First page on a blank slate

Valerie's Painting Family and self, looking inside and grateful to God for the good things and the challenges that made me a better person. I may not have those I wished for but I got better options in the long run. I am learning more and expanding my choices in leading a life of purpose. Touching base with myself and other people’s lives-my first page for 2016 with Valerie’s painting.


Lake Sebu, an encounter with nature

A time to seek and find. I always heard about Lake Sebu and wondered why the pictures posted are not lake but waterfalls.

There are 3 lakes in Lake Sebu, a municipality which was formerly a part of Surallah. Lake Lahit and Lake Seloton and the biggest  of the lakes is Lake Sebu which is an inverted pyramid in shape (going down) and at 345 hectares, one can imagine why the place is named after it.   It just gives me goosebumps that if you drowned in the lake, your body will surface in 3-5 days. Our T’boli entertainers told us to throw coins in the water as sort of payment for safe passage.


our boat for cruisin the lake from Punta Isla Lake Resort


the adjacent boat where kids are waiting to dive for coins to be thrown

lake sebu

the floating restaurant with tour around the lake

Lake Sebu



View of the lake from the church


Falls number 1

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Falls number 2 (I only saw 2) and this is where the place near zipline end and where we proceed to other places in the South.

My next travel, Tablas, Romblon.


Things I Need to Do

Things I Need to Do

This is not a bucket list but something I need to do as my personal battles. I was contemplating on the things I need to do that I have shelved for sometime, waiting for opportune moment which may not come. I’ve learned that “just do it” won’t work. It must be planned with lots of determination.

One, learning how to drive. I had my driver’s license in 2002 or 2003 and kept on renewing it but not driving since I had drivers. I am proud to say that those PNP personnel who were my drivers are now Police Chief Inspector (Major) and the other is Police Senior Inspector (Captain), even had a civilian driver who is now a police officer. The truth is, I was not motivated to do the driving myself. I am better off with driver or riding a taxi and it’s more economical but not liberating. I decided to drive myself and although I knew the basic, I learn that there’s a lot that driving school can teach me. I would never teach my children how to drive. It must be done professionally and this is not where I am good at.

The driving lessons and lectures were very helpful to boost my confidence although it did not take away the fear, it gave me confidence. At first I was hesitant to drive on my own and to say the least people around me, friends and family except for Sheila did not trust me to be on my own. Well, not really on my own. I need a co-pilot I said to guide me. I should be allowed to drive on my own under the guidance of a competent driver. Some driver would not want to be just passenger that I learned. Sheila and Beth thanks to them knew they could trust me and I am glad they did, I was able to drive from Alabang Festival Mall via Skyway to Camp Crame. I knew I will be better.

My children although fearful came with me on my first drive with them. Patricia said that she was very much awake as if she had taken a dose of caffeine. So what? I enjoyed the kindness of the security staff of parking area in Promenade, Greenhills guiding me to be able to park properly and on a perfect spot near exit. I love people who understand the learner and the same with the other drivers on the road who were considerate of me. There is this truck driver along Ortigas Avenue who let me pass and change lane when other motorists would not let me pass even nearing Santolan where I need to turn right. Others like a bus driver and some bullies were not able to distract me, live and let live that’s what I was thinking. We returned safe in Camp Crame and I considered it an achievement.

Sunday, I need to buy groceries and paint brushes for Valerie but she refused to accompany me going to Cubao. I have to drive alone for the first time, this is my first test. I was full of confidence passing EDSA until corner of 10th St. which I need to pass going to Araneta Center. A kind driver stopped to let me pass since there was no stoplight there and was able to go through that corner with little hazard passed, I underestimated the corner but lucky for me no other vehicle was there. I did not crawled going to Cubao although the street had vehicles parked on both sides, people walking and other vehicles and tricycles going the other way which made driving a challenge. I was able to reach Shopwise parking area but since I was not familiar with the place and it was dark inside I almost missed the ticketing booth. It was still early so I stopped the car after entering I walked back to get the ticket and asked the guard for a place to park. He was very kind and gave me the spot near exit and guided me until I was able to park properly. I am glad to have this people who are very considerate.

Going back to Crame is another challenge, I was able to go out of the parking area although I almost missed the right turn outside and need to reverse driving a little. My practice driving was Cubao so I have no worries there except that I need to pass EDSA again and my turning is not perfect but I was able to follow cars and made it to EDSA. The driver of the bus behind me was not very helpful so I concentrated on driving fast and secured my lane in the middle and changed lane nearing Santolan.

The seasoned drivers would not take much credit for this accomplishment but for a newbie like me this is something to be proud of. Getting inside camp, I had another problem, I need a guide to park properly inside in a very limited space. I did not use what was taught and tried to do it my way. It was getting hot so I called somebody to do the parking for me. Why I did not ask him to guide me was because he is a police officer who would not want to sort of command me on what to do. Well, I was able to drive alone and will only need to practice on proper parking.

Looking back, I understand why I did not drive before, there exist a wall between me and people who could have taught me or allowed me to drive on my own. The best advice I got from a friend was to enroll in driving school. I told my daughters to learn from the professionals and not with someone they know. They would learn to do the right things and with the lectures to reinforce their knowledge on the rules and regulations as well as the proper way and not insisting on the right of way since not all drivers were given proper training.

I was able to get my license without the driving test and with answered examination sheets which I copied. I am not proud of it and would like all drivers to pass through a refutable driving school before a driver’s license is issued. Going to lectures in SM North, the driver of the taxi told me he attended the same driving school in 1994 and he was hired immediately. If drivers were educated well on driving regulations and traffic rules and if the traffic laws are enforced, there would be safety in our roads and highways.


Reflection: People are inherently good but sometimes you need to ask and state your circumstances to be understood and helped. I need to practice more and need more of patience and positive attitude.

Second thing that I need to do is to complete my dissertation no matter how busy I might be. I need this as sort of closure, I must complete what I have started.

Charming can be disarming

LOOK: Charming cop eases tension in U.S. Embassy riot

Anti-U.S. activists clashed with riot police near the U.S. Embassy in Manila on Philippine-American Friendship Day, July 4.  Protesters from the League of Filipino Students (LFS) and other groups called for the junking of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) which paves the way for expanded military cooperation between the U.S. and the Philippines.  Protesters also called for the abolition of the pork barrel system.

As anxiety intensified, a policewoman eased the tension and flaring tempers with her cool demeanor and easy smile.  Police Officer 1 (P01) Aurea Jane Manalaysay has earned a reputation as some sort of “celebrity cop” in the Manila Police District for being a head-turner among photojournalists.

Asked why she became a “darling of the press” Manalaysay quipped, “Well, because I’m the only girl here.”  She has been a riot policewoman for two years now.  She is assigned to the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) District Police Safety Batallion (DPSB) which handles crowd dispersals.

On being a woman assigned to this task, Manalaysay has this to say:  “If the boys can do it, then so can I.”

When asked how she handles violent protests Manalaysay said, “I can handle it because of our training. Even before we pass our courses, we are already drilled on issues like maximum tolerance.”

As the riot ended, Manalaysay packed up her riot baton and struck a pose for photojournalists.  “It’s my way of trying to shake off the stress because if not you’ll be a hot head.  You have to remember to keep cool,” she said before flashing her winning smile.

3 / 9


Inside Honesty Store… No storekeepers

Batanes is known for its spartan life, beautiful beaches, rocky cliffs, pastureland and amazing people. It is a place where people trust one another, no locks on doors of the native Ivatan and in Ivana port in Batanes, there is an Honesty Coffee Shop and convenience store.


Keep the change, so keep small bills to pay for your purchases

Keep the change, so keep small bills to pay for your purchases






Flores de Mayo 2014

According to popular legend, St. Helena, the mother of Constantine the Great, went to Calvary 300 years after Christ’s death to search for Christ’s cross. At the site of the crucifixion, she unearthed three crosses, and had her sick servant lie down on each one. Upon touching one of the three, the servant was cured; this cross was determined to be Christ’s. The anniversary of this discovery is traditionally celebrated on May 3rd.
In the Tagalog region, the custom of the Santacruzan celebration started sometime after the Immaculate Conception of Mary was declared official dogma in 1854, and after the publication circa 1867 of Mariano Sevilla’s translation of the devotional Flores de Maria or Mariquit na Bulaclac na sa Pagninilaynilay sa Buong Buan nang Mayo ay Inihahandog nang manga Devoto cay Maria Santisima (The Flowers of Mary or the Beautiful Flowers that in the Meditations During the Whole Month of May are Offered by Devotees to Mary the Holiest).
During Spanish times, parish priests would choose hermanas or sponsors from the daughters of wealthy families. These women would shoulder the expenses, plan the festival and decorate the church as well as the caroza which would be used in the procession (wikipilipinas).

The traditional Flores de Mayo in Camp Crame was held on May 29, 2014 in the Parish of St. Joseph.


Played the Stage Mother.

In the middle, the Angel

In the middle, the Angel





I was a young and new high school teacher in the 70s when I got my regular appointment to teach in Tayabas, Quezon. I was idealistic, very strict and a faithful follower of the rules and ethics of the profession of which I embraced. I was a stranger in Tayabas, Manila, being my residence. I handled fourth year students andI was their World History teacher.

At that time YCAP was part of the high school curriculum. During their YCAP day, students brought with them bolos which they used in their community service. My World History class was scheduled immediately after the YCAP. 

One morning when I was holding my class, three of my male students entered the classroom without their uniform but wearing only sandos. That for me was so discourteous of them. I instructed them to put on their polo shirts. Two of them readily obeyed as instructed. But the biggest boy just smiled. I told him twice in a very nice way to please observe propriety in the classroom. When he still ignored me, I already raised my voice and commanded him to get out of the room. He stood up. Went straight to me and swayed the bolo he had before my face as he passed by my table. I was shocked! 

When I gained my composure, I went after him telling him to come back. He did not. I went to the Principal’s office and reported what happened. I filed a case against him since it was very clear that what he did was a clear attempt to attack a person of authority, I being his teacher.

The boy was graduating. The punishment for the offense he committed was expulsion. I was approached by many to reconsider my decision for the sake of the boy’s future. I refused.

I was harassed by his classmates who were sympathetic with him. They would throw stones in my classroom. I still continued with the case.

The Asst. Provincial Schools Superintendent in whose house I was residing talked to me one night and told me that the case I filed against my student would surely be decided in my favor. However, she said that in the event the student was expelled, his future was already ruined. 

I thought about it that evening. The following morning I decided to drop the case to allow the student to graduate on the condition that he would just be given his high school diploma but he should not be allowed to march together with his classmates.

The boy graduated. Three years after, on my way to school from Lucena to Tayabas on board a mini bus, I got the biggest surprise of my life. When I was handing my fare to the conductor, the man in the seat in front of me looked at me and said, Wag na Ma’am, bayad na po”. 

The man was in fatigue uniform. He was the student I almost did not allow to graduate. I looked at him in disbelief but I managed to ask him “Oh, Kumusta ka na?” 

His reply: “Eto po Ma’am, sundalo na po. Maraming salamat po”.

Those two statements were loaded. I felt the meaning of those statements in my heart. I felt there was a lump in my throat as I looked at the young man before me in fatigue uniform.

When I reached the school, I went to a secluded area. I cried and thanked the Lord I changed my mind three years ago and allowed that student to graduate. Had I remained imprisoned by my anger and had him expelled, what could have happened to him? He could had gone to the mountain and joined the rebels or became someone with no direction in life. 

He became a soldier and served our country.

Cadet Cudiat offense is minor compared to what he had and his parents invested to reach this far in his military training. 

May I ask, how many PMA alumni have forgotten the Code of Honor after leaving the PMA? What is more important, that written Code or the future of an intelligent young man who could become a valiant defender of the nation in the future? 

Must the members of the Honor Committee of the PMA give more important to their pride than the future of a brilliant man like Cadet Cudia? 

I pray that their hearts be touched by the story of my student. I pray that they find it in their hearts to be more compassionate to this young man. They will not lose anything if they reconsider their decision. Instead, they will be gaining more not only in the eyes of their fellowmen but more so in the eyes of God.

I pray that Cadet Cudia, his parents and his very loving sister be not denied justice.
I hope that many join them in their search for justice. 


Unprotected Heritage

In 1996 I visited Vigan and saw how the brick buildings were being repaired by cementing them which made me felt so sad that there was little effort to preserve them. Vigan became a UNESCO heritage site and I am hoping the cultural preservation would continue. 

Similarly the churches in the Bicol region retained their grandeur with the colorful hue of bricks and this sight depressed me.


Saint Nicolas Church in San Nicolas, Laoag