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Prepping your kids for their first day on school


No matter the age of my children, learning something new has always been fun, exciting and challenging. School was not different at all by the time my toddlers reached kindergarten. While it may be exciting times, it can be stressful for some children and even parents. The best thing to do is to prepare for this first day of school. What did I do to prepare my children?


1. Bring your child along when visiting the school and the teacher.

With an enthusiastic voice, I’d say “ look at that playground and all the things to do in the classroom. You will have so much fun learning new things”.  I’d point out the  classroom, playgrounds, lunch area and meeting place for pickup so my child would feel comfortable about these places. If possible, let your child meet the teacher during orientation day so there is a familiar face around during the first day of school.


2. Shop for school supplies together.

It is so much fun if your child participates in buying the list of things to buy as specified by the school. Of course, your child can’t just choose the fanciest bag, backpack or pencil box around. Now is the time to explain about managing financial expenses and the need for practicality.


3. Get into the routine of being organized.

Early good habits will last a lifetime. From the start, it is really important to get into a routine of being organized, because it will make life seamless for both you and your child. Together with my child, I showed them how to organize their bags with the various school supplies.


4. Show your love of learning.

If you are anxious or confident about your child’s ability to cope with a new environment, it will show through your actions. Like I said earlier, I always showed excitement about learning. I always told uplifting stories about how school would make them achieve their dream of being either a teacher, a doctor, or a writer. My kids was just as enthusiastic about their love of learning and about meeting new friends and playmates in school.  It pays to read story books about school even before the children are ready for the big day.


5. Learn to let go.

On the first day, give lots of hugs and tell your child you'll be waiting at your meeting place at this particular time. There is no point in hovering nearby and seeing if your child is going to be okay or not.  I clearly remember the first days of school for each child. I just left them at the school gate and they just waved back , eager to start their new life at school.


It is our role to give our child a good start to their education by taking an interest in their schooling and being positive about the learning experience.  The things that have been most valuable to our children were not learned in school, but from us.

Disciplining Your Child


We all used to be there, the carefree, 20-something year old strolling the mall who's encountered the mom with the screaming child.  Admit it, we've judged that mom once in our lives thinking, "I'll never have a kid like that." That memory is all but a blur and we now can just totally relate.


Parenting and discipline go hand-in-hand.  Most parents don't discipline their children for fear of losing the friendship with their kids, or seeming like the bad guy.  But no one wants to be the parent with the screaming child in the mall, with the judging, piercing glares of onlookers.  At times it can difficult to communicate to your child about what is appropriate behaviour.  And yes, you want to give your kids the benefit of the doubt that they are still your sweet little angels but the time will come when they are smart enough to know how to test your limits.  And test they shall!


With 2 sons, I have learned that it is best to "nip situations at the bud”.  Once they exhibit "naughty" or unwanted behavior, let them know right away that this does not fly with mom!  Find the source of the problem, perhaps he really is very tired or hungry and unfortunately is taking it out on mom or yaya.  



I believe in giving my kids a "time out" and staying in the time-out until the child has calmed down.  And because of the way he has acted, mom will be enforcing consequences soon after.  Truly enforce the punishment whether it's taking away the ipad or his tv time because empty threats catch on quickly with kids so it's very important to be CONSISTENT.  As a working mom, I'm not always there to watch and discipline my kids so it's horrific when yaya gives in to the tantrum and reasons out by saying, "eh gusto nya e”.  Oh I cannot tell you how much I dislike that phrase!  Consistency shouldn't only be with mom but with the yayas too or any caretaker, whether it may be with lola, or your brother or sister watching your kid for the day so make sure that rules and consequences are made clear with the guardian as well.


I also believe in giving the children the silent treatment, this is why the ever popular “time out” with a child is so effective.  The child feels ostracized and therefore they want to behave so they don’t have to feel that way again.  Less words effectively can get the message across.


But enough with the punishments and the bad behavior.  A truly positive way to discipline your children is to reward good behaviour.  According to a well-respected researcher, Dr. Kazdin, director of the Yale Parenting Center and Child Conduct Clinic, if you really want your child to be better-behaved, you actually need to PRAISE him even more enthusiastically.  Recognizing good behavior is the only way to teach a child what you want her to do -- and to lock that behavior in.  Focusing on good deeds and behavior rather than the bad can and will be more beneficial to you, the child and the whole family.  Tracking only the bad will have its consequences in the future.  For example, if your son or daughter realizes that your full attention only happens when he/she misbehaves, you can put 2 and 2 together and that equals an unruly teen.


As a mom with 2 kids, these methods have worked for me.  Hopefully you find my tips useful and it works for you too.  Good luck and happy parenting!

5 Family Friendly Summer Destinations


As the temperature rises and the days get longer, one thing is on everyone’s minds: summer. And when summer hits, there’s no escaping its lure - whether you’re stuck in an office on the weekdays or spend your days perpetually on the go, the promise of white, sandy beaches and clear blue waters can be just too hard to resist. So grab the entire family, book those tickets, and start planning your best summer ever.


Here are five family friendly destinations for the perfect summer getaway.


1. Vigan, Ilocos Sur


Photo by joelaldor / WikiCommons


A World Heritage site and one of the few Hispanic towns still left in the country, Vigan is a must-see, especially for city-dwellers who’ve never known the beauty of European architecture. Cobblestone streets line Calle Crisologo and colonial European architecture fuses with Philippine history.

What to do: Stroll down Calle Crisology and marvel at the Spanish ancestral houses that line the road. Check out Syquia Mansion, the ancestral home of President Elpidio Quirino’s wife on Calle Quirino, then take a cruise on Mestizo River.

Where to eat: Get your Vigan longganisa fix at Tongson’s, beside the famous Cafe Leona. Then indulge your sweet tooth at Leila’s Cafe. Want something a bit more traditional? Try the sinanglaw, a soup dish similar to Vietnamese pho, made with beef innards, garlic, onions, and ginger.

Family-friendly factor: At Vigan, both kids and adults alike can soak in the culture and get a crash-course on Philippine history. Tour Vigan on a kalesa for a 3-hour ride around town, then drop by the Baluarte Zoo to see the butterfly sanctuary. For families with babies and toddlers, opt to check in at Gordion Hotel which offers baby sitting services for extra helping hands.


2. Cagbalete

Photo by Hermes Singson /


Off the coast of Mauban in Quezon Province, you’ll find Cagbalete. Rustic bahay kubos, rock pools, and serene beaches will greet you once you’ve arrived at the still relatively obscure getaway.

What to do: Lounge on the powdery sanded beach and enjoy the clear blue waters. Check out the rock pools on Bonsai Island in front of Villa Cleofas resort. Your child will definitely love the vast sand during low tide too.

Where to eat: As is the case in most provinces with secluded beaches, Cagbalete isn’t exactly teeming with dining options, but what it lacks in variety it makes up for in thrift! At Doña Choleng, one of the resorts at Cagbalete, a day’s worth of meals costs an easy P800 - that’s five meals per day for less than a thousand pesos. You won’t get the same deal in Boracay, that’s for sure. But for the DIY crowd, most resorts are equipped with outdoor grill areas, so if you’re looking to do some grilling with the whole fam, you’re free to do so.

Family-friendly factor: If you’re not the ‘roughing it’ type, don’t worry. Most resorts at Cagbalete have facilities for the whole family. At Pansacola Beach Resort, you can choose their Premium Hut which can accommodate up to six people and comes equipped with air-conditioning and a large bathroom.


3. Lake Sebu


Photo by Paolo Tiong /


A natural lake in South Cotobato and one of the country’s most important watersheds. This expansive lake lends water to its surrounding provinces of Sultan Kudarat and South Cotobato. It’s a much-needed departure from your run-of-the-mill beach resort and a welcome one for the rundown urban-dweller.

What to do: Hop on a cruise of Lake Sebu and enjoy the scenery. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to witness the beautiful lotus flowers blooming on the lake. To get a view of five out of the seven waterfalls that surround Lake Sebu, try the zip-line. For a worthy immersion for your child, sponsor a T’boli pupil from the School of Indigenous Knowledge And Traditions (SIKAT) starting at only $50 and have your kid meet and play with the students.

Where to eat: Welcome to Tilapia Country. At Punta Isla Lake Resort, you’ll get to try tilapia in ways you’ve never before. Ever had chicharon tilapia? We thought so. Another crowd favorite is the Sinanglay na Tilapia: tilapia wrapped in pechay leaves and stuffed with ginger, onion, garlic, and tomatoes, then stewed in delicious coconut milk.

Family-friendly factor: Lake Sebu’s Seven Falls Zipline runs 180 meters above ground and is divided into two lines, the first runs for 740 meters, and the other for 420 meters. It’s ranked one of the tallest and most thrilling ziplines in Asia. It’s a safe and fun way for big kids to enjoy what Lake Sebu has to offer in one afternoon. You can also book a private room or T’boli house geared for families in Punta Isla Lake Resort and enjoy their Lake tour, meet and greet the natives, and watch cultural shows.


4. Batanes


Photo by bingbing / WikiCommons


Take a break from the hustle and bustle of city life and check out Batanes, the smallest province in the Philippines, and the northernmost one too. Affectionately called the Philippines’ Marlboro Country, it’s here you’ll get a taste of the wide sprawling scenery you might see in a Lord of the Rings movie.

What to do: Visit traditional Ivatan homes. Rent a bike and tour Batanes on two wheels. It’ll make sight-seeing easier, or if you’re up to it, get on a motorbike for habal-habal, and get acquainted with the place the way the locals do. Kids will also enjoy trekking Naidi and Marlborough Hills, swimming or fishing in Nakabuang beach, and picnicking at the Nakabuang Arch.

Where to eat: Check out Shanadel’s Inn and Cafe for the traditional Ivatan feast consists of pako salad, coconut crabs, smoked kamote, turmeric rice, Ivatan adobo, and puso ng saging soup, but remember to book a table in advance and order ahead.

Family-friendly factor: For the full Batanes experience, stay at the charmingly quaint Fundacion Pacita. They have cottages and villas built to accommodate families and couples alike.


5. La Union


Photo by


Known internationally as one of the best surf spots in the world, La Union is a backpacker’s haven. But just because surfers flock to this San Fernando beach stretch, doesn’t mean it doesn’t have anything else to offer. Just a few minutes away, you’ll find a botanical garden, an ancient Chinese temple, a towering hundred-year-old tree, and an eco-trail perfect for a family day-hike.

What to do: Summer isn’t exactly the best time for surfing as the waves aren’t as strong as they are during rainy season, which makes it the best time to learn. But surfing isn’t the only thing you can do at La Union. No waves also means it’s prime time for stand-up paddle-boarding.

Where to eat: Check out the buzz-worthy El Union for a cup of coffee that’s worth the 5-hour trip alone. They also serve up a mean grilled cheese (with bacon maple jam) and an equally delicious and satisfying skillet choco-chip cookie for the kiddos.

Family-friendly factor: If you’re staying at Thunderbird Resort in Poro Point, you can rent a kayak for the day, go biking, enjoy the kiddie pool, or play beach volleyball. The Greek-inspired resort has no shortage of fun activities the whole family can enjoy.