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Remembering My First Teachers (A Daughter’s Memoirs) #MondayMemoirs #atozchallenge2017

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.
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“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!!!

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Have you thanked your teachers yet?

M is for “Memoirs”

This piece serves as my Letter M post for the A to Z Challenge 2017.

For my previous posts, kindly visit my A to Z Challenge 2017 page.

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The Hunchback of Rural High #MondayMemoirs #KwentongUPRural

I was never popular in high school. If I ever was, that could be because I was considered weird, which never offended me. I welcomed being voted as Weirdest Girl in Class two years in a row. For me, that meant I was not one to conform just to be called cool. Besides, when you’re a writer, people just tag you as weird. Hollywood fed us that idea.

Most probably, though, if I ever was popular, it was because I was the Hunchback of Rural High. I was the short girl looking like Quasimodo.

I didn’t use to be like that. I did not have a humped back prior to high school. I was a shy kid in grade school who only started coming out of her shell in fourth grade. By sixth grade, I was jumping from tables, singing the oldie La Bamba shamelessly…Then a teacher sent me back into my shell, accusing me in front of the other kids because she supposedly didn’t like something I said about her favorite student.

I was dumbfounded and confused. I did not even understand what she meant until days later! Worse was, she thought wrong as I was not referring to him. Unfortunately, my self-esteem already suffered because of it. Why a teacher should even get offended by a student practicing the right to choose who to like or not is beyond me. By the time I reached high school, I was starting to develop the humped back.

Well, that was my backstory, no pun intended. High school started and soon, boys from my batch would sing the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT) theme song whenever I passed by. But I never hid or ran away; I just passed by poker-faced. I knew they’d get tired of it one day. Thankfully, the bullying didn’t go further than that. But of course, I resented what they did; I had feelings, too. Some years ago, an old teacher reminded me of the time I had the guts to tell him to tell those boys, whom he was friends with, to get off my back (again, no pun intended).

The funny thing was, to be honest, I resented them because I thought they were referring to the “mutant” part, which, for me, translated to “uber-ugly girl”.  It was months after that I realized they didn’t exactly mean it that way. They meant something else. Surprisingly, that lifted my self-esteem a bit. I was glad they were referring to something else that I could do something about.

So, I did do something about it. I started trying to fix my Quasimodo posture. If you think it was easy, it wasn’t.

It took a lot of effort and self-awareness to prevent the slumping whenever I walked. I could actually feel the physical pressure every time I tried to keep my back straight. If you were near me enough, you’d probably hear me groaning a bit. It worked, though. I may not walk straight as a model, but I got my intended result. I didn’t know the reason for the humped back until Home Economics in the fourth year: a book explained that slumping was a sign of insecurity. I thought, Well, that figures.

The teasing stopped. A boy in senior year attempted to revive it by singing the TMNT song as I walked nearer. It was the classic case of someone bullying somebody else to compensate for his own low self-esteem. Instead of feeling hurt or getting mad, I was amused and tempted to say, “What, you’re still not over that?“ He never tried again.

 

My whole high school life was like everyone else’s. I had to struggle with different issues (body changes, grades, crushes, friendships, lack of confidence). However, if there’s one thing that made me different, it was this early experience.  It hurt emotionally and physically, but that was part of what made me, me.

I don’t resent those boys anymore. I forgave them a long time ago. I’m thankful they somehow taught me to stand up straight. Take it figuratively, take it literally, it’s up to you. Besides, I kind of liked the ninja turtles 😊

 

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Usually, I don’t follow the Philippine time when I post stuff. But I wanted this posted already before I forget or lose interest again. While it’s still Sunday in most readers’ part of the world, it’s already Monday here, so this counts as a #MondayMemoirs post.

I’ve already mentioned about my turtle “background” before, but this is a bit more revealing and personal. I wrote about it because our high school reunion is coming and I’ve been asked to write my HS experience for our unique souvenir programme. I was able to submit three write-ups (Rattling Cages and two trivia pieces). Unfortunately, this one did not meet the deadline. I was supposed to share this after the reunion, but since it’s not going to be part of the programme anyway, I went ahead and shared it. (By the way, my school was the U.P. Rural High School, ergo, the use of the “Rural” word.)

I do have a DISCLAIMER: I don’t, in anyway, hate my old school. This is not to speak ill of it. I shared this because (1) my growth was important to me, and (2) to show that things like this happen anywhere. Ultimately, it is up to us to choose which life lessons we’re going to keep and how we will use them to our advantage.

Any comments or thoughts? I won’t mind. Let me know below! Or maybe share your own experiences? 😉

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My Happy List

As promised, I am listing my Not-Really-Bucket List. Will add more pics and links soon. Remember, crossed out and in red means done. Here we go…

MY HAPPY LIST

1. Smile at people all day and see what happens.

I was 13. Heard a smile could make others smile, too, so I experimented with trying to spread joy. It was going well until a lady looked at me like I was crazy…

2. Do something really amazing and meaningful.

3. Ride the roller-coaster.

4. Try a scary sport or adventure.

5. Learn to swim.

6. Learn a third language fluently.

I’m partial to Spanish, which won’t be so hard to learn given our country’s history, plus I can find people to converse with. Just partial, not sure. We’ll see…

7. Learn Baybayin.

baybayin-example

This is just to show my handwriting. Baybayin/alibata should be written vertically actually

Baybayin is the ancient script of our ancestors. Why it’s more commonly called as alibata is a bit of an issue, but that’s become the better-known, more commonly used term. We forgot about it while under the rule of Spain. We just began re-learning it in the recent decades, but people have just really started appreciating it this past decade (sadly, mainly because they think its characters look cool when used in visual arts).

I don’t claim to be an expert in it as I’m not that quick yet in reading words in baybayin/alibata. I do claim to be a baybayin/alibata advocate, though. I think we should start really including it in the curriculum instead of simply teaching it under the Filipino subject in passing. Anyway, I tend to follow the Spanish-influenced baybayin/alibata because the use of the cross makes reading words easier, for me, at least.

Related post: How to Spell the Ancient Filipino Way

8. Learn a martial art.

learn-muay-thai

Learned the martial art Muay Thai. Forgive the sort of leggings here. MT shorts are too short for better movement and I couldn’t find my cycling shorts that time

 

9. Learn to paint on canvass.

10. Travel around the Philippines.

11. Visit Disneyland with my family

Japan, Hong Kong or the US, whichever opportunity presents itself.

12. Travel around Europe.

13. Visit New Zealand.

14. Visit The Louvre Museum.

15. Experience the West End.

16. Experience Broadway. I literally mean being in New York watching shows.

17. See ‘WICKED The Musical’ live.

18. See ‘CATS The Musical’ live.

musical playbills

I was lucky to have watched both CATS and WICKED (and PHANTOM OF THE OPERA) with the help of my dearest mother and of one of my friends…Thank you!!!!

19. See ‘Les Miserables’ live.

20. See ‘Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’ (JATD) live.

21. Act in a real stage play/musical (school skits do not count).

That almost came true. I was to be 1/3 of The Narrator in JATD. There’s only 1 Narrator but the Director wanted three for various reasons I won’t enumerate…*sigh* I’m not giving up yet, though. Who knows?

22. Go to the Netherlands, watch Veerle Casteleyn perform live onstage, get her autograph, and have a twofie with her.

23. Watch a Lea Salonga stage musical, get her autograph, and have a twofie with her.

How I got the twofie deserves another post. I was not able to get Lea‘s autograph, but this is okay already, right? The main purpose was to meet and talk to her face to face 🙂 Meanwhile, I have seen her perform live onstage in some of her musicals.

lea-salonga-twofie

Miss Lea and I. Standing beside her only emphasized my plainness, but who cared???

IMG_20160605_141829

I never heard about BABY The Musical till then, but I loved it!

The very-first Lea musical that I actually saw live was MISS SAIGON, but we were seated so far away and I was not able to buy a playbill *sniff*...See this faded ticket

The very-first Lea musical that I actually saw live was MISS SAIGON, but we were seated so far away and I was not able to buy a playbill *sniff*…See this faded ticket

24. Attend a live music concert that I paid for.

lea-salonga-concert

This concert, I enjoyed. Isn’t it obvious who I’m a fan of???

Back in college, I was able to attend three live concerts, all for free. One was because I interviewed a band for the school paper. The other two were care of the college radio station I worked for. I wasn’t even really a fan yet of all three. I watched because I got in for free. So I decided I wanted to be able to attend a concert I was really interested in and I would pay for my ticket. I did. Watched Mariah Carey’s live Manila concert. It wasn’t so nice an experience, actually. We were standing far from the stage and I think there were rain showers as well. Somebody was taking pictures and his/her phone got snatched from his/her hand.

25. Sing solo on stage in front of everyone.

I’ve got stage fright. Easier to conquer if with others, not so alone. I wasn’t even too crazy about the idea, but one of my best friends asked me to sing a song at her wedding. I thought better that than be a bridesmaid. I would have hated all the preparations. Also, I wanted to be able to say I did that even just once in my life. Turned out I’d do it several times, but not without me trembling inside everytime. At an office Christmas party, I actually messed everything up! Yikes! Epic fail! *hides* (No pics to show…thank goodness!)

26. Win an award or medal.

They’re not like some big awards or anything, but I guess I earned them. I did not know how I could get any, but I ended up getting some anyway. *Speech alert!* “I would like to thank the school paper and the radio station for those awards….” If they’d be interested to know, yes, I still have those certificates. They’re on my blogfolio’s Certifications & Awards page, filed under “PEER AWARDS/RECOGNITION”.

I did win with my village friends (twice, I think) when we played volleyball in the local summer league when I was a teener. Then when I was already working, I also won second place (or was it third?) with the School Administration Team (playing volleyball also) when the tertiary school we worked for let us join the Intramurals.

I played for the Administration team during the Intramurals back when I worked for a tertiary school. I’m third from right here. At my left (facing camera) is/was the Girl with the Smiley Heart

27. Choreograph a dance number.

Did that thrice in college for three different groups on different occasions. Won for me a Star of D’ Night Award, too, among other things 😉

28. Learn to play a musical instrument,

I think these count even though it doesn’t take a genius to figure out how they work

jaw-harp

The kubing (jaw harp)

bamboo-buzzer

The bungkaka (bamboo buzzer)

29. Be in a respectable indie film playing a bit role.

30. Start a good family business.

31. Build a reading and hobby room.

32. Buy a vehicle for the family.

33. Live in a beautiful house where it’s peaceful with our family.

34. Enjoy our future grandkids.

35. Get a master’s degree.

36. Become a teacher.

home-made-tests

These are just some of the tests I gave the little boy

I somehow have some illusions of becoming a teacher. My kids are here, though, so I think I can cross this out. I’m a proud teacher, too — our incoming first-grader (as of this writing) actually passed his exam with flying colors! Someday, I might teach students in a real school environment, maybe about writing…

37. Become a radio DJ.

I always wanted to be one. Then when I was 13, one of my friends became one of what were called as Junior DJs and I would tune in to the city’s local station so I could listen to her and several other kids. Not without envy even though I knew that envy wasn’t good. The opportunity to become an actual DJ knocked when I was in college so I did not let it pass. I was even surprised I had the guts to try. It paid off, fortunately.

dzlb-memorabilia

These were taken just a few years ago, just to show my radio colleagues I kept souvenirs all these years

38. Become a writer.

I wasn’t planning on making this my career because of the starving artist “syndrome”, but I am here because I think I sought this fate anyway. Fate is still part-effort.

39. Finish my novel.

40. Write/create a comic book.

41. Fall in love.

My real name’s hyphenated now, so, yeah 🙂

42. Tell someone my innermost secret and hope not to be or feel judged.

43. Give birth to a live, healthy baby…

God has yet to grant this wish. We are not giving up yet so we hope he lets us have the baby the next time. We’ll try to be ready.

44. See both/all our kids graduate from college.

45. Build a home for the aged whose own families have abandoned them.

46. Buy a land and build a large animal shelter, for abused/neglected/abandoned animals.

47. Grant scholarships anonymously (when I’m already rich, of course!).

Why anonymously? First, I won’t do it for recognition. Second, I won’t want other people to know I have money because people can use and abuse you when you have money. Three, I won’t want anyone approaching me for his/her kid’s scholarship. Let’s face it, a lot of kids don’t like to study. I wouldn’t want to feel sorry and obligated to send to school someone who doesn’t really want to be in it. Also, some parents will only use the kids to get the money and spend it on other things, not for the kids’ schooling. Someone else who’ll be working for me will handle applications. I’ll have a say on it, of course, but I won’t want people to know.

48. Build my Dream Museum.

49. Attain peace of mind.

50. Die happy.

51. Do my best jump for a jump shot.

This is My Happy List Item #51. What about it? CLICK HERE.

eversun-makati

With the permission of all the peeps here, I shared this to JUMP FOR JOY! Photo Project‘s Eyoälha Baker and she posted it on her project’s Facebook page

52. Finally watch Patti Austin in concert, live.

UPDATE (Dec. 3, 2018): I was trying to check if there’ll be any show I’d like to see next year. I was going to save up. Then I saw THIS. AAARRGGHH!!! I’m so mad that I didn’t know. I’m even madder that the date is so near and I can’t go! No extra money for it *sniff* What are the chances that a Good Samaritan will be able to see this immediately and send me a ticket in time for the concert??!!!

53. Try vlogging.

Done. Well, doing it now. I have THE SANDBOX.

SAMPLE:

I said I’d “try” vlogging because I am not sure if it’s something I can keep doing for years. But, at least, I’ll be able to say I didn’t waste my opportunity. And at least, I’m learning new stuff “tinkering” with YouTube. Meanwhile, I aim to buy better-quality equipment in the future. Right now, I make do with what I have.

 

Okay, that’s My Happy List. I’ll add more to it if I think of more. Care to share your own happy list, though? Feel free to do so and put the link in the comments! 🙂

6 Reasons a Vlogger is Not Popular #ThursdayTips

So you’ve decided to join the club and vlog. But it’s been months–years even!–and you’re nowhere near the famous vloggers that inspired you. You’ve been posting daily and religiously ’cause that should make people remember you, right? Yet you’re not popular. What gives?

Let’s just take me, for example. Why is it that I might never be a popular vlogger? Well, I’ve watched enough YouTube vlogs to have observed certain truths. If these are your truths, well, sticks and stones, and no offense meant.

Why I’m not Popular

1.  I am not gorgeous.

2.  I’m not famous or going around with the “in” crowd.

3.  I don’t have the right or more proper equipment.

4.  I don’t have enough resources (physical and/or financial).

5.  I am not the gimmicky type of person.

6.  I’m too shy when I need to be bold.

I only emphasized my observations. It doesn’t mean that if one is this or not that, he/she should stay that way. It depends on what he/she wants to be or accomplish, what that person decides to do and thinks he/she can do.

I have suggested alternatives or simple solutions below.

How to Be a Popular Vlogger

  1. Just be presentable.
  2. Actively engage with your audience. Interact with people. Go out sometimes.
  3. Make an effort to acquire better equipment for your purpose.
  4. Be resourceful. Find ways!
  5. Be creative. Make the effort.
  6. Believe in yourself and be confident.

I have actually shared these whys and hows in my most current vlogpost.  There, I further explained a little bit more my bases and insights, own experiences, and conclusions. Excuse some of the mildly rough edited parts.

Perseverance pays off only when you do things right. It doesn’t matter how many times you post. If you ignore the importance of relevant content to people, then people will ignore you back.

How to Make a (Boxed) Ninja Turtle Costume #ThursdayTips

I’ve actually been putting off showing this. The reason was simple: I wanted to show it on my vlog then share here. But since I still have many backlogs there on YouTube, I thought, why the heck not share it now, right? So, a bit of a background…

Our cosplay theme for Christmas 2018 was ‘boxed anime/cartoon character’. I did some digging to make sure I understood what to do. Apparently, the box or cardboard idea has its own history and it has to do with this guy –>

This was Paul M. Palgen wearing his “epic fail” costume, now known as the Cardboard Box Gundam, back in 2003 at the Anime Central (ACEN) convention. As explained in KnowYourMeme.com (because indeed, it became a popular meme after):

“Paul’s costume of Zack from Final Fantasy VII had become unusable only days before the Rosemont convention…Not wanting to attend the convention without a costume, he asked his sister what he should do. She said, ‘Nobody’s going to care. Just wear a cardboard box and say you’re a Gundam.’

And the rest is meme-worthy history! Yes, it became a thing, spawning parodies and tributes. Who would’ve thought?

Okay, history lesson done. On to my real topic.

The instruction/requirement was to make sure to use a square box to cover the trunk of the wearer’s body. Then we were free to do whatever with the whole look. For some reason, the first thing that came to my mind was to make a ninja turtle costume for myself. It must have been because of the turtle shell that gave me an idea. Besides, it was a long-time coming. I had always wanted to make one. If you don’t know or haven’t read about it yet, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles hold a special place in my heart.

See my favorite Michelangelo? That’s me.

Michelangelo is my fave TMNT and I really wanted to create  nunchuks 😉

I know, I know, the colors were not all in the same shade (I had to make do with my resources), but I did my best. In fact, I think I did a good enough job, at least.

Now, how did I make my costume? My Internet search wasn’t such a big help — some were too simple that I didn’t like them; others were too elaborate and costly for me. I don’t think I saw a boxed ninja turtle even. Therefore, I thought of 95% of this costume myself.

Below is HOW TO MAKE A (BOXED) NINJA TURTLE COSTUME…Well, my way. I am sharing this “infographic” that I shared to my friends. If the words are too small, just do a right-click, click on “View Image”, and voila! Still too small? Press CTRL then the plus (+) sign several times until the desired size.

So how did you find it? Of course, again, these are just my own ideas. There are various ways to make a TMNT costume. But if you want to use my ideas, feel free to do so. Meanwhile, I will share the how-to video once I’m actually done with it.

COWABUNGA!!!

“PAGPAPATAWAD” (FORGIVENESS)

Since I posted my entry for a local writing competition (poems category) more than two years ago, “Tula ng Puso: Pananampalataya, Pag-ibig, Pag-asa” (Poems of the Heart: Faith, Love, Hope) has been one of my most-read posts. I know it has nothing to do with any writing talent I have. They’re most probably just either Googling for samples to get writing ideas, or looking for love poems for Valentine’s.

What most people don’t know is that two of those poems were very personal. Non-Filipinos didn’t even understand, for sure. The most personal was the third and this month, especially today, it holds a very special meaning in my heart. Every time March comes, I grieve twice.

It’s not the best poem out there, but it is my most heart-felt. I wasn’t just writing to win a contest (winning at that point seemed like wishful-thinking). I was trying to convey my grief and ask forgiveness, maybe even for understanding.

This is it below, with translations. I hope nothing is lost in translation (I tried my best, but don’t consider it the official English version).

PAGPAPATAWAD (FORGIVENESS)

 

Hindi ko alam. (I do not know.)

 

Paano nga ba? (Please tell me, how?)

paano magpatawad? (how to forgive?)

paano magpatawad sa sarili (how to forgive oneself)

sa pagkabigo bilang isang ina? (for failing as a mother?)

 

Paano mawawaglit ang sakit na narito (How can I lose this pain)

kung sa bawa’t araw, ang bawa’t araw (if each and every day)

ay naglalaman ng iyong alaala, mahal ko? (has memories of you, my love?)

kung ang bawa’t tibok ng puso ko (if every beat of my heart)

ay nagsasabing sa iyo’y tuluyang naglaho? (reminds that yours beat no more?)

 

Paano? (How?)

kung sa bawa’t “Kumusta?” ay “Mabuti” ang tugon ko (if for each How-are-you, I say “I’m fine”)

gayong ang bawa’t tugon ay may halong kirot? (yet each reply carries the hurt with it?)

Sinungaling… (Liar…)

 

Paano? (How?)

 

…Siguro, may mga bagay na sadyang di natin masasagot.

(…Perhaps, there really are questions that will remain unanswered.)

 

Hindi ko alam. (I do not know.)

Hindi lamang sa ngayon. (Not for now)

 

Darating din ang araw na masasagot ko kung paano.

(Time will come that I will finally learn “How?”)

 

Umaasa pa rin ako. (Yet I keep hoping.)

Isang araw ay babalik ka sa piling ko. (Someday, you’ll come back to me.)

Hindi man ngayon. Maghihintay ako. (Perhaps not for now. But I patiently wait.)

 

Hanggang mayakap kita, mahalikan kita, at masabing

(Until I can hold you in my arms, give you kisses, and say)

 

“Pinapatawad ko na ako.” (“I now forgive Me.”)

FOR REAL, THIS IS A TEST #WhatsupWednesday

I am trying to figure out why Facebook wouldn’t and still won’t let me directly share my own WP post on my own Facebook page. It doesn’t even allow me to just post the link instead. I have a feeling it’s a glitch caused by the much-bigger glitch Facebook experienced recently. But that’s just a hunch. It’s worse if I’m wrong.

So forgive me, this isn’t really a legit blog post. I am doing a test. If this works, then the problem is that particular post alone. If the same happens, then Facebook will have to explain to me why it says they are not letting me because someone reported my abusive posting or whatever it says in the notification or warning. It doesn’t even explain what it is I am supposedly abusing exactly. For goodness’ sake, I normally just share my own WP blog posts, not others’! Also, as you know, I hadn’t even been posting for weeks/months.

That really ticks me off! Imagine, I reported an ad for a product that has been misleading readers with the titles of their posts. I’ve been encountering it on Facebook several times and got duped into clicking. So what does Facebook tell me? That the ad I reported does not violate FB’s ad policies. MEANWHILE, I can’t even share my own post because of something I’m not even sure about??? The least they can do is give me a clue and just a first warning.

Do you guys get the irony in this???

 

***UPDATE (03-21-19):

They still won’t let me share on my FB page! I’m really mad and sad that the main reason I created that page is gone….So I just sent them a message that they will hopefully (and immediately) address:

“Recently, Facebook has not been allowing me to automatically share my WordPress blog posts here. My sharing setting on WordPress says I am connected to my FB account. I actually get a message that I am not allowed because someone reported that I have been abusive, of which and how, I have no knowledge. The least Facebook could do was to inform me immediately if I was getting a penalty and explain that penalty. At least, if I’m in the wrong, I’d be aware of it and can correct things. Facebook does not even allow me to share the link to my posts instead. What gives? I normally just post my own blog posts from WordPress, and I haven’t even been posting much for months! At least, let me know the problem, please.”

February 2018/2019 RECAP #MonthlyRecap

Welcome back, peeps! More importantly, welcome back to me! This is me trying to get back into the blogging jive. So since I’ve been wanting to do this for the longest time, this is a good time as any to restart this thing.

I checked my posts history and — gasp! —  the last recap I posted was my March 2017 one! That’s two years ago! I never realized that it would take me that long! Why did I keep putting it off??? But since we’re now here, it’s time to get back into doing it.

RECAP!!!

This is going to be the norm for me every month: Since it’s now March, I am supposed to be posting a recap of February. And since I missed it last year, I’m doing both February 2018 and 2019 recaps. Next month, it’s going to be recaps of March 2018 and 2019. But wait, there’s more! Literally! Next will be the start of the “threesomes” — April 2017, 2018 and 2019.

Don’t worry. Considering how seldom I posted, my posts would probably be not too long (‘cept maybe April 2017 when I last joined the A to Z Challenge).

Here’s a recap of my February 2018:

Blog-wise:

(1) Hash potatoes!!!

#MondayReviews (none)

#TuesdayToons (see Write! Write!)

#TuesdayTunes (none)

#TVTuesday (none)

#AskWednesday (none)

#WhatsupWednesday (see Busy is the Word)

#ThursdayTips (none)

#FeatureFriday (none)

#FridayFlashdance (none)

#AnythingDay (see Versatile Blogger ) –  Any day could be about anything.

Judging from my results, I was not exactly that active at all. However, I did get to post stuff so it’s not bad either.

(2) My Trending StoriesWhat trending stories??? I must admit, I lost a lot of interest after encountering problems with their site over and over. But it’s never out of my mind. I plan to come back. But I need to be active here first. As far as blogging is concerned, this is my priority.

Here’s a recap of my February 2019:

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ * * * ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ * * * t u m b l e w e e d * * * ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ * * * ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Yup, that pretty much sums up what I did last month.

Social Media Reach-out:

I will repeat what I said the last time, because it is still true.

“I’m getting followers slowly but steadily, at least. I don’t really expect to get many, I’m just surprised there are those who decide to FOLLOW me on Facebook (even Twitter, which still confuses me at times) when they don’t really know me personally. It’s so nice to get followers who think that what I post are interesting enough.”

A great shout-out to all of you!

Meanwhile, I mentioned and even posted about my new “endeavor”, which is vlogging. I am currently trying to get back after more than two months of forced hiatus (laptop problems). The good news is I have acquired a new cellphone that should help me make things easier and be more creative. Hopefully. Don’t worry, though, folks. Blogging is still my main squeeze 🙂

Fiction/Story- and Poetry-writing:

Nada. Honestly disappointed with myself.

Both of my wedding ninangs (godmothers — there really shouldn’t be any “s” there as the Filipino language does not add it to change a singular word to plural) actually PM’d me a poetry competition. I haven’t checked. I will try to check later.

As for stories, through work, I found Grammarly and the Hemingway Editor last year. I realized I could use them for my works. I am very much partial to the latter, though. Will edit those I’ve done and will use the editors for future pieces.

Literature:

bakokak-gerry-alanguilan

“Bakokak” written by Gerry Alanguilan, illustrated by Kevin Ray Valentino

No book-reading happened whatsoever last month (but not sure about February 2018). Well, okay, I think I did read comic books. That counts.

Personal:

  • I have mellowed down when it comes to Wish 107.5 FM. That’s because they have, too. I mean they have expanded in the US, which is a great idea, but as far as artists that shake me, so to speak, no one’s really gotten my attention. I do plan on giving those “new” artists they feature a chance one of these days.
  • Quora recently suffered hack attacks. My account was one of those that suffered. They did sort of give me back copies of my posts, but my old account is lost. I am getting lazy just thinking about trying to start over. I don’t even really know how to get them all posted again considering that a lot of what I did was to comment on others’ posts. They’re not my posts, know what I mean?
  • Because of the new cellphone, I finally…
    1. got to play Plants vs. Zombies
    2. got to play an updated/leveled-up Temple Run
    3. was able to play Fruit Ninja whenever I wanted to (the first and only time prior that I played it was on a big screen at the arcade)
    4. found Wordscapes that got me hooked for a while (I still play it regularly, just not in that addicted-mode…Happy to say that I’m already doing Level 1132 as of this writing), and
    5. found Empires & Puzzles, which is my main game at the moment.

So officially, I am now a (quite) amateur semi-online gamer. Meanwhile, Soda Crush and other word games have taken a backseat.

 

And that ends this February — er, these Februaries(???) — recap. Watch out for March! I mean, you know, just sayin’ 🙂

New Year’s Greetings, Earthlings!

HELLO, FELLOW HUMANS!!!

 

And since February’s near…

HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR!!!

Welcome to 2019! I can’t say much yet about the new year, but I can take it, so far. So how was your 2018?

If I were to sum up my 2018, it was a year of missed opportunities (job offers I turned down), personal losses (my uncle and hubby’s mother passed away), and failed attempts (tried earning new certificates, but something would always come up, I lost interest). It sounds really worse than it was, though. But since overall, it wasn’t enough to really depress me, I think it was just plain okay. As plain as “OK” can be. No great shakes. I was positively shaken several times, but nothing big ever happened.

Writing- or blogging-wise, I had a love-hate relationship with writing/blogging, to be honest. There was a sort of burn out. The fire would start only to dwindle into nothing. But I dare say I did better than in previous years. That’s ’cause my frame of mind was to not force myself because forcing myself would only stress me out until I get disappointed in the end. So I wrote when I could and whenever I was inspired. The funny thing was, even when I didn’t blog, I’d see some spikes in my stats — not that I’m crazy about my stats — and I usually don’t know why. I would look at what brought visitors in, yet there usually was no reason other than they were brought here by their searches. For me, that’s a form of success. After all, the main point of my blogging is to give something that even just a single person can appreciate and leave with.

Two things were new last year:

1. I created my online portfolio, The J. F. E. Portfolio, which you already are aware of, I suppose. It serves a purpose for me. Though I’ve not added anything to it again since October, I’m in no hurry. I have so many to share there if I choose to do so. I won’t run out.

2. I finally decided to go vlogging! Yes, on YouTube, where I am able to show my not-so-serious persona. Time and resources have been delaying my posts. I’m learning to edit the way I want my vids to be edited. I had been used to linear editing, so I’m just learning digital editing using my limited resources. I’ve been using the webcam I acquired last year (I mentioned that). It’s got clear visuals. HOWEVER, trying not to move too much can be a challenge. You’ll see later what I mean. I just recently started using phone camera. It takes great pics, but I think the quality changes once I start recording videos. I might still stick with the webcam for now. For outdoor stuff, though, the phone cam will do.

Again, I’m taking it slow. I want it to be fun for me, an outlet, not a chore. I’m not lacking videos to share at all. I’ve recorded several already, more than enough, that I don’t really need to record anything again for a while. It’s the editing that’s taking longer. I’ve recorded product reviews, informative and how-to vids, ideas, some challenges, and reaction videos (well, just one so far). My best plans that I’ve yet to make are to share the Philippine culture, create Filipino tutorials, and present old stuff that the younger generation don’t know about (like a typewriter, cassettes, and a tape player/recorder).

To be honest, I feel shy sharing myself (my face!), but it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time so I claimed it! If something makes you happy, as long as you’re not hurting anyone, claim it! RIGHT???

I’m sharing to you this video, which is my favorite so far, and its “sequel”. Bear with me, please:

Alright, time to cut this for now. Hanggang sa muli! (Till then!)

Memories of The Big C #MondayMemoirs

There was a time that I worked for an actual print publication. It was a health-and-lifestyle magazine though it was far from the ordinary. Ours was centered on cancer, its survivors, and how to overcome, fight and win against it. They were, for me, very interesting times.

Almost two weeks ago, I shared on my folio blog my experiences working for the mag and some of the insights that I gathered along the way.

So for today, since I am guessing you missed them, I am sharing my stories to you guys as well. Just click on the image and you’ll be good to go 🙂

Red Dead Redemption 2 and AI #FeatureFriday

I am not a gamer. Just look around my blog. I have mentioned Plants vs. Zombies, where I shared photos and our fake-movie video, and Final Fantasy because I came as Rinoa Heartilly (I tried) in our office Christmas cosplay. Apart from those, I don’t think I ever mentioned any online/video game except in my fiction. I’ve played some, of course, but basically, I’m very much less than an amateur gamer. The longest I’ve played so far is Soda Crush…Yeah, I know.

red-dead-redemption-2

Brian Thomas, contributing author for Enlightened-Digital.com, reached out to me and introduced RED DEAD REDEMPTION 2. I had no idea about it, but finding out more made me interested. I actually asked a gamer-friend last night if she knows of Red Dead Redemption. She does know and did play RDR 1. I asked how it was playing the game and she said she liked it, wondering if the second’s going to be any good. Well, reading about Version 2, I think that she probably won’t be disappointed.

How about YOU decide? Brian writes…

“This Friday, Rockstar will launch its newest open world game: Red Dead Redemption 2. The game comes after eight years of development and much anticipation.

Red Dead Redemption 2 utilizes the hardware capabilities of the current generation to create a more visually stunning and technically impressive experience. The game’s incorporation of more advanced artificial intelligence powers the characters, animals, and dynamic physics system as they combine to generate organic events in an open world that aims to immerse players. As such, the title could ignite further discussion on the role of AI in video games and how games border on simulations.

Red Dead Redemption 2 follows the outlaw life of a character set twelve years in time before the original as he travels around a massive open world created by Rockstar. The game’s map is the biggest yet to be built by the company. Players will encounter interactable characters as they explore the various parts of the wild, villages, and even a city.

NPCs (non-playable characters) behave differently based on who they are as well as what the user’s character looks like, how he behaves, and his level of hygiene. The ability to engage with these characters through the game’s interaction system creates contextual back and forths that can result in many different ways, generating organic outcomes. The experiences generated by these NPCs are believed to be a step up from existing open world games and a force pushing the industry forward.

The relationship between video games, artificial intelligence, and simulations might still be young, but Red Dead Redemption 2 could represent a step towards progress as well as another spark (along with Westworld) to ignite interest in such subjects.”

Check out this infographic from Brian that emphasizes RDR 2’s major and newly improved game details! Click on the image to find out much more. Following it is the introduction to RDR 2’s gameplay. (WARNING: May contain content inappropriate for children.)

red-dead-redemption-2-game-details

Once you’ve actually tried this game out, let us know your feedback. Comment below, if you want to 🙂

How to Rank Better with Search Algorithms #ThursdayTips

Why is your business not searchable on search engines? Focus on Search Algorithms!

But what are search algorithms? How do they work? What should you do? Let this short video introduce you to some Google search algorithms. Find out what they do and what you can do with them to rank better and get noticed.

Again, side note: I wrote and created this video for ConnieKnows.com. So they own the video.

Any thoughts? Share them in the comments!

Just no spam, please. No comments pretending not to be spam. Guys, I see through you.

The X-word #atozchallenge2017

Here’s a prompt: Write something using an English word that starts with an X. If you were given this prompt, what would you write about?

Oh, wait, this is already a prompt…

“Xylophone”. I think that’s really the first, easiest and, sometimes, the only word that immediately comes to mind when thinking about an English term that starts with the letter X. Which usually does not help when playing Scrabble (considering the number of letters, unless you are to add “xylo” to “phone”…genius!). Well, include “xerox”, too. It was technically not really a word but a brand for a popular photocopying machine employing xerography (hey, another X-word!). It is now a noun that is accepted in the English dictionary.

So now, I’m mad. I’m not in the mood to write about xylophones or xerox. What to do?

X Problems

Obviously, it need not be said that there’s a reason there’s only one letter X tile in Scrabble. It is hard to find a word that starts with it, even if you cheat! Usually, you just use it as a filler to complete longer-letter words. Or you squeeze it in-between gaps when you have nothing else to score with, for words like:

  • “ax”/“axe”
  • “max”/”pax”
  • “taxi”
  • “hex”
  • “sexy”
  • “text”
  • “jinx”
  • “nix”
  • “ox”,
  • “foxy”

…Can you think of more?

You can’t even use it as a one-letter word like “a” and “I”.  Unless you use it:

  • to represent an unknown quantity or variable
  • as the multiply sign when counting on paper or board
  • as the Roman numeral for 10
  • to refer to the female chromosome
  • when signing a love letter with a kiss
  • to mark a spot
  • to make a “NO” gesture
  • to cross out something or remove
  • to indicate that something is incorrect
  • to make the sign of the cross when you’re scared
  • as code for that infamous party drug (…Just don’t, okay?)

Yes, the letter X is pretty versatile, but it is still not a word. It even needs a default spelling, the “ex-” prefix, just to function as a way to cross out something (or someone!) or emphasize the past: “Ex-boyfriend” or “ex-partner” (although one can simply say “My ex”), “ex-senator”, “ex-athlete”. You get the idea.

But whether to cross out something, imply an interaction, or mean the opposite of “in”– It. Doesn’t. Work. You shouldn’t really write “x-girlfriend”, “x-husband”, “xchange”, “xhale” or “xhume”, right? Maybe not unless you’re texting.

Some X-samples

So, can the letter X be more essential in our lives? I guess so, yeah.

Basically, X is used around the world:

  • for People’s Names
    • Xavier, Xander, Xeno
    • Xia, Xiomara
    • Xena (probably first coined for the popular show and now kids are named after her)
    • Malcolm X (the name Malcolm Little decided to use)
  • to Name Places (Did you know that NO country starts with the letter X?)
    • Xiamen City (and many more cities in China)
    • Xi (a river in China)
    • Xochimilco (in Mexico)
    • Xanadu, which is not just a romance/musical

Quick Trivia: In the Philippines, road authorities put up signs that said “Ped Xing”. Like most people confused by it, I first thought that Ped Xing was a Chinese-Filipino the street we were on was named after. But why were the same signs put up at various places…? It turned out it meant “Pedestrian Crossing”!!! Pffft…Communication gap. At least, they’ve done measures now to let the public know.

  • as Popular Terms
    • Generation X a.k.a. Gen X
    • X-rated
  • for Popular Media
    • X-Men
    • The X Factor
    • The X-Files
    • Triple X or xXx

 

Oh, my. I still don’t know what to write about. I am so clueless! What should my topic be, what should I write about, what–Oh, wait. I think I just wrote it. What the X!..,Well, what d’ya know?!!

 

***********************************************************

Earlier this year, I think I mentioned several times that I would finish my A to Z Challenge 2017. Honestly, things would always get in the way that I couldn’t do it. Then last time, I said it again and meant it. But guess why I couldn’t immediately continue…The letter X was the problem! I wanted to list down topics so that when I began, I wouldn’t have to stop again and I’d just go on till I reached letter Z.

For the life of me, I couldn’t think of an X-word connected to writing that I could write about! I really had to put things off until I posted my teacher-parents post. I still did not know what to write about back then. Fortunately, inspiration struck me and now, here it is. I dare say it was worth my long wait!

X is for “X”

This piece serves as my Letter X post for the A to Z Challenge 2017.

For my previous posts, kindly visit my A to Z Challenge 2017 page.