Saturday, December 12, 2009


This site is under renovation.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Ten Random Things About Johnny [My Student, My Friend]

Johnny [Surname Unknown]

1. Johnny hates insects. He cringes at the thought of wriggling maggots and caterpillars.
2. Johnny falls asleep in my class. I often ask him, "Am I boring?" But he often says no and he's sorry. He just feels tired in my class.
3. His class with me starts at 4 PM and ends at 6 PM.
4. He doesn't like the smell of vinegar and he calls buko pie "jellyfish pie".
5. He has dragon pajamas.
6. He loves boy bawang.
7. He sleeps in the middle of a writing activity.
8. He asks weird things like, "Why is the man's stick standing?"
9. He played "Who Has the Biggest Brain" once, and he laughed when he found out he only had a brain as big as that of an Ape Man. Take note though, that he's exceptionally gifted.
10. He can be crazy at times, but he's one of the sweetest students I've known.

Ten Random Things About Paul [My Student, My Friend]

Paul Choi

1. Paul always tells me he's going to quit smoking. He fails every time he tries.
2. Paul has a certificate for having completed the 250-kilometer hike in Jeju Island. He gave it to me on my birthday.
3. Paul is talkative.
4. Paul is a sadist. He likes hurting people, well, physically. ^^
5. Paul is not a hard drinker. Haha.
6. Paul has a big tummy. If he weren't a boy, you would've thought he's pregnant.
7. Paul is very funny and he doesn't run out of things to say.
8. I love calling him "Gossip Boy".
9. Paul says he's not a playboy. Don't believe him.
10. Paul loves Grace so much. He's unbelievably sweet. I'm really happy for both of them.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Eternal Rest of Thy Soul

Dear Ma'am Valmores, 

It's been quite a while. I want to tell you two things. First, thank you. I wouldn't have known John Milton, Shakespeare, Hugo, Icabod Crane, Alexandre Dumas, Mark Twain, Don Quixote and so much more if you had not been my teacher in English during high school. I learned so much from you, that when I went to college and took up my English-American Literature, I felt so blessed that I didn't have to use Google to look them up. I never appreciated you this much until now...that you are gone. This being said, my second message is this: I am so sorry. 

I am so sorry that after I graduated, I didn't even bother looking for you to express how grateful I've been for all your lessons. 

Let this be a proof that I learned from you. I love you Ma'am Valmores. 


The curfew tolls the knell of parting day,
The lowing herd winds slowly o'er the lea,
The ploughman homeward plods his weary way,
And leaves the world to darkness and to me.

Now fades the glimmering landscape on the sight,
And all the air a solemn stillness holds,
Save where the beetle wheels his droning flight,
And drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds:

Save that from yonder ivy-mantled tower
The moping owl does to the moon complain
Of such as, wandering near her secret bower,
Molest her ancient solitary reign.

Beneath those rugged elms, that yew-tree's shade,
Where heaves the turf in many a mouldering heap,
Each in his narrow cell for ever laid,
The rude Forefathers of the hamlet sleep.

The breezy call of incense-breathing morn,
The swallow twittering from the straw-built shed,
The cock's shrill clarion, or the echoing horn,
No more shall rouse them from their lowly bed.

For them no more the blazing hearth shall burn,
Or busy housewife ply her evening care:
No children run to lisp their sire's return,
Or climb his knees the envied kiss to share,

Oft did the harvest to their sickle yield,
Their furrow oft the stubborn glebe has broke;
How jocund did they drive their team afield!
How bow'd the woods beneath their sturdy stroke!

Let not Ambition mock their useful toil,
Their homely joys, and destiny obscure;
Nor Grandeur hear with a disdainful smile
The short and simple annals of the Poor.

The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power,
And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave,
Awaits alike th' inevitable hour:-
The paths of glory lead but to the grave.

Nor you, ye Proud, impute to these the fault
If Memory o'er their tomb no trophies raise,
Where through the long-drawn aisle and fretted vault
The pealing anthem swells the note of praise.

Can storied urn or animated bust
Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath?
Can Honour's voice provoke the silent dust,
Or Flattery soothe the dull cold ear of Death?

Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid
Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire;
Hands, that the rod of empire might have sway'd,
Or waked to ecstasy the living lyre:

But Knowledge to their eyes her ample page,
Rich with the spoils of time, did ne'er unroll;
Chill Penury repress'd their noble rage,
And froze the genial current of the soul.

Full many a gem of purest ray serene
The dark unfathom'd caves of ocean bear:
Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness on the desert air.

Some village-Hampden, that with dauntless breast
The little tyrant of his fields withstood,
Some mute inglorious Milton here may rest,
Some Cromwell, guiltless of his country's blood.

Th' applause of list'ning senates to command,
The threats of pain and ruin to despise,
To scatter plenty o'er a smiling land,
And read their history in a nation's eyes,

Their lot forbad: nor circumscribed alone
Their growing virtues, but their crimes confined;
Forbad to wade through slaughter to a throne,
And shut the gates of mercy on mankind,

The struggling pangs of conscious truth to hide,
To quench the blushes of ingenuous shame,
Or heap the shrine of Luxury and Pride
With incense kindled at the Muse's flame.

Far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife,
Their sober wishes never learn'd to stray;
Along the cool sequester'd vale of life
They kept the noiseless tenour of their way.

Yet e'en these bones from insult to protect
Some frail memorial still erected nigh,
With uncouth rhymes and shapeless sculpture deck'd,
Implores the passing tribute of a sigh.

Their name, their years, spelt by th' unletter'd Muse,
The place of fame and elegy supply:
And many a holy text around she strews,
That teach the rustic moralist to die.

For who, to dumb forgetfulness a prey,
This pleasing anxious being e'er resign'd,
Left the warm precincts of the cheerful day,
Nor cast one longing lingering look behind?

On some fond breast the parting soul relies,
Some pious drops the closing eye requires;
E'en from the tomb the voice of Nature cries,
E'en in our ashes live their wonted fires.

For thee, who, mindful of th' unhonour'd dead,
Dost in these lines their artless tale relate;
If chance, by lonely contemplation led,
Some kindred spirit shall inquire thy fate, --

Haply some hoary-headed swain may say,
Oft have we seen him at the peep of dawn
Brushing with hasty steps the dews away,
To meet the sun upon the upland lawn;

'There at the foot of yonder nodding beech
That wreathes its old fantastic roots so high.
His listless length at noontide would he stretch,
And pore upon the brook that babbles by.

'Hard by yon wood, now smiling as in scorn,
Muttering his wayward fancies he would rove;
Now drooping, woeful wan, like one forlorn,
Or crazed with care, or cross'd in hopeless love.

'One morn I miss'd him on the custom'd hill,
Along the heath, and near his favourite tree;
Another came; nor yet beside the rill,
Nor up the lawn, nor at the wood was he;

'The next with dirges due in sad array
Slow through the church-way path we saw him borne,-
Approach and read (for thou canst read) the lay
Graved on the stone beneath yon aged thorn.'

The Epitaph

Here rests his head upon the lap of Earth
A youth to Fortune and to Fame unknown.
Fair Science frowned not on his humble birth,
And Melacholy marked him for her own.

Large was his bounty, and his soul sincere,
Heaven did a recompense as largely send:
He gave to Misery all he had, a tear,
He gained from Heaven ('twas all he wish'd) a friend.

No farther seek his merits to disclose,
Or draw his frailties from their dread abode
(There they alike in trembling hope repose),
The bosom of his Father and his God.

By Thomas Gray (1716-71).

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Pre-Christmas Post

Taken on the 21st of November, 2009
Manila Cathedral

The Parable of the Fourth King
By Sen. Juan Flavier

THE whole world knows of the three kings - the wise men who traveled far to pay homage to the Baby born in a stable, and to offer Him their gifts of gold, incense and myrrh. They followed the star of Bethlehem in their quest for Baby Jesus.

A little known fact was the fourth king. He, too, a was wise who journeyed from the east guided by the same star, and he brought his own gift securely fastened to his faithful camel.

But the fourth king did not succeed in his quest. Or so he thought at first. For along the way, he kept making stops. Every time he saw a man in need, he would alight and provide succor.

He overtook a farmer carrying a heavy load. He stopped and offered his camel as he himself alighted and walked.

Near a gully, he found a farmer wounded from the attack of a wild animal. The fourth king tarried for days taking care of the farmer’s needs. He refused to continue his journey until the man was brought home to his village.

A group of bandits was pillaging the produce of another farmer. The fourth king again stopped to defend the helpless man. In the end, the bandits took away his camel and his gift.

So, he continued his travel on foot, still stopping and tarrying at every town where need beckoned him.

Many years passed before the fourth king reached Bethlehem. He was told that the Messiah had proceeded to Jerusalem on a donkey. He rushed over and found a throng of people. They were talking about a Jew who had carried a cross to Calvary.

The fourth king ran and from a distance, saw the silhouette of two crosses. A third one was just being erected. At the foot of the Christ nailed on the cross, the fourth king knelt and wept. "I am despicable for tarrying on my journey. I lost my gift and failed in my quest," he sobbed bitterly.

The Man on the cross spoke in a whisper in a most kindly voice, "Stand. I received your gift long ago and yours is the greatest of them. You found me!"

(December 31, 2003 issue)
-Sun Star

I came across this article when I had my practice teaching last year. It's been a year since I taught in a public school and heaven knows when I would come back. Anyway, it was also around this time of the year when my cooperating teacher asked me to look for a copy of this story and make a lesson plan for it. I got it and before I made my lesson plan, I read it. tried to find the theme, the elements whatnot, only to find myself struck by the essence of the story. Sometimes, one can just look at the surface and see that what is necessary has been there all along.

As Flavier may have put it, this is a story unbeknownst to whoever made the bible. They may not have known it for his goodness was unsung and modest.

In our lives we may stop along the way in our attempt to do something for other people. At times, we hesitate because we think we are supposed to do something more worth our while. We still do it anyway, for at some point, we think that's the least we could do. These little things, much to our ignorance, are like blessings to other people. We look at it differently because it's us who do the actions and they are just receivers of what we do.

I have learned, that we do not have to look up to adore who we believe in. We only have to look around.

Sometimes we fail to see the good in ourselves because we refer to goodness as the things that are publicly well-regarded. We have the notion that when we go to church, we become closer to God. We think donations and other religious activities elate God. We are looking far, much too far from the reality that it's the simple things that we do that matters most to whoever we believe in.

This fourth king could be me; it could be anybody else--and they wouldn't have noticed.
I'm glad somebody did.