20 November 2018


My memories of Jolo are crystal clear as the waters surrounding its coastline. It is where I had my growing up years. I remember long stretches of white sand, the sounds of sea waves lapping and the cool breezes that brought with it the smells of my childhood, the salted fish left to dry in rows and that peculiar smell of the king of fruits, the durian. Jolo was a coastal haven where the masjids and the churches co-existed and thrived beautifully.

The tricycle was the major mode of transport. It seated you comfortably as well as graced you with stories from its driver. I remember the squeals and laughter when we rode the tricycle that brought us to Sincere Trading where we were treated with M&Ms and comics at Joe’s Bookstore.

I remember how young and vibrant my parents were, how green the surroundings were and how lazy the afternoons were as people went on their siestas. My siblings and I were schooled in what was considered the best schools in town, the Notre Dame of Jolo Elementary School then the Notre Dame High School. Here, we were taught the basic tenets of loyalty and truthfulness, industry, patience and love of community. 

Memories of classmates, teachers and the nuns and priests are forever etched in our memories. In the aftermath of the 1974 conflict, most of us have found abodes in other places. Our lives have changed, we’ve lost communications but thankfully reconnected with the leadership and the enthusiastic support of the ‘boys and girls’ of NDJHS CLASS of 1974. May we live long enough to savor the friendships and belongingness grown from a common bond, our love of our hometown, Jolo and our school, Notre Dame of Jolo.

17 November 2018


Near the door of the room where I hold my classes there is a poster (not my making - it was a product of a reading project launched in school) which reads "If you can read this, then thank your teacher". It does not seek for approval or attention for the reading teachers nor an aggrandizement of some sort. It was just posted alongside other quotable quotes for the sake of the reading project. Nonetheless, it became a reminder for me, a teacher who was taught.

I am lucky to have had good teachers while in school. The ones that had influenced my thinking and my personality were the ones who made me laugh because of their great sense of humour, their booming voices and flair for drama.

I remember Mrs Lu, maths teacher in secondary school, who reduced us to tears and laughter with her surprise quizzes but brought us out from our phlegmatic number-hating selves. We knew we had one of her surprises when she came in and commanded us in her very loud voice - "SPREAD OUT", meaning space out your seats. Then, there would be the deafening dragging and pushing of chairs for a few seconds. 

At the same school, in senior year, we had Mrs Paulate, the bespectaled schoolmarm who was soft spoken but very vocal and intent on perfecting everyone's writing skills. She was from the old school, disciplinarian and very autocratic. In post writing sessions, she would delve on the exact reason why we wrote a particular thought or idea, unmasking us all, and almost always there would be a funny confession or a struggle for language then a quick funny rejoinder from her. 

So, when you find yourself wondering how you started reading or writing or multiplying those two digit numbers, enjoying learning, then you have got to thank your teachers - really - seriously. Thank you, Mrs Lu and Miss Paulate.

22 December 2009

tidbits in my diary

I did some cleaning up of My Documents and I got a glimpse of my life just a few months back.

16 June 2009
Repainted the wall under the sink then washed all the pots, pans, containers…I threw away redundant things…

Was a bit hyper today.
Cleaned my Furla bag.
Took out outdated things from my wallet.

$ 30… for fish, long beans, drinks (Utama)
$ 7 for rabbit food
$ 1.20 for bread (Fun Bread)

17 June 2009
Cleaned out Meeza’s closet.

18 June 2009
Threw out more clutter.
Tried to save some sentimental things.
Saved the tin containers (tiffin?) in case someone gets into the hospital.

Lunch was chicken curry; eggplants with chilli

$1 for newspaper

19 June 2009
Checked Meeza’s school uniforms.
Finally wore my one of two newest VS.

$25 fish, vegetables
$ 1 newspaper

Lunch – sweet sour kurapu fish
yam with coconut
chicken adobo

20 June 2009
Bought a mug for Dad’s day and a card for Meeza to sign.
Lunch at Delifrance; dinner at the Stadium Restaurant ... best ever creme brule (sp?).
High tea at Aneka Rasa

22 June 2009
The start of the 2nd half of the school holiday.
Did Unit 14 for Year 1.
Anxious to finish a lot of lesson plans this week.

06 December 2009

subconsciously speaking

  • MacGyver ::
  • TV show years ago
  • Garter ::
  • elastic
  • Wedge ::
  • shoe or a divide
  • Inches ::
  • ruler
  • Code ::
  • Da Vinci
  • Water ::
  • bath
  • Running ::
  • race
  • Curly ::
  • frizzy
  • Turkey ::
  • roasted
  • Stupor ::
  • drunk

    For more of Unconscious Mutterings go to http://subliminal.lunanina.com.

    19 October 2009

    a remembrance

    To us, he was just Bapa.

    21 August 2009

    Cielo aka Minggay

    I named her 'Cielo' meaning sky, maybe heaven. She is a darling of a pet. She is Meeza's sweetheart. Finally, Meeza has a cat she can call her own. Then, out of the blue, somebody called her 'Minggay' and the name stuck. Out goes 'Cielo'. So ... Minggay it is. I just have to wince in pain at that name.

    09 May 2009

    reptilian surprise

    We spent time watching this tiny reptile among the rounded shrubs in front of our porch in Mata-Mata. Whether it came out of its hideaway safely, we are not sure. It was nowhere to be seen again.