Angelina Cruz Writes to Mom and Best Friend Sunshine

Angelina Cruz is beyond grateful for everything her mom Sunshine has done for her. She’s basically a mother and a father rolled into one. But what Angelina’s even more thankful about is their “close relationship.”

In fact, if you check their Instagram accounts, you know that they are just like barkada. The 15-year-old celebrity kid said that, “She’s basically, if not a mom, a best friend to me.”

Sunshine has two other daughters Samantha, 12, and Cheska, 10, all with her estranged husband Cesar Montano.

Asked what their mom’s ultimate bilin is, Angelina answered, “Studies first.” To their mom’s pride, the three siblings are all honor students at De La Salle Santiago Zobel.

Moreover, when the time comes for Sunshine to shift from barkada to parent, her three daughters listen. In a previous interview with the 39-year-old star, Sunshine said, “I always tell them, ‘You know kapag naglalaro tayo or naglolokohan tayo, friends tayo, but when it’s time to be a parent to the three of you, you also have to respect and listen to me as a mother, not as a barkada.'”

PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) caught up with Sunshine’s eldest daughter via Instagram direct messaging on Sunday, May 7.

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The celebrity kid also sent PEP.ph a special mother’s day greeting for the actress.

The letter reads:

“Dear Mommy,

“I honestly don’t know where to start, whether to thank you or to express my love and gratefulness to have you as my mother.

“For that I am absolutely grateful and thankful to have you as my mom.

“Thank you so much mommy, for having my back, for providing for our family, for [being] supportive, for being kind and loving, and most of all for being my mother.

“I honestly wouldn’t want anyone to be my mom, because having you as my mom is just the best.

“I love you mommy and Happy Mother’s Day!”

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This story originally appeared on Pep.ph.

* Minor edits have been made by the Smartparenting.com.ph editors.

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10 Kickass Single Moms in Showbiz

It’s not easy to play both mom and dad at home, so it’s no surprise that many were offended by Tito Sotto‘s supposed “joke” that has now gone viral. Below, we pay tribute to some awesome celebrity single moms who somehow make the tough job look so easy.

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Andi Eigenmann

If her public spats with the father of her daughter are anything to go by, there’s no denying that Andi is one fiercely devoted mom.

Jennylyn Mercado

When she isn’t busy raking in acting awards, modeling, and hitting the gym, this FHM Sexiest winner is a proud mom to her son, Jazz.

A post shared by Jodi Sta.Maria (@jodistamaria) on Dec 25, 2016 at 4:30am PST

Jodi Sta. Maria

Despite a schedule filled with acting gigs and even school, Jodi always makes time to explore the world with her son, Thirdy.

A post shared by LJ Reyes (@lj_reyes) on Mar 29, 2017 at 4:26pm PDT

LJ Reyes

This award-winning actress has always been open about the struggles of being a single mom to her son, Aki. She also makes sure he spends plenty of time with his dad, Paulo Avelino.

Sunshine Dizon

It was in June 2016 when Sunshine publicly called out her husband, Timothy Tan, for infidelity. Flash-forward to today, and she’s now a dedicated single mom with a “very good support group.”

Sunshine Cruz

Sunshine’s rocky marriage with Cesar Montano led to her raising their three kids mostly on her own. Their eldest, Angelina, is now joining showbiz.

Geneva Cruz

This actress-turned-certified nutritionist has two kids: a son named Heaven who is a nursing student and a young daughter named London. In a passionate Instagram post (above), she addressed Tito Sotto, saying, “Just so you know, as a mom, I actually did not plan on being single. But in life, we all have to deal with the cards we are dealt the best way we can.”

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Ruffa Gutierrez

After a lavish wedding in 2003 and a controversial split in 2011, Ruffa vowed to not depend on her former husband for financial help in raising their daughters.

Denise Laurel

She made headlines in 2011 when she confessed to being a single mom to a baby boy. Years later, the actress happily shares the cutest photos with her five-year-old son.

A post shared by Ciara Sotto (@pinaypole) on Apr 3, 2017 at 9:11pm PDT

Ciara Sotto

Ciara became a dedicated single mom to her son, Crixus, after splitting up with her former husband, Jojo Oconer.

This story originally appeared on Spot.ph.

* Minor edits have been made by the Smartparenting.com.ph editors.

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Becoming a Mom Was the Happiest and Saddest Day of My Life

I started singing when I was 2 years old, and since then, my life revolved around music and singing. My closest family and friends have seen my passion and dedication as a chorister, as a conductor, and as a teacher to young children. I trained hard, performed well, and taught purposefully. I was UNSTOPPABLE…until I got pregnant. I lost that one thing that made my life exceptionally beautiful and extra meaningful, that one thing that enabled me to make music, that one thing that allowed me to express the language of my heart — my voice.

I grew up attending Sunday services with my entire family in Ellinwood Malate Church where music, whether played or sung, is always remarkable. At an early age, I was already exposed to period music and enjoyed listening (and even singing along) to Handel’s “Messiah” every Christmas and Mozart’s “Requiem,” come the Holy week. My grandparents were wonderful singers, too, and my parents were part of the choir. They thought it would be great if they’d get me to sing in the choir as well, and it was one of the best decisions my parents made for me. At 6 years old, the musician in me was born.

At around 8, while other kids were singing and dancing to popular songs, I was appreciating the very melodic “Ti Ayat Ti Meysa Nga Ubing” and singing it in a high voice while finishing up assignments at home. Throughout my school years, I performed, competed, and studied. I was lucky enough to go to St. Scholastica’s College Manila, where the music program is above par and be part of DLSU Chorale.

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At 18, I was already conducting my first company choir. Just before I turned 20, I had my first European concert tour with the DLSU Chorale. After that, another concert tour came and then another in Korea, North America, and Canada. I also became one of the six people who represented the Philippines in the Asian Youth Choir where rehearsals and performances were held in Japan.

At 23, I auditioned for the Philippine Madrigal Singers. How I dreamt of sitting in that prestigious semi-circle, right at the center of it, singing my heart out! Pero sabi ko, parang imposible. After I sung, they told me right away that I made it and was asked to attend rehearsals, which happened to be an hour after I auditioned. December 8, 2003 was the day my life as a chorister became more meaningful.

The Madz, as we call the Philippine Madrigal Singers, on its own, is a school. While it sharpens your skills as a musician, it also defines your character as a person. In the Madz, being a good singer is not enough. Hard work, discipline, endurance, and willingness to learn are essential tools for you to survive.

When I entered the group, I was one of the few who wasn’t music degree holders. So, I mastered the pieces ahead of time, took in instructions, and sang intelligently at may puso. Three months after I auditioned, they gave me a seat at the semi-circle. Shortly after, I found myself on a European concert tour, and we went home with a prize for winning a choral competition in Spain. I couldn’t believe it at first but the wish I made some years ago in college was happening!

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In 2005, my mother died because of cancer. Music and singing rescued me and got me through the saddest days. A month after her death, I got into a relationship with Henry, my most masugid na manililigaw since college. Everything just got more beautiful since then.

After a year into our relationship, Henry asked me to marry him, and I said yes. But the Madz was set to embark on international tours and competitions for two years. The schedule just didn’t have time for a wedding. I had to choose between getting married at 26 or competing. I chose the latter. Unstoppable, yes? Yes! #walangmakakapigil

After my schedule with Madz had settled down, Henry and I decided to get married in March 2009; we were 29 years old. We both wanted to have children right away. We still didn’t get lucky despite the preparations I made even before getting married. I was already under medication for polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and fertility. We had two courses of IUI (Intrauterine Insemination) that both failed. We were trying to conceive for more than a year by this point, but we never gave up. In July of 2010, Henry and I decided to go through another course of IUI.

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During this round of a month-long waiting game, Henry and I flew to Bacolod to attend a wedding. It was my first time at this church, so I prayed and wished for a child. Upon receiving communion, I knelt and quietly spoke to God. I couldn’t help but cry because I was about to offer Him that one thing I thought I could not live without — my voice. Finally, my heart said it. I told God that I was willing to sacrifice my voice in exchange for a son or a daughter.

When we arrived in Manila, Henry and I went back to our usual routine. A week went by, and finally, it was time for me to take the test. I said a prayer and made that offering once again. Then, I did two different pregnancy tests, and after a few minutes, there it was — two pink lines! I WAS PREGNANT! Immediately, I fell to my knees and thanked God for this miracle. I was overjoyed!

The following day I went to my ob-gyn to have myself checked. She confirmed that I was indeed pregnant, and we were having triplets! GOD GAVE US TRIPLETS!

Weeks passed, and it was finally time to check on the babies’ heartbeats. Baby number one was doing great, and so was baby number two. But baby number three was not. He did not have any heartbeat. After that check up, I was advised …read more    

5 Things You Can Do With Your Hair to Slim Down Your Face

Besides makeup, your hair is a huge factor in slimming down your face. Another good thing about relying on your locks for a more chiseled face is that you can be more confident to face the world sans bronzers or thick, Kardashian ‘kontouring’ techniques. See our suggestions below:

1. Add long layers

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When your stylist creates layers that frame your face,a strong jawline looks softer, and the cheeks less chubby. A blunt cut only magnifies the wideness of the face. Take for example, Selena Gomez. Her square face still looks fab, thanks to her lush, carefully layered, long locks.

2. Try highlights

Up for a new hair color? Ask for a fairly new technique called hair contouring (Hollywood celebs started doing this in 2015) which relies on strategic placement of hair color to downplay a wide face.

I was born with a round face shape, and my plump cheeks and cheekbones cannot be tamed! Jerome Secjadas of Basement Salon SM Aura played with different tones of blonde and ashy brown L’Oreal Professionel hair color to contour my hair. My verdict: I still can’t believe I own this celeb-worthy, balayage, face-slimming ‘do. And if you’re worried about damage caused by hair color and bleaching, ask for a Smartbond additive. This magical potion keeps your hair follicles strong and intact during the hair coloring treatment.

Also, you don’t need to have extremely light shades to enjoy this. You can get this service with a conservative color palette like what Shamcey Supsup has:

3. Do a half-up ‘do

If you don’t want to do something drastic to your hair, putting it up in a half pony will do. Just remember to add volume to the crown (top section of the head) and let a few strands of hair fall on the sides of the face to create vertical length.

4. Aim high

A post shared by Nikki Duque (@nikki_duque) on Dec 1, 2016 at 8:10pm PST

When you prefer a total updo, a glam high ponytail or a top knot can pull the cheeks upwards, exposing the angles of your cheekbones.

5. Get side-swept bangs

A post shared by Rhian Ramos (@whianwamos) on Mar 15, 2017 at 9:17pm PDT

Side-swept bangs can lengthen your face. The fringe gracefully falls on your temples, cheekbones, and cheeks, creating a subtle, vertical distraction on your round face.

This story originally appeared on FemaleNetwork.com.

* Minor edits have been made by the Smartparenting.com.ph editors.

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Could Your Child Have Learning Disability? 5 Signs to Look For

You’ve heard these words and feared them: dyslexia, dyspraxia, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). They are all examples of common learning disabilities that interfere with basic skills such as reading, writing, and math. Those who are diagnosed can find it hard to make judgments or be in a social setting, or they have problems with planning and organization, and the concept of time.

Early intervention is crucial to help a child with a learning disability. Unfortunately, it often goes undiagnosed because many parents refuse to acknowledge that their children suffer from a learning disability. Many are even embarrassed to seek a professional opinion.

“People dismiss learning disabilities as a culture thing,” explains Cynthia Tinsay-Gonzalez, owner and administrator of Reach International School, an inclusive academic institution that caters to regular students and students with learning disabilities and special needs. “[Some] parents tend to make excuses for the child — ‘bata pa ‘yan’ or ‘lalaki kasi ‘yan kaya late.'”

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But how can a parent know if a professional evaluation is needed? Tinsay-Gonzalez has five questions to ask yourself:

1. How are his emotional and behavioral responses at home and school?
Kids with learning disabilities may behave differently or inappropriately when faced with a problem or task, compared to you or a kid his age. He can be easily frustrated, finds it difficult to get along with his peers, or show poor social judgment. If the consistency in his behavior is the same and present at home and school — it doesn’t feel like he’s just going through a stage — then it may be time to consult a developmental pediatrician.

2. Does he prefer playing with kids who are younger than him?
There is nothing wrong with younger playmates, but take notice of his development and level of maturity. As Tinsay-Gonzalez puts it, does it feel like he is “emotionally two or three years behind?” Missing subtle social cues, overfocusing on minor details, having difficulty transitioning — these can be red flags.

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3. Does he continue to struggle in school despite support?
If your school-age child shows consistent inability to do the expected school work of his age level, even with tutoring, then you may need to have him assessed. Tinsay-Gonzalez adds, “[Kung] sobra na ‘yung push ninyo for them to learn, but then the child is still not getting [his lessons], he may be at risk [learning disability].”

4. Does he have difficulty in organizing and integrating thoughts?
Many children with learning disabilities have an above average IQ. From Grades 1 to 4, Tinsay-Gonzalez says, their memory skills are good, and they pass their tests. It’s when they hit Grade 5 to 6 when problems arise. At these grade levels, children are asked to analyze and synthesize information — write essays, for example. “You’re expected to process information — hindi na lang pwedeng puro memorize,” she says.

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5. Does he have a poor memory?
Say you’ve reviewed your kid for a big test the day before, and his performance was exceptional. But when he takes the actual test the next day, he fails. Persistent short-term memory is another red flag when it comes to children with learning disabilities. “The child can understand, but he does not have the ability to process and retain chunks of information –necessary tools in middle school,” Tinsay-Gonzalez says.

It is important to note that only developmental pediatricians can diagnose a child with a learning disability. Reach International School does have an assessment tool (available to those who are not enrolled in the school as well) to evaluate how to help a child who is struggling academically; it can create an educational program tailor-fit to his needs.

Having a child with a learning disability is not the end of his future. In fact, many famous and successful people have learning disabilities. Daniel Radcliffe has dyspraxia, which means he struggles with balance and posture. Steven Spielberg, Keira Knightley, and Tom Cruise had dyslexia, a reading disorder. With early intervention and your support, your child can grow up to be a smart and successful grown-up.

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20 Mother’s Day Gift Ideas to Show Moms Deserve to Be Spoiled

When you’re a mom, you do things for your husband / partner and children and expect nothing in return, because motherhood is in itself a reward. But, on Mother’s Day, allow yourself to be spoiled by your loved ones with gifts that express what they could not verbalize — tokens of appreciation that tell you, “We’re so grateful to have you in our lives.”

Husbands, children, find the perfect gift from the gallery below!

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Measuring Deadliness | Toxinology 101

Scientists refer to the study of biological toxins as toxinology. From bacterial toxins like anthrax to the deadliest snake venoms, toxinology examines the chemical warfare between animals, plants, fungi and bacteria. In my Toxinology 101 series, I explain and explore the fundamentals of toxin science to reveal the unusual, often unfamiliar, and unnerving world created by our planet’s most notorious biochemists.

One of the most frequent questions I receive as a venom scientist (so much so …read more    

‘I Said Goodbye to the Job I Love to Breastfeed My Baby’

I was a 26-year-old newlywed when I found out I was pregnant. I was also working full-time as a writer, book editor, and managing editor for a hugely popular magazine under the same publishing company I joined a scant two months after graduation. I met some of my best friends at my job, and I even married one of them. To say my job was my life would be pretty accurate. But, all of a sudden, there was a little life growing inside of me.

I worked until I hit 38 weeks of pregnancy, riding out deadlines, photo shoots, and proofreading throughout the trimesters. And as my belly grew, so did my certainty that I would breastfeed my child. I was not a sancti-mommy — I’ve never judged formula moms. But I felt compelled to pursue breastfeeding for my baby, in whatever form it would work for us.

In April 2016, I gave birth via an emergency C-section, and I asked for the nurse’s help to get my newborn daughter latched straight away. I almost throttled her when she answered, “Ay, ngayon na ba?” My wild-eyed glare must have scared her because she quickly shoved our damp and gooey daughter onto my chest and backed away. And at that moment, our breastfeeding journey began. My milk was already coming in while I was still in the recovery room. I’ve never had issues with latching, supply, or engorgement. Don’t hate me, but I am one of the lucky ones who can eat an oatmeal cookie and feel my boobs fill up an hour later.

All I’m saying is moms know they have hard choices to make, day after day, and this one was mine.

The real struggle started when we introduced the bottle to our daughter at 6 weeks old. To say that there were tears would be a gross understatement. She took the bottle like a personal insult. And thus started the intense Googling and asking for advice on forums and Facebook groups. My husband and I quickly assembled a motley crew of random bottles and nipples, from Mimijumi and Avent to the cheapest silicone nipples at the grocery. They all ended up collecting dust in our cupboard. You’d think we were making our daughter drink sulfuric acid the way she cried and vomited each time we offered a bottle. Her acid reflux didn’t help matters, either.

Yes, I would tiredly answer anyone who tried to help, we tried warm milk and cold milk, thawed milk and freshly-pumped milk. We tried cups, syringes, spoons. I went outside the room, the condo, even walked to the Starbucks across the street just so she couldn’t smell me. The only thing we never did was to starve her into desperation so she would take the bottle. (You gasp at the mere idea, but this was actually a suggestion by many well-meaning titas.) Lots of other moms I knew reported success with this nipple, or that bottle, or yaya wearing mom’s two-week old T-shirt (true story), but absolutely nothing worked for us.

I was tired. Bottle-feeding her consumed me. My husband just sighed every time I came home clutching a new bottle that was “guaranteed” effective. I stared jealously at little babies peacefully sucking on their Dr. Browns/Pigeons/Tommy Tippees while their moms blithely pushed them around in their strollers. I got disheartened pumping and storing milk because I was starting to give up hope that she would ever drink any of it (I ended up donating a freezer full of milk). I wished I could turn back the clock and introduce the bottle earlier, nipple confusion be damned.

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As the end of my maternity leave loomed near, the frustration became panic. Slowly, I had to face the fact that maybe I wasn’t going to be that working mom toting a breast pump and a cooler to the office. And for the first time since I gave birth, I cried. I couldn’t not work. What about our finances? The job I left behind, the people I loved working with? What about me? I went from being a magazine editor to a walking mammary gland — my friends loved the joke, but the post-partum identity crisis was no laughing matter.

There was only one certainty among all the questions: I could not give up breastfeeding my daughter. I couldn’t bear to leave this tiny, red-faced creature squalling for the boob while I sat at a desk, miles away. She was mine — and the responsibility to nourish her was on me.

I don’t judge moms who came back from their maternity leaves with babies bottle-trained or not. In fact, you are probably made of sterner stuff than I am. All I’m saying is moms know they have hard choices to make, day after day, and this one was mine.

So I said good-bye to my job and feverishly worked out our finances, our new routine, our new normal, and until today, it’s a work in progress. I also said good-bye to that conveniently mobile lifestyle many of my age enjoy. There was no getting back into the swing of things. While my friends were figuring out how far they could go to watch Coldplay live, I had to figure out how far I could go until her next feed (Answer: one therapeutic grocery trip, a pedicure, and a pit stop at Potato Corner, all in the mall beside our house).

It’s made me confront how much I like myself, or if I even like myself at all.

It’s gotten easier over the months especially when our baby started solids and learned to drink water from a cup. She latches mostly for comfort now, but will only fall asleep if on the boob (that’s another story). She’s the loudest, most hyper 1-year-old I have ever met, whose first instinct is to wave enthusiastically at anything (inanimate objects included). I live for the moments her big eyes find mine while she nurses, and she touches my nose ever so gently.

I sometimes miss my …read more    

Daphne Oseña-Paez Encourages Moms to Declare ‘No Gadget Day’ for Kids

Media personality Daphne Oseña-Paez was already a step ahead in the blogging game way before it became the fashion. “I grew up with the Internet. I rode that wave before Facebook even happened,” Daphne proudly claims.

Acknowledged as one of the country’s pioneering social media influencers, Daphne has a thorough grasp of the digital technologies, which, in one way or another, has widened the generation gap.

Now that she’s a full-fledged mom herself, Daphne acknowledges the struggles and realities faced by today’s parents in dealing with their teen children. In an interview with PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) during the Rabeanco event, Daphne says, “We are dealing with issues that other parents in another generation didn’t have. You may think it’s easier but it’s actually harder.”

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And no matter how hands-on she is as a mom, she knows that her children’s exposure to gadgets is inevitable. So instead of totally restricting them, she and her husband Patrick Paez decided to regulate their usage. Here are Daphne’s gadget rules:

1. Introduce them gradually.

While her kids have Viber accounts, they know she checks their conversations because they are minors under her care. “They have protected private accounts. They don’t do Instagram. I don’t want them having a digital life outside their real life yet.”

2. You have to be very present in their lives, digitally.
“My kids are not online on their own. I follow them, of course. I don’t allow them to run around freely on the Internet,” says the mom. For Daphne, once you set your kid out on her own, it’s the equivalent of letting them walk the sidewalks at night, alone.

Child safety is a real concern and it’s something she deals with as UNICEF Philippines’ Special Advocate for Children, where child safety is an issue online. “Parents have to be aware where their kids go, what they do.”

During summer, when her kids are mostly home, Daphne has found a way to keep their digital activities to a minimum.

3. Set the limit.
Aside from imposing a “no gadget day,” her other rule is, “If you are low batt, it’s over.” She elaborates, “I tell them, you can only charge your phone once a day. They need to budget their time and spend it wisely.”

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4. The iPad or smartphone is not a nanny.
It’s a no-no to give them gadgets so the mom can do other things. She also advises having mirror apps so you can see what they are doing.

5. Strike a balance between real versus digital activities.
She makes sure the kids try both digital and real-life expressions of the same discipline. “They ask me to post their work na artistic so I make sure they do not do just digital art, but real painting too. My kids read real books, write, play outside.”

She recalls an incident where her middle daughter Lily told her, “I don’t wanna sweat.” Daphne’s response was, “I was like, ‘You are gonna sweat, so you are gonna go to the park and sweat.’”

Daphne also makes sure her kids have a life beyond the cyberworld. “They have playdates with friends, which means no gadget day.” She lets them do real baking and real swimming. “The way the world is going, it is so easy and connected, so the more you need physical contact and activity for real relationships”

6. Let them talk in real life.
If the kids exist solely online, she says, “They will just have fights online. And they don’t know how to resolve it. Talking to each other is different; they have to deal with real life pa rin. That is the job of the parent.”

This story originally appeared on Pep.ph.

* Minor edits have been made by the Smartparenting.com.ph editors.

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Proper regulation of e-cigs seen to prevent sickness, deaths

Appropriate regulation of electronic cigarettes or “vapes” can help prevent serious sickness and the premature death of millions of cigarette smokers in the Philippines, according to a leading expert on tobacco harm reduction and e-cigarettes.

The post Proper regulation of e-cigs seen to prevent sickness, deaths appeared first on Inquirer News.

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