No, it’s not a typo error.  It is really spelled as W-R-I-T-E.  But before that…

I haven’t been able to blog lately because of some unexpected turn of events (mother-in-law’s passing, home renovation finalizations, moving in chores (which seem endless!), among others), which were happening all at the same time!  All these kinda shook up my life (and sanity) just when I was trying to psyche myself up for a brand new 2014!  But something took place last Saturday which is worth blogging, and I am talking about I KNOW WRITE, a teen bloggers meetup, organized by three teenage girls, Arielle (our eldest daughter), Jodie Alejaga, and Nina Alvia. The first ever of its kind!  Woot! Woot!

I Know Write MNL 2014

Name and Design by Arielle

I wasn’t really planning on being the “stage mom” kind of mom last Saturday.  All I had asked permission from Arielle was to take pictures (which she agreed to last minute!) so I can blog about it.  I was even seated at a table outside their reserved function room at Kuppa Roastery & Cafe, to keep my distance.  But as I was observing how these newbie teens were handling the nitty-gritty of the event, I felt they somehow needed a standby coach just to help them smoothly go through their activities without having to pay extra for going over their two-hour reservation.  Planning for and hosting this meetup was one great opportunity to teach Arielle life skills in a real-life event that they themselves organized.

Even before Saturday came, Mike and I were already giving Arielle our suggestions and advice on how to go about this meetup from the time she told us about the idea (like maybe since October 2013?).  We had a series of conversation on this real-life project in the car, at a resto, while having lunch or dinner, or wherever.  Discussion had a serious tone to it since we were talking about something that adults normally do in their job or career but at the same time, we made sure we did not miss out the elements of FUN and YOUTH ENERGY.

What exactly did we teach Arielle in planning for and organizing this event?  Here’s a list of life skills that gave Arielle a taste of how it is like to think, decide, and act like an adult (a responsible adult, that is)!


  • Planning ahead
  • Having a timetable
  • Why having a planner/calendar is essential
  • Why having meetings is essential
  • Decision-making: learning which areas need decision and action, especially immediate ones
  • Having an objective, action plan, and getting down into details of the event (venue, food, activities, invited guest speaker)



  • Identifying priorities
  • Focusing on priorities
  • Using time well on the event itself (keeping track of the time!)



  • How to work with different people (in the team and with everyone they had to deal with as they were organizing and doing the event)
  • How to make different personalities work together to achieve a goal
  • How to collaborate with the common objective in mind
  • Being a team player



  • Coming up with a name for the event,
  • a logo
  • a hashtag
  • a souvenir t-shirt
  • Creating an Facebook page and group
  • Making a sign-up/registration sheet
  • How to go about payment
  • What token of appreciation to give to the guest speaker
  • Doing an evaluation after (what worked and what didn’t; things to consider and improve on in the future)
  • A follow-up activity to keep the high energy level of the group after the event



  • How much to charge each participant 
  • What would/should the fee cover
  • Cost analysis and implications



  • Looking for possible venue options
  • Choosing what would be the best one
  • Making reservations (personally talking with people in-charge or on the phone)
  • Making a downpayment for the venue
  • Choosing the menu (food, drinks, dessert)
I Know Write MNL 2014

One of the yummy pizzas served!

I Know Write MNL 2014

Fruit Dessert w/ Yogurt


  • Setting up the venue (e.g., cameras, laptop, decor)
I Know Write MNL 2014

Preparing the room before everyone arrives!

I Know Write MNL 2014

Let’s video this event!


I Know Write MNL 2014

Adding some fun colors!


  • Preparing other needed materials (such as name tags, ice breaker, and photo op paraphernalia)
I Know Write MNL 2014

Sample Name Tag

I Know Write MNL 2014

Human Bingo as Icebreaker

I Know Write MNL 2014



  • Settling the bill after the event (which they really needed help on to be able to understand the math of having a “consummable” kind of package)



  • Being responsible,
  • efficient
  • reliable/dependable
  • Taking initiative
  • Being cooperative
  • Being a leader
  • Showing good manners and one’s best character that the situation calls for


Whew! That’s a long list of life skills for a two-hour meetup (not a workshop, not a seminar) kind of event!

What exactly was the highlight of the meetup?  It was none other than their guest speaker, Arriane Serafico, a.k.a. Wanderrgirl!  You may find her in Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram.  

I Know Write MNL 2014

Sharing all that she knows about blogging!

I Know Write MNL 2014

She gave an inspiring and encouraging talk on how she started out in blogging, shared her ordinary and extraordinary experiences, and gave tips and advice to the young ones on what to do with their blogs.  She was simply AWESOME that the girls couldn’t stop taking photos with her and just chatting with her!  Arriane is actually the one who gave me a jumpstart in my blogging journey. Arielle and I attended her blogworthy workshop and to this day, she is an inspiration both Arielle and I look up to!

Now that these teen girls have started their own teen blogger community, I give them my big CONGRATULATIONS for being able to successfully pull off this event.  It’s a first and there are still lessons to be learned.  But hey, did you think that teeners would be able to come up with something like this and organize it on their own?

I Know Write MNL 2014

They’re on Facebook 🙂

I Know Write MNL 2014

IKW Team (Arielle, Jodie, and Nina) with Arriane Serafico

I Know Write MNL 2014

IKW MNL 2014!

I Know Write MNL 2014

The objective of the event was met.  The girls had fun and went home inspired and all charged up. The big question now is “What’s next?”

I leave it up to these girls.  They were able to do this and I believe that they are capable of coming up with another meaningful activity or event.  Maybe even bigger and better!  As for me, I’m thankful for this opportunity to teach Arielle important life skills that books and hours of staying in the classroom would not have been be able to.  

How about you?  What real life skills have your children learned lately?


This post is going to be short.  I don’t even know exactly what to write here.  All I’m certain of is I’m feeling numb and “just floating” these past days since my mother-in-law passed away.  Add physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion to that. 

Our normal homeschooling life is on pause-play-pause mode these days.  Tomorrow will be Day 1 of Mommy’s wake and interment will be on Saturday.  We’ve been busy taking care of memorial arrangements, rearranging our schedules,  cancelling and rescheduling appointments, making back and forth trips to Manila. The shift in mindset and focus on the different things to take care of and pay attention to has taken its toll on me.  I really feel numb and unfocused these days.  I don’t even have the brain power to teach to the girls the life lessons to be learned from our present circumstances. 

As much as I’d want to finish our 3rd quarter already (we are behind our end-target date by 1 month), it’s been a slooow progress.  I have to sheepishly admit that I’ve been pressuring the girls to answer more exercises, work on their portfolios, and finally submit them to me.  Result? Not good.  We are not getting the kind of results we want and worst of all, we all end up stressed and cranky.

Well, this is life, I realize.  There comes a time when we really just have to take the time to pause. Maybe even drop everything we’re doing.  

I can’t wait to be “back to my senses” again.  I can’t wait to feel and be my “normal” self and get back on track.  This isn’t a great feeling to have but then again, it’s one of those “That’s life” moments.  

How do you cope up with life’s unexpected interruptions and when things are simply not going as planned? 



Wicked In Manila!

Wicked In Manila!

Last Saturday, my family and I went to see Wicked, The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz, at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.  This was our second time to see this musical (the first time was in Singapore in January 2012) but when we found out that this was going to be staged here in Manila, we all wanted to watch it again!  We booked our tickets as early as August 2013 and it was worth the wait! 

You see, we are such a musical family.  We try to catch productions, local and international, as much as we can, and every year, we find ourselves making a trip to the theatre at least once. Aside from the pleasure, the entertainment, the experience of being transported to another kingdom or era, we find it a good time to unwind, to “sit back, relax and enjoy the show”.   Musicals keep all of us engaged when we have our family conversations and listening to the soundtracks in the car is enough to keep us in high spirits while on the road.

Arielle is such a “theatre gal” (She came up with that name herself a few years back).  She really is serious when it comes to stage performances and Broadway! She reads about them, researches, and does her best to find as much info as she can about a production, and learns the songs on her own.  And Kayla just loves bonding with her Ate (big sister) when they talk about the plot, their favorite characters, when they sing songs at the top of their lungs, and even attempt to play a piece or two on the piano or guitar, just by ear.   That’s why Mike and I think that theatre tickets are worth spending on.  

Arielle with Suzie Mathers (as Glinda)

Kayla with Glinda
Suzie Mathers actually “liked” our photos with her
on Instagram!

Kayla and Arielle with Ali Calder
(as Elphaba)

Arielle with Steve Danielsen (Fiyero)

Arielle with Steve Danielen
(as Fiyero)

Autograph of Suzie Mathers (Glinda)

Autograph of Ali Calder (Elphaba)

Autograph of Steve Danielsen (Fiyero)

Wicked has become a personal favorite of mine because of the characters, Glinda and Elphaba, and all of the songs made me love the musical from beginning till the end (the whole 3 hours of it)!  It really is one “wicked” show to watch!

I will not attempt to make a review  (I am not a professional theatre critic, but if you’d like to read one, click here and another one here by Ms. Lea Salonga) or do a synopsis (link already shared at the start). What I’d like to do instead is share with you the lessons I personally have learned from the musical: 

1.  Don’t judge a person by his or her appearance.

2.  It is OKAY to be different.  

3.  It’s true that first impressions count, but they shouldn’t be the last impression.

4.  Be one of those people who care for and love those who are different and treated differently.  

5.  People deserve respect and love, no matter how different he or she is.

6.  There is good in every person.  Just as there is also wickedness in human nature.

7.  Do not push people too hard.  Don’t be a bully.  Don’t push them to their limits.  You can be the reason why they change their character and become a bad person.

8.  Totally different persons can actually get along.  It can be fun to have a friend who is your total opposite.

9.  Do not be a phony!  Be true to yourself!

10.  Every person can be some kind of wonderful.

11.  Stand up for what you truly believe in. 

12.  Speak up your mind.  

13.  Have courage! Believe and fight for what’s in your heart! Take that leap! Defy gravity! 

14.  Take challenges and do hard things.

15.  Go for your dreams.  They really can come true!  Just make sure that you do not lose sight of what really matters.

16.  People can do crazy things in the name of love. And there are people who do have the heart to love those who are considered outcast and different. 

17.  Sometimes, you do have to let go of the person you love.

17.  You reap what you sow.  Do evil and you will pay the price.

18.  Sometimes, we just have to dance through life.

19.  People do come into our lives for reason.

20.  And may the reason that we come into and touch another person’s life is to change the other for the better, for good. (I just love that song!)

May the magic of “Wicked” touch you with these not-to-be ignored life lessons! 

Have you seen “Wicked”?  What play or musical have you seen last?  Share your insights with me!

If you haven’t gone to the theatre lately, then I highly encourage you to do so!  The experience is rich and stimulating…culturally, artistically, visually, auditorily, linguistically, musically!  Such a great learning venue for the kids, bonding time for the whole family, and a conversation piece that could extend even after the show has ended (way, way after the show has ended 😉 ) Now that to me, is real learning.

* On the blogging side of this post, may I just add that as I was finalizing this article, the closing was inspired by Make It’s Tell Stories On Your Blog 🙂  

* Also, this post is a participating blog in Let’s Homeschool High School’s Blog Hop. Just click the link below if you want to join and link up with rest or if you simply want to read the other posts! 

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