbon outlet and lo and behold it was Out-of-Stock already, and two hours just had passed since my husband inquired about the cake. My husband has a binyagan to attend to that afternoon at Aberdeen Court while the whole family went home.

While at the binyagan my husband told his friends about his Tiramisu search and they decided to help. The went to Red Ribbon’s branches as SM Manila, Ever Grand Central, Araneta Square and Kamias. To cut the story short my very tired husband went home pass nine in the evening with no Tiramisu show for it. He was really disappointed, during his search, I told him just to stop for we can always buy the next day.

The Next Day: Election Day
After voting we decided to search for this Elusive Tiramisu Meltdown, went to the Marikina branch and at Cubao again but it was still Out-of-Stock. I can’t help telling the Red Ribbon crew why did they not prepare for the demand for the cakes when they know it is a best seller.

Present Day
The Tiramisu Meltdown cake at Red Ribbon is already available but it seems my cravings had already passed. Oh well I decided not to buy anymore since we just came from my son’s pedia and he is again having an allergic attack from chocolates and is banned from eating any for the next two weeks. It will be hard, for we have so many kinds of chocolates in the house. At least my husband gave me the money for the cake and was told to spend it on anything I like, now that is YUMMY.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

3rd Annual Educator’s Assembly

I attended Every Nation Campus Ministry’s 3rd Annual Educator’s Assembly last Tuesday, May 8, 2007 held at the Assembly Hall of Every Nation Building at Bonifacio Global City. I was invited to the event by my students and went there with my good friend Pedrito.

The assembly aims to recognize and honor educators, encourage them in preparation for the upcoming school year, and reaffirm their commitment to partner with educators in preparing students for L.I.F.E.(Leadeship, Integrity, Faith and Excellence).

The assembly was attended by educators(Elementary, High School and College levels) and school officials from different schools in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.

The speakers talked about how important the role of a teacher in a child’s life, there were group exercises encouraging everyone to share stories about the teacher in your life that left a big impression or had a big influence in you. It was fun and it showed everybody how a caring teacher can influence the future of a child.

Stories were shared about how a teacher help a young child survive a broken family and how a timid child gained self confidence. Speakers stressed the important role the teachers play in the future of the country and how problems in our society can be solved thru proper education and caring educators. They also recognize that “Teaching a very fulfilling profession but it comes with great sacrifice”.

I personally know that teaching is a labor of love, but the happiness I gain from it is priceless. The attendees are encouraged NOT TO GIVE UP. It was acknowledged that there are times that we may feel giving up teaching and look for other jobs but we must also think of the students that we can help to have a bright future. What will happen to them if we just quit on them, what will happen to the future of our country?

Questions were also asked for educators to reflect upon:

  • What motivates you in your profession?
  • What keeps you going?
  • What makes you go above and beyond just teaching your students and becoming their second mother or their friend?

The last speaker talked about how teachers are “influencers” and these influences never stop even after the student finishes his schooling. He talked about how can a teacher build up or destroy the future of a student by the choice of WORDS he utters.

He discussed the principle of Words that is more effective and fulfilling tool for education. He cited passages from the Bible about how powerful the “words” we utter. He said that through using “words” we as educators have the power to:

  1. Impart Faith – where in we can encourage our students that they can achieve their dreams
  2. Build Self Esteem – where we can support our students and let them know that we believe in his abilities, encourage him in his studies and talents.
  3. To Set destiny – as teachers we are looked upon by our students as a person of authority and anything we say to them have a great impact on their being.

He mentioned some examples like how a former basketball coach told a player that he can’t play basketball thus setting the student to be poor in basketball and how a survey/research done abroad determined a certain group of youngsters to be failures early on was turned around upon the arrival of a teacher that simply loved them.

All in all the assembly served as a great motivator for the educators that attended. I for one can’t wait for the school year to start.