Homeschooling Year in Review: 2018 Highlights


Jpeg – Stayed in a small hotel nearby and welcomed the New Year! (we brought our favorite chips and dips 😉 )

Jpeg – Sister Gail and niece Gaby’s arrival. Trip to Leyte (to visit relatives), Cebu pilgrimage (Sto. Nino, Bishop Camomot Shrine, Simala Church) and visited Cebu relatives.

20180123_154139 Camp Phillips, Bukidnon

20180131_133421 Mom and Dad’s special day

20180126_132916        20180126_110148

Family vacation at Dahilayan Mountain Resort

Jpeg  Jpeg Q playdates with nephew and niece


Davao City trip

20180217_194427 Reunion with long-time friends

Playdates, baking, excursions with Mom and Dad and Math school work (with Unifix cubes) 😀


Start of swimming lessons (March-April)

20180328_181726 Fun with best pal and cousin who was on summer vacation

  • Lenten Recollection at Saint Francis Xavier Parish
  • Holy Week in Iligan
  • Start of Prayer and Life Workshop (March up to July)


School work and continuous reading and lego building

Reinforced money Math lessons, Daddy enrolled in baking class and baked and baked and baked for us! 😀 ❤

FB_IMG_1527256466425 Relative’s wedding


20180512_195427 Visited the relic of St. Therese of Lisieux

20180523_184529 House chores (regularly)


35052206_10155647760417333_2738285699831693312_o Fun with relatives from Spain at Tinago Falls, etc.

20180614_094133 Hosted relatives from Leyte and visited Divine Mercy Shrine

Trip to Cebu for homeschooling support group’s Anointing Day, Philippine Madrigal Singers concert and new international airport tour and…

bonding with relatives and old family friends


  • culminated Prayer and Life Workshop with “Desert” (silent retreat) at Lestonnac Retreat Center

“fake ice” experience, lots of bonding with grandpa, started his piano lessons, and started reading the books in his curriculum’s literature list.


20180818_175210 Q’s 9th birthday party with relatives and some kids under the care of the Department of Social Welfare and Dev’t (DSWD)

Visited Madre Lucia of the Benedictine Monastery of St. Anne and received a Sta. Filomena shirt

  • Q went with Dad to work (workshop at a hotel)
  • bonding with relatives who are home for grandpa’s birthday (beach, etc)
  • watched pyro festival during CDO fiesta.


Mom’s 40th birthday

20180910_111538 Visited an aunt and her home library with lots of children’s books



  • tagged along with Dad (workshop at hotel)
  • preparations for CCH Bookfest
  • went to “peryahan” (fairground/carnival) with grandpa
  • piano lessons with Momigong (mom’s sister) via videochat
  • started exercising on stepper! 😀
  • joined the tradition of Pagkanaug sa Patron (start of novena for St. Michael the Archangel- patron saint of Iligan)

Trip to Cebu City for homeschooling support group’s annual Mini Bookfest and bonding with homeschool friends and met up with relatives


  • Rosary Month
  • tagged along with Dad to his talk/speaking engagement with architecture students


20181004_140844  Completed 100-pc world map jigsaw puzzle

  •  More great book finds and more reading!
  • excursions with mom and dad
  • Q went to work with dad (workshop in a resort outside the city)
  • meeting long-lost family friends

20181009_172019 Gone to confession several times during the year

20181015_144205 More clay creations

Trip to Cebu City for homeschooling support group’s All Saints’ celebration and Rosary Month culmination (Mass, Holy Rosary, program and games, short talk, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and confession). Q dressed up as Saint George of England. Fun with homeschooling friends and bonding with relatives.


  • visited the cemetery on All Souls’ Day
  • Advent Recollection at Saint Francis Xavier Parish



Went to Divine Mercy Shrine for Dad’s 51st birthday (confession, mass and prayers and petitions)



Bonding with Iligan relatives

Playdate with the “usual suspects” 😀 , helped with chores, Reversi games with Dad

20181129_214810 Did some catch-up on his reading requirements


Met up with fellow homeschoolers from Cebu who came to CdO to compete in a bouldering competition and heard mass with them at the Immaculate Conception Chapel, Xavier University (Dec. 8 – Feast of the Immaculate Conception)

We set up our Jesse Tree, Nativity set and Advent Wreath

Met up with Mom’s long-lost college/school publication friends and Q ran into the  Canadian vlogger behind #BecomingFilipino, Kyle “Kulas” Jennerman 😀

20181212_130447 Instead of spending his early Christmas cash gifts from aunts and uncles, he willingly deposited them in his junior savers bank account. 🙂

Meet up with homeschooling friends and Daddy O’s former Caritas Switzerland officemate












Our Doydoy Who Deserves More


He was a little puppy who had a different name when we bought him almost two years ago. He was 2 months old then. He once “belonged” to another little boy before he became our little boy’s.
I’ve written about Alexander a.k.a Doydoy here. I’ve chronicled the fun times as well as the difficulty we went through and the costs we had incurred when he traveled with us back and forth to a total of 4 cities. He had traveled for hours by land and endured long, stressful boat rides and had to stay in places unfamiliar to him but he braved it all. He’s such a trouper.
Our constant traveling has not stopped though but we had stopped taking him with us because it was a major operation every time we did it. So he was often left in the care of a neighbor several days a month. We have reached a point where not only our traveling has kept us busy but some major concerns in life have occupied us as well. There is so much going on and keeping a dog in this challenging and almost nomadic kind of life is a herculean task. We have also realized that we are not well-equipped pet owners. Doydoy deserves more.
Our little boy Q didn’t like the idea of giving Alexander up for adoption. We had to enumerate to him our challenges in keeping a dog and that the dog is not getting the proper care he deserves. Thankfully, Q is old enough to understand. He finally agreed to the idea but suggested (after we racked our brains with the limited options available) that the best thing to do was we return the dog to the people we bought him from. It was a very good idea. He was against the idea of giving the dog to total strangers. Thankfully, we bought Alexander from a family (who breeds and sells and also owns and loves dogs) not from a pet shop. It was an emotional phone call that DaddyO had to make to the first owner. The first owner was sympathetic and was also happy and very willing to accept our Alexander back. And I am sure their little boy was thrilled to have the dog (whom he once owned and called by a different name) back in their home.
We were emotional because we have loved this dog and most of all, we were worried about our little boy but he took it all in stride. He was very sad, yes. But since he understood our limitations, he accepted the decision. He ended up consoling us because we were in tears after the phone call. He said, “It’s ok Dad, we did something right. We are going to make somebody happy again.”
After a while, I talked to Q again to make sure he was Ok. He said, “I miss Alexander already” (at this point, we have not returned the dog) but he was assured that Alexander  will be loved. He said that’s what’s important. And the biggest relief for him was that Alexander will be returned to his first owners, to a family he was born into. Q was also hopeful that there will be a chance he can visit Alexander in his new (or former) home.
Then he continued to tell me about the book he read by James Herriot about a cat, Oscar, who once was lost and then ended up having two families who love him. He was all smiles while he was retelling me the story. I asked him if the story helped him accept the difficult decision we had just made and he said, beaming, “Yes! And just like Oscar in the book, Alexander will be loved by two families”.

On the day DaddyO was to travel with Doydoy (for almost 2 hours) back to his first owners, I helped pack away Doydoy’s toys, food, and other stuff. It was tough. And it was tougher for DaddyO who was the one who took Alexander and left with a heavy heart. He was in tears when I talked to him on the phone on his way back after dropping Doydoy off.


It’ll be tough in the next few days and how we will manage without Alexander remains to be seen. I have gotten used to the feeling of safety knowing that Doydoy is in the garage ready to bark at strangers or intruders. Q did say after Doydoy left that he has lost a bestfriend but despite the sadness in his heart, he showed a maturity that DaddyO and I can learn from. And Q intends to visit Doydoy! So that actually makes it less sad for him. Our little boy taught us to look on the bright side and like Oscar in the book, Doydoy’s story has a happy ending afterall.



(Edited to add: Q’s first visit to Alexander at his new home was on Alexander’s 2nd birthday, December 4)

our best reads (1st quarter 2018)


Q’s TOP FIVE from the lot:

  1. Winnie the Pooh – A.A. Milne
  2. A Sick Day for Amos McGee – Philip C. Stead (also one of Mom’s favorites!)
  3. James Herriot books:
    Bonny’s Big Day
    Moses the Kitten
    The Christmas Day Kitten

    (We have recently become big James Herriot fans. I love his storytelling and Q loves the animals especially the kittens! Oh my.  DaddyO and I do not like cats at all. But the little boy just looves them.)

  4. Learn About The Saints – David Oakden(In his bedtime prayers now, apart from the usual saints he prays to, Q has now asked these little known saints for their intercession as well: Saint Swithin and Saint Cuthbert <3. He has also taken interest in Saint Christopher. Mom has not read about them yet. Mom better keep up!)
  5. Richard Scarry’s The Best Mistake Ever and Other Stories(We’ve got several Scarry books. We love his funny, fast-paced and wholesome stories.)

The other equally delightful ones:

Ninoy Aquino: A Courageous Homecoming – Lara Saguisag

The Story of Ruby Bridges – Robert Coles

The Big Concrete Lorry – Shirley Hughes

The Miraculous Medal: The Story of Our Lady’s Appearances to St. Catherine Laboure 

(I finished this one and it’s now queued for read-aloud)

Mrs. Piggle Wiggle

(so glad we found this in a used bookstore! It’s one of Kolbe Academy’s recommended reading list for 2nd Grade) 

Bored-Nothing To Do! – Peter Spier

(My wish is for Q to be like these two boys in the story!)

Squawk to the Moon, Little Goose – Edna Mitchell Preston*

Emma – Wendy Kesselman*

(*isn’t any Barbara Cooney illustrated book just lovely? 🙂 )

Mr. Gumpy’s Outing – John Burningham

Aesop’s Fables

Amigo – Byrd baylor

Kites Sail High

(great grammar book for literature-based teaching!)

Rabbit Hill – Robert Lawson

(I’m the one who finished reading this. BEAUTIFUL!!!! I cannot stop raving about it and gushing over it. I have been nagging DaddyO to start reading it already! I am having a hard time trying not to give away the ending. hahahaha. I tried reading it aloud to them but just wouldn’t work. The language is too tricky for me. I can’t pull it off. They’ll have to read it themselves (in the meantime, I’ll just have to keep mum and not reveal the beautiful and pleasantly surprising ending). Such a beautiful book! Love love love it!)

The things that we love tell us what we are – Saint Thomas Aquinas

Our Q’s spiritual milestones

October 2017

Our not-so-little Q, after months of begging us (and the priests in the parish we used to go to in the north of Cebu), finally said his first confession two months after he turned 8 years old. We were already back home and were attending mass one Wednesday afternoon when he finally did it. When the mass was over, DaddyO and I got into a conversation with some people we knew and we didn’t notice Q disappear. Apparently, he approached the priest who officiated the mass and asked if the priest could hear his confession. He happily reported back to us that the priest agreed. Trusting that we have taught him the catechism he needed at this age which hopefully prepared him for this sacrament, we gave him our approval. It was a very special day for us but more so for Q.

It was fascinating, amusing, heartwarming and beautiful to watch him willingly and happily talk to the priest and confess his sins (they didn’t go inside a confessional anymore. The priest just made Q sit with him in one of the pews). I got a little teary-eyed watching all this play out. So much faith in one so young. Knowing in his heart that despite all the “wrongs” that he has done in his young life, Jesus Christ, represented by the kind priest, has great mercy and love for him.  When he had finished praying and saying his penance, he came running back to us, happy and beaming.  ❤



Two months after his first confession, Q had his First Holy Communion with his fellow homeschoolers.


I have no words for how thankful I am for all these gifts- the sacraments- that allow me and my family to feel Jesus’ presence in our lives and receive his grace.

The Flesh and Blood of Christ makes our souls strong with divine life. The power of the Holy Spirit grows inside till we are able to love one another as Christ has loved us. This is what He has commanded us to do when we eat at His table. – The New Saint Joseph Baltimore Catechism