Posts Tagged With: life

September: The Relationships Month

September: The Relationships Month

 Overall Insights

As the second month kicked in, I started forging relationships at school and in the church. I also became more confident and active in meetings and in classes. Although my final schedule was overwhelming, I took it as a challenge to improve myself. I considered it as a gift too for it helped me focus on my roles as an F***. I had challenges in my second month like getting students in English 846 class to believe in me. They do not trust me that much because I am Filipino, and I could tell that from the way they shrugged their shoulders when I gave them advice on how to improve their thesis statement. No matter what, I continued helping them. Excluding their section, I have built rapport with my other classes: Filipino 110 and English 110, so that is something to be grateful for. Instead of fretting over why English 846 students could not trust me enough, I diverted my attention to continually providing them support whenever they need it and to gaining motivation from other classes who appreciate my presence and help.


Challenges and Choices

             Class success. I had my first speech in front of the Americans during my Public Speaking class. Before my speech, I doubted my oratorical skills but was excited to test if the “speech” that worked for me in Japan and during the CHED National competition would have the same sublime effect on Americans. As an orator, seeing the same positive in-awe reaction from my audience after my performance was fulfilling.  I even got a 39/40 score from my professor who wrote, “You are an excellent speaker”. It did work. I was probably the happiest student in college when I received my marks. Delivering the speech while seeing all the students hooked is another unforgettable speech experience I had. I also received my first portfolio marks in my History of Ethnic Groups class. What really inspired me was the comment, “Solid Analysis!!!” from the professor who always critiqued people’s critical thinking through their paper.

During discussions, I seldom recited in class. After a month and a half, as my usual experience, I started getting heard in class. I even remembered answering all History questions not because they were discussed but because I am familiar with them, i.e. transcendentalism, civil disobedience, etc. As the teacher kept on asking and I kept on shooting answers, all students started looking at me with the- “how did you know that?” expression on their face. Their reaction motivates me to improve more in class.


             First Teaching. I had my first teaching in Ms. Erpelo’s class on September 2. I taught “Filipino Core Values” with Venus Cayabyab, the Supplemental Teaching Instructor. Since 95% of the class does not speak Tagalog, we started the class with a Word Splash game where students needed to write on a sheet of paper the first image that popped in their head when a Tagalog word was flashed. Some of the answers could not be associated with the word so it was really a funny activity. For example, a student wrote adobo when Crab Mentality was flashed. After that activity, the lecture where I first discussed the American Mind before proceeding to the Filipino Core Values of Kapwa, Pakikisama, Pakiramdam, etc followed. Students, then, grouped themselves and provided a skit for their group’s assigned core value. The class ended with a poster making activity. Overall, it was entertaining and students liked the session. However, it seemed to me that the professor was not satisfied. I knew because she repeated the lecture two days after. In her email instruction to us, it was clear that she wanted us to lecture on the list of core values. However, we thought we could use any sources because she did not specify that it had to be from that book where “Colonial Mentality” was also expounded. After that, I admit I was disappointed with myself. Instead of basking in self-doubt, I decided to shrug it off and learned from it. Hence, every time she requested for an assistance, I asked questions to ensure that I’ll meet her expectations.

Schedule.  To ensure that I am fulfilling my role as an F***, I laid out my schedule and forwarded it to my supervisor. I had a first taste of what my schedule will be like for the rest of the school year. I only have a 30-minute lunch break every MWF. Instead of complaining, I decided to pack a lunch that’s easy to gobble or munch in between periods. As a voracious eater, doing that was really hard. Soon enough, I began to adapt. I honestly do not feel overwhelmed by my schedule anymore. My days usually begin at 8:30 am when my bus arrives for school and ends at 5:30 in the afternoon. There were days that I could go home at 3:30 because no outputs were needed to be checked. In the midst of the overwhelming schedule what saved me was mama’s advice before coming here: mindset is what makes everything different. Thus, instead of focusing on the heavy workload, I saw it as a saving grace because it kept me busy that I never even had that “homesickness” phase. Am I even normal for not having gone through that?


            Tutorial at the TLC. I started my tutorial at the Tutorial Learning Center (TLC) in September. I come there every MWF, 2:30 to 3:30 pm. I do not only cater to students from the Kababayan English and Filipino classes but also to other Skyline College students. Whenever there are no appointments, I would also welcome students who wanted to be tutored in Reading and Writing. Because of my schedule there, I met other staff and students who are not from the Kababayan Learning Community: David, the head of the Learning center; Chanel, the Reading and Writing Graduate Tutor; Christina, the head for Workshops whom I also work with for my upcoming workshops at Skyline; Akiyo, the ESOL Tutor I always sat with during my tutoring schedule; Akayi and Christian, student assistants; Wong, Math Graduate Tutor; and Michael, the Supplemental Instruction Head. My initial challenge during my schedule was taking in students because I had to master their Tutorial Platform called Accudemia where I accept bookings from students, comment on the session and rate students. Now, I handle the Accudemia with ease.


Tagalog Tutorial. Before beginning the tutorial at the Tutorial Learning Center (TLC), the Filipino professor, Dr. B and Dean Mary Guiterrez with my Supervisor Ms. Erpelo had a schedule disagreement. The Filipino professor wanted to hold the Tagalog tutorial in the classroom right after the class while the two heads preferred it to be in the TLC so they could track the hours I am spending for tutoring. They had exchanged caustic yet professional emails. While they were insisting on their reasons, I talked to them separately and suggested that for 30 minutes I will stay in the classroom to cater students who have work, and spend the remaining hour (2:30-3:30) at the TLC for other Kababayan students. They found it the best compromise, so they all agreed. It was the first time here that I solved an issue that even heads had difficulty resolving.

For my Tagalog tutorial, I prepared Beginning Level Sessions for the students. We started with Basic expressions and commonly used words. The method and presentation of lessons from my French classes back home helped me create the sessions. Andrew, a Filipino-American student, commented that “it helped a lot” especially that the Filipino class here does not focus on teaching Tagalog alone but on Filipino cultures, traditions, history and current events.


            FSU Meetings. FSU meetings are held every Thursday 4:00 to 5:30. The Leadership prepares Teambuilding activities and Ms. Grace Burns, the mentor, conducts lectures on Filipino cultures. In the first meeting, she talked about Babayin and the Baranggay system which most members know nothing of, and poetry on our second assembly.


Kababayan Open House. Every year, the Kababayan Learning Community conducts an Open House where everyone from Skyline college is invited. The Open House was held last September 24 at 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm. The Faculty and staff introduced themselves in front of 30 attendees, then, everyone had a Tinikling competition and skit presentation. While having the activities, I realized how blessed I am to be in a very open learning community and to be surrounded by classmates I began to be friends with: Jessy, Jason, Christian, Ally, Sam, Marie, Gabe, Cid, Kevin, Kailee, Allys. I always laughed hard whenever I am with them.


            Westmoor High School. When Mr. Bo Aleonar asked me if I would be willing to assist in the Kapatiran program at Westmoor, I immediately said yes. The Kapatiran program aims to develop students’ Filipino identity, to prepare them for college success and to enhance their critical thinking skills.  I knew that I would expand my experience more and learn more if I accept the offer. Although it was not stipulated in the contract, I took the responsibility because it would help me grow as a person. I work there more as a teacher than as an assistant every Tuesday from 3:15 to 4:25 pm. True enough, I enjoyed my sessions there. High School students were very participative and they talked much in Tagalog. Whenever I was there, I would often remember my San Pedro High School students who are as noisy yet participative and inquisitive as them.


            Monstress. Last September 27, I watched the Monstress play at the American Cultural Center in San Francisco with my Pilipino Cultural Night classmates to observe and pick strategies for our upcoming PCN in May. Most of us lauded the minimalist and sublime approach of the I-hotel and openly shared our strong dislike for the overly decorated stage and forced accent and acting of the Monstress play. Watching the play, I realized that usually the one with an uncomplicated yet thoughtfully crafted plot that has minimal props and scene changes creates more impact than overly drawn plot with elaborate decorated stage that depicts several location changes. We even discussed it in class and agreed that a play could be as simple as someone walking down the street and encounters different people, animals, things, yet can portray the theme more and leave a sublime effect. In fact, I agreed that the more minimalist yet meaningful the play is, the stronger is its impact.


            Mentors’ Training. On September 29, we had our first Mentors’ meeting and training. Through the training, I met new friends like Cathleen, Dave, Leo, Nassja who already transferred to universities but still part of the Kapatiran program.  During the meeting, we had to work in groups of three to answer a puzzle. After answering ours which was “Sitting With It”, we guessed other groups’ words as well before processing the words as a community at the conference room. The activity taught us to help one another in resolving issues. I learned new words during the event such as: Conscious Riser, Boundary Setter, Sitting With It, etc which are all “roles less travelled by” as Bo pointed, which also explained the roles we need to take as mentors. As a mentor, I must encourage my mentee to solve issues on her own, become more of a listener, and a guide for her college success. It was pointed out that being a mentor does not mean being an expert in the mentee’s subjects. I should lead the mentee to school resources like the Tutorial Learning Center whenever if ever she raises help for her subjects.


            Travel. Outside of Skyline, I feel blessed to meet Kaye from church who brought me to Six Flags on September 5, where I rode a Medusa Roller Coaster (the longest and worst), tried Tazmanian Devil and Sky Riser for the first time. I only did it because Kaye wanted to try them. What I enjoyed the most was the Dolphin Show. In fact, I waited for and watched again their 30-minute performance. On September 20, my relatives took me to Hearst Castle at San Simeon, a four-hour drive from Fremont, CA. The castle houses relics from different countries. Mr. Hearst put it up on a hill in the 1850s because he wanted to recapture his travels with his mom in Europe when he was a boy. Today, the Hearst Castle, as per request by Mr. Hearst on his deathbed, became a state park of California.


Teaching Insights

           Stories. I admit that I have the best History professor. He has a different approach on Teaching History which I would like to share to professors of Ateneo de Davao University when I come back. Stressing that history does not define the “now” and that history should be used to critically reflect on the present, he requires portfolio that includes current events and a story of ourselves that tie with the theme or period discussed. His quizzes are different, too. Instead of just listing dates or identifying close-ended questions, he gives terms that we need to expound through a story, making the association easier. Honestly, I can re-discuss what he lectured because of his strategy. The story (quiz) should start with a historical context, followed by the challenge faced, the choices the people made to address the choice then, the significance of the term to the theme. Usually, the term is the choice in the story. It is difficult but it strengthens connection among pieces of information that allows a deeper understanding of history. I cannot wait to share his strategies to History professors back home.




Categories: Development, Kayla in the US, Lessons, Musings, Successes, Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Photo Journal #237: January 01, 2015 (Thursday)/ First Mass of the Year and A Look Back


Last night was not that pure and solemn for me, as I was used to. But that’s just caused by my asthma and I won’t let that one hour of dreadful look at the world affect the way I deal with my 2015. I have so much faith in God and I always trust that whatever comes in my way is God’s way of harnessing my inner strengths and purifying me to be worthy of heaven, my end goal. Thus, I attended the first mass of the year and offered all that to God, with my new 2015 and long term goals.

They say, do not look back but focus on the present and what lies ahead. It is true but reflecting on our experiences provides us nuggets of wisdom which we need in facing the unkown future, and cultivates in us a grateful heart. It’s only by turning our head back that we see the connections between now and then. It shouldn’t be a full turn though or we might lose the beauty of what’s here in the present and there in the future.

As I look back, I could really attest to God’s providence that allowed me to traverse the every day of 2014.

In January, it wasn’t easy because we found out that my sister needed an operation because of her growing cyst in the uterus. But it didn’t happen when she got pregnant in November of 2014. Amidst the impossibility of bearing her own, I dreamed of holding a baby which God confirmed in my prayers before it happened. And it did happen. Praise God for the new member of our family. Plus, Rap and I are now close. I couldn’t even imagine how it happened.

In February to March, I had difficulty in dealing with students from BS MKTNG 2. But I became stronger and faced that issue with them. Instead of sowing resentment, I showed them that I am a fair teacher. What happened next was something I will ever be grateful for. Those same students who hated me (I presumed) appreciated that. That specific student I berated privately was shocked when she noticed that I didn’t put her down during her oral defense and that she passed my subject. The result, whenever we meet, she smiles and says, “Miss you, ma’am” even if she’s not under my class anymore. I think it happened to me to also teach these kids, values.

In March, I had to submit papers for Fulbright Master’s program. At first, I didn’t  know why I decided to submit my application because I knew while everybody prepared for three months for that, I only had a week,  until PAEF sent me an e-mail recommending me to their FLTA program which application was due in May. I didn’t follow their advice because my first response was anger. I shoved it off and continued my life, serving the church every 12 noon of Mondays, sometimes, also Wednesdays, and Sundays. When I found out in June that the FLTA application was extended till July, I was a bit shocked because a 2-month extension’s too long. That drove me to taking a leap of faith again. I was hesistant but  slowly, after praying, I heard God telling me to just “do it”. It was tiring but I did it once more, getting recommendations, drafting and editing essays for submission, spending for tokens, etc for my dream. People sometimes thought that I wasn’t spending much effort but they didn’t see what pain I had to go through to achieve my goals. You get judgments from people you’re not even close with but what’s important is seeing God along the way. It was He who opened all the doors of opportunity for me.

Oh, in April, or May? I took my Comprehensive exams. I was scared but again, I took to God and prayed hard. When exams came, I was a little disappointed with the Pyscholinguistics questions but I answered them anyway. In June, I found out that I passed. Yepeey! And it’s the official start of the grueling thesis writing.

In September, I received a call from PAEF and did an interview via Skype with them. They were really caring and understanding, which was contrary to what others had shared about them. Guess, my charm worked again. LOL. And I passed. Hello, USA.

I have to be honest that I am good in judging and in asking questions, sometimes turning the whole paper into trash but I am not a good researcher and writer. That’s what I believed in until I finally started researching on my own, without the help of others. I still couldn’t believe that I was able to write an excellent thesis which received a 1.0 from the panel. I didn’t even have tough questions from them which again I believe was from the Holy Spirit.

For the first time too, I was invited to three events as a judge. God knew that I was waiting for it, and He gave it in His perfect time.

In October, I reviewed for TOEFL but because of the oral defense, I really had not time to focus on the TOEFL exam. I spent one week only for TOEFL. God was the witness of my fear, of rehashing that painful moment when I didn’t top the board every night before the exams. It’s the speaking part that I dread the most because it’s the part when I always freezed and zoned out. During the real test, the reading part was very “very” difficult. I almost cried. The writing and the listening were as usual the easiest for me. The speaking? I felt like I was just “blah”. Oh God. But what’s great was finally going home with mom and dad to South Cotabato after the test. Two weeks after, I received my excellent scores, I was crying because I couldn’t match any of them with my actual test performance. And while I was praising God, I imagined Him looking at me and whispering, “I told you, I can make all things possible!”. Glory to God!

In November, I talked to the principal of Banga Central Elementary School and had an intellectual conversation with him. It’s when I felt that I was really meant to guide schools. (I don’t want to expound on that now). Everything went fine. I was happy. Then, my first heartbreak came. I completely just let an unknown person through, inside my heart. I decided to give love a chance, but it failed. I cried, for three days. LOL. And as usual, God’s there to comfort me. Now, I’m not afraid to love. I became stronger. Thanks to you, wherever you are!

When it was finally December, everybody got busy with the wedding plans of my sister Kath and Rap while I sit in front of the computer, transcribing audio recordings from my classroom observations. Three days before the wedding, I stopped to also help out in the planning. It turned out I had an important role to play during the wedding as an overseer and organizer. Organizing is always one of my core gifts. Thanks, God! The wedding brought families together. Finally, I was able to hug my cousins, Gaming, Daku, Inday and Claven in person. We watched movies from 1 pm to 6 pm, ate ice cream, told each other horror stories—it was all fun.

Also, in November, I had a very huge altercation with Ante Dolor. I sobbed because I knew I was wrong. I said sorry and she accepted it and now, we’re both closer than ever. After that, God showed me that I have a Borderline personality disorder. Finally, I had a name for this devil inside. I refused to be like this forever. And for only a week, for two months, I never got angry, never shouted, and became kinder.

By the way, I also applied for MARIHE program under Erasmus Mundus. I took a shot because it’s my dream course.

What have I achieved?

Thesis! Yeheeey! –Not done though, Letters to soldiers and prisoners, thank you notes to random people who appeared shocked at times, books for strangers, and manna from heaven program.

I finally am clear with who I want to be and what I want to achieve- yehey! Thanks to that student who I found talking at my back. Thanks to you for opening my eyes to what I truly want.

What have I become?

I became more independent, kinder, understanding, patient, present, mature, generous, friendly. I now initiate talks with people from my past whenever I see them in the church instead of always in a rush just to evade conversation. In other words, I become comfortable with social interactions. Even if I don’t like the person and suspect that she’s thinking about something (huh, borderline problem), I stop and smile, become kind and courteous and just let them. I realized that I can’t control people’s mind or what they say. I am now committed. Before, I always think of myself. Now, I don’t. I just help and be kind. Also, it feels good whenever people wait for your decision in the family, well, I do get that a lot outside but not within my family. Now, they do look up to me. Thanks God. I have stepped closer to becoming that person I want to be, elegant and respected. Also, I am 100% sure with my fashion taste now. Well, Kate Middleton is my perfect fashion icon, simple yet elegant.

All in all, I love 2014! You just proved that You were mine. Thank you Jesus! Glory to You!

Welcome, 2015! You are the change I want to see in me! 😀

Sorry for the overused words. :*

I will just update this whenever I remember details to add. And again, blunders??? This is unedited. Lol

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Photo Journal #195: November 20, 2014 (Thursday)/ Bursts

I am absolutely stressed. I felt ashamed of myself today. I blew up for a very tiny reason:bed cover. I mean, it is, but probably it stemmed from bottled frustrations. Imagine someone who took care of you since you were young, crying. I was really harsh. No words can explain how frustrated I am with myself. Out of anger, I even threw my scapular. Now, I don’t have it. I just want God to be angry with me, not to tolerate me. I want Him to just leave me. But He stayed. And I remembered crying and slapping myself, begging Him to leave while asking Him why He still sticks with me. I sobbed the whole day and even prayed that God will lay me to rest. But (Proceed to November 21, 2014).


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Photo Journal #32: June 10, 2014 (Tuesday)

And it’s the first day of classes for me… I was groggy and exasperated due to my late sleep but my 7:40 a.m. class turned out well. After my session, ma’am Sheng and I discussed my audio recording’s post production for an hour. Apart from being so accommodating and fun to be with, Ma’am Sheng did not price me that much which is good because I am broke at the moment. Haha! I quite did not expect my 4:10 class to be that fascinating and vibrant! Students were participative and welcoming! They were all looking at me intently like it’s the first time they’ve seen a motherly instructor. Jesus was not satisfied with these gifts that He even added another one: the blessing of a friend. Ma’am Gemma and I met up in the evening and had a long conversation at Peri-peri SM Ecoland. Plus, she paid for my meal!!! Yay!



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Photo Journal #22: May 31, 2014 (Saturday)

Met Dr. Suzette for the first time today at 1:30 p.m. Take note: No hypothyroidism! That means, I really have to work harder on my exercise routine and diet. Huhuhuhuhu. After the check-up, Ate Angie and I talked about several matters while gobbling our Mcdo cheeseburgers and nibbling our fries in between. We jumped from one serious topic to the next while I mindfully put into practice the “Tune in to Channel Positive” tip by Dr. schwartz as Ate Angie rambled on her perceptions about the subject. Honestly, it was harder than I expected. If you are willing enough though, you wouldn’t want to put off what you learned because you know it would make you a better/greater individual. Takeaway for today: When failure hit you, choose to think big and say, “Failure is not taking something out of me. It is putting something into me.” Choose to learn from your setbacks. 🙂







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Photo Journal #16: May 25, 2014 ( Sunday)

I can’t believe I did this again after many years. I totally lost my control due to a misunderstanding. I spat out piercing words at Ate Angie and
also at papa. At exactly, 6:00 p.m., fear, anger, pain and long buried regrets engulfed me- I lost hope but I regain it after several hours. I want to keep a record of this to remind my future self that suicide isn’t the solution. I tried slitting my palm (not my wrist) but the knife couldn’t cut through. I got few cuts though. The next day, I convinced myself that it’s because the knife’s just blunt but you see, it’s another miracle in my life coz I discovered that the knife is in fact, sharp. Thank you Jesus for saving me.


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Photo Journal #15: May 24, 2014 (Saturday)

Compre started at 9:00 a.m. at F513 near the Humanities Division office. My neurons and synapses died for a couple of minutes after four hours of answering questions that focused on Phil and British literary movements. Then, to celebrate my little success, I decided to watch “Godzilla” alone which didn’t drive me off my seat. After almost dozing off the movie house, I rushed home, dressed up and headed to church for my 6:00 p.m. mass schedule. The day wasn’t over yet after the mass because I decided to help in cleaning the church. This was a truly “sa wakas (finally)” day!!!


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Photo Journal #8: May 17, 2014 (Saturday)

And the first day of the two-Saturday DEADLY comprehensive exams had finally arrived! Came to the uni before 8:00 a.m. but the exam started 30 minutes after.

On the first day, my classmate and I took the Foundations of Language and Research courses . Though each subject has only four essay questions, we took the test for four hours. What caught us by surprise were the first set of questions for they were not part of the requisites of the first subject. Fortunately, I kept my calm while berating my RUSTY head and forcing him to retrieve the information for me (Oh head, please, you got to know this Critical Period Hypothesis. I can’t believe how totally useless you are at this moment! Come on, you can do better than that!)

Disappointed look

Disappointed look

After the test, we believed we deserve a treat so we STORMED (yeah, stormed, pinaabtik ba) to Abreeza and ate our lunch. I had a slice of pizza and a plate of carbonara while my friend literally gobbled a slice of White Chicago pizza.

Meaty pizza and carbonara! wooohooo

Meaty pizza and carbonara! wooohooo

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Photo Journal #5: May 14, 2014 (Wednesday)

Unwinding and spending quality time with my siblings, Kenneth and Kath at Basilio’s Resto, Koronadal city before finally heading back to Davao city…


Today too, I spent time reading articles on winery and blind wine guessing. It’s good to know even just a few info about things I don’t usually pay attention to.

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Photo Journal #4: May 13, 2014

Recently, about 200 girls were kidnapped by a terrorist group, Boko Haram in Nigeria. As a lover of children and as a feminist myself, I found this appalling and atrocious. Who on earth can do that? Only selfish vile people! Although hating would never bring back the girls, I somehow couldn’t deny the fact that when I took this photo, I FELT that. A hashtag can’t do anything but to persons like me, this only shows support to the victims and their families.

                My prayers go to the girls who were victims of this kidnapping.




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