Life's Battles

I write this tonight before a very scary process that my dad has to undergo. I've been hiding all these feelings of fear and keep on showing strength when in fact all I am is just a person hiding in a mask of denial.

I am but weak too.

My dad will have his first chemotherapy session and radiation session tomorrow. Both at the same time as they have to do aggressive treatments to fight a "curable" lung cancer. According to the doctor its Stage 4 given the presence of cells in Rib#8, but if basing it only on the cluster found on the lungs as seen from the PET Scan, it is Stage 3.

I know Dad is scared too. He's shown concern about losing his strength, his hair, and just him. I cry as I think about him thinking that. He always thought he's Superman I guess, and when I was growing up, I do think of him as that too.

Who wouldn't? I mean, he's dad. The father of the house. The man who can carry several boxes at the same time, and eat whatever he wants, and just be the boom boom boom Dad in the house. He's a gentle giant also as he is soft-spoken (often) and just kind-hearted. He and Mom are not opposites but I can say they complement each other. Mom story next time maybe.

But the last few months have unfolded to be really challenging. There are a lot of challenges and this journey to knowing that its cancer has been such a crazy ride. It has practically depleted resources, left us staring at the ceiling looking for answers, but more importantly have expanded our friend network into prayer warriors, and families to be tighter than those herrings inside the sardines can.

The last few months have also made us resort to leaving things to God. He has a purpose for all these, and we know He is by our side in this journey, and maybe, just maybe, this is one of the things that I have to do. Live to say my praise to HIM for HIS untiring, endless love for us as we keep on treading the road in search of answers. Psalms 27:1 says that "The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom should I fear? The Lord is my life's refuge, of whom should I be afraid?" Indeed, this is just cancer, right? Cancer is just part of our life journey in embracing life and making God a part of us embracing life.

There are a few other things that has happened the past few months which I cannot disclose, it leaves me weak and know that I am a frail human being. But in the end, even if my whole being wants to keep on throwing up on all that makes things tough, I stop and still look UP knowing that HE is there by our side, always.


The annual "I've not blogged in a while" post

Yes, you got that right. I have this "I've not blogged in a while" post. I remember I wrote one last year, or was it a couple of months ago?

Since coming back to Manila I never had the time to sit down and look at my blog and inspire myself to write something thought provoking or witty or nada just for the heck of blogging. Not that I've not been writing but life and its activities have restricted me from that usual "I blog coz I'm bored" or some crazy inspiration to do so.

There are a lot of things that I've been interested and have written about. These days I've been writing about issues and what not, some of it I've dumped on the pages of this blog. Other times I've written on pieces of paper or on my notebook which I carry around with me or on that notepad on my iPad. They've been my avenue for ranting about the world and how it works.

There are things that I miss doing which I don't get to have the time to do so anymore. Writing about movies, those quick reviews. Writing about stuff I've just read. Writing about music I've heard recently, even if they are quite old (I don't have new songs in my iPod besides what, Katy Perry?). Writing about the cheesiness of love, or the lack of it. Writing about things I'm passionate about especially baseball. Yes, I miss writing about you baseball games.

But that does not mean I don't get to write at all.

I still do write a lot. I have to write several things in a week. From letters of thanks, admiration, praise and criticism, to the usual stuff you see here these days: press releases, to some little things you do for work (Legis stuff, yeah). I do like them, I enjoy them a lot, but sometimes I find myself wanting to write something else. Something that makes me as a reader of my own work relax to.

So next year I resolve to going back to writing baseball. YES. I am trying to get myself immersed into the Philippine Baseball scene. Try to be a groupie or something so that I can write about them. Given my usual busy schedule, I will resolve to trying to put that in my schedule and write about them too.

If you want something, you're not only going to try to do it, you will do ways to do it. I will resolve to do that.

2013 will be a roller coaster with the elections coming up, but after the elections, surely things will be back on the normal swing. That's why I need baseball to be added to my "normal swing". That will make me normal too.

As I end this, I will leave you with a thought, what do you have to do to survive a zombie attack?

Ok, I digress.


Solon Lauds Approval of K+12 Bill

PRESS RELEASE                                                                                               18 OCTOBER 2012


Congress has passed on second reading the bill seeking to enact the K+12 basic education program but not without debate.

Included in House Bill 6643 or the bill for the “Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2012” is a provision adopted from House Bill 3479 by Cong. Angelo B. Palmones of AGHAM Party-list which seeks to allow graduates of Science, Mathematics, Statistics and Engineering Courses to teach Science and Mathematics in the Elementary and Secondary levels. The included provision, section 8 of the bill, was proposed to be amended prior to its passage on second reading last 17th of October, 2012.

“We want to acknowledge and express our  appreciation of  Congw.  Rosenda Ann Ocampo’s firm conviction and belief why this provision should not be amended from the K+12 bill,” Palmones said.

Congresswoman Ocampo was the sponsor in plenary of the said measure.

“The other authors who worked hard on this bill,  together with the positive recommendations  of DepEd and DOST helped  to enlighten  that this provision does not only address the  lack of manpower in the basic education unit, but it also addresses the need to have teachers fully equipped and trained in the sciences for students to  learn better  from their mentors,” Palmones added.

In a report on the 2003 Trends in International Mathematics and Sciences Survey (TIMSS) for fourth grade students, the Philippines mathematics average score was 358 compared to the international average score of 495. For the sciences, the Philippines’ average score was 332 compared to the international average score of 489. In the same survey with equivalent to 8th grade student participants (aged 13 years or those who are in second year High School), the Philippines’ average Mathematics score was 378 out of the 466 average international score, while the country fared 377 out of a 473 average international score for the Sciences.

The K+12 program aims to have significant improvements in the quality of education for the country’s younger population especially in math and science. 

“Quality science education is one of the advocacies of AGHAM Party-List .  We sincerely  hope  the K+12 bill helps  assure  the public that our advocacy goal  shall  be served,”  Palmones added.  (AGHAM/Anne Margaux B. Mateo)


Date on a Thursday night

Onocoffee asked me on Twitter earlier, "date on a Thursday night?" in response to my tweet "My date is almost done... =( "   Yes I went on a date this Thursday night to have a personal celebration over some hotdog sandwich, Doritos and a medium sized soda (gah that's killing me right now...). Cheap date? Not really actually. How about describing to you how sweet the couple beside me are thus making me small? Ehhh...

But as I saw my date's toys, I knew I was up and glued.

Wait a sec, what toys?

Oh I didn't tell you right away, I was in this dark room with my man Bruce Wayne. Yeaaahhh... And honestly, I was all his if he wanted to.

So lets go to the real reason why I'm writing here, to spoil you. YESSS!!! No, I wouldn't be that bad to do that to you.

Anyone who personally knows me or really knows me, knows these facts:
(2) DC is my favorite universe
(3) Christopher Nolan movies make me too excited.

So just imagine how I didn't wait another day pass without watching "The Dark Knight Rises".

The movie's premise tells us the story of Gotham City eight years after the death of Harvey Dent. Crime rate is low and the Dent Law just put a lot of those goons in jail. Then there's the ole' Bruce Wayne and the caped crusader is in hiding because he didn't have that energy to just be battling those goonies, whoever of them is left. Then there is Bane, the guy who would've borrowed the words "puny god" and throw Batman on the walls. There are other characters who in the process of the story you will find out what their real purpose in the story is, and it was great!

Now I stop there so as not to spoil your appetite to watch this movie. What I can tell you though is that "The Dark Knight Rises" = mob rule + occupy "Gotham" + caped crusader, or maybe there are missing stuff in this equation.

Ok, I will try to stop here and tell you more about the movie once almost everyone I know have seen it. I'm inspired to write these days and writing a movie review would be awesome.

How great is my date though? In a scale of 1-5 stars, I'd give a flat 4. There were some bad edits or jumps or is it the movie itself or just that thing with the reel? Then there's also the blown out a bit proportion of the story. Otherwise, I liked a lot of the movies components. It just built up to something really wonderful.

So I'll be back later on telling you more about this "date".



I just want to know if this works. If it does then you'll see me more here again I guess. Welcome back Fish Tank?

Maybe. We'll see.


Must've Done Something Right

Whenever you feel exhausted, you look back and think why you're doing things in that manner. Giving all your time, hard work, passion, energy-- you stop and think why put in all these effort. For what cause? For what purpose? For whose benefit do I do this for?

I'm in the world of public service and there is much expected of public servants. There are times that it breaks my heart when I on my capacity cannot comply on requests or anything like so. For example, in our everyday work, we encounter people who would ask for assistance for their medical needs and everyday living. You wonder sometimes why they ask for subsistence when they have able bodies that can contribute to the society and economy. Work in layman's term, is something that they can do to be able to make ends meet. Yet you begin to wonder, but the question in these people's minds might be also, can they get me a job which can provide for me and my family? I hope I have that ability.

Then there are the opportunists. People who try to have their whole lives and family depend on you (and other political offices for this case in my thoughts.) I had a message sent to my office email loop several weeks ago, ranting about a family who for our concern in this office, have depended the education and every trying sustenance of their family in our office and still want to exhaust us dry. Not that we have extended a six figure amount to this family, but a four figure value for education have been extended and there are others that we have to extend our hand to also. If advocacy will be our basis, I cannot even say that the course of the child is within our advocacy even. Hotel and Restaurant Management is not up our ante. AGHAM is Filipino for Science, but still we extended our hands because we didnt want a child to stop education especially when its her senior year in school.

Then there are those whose little gestures warm your heart so much.

One of our scholars for this Second Semester went back to our office and shared with us a couple of books as a thank you gesture for including her in our educational assistance program. She and her father thanked us a lot and wished us God's blessings in our everyday lives.

Requests are common in our office and we try to extend to some of them. A High School student whose mother sent us a request letter for her daughter's participation in an international competition. I took the letter and kept it with me for two weeks until after the Christmas holiday I took it out again and told the mother that she can pick up her request after the New Years. It has been a week and the holiday course got to me and made me forget a bit that I asked her to come by when office resumed. So when she came by I just took out a couple of what was left in the office budget and handed it over to the mom. It wasn't much, just a four figure amount that turns to two figures when you convert it to US dollars.

Three weeks ago, my office mate sent an email for a draft resolution commending students who won an international competition. We'd like to appreciate the representation that they did and the performance that they showed in the competition. Then I encountered one of the top medalists names. My short term memory forgot the first name of the child we helped but I said the last name sounded familiar. To make matters a little off, there was another child in the winners list who had a similar last name.

Yesterday the student dropped by. I never met the kid since it was her mother who went to our office before. She handed me a letter for my boss. After she left I opened the envelope and browsed through the letter. There I knew that she was the student we extended help to, and there I knew that she will be one of the recipients of the commendation we drafted.

In the letter she thanked my boss for extending help when they needed it most. It was a great experience to join a math competition and was extra sweet that she together with other students won the competition. As I read more of it, I cant help but feel warmed by this. The little things that you do for others can contribute greatly to some people.

As I think about her and all the other kids who we've helped, and all the other people we've extended our time, effort, thoughts, money and support to, I cannot help but appreciate the job I go to everyday. I entered  government service for the love/ appreciation of politics (as seen in my educational background) but once youre in it, you realize that there are deeper reasons to it. PUBLIC SERVICE... you appreciate it and it also can make you frustrated. The softy in me has that tendency to want to continue extending her hand to everyone who deserves it and feel the frustration when they start crying or getting mad at you because you cannot extend anymore. Because your well of opportunity only holds as much as it can handle at a given time. But this is where you get to toughen up also, discerning may be the better word for it, because there are people who take the opportunity to dry the well and still forget that they should be thankful for the little or big things that you've done for them.

I hope there is balance in life, truly, but when the opportunists of this world of public service tries to frustrate me, I will try to think of the ones whose lives we've touched and think of their little gestures that have made a big impact in my life, in our lives, and in how we continue to do this service.

We must've done something right to deserve the movers in our lives and in our hearts.


Work PR

"Lawmaker pushes higher salary for scientists"

AGHAM Party-list Representative Angelo B. Palmones reiterates his call for the exemption of our scientists and R&D government workers from the Salary Standardization Law (SSL).

​This call came in light of the 6.9 magnitude earthquake in Negros Oriental and other parts of Visayas last Monday, February 6th, that caused casualties as well as road and property damage. According to the Philippine Institute for Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), they are aware of the existence of these major fault lines but the incomplete geohazard map and study is due to their lack of experts in the regional office to finish the mapping.

​“They invest their time, energy and knowledge in making the rest of the country assured that we are able to manage ourselves in times of calamities, yet we cannot compensate them properly to have them receive what they deserve.” Palmones says.

​He adds that having an attractive pay will prevent our scientists from accepting job offers in other countries. Like the story of PAGASA where meteorologists flee the country for a better job offer, PHIVOLCS have encountered the same problem with their geologists.

​“The attractive compensation will also attract college students to think of taking up science courses like Geology, Engineering, and hopefully in the near future, Meteorology,” Palmones continues. “An addition to our pool of experts who exert passion and value to their job is what our country needs now given the natural phenomena that we encounter each year.”

​Palmones is the author of HB 2004 and HR 85, both on the exemption of PAGASA employees from the SSL and providing for their salary scale. Congressman Palmones and the AGHAM Party-list have also ongoing discussions on launching a Bachelor of Science in Meteorology program to be offered in SUC’s in the coming school year. (Anne Mateo/ AGHAM Party-list)