Happy Listener

Sometimes, I lack inspiration to survive the day. And when everything is dry in my life, I listen to  ear-candy poetry. Here are some of my favorite pieces.

I am looking forward for a world that celebrates individuality

I see every failure and every tragedy as an opportunity to create beauty

I value the special people in my life.

I want to write more poems like Sarah Kay

I want more men who value and respect women

I want to tell stories of people whose lives may never be known to many

Speech 121

One of the advantages studying in Diliman is the freedom to choose your subjects, schedule, and teachers.

As a shiftee, I did not grab the chance to avail such student’s “benefit” of choosing teachers. I just wanted to enroll all the prerequisite subjects I could get so that I could catch up with my batch mates.

One of the basic subjects of a Speechcomm student is Speech 121, Oral Interpretation. Ma’am Villy’s Speech 121 class was the only one that had slots and complemented well with my schedule. If my first impression was solely based on her name, she sounded like a flower. Water Lily? I gathered opinions from other students and found out that she was no flower at all. There were nice comments about her but the negative comments were more elaborate. She was one of the “terror” teachers. Some even described her as ”bitchy.” They said she gave low grades to students. For someone who had stage fright and who was often intimidated, like me, it was already a courageous act to be in her class.

Courageous Act 1 

She was known for being frank to her students. When I heard stories about her, I felt I was going to lose my self-esteem in her class. By her looks, you would judge her as someone snobbish. For a better word, she looked “regal” Sometimes, I had this illusion that she was always raising her eyebrows. Did she or was I imagining? She did not smile a lot. As what I believed, “It’s either you hate her or you love her.”

On our first day of class, when I told her I was living in KNL, she said, “So you’re living in the squatter area of UP?” Of course, it was a joke. But she delivered it well like a villain. She reprimanded me for using Wikipedia in my report (which I am very shameful to say up to this very day.) She did not let me finish a sentence with an unheard word ( words I mumbled due to poor vocabulary).

Courageous Act 2

Our first oral interpretation assignment was to deliver a poem. And of all the pieces in the world, I chose a Shakespeare sonnet. “Your piece is too short. You should have memorized it. The way you did in your introduction. You introduction was very good. ” I did not memorize my introduction. I prepared the introduction five minutes before the class whereas as I spent a day practicing 14 Shakespearean lines. Earlier in class, she said to underline the words in our pieces that needed stress. After my performance, she told me I used stress in almost all the words in the poem.

Courageous Act 3

What would you if I told you I wanted to kill myself?”

As usual I had one of the best introductions but had one of the worst performances in class, (as usual). I delivered a part of a play about a daughter who wanted to kill herself and her mother wanted to stop her. She then gave her comments. “You were OA (overacting)”

Courageous Act 4

For our final performance, we made an interpretation of a play for children. I was one of the minor fairies in the play. I was Courage who had about five to eight lines in the play. My greatest line: “Good day Prince, I am Courage.” On our final rehearsal, she dropped Courage (me) as one who had the strongest voices. At last, she said something nice about my performance!

Courageous Act 5

After our performance ended, she noticed my voice. I don’t know if my memory is right. She said I had one of the outstanding voices referring to my volume and intensity? She noticed I wore a camouflage jumper to symbolize courage while the rest were wearing Sunday dresses. Then she continued: “Except your costume was off.” And for the very last, she said something negative about my performance.

By the end of our class, she ordered ice cream for us. We had our class photo. She smiled with me in the camera. She was not the woman I thought of when I was filling up my enrollment form. In contrary to what others believed, she was not a ‘ terror’ teacher. When I got to know more of her personality in class, I was not as scared to listen to her remarks as to listen to my classmates’ remarks. Her honesty was just right. She would tell you what you deserved to know. She would not throw praises to you for free. And she would not throw insults to you out of nowhere. Having said that, I was brave enough to take another subject with her but by fate and by computer system of enrollment, I never had the chance to take another subject, and I never will…

I may be one of her easy-to-forget students but I will never forget her. After all, Speech 121 is one of my favorite subjects. I discovered that I actually like to perform. If it weren’t my favorite, I would not have written all of this. One of my college professors said that a teacher finds fulfillment when a student can still remember a single lesson or a single thought from her class… Not a single lesson..Not a single thought …..but if it has to be a single thought, it is Courage.

Rest in peace, Prof. Villy Buenaventura. You are one of the best Speech teachers I’ve ever had. 

How to Answer: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

I  made a speech  for a preschool program which centered on the theme: “Aim High” . I did not exactly follow what I wrote in here. I had to be flexible. While I was talking in front, I had to study how the parents listened and how the children behaved.  So what  I said in front was like a synopsis  of what I wrote.

What do you want to be when you grow up? Perhaps all of us here have answered this question. We, adults,  might have taken this question for granted.  But probably this is the first serious question you have encountered in your life. When you were five years old, you were not asked if you were single or married. You were not asked if you had good grades or if you had  a good job. They only asked you:  “ What do you want to be when you grow up?” And I believe this is a very important question  for your  children. Why? Because it is  the moment when they start to dream. We should  encourage children to dream big because  when they dream big, they become the best of what they can be. We are able to maximize their talents.  And there’s a big difference between a person who has big dreams and a person who has small dreams.

Today,I  want you and your children to remember four things before they answer the question: ”What do you want to be when you grow up?”

First if you can conceive it, you can achieve it. Think that you can always do it. Kung ano  kaya mong isipin, kaya mong gawin. Paolo Coelho said: “When you want something, the universe conspires to help you achieve it.” Isn’t it an inspiring  to know that nothing is impossible  and that anything we want is within our reach? In a theatre workshop, actors have an exercise in which they close their eyes and  keep repeating the word, “Yes!” until it becomes part of the actors’ minds so that when they go on stage, they will no longer doubt themselves. For dreams to happen, you have to convince yourself that they will come true.

Secondthose who win, those who are famous, those people you admire  are ordinary people

Tell me the people you like and the people you want to be. Look at Charice Pempengco.  She is just an ordinary girl, a regular young Filipina who  just likes to sing. David,in the Bible is also an ordinary boy. He is a small boy.  But he killed  a giant who was ten times bigger than he is. And his weapon was also ordinary. It was just  a sling shot.  You do not have to be very extraordinary to reach for your dreams.  Just be yourself. As written in the Bible, we are fearfully and wonderfully  made. You can never question God’s creation.

Third, magic is not true  but prayers are real. Before I came here, I was thinking of a fairy tale example for children but how will I let children believe in what am I going to say if I talk about something that does not exist?In the real world, we can not request from a fairy godmother. We can not send our wish list to Santa Claus  but we can always  pray to God. Solomon became the wisest  king on earth because he asked God to give him wisdom.  You can always ask God for help.

Lastly,  believe in yourself. You can succeed even if nobody believes in you but never when you do not believe in yourself. Do you know the story of Babe? Babe is a pig. He joined a contest for sheepdogs. In other places, sheepdogs are those dogs who guard sheep in the farm.  They protect the sheep from escaping the ranch.  When babe came in front of the crowd, nobody believed in him. Nobody believed that a pig could  guide a flock of sheep. In the same way, would you let pigs guard your house, instead of a dog? They laughed at him. But to their surprise, Babe was able to lead the flock of sheep in the contest. He won even if others did not believe in him at first. If he did not believe in himself, he could have been  a pork chop, or a  bacon. The key is: “Believe in yourself.” We should help children gain confidence in themselves.

Dear children, be proud to tell your parents that you want to be a superhero, a superstar, a princess, a doctor, a lawyer,  a writer, a teacher, or to be the president of the Philippines, Dream big and follow your dreams.  We can laugh at them but do not tell them that they will never be what they want to be when they grow up. Do not tell them: “ You will never be the president of the Philippines.” Let us be bridges of their dreams.  Mold  them and unleash their fullest potential.  Show to them that you really like to know what they  want to be when you grow up.