Category: Uncategorized

Touringkittyps: Five ways for a meaningful #MerrySMChristmas

Christmas is just around the corner, literally. Eight more days and we once again feast, celebrate, gather family and friends, and feel God’s abundant blessings.

Are you fond of making Christmas lists? If you haven’t yet, maybe you could include these five things that I hope would make Christmas more meaningful to you.

A meaningful Christmas is:

1. Thanking God for His gift to mankind. Have a few minutes of reflection at the start or end of the day, and recall how God’s love is manifested through the gift of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

2. Giving back. As you complete your Christmas list, don’t forget to set aside for your favourite charity.

Our church, the Shrine of Jesus, the Way, the Truth, and the Life near SM Mall of Asia, has an annual Christmas fundraising project for the Shrine’s maintenance and repairs. Last year, my children’s choir donated and we’re planning to do the same this year, hopefully with a higher amount. Your P1,000 donation will go a long way. Contact our Shrine Office from Tuesday to Sunday for details.

3. Serving others with gladness. Be it volunteering for an institution, visiting the poor and sick, or sharing your talents and skills for the church. Sharing is serving.

4. Doing good. In the simplest forms, like not littering, recycling, supporting local products, showing courtesy, following traffic rules. There are a thousand and one ways to do good anytime, anywhere.

And teach others to do good. MY daughter did her own share of doing good by donating to the SM Cares’ Bears of Joy. P200 for two bears, in which one is given to charity. She chose to give both.

Do good and teach others to do good.
Do good and teach others to do good.

5. Connecting with family and friends. Especially those whom you have not connected with for a long time, even enemies! Give love on Christmas Day may just be a song, but it holds the real essence of Christmas, which is God’s love for us.

And from the mall chain that has got it all for us, here’s how they make a very #MerrySMChristmas! Visit http://bit.ly/MerrySMChristmas for more details, and watch “How #MerrySMChristmas Begins.”

Have a good one!

~ Touringkitty

Caritas et amor in the noblest way

I have been wanting to write about this for weeks now, but I was not able to create the best title for this, until I found this:

Caritas et amor (Gregorian chorale) by Z. Randall Stroope (*1955)
Sung by the Philippine Madrigal Singers
Church of St. Matthias, Munich-Fürstenried, Germany, 2010.
Video credits: isispartners

And that’s what I experienced during my visit to two institutions last month: Elsie Gaches Village and Kinder Zoo (now known as Adventure Jungle).

Caritas

Christian love of humankind. Charity.

The Shrine of Jesus volunteers visited Elsie Gaches Village in Alabang, Muntinlupa as our outreach activity. As we arrived, we were briefed by one of the social workers there, as to what to expect. They only have a few social workers taking care of some 500 people, young and old, with physical disabilities and special conditions, specifically the mentally challenged. If I recall it right, the proportion is two social workers to one cottage with about 50 persons. That’s too much! A salute is not enough for their noble work.

We were ready. The patients trickled in, and so did the rain. We would have wanted to take a peek of the 16-hectare area donated to the government that used to be a summer villa of philanthropists Samuel Gaches and Elsie McCloskey. One of the volunteers cracked the ice by teaching the patients an action song, which I accompanied with the guitar my husband brought. We were asked to render some songs for them later in the morning.

Randomly, some volunteers would pull me out of a group to play guitar for the others. And they were all delighted to listen to the guitar! Some patients have amazing voices, like the girl who sang Journey popularized by Lea Salonga. Some requested songs and I tried my best to play them well. Mind you, I had to play everything without sheet music, and I did it! What power and love music can give.

One specific reminder that was mentioned to us is that these people appreciate being touched as a sign of love, because of the lack of it. High fives, handshakes, and hugs filled that rainy morning, and were generously given by the Shrine volunteers, and reciprocated by the patients.

We capped the visit with snacks and a simple gift-giving. Theirs are such appreciative and kind souls. We, for sure, are the strangers in their special and blessed world. And as we part, we can’t just help but wonder when they will feel that love again, and from whom. The social worker told us that since the holidays are coming in, a number of organizations wanted to pay the village a visit to do an outreach as well.

I can’t explain how I felt but I was just grateful to the Divine Master for this opportunity not only to do our apostolate to those in need, but also for the chance to do this with some of the nicest people I know — the Shrine volunteers and our Rector, Mons Bobby. They are all inspirations to us as we continue to do our ministry in the Shrine. Challenging days in the Shrine are always outshined by days like this.

It was also a great opportunity to meet the social workers and listen to their stories. They are the patients’ heroes. They are our heroes! No one can match the caritas they selflessly give.

Amor

Love. The greatest gift.

Love for animals. They say that animals are a man’s best friend. For zookeepers, this love is so pure.

I took my daughter to Adventure Jungle, found in nearby Manila Zoo, through the invitation of their PR officer, Grace Nicolas, a fellow mom blogger. We’ve been to Manila Zoo before, but this is another facility inside the zoo. And we saw new animals and Aria even got to ride the horse! Truly a highlight for my little champ.

There also, we met and talked with two people, Neng, who has been a zookeeper for more than a decade already. She explained to us that a zookeeper should be mindful of the animal’s feeding schedule, diet, and the like. She had studied these animals on her own, and she’s not even a veterinarian! It was just pure love dedicated to these animal friends.

We also met Mr. John Chua, brand ambassador for Canon Philippines, and a volunteer elephant keeper at the Manila Zoo. He frequents Manila Zoo and he loves Mali the elephant so much, that Mali follows his commands! The kids during the tour were able to feed Mali with some bananas, and Mr. Chua asked Mali to hug one of the media people who covered the event. And he is not paid for this.

If these animals could only talk, I am sure that they will profusely thank Ms. Neng and Mr. John, and their loving zookeepers.

Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est. God is defintely there, in these two places.

~ Touringkitty

CCP Hands-on Choral Workshop 2014: Training ground of choral champions

Last October, I was fortunate to be part of the team of trainors for the CCP Hands-on Choral Workshop.

This annual workshop is held on the last week of October.
This annual workshop is held on the last week of October, done in partnership with the Philippine Madrigal Singers.
Some present and alumni members of the Philippine Madrigal Singers were trainors for the five-day workshop. Marivic Llamas, Krystl Buesa, yours truly, Joel Aquino, Paolo Pardo, Bianca Lopez, Mark Carpio.
Giddy people early in the morning: some present and alumni members of the Philippine Madrigal Singers aka trainors. Marivic Llamas, Krystl Buesa, yours truly, Joel Aquino, Paolo Pardo, Bianca Lopez, Mark Carpio.

The workshop is now on its 12th season, and has attracted choral groups and conductors from all over the Philippines as well as other countries. This year, we had a choir from Kuala Lumpur participating in the workshop.

Mark Carpio conducting all participants of the choral workshop. They filled the entire stage!
Mark Carpio conducting all participants of the choral workshop. They filled the entire Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo stage!

This was not the first time for me to join as trainor, but everything seemed new to me this time around.

With the God's Heritage Chorale from Bulacan, the choir I handled back in 2006. Along with Sheen Sanchez, another Madz alumnus.
With the God’s Heritage Chorale from Bulacan, the choir I handled back in 2006. Along with Sheen Sanchez, another Madz alumnus. Photo credit: Churchill Garcia-Natoc.

This choir joined the workshop again this year, with some familiar faces and new ones who got to experience the Madz training through the workshop. I guess they find something good and new in each workshop that they’ve participated three times already!

Early this year, the Cultural Center of the Philippines called itself as a Center for Choral Performance, where major choral events are lined up in the Center until next year, the highlight being the second Andrea O. Veneracion International Choral Festival in July 2015.

This year’s choral workshop was made even special because of several factors. Aside from the fact that it had been in hiatus for two years (there were no choral workshops held in 2012 and 2013 because of Madz trips abroad–incidentally, the years I worked for the Center), the workshop also featured a special Artist Talk by no less than Mr. Ryan Cayabyab, who created a new arrangement of one of his songs, premiered by the participating choral groups.

In Mr. C’s talk, he took the audience back to the days when fate had prepared the road for his musical journey, as a son of an opera singer who did not encourage him to take the same career his mother took, as a young UPIS student who was just tinkering on the piano, and as a teenager who would try out different careers–from winning a painting contest to applying as a disc jockey, and eventually getting the biggest gig that paved the way for his musical career. His story was unbelievable, humble, yet very inspiring.

The participants were fortunate to premiere a Mr. C work, Ikaw pa rin ang mahal ko, the theme song of Sa Ngalan ng Ina, originally sung by another OPM hero, Basil Valdez. Here’s a sampling from the Madz Facebook page:

Choirs from various schools, communities, parishes, and companies joined the workshop. Individual conductors, or choirless conductors as they called themselves, who want to be better conductors learned through the sessions with Madz Choirmaster himself, Mark Carpio.

The choirs assigned to me were the MBPS Chorale of Manulife and Musica Chorus of Quiapo Church.
The choirs assigned to me were the MBPS Chorale of Manulife and Musica Chorus of Quiapo Church.

The trainors were assigned two choirs each, who each sang a song of their preference, and one song which came from the trainor and will be performed together. I chose What the World needs now is love, a really simple danceable arrangement of the Bacharach song with piano. As they’ve easily learned the piece, I also gave short pieces as some sort of exercise for them.

I was surprised to know that trainors will also conduct, as I cannot remember doing that during the previous workshop I was part of. I even confirmed this to Sir Mark, to my surprise and excitement. It was my first time to conduct on the CCP’s Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo stage!

What. An. Experience. To conduct at the CCP Main Theater! With Musica Chorus and MBPS Chorale. MBPS' conductor, Ms. Orquias, assisted on piano.
What. An. Experience. To conduct at the CCP Main Theater! With Musica Chorus and MBPS Chorale. MBPS’ conductor, Ms. Oquias, assisted on piano.
Sir Mark handing over the certificate to me. It's as if I've graduated all over again! Thank you, thank you.
Ninong Mark handing over the certificate to me. It’s as if I’ve graduated all over again! Thank you, thank you.

The choral groups may have different backgrounds and reasons for participating, some of them have mentioned this during the opening ceremonies. But to me, they are definitely champions by just being a good solid group, thirsting for knowledge that will help improve themselves and their choirs as they sing for God and for their schools, churches, companies, and communities. They’ve worked hard for those five days, which seemed really short, but all did and went well.

For us, trainors, nothing is more gratifying than seeing the choirs take what you’ve taught them to heart. We’ve witnessed this during the culminating activity. And as we look back at the first day we met them, a lot of good had happened. We’re successful enough to shared a piece of the Madz way. And we hope we could share this to more choristers in the generations to come.

Huge thanks to the Madz family for the opportunity to work with these great choristers and for what seemed to be a reunion of sorts among us alumni especially during break times. Likewise to my former workmates at the CCP and the Artist Training Division for being a venue for these choirs to create more wonderful choral music.

*All photos, save for one, are from the CCP, as posted in their Artist Training Division Facebook Page. Follow them on Facebook and be updated with their upcoming projects.

~ Touringkitty

Philippine Launch of P.S. From Aeropostale at UP Town Center

Last Saturday, November 22, was my first time to attend a Nuffnang event, and it had to be in faraway UP Town Center!

Ha, the UP Diliman grad from Pasay talked as if commuting there is something she did not do for about eight years or so. But it was worth the trip, despite the rain as my daugher and I worked our way home.

But why would I miss this event, when it had all these in one day: foodfab, and fun!

Event: Philippine Launch of P.S. from Aeropostale
Venue: UP Town Center Amphitheater
Time: 3-ish in the afternoon

Psfromaeroph 1
This greeted us as we are about to enter. Skies slowly turning grey, and it went a heavy downpour later in the afternoon.
Photowall fun! Top: Disney Frozen T-shirt. Shorts: Terranova. Pardon the pink sparkly shoes; I was not able to bring another because I changed her clothes already!
Photowall fun! Top: Disney Frozen T-shirt. Shorts: Terranova. Pardon the pink sparkly shoes; I was not able to bring another because I changed her clothes already!

Oh, yes, food. Bizu prepared some snacks and hors d’oeuvre and servers are just going all over to offer all sorts of snacks and sweets, to my daughter’s delight!

Psfromaeroph 3
Churros!
Eenie meenie miney macarons!
Eenie meenie miney macarons!

And for some fun, booths with games, activities, and a big do-it-yourself mural, were all around!

psfromaeroph 5
Booths with food and games.
They were creating this mural on the spot! Live drawing happening.
They were creating this mural on the spot! Live drawing happening.
Which the kids got to colour afterwards. Here's my little one doing her own thing.
Which the kids got to colour afterwards. Here’s my little one doing her own thing.

Another highlight was this: Kid DJs, D+Cash got us all alive and moving while waiting for the main event!

Booths with food and games.
I have cool nephews. Yup!
And here's my daughter dancing to her Kuya DJs' beats!
And here’s my daughter dancing to her Kuya DJs’ beats!

But, the main event, was this: fab, indeed!

Joyce Pring hosted the fashion show.
Joyce Pring hosted the fashion show.

It was my first time to ever watch a fashion show, and I am right in front of the action! Here is P.S. from Aeropostale’s line of functional clothes for children and teens with sizes 4-14. Now available in the Philippines!

CIMG0222
The bibo kids who captured us from the beginning of the show!
CIMG0223
Kids’ line.
CIMG0198
Pre-teen and teens’ line.
CIMG0200
Catwalk.

psfromaeroph 10

CIMG0247
Finale!

Such a cool way to launch these cool clothes, right? Thank you, Nuffnang, for the invitation. Until the next!

PS from Aeropostale is available on the following Aeropostale stores: SM Megamall, Robinsons Manila Midtown Wing Central Square Bonifacio High Street and at the 2/F of UP Town Center.

 

~ Touringkitty

Touringkittyps: Five ways to celebrate World Choral Day

Happy World Choral Day!

Music in indeed the universal language. And the Philippines is very blessed to have a musical culture, especially a choral-singing culture where there are just so many choral groups already–in the churches, in schools, in offices, both private and public, and in communities. Our choral groups are among the most known in the world. They share God’s gift of music to different parts of the world, participating in choral festivals and winning international competitions. Our choral directors are sought-after clinicians and adjudicators both locally and internationally. Even our own choral music is popular, and our composers are commissioned by other world-renowned choral groups to create new music for them.

And what better way to celebrate choral music than through this annual event called World Choral Day.

World Choral Day this year will be celebrated on December 7th.
World Choral Day this year will be celebrated on December 7th.

The International Day of Choral Singing is an international choral event to extol the values of solidarity, peace and understanding. This is an initiative of respected conductor and composer, Alberto Grau from Venezuela, which started in 1990.

So, whether you are a chorister, a choral aficionado, or someone who likes music, here are five ways to celebrate this chorally wonderful day:

1. Pop in any choral music CD to start up your day. Or go to the internet and get to know a new choir through their video performances. Or hear Mass, and you’ll surely be blessed and delighted to hear church music sung, most probably by choirs.

2. Attend a choral concert. There is nothing like watching a live choral concert. You may check out Kumpas: The Philippine Choral Community Newsletter, a project of the Philippine Choral Directors Association for a rundown of upcoming concerts.

The PCDA will have its own World Choral Day celebration on December 7th in Cavite.

PCDA Celebrates World Choral Day!
PCDA celebrates World Choral Day!

 

3. If you a choral director or chorister and you will have a choral concert anytime this month, register your event as part of the World Choral Day. Visit http://www.worldchoralday.org/events/subscription and be part of the celebrations. Oh, and make sure to include Original Pilipino Music in your repertoire!

For the choral groups having a concert this month, please read the Proclamation written for the World Choral Day. This is always read during the choral concert. Ideally, the audience should have a copy so they could read along. The Proclamation has been translated to 14 languages, and aims to foster world peace and understanding through choral singing. Click this link for the Filipino and Cebuano translations which you can use for your concert. Other languages can be found here.

Here is the reading of the Proclamation in Filipino read three years ago as led by Mr. Ryan Cayabyab, in a Thousand-Voice Concert he spearheaded. The translation was written by PCDA Secretary Joy Nilo.

4. Support our local choral artists by booking a choral group for your next event purchasing original CDs, watching their concerts or sponsoring their fundraising projects, which helps a lot in bringing their music to more audiences.

If you’re a choral director, you should start building your own library of choral works. You can purchase choral compositions and arrangements of our Filipino composers/arrangers or commission them for new works.

5. If you haven’t yet, sing in a choir now! No less than Philippine Madrigal Singers Choirmaster Mark Carpio encourages us to do so in his TedXDiliman talk:

Do you have more ideas? Share with everyone in the comments section.

Don’t forget to like Touringkitty, Kumpas, and World Choral Day Philippines to be updated with the celebrations.

 

The Kumpas Page is powered by yours truly, Touringkitty. I am a member of the PCDA and a volunteer of the organization as Online Content Manager.

 

*Credits go to the Youtube video owners.

 

~ Touringkitty

 

Touringkitty feature: Timelapse video of pregnancy

How did you document your pregnancy?

I swear I cannot remember something really religious to document those nine months. Photos? Maybe once in a while, but not every month.

Then I remembered, I started this blog the month before I gave birth, and have collected notes in a notebook which led to putting them online. So, the Touringkitty blog was officially born July 2010.

Recently, I saw a really cool video of a pregnancy documentation which I thought was cute, sweet, and was produced with lots of hard work and love.

Yes, a timelapse video for a pregnancy documentation! Looks like hard work, eh?

I got permission from the creators of this video, professional musicians Emanuele and Rechelle Frisardi, to post about this on the blog, and here’s a short Q&A with them:

Touringkitty (TK): Thank you for allowing me to share this! May we know what are your respective professions and where are you based?

Rechelle and Emanuele (RE): We are both violinists. Emanuele is a violin teacher in some music schools here in Germany and I’m a freelance violinist and do private teaching as well. We’re based in Saarbrücken, Germany. (Rechelle is a Filipina and we’ve known her because of her cousin who is our choir mat, while Emanuele is Italian but has

TK: Who conceptualised the video? How did you schedule your shoots?

RE: The main idea was Emanuele’s. He’s fond of making timelapse videos so when I told him I wanted a timelapse of my pregnancy, he thought about doing in episodes of what happens during the 9 months. We listed different possible scenes that we could do for the whole video, then during the takes, we improvised some more since we got more ideas. We shot mostly on weekend nights when we’re free and when we’re not tired. It’s actually a lot of work since every time we had to arrange our living room exactly the same as possible from the last video we took, like the position of the pillows, the curtains, the flowers, etc. And then there’s the actual shooting which takes for about 2 hours, depending how difficult the scene is. Since there’s just the 2 of us working on the film, Emanuele (or me) had to run in every shot to move the objects.

TK: It looks like a lot of work for us, but What equipment and software did you use?

RE: The equipments were very simple (amateur level). Emanuele used a Canon DSLR EOS 550D plus a tripod. The softwares were Timelapse Assembler and iMovie for Mac.

Pretty cool, right? They’ve assembled about 2,000 photos for this five minute video.

 

Got more unique ideas? Share how you documented or plan to document your own pregnancy.

 

~ Touringkitty

 

Touringkitty’s Playlist: Three St. Cecilia pieces from three musical periods

November 22 is the Feast Day of St. Cecilia, Patroness of Musicians!

A couple of weeks ago, my daughter discovered more about this saint, along with other Catholic homeschooled children in an All Saints Party of our support group called, ROCKERS (Roman Catholics Keeping Education Real).

Little saints! Two St. Elizabeths of Hungary, St. Cecilia, and St. Gianna all garbed up for the ROCKERS All Saints Party held last November 7.
Little saints! Two St. Elizabeths of Hungary, St. Cecilia, and St. Gianna all garbed up for the ROCKERS All Saints Party held last November 7.

 

More about the party in this post by CBCP.

This was supposedly our peg for the costume, unfortunately, Aria didn’t want the turban (it was a sunny day that day), and we didn’t have sackcloth. I made a “lute,” though, with a shoe box, tissue box, and rubber bands.

St. Cecilia as rendered by Guido Reni. Photo from Wikipedia.
St. Cecilia as rendered by Guido Reni. Photo from Wikipedia.

St. Cecilia was known for “singing her heart to the Lord” during her wedding day, that’s why she was attributed as such.

And  since it was her Feast Day, here are just three of so many music attributed to her, from three musical periods:

Baroque: Handel’s Ode for St. Cecilia
Ode for St. Cecilia’s Day (HWV 76) is a cantata composed by George Frideric Handel in 1739, his setting of the poem by the English poet John Dryden. The main theme of the text is the Pythagorean theory of harmonia mundi, that music was a central force in the Earth’s creation. The premiere was on 22 November 1739 at the Theatre in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London. (Wikipedia)

Romantic: Gounod’s St. Cecilia’s Mass
Composed in 1864, in memoriam of J. Zimmermann.

20th Century: Hymn to St. Cecilia
Hymn to St Cecilia, Op. 27 is a choral piece by Benjamin Britten (1913-1976), a setting of a poem by W. H. Auden written between 1940 and 1942. Auden’s original title was “Three Songs for St. Cecilia’s Day”, and he later published the poem as “Anthem for St. Cecilia’s Day (for Benjamin Britten)”. Incidentally, Britten is born on St. Cecilia’s Feast Day, in 1913.

Add more to the list. Comment below.

Happy Feast Day, St. Cecilia! We pray that you will bless all musicians in the world.

~ Touringkitty

#Becoming31: 31 Wishes

1 October 2019: Latest update! 

25 September 2015: Updated this post a year after. Happy to have checked some items, totally unexpected to have achieved them so soon!

 

I am now 31 years and a half day old. I can’t thank God enough for what He has given me.

Yet, I still wish and pray for several things. 31 wishes I pray for today. I don’t expect all to happen in a year, but wishing for the lifetime ahead of me. Here’s hoping!

Today, I am praying:

1. For world peace. Well I do hope I won’t have to pray for this forever. World peace, please.
2. For my own peace. My mind is one melting pot of interests, hobbies, talents, and dreams. I hope to see harmony in all I am and will be doing.
3. To be a better version of me. Hair color: done. Spiritual cleansing: a long way to go. A retreat is much needed.
4. To be a better wife. I am not trying hard. Being my husband’s wife is just the best thing because my husband lets me be. He knows I want to achieve more in life. But I pray to be an even more supportive, appreciative wife than before.
5. To be a better mother. I have one, and she’s like ten times already! My hands feel full when she’s awake and alert. I am not perfect but I know I can be better.
6. To be a better daughter and sister. I am because they are to me. And for that I love them so. Better relationships with them, I pray. And that they’ll always be in the best of health.
7. To be a better friend. I miss my few friends who are now abroad, and those whom I have not gotten in touch regularly here in our country. Hope to get to do that more often.
8. To serve better in church. Again, our dear Rector entrusted me the task of being Music Ministry Vice Coordinator, as well as for another task, which I hope I could do well. This on top of conducting the children’s choir, which will soon transition into Youth Choir. Fun times, indeed. We’re legit a Youth Choir, and we need new members!!!
9. And in line with the previous item, to be a better conductor to my kids, and for more concerts, performances, and “rakets” with these kids. We’ve stuck together through thick and thin. As their leaders, my husband and I are grateful for the support, especially from their families, in every endeavor we take.
10. To focus more on what God has planned me to be. Right now, with the many things in my mind and the many things I want to achieve, my career has been such a happy mess. I’m literally everywhere! But I do hope God brings me forth to where I’ll bloom, grow, and be of great use.
11. To be and stay fit. Yes, I have gained the past year and a half after I quit my full-time job. But am not complaining! I just want to feel and look better. — And gained even more now, so I must really stay fit and fab!
12. Speaking of looking better, I wish for a total physical makeover. Oh, it’s not bad to dream! Facial, diamond peel, digiperm, body scrub, foot spa, mani/pedi, whatever it will take to make me feel more beautiful!
13. To learn more. Attending workshops, reading more, studying new pieces and roles. Can’t wait to gain more knowledge!
14. To give more. Yes, I want some things, but I want to give more, too. Our Rector always say, give until it hurts. Mabuti nang tumulong kaysa ikaw ang tulungan. Not only to charitable institutions, but to the church as well.
15. To clean my closet and files. And to sell some stuff. I have an online store but have not updated for the longest time. Hope to be able to do it soon. I sell stuff for half its price, most are still in mint condition.
16. To save more for my family’s future. Not only for my daughter but for my husband and I as well.
17. That my daughter will grow well. That whatever we teach her, even how little, she will take to heart and grow on it.
18. To share my talents to more people. Whether it be singing, performing, teaching, conducting, writing, sharing my advocacies such as breastfeeding, homeschooling, attachment parenting, devotion to the Divine Master (our Shrine patron), the Holy Spirit (following our school founder’s devotion) and Our Lady of La Leche (for breastfeeding mothers), among others, I hope to reach more people with what God has Himself lent to me.
19. To have our own home. We’re grateful for what we have, a modest condo unit, but a house and lot would be a welcome addition for our future growing family.
20. In line with that, I pray for another child. Or two. I’m going to stop with that, I might not do well with more than three! But really, whatever God will give us or not give us, I will accept wholeheartedly.
21. For a new phone! Something dependable and reliable. My current phone is failing to text suddenly, or crashes unexpectedly. It also destroyed my SD card! So, a new one is much needed.  And I got an iPhone early this year!
22. For a reliable public transport system! So that I won’t wish anymore for a car. I am a commuter for life, and I think it’s the government’s responsibility to provide a reliable public transport system because not everyone can purchase and maintain cars. That, I think, would solve so much problems in the country!
23. To watch a movie again! The last time was Rio 2. I have watched like only three times in the past four years! Go figure. Watched I did. Home, Cinderella, Big Hero 6, Inside Out. All with the baby bunny.
24. To eat wiser. Should I go the vegan route? My husband is heading that path now, and he felt better.
25. To cook more nutritious and delicious food so I can achieve the previous one. Yes, and I must say, I am loving cooking now. If only I can just cook all day!
26. To run a marathon, even 5k before I turn 40! Nine more years to go, hope to achieve more than that.  Achieved! Through the My Little Pony Friendship run. First 5k, more to go!
27. To homeschool my daughter at least for Kinder and Grade 1. I am praying hard for this! Hanging on! Second quarter of Kinder right now.
28. To travel the world again (and hopefully, all expense paid!). This came in as a super surprise–I got to travel Europe for two weeks in June 2015, with a performing group singing beautiful Filipino songs. And you guessed it, all expense paid! Thank you, God! And once again last year, with my other choral family, the Ateneo Chamber Singers.
29. To keep up with one production a year. Whether an opera production, solo recital, as long as I perform. So far, so good. I was able to join a masterclass under no less than Nelly Miricioiu, got to travel abroad, and some singing engagements ongoing locally. 
30. To try zipline! I have been wanting to. Must achieve before the year ends. And zipline I did, right at the heart of Mall of Asia. Woot!
31. Lastly, to always do, think, and say good.

I might have missed some, but God knows some of my prayers are just between the two of us.

Please help me pray for these. I am praying for all of you as well.

~ Touringkitty

Educating for Life: Homeschooling with passion, purpose, and confidence

Our family believes that learning starts at the onset of life. We, as parents, are their first and best teachers. And we never stop being teachers when we send out children to school.

It is this very reason why we chose to homeschool Aria for Pre-Kinder this year. Nowadays, there are a lot of schools or studios offering programs for as young as newborns, so, we thought, why can’t we teach our kid by ourselves?

My post from Yahoo said it all: https://ph.she.yahoo.com/the-joys-and-benefits-of-homeschooling-063631934.html

My goal is to homeschool until Grade Two. We’ll see what happens after.

And it you’re wondering if homeschooling is for you, wonder no more. Homeschooling is for everyone!

Learning is a never ending process.
Learning is a never ending process.

Come attend the Homeschooling Conference next month, and meet various types of homeschooling families. Hear their stories, learn from them, know how they make it work.

More information and sign-up form can be found here: http://www.thelearningbasket.com/events/educating-for-life-homeschooling-with-passion-purpose-and-confidence

 

~ Touringkitty

 

Smart Kids Asia, Philippine Edition

Last Saturday, my family headed to SMX Convention Center in Mall of Asia to check out the Smart Kids Asia, Philippine Edition.

Smart Kids Asia comes to the Philippines!
Smart Kids Asia comes to the Philippines!

Smart Kids Asia is like a road show (you know, those car shows and expos) but this time, kids are in the front row (with their parents behind them!).

Yup, we'll always be behind her, taking photos!
Yup, we’ll always be behind her, taking photos!

Smart Kids Asia filled up the entire first floor of the SMX with various booths — trial classes, products and services, books, museums, and other whathaveyous for kids.

Trying out the battery-operated screw driver which she enjoyed so much.
Trying out the battery-operated screw driver which she enjoyed so much.

This Game Van is a mobile arcade! Was not able to take a peek inside though, as the inside was filled to the brim.
This Game Van is a mobile arcade! Was not able to take a peek inside though, as the inside was filled to the brim.

Some booths sample their products as well. My kid took time in each station that she won't leave until she's tried everything!
Some booths sample their products as well. My kid took time in each station that she won’t leave until she’s tried everything!

They had Macaw Park exhibiting (the one in Subic) so I just had to try it!
They had Macaw Park exhibiting (the one in Subic) so I just had to look at it!

Spongebob and Patrick stepped on stage, and my daughter was so delighted. We missed Dora and Diego and Boots though, who appeared earlier in the day.
Spongebob and Patrick stepped on stage, and my daughter was so delighted. We missed Dora and Diego and Boots though, who appeared earlier in the day.

Well, there’s a real reason why we’re there. And it’s this:

Yes, you've read it right! Touringkitty was declared Best Blog by Smart Kids Asia--Philippines 2014!
Yes, you’ve read it right! Touringkitty was declared Best Blog by Smart Kids Asia–Philippines 2014!

Best Blog award went to Touringkitty!
Best Blog award went to Touringkitty!

With other winners, Absolutely Mommy (in red) and Go Help Yourself (which is my husband, Ton!).
With other winners, Absolutely Mommy (in red) and Go Help Yourself (which is my husband, Ton!).

Thank you, Smart Kids Asia, for this recognition. Anticipating next year’s show this early!

Check out my entry for the contest here: http://www.touringkitty.com/2014/07/30/raising-a-smart-child-in-a-fast-paced-era/

My husband’s blog which won the most likes: http://gohelpyourself.wordpress.com/2014/07/29/a-manual-for-raising-smart-kids/

 

~ Touringkitty