Being a new mother is tough, and most Filipina moms would say that they wish they had a longer time with their newborn before going back to work. Hopefully, our government officials will address this need soon and extend the maternity leave to 120 days (150 days for single moms). Senator Risa Hontiveros hopes that with Senate Bill 215 of the 17th Congress, the country will be at par with the policy of the International Labor Organization that requires a minimum of 98 days maternity leave.
Close up Forever Summer tragedy
What was supposed to be a night of fun took a turn for the worst. On May 22, 2016, the concert that was well-attended by young adults left five people dead for reasons that greatly puzzled the investigators. Talk about drugs and liquor being freely passed on to minors that night made parents question if they’re being too lax with their kids, especially when it comes to attending parties and other similar events. Educating their kids about drugs, peer pressure, and keeping safe during parties was all the buzz. Here’s to hoping that because of this, future event organizers and parents alike will be more vigilant.
Courageous Caitie succumbs to leukemia
What was first thought of as insect bites turned out to be symptoms of juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia (JMML), a very rare blood disease. Three-year-old Caitie Lucas’ story was riveting and heartbreaking, but it was also filled with so much unconditional love and hope. Parents all over the Philippines and even around the world followed Caitie’s story, and when she passed away on March 31, we all mourned along with her family, and were forever be changed by her.
Surprise! It's Scarlet Snow Belo
When news broke out that celebrity couple Hayden Kho and Vicki Belo had a baby, there was immediate curiosity over her, and a lot of questions about her conception. Scarlet Snow was born on March 3, 2015 through a surrogate, but she is 100% Vicki and Hayden’s child. Scarlet's name was lovingly lifted from the bible passage, “Though your sins are made of scarlet, I will turn them white as snow.” Her parents love her fiercely, and her strong following on social media indicates that the public adores her, too!
Hotline 888 and emergency number 911 at your service
The reception has been positive thus far, and citizens who have used the service seem satisfied with how the teams responding to distress calls get to the scene in record time, how efficient they are, and how they are able to address the concerns promptly. Knowing that Filipinos have a government body to rely on is sadly a new concept for us who have gotten use to sub-par service, so this is indeed a welcome change.
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Harry Potter mania!
Harry Potter fans were in for a treat this year with two fantastic releases from J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child script, and the film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Mommies and daddies who probably grew up loving the HP franchise got to feel the magic again!
"Duterte’s Kitchen" opens
Back when President Duterte was still Mayor of Davao, he put up a carinderia behind the city hall where the poor and the hungry could get food for free. This idea became the inspiration for Duterte’s Kitchen in Cubao, which also feeds street kids for free. Ever since they opened their doors last October 10, Duterte’s Kitchen has given help to hundreds of kids, averaging around 40 daily. Initially they served just lugaw or champorado, but with the influx of donations, it has been able to provide full meals for the kids. If you wish to help out (they only accept help in the form of volunteer work and donations in-kind), you may get in touch with them through their Facebook page.
Forgiveness for abortion
Abortion is illegal in the Philippines, but it can’t be denied that it still happens a lot. The effects of abortion to the mother are life changing, traumatic, and sometimes even fatal. Pope Francis seems to understand the guilt and shame that some women who have gone through abortion feel, and so this year His Holiness has decreed that Catholic priests now have the power to forgive women who have had an abortion and absolve them from their sins. By doing so, Pope Francis remains faithful to his vision of an inclusive, less judgmental Catholic Church.
The Hatchimals craze
The “It toy” of the season was released in the U.S. last October, and it has since been sold out everywhere. The toy is primarily a robot bird that is inside an egg which the owner (your child) will help nurture so that it will eventually hatch, literally, right before your eyes. It’s got hundreds of kids hooked and their parents frantically searching every toy store for stocks in time for Christmas! Didn't get one? You can pre-order Hatchimals at Toys 'R Us Philippines, to arrive in our shores by February 2017.