Thursday, November 10, 2011

Living in a Bully World

One time, as I was walking along Claro M. Recto in Manila, I saw a group of young beggars screaming while throwing stones from one corner to another. Broken glass littered the main street. As I yelled to warn them, I saw a thin woman with longhair sitting at the corner of a cluttered area. As I observed, she was having difficulty breathing as she was trying to lift her head to grasp for air. As I tried to reach out to her to ask if she was fine, she got restless. Taking a closer look, I noticed that her bony hand was chained. She was insane, and she was bullied.

The woman was a picture of helplessness. She was weak not because of her insanity, but because she was a victim of bullying. Wikipedia defines “bullying” as a form of aggressive behavior, which may manifest as abusive treatment, the use of force or coercion to affect others, particularly when habitual and involving an imbalance of power. It may involve verbal harassment, physical assault or coercion and may be directed persistently towards particular victims, perhaps on grounds of race, religion, gender, sexuality, or ability. The "imbalance of power" may be social power and/or physical power. The victim of bullying is sometimes referred to as the "target." Bullying consists of three basic types of abuse – emotional, verbal, and physical.

Life becomes more complicated and exhausting not because of the people around us but because of how we treat them and how they afflict us. Working in a place with different kinds of personalities and attitudes, experiencing unfair treatment & judgment from a co-worker is like being a comic-hero, Tarzan, trying to survive in the jungle. You’re like living in a bully world. Your sanity will surely be tested. Battling with your emotion is just a normal phase if you want to survive. For me dealing with all this simply calls for one solution --- always try to see things in a different perspective. As Ellen De Generes’ said, “Be kind to one another.” Maybe someday I would be known not as a woman with a great attitude, but rather as a person who has no enemy. It makes more sense to me. I’m crossing my fingers. It is really hard to live by this principle, but it is truly rewarding for someone like me.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Trees of Life

Giving hope by means of tree planting is a guarantee of good life and clean air for the next generation. Caring for our environment is another way of giving extended life, especially to people suffering from health diseases like asthma, bronchial pneumonia, cancer of the lungs, etc. Being asthmatic, I am now more concerned about protecting our environment, especially from air pollutants. That’s why I am appealing to our agriculture sector to think of ways on how they can properly dispose of rice husk and straw aside from the traditional way of burning and turning them into dust. They must think of other alternative ways or other potential on how they could be converted into fertilizer, ethanol, or into other useful things. Burning them will pose many hazards on our environment particularly on the air we breathe. We need to adopt modern technology, but without sacrificing our environment. Toxins from the air we breathe today affect our health and may have hazardous effects.

The activity is initiated by the National Greening Program (NGP) supported by the City Government. It is embodied in Executive Order No. 26. Signed on February 24, 2011, it is a priority endeavor to bring back the lost forest cover of the country. There are about eight million hectares of denuded forest nationwide. The goal is to plant billions of trees. By planting trees, the government hopes to mitigate the effects of climate change, protect biodiversity, stop erosion, restore watersheds, and ensure food security. Denuded land will become productive and provide additional income for rural families.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Woman in Progress

 When the wind of trials blow in your direction, you can do nothing but to stand firm and hold on to your faith that God will never leave a woman to fight without a weapon in order to survive. There are things that happen in life that sometimes really test our leadership ability in handling difficult situations. When the storm subsides, you will then start to assess the damage right away--- take all the broken pieces ruined by the wind and patiently try to piece them together. It may not have the same form again, but what matters most is you learn how to handle the situation without losing your trust in Him. Don’t be afraid of what everybody else thinks of you. Remember that the paths in life we take are long and hard, but those difficult paths we walk through are the ones that might lead us to the most beautiful views of life.  At the end of the road, there are still many dreams waiting to be realized.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Money and it's true color.

As we all seek to have a better life and give our loved ones a comfortable life, we continue to struggle to find ways and different strategies to attain the best and most comfortable way of living. There are people in this world that will commit felony in order to survive just to keep the luxury of life that they think imperative for them. I pity those people who present themselves as influential because they think that looking and pretending to be rich can earn them prestige and power. Remember that money can’t define human value and self worth. However, money in itself is not evil; the manner people use it and abuse its value makes it evil. The love of money is the root of all evil. As Oprah Winfrey says “having a lot of money does not automatically make you a successful person. What you want is money and meaning. You want your work to be meaningful. Because meaning is what brings real richness to your life. What you really want is to be surrounded by people you trust and treasure and by people who cherish you. That’s when you’re really rich. ” Money can make you, or worst break you. Lesson learned: beware of people pretending to be sweet and innocent but are actually thieves in disguise.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Gardening – A recreational way of enriching human soul

Just last week I was in Bae, Laguna for a pleasure trip. There was this cozy place known as Bae Palm Resort- a seven-hectare farm lot which was fully developed and well landscaped like a garden in heaven. As I interviewed the caretaker, I discovered that almost 1,500 palm trees were planted on the resort. Only hundreds have survived since they started operation as a commercial resort way back in 1994.  I really love the place as it really gives leisure to its visitors especially the lush scenery. It gives tranquility to your soul and emotions. The place is best for religious activities such as retreats, company outings like team buildings and the like. Nature lovers will surely fall in love with the place as I did.

We went outside the resort to buy some food. I was just kind of annoyed with their Public Market.  It looked like a barrio tic (?). The main road is so narrow that only two vehicles could be accommodated at a time. It looked as if the place had not yet been touched by modernization. It seems that they want to preserve the green scenery. I observed that almost all houses along the main road had plants in their backyard.  It only means one thing, the Laguna residents are into nature preservation.

The place really captivated my heart as I was able to bring home with me pots of ornamental plants and flowers. I love gardening so transferring all those plants to their new home is as exciting as opening a new box of perfume. Hope to be back in Laguna for plants hoarding!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Starving and Deprivation

I really can’t imagine how hard life is now. Just this morning I had three visitors again. Two were relatives and one a neighborhood friend.  But its different now, they were asking for financial assistance. They asked help for their family’s medical needs and food for the day. I can’t help but reminisce the time when my grandmother told me that the month of June to September are months when there is no fish to catch in the sea. Fishermen in our village have no other source of income as fishing is the main source of livelihood.  People from our village almost have nothing to feed their family, no other source to augment their daily needs. There is no alternative livelihood program that exists in our village to alleviate this heartbreaking situation. It only means one thing:  No fish, no food. No food means no schooling for the youth. Another page of my life will unfold again next month and these scenarios continue to occur in the village where I grew up. I keep asking myself when the scarcity will be end, and yet it remains a big question. It will go on, unless the mindset of my neighborhood changes and they see education as just as important as food. Only right education can beat poverty, aside of course from our sacred source, our Almighty God. Whoever in the world may read this message, I plead for your help. If you could, please give suggestions on what kind or type of livelihood program would be appropriate for our village. It depends merely on fishing and fish processing.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Life is really depressing nowadays. Just this morning, I had two visitors. One of them was a relative and the other one was a graduate of computer technician. They both had the same agenda. Both are seeking for job opportunities in my office. Just this month my brother decided to go back to government service as he failed to run smoothly the business he opened months ago. This is due to too much trust he gave to his employees. He is now preparing all the documents and readying himself to pass through the tedious process of re-entering the world of the Philippine National Police ---- the world where badges and valor are no longer significant, the world where a full-stomach remains to be more important. This June, I need to submit to the Human Resource Management Office my staff’s recommendation for the renewal of their job order appointment. And I am very disappointed to have a few of them who haven’t appreciated the job they have. Once again I am in the midst of deciding whether to renew their contract of service or not. Actually only 3 out of 17 personnel have this negative work attitude. I want to pull them out of my team that by they may realize how hard it is to start from scratch. What prevents me from doing so is the fact that I don’t want this to become an additional burden to them, more so to their family as they are family men already. I know they have mouths to feed. But sometimes I just want to punch them in the face so that they will be awakened and realize how lucky they are to have a job and how everyone should be responsible in this world of public service.

Monday, June 13, 2011

2011 National Independence Day

The City Department Heads and Administrator with our City Mayor Jose Enrique S. Garcia III during 2011 National Independence Day.

The celebration of National Independence Day was coined to the word FREEDOM. This is the sweetest end-product of our sovereignty that we attained through the honor of our national heroes. The 113th Independence Day celebration is equivalent to the count of blood and tears that dropped from our heroes’ lifeless bodies to fight for our freedom. Today, we are literally free and somehow independent, but not from our skepticism. I, myself, am a prisoner of the thought that PHL economy cannot make it on top like Singapore or Japan unless we choose to free ourselves from the common illness of this society. Poverty, corrupt bureaucracy, oppression, huge numbers of unemployed OFW’s (Overseas Filipino Workers) and graduates, and poor political system wherein the common practice of leaders of this nation is to blatantly attack their political enemies on national television so that they will stand out! Common guys, walk your talk!  Is that you Mr. P------t? Our present economy is like a turtle walking exhaustedly. I sometimes discourage myself from hearing or watching current news on television as it really depresses me to see people from all walks of life suffer from various situational problems. I know most of you will tell me that it is too easy for me to say this.  You would say that our leaders also have too many things to consider. Ok, it is a given fact, but what is their priority? Put all the thieves in jail?! Then what’s next?! They almost forget the fact that we have other issues to attend to also. We have mouths to feed, children to educate, illness to treat, etc… If our heroes had foreseen these current scenarios in our country, I am 100% sure that they would not have thought of offering their lives if this would just be the kind of life they could give to their kin. Then I ask myself, what is my contribution then? As Abraham Lincoln said, “I hope to stand firm enough to not go backward, and yet not go forward fast enough to wreck the country's cause”. I need to work double time. What about you?

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Life after Graduation

Batch of Bachelors in Secondary Education

Parting time is a poignant scene which we usually observe during graduation day especially in high school and college. Those were the days that you’d keep holding on close to your classmates or best friend as if those were your last days to be with one another. However, at such times, my mind gets preoccupied with another important thing. I keep on asking myself, “What’s life after graduation like?” Will I pass the board examination for teachers? Will I be employed? What if I didn’t employed, where would I fall? I have a very low self-esteem that time and so confused which I think is normal for a person like me who has just taken the education course for the sake of having a professional career. I finished Bachelor in Secondary Education and have my Post Masters Degree in the same field, and yet I realized that teaching just wasn’t for me. I don’t want to get stuck up within the four corners of my classroom. I want a more challenging role. Those questions now are history. Ultimately, I decided to take the route to government service through a Local Government Unit. For the past 15 years, as I see my career path, I can now tell myself, “Not bad!” I have now a very challenging career. I just need to learn how to balance my work and personal life. Pictures posted above are taken recently during our first college batch reunion. Some of my classmates are now certified Public High School Teachers and pursuing a higher degree related to their fields. They are quite successful in their chosen careers and personal life as well. Some of them also take detours like me. Sometimes life is really mysterious and we may never know what lies ahead of us.

Monday, May 9, 2011

A Dream Rest House

Hundred Fifty (150) Square Meter Residential Lot and One thousand three hundred forty five (1,345) Square Meter agricultural lot and hoping to be converted to a residential lot soon..

I was wondering how a small piece of real property could be developed into a cozy, yet privately set-up rest house. I am a frustrated architect, by the way, so I really love to design plans in mind and build them according to how I want them to look like. It is very in-demand nowadays for a family gathering or a get-together to rent a resort or rest house and celebrate the occasion with loved ones in the place. They prefer to celebrate it privately without sacrificing convenience and amenities, where you will feel relaxed and refreshed, and can accommodate positive changes in your personal life. Maybe a big-enough swimming pool or lanai with heaps of ornamental and flowering plants will do work wonders. Adding to it is the lightning effect on the place that will give a more relaxing ambiance at night. I want to make the ambiance so irresistible, a place that will look like haven. Something with interplay of what is natural and yet modern. I need to squeeze my budget to make this dream materialize. This will be of great help for me especially in my line of work now. This will surely reduce my stress. There is a fact that say’s, “If you want your dream to happen, put them on paper”. So what I do now is write it online. It seemed a bit silly to some people but at this moment of despair I figured writing something down might just be the first step to realize this dream.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

New Born, New Hope and a New Beginning

Our New Bundle of Joy

My family considers this year as a not-so-pleasant year for us, as we have lost a loved one. However, as I started to count our family’s adversities for this year, I have found that there are so much more blessings to be thankful for. My younger sister who happens to be a dentist holds a house blessing for this year. It’s a huge house that everybody would be envious of. While my brother, a PNP Officer who is out of service as of this writing for some personal reason, managed to work on two kinds of businesses. Not that big, but at least he was able to augment their daily expenses while he is still contemplating whether to go back to government service or not. My eldest sister also holds a blessing for the same year for her two-storey house. What makes us more thankful is when she gave birth to her third child without any complications despite her present health condition. In God’s mercy, the caesarian operation turns out to be just usual. For the record, my sister suffered early symptoms of pre-eclampsia-  a medical condition in which hypertension arises in pregnancy (pregnancy-induced hypertension) in association with significant amounts of protein in the urine. On her fifth month of pregnancy she was diagnosed as having diabetes mellitus and sufferee from the onset of asthma. So hers was considered a high-risk pregnancy. I was very thankful to those medical personnel who in one way or another helped us feel calm and assured during the conduct of my sister’s operation.

Keeping my fingers crossed, I hope and pray that all results pertaining to our new-born baby’s medical check-ups and laboratories will turn out to be normal. Now I know there is so much more to be thankful for, as this will lead to a new hope and a new beginning. God is really good.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Pope John Paul II “The Last Encounter”

In front of St. Peter's Basilica Square

Breath-taking view on top of the St. Peter's Basilica
Seating at Rome's Trevi Fountain
In front of the basilica with my cousin and the Swiss guard.
Michelangelo's work of art in the ceiling.
At the St. Peter's Tomb
In one of the most difficult times of my life and when escaping was the only way out, my family stood as my shock absorber. I was lucky indeed to have a very supportive family that was then based abroad and who gave me chances to contemplate and think on how I should I handle my personal life. My relatives believed that divine intervention would be of great help to me to finally think of the best decision regarding my personal dilemma at that time. I traveled abroad way back 2004 and went thru different and significant churches in Rome, Italy for some soul-searching and spiritual counseling. One of the churches I visited was the St. Peter’s Basilica. It was considered a major basilica in Vatican City, an enclave of Rome. According to my research, “St. Peter's Basilica stands on the traditional site where Peter - the apostle who is considered the first pope - was crucified and buried. St. Peter's tomb is under the main altar and many other popes are buried in the basilica as well. Originally founded by Constantine in 324, St. Peter's Basilica was rebuilt in the 16th century by Renaissance masters including Bramante, Michelangelo and Bernini.” I also witnessed with my own two eyes the wonderful art works of Michaelangelo.
The closer we'll ever see..priceless!

It was indeed a great pleasure for me to experience this breath-taking overview on top of the St. Peter’s Basilica. What more intensifying goose bump experience was when I first saw Pope John Paul II during his usual blessing ceremony held every Wednesday at the St. Peter’s Square. The Pope gives blessing to the public audience every Wednesday. Tickets should be requested ahead of time from the Vatican. We were just lucky to have some family friends whom a diocesan priest studying from the Commission on Pontificio Collegio Filippino (ECPCF) who help us on securing an entrance ticket. The PCF is the home in Rome of Filipino diocesan priests who have been sent abroad by their bishops to pursue higher ecclesiastical studies. Pope John Paul II looked weak, but then he kept waving his hand to bless the people around him who came from the other parts of the world to see him and seek his blessings.
Photos taken inside the coliseum, it was the largest amphitheater of the Roman Empire, and is considered one of the greatest works of Roman Architecture and engineering. It is the largest amphitheater in the world. 

The waiting is over. Recently, Pope John Paul II was beatified. No words can best describe the novel works and sacrifices of our beloved Pope John Paul II for Christianity. He is a step closer to becoming a saint. I felt so much blessed as I was given a chance to have an encounter with him, even though not that close a range. But at least before he finally left and went to the heavenly realm, we crossed paths and I was able to say goodbye.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Sinner

Today is Holy Wednesday. It is declared half-day of work in the government units here in our province. This is to give way to employees who want to join the traditional procession of holy images, which depict the story of Jesus Christ, his pain and sufferings for the salvation of humanity. This is my new way of demonstrating my penitence. 

Ever since I was a kid, I have seen common practices that demonstrate Filipinos’ Catholic  faith, more so during Lenten season. The reading of the Passion of Christ (Pasyon or Pabasa- a verse narrative about the life and sufferings of Jesus Christ), the procession of cross and images known as “pagdukot” or abduction of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane, the Visita Iglesia (Visitation of different churches) on Maundy Thursday, the reading of the seven (7) last words of Jesus, and the procession of images of the dead body of Christ (“libing”) or the interment on Good Friday. All these belong to the Triduum-  meaning three days of  Lenten practices that are done before Easter Sunday or the Resurrection. All these have been handed down to us by our parents. So many common practices that help strengthen our faith in God. All these fall into one common purpose -------- repentance for the forgiveness of our sins and cleansing of our soul.

I think this is the best time for me to park my pen and blink my eye for a hectic journal of my working routine. Need time to contemplate and do some serious reflection. However, my journey to the road of righteousness for soul cleansing and salvation is way too complicated. Too many distractions; too many obstacles that really test my faith in God. Despite them all, I hope I was still able to get the ride on time. Don't give up on me, oh Lord.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Young Leaders..My Mentors..

On my right is our City Mayor Jose Enrique S. Garcia III and 2nd District Representative- Cong. Albert S. Garcia my two supportive mentors
Balanga City Department heads and Administrator with our Congressman Albert S. Garcia

All smile with our Kimona Gown  by Patis Tesoro

I have been in government service for almost 13years (as of this writing). A year full of hardship, joy and mediocrity in different angles of public service. Working in a government agency entails a lot of sacrifice. Maybe these outlooks are more applicable for those servants who see public service as a public trust. 

However, working with leaders whose vision is to uplift the welfare of their constituents and the nation as a whole is a great experience and because of this I believe the road to the path of success in nation building has gotten a little less complicated. I am lucky indeed that I am able to work with leaders whose main objective is to address the common ills of this country, using a heart, brilliant minds with aggressiveness and modern way of rendering public service. They are like computer bugs or viruses, which inflict positive effect to the social system. 

I might be a greenhorn today, but with the passage of time and with the guidance and support of these leaders around me, I know I will be able to contribute something that my motherland will be proud of. It is not important who will lead you to the right path. What matters most is how you want to be led. Always bear in mind that honors are to be earned, not bought. My greatest consolation is I want to retire with my hands clean and free of stain, but definitely not empty-handed. Just enough to continue living the beauty of this so-called life.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Stress and Burn-out.

 Have you experienced the feeling of being burnt-out and sometimes uncertainty? Did you know what you really want in life? How about your purpose in life? I sometimes feel and ask myself the same questions. Is this an indication of a Quarter Life crisis? Oh my, maybe I have been just too preoccupied about so many things in life. Pressure is the right word. I’ve grown tired of so many things. Maybe I need a break. My tolerance is getting shorter nowadays. In my career now, I could say I’m quite lucky and successful compared to others. However, success to me is having a career that you built all on your own by always your own person.  As of my present work experience, I constantly remind myself not to let anyone dictate who you are and who you will be. And be always financially prepared though I’m a bit late on this. It is only now that I realize it’s too tough to find someone who is interesting enough to come up to my level of thinking and to be financially prepared at the same time. Someone whose character I can be proud of and who looks wise. I don’t know if all of you will agree with me on this, but as I’ve always said what is more important at the end of the day is that we find our way to our true happiness in life. I just take time to make myself productive.

Here are some tips on how to release stress that causes burn-out:

1.    Avoid sleeping late at night. In my experience, when I lack of sleep, my routine for the day becomes totally disoriented.  Better avoid the use of any tech gadgets, laptop or mobile phones before going to bed.

2.    Body work-out with your kids, nephews or nieces. This is tested. When I feel so exhausted and I want to regain my lost energy for the day, I will call the attention of my three nephews ages 5-11 years old for a body wrestling session. It’s a great bonding moment as well with the kids.

3.    Take a warm bath. This is a big relief especially in releasing toxins that your body has accumulated for the day. Use a mentholated type of body scrub or wash for a more relaxing scent.

4.    Body Massage. Choose the best type of massage that suits your body.

5.    Always think happy thoughts. Keep smiling.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


Why did this happen? The unexpected death of loved ones is hard to accept and this most painful incident could happen to any of us. What makes it worse is that even though you were given chances to be with them even for a short time, yet you let thoe chances pass thinking that there are other chances to get together. The lack of time to bring this important relationship to a positive close causes much anguish to those of us whose loved ones die without a warning. We wish that we could have known in order to say and do what we wanted to. Talking about my own experience, I wish I could have just one more brief moment with my cousin to tell her how much I cared for and loved her; apologize for ways I might have hurt her; explain why I treated her the way I did; or let her know what she really meant to me. Weeks ago I was rushed to the hospital due to severe asthma attack. I could barely breathe. Trying to catch my breath felt like drowning. It almost felt like being on the verge of death. Praise God I got to recover. On the fifth day before I left the hospital, despite having an inserted IV in my wrist, my cousin visited me. The next day she fell sick. She was happy then as she narrated her new teaching experience in one of the upland barangays in our City. I gave her advice as she considered me “dite” (older sister) who had a longernteaching experience. But during her visit I didn’t chat with her that much because I felt weak and I gasped for breath everytime I spoke. I didn’t even feel that she had already left my room as, so my sister told me, I fell asleep, maybe due to anti-histamine intake. Despite my health condition, I pushed myself to visit her in the hospital the other day when she was already in coma and could no longer hear what my heart wanted to say. I knelt and prayed and asked for another chance at life for my cousin. But maybe God has his own way of giving our body complete rest. I knew my cousin fought for her life as she felt our presence, giving her moral support while she struggled for her life in ICU for almost three days.

We had no preparation and no time to gradually absorb the reality that at a snap of a finger everything is would change dramatically. I felt miserable for my widowed aunt and the sudden death of her daughter who happened to be her one and only child. It was really too traumatic for her. The physical and emotional shock appeared to be more intense as the days passed by. Lord, helps us to understand that life is a gift and that it will not remain with us for long. Help us to realize that though life is a sorrow, we can overcome the pain. It is an ironic but positive consequence of sudden death that I appreciate and value life more now. God gave me another chance to live life according to His will, to share to other the real essence of living. Lord, use me as your instrument for this purpose.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Reaching the Hands of Indigenous People

I accomplished this major task from November-December of 2010. This project was entrusted to me by my German uncle who happens to be a member of Dr Luppa Projekthilfe foundation , which is based in Amberg, Germany. The foundation has a great mission and compassion to extend a helping hand for the under-served not only in the Philippines but in other parts of the world. During those months, I almost experienced frequent sand storms in the area. From Bataan to Zambales, I traveled by land. I usually went on site for project inspection every weekend in order not to hamper my regular office work. I was forced to prepare myself for an early and exhausting travel with un-air- conditioned mini bus for approximately 4-4.5 hours depending on the pick-up of passengers along its route going to Botolan, Iba Zambales where the project is located. However, during those trips, you will get relaxed as the cool breeze of the wind touches your face and you'll get mesmerized as you see the beauty and wonder of nature. What makes me feel so pleased is that, when you come to the project site, you will see the thankful and happy faces of the recipients as they see for themselves the development of their long hoped-for public comfort rooms. All the stresses and body pains i got from this project paid-off because of its fruitful outcome. “Don’t wait until you make your first million to make a difference in somebody’s life.”