Monday, May 30, 2005


tomorrow, may 31, is my last day at work as department chair. the office has been cleaned out and i've oriented the incoming Chair... i am feeling both excited at the thought yet bittersweet too.

it's been four years after all. when i started, i was clueless about a lot of things, especially about the ways of the world and people. i was very much married then, too.

so in a way, the challenges and demands of the job coincided with my intense growth and blossoming as a person and as a woman, coming into her own at last.

and tomorrow, i mark the end of that journey...

Sunday, May 29, 2005


when your mom asks, you can't help but give it to her. : )

i know i haven't been my usual blogging self lately, and some friends have started asking why, and how i am these days. but it was okay, i couldn't be budged still, until mama called tonight to ask why there's no update in my blog. so here goes...


what can i say? 'been too busy, with so many new things happening in my life all at once, i guess.

first, there was my first speaking engagement at Bohol, which, despite my anxiety and nervousness, seemed to work out fine in substance. i think i was able to establish quick rapport with the women from Mindanao, as they talked to me like one of them already during breaks and dinner. then too, they kept using many of the new futures studies terms i introduced in my talk at their meeting afterwards, which i also sat in... so i guess i did fine, except that i was so tense and excited during my presentation i grew breathless, almost gasping for air at certain points of the talk, with my voice breaking into a croak. : (

this just reminded me that i ought to get back to my Toastmasters' Club meetings again and finish that CTM (Competent Toastmaster) level of 10 basic speeches with evaluations...

the trip was a healing trip, though, despite the initial stress (i checked in late at the airport so i got bumped off; luckily, my friend Jo, who was supposed to assist me in that talk, gave her slot to me, so i got to go to Bohol instead, and she got left behind...). i met such wonderful, wise, fun, strong and independent women there and their energies were a natural high. one of the ladies who formerly worked with Ford Foundation and was now a consultant for the group brought me to her home atop a hill, where you get a majestic view of the mountains or the sea, depending on which side of the open-air house you were looking out from. she also introduced me to another wonderful woman, the owner of The Bee Farm, whose energies and passions about her organic farm were so palpable, you come out feeling not only refreshed but reinvigorated, after visiting her farm and meeting her.

these were all mostly women in their mid-forties and up, women much older than my self. and i thought to my self, "who said middle and old age for women was boring? i can't wait to be 50, or 80 even!" : )

the other wonderful thing about the Bohol trip is that it's the first step to making my speaking career dream come true. ive written before on this blog how i dream of living an independent life after 40, earning comfortably from home from my writing and speaking and online business and consultancies, even as i travel and explore the world for virtually free (from the all-expenses paid speaking engagements)! it is an incomparably delicious kind of joy being finally in the path of one's dreams... and i guess my silence these days has also to do with privately savoring this joy now, basking in its afterglow...

second, it's enrolment week for us at school, and as Department Chair on the last few days of my term before my resignation officially takes effect on may 31, im right in the middle of the bedlam, advising students on their academic loads, as well as assisting them with registration and other enrolment problems. i spend 12- to 15-hour days at work during these times, and when i get home, all i could do is shower, eat and sleep. to describe my self as "pooped" would be an understatement.

third, new little discoveries about my children--

> Paolo, making and printing a birthday card for Bea, out of his own volition, and writing on the card (with my assistance only at spelling): Dear Bea, you give us happiness. we love you. happy birthday!" "You give us happiness." wow. and coming from a 7-year-old at that.

> Bea, with newly-invented words she uses when she's asked to do something, "goodwards, or badwards?" : )

fourth, my new Nokia 7260 cellphone, at last! and spending most of the week getting to know its many wondrous functions, taking pictures, recording songs, taking video images, emailing, gaming... the kids and i have been mostly spending our time together at home just playing with it and taking pictures and videos of our selves clowning around and having fun!

fifth, just today we had our orientation meeting at the Pax Christi Pilipinas office. i am one of the lucky 20 offered by pax christi a full year's scholarship for an MA Conflict and Reconciliation Studies and today was our first meeting as a class. all we have to do in return is to commit ourselves to teaching and training others, too, in the ways of peace, after we graduate.

i can never speak enough of my passion for my involvement with pax christi and about how it excites me no end to be engaged in volunteer work that tries to make a dent in making the world a better place to live in by transforming people's consciousness and understanding of their realities, presenting to them alternative and more creative ways of dealing with life's inevitable conflicts. becoming more deeply involved in this training is closest to my heart, so much so that i decided to quit my PhD Applied Linguistics program to focus on this instead, and look at another PhD later in the fields of peace and culture studies, rather than in the traditional doctorate programs.

this also ties in, too, with my after-40 dream of an independent career in writing, speaking and consultancy, as it points to many possibilities for training people in different parts of the world, not just in the country...!!!

sixth, the last news for the week, and maybe the best news so far -- i have only two days more to go as Department Chair, and im celebrating my Freedom from the tyranny of administrative demands to a whole day treat at the beauty parlor and the spa (facial, foot spa, manicure and pedicure, full body massage, the whole works!) on June 1! : D it's been four years of nonstop serving and giving to other people; i get my own life back at last, and am looking forward to my well-deserved self-treat!!! : D hurrayyyyy!!!

everything suddenly so new, with new doors opening even as old ones close, and my life is my own now, blooming and growing in ways that i deeply desire, on my own terms at last.

can anyone blame me for savoring these sublime joys to my self, for a while, before i share them with the world?

: ) God is good.

Friday, May 20, 2005


i keep talking about my father here in my blogs, but never about her. it's not because she's not important to me; it's more probably because my relationship with her is less difficult than my relationship with my Papa, more open and loving, more... settled.

it hasn't always been like that.

my earliest memory of her was when i was two, and she brought me to this huge empty white church. she was kneeling down and sobbing on one of the front pews, while i walked around exploring the tomblike structure in awe and fear, ... and when i glanced at her... in innocent bewilderment.

while growing up, she lavished us with her love, with lots of hugs and kisses, and lots of scolding and shouting and spanking, too. my Papa allowed only two expenses in our house -- food and books. so i remember her scrounging around for whatever coins and peso bills she could save up from her grocery shopping money to sneak around to buy us toys, clothes and the little treats children loved.

still, that didn't impress me. i thought that she was only being a mother, as a mother should be. she wore dowdy, matronish clothes made from cheap cloth and even sack cloth dyed in prettier colors, but she always wore makeup and she always smelled good. she read a lot of magazines and listened to lots of classical and gospel music. people -- especially people in need -- flocked to her for a listening ear, and usually, a doleout. my Papa kept criticizing her as being silly, foolish, a sucker for fair-weather goldigging "friends" and too hoity-toity (when she read and when she listened to her favorite music) for her own good.

it continually irritated my father that she could afford to get things done without lifting a finger, making other people do them instead, either through charm, force or manipulation, or all three. one time she got fed up with his verbal barrage, she cut him short with a retort: hoy, if your father taught you to earn a living by using your hands, my father taught me to earn a living by using my head!

we had a general merchandise store in a public market, and my mother tended the store while my father did the purchasing and out-of-town sales, so i always viewed my Papa as somebody exotic, strong and wise and enigmatically attractive, while she was just... our mom.

i hated her when i hit my teen years, though. i felt that she failed me as a mother. i was made to wear her hand-me-down matronish clothes and she treated me like a child, deliberately ignoring my growing womanhood and sensuality. i wasn't taught the womanly things-- taking care of my self, protecting my self, using my womanly powers well; whatever i learned, i learned from observing our maids, or from movies, or from reading, or from teachers i idolized... so it took a very long time for me to come into my own as a woman. i even strongly suspect now that when i got married, i was more like a child in a woman's body than a real woman in the truest sense of the world.

it is only now that i realize that she couldn't have mothered me well, then, as she was virtually not a woman too who has come into her own then.

i think she only came into her own in her forties, when she got fed up with her lousy marriage to my father, and upped and left one week before my 20th birthday.

it took a long while for her to find her way back again to us, her children, and for us, to understand and accept her for what she did, to know her again--this time as a person and as a woman in her own right and not just our mother and slave.

it is strange to realize that while we were growing up, when she gave us all she had, we loved her as a mother but never respected her as a person. it was only when she began taking her life back that we learned to respect her, and this time truly love her, as the person she is.

it is funny too, that while we were growing up, people were saying that im my father's daughter (because I look more like him) and my sister, my mother's (because she looks more like her); but now that we've grown up, my sister and i realize that she has more of our father's practical, pessimistic, controlling and forceful ways while i have more of our mother's naive, trusting, open, impulsive and unpredictable ways.

she is a survivor. she survived a bad marriage, impoverished conditions with our father, the challenge of building a new life in a new place twice over, stage 3 breast cancer (without chemo at that!) in 2000, a triple heart bypass in 2003, and now, thrice-weekly dialysis sessions. looking at her, people comment on how healthy and vibrant and sparkling and gorgeous she looks, more like our sister than our mother; they never know she has these diseases until somebody tells them.

her doctor shakes his head every time she visited him before for her kidney treatment. he's been urging her to undergo dialysis since early 2000 but she steadfastly refused. she'd lug this really huge medical book around with her, and show him the page which lists the 10 symptoms of kidney disease that require dialysis treatment. she kept pointing out to him that she only had 4 of the 10 symptoms, so no go.

one time she told her doctor about this Mayo Clinic experiment for those with kidney diseases, and she said she wanted to volunteer. her doctor dissuaded her from the idea, saying that the chances of getting healed from the treatment is one in a million.

characteristically, in her Scarlett O'Hara way, she declared, well... I could be THE one in a million!

: )

she did proceed to go to the Mayo Clinic on her own to volunteer, too; it was only when Mayo Clinic refused her that she finally agreed to submit to dialysis with her doctor.

still, she continues to love us all in her world, with such passion and fierceness sometimes she gets in our hair and we get into hers.

but i would rather have that, than not have her at all.

that's my Mama-- the one in a million!

and it's her birthday today. : )

i love you, 'Ma!

Wednesday, May 18, 2005


i was driving around at mid-morning today, running my usual errands-- this time picking up the airline ticket for a talk i was going to deliver in Panglao Island, Bohol on sunday evening, and then bringing Paolo to his taekwondo lessons.

it was only a 15 to 20 minute drive, but i got so lost in my thoughts i felt like it took a whole lot longer after i snapped out of it. and as i snapped out of it, i remembered what i was thinking--. the quiet happiness and joy i am feeling these days from the love and cherishing of one fine man... (yes, it has finally happened!) : ), work to do and deadlines to meet, the children's school opening needs and their always fresh antics and questions that make my life so meaningful and rich... my plans for the next few months or so, and my goals and hopes and dreams for the longer future...

--and for a moment, i was able to mindfully step back from my self and my life, and i thought, my life now is exactly where and how i want it to be! perfectly imperfect, but on my own terms now.

and i looked up and said a little prayer of thanks, for all that has been, for all that is now, for all that will be.

God/Life/the Universe has been so good to me.

Moral Philosophy Lesson with Paolo

after all these years, i still never know when im going to be handed a pop quiz on Life.

last night, Paolo and Bea were still up watching Aladdin on Disney Channel, while i was already in bed falling off to sleep.

a little while later, Paolo nudged me and asked, "Mama, Aladdin is a hero but he's also a thief. is it okay to be a thief and be a hero too?"

groggily, i stalled for time as i searched my brain for some satisfying answer, "I don't know, palangga ("my loved one" in Ilonggo, our native language), what does Aladdin steal?"

"Aladdin steals food when he's hungry. "

"I see... well... stealing is still bad, honey, but how do you feel about Aladdin's stealing?"

"I feel sorry for him because he's hungry."

"Hmmm... makes you want to forgive him huh?"


"Well, i guess it depends on your reason for stealing too..."

Paolo thought about it for a while, then ran back to the TV.

i thought i handled that pretty well, and so i went back to sleep.

a few moments later, he ran back to the room and shook me, "Mama, Aladdin's problem is solved!"

"huh???... what... how come?"

"he can eat dozens of grapes and apples and oranges now!"

"how did he do that?"

"he found a rich girlfriend, Jasmine the princess!"

: S

Saturday, May 14, 2005

My Phone Phobia

i am soo silly and funny sometimes!

my uncle in new jersey sent me this Grandstream internet phone last march, for use in the butterfly business, so i could directly call customers in the US at the cheapest cost (2.4 cents a minute), when i needed to call them. i got it last march, too, just before i went off to boracay, but i hemmed and hawed about opening and installing it, telling my uncle i was yet too busy with all my trips and papa's hospitalization to sit down and muddle through the tech stuff to install it.

he told me there was no tech stuff to muddle through, because it's a plug-and-play unit. finally, i admitted to him my fear of phones and talking on phones-- how i feel lost when im talking with somebody on a phone, especially with a stranger, because there are no reference points for me, except the other person's voice and maybe tone of voice, unlike with chat and email, where i can at least see words and pictures, which are at least more "permanent"... ( i guess im more of a visual and literal person than an aural one, huh?)

thankfully, my uncle has been very understanding and patient, telling me he feels the same way about talking over the phone too that's why he encourages customer queries to be done via email if possible, and also gently reminded me that we can't help but get over our fears anyway, if we want the business to grow well (and im being trained as a one-woman call center!)... and then waiting for me silently for two more weeks, as i kept postponing and postponing the inevitable...

... until finally, i grabbed the inevitable today and did it.


what a relief!!! it is indeed just plug-and-play, and now, i can't get enough of talking to family and friends abroad on this phone!!!

silly and funny me, indeed!

: D

Friday, May 13, 2005


that's where i've been, these past 5 days-- going within, getting clear about what my heart and soul wanted...

and -- you wouldn't believe it! -- creating a new blog, but this time, incognito, just for my self and my own consumption, just to be able to truly and freely speak my mind and heart again as i am, without fear or anxiety about people i know and care about reading my blogs and mis-reading into it their own fears and anxieties with me, about me, for me...

i don't know what other people's motives for writing on their blogs are, but for me, aside from the instant catharsis and the intimate sharing with close family and friends, the more basic thing is really for meaning-making... trying to make sense of my experiences and my thoughts and feelings, for my own growth and self-knowledge. and usually, after i've written (processed) something down, i am wholer than ever, and i am able to move on.

but i have learned that people read other things into it and misunderstand... and sometimes, that's the loneliest and most painful place to be in: speaking so much, sharing so deeply, but being misunderstood... and worse, judged.

so at times like these, i keep quiet instead, and go underground.

Sunday, May 08, 2005


when nothing much is happening in my outer life, it usually means a lot is going on in my inner life (< click there) though...

what's it called? -- "furniture being re-arranged" while the lights are off. : )

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Conspiracy of Grace Theory

last tuesday, while waiting for Bea's doctor to call us into her office, i absentmindedly picked up a magazine lying by my side, and i opened to the first page, which had "Conspiracy of Grace Theory" as its title, with the author saying how we do get what we want in life, with the universe conspiring to bring us what we desire once we know what it is we do desire.

how is this done? primarily through opening our selves up to the possibility of what we want actually being in our lives.

as it was a religious magazine, he used the ask and you shall receive; seek and you shall find; knock and it shall be opened to you bible exhortation as discussion points for illustrating what they mean in practical terms. in brief, he basically said that:

1. ask and you shall receive - courageously express your need, your desire; announce it to the world!

2. seek and you shall find - research/study/ prepare for what you desire, immerse your self in it so much that your spiritual and mental and even emotional consciousness actually already lives with what you desire, that even you your self grow READY to receive it, even before it materially manifests itself;

3. knock and the door shall be opened - when people/circumstances actually materialize into your life to help you bring about what you desire, tell the people so, reach out for the opportunity, knock so that the door will be opened!


i believe i'm in Step Two of the house renovation dream and desire now. : )

last time, in my other blog, i shared about looking at bedroom furnitures and comparing prices and estimating budgets. yesterday, i bought a local home design magazine, as i educate my self and immerse my self further now in the materializing of my dream.

i have long browsed through architectural and design magazines at bookshops but never found one interesting enough to buy. i have long mused about my dream home, too, but always in secret, just a passive, hazy kind of wishing...

anyway, i thought that these magazines didn't fit my needs and my concerns-- about building my dream home on a budget and with a limited land area, as well as a home that reflected my and my kids' basic character and personalities, and my passion for living as close to Nature as one can. then, too, most magazines i saw reflected posh foreign designs which obviously required a really generous no-budget lifestyle; i wanted something closer to home, something real people can use.

and what do you know? this magazine i found yesterday even had the title, "Real Living"!

what amazed me about the magazine was it had articles that answered all my basic, but as yet unspoken, questions about where and how to start with building my dream home; just look at the titles:

1. 29 Stunning Homes -- Modern Style on a Budget
2. Make It Fit -- Modern Shelves for a 10m Bedroom
3. Kids' Rooms -- Fun, Playful Spaces
4. How to Make Your Home Eco-Friendly

i can't stop being awed until now about this serendipity.

just when ive become more clear and courageous about my desire and announced it to the world, things start falling into place, with the first thing that of my being led to a resource which would help me educate my self on my dream, and which is actually leading me on to Step Two of this mysterious universal principle!!!

if this isn't Grace manifesting itself right now, i don't know what it is then!


i see now the wisdom of going through Step Two-- when you immerse your self in your Dream, you become more open to it because all of your consciousness is engaged and involved in your Dream's being a part of you, until you reach a point that you don't even think of questioning your Dream anymore.

Step One, just asking for it, is good, but being the "rational" humans that we are, we tend to fall into patterns of self-doubt and Dream-doubt when we don't see our Dream materializing soon enough.

Step Two thus leads us further.

and from experience, i know that Step Three is merely the re-statement of Step One, except that in this stage, the conditions/people are there already for you to help materialize it. all you have to do is knock.


i think the author of that article forgot one other thing, though. aside from being open to receiving the universe's bounty, one must also adopt an attitude of gratitude.

Mama Gena explained it well: thanking God/the Universe/Life for what you already have in your life is like chewing and then swallowing food, so you can digest it well, which opens you up for more food coming. not appreciating the good you already have in your life sets you up for spiritual and material indigestion-- how can you have more when you haven't digested what you have yet?

Ralph Marston also talked about it in a friend's blog: "Whatever you have is not really yours unless you are truly thankful for it."


so for this recent serendipitous happening in my life, for all that has been, and for all that i know will be-- THANK YOU, GOD!!!

p.s. i have a mind to change the name of this blog site -- from "Life Happens", to "Life Quickens". heeheehee...

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Camiguin Tour Snapshots (April 5-9)

Grinning happily against rows and rows of sweet pineapples (Dole Pineapple plantation, Malaybalay, Bukidnon, Mindanao) Posted by Hello

4 a.m. breakfast at a cafe with some colleagues, in Cagayan de Oro City's central park, for the long bus and ferry trip to Camiguin later in the day Posted by Hello

it was a windy, balmy, cloudy day at White Island, Camiguin... Posted by Hello

... but that didn't stop me from stripping down to my swimsuit to enjoy the waters soon after anyway! Posted by Hello

Boracay Memories (March 31-April 3)

on the motorboat ride from Caticlan to Boracay Island... can't wait... here we come!!! (see the barely contained glee on their faces heheh...) Posted by Hello

our first dinner out at one of Boracay's seafood restaurants. it was our most expensive dinner ever (at more than a thousand pesos) but what the heck-- this was a celebration for us! we've finally come this far to afford it, at least, and at Boracay at that! (the plates are still empty except for Bea's usual pasta; the lobsters hadn't come yet) : > Posted by Hello

the kids--especially the two small ones--loved to spend all of their time on the sand or in the water, during the day... Posted by Hello

... and night. for 3 days! Posted by Hello

a hungry break from the sand and water  Posted by Hello

the university paper staff and i were having a meeting right there on the sand (that's me in green top and wrap-around sarong with my back turned to the cam) and paolo, who was asked to be quiet, told the cam to be quiet too... shhhh : ) Posted by Hello

the kids beside one of the sandcastles that one of the locals made ... exquisite castles huh? we wished we could take them home! Posted by Hello

paolo spending his last 100 pesos on a temporary henna tattoo of a dragon on his right arm Posted by Hello

our last night dining at a native restaurant, Dalisay's (? i forgot the name...) ; the two little ones look glum. they were impatient to go to The Mall and see if the new ferris wheel was working already! : ) Posted by Hello