Author Archives: M&MDaclan

November: Birthmonth of Heartmonth Babies

It is notable that when November comes, numerous individuals celebrate their birthday. Well, I can only observe what occurs in my immediate tiny universe of friends, acquaintances, workmates and relatives. Hopefully, I can dig about this phenomenon using local and international statistical records.

PhotoGrid_1542283576252In the Philippines, the first two days of November are on national holiday for religious reasons. The first day is for the Catholic saints, the second day is in remembrance of departed loved ones (souls). Majority of the Filipinos, the Catholics, go home to their provincial home towns to pay respect to their dead at the cemetery.

During these first two days, I have friends who celebrate their birthdays. And, it seems, everday thereafter I have a friend or a relative who I grace the birthday celebration. From my family of orientation, I have 2 nieces, the daughters KC and Chen of my younger brother whose birthdays are on October 13 and 17, respectively. KC just turned 7 years old while Chen will be 5 years old.

20181115_220140

20181115_213852

In my community, I have spiritual  sisters who celebrate their birthday this month.

20181115_21153720181115_21174820181115_210509

Screenshot_20181115-230107_Gallery.jpg

And, I have these former International House dormmates who are like older sisters I never had, as I’m the family’ eldest.

20181115_211430

20181115_212512

INDONESIA: The Testimony of the Pilot of the Last Plane out of Palu before the Earthquake

This story is so inspiring that I decided to repost here for my easier access.

October 2018
(English translation)

“Today the Batik Air pilot, Captain Mafella, visited a  church in Jakarta (Duta Injil BIP) and testified why he speeded up the departure of his flight 3 minutes ahead of the Palu airport schedule set.

He told us that all day Friday he had been feeling unsettled and he didn’t know why.

To get rid of these feelings of unrest, he loudly sang worship songs the whole way from Ujung Pandang to Palu, (“Usually I only hummed, but that day I wanted to praise the Lord as best I could”, he said). Eventually his Muslim Co-Pilot jokingly suggested, that he make a CD of worship songs.

When they were about to land at the Palu Airport, the sky was clear but the wind was too strong and he “heard a voice in his heart” telling him to circle again before landing.

The Palu airport is squeezed between two mountain ranges and it reminded him of  the verse, Psalm 23:4:

“I may walk through valleys as dark as death but I wont be afraid. You are with me and your shepherd’s rod makes me feel safe.”

According to the Captain, pilots call airports situated between two mountain ranges, “valleys of death,” because they must be extra careful in landing, so Christian pilots hold on to Psalm 23:4.

A moment after landing successfully, he felt in his heart that he needed to be quick.

Because of that, he instructed his crew to just take a 20-minute break before the plane was due to return to Jakarta via Ujung Pandang.

He didn’t even leave the cockpit and requested permission from the Control Tower to depart 3 minutes ahead of schedule.

After receiving permission for take-off from the late air controller, Agung, [Anthonius Gunawan Agung] they prepared for take off.

Captain Mafella confessed that at that time he broke flight procedures because he took over the job of the Co-Pilot by speeding up the plane in the process of take off.

He didn’t know why but his hand kept holding on to the lever causing the plane to speed up as it took off.

He did not know then that an earthquake had struck Palu but he felt the plane swaying a little to left and right.

According to him if he had taken off three minutes later, he would not have been able to save the 140 passengers, because the asphalt on the landing strip was moving up and down like a curtain blowing in the wind.

Several minutes after take-off, he tried to communicate with the tower but there was no response from Agung.

He looked down and saw a strange phenomena.

The sea water on the coast was forming a very large hole “so that the foundation of the sea bed could be seen.”

When the plane arrived in Ujung Pandang, he was told that there had been an earthquake and tsunami in Palu and that the official in the control tower who had organised his plane’s take off, had died shortly after he [had stayed back and] had made sure that the plane had taken off safely.

This afternoon before he left to fly to Kuala Lumpur, Captain Mafella emphasized how important it is that we are hear the voice of God.

And whatever happens we must be calm, not in a panic, so that we can clearly hear the voice of God coming to us by the Holy Spirit – because he added that when he took over the role of the co-pilot to speed up the take off, the co-pilot looked fearful, as the body of the plane was swinging left and right.

May we take a lesson and a blessing from the testimony of Captain Mafella today.”

#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
FB_IMG_1528266836662.jpg

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

~ ~ ~

I’ve written the above poem amidst the angsts that I felt while I was in limbo as to what transpired to my legs in mid-April of 2018. The legs were just the starting points though, for the red papules invaded my upper extremities as well (the inset of the picture below).

20180423_075955.jpg

I’ve been trying to lead a healthy lifestyle through good food and exercise and even supplementation. It’s akin to, I woke up like this! It definitely caught me by surprise. And, because I lost a sister to Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura in 2001, I could not help myself getting scared (not for me but for my young kids) to be told that I have Idiopathic Hypersensitivity Vasculitis!

Notice the same first word? Idiopathic.  It means that a disease is arising from an unknown cause. What makes matters worse is, we have the same treatment – prednisone. Prednisone is a dehydrogenated analogue of cortisol used as immunosuppressant in my late sister’s and my case.

Who on earth wouldn’t be bothered? But, that’s an understatement for the well managed, if not grappled, internal panic I had. Only by God’s grace, propelled by incessant prayers by people who care, that I’m able to go through those trying months. And, God led me to victory on 18th of May. TGBTG!

 

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.

IDEA2016 4IDEA2016 3IDEA2016 2IDEA2016 1.jpg

 

 

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?

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]

FB_IMG_1509691235744.jpg

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

PhotoGrid_1509610228974.jpg

 

 

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

20171021_195203.jpg

 

Gynura Procumbens NOT Ashitaba Leaves: Also Edible and Wonderful

When I first wrote about this plant, I referred to it as Ashitaba leaves. This plant was given to me by a friend. Turned out, the plant resembled like Ashitaba but not Ashitaba. The plant is in fact called Gynura Procumbens or longevity spinach. What’s good is the fact that the leaves may not be what it is and has another name, but there still are the medicinal properties from it though. So, on picture is the longevity spinach.

To be packed with much properties alledged to be beneficial to human health is just too wonderful for a leaf! I am a fortunate recipient of this 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 Gynura Procumbens (and 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 longevity spinach.

20170926_112105.jpg

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 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.

20170926_065452.jpg

So, what are those allege health benefits of Gynura procumbens leaves? There is a good comparison of Gynura Ashitaba and Ashitaba leaves from this Ashitaba Plant website. And here here is what Gynura Procumbens can do:

Gynura procumbens was able to reduce elevated blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels in diabetic rat models (Singapore study)
Gynura procumbens has anti-hypertensive properties (Korean group of researchers)

Too good to be true but allegedly, Gynura Procumbens may be an herbal treatment of eruptive fever, rash, kidney disease, migraine, constipation, hypertension, diabetes mellitus and even cancer.  
Here is a detailed chemical properties of the plant from Frontiers in Pharmacology
gynura procumbens longevity spinach
The scientific article has this summary:
G. procumbens has been demonstrated to have high therapeutic value and has enormous potential for application in the development of medical treatments as well as consumer goods. Its diverse pharmacological effects and biological properties (details are ​(Table1)1) are mainly attributed to its flavonoid content (Figure 1 above picture). However, there is still limited knowledge regarding the underlying mechanisms of action and exact chemical constituents involved. Further research elucidating the mechanisms underlying the biological activities is needed for development of standardized drugs or herbal products.”

Welcoming Longevity Spinach

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