Monday, November 20, 2017

by:  JVK

Once upon a time, there was a girl who was tall, dark, and lanky
She struggled to be fit in, alas, she succeeded only barely
With low self esteem; appalled, she asked, "What's wrong with me?!"
She came, she smiled, she talked, yet nobody seemed to see.

A diamond in the rough, she thought of herself
Sadly nobody has noticed that she ever existed
Personality she vowed to develop, read every book in the shelf
Determined to change for the better, she endured and persisted

As years passed by, this lanky girl grew in wisdom
Now confident of herself, insecurities and shyness she has overcome
God's gifts she hones, kindness glows and compassion glistens
She comes, she smiles, and she talks, now everybody listens.

Saturday, May 16, 2015


The room was filled with surge of emotions.  With eyes closed, our minds wandered as we hurried to grasp and reflect on the words our Club's Charter President was presenting.

"What are the weaknesses that you grabbed from the things I said?", she asked.

As we listened intently with anticipation, voices from different women expressing their thoughts came to light. What do you expect when women of different classifications gathered together in a meeting like this?

Our incumbent President, Jane, said, "I'm forgetful!"  Past President Ana mused, "I'm very trusting to a fault!" Rotarian Marivic shared, "most people think that I am..."

This is your moment to speak your mind; don't be shy now! I urged myself.  "I think..." "You think..?", our CP interrupted.  So then I blurted out much to my surprise, "I dislike people who talk nonsense! I dislike people who talk bad against another behind the person's back!"... "Oh, really?!", my mind screamed in disbelief, perhaps, echoing what the others were thinking at that moment.

Were my thoughts translated properly into words? Hhhhmmmm...Sadly not but too late.  I failed to stop my tongue as if it had a different mind.  I prepared myself to face the consequence of being misunderstood and I promised not to blame because that's what I deserved.  Surprisingly, my co-Gems remained composed and kind ignoring my seemingly haughty expressions.  More than relieved, I was grateful for the kind of people they are.  Not judgmental but respectful of the fact that we have our differences that make each one unique on their own.

I looked in the mirror unable to recognize my own self for the first time. Why did I commit such a blunder?  Then I realized that the very words I uttered rooted from my own self loathing.  How many times in the past did I catch and scold myself for talking nonsense to my friends and colleagues, perhaps due to my unconscious effort to impress?  Lucky that I have not caught anyone roll their eyes on me yet; instead, my silly and shallow comments were usually met with kindness and understanding.  But the bottom line is, I have NO right to even say things like that unless these were expressed right to my face!!

And by the way, why can't someone say bad things against another when one does simply because she feels safe in the company of trusted friends?  Besides, didn't I, at one point or more in my life instigate such kind of interaction?  Perhaps, there was no aim to badmouth but only a desire to pour one's heart out due to frustration over a friend's shortcomings.  But didn't I participate just the same while my tongue wagged and I enjoyed the exchange?

Truly, age is just a number.  But maturity requires no big numbers...only a forgiving and understanding heart.  Most of all, it's a virtue needing a kind tongue dulled by life lesson.  While I appreciate the former, please forgive me with the latter; I still need more years to have my tongue tamed.

And you know what? I...

(And then suddenly, I heard someone whisper in my ear, "Hey lady, here you go again! Please stop your nonsense!")

Friday, January 9, 2015

by:  JVK

     Young and determined, her character shines
     Left alone in a foreign land yet she never whines
     Armed with none but her mother's prayers
     Excellence she befriends, with talents in layers

     Her star radiates and continues guiding
     The roads are bumpy yet she's solidly gliding
     A heart gird with silent fortitude
     She sails the open ocean, boldly and with gratitude

     The virtues you hold, treasure it in your heart
     With your charm and smarts, it will set you apart
     Soon oh soon, My Princess, you will see it through
     The beauty of your dreams, the future belongs to you...

With my eyes closed, I have allowed my daughter to fly 9,000 miles away from home to search for her dreams.  Not easy for a mother like me considering that she is my youngest and she was barely 18 years old when she left.

Today is my daughter's 19th Birthday and I wish to honor her by featuring her essay on a very special page in my blog. 

May God continue to bless you with fortitude and serenity to see you through...


I love you very much!


(a Title given by her Mother)

Written by:  DDK

With blood-shot eyes, extremely greasy hair, restless legs, and an awfully sore behind, I declared that to officially be the longest flight in my seventeen years of existence. Yes, I had been to the United States before, but I had never flown alone… Much more, I had never acquired my own one-way ticket.

I did not realize, however, that the flight was just the beginning – my journey to success in land of opportunity was much more than just the jet lag, the unpacking, and the getting used to the weather. It included a lack of transportation, a lack of a home, and because I had no family on this side of the world, a life entirely built from scratch. It included an unforgiving exchange rate, a completely different cost of living, and not to mention, it included out-of-state tuition fees. I’ll be honest: I had only been here for only a month when I began to question my decision to come to this country. I used to think that despite my citizenship status, I felt so distant from success, that I was far cry from being considered an actual American.

Being 9,000 miles apart did not stop my family from trying to help me, and I must admit that support through Skype and Facebook took me much farther than I imagined – I really felt that I couldn't have made it this far without those messages or phone calls. But three months later, what use was e-support when life was staring me in the face, yelling, "knowledge may be free, but education is expensive"? So struggle built nothing but motivation. I was determined to find myself a job; thus, with what resources I already had, I applied to five jobs a week until I finally got the call. I built my resume, collected paychecks, and at my third try, I finally found myself a job that gave me more than eight hours a week. Now, at almost a year and three months of being here, I have saved enough to buy myself a car and afford an 18-year-old-driver’s car insurance. All the while, I have remained a full-time student, with involvements on campus that include student government and honors societies. I have made my way up from mere committees to actually being a senator on the board, to even assisting my current college with its preparation for accreditation. Ultimately, I have put school as my main priority as I have maintained my GPA and I have really strived to keep my distance from mediocrity.

Looking back, what comprises of my stay in the United States gives me enough sense of accomplishment to pat myself on the back. My ability to be so independent over here after having been spoon-fed back home continues to surprise me. But much more than just being able to cope with living by myself, when I recognize how much I've grown as a person, how I've developed so many good habits, and how I've learned to become someone that I can actually say I’m proud to be, I suddenly don’t mind the struggle. Financial problems are nothing to me when I realize that I no longer strive for material goods such as the new iPhone or brand new outfits, but rather, a future where I know I can do something big, make a change, and even help my family. Finally, if hardship was the only way I was going to learn to be grateful for what I have and what I've been given, then I sure am glad that I have had to endure all of this hardship. Because at the end of it all, I have come to realize that success is not limited to having a large bank account, or being able to afford the things that we want and need, but in fact, success is being willing and happy to work hard enough to deserve the good things in life. This is, without a doubt, how I feel as of now – happy and willing to work. Because of this, I feel almost at home. And after all this time, I have finally become an actual American.

Friday, August 29, 2014

By Duckling GEM

You need not hide,
I will look your way but I won't see...

You need not run away,
I'll never chase, will let you be...

You need not feel guilty,
I shed my tears but won't be bitter...

You need not feel sorry,
There's more to life, I'm no quitter...

You need not ignore me,
To insist myself is the last thing that I will do...

You need not pretend you love me,
I'm not naive, I felt, I knew...

You need not think you've broken my heart,
I'm no fool, I knew  it was a game from the very start...

You need not say “Good-bye" to make me cry and hurt,
But would you kiss me one last? Then as friends...we part.


Saturday, August 23, 2014

Let me count the days...
Has it only been two days since the communication stopped?  Really?
My fingers hunger for the tapping motion and now, it's having a grand time indulging! Endless thoughts and ideas rush as if they were racing against time before the writer has a change of mind. Empty Starbucks cups began to pile up in the trash bin. And sans an ashtray packed of burnt cigarettes, I would give the impression that I were a professional writer. (Goodness! What's going on here?  Since I woke up this morning, I have been cooped up in my room doing nothing but tap, tap, belly is now rumbling and craving for solid food!  What time is it?)
But not so long ago, my room used to be occupied by voices interacting non-stop via on-line communication. My very observant mother would declare me sick if no earphones are properly inserted into my ears.  This must be the reason why she keeps on asking me if I were taking my vitamins as of late.  With earphones properly folded and cellphone buried deep inside my purse, who would not suspect that something was wrong? (Am I that predictable?)
But honestly, there's really nothing wrong.  Simply, circumstances change people and as much as we hate, growing apart sometimes becomes part of life's agenda.  Besides, there is more to life than sulk over spilled milk.  Perhaps, drinking your coffee black is not a bad idea? (Just kidding! :* )
Surprisingly, the deafening silence in my room hampers not the spirit.  
Breathing a sigh of relief, I realized that I am alone but not lonely...
But why on earth do I feel like Taylor Swift wanting to write about...what...a man? Nah! Alright then, why am I too engrossed?  Well, I could only surmise, it's the effect of that damn expensive coffee; I got too hyped up not wanting to stop.  

One realization though, occupied mind has no room for sadness, regret and hatred. And a good way to mend a broken heart? Go try this comforting combination:  Use the keyboard to exercise your fingers, the monitor to sharpen your eyes, Google to challenge your brain and blog to unload the emotional burden.  Ain't you glad that you need not wag your tongue?  :P
Let the tapping continue...
"Yaya Belen, order me another cappuccino please!!"



Friday, August 22, 2014


My 50th year of wonderful existence came in a flash.  Year after year seems to come unceremoniously and counting wrinkles on my used to be fresh face has become inevitable.  

Luckily at 50+, my generation seems to have retained all the heady zest of adolescence as we try to keep up with the demands of this modern time. We compete with our own children by affording to own updated 21st century gadgets while we bug them to teach us on how to operate. (I hope that my kids are not singled out for this dilemma.)

As I look forward to the future, looking back has become a habit. Although I am not wishing to turn back the hands of time (Heck, why should I? My life struggles were too great; it has produced blood, sweat and tears enough to compete with Ondoy flooding!) I love to be reminded of how I was that helped me become who I am now.

With vivid images,I remember being young, carefree, giggly…so full of energy and anxious about what life has to offer.  It was the time of Jeprokssosyal and baduy genres, not to mention the disco long playing albums big enough to cover a manhole…ah! Those were the good old days!

BUT the best of both worlds, so to speak, has made my generation lucky to have experienced different phases.  The technological evolution has taken us to greater heights and places as we get to be exposed to communication, computer and digital developments we never thought of possible during our younger years. The big changes have made it easier to communicate and coordinate no matter where you are in the world when, once upon a time, you needed to be physically present to make things happen. 

With how fast technologies advance, I am but certain that there are more in the offing…and I pray, that my generation will still be there STANDING strong, proud and capable not only because of one’s achievements in life but better off because of good health, and still looking fabulous worthy of a second look (the latter is for me, lol) to pursue a positive and gratifying existence. 

Let’s enjoy living! CHEEEEERS!!


Photo taken by my friend and bro, Mr. Bong Zamora.


She does not seem perturbed about her broken heart and I wonder...where does she get the strength?

She tossed and turned in bed for long hours, until finally, she came to a decision. With conviction, she started to type on her iPhone...advising him that she no longer wishes to stay in a relationship where she felt to be of no importance. (Sadly, her place in his heart has been downgraded; reduced to being a mere alarm clock that reminds him of her existence: “Time to wake up, mahal ko!...have you eaten your breakfast? …drop everything and eat lunch now!”) With no bitterness in her heart, she reminded herself that it was the right thing to do.  "There's no turning back!", she thought to herself. Hence, she sent him the messages in a swift graceful manner and composed past 12 AM! 

While driving on her way to work the following day, her heart felt a thump as she heard the usual sound from her cellphone.  How she wished it had the same joyful buzz but she knew better. Those overwhelmingly happy moments when she was being accompanied by his high spirited voice while she drives (through viber, facetime, name it..), whether it was a short or far distance, on skyway, ordinary roads and/or hi-way; those days and nights that made her feel so loved and protected were over! Her right hand trembled as it searched for her phone while her left knuckles were white as she gripped the steering wheel..."Focus on the road!", she scolded herself.

As expected, it was the dreaded reply from him. He has accepted her decision with resignation... “I’m not surprised at all if you had made that decision.  I won’t make any excuses but you know what my situation is right now.  I truly appreciate you…The time spent with you was precious and will always be in my heart forever...” Ugh! It was like a dagger stabbing my own heart; even I had difficulty reading! I can imagine the topsy-turvy emotions one has to cope given that same situation.

Simply, the two lovers have drifted apart…

BUT wasn't it months ago when she seemed to be the center of his universe?  Her voice alone was enough to make his spirit soar while her presence gave him a feeling of contentment and euphoria. Not to mention that once upon a time, they made a promise to each other that they would spend the rest of their lives together...and yes, they have asked God for 25 long years…for better or for worse (I should be dreaming here...the last phrase is a borrowed line from a marriage vow).  With blessings from their respective “happy” families, they have ventured the seas of a relationship thought to last a lifetime but sadly not.

Why then…suddenly?  What happened to that foundation built on love, mutual respect and trust?  Or, could it be a relationship founded so fleetingly on false hopes to cater to temporal and emotional desires? I could only make a sad, wild guess, it is the latter.

Sobs!  Why am I so affected?  I guess, being a woman who has had her own share of ups and downs in terms of past relationships…I know what another human being has to endure in moments like this.

Please allow me…I wish to grieve with her for the loss...but was it really her loss (or his)?  Or was it a simple case of a pinched heart? Nonetheless, it's a love story with unhappy ending worth tear-soaked tissue papers... OK girl, here's my shoulder...go on and cry your heart out...

But more than anything, I wish to celebrate and congratulate her for her courage.  Bruised alright, yet she has proven herself to be with placid disposition.  She has managed to leap, unafraid to fall, from the loveswept hysteria to the painful reality and realization.  Deserving of her liberation, she has succeeded to free herself from it all…to steer clear of further emotional havoc that has started to debilitate her emotional and physical being.  

I admire her grace in handling her pain in silence; I laud her and applaud!

Sniff…sniff!  Goodness! As I sobbed along, I realized I’m on my last layer of tissue sheets…I shall return with a fresh box…silly me!