14 March 2012

A Letter from a Foster Parent

     The Philippine Military Academy has been adopting the Foster Parenting program for years. This help the cadets have a "home away from home" since they do come from different areas in the country. It is being introduced during yearling year (third-class cadets). I am not quite sure on the requirements on how to be host-parents/foster parents, but what I am sure is that having one keep our cadets guided. I must know, I even had three sets of foster parents (that's another story to tell). I would like to share this electronic mail that my husband's foster mother, Dra Micaela Defiesta (which automatically became my foster parents when my husband and I got together) sent to all of us, her foster siblings. This really made my day. I hope everyone will be inspired while reading this. I felt the need of posting this for various reasons. What are those? You'll find it out yourself after reading it. 

Subject of the Letter: THOSE WERE THE DAYS

Dearest mga Anak,

Musta na kayo lahat?

I got this email from Pastor Erwin Luga of PMACF today and decided to forward it to you. It was originally sent to the PMA Host Parent for them to have an idea of what a Plebe is like. Reading it brought a lot of memories...good ones actually as I reminisced years of being a fostermom to all of you. Papa Mon and I, Bryan and Ian included will always look back at those years as some of the best times we had even as a young family. We did make our own "family"  traditions of Sunday afternoon picnics within the Boodle Bar or some park in the Academy. Remember the Spaghetti Defiesta and undying cinnamon breads? I had fun teaching the girls in our family our traditional spaghetti sauce. Remember how we insisted that inside our house you call each other  by their first name? Many of you had difficulty doing that as it is either the PMA nickname or the family name that you remember or it was unheard off to call your upperclass men other than Sir or Maam. We had a rule, what is applicable to Bryan and Ian was applicable to all of you. Coming home meant sharing in the washing of dishes, cleaning the house, getting reprimanded if house rules - no telebabad, no raiding the ref without asking Mama first and so forth were not followed, etc.  Hosting your families for merienda cena during your graduation was something we prepared for and looked forward too because many times this will be the first and the last time we meet your parents. We felt sorry to have missed to do this for the last batch of you who graduated as we were already overseas then.

We were part of your lives and you, ours... and we were hoping in some ways or the other we could influence you to become the best people you can be...and you delivered! Maybe not all of you become officers in the AFP but I know that you are all excelling as you always had been in whatever endeavor you are doing now or path you have chosen to tread. We are proud of each and everyone of you!

I hope that as you go thru Cavalier Dan's story of Masikap Class 77, you will remember your time as Plebes and your own unique stories...and you will smile! Everything has paid off in the end! There will still be challenging times ahead...those will never end as Papa Mon and I am finding out in our 50s. Do you know that we started as fosterparents when we were in our early 30s? That doesn't seem to long ago...but as you know some of you even have families now. Papa Mon had some trepidation about it but he eventually "soaked up" the idea and the part as he was even more involved with some of you than I have ever been ie. delivering cakes and cards, looking for your drags, bringing in medicines you never had at the PMA Hospital, etc.  For Bryan and Ian, you have been the Kuya and Ate that they never had.

I wish we can keep tabs with all of you..but we have lost track of some. It would be good to connect with all of you again..so if you have any contact details of the rest of your fosbis or fossis not included in this email, I would love to have them. In this time and age, distance should no longer be a reason not to get in touch. May I ask that you never forget each other as well. Find out those that were part of our "family"...and when you meet them, acknowledge that they are your fosbis or fossis. Nothing will make Papa Mon and myself more happy than that you will keep the bonds that hold our special "family" and that you will help each other in whatever way possible even after PMA.

We are far and may not see you at all...but you will always occupy a special part of our hearts and there you will stay. We may be silent but that does not mean we have forgotten you. We continue to pray that you are safe and happy whereever you are...and that someday we can see you again.

Take care mga Anak! God bless you all, always!

Love and prayers,
Mama Ella  with Papa Mon, Bryan and Ian

Note: I copied the main letter and just pasted it with its original format....


NFNL Hosts Human Rights Advocacy

     The common negative misconception when a person knows what my job is? Human Rights Violator.

     The AFP has been bombarded with a lot of negative publicity for the past years specifically linking with various alleged human rights violations that were committed by its soldiers. In showbiz, a bad publicity is still publicity. But for the armed forces, a bad publicity equates to a possible lowering of morale of its people, ruining someone's name and career or more worse, destroying a strong family. That is why the armed forces and its sub-units are strengthening its efforts in advocating the Human Rights and the International Humanitarian Law.

      Just last 09 March 2012, The Naval Forces Northern Luzon hosted the Philippine Navy Human Rights Office Advocacy on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law. This was attended by more or less fifty people composed of the Officers, Enlisted Personnel and Civilian Employees of the Command. Registration started at about 0730H (7:30 a.m.) and the main program commenced at about 0830H through an invocation led by the NFNL Command Chaplain, Major Manuel Tabios CHS which was followed by the National Anthem.
NFNL HRO welcoming the participants of the advocacy
Chief HRO of the
Philippine Navy
      The welcome remarks was given by no less than the NFNL Human Rights Officer and at the same time the Deputy Commander, Navy Captain Rommel Jude G Ong PN (GSC). CAPT ONG pointed out that “human rights begin at home.” He also emphasized that as a soldier, we must calibrate ourselves with the rule of law. Indeed, his message was a good way to start the activity. After said speech, the Chief, Naval Human Rights Office gave his message as well. He shared that NFNL is the third naval forces that PNHRO visited, the first was the Naval Forces Southern Luzon and the second was the Naval Forces Central. He appreciated the large number that he saw registering and attending the activity.

      The highlight of the advocacy was initiated thru the distribution of survey questions, which tested the knowledge of the attendees in connection with human rights. This was followed by a video presentation on what is human rights.  The whole morning until afternoon was chock-full of lectures which were very informational and useful. At about 1700H (5:00 p.m.), Colonel Domingo Tutaan Jr PA (GSC), the Chief, AFP HRO gave his lecture and closing remarks.
AFP HRO giving his lecture
      The AFP is earnest to its endeavor to make the statistics of human rights violations down to zero. And this has been manifested thru the various activities that the AFP has been involved with such as this advocacy.

      Let us continue advocating human rights.

07 March 2012

“Why I Love Being a Mom and Blogger”

     This is an official entry to Dainty Mom’s Bloggy Goodies Contest, in celebration of the Dainty Mom blog’s 2nd anniversary. 


     For five years, I stayed in the portals of the Philippine Military Academy. Prior to where I am now, never did I imagine that I will enter the military, marry an army officer or become a soldier mom. I was just a carefree UP student maximizing my time as teenager. But as they say, the only thing constant in this world is change.
PMA Class 2008 Midshipmen, now Naval Officers of the Philippine Navy
     My world turned just like an ordinary wheel. I went on AWOL from UP Baguio and took the risk in entering the academy. My adventurous life didn’t end there. I was turned back due to medical condition and I felt like I was a failure. But because of the support of my parents, I survived the succeeding four years in the academy and am now a naval officer. Aside from the support that my family gave me, we were taught that despite the various physical and mental activities that we undergo in the academy, we remain focused and calm and that is termed “stability under pressure.” We must not treat problems as problems but we must treat it as a challenge to keep moving.

During Garden Wedding, December 18, 2010
From the Left: My FIL Papa Mario, My MIL Mama Becca,Me, My husband Glin Mar,
My Father Papa Jun, and my mother Mama Noemi.
     At the end of the day, despite the hardships I have experienced, I’m thankful that I made that journey. Why? Aside from the academic achievement, PMA is also the place where I met my husband, who is also a graduate of the academy and is currently serving the Army. We had our civil marriage last 28 January 2010, which was followed by a garden wedding on 18 December at Lisland Rainforest Resort Urdaneta, Pangasinan same year. Yes, you read it right; we got married two times in 2010.

     I thought that being in the service is already intricate. But being an army wife or being a soldier’s wife for that matter is I think unique. You think double or triple maybe about the safety of your husband and your family. You pray nth times a day. And you become tougher than anybody else, not because you want to…but because you have to. My relationship with my husband was never perfect but I can fairly say that we do our best to see each other as often as we could and as a rule, never argue over the phone or if unavoidable, never sleep until your discussion or argument with your husband is already settled.
At the Operating Room with my two OB
After the CS...thank God I can kiss you now Echo
     Last 08 July 2011, I think it was the happiest moment for my husband and me, aside from the day of our wedding of course. It is because it was the day that God bequeathed us the gift of life…our little angel Marco Quintin "Echo" Espiritu Fernandez was born at the AFP Medical Center. I couldn’t ask for anything else. I have my career, my friends, my parents, my husband and now, my son. God is really good all the time.

Glin Mar's First Daddy Hold
     It was just last November 2011 that I was encouraged to create my own blog page. I was pushed by a mommy friend, who happens to be the wife of my close buddy in PMA. Yes, she is also an army wife.
My very first post entitled "First time Blogger, First Time Mom"
     By the time I created my first post, I felt like I was also born to a new passion. And as I write my succeeding posts, I felt the urge to share my views as a naval officer, a daughter, a wife and a mother. Because, it is not only the soldier that lives with “stability under pressure,” WE, AS A MOTHER FOLLOW THIS CREED: BEING STABLE DESPITE ALL THE PRESSURES AND PROBLEMS IN LIFE, Because We Want to and We Have To.
My blog post for the Philips Avent Philippines Christmas Party
     My blog post for Healthy Options when I won in their online promo

06 March 2012

Beef Potato Burger

     Craving for that big sized burger servings but still thinking how will you manage to stick with your minimum/maximum calorie intake? Here's a burger version, which you may add to your healthy diet.


(For the Patties)
1/2 kls ground beef
5 medium sized potatoes (boiled and mushed)
2 medium sized carrots (minced)
2 small sized red bell pepper (minced)
3 medium sized white onions (minced)
2 eggs beaten
5 tbsp cornstarch/all purpose flour
2 tbsp iodized salt
2 tbsp olive oil
1-2 cups of corn oil

(For Burger Presentation)
1 whole lettuce
3 large tomatoes
1 whole cucumber

(For Dressing)
Mustard Sauce
Caesar Salad Dressing
Banana Ketchup

1. Mix all ingredients (for patties) in a large bowl.
2. Form it into patties.
3. Fry the patties in a cooking pan using the corn oil until golden brown. (You may grill it to lessen use of oil)
4. Place the cooked patty in a bun.
5. Top it with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, cheese (I used quick melt) and your choice of dressing.

     Homemade burgers are more healthy and nutritious. Aside from this, another healthy tip, instead of buying commercialized fries as a partner to your burger meal, you may just buy large sized potatoes or sweet potatoes and deep fried it or baked it. Happy eating!

05 March 2012

Pata Tim ala Veeyah

1.5 kilos of Pork Leg (whole)
1 whole broccoli (sliced)
1 can 225mg pineapple slices
3 red onions (cut into halves)

1 whole garlic (crushed)
2 tbsp pepper
100 ml soy sauce
4 tbsp cane vinegar
2 glasses of water
4 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
50 mg mushroom (tengang daga)
1/8 butter
1 tbsp rock salt
2 glasses of royal tru orange
1 tsp ajinomoto umami seasoning

Happy International Womens Day:"Empower Rural Women – End Hunger and Poverty"

c/o http://www.internationalwomensday.com
    Greetings for the women of the 20th century! Indeed we have already proven that women of this century are bolder, stronger and wiser. Of course, we owe this to the women of the past. We are now versatile and can move in a men's world. We are now given the chance to be active in politics and military and are given equal rights to education and health services. Thank you to the various laws amended in our own country (Philippines) that we are empowered. As a review, hereunder are some of the Proclamations and RA's released in the Philippines in connection with the celebration of the Women's Month.

Proclamation No. 224 s. 1988

Proclamation No.227 s. 1988

Republic Act No 6949

Proclamation No 1675 s. 2008

Republic Act No 9710

     To all the women in the world, this is our month. Celebrate it! Happy Women's Month everyone!

01 March 2012

Philippine Military Academy Alumni Home Coming 2012

     "Oh, proud and bold you stand,
      Bright beacon of the land..."

PMA BAGHAWI Class of 2008
     After graduating on the year 2008, I made a promise to myself to attend the PMA Alumni Home Coming whenever I can, not just to see my mistahs (classmate) but most of all, to pay homage to the institution where I was molded to become a naval officer. Philippine Military Academy... where my naval career started. 2012 PMA AHC is one of the most unforgettable home coming for me for so many reasons. First, this is the very first time that my hubby and I went together. This is second time to attend actually since his first was when i was a first class cadet and that was last 2008. Second, this is my mother's first time to see me marching the parade grounds as an alumna. The last time she saw me marching was during the turn-over parade still last 2008. Third, what made it special this year is that, it is the very first AHC that I attended as a mommy. Hubby and I brought Echo along with us.
     Glin Mar and I also had a deal  that in order to minimize our expenses, we will just attend the PMA AHC if and only if his class and my class will be the host. For this year, Class 2007 is the junior host and since I belong to Class 2008, that means that we will also attend the 2013 PMA AHC.
     The PMA AHC 2012 was held from February 16-19, 2012. a lot of activities were lined up during said days. The highlight of which is the PMA AHC parade held last February 18, 2012. My personal favorite though is the Silent Drill conducted on February 19 and the PMA Canteen Cup (soccer games).
     Here are some few photos that were taken during the 2012 PMA AHC:

in-front of the Lopez Hall of Leaders
at the female barracks CCQ station

with Alfa Indians Plebes
experiencing cadet bunks

with mommy dear
with mommy ninang nurse Kristel Anne
with tita dentist Rein, mommy ninang Kristel and wowa Noemi

Tags: Kristel Anne, Rein, PMA AHC 2012