Author Archives: M&MDaclan

#MarieSson: Of Balance Sheets and Peace and Order

Newlyweds Jesson and Rosemarie
For your two hearts to beat for each other
Wrapped in magic the mind can’t decipher
Knots now tied no one must put asunder
Set your marriage goal to beyond forever
That is achievable with God at the center
With humility kneel and ask for it in prayer
Nothing is impossible to God we surrender

Wisdom and experience as witnesses
Tell us that in our human relationships
A lot of work in fact a marriage requires
Yours may only need light adjustments
1 April 2014 you became sweethearts
26 December 2017 you got engaged
Yet in high school you were classmates
Aside from growing up as kababayans

Take note of the your wedding homily
To each other “palihug” you must say
When you wrong “pasaylo” must be ready
Whatever circumstance trust is on the way
We your godparents are a text or call away
Rest assured you are in our prayers daily
For your success, joys and a soon baby
In all of your life’s journey, be happy
To God be the Glory
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Ode to You: Have I Neglected Thee

Even insured by Mariah Carey
How often have I neglected thee
No doubt like a goat on priority
But maybe due to your versatility
Coupled with your dependability
Always in place like the infantry
Oh not that late for the so sorry

In the countryside way back when
Demands for thy use overwhelms
Wandered expanse under coconut trees
Submerged for hours in muddy ricefields
For seedling pulls or catch mudfishes
Walked miles to locate a lost carabao
Climbed gooseberry trees by the riverside

Followed wishes and commands
Of purposely driven bosses
On dancefloor until music ends
Trekked valleys cum boondocks
Crossed series of shallow rivers
Visited unknown random houses
Soaked by the rain not the pants

One day wirings just gone berserk
Sporadic red patches surfaced
The bosses had to step on the brake
Erythema nodosum was suggested
Bedrest should be to slow the tribe
Hypersentivity vasculitis is the D x
Twelve days of pred antihist as T x

The human mortal knows nothing
Each tic toc may bring in anything
Could be life’s likes or not in the least
Either brings out the worst or the best
May be beyond mind’s understanding
Who can fathom the Supreme Being
Let each chime well lived as grace

Of Grades and Awards: Unrecognition of the Many

My eldest child, I call her bb#1, is now on her 9th grade at a science school. This level may  truly be trying as there are only very few on Recognition List every time the school’s Quarter Recognition is held. While grades 7, 8 and 10 may have almost 20 on the list, Grade 9 only has less than 10. At one time, I noticed only six names on the list. I observed this when I graced each of the quarter recognition of bb#1 in her 7th and 8th grade. Eight times in all.

To be recognized as one of the names on a Director’s List, a junior high school student at this science school must have a Grade Point Average (GPA) of 1.5. Our bb#1 hit it all in her grades 7 and 8. But not yet at her 9th grade so far. Two quarters have passed already. So, what is her GPA then? It’s a little over 1.6 but not beyond 1.7. O-ha! If this is in a college level, then bb#1 would surely be a cum laude, which require a GPA of 1.75 or better. The 1.5 would be a magna cum laude. Wow. So even if bb#1 is not called to the stage for a certificate giving, yey, she is still that intelligent kid!

Her laggard performance zeroes in on Filipino-based subjects – Filipino and Social Science. Like a buy1-take1 thing because Soc Scie is on Filipino language. This has always been like this since the first grade. Well, our national hero who is a polyglot, Dr Jose P Rizal, even wrote that Tagalog is a very difficult language! And, even if it is referred to as Filipino, the actual use is 90 percent, if not a hundred percent Tagalog. We Visayan speaking folks in the country have hard tongues speaking hard vowels. Hence, it is very difficult for us to shift to the soft Tagalog. Well, anyway, good thing the school subjects are mostly English based, so bb#1 could easily get a flat 1 in Mathematics =)

Recognition is not just for the academics. The school may be is focused on science and mathematics, but there is wide embrace towards alternative learning activities (ALA) such as the arts, dance, media (broadcasting), agriculture (gardening) and even cookery. Of the many ALA choices, bb#1 chose Dance since the 7th grade up to the present 9th grade. She just love to dance! Few days ago, we skimmed the city stores for a loose-fitting camouflage pants for her dance attire in the incoming ALA Culmination. We found one – a branded ukay at two hundred pesos. We also bought a fitting black top from Gaisano Mall. Kim chose two pieces. I could only agree as we seldom buy brand new clothes for them anyway.

Other contests that the school participate in aside from math and science include the arts. Since bb#1 beats the ALA-arts contestant in poster-making at school, she (from ALA-Dance)  is to represent the school in a Poster Making Contest at the national level. It will be held at UP Los Baños. She already has the airplane ticket for tomorrow’s flight after the ALA Culmination. Hopefully, she will enjoy her trip and be able to draw what she wants to interpret of the theme during the contest and be happy with her output. Winning would be a bonus!

She did win First Place on Editorial Cartooning contest sponsored by the Rotary Club of Cagayan de Oro Premier in 2016. She has a knack for the arts. She got it from her dad who gifted me in 2001 his work – a framed charcoal sketch of Jesus Christ face. It was a gift that I prefer over flowers and chocolates noh, so he’s able to catch my attention =) Below are the photos I took at SM Uptown in Cagayan de Oro City when it schowcased the winning entries of the contest.

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Another A: A Woman in Most Complicated Life Situation

There is this woman who fell in love with a guy out of her own cultural group. An out-group that is looked down by most of her in-group. Call it the hierarchy of ethnocentrism (that feeling of superiority over other groups). Her in-group truly exhibits ethnocentrism amongst all other groups with no qualms at all. They are proud of it. They show it. People know it. People  are aware of it. People can even feel it.

Now the guy lets his intent of marrying the woman, let’s call her Apeace, fly out to the direction where Apeace’s parents are. The intent reached the parents through Apeace herself. As expected, the parents verbally pronounced total rejection and dislike towards the guy. And with the continuous discouragements from the guy’s friends, the guy, let’s call him MD, lost all courage and inspiration to go meet Apeace’s parents. Unfortunately, MD lacks immediate family circle to back him up. He allegedly grew up without parents, only distant relatives. That makes matters worse because, in the traditional Philippine marriage preparations, the road to marital bliss largely involves the parents. The guy’s parents to meet and form alliance with the girl’s. Definitely, the guy’s parents strengthen and increase the guy’s chances to win the girl’s yes to a marriage.

But, with the predicament they are in, what should be done with the growing baby bump of Apeace. Yes, those who want to have a child and tried various ways fail. And, yes, there are those who simply got swayed for a night and then boom! The pregnancy is totally, completely a taboo in both of their in-group and out-group! The conservative Philippines ranks farther from these sub-groups when it comes to taboos. They are placed in the extreme scheme of things in society, be it for life or for death. Something that reason does not understand the reason at all.

In all of the few months of agony as to what to do, misfortune befall the innocent fetus! Apeace had miscarriage as she claimed it was. The bedraggled sweethearts had to attend to the whole expulsion process in the next city where the walls may lack ears and the windows may lack eyes. They may have felt relieved after all, only them would know. So they were freed from the doom of impossible marriage. They could continue to live separate lives in separate ways.

A year passed and Apeace found herself in a new web akin to a maximum security prison. I cannot blame you if you’d say Apeace seems to have not learned a lesson after all. She herself thought the same. It’s the same guy, MD, so she claimed. The problem this time – MD is not taking any responsibility whatsoever. Hala. He does not even believe it. Apeace said, again, it happened only once. And MD asked, why are you not safe at that time? Tada. You may wonder, how do I know all these. The horse mouth said it all. We had a tutorial on a course that I teach and now she takes over while I am still on study leave. That’s why. We had our first tutorial when she said she missed her regular menstrual flow. She suspected it. So I suggested she took the preg test to confirm her nightmare. When we met at a gathering a month later, she hushed to me and confirmed it.

Time flies so fast indeed for us who are super busy but even to those who would not like time to move. Time can not be stopped at all. So the months progressed and the bump grew as well. She hid it through loose clothing. She was grateful of the new classes schedule wherein workmates do not necessarily meet in a week. So the workmate-mothers do not see her and she is free from their wise and experienced vision. So, she’s able to carry the charade for five months. But, the sixth month is different. The bump would show to the world! How long can she hide it. She said one of her students, the slightly autistic one, who remarked in class, that Apeace is fatter now and looked like another faculty in another department who is proudly pregnant! Hala.

While we had our tutorial, a fraction of our time is on limbo discussion about her complicated situation. She will surely be killed by her family, she said, if ever she’s found  in such predicament. MD also would blame Apeace’s parents. So, what’s the plan? To go on a training in another city where she may successfully deliver without her clan knowing about it. Hopefully the workmates who’d go with her can assist her. So, is there Plan B? Nada. She has no idea what to do in case the training application gets disapproved. Yay. Two more workmates from her in-group had to know of her situation to supplement to her excuses of how she is not being able to do tasks expected of her.

One evening post-Valentine, one of the two workmates, let’s call her Lisa, called me seeking advice which hospital she would bring Apeace who appeared to be collapsing judging from her tone through the phone. We both agreed of the government-owned hospital to avoid high expense. We both concur that our sisters-in-law emerged from the hospital well and good, after their gynecological cases of births and the like. I told Lisa to just explain to Apeace well and make her understand so her psyche is properly set and at peace with the hospital. So off they went.

Lisa kept on updating me. The challenge of a super secret is that the ones who knew carry the burden of the world. In this case, only three knew, so far. Well, I later learned that the immediate family of Lisa and Olie (let’s call the other workmate this) knew too. While me, I’m all alone with the secret. I cannot burden any family member with it. No reason for them to know anyway. While the other two need to tell to be able to go. The update contents specified the doctor’s findings: the fetus is dead inside and it had to be evacuated out for Apeace safety. Boom.

The Caesarian section was done. Problem – the dead baby. Lisa called me about it because the hospital will give it to her. Lisa cannot accept it, and her family (sisters and in-laws) forbid her to take it lest she be the one to be accused of having bore it after all in an in-group so obsessed with taboos and where clan feuds abound. Definitely I cannot take responsibility for a dead body too. When my sister died over ten years ago, I even did not do any paper works. My spiritual brothers did it for me. It’s faster for them as they were barangay officials then. They took care of everything from death certificate to permits to bury to a grave where to bury. And am I to go through all that! No way. It is something that can not be hidden in my in-group too. Aside from the paperworks, there has to be a wake, a 9-day prayer, a burial, and 40th day prayer. I do not have words to say to anyone who am I burying. I rest my case.

Lisa had to be there all by herself as the only support Apeace could ever get. Wow, what a heroic act she did amidst rebuff from her family. She was told to get out of the maze, bringing Apeace to the hospital is enough. But, Lisa stayed through the night up to the following day when the operation was done. She even called for Apeace sister with the information that Apeace is in the hospital for an operation of some sort, as concocted by Apeace herself. Lisa went out to the city to claim the cash sent by a guy from afar. Alas, the name of the guy as reflected on the receipt does not match that of MD. The provision comes from another guy. Who is this guy now. Ambot. So the story ends here for now because Lisa and I, we do not know what happened to the dead baby now and we do not want to know too. If Apeace fears death to be inflicted upon her by her kins, what more for us?

Aiana: Why Do I Have Visions of You

Yes, you read it as A-ya-na. She is the unica hija of a couple dear to us. Her parents have been there when we celebrated our 11th year wedding anniversary at the Bishop’s House with Rev Ubaldo L Millan or Fr Doodz as the officiating priest. They stood as our new godparents then. The rite was simple and attended only by our children and Fr Doodz’ close friends Zeny and Nitz, also our religious community sisters. Anyway, Aiana’s parents have become close to us in our community.

Aiana already graduated college last year at a prestigious university in a neighboring city. But she chose to dedicate her first year thereafter graduation into serving the religious community in that city. She did ask and obtain her parents’ permission to do so. Her parents are also into mission so they understand each other when it comes to the language of service and mission.

I witnessed how Aiana carries herself amidst people from various walks of life across sexes and ages. She is confident owing to the training her parents had given her. She was trained to be independent and asked to decide at an early age. Her mother even shared to us that they allowed Aiana to go to and from the city central school by herself when she was still in second grade. A small, morena little girl walked by herself across a city road where vehicles of various kinds traverse. In that road are hitherto jeepneys, private cars, single motorcyles, tricycles (or trisikad), and even the Spanish-inspired horse carriages (tartanilya).

Aiana talks like adults do, with tinge of respect at the adults when needed. She can organize events among the youths well. The youth listen to her. Imagine a Miss Minchin minus the bad side. I heard her once instructed the Young Adults (YAs) who were set to go camping in the next city on a summer break. She told them, in the presence of the sending off parents, “Your goal is to meet new friends, not to look for a crush. Make friends. You may appreciate someone’s looks, but you are not there to find yourself a girlfriend or a boyfriend. You are still too young for that. So refrain from sending out  ‘regards’ to whoever. You are also there to know more about the Lord.”

In her stay in the other city, she got closer with many brothers and sisters and their families there. Just last month, one of the sisters died at an earl age of 44. A beautiful sister who smiles at you like you were smiled at by an angel. A fresh beauty whose face has a ready smile and exudes of kindness. That face doesn’t seem to know how to depict anger, so I thought. That sister has three children. The youngest one is a special child. The thought of a special child being orphaned by her mom at a very young age thugs at any  mother’s heart. It did to mine. That sister’s family is well off. Her wake and funeral was even overflowing with flowers and food. The food included meals and snacks by caterers for days.

Now I wonder, of all wonders, why does my mind keeps on imagining Aiana as the future step-mother of the mother-orphaned children? The thought flashed on my mind days after sister beauty died. I ignored the thought as maybe my mind’s coping mechanism trying to assuage the care of the children left behind. Maybe because when sister beauty’s death shocked my brain, I did try to browse through her fb page. And I saw her posted poses with her kids. I saw in a number of photos Aiana as one of the family friends, aside from being community brethren. My mind seemed to tell me, Aiana may be a good source of comfort for the kids. But does she need to be the step-mom, my mind? Hahayz mind.

I wrote this now to remember this thought later. I’d like to have a record at how my mind sometimes conjure weird thoughts, although, possible ones too. Well, only God knows.

Dandansoy: A Visayan Folk Song

Dandansoy is the name of a boy. This song is about the singer leaving Dandansoy to go back to her hometown.

 

 

To Honor a Friend: Hilaria Catayas – Aldema

Farewell mamoLar
[Laria Catayas-Aldema]

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Right now I can imagine your hug
I grieve of your passing ateLaria
Yet I feel you console me instead
Those hands so firm yet gentle
On warm and assuring massage

Oh you’re supposed to be fifty-three
In two days, on November three
So you’ll celebrate your birthday
Up there where there’s no pain
Up where there’s eternal rest

For most of your living years
In a big family of nine as eldest
No memo for such familial role
Yet acted as breadwinner for all
Sent younger siblings to school

Oh how simple our life was in IH
No internet yet to eat our time away
So we had more time for camaraderie
Cooking our all-time favorite paksiw
Watching TV with just one channel

You’re in my memorable life events
On my wedding as candle sponsor
Even Kim’s monthly photography
Sponsored cake for Johm’s birthday
A mamo to Sam as our shared baby

So it was such an honor for us
When you chose us as your witness
In a civil rite before church ceremony
There we went on our humble jeepey
And celebrate over a meal in the city

Thank you ate Laria for all those
Encouraging eldest experiences
For if you bore it with eight sibs
There’s no reason I can’t with five
Thank you for all those joyous days

Farewell and have your eternal rest

*picture above from Kim’s First Year photo album

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Dear Timothé: As a Nephew Turns Two

PhotoGrid_1508673803750.jpgHow glad we are
To be able to hug you
For real each year
To get to know you
For weeks is rare
To see what you eat
How you sleep
Know your favorites

Indeed to be in Pinas
For overseas pinoys
Is beyond a decision
It’s a commitment
Your dad had made
With your papaLo daw
For your mom to see
Once a year her family

God bless you Timothé
And your loving family
You’re so blessed with
Marvelous papâ et mamâ
Who value relationships
Hardwork and service
Who go out of their way
To make others feel okay

Thanks to technology
That at such young age
We get to see you bake
In the Crèche with granny
And smell various herbs
Oh how so wonderful!
Such learning environ
Stay smiling Timothé

#pamangkin4ofSoon7

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Ashitaba Leaves: Edible and Wonderful

To be packed with much properties alledged to be beneficial to human health is just too wonderful for a leaf! And because the leaf comes from a plant that has grown and been used by Japanese since when makes it more believable.

And why not? Japanese people are amongst those with highest life expectancy in the planet earth (Population Reference Bureau 2016). When a group of humans live ten to twenty years more than the rest in the same universe, they must have something that the rest do not have. They must have better environment, better peace and order, healthier food, more positive outlook in life, happier relationships, more resilience and more.

So, let us get back to Ashitaba leaves. I am a fortunate recipient of Ashitaba plant from a classmate-friend Jenny who lives in a cool, farm-conducive, mountainous Bukidnon. Bukidnon province is one of the vegetable baskets of the Philippines. I did not know about Ashitaba but this friend’s generosity led me to it. Jenny knows I am a natural remedy advocate. With my husband’s help (in getting good soil), our home is now with this Japanese plant Ashitaba.

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In more complex but delicious taste, the leaves can be taken in as a juice, smoothie, tea or salad dressing. For no hassle, simply pluck a leaf, wash and eat!

My son has this eating vegetable challenge in his health class today. The easiest and fastest way is to cut three tip branches from the Ashitaba plant and voila! Johm has now the ready to eat veggie. Off to school he went this morning with these leaves still on the tip branches inside a clear plastic food container.

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So, what are those alledge health benefits of Ashitaba leaves? Here is a good write-up about Ashitaba from Ashitaba Plant website.

What Is Ashitaba

Ashitaba has the scientific name Angelica Keiskei. This plant naturally grows on coastal lands in Japan (here is in depth article about growing ashitaba). Ashitaba has been a staple in the Japanese diet and “regular” in their medicine cabinets for centuries. Recently, Ashitaba has begun to grace in natural food stores and on the worldwide web.

Based on folktales, the Japanese have used Ashitaba for generations. Only in the 90s that modern researchers—hearing of its benefits —dig deeper about the plant.

Scientific Researches on Ashitaba

In 1991, Y. Inamori and his group of scientists from Osaka University in Japan set out to find what was so magical about the plant. They were specifically studying “chalcones”—naturally occurring antioxidants found in the plant that provide the medicinal properties.

Inamori’s research was focused on two specific chalcones (xanthoangelol and 4-hydroxyderricin) which he isolated because they were thought to provide powerful anti-bacterial benefits. The scientists actually used the drug Streptomycin in the study, and compared its potency to Ashitaba. While Streptomycin was more powerful than the plant, they found Ashitaba to be very effective against Staph and Strep infections (and you don’t even need a prescription!).

At the end of the study, the scientists said that Ashitaba “possessed potent anti-bacterial properties.” They concluded by writing, “The growth-inhibitory effects of II [Ashitaba] on plant-pathogenic bacteria is also reported for the first time in this paper.”

Another research group lead by Takata Okuyama from Meiji College in Tokyo, was looking at the anti-tumor benefits of Ashitaba. They were focusing on Ashitaba’s golden, oozing sap that is extremely rich in specific “chalcones”. The scientists stated that potent anti-tumor promoter activity has been found in “extracts of the root of Ashitaba which is eaten as a vegetable in Japan”.

The Meiji College group was focused on two completely different chalcones (xanthoangelol and ashitaba-chalcone). According to their report, both of the chalcones revealed anti-tumor-promoting activity and “may be useful in developing effective methods for cancer prevention.”

Ashitaba can also keep your blood healthy. This, according to Jing-Ping OY, and associates at the Medical College of Wuhan University, Wuhan China. This group of scientists wanted to learn if Ashitaba could protect human endothelial cells. Endothelial cells are cells that line the blood vessels.

They discovered that Ashitaba had anti-atheroscleroticeffects on high cholesterol. In other words, Ashitaba is “heart-protective.” They actually went so far as to write that all the health problems associated with high cholesterol could be “reversed by Ashitaba [angelica] significantly; our findings provided experimental basement for the clinical application of Ashitaba [angelica] to prevent the development of atherosclerosis.”

For this last research group, Wang X and his scientists reported in the Archives of Pharmaceutical Research on findings discovered about the plant. These researchers wanted to know if there was a connection between Ashitaba and blood circulation. The scientists placed red blood cells (RBCs) in various concentrations of Ashitaba in test tubes. Their question: Does Ashitaba affect aggregation or “clumping” of red blood cells? (Clumping of blood cells is not good because it can result in strokes and other problems.)

Further, they wanted to know—when Ashitaba was present in the blood— how red blood cells preformed when they were “squeezed” or “squished” as they passed through tiny capillaries in the body (scientists call this deformation, and only healthy red blood cells can withstand the pressure).

Amazingly, the researchers showed that when the chalcones in Ashitaba were present, red blood cells were strengthened, didn’t clump, and could withstand their tight passage through minuscule capillaries. In other words, the blood cells were made stronger. Ashitaba has a “positive effect against certain cardiovascular diseases.”

Welcoming Ashitaba

Knowing all these health benefits, it is just sensible to include Ashitaba in daily regimen. The plant is too gardener-friendly it grows without much effort and hassle. And it tastes alright like other vegetables.

References

Inamori Y, Baba K, Tsujibo H, Taniguchi M, Nakata K, Kozawa M. Antibacterial Activity of Two Chalcones, Xanthoangelol and 4-hydroxyderricin, Isolated from the Root of Angelica Keiskei.
Osaka University of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Japan. Pharmacol Ther 1991 Dec;52(3):331-63.

Jing-Ping OY, Baohua W, Yongming L, Lei W, Jingwei Y Effect Of Angelica On The Expressional Changes Of Cytokines In Endothelial Cells Induced By Hyperlipidemic Serum.Department of Pathophysiology, Medical College of Wuhan University, Wuhan, 430071, P.R. China. hybs@public.wh.hb.cn Clin Hemorheol Microcirc 2001;24(3):201-5.

Wang X, Wei L, Ouyang JP, Muller S, Gentils M, Cauchois G, Stoltz JF. Effects Of An Angelica Extract On Human Erythrocyte Aggregation, Deformation And Osmotic Fragility Group Cell and Tissue Mechanics and Engineering, LEMTA – UMR 7563 CNRS/INPL/UHP, 54500 Vandoeuvre-les- Nancy, France. xwang@ensem.inpl-nancy.fr 1991 Mar;14(1):87-92.

Okuyama T, Takata M, Takayasu J, Hasegawa T, Tokuda H, Nishino A, Nishino H, Iwashima A. Anti- tumor-promotion by principles obtained from Angelica keiskei. Department of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry, Meiji College of Pharmacy, Tokyo, Japan. Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo) 1991 Jun;39(6):1604-5.

Exam Preparations Revisited: Nursing Board Exam as a Springboard for Compre

Since 1978 to this writing (2017), I  have been taking tests and examinations in various formal educational setting. So tests and examinations are like other folkways to me. They are like choosing the best clothes to wear as casual wear or as Sunday’s best. But, there are really big time events, like my wedding, which preparations for the clothes take weeks. And, such clothes are worn only in few hours. Such is the case of a board exam and comprehensive exam!

NLE review.jpgIn March 2009, I graduated from my third course, Bachelor of Science in Nursing at a Seventh Day Adventist health school. This was when my youngest child of three was age 2 years and 3 months. I started the nursing course when my second child was 11 months old. I could say that this student life was intertwined with motherhood and work. Motherhood revolved around a 2 year old, breastfeeding a second child, a pregnancy of third child, another breastfeeding of the third child. Work demands involved commuting from my residence to another city (Marawi City) every day. And, student schedule is everyday after work. This has to be the most complex of all situations I’ve ever been. As in.

And, for the first time there was a board exam I need to pass! I really felt at that time that I do not need a review center to review me. I felt it in my heart that I knew best how to review myself. I believe I am old enough to adhere to my schedule. While a review center’s schedule may not fit my needs. And, it would a waste of my time. I did not have much time. I have already applied for the June 6 and 7 exam dates. The next exam would be by December. Between the two schedules, my heart and mind tell me to grab the June schedule. I have funny but logical reasons. For June exam, I have every reason to fail. Time to review is too short, only from April to May. And, the more if do not review properly in a review center. Just self-review is a ridiculous idea to some. So if I pass, it’s a wondrous outcome! For December exam, I have every reason to pass! So I would have a long review period from April to November. My mind was telling me, should I fail, I definitely cannot accept it. I would be in a fit of a depression, I guess. So, I embarked on the risky, short route.

Because I’ve helped my sister in the final phase of her master’s thesis in April, I’ve started my self review on the third week of April. By then, my husband decided to bring all the three children and himself to his mother’s place. They vacated our home for my solo use. His idea actually, which turned out to be so helpful for me. My sister advised me to enrol in a final coaching review for a week to boast my confidence. So I did enrol myself to a final coaching in another city, in the last week of May. So, I have two weeks in April and three weeks in May. I have a total of 5 weeks before the final coaching.

I gathered all my notes, photocopies, exam papers, case presentations, and few books. Half of the week, I grouped my materials into test subject categories. I have arranged the test subjects according to degree of difficulty for me. I allocated one full week and a half for Psychiatric Nursing alone. That was how I believed I was weak in this area. The third week, I tackled Community Health Nursing and Fundamentals of Nursing.  The fourth week was for Medical-Surgical Nursing and Maternal and Child Health. The fifth and last week, I retook all tests i have taken.

I made and printed answer sheets. Every day I practice answering a test with a timer. I checked my answers and learn from my mistakes. I downloaded practice tests from those generous individuals who share their materials online. I answered compilations of past board exam questions sold by review centers. Those were what I used. The answer keys provide rationale. There were entries though, which appear unbelievable. So I consult the books on those instances. I stood by the books’ explanations. I did not allow  my mind to wander away from what the books said. I heard many failures in board exams are due to over-analysis. That the board  exam is book-based, I should not make up stories and own reasoning.

I woke up at six in the morning, bathe, in comfortable clothes, cook and eat simple but nutritious meal, and begin the review. Mealtimes were break times for me when I turned on the television to obtain updates of contemporary issues. Then I turned off the TV and continue the afternoon review. I took short nap of 30 minutes at 3 or 4  in the afternoon, more to stretch my body on the bed for better circulation. Then dinner time is another break and short TV. I only spent about 30 to 45 minutes on mealtime. Then the evening review continued. It was a must that I sleep by 11 in the evening. In all of these daily routine, I never forget to open and close the day in prayer. This came with a song and scripture reading. I spent about 15 minutes on prayer.

While in CDO for the final coaching, I stayed with my ninang’s family. The daily schedule was from 8am to 5pm. In the evenings, I did not anymore do any review. I just spend time chatting with the people around. I look at my online mails and read online nursing related stories. After the 5-day final coaching, I had a week’s break and went back to my family. That week, I just browsed notes from final coaching. I have started to cool myself down, to relax my mind and let everything sink in. I have done my part, everything else was up to God’s plans for me. That was what I’ve set my heart and mind.

NLE passer.jpgAnd, God rewarded all my efforts! I passed the board exam! Though I’ve every reason to fail based on circumstances, yes. But, I did all that it takes to pass! I have not left any table unturned, no notes untouched. Most of all, I never doubted myself, not a bit. I knew that i would pass the exams based on how I’ve managed to finish the course in such complex situation.

Why I remember all these?

Because, another major exam is looming before me. A Goliath I have to slay, by God’s grace. In July, I will be taking a Comprehensive Exam for a doctorate degree. A doctorate in the field of Sociology, my first original field of study. The board exam experience gives me a good backdrop for my preparations for the compre exam. I now know what I need to do. I need two weeks of secluded review. No distractions. My family, with my three children bigger now, age 10-12-14 years old and my sister, we all were able to come up with the appropriate set-up for me. Again, I need to do my part, and God will do the rest.

In Jesus’ name.