Friday, June 27, 2008

Blogs I Read

Janette Toral launched The Top Ten Emerging Influential Blogs of 2008. And so here is a list blogs I read:

1. Bariles Republic - An Idiot's Guide to General Santos City, Tuna Capital of the Philippines (http://www.gensantos.com) by Avel Manansala
For freshest news on Gensan's people, events and places from an insider's perspective. The accompanying photos are a + + factor in reading this blog.

2. Pine for Pine - travels, travails and troubles of being a Baguio Boy (http://unholyhours.blogspot.com) by Frank Cimatu

For its often irreverent take on a myriad of topics found on the web.

3. Village Idiot Savant (http://villageidiotsavant.blogspot.com) by Dom Cimafranca

For updates on Davao, Davao bloggers, socio-political opinions and what's hot among films, books and the arts.

4. What's on in General Santos (http://gensan.wordpress.com)

5. Davao Delicious

Roxas for President

7. Homeward Bound

8. Bong S. Sarmiento

9. Ed Arevalo

10. Edwin Espejo Portal

11. Pinay Mommy Online


Sunday, June 15, 2008

Neighbors III: Nosy Neighbors on the Eastern Front

Pregnant with their first baby, Eastern wife with hubby in tow was gifted with the house and lot next to mine which her mom won (the lot) from a mahjong game. She looked like a pregnant teen-ager. After four girls, she finally delivered an heir two years ago and had herself promptly ligated. That was also the time she started being nosy. She would criticize my front yard, house and gate when talking to neighbors but never to my face. In fact, I would see her almost every afternoon on schooldays and we would smile at one another. But no small talk about what she disliked about my residence.

When I had the time and money, I would hire the neighborhood kids to clean my yard and trim the plants and trees so they could have extra allowance for their classes the following week. Three groups of these people would report to me that Eastern wife would come inside my front yard and tell them to chop down this plant or kill this tree as if she owned my residence.

My home may not be much, aesthetics-wise. I had to make do with whatever materials my meager income and savings as a teacher could buy to renovate it. But I was able to plant an Ilang-ilang tree, Dame de noche, palmeras, to complement the sampaguita, guyabano and coconut trees. Later I was able to add Chinese bamboo which was uprooted to make way for a sidewalk downtown, kalachuchi, money trees, camias and fortune plants. Much later, a native guava plant grew from bird/bat droppings. Now a hammock hangs between it and the guyabano.

My home is my sanctuary. It has become my cocoon, my chrysalis. Everyday, I emerge from it bearing the dazzling colors of butterfly wings or the blinding dust of moth wings. Every afternoon, my weariness from the day's labor is lifted by the sweet scent of Ilang-ilang blossoms. As the sun rests, the perfume of the Dama de noche wafts through the air and permeates my home.

Of course, no sanctuary is perfect. From time to time, sieges would be staged against it. From the ground, termites would plunder my library and eat my books leaving only the plastic-covered covers untouched. From the air, the untended coconut tree of the northwest neighbor would bombard my roof with dry coco fruits and leaves dislodging the back gutter. From nowhere, thieves would jump over the front fence and ransack my house (once) and front patio (twice). From the east, the nosy wife and her consort would pester with complaints:

1) The leaves and branches of the Ilang-ilang clogged the rain gutter of their house. The gutter runs parallel to the perimeter wall which I had spent for to be put up between our properties. The house was constructed with a wide front lawn and a little space to hung the laundry at the back. The sunrise used to wake me up every morning. Eastern wife's mother decided to outdo my house in terms of construction materials and location. Aside from making my house look like a shabby shanty beside the mini-mansion (with basement to boot), the house was built with the perimeter walls as its walls, leaving no space at the sides and back (baaaad feng shui, that). This effectively blocked out the rising sun for me making it a necessity to turn on the lights early in the morning. Eastern wife's mother knew there was an Ilang-ilang tree near the perimeter wall, but pushed through with adding several layers of hollow blocks to serve as a wall for the mini-mansion. Anyway, I allowed them to cut the branches encroaching on their property which the tree-cutter proceeded to throw down onto my side. When the gutter was still clogged and having no more reason (branches and leaves) to blame, they hired a mason to knock down portions of the gutter on my side so that when it rained, the water would cascade down my property. It did not bother me at all because the sound of rain and falling water lulled me to sleep but I guessed the water seeped down and flooded their basement prompting them to rehire the mason to cement the knocked-down portions.

2. The Talisay outside my front fence was plagued by large spiny caterpillars (whose feathery spines would cause itches upon skin contact). Their girls were afraid to cross the street (the tree was far from the street) because of it. Could I permit them to have the branches cut? (Me hesitant: Yes). Since we already had the branches cut, could we cut down the tree? (Me exasperated: Sure, why not!) Results: their electrical connection was brought down by one branch. The thieves had no problem climbing the front fence portion which the tree used to block, raided my patio and took away the aquarium lights, aerators and my collection of Justice League action figures. My books were left unmolested!

In Search of Libertine's Destiny II

A commenter on my previous blogpost on this book, Ian Clarito, offers bound xerox copies of it at P290 plus shipping/handling(depends on your location). You may email him at this email address:

Friday, June 13, 2008

New Independence Day Song (Call Center Version)

From Frank Cimatu's blog:






Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Time of Your Life by William Saroyan (1939) - an excerpt

In the time of your life, live — so that in good time there shall be no ugliness or death for yourself or for any life your life touches. Seek goodness everywhere, and when it is found, bring it out of its hiding-place and let it be free and unashamed. Place in matter and in flesh the least of the values, for these are things that hold death and must pass away. Discover in all things that which shines and is beyond corruption. Encourage virtue in whatever heart it may have been driven into secrecy and sorrow by the shame and terror of the world. Ignore the obvious, for it is unworthy of the clear eye and the kindly heart. Be the inferior of no man, nor of any man be the superior. Remember that every man is a variation of yourself. No man's guilt is not yours, nor is any man's innocence a thing apart. Despise evil and ungodliness, but not men of ungodliness or evil. These, understand. Have no shame in being kindly and gentle, but if the time comes in the time of your life to kill, kill and have no regret. In the time of your life, live — so that in that wondrous time you shall not add to the misery and sorrow of the world, but shall smile to the infinite delight and mystery of it.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Are you a literature abuser? (a tongue-in-cheek self-test)

This self-test is attributed to Michael McGrorty, a librarian in the USA. At first, I thought it was for real, but realized later that it was just for fun.:)

Self-Test for Literature Abuse: How many of these apply to you?

  1. I have read fiction when I was depressed or to cheer myself up.
  2. I have gone on reading binges of an entire book or more in a day.
  3. I read rapidly, often "gulping" chapters.
  4. I sometimes read early in the morning or before work.
  5. I have hidden books in different places to sneak a chapter without being seen.
  6. Sometimes I avoid friends or family obligations in order to read novels.
  7. Sometimes I re-write film or television dialog as the characters speak.
  8. I often read alone.
  9. I have pretended to watch television while secretly reading.
  10. I keep books or magazines in the bathroom for a "quick nip."
  11. I have denied or "laughed off" criticism of my reading habit.
  12. Heavy reading has caused conflicts with my family or spouse.
  13. I am unable to enjoy myself with others unless there is a book nearby.
  14. I seldom leave my house without a book or magazine.
  15. When travelling, I pack a large bag full of books.
  16. At a party, I will often slip off unnoticed to read.
  17. Reading has made me seek haunts and companions which I would otherwise avoid.
  18. I have neglected personal hygiene or household chores until I finished a novel.
  19. I become nervous, disoriented, or fearful when I must spend more than 15 minutes without reading matter.
  20. I have spent money meant for necessities on books instead.
  21. I have sold books to support my reading "habit."
  22. I have daydreamed about becoming a rich & famous writer, or "word-pusher."
  23. I have attempted to check out more library books than is permitted.
  24. Most of my friends are heavy fiction readers.
  25. I have sometimes passed out or woken groggy or "hung-over" after a night of heavy reading.
  26. I have suffered 'blackouts' or memory loss from a bout of reading.
  27. I have wept, become angry or irrational because of something I read.
  28. I have sometimes wished I did not read so much.
  29. Sometimes I think my fiction reading is out of control.
Laura A. Wallace added:
  1. When you shop for furniture, do you always look at bookshelves?
  2. Do you try to convince yourself that you don't really need other furniture, so that you can justify getting rid of it, so that you can buy more bookshelves?
  3. Do some of your bookshelves have books at least two rows deep?
  4. Do you bring a large cardboard box with you to library book sales?
  5. When you last moved (i.e., changed place of residence), did you have more than ten boxes of books? And did you refuse to consider getting rid of any books to reduce the weight and cost of your move?
Cos added:
  1. You don't buy a handbag unless you are sure that a book will fit in it.
  2. You don't go ANYWHERE without a book.
  3. You take a book to the choir practice just to sneak a look at it when the choir director is giving directions to the other voices.
  4. You are able to read and walk at the same time.
Daniel added:
  1. You refuse to buy jackets or coats unless they have at least one pocket big enough to hold a book. Well, at least I have an excuse. I need them to hold my notepads and pens so that people can talk to me and I to them.
  2. You read novels when you should be writing essays on the Classical lifestyle.
  3. You read your set texts for English during Classical Studies lectures. (Before anyone asks why I'm doing Classical Studies, it's not really my choice, it's the compulsory third course that all students must do, choosing from a list, and is usually dropped after 2 terms.)
  4. You go psychotic when anybody badmouths your favourite authors. (DON'T ASK)
  5. When given a book-token, your first thought is - "That's nowhere near enough!!"
  6. You can't find the books you want so you write the kind of books you want....
  7. You re-read the books you wrote to be the kind of books you want. because you couldn't find the books you wanted, and then want more of the same so you write some more books and then re-read them.
Gail Taylor added:
  1. You go to the toilet for the express purpose of a few minutes of quiet reading time.
  2. You catch a bus to work rather than drive because it gives you all that waiting and sitting time to read.
  3. You own several copies of the classics, not to mention your favourite books.
  4. You have more books loaned to friends and family than your friends and family OWN.
  5. Your friends never use the phrase: "Have you read...." to you because they know you have.
  6. You are currently reading about 4 books at once.
  7. You read the book BEFORE the movie comes out.
  8. You'll read anything new just because it's something you HAVEN'T read already.
  9. You answer all the literature questions on quiz shows before the host finishes the question.
  10. While reading this you have a book open on your desk so you can read it while waiting for the computer.
    (Sorry, I have to go, I'm just getting to the GOOD bit in my book!)
D. Brown added:
  1. You read in the bathtub or jacuzzi till the pages are soggy.
  2. You can walk a mile and a half up hill on the treadmill.

Gwen Hershiser added:
  1. Even though on crutches, recovering from surgery, you are unable to resist an invitation to visit a bookstore.
  2. You are unable to dine without a book propped up in front of your plate.
  3. You hide your current reading inside a hymnbook, in order to continue reading during the church service.
  4. You beg your child to let you read aloud the next chapter of "Harry Potter" at his bedtime.
If you answered 'yes' to five or more of these questions, you may be a literature abuser. Affirmative responses to ten or more indicates a serious reading problem --seek help now! Fifteen or more "yes" responses indicates a severe or chronic "readaholic" personality. Intervention is seldom effective at this stage.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

‘Kuya,’ ‘Ate’ in Sarangani help pupils read better (reprint)

‘Kuya,’ ‘Ate’ in Sarangani help pupils read better
By Aquiles Zonio
Mindanao Bureau
First Posted 00:12:00 06/01/2008

FROM NOW ON, SUMMER for Sarangani’s grade school children who come from poor families would be spent reading rather than playing. But they themselves will be looking forward to the activity as an exciting and mentally enriching experience.

Take it from 7-year-old Emily Gaet, a Grade 3 pupil, whose passion for reading was rekindled during the summer vacation. Her three-hour daily reading session had never been boring or stressful. It also gave her a chance to virtually visit and explore other places.

Every day, from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m., Emily and 45 other school children attended the summer reading camp of the Diamalod Ebrahim Elementary School in Lun Padidu village in Malapatan town.

“Enhancing my reading and comprehension skills would somehow put me at par with kids studying in exclusive schools. During summer, they take summer lessons in their school,” Gaet said in the vernacular.

Back home, there’s no book or dictionary, she said. Her chance to read is only at a small school library where four students share one book.

Gaet profusely thanked the Sangguniang Kabataan, with the assistance of the Conrado Alcantara Foundation Inc. (Cafi), and provincial and municipal governments, for launching the program dubbed “Sarangani Big Brother: Reading is Fun!”

Nearly 4,800 beneficiaries, mostly Grade 1-3 pupils, from seven towns now want to enjoy the same learning experience next summer.

According to Gaet, the month-long summer reading camp was just too short to develop their reading and comprehension abilities. Although the program was launched in March, the reading sessions started only on April 21. SK leaders had been recruiting community-based youth volunteers who will mentor the children for the program.

The group was able to tap more than 600 college student volunteers who went through a two-day training conducted by the Department of Education. Each volunteer mentored an average of eight pupils.

Shouldering the P5,000 budget, the SK in the barangay provided vehicles to fetch the volunteers from home to school and vice-versa. The municipal governments chipped in for the training of the volunteers, while the DepEd prepared the lesson guide. The foundation gave lesson plans and other educational materials.

“We want everybody in the community to share the responsibility in providing education to our children,” Cecille Dominguez, Cafi executive director, said. There’s no doubt, she said, that the spirit of volunteerism was still very much alive among the youth with the huge turnout of volunteer mentors.

The summer reading camp benefited the pupils, volunteer mentors and the DepEd teachers. Aside from enhancing the children’s reading and comprehension skills, the program nurtures their passion for reading.

Dominguez said the project “is ideal and conducive for rural school children because of the absence of so many distractions, like television, Internet and malls, among others.” These distractions hinder the full mental development of school children, she claimed.

Joel Berdos, a Lun Padidu resident and seminarian, considered his mentoring job a rare opportunity to serve his community. This kind of exposure is a good training ground for a religious aspirant like him, he said.

“The children can read, but I observe they have a problem with comprehension and in pronunciation of some unfamiliar terms,” Berdos noted.

The pupils called their mentors “Kuya” (Older Brother) or “Ate” (Older Sister).”

The children fetched their volunteer mentors at home and walked together to school.

“When the children return to classes in June, they are already good readers,” Edwina Carbonel, a Grade 4 class adviser at the Diamalod Ebrahim Elementary School said as she praised the reading program.

Principal and teachers were given a free hand to screen the beneficiaries, mostly slow readers, for the month-long activity.

Because of its favorable impact the DepEd urged the program proponents to make it a regular summer activity.