Inspired by Teachers

Just today, my task was to compile all the videos of The Many Faces of a Teacher from their facebook page. The Many Faces of a Teacher (TMFT) is an advocacy campaign of Bato Balani Foundation to provide inspiration to educators alike that being a teacher is a very noble profession, and that the sacrifices they do for their students, their region, their country are honored and celebrated. And so, I set on my task and checked out their Facebook Page:

A Few to Inspire the Many: A Tribute to Teacher

 

Upon clicking each video link, it is inevitable that I get to watch each educator and how they are considered as the true catalysts of change in their barrio, in their classroom, and in their region. For this year 2017, I learned about the four (4) TMFT honorees and their story. Maybe, instead of sharing their story, I would recommend that you go watch their videos:

 

Teaching for Renewal

Dr. Bernadeth Bernalte Gabor, PhD

 

Caring for Wildlife for a Better Life

 Dr. Aimee Lynn Barrion Dupo, PhD

 

Creating Solutions through Science

Mr. Ronaldo Reyes

 

Keeping the Culture Alive

Ms. Lord Jane Caballero Dorda

 

Also, the videos for the 2014 – 2016 honorees are posted in this page:

A Tribute to Teacher: 2014 – 2016 videos

 

Upon watching each video of the teachers, I marvel at how passionate each of them in teaching. But more than just teach, I also realized they are zealous in their pursuit to uplift the lives of their students, community members, colleagues, and continue to inspire their fellow countrymen in their service. I’ve thought to myself, “Do I have the same purpose? Do I have the same zeal in what I believe in? Do I make a move to uplift the lives of my fellow countrymen? What is it that I really like doing that can help other people?”

 

Lately, I’ve been contemplating on my dreams and goals, and if I compare myself to these teachers, I have nothing to boast. However, I am inspired to at least become a catalyst of change wherever God has placed me. Currently, God has given me a career where I enjoy developing materials, innovating, and sharing my thoughts to people. I get giddy when I am able to try new EdTech stuff, and I get serious when I am given the chance to brainstorm how we can use this to put inside the classroom [and make a difference]. I just thank God for giving me a career where I can work and play at the same time.

 

How about you? Have you found your place in this world yet? Are you just like me who still doesn’t know what to do next in your life? 

Well, my friend, you are not alone. After being rejected for my scholarship applications, I am confused on what to do next. I guess, one thing is for sure: whatever we do in this life will make an impact to other people. The question is, will you make it a positive, or a negative one?

 

As for me, I’m leaving everything in God’s hands. I do not know yet what the future may hold, but I have that hope that whatever I will do in the future, God will use me to make a positive impact to another person/s. 🙂

My Bucketlist

I have been thinking lately of writing my own book.

Well, lately, I’ve been thinking of the things I’ve done and what I want to do for the next 5 or 10 years.  A bucket list per se of the goals I want to achieve, dreams I want to fulfill and the life experience I want to feel and witness before I die.

While updating this bucket list of mine, I’ve realized that life is too short and I’ve been confined to looking forward to only studying abroad. Well, I guess those plans change. Haha. It’s not that it is a race against time, but it is something how I want to maximize every moment of my life and live life to the fullest. This is one insightful exercise for me, and upon checking my list, you might also want to write yours and experience life to the fullest.

  1. Study Graphic Design. 
  2. Visit Coron, Palawan. 
  3. Bring my family to Coron, Palawan. 
  4. See my father after he left us. 
  5. Tell my father I’ve forgiven him. 
  6. Travel outside the country. 
  7. Experience the beauty of Batanes.
  8. Go horseback riding. 
  9. Go scuba-diving.
  10. Travel with friends. 
  11. Travel outside PH alone.
  12. Have my own blog domain. 
  13. Create my own website from scratch.
  14. Develop my own mobile game.
  15. Create an app that would help students learn.
  16. See the Northern Lights.
  17. Visit China.
  18. Study Chinese.
  19. Attend a course on mobile game development.
  20. Finish a course on 3D animation.
  21. Sing in a bar.
  22. Listen to my favorite live band. 
  23. Watch Boyce Avenue in concert, live!
  24. Reach the summit of a mountain. 
  25. Do overnight camping once a year. 
  26. Go stargazing on top of a mountain once a year.
  27. Climb to Mt. Sagada.
  28. See the sea of clouds at Sagada before sunrise.
  29. Say I love you to a special person and be loved back.
  30. Go Ice Skating. 
  31. Visit Thailand and its night market.
  32. See a snow in person.
  33. Walk Baker Street in London!
  34. Visit a castle in Ireland.
  35. Reach the summit of a mountain with my special person.
  36. Handwrite love letters for my special person.
  37. Receive handwritten love letters.
  38. Read a book per month. 
  39. Blog a book review for every book read.
  40. Interview a popular figure in the field of educational technology.
  41. Attend an EdTech Conference abroad.
  42. See the Eifel Tower in person.
  43. Ride the Gondola in Venice.
  44. Take a Masters degree abroad.
  45. Kiss under the rain.
  46. Host an online training for education.
  47. Take photos of a wild animal.
  48. Build my own game development business.
  49. Work from home.
  50. Teach a child how to read. 
  51. Plant trees. 
  52. Receive a bouquet of roses.
  53. See the whale sharks and swim with them.
  54. Ride a hot air balloon with my special person.
  55. Pray for a stranger. 
  56. Write a book.
  57. Attend a garden wedding.
  58. Put my head out the car during a long road trip.
  59. Serenade my special person.
  60. Play a guitar.
  61. Go ballroom dancing with my special person.
  62. Get a complete makeover.
  63. Shout at the top of a mountain.
  64. Live in another country.
  65. Bake for my special person.
  66. Swim in a waterfall.
  67. Kiss under the water.
  68. Conquer my biggest fear.
  69. Interpret dreams.
  70. Help a non-government organization in helping kids further their education.
  71. See the cherry blossoms in Japan.
  72. Give a book. 
  73. Enjoy picnic. 
  74. Ride a helicopter.
  75. See Queen Elizabeth in person.
  76. Romantic evening at Enchanted Kingdom.
  77. Be as open and upfront as I can in a relationship.
  78. Travel the Southeast Asia.
  79. Bring my family for an out-of-the-country trip.
  80. Invest in stocks.
  81. Save up at least 6 months of my current salary.
  82. See my friends get married.
  83. Become a reporter for a day.
  84. Speak for a research engagement.
  85. Troubleshoot a car.
  86. Ride a ferris-wheel.
  87. Go island hopping.
  88. Confess my love.
  89. See the floating lanterns in Taiwan.
  90. Wear the national costume of South Koreans.
  91. Perform a spoken word poem in front of many people.
  92. Troubleshoot a desktop PC on my own. 
  93. Become a part-time student. 
  94. See Pixar or Disney Animation studio for real!

Cultivate Your Beauty

Cultivate inner beauty, the gentle, gracious kind that God delights in. The holy women of old were beautiful that way and were good loyal wives to their husbands. Sarah, for instance, taking care of Abraham, would address him as “my dear husband.” You’ll be true daughters of Sarah if you do the same, unanxious and unintimidated.

1 Peter 3: 4-6 (MSG)

 

Yesterday, it took me about 20 minutes to choose what to wear for office. As I was looking at myself through the mirror, thoughts came to mind if people would really appreciate what I will wear for the day.

For men, it will only take a few minutes to dress up but for women, some may take hours.

So now, let’s talk about beauty. 

In today’s world, we are bombarded with products, wardrobe and fashion icons that will make us beautiful. In commercials, women with slim body, fair complexion and beautiful smile will show you that beauty focuses on the outward appearance. It’s as if the outer beauty is all that really matters. On the other hand, there are groups of women who feel so disconnected with the idea of being beautiful that they totally neglect themselves and instead, they believe inner beauty is the most important for it all. Though the bible says to cultivate inner beauty and the outward appearance is not all that really matters, my stand is that we should not neglect ourselves being beautiful, both inside and out. Why? Because we are not being beautiful for ourselves alone; we are being beautiful to reflect the image of God in us, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

 
Beauty: What is it? 

Your outer beauty may describe being physically appealing to both men and women alike —  in the way you dress, how you carry yourself, the style of your hair and the jewelry you wear. In the webster dictionary, beauty is described as:

a combination of qualities, such as shape, color, or form, that pleases the aesthetic senses, especially the sight

and

a combination of qualities that pleases the intellect or moral sense

 

In appreciating outer beauty, your eyes decide that what you see is pleasant. However, when the inner beauty of a person appeals to you, your senses, emotions and intellect mostly gives you that happy satisfaction of one’s qualities. He/She may not be attractive to you, but deep inside, you know you wanted to spend another chunk of your time to get to know this person.

 

Worthy in God’s Sight

While reading the verses above, it struck me that Peter was telling the church inner beauty is what matters most.  If you read up the verses before this, in Chapter 1 and 2, Peter was telling the church that as we are given a new life in Christ, we are called to be holy. If you go down next to Chapter 3, Peter started off with giving an advice to husbands and wives. For wives, particularly, outer beauty is not emphasized but the inner one. He goes on to the length of giving Sarah as an example of how a beautiful woman, wife and daughter we could be in the eyes of God.

 

Instead of choosing to cultivate the inner beauty only, I have decided to cultivate both my outer and inner beauty. As a child, I didn’t have the confidence that people will appreciate me. I was so insecure that even my social skills were not developed. When I would see strangers on the street just because I needed to buy something from the store, I would wait until that stranger passes through before I make a move.

 

Then growing up, I came to a point where my identity is lost. Questions resurfaced. Am I beautiful? Will people accept me for who I am? What can I offer the world?

 

But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.

Isaiah 43:1

 

 

All those fears — fear of judgment, fear of rejection, fear of abandonment — all these were replaced by divine beauty and unconditional love. That love is the love given by Jesus Christ.

 

How Do You Recognize that Inner Beauty?

If you have received that unconditional love, your beauty will reflect to show the world without you even making an effort. That is because the beauty you are carrying is not your own anymore, but the beauty of Christ — the beauty of forgiveness, of unconditional love, of irreplaceable joy. If we go back to the verse above, we will immediately know inner beauty by the following attributes:

 

  • Gentle – Women may have different personalities and doesn’t mean that if one is gentle, she only speaks mildly to other people.  You are being gentle when you are able to lead other women in inspiration and not discouragement. People will know because it will show in your actions and words.

 

  • Gracious – I remember the quote that “Grace is something God gives us even when we don’t deserve it.” So here, being gracious means being able to extend that understanding, love and forgiveness even if the other person doesn’t deserve it. On the same way, it is able being able to ask for understanding, love and forgiveness even if we don’t deserve it.

 

  • Loyal – This literally means showing strong support or allegiance. As a woman of inner beauty, you are able to show strong support to your friends, family and loved one, in whatever way to encourage them. This word is synonymous to being faithful, so being loyal would cover a long span of time.

 

  • Caring – You have this characteristic if you are able to show genuine concern for other people. This is not just a one-time concern but a consistent display of love, and genuine interest to help the other person.

 

  • Endearing – Dictionary defines this word as inspiring feelings of love and affection. In the above verse, I would focus on the fact that Sarah is not afraid to show and tell his husband words of endearment. As women who cultivate our inner beauty, are we also the ones who are not afraid to tell our friends, our family members and our significant other those words of love and affection? We may not know it, but sometimes, just a word of inspiration is what they need from us. So if we constantly practice being generous with our affection for other people, it may just change their lives and then our beauty will be reflected to the world.

 

  • Unanxious –  This word can be translated to faith. Are you full of faith? If we check Hebrews 11:1, faith means being sure of what you hope for and being certain of what you do not see. So cultivating that inner beauty means not worrying about the littlest things in life, but instead, putting our faith that everything will work out through well at the end. After all, it is said that “All things work together for those who love Him [God].”

 

  • Unintimidated – Lastly, cultivating that inner beauty means not easily deterred by the problems of this world and by temptations. One word to relate to this could be being courageous. Are you courageous enough to fight for what you believe in? Are you undeterred to stand your ground even if you feel mocked by other people, especially if you know you are doing what is right?

 

I know, you may be thinking, I do not have that kind of beauty… yet. We are all a work in progress, and we will one day be perfect in God’s eyes. But just as Peter says, “Cultivate your inner beauty.” This doesn’t mean we’ll wait to become beautiful, but instead, let us become self-aware on how these attributes can become ours one day, allowing God’s love to work through us, each and every single day of our lives so people will see that incomparable beauty in us. 🙂

 

Book Review: Every Soul A Star

This  book has been recommended by a close friend and I do, too, for reasons below. 🙂

every_soul_a_star_book_cover

 

Every Soul a Star is a young adult fiction that shows the point of view of three teenagers who unlikely met each other at a campground to watch a total solar eclipse, and developed genuine friendship along the way. It is a story set in approximately about two week-time frame how three three kids, with very different personalities and under normal circumstances would never meet, learned from each other and grow individually.

 

The author, Wendy Mass, did a great job describing the characters in detail given a first-person point of view. It was like looking at one character in three perspective, which made me appreciate each character, with all their strengths and flaws. The main characters Ally, Bree and Jack are just normal kids, at varying life situations, who are able to share their passion for science, fashion, books and drawing. Additional characters Melanie, Kenny and Ryan are also described in a way that showed how their friendship developed as a whole.  I’ve seen in this book a very innocent characterization, with raw definition of how life is treating them, in their own perspective. Puppy love can also be interpreted, but again, in a very innocent depiction. Also, I thought the parents of these kids were depicted as killjoy overall, but their actions were given justice eventually and how the kids resolved family issues on their own highlighted a normal family circumstance — that kids have to accept things whether or not they like it, and just learn to make the best out of it.

 

The pacing of the book is just so, so, but since there are so many mentions about astronomy, stars, sun and the love of characters for this subject, I came to love it as well. I have been fascinated with heavenly bodies, but not to the extent to really do research and run after it. After reading this book, I felt like I want to experience a total solar eclipse, and made me want to see it on my own. With this book, my close friend was inspired to watch and experience for himself the total solar eclipse last August 21, 2017. It is also the same for me. After reading this book, I want to catch the next total solar eclipse and experience the magic, mystery and life-changing effect this miracle of the universe can do to people.

 

So, overall, if you want a good read with a bit about science, astronomy, and a story of how a genuine friendship can develop from very unexpected places, this one is for you. 🙂

 

 

 

Tribute to Teachers

Every year, we have been recognizing select teachers from all over the Philippines for their exemplary contribution on the field of education.

Our sister company, Bato Balani Foundation, Inc (BBFI), founded an advocacy campaign to extol the virtues of teaching by providing role models who inspire excellence not only for educators but for most Filipinos as well. This advocacy campaign is called, “The Many Faces of a Teacher”.

Private or public entities can nominate a teacher to be honored and recognized by BBFI in an annual gala gathering called “Tribute to Teachers”, in front of hundreds, sometimes thousands of educators. These nominees are then filtered, interviewed and selected by panel of judges from different sectors involved in the development of the education in the country. Four honorees are selected each year and recognized as leaders and unsung heroes in the teaching profession — those who can become sources of inspiration and knowledge for both teachers and students.

I have the opportunity to participate in this event every year as manpower. It inspires me most of really why I am staying at my current company, doing what I love — that is, I get to help the education sector in the Philippines in my own little way. Hearing the speeches of the honorees makes me want to salute all the teachers I know for their passion, hardwork and compassion to teach the next generation of this nation.

So to all the teachers, thank you for your hardwork and your compassion. Thank you for believing your students and thank you for thinking how the next generation of leaders are molded into the persons they could become.

Here are some photos from Bato Balani’s Tribute to Teachers 2017 last September 1:

The Idea of Giving Back

The past few weeks has been very busy for me, so pardon me if I update this blog just once a week. But in those few weeks, I can only sum up my weekends using two words: Giving Back.

I was the kind of gal who wondered if I can eventually make an impact to other people, and to the society as well. With the opportunities presented to me the past few weeks, I guess the heavens answered that simple question in my mind.

Making Connections

I had the opportunity to meet a guy who is into taking a degree in Instructional Design and Technology. He is just starting out in the field and is on the lookout to learn more. We met and were able to exchange ideas on elearning, international studies, and how can we make an impact in the education sector. Meeting him actually allowed me to share my insights on the industry; thus, giving him an opportunity to know how the education sector in Philippines is thriving with e-Learning. The simple act of sharing my knowledge and experience on the industry gave me that feeling of fulfillment, as I am able to help other people with their career goals.

Helping Mother Earth

I was invited by a friend to participate in a tree-planting activity at Mt. Balagbag in Bulacan. I usually participate in these kinds of activities so when the opportunity was available, there’s no time to say no. It was an opportunity to help the community since they have been into charcoal industry and planting trees would lessen the impact of this human activity. On one end, we cannot blame the community for burning and creating charcoal as it is their source of income, but we all know its effect to nature. Headed by Green Ants Environmental Camp, we and other volunteers planted more than a hundred seedlings. It was a fulfillment for me to be able to help Mother Nature, and while digging and planting those seedlings, I couldn’t help myself but think about the parable of the seeds found in Luke 8:4-8.

The Story of the Seeds

4-8As they went from town to town, a lot of people joined in and traveled along. He addressed them, using this story: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. Some of it fell on the road; it was tramped down and the birds ate it. Other seed fell in the gravel; it sprouted, but withered because it didn’t have good roots. Other seed fell in the weeds; the weeds grew with it and strangled it. Other seed fell in rich earth and produced a bumper crop.

I was hoping that time that my seedlings will grow and provide shelter. I realized how important for farmers to have good soil to plant the seeds, because when I encountered the rocky soil and the soil filled with weeds, I immediately doubted if these seedlings will grow. Lesson learned, a soil near the water source and with less rocks and weeds will allow any plant to grow abundantly. Just like our lives, if we allow our hearts to become fertile ground to the love of Jesus Christ, that love will grow abundantly not only to benefit us but also other people.

Participating in Social Responsibility

I had the opportunity to join an event of Maybank (private company) , Teach for the Philippines (NGO) and Renovate to Educate (NGO) to help Panghulo Elementary School in Malabon. The day’s activities included mural painting, fixing old chairs and tables, classroom repainting, chair repainting and seedling planting in the frontyard. We arrived in the area and started the activities around 8am. Immediately, we were briefed with what to do and we head on to work. My friends and I started planting the seedlings, landscaping and then afterwards, we helped repaint the chairs. While on break, I saw the sign in the classroom for the vision of the school — to see Filipinos love their country and be passionate in building the nation. I was moved, for even though it is just a reminder, it is what we really need right now given to what is happening in our country. We need people who love the country and passionate in building the nation, in whatever contribution they can. At the end of the activities, we were able to finish and meet our goal, and at the same time, help the principal and teachers be effective in teaching by providing their classroom needs.

All in all, I enjoyed doing these kinds of things and the idea of giving back in whatever form can give you fulfillment. However, I wanted to reiterate that I’ve already found fulfillment in Christ and this is just an overflow. I may only have little time in this world for we never know what will happen next, but the fact that I am able to contribute to the betterment of a person or nature or the world is already a fulfillment for me.

How about you? What makes you fulfilled? That’s a question you can ponder on. 😁

Thoughts Jumbled, Emotions On High

This week was a very busy and emotional week. I have been in argument with my sister for things uncontrollable, and with her saying words that hurt, I felt those words pierce my heart tenfold. I felt angry, hurt and broken. But things turned around and I realized I was selfish. In my heart, I’ve decided to forgive her for words she said.

But then tonight, we again had an argument. This time, she did not only said words that hurt me, but also my mom. We just arrived from travel and was a bit tired, but when we got home, she was there, ranting about things she could have done herself. Her argument came to the point that we are selfish and we didn’t take into consideration her needs. I was pissed.

I really can’t fathom why there are people who cannot say what they want to say in nice way. Why is she disrepectful to people older than her? Why can’t she be thankful enough? Why, of all people, is she my sister?

I am angry at her, and felt broken by the words she said. When the disciples asked how many times do we forgive other people, Jesus said, “seventy times seven”. Seriously?!

But then, I remember how I sinned against God. I’ve done things that hurt Him. I’ve questioned my purpose. I’ve doubted His existence. I’ve rebelled and chosen the wrong way. But He still loved me. He still accepted me. He still chose to send His Son Jesus to die for me. Jesus chose to be crucified on the cross, so that I can be saved. He loved me so much so that someday, I can be with Him.

https://goo.gl/images/jnPMN9

When I remember my past, what I have done and what Jesus has done for me, I melt again. That anger in me melts away. It is not by my might that I can forgive. It is by the grace of the Lord that I realize how to love and forgive. His unfathomable love melts away everything. Then, I repent. I have decided to forgive again. Just as Jesus said. “Seventy times seven”.

It’s not easy. But only through His grace can we do it. His love overwhelms.

https://youtu.be/Plngh8SkkA4