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The Specialist

Other Columns

My SOWA(07/23/06)


One Big Happy Family(10/09/06)0 12 Gifts (08/24/06)0
There You Are (07/31/06

Also Read
Counterpoint by Ken Q
Wazzup by Mauro Sios-e

One eye, Two-eyes, Three-eyes
An all time favorite Ukrainian tale
  October 9, 2006
by Chingbee Muñoz-Abad
(please take time to read the story first…and then share it)


When I was a little girl, when there was nothing to do in my grandparents house in Boroc, Ormoc City , I will go through each Book of Knowledge’s literary feature to read the stories.  There were only twenty volumes in a set, so I only had twenty stories to go over and over.  Speaking of Boroc---I wish I had the chance to research where the word come from---it is somewhat a stinky name, but the spitefulness of the place’s name is the opposite of its grandeurs.   The place was a paradise on Earth.  There were only a few of our batch mates who had the opportunity to see the place.  Gingging “Maila” Lasam Martin and Lilibeth Gotardo are some of the few.  I could not recall anymore who else had the chance to see my “paradise”. 

The house alone was more than thousand square meters big and two-story at that.  My house now is only the size of one bedroom in that palatial house.  My family has, let me say, this  habit of keeping houses sparkling clean.  Everything is required to sparkle.  Just imagine how many helps were needed.  The house was of western motif as my grandparents were influenced so much by what we call---imported.   We were even served food in a five star hotel fashion with so many pairs of spoons and forks at the plate side.  The garden---oh the garden---paradise is not enough a word to describe.  We had fruit trees all around.  Flowers, African daisies, bougainvillias, orchids…(no roses because my Lolamommy found it hard to maintain them), the grass mowed perfectly, they were there as if angels of God arranged them here on earth.  

We had our own play-house, it was Marisol’s (Consuelo, because that was their place, my own playhouse was n Leyte-Leyte, another paradise, which I will speak of soon).  The play house is a little house with complete amenities.  It remained closed during classes and refurnished on summers.  There was a big swing in the middle of the HUGE garden, this is where I used to while away with a book in my hands…

          The story One-eye, Two-eye, Three-eyes would fascinate me because of the thought of our looks if indeed we had only one eye or the additional eye in the forehead to make it three.  Having only one-eye will make us a Cyclops.  How fun it would be if we were Cyclops but what will happen to the Cyclops in Odysseus’ journeys---it will have no part in the epic or maybe it will have two eyes… and the sheep with golden fleece will be useless (again, I seem to wander, the memory is overwhelming…)Having three eyes on the other hand, will allow us to see opposite directions at one time because I have this notion that the third eye will not go where the two-eyes will …as I think of it now, my childhood was full of thoughts, so much thoughts in fact…
          Now that I am a grown up, it is time I share these stories to my children and my student children.  Upon reading this fairy tale again, at this age, my interpretation of the story is much more mature.
          In the story, the mother only loved the two daughters who were different because they were different.  Very much like us now.  We want the “different”, or rather, we want to be different all the time.  Oh, yes.  This is a fine thing definitely.  In Tagalog---ibahin mo ako…, in our common expressions, one is ---others ka man gud,  “But that’s’ not the way I see it”---clashes always come about because people see things in different views.  Each one of us has his or her personality that is why we see things differently.  We are not robots.   We are humans with brains and hearts.  The “different” here is more in our physical convictions.   We judge so much through the looks and to what a person has.  And sadly, also we judge through how we view the inner of a person without giving the chance for him or her to justify.
          The eldest daughter only had one eye.  I cannot help myself to ask why God had to make our eyes two and not just one.  Elementary actually.  One is not enough.  Our sight will be short then.  We will only see what is in front of us.  We will not have the ability to forecast the future.  In the story, One-eye failed to do her task.  She fell asleep right away which made two-eyes very glad and the mean mother disappointed.   With only one eye, I believe, our hearts and brain will not of much use.  This will make us uncreative.  We will only rely on what is in front of us and will fail to feel what is behind.  Unfortunately there are people who, even if they have two eyes, have shut off the other making him or her think in a very diminutive way.  Hanggang doon na lang ang isip niya. 
          The Youngest daughter had three eyes.  If humans are expected to see and foresee, then why didn’t God make our eyes three?  If we had three, we will see everything.   That’s it!  If we had three eyes, we will see more than what we actually see which is very dangerous.  Three-eyes was not supposed to see the goat’s magic.  But because of her third eye which could not be controlled like the two eyes, the goat was butchered.  If we will take sides with three-eyes, then it was an advantage that she had three eyes or else, they will never discern the secret.  Two-eyes will have a happy life then.  But if we will take Two-eyes side, Two-eyes didn’t do anything wrong and it was unfair for her family to butcher the goat which fulfilled her hunger and nothing more.  We should realize that as humans, we are given the gift to see but not short of what is required nor is what is more than what is required.  Unfortunately again, there are so many of us who has a third eye.  Not the third eye used for clairvoyance and the spiritual likes, but the third eye that sees too much even if it is not seeing anything.  We could not take Three-eyes’ side because she has evil thoughts for Two-eyes.  These evil thoughts are made up by our invisible third eye hoping that they are true or will become true.   As we hope and hope, to see what’s not there, we break a little and a little and a little, until we end up breaking not just ourselves but also those around us who do not deserve to be.
          It was not Two-eyes end when the goat was butchered, evil thoughts and deeds will never conquer any good soul, fate knows this and God reins’ fate.  As long as we remain in God, the reins will not break.  Two-eyes cried over the dead goat and was hopeless.  She should have thought of this…as I should have when I feel like my reins broke, that there is always hope.
          No matter how we seemed to be unattached to God’s reins---we should always remember that God will never let go.  If we decide to let go, He will still not.    
          Two-eyes had a new hope.  A tree with silver leaves and golden fruits which she alone can pick from.  A person with a clean heart, no matter how condemned, no matter how his or her name had been tarnished by others, as long as the heart remains pure…your mind clear, you will have the “golden tree” for your self.
          When Two-eyes married the prince and left her miserable home, her evil family felt that even if they could not pick fruits from the tree, at least they have it in their yard and people will admire them for having such wonderful tree.  Little did they know that evil people can never have of any use things that come from goodness.  The tree moved to the palace with Two-eyes.  A golden heart go with goodness, they don’t remain with the unpure.
          The prince married Two-eyes, not because she was the normal one.  This part of the story tells us that different or not, it doesn’t matter as long as one has a pure heart which is capable to love.  And when we love, it must be pure.  Free from shortness of seeing and free from oversight.  Love that is enough our two eyes can hold. 
          To my friends…whose two eyes are in perfect vision to see the pureness in my heart, I thank you.  To my children, whom I showered with love and whose love they give back, I will always need you. 
          To my husband Peter, whose heart only sees love…I will love you forever…


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The Specialist

Other Columns

My SOWA(07/23/06)


Sts. Peter &

One Big Happy Family
By Fanta Mboya-SRA orange 10 Lab1b
  September 19, 2006
by Chingbee Muñoz-Abad


            No, I didn’t memorize this activity from our all-time favorite, SRA activities with Sr. Luz.  I actually have a copy, though they’re in tatters already, I still make use of them.
            My springboard this time is a short text for advanced grade 1 and early part of grade 2 levels.  It is very short so I will include the full text here plus the activities.  Some of you might want to print and let your kids do them.  So before I talk about our “One Big Happy Family,” read this first:
Link UP:           (Always done before telling a story)
                        Would you like to have everyone in your town as part of your family?  Why?  What would some of your problems be?  Could you do all the things you do now?  Why?  Can you tell a story about what that would be like?
How many are you in your family?  How many brothers?  How many sisters?  How many parents?  That’s easy isn’t it?  It’s easy for you.  But not for me.  I live in Africa.  I live in a village.  Almost everyone here is related.  My whole village is my family.  Think of that!  All the grownups raise all the children.  No one cares which child is whose.  It doesn’t matter.  What a family!  Does it sound confusing?  It’s not.  Not for me.  And that’s what counts.  I’m well cared for.  Lots of people love me.  Lots of people look after me.  It’s one big happy family.  Would you like that?  I do.

One Big Happy Family-that’s what SPC1983 is.  Some of us set foot in SPC as young as 5 years old.  Others came later and became family members, others went, but not actually left, the spirit always remained.  After high school, each one went to build separate lives.  Now, after 23 years, a link has started to fasten us all once again.  Well, we should link up because after all, whether we like it or not, we basically grew up together.
We grew up together and spend more time than we did with our families.  We spent around 8 hours in school bundled like bumblebees.  When we went home, we only stayed awake for a few hours then off to sleep.  So, we were with our classmates and teachers longer than with our parents making us a One Big Happy Family.  Happy here is really the appropriate word.  There was not a single dull moment when we were all together.
We became brothers and sisters in laughter and tears.  Though for the girls it was always in tears because the boys maybe made a pact that they will have one common talent.  And that is- To make the girls cry.  For my part, it was Hilbert Sarit who made me cry in grade four, I think.  As in everyday!  In Grade 6, Billy Lladoc will dip the “walis tambo” in Mrs. Lozano’s aquarium and ran after the girls getting us wet all over.  I think it was only Amado Cuesta who didn’t make our lives so much miserable (correct me if I’m wrong kay murag nabunalan ra ba to sa ulo ug cartolina.)   When we were in grade 2, Guito and Irene laughed about my “sinultian” because I still had the Cagay-anon –dili lagi ko kahibalo mag bikobiko.  It should have been, di lagi ko kahibaw mag bikobiko.  Speaking of Bikobiko, ang limbungan, kaaway sa tanan and always pasikatay sa katipan.  Back to my sinultian, I made it a point to learn to shift so when in school inormoc and in our house cagay anon.  My best friend then was Marivic Solis (where is she now?)  I will speak of no one but her.  My dad will say (in a very fast mode, si Maribic si Maribic!  Then in Grade 4 or 5, Consuelo and I became very close to Mary Faith, then my dad would say, si Mery Pit si Mery Pit.  When Lilibeth Gotardo joined us, my dad will say, Si Lilibit si Lilibit!  My dad’s favorite too was Shalimar Can On—he gave Imay a new middle name without Imay knowing (now you know, may).  That went on and on depending who my best friends were.  I still remember Elena Rivera (Where is she too?)  We would pester her forever to give us PEPSI give-aways like inflatable bags and small toys.  We did that to Irene too for the prescription pads.  Mangaway gyud kami kung di mahatagan.  I used to be palaaway too and my favorite to pick on to was May Rivera (sorry May)  I don’t why I liked to pick on her then. 
I had been in constant touch with Mary Ann Maglasang Hermoso.  She was the one who introduced me to my husband Peter.  With Shiela Marquez Cortes too.  Annette and Menchie used to contact me often then we lost touch, now we are linking up again.  It makes me feel good and honestly comfortable that I am connected again with everyone.  Even like Nicky Pongos, who left us before finishing grade school is once again in touch.  Nicky too, I believed, is one of the boys who didn’t have the talent to make us cry.  I just can’t remember with James though.  Mauro used to be so serious.  I still can see him walking alone or with his brother.  Serious but makulit pud.  Ken was of course, studying all the time.  Roehl D, like Ruel P—palaaway pud.
I want to go on and on with this reminiscing…til high school, but it will take me forever.  So I will fast forward—we all went to our separate lives and here we are now, nagkita kita na pud,   Pinipilt ibalik ang kahapon…and to that…we hold get togethers…
Although my latest trip to Ormoc last August 12 was quiet ah, sad, because my mom was very sick, Mary Ann, Sheila (nga forever late gihapon), Denia and Imay went out of their ways to be with me.  Mary Ann prepared dinner for us in her newly built function room.  It is in the ground floor of her three story building.  The place is cozy and since we were all girls, the topic was quiet X-rated with Denia and Sheila sharing really “juicy” talks.  We stuffed our selves with the food Mary Ann’s cooked prepared.  Since Sheila was late, as usual, hapit mahutdi ug pagkaon.  We then drove to Sabins in Bantigue since I have never been there.  I was very glad Ormoc has a place like that.  A miniature Splash Island with the sea beside it.  There, Sheila recognized a classmate.  It was Elviro something (sorry I cant recall the family name)  Sheila asked him if he still recognize all of us.  He answered the positive and started naming each one of us—Denia, Shalimar and Ribika—o my gosh-I haven’t heard that pronunciation in a while and with my kids around pa!  My two kids really had a good laugh.  We had to go home early.  It started to drizzle and it was a week day.  Imay, Sheila and Mary Ann had babies to attend to.
I had a good time that night.  I forgot for a while  about my mom who was in Cebu already at that time.  We were to follow the next day.
Two days after I arrived in Cebu , I learned that Atet, who is now a Dr. Margaret Sia Modequillo,Neurologist-Pediatrician holds clinic in the same hospital where mommy was confined.  I went up to her clinic but she was late that day so I left a message instead.  That afternoon, she passed by my mom’s room and called Roehl D, who came to the room right away, was holding rehabs in the same hospital being an rehabilitation doctor.  I was very very happy to see them both.  They practically looked the same.  The same, simple and humble.  Doc Roehl suggested that we have lunch the next day.  So we went to Ayala Center and had a Vietnamese lunch at the Lemon Grass.  We talked about classmates and plans for the 2008 reunion.  We were together for a while only since the two doctors had duties to comply to.  Unfortunately, because I didn’t have a very clear mind during that time, I forgot to have pictures taken.
After the two mini reunions I’ve been to, it was very surprising that when I got back to Manila , I started to be in touch with our other classmates.  Roel P gave me several numbers to contact Rhazel and after those SEVERAL numbers I was able to talk to her nga masuko ra ba kung mag tagalog or English ko.  She is based in Pandacan (asa ba kaha kanang dapita Rhazel?)  and she would say over and over—gui atay ka ba diha oi…She got married to a Coastguard so naturally their business will be that of barges and pumpboats which you could ask Rhazel personally kay mura ug layo sa akong profession and the language she speaks of, I cannot comprehend.  I was introduced to Rowena Valencia Ceniza whom I didn’t have the privileged to meet before but whom I find quiet welcoming.  Rowena did some “diggings” as to where our other batch mates are, so I found Lynette Maglasang De la Cruz, being the head of Toys r’ Us Phil.  Marissa Vivero Curay had been in constant touch with Rowena, is surprisingly with the customs at the pier-a male dominated profession.  Malakas ang loob niya.  Marissa managed to locate Franziella Raviz Torreja’s whereabouts.  So the September 9 get-together materialized.  I chose Mr. Choi at Robinsons Galleria to be our venue because it was a working Saturday for Lynette and her office is there.  Around 11:30am, my daughter Leana and I first went to see Lynette at the 4th level of Galleria where Toys r’ Us is located.  I had her paged.  When I saw her, I called her and nag sininggitay  nami.  Same old Lynette, “healthy” and singkit.  I believe her “people” at the store where watching us nga mga bisayang dagko.  In a little while, A lady so fair in a backless blouse and yellow (not with hepaA) cause of her alahas came.  Si Rhazel---and take note, sabaan kayo.    Even when we were in the comfort room with so many ladies around, hala sige ang yawyaw.  She has a very loud voice.  As in saba gyud kayo.  The three of us went down to Mr. Choi’s and saw Rowena and Marissa there.  We chose the long table at the resto’s end.  Mas grabe-nisamot ang kasaba.  Franz arrived with her husband.  We ordered so much food, Hot Prawn Salad, Fried Noodles, Sweet and sour Pork, Butterfly Prawn, and so many more.  Saba na gani kayo—dagko pa ug kaon!  We had waiters taking our pictures and binisayaan ra ba gayud intawon tanan tawo bisan mga tagalog ang waiters.  Rhazel was having problem with her motorboat, so her cell phone was ringing all the time until he used the restos landline.  Nang ning hawak pa kaha nga nakig storya sa landline-daku kayo ug tingog unya dugay pa gyud kayo.  Pastilan – pasaway kining mga tawhana.
At that time Mario Sia was assigned for two weeks here in manila so even if late, he managed to be with us.  Mario, less fats, darker but the same eyes, ay si Mario pa rin.  I was glad he was with us then…since Ken was on the phone almost through out the lunch date, nisamot ka alegre.  Our bill was around P3k+, ang donya sa customs gave P1k so gamay nalang ang divided by.  We left Mr Choi around 4pm and moved to Starbucks.   Nagpabadlong na pud si Rhazel, I asked her what she wanted, she answered the same with what I’m having.  I told her I always take Espresso Frap and its quiet bitter.  Rhazel replied- unsa bay frap frap oi…so Mario and I were laughing na.  Then I said You take the Latte instead—she said, unsa bay lati lati oi---hehehe, musakit akong tiyan ni Rhazel, so Mario pointed out the coffee of our neighbor table—kana bang ing ana—Rhazel said aw unsa ba nang puti puti---so I surrendered and got her brewed coffee.  Ay kay wa may cream, asus akong giyabhan ug non fat milk—Si Rhazel pa—unsa mani bing nga lain man…hehehe.  So she stood up and followed where the smell of popcorn came from—nipalit. 

The September 16 get together was supposed to take place at the Manila Hotel kay ang guest of honor nga labihan ka gwapa and glamorous na si Cora Caparoso unta toy hostess (pagastuon gayud).  It was a suggestion from marissa that we go there.  But since she backed out because mag ninang diay siya sa kasal, Rowena suggested that we will meet instead in Dampa in Paranaque .  Rowena had everything planned already when Franz texted that she needed to be in a nearer place because she will be having a meeting at 4pm that day. 

So the meeting place ended in my place.  Medyo nataranta ko because I had been teaching the whole day for sometime na and medyo our house is magulo plus the fact that it is only 150 square meters, so gamay ang place.  I decided to order food since I had no time to prepare.  My husband ordered food good for 40 persons complete with rice and fruit salad.  We had Beef Caldereta, spring rolls, fish fillet, and the lechon and dinuguan sponsored by Cora.  Rowena brought suman and puto.  Franz brought leche flan and gelatin c/o Goldilocks.  Daghan kayo food!  Since my classroom is airconditioned, I set up the tables there.  Pwerteng gubota.  Lynette who just had a lunch break from work managed to come by for a quick lunch and nakigtabi pa sa chatroom with gingging, mauro and Ken.  Mary Ann who happened to be in Manila unexpectedly made it here from makati .  Again saba kayo mi.  Biglang nagkatao ang tahimik kong bahay.  As in nabulabog.  Even our Mynah bird joined the saba.  It was very unfortunate that Rhazel had to be with her Mom in Cebu , Jennifer Gementiza had a sick child, Selena Tugonon’s husband had Dengue fever, Marissa in a wedding and Prescila Tarroza was home in Laguna (she called though and talked with everyone.)   Unfortunate too that our videocam got wet so we were not able to record the fun.  I forgot too that my cellphone is capable of 3o minute video, so next time nalang.

If Atet’s convention will push through on the 29th at the Mandarin Hotel, we are planning to see her.   That is of course if it is fine with her.   Also by November or December or when it is not raining anymore, I will be inviting everyone to our farm in Bosoboso, Antipolo City .  Space will not be an object there.  I can accommodate even a hundred nga makulit nga mga spcian.  Makulit is not an issue though—as long as we belong to our One Big Happy Family—we will be brothers and sisters FOREVER…atong tatay si Ken…kamaguwangan si Mauro—nanay? Si Beth of course kay wife man siya ni Ken…ako syempre—kamanghuran, hey—Im the author of this—no violent reactions please….
                        To end this is the activities related to the text of One Big Happy Family.
How well did you read?
Make each sentence tell about the story.  Choose one of the words in Heavy type.  Write that word.
  1. The writer lives in an African (village, city).
  2. Almost (nobody, everybody) there is related.
  3. All the (mothers, grownups) raise all the children.
  4. It doesn’t matter which (child, grownup) is whose.
  5. The writer says lots of people (chase. Look) after him.
Learn about Words.
A.           Does it sound confusing?
Say the word sound to yourself.  Listen to the sound of ound.  Then look at the letters in the box below.  Add them to ound to make five new words.  Write the words:
1.      f
2.      h
3.      p                          + ound
4.      r
5.      gr
B.           Look at the new words you have made.  Decide which one belongs in each sentence below.  Write the word.
  1. Our village women bake ____ loaves of bread.
  2. They bake it in ovens built high off the ____.
  3. I watch them ____ the dough and make loaves.
  4. Our old ____ dog likes to watch them too.
  5. Once they put bread out to cool and ____ him eating it
I hope your child will have fun with this activity.  It’s about time you introduce him/her to our One Big Happy Family.







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The Specialist

Other Columns

My SOWA(07/23/06)


Sts. Peter & Paul (06/29/0
There You Are (06/20/06

Also Read
Counterpoint by Ken Q
Wazzup by Mauro Sios-e

12 Gifts
  August 24 , 2006
by Chingbee Muñoz-Abad


The UP approach for teaching beginning reading emphasizes on story books as springboard for each lesson.  Thus, it is appropriate that my column will have one story book to serve as springboard for each concept to be discussed.  My “students” for now though, are not the little ones but my friends who may be adults but surely young at heart.  Since this is my opening column, I chose the book Twelve Gifts of Birth, by Charlene Costanzo - to be my primary springboard.  This is so, because, this is the “birth” of this space especially allotted for me by the people very dear to me.  Also, my mom who was very ill, recovered and I believed, was born to us again.

The first part of the Twelve Gifts of Birth reminds us of the story of Sleeping Beauty.  The time when royal children were given gifts on their christening.  Eventually it is said that not only to princes and princesses, but to each and every child these twelve gifts belong and also to each and every adult, these gifts must remain. We are now in our mid-life and most of us have teen-age kids now.  A few might have just given birth, others still trying to look for rightful partners to build a family with - no matter how old we or our children are now, or if one is childless, the author made it clear that this book, THE TWELVE GIFTS OF BIRTH is a “Message for children of all ages and the child in every adult.” –thus the book goes…

At the wondrous moment you were born, as you took your first breathe, a great celebration was held in the heavens.  And twelve magnificent gifts were granted to you.”

1.  The first gift – STRENGTH  – May you remember to call upon it whenever you need it. Young as we were, when we were babies, we were not aware that strength was within us.  The petty obstacles we met were very big for us already.  My biggest obstacle then was when I was first enrolled in SPC, I was supposed to be in grade one because I had previous schooling in Lourdes College in Cagayan de Oro City.  Ms Fe Roble was my teacher then.  Marisol was in the prep level with all of you.  One time after recess, Marisol was mistaken to be me and was pulled to fall in line with the grade1’s.  There were the two of us then in Ms Roble’s class, scared to death.  We sat down together but nobody noticed us.  From then on, I went with Marisol to the prep level.  I didn’t go back to the grade one class anymore.  It is actually okay to get scared.  At our age, some of us have already reached the ultimate goal we have in life.  Some has yet to reach that and in doing so, strength is a weapon we can “carry” along.   I can say I am lucky I didn’t need much strength to be what I am now even if I have been through trials and I have been an easy go lucky person.  God never left my side.  The only source of strength is God.   Wherever we go, He comes along—remember that. 

2.  The Second gift -BEAUTY- May your deeds reflect its depth.

Modesty aside, I am gifted with physical beauty but not until when I started pulling my hair.  The case was tricotilomania (whatever the spelling is) or hair pulling syndrome.  If I elaborate on this, it will take us forever—click on the search engine and you’ll get it.  That experience almost destroyed my life but I look at it not with bitterness and anger.  I see it as Gods way of making me humble.   A way He preferred to guide me through.  True enough, I was able to see myself through heartaches that could have led me to failure. People can only be ugly if we are ugly inside.  Beauty is always within us.  It doesn’t matter if we are now old or fat.  As long as we have goodness in our hearts, we will always be beautiful.

3.  The Third gift – COURAGE - May you speak and act with confidence and use courage to follow your own path

I believe in fate.  Do you?  Each one of us has our own destiny.   Not all in our batch are successful.  May we not forget each one of us no matter how we are in life.  Successful people must not expect to be placed high up on the pedestal with the lowly ones looking up high.  Instead, let us put the lowly on a pedestal for them to look down and let them imitate the courage they need to move on.

4.  The Fourth gift –COMPASSION - May you be gentle with yourself and others.  May you forgive those who hurt you and yourself when you make mistakes.

They say-in this “dog-eat-dog world,” one must be tough to survive.  To make oneself tough is a tough job.  You need to harden yourself or else, everyone will trample on you but doing so will turn your heart into stone.  I am sure you are familiar with the story, the sword in the stone - the cartoon version teaches about how life must be.  Only the one with a true and brave heart can release the sword from the stone, that simple.  But was it simple to look for a man who possess’ such trait?  Only but one deserved the sword.   The strength of the stone towards the sword gave way to the gentleness, bravery and mediocrity of a pure heart.  We don’t need to be hard on ourselves.  Things are easier when treated with compassion.

5.  The fifth gift – HOPE - Through each passage and season, may you trust the goodness is life.

I have a friend whose husband left them for another woman.  Her husband is my husband’s officemate so we always go together with their other officemates as a group.  We were five families altogether.  On summers we will all go to Ilocos or Batangas or to other destinations.  The children, 15 of them will have so much fun.  Until this husband after a high school reunion went with a former classmate to the states.  He left his wife and three children.  The eldest, 20 years old has Lupus and is now being dialyzed everyday.  He needs a kidney transplant.  The wife lost hope.  She did not want to come with us anymore since she will be “husbandless” if she will.  She refuses to hear mass even if their house is just across a church.  She found a job and had three boyfriends in less than a year.  She spent all the money her husband left for a nose bridge and eye bag removal.  The husband, a nurse has just passed all the nursing board in the US a month or two ago and is now married to the former classmate who is also a nurse.  In this case, you will wonder whom to side on to.  The husband who lost hope of the marriage to be intact?  Or the wife who lost hope after the break up?

6.  The Sixth gift –JOY - May it keep your heart open and filled with light.

On the day you cease to laugh, God forbids, prepare to die.  Without joy, life will be lifeless.  Without joy, you are as good as the living dead.  Joy is not always success or the richness you have.  One can be poor and be filled with joy.  Be happy with what you have.  Be contented.  Find happiness in simple things, like flowers.  Flowers can bring color to life.  Or laugh like a child.  A child doesn’t have so much, yet they can laugh with very simple things. 
There was a time when I looked at children as my “job.”  They were there in front of me because they needed to be there.  I didn’t realize that I never talked to them except teach them the lessons.  One time a student told me, “Teacher, why do you have headache always?”  I was surprised because I never said I had headache then.  She said that when big people have headaches, they don’t talk much.  I told her, I was talking all the time, she said, “You are angry all the time teacher, not talking.” 

7.  The Seventh gift  -TALENT- may you discover your own special abilities and contribute them toward a better world.

When I was a little girl, I always wished that I can dance the ballet like Astrid Penserga did in our ballet class, or play the piano like Gina, Atet, Annette or could orate and declaim like Jocelyn Tiu or sing like who ever it was that could sing like Lea Salonga then.  I grew up thinking, I had no talent at all.  When I got married, I could not cook, sew or do the simple task of buying fresh fish.  I thought I was useless.  Well, who would think that I can be very good with plants?  I can identify them, plant them and they grow, oh so well.  Then I am now a teacher to little kids and oh, how they love me so much.  How about you?  What’s your talent?

8.  The Eighth gift -IMAGINATION- May it nourish your visions and dreams.

“Walang bayad ang mangarap” - feel free to do it.  Children’s imagination are so vivid, one could almost see and touch an imagined thing.  Dreams are our guide.  We dream what we want to be and what we want to have.  But if act like Don Quiote de la Mancha, we might end up in an asylum.  So better be careful in imagining things.

9.  The ninth gift -REVERENCE- May you appreciate the wonder that you are and the miracle of all creation.

Have you thanked God for creating you?  When was the last time you stopped and appreciate a full-grown tree or a bird singing or the warmth of the sun or the twinkle of the stars or the breeze from the sea or the murmur of a flowing river?  Why don’t you step out now and do so.

10.  The tenth gift -WISDOM- Guiding your way, wisdom will lead you through knowledge to understanding.  May you hear its soft voice.

I always pray to God this way : “Lord, take away the anger in my heart, the bitterness, hatred and enviousness.  Just put in love, joy, contentment, humbleness and wisdom.  Lord, give me wisdom like my husband’s, amen.”   Peter, my husband, always knows what to say and do no matter how harsh the situation is.  He prays a lot, maybe that is why God has given him the gift of wisdom more than anyone else.  He can remain calm in nerve-wracking situations.  He has never said a word that will go out of bounds.  He has never made decisions that will make him regret afterwards.  That is why my motto-from the story, The Nail Soup - “What my husband says, is always right.”

11.  The eleventh gift -LOVE- It will grow each time you give it away.

Give love, unconditional love to every one and Love will just grow and grow and grow…

12.  The twelfth gift -FAITH- May you believe

Yes, may you believe and nothing more…


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The Specialist

Other Columns

My SOWA(07/23/06)


Sts. Peter & Paul (06/29/0
One Night....(06/20/06

Also Read
Counterpoint by Ken Q
Wazzup by Mauro Sios-e

There you are!
  July 31 , 2006
by Chingbee Muñoz-Abad

The welcome I “walked” into this site was overwhelming. I had not been in contact with my SPC batch for decades, yet the nostalgic feeling brought me back to Prep. I attended kinder in Cagayan de Oro City allowing me to rendezvous with my classmates there when I went back mid third year high school. But the feeling was not as pleasant as now. I started Prep in SPC and together with some of us now, we basically grew up together. Others may have come mid of elementary, others in high school, still I could literally say we saw each other grow up.

I thank you for the warm welcome even if I did not finish high school with you, though I don’t really feel any difference. During school breaks in Lourdes College I went home to Ormoc. Even if there was no break-I’d make my own just to be able to go home. My classmates even wanted to come with me for this reason-to meet boys. Lourdes College is an exclusive school for girls and most of my classmates stayed with the nuns in a dorm.

I thank you too for inviting me to write a regular column in our site. I was thinking twice about this because I am worried I might not be able to write regularly due to work constraints, but I thought I can use extra strength more for the people I dearly love. And besides, I miss writing. When I took my masters in UP, I did nothing but read and write and study until the wee hours of the day. I never studied so hard in my life. Actually and honestly that was the only time that I studied in my life. Some of my classmates can attest that studying was the farthest thing I will do. They would even tell me---Chingbee pag tuon intawon. Paging Belinda Angelio and Gina Derequito, where ever they are now, hey-I did study after all!

The Specialist –this I chose because teachers that do Reading Intervention are called Reading Specialist. Here in my column this word doesn’t just mean the specialist per se in one field-- the reading subject. You see, we studied “reading in the content areas” too and “areas” can be so broad depending on the limits we set. I will cover on reading approaches, books and what is so special about life. So maybe it is life per se actually. I hope that reading my columns, will make you---smile, laugh and cry and learn with me.


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