She was a childhood friend. We were not that close then but I liked her. And, I guess, she liked me, too,, in a way. She let me be her friend, right?
She let me read my first serious book (Torey L. Hayden’s ONE CHILD), which our little group of 6th graders discussed just as seriously among us one afternoon. She provided constructive criticism and moral support when I was writing my “novelettes” in high school. She was smart, intelligent, and well-read. She was a budding writer whose views were way beyond her years.
I got to know her more when we started high school. Four of us lived together in an apartment for a while. It was not ideal. We were still kids so we went back to commuting from home to school to home daily.
Colette could be funny. She was also that friend who slapped your arm and pushed your shoulder when she was laughing. Sometimes, she had this funny way of laughing, too. She could be quite a joker. She would tease me about a secret admirer that I never got to confirm (I did try not to blush even if she was, as this generation says, ‘sus’). She would crush on someone so hard, you’d end up crushing on him as well (ha ha!). For two consecutive summers, we’d write to each other and she would talk about her crushes and life in general.
She sang and acted a few times onstage for school. What’s quite memorable was she played the guitar very well and people were often around her jamming within school grounds. She loved musicals and even let me read the MISS SAIGON libretto her mom gave her.
In college, we weren’t in contact much until I joined the school paper. I was surprised to find out that she was my section editor. I was so happy that we could spend time together. She even invited me to sing with her group. Unfortunately, those years were trying times for her. She left the paper and I never got to really see her again until we were to graduate. It was all a coincidence but we finally were able to catch up. Soon, I became a godmother to her child.
Through the years, we drifted apart then got closer, drifted apart, got closer. She kind of became a woman of the world while I was content in my little corner. She was born to make waves, I suppose. You can literally see her name in many parts of this country. The thing was, she never took advantage of that. In fact, she wanted to be more than that and set out on her own. She proved she was more than her name. She became a writer, pastry chef, entrepreneur, and staunch advocate for good causes.
We became closer again in recent years even though we hardly saw each other. We would text or chat sometimes, oftentimes with another friend, Julie. She would ask me to come over (we’re in the same city), and I would’ve loved to, but I usually declined due to various reasons. Or she would decline. We would not communicate for weeks or months then resume the friendship. It was during this kind of “hiatus” last year that I learned she was sick from the virus we all hate. Things were critical and there was no way to visit the hospital due to the pandemic rules.
I tried to do what I could. I sent a video message to cheer her up and encourage her. I tried to help find badly needed medicine that was not easily available anywhere. I let our batchmates know in case they could help. Sadly, she succumbed to the illness…
I wanted to write about her last year but I didn’t. I didn’t want to seem like I was using her because she was news and her father happened to be running for position, too. I wasn’t planning on writing about her today either but I’ve now found myself doing it.
I didn’t write about her because I felt that my experiences with her paled compared to what people shared in an online public tribute. I felt that I let her down. I felt and still feel mad at myself for all the times I declined going to her place. We were even planning something for her workers, but it didn’t pan out…I doubted if I was worthy to be called her friend…
But now, looking back, we were friends. Who’s to say we weren’t? ‘Cause I felt it, I felt the realness. I’ve just always been too insecure of my own self-worth. I should’ve opened my eyes and appreciated friends like her a little more.
I really do miss you, Colette. I know you did not want to go yet, but I know you are now in a better place. Rest in peace, my friend. Let’s jam when we finally meet again.
(This is me singing both the female and male versions of this song we loved to jam to.. I am imagining her strumming her guitar…You can judge me, just dont’ tell me, hee…Oh, and don’t mind the distant barking.)
Welcome to Part 2 of “Andrea’s Multiverse”! Last time, I introduced TikTok/YouTube content creator Andrea So to you. This time, I’ll introduce the women in her multiverse, starting with fan faves Agent Red and The Faerie, and let you get to know the creator more.
Tracing her TikTok history, it’s clear how much Andrea’s shorts have improved visually. But content-wise, she’s always been creative. She is a storyteller, after all, putting her ideas into writing for years. These days, however, she puts them out there through social media. This has proved to be one of the best decisions in her life.
Andrea is never a mere copycat. She may participate in trends and challenges, but be prepared for some twists or surprises once in a while. For instance:
It’s a trend that has got even confident men cross-dressing into five women. It’s a ‘90s song where a kiss-and-tell guy spills about the girl he met the night before. Personally, knowing where the naughty song leads to, I wasn’t thrilled about the trend, but that’s TikTok. There is the limited length allowed, fortunately, so it stays wholesome. In general.
Unlike most creators, Andrea didn’t really need a guy to be in the vid. She didn’t have to pretend to be one either to tell the story. Instead, in her POV, Andrew calls a nerdy girl to talk “about last night” and recount things. Distracted by the book she is reading, she answers without checking who it is. She then wonders about what he means but it soon dawns on her what happened. You can see the instant regret on her face. Andrew mentions meeting five pretty girls at a party or club. One girl caught his attention in particular: Ana. The song gets cut off there, thank goodness.
What makes this entry extra special are the women Andrew is introduced to. Fans are tickled pink to see The Faerie (“pretty girly” in the song), Agent Red (Ana), The Princess (Karen), The Pirate King’s Daughter (Tanya), and The Mafia Boss’s Daughter (Jill). Remember this from last time?
It is a real treat for fans who adore Andrea’s characters to see them all in one video. It is always fun seeing the ladies from the multiverse come together as friends. You don’t know how, when or why it happened, but they just are, and fans love it.
Of course, any group has its most popular member. It is clear who the biggest fan favorite is (and the creator’s, too). Recall: Who is it that Andrew picks again? Ana. In the multiverse, Agent Red. Andrea chose her, not surprisingly. By the way, if you have not realized it yet, the nerdy girl Andrew calls is none other than Red who has a vague recollection of what happened the night before. (I suppose that’s because she doesn’t really drink so she got drunk easily. She probably doesn’t even remember giving a civilian her number. Well, that’s my interpretation of it, at least.)
Code Name: Agent Red
Tell me you’re a bad*ss without telling me you’re a bad*ss.
“Red” is her rank or skill set level, not her dress code. It means that Agent Red is the best in the field, the deadliest. So don’t expect her to wear red on a regular basis. An agent needs to be inconspicuous. How about the skills of other agents, though, like her partner, Agent Black? Black is also an expert, yet even he says that she is the best. We’ll leave it to Andrea to explain one day.
Agent Red was Andrea’s original concept that blew up online, which she did not exactly expect. People welcomed her female agent who is like the heroines in action and espionage movies—strong, independent, smart, and skilled fighting machines. Agent Red became so popular that TikTok soon began showing some other creators make their own agents in their POVs, often including her own clips.
Every great secret agent needs a backstory, though. What is hers?
I’m glad Andrea, the creator, got that covered. I would like another backstory to that backstory, however. It makes me wonder what she was exactly before becoming a secret agent. Meanwhile, the character “Andrea” (the default name for every character), who was Agent 203, rose so fast in rank. Her drive and perseverance in training put her on top that she quickly earned the code “Agent Red”.
Red is a woman of serious demeanor. She doesn’t smile much except to be polite, lure in targets, or assure one’s safety, or when she proves a point to misogynists in the training room. Men admire her and are intimidated by her at the same time. She exudes that inexplicable and mysterious aura. She can out-perform any agent of whatever gender both in training or out in the field. She can knock one out with a single blow or shoot with deadly precision. She never misses, Agent Black says.
Agent Red is not inclined to do silly things like dance in a social gathering unless to distract a target during a mission. She does love to dance when she’s had one drink too many (becauseshe doesn’t really drink), or when she thinks she’s alone in a room, or when she secretly entertains a little kid they are babysitting after a successful rescue.
At home, she changes back to her old self: a nerd who enjoys a quiet and peaceful time reading a book.
Red seems cold and distant to many. She does not have time for a love life, as far as people know. True. She already spends much of her time with the person she secretly loves, anyway. Agent Black is THAT GUY, and the feeling is mutual. He may keep teasing and annoying her, but Agent Black knows and loves the real her. He’ll go through hell and high waters to save her!
Oh, but they’re not in a relationship. They keep things professional despite the ever-constant sexual tension between them. Still, not one of them dares to acknowledge what it really is. He cracks a flirty joke sometimes that she either ignores or gets annoyed at. He can’t fight it. He can get so confused when she gives him the sultry look and subtle wink when she dances(probably to get back at him). He gets as distracted as the target! Ironically, it was him who taught her to stare seductively and wink while dancing, having had a somewhat first-hand experience of her effect. (She was drunk and dancing on the floor one time.)
Obviously, theirs is a slow burn romance, the kind of romance Andrea loves to read, watch, and write about. So far, this below must be the most romantic Red and Black scene yet (at least, the closest I’ve seen Red admit that she likes Black very much):
Edge has his own Black POVs where he may or may not be an agent, that may or may not include Red, who may or may not be an agent as well. Andrea and Edge have done various Duets before the one below. Personally, I wish for an actual collaboration where both agents are on the same frame.
Take note that it’s a multiverse where other things can happen. In one series, Agent Red falls for the prince she is protecting. You just saw her save him from the rebels earlier. In the world of POVs, expect and explore other possibilities.
Red looks different in the backstory and earlier videos. Back then, the character hardly wore makeup. I think adding the red lipstick was a very good idea. A hero(ine) needs to have something distinctive about him/her. Since the clothes have nothing to do with the name, the red lipstick was indeed the next best thing. The look at left is what people have now accepted as their Agent Red.
The Faerie Magic
You’d think that it would be the Mafia Boss’s Daughter (MBD), The Pirate King’s Daughter (PKD), or The Princess. But no. It is The Faerie that now rivals Agent Red’s top spot as fan favorite. Her innocent yet bubbly personality might topple Red’s position one day. Why not? She’s so adorable! Everytime she comes out, it’s like you can hear people in the comments say a collective “Aaawww….” It’s like watching cats and dogs videos. I mean, just look here!
She’s a character that is so well-put together. The costume is perfect especially with the pointy ears that she didn’t have yet in the old videos. Her wide-eyed innocence is there when she’s curious, interested, surprised, excited, even when she seems to be hiding a secret. They “disappear” the moment she smiles from ear to ear. That smile melts hearts, too. Never a post that does not have people commenting on it.
Obviously, Faerie is a fun character with quite a personality. She is always curious and in awe, naughty and mischievous, playful and a bit stubborn. She is like a child trying to experience the world. She likes food a lot and has been known to taste nice-smelling, inedible things even when you say don’t. And, boy, does she love to dance! Several times, she stole Red’s phone to record herself doing dance trends. Faerie is now happy with her own phone that, I suppose, Red handed down or provided.
Given her personality, what makes her qualified to join Red, MBD, PKD, and the Princess in the list of empowered women? For one, The Faerie does have her own mind and listens only to trusted friends. She is not easily fooled when it matters.
When the character was first introduced, she looked more human, wearing either white or black, no visible pointy ears. Faerie behaved like an adult, good and kind, yet prone to make bad decisions once in a while. She did not take kindly to being made a fool and made sure the lesson was learned well. She seemed like a force to deal with.
I’m not sure if the big change in Faerie was a conscious decision on Andrea’s part. Perhaps things naturally went that way as she found the child-like character fun to do and the audience loved it. She’s always admitted being partial to Red and Faerie. And so have her audience in general.
In the multiverse, Faerie’s happy personality has endeared her to friends. It’s a wonder that they are even her friends considering their backgrounds–the Mafia, pirates, royalty. It is quite evident, though, that Agent Red is her BFF. The tough agent certainly has a soft spot for the faerie. She treats Faerie not just as a bestfriend but as a beloved little sister to guide and protect. Cases in point:
2. When the faerie doesn’t stop crying, only Red can make her stop and cheer her up. The agent is good with kids despite the outside persona that she shows and, well, Faerie is still like a kid in many ways. And she still wants that ice cream.
[Ed. UPDATE, hot off the grill! You might wanna seeTHIS. Won’t be surprised if it becomes viral except, well. TikTok keeps shadowbanning it for no reason! Anyway, The Faerie asks Agent Red to hold her drink and asks Agent Black for something else. Ooh, the way Red pulled her aside….Faerie, you li’l devil. That was perfect. Love you! RNB Forever!]
6. Red is quick to laugh and smile at Faerie’s cuteness and antics. And we know Red, she guards her feelings well.
7. Faerie is the only one who can easily ask a reluctant Red to dance to trends with her. Red pretends to enjoy it only when she’s looking. Even Agent Black can’t force Red that easily.
8. The Ultimate Proof? Red doesn’t have to know the details that leads to Faerie crying (Faerie’s especially sensitive about her ears, though). If you make Faerie cry, you will pay, dearly…RUUUNNN!!!
Friendship goals! And we can expect more from this duo in the coming months.
Meanwhile, how about some cute Agent Red and Faerie bloopers? Oh, and a surprise “live” performance, too! *winky-winky*
Part 3 NEXT! I’m sorry I couldn’t do MBD, PKD, and the Princess (they’re next). I just really enjoyed this very much! I can’t wait to write a fan fiction about Faerie’s backstory, why she is the way she is, why she doesn’t seem to have powers, and how she met her bestie, Red. I’ve said it before, I’m not into fan fiction, but for them, I’ll make an exception. I have a whole plot planned already!
PART 3 will also include facts about our favorite creator and the things that make Andrea So iconic 🙂 So fair warning: it might be long again. BTW, the Instagram video could be embedded but it takes A LOT of space and is not playable. The dialogues are important but the words may be hard to read due to the size. So I created a “new” vid that we could embed here, play immediately, and read properly. It’s unlisted on my channel and you can only view it here and/or if I actually provide you the link.
It’s true. I have not been writing much. I have not felt inspired enough. Inspiration comes and then goes away in a couple of days. It’s frustrating! So many things going through my mind that I can’t function the way that I used to. I’m so bored that I’ve unintentionally immersed myself more in social media, particularly YouTube. Ironically, that’s how I found Andrea Nicole So, a popular TikTok content creator.
How I FoundAndrea
I found one of her “Shorts”. A Short is a quick video that is sometimes uploaded on YouTube by a TikTok creator to add/test the platform. This has been possible for quite sometime now. I was aware of it, only I did not give it mind. I’ve seen too many TikTok videos through Facebook Watch and many of them annoy me for various reasons. The worst are the thirst traps.
Anyway, I ended up enjoying Shorts from several American sitcoms. I also ended up looking at other TikTok videos, which was inevitable. One day, I came across this:
I’ve seen many fake-drumming online yet this one really caught my attention. I was curious if hers is real since I’m a frustated musician whose ultimate dream is to play the drums. Some stories I attempted to write before involved drummer girls because, well, girls playing drums seem so cool, I’m not gonna lie. Drummer girls rock!
I rewatched many times, listened well to the beats, and watched if she’s just flailing her sticks everywhere. She just missed the first cymbals, I should mention. Even so, I may not know how to play the drums but it doesn’t mean I’m blind. The sound may not be hers but the young woman knows what she’s doing.
What really interested me were her reactions. The large, expressive eyes, the cute little smile she tried to hide, and the consequent expressions intrigued me. She’s definitely a sight for sore eyes, but what was going on? I found the answer when I read the caption that started with “#pov”.
Point of View! Everything became clear to me then. POVs, in the TikTok world, are scenarios or skits that the creator puts characters in. They may be his ideas or suggested by followers. Generally, the creators themselves act in them and Andrea is no exception. The brief video of the Drummer Girl gives a glimpse of Andrea’s acting potential. (Of course, you’ll need to read the dialogues inserted onscreen to understand the story. I actually did not give them mind the first times I watched. This video spawned Parts 2 and 3, by popular demand.)
Other creators make POVs, too, except it was the first time I saw one that didn’t involve choices or numbers or whatever. Usually, they give POVs then the characters supposedly choose what to do, like a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure. The endings depend on their choices. The numbers either represent a character’s long (or short) life, or some individual rankings given by the government, etcetera. Many are weird scenarios…They’re all interesting enough yet I usually end up dissatisfied, if not disappointed, by the conclusions. Not to mention, by some terrible acting and script.
Andrea didn’t disappoint, not with this one, honestly. I liked her work. It made me curious to check out her other videos. Not surprisingly, like many creators, Andrea may have started with dance videos (I haven’t confirmed it, I just know she already deleted some older posts). I traced her posting history and found dance shorts showing her skills. The girl has got moves! Below is a more recent post with minimal movements. I chose to share it as I feel it represents her sweet, charming personality and personal style.
This is Andrea So
Andrea is often easily mistaken as a Korean. When I first watched her works, I did not assume it but considered that she might be. There was no clue in the videos because the captions and onscreen dialogues are in English. However, I did not discount that she could be Filipino. We, Filipinos, are a mixed of races that it’s very possible, even with a family name like So.
Online interviews I found indirectly confirmed that the 24-year-old grew up in the Philippines. In her livestsreams, she gets asked time and again about her nationality. She is Filipino by nationality. She is half-Chinese while the Filipino part has some Spanish blood in there somewhere. When Andrea sometimes replies to comments in conversational Tagalog, that surprises fans who wonder about her.
This short, one of my faves because it gives me the feels, should definitely confuse fans. With her acting and looks, she could pass as a K-drama star.
Notice that though the Drummer Girl, the real Andrea, and the Shy Girl/Girlfriend look similar (of course!), they also could pass as different people. It must be the mixed genes. In her earlier videos (she started POVs in January 2020), the Spanish in her sometimes manifest, so to speak. At least, in my opinion.
This ability to transform has helped her achieve a good status in the industry she’s chosen. Andrea is a college graduate who traded her otherwise wonderful first job for a career in entertainment where her work is a one-woman job. And she loves it!
She does everything, from conceptualizing to acting to editing, which is fine. A perfectionist knows that if you want something done your way, do it yourself. She is a writer who has always wanted to be an actress. Social media presented to her the opportunity. Andrea has grabbed it, works hard, and now enjoys the various fruits of her labor. Why not? She’s great at what she does, whether it’s light humor, romance, drama, even light action.
Here are just some samples of her POVs. Take note that some skits are done in response to different TikTok trends and challenges. Majority of them are her own ideas. Also, you can tell which ones were made much earlier based on the lighting and background — Don’t mind them. We all start somewhere.
Andrea plays all of the characters above. She has more that she can summon. However, if you’ve followed her long enough, you know that none of them could be more iconic than these women:
They are mostly behind Andrea’s continued rise in popularity. In fact, as of the moment, she has 8.4 million TikTok followers, and counting. (She is now also verified by YouTube and recently received her silver play button.) These female characters embody women independence and empowerment. They are strong, they can be fierce and fearless. That’s what endears them–what endears Andrea–to viewers more. She is not just a pretty face.
Of course, she has detractors. Andrea has her share of online bullies, especially those that hide behind dummy accounts. How do they affect her? Let’s see. Everytime I see this, I swear, I feel a swell of pride, no exaggeration.
There’s a Part 2! We’ll talk about these women in Andrea’s Multiverse, starting with Agent Red and The Faerie. BTW, ALL VIDEOS AND IMAGES BELONG TO MISS ANDREA SO.
When I was in college, I became a DJ on radio. We were asked to come up with our airnames. “Eponine” from Les Miserables could seem either pretentious or unrelatable, so no. Not because you want something, it means you should have it, right?
But I remembered the musical Grease where the character Rizzo called the lead, Sandy, “Sandra Dee”. I didn’t know that there was an actual singer decades earlier who bore the name. I just KNEW I had to take the name.
That is trivia for you, and my only way to pay tribute to the lady that inspired me then.
Before December 30 ends for everyone, I am sharing this poem for the first time ever. This was written, I believe, in June 2016, a tribute to our national hero, Dr. Jose P. Rizal. I know that he is well-known in other parts of the world, particularly in Europe. This was, actually, a school requirement when the eldest kid was in fourth grade, I think. I helped him write it….Okay, I wrote it. Writing is not the kid’s forte and he was too lazy to do it. So, yeah, Bad Mama. I have my own poem that I have been trying to finish for years, to be honest. I’ve promised myself to finish it in 2022.
Anyway, today is the death anniversary of Rizal. So this is quite timely. I will translate in English, but don’t take it as the official translation yet.
SI DR. JOSE RIZAL
Si Dr. Jose Rizal Magiting na bayani Isang tagapagligtas Ng ating lahi. Ibinuwis ang buhay Alay sa Inang Bayan Halimbawang tunay Katangi-tanging mamamayan. Nais kong matulad Kay Dr. Jose Rizal Sinisimulan ko Sa mabuting pag-aaral.
DR. JOSE RIZAL
Dr. Jose Rizal Was a brave hero He was a Savior To the Filipinos. He sacrificed his life For the Motherland A great example of A model citizen. I want to be like Dr. Jose Rizal From here on I focus On lessons and good morals.
I know I said the other day that it was my anniversary at work. Sorry but I meant the next day, December 20. I forgot that most of you were still experiencing December 19. That said, I’ve been going through a lot of things and have been finding stuff that I can share here. Don’t be surprised if I post more than once in a day. Now on to the challenge!
Back when I worked for a tertiary school, I met new people, my first friends out of college. One of them included me as one of her baby’s godmothers. Unfortunately, the baby was born with a Complex Heart Disease. She needed surgery, but it had to wait until she was a year old. It was very risky operating on Baby Pauline at such a young age, even at one.
During her young life, I saw her only once, maybe a day or two before her surgery. Her mother brought her to the office so we could see her. I remember her smiling. Her eyes were a-glow. It gave us a sense of hope that things were going to be alright…
After surgery, however, the results were not good. Our friends (mostly her godmothers, too) and I went to visit her at the hospital and we found out she was in critical condition. Pauline’s mother tried to let us visit the baby one by one, let us inside the room. I delayed my turn. I wasn’t ready yet. But after two or three people had their turns, we were not allowed by the hospital staff to see her anymore. Visitation hours were over. At that moment, I was, to be truthful, relieved. I dreaded seeing her frail little body stuck with various needles. I didn’t want to see her like that…I don’t remember anymore if she survived a few more days after that, or if it was just hours after. I just remember we were sad that a little one had to go so soon.
In hindsight, I don’t regret not seeing her at the hospital. Not at all. I thank the Lord that I have that memory of her smiling face to remember her by. In all honesty, it was a good, final memory.
That’s her in the photo above. The message was something I penned (not the song on the right, though), as requested by her parents. It was a kind of thank you card/letter for those who helped raise funds for the baby’s surgery. When Baby Pauline passed away, I created another piece, talking about her brief journey. They printed it out on another card, which they gave away to people at her wake.
The poem I am sharing was written for her months after. I don’t think I’ve ever published it anywhere. I Googled it verbatim, it didn’t come out. Checked my other blog, I did not see it either. So maybe it’s safe to say that today is the first time I am publishing this.
Happy Thanksgiving! This is for anyone who celebrates the special occasion. How are you celebrating it, guys?
Like in many other countries, the Philippines does not celebrate it. That’s despite America’s history with and influence on us. It’s their own history after all. However, it’s always good to give thanks to those who help, love, care for, and inspire us.
Today, I want to share something. This was a birthday greeting to my ate (big sister) on September 20, 2019. I feel that sharing it here is another chance to express my gratitude. Until the day I posted it, I never really told people how much I appreciated my sister…
My big sister Janeth a.k.a. Jeng to many, but simply Ate to me
As most siblings stories go, ours was typical at the start. We were far from the best of friends. We often fought like other siblings often do — Little Sis keeps following like a puppy, Big Sis gets annoyed and tries to ditch her. And yet, we had the most in common in the family. I guess that’s mainly because she influenced me the most.
Me and My Ate. We didn’t always get along when we were young, but we did have our moments
From her, I learned to appreciate books. Because of her, I developed a genuine and deeper love for music and art. And thanks to her belief in me, I learned to believe in myself and write…I have never thanked her for her contributions in my life, so I am taking this opportunity: THANK YOU, ATE.
You know I love you no matter what. I know you love me, too, in your own way. Even when I say “I love you” and make you feel awkward. **Kahit tinatarayan mo ako (kabog naman kasi ako sa iyo,,he he). Please, let us never forget our promise: NO FIGHTING!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY AND I LOVE YOU!!! I WISH FOR YOU HEALTH AND A LONG AND HAPPY LIFE, ALWAYS.
**“Even when you lose your temper at me (I’m really no match to you when it comes to temper, ha ha).”
To be very, very honest, I posted that because I felt the end could be any month, any day, or even any time soon. I didn’t want her to go without knowing how much she really meant to me.
Our parents left and I was never sure that they knew how much they meant to me. They probably felt it, but sometimes, people need to hear “I love you” to be reassured. My father was already different for the longest time that even if I said it just now, he’d forget a few minutes later. My mother, when she was bed-ridden, that was when I kept telling it to her and showed it with hugs and kisses. But most of those times, or maybe even the whole time, she was not anymore in a proper state of mind…
Mr. and Mrs. Federizo
So you can understand my intention about the post, right?
It has always been said that you should say “I love you” while your loved ones are still in this world. Do not wait until it’s too late. That is why I often tell people how much I love or appreciate them. I had been telling my sister and she would, at first, laugh awkwardly at times. She’d kind of say, “Alright already”, a bit in a dismissive way. But I knew she loved me even so. It took a while before she felt comfortable saying it back.
The last months had me so worried. She wasn’t in great shape. Far from it. I was so worried she’d contract the virus. That could be hell for her, dealing with her illnesses, not being in her proper mind all the time, then being left alone in the care of people she didn’t know. I kept hoping that if it came to that, her caregivers would understand her and be kind to her. I salute our medical frontliners. But let’s face it. Not everyone can be so kind and patient.
To be even more honest, while her passing away was still a surprise and, yes, I cried, I was also relieved. She was no longer in pain and God spared her from the worst possible scenario. Most important, she literally went away happy and smiling. She got her wishes.
I don’t know how to end this post. Just maybe with this:
Let us LOVE, always. Show it. Tell it. Feel it.
Say I Love You. Then thank them for being a part of you.
Note: It was supposed to be a simple Facebook post about Teachers’ Day/Month, but their memories inspired me. The first is the English translation, followed by the original, which I admit is better. I realized it would be great to use it as my “M” word for the A to Z Challenge I was finishing since I’ve had “memoirs” in my head for a long while now.
“Respect the teachers that awaken minds, for while we owe our lives to our parents, we owe our humanity to our teachers.” (Gregoria de Jesus) — Just my translation. Credits go to Project Saysay
I had teachers for parents. I never knew of anything else they did for work except be educators. Teaching had always been their profession long before I was born. My father only had to stop teaching when he suffered a mild stroke. It affected his brain, causing the short-term memory loss. He became more temperamental, yet he could be jolly and quite the joker as well. He became more expressive. He could be difficult, too, his maturity having somewhat returned to the level of a younger man’s. There came a point when it seemed I gained a teenage brother that I had to often reprimand for being annoying and difficult.
Despite that, my father still knew who was the parent and who was the child, especially when I had to be reminded that I was still the child. His brows would meet and he’d sternly say my name as a warning. That was the father I knew: just one look and my sister and I would sit and shut up.
My mother had to stop teaching much later due to her ailments — she decided to file for an early retirement. She had always been sickly even when I was little. I remember a time that I, being a child, unintentionally hurt her feelings. Having learned a big word, I said that she was just being a hypochondriac. This really hurt her feelings and I immediately felt bad and regretted it. I could not say sorry at all.
From then on, however, I did not look at her ailments as simply nothing. And it made me admire her more for despite everything that she was going through, my mother was still able to work hard and guide her students, including other people around her.
They taught and helped so many.
A lot of my father’s students got along well with him, some became his friends, and many learned how to plant/garden, build stuff (I only remember that the subject was called “Shop”), and be good at sports, particularly in volleyball.
I will never forget the almost-weekly volleyball games at our barangay school every Saturday or Sunday. He would simply dribble the ball on the still-newly cemented road and its sounds would echo. Soon, those who wanted to join would arrive one by one, be they current students or past students, whatever the age.
Meanwhile, my mother had so many children, those she helped not just in learning math (geometry, trigonometry) but in their personal lives. There were those who found the right path again through her after getting lost. We heard of these stories from the various former students who went to pay their last respects during her wake. She would sometimes give money to kids who had no allowance. Other times, she would visit the parents of kids with school problems or who were usually absent. On many Saturdays, too, she chose to be at the school to prepare various things for the days ahead.
They said she was strict, but she was also a joy and a dear friend. I knew that, I saw that, I felt that. And while I felt somewhat jealous of them, I didn’t harbor ill feelings because even then, I knew of how good a person she was.
…My apologies. I felt like sharing these memories with you since this is the time to pay tribute to our teachers. I would like to salute the two people who were my first teachers. They were not perfect, but they were the first to teach me what it means to be human. I have not yet surpassed or achieved what they did, but they will serve as my inspiration. Most of all, they are the reason that I’m alive and why I am here.
This also pays tribute to them whose leaving has been a real loss to those of us that they loved and that love them still.
A SALUTE TO ALL OUR BELOVED TEACHERS!!!
Now, the Facebook post:
Naging guro ang mga magulang ko. Lumaki akong walang ibang alam kundi guro sila. Ipinanganak ako na iyon na ang kanilang hanap-buhay.
Natigil lamang ang aking ama sa pagtuturo noong siya’y magka-mild stroke. Naapektuhan nito ang utak niya, na naging sanhi ng kanyang short-term memory loss. Naging mas madaling uminit ang ulo, pero mas masayahin at maloko rin. Mas ‘expressive’. Mas matigas din ang ulo, sapagka’t mistula siyang bumalik sa panahong siya’y binata o binatilyo. Dumating ang panahon na tila nagkaroon ako ng lalaking kapatid na madalas pagsabihan sa kakulitan at katigasan ng ulo.
Gayunpaman, alam pa rin niya kung sino ang magulang at sino ang anak, lalo na kapag nakakalimutan kong anak pa rin nga pala ako. Titingin siya ng nakakunot-noo at mariing sasabihin ang pangalan ko bilang babala. Ganoon ang dating ama na kilala ko: isang tingin pa lamang ay tumatahimik na ako at ang ate ko.
Ang aking ina naman ay tumigil dahilan sa kanyang mga sakit — nagpasya siyang mag-retiro nang mas maaga. Bata pa ako ay sakitin na siya. Naroong bilang bata, nasaktan ko ang damdamin niya. Minsan, palibhasa ay natuto ng isang salitang malalim, nasambit ko na ‘hypochondriac’ lang siya. Dinamdam niya ito nang labis at pagkatapos na pagkatapos ay pinagsisihan ko ito. Hindi ko nagawang humingi ng tawad.
Nguni’t mula noon, hindi ko na ipinagwalang-bahala ang kanyang mga karamdaman. Kaya’t ako’y napahanga rin niya sapagka’t bagama’t may mga karamdamang dinadala, nagawa pa rin niyang maging masipag at umalalay sa kanyang mga mag-aaral, pati na rin sa ibang tao sa paligid.
Marami silang naturuan at natulungan.
Marami sa mga mag-aaral ng aking ama ang kanyang naging kabiruan, mayroong ibang naging kaibigan, at marami ang natutong magtanim, bumuo ng mga bagay (“Shop” lang ang alam kong tawag sa asignaturang ‘yon noon), at maging magaling sa larangan ng palakasan, partikular na sa volleyball.
Di ko malilimutan ang halos linggo-linggong paglalaro nila ng volleyball sa paaralan ng barangay tuwing Sabado o Linggo. Patatalbugin lamang ang bola sa noo’y bago pa ring sementadong daan at aalingawngaw ang tunog nito. Maya-maya ay magsisidating ang nais makisali, mga kasalukuyang mag-aaral man o dating mag-aaral, anuman ang edad.
Ang aking ina naman ay maraming naging anak, mga natulungan di lang sa pag-aaral ng matematika (geometry, trigonometry) kundi sa personal na buhay. May ilan na natutong bumalik mula sa lumihis na daan. Nalaman namin ito mula sa maraming dumalaw upang makiramay sa kanyang paglisan. Naroong bigyan niya ng perang baon ang mag-aaral niya. Naroong puntahan ang mga magulang ng ibang nagka-suliranin sa pag-aaral o kaya’y madalas lumiban sa klase. Naroong kahit Sabado ay pinili niyang pumasok upang gumawa ng mga dapat ihanda para sa mga susunod na araw.
Sabi nila, kahit siya ay naging istrikto, naging masayahin at kaibigan nila siya. Alam ko iyon, nakita ko, nadama ko. At kahit na may lihim akong tampo dala ng selos, di ko ito itinanim sa sarili ko sapagka’t noon pa man, batid ko ang kanyang kabutihan ng loob.
…Pasensya na. Naisip ko lang ibahagi ang mga ito sapagka’t ngayon ay panahon ng pagpupugay para sa mga guro. Nagpupugay din ako sa dalawang una kong naging mga guro. Bagama’t di perpekto, sila and unang nagturo sa akin ng pagpapakatao. Hindi ko pa nahihigitan o naaabot man lamang ang nagawa nila, pero sila ang magsisilbing inspirasyon ko. Higit sa lahat, sila ang dahilan ng aking pagiging tao at kung bakit ako naririto.
Ibinahagi ko na rin ito bilang pagpupugay sa kanila na ang paglisan ay tunay na kawalan sa aming kanilang minahal at sa kanila’y nagmamahal.
PAGPUPUGAY PARA SA LAHAT NG MAHAL NATING MGA GURO!!!
Let today’s post be a celebration of the wonderful poet, singer, memoirist, and civil rights activist Dr Maya Angelou. This is one my most favorite poems of all time (thanks, Google Doodle!). It reminds me of hope, courage, triumph over adversities, equality and the importance of self-acceptance. Maybe it’s timely, too, that I am reminded of it.
When I started my whole blogging journey from years ago, to promote the country–my country–had been one of my goals. Well, promote in my own way. I wanted people of other nationalities to see Filipinos in a positive light, not just always in the negative:
Yes, we are third-world, but we do have well-educated “Pinoys” (Filipinos).
No, we’re not terrorists just because we’re Pinoys, and what a few of us do, they do not necessarily define the Filipino.
Yes, we are Asians, but we’re not all Chinese, although there are “Chinoys” (Filipino-Chinese).
Yes, traffic does suck big time in the metro. (Sure, that’s not positive, but you can either choose to be positive or suffer a heart attack getting mad at traffic, right?)
But it was a more personal blog, too, and I ended up pouring my heart out sometimes and showing too much of my opinionated side. Both were not really bad, plus such fell under my rights as a blogger and an individual, except I was not able to do more.
Now that I’m in WordPress, it has rekindled this urge to let others know what Pinoys are about. I have been slowly trying to do that, except my efforts are still lacking, IMO. So I am to amp the effort some more. And while I aim to promote the Philippines, I will not be so pretentious as to deny anything negative that is going to be brought up. I’d rather explain it clearly than lie or avoid any negative questions that may arise. I’d rather you hear the truth from me.
So in connection with this, I am going to post more Pinoy-related stuff here and all links can be found on my soon-to-be-added page called PH Box. I have already posted a few Pinoy-related stuff before (such as my recent explanation on why Pinoys are said to be good singers, in connection to David DiMuzio‘s vlog post) so the links to them will be there, too. There’ll be articles and blogs. I will be sharing videos, too, that I can find.
Vlogs from popular vloggers like Mikey Bustos (Pinoy) of PinoyBoy Channel and his #MabuhaySquad, Wil Dasovich (half-Pinoy) and the rest of the #VlogSquad, and Kyle “Kulas” Jennermann (Honorary Pinoy) of Becoming Filipino channel, and some others will be shared from time to time. Feel free to check out their vlogs now, if you want.
So for “opening salvo”, I am sharing this viral video called 8 Days in the Philippines. This is by Nuseir Yassin, a.k.a. Nas, known for the videos he creates for Nas Daily, particularly his travel vlogs. Eight minutes seem long, but I promise you, you won’t regret watching it. It shows some of the good in this country, as well as some of the bad.
Now, just to let you know more of my people, here’s a kind of intro from comedian-vlogger (not to mention, Canadian Idol alumnus) Mikey Bustos, known for his parodies and wonderful efforts to show the Filipinos to the world. He does a Moana parody, so check it out! 😉
Any questions about the stuff you’ve seen here, like do we really all speak English? Just ask. I will answer honestly 🙂
Oh, and (not) sorry for the many links because we do have to give credit to people, correct? 😉