How the Caregivers at Virlanie Give #SoMuchMore to Their Kids

The first time I visited Virlanie, I was filled with so much emotion — of sadness for these beautiful kids.  Some were infants, abused and abandoned during a time when they needed to feel the most love and security, by the ones who meant the world to them — their parents … their moms.  I felt some form of despair knowing that the kids endured so much trauma at a young age.

The second time I went was for an event organized by Johnson’s Baby and it was then that my despair turned to bright hope for these kids.

In the event, Johnson’s Baby invited several experts and moms to share their experiences and learnings with the caregivers in Virlanie.  From pediatrician Dra. Theresa Hilario-Jimenez, we learned that sensorial stimulation, using all the 5 senses, to engage with your child, significantly improves their emotional, physical and intellectual development.

Some SoMoms also shared their experiences.  Jen Tan of Next9 showed how baby-wearing keeps you at eye level with your baby, stimulating the sense of touch.  Tin Dychiao read to the kids, stimulating their sense of hearing.  Mish taught yoga while Conci showed dance moves, both stimulating sight, hearing, touch with the kids.  Of course, lunch stimulated their senses of taste and smell.

The midwives showed new techniques and learnings in giving the kids baths.  Through a partnership of expertise and shared learning between Johnson & Johnson and the caregivers, they are able to understand how kids of different ages require different care.  The most interesting stage for me was for infants.  The swaddle bathing technique showed by the midwives was very interesting and I wish I knew about it when the kids were babies.  Swaddle bathing helps ease the baby into the sensation of the water.  Babies also have no control over their arms and legs so when they flail about, they think it is something external and it scares them.  Swaddle bathing prevents this from happening.

The midwives showed us the bathing techniques as well for toddlers and small kids.  There is so much more that goes into proper bathing and it’s really important for moms to understand this.

Midwives with Rica Peralejo

Although the Virlanie caregivers said they learned a lot from the sessions, especially Dr. Hilario  and the midwives, I feel the whole day was really about us learning from the caregivers and that was where my bubble of hope surfaced for these beautiful children.  I realized:

That the caregivers have become the moms of these children

That they give so much love to these kids, kids who are not even biologically theirs

That their nurturing love, care and touch shine through these kids because you do see joy in the kids eyes, despite their history

That the kids have a better life now and in the future because of them

That their care means so much … so much more than we could possibly imagine.

Watch this short video on Virlanie and its caregivers.  They are just amazing and inspiring.  They truly make this a brighter and better world for kids.

And if you are thinking of a charity for this Christmas or to regularly give to then I recommend this one.  And I thank the Johnson’s Baby team and Johnson and Johnson as a company for having so much heart in creating activities like these for us moms and organizations like Virlanie.



Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A Makati Weekend Itinerary with the Kids

“I’m bored!” — that is a common statement from the 2 girls after 2 seconds of not doing anything or going anywhere.  One of our solutions was to have a sleep over in Makati and make a fun day and night out of it.  This was our itinerary:

Day 1: Saturday

11:30AM: Check in at New World Hotel

Normal check in time is at 2pm but if the room is ready, you can go up.  First order of business is to disinfect the door knobs, light switches, toilet flush handles, tub — anything and everything that could have been touched.

Our bed testers and tub testers are for hire.

12 noon: Go to Greenbelt for lunch

The kids have their favorite places to eat — and they’re mostly in Greenbelt — Cibo (not again!!), Pepper Lunch, Kimpura, Italiannis.  Greenbelt is very scenic for the kids — there are lots of open spaces, bridges, structures they can look at.  My favorite is the old chapel.

Mama, it feels like we’re in another country.

1:30pm Ayala Museum

We got the full admission price of P225 for adults and P125 for the kids + P75 each for audio guides.  This gave us access to all floors, where we started with the 4th floor/ gold artifacts area first.  Given that the little one had little patience to go through that floor, we could have paid less with the basic admission but it’s also nice to help in our little way.

N the Explorer

On the 2nd floor are the popular dioramas which we saw as kids!  I recommend the audio tour because it keeps the girls busy and engaged with each display.  I just hope they make a more fun and age appropriate version for much younger kids.

3pm: Siesta and Afternoon Swim at New World (and some shopping for me)

It is a staycation after all so we nap while ate reads a book in the tub.  (What is with tubs??)  Then after waking up, Dada and the girls swim while I lounge around and take a walk to Greenbelt to shop a bit and get them some merienda.

After the swim is a post-swim bath with Starbucks creme frappuccinos (ahh, the life).

Photo at the bottom shows ate reading (or is it watching YouTube?) in the tub while everyone naps

630pm: Dinner at Carmelo’s & Cibo; Dessert at Cafe Breton in Greenbelt

We walked back to Greenbelt (just a stone’s throw away!) and took in the night sights — colorfully-dyed puppies (as M said, they were cute and freaky at the same time) and the bright lights and sounds of the mall.

My husband and I wanted Jasmine in New World for dinner but the kids don’t like dimsum so we had no choice.  We ended up in Carmelo’s for steaks for us and … yes … take out telefono for the kids from Cibo.  Carmelo’s happily obliged.  Thank you!

The little one had bread at Melo’s. Then major servings of butter sugar crepe in Breton after

830pm: Sleep Over Games at the Hotel

M brought some card games which the small one pretended she knew how to play.  Dada happily snored behind us at 9pm!

I wanted to order a pizza from room service even if I just ate steak!

930pm: Bedtime with block out curtains!  


Day 2: Sunday

830am: Breakfast

The New World breakfast buffet spread has so many options from different Asian cuisines.  In the end, the kids will choose waffles.

930am: Last chance to swim! 

The girls in their Two Tots swim robes.  Mermaid Barbie (I forget her name) gets to come along the sleep over and swim too.

1030: Last bath tub time

1130: Pack up and check out

The New World lobby is really nice and the girls love the staircase despite my stress about them going up and down on it.

Pretending to be a princess going down the grand staircase

It was a quick and fun weekend! We all know that all our kids want from us is undivided attentio.  Like those full-day company team building sessions, it’s nice to get away sometimes from the busy-ness of home and work and just enjoy each other’s company … without spending so much and being so far away from home.  Next time we do this, we’ll try doing a walking tour of Ayala Triangle.


For reservations to New Worl Makati:


Facebook: New World Makati

Twitter/ Instagram: @newworldmakati


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment