Tuesday, November 26, 2013

So human

Quite recently, I was at Landmark in Makati, killing time while waiting for hubby to wrap up work at the office.

He was later than expected so I found my way to the food court where I thought I’d answer hunger pangs and rest my tired feet.

I chose a table beside the pathway and opposite a man who had one leg propped up on the chair across him. He had some packages on the table and soon enough, the wife comes and brings him some food. They must have been in their mid-50s.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Be a good volunteer at a repacking center

Some thoughts on how we can better maximize the time and effort we put into volunteering our services for the benefit of those affected by Typhoon Yolanda:

PLEASE don’t be a diva. A woman who had also signed up for the 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. shift became impatient at 7 a.m. when only a few of us had been called into the repacking center to start work. She assumed that we would be called according to registration. She drew some looks when in an arrogant and loud manner, she asked a DSWD worker whether he was aware of what “number” it already was because she was aware that she and her companions were in the numbers 1-20. Kudos to the DSWD worker for dealing with her very patiently even if he looked like he had worked through the night.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

A mom at a youth congress

Students today are so lucky. They have access to so many learning opportunities outside the classroom - virtually through the Web and via face-to-face academic gatherings like the 3rd Shell Sustainable Development (SD) Youth Congress last September 28.

The Shell SD Youth Congress is a one-day forum conducted by Shell companies in the Philippines in partnership with the Center for Research and Communication of the University of Asia and the Pacific (CRC-UA&P). 

Friday, September 20, 2013

The songs we sing

I heard the song “All I Wanna Do is Make Love to You” on the radio a while ago and I just had to smile.

Even in my younger years, the powerful vocals of Ann Wilson, lead singer of the rock band Heart, always made me want to sing along to this song.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Batangas papers

A friend who is into public relations recently asked me for a list of Batangas papers. She was exploring the possibility of promoting her client’s product in Batangas publications.

Sure, I said. Armed with a list of Batangas papers that I culled from the Web, I go to the nearest newsstand in the neighboring barangay and find out that they do not carry Batangas papers. Nor do four newspaper vendors at the public market in the city proper. One newspaper vendor on the same road as the weekly “Sun.Star People’s Courier” tells me they ran out of stock. “They don’t print a lot,” he explains.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

In the Tagalog hot seat

I like being open to new things and I sometimes pay the price for it.

Just recently, I found myself serving as a judge for what I thought was a singing contest in a public elementary school. Except that it wasn’t just a singing contest. It was also a poetry recital contest, a group oration and had the teachers not anticipated the lack of time and held them earlier, it would also have been a story-reading and story-telling contest - all in Pilipino.

This trio of Grade 5 students was amazing while
doing a Balagtasan (debate in poetic verse).
I had unwittingly said yes to all these contests that were part of the school’s Buwan ng Wika culminating activity.  The principal had visited us while we were helping serve some of their students under the feeding program conducted by the Shell Tabangao Ladies Circle (STLC) and asked us to judge a singing contest in August. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Family photos

Take them while you can.

Maybe this isn’t really relevant today since everyone takes pictures of just about anything with the advent of camera phones, tablets and low-cost digital cameras.

But in my time, not all families had cameras. And those that had were not so free in its use because (and I am dating myself here) it was the type that used rolled photographic film which had a limited number of exposures. I remember that it was a luxury to get a roll of film with 36 exposures.

So when I looked for a picture of our basic family unit (before everyone upped and got married), the only one I found was taken decades ago. The most recent one I could find was missing a family member because it was taken when all five siblings came together --- to bury our father.
The last time all five of us sisters were
together was when everyone came home
for Daddy's burial.

Just recently, my daughter asked for a family picture for a school project. Easy enough, I thought until I found myself looking through several folders before I found one of all three of us. That’s because her Dad and I take turns taking shots.

Monday, August 5, 2013

A pharmaceutical post (of sorts)

I didn’t know what I was in for when I volunteered to serve at Shell’s medical and dental mission in Tabangao, Batangas City last August 3.

Sure, I’d been at medical and dental missions before, but always as part of a coverage team. 

The full breakfast spread for the volunteers should have set off warning bells in my head. After all, why were we being treated to so much good food if we weren’t expected to burn it off – fried rice, daing, tapa, itlog, manok and all?

One of the doctors of the Batangas Medical
Society attends to a young patient at Shell's
medical and dental mission.
They did ring faintly in my head at the reaction of some of the other volunteers when I told them I had volunteered at the pharmacy. “Kayong pinakahuling matatapos (You’ll be among the last done),” said one. “Magulo diyan (It’s a riot there),” said another.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Making do, but not without

The next time your child complains about his allowance, tell him that children in public elementary schools are allotted only P15 per meal under the Department of Education’s (DepEd) school-based feeding program (SBFP).

Milet Esguerra, who heads the
STLC feeding program,
interacts with the kids.
“We’re giving a little more per child at the Tabangao Elementary School,” says Milet Esguerra, who heads the feeding program of the Shell Tabangao Ladies Circle (STLC) in Batangas City.  She smiles when I appear shocked, but she’s done her research. 

The DepEd’s SBFP allocates a total of P16 per child (P15 per meal; P1 for logistics like cooking utensils, office supplies for reports, minimal transportation expenses, water, LPG, charcoal, firewood, and kerosene) for 120 days. Even privately-funded feeding programs like Jollibee’s “Busog, Lusog, Talino (BLT)” and Ateneo de Manila University’s “Blueplate” allot P11 and P11.50 per child respectively.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

I cannot teach you

Image borrowed from Duke TIP website
In my years of editing, I have been blessed to work with writers who are able to discern their mistakes through the edited work, and be guided accordingly.

On occasion though, I have also found myself actually writing down the mistakes, pointing out the grammatical errors, explaining why it is wrong, and showing how things can be simpler and more cohesive. It is during these instances that I realize that there are just some things that I cannot teach:

Friday, June 14, 2013

Birds cry, too

I’m one of those who frown on making pets out of birds. I think it is cruel to restrain them in a cage when they can have the whole sky.

However, I found myself reviewing that notion when workers found a kilyawan (Black-naped oriole) hanging by its leg from a branch on a tree beside our house.  At first, I thought that the men were reaching up with a stick to get at a mango before I realized two things: it wasn’t a mango tree; the “mango” (the kilyawan is a yellow and black bird), was fluttering its wings.

Monday, May 27, 2013

50M on Opening Day

Fifty million pesos does not make a blockbuster when it comes to film, but it certainly does for an exhibit.

Shell’s multi-media exhibit “Beauty, Bounty and a Shared Heritage: 25 Years of Protecting Tubbataha” at the Atrium of SM Mega Mall did not mean to make money.

In the strictest terms, it hasn’t.  All it’s done is to provide a venue for Environment Secretary Ramon Paje and Tubbataha Management Office (TMO) Head Angelique Songco to come together during the opening ceremony and talk. Since they were both early, there was a LOT of time for Songco to make her case and “catch the worm”.
Environment Secretary Ramon Paje gives a silver award
to Tubbataha Management Office Head Angelique Songco.

Paje pledged to provide the P50 million needed to build a new station for 10 to 12 marine park rangers tasked to protect the 97,030-hectare Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park (TRNP) and World Heritage Site in Palawan from illegal activities including fishing and collection of precious and lucrative marine life such as top shells. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

I'm a Lola

One thing I both dread and love during the holidays is the family gathering. I dread all the preparations - from buying to wrapping gifts, to finalizing menus, preparing the house, etc. and I love the warmth, love and laughter that ensues when everyone is together despite all the cleaning up and settling down that eventually follows.

Because this is the one time of year when almost everybody shows up, I am always surprised by the changes. How much one has grown, or expanded or slimmed down, turned ravishing and cleared up acne. I am almost always reminded of how old I am when a kid once knee-high turns up at the doorway tall and slim. Or how a once smiling but silent teenager has become quite chatty and my golly gee - engaged and definitely still smiling.