Tuesday, June 09, 2015

An Open Letter to my Daughter as She Goes Off to College

Dear Stef,

I know you’re excited to go to college, meet new friends, and embrace a more fast-paced life in Manila. I’m also excited for you! I know that the physical distance between us will only make you become stronger and more prepared to face the real world once you’ve finished college. I want you to be fully equipped and well-prepared when that time comes.

I’m confident you won’t have problems being on your own. As you know, I’ve been there – was then studying in Manila, away from my parent, since I was in high school, kaya pagdating ng college sa Baguio, halos end of semester na lang ako umuuwi. At least ngayon, meron nang FB, Twitter, Skype and ‘unli text and call’, so keeping in touch is no longer an issue. Pero siyempre, iba pa rin kapag we don’t see you every day para kumustahin ang araw mo. . .

Well, malapit lang naman ang Manila from Angeles, and madali ka lang puntahan, or madali ka lang makauwi, but it’s still very different from what I’ve been used to. Ngayon, without you in the house, wala nang manonood ng horror movies with all lights off sa madaling-araw.

Seriously, as you spend your days without us physically by your side, and as you embrace college life, always remember my usual advice:

1. Nothing is coincidence. Every person you will meet, every challenge you’ll encounter, every victory, every defeat, everything that comes your way ---- all of those have a purpose. Those are not random events or people. They come because you attract them. So be very careful with how you think and learn from every person you meet.

2. Don’t let other people dictate your happiness. Only you have the power to decide whether you should be happy. The simplest way to be happy: Always look at the glass as half-full, rather than half-empty.

3. Always be grateful. Every little thing matters.

4. Follow your passion. At your age, I am so proud that you already know what you want in life and what makes you happy. Follow your passion and everything else will fall into place.

5. Learn from each of your professors. In college, you could encounter the best and the worst professor. Well, the best or the worst---- it doesn’t matter. All of them have experiences that students could learn from.
6. Believe in yourself, even if some people don’t. Remember what Winston Churchill said, “You won’t be able to reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks.”

7. Read, read, read. No explanation needed.

8. Use social media to grow and to learn more. It’s great that you seem to have outgrown Facebook. Keep it that way. And now that your LinkedIn profile is up and running, keep the connections coming! Read insights from the industry icons and from people with so much to share like Jack Welch, Richard Branson, Deepak Chopra, etc. You’ll find more Influencers that are worth following on LinkedIn. Their insights will teach you about the reality of life and career.

9. Don’t procrastinate, manage your time, and focus on the things that matter.

10. On other important stuff: Eat on time. Ask when you’re in doubt. Boyfriend? Hmmm.. maybe not yet. Aral muna. No reason to be in a hurry, anyway. College takes only 4 years. Serious relationships, well, could be forever. :-)

By the way, maraming naghihintay sa yo sa Manila—baha (minsan lampas-tao ang lalim), heavy traffic, napakahabang pila sa MRT/LRT (though sabi mo wala nang tatalo pa sa pila sa PUP), atbp. Good luck! But then, mura ang pamasahe dyan sa trayk, unlike dito sa Angeles, ang OA mag-charge ng drivers.

I still have more on my list, but these should be enough for now. :-) Pwede ka umuwi any time ma-miss mo kami, especially your siblings. :-)  :-)  And of course, don’t forget our dinner date, hopefully once a month. Let’s meet after I attend our face-to-face meetings in Ortigas. 

Always think that  you're there to invest in yourself, so always do the best you can in every little endeavor.  It's for your future.

I can’t wait to hear about your first day in college. 

Ingat lagi. Love you! 

Love you always,

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Shane's and Danzzy's Christening Day

We had a double celebration last Nov 30 when we had Shane's and Danzzy's christening.

Shane looks so adorable and cute with his big eyes :-)

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Because I am a Mom

Steffi: My 16-year-old daughter :-)
I watch music videos of Avril Lavigne and Paramore; discuss high school projects and activities; watch  American Idol and America's Next Top Model; listen to stories about Steffi's friends; talk about life, dreams, books, movies, family, friendship, college, food and relationships. I enjoy doing these because
I am a mom of a 16-year-old girl who loves her family, values friendship, and hopes to become a travel & food host.  With Steffi, I found not only a loving daughter but also a friend who listens to my own stories and my advice.

Steffi during her JS Prom

I'm not really a sports fanatic, but at times I find myself talking about basketball, wrestling (ops, this is not really sports) or racing.  Other times, Charles shares his knowledge about cars, animals and astronomy.  Yes, although some topics do not appeal to me at first, I listen and get engaged in conversations because I am a mom of a 13-year-old boy who is fascinated with sports and the arts.  Charles had taught me to appreciate arts through his own drawings, either on paper or using MS Paint.  When he was a young boy, I sent him to a summer arts workshop so he would appreciate arts and learn the craft.  Charles did more than that. He made me appreciate arts myself through his acquired skills in drawing and sketching.

Charles: My 13-year-old son

Rapunzel, Jasmine, Ariel, Belle, Analese, Sofia… Name a Disney princess and I am sure to recognize it.  Just recently, I had been watching the MTV of Frozen's original soundtrack, 'Let it Go'. Well, it's because I am a mom of an 8-year-old girl who loves princesses and Disney movies. To help her with her school presentations, I had to demonstrate how it was to be a weather girl, a chef and a newscaster. During exam week, we're busy reviewing and having practice tests at home so she'll excel in her exams.

Danie: My 8-year-old daughter

I play 'Pretend' almost every day.  I pretend to order pizza and coffee using kids' kitchen set (Danie's toys which Danzzy also loves to play with).  Danzzy also wants us to play with his toy cars. He pretends to be Lightning McQueen, and I pretend to be Sally, or sometimes, Mater.  He pretends to be Iron Man or Spider Man, and I have to pretend to be another character.  It's actually not an easy thing to do for me, but I do it anyway, because I am a mom of a 3-year-old boy who loves telling stories and talking about cars and superheroes.

Danzzy: My 3-year-old son

This is also the time when sleeping at night becomes a luxury.  I take turns with my husband in feeding and putting our baby to sleep.  I have gone back to silently humming lullabies, washing and boiling feeding bottles, changing baby Shane's diapers and clothes in the middle of the night -- all because I am a mom of a 3-week-old baby boy who wakes up every 1.5-to-2 hours for feeding.

Because I am a mom , I learned to do so many things that I did not imagine I could and learned to appreciate a lot of activities and stuff that I did not imagine I would.  The most challenging part is juggling 24 hours so I could spend time with my five kids and still able to work from home. 

Being a mom of 5 kids is not that easy.  A few times, it feels overwhelming and crazy.  Many times, it's a lot of fun.  And I am grateful all the time --that I am so blessed with five healthy, adorable kids (and of course, I am equally thankful that my husband is a hands-on father :-) . I know that my kids won't be kids forever, so I want to cherish each moment I spend with each and all of them :-)

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Christmas holidays are here!

I can't believe I am back to blogging!

One thing I love about Christmas holidays is that I get to spend more time with my family, and get to use PC without ever checking emails or working on any project :-).

Danie just got her wish for her 7th birthday -- a new kitchen set :-)

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Danzzy My Luv

Time flies so fast... kids are growing up... :-)

First haircut ni Danzzy 

My Beautiful Girls: Danie & Stef

Danie and Stef... Lumalaki na ang mga bata... Dalaga na si Stef... at mahilig na rin magpose sa picture si Danie :-) 

Danie's wearing Tinkerbell dress from her Tita Viv ... 
Back-to-back pose
Hmm... da best ang jacket (designed by Avril Lavigne) ni Stef from Viv

Go, GBTeam :-)

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Top 10 Reasons for Leaving

10. The university requires (for 2 consecutive years) alumni and teachers to sell at least 2 Alumni raffle tickets for PhP500 each.  As a faculty, I was not even asked if I can sell those tickets.  Nabigla na lang ako sa announcement sa bulletin board at the English department: "Inform the office how you want the tickets be paid, cash or through salary deduction."  Wow, magbabayad na kami, hindi pa kami na-consult. This is only one of the times we had to pay for something pala, na di kami na-consult if we're willing to deduct any amount during the payout. 

9. Kapag late for more than 10 minutes, salary deduction, for every minute late.  Kapag overtime dahil sa mga activities, no pay at all.

8. Chalk is given out for free, thank you!  But that's all.  The faculty members even have to spend their own money to buy drinking water from the university's cooperative. 

7. Salary increase is not significant, minsan, wala pa, although tuition fees keep increasing.

6. After more than 11 years, ang Christmas bonus ko, PhP2,000.  I used to appreciate this amount, yes, even if we have to queue at the accounting office for this amount after the Xmas party,  because this is the only thing we get after at least one year of service.  But when I had  a Xmas bonus of 125% of my salary in the new company, I realized, PhP2,000 is really very low. Well, it isn't the amount that's important, but the feeling that the company values its people and gives significant incentives or bonus.  I believe every employee understands this. 

5. The Dean is not willing to hire practitioners with no Master's degree because the college would like to stick to the record of having 100% of faculty with Master's degree.  As a consequence, Communication students end up either having a teacher with non-Comm Bachelor's degree (but with MA, though not also related to Comm.) or having no teacher at all.

4. In one occasion (Parents Orientation), an official justified tuition fee increase by announcing that the increase is also meant for teachers' salary increases.  Ooppss... not true.   Tuition increases by the thousands.  Teachers' salary increases are sometimes pegged at PhP300, usually PhP500.

3.  Academic environment is not competitive.  Teachers with higher degrees (Ph.D.'s) get higher compensation compared with those without Ph.D.'s.   Also, the faculty from the college making the most money get higher income.  Even if you perform better, do more research, introduce more significant innovations, go extra mile assisting students, there is no way you can get ahead in terms of compensation/incentive. Ah, yes they have Performance Bonus, that if you get high score, you get at most PhP2,000. Still not significant for the best performers, I believe. Minsan, you will see, those with Ph.D.'s are just not as hard-working as those with only Master's degrees.  And if you ask the students, the degree is not always equivalent to better learning.  To top it all, some teachers with Ph.D.'s are not even adept in research, compared with those with only Master's degrees. 

2. Communication students are not well-recognized.  Sometimes, the students get recognized outside the university, but gets nothing from their own school.  Many of my former students, including those who won national awards in documentary filmmaking competition in 2006, and my former Korean student who was able to present his thesis in an international conference in New Delhi know exactly what I am saying here.

1. Teachers are not valued by the top official.  A top official once said during a general teachers meeting at the auditorium, something like: "If you're not happy, bukas ang dalawang pinto.  If you want, I can even request the brass band to bring you out."  Ouch... That says it all: teachers are not valued so the top official is not willing to listen to find out why some seem unhappy.  This is number one in my list, and I won't forget this statement.  

I have more on my list, actually, but I'd like to keep the list to 10.  These are just my opinion, based on my experience, my senses, observations, and feelings while I was still there.  Other teachers might have different views, and I respect them.  

Personally, I have so many dreams, hopes, not only for myself, but for my students, but there is no one to help me attain those dreams and hopes.  So hard to get support from the environment, idk why, so the "fire" that used to drive me to improve on the quality of the Comm. department, nawawala na lang, nang hindi natutupad.  Dreams just die, and it feels really bad.  

Well, the school is lucky for having great employees: maraming masipag, di nagbibilang ng oras, maraming di nagrereklamo, maraming hard-working people, definitely.  

But at the end of the day, they would also want to find something more fulfilling, a company that would

In fairness with the university, it also offers some good things, e.g. 100% discount on tuition fees for the education of the employees and their kids (which is a big thing for parents  like me), I finished my MA degree through study-now-pay-later plan with the help of the former Dean, and opportunities to work with great people. These are the reasons I am grateful, as well. 

Sunday, January 29, 2012