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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Post-American Idol 2012 Hang-over and Tintin's Graduation Party

Wow! We're having summer-like weather over here in Hampton Roads area! Just for today, Tuesday, temperature is in the the low 90s already! It's hot and humid, that is. But I'm not complaining, though. I know, summer is just around the corner while school classes in primary and secondary levels are almost over next week, first week of June.

Monday yesterday was Memorial Day in the U.S. of A. All of us at home were kinda exhausted, tired after that Saturday's graduation party at home for my daughter Tintin who graduated college last Sunday. We watched that PBS National Memorial Concert while relaxing with and enjoying our new sectional (furniture) in our living room. We watched and listened to American Idol Season 11 Runner-up Jessica Sanchez who opened the show with the singing of the National Anthem, and then The Prayer. She ended the concert with her rendition of God Bless America, with guest performers including the co-hosts actors Joe Montagna and Gary Sinese. She invited the audience to join her in the singing, too.

That Sunday, my whole family participated in the Sunday Mass at St. Paul's. As volunteer Extraordinary Ministers for Holy Communion (EMHC), my wife and I were scheduled to do the Cups, or to administer or distribute the "Blood" of Christ to fellow parishioners. Rev. Fr. Jarek officiated the Mass. After Mass, my family went home for lunch since we still have plenty of left-over food from Saturday's party. (Most of the time, on Sundays, we eat out, after attending Sunday Mass.)

Now, I tell you, folks: As I'm writing this blog post, I'm listening to Jessica's songs on YouTube. For the past week, I haven't completely forgotten the American Idol, Season 11 Finale. I thought I did. The songs and performances of Idol winner Phillip Phillips and Idol runner-up Jessica Sanchez are still in my mind. I still hear them everyday and keep watching the videos of the two on AI's website on YouTube. One of the highlights of the Finale was the incredible powerhouse performance duet of Jessica and Jennifer Holliday, in addition to the unexpected duet of the top two finalists Phillip and Jessica singing "Up Where We Belong." They're such amazing artists/singers/performers, so talented, indeed! Again, I wish the two success in their respective music career. Kudos and more power to them as they prepare for their U.S. concert tours, with other contestant-finalists (top 10?), starting this July (from American Idol's website).

Thanks to God that my family have had the opportunity to "get or gather together" with our friends around on Saturday afternoon which coincides with my daughter Tintin's (college) graduation party at home. We had a good turn out, though. We're not worried at all because we've had plenty of food for them. The fact is it's more than enough for fifty to seventy-five people. As usual, we did enjoy each other's company. We're glad and thankful that our guests and visitors, some of our neighbors, made it to our party. As expected, there were a couple of our friends who didn't make it because of various reasons. No, we're not disappointed for not showing up. We understand them.

As expected, our guests didn't show up all at once. They came one after another in twos or threes or fours.  In groups, that is.We're delighted to see them again, as always the case. We did our best to accommodate them. That Filipino hospitality at its best, you know. Everything went well that Saturday afternoon. The weather was perfect, with plenty of sunshine. Our deck, by our backyard, was so alive again. As usual, we have had some picture-taking and happy moments sharing our thoughts, ideas while enjoying our food and drinks, beer, and sweet rice cakes of different kinds, and that graduation cake. Overall, Tintin's graduation party was a success, I'd say. Thanks to God. And thank you, Jesus!

Well, friends, this is all for now. Until next time around. Take care and have a nice day, everyone. Thank you for your time.-chris aq. quilpa, 29May2012

Sunday, May 27, 2012

On Memorial Day

The last Monday of May, each year, is designated as Memorial Day. Originally known as Decoration Day to honor the U.S. Armed Sevices personnel killed in wartime, Memorial Day is a legal, federal holiday traditionally marked by parades, memorial services, speeches, ceremonies, and the traditional decorations of graves with flowers and U.S. flags.

According to Funk and Wagnalls New Encyclopedia, the first Memorial Day was observed on May 30, 1868, on order of Gen. John Alexander Logan (1826-1886), an American soldier and politician from Illinois, for the purpose of decorating the graves of the American Civil War dead. It was observed on May 30 until 1971 when most U.S. states changed to a newly-established federal schedule of holiday observances.

On May 28, this year, we remember our brave soldiers and valiant veterans, our dedicated men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces who have proudly served, and sacrificed their precious lives, fighting to achieve and/or preserve peace and freedom we now cherish and enjoy.

We know that their good intentions and noble deeds have made America the leader of the free world. Through their ultimate sacrifices, we are all beneficiaries of the democracy, freedom and liberty they've fought and died for. We thank you, veterans, for your service and sacrifices.

So, as we gather together in churches and cemeteries to offer our prayers and lay flowers for our departed loved ones, let's also reflect on the many contributions our soldiers have made to our great nation.

Here's a poem I wrote and was originally published on May 27, 1988, in Pacific Crossroads, while I was stationed in Guam, Marianas Island (a U.S. territory). I humbly dedicate it to our armed forces personnel who lost their lives, especially in the war on terrorism, fighting for freedom and peace throughout the world.

In Loving Memory

With hope and valor
You fought for freedom
Without fear and reservation
You shed tears and blood
To the end...

Committed to defend 
Your country, your home
You fought decisively
Struggled hard to win
With so much pain
Sacrifice and suffering
In the service to humanity
You left us a legacy
To cherish and to uphold
That love for one's country
Is worth-dying for!

Gone, but not forgotten
Yet honored and remembered
Today, yesterday, and forever
You, the unsung heroes
The freedom-lovers and fighters
The peacemakers and keepers...
You will always be
Our ideal and inspiration
For a better life-world
Where there's love and unity
Peace and brotherhood
Among humankind!

(c) 2012 by chris a. quilpa

Happy Memorial Day, everyone!

Friday, May 25, 2012

On American Idol 2012, Et Cetera

TGIF (Thanks to God, It's Friday), everyone! As always, we're glad and thankful to be alive. Thank you, Jesus!

I don't know what to say but I'm relieved that Season 11 of the American Idol 2012 is over! I've viewed, re-viewed their videos on YouTube, watched them perform on TV, and listened to their music with gusto. I'm sure you, folks, have also watched the show's Finale two days ago. I know, you and I have had expectations as to who the winner was. Personally, I would have wanted Jessica to win. (Admittedly, I tried to rally behind her by encouraging other members of my household to vote for her, which we did, via our cell phones and Facebook.) I strongly believed she has the singing prowess and versatility. But I, for one, would say then that Jessica and Phillip are both winners in their own ways. And, I have to accept the overall voters' choice because this reality TV show is a popularity competition. That is, whoever is the most popular, in term of votes, wins. And Phillip Phillips apparently garnered the most number of votes. Hence, he's the recipient of the American Idol 2012 trophy! I'd like to congratulate them both, nevertheless. Congratulations, Phillip and Jessica! I wish you both success in your singing careers.

My observation/s:  Both the two finalists, 16-year old Californian Jessica Sanchez and 21-year old Georgian Phillip Phillips, gave their best for the overall duration of the competition. Both singers have different styles and genres in singing. Though he sings with lower tones, (compared to Jessica's different vocal range, from mid to high notes), Phillip has a unique way of singing, like the singer/songwriter Dave Matthews. Jessica, on the other hand, sings old songs (i.e., songs of Etta James, Otis Redding, Jennifer Holliday, Billy Joel) that I'm not familiar and haven't heard them before but sang them beautifully. She sang songs of divas the like of Whitney Houston, Beyonce, Mariah Carey, and Alicia Keys, Gloria Estefan, Jennifer Hudson, and pop star legend Michael Jackson, etc. She sang their songs with such passion, intensity and energy. Phillip and Jessica are both good singers and performers. Both are talented and humble, too. I like their duet during the Finale, their rendition of Up Where We Belong. Their voices blended well. I thought they did great in that performance. Once again, congratulations to Phillip (as the American Idol 2012 winner) and Jessica (as AI 2012 runner up)! May God bless them and their respective families!

Well, it's Friday today! What can I say but thanks to God. We're looking forward to the Memorial weekend. And, yes, we're celebrating our daughter Tintin's collegiate (scholastic) achievement. Tomorrow (Saturday) afternoon is her graduation party. That means, we have to prepare for our friends and guests and visitors alike. We've already sent the invitation cards/letters and done the ordering of food to be served. We're still doing some stuff for the house. But overall, I think, we're almost there, getting ready for the celebration. Invited? But, of course, you're all invited to the party, my friends! Come one, come all! We''re glad and thankful to have you. No, I'm not kidding! Come on over and let's have a party, and have fun and celebrate with us.

This is all for now. Until next time around. Take care and Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!-chris a. quilpa, 25May2012

Monday, May 21, 2012

Weekend in C-ville for Tintin's Graduation Day

My sis-in-law, my wife and I spent the weekend in C-ville. Our son arrived from The Capital and joined us Saturday afternoon, in time for Baccalaureate Mass for all UVA students graduating (like our daughter Tintin) the following day, Sunday morning at ten. That solemn Saturday Mass, concelebrated by Rev. Fr. Luke and Rev. Fr. Scott, both OP or Oblates of Preachers or Dominican priests, was held at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church.

Sunday morning at seven, we're all ready for Tintin's Final Exercises at The Lawn of UVA. Since Tintin continues to stay in her dorm after her Final exams (because she requested for extension and was approved), we've decided to just meet and see her at the Lawn. We checked out of our hotel early and parked our van at a designated parking within the University campus. We thought we'd be the very first to arrive at the site but we're surprised to witness that there were already parents, besides those Graduation Committee crew and staff, who were there. (Two years ago, when our son graduated there, we were the very first parents to arrive.) Anyway, we got a good spot as far as the viewing, and picture-taking, of graduates doing their processional parade. It was past 10:00 o'clock A.M when the Final Exercises ceremony started. There's the overall atmosphere of joy and celebration in The Lawn at the University.

Well, folks, here's quite interesting to note on this joyous occasion: Six thousand and four hundred eleven  graduates were conferred their respective degrees by UVA president Teresa Sullivan! UVA alumna, Class of 1979 and former NBC Today show co-host and CBS news anchorwoman Katie Couric was the Final Exercises guest speaker. In her speech, she recalled her days at the University. Besides mentioning about the 3Rs (Reading, Writing, 'Rithmetic), she also discussed about the other 3Rs that the new graduates have to encounter in today's economy: Risk, Rejection, and Resilience. Likewise, she talked about her job encounters in her early years, her married life with two daughters with her late husband, her late sister who also succumbed to cancer, her  advocacy about fighting cancer, and briefly her forthcoming TV show Katie in September. Overall, her speech was inspiring and well-received and applauded.

After our late lunch/early dinner at a restaurant , our son drove back to The Capital for his work Monday. On the other hand, we took all of Tintin's stuff at her dorm. At 7:00 0'clock p.m., we left C-ville for Hampton Roads. It was almost 11:00 o'clock p.m. when we arrived home. Tired and sleepy, I was especially. But so proud to see my daughter Tintin graduated from college. Thank you, Dear Lord. Thank you, Jesus!

This is all for now. Until next time around. Take care and Have a nice day, everyone!-chris a. quilpa, 21May2012

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Class of 2012: Rejoice and Celebrate!

It's that time of the year again when schools, colleges, and universities in the United States hold their commencement exercises! (In fact, some  U.S. colleges/universities have just had their commencement exercises already.) Yes, folks, it's time for Graduation Day! But to other countries, like the Philippines, their graduation days have long been over or finished since last week of March? or first or second week of April. Actually, it's summer over there now. That means that it's enrollment season again for the forthcoming school year 2012-2013. Classes in all levels, if I may recall, start second or third week of June. While they're having classes this June, elementary and middle/high schools here will be having their graduation exercises. Then, we'll have summer in the U.S. of A. America, that is. I, myself, am looking forward to summer, and the Fourth of July celebration.

Well, let me say this now: To the Class of 2012, congratulations and Happy Graduation Day! Best wishes to all of you, graduates, most especially to my daughter Christine who graduates with a bachelor's degree this Sunday at UVA, in Charlottesville, VA. We (your Mom and I, and your brother Andrew (UVA, Class of 2010), and your Aunt Rose) are all proud of you! May God bless and guide you always in your future endeavors!

At long last, the time has finally come to don that cap and gown and receive that rolled diploma, with congratulatory handshakes, while the solemn, classical music to the tune of "Pomp and Circumstance" is being played.

Yes, you finally made it, graduates! It's worth all the efforts, struggles, and the sacrifices. You deserve all the recognition because you've overcome all the rigors, and challenges, of  school life.

Yes, you've succeeded in overcoming challenges, pressures and stresses in all aspects of school life---academics, athletics and (other) activities. You can now relax as you reminisce those years in school.

Dear graduates, you have all the reasons to rejoice and celebrate today. Therefore, seize the moment, for it will become a memory, a nostalgic, happy memory to cherish. Take souvenir pictures. Capture those moments spent spent with your classmates, dear teachers/instructors/professors, best friends. Cherish their hugs and kisses, their mere presence. Enjoy the rest of the day partying responsibly and lawfully! You deserve to celebrate your scholarly achievement with your family, friends, and other relatives, etc.

To the elementary graduates, congratulations! You guys are so special, for you possess such an enormous energy and curiosity. Your capability to learn is so overwhelming! Keep on learning, and loving to learn while you continue playing with your friends or buddies. Keep on dreaming. believe in yourselves that you have potentials to succeed in life. Do your best in school.

To the high school graduates, my sincere congratulations for a job well done! You've demonstrated, to some  extent, a sense of maturity and responsibility. You've faced those challenges and changes taking place in your world of pop culture, computer games, cyber activities, etc. Whatever it is that you decide to do with your future, always look for the good and bright side in life. Just remember, no one can stop you from pursuing and/or realizing your goals and dreams. Your confidence and strong determination to succeed supersede all odds coming your way. Therefore, aim for higher education if you can. And do your best to pursue it.

To the college graduates, my warm congratulations! You are "heroes" to your parents, relatives, children (or grandchild/children, if you have). You're the role models for them as far as the value or importance of education in one's life. Your strong determination and hard work paid off and, at last, you're a winner---real survivor in the fight against ignorance, mediocrity and illiteracy.

Once again, to the Class of 2012, best wishes and congratulations! May God bless you all!-chris a. quilpa, 20May2012

Monday, May 14, 2012

Rev. Pastor's Homily, Blessing of New Car, Et cetera

In his homily during Sunday's Mass yesterday, our Rev. Pastor talked about what each of us, parishioners, can do if and when we love one another. He said that all of us are capable of being generous, merciful, compassionate, kind, and loving.

As volunteer Extraordinary Ministers for Holy Communion (EMHC), my wife and I were scheduled or assigned to distribute host to our fellow parishioners at Sunday's Mass yesterday. Before the Mass ended, my sister-in-law, my wife and I, and our daughter had to leave the church early to the point that we didn't wait for Rev. Pastor's final blessings. The reason being was that our daughter was scheduled to play the piano for a church service in a Methodist Church in Norfolk at eleven in the morning. (She gets paid $40-$50 for the whole service.) We have exactly thirty minutes to arrive at our destination. My wife did the driving, as always the case for a place that we're not familiar with. I do the "navigating", sort of. But with help of GPS, of course. We're glad that we arrived five minutes before eleven. As "visitor-guests" of the church, we were graciously welcome by the church members there who were mostly senior citizens. We did participate in the service, even though we're Catholics or of different religious affiliation. We prayed and sang with them. We also listened to their pastor. After the service, they thanked us for being with them. We did the same, for allowing and having given us the opportunity to experience attending their church service.

We left Norfolk after the church service. My wife thought of driving to the other clustered Catholic parish to catch up with our Rev. Pastor if he was the one officiating the Mass there at eleven fifteen. Arriving there on the church's ground, we noticed that the parking lot was full. Meaning the Mass isn't over yet. Actually, it was almost done because it was already 12:10 p.m. (Normally, regular Sunday Mass ends in an hour or less. My sis-in-law, my wife and our daughter got out of the car, went to see our pastor and request if he can bless our daughter's new car (our graduation gift for her). I remained sitting there in the car. While waiting, I saw the parishioners coming out of the church, in twos or threes or fours, and going to their respective cars on the parking lot. That means that the Mass has just ended. After a few minutes, my wife cautioned me to drive the car closer to the front of the church. There they were, with our parochial vicar, Rev. Fr. Jarek. (We'll surely miss Fr. Jarek when he transfer to his next parish assignment this last week of June. He's such a sweet, always jolly, approachable priest; very down-to-earth, people-person and, no doubt, true and faithful disciple of Jesus, in my observation. May God bless and keep him always!
He did bless our daughter's new car graciously, without hesitation at all. We even had some pictures taken while he was blessing the car. We had a group picture, too. he didn't mind at all, when we asked him. Afterwards, we sincerely thanked him then extended our invitation for lunch and our daughter's graduation party last weekend of this month. He said he'd love to attend but he doesn't know his schedule. "We'll see," he said. "I don't know my schedule next week. We'll see, okay?" he added.

Lunchtime came. Since it's Mother's Day, I'd love to treat my wife to a fine restaurant. But, my sis-in-law's schedule didn't allow us to dine at a buffet restaurant. She has work at one p.m. That's why we just ate lunch at Seafood Restaurant that's near her part-time job. After lunch, we drove our sis-in-law to her work.

Our daughter, my wife and I drove around until we decided to go to Furniture Store. (My wife and I have been planning lately to go shopping for something for our living room, that's why.) So that's what we did. We did go to two furniture stores: one in a military store and the other, civilian. Finally, we ended up at this civilian Furniture Store where we purchased a sectional (yet to be delivered next week) for our living room. Yes, folks, timing is everything. And, in our case, we're just hoping that all the stuff we're doing in and out of the house will be ready in time for our daughter's graduation party in our house.

Well, friends, this is all for now. Thank you for your time. Until next time around. Take care and Have a wonderful day, everyone!-chris a. quilpa, 14May 2012.

Spring Home Repair and Improvement

Spring is the time to take care of many things. Especially if it pertains to our dwelling place---our house, our primary investment, they say. Yes, it's definitely time for some home maintenance/repair/improvement, folks. Now, with help and assistance of our friends around, we're able to do some things that need to be done. But, of course, at a price. Costly. By the thousands, that is! That's how it is, especially if the things to be done or fixed or repaired requires the expertise and professionalism of experienced (and certified/licensed) people.

Here's a list of things/projects that we've decided to be done for our house: replacement and installation of (new) A/C units, repair (and repainting) of our staircase and removal and installation of new runner/decorative carpet for the stairs, rearranging pieces of furniture, sofa and love seat, sectional  in our living room and family room, etc.

I'm so thankful for these friends who came over to do the work for us. One of them (same name as mine) did install our new A/C units this weekend, with a friend of his who's an electrician and co-worker in a HVAC company. Another is this two brothers who did our wooden fence/gate outside last week. They're currently doing our stairs. They will also do our yard maintenance and simple landscaping, too.

Well, this is all for now. Until next time around. Take care and Have a nice day, everyone!-chris a. quilpa, 14May2012

Saturday, May 12, 2012

No Greater Love than Mother's Love

To all the mother's in the world, Happy Mother's Day! May your enduring, undying love and sacrifices to your children and to us all, in general, be rewarded with contentment and satisfaction in life! may God bless you and protect you always as you continue to love and care for us unconditionally!
There's no doubt, you are our true friend, confidant, solace, cheerleader, morale-booster, comforter, pacifier, entertainer, and our very first teacher in life. You are everything to us. For without you, we're not here; we're not who and what we are in this world. hence, this day, and always, you deserve the best in life because you are our mothers to us and your children, and our children's children. Indeed, you are a Godsend. we love you for whatever and whoever you are.

You risked your lives to bring us forth into this competitive, unpredictable world. You shileded us from harm and danger. You instilled in us good family values, which we carry on in life. And you helped us shape our attitudes toward life because the moral guidance you provided us is truly remarkable, and immeasurable. You are considered the "light" or "guiding light" of our home. In addition, you've given up or put on hold your career or profession, and your personal ambitions or aspirations, just to rear and nurture us from childhood through adolescence and beyond. That's pure, true (mother) love, in the strictest sense of the word. There's no greater love than yours, mothers!
Allow me to share with you this simple, humble poem of mine, dedicated to all mothers---most especially to my caring, loving wife (I love you, always!)---married, single, separated or divorced, or widowed, and those who are not here with us, personally, in our midst. Thank you so much, mothers!


Mother dear, I love you so
Only you can love me true
Teach me life in all you do
Help me to live and to grow
Ever faithful, ever true
Rose of my life, that is you!

Dearest mother, I love you
Eternal God loves you, too
Always there when I need you
Rose of my life that is you!
 (c)2012 by Chris A. Quilpa

Again, to all mothers in the world, Happy Mothers Day!

Well, folks, let's enjoy the videos I embedded with this blog post. (FYI: I don't own the videos. No copyright infringement intended.) As always, thanks YouTube and the good people who uploaded them on YouTube. Thank you, Google and Blogger, as well. Thank you, Superstar Nora Aunor, for sharing us your golden voice and extraordinary talents. Thank you, God the Almighty Father, and Jesus Christ our Savior!

Until next time around, my friends. Take care and Have a blessed and wonderful day/weekend, everyone!-chris a. quilpa, 12May2012

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A Surprising (But Scary) Find

This Wednesday morning, I took a stroll around the neighborhood. In spite of the fact that the sun didn't appear today (actually it's cloudy and the forecast today is that it's gonna rain later), I took the initiative to take a walk outside, even for, say, thirty minutes. I felt I needed to do a little physical conditioning, that's why.

Coming back home after almost thirty minutes of walking, I saw one of our friends in our neighborhood about to park his van on their driveway. I presumed he drove his granddaughter to her school. Walking towards him, I said "How are you, Friend!" He replied, "just fine. 'Bout you?" I answered, "doing well, so far." Then, as we continued with our conversation, he showed me his backyard with his new deck he and his brother built a week ago, he said. I was so impressed by the fine construction of it together with his new wooden fence around his backyard. His backyard has a couple of fruit trees. And they're bearing fruits already.  

While talking about his home improvement projects, his wife (who's also retired) showed up from their garage. She invited us to come in to their house. I thanked her, especially when she offered-served me a cup of tea. We, three, continued with our neighborly and friendly conversation as if we haven't seen for a while. Which is true. We rarely see each other since they retired. I couldn't help myself but admire their gorgeous house. So cozy, neat, and orderly. (I'm quite envious, to tell you the truth, guys!) Theirs is ever ready and welcoming!

I mentioned to Friend about a couple of stuff at home that maybe he can help me. He said he was willing to do, with his brother's help. His wife opined, "Chris, just buy the materials they need and they'll do it for you. As to labor cost, they're negotiable." They are not that difficult to deal with, she added as she phoned Friend's brother who lives closed to our rental house in neighboring city not too far from us.

We waited for his brother to show up as we continued with our conversation in their eat-in kitchen. In a few minutes, Friend's brod arrived. Friend introduced me to him and we shook hands and exchanged pleasantries. Since it was already drizzling outside, Friend, with his older brother, drove me to my house (instead of walking) so I can show them which need to be done or fixed in the house. We agreed together that they'll do it. Friend saw something on one of the cypress trees, while we were discussing about the things to be fixed and/or replaced. At first Friend thought it was  a black rubber thing embedded on the branches but on a closer look he gasped and uttered the word "SNAKE!" Certainly it's slowly moving up the tree. Yes, it's a black-grayish snake! And a long one, too, OMG! That was a big surprise for me. Never did I expect to see one in our area, specifically in one of our cypress trees that my wife recently pruned. It's so fortunate that she didn't see it otherwise she'd freak out. She's scared of snakes! Me, too.

Well, our first reaction? The three of us? Of course to kill it! First, Friend tried to stone in. It didn't work. He sprayed water with our hose so the snake comes out. Nothing happened. His brother asked me if we have a rake or a long piece of wood which we have. Still, the snake hid around the branches. I did try also with the rake. Finally, they thought of going to Friend's house to get something. Friend told me to keep watch and monitor it.

When the two brothers came back it stopped raining, for a while, Friend brought out a long pole with a sharp long serrated knife attached to the tip. Kinda a scythe. After two or three attempts, Friend slew it. Finally! With his brother assisting, he did it. The tail was still moving/wiggling a little bit when I tried to smash its head and its body. I remember, I went inside to get my camera and did take a couple of photos of the dead black snake that measured three feet! Yes, three feet, OMG! Had it not for Friend, I wouldn't know that there's snake hiding in that cypress tree. I wouldn't have known what to do, if I were alone by myself who saw it. Man, that's scary! I couldn't wait to tell it and show the photos to tell my wife when she arrives. Thanks to God, with the presence and help of Friend and his older brother, that snake is dead. It's now in the trash bin outside awaiting for the garbage truck collector. Indeed, what a surprising bur scary find we have had today!

My wife and my sister-in-law saw the photos and they were freaking out. Much more so when I showed them the actual dead black snake that's a part of the garbage in that trash bin outside by the curbside. O my God, that's scary! That's what they uttered in fear. I cautioned my wife not to be panicky. But she can't help it but to scream. But a controlled scream, though. Aw, yuck, she said.

Well, folks, this is all for now. Until next time around. Take care and have a nice day, everyone!-chris a. quilpa, 09May2012

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Thank You, Teachers!

At the outset, I'd like to express my sincere gratitude to all teachers. Thank you so much, teachers, for all that you do, all your efforts and sacrifices, to help our students learn and succeed!

Thank you, my dear and dedicated wife for being the best (Chemistry) teacher that you could possibly be! To me, you're a winner! Fully aware of what you've been doing, to the point of sleeping late at night preparing your teaching materials and other stuff for your students, I do appreciate all the energy and the extra mile you do just to help all your students pass the state's Standard of Learning test. I know how much you wanted all your students to pass in your class and move on to the next level until they all graduate and go to college. May God bless you and give you all the strength and stamina to teach and educate our students!  As always, I love you!

I understand, this week is designated as Teacher Appreciation Week. It's but appropriate and fitting to honor and recognize all teachers for their tremendous contribution to society, to nation-building. Their impact or influence is immense, beyond compare, no doubt about it. They mold (and guide) young minds to become who they wish or want to be---successful, productive, and responsible members of society. They are also our unsung heroes, like our military veterans, service men and women.

Imagine what would it be like without teachers? Undeniably, we wouldn't be without them. I'm sure you agree with me if I say that out of their love for teaching, we would not have become who and what we are now, career-wise or professional-wise. For teaching, undoubtedly, is the "mother/father" of all professions.

Today, and for always, we pay tribute to our teachers who are educators in their own right. We, therefore, appreciate what they do---teaching, inculcating knowledge and skills, helping our students to find their niche under the sun. We pray: God bless them all; Keep them always safe and sound. Make them instruments of  peace and love; Give them all the courage, power, and inspiration to make a difference in the lives of our children who are beneficiaries of their dedicated teaching and community/public service. Thank you, God, for having them in our midst, for being there when we needed them, when we have questions and doubts.

Again, thank you all teachers! May your tribe increase! Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!

Thanks, YouTube and the uploader of the video I embedded with this post. No copyright infringement intended. As always, thank you, Google and Blogger. Thank you, Lord. And, thank you, Jesus!

Well, folks, this is all for now. Until next time around, my friends. Take care and have a nice day!-chris a. quilpa, 08May2012

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Of Teachers, Taylor Mali, Et Cetera

From me to you all, a blessed and satisfying Sunday! Thanks be to God, we're doing well. Hope you're doing well, too, folks.

This morning at seven, though  still in bed, with my wife, I was awaken with the sound of our alarm-clock-radio that's always set on a local public radio affiliated with NPR (National Public Radio). I may have drifted for an hour because usually our alarm-clock-radio is set at six every morning. Anyway, what caught my attention to be mentally awake was that of Bob Edwards' Weekend  show on NPR. His guest was Taylor Mali, who was talking about teachers or the teaching profession in general. This is the first time that I came to know about Mr. Mali who, I learned later on, is an American poet, a slam poetry performer, and former classroom teacher. I got interested in what he was talking about in his conversation with the radio show host Mr. Edwards. Mali  mentioned something about "What Teachers Make"; he was retelling a story about a lawyer who was with Mali's group at one dinner party where the lawyer was asking the former to be honest and tell him how much does a teacher like Mali earn or make. And Mali may have felt offended? That was the reason behind his poem and the title of his new book, "What Teachers Make: In Praise of the Greatest Job in the World." Here's Mali, from a video that I found on YouTube (thanks and to the uploader of the video. No copyright infringement intended.)
As I continued listening to Mr. Mali reciting/reading his poem "What Teachers Make" on Bob Edwards Weekend radio show, I recall about a short article (letter to the editor), "In Praise of Teachers-Educators" which I wrote and was published nine years ago in one of the local newspapers in Hampton Roads. That was my reaction (based on my experience as a former classroom English and Social Studies teacher/instructor in the Philippines back in late '70s and early '80s) and in complete agreement to a previous letter to the editor writer who was giving suggestion and thoughtful opinion to concerned local government officials (and School Board Committee members) for an increase pay for teachers in our area. Here's an excerpt of my published letter to the editor, "In Praise of Teachers-Educators:
..."Just see what teachers do. From early dawn to late at night, they are deluged with a multitude of responsibilities: schoolwork, teaching, disciplining, checking and correcting papers and homework, advising students and meeting/conferencing with parents, and preparing lesson plans. Add PTA (Parent-Teacher Association) meetings, fund-raising events and extra volunteer work, and you have  a career or a profession that can be taxing to/on body and mind.
Teachers are worth more than nurses, doctors, company managers, print and broadcast journalists, actors, pop music stars and lawyers combined. They work hard for a meager salary yet are smart, intelligent, confident, and committed to the education and success of their students.
they continue to learn while they teach. Having the noblest profession, they are the mothers and fathers of all careers and professions. And they are partners to our future---our children.
Kudos and more pay (and power), and respect to all teachers!

In addition, I've thought about a short poem I've written in 2005, "Teachers are Educators", which I'd like to share with you, folks.
Teachers are Educators

Teachers are educators
Taught, trained, and tested
Dedicated, motivated, liberated
Caring, giving, and loving
Enduring, forgiving, understanding
Exciting, Invigorating, satisfying
Intellectual, philosophical, spiritual
Emotional, physical, and social
Listening, discovering, researching
Enlightening, inspiring, and encouraging
Hoping, praying, and wishing
For the best and success in all of our students.
(c) 2012 by chris a. quilpa

Honestly speaking, I understand and feel for teachers for "I've been there and done that." Plus, my loving, caring and dedicated wife is or has been a high school classroom (Chemistry) teacher in public school in the United States for over a decade now. She and I were once co-teachers at St. Paul's College of Vigan City, Ilocos Sur (High School Department) and faculty members in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Northern Philippines, for the record. That, my friends, we have one thing in common---teaching.

Going back to Mr. Taylor Mali, I have high praises for him for being a passionate advocate for teachers. And for being a slam poetry performer. Again, from YouTube, here are a couple of videos I selected and that I'd like to share with you, my friends. (I'm just wondering if you've known and/or heard of him before.)
I like his sense of humor. Funny he is! (He's punning on words, too.) Likewise, I can relate to him on the (English) subject matter (The Impotence of Proofreading) he's talking about here in the video/s above. For clarification, I don't own the videos. No copyright infringement intended. As always, I thank YouTube and the uploaders of the videos embedded with this blog post of mine. Thanks, Google and Blogger, and Wikipedia where I've just visited to learn more about Mr. Mali, 47, a native of New York, slam poet, humorist, teacher, author, and voice over artist.

Well, folks, this is all for now. Until next time around. Take care and have a nice day!-chris a. quilpa, 06May2012

Friday, May 4, 2012

What a Fantastic (and Wonderful) Friday Today!

TGIF! Thanks to God, It's Friday! What a fantastic Friday we have, everyone! Hope you're enjoying the warm  yet wonderful weather. I know, and very much aware, that other parts of the world, like the Philippines, are now having summertime, which is usually characterized by sizzling, hot and humid weather. Hopefully they get relief from high temperature.

Since it's a fabulous Friday, because it's bright and sunny, I went walking around the neighborhood. I felt good and motivated to move-see around and curious of what's going on in our subdivision. This is one thing when you stroll around your community---there are always things that delight and fascinate you, like, for example, the   flowers around, the birds, the squirrels, trees of varied heights, houses of various colors and features, cars of various name brands, colors, sizes on the driveways, etc. There are surprises along the way, too---joggers with their leashed dogs, cyclists, other strollers enjoying the beautiful warm weather. You don't expect them to be out there because you thought they're at work. But they're out there---doing their physical fitness and conditioning, and enjoying the bright, sunshiny day. That's fantastic! That's healthy, too. As always, there's the exchange of informal "Good Morning" greetings  as you meet them along the pedestrian/bike lane. Others they caution you if there's something that you need to know. Just like today, a lady walker informed me of a stray dog she encountered along the way. I thanked her for that.

Thanks be to God. I got a dose of Vitamin D from sunny outdoor walking, besides stretching my legs and arms, my body while breathing fresh air and listening to the sweet chirping of birds. I got that breezy, relieving  feeling when I passed by rows of shady trees and flowers of shrubs around. The landscaping crew contracted by the Board of Directors of our subdivision did an excellent job cleaning and maintaining the public or community lawns. That's where our monthly homeowners' association fees/dues go, by the way.

Today is another wonderful day---clear, blue skies with plenty of sunshine and surprises. Truly, we're blessed with life that is beautiful and wonderful. Thank you, Lord. Thank you, Jesus! Thank you, Holy Spirit!

As always, thanks YouTube and the uploaders of the above videos. No, I don't own the videos. No copyright infringement intended. Thank you, Google and Blogger.

Well, this is all for now, folks. Until next time around. Thanks for your time. Take care and have a wonderful weekend, everyone!-chris a. quilpa, 04May2012

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Philippine Experience

On this First (day) of May, I feel a little bit nostalgic. How come, you ask me? Well, this morning while surfing the 'Net, I came across a number of videos (on YouTube) about the Philippines. And, it's now summertime over there! I'm glad to know that lots of foreigners, or tourists, find The Land of My Birth interesting and fascinating. In their video testimonies, they seemed to like/love the place for varied reasons.
Back in early 80s, I remember we have had foreign students, especially from Thailand, at the University where my wife and I used to teach. I was wondering what prompted the Thai students, mostly in the graduate school, to come to study in the University. They have varied reasons, too, I'm sure. Anyway, I'm delighted that they have had this unique Philippine experience.

Nowadays, tourism is given much emphasis in the Philippines, as evidenced in some of the interesting and informative, and educational videos on YouTube. Though it is still a developing country, the Philippines has much to offer to tourists and students, and investors alike. Economic growth and development are everywhere over there now, and capitalism is very much alive and vibrant. I've learned and witnessed about these things on my last visit  there four years ago. Man, there was such an overwhelming progress seen everywhere, from the rural areas to Vigan City in the North to big cities such as Metro Manila! There's this proliferation of newly-constructed, European-inspired houses everywhere, from provinces to provinces. I was overwhelmed with pride and joy to see these beautiful houses and tall buildings! Well, it's undeniably booming economically over there. (How I wish to be back there again someday and reconnect with my other members of my family, friends, relatives, etc., while visiting other tourist attractions, savoring my favorite food, and enjoying the slower pace of life. I know, my vacation is long overdue! We've got to get away, folks!)   

I know, OFWs or Overseas Filipino Workers have played a pivotal or major part in this progress of living in the Philippines. With their remittances from their earnings or wages/salaries from working abroad, these OFWs were able to send their children to college, build or rebuild their houses, put up small business, etc. (The reality is that majority of them own their houses, with no more mortgages because they themselves financed the cost of building their house.) They sacrifice leaving their family behind just so they can give or provide them better future especially for their children. That's why the OFWs are considered "New Heroes" by the Philippine government because of their enormous economic contributions to the country. By the way, since today is a special holiday, Labor Day in the Philippines (and elsewhere in other countries, like Spain), I wish all OFWs around the globe all the best!

On the other hand, it's been a fact that the rate of literacy in the Philippines is higher comparable to other Southeast Asian countries. People there know the value of education. The parents do their best to provide a good, higher education for their children. They believe that education is the key to a successful future. FYI: English is very much spoken of by the majority of the population. In fact, it is one of two official languages and the medium of instruction in schools and universities, public and private. 

Working and living in the Philippines? There's this video about this topic and hopefully you'll be enlightened.

Well, friends, this is all for now. Until next time around. Take care and have a blessed First of May, everyone!-chris a. quilpa, 01May2012

P.S. I do hope you've enjoyed and learned something about the Philippines from the videos embedded with this blog post. No, definitely the videos are not mine. They're from YouTube. No copyright infringement intended. I thank YouTube and the uploaders of the videos used herewith. Thanks also to Google and Blogger.-caq