Thursday, November 25, 2010

Going Green: A Mom's Journey to Cloth Diapering

Three weeks ago, I've decided to give cloth diapering a try. 

Is this a step back to the dark age?  I don't know.  But I need to do something about the persistent redness  on my one and a half-month old son's bottom. Not to mention the leaks at night despite using one of the more popular brands of disposable diapers (more popular, therefore, more expensive) and changing diapers every two hours.  Now, that's what I call "sunk cost". Literally. 

Most important of all, I'm trying to raise "green kids"--children who know how to care for their environment.  Using disposables that will end up in a landfill goes against the 3Rs--reuse, reduce and recycle.  It's time to up the ante.  The mom has to walk the talk.

Thanks to an iPhone and a wifi at home, I was able to browse the internet for available alternatives to disposable diapers.  This I did while breastfeeding my baby (my third, by the way).  Since my baby was still into cluster feeding, I had all the time in the world to search the internet.  And this was where I learned about "cloth diapers".

No, I'm not talking about the traditional lampin, the kind which tells you that it's time to change the baby's lampin because it's also time for you to change your shirt.  I'm talking about cloth diapers that are like disposable diapers in terms of the "stay-dry" feel, absorbency and supposedly leak-proof quality.  And unlike the traditional lampin, these "new generation" cloth diapers are soooo cute.

(Baby Basti wearing a FuzziBunz)
Who says floral prints look good only on girls?

There's a barrage of information on cloth diapers.  And honestly, I don't know what to use -- prefolds, contoured, fitted, all-in-ones or pocket diapers.  And since I personally do not know anyone who has tried these new CDs, I had to rely once again on the internet for the reviews on these products. 

If there's one thing I learned from the mixed reviews, it is that each baby is different.  What works for one may not work for the other.  So I've decided to buy different cloth diapers to see what fits my tester extraordinaire best.

These were the cloth diapers that I initially bought online:

12 Chinese unbleached prefolds                        P 1,300
3 Happy Heinys one size (OS) diaper covers            750 each
1 FuzziBunz OS pocket diaper                              1,100
1 Rocky Mountain OS pocket diaper                      1,100
1 Wahmies OS pocket diaper                               1,020
1 Bumgenius 3.0 OS pocket diaper                        880 (discounted price) 

With these, I and my baby are ready to start our journey into cloth diapering.

Next:  I'll try to write about my experience in using each of these diapers.  

***Update: Here's a review on the different pocket diapers that Basti has been using for the past 7 months.

Sunday, July 11, 2010


Being a Dad to two would-be ballerinas is tough, as my husband has recently learned.  He not only has to wake up early on Saturdays, he also has to start learning the language. 

This is an account of some of his experiences (yes, published without his permission but no, he wouldn't dare sue me) which earned a lot of guffaws.

While Ina, our 5-year old, was getting dressed for her ballet class, Ina blurted out, "But Dad, you forgot my tutu!"  My poor husband, with his face clearly showing his bewilderment, asked me, "What's a tutu?"

After the girls' first class in their new ballet school, my husband commented that he likes this new school better.  And what did he say exactly?  "You know Babe, I like this new school more than Katrina Halili's School of Ballet.  For one, there are fewer students in a class."  You guess it right, I could hardly breathe because I was too busy laughing.  Hanggang sa ballet, si Katrina Halili ang naiisip.

Ballet started in France and this is the reason why ballet terms are in French.  Since the girls wanted to practice some of the ballet steps they learned, my husband, proud to have remembered a new ballet term, said, "Ok, why don't you show me 'salta'?" "What do you mean," Fran asked him.  "Jump," he answered.  Uh, uh, that's not salta.  That's 'saute'.  And I couldn't resist adding that "salta" was used by Dora the Explorer.  And no, it's not French.

But what the heck.  He may not know the terms.  He may not know the correct name of the school.  But he's always there to say, "Good job, girls," after every ballet class. 

And that is more than good enough for Fran and Ina.



Tuesday, June 29, 2010


"Will you still love me," Ina asked me a couple of months ago when she first learned that I'm pregnant with my third child.

Ina--my second daughter, the baby whom I breastfed for two years despite working full time and attending out-of-town hearings, the girl who is the mirror-image of her Dad but vehemently argues that she looks like me--turns five years old today.


Will I still love you?

How can I not love the little girl who keeps on telling me, "Mom, I love you with all my heart."

How can my heart not melt for the little girl who gives me her very own special drawings every night without fail and sheepishly apologizes because they're not perfect.

How can I not be amazed by this smart and funny girl who dares me to go hang-gliding with her and who, with a twinkle in her eyes, asks, "What do you call a snail that lives in a ship?  A snailor!"

How can I not smile when I remember you agreeing with me that I'm fat but telling me two days later that I look great.

How can I not look forward to seeing you all grown-up and embarking on adventures on your own when I heard you tell your Ate that you need a flashlight so that you can look at the hieroglyphics on the wall.

How can I not be astonished to hear you, at age 3, used the words "exasperating", "compromise" and "hibernate" in our daily conversation.

And how can I not thank God for this wonderful little girl who has touched my life in so many ways.

Yes, Ina, I will always love you.

I will love you even if there MAY come a time when you'll...

       forget to say that you love me with all your heart

       get tired of making your special drawings for me

       fail to crack your jokes

       candidly tell me that I'm huge

       stop inviting me in your adventures

       just use simple words, or worse, not talk to me at all.

And this is a promise from me to you -- I will never stop telling and showing you how much I love you.


Saturday, February 27, 2010


I am about to take my final exam in Infotech in 30 minutes.  And I still need to do my final presentation for tomorrow's class.

So why am I spending precious time writing this?

My husband has just posed the question, "So who will you vote for this coming elections?"

Tough question.  But I am ready with my answer--"I don't know, I'm still undecided."

What I know is that I am not ready to vote for somebody simply because his parents are probably the two most respected Filipinos in our history.  What I know is that I am not ready to vote for somebody simply because he says that he is poor or knows how it was to be poor and then spends millions of pesos in advertisements.  What I know is that I am not ready to vote for somebody simply because he is intelligent and appears to have a practical and solid grasp of the realities of life, not to mention the fact that he's a pilot and a bar topnotcher.

What I know is that I NEED TO KNOW MORE.

TO NOYNOY:  What do you offer other than your being the son of two of the most respected Filipinos?  Even on the assumption that the good traits of the parents are necessarily inherited by their children, would you be able to give us the assurance that the people you'll be putting in the government are not corrupt?  What have you done, so far, on the Hacienda Luisita issue?  What have you done in the past 11 years as a) a Congressman and b) a Senator?

TO MANNY VILLAR:  I notice that timing wise, the investigation on the C5 scandal may really be politically motivated.  This is aside from the fact that the Senate, uhm, (primarily due to its present composition and the way past "investigations in aid of legislation" were conducted), is not the same august body that it used to be.  But please, you really have to address the C5 issue.  Corruption has always been a problem in this country.  I don't want another corrupt president.  Secondly, how are you going to recoup the millions of pesos (or are we talking about billions already?) spent on your ads?

TO GIBO:  I'm impressed with your strong grasp of the practical issues in addressing the problems of the nation.  Your intelligence has never been an issue, insofar as I am concerned.  But historically, intelligent presidents have done more harm than good for this nation.  My main concern is, will you be able to do the right thing for the country even if it will be against the interests of GMA and FG?  In view of the not so impossible scenario that she will be the next Speaker of the House with a too obvious motive of having the Constitution amended allowing for a shift from a presidential to parliamentary form of government, will you be able to cast aside your loyalty and "utang na loob" to her for the sake of the nation?  Will you be an ingrate to the very person who trusted you and  anointed you (a relative unknown prior to your being appointed as the DND Secretary) as the official presidential candidate of Lakas? And yes, as a bar topnotcher, what is your legal position on GMA's insistence to appoint the next Supreme Court Justice?

Messrs. Presidentiables, I really need to know more.

*  I know that there are other presidentiables.  But due to time constraint, I have to limit my questions to the said 3 gentlemen.

Friday, February 26, 2010


Snippets is an account of the short conversations between me and my daughters, or between the two of them.

Fran, my 6-year old firstborn, is smart and responsible. She does her own assignments and even helps out her younger sister in doing her homework. She reminds me of her school activities, the things she has to bring and her schedule for the week. Her study table puts to shame my own office table. Fran is also creative and adventurous. She takes beautiful pictures and is a great dancer! She enjoyed riding the zip line in Baguio and wanted to try the one in Bohol, the longest (480 meters) and highest (altitude of 200 meters) zip line in the country. Her most recent adventure? Swimming in a 12-meter deep underground lake inside Cambagat Cave!

Ina, my 4-year old daughter, is funny, witty and street smart! She loves to read but hates to write. She claims that writing is "so boring"! Her vocabulary is amazing. At age 3, she was already using the words "exasperating", "compromise" and "spooky". Like her older sister, she wants to try out new things. Her latest must-try adventure? She wants to go hang gliding!

Raising my daughters is like one roller coaster ride. But boy, what a ride!

20 Feb 2010 - Fran: Mom, do I also have a dimple? Ina: Ate, you have dimples--on your nose! Poor Mom was trying really hard not to laugh out loud.

19 Feb 2010 - Mom: Ina, let me put sunblock on you so you'll be protected from the sun. Ina: Why? Does sunblock have mystic powers? :(

17 Feb 2010 - The girls are excited to go back to Panglao, Bohol. But they have one request -- "Mom, no tarsier this time. We don't like the tarsier to STARE at us!"

15 Feb 2010 - Fran has just informed me that Jupiter and Venus will appear to be just half a degree apart around 6 pm tomorrow, February 16. Is it just me or what? I'm too spaced out for this! :)

15 Feb 2010 - Ina: Mom, why don't we go hang gliding together? Uh uh, I hope it's just the fever talking. (A fervent wish of a mom who's really scared of heights.)

31 Jan 2010 - Ina: Mom, you cook the best pasta ever! Fran: I love you...and your tuna pasta!

17 Jan 2010 - Ina: Mom, I have jewelry inside my nose. Fran: Ina, I told you never to put things inside your nose.

16 Jan 2010 - Mom: Remember Panglao? We're going back there this February. Ina: Can I bring "Love Fellow" (a small elephant stuff toy) to the beach? I'm sure he would love to use his long trunk to dig the sand.

10 Jan 2010 - Mom: Don't forget to brush your teeth. Ina: Ok but can Teddy brush his teeth also? (and before I can reply) On second thought, I think Teddy is still sleepy.

10 Jan 2010 - I'm sick and asked the girls to accompany their daddy to the grocery. After telling them to remind Daddy to buy their favorite cereals and cookies, Ina told me, "Mom, you're supposed to give us a list."

27 Dec 2009 - Ina: Mom, I'm worried. Teddy has a tummy ache. Mom: Huh? Ina: So I gave him a nice bowl of warm milk. MOM: Uh, uh.

25 Dec 2009 - Ina: Is Santa real? Fran: No he's not. It's just pretend. Ina: Ok then give me that toy given to you by Santa.

20 Dec 2009 - Fran thinks that I'm Mrs. Fields. She keeps on saying "Mom, I love your cookies. You make the best cookies ever!".

07 Dec 2009 - Fran: I look funny, I'm super bungi. Mom: You are beautiful as you are.

06 Dec 2009 - My daughters' dialogue on possession and ownership -- Ina: Ate, give that toy back to me. Fran: But this is mine. Ina: But I got it first. Fran: It's not about who got it first, it's about who owns it. :)

30 Nov 2009 - Fran to Mom: I told you you'll enjoy the zip line! (She tried it first!)

30 Nov 2009 - Mom: Ina, have some strawberries. Ina: I don't like strawberries. I want oranges only. Mom: But strawberries are so juicy and they're rich in vitamin C. Ina: So are oranges. :(

29 Nov 2009 - Mom: Fran, you better take a bath or else the butterflies will say that you smell bad. Ina: Mom, butterflies don't talk... But they might die once they smell Ate.

22 Nov 2009 - Sorry would have sufficed. But no, Ina had to say, "Mom, I apologize. I know I'm so stubborn."

15 Nov 2009 - About a month ago, my 4-year old daughter told me that she wants to go to Egypt. This afternoon, I heard her say to her Ate -- "Where's my flashlight? I need to look at the hieroglyphics!" :)

04 Nov 2009 – Fran asked me, "What is the TM for?" Hmm, a trademark lawyer in the making?

29 Sept 2009 - My daughters and I were watching the news on the aftermath of Ondoy when Ina said, "That's why we have to take care of our earth!"

27 Sept 2009 – I was busy arranging clothes and baby blankets to donate when my daughters asked me, "Can we help?" In giving, I received more -- children who are concerned with the needs of others.

21 Sept 2009 - Fran: Barkie looks like an arctic fox! Arctic fox??? Her being an avid reader of National Geographic for Kids is showing. :)

21 Sept 2009 – Fran asked her Dad, "Why two-way? Shouldn't it end with s because it's plural?" Now that she's done with the general rule, I guess it's time to discuss the exceptions. :)

12 Sept 2009 - Overheard this while my daughters were playacting -- Ina: "Ate, you'll be the princess (and while Fran was visibly elated) ... and I'll be the queen." :)

12 Sept 2009 - On my way out, Ina told me, "Mom, I love you with all my heart!" My students just got lucky. Their tax professor is in a very good mood!

12 Sept 2009 - Conversation with Fran very early in the morning--Fran: Mom, what is "fingers" in Filipino? Mom: Daliri. Fran: Oh, I thought daliri is..then she sticks out her tongue. :)

10 Sept 2009 – Ina just said, "Everybody has a job in this house. Me, I'm in charge of the phone (she loves to answer phone calls). So Mom, can you buy a cellphone for me?"

26 Aug 2009 - Just gave Ina my special "mom-to-daughter" kiss and was already on my way down when she said, "But Mom, you forgot to kiss my other cheek." What a wonderful way to start the day! :)

16 Aug 2009 - While planning for our next trip to the beach, Fran asked me if we could bring Barkie, our Jap Spitz. Before I could reply, Ina said, "Yes, but don't forget to put sunblock on Barkie!" :)

16 Aug 2009 – I was discussing "being good" and "good behavior" with Ina when the latter said, "Ok Mom, from now on, I'll be brave!" :(

16 Aug 2009 – I know that my tom yum is appreciated when Fran, after several servings, said "Perfect"!

11 Aug 2009 – Ina: "Why do you call them Chocolate Hills? Can we eat them?"

11 Aug 2009 - Conversation with my daughter after a relaxing day in the beach -- Mom: "So what do you want to do next?" Ina: "I just want to meet some friendly aliens!"

07 Aug 2009 - We're off to Panglao tomorrow. The kids have been singing "Oh Mr. Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun, please shine down on me!"

06 Aug 2009 – I was bothered because my daughters associate the Laban sign with "loser" as a result of watching Hole in the Wall. I had to do a major re-education yesterday.

04 Aug 2009 – Ina has been having tantrums lately. She keeps on shouting, "I want to have a baby sister and I just want to name her Pookey!" Might be a nice name in some other part of the world but definitely not here in the Philippines.

27 July 2009 - I was showering Ina with lots of kisses when she suddenly asked me, "Mom, can you buy me a book about kissing?" Uh, uh, I think I'm in trouble.

23 July 2009 - Conversation with my two daughters -- Ina: "This is exasperating!" Mom: "Ha! What do you mean by exasperating?" Ina: "You know, it's taking Ate so long to apologize." (She was getting irritated waiting for Fran's apology.) Fran: "Mom, you mean you don't know the meaning of exasperating?” Now, that is what I call exasperating.

07 July 2009 – I was tired and mentally drained after 5 hours of oral arguments before the Supreme Court, but was uplifted by Fran’s unconditional love. She just told me, "Mom, I love you even if you're taba!"

06 July 2009 - While we were driving along UP Ikot, Ina was pretending that she's a pirate sailing on the seven seas. Suddenly, she shouted, "Wait, I see a shark over there!" Guess where she was pointing at? It's no other than Malcolm Hall, the building that houses the University of the Philippines College of Law!

24 June 2009 - 2009: Storm signal # 1, no classes, my daughters are disappointed. 1995: Storm signal # 3, classes in UP Law were not suspended, Mom was EXTREMELY disappointed.

23 June 2009 - Heard this conversation from my 2 daughters while Ina, the younger one, was practicing writing letter P. Fran: "Practice makes perfect. Practice and perfect start with P." After a while, Ina, who's starting to get irritated with her writing skills, was told by her Ate, "And patience starts with P." Ina, who was then really really irritated, blurted out, "Patience, I have no patience." Goodbye to letter P.

18 June 2009 - Last night, I had this conversation with Ina--Mom: It's time to sleep. Ina: But Mom, I don't like to hibernate.

16 June 2009 - On our way to dinner last night, Ina sang this -- "Rumbly, rumbly, this tummy is hungry!!!" Hmm, a poet and a composer.


It all started with a friend's blog.

Early part of 2007, I was ready to bring my kids to HK Disneyland. My older daughter was already 4 years old while my younger child was turning 2. I secured their passports, I already checked the most reasonable package available, I was about to file my VL form.

And then I read this friend's blog. "How well do you know your country?", she asked. "What places in the Philippines have you visited?", was her other question.

With these questions, our family's journey to know the beautiful Philippines began.

Tagaytay and Batangas proved to be a good place to start.

Accessible by car and just a few hours away from Manila, my children got to see one of the smallest volcanoes in the world. Although Fran was anxious that the volcano might go kaboom anytime, she nevertheless enjoyed our trip.

    (Taal Volcano)

Attending a meeting in Nasugbu, Batangas on a Sunday morning was definitely not my idea of quality family time. And so my husband and I decided to go straight to Punta Fuego after my meeting. Armed with bottles of sunblock, my kids had a blast swimming and playing and laughing.

A close family friend also invited us to Calatagan, a town away from Nasugbu. Playa Calatagan, with its spectacular view of the sea, infinity pool, and almost white-sand beach, had become one of our favorite places to go to.

(At Playa Calatagan)

(My younger daughter, Ina)

(My firstborn, Fran)

Subic had always been a favorite family get-away even prior to my daughters' birth. With two young children in tow, we learned to appreciate Subic even more. With all the family-oriented activities it offers, Subic is indeed a place to be!

Boracay, of course, was in our list. Having learned from my previous experience, we went there during the off-peak season. And boy, were we rewarded! We got to enjoy Boracay without the crowd and its market-like ambiance.


Cebu, or should I say, Mactan, was our next destination. Our stay in Shangrila Mactan was indeed a memorable experience. Unfortunately, with all the excitement, I forgot to bring my camera. We also were not able to tour Cebu. My kids were having so much fun in Shangrila so the tour was stricken off from our "things to do" list.

(This was taken late 2008 and Ina is so much taller now.)

After two months, we went to Davao for a 3-day vacation in Pearl Farm. My older daughter, Fran, even saw corals when she tried snorkelling for the first time.

(Do I really need to put a caption on this pic?)

We also got to see the magnificent Philippine eagle, the renowned orchids of Davao, the Crocodile Farm, and a glimpse of Mt. Apo from afar. Upon our return here in Manila, Fran brought some pictures of the Philippine eagle to class and showed them to her classmates!

A week after our Davao trip, the entire family went to Clark for the annual Hot Air Balloon event. My daughters' eyes were as big as saucers when they saw, up close and personal, all the magnificent hot air balloons. We likewise had so much fun flying kites somewhere in the area.

Palawan was our next stop. There was this island in Honda Bay where we swam with schools of fish. Of course, the famous Underground River was part of our itinerary. Unfortunately, Fran didn't like it so much because of the bats. Ina, on the other hand, had a blast.

(At Snake Island)

Ilocos is one beautiful place. With its beaches, particularly the Blue Lagoon; historical sites like the Paoay Church, the World Heritage townsite of Vigan, the Marcos mausoleum, Cape Bojeador light house; and the gigantic windmills, Ilocos had so much to offer to all kinds of tourists. Unlike me, Fran was even adventurous enough to climb way up to the top of Cape Bojeador!

(Blue Lagoon)

(At Paoay Church)

(Fran at Saud Beach)

(UNESCO Heritage Townsite of Vigan)

(Malacanang of the North)

(Cape Bojeador Light House)

Graceland Country Club in Quezon province proved to be an ideal place for a family with young children. It offers a variety of activities--from horseback riding to boating. We were even treated to a cultural presentation of Philippine folkdances!

(Graceland Lagoon at Nighttime)

Having heard a lot about Bohol, we decided to see the place which, according to my friends, is even more beautiful than Boracay. True enough, Panglao is Boracay without the latter's crowd. Of course, our trip wouldn't have been complete without seeing the famous Chocolate Hills and the tarsier! (My kids really had a wonderful time here that my entirely went back to Bohol last Feb 18, 2010.) 

(The Famous Chocolate Hills in Bohol)

(Man-Made Forest)

(The Tarsier and I)

(Pangloa Island - Bohol Beach Club)

Last November, we had our BDB -- Bonifacio Day in Baguio! We visited the Botanical Garden, the Strawberry Farm and the Mansion. Fran even tried the zip line in Camp John Hay. Burnham Park, unfortunately, was just too crowded for us. 

The girls loved Baguio so much that we decided to spend our New Year there!

(At Manor Hotel)

We've already made plans to go to Borawan Beach, Padre Burgos, Quezon this Holy Week.  However, we have to put on hold our travel plans for the year because I'm pregnant with my third child.

Yes, I want my daughters to know their country first.

Mickey can wait.


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