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.

Sep 10, 2009

Mama, how long will you love me?

Every night, after saying our prayers, it is our family’s practice to say “I Love You!” to one another. Even when Gaby’s own version is almost not understood, the three powerful words have made their constant place in our lives.

However, being always there and always heard and having its specific time in a day to be said made it seemingly meaningless. I got to wonder if Gaby really understood what I was saying, her Papa is saying and her Ate Bea is saying or even what she herself is saying before she closes her eyes at night.

Bea once asked me why do I scold her if I truly love her. And like any other mother in the world, I answered her the undying lines: “…because anak, I want you to know what’s right from wrong. And I want you to know it because I love you so much.” Hoping she understood what I said.

Until I came across the book: “Mama, How Long Will You Love Me?" by Anna Pignataro. And here are some of the lines I truly adore:

How long will you be my mother?


Mama, how long will you love me?


How long is always?

Miles and miles forever.

Will there always be you and me?

Miles and miles forever.

Such wonderful words used by the author.

Miles and miles forever.

When I read this book to Bea and Gaby, I was on the verge of tears. And for the first time, when I told them I love them, I added: Miles and miles forever...

I hope the added lines would change their concept about love -- a mother's love for her kids -- my love for them.

I pray it did... If not now, I pray it would...

To all the mothers out there who love spending some time with their children at night reading a good book, here's how the book looks like: (take a grab now, I tell you, it's really a good one!)

And here's an excerpt from its inner pages.

Hope you'll love this book, too!

Sep 8, 2009

A Million Little Pieces of Hope, Love and Passion for Life

Orange and pink streaks sail across the blue of the sky, large birds silhouette themselves against the red of the rising sun, clouds inch their way toward me.

These are such poetic lines from James Frey. His book "A Million Little Pieces" is an account of his life in the rehabilitation center. And this is what I'm currently reading.

There were all sorts of new things to find. Grass and dirt and holes and tiny bugs – each fascinated him. But nothing satisfied him.

And these are striking lines from “Hope for the Flowers” by Trina Paulos which I just read (side by side with Harry Potter 6… of course before watching the movie, which of course did not satisfy me – anyway, that’s another story to tell, which I know you could certainly relate to).

Anyway, Frey’s novel, particularly its title has inspired me to write again... I mean to blog again. But what is more to this passion for writing are the things I’ve learned from Stripe and Yellow, Paulos’ main characters in her short story.

It has been months since I last posted an entry in any of my blogsites. What kept me busy? I think those times... these times are the days I am putting the million little pieces of my dreams... of my life together. Getting into that big climb like Stripe and Yellow and finding in the end what really satisfies me and gives me so much hope and love and passion for life.

Yes! I am in the prime of building a legacy not just for my family – my kids to follow, but for more kids that truly matters… as Jesus has once said, “Let the little ones come to me.”

Let me count the ways:

1. I was about to finish my MA in Guidance and Counseling in 2005 when an Aunt fed me with the great (and tempting) “American Dream”.

2. While finishing my MA degree, I took up units in Special Education and Certificate in Teaching in an Open University System.

3. After graduation, I got pregnant with Gaby and found myself incapable of working and going to school. Thank God, UP then offered a Certificate in Caring for the Special Child through the Interactive Virtual Learning Experience. I had homeschooling.

4. Upon giving birth, I pushed through with my MA in SPED. And finished my education units alongside it.

5. After having my diploma, I forwarded my application as SPED teacher to one of the agencies in Manila. And I think, one of the best agencies deploying Filipino teachers to the US of A.

6. 2008 was a grand year for me in the field of test-taking. April, I passed the Licensure Exam for Teachers. August, I passed the Licensure Exam for Guidance Counselors.

7. 2009 started out with more stress. January, I took up Praxis 2, the state board for SPED teachers and passed once again.

8. February, I was interviewed. Then a long wait for the result followed.

9. March, I have to take another state board, Praxis 1, for General Education. Once more, I proved to have much luck in board examinations. I passed.

10. April, I resigned from work. But was re-hired until July as a Researcher for Student Services and Curriculum Development.

11. June, I received the news that I passed the interview.

12. I was encouraged to enroll ASAP for a special Reading course at St. Joseph College, Quezon City. The course was for two months. Every weekends. Stressful, eh!? Saturday mornings I board the bus early just in time for my 2 PM class. We end up at 7 PM. Sundays, we start at 9 AM until 6 PM. Then I go straight to the bus terminal and arrive home at 12 midnight or early dawn. And after a four-hour sleep, off I go to work.

13. July, we had a not so fortunate news. Our petitioning school lacks funds to fly us all together in August. We will go by batch, so they say. Now, there are five (should I say the “lucky” ones) being processed. Hopefully for September deployment.

14. Still July, I don’t know if I will feel frustrated or happy. Frustrated because by August, I will be jobless. I thought like Stripe and Yellow, I was climbing with a group where I would be led to nowhere.

15. Mid July, I felt happier because I realized, I wasn’t ready yet to leave my kids and husband (for more or less six months). I was more thankful that I get to spend more time with them. Imagine if I were to be deployed in August? My weekend classes ended in July 26 and target deployment is first week of August, how would in the world I spend time with my family?

16. Towards end of July, I had wonderful plans in mind. I got so busy (with Arleen) in looking for a perfect spot for my long-time dream – a school. But for now, my passion for teaching kids (putting up a school) is limited to a Reading Enrichment Program for Grade 1 pupils and children with special needs.

17. August, I formally opened my Reading Resource Center. Simple. Just a room with two monobloc tables and six monobloc chairs, rubber mats, a small white board, a flip chart, and a few good books to read.

18. But there is more to this that I’m busy about. 8 AM to 10 AM, I shadow teach in a grade 1 class for a pupil with ADHD accompanied with an oppositional and impulsive behavior. After which, I visit two other kids with autism. And yet another kid with ADHD. And help a team of professionals in designing an IEP for a child with Emotional Impairment who is homeschooling.

19. Before leaving the school at 12 noon, I see to it that I have counseled around four students in the high school department.

20. At 12:30 to 2:30 PM, I continue with my work as a Researcher.

21. At 3 PM, I have to be in my center to prepare things for my pupils. I currently have seven grade 1 pupils and a grade 3 pupil with specific Learning Disability. I also work with a Mom in developing a Behavior Managament Plan for her child with ADHD. I end up at 6 PM.

22. These three responsibilities I so carefully squeezed in a day transpire in three separate locations, too. So you can just imagine what a mess I now look like. Yeah! Maybe I am all stressed out but I am happy and contented.

23. If you may ask of the monetary satisfaction, it is not such a good source of income given the tiresome impact of juggling many responsibilities a time. But one thing I am sure of, at the end of the day, before I close my eyes at night, there are more things I am thankful for.

24. First question: “Would I still pursue my great American Dream?”

My answer, “Yes I will!”

25. Last question: “What for?”

My answer, “To bring to the next level my one true dream – come home to my country and put up a school for children with special needs, considering all the therapies they need. And have a guidance and counseling, testing and play therapy center for kids and their families.”

Her feelers quivered and Stripe knew she was speaking. He couldn’t make out words. Then slowly, he seemed to understand… Somehow he knew what to do. Stripe climbed again.

It got darker and darker and he was afraid. He felt he has to let go of everything…

… Until one day …

Mar 17, 2009

The Everyday Masters by Paulo Coelho.Part 2

Here’s another entry from Paulo Coelho’s “The Everyday Masters”:

Avoiding keeping control or being controlled

If I react the way that people expect me to, I become a slave to them – and that is a lesson that applies both to love and work. It is very difficult to prevent this from happening, because we are always ready to please somebody, or to start a war when we are provoked, but people and situations are the consequences of the life that I have chosen, not the other way around.


I had five striking counselees today:

The first one had a misunderstanding with a close friend which brought them as far as shouting at each other – some words that wounded and difficult to heal. Reason: Php 200.00

The second student came, really pissed – well, sort of. She said her frat will have a meeting. She joins in or she’ll be dead. Reason: Fear

My third client was the most spontaneous. Telling me stories about her family, her friends, her boyfriend in comparison with her guy-bestfriend. Reason: Unhappiness

My fourth counselee was actually a teacher who felt real bad. She claims people mistake her being frank and bold to being crazy. Reason: System of norms

And before I closed my cubicle today, a graduating student came, crying because she failed in her Trigonometry class. Reason: Timetable

Indeed, every one of us, including myself becomes a victim of our own choices. It has been a way of life for some to avoid keeping control of things, and when failure comes, everybody and every situation is there to be blamed except himself/herself. To some, they avoid being controlled and that makes them what? Frank? Bold? Crazy? Because they have their own reason. Whichever line we follow, it is still our choice that count in the end.

Mar 16, 2009

The Everyday Masters by Paulo Coelho

Outside the city of Oslo is getting ready for winter. I am chatting in the bar with a very popular European singer. We talk about fame and success, and at a certain moment she asks me if I have anything important to teach her.

“Of course not,” I answer. “You lead your life like someone who knows that one day they are going to die, and that is what is most important. Nevertheless, I can propose a task for you: for the next six months, keep a diary called “the everyday master.” We always learn something different between dawn and dusk: why not write it down?”

She accepts the task. Six months later, I receive a copy of her diary full of very interesting notes, lessons from people she met only once but who are certain to remain for ever. This week I will be publishing here the most important of these entries.

Here is one of the entries of my friend’s diary about the everyday masters:

Accepting yourself

I found out who I am by looking at others. I am afraid of not being as good as they think I am, but I believe they all think this about themselves. During the time that I kept this diary, I finally accepted that I am brave enough to feel fear and to see myself without any artifices. I feel secure enough to feel insecure.

I discovered that people try to project a lot of their own insecurity onto you, just as you do with them. They try to diminish you because they feel small, try to intimidate you because they are not convinced that they are capable.

Tomorrow, I’ll post here another entry.

For a week now, I’ve been following “The every day masters” post by Paulo Coelho on his blogsite. This is an amazing learning experience for me, and so I share them again with you. Then again, I’m hoping I will have the luxury of time to make my online diary, too, similar to this one.

God bless everyone!

Cool Jesus!

A young man who went overseas to study for quite a long time returned in his homeland. He asked his parents to find him a religious scholar or any expert who could answer his 3 questions. Finally, his parents were able to find a scholar.

Young man: Who are you? Can you answer my questions?
Scholar: I am one of God willing; I will be able to answer your questions.

Young man: Are you sure? A lot of Professors and experts were not able to answer my questions.
Scholar: I will try my best, with the help of God.

Young Man: I have 3 questions:
1. Does God exist? If so, show me His shape.
2. What is fate?
3. If Devil was created from the fire, why at the end he will be thrown to hell that is also created from fire. It certainly will not hurt him at all, since Devil and the hell were created from fire. Did God not think of it this far?

Suddenly, the Scholar slapped the young man’s face very hard.

Young Man (feeling pain): Why do you get angry at me?
Scholar: I am not angry. The slap is my answer to your three questions.
Young Man: I really don’t understand.

Scholar: How do you feel after I slapped you?
Young Man: Of course, I felt the pain.
Scholar: So do you believe that pain exists?
Young Man: Yes.
Scholar: Show me the shape of the pain!
Young Man: I cannot.
Scholar: That is my first answer. All of us feel God’s existence without being able to see His shape…

The Scholar continued…

Scholar: Last night, did you dream that you will be slapped by me?
Young Man: No.
Scholar: Did you ever think that you will get a slap from me, today?
Young Man: No.
Scholar: That is fate my second answer…

Then again he added…

Scholar: My hand that I used to slap you, what is it created from?
Young Man: It is created from flesh.
Scholar: How about your face, what is it created from?
Young Man: Flesh.
Scholar: How do you feel after I slapped you?
Young Man: In pain.
Scholar: That’s it… this is my third answer, Even though Devil and also the hell were created from the fire, if God wants, God willing , the hell will become a very painful place for devil.

I received this email from a friend. And I feel it’s worth sharing.

Indeed, God’s messages of LOVE come in different forms. Today, I felt it through this forwarded email message, with Sr. Jelli and our high school students — particularly with III-2 and III-3, and a couple of weeks back with IV-1 for whom I joined their classes in their last Recollection for this school year.

The Recollection theme was “Cool Jesus”. In this life where our culture has become much focused with sex and violence, and media turns into the devil’s ally to conquer our minds, hearts and souls — it is our responsibility as Christians to make a step to work against loneliness, despair and peacelessness promoted by media giants.

In “Cool Jesus”, we have targeted the youth to alter what media has created for them and in them — how it is to be COOL!

Like the snippet above, sometimes we question not just God but also who we are. These moments happen because media through advertisements made us so discontented just to sell their products. A dull hair can be solved by this particular shampoo. A brown skin can be made fair by some papaya soap. A plain face can be made beautiful by brands of cosmetics. Lousy shirts and pants, metal accessories, body-piercing and tattoos make guys cool. Men are encapsulated as “mooks”, while ladies as “midriffs”.

Now where is this line: “And so God created man into His own image and likeness.”?


Hope we don’t let this happen. We are a culture with will and intellect; we have the power to choose. We are a culture of civilized men who were created to be stewards of God’s creation. We are a culture of innate goodness not just of basic instincts like sex and violence. So let us live our lives up to what God has created us to be. Being real COOL is being like JESUS — seeing things through the eyes of LOVE… accomplishing things with the works of LOVE… only pure, unconditional LOVE…