12 Filipino brands that my family supports – part 3

First of all, I would like to greet you a Merry Christmas, and I hope you are using the holiday season to relax and chill with loved ones.  This is the third and final installment of my article on the 12 brands that my family supports, and if you haven’t yet checked out the first two, here’s Part 1, and here’s Part 2.

If you are a Filipino, but most of the stuff you regularly buy is imported, I suggest you consider doing a similar exercise as I have done: replace 12 imported products that you regularly use with Filipino counterparts.  Here’s a maxim for good citizenship: If you want to build your country, buy what your country builds.  It’s not rocket science to realize the difference between our hard earned money staying here on these shores vs. our hard earned money going elsewhere.

But what do most Filipinos do?  Our colonial mentality takes control of our wallets, and so our kitchens, our cupboards, our bathrooms, and our closets are filled with products from America, Europe, even other parts of Asia…with hardly a Filipino product in sight.  Surely, we can be better Filipino citizens than that, and so how about making Buy Pinoy a mantra for 2017?  The three-part article gives 12 products or brands to help you get started, with below being the final group of products.

Continue reading “12 Filipino brands that my family supports – part 3”

12 Filipino brands that my family supports – part 2

This is the second of a three-part series on the Filipino products that my family supports (see the first one here).  I got the idea for this article from a Buy Pinoy assignment that I give my students: they make a list of 12 products that they currently patronize and replace them with Filipino counterparts.  After a month, they will come up with and compare-and-contrast paper about their experience.

As you can imagine with our colonial-minded brethren, my students included, there were groans and complaints about the supposed inferior quality of our products, to which I replied that (a) you can very well be wrong, and (b) with our support, they can become great.  Want examples of lowly local products that are praised worldwide, especially since we Filipinos support them so much?  San Miguel beer is lauded as one of the best beers in the world, and Emperador brandy is the world’s best-selling brandy.  Of course, I do not encourage my students to include these products as part of their assignment, and I’d like to think that there’s more to great Filipino products than alcohol; but I think they get my point.

While many students said they will never ever make the switch with some products (I understand…I love my Oreo cookies, too), by and large, they found the local products as good as their more expensive imported counterparts.  Yet many students do not use Filipino goods to the point that they do not even know what they are, and therefore had great difficulty finding 12 Filipino products.  Some even mistakenly switched a foreign brand with another foreign brand (guys, Del Monte is not a Filipino brand, neither is Safeguard).  In response to this, I made this three-part blog entry on the Filipino products that my family supports.

Continue reading “12 Filipino brands that my family supports – part 2”

Tis the season for Balikbayan Boxes! Here are the best items to send, IMO.

Now that we are in the “ber months,” which here in the Philippines means that it’s the start of the longest Christmas Holiday season in the world; it also means ‘tis the season of the Balikbayan boxes coming from abroad to the motherland.  For nearly every Philippine-based family, receiving these boxes from their generous relatives abroad is a cause for celebration.  Though very much appreciated, for me, it does give me some reason to groan, unless the relatives abroad know the right things to send through Balikbayan boxes, at least my opinion of such.  Read on.

Continue reading “Tis the season for Balikbayan Boxes! Here are the best items to send, IMO.”

12 Filipino brands that my family supports – part 1

(Note: this is the first of a three-part series.  To see part two, click here.  For part three, click here.)

To this day, one of my most commented-on and beloved articles is the Buy Pinoy experiment article made way back in 2011.  It tells of a favorite assignment I give my students, based on one of the chapters of Alex Lacson’s bestselling book (required reading in the school12 Little Things Every Filipino Can Do To Help Our Country.  For a certain time (now about a month, but in the article it was just a week), my students have to list down 12 imported things that they usually patronize, and replace them with Filipino counterparts.  Read up on my students’ thoughts on this project here, the aforementioned blog post.

It’s about time for another update for that article; and this time, it’s about 12 Filipino brands or products that we personally patronize as a family.  We feel good that these products are made by Filipino hands, and the making of which brings much-needed sustenance to Filipino families.  Sadly, one of the reasons I came up with the idea for this article is that many of my students have absolutely no clue what a Filipino-made product is.  You’re probably like them, too; and so this article is for you as well.

So, here’s my 12 Filipino products or brands that my family supports:

Continue reading “12 Filipino brands that my family supports – part 1”

Batman v Superman will be awesome; but it’s even better if it’s for a cause

Excited?  I am.

Comic geek or not, just about everyone knows that certainly the biggest movie event of 2016 will be Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, coming out in just a few days!  My kids grew up on the Justice League cartoon (and this big kid watched with them), and the wait to finally see the beginnings of a live-action Justice League forming on the silver screen has been almost unbearable.

No doubt about it, watching Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice will be awesome.  However, the experience will be even better if it’s for a cause.  Read on.

Continue reading “Batman v Superman will be awesome; but it’s even better if it’s for a cause”

My family has asthma and we find relief, naturally

Hate asthma?  Hate the drugs, too?  You might wanna read on.

Asthma can be a terrible ailment, one that is quite common here in the Philippines; so common that everyone in my 6-member household has it, sparing only me and my middle child, Mesoo.  After my very athletic youngest child recently got so sick from asthma that it reduced him to near-uselessness during a very prestigious tournament, not to mention that he had to take steroids to even breathe properly, I decided that enough is enough and sought out a way to help him (and the rest of the family).  Thing is, I am not a fan of asthma drugs (and you shouldn’t be either), so I wanted to find out how my asthmatic relatives can find relief, naturally.

Continue reading “My family has asthma and we find relief, naturally”

A world-renowned education personality visits, and high school students set out to impact their community

“My son told me that at The Abba’s Orchard School, they are taught to think beyond themselves.”  

That was from a conversation I had the other day with a parent in the school I work for.  She then continued: “That is what this country needs.”  I can’t help but agree wholeheartedly.

This past month was a whirlwind of activity, as a world-renowned education personality visits our Montessori school here in the Philippines, and high school students of said school set out to impact their community.  Here is a FANTASTIC video documentary that showcases both; and it is also a great showcase to what the Erdkinder adolescent program of the Abba’s Orchard School is all about.  It’s a long one (18 minutes), but you’re really, really gonna enjoy it.  A big thanks to MVP Digital Video for their masterful work. Continue reading “A world-renowned education personality visits, and high school students set out to impact their community”

My New Year’s Resolution is just One Word

Happy New Year everyone!  I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and New Year celebration.  Ours was simple, just visiting relatives and enjoying our new toys (like our new flat screen TV that we bought during the crazy deals of the post-Christmas sales) and new additions to our household (we have a new puppy we named Frodo).

Now, everyone usually makes New Year’s Resolutions during the Holiday Season…and usually these fail even before the season is over.  Maybe the timing isn’t right.  Seriously, how can you be resolute in losing weight and getting fitter when your refrigerator is stuffed with leftovers from the holiday festivities?  Maybe another reason why these resolutions do not work is because they’re so lengthy and convoluted.  I used to list down a page’s worth of goals and resolutions for the new year, and then I found it hard to remember much of what I wrote, much less put them into practice.

Enter the One Word Movement.

The premise behind the One Word Movement is as simple as it sounds: instead of coming up with lengthy resolutions, just focus on one word, one simple word that you want your year to represent and that would exemplify your life for 2015.  For the next 12 months, you saturate yourself with that word, using it as a guide so that your life will be more purposeful and focused.  Seems better than trying to memorize a page-full of do’s and don’ts, eh?

So in 2015, my New Year’s Resolution is just One Word.  Wanna know what it is?  I chose the word AMBASSADOR.

This is based on 2 Corinthians 5:20, which says: “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.”

Below are the many reasons why I chose AMBASSADOR as my One Word:

AMBASSADORS represent their home country properly.  My apologies for using stereotypes, but can you imagine if the USA sends their American ambassador to the Philippines, and he is an uncouth hillbilly (think the Android game, Swamp Attack) who holds racist views, is poorly educated, and has the worst manners, fashion sense, and hygiene possible? I bet you couldn’t; and I bet you’d imagine that the American ambassador would instead represent the best of America.  I mean, the guy is REPRESENTING AMERICA!!

We as Christ’s ambassadors, like it or not, represent Christ.  How is that going for you?  My boss, who also happens to be one of my life’s great mentors, often reminds me with the following lines: “You’re often the first Bible people will read,” “You cannot give what you do not have,” and “You have to be the good news before people will hear about the Good News.”  There’s even this saying I read once: “If you’re a fertilizer manufacturer, people will look at your lawn.”  Quite daunting, right?  Frightening, even.

Yet, like any ambassador, we should “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise” (Ephesians 5:15), because it is He who we represent.  My eldest daughter’s favorite verse is 1 Timothy 4:12, which says, “Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.”  Yeah, that pretty much nails what an ambassador should be…what I should be this year.

Now, I’m not saying we should be perfect.  We can’t be perfect, and in fact I think my performance in this area in 2014 was not so great.  I don’t feel that I practiced what I preached as well as I would have liked (and again, that’s why I chose AMBASSADOR as my one word for 2015).  But hey, we just recently celebrated God’s act of sending His perfect Son to us, so that we can be reconciled (there’s that word again) and be His children too.  THAT is the Good News, and that is our message, not our own perfection.

I would even say that being “too perfect” hurts our ambassador duties.  It’s hard for someone to relate when we show (sometimes snobbishly show) that we “have it all together.”  But people identify with overcoming struggles and failures; people are drawn to testimonies.   That’s part of what being an ambassador for Christ is, a testimony that I am loved and can be used for great good, in spite of my shortcomings and failures…and you can be too, if you let Him.  One of the greatest 2014 testimonies in this area is that of Dr. Hayden Kho, famous (more like infamous) in the Philippines for his sex tapes that caught the internet by storm a few years back.  I showed his testimony before, but might as well show it here again.

AMBASSADORS have an important job; and are sent on behalf of an important person.  When an ambassador is sent to another country, it is because he or she is tasked with something of utmost importance.  Who sends them?  If I’m not mistaken, it’s the president, himself.

The Bible, through the verse above, says that Christians are Christ’s ambassadors.  Who sends us and why? Let me partially quote the verse above for the answer: “as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.”  That’s a biiiiiig task.  In fact, if you ask me, the only thing that matters in the eyes of eternity is this task, everything else dies when we or the recipient dies.

If I’m a doctor and I heal you of your sickness, you’ll still die eventually.  If I’m a teacher (which I am, in an awesome school nearby), and I equip you to get a PhD from the best universities around, that PhD will be buried with you.  Any product or service done to make your life better or easier ends when your life ends, and this hits close to home because we’ve lost some loved ones this past year.

But what’s the result of faithfully following our ambassador duties?  “Jesus told her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying.’” (John 11:25).  Being Christ’s faithful ambassador is only thing we can do for someone else that affects them not only for this life, but for all eternity as well.  That’s huge.  Have you been faithful to this task, Christian?  In 2015, I will be.

AMBASSADORS are sent.  If it hasn’t been made clear yet, ambassadors don’t really do their thing in their own country.  Imagine the American ambassador talking about and representing America only to fellow Americans; that seems a little silly, doesn’t it?  Same thing goes when a Christian discusses Christian stuff only with other Christians.  That’s…that’s pretty useless.

It’s not enough that we “be an example” because that doesn’t really change people.  It may impress a few, it may even turn off a few, but ambassadors are sent to affect change, and that is what we should be.

I’ll repeat my quote: “as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.”   The words “Making his appeal” and “implore you” obviously do not mean that we just stand around and “be an example.”  The words call us to engage.  We actively represent Him in our homes, in our workplaces, in our neighborhoods, with our relatives, and, in the 21st century, we represent Him online.

This doesn’t mean we go door to door and be all in people’s faces saying, “Excuse me, would you like to know about our Lord Jehovah?”  Christ is shared, not shoved…and the best way to do this is the 3-word maxim that my church uses:  PRAY.  CARE.  SHARE.  We constantly pray for God’s wisdom and guidance in our lives, we actively go out of our way and care for the people around us.  When the time is right, such as when they ask questions about your faith or spiritual things (assuming you do the first two well enough that it will prompt them to ask questions), you share your faith.

To be honest, in 2014 I was a bit spotty in this area.  Aside from my workplace and on my Facebook pages (personal and this blog’s), I haven’t really done my ambassador duties as well as I’d like.  That will change in 2015, again, a reason why I chose AMBASSADOR as my word.

So, like many of the articles in this blog of mine, I wrote this for me, and you are all along for the ride.  My New Year’s Resolution is just one word: AMBASSADOR.  That is my single focus for 2015, and I pray that I do this well using all the hats I wear (the parent hat, the husband hat, the teacher hat, the blogger hat, the…).  Yes, It’s gonna be a great year.

How about you?  Have you also heard of the One Word Movement?  What are your New Year’s Resolutions?  I’d love to hear from you.

(This blog site, Lessons Of A Dad is mostly about parentingmarriage, and other topics aimed to develop the reader’s mind, body, and soul.  I’d consider it an honor if you’d follow or subscribe to this site.  You can also go to my Facebook page here, and I’m also on Twitter at @lessonsofadad)

Hayden Kho’s very heartfelt testimony. There’s redemption even for the worst of us.

I’ve you’re an adult living in the Philippines who’s even remotely connected to national or even showbiz news, I’m sure you’ve heard of Dr. Hayden Kho and his exploits.  For those of you who don’t, let me give you a short description of why he became so famous.  He dabbled into showbiz and became a minor celebrity, but he’s most famous for a series of sex video scandals that took the nation, and the internet, by storm.   This incident earned him nationwide scorn and infamy, as you would imagine…he was even voted the most hated man in the Philippines.

Well, he gave a very, very, VERY heartfelt testimony last Sunday, and I would like to share that with you here.  I was mind-blown.

There’s redemption even for the worst of us.  That testimony is a part of the 30th anniversary celebration of my church, Christ’s Commission Fellowship (CCF).  It’s the church that my family have gone to for the past 15 years (well, the Cagayan de Oro satellite church) and God has used it to change our lives (I have a testimony of my own, here) like it has changed Hayden’s, though not as dramatically.

If you’ve felt like you’ve failed God and others, felt like you’ve hit rock bottom, felt like you’re irredeemable…let me assure you that there is no depth you can fall that is too far for God’s love and healing hand.  I should know, and I’m letting you know too.

If you want to see the entire 30th anniversary message by our senior pastor, Peter Tan-Chi, I also feature it below.  It’s powerful, powerful stuff.  However, it’s an hour long, so you may have to set some time to watch it (make it your devotion for this week).

Since it’s #CCF30th, the church’s website featured 30 testimonies of people with changed lives and restored families.  I know 3 of these testimonies personally; in fact I just visited one of them today.  See their awesome testimonies here.

One of my most popular blog posts features two such stories: the story of a former gay prostitute and the story of a woman suffered under years of infidelity and abuse (see it here).  Indeed, God changes lives!

So, happy 30th anniversary CCF!  Thank you for being used by God to bless Dr. Hayden Kho, my family, and so many others.  It’s a huge reason I am what I am and much of the content from this blog I get from what I learn there (like the awesome parenting seminars and materials).  If you want to know if there’s a CCF church near you, you can check out their online directory here.

As a gift, I leave with you 6 books that can help you on that life-changing journey with God when you’ve hit rock bottom…including the one that Dr. Hayden Kho mentioned.  May He bless you mightily.

1.  Get Over It and On with It: How to Get Up When Life Knocks You Down by Michelle McKinney Hammond

2.  Just Enough Light for the Step I’m On: Trusting God in the Tough Times by Stormie Omartian

3.  The Source of My Strength by Charles F. Stanley

4.  Silent Savior: Daring to Believe He’s Still There by A. J. Gregory

5.  Has Christianity Failed you by Ravi Zacharias

(This blog site, Lessons Of A Dad is mostly about parentingmarriage, and other topics aimed to develop the reader’s mind, body, and soul.  I’d consider it an honor if you’d follow or subscribe to this site.  You can also go to my Facebook page here, and I’m also on Twitter at @lessonsofadad)

The Joys and Challenges of Marrying Your Opposite

Hello friends.  In case you’ve been wondering where I’ve been, I’m in a season of my life where blogging would unfortunately have to take a back seat to more pressing concerns.  Rest assured, I have not forgotten you and I do want to post every now and then.

Well, today’s my 15th wedding anniversary, so I guess this is as a good occasion as any to wipe the dust off this blog and write something.  Yup, 15 years of highs and lows, joys and sorrows.  I became a husband and a dad at a very young age (see my testimony here) but I wouldn’t trade the past 15 years for anything in the world.

One thing that you may not know about my wife, Jhean, and I is that we’re complete opposites.  In just about every way, from upbringing, to types of movies, to personality, to recreation choices, we’re just very different.

Opposites attract, so they say; and indeed, Most couples I see do not have the same personality.  However, there are also some unique challenges and joys when it comes to marrying your opposite.  Here’s another Focus On The Family broadcast featuring author Melanie Shankle as she humorously looks at how we can use these differences to strengthen our marriage.  Enjoy, and feel free to look up her books below.

Author’s books (Recommended Reading):

(This blog site, Lessons Of A Dad is mostly about parentingmarriage, and other topics aimed to develop the reader’s mind, body, and soul.  I’d consider it an honor if you’d follow or subscribe to this site.  You can also go to my Facebook page here, and I’m also on Twitter at @lessonsofadad)