Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Farewell to a Great Mother, Corazon Cojuanco Aquino

Watching the funeral procession to Manila Memorial Park of our beloved former President, Corazon Cojuanco Aquino, who died August 1, 2009.

Now watching Corina Sanchez Roxas, newscaster. It was the family's special request, through youngest daughter Kris Aquino, to have her anchor the funeral mass proceedings as Tita Cory (as she is fondly remembered by Filipinos) liked Corina very much.

Corina says something poignant: "You can never spend enough time with a mother". And it's true. You only recognize it when the first woman in your life is finally gone forever.

Tita Cory, Godspeed, rest well. I know that you were always in the hearts and minds of our generation--not only as the country's first woman President, but as a woman who fought a regime through the power of prayer and simplicity.

The best-known lie you told yourself and the Filipinos was that you were just a housewife. But you took this to God in prayer as always, so the truth emerged: you are a housewife, but God has made you His handmaid. He called you to serve. You have responded to His call to serve Him by serving as President, in a manner that you knew.
"Let it be done according to Your word". You were reluctant, but obedient. You took your virtues learned from childhood, looked upon your role as President as a vocation, and acted. For a while, I remember people did not like the way you governed and called you, "Aling Cory". But no matter. You didn't give up. You finished your term, you tried to remain clean.
After your term, you continued to serve in other ways: you served your children, set up a foundation to help women and those who needed education by soliciting for scholarships, still appeared in public to oppose any existing power in office who seemed to be twisting the ideals you fought for.

All this, I know only thru the speech of Kris, your youngest and most popular (though sometimes controversial) child. But in that glimpse, I saw truly that your greatest service to God was the one which remained most hidden from the public's eyes. To have served as a mother doing the most ordinary things, sometimes taken for granted. Until now. You had to pass away, in a most painful manner, for many people to recognize even the smallest act of love or service. But that's ok, you never really did these things to be recognized, I am sure. Tita Cory, like any mother, you did this for love of your children. You fought the good fight for love of the Filipino people. You left us a legacy we can be proud of.

The legacy that is, we can show the world that peace can be attained without violence. That the power of prayer is the most powerful when it is done in unity. Change is possible thru prayer, simplicity, and oneness. It is amazing how easily we can forget these in our lifetime. And it took your death for us to remember again, deeply, those years of suffering and ultimately of triumphant transitory change.

Tita Cory, be united now with your beloved Ninoy. Finally, you will be together again with the one and only love of your life. God has heard your offerings of suffering for the Filipino people, and for your children. And in return we are confident that He has rewarded you with heaven.

I pray that it will not go to waste Tita Cory. I will remember your example. I will tell my children that we can be proud to be Filipino. Not by our own efforts, but thru the example of a mother who answered God's call to serve even at the sacrifice of her own comforts, privacy and ultimately, her own life.

Rest well. Godspeed.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Learning in a Time of H1N1

Finally, H1N1 hits my daughter's school c/o a high school girl's confirmed case. The text messages announcing suspension of classes incessantly entered my E71. I wanted them to stop sending it, saying: "I got it, thanks." The following day, I hear another neighboring school had suspended classes.

June 25: Moms receive the homework and schedules good for the next 10 days via email.

Kid's feedback: "Mom, the homework's really hard!"

Mom's balloon thoughts: "Ok, we need to tutor the kids daily! Set aside work--no yaya can do this!". I need to keep them to a study schedule, or else they'll be cramming all of this. Can the teachers set up a chat forum if the kids need to ask questions? Can someone from school please organize small group tutorials? Or at least online if they're afraid their classmates may be virus carriers?

Mom's knee-jerk actions: take Berocca, disinfect the house, pour boiling water on plates and utensils; buy face masks, check everyone for the smallest temperature rise, sniffle and sore throat, buy Bactidol; pray; create Yahoogroups to ensure speedy and more efficient communication amongst parents.

I remember the time of SARs when we were in Singapore, 2003. Everyone was deathly scared to go out. Assignments were sent via e-mail. Kids were more relaxed; I was less concerned about the suspensions of classes. I guess Canadian International School (my daughters' school at that time) was more ready for class suspensions.

What have I learned? So far, I've learned that reaction to the H1N1 spread is hyped. The winners are Tammiflu and facemask suppliers. They feed on fear to increase sales. True, the cases have increased--last count I heard 2 days ago is that we have 300 cases in the country. The good news is that only a few have died (and because of complications due to other ailments of the victim), there is already a vaccine, that my kids haven't gotten it.

My husband, who has had intermittent hi fever since last Thursday, is now sitting in front of the tv, laughing his head off at an early morning show. The hospital ran out of H1N1 test kits, so he has to wait til Monday or Tuesday to have himself tested. So I give him paracetamol in the meantime. Now he's de-stressing, beginning to notice things around the house he hasn't seen. Like the high ceiling, the woodgrain of our platform bed, the repairs that need to be done on the roof. I told him to set aside the laptop, it's a weekend--NO WORK, re-create yourself before you get burned out. Getting sick with a potentially infectious virus is the only excuse he allows himself to take a sick leave and relax.

That the flu allows one to slow down, and re-assess where you're at with yourself and the rest of the world is a good outcome of this H1N1 hype. Sometimes, we become too busy to slow down, that God allows a pandemic to happen as we didn't see many little signposts in our life.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Re-visting my "Blogging Addiction"

I just thought of taking the blogging test again to see if things have improved.

It got worst.

I am definitely more addicted to blogging now than before.

82%How Addicted to Blogging Are You?

Well, thanks to my blogs, Architerra, Architelago, MomOnMobile, Munrebpost (which I basically just moderate) and Residences Manila, these prove that you can't stump passion when it's there.

I love blogging!

When a 9 Year Old Idolizes Her Home Country

My 9 year old daughter composed an essay for her school's Academic Week.

When I read it, I became teary-eyed. I was proud of her effort, her evident gift for words. True, I saw at first the consistency of form, the literary devices she intuitively used, her mature use of grammar packed in a 200 word essay. I saw her careful and almost painstaking effort to type in the words and spellcheck them.

Yet I was immensely stirred by the insight and idealism she expressed in such a simple work. It comes at a time when jaded souls like mine, weary with all the bad news about the world recession, are refreshed with these images. It reminds me to re-focus and to re-discover the simple treasures we can find in our own backyard.

I thought, "If more people viewed their country the way my daughter viewed the Philippines, we'd probably be happier and more productive--no matter what state our nation is in".

No wonder they call the youth "hope of the Motherland". Enjoy the read.

“The Sampaguita Flower”

If I were to decide on what I would send to an international exhibit to represent the Philippines, I would choose the national flower, the Sampaguita.

The Sampaguita is well known for its sweet smell, its beauty, and its lovely, pure white color. It is also quite small in size. It can be made into garlands sold to earn an honest livelihood.

Similar to the sampaguita, the Philippines is a modest country. Although our country is small, it is very beautiful. The people in the Philippines are very religious. They uphold purity and humility. The Sampaguita is also like that: white, with a simple yet pleasing fragrance. When the Sampaguita are made into garlands, they depend on each other's stems to stay connected as a garland. This symbolizes interdependence. We rely on each other to stay strong.

The Sampaguita starts out as a not-so-impressive flower bud, but which one day will bloom into a beautiful flower. We are like that. We started out as a country unexplored by the world. But now, we have many wonderful tourist attractions.

For these reasons, I believe that the sampaguita is the perfect symbol to represent the Philippines.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Are you Addicted to Blogging?

Just saw this post on Yugatech. I thought it was fun so I tried it out and this is the badge I got:

77%How Addicted to Blogging Are You?

JustSayHi - Free Personals

Monday, September 24, 2007

Time Management for Kids

I found a cool link on PBSKids . The webpages teaches time management for kids. I was ecstatic: I've been looking for some references on this for some time.

The approach may be bit too executive-like for younger kids (and thinking of my 8- and 9-year-old kids, maybe they might find it boring). There's a pre-evaluation, a drill-and-practice crossword to help pique the youngin's interest. But it helps to motivate them by citing to them a benefit. Like, they'll have more time to play.

Well, my 9-year-old took to the crossword just fine. There's even a sample time budget worksheet--way to go!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

The Business of Online Home Search

I've been searching for a new house for the past several months.

I searched the Net with Google as the default search engine. I was just so pleasantly surprised to find even bigger, more innovative property and listing engines such as Trulia & Point2 Homes.

Point2 Homes was developed in Canada. I was pleasantly surprised to find that they listed over 500 agents direct from the Philippines! Many just recently joined, and I was glad to stumble upon it thanks to my habitual tendency to research. They had a lot of houses to show, too.

The technology and intuitive interface makes it easy to list and blog on a more regular basis. I first read about the possibility of doing a real estate blog integrated with other services such as online maps from Yuga. Google Maps energizes the home search process by plotting the location of those listed houses using of those green, squamous-cell-like 'things' that sort of pops out on the area like a mini-cobra. To what extent will it make the search easier--well, what do you think?

The concept of integration drives the continuous improvement of these sites. There's the blogs to build community of brokers. Well, not all brokers and agents can write. However, there were a few entries that seemed to read well about the area of their specialization.

Speaking of Point2Homes, this became an amazing online e-commerce application to come up with my own dynamic, databased new real estate listing website. I ended up including a good number of BF Homes, Paranaque direct listings--a result of those many days of searching on foot for the perfect house. These are the houses that didn't meet my needs, but may meet other home buyers' preferences!

I am now putting those listings on my pilot site, to load and syndicate with other Pinoy brokers across the world. Yup, I didn't forget to link to my own Architerra blog just to nudge the neural networking growth a wee bit.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

3rd Quarter Exam Fun Reviews

My daughters begged me to make their 3rd quarter test review more fun. Read: less boring. I remembered what Ms. Fahlmann, the children's pre-school teacher, said about using computer aided instruction: make sure you teach the concepts first on paper before allowing them to use the computers for practice. Otherwise, the program becomes a game for them. I did just that.

I went to my favourite Internet4Classrooms. I found ready made review activities for Language, Math, Science and Reading. For Religion, it was great interactive fun on EWTN Kids. The website was appealing to use for my kids. The sequential reviewer prompted you to memorize and understand the key concepts first (which I did with Sachi and Mira), then choose the appropriate Flash presentation and allow them to 'play' with it for practice. The children and I reviewed on different parts of Church, parts of the Mass, and the review of prayers.

But the interesting part was customizing on Quia a reviewer for their Social Studies module on Early Influences and Traders in the Philippines (for my Grade 3 daughter). The drag-and-drop interfaces made constructing the reviewer easy. The 30-day trial account is free, so make good use of it!

I loved Mathmastery for the timed cyberchallenge So did my little girls. They have a multitude of activities to make practice tests, mastery, time pressure practice of tables et al appealing to either visual or analytical learners. They can print out the best of all their challenges and print out a certificate of mastery.

Was reviewing this way effective for the kids? It was! I was ecstatic that they got 94 and above for most of the subjects we reviewed using the computer. And the kids were happy and appreciative. The best affirmation I got is when they gently 'boasted' about how I reviewed them using the computer. Then they told me that their classmates wanted me to do reviewers for them too. Well, I don't mind sharing with their Moms how to do the practice e-tivities.