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Monday, April 25, 2005

So much in love..part 2

For those of you who missed the previous blog, my wife told me to keep the 20th and the 21st free. That being her nth birthday and our 20th wedding anniversary, she promised it will be a familybonding day. So, I did. She wouldn't tell anyone what the surprise was until the last moment when we were inside the car. It was only then that she whispered to my ear, "EDSA Shagri-la Plaza hotel" I was dumbstruck! "whoa!" Then she was laughed her usual hearty laugh and said, "Don't worry, you're paying for it!" HAHAHA

So, we went! Just right after we checked in, we told the kids to go to the pool. They were already raring to go, when suddenly, Kraiganne said, "What about the two of you? Where will you be?" "Oh we will just stay here in the room and sleep!" Angrily, she said, "Ahhh you two better behave!" (I don't know what's with these guys but they would flinch everytime me and my wife would kiss. "Not in front of us, please!" ) It was then that Nitz said,"I'm having my period." Only then did Kraiganne was appeased and went with her siblings. Here is the funny part. SHE DID HAVE HER PERIOD! So you see, she didn't get lucky on her birthday. HAHAHA

Another funny thing was when the guys were looking outside of the window and saw a chimney emiting black smoke. (We were at the new wing) Mickey said, "Look, we still don't have a Pope!" The girls had an idea to go to a studio and have a family picture and I played along. Now, we have three shots of a family picture which I can use for a calendar should I prefer to file a candidacy for Pasig mayor hahahaha. Then we went out to a restaurant and had a sumptuous dinner. Funny, but Nitz insisted that we sing her a happy birthday song, and we did, albeit silently! We were laughing all the way. After dinner, us boys played billiards while the girls went shopping. The two guys never won a game of 8 ball hehe.

The following morning, we asked the two boys to use the complimentary buffet breakfast while me and Kim went to McDonald's for ours. Nitz and Kraiganne ate left-overs from last night and a recipe we brought to the hotel. Then, Kraiganne went to the hotel's gym to workout while the others and I went swimming. When we were to go home, I asked for the valet to get the car. HAHA, Yes, I brought my dilapidated and unwashed car. The poor valet, who is probably used to fetching very expensive, air-conditioned, automatic cars, was all sweat when he got to us. The kids quickly got inside the car, slammed the doors and didn't open the windows lest they be seen inside by someone they knew. The ingrates were laughing out loud as we rushed away from the hotel.

The kids enjoyed it so much, I think we will do it again. Nice idea, huh? Maybe on our 25th.

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Wednesday, April 20, 2005

So much in love

Today is a very special day. Not only is it my wife's birthday, but it also marks a very important event in my life for on this day in 1985, I got married to the most loving person there is on earth!

I have known my wife for almost twenty-three years! We used to be office mates till I moved out of the campus for a stabler position in the organization we work in. You see, We belong to the same University system. Our love story blossomed from friendship to love amid music we made together with some 18 or so individuals as we were both members of the Staff Chorale where we met.

I have never known a person who is so dedicated and so very willing to abandon her self-interests than my wife. I have just started blogging when I narrated how strong my wife's character is. It's a funny story so you won't be disappointed you read it. You can find it here.

In spite of the very simple living I can offer, she learned manages to find happiness in the very little things we do. She's the person who will say delicious to the simplest dish, the person who will find beauty in the mundane inspite of the fact that she's seen the best, and would give the same hearty laugh at the corniest joke I make. She's a dedicated mother, ready to sacrifice everything just so her children can live comfortably. She has a great foresight and has always been a good manager of the household. Obviously, in our family, she holds the master plan. She used to always have a project lined up for each year. Case in point, just a year after our marriage, she proposed that we bought a house. We did! Simple as it may be, in few more years, we would have finished paying for the amortizations and it's going to be ours completely.

She's the sweetest person I have ever known. When we got together as a couple, we used to go home together until I transferred to Alabang. What I did was pick her up from the office and took her home practically everyday. However, during my 27th birthday, I had a friend who was being picked up by her brother from the office with whom I can hitch a ride and be dropped off at a place near my home in Marikina. I never considered my birthday as significant. So, not really a birhtday person, I called her and told her that I may have to cancel picking her up. Luckily for me, I changed my mind at the last moment. As we reached Alabang proper, I asked my friend to drop me off. I went to her and she was so relieved to have seen me. It turned out that she had prepared something for me in her house. She even whispered in my ear that she told everyone it was my treat! What an asshole I would have been had i missed that, right? Another time was when she woke me up in the middle of the night only to surprise me with her birthday gift. Another surprise she did can be found here

Twenty years after and she's still at it. She's told me to have today and tomorrow free. She told me she's taking the whole family somewhere for an overnight bonding. As of this time, I still have the faintest idea what she's talking about. But knowing her, I know I and the kids are in for a real treat!

So, to my wife, I say, happy birthday and happy anniversary, sweetheart! My love for you has never dwindled but on the contrary, has grown even much stronger through the years.

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Monday, April 18, 2005

taking care of an angel

Our main email system in school is being re-decorated, so to speak. Not wanting to lose everything in my mailbox, I opened everything in it and re-sent the same to my new addy. I was amused about an article I wrote for a friend. Actually, it was Zharro, my friend, who asked me to write this for our former co-teacher. I'm putting it here now for safekeeping. Here goes:

Shane did not care about the sumptuous buffet dinner being enjoyed in her honor that peaceful night of July 21, 2003. As a matter of fact, she was unaware of the reason for such gathering. Shane had no idea that Virgie, her mom, had gone to the trouble of inviting all these happy people to celebrate her thirteenth birthday.

The little girl ignored the fact that it was done at posh Bellevue Hotel. The girl didn’t care that the guests were impressed with her hair, which had been styled by a famous and expensive hairstylist. Nor did she take cognizance of the fact that she looked beautiful in her new dress. Most of all, she couldn’t care less that what really caught everybody’s attention was the absence of her usual blank stare. Oh, yes, that familiar stoic stare and detached smile that she usually displayed when she was among strangers.

All Shane knew was that she was deliriously happy because she was with her mother and the rest of the family and close friends. Puberty was knocking on her door and she shined like a princess entertaining guests who rendered homage to their next queen. That night, nobody seemed to notice that Shane was autistic.

We can only admire and marvel at how parents of autistic children, like Virgie, can live through the hassles and bustles of everyday life with that extra burden on their shoulder. Taking care of a normal child is in itself a tedious, sometimes nerve wracking, round-the-clock job. People who have normal children, can only wonder, what it must be like to have to take care of a physically or mentally challenged child. How do they teach them to survive in this hostile world? How do they make them happy?

Simply by showeing them with lots of love and understanding. She was special all right, but not because she is different from everyone else. She is special because she can make people smile with her “little” achievements. She can amaze you with her song and dance numbers. She can melt your heart with her seldom, yet very precious, unrehearsed greetings and words of kindness. She can soften even the hardest of hearts with her genuine laughter. She can make you appreciate life more because she
represents eternal innocence and joy.

The heartache and emotional tests the family faced when they first found out about Shane’s condition were understandable because like everyone else, the family was not well-informed. Through time though they realized that God has chosen them for a reason. Not all families may be able to deal with a young lady as unique as Shane. God indeed does not give a cross one can not bear. He knew that because Virgie had an available source of tremendous support from Mom Bernandina and Dad Merolo, blessing her with a daughter is the greatest gift Virgie will ever receive in her life.

As most families would have viewed it, Shane could be, at times, difficult. However, the challenges they had to face as a family was well worth it. God, in His infinite wisdom, endlessly show them the way to happiness. A lot of times, they do not recognize the signs for He works in very strange ways. Not only did He send His only Son to die on the cross to free the world from sin, but He sends angels like Shane to show the way.

Whoever thought of the politically-correct term “special” for people like Shane is wise for we can not think of any other word that best describes her.

So looking back at this wonderful young lady dancing and laughing, one realizes that she did not need an expensive party in her honor to be happy. Shane has no need for empty praises and promises. She does not need sympathy or apathy and has no use for self-pity. All Shane wants and needs is a warm embrace, acceptance, love, and
understanding. What she needs is to be left alone to be herself in her own world, innocent but perfect for her needs. Respect her private space and she's happy.

Shane and her ilk is God sent. Virgie is one lucky mother, for her job on earth, is not just taking care of an ordinary child, but that of taking care of an angel.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

why are there rules?

As expected, the comments in my previous entry about our policy on long hair are two sided. Svelte, transcience, and my co-teacher Joyce, while not admitting that such a policy should be regarded as sound, agree impliedly that it should be followed. On the other hand, the more radical ones, or should I say the "liberals" like Renan, Cerridwen who intimated to me
her feelings on the subject via email as she couldn't post a comment (like i do with most of the sites these days) and the ever outspoken Sassy are totally questioning the validity of the policy. To paraphrase my online and real time friend,Sassy, such a policy runs contrary to the freedom of expression of students. A valid argument, of course.

"So, why do we have such a policy?" you may ask? Many teachers, me included, when asked without warning would probably answer, (and that is because they were caught off guard) "for good grooming purposes!" But then, thinking about it, that is not a valid answer. Hmmm, I can just hear the "pilosopos" beaming with pride and arguing heatedly, "so was Jesus Christ unkempt, then?"

Again, before I proceed, I'd like to start with a disclaimer lest students reading my blog would use this against me. What I am about to say is my own personal opinion and as such, could be at best, a source of a lively discussion, but never to be taken as gospel truth. I have no power to speak in ex-cathedra, hahaha.

Nevertheless, what is clear to me is that inspite of what I believe in, I have been given the duty of custodian of discipline in a school setting, of discipline standards set by the student handbook which I cannot alter and do anything but to observe, enforce and keep. That said, I shall proceed.

My Malaysian friend, Bayi, who is well-known to Filipino bloggers said it best when he commented,

There is a place and a time for everything. At school the students learn discipline and keeping to the rules. Being able to discipline oneself puts the
person in good stead when the need arises and gives him a cutting edge if the other competing parties are not.

Keeping long hair for the sake of doing it is not creativity. If there is no valid reason (what could the reasons be when one is a student?), they are merely rebels without a cause. And when one's a student in high school, it is not the time to be such.


I tend to agree a hundred percent. Freedom is not without boundaries. As we all live side by side, belonging to a social structure dictated by social norms, culture and mores, there are certain rules we have to follow. Freedom should not be used wantonly and at everyone's whims and caprices. Together with freedom is responsibility.

Imagine a world where everybody is free to do anything at will. Chaotic right? It will be a world where one can do as he/she pleases. Where one can park his/her car at any spot, where one can throw his/her garbage anywhere, where one can steal another person's belonging, and worst, where one is free to kill another. That cannot be. Of course, one might argue that this is not what is meant by freedom. But why not? Total freedom, right? Ergo, free for all.

Fortunately, that is not the case. We have set a standard behavior based on our experiences and traditions. Are they all sound? Maybe not, but still, they are accepted standard behavior. Okay, maybe not a good example as non-conformists will always argue that cultural traditions and beliefs are passe. But must we forget that these are the keystones to more organized laws such as those enacted by congress? There you go! Try to disobey the law and surely, there will be repercussions.

How do we learn to follow these rules then? First, by learning how to follow simple ones! The haircut policy may sound trivial and irrational to some, but nevertheless, a standard has been set and such has to be obeyed. Otherwise, we will always find ways and means to go about evading the rules, finding justifications for our actions no matter how wrong they may be. That's what every rude drivers are good at. That's how every ill-mannered, ill-bred persons live.

Don't get me wrong. I am all for academic freedom! I have grown my hair to shoulder length before as it was the fad at the time. And yes, i felt free. But that was in college when I can already distinguish right from wrong and that I was ready to face the consequences of every course of action I take. High school is different. AS teachers in high school, we are supposed to dig a deep foundation for the individual to build his/her character on so that he/she can be ready to face the harsh realities of a very violent world as a result of the ways of "undisciplined" men and women who give in to their weaknesses because they did not know any better.

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Friday, April 01, 2005

Rules are meant to be followed

Classes have ended two weeks ago and the school has never felt so quiet and not as nerve wracking as when the students were there. Ironical as it may seem, though,
I had been very busy lately with a lot of things that I have to be remiss with writing and bloghopping. That explains why I had been absent for sometime.

Every end of the schoolyear, students are required to have a clearance signed. This is to ensure that they have completed their requirements for the year. I am one of the signatories to this clearance. Now is the time for me to really make the hard headed ones miserable. You see, there are quite a number of students who just wouldn't follow the prescribed haircut. The standards are very clear. It should neither touch the ears or the collar. This is a more relaxed version since formerly, the haircut should yield a clearing of three inches on the sides and four at the back. The bangs should not touch the eyebrows but that's very easy. One can just apply gel and have it combed up so that it didn't.

Some of these students are just plain hard headed. They wouldn't have a haircut no matter how much I told them to. There came a point that I just have to give up on the warnings knowing full well that payback time is upcoming. What they failed to consider was that had they had a haircut early on, say, three weeks before classes end, then their hair would have grown to a good length during the summer. Now, it would really be a piss off when they have to have a haircut otherwise, they wouldn't be able to get their report cards.

But this is not the real reason why I'm writing this. You see, there are parents who really condone their children's every whim. There was this guy who came to my office this week who was asking me to sign for a kid's clearance. I asked him where the boy was and he said he was busy! Hmmm, something fishy. Thinking that he was the father, I told him that I should see the child first to make sure that he followed the rules. He said, the parents said they wanted him to have his hair long because they're taking him to the States where the weather is cold. "Sir, you see, I have told these kids to have a haircut months before and they wouldn't budge. It is my duty to ensure that they learn how to follow rules and regulations," I said. Showing his impatience, the man said, "And I have been telling you that the parents are the ones asking him to grow his hair because he's going to need it to shield him from the cold weather." I could've argued but since I thought he was the father and that his statements are rhetoric, that he was speaking in the third person to prove a point. I was not in the mood to argue so I told him that "okay, I'll sign it but please make sure that he understands that there are consequences to every action." He said, "Okay, I'll tell his parents!" Then I realized he was just an errand boy!
Obviously, I've been had! Lesson learned.

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About
MGA TURO NI TITO:
Twenty years of teaching must sure amount to something. A new friend in cyberspace suggested I ought to have a journal by now. I agree.


Taken by my friend Arlene Lawson in her room at Century Park Sheraton in May, 2000.
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Location: Bambang, Pasig City, Philippines

Jack of all trade, master of none. First a disclaimer. My students have discovered this blog and they might think that what I write is gospel truth. Worse is they might find an argument that they think they can use, for some reason or another, against their teachers. So, to set the record straight, it is NOT. As a matter of fact, I write and open it to feedback to get another view in the hope that somebody would tell me if I am wrong and reenforce my thinking if it is right. Not that I will accept anything thrown my way, though. Just so I can think about it some more and decide whether my original stance is right or definitely off tangent. So there. I hope that clarifies everything. Now, on to blogging.


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