Monday, March 31, 2008

What Do My Stars Say About Me?

I've been tagged by Joy about this star quiz. You can try it yourself. It's quite cool and yeah it says a lot about my personality but not all specially those that I censored. It's 10 out of 18.

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Students Messages for Teacher's Day

Finally, after forestalling myriad times to send the last thread that connects me to the school where I taught before I have finally found the courage to mail it. My resignation letter made it official and the message I received from my superior this morning was the confirmation.

The moment I read it, I wanted to curl up on the bed and bury my face in the pillow. It’s harder than I thought it would be. Though assurances were given that I could go back anytime and there would always be a place for me in school, my heart was filled with perplexing dejection missing my NPS family.

For five years, my world revolved only in that school. Now, I said my last goodbye…a grateful goodbye because the school has done so much for my growth as a teacher.

Instead of succumbing in the initial impulse to wallow in broken heart, I got the box which contains hundreds of letters that I have received from my pupils through the years. After reading the whole afternoon, I ended up nonetheless with tears in my eyes as my heart surged with love and appreciation…

Why? Because it’s astounding how the essence of my five years as a teacher was captured in the letters from my treasured box…

I want to thank you for believing in me. I was able to do great things because of you. Thanks for giving me the opportunity and the trust to lead and do my job as the Editor-in-Chief of the Foundation. Thanks for all the lessons learned and for the inspiration. I hope to meet more teachers like you in my high school journey. Wish you all the best.

For the past few months we were amazed that you are still with us. Your incredible words and challenges conquered us all. In our successes and victories, you became our plus 75%. You were the one who made us five months in a row and still adding Most Disciplined Class. You can easily handle and teach us our lessons…thanks, Teacher.

A candle loses nothing of its light by lighting another candle. May you never get tired of sharing your light.

Words of thanks and gratitude are insufficient for all the patience and efforts you have exerted for us to fully understand the true value of learning. Such efforts and endeavors bring us more encouragement in the pursuit of our ambition. For all these favors, you deserve most precious gift, MY PRAYERS TO GOD- that you remain active, helpful, healthy, safe, and always be my greatest mentor.
Glenn Britt

I am very thankful because you have a good character as a teacher. I am touch whenever you say, “Think first before you act,” and “behave not because of the award but because it is the right thing to do.” We learned new things from you, teacher. I hope that you will continue being good until your last breath. Thanks for everything.
Mac Mac

On your special day, I would like to thank you for building the foundation of my character, knowledge and faith in God. I salute you for being hard working and dedicated to your chosen career. Teachers are the unsung heroes of our young lives. May God bless you always for your patience and personal sacrifices.

I am so grateful for having you as my mentor in Language subject. Why? Because you are understanding, patient and kind. You are teaching us so many things in this world. There are times that the topics are not found in the book but you made researches to impart and complete the needed information. By these, you are forming us to grow as a good human being not only with knowledge but at the same time with heart.
Nico Jefferson

You know teacher when you are teaching us, we sometimes feel that we are walking in the Promise Land. Sometimes we also feel that we are traveling from Egypt to the Promise Land. Thank you.

For me you are one of the best! You are an intelligent and a hardworking teacher. You are known for being very strict but I know that your concern is for us to really learn in class. Thank you for everything, Teacher Niña.
Matthew Mark

I want you to know that I feel so great when you are the one teaching us because of you I learn more about how to deal with other people. Thank you.
Marc Glean

Thank you very much for coming into my life. Now, I have realized the true purpose of your presence. I wish to thank you for your patience, for making me learn the difficulties which are beyond my capabilities. I know all the things you’ve taught me will enable me to live decently someday. I will always remember you wherever I go. Thank you very much.
Brian Paolo

There are no shops in the world where we can buy such a great teacher like you that’s why I want to thank you for everything you do. I was blessed having you as one of my mentors. I hope that you will continue to encourage and help more students.

I admire you for being a good teacher. Your enthusiasm and effort to share your knowledge to me is my inspiration to study my lessons. Although sometimes I am lazy of doing my assignment, still you are there to always remind me to study harder. I know the fruit of your sacrifices to equip me with knowledge that you want me to acquire needs a lot of patient and understanding on your part. Thank you for being so kind to me, for being my teacher.
Andrew Matthew

Thank you for helping us to change. When we were still in grade four we’re the most undisciplined class but now we’ve won! We became the Most Disciplined class for five consecutive months. I can’t believe it. I thought there is no chance anymore for us of winning that award. Teacher, thanks a lot.

Thank you for all the knowledge and skills you have given to all of us. I had fun in doing book reports this school year. I think I can compose already a song. I titled it “Favorite Teacher.” 

My favorite teacher is Teacher Buena
She taught all the skills I need
Without her, I can’t do anything
She’s here to teach a lot
Every student must respect their teachers
Because they’re our second parents
Do anything to make your teachers happy
So everyone will enjoy learning in school.
You are the best Language teacher for me because you are very strict. Being strict helps us to be disciplined and improve ourselves. You do not tolerate our bad attitude. Thank you for all the things that you have done for us.

Thank you for…
T- teaching me things I do not know
E- encouraging me to study things new to me
A- accepting me for who I am
C- cheering me when I feel gloomy
H- helping me decide between good and bad
E- educating me to be a good Parochialite
R- relating to me as a friend

School year is about to end and I am about to say good bye to my dear NPS. For all the years I had been through, many things cannot be forgotten specially my teachers like you who became an instrument in forming my personality physically, mentally and spiritually. Word THANK YOU is not enough to say because you are always glad to listen, to help, and give your best. But, I have to on your special day. Thank you, Teacher.
From your student who will never forget you,

Thank you for all the patience, support and personal sacrifices. You are one of the reasons why I am standing proud and can shout to the whole world that I am a true-bloodied Parochialite. You have developed our young minds to be well-rounded individuals. I owe you very much and I can never repay you for all the things you have taught me.

Thank you for teaching us so well and shaping my future to be a good citizen. I hope to see you when I am already a successful businessman someday.
Kim Martin

You deserve all the good things that's coming your way,
and I know how much this means to you.
I don't know of anyone who's worked and planned as hard or used their talents as well.
You know how to set goals,
Use your time wisely, and get things done right.
You may not think those are unusual traits,
but they are!
You know what you want to achieve
and you go after it-one step at a time.
You work around the obstacles in your way,
and don't let small setbacks discourage you.
So it isn't at all surprising you've met your goal.
Everyone who knows you knows you were meant to succeed...
and a lot of people have been pulling for you.
Your positive outlook is contagious,
and your determination is an inspiration to everyone around you.
Thank you for everything.

The dominant feeling in the school campus during the Teacher’s Day characterize the school as a place so filled with love and fraternal union that makes me so grateful that I have you not only as a teacher but as a parent as well. When I think back of the lessons I learned from you and the wisdom I gained from it, I feel initiated to face the challenge to face the challenge of the future that I more realize how much I owe you. Thank you.

It has been great to be with NPS, the only school where I studied since Kinder. I have learned and continue to discover many more that I needed as I grow up to become a man. All of these could not have been possible without the indispensable help of the greatest mentor that I ever known…and that is you.
Edwin Aldrin

Through this letter, I want to convey that I am very grateful to have you as my teacher in Language subject. I admire your expertise on the subject. I feel that you know everything about the subject and I’m sure you really do. I find you a little bit strict but I feel it’s just right because it’s a way for us to study harder. You are always ready to listen and guide us. Thank you, Teacher.

On your very special day, I would like to let you know how much I appreciate your wholehearted support in my studies. I know sometimes that I am naughty but I always make-up for my misdemeanor. I promise that I will try to be a good boy and to study hard to get good grades. Whatever I achieve in the future, you will always be a part of it.

I know we have never thanked you enough
-for sharing with us your time and talent
-for showing us how to live and love
-for the understanding and patience in teaching us how to read and write
-for being a mother and a sister
-for teaching us how to pray
On this very special day, I would like to say, “Thank you” Teacher for teaching us all the time so that we can become the best persons we could ever be.
Joseph Vincent

This is the moment to show you our gratitude for your patience and love for us. Thank you for sharing with us all the things you know so that we can be as wise as you are. You are always the one we look up as our model, our guide and our example that we should follow. Thank you for treating us like your own children. May God shower you more blessings to continue on guiding our ways all the time. All of these will be treasured in our hearts.
Kevin Matthew

I thank you for teaching us the things we need to know in Language and Spelling. You taught us how to have a great composition and to have the right spelling of difficult words and to speak English at all times. We will always love you. Thank you very much.

You inspire me in the way you teach. Your method is unique making the learning process easier for me and that makes you an extraordinary teacher. Thank you.
Jan Peter

Thank you for the lessons you taught us. You are a kind of teacher who always has a beautiful smile. Thank you for being good to me and to my classmates. Thank you Teacher.

Wishing you a fun time this day. I would like to thank you for all your hard work in dealing with us even though we are naughty you always try to put something in our heads. You never gave up on us whether we are bad or good, you tried to bring out the best in us.
Christian Allen

Thank you…
-for being my second mother in school
-for teaching us how to be the person that we should be
-for the knowledge and values imparted to us
-for being a model to all of us.

It has been a wonderful journey as NPS teacher… one that I will treasure for the rest of my life. It is now my turn to thank back my NPS Family for always being there and for not closing completely the door of my second home for me. They cried with my maladies and cheered with my triumphs.

I left my shining star with gratefulness in my heart knowing that I made the most out of it. Now, I am ready to chase another one. I know that another path of learning will be shown to me. After all, teaching is not only imparting knowledge but reaping as well from the best pupils who catapulted me into realization that I trudged the best possible road in life…

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Sunday, March 30, 2008

What is Happiness?

One man said, “I have everything but I feel empty.” The other one said, “I have nothing yet I am happy.”

What is happiness?

I once asked my teacher but she seemed at astray on how to answer. I probed deeper by reading insatiably yet all I have gleaned was its scholarly definition.

I explored further with the same query from my college professors, “What is happiness?” They gave me long incredulous look then immediately proceeded to lengthy lectures about living in gratification, peace and love. Still, I was not convinced.

As I gaze at the stars tonight and while the sweet cold breeze played with my hair, I was reminded of those many times I asked that question. Strangely, as the stars teased me with their simmering sparkles my heart felt like it was about to burst with…happiness.

I then realized that happiness is a journey not a destination. It doesn’t matter how I ended up but how I go through it. The marvels of the stars reminded me of those steps I trekked and I ended up with wisp of smile on my face.

I think back of yesteryears and spectacle sensations filled my heart. All the time I was asking that question the answer was inside me.

It was happiness when I spent time with my family and friends. It was happiness when I saw the dawn of learning on the face of my pupils. It was happiness when I went up on stage to receive the fruit of hard labors. It was happiness when I did good things for my friends and strangers without expecting anything in return…

All along I was having the journey of happiness…

I once lay placid amidst the surge of the ocean of pain and suffering but it was a journey where faith and hope was my anchor- a journey of happiness. 

I think back of the time that I was drinking my favorite coffee and had a good smile. The moment that my niece kissed me and said, “I love you.” and my heart overflowed with incomprehensible feeling. The instant that I looked up at the skies and was greeted with vastness of its beauty, my eyes feasted with happiness.

Happiness is a state of mind…

I could have the world but I couldn't be happy. On the other hand, I might have nothing but I could be the happiest person alive. Happiness is also a matter of perspective.

 We long to be happy but we imprison ourselves to specifications. Thus we say, "I would be happy if only…"

Such could be the cruelest thing we could do to ourselves. It was the kind achieved by secular search and could be gone so fast like a sand castle. The sense of real happiness bubbles from within. The world's a big ship where we are all voyagers of time. Sometimes we feel overwrought and in despondency how to go on. Happiness could be elusive and we could only see the enormity of the sea of grief. The port of victory might be imperceptible but then we just need to wait for “the tide”.

As we dock and feel the tide of happiness, the completeness of our soul became its herald.

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Saturday, March 29, 2008

What Makes Man Human?

The man incessantly puffs out wisp of smoke from the cigarette. He seemed to be oblivious to the people around him who were inhaling the big percentage of that deadly cloud. I tried to grab his attention by coughing and sneezing showing to him that I was indubitably suffering with his lack of concern.

But he continued to enjoy his cigarette as if there’s no more tomorrow. I heaved a sigh of surrender then tried to muster deep long breaths to silently endure his torture...

Finding one’s self face to face with rude, inconsiderate and ruthless people is perhaps the most atrocious experience one could ever have.

Whenever I do, I usually try to stretch my patience by having this mind exercise…I would imagine that person fresh from his/ her mother’s womb. Unscathed, untainted, so innocent and human…

When we are seething in anger, we call people with inordinate names enough to summon a howling wind or maybe a tsunami to hit him/ her. But you see I do believe that in every person’s heart (even a murderer) there lays a dormant kindness waiting to be unfurled.

Beneath the flaws we see on the surface are the unique qualities that separate us from other creations…traits that make man human.

The ability to empathize is perhaps top on my list. The short statement “I understand…” denotes a multi-layered meaning. It conveys unspoken words such as… “I feel your pain.” “I love you.” “I’m here.” “I care.” “I want to hug you.”

Iron resolve is sometimes just a mask that hides the pain. I know that there is nobody as numb with the feelings of others as he claims to be. It’s just a façade in the world of pretense.

Apparently as we journeyed through life what we have mastered is the art of hiding…the skill of concealing our real feelings. (Like that man who buried himself in the shade of his cigarette). We normally resort to things that will make us look as strong as Atlas who can carry the burden of the World.

Unbeknownst to us admitting defeat doesn’t make us less human. What’s wrong with saying “I get hurt, can I cry first?” Nothing, it only says we can feel like a normal being does. As long as after we dry the tears we will stand again then continue fighting.

Then, we have the greatest virtue of all- the ability to love. The big word can be seen in small acts of kindness everyday. In our haste to criticize others we often neglect those little humane deeds.

Lastly, man becomes more human by his sensitivity towards others. I want to continue believing that each one of us has the power to unfold the sleeping benevolence in every person’s heart.

It is that belief that makes me persist with my dream in making a difference in my own small way…

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Seven Random Things about Myself

Having been not around for quite some time, I opened the computer only to find out that I have 68 messages in my email inbox. Yeah, that many… I plan to spend the rest of my day answering them back.

But first thing first. I would like to thank my sister, Angel and her friend Kate for letting me hibernate in their place in Manila. It felt good to be reminded of the meaning of solitude. You know, when you live with a 15-year-old and six-year-old girls all you can hear is, “Ewwww…” solitude is alien when I’m with them.

I got to meet wonderful people too during that brief visit. Ate Letty, Fr. Lito and Helma were really great. We spent time shopping and eating courtesy of Ate Letty.

Now, I’m home. I was touched when I found out that I’ve been tagged twice courtesy of Pinayjade and Zunnur. My first ever tag came from Pinayjade. So, what’s this tagging thing?

First, I've got to write seven random/ weird things about myself. So here they are...

Weird / Random things about ME

1. I am a literature addict. I read everything printed no matter where I find them and no matter how gross looking. I read in the car, in the washroom, while listening to the speaker in the seminar, during programs, under the bedspread -virtually everywhere possible and everything I could hold on to. I consider a book classic when it gives me goosebumps.

2. I’m a Gemini. Yeah, no wonder I’m so moody and temperamental yet can be totally in control. The occasional bout of loneliness can only be cured by stargazing or staring at the ceiling the whole night.

3. I write in my mind while shopping or buying grocery. By the time I’m paying in the cash register I have organized already in my mind the paragraphs and ready to be encoded in the computer. Interesting ideas swirl in my mind too when I am traveling. I don’t scribble notes. I prefer to arrange everything in my mind. But when the idea is so important I write in the receipts from my purse.

4. I can text with eyes closed without wrong spelling. I don’t normally shorten the words when texting like majority do. For me, it’s simply murdering Mr. Grammar.

5. I have a fragile heart but when betrayed it becomes metal clad. I can be as hot as the sun in sweetness and can turn into an iceberg in a matter of seconds.

6. I am the kind of person who will love only one man for the rest of my life- meaning HE or none at all.

7. I talk and play with dogs- fierce dogs. My best friend is Bogart. He’s a dog always set to jump and bite all living things. I tamed him and we’re best friends for seven years now. How did I tame him? I pampered him with chocolates. Yes, he’s still alive and very sweet, don’t worry. It was after several years when I discovered that chocolates are not good for dogs.

So which one is the weirdest or the most interesting of all? Let me know…

(I don't even know if they're weird at all. Nobody has told me yet that I'm weird. Maybe a bit crazy...:)

I'm tagging you the following wonderful people.

Joy, Piebuko, Jollyjo, Elaine, Sue, Timothy, Rennyba

Here are the rules:
1. Link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog
2. Share seven facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird
3. Tag seven people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs
4. Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

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A Teacher's Letter (My Dear NPS Graduates of 2008)

A few hours from now, your life in Naga Parochial School will be over. Another facet of your existence will be unwrapped.

As you leave the portals of dear NPS, you will find yourself amidst the valley of limitless pathways. In making decisions what road to trek, bear in mind the lessons imparted by your teachers. Use not only your mind but also your heart in weathering the complexities of life.

Amidst the trials that will definitely beseech your ways it is with hope that you’ll go through it the way you were molded by Naga Parochial School. You are already there in the threshold of becoming great men someday, don’t waste your opportunity.

I may be far on your special day but you are all in my heart. As your graduation song plays tomorrow, my heart utters a silent prayer of gratitude that I became part of the lives of young gentlemen destined to become great someday.

You made my last year of stay in NPS very memorable. You will always be the most unforgettable batch for me.

Enjoy your graduation and cherish the last days of your stay in your alma mater. Be like a shooting star that teases mortals to the ground- shine with your innate power.

I wish each one of you a brilliant future. Congratulations!!!

Teacher Nins

(NPS Batch 2008 was the last classes I have handled in Naga Parochial School. They play a vital part in my life as a teacher because it was in their batch that I came into realization that indeed I made a difference. I'd like to make special mention to my advisory class the St. Dominic section. Thanks for many recognitions you have given to me. You were great!) 


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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Conversation with a Six- Year Old

The best wisdom can only be gleaned from an ingenuous mind. This is what I have realized from an hour of talking with Trisha, my six-year-old niece. In between her giggles showing tooth-gap mouth, she aired her opinions about different matters as wittingly as she can.

On President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
“Sya ang presidente natin. Mabait sya kasi kapag pangulo dapat hindi masungit. Kumukuha sya ng pera sa Pilipinas para ibigay sa mga pulis. Di yong mga pulis hindi na magagalit sa kanya.”

“She’s the president of the Philippines. She’s kind because if you are a leader you should not be ill-tempered. She gets money from the Philippines to be given to the police. Then, they don’t get mad at her anymore.”

On former President Joseph Ejercito- Estrada
“President din natin sya pero di sya mabait. Kasi pag lalaki hindi mabait. Si Gloria nagtatrabaho pero sya hindi. Kasi tingnan mo ang tyan nya ang laki. (giggles). Laro lang sya ng laro tapos ang dami pa nyang bahay hindi nangbibigay. Ang bad nya sobra. Buti nga nakulong sya.”

“He’s also our president but he’s not kind. Because if you are a male you are not kind. (She didn't learn this from me. She's being bullied by her male classmates in school, that's why.) Gloria is working but he doesn’t. Look at his stomach it’s very big. He just keeps on playing and he has many houses but he doesn’t give it to others. He’s very bad. It’s a good thing he was imprisoned.”

On Jun Lozada
“Ang arte arte nya. Umiiyak pa sya pero hindi ako naniniwala sa kanya. Ang bad nya din pareho ni Estrada. Ayaw ko sa kanila. Hindi naman bad ang presidente eh.”

“He’s very dramatic. He even cried but I don’t believe him. He’s so bad just like Estrada. I don’t like them. The president is not bad”.

On Jesus Christ
“Sa heaven sya nakatira. Pag andito sya sa bahay hindi sya gumagalaw. Tingnan mo oh. (Points to the statue of Jesus on the altar). Pag nasa heaven sya gumagalaw na sya. Naglalakad sya. Yong makukulit na bata ay pinaparusahan nya. Pinapalo nya sa puwet. Dapat lang naman na pinapalo ang makukulit na bata. Buti nga sa kanila”

“He lives in heaven. When he’s here in the house he doesn’t move. Look at Him. When He’s in heaven, He moves. He walks. He punishes the naughty kids. He spanks them on their butts. The naughty kids should really be spanked. Serves them right.”

On her future
“Gusto ko maging God para ako na ang papalo sa makukulit na bata. Gusto ko din maging doktor para yong mamamatay na pasyente sa sasakyan na tumutunog (ambulansya) ay matulungan ko. Takot ako sa dugo pero okay lang yon. Minsan gusto ko din maging teacher para tuturuan kong magbasa yong mga bata katulad ng ginawa ng teacher ko sakin.”

“I want to be God so that I will just be the one to spank the naughty kids. I also want to be a doctor so that I can help those patients who are about to die in the car with siren (ambulance). I am afraid with blood but it is okay. Sometimes I want also to be a teacher so that I can teach the other kids how to read just like what my teacher did to me.”

On becoming president of the Philippines
“Pag naging presidente ako ng Pilipinas ay papahuli ko sa mga pulis ang masasama. Tutulungan ko yong mahihirap. Papabilhan ko sila ng mga damit sa mga pulis. Yong pera ay galing sa Pilipinas katulad ni Gloria na kumukuha ng pera sa atin. Papakainin ko sila sa Jollibee para wag na silang magutom. Meron don chicken saka spaghetti. Pag presidente na ako at naging mayaman ako tulad ni Gloria ay bibili ako ng playstation, Dora doll saka yong Bratz sa Jollibee.”

“If I become president of the Philippines I will command the police to arrest bad people. I will help the poor. I will ask the police to buy them clothes. The money will come from the Philippines just like Goria who get her money from us. I will feed the poor in Jollibee so that they will not be hungry anymore. There are chicken and spaghetti there. If I’m already a president and I am already rich just like Gloria I will buy playstation, Dora doll and Bratz collection in Jollibee.”

On learning English
“Dapat matuto tayo ng English para pag nanonood tayo ng news ay maintindihan natin. Makikita natin yong mga bad na lalaki. ”

“We should learn English so that whenever we watch news we can understand it. We will also see the bad men.”

On her lovelife
“Pag 25 years old na ako saka na ako magbo-boyfriend. Pero habang bata pa ako si Razzel na ang boyfriend ko. Okay lang yon kasi bata pa naman ako. Dapat meron tayong boyfriend para may kasama tayo. Halimbawa pag naging doctor ako ay kasama ko sya habang gumagamot ako. Pero dapat wag mo akong isumbong kay mommy na may boyfriend na ako habang bata pa ako”.

“When I turn 25 that’s the time that I will have my boyfriend. But since I’m still a kid, Razzel is my boyfriend. It’s okay coz I am still a kid. We should have a boyfriend so that we will have companion. For example, if I become a doctor he should be with me while I take care of my patients. But, you should not tell mommy that I already have a boyfriend.”

(Trisha is 1st in the class achievers of their class (Senior Kinder) this school year)

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008


She said with face ablaze, “It is okay”. 
The heart writhed with twinge 
Each beat a clout of pain 
The heart drifted in silent throbbing.

With friends she laughed heartily 
In reality the beleaguered soul bears misery 
The mêlée of uncertainties so ruthless 
Each cell in the body whimpered in agony. 

To everybody she talked merrily 
In truth she cringed in wretchedness 
The hammer of loneliness pound relentlessly 
In darkness, she comforts her small body. 

To the world her face alight with joy and resilience 
A perfect fighter in the world of anguish 
Yet, her worn out spirit hid in camouflage 
The abysmal abyss of pain resides. 

Monday, March 17, 2008

Welcome to the Christian World, Jessica Elle

You’re taking this step of faith 
In obedience to the Lord 
To be baptized in His precious name 
And heed the Master’s call. 

To rise up with faith in God 
And go where He may lead 
To share God’s love to everyone 
And touch them in their need. 

May God pour out His blessings 
Upon your life today 
So you may walk in His abundance 
As you commit to Him your way. 

Keep on trusting in the Lord 
No matter what you face 
And keep your eyes on Jesus Christ 
And live in His sweet grace. 

© By M.S.Lowndes 


Jessica Elle 

Big sister, Marcia Amelie. 

I'm a Christian now. 

With family and friends in Ireland. 

Mom and M.A. 

Jessica Elle with Tita Dith. 

Jessica Elle, M.A. Mom, and Tita Dith. 

M.A., Jessica Elle, Mom and Dad. 

Big sister, M.A. 

A Moment of Silence for Holy Week

The paroxysm of childhood memories spent with my father hit me yesterday when I saw the palm branches being waved by church goers.

Apparently, my father has a very big influence to me with regard to Religious practices. As the whole country commemorated yesterday the Palm Sunday, I was reminded of the many times I spent with him going to church every Sunday. He would hold my tiny hands while I waved the palm branches for blessings of the holy water.

Palm Sunday as I remember it was the beginning of a quiet time at home. We were not allowed to play or even talk with loud voices- laughing was a big no. He would reiterate constantly the importance of silence because as he put it, “Jesus was already in agony”.

More than the reminder of peace was the story telling about sufferings of Jesus Christ. He would patiently answer my questions about God. Then, the daily masses would follow which my father attended conscientiously.

I vividly remember joining long processions which usually ended up at night time already. As a young girl, it was a very sad time for me. No playing, no laughing, and no running.

The family custom of observing Lenten Season starts with our annual “Pabasa” on its 3rd Saturday. This is a Filipino tradition of singing the book of birth, suffering and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

My father and mother started that practice for as long as I could remember. It became a yearly occurrence at home. Coincidently, it was also the time we celebrated the recognitions received by me and my siblings for being honor pupils of the school year.

The party was usually held in the morning then the start of “Pabasa” was around 4 in the afternoon. When my siblings and I grew up, that became our time of reunion since most of us live in far places already.

Generally, the group comprising the “singers” of our “Pabasa” was not really family members. They were old folks who have been paid to partake in the event and trained to last until 4 or 5 in the morning. They would munch “gugo” and drink “salabat” so that they would last till the next day.

Not all family observes this kind of practice so I guess in a way I was lucky for the reason that I truly enjoyed my childhood memories during our “Pabasa”.

The Holy Week was a different story though. It was a poignant memory of extreme sadness because there was this sudden shift with T.V. and radio programs. They only showed and aired nothing but lonely stories and slow music. It was a moment of solitude for me which I carried on until the time I grew up.

As the long week dragged on, I would start to anticipate the coming of Easter Sunday. I knew that my father would cook something special for us and we got to drop by in the house of our grandparents to receive some pesos from them.

Conversely, Saturday night before Easter is also the blessing of candles and water. Then early the following day would be the presentation of Easter angels. All the daughters of my eldest sister experienced being hanged as one of the angels. It was scary watching them being dropped from up above attached in a long bamboo.

After the Easter Sunday mass, my father would then prepare delicious food for us. Finally, the loud raucous at home was finally back.

My father was gone for more that five years already. Yet, the memories live on in my heart. That little girl being guided by his loving hands is now fully grown up. My beliefs may be different from what I was brought up but the values he imparted remains inside.

As I observe the Holy Week this year, I remember and pray in a moment of silence the man who stirred not only faith but the kindness in a young girl’s heart...Papa.

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Friday, March 14, 2008

The N95 Dilemma

Shayne, my 15-year-old niece, is having an early black Friday.

Last night, she made Trisha cry and was slamming everything at home. The pitiful girl fell asleep hugging her pillow with remnants of tears on her cheeks.

To make the matter worst, she woke up this morning with hoarse voice because of crying for a long time.

The reason? Here…

…the N95 cell phone which made her totally freak out.

It was just the other night when Shayne was told by her dad that her mom has this new gadget. As always, Shayne wants it for herself.

For some reasons, her mom and dad didn’t give in easily this time- much to Shayne’s chagrin.

After all, there is absolutely nothing wrong with her current cell phone...

The girl is thinking that she deserves a reward for a job well-done in school this year. But, N95 series? The girl must be dreaming…

Her dad told her that she needs to earn it. How? They're still contemplating on it.

Meanwhile, the ill-tempered Shayne continue her sour mood and I opt to be in the safe side by staying quiet so as to avoid a total chaos at home…may I have enough patience to endure her tantrums this time.

This will be my own cross for the Lenten Season.


No Time Poem

In observance of the Lenten Season, let me share with you this wonderful poem I have received from a friend...


I knelt to pray but not for long, I had too much to do. 
I had to hurry and get to work for bills would soon be due. 
So I knelt and said a hurried prayer, 
And jumped up off my knees 
My Christian duty was now done 
My soul could rest at ease. 

All day long I had no time 
To spread a word of cheer. 
No time to speak of Christ to friends, 
They'd laugh at me I'd fear. 
No time, no time, too much to do, 
That was my constant cry, 
No time to give to souls in need. 

But at last the time, the time to die. 
I went before the Lord, 
I came, I stood with downcast eyes. 
For in his hands God held a book; 
It was the book of life. 
God looked into his book and said 
Your name I cannot find. 
I once was going to write it down... 
But never found the time. 


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Values that I Hold Dear to My Heart

"Don’t lie, don’t cheat, be kind, be respectful…"

As a little kid, I was bombarded with these words by people around me. It was always followed with, “Or else Jesus would be mad at you.”

It was that fear of making Jesus angry that prodded me to be cautious of all my actions. I remember that in everything I did, I would look up to His image in the altar. We have His big portrait and whenever I gazed at it, His eyes were staring directly at me.

It was my desire to please Him that at an early age of ten I began reading the bible. I learned to love parables which made my two younger sisters considered me as weird because I would spend my summer vacations reading.

My mother taught us how to pray the rosary at a very young age. She recited it in Spanish (or Latin? I’m not really sure) that I couldn’t remember much except, “Arapronorbis” I spelled it as I pronounced it that time.

What does it mean? I guess it’s “Pray for us”, because I could recall that it was almost at the latter part whenever we would say it. Oh, I also remember the words, “Santificado” and “Nuestros”; I have no vaguest idea what they mean. They seemed like a far echo of yesteryears.

I have no idea either where my mother learned how to pray the rosary in this language. As my siblings and I grew up, we learned to adapt the Bicol translation and later on the English. None of us learned how to pray it the way my mother did.

The praying of the rosary sometimes ended up with me and my sisters being reprimanded for not praying quietly or not reciting our part together with my big sisters. My mother would say that God is watching us and we were not showing respect to Him.

The values instilled within me sort of rooted from fear. Fear to anger God, fear to be in hell (I had recurring nightmares because of this), and fear to make anybody mad at me. I guess nobody was successful enough to enlighten me that there’s more raison d'être why I should live with those values.

I watched my every step hoping that I won’t commit mistakes. Whenever I did, I would have sleepless nights and conscience would plague me relentlessly. It was always accompanied by bad dreams.

I became slave of my fear that before I do things, I would look up at the sky or stare at Jesus’s image in the altar hoping that I won’t make anybody mad. That trepidation guzzled my sagacity of why I should do the right things.

As I ventured in the world of maturity, I started to dig deeper why people should not cheat and lie, and be kind and respectful…without being indoctrinated by the past.

It’s not fear that’s supposed to rule how people should act but the realization that when I cheat, I’m fooling myself, when I lie I’m being dishonest with myself, when I speak ill of others it says what kind of person I am, and when I am unkind towards others it shows what kind of heart I have.

Simple rationale which could have made a big difference…

On the affirmative side, growing up that way also helped me in a manner that I became more cautious with my actions towards others. It prompted me to have deeper communion before doing anything.

Now, that I’ve grown up, my values are no longer imprisoned by fear. I came to realize that God is not an angry God; He doesn’t punish or get mad with little kids. 

Some things never changed though. I still have nightmares whenever I commit sins. The occasional white lies and unintentional cruelty towards others are enough to give me sleepless nights…not because I am afraid God would punish me but because I know that I caused pain to others.

You see, it’s the silhouette of core values positively imparted that must speak of who we are…not fear. 


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