Saturday, November 28, 2009


My to-read list is growing long... a little too long, in fact, that it's really taking me some time to finish what's "On My Desk" before moving on to the next one. My shelves are also getting filled with reading material faster than you can say, "Book bargain". That's because I buy books faster than I can read them especially if they are on sale. :P

Then I realize this: I can only read so much.

But still... books are my best friends. :)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Race and Shine!

This morning, I ran my first ever five kilometer (5K) race at The Fort, Global City: Race and Shine!

I went with co-teachers from ACC and had a very good time although the race briefing and gunstarts for each running distance (15K, 10K, and 5K) were almost an hour late. The breakfast served after the race was simple but delicious. :)

My unofficial time for the race was 43 minutes and 14 seconds! :) I am extremely HAPPY with the results! I thought I would finish the whole run in about an hour more or less as the week wore on until race day but, lo and behold, I finished in less than three quarters of an hour. Alright! I was also able to meet my goal of not stopping for a walk break or water break during the entire five kilometer distance. I was steadily running (or jogging) the whole time. Going to aerokickboxing and dance class really helped with the cardio and breathing. :)

Tweety de Leon-Gonzales and other public figures were present to grace the event as well. It is heartwarming to know that they support the cause behind run.

Here's a little background of Race and Shine!:

Help Others Help Themselves

"Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." - Chinese Proverb

Most meaningful provisions for individuals with autism end upon leaving school. The challenge continues as our children with autism become adults. Although the Magna Carta defines their right for employment, the reality we face is in the fact that individuals with autism need more equal opportunities to work.

More research is needed to gather information on all possible suitable jobs for persons with autism. The responsibility does not end at providing vocational training, but also in seeking placement for them by providing work opportunities and creating programs for small and medium-sized companies to employ individuals with autism. The research becomes a basis not only to create skills training programs for adults with autism, but also be used as basis for training and assistance to business owners who want to determine how they can create these work opportunities.

There are several schools that have sheltered workshops that provide vocational programs to prepare them for future employment. The information to be gathered in a research will be shared to all schools and centers that offer vocational training so that they can design curricula that will equip adults with autism with the essential skills necessary to qualify for employment. The potential employers will also have access to research data on the skills and potentials adults with autism have and thus, be guided by information which will facilitate placement into their companies.

The funds raised from RACE & SHINE will go to the ongoing research by the Let It Shine Foundation. The key information being sought out for specifically will identify what job descriptions, employee roles and responsibilities and performance levels are to be expected of them. Your participation will definitely help in making individuals with Autism Shine! Contact the foundation for more information: or 218-2362.

Source: Race and Shine flyer included in the race kit.

I am definitely looking forward to running my next race.
Shine on!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

On this special day

Dearests of my heart,

I am deeply thankful to the Lord above for the wonders of love, joy, and peace that you bring to my life. All of you are and will always be a very important part of me.

The journey I went through to get to where I am and to become who I am now was full of U-turns, crossroads, dead ends, and back roads but you have been there every step of the way. I could never have made it through without you. A glance at the past 21 years brings many good memories and, yes, bad memories as well but never regret.

To be twenty two years old is a marvelous gift. Praise God that I live one more year to experience all that He has made! The road ahead may look dreary at times but I am confident that the Lord will always be there for me, for you, for us.

For having accepted who I am and who I am not, thank you. Words are not enough to express how much I appreciate each and every one of you. You will always be in my heart...

Sunday, November 8, 2009


I have been an avid collector of memorabilia since I was a little kid.

The photo above shows but a small fraction of the things I've collected over the years: from books to candy wrappers, from airplane tickets to photographs, from candles to wedding garters, from corsages to ribbons, from cards to sashes, from receipts to stickers, from dried leaves to letters... and the list goes on.

I find a sense of joy (that I can't quite put into words) in collecting little somethings that remind me of people, places and events. Even after many years, they somehow bring me back to that specific moment - that strand of time and space in the tapestry of the world - that enriches the experience even more.

"A pleasure is only full grown when it is remembered. You are speaking, Hmān, as if the pleasure were one thing and the memory another. It is all one thing. The séroni could say it better than I say it now. Not better than I could say it in a poem. What you call remembering is the last part of the pleasure, as the crah is the last part of a poem. When you and I met, the meeting was over very shortly, it was nothing. Now it is growing something as we remember it. But we still know very little about it. What it will be when I remember it as I lie down to die, what it makes in me all my days till then--that is the real meeting. The other is only the beginning of it. You say you have poets in your world. Do they not teach you this?"

- Hyoi, a creature of the planet Malacandra speaking to Ramsom, the human protagonist. From "Out of the Silent Planet" by C.S. Lewis

As I grow older, though, I realize that I can't hang on to every single thing that tugs my heart otherwise even a museum wouldn't be big enough to house all things that I put sentimental value into.

I have come to think of the act of saving meaningful things as sort of a self-preservation. Although it sounds like a good pursuit, I believe otherwise. I am not here to preserve myself. My stay here in this world is a mere passing by, a sojourn. Thus, as a voyager I wish to travel lightly. I soon became content with the fact the mind finds ways to remember.

The only memorabilia that I continue to hold on steadfastly now are the handwritten letters (which I fondly call 'snail mail') that I receive.

For me, an object only has meaning to the person/s who puts sentimental value to it but to the outsider, could mean nothing - it may even be seen as rubbish. A letter, on the other hand, tells everyone who reads it a story. An object could spark a deep curiosity that may never be answered, while the letter gives answers that may lead to further inquiry.

To sum it up, what I believe about memories is that they should make me more able: able to grow, able to appreciate, able to love, and able to help others become more of what they are meant for and to be.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


On the first and second of November each year, Filipino families go to the cemeteries to visit their loved ones who have passed away.

In the Catholic church, November 1 is a solemn celebration in honor of saints termed All Saints Day appropriately, while November 2 is a commemoration of the departed faithful known as All Souls' Day. These days are called Undas in the Filipino language.

Every year, my family and relatives would gather at Eternal Gardens at Lipa City to visit the grave of my maternal grandmother whom we fondly call Mamita. Her real name is Natividad largely because she was born on the 25th of December, Christmas Day... which makes the holiday extra meaningful for us.

I have very few memories of Mamita in my mind. Most of what I remember about her are in pictures - thanks to film and camera. Nevertheless, the clearest memory I have of her is something I've been able to hold on to very well because that part of my life has influenced me a lot until now.

Mamita died of pancreatic cancer when I was six years old. The family's struggle with her condition and my grandmother's personal battle with cancer did not impact my life at that time because I was too young to understand.

When our family prepared to visit Mamita in the hospital one time while she was undergoing medication, I wrote a short letter for her at home upon the encouragement of my mother. I can't recall the exact words I jotted down but what I do recall vividly was that I put several coins in the envelope with the letter. Upon arriving at Mamita's hospital room, I handed my mother the letter and told her it was for grandma. She was intrigued by the weight of the enveloped and asked me what was inside. I said quite confident;y, "Pera para pandagdag sa babayaran ni Mamita." (Money to help pay for Mamita's medical expenses.) I have no idea what my mom thought of the gesture - whether she was amused or touched or both. It has crossed my mind to ask her about it but I never did.

When Mamita took her last breath, I did not feel the sorrow or the pain of her passing away.

During Mamita's wake in my grandparents' house, however, I remember asking my mom several times where Mamita was. "Natutulog na siya, anak," (She's sleeping now, child,) was all she told me. I did not question my mother's reply for indeed I saw my grandmother in a beautifully decorated bed (which was actually her coffin; I just didn't know.) In my mind, though, I thought, "If she's asleep, how come all these people are here? Is it okay for so many people to watch someone sleep? And what's with all the lights? You can't sleep with a lot of lights on."

Ah, such innocence is a blessing on a concept so seemingly cruel. That was my first encounter with death; my first experience of losing a beloved person.

Only a few years ago did I realize first hand that it was a very painful experience to lose someone you love so dearly. Only half a year ago when I started earning my own money did I understand the financial strain the medical expenses must have put on the family then. Only now has it started to sink in that the other true loss for me is not having grown up with a grandmother close to home. (My paternal grandmother lived most of her life in the United States although she visits the Philippines when she has the chance.)

Loss, it seems, is an easier topic to talk about. People can share experiences of loss with each other. On the other hand, people who have died can't go back to tell of their experience of death. Loss may entail acceptance or denial, either which a person can work on achieving some understanding about. We can take control of what happens after a loss. Meanwhile, there is so much more mystery about death. We don't know exactly what happens after one dies.

I know many people fear death. I am not at all I different; I also feel fear for I am human. But I have this greater feeling of peace about death that overpowers the fear. Knowing I have accepted Jesus as my Savior and believing He died for my sins so that I will be saved is all I need to vanquish fear of death. Mamita has invited Jesus into her life, too, and I am confident that her death is merely a passing on to a better world. I may not have been given a lot of time to be with her and to know her but realizing that she's with the Lord is all the assurance I need to understand that our family's loss is heaven's gain.


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