Best of Digressions

Being a ‘houseband’ for five years helped me realize the silent struggle of many mothers

Note: This column appeared in Manila Bulletin’s print edition on April 14 2018. You can also read the online version.

For the past century, modern society has relegated women as the “light” of the family — which felt more like a consolation title to having that heavy burden of rearing children and managing the home. Like most things in life, this is easier said than done and I assure you, having taken the role of a “house husband” for more than 60 months has made me empathise with how we see parenting from the mother’s point of view.

Here are three things I learned (and am learning) to accept for being a ‘houseband’ in charge of a home and two small kids for 5 years:

On having that ‘second wind’
One of the best moments coming home to family were that few seconds where my boys would run to the door and tackle me with hugs (and plastic swords). As a parent, we all know that second wind — the fatigue from a long day at work washes away when we see our family. It’s not as easy when you’ve been at home the whole day. You’re just tired. Imagine now the roles being reversed — if your wife stays home she must probably feel the same thing. Now I totally get why it’s offensive to say “But you were just home! You didn’t have to go out?” A stay-at-home parent doesn’t have an office job that acts like a vacation from the kids.

On celebrating weekends
When I got back to working weekdays full time, I became oddly excited for the weekend. My wife, who works a full-time job all the way in Quezon City (we live in the south) and I woke early (we have kids duh!) and had brunch in one of those garden malls nearby. I told her “OK now I get it. I know why you look forward to weekends.” Being a stay-at-home parent made me complacent with weekends because it felt like “just any other day” except that your spouse is home. On one end, she dug me out of the hole which was domestic life and helped me remember that married life is a lot more than just having children.


On having honest conversations
One evening I almost broke down in front of my wife because there were just too many things that needed to be done. Balancing my work, taking care of the kids (thank heavens for their grandparents being around when needed), chores, our marriage – this was a huge turning point that led me to really do a deep dive into what it means to handle a household and, more importantly, having a supportive partner, who I realize is on the same page. Had the roles been reversed and my wife told me the same thing I could easily have said “Kaya mo yan! You’re so good at it,” but now I know this response would have come from a place of zero empathy. My wife asked me “how can we make it better?”

Are you a stay-at-home dad? Then kudos to you! Because at the end of the day, there’s nothing like having a home with a father’s touch!


PSA: MacBook Pro w/ Retina Display CANNOT BE UPGRADED. Max it out when you buy.

Here’s a quick PSA on the new retina display Macbooks. Got this from iFixit — the new MacBook Pro, apart from being the hardest portable to service will also be not upgradable in the future. If you’re planning to save money by getting a smaller SSD or RAM and wait a year to upgrade the internals, you can’t. That’s because these parts are soldered into the MacBook: the battery, the SSD (hard disk) and the RAM. Also, it appears that the display is so well integrated into the system and there’s no glass: if it breaks, you need to replace the entire MacBook.

Be sure to get some Apple Care once you acquire this amazing beauty. Just a precaution.


Diablo 3 Day I Pitstop: How’s your Internet Connection?

If it’s one thing gamers will never compromise, it’s their Internet connection. The launch of Diablo III has prompted gamers around the country to scrutinize the quality of their Internet connectivity. As a fan myself, I really take these things seriously and no amount of marketing BS will convince me otherwise. The proof is in the pudding and it seems that not everyone is a chef.

This feedback is based on a number of qualitative feedback from friends and personal experience as well.

So far, it seems that Diablo 3 works fine with the following ISP’s

Smart (tethered) – I tether my MacBook with my iPhone 4s and get to play just fine. Some people prefer a fixed wireless broadband connection though.

Globe (tethered) – I get to play with Rico of (he tethers using a Samsung Galaxy S II)

PLDT – Generally good. I hopped into a number of games of friends and we’re rolling seamlessly.

On another note, one ISP stands out to be the provider to avoid for Diablo III:

Sky Broadband – Woes to Sky Broadband. They really dropped the ball on this one. I used to swear by Sky publicly as the best wired connection money can buy in the country. Service has dropped to a really poor rating in the past 2 months.

Brendan outlined it all here in a comment:

Hi there,

Many many emails to Skybroadband support center regarding Blizzard downloader P2P issues and unplayable in game experience with Diablo 3 (may be DNS, but may be that they have restricted Port 1119, which Diablo 3 uses) – to no avail.

Sky simply does not respond to queries and when you call them they tell you to send an email through to support center. Its a vicious circle.

Playing it on my friends PLDT connection works perfectly.

After 2 years with Sky, seems like PLDT really is the way to go.

– Brendan

As my cousin said, ” Pre-term fee for Sky is PHP 2,000.00, Diablo 3 is priceless. If it doesn’t work at 3Mbps, I’m dropping them for (insert ISP here).” Sorry Sky Broadband. I swore by your services. I really did. But sad gamer can’t compromise.

You know what’s most interesting? My wireless tethering is faster than my ethernet connection. Why, Sky, why? Note that I write this not to smear Sky’s reputation but 2 months of your IT support not knowing what the problem is makes for really bad service. Fans have waited for Diablo III for about a decade and we absolutely need to be online to play this (there is no offline mode). So you definitely should understand why gamers feel really bad about this and need to switch. We waited 9 years for Diablo III. We absolutely can’t wait for you.

To the others: how’s your gaming experience? Add me up: LOLMOWER#1648

Mostly Everything

Stay a while and listen: The Diablo III Launch

EDIT: In the finishing stretch of the installer, the devs change the color of the progress bar and go into minute details of how much longer it’s going to take. Brilliant. The anticipation!!!


At 8:01AM PDT servers around the world opened for the launch of Diablo III. But Blizzard really knows how to tease and the servers only unlock the installer, in time for the actual launch of the game which is sometime on the 15th of May PDT.

You know what’s better than trending on Twitter? Crashing a server. After the game unlocked, everyone got this error:

“ERROR: Unable to initialize streaming. Please check
your Internet connection. If this problem persists,
please contact Blizzard Techinical Support.

Looks like the seed hasn’t been uploaded yet. Or something. Or really there are just too many people.

This is the most in(tense) product launch ever. A launch I’ve been waiting for over a decade. Exciting!


Hands on with Locate for Android

Been using an app called Locate these past few days. Simply put, it’s a localized search service that runs on any Android device. The app is developed by Smart Communications but as it is in the Android Marketplace, you don’t need to be a SMART subscriber to use it. As long as you’re on Android v1.5 and up (which is 99% most likely the case) you can use it.