Tag Archives: life

D’ Tale of the Dirty Finger…Phil. Election 2010


Today is May 10, 2010. Finally, I was able to cast my vote at 5:21 p.m. after having 80 people ahead of me. My parents, sister and I went to the polling precinct at 3:00 pm hoping to find that there will be lesser people voting. Earlier this morning, my aunt and nanny went to the polling place at 7:30 am. Nanny came home after 9:30 am while Aunt was able to finish at 10:30 am. At Nanny’s precinct, the voting went on smoothly despite the long queue. My Aunt’s experience was different, the PCOS machine did not work and it took awhile before it was replaced.

San Roque Elem School Cluster 6 Precinct



Since there were 80 people ahead of me, I decided to check out the other members of my family. This is a picture of their precinct. They did not have a lot of people waiting in line so it took them only 20 minutes to cast their vote.

I took a picture of my parents and sister casting their vote, feeding the ballot into the machine, waiting for it to say CONGRATULATIONS and having indelible ink  placed on their finger.

Below is a picture of me waiting in line after the long queue ahead of me. There were seats outside of the precinct where we sat waiting for our numbers to be called. Actually, when I knew that there were 80 plus people ahead of me, I went home to get my list which I forgot to bring. After harvesting and planting crops at my farm at Farmville, I went back after 45 minutes, just in time to have my number called.

Upon entering the room,I gave the small piece of paper where my precinct number, list number and line number was written to the BEIs where they looked for my name on the official list of candidate. When they finally located my name, I signed the list and affix my right thumb mark on it. Then I was given the ballot enclosed in a long, white folder and the pen provided by Smartmatic. The ballot secrecy folder is not the official folder which should be used, since the official folders did not arrive due to controversies in the procurement of such folders. I sat down and carefully marked the egg-shaped symbol before the names of the candidate. Earlier that day, I made a list of whom to vote with their corresponding number in the ballot so it did not take me long to finish voting.

This is a photo taken at my precinct. There are times when all the seat are filled up with voters. After voting, I returned the pen provided by Smartmatic to the BEI then fed my ballot into the PCOS machine. After 2 minutes of verifying my ballot, a message saying, ‘Congratulations. Your vote has been registered.’ Man, I was so relieved that my ballot went smoothly inside the machine. When my parents fed their ballots inside the machine, there was a paper jam. But, the ballot was read successfully by the machine after the BEI inserted the ballot further inside. I was so happy that I was able to cast my vote. In my excitement, I surrendered my thumb to the BEI for the indelible ink. She asked me for my forefinger and placed a small amount of indelible ink on it.

Above are some pictures taken of voters looking for their names on the list, and voters waiting in line to have their numbers called.In some precincts, voting started late in the afternoon due to some defective PCOS machines .  I hope that there will be no glitches in the canvassing and counting of the ballots. I also hope that the winners will truly serve our country and the losers will accept defeat gracefully. I am proud to be part of this historical event, the very first AUTOMATED ELECTION in the Philippines.


Change Is Inevitable


This is the third time that I changed this blog’s name. I can’t even remember its first name. I remembered an episode from Spongebob Squarepant’s cartoon wherein the main character, Spongebob, lost his name tag and he couldn’t remember his name. What he did was repeat the events of the days, from the time he woke up to the time he lost his name tag so he could remember where he lost it. I wouldn’t do that. No way.

Finally, after careful thought, i chose this name. Hopefully it reflects who I really am. May it also encourage me to write more often and share my thoughts. As of today, the blogs I created is more numerous than my ten fingers. I have to sort all of them and maybe retire some and just concentrate on the important ones. As a dear friend said to me long ago, I don’t need to spread myself to thin. It wouldn’t do me any good. I just have to give my time to what and who matters most.

To this journal, may thoughts flow like a gentle creek…to a place peaceful and happy.

Beware of “Throw-Away” Plane Tickets


This is the first rant article of my blog. Why such title? This is the full story. Last August 2009, I purchased a plane ticket from Asia’s First Airline thru the internet. I was chosen as one of the three delegates from our cooperative to attend a convention at Olongapo City last September 23-25, 2009. Given a tight budget, I canvassed for the lowest plane fare that I could find. I called up ticket agencies and surfed the internet. If you compare ticket prices between ticket agencies and the internet, the latter’s price is lower. Of course, you have to purchase it using your credit card. That’s what I did. I booked three tickets for me and my companions using my own credit card.

The plane e-ticket that I purchased was a promo fare ticket with lots of restrictions. That was okay with me because it was within my budget. Little did I know that the FINE PRINT written on the e-ticket would make my life miserable. The night before I was to leave for Manila, my eldest son had high fever, headache and was vomiting. I was really worried about his condition. My anxiety was heightened when I thought of the convention that I had to attend. I called the regional coordinator from CDA, explained my situation and asked her advice. She suggested that I look for a replacement so that my registration fee of P7,000 will not be forfeited. Next, I called my boss, who was one of my companions on the trip, and told her about my situation. She told me to stay and take care of my son. Being a mother herself, she told me that family should go first. Encouraged by her advice, I called another friend and asked her if she could go. She declined since their house was flooded due to heavy rains a few days before.

Finally, I was firm in my decision not to leave for Manila. I was also  not able to find a replacement in such a short notice. Mind you, I did not sleep well that night partly because I was monitoring my son’s condition, and the other part was thinking of how to seek a refund of my registration fee and plane ticket. The next day I sent a text message to one of the organizers of the convention and again explained to him my situation. Thanks to his good heart, I was able to refund part of the registration fee.

On September 25, 2009, I went to the airline’s ticketing office at the Zamboanga City Airport and referred the matter to the ticketing officer. When he read my ticket, he told me point blank that it is a non-refundable ticket and that is it equivalent to a “throw-away” ticket. Wow, that’s a new term. They should have added that to the many fine print that this particular ticket has. I was in the verge of tears. How can I “throw away” P4,400 just because I was not able to leave for Manila and use my plane ticket? I let him read my letter to the manager explaining what happened. He further said, “Ma’am, kahit ano pa po ang mangyari, hind nyo pa rin pwedeng i-refund ang ticket nyo. Ang iba nga, hindi nakasakay dahil namatayan nang kamag-anak pero hindi pa rin na-refund ang ticket nila.” Ganun? Oh, stupid me. It is a “throw-away” ticket so why argue. I asked him if I could see the manager and he gave me directions to his office.

I went to the manager and submitted my letter request along with my plane ticket and the medical certificate of my son. By the way, he had Intestinal Influenza, which explained his vomiting and fever. It is an illness common during the rainy season. Back to the manager, he searched his computer for the policies regarding my ticket. He told me that my ticket is indeed non-refundable. I told him that it is okay with me if I cannot refund it as long as I can still use it. He said that he would refer the matter to his superiors but cannot promise me if I could still refund or use my ticket.

After two weeks, I called him up regarding my request. In a diplomatic tone, he explained to me that it is indeed a non-refundable ticket and there is no way that I can refund my P4,400 or use it for another trip. As he was explaining, I fought back the tears in my eyes. He stopped in mid sentence and asked me if I was still on the phone. Yes, I told him but, my mind was screaming. “Yes, d***it, I’m still here and I still could not figure out how P4,400 could just disappear in thin air.” Oh I remember, even if the ticket holder died before he could board the plane, his relatives could still not refund the plane ticket because it is a “Throw Away” ticket and the fine print expressly states that “Fare and surcharges are non-refundable, forfeited if ticket is unused, non-rebookable, non-endorsable and non-upgradable.” Silly me for hoping that the management of the Asia’s First Airline would understand my situation and grant my request.

This serves as a warning to everyone who plans to buy a promo fare ticket. Don’t buy it unless you are 100% sure that you will use it. Also, read the fine print. Sometimes, we tend to disregard the fine print but in the end, it is the same fine print that would prevail in any given situation. I should know. It cost me a princely sum of money just to get the message across my head. So, to all of you out there, good luck on your plane ticket purchase, read the fine print and do buy the one that says it is refundable, rebookable, upgradable and endorsable.

Health is WEALTH


healthy-body-jog3 There is truth to the adage that ‘Health is WEALTH!”

My husband and I are both working. It is important that we are always in shape because our chief capital for our  work is our health. I have sort of promised to myself this year that I will monitor my food intake and do some exercise so I can manage my weight. I hope to shed a few pounds and hopefully a few kilos by the end of 2009.  It’s already March and I still have to convince myself that I need to have some sort of concrete plan to make this a reality. I come from a family with a health history of heart disease and diabetes. My mom keeps on reminding me that I need to curb my appetite in order to manage my weight and not to gain more weight. But, my love affair with food says so otherwise. I need to really get my weight down. May you witness my journey to good health. So help me God.

Working Mom #2 : Mental Block


so many things to do…but so little time…

my things to do list is getting longer and longer as the days go by…it’s crunch time…we have to finish our interim report by September 30…the documents we’ve requested are slowly coming in…working papers remain half-finished, if at all…and my mind goes blank as i stare at the wall to decide on my next move…if there is a next move…hahaha

so, i laugh it off…bwahahaha…after this i am going on a loooooong deserved vacation…and take advantage of my five day force leave and force myself to forget about work and recharge my mind…i can do tons of things…but let me think about that later…now, time is precious…every second counts…tick tock tick tock…oh no, i can hear the clock ticking…in my head…oh great!!!

focus your eyes on something green…to refresh your eyes and your mind…are you kidding??? the curtains in our office is green but i don’t even notice it…hahaha…

so i hope against hope with my fingers crossed that i can come up with something concrete (like an AOM…hehehe) to present before our conference on Sept. 17-18…so back to the drawing board…be critical…be analytical…consider all red flags…and DELIVER!!! (pizza???)

sorry if i sound greek to you…but to my fellow cluster four teammates…these are meaningful, powerful words…see you at the conference guys…and may HIS WILL BE DONE!!!

take care and Godbless…




happy 35th birthday…this was what’s left of my birthday cake from red ribbons, a gift from my mom. next to the cake is a number five candle which i saved from my son’s 5th birthday last april 20. it took me this long to write about what happened during my birthday. it was a birthday celebrated with mixed feelings. i celebrated my birthday with my extended family the day before my actual birthday, which was a holiday since the independence day was moved to this day, because of the holiday economics proclaimed by the president. my brother was leaving for Pagadian City the next day, that’s why we decided to celebrate it a day before. For my actual birthday, I filed a privilege leave from work and spent the day with my husband and children.

the two days seem like a blur, just like the photo of my birthday cake. the day before my birthday, i had a vertigo attack. i had these attacks before but this one was worse. i felt my head spinning and losing my balance. i went to store to buy my son a bag for school. the good thing was my father was in the same store. he took me to my cousin, who is a doctor. after a thorough check up, she concluded that i had benign positional vertigo and i had to see an EENT doctor for further test. in the afternoon, my husband was free, so we went to a specialist. after the check up, he gave the same conclusion and prescribed SERC for two weeks. since we didn’t have time to cook, we just ordered take out for the party.

it was a simple party. we had beef with broccoli, seafood roll, buttered chicken, pansit canton, fruit salad and the birthday cake from my mom. my mom was not able to attend because she was not feeling well. my father, sister, brother and cousin were there. we took pictures from my father’s digicam and ate the simple feast. i forgot to take a picture of the food. all i had was the picture of the cake.

it seems that the cake symbolized what i felt that day. i can’t believe that i’ve reach 35 years. i thank God that I’m given another year to celebrate life, to share my blessings and love to my family and friends.

on the day of my actual birthday, i wen to to mass at the Cathedral and spent some time at the Blessed Sacrament. in the evening, my family had a simple dinner. i started writing in my journal, but up to now i only have two entries since that day. it seems i just can’t make myself to write in my journal often because of the hustle and bustle of everyday life…

i just hope that everything will be clear in God’s time…and with God’s grace, the truth shall set me free…


the big _5th


another birthday post…

i finally reached my 35th birthday…i hope i can make it until my 100th…

it was the most unforgettable birthday of my whole life. i don’t want to elaborate. i usually cook for a special occasion at home but this time i was not able to. i celebrated my birthday a day before. the same day i went to see two doctors, my cousin and an ENT doctor, due to vertigo. my cousin JOAN (bless her jolliness…) said it was benign positional vertigo. the ENT doctor concluded the same, and said it was due to a virus…hello…i have to look this up in the internet…anyway, the world was spinning around me and i could not walk straight (kiss my modelling dreams goodbye…).

and so we just ordered take out at our favorite chinese restaurant. these are what we ordered:
seafood roll, beef with brocolli, buttered chicken, pancit canton, and seafood in cream sauce. we bought grilled fish in our neighborhood flea market, by mom gave me a chocolate cake, and i made fruit salad…that’s it.

But, I can never thank the following people enough: God, who gave me another chance, and never gave up on me; my parents & siblings, who are always there for me no matter what, my husband and two kids, who are my life now and forever, my relatives and friends who have made my life an adventurous one…

sa inyong lahat, maraming salamat po…

until the next birthday….chow…

Ash Wednesday



“You are Dust, and to Dust You Shall Return.” (Genesis 3:19)

According to churchyear.net, Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent, the 40-day period of fasting before Easter. On this day, ashes are blessed, mixed with either holy oil or water, and imposed on the head with the sign of the cross, or sprinkled on the forehead. The ashes are made from burning palm branches blessed the previous year on Palm Sunday.

When the priest imposes the ashes he says either “remember man you are dust, and to dust you will return” (see Genesis 3:19), or “turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel” (Mark 1:15).

The ashes serve a dual purpose. First, as the above words imply, we are reminded of our mortality and humanity as we begin the Lenten Fast. Second, the ashes are a Biblical symbol of repentance, sorrow, and humility.

Today, February 25, 2009, not only marks the beginning of Lent but also the 23rd year of the First EDSA Revolution in the Philippines. I attended Mass at the Immaculate Conception Church (now MCC) at 12:15 noon. The church was packed to the rafters. A lot of people were standing at the back. Some were seated outside. The ceremony already began when I arrived. I quickly made my way at the back. During the sermon, the Bishop apologized for starting the Mass earlier than the usual time, due to the length of the ceremony.

He explained that Lent starts today and ends in the morning of Holy Thursday. Easter starts in the afternoon of that same day. He emphasized that this time is an opportunity for us to reflect and repent on the wrongdoings that we have done and cleanse ourselves from sin by fasting and penance. He also exhorted us to be humble and obedient to God’s will.

The imposition of the ashes was done before the offertory. People lined up in all sides of the pews and took their turn as the lay ministers say upon imposition of the ashes, “Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel.” I made my way outside the church as I saw some vacant mono-bloc chairs. I was observing the parishioners as they lined up to have the ashes placed on their forehead. People from all walks of life came. Since it was during lunch beak , most people were from the office and stores around the area. Some were couples and families. Students also attended the Mass. I saw some familiar faces and waved at them. Since it was nearly 1pm, some people did not wait for the Mass to continue but left in order not to be late for work. Some stayed until the communion. While most stayed behind until the end of the Mass.

A thought came into my head. Is having the ashes placed on our forehead enough so as not to stay until the Mass has ended? I grew up in a catholic school and I believe it is but proper to stay until the end of the Mass. But, be that as it may, sometimes I am guilty of leaving just right after communion, and not waiting for the priest to say, “Go in Peace to Love and Serve the Lord.” Which is more important, Faith or Work? I guess it works both ways. “Faith without work is dead.” All work and no Faith makes Jane a dull girl…or something like that. We got to have both in order for it to be more effective.

Just as what happened 23 years ago in EDSA, it was the people faith in God and their will to stand up against dictatorship that made EDSA a success, more of a MIRACLE, because it was a bloodless revolution. So, it works both ways. FAITH and WORK should go hand in hand…

Have a holy and peaceful LENTEN SEASON to all…God Bless…

Reminiscing #1


Sunday is considered a rest day…for even God rested on that day.

For me, Sunday is my workday at home. You see, I’m a working mom with two energetic boys, aged 4 years and 1 year 7 months. I have a yaya for my youngest son. She’s a stay-out yaya. She works from Monday to Saturday. When we arrive from work, that’s the time she goes home. When she does go home, my dear son cries. How come he’s having separation anxiety for her and not for me? It’s because I’m on my way to work when he wakes up in the morning. Sigh…

What is my typical Sunday like? I wake up early, around 7 am, even though I still want to sleep late. I clean the sala, sweep the floors, wash the dishes, cook breakfast, prepare the kids’ clothes and vitamins, eat breakfast, feed them breakfast when they wake up, bathe them, then I take a bath. Then I prepare them to attend the 10:30 am mass. I’m only half concentrating during the Mass because the kids run around the church. It’s my yaya’s day off, so it’s my turn. In the afternoon, I put my youngest son to sleep on the ‘duyan’. When he’s asleep, then I can dose off, too. But not to deep, because he might fall from his hammock.

Where’s my husband when all these are happening? My husband helps me do the chores at home. But, during Sunday he wakes up late since it’s the only day he can do so. He goes to work from Monday to Saturday, and has to wake up early. I don’t want to bother him for I know it’s the only day he can sleep longer. The other things is, he’s having contact dermatitis lately. So there are chores which he cannot do, like washing the dishes, pealing the condiments, bathe the kids. So the bulk of the work rest on me.

I’m not complaining, I’m just ventilating…Hahaha, is there a difference? There may be other working mothers out there who are experiencing the same. I hope you can share your experiences with me. Somehow, it would make the load lighter.

I thank God because He has given me a day to spend with my family, serving them, laughing with them, playing with them, or just spending some quiet time. One whole day…just the four of us. Others may not be as fortunate. So, I’m not complaining. I’m very thankful for life’s endless extra challenges…

Food for School Program of the DepEd


I will feature a very laudable program of the Department of Education named Food for School Program. It started last 2006. The program aims to mitigate hunger of poor families and improve school retention. In the first phase of the program, only grade one students from selected elementary schools in areas declared as vulnerable provinces were given one (1) kilo of Iron Fortified Rice every school day for SY 2006-2007 and Summer of SY 2006-2007. Per our interview of the teachers from selected elementary schools in Zamboanga del Norte, the program was a big help to the families of pupils because it improved the attendance of their children in school and gave them rice everyday.

In one elementary school in Zamboanga del Norte, the teachers served the same rice to us for lunch, paired with sardines for ulam. We not only inspected the rice but ate it as well. For others, they are bothered by the yellow specks in the rice, but it is these yellow specks which gives iron in the rice. It is an eye opening experience talking to the teachers and recipient families about the program.

For SY 2007-2008, the recipients were expanded to grade two to six students. But it is still limited to one family per kilo of rice. Meaning, even if you have two kids, one in grade 2 and the other in grade 5, only a kilo of rice will be given, usually to the older child.

I hope that such program will continue and it will not be open to abuse and corruption by the people in government.