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Technology saves the day

There have been many studies done on the social cost of overseas Filipino workers’ (OFW) migration and single-parent families. Problems—from infidelity on the part of one or both spouses, to teen pregnancy and drug addiction among children of OFWs—have taken root since the Philippine government began institutionalizing the export of surplus labor to the rest of the world more than 40 years ago. But thanks to advances in technology, a more recent set of studies reveals that more Filipino families are now able to cope with the loneliness and even thrive despite the distances that separate them. “Ideally, we should all be together. But as long as our country can’t provide enough jobs for its citizens, relying on technology to bridge separated families is the next best thing. Nothing, not even …

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Parenting in the digital age

By Daphne Oseña Paez When I was a child I had one box of crayons for every school year. I had to make it last. If I accidentally broke one crayon, I carefully taped it back and continued to use it. I still have my set of Laurentien pencil crayons from high school. Recently, I bequeathed them to my girls who, despite appreciating the value of their mother’s art tools, removed the precious colored pencils from the original vintage tin and put them in their bin of art materials. I didn’t know if they cared about the sentimental value attached to my material thing. My girls are growing up in a different world. At birthday parties, loot bags would contain full-sized boxes of crayons and colored pencils. During my time, crayons were the …

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The importance of proper early childhood education

By Sandy Arellano What is “proper education?”  If I were a more traditional educator, I would simply define this based on what Webster dictionary says: “proper” means correct and in accordance with social and moral rules, and “education” is the knowledge, skill, and understanding that you get from attending a school, college, or university. Given that definition, it seems self-explanatory and perhaps many of us still regard proper education as simply that—the knowledge and understanding you receive from school, which are correct according to social and moral rules. But there seems to be a disconnect between the two, and, in my opinion, as the world evolves, so do people and their perceptions of morality. Our society is shaped in no small way by our country’s geography. The Philippines is a diverse and multi-cultural …

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Plastic mulching made easy

The use of plastic mulch in growing various crops, especially vegetables, has become very popular with farmers these days. This is the use of plastic sheet installed atop the planting bed. The usual dimension of those in the market is one meter wide and 400 meters long that cost about P900 to P1,000 each. Toto Barcelona of Harbest Agribusiness is the fellow we know who first introduced plastic mulching in the Philippines. He will tell you that the first shipment of 10 rolls that he brought from Taiwan in 1998 took him more than a year to sell. Today, 18 years later, he could sell one container load to just one customer. That’s how much the use of plastic mulch has become popular as a standard practice among successful farmers. Plastic mulching offers several advantages. First, it prevents the growth of weeds in the plot. During the dry months, the mulch conserves moisture …

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When family time becomes gadget time

By Michele S. Alignay, MA, RP, RGC “I’m bored!” “It’s so hard!” “I don’t know what to do!” These are some of the most common complaints we hear from children and teens these days. More often than not, they have something to do with kids being weaned on gadgets at an early age. When a child starts throwing a tantrum or begins to move up and about, the first impulse of many parents is to give him a gadget. And just like magic, his mood changes and peace, albeit temporarily, reigns, as the young one disconnects from the world around him and focuses on the screen before him. At restaurants, we often see families breaking bread on a weekend. While they may stop for a while to pose for pictures, the …

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My profession is personal

Work has had a bad rap since time immemorial and yet, despite our clamor for work-life balance, there is no way around it, unless you were a trust fund baby or, like Adolf Hitler in his early years, when he did not land a single job because he would rather live off charity, staying in dormitories for the homeless in Vienna, than endure any job as a clerk or a laborer that he considered beneath his megalomaniac destiny, you were paralyzed by extreme indolence or incompetence. Even then, a trust fund baby, at least every trust fund baby I know, would find some way to work, setting up an entrepreneurship or an advocacy or turning hobbies, like art or photography or fashion or agriculture, into some kind of enterprise. The …

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Families without borders

By Louise Baterna The primordial question, at the time when we felt she could expect or want a gift, was whether it should be Santa Claus or St. Nicholas. I was surprised at myself for not having created a domestic row. I followed suit like a young ewe raising a yearling in another pasture where rules and traditions are “kinda” different. Perhaps, there was no choice. There was no way to escape it, go around it, ignore that Dec. 6 is St. Nicholas Day, a day when children get jittery, toy and candy stores are mobbed, and every bakery would fill their shelves of the caramelized, spiced Speculoos biscuits in the shape of the patron saint of children and students. Simone would never know that Santa Claus existed nor experience the tragic …

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How would you like to own a cultured diamond?

Diamonds are a girl’s best investment, whether she’s a debutante, careerwoman, wife, or mistress. Nor does it have to be a diamond as big as the Ritz, as a one-carat solitaire will do, especially if it’s flawless or nearly so, and comes free with lots of love. Why then are “jewelers in a panic,” to quote Rene Florencio, himself the head of a three-generation family of gemologists and jewelers? The answer lies partly in the nomenclature. In the last 18 months, Mr. Florencio’s jewelry stores have been selling cultured diamonds locally. “Cultured diamonds are not fake, not artificial, not synthetic,” he told a forum of journalists at their “Bulong Pulungan” lunch at Sofitel hotel recently. “They display the same chemical, optical, and physical properties” as the diamonds that have been romanticized by jewelers …

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America’s first offshore wind farm

Although offshore wind farms have been in use in Europe for several years, the US has just completed its first such operation, the Block Island Wind Farm, which lies off the coast of New Shoreham, Rhode Island. The towering machines stand a few miles from the shoreline, in a precise line across the seafloor. The blades are locked in place, but in October they will be turned loose to capture the power of the wind. Then, after several weeks of testing, America’s first offshore wind farm will begin pumping power into the New England electric grid. By world standards, the Block Island Wind Farm is small—just five turbines capable of powering about 17,000 homes. Yet proponents of the project are hoping that this will mark the beginning of a new American industry. The idea of building …

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From Paris, with Love

Paris conjures up images of romance and beauty, like no other city. The beloved City of Lights has captured the imagination of artists, poets, and icons for centuries. It was and continues to be the melting pot and incubation hub for countless pioneers in the arts. For Michelline Syjuco, a homegrown Filipino artist, it was a global stage where she could present her stunning creations to the world; and in the face of her miniature masterpieces, Paris was brought to its knees. “I like the idea that people who wear my pieces own a part of my soul,” Michelline says, “and that each piece is as unique as the person wearing them.” A multidisciplinary artist with a breathtaking oeuvre that is truly one of its kind, Michelline’s work blur the line between art and …

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