Category Archives: People

How to encourage a young child to do well in school

The Bike Story

The boy was six years old and the following day would be his first day in school.  He was watching his father clean the bike — the bike his father rides when he goes to work.  He imagined the places he can go if he will learn how to ride one.  He will go to the barrio and race with his cousins; to the sea to swim and to watch the ships and the boats pass by;  to the market to see what new goods the vendors from the city are selling.  The bike will bring him to so many places.

He asked his father, “When can we buy another bike?”

The father looked at him and said ” Not immediately. Probably after we shall have paid for the sewing machine your mama got on installment ”

That was not the answer the boy wanted to hear. So, he went straight to the point , ” Is there a way I could own a bike?”

To which his father immediately retorted: “Oh yes, there is. But that is something you will have to work on.”

The boy got excited, looked at his father and asked: ” How?

And this was  the father’s answer:

“Tomorrow is your first day in school. All you have to do is to study well, listen to your teachers, and do your homework. If you are able to do this, then you will most likely be the top student in your class.  And you know what? Every year that you will get the first honors ribbon you will earn as prize a certain part of the bike.

For  grade 1, you will earn  the complete  frame including all its components: the top tube, the down tube, the seat tube, the seat stay and the chain stay;

For grade 2, you will get the saddle area comprising the saddle and the saddle posts;

For grade 3, you will get the front set –which includes the handle bar grip, the head tube and the fork;

For grade 4 , you will get the pedal, the crank arm, the chain and the chain rings;

For grade 5, you will get the front wheel — spokes, hub, rim, tire and valve;

And by grade 6: you will get the back wheel — spokes, hub, rim, tire and valve.

So, if you will be first honors from grade 1 to grade 6, you will have earned all the parts needed  to assemble a  bike! “

Every year, the boy reminded his father about the bike parts he has earned. And every year,  the father  told him how many more parts he  has to earn to complete the bike. There are days when they passed by a bike store or watched other people’s bike and talked about how better the boy’s bike will be, when fully assembled.

Every year from grade 1 to grade 6  the boy got  the first honors of his class.   He graduated valedictorian from elementary. But he never got the bike he wanted. His father met an accident and was bedridden for the next 3 years. In fact, he had to work after school hours to help earn money for the family.

But by this time, the boy had already learned the proper study habits.  The bike was no longer his motivation for topping his class. Rather, it was to maintain an academic scholarship  in order to finish his  studies. He graduated valedictorian in high school.  He got a full college scholarship with board and lodging allowance and eventually, graduated valedictorian in college.

He got a good job and could have bought for himself  the best bike his money can buy. But he did not.  Instead, he bought his father a good bike, and a pick-up.

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My take of P-noy’s Year 1 in office

Pres Benigno Aquino III
President Aquino delivering his 2011 SONA

Daang Matuwid” and “Kung Walang Corrupt, Walang Mahirap” were two prominent campaign slogans of P-noy.  And now that he is the president, we expect him, his cabinet and other functionaries to  live up to these promises.

One year after P-noy’s  inauguration as  president of the country, I could say with confidence  that there is a conscious effort to fight corruption, although, efforts at the national level are yet to trickle down to the local levels.

And while there were black eyes  (the most prominent of which are the handling of the Luneta park hostage-taking incident;  the Leviste “escape” from Bilibid Prisons;   and, P-noy’s purchase of a Porsche), I have three first person experiences of change under this new administration that impresses me and provides a glimmer of hope for the future:

WANGWANGS:  In less than a month after the “no more wang-wang” statement of the president, I could only hear wangs-wangs when an ambulance or a fire truck pass by. Before the “no more wang wang” declaration, even barangay vehicles ran around with wang-wangs on. You can only curse and shout expletives as everybody and his mother who can claim connection to the powers that be  either counterflows or crosses red lights with sirens wailing.

The “no wang-wang” is a good example of how a simple act delivers a message so strong and so symbolic of what change means under the Aquino administration. It  defines every citizen’s expectation of other government officials. It sets the tone of how those in power should handle themselves, at least, in public.

LOG BAN:   At least in Quezon province, hardwood and other timber are getting scarcer.  Logs brought by the rivers to the sea during heavy rains and swollen rivers are now few and far between. A supplier of timber and cut logs from the mountains of Sierra Madre recently went to me to ask for advice on other types of businesses he can venture into.  He told me that it is now very difficult to get timber from his usual sources in Sierra Madre.  A year ago, his clients can simply tell him the quality and quantity of timber they want to order. With the right price, he will even deliver these to Metro Manila.

BUSINESS CONFIDENCE :   I have several business contacts and consulting clients who have either increased their current exposure in the country or have invested for the first time in the country.  Most of them are Filipinos. This is consistent with the official statistics which shows that investments rose 76% to Php162B in the first quarter of 2011.versus the same period of 2010. Moreover, Php140B of that amount came from Filipino investors — a leap of  211% from Php45B in the first quarter of 2010.

The business sentiment is one of optimism that the playing field will be more level in this administration. Bureaucratic red tapes at the national levels appears to have abated, although in some towns and cities in the country getting business permits still takes forever to finish.

To me,  the past 12 months were mostly foundation work, cleaning up, and reviewing. I hope that we will soon see  a Comprehensive Development Plan – something that puts in writing the socio-economic targets we will work at achieving in the coming years.  Definitely, we expect more action in the coming years, as the cleaning up and reviewing should give way to more action. Then we can judge whether he had become the type of leader we want him to become.

 

 

 

 

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A Homecoming Speech

Last December 30, 2004, I was invited as guest speaker during the 50th annual alumni homecoming of my high school alma mater — St Michael’s School of Padada. Here is a transcript of my speech. 

Dear guests, former teachers, peers and fellow alumni of St. Michael School of Padada, MAAYONG HAPON SA INYONG TANAN!

When Elma Ayop, and then Anna Binoya asked me if I would speak in today’s reunion, I was quite humbled, but more than that actually stunned.

Perhaps, the outspoken criteria to the invitation was beer belly size? Morag dili. Dili ang gidako-on sa tiyan ang basehanan kung kinsa ang guest speaker kay mas daghan pa man diri karon ang mas dako pa ang tiyan kaysa ako. Sa pagkatinood, isog-isog gyod tang tanan nga nitambong sa atong reunion. Kay wala man ta mahadlok nga magpalista bisan dagko na ang ating mga bilbil, sinaw na ang atong mga ulo, o dili kaha, kunot na ang atong mga agtang.

Allow me to be more pensive, this time. 50 YEARS – dugay dugay na gyud na panahon sukad matukod kining atong eskwelahan.  Mas tigulang pa gani kini kaysa kadaghanan nga mitambong ning atong homecoming. But in reality it doesn’t seem to be too far back in time.

In the years since we left the corridors of St. Michael’s School of Padada, through all the compelling changes that our lives (and bodies) have gone through, I look into the faces of everybody and I can say with conviction that everyone here is a SUCCESS. A success because our Catholic upbringing within the walls of this institution, molded us into individuals, who, by making a difference in the lives of a handful of people, that by struggling to be better than how we were when we walked out of the gates of SMSP.  We, in our own way,  have fanned the flames of the SWORD OF ST. MICHAEL and kept its fire ablaze.

Kasagaran ang sukdanan sa kalampusan ginatan-aw sa kadaghan ug kwarta, sa gwapo nga sinina, bag-o nga sakyanan, o kaharuhay sa trabaho ug panginabuhi. However, the Almighty Father, ang BIG BOSS ni Senior San Miguel, dunay lain nga sukdanan kung kinsa ang successful nga alumni sa St. Michael School of Padada. Para KANIYA, ang HULAGWAY SA KALAMPUSAN makita nato:

– sa mga amahan ug inahan nga adlaw adlaw nag trabaho para lang mapadala ang ilang mga anak sa eskuylahan.

The face of success is also seen in:

  • the brightest among us who choose to be civil servants, because they still believe in our institutions;
  • the honest public servants among us – barangay captains, councilors, mayors who lead with integrity, honesty and virtue;
  • the single parents who gave up their own happiness and needs for the sake of their children.
  • And, the businessmen and corporate warriors who have helped other people add value to their lives.

School reunions is a time when we reminisce the era that had made us the successful human beings that we are now.  Our years in SMSP were memorable years! We grew up in a single, God-centered community. Education was our ticket to a brighter better world. And probably for most of us, Education was the only way out.

It was a great time to grow up. We had no money, but we learned to enjoy what was available. We did not have television, electronic games and cellphones, but we were free to learn about nature and enjoy life through our physical activities and interaction with each other. We would swim in the beach, scale the slopes of Piapi, and hunt for spiders and make them fight with each other. We walked to school, and to the church, we played and picnicked in the open spaces, serenade classmates celebrating their birthdays. We raised gardens and chickens. We cut grasses with our own hands and made crude, simple toys.

Many of us were poor, but not poverty-stricken because we had a purpose. Purpose kept us going.

Think of the teachers we had in those days! They taught us to believe we are winners. They see to it that we learn to speak and to write correct and understandable English. They made us sing in ways we never thought was possible. They showed us the logic of math and the sciences. They gave us Spanish as a living language. And our principals and the nuns kept the school running. We respected and somewhat feared our teachers, but overall, knew them as friends we could trust.

Think of the confidence we had in each other. The students were the brightest, the girls were the prettiest. The basketball and softball players were the winners. The glee club and the church choir sang like angels. The school band and the rondalla played beautiful songs. We had the pride of the CLASS of ST. MICHAEL’S. We were proud because we knew hardships was just a step in making us self- sufficient. We did not grow up to be forever dependent on the dole or the goodwill of others. We were expected to be responsible, dependable and independent adults. We wanted to accept our roles in life, whatever those roles might be. We were poor growing up but we had purpose and pride.

One other thing we had, (though we may not realized it and might even had denied it at the time),  we had prayer. We clung to our prayers in those days. We had known life and death of friends and family. We had known financial and emotional trials. We had known fears and frustrations. We have felt fatigued and despair. The right and ability to pray, as we learned in school, has continued to sustain us through the years, and will sustain us the rest of our course.

We have entered into the 21st century and a new millennium since we left SMSP. Middle age is a nagging reality. We must tell our children and grandchildren, how, despite not having all the material comforts that are accessible now, we grew with purpose and pride and we continued through adversity with prayer. This is what we learned from St. Michael School of Padada. It is the same sense of purpose, of pride, and of faith that will bring us together again.

Even after 50 years, we still keep these flames ablaze as children of SMSP.

MABUHAY ANG MGA ALUMNI SA ST. MICHAEL’S!

 

(note: a transcript of this speech first appeared in   http://www.padada.com/PR2004/alumni2004_12.htm    a website put up by Czaldy Garrote and other alumni of SMSP)

 

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