Kuya Efren: A Hero at Heart



Love. Faith. Sacrifice. These are the three things that could describe the story of Kuya Efren Penaflorida, 2009’s CNN Hero.  Just this Sunday, I was reminded again about his story at church. He was used an example in the preaching. A modern hero. Dynamic Teen Company. 2009 CNN Hero. These are the words we usually associate to Efren Penaflorida-or best known as “Kuya Ef”.

“Hindi porke’t mahirap ka, hindi ka na makakatulong sa iba.” This was one of the opening statements of Kuya Ef when he visited my High School last February 23rd of 2010. Being a middle child of a tricycle driver and a housewife, Kuya Ef had his own share of trials and bad experiences as a child. Growing up near the city’s open dumpster, he had been a fallen prey to bullies and solvent kids. However, these circumstances have never hindered him in reaching his dreams. He was an intelligent student in elementary and was given scholarship assistance by World Vision Phils. “Value education for it open opportunities.” This is one of the things he bears in mind which also served as an inspiration as he pursues being systematic, principled, studious and industrious as he conducts free tutorial classes to more than 50 high school and college students for more than four years now. I remember him saying during his talk back then, he confessed that even though his first dream was to be an engineer wanting to build a house for his family, he chose to be a teacher instead having realized that through this, he will not just be able to build houses but build lives as well.

Kuya Efren’s story continues to inspire me in my everyday life. He reminds me that each one of us has a hero inside us, waiting to be unleashed; one is never too ordinary to be a hero. Truly, living an ordinary life does not limit us from doing extraordinary things. His story empowers me to have a purpose in life, and tells me that we should know how to deal with our strengths and weaknesses. His story also tells me that we should always be prepared because we will never know when and how God would use us, for God has his perfect timing.

His story brought me to this realization: As an individual, I could also be an inspiration in my own simple ways. I could be an inspiration by not going with the flow of satisfying the worldly needs: by standing up for what is right. I could be an inspiration by being always there for my loved ones. I could be an inspiration by reflecting God in everything I do. I could be an inspiration if I chose to.

We could all be an inspiration to one another.



The media and me

Okay, so we were discussing a lot of theories about media lately in my communication courses and what struck me most from our discussion of “The Effects of Tradition,” is the Cultivation Theory.

When television was invented, the main objective was for people to have a better means of information and entertainment, as it would be received in both video and audio presentation. Media brings life to the television; because everything that we see on TV is a form of media with the objective to disseminate information to the public, but little did we foresee that besides being informative, media creates a big impact on the viewers.

Based on personal experience, my siblings and I grew up with Media as our means of education at home while our parents are in their respective offices, in fact that is why I have developed so much interest in multi media which opened my door to this field (Communication) that I have decided to focus on. My younger siblings are all multi talented because of media exposure, the are all musically and artistically inclined. Because of media exposure, my youngest sister developed her foreign accent, my brother is very much into musical arrangement, my other brother became very inquisitive and very entertaining and our youngest cousin really speaks English with a British accent. These are some of the positive effects of media exposure.

On the other hand, media exposure can also bring about harm on the viewers; this also causes increasing crime rate, immorality and cultural crisis, as it highly influences the viewers through subliminal attack, which is why there had been classification and regulation on media to protect the viewers.

For me, media people must be responsible enough on the effects of what they broadcast on air.


Divisoria: A Place of Opportunities – An Eye-Witness Story

For someone who grew up in a highly protective environment,  like myself, getting to Divisoria would really be an exciting adventure to look forward to. I heard so much about Divisoria and I couldn’t wait being actually there to experience and witness everything all first hand.

The sun was barely up when I left home early in the morning as I have decided to get to Divisoria before rush hour to avoid traffic jams along the way. This is the reason why it was still early when I got there. The stores are just starting to open, the vendors are just calling in customers , while some of them are having their breakfast in the confines of their stores. A number of customers are also building up. The parking areas are starting to get fully occupied by vehicles from various points of origin.

Our car was parked near Jollibee where we decided to have breakfast before wandering around the place. It is the area where fresh fruits and vegetables are sold.  A picture of a busy yet productive place is what I witnessed as I was quietly observing while having breakfast with my family.

“ Tabi, tabi, dadaan lang!”,“Manong, wala bang tawad?”, “ O, bili na! Bili na! Bili na! Tatlo isang daan!”  These are just some of the remarks that welcomed me as soon I set foot outside Jollibee after breakfast. As I explored, I have observed  people from all walks of life, haggling for the best deal, filled the place. There was a cacophony of overwhelming voices of vendors and  customers, loud honks of vehicles and of every imaginable street sound. Incessant mumblings, coming from all over were begging for my attention. The distinct smell of food, clothing and stench of a nearby sewer filled the place, inspite the unbearable heat and humid air. But as I walked further, I realized something else. Yes, it may seem like a very unpleasant place but I discovered a whole new exciting world.

At the surface, we may be very inundated by it’s seemingly chaotic environment but walking further, I was really surprised to find out that Divisoria is not just a market district in the heart of the City of Manila, very well known for its wide variety of low-priced merchandise and wholesale and bargain shopping, it is in fact a shopping capital for practical shoppers.

Walking further, I found myself surrounded by items of every kind, displayed here and there. Products of every sort cost inexpensively without sacrificing quality.  Tiangge-style bazaars, street shops and shopping malls are the main components of the place, because of this, Divisoria is considered one of the National Capital Region’s premiere economic centres.

As I spent more time wandering within the vicinity, besides the affordable prices and the assortment of merchandise, what struck me the most is the common behaviour of   people.  The way they deal with things, the way they act, the way they see things, the way they make decisions, the way they talk, the way they work actually left me in awe. Their attitude, their actions, their abilities, their perspectives, their moods, their voices, their words, their emotions… There’s just something about them. The people are the life of Divisoria. Without them, Divisoria’s dead.

Observing further, I’ve also witnessed practical marketing, having observed how vendors and customers deal with each other and how they end up closing a deal after few minutes of actual negotiation. How they act and interact with each other caught my attention, this is why I decided to observe more and dig deeper.

Vendors remain buzzing with excitement whatever happens. They work so hard and try to be very enthusiastic, presenting their best selves just to attract more customers and to gain more income, despite feeling sweaty and exhausted. It’s truly remarkable how vendors could stay pleasant, patient and polite despite all the challenges of what they do. It was a truly enticing sight.

On the other hand, the customers are equally amazing, considering that they came from all parts of the Philippines. Some are elite, some belong to the middle class, some are really from the lower class, but they all have the same objective; to be able to get good merchandise at very low prices, to practically be in tune with the trend without having to spend so much. They would really make an effort to go through everything just to get to Divisoria. They have all gone out of their way just to enjoy everything that Divisoria offers risking everything just to find the best trades.  Regardless of social status, they were there pushing their way deep into the ocean of people, unfolding every good deal, one after the other. They have invested time and effort, determined to get the best out of Divisoria.

At Divisoria, I was able to see various pictures that depicted the Filipino culture: industry, hospitality and determination are some of the qualities that are apparent as I looked around the place. Both vendors and customers exhibit these qualities.

Talking to the vendors, I learned that most of the store owners are foreigners, but the stores are manned by Filipinos who work hard to earn for their living. The foreigners  are the investors who provide sources of livelihood for the Filipinos from the lower bracket of the society. This picture exhibits the relevance of underground businesses in our present economy. In addition to that, I found out that most of them are just paid on commission basis depending on the number of transactions they successfully accomplish in a day. Being informed about these made me respect these vendors more. They try their best to be nice in accommodating all of their walk-in customers with the determination to get their merchandises sold. It is a picture of how industrious and practical Filipinos are.

Customers go all the way to Divisoria from all walks of life to have unlimited shopping for less as their common goal. They go all the way there, looking at the possibility of getting the best value for their hard earned money, yearning for the opportunity to acquire nice items at practically lower cost compared to the ones available at the air conditioned malls in the metropolis. At Divisoria, everything is available including replica of items with signature brands at the lowest possible cost. They would find imported goods such as candies, fruits and vegetables tax-free that is why the buyers coming from the upper class normally buy goods in bulk. They also buy clothes, shoes and bags because they find it more practical than going to the malls. This is a picture of practicality and equality. Regardless of social status, people from all walks of life get to Divisoria with one common objective, to get the best value for their hard earned money.

Distance never became an issue for the customers who made their way to Divisoria, because their main objective is to go shopping for less.

It was truly amazing that I was able to see so much and learn so much after spending a whole day in the place. It actually opened my eyes to the reality that shopping doesn’t really have to be very expensive. The price of five blouses at the Divisoria stalls is equivalent to the price of one blouse that I got from the mall in Makati.

Divisoria is not just a place where cheap merchandise is found, it is in fact a place where everyone gets equal opportunity. The store owners take the opportunity to sell and earn profit out of every successful transaction. Vendors give their best to get their items sold to earn their day’s wage to support themselves and their families. And customers get the best possible deals and get items with the best value for their money.

WOTL: Miriam’s Greatest Hits, dissected. – The story behind the face of strong femininity.

Underneath the strong façade of a courageous woman, there lies a story, a history that molded the woman she is today.

The video, WOTL: Miriam’s Greatest Hits, posted in YouTube last February 22, 2012 by tv5theeveningnews showed a compilation of Miriam’s greatest hits. It collected her statements which have left a big mark in our minds and which have made a big impact in our country.

Miriam Defensor-Santiago, born Miriam Palma Defensor on June 15, 1945, is Judge-elect of the International Criminal Court and a member of the Senate of the Philippines. She became globally famous because of her courageous and brilliant crusade against corruption in the Philippines. As a result, at 43, she was named Laureate of the Asian Nobel Prize, known as the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Service. She was cited “for bold and moral leadership in cleaning up a graft-ridden government agency.”

Speaking of this very respectable lady, we would all think about the distinctive manner of how she presents herself and how powerful she relays what’s on her mind. Miriam was widely featured because of her charisma, flamboyant personality, and her signature witticisms. The video is an actual illustration of the kind of woman Miriam is. Looking at how she behaves, when she’s not feeling very good about what’s going on, we would see a wild monster in her, a character who truly hates imperfection, one who has very high regard for excellence. When she is at her light moments, she seems to be a best friend material. Looking at the contrast on how she behaves on two opposite moods, it is apparent that Miriam Defensor-Santiago is a normal human being who simply reacts to circumstances bluntly without hesitation.

“May amats ata si Miriam”, the video would say. “May amats”, another term Filipinos use for “may tama” or “may sira” or “may deperensya”, meaning she might be crazy or out of her mind or mad, because of the way she acts, the way she speaks and the way she does things. Little do we know that digging deeper, there might be something about her that turned her into the person she is today. There is a story beneath the image that she chooses to live with.

In an article written for Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago by the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation in their site, http://www.rmaf.org.ph, Miriam as a child is said to have learned to come off strong at an early age. Being the eldest daughter among seven children of a district trial judge and a school teacher, much is expected from her. She was raised to be excellent. She managed to excel in everything she set her mind into. Young as she was, she learned to take charge early in life. As an intelligent child, she was running the household well before she was out of grade school. Her mother, a career woman then, eschewed housework, saw responsibility for the daily marketing, supervised the family’s untrained village maids and made sure that the Defensor brood arrived on time and well-scrubbed for weekly catechism classes. Discipline was her mother’s byword, and young Miriam came to recognize her authoritarian, achievement-oriented environment as “the natural working of the universe.” Her mother had long since instilled in Miriam a drive to fill every moment with worthy activity. This drive propelled her into a life of super-achievement.

Her childhood has made a big influence on how she handles and treats circumstances in her personal life and even on our country today. The person Miriam is today is just the result of the past; there is nothing abnormal about it, considering that every individual has a past from which the present is derived from. Miriam’s past just happened to be a constructive one, having developed her to a very confident individual, who never feels inferior in the presence of powerful men.

“Hay naku, ang boring talaga ng buhay pag wala si Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago.” This statement was said and was emphasized in the video, WOTL: Miriam’s Greatest Hits, where all her most memorable lines were presented. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, being one of the few women in politics, understood well that she has a message to relay to the public. She is assertive in presenting her ideas and achievements for she stands tall and believes in her cause, thus making her one of the favorites of the media. Miriam became the darling of the press, both national and international. The media, who have a crucial and increasing role in shaping the image of politicians, did not act as mere mirrors of the social and cultural traditional patterns, but also have become an agent of change. Miriam has become an object of change, being the person that she is, women in politics were given a voice. How the integration of women into politics strengthen democracy was understood by the media, therefore having the crucial and increasing role in the democratic process, have become more open to the concerns of the female politicians and have tried to convey their messages in all possible ways. A fairer image of women politicians was promoted more and more.

Miriam Defensor-Santiago is truly a face of strong femininity. In the descriptive aspect of femininity, she considers herself at par with men, demanding equal rights. She has her own perspective on ideas and beliefs about how culture can be and should be different. She has her set of goals, ideals, and visions.

Miriam, as a person, represents women of power. She is an embodiment of excellence and an icon of a strong Filipina. Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago truly made a big impact in our society.

Watching her video clips, we would initially have a negative impression of the kind of person she is. Basing on the fact that she is a public figure, no matter how high her standards in excellence may be, it is yet unacceptable for her to name call people, because just like her, every individual has a past that affected the person that they are.

Nobody is perfect just like her, that is why calling people “gago”, “bobo” and the likes would never be acceptable, in fact it is a violation of a person’s reputation, some sort of a character assassination. One’s excellence and perfection never put her in the position to judge and humiliate others, considering the fact that we are created with individual differences. Her position and achievements do not make her any better than anyone else, basing on the principles of equality among men. She is in fact expected to set good examples, being an iconic female figure who has all the power to make an impact and take part in making the world a better place. If she would only uphold God’s words and grace in her daily walk, she could even be a lot better than the powerful woman that she is right now.

How actions define character: A reflection about Hell Screen, by Ryūnosuke Akutagawa

Hell Screen, based on research, is a short story written by Japanese writer Ryūnosuke Akutagawa. It was originally published in 1918 as a serialization in two newspapers. It was later published in a collection of Akutagawa short stories, Akutagawa Ryūnosuke zenshū. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hell_Screen)

Hell Screen revolves around a character named Yoshihide, who was said to be the greatest painter in the land. The artist was described as someone who can be really obsessive and frenzied towards what he does – his art. He would overlook and disregard everything in trying to make his pictures as perfect as possible. He would do anything just to show his excellence. For example, in making the hell screen he would even make his apprentices torture themselves for he could not effectively paint anything he has not seen. According to him, he could not paint anything for which a model is lacking;  there is a lack of conviction. Some of these models include one of his apprentices being pounced in the face by the claws of an owl (part 10), another apprentice bound with a chain, naked (part 8) and the commotion between the owl and the snake (part 11) . These events give some ideas of Yoshihide’s madness.   However, Yoshihide’s not all harsh and evil. He also has a human weakness, a soft spot for someone dear to him. He truly cares about his daughter, Yuzuki, the one important person in his life. He’s not thrilled that she is a lady-in-waiting at the court of the lord of Horikawa, so when the lord offers him anything he wishes, he asks that his daughter be released from his service, but the lord of Horikawa refused. The lord eventually ordered Yoshihide to paint a screen delineating hell. Yoshihide had a little trouble in envisioning a good deal of the horror, so he began inflicting agonies to his apprentices. Later on, he wished to have someone burned in a carriage for his centerpiece, so he can finish the screen. He discussed it with the lord. He got what he wished for, but of course, it came with an appropriately gruesome twist. He painted the final detail on the screen with the horrendous burning of his loving daughter and her monkey right there before his eyes. The story ended with the marvelously hideous screen completed, and Yoshihide’s suicide.

Yoshihide was introduced in the story describing how great he is as a painter. In part 2 of the text, it is said that he is a famous painter surpassed by no contemporary. However physically, he was considered as someone who does not have so much of a deal for his looks, for he is a man of a short stature and a bag of skin and bones, as also mentioned in part 2. He is also described as having unnaturally red lips for such an old man. This was somewhat emphasized in the text. This youthful red lips of his was said to bring an evil vibe for its as if he was some sort of an animal. This is also a reason why others who are more unkind compare him with monkeys for they say he looks and moves like a monkey. This is how his nickname “monkey hide” came about. He was described to be a man who is very unpleasant to look at or mingle with.

As to Yoshihide’s character, he was described as someone who is very harsh and cruel in dealing with people. In part 4, he is illustrated as someone who is shameless, lazy, bad-tempered, contemptuous and greedy. He disliked religion and the rituals. He despised everything, even the customs and amenities of society. As we go along the body of the text, it can be concluded that some of his very evident traits were his insolence and arrogance, as the text was broken into events that would really define who he is and how far he would discredit beliefs. The story also mentioned details on how Yoshihide is “sacrilegeous in his work”. As I mentioned in my 2nd paragraph, he could really be mad as depicted by his art. He is not accepted. He is disliked. He is hated. As told in part 3 of the text, he is very repellant because of his appearance and his habits. However, no one was to blame for his unpopularity but himself.

Yoshihide is described very negatively in the story. Yet, Ryūnosuke Akutagawa chose to create a soft spot of Yoshihide – his love of his only daughter, Yuzuki, a charming 15-year-old girl, quite unlike her father, was at that time a maid in Horikawa, as said in part 2 of the text. In part 5 of the text, it is told that He would even provide kimono and pins for his daughter with a reckless disregard of cost. This is such an incredible thing for a man who never gave donation to a temple. In the last part of the story where his daughter was burned for the completion of his work – the Hell Screen, it is said that on the night of the day following the completion of the painting of the screen, he hanged himself by putting a rope over the beam of his room for he who survived the untimely and heart breaking death of his only beloved daughter could no longer find it in his heart to live.

One’s character and personality cannot be defined by merely looking at his general behavior. It is usually the opposite of one’s truest self that only appears to be one’s façade to protect one’s soft spot and vulnerability.

Going back to the story. In the case of Yoshihide, throughout the story, he appeared to be heartless and cruel. The text showed different events of his life, which resulted to seeing him as someone vicious. However, his innermost self became apparent, when he was caught in a situation where he was left with no choice. He couldn’t do anything but suffer the consequence of his radical and unconventional way of extracting brilliant and matchless creative ideas, which caused him the life of his dearly beloved daughter.

There had been a twist in his character as his ideals and rights were violated with the lord’s way of giving him what he wanted at his own expense; the burning of his dearly beloved daughter in a carriage which is what he requested to serve as an inspiration for his art.

In conclusion, we could never judge one’s character with the way he generally deals with people but with his inner most self.

The waterfall braid


This photo was taken february 14, 2013. My blockmates and I were bored so one of my blockmates played with my hair. This was her first attempt to do the waterfall braid. Not bad for a first timer! 😀

Basically, what you do here is… get a tiny portion of hair from one side, braid it. And then clip it on the other side. Then, insert tiny portions of hair between the braids 😀 Easy! I can’t do it by myself though, so ask help from other people so you can achieve the look you want! Enjoy! 🙂


A bag from scratch

A bag from scratch

I got really bored one afternoon so I decided to make this bag. I’m so proud of it 😀 Honestly, I really dream of having my own fashion line, where my designs would be distributed globally…I believe this is one step toward that dream. hihi :”>

1. Handle from old canvas bags
2. Khaki skirt that I don’t use anymore
3. Scarf/Ribbon/ Belt.. (I actually change it depending on my outfit)

Put them all together, viola! 😀
Cute & efficient! A bag from scratch! 😀


Into shakes eh?


Starr’s famous shakes


One of my block’s first stops in Katipunan when we’re craving for something sweet or something comforting and enjoyable. There are so many choices to choose from, but the menu’s pretty straightforward so customer’s won’t have a hard time choosing. Prices are quite reasonably affordable (see list below), the place is sooo cute (hihi not to mention the straws!), and the people are really friendly!

Price List:



Here are my favorite flavors… :”>

Strawberry cheesecake, P95

2012-09-19 12.23.37    


Peanut Butter, Banana and Caramel, P95

2013-02-06 13.23.49 


Try it! You’ll not regret it 😀