It’s Not How Many That Matters

A lively group discussion, an intimate tête-à-tête, an inner monologue — in your view, when it comes to a good conversation, what’s the ideal number of people?

Thus goes a  writing prompt on Word Press’ The Daily Post sometime ago…and as I ponder, I find not one right number of people to include in a meaningful conversation. It depends perhaps on the purpose or setting.

For instance, in social gatherings in the family, or in school, or at work, the more, the merrier seems to be a good dictum to follow. But then one should not expect a meaningful exchange of ideas, thoughts or feelings…it’s just an avenue to keep up with each other, or feel/pretend like one belongs, not as an intruder or outcast. Sometimes big social events have this intimidating effect on me.

Mostly in this setting, it’s more fun to observe where the ball is rolling. Listen carefully and one isn’t sure if she can get the flow..each seems to be waiting to throw their own ball in this verbal ping-pong interaction that often results in a cacophony of voices that falter to meaningless ‘Ohs’, ‘ahs’ ‘uhmmmms I see’…Anyone can just drift in or out…And no one seems to mind. Have you ever experienced something like this. Did it also make you feel awkward?

A lively group discussion can be had though when there’s a meeting of the minds – no matter what the topic or where the discussion takes place — at home over dinner, in the classroom, in the gym, on the street corner — you can sense people in the group are having a great time debating, arguing, or simply exchanging views, because each one listens and responds accordingly, and each has learned something. That’s the biggest take away.

Hence, I’d say it’s not really how many people that matters to make a conversation good or meaningful. For as long as each participant gets into the flow, each voice speaks up, each gives a listening ear, making everyone feel good about themselves and the interactive moment, then it’s good, for it brings out the best in each in the group.

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Respect: What Today’s World So Badly Needs

It’s my first time to write something like this but I can’t just help it. What urged me to do so was the recent news that reported about one Law student being shamed by her professor when she came to class wearing shorts.

Her professor reportedly made sexist remarks to the third year female student and asked her to “dress properly.”  The comments made by the professor were indeed uncalled for, over the top, and yes, sexist —  arrogantly putting into question the student’s credibility and character!

Couldn’t he have just waited after class to reprimand his student in private? It would’ve been more respectful of him to do so, and could’ve avoided needless hurt on his student and the rest of the class. He should have comported himself with decorum, in the first place, for it was his perceived “lack of decorum” of his student that he was being angry about, and because he is a professor who should be modeling proper behavior to his students – at all times and circumstances. His profession demands he conducts himself respectfully, politely and with dignity.

Granted he could not wait after his class – shouldn’t he have chosen his words more wisely? Why did he have to go out of the issue anyway — the matter of dress code in his class.

Just because he is male, and an esteemed professor, he perhaps thought he had every right to chastised his student in front of everybody. So he chose to do so, without much discernment, without much thought to his choice of words and act. And according to another report, the professor said in an interview, there was no written dress code for students in NLSIU’s rules currently but he has asked the university administration to issue clarifications about the dress code to the students, especially keeping in mind that “certain decorum” is expected from students attending lectures taken “especially by a senior faculty member”.

certain decorum” is expected from students attending lectures taken “especially by a senior faculty member” — Clearly, the professor’s ego got pricked at seeing his student in shorts. More so, as this happened in a culture that is predominantly conservative, traditional and where a machismo attitude still takes hold of many males. But he could have acted with grace by keeping quiet until the bell rang, and talk with the student in a nice way.

Yes, I feel for the female student – and young as she is, I can just imagine the pain, embarrassment and shame she had to endure. She and her classmates had every right to feel aggrieved and protest this uncivilised act of their professor’s public shaming.

Yet on the other hand — I also wonder about people’s sense of propriety nowadays, not just the young. But older ones too. It seems to me that the very idea of being proper – is no longer observed because what is given more importance today is one’s individual preferences, one’s own comfort, one’s own ways. Individualism is the rage!

Who cares about what others say? But to observe propriety or decorum is still called for because showing respect is never out of place and is never out of fashion. Proper behavior or decorum is still a must in a civilised society. We all should adhere to unspoken rules as well that we give consideration for others, as we would expect them to be considerate of us. Respect for others, for places, for people’s time — this is part of plain good manners and right conduct. Giving others due respect is also respecting ourselves.

Yet many people — men and women, young and old alike — do not think about this, as they think of only themselves and what makes them happy and comfortable.

How would you think if a guest attends your formal wedding rites or that of your offspring, in very casual outfit – slippers and shorts? Would you not also feel upset about that? Or  even inviting your friend to a sit-down dinner at your home – honestly, wouldn’t you have some sort of expectation as to how your friends will be attired, or even you, when you visit other homes?

I’m not blaming the young girl – what I am just saying is, perhaps she, just like so many others – no longer think twice about discomfiting others – with the way they behave and dress in public.

Thus – my point is – whether the professor was right or wrong on being upset with what his student wore to class – he shouldn’t have behaved the way he did. And for the young girl, unless her shorts were of knee-length, such attire in class is improper indeed.

What the world today needs more of is RESPECT – respect for oneself, for one another, for rules of propriety, for whatever it takes to make the world a better, civilized place to live in.

Young and old, all should observe proper decorum. Let’s remember, the world isn’t just about us. We live with others; thus, it shouldn’t always be “live and let live.”


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Morning Lessons from the Birds

Today, my morning blessing as I watched the dawn break into a beautiful sweet day came through a delightful treat. A flock of birds – doves or pigeons – circled the sky in a choreographed dance. In flight formation, they cut an awesome picture of grace and fluidity, and I realize they have been doing this each morning. How many times I’ve watched them by the window!


The birds glided together forming a wide triangle across the sky when in a split second, the head bird at the tip of the formation winged away on its own into another direction. It swept the sky with more dramatic, graceful motions. Yet the other members of the flock did not seem to mind, as if it were but natural for their guide to move away to oversee them from afar.


Despite the gulf that now lay between them and their head, the courageous birds held on with each other in formation without missing a beat.

How beautiful it is! Their morning ritual. Just like it’s become my morning ritual to gaze by the window.


Back to that bird going solo, and his flock, isn’t that an image of how God manifests His presence in our lives? Times when His presence is so palpable we can feel He is indeed leading the way. But sometimes, He seems to be gone particularly in our most trying times, or when we are overwhelmed with our daily concerns.


Yet, the truth is He is always with us, in us…we need only to trust in His constant presence and care, much like those birds whose confidence in their leader never falters. 


Isn’t it awesome that we can glean many of life’s greatest lessons from the natural world around us?

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A Poem at Dawn

Sometimes, the Muses come visiting at unexpected moments, just like in the early hours this morning. Thus this reflection-poem of mine came to be.


 Waking up at dawn

 I see darkness around

 Only flickering lights

 Beaming from buildings afar

 Cast a shimmering glow

 to everything below

 For a second I wonder –

Who’d need the stars?

 Nothing ever though

 can Overshadow

 the Wondrous shine from

 Those heavenly bodies…


 in that hour,

Blackness covers the sky.


Sleep still tugging at me

 I recline on the seat

 By the window

 and turn my gaze

 at the sleeping city

beneath my feet…

Everything is still

 Everything quiet

 Save for the rumblings

 in my mind

 which I quell

by my Prayers


Gazing by the window

I wonder

Could there be any other soul

Brooding as I do

Over the vast view

of our side of the metropolis…

Or perhaps someone

from his own window

Watching me

Watching the world outside?

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The Broken Glass: A Reflection

God heals a broken heart, but He has to have all the pieces.

This quote came to mind after I broke a glass by accident, and I was keeping it away intending to wrap it carefully before I’d relegate it to the trash bin.

Despite the damage, a sparkling glean radiated – like a glint of the rising sun – from its sharp, broken edges and the shards scattered at the bottom, transforming the broken glass into a stunning beauty!


We are just like that glass ~~  broken, crushed at times. Yet we can appreciate ourselves even more, if we can look at ourselves through God’s eyes. And if despite our weaknesses, our failures, our struggles, we carry on and lift to God our pains and sorrows, we strengthen our character; we strengthen our faith in God and in ourselves.

But we need to trust God, first of all. Trust that He can work His miracle in us if we allow Him to do so. Thus, we need to lift up to Him all our cares, our sufferings — He has to have all the broken pieces” of ourselves to make us whole again, and again, and again…

Times when I do get angry at myself for some reasons, such as not meeting my goals for the day, or when stuck at a certain task, or faced with situations that make me think low of myself. Tears flow, especially when the hurt inside is much like the pain caused by the sharp edges of a broken glass. Yet I remember to pray – sometimes, it’s a real struggle to, still I cry my heart out to Him.

At that point, God’s Peace and Mercy fill my heart to the brim, and I get the confidence to move on. Indeed, I can start to love myself wholly again, for God makes me whole again with His undying Love.

A Prayer to the Holy Spirit

Come, Holy Spirit…replace the tension within us with a holy relaxation.

Replace the turbulence within us with a sacred calm.

Replace the anxiety within us with a quiet confidence.

Replace the fear within us with a strong faith.

Replace the bitterness within us with the sweetness of grace.

Replace the darkness within us with a gentle light.

Replace the coldness within us with a loving warmth.

Replace the night within with Your day.

Replace the winter within us with Your spring.

Straighten our crookedness, Fill our emptiness,

Dull the edge of our pride, Sharpen the edge of our humility,

Light the fires of our love, Quench the flames of our lust.

Let us see ourselves as You see us.

That we may see You as You have promised,

And be fortunate according to Your word:

“Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.”

(prayer courtesy of the St. Joseph Convent of Perpetual Adoration, Hemady, Quezon City)


(I edited this piece because the glass photos that came with this post could no longer be used since I updated the theme of my blog…)

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Finding Contentment

When life gives you lemons, make some lemonade.

Thus the saying goes. And I say, when there’s brownout (power cut-off), take some photos.

So what else is there to do when it’s raining, with a pestering brownout to boot – almost eight-hours long. You take photos, just like I did.  Thus, during yesterday’s heavy afternoon downpour that led to that long power cut-off, I busied myself with my simple phone camera looking for interesting angles, textures and patterns.

And here they are. Be warned though; they’re not pro. These are just snapshots meant to amuse, and let the creative juice flow. Just my way of finding beauty in the mundane – just as in my previous post with the same title– even during a heavy rain.

Looking through the rain-covered window

Finding contentment, seeing beauty even in the most mundane…

reflection in the rain
light and shadow
tangled wires and bamboo leaves freshened by the passing storm


a glow in the dark



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Passing Through

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BlueMoon Rising

“The moon stays bright

when it doesn’t avoid the night” ~ Rumi

The Moon ~~ that fascinating piece of Nature that has held me spellbound all these years. My alter ego I’d tell my younger self in those days when at times I could be affected by teenage self-insecurities, and I needed to perk up my confidence anew.

Somehow, I feel there’s something that binds me and the Moon.

With the Blue Moon’s recent visit, I was jolted into the realization what a strange coincidence it was when she appeared as well in the early part of my stay in this quiet, secure neighborhood as I was delightfully easing myself into the comfortable ambience of the community and its residents. The Blue Moon was a reassuring, welcoming thumb-up sign from my Creator that everything was well. God knows how drawn I am to the drama, mystique of His creation.

But between then and now, there have been challenges that seem to overwhelm me, and what more, I am about to leave this wonderful place, my pet stray felines whom I’ve grown to love; changes are afoot once more. So while I’m eager for the next phase in my life’s journey, there’s also a certain sadness as I leave.

Yet again, last nite’s Blue Moon was another reassuring message from God all will be well.

And as my little ode to the Blue Moon we just had, here are some of my amateurish attempts to photograph Sister Moon basking in the glow of her Brother Sun.

July Moon Sky - the night before Blue Moon's rising...






It’s not what you look at that matters,

it’s what you see.” ~ Henry David Thoreau





Three things cannot be long hidden:

the sun, the moon, and the truth.” ~ Buddha

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Change course…

Far too long I’ve drifted

Like that bark on the stream

fallen from its tree

It seems;

The shore far from sight…

The horizon blurs in the distance

I sink in the whirlpool of my


How can it be?

I get a grip

While the faint sound of the bell

beckons me still

Time is of the essence here

my dear

No time to waste.

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Taking Selfies is An Art

It’s May, my favorite month of the year! And what an apt theme to go with my favorite month – Photo.

I’m not a pro, I’m not even half as good as the younger ones in my family/clan who are amazing with their photography skills. But taking photos is my passion – and with the coming of the age of Selfies, I’m drawn to it more than anyone else of my age, methinks.

Do you like taking selfies? Why or why not?

I do not find taking selfies bad at all, so I shall disagree with the supposed findings of the American Psychiatric Association that taking of selfies is a mental disorder.

Taking of selfies is an art form, not a mental disorder.

It may not be the best of hobbies – but it is fun, even for a midlifer like me. Nor is it vanity at all, though I must say, self-regulation, especially among the young ones, is of course needed. In which case, the findings of the American Psychiatric Association if this preoccupation with selfies goes overboard, indeed makes sense.

Seen in proper perspective, however, taking selfies is a form of artistic expression, an interesting one at that. I remember growing up with SLR cameras that needed black-and-white films which you had a photographer/shop develop for you. Unless you were a photo buff or expert, where was the fun in taking pictures or posing for one except in the enjoyment of the finished products.

Through taking selfies, one can give vent to her creative inclination just like me. I would love to paint portraits and scenes, including a self-portrait. If only I could. Thus, with selfies and the myriad of photo apps that abound these days, who am I to resist such imaginative yearnings?

Besides, as a grandmother, I do have one simple goal coming from the fun side of me — to collect as many creative selfies as I want – while I’m still bitten by the artistic selfie bug and transform these into interesting collages or dramatic mirages.

Then I shall present them all one day to my grandchildren — “Here is your grandma through the years!” — for sure, just for them I shall be a celebrity, and we’ll share a good laugh.


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