When people ask me to define love, I say, "Love is like handing someone a gun, having them point it at your heart, and trusting them to never pull the trigger." (Sponge Bob)

When they ask me why I laugh at my mistakes and even write them with pride in my blogs, I say, "I'm not crazy. I just don't give a damn!" (Daffy Duck)

When one time I was conducting a group activity, a student asked what road sign I love the most, I said, "I like dead end signs. I think they're kind. They at least have the decency to let you know you're going nowhere…" (Bugs Bunny)

And when for the nth time a friend would ask me what do I get from writing, I'm not even sure if there are good old souls out there visiting my site, I just smile and say, "Kung gusto mong maging manunulat, eh di magsulat ka. Simple." (Bob Ong)

And last night when Eva said she wants to quit from her work because nobody believes in her, her boss got mad at her, she doesn't even have friends at her agency, and she's crying like hell, I said, "Either you stay to prove your worth or you quit and just show them you're a loser, you have to strive for your happiness." (MY original)

My CHOICES: I remained believing in love. I continued spicing up my mistakes and rewriting my life, accepting failure but keep on dreaming until words would fade into thin air.

Dec 10, 2008

Mama's Tears

Yesterday, I was talking about a crime of motherhood I committed – spanking.

Today, I will be sharing with you the punishment I gained from the crime.

Last night, when I arrived home, the usual scenario of Bea and Gaby running towards the door was not in sight. Instead, the living room was empty but the television was playing their Barney CD. I dropped my bag on the corner sofa chair and reached out for my slippers carelessly (so I thought) dishevelled under it. To my surprise, my slippers weren’t there. Thinking that Gaby was behind this (you know when CPs disappear or the TV and DVD remote controls are out of sight, surely, Gaby’s to be blame), I called for her. Poor Gaby, upon kissing me and giving me a tight hug, I asked for my slippers. And she said with all the innocence of a scheming cherub, “Ate… ate… nnnnside room.” (Inside the room daw.) And voila! Upon opening the door to our room, this is what I saw:

Now you can tell what I did. I ran towards Bea, embraced her tight with tears welling from my eyes… whispering to her over and over again the same words I read on the paper, “I am sorry.” and “I love you too my darling.”

Sweet punishment, eh!

Dec 9, 2008

I am guilty of a crime called "SPANKING"

Today, I am guilty of a crime called “SPANKING”.

And this afternoon, one of my best buddies in college, Issa, reminded me on how to handle 5-6 year olds without committing this grave crime through her Little Ark Learning Center’s Pre-School Digest.

Saturday, Sunday, Monday!!! A long vacation for us in the Catholic schools. I enjoyed the break as much as Bea did. Allowing ourselves to sleep until passed 7 in the morning and watched 15 Barney CDs during the day and “Baby’s Day Out 1-2” in the evening.

Come Tuesday morning. I woke up earlier than usual because today, we’re conducting one of our major activities in our Career Pathing Program – the “Career Exposure”. After taking a bath, I woke Bea up and ushered her to the dining area, gave all she needed and instructed her to eat breakfast while I change for my school uniform.

After changing, I checked on her and to my frustration, my Bea was slouching on the chair, half asleep with her food untouched. I told myself, “Patience, Marjo… Patience.”

I asked her to sit properly and eat her meal. She stared back. My voice came, a pitch higher. Big mistake. Bea cried like she was tortured. I grew even more frustrated. I looked at my watch. I am running late for work. And so was she. I pulled her off her chair and spanked her bottom. I even threatened her to call her teacher and tell her she wasn’t going to school.

Then I left.

Upon arriving in school this afternoon, the first thing I saw on top of my table was Karissa’s hand-written package of November issue of their Pre-School Digest. I just picked up her package, grabbed my bag and lunch kit and headed home. In the car, I started browsing the digest and got struck with this:

“Daily structure and routines are important throughout childhood; but this is a transition year, so structure is crucial to your child’s security and well-being.”

Question: Did I start our day with a routine?

Then again:

“Six year olds go through a period of non-compliance and opposition to parents’ instructions.”

Question: Was I aware of that?


“This difficult period can be a learning opportunity when parents approach these behaviours with gentle firmness.”

Realization: I was firm but wasn’t gentle.

Dec 3, 2008

Are you there?

December 22, 2021.

My fortieth Christmas is creeping up and I feel like I’m headed for an inevitable midlife crisis. Fortunately, a guy in my position, consumed day and night by his job, doesn’t have the time to go screw up his personal life by buying a Ferrari or by cheating on his wife with unrelenting physical pleasure from new-age virtual technology to incapacitate the user for a week after kind-of-coitus, or KOC.

I look at my wife and I can see the circles around her eyes from all the preparations building up to Christmas day – from carefully planning the Noche Buena menu to the last-minute panic shopping and decorations. Both my kids cannot be contained from the anticipation of opening their gifts – they bug you every second if they can just take a peek. As I sat there watching them with saddened eyes, I reminisced when this all started.

It was eighteen years ago, a week before Christmas to be exact. I just passed training for my very first job. I couldn’t remember anymore who made the call. My father just passed away. It was more of a shock than anything else. I cannot remember if I even cried. Maybe it’s just that it hasn’t sunk in yet. I just stared at blank space. At that time, my mother is battling cancer and undergoing chemo (she died 6 months later). So I was like, “What’s happening?” You know what I mean? How could I celebrate when all these tragedies were all of a sudden have decided to just converge on one occasion; this one occasion that I have always been looking forward to; this one occasion when I can see my family as a whole?

So from then on, Christmas was not for me to celebrate. I am that jaded. I leave the celebrating to those that are truly happy; to those who have someone to celebrate it with; to those who can still spend the holidays with their loved ones - opening gifts, singing carols, laughing and having meals on Christmas Eve. Someday I wish I can find my own. Someday I hope and pray to God to lift this veil of suffering from me. Someday…And until then this will be my silent protest.

My little daughter was tugging at my shirt sleeve and looking at me with her doe eyes. Her brother is watching her mom make the shopping list while he sits on her lap. I snapped out of my reverie and ruffled my daughter’s hair to which she responded with an exasperated look.
From then on, I decided I no longer need to wait for another Christmas. I am already there. This is my happy ending.

I commented:

“Your posts always make me cry. Maybe because it touches what I feel, too. Or just maybe, we haven't really talked about this after pop and mom died. We both have caged ourselves. Afraid to disclose any emotions. We have always expressed ourselves in the safe zone -- our prose.”

The above prose was written by my brother. Posted in his site. I have always admired how he arranges his words to a meaningful, sentimental whole. The more I admire him now for being so strong. What he has written is not fiction. My father died of heart attack – slept and never woke up – in December 12, 2003, barely few days before Christmas and a few days after our mother underwent her fourth chemotherapy session. And yes, six months before she succumb to cancer. More painful to say, our mother died in June 12, 2004, a day before my brother’s birthday. Two major occasions where he has to celebrate – we have to celebrate, yet, two major deaths – that of our parents’ precede the events.

“Hats off, dear brother! I admire your strength.”

My brother now lives with a few flatmates in Makati. No family yet. No love-life I guess. I just pray to God that soon… indeed he would find that wife he is referring to in his prose and will have kids to bring him back to that feeling of looking forward to celebrating Christmas and his birthday. “I love you bro! Merry Christmas!”

Dec 2, 2008

A Woman Perseveres

A woman respects the main teaching of the I Ching: “To persevere is favorable.”

She knows that perseverance is not the same thing as insistence.

Insistence has some skewed motives, trying to force something to materialize even when circumstances would not allow it to. Insistence too has a taint of selfish manipulations. While perseverance has in it two strong virtues – of determination and commitment – trying to achieve self-actualization, capitalizing on own strengths, and dancing with the cosmos, gyrating with its beat to encourage the stars shine on her side.

And when she realizes that her struggles go on longer and her burdens get heavier than necessary, draining her of strength and enthusiasm, the Woman thinks: “A prolonged tussle and burdened heart finally destroys the victorious soul too.”

Then she withdraws her forces from the reality’s arena and allows herself a breathing space, letting a pint of craziness take over her sanity – that kind of spontaneity a child is made of – because she knows that only a child’s perspective can rejuvenate her strength and enthusiasm to face life.

However, the space she allows herself does not dampen her desires to win in her struggles. This space becomes her avenue to persevere with her dreams but she knows she must wait for the best moment to pursue her star.

A Woman always returns to the fray. She never does so out of arrogance or self-satisfaction, but because she has noticed with her gift of intuitive sensitivity a change in the weather, and that her stars have gathered around her own beat.

Nov 27, 2008

The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling


The Tales of Beedle the Bard, a Wizarding classic, first came to Muggle readers’ attention in the book known as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Now, thanks to Hermione Granger’s new translation from the ancient runes, we present this stunning edition with an introduction, notes, and illustrations by J. K. Rowling, and extensive commentary by Albus Dumbledore. Never before have Muggles been privy to these richly imaginative tales: “The Wizard and the Hopping Pot,” “The Fountain of Fair Fortune,” “The Warlock’s Hairy Heart,” “Babbitty Rabbitty and Her Cackling Stump,” and of course, “The Tale of the Three Brothers.” But not only are they the equal of fairy tales we now know and love, reading them gives new insight into the world of Harry Potter.

The stories are accompanied by delightful pen-and-ink illustrations by Ms. Rowling herself, featuring a still-life frontispiece for each one. Professor Dumbledore’s commentary–apparently written some eighteen months before his death–reveals not just his vast knowledge of Wizarding lore, but also more of his personal qualities: his sense of humor, his courage, his pride in his abilities, and his hard-won wisdom. Names familiar from the Harry Potter novels sprinkle the pages, including Aberforth Dumbledore, Lucius Malfoy and his forebears, and Sir Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington (or “Nearly Headless Nick”), as well as other professors at Hogwarts and the past owners of the Elder Wand. Dumbledore tells us of incidents unique to the Wizarding world, like hilariously troubled theatrical productions at Hogwarts or the dangers of having a “hairy heart.” But he also reveals aspects of the Wizarding world that his Muggle readers might find all too familiar, like censorship, intolerance, and questions about the deepest mysteries in life.

Altogether, this is an essential addition to our store of knowledge about the world and the magic that J. K. Rowling has created, and a book every true Harry Potter fan will want to have for their shelves.

This purchase also represents another very important form of giving: From every sale of this book, Scholastic will give its net proceeds to the CHILDREN’S HIGH LEVEL GROUP, a charity cofounded in 2005 by J.K. Rowling and Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne, MEP. CHLG campaigns to protect and promote children’s rights and make life better for vulnerable young people

This one is another worth a grab. Hope to have a copy soon. Tales like these have never really failed to amaze me. At 30, I still enjoy reading books with magics, wizards, enchantress and more. In fact, I collect with my Bea short stories from Adarna, Lampara and the likes. And J.K. Rowling stuff is an addition to our treasures of the Harry Potter series. To have a full view of the magical world of Rowling, just click here.

Victor and the Sun Orb

A short glimpse:

Victor, a fairy prince of Solandia, should enjoy a carefree life. But from an early age, he finds himself very busy.

He learns complex magic and martial arts. He’s even taught how to live in a human world. That’s because his parents, King Godfred and Queen Magenta, know about a mortality spell that was cast on their son on the very day of his baptism.

A dark, hooded figure with eyes that burn like coal is to blame. Victor’s parents know that on his thirteenth birthday, their beloved son will be forced to leave Solandia and live with humans, perhaps never to return.

To find an antidote to the spell cast upon him as an infant, Victor must retrieve the mysterious sun orb, a source of magical power now in the hands of the dark, hooded figure.

As he sets his quest, a war between the forces of light and darkness erupts. Good fairies wage battles with bad fairies, even as the power in their wands fades.

Enter a world of magic, and join the fairy prince as he fights for family, love, and friendship in Victor and the Sun Orb.

Today, I received an e-mail from my class adviser way back when I was still in 1st year high school, and this is what she said:

Announcing Amy Nielsen’s Book and Web Site!

Dear friends and family,

I’m excited to announce the launching of Amy’s web site and fantasy book titled Victor and the Sun Orb.
We hope to attract lots of visitors and prospective readers, so she is inviting you to visit her site now to learn more!

Please share her website to anyone who might be interested. To see her site, just click or copy/paste the website above.

P.S. Amy is from Central West, Bauang, La Union , a friend and a classmate in SHS.

Thank you all.

Then I immediately dropped by her friendster account alongside navigating Miss Amy’s website (just like what I told you, I love books with magical themes so I was interested to have a copy) and saw she has worked with a youth ministry before leaving for Denmark. Then I made mental imageries and theorized Miss Amy was that missionary whom I met through a recollection, still in my high school years. Fortunately, she too has a connection with a high school buddy — Rhodora. So to confirm my incling, I wrote Ma’am Eya a confirmation note before I fully confirmed in Rhodz’s friendster account my assumption. And voila!!! The conlusion was made — Miss Amy was my friend’s sister. And I am proud to share with you a “kababayan’s” fruit of hardwork. To know more of Miss Amy’s book, click here.

Nov 12, 2008

CABAnata 23: Unfair? Life's irony makes it more wonderful, what yah think?

Two months ago, I was in a crossroad — like a high school teeny-bopper trying to choose what course to take up in college. I spent some here and a little with this and that just to comply, let’s say, with what life has to offer. Honestly, got to experience some kind of adrenaline rush — the kind of excitement a little girl would feel when Mom got her a new lacy dress and just as she thought her happiness was overwhelming, Pop arrives with her favorite candy cane wrapped in fancy-colored glossy paper with twirling ribbons that added to its attraction. Can you imagine that feeling?

How about this?

While trying the little lacy dress on, the girl’s pet dog got the same excitement as she did and jumped over her, ripping off all the pink and white laces off her dress, leaving some saliva stains on the satin undergarment. And because of shock, she dropped the candy cane on the floor and the overly excited dog turned its drooling hunger to her cane and ran off with it so fast that nobody got their wits to ran after the dog and get the poor girl’s candy cane back. Now what’s the feeling?

The latter is what I feel now. The crossroads disappeared at an instant. Burst like a bubble. Worst… no traces of roads what-so-ever. What’s left are just murky ground, thorny bushes and my dismay.

Yamoj was right… sometimes we come to a point where decisions have to be made just for the sake of it. Will I return to that foxhole I thought was my comfort zone and get gulped by the quicksand in that foxhole and never get the chance to be seen again and in return see the world, which, no matter how unfair sometimes it may seem, it is still beautiful and wonderful with all its mysterious ironies?


Maybe Plan A just wouldn’t work for me.

Anyway, Plan B is what I initially looked forward to before the rush of excitement invaded my little privie.

So, guess I have to stand with pride, pick myself up, dust my sleeve off and start again. This is what life is all about anyway.

What yah think?

Nov 10, 2008

Fulfillingness' First Finale

There is a time in every man’s life where he must face that moment of truth. A time when that gut feeling meets reality and opportunity. Conventional wisdom, common sense, deductive reasoning and logic mean nothing here. Sometimes this moment of truth has nothing to do with doing the right thing: a decision must be made. A general effective decision on life. Your life. Every man at one point in his life will meet this moment. It is our right to passage. It is also an often soul-searching, empty moment in our lives. Definition comes with our decision at this moment, yet it does not define who we are. Life, I assure you, is not always fair.

We all go through phases where we feel we are most down. There is a moment when you get home from work, you stare blankly at your stale food, all alone… the television, your only companion. You wonder what you’re here for. You wonder why you are experiencing such feelings. You wonder what, in the grand scheme of things, is your purpose. Then it will be a long, arduous battle to find those answers. Bad news is, and this is the truth, you will never find your answers until you’re old. Or if you are really out of luck, never at all. So you go find a Paulo Coelho book and hope against hope he can save you and provide you with an idiot’s guide on this little sojourn called life.

As you try to walk your own path, you realize you have to start off following someone else’s footsteps. Baby steps first, like they say. You get sparingly to the point where there’s no turning back. Your back to the wall and you don’t trust even yourself to get your life out of that doldrums. It is a foxhole. A quicksand in a foxhole, if ever that was possible. A quicksand in a foxhole right smack in the Bermuda triangle. No way out. So let’s see here.

No one needs a hand more than those who are falling – or being pushed – off a cliff. Hugs are so ethnic now but they’re all you need. It is amazing how a touch from another human being makes you feel… so human. It makes you feel vulnerable and you feel you’re not all alone. This is all you need to get out of this moment of self-actualization. Not that you like it; it’s not like you’ve got a choice to be in that kind of situation. Like I said earlier, it is our right to passage. It is your moment to find the truth of what your life brings. Answer or no answer.

A single vibration put me out of my reverie. I still catch myself staring at the untouched food on the table, stale smell reeking of hopelessness. An apt reflection of this moment. I reach out for my phone and read: “You busy Saturday?”


Again, from my brother’s blog.

I was thinking of a topic for today’s post, but my Zafra-sitis got in the way. Yeah, I just started reading Twisted 7 at exactly 4:00 pm today hoping that I would be able to pick up an idea or two of just what to write, but the negative Zafra vibrations hit me instead – got nothing good to say. (Peace, Jessica!)

So I opened my brother’s Multiply site… read through his blogs and got this fresh from his site. Sure thing it started off with negativism, too. But thank God before Mom died, she gave her best shot of motherhood that frustrating experiences come in fancy-colored wraps as we see them.

Reflections! It’s good we have them.

Life can sometimes be so lonely. People are so busy loving the things they own and using people to gain these things. People have forgotten to love other people instead and using things for their lone purpose of being just things to be used for a particular purpose.


Warm embrace.

A tap on the shoulder.

A smile.

Or just a loving stare.

All these have been so remote nowadays when all you need is just a single step. To others, it might be a daring step… maybe at first, but if you get used to it, it will be just as normal and voluntary as you breathe.

Try it.

Who knows? You might just save someone else’s lonely life… as you work on your own.

Nov 6, 2008

Brawling for Dinner

Three slices of cold pizza and a bottle of Coke adorn my dining table like a feast on New Year’s Eve. Only it’s not New Year’s eve and more importantly it is not a feast. Far from it. I need to lose weight but this is not really the reason for the so-called feast that awaits. Although the slices were Hawaiian, it is not exactly Cobb Salad but I digress.

I can be a rather morbid person. I’m not exactly sure when or how I developed this character trait, but I’m predisposed to indulging in almost all that is unpleasant. This wasn’t with any sense of amusement, just a rational conclusion. So I push the first slice inside my mouth. It was a rather stale taste as I was suffering from a mild cold at that time so my taste buds prefer to take a leave of absence. I tried chewing but it was just a chore. I tried to drown it with Coke that I drank straight from the bottle. I puked a little but still tried to swallow. Only the jalapeños has a strong savor but it tasted like paper cup. I picked up the lone bacon that dropped to the floor. I contemplated to either eat it or just chuck it. Wala pang five minutes.

I could give up right now and die. Whoever finds my body could leave it right where it lies. I could have sworn I saw my whole life flash in front of me. But I struggled. I fight for those who don’t have anything to eat at all. Some don’t eat because they don’t want to or they wanted to lose weight but there are still the majority who don’t because they have no choice. I fight for those people. I fight for those who are rummaging the garbage cans for a thrown out piece of bread or a trace of meat off a T-bone. I scrap and claw for those kids with blackened skin from sunburn or from grease and dirt because of their everyday search for a living so that at the end of the day they have something to put inside their aching bellies and have energy for another day of scrapping and clawing all over again. I pronounce battle against malnutrition and the continuous price hike for a can of sardines and a pack of pancit canton.

But this was the real world, where the fun was supposed to stop. Eventually, I came to the conclusion that I have to grieve the inevitable. No one here gets out alive. Some of us just need to be reminded of that from time to time.

Leftovers, anyone?

P.S. Yamoj, pahiram ng post mo ha. Love this one kasi. By now, I know that you’re aware of this inevitable fact: “I’m your no. 1 fan!” (I guess Mom and Pop left me without a choice but to patronize that one family they gave me — YOU. “Peace brother!”)

Nov 5, 2008

Doubting God's Existence

A man went to trim his hair and beard. As always happens, he and the barber chatted about this and that, until - commenting on a newspaper article about street kids - the barber stated:

“As you can see, this tragedy shows that God doesn’t exist.”


“Don’t you read the papers? So many people suffer, abandoned children, there’s so much crime. If God existed, there wouldn’t be so much suffering.”

The customer thought for a moment, but his haircut was nearly finished, and he decided not to prolong the conversation. They returned to gentler topics, the job was done, the customer paid and left.

However, the first thing he saw was a tramp, with several days of beard, and long tangled hair.

Immediately, he returned to the barber’s shop and said to the man who had served him:

“You know something? Barbers don’t exist.”

“What do you mean, don’t exist? I’m here, and I’m a barber.”

“They don’t exist!” insisted the man, “because if they did, there wouldn’t be people with such longs beards and such tangled hair as I’ve just witnessed up on the corner.”

“I can guarantee that barbers do exist. But that man has never come in here.”

“Exactly! So, in answer to your question, God exists, too. It just so happens that people don’t go to Him. If they did, they would be more giving, and there wouldn’t be so much misery in the world.”

“I wanna just go to sleep and never wake up. If God is everywhere like my preschool teacher has always told us, I hope He hears me... Ahh! If He did listen to me, but I think He doesn’t.”

“Can I just stare blankly on just anything and nobody would notice?”

“I hope they would just hit me so hard that I will pass out and never gain consciousness.”

“They don’t care. Mom wouldn’t even know I’m dead. I think God wouldn’t do too.”

“If I kill myself, it’ll be useless. Because if my time isn’t up yet, I would live. And when I live and they would learn I tried to kill myself, the more they would get mad at me. So you see, it’s useless! And I’m freakin’ mad about this whole idea running through my mind over and over again.”

All these lines are from teenagers who are victims of circumstances. And I wouldn’t know if I should be glad they came up to me and heard all these rumblings or tell them to just give up. Thanks to Mr. Coelho whose site I seldom visit these days, but fortunately, I did today and read the above post.

Tomorrow, I’m looking forward to seeing these kids again. And hope to tell them this story on “Doubting God’s Existence”.

“Help me God that I’ll always remain faithful to You and inspire others to live their lives to the fullest, too. Make me Your instrument of WARMTH to those who needed to be touched. Make me Your EARS for those who would like to be listened to. Make me Your EYES for those who would like to see life’s beauty and wonder. Make me Your MOUTH for those who crave for justice. Make me Your HANDS for those who would like to be reached out. Make me Your FEET for those who like to walk on the road less traveled. And lastly, make me Your HEART for those who would like to be loved. Give me enough of these, Lord, and I shall follow Thy will. Amen.”

Nov 1, 2008


Category: Books
Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy
Author: Stephenie Meyer

“Did you ever think that maybe my number was up the first time, with the van, and that you’ve been interfering with fate?” I speculated, distracting myself.

“That wasn’t the first time,” he said, and his voice was hard to hear. I stared at him in amazement, but he was looking down. “Your number was up the first time I met you.”

Twilight is a love story more than anything else. You probably have heard many stories of love and what makes them great. So what really makes a great love story? Well, first off, there has to be a struggle from both parties getting together; a great barrier. The Capulet and Montague family feud of Romeo and Juliet; rich girl Allie Hamilton meets local town boy Noah Calhoun from The Notebook. You get the picture.

So Edward Cullen is a sophisticated, god-like vamp and Bella Swan is the clumsiest, most ordinary small town girl you have ever met. Nothing more contrasting than that.

Spoiler alert!

So their story began when Bella moved from wide and sunny Arizona to a rainy, small town called Forks, Washington. Here she meets Edward, so their romance begins. Blah, blah, blah, yada, yada, yada. I will not describe to you in detail how their excruciating love story bloomed. The book is marketed at Young Adult readers so there’s a ton, and I mean ton, of cutesy, cheesy and all that corny stuff and dialogues, you have grown to love/hate from the days of Dawson’s Creek.

Now here are some chinks in the proverbial armor: I would have liked to know more about the history of the Cullens. I expect that their story would later on develop on the next few installments of the book. I haven’t read New Moon yet, the book’s sequel. So I would like to unravel some of the missing mysteries of the Cullen family.

I was also disappointed that the writer omitted the scene from the ballet studio. I will have to wait for the movie to see it. I saw some action scenes from the movie trailers that was obviously lacking from the book. The story is told in a first person perspective of Bella, so that’s why we only have to read what she knows. When she passes out, we also pass out, that’s how it is.

What I like about Twilight is it’s simple and so easy to read despite the 400 plus pages. I finished the book in only 14 hours. Of course, those were 14 hours spread out in 3 weeks. I just didn’t have time to really read. The small town of Forks was described that’ll leave you feeling like you can almost smell the damp air and hear the rain falling on the roof - like you’re almost there. The characters are almost realistic and not fictional like your next-door neighbors.

Overall, I have mixed feelings for this book. I just hope the coming movie adaptation will not disappoint and will bail out where the book came short. The romance between Edward and Bella will leave you to decide if their story is either touching and compelling or jaded and trite. Whichever side you choose, you’ll find this an appealing story you would want to crave for more.

Well, that was my brother's review for the book. So manly. Objective if you may judge. For me, maybe more emotional and yes... subjective -- every inch a woman's feeling touched by Edward and Bella's love story. Yeah, if my brother should have the chance to read this, he might just laugh it out.

"Gosh! I was holding my breathe each time Edward and Bella share that moment together, especially in that forest where they have to kiss -- Bella carried with her human need and Edward moving away each time for fear to crash her fragile Bella."

"Aaaaww!!!", was my brother's short reply.

Surely, this book is worth the grab. I was able to finish it in 10 hours within two days. The 2nd day inside the bus from Manila to La Union.

Real nice, eh!

Oct 16, 2008

CABAnata 22: Meeting the Unknown

October 11, 2008.

“What is your most frustrating experience and what have you realized from it?”

Quite a difficult, yet challenging question… but considering my height, surely, this is not one of the most controversial “question and answer” portion in a beauty contest. Maybe in due time, I shall reveal to you what was this question all about. But as of now, let me just share to you my answer as I meet the unknown for the first time…

I paused for a while. Groping for words to say. I thought of my mother’s death or my father’s, but at the back of my mind, I can hear that little voice telling me, “Are you ready to disclose that? You might just break into tears and blow this chance of a lifetime.”

So I listened to that voice.

Then I confidently started articulating what I thought was a safe answer:

“Actually, I don’t consider any of my experiences as source of my frustration. There may be downfalls but I always see things in a positive light that they no longer appear to me as frustrating.”

The woman across the desk was smiling. And so I smiled back, too… nervously though. Hopefully, hers was a satisfied smile.

Come November, if such question will be asked from me again, I would be more honest. And this is what I intend to say:

“Frustrating experience? Oh well, the first time that was asked of me, I said: I don’t consider any of my experiences as source of my frustration. There may be downfalls but I always see things in a positive light that they no longer appear to me as frustrating.”

“On my way home, I realized though that what I gave was such a safe answer.”

“I first thought of my parents’ death… but I don’t consider it frustrating, it is more of a depressive experience than frustrating. So I have two things in mind…” (pause… for a more dramatic air…)

“First, upon graduating from college, I would have preferred pursuing immediately Clinical Psychology, which I thought then, was my ultimate dream. But due to financial reasons, my mother asked me to work so I would be able to support my younger brother’s schooling or else, he wouldn’t be able to finish college. And like any other Filipino eldest child, I did what was asked of me. So I became a pre-school teacher and a shadow teacher to mainstreamed pupils. And even without those sped units, I tried in the best of my ability, to give what was due to these children. That first job, considering all those efforts, which I thought was my most frustrating experience opened a new door for me – realizing that I would still be able to help the less privileged in the society by being a teacher.”

“Secondly, when I was already immersed in special education, frustration hit me hard seeing how unfortunate children with special needs are in the Philippines. In my community alone, public schools have low ability to provide quality education to regular kids, more so to special children. That’s when I started dreaming for a home school for children with disabilities. Then again, financial reasons got in the way.”

“So maybe you would ask me, what then am I doing here – sitting face-to-face with you? The answer is simple: The realization of that dream is in your hands.”

------ Applause! Applause! Applause! ------

Sep 28, 2008

He and She

She in her youth
fell in love
He in his passion
got her pregnant.

She in her innocence
gave him her all
He in his ambition
left her pained.

She in her selflessness
took him when he returned
He in his insensitivity
wounded her in every comeback.

She in her deathbed
loved him still
He in his suffering
longed another chance.

She in her last breath
uttered forgiveness for him
He in his other life
welcomed her to eternity.

She is my mother
died of cancer
He is my father
slept and never woke up.

She is my mother
died six months after him
He is my father
died six months before her.

Now, she and he are united
stood by their promise:
Not “’Til death do us part”
but “Death brought us together”.

This was a poem I composed for my parents maybe two or three years ago which I posted in my CABAnata blogsite in 2007... wherever they may be, my only hope is that they are happy and free of all the earthly burdens they have felt in their lifetime. And that, if in their hearts they feel I haven't made known to them in words and/or in actions that I love them... then for one more day, I wish be granted to me.

For One More Day

Let me guess. You want to know why I tried to kill myself.”
-- Chick Benetto’s first words to me

THIS STORY IS ABOUT A FAMILY and, as there is a ghost involved, you might call it a ghost story. But every family is a ghost story. The dead sit at our tables long after they have gone.

THIS PARTICULAR STORY belongs to Charles “Chick” Benetto. He was not the ghost. He was very real. I found him on a Saturday morning, in the bleachers of a Little League field, wearing a navy windbreaker and chewing peppermint gum. Maybe you remember him from his baseball days. I have spent part of my career as a sportswriter, so the name was familiar to me on several levels……

……What I have written here is what Charles “Chick” Benetto told me in our conversation that morning – which stretched out much longer than that – as well as personal notes and pages from his journal that I found later, on my own. I have assembled them into the following narrative, in his voice, because I’m not sure you would believe this story if you didn’t hear it in his voice.

You may not believe it anyhow.

But ask yourself this: Have you ever lost someone you love and wanted one more conversation, one more chance to make up for the time when you thought they would be here forever? If so, then you know you can go your whole life collecting days, and none will outweigh the one you wish you had back.

What if you got it back?

May 2006

For One More Day is a story of a mother and a son, and a relationship that lasts a lifetime and beyond. It explores the question: What would you do if you could spend one more day with a lost loved one?

As a child, Charley Benetto is told by his father, “You can be a Mama’s boy or you can be a Daddy’s boy, but you can’t be both.” So he chooses his father, and he worships him – right up to the day the man disappears. An eleven-year-old Charley must then turn to his mother, who bravely raises him on her own, despite Charley’s embarrassment and yearnings for a complete family.

Decades later, Charley is a broken man. His life has been crumbled by alcohol and regret. He loses his job. He leaves his family. He hits bottom after discovering his only daughter has shut him out of her wedding.

And he decides to take his own life.

He makes a midnight ride to his small hometown, with plans to do himself in. But upon failing even to do that, he staggers back to his old house only to make an astonishing discovery. His mother – who died eight years earlier – is still living there, and welcomes him home as if nothing had ever happened.

What follows is the one “ordinary” day so many of us yearn for, a chance to make good with a lost parent, to explain family secrets, and to seek forgiveness. Somewhere between this life and the next, Charley learns the things he never knew about his mother and her sacrifices. And he tries, with her tender guidance, to put the crumbled pieces of his life back together.

This is an excerpt from the book and these very lines made me delay my read for almost a year. Because the first time I did try opening the pages of this book, I felt my heart constrict like there was no “later” and that oxygen is an element that never existed in this planet.

But after a year, I found myself grabbing it out my shelf… and I journeyed in the past with Chick Benetto.

When I’m ready, I will disclose in this same blank site I call my blog, my life and why I too, like Chick, crave for one more day…

Sep 10, 2008

The QWERTY Keyboard

"Normality is merely a matter of consensus; that is, a lot of people think something is right, and so that thing becomes right."

"Some things are governed by common sense. Putting buttons on the front of a shirt is a matter of logic, since it would be very difficult to button them up at the side, and impossible if they were at the back."

"Other things, however, become fixed because more and more people believe that's the way they should be... Have you ever wondered why the keys on a typewriter are arranged in that particular order?"

"No, I haven't."

"We call it the QWERTY keyboard, because that's the order of the letters on the first row of keys. I once wondered why it was like that, and I found the answer: The first machine was invented by Christopher Sholes in 1873, to improve on calligraphy, but there was a problem: If a person typed very fast, the keys got stuck together and stopped the machine from working. Then Sholes designed the QWERTY keyboard, a keyboard that would oblige typists to type more slowly."

"I don't believe it."

"But it's true. It so happened that Remington -- which made sewing machines as well as guns at the time -- used the QWERTY keyboard for its first typewriters. That meant that more people were forced to learn that particular system, and more companies started to make those keyboards, until it became the only available model. To repeat: The keyboard on typewriters and computers was designed so that people would type more slowly, not more quickly, do you understand? If you changed the letters around, you wouldn't find anyone to buy your product."

-- an excerpt: Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coelho

There are two points to ponder on from the excerpt above:

First, normality is dictated not by our conscience or by our individuality but by what the majority thinks. Consensus Theory in Social Psychology is categorized in two areas: A descriptive theory is one that tells how things are, while a normative theory tells how things ought to be (Wikipedia).

More and more people are discontented with their lives and have grown unhappier each day. Families break. Job turn-overs. War against countries. Economics depleting. Questions about ones own existence and God's. Some built walls within themselves. Others created a paradise of their own -- in their minds and they have been trapped inside those walls... inside those paradise and the "normal" people spit on them calling these people "insane".

But the question remains: "Who is normal?" and "Who is insane?"

Is it the man in coat and tie riding his ferrari to work, kissing his wife goodbye in the morning, telling her he'll be late due to a dinner meeting with associates and at night goes to bed with another woman whom he loves so much but because for political reasons he needs his family to be intact?

Or is it the greasely man across his company who sold all his belongings just to live with the poor and the oppressed and is now begging for alms with placards on his chest saying, "The TIME has come. SAVE yourselves!"?

Is it the woman who wakes up each day attending to her family's needs and her drunkard good-for-nothing partner, working twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week because she says she cannot leave her children and husband because it is her obligation to fill-in their hungry stomachs?

Or is it the young lady her neighbors call a rebel because she painted her house in red and black, wearing only clothes with skull, adorned herself with metals, pierced herself here and there to broadcast her individuality?

It is up to you to say who is happy and who is not.

Who is normal and who is insane.

The catch however is this: When you judge, then you become like anyone else.

Second, some things come and they are the way they are or some things aren't there as we please not because they make life easier for us or difficult to punish us in some ways but because they make us feel that life should be lived in slow motion so we can savour and devour every detail of it.

Always in our lives, we want our wishes to be granted in a split second. Though we know it is not often like that, we still think that way, then we become more and more frustrated, discontented... and the more that we feel that, the farther we become to our happiness. I too often contemplate, if God is a good God, why are there illnesses of all sorts, or accidents, taking our love ones away from us? Or why are there so much injustice? Why didn't God just broke the lands equally among each people so territorial issues don't instigate war among brothers and nations? Why are there so much doubt in people's hearts about there being who they are when the only reason of there existence is God's great love which He wanted to share us?

Then again I ask:


Why is it that a step is very difficult to take?

Sep 4, 2008

What MARY JOCELYN Means (Coincidental?!)

You are confident, self assured, and capable. You are not easily intimidated. (A bit, but in reality, not so much. I think I am a little shy and reserved in some areas.)

You master any and all skills easily. (Slight!) You don't have to work hard for what you want. (In fact, I do work hard to get what I want in life. Taking two board exams in a year, that is.)

You make your life out to be exactly how you want it. (See!!! I told you!) And you'll knock down anyone who gets in your way! (Yeah, like when Ronald gets on my last slice of porkchop! He'll get a plate flying over his head!)

You are usually the best at everything (Still, slightly true!)... you strive for perfection. (I do???)

You are confident, authoritative, and aggressive. (Not much!!!) You have the classic "Type A" personality.

You are wild, crazy, and a huge rebel. You're always up to something. (Ahhhh!!! This is definitely NOT sooooo ME!!!)

You have a ton of energy, and most people can't handle you. You're very intense. (Again, slightly ME!!!)

You definitely are a handful, and you're likely to get in trouble. But your kind of trouble is a lot of fun. (Uh-huh!!! Haven't gotten myself in trouble lately! Around two days to be exact...)

You are a free spirit, and you resent anyone who tries to fence you in. (Just how I have blogged it!)

You are unpredictable, adventurous, and always a little surprising. (Nah-ah!!!)

You may miss out by not settling down, but you're too busy having fun to care. (Geeeezzzz... now I'm convinced I am special, too.)

You are fair, honest, and logical. You are a natural leader, and people respect you. (Indeed I am. Oh well, I hope so.)

You never give up, and you will succeed... even if it takes you a hundred tries. (Just the way I like it!)

You are rational enough to see every part of a problem. You are great at giving other people advice. (That's what a Guidance Counselor does!!!)

You are well rounded, with a complete perspective on life. (I think so, too!)

You are solid and dependable. You are loyal, and people can count on you. (Real!)

At times, you can be a bit too serious. You tend to put too much pressure on yourself. (I do???)

You are very open. You communicate well, and you connect with other people easily. (The last line, not so much. They say I often talk so fast like an armalite!)

You are a naturally creative person. Ideas just flow from your mind. (I AM!!!)

A true chameleon, you are many things at different points in your life. You are very adaptable. (Yes! Like I'm a mother, a career woman, a wife, a student, a grand-daughter, a daughter-in-law, a sister, a friend... to some, a monster!!! Geeezzzzz!!!)

You are friendly, charming, and warm. You get along with almost everyone. (Nah-uh!!! Itsy-bitsy!)

You work hard not to rock the boat. Your easy going attitude brings people together. (Slight!)

At times, you can be a little flaky and irresponsible. But for the important things, you pull it together. (I am!!!)

You are relaxed, chill, and very likely to go with the flow. (Not much!!!)

You are light hearted and accepting. You don't get worked up easily. (I AM -- in caps lock!!!)

Well adjusted and incredibly happy, many people wonder what your secret to life is. (I am happy, but not much... especially in a chaotic world. senti-senti-sic-sic-sob-sob!!!)

You are very intuitive and wise. (Uh-huh!!!) You understand the world better than most people. (This is hard to claim. What do you think?)

You also have a very active imagination. You often get carried away with your thoughts. (I do! I do! I do!)

You are prone to a little paranoia and jealousy. You sometimes go overboard in interpreting signals. (No comment!!!)

Nyahahahahaha!!! The last lines are soooooo TRUE!!! Maybe, I got this from my work as a Counselor -- reading-between-the-lines stuff!

This thing is cute, eh! Got it from

Sep 2, 2008

A Mug of Water and A Quake Enhances Memory

From: Quintos, Mary Catherine
10:21 AM

“Congrats, Jo! Galing, ah!” ;-)

That was Kate’s text message which I was able to read by half passed eleven.

The first word… I felt numbness.

Then my toes got some tingles.

Then my fingers came fidgeting.

Then I started jumping and shouting and laughing and crying all at once.

Arleen came from the other cubicle… shocked with how I was acting.

Students passing by were staring questioningly, too… but they kept their smiles to themselves. Or just maybe, they were too polite to tell me how crazy-looking I was.

But what the heck! I don’t care. Don’t care a bit.

Exactly a month ago, I had a pile of books, photocopied notes, course syllabus and anything I could get from my cabinet, from friends, from the bookstore and from my supportive MAGAC adviser on my table… table in my cubicle, table in my study, table in the dining, divan near the kitchen, on my bed, and even under my bed.

Two weeks before that, I passed my application for the board examination at PRC Baguio.

But two weeks thereafter, I haven’t read a single line of any introduction of any of the materials under my perusal.

Then, I only had three weeks…

God knows how I squeezed in all the words in my mentally-challenged brain in a weeks time. (Yeah, God gave me just a week to realize I have to do something, or else…)

August 21-22, 2008.

Judgment Day.

Then there was “Luker”.

Then restless nights came as I wait for the result. During those times I was able to get some sleep, I had nightmares. (Picture the suffering!??)

Then today came.

And Kate’s text message.

Ahhhhhhh!!! Sweet success!

I have come to conclude that the following leads you somewhere:

1. tons of prayer,
2. a lot of guts,
3. a little pressure to make it tolerable,
4. some procrastination (I did this through sleep),
5. a good deal of common sense for unexpected and inevitable circumstances,
6. a que-sera-sera attitude (Got it from my beloved Mom’s lullaby… sure she’s one happy and 7. proud Mom as she looks down on me now!)
7. blank stares over a pile of reading materials,
8. a mug of water before squeezing in some info,
9. a wrap of Quake, a chocolate-coated muffin everyday or make it twice a day to become more effective, and
10. blogging!!!!!!

Believe me, this list works. It gave me two professional licenses in a year! You can disarrange it according to how it suits you.

Now these I say are my OFFICIAL MEMORY ENHANCERS!!!

CABAnata 21: I am a Licensed GUIDANCE COUNSELOR

Guidance Counselor Licensure Examination Results August 2008

The Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) announces that 84 out of 140 passed the Guidance Counselor Licensure Examination given by the Board of Guidance and Counseling.

The members of the Board of Guidance and Counseling are Lily Rosqueta-Rosales, Officer-in-Charge; and Luzviminda S. Guzman, Member.

Registration for the issuance of Professional Identification Card (ID) and Certificate of Registration will be announced later. Those who will register are required to bring the following: duly accomplished Oath Form or Panunumpa ng Propesyonal, current Community Tax Certificate (cedula), 2 pieces passport size picture (colored with white background and complete nametag), 1 piece 1" x 1" picture (colored with white background and complete nametag), 2 sets of metered documentary stamps, and 1 short brown envelope with name and profession; and to pay the Initial Registration Fee of P600 and Annual Registration Fee of P450 for 2008-2011. Successful examinees should personally register and sign in the Roster of Registered Professionals.

The oathtaking ceremony of the successful examinees in the said examination as well as the previous ones who have not taken their Oath of Professional will be held before the Board on Sunday, September 28, 2008, at 1:30 in the afternoon, at the Centennial Hall, Manila Hotel, One Rizal Park, Manila.



CONGRATULATIONS to all of us who made History in the field of GUIDANCE and COUNSELING here in the Philippines!!!

CABAnata 20: I am a Licensed TEACHER

May 2, 2008
LET Exam Results for April 2008 Secondary Level

Roll of Successful Examinees in the
L.E.T. - SECONDARY - All Regions
Held on APRIL 6, 2008
Released on APRIL 30, 2008

Page: 39 of 76
Seq. No. N a m e


Sep 1, 2008

Kamikaze Me... A Free Spirit

Kamikaze (Kamikaze literally: "God-wind", "God speed", "light wind", "spirit-wind" or "divinity-wind"; common translation: "divine wind") is a word of Japanese origin, which in English usually refers to the suicide attacks by military aviators from the Empire of Japan against Allied shipping, in the closing stages of the Pacific campaigns of World War II, to destroy as many warships as possible.

The official Japanese term for these attacks was tokubetsu kōgeki tai ("Special Attack Units"), but the word shinpū (also meaning "divine wind"; another reading of the kanji for kamikaze) was also used for the suicide units. Though the Japanese government did not use the pronunciation kamikaze, it was commonly used by ordinary people, to whom it was considerably more familiar.

I first encountered the word from Jessica Zafra's Twisted Edition and thought to myself, "There are a lot of Filipino drivers who give their passengers a "kamikaze ride".

Now I have the chance to re-think and reflect over the word after more or less ten years because today marks the first of "Mondays with ME" (as I decide it would be...) and it's 11:00pm and I haven't thought of any relevant subject to write about. And so the word bugs me like a ............................................................

Can't find the right words. (lol!!!)

So I just typed in the word on the yahoo search engine and "Whoalla!" ... the word appeared the nth series. But since I am a Wiki-child, I advanced my reading through the Wiki pages and so the italics above came out.

The first few lines struck me. Really hit me hard right straight at my jaw! Nice punch, eh! (the succeeding didn't surprise me though) but the "God-wind", the "God-speed", "light wind", "spirit wind", and "Divinity wind" just made me stare at my monitor with much awe.

I mean, "God-wind"... literally, I interpret it as "God is in the wind" just how I always thought He is everytime I ride my bus and widely open my windows and let the breeze brush through my bare skin.

"God-speed"... just how speedy God can be? Well, our thoughts are still running but He already knows what will happen next. And we say "God speed" when a love one will leave us along with our warmest good-bye kiss or hugs!

"Light wind"... indeed the wind is so light it can carry our inner waves and touch other people's energy -- which I term psychological space. Our temperament even affects nature's future with our emission of either positive or negative energies; global warming, that is.

"Spirit wind"... so if God is in the wind, thus the wind is alive. It has a spirit of its own. Like any other creature, great and small... seen and unseen... we are connected or should I say, we are ONE.

"Divinity wind"... and so be it! The Divine intercedes. He is the giver of life.

Henceforth I conclude with conviction... "The next time I ride my bus, kamikaze ride is not the right term but KAMIKAZE ME for like the wind, God is in me... who I am can swiftly encourage or kill another wounded soul... a Divine power works through me... and my spirit is free...

Free to LIVE.

Free to LOVE.

Free to LEARN.

And thus again... I re-write my life.

Aug 29, 2008

CABAnata 19: The LUKER Fever!

This is my first entry after daring to make a step forward. And today marks the 7th day after the first ever licensure exam for Guidance and Counseling in the Philippines.

Seven long days of anxiety for the 160 of us who dared to make history… our 7th day suffering the “Luker fever”.

The two-day board exam started last August 21, 2008 held at Manuel L. Quezon University, Quiapo, Manila. The experience of just being in the busy streets of Quiapo, passing by the miraculous church where several old ladies unconsciencely sell “pamparegla” (instigate menstruation) roots soaked in whatever liquid that was and goon-looking men hiding themselves behind innocent-looking children waiting for prey was already an ordeal for me to go through. What more would answering 675 items with just a ten-year experience in the field to equip me bring out in me? Oooooohhhhh… the “Luker fever” I guess!

You bet I had the most… I mean, one of the most significant experiences in my thirty years of existence (Yeah! Yeah… I’m thirty years old. Not so young anymore!) during the board exam – it’s being introduced to “Luker” for the first time. And what a heck of an experience!

Have you been subjected to an overwhelming embarrassment all your life?

Oh well, in my case, the only consolation for my embarrassment was… errrr… so far, that is, was that my level of embarrassment wasn’t known to others.

Right that you are! I was caught off guard when I encountered “Luker” and his/her theory encapsulated in almost 10% of the questions in that milestone called “board examination”!

In my previous blog, I mentioned with pride that I have used eclectic counseling for almost ten years now. There are my favorite Person-Centered Approach by Rogers and Existential Theory by May and Frankl and several others. There is also the all-time controversial Psychosexual Orientation by Freud and his famous libido concept; Erikson’s Psychosocial Development; Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs; Piaget’s Cognitive Development; Developmental Tasks by Havighurst; the Behaviorist perspective by Pavlov, Skinner and Bandura; Williamson’s Trait-Factor Counseling; Transactional Analysis by Berne; Glasser’s Reality Therapy; REBT by Ellis; Psychosocial Learning by Krumboltz; and a dozen more like Super, Parsons, Roe, Gottfredson, Dawis, Holland, Brown, Young, Mitchelle, Gysbers, Ginzburg and Ginsberg for career pathing. But “LUKER”???

Oh “Luker”! Don’t even know if he is a he or she is a she!!!

Haven’t really met him/her even by-passingly in any psychology-related or guidance and counseling book… more so of his/her theory and developmental stages in counseling.

So how did I answer the almost 10% question?

Easy meat!

I used a bit of common sense.

Spiced with my analytic persona.

And then 99% of “ini-mini-my-ni-moh” stuff!

Sure that’s neat for someone who would like to make history, eh!

But I’m sure as heaven could witness, I am experiencing the “Luker fever” up to this very moment!

Maybe the only way to lower the tension is the board exam result to be posted -- the “gate-keeping” perspective -- either opening some fresh and new heights for me or ending my Guidance and Counseling career.

Duh! Anyway I already have my Special Ed license, it won’t matter much anyway!


Hey, I’m not sour-graping!

Just being realistic anyhow.

But to anyone who happen to pass by my site and read this entry, hope you’ll bridge the gap between me and LUKER!!!

Aug 15, 2008

CABAnata 18: Next Big Step to Be "I am"

Career development involves one’s whole life, not just occupation. As such, it concerns the whole person… More than that, it concerns him or her in the ever-changing contexts of his or her life. The environmental pressures and constraints, the bonds that tie him or her to significant others, responsibilities to children and aging parents, the total structure of one’s circumstances are also factors that must be understood and reckoned with. In these terms, career development and personal development converge. Self and circumstances – evolving, changing, unfolding in mutual interaction – constitute the focus and the drama of career development (Wolfe & Kolb, 1980, pp. 1-2).

“Working lives” and “working histories” – two powerful words, shaping and re-shaping who we are.

This week, will mark another milestone in my life. Career pathing. Life pathing.

After passing the Licensure Exam for Teachers last April with a whooping 84% equivalent to a two-week self-review, I have accepted another challenge – professionally that is. I mean… I have chosen to take a rather courageous step in conquering another licensure examination – the first ever Licensure Exam for Guidance Counselors in the Philippines.

But the pressure is stronger this time. At least when I took the LET then, I had an excuse of not passing. I can easily say even in a bitchy way, “Oh well, I only had my Education units via the Open University System. Modules didn’t teach me well. And I only had a two-week review in my self-contained asylum.” Isn’t that neat?

Yeah! This time is different. B.S. Psychology is my undergraduate degree. I earned my Master’s Degree in Guidance and Counseling in 2006 from an accredited state university. Guidance and Counseling is my career for ten years now.

I have been practicing eclectic counseling as far as I can remember. Maybe I have mastered the use of REBT and script analysis throughout my practice. I can recite with ease the counseling techniques from cognitive to affective to behavioral domains. Theories? I know them by heart including the theorists. Though Rogers and Frankl are my favorites.

An update? There is the Neurolinguistic Programming. The pioneer in the Philippines is Dr. Imelda Villar. And luckily, I have a copy of all her books.

I have slept over making a module in group process. Consensus theory. Conflict theory. T-groups. I even tried combining my knowledge in Adjunctive Therapeutic Techniques with Group Dynamics. And it works.

I do career counseling every now and then. I can draw with clarity Super’s and Krumboltz’s and Ginzberg’s and Peterson’s career guidance models. Thanks to Parsons who started it all.

Starting January through December, I deal with more than a dozen psychological tests -- from the simple SLU-Verbal and Nonverbal Intelligence Tests to the somewhat complicated Otis-Lennon School Ability Test and Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale; from the easily interpreted Emotions Profile Index to the 16 Personality Factors Test to a seemingly difficult to interpret Adjustment Scales for Children and Adolescents. Item Analysis. Norming. I go over the process year after year after year.

And of course, with the Guidance Program, all these are possible. Ah! The board exam includes the development, administration and maintenance and evaluation of a Guidance Program. What can I say? I just submitted today the final form of our TSDP Challenge or the Tri-lineal Strategic Developmental Plan Challenge. That makes the program developmental in nature.

But my! The pressure is on me. If I fail…

Yeah! If I fail…

Can’t fill-in the blank this time.

But honestly, whether I fail or hit the 75% passing rate, I shall treat myself for accepting the challenge – the challenge of partaking in a milestone in Guidance and Counseling history in the Philippines.

Imagine, even if I fail, at least I can say that I was the first “guinea pig” who failed in the board exam! Nice, eh!!!

But I hope and pray (and hope you’d pray with me and for me, too) that the good Lord shall open my long-term memory bank so I can pick out the correct data from my compartmentalized brain.

This is my career.

This is my choice.

I decided to be here.

Myself. The integration of my personality and society – past experiences, present and future motivations made all these possible.

This is my life.

I am “I”.

Aug 13, 2008

Tuesdays with Morrie (Mondays with Me)

In the South American rainforest, there is a tribe called the Desana, who see the world as a fixed quantity of energy that flows between all creatures. Every birth must therefore engender a death, and every death brings forth another birth. This way, the energy of the world remains complete.

When they hunt for food, the Desana know that the animals they kill will leave a hole in the spiritual well. But that hole will be filled, they believe, by the souls of the Desana hunters when they die. Were there no men dying, there would be no birds and fish being born. I like this idea. Morrie likes it, too. The closer he gets to good-bye, the more he seems to feel we are all creatures in the same forest. What we take, we must replenish.

"It's only fair," he says.

I'm reading two books in a row which I started the other Saturday; both of which is written by Mitch Albom. You guessed it right if you are a fan of this renowned author – Tuesdays with Morrie and The Five People You Meet in Heaven.

It seems I cannot have much time savoring the content of these books. I read one on my way to school and on my way home. Yeah, my usual routine. I read inside the bus. Sorry to Dr. Guani, I never followed her advice. Does that make me a bad patient? Sort of, eh!

But what did I get from reading through Morrie inside a moving vehicle? Headache? Yeah! Headache and nausea. I don't care.

Go back to the above italics, isn't it amazing to know that we are all interconnected? God created you and me and anyone and anything else in this world for a purpose. Not just out of a childish whimsical chuvanes of an ultimate showing off of power. I am here because I was destined to be here. You were born because you were meant to be. A blade of grass grew out of proportion in your neatly manicured lawn because it was preordained by nature to be there. There is meaning in every swaying of the leaves. There is purpose in every drop of dew. There is significance in every lighted fire. There is a consequence for every word spoken no matter how trivial. There is one rhythm the Earth follows. And for a single beat that falters, everything falls out of order.

Death? Life? It is part of the cycle. It is part of the rhythm. It is the beat that all human and animals and plants and even the simplest of all creations – both living and non-living things – everything fills in a destined place, and when it vacates its place, something would fill in the vacated hole.

What the heck is this hole? Simple. It is that key note when left unattended would erode and pull everything else, destroying the beauty and balance of nature. Leaving a vacuum of nothingness.

"I heard a nice little story the other day," Morrie says. He closes his eyes for a moment and I wait.

"Okay. The story is about a little wave, bobbing along in the ocean, having a grand old time. he's enjoying the wind and the fresh air – until he notices the other waves in front of him, crashing against the shore."

"'My God, this is terrible,' the wave says. 'Look what's going to happen to me!'

"Then along comes another wave. It sees the first wave, looking grim, and it says to him, 'Why do you look so sad?'

"The first wave says, 'You don't understand! We're all going to crash! All of us waves are going to be nothing! Isn't it terrible?'

"The second wave says, 'No, you don't understand. You're not a wave; you're part of the ocean.'"

I smile. Morrie closes his eyes again.

"Part of the ocean," he says, "part of the ocean." I watch him breathe, in and out, in and out.

Indeed, we are all part of a great ocean. A greater plan. That even after death, eternity awaits us. Only the physical of who we are dies. And decays. But the wonder of our creation merges with a far reaching purpose. Whatever that may be… I'll just see you when we get there!

Yeah… when our time comes. When we crash to the shore. When we join all other waves. When we realize we are home in our oceans.

And after closing the last page of Mitch's lessons with Morrie, I break loose the page of the other book so I can have a good taste of its substance – trying to find out how is it to have another day with a loved one.

Next issue, I shall post my review for "For One More Day". Feeling so spooky? Hope not. Because Morrie said, "It is only when we learn how to die that we learn how to live."

"Why so?" Again he said, "Everyone knows they're going to die, but nobody believes it. If we did, we would do things differently."

"How?" you may ask. I say, "If you knew that you will have to die at exactly six o'clock this evening, I bet you won't honk and curse the old lady crossing passed your CRV. Instead, you'll move out from the comforts of your car and lead that lady where she is headed to."

Now, that's what's makes death help you to become more human. Adding an extra "e" so you become humane.

For the next part of this post -- "Mondays with Me",

Aaaahhhh.... I guess you have to wait until Monday!

Aug 10, 2008

The Five People I Might (Want to) Meet in Heaven

You see, when my time comes, I want to be as prepared as possible that even the people I would meet in Heaven is already playing in my wild imagination. But actually, death is still something I don't want to entertain because I have two little kids I wish to see grow and accept the world's challenges in my presence. Though creepy, the two books by Albom I just read made me realize that life is better lived if one considers death as something that comes unwarrantably.

Death distinguisheth not the kings from the subject, the wealthy man from the pauper, the old man from the youth, the wise man from the fool. Death maketh equals of all men. The size of the palace, the speed of the chariot, the title of thy breastplate and the gold thy possesseth matter nary a bit. Death surely conquereth thee when thy hour is nigh. It is thy truthfulness to thine conscience and loyalty to thy God that shall save thee from the wrath of eternal fire.

Death is indeed indispensable. It comes like a thief in the night. Or even at daybreak that even the most powerful has no authority to command death to depart from him. And if I shall meet my Creator, these are the people I might meet or say want to meet:

1. my Father

This time, I won't be afraid to disclose my anger with him. Afterwhich, I would tell him how much I love him and longed for his presence in my growing up years. If given the chance to choose a father, I would still choose him. Why? Because the blood, the genes, every little fiber that traverses into my system that made me ME comes from him. He who has left me wounded but remained the father whom the Father had bestowed to bring me to life. Therefore, we are both blessed to be the father and daughter that God planned us to be. The pain and suffering that he has caused the child in me to grow immaturely and carry the burden as head of the family was destined to be for without these, I won't be as strong as I am now. Decisive. Principled. These are the lessons he has taught me.

2. my Mother

God made a woman soft as a rose's petals, shed tears to wash away the pain and a tender touch that can encourage even the most coward of all beings. This woman became my mother. She has the gentleness of a shepherdess, the calmness of the breeze but the firmness of an authority to respect. That of which, guided as to grow in full bloom in the absence of a father. The merit of bringing in harmony the hatred that filled our hearts to something of worth is my Mother. And I owe her this life of warmth and compassion behind a facade of firmness.

3. someone I don't expect to see

Whoever this person is might have been someone who has taught me something. And that something is what I am looking forward to of knowing when that time comes.

4. Carl Rogers (just a product of my imagination)

This renowned psychologist might tell me that he has taught me how to be more affective in my approach as a Counselor and Educator – to talk more with the heart than by always trying to rationalize things (Peace Mr. Ellis, I'm not referring primarily with your REBT stuff!). Mr. Rogers had made me realize that feelings are exclusive to every person. And that, a counselor should see beyond what is visible – from the nature of a client's stare, to his fidgeting fingers, to her breathing, and her feigned smile, to his eye movement, with the droop of her shoulder, or in the animation in his voice and the stature of his or her very own words. Know thyself. Person-centered -- not only the person of the client, but my own personhood as a counselor-educator. As the cliche goes: You cannot give what you do not have! So the "I" in my encounters is the most powerful tool to make or break a client. Self-actualization. Thanks for the powerful words.

5. a former reader of this blogsite (just another sinister hallucination… don't feel creepy, eh!)

This someone has encouraged me to write even the most stupid of my ideas. I may just have an average of two readers a day eversince I started this site but these patient souls who so everyday make it there habit to read a line or two inspire me to make use of these words called Byblos originally created by the Egyptians that of which the Greeks of long ago has modified adding five more letters (the vowels) to the bunch of letter symbols which they baptized as the alphabet. A name now used to define the new form of writing which I over-use (I hope not abuse and misuse) to elucidate the core of my existence -- that of which I am created for. Thanks to you who has taught me the virtue of just being ME.

How about you guys, who do you think will your five people be? Let me know so we can write them in this blank canvass others call BLOG but I name LIFE…

Jul 17, 2008

The Five People You Meet in Heaven

"All endings are also beginnings. We just don't know it at the time…"

From the author of the phenomenal number one bestseller Tuesdays with Morrie, comes this enchanting, beautifully written novel that explores a mystery only heaven can unfold.

Eddie is a grizzled war veteran who feels trapped in the toil of his father before him, fixing rides at the seaside amusement park. As the park has changed over the years – from the Loop-the-Loop to the Pipeline Plunge – so, too, has Eddie changed, from the optimistic youth to the embittered old age. The war left him wounded. His days tumbled into one another, a mix of loneliness, regret and sad dreams of what could have been.

Then, on his eighty-third birthday, Eddie dies in a tragic accident, trying to save a little girl from a falling cart. With his final breath, he feels two small hands in his – and then nothing. He awakens in the afterlife, where he learns that heaven is not a lush Garden of Eden, but a place where your earthly life is explained to you by five people who were in it. These people may have been loved ones or distant strangers. Yet each of them changed their path forever.

As the story builds to its stunning conclusion, Eddie desperately seeks redemption in the still unknown last act of his life: Was it a heroic success or a devastating failure? The answer, which comes from the most unlikely of sources, is as magical and inspirational as a glimpse of heaven itself.

In The Five People You Meet in Heaven, Mitch Albom gives us an astoundingly original story that will change everything we have ever thought of about afterlife – and the meaning of our lives here on earth.

(taken from the book)

Last March, I was looking for an inspirational book where I can lift a passage or two to be my springboard for my pep talk. I ran my fingers through the Mihalic collection in the library and browsed through their pages. I copied a line and related it to my topic which is ending up the school year with a bang! And welcoming the summer with God still the center. Ain't that cool stuff? I really am a product of a Catholic school from pre-elementary to college and now working as a counselor in a school ran by ICM sisters.

In the process though, I opened up my concern to our principal and she so generously handed me a pile of books (as in a real pile because it took me two days to just look into the gist of each book). From there, I borrowed Tuesdays with Morrie not for my talk but for the summer (2007, so this makes a delayed entry) but I only found time reading it just almost a month ago. Falling in love with Mitch, I walked myself to the library and asked if they have other books written by him. And so our librarian handed me The Five People You Meet in Heaven which a read at once though I was still finishing the last two chapters of Morrie.

The book didn't fail me. just a few leaves away from the cover page, I was already crying. And mind you, I was in the bus when my tears kept on welling from my eyes and I told myself, "To hell with the rest of the passengers!", who were unabashedly staring at me like I'm some kind of an alien from an unknown pit of corny lunatics.

And to blow your bubble (of those who haven't read the book yet), here are the five people Eddie met in heaven and the lessons each of them has imparted to Eddie, of course unknowingly to him. Aren't we all like that? We usually lack the wisdom to read between the events happening to us and question why these things happen to us – blaming the Lord and other people for our own glamorous mistakes. I am guilty I must admit of this mortal felony.

The Blue Man who worked with young Eddie's father in the amusement park was his first person. Eddie didn't know him personally, but Eddie caused his death. How? I will leave it to your own reading for some thrill if you plan to read the book.


That there are no random acts. That we are all connected. That you can no more separate one life from another than you can separate a breeze from the wind.

The second person Eddie meets in heaven is the Captain of the troop he belonged to when he was a soldier and fought during the World War II in the Philippines (this is one thing I liked in the book, our country played a very important role in the main character's life – not simply important, but it caused the entire twist in Eddie's life).


Sacrifice is a part of life. It's supposed to be. It's something to aspire to. Little sacrifices. Big sacrifices… Sometimes when you sacrifice something precious, you're not really losing it. You're just passing it on to someone else.

Eddie's third person is Ruby whose name is written on the wrecked arc at the entrance of the pier leading to the amusement park where Eddie works. She was the woman of whom the original owner – her husband – offered the park as sign of his undying love. Eddie doesn't know her. His only recollection of her is an old worn-out picture of her stacked with other grease-covered stuff in the pier's store room.


All parents damage their children. It cannot be helped. Youth, like pristine glass, absorbs the prints of its handlers. Some parents smudge, others crack, a few shatter childhoods completely into jagged little pieces beyond repair…

Holding anger is a poison. It eats you from inside. We think that hating is a weapon that attacks the person who harmed us. But hatred is a curved blade. And the harm we do, we do to ourselves. Forgive.

Why did she say this? My stand though remains the same, get a copy of the book so you get to experience the same intense feelings as I did. I might ruin the track if I make a recount of the story.

Marguerite is Eddie's fourth person – his wife. She died young, forty-seven. She died because of some drunken irresponsible kids. But Eddie thought then that he caused her death. So his life crumbled into a meaningless monochromatic hubbub.


Lost love is still love. It takes a different form, that's all. You can't see their smile or bring them food or tousle their hair or move them around a dance floor. But when those senses weaken, another heightens. Memory. Memory becomes your partner. You nurture it. You hold it. You dance with it.

Life has to end. Love doesn't.

And the fifth person Eddie got to meet in heaven is Tala – the small shadow inside the nipa hut Eddie set on fire after he and his comrades escaped from their captors. When he saw her outline beyond the dancing flames, he ran through the fire and wanted to save whoever was there, but the Captain feared for his life, so he stopped him by shooting his leg (Gosh! I really can't help it... at least to your advantage, I have related a bit of the Captain's significance in Eddie's life so you have to read on).


Children. You keep them safe. You make good for me.

Is where you're supposed to be.

Intrigued with the last of Eddie's five lessons? Again, as I have said, you need to read the book. I bet, you'll have the same realization as Eddie did and I did.

How about you, who do you think would your five people be? And what lessons in life do you think they carry along with them?

Mine… I will have to make another entry. This is already quite a long one.

"Heaven is when you get to make sense of your yesteryears."