How serendipitous things have ended up lately from what seems to be just ordinary and routinary things to do! Okay, what I’m trying say is…how can decluttering your closet to simply have more space and buying our supply of coffee beans teach about sharing, recycling, and saving the earth?  Well, that’s exactly what just happened to me and Kayla, our youngest daughter.

A few weeks back, Kayla told me that she wanted to and will clean her closet because she has quite a lot of clothes already that she doesn’t use anymore and are just occupying much space in her closet.  So, she was able to declutter and I suggested that she price-tagged them at cheap prices so she can sell them and have extra money.  Which is what she did.  She then packed them in a box and a few bags and set them aside.

Then, when we heard mass last Palm Sunday, we made a quick stop at Uniqlo  (a favorite clothes shop of ours) and I noticed that they had a bin by the entrance and a poster behind it saying that they accept old clothes to be donated to refugees.  I showed it to Kayla and she quickly decided that she would rather donate them than sell them. I was expecting that actually, knowing that she really has always had a giving heart and always willing and ready to share.  Then, I told her that it could be a good way to celebrate her upcoming 16th birthday (April 25)!

So, that stuck in her mind and made sure that she removed the price tags she stuck on each piece of her clothing with masking tape and repacked them in paper bags. All ready to go and be handed over to Uniqlo! She really took the time to do this and even asked me when we could drop off the bags at a Uniqlo branch.

Last Tuesday (April 18), she was really excited to go to Uniqlo after going to the driving range and I knew that it meant much to her.  She was really happy to have donated her clothes to those who would need them more.


After Uniqlo, she wanted to buy one or two pair of shorts.  Well, more of needed than wanted. So, we went to H&M since that seems to be one of the very few shops which has bottoms (shorts, in this case) that can comfortably and decently fit her. And it was during this ordinary hunt for a good pair of shorts that we found out for ourselves (after a friend commented on my post about Kayla donating at Uniqlo) that H&M also accepts old clothes and even gives 15% discount for the next purchase as a way of saying “Thank You”. I wanted to know more about this campaign of H&M since we literally just handed over Kayla’s bags of clothes to a staff in Uniqlo and he just received them, thanked us, and told us that he will be bringing the bags to their lower level where their collecting bin is located. The staff of H&M was very receptive to my inquiry and explained to us that they do accept old garments and (home) textiles and they use a technology to recycle the old fabric/fiber and make them into new clothes again.  He even stepped out from his station at the cash counter to get a few samples of clothes from their racks and show us how those recycled clothes look like with the green tags on them and a sample of a skirt now for sale from this recycling campaign of theirs.  Wow! Kayla and I were very happy to learn about these projects of Uniqlo and H&M and felt very inspired to donate more in the future, now knowing where to bring our clothes that are of no use to us anymore!





Now, on to my coffee beans. I bought a bag of coffee beans at an organic shop in the south a couple of weeks ago and I had to open it up already for our daily coffee consumption at home. Which means I need to buy another bag soon as stock replenishment. I didn’t know that the bag I bought had something else (and very important, at that!) written at the back, aside from the usual product description which I usually just read in passing. The back side of this bag of coffee beans, however, caught my attention because it said: Be part of the #SipandReforest campaign, for every bag of Hineleban Coffee purchase, the foundation plants one forest tree for you.  Name your tree by registering the sticker’s GPS tree ID coordinates on


So, I went to the website and registered my tree from the very first bag I had bought.  In the registration, I was able to give my tree a name and after the short process, it then showed me where it will be planted (in Bukidnon, Mindanao) and its tree type. I named my first tree, by the way, LUNTIAN and added a short message: To bring back the green on earth.

The bag of beans costs more than the what I’ve seen in the groceries and markets. It’s P675 per 500 grams! But I purposely went out of my way today to buy another bag of Hineleban Arabica Coffee at Healthy Options, even if it was going to be more expensive, because I wanted to join their project. I just felt that I may be paying a few hundred pesos more but I know that the extra hundred pesos is my contribution to a reforestration, tree-planting program that my country so needs.


When I arrived home, I immediately went to Hineleban Coffee’s website and registered my second tree! I named it BERDE this time. I was very happy to see how the two trees I registered for planting looked like!


To remind me of this extra meaning of my coffee beans, I stuck the two sticker IDs from the coffee bean bags on my planner on April 21 (Friday) since I had already written on the space for April 20 (Thursday) which was today.  Then, I was reminded and remembered. Isn’t Earth Day celebrated in April? And true enough, after a quick search on the internet, Earth Day is yearly celebrated on April 22.  Now those coffee beans just had more meaning and purpose. I get to buy good coffee and plant a tree with each bag at the same time!



It is on ordinary occasions like these that make our homeschooling and lifestyle more intentional. Decision-making process and choices become more deliberate and purposeful, which I think, is a very good way in teaching social responsibility and eventually helping our children make right decisions in their lives.

What lessons have you learned from an ordinary moment lately?








Photo from The Learning Basket



Next to socialization, I think this is the big question often asked by other people who meet homeschoolers and asked by homeschoolers themselves.  ARE HOMESCHOOLERS READY FOR THE WORLD?

On our 9th year of homeschooling and with our eldest daughter a high school graduate already, I’d like to say that although the road has not been easy and there were a lot of times I wanted to give up (This happens every year and solely because I did not know how to teach our girls certain topics and not because of the switch in lifestyle where we were going against what everyone else was doing), I would choose to homeschool all over again without even trying to experience how it is like in a traditional school.  Our experience as a family is so much richer and more meaningful in this lifestyle we have chosen.  It was and still is a personal choice because we believe and feel that it is what is best for us individually and collectively as a family.

To answer the question “Are homeschoolers ready for the world?”, I’d like to answer that from my personal experience.  And my answer is…YES, THEY ARE…and here are MY TOP 5 PERSONAL REASONS:

  1. Learning of the child is INDIVIDUALIZED AND PERSONAL.  Arielle is a primarily a visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learner while Kayla is a number one kinesthetic, hands-on learner.  With that said, they learn according to their learning style and pace, and without being pressured to go with the pace of a whole class.  That already is one benefit we’ve enjoyed in homeschooling and I know we’ll never get from a traditional school.
  2. LESSONS and LEARNING are DEFINITELY NOT CONFINED AT HOME.  In homeschooling, we learn from many other avenues, where lessons are in their REAL and NATURAL SETTINGS or are often CONNECTED TO REAL LIFE, and more importantly, we APPLY what we’ve learned in real life.
  3. There is a strong emphasis on CHARACTER-BUILDING where one’s FAITH is a big part of it and practiced in real situations.
  4. We EXPOSE our girls in NATURAL SETTINGS making them COMFORTABLE AND CONFIDENT TO SOCIALIZE WITH DIFFERENT AGE GROUPS AND SOCIAL CLASSES, as compared to children in school where they just mingle and spend most of their time with their classmates their age and prefer to be friends with those more or less in the same social class as theirs.
  5.  We get to SPEND MORE TIME ON THEIR STRENGTHS, GIFTS, TALENTS, and even BREWING POTENTIALS, develop them even more, and help them out in carving their paths towards their college, career, or life goals.  Arielle was very determined to make it on stage and perform, and now, has animation very clear as her college course.  Kayla is now training hard in golf, after she realized that she wants to give golf another chance and prepare herself for college scholarship opportunities abroad.
  6. With the LOVE, SUPPORT, ENCOURAGEMENT, BONDING FROM US PARENTS and BETWEEN SIBLINGS,  and quality and more time spent with the family, how can one not be ready for the world and face bigger challenges?


Did those make sense?  Did that make you more curious about this family lifestyle of ours? Would you like to listen to homeschool advocates talk more about homeschooling and meet other homeschoolers here in the Philippines?

I would like to invite you then to come to the Philippine Homeschool Conference 2015: Ready for the World on October 17, 8 am to 5 pm, at SMX Convention Center and Samsung Hall, SM-Aura.  Click here to know more about this big event and to register, click here.  Walk-ins are also welcome.

In addition, there will be a pre-event on October 16, Friday, the day before the conference proper, where the keynote speakers will give another set of talks different from what they will be doing at the conference.  This is free and available to early birds who register by October 1.  This pre-event gathering with the speakers will be at CCF Centre-Ortigas.

The next day, October 17, will be a whole day event for the conference attendees who will try to learn as much as they can from the conference talks and break-out sessions.  To keep the kids busy, while the parents are learning, the organizers (HAPI,  Manila Workshops, The Learning Basket, SM Aura, SMX Convention Centre-SM Aura) have prepared different craft activities for the kids like string art, mandala, basic calligraphy, cross stitch, and dream catcher making.  The fee for each workshop is P500 per person, with materials included.  For more information on these activities which will take place in another venue at SM Aura (Kids are not allowed at the plenary hall), please read here.  Registration for these kiddie craft workshops must be done online.  A big THANK YOU to DMC Philippines and Marj Liwag for making these fun activities possible.

This is the biggest homeschool conference in the Philippines, so far, and this would not have been possible without the following:

Major Sponsors:  Sunlife Financial, Grab Taxi

Minor Sponsors: Maynilad Water, DMC Philippines, Enderun Colleges, Focus Global, Lamoiyan Corporation

And also supported by:  Bee Happy Crafts, The Generics Pharmacy, Cetaphil Philippines

Booths by Pru Life UK, Adarna House, Engineering for Kids, Fatty Brain Toys, FrontLearners, Insular Life, Jetsams, Seton Home Study, Truly Rich Club, iAcademy, St. Mary’s Publishing, Merr-C Society of the Word  Foundation, Aslan EduForum Inc., Grolier, Magformers/FBC Global Training will also be present.

Do think about how your children are learning and how they are being prepared for life.

Mark the date.  OCTOBER 17, 8 am to 5 pm at SMX-SM Aura.  Learn more about homeschooling.  Learn more about being ready for the world.





Now that Arielle has officially graduated from high school and is officially on her gap year, we are now starting to prepare for her college applications.  So far, she has applied to Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in Hong Kong, after I personally received a phone call from their Assistant Director of Admission) strongly suggesting that we already do our online application because slots are getting filled up. (What?!!  Slots for 2016???  And I thought we have more than enough time!).  As for applications to local colleges and universities for Academic Year 2016-2017, they have not opened yet.

What steps are we doing to prepare for college?  What steps have we done so far? Here’s my personal list to give you an idea of my preparation and mindset needed:

1.  First and foremost, we identified the course that Arielle wanted to take.  I mean, the course she really wants to take up.  We didn’t have a problem with that because Arielle is dead set to take up Animation.  That is her top choice.  But it would be good to have course choice #2 and #3 because these are usually asked for in applications.

2.  We check the websites of the different colleges and universities for announcements, especially on application and testing dates.  This, we do often, most especially because we have decided to take a gap year which means Arielle did not go through the applications and entrance exams with the rest of her batch.  We are doing to do it on our own, with assistance from TMA, our homeschool provider.  Aside from the dates to take note of,  I go through the admission requirements of each university and familiarize myself with the kind of documents we need to prepare and submit.

3.   We have identified our school choices (although still praying about it!).  This goes with #1 because if you are really after the course your child wants, then you go for the school that offers it or is known for it.

4.  We visited the different school campuses.  We did last year in order for Arielle to get a feel of the environment and how it is like to be in a school!  After all, homeschoolers have had their homes and the real world as their classrooms. We visited Ateneo de Manila University, University of the Philippines, University of Asia & the Pacific, Meridian International, and more importantly, SCAD Hong Kong.

5.  We paid the Admissions Offices a visit.  In our case, we asked questions with the local universities about college applications with our gap year in mind (which is not commonly taken by students here in the Philippines) and the current issue on DepEd’s K12 program, to clarify some issues and make sure that by Arielle will have no problem applying for and entering college in 2016.

6.  As for SCAD-HK, we scheduled a campus and residences tour in one day to know exactly where the campus building is, their facilities, the accommodations they offer to students, and again, to ask all our questions about their admission requirements!  We asked about what entrance tests are required (IELTS, TOEFL, or an English proficiency test for SCAD), how to apply for a scholarship, if transferring of credits is accepted, the student population profile of SCAD-HK, various opportunities of SCAD students, etc., etc.!   Doing a tour gave us a chance to know more about the school and how the staff are.  The SCAD personnel have been very accommodating from the time I first emailed them to this day!  That’s a big plus!

This is where Arielle’s target school!

7.  I closely coordinate with TMA, our homeschool provider, with regards to our different college applications.  I inform them all the admission requirements and when we intend to start processing our applications.  I make sure I give them updates so that we get to work hand in hand on this quite stressful task.  So far, these are SCAD-HK’s admission requirements which I’ve already forwarded to TMA.

8.  We already submitted Arielle’s application to SCAD-HK online to start the long process.  I was told that after completing the online application and paying the application fee of $40, an admission representative will be assigned to us to help and guide us in the whole process.  I am loving the assistance I am getting from SCAD so far!  Did you know that they paid for our taxi fare when we had to go back to our hotel after doing their Residences tour? Their Residences happen to be faaaar and commute took almost an hour to our hotel.   Wow!  Mike and I appreciated that very much!

9.  Arielle got accepted as one of the interns for Young Star of Philippine Star (I believe she was the youngest among those who applied because she said everyone else in the registration list were at least 18 yrs old!)

and for Flow Surf Yoga Samba.  Internship is really part of our plan for her gap year to prepare her for college with the work habits, to further enhance her skills and develop her character and the discipline.  This is her first work for Flow Surf Yoga Samba.

10.  We are about to start building her portfolio, especially for SCAD.  Right now, this IS the one stressing me out because Arielle has to make more 10 to 20 2-D artworks (and if possible, 3-Ds) in order to show her BEST WORK.  And we have a long way to go!  We plan to enroll her in art classes to really learn traditional art and are on the lookout for art and animation-related workshops to make sure that she is able to showcase different media, techniques, her other skills, and what is vital is her CREATIVITY and her IDEAS.   This is the time TO IMPRESS in order to get in the school that we want!

Since we’ve decided to be intentional on our parenting, on the education of our girls, and our family lifestyle,  it looks like my role as a homeschool mom isn’t over yet.  Now that we will be releasing Arielle to the real world SOON, she needs me, her mom, her teacher, her coach, her counselor (and the list goes on!) by her side more than ever!


Just like that, another year is about to be over. I know, I know.  Christmas first before New Year, but I can’t help myself but do a fast forward and think 2015 already.  New Year. New Beginning. New Plans. New  Dreams.  Who wouldn’t be excited???

With this year’s major changes for our family which included the passing of my mother-in-law, moving in to our new home, new season in teen parenting, homeschooling and in both parenting-teaching, can I just say, “2014, I survived you!”  You made me feel like I ran a marathon and made it to the finish line.

Why do I love 2014?  Simply for the reason that in spite of the transitions and busyness that happened,  I learned:

  1. How to listen to my body, stop the stress build-up, and enjoy those simple and yet meaningful pauses;
  2. How to rediscover myself and feed my soul by creating in fun ways;
  3. How to surround myself and connect with like-minded people and with those who are generous to extend help in whichever way they can;
  4. To decisively take another leap of faith to do what’s more essential and than what’s simply conforming;
  5. How to make the most of the time in my hands, accepting those that I’m able to do, and not fret too much on those that I wasn’t able to accomplish (or start, in the first place).


I’m thankful to say that as early as now, my 2014 has truly been a year of faith just as I had declared it to be. It has been a year of, shall I say, CENTERING myself, which allowed me to live each day of this year even more intentionally and so meaningfully.

How was your 2014?  Can you also say that you love it as much as I do?