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.

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."

Jul 12, 2008

Sidney Sheldon Timeline: A Tribute to One of My Favorite Authors

1917 Sidney Sheldon is born in Chicago, Illinois.

1937 Sheldon arrives in Hollywood where he finds work at Universal Studios as a script reader for $17.00 a week. With collaborator, Ben Roberts, he also writes a number of "B" movies.

1941 Sheldon joins the Air Force serving in World War II as a pilot.

1942 Sheldon has three musical hits simultaneously playing on Broadway - the revised "Merry Widow," "Jackpot" and "Dream with Music". Mid-'40's Sheldon returns to Hollywood where he begins a long career as a successful screenwriter with MGM and Paramount Studios.

1948 Sheldon wins an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for "The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer" starring Cary Grant and Myrna Loy. The film also wins the 1947 Box Office Blue Ribbon Award for its screenplay.

Sheldon is awarded the Screen Writers Guild Award for Best Musical for "Easter Parade," starring Judy Garland and Fred Astaire. He receives the Box Office Blue Ribbon Award for its screenplay, as well.

1951 Sheldon receives the Screen Writers Guild Award for Best Musical for "Annie Get Your Gun," starring Betty Hutton and Howard Keel.

1959 Returning briefly to Broadway, Sheldon wins a Tony Award as co-author of the musical, "Redhead," starring Gwen Verdon.

1963 Sheldon begins a new facet in his writing career with the creation of the "Patty Duke" television show. He writes an unprecedented 78 scripts in three years for the series.

1964 Sheldon creates, produces and writes "I Dream of Jeannie" in his co-production capacity with Screen Gems. He writes all but two dozen scripts in five years, using three pseudonyms, while simultaneously writing scripts for "The Patty Duke Show."

1967 Sheldon receives an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Writing Achievement in Comedy for the hit series "I Dream of Jeannie."

1969 Sheldon's first novel, The Naked Face, is published and wins an Edgar Allan Poe Award from the Mystery Writers of America. -- "I lost my original copy, but my brother, with his support to my fetish has provided me with another copy."

1974 Sheldon's second book, The Other Side of Midnight, hits the New York Times bestseller list, going on to hold the paper's then record of 52 weeks on the charts.

1975 Sheldon's A Stranger in the Mirror is published and becomes a bestseller in both hard and soft cover. -- "I sometimes feel this - staring flat at the mirror, wondering who my reflection is."

1977 Sheldon's fourth novel, Bloodline becomes a #1 bestseller.

1980 Rage of Angels is published and goes to #1 on the bestseller lists the week before its official publication date, staying at the top for 18 weeks and on the lists for 42 weeks. -- "One of my all time favorites!"

1982 Sheldon's sixth novel, Master of the Game, debuts at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list and stays there for 11 weeks. -- "Talk about being special..."

1983 "Sidney Sheldon Day" is celebrated by Mayoral proclamation in his hometown of Chicago.

1986 Another Sheldon #1 bestseller, If Tomorrow Comes, is published. -- "I ask this question, too... what if it comes? Am I ready for the challenge?"

1987 Advance orders for Sheldon's eighth novel, Windmills of the Gods, are the heaviest in publisher, William Morrow's history. The novel debuts at #1 two days before its official release date. -- "When will the windmills stop?"

1988 Sheldon's novel, The Sands of Time, debuts on the New York Times bestseller list before its official release date. Advance orders exceed one million copies. -- "Another favorite. The first ever book that made me cry a river."

Sheldon receives a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

1990 Sheldon's tenth novel, Memories of Midnight, a sequel to his first blockbuster hit, has a record first printing for publisher, William Morrow of 1.1 million copies.

1991 Sheldon's international bestseller, The Doomsday Conspiracy, is published. -- "I almost believed in aliens. Well, I still have some thoughts of it, though."

1992 The Stars Shine Down is published and sets record breaking sales for the author. -- "Will it still shine over me if it did?"

1993 Sheldon receives the prestigious Prix Literature 1993 at the Deauville Film Festival.

1994 Sidney Sheldon publishes his thirteenth novel, Nothing Lasts Forever, a dazzling novel that sweeps readers into the frenetic world of a big San Francisco hospital. Sheldon is named National Spokesman for Libraries For The Future. -- "Indeed it is. Happiness. Sadness. Failures. Successes. Everything. The only permanent thing on earth is change. And so our life cycle goes."

1995 Sheldon is honored by libraries across the country, the American Library Association and The Los Angeles Public Library, with their Honorable Citizen Award. Sidney Sheldon's fourteenth novel, Morning, Noon & Night is published. -- "Another worth a thousand reads."

1997 Sheldon is honored by The Guinness Book of World Records as the Most Translated Author in the World. The Best Laid Plans is published with an initial printing of one million copies. Best Laid Plans hits New York Times Bestseller list

1998 Tell Me Your Dreams is published and hits the New York Times Bestseller list. -- "This made me feel more like a real psychotherapist. One of my dreams in the making. Not much Freudian. I better like Adler and Rogers and Piaget and Ellis and Erikson."

1999 Sidney Sheldon honored with "Great Authors of the Twentieth Century" Stamp and it is declared Sidney Sheldon Day by Mayor of Beverly Hills

2000 The Sky is Falling published. -- "A real good novel."

2004 Are You Afraid of the Dark? published. -- "Sometimes I am. But this is where I feel God's presence the most."

2005 Sidney Sheldon's memoir, The Other Side of Me, is published. -- "The last of his book to be published before his material departure. And I have to get a copy of this book to complete my set of Sidney Sheldon collection."

2007 Sidney Sheldon passed away on January 30, 2007. His wife, Alexandra, was by his side.

To the man, the author who has first captured my heart to read novels... I am forever grateful of the wonderful travels you gave me. My mind and my heart and my soul journeyed with each character - from Manila to the different states in the US to France to historic places in Europe and to all giant and little alleys in the world. I cried with every sorrow and took joy in every triumph of good over evil. I sighed in every love story that never was and laughed at every detail of foolishness you played with your pen. Thank you for carrying me through every end of the chapter and every closing of the tales you told. I really am.

Have a peaceful rest. Your tale I know had a real happy ending...
Timeline is courtesy of:

Jul 10, 2008

Climb "The Fifth Mountain" with Me

With The Fifth Mountain, Paulo Coelho turns his talent for spiritual fiction to the story of the Biblical prophet Elijah. Like a blossoming flower, Coelho opens up the brief account of Elijah's flight from Gilead and his time in Zarephath. He deepens the prophet's character by revealing the thoughts, doubts, and discoveries that Elijah must have experienced as he struggled to find his course in life amidst the confusion of war and political turmoil. When being a prophet of the God of the Israelites is like a warrant for your death, concerns about your chosen path are sure to arise. Perhaps it is this believability in Coelho's retelling that makes it so evocative, or it may be the bit of Old Testament wisdom he brings to popular literature of the 20th century: "the words of the lord are written in the world around us. Merely be attentive to what happens in your life, and you will discover where."

- A review I carelessly cut and paste from (please pardon me from doing so)

This is one of my favorite novels. Actually, I love all Coelho's books. And I hope, with the four lessons I learned from this novel, you can at least pick out one for you to live by. I wrote these lines from the book itself because I was afraid to re-phrase them for fear of not capturing the dramatic lessons in its full context/essence. I find them very timely with my recent decision-making hubbub. And so, read on...


They continued on their way. The boy asked why the soldiers were training so much.

"It's not just the soldiers, but your mother too, and I, and those who follow their heart. Everything in life demands training."

"Even being a prophet?"

"Even to understand angels. We so want to talk with them that we don't listen to what they're saying. It's not easy to listen: in our prayers we always try to say where we have erred, and what we should like to happen to us. But the Lord already knows all of this, and sometimes asks us only to hear what the Universe is telling us. And to be patient."

The boy looked at him in surprise. He probably understood nothing, but even so Elijah felt the need to continue the conversation. Perhaps when he came to manhood, one of these words might assist him in a difficult situation.

"All life's battles teach us something, even those we lose. When you grow up, you'll discover that you have defended lies, deceived yourself, or suffered for foolishness. If you're a good warrior, you will not blame yourself for this, but neither will you allow mistakes to repeat themselves."


A child can always teach an adult three things: to be happy for no reason, to always be busy with something, and to know how to demand with all his might that which he desires.


For in the final analysis, He had given His children the greatest of all gifts: the capacity to choose and determine their acts.


"How can a man cast from his heart the pain of a loss?" asked a woman.

"No. But he can find joy in something won."

Elijah turned, pointed to the top of the Fifth Mountain, forever covered with clouds. The destruction of the walls had made it visible from the middle of the square.

"I believe in One God, though you think that the gods dwell in those clouds on the Fifth Mountain. I don't want to argue whether my God is stronger or more powerful; I would speak not of our differences but of our similarities. Tragedy has united us in a single sentiment: despair. Why has that come to pass? Because we thought that everything was answered and decided in our souls, and we could accept no changes."

"Both you and I belong to trading nations, but we also know how to act as warriors," he continued. "And a warrior is always aware of what is worth fighting for. He does not go into combat over things that do not concern him, and he never wastes his time over provocations."

"A warrior accepts defeat. He does not treat it a s a matter of indifference, nor does he attempt to transform it into a victory. The pain of defeat is bitter to him; he suffers at indifference and becomes desperate with loneliness. After all this has passed, he licks his wounds and begins everything anew. A warrior knows that war is made of many battles; he goes on."

"Tragedies do happen. We can discover the reason, blame others, imagine how different our lives would be had they not occurred. But none of that is important; they did occur, and so be it. From there onward, we must put aside the fear that they awoke in us and begin to rebuild."

I think, the lines spilled them all. I need not say a word...

Jul 8, 2008

The Little Prince, Life Space and Book Review

"One sees clearly only with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes."

Familiar with the lines?

I'll keep you guessing if you're not. So just read on…


I have heard a lot of this term in my four years in Psychology. It didn't stop there. The more I encountered these two meaningful words when I went to graduate college. And more of it, I use in my analyses during my counseling sessions. Though I must say, with all honesty, I'm not an expert in uncovering such. Just a little bit!

But what do these two short words mean?

First, let us define life.

Life means, according to my Microsoft Encarta is existence in the physical world. It also refers to the whole duration of one's being able to breath, take in food, adapt to the environment, grow and reproduce. It may also refer to the period during which something continues to function. And it denotes a way of living characteristic of a particular group or individual.

Secondly, let's take a closer look at the meaning of space.

Space refers to the region that lies beyond the Earth's atmosphere, and all that it contains. Thus, it also implies the region, usually of negligible density, between all celestial bodies in the universe. In addition, it can also mean the unbounded three-dimensional expanse in which all matter exists.

Putting both meaning to a more psychological perspective in defining life space, it is the bounded (Not unbounded, you have to take not of that. Because a person's life is ruled by rights where one's rights end as another's rights begin.) expanse in which a person or an individual functions, such that, all his/her personal experiences (exclusively his/hers) and other unique or distinctive characteristics absolute in him/her with all their dynamic make-up influences, controls, motivates and shapes his/her behavior, activities, thoughts, beliefs, philosophies, points of view, feelings, and all other endowment of being human.

Correct me if I am wrong because the meaning I just shared with you came from my own understanding as I get it and as I use it in my everyday practice. Anyway, this is an interactive blog. You can throw shots at me if you wish to. Just be gentle, all right!? I'm quite sensitive you, know. Argh!

But how is this in any way connected in my book review?

Have you read or heard about The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupery?

Well, this is all about it. I first saw the book from high school but didn't pay attention to even just skim read it. When I was in college, Vanessa, a close friend, mentioned it to me. Saying it is a wonderful book. She was talking about the stars (Well, I presumed she talks about it because she has a fetish on stars. I didn't know it is in any way linked to her Little Prince.) and give remarks on "what-is-essential-is-invisible-to-the-eye" stuff. "Hell, well!", I said, "Whatever!"

I came across it the next time when I watched with my family a Filipino movie where Angel Locsin received an old book from her secret admirer, that is, Richard Guttierez, entitled The Little Prince. Since then, I told myself, "What in the world is with The Little Prince that sensible people like Vanessa and Richard (the actor in his character, well, I don't know in person…) likes the book? What's in the book?" so I thought, I have to have a copy of the book. So after three years of watching the movie, thirteen years away from college, and seventeen years from high school (don't compute my age)… that soon, (Hehehehe!) that I got the chance to have a copy of the book.

Okay, enough for the recollection… let's get to business.

The Little Prince. Life space. "One sees clearly only with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes."

First scene: The writer, when he was six, has drawn a boa constrictor which ate a whole elephant. The grown-ups around him laughed at his drawing, saying it wasn't a snake, but a hat. He stopped drawing since then.

Lesson: The simplicity of a child sometimes speaks more of than what adults can. In other words, don't show your drawings to dumb grown-ups!

Second scene: The Little Prince was talking about baobabs, a kind of tree that grows too big for his planet that it can explode his planet into pieces if it is not uprooted upon its recognition that it is a baobab.

Lesson: Any bad habit starts as an exciting little adventure, that when you get to like it, it fits deep into your system like strong roots and it becomes difficult for you to unlearn it. In short, stop experimenting, there is a term called vicarious learning.

Third scene: A little planet occupied by a seemingly monarch who thinks he rules the stars and everything that inhabits his planet, where there is none that he knows of.

Lesson: Grown-ups are sometimes like that, they feel as if they have already mastered everything that they can manipulate everything, including other people. They have forgotten that authority is based first of all upon reason – reason that is morality-based, acceptable in other words, and seeks the good for not just one but for the majority, including both living and non-living things. Just a warning – "These people are dangerous!"

Fourth scene: The Little Prince moved in to the second planet which is inhabited by a very vain man who assumes every other creature is his admirer when the only creature in his planet is himself.

Lesson: Sometimes, I mean, more often that sometimes, man becomes too proud of himself that he forgets the terms "consideration" and "respect". My message, "Get real!"

Fifth scene: The third planet is inhabited by a drunkard who drinks because he feels depressed and ashamed of himself because he drinks too much.

Lesson: Man becomes so filthy. Their smuttiness more often than not is because of their own wrong doing. Simply put it, "Grown-ups are really very, very strange."

Sixth scene: The fourth planet belonged to a businessman who assumes he owns the stars because he thought of owning them first and he can put them in a bank by counting how many stars are there, writing the number in a piece of paper and keeping the paper in his drawer.

Lesson: Argh! A waste of time. Wasted life. Adults usually invest much of their effort doing not so sensible things. And they assume they do it because they are serious people. Oh come on!

Seventh scene: The fifth planet was rather extra small with a lamp and a lamplighter which is too absurd to be there because the sun shines and sets every minute, there is no need for an artificial light.

Lesson: People become so preoccupied with something they don't need. They just wake up one day, there life is almost over, but they haven't done a single act with meaning in their life. In short, "Damn!"

Eighth scene: The sixth planet was ten times bigger than the last. And there lived a geographer who holds a big book and claims that what he does is very important to humanity. But alas! He doesn't even know whether a single ocean or mountain exists in his own planet. He says, such is the work of an explorer. When asked if he too has a record of flowers, he retorted there was none because flowers are ephemeral.

Lesson: People sometimes act as this geographer. We claim we know everything. We even try to challenge the one who created us. But in the end, we can't even prove our own existence, not even the substance of our being present.

Ninth scene: At last, the Little Prince has reached Earth. But regrettably, the first creature he met was a snake. (And by God, we all know what snakes represent here on Earth!) And thus went the conversation:

Little Prince: Good evening.
Snake: Good evening.
Little Prince: What planet have I landed on?
Snake: Earth. In Africa.
Little Prince: And are there no people on Earth?
Snake: It's the desert here. There are no people in the desert. Earth is very big.
Little Prince: It's a little lonely in the desert.
Snake: It's also lonely with people.
Little Prince: You're a funny creature, no thicker than a finger.
Snake: But I'm more powerful than a king's finger.
Little Prince: You're not very powerful. You couldn't travel very far.
Snake: I can take you further than a ship. Anyone I touch, I send back to the land from which he came. But you're innocent, and you come from a star… I feel sorry for you, being so weak in this granite Earth, I can help you, someday, if you grow too homesick for your planet. I can –
Little Prince: Oh, I understand just what you mean, but why do you always speak in riddles?
Snake: I solve them all.

Lesson: Snakes are all around the planet Earth. Beware! They may fit in the shoe of wisdom or lure you with their beauty or may even entice you with exquisite colors, but as I have said, snakes will always be snakes. Keep off the bait!

Tenth scene: The Little Prince came across a blossoming rose garden where he realized her rose was not the only rose in the entire universe as what his rose claims she is. And he said to himself, "she would be very annoyed if she saw this… She would cough terribly and pretend to be dying, to avoid being laughed at. And I'd have to pretend to be nursing her; otherwise, she'd really let herself die in order to humiliate me."

Lesson: Don't be arrogant. Don't be conceited. Don't be egotistic. Don't be haughty. In short… be humble! Did I just enumerate synonymous words? Duh!

Eleventh scene: And now here comes the fox from whom the Little Prince learned that One sees clearly with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes.

Lesson: Argh! Don't be stupid! I know that you know what that means.

Twelfth scene: (I'm excited, we're almost there…) And so the Little Prince met with our author, and again, like the snake, back into the desert. "What happened there?", you may ask in equal anticipation, but let me lay this straight… blah… blah… blah… Ooooppssss! What happened? My words spill no more!

Lesson: Don't rely much on strangers. Get a copy of the book! As for that discussion on life space... well, I kinda like to hear from you before I get the dice rolling.

Jul 4, 2008

CABAnata 17: Pondering on the First Friday Mass Sermon

"Mass tomorrow?"

"Can I not just stay in my office to do all the checking of this pile of IQ tests?"

"The kids want to know their scores ASAP. They're around the office every hour from last Thursday when the test was given to them and they're driving me nuts!"

Once again, I mumbled a few more lines. Hoping my wish will be granted.

The following day -- which is today. I arrived late in school. 5 minutes late. My 2nd time of being late this week.


"Beating the deadline and yet I am always late."

"Hell! They can't blame me. I am supposed to go home at 4:30 pm but I work my butt out until 6:00 pm."

"I am supposed to be reviewing for the board exam for Counselors this August and finishing my thesis but I bring home a bunch of paperworks for the school's accreditation."

"Duh! I am supposed to be out of here but I chose not to."

All these ran through my mind in a second.

"So you think that gave you all the right to be late and not attend the first Friday mass?" whispered the better side of me.


I was flapping through my ears to drive away the little voices making a good argument in defense of my almost splitting personality, when a student bumped through me...

"Ooooppsss, sorry!"

"That was it? That was all you can say? I am in a hurry with all my worries and sorry is all you can say?"

I thought I was shouting, but I was just staring blank at the kid. Then I gathered myself.

I head on...

"C'mon, Fr. Pati is saying the mass."

Upon hearing the priest's name, I just dumped my bag inside my drawer, combed my hair a bit, checked on my gloss, got my fan and went with the flow of people to the school's covered court where mass is celebrated.

And so the sermon goes...

It was like being transported to that event when I was deciding for my future -- my family's future.

Fr. Pati concluded, " to you elected leaders, not just be leaders, be servant leaders and responsible stewards of creation. To the administrators, the teachers, the non-teaching personnel and you dear students, as you re-affirm your commitment of being co-creators of God, let your heart be where the greater need you most."

"Like the little prince taming the fox, anything you tame, is your responsibility. Anything that grows familiar to you is your responsibility..." his words echoing -- travelling through my ear's canal to the message center of my brain, striking the chambers of my heart.

I did not stay for money. I did not stay for comfort. I did not stay for fear of the unknown. I decided to stay because this is where my heart is -- the place where I know the greater need me most.

I decided to stay because I have tamed the world of guidance and counseling to work best for my benefit and the people I work with and the children I work for.

I decided to stay because I have grown familiar with the colorful, yet mysterious world of children with special needs.

Yes, I stayed because one girl was crying in my cubicle last week. She said her mother have grown further away from her.

I stayed because another teenager fell in love and she is so confused with how she feels. Will she give in or not?

I stayed, yet for another girl who sobbed over her sentiments -- telling me her parents don't notice her efforts in dancing and just wanted to sleep and never to wake up.

I stayed because a young man needs me this year to listen to him while his soul is dying -- his very own parents as the criminal.

I decided to stay for a sixteen year old child with autism, who with all the wealth in the world needs an eye to watch over him when he sleeps.

I decided to stay for a nine year old girl who doesn't care how she looks like and reads the alphabet backwards.

I decided to stay for an eight year old boy with ADHD who feels so frustrated he wants to cut his fingers that they stop fidgeting altogether.

I committed myself to stay because I have tamed them. They have grown familiar with my voice, my touch, my scent and even with that little strictness in my aura.

I have accepted the challenge.

I have accepted them.


“Nothing you do for children is ever wasted. They seem not to notice us, covering, averting our eyes, and they seldom offer thanks. But what we do for them is never wasted.”

Garrison, Keillor, 2000

This was my opening phrase in my acknowledgement page in my thesis... and so I live with it.

First Friday Mass Sermon: The Little Prince and The Fox

It was then that the fox appeared.

"Good morning" said the fox.

"Good morning" the little prince responded politely, although when he turned around he saw nothing.

"I am right here" the voice said, "under the apple tree."

"Who are you?" asked the little prince, and added, "You are very pretty to look at."

"I am a fox," the fox said.

"Come and play with me," proposed the little prince, "I am so unhappy."

"I cannot play with you," the fox said, "I am not tamed."

"Ah please excuse me," said the little prince. But after some thought, he added: "What does that mean--'tame'?"

"You do not live here," said the fox.

"What is it you are looking for?"

"I am looking for men," said the little prince.

"What does that mean--tame?"

"Men," said the fox, "they have guns, and they hunt. It is very disturbing. They also raise chickens. These are their only interests. Are you looking for chickens?"

"No," said the little prince. "I am looking for friends. What does that mean--tame?"

"It is an act too often neglected," said the fox. "It means to establish ties."

"To establish ties?"

"Just that," said the fox. "To me, you are still nothing more than a little boy who is just like a hundred thousand other little boys. And I have no need of you. And you, on your part, have no need of me. To you I am nothing more than a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world. To you, I shall be unique in all the world . . ."

"I am beginning to understand," said the little prince. "There is a flower . . . I think she has tamed me . . . "

"It is possible," said the fox. "On earth one sees all sorts of things."

"Oh, but this is not on the earth!" said the little prince.

The fox seemed perplexed, and very curious. "On another planet?"


"Are there hunters on that planet?"


"Ah, that is interesting! Are there chickens?"


"Nothing is perfect," sighed the fox. But he came back to his idea. "My life is very monotonous," he said. "I hunt chickens; men hunt me. All chickens are just alike, and all the men are just alike. And in consequence, I am a little bored. But if you tame me, it will be as if the sun came to shine on my life. I shall know the sound of a step that will be different from all the others. Other steps send me hurrying back underneath the ground. Yours will call me, like music out of my burrow. And then look: you see the grain-fields down yonder? I do not eat bread. Wheat is of no use to me. The wheat fields have nothing to say to me. And that is sad. But you have hair that is the color of gold. Think how wonderful that will be when you have tamed me! The grain, which is also golden, will bring me back the thought of you. And I shall love to listen to the wind in the wheat . . . "

The fox gazed at the little prince, for a long time. "Please--tame me!" he said.

"I want to, very much," the little prince replied. "But I have not much time. I have friends to discover, and a great many things to understand."

"One only understands the things that one tames," said the fox. "Men have no more time to understand anything. They buy things all ready made at the shops. But there is no shop anywhere where one can buy friendship, and so men have no friends any more. If you want a friend, tame me . . . "

"What must I do, to tame you?” asked the little prince.

"You must be very patient," replied the fox. First you will sit down at a little distance from me--like that--in the grass. I shall look at you out of the corner of my eye, and you will say nothing. Words are the source of misunderstandings. But you will sit a little closer to me, every day . . . "
The next day the little prince came back.

"It would have been better to come back at the same hour," said the fox. "If for example, you came at four o'clock in the afternoon, then at three o'clock I shall begin to be happy. I shall feel happier and happier as the hour advances. At four o'clock, I shall be worrying and jumping about. I shall show you how happy I am! But if you come at just any time, I shall never know at what hour my heart is ready to greet you . . . One must observe the proper rites . . . "

"What is a rite?" asked the little prince.

"Those also are actions too often neglected," said the fox. "They are what make one day different from other days, one hour different from other hours. There is a rite, for example, among my hunters. Every Thursday they dance with the village girls. So Thursday is a wonderful day for me! I can take a walk as far as the vineyards. But if the hunters danced at just any time, every day would be like every other day, and I should never have any vacation at all."

So the little prince tamed the fox. And when the hour of his departure drew near--

"Ah," said the fox, "I shall cry."

"It is your own fault," said the little prince. "I never wished you any sort of harm; but you wanted me to tame you . . . "

"Yes, that is so," said the fox.

"But now you are going to cry!" said the little prince.

"Yes, that is so," said the fox.

"Then it has done you no good at all!"

"It has done me good," said the fox, "because of the color of the wheat fields." And then he added: "Go and look again at the roses. You will understand now that yours is unique in all the world. Then come back to say goodbye to me, and I will make you a present of a secret."

The little prince went away, to look again at the roses.

"You are not at all like my rose," he said. "As yet you are nothing. No one has tamed you, and you have tamed no one. You are like my fox when I first knew him. He was only a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But I have made a friend, and now he is unique in all the world."
And the roses were very much embarrassed.

"You are beautiful, but you are empty," he went on. "One could not die for you. To be sure, an ordinary passerby would think that my rose looked just like you--the rose that belongs to me. But in herself alone she is more important than all the hundreds of you other roses: because it is she that I have watered; because it is she that I have put under the glass globe; because it is for her that I have killed the caterpillars (except the two or three we saved to become butterflies); because it is she that I have listened to, when she grumbled, or boasted, or even sometimes when she said nothing. Because she is my rose."

And he went back to meet the fox. "Goodbye," he said. "Goodbye," said the fox. "And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."

"What is essential is invisible to the eye," the little prince repeated, so that he would be sure to remember.

"It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.

"It is the time I have wasted for my rose---" said the little prince so he would be sure to remember.

"Men have forgotten this truth," said the fox. "But you must not forget it. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed. You are responsible for your rose . . . "

"I am responsible for my rose," the little prince repeated, so that he would be sure to remember.