Month: September 2010

When it doesn't Hurt to Cry

Two  Saturday ago,  we celebrated my son Gabriel’s life with our 8th 12 hour event in his memory.

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It was a fun filled day with activities happening simultaneously.


Before the official start, Maiqui and Drew already started their ironman with their 4k swim.

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People started running and biking at 6 am… bike

and the kids tri was on it’s way at 7am.


The kids tri was special to me because my daughter Nadine did a tri in memory of her baby brother Gabriel.

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We had the awarding for the kids tri then I did my bike ride.


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After lunch, our new beneficiaries, the barefoot running kids arrived.

We had a class on cartoon drawing for them care of fellow triathlete Wayne Dearing and his wife Stella and their company, Top Draw Animation, led by animator Nary Jamlig.


Our special guest Filipino champion boxer, ranked 4th in the world, pound for pound Nonito Donaire and his wife Taekwando champ Rachel joined the kids for the cartoon drawing lessons and later for the run.


Then we had our special surprise, new shoes for the kids c/o New Balance.





After that we had the arnis demo…

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our sunset run and relays for the kids.



Maiqui and Drew  crossed the finish line amidst the loud cheering of the kids who also sang happy birthday to Maiqui.

I cried at the finish line. So did Ani and Mailet. It was just such a beautiful scene. — to be among friends who cared enough to make a difference in the lives of other kids.


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A Quiet Day in the Senate: Family Code Amendments and A1H1 Vaccination

September 9, 2010

Thursdays are usually quiet in the Senate. It is not a session day, but there are hearings in the morning and the afternoon.

I had two things going on that day. One was the  hearing I chaired on the Committee on Women, Youth and Family Relations with respect to the amendment of various provisions of the Family Code.

Atty. Mel Sta. Maria,  a Professor in the Ateneo Law School,  shared his expertise on Family law.

My hearings are usually quiet. Especially when we dissect provisions of the law, it can get a bit  legalistic, perhaps boring for some.  But Family law, is a very interesting subject matter because it defines our rights as persons and  our relationships with each other – marriages, parent and child relations, siblings etc. It was one of my favorite subjects as a law student. So revisiting it now as a law maker, was something else.  I didn’t have the same nervousness and apprehensions I did as a student or someone taking the bar exam. It was actually  fun,  discussing the various provisions of the law, analyzing their flaws, going through the various views of legal luminaries,  and considering the possible amendments.

Some of the provision of the Family Code that we reviewed were:

– Art. 73. On the right of a spouse to exercise any legitimate profession.

– Art. 63. The name a married woman may use

– Art. 111. The right of a spouse to encumber their exclusive party.

– Art. 236. Liability of the parents for damages caused by their children between 18 and 21 who live with them.

-Art 26. Capacity of a Filipino to remarry if her foreign spouse obtains a divorce.

-Art 75. Establishing the property regime, when there is no marriage settlement or it is void.

We had a lively discussion on all of the above provisions. We suspended the hearing until further notice .

In the room across the hall,   we had another activity going on… the free vaccination against AH1NI for senate employees and selected groups, a joint project of my office and the Department of Health. immunization07.JPG

When Running Barefoot Is Their Only Choice

While I was doing my usual training along Daang Hari on a Saturday morning, waving at my triathlon friends who had just finished theirs, a group of kids caught my eye.

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They were a rag tag team gathered under a shady tree.


First they did some stretching, then some serious push-ups and sit-ups, after which they started running. After their run warm-up, the older boy, not more than 15 years old, started timing them one by one.


Coach Noel and I were so impressed and so intrigued, we approached them and talked to them. It turned out that the leader of the group, a young boy  named Joery Dela Pena, had organized them and was training them for a track event.


Most of them ran barefoot or in rubber slippers.

I  realized that these kids were meant to be the new beneficiaries of Gabriel’s Symphony.



Every year, we celebrate my son Gabriel’s life with a 12 hour event where friends come to run, bike, swim, walk, do a triathlon for the benefit of disadvantaged children. My son Gabriel, never reached his 1st birthday, he had multiple disabilities. He was perceived to be blind and deaf. My hope is that because he lived, no matter how short, his life would make a difference in the lives of other disadvantaged children.


On Saturday, September 4, 2010, we will hold our 8th 12 hours in Memory of Gabriel. This year, we will include a program for these young runners. Through the generosity of our friends,  Wayne and Stella Dearing and their company Top Draw Animation, the kids will be given lessons in animation and will take home their sketch pads and art materials.  They will also be given basic Arnis lessons. We will also have running events lined up for them. Our sponsors, New Balance will be giving them shoes, Century Tuna, RFM and Gardenia – goodies to take home. Aside from these goodies, they will receive free vaccinations for Hepatitis A and B care of GlaxoSmithKline. After September 4, we hope to remain an active part in their young lives. We want to support their running, their education, give them a full life.


If you want to make a difference in the lives of these kids or any of the other kids we help who have cleft lips, are hearing or visually impaired, let us know by sending us an email at [email protected]. See you on Saturday.

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