Monday, June 15, 2009

L.A. Lakers 2009 Champions


from your cutest fan ;-)

Saturday, March 21, 2009


It’s been a while since I last blogged. So many things had happened and they were a bit out of hand. A very close friend got married a week ago and helping her in some areas of preparation was part of my duty as her Matron of Honour. But that’s not this post is all about. Something devastating happened to my family. My father passed away last March 1st due to cardiac arrest in San Diego USA where he and my mom lives. It was too sudden that everyone who knows him and the family could not believe it. He never had heart complains for the last 10 years. He was 77. And tomorrow, March 22, was and will still be, “the most important date of the year” – his birthday.

I want to share with you my sister’s letter in behalf of the family, thanking everyone for saying their prayers for my dad and for the family, for constantly sharing us with their love, comforting words, and warm thoughts and concerns.

Read along…


Hello All,

It is now 12:19am of March 20th … and the next couple of days (March 22 to be exact) will be what was always celebrated -- well at least among the Manalo clan -- as the "most important date of the year" … Daddy Deo's birthday!.. He would've turned 78 …

Before I go any further, again, in behalf of my mom, my brother and 3 sisters, and everyone else in our family, we'd like to say BIG, BIG THANK YOU TO ALL for the warm thoughts and concern, for all the support, and for the sympathies and sincerest prayers you have offered us upon Dad's sudden demise last March 1st …

As I had said, the family remains strong and steadfast in the midst of this trying and difficult moment in our lives. And this is partly because of the family and friends' overwhelming expression of love for our Dad and for our family …

Backtracking a bit, Dad was diagnosed to have angina pectoris since 1996 and has been on nitrolingual since then. However, this was used only when necessary … He became conscious and extra-cautious with his diet and was very religious with his medications. Eventually, all that paid off as he was always given a clean bill of health during his Annual Physical Exams and was found to still be fit to work. However, on February 28th, he just happened to have left his nitrolingual spray at a time when he badly needed it. Thus, by 11:45pm of that day, he had phoned my Mom to inform that he wasn't feeling that well and would immediately need the spray as soon as he would arrive home … Unfortunately though, Dad suffered from heart attack, which was actually his first since the diagnosis 13 years ago, and didn't survive ...

From time to time, certain "what ifs" would cross our minds … but later comes the acceptance that, indeed, it really was Dad's time to go home and be with the Lord … We are all just thankful that the attack did not happen on the freeway when he was driving home. He was still able to reach home, even able to park the car in the driveway and spend his last moments with my Mom by his side ... And knowing my Dad, too, am sure that during those final moments, he was fervently praying and lifting everything up to God and then faithfully accepting His will …

During the necrological service held at the Holy Family Parish last Monday, March 9th, there were so many things that I heard and still learned about Dad …from the eulogists who willingly related their memories of him, from colleagues from various socio-civic organizations who credited him for his numerous contributions and projects, from relatives who shared unforgettable moments with him and from family friends whose lives he had touched in one way or another … They all talked about the many acts of kindness and selfless deeds he has done as a faithful servant of our Lord, how jolly and optimistic a person he was and how he was as a man of BIG faith …

Till the very end, he remained to be the selfless person that he was -- he was still of service to others … Dad signed up to be an organ donor … And last March 15th, Mom informed that she received certificates of appreciation from the eye bank and Life-Sharing organizations and how these groups considered my Dad to be a hero for also donating parts of his body to be able to help someone in need. If I may mention, these included his eyes, skin from the torso, arms and buttocks for reconstructive surgery, limbs from his legs to help someone walk, and even a part of his brain to be able to help a person's mind work again. Amidst all the pain brought by the loss, I felt truly proud and humbled at the same time …

You know, as our way of paying tribute to Dad, there were two AVPs which I prepared … They were done in time for the March 7th viewing in San Diego, CA and for the necrological rites here in Manila on March 9th. For some reason, the AVPs couldn't be sent to the U.S. by email before March 7th … and on March 9th, inspite of having conducted some technical tests prior, the AVPs also didn't play during the necrological rites … We were also fortunate to have been granted permission to hold simultaneous viewing online from 3:00am – 8:00am, Manila time of March 8th … but then again, the technician assigned wasn't suddenly available … My mom said that probably, Dad didn't want us to see him – well not yet – in a coffin … maybe Dad preferred it that people would remember him the way he was while he was still alive … and that perhaps, Dad wanted to spare people from leaving the viewing and necrological rites with heavy hearts …

Which suddenly reminded me of a song that Dad once told me, about twelve years ago, to be one of his favorites … That time though, I thought the lyrics sounded kinda morbid so I didn't give it as much attention … I never thought it would take me more than a decade to eventually appreciate the song … I now find it to be very fitting since the words, most especially the chorus part, best encapsulates the kind of memory my Dad wants us to have of him … Add to it, the song's tempo isn't your usual fare of a highly emotional ballad … The chorus says:

And when I die I keep on living
You'll always have my love seeing you through
I'll be your angel up in heaven
Forever all my love will shine on you
Cause baby I love you
Baby I need you
Yes, I do

So this was the song that I used in one of the AVPs …Title is When I Die, and sung by No Mercy in 1997 …

The other AVP simply shows Dad as a father to his five children, as father-in-law to his "manugangs", as a grandfather to seven (going eight) grandchildren and as a husband and soulmate to my mom …

I'd like to share these videos with you, which were both uploaded in youtube … com/watch? v=lSp2DLRsV0w com/watch? v=xFzpbgQB3dY

Dad also always ended his emails and text messages with "I love you 8", which he said meant that he will love us till eternity … I know Dad is in a much better place now and will always look down upon us and take care of us …"Dad, you will be sorely missed … WE LOVE YOU 8!"

It's Dad's birthday on Sunday, March 22 … The family would like to request you to please say a short prayer for him, for his soul, and read thru his favorite Bible verse, Psalm 23 …

Psalm 23 - A psalm of David
1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not be in want.

2 He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside quiet waters,

3 He restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name's sake.

4 Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death, [a]
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.

6 Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD

Again, thank you very much from the bottom of our hearts …

Mom, kids and grandkids

God bless you all!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

THE MARCEL PIEZAS ASSAULT CASE (Pass to others so that they may know)

Sobrang nakaka-ngitngit 'to…

I am posting this the way I received it. It’s an email sent by my sister from our cousin. MARCEL PIEZAS is my nephew. Please repost if you can or pass on to others so that they may know. We don’t want this to happen to our children, nieces & nephews, brothers & sisters.

I tried checking the links mentioned below but the blog and the album no longer exists.

----- Forwarded Message ----
From: (undisclosed)
To: (undisclosed)
Cc: (undisclosed)
Sent: Wednesday, February 11, 2009 3:47:45 PM

The incident below involved a relative, MARCEL PIEZAS... Scary but true and real ...

--- On Tue, 2/10/09, (undisclosed)> wrote:
From: (undisclosed)
To: (undisclosed)
Date: Tuesday, February 10, 2009, 9:58 PM

I was shocked when I received this email because Marcel is my nephew. There is no way that this guy is capable of doing any harm to anyone. UNBELIEVABLE!

After reading about the incident below, I clicked on the embedded Multiply site and then followed it up with another linked site from there. Found an album with some of their party scenes, and posters of their past events. I'm now effectively scared. This was disturbingly enlightening.

From: Celine Piezas
Date: February 10, 2009 3:38:10 AM GMT+08:00
To: Ateneo 2C <>

February 9, 2009

Dear Ateneo parents, students and STOYA members,

Three months back, I found out that an "OPEN PARTY" organized by students of the Assumption was booked at our village clubhouse. In this event, the venue meant for 300 pax was packed with as many as 800, due to the zealousness of its organizers to maximize its earnings. Many of the attendees had no recourse but to spill over to the parking area. That night, a nasty brawl occurred right outside the venue, and the security incident report outlined the destruction caused to the clubhouse facilities, the sight of inebriated teen-agers holding bottles of liquor roaming the streets, and the discovery of used condoms on the park grounds and alleys the following day. (You can verify this yourself.) We were on an out of town trip when all these happened and I could only imagine the chaos that went on.

Last January 16, 2009 my son Marcel Piezas, a 2nd year Ateneo student, pleaded with me to allow him to attend an "OPEN PARTY" organized by 3rd year Poveda High School students at Greenmeadows. I warned him about the untoward incidents in our village but due to his persistent pleas, reassurances, acceptance of certain conditions (e.g. curfew) coupled with guilt trips of being labelled an outcast once denied of participation, I succumbed to his appeal.

That night at around half past eleven, I found myself praying for Marcel's protection, possibly owing to vague intuition, not knowing what was going just a stone's throw away.

At around 11:30 p.m., after having danced with around three other girls, Marcel asked for a dance with Ms. A (name withheld). The dance was uneventful except for the part where she asked Marcel if she could take a picture of them, which my son agreed to. Immediately after the dance, Marcel thanked her, and excused himself since his 12 midnight curfew was fast approaching. He and his classmate B (name withheld) proceeded to exit the dance hall to meet four other classmates who were already at the parking area.

Three meters from the exit, two teen-aged boys came out of the hall together with Ms. A, the girl Marcel just danced with, blaringly asking, "Sino ang nangbastos sa pinsan ko? Kayo ba? Kayo ba?" It seems that, Ms. A pointed out my son to the two boys, wilfully or otherwise, prompting them to pull his shoulder and start punching him on the head, which caused a laceration and multiple hematoma. The two boys shouted invectives at Marcel (e.g. "Sabihin mo sa nanay mo, malansa ang kaniyang puk_", "pu__ ina mo, gusto mo mamatay?", etc.) and repeatedly slapped him. After a while, the group of three had swelled to five (5). They were joined by other boys (names withheld). A few seconds more, and the crowd had expanded to around twenty (20), arm to arm, they formed a circle around my son. They continued to punch, slap, insult and spit at my defenseless son. One of them even ordered him to kneel down and apologize, which he did, even if he knew he was not guilty of anything, if only to stop the beating. After his apology, he was punched hard on the mouth, causing a cut on the lower lip, and three front teeth to turn mobile.

There were big bodied bouncers hired during the party, and some village guards manning the gates. Neither of them lifted a finger to help my son. All they uttered was "Tama na yan." The lone defender of Marcel was a school mate, Boy B (name withheld), who at that instant, lived out the Atenean dictum of "being a man for others". At the expense of enduring a few blows himself, he pleaded with the boys and tried to convince them that they have the wrong guy, and that Marcel was a good boy, incapable of the accusation they were throwing at him. The mauling miraculously stopped for around 15 seconds (probably around the same time I was praying for him) which gave another brave classmate the chance to grab then bloody Marcel by the arm and pull him out of the circle of tormentors. They ran for it and left in a car with their other classmates who were too stunned and traumatized themselves. Minutes after escaping the assailants, Marcel continued receiving phone calls through his mobile phone, wherein he was harassed and taunted. The calls and text have persisted until a week ago.

After our preliminary investigation, we discovered that the aggressors are members of TGF or "The Good Fraternity", a loose group of high school students (boys and a few girls) who frequent the party scene, SOME of whom are reputed to be bullies, war freaks, alcoholics, possibly drug users, and carriers of deadly weapons such as guns, knives, tasers, etc. Apparently, some of them use this strategy of bullying helpless-looking boys in the guise of being gallant men saving a damsel in distress for having been "disrespected". The exact same scenario by the same people happened to a fellow Atenean at a different party a few weeks earlier. Many other boys from other schools have experienced beating from the same group for the most senseless reason as having been ogled at or having flexed biceps and triceps to the annoyance of the bullies.

What happened to Marcel was a nightmare not only to him but to ourselves as parents. My husband who is working in Canada can only cry in helplessness at not having been around to defend or at the very least comfort him.

I cannot sleep soundly knowing that our sons and daughters are prone to being swallowed by profligacy. Did you parents know that kids nowadays dance "spooning" style? Did you know that there are mobile bars for rent that serve "mocktails" or full fledged cocktails and beer in bubble containers to our young teen-agers unmindful of the alcohol prohibition for minors (ask Sober Club, Elation, Party Fuel, Club Fishbone, Booze, Event Shaker, On the Rocks, etc.). I even heard that open parties are now being used by pushers as their market for mood altering wares. I didn't even know that the Greenmeadows party that Marcel attended was entitled "Lust", which is one of a series of seven parties named after the seven deadly sins. I was shocked at having found out the organizers' preference for their party names.

I have vowed to make this an advocacy. We are filing a complaint with the authorities about the matter, not only to seek justice for my son, but to stop this culture of violence and immorality among the youth.

I would have wanted to treat this as privately and as quietly as I can but recent developments have forced me to do otherwise. I came across this blog site which made my stomach turn at seeing how insensitive, frivolous, and unprincipled the authors of this entry and its supporters are. Log on and read for yourselves:

Rumors are spreading like wildfire and the ugly misinformation is causing yet another trauma on my son. Some rumors are going around about his being too drunk to have control of himself, thus the molestation. To correct the defamation being spread, and to give these STOYA boys who have a lot of growing up to do a piece of my mind, allow me categorically say that:

1) My son NEVER molested anyone and we can prove this to the hilt. The bloggers didn't even give him the benefit of the doubt by adding the world "allegedly". They wrote it as if it were a fact. Instead of supporting your fellow Atenean, you are pushing him towards the furnace by spreading this lie.

2) My son, who, for one week after the assault, endured nightmares and anxiety attacks over possible retaliatory acts by perceived sympathetic blue blooded members of TGF NEVER squealed on any one to the APSA. He bore his psychological injuries which far outweighed the physical wounds with dignity and bravery. He never even brought up the incident with his football coach who benched him during two crucial games for having missed a week's practice clueless that Marcel was waiting for the contusions on his head to heal. For all I know, he was also possibly avoiding aggressive tussling, inevitable in the sport, which might stir fearsome memories. He felt so down but didn't want his coach to think he was making excuses for his absences.

3) I never complained verbally, or in writing, to APSA regarding what happened to my son knowing that STOYA per se, is not the enemy. I simply wrote a letter of excuse for Marcel's two-day absence while he was recovering from the trauma.

4) I never accused STOYA of harassment when they approached Marcel in an effort to convince me to tell Mr. Dennis Dator of their innocence regarding the mauling. I simply felt that it is futile to make that appointment since I never filed a complaint against them in the first place.

5) To say that "it can only take ONE person to destroy a party. All he/she needs to do is to tell his/her parents to call up the school, name names and say drugs or what not has been going around" reeks of a distorted sense of values. It's as if parties are the end all and be all of life's existence. Never mind if a person gets hurt...the show must go on! Besides, I never did what they accuse me of doing.

6) Do you honestly think that this line "The police can always be ordered to go to a party to end it" is preventive or is it a curative solution to a done disaster which only takes a few minutes to happen? Hunky bouncers and security guards were around when Marcel was beaten up. What good did they do?

7) From STOYA: "Pucha, everyday people DIE due to far more worse (sic)incidents than mere fist fights and now people start making this such a HUGE deal since it happened to someone close to them?"
Response: What if the blow on Marcel's head were a tad stronger than they were causing brain damage? Would that be big deal enough to warrant your attention?

8) From STOYA: "don't call us insensitive and immoral for promoting alcohol under the age of 18. You've never had a shot of vodka or a cold glass of beer? Don't be a hypocrite and lie. It's part of high school"
Response: The law is the law and it was created for a reason, and it is meant to be adhered to, otherwise suffer penalties.

9) "Also, It's the parents' choice to allow their children to go and do these things so if you have a problem with parties, don't allow your children"
Response: Parents unwittingly allow their children to attend these parties without the knowledge of the imminent dangers that abound in such parties, thus, my cause of letting it be known. No matter how well we try to raise our children, they sometimes make the wrong, stubborn choices and succumb to peer pressure thinking that what is prevalent is "cool", or is acceptable.

10) STOYA, your entrepreneurial spirit is partly admirable. "Dreams of creating seven parties in 10 months". However, if your ventures are money making, may I ask if you give out receipts to your patrons? Do you pay taxes to the BIR? Maybe this is another angle worth looking at.

Dear STOYA boys and supporters, I hope you broaden your minds a little bit more and see where concerned school authorities and parents are coming from. You, our dear boys are gifts from God entrusted to us for guidance and moulding. Our commitment to our Maker, and to the Giver of life is to lead you back to Him in life eternity. It's true that life is full of risks, that life is well lived if freedom abounds, and that it is important to stand by what we believe in. But as graduating students of a highly reputable Catholic school for which your parents toil hard to make your enrolment possible, I would have hoped that you had loftier beliefs that you would adamantly fight for.

Year in, year out, you learn in CLE that free will has its limitations. As minors your care rests on those who are supposedly more ripe in wisdom. If we can shield you from as much pain, suffering and harm as we can, we will do so by all means because that is an expression of LOVE. You may sulk all you want but take it like a man. Like you all said, you will be adults in a few months time anyway. Start acting like one!

Yours truly,


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

One Wedding. Two Matrons of Honour.

About one month from now my very close friend Christine, or Tyn as we fondly call her, will be wed to Mond. Well, “very close” is an understatement. She’s much like a sister, not just to me but also to Cielo who’s my bestest friend. We will be her Matrons of Honour.

It has always been the three of us since college and personally I really want this wedding to be as stress-free as possible. I have attended a few weddings, had been a Maid of Honour once, and been married so I have seen all the possible and impossible things that can happen. We are helping Tyn with lots of things, especially with their suppliers. Their preparation period is only two months so everything is really on a fast break mode. Aside from the extended help, I want to be able to perform the duties of an MOH.

The role of the Matron of Honour (called Maid of Honour if she is single) is similar to that of the best man, with the difference being that her duties are related to the bride.

Like the best man, the Matron of Honour must be the closest friend or relative, this time, to the bride. She may be her sister. The closer to the bride she is, the better, as the two will understand each other better.

The Matron of Honour’s main role is to help the bride in planning her wedding and being the bride’s “consultant”. She must assist the bride constantly throughout the entire planning process, especially during the stressful times close to the wedding day, when the tasks start to breed uncontrollably. She must work hand-in-hand with the Best man.

Here's what's expected:
• Lead the bridesmaid troupe. It's the maid/matron of honor's (MOH) job to direct the other maids through their duties. Make sure all bridesmaids get their dresses, go to dress fittings, and find the right jewelry.

• Help the bride shop for dresses. And the MOH pays for her own entire wedding outfit (including shoes).

• Offer to help the bride with pre-wedding tasks, from addressing invites to choosing the wedding colors and nodding enthusiastically when she waxes poetic about wedding cake.

• Lend an ear. Whether it's about the planning, the marriage, or the registry, the MOH should assure the bride that she has someone with whom she can share her thoughts. Even if she seems to dwell on the same subjects repeatedly, the MOH keeps listening.

• Hosts or co-hosts a shower for the bride.

• Attend all pre-wedding parties.

• Keep a record of all the gifts received at various parties and showers (or delegate a bridesmaid to handle this).

• Plan the bachelorette party with the bridesmaids.

• See to it that all bridesmaids get to the rehearsal; coordinate transportation and lodging, if necessary.

• Make sure that all bridesmaids get their hair and makeup done, get to the ceremony on time, and have the correct bouquets.

• Hold the groom's ring during the ceremony (if there’s no ring bearer). Safest place to put it? On your thumb.

• Arrange the bride's train and veil before the ceremony begins and just after she arrives at the altar. The MOH might also need to help her bustle the train for easy dancing at the reception.

• Hold the bride's bouquet while the couple exchanges vows.

• Sign the marriage license as a witness, along with the best man.

• Stand next to the groom in the receiving line (this is optional; the bride may decide to have attendants circulate among the guests instead).

• Play hostess along with the other bridesmaids at frequent points during the reception: show guests where to sit, direct them to restrooms, tell them to where to put presents, invite them to sign the guest book, etc.

• Collect any gift envelopes brought to the reception and keep them in a safe place.

• Make sure the bride takes a moment to eat something -- refresh her drink, get her a plate of food from the buffet table, or instruct the wait staff to keep her entree warm.

• Dance with the best man during the formal first-dance sequence and possibly be announced with him at the beginning of the party. Also dance with other groomsmen, the groom, and others.

• Toast the couple after the best man. (This is optional, but it is a nice touch.)

• Troubleshoot emotional crises. In most cases, this will require lots of tissues, hugging, and hair-smoothing. The MOH continues to be a trusted friend, a good listener, and a smart advisor.

• Keeps the bride laughing. For the stressed-out bride, laughter can be as effective as venting.

Well, all of these are not always applicable to all MOH since not all weddings are alike, especially with the different cultures and practices of different couples in different countries. Some things mentioned above are not applicable to Filipino weddings.

The Matron of Honour is part worker bee, part emotional lifeboat. Chosen for our energetic, get-the-ball-in-motion qualities, we should also remember that listening to the bride, making her laugh, and offering emotional and logistical support are also part of our honor attendant package.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

New Year. New Milestones.

It’s been a while since I last blogged about Janus’ new milestones. Ever since the holidays, I had also been busy on his birthday preps.

We celebrated his 1st birthday, January 10 at McDonald’s Restaurant in Tomas Morato, the one with a big French Fries building. I practically chose that place because it has a big Play Place for his kid guests. I didn’t want the parents to go gaga over their kids running around the party place. The whole second floor was exclusively for his party. We had about 70+ guests – approx. 30 kids and 40 adults. Aside from those who are abroad, a few of his godparents were not able to make it due to different unavoidable circumstances. Overall, everything went well.

Going back to January 1, I first dared Janus to walk unaided. And to my surprise he did 4 to 5 steps bravely. I was teary-eyed and overjoyed because I was beginning to get worried since his cousin started walking before her 1st birthday. I have been also seeing babies about his age already walking. I was so happy to discover that he’d walk unaided at 11 months. For awhile he was too lazy to walk and would crawl instead but now his self-esteem is back, he walks more than ever.

About this same period of time, he started to refuse using his pacifier. Before, we can’t go anywhere without it…it was my lifesaver. But now, he can sleep without it; he can stop crying without it; he spits it out because he doesn’t want or need it anymore. I have read a lot about parents trading and bribing their kid’s pacifier with toys or food or a walk in the park. I am lucky because I didn’t have to go through all that.

On the day of his birthday he started climbing up the stairs. Oh my God...what a headache! I therefore conclude that at this stage and age, they dare to explore the stairs and everything around them and nothing’s gonna stop them. Hahaha…

He’s also learning more hand gestures and action songs. I see him often doing “close, open”. He sings along with me and his daddy whenever we play our favorite music. When I play his nursery videoke, he listens and watches attentively. He talks a lot too. And when I say “AH!” he answers “AH!” too with a hand gesture…it’s just so funny.

Lastly, his upper teeth have come out. They’re two and big. :D

Now I think Janus is starting to throw tantrums. He’s been unmanageable since he got sick a week after his birthday. He had bronchitis and been taking a lot of medicines. He was also exposed to persons with tuberculosis and was prescribed with Comprilex for 3 months. This means 3 months of wrestling over his medicines. And since then he’s been very very cranky and a cry baby. He cries a lot during day time and at night time which makes me and his daddy really pissed. He cries over nothing. He cries because of the very slight (and I mean split-second) delay on his feeding time. He cries even though we pacify him. He cries for hours. He doesn’t stop. I still don’t know what can make him stop from crying. When he stops and remembers he was crying, he’d cry again. I really don’t know what to do. I am still in the quest of finding out how to deal with the situation. May God help me! =)

Despite all of his tantrums, we still look forward to his new milestones. He’s gained a lot of weight and it matters to us. He’s become taller and it matters. He’s not sick anymore and that’s what’s important to us. Whatever new thing we will discover from Janus will make us prouder parents. We love you baby!