It’s about time I post something.

Hi to all my friends in the blogging world. I miss you all so much. I have to apologize, though, I have been very busy with school work. I did some traveling, too. I should be able to write something about them.

Anyway, lately, I have been introduced to this lovely app called SMULE! You should try it. It’s fantastic. This is what I have been waiting for all my life — an affordable way of recording one’s self (but of course with quality). I got super excited about it because the quality of the recording is really good, and it’s fun, too.

I am sharing here a collaboration that I did with my friend, Jong. So she posted her video first, and then I tried singing along — not done in real time. Anyway, here’s the video with this link to Smule. I hope you’d enjoy it.

Mwah.

From a Teacher, with Love

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I weave songs of love and joy
in this demented world of humanity.
I am racing with time.
Sometimes I ask:
is it even worth it?

A picture of confusion,
that’s what you are;
of colours infused
in the well
of innocence.

You are the war
orchestrated
by eagles who
flew above us;
the slave
captivated by
flashes of
mesmerising lights
and jaw-dropping
film effects.

But of course,
you are just a birdling,
trying so hard
to understand
this world
we are living in.

Yes, I am weaving a song
of love and joy.
It’s my gift to you.
Listen to it,
feel it,
learn from it,
will you?

I Can (cover)

I’ve always wanted to sing this song before, but no one cared to learn all the other parts so I did all of them. This is me singing all the three parts — a trio of me.

Joyce’s Theme

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Here’s a song I wrote for a friend of mine. This was sung while she was walking down the aisle on her wedding day.

Countless steps I have taken
Numerous gasps I have endured
All of the pains, the worries
They all come down to this
to this mem’rable walk with you

The rigid turns and steep slopes
Would all be worth the risk
A leap of faith, I will take for you

So here I am, taking every step
Before our God and family
These cheers of joy
And smiles of hope
Forever I will treasure
A dream fulfilled with you

Countless steps I will take with you
Numerous gasps I will endure
All of the pains, the worries
Would all be worth the risk
In this mem’rable walk with you

© 2016 The Mockingbird in Me

Extraordinary Sunset

Taken at Ana-ana Point, Tamakautoga, Niue

Taken at Ana-ana Point, Tamakautoga, Niue


In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “(Extra)ordinary.”

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Memento

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It was the 14th day of February, yet there I was walking down the stairs from my office feeling jumpy about how the concert I was organizing for the school would turn out to be. I felt as if I was being pulled from every direction, as though a superhero trying to save the world from falling apart. The feeling wasn’t really new to me, not really, not at all.

“I must hurry,” I said to myself. I walked as briskly as I could, determined to accomplish my list. Suddenly, a familiar face came into sight. “Wait! What is he doing here? Who is he looking for? Could it be? No, maybe not. It’s been ten years. I wonder how he is now. Gee…” All these questions reverberated in my mind. I must admit, at that time and even now, I truly miss this person. He was my playmate, my partner in crime, and most of all, my best friend. We used to chat and trade jokes with each other. We would talk about our likes and dislikes, our frustrations, our hopes, our dreams… We made music together — he played the guitar while I sang our favorite tunes.
“Hi Dan,” he greeted.

“Hello, John! What are you doing here?”

With eyes of gray, ever so enigmatic, he said, “I’ve just arrived and will be here until next week. Ah… You see, it’s Valentine’s Day, and I know you are busy right now, but I’m taking my chances anyway. (With a heavy breath…) Can I take you out for lunch today?”

I couldn’t believe he said that. ‘The’ John Lester de Los Santos, who, I heard, is now a very successful architect, flew all the way from Canada to have lunch with me.

“Wow… I miss you too, John!” I sniggered and then we both burst into laughter. “Let me see (looking at my watch). Where to?”

“Well, I miss our old place.”

“The old place… Right! Well, we better go now before my lunch break is over.”

The old place John was talking about is an old cafeteria just right across our school museum. Back in our high school days, John and I loved our peace and quiet, so we spent most of our lunch breaks in that old cafeteria while everyone else was out there enjoying the hustle and bustle of the malls. It isn’t really a fancy place to eat, but we’ve always loved its simplicity. I guess our ‘old place’ depicted so much of who we were — simple and intimate. The food there was great. We loved our rice, tinolang manok, ginataan, pansit, sinigang, pinakbet (oh… the list is endless). Our ‘old place’ had so much to offer in its simplicity. And the people that went there (although there weren’t many of them) were just like us. They weren’t loud and ‘barriotic’. They were very kind and gentle in their ways, which really made the place perfect for me and John. Sadly, though, I never went back to our ‘old place’ since the day he left. Too many memories, I suppose.

“Pinakbet and rice, you still love this combo, don’t you? Sadly, though, it seems like it has changed a lot. No more pork in it, and look at the size of the serving…”

“I heard they’ve changed management, John. And what with our economy at the moment, everyone’s really tight with their money.”

“And what happened to the peace and quiet? There’re too many people in here, and the music… oh, my.”

“Hey, cool down. At least, we’ve chosen a quieter spot, and away from everyone else. You came here to have lunch with me, right?”

“Sorry, Dan. I guess this is me still stuck in the past. I just wanted to bring back good memories again, but… and by the way, I really appreciate you going out of your way in order to have lunch with me today on such a short notice. I know you’re super busy and…”

“It’s alright. Don’t worry about it. But you have to come and see our valentine concert tonight. I’ve put together some really good performances featuring some of our students from glee club and colleagues as well. You should come unless you have already planned something else…”

“Awesome. What time does it start?”

“Just be there before seven. I’ll reserve a table for you. We’re serving dinner by the way so feel free to bring along anyone… your mom, dad…”

John was silent after that. He looked down at his food and started eating. It brought back a familiar disposition in him. He looked like he was going to tell me something big again that’s going to happen in his life. I could see that he was excited to tell me about it, but I could also tell that he was hesitating because he knew that his joyful news would mean the other way round for me. I never did really like those moments, for they always were about John finding something really important in life which also meant being away for a bit of time in order for him to focus his attention on it and achieve it. I hated those moments because they seemed to take John away from me. One time, he told me he was going to join the Math Olympiad. The students who joined this competition were asked to give up their lunch breaks and use them for practice with their coaches. In support of John, I had his lunch packed every time and took it to him so he could have something in his tummy while doing his Math drills. I was very supportive of him that way, even though it meant spending less time with him. I must say that I felt left out every time something like that came up, and it really felt so bad. I knew a lot more was going to come our way, and that at some point, the inevitable moment will come, that very time when he finally finds something much, much bigger than himself, something that he will have to tackle for the rest of his life. And when that time comes, I will have to let go of him. A part of me knew I was stupid to be clinging on to something that was bound to hurt me in the end. That’s why, when he told me that he was leaving for Canada, I stopped hoping. I was going on alright until the day he came back.

“Do you still sing in Church?”

“From time to time yes, why?”

“Nothing. I just remember you and me, back in the days, Glee Club, and you know, leading all the boys in singing the Mass songs.”

“Haha. You were leading the guitarists while I took care of the singers.”

“That’s right, Man! That was a lot of fun. And do you still remember our principal, Fr. Ortiz? Man, he was so strict, I could not afford to talk during the Mass.”

“…Because if you did, you knew he would stop the whole Mass just to give it to you.”

“Hahaha… I’m happy our teachers were strict to us before. I mean, take a good look at where we are now. We have reached this far because of the values they taught us.”

“You are right there, but I also like the fact that they taught us to be critical, to ponder and reflect on things that we do in life. It keeps us grounded, although sometimes I get tired of thinking too much. Too many questions in my mind. Sometimes I want to let go and just trust my instincts. I don’t know. Why do I feel that I will be a lot happier that way?”

John became quiet again. It seemed like he knew where I was heading to. Part of me wanted to be selfish, to break out and challenge him to face the music, to fight for him and let him know what I truly felt. So I started to ask him questions, trying to get down to the bottom of things.

“What made you come back home, John? I mean, it’s been ten years. I didn’t hear from you, so I thought I meant nothing to you. What are you really doing here?”

John became emotional. Both his eyes became watery and I could feel that his hands were shaking. He stood up, came closer to me, and gave me a very warm hug. His embrace was tight enough for me to feel the throbbing of his heart. “What is he doing?” I asked myself. I didn’t want to make assumptions so I held back, tried to be calm, tried not to expose myself.

“I’m sorry I didn’t write to you. I was too confused. I couldn’t understand why I was feeling that way towards you. I thought I was going crazy. I…. I hope you’ll find it in your heart to forgive me. Dan, I didn’t mean to hurt you. I came back because I realized you’re important to me, and I can’t lose you, my friend.

He must have noticed that I wasn’t responding. He sat back, wiped his cheeks, and made one long big sigh. He paused for a moment and then looked at me again with eyes that seemed to have regained strength. I could see it. He was sure about what to say this time. Could it be?

“I also came back here with my fiancée. I wanted her to see the place where I grew up. We’re getting married next month, I want you to be the first to know.”

My world stopped. I couldn’t feel nor hear anything. What lingered to me were his last words. I tried to move my lips, but they were too heavy. I knew I had to say something, but what to say? He offered me his hanky. Shocks, I didn’t even know that those tiny little drops of water have already started coming out of my eyes.

“Are you alright, Dan?”

“Oh yes (I stammered…), I… I’m just happy for you.”

He reached for my hand and held it tightly. “Glad, you are.”

***

Today is the 14th day of February. I’ve decided to stay home. As I flick through my mail, I find something I don’t normally receive every day — a card. I can sense a familiar feeling. No, this feeling isn’t really new to me, not really, not at all.

 

© 2015 The Mockingbird in Me

A Lesson on Generosity

It’s been crazy busy lately. Believe me, I have never been this busy all my life. It’s good to finally breathe though after so much to consider doing. I sort of expected it to be this way right at the beginning of the year, but I guess it’s true what they say that it’s really different when you are already there experiencing the real thing.

Well, it all started with the idea that since I’m celebrating my 10th year in teaching this year, I would allow myself to be extra generous of myself and what I could possibly share to other people. I just wanted my year really to be super productive and fulfilling in the end. So what happened was, a part from my regular work load in school (teaching & HOD role), I volunteered to teach Music (mainly basic Music theory and playing piano) to students who were keen to stay after school to learn Music with me. I get to see them for at least an hour, sometimes two, for five time a week. I had seven students. Haha. I also volunteered to help out in preparing for the 60th Anniversary of the Catholic Church here in Niue. They appointed me as secretary of the steering committee, which was heavy load by the way because I had to do all the paper work here and there, the documentation and the like. And that was not it… I volunteered to come up with a magazine and (crazy really) a documentary, both to be released on the day of the Church Anniversary — how crazy was that? Well, that was not it because, to top it all up, I also decided to enroll for masters this year which I’m doing online with the University of South Pacific. And did I mention that my sister decided to get married this year, and since I’m the only family she’s got here in Niue, I would have to help her organize her wedding? Hahaha! Just imagine the pressure. Haaay… I’m so glad I’m still alive after all that.

But hey, I was so glad I did all of that. If our internet was just faster than usual today, I would have included some photos in this post. It would have been really nice to show you how beautiful the experience was for me. That despite the hardship, the pressures, and the feeling of being twitched and pulled in every direction, there was a feeling of fulfillment in the end, that feeling of satisfaction, of productiveness. I also felt blessed and greatly rewarded after all that. I met people from different walks of life, heard there stories, and made friends with them. The wedding of my sister, which I thought would become a disaster knowing that we are too far from our family and friends back home (Philippines), turned out to be really delightful because of new-found-friends who volunteered to help us make the wedding a success. Oh my, it’s unbelievable what the Universe (God) could possibly give back to you in return for the little kindness and generosity that you do.

Dearest, Lord
teach us to be generous
teach us to serve you as we should
to give and not to count the cost
to fight and not to heed the wounds
to toil and not to seek for rest
to labor and not ask for reward
say that of knowing that we are doing
Your most holy will.

~ Prayer of St. Ignatius of Loyola

By the way, Happy Anniversary to me!
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To His Eminence

A Speech on behalf of St Joseph Parish Youth
Delivered during the Official Reception of His Eminence, Cardinal Paini Mafi at the Catholic Mission, Niue on 23 August 2015

Greetings of love and jubilation to everyone here present especially to you, your Eminence, Cardinal Soane Patita Paini Mafi. It is my hope that you are well and feeling comfortably at home as we celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the triumphant journey of the Catholic Faith here in Niue.

I am most elated and privileged to be standing here in front of you and the whole of St. Joseph Parish to speak to you on behalf of the “young and delicate” members of this parish. Certainly, everyone here present will agree with me in saying that this task is something one would classify as “quite a tough one” as it entails the responsibility of having a good and cohesive representation. I wish the expression “putting one’s self in the shoes of others” is something tangible and can be done literally as I would gladly do so; however, it is not. Hence, I will just do my best not to misrepresent them, the young and delicate, in this brief disquisition.

It is my wish to let you know that, like everyone else in this parish, the youth members are quite ecstatic and thrilled to have you on this beatific celebration. We are especially delighted to see you because we know that you are young and youthful yourself being the youngest of all Cardinals —certainly an idea that any of the young and delicate in this parish can hold on to as we know perfectly well what this entails, and yes, we know that there is no need to elaborate on this matter. Hence, your coming to this jubilation, your Eminence, is a grace from God and his eternal youthfulness. You bring inspiration especially to us, the “young and delicate.”

There has been a song written from the perspective of the youth. A song that highlights how the youth sees themselves in relation to the world. However, this song also speaks so much truth about our youthfulness and imminent role which serves as a good reminder of how much attention and nurturing we need in order to survive not just the brick walls of the past but also the now unavoidable perils that have been lurking in the dark alleys of our existence, waiting to get a chance at weakening our system and destroy us forever. The song goes…

We are the children of yesterday’s dream
We are the promise of the future we bring
Waving the banner of love to all
To every nation, the rich and the poor

We are a world of the restless and young
And we need a hand to guide us
Helping each other, build each other
As long we’re together you and me.

For together we stand, divided we fall
Together we climb to the top of the world
We can be what we want for the world to see
That we are the children of yesterday’s dream

This song portrays so much of idealism and bravery in our youthfulness. It speaks of our enthusiasm and readiness to do something great. This is our gift to the world, but this gift is not as strong as diamonds and unblemished as pearls. This gift is fragile and can easily be broken. It is therefore our hope that this gift be nurtured and cultivated every single day.

With those few words, your Eminence, again thank you for the gift of inspiration. I wish you all the best in this significant role the Lord has bestowed upon you. May He bless you always. Please remember us in your prayer, the youth and delicate.

In Your Loving Arms

I wrote this for my sister who’s getting married soon. She will be singing this on her wedding day. 🙂

There’s a place I hold dear in my heart
A place I truly treasure
For In this place
Here in this place
I can be myself
No masks, no blings, no scents
Just me to you

Yes there’s a place,
A place I hold dear in my heart
A place of comfort and joy
For in this place
My pains, my worries dissipate
I feel safe and secure in this loving embrace

Chorus:
Da ra ra rah…
Da ra ra rah…
In this place
Here in your loving arms,
I choose forever with you

So today, here in God’s place
I thank Him in my heart
For leading me to you
For every pain, for every joy
For every yesterday
Made possible tomorrows with you

© 2015 The Mockingbird in Me

Ephemeral

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“Niue Sky”

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Ephemeral.”

© 2015 The Mockingbird in Me

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