Saturday, February 14, 2009

DYOSA


She walks casually inside the training room. She's been coming and going in the same room for a couple of years. Her confidence never wears out- she looks imposing with her body upright, her chin up, her eyes cast straight as she approaches and whispers something to the speaker. Her presence is felt without trying.


For someone new in the Institute, curiosity will lead you to this intriguing lady who stares from head to toe when in the corridor and echoes a laughter from her office for everyone to hear.


She-who-will-be-named-later heads one of the training sections of the Foreign Service Institute. She can be real deceiving with her testy and intimidating looks. She hardly smiles to those she has no business with and by this, you can expect that she won't initiate a conversation unless she finds you equally interesting.


Her “aristocratic” breed reflects the type of family she comes from. She belongs to one of the authentic hacienderos in her province, Aklan, whose political clout expands as wide as the vast lands they own. Their family has gained patronage for generations and with it, she can readily carry on the reign with the support and trust of their constituents. But she has got other plans. She opted to live a simpler life without forgetting the people who have drawn her parents to public service. She left her comfortable life in exchange of independence and discovery of herself.


And find herself she did- not as the protected daughter but as her own resilient and decisive woman who stands by her word and earns respect by being who she is. She is one inspiring, extraordinary person- polished by time, by circumstances and by decisions willfully made. When there were battles she lost, she did not wallow in regrets but instead she did rise up and put on her armour back to face her battles anew.


For years, she was out by herself in Manila and way off alone. Thus, her homecomings were always in great anticipation to visit her roots of comfortable living. While she may have learned to fly high independently, it is through her parents that she mustered enough confidence to start flapping her wings on altitude so when fate claimed her parents' life separately, in a span of two months, her wall of strength gave in to moments of grieving solitude.


On her own, she had to regain herself for her loved ones who depended on her strength. But close to a year now, she has yet to be over mourning for the loss of her parents who gave her unconditional love. She may perhaps have wanted it this way- to hold them dear and keep them somehow close to her wherever they are.

She who is elegantly named Amarie has the adventure of weaving lives into an exquisitely fine quilt of love, laughter, pain and discoveries. Her wisdom and nurturing heart earned her the “mother” title to her junior colleagues and her in-control-of-things stance tickled the imagination of friends and cadets to dub her as “dyosa.”

She may sometimes be misunderstood for her inexplicable silence when she's in a pensive mood and seeming distance and passiveness when engrossed in a task. What you have to wait and see is her fullness of life for that will be the day when you will never stop loving her.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Keeping Quiet

For a title, I immediately thought of "Keeping Quiet" and then I backspaced and typed "Silence" until I reverted to what came first in mind. Is there a difference between the two when both words have been interchangeably used to keep you still by your teachers when you were in school? I found out that quiet is up a notch to silence. Quiet is more comprehensive that takes calmness, stillness and peace altogether compared to noiseless definition of silence.

I have kept quiet and I have been silent for the many events that happened to me in the past. I have always been better attuned with my core when doing so. When you have that feeling of ebbing away or being overwhelmed, you just stop talking. I did.

At one point, I was in awe that I feared sharing something beautiful that's so good I might lose it abruptly. There's also a point when I was in great disbelief that I preferred to keep quiet. I'm not alone. I'm sure you did too. Like pensive, cautious-minded people, I was silently reflecting, putting away what could have beens and getting back on track, leaving behind the blurry lines of the past. Instead I looked forward to the silverlinings in the horizon that every cloudy weathered journey brings.

Silence for grown-ups is like solving a puzzle when you figure out what answer would best fit without having to talk every so often. It's telling everyone that you are ok even with a little discomfort somewhere that you are managing to ease out. For kids, it's the gentle reassurance that all else will be ok- in time.

Silence is stillness and keeping quiet is minding collective inner peace. Both, to me, are images of retreat to a sanctuary that renews calmness, tact and peace. Keeping quiet is faith in action and that should put everything to rest.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Beloved


BELOVED (22 July 2008)
Martha's gone
The family's mourning
Came from her wake this morning
Her unconditional love will be well paid-off in heaven
She's heading there.
Back home
There were flowers delivered
My niece asked, "Is it for Martha?"
My mother thought so too.
They said it was for me
I could only guess from whom
Men love surprises.
I saw it from afar
It was like one for Martha
Getting nearer, it couldn't be a morbid joke
Not with two dozens of roses from Designer Blooms
The card read, "To my beloved, happy birthday"
It was sweet
I appreciated the thoughtfulness, the gesture.
His love defied bounds and distance.
But the wake must have gotten into me
For this lukewarm feeling
Isn't it when one has departed his beloved for a time
It cannot or better not be resurrected?
Beloved I was. I know.
Beloved I am. Maybe.
Beloved I will. Uncertain.
Rouse me.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Vulture’s Prey

“I worshipped Baba with an intensity approaching the religious. But right then, I wished I could open my veins and drain his cursed blood from my body.”

The Kite Runner
Khaled Hosseini


He came inside the room with his head hung low, trailing his mother. He is applying to be a Grade 5 transferee. His report card, hand carried by his mother indicated that he will be a repeater. He is 14-yr. old and his body language speaks of shame and sadness. He seems surrendered to any chance he could have to be in a new school.

I informed his mother to be back after an hour of interview and admission testing. She said she will stay in the room. I reiterated that as a testing procedure, she must leave her son. She was still sitting on the couch, gazing at me as if telling me why she is reluctant to step out. I met her stare with a replied look that the one-hour testing is not going to cause harm to her son.

I wondered what could have caused this boy’s delay.

His sister stopped schooling for a year as punishment of his father to his sister’s romantic tryst. He and his brother were not spared from the wrath his sister earned. I was alarmed to hear that. He continued that the plan of his father when he gets to high school is to enroll him to a home study program allowing him only lesser number of hours to study. Throughout the interview, he kept talking with eyes on the floor and his head downcast. With each awkward moment, I’d pause and ask him to look at me and he managed only one or two quick looks.

Actually, his businessman father does not want him to go to school anymore. He said it’s a waste of effort. He is resigned to the boy’s fate. If not for his mother’s persuasion, there won’t be another chance for him to study.

The boy displayed a waning self-esteem. He may have a learning disability or may be perceived as a slow learner, he wouldn’t know. His parents’ expectation weighed on him. By his father’s judgment, he is no good. Can there still be wonders to be expected of him if he is treated like a recluse mutant?

At 14, the world shouldn’t be harsh to him. Not in his own home. His being different, by standard, makes him already ashamed of himself. His father who is to give solace is too cold, too detach to feel. To be ridiculed even in school casts him on a bleak canvas. A child is naïve but never unfeeling. He can sense when he is truly wanted or when his trusted people have given up on him. All he needs is a clutch of gentleness, a feed of good word and a stroke of constant encouragement to soar. Redemption is to the vulture’s prey. He can’t alone. He can if help comes his way.

Monday, May 12, 2008

THE HAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE





THE HAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE

“Nobody understands when a woman makes a choice to marry and have children. In one way, her life begins but in another way it stops. You build a life of details but you just stop and stay steady so that your children can move. And when they leave, they take your life of details with them.

You’re expected to move on again but you don’t remember what it was that moved you because no one’s asked you in so long…Not even yourself.”

MERYL STREEP
Bridges of the Madison County Movie


The nurse handed her baby. She was heavy with milk and for the first time, she will feed her little one. The baby latched on to her for what only she can give. This is one of the wonders of life, she thought, that in between the pain and the joy of nursing is the acknowledgment that giving birth means losing herself for the baby on her cradle.

Years passed and many vaccinations witnessed, she quietly finds bliss in raising not a child but brood of her own. Motherhood is the sum of her sleepless nights, resourceful days and incessant prayers for her children in school (eventually at work), away from her.

To raise her children soundly, a mother’s character includes endurance and ability to bounce back to every pain she faces. She hides her discomfort and shrugs her fears to embolden her children to dream big. Her traces of uncertainty are revealed to her children as cautionary tales to anticipate the worst in the course of finding opportunities.

There are stage mothers who build fortress to protect their children. There are nagging mothers to children who refuse to listen. There are absentee mothers who work overseas for a living. Having any of the above type is better than not experiencing any kind of mothering.

Some mothers discard their would-be-babies even before they’ve come to full cycle of life while some abandon them right after they were born. There are abusive types of mothers, too, who are tyrants to their own children. In the sly pretense of goodness, did they ever yield to their conscience to alter their behaviors? All Mothers, after all, are work in progress. They evolve to become the best fit guardians they are supposed to be for their children.

A mother has the keen ability to feel her children and to know their weakest. Because she instinctively knows well, she blows through each of them. Her remarks matter even if it sounds obscure. Time can prove that she is her daughter’s complement and her son’s counselor. A mother is worth every gesture of gratefulness, not in her twilight years but while she can still smell the flowers.

Friday, April 25, 2008

I AM HIM


I AM HIM

When the blue night is over my face
On the dark side of the world in space
When I'm all alone with the stars above
You are the one I love.
So there's no need to worry girl
My heart is sealed for you
And no one's gonna take it away
Coz I promise you girl
I promise you this.

Blue Night Chorus, Michael Learns to Rock


A journey with papa, short or long, means listening to Michael Learns to Rock songs with Blue Night as his favorite and mine for the past year or two.

When I was in elementary and high school, his loud wake up song would be “Obladi-oblada, life goes on…yeah, la-la-la, life goes on…” When he sees me walking out of the bedroom, he would carry and waltz me even if I’m half-asleep. Maybe because of his overseas work, he never wasted translating his yearnings in his letters to vivid pictures of love and pride when he’s home.

My father must be trying to sleep by now (3:00 a.m., 26 April 2008) while having difficulty to catch up one like I do. In a few hours (7:00 a.m.), he will undergo a surgical operation (his first time in 65 yrs.) for an illness he dismissed as bouts of his ulcer. Three weeks ago, we found out it was colon cancer, stage 2. Since he has been diagnosed, the rushes of thoughts about him come flooding uncontrollably.

A month ago, he gave me a ride on the way to school. We saw a girl who must be eight years old, carrying a pail and a weighing scale quite heavy. She was beside her mother who was pushing her cart of fish for sale. Papa said the little child reminded him of himself. As a young boy, he would go out to sell their homegrown vegetables. His older and wiser brother was his barker while he carried the trade.

His humble beginnings have been instilled in me and my brother’s psyche- from the time he set foot to Manila from Cagayan Valley to work at Weinstein Pianos so he could pay for his college studies. He became a civil engineer and left for a number of countries to fend for us.

People say I am papa’s female version. I look like him. When my mother would reprimand me, she would compare my stubborn traits to papa’s own. I am him alright. I am his moderated version.

Papa gave much to us through the years. When he decided to stay in the country for good, he penny pinched. He kept to himself when he wasn’t feeling well and ignored his sickness. He needs to work. I would remember him saying. He doesn’t want to bother anyone as much as possible.

Behind his strictness, quick temperament and frankness, is a soft-hearted, single-minded, generous, and thoughtful man who would insist on his healing, not for himself but for us.

May his health be restored and he, be faith-filled.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

WHEN FLOWERS BLOOM

I wrote this for my principal (a priest) for our last newsletter for the SY 2007-2008.

-----

Dear Parents,

To nurture is a responsibility that takes time and patience. Most plants grow best if showered with sunlight, pruned with care, watered every day and nourished with fresh air. It doesn’t happen over night.

Our students, your children, undergo a similar cycle of caring in school. They entered school with nothing but expectations to learn and, gladly, they have sponge-like minds ready to absorb many things from their teachers and their classmates. Over time, they went beyond ABCs and have accelerated from simple to complex mathematical computations, dealing with analysis and comprehension as well as shifting with ease from Filipino to English language. It is quite a challenge that was made possible because of your steadfast support and consistent nurturing of your children.

We are thankful to see that your children have successfully completed another school year. We are proud that this school year ushers another batch of graduates who are gearing up to take on new heights as incoming first year high school students.

Together with you, we may have a long and winding road to tread in raising Christ-centered children but we take it with a re-assuring faith that all good things are possible especially when we act with a clear purpose of molding values-laden children.

The season has changed anew. Summer is here now. Aside from the family adventures that you are planning with the kids, it is also the time for them to do household chores, to give away old clothes/toys, to recycle things, and to conserve water, energy and other resources we use. Each of us must be a responsible caretaker and protector of this amazing planet.

As witnesses to many fruitful summers, we have welcomed all sorts of pleasant and unexpected changes. We have become better persons by caring for others. We have fun growing with children. We have seen how the kids, like the buds, have radiantly blossomed into flowers. When flowers bloom, out of love and nurturing, we all should take pride.

Enjoy the summer vacation!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Saying Thanks (for parents and the selfless)


At times when articles come in trickles and you have a space to fill, you let your imagination play to finally meet a deadline to distribute the schoolpaper. On the picture is Rykiel, a Grade VI student, and her mother. Rykiel frequents my nook when she wants to air out sentiments. She and her mom have their own story to tell.

******************************
Thanks for the joy of life
Thanks for the sleepless nights
The ordinary turns unforgettable
As long as I have you
Holding my hands and soothing my fears
For all that you have gone through for me, thank you.

So many hours of me
Kept you from minding your own life,
Doubled by all the days and nights of worries about my future
Then I misbehaved and disobeyed
Not knowing that you will be hurt
Never did you make me feel less in spite
There you were, counting the joys and reassuring me
Wiping the tears of your little kid no more
This voice inside me meant to say thank you.

Thanks for the rules you set
Thanks for the grown up talks
That makes sense
I wonder how I could be just like you
Unassuming, so giving and forgiving
I take pride that you are tough to stand by me
And gentle to keep me under your care
My heart yearns to thank you.

Thanks for loving me without any cost
Thanks for showing me courage without revenge
Your examples are deep within
Unbreakable principles that I will try to live by
For giving life its worth, I thank you.

Thanks for seeing me all these years
Thanks for the selfless you
Resilient even in pain
When everyone comes and goes
You never fade, you always stay
Thank you sincerely.


Monday, February 11, 2008

SEPTEMBER CHESS

This is a skillful play
Where you strike the opening move
And imagination is in display
With the tempo to prove
This game is the way
To treasure-trove.

Move the pawn
Take the rhythm
To opponent’s lawn
Wide-eyed to wit you gleam.

Your bishop a step forward
She follows on the verse
Her moves are wayward
The interest is high not terse.

The rules are played neatly
Making ample time
To weigh pros and cons carefully
And mark exchanges with rhyme.

There is strategy in place
It becomes difficult to break defenses
When circumspection runs at ace
There is focus, minding the consequences.

The goal is to win the game
Without deceit
To avoid adversary, it’s played the same
You both adjust warding off defeat.

In front is a heavy piece
A sealed good move
For a checkmate
Or a stalemate, the least.

A thinker like you
Is no match to an amateur like her
As this pursuit is not out of the blue
True, you are the champ for her.

This game is yours
She triumphs in a way
Having you as a match, of course
Rare as it may for you again will go away.

Monday, December 31, 2007

With Gratitude

Manila time- We have just written off the year 2007 and made it history.

Like the past years, 2007 had its share of misfortunes and series of unpleasant events around the world. Despite that, there were countless blessings that we each received in the year that was- there were true friends who held our hands when confusions bottled up; the presence of children who constantly reminded us to seek joy in simple things; the influence of people who openly shared their stories of adversities to inspire with triumph in the end; and the unwavering support of loved ones who stood by us in all-weather conditions.

This piece comes with gratitude to all who brought us joy in the year 2007. We appreciated, too, the opportunities that allowed us to be more humane and more refined. We acknowledged the boundless blessings given to us and we forge ourselves to keep it multiplying by living our purpose and being a worthy fellow for others.

Here's to a more abundant year ahead with good health and infectious joy. Thank you and cheers!!!

Happy New Year!!!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Is Santa Claus from China?



Christmas day was the most awaited day for my children, Rica and Adrian. They woke up early and headed to where their socks were hanging to check their gifts from Santa Claus. They wrote a letter a month ago so they were quite sure, Santa will be there to give what their parents couldn't give.

They did get their presents but not the expensive ones that they have specifically asked for. While my son was oblivious to what was happening around and was busy toying with his new yoyo, I noticed my daughter was checking some things on the gift. She was mumbling that there's a bar code. She lifted the paper bag and then looked at the bottom of it. She probably can't wait to kill her curiosity and blurted out, "Is Santa from China? How come all his gifts and even paper bags are made from China?" ;o) Hohoho! 'Tis the season to be jolly!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

HE IS THE REASON

Writing this for my School Director/Principal, Fr. Ed, for the 3rd issue of our school publication.


Christ is the Reason

The mad rush to shop for dear children, loved ones and close friends is here. The tradition of giving at this time of the year is unstoppable. We remember the joy of receiving when we were once kids and we pay the kindness forward by tangible gifts to let them know that we are thankful for their presence in our lives. We give and we share until we can. In a subtle way, we pass on the kind of valuing to the children who mirror our ways. It is a good thing that, over the years, we have managed to become more spiritual, more educated and more practical in toning down extravagant celebrations in deference to our less fortunate brothers and to the coming days after the festive season of giving.

More than the glittering lights, colorful gifts and overflowing food on our table, the preparation for the season is really about the joyful welcoming of the baby in the manger, Jesus Christ. Beyond fleeting material presents, the best gift that we can give Him is to let Him reside in our hearts and allow Him to be our constant companion in life by increasing our faith and love. Lest we forget that He is the reason for this merry season.

As we prepare, we pause and offer a moment for each migrant worker in the family who is away from home and is part of the diaspora that has become a way of life in third world countries. Togetherness is what each of them may yearn for- to be like the Holy Family. May no one feel hunger and coldness in their hearts in the face of progress. May they be strong in their resolve to keep their families intact and put emphasis on the sacrifices that have ushered to them more blessings. May it be an assurance that the hopeful Christmas spirit reaches out to one and all.

As a Christian community, may we devote more quiet time to renew our relationship with Christ. May we be more aware of His loving presence through the gentle hearts of our families and glad tidings of everyone.

A blessed Christmas and a prosperous New Year!

Friday, December 14, 2007

GHOST WRITER

While browsing on my recovered files, I chanced upon a speech I wrote below. This was delivered by my former Section Head on behalf of the FSI Director for the new Philippine Foreign Service Officers who completed the Cadetship Program in April 2005. This was my last year at DFA and quite nostalgic, I liked this batch for the pleasant memories I had with them.
-----------

It is time. To all of you, our Junior Foreign Service Officers, who are about to face the “real world,” congratulations! I know that almost everyone is eager to live his or her dream of being a full-fledged diplomat. You all will be in no time.

While a few may be hoping that there could be more hours of lectures in preparation for the future tasks ahead, the best training there is, is actually when you get to do the job. FSI has helped prepare you for your future roles but it is out there where you will truly learn what it means to be a Filipino Diplomat.

And after more than six months of training, albeit in a condensed time frame, you have beautifully metamorphosed. I am certain that you are now more than ready to carry out your responsibilities as Foreign Service Officers.

I remember when you first came, each of you possessed different personalities so hard to contain. There were those who were quick to assert themselves; others just critically watched on; some were contented of “diplomatically” sharing their two cents worth; while few have skillfully mastered putting humor on instances when lecturers arrive late, when the batch seems to be going through a little tension or when light moments permit.

Though your strong personalities may not have been tempered and may have even been made stronger by the knowledge you have acquired, you managed to team build and appreciate each other’s idiosyncrasies.

Remember that your batch will be your source of strength--your anchor when you are drifting from your purpose as an FSO and your guide when things aren’t the way they ought to be. You belong to this batch. Bear in mind that one’s little accomplishment is for everyone. One’s failing may reflect on the rest. Thus, it is my hope and prayer that that you will all be proud and supportive of each other.

As travelers, your journey has just begun. Keep your feet firmly on the ground. May your never lose sight of your personal mission and may your commitment in your work never wane.

We, at FSI, will miss you. On a personal note, I’d like to say that I enjoy having you around and being of service to all of you.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

This Way to Happy Ending



Nel found her great love and they lived happily ever after. That's fast forward.

Imagine if stories begin with endings, it is half palatable as going through the motions of how all things started. Nel wanted to share her peculiar tale which is worth rewinding that everyone may take every bit of fun in this sometimes seriously, mean world. Her life is as enchanting as every woman's adventure in finding their own McDreamy in this land away from faraway land. Be her guest and witness her crossings.

She has given her downpayment for her own house and lot in Cavite province. That was her dream house where Nel intended to build her own family and raise her kids. She has pictured this vividly and it was ok for her to be acquiring the property instead of her boyfriend who was, at that time, struggling to review for his Accounting board exams. They will soon become one and with a baby in the offing, everything was in place. Nel planned to continue pouring in monthly contribution to her parents and siblings even if she has already settled. This was the life she has been accustomed to- free from fancy stuff, simple and happy with the basics to save her loved ones from taking tattered lives.

They all thought that she was getting married. She knew it would happen sooner than her growing tummy until she discovered that her man was moonlighting to an old lady vamp who made herself believe it's alright to take a young hapless looking man from a pregnant lady. As in every love story, there was a struggle. Nel did and her man, appeared to be under an evil spell, was running dry of good emotions and spinning webs of lies to be able to walk out of their relationship that will give him big responsibilities.

Nel gave birth with no one but her supportive mother on her side. A night before she was about to be discharged, she learned about the incurred hospital bill and there was no way for her to pay it unless someone withdraws thru her ATM. That someone had to be her. Weak and very much recovering from giving birth, she literally walked her life from Lourdes Hospital to Cherry Foodarama Supermarket, Mandaluyong City.

When he was least needed and everything was settled, the man whom Nel loved so much came to see them. This time, appearing regretful and taking his part on the word "us" for the cute baby. The kind Nel accepted him with forgiveness. There was no way but for this man to change, she thought, especially when their son gave that sense of awakening for them to be more responsible as parents. She forgave and eventually forgot the lesson of the past that she ought to love herself before him. She later learned that she was in for another surprise for her man was up and running another affair.

At work, she had another life. She was lucky to be sent to Switzerland for a training and was able to get her son a medical insurance coverage. She was hush-hush about her sordid past and determined to be loved for love alone without bringing up her son's existence. That will come when life is kinder to her. But Nel, oh Nel, was an amateur to the high tech international organization that she is into. She hit the "send to all" button revealing her status to all the employees and international officials which she initially prefers to be discreet about. What could have been an uncomfortable mounds of concealing her past turned out to be a relief for a multitude of open arms reached out to her as a gesture of acceptance and respect from newfound friends and coworkers.

Nel has learned that love is a game of chance. She may be hurt but that does not mean that she is giving up the search. She is the most assertive and most courageous in finding love over the net. Whoever would not agree that love may come in the form of another man, from Nel's point of view, is losing her delectable desire for life.

She is funny yet she feels "seasonal" pangs too. She does not fret about it though. Nel is in the process of loving herself more. She still eats with much gusto, with cupfuls of rice and filling her appetite to the rafters!
What is important now is the consolation that her friends accept her the way she is, her loved ones stand by her and her son inspires her to become a better person.

Out there is a man wondering about her kind. That just man may be as happy as Nel being able to bounce back to life after a bad fall. That man echoes her sentiment that no one is lonesome unless by choice. The throbbing of her heartbeat tells her that some well deserved man will sweep her off her feet. That's why she is taking the path to love even if it may mean a long travel for her. Nel doesn't mind. She knows she will get there and for all her painstaking extra challenge in life, we must be in one with her believing that true love is hers to find.

Nel isn't afraid to share her photo. I don't know what got into her when she asked me to write about her. She's bravely wanted to publish this one (when, for her protection, I'm more reluctant to do it for her).

Sunday, November 18, 2007

FRAGILE





In nearly two weeks that I didn't read the broadsheet newspapers, I was put on the spot when asked to comment on the suicide of a 12-year old girl. I thought they were referring to the incident that occurred last September in another parochial school but was corrected. That was the price of my ignorance. I didn't know what was taking place.

The teachers were asking me whether to process this topic to students or not as they were divided in opinion. Personally, it was something that was meant to be discussed to upper grade levels as they were more aware and more befuddled by the issue. It needed to be taken as a discussion in the face of hope over hopelessness. More importantly, it could be emphasized that life is something to be valued as it is God given. On the lower grade levels, teachers could impart a story about the blessing of life without having to bring up the tragic incident.

I have been wanting to write about this but had a doubt if the underlying cause was merely poverty. If it was the cause to her claim to life, the despair and hopelessness may be too much to bear. For someone without opportunity, this death could be the easiest way out no matter how incorrect it is. On a more reflective thought, there are many kids living dead because the adults who were supposed to be responsible to care for them push them to sell their bodies or put them on high risk jobs. Some are really not mindful of children's rights. Take for instance the parents of a student I know who has been dropping their child in the middle of school year for two consecutive years since they couldn't afford to pay her tuition fees. She could have been in first year high school. The parents were up to countless excuses and were relying on wages of relatives overseas. They could have done anything but act destitutes.
In the case of Marianett, there was more to the cry of poverty. It was later revealed that there were indications that she was raped.

Every child is a face of hope and innocence not until every opportunity to abuse them is taken by scoundrels. If only we could spare them the pain of life while they are still fragile and help them nourish the values they would need as their moral compass when they grow up, there could surely be millions of better nation builders. If only we could listen to the call of faint voices and respond to it, kids could have been more courageous and optimistic about life. It is not too late to put our share in what is asked of us- to let the children suffer no more.
(photos from forwarded powerpoint entitled, "kids")

Friday, November 16, 2007

Reminded of The Boy Who Cried Wolf


The blast that killed Congressman Wahab Abu Bakar was resolved in a matter of days although the Philippine National Police (PNP) has said that it has yet to identify the mastermind of this attack. Over at the House of Representatives and the Senate, not all were convinced that the southwing bombing was intended to Congressman Abu Bakar alone.

Here, the PNP did a good job but not everyone believed. They speculated that the sweeping action was to retain the image that the country is on top of any threat to terror act and true to the alliance forged, the world need not worry about seeming danger because the Philippine Government have always thwarted such. Could it be that the series of scandals which happened in not so distant past jeopardized their credibility that even if the truth was shed out, very few are taking the claim seriously and doubts are still being raised?

I can't help but be reminded of the shepherd boy in the fable, The Boy Who Cried Wolf. The tale tells us that the boy shouted "wolf" and the villagers hurriedly came to rescue only to learn that those cries were false alarms. In the end, the naughty boy was ignored when he was already saying the truth. The moral of the story is stated, "Even when Liars tell the truth, they are never believed."
Is there a degree of resemblance?



(photo from Wikipedia, Wolf, illustrated by Milo Winter in a 1919 Aesop anthology)









Monday, November 12, 2007

HAIL THE RELENTLESS!

I have stopped reading newspapers since Erap was pardoned. It's not that I don't want him to be free. It's the hastiness of the decision done in the guise of national reconciliation. Imagine how many years the Sandiganbayan magistrates have spent their time in this case and ended up as puppets. Calculate the compensation and benefits of all the people involved in pinning down Erap. Consider adding the other resources that were put to use over the last couple of years. Add up the human drama. The cost of conflict was unnecessary after all. They could have forgiven him from the very first day and simply confiscated his assets that he acquired during his presidency.

The Erap news came after Pampanga Governor Ed Panlilio initiated the exposė on the cash distribution in Malacañang Palace and brought forth naught as it was overshadowed by the Glorietta tragedy.

Beforehand, there was NBN-ZTE deal which turned out wishy-washy as the majority of this country turned bland over an ill-omened result that can only be wield by the one with strongest political machinations. The leaders know the weakness of this nation. We forget to a fault so they let the implicated fly from one country to another for vacation and let him return when the issue of bribery has simmered down. We did forget to a certain extent since anger is useless and stressful. I needed a respite from reading the dirty ploys. I skipped those kind of news and was more glued on global watch on oil as its impact is more alarming. And then there's the Pakistan martial law to see.
I hail Mrs. Edita Burgos (mother of desparecido Jonas Burgos- perhaps merely lost in the woods if we ask the Defense authorities), Conrado De Quiros, Justice Isagani Cruz, Patricia Evangelista, Fr. Jerry Orbos, Babe Romualdez, the Black and White Movement, and the other fearless journalists who are for the truth. The rest of the human rights advocates also deserve a hand for being vigilant. I can sympathize with those who are nobly working- toiling blood and sweat for their families. It is hard to fight a cause when one is weighed down economically. I pray that we all can have their will to remain relentless. Collectively, may the efforts of the pursuit to truth pay off.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Bells will be Ringing







Office romance was not her cup of tea. She avoided corporate men who were chauvinist flirts taking target of female colleagues as their prey. She was definitely not the type to be on bait and be put to a fleeting relationship. Not with D.O.M.-ish guys, “illegitimate” divorced men and influential VPs pursuing her at one time or the other. She was least interested in those trivial hunts. She was more into completing her MBA. She was, after all, a woman in control of her own world.

She then juggled between work and school until she reached a point where it became a dull routine for her. Bored, she gazed elsewhere and noticed that the office not far from where she was mind drifting looked more interesting than she ever thought. It wasn’t the office per se but the man standing who, by her intuition, must be an extraordinary one.

True enough, the man was a cut above the rest coming from the University of the Philippines and the Asian Institute of Management. Much more, he was unusually ignoring her, which posted more of a challenge rather than a disappointment. He was an officemate so she he was paying her extra attention that flattered her like never before. He was an officemate so she thought of trying romance without losing herself. Unfortunately, love got the better of her. She let him be the exception to her set rules and willed the stronger affection. She conceived, resigned from her job and stood stubbornly by her man- what to the rest may be an absurd thing to do.

On her own, she perfectly understood what it meant when they said that no one could underestimate the power of prayers. It was all she had for the longest time. She soon bore the cutest lovechild and the romantic kind of love was wading through the waters of uncertainty as survival takes in the picture. Slowly though, her prayers were answered. She was up on her feet again- working and earning relatively well. Little by little, she felt the woman empowered. Her life was picking up anew yet she was still humbled by the stigma of being unmarried and her son was growing up. She may have feigned not to care about what ordinary people may be saying to her but quietly she had her own bouts of what was fundamentally moral.

She read his fears next to his heartbeat. He saw majority of decent couples separating after exchanging marital vows and he practically wondered why bother to spend lavishly for a piece of paper that may one day be inflicting pain.

Even when there’s exclusivity, faith, love and trust in their relationship, the word that spells m-a-r-r-i-a-g-e was hardly spoken at home. They were two intellectual beings involved to each other, good in diffusing their tensions and minding anything but the word.

In her heart of hearts, she knew this kind of love has all the ingredients it needed to keep a relationship for what they term as, forever. She just can’t argue about the dreaded word. Not her. Not now. Not when there is more to life.

To wander off from the inevitable, she kept herself busy at work and after, she would rush home to be a domesticated lady- steady and constant in caring for her boys. They, on the other hand, were the wind beneath her wings.

If persistence means believing that all things will be right eventually, she adhered to it. Her prayers conquered his fear and hers too. In one of life’s best surprises, he asked Cecile for that fearful word no more – marriage, a commitment that will go the distance with Christ in the union.

Finally after a long wait from family and friends, the couple will be receiving the grace of matrimony. Love was fought and won. And the bells will surely be ringing.

Congratulations!


Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Sleeping with "Mummies"

For two straight nights, I have been sleeping with "mummies." My kids have been covering their feet with blankets making sure no ghosts nor monsters will be able to touch them. The heads have also been covered for they do not want to get a peek of any evil spirits or ghoul-like figures believed to be lurking during this spooky season. I had to get up in the middle of the night to check if they're still breathing. There's no lights out- not until they are totally asleep and that's the only time I can switch off the lampshade.

Blame it on Halloween. Most of the television shows have nothing but the creepy stuff. The malls have their share of surprisingly frightening masks. The featured stories on TV and in print have been ghoulish too. In the morning, my kids would exchange horror stories with their cousins and playmates building up their fears at night. They were telling me about graves, ghosts and disturbed souls haunting people. I was contradicting them and shrugging off their morbid stories with antic punchlines.

I used to be the same frightened little girl when I was at my kids' age. I would clutch a neon rosary to drive away ghosts. I remember perspiring a lot underneath a blanket due to scary stories that I have vividly imagined.

Deep inside me, the "mummies" sleeping with me are just lovely to look at. I liked it when they asked me to hug them tightly as they try to close their eyes, twitching it perhaps distracted by scary thoughts. I'm taking my little mummies out to join Halloween's trick or treat this afternoon. It's no Filipino tradition but the malls have long commercialized this western event and there's no question that it's a hit to boys and girls! I'd like to celebrate fright with them. After all, kids are only kids once. I might as well have fun in this spooktacular event.

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Winning by Losing

My father run for Barangay Elections today, 29 October 2007. It's something I never expected to happen since he's not the type who would be welcoming visitors from all walks of life everyday. He values privacy. He values punctuality. He values discipline. He values hard work. He is not the type who would sit down for long hours and exchange stories with people. He is not the one who would put up a front if he dislikes an idea or a person. He's the boss. Whether right or wrong, he is right. That's why he upbraids me whenever I speak my mind that may be contrary to his. That is a violation to him.

My father decided to run to change the way our elected leaders in our community do their thing. In the past, there were many ghost projects that allowed release of local community budgets without getting tangible results. He wants change. He wants to sincerely serve by bringing civil works as one of his prime target projects as a licensed civil engineer. He wants campaigning be done house to house instead of putting posters on the walls to refrain from dirtying it. He did just that during the campaign period. And he was so motivated to keep that no litter campaign when our esteemed neighbor, Justice Jose Vitug, complimented his style.

My father lost in the barangay elections today by a sheer number of votes from the one who emerged as the newly elected barangay chairman. There will be a leadership change in our community but my father will not be heading it. The defeat may have stung him. By now, he may be lying in bed with thoughts rambling on the election scenario and his cash outflow during the period. That was a gamble.

My father may have lost the election but it didn't mean that he is not a winner. It was his first try to throw his lot in politics and getting a good turnout of voters means that he has the public trust. He just didn't get everyone's approval as he was less popular compared to the new barangay chairman.

He is a winner in a sense that he offered himself to have a choice for change. His intentions are clean and clear. It was like utopia that he envisioned for our small community near the presidential palace. There is triumph in losing. There are ways he can't change and there are things he may just have to accept as is. There is humility in defeat and there are other endeavors to try out.

Papa need not prove himself. He can still remain hot headed like Stalin and reformed like St. Augustine in a matter of hours without the prying eyes of many. To me and the rest of the family, my father remains a winner. He's the boss. And by his life experience, I must say, there is wisdom to it.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Un-Glorietta


My sister-in-law, Cath, did her grocery at Rustan's. While waiting for her I decided to take my kids to Glorietta play area last Saturday from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. It was a very unusual Glorietta that we witnessed. The busiest shopping mall was deserted. It's not normal and it's appalling. People come in trickles and the languid mood was much felt.

A day after a deadly blast in the area that killed eleven and wounded over a hundred, this was quite expected.

The bomb experts are still gathering evidence whether it was a terror attack or an accident. I remember the Course on International Terrorism that I previously facilitated. I gained a couple of friends from the participants and there's one who is a bomb expert. As chief of the bomb squad, he's been frequently interviewed in connection with this tragedy. He's still mum on giving conclusions as they continue to gather sufficient evidence but given the lessons I've learned from that training, it would be difficult to identify one such act. And if indeed it was, it's a lamentable truth. It's so heartrending to see innocent people get into this kind of tragedy where they were left helpless and lifeless out of one man's whimsical, beastly act just so a political cause gets across the government's negotiating table.

The misfortunate event was stunningly traumatic. The victim could have been someone I know or some friend you know or some workaholic yuppies having late lunch. Whoever was caught up in that leisurely place did not get the respite he/she was simply after. It was unspeakably immense. We could only sympathize with the grieving families, empathize with the victims and hope that justice will be served soon.

While it's incomprehensible to imagine how contemporary beasts could have played with lives and that the attack (maybe accident) could have temporarily scared the hell out of us, we remain undeterred. This great loss will have to remind us that our security threat is paramount. On the other hand, we quietly mourn with the nation as a consequence of this tragic incident.
In a metropolis, going to a shopping center is our way of relaxation. We just hope that if it was an accident, it should be prevented from recurring in the future. And if it was more than that, we hope that the security guards will have a better sense of detecting explosives so the terror threat can be downplayed. Things get sophisticated and high tech and the terrorists in our midst have turned savvy bomb makers. May the guards know exactly what they are looking for when they make their routinary inspection to shoppers and passersby. May this tragic event bring solidarity in our nation that is now in palpable threat of yet a great divide.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Rain, Rain Come Again Another Day

Here's the news, "Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Rosales on Thursday called on the faithful to stop the Oratio Imperata Ad Petendam Pluviam or the prayer to request for rain."

When the faithful stormed the heavens with prayer for rain, the heavens literally retaliated with storms- sending more rains and strong winds than what we could ask for. In a couple of days, we were lashed by typhoons Chedeng, Dodong and Egay.

Continuous rains translated to floods last Wednesday. It caused horrendous traffic. To make it more awful, DepEd suspended classes around 8:30 a.m. when most of the students were already in school. DepEd can sometimes be very much like the cops in Pinoy movies. They come to rescue only at the tail end of the show. Anyway, the Department did their job better the succeeding days with earlier announcements of class suspension.

Out of personal interest, I savored the suspension of classes to visit the gym for fitness program and to join aeroboxing and belly dancing. This may be fun but too shallow when I give a thought to those being evacuated from their homes due to flooded areas.

The recent storms caused devastation of crops, landslides and loss of livelihood for fisher folks and farmers. For this reason, we can't be completely joyful. Nonetheless, we give thanks for casting out a total drought in the country.

These rains were proofs that we have a living God who would readily listen to our collective prayers and who would command the winds and the seas, at His obedience. Perhaps in the future, we may better be specific in our prayers of how much rain each city and province can tolerate per day. ;-)

I won’t ask the rain to go away as kids would usually sing it since the dry spell in portions of Luzon is still not over but I wish it would come again another day- when we are more willing to lend a hand to typhoon victims and when our country will be more than ready to brace for strong rains.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Joy Ride

I wanted to go to St. Clare Monastery in Katipunan, Q.C. I didn’t know how to get there so my mother agreed to accompany me last Saturday (which I learned, coincidentally, was St. Clare's feast day). We didn’t push through though since she said we weren’t prepared to go –not without dozens of eggs that we would normally offer. I was bent to go that Sunday with or without chicken lays after all I have contracted someone to drive me. Sad thing was, that early morning, I could hardly move my body after a workout the previous day.

By some stroke of luck, I was able to go to St. Clare in the afternoon taking the LRT and a short cab ride with my Aunt Mel and my nephew, Ainon. The last time I was there was in my teens with another aunt and my cousin who was diagnosed with a scoliosis and was told to be needing a medical operation. She was young then and it was quite abrupt to correct that curve under a knife. Heavens answered the prayers for her healing with some help from the monks in the monastery.

When I arrived, I made petitions in two small papers. Then while having the eucharistic celebration, the thought of so many parents seeking help surged - single/guilty working moms, battered mothers, parents with disrespectful children, parents with ill kids, desperate OFW husband with cyberspace hooked wife and the rest who opt to suffer silently. I went back to the basement and wrote a longer petition (read: 10 font size in single space, crosswise paper) beating the three-minute closing time. I quickly wrote all the names I could think of including their families and their wishes.

Going home was a thrill. I asked the MMDA in their aquarium-like office on how to get to LRT and she directed me to cross the street and assuringly said that a few steps will get me there. I was spellbound to realize how easy it was to get to the monastery all along. LRT, on a weekend, was a respite of sort as there were few commuters around. It was such a great trip I knew could go there more frequently with eggs next time.

The trip was a breeze with an interesting tale to tell. I caught sight of a disconcerted grandmother who seemed to have run out of patience for her grandchild who was restlessly wiping up and down the windowpane while the train was in motion. It reminded me of one ride home when a child in school uniform was endlessly narrating stories to her mother and I was quite displeased to see that her mother looked half asleep and not responding to her child bursting with energy. The child just didn't stop talking about her day and her old teacher. Until finally, the mother could probably no longer suppress her emotions and twitched a smile that revealed (vamp bite looking) fangs. That's why she was not reacting to her child at all. Of course, I pretended not to see. ;0) My disappointment to the mother turned out to be a comic relief!

There is absolutely a joy in any winding road. On a hassle-free day, one gets to see that every ride is worth a story and every single trip can be fun.

Friday, July 13, 2007

My Kind of Transformer

My kind of transformer
You're off again to Indonesia
Exported without a better choice
For you and your bashful son.

It took years
Before you finally gave in to our friendship
It was good I didn't give up on you
And your dense, calculated manner
Fashioned from your cross breed
Of Assumption and Ateneo de Manila.


We were only cordial and that's how it was
You were such a snob
Not a course in Cebu could change that
You have your own impression of me
And I couldn't care less
I have my own perception of you
So to each our own high horses.

I crafted a course in environment
Back when very few minded it
And with it, you started liking me.

Thanks to our common interest
For the mangroves, the coral reefs,
For the uplands and the indigenous-
Our polar ice melted.

Besides we like trailblazing
Scaling Banaue, Palawan, Bukidnon,
Discovering Davao. Bohol, Cagayan De Oro
Romancing Rome, Japan and SEA
Without new sights, we're no smart alecks.

We clicked with the obscure and the obscene
We defied and accepted
Then suddenly you became spiritual
Your transformation was unbelievable
No matter how short lived.

You were striking up once more
You questioned faith and brushed-off heavens
Pronouncing your doubts
And petitioning with an attitude
With a careful thought
I would have done the same for a son.

No ordinary friend can see
Your diffidence and difference
Yet face it
You are a rebel no more
Time did tame
And did transform you enigmatically.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Remission

I used to have an efficient helper in my household. For more than three years, she took care of my kids and the other stuff at home which I can't meticulously attend to due to my work. When I gave birth to my second child, she was the next biggest blessing that came to me. She was a mom of three and I was confident I can leave my newborn son and my eldest to her care every time I needed to be out of the house.

Where I go, she goes with me and the kids. She bonded with the children like her very own and I never treated her any lesser than a family. I didn't mind giving her a generous pay for someone who can be my good substitute in running the house especially when I know that she's supposed to take care of her own kids but had to leave them for the money.

How she got to me was another story. She run away from her own home and was in custody by my in-laws who kept her from an alcoholic husband who mauled her day and night. She left her two daughters and a son because she couldn't bear the molestations she had to endure for years.

When she was with us, I hardly saw her drop a tear. Maybe she was numb or done with the drama. She was just glad to be fending for her kids and slowly, she started renewing her relationship with her family. She takes time off with us during Christmas and summer breaks. That was the routine for several years until she got pregnant with her fourth child and had no choice but to go home.

My grown-up kids and I made sure we see her whenever we visited the province. She was ok and looked with content raising her kids.

Until last Saturday, I got a call from her eldest who was the brightest of her children and gave me the sad news. Her mother is now in Balintawak and she is also now in Manila. She has turned herself into a domestic helper and gave up her studies. They have fled home because her father is now on remission- back to his old ways and has even worsened- totally alcohol dependent and violent.

In an instant, I offered whatever is best for her-to stay with us and to study. I knew her mother's dreams to educate her so she could get a decent job and avoid the tragedy her mother suffered. By the sound of her voice, I could tell she wasn't ok. I was calming her down but she wasn't listening. She was hurrying up for fear she might be caught using the phone by her strict employer and her words were in a flash.

I'm in a daze thinking about their condition. I don't know why she had to be a maid herself. I don't know why this had to be a vicious cycle for the mother and daughter who try hard to swim out of poverty. Why can't people just be nice and bother really to care for someone else's lives rather than drag others to wallow with them in a grave six feet under which they have yet to perpetually occupy?

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Speaking in Different Tongues

While I was at the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs, I took up French for two years and a few months of Spanish to reinforce the basics I learned at the University. Years after getting familiar with UN's major languages, I took Nihongo only for conversation purposes when I had my training there. Isn't that cool?

The irony, I'd say, in this learning foreign languages is that we seldom get to immerse ourselves in the countries where these are considered their mother tongue. My friend, took French and Bahasa Indonesia for her graduate course in Asian Studies but got posted in Russia. Some took Mandarin and are sent to the US. Neat.

Now, my kids are taking Mandarin as part of school curriculum and I barely know it! So my son is asking me to help him write Chinese Characters with strokes that are so strange to me! Talk about speaking in different tongues. The school maybe thought of how China is shaping the future and they might as welll prepare the students to take advantage of its market going in rapid progress with the globalization (and the Olympics fever in 2008) even if my kids' school is not Chinese at all!

Well, this means I have to ride the tide and learn Mandarin, too.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Not Interested

My friend came to me asking for help or just wanting to be heard. She said the man he's been exclusively been in touch with for a couple of years has suddenly turned cold to her. She gave many explanations and was on the right frame of mind explaining her case but she was still obviously holding on to a piece of hope that she's sensing it all wrong.

She's got it all right. She established all her assumptions correctly and concluded with the accurate answers leading to a door she's not willing to take yet- out.

My friend is absolutely in denial that she can no longer rouse the feelings of her man anymore -no matter how much effort she puts.

Dump the guy, I told her, as the love has probably faded due to a reality where my friend is no longer a part of. I hesitated to tell more as she values the person much to convince her to get a life of her own. After all that man is not even at par with her- looks, intelligence and attitude wise. Why does she have to act like that guy is worth keeping? Who told her that a rubbish should be kept sticking on a body when it is actually meant to be rubbed off?

If he's not interested then she ought not to be interested, too, while it's still early and they haven't forged a lifetime commitment. Holding on to someone who is no longer interested is such a pathethic state. The best revenge my friend should do is to collect herself well and let that man drool eventually for losing a total woman like her. I just hope she's listening.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Extraordinary Journey

Malacañang Palace is heavily guarded by marines, army, navy and the presidential security guards. More to these human warriors watching the palace, it’s also fortified and surrounded by churches.

There’s St. Jude Parish where thousands of sweating people (humid due) squeeze their way every Thursday to the Saint of the Hopeless who hardly fails to intercede to those resolutely determined.

San Miguel Shrine is westbound. The image of St. Michael with his mighty sword to be lanced at the serpent he’s crushing will be your first sight if you happen to drop by the Shrine. Inside it are more angels – Saints Gabriel, Jhudiel, Rafael, Barachiel as far as I can remember. This, too, is the church that gives the Sacrament of Confirmation on a weekly basis.

The Basilica of San Sebastian is hard to miss with its gothic architecture. Its detailed pointed arches, steep roofs and all-steel structure (in Asia) serve as teaser to an interior that’s defined with elegance and modishness.

A few meters from Malacañang is San Beda Church. Of Spanish architecture, this edifice is a place of content. There’s no question that you’ll be awestruck with the design and captivated with how it’s meticulously crafted. If you’re one interested in hand painted ceilings, then I’m sure you’ll have a stiff neck for admiringly checking what’s up there. If you’re the ogle type, you’d see the presence of San Beda NCAA players with the unassuming Manny Pangilinan on the side of the altar. While the choir is simply breathtaking.

If you’re in Manila with free time and craving for spiritual nourishment, San Beda Church is one jewel place you must pay homage to. For more than 3 years now, Fr. Ed Africa, has been celebrating the 11 am to 12 noon mass (except when he’s overseas) and he is superb. He inspires without being too preachy and takes his regular attendees to awakenings beyond the liminal space.

Do bring your loved ones with you for this brief but extraordinary journey. And yes, see you!

Saturday, June 30, 2007

FATIMA SHINES

When I joined Our Lady of Fatima Parochial School, I thought of coming up with a publication that would focus only in guidance and counseling. I never did it out of propriety that I might be duplicating the school newsletter or be misinterpreted by my colleagues that I'm overbearing. Although I have the idea and the line-up of what to write. The articles would be for parents, students, peers, relationships and a whole lot. Fatima Shines would be the title and it meant to let them feel their own sentiments through the vulnerabilities of other people. These may be based from the many counseling that I have encountered and from my own, too.

And yesterday, I had a casual talk with the School Director/Principal and he expressed his desire to come out with a publication or few pages that will be out on a bi-monthly or weekly basis. So I shared my "Fatima Shines" concept and it clicked!

Fatima Shines will start next week. This blog will be my editing station and from here, I'll share some pieces to them. I love this blog spot as no one from my friends know this (only my kids who doesn't mind me writing). Here, all bloggers have mutual respect for everyone (without being minded). I have my Friendster Blog for my friends but this, this is my cool place under the sun- online. :)

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

That Winning Chance

"We fear beginnings
We fear endings
We fear changing
We fear "staying stuck"
We fear success
We fear failure
We fear living
We fear dying."

- Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway -Susan Jeffers, Ph.D.

Once upon a time no one dared to get in the way from doing what you want in life. You were undeniably good and everything around you seem to affirm how life has rewarded you well. You have the power and the rest of the world bows down in awe.

Until one day, you were struck with a debilitating experience that puts you in a state of paralysis. You detach yourself from the people who believed in you as you begin to doubt yourself. You are in a situation that requires you to re-organize your aspirations and yield to this defeat.

To counter, you have to move out of your comfort zone and shift strategy. Convince yourself that the quicker you walk away, the better you assume power anew.

Yet, while in the past you have the feel that the universe conspires with you, you now find yourself with complexities beyond your control.

You'd rather retreat than have another painful fall for fear you will drift to nowhere. You'd rather hold on to a thing that keeps you afloat even if it barely gets you moving. That power to conquer is sinking and you're too numb to act as it brings forth naught. Such a depressing thought.

To give yourself that winning chance, you have to let go of yourself and do what you want no matter what. You just have to trust more that you can handle anything that comes your way and there is nothing to possibly fear. Nothing.

What couldn't be possibly worked out could be. You have to stop asking yourself why and begin to take charge again. You have to let go of the pain of that nightmare and wake up to relive your dreams. And if you tell me that you are too numbed to feel, then let the numbness go so you could discover a sense of peace. Stop analyzing the troublesome areas of the mind as it is impossible to figure out e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g.

You're still alive so give that winning chance a shot. That failure shouldn't prevent you from taking the risks to get what you wanted so just go ahead. No one would pick yourself up but you.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Rest and Relaxation


My kids and I spent the weekend with my brother and his family at Holiday Inn, Clark, Pampanga. The kids got the time of their lives swimming, playing Scrabble and Domino, watching cartoons and going to Clarky (kids' station). This R & R concluded their summer fun as the school is set to begin on 13 June, Wednesday.

My brother, on the other hand, brought his work while my sis-in-law and I went to duty free shops located within the vicinity. It was fun to be doing this with her and I admired her stamina to be checking all the items in store. Her purchasing power is superb. That spells the difference. :0) I have such a high regard for her caring and thoughtful ways. Her generosity is a trait similar to my brother's.

I read newspapers and finished Nicolas Sparks' At First Sight. The story was easy to digest and predictable but it didn't leave me longing for more. I was just glad I was over it and can proceed with the books I have yet to read.

This is my kind of R & R- one that makes me secretly rejoice for realizing that my kids have grown fast; one that renews family ties; one that awakens me to be grateful for who and what I have now; and one that conditions me to persevere more in work for my kids.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Shout

You are not in a battlefield so stop shouting
You are out of the court room
And if you figured out of wits
That you are more superior
When you yell and roar
Kindly think twice
You act more like a hideous beast
Than a prudent man.

That steaming explosions
Is totally uncalled for
You make me stunned
In unimaginable stance
To always give in
To your adrenaline rush.

You notice when it wears off
You come purring
Licking the wound
That needless agitation caused.

When your pitch is beyond the talking decibels
You get your point across
But you hurt
Over and over.

If you are in disdain
Or not in the mood
Say it straightforward
Without shouting
And in that way
You keep one's worth.

Don't let me be compelled
To return your
Untoward gesture
Because when I do
You will see the beast
You made out of me.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Closest to Heaven with this Song

There's a song that won't leave my head. It makes me feel good, that's why. I just love this. :)

Artist:
Goo Goo Dolls
Album:
City Of Angels Soundtrack
Title: Iris

And I'd give up forever to touch you
Cause I know that you feel me somehow
You're the closest to heaven that I'll ever be
And I don't want to go home right now
And all I can taste is this moment
And all I can breathe is your life
When sooner or later it's over
I just don't want to miss you tonight
And I don't want the world to see me
Cause I don't think that they'd understand
When everything's made to be broken
I just want you to know who I am
And you can't fight the tears that ain't coming
Or the moment of truth in your lies
When everything feels like the movies
Yeah you bleed just to know you're alive
And I don't want the world to see me
Cause I don't think that they'd understand
When everything's made to be broken
I just want you to know who I am
I don't want the world to see me
Cause I don't think that they'd understand
When everything's made to be broken
I just want you to know who
I amI just want you to know who I am
I just want you to know who I am
I just want you to know who I am
I just want you to know who I am

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Chill

I'm working on the student handbook which I need to finish today and I'm working at home to get enough time alone. Argh, I'm beginning to think I'm one of my students who need more focus. Can't wait to see the end product of this handbook. It's a matter of breaking in to put the excitement and thrill into writing - one which I'm getting paid for. It's time to channel my energies to a higher purpose. Gotta make a living now. :)

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Love Much

I just read this quote, "They say little who love much." These less than a hundred word-post should show my affirmation to that. It's a brand new day, a brand new work week that will all perk us up. Love, which makes the world go round and loco begins with oneself. I'll certainly do that. Perhaps, you can fill yourself with much of it, too. Hugs. xox :0)

Friday, May 18, 2007

Stages


We're great spectators of how amazing life unfolds
The world is our constant stage
As we go through different stages
At our own pace and convenience.

It's not meant solely for watching
It's far awesome lived by
Moving, learning, healing, changing
And loving.

Whichever way
We decide to live it
Depends on our own play.
The important things
Should get us going
Keeping our head up high
Laughing off the problems
Doing well and not hurting.

It's up to each one of us
To find joy
In every stages
We are into.

Take chances
Never miss out on life.

It's All About Attention

There’s this little girl in school who’s so ecstatic every time she sees me. I’ll call her Sarah. Since last Wednesday, the start of the School’s Foundation celebration, she’d really flash a big smile, tug, hug, and ask me anything. Last Friday, I saw her participating in the ground demonstration and she was dancing along with her classmates. She was just a foot away from where I stand so I was teasing her to show the usual smile she’s been giving me so that her parents could get good photos of her. What I got from her was a timid glance and her head bowing down hastily.

Right after Sarah’s performance, she came to me and I started kidding her again but she didn’t say anything and started to jiggle her legs. She whispered to me that her parents weren’t there and nobody came to watch her. She said her parents have been separated since she was a baby. Her mother is now in Japan while her father is in Davao, with a new family. She is under the care of her maternal grandparents who didn’t see her perform either.

Sarah was with me for more than 2 hours while waiting for her grandma to pick her up. And it was there that I learned Sarah wasn’t doing well academically. Most of her grades were failing . She said her grandma was too old to help her. So I told her to see me every lunch or before she goes home to breeze through her notes, at least.

I’ve seen many of Sarah’s kind (some kids are tricky though and good in faking emotions so good discernment is a must)- neglected because both parents are compelled to work away from them or have to mind their own separate lives. 9-yr old Sarah and the other kids without a choice go to school as an obligatory function and maybe, exercise their right to be educated (or pretend to be). While their parents try as much to fulfill the obligation to send them to school- they missed the whole point of parenting in their absence and worst, if both are out of reach. By meeting the financial needs, all other equally important rights of the child are compromised. It's nobody's fault alright. But don't you think that there should be a policy where all absentee parents acquire at least PCs or mobile phones for their children to feel them or merely narrow the gap of being away from home? The heck, just communicate.

Of course, there are other children from dysfunctional families who grew up well and better than the regular families we normally see but children are children and they need attention. Some kids are lucky to endure tough times at a very young age and some aren’t. Sarah is one who can hardly paddle the lessons of life with less attention and instructions from her family. There’s really no short cut in raising kids- a little assurance from grown ups would matter .

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Please Stop Cooking Up Excuses

I was warned by my OB-Gyne friend that scheduling with a developmental pediatrician should be way ahead. True enough, I booked two of my students last week of March and got a word from the medical secretary only last week of April for a definite schedule in May. The consultations will be done separately for a two-hour assessment to tell if their attention disorder are mild, moderate or severe and to gauge how these would affect their schooling, among others.

Generally the parents I’ve met are genuinely concerned with their child and will get to the bottom of things to find out what’s wrong and, in no time, identify solutions to cure the problem. Like this couple who I’m now collaborating with, they may consistently get into the battle of highs and lows in dealing with their child’s hyperactivity and yet they never succumb to defeat. They’re still around – very much cooperating and wanting to get involved with their child’s life.

On the other hand, I have parent encounters where a dozen of alibis have been concocted to cover their mess. Take this incident I just had with a mother whose child was diagnosed with an ADD. I have had many serious talks with her and I committed to help her get the treatment that would suit the individual needs of her child.

Since last week, I’ve contacted her office and mobile phone to notify her of the schedule and I got that funny feeling she was serving me amusing lies. In the initial call, she said she can’t remember me despite the fact that I have spoken to her several times about the red marks her child got; 2nd call, she pretended she was not the person I was looking for and had the nerve to say she was out; 3rd call which was today, she said that the lady I was looking for was no longer connected in that (family) hardware store (?!?); 4th to succeeding calls were brewing me mad as she cooked up a pretense that something’s wrong with her telephone line.

Sadly for her, I would not allow her to spoil my day. I waited a few hours to simmer down, called her in her mobile phone and gave her a decent whipping up. I told her that the school is her partner in working for the best interest of her child but she cannot rely on it to make wonders when she and her husband barely cooperate. She said her bag was snatched, blah-blah... She said her child has been seeing her own tutor so she decided not to enroll in the Summer Enrichment Program her child was required to take. I guess it's the minimal doctor's fee that's bothering her...But it took us two months to finally end the waiting.

I have had enough of her excuses. Her child may physically look ok but the attention deficit disorder has alarmingly affected his academic performance. At the end of my conversation with her, I have minced strong words to let her taste her own bitter broth, if only to let her realize that her child needs a spoonful of help.

WORRIED MOM NO MORE

A mom of one of my students unexpectedly called this morning. Last week, I texted her to ask for any progress on her child’s therapy but I didn’t get an answer. Over the phone, she mumbled an excuse which I perfectly understood for a curt reply translated to “give me a breathing space while I try to absorb all that’s happening with my child.” I may have felt the same way if I were in her shoes so I just let it pass.

She’s called to inform me that she’s with her kid today who’s attending a speech therapy session. She mentioned about the counseling session that her child and the whole family were required to undergo. She gave me the impression that she wasn’t expecting to engage in this kind of activity too soon. There was despair in her voice and had to calm her. I could sense she felt guilty for the condition of her child which, any mother would spare her child to avoid ridicule or difficulty that may affect her child’s future.

See, mothers could go at any length to make sure their kids would grow well and she is no exception to this. Her intelligent child had a trauma which she can’t trace where and how it originated. She just knows her child’s life is not as normal as she would have expected it to be. She is awfully bothered and would willingly seek any intervention to help her child improve.

A child draws strength from his parents especially his mother. And while any mother would put a brave front on her kid, she’s really not as strong as you think. She crumbles for fear of not succeeding and not getting things right. “What if the therapy won’t work? What if my child’s condition will not improve? What if my absence has caused this to my child? What if I am a terrible mother despite trying to make ends meet?” These questions are actually in the back burner put off by a mother built with significant high hopes and optimism. On the other hand, these can also trigger anxiety to a mother when her emotions run low.

They say a mother is like a lighthouse. Most of the time, she can see what’s coming ahead, shed her light and anticipate better than anyone. She can map out solutions that would work best confronting her child. She can and will prevent harm from knocking on her child’s door. Although, she does not have all the might to prevent the things that are bound to happen to her offspring/s; she cannot predict the minutest that the future brings; and she does not have the answers to all the questions - as with all of us.

Yet as long as a mother (like her) would try to instinctively act tough and do what’s right for her child, she’s doing a good job. When her child is quite grown-up, he’ll be the one to reassure her, that despite the complications of life, she is a great mother and an endearing one.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Heartland

Somewhere in a tranquil place of Norzagaray
A retreat house lies
Isolated from the cluttering city noise.

We arrived late afternoon
Our eyes feasted on the verdant trees shrouding the hills
With perfect view of a cloud-draped mountainside
The shy kisses of the gentle wind greeted us
And we were all like kids wanting to laze around
That idyllic piece of heartland.

The chimes glided playfully
As if inviting us in that blissful edifice
Made to soothe baffled souls.

Silence was so pure
We were engulfed in a somber mood
The kids were in whispers
The murmur of their soft grunts filled the room
While soft music was played for reflection
Set certainly for a retreat.

That night, the shrilling sound of cicadas echoed
Along with the sound of children weeping
Of fear and confusion
Of love and faith
Awakened emotions in slumber
There were only silhouettes of innocence in darkness.

And the morning came
The birds hummed with delight
The sun bathed the room and its rays reached for a warm embrace
The thrill of a new day was invigorating
The cheery teens were up and awake
With tears no more.

We were summoned by the bells
To jubilantly fill up our appetite
And then the cravings of the heart.

It was quite an eventful journey
Without loud whimpers this time
Only infectious laughter and brief pauses to breathe.

It has got to be the place that tamed them
And the affirmations of kindness
Meant to last
Hopefully, a lifetime.