Most kids start learning to read by age 4. There is no need to pressure your toddler if you think he is completely uninterested. But if you want to give your child a headstart, then do it without exasperating him. You can make it fun and entertaining by using toys , online games and videos.

PhotobucketThere are so many videos out in the market that aim to help parents teach their preschoolers how to read. One video that I have found really helpful is Leap Frog’s Letter Factory. It teaches your child the letter sounds, which is the foundation for reading. I got my DVD when my 3rd child, Ryan, was 2 and he started reading simple words at 3. Now, Joaquin has been watching it and I have seen the same effectiveness on him. Unfortunately, I don’t think this DVD is already available here in the Philippines. But you can easily order through

Here is Joaquin practicing his letter sounds:


by Nate Punzalan on Tuesday, February 22, 2011 at 11:50am

Here’s a short poem I made, in proper form: rhyme and meter. Haven’t done this in a while, so it may not be too good. I’m proud of it, though. 🙂


sunsetArise! The glowing haze;
Their colors turn behind.
My heart is in a daze;
My thoughts, undone, unwind.

A grain of sand in rake;
The agony of pride
A joy I seek to take.
I hold it all inside.

The gentle breeze in call,
The havoc wrought deceased,
It echoes through the hall:
The day, at last, is seized!

The velvet, ever shy,
Ascends to take its place.
The darkness in the sky
Brings forth an ending race.


Yesterday, Janina and I heard about a survey saying that majority of men prefer “good-looking but poor” as a life partner while majority of women prefer “rich but ugly.”

Upon hearing this, I turned to Janina and asked her “What do you think I looked for in your dad?”

I was assuming she’d say either good-looking or rich (in good deeds maybe :D) , or tall, or kind, or smart, or all of the above, hehe. But her answer caught me by surprise.

She said “godly.”

dad and janina

I did pray for a good-looking, financially-stable, kind and yes, a tall man, among others. But really, on top of my list was godly. A man who feared the Lord, who would honor him in his marriage, work, and all aspects of his life. And i’m glad that Janina saw that, without me having to spell it out.

If there’s something I’ve learned in the last 15 years of being married, it is this. Good looks, money or intelligence are not enough to sustain a marriage. It is really when the husband and wife daily submit their lives to God and allow Him to work in their hearts. That’s what makes a marriage work.

I hope Janina’s perceptive answer is an indication of what she would look for in her future husband. Sure, I’m praying she’d find a handsome, affectionate, responsible, and even wealthy man, but above all else, I pray that she will find a godly husband, a man who puts God first in his life.


Taylor swift fan

Janina’s a Taylor Swift fan! Had I known that her concert tickets will sell out in 2 days I should have lined up at Ticketnet. The ones we got were just SRO tickets (priced the same as the seated ones in Upper Box A at P3,700 each!!) but at least Janina gets to see her.

Janina too wants to be a singer someday! We’re hoping that this concert will give her a vision of what she could be in the future.


A few weeks ago, Paolo and I were counselling a couple who kept on arguing over the pettiest of things. I left them with a 3-word “mantra” that really sounded silly, but I think it drove the point home: ALWAYS CHOOSE “US”.

Five years ago, I made this blog to surprise Paolo on the eve of Valentine’s Day. I was expecting no less than a delighted “Oh darling, you’re the sweetest and most thoughtful wife!” but instead I got a lukewarm retort “Ano ‘to?” uttered in a tone that to me meant “How did you even think of coming up with a crazy idea such as this?” Of course that was not what he meant. Maybe he was caught off guard or maybe he felt embarassed that I bragged about him to the whole blogosphere, but his response offended me.

“ANO ‘TO?!!!” That’s all you could say?” At this point, my melodramatic self ran to the closet to get my 2 other surprise Valentine gifts for him, slammed them on the bed and said “Maybe you should just throw these in the trashcan before you make fun of them!”

If you could only see the look on his face! I knew at that very moment that he was wishing he could start over, that he could retrieve the words that were carelessly spoken. Immediately, he apologized and explained what he really meant to say, but I wasn’t ready just yet to budge. You know how we women are. We want our husbands to realize exactly how they have hurt us, right? 😀 I wanted him to suffer longer but a voice inside me asked “What is more important to you? Your pride or your marriage?” After a few more minutes of drama, I figured too that I didn’t want to spend that Valentine’s Day sulking over 2 reckless words (yes I just had to rub it in again hehe) and decided it was time to forgive. After all, if I decided to hold on to the offense, not only will he be miserable, but I as well. So, the better part of me won. I CHOSE “US”.

Since that blog 5 years ago, Paolo has been able to take me to Paris , was in the delivery room for the birth of our 4th child,  and still hasn’t suspended my credit card. And I want to add this to my list:

Thank you for always choosing us.

Caricature from our Honeymoon Trip 1995

As we all celebrate Valentine’s Day, again, i leave you with these 3 words:


As cheesy as it sounds, it is always a reminder of what matters the most.