Love Letter from the Earth to the Sky

 

Dear Sky,

 

You know I’ve always looked up to you. I’ve always wondered what it was like to be up there by your side. I’ve always wished I could see what you see just so that I can feel what it is like to see through your beautiful blue eyes. I always thought you were the most beautiful thing in the world – when the sun is out and clouds are nowhere to be seen I just lie here and stare at every inch of your beauty. You are majestic in the bright lights. And when the sun sets? I just lie here and watch you sparkle as the stars and the moon dance and twinkle. You are heavenly when you sleep. I’ve fallen for you a long time ago and I can never get up from this – I don’t want to get up. I’ve always felt as if you were made for me and I for you.

But we can never be together. I know. I’ve tried.

I created mountains to come close to you because I thought proximity brings two hearts together. Sadly, my highest mountains still can’t reach out to even touch your hand – but know that they are always there for you to reach out to. I will never put them down.

I created the seas to reflect your blue eyes because I thought that you’d fall for me if we had things in common. However, my seas can never truly reflect how beautiful you are – but know that they will always be there so that you can see your reflection and see how you have become a huge part of me. 

I created trees and the greenery because I thought opposites attract. Your blue to my green? It didn’t work. But know that they will always be there – the trees, the bushes and the shrubs – to catch you gently if ever you fall.

But we can never be together. Still, believe me that I will be here forever – watching from a distance, wishing on a billion stars hoping that one of them will be able to grant my wish. The odds are against me but I will be here. I will be here to catch your tears when they fall. I will be here until the clouds clear and until I see you smile and your blue eyes sparkle once again. I will be here when darkness comes and patiently wait with you until dawn breaks into a new day.

 

I will forever be here – lying down, wishing you were mine.

I will forever be here – revolving, going in circles, crazy over you

I will forever be here, down here – knowing that you will never fall

I will forever be here – night and day through it all

 

I love you, Sky.

 

~ Earth

Love Letter from a Toy to a Grown Up Boy

 

Dear Grown Up Kid,

 

Hi! How have you been? It’s been years since I last saw you. You’ve probably forgotten about me. I guess it’s true what they say – that toys are outgrown and left behind.

 

For all its worth, should you ever come back, I hope you can read this. All I would like to do is thank you for 10 things:

 

      1. Thank you for setting me free of that stuffy box I was put in. I thought I would never get out.
      2. Thank you for the huge smile on your face when you first laid eyes on me. Never have I felt so special.
      3. Thank you for letting me sleep beside you. I was afraid of the dark. I never felt so safe.
      4. Thank you for proudly introducing me to your friends. I don’t have much friends, you see. As a toy, I only had you.
      5. Thank you for protecting me from the “big bad guys” when I was weak. You made me want to become stronger and better.
      6. Thank you for teaching me how to fight back and conquer any obstacle that I faced. Because of you, I never gave up. And I never will.
      7. Thank you for making me a hero. My biggest dream was to defeat all the villains. With you, I felt invincible. I kicked all their butts.
      8. Thank you for tending to my wounds. There were times when I was battered and beat up. You picked me up and helped me to my feet.
      9. Thank you for sharing your stories and secrets. Don’t worry, they are safe with me. My lips are sealed.
      10. Thank you for being my best friend. Always.

 

Though I may not see you anymore, know that I will forever be yours.

 

Love,

 

Toy

Para kay ‘Cher

Ito ay isang liham na aking isinulat pagkatapos ng unang linggo ng pagtuturo sa pampublikong paaralan. Ito ay liham para sa aking mga kasama na nagtuturo din ng Grade 3 sa iba’t ibang paaralan.

 

Isang linggo na tayo nagtuturo. Pasensya na kung mahaba at medyo emo/cheesy ito. Gusto ko lamang ilabas at ipamahagi ang mga tumatakbo sa isip ko sa tuwing naiisip, nakikita at nakakausap ko kayong lahat. Kaya sinulatan ko kayo ng liham. ❤

 

June 12, 2013

 

Dear ‘Cher,

 

Sa totoo lang ay hindi ko alam kung paano ito uumpisahan. Naisip ko lamang na sulatan ka kasi ramdam ko ang bigat ng mundo na iyong pinapasan at naiintindihan ko ang hirap na iyong pinagdaraanan.

 

Sa pitong araw na tayo ay nagturo sa pampublikong paaralan, nagawa na nating magalit, mainis, umiyak, sumigaw at gumawa ng kung anu-ano pang pamamaraan mapasunod at mapatahimik lamang ang ating mga estudyanteng malikot, magulo at nakababaliw. Sa loob ng pitong araw, nakita na natin ang suntukan, sigawan, iyakan, hampasan, nakawan at kung ano pang kalokohan na ginagawa at naiisip ng ating mga estudyante. Sa loob ng pitong araw, naranasan narin natin ang kakaibang klase ng pagod – yung tipong babagsak na lamang tayo sa kama pag-uwi kahit gustong-gusto pa natin gumawa ng visuals at maghanda ng lesson plan. Yung tipong nakakatulog tayo habang nagmamaneho ng sasakyan, nakatulog sa jeep, bus at taxi. Pagod kung pagod talaga. Sa loob ng pitong araw, malamang sa malamang ay pitong beses lamang din tayo kumain. Gutom kung gutom diba? Pitong araw pa lamang iyon.

 

Marahil ay naisip mo na sumuko at tinanong mo narin siguro sa sarili mo kung ano ba talaga itong pinasok mo? Marahil ay dumaan narin sa isip mo na wala kang kwentang guro at wala kang nagagawang mabuti para sa mga estudyante mo at na wala silang natututunan sa iyo. Marahil ay naisip mo na hindi mo kayang baguhin ang mga batang ito. Marahil ay naisip mo na hindi ito para sa iyo – na hindi ka magaling.

 

Ngunit sa kabila ng lahat ng hirap at pagod, nais kong ipamahagi sa iyo ang mga bagay na iniisip ko sa tuwing nararamdaman ko ang kagustuhan sumuko at umayaw at sa tuwing nararamdaman ko na wala akong nagiging epekto sa aking mga estudyante. Sana kahit papaano makatulong ito sa iyo.

 

Una, iniisip ko na sa nakalipas na mga taon na ang ating mga estudyante ay nasa loob ng sistema ng pampublikong paaralan, nakasanayan na nila na matawag na “bobo”, “walang kwenta” at “tanga.” Nakasanayan na nila na mapalo ng guro, masigawan, ma-pingot, makurot at kung anu-ano pa. Hindi lang yan, kadalasan ay ganito rin ang kanilang hinaharap sa tuwing umuuwi – mga magulang na nag-aaway, nananakit, naghihirap. Kung buong buhay mo nga naman ay  umiikot sa ganitong kapaligiran, hindi ka ba maninibago pag ikaw ay nakakita ng isang guro na handang mag-mahal, na hindi mananakit, na alam mong tuturuan ka kahit anong mangyari? Hindi pa alam ng mga bata natin kung paano harapin ang mga gurong tulad mo. Naninibago pa sila. Intindihin natin sila. Tayo ay pumasok sa sistema at kapaligiran na madaming mali at madaming kulang. Ang mga bata natin? Ito lamang ang kanilang alam. Ito lamang ang kanilang nakasanayan. Unti-unti natin itong babaguhin. Tiwala lang. Kaya mo yan.

 

Pangalawa, tayo ay nasa sistema at organisasyon na madaming pagkukulang at madami pang pwedeng baguhin. Pag ganito, iniisip ko lamang na ang lahat ng sistema ay ginawa ng tao at sa gayon ay kayang-kaya ring baguhin ng tao kung ito ay talagang gugustuhin at pagsisikapan. Tayo ang mag-uumpisa ng pagbabago sa sistema at organisasyon. Hindi nga lamang ito magbabago sa isang kisap-mata. Hindi aayos ang sistema sa isang tumbling lamang. Hindi naman tayo magician. Pumasok tayo upang unti-unting baguhin ang kalagayan ng edukasyon. Kailanman ay hindi sinabi sa atin na aayusin natin ang lahat sa loob ng isang linggo. Kapit lang. Balang araw ay mababago natin at mai-aangat ang kalidad ng edukasyon.

 

Pangatlo, ang pag-ibig ng bata ay hindi natin makukuha sa isang araw o isang linggo. Hindi sila sanay na magkaroon ng gurong tunay na nagmamalasakit at gurong talagang gusto na sila ay magtagumpay. Ngayon lamang siguro sila nakakita ng gurong katulad mo. Bigyan mo sila ng panahon at siguradong mamahalin ka rin nila ng tuluyan at lubusan. Idiin mo sa kanilang puso’t isipan na magaling sila, matalino sila, na kaya nila magtagumpay. Sa loob ng isang taon, subukan nating burahin ang pag-iisip nila na sila ay “bobo”, “walang kwenta” at “tanga” – mga bagay na naririnig nila sa nakalipas na limang taon o higit pa. Kayod lang. Sa bawat masamang salita na kanilang narinig, sabihan natin sila ng sampung magandang salita para mapaniwala sila sa kanilang sariling kakayanan.

 

Huli sa lahat, narito tayo at nag-tuturo hindi para sarili kundi para sa mahigit 2,500 estudyante na ngayon ay hinahawakan nating lahat. Unahin mo sila. Sa ngayon ay hindi pa natin siguro makukuha ang saya na ating inaasam mula sa ating mga estudyante. Kung mayroon man, kaunti at maliit na kasiyahan pa lamang. Pag nakita mo ang mga ito, tanggapin mo ng buo at mag-saya. Pero huwag mo kalimutan na hindi tayo ang bida dito kundi sila – mga bata natin. Bawat araw ay panibagong pagkakataong magmahal ng ating mga bata. Buhos lang. Babalik din sa iyo ang lahat ng kabutihang ibinibigay mo ngayon.

 

Pero ‘cher! Kung kailangan mo talaga ng pampagaan ng loob, nandito kami para sa’yo. Magkwento ka lang at makikinig kami. Umiyak ka lang at yayakapin ka namin. Humingi ka lang ng tulong at ibubuhos namin ang lahat ng aming makakaya. Kung malungkot ka, pasisiyahin ka namin. Isang text lang, isang tawag lang, isang FB post lang. Huwag kang mag-alala – kailanman ay hindi ka magiging mag-isa. Ngiti lang. Andito lang kami.

 

Umpisa pa lamang ito. Mahaba-haba pa ang biyahe. Sakay lang. Aabot din tayo sa ating gustong puntahan.

 

Salamat sa iyo. Salamat na nakilala kita. Kaya natin to. Kapit lang.

 

~ Cher

 

“Ang Batang Tamad”

Ang Batang Tamad by Ace and Ryan

Ang Batang Tamad by Ace and Ryan

This is an actual story written by my 3rd grade students in a public elementary school in Quezon City. The text is raw and typed as it was written by the kids themselves with minor revisions done with some (not all) punctuation marks. 

Story by Mechanic Ace and Engineer Ryan, both 8 years old, Grade 3 students

Isang araw ay naglalaro si Ren. Sabi ng nanay ni Ren “ay maligo ka na” at ang sabi naman ni Ren ay “ayoku pa inay maglalaro pa po ako.” “Hindi puwide anak aalis tayo.” “Ayoko po sabi ni Ren at lumipas ang isang araw hindi parin siya naligo kaya tuloy hindi siya sinama ng nanay niya kasi hindi siya naliligo.

Dumating ang kanyang nanay at nadatnan siya hindi pa nakapaligo tuloy ang kanyang ina ay nagalit at pinaligo siya pero ang sabi ni Ren “ayaw ko pa inay” at lalong nagalit ang kanyang ina at siya ay pinatulog ng hindi naligo kaya siya ay nilamok at inipis at siya ay nagsisi.

Mula noon siya ay naliligo na. Pagkagising niya sa umaga siya ay nagmumug ng bibig at naghilamos siya ng mukha at naghugas siya ng kamay bago kumain. Pagkatapos niya kumain naligo at nagsipilyo ng ngipin. At sabi niya sa kanyang nanay na “sorry po sa pagiging tamad ko at pangako ko po na hindi ko na uulitin.” Makalipas ang ilang araw siya ay naliligo no at araw-araw narin siya sinasama kapag umalis sila.

The end.

Mga dapat gawin sa umaga:

  1. Pagkagising sa umaga mag mumug at sipilyo ng ngipin
  2. Bago kumain maghugas ng kamay
  3. Pagkatapos kumain maligo at pagkatapos maligo magsuklay ng buhok
  4. Magbihis ng maayos na damit bago maglaro o mamasyal

Why I’ll Teach for the Philippines

I spent the past two years of my life attempting to build a business from the ground up.  I spent the past two years making mistakes and bouncing back just to keep the business running. I spent the last two years meeting and leading people who kept me going despite all the challenges that came my way.

I spent the last two years doing something I loved doing and making a business from something I’d actually be willing to do for free. For all the hardships, tears, times-I-almost-gave-up, we’re still standing and getting bigger as the months go.  The fulfillment of being here when statistics say that 94% of start-ups fail by their first year is something that I will forever cherish and never ever forget. The journey to 2 years has been unbelievable.

So why am I dedicating the next 2 years of my life full-time to Teaching in a public school?

It came from these three thoughts:

Thought # 1:If *knock on wood* something unfortunate happens to me that I may no longer be able to facilitate and design programs (be paralyzed, lose my voice, die), how can I continue to try and change the world?” I found myself searching for something bigger to give to this world than just a business that conducts training programs for the youth.

My answer? Get into education. Start a school. While training and development are sort of in-line with teaching, the impact that a school has is irreplaceable. Schools, as second homes, are the most influential formative tool for all members of society second only to the basic family unit. (in some cases it is the most influential). Schools are sustainable. So long as children are borne into this world, there will forever be a need for a school that can educate children the best way possible.

Thought # 2: “If you want to change the world, start early and start young”

As we learn more, it becomes harder to unlearn things and accept concepts and ideas that run against traditional norms and practices that perpetuate poverty and educational inequity among others. As we grow older, it becomes more difficult to change, to want change, to lead change.

Thought # 3: “What is the best way for me to help my current business scale?” While Frontline is doing pretty well, it needs to scale. We strongly believe that it has the potential to be a leading service provider in the field of training and development.

My answer? I have to turn over the reins of the business to someone else. My lack of a conditioned  and educated business mind won’t make the business scale. Someone else can do it. It’s time for me to take a supportive role and allow someone to Lead the Change within the organization. For the past two years, I can say that I have given the company an identity and culture and most importantly the heart and love for what we do. Someone else now needs to come in to take the business to the next level.

Teaching in a public school for two years will give me the opportunity to “change the world” by giving hope to kids who haven’t been given the chance to dream, by making kids believe in themselves even when others don’t, by giving them the best possible education that they can receive.

For the next 2 years, I will teach for the Philippines. Beyond that? I still don’t know. I just have a strong feeling that I’ll be in the education sector for long time, if not for the rest of my life.

Writer’s Block

More than 8 months since I last wrote something here in this blog.

Let’s just call it writer’s block – the moment when you just couldn’t bring yourself to write anything coherent and construct paragraphs that make the least bit of sense.

I have the writer’s block. I’m a bit rusty, but I will start writing again. 

 

Categories: Others

Reflections of a Social Entrepreneur: The Rules of A Boss

One of the biggest things about starting your own Social Enterprise (or any business for that matter) is that you get to be your own boss. You will be able to control the time you wake up, the number of hours you sleep, the amount of work you put in. Often times, the amount and quality of the work you devote during the crucial early stages of the business will make or break you. Once you’ve settled into a rhythm and allow your business to reach a certain level of stability in its operations, you get to finally lay down more rules, establish more systems and processes to grow your business even further.

This is where a number of bosses can get lost. I realized that in this crucial tipping point, the rules that you set will define how your business will grow and more importantly, influence the kind of culture that it will have and values that your entire organization will uphold.

So as early as now, as my own boss, and as a “boss” to those whom I currently work with and those who will be working with us in the future, I will lay down 10 simple rules to live by.

Rule # 1: Respect Personal Time.

– This is one most violated rules especially as we live in this hyper-connected environment where Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, BBM and other Messaging services can professionally bind you to your co-workers and your employers. So to those I work with and will work with in the future, I tell you this – Set boundaries on your work hours and tell me. I will respect you and promise to do my best to not disturb you nor ask for deliverables when I know that doing so will violate your personal time.

This leads me to…

Rule # 2: Balance, Balance, Balance, Balance, Balance, Balance!

– Make sure that you will always have time to do the things you love, the things that make you happy and more importantly, spend quality time with the people who matter – Your family, your best friends, your significant others (or even your pets). Work should never come in the way of the things and people that are important to you. But do remember that in all things, there must be the right amount of balance.

Rule # 3: “Lunch Break” means Lunch Break

– In relation to rule # 1, work time is for work, meeting time is for meetings, lunch time is for eating and other things, and so on and so forth.

Rule # 4: If you’re not having fun, you’re in the wrong position! (So tell me)

– If you enjoy and love what you are doing, then you are in the right position. If going to work is a drag and you just resent me and the company with every passing day, then I have failed you by putting you in a position where you will not grow and have fun.

Rule # 5: You’ve got a friend in me. 🙂

– Therefore nothing should stop you from telling me if something is bothering you, if you’re unhappy, if you have an idea, if you feel sick, if you see something that needs to be improved, or if I violated your personal time or any of the rules set herein, etc, etc. You get the picture.

Rule # 6: Your idea is as good as mine. At times, even better.

– The reason why you are where you are is because I have bestowed upon you a certain level of trust and confidence that you will not hold back your talents, ideas and knowledge. In fact, I expect that you will share them with me to help the company grow.

Rule # 7: Always be creative. If you can find it in the internet, then it’s not original. 🙂

– Being in the business of making camps, programs and creating modules from scratch, we need to set ourselves apart from the rest. Do your homework, research what you can from books, Youtube, Wikipedia, Google, Facebook. Find what you can – then innovate. Add your own twist, add your own challenge, combine activities.

Rule # 8: When you stumble and fall, pick yourself up and smile. We’ll smile with you.

– Just let the world know that nothing can break you because you have a whole team right here supporting you every step of the way. (In work, in love and in life) We’ll all fall down some time, but if we keep getting back up and maintain that positive attitude, then we’ll never fail.

Rule # 9: Keep your feet on the ground. Give the glory to a Greater Being.

– For each success we’ll remain grounded and humble. For each milestone and success we’ll remain ever thankful.

Rule # 10: Remember our purpose. As long as there’s a street kid knocking on your window and begging for alms, our mission isn’t over.

– We’re all working for something much bigger than ourselves. So long as there are people who starve and people with no place to live, our business and our company and its people will continue to work. We have a world to change. 🙂

——————————————————————————————–

To end, allow me to add one last rule:

Rule # 11: If people say “It can’t be done”, look them in the eye and say “Watch us.”

🙂

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