30 December 2011

Youth Jam on Human Rights 2011

Human Rights as generally defined, are the existing rights that guarantee each individual to live with dignity, liberty and security. Last December 10, 2011, the Philippines as one of the countries which adhere to the Universal Human Rights Declaration, did celebrate the International Human Rights Day. The Province of La Union together with the various personalities in the different cities and municipalities of the province did initiate several activities in commemoration of the said significant event. The Philippine Navy specifically the Naval Forces Northern Luzon joined said activities.
Banner during the Youth Jam 2011
     One of the events conducted was the Youth Jam on Human Rights, a 2-day event facilitated by the Amnesty International Philippines. The participants were composed of student leaders coming from different high schools in the province. Oh well, I know what has been running in your minds rights now. Yes, I was one of the attendees. I was actually the "ate" (older sister) in the event. Reminiscing my highschool days,I myself was also a student leader. I was a member of the highschool  publication; part of the brigade staff of the Citizen's Army Training, where I was even awarded as the "Cadette Officer of the Year"; and, part of the Student Government body. So when I was tasked to attend the Youth Jam on Human Rights (which was actually attended by 4th year highschool students coming from all over the municipalities of the Province of La Union) in commemoration of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and of the International Human Rights Day, I automatically said "aye sir." 

       Come 03 December 2011, I arrived at exactly 8 A.M. for the registration. I was accompanied by my husband during that time since timely, he got the chance to visit me. When I noticed that there were still a lot of people in the list who haven't signed up, my husband and I opted to eat breakfast. After about 30 minutes, I went back and found the area of the Philippine Ports Authority Beach Resort (where the event was held) already filled with youngsters.
Ate Bless (on the right) together with her co-facilitator.
Ate Bless (one of the facilitators) acted as the commentator. The typical chronology of programme was followed ( Opening Prayer, National Anthem and La Union Hymn). Meanwhile, Councilor Monching Laudencia gave the welcome remarks, which was followed by an inspirational talk by the Provincial Board Member and a human rights advocate, Honorable Henry Bacurnay.
My hand-traced house rules.
     This was followed by the setting of House Rules, wherein we, as the participants will set our own house rules to be followed by everyone. we were given a piece of paper and crayon, where we traced our own hand. In each finger, we placed what we believed should be part of the house rules. Personally, I did set the following: (1) Respect each delegate/participant regardless what gender or institution we belong, (2) Listen, if you want to be heard, you must also know how to listen, (3) Share based on facts and experiences, we are all in the vent to learn and share, (4) Do not sleep, and (5) Follow the house rules that were agreed upon.
Chair Relay
     Afterwhich, we played the "chair relay", where all the member of the group (we grouped ourselves in 6 long horizontal lines) stood up on the chair and arranged ourselves according to Ate Bless instructions, i.e. arrange yourselves according to height. This game was totally fun. We were instructed to arrange ourselves according to age (well, as expected,  I was at the last seat.lol), birthdate, etc. Next was the introduction of Mr Melvin Macusi (one of the facilitators) on the first speaker who was Judge Romeo Atillo, a fiscal and also an instructor at the Saint Louis College, College of Law. Judge Atillo started his sharing by a contest. He read an untitled story and whoever will be able to name the title of the said story will win a book. Oh well, I wasn't lucky enough though. He then continued by singing a short rock song (his way of getting rid of his nervousness). Judge Atillo discussed about the Introduction to Human RightsThe next speaker was COL Gerry Dia PNP, wherein he presented the PNP initiatives in implementing Human Rights. This was followed by a lunch break. After about an hour, the facilitators then designated the billeting area of the participants. I opted not to join them since my place was just few meters away from the event. After the designation of billeting areas, the afternoon program was started by a bang with the presentation of Human Rights Situationer by Mr Danilo Banilo, the Division Manager of the PLDD, CHR Region I. Since mid-afternoon is the most unholy hour of the day, the facilitators break the ice by conducting various games, which I really did enjoy. This was then followed by a dance practice of the event's animator music "JAM". I really did love this part, since my first love is dancing. Every participant was able to learn the dance. Supposedly, a flash mob was to be done. On the other hand, due to inclement weather, the facilitators opted to just let us dance at the City Plaza of San Fernando, City La Union. The purpose of getting the attention of the people was nevertheless not defeated since a lot of people and passerby got curious, stopped and watched us dance. It was not my first time to dance in public, but it was my first time to dance in public impromptu!

Candle Lighting
   After the dance, a short program was held where the highlight of the program was the Candle Lighting, commemorating the International Human Rights Day. After the program, we went back to the PPA Beach Resort and had our dinner.   The program for the day has not yet ended. The night was filled of fun and surprises. Since it was Christmas, we also had a Christmas Party! A lot of games was conducted and some Media personalities (Maira Wallis) were able to attend the said part of the Youth Jam. The activity for that night was called Fellowship Night and Solidarity Activity. At about 8 P.M, the facilitators called it a night and instructed us to prepare for the next day's activities.

    December 4, 2011, our wake-up call was at 6 A.M. I was actually spared since I slept in my own barracks. The day was formally started by a breakfast. After about 30 minutes,  Ate Bless initiated an exercise, which was seconded by practicing a new dance entitled "We Can Do a Big Thing," by Black Eyed Peas. 

        A documentary entitled "Here I am and I have Rights" was presented after the practice. The documentary was really meaty and informational. Since the youth jam was not just about celebrating the Human Rights Day but also about enhancing leadership skills, the Head Facilitator Atty Doris Ramirez, former Chairman of the Amnesty International - Philippines lectured on "Leadership in Good Governance Anchored with Human Rights." This was my favorite part of the whole 2-day activity. I think I will also count Atty Ramirez as one of my idols since she was the youngest Chairman that handled the Amnesty International - Philippines. If I'm not mistaken, she was about 27 or 28 years old when she became the Chairperson of the organization. 

     A test was also given to the participants, which was a test of leadership. certain questions were given and after about 15 minutes, Ate Bless showed the answer and checking our own paper, we were evaluated of what kind of leader each participant is. The last sharing was given my PBM Bacurnay. We had our lunch at about 1:30 P.M. and at about 2 P.M, picture taking and distribution of certificates was conducted.

16 December 2011

Christmas Party the Navy Way

       I think Christmas has been one of the most celebrated occasions in history. Well, as for me, I have stopped celebrating such occasions since I personally chose to follow my husband’s walk in faith (Iglesia Ni Cristo). On the other hand, since I am the admin officer of my current office, I was the one tasked to supervise and direct every detail of our office Christmas party. 

      My operations officer was my direct boss for the event. Of course my Commanding Officer is the approving authority. With a limited budget, our office was able to commemorate Christmas in a simple yet meaningful way. A week of planning was allotted. Two days before the party, my reasearchers took charge in buying gifts for the children (dependents’ sons and daughters who are 15 years old and below). They also took charge of the gift wrapping a day before the big event. I think the most tiring part was the d-day. Why? Oh well, at about 0400H, we already went to the market to buy for the ingredients to be used for cooking and prizes for the parlor games. At about 0600H, we went back to the office and started preparing. As for me, I still attended and represented my office in the Parole Making presentation. I asked a little favor from the Lantern Contest Committee if I may already elucidate the meaning of our lantern since I still have a party to supervise, which the Chairman allowed me to do so.

        At about 1030H, I personally took charge in starting the program by initiating several parlor games such as, egg cathing for the kids, pinoy henyo kids version, trip to Jerusalem and Newspaper dance father and child version. After this, we took a little break at about 1130H and had a light merienda (pancit and pandesal).While the rest are having their merienda, I took the opportunity to go back to barracks and fetch for my mother and son. Yes, I already can see what’s in your mind people. This was the highlight of the party for me, having been able to bring my baby in the party. Essentially, this was the very first Christmas party that my son have ever attended. And this is my very first Christmas party being a mom and for my mother, being a grandmom. Oh well, as expected, everyone was ardent in holding Echo while I am circling around the vicinity of the party.

At about 1230H, I already asked everyone to gather around for the more formal part of the program. Opening prayer was done. Welcome remarks was given by our operations officer and a Christmas message was given by my Commanding officer. Afterwhich, we gave away the first set of the gifts for the kids. Lunch was served at about 1300H. Courtesy of the enlisted personnel in our office, we were able to serve scrumptious meals such as chicken lechon, pork ribs adobo, grilled bangus, lechon kawali, caldereta and pinapaitan. Obviously, we did it the Ilocano way.

The third part of the program was the continuation of the games and gift giving. The party concluded at about 1430H. The event wasn’t as extravagant as those other parties held by other offices whether civilian kind of parties or military. But what left a mark for me is knowing that the event, no matter how simple, it was a success seeing our personnel and their families happy and seeing my Commanding officer and operations officer satisfied with how the party was handled. Most of all, I think this Christmas party will be listed in one of my favorite events in my book of life having my mom and son in the party.

*Please bear with me. Since I was also the anchor, I wasn’t able to get pictures of the games during the party.


08 December 2011

ECHO’s First Monthly Birthday Celebration inside Camp

            Since 08 July 2011, every 8th day of the month has been one of the happiest days of our family since this marks the day when my firstborn son Echo arrived. We even celebrated a “Mommy-Baby Day” last 08 October 2011 since aside from his 3rd month birthday, this was also my 27th birthday celebration. We have been celebrating Echo’s monthly birthday at our residence in Pangasinan together with his Wowa (Grandmother) and Pops (Grandfather).

        His fifth month was different from usual. It was very his first time to celebrate his monthly birthday away from Pangasinan, his first time to have a real baby visitor and his first time to be in my workplace as well. Travelling with a baby is not that easy for I was like bringing the whole locker with me. But knowing that I will not be able to be with him for the next two (2) weeks makes me crazy! So I opted to bring him along with me, it just so happened that it was also his fifth month birthday. 

            For his monthly birthday celebration, I just bought a cake for him (I forgot the name). When I arrived in the barracks where I brought Echo and my mom, I just lighted the candle then my mom, Pretzel Serran, Pretzel’s son JayJay and I sung a birthday song. Echo’s eyes were full of astonishment and was really staring at his cake and candle. That night, he also played and laughed with JayJay. It was so nice seeing my son gaining new friend. It was a tiring day yet, it was also full of fun!

It was not Echo’s first time to be inside camp given that he was born in a military hospital, stayed in GHQ, Camp Aguinaldo for two (2) weeks after birth, and stayed in Fort Bonifacio for how many times. But it was his first time to visit my current office and seen by my bosses and office mates. They were all excited to say hi and to hold Echo. Well, aside from his first monthly birthday celebration held inside camp, Echo will also be attending several military Christmas parties.

Oh well, for now, happy fifth month birthday son!

01 December 2011

ECHO’s First Brat-Date

           For a first-time mother like me, one of my concerns is for my little Echo to have good and real friends as he grows up. I think when that time comes, I will be happy enough when Echo meet friends that I know that he may depend on, trust and share his thoughts with and most importantly, friends that will lead him to good influence despite this fast changing and chaotic world.

Most of the time, kids do build friendship with the children of their parents’ circle of friends. I think I am very lucky to have real close friends who coincidentally will also be Echo’s future Godparents as well. One of these people includes Mommy Glaiza GarciaTominio, a wife of my close buddy and a co-Philips Avent Philippines mom. Mommy Glaiza and I share a lot in common when it comes to mommyhood. We conceived last 2010, have the same OB-Gynecologist ( Dra Adesita Binalay who is also our close friend), experienced nearly preterm labor and survived it and the funniest thing; we were road mates (we walked everyday at the AFP Medical Center) during those times we were already in labor last July 2011. Mommy Glaiza gave birth to Noelle Sabria (Noa) last July 4, 2011 while I gave birth to my Marco Quintin (Echo) last July 8, 2011.

Knowing mommy Glaiza’s devotion to her faith, I knew that as a Godparent, she will be a great influence to my son. I want my son to be surrounded by people who has a close relationship with God. It has been almost three (3) months that we haven’t seen each others’ babies. So we both decided to meet up last Saturday (26 November 2011) since Echo and I will be having a short vacation in Manila coinciding with his check-up at UST Hospital. 

About 0530H (5:30 a.m), together with my mother (Echo’s wowa) and one of my subordinates, Echo and I hit the road to Manila. At about 1030H (10:30 a.m.), we arrived at Gateway Mall, where Mommy Glaiza and I decided to meet up. We proceeded at Pizza Hut Bistro since we were all hungry. Mommy Glaiza and Baby Noa arrived at about 1120H (11:20 a.m.) and we all had a great chat. Echo and Noa were both very noisy and jolly and they were like having their own baby conversation. Mommy Glaiza and I just realized how fast time flies. When we were still single, we spend a lot of time shopping, eating and having coffee time together. Now, we barely see each other and most often than not, we just meet in mommy-baby occasions. Nevertheless, I think mommy Glaiza and my other mommy friends will agree with me that we enjoy having these kinds of moments.

Seeing Noa and Echo together makes me envision their blooming friendship in the future. I hope that they will also be able to meet their other bratmates and bond with them. I hope that more brat-dates will be set for our babies.

21 November 2011

Events That Should Not Be Missed

        Last 19 November 2011, Saturday, was a very busy yet, productive and enjoyable day for me as an officer and a mother. Can you imagine, I was able to attend three (3) events, all in one day!

  1. Mommy Mundo Bazaar
           As early as 0950H (or 9:50 a.m.), I already proceeded at the Rockwell Tent in Makati to wait for the opening of the Mommy Mundo Bazaar 2011. The bazaar was composed of 85 stalls of assorted baby and mommy products. My shopping list was a bit short since I think Echo’s things are already complete. 

           Prior entering the tent, I first registered and paid only Php 300.00 for the Mommy Mundo membership and planner. I already browsed the contents of the planner, and really, I just cant wait for 2012 so I may already start writing on it. I first purchased Cradle (Php 239.00) refill pack. I also bought a product from Tiny Buds in a bottle (Php 259.00), which is similar to Cradle. I was also able to purchase a sling baby carrier from Next9 (Php 1000.00). Oh well, I was supposed to buy a Saya Baby Carrier but there was a limited stock on the colors for my size. Nevertheless, Next9 sling baby carrier was still a good find. I was also able to buy new socks for Echo (5 for Php 325.00) and a camou bib with a print “my DADDY is my HERO”. My favorite? Well I think that would be the personalized CD composed of different lullaby songs (care of Kiddie Tunes), which repeatedly utters Echo’s first name “Marco” (Php 850.00).

       Aside from the items I was able to purchase, I was also able to meet my mommy friends, whom I have met through the Philips Avent Philippines Facebook page. It was really nice to see them in person. Before, they were just my virtual friends, now, my newly founded mommy friends. Some army and navy wives, who are also my friends were also present. 

After staying for about two (2) hours in the mommy mundo bazaar, I proceeded directly at the Philippine Army Gym to meet with other female cavaliers (PMA female graduates). It was my second time to attend said meeting but was my first time to meet some of the first female graduates of my Alma Mater. It feels good to know that we do initiate activities now to strengthen our bond. Imagine? We are now composed of more than a hundred graduates. 

This year is my very first year to celebrate Christmas as a mother. What excites me more are the events that Echo and I may attend to and have the chance to bond with our new friends. Philips Avent Philippines opened Echo and I to various opportunities like being able to interact with my mommy friends through the discussion board and for Echo, to be able to become a happy baby by utilizing their quality products.

I think as a sense of gratitude to their patronizers, Philips Avent then organized their very first exclusive Christmas Party. I was very lucky to be one of the attendees. It was my first time to visit their corporate office and showroom. The staffs were very accommodating and friendly. The party was full of balloons and of course, plenty of food was served. The highlight of the event was the games. I even won in the Pinoy Henyo game and the prize? It was a toddler sportsers (18+). One of my mommy friends was able to win a toddler feeding set and since her baby has already one, I was able to just purchase it at a lower price. There was never a dull moment in the event. At the last part of the party, the staff gave away loot bags with a lot of freebies!! The lootbag contained various LJS products such as a nine (9) oz honey tint feeding bottle with complete accessories, four (4) oz honey tint feeding bottle with complete accessories, via cups, sunnex mug, goody straightening brush, Philips Avent shirt, Philips Avent bib, Aprica Memo Pad, Philips Avent memo pad, Philips Avent baby diary with bookmark, Philips Avent nipple cream, Philips Avent disposable breast pads, Philips Avent soother with chain and Philips Avent feeding bottle and nipple brush.

Likewise, it’s so good to have met my Avent mommy friends whom I have already built friendship with. I am looking forward to more of these mommy and baby events gatherings. I hold the saying “some of the best things in life are free” true and this event is a classic illustration of it. 

Indeed, my day as a mother and a naval officer was very productive.

17 November 2011

First Time Blogger, First Time Mom

                Blogging has already been a trend for the past few years. Since then, for how many times did I attempt to create one and share the story of my audacious life or insights in some matters. Oh well, I thought my life is a bit boring...but lately, I have joined the Philips Avent Philippines discussion board and realized so many things and events that I have been missing...and blogging is one of those.
             They say that when a child is born, a mother is also born. I hold this saying true. The arrival of my son, Marco Quintin Fernandez if I may say is a life changing event. I guess all mothers will agree with me, that when a baby is born, our outlook in life changes. As for me, various plans that I have set in my life as a naval officer were altered. I thought that if I want to have a good family, I should sacrifice some things and that includes my career as a naval officer. I am not totally giving up my career but if I may say, I chose not to be on the limelight. No regrets. I am still serving the Nation and Filipino people while taking care of my child.
               In this blog site, I will try to share my experiences balancing my life as a woman, a naval officer, a daughter, a wife and a mother. Comments and suggestions regarding my blogs are welcome.