Becoming Ironman

Out of all the Marvel heroes, my son M likes IRONMAN the most.  I think it’s because he identifies himself with Tony Stark, the man behind the iron mask.  With no special powers from a ring  (like Green Lantern) and not having been bitten by a lab spider (like Spiderman), Tony Stark’s power comes from having a brilliant mind.  He is good-looking, rich, kind-hearted at the core and seems to have  a humorous but dead-on point of view about everything.  I remember M chuckling inside the movie house after Robert Downey Jr. said, “ My old man had a philosophy : peace means having a bigger stick than the other guy.“

RDJ on comic book

Good looks and riches can only take you so far. Super brains plus Saving-the-world-intentions equals SUPERHERO!


RDJ split pic

Robert Downey Jr. as Ironman – Half hero, half





It was really quite a surprise when we saw the INNOVENTIONS attraction at Disneyland Anaheim.  Expecting to see only Mickey, the Disney Princesses and Santa (because it was Christmastime),  my boy shouted  “Look Dad,  they have an Ironman show!”  We hurriedly went up the three- storey winding platform and “gasp”  – caught the Marvel-ous show .


These lifesize suits of armor delighted my boy to no end.





Fronting the attraction is a display of different Ironman prototypes.  M looked at each one  and for the first time he said ,”Mom , please take my picture!.. I’ll pose anywhere you like!”  🙂









Then it was time for M to become IRONMAN.  Hubby A and I were very happy to see M all excited and giddy as he followed the park attendant. First, he was asked to stand still and then move his arms slowly in an up and down motion so the machine can plot his body.


Ironman first steps

DID YOU KNOW? J.A.R.V.I.S. stands for Just A Rather Very Intelligent System. It is the artificially intelligent computer of  Tony Stark that is programmed to have a male voice and to speak in a British accent. Paul Bettany is the voice of J.A.R.V.I.S in the movie.



Then it was time for the virtual reality experience. Piece by piece the machine put the Ironman steel costume on M. His smile grew bigger and bigger and his eyes were in total amazement as this was happening.

Armor on 2

M becomes IRONMAN! After the suit was placed on him, he was able to play pretend for a good five minutes. Definitely, a dream come true for my little Tony Stark!


After  M was finished becoming Ironman, the mood was set for the day.  He said, “Ok I’m ready to meet the Disney Princesses !”  So with that, we headed back to the main grounds. Big brother M was more than happy to accompany his little sister watch the Disney parade. 🙂

Stay tuned for my  DISNEYLAND theme park review PART TWO! Coming up very soon!

M with the Ironman suits of steel

M with the Ironman suits of steel — MARK I to MARKVII

The Power of Puzzles

There was a time when my boy M could not sit still.   At two, sharing a meal was impossible and hearing mass together unthinkable.  He would always be distracted and seemed to have too much energy.  I would look at other kids his age as they sat inside restaurants and I would observe toddlers staying put in the pews inside the church.  Why couldn’t my boy do that?

Trips to different developmental pediatricians revealed very little.  “Don’t worry Mommy. There’s nothing wrong with M.  He’s perfectly ok. “ I was told many times over.  One doctor did say , “Remember a child’s brain is like a sponge. You have to feed him with as many interesting information as he is able to absorb. “


With the very same puzzle I bought for him seven years ago, M teaches his sister R about opposites. R thinks they are just playing.

So I bought “Brainy Baby” books and introduced him to colors and shapes.  But reading only took a few minutes and he would be distracted again.  Then during a week-long trip to Singapore, I saw a puzzle of opposites at Toys R Us in Paragon Plaza.  I  bought it, took it back to the hotel and in just two days my son M learned twenty eight pairs of opposites! I was amazed at what the puzzle was able to do.  It made M sit for twenty minutes – focused and attentive.

When we got back to Manila,  I bought some more puzzles. I started M on 16 pc puzzles, then 24, then 50 – until he could sit down for hours to finish 100 pc puzzle challengers.  In the beginning, we pieced the puzzles together  and then he enjoyed doing it just by himself.

I read that solving jigsaw puzzles  uses both the left brain and the right brain.  The left side is analytical, logical and rational.  It is stimulated by problem solving. The right side is creative and sees the big picture. Using both sides allows a person to remember color, shape, size and increases short term memory.  More importantly, when a child is successful in completing a puzzle, his body produces dopamine which regulates mood, concentration and motivation.

Soon after, I discovered ISpy and Can You See What I See? books (by Walt Wick) at BookSale, a second-hand bookstore.  The books were full of picture riddles that delighted us all!  “M, where’s the yellow fish? What about the boy with an ice cream cone?” At first he just pointed to the correct objects and then he started saying the words. I felt like I won the lottery!  M was almost three years old when he found his voice.

dinosaur puzzles

ISPY books

My daughter R delights her dad by finding the correct objects. She is the happy recipient of Kuya M’s ISpy book collection.

I never thought that I would be so challenged as a Mom in my first years of parenthood. I thought babies crawled, sat and spoke naturally. But that wasn’t the case with my firstborn.  His brain needed complicated problems in order for him to learn simple tasks like sitting and speaking.

Looking at my smart ten year old son now, nobody can guess the struggles he had to face as a child.  But that’s the beauty of it all —M is living proof of the silver lining behind the dark clouds. 🙂

On Daddy’s Day

A’s birthday is about to come to an end.  He is looking at all the greetings and watching the videos posted by friends, family and his present and past co-workers.  He is smiling and muttering “Wow” over and over again.  He doesn’t have a Facebook page (or any social media account) so one officemate thought it would be great to create one as a  surprise for his birthday.  What a fantastic idea it turned out to be!  The page was flooded with greetings and got over 500 likes in three days!

The husband is a big basketball fan.  This fantastic artwork is by T. Mercado.

The husband is a big basketball fan. This fantastic artwork is by T. Mercado.


With his cake

This basketball shoe cake was made by Michelle Teves of Coco Cakes.




It’s amazing how much he is loved, appreciated and respected in the industry.  People actually took the time to make creative videos, pictures with funny captions as well as inspiring messages.  Some even wrote poems, danced and sang!


Thank you for the overwhelming show of love for “The Boss”. He is humbled by your support.



These greetings are so heartwarming.:)

These greetings are so heartwarming.:)


two cuties


We also took part in the big surprise. My son M wrote down his thoughts twenty minutes before the shoot, memorized his greeting and delivered it well. My daughter R insisted on wearing her crown, put on her sunnies, and sang for Daddy. I, on the other hand, caught a virus earlier in the day, but decided to still go on camera ( washed out look and all ) to complete our birthday message.




Earlier this evening, we hosted a simple dinner with his side of the family at the NBA Cafe. It was the first time for most of them to visit the place. The celebration was made more special by the crew. They surprised A with  a stomping dance which amused the rest of the dining clientele.  The hubby  also got to blow three cakes. Thank you family!

With the happy birthday boy! :)

With the happy birthday boy! 🙂


On his 46th,  A is most proud of being a dedicated father and husband. 🙂









The gift of family is celebration

We only got to give Daddy our gifts the day after.

I involve the kids in everything! ... Even shopping for Daddy's birthday gifts!

I involve the kids in everything … Even shopping for Daddy’s birthday gifts!

He liked them all — and the shoes we chose, fit. Yehey!

Our final choice -- Driving shoes, a blue polo and a belt

Our final choice — Driving shoes, a blue polo and a belt


Birthdays are milestones in a person’s life.  I am happy to see that the husband continues to inspire people with his leadership, dedication and unselfish mentoring.  Thank you so much to everybody who remembered A’s special day.  The Facebook page will be taken down tonight  but we will never forget all the wonderful messages you sent A’s way.  Our heartfelt gratitude goes out to all of you.

A Father’s Hope, A Mother’s Fear and A Son’s Shining Moment

My dearest M,

Can Mom just tell you how proud DAD and I are, of what you have accomplished this year?  Three writing awards, your first published article , a seat in the school paper and a spot in the varsity swimming team.  You also won an individual award  in the eliminations round from the Metrobank–Dep-ED Math Trainer’s Association of the Philippines  (MTAP),  and a medal in the group area finals in MTAP .  Subsequently,  you powered your team to the regional finals, topped the final exams of the Math Trainers’ Guild 12 –week program and qualified in the national eliminations of MTG, making you eligible again to compete as part of the Philippine delegation in international math competitions.

MTG awarding Ceremony

M was the only Grade 5 student who passed the test in the Math Trainers’ Guild national finals. He competed against the best mathematicians/regional winners from all over the country.


To top it all, in today’s awarding ceremonies, you brought home an Academic Excellence Award , a Student Award and a Math Excellence Award.  As you were called on stage  to receive the last medal, your teacher announced all your achievements in the field of Math. The audience composed of your classmates and their parents gave you a round of resounding applause complete with shouts and cheers.


Mig with his medals

To God Be the Glory!


I fought back tears as I saw you in the middle of that stage.   Your DAD was beaming with pride and your sister kept on shouting  “Kuya is the winner! Kuya is the winner! … You have come so far, Anak. When we asked you what you wanted for your prize, you just shook your head, smiled and said “Nothing Mom.”  How lucky we are to have you for a son .

Medal of Excellence in Mathematics

M receives his Medal of Excellence in Mathematics.

There are times when I feel we may be pushing you too hard.  I fear that when you grow up you’ll say you didn’t enjoy your childhood because Mom was too demanding and Dad expected too much.  So this year, we let you set your own course and find your own way in the world.  Thank you for making good use of your independence.  You have amazed us with your determination and passion to excel.  Although there is still much to improve on, Dad and I are very hopeful and confident that you will pass the tests ahead.



Family Portrait

We’re so proud of you SON!

M, you continue to shine despite the odds.  I love you, my imperfectly perfect boy.  Do not waste your talents and do not be afraid to be different.  God intended for you to be so. Bend your knees and offer your success, your doubts and failures, your hopes and dreams to the ONE who has made everything possible .  Know that Mommy will always be your number one cheerleader .  I will carry you in my heart in this lifetime until the next.

Congratulations Son!

Raising Readers – How to encourage your kids to read

“Mom, tell me a stowee,” my daughter R says as we lay together in bed. Her brother has just turned off the lights in our room . My two-year old has her pink stuffed toy ELLIE in a tight embrace as she waits for my impromptu tale.  This night I tell her about Goldilocks and the Three Bears.  She giggles in the dark as I use different voices for Papa bear, Mama bear and Baby Bear.  She quickly learns the too hot- too cold-just right  pattern for the porridge eating part of the story and the too hard- too soft- just right sequence for the chair and bed escapades of Goldilocks. At the end of the story, R says “the m” (thee-em), instead of “the end.”  It’s my turn to grin in the dark. I kiss her good night as she begs for another story. “I’ll tell you another one tomorrow, sweetie. “  She falls asleep soon enough.

rocio's book


Several days later the kids and I went to the bookstore because  my son M wanted to check out the latest K-Zone magazine.  “Mom, where is Goldilocks?” asks R as her eyes wondered from one book to another.  We found the book and she immediately went through the pages. “Too hot! Too cold! Juuussst right!” recited R as she pointed at the pictures.   Her brother M was impressed.

inigo reading

M chooses between THE CALVIN and HOBBES TENTH ANNIVERSARY BOOK and the HOMICIDAL PSYCHO JUNGLE CAT. This was taken inside National Bookstore where we spent the first part of our Mom and son date after the first day of class. I’ve always told him that he cannot ask me to buy toys but he can always ask to buy books.

My experience with M ten years ago was very different .  He was a late talker, so I would read to him as he eagerly took in the images from the books we perused.  Every trip to the mall included a stay in the bookstore.  Even when we travelled, we spent more time in the bookstore than in any Toys R Us outlet. By the time M learned how to speak, he could also read.

My son’s first books included  “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle and  the Caldecott Medal winning “Where the Wild Things Are “ by  Maurice Sendak,   For the talent show in kindergarten,  then 4-year old M recited the lines from  “There was an Old Woman who Swallowed a Fly” in front of his class.  Now at ten, he has read The Little Prince, The One and Only Ivan and a myriad of Marvel-based books.

The Very HUngry Caterpillar

Carle masterfully illustrated his story . This colorful book is a visual delight to young readers.



TVHC words

This four decade old book has enriched the vocabulary and fuelled the imagination of millions.


where the wild things are

This is the perfect adventure book for your child.


There was an old woman

A fun and easy read for toddlers.

It’s very important to encourage your child to appreciate books  at an early age.   It doesn’t matter if he/she only looks at the pictures.  That is a good starting point because good visuals stimulate the brain.  I truly believe that there is no better toy for a child than a good book.Tell your children stories at night, during activity time or even when you’re stuck in traffic.  Buy books and put them in a shelf where it can be accessed easily.   There is no limit to a child’s imagination!  In fact, it’s the cheapest way to go on any kind of adventure!

Reading also increases the vocabulary and the spelling ability of your child.   I do recommend however that you also offer Tagalog books  early on.  In a bilingual society , this will be very helpful. I wish I had done this with M before so that he could be fluent in the vernacular as well as he is with the English language.  And please lessen television viewing or the use of any hand held equipment.  It may keep your child quiet for some time but the end result of this no-no practice is disastrous.

So the next time,your child asks you to buy a toy, try bringing him/her to the bookstore.  Invest in reading materials rather than in gadgets.  Now, that’s a challenge for all of us .

Bruno Mars – The Moonshine Jungle Tour

The one-night only Moonshine Jungle Concert of Bruno Mars is definitely one of the best acts that has landed in Manila’s shores in recent years.  The SM MOA Arena was filled to the rafters as audience flocked to see the half-Pinoy sensation perform his hits.  Opening the show was Season 5 America’s Best Dance Crew winner Poreotix.  With their monkey masks on (Yes, they’re the plaid wearing, hip hoppping apes on Mars’ Lazy Song video),  the boys showed the crowd their fluid dance moves. Soon after, the black and gold curtains with golden palm tress fell signalling the much awaited appearance of the “freakin’ man” of the castle.

There were no wasted minutes in the two hour show.  All the songs were familiar.  Everyone was on his feet,  singing  , dancing and , of course taking pictures/videos! After the first song, Bruno told the people to put down their phones first and sing along with him.  The audience was ecstatic as he sang “Locked out of Heaven”, “Treasure” and “Natalie.”  I was wise enough to wear comfortable Charles David wedges this time so I had no problem dancing to my heart’s content.  I wore 4inch stilettos at the Rihanna concert and my toes died by the time that show ended. Hahaha! (Let’s reserve that fashion review for another day.)

Bruno Mars at the Moonshine Jungle Concert

Bruno sings his hits

Bruno didn’t  need visual tricks, costume changes or an elaborate stage for his act. HE was the act!  He sang, danced (doing foot moves reminiscent of James Brown) and gave the concertgoers a solid show.  He also sang songs from his previous album such as “Grenade”, “Billionaire” and the popular lover’s anthem “Just The Way You Are.”  No surprise that everyone had no problem belting the song as the singer extended the microphone to the all-too-willing crowd. I’m all praises for the band too! Who needs back-up dancers when you have cool guys playing instruments as they gyrate in unison with the lead vocalist.


Bruno on drums

The multi-talented singer on drums.

Bruno obviously did a Taylor Swift when he wrote his ballad “When I was your Man”. His spiel to introduce the song hinted as much.  “This is probably the hardest song for me to sing…. ”   he said.  Ahhh, lost love makes for a good sob song :p   Although, he didn’t play the piano as he sang this, he did play the drums later on.  SUPERB!  What made the drum number more spectacular was the fact that he played it on an elevated stage with the Philippine flag as his backdrop.


Confetti fell as fireworks exploded on the stage.

After Bruno bid the audience goodbye, he came back (of course!) and sang “Gorillas.” As silverback apes flashed on the giant screens, pyrotechnics exploded on stage and golden confetti fell on the crowd.  My boys and I had a blast! It was a fitting end to a perfect Jungle Party!

With Ariel at the Concert

We caught the jungle fever!


PLDT HOME Tvolution was the main sponsor of the Bruno Mars Concert.

Concert Outfit

We brought our son M and niece Nikka to the show. (L) My outfit for the night (R)

Divergent : Why Every Parent Should Watch This Movie

Last Christmas, my boys and I were in the World Trade Christmas Bazaar and we chanced upon a booth selling shirts with designs from the Houses of Harry Potter fame (Slyhtherin, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Gryffindor). Aside from these, there were also tees with unfamiliar insignias. My shopping-averse son, however, quickly grabbed a dark shirt which had an eye and the word “ERUDITE” on it. Apparently, he knew the inspiration of the apparel. Then he pointed to a shirt that read “DAUNTLESS “ . “Mom, look! My sister definitely belongs to that faction,” he said with a grin.


M (with his cousin B) wearing his ERUDITE The Intelligent shirt at Legoland California

Fast forward to today. We have just seen the movie “DIVERGENT”. I haven’t read the book so I’m not sure if the screen adaptation did justice to the actual novel of Veronica Roth . I just know that the movie has much to teach to parents and children both.

Imagine a world where your teenage children are allowed to choose a different family. Imagine the horror when they actually do. Imagine a world where all people are classified into factions according their dominant characteristic : ERUDITE (intellectuals, people who know “everything”) , CANDOR (the just ones who will do the right thing and will say everything that comes to their minds, “no filters”),  AMITY (happy workers), ABNEGATION (The “stiffs”, kind and helpful, vegetarians, rejects vanity) and the DAUNTLESS (fearless,brave soldiers, protectors of the system).


movie poster

When the lead character TRIS leaves her ABNEGATION family for the DAUNTLESS faction, she is at once faced with the consequences of her decision. She has to jump onto a train and out of it AND THEN she has to jump again from the top of a building through a hole with jutting steel —without knowing if there’s anything below to break her fall. She trains rigorously and literally fights for a place in the group. There is no going back to her old family. She must belong or be factionless. But the truth is , she doesn’t belong anywhere. Early testing showed that she is a DIVERGENT—a person with qualities of other factions. Individuals like her are considered dangerous to the system.

divergent first test

The first test

TRIS must hide her true self to belong in a group she had previously thought would be accepting of her. She learns to fight, to trust and be betrayed, and to love. In the end, she finds the courage and the strength to overcome (some of) the odds. She ultimately rejects the idea of “faction before blood.”


All parents want to raise “good kids.” For some, having good kids mean raising smart children. Undeniably, intelligent children bring a badge of honor to the family and are already seen as being successful in the future. For other parents, academic achievements are secondary to values formation while for some, sports is the priority.

I started out as a “tiger mom” and drilled my then only child M to get perfect scores in his tests. At 4, he could memorize lines as easily as he could figure out 100 piece puzzles. As a first time Mom, I felt the urge to equip my child with everything he needs to be successful. As M grew, he would sometimes get into trouble in school because he freely spoke his mind and questioned his teachers.  He had (has ) a hard time fitting into the category of a “model” student.  If he was in the movie, he would definitely be an ERUDITE but with CANDOR characteristics too. In short, just like the main character , M is a DIVERGENT.

Now, that I have a decade’s worth of parenting knowledge under my belt, I don’t want to undermine my effort in molding an intellectual child. M has already set a standard for himself and that is good. I do find myself with a different goal and that is ensuring that my child is HAPPY and FREE to be his true self.

The movie mirrored my fear about raising my kids. How well do I really know my children (this applies to M, for now)? If they had a choice, will they leave us (their parents) without looking back? My husband and I have big dreams for the children but this early we know that THEY have to be the ones to choose their own paths. Rebellion is the fruit of unhappiness. I know this because I was a rebel many, many moons ago.

Childhood is a fleeting phase and there’s no do-over in parenting. This is why I consciously create and collect wonderful experiences for the family. I truly believe that children shouldn’t be forced to conform to the dictates of their  school, the society or their parents. They should be allowed to be DIFFERENT and should be CELEBRATED for having the spirit to be so.  This world needs more outstanding children who are fearless and passionate.  With an ERUDITE husband by my side, this ERUDITE/CANDOR/DAUNTLESS Mom prays to raise good,  happy and successful DIVERGENTS.

Welcome to my castle!

As I write this, my feisty daughter R is listening to the soundtrack of the movie Frozen.  Make that listening  to the full blast vocal stylings of the lead Anna as the character sings the lyrics of “For the first time in Forever”. R twirls with a hairbrush in hand (her make-believe microphone).  She is asking me to dance with her but I tell her Mom is busy.

Welcome to a typical day in my life.  I’ve been married  for fourteen years and  have  two children.  My ten year old look-alike son M is an incoming sixth grader.   He’s the biggest fan of Tony Stark (aka Ironman),  a Transformers enthusiast, a math wizard and as most big brothers are –his favorite hobby is making his two year old sister cry.  R is our little diva.   She entered her “terrible “ stage well before turning two and is still stuck in it at the present.  She is the resident drama princess in our home.

This blog will be about my family’s adventures and mishaps.  It will be about  parenting, travelling, shopping, cooking and dining. It will also be about shoes, clothes and the latest bargains/good finds in the metro.  My family has always loved music so I will be sharing some front row concert pictures with you as well . I will also write about home projects, how to plan the perfect children’s party (on a budget or in a grander scale), and how to encourage your kids to read.  I hope that you will find what I have to share interesting and useful.  Wait, did I mention shopping? Ahh, yes I did!


burberry nails

Burberry on my hands.


Hello Kitty nails

Hello Kitty nails

royal shoes

Surprise Candy Store! Shoes I bought but forgot I had.


As a woman, I play many roles. I am a daughter, wife and mother. I am also a lawyer by education, a certified bookworm, teacher, storyteller, experienced party-planner, fashion stylist to the brood and a whole lot more.  I have embraced motherhood and all the fabulous things that have come with it.  Many roles,  many hats.  My favorite head apparel ,though, is my invisible glittery tiara.  I love everything that sparkles! This is why my blog is called The Busy Queen P.

Please allow me to be a part of your reading habit as I share (some parts of ) my life with you.