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Volume 2 • Number 4 MARCH-MAY 2015

Sizzle in Summer Have the best bakasyon ever!

Happy Mother’s Day! Go on a mom date with your kumares



Special Gender Issue

How to handle identity confusion in your child

FamilyMatters Volume 2 • Number 4 March-May 2015


2 Homework

He Is a Boy… She Is a Girl

4 Family Note The Great Debate

5 Letters 6 Frameable

Be a Self-Made Historian

Special Section: Gender Issues

23 Born This Way? 26 Pillar of Support 28 When Your Child Is Gay


31 Love in Action

The Sanctity of Family and Life

34 Improving Masked Beauties

37 Preventing Snooze Clues

40 Eating

Wrapped with Love

42 Bonding Off We Go!


Youth Talk Ride the Heat Wave, 8 A Matter of Choice, 11 Kim Chiu Finds Happiness, 14 The Organizer, 17 My Frenemy, 20

45 Budgeting A Quick Fix

48 Celebrating

The Light Side of Moms




she is a girl

Parents and educators have the moral task of steering young people toward healthy gender and sexual development according to the holy plan of our Creator. Architect, chef, painter,

By Fr. Bernard P. Nolasco, SDB

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sculptor, designer, programmer… there is one common denominator for all of them: they are creators. A creator has his or her own way of building or producing something that nobody must alter. We cannot change anything from what was created by someone else just because we do not like some of its specifications. And if we have to use any created work for our own purpose, we must never change the essence of such work. We cannot in any way make our own interpretation of another’s work and claim that it is also in the mind of the creator. This

is subjectivism. We cannot subject another’s mind into our own mind. We just have to respect the intention of the creator as objectively as it should be. What is black and white must never be looked at as gray. Therefore, if an architect designed a house that has for its main feature being eco-friendly with no need for an artificial air-cooling system, we cannot alter the architect’s design and install air-conditioning units just because we cannot live in a non-air-conditioned room. We cannot simply interpret the architect’s main feature as optional.

Photos by DBPI-MultiMedia Services

If the chef wanted chili to be the life of his or her dish, we cannot remove the chili just because we do not like it. We cannot subject the chef’s dish to our own liking. It is either we eat the dish with chili or not eat it at all. We can apply the same principle to other creative works and inventions. Principles make life more livable. Subjectivism does not respect principles. Chaos, anarchy, confusion, division are the fruits of subjectivism. The misconstrued understanding of freedom as ‘I do things my way… as I like it’ goes exactly the opposite of the principle of the use of freedom as ‘my freedom ends when the right of another begins.’ Many troubles could have been prevented if only people had respected principles. Indeed, when principles are violated, life itself is violated. The principle on human sexuality is not spared from being violated. On the contrary, it is one of the most favorite principles to be butchered by subjectivism. The principle that God made them male and female is the oldest recorded principle in the history of humanity. It has its origin in one of the oldest literatures written in history, the Bible. This principle, when respected together with the sixth and the ninth commandments, will certainly make life more harmonious and peaceful. Each one tries to respect his or her own God-given sexuality by using his or her own God-given powers like selfdiscipline, freedom with responsibility, and reason. God has given us all these powers for us to feel that we are part of His creative work in each one of us. God wants us to enjoy our own process of growing towards perfection. These powers of selfdiscipline, freedom with responsibility, and reason are our best means to arrive at our perfection of our sexuality. The moment we stop using these powers, we allow viruses to enter and corrupt our God-given sexuality. Such viruses are called adultery or fornication, pornography and promiscuity, and homosexual acts.

Each one tries to respect his or her own God-given sexuality by using his or her own God-given powers like self-discipline, freedom with responsibility, and reason. There are no shortcuts to real growth and perfection. It always demands sacrifice, self-control, self-discipline, and respect for principles. We cannot deny the fact that in our process of growing in our sexuality there will be many difficulties and challenges that will come along the way, as any process of growth will undergo. When faced with a genderidentity crisis, when confused with one’s sexual orientation, it is always wise to ask

We cannot deny the fact that in our process of growing in our sexuality there will be many difficulties and challenges that will come along the way, as any process of growth will undergo.

for proper guidance from people who openly and honestly respect God and respect the principles of life. To ask help from these people is nothing to be ashamed of. It is actually the best thing to do. Initial signs of genderidentity disorder must be dealt with professional help. They should not be taken for granted. Let us be firm in our conviction that there is no one born gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender—or any other labels that people would invent. From the womb of the mother, the unborn human being is either identified as a boy or as a girl. Homosexuality, like any other objective disorders, can be given its proper orientation and guidance. This is not a form of discrimination for persons experiencing same sex attractions. On the contrary, professional help is the best act of love we can give to anyone undergoing homosexual tendencies. And to ensure a healthy intervention, the total cooperation of the person involved and the total support of the people around him or her are very important. Parents, guardians, and educators must find it a moral responsibility to learn the proper way of forming and guiding their young people to grow properly in their gender and sexuality lest their young be guided by the wrong people or be affected by a dysfunctional environment. May the young people find in their adults their best guides and teachers in growing towards a healthy sexual life that is according to God’s holy plan… for him as a boy, for her as a girl. n

MARCH - MAY 2015





The great debate

bookmark Cut out and paste on a cardboard, punch a hole, and put a ribbon through.

Romelda C. Ascutia, Editor E-mail:

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Photo by Jun Pinzon

There’s so much debate going on right now about same-sex attraction, identity crisis, gender confusion, and sexual diversity. In this issue, Family Matters steps right in the middle of the fray. Fr. Drans himself in his column on page 2 tackles the controversy, examining the intent of our Creator for making man and woman, and explaining why His intentions may not be “repurposed” to suit one’s inclinations. Indeed, as views on homosexuality become more liberal and modern society grows more accepting of—or at least more tolerant toward—same-sex relations, Family Matters has decided to devote a special section on the matter. Starting on page 22, we discuss how gender disorientation affects the Filipino family, and how parents should deal when the situation arises in their own home. Meanwhile, for the kids, the months of March through May are probably their next favorite season after Christmas because… summer vacation, of course! For most families, this means another exciting travel adventure together. On page 42, a number of families share with us how and why they plan regular out-of-town trips—it’s the time to regroup and renew familial ties after a year of essentially doing one’s own thing at school, at work, or in business. But since you’re not likely to spend the entire school break as a perpetual wanderer, we’ve also come up with a list of other fun things to try your hand at for a well-optimized summer, and you’ll find our recommendations on page 8 mighty interesting, we’re sure. At the same time, let’s not forget another great event happening soon. Mother’s Day falls on May 10, so let’s all celebrate again the gift of having these wonderful people to look after us. As for the moms themselves, we urge them to support and show appreciation for each other as well. How can they fete their own kind? We demonstrate how on pages 34 and 40. As you can see when you go through the pages, we’ve got a mixed bag of interesting reads for all of you, but they all have one unifying theme: they all prove helpful in fortifying the Filipino family!



Prom Pride

I just want to say how glad I am that Family Matters came out with something relevant to the JS Prom. Specifically, those articles on how one should conduct one’s self with decorum during this social event (“How to be the Perfect Date” and “A Night to Remember,” December 2014-February 2015) were really helpful in teaching boys and girls the protocol to be observed—from the right way to ask a girl out to how boys should demonstrate respect and gallantry toward their date. Truly, even parents can’t help but smile in fond memory of their own JS Prom a million years ago, and we’d like our children to look back on their own prom night as a magical, innocent occasion where they had a wonderful time with someone special.

Volume 2 • Number 4 MARCH-MAY 2015 PUBLISHER Don Bosco Press, Inc. ADVISER Fr. Bernard P. Nolasco, SDB EDITOR Romelda C. Ascutia ART DIRECTOR Haidee Afable COLUMNIST Francesca Isabelle B. Sarmiento (Couples for Christ Foundation) CONTRIBUTORS Ansel T. Beluso Maridol Rañoa-Bismark Aileen Carreon Anna Cosio Rolando C. Delos Reyes II Excel V. Dyquiangco Cecilia Esperanza Gabriel Joshua M. Floresca Ruth Manimtim-Floresca Annabellie Gruenberg Stephanie Mayo Ross Valentin, M.D. DBPI-MMS PHOTOGRAPHERS Raymond S. Mamaril Ma. Patricia R. Baltazar PRODUCTION MANAGER Early A. Macabales CIRCULATION Don Bosco Press, Inc. HAIR & MAKEUP ARTIST Ranilo D. Gabor LEGAL COUNSEL Sapalo Velez Bundang & Bulilan Law Offices PRINTER Family Matters is a quarterly magazine published by Don Bosco Press, Inc. Antonio Arnaiz corner Chino Roces Avenues P.O. Box 1601 MCPO, 1223 Makati City Philippines All rights reserved © 2015 by Tell us what you think! Your news and views are welcome. E-mail us at All submissions become the property of FamilyMatters and will not be returned. Letters may be edited, and full names will be published unless otherwise specified by the sender.

Mario Luntoc

“A big thankyou for your great list of New Year’s resolutions for students! They’re practical, doable, and realistic. I’m all for them!” Joey

Holidays with the Family

Your holiday issue (December 2014-February 2015) really warmed my heart and brought home once again the importance of strengthening the traditions that bind the Filipino family, such as through happy celebrations of the Noche Buena and Media Noche. People may say that with their parents, siblings, or other relatives living in different countries, they have no way of coming together for the holidays. But we can still use the Internet and other modern communication technologies to hold a virtual party and keep up with each other’s lives. Let’s ensure that we pass on this beautiful family practice to the next generations even as the world seems to be giving the concept of family time less and less importance. Let’s remember to always keep Christmas simple, intimate, family-centered and, most important, Christ-oriented!

Faye Valencia

Alike but Different

I have twin boys so I read with interest your article “Two of a Kind” (December 2014-February 2015), and I must say it left me with much to think about. The biggest takeaway I got is that twins, no matter how incredibly alike they may look or act, are separate individuals. And as parents, it is our responsibility to cultivate their unique strengths and skills and not treat them as “one package.” In addition, although they look adorable dressed in similar clothes (I’m guilty of doing this!), we parents must give our twins the right to dress how they want when they are old enough to do so. Yes, our twins are not carbon copies of each other, and we must give them the chance to grow into individuals in their own right and live according to the plan God laid out for each of them.

Serena G. Yan MARCH - MAY 2015




Be a self-made

historian We appreciate who we are by valuing our history. BY FR. BERNARD P. NOLASCO, SDB

My Family. As they say, charity begins at home, start your historian’s expedition with your family, right at your own home. Ask dad and mom the names of their ancestors, as far as they can recall. Know their birthplaces, their occupations, and legacies they might have built. Describe briefly your siblings if you have any. My Name, My Origin. Casually ask your parents about your name, its meaning and the reason why they gave you your name. Check your Birth Certificate and study well the important information it tells you about yourself. My Birth Day. Ask your parents and some of your relatives what they can recall about the events happening in the country when you were born. How was the socio-political landscape during that time? How was the economic situation of the country? Who were the most popular personalities at that time in the Church, in politics, in entertainment? How was the situation of your family at that time? My Religion, My Faith. Ask your parents to show you your Baptismal Certificate. Get to know the church where you were baptized and the name of the priest who baptized you. Ask why you were baptized on that date and in that church. Look at the full names of your

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godparents and ask your parents why they chose them. Get hold of pictures taken during your baptism. My Spiritual Birth Place. Find the time to visit the church where you were baptized. Do a little research about the history of that church by interviewing the people working in the parish, or by talking to the parish priest himself. Take pictures, too. My Province, My City / Town. Learn the history of your province, and the city or town where you are presently residing. Although the internet may already provide you with some vital information about these places, it is still an exciting experience for every historian to know some details from personal interviews and from some personal explorations. Take pictures of the most important places and historical landmarks. My School. It will be very interesting to make a personal research about your school’s history. Know the story behind why your school was established in that particular locality. Who were the pioneers? Who were the prominent personalities who studied in your school? Take pictures, too. My Self. The protagonist in the story must have a personality. In all modesty and honesty, you have to describe who you are: your character and traits, your physical attributes, your interests and learnings, your achievements, and your future plans or dreams. Remember, my dear reader, only those who know how to appreciate history can truly build a more meaningful life. Start writing your history. And if you wish to share it with us, please email your work to

MARCH - MAY 2015





RIDE THE Cool ideas to beat the heat and have a fun, rewarding, and constructive summer! BY STEPHANIE MAYO

“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.” ― F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

When we hear the word

“summer,“ fun” comes to mind. The closing of the school year is immediately followed by the thrill and excitement of experiencing something new. Summer means longer days, freedom, family, friends, and adventure, and this makes us giddy with anticipation. But then you suddenly feel lost—because you haven’t planned anything yet! Perhaps you’re undecided with the countless possibilities of summer fun, or maybe you are clueless about what to do with your summer break. Don’t worry; here are some ideas on how to have a blast this summer!


Your summer vacation can be both enjoyable and productive. Make the most of it by enrolling in a summer class or workshop of your interest. This will

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Photos by DBPI-MultiMedia Services

wave! help enhance your skills and broaden your social circle. Some parents, in fact, see to it that their children are enrolled in a summer program this summer. “As a parent, we look after what our child needs—where she can enhance something inherent in her,” says Jon Magat, 38, a corporate communications assistant and father to 5-year-old daughter Aya. “If she loves singing or playing instruments, we might enroll her

in one of the many music classes. We also want her to learn tae kwon do to equip her with basic skills in self-defense.” Whether you’re into music, visual arts, sports, culinary arts, or dance, there are numerous summer activities you can choose from, ranging from one-day events to full-on summer courses. If you’re interested in taking up voice and stage performance lessons, for example, the Center for Pop Music Philippines offers courses for kids, teens, and adults. If you’re into the arts and wish to learn how to draw, paint, or make basic digital art pieces, you can sign up for a beginners’ or intermediate course at Young Artists’ Studio.

You can also check out Ayala Museum, which offers creative summer workshops. In 2014, they even conducted Asian-inspired arts and crafts sessions for kids 6 to 11 years old. For older kids, you might want to try your hand at filmmaking. The University of the Philippines Film Institute in Diliman offers summer courses on animation, basic photography, and scriptwriting. Theater, ballet, dance, television— wherever your interest lies, discuss it with your parents and do research online. Sites like www.thegomom. com/tag/summer-activities-forkids-in-manila and www.rappler. com/life-and-style/53950-summeractivities-2014 are just some of the places that provide comprehensive lists of summer activities being offered around the metro.


Let’s say that due to financial constraints, you can’t enroll in any of your desired summer classes. Don’t fret. You can still have a blast this summer! Go outdoors. Soak in that vitamin D by heading to the local park, museum, or nature center, which are usually free of charge or impose really minimal fees. You can also explore your very own hometown! “If you don’t have the money for a vacation this summer, make the most of it by exploring your town and

Make the most out of your vacation by enrolling in a summer class or workshop of your interest. MARCH - MAY 2015





Consider learning from your own family. Why enroll in a summer course when an expert family member or relative can teach you everything you need to know? Plus, this will even strengthen familial ties. After all, what could be more enjoyable than learning new stuff from the people you love? Mommy blogger Mildred “Millie” Manahan of www.NotYourOrdinaryMum. com has two boys, Jersey, 11 and Memphis, 10, who do just that. The boys are looking forward to their summer vacation this year when they plan to learn more about the things they love— in the comfort of their home. “I like taking photos,” Jersey says, “so I will ask Tito Mike to teach me how to capture the best moments. Like, I want

Confidence and timemanagement skills are some of the benefits to be gained from working this summer. all the towns around you,” says Jessica Booth in her online article “15 Fun Things to Do this Summer if You Have No Money.” “Too often, people don’t explore their own hometowns, and they miss out on a lot of really cool things happening right under their nose. If your hometown really is super boring, go somewhere close by that’s more interesting. I promise you’ll find something cool,” she adds. Learn something new by yourself. With the advent of YouTube and free online tutorials, you can learn D-I-Y activities practically on your own! So why not take advantage of these free lessons?

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to know how he does it with food or with people laughing or moving!” Memphis shares that he wants to be a chef someday and loves taking cooking lessons from his mother. “My mom is the best chef for me and she cooks delicious food. I want to know her secret!” Read, read, read. This is the perfect opportunity to bury yourself in books and escape to different worlds. Visit the local library and get lost in great adventures that money can’t buy. As Dr. Seuss says, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” A book is a portal to a different time and place; it is also a teacher and a friend. As American author Anna Quindlen aptly puts it: “Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home.”


This is not only an opportunity to earn money, but also an opportunity to meet new people and gain valuable experience for your future use. Confidence and time-management skills are also some of the benefits to be gained from working this summer. “High school students who work, even as much as part-time, are better off in many ways than students who sit out of the work force longer, and one of the key areas where working students excel is in confidence,” says Tara Struyk in her article “Top 5 Benefits of a Summer Job.” “Hanging around the house all summer may be a great way to relax, but it won’t contribute to your timemanagement skills,” adds Struyk. “Working will—and this is one skill that will help you both in college and as an adult.” So, what are you waiting for? Don’t let summer pass you by without making the most of it. You are in charge of your happiness and adventure this summer— make this year’s vacation a worthwhile and challenging! n


A matter of


The writer presents a convincing case for why virginity and chastity will never go out of fashion even in these do-as-you-please days.

Illustration by Haidee Afable


St. Philomena, St. Lucy, St. Rose of Lima: what do they have in common? They all chose to give up their lives and face gruesome deaths rather than lose their virginity, which they had already consecrated to God. Whenever I read the stories of these saints, I never fail to be amazed by their conviction and great love for God. I also cannot help but notice how times have greatly changed since their generation. In the old days, women of virtue protected their purity and treasured their virginity. They valued it and treated it as something sacred. Nowadays, virginity is thrown away so easily most of the time. Hollywood and the entertainment industry in general, as well as mainstream media, tell us that losing one’s virginity is a sign of liberation, and keeping it is a sign of MARCH - MAY 2015



Youth GROWING Tou ch m e not

Saving sex for marriage is more than just a rule, but is actually an expression of love—love for God, love for our future spouse, and love for our own selves.

Illustration by Haidee Afable

undesirability and inexperience, and is therefore something to be ashamed of. However, nothing could be further from the truth. When I was younger, my parents didn’t sit me down for a talk on human sexuality, but somehow I knew in my heart that saving sex for marriage is the way to go. It is sort of an unspoken rule, maybe because of the environment I grew up in and the Filipino culture, which is originally and predominantly conservative. Saving sex for marriage is the norm. This particular “rule” became clearer to me when I was in high school and the 10 commandments were discussed in more depth. Only then did I realize that saving sex for marriage is more than just a rule, but is actually an expression of love—love for God, love for our future spouse, and love for our own selves. When I realized this, I decided to save sex for marriage if God was indeed calling me for marriage someday. Of course, it was still too early to tell at that

time because I was only in high school. But I remember telling God, “Lord, please don’t let me lose my virginity before marriage. I’d rather lose any guy (boyfriend) in the future than to lose it.” And I’ve been praying this prayer since then.

You see, 100% chastity is easier to achieve than 50% chastity, because you are not constantly teasing yourself and inviting temptation. 12 FamilyMatters

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I’m going to be very honest with you and admit that although, yes, God has always given me the grace to keep my virginity for 26 years now, I can’t say I haven’t done anything I’d rather not do if Jesus were watching. I wasn’t following God’s standards; I was merely following my own standards, which were surely lower than God’s. And I felt that He wasn’t impressed. So, after being involved in a few less-than-chaste relationships, I realized that saving one’s virginity wasn’t enough; I wanted to be chaste, because virginity and chastity are not always one and the same. You see, not all virgins are chaste and not all who are chaste are virgins. For instance, before their conversion, St. Augustine had a child out of wedlock, St. Pelagia used to be a prostitute, and St. Margaret of Cortona lived in with her boyfriend. These saints weren’t necessarily virgins, but they converted later on and started to live chaste lives. This is something that I always share with the young people I encounter— that even if one has made mistakes in the past and lost one’s virginity, or in some cases one’s virginity was stolen or taken away, it is still possible to start anew and save one’s self for one’s future husband or wife. God makes

Photo by DBPI-MultiMedia Services

I realized that saving one’s virginity wasn’t enough; I wanted to be chaste, because virginity and chastity are not always one and the same.

this possible through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. And the good news about chastity is that it’s a choice anybody can make regardless of one’s past— virgin or not. It doesn’t end there, however. As St. Josemaria Escriva said, “Conversion is the matter of a moment. Sanctification is the work of a lifetime.” There will always be temptations to break the resolve we have made, but God always gives us the grace to not be overcome by them. The key is to remain in God’s grace and to constantly deepen our relationship with Him, because our relationship with God is the most important relationship we can ever have.


I’m not going to give you a detailed list on how to remain chaste. I’m just going to share with you one important tip that has been working for me and my boyfriend right now. I’m really blessed to be in a courtship with someone who shares the same values I have—someone who is not only willing to wait for me, but is also willing to wait with me. We have both decided to save not only sex,

but other sexual activities as well, for marriage. You see, 100% chastity is easier to achieve than 50% chastity, because you are not constantly teasing yourself and inviting temptation. Instead of asking “how far can we go?” we ask “how close can we get to being totally chaste?” This way, not only do we keep sexual temptations at bay, we also get to find creative ways to express our love for each other without having to be sexually intimate. We also look for opportunities to serve God together, to grow in character, and develop the virtues we would later need in building a strong marriage. As a woman, this means a lot to me because I can tell that this man cares for my soul, and I can be sure that he isn’t just after my body but truly loves me for who I am.


As you can see, what the mainstream media has been telling us about virginity and chastity is a lie. It is not true that virginity and chastity are outdated. Some things never change even in the 21st century. Virginity and chastity still matter

because authentic love still matters and it always will. When we meet our spouse at the altar someday, wouldn’t it be nice when we can sincerely say: “I’ve loved you even before I met you. I have been saving myself for you for (insert number of years here), but you know what? The long wait and all the sacrifice are worth it... YOU have always been worth it.” It may sound cheesy, yes, but I’m pretty sure that those who used to mock you for choosing to remain a virgin until marriage or for choosing to be chaste would give anything just to be in your shoes at that very moment. So if you’re a virgin reading this article right now, I’d say congratulations! I understand what a struggle it is to stick to one’s convictions in the kind of society we live in right now, so keep it up! But if you’re no longer a virgin and yet you have decided to live a chaste life from now on, I’d say congratulations, too! You have just started on the road to a more fulfilling, guilt-free, emotional baggage-free, Godglorifying life! You are also on your way to finding authentic love! As St. John Paul II said, “Only the chaste man and the chaste woman are capable of true love.” n

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Kim Chiu

happiness FINDS

14 FamilyMatters MARCH -- MAY MAY 2015 2015 FamilyMatters MARCH

All photos courtesy of ABS-CBN

The rising star opens up about her painful childhood and about finding healing by letting go of the past and believing in God’s purpose for her.

Check out Kapamilya

actress Kim Chiu’s Twitter account (@ prinsesachinita), and one of the first things that strike you is the phrase “Everything happens for a reason”—in all caps. Yes, the 24-year-old top endorser posted her favorite saying in all-capital letters because she sees God’s hand in every little thing she does. “May dahilan si God kung bakit pinagdaanan natin [ang mga pangyayari]. Ito’y para i-prepare tayo sa future [God has a reason for letting us go through things. He wants to prepare us for the future],” she said at the press con of Star Cinema’s romantic-comedy film Past Tense with regular screen partner Xian Lim and comedienne Ai-Ai de las Alas. The mention of God matches Kim’s description of herself to her 559,000 Twitter followers: actress/model/ endorser/performer/businesswoman/ dreamer/God-fearing. Because she believes in someone up there, Kim doesn’t think twice about helping people who are less blessed than she is. Kim doesn’t talk about how she led relief operations in Marikina and her home province of Cebu to help the

“Dapat ka maging humble at huwag mo ilagay sa utak mo kung saan ka man ngayon. Gusto ko pag-alis ko or pagtalikod ko, maganda ang sinasabi ng tao sa akin.”

“May dahilan si God kung bakit pinagdaanan natin ang mga pangyayari. Ito’y para i-prepare tayo sa future.” victims of super typhoon Yolanda in 2013. She not only gave food and water, Kim had a week-long auction of her expensive clothes to raise relief funds. Her charity work also extends to the poor people of Isla Pulo in Navotas. Instead of throwing a big birthday bash for herself, Kim gathered her many loyal fans in a place along Tomas Morato, Quezon City and treated them to a night of food, fun, games, and gifts galore. Needless to say, the fans went home with a smile on their faces. That’s because their idol knows the value of saying thank you, and has the

humility to recognize that she won’t be where she is now without her supporters. “Dapat ka maging humble at huwag mo ilagay sa utak mo kung saan ka man ngayon. Gusto ko pag-alis ko or pagtalikod ko, maganda ang sinasabi ng tao sa akin [“You have to be humble and not let where you are now go to your head].”


True enough, in April last year, her coworkers praised Kim for being a real trouper for deciding to return to the Ikaw Lamang taping hours after x-ray tests showed that her nose injury after a road accident was minor. Yes, her nose bled, but there were no broken bones or torn ligaments.  Kim was sleeping in the back of her van when the accident happened. Her driver slammed on the brakes to avoid an oncoming jeepney. Kim fell off the seat and hit the metal support of a table. Kim could have just called in sick, and her director and costars would have understood. But she knew the show must go on because everything was set, and the bit players’ income depended on the taping pushing through. This discipline and feet-on-theground attitude must have stemmed from a difficult childhood. It’s the stuff tearjerkers are made of. After Kim’s dad and late mom parted ways when she was 9 years old, the actress and her siblings moved from one place to another in the Visayas until they ended up in Cebu city.   Kim owes much, if not all, of her upbringing to her paternal grandmother who took care of her as a child because she had lost touch with her parents while growing up. MARCH - MAY 2015






That deprivation pushed Kim to try her luck with ABS-CBN’s first PBB (Pinoy Big Brother) Teen Edition in 2006, enduring long hours waiting in line with other teens. The then 16-year-old’s simple, cute ways won the viewers’ hearts. She got along with her fellow house mates and was never nominated for eviction. No wonder she got the highest votes and emerged grand winner after 42 days inside the Bahay ni Kuya. Doors have since opened for her. Kim teamed up with Gerald Anderson, himself a product of PBB. The love team called Kimerald was a smash hit. Kim and Gerald proved their star power in the box office hit Paano Na Kaya?, a romantic drama and their second film together. The chemistry between the two made fans swoon and scream at the top of their voice. Few people were surprised when the duo’s romance transitioned from reel to real. It was not meant to last, though, and Gerald is now happy with girlfriend Maja Salvador. Kim and Maja have since gotten over their hurt feelings and are civil to each other. Rightly so, Kim would rather move on instead of dwell on the might-have-

beens. She has since partnered with Xian Lim for a new love team——and KimXi has hit the jackpot. The team-up, which started on the teleserye My Binondo Girl, spawned top-grossing rom-coms Bakit Hindi Ka Crush ng Crush Mo? and the 2014 Yahoo! Celebrity Movie of the Year Bride for Rent. The ever-vigilant KimXi fan clubs all over the country bagged the Fan Club of the Year award that same year from the same award-giving body. The biggest winner of the annual Yahoo Celebrity awards, however, is Kim. She bagged not one, but four awards in the fan-driven event: Celebrity

“Ang regret ko ay hindi ko masyadong napahalagahan si Mama at Papa. Nandoon ang galit ko siguro at tanong kung bakit nila kami iniwan.” of the Year, Actress of the Year, Movie of the Year (Bride for Rent), Teleserye of the Year (Ikaw Lamang), plus the honor of being one half of the love team whose followers won Fan Club of the Year.


Unlike other stars who let fame and fortune go to their head, success has not blinded Kim to what matters most— family. She is working extra hard for a house she’s building for them and is making up for the many years she spent away from her dad. It was Kim who made peace with her dad after she searched for and found him in San Jose, Occidental Mindoro, where he has a second family. The actress is not afraid to admit that she is sorry for the way she took her parents for granted when she was much younger and didn’t know any better. She

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had not talked to her dad for five years before they reconciled in 2013. “Ang regret ko ay hindi ko masyadong napahalagahan si Mama at Papa. Nandoon ang galit ko siguro at tanong kung bakit nila kami iniwan (My regret is that I didn’t value Mama and Papa. Perhaps it was because I felt angry that they abandoned us).” If Kim can finally open up about her dysfunctional childhood after years of silence, it’s because she has finally come to terms with the past. “Life is short. Kalimutan na ang dapat kalimutan. Sayang lang ang mga taon na dapat nagsama-sama kami nang isang

pamilya. Nasayang yung mga taon na iyon na sana ay magkakasama kami. Sana mas nagkaroon ako ng father figure kung hindi ko sana siya blinock noon sa buhay ko, saka yung mommy ko rin [Let’s forget what must be forgotten. I regret the years when we should have been together as a family. The years we were not together as a family was such a waste. I could have had a father figure had I not blocked my dad from my life, as well as my mom.].” But Kim is healing from the wounds of separation. She has learned that it’s never too late to forgive and forget, to start all over again. In so doing, Kim is not only setting an example for other young people who look up to her, she is also proving that no matter how far you go in life, it’s not the awards or the box office receipts that make you happy,  it’s coming back to where it all began— the family. n  




RGANIZER The life of an events planner requires grit and grace under pressure. BY EXCEL V. DYQUIANGCO

Given the choice, Cheska Sarausad would have wanted to become a prima ballerina. But since the world of arts is sadly not too well patronized in the country, she gave up her dream and went into events planning and management. “I just didn’t want to be sitting in an office from nine to five,” she explains. “I wanted to dress up nicely and put on makeup. So I basically took my lifestyle and applied it to this kind of work.” She took up Organizational Communications at U.P. Manila since she felt that this was the course most aligned to a profession in events organizing. She had subjects that ranged from Advertising and Human Resources to Public Relations and even Theater Arts as an elective. “We tackled presence and gestures and what clients would look for in a confident events manager,” she says. A NATURAL FIT

With her love of communicating with people and performing before an audience, creating and managing

Cheska (left) may look fragile and easygoing, but it takes nerves of steel and strong organizational skills to pull off big events.

events has been a natural part of Cheska’s life since her younger years, when she would organize birthday parties and anniversary celebrations. But only in her third year at university did she realize how this “hobby” could be turned into a career. Her graduating year saw her getting involved in what she considers her first “major” event—an annual contest for their department for which she had to

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plan the activities and choreograph the dance. “It was stressful, but I believe that I’m already used to the stress,” she says of that time. “The discipline I got from ballet has transcended into my working principles.” After college she worked for two years for two different companies successively. Four years ago, she decided to work on her own to be able to do the things she has always wanted to do, including establish her own costume shop. “It also came at a time when our house needed renovations so I volunteered to help out,” she says. “Plus, being freelance means that the pay is a wee bit higher—the clients pay me upfront. I require a down payment, but when the client is [a regular one], they can just pay me after the event.” Word has gotten around about her work. It also helps that she had a lot of connections during her college days, so looking for clients is not that difficult, since they are already familiar with her work ethics.

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Whether it’s a harness dangling from the ceiling, a truck literally soaring across the stage, or a flying trapeze artist, she can put it all together.

Cheska makes sure her staff, models, and talents are not overworked or pushed beyond human endurance.

“Within the four years that I have been doing freelance work, I am thankful that I have found suppliers who have the same sets of values I have—they tell me everything in black and white,” she says.


Cheska’s specialty is events logistics, in which she puts together all the materials and equipment needed by a client. Whether it’s a harness dangling from the ceiling, a truck literally soaring across the stage, or a flying trapeze artist, she can put it all together. “I hire a specific set of team depending on the requirements of the client,” she says. “If it’s a corporate party, I hire someone who is already attuned to that kind of event. If it’s for a birthday, I hire one who is knowledgeable about it. But for specific events, I have a regular team.” On her work style, she makes sure the whole setup is 99% finished come the big day itself. “I always have this rule that one-hour-and-a-half before the event, I am not doing anything anymore because guests will come in early,” she says. “Sometimes, clients would request for an added ornament on the stage at the last minute, so I still have the time to produce [it]. Plus it’s more relaxed this way. When your clients see you relaxed, they become more relaxed too.”

Brush with a fraudster As a freelance events planner and manager, Cheska Sarausad has had her fair share of challenges and “unwanted surprises.” Just this year she was involved with a supplier that reneged on their agreement. The supplier was supposed to send her pictures of the event’s setup. When this didn’t happen, she just shrugged and smiled—a big mistake on her part. When she called up the supplier’s office sometime later, no one was picking up. She left several messages until a person on the other end of the line replied that the supplier was “hosting” an event. During this time, she was also informing the client of the situation. The client then asked someone to check out the warehouse of the supplier, which turned out to be a townhouse. “I was very unhappy,” she says. “That day, I felt ashamed but I had to suck it up. I have learned that this is just one prime example of crisis management. I informed my client about it, and if your client knows your predicament, she’ll always help you, which in this case, she did.”

She’d rather go with little sleep days before the event than troubleshoot on the day itself to avoid unnecessary stress. She also makes sure the models take breaks as well— there is a physical limit to everything, after all. When they forgo eating, for instance, they tend not to look and feel their best. “I always tell them to take their break or I would fire them,” she says in jest. “I need them to be at their prime and optimum.”


In her years as an events planner, Cheska has learned to put integrity and honesty at the core of her work principles. “In the case of honesty, I am very transparent so I tell my clients upfront what they need to hear,” she says. “In the case of integrity, it

Top: Cheska’s job has her rubbing elbows with celebrities like Rodjun Cruz; bottom: an old photo of her during her ballerina days.

In her years as an events planner, she has learned to put integrity and honesty at the core of her work principles. is how I work when no one is watching. For instance I feel sad when the supplier hasn’t arrived yet, but this is something that I have to tell my client.” Another lesson that she has taken to heart is to regard everything that happens during a project as being just a part of her line of work. “I don’t have qualms if you don’t like me or I don’t like you, but at the end of the day, we’re okay and I respect that,” she says. For those who’d like to go down a similar career path, she has this to say: “First, do free work, and [have it] documented so you have a portfolio. Second, apprentice to someone who is doing it. Third, discover your niche market.” n MARCH - MAY 2015





y m e n e r f Y M

How to recognize and deal with toxic friendships. BY GABRIEL JOSHUA M. FLORESCA

Have you ever been

in an uncomfortable friendship with someone? Was there a time when you felt uneasy even among supposed friends? I once had a schoolmate who told me he didn’t feel good whenever he was with his friends. He confided how his barkada often made fun of him, causing him much stress and sense of helplessness. After several months, I was glad to see him start to realize that he need not endure this kind of treatment, and begin to hang out with others who respected and valued him. According to child psychologist Sabrina Tan, Ph.D., “frenemies” are those who are either really enemies

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pretending to be friends or really friends who are at the same time rivals. “Some signs that you are with a frenemy is if there seems to be a lack of trust in the friendship (e.g., you’re not sure what your friend will do or not do, or say or not say); if time and again, you and your friend ‘betray’ each other or do unkind things to each other and then become friends again; and if your friend is someone who on purpose makes you feel uncomfortable, insecure, and embarrassed,” she says.


Toxic friends are those who are unreliable, unsupportive, and

Photos by DBPI-MultiMedia Services

unkind most of the time. They take for granted the good things you do for them and even go as far as to abuse and humiliate you in front of others. I believe that one must seek out healthy friendships because they are important to a healthy social life, and that choosing to stay in a bad one may not only do damage to yourself, but also to your relationships with other people. So how can young people like us learn to differentiate between friend and foe? Tan says it is important to remember not to use the word frenemy randomly. “The type of friendship that is formed between persons is also dependent on their individual characteristics as well as their development stage,” she explains. For example, a five-year-old who is acting like a frenemy may just need to be taught more appropriate behavior, while a 12-year-old may have more negative intentions towards the other person and may be a more “serious” frenemy. “On the other hand, someone who is very emotionally sensitive or anxious may take the actions of another as ‘frenemy-worthy’ but, in truth, may be a misinterpretation of the person’s actions,” adds Tan. “The bottom line is there can be different degrees with varying severity of what a frenemy is, and sometimes there can be misinterpretations of what is really happening in the friendship.”


According to Tan, there are ways to

Should parents intervene in their child’s unhealthy friendships?

e u c s e r HE T TO

Child psychologist Sabrina Tan, Ph.D., who conducts assessments at the Ledesma Clinic for neurophysical services and performs child therapy interventions at her private practice in Mandaluyong City, advises parents to discuss the situation with their child to really understand not just what is happening but also the child’s emotional processing of the circumstances. “The child may have personal or emotional reasons as to why he or she is staying in a friendship with the frenemy. It would be important to hear out the child and understand where he or she is coming from so that the best solution or plan of action can be taken.” She adds, “Depending on the age level and the type of frenemy, parents should give the child a chance to handle his or her own social challenges to learn from them and grow through the process. This is, of course, considering that it’s a typical or harmless situation among children, and not a severe bullying situation, and given that the child is of the right age and has the right skills to handle the social challenge on his or her own.”

handle toxic friendships. Talk to your friend about how you feel. Ask him or her to stop doing the things that make you feel uncomfortable, or tell the person how hurtful it is to have your trust betrayed. Try to resolve issues together as friends. Talk to an adult you trust about your frenemy situation. The adult may be able to help you gain perspective on what is happening and collaborate with you on helpful solutions. Don’t be a frenemy in turn. Don’t do unto others what you do not want others to do unto you. Be the bigger person and

act like a friend—then it’s up to the other person to reciprocate accordingly. Reflect on why you are in this friendship. If you value your friend and still want to continue the relationship, then do so. Sometimes, some people seem mean, unkind, or competitive because they are struggling with internal issues or other problems. As a friend, you can offer to help the person overcome these and change for the better. But if you are staying in the friendship only for social status, peer pressure, or other similarly superficial reasons, then it is helpful to talk to another friend or an adult about the reasons you regard friendships in this way. Then you can start to forge ties that do not compromise your values and that fulfill your wish to have something deeper.  “At the end of the day, children should develop and surround themselves with healthy, adaptive friendships full of all the ‘good stuff,’ such as trust, integrity, honesty, care, concern, helpfulness, dependability, compromise, and forgiveness.” states Tan. “If the friendship a person is in constantly lacks in these values, then it may be time to re-evaluate the relationship.” n

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special report

Gender Issues The author probes the issue of whether homosexuality is a case of nature vs. nurture.

What is the role of adults in guiding youngsters as they find their way toward self-identity?

By Rolando C. Delos Reyes II, MA Ed. RGC

By Annabellie Gruenberg

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How should parents respond when their child shows signs of being attracted to the same sex? By Ansel T. Beluso

special report

Gender Issues

Illustration by Haidee Afable

Born this way? The author probes the issue of whether homosexuality is a case of nature vs. nurture. By Rolando C. Delos Reyes II, MA Ed. RGC While homosexuality is a topic that is not talked about much in Christian circles, it is an issue that is glorified in popular mass media and is thus difficult to dismiss. When personalities “come out,� they influence our young people to rethink on their gender identity and sexual orientation, and caring adults are left to ignore, condemn, accept, or recognize the gender insecurity that some of our children are facing.



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special report

Gender Issues

Born that way

Inborn theories claim that homosexuality is something one is born with. Some of these theories include Simon LeVay’s postulate (1991) that the group of neurons called the interstitial nuclei of the anterior hypothalamus (INAH3) of the brain is larger in heterosexual men than in homosexual men, suggesting that “sexual orientation has a biological substrate.” Others are Pillard and Bailey’s twin study (1991) that notes a higher incidence of shared homosexuality among identical twins (52%) than among fraternal twins (22%); and findings by Swedish researchers at Stockholm Brain Institute at Karolinska Institute (2008) that point to key similarities in the brain scans of homosexual males and heterosexual females, offering evidence that sexual orientation may be hardwired into the neural circuitry. As revealing as they sound, these theories are flawed in three areas: the researchers’ objectivity, the cause and effect of the results, and the repeatability

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of the results. Did the researchers approach the study objectively, or did they already assume conclusions prior to the conduct of the research? Some of these researchers are openly practicing homosexuals, and may have wanted to legitimize their behavior by proving that being gay is being born that way. Furthermore, it has yet to be determined if the results were the cause or the effect of homosexuality. Since most of these studies are about brain structures, one can question if the differences noted can be attributed as evidence of being born gay, or regarded as changes resulting from the anatomical response to homosexual or heterosexual

experiences. Can the study be repeated and yield the same results? Studies on the inborn theory of homosexuality have been replicated by other researchers, but they failed to arrive at the same conclusions.

Nurtured that way

Developmental theories claim that homosexuality is a result of a combination of familial and societal factors that impedes normal gender and sexual development. Some of these theories are Irving Bieber’s study on family histories (1962) that reports that 69% of homosexual subjects have mothers with restrictive and binding behavior; Elizabeth Moberly’s proposal (1986) that homosexuality arises from a deficit in same-sex parent relationship; Joseph Nicolosi’s reparative therapy (1991) that subscribes that non-gay (non-practicing) homosexuals can choose to repair a damaged sense of self and/or same-sex intimacy; and Janelle Hallman’s postulate (2008) on defensive detachment in her work with female homosexuals, where she describes female homosexuality as a possible offshoot of negative motherdaughter dynamics. Essentially, developmental theories tell us that gender-insecure children experience an unsatisfactory relationship with their same-sex parent, whether

Models for illustration purposes only.

Let us visit two of these diametrically opposed theories on the causality of homosexuality, or more properly termed by Church-based groups as same-sex attraction.

Studies on the inborn theory of homosexuality have been replicated by other researchers, but they failed to arrive at the same conclusions.

actual or perceived, leaving them with a deep homo-emotional need for samesex bonding, which is involuntarily sexualized in an attempt to repair this damage. The National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality ( leads us to an in-depth discussion on this. Nonetheless, one must take caution to apply these theories to all persons with same-sex attractions, adding that inborn traits may make some people more susceptible to the sexualization of unmet homoemotional needs.

Change: difficult but possible

The clash between inborn and developmental theories can be summed up into this: When it is proved that one is born gay (or lesbian), then homosexual persons cannot change, and thus homosexual relationships and behaviors must be unconditionally accepted. However, a critical mind must admit that being “born gay” does not mean that being gay is normal or healthy, in the same way that being born with a congenital heart disease is neither normal nor healthy. One just needs to reflect on recent statistics on the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) in our country (, which show that 75% of persons infected with HIV are homosexuals and bisexuals.

Can we thus honestly say that living the homosexual lifestyle is healthy? Can we consider then that if one was “made gay” by a mixture of family and societal influences (notice how the number of persons with same-sex attractions increases with the openness and promotion of homosexuality in modern

Being “born gay” does not mean that being gay is normal or healthy, in the same way that being born with a congenital heart disease is neither normal nor healthy.

culture), then it is behavior-based and therefore can be changed? This change may be achieved in two ways: chastity and reorientation. This change is subjective, dependent upon the willingness of the person to go through a painful and difficult process. This process entails doing the following: stop the cycles of sexual addiction and emotional dependency; face traumatic memories of childhood, grieving for losses and making amends for sinful reactions; and rebuild one’s life through supportive and accountable relationships, discerning and fulfilling vocation, and growing in adult creativity and stewardship. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of selfmastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.” “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor robbers will inherit the Kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.” -1 Corinthians 6:9-11 n

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special report

Gender Issues


SUPPORT What is the role of adults in guiding youngsters as they find their way toward self-identity? By Annabellie Gruenberg

MARCH - MAY 2015 FamilyMattersMARCH 26FamilyMatters - MAY 2015 26

“Sexual orientation” refers to the attraction of an individual to a particular gender. The attraction may be physical, emotional, or sexual. Despite decades spent by experts trying to establish a link between sexual preference and genes or hormones, brain anatomy, cultural influence, and environment, they have yet to come up with anything conclusive, and studies on this subject are thus ongoing. Actually, from infancy till about 5 years of age, children do not have a sense of gender. They are aware of the difference between their parents based on the roles the partners assume, not

because of their gender. Until the age of 3, most children can only address themselves as “I,” not yet able to regard themselves as either “he” or “she.” The predisposition toward a particular gender preference and sexual orientation may manifest once children go to preschool and start to socialize. At around the age of 7, children may have a budding sense of who they are, and notice that he or she is “different” from others. Normally, without the influence of media or societal standards, it is around adolescence—when puberty sets in—that children develop a

individual but an adult who possesses and lives by good values and principles. He or she has integrity and a sense of responsibility. He or she is a positive influence who can identify and develop the potentials in a young person. He or she is someone who can give proper guidance, especially during the crucial years of adolescence when a teen’s sense of self and sexuality awakens. Models for illustration purposes only.

greater awareness of their sexuality and preference—and it can be a very confusing and frightening stage! At around 14 years or older, teens may endeavor to sort out their feelings, and get stressed, anxious, or fearful with their self-discoveries. They may try to hide their discoveries for fear of encountering prejudices, discrimination, rejection, or violence.

regarding gender issues to be made accessible to the public, and to organize regular educational forums, workshops, and dialogues on the subject. These are the basic steps in developing role models. Then the youth can have people and places to go for proper guidance and help. Our objective is to be able to address gender-identity concerns of young

A good role model is not a flawless or perfect individual but an adult who possesses and lives by good values and principles.

The importance of role models

Photos by DBPI-MultiMedia Services

Three main areas where most people fear rejection are the home, school or work, and church, and I believe, too, that these are the places where young people look for real-life role models. While role models may or may not exert an influence over a ward’s sexual preference, how they behave around the youth may have a direct connection to how the child accepts, acts out, or handles his or her orientation. If these struggling children encounter adult biases and prejudices, they may develop negative feelings about themselves and feel disempowered, which could lead to more serious psychological and emotional problems. Here is where having good role models for children is crucial. A good role model is not a flawless or perfect

It is important that the adults around adolescents avoid the following: giving judgment, degrading comments, labeling, stereotyping, and taking an abusive or threatening attitude to “straighten” them out. Instead, adults directly involved in rearing children must educate themselves about the different genders, have the openness to engage in conversations, and even seek counseling from professionals on their personal struggles and perceptions and to equip themselves with the skills to handle gender issues. It is also the responsibility of society through the government and advocacy groups to have materials and services

people and work with them in such a way that they develop a sense of their real, authentic self. This way, they are able to gain freedom that is tempered with responsibility, they are able to channel their energies to more creative activities, and they are able to give their best without fear and anxiety. What we want is to see them grow up respecting themselves, having integrity, and steeped in dignity. We want them to grow up to become productive and creative people. If we can do this, it is not only empowering to the youth as they strive to define their identity, but it is also empowering to the adults for having successfully led them out of their confusion. n MARCH - MAY 2015



special report

Gender Issues

When your child is


How should parents respond when their child shows signs of being attracted to the same sex? By Ansel T. Beluso

MARCH - MAY 2015 FamilyMattersMARCH 28FamilyMatters - MAY 2015 28

One of the most difficult and painful challenges for Christian parents is when they begin to notice in their growing child what appears to be same-sex attraction. Most parents are usually at a loss on what to do and, out of a sense of helplessness, seek solace in prayer. But prayer alone can hardly begin to unravel, much less respond to, the complex web of issues involved. As an ex-gay who, purely by the grace of God’s Spirit, has slain his homosexual demons, I am usually asked by many distressed and distraught parents, especially of gender-confused adolescents, how to respond and help

their children. Actually, I do not claim to have the right answers, believing that there is no formula that will work for all cases. Also, no one can really secondguess the workings of the Spirit, much less know for sure the divine dimensions of faith and the human dynamics of how to operate one’s relationship with God. Having said that, here is what I usually say to parents who have a gay child: “First, Love him. Second, love him. Third, love him.”

The power of love

First, love him. This means accepting your child. This means reassuring your child that you continue to love him and are there for him whatever happens. More crucially, you must realize that your first obligation is to love your child—not only when he is lovable, but most especially when he is most unlovable. This means figuring out a lot of things about your child and correcting whatever wrongful responses you may have to your child’s same-sex attraction. Surrender to God your disappointment, anger, mourning, fear, shame, frustration, and helplessness, as you also pray to be shown how best to help your child. Second, love him. This means understanding your child and his situation. This also means joining your child in his journey. Have long conversations with your child. Understand not only what he says but also what he does not say. Avoid judgment. Do not correct yet. Just listen. Go to where he is at. Ask questions as you seek to understand, not condemn.  Together with him, read up on homosexuality from sources that are consistent with your Catholic faith. Also, peruse what the Catechism of the Catholic Faith says about homosexuality. Quite importantly, actively avoid information from secular sources because they will only confuse and confound you. Also, do not feel dejected when you find conflicting advice and insights even from Catholic sources. Continue to discern where God is leading you. Third, love him. This means helping your child chart out a path of life that is righteous and leads to change and

transformation in Christ. Your goal is not to make your homosexual child heterosexual; your goal is to help him seek the path of Christ. Your child does not need cure; what he needs is healing.

Is change possible?

The answer is yes. The Catechism of the Catholic Church instructs us: “Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.”

The truth is that any degree of change toward greater peace, satisfaction, and fulfillment, and less shame, depression, and darkness, is change well worth pursuing. For most homosexuals who seek change, heterosexuality is not the ultimate goal—joy is. For them, joy is not based on sexuality alone, but on living a life consistent with their faith and relationship to God. Homosexual men and women who actually seek change are often quite content with this—to be free from the constant pull of homosexual desires, to live a blessed single life of chastity and grace. Some even manage to have a

Homosexual men and women who actually seek change are often quite content with this—to be free from the constant pull of homosexual desires, to live a blessed single life of chastity and grace.

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special report

Gender Issues

Your first obligation is to love your child—not only when he is lovable, but most especially when he is most unlovable. happy marriage, to have children, and to live a life in line with God’s will, even if they still cannot control their limp wrist, their shrill voice, their soft gestures. For Catholic homosexuals, the desire has to be founded on the decision to satisfy one’s own yearning to follow Christ as the path to authentic joy and peace. Now, I’d like to tackle the supreme conundrum. How is change possible for a person struggling with same-sex attraction? Many homosexuals have sought to change unwanted homosexual feelings. Some have succeeded completely, others only in part or not at all. Many more have become frustrated when the results did not come as quickly or as completely as they had liked. Some give up, apparently convinced that nothing will ever work. Based on my experience and those of others who have succeeded, in effecting meaningful, sustainable change, roadblocks to change occur when the effort is not as broad or as comprehensive as needed—like, when one focuses all his efforts on just one aspect of healing (on spirituality, for example), but resists necessary work on overcoming estrangement from men and masculinity, or on healing emotional wounds, or on discovering and meeting authentic needs. Roadblocks also appear when the homosexual is unwilling to do whatever and everything it takes to change. So, to effect meaningful, sustainable change, we need to realize that homosexuality is not a single problem or conflict, but a complex group of problems that together produce

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homosexual attractions. Each of these problems must be dealt with individually.

Developing the inner male

Homosexuals need to develop their internal sense of manhood—their identity as a man who is like other men. They have to separate themselves from the female perspective, surrender whatever “gayness” they might have adapted, and reject their old passivity. In their place, homosexuals need to fully embrace and welcome a masculine identity, and access a new sense of personal power, strength, and courage. They also need to connect with the wider world of heterosexual men. They must overcome their prejudices against men, accept them as brothers, and claim their rightful place in the circle of men. As they grow in friendship and brotherhood with men, they must develop close and meaningful friendships and group associations that meet their authentic needs for masculine

Your goal is not to make your homosexual child heterosexual; your goal is to help him seek the path of Christ.

connection and mutual support. Here are some baby steps to achieve this. One, the gay person must make a conscious and deliberate effort to befriend and relate with men, especially those who embody traits he subconsciously envies. He must discover their weaknesses as well as their strengths, their struggles and fears as well as their talents and skills. Two, the gay person must work to develop more of the traits he admires in other men. Also, he must struggle to discover traits in himself that other men admire. Likewise, there should be the effort to accept things about oneself that one cannot change, such as height and basic body type, ethnicity, and heritage. Also, he must stop criticizing and comparing himself negatively to others; distance himself from a gay identity, gay associations, and gay culture; recognize that, in many ways, he becomes what he thinks and how he acts; be aware of any thoughts, actions and relationships that cause him to feel like “one of the girls”; focus not on his struggles and weaknesses, but on his strengths and growing confidence in his manhood; challenge himself to do more of the things that most men do and fewer of the things that most men don’t; watch how men dress, talk, act, and relate with other men and with women; discover for himself that meaningful admiration and affirmation from other men is earned by facing and overcoming challenges. The list is far from complete. One should discover ways to strengthen his resolve with the help of God. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. For homosexuals struggling to change, there is great hope. Change is possible, but only if you believe it and are willing to do everything to achieve it.  One final but very important note: Me, I am a happy husband to my wife and dad to our kids; but marriage is not the only possible vocation. For many homosexuals, single blessedness may be the righteous path to take. Single blessedness is not a lesser vocation. Like marriage and the religious life, it too has its own share of difficulties and challenges, but God makes sure to provide it also with immeasurable joy. n


The sanctity of

family and life As Catholics, we are being called upon to defend the family against attacks that undermine its divine purpose—to ensure the continuity of humankind. BY FRANCESCA ISABELLE B. SARMIENTO

“Humanity passes by way of the family.” - St. John Paul II, Familiaris Consortio Due to the constantly evolving dynamics of human relationships, the definition of the family as the most basic unit of society has also received its fair share of open-ended discussions. Although different types of families have indeed surfaced, the purpose of the family still remains. Through it, God causes for His plans to be transmitted—for us to prosper and to multiply in life and love. Looking at how the world dictates the family to be then, how far from or how close to God’s plans are we?

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On the 20th of September 2013, Pope Francis addressed the International Federation of Catholic Medical Associations and Catholic gynecologists and emphasized the upholding of the sanctity of life: “This is a commitment to the new evangelization that often requires going against the current, at a cost to the person. The Lord counts on you to spread the ‘Gospel of life.’” From this very important message, we respond as a lay missionary movement, where we believe that New Evangelization = spreading the Gospel of Life. The face of society continues to develop. Unfortunately though, as it progresses, we also use it as an excuse to rationalize our actions that essentially attack the very core of humanity by destroying the transmission of life through the family. This only reiterates the need to respond to the call to renew the family and defend life. As Catholics, we are tasked to safeguard our faith by protecting the family. Our advocacy to work for life means addressing the major conflict of this millennium; that is, to promote the culture of life against the culture of death. We are passionate for life. We work towards strengthening the formation of family and life. We focus on renewing and restoring marital intimacy in married couples. We promote a natural and healthy family lifestyle. We nurture and defend authentic womanhood. We work to educate and empower the laity as advocates in proclaiming the Gospel of Life. We are called to LIVE LIFE. n Francesca Isabelle B. Sarmiento is a lay missionary with the Live Life Ministry and the Couples for Christ Foundation for Family and Life.

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Masked beauties With these easy D-I-Y facial treats, holding a well-deserved at-home mommy sparty is a real breeze! BY RUTH MANIMTIM-FLORESCA

To say that we mothers are busy persons is

stating the obvious. And with all the multitasking we do every day, it’s hard to set aside time for ourselves, much less time with our gal pals. For Mother’s Day, why not gather your circle of mommy friends and hold a D-I-Y facial party in your home instead—it’s the best way to bond and unwind while getting your beauty boost all at the same time! Although skin experts recommend getting professional facials at least once a month to maintain your youthful glow, there are many face mask recipes you can also make at home. Claudia Samonte, M.D., section head of De Los Santos Medical Center’s Dermatology/Internal Medicine Department, shows us how to use common kitchen ingredients to come up with several skin-care recipes to try out with your closest friends at your beauty get-together.


What it’s good for: It helps promote soft and glowing skin. How-to: Mix a tablespoon of colloidal oats with a couple of teaspoons of warm water to form a thick paste. Spread over your clean face and leave to dry for 10-15 minutes. Rinse off with

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warm water, followed by a splash of cold water. This is also a great morning treatment to undertake regularly.


What it’s good for: Squash is loaded with vitamins A, C, and E, all known antioxidants that fight off wrinkles and slow down the process of aging. It is likewise rich in betacarotene, potassium, and zinc to help eliminate redness. How-to: Combine 2 tablespoons of organic pumpkin puree, ½ teaspoon organic honey, and ½ teaspoon milk (skim


“People who want to try these [recipes] should be free from skin conditions that are sensitive to natural products.”


What it’s good for: Banana contains vitamins A, B6, and C, plus zinc and iron, which all help decrease eye puffiness. Sooth the eyes and eliminate swelling around the eye area by mixing well 1 very ripe banana with 1 tablespoon of honey and 1 tablespoon of orange

Photo by DBPI-MultiMedia Services

milk, soy milk, or almond milk). Mix well. If using a fresh pumpkin, scrape the insides and remove the seeds. Beat the scraped flesh to a creamy pulp then directly mix into the honey and milk. Starting with a clean skin, apply the mash with your fingers or with a medium-sized makeup brush. Avoid getting this mixture too close to your eyes. Let the mask set for 15-20 minutes then gently wash off with warm water or remove with a warm damp cloth.

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IMPROVING or lemon juice. Apply around the eyes and leave for 10 minutes. Rinse off with lukewarm water. The high level of potassium in bananas acts as a sponge that removes excess fluid trapped under the skin and reduces swelling. For dry hands, mash two bananas and leave on clean hands for 20 minutes before rinsing.


Kitchen staples like carrots and honey can also come in handy during your spa party, according to Samonte, who is also a consultant at St. Luke’s Medical Center in Global City and Quezon

City, and owner of Aesthetic Concepts Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery Clinic in Quezon City. Carrot is good for improving uneven skin tone. To use, apply a carrot-based mask to the face using a mixture of juice from 1 carrot (pureed and strained), 2 tablespoons of honey, and 2 tablespoons of oatmeal. Leave on for 20 minutes then rinse. Honey acts as a great anti-aging agent and moisturizer, and has strong antibacterial and antimicrobial properties that help treat acne. Dab a pea-sized drop of raw, unprocessed honey over blemished areas and leave for 15 minutes.


“Although all of the above may contain very beneficial ingredients ranging from antioxidants to important vitamins and minerals, we should always be very cautious when using these products as alternatives to dermatologically tested ready-made products prescribed by our doctors because every patient’s skin is different,” reminds Samonte, who adds

that mild to severe skin reactions may occur in some individuals. “People who want to try these [recipes] should make sure that they prepare them in a clean, uncontaminated environment. They should also be free from skin conditions that are sensitive to natural products,” she counsels. “If you have existing atopic dermatitis [skin asthma], eczema, psoriasis, or other autoimmune, genetic skin conditions, I advise that you consult a dermatologist prior to using these D-I-Y treatments.” n

Make your home party-ready! Interior designer Denise Barbers, a mom of two and the owner of D2B, or Design 2 Build, grew up hosting simple gettogethers and parties in their home. “As part of the preparations, I make a checklist of what needs to be done, starting with the decorations all the way to the food preparations,” she says. Denise adds that the first thing to do is to set a theme, perhaps by asking your would-be guests for suggestions. “In the case of hosting a facial party, it’s best to have decorations that will complement, not overpower, the activity. A nice set of pastel colors would be a great example.” Once the theme and color scheme have been decided, she suggests either doing D-I-Y projects or buying packed decors to beautify the place. “D-I-Y projects are always a nice touch but are sometimes not so practical for full-time mothers and part-time hosts,” acknowledges Denise. “So you may want to set aside a day

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to scout in Divisoria for the best buys following your theme and color scheme. Another option would be your local flower shop, party package store, and Instagram followings.” For a facial party, she recommends doing the following: n Buy a nice cover for an easy-to-clean table. n Decorate the table top with pastel-colored tissue napkins and towelettes, and lay out additional mason jar containers for your skin-care tools. n Use simple flower arrangements as a focal point for your decorated space. They will create a conversation piece that will lighten guests’ mood. n Mix homemade sangria or fruit punch with or without light alcohol. n Prepare bite-sized snacks and easy-to-eat desserts in pretty containers for your friends to nibble on as they let their facial masks do their work. With these helpful tips, preparations can be more fun and organized. Denise says, however, that your beauty fest does not need to be perfect; it just needs to be enjoyed by all your friends—and yourself.

Snooze clues


Here’s why our kids and teens need lots of zzzz’s. BY ROSS VALENTIN, M.D.

When we were kids,

our parents ordered us to go to bed early in the evening and scolded us if we stayed up late. In the afternoons we were forced to take a nap with a warning that we would not grow tall if we did not sleep. Our parents perhaps instinctively knew, even without

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PREVENTION scientific data on hand, that sleep is a good thing for children. Fast forward to 40 years later, and sleep researchers are now affirming the importance of sleep to the overall wellbeing of kids. With their discoveries, they urge parents to make sleep a priority at home and make sure their children, especially those 3 years and younger, get sufficient and quality sleep every night.


memory consolidation and production of cerebral proteins needed for brain development occur during the deepsleep stage. On the other hand, the REM cycle of sleep—characterized by rapid eye movements, more dreaming and bodily movement, and faster pulse and breathing—plays a major role in developing the visual-related parts of the brain and the unlearning of unnecessary memories. Children who get sufficient and quality sleep every night turn out to have a longer attention span, better concentration, higher IQ, sharper memory, increased alertness, as well as better language, reading, and math skills for increased learning and better school performance. n Growth Tissue growth and the repair and healing of damaged cells take place during deep sleep. Growth hormones essential for physical growth and development are also released during this time. n Energy restoration and rest Sleep restores the energy levels of the body and provides the rest it needs after a whole day’s activity. n Improved overall social well-being Children with adequate sleep function at

Although nothing seems to be happening during sleep, research indicates it is actually a very active period in which many biological processes take place for the optimal mental and physical development of our children and teens. n Brain development

Photo by DBPI-MultiMedia Services

Neurobiochemical processes that directly affect learning and memory take place at different stages of sleep. In particular,

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their best when they are awake. They are calmer, happier, self-assured, and easy to be around with. They interact well with peers and adapt to social situations better.


Without enough quality sleep, problems with cognitive, behavioral, social, and physical development can ensue. Children who lack sleep tend to have attention deficits, memory lapses, concentration problems, poor mental alertness, impaired problem solving skills, and lower IQ. Recent data show that they exhibit language and reading problems and are developmentally delayed. They acquire knowledge more slowly and retrieve information poorly. Chronically sleep deprived children are found to be more impatient, impulsive, tense, unhappy, nervous, irritable, cranky, moody, and easily upset. They also tend to be less creative, lack motivation, and be less able to adapt and adjust to social situations. Children with sleep deficiency (particularly teens) tend to have emotional problems, encounter social

Although nothing seems to be happening during sleep, it is actually a very active period in which many biological processes take place for optimal mental and physical development.

problems with peers and family, and exhibit poor behavior. Research shows that adolescents who sleep less than eight hours a night are significantly more likely to engage in risky behaviors such as smoking, alcohol drinking, and substance abuse than those who have healthier sleeping habits. Lack of sleep can result in slowed or stunted growth. It is not uncommon to find children who lack sleep to be sickly because their immune function decreases with less sleep. Insufficient sleep also increases their risk for heart problems, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and irregular heartbeat. Studies show that sleep maintains the balance of the hormones that regulate appetite and glucose metabolism. Sleepdeprived children tend to have increased appetite and to become overweight or obese, with a predisposition to develop diabetes later on. Furthermore, lack of sleep is linked to depression, suicide, and ADHD. Moreover, the safety of teens is put at risk when they don’t get sufficient sleep. Teens that drive cars and lack sleep are at greater risk for road accidents because they have slower reaction times, are less alert, and may doze off while driving. It is easy to spot children with poor sleeping habits. They struggle to wake up in the morning, are mostly sleepy during the day, and feel tired even when not doing anything.


With the affordability of smartphones, tablet computers, 24-hour Internet service, and social media; increasing media consumption; and increasing school demands, most children hardly get the sleep they need. Here are some tips to ensure that your kids still get healthy shuteye. 1. Set a consistent sleep and wakeup time, even on weekends and vacations. Set up a bedtime routine (lasting around 30 minutes) the same time every night to signal to kids to wind down and prepare for sleep. This can include changing clothes,

How much sleep do kids need? The amount varies with each child and their age. The following is a general guide on the required amount of sleep for each age group. Newborns 1 to 4 weeks: Newborns 1 to 4 months: Infants 4 to 12 months: Toddlers 1 to 3 years: Preschoolers 3 to 6 years: Children 7 to 12 years: Teens 13 to 18 years:

15 to 16 hours a day 14 to 15 hours a day 14 to 15 hours a day 12 to 14 hours a day 10 to 12 hours a day 10 to 11 hours a day 9 to 10 hours a day

washing up, brushing the teeth, reading to them, playing soft music, or singing a little song. 2. Create a sleep-friendly environment. Keep the bedroom temperature comfortable—neither too hot nor too cold. Turn off or dim light sources and keep the bedroom quiet. Remove stimulating electronic devices (cell phones, computer tablets, music players, TV set) from the bedroom. 3. Make sure your children have regular exercise every day, but don’t let them exercise or play at least six hours before bedtime so as not to stir up

their energy levels. 4. Don’t make children go to bed hungry or too full. An empty or a painful stomach can keep them from falling asleep or wake them up later at night. If they are hungry, give light and healthy snacks such as foods that contain tryptophan like bananas, dairy products, peanut butter, yogurt, and whole-grain crackers. These are converted into a substance in the brain called serotonin that promotes sleep. 5. Avoid giving foods and drinks that contain caffeine such as chocolate, soft drinks, iced tea, or energy drinks within four to six hours of bedtime. Limit fluid intake at least 90 minutes before going to bed to prevent children from getting up at night to urinate. 6. Don’t allow children to watch anything frightening and inappropriate for their age to prevent nightmares and sleep difficulties. 7. Don’t let your child fall asleep while being held, rocked, or fed with a bottle or while nursing in order to learn to sleep on his or her own. 8. Don’t allow pets to sleep in their bedroom. Their unpredictable behavior can disrupt children’s sleep. 9. Teach kids a simple and quiet mind exercise such as counting backwards from 100 to one when they are having difficulty sleeping. 10. Address medical problems that can affect sleep, like asthma, ADHD, Down's syndrome, autism, and obstructive sleep apnea. Be aware also of medicines your children are taking that can keep them awake or cause stomach pain. Avoid giving these at night. 11. Be a good model to your kids. Set a regular and consistent sleeping schedule yourself. Always remember that when your children are getting sufficient and quality sleep every night, you are already creating a healthier and happier family and preparing a better future for your children. n

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Food gift ideas to help you make your mommy friends’ special day that much sweeter. BY CECILIA ESPERANZA

We moms certainly love being treated, pampered, and honored by our loved ones on Mother’s Day. But this occasion can also serve another wonderful purpose—for us to strengthen the circle of friendship with our married gal pals through presents of homemade goodies we lovingly created ourselves. Here are some gift suggestions to show your confidante, BFF, bosom buddy, or kumare how much you value and appreciate her enriching companionship and warm presence in your life.

Ingredients: 280 grams dark chocolate, 70% cocoa 11/4 cups cream 1 /4 cup unsalted butter

Chocolate Truffles

1. Chop chocolate and place in a large bowl. Makes about 50 2. Put cream and butter in a saucepan and heat gently until butter melts and cream reaches simmering point. Remove from heat and pour over chocolate. 3. Stir chocolate and cream together until you have a smooth mixture. Add flavorings of your choice to the truffle mix (divide the mixture between bowls and mix in liqueurs or other flavorings, a teaspoon at a time, to taste. Try bourbon, Grand Marnier, coconut rum, or the zest and juice of an orange), or leave plain. Cool and chill for at least 4 hours. Packaging tip: Place truffles in individual 4. To shape truffles, dip a melon baller in hot water foil or paper cases then arrange inside small, lined and scoop up balls of the mixture, then drop truffles boxes tied with ribbon. Keep in the fridge until onto greaseproof paper. Or lightly coat hands in flavorless oil (such as sunflower) and roll truffles between your palms. You could also use a piping bag to pipe rounds onto greaseproof paper. 5. Coat truffles immediately after shaping. Tip toppings into a bowl and gently roll the truffles until evenly coated, then chill on greaseproof paper. Try crushed, shelled pistachio nuts or lightly toasted desiccated coconut, or roll a truffle flavored with orange zest and juice in cocoa powder. To coat in chocolate, line

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you’re ready to give them.

a baking tray with greaseproof paper. Melt 100 grams milk, dark or white chocolate for 10 truffles. Allow chocolate to cool slightly. With a fork, pick up one truffle at a time and hold over the bowl of melted chocolate. Spoon the chocolate over the truffle until well-coated. Place on the baking tray then chill. 6. Store in the fridge in an airtight container for 3 days, or freeze for up to a month. Defrost in the fridge overnight.

Ingredients: 200 grams dark chocolate, cut into chunks 1 /2 cup butter, chopped 1 /4 cup muscovado sugar 1 /3 cup caster sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 egg, beaten 1 /3 cup whole pecans 1 cup all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking soda

Chunky Chocolate and Nut Cookies Makes 12

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Melt 85 grams chocolate in the microwave on high for 1 minute or over a pan of simmering water. 2. Beat in butter, sugars, vanilla, and egg until smooth. Stir in three-quarters of both nuts and remaining chocolate then add the flour and baking soda. 3. Heap 12 spoonfuls, spaced apart, on 2 baking sheets (don’t spread the mixture), then poke in the reserved nuts and chocolate. Bake for 12 minutes until firm then leave to cool on the sheets.

Packaging tip: Place cookies in clean, recycled coffee or tin cans wrapped in decorative paper. Adorn with ribbon, string, or trim.

Vanilla Sugar Makes 4 250-gram jars

Ingredients: 1 kilogram caster sugar 1 vanilla bean, split Mix the sugar and vanilla, then divide among small jars. It’s great to use in shortbreads, stir into coffee, or sprinkle over a sponge cake.

Ingredients: 1 tablespoon dried chili flakes 3 tablespoons dried thyme 2 tablespoons dried rosemary 4 bay leaves, crushed 1 teaspoon celery salt 2 tablespoons peppercorns

Spiced rub

Makes about ½ cup

This quick and simple rub can be used to marinate or season meat and vegetables. To make, mix all ingredients in a bowl then carefully transfer to a pepper mill or an airtight jar.

Packaging tip: Wrap in a vintage tea towel or cloth napkin, cinch with ribbon, and adorn with small ornaments.

Packaging tip:

Wrap in a native woven bag, pretty fabric bag, or cellophane bag and finish with a twine bow and a gift tag.

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OFF WE GO! Pack your bags and take off on that great family adventure you’ve been putting off. It’ll be a journey of rewarding life discoveries for sure! BY STEPHANIE MAYO

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It’s said that

“the family that plays together stays together!” And the best time to prove this truism is in summertime, when the kids are off from school and the weather is fantastic for outdoor adventures. We spoke to folks who go on a family vacation every summer. Why do they set great store by this tradition? What do they get out of it? Is it worth the time and money to invest in a family outing?


Family bonding is the top reason families go on a summer vacation. Ariel Aquino, 28, a copy editor, shares that there hasn’t been a single summer that his family did not go on a trip. “We make it a point to go on a summer vacation each year,” Ariel says. “What we look forward to is being away from the city and from work—not that we loathe working, but we could use a break from work and the hustle and bustle of the city. However, what we really look forward to in our family outing is that we get to bond together. That one is priceless. Experiencing and seeing new things only comes second.” Raul Galang, 51, a father to two daughters ages 19 and 13, says their regular summer vacations “preserve our close-knit family values in the midst of this time-constrained situation.” “In our family vacations, everyone makes a conscious effort to clear schedules and commitments to spend quality time together, away from

distractions of everyday duties and responsibilities,” he says. “It is the best way to rekindle love and make each other feel that they are important in our lives.” For Ma. Jemimah Alvarado, 34, a mommy to two kids, summer sojourns serve as a means for clan reunions. “When we spend our time in summer family activities, we make it bigger and happier by inviting our extended families,” she shares. “Before we book and decide on where to go, we make sure that everyone is coming and they agree on our planned itineraries!” Reynalyn Portes, 29, government employee and a mother to a 7-year-old daughter, shares that family bonding is so important in summer vacations that she insists on these rules: “Remove all the gadgets like tablets and cell phones that kids seem to be attached to nowadays. Make it a tradition to do something that all of you will remember. Go surf, shop, try the local cuisine…you should cherish every moment, engage in activities that you and your family can relive and tell over and over again.”  


Because they have amassed the experience, we sought advice from these veteran vacationers on behalf of those who are planning to go on their first outof-town trip.

Jemimah Alvarado on one of their big family summer vacations. This was taken at Puerto Princesa, Palawan in May 2012.

“Shared family memories and time spent together isolated from ordinary everyday activities help to promote these positive ties.” Jemimah says that they do research first before booking for accommodation at a hotel or any other venue for their summer vacation. “We read different reviews online and ask some of our friends who already know the place and have experienced [staying] there,” she explained. “Then, we look for the best deal!”

Jon Magat, 38, a corporate communications assistant manager and a father to a 5-year-old daughter, says, “I’d advise to check your budget first. It is important that we spend within our allowed budget so other necessary household expenses will not be compromised.” “Usually, if you are living in Metro

Christeena Dulce JavierAnsis and her family at Boracay getaway.

Jon Magat with wife Dianna Camille and their daughter Aya on vacation in Baguio.

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Reynalyn Portes with husband Edmon and daughter Princess Edrielle on their Hong Kong vacation in April 2013.

“Travel enriches you in such a short time and creates a footprint all over the world of the love and time spent in those places.” Manila and want to ease the heat of summer but have limited budget, a day trip to Tagaytay should be fine,” Jon adds. “If you have a slightly bigger budget, you can start looking at air fare promos that airlines offer, and book ahead for your summer getaway. You will be surprised to know that the fares are really affordable.” Christeena Dulce Javier-Ansis, 36, a freelancer and a mom to a 4-year-old, also has tips if budget is an issue. “You can settle for beaches that won’t require a plane ride,” she suggests. “There are wonderful beach resorts up north

Raul Galang with his wife, two daughters, and two relatives at the Grand Canyon in the U.S.

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(Baler, La Union, etc.) and down south (Batangas mostly) that can be reached by land. But if you have small kids, it is best to choose a resort that has a pool.”  


Susan Krauss Whitbourne, in the article “Fulfillment at any Age,” reported on the website Psychology Today that a study conducted by an international group of researchers at Purdue University in Indiana, U.S., led by Professor Xinran Lehto has concluded that family vacations “contribute positively to family bonding, communication and solidarity,

promoting what is called the ‘crescive bond’ (in sociological parlance, a ‘shared experience’).” “Shared family memories and time spent together isolated from ordinary everyday activities (school, work, and so on) help to promote these positive ties,” said the report. “Though family vacations can have their own share of stress, the benefits outweigh the risks, even in families that are not particularly close.” Reynalyn wholeheartedly agrees. “Summer activities nurture our family bonding, creating memories not only for my daughter, but for me and my husband as well,” she says. “We get to know each other more and this develops our character and unity as a family.” “It provides the much needed injection of life into the relationship that no amount of Facebook likes and status updates can ever do,” says Raul. “It gives us an opportunity to prove to everyone that we value each other.” He continues that it’s not that important how long or how far the journey is. “This could be a short weekend break in the countryside picking cherries and enjoying rural life, or a five-week long road trip to North America—what is important is the quality of the time spent together. I often refer to this as ‘our’ time.” Raul also reveals how traveling affects his family: “Travel enriches you in such a short time and creates a footprint all over the world of the love and time spent in those places.”


Sure, going on family vacations requires time and money, but with research, advance planning, and careful budgeting, you can do much to cut your costs. What’s more, the dividends from your efforts are enormous! After all, you’re investing in a treasure chest of shared experiences and unforgettable moments to last a lifetime. At the end of the day, the best people to spend your time and create memories with are the ones closest to your heart— your family. n


AQuick FIX

With the right tools and proper instructions, you can do some light home repair projects yourself and save a bundle on costs. BY EXCEL V. DYQUIANGCO

Now that you have your own home, you realize it also comes with a lot of challenges

and responsibilities that you can’t just pass off to the landlord like you used to. You have no one to call but yourself when the broken door knob keeps locking you in, the water won’t stop running whenever you flush the toilet,

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BUDGETING or the faucet dripping in the still night threatens to drive you crazy. Of course, the proper response in these cases is to call up or visit a home repair shop for expert help. But sometimes the fix-it guy isn’t available until next month, or you may not have the budget to spare. What to do? For many folks nowadays, necessity brings out their resourcefulness. If the problem seems simple enough, the solution may be in your own hands: do it yourself (D-I-Y)! According to the website, “[Practicing preventive maintenance] can seem like a lot of work, but it’s a great way to save money. Set aside a few hours each month for these routine tasks and things will be much less likely to break down or cause major unexpected expenses.”

n Install new shingles and flashes. Keep them in place by driving nails into them. Clogged toilet A clogged toilet is probably one of the more insane nightmares you have to face when you have your own home. How do you know it’s clogged? The water level comes up higher than normal. n Use a plunger. Look for one that has a sturdy and wooden handle. n Insert the plunger into the toilet, pushing and drawing it back with firmness. n When a plunger doesn’t work, you can use chemicals to pour into your toilet bowl. Wear gloves because these can be pretty harmful to your skin, eyes, and nose. As for the amount, pour in according to the instructions on the chemical bottle.


Here’s what you need to do. Leaky roof n When the ceiling drips, there is no choice but to climb to the top of your roof. Take warning though: for those with steep roofs, leave it to the experts. n Once on your roof, remove all shingles, nails and board, staples and underlayment directly above the leaking area. Replace everything that you think needs to be taken down.

n Wait for a couple of minutes before flushing the toilet two to three times.


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There are other simple repair works that you can do around your house. Slamming doors. Simply soften the slam of a door by attaching peeland-stick foam weather stripping around your doorknob. You can also get a rubber band and attach it around the door knobs on both sides. Stretch it across the edge of the door. It is important not to cover the latch. Squeaky floor. Spray some talcum powder over the affected area. Make sure that you remove any traces of this powder when you plan to remodel your floor. Jammed windows. You can purchase spray lubricants from hardware

Dripping faucet

There are two types of faucet: double-control faucet and singlecontrol faucet. Here’s how to stop those dreaded leaks.

Double-control faucet Before working on your faucet, shut off the hot and cold water valves first (if you have two valves) and find out where the drip is coming from. n Unscrew the handle using your screwdriver or any thin and sharp material. n Get a wrench and remove the cartridge nut of the handle. Observe how the cartridge is placed so that when you return it, you know how to reinstall it correctly and efficiently. n Grasp the flat sides of the cartridge stand and pull it out firmly to reveal the O-rings which can be the cause of the dripping faucet. n Install the new cartridge and push it in firmly. Slide the handles back on. Turn the valves on. Single-control faucet n Turn off the hot and water valves located underneath the sink. n Use your flat-blade screwdriver to remove the handle. n Use your pliers to unscrew the valve and replace it with a new one. n Reinstall everything until the screws are on tight. Turn on the valves.

“Set aside a few hours each month for these routine tasks and things will be much less likely to break down or cause major unexpected expenses.”

Basic tools and resources

You can create your own basic tool box for D-I-Y house repairs. Here are some of the things you may need. n Screwdriver set. This comes in handy when removing any hinges or prying the lid off paint cans. n Claw hammer. The other side drives the nails in; the other pulls them out. This is ideal for fixing your roof. n Pliers or wrenches. These can be used as a clamp or a wire cutter. n Tape measure. When you put in the blinds for the windows, you’ll need a tape measure. n Utility knife. You need this for opening cans, for sharpening pencils, and for other such situations. n Flashlight. Of course you can’t exactly grope in the dark. This is perfect when you are repairing a dripping faucet and trying to look for that valve underneath the sink. n Hacksaw. It cuts through wood, plastic pipes, and metal.

stores which can help skid the windows. Spray the lubricant onto a piece of rag and then wipe it along the sill. This works for all types of windows—metal, wood, and plastic.


Here are also some websites you can visit for proper home tutorials. n Stacked with D-I-Y projects, home improvement, and repair guides n Offers online videos of D-I-Y home repair services

n Filled with articles and stories on what you should and shouldn’t paint in your house, for example n Riddled with articles and videos that show you what you need to do around the house n Filled with interesting articles on decorating ideas and creating a standing desk, among others


But there are some repair projects that

you must not attempt to do yourself. n Electricity. Any wiring that runs along the walls or inside a shoe box needs to be looked at by a professional or an expert. n Plumbing. Try to stay away from jobs that involve enclosed pipes. If done inefficiently, they can weaken surrounding structures. n Roofing. When it comes to steep infrastructures, leave that to the experts. n Refinishing hardwood flooring. Turn this over to the professionals, for it can cause you more harm than you think. n MARCH - MAY 2015




her’s Day! cts just in time for Mot fa n fu d an , es ot qu y Momisms, momm

Nifty numbers May 10, 1908: The first Mother’s Day celebration

2nd Sunday of May: The date Mother’s Day always falls 50: Approximate number of countries that celebrate Mother’s Day



Heard these from your Mama yet?

1. When you have your own house then you can make the rules! 2. If God had wanted you to have holes in your ears (or tongue, or

48 FamilyMatters

MARCH - MAY 2015

“I’d like to be the ideal mother, but I’m too busy raising my kids.” -


“Children are a great comfort in your old age. And they help you reach it faster, too.” Illustration by Haidee Afable

eyebrows), He would have put them there! 3. Always wear clean underwear in case you get in an accident. 4. You can’t find it? Well, I can’t find it for you. I’m not the maid! 5. Do you think I’m made of money? 6. Call me when you get there, just so I know you’re okay. 7. I just want what’s best for you. 8. I’m not always going to be around to do these things for you. 9. Just wait until we get home. 10. Why? Because I said so, that’s why! 11. Eat everything on your plate. There are starving children all over the world who would be glad to trade places with you. 12. Look at this room! It looks like a pigsty! 13. Turn off that light. Do you think we own the electric company? 14. You should have that phone surgically implanted in your ear. 15. What kind of a grade is that? You could do much better! 16. If you’re bored, I can always find something for you to do. 17. Running away? I’ll help you pack. 18. I wouldn’t make you do it if I didn’t love you. 19. Are you going out dressed like that? 20. You’ll miss me when I’m gone one day, trust me.


Lionel Kaufman

“It’s not easy being a mother. If it were easy, fathers would do it.” -

The Golden Girls

Family Matters March-May 2015  
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