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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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

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The kubing (jaw harp)

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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.

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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.

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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! 🙂

First Celebrity Interview Published: “THE SUN ALSO SETS FOR THE DAWN”

Day 29 of the #NaNoPoblano2021 challenge, now a.k.a. “NaJanPoblano2022” (heee….) . Major Theme: “A Few of My Earliest Things”. New sub-theme: “First Published”. Related post: My Evolution as a Writer.

This was my first celebrity interview ever, which could be the only celebrity interview I’d have in this lifetime. (I lost my chance at interviewing Lea Salonga much, much later.) I have my first-ever editor in college to thank for since she assigned this to me.

I did have a partner or co-writer. I didn’t mind since I was still new to the schoolpaper and needed to learn the ropes. He knew more about the music, plus, he was much cooler than me. Honestly, I wouldn’t really know if I could do the interview without him. We were interviewing celebrities…! We were to interview THE DAWN, “pioneers of Post-Modern Rock” here. I’m not sure who came up with that one (“pioneers of…”), my co-writer Butch or me, or if we got that somewhere. But pioneers, they really were.

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The concert ticket, front…

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…and back

They were doing a concert at our university. So the paper got permission from the organizers for the interview, which they arranged and made happen. We were allowed since the band had an important album out so, you know, it’s still publicity, however small. It was actually maybe an hour or so before the concert. They let us go inside their parked bus to meet the members. Unfortunately, for some reason, Jett Pangan, the main vocalist, was kept busy outside the bus. Usually, it’s really the vocalist who’s the main face of the band, right? So it was a bit of a downer that we couldn’t talk to him. I only have three out of four autographs. No cellphone yet, no camera, so no photos 😦

Not that we didn’t enjoy the interview! Of course, we did! I didn’t particularly know all of them then. I really just knew them as The Dawn. I just hoped I was asking the right questions. So thank goodness, Butch was the enthusiast. It wasn’t me who described Jett’s voice as “nasal”, though. (It’s true, Butch, so please don’t come down from heaven and scare me.) I wrote the first draft, he did the final draft where he added everything else. I do disagree about the description. We went to the concert (for free!) after the interview and, despite ny headache caused by being near large and loud speakers, Jett sounded fine to me. Many years later, I would watch Baby The Musical and hear Jett sing live onstage again — great voice and definitely not nasal!

Being a writer does have its perks sometimes.

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First Book Published: “TELENOVELAS: A LOOK ON HOW A FILIPINO COMMUNITY SEES FOREIGN TV DRAMAS”

Day 28 of the #NaNoPoblano2021 challenge, now a.k.a. “NaJanPoblano2022” (heee….) . Major Theme: “A Few of My Earliest Things”. New sub-theme: “First Published”. Related post: My Evolution as a Writer.

I was going through my stuff (I never finish going through things…) and realized that I did publish my first book! Like many of my alma mater’s alumni, I published one. I think there are only three copies in total — one for me and two for the school. So I have my copy with me. One is in my college’s library. The last one, I am not sure. Probably in the university main library.

I’m referring to my undergraduate research/thesis. It has a wordy title, which I used in this post’s title. My study focused on telenovelas, which is Spanish for TV soaps. But specifically, as stated in my book’s Definition of Terms, a telenovela referred/refers to “a foreign (Spanish-speaking) TV drama serial dubbed in Tagalog.” For those who don’t know, Tagalog is one of the Philippines’ many dialects and is generally regarded as the one most understood.

I may not have watched everything on TV. However, because I liked to observe and know things, I was often updated about local television. So even if I didn’t really watch telenovelas at the time, I knew all the titles of those that were showing back then. I was well aware of which came first before what, and how the mostly-Mexican soaps made it to local TV.  That was long before K-Dramas invaded our screens. Also. the first telenovela, “La Traidora”, was the first ever foreign soap that was dubbed in our language!

“Filipinizing” or “Tagalizing” (both coined terms) began with several Japanese live action shows that used to be English-dubbed. Next, they Tagalized an anime of a children’s classic story. We didn’t have to wonder how far the new practice would go. Soon, it was Mexican soaps! We did not really have them on TV since the general public would not understand conversational Spanish. TV networks probably did not care to create captions because the general public were not keen on reading subtitles either. Again, this was waaaaay befoe K-Dramas, or Koreanovelas as we called them.

The start of Tagalized Mexican soaps was such a big surprise. Translating and dubbing TV shows using the local dialect paved the way for Spanish-speaking soaps to enter the scene. I will not anymore discuss Philippine TV history here, though. We’ll save that for another day.

That said, my study was actually my thesis adviser’s idea. I had a different one that was going nowhere (I don’t even remember what it was about). I think that was mainly because I was at a rough time in my life. Rough time or not, I had to force myself to concentrate. I had to graduate! It would have been a waste (and stupid!) if I didn’t graduate just because of one unfinished requirement. Honestly, I’m thankful that he gave me the idea. It sparked my interest more. And because I am a writer who loves to do research, I actually enjoyed writing my research. The interview parts weren’t fun, but no pain, no gain, right? To be frank, it was not a hard topic at all.  I didn’t/don’t care. I had fun writing it and it allowed me to graduate.

I took to heart the quote that I put on page 3:

“I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul.”
(William Ernest Henley)
my-undergrad-research

“TELENOVELAS: A LOOK ON HOW A FILIPINO COMMUNITY SEES FOREIGN TV DRAMAS” An Undergraduate Research By Jennifer Del Barrio Federizo (a.k.a. Me)

First and Only (So Far) Advertorial Published

Day 27 of the #NaNoPoblano2021 challenge, now a.k.a. “NaJanPoblano2022” (heee….) . Major Theme: “A Few of My Earliest Things”. New sub-theme: “First Published”. Related post: My Evolution as a Writer. Related page: Critic’s Corner.

When I worked for a tertiary school, I had experience copywriting a few things under the PR & Advertising Office. My next job, which was a joke, for lack of a better term, got me as Copywriter. I copywrote stuff for them but I will never know if or when and where they were published. This is a whole different story that will have to wait to be told. But let me emphasize that because that second one was a joke, I don’t count it as employment (I didn’t get paid either).

Published or not, not any of my previous works qualified as an advertorial. The online Oxford Dictionary defines “advertorial” as:

  1. a newspaper or magazine advertisement giving information about a product in the style of an editorial or objective journalistic article.
  2. early 20th century (originally US): blend of advertisement and editorial.

It is safe to say that I only had my FIRST ADVERTORIAL PUBLISHED when I joined the cancer-focused publication. There was an ex-deal and I was assigned to write the advertorial. But here’s my problem: It was basically a medical advert. Medical...Of course, I could not say no, however much I wanted to. It was my job, right?  But I was very skeptical of the would-be outcome. I wasn’t sure I could write a good advertorial. I did not want to humiliate myself. Mostly, I did not want to humiliate my bosses and cause a problem with the clients. I had to try my very darn best!!!

I was to write about a particular drug that’s for a particular type of cancer. I was to advertise, editorial-style. The good news was I was given materials to read about it. The bad news? The materials were thick. The words were quite medical and scientific. And I had to balance the medical/scientific jargon with the layman’s terms.

I remember spending nights at the dormitory’s common area reading and trying to write. Mind you, at that time, I had no laptop. I had to write notes and underline things on the photocopied pages. Cellphones weren’t that sophisticated yet back then plus, for the longest time, I used analog phones. So guess what? No access to the Internet outslde work unless I went to the Internet Cafe. That could help me understand things more but I did not want to spend my own money for that.  Surprisingly, I found that I was not nearly as ignorant as before about cancer as I thought I would be. So I wrote it.

It was not like I would just write it then we’d publish in the upcoming issue. The pharma had to check my output, which was very understandable. I did want them to check the advert so they could correct errors and I could revise things. The biggest surprise to me, however, was they hardly changed anything! I don’t even remember that they did. You wouldn’t know it just by looking at me, but inside, I was kind of dumbfounded. I didn’t expect it to be that “easy”. It gave me more confidence in myself.

That’s the advert below. I blurred the title that carries the name of the drug and the logos of the pharmaceutical company. I’m just not sure if they’d be okay with it. The words in the article are also tiny so I suggest you don’t check anymore. Personally, if I were them, I wouldn’t mind as that would be free advertisement. I’m not them, though. Additonally, I’m not sure if the product is still out there.

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First Book Review Published: “WHAT TO EAT IF YOU HAVE CANCER (A GUIDE TO ADDING NUTRITIONAL THERAPY)”

Basically, I’m just supposed to be continuing what was supposed to be finished last November. But heck, I’m so near-finished now and I’m loving this theme I came up with, anyway. It’s making me want to continue writing again. I just almost gave up a few weeks ago (more on that some other time). I’m happy to share more of myself. So, to continue…

Day 26 of the #NaNoPoblano2021 challenge, now a.k.a. “NaJanPoblano2022” (heee….) . Major Theme: “A Few of My Earliest Things”. New sub-theme: “First Published”. Related post: My Evolution as a Writer. Related page: Critic’s Corner.

Until I joined the Philippines’ first (and maybe only) cancer-focused magazine, I had never really done a book review outside school. It was not something I was sure I was good at. Honestly, I’m still not sure I’m good at it. The best I can say is “I try.” I had no plans of writing any until the Publisher/Boss asked me to review a book that someone recommended to her. So I did and had my FIRST BOOK REVIEW PUBLISHED.

The book was “What to Eat if You Have Cancer” by nutritionist-authors Maureen Keane, MS and Daniella Chase, MS. I hardly imagined that I’d review a book for cancer survivors, let alone, a book giving dietary guidelines. I’m a fiction girl, ergo, I expected to review fiction if I would ever. But there I was. I also tended to write longer, so writing this short one was a challenge. I did it, though. I survived my initiation. The book is most probably very outdated now. I haven’t checked if they’ve written any updated ones.

After that, I would go on writing two more cancer-related non-fiction reviews. Surprisingly, it was I who volunteered! Those were books that I found. One was “My Breast” by former journalist Joyce Wadler and the other, “Cancer Schmancer” by comedienne Fran Drescher. I have shared both reviews here in my blog. These experiences gave me the courage to try and join a call for book review submissions. If you are interested, I reviewed Alice Walker’s “The Color Purple” and Victor Hugo’s classic “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”.

Anyway, I think it’s possible to read the words on the image that I have provided if you just enlarge it, except I just found out now that light reflected on some parts. Sorry! I know I have the soft copy somewhere but I have to find it first.

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HAPPY 2022

You know it’s coming. Here we go…..

Happy new year vectors images graphic art designs files in editable .ai  .eps .svg format for free and easy download unlimit

Let us all wish for everyone A MORE PROSPEROUS, MORE PEACEFUL,

HEALTHIER,  and HAPPIER YEAR!!!

Please 2022, BE KIND. 

Now, as far as my writing/blogging is concerned, I love NaNoPoblano so much that I decided to extend it to January (LOL!!!!). Five more left so expect them 🙂

I do have a problem with the editor. WordPress doesn’t anymore allow the old “wp-admin” thing, which I’ve always preferred. I’m so irritated that because of that, I can’t seem to find a way to put the “NaNo Poblano 2021” page under the BLOG BANK / BLOG LINKS / CHALLENGE BOX menu. But okay, I’ll keep trying to find a way so it does not appear as a completely separate page.

So far, the first two days have not been good, to be honest. Oh, well, 363 more opportunities to be happier, right? 

First Time Published: “SI DR. JOSE RIZAL”

Day 25 of the #NaNoPoblano2021 challenge, now a.k.a. “NaDePoblano” (heee….) . Major Theme: “A Few of My Earliest Things”. New sub-theme: “First Published”. Related post: My Evolution as a Writer. Related page: Poetry Nook.

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. 

Copyright © J.Gi Federizo

First Time It was Published: HULING SIGAW

Day 24 of the #NaNoPoblano2021 challenge, now a.k.a. “NaDePoblano” (heee….) . Major Theme: “A Few of My Earliest Things”. New sub-theme: “First Published”. Related post: My Evolution as a Writer. Related page: Poetry Nook.

This is the first time I am sharing the poem here. However, the FIRST TIME IT WAS PUBLISHED was, of all things, in the official publication of the tertiary school I worked for. I don’t remember to whom I submitted it, but I know I asked if I could share a poem. The truth was I was not sure of my choice. I don’t remember why I chose it among all my poems. I think it was because it had not been published anywhere yet. My worry was the sensitive topic of the poem.

This is HULING SIGAW or LAST CRY (“cry” here means scream). If anyone tries to understand it enough, this person will realize it is related to suicide. Related, but not about the act of committing suicide itself. I was referring to the act of writing the suicide note, one’s final goodbye, her feelings of hopelessness and personal grief…I was worried because the publication was to be distributed to the staff, faculty and alumni. I didn’t want them to think that sharing it was my own cry for help.

I was not suicidal when I wrote it. In fact, on the contrary. I was SMILING when I wrote it. I don’t remember what inspired me to do so. But I remember my excitement when I was creating it. Let me make it clear, though. I was/am NOT advocating suicide, I was/am NOT suicidal. I guess it’s similar to a screenwriter who gets inspired writing a horror movie. He doesn’t necessarily like horrific things. See the point?

Anyway, I’m glad I pushed through with it. It made me proud because Mrs. Consolacion P. Sauco, the Filipino Department Head, loved it! She told me so when she saw me. I was so happy because she happened to be a well-respected author who’s an expert in the Filipino language. I can’t find an actual biography of hers, but Googling her shows the various stuff she wrote or translated. For her to give me praise for what I wrote was really something!

For anyone who understands Filipino, here it is. I have been trying to translate it in English for years but I never get to finish because I never get satisfied. I promise to share the English version once I actually translate it completely….By the way, to be more specific, I was the Public Relations and Advertising Assistant. They most times never got that right.

Two-in-One Firsts: SA AKING PAGLISAN

Busy days!!! I’m going to have to post several times here to finish the challenge before the new year starts!

Day 23 of the #NaNoPoblano2021 challenge, now a.k.a. “NaDePoblano” (heee….) . Major Theme: “A Few of My Earliest Things”. New sub-theme: “First Published”. Related post: My Evolution as a Writer. Related page: Poetry Nook.

Here’s the background: A friend’s brother was failing his Filipino subject. He was asked to make up for it. I’m not sure if it was the teacher’s idea, or my friend’s, or mine. But I helped create a special newsletter that he was to submit. Since I had creative control over it, I decided there ought to be a poetry section. Self-serving, of course, ha ha!

The thing was, the newsletter was in Filipino and I didn’t have a short-enough Filipino poem that had not been published anywhere. Therefore, I decided to complete the translation of a poem that I had been trying to do. The poem below was the product.  This was the FIRST TIME I TRANSLATED a poem, which happened to be mine. And tt was probably only the three of us and the teacher who saw the newsletter. So this is technically the FIRST TIME I AM PUBLISHING THIS.

The good thing is I don’t have to translate this for you. This is the Tagalog version of WHEN I’M GONE, which I already shared here.

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IT’S CHRISTMAS, SO…

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!

I am sharing this beautiful song to you. It’s very relevant not just because of the pandemic. A lot of our countrymen just went through a calamity last December 16 and are going through a very tough time.

Turn on the captions to understand the lyrics and what the people are saying. (Of course, copyright belongs to the TV network, ABS-CBN.)

First Time to Publish: “FAREWELL, ANGEL”

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!

Day 22 of the #NaNoPoblano2021 challenge, now a.k.a. “NaDePoblano” (heee….) . Major Theme: “A Few of My Earliest Things”. New sub-theme: “First Published”. Related post: My Evolution as a Writer. Related page: Poetry Nook.

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.

For Baby Pauline, in memoriam.

NOTE: Free use of flower image from Pixabay.com