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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Gentlemen, where art thou?

I don't want to post something negative and wake up into a new year with negative vibes. In order to do that, I will close this year's post with something that is not positive. Surprisingly, the story I came up with concerns sports - a game. We can all relate to that as we have, for one time or another, played a game or two. And we all know that in order for a game to be thrilling and fun, the players have to play by the rules. It is when someone cheats or bullies his'her way through that a game is no longer enjoyable.

Look at what happened to a golfer. Now, golf is supposedly a gentleman's game, is it not? It's rules are very strict, complicated even. What happens when men who are not gentle at all try to play the game? They beat up someone, bully their way around, knowing that they have superior strength and number - not to mention that they wield guns.

In fairness to the father, he said that being a government official, he asks for forgiveness for what has happened. But nevertheless, he points to the alleged victim as the one who has started it all. Yeah, right! A father innocently enjoying golf with his son and daughter would have the gall to initiate a fight with burly, gun-toting men who wants to overtake them.

I've read somewhere that cockfighting is another gentleman's game. It is in a cockpit where you'd find the most honest person in the world. Money lost to an opponent would come flying around, landing on the floor and yet, nobody would get it except for the rightful owner. There seems to be an understanding in the area that everyone has the right to hit, at least one, someone who is caught cheating.

Golf used to be a gentleman's game as well. However, with the recent event, plus the negotiations being hatched by government officials on the fairway, I am now beginning to have second thoughts.

Happy New Year to all!


Monday, December 29, 2008

A Christmas full of music

I think my son has come a long way. This christmas has been full of shows we had to watch as his chamber orchestra goes touring in malls for the holiday season. I only got to see the one they did at the Robinson's Place and I was even late as I had to come all the way from Tanay. My friends and I were looking at a 1 hectare property which looked promising for an investment. However, it was too far and very mountainous that we had to abandon the plans of purchasing it.

Anyway, I was told by the wife that the best show they had was the one performed at the MOA. It was so good that people even asked my son to have a picture taken with them right after the show. He is currently the concert master and does the solos on violin.

As a sample of how the orchestra sounds, here is one of their performances at the Philamlife Auditorium last year. He was not yet the concert master then so you'll find him sitting next to the principal violinist. Enjoy!

On Christmas day, the whole family had to rush to the Podium as his band, 11 O 4, had to perform their first gig. The all male band is composed four singers and accompanied by a piano, a guitar and my son on violin. It was a real treat as these kids belted out songs from a repertoire of Christmas tunes and some pop songs. I couldn't believe my son could be very good as he performed the solo of Kenny Loggins' Whenever I call you friend. I've never seen him practice at home. The arrangements were very well executed and they harmonize pretty well considering that they are just a newly formed band. If these kids play their cards right, I think they'll go places.

As my way of greeting each and everyone a very Merry Christmas, here's the ensemble once more in their rendition of a christmas medley.

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Tuesday, December 02, 2008

God plays little tricks on us sometimes

In one of the pre-celebrations of our 30th foundation anniversary, I saw someone who I think looked familiar although I wasn't really very sure. I may not be very good with names but I have a good memory for faces. However, the more I looked at him, the more I failed to remember who he was. Since I was kind of busy then, I dismissed the thought and went on with what I was doing.

Then, last week, I just confirmed that I knew him. He was a former student of mine. As a matter of fact, our valedictorian in 1989, our school paper's editor at the time and recipient of our Man of Letters. The reason I couldn't recognize him then was because he is suffering from an affliction. He developed a dystonia as a result of a brain stroke "...from a ruptured AVM ( Arterio-Venous Malformation, an abnormal collection of fragile blood vessels like arteries and veins, in my particular case, my brain".

His name is Richard Buencamino. When he graduated with honors, we knew he would go places. True enough, he was accepted in the U.P. College of
Medicine's INTARMED program( an accelerated 7- year medical curriculum which only accepts the top 20 males & top 20 females in the Philippine) and was awarded as one of the outstanding interns in Surgery,ENT & Family Medicine. He passed the medical board right after that and was accepted to the Combined Internal Medicine-Pediatrics(4 years instead of 6 years of Internal Medicine & Pediatrics when done separately).

How can something go wrong with all these credentials? He is young, bright and full hope. However, God has other plans for this young man. One day while he was making his rounds in the hospital, he had the attack. As if that wasn't enough, while he was recovering from this, "(he) developed a terrible illness called Dystonia, secondary to the stroke(involuntary contraction of various muscles in my body like the tongue, eyelids, esophagus and neck)" disabling most of his bodily functions like speech due to involuntary contraction of the tongue, (he communicates through a voice synthesizing device and pen and paper). He also has an impaired vision at times and has to pry his eyes wide open to see. He cannot eat solid food and has to have his sustenance pass through a tube that is connected to his belly. His left ear has gone and can only hear through his right ear. Even his balance is way off and has to be assisted to stand and walk as a result of abnormal contractions on his head and neck.

But amidst all these trials, he has not surrendered his resolve. He turned to writing poetry and drawing. In spite of all those contractions, he still tries to write and draw from his heart. If there is one thing that this young man has, it is his will to live and his passion for life. While I was browsing through his writings, I remember distinctly something that he wrote. "Good food is not served on a platter twice." I had occasion to read his poetry and I had a hard time keeping my tears to myself as I read one of his poems that speaks to his 8 year old daughter. I hope it would be alright for me to reprint it here.

LAURYN, I love you very much!
9:30 am 10-10-08 by DAD

Lauryn, my daughter, I think of you in my solitude
Feeding my Jevity cans through my feeding tube,
I cannot talk, eat or walk properly
And my head turns to the right… o, Lord help me.

But I think of my loving daughter there in the U.S.
Who still has to hear me utter those words…
Oh Lauryn I yearn to talk & be with you,
Like a normal regular father would do.

How I yearn to carry you
Up in the heavens… the sky,
Where the mighty winds can blow your lush hair,
As you graciously go by.

There are so many things I long to give you dear,
So many dreams I desire to bestow but I fear,
That they may not come true
Yet, I know that GOD can make
the radiant sun emanate from this blue.

I remember the house by the beach,
The BMW SUV your Mom & I followed
but could not reach,
Yes, that house you were supposed to have
A party your friends & barkadas will simply love

I know with every fiber of my dystonic being,
That GOD is great every single time
Like that good old mailman HE always delivers
His graces to poor lonely souls
like us who always quiver.

So keep your chin up,
Lauryn, you are blessed from above,
GOD put us here for a purpose
We in due time will discern His love.

Lauryn, Eryn, I love you very, very much!
You may not know this fact,
Because I have been a stubborn fool
in all 8 springs that has passed,
I know that we will triumph,
In GOD we will always be exuberant!

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Pearl Anniversary

Once again, I had been remiss with blogging and visiting my favorite blogs. I apologize. You see, we just celebrated our thirteeth anniversary. No, not my wedding, silly. I'm not that old! I am talking about my school.

Yes, we just celebrated our pearl anniversary and what a celebration! It is by far one of the happiest celebrations we ever had. Everybody worked to make this one a success. We truly functioned as one cohesive community. With the guidance and supervision of the ever supportive president of the organization we fondly call Broden, the school was alive and showed much bravado. Thanks to the present president of the student council and her minions, the activities went well without any hitch but full of glitz.

We have a lot to thank for. As a young community, we have gone through a lot. The buildings, for one, is a clear manifestation of progress. From the initial main campus sprung several more buildings that grew like mushrooms that our graduates could not recognize the whole campus anymore.

Going back to the activities, one of the highlights was a concert given by the faculty of both the grade school and the high School. I took part in the latter where I played with a band that came into being as a result of the festivities. I never imagined I will be playing with a former student who is now a co-teacher of mine. Here are some pictures I think I can share. All pictures appearing here were taken by Bro. Ceci. Thanks Bro!

Me on bass

Me trying Ryan's guitar for size

Not Ray Charles but Ralph

The Band

Rob Borja singing Run

Rocker Chris Kee

Ryan and his gizmo

Jeff Menil belting out a song


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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.
Posted by Hello
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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