Men Need Men to Become Men

Boys benefit from man-building activities that encourage the development of their manhood. When I say man-building activities I mean experiences that are like “man-versus-wild” kind of stuff – camping, mountain-climbing, scouting – and sports.

When Edric was growing up, my father-in-law, Eddie (Papa to me), invested time teaching him how to fly kites, scuba dive, climb mountains, boogie board, fish, sail, repel, bike, play ball, and swim…among other things. This is how they bonded, in the context of activity. Edric has always remembered these father and son occasions with fondness. And I have appreciated the attractive masculine traits that Edric acquired because of them.

Men need a good adventure and challenge, but they also need a man who has gone before them to pass on survival skills and know-how.

Our sons had the opportunity to take on a good adventure and challenge when Papa invited Edric, Elijah and Edan to climb Mt. Batulao last Saturday. Edric and the boys were thrilled. I was jealous because I wanted to go, too. But this was an experience that Edric wanted to share with the boys – just the guys. I had the other three kids to take care of anyway.

Early Saturday morning, Elijah and Edan had their hiking shoes on and were set to go at 5 AM. They packed their energy food – peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, trail mix, hard boiled eggs with salt on the side, granola bars, and water. Elijah was in charge of carrying the water and Edric carried the food. They got to Batulao 2 hours later and met up with Papa.

Initially, as they began their climb, Edan complained about the prickly tall grass and fatigue. But he wasn’t being a soiled brat. This was no tiny mountain! It was two and a half hours up one way with 12 peaks!

Edric admitted that he was concerned as he watched the boys scale some of the steep inclines. They could’ve rolled off to their deaths! Sadly, some time ago there was a woman who fell off one of the peaks while trying to take a picture. She died!

Well, I’m glad I didn’t know about that story before they went on the climb. The protective mother in me might have tried to dissuade Edric from taking Edan. But he did great! He was the only 7 year old on the trail and he persevered. Even though he was bickering at the beginning, he thoroughly enjoyed the hike as he went along.

Edric called me at one point during their climb (amazingly, there was a Globe signal), and he gave me an update on how the kids were doing and how much fun they were all having. What I would have given to have been there! I wanted to see their expressions and be a part of this special moment in their lives. But without me around they were better off. There was no nurturing mother figure to turn to for sympathy when they got tired or tripped and skinned their knees. The boys had to stick it out, suck it in, and push themselves under the guidance of Edric and Papa.

When they got home, they were exhausted, bruised and cut up, but they were smiling like they just had the time of their lives. They also had a certain satisfaction in their tone when they spoke about their trek. Thanks to Papa and Edric, the boys learned to overcome their fears, weaknesses, and put in the hard work and effort necessary to achieve a goal they were proud of.

How valuable it is when fathers and grandfathers mentor their sons and set aside time to help them become men. Climbing a mountain together is not the only way to do this but it sure worked for my boys. They went up Mt. Batulao as two clueless boys but they came down as wiser, stronger, more confident young men!
 

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City Kids on Strawberry Fields


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Our kids are city-bred. Unfortunately this means that they aren’t used to getting muddy and dirty. But on my birthday we brought them to Trinidad Valley (just 20 minutes from Baguio City) to go strawberry picking.

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For just P300 pesos per kilo harvested, the kids could go out into the fields and pick strawberries. They were given boots and baskets. The boots were a great help, especially when they had to walk in the muddied pathways between rows of strawberries. Initially, they were squeamish and complaining about the dirt.  However, once they started finding strawberries and sticking them into their baskets, they kept going and going!

Strawberry-picking became an educational experience for our kids. We all saw the different ways strawberries were used, too – wine, taho, pastillas, jam, etc. I thought it was hilarious when the taho vendor was like, “M’am, take a photo for Instagram!”

The kids had so much fun being little farmers, we actually had to stop them at one point from over-picking. Of course, they were ravenously hungry by the end, too, which was great. There was no need to remind them to “eat their food” when we were back in Baguio City. It was gobble, gobble, gobble.

 

Green Farming

We took a day trip to a farm for our homeschooling today. The kids learned about “green farming” from an agriculturalist who explained how to plant seedlings, do hydrophonics, vermiculture and the like.

It was fascinating for the kids and for me! I learned alot about organic ways to plant and farm. Hydroponics is a method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions, in water, without soil. Vermiculture is a way of composting using earthworms to speed up the process.

Lord willing, when we move to a house, we can have a little garden — Edric’s fantasy. For the time being, this knowledge went to the kids’ science files. What better way to learn about innovative farming methods than to experience it for yourself? The kids (well, the boys) liked the worms part the best. Of course they did. Yehey for learning experiences that are not confined to four walls of a classroom!

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Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar

Just got back from an overnight stay in Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar, in Bataan. It’s a heritage resort conceptualized to resemble an old town. Old Filipino houses from different areas of the Philippines were transported to the resort. For homeschooling families (or any family), it’s a great place to experience a visit to the past. Of course, the rooms and amenities are modern and comfortable, but it is truly a unique experience…not your typical resort. There was a fabulous cultural show last night in the “town square,” and they have tours that allow you to visit the houses and uncover their intriguing histories. Their restaurants are a little bit pricey but worth it! Las Casas Filipinas also has a pool and clean beach.

A friend of mine, Monique Ong, told me about this place a few months ago. When I found out that this was the same spot Edric’s dad wanted to take the family to, I was thrilled! Unlike my family, whose vacation spots revolve around nearby golf clubs and sports facilities, Edric’s family really enjoys the beach. Our kids do, too. They can spend hours in the sand doing nothing but digging holes for who knows what purpose.

I am blessed with such wonderful in-laws. I married into a family that is very close knit, godly, and loving. It was a joy to spend the weekend with them.

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Bataan – Mt. Samat

What an amazing day in Bataan visiting Mount Samat, and making new friends!

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In Everything Give Thanks

We took a trip to a farm after church today. The experience didn’t turn out to be like I expected but it was a good life lesson on gratefulness for the kids (and Edric and I).

When we got to the farm there were already a whole lot of people and cars inside, so we had to park almost a kilometer away. With four little kids in tow, this was not pleasant news. But Edric got us tricycles to ride into the farm. They were going to charge us P15 per person, which was ridiculous. So he bargained down to P50 for both trikes. This was probably still a lot compared to what a tricycle normally costs, but it was a lifesaver. The boys were thrilled. When we got there, people were everywhere. There were no signs that told us where to go but the people were helpful and accommodating.The mid-day sun was bearing down on us with full force. Even our little Tiana said, “It’s so hot!” Boy, was it HOT!

Despite the heat, Edric decided that since we had come this far, we might as well walk around. So we went looking for animals but they were tucked away somewhere. And by the time we got to the lunch area, it was slim pickins’ because we were late…our fault. We paid 180 pesos for each meal of grilled Tilapia and rice, with a siding of Atchara. And the fish were grilled with their scales. Sigh. We didn’t actually get the number of fish that we paid for because the fish were different sizes so they told us that some were one fish for two people. What? It was too hot to go back and make a fuss about it. The kids started to complain about the food, saying it was tasteless. The rice was undercooked, too. Edric had bought them chocolate ice cream but surprise, surprise, it was spiked with chilli! It was probably intended to taste gourmet, but for our young children, they were like, “spicy ice cream!” I could feel the negativity brewing in our kids.

But we learned a verse on thankfulness two weeks ago. “In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18) Edric reminded all of us to be grateful. In fact, he HATES being hot and sweaty, but he served all of us by going to pick up the food and then making a second trip to get all the rice. This is not like my husband. He’s a great guy and I think he is awesome, but he likes to be the one who is served. It was out of his comfort zone to be acting the part of a waiter.

The boys saw him try to make the most of the situation. And he kept telling us to have a good attitude. So when the boys were licking their spicy ice cream, Edan said, “I’m being thankful! I’m going to eat it all!” And on the way home, Elijah said, “Now we know how hard it is for farmers to stay in the sun all day and plant rice!”

I thought they pretty much got the gratitude lesson. But tonight, when we took a stroll and stopped at a convenience store to pick up some “normal” ice cream, Titus was upset because he didn’t get the ice cream he wanted. He started to pout. I was encouraging him to change his attitude, but it was his older brothers coming along side him that probably helped more. They flanked him on both sides and talked to him about being grateful. Afterwards, I picked him up, hugged him, and told him, “I’m very proud of you for changing your attitude.” (It was an attempt at the power of positive words.) He managed a smile. Then I said, “We may not always get what we like, but if we are thankful, we will always like what we get.”

We ended the day having a family devotion, watching a DVD, and the kids had their ice cream. During our devotion, when Titus was asked how he applied being thankful, he replied, “I was thankful for the ice cream.”

All our kids are a work in progress (just like Edric and I). But it’s certainly nice to see that God uses circumstances, big and small, to give us opportunities to train their character. He also reminds us to be good examples because they are watching us! Edric and I have to be careful not to bicker, grumble, and act spoiled when we are inconvenienced, disappointed or don’t get our way. After all, we can’t expect them to be grateful if we don’t practice it ourselves!   20120909-164843.jpg 20120909-164854.jpg 20120909-164909.jpg 20120909-164917.jpg 20120909-164925.jpg 20120909-164932.jpg 20120909-164940.jpg 20120909-165120.jpg 20120909-165310.jpg 20120909-165344.jpg 20120909-165357.jpg

Hacienda Isabella

Today was a blessed day spent in the company of beautiful women whose hearts are wholly devoted to the Lord. I was refreshed by our morning’s meditation on Psalm 103. The food overflowed. The conversation was delightful. Prayer time was comforting. And the kids went exploring. They played baseball in the field, went swimming, and ran around the place to their hearts’ content. What a day to escape and bring to remembrance the goodness of God!

Everyone needs a day like this…

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My ageless mother!

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They are all shouting at the same time

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Tiana’s “big sister”

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The accidental model pose, just ignore the belly!

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I ended with a photo of my mom because it was her idea to get a bunch of ladies out of the city to Hacienda Isabela for a day retreat. But more than that, I am incredibly grateful to the Lord for a mom who has been my spiritual mentor and example since I was a wee little thing. She is my benchmark for maximized womanhood — a woman who is defined by her love for Jesus and others, and beautiful inside and out because of it.

Parenting in Paradise

I am very much looking forward to uninterrupted sleep tonight! After three days of Palawan without my “home assistants” (a.k.a. Yayas), I was exhausted by 7:30 pm today! Edric and I split duties between our four kids and it was wonderful and tiring to be so hands-on.

We were so blessed by a very generous couple who treated my parents and Edric and I (plus kiddos) to a stay at Lagen Resort in El Nido, Palawan. The kids didn’t want to leave when we boarded the plane this morning. But Edric and I were looking forward to our own bedroom, sleep and help. I admire all moms who do not have househelp like we commonly do in the Philippines. You are a different breed of amazing.

The trip itself was an incredible vacation. It was real-world education for our kids. They experienced zoology and ecology in 4-D. I marveled at the beauty of God’s creation and his majesty. Truly the earth speaks of his grand design.

I will write more about my insights and personal lessons tomorrow but for how, I am posting photos of our three days of parenting in paradise…

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Visit to Precious Heritage Children’s Home

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Afternoon Delight

Thanks to one of Edric’s college friends, we spend the afternoon in Serendra. I am not a sales person for Ayala Land, buy wowza! I could be. They make the best amenities for their home owners. Serendra is one of those places that feels like another world. With its gardens, open spaces, children’s playgrounds, sports facilities and spectacular pools, it’s like an oasis in the city. The kids and their cousins couldn’t get enough of the “obstacle course” playground area. I was happy to see them love being outdoors all afternoon.

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Mind Boggling Mind Museum

We had a wonderful afternoon at the Mind Museum in Bonifacio Global City. It was well worth the 450/child and 600/adult fees that we had to pay. There are some areas that are still under development but I am sure that by the end of the month, everything should be up and ready. For homeschoolers, I suggest you visit before school gets out and do a morning field trip to avoid the hoards that will surely come when summer hits. Mind Museum is designed to be interactive so if you have kinesthetic learners (like my Titus), they will thoroughly enjoy this place. Of course it will definitely appeal to the scientifically inclined as well.

Mind Museum does not support the creationist view of the world so if that is what you believe, as our family does, you may need to explain some areas to your children like the idea that cosmic collision birthed the earth. Otherwise, I imagine that our children will want to have a return visit in the very near future. It really is a lot to take in. We spent two and a half hours inside the museum and I still can’t remember half of what I saw!

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You may contact us through our contact details given below.

The Mind Museum
2/F Bonifacio Technology Center
31st Street Corner 2nd Avenue
Bonifacio Global City, Taguig

Tel. 909-MIND (6463)

inquiry@themindmuseum.org

Ark Avilon Again

Every Friday is playgroup day! This means we get together with other homeschool families so our kids can socialize with one another, moms and dads can talk, and we can all take learning out of the home. The kids and I have been to Ark Avilon in Tiendesitas several times but the kids always love it. It’s an interactive mini-zoo where the kids get to hold the animals and feed them, too. A highlight is feeding the Arapaimas with raw chicken heads. The boys always love this part of the experience.

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ZOO SCHEDULE
Weekdays – 9:00 am to 6:00 pm
Weekends and Holidays – 10:00 am to 7:30 pm

ENTRANCE FEES
Php300.00/Adult
Php200.00/Children less than 3.5 feet
FREE/Children younger than a year old

20% Discount on Senior Citizen Card Holders

Contact Details

Avilon Zoo
Bo. San Isidro, Rodriguez, (Montalban) Rizal, Philippines
(632) 948-9866, (632) 941-8393, (632) 941-8530
teenagaw@avilonzoo.com.ph

Ark Avilon
Frontera Verde, Ortigas Avenue Corner C-5, Pasig City, Philippines
(632) 706-2992, (632) 706-2483, (632)706-2993
arkavilon@yahoo.com.ph