Six Mom Advocates and Their Inspiring Stories

Much has been said about motherhood being the toughest job in the world, but then ask any mom and you would be surprised to know that at any given time, the task of mothering is less of a burden but more of a joy for most of them.  In fact, some have even wholeheartedly embraced the calling so much that they have took it upon themselves to nurture the community as a whole. They have continuously work to ensure that the needs of other children in the coummunity are provided and met.  They have also empowered fellow women to become good mothers to their children by sharing what they know. This month in Working Mom magazine, I interviewed six amazing moms who have dared to make a difference through their chosen advocacies while staying loving and devoted to their own family. Here they are:
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Michelle Aventajado 
Down Syndrome Advocate
Michelle has been championing the cause of children with special needs since giving birth to her youngest, Evangelina. She chronicles her experiences as a mom of a child with Down Syndrome in her blog, mommanmanila.com.  She is active in organizations such as the Down Syndrome Association of the Philippines, Inc. (DSAPI) and The Center Of Possibilities whose programs caters to children with special needs and their families.


Jenny Ong
Breastfeeding and Natural Parenting Advocate
Jenny is a peer counselor for LATCH, Inc., an organization that provides breastfeeding classes for pregnant women and their families. She supports organizations such as Arugaan, a grassroots community based organization in the fight for the strict implementation of the Milk Code and Filipino Association of Babywearers, a group who strongly advocates the babywearing lifestyle. She is the blogger behind www.chroniclesofanursingmom.com.  She actively promotes the natural parenting lifestyle by giving talks on cloth diapering, breastfeeding and babywearing. 


Janice Trillo
Women and Children Causes Advocate
Janice is the reigning Mrs. Philippines Globe 2014 title holder who represented the country in the recently concluded Mrs. Globe World Finals at Shenzhen, China. She bagged The Philanthropy of the Year award and made it to the Top 16. She’s 37 years old with five kids.  She has been involved in different social and charitable activities in Subic and Olongapo as past President and now Secretary of Rotary Club Subic Pearl. 


Denise Manlapaz
Likhang Bata Online Gallery
Teacher Dindi is the founder and art teacher of Likhang Bata. She was a graphic designer, marketing image consultantant, and advertising teacher before she decided to concentrate full time in sharing and cultivating appreciation for the unique Filipino culture through her online arts gallery, Likhang Bata  (www.likhangbata.weebly.com).  She continues to organizes art workshops, festivals and summer camps in partnership with other institutions. 


Patricia Gonzales-Cruz
Kinder Project
Teacher Tisha has been a childhood educator since 1991. She founded Kinder Project which provides teacher training support and quality teaching materials to the poorest kindergarten classrooms in the country. A class project with her kindergarten students way back in 2002 brought them in Miarayon, Bukidnon where the lack of learning materials fuelled her desire to create teaching tools for classrooms that needed them most. She shares her mission to help in her website www.learninglion.ph


Joy T. Mendoza
Homeschooling Advocate
Joy is a homeschooling mom who blogs at Teach With Joy (www.teachwithjoy.com), a webpage devoted to faith, marriage, parenting, and homeschooling.  She is married to Edric Mendoza, who shares the passion for homeschooling with her and together, they have five children. All homeschooled. 
Check out the inspiring stories of these six amazing women in the Mother’s Day issue of Working Mom magazine. 



Endurance Sports Magazine Feature (April Issue)

I have never been good at any sport growing up that is why I am beyond happy, thrilled, and excited to be featured in this month’s issue of Endurance Sports Magazine. Here, I shared what prompted me to join The Bullrunner’s TBR Dream Marathon, what I learned from the experienced, and how it has changed me since then.
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Benjamin Franklin once said, either you write something worth reading or do something worth writing. Eversince I decided to reinvent myself, I made it my goal to do both.
Thank you Endurance Sports Magazine and Jaymie Pizzaro for the feature, it feels good to be the subject (and not the writer) for a change. Friends, you can read the virtual copy here (http://issuu.com/newleafmedia/docs/041115_endurance_april_for_referenc/c/subjlru) or grab the April issue at your favorite sports store.

Be Summer Ready with Proactiv Kit + Wen Cleansing Conditioner

As much as I love summer, I have to admit that the heat just totally gets to me sometimes. Aside from pimple breakouts, the sun also causes my hair to be frizzy and dry. I’ve been stressing about my hair these days because I am trying to grow it long and healthy again, and the heat and humidity are not really helping.
It is no secret that I have been a fan of Proactiv for a long time as it is the only product that can put a reign on my pimples. If you are like me who can’t stay away from the sun but worry about its bad effects on the face and hair, I am pretty sure you will be excited to know too that Proactiv has partnered up with Wen Cleansing Conditioner. A discount on Wen Cleansing Conditioner is being offered if you purchase a Proactiv kit. WEN® Cleansing Conditioner is a revolutionary new concept in hair care made by the same manufacturer of Proactiv – Guthy Renker USA. It is a 5-in-1 formula that takes the place of shampoo, conditioner, deep conditioner, detangler and leave-on conditioner. It cleanses hair thoroughly without lathering. It does not have all the harsh ingredients that may be found in ordinary shampoos that might strip hair and scalp of their natural oils too. Hair becomes totally moisturized and easy to manage with continued use and what’s more, it retains color better. It is available in two scents: Pomegranate or Sweet Almond Mint.
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Proactiv customers purchasing a Proactiv kit (30-day or 60-day) from the Proactiv Philippines Online shopping site https://my.proactiv.comph can choose to upgrade their kits with an additional product, Wen Cleansing Conditioner 350ml at Php250 discount (if purchased with 30-day kit) or at Php400 discount (if purchased with 60-day kit).
Original Retail Price of Wen Cleansing Conditioner 350ml: Php 995
New Price, as an Add-on to your Proactiv 30-day kit: Php 745
Best Price, as an Add-on to your Proactiv 60-day kit: Php 595
This bundle will be valid until May 15, 2015. Here’s how to avail:
1. Visit http://my.proactiv.com.ph and create an account.
2. Browse the shopping site for products you like, or go straight to http://my.proactiv.com.ph/products.htm. The Proactiv 60-day tab shows a window at the right side indicating Php 400 discount on Wen Cleansing Conditioner 350ml if you bundle it with your kit purchase. The Proactiv 30-day kit tab shows a similar window indicating Php 250 discount on Wen Cleansing Conditioner 350ml if you bundle it with your 30-day kit purchase.
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3. The discount on Wen Cleansing Conditioner is available only for purchases of Proactiv 30 day and Proactiv 60 day kits.
4. For customers who shall avail of the Proactiv money back guarantee, please note that Wen and its equivalent purchase price is excluded from the refund value.
5. Nationwide Free delivery applies to orders of this bundle.

Product Review: Proactiv Renewing Cleanser

One of the things I had to deal with after running my first full marathon last Sunday was my pimple breakout. The following day, I not only woke up to an aching body, I also woke up to a pimple infested face. We’re not talking about modest looking pimples here mind you, we’re talking about big, fat zits. 
Anyway, I kind of expected this scenario already after I spent a total of 7 grueling hours running, with the last two, under the heat of the sun last Sunday. I knew it was inevitable that the combination of sweat, heat, and dust will cause my skin to break out that is why I had my Proactiv Renewing Cleanser ready and on stand by. Personally speaking, it is hands down, the best  post marathon or post exercise facial wash for me.
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You might be wondering what makes Proactiv Renewing Cleanser superior than the regular cleanser / soap. Well, let me tell you that it is because of its formulation. While it may seem counter intuitive, harsh scrubbing does not unclog pores any better than gentle cleansing. In fact, it may actually worsen acne. Although it reduces surface oils and dead skin cells, using harsh products, laden with alcohol and foamy surfactants (detergents) to wash the acne off the skin may cause it to worsen and become more irritated. 
Proactive Renewing Cleanser gently unplug pores because its fine polyethylene beads efficiently exfoliates dead cells and gently relieve impacted pores of impurities. It does not contain any surfactants/detergents unlike many other cleansers. Surfactants are the chemicals responsible for the sudsy foam and lather in detergents.  It strip skin of essential oils and  cause its barrier to become damaged and vulnerable to irritation and impaction. 

Proactiv Renewing Cleanser’s oil free and soap free medicated formula contains advanced micro crystal benzoyl peroxide which when combined with a mild cleanser can lightly and gently wash the skin. Based on my experience, the Renewing Cleanser does not cause a stinging sensation after washing that is why I prefer it over other facial wash in the market. Usually, right after running, I wash my face with it because I know that the benzoyl peroxide penetrates the pores fast.  It attacks and kills acne-causing bacteria thereby reducing the  number of acne pimples. 
Take a look at some of its winning ingredients:
Benzoyl Peroxide. The essential anti bacterial agent that fights acne. The 2.5% concentration is just effective as the 10% found in most solutions.  This low concentration gives an acne-fighting benefit with no side effects. 
Sodium Hyaluronate. This mucopolysaccharides act as humectant that draw moisture to the skin. Mucopolysaccharides are gel like substances surrounding the collagen and elastin in the dermis layer of the skin. 
Polyethylene. These small round beads have no sharp edges that can tear and scratch the skin. These are responsible for removing old and dead cells. This gives my face the squeky clean feel after washing. 
Anthemis Nobilis Flower Extract.  A  botanical extract known for its soothing properties. Skin feels totally relaxed after washing.
The Proactiv Renewing Cleanser is included in the Proactiv Solution 30-day and 60-day kits.  It is best used with the Proactiv Combination Therapy. It is the one that helps remove dead skin cells and impurities that clog pores while the advanced microcrystal benzoyl peroxide in the Proactiv® 3-Step System kill acne-causing bacteria. The glycolic acid and other exfoliants reduce excess oils and dead skin cells.
For better results, use morning and night. Just apply a small (dime-sized) amount to damp skin and gently massage for 1 to 2 minutes.  Rinse thoroughly with warm water and pat dry. If bothersome dryness or peeling occurs, reduce application to once a day or every other day.  If you are going outside use a sunscreen.
Proactiv Solution kits are available at:
a. Proactiv Online Shopping: http://my.proactiv.com.ph
b. Proactiv Delivery Door–to-Door Hotlines: Metro Manila Landline: (02) 729-2222 Globe Provincial: 1-800-8-729-8888 PLDT Provincial: 1-800-10-889-4444 Mobile Number: 0917-801-888
c. Proactiv Mall Kiosks Glorietta, Ground Floor Trinoma, 2nd Floor
d. Watson and SM Department Stores (Beauty Section) nationwi

TBR Dream Marathon: RACE DAY…I Become My Dream

My first TBR Dream marathon was everything I imagined it to be. Hard, painful, but oh so worth it. As I stood waiting for the gun to go off, the scenes of me training for this marathon came racing through my mind—me waking up at the break of dawn, dragging myself off from bed, driving in the dark, running alone in a deserted Memorial Park under the heat of the sun to clock in 2-3 hours of run. Me religiously doing planks, crunches, and weights every night to prepare my body for this grueling excercise. As I stood there waiting for the race to start, I cannot help but think to myself, this is it, this is what I have been working hard and putting all my heart and efforts on.
The first 21 km was a breeze. Adrenalin, excitement, and a fresh burst of energy brought me to the turn around. Since the route was new, I took in all the sights…the unfamiliar places, curves, uphills, downhills, and the TBR tents/water stations. I was completely into the moment as I ran alongside equally psyched up runners and dream chasers who generously shouted words of encouragement. The next 21 km, the second half, on the other hand, was something else. It was a real test of strength, endurance, and spirit for me. It is true what they say about the final 21 km, you run it with your heart. At the 34th kilometer, I hit what runners would call “the wall.” Just after the 2 km never ending uphill. Fatigue and pain in my left knee that took a hard beating on those killer hills began wearing me down. Good thing my friend Jon, a 7 time marathoner and dream chaser, was there to give me the final push. Along the way, we met Abi, who was more disheartened than me. We ran the last 8 km together, with Jon telling us all the “tricks” he knows about running and with me giving Abi all the peptalks and words of encouragement that I can think of. They were what kept my eyes and focus on the goal. They were what kept my heart on the race. Jon and I predicted that I will finish the race at 6:30, 30 minutes over and above my target. But in the end, I finished it at 7:06 because it didn’t feel right to leave Abi behind. When I dreamed of finishing this marathon, I didnt dream of finishing this alone. God in all his goodness, gave me these two great people to celebrate the joy, pains, and fullfillment of reaching the end.
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When we were a few meters closer to the finish line, I decided to slow down and let Abi go first because there’s really nothing like seeing one struggling runner bask in the glory of reaching her goal. I stopped and stood there for a moment to cheer and root for Abi. Heartbeats away from the finish line, I allowed myself to be filled with joy at the sight of her celebrating victory, before I went ahead and claimed mine.
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My family was waiting for me at the finish line complete with a super big banner to congratulate me. Seeing them made my happiness complete.
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Now I can, with all pride, say that I am a runner and a marathoner at that. I never thought I had it in me to run a full marathon. Sometimes you really just have to boldly go out there, make things happen, and become your dream.
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Here’s what I told my daughter after running my first full marathon: My dear Bianca Angela, this race is more for you than for me. I hope this proves to you that mommy isn’t just randomly quoting Disney when I say that dreams do come true. And that in fact, it doesn’t really take a genie or a fairy Godmother to make things happen for you. All it takes is YOU. You with your persistence and determination to succeed. You with your willingness to sacrifice comfort and go through all the pains and troubles to achieve your dream. Always remember that our life is a good story. It does not end with the loss of daddy or with your battle with cancer. They are just significant chapters in our life story that call for us to press forward, rise up in faith, and fullfill our God-given destiny. They connect and propel us to the greater things that God has prepared for our future. A good story always ends in victory and ours is that kind of story.

TBR Dream Marathon: Day 6

Two days into the marathon, here I am feeling under the weather. I woke up this morning with itchy throat, eyes, and nose. It didn’t help that the weather does not seem to cooperate. It has been cold these past to nights making my throat ache painfully. Quite ironic because these past few days I have been sleeping early and trying to get enough rest. I guess my body doesn’t take kindly to rest.
But then again, these might be a classic case of jitters. My body is reacting to the stress in anticipation for the big day. A while ago while I was reading the bible, I came accross Psalms 46:5, it says “God is within her, she will not fail.” Yes I believe so. God has been with me since the moment I conceived this dream in my heart. He was beside me when I was trading an extra hour in bed for a run at the break of dawn. He is with me now that the dream is almost at my fingertips. I will make this happen. We will make this happen. Me and my God. I will get us to the finish line, sans sweat and colds.

TBR Dream Marathon: Day 5

My friend’s text to me this morning was, “Blancs! Did you know that Manila to Malolos is 38kms? Mas malayo pa yun run mo sa Sunday! ? Oh my gosh!” I never really thought of it that way. I never really map out how far 42 km. is. All this time, to me, it is just a number. Four 10 km and an extra two. Sometimes I measure it by time, 6 to 7 hours on the road. But to really see how far it is from the starting to end point, I’ve never really done that. It is because I do not want to start questioning and doubting myself. I don’t want a whole stretch of road. I want to take it by minutes and hours with the Lord. I do not want to focus on the destination but the journey because I know if I do it that way, I will surely get me to the finish line.

TBR Dream Marathon: Day 4

Since it’s Ash Wednesday today, I wholeheartedly did fasting and abstinence as required by the Catholic Church. In fact, I was looking forward to it since I wanted to please the Lord in whatever way I can. I ate light breakfast and snacks, and was really planning my full meal for dinner. But then this afternoon on the way home, I started to feel my body getting weak and I was sweating cold. I was having hypoglycemia attack. I frantically searched for a candy in my bag but didn’t find any. Good thing I was able to drive myself to the nearest convenient store to grab some sweets.
Of course this set the stress button on again. I kept thinking, how can you survive a 42 km run when your body is acting like this? I was asking myself, are you sure you can handle it? It took a while for me to realize that it was fear and self-doubt talking. Of course I will finish the race, I have a good nutritional plan before and during the race day. And no doubt about it, I can handle it because I have trained my body for this rigorous activity for months. I am healthy, I am strong, and I can do everything through Christ who strengthens me.

TBR Dream Marathon: Day 3

“And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” ( 2 Corinthians 12:9)
How can I ever doubt if I can accomplish everything that the Lord set before me when He has already ensured my victory even before he birthed the dream inside me. When He promised a life made victorious on the cross, He wasn’t joking. He is faithful to His Word. As long as I do my part and place my complete trust in Him even if the task seem impossible, He will make it happen. He will bring my goal, my hopes and my dream to fruition.

TBR Dream Marathon: Day 2

It was a wise decision to grab the book, I Declare by Joel Osteen, from the rack last week when Scholastic came to hold a Book Fair in our school. It is the perfect motivational book for someone like me who is about to pursue her dream of finishing a full marathon.
I am in Day 4 of the book and it reads, “I declare that it is not too late to accomplish everything God has set in my heart. I have not missed my window of opportunity. God has moments of favor in my future. He is preparing me right now because He is about to release a special grace to help me accomplish that dream. This is my time. This is my moment. I receive it today! This is my declaration.”
Such beautiful words. It reminded me of why I am pursuing this dream. It is because I want to bring to fullfillment exactly what the Lord wants me to be—strong, determined, and victorious. Indeed, I am going to stay passionate about what God put in my heart and I will accomplish everything that God placed in my heart.