Available Balance
Lenten Season, is it spiritual or just a respite from a much needed vacation?
April 13, 2017
9th station

Being a Catholic, I have to be honest that for the past many years, I have stopped being religious for some personal reason.  For this Lenten Season we have been busy not with the spiritual aspect of life but on the physical side of it. We are busy cleaning the surroundings and to make the house spic and span for visitors who will come and visit us.

This is the time to prepare the place for the people we long to see, our children and my husband’s siblings and their families.

In the Philippine set up, Holy Week is the longest in all the holidays being celebrated. Almost all the people in Metro Manila long to have that much needed vacation in the provinces. But if you have no plans for an out of town vacation, you will surely enjoy breezing through the roads of Metro Manila. For this is one of those days that you will not experience traffic in the city, just like during fights of Manny Pacquiao. It is practically a ghost town.

I remember when we were children, during the Lenten Season, we are not allowed to listen to any music and to refrain from any noise making activities. But this is also the time that our family went out of town, either to La Union, my Mother’s hometown or to Albay, my Father’s hometown. We enjoyed watching the Holy Week activities like the procession of Saints and the Easter Sunday pre-dawn ritual called the SALUBONG (tagalog word meaning ‘meeting’ between the Risen Christ and his mother, Mother Mary).

For my husband and I, this is the busiest time of the year, not so much for the spiritual but more on the physical. I have to ask forgiveness for this. At one point in our lives, we have been very active with church activities, but have to take a breather.

How will you spend your Holy Week?

father with crucifix close up  mother mary

Books that may hopefully guide in developing my writing skills..
April 7, 2017

During my ‘Lent Cleaning’, I found several books about creative writing. I want to share my experiences in life by writing about it.

I am more of a storyteller than a writer. I can easily express myself verbally rather than in writing. I can be spontaneous in speaking but cannot write about it.

I bought this book, “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Creative Writing” in 2001 but never ever read it. That time that I bought it, I am really planning of honing my skills in writing. The moment I received the Christmas money my eldest sister gave me, I bought this book. Sixteen years later, I am hopeful that, finally, I will be able to read this just to hone my ability in writing.

Now that I am a happy member of LiteracyBase site, I have to improve more on my writing skills. Also, during this ‘Lent cleaning’, I found books of my Journalism graduate daughter about creative writing.

I found a book titled ‘Hooked’ by Les Edgerton. This is about the importance of story beginnings. That this is the make or break for a writer in writing anything. The author said that “when an agent or editor encounters a poor or improper beginning, she doesn’t bother to read on”.

If you are a lover on writing about food, I found this book “Will Write for Food” by Dianne Jacob. This is a complete guide to writing cookbooks, blogs, reviews, memoir, and others.

This “The Little Red Writing Book” by Brandon Royal, contains 20 powerful principles of structure, style and readability.

Last but not the least, is the “Writer’s Mind: Crafting Fiction” by Richard Cohen. This book tells you about the creative writing process in an entertaining yet authoritative manner, from imagining storylines to writing a first draft to publication.

These books had all along been here in our house and I never even bother so much as to open it. Now, it is up to me if ever I will finally read even just one of them.

An Inspiring story of a cleaner who became a writer in residence in south Glasgow
April 6, 2017


If they broke every pencil in the world I’d have to start chiseling words into walls.

  • Mamie Lang


This was the title of an article I read in the May 2003 issue of Good Housekeeping, U.K. Fourteen years had passed and it’s still fresh in my mind.


This was the story of Mamie Lang, a cleaner who went into scriptwriting, to storylining and editing.


At age 57 (year 2003) her life was on a downwards spiral and she has nothing to look forward to but her job as a cleaner. She loved her job but her self-esteem was at a rock bottom. She felt that there is more to life than what she had at present.


During the 21st death anniversary of her partner, she was feeling low she decided to take a walk. She did not take her regular route but turned the other way.


It started to rain and she had to take shelter from the library nearby. By a stroke of luck, a writer in residence, Des Dillon, was having a writers’ group. She approached him and told him that she wanted to learn how to write but haven’t even written anything, not even her diary.


Mr. Dillon asked her to tell him something interesting that had happened to her. She then started to tell him a detailed funny story about her father’s funeral. After she had finished with the story, she was told to go home and write about it.


She bought a pad, went home and wrote it in a straightforward way. A week after, she happily showed what she had written, but Mr. Dillon said it was rubbish. He told her to go home and write the story again with the feelings, humor and warmth of how she first related the story to him.


He loved the improved version of her writing. He helped her record it as a spoken CD to be used b y the Scottish Arts Council for their up-and-coming writers’ archives.


On one of her readings, a literature officer for the Scottish Arts Council, enjoyed her style of writing and told her to continue on writing. She told him that she just cannot give up her job as a cleaner for it is her only source of income.


The man told her that she could apply for a subsistence grant and have to give up her job to concentrate on her writing full time. She applied and eventually was granted a grant of £10,000.


She became a scriptwriter as recommended by Mr. Dillon for a famous Scottish soap, High Road. He told the producers that she was better than he was. When the soap was axed, she went back to cleaning again, but she promised herself that she will not go backwards. She spent as much writing as she could.


About a year later, Mr. Dillon told her that he was giving up his position as a writer in residence and would she be interested in filling up his position? She was happy that Mr. Dillon was taking a chance on her by offering her his vacated job.



This Dad goes home for lunch from his Makati Office to their residence in Quezon City, everyday!
April 5, 2017
Traffic on EDSA near the Kamuning Avenue flyover is back to normal on Tuesday after the long, 5-day holiday due to the visit of Pope Francis. Despite some roads being closed for the motorcades during the papal visit, the holidays kept traffic in the metro light. Photo by Manny Palmero for ABS-CBNnews.comTraffic on EDSA near the Kamuning Avenue flyover is back to normal on Tuesday after the long, 5-day holiday due to the visit of Pope Francis. Despite some roads being closed for the motorcades during the papal visit, the holidays kept traffic in the metro light. Photo by Manny Palmero for ABS-CBNnews.com

It was twelve years ago since my dad passed away. My husband and I reminisced on the days when my dad was still working in Makait City, as the Legal Officer in one of the biggest banks in that area. What we talked about was those times he went home every day for his lunch break.

I don’t know why, but my dad never got tired of having his lunch at home, everyday of his life. Since I worked in the same office building, I went home with him, too.

I can cite a thing or two on why he’d rather take his lunch break at the house rather than have his lunch at the bank’s cafeteria wherein he still had to wait in line. It is only now that I have appreciated him in doing this.

First was, maybe it is cheaper. He will not consider the travel time in going to and fro his office, then home and back at the office again for just a period of one hour.

Secondly, maybe for him nothing beats my mom’s cooking.  I don’t want to sound boastful, but my mom’s cooking is one of the best for me. My standard taste for food is based on the taste I know is similar to her cooking.

Thirdly, he can have a restful nap in the comforts of his bed. I remember that his office had a sofa but not a bed. He will take his nap on the sofa or sitting on his office chair. That is not restful.

All of these he can do in an hour’s time and be at the office just in time for the afternoon shift.


image by www.balita.com

The only factor that you can never do this anymore at this day and age is the uncertainty of the traffic condition along EDSA.

Intellectual Disability replaces the term Mental Retardation or Mental Deficiency
April 3, 2017

Intellectual Disability replaces the term Mental Retardation or Mental Deficiency,


My sister had a frequent asthma attack when she was conceiving her baby. As explained by her doctor, an asthma attack during pregnancy can cut back the oxygen to the fetus from her which may also include, among other risks, abnormally slow growth of the fetus (intrauterine growth retardation).


When my niece was born it was evident that she had some physical disability. As she was growing up, she was enrolled in community for special children.


Way before she was born, Filipino culture is not yet ready to this type of personalities. They are being ridiculed and shunned by people, not from the immediate family members, of course. They are kept inside the home and not sent to schools.


Luckily, as my niece was growing up, there were already institutions that help people with disability like Caritas Manila. Also our government had created Special Education or the SPED, to address this kind of situation.


Back then, persons with this condition was called ‘retarded’. Now, the diagnostic term ‘mental retardation’ is finally being eliminated by replacing it with the term ‘intellectual disability’.


In 1961, the term ‘mental retardation’ was introduced by The American Association on Mental Retardation and was adopted by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) in its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM-5).


Mental retardation replaced older terms such as feeblemindedness, idiocy, and mental subnormality that had become offensive. Now, over 5 decades later, the term ‘mental retardation’ is being eliminated.


In the United States, associations, journals, and committees changed their names/titles. Here are some of the changes:


From The International Association for the Scientific Study of Mental Deficiency (IASSMD) to The International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual Disability (IASSID).


From The Journal of Mental Deficiency Research to The Journal of Intellectual Disability



From The United States President’s Committee on Mental Retardation to The President’s Committee for Persons With Intellectual Disabilities.


The United States passed what they called, Public Law 111-256 or the Rosa’s law to replace the term ‘mental retardation’ with ‘intellectual disability and requires that person first language be used when referring to those affected in all federal laws.


Rosa’s Law was based on the story of Rosa Marcellino, an 8-year-old girl with Down Syndrome from Maryland.


Here is the story: “Rosa was taunted frequently and negatively called ‘retard’ in a demeaning manner. With support from her state representative and US Senator Barbara Mikulski, legislation was initiated leading to the change in the law. Such change is important not only to deal with the offensive use of the term, but also to emphasize that these are people with neurodevelopmental disorders requiring intervention early in the developmental period”.


Here in the Philippines, the general term being used now is Persons with Disabilities or PWD. Types of PWD are the following:


  1. Blind and Visually Impaired
  2. Deaf
  3. Orthopedically challenged
  4. Intellectual disability
  5. Learning disability
  6. Autism
  7. Multiple disability
  8. Serious emotional disorders
  9. Communication disorder, speech and language impairment
  10. Deafblind
  11. Other health problems


The Philippine government has existing laws not fully harmonized with United Nation’s Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD):


Magna Carta (RA 7277)


PWD definition based on medical and functional model

Discrimination in employment, transport, public services


Accessibility law (BP 344)


Addresses only built environment


Anti Rape Law (RA8353)


Women and girls with “intellectual disability” are “deprived of reason” and incapable of giving “rational consent”


UNILAB Foundation, tie up with Southstar Drug to hire PWD to work in their company. As stated by the Sourthstar Drug representative, they focus first on the capability or the ability of the PWD, and they will look on their disability second.


Persons with disabilities are part of our society and must be involved in its development.

Saving something for future use
April 2, 2017

I want to use the phrase “I am spring cleaning” but since our country has only two seasons, the wet and the dry season, it is not applicable. So I will use the phrase “I am Lent Cleaning”.

In the Philippines, the much awaited time of the year is the Lenten Season for it is a long vacation for most working bodies and the end of the school year for students.

Since we live in the province, a lot of vacationers will be going back to the province to take a break from their busy schedules. Our children will be coming home for much needed rest from all the hustle and bustle of school & work life.

So, we have to prepare the place. All the cleaning will have to be done. Prepare their beddings and clean the surroundings for our granddaughter to play with. There was so much cleaning to do.

As we were cleaning, I found a dilapidated small brown envelope and written in front was “Churches and Scenic Spots in the Phil.”. The content was newspaper clippings collected by my late mother. She is so fond of collecting things that should have been thrown away, but kept them for future use.

I can say she is a hoarder and I think I took after her.

I scanned the contents of the envelope and found clippings of old churches & tourist spots in the Philippines. I was supposed to Google how many churches there are in the Philippines for she had so many clippings, I lost count.

The clippings looked so old, but when I looked at the year, it was only 1986.

It was so heartwarming that the things I considered as waste, was in fact, so informative. I will assume she cut it out for she dreamed of visiting each and every churches and tourist spots here in the Philippines.

All of us are free to dream our dreams. I think she was able to visit some of them in her lifetime.

4 churches in one

Why do some Filipinos lack discipline in their way of life?
April 2, 2017
discipline pix

Why do some Filipinos lack discipline in their way of life?

Some Filipinos take for granted the practice of discipline as a virtue. In the 80’s, we still don’t have the ‘fall in line attitude’. What we follow was the barbaric way of pushing your way to be the first. ‘Survival of the fittest’ is the motto at that time.

Around this year too, there was this ‘Love Bus’ operated by the Philippine government. If I recalled it correctly, this was the first air conditioned bus plying Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA) from Ali Mall in Cubao going to the business district of Escolta and Makati City, where I used to work then.


When it was first introduced, the ‘first to arrive, first to ride’ rule was not being followed. The minute the bus arrived, we scrambled to the path of the incoming bus. It was such a chaotic scenario. The weakling has no place for it.

As time passes by, the management gradually implemented the ‘first to arrive, first to ride’ rule. People gladly follow. Eventually, you can see everywhere, that falling in line and waiting for your turn was the rule to follow.

Fast forward to today. Although in some situations, Filipinos is practicing the virtue of discipline, there are still some areas/situations where we lack some of it.

To name a few:

Not using the pedestrian crossing lane or the overpass. Some would rather dare play tug-o-war with vehicles just to cross the street not minding the danger they are in.

In some places, the street is one big garbage bin. People sometimes are too lazy to look for trash can to throw in their litter or just doesn’t want put it in their pocket or bag.

Following instructions is hard to do. Example is the “No Loading and Unloading Zone”. Despite that big sign, you can still see public transport still crowding that space.

The traffic rule of “First to stop, first to go” is hard to apply in Metro Manila. Everyone wants to be first in everything and other traffic signs are not followed. These sometimes cause that much hated traffic jam. Some drivers don’t even know the meaning of some of the traffic & road signs. I just wonder how they even got to have a driver’s license.

Honesty is the best policy is not followed by some Filipinos. Sad to say, some of those who are in power are the ones being dishonest because of their greediness. There are so many corrupt public servants. The sad thing is the ‘small fish’ is always being caught while the ‘big ones’ are not.

Related to the virtue of honesty, a lot of news about taxi drivers returning what was left by their passengers has been evident. The stories of these honest drivers can move you to tears.

In the end, no matter how strict is the implementation of the law, without discipline, the governing body of the country will have a hard time improving our way of life.




image by quotesgram.com & blog.travelpod.com

April 1, 2017
LiteracyBase logo

Before LiteracyBase, I am a multi tasker. I can watch TV or Youtube and at the same time playing 1010 game (for I want to beat the high score of my husband which is 99k+ & mine is only 50k+) or do some paper recycling projects or any projects for that matter.

I just don’t want to waste my time concentrating on what I am watching. For me, it is just a waste of time. I have to tinker on something for I will feel I am just passing away time without constructive things done.

When I signed up at this site, I cannot seem to watch and then write an article at the same time. It is maybe because I have difficulty in concentrating on my grammar and how the article will come out.

Sometimes, the present tense of the word is needed and I apply the past tense of the word or the other way around. The autocorrect feature of Word Processor helped me a lot on this dilemma. Others might say, ‘Elementary, My Dear’, but really, it is not elementary for me.

Also, I still have to think or look for an image to upload for my article. Sometimes the image I uploaded has no relevance whatsoever to my topic. This is the reason why the Support of LiteracyBase called my attention and I thank them for that. I realized that they really are watching over us.

I now see the reason why this site wants the ‘discussion topic style’ of articles. A discussion will surely need a comment, whether positive or negative. If the article submitted is that of the ‘lecture type’, no one might take notice.

But I did notice some ‘lecture type style’ and I learned from them. Like the article of Kate Nars, it really helped me improved on my writing techniques. I applied her tip on “reading aloud” what you have written.

How about you, how have LiteracyBase changed you? For better or for worse or until death do you part?


Image by LiteracyBase and by Ruby

How can we prevent teenage pregnancy?
March 31, 2017

The Zonta Club of Marikina and of Greater Rizal with the Marikina Valley (Host) Lions Club conducted a symposium on Teenage Pregnancy held at the Tanong High School. This is also in conjunction with the National Youth Commission’s (NMYC) advocacy to disseminate information on this topic to high school students.

According to the Chairman of the NMYC, Hon. Aiza Seguerra, the rise in cases of teenage pregnancies in the Philippines is soaring high and should be addressed.

The symposium was attended only by the female high school students. I questioned it myself as to why only the female populace was invited. Someone answered, because they are the ones who will have to say “NO” if ever they were asked by their boyfriends to prove their love by having sex with them.

The symposium is more of general information on the human reproductive system. The resource speakers explained the how and the why of it. It was not surprising that these students are well informed already of the structure of the reproductive system of the human body because it is part of their science subject. Since this is also the technology age, I will not be surprised if they know more than what we think.

Part also of the symposium was the effects of teenage pregnancy on their body, their life and their family. They gave a testimony of a high school student who became pregnant and the effects it had on her, her school life and her family relationship.

The students were a bit shy on asking a more serious questions pertaining to this topic. During the “answer and question” portion, I asked them how many of them have boyfriends. They kept on pointing at each other but I think only one admitted of having a boyfriend.

When the resource person cannot force them to ask a question, I asked if I can be the one to ask a question. My question was directed to the students. The question was:  “How can you show your love to your boyfriend other than having to surrender yourself to him?”

Think of you as a teenager, what will your answer be to this question?




Image by question_makrs_cutie_mark_by_rildraw-d4byewl.png

Which is more important, Intelligence Quotient (IQ) or Emotional Quotient/Emotional Intelligence (EQ/EI)?
March 29, 2017
iq eq

By definition, Intelligence quotient (IQ) is a standard test determine to assess human intelligence while that of Emotional Quotient or Emotional Intelligence is the human ability to identify, evaluate, control, and express emotions.

IQ is administered to determine educational placement, assessment of intellectual disability, or evaluating job applicants while EQ is determined by how a person relates to others and situations around him.

Parents sometimes are so proud to say that their children have a very high IQ. Should we solely be proud for our children’s intelligence? How about our relationship with our children when they were growing up? How were they when they were children? Were they ever bullied?

Our growing up years like family relationships, how the people around treat us, and our environment play an important role in honing our EQ. If this is coupled by a high IQ, more or less, getting thru life would be a breeze.

Some are forced by parents to make good for it is expected of them to be on top. Maybe because the parents have a reputation to maintain or an elder sibling graduated with honors.

There were findings that if IQ is not coupled by EQ, the overall personality is not whole. Within the community where I live, I have observed that not all who finished on top of their class, has a sure way of having a good life in the future.

Some of them lack the assertiveness a person needs to face challenges in life. Most of them are the pampered ones that comes from a well-to-do families. It’s as if, failure has no room in their lives.

If they went out of their comfort zone, they cannot function as much as when they are within the wings of their parents.

To sum it up, you will get through school with a high IQ, but life will be a breeze with a high EQ.