Learner

We had our in-service training today for newly hired educators. Dr. Roman Salazar, president of Cavite School Teachers & Employees Association, Inc. (CAVSTEA) gave an empowering talk about the importance of being an effective teacher.

He admonished all of us to heed to the call of excellence, dedication and commitment.

He just came from a surgery but because of his love for the profession, he gallantly shared his wealth of experience to all the newbies.

The learner is the heart of our profession.

Being effective is a daily mission to make a difference.

In-service training

Being a teacher is so much more involved than just the physical act of teaching. Being a teacher means being involved as a learner. Being a teacher means being a life-long learner and a curious soul.

What does it mean to be a great teacher? Of course credentials, knowledge, critical thinking, and all other faculties of intelligence are important. However, a great teacher should be much more than credentials, experience and intelligence.

What lies in the heart of a great teacher?

You are Kind

A great teacher shows kindness to students, colleagues, parents and those around her/him. My favourite saying is “kindness makes the world go around”. It truly changes the environment in the classroom and school. Being a kind teacher helps students feel welcomed, cared for and loved.
You are Compassionate

Teaching is a very humanistic profession, and compassion is the utmost feeling of understanding, and showing others you are concerned about them. A compassionate teacher models that characteristic to the students with her/his actions, and as a result students will be more open to understanding the world around them.

You are Empathetic

Empathy is such an important trait to have and to try to develop in ourselves and our students. Being able to put yourself in someone’s shoes and see things from their perspective can have such a powerful impact on our decisions and actions.

You are Positive

Being a positive person, is not an easy task. Being a positive teacher is even harder when we’re always met with problems with very limited solutions. However, staying positive when it’s tough can have such a tremendous positive impact on the students and everyone around us. Looking on the bright side always seems to help make things better.

You are a Builder

A great teacher bridges gaps and builds relationships, friendships, and a community. Teachers always look to make things better and improve things in and outside of the classroom. Building a community is something a great teacher seeks to do in the classroom and extends that to the entire school and its community.

You Inspire

Everyone looks at a great teacher and they want to be a better teacher, they want to be a better student, even better, they want to be a better person. A great teacher uncovers hidden treasures, possibilities and magic right before everyone’s eyes.

Jaro

I attended the 5am, Hiligaynon Mass at Jaro Cathedral (the beautiful venue of the Beup couple’s wedding) last Sunday, June 2 for the Feast of Corpus Christi.

I would like to thank my Visayan lineage for helping me understand the local dialect.

The priest gave a powerful message about the importance of the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist in worshipping and receiving God’s grace.

Jaro Cathedral

The Jaro Cathedral is the first and only cathedral in Panay built in 1864. Patriot and orator, Graciano Lopez Jaena was here in December 20, 1856. A high point in the history of the cathedral was the visit of Blessed Pope John Paul II, who conducted a mass on February 21, 1981. He set a crown upon the Lady of the Candles, and declared it the Patroness of the Western Visayas.

As a sacrament, it is that Jesus himself acting through the Eucharist, and supplies all the graces we derive from it.

It is a celebration of this sacrifice. It is the active participation of all that come together in the place of worship. We do not come to Mass simply to receive something passively or to watch a show; we come as participants embracing the grace Christ pours out for us shed by his own blood on the cross.

The Holy Mass is about God’s love for us.

He is the God who loved the world so much he became one of us—and then loved us so much that he stays with us in this small white host during communion, this slender shadow of who he really is.

He is not here for the rich and the powerful, the mighty and the famous.

He is here for the small and defenseless, the overlooked and forgotten. He is here for all who are broken, all who feel defeated, all who need healing and hope.

He appears so small.

But in that smallness is greatness beyond measure.

Because only a great God like ours could become bread to feed our souls and nourish our hearts and give us the grace to go on.

Mark Segador from Panay Island blog shared that one of Iloilo City’s cherished icons was the the Jaro Metropolitan Cathedral, which was also the center of faith in the region for centuries. Now restored and preserved, this architectural beauty defined the landscape of Metro Iloilo with its unique triangular facade, and its campanile located across the street. The church’s Romanesque revival-inspired design is seen in its intricate design and the red-roofed dome.

A distinct feature of the church is the all-male santos on its columns – an answer to Molo Church’s feminist theme. Though the church is the home of the Our Lady of Candles, it is dedicated to St. Elizabeth of Hungary.

Because of its importance to Iloilo’s religious and cultural heritage, the Jaro Cathedral was proclaimed by the National Historical Institute as a historical landmark in 1976. The cathedral was named as the National Shrine of Our Lady of Candles (Nuestra Señora De La Candelaria) for being the center of Marian devotion in the Visayas.

The present cathedral was inaugurated on 1874 during the annual celebration of the Feast of the Candelaria. It is the first cathedral in the island of Panay.

Housed inside the Jaro Metropolitan Cathedral complex is the stone image of Our Lady of Candles. The origin of the image itself had been said to be miraculous. Folk stories say that the image found in the shores of Iloilo River by a fisherman was about only a foot tall. It was so heavy that nobody can carry it; only when the people decided to bring the image to Jaro Church was one person able to successfully lift it.

Strange happenings surround the image and many believe that the Señora is miraculous.
In the olden days, people say that she has a habit of disappearing early in the morning and was spotted as a beautiful lady with long flowing hair bathing her son in a well found in the middle of the plaza. At the same time, a mist would cover her niche in the cathedral.

Another well known story is that before the Pacific War, the Señora’s place in the cathedral was engulfed in total darkness for days. When it dissipated, the image had miraculously grown larger.

Today, the image is already about 5 feet tall (almost larger than its previous niche) and many believe that it’s still growing. If faith can move mountains, can it make statues grow?

On February 1981, Pope John Paul II personally canonically crowned the image of Nuestra Señora de La Candelaria – the only Marian image in the country bestowed with such honor by the Holy Father.

Held every 2nd day of February, the Fiesta de la Candelaria (Feast of Our Lady of Candles) is one of Iloilo’s most important religious events.

It is celebrated with blessings of candles, Masses, processions, and other less holy events such as feasts, grand balls in which a festival queen, usually a beauty from a prominent Jaroleño family is crowned, and grand cockfights attended by aficionados from all over the country.

Self Talk

Because of The Feast’s series ‘Unleashed: Breaking Free from the Shackles of Unforgiveness’, I’ve been thinking quite a bit about forgiveness and how heavily it can weigh on us.

Bro. JB Rodriguez shared his story of a forgiving heart while being interviewed by Bro. Bo Sanchez. I did agree with him that when we are hurt, our first instinct may not be to jump at the chance to offer our forgiveness. Sometimes, we just don’t want to forgive someone, period!

It’s the last thing we want to do. Instead, we would rather sit in safety with our dear friends anger and stubbornness.

We face the world with arrogance and empty dreams to fill up our longing for acceptance and love.

Self Talk

Turn down the volume of your negative inner voice and create a nurturing inner voice to take it’s place. When you make a mistake, forgive yourself, learn from it, and move on instead of obsessing about it. Equally important, don’t allow anyone else to dwell on your mistakes or shortcomings or to expect perfection from you.

If forgiveness is such an integral part of finding inner peace, why does it seem like a burden on our to do list?

We tend to think that if we forgive the people who have hurt us, they’re being let off the hook. Even worse- they might do it again.

By forgiving, we become vulnerable once again, which may feel like an invitation to be hurt once more.

The truth is, whether you choose to forgive someone or not you have no control over whether they hurt you.

We cannot control the actions of others, but we can control the actions we carry out in our daily lives.

An empowered heart that offers forgiveness is able to grieve and liberate itself.

Don’t allow yourself to be anchored by anger and resentment.

Try to remember that we are all doing our best, and offer your compassion. Forgive yourself, for it will allow you to forgive others.

You’ll know when you’ve truly forgiven someone because you’ll feel it in every part of you. You’ll feel the sensation of lightness and relief within you once you are ready to forgive.

When we forgive someone, we free ourselves from the pain and anger their betrayal brought onto us. We let go of the resentment that we harbored within ourselves like a guarded ship yearning to set sail.

Seek the positive in the situation. Take the lessons you’ve learned with you, and remember that each experience is a teacher of it’s own kind.

Avoid negative self-talk.

Make a conscious effort to monitor the way you process information. If you are constantly dwelling on past issues and using negative words to describe yourself, or your goals, you must make a habit of retraining your brain.

Self-talk actually sends messages to your subconscious brain to form habits that coincide with what you are thinking.

If you continue to use the same negative self-talk, your subconscious will keep your habits aligned with the familiarity of past (and possibly bad) habits. On the flip side, using positive self-talk aids in reprogramming your brain to start forming goal-oriented habits.

This was our activity for the Awesome Kids Ministry and we encouraged the children to affirm themselves positively.

Positive affirmations are the personal short statements that help to derive desired outcomes.

Below is a list of positive affirmations that will help you get started. We also encourage you to create your own to be specific to your needs.

Self-Belief
I love myself for who I am
• Fear is only a feeling; it cannot hold me back
• I know that I can master anything
• Today I am willing to fail in order to succeed
• I have the strength to make my dreams come true
• I trust in myself
• I am proud of myself for even daring to try
• Today I put my full trust in my inner guidance
• I grow in strength with every forward step I take
• I release my hesitation and make room for victory
• I can do anything I set my mind to do
• I like myself better each day
• I am capable and strong
• I am a winner
• I am a deserving human being
• I am able to easily handle any problem I face

Healthy Body
I enjoy exercising more each day
• I choose to eat healthy food
• Each day I move closer to my ideal weight
• I deserve a trim, beautiful, fit & healthy body
• Today I love my body fully, deeply and joyfully
• My body has its own wisdom and I trust that wisdom completely
• My body is simply a projection of my beliefs about myself
• I am growing more beautiful and luminous every day
• I choose to see the divine perfection in every cell of my body
• As I love myself, I allow others to love me too
• Flaws are transformed by love and acceptance
• Today I choose to honor my beauty, my strength and my uniqueness
• I love the way I feel when I take good care of myself
• Today my own well-being is my top priority

Assertive
I state my feelings with confidence
• I am always treated with consideration and respect
• I believe in and trust myself
• I choose to respond to criticism in a constructive way
• I see criticism as information that empowers me
• I always feel safe and secure on the inside
• I graciously accept compliments from others
• I express my feelings and opinions honestly and openly
• I have a powerful positive mental attitude
• I allow others to make their own choices
• Others may influence my decisions, but the final choice is mine
• I feel powerful and confident
• I know that my potential is unlimited
• My assertiveness enriches my relationships
• I feel comfortable with the decisions I make
• My feelings of self esteem are strong
• My feelings of self worth are strong
• I have high self confidence
• I realize I have the right to change my mind

Success
I easily achieve my goals
• I have absolute faith in my success
• Success in mine to be enjoyed
• I am successful in all that I do
• I have everything I need to succeed
• I am living my dream
• I am experiencing fantastic success
• Today I open my mind to the endless opportunities surrounding me.
• I boldly act on great opportunities when I see them.
• My intuition leads me to the most lucrative opportunities.
• An opportunity is simply a possibility until I act on it.
• Today I see each moment as a new opportunity to express my greatness.
• I expand my awareness of the hidden potential in each experience.
• Each decision I make creates new opportunities.

Self-Love
I am filled with light, love and peace
• I treat myself with kindness and respect
• I give myself permission to shine
• I honor the best parts of myself and share them with others
• I am proud of all I have accomplished
• Today I give myself permission to be greater than my fears
• I am my own best friend and cheerleader
• I have many qualities, traits and talents that make me unique
• I am a valuable human being
• I love myself just the way I am
• I love and forgive myself for any past mistakes
• I look in the mirror and I love what I see
• I recognize my many strengths

Battalion

I would like to share this picture taken 24 years ago during our Citizen Army Training (CAT) days in high school.

IMG_20180320_140154

“Be an Encourager: When you encourage others, you boost their self-esteem, enhance their self-confidence, make them work harder, lift their spirits and make them successful in their endeavors. Encouragement goes straight to the heart and is always available. Be an encourager. Always.” Photo credits to Batch Lima (1996) Adjutant Joseph Delgado. 

I was the First Battalion Commander back then.

CAT (Citizen Army Training) was part of the fourth year high school curriculum in the 90s.

To be at the top, my fellow CAT officers endured all the physical, mental and emotional trainings.

Just like the military, we have to go through the drill and formation.

Our CAT uniform was the fatigues or battledress, a military suit.

I was part of Batch Lima (1996), our corp commander was a lady who stood tall amidst strings of challenges.

We were the triumphant group who took home the Championship trophy for the Best CAT Platoon of the Division of City Schools Manil held at Araullo High School.

Our training was spearheaded by the Naval Reserve Command (NAVRESCOM) officers.

We have continually exemplified that honor is not a medal pinned to our chests but a way of life embedded in our hearts.

We were always encouraged to have an overflowing love for service and integrity.

We thrived in the spirit of volunteerism and bayanihan.

“Champions are those who never quit,” this quote inspired us to never give up easily.

We were required to memorize this poem by heart.

Don’t Quit

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won if he’d stuck it out.
Don’t give up, though the pace seems slow –
You may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than
It seems to a faint and faltering man;
Often the struggler has given up
When he might have captured the victor’s cup,
And he learned too late, when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out –
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are –
It may be near when it seems afar;
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit –
It’s when things seem worst that you mustn’t quit.

Indeed, quiting was never an option before and until today.

Whatever life throws at you, remain grounded, head held high and never give up.

He Cares

Grace-filled.

Inspiring.

Empowering.

More than 200 kids from the poorest of the poor in the neighborhood of Quezon City taught me today the deeper meaning of true love.

Every Saturday, they looked forward to the feeding party led by Bro. Joe Dean Solas, a lay missionary who devoted his life in fulfilling God’s call of faith and hope.

He Cares Mission, a street children caring center started in 1996 with a humble promise made by Bro. Joe Dean to two little street children that they will never be hungry again.

 

He Cares

Together with our Light Group, Bro. Joe Dean Sola (seated in cap) was a source of inspiration to many. He founded He Cares, they takes care of street children, offering five programs that cater to the children’s spirituality, health, family, life, education, and livelihood.

The day started with prayer and thanksgiving through worship songs.

Then a short program followed. I took charge of the games.

It was not easy at first.

It was difficult.

Very challenging.

But, I learned to let go.

I just smiled a lot and I let God took full control.

I knew they enjoyed it.

Their smiles and loudest cheers took my breath away.

They have been to a lot of challenges.

A few minutes of fun and laughter was all that matters.

They are still kids after all.

It was the first outreach activity for 2018 of our Light Group (LG).

I was grateful to Bro. Mark and Sis. Lorrie Calangian together with their children Lance and Chase for sharing their service love.

They tagged me along for a road trip from Cavite to the City of Stars and it was a memorable journey.

After the short program, the volunteers prepared for a sumptuous feast of spaghetti, fried chicken, rice, water turned into iced tea, fruit salad and a mini pancake with choco fillings donated by a generous Japanese businessman who visits the center monthly.

The feeding party was organized by Bro. Joe Dean with love.

Lots of it.

He encouraged the volunteers to always smile.

Every table were assigned to a feeding facilitator that helped the children on their needs.

I met Kathleen, a kindergarten student who had difficulties finishing her food. Her seatmates encouraged her to wipe out the fried chix and rice. She brought home the fruit salad.

After the feeding party, the volunteers were led to a short thanksgiving prayer and had lunch. I met other volunteers who have the same passion of serving others.

A short presentation about a new vision for He Cares in the coming years was shared.

Help build the He Cares Mission Promised Land – a sustainable farm community that aims to go beyond feeding and giving shelter for a day, towards giving a meaningful and abundant life day after day after day.

To know more about the program visit http://www.hecaresmission.com and find ways on how you can make a difference.

Bro. Joe Dean toured us around the He Cares Mission Center and mingled with the fulltime workers.

Their story of selfless love was inspiring.

I encouraged you to volunteer now.

Visit them at No. 9 Mines St., Project 6, Quezon City or contact them at (+63) 02 928-8910 or (+63) 02 453-0100. You can also email: hecaresfoundation@gmail.com.

They also accept donation thru bank account name:

He Cares Foundation, Inc.
Bank of the Philippines
Savings Account #1953093053

Women

Quaipo visit today and the world commemorates International Women’s Day 2018, a day to reflect on the changing female role in society.

I thanked the Lord for all the great women who work diligently each day to bring more love into their homes, communities, and the world at large: mothers, sisters, friends, teachers, activists, volunteers, authors, and more.

Quiapo

March 8th is International Women’s Day (IWD), observed throughout the world as a day of action for women, a time to seek specific improvements in women’s lives and to commit to ending the suffering that women experience merely because they are women.

Outside the church, a group of women have a rally. They voiced out their concerns on justice and governance.

I watched how passionate women on the streets fighting for their rights.

International Women’s Day (IWD) has been observed since the early 1900’s – a time of great expansion and turbulence in the industrialized world that saw booming population growth and the rise of radical ideologies. International Women’s Day is a collective day of global celebration and a call for gender parity.

International Women’s Day is all about unity, celebration, reflection, advocacy and action.

To set aside just one day to remind ourselves to treat more than half the human population of the world, or any segment of it, as fully human, is a challenge that calls us to grow as God’s people.

Our celebrations of each other must be constant individual celebrations of respect and gratitude celebrating each day by each of us for each person in our lives.

Please join me in prayer:

Gracious God of all that is, we give you thanks for the endless possibilities of life as you have set it before and around us.

The many ways of being human make possible endless ways to serve you and each other.

We are tempted to judge some kinds of living or thinking as better, worse, good, bad, acceptable, offensive – without understanding what our differences make possible for all of us.

Turn our heads and our hearts, O Holy One, so we see the wonders of difference and the limits of prejudice.

Enter the heart and mind of each person to see each other person, every difference, all ways of being fully human, as gifts from you to all of us, in a world that needs all the gifts and help you give to and through us.

Amen.

Risks

Do you like to take risks?

When we stop taking risks, we stop living life.

We are never 100% prepared to start something new, but taking risks is so important!

I started this blog just to share my story but along the way, I learned a lot.

Risks

If you’re not taking risks, you’re not enjoying life.

From meeting new people and writing my encounter with them.

I also relearned the rudiments of English grammar.

Writista, a fellow blogger shared her Top 10 grammatical mistakes made by Filipinos:

#10. “Alright” and “All Right”
We see the word “alright” everywhere, and it’s begun entering the major dictionaries, but for formal writing, such as academic papers and business correspondence, you should still use the two-word version.

#9. “Pinaka-Latest”
“Latest” is already in the superlative, meaning there nothing “later” than it. “Most latest” is just redundant. Therefore, “pinaka-latest” is also redundant. But I have to admit, it’s pretty catchy. That’s probably why local showbiz specials love to use it.

#8. “More + Adjective-er”
Phrases like “more harder” and “more brighter” just give me more headaches. Just say “harder” or “brighter,” okay?

#7. “Your” and “You’re”
Two words that should never, ever, ever be interchanged, at least if you want to be taken seriously as a writer.

“Your” is a possessive adjective. In other words, it is used to express possession: “Your job.” “You’re” is a contraction of two words: the pronoun “you” and the verb “are.” Therefore, it’s always “you’re welcome“ and not “your welcome.”

#6. “Its” and “It’s”
This is almost identical to “you” and “you’re.” Use “its” to express possession: “I scratched its fur.” “It’s” is a contraction of “it” and “is.” Therefore, always write “it’s nice” and never “its nice.”

#5. “Their” and “They’re” and “There”
Same banana. “Their” is a possessive adjective, “They’re” is a contraction, and “There” refers to a place: “I’m going there.”

#4. “He” and “She”
“Clara’s there na. He’s, ah, I mean, she’s waiting for you.”

This happens because most Filipinos think in Tagalog, in which the word “siya” means both “he” and she.” This tiny difference between English and Tagalog trips up millions of Filipinos on a daily basis.

#3. “Already”
“She went there already.”

This sounds correct to a Filipino, but the correct use is “She already went there.” Personally, this still sounds a bit off. I would say “She has already gone there.” But that’s just me.

#2. The Ellipsis
This is one of the most abused punctuation marks in the history of humankind. Simply put, an ellipsis is the formal term for the three dots (“…”) that follow some types of sentences. Filipinos love to abuse it in the following ways:

By using only 2 dots: ..
By using more than 3: …….. (of course, there are some instances in which 4 dots are acceptable)
By using it several times in a single sentence: “Oh… Well… I’ll see you later, then…”

#1. Pluralizing all the wrong words
I visibly wince whenever I hear Filipinos add “-s” to the wrong words. “Fats.” “Furnitures.” “Evidences.” “Stuffs.” Stuffs. For the love of God, all of these words are already in the plural form. And saying “anyways” instead of “anyway” has always struck me as being singularly pretentious.