My 2016 Great-Reads List

BORACAY 2017 (1)        Reading is one of the most rewarding thing ever invented. It is amazing how one can stay in a corner and be in a world of wonder as soon as the first few pages unfold. Last year, I challenged myself to read books despite my busy schedule. So here are my great reads of 2016…

  1. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Frankenstein is a classic story of a young scientist who inadvertently created a monster. He thought his discovery, to bring an inanimate body back to life, will bring about scientific advances but little did he know that it just turned out to be a terrifying idea.

I have watched a Frankenstein movie before, and back in the day I just thought it is your ordinary horror story. It never really didn’t sink into me. Having read it now, I realize that the creation turned to be a monster because of his lack of ‘belongingness’ – it was lost and confused, didn’t know exactly who or what it was. I think he was just craving for attention and inclusion which he didn’t find in his exploration.

This is true to real life — oftentimes we misjudge people for being the monsters that they are but have we ever tried to analyze what made them that way? There are factors in their existence that shaped them into who they are. This is a crucial thought. This goes to show that to everyone we meet and brush elbows everyday, let us treat them with kindness.

As to Victor Frankenstein’s quest for accomplishment, this is also one thing we can relate into. I believe everyone has his dreams and goals in life. Everyone wants to achieve them as it brings about a sense of pride and fulfillment. But as you can see in this book, his creation was a disaster. In life, sometimes the very desire we have, are the ones to break us. Maybe not the end product itself because who would think of a bad objective. But it is the process of making these goals into reality that oftentimes lead people astray. Many stories have been told about people climbing into the ladder of success by evil ways. Therefore, it is right to check our motives as we work into the completion of our dreams.

And oh, isn’t it amazing that this novel was written by a 19-year old girl in 1818? When I was 19, not so long ago, I only remember having a hard time doing my reflection paper. Hahaha!

2. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

This a story set in the 19th century about an underprivileged but loving family. Four sisters: Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy March were motivated by their mother to act like “little women” as they share their days together when their father was sent off to war.

I find the plot slow, but it keeps you reading because of Jo’s character. I personally like her because she loves literature! She likes both reading and writing and she has this wit and adventurous spirit.

There is a point in Jo’s life that she is afraid of the idea of romance and marriage as she thinks it would just separate her from her parents and sisters. How cute! But of course later on she realizes that “romantic love has its place, even though it changes the relationships you already have”.

I find the theme of family and togetherness being highlighted in this book. It reflects how families are closely knitted, undergo through some hardships, not to mention disagreements and “skirmishes” but still chose to stay…forever.

And do you know that some writers claim that Jo’s character somewhat resembles to that of Alcott? So much for self-insertion. But very well done!

3. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

A Gothic novel which tells a story of love, revenge, loss and realizations. It centers on Heathcliff, who loved Catherine, lost her and sought to find revenge to those who have done him wrong. I cannot even write a good synopsis of this novel since it has a lot of curves and edges hehe and I don’t want to be a spoiler.

So I have been meaning to read this book since time immemorial, because I have heard a lot of good and not-so-good reviews. And now I understand why everyone’s raving about it.

For one, if you hate reading a topsy-turvy, “circulus in probando” plot, and you are not a patient reader, don’t read this one. Because you will find it a tedious read. hehe (But I still encourage you to read it! I am just kind of warning you…) That’s why some find it not so good. And the characters’ especially (Heathcliff!!!) craziness is also extreme it reminds you of the typical telenovelas — so much drama going on here!

But what’s great about this book is the human nature it strongly shows. It makes you think deeply that revenge is never a good thing. Truly, anger will just consume you and make you the most evil version of yourself. Just like Heathcliff. But in fairness, he realizes his wrongdoing but late…way too late.

And another sad thing, this is Emily Bronte’s only novel and she died a year later after its publication, at the age of 30. The world lost a brilliant a novelist early on…

4. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

This Austen classic tells a story about two sisters Elinor and Marianne Dashwood they represent the “sense and sensibility” title. Just like most of Austen’s work, it has the theme on love, marriage, family and relationships.

This book is good for character analysis especially comparing characters of Elinor and Marianne. The two sisters are very different in their thinking, behavior and principles when it comes to love. Elinor is calm and cautious. Even when she clearly loves Edward, she has this art of self-control which let her act wisely. On the other hand, Marianne is oversensitive and impulsive, even described, “ She was sensible and clever, but eager in everything; her sorrows, her joys, could have no moderation.”

But as the story progresses, they would soon become more or slightly of the other. When Elinor learned about Edward’s “marriage” to another woman (which didn’t really happen), her calmness was gone. She indeed fought for the love of her life. And when Marianne learned that her love Willoughby left her, she became so ill and desperate but later realized that she was the one who inflicted pain in herself for Willoughby never really proposed to her. And soon realized the worth of Colonel Brandon who was always there for her.

This classic makes me laugh about how us, women, can be so troubled about love. I am not sure about this but men fall in love, get hurt and move on. They know who or what they want and are decisive about it and make clear decisions to arrive at the goal. While women make it more complicated. I think most women over-analyze things and act upon emotions which most of the time is a perfect recipe for bruised hearts.

But it is also awesome that with this weakness comes our strength, that when we love someone, we give our all, we give our best. And I am sure a man who is in love to his woman will do just the same — give his all, give his best.

And I believe that is the ideal way, as what Marianne says during his marriage to Colonel Brandon “could never love by halves”. What a beautiful way to put it!

5. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

A classic gothic fiction that tells a story of an impossibly handsome young man named Dorian Gray who had a portrait of himself painted by Basil Hallward. Upon the completion of the painting and prompted by Lord Henry Wotton’s remarks about “ transient nature of beauty and youth”, Dorian whimsically cursed that if only the painting “could bear the burden of age and infamy, allowing him to stay forever young.”

His wish was granted as his hedonistic tendencies led him to do evil acts and in every sin he commits, it is reflected on the painting which shows him aging and disfigured, while he stayed youthful and handsome. At the end, with too much regret and repentance, he plunged a knife unto the portrait with an attempt to destroy it, but “There is a crash, and his servants enter to find the portrait, unharmed, showing Dorian Gray as a beautiful young man. On the floor lies the body of their master — an old man, horribly wrinkled and disfigured, with a knife plunged into his heart.”

As I see it, this novel reflects hedonism and self-pride and the damage it can cause to anyone who is over-possessed by it. I mean, to be proud of who we are and what we can do is different with thinking too much of ourselves, thus, being prideful. And this is what Dorian shows. He wanted to stay forever young because he took pride of his beauty and charm.

Sad but true, I think this is what is happening nowadays. I don’t want to sound critical but videos or articles about “How To Be Beautiful/Handsome” (in any possible way: make up tutorials, how to lose weight, perfect outfit) would have million viewers compared to “How to be a Better Person”. (Try to check it on YouTube). This shows that human as we are, we (most of us), tend to think of physical appearance rather than inner beauty and style (porma) over substance, which is natural because we are normally attracted to what is aesthetic and pleasurable to our eyes. But it shouldn’t be the priority.

But there’s more to life than just a pretty face, as what they say. There is more to life than our beauty or of the people or things around us. When we think too much of ourselves (like Dorian), we are like chasing the impossible because there is no way we can satisfy our own lusts — for money, for gratification, for pleasure, for beauty. When we admire people just because of their looks, intelligence, talents that is superficial and it won’t last.

We have to look at ourselves and other people for who they are – for the kindness, selflessness, compassion, and love that comes from within. And this is something that our eyes can’t see, it is by the heart.

So yeah, what can I say but I am beginning to sound so deep…hahaha. Over-all I love this book so much! Hats off to Oscar Wilde for such great writing. This one’s something everyone must read to reflect upon.

6. Moby Dick by Herman Melville

This novel written in 1851 narrates about the nature of whale-hunting and Captain Ahab’s obsession to finding Moby Dick, an infamous great white whale who is known for destroying whalers and is responsible for Ahab’s lost leg.

It took me 5 months to finish this book! Five months! Seriously, that’s how it is a difficult read. But I kept on because I have read from a lot of reviews that it is one of the most profound books of all time. And indeed, I wasn’t proven wrong.

So a lot of people think what is the relevance of a whale-hunting story? Yes, I thought of that too. But when you read it, you will encounter a lot of themes and character conflicts — more on the characters self-conflicts. Each character has his own issues which all of us can reflect into. For instance, Ahab’s obsession. He is so determined to find the great whale so as to seek revenge. This obsession led to his doom (because he was drowned together with his ship).

I still find myself perplexed by this great book so let me share this wonderful explanation I have read:

“ Moby Dick endures because, like a multifaceted jewel, the story has interesting characters, compelling plot, exciting action, and meaningful inner conflicts. The conflicts do not exist between the crew members themselves, rather the characters grapple with their own natures, their thoughts, and the consequences of action and inaction. Ahab’s obsession with what he cannot have, namely his revenge, in a sense challenges us all. Als wir auf Deutsch sagen, “Wir müssen unsere Grenzen kennenlernen,” but how can a man know his limitations without testing them and even challenging them. By the way, the coffin turned life-buoy, the image of “grim death” as Ahab calls it, is the image of the cross. That which was an image of hate and death became an image of love and life. And it was what saved Ishmael at the end. So it opens up a whole discussion about fate, obsession, grace or luck (whichever you prefer), and human decision. The beauty and power of the story is that it does not answer these outright, only points the reader in the general direction.” -From SparkNotes, by user dlplife dated December 6, 2016

So there you have it! My 2016 great read list! For the first and second quarter of 2017, I have read Jane Eyre, Madame Bovary and Northanger Abbey. I am so excited to read more and share another list to all of you next year. Let’s see how time flies!

This is all for now. But let me leave you with this enigmatic words from Ray Bradbury: “There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them”. Together, let us read! Happy reading!


Of Condoms and the Filipino Youth

For the past few years, there has been a long-debated issue regarding sex education and its impact to young people. In a conservative Christian nation like the Philippines, majority of the people frown upon the idea of its inclusion to the curriculum. But it is business as usual as Department of Health (DOH) announced its plan to give out condoms in schools as part of its intervention amid the alarming rise of HIV and AIDS cases especially among 15 to 24 year olds. DOH Secretary Paulyn Ubail said condom distribution will start as soon as policy formulations are established with the Department of Education (DepEd). In response, DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones asserted the need for a careful evaluation of the program before its implementation.

Scientifically and reality proven, condom is an effective tool in preventing the spread of HIV when used ‘consistently and correctly’. But the real concern is, should schools be involved with its ‘distribution’? One interesting fact to ponder, even DepEd reiterated the need for thorough discussions with DOH to settle whether such policy is proper to cover schools and learning institutions. Indeed, schools are venues for teaching-learning processes and sex education is one area that students must be aware of. But there are certainly more age-appropriate means to provide information such as lectures and symposiums, etc. To put it bluntly, those students who engaged in pre-marital sex have long known where to get condoms and making these readily available in schools is synonymous to saying that what they are doing is acceptable.

This now leads to another discussion of whether to support this policy or not. For while safe sex is one practical strategy to address the problem, are our teachers and school administrators ready to take the responsibility of handing out condoms to their students? More so, are our students prepared to handle the pressure amidst this whole issue? Because as news about condom-giving makes way to TV Patrol or 24 Oras or in any other media platform, curiosity will work in more ways than one and it all starts with the mind. Wonder what a condom is? Wonder what will I do with it? Wonder how sex feels like? Wonder, wonder, wonder. And without proper guidance, promiscuity and pre-marital sex might just be the outcome.

It is then important to deal with the root cause of HIV/AIDS cases among young people. And what causes it? Basically, pre-marital sex, unsafe pre-marital sex. In 2013, a survey done by the University of the Philippines Population Institute revealed that 1 out of 3 Filipino youths aged 15 to 24 had pre-marital sex. More disturbing than this is the statistic that “78% of those who had pre-marital sex for the first time in this age bracket did not use any protection”.

But there is a sure fire way to protect our young people from sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies. And it is more effective than all latex or polyurethane condoms combined. The power of abstinence and keeping one’s purity are the best things our children can do to guard themselves — physically and emotionally. Schools, churches, and families must work hand-in-hand to uphold true Christian values and pour it out to the hearts of our Filipino youth.

The scripture says, Romans 16:19 “Be excellent of what is good, be innocent of evil”. In this context, it is a call for this young generation to devote their time to worthwhile and productive things — that they become so passionate about it that they don’t think about something corrupting, like pre-marital sex.

And when that happens, perhaps DOH might use P50 to P100 million on feeding programs in schools rather than purchasing condoms. (AJC)

J’ai rêvé d’un rêve triste

Des fois je me demande
Si les rêves deviennent réalité
Parce que s'ils le fon
Alors mon coeur sera brisé en morceaux

Parce que hier soir
Pendant que la lune régnait
Et chaque âme était dans un sommeil profond
Le mien était très éveille
Réveillé dans mes rêves

Dans mon rêve
Vous étiez avec quelqu'un d'autre
Et vous avez l'air si heureux
Et bien que je déteste l'admettre
Vous avez l'air bien ensemble

C'est le souhait de tout le monde
Que leurs rêves deviennent réalité
Et moi aussi
Et maintenant
Mon seul rêve
Est-ce que ce rêve ne se réalise pas




Jo and Clyde’s Biliran Wedding


“Every once in a while, in the middle of an ordinary life , love gives us a fairy tale…” 

Stories of love always fascinate me. From start to finish, I would diligently watch a movie, read a book and listen to a friend’s lovelife drama with all eyes, ears and heart. (Char!)

Childhood years have given me so much faith in love. There were my uncles, aunts, relatives, and yes, my dear parents who showed me that despite imperfections of two conflicting beings, love prevails and ‘they live happily ever after’ does not only happen in fairy tales.

And perhaps I can give the accolade to  Ate Josephine – a petite, soft-spoken, talented, lovely teenager who would patiently tell stories to a pack  of naughty, pesky, demanding grade school cousins.

“Te, storya na pud te!,” we would gather around her and off she starts with her romantic, love tales derived from books, movies and most of the time she made stories with  her  audience as the characters.

Now fast forward 15 years, our Ate Jo is to share with us her own story of patient, true love. It’s like memories flashed back to the day when she was telling us the movie “Ever After” (starring Drew Barrymoore) and now it’s 2016 and she’s off to to live  her ever after with the man of her dreams.

So that fateful day came – June 25, 2016 at the lovely, scenic town in Naval, Biliran wherein families were gathered to witness this momentous affair.

 And now, as  I show you the photos, ladies and gentlemen, you are welcome to swoon with me and together let’s say “May Forever!”

The serene, cozy resort – Marvin’s Seaside Inn, Biliran, Leyte. We stayed here the night before the wedding, during the beautification rites (hehe) and the reception.
The wedding gown resembles the bride’s taste in simplicity, class and elegance. Yes, we know right, Ate Jo is  the woman!
Photo Courtesy: Dwight Anthony Tan Inchoco
She looks so beautiful in white! Photo Courtesy: Dwight Anthony Tan Inchoco


Photo courtesy: Dwight Anthony Tan Inchoco


Precious photos of families and friends.


Sealed with a kiss! Photo Courtesy: Dwight Anthony Tan Inchoco


Back at Marvin’s Seaside Inn for the reception.

Today, 25th of June 2016 will always be a special  day for we have witnessed a union of two souls  who have patiently waited until they found the love they’ve been yearning for.


To Ate Jo who is now Mrs. Gorme and to Kuya Clyde who has won her heart – all the best!



Watch a video tribute I’ve made Jo and Clyde Wedding for a dose of kilig! Also, all professional photographs you have seen in this post are from Dwight Anthony Tan Inchoco of D & N Production. Thank you for viewing and let’s all spread love, love and nothing but love!


Hugs and kisses from your all-time hopeless romantic…


MCD campus journ mentors join RTOT ’16

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn. ” – Alvin Toffler

Learn. Unlearn. Relearn. These words from Alvin Toffler play a huge role for 21st century education. The curriculum, teaching methodologies and assessment have undergone a major ‘face lift’ over the years. Change has come especially for teachers. Gone are the days where educators are stuck in a four-walled classroom giving lectures and tests. Today’s molders of future leaders have side-line duties as accountants ( MOOE liquidation, anyone?), computer operators ( hello ICT coordinators!) and researchers( salute to our Master Teachers!), to name a few.

But there is one role of teachers which  them to inspire young minds to be an active part of society and that is being campus journalists. Campus Journalism is stipulated in R.A. 7079 “AN ACT PROVIDING FOR THE DEVELOPMENT AND PROMOTION OF CAMPUS JOURNALISM AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES” which moves the government to develop budding writers, and points the Department of Education  to manage  competitions, press conferences and training seminars for student writers and for teacher coaches/mentors.

Speaking of training, DepEd Region 8 hosted a Regional Enhancement Training for Division Mentors on Campus Journalism last June 4-7, 2016 for Elementary School Paper advisers and June 7-9, 2016 for Secondary Batch. This training envisions to upgrade the teachers’ journalistic skills so as to cascade their learning to their respective school divisions and more importantly, to their young journalists.

Enough of lengthy introductions…hehe. Let’s get it on!

Morning of June 4, 2016 we traveled to Tacloban City and were accommodated at Villa Lolita Apartelle. Each room has its own entertainment set, dining and kitchen area, bathrooms and ….a fridge! We just love this place! Check these photos out…


The training was held at Leyte National High School, Tacloban City participated by  school paper advisers, division mentors/coaches and journalism coordinators  in the region. Different journalistic categories were tackled with corresponding write shops to practice skills.

This year’s training was significant with the presence of Dr. Gerry Alkuino, a multi-awarded teacher-journalist who authors various journalism books.

Grab the opportunity! haha We asked Dr. Alkuino if we could take a photo with him and he gladly accepted our request. Thank you Sir!
Give me a sign! hehe Dr. Alkuino was kind enough to sign his book which I’ve bought  less than a year ago. He wrote, “Keep your star shining!” Thanks Sir!

First day of training also means first chance of ‘gala’. The ‘Lagalag’ team Ma’am Libeth, Sir Raymond, Sir Carmel and myself went  window shopping at Robinsons Tacloban.


And the training continued…

Break-away sessions were established wherein participants underwent workshops together with the expert regional trainers. This is where much of learning, unlearning and relearning took place.


After a mind-wrecking write/workshop, Maasin City Division campus journalism mentors garnered some best outputs in News Writing, Copy reading and Headline Writing, Editorial Writing, Editorial Cartooning, Feature Writing, Radio Broadcasting, among others.


But above all, what’s best in affairs such as this is being able to brush elbows and bond with co-educators. Learning valuable insights from campus journalism experts is also a plus factor. It’s such a sight to behold and a wondrous moment to remember.


June 7, 2016. The four-day workshop has come to an end but in reality, the training would never cease as we continue to transfer what we have learned to our respective divisions, schools, co-mentors and pupil-writers. We are your Maasin City Division mentors, and we will work together to develop social awareness among young citizens through campus journalism. So help us God! 🙂



Ooops, not so fast! View this video Regional Enhancement Training for Division Mentors on Campus Journalism to see what we were up to during this event. Thanks for dropping by and see you in my next post! 🙂



ANDAmazing Family Day!

“Oh how good it is when brethren dwells together in unity…” Psalms 133:1

May 7, 2016 – Jesus Lord of All Fellowship (Assemblies of God) brethren of Poblacion, Candijay, Bohol had its family day at one of the most sought-after beach destination in the province – Anda! With its 16 barangays, Anda offers long, white sand beaches which is just the right place to spend time to unwind and forget the daily hassle of life.

But for us JLOAns, the relaxation part is merely the icing on the cake, since the main reason for having this affair is to fellowship with our brothers and sisters and to worship God in His nearness through being one with nature (naks!). Hehe.

So without much further ado, let me take you to East Coast 2, Anda, Bohol, Philippines!

From Candijay, we traveled to Anda and reached East Coast 2. This banner welcomed us as we entered the premises of the resort. Big thanks to Bro Eric Piquero for bringing us here.

While waiting for others to arrive, we had the time for  ourselves to prepare and relax a bit after an almost 30-40 minute drive. And our way of resting is through baby sitting. Check out who is the best baby sitter in town! You be the judge! haha


But of course we can’t beat Sis Wilma who owns this sweet doll Charice ^.^


Soon enough we started the event through  a praise and worship as well as sharing  God’s word. (First things first, right?) In moments such as this, it is but worthy to be grateful to Him for creating a wonderful world for us to wander and enjoy.


‘Chowtime’ (yes, our all-time favorite) came and followed by ‘Showtime’ where series of games were played – where we discovered hidden talents of acting, creativity, alertness and not to mention a plausible “climbing” talent exhibited by Sis Odessa. Ever experienced laughing ’til you cried? Whoooaaa! We had loads of those hearty laughs during this segment. Hahaha (can’t help grinning as I was typing this paragraph) =)


And now (drumrolls…)  brace yourselves for  B E A C H T I ME!!! (Showing you few pics though, for I enjoyed so much that I forgot my photographer self. I will try to update this post if I can gather pics from others.)





But wait, there’s more to this resort than it’s clear blue waters. Adventure lurks from deep and  down below… Yes ladies and gents, there’s a cave within this ‘beachy’ paradise! Won’t you believe me? Let me show you…

 Did I forget to mention that there’s actually a fresh, almost river-like body of water inside this mysterious abode? Some even took a bath inside and I guarantee the water  smells nothing short of a perfume. And the rocks? Well, they rock! Hehe…

On a sad note, this blog must come to an end without a video presentation as compared to the previous ones (I was too “in the moment” and was a really busy bee running errands haha). But I smile at the thought that I can always come again to this paradise and when that time comes, I’ll film it – that’s a promise!)

So what can I say? It was absolutely a fantastic day! A toast to more times like this where we can celebrate our oneness as a Christian family. And thank you East Coast 2, you are ANDAmazing, just the way you are!


Trekking at Kantoligsok Hills

Whoever said summer is just meant for the beach is absolutely wrong. In a country which stores a hogde-podge of travel destinations, one can never limit his/ her trips to water  adventures alone. But a hot weather calls for a cool place to plunge in, you might contest.

Well, wait ’til I  take you to this out-of-the-box yet equally cool trip I ventured together with  a bunch of friends. You simply have to locate Mahangin, Candijay, Bohol, Philippines to get here.  Just so you know, once in  a while we can be  discoverers of  new sights for others to behold!

Jump starting our trekking adventure at about 6:00 am, we had the luxury of time to goof around for a photo-op. Smile, trekkers!
Oftentimes in our daily grind, we can no longer witness how the sun wakes from its slumber. So in this hiking trip, we just stood for a moment to capture this beautiful sunrise. Indeed, what an amazing God we have!
The path that leads to Kantoligsok hills can be tricky at some point but it’s absolutely ‘yakang-yaka’ just like Josephine who managed to capture a groufie. hehehe
Resting for awhile to catch our breath because this 30-minute hike is not something we do everyday.  For health enthusiasts, this is a great way to burn those calories.

Now I am at loss for words to describe the amazing view once you get from the hilltop, so I will just let the photos do the talking…









Inspired by the beauty of God’s creation, we proceeded with our photo shoot. hehehe



And after an arduous journey, the real ‘hunger games’ begin. hehehe.

Feasting on our “pandesal” from Guindulman, Bohol.

Showing you more photos…excusez-moi for we’re just some sort of frustrated models. hehehe ^.^


And finally, closing the trekking adventure with a group pic.


Indeed, there are a million ways to celebrate summer and this trekking adventure at Kantoligsok Hills was a simple yet breathtaking (literally, haha) experience we will never forget.

So click on this link Trekking at Kantoligsok Hills to see the video. Enjoy!