What is the best job in the world?

What is it about mothers?

We may not be all mothers but each of us are sons or daughters of our respective mothers.  Whenever we talk about mothers, expect the sudden outpour of emotions.  I’m sure each of us have our own touching stories about our mothers. I bet that even the toughest guy on earth will feel his heart melt when asked to relate about the love of his mother.

Motherhood is often perceived as a job for the weaker being, the female populace. Though I don’t discount the fact that there have been males who embraced the task of motherhood. The thing I’d like to raise is the ironic branding for  females as the weak and emotional beings. However, when those tough guys are caught crying or are simply asked to identify the “greatest love” of their life, their mothers would surely receive instant recognition. How come it only takes a mother to defeat all the powerful men in the world?

I’m not a mother but I have high respect for motherhood. It takes a great woman to raise a child. The job is the toughest but definitely the most rewarding for any woman.

Here’s a video clip I found that honors the priceless and heroic efforts of all the mothers in the world


For bitter and better

I grew up in a neighborhood having playmates whose parents work abroad. Even in the province where my mother came from, I have seen neighbors whose family members, either parents or children,  are identified as Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW).

One thing I have noticed among my so-called OFW neighbors is their economic elevation. They have bigger and taller houses, more appliances, chocolates and all those imported goodies.  Did I get envious? Yes I was guilty of being blinded with those material wealth.  I grew up in a simple home. Most of the things we have at home are locally produced furniture pieces and a few of the basic appliances. While my upscale neighbors have a full blast Sony component, we were settled with small cassette player.  They have gigantic  TVs, we still have the classic Sharp “knob” TV.  My playmates have a Nintendo GameBoy, I own a pathetic China Brick  Game.

The  pathetic, loser and envious person in me further prevails whenever I see them receiving a huge box of happiness. Whenever a DHL delivery van arrives, I know that my playmates are again in heaven. Each kid has a toy to brag and their kitchen shelves are suddenly filled up with those colorful cans. Sometimes, I can even smell the aroma of those imported luncheon meat and corned beef.

I once wished that either of my parents are OFWs too. I was hoping to experience receiving those imported and expensive goodies too. As a kid, I was centered on the idea of wealth in material things.  On those days,  it never came in my mind that I was actually in a better off position. I can live without having the need to sacrifice the presence of my parents.

When I started working, I thought I finally got over the idea of being envious with friends and neighbors, who have OFWs in their families. As it turns out, the enviousness mutated to self-pity and frustrations.

I started to develop these hard feelings whenever I see the extent of economic advancement they have contributed to their families. While they contribute that much, I could only offer this much to my family.  I felt so futile and pathetic.

Before, I was an envious and selfish loser. I envy my OFW empowered neighbors because they have more than what I have.  Now that I am a grown up, the same feelings still prevailed. However, the reason for my self-imposed bitterness emanates from the fact that I can’t provide more than what they can provide.

The downside of traveling

Traveling gave me a different kind of happiness I’ve never realized. I used to believe that traveling is a luxury and intended only for the populace of the upper economic class. With the help of the economy airlines and their promo fares, I was given the chance to explore some parts of the world. Yes, traveling still entails money, which meant setting aside funds. However, with proper planning and prudence, even rank and file employees like me are capable to see the world.

Unfortunately, the happiness of being able to step to another land is accompanied with some points of frustrations. This is another unexpected sentiment I gained from traveling.

When I visited Hong Kong and Taiwan, I was amazed by their systematized public transportation system.

In Hong Kong, they have the so-called octopus card. You have to purchase the card for HKD 50 and load it with your preferred amount. Every time you ride the train or bus, you just have to swipe your octopus card to pay for the fare. Some establishments such as Mc Donalds even accepts the octopus card for payment. Reloading the card with money is equally easy.  Surrender the card to the nearest train station and pay for another prepaid balance.

In the Philippines, do I need to detail everything? The lines of the train have different ticketing system. The stored value card I use for LRT 2 can’t be used to access the MRT. It was only recently when I learned that LRT 2 stored value cards can be used to access LRT 1.

How about the speed of the train? When the second line of the LRT became operational, I was already overwhelmed and thankful for the government’s effort to finally turn it to reality. The more than an hour travel from Marikina to Manila was reduced to 30 minutes. When I tried the trains of Hong Kong, I realized that the recent LRT line 2 has still a lot of rooms for improvement.

In Hong Kong, the travel interval of each coach is 2 minutes. Whew!  The waiting time for the train’s arrival is faster than composing a text message telling your boss or your colleague that “Sorry, I’ll be late, but I’m on my way.” Though to compensate, the coaches of the LRT 2 are way spacious than those in Hong Kong. But if you can provide a train that arrive every 2 minutes, you might no longer need a spacious train to accommodate the volume of passengers.

HK trains operates until midnight. We arrived in HK at around 12 am after our short visit from Macau. We decided to take the expensive taxis since we were not familiar with the trip schedule of their trains. In the Philippines, the last train travels at around 10:30 pm, which still depends to where station are you coming from. To our surprise, HK trains still operate at 12 am. We were able to catch the last trip. Extending the train operations of the MRT or LRT, would be beneficial to commuters who are night shift workers, tired employees from their overtime to students who have to stay late in school for their projects.

HK trains have excellent air conditioning system. Even though the train gets crowded, you will never feel sweating and earn those wet underarms before reporting for work. The only thing I didn’t like about HK trains are the confusing lines. If I’m not mistaken, they have 5 train lines. I was quite confused with the line transfers we have to make to reach our destination.

Taiwan has the railroad and bullet trains. I wasn’t able to try their land based rail road trains. However, the pictures and reviews of other bloggers were enough to develop an equal admiration. What I tried in Taiwan is their bullet or the High Speed Train. The High Speed Train passes in every town in Taiwan. How convenient is that? I know Taiwan is relatively smaller in land area than the Philippines. However, we can’t deny the fact that having trains that extend to every city or province at least in Luzon is heaven sent. Reaching provinces will no longer entail hell hours of waiting and sitting inside the bus. I traveled from Tainan to Taoyuan in Taiwan using the High Speed Train. The distance of Tainan to Taoyuan is like Manila to Pangasinan, if my estimate is correct. Normally, a bus ride from would take around 3 hours, not considering the traffic. In Taiwan, I was able to reach the same distance for 1.5 hours. If we could only bring the same convenience in the Philippines, life, tourism and other economic activities would be way different.

I’ve tried the bus services both in Hong Kong and Taiwan. As expected, their bus system gave me more frustrations. In both countries, there are a few bus lines that are operating. I guess the bus transport system is owned and regulated by the government. In effect, you can never see traffic caused by mere bus congestion.

Bus drivers are courteous, neat and well dressed. A little attitude and cleanliness would go a long way, right? In Hong Kong, you can use the octopus card to conveniently pay for your bus fare. In Taiwan, you can easily buy tickets from each bus station. The U-bus line in Taiwan even operates 24/7 which brings a great convenience to tourists and citizens who have to travel in those wee hours. The buses in Taiwan also arrive and leave on time. I really wish that this would soon happen in the Philippines. Buses in Taiwan leave the station, regardless of the number of passengers. They don’t operate by quota of seat sales. How do you want to have that in the Philippines?

Lastly, the discipline of bus drivers. All buses alight and fetch passengers to a specified bus stop. All bus stops correspond to a certain destination. This simple organization lessens the chance of traffic and congestion. You see, the organization of one entity leads to a systematic flow of the entire city.

After having these realizations, I felt the need to render a huge sigh.  Despite of everything, I would like to emphasize that I don’t hate my country. I love my country. It’s just that at some point, I feel so sad of the fact that “if other countries can make it happen, why can’t my country make it?”

Crazy Thing About Teaching

I can’t count the number of times I ranted about my love-hate relationship with teaching. I made a number of emotional posts about teaching here and in my other blog. However, despite the stress and occasional heartaches I gained from teaching, I still see myself in this profession on the next years. If my institution will continue to provide me  part time teaching assignments, I will whole-heartedly accept this noble and humbling opportunity.

At least in our school, students are given the chance to give grades to their respective professors. Students are required to assess the performance of their teachers using a questionnaire with a rating scale. Aside from the numerical ratings, the students are also given the opportunity to leave comments in the evaluation.

In God’s grace and my students’ mercy :), I have been receiving decent performance ratings over the past years. And I am more than happy, contented and thankful on the “above passing” grades given by my students. Let me take this opportunity also to emphasize that I am not one of those teachers who aim to be one of the statistical leaders in the evaluation ratings. I don’t teach to build a “sweet coated goodie” image of myself. I’ve said many times that the reason why I remain in the teaching profession is because it’s a dream or as they say, a calling,  that has been thriving in my blood. If given the chance to assess myself though, what my students remember about me 5 to 10 years from now,  is the real evaluation.

When the school year is over, this is only when we can view the assessment results we receive from our students. This morning, one of my colleagues informed me that our evaluation results are already available for online viewing. As I have said, I am thankful and appreciative of the decent evaluation ratings I received. More than the ratings though, I always look forward reading the comments from my students.

One of the sections I’m handling gave me these series of comments

But my attention was caught on the following comments

i love her teaching style, yung paulit ulit yung lesson para magretain sa silly-heads namin yung mga tinuturo niya :) ” (I love her teaching style. She repeats her lectures to ensure that the lessons are retained to our “sillyheads”)

My response:

My Dearest Student,

I beg to disagree. You are not a bunch of sillyheads. You only feel silly because you felt lazy to review our lectures. Sorry, if I sound like your mother or grandma, who keeps on reminding you of things every now and then.

Ma’am D.

i admire her patience, yung kahit konti na nga lang kami, pero sobrang kukulit pa, natitiis pa rin niya. ” (I admire her patience. Though we are only a few students enrolled in her class, she can still handle our peskiness)  

My Dearest Student,

I admit that there were days when I felt like I was losing my self-worth because some of you seem to ignore my presence. There were days when I felt like I was a promo/demo girl in a department store who keeps on talking despite being ignored by busy shoppers.

But then, I told myself that this was perhaps my karma too. On the other hand, you helped me to improve my patience. For that, thank you.

Ma’am D.

Oh my dearest college kids! You never fail to make me laugh, cry and get crazy. This is perhaps one of the many reasons why I remain in this profession.


I woke up on the first day of my most awaited Holy Week break with tears in eyes.

When one of my best friends passed away, I never had those “paradam” or haunted stories. After the “pasiyam” or 9-day novena made for Anna, I never felt any signs of encounters from her. I was all sad and silently grieving over the past weeks. There was no day that she wouldn’t enter my mind. I was always reminded of the thought I lost one great friend and a lifetime wouldn’t be even enough for me to forget her.

A few days ago, I dreamt of Anna. We were in our usual meet up, in a mall that hosts a sale of some branded items. The usual scene, I was busy browsing at shoes and bags while Anna is patiently following me. After some time, Anna called my attention. She told me that she needs to go. The exact words she uttered was, “Diane, kailangan ko ng umakyat. Kailangan ko ng umalis.” (Diane, I need to go up. I need to leave.) I held her hands and told her “Sige umalis ka na. Pagdating mo doon i-hug mo ako para sa Lola ko ha.” (You can go ahead, Anna. But when you get there, please don’t forget to hug my grandma for me.) I woke up with tears in my eyes.

It was only a dream but everything felt so real. If that was God and Anna’s way of telling me that she is in a better place right now, then I will do my share of letting go. I will try my best to let go of a best friend, who was and will continue to become a part of my life. You maybe gone, but your memories will remain with me forever Anna. You will always be the one and special Anna in my heart.