Quite an August Rush

August 1 came and I remembered a very good friend posting the line “august rush” on Facebook.  I clicked on the “Like” button not knowing that August would not only bring a rush with it but a “deluge” of stuff as well.

The floods in Manila, the death of a relative, an open door for volunteering (tutorials, I’ll write about this in a separate post), Secretary Jesse Robredo’s death – our Department of Interior and Local Government secretary, and the highlight of the month:  my first ever quarterly exams with the kids that I’m tutoring.  I didn’t know that would be a tough one.  Good thing we made it unscathed and with a lot of A’s. 🙂

What do I write about first?  I told my sweet blogger friend, Lydia of lifeloveandlydia that the right words still escape me on how to write about an uncle’s death.  This post will be an attempt to do so.  Tito R was my mom’s second cousin.  Her father and his mother were cousins.

He was only 44.  He would have turned 45 this September but one Sunday during the first week of August, death suddenly came creeping and he collapsed while he was biking in the recently held Ironman Triathlon here in Cebu City and was DOA (dead on arrival) at Chong Hua hospital.  The autopsy report attributed his death to an embolism that affected his lungs.

As soon as my parents and I got hold of the news, I was in denial.  “Maybe they just got the name wrong” to “No, his name is not here on the official list” as I was scanning the athletes’ names on the web.  All those “they’re wrong” denial stuff went into my head.

His family and our family were close when my sister and I were pretty much younger – school girls age.  We would spend Christmas and their birthdays at their house and we’d dance and sing for them and their parents.  We had fond memories of Tito R because he was boyishly handsome, warm and very nice to us kids.  They were a very close-knit family and Tito R and his siblings were always nice to us kids even when they were all grown up and working.

When we grew up and went to Manila for college, I guess we drifted apart.  We no longer had a chance to bond with them and the rest of the family.  The last time I saw Tito R was almost two years ago when I had a trip to Manila and he was there at the check-in counter overseeing the luggage check-in.  He was a load controller at Cebu Pacific.

When I got to my sister’s house for our Sunday family dinner we were still hoping the news that our family friend told Daddy was wrong.  It was only until my sister Happy read my Aunt J.’s (his sister) status update that the news was confirmed, “We will miss you, R.”  Shucks, it was him.  No amount of willing that it was wrong could not make it untrue.  He really was gone.

So many questions were running in our mind but the foremost and the biggest question was, “Why him, Lord?”  It was only when my dad, mom and I got home after our dinner and I was all alone here in my room that I finally got the chance to cry and pour out my resentment and my questions “Why did it happen?”

Now, I understand that we don’t really know when our time is.  That incident made me realize how frail life is and how someone we know can actually be taken away in a moment, in a blink of an eye.  As my dad put it, “you can be having breakfast with a person one day and the next hour or in the afternoon that person can be gone from your life.  There are things that are beyond our control.”

Yes, only God really knows our times and seasons.  One thing we can do though is ask ourselves “Am I ready to face my Creator and my God when it’s my time?”  “Have I repented and made peace with my Savior, Jesus, knowing that because of his death and resurrection I can live throughout eternity?

A photo snapped by a friend of Tito R before the incident

Tito R’s burial gave us the chance to reconnect with family whom we haven’t seen for a long time. We finally saw one of my aunts (the one in white blouse) after almost 20+ years after her wedding

While we were reconnecting with family, these two adorables (my nephew and niece) also had a whale of a time running around the memorial park and hiding behind and between the tombs. I couldn’t resist snapping a pic or two of them enjoying their time there just before the heavy rains fell.


My happy thought: Teaching :)

There are a lot of things I don’t want to admit.

One of them is missing those teaching moments in a classroom and another one is missing the kids I taught.

I’m not teaching in the classroom set-up right now though I’m still “teaching” as a tutor. The set-up is quite different from the classroom thingy but I have to admit that the fun and the challenges of imparting what you know and understand to these kids are the same.

The “I miss ’em” syndrome hit me last Sunday when I attended a bash {quite a bash} of a former student who turned 4 years old. Most of the kids I had taught last year were there and it was such a joy and a privilege to hug them and talk to them even for just a minute. The hugs and the innocence and the refreshing candor of kids are just one of the many things that a preschool teacher misses.

Teacher Kha and I with E during C’s birthday bash. We had our photo taken since he’ll be leaving for the US for good. 😦 No smiles from E here. 🙂

Last night, I got to sharing what was in my heart with my dad and my mom about missing my former students and wanting to open a preschool. That is the second thing I have to admit. I want to start a school. Something that never crossed my mind in the last 12 years I’ve been a teacher.

I’d like to have a preschool or a daycare where children from less privileged families can go to school by paying a minimal fee of P300/month. How I will manage to operate in those figures will take a miracle from heaven.

For two years, I taught in a preschool that catered to kids who come from very affluent families – expat kids and children of businessmen and politicos. It was a delight and so much fun to teach in that environment where we had a lot of resources {papers in all colors, all kinds of art materials, educational toys and manipulatives and every learning resource necessary to catch the kids’ attention and inspire them to love learning}, meaningful learning experiences and good facilities but oftentimes I would catch myself dreaming and thinking “God, how do I make this available to those kids from the slums or from the streets?” I am praying and waiting that I’ll have wisdom and the answers from heaven to make this a reality.

It hit me then that God has a purpose why I’ve handled all four levels. In the past, I’ve looked at it as signs of not knowing what level I should be in but this time I am starting to see that God set me up. Now, it is a privilege for me to have taught 2.5-3.5 year olds, high school students for a practicum stint, college students for the most of my teaching life and now this new level, teaching or tutoring elementary students.

I’d like to confess that the times that I look forward to most when tutoring is that time when we’re done with all the assignments and it’s what I call “laughing time” where we horse around, they ask the funniest questions, goof around with my camera phone and just enjoy that time with each other. That is also one of the times that I miss with my college students. Me just sitting on a bench, them approaching me and talking…talking about everything and anything under the sun. I think it’s the humanity factor and stamp that we teachers enjoy the most. It’s relating and connecting with your students and enjoying that moment that leaves an imprint on you.

So as I enjoy this season of my life where I am teaching in a non-classroom set-up, I’d like to share some snapshots that always, always make me smile or laugh out loud when I look at them remembering those times I spent with young people. One of my regrets though is that the first five years I taught, camera phones were not that nice plus the fact that I didn’t have one so I didn’t have a lot of pics from my early teaching years. Still those moments are forever engraved in my heart and they will always be one of my happy thoughts.

Unforgettable photo walk aka exercise along Colon with my Philippine History class 🙂

Super loved this batch!

Practicum in a public high school 🙂 ’twas such fun and challenging!

My Abellana High {evening class} students, DPE Practicum

Perfect Love

In the world, love is highly celebrated, extolled and talked about on Valentine’s Day.  In God’s Kingdom, love is a lifestyle.  It is our Heavenly Father’s banner over us.  That is also the lens He uses to look at you and me.  L.O.V.E.  Such a short, four-letter word but oh so powerful when we really ponder on and walk in LOVE.

Think about it.  People jump in and take the risk to commit and say “I Do” all in the name of love.  We do crazy things {at times} and the most extravagant of things for the ones we love.  Powerful.  It makes us step out of our comfort zones and go into the deep end.

Yes, we express our love in so many different ways yet inspite of all our efforts our love does not even come close to God’s perfect agape love.  The love that is unconditional.  The “as is” love as Sean Si, a blogger, puts it.  God loves us “as is”, without strings attached and without conditions.  He does not love us just because we’re  _______ {fill in the blanks:  good, beautiful, smart, etc.} or He loves us if __________ {fill in the blanks again:  you love me back, you’re always pretty, always nice, etc.}

No, sir, ma’am!  He loves us plainly because that is His nature.  God is love.  And in that love there is no hidden agenda except to love and give what’s best for us.  Sometimes my finite human mind cannot comprehend such love but I’m writing this now because these days this is what God’s been teaching me a lot – lo.ve.  I can’t say I’m there yet meaning I’ve really gotten it but day by day God is slowly showing me the depths and the facets of His love.

Tonight as I was reading through the prophetic words in Elijah List, a post blew me away as it captured the lessons that God was teaching me.  Here’s an excerpt I want to share with you guys.

You and I are loved.  More than we’ll ever understand.  It’ll surely take a lifetime for us to comprehend it as it is so deep, wide and oh so extravagant but we do have eternity to know God more and to bask in His love.  And when we get a deeper revelation of His love, our lives will automatically reflect the love that our Heavenly Daddy has given us.  It will touch the lives of the people around us because we’ve been transformed by a love that’s divine.

From a word by Bill Yount:

Years ago, I was frustrated because the Lord didn’t answer a certain prayer the way I thought He would. I confess that I was not only frustrated but I was mad at God all day as I struggled with it. That night as I was about to go to sleep the Lord began to speak to me very clearly concerning a church where I would be ministering the following Sunday. I was surprised He was even speaking to me since I was upset with Him that whole day and didn’t even talk to Him. I asked the Lord, “How come You are talking to me like this when you know I have been mad at You all day?” The Lord responded, “Son, you may be mad at Me, but I’m not mad at you! My love is different than yours. I love you whether you love Me or not. I love you no matter what!” I repented immediately, seeing myself the way He sees me and yet still loves me. I’m learning that God not only loves us, He even likes us!  – Bill Yount, “Throw Down Your Stones“, Elijah List word, 08 May 2012

A New One

Sometimes you just have to let go of the familiar and the safe  or what you’ve been used to to see what’s on the other side.

You will never get on a new path or start a new journey if you do not say goodbye to the old.

And once you’ve said goodbye, burn your bridges. Burn the ships. No Plan Bs.

Cut clean.  Start anew.

All you have to do now is to look and move forward. What’s waiting on the horizon is far greater than what you’ve let go. 🙂

{Just something I learned this season}


my sister Happy with her kids Samuel and Anna (Fathers' Day 2010)

with Anna in one of our "art classes" last year

with the aunties (Aug 2010)

Happy's birthday July 2010

Nappy family's despedida *Sep 2010*

miss my Sunday School class, seriously (my kiddos last 2010)


my 2010 birthday celebration with Grace, Ann and Tabz