Monthly Archives: August 2012

Here comes the new RN


The Philippine Nursing Licensure Exam results came out yesterday. Guess what! Achi was on that list. 

You know what that means? Well, aside from the fact that she now has a liscence to brag about, she has fulfilled yet another of her dreams. It seems like things are going her way: she’s started Med School in her university of choice this year, and I believe she is doing great in everything she does.

So, from li’l sis here, Congratulations Achi! I am one proud sister!


I also congratulate the topnotcher (who happens to come from the same province where I came from, and also a Tomasino). I congratulate Achi’s high school classmates who also made it to the list. And I am proud of UP Manila’s College of Nursing Batch 2012. The tradition goes on, 100% passing rate since our establishment as an institution. We also have 11 nurses who made it to the Top 10, (btw, there were only 50 who took the exam). This means we have more than 20% of the total batch of exam-takers who landed  on Top 10. Gujab!

P.S. i’d really love to post some photos but that’s too much of a give-away.:P


A shout out to my crush


My crush looks like an anime character. Think of any good-looking animated villain, and you get a good picture of this guy I’ve been crushing on for four long years.

Dear crush, you might not know it but I am very thankful to you. Without your knowing it, it’s been four years of inspiration. May you continue inspiring others, ahem, ME! :)) Thank you! Stay humble!

***I’d love to share his photo here, but I gotta be cautious. My friends just might stumble upon this blog post, and this is a four-year old secret I’ll be risking.

My Summer Romance with Writing



With fairly apparent reasons, summers have always been my season for writing. What, with the ample time staying idle and the seemingly inability to come up with activities to practically busy oneself with, one would resort to writing from notes or memos to short stories that don’t live up to their names.

But this summer has been particuarly different in that I have been dodging the calls of my lover that is writing. Like a teenager willing to get rid of a persistent suitor, I have become creative in coming up with excuses not to write. I decided to put this hobby on hold until I get back from Manila when I’ve already within my grasp different colors of my favorite (and most fruitful) pens. Call me crazy but pens to me are like wands to wizards. Now, I’m back home and I’m still finding difficulty concentrating on being the usual me.

Who I am today is who I am as a writer. It has taught me to shut up. It’s no big secret that one has to have a good command of the language to come up with avid readers and listeners. That is, unless one is doing an entry on a private blog. But who does that nowadays? And while I gather friends and acquaintances when I speak, I isolate myself in my own world where the skies are green, seated at the cushioned chair and a hot choco on one hand as the stream of ideas in my mind find their way into the piece of paper in front of me.  This is the only moment when I could say that writing has tamed me. It made me realize that while I can be talkative and capable of coming up with quick retorts like they were reflexes of my body, I can also be at loss of words when trying to think of what to write next.

I haven’t been in any romantic relationships. From the looks of it, I won’t be a very good partner. I can be  stubborn and not give my all when I don’t feel like pleasing others. I especially hate it when writing becomes a demand, because then I turn up a mediocre paper. That’s like being the weak girl in the story who throws in tantrums, gets emotional and just breakdown as if she’s just emerged from a bad break-up. To top it all off, my being a constantly time-challenged student has kept this relationship on-the-rocks for so long.

But I could also be the one initiating the relationship. I can get aggresive from grabbing a pen and a fancy paper to opeing a notepad in the middle of a movie afraid that a spontaneous idea would vanish into thin air. But life can be cruel at times when writing materials are scarce and the brain fluorishes with ideas. Then, we are left with no choice but to make mental notes to self.

Up to now, it has been a relationship of all sorts: long distance, as I could only be that productive when summer gets around like lovers oceans apart; or the out-of-way on and off relationship, switched on when I feel like keeping in touch, and off when priorities have to be reformed.

Unlike other interests that sprout only during the summer, this summer fling has got to last forever. I could only wait for the day when neither time nor school could be obstacles to this relationship. Only then may I conclude that love does conquer all.

Written on April 28, 2012

Something about the RH Bill


Most of my friends are anti-RH bill. I can’t say that I am in the position to convince them to be on our side, but there is no harm trying.

At first, I was anti-RH. That was until I had the chance to read the entire bill. That helped me a lot, especially in answering the many questions I had in mind. Also, the reasons for putting up such a bill became very clear afterwards.

The thing is many of my friends are studying in Catholic schools. I can’t help but think that their minds are clouded by what their school administrations dictate. I wish they spend time to read what the opposing party has to say, just like I did. Come to think of it, if I weren’t an iskolar ng bayan, I might have a different stand. If I weren’t where I am today, then I might have passed up on the chance of seeing a woman mothering 12 children, or a teenager on her 3rd pregnancy. I can never come up with a solution to these problems, but there are ways to prevent it, and the RH bill is one of those ways.

Those who might not have been able to read the entire bill would say that passing the bill would be enough grounds to question most people’s morals. Say it were true, I would argue that now is not the time to question morals. That boat sailed a long time ago. We’ve been there before, we’ve been on that path where families are left on our own and the outcome has not been good. We’ve lasted for more than 2000 years, and not now we are barely a nation. What needs to happen before we Filipinos could conclude that we need an intervention?

You say that the rest of the world might laugh at our being a mostly-Catholic country if the RH bill makes it way to being a law. But even the Pope now approves of the use of contraceptives, condoms in particular. It’s a good sign that the Pope understand that these things have their good sides too. I would like to add that going against the decisions of the church is not going against the ideals of our religion. Besides, the bill is not there to determine between the church and the state has a more dominant effect on the hoi polloi. It doesn’t matter whether or not we have clashing decisions towards a pressing issue. Not everything is for the church to decide. What matters would be that we are still one church, bonded by our faith, at the end of the day. How will we find the world laughing at us that way?

Yes, we pride ourselves of the Filipino labor force. But is it not time to move on from that mentality? Can’t we get deeper than that? Is that everything we have and everything we ever will be? I should not believe so. Other countries with lesser populations are doing better than we are on the economic aspect.

The RH bill does not take away the people’s rights to decide for their own families. If anything, it gives them a choice, and more importantly, knowledge on many alternatives, on benefits, advantages and disadvantages, and even just plain knowledge.

I might not be very vocal about it, but the proponents of the bill have my support. The bill is now on its way to amendment, and I couldn’t be happier. I could only wish that people be blessed with open minds and peace of mind. Here’s a tip: Tackle the issue at different perspectives!

Written August 9, 2012

The Yaya Diaries Part 1


I’ve been meaning to talk about the house help for quite some time now. And from the looks of it, this will only be part one of two.

To go on with this story, I should give a prelude as to how children’s nurses and the house help come to knock on our doors. In the province, agencies for this kind of job are unheard of. Our men come from the far lands of Leyte, my mom’s province. Sometimes, the ates and kuyas would come from my Mom’s very hometown, Villaba, but most of the times they are recruited from the most remote places where electricity and water connections do not exist because the simple life can suffice and more importantly, is all they could afford. These are people who seek better and more urban life, who also dream of helping their families the only way they know. They come voluntarily. At times it is my Lola who has to turn them down for lack of job openings in her house and in any of her children’s, my Mom included. They are willing to spend eight hours of travel to get to this destination, this new life. A fifth of the total number of house help and children’s maids comes from my Dad’s birthplace here in Eastern Samar, some two hours from our town. Mostly, it is the drivers and the grounds-keepers who come from Samar. But they also come in the hopes of leaving behind their austere lives.

I may not have lived in Villaba that long, but I can speak their dialect quite fluently. It is through the aid of the help and the nurses, no matter how unintentional, that I have come to speak Bisaya that’s a little varied from Cebuano, Waray-Waray in Leyte, and Waray-Waray in Samar. It is hard not to compare the Leytehanons and the Samarnons. The earlier are soft-spoken, chatty (sometimes, garrulous) while the latter are forceful and stern. Some of them are easy to like and some took us time to understand. Some were too young to work (the youngest we had was 15, while my older sister was 14), and some had children of their own. At some point when I was a kid, it was easy to tell who would last long enough. We were brats. But it wasn’t part of our nature to verbalize and to hurt.

I’d say that we’ve had an approximate 45 young ladies and gentlemen coming and going in the past 20 years. Keep in mind that we used to have three or four of them a time. To be honest, I am not proud of this. Mom wasn’t used to the ever-changing update of the house help. She used to have only one: Yaya Linda. And she was there until Mom left for college. Occasionally Yaya Linda would help out in Lola’s house when she throws her parties. I think that the longest span of time any one of them spent is a little over five years. There was one nurse, my Mom’s cousin, and my younger sister’s child nurse from since she was born who left us and moved to my paternal family’s help. She tried working abroad, and at present she is back at my Lola’s house.

Our family has always been one that needed that the help of some people in chores at home. We are a family of six, and with this number organizing and dividing have always been difficult. It was too big a number to manage. As fate would have it, my parents spend most of the day time at work, leaving us with yayas supervising us during playtime. Here in the provinces, and as we have been taught early on, calling the help yayas and yayos is inappropriate, not to mention dehumanizing. I would later find out that this practice can only be witnessed in mega-rich families, and families in highly-urbanized places, like Manila. Instead, we call them Ate, a term for an older female; Kuya, for the guys.

I remember my Grade Three teacher asking me how I feel toward the house help. Already articulate, I describe my relationship with the help as friendship built on mutual trust and mutual respect, leaving out the almost daily bouts of arguments I have with them. If any of our previous ates or kuyas could read this, they could come up with only one conclusion: that I am a brat. Nope, I was not a spoiled brat, just a brat. Looking back, I could not think why it was very easy for me to talk back to them. But I guess I had my reasons. I’ve been through a rough childhood, insecure of how my parents weren’t like those of my classmates’ who’re almost always driving them to school and making time to attend parent-teachers meetings. When I analyze it now that I am a young adult, I can see that I have all the reasons to be upset with the help. My parents would send various ates to these conferences to cover for them. Why there was even a picture of my ate beside one of the ates on the stage during one of her recognition rites. My parents were getting able to run away from some duties as parents using the ates as excuses. And I hated that! I hated the existence of their very job! I hated that attending PTAs was part of their job.

The nature of their work is simple. They keep an eye on us all the time, except when they have chores to attend to and when we are in school. Overtime the line between a children’s-nurse and a house helper became blurry. The house helper does the simple chores waking up at five in the morning to scrub and wax the floor, do the laundry and prepare and fix beds. Once a week, they are to thoroughly clean the bathroom and wipe figurines, jars, and what-not. Usually, we have one helper assigned to the kitchen, prepare food, set the table, keep and clean the dining table. We have been trained to treat them like equals. They were allowed to turn the TV on or off when they want to use it and as long as it does not cause much conflict. They eat practically the same foods we eat, and they were allowed with everything on the fridge. They have Sunday afternoons off. In the summers, Mom would allow us to put mats side by side in the living room, so all of us in the house could lie down and watch TV. Snacks, all kinds of junk foods, and soft drinks are also served for all of us.

As for the Kuyas, they only came to exist when we moved to our new house. They’re what Filipinos would call “Boy”.  It’s a much bigger house, with a much bigger yard, and so we needed more men. Much of their work involves Mom’s garden of flowers, and looking after Dad’s pups. They also do minor repairs at the house, and the occasional bathrooms clean-up. The Kuyas also drive us to and from school, and the ultimate buddy of my brother when he goes someplace. It is also their job to wash the car, family jeep, and the tricycle. We used to have two Kuyas because one of them has to help in running errands at the clinic. Now, we only have one because my Uncle has come to help at the clinic.

But my parents’ inability to be present at school  wasn’t always the reason why I argue and, to some extent, fight with the ates. There was a time when each of the four of us had been assigned a child’s nurse. Unfortunately for my brother, his was a nurse who grew fond of pinching him whenever he had to be reprimanded. At first, I refused to believe my sisters when they talked about it; I kept mum when Mom was noticing scars and tiny wounds on my brother’s knees. But it’s too much not to notice when my brother cries for some unexplainable reason and all he had was the company of this certain nurse. That’s crossing the line. And that’s when I forget about the disrespect in talking back, or threatening to tell on her. As it is their duty to take care of the four of us, it is also my duty to protect my brother from this abuse.

To date, the shortest span of time a nurse spent at our house is a month. But there was one stand out case with an even more intriguing reason. I’ve known my older sister as the passive one when it comes to dealing with the help. She chooses to leave it to me to tell Mom, or to even notice inappropriate behaviors among the nurses. It was bad luck for this certain nurse when she arrived at our place because all four of us were waiting for Lola, or for Grandma (my Mom’s aunt/cousin) who accompanied the new recruits. There was something new with this one particular helper: she came in some tight-fitting spaghetti top and leggings. They arrived in time for lunch. The four of us spectated. When Lola and Grandma left the dining table, Achi bounced, “You know what, I don’t like you.” This caught all of us surprised, especially the rest of the house help who already knew Achi. She wasn’t like that, and these things are those we sometimes pre-convene about before telling. This made the new helper cry that she wanted to go home instantly, just an hour after she got to our hosue. Later on, Achi told us she hated the way the new helper dressed, and the way she talked. In the end, Achi was right in her judging the new recruit because these were the very reasons she was dismissed from her job.

It’s not always my fault. But I am the most assertive of us four, that my being personal manager and female mayordomo has become a running joke. Of course those who have stayed with us longer have warned the newly-arrived ones about me and my tantrums. But most of the times, I am rational. My siblings would tell me they hate the way an ate dances or how she is always hanging out in the streets in skimpy clothing. Most of the times, my parents would let things slide when it is I who reports, knowing how keen I am in spectating, how I have seemed to master the art of paying attention to the most perverse tiny detail, and how bad-tempered I can be.

My nurse’s name was Rose. I do not know how I came to like her. She danced gracefully when we hated dancing. She wore short shorts, a little something we didn’t exactly like. And best of all, she had a tattoo. This was a total no-no. At least for me. When I was already in fourth grade, I was old enough to go without a supervisor every time. In the mornings and in the afternoons, she helps out in the clinic, a walking-distance from our old house. She had a boyfriend. I guess what brought us closer was that she sometimes had to use my mobile phone to communicate whenever she ran out of load. I didn’t mind that because I was in Third Grade. I mean who would text me? Yes, we fight. I know I was out of control when I was when I was able to put her in tears during a verbal argument and I was only in Fifth Grade. I was sorry. I didn’t tell her but she knew. I was her challenge, she would get mad at me. But I respected her. It’s a no when she says it’s a no. She left our home together with one of her recruits. We had to find out the hard way. We were back from our annual vacation in Cebu. There wasn’t anyone who welcomed us home. The key was left outside the house in some medicine’s box. There was a long note that came with it. The note ended with a P.S. for me, saying that she loved me and that I was the best. It was too bad that she wasn’t able to hear the same from me. She abandoned her cellphone, one that was issued by us since she worked in the clinic, so there was no way of communicating with her.

Some of them were borne story-tellers. Life in their towns and provinces were very different from the ones we live in that the stories they tell may sound outrageous but we all know it’s true. Because some live in the barrios, they would retell first-hand experiences of horror-stories. They were all expressive. Some were funny that even only their retorts would send Mom and Dad laughing. Some were serious that one would think their smiles were too expensive. Some were too young that my parents would send them to High Schools. Some were promising and beaming with potential that Mom and Dad sent them to College.

I’ve learned a lot from our children’s –nurses and from the helpers. I’ve learned more about myself. Certainly, most would agree that having helpers at home teaches us to be less industrious, unintentionally. Most of the helpers we’ve had don’t want any of our help with the house chores. Most of the times the reason behind would be that we children just make the work longer and heavier for them since they have to teach us first.

In my almost nineteen years of existence, I have been dependent on these people. They would tell me that they barely finished High School yet it’s evident that they’ve been through a lot. When I’m not busy being mean and quite the pain in the butt, and more frequently now that I am older, I think about what made me different from them. I have not yet a single reason valid enough for me to consider and do something about. The thing is I wish they know how much help they have been to me and my family. Others might take me as insincere after how I’ve acted towards our helpers, but I really  don’t know where I would be right now had it not be for them helping us through the years.

This goes out to all Ates and Kuyas out there. Thank you for teaching us things, house work and chores, lessons I will never get to read in my books, stories shared, the trust you gave us, and the many favors you’ve done for all of us.

Written: May 29, 2012

I wrote this in a hurry, not because I had something to do, but because I was angry at the fact that two of our helpers were leaving us. I finished writing this in a span of three hours (take into account the minutes I spent with whatever the internet throws at me as distractions). I really haven’t the chance to edit anything from the article. I apologize for the typos and the grammatical errors the reader might have encountered. I am feeling much better now.

Notes from A Keen Exam Taker


I can’t believe how the brain is that wired. One minute I was thinking of what sensible thing to do next so as not to waste what is left of my summer vacation, and the next minute I was feeling irritated by my thoughts on exams.

I should say that what I really I wasn’t completely annoyed by what I was thinking, as a matter of fact I even found myself half-smiling. You see, I was already feeling my first-day jitters (I still get up to now, and I’m already turning 19). To be exact, I have less than a week before I leave for Manila, before I face my classmates, and get my poker face ready for the terrifying professors. But there’s something else I am looking forward to: exams!

Thanks to these exams, I got to know myself better. I learned that I’m a heavy-sleeper, and that when desperate, one can wake me up by use of water or by tickling my earlobes. Sometimes chocolates work as my all-nighter snack. And because I drink coffee for pleasure, caffeine in coffee no longer works as some drink to keep me up all night. Also, I have learned that Sting energy drink tastes better than Cobra energy drink.

Days before the exam

Before anything else, I feel like I must give you a background of what exams are like in our school. Basically, only two months are allotted for lecture, and the rest of the semester is for the application of these theories. Yes, only two months to finish the recommended references (and if one is nerdy enough, the extra and supplemental books). This also means that major exams are given every other week. There really is not much time to prepare.

And because my batch mates are all bookish, I feel like I too have to blend in. You see, I am not the diligent person that the people who do not know me think I am. Back in high school, I was feeling left behind because my classmates have read chapters on Thermodynamics and what-not, while I struggle with who Gibbs was. They would borrow books from the library or the Lab, while I lack photocopies of required readings. I don’t blame them. Each man to his own, right? I was never an outlier, and up to this day I am still curious of how I ended up as part of the honor roll.

In college, I have trained myself to sit still and read. One thing’s for sure: it’s no walk in the park. It’s actually the longest and so far, the hardest training. I resorted to getting a more permanent place in the study hall. However, some of the other louder students have picked more permanent seats near the one I’ve picked. And as a bonus, I stock my most favorite snacks, and some energy drinks for the when I need all-nighters. Needless to say, I have never spent an all-nighter studying. While others buy their alarm clocks and barely touch their beds, I make do with two mobile phones that doubly serve as my alarm clocks. (For this, I am most sorry for my roommates because they have to deal with this heavy sleeper). On better days, I wake up to my alarm. On usual days, I still wake up to alarms, but only to turn them off.

Days before the exam are when I’ll be hearing various batch mates complaining how they can’t get themselves to open their books. Some of these people are telling the truth, while others deny they study for various reasons. Yes, these intellectuals do not wish to be branded as nerds. And no, these intellectuals do not wish people to expect high scores from them. Some of the more responsible kids would find themselves reading transes (transcribes), highlighting pages of their books, and even rewriting their already legible notes. And some of these responsible students will also be leaving behind their tasks, and leave it to other students because they want to concentrate on their studying. Meanwhile, the others would be photocopying notes of the more responsible kids. Others still will be denying albeit their eye bags ratting them out. And what do the cooler kids do? Nothing. They chill out in the nearest mall (in our case, just right outside the university campus), being all hedonistic towards the pending doom that is the night before the exams. Believe it or not, some of these cooler kids do make it alive from the peril.

And oh, the college library is not that at least 40% dense. There will always be 2% visiting the university library. People still go online on social networks.

The Night Before the Exam

One day before the exam, the college library is 100% full, some 80% by students who are to take the exam the next day. Some 5 % find solace in the university library, while another 5% are in coffee shops eating slices of cheesecakes while waiting for study partners.

The night before exams is the most important night for all students in my college, especially those hanging by the thread. This is when one would see people going home early from school, grunting on how lousy the traffic is. All schedules are cleared to burn the midnight oil.

This is the time when scanners become handy, but second only to the service of the e-mail. Yes, soft copies of lectures are sent through e-mails, with students thinking that most questions would be taken from the lectures when most of us were half-asleep. The only reason students go online on social networks is that they want to check out who else are not studying (like themselves), or to follow up on that trans that has yet to be sent to their e-mails.

At more or less six in the evening, these kids are at home, taking a bath, or just getting home from the mall after buying groceries. A little after six, some are taking power naps, readying themselves for the stressful and draining night. Group studies aren’t that popular among the kids in my school, except of course to those who live in the same building.

On this holy night, I begin hating myself on so many grounds, but mainly because I have once again succumbed to the seduction of the art of procrastination. I never learn. And then I begin ranting on about how I should take up a course on time management because I seem to have so much to read in so little time. The thing is I only get to review when I get to finish studying. If my memory serves me right, I have never been able to do this. Although, I am one of those who see to it that they finish reading all the lessons covered for the exams. I bid my bed farewell for the night, but then somehow end up on it some three hours later. I do not know how it happens but I feel so sleepy when facing my book, or when feeling pressured to finish reading the lectures. And so I set my alarm to wake up at 12 in the morning, and bring my book with me up to my room, thinking to read it when I don’t feel like sleeping. But I only do this when already confident with what I’ve studied. Most of the times, reading works faster than any sleeping pill. (Take my word for it, especially on books that MUST be read!)

I am betting that all the fun and the energy are drained out from these exam-takers. No sleep, all work is no fun. Drowse is the worst enemy one could think of when stuck in such situations. (Believe me, I’ve been there.) Lucky are those who have friends or family members who almost stay up with them through the night should there be a need to wake them up.

The Dreaded Exam Day

If lucky, I am able to wake up early enough read my notes. These are the most vital review materials I have that I read them first and last. Bracing for what might come in the morning, I see to it that I wake up at five in the morning to do some last minute reviews and reads. At a little before seven I head for school, looking forward to what could be the one of the most anticipated experiences of my life – staring at how wasted my classmates could get.

First sign that I got the exam date right is when I bump into students on their way to 7-Eleven. Ahhh, first rule: DO NOT MISS BREAKFAST, you’ll need all the energy. Plus, you’ll need something to cover that energy drink-like mouth odor. I greet them luck, smiling.

Second sign is the view of students in the corridor, waiting for the student lounge to open, because unlike most of the other students they wish to review in the peace and quiet. Also, the students in this crowd are those who have a long way to go in finishing the exam coverage. The careless highlighting gives them away, plus they tend to ask obvious questions. Any student could be part of this crowd.

Sometimes, I would gladly join my chums in their group reviews, hoping to learn more from my friends who I hope have read more than I did. But the thing I hate most about the previous statement I’ve written is that some people aren’t helpful. Some will claim that they have not studied enough, yet they shout off the answer once a question is raised. Some act like know-it-alls, but I can’t blame them because they need the confidence boost. Others still tend to enumerate all kinds of excuses on why they weren’t able to study: “My alarm didn’t go off” or “I hate my memory, it’s already too full. Too much is already going on in there” or even “I woke up late”. Sometimes, I don’t care. Most of the times, I have no other options but to care because I am in the same position, but am a notch higher.  So far, I haven’t heard of anyone telling me they have the dates mixed up. That’s inexcusable because we have the syllabus which more often than not also serves as our planners.


I think that it’s all thanks to the culture of teasing that the kids in the batch do not wish to finish first during some examinations. You see, it all depends on the situation. Except when there are exams or long quizzes in the succeeding subjects, I’ve observed that students tend to take their time in finishing their exams, reviewing, and rereviewing. This is until someone else submits his or her paper first, especially when this certain person is a friend. I’ve observed that these people only leave the exam room if and when another has left, and discuss the questions (and most of the times, the answers) the moment they get out.

Outside the exam room, people are opening their notes or their books, checking their answers, somehow estimating how they fared during the exam. Others’ estimate rely on the answers of friends. The bolder ones wish not to discuss their answers and instead grab snacks, as if all their brain-food has been consumed.

Life’s normal once again.


You might think me the one girl you wish your kids won’t be like when they go to college. I’m not a bad influence. As a matter of fact, I have successfully established my study habits, but my new challenge is ignoring distractions. I used to be an outlier but only in this one particular subject I really really love – Mathematics! Somehow, I have lost my touch in Maths, but only because I already lack exposure. I hate Science because it requires a lot of memory works. Also, I do not fail my exams, or retake exams, until… Never mind. I am in no way a screwed-up student. But I believe that this is 70% God’s help through my prayers. I have already admitted to myself that exams are a vital part of any student’s life, and that everyone should experience the adrenaline rush that comes with these.

May 25, 2012