Sunday, July 9, 2017

Well, hello there!

The 2nd year anniversary of not writing in my blog is fast approaching so I decided to break this relatively long drought.

Seriously, I missed writing and I think that my mind needs it right now. I feel that my mental progress is becoming a plateau and I need to stimulate it every now and then, especially now that I am no longer in grad school. I also need to practice writing and quick thinking, so pardon my words (or my vocabulary) now as I write what gets out of my brain.

A lot of things happened in those two years that I am not writing in this blog. So many learning, adventures, and successes. I would say that 2015 and 2016 were some of the best years of my life. Those years led me to different places and experiences that never in my young life I thought I would have. The expat experience in Bangkok, the elephant-bathing experience in Chiang Mai, and the solo adventure in Europe - those are the experiences I will treasure the most. 2015 and 2016 also led me to various people. I met new friends and people that made a great impact to my views and how I am as a person. Cheers to those people who do not know how they inspire me.

Professionally, I got more than I expected. Opportunities to develop and experience new things came after another. I was able to present a paper in two universities, to speak to a large audience in a workshop, and to travel on a business trip! I am very much thankful to my previous organization that led me to those wonderful opportunities.

2017 signaled a new beginning. I was promoted in my previous organization but then moved to another job a few months after. I decided that I could not let that opportunity to pass up or delay that job (or career) of a lifetime. I may have some regrets on leaving my previous company that early but I have to face the consequences. I have to be responsible for my decisions and that's what makes a person an 'adult'.

This year is also the first time, after nearly two decades, that our family went on an out-of-town trip - this time it's abroad! I booked the tickets back in October 2016 and le family went to Hongkong last March. It was a truly enjoyable experience and we learned so much about each other. I hope we, as a family, can collect more memories and travel more often, while my parents still can.

That's all for now. I will try to write as often as I can. It's always good to look back at my thoughts written somewhere and see how I have changed, or not.

Friday, July 24, 2015

A different Friday

I feel specially melancholic today. Perhaps it's because of what's happened in the office. Some may say what kind of awful person I am for being too affected by what is happening in the office. Yes, it seems like I am the kind of person who lacks life outside the four corners (or even more) of the workplace. But what happened today is different.

For the second time, a colleague of mine died.

I came in early in the office, minutes earlier than I used to. It made me happy. It was an achievement. So I went in the office with a smile on my face, larger than what I used to sport when I arrive a bit late. When I got to my area, three of my colleagues were talking in low voices, with a sullen look on their faces. I heard them talking and wondering what happened to this certain person and that they just talked to him earlier this week. I asked one of them what was happening. I was finally told that our colleague, who I will name Jerry in order to protect his identity, died this morning. I was in shock. I just saw him last Monday and I even talked to him. There was no evidence of any sickness that might signal us of his impending demise, although he looked very sleepy during the training we had earlier this week.

                                                           Artwork by Rose Wong's Art

Later today, I learned that he died because of heart attack. Apparently, he had burdened himself with some personal problems, which may have caused him stress that led to his cardiac arrest. Our deputy representative called all those present in the office to talk about the situation. She shared that one lesson to be learned from what happened is that there are times that it would be helpful to talk with your colleagues and chat them over their life outside of the office. In that way, it can help lighten their load if ever they are carrying heavy ones in their own personal lives. She encouraged us to make it our personal mission to foster such kind of relations at least with one person in the office.

Throughout the day, I was sullen. It was just relieved by a presentation of one colleague on inter-faith dialogue and peacebuilding. It felt good to learn new things, share ideas, and interact with people outside my unit. I was even praised by our Country Representative for an idea I shared during the session. How generous with praise he is!

However, the joy brought by the approval was snatched away by this urgent administrative matter in the office that does not merit much space in this blog, hence I will not speak much about it. But I do hope it will be settled come Monday.

The rest of the day, I felt cheerless. I hope tomorrow will be a better one.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

A glimpse of me, more than a decade ago

Below is a transcript of my salutatory speech back in highschool. I made a soft copy of it in order to keep a memory, not to brag. I dare not brag about it because I cringe at most aspects of it - some ideas on it, some words used, the grammar and punctuation, among others. Nonetheless, give me the liberty to "fossilize" this keepsake from the past.

           Distinguished guests, Ms. Principal, members of the faculty, fellow graduates, ladies and gentlemen, my friends, I feel deeply honored for having been given this opportunity to speak before a gathering of intellectuals and men and women of the academe, our dearest parents, and my fellow graduates.

            Today is the day of yet another great achievement for all of us and a crowning glory of our struggle over a laborious period of time in search of knowledge, truth and enlightenment.
            It isn’t easy to say farewell after four long years of sweet and unforgettable camaraderie and friendship, but go we must, for our stay in this institution is over. We may keep these fond memories that we shared together. But we are grownups now. We must act more maturely and try to measure up to what our mentors expect of us, the best we can.

            Our school has prepared us for greater and perhaps more difficult adventure in life – that is college education. After all, it’s every school’s concern and objective not just to turn out graduates but to ensure that every graduate is well prepared and equipped with the necessary skill and knowledge to be able to pursue higher education. Thus, it is the school’s first initiative: to focus on the outcomes or the quality of education of the would-be graduates must acquire in the course of their study.

            To me, education isn’t all about academics. It isn’t all about getting high grades either. It is during education that one must also develop good traits and values everyone needs to be successful in life. Being a class valedictorian or a salutatorian is not a passport to success, for knowledge without values is doomed to fail. More often than not, it’s the individual who have developed good moral characters in their early years that reap happiness and success late in their lives. Being genuinely happy is an ultimate success. That’s why our teachers, our second parents in school, are being tasked to mold us into a better person, better graduates, for better outcomes.

            It is the pride of every education institution to produce a great number of graduates that would someday become models of the society. The destiny of any nation, big or small, is determined by how their leaders give importance to literacy and the quality of education among its population.

            So my fellow graduates, let us all thrive to excel as we take another journey towards our goals. Let’s pray to God for our guidance along the way. And of course, we must be grateful to our parents for their sacrifices.

            To our beloved mentors, our grateful heart now bids goodbye, to our Alma Mater, from whose fountain of wisdom and virtue we’ve imbibed deeply, a fond farewell. To our friends and classmates who went along in the search of knowledge, thank you and so long.

            We shall go our different ways, but wherever we are, the memories of our dear St. Emilene Academe will truly spur us to greater achievements.

            To all, a pleasant goodbye and Godspeed.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Review: Ghost the musical in Manila

                Lately, I’ve been fond of watching theater musicals, thanks to my sister’s free tickets. Just recently, we watched the play “Ghost,” lead by Christian Bautista and the comeback kid Cris Villonco. I have never watched the 1990 film starring Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore, although I am familiar with that famous pottery scene, and of course the eternal theme song “Unchained Melody”.

                I was expecting that we would just be watching the doubles of the two actors, since Bautista and Villonco are too famous for a 3 PM show. But lo and behold, when the curtain was raised, it was Villonco in her jumper suit acting as the visual artist Molly. Bautista subsequently appeared as Sam, Molly’s boyfriend, together with theater actor Hans Eckstein as their friend, Karl.  

                At first, the scene among the three actors was a bit off for me. They were speaking English as if they’re American actors, which did not make me comfortable. Nevertheless, I commend Villonco and Eckstein for maintaining their ‘twang’ throughout the play.

                Looking at the set-up, one can say that it is not a big-budgeted musical. The house that Molly and Sam bought as their love nest and workshop for Molly’s craft reminded me of a mausoleum. Still, the space offered opportunities for the production to play with flexibility and tricks in simulating scenes. I was impressed with the transition of the scenes through the changes in lighting, choreography and visual effects. It was a pity that some of the props did not gave such positive effect. The pottery scene was horrendous. Sam seemed to be awkward with positioning himself behind Molly while the latter is busy with her pottery, as the chair they were sitting on was enough for just one person.  It seemed that the awkwardness was reflected on Bautista’s face while he was singing Unchained Melody. Additionally, I was expecting a sensual spinning of the pottery wheel to add to the drama of the scene and of the song. But no. Molly appeared to be exerting much effort to make it appear that she was working on something like a clay vase. Later on, my father told us that he noticed that there was a plug in the pottery wheel and it was not used. Truly a pity.

                Likewise, there were scenes wherein Sam gained power to remotely move things even if he is a ghost. One scene involved him moving a can of soda. But something happened with the nylon cord of the can that a dancer was tangled with it. Although it was not as disastrous, the incident manifested a flaw in the production.

                Ima Castro as Oda Mae, the ‘clairvoyant’ who helped Sam communicate with Molly, stole the show. Castro’s Oda Mae sang perfectly and her energy reinvigorates the otherwise sleeper presentation. Of course, Villonco is a great singer too. She sang flawlessly, pouring her emotions into every song, yet composed. I was converted into a fan. Eckstein did very well with his supporting role. He was effective as an antagonist. As for Bautista, all I can say is that his acting is better onstage than on TV.

                Overall, I can say that the Ghost the musical staging in Manila is greatly entertaining if you don’t expect much from it. Or maybe I should not watch a musical at 3 PM.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Like the sunflowers

For some people, sunflowers symbolize the end of a four-year toil. Its blossoming signals the beginning of a different journey, of a new chapter. This year's sunflowers are special to me, as much as to the recent graduates of UP Diliman. Like the graduating students, I see these beautiful creatures of nature as a welcome to the new stage that I will be going through in my life and the end of a four-year journey. Their majestic display is just in time to celebrate a chance to a new beginning and greater opportunities. 

Like the sunflowers, I hope that my next job will blossom into something splendid and memorable. Like the sunflowers, whose cultivation may take an effort, I pray that this new point in my life will present to me worthy challenges and opportunities that will let me grow as a strong and smart woman. Like the sunflowers, which I wait in anxious anticipation every year, I hope that this new chapter will be wholeheartedly welcomed by the people I love and that they will support me towards my journey into full bloom.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Long-awaited summer vacation

Summer vacation, you will soon be mine!
I have long waited for you. In less than two weeks time, we will meet again. I have so many plans when I see you. I know we will enjoy each other's company. :)

Photo credits:

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Being Jack-of-all-trades

Jack of all trades, master of none.”

I first learned that quote from a college friend. I cannot forget that line because I am quite affected by it. Truly, I have interest in a number of things. I cannot imagine myself focusing on one thing in my lifetime. Even if I focus on one thing, for example, a hobby, my mind constantly travels and thinks of things that I can also do. Since I began working, I have been fond of reading blog posts about investing, entrepreneurship and personal finance. Right now, I am fond of reading recipe books and cooking new dishes. When I woke up at the right side of the bed, I browse blogs on designing and graphic arts. When I feel inspired, I delve myself into writing and reading some writing manuals. Just recently, I got myself into researching more about indoor planting and subsistence farming. Those are apart from what I really do, which is translation and reading on international affairs. I can identify with Leonardo Da Vinci and Jose Rizal – the difference is they were good in all things they did.

This condition made me a bit miserable. A professor once told a story about this Anthropology scholar, who later in life became a geography scholar. This person was criticized and his credibility was somehow attacked. Some people say that to truly know your passion – or maybe your place in this world – one should only focus on one thing. So that would mean that I have to shut out my other interests and just focus on one. But that would make life more boring, isn’t it?

So one day I decided to subscribe to the motto that is “misery loves company”. I searched on the internet if having multiple interests is normal and if it is ok. I found numerous articles about people having multiple passions and interests and they are maximizing it. I was happy. After all, I am not an outcast. However, our time on earth is very limited to be really good in the areas of your interest. Thus, time management is essential, and that is what Adam Singer of Future Buzz was trying to tell. For Singer, to be able to succeed in your multiple interests, you have to allot enough time for them, and work all day, if possible, to hone them. He emphasized that even though it is tough, one has to remove other things that does not help with succeeding in your multiple interests, e.g. the TV and simple chores like mailing a bill.

What strikes me most about his article was his advice about ignoring other people who tells you that you should focus on one thing. It reminds me of an office colleague who criticizes another colleague for having too many interests. The critic thinks that the multiple-interest colleague will never achieve anything significant if he continues on with his multiple passions.

I understand that there is a common belief that if you don’t focus on one, you will never accomplish anything. But as Singer says, it’s all about balance and correct management.