Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Passion

I don't know if it is just my personality. But each time that I get an assignment or responsibility and it is within my interest and capability, there is this strong urge for me to always give my best and even go beyond what is required of me to do.

This happened again lately as I mulled over an organizational structure that would put order and communications clarification in a church-based commission. I got excited about it that I was even able to draft a four-year development plan for the commission. Not only that, I was able to facilitate the drafting of a clear vision-mission, including a slogan appropriate for this commission. I even went to the extent of drafting a proposed calendar of activities where the different programs could be well scheduled to avoid conflicts. I was even able to come up with two booklets for the commission. I am even into preparing a grid of key result areas that outlines the objectives, dates, logistics, persons responsible, etc.

That's how passionate I am when the adrenaline pumps and pushes me to the limits.

Passion. Heart. Hands. Soul.

They go together. Indeed.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Eulogy for a dear friend

To the bereaved family – Alex, Michelle Kaye, Mark Kelvin, Marvin Kenneth, to the relatives and friends of Venelyn, to our beloved SMRVS teachers who are around, to my dear batchmates of SMRVS Batch ’84, a mournful day indeed for all of us.

It pains me to know that our batchmate, Venelyn, is gone too soon. I only learned just last October 24 that she was diagnosed of breast cancer when the Manila Group of our Batch met for the first time just to rekindle our high school days together. So it dawned on us that we should hold our Batch Reunion as soon as possible, without telling Venelyn that she was one of the reasons why we had to hold it soon enough.

What the batch core group was planning then was that there should have been benefit dances during the reunion where we continue to raise funds in a fun way. At the back of our minds, whatever should have been raised during that reunion during the benefit dances, the amount should go to Venelyn’s financial needs, no matter how small the amount may be.

But it did not materialize anymore because we had so much fun rekindling our high school days because we missed each other so much.

We saw how Venelyn was so happy in spite of her condition. She coordinated the seedlings of narra trees that we planted in SMRVS early that morning. I coursed through her the copies of the program that were distributed by our ‘boys’ of the batch to our batchmates. She was so involved in our solicitation campaigns through our group chat. She joked around to ‘sing’ some Christmas carols to some of our batchmates just for them to pitch in some amount. All the while, she was up and about, chatting with us in our chat room, planning things out, rekindling memories, posting old pictures, goofing around with some in the chat room. She was full of life once more, after hibernating from her online life for a while. At the back of our mind, if only she knew we really wanted her to feel happy and be back to life once again.

At times, we even thought of pairing our own kids with the kids of our batchmates. Some eventually ended up calling one another ‘abalayan’ without even their kids knowing about it. It was our way of having fun and make our routine life back to the carefree days of high school.

The last time that she was still felt as strong as ever was when she went to Dagupan for her therapy. Then, she hibernated once more. For some days, she was not online. The days went weeks. We began to feel her absence in the chatroom. Some batchmates were trying to cheer her up. But her usual online life was no longer there.

Then Lani Grace messaged me about her condition. Maybe just a few days left, she told me. My reaction was “God, it’s too soon.”

To lose someone like her, a loving mother, a loving wife – I know it is painful, even when one expects it way ahead because of her condition. I experienced it myself when we lost my mother. I was thankful, though, that the physical agony of my mother finally ended, and that she would start a new life as our faith taught us. Up to know, there is always that pain of having lost my mother in a battle against health.

But life’s reality is like that. Eventually we will all die from this earthly life to be born again in the afterlife. Death is an enigma for us because we do not know how it feels and where are we really headed. Christ showed us that if only we have faith in Him, there is an everlasting life that we should look forward to.

Venelyn’s earthly life might have ended. I guess, she had given the best of herself, knowing her. She grew up well. She was raised well. She studied well. She poured herself well into her work and career. She loved well enough, especially to her husband, Alex, and her prime jewels, her children. The first time that I saw Kaye, I saw Venelyn in her. I saw her two boys very much like their mom - simple, courteous, refined, warm, respectful, loving.

Alex, Beng did not leave you alone. You have your three children as living legacies of Venelyn to you. She is with them. Love them more than ever.

Kaye, Kenneth, and Kelvin, support each other more than ever, and love your dad or papa, more and more each day. To lose a mom is difficult. To lose a spouse is losing a half of one’s self. There is the feeling brokenness. There is the feeling of incompleteness. Breaking up is incomparable to this kind of losing someone you love so dearly.

Goodbye, Venelyn. Finally you can say what St. Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

So long my dear friend. The batch will miss you, but your memories will linger on and on.

God be with you…. Til we meet again.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Despedida Response... Excerpts

Response
Despedida Program
April 18, 2016
FLC Gymnasium
St. Paul College of Bocaue
Bocaue, Bulacan

[Greetings here]
 
Perhaps among those who are leaving this year, I am with the longest experience here in St. Paul College of Bocaue. Twenty-seven years to be exact, including my one year study leave in 1995 and one year personal leave in 2008.

Through those years, I have given the best of myself, the best years of my life, the best productive years a young professional could muster. Thanks to Sr. Ma. Milagros Amos, SPC, my first school directress and high school principal. She plucked me out from many when she came to St. Paul University Philippines in 1989, and sent me a telegram to report to St. Paul College of Bocaue in May 1989. All I was thinking then was to give myself two years to serve SPCB because it is too far from home. Another teaching position was waiting for me in Cagayan where the Principal of a government school promised me a good teaching position in his school.

That was what I thought.

In my next year in SPCB, Sr. Milagros made me the Student Welfare Committee Chair for Boys. Discipline was a big priority. There were rising fraternity groups luring our Paulinians. I was able to curb the proliferation of these gangs and fraternities by even reaching out to those who were recruiting them. I earned the ire of both students and parents due to the strict disciplinary measures we exacted on those students who erred. Many were recommended for transfer. There were no entertained padrinos. During that time, SPCB was overwhelming with enrolees that it had to be first come, first served, first admitted basis. That was the reason why SPCB Igulot was conceived.

I witnessed how the papers were processed. I witnessed how the holes and the foundations were dug. I was among those who prepared the papers for the time capsule. I served as the emcee of the ground-breaking ceremony. I personally assisted then Malolos Bishop Cirilo Almario as he lowered the time capsule, together with the school administrators and the members of the SPC Provincial Council.

As the building began to rise, Sue, Kevin Paul (our first born), and I, together with the late Miss Eugenia Manalastas and Miss Milagros Pascual, stayed here in Igulot to oversee the arrival of the construction materials. I had to wake up late in the evening to account the number of iron bars and bags of cement being unloaded, in spite of the presence of the security guards. At night time, though I had never handled one, a shot gun was issued to me for our protection, as there were no fences yet around.

In Igulot, we enjoyed what nature provided us. After a heavy rain, we would fish for gurami and luwalo for exciting viands. We raised itik and pigs as part of the income-generating investments of the school to augment its budget. We lived a simple life. The roads were dusty and rough. But we managed. There were moments when we had to walk from the town proper to Igulot. Nonetheless, we enjoyed.

It was on our first year in Igulot when we had to carry heavy boulders of rock, escombro, and lay them down for the road. In its early months and years, the CAT I of Mr. Manolo Kalata, began with tree planting inside the campus, where even the teachers were given seedlings to plant. Now we see the acacia trees, the narra trees, the eucalyptus trees all around. Even while it was raining hard, students and teachers alike planted trees along the road going to the Queen of Angels Monastery. I knew I planted mine as one turns left from the corner of St. Paul’s Road coming from the campus.

We grew up with the school. My two children, Kevin Paul and Kamille Marie, grew up inside the campus. Until the Sisters’ Convent was finished. By then, Sr. Milagros was transferred to SPC Paranaque.

Sr. Edwardine Columbano, SPC took over. She facilitated the construction of the FLC Gymnasium. The Sr. Marie Celine P. Santos, SPC became the Directress-HS Principal, where she gave the biggest adjustments in salaries after having raised the tuition fees to 30%, in consultation with parents in a general assembly. She proceeded to constructing the HS Building. But she did not experience using the building herself. She was transferred to St. Paul College of Ilocos Sur, as she was replaced by Sr. Estela Sebastian, SPC. It must have been very tight years that ensued. Our salaries were almost pegged to dormancy. Thanks to the effort of ranking the employees. When Sr. Bernadette Racadio, SPC took over, the loans were gradually diminishing, and the school was picking up once more. But the school maintained no tuition fee increase policy. So salaries were once more relegated to the background. But the wave pool was constructed. Then the St. Paul Spiritual Oasis. Nonetheless, overloads of teachers made their take home pays a little competitive with those of other schools.

This is just one part of the so many wonderful memories that I had with our beloved SPCB.

It was during my stint as the Secretary of the Paulinian Family Circle was registered to the Securities and Exchange Commission. I was the one who prepared the documents, including most of the provisions of its Constitution and By-Laws. We registered the official name as Paulinian Family Circle – HS Department, Inc. Any amendments that were done, were likewise submitted to the SEC during the subsequent reigns of those who took over the leadership. Even regular financial reports were submitted to the SEC then.

One of the major projects were the intercom sound system of the now Grade School Building. Another was assisting in the financing of cementing of the roads in the campus, including the construction of the covered walk.

Through the years that we were inside the campus, we were entrusted with a lot of things, including being guards at night time. The entire school was our playground for Kevin. The Sisters who saw Kevin’s childhood became his lolas. The younger Sisters, grew fond of him. Kamille’s birth signalled our beginning to stay outside of the campus, as the Convent was already done.

In my more than 25 years of having been with SPCB, I did not simply serve locally. I had served also at the national level. I served as one of the trainers in leadership congresses especially those facilitated by Sr. Felicitas Bernardo, SPC. I likewise served as a member of the Science Core Committee since its first National Paulinian Science Congress in Dumaguete in 1998 with Sr. Veronica Borbon, SPC, Sr. Evangeline Anastacio, SPC, and Sr. Angeles Ilagan, SPC as the Chairpersons, until the last Congress held here in SPCB. I had served in the many SPC Educators’ Congresses since the time of Sr. Teresita Bayona, SPC, as the Assistant Provincial for Education, until last year.

I owe it all to the Sisters who saw a lot of potential in me. It was my joy to be of service not just to SPCB, but to the SPC Education Ministry as a whole.

I thank God that in spite of the so many responsibilities, I was still able to write textbooks that circulated nationwide. I was able to author, co-author, coordinate, edit the production of 8 science textbooks, 8 computer textbooks, and 7 elementary science textbooks. Through these books, I knew I was multiplying myself as a teacher, not just to my own students but to those who used my textbooks through the years.

That is why it pains me to go, at the peak of education changes here in our country. I am leaving my post as the HS Academic Chair having maintained high standards and having set general directions that the HS Department may pursue. I see SPCB as the center for Academic Excellence in Technology Integration as I dreamt it to be the Digital School of the Future at least here in Bulacan.
 
No. I did not resign. Because to resign is to severe a beautiful employer-employee relationship. In fact, I wrote several drafts of my letter to Sr. Maria Remedios Cayetano, SPC, our present School Directress. No, I was not resigning. Then it dawned on me that I could go for early retirement, as it is allowed in the CEAP Retirement Plan. So I did.

My filing for an early retirement is not at all planned. It just came, because the opportunity to shorten my preparations for our twilight years opened unexpectedly. If I won’t grab it now, it may never come again. I am in a rush. I don’t know what documents to prepare. I am not certain of the future, but I have to move fast. If and when things will not materialize the way expected them to be, I leave it up to God to open other doors for me.

I have not even said goodbye to my beloved students. I would have loved to do so. I have not even informed yet my father about this. Nor my brothers and my only sister. I have not even talked to Kevin about this. I prayed hard to our Lord to accompany me in this new journey.

But I have to move so that the school will not be left hanging on what to do next, should I simply move out as the school year has already started. I have to take this bitter pill of facing the consequences of my decision to pursue what is offered abroad, in case it will not materialize.

To all the Sisters, teachers, maintenance, staff, personnel, parents, students, I had been working with through the years, I am leaving full of memories of each one. You know how I led as an Academic Chair in the HS Department. You know how I pursued quality work, academic excellence, managerial reasonability, while cultivating camaraderie, understanding, and friendship. For me, when it’s work, it’s work. When it’s about relationship, it’s relationship. When it is school matter, it must remain a school matter. I knew the boundaries of my duties and responsibilities. I knew where to stand. Forgive me with whatever shortcomings I may have committed through the years, as I also would like to be healed of the pains that remained in my heart through the years.

I leave SPCB with a heavy heart, because I am not prepared to leave, and because I see the dawn a new SPCB the way I dreamt it to be.

Thank you to all the Sisters, teachers, parents, students, benefactors, friends, acquaintances, who, in one way or another, have become a part of my life. I am a Paulinian because of your inspiration.

Once a Paulinian, always a Paulinian.

God bless all of you.

Friday, April 8, 2016

My Five Loaves of Bread and Two Fishes

Image from http://lh5.ggpht.com/_Z7dKAVCHr2A/TQo1d6ebwJI/AAAAAAAABQc/8fDaJx6SnAw/photo.1.feeding5000_thumb%5B61%5D.jpg?imgmax=800

The Gospel today reminds us of the Feeding of the Five Thousand through the miraculous 'multiplication of the bread and fish' by Jesus.

And the source of the five loaves of bread and two fishes was a boy, who must have brought them for his own provisions, but instead, gladly offered them to Jesus and probably waited what Jesus would do to them.

The question on why were there no adults who offered first some bread and fish to Jesus remains quizzical. All the story said was that one of the Apostles pointed to a boy who brought with him some food provisions. Perhaps at that time, the boy was about to eat and the apostle saw him.

I guess, the analysis that probably each one brought some food with them might really be the reality then. It took a boy to cause them to share whatever food they must have brought. In other words, the miracle happened because a boy showed them the example of sharing - breaking one's bread for others.

Well, a miracle is a miracle. It could have been the seemingly impossible, like Jesus prayed over the five loaves and two fishes then all of a sudden they multiplied by themselves then fed the five thousand or more people, with left overs!

How it happened is beyond us. But what the boy did was also full of lessons.

If each one would bring out something to offer for the good of humanity and all of creation, then it is like this miracle of feeding the five thousand.

There is power in numbers, especially if this number is exponentially treated. In unity, there is strength. Generosity of heart brings about more good than harm.

Today, I would like to bring out my five loaves and two fishes. Oh no. I started it yesterday. Ooopsss! No. I had been doing it for so many years. Offering not just a little of myself. Many times, more than what I could do. More than what I could afford. More than what is expected of me.

Five loaves and two fishes. From a boy. To Jesus. To many.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Letting Go and Letting God

Image from http://newswatchreport.com/upload/items/image_1428069623_91329691.jpg
It is hard to let go, especially of people you hold dear to your heart. Well, it is not just people that we often can not let go. There are places and memories that we simply can not let go in our lives because they remind us a lot - beautiful, wonderful, unforgettable, or maybe unpleasant experiences.

But to let go is to free one's self in order to move on, fly again, and wonder on what is next. It is allowing God to stir your float in middle of a vast ocean of uncertainty.

It is in letting go that we discover there's a lot more to life than what we fear of. It is in letting go that opportunities of growth abound, and you would regret it if it was the other way around.

To let go is to let God take care of you. To let go is to let God be with you. To let go is to confirm one's faith in God's almighty power and generous providence.

To let go is to have faith.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Moving Up, Moving On



This year witnessed the birth of a new meaning to the phrase "Moving Up". Now, it refers to the ceremony accorded to the Grade 10 students who have finished their Junior High School after 4 years. This is in lieu of a Graduation Ceremony of the good ol'' days. Now they can't claim yet as graduates of high school level because they have yet to graduate from high school after Grade 12.

But they have to move up as they move on.

In life, we do a lot of moving on. Moving on every after a fall. Moving on after a relationship breaks down. Moving on to another state or phase of life. Moving on after a tragic incident. Moving on after a terrible experience. Moving on towards a better situation. Moving on to continue the journey.

We have a lot really of moving on episodes in our lives.

In fact, everyday should be a moving on towards what is better or the best.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

25 Years Ago

On April 2, 1991, I saw the completeness of my being and my family when my wife, Sue, gave birth to Kevin Paul, in Cagayan. I was inside the Immaculate Conception Major Seminary in Guiguinto, Bulacan attending the then Secondary Education Development Program (SEDP) Orientation Seminar-Workshop.

My heart leaped with joy. My feelings were inexplicable. My spirit wanted me to go back home to Cagayan to be with them, but my seminar won't allow me.

Way back then, I still had spare money to buy my newly born Kevin a Casio Keyboard, which to my mind, might inspire him to love music as he grows.

True enough, he loves music, indeed. He excelled in it as he grew inch-by-inch. When he was a little boy, he would sing to his heart's desire. Oh, we loved to see him on stage belting out songs he knew. I was teary eyed when he sang the Psalm on his First Holy Communion in the Church.

Today, I celebrate again that same old feeling. I feel nostalgic about those good ol' days.

He is now a geologist. A professional.

But my child. My son.

Happy birthday, Kevin.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Hot!

My android phone tells me that right now where I am, it's 30oC outside.

At about 12:00 p.m., I was in a carwash for my wheel's turn for a bath. I sat under the shade, almost not moving due to my fragile nauseous condition. But when I moved my legs, I really felt the scorching heat of my pants that wrapped me. All I could say was 'wow'!

I know many might attribute it again to global warming. Such a conclusive statement. I guess there is more to global warming than this. Personally, I hardly could imagine the scientific basis for global warming as being attributed to carbon footprints. I subscribe more to the idea that the climate is changing because the earth has come again to its natural cycle of dynamism. In its own geologic history, the earth had undergone so many upheavals of creation and destruction. Mountains were formed. Islands emerged from the bottom of the seas. Volcanic eruptions caused land formation and deformation. Plate tectonics reshaped the earth's land masses. Tilting and revolution, including rotation, of the earth dictate the climate and weather. Ahhh... a lot may be happening to earth more than could meet the eyes.

Indeed, there is climate change. If this earth were to experience real global warming, then why on earth do we still experience snows and its other forms during winter time in many parts of the globe. Should it not be global chilling?

But today is hot, right here in my place. The earth's tilt probably veered towards the scorching sun right where I was seated.

As hot as the oven slowly gathering strength to cook the last morsel of food.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Accomplished!

For some days now, my head had been working so hard crunching words, tables, figures, and outlines just so I would be able to finish the much needed paper works on time.

My BP intermittently showed up the stress and anxiety that had been clashing inside my grey matter, rending me nauseous and palpitating. Adrenaline must be working doubly hard but my body can not cope. I had to close my eyes from time to time to give them a rest.

Finally, on this day, I saw my work in final form. I had it ring bound and finally submitted to where it should go.

I felt a sigh of relief. It's over. I am done with it. Accomplished!

Monday, March 28, 2016

Uncertainty

Last Saturday, I had a brush with uncertainty as my BP shot to 157/110.

What was unusual was that I never felt any headache at all. I just dozed off from sleep when I felt my world was spinning like crazy. Then I blew off. But I felt no pain at all. It was as if everything was okay with me, except the nausea. I prayed hard that things will subside. I had to take a sublingual med twice as the first one went off to the sink.

Today, I awkwardly felt a similar one as I was working on my yearend academic reports. The school nurse had to rush me to the hospital for check up. I was asked to take a rest for a while. I closed my eyes as soon as I was given a new med for nausea.

If this one were so serious enough, I may say that's how it feels to have a brush with uncertainty. As I am typing this, I took my BP again as I resumed my work. Can you imagine a BP of 181/107? What's happening to my body! I just got off from rest so that I could continue my report.

It's a weird day.


Sunday, March 27, 2016

It's Resurrection Sunday!

Today, March 27, 2016 is Resurrection Sunday.

And I felt it is time to resurrect also this blog.

It's been a while since I parked my soul in sharing the fragments of my thoughts. In the next days to come, I may already have enough time to ponder on a lot of things while waiting for some big changes in my life to happen. I know that the days ahead are a challenge for me. I am facing a yet hazy future as I embark on a new journey.

I will miss the good ol' days. I will definitely miss the comfort and security that I had for so many years. But life is like that. There is a time for everything. Even a time for moving on.

To move on means to walk the first step so that one can move forward. If I have to stay put where I am, I will never know how it is to be in another world. To maintain the status quo is like stopping to grow. To maintain the status quo is like staying in your own box and not having to dream to stay out of the box. Yet, many times, the out of the box experiences are those that are most rewarding, nurturing, satisfying, and challenging.

Today is Resurrection Sunday.

It will be the resurrection of a new me.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

I feel like resurrecting my blog

Part of exploring my new iPad Mini is browsing over some good apps. I chanced upon Blogger. I think I could resurrect my blog.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

My Speech as a Parent's Response during my daughter's graduation from high school

This is the text of my speech as a parent's response during the 63rd HS Commencement Exercises at St. Paul College of Bocaue where my daughter Kamille Marie was among the graduating students.

Exactly 28 years ago, I stood in front of my fellow graduating high school students to deliver my Valedictory Address. At that time, medals were rarely given, but I managed to bag 13 medals all in all, including the prestigious Gerry Roxas Leadership Award and President Ferdinand Marcos Medallion for Academic Excellence. I led the entire graduating class as we marched toward the stage. I knew my parents were so proud of me – of the accomplishments and achievements I worked hard for. I saw how their fellow parents approached them to congratulate them after the Commencement Exercises.

To me, it was the sweetest day of my high school life. To me, my high school life were my golden years of feathers in the hat. The medals I reaped represented the so many opportunities where I had discovered and honed my talents and skills, improved myself socially, intellectually, physically, academically, and spiritually. I gave my best when I was in high school. I gave them all to my parents.

Today, I now feel what must have been felt by my own parents when I was graduating from high school. I am now a parent of one of the graduating students, our very dear Kamille Marie, whom I consider one of the precious gifts of God to us – especially when she was born. I literally jumped for joy when I learned that my baby was a girl. Kamille was the newly born when Sue, her mom, suffered from post-eclampsia that almost cost her life.

Today as she is about to graduate from high school, I can’t help but feel proud of our daughter. She gave her best. We never pressured her to do so. My parents never pressured me, too, when I was in high school. My parents, especially my dearest father, simply motivated me to always give my best.

For him, there should never be a dull moment for learning. Every moment counted so much. I never fell asleep in my classes. I might miss the most important lesson of the hour. The library was my home. There was not a single book I’ve seen that I never opened, may they be books for college or for professionals. For me, there was more to what my teachers were teaching us in the formal classroom.

I could say that if others think that the most important lessons in life were learned when they were in kindergarten, I learned them when I was in high school. There is greater consciousness of the choices one makes once in high school. The lessons are more lasting. The relationships are more meaningful. Dreams become more realistic. Ambitions are more tangible. Morals are more concrete. Virtues and values are clearer. Choices become more definitive and predictive of what one becomes. High school life definitely has a great bearing in adult life.

That is why the choice of school for high school education matters. The Vision and Mission of a school matter. The professional competence of teachers matters. It is because our children’s views of the world and of their lives depend on how these have been introduced to them as they were growing up. What they will do to themselves and to the society where they will be would somehow be some reflections of how they had been raised.

Kamille, your Alma Mater, where I happen to be one of the teaching staff, is no ordinary one. It is a home to so many alumni who are now key players of the society. I need not mention names, lest, there may be some that I miss, yet are equally important. Through the years, St. Paul College of Bocaue has maintained its identity as a bastion of quality Catholic, Paulinian Education in this part of the country. Through the years, your Alma Mater has produced hundreds of graduates who are now productive members of the society, making a difference not just in their families but also in the world. Your teachers have prepared you well. They have equipped you not just with knowledge and skills needed to survive in the next ladder of education. They also taught you about our God whose immense love for us is unfathomable, immeasureable, unconditional and ever so pure. They taught you about Jesus and about salvation. To me, that is the most important of all. For what profits a man to gain the whole world but loses his soul!

I am so proud of you, my dear. You are graduating from a school where hard work is emphasized. You are graduating from a school where God is very much the center of life. That alone is the greatest Paulinian legacy that you can carry through thick and thin on the struggles of life. No matter how difficult life may be, God is enough reason to go on. God is enough reason to sail on.

Dear Sisters, my fellow teachers, for 11 years, our daughter has been under your maternal and paternal care. In behalf of my fellow parents, especially my fellow dads, I thank you most sincerely for teaching our children the necessary skills and competencies for them to hurdle a more challenging level of education. I thank you for teaching them about values and morals, discipline and order, perseverance and hard work, consistency and determination, care and responsibility, spirituality and excellence. Parents like me who are so busy with work and responsibilities may, at times, forget our children’s needs, especially at their most confusing moments and teenage adventurism. Thanks to the teachers and Sisters who are more than eyes and ears of parents. Through you, we are able to know our children better. Through you, we discover and hone their strengths, interests, skills, talents, and directions. Through you, we also learn their weaknesses, limitations, failures, flaws, softness, and Achilles’ heels. Together, we have produced them into who they are right before our very eyes – 279 candidates for graduation for having completed satisfactorily all the requirements prescribed by the Department of Education for a diploma in Secondary Education. Thank you so much, dear Sisters and colleagues.

Our dear children, as you are about to graduate from high school, remember, there’s no such thing as success in life. There is only hardwork. Medals, citations, awards don’t make a man. It is the heart and soul that know how to love, to give importance, to give the best, to be compassionate, to be humble that make a man. It is the person who recognizes that God is the ultimate source of all the giftedness in him.

When you would have become professionals yourselves, make a positive difference in the society, especially these days where you have so many professions to choose from. I am reminded of an anecdote where the children were asked what they would like to become when they grow up.

One child said: Paglaki ko gusto ko maging doktor upang gagamutin ko aking kapwa.

Another one quipped: Gusto ko maging engineer. Magpapatayo ako ng mga tulay at mga gusali para sa aking kapwa.

Another one stood up and declared: Ako magiging guro upang turuan ko ang aking kapwa.

Yet another proudly said: Gusto ko maging presidente upang mas maraming kapwa ang aking matutulungan.

On one corner was Juan Tamad. He finally stood up and told everyone: Ako naman, gusto ko maging kapwa.

And so our dear children, be instruments of change for the better. Explore the world, make the right, responsible choices. Be meaningful in your lives. Live for others. Share in the salvific mission of the Church. But come back to your Alma Mater. Attend reunions. Then and only then, perhaps, that you can truly and sincerely say “thank you” to your teachers and the Sisters who have brought you up well.

Good luck and God bless all of you. Congratulations, and thank you St. Paul College of Bocaue!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Earthquake and Tsunami

Barely less than amonth after I have posted my Prelude to 2012 Catastrophe, an 8.9 magnitude earthquake hit Japan which caused a massive tsunami that practically washed off parts of northeastern Japan, especially Sendai and Fukushima Prefecture.

Unlike with the earthquake and tsunami that hit Phuket in Thailand which came as a surprise, the tsunami that hit Japan on March 11, 2011 happened in broad daylight, to the advantage of TV news crew, they were able to take 'live' coverage as the gigantic wave practically gobbled up everything on its way to the shorelines of Japan. I have seen TV broadcast taken via helicopter still showing the fast gigantic waves about to hit the shores. Some people managed to capture on amateur video the heart-breaking wrath of nature beginning from the shaking earth to the coming of the huge tsunami. It was the golden moments of television broadcasting - live footages of massive destruction, and also of geologists, seismologists, tsunami watchers, and even of the ordinary people who can not help but grab their videocams and digital cameras to document the disaster.

On television, it was as if it was one of the Hollywood movies full of tricks and effects. But it was real. It was as if I was simply watching the hit movie 2012. But it was real. My jaw dropped. Buildings were crushed, transferred, gobbled up. Yatchs, ships, cars, trucks, trains - they were all toys. They simply were debris along the way of the punishing tsunami. Explosions seemed cinematic. More so for the hydrogen explosion at the nuclear power plant that was destroyed by the powerful tsunami.

When nature punishes, it really means business. Get out of the way, or perish.

Are these a prelude to the dreaded '2012' phenomenon?

Just asking.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Prelude to 2012 Catastrophe?

Could it be that the unusual activities of the Earth's crust (series of volcanic eruptions, sporadic earthquakes) that had been going on in the recent months are simply preludes to the much hyped 2012 Mayan prediction of a changed world?

Could it also be that the geomagnetic storms sparked by solar eruptions are also a part of the dramatic preludes to the 2012 prediction? Please check Space weather could wreak havoc in gadget-driven world.

Could it also be that the unusual weather patterns that the world is experiencing now, either caused by global warming or not, are a result of the gradual shifting of the earth's crust in preparation of the dreaded polar shift believed to regularly take place on earth every 26,000 years?

While many skeptics believe that there is no truth to the Mayan prediction about the 'end' of the world in 2012, the signs and symptoms of a dynamic earth are showing up more often.

Many believe that God would never allow the earth to be destroyed again. I also ask, why then has Jesus warned us of some form of destruction which are graphically described in the Bible?

Consider the following: Mark 13:24-25 (cf Matthew 24.29-31; Luke 21.25-28)
v24"In the days after that time of trouble the sun will grow dark, the moon will no longer shine, v25the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers in space will be driven from their courses.
Let's take a look at Luke 21:11; 25-28

v11There will be terrible earthquakes, famines, and plagues everywhere; there will be strange and terrifying things coming from the sky.
v25"There will be strange things happening to the sun, the moon, and the stars. On earth whole countries will be in despair, afraid of the roar of the sea and the raging tides. v26People will faint from fear as they wait for what is coming over the whole earth, for the powers in space will be driven from their courses. v27Then the Son of Man will appear, coming in a cloud with great power and glory. v28When these things begin to happen, stand up and raise your heads, because your salvation is near."

So will the skeptics refute also what Jesus himself 'said' about the 'end of days'?

In Mark 13:31, we read
v31Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
In fact, from Mark 13:24ff, the entire entry which speaks about unimaginable disasters, gives us a warning:

(Matthew 24.29-31; Luke 21.25-28)


v24"In the days after that time of trouble the sun will grow dark, the moon will no longer shine, v25the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers in space will be driven from their courses. v26Then the Son of Man will appear, coming in the clouds with great power and glory. v27He will send the angels out to the four corners of the earth to gather God's chosen people from one end of the world to the other.


(Matthew 24.32-35; Luke 21.29-33)
v28"Let the fig tree teach you a lesson. When its branches become green and tender and it starts putting out leaves, you know that summer is near. v29In the same way, when you see these things happening, you will know that the time is near, ready to begin.a v30Remember that all these things will happen before the people now living have all died. v31Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
For the non-believers, the above entries could be translated into other ways. The theologians might even have beautiful, philosophical explanations on them. Debates on it might even confuse us more. If Jesus himself warned that his words will never pass away, then his imagery of destruction can not just be an exaggeration to illustrate his point, which the philosophers and theologians are fond of interpreting differently (not in toto).

What about the warnings as allegedly described by the Lady in Portugal to the three children, which had been kept for a long time until before the death of one of the seers, Sr. Lucia?

Will you simply adopt a wait-and-see attitude or give the prophecy the benefit of the doubt and be prepared for any eventuality in 2012? What if the prediction erred? By a year? By 5 years? By 10 years? Or more years, yet will happen just the same? Could we say that the Mayan Prediction was wrong because the destruction did not occur in 2012?

Just asking.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Blogger in Tagalog?

I was surprised on the newest move of Blogger.com to fit to the local language the instructions to sign in for my blog site. Tagalog? Why? Which makes me wonder what up with these sites that always assume as if you don't understand their default language of English.

This holds true also to Google.com which chooses the language of your geographical location based probably on the IP address that you have. It is quite weird and annoying that the assumption is that you would prefer the local language than the default English. There is also this continued effort to translate some sites into the local language of the geographical location of the net surfer.

It is not that I don't like my national language of Filipino. But I am not so comfortable seeing buttons and links in the Filipino language. Take for example Mga tool sa wika in Google. Or Mag-sign out also in Google. Good if the translations are purist. then and only then could I say that it is indeed an authentic translation of the English language to Filipino.  But for as long as they remain Taglish or Engalog, I still prefer the default English language for me to navigate the site.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Forgiveness

I had been following closely the death of former AFP Chief of Staff and Sec. Angelo Reyes. The stern stance of the family immediately after his death towards his detractors and accusers gradually melted into forgiveness.

I almost could feel how the family members felt on Day 1. Anger. Denial. Hatred. Cynicism. Distrust. Grief. Name it. It must have been very painful, indeed. The family was in a state of shock, much like the entire country was also in a state of shock. It was legitimate for the family to feel all these.

But gradually, the family's doors began to open, even to those who may have pushed Reyes to pull the trigger. Gradually, I saw in the family their value system which only God-fearing and God-loving families may have. Reyes is still lying in state, yet, the wife and children already expressed forgiveness to the people whose hands are dripping with Reyes' blood. What a gesture of Christianity and a display of statesmanship!

I guess, Sec. Reyes is smiling at them on how his family is handling his untimely demise.

The outpouring of love and support from all kinds of people to the bereaved family is indeed making them strong. It is helping them cope and heal their wounds. The family has suffered and bruised to black and blue, but in stead of wallowing on their pains, they chose to forgive...

I just hope that in the next days to come, they continue to show a similar stance - meek and humble, forgiving and accepting.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Suicide

Photo courtesy of inquirer.net
The news that former Sec. Angelo Reyes took his own life came as a shocking surprise to me early this morning as I was listening over the radio in my Office. I followed the developments as they unfolded as early as before 8:00 a.m.

I don’t know personally Sec. Reyes but I felt that his death will become a celebrated one and might even trigger some serious and big future events in the country. I was shocked that a former General and Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines would succumb to pressure or perhaps depression amid the controversies he was facing vis-à-vis allegations that he received a huge P50M as a send-off gift when he finally retired from the military service.

I say it is unlikely for a strong-willed person like him to easily give up his life, knowing that he was a principled man. I knew him as someone who served in the military in the interest of the Filipino nation – no matter what others think of him as otherwise. For him, his honor and dignity were utmost. Not to mention his beloved family. Whatever were the accusations against him, even up to his last day, to me he was reasonable and statesman even as he was facing one of the most humiliating experiences one could ever imagine. To think that military men are known to be “officers and gentlemen”. If one is accused of something that he is innocent of, it comes as a devastating blow on one’s person. It must have been so painful to Sec. Reyes, especially, if in his heart he knew he was not guilty. But the events took the better of him. He allegedly pulled the trigger that eventually ripped his heart apart and fell on the grave of his mother – known to be very close to his heart.

This brings so many questions left unanswered, which only the Secretary could.

I condole with the family – especially to the children who could still be in a state of shock. I almost feel how the family feels. It is too difficult to lose a loved one, especially in the thickness of a battle.

No, don’t get me wrong. I am not siding anyone on the controversies surrounding the investigations going-on in the Senate. I am a person who does not easily jump to conclusions. I am just shocked that a former General allowed himself to be overcome by accusations not yet proven beyond reasonable doubt. In the guise of “in-aid-of-legislation”, the powerful Senate grills anyone even as one already begins to lose dignity in public because the media is always around to scoop and nose for the latest, juiciest, and sizzling twists and turns of the dramas of real lives. These resource persons become public properties waiting to be devoured by the best predators that can mince the most brutal, harshest, most pungent words that the ear maniacs love to applaud. And there is hardly a way that the victim-resource persons could subject the “honorable” members of the Senate or Congress to grill them also like what they did to them. And everything is done “in aid of legislation.”

Many investigations had been conducted by the Congress and the Senate. I was not able to follow up all of them – as I also have other interests. But may I ask: How many among those hot and high profile investigations really produced the laws much needed by this country for it to become the nation we all dreamt to be? I only have ten fingers. And I hope each finger could represent these legislations which were offshoots of high profile investigations. I would have preferred that serious accusations be tackled in the proper courts so that when those found guilty of graft and corruptions could be convicted right there and then.

The loss of one General Angelo Reyes is a big one. No matter what may have been his alleged involvements in some irregularities, ending his life is not redemptive either because it made us wonder more of the truth.

To Sec. Reyes, Godspeed. You will be missed by so many people whose lives you’ve personally touched. Meanwhile, I pray that your self sacrifice will bear much fruit for this nation. And let history be the judge of who you have been to the Filipino people.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Bohol

A week ago, I had a chance to visit Bohol. I didn't know what to expect and see because it was my first time to be there. When I was in Cebu, I knew that it was just almost a pair of eyes away. I was telling myself, Bohol must be a typical island with just the ordinary places that I have seen in the provinces.

I was wrong.

Bohol is definitely an enchanting place. A special place where you could find people so courteous and friendly and very religious. Being one of the most historic places of the country on the arrival of the Spaniards in the 16th Century, the towns are adorned with special church edifices which are famous for their coral bricks. Yes, corals from the rich coral reefs of Bohol way back during the Spanish time. These churches are very unique. In Northern Luzon, one would find churches made of bricks from clay.

I went inside Panglao Church. I could sense its age. But it is a treasure. Even the private school beside it shows its age.



The Panglao Parish Church


The grandeur inside is enhanced by the ceiling.


I also had the chance of visiting the world famous Chocolate Hills. Oh my, to go up the view deck, one has to struggle the 214 steps going up its summit. Our tour guide said it used to be 213 steps only, but to make them more meaningful, the local executives added another step to jive with February 14 as there would be so many lovers going up the summit every Valentine's Day.


The 214 steps leading to the summit of the View Deck

Playing with the Chocolate Hills

At the foot of the View Deck



Of course no one would forget to see the famous small primates of Bohol - the tarsier. Bohol sojourn is not complete without seeing even just one tarsius.


A pose with a tarsius

How I enjoyed lunch at the Loboc River famous for its katamaran floating restaurants! The lunch was delicious. Add to it the live musical performance by local artists as you cruise along the river. Along the way at the river banks are local dancers in their folk costumes to entertain the tourists.








My special ride with the catamaran, a type of floating restaurant at the Loboc River

I walked along the beach at Alona Kew Beach Resort in Panglao Island. People were warm and all smiles. I chanced upon some people simply enjoying a walk like what I did. Two children were practically picking starfishes along the shore. I borrowed one for a souvenir pic. Seafoods were everywhere especially at night. they are served hot broiled! Arrrgghh...! I was not able to relish even jsut a little of them. Nonetheless I captured them on camera!




















Monday, December 13, 2010

Back Again

It's been a while that I posted anything here in my blog site. Errr... I guess I also suffered from chronic laziness attacks. Or perhaps I was overtaken by a lot of concerns that I hardly could find time to squeeze by tired grey matter for blogging. And I wish that beginning this time, I could blog again.

I wish....

I guess I am not alone in this sruggle of finding time to regularly update personal blogs like mine. For quite a time, even the more famous bloggers whom I have been following often hibernate during their winter times like what happened to me. When the attack is chronic, my mind doesn't really like to work. I just shelf those thoughts with high hopes that I could retrieve them back like an e-file being stored in my brain cells. But the flesh does not work that way. Unlike with machines, the brain cells wear out everyday. And as the previous information is overwritten by more recent ones, my grey matter finds it difficult to download the previously stored data for future use. Or am I getting older, huh? Hahaha! I hope not yet.

How many of you guys out there have experiences like mine? Short-term memory attacks. Haha! Do I need to take some supplements to avert my memory lapses?

I really wish to be back again. For good. And for my personal historicity. For memories' sake.