Welcome, Gingersnaps as my newest site partner! I’m sure some of you may have noticed the photos of my kids wearing Gingersnaps in Instagram. They’ve been wearing this brand since they were born. It has also been my go-to place for gift shopping for kids. I’ve been a regular at Gingersnaps for a long time, I even appeared in their old in-house magazines.


Photo shoot
Back in 2006 when Lily was still a baby. She was such a funny and easy baby.


Shoot for Gingersnaps
Also from 2006 when Soph was just 4. Sigh, how time flies. My first born. I still see her as this little peanut. Hard to believe she is in the upper tweens.


A lot of the dresses Soph had when she was a baby and toddler were from Gingersnaps. I kept them all so well that both Lily and Stella still got to wear them. I love that their prints are subtle and cute. And I really love their windows and merchandising. There’s so much detail and cuteness involved.

This year marks Gingersnaps’ 20th anniversary. I gasped and suddenly felt old. Then I realized, Gingersnaps has played a big role in dressing all our kids and it still manages to look so new and fresh. Along the way, they managed to set up shop in Indonesia, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Thailand and UAE.

Here are photos of this season’s new collection.


1 copy


4 copy


15 copy




18 copy






If you are hoping to have your child be part of the Gingersnaps 20th anniversary campaign, you may enter the Gingersnaps Model Search from September 20 – November 10. All it takes is to send in cute photos of your kid.

Be one of the six lucky kids to win fabulous prizes including presence on billboards. 20 kids will get a chance to join the big anniversary fashion show. Register. Upload. Share. Go to to register and upload your pictures.



For information on Gingersnaps newest collection, click here.



Little readers



I got an email from a reader asking me how I am raising creative kids. It didn’t really dawn on me that we were doing that, at least not deliberately. So I’m working on a post about that.

Meanwhile, I felt inspired to write about how my little ones are enjoying books. Again, we didn’t do any of this on purpose. Patrick and I like reading. He does non-fiction and biographies. I enjoy the occasional biography but I appreciate a good fiction novel (And now, young adult fiction. Yes! But no vampire series.)

We like to hang out in book stores. So the kids got exposed to all that. They think National Book Store is the best place to shop at because that’s where they get their treats. When they do something awesome, we treat them to books or magazines. The girls are major Total Girl fans.

Here’s what it’s like in our home…


Bedtime. I found Kid1 reading to Kid3. But Kid3 had her own visuals, diff version. #books #reading #Seuss
Scene at bedtime. Sophia was reading out loud and Stella was following the pages using a different version of Dr. Seuss.


Sophia read the bible in Manga form when she was 6.


"Mama, please read Wild Things Are" - Stella, 2 is addicted to this book #Sendak
Stella’s most frequently used line while she was a toddler was, “Read to me.” This is a family favourite – Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak.


When he reads to her... #love #dad #stella
Truth, I’m usually the one reading to the kids. We do it at bedtime and any time of day. I think I do a good reading voice – with feelings and voices. But no one takes my picture while doing so. Here is Patrick reading to Stella.


Soph reads to Lily
My kids aren’t geniuses nor are they in gifted class. They’re doing very well at school but we don’t go the extra mile to work on them being number one. I’m not really into pressure. This reading thing was purely for pleasure. And yes, we started them young. All babies were read to… all toddlers got reading time with mama… and now as little girls, they read on their own or sometimes together. This photo of Soph reading to Lily.


She was looking for Ivy&Bean Book 4 but it wasn't available at @nbsalert so she got Books 5 and 7 first. We ordered the 4&6. My little bookworm loves this series so much she tells me all about each chapter. I love how my girls love books! #reading #books
This year, Lily discovered her love for chapter books. The first chapter book she read all on her own was Ivy and Bean.


This boxed set of Books 1 to 3 was a gift from my sister Pauline.


This is a series about two girls who are so different from each other but are the best of friends.


It is a good first-book for young girls. It has a few illustrations. By the way, Lily wants to be a book illustrator when she grows up. She likes to make up her own stories and draw pictures to go with her “book”.


We are still looking for Ivy & Bean Book 9. In the meantime Lily started reading this series with her name as the star!


She hasn't taken off this windbreaker since I got it for her last Friday. Lily is into reading Ivy & Bean now. #lily #books #ivybean #greengate #uniqlo
Lily is devouring one book per day now. I don’t know how she does it. Apparently she reads a lot during lunch and at dismissal time. She is so amused with the books she’s reading that when I pick her up, she spends the entire ride home telling me all about the characters.


I found a spot in their tiny room where I had built-in shelves made. It’s their little library. As much as I want to maintain some order, it usually takes on a life of its own after a few days.


So on an average day, Stella’s shelf looks like this.


The higher shelf has their travel books.


The most frequently used shelf is just pure mayhem. Hodge podge.


Soph’s bedside table is a bit neater. She has her Magic Tree House series in a pull out basket. She’s been done with these two years ago and they’re just waiting to be read by Lily.


A few more series that Sophia loved – Geronimo Stilton and Charmseekers. Lily is now reading Charmseekers, one book per day! Soph is into 39 Clues.


Again, none of this was done deliberately. But I’m glad we’ve got one less thing to worry about at school. Reading, writing, language — those are their “things”. Wish we could say the same for math.

Any tips on raising math whiz kids? Haha.

Seriously, read with your kids. It’s good. It’s relaxing. It’s fun.



BABY Magazine September 2013



Stella and I are on the cover of BABY magazine August-September 2013. Many thanks to Juana Manahan-Yupangco, Jacqui Salonga, Ana Gloria and the rest of the BABY team for this amazing cover story.

The cover was shot in our home. Stella has gotten used to “photoshoots” that the last time we needed to get her some ID photos she asked, “How do I smile, mom? Photoshoot smile?” So then I had to teach her how to do the passport smile (no teeth and no expression). I think she got confused and gave us a “passport smile” here. Haha. Seriously, the lipgloss made her freeze.

The spreads inside are so lovely. It made me wonder if that was really me in the photos and article. It’s surreal to be reading about one’s self and work. Thank you, Ana for helping me spread the messages of UNICEF and for allowing me to share stories of my journey with UNICEF.


Baby 2 scan


Photos were by Paolo Feliciano. My makeup was by Ria Aquino and hair by Avril, both my stylists the TV show.

BABY magazine is available at all leading bookstores and magazine shops.






I remember when I was a child, I had dolls that I played with everywhere.  But thn there was one doll that was more special than others; I would keep it carefully in its box when I wasn’t using it. It was more precious the others. American Girl Doll is like that to my kids. And to me.

When Soph was 7, we got her one American Girl during a trip to New York. Lily wanted one too but she was only 4. Those dolls cost over $100 each. So we only got Lily a small version and promised her she would get her American Girl Doll when she turns 6 or 7.


American Girl Place
This was taken in the American Girl shop on 5th Avenue in New York in 2010. Just being in this multi-storey store was an experience. It had a historical display, beauty salon (for dolls), and a cafe that you have to book in advance. It is a crazy doll world.


American Girl Place
This was Lily’s American Girl – which was actually just  a doll of the bigger doll. She didn’t mind. And she patiently waited for her turn to buy her doll.


Three years later, while we were in Toronto last Spring, she finally got her own doll. But instead of American Girl, we ordered one from Maplelea Girls, a similar doll concept but Canadian. So it had more relevance to her. Her doll is named Alexi and she lives in Cabbagetown, Toronto – one of favourite districts downtown.


On the left is Sophia’s American Girl and the one with sunglasses is Lily’s Alexi, the Maplelea Girl.


Though one is American and the other is Canadian, they were almost identical in size and shape.


The girls wanted new outfits for their dolls. The ones in American Girl and Maplelea cost like real girls’ clothes. So we wouldn’t have any of that. No way. Luckily we found a great substitute in Target in their own line called Our Generation.


The dolls now have extra shoes.


Lily had to have this lovely party whirl dress is now on sale for $13.99 at Target. My sister gave it as a gift.


My more outdoorsy girl Soph got a tent and camping gear for her doll.


They also have carrying cases and extra clothing. Alexi came with a journal that had all her innermost thoughts and life story in it. There are extra pages in it for Lily to write about herself.


Stella doesn’t have any of these yet. She knows she has to wait a bit before she gets one. It’s not really an issue. Besides, she’s not really into big girl dolls yet. She loves baby dolls. Target has their own doll for a fraction of the cost of American or Canadian dolls. I considered getting her this cheaper version now. But since Lily waited patiently, I figured there’s some value in this waiting thing.

This is just a small part of our daughters’ world. There are smaller toys like My Little Pony and Littlest Pet Shop. It’s a crazy toy world. Sometimes I think it’s more for me than for them.

What’s it like for those of you with young kids?



ENDViolence against children



Next week we officially announce the renewal of my appointment from UNICEF as Special Advocate for Children. It’s a symbolic official renewal. In reality I have not stopped my commitment to all the causes of UNICEF and they have continued to invite me to participate. Hard to believe I am entering my fifth year with UNICEF. More than the fancy title, it is has been a real privilege and honour to serve and try to make a difference in children’s lives. It is something that I am most proud of. (I’ll save my speech for next week).

What I’ve learned from being on field and working with the UNICEF team is that anyone can make a difference. No one needs a fancy title to help protect children’s rights. When people ask me how they can “join” UNICEF, I simply direct them to UNICEF Philippines website where anyone and everyone can donate either once or regularly. Children’s causes don’t need championing just during crisis or emergencies. They continue every single day. There are silent emergencies like malnutrition and violence.

This season Liam Neeson, UNICEF’s Goodwill Ambassador, launched a global campaign to end violence against children.





Unicef ENDviolence


UNICEF #ENDviolence




How can you be involved? Between now and August 14, post in Instagram or Facebook – a photo, graphic, story or simply the words #ENDviolence with that particular hashtag. Also tag @unicef. You may also post it on the UNICEF Philippines Facebook page. There will be winners chosen. You may win a Tshirt and your photo/work will be featured at teh International Day of NonViolence on October 2, 2013.

While working on this post, I came across this video clip from the makers of the animated film RPG Metanoia. I’ve love this song by the APO Hiking Society, Bawa’t Bata. It was written for the International Year of the Child in 1979. Jim Paredes wrote the Tagalog version. The original was by Godiego, a Japanese group. This video summed it up. It’s full of nostalgia about the childhood I had – playing outdoors, patintero and agawan base. It is my hope that every child gets to play and have fun this way. Let’s put an end to violence at home, at school, in the community. It’s time to talk about it.



Let’s all work together to make violence against children disappear.  Click here to get involved now.

Please do me a favour and press LIKE and TWEET below. Kindly repost this and help us get the word out. Big thanks!