Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Daily Dose of Laughter and...Vocabulary?

If you're into TV shows or movies, then you're in the right track. It's an untapped lexical resource for EFL learners who would like to enjoy watching their favorite show and learn at the same time.

Here are some of my favorites:

     0:24  Joey: "That's great! Hey can you cast me in it?"
                        - "to choose actors for a part in a play, movie, advertisement, etc (based on context)

              Chandler: "Oh,..I don't know. I really don't think you're right for the part."
              Joey: "What do you mean?!! I could do anything! I'm a chameleon, huh!!"
                         - "a person who can adapt to different roles easily" (based on context)

      0:00 Rachel: "Hey!"
              Ross: "Hey! So, what do you wanna do tonight? There's a Ukrainian film at the Angelica that's supposed to be very powerful. Interested?"
              Joey: "No,...no. But I'll go see a normal person movie with ya."
                           - "a way of saying that - "I'd rather watch a movie that I can relate to and I find more interesting."

      0:12 Ross: "Rach, you wanna come?"
              Rachel: "Oh, no I can't...I gotta date."
              Ross: "Wh,... A date?"
              Rachel: "Yeah! Why, is that weird for you?"
              Ross: "Why, no..it's the opposite of weird, it's.. uh... regular,..it's.. uh,...it's mundane,  it's actually uh...a little dull."
                             - something that is "ordinary" or "routinary"

      0:29 Joey: "It's no Ukrainian film, I tell ya"
              Rachel: "Oh! earrings!"
              Ross: "A date???!!! She's got a date with,...with,...with who?!!!
              Joey: "I set her up with this actor on my show."
                        - (Phrasal Verb) - to arrange a "date" in behalf of someone

If you want a dose of daily laughter and enjoy the lighter side of "friendship", I really recommend this show, even if you just get to watch reruns - nothing beats the hilarious encounters of these "friends" and you will literally keep coming back for more.

Enjoy! :)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Storm of Storms

Just like any other Filipino, I have had my own share of storms (of different intensities), earthquakes, extreme droughts (El-Nino) and practically every kind of unstable and unpredictable weather and natural disasters.

The recent storm however was historically unprecedented that caught everyone flatfooted. I guess if it were another country, there wouldn't  really be any way to prepare and minimize this kind of devastation that we have experienced.

Regardless of the technological advancements in terms of early-warning systems, weather instruments and the like, a storm of this magnitude may be predicted but the destruction that will ensue is inevitable.

Supertyphoon Haiyan taken by the NEXSAT satellite provided by the U.S. Naval Research Lab

Yet, through local and foreign journalists, the world has seen the resilience and the indomitable spirit of the Filipinos making do with whatever can be salvaged in the once flourishing provinces of Samar and Leyte.

In the middle of the chaos, there were equally negative incidents like looting due to the delay of relief goods, which in turn was brought about by the inaccessibility of roads leading to the affected areas. 

It's very heartwarming and I'm literally lost for words because of the tremendous response and outpouring of aid from the international community.

Japan has recently experienced an immense tsunami that brought about a nuclear disaster and they have recovered from it despite the insurmountable odds, so there's no reason why the Philippines cannot do the same - there is no way but up, especially if you have hit rock-bottom.

It seems the ugly head of Climate change has already revealed itself and whether every citizen of every country and the world leaders deny it or spend so much time pointing fingers who should reduce carbon emissions first, we will all experience terrible storms because of an unstable climate system.

Tacloban, Leyte - before and after the storm
Living in a an island nation like ours, it is virtually impossible to displace residents of whole provinces separated by seas and oceans. The logistics and manpower is not enough to pull this off. Nevertheless, the local governments of Leyte and Samar as well as the neighboring provinces have done their best to provide the necessary warnings and reminders and evacuation plans have already been in place days before the storm hit.

However, the magnitude of the storm is too much for us and we could only wait, watch and hope for the best that the destruction and casualties would be at a minimum.

The aftermath was both shocking and dismal and despite the chaos, total destruction and rubble left by the super storm, Filipinos still managed to smile:

A ray of hope looms in the horizon as we get back on our feet the way Filipinos do it best and the way we have been doing so since the Spanish colonization and eventual independence in 1898, the 7.8 magnitude Luzon earthquake in 1996, the Pinatubo eruption in 1991 and immense floods caused by Typhoon Ondoy (International name: Typhoon Ketsana) in 2009 and all the other disasters that we have experienced and survived.

A CNN reporter's view aptly sums up my point:

 In behalf of all the Filipinos, thank you world for your compassion and selflessness.

Friday, November 1, 2013

An Extension of Home

Last Oct 26, the gym where I started lifting weights and the very reason why I have a healthy lifestyle, recently closed down permanently. It was really unexpected and my last workout was the most nostalgic.

There weren't a lot of clients at that time, but I had to workout in that place for the last time:

Universal Gym has been operating for more than a decade and it was a shock not only for me, but also for the other clients that have been accustomed to the facility.

It's not really a facility comparable to that of the premiere gyms in the city, but I call it home and it has all the machines and free weights that a weight lifter needs. The barbells and dumbbells may be a  little rusty and some of the machines may not have the same quality as the well-known brands, but it still served their purpose for the "hard-core" lifters who don't care about a little rust and stain because it's only the workout that matters. The fee isn't bad either - very cheap.  It's just candy land for me.

I brought my phone and decided to take this photo. The receptionist in the center obviously isn't too happy and my friend on the other end seem to just hide the same sentiment.

I just decided to go to another gym near my place. It's really not the same as the old one, but it's better than nothing and just like everything else - life goes on :)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


Life has become a lot more complicated than it was before. Some say that it is circumstantial, while others accept it as assiduously inevitable. Changes that were brought about by advancements and ultimately leading to the sophisticated intricacies of daily life is a bitter pill to swallow, but it is part of life.

It is comforting to know that we can make an active choice to observe simplicity in our decisions and have the foresight to know the possible outcome of our decisions and minimize its consequences.

Facebook for example is an innovative way of connecting with your friends and posting pictures, videos or anything under the sun that you may think that is interesting for others to see and basically a way of expressing oneself that may gain the approval of your friends by "liking" or commenting on your posts.

I, for one was just influenced to have a Facebook account and I thought, why not try it out? It sounds very interesting and exciting to try out a newer and more innovative social networking site compared to the now defunct, "Friendster". It was a venue to connect with friends and share your personal thoughts, feelings and even jokes.

Recently however, I have decided to deactivate it for security reasons and for blocking out negativity because it has recently been a venue for ranting, personal attacks (both directly and indirectly by the so-called netizens) and even circulation of libelous, absurd and irrelevant information.

I personally have nothing against Facebook and its creators, because it can literally bring together long lost friends and relatives. It can also be used not only for extensive professional and personal connections, but for business as well.

However, it has become another medium to express the negative and excessive side of human nature because of the "virtual freedom" that we experience online. Just like any democratic system, it is prone to the irresponsible thinking that freedom equates to absolute leniency which is of course idiotic.

It's liberating and definitely fulfilling to know that individuality can always be stronger than any social trend and Facebook is practically something that we can do without. An article by Brian Hinson casually, but bluntly sums up what I mean about the irrelevance of Facebook.


Since then, I have started living a simpler life - secure and devoid of unnecessary anxieties and negative vibes. This is probably one of those decisions in my life that I will never regret and it's also because of my "Godmother" whom I admire and respect tremendously who has influenced me with this new perspective of simplicity.

Another perfect example is an article from Yahoo! that I stumbled upon and is about a mother of 3  (half Malaysian, Chinese and Filipina) who posted a photo of herself (who is a picture of good health) and her boys.  According to the article, there were a lot of criticisms about the said photograph and most of it were so demeaning and downright insulting.

I perfectly agree with what she said:

“I'm sorry you took an image and resonated with it in such a negative way. I won't go into details that I struggled with my genetics, had an eating disorder, work full time owning two businesses, have no nanny, am not naturally skinny and do not work as a personal trainer,” she wrote, in part. “What I WILL say is this. What you interpret is not MY fault. It's yours. The first step in owning your life, your body and your destiny is to OWN the thoughts that come out of your own head. I didn't create them. You created them. So if you want to continue ‘hating’ this image, get used to hating many other things for the rest of your life.”    

“I just hope that the person who feels completely overwhelmed can see they can control their own destiny. To know that there’s no excuse for not making time for yourself.” - Maria Kang

You can read more about this article here:

We go through life searching for our own "nirvana", make our own mark in society or just find our place under the sun, and when we do find it - some people just have a habit of second guessing you, misjudging and maliciously maligning you as if you know them from Adam and have offended them in some way. They fail to realize that it is not being overly-narcissistic why we post these kinds of photos, but because we are proud of what we have achieved and we just want to share it and inspire other people.

It is so easy to be overly-judgmental of others, but ironically do not want to be treated the same way. It is this basic truth why I decided to "streamline" and forego with "Facebook" that seems to be the most ubiquitous trend, but the most abused as well. Obviously these reactions are borne out of an underlying insecurity and is therefore a compensatory mechanism for something that they lack.

This doesn't mean of course that ALL social networking sites are the same in this regard and I have learned that "choice" is a powerful tool that can be wielded to actively avoid pessimistic and mentally-corroded people who habitually bash" others out of some delusional whim. It is better to have few friends, but confidently knowing that they are true even behind your back as opposed to having 500 or 1000 friends in Facebook (seriously?? all of these people are really your friends?) just for bragging rights.

Bruce Lee sums it up appropriately:

"Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own" 

 - streamlining at its best

Thursday, September 26, 2013

"The Missing Link: A practical advice for learners”

There are many ways of “skinning a cat” (many ways of doing the same thing) when it comes to learning English. Some study English to prepare for language tests (IELTS, EIKEN, TOEIC, etc), others would like to have the ability to deal with foreign clients and most would like to simply be fluent in everyday conversations. (English? simply? You're kidding right?)

I guess it's time to put on the "Eureka" hat and get creative! (Ehhh?!!!?Nandesuka? Nani?Whaat???) I mean it's time to "unlearn" the textbook approach and be imaginative.

Memorizing grammar rules or vocabulary has its advantages, but memory loss just happens the least we expect it. (What did I just say?)

Most if not all, have difficulties in contextualizing what has been learned and is the missing link between knowledge and practical usage of the language. What should a learner do now amidst the constant efforts that seemingly makes them feel helpless?

There’s really no magic pill and since you already know the rudiments of English, just speak it instinctively and spontaneously. Afraid of making mistakes? Be always connected with what you say, correct any error and charge it to experience.
    “I can’t breath. Is it “breath”? or “breathe”?!!

Remember how you learned your own language? (  All of us started out as infants (or should I say, fetuses) 
without knowing a word of anything
(well, except: “goo-goo” or “ga-ga”) but you learned to speak nonetheless.
Learn English the way you learned your own language.

You need not be an “Einstein” in English Studies because anything and everything can be a learning tool (Yes, even that weird English advertisement you saw on TV could help). If you are willing to change your learning mindset, you can be creative enough and use a word you saw on a box of cereal or an English slogan from Uniqlo or Muji perhaps? Why not?

Grammar is of course the basis for every language. It's the backbone for correct sentence structure or syntax, but it can also be an impediment if you critically and constantly think about the structure every time you speak. Most situations require spontaneity and grammar is just a "guide", but not totally the "be-all and end-all" of things.

The missing link therefore is being able "transfer" these grammar rules into practical form and not end up as a "grammar robot" and being overly-conscious of the technical side of the English language. ("Should I use the Present Perfect or Past Tense in this situation??? Why is there an "a" in this sentence, while there is none in some???) This is usually the thinking process while panicking, hyperventilating and ends up in frustration.

If you are one of those learners who seem to be stuck with this sort of mindset, it's high time to "unlearn" this seemingly stressful and confusing process.You probably spent countless hours in school studying the rudiments of grammar in your own language, but as you were growing up, you probably forgot a lot of those rules because you learned how to speak your language fluently in different situations anyway, right?

Learning English is practically the same. Grammar is the first thing we learn, but as we speak the language - it should gradually recede into the background and only used when necessary and not in every situation. (unless you plan to be a Grammarist or have a doctorate in Applied Linguistics- kidding!)

My advice: Learn English as a "situational language" and use your unique experiences as learning opportunities. Use Grammar only as a reference point and rely on your instincts when speaking, if a word sounds awkward when used in a conversation, then it's probably wrong.

Experience as they say is the best teacher, so just keep on using what you know and constantly learn new things and unlearning those methods that are useless and adopting those that are effective.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Concierge Medicine

I have been watching a TV series lately entitled: "Royal Pains". It's a story of an E.R. doctor who was relieved of his job because of the death of a wealthy patient under his care (who apparently was an important financial contributor to the hospital). Hank (Mark Feuerstein) finds himself in a local community together with his brother, Evan (Paulo Costanzo) and Divya (Reshma Shetty) offering their medical services to the wealthy and the working class as an efficient, on-call medical team - Hank Med.

Hank's skills extends beyond the usual impression of what a doctor is, because he can practically use any ordinary household item as a simple medical instrument to address any medical emergency. His quick-minded, resourcefulness, witty but unassuming personality is what endears him to the residents of the Hamptons.

I thought that it was boring at first, but after watching a few episodes it wasn't bad at all. It just goes to show that medicine shouldn't be only "confined" in the four walls of a hospital, because medical care can be literally made available to the public by bringing healthcare to them. It seems that concierge medicine is revolutionizing medical practice and providing options for doctors and patients alike.

The series somehow reflects life's mysteries wherein our plans aren't always fulfilled the way we envisioned it and just when you thought your life is crumbling right before your eyes, a door of opportunity opens up and it's your call if you're going to walk through it or not.

In Hank's case, he was practically hesitant about the whole idea of being a concierge doctor and being uprooted from his E.R. duties, but it worked out pretty well for him and has settled in his newfound home.

He even got involved with a female doctor who decided to stay in the Hamptons and planned to set up her own medical concierge service. Evan and Divya of course were uneasy with the relationship because of a probable conflict of interest.

Nevertheless, what's a TV series without a slice of twists and turns, right? The characters themselves contribute to the richness of the episodes - like Evan's overly-optimistic and aggressive marketing pursuits for which Hank can be quite apprehensive and adamantly against. Divya's tenacity and dedication to her job as Hank's physician assistant as well as her upfront, no-nonsense attitude and Boris the billionaire's stern, secretive and sometimes demanding ways adds to the hue of the colorful story line amidst the random and unpredictable medical issues that Hank Med attend to.

Doctors have a tremendous responsibility of saving lives, some of them pursue and answer their calling to serve while some do it for the fame and feed their egos. It's good to know that there are still some doctors who don't lose their sensitivity and warmth toward ailing patients and sincerely want to help them get through their ordeal, despite their stressful and demanding profession.

Royal Pains offers viewers an entirely fresh perspective of medical practice and health care. It also conveys a relevant message that patients are not mere "medical cases" (despite the stubbornness and impossible behavior of some) and shouldn't be treated as such.

The ideal it seems is not what the real is, but Hank Med of Royal Pains reflects a reality that hopefully a lot of medical professionals emulate.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

"Unified Diversity"

Society is and has always been dynamic, always in transition from one stage to the next. Technology for example, is moving towards convergence - combining different elements into one. Phones started out as a simple communication device and now, you can surf the net, play games, watch movies, send and receive emails or post on facebook, twitter, instagram, etc., it is also an mp3 player, digicam and a planner/organizer-in-one.

In the near future, phones can probably shave beards and carry a portable umbrella when it suddenly rains.

If you examine all other technologies, whether in medicine, electronics, or automotive, all of them have undergone some form of hybridization.

Society itself is moving towards multiculturalism because of globalization and interracial marriages.Countries from different continents are divided by vast oceans, but societies have somehow resulted to a unified melting pot of various cultures, religions, beliefs, customs and traditional practices. Imagine what 50 years down the road would be like - there would probably be a unified culture shared by all nationalities and hopefully people would have a common understanding of each other's differences.

The education sector focuses more on hybrid learning strategies, taking into account the ever-changing needs, learning styles and a wide-range of learner intelligence types. Gone are the days that teachers discuss lengthy lessons and students just listen and accept what they hear hook, line and sinker.

Students now are required to interact and most of the time, learn how to think for themselves if they want to improve their skills further. It's not just assimilating from a particular lesson, but learning to gain insight, foresight and being more functional in any practical situation. The holistic approach of teaching and learning thus came to be, because this is what life exactly reflects and demands.

Machines and gadgets are more efficient, people do and accomplish more, bloodlines and lineages become more hybridized and varied, society is now more complex than it is, but unified. What was once divided and separated can now be found in a single individual or area, offering diversified cultures, traditions, customs and practices, functions and features, learning and teaching methods, etc.

Just like with everything else in life, there will always be advantages and disadvantages and it all depends on our perceptions and how we choose to respond to these inevitable changes.

In my humble opinion, convergence offers an eclectic avenue for creativity and diverse choices - sort of like: "getting the best of a lot of worlds".

Monday, April 1, 2013


Death as they say has always been a part of life. Everything that has a beginning has definitely an end - such is the cycle of life. Most people like me have fear of death and I guess it's normal for anyone, because it's something unknown, even if we have experienced a relative dying and see it countless times on TV and in the movies.

Not a lot of bloggers would usually write about a topic related to death, because of its morbidity or because it is so much of a heavy topic that people would rather think of happy thoughts and dismiss this reality, amidst the inevitability of it.

I didn't choose this topic to impress nor to be melodramatic or preachy, but it's because of the freedom that I'm experiencing due to a deep understanding and acceptance of this unavoidable fact. Death was my greatest fear and when my dad died, the fear heightened.

It's only after several years after his death and self-realization that if you accept it as reality and it can happen anytime, anywhere, it isn't as bad or morbid as most people think. It also makes you realize the most salient and important things in life:

  - happiness cannot be totally found in this world and it's merely an illusion - true happiness exists in the   afterlife. We do, however, experience a certain sense of it in certain circumstances, but it's temporary.

  - it's not so difficult to "detach" from the things of this world, because they are merely representations of how progressive your life is, but not a source of permanent happiness.

- giving and helping people becomes more relevant than receiving and accepting. Regardless of how small, in whatever form or even if your generosity is appreciated or not, it's the thought that you have done something purposeful.

- Being overly-critical and overreactions to criticisms are now considered trivial. Problems, issues, altercations, emotional upheavals and past hurts are just simply transitory. There is greater control of the negative human tendencies.

- What was once trivial has become significant and what was once important, has become trivial. The smaller but more salient details in life like having discernment, doing what you love the most, having good health, sincerely being appreciated for a job well-done and being loved,  becomes more important than petty complaints of hardships or denied requests, unfulfilled intentions or constant disappointments.

- Whatever you have achieved or didn't, qualifications, trainings, status in life or material possessions, all these won't matter when it is time to go.

- Life becomes simpler and "streamlined", knowing that complications are no longer important - being numb to criticisms has its perks.

- Knowing that our lives here is just a journey and not a destination, makes you yearn and expect for something better - free from ironic rules of men, prejudice and first impressions, social norms or even individual standards that you somehow need to adjust to.

My life now is simpler than it used to be, playing it by ear, taking it as it comes and living every moment as if it's my last. Extreme as it seems, but it gives me freedom from a lot of unnecessary pain or suffering brought about by my choices or the choices of other people that can affect me.

I don't claim to be an expert on this matter nor am I saying that I have had a "near-death experience" to speak this way, but death is definitely not the end and we're all headed in that direction regardless of status, age, achievements, gender, race or personal standards.

It's considered an "equalizer" because death does not favor anyone - something that all of us should realize in this lifetime before we judge, sneer, make fun of someone's misfortune or look down on someone.

Phobias are known as irrational fears, but death is a justified fear because we go through life once and die only once. But if you accept that you're already dead right from the start, everything becomes clear and your life becomes more "aligned" to purposeful ways, constantly striving yourself to be better and hopefully making other people around you better in the process as well.

So, if you worry about what your son or daughter should be when they grow up, what business you should establish, how long you should live, how much money you should make, think this way:

You are aging and therefore "dying" slowly, do what you need to do and what matters most and know that all possessions and intentions are of this world and not relevant when it's time to go. You will experience discernment and enlightenment and it will be the most relevant choice you will ever make in this lifetime.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Practical Home Tip 1 - Cleaning Electric Fans Easily

How many of you have had the same frustrating difficulty and time-consuming experience of cleaning electric fans? Have you also had that same numb feeling or cramps on your fingers just to clean the tight spaces between the grills?

For those of you who have experienced this, here's a simple but effective method that I have found convenient myself - hope it helps you too.

Since I spend most of my time at home recently and currently doing some interior enhancements and repairs, I have discovered the most practical and time-efficient method of cleaning electric fans.

Fan grills (front and back covers) can be very time-consuming when cleaning  -a perfect example:

A grill like this can be quite difficult to clean, because of the small spaces between them. For the longest time, I have always used a brush:

or an old toothbrush:

and it takes eons just to clean one electric fan, not to mention the numbness and cramps that I occasionally feel because the brush usually get stuck in between the spaces of the grill. 

Personally, I don't have any qualms about cleaning - it's the sweating part that is quite irritating, because I sweat like a waterfall...literally :D

Well, luckily my brain cells were well-fed the other day and I thought of using a body scrub glove:

It makes perfect sense. The hands and the fingers can practically adjust and conform to any shape, and reach  those tight spaces as well as save time during the cleaning process.

So, for those of you who have the same dilemma - you can try this out and see how fast it is to clean an electric fan. The brush will just be of help if there are really small spaces that your fingers can't reach. But in general, I think this ordinary cleaning tool can do the trick pretty well.

Definitely not only good for scrubbing arms and legs when having a bath :)

 Once you have used this for fans or even for any kind of appliance and furniture, I hope you don't use them again when you take a bath - unless your skin is comparable to that of an appliance or furniture :D

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Takbo Mo, Dasal Ko 2013

Literally translated as: "Your Run, My Prayer" - first run of 2013 and my wife was very enthusiastic about it because of a mass before the run. This I guess is what makes it unique, because all the other runs focuses on the event itself as well as the prizes and the sponsors.

It's literally  a run with a purpose, just like the other charity events that are worth joining.

The run though didn't start on time and no warm-up was done, so if you're an "eager-beaver" and just galloped your way through the course, you will find yourself sore and breathless in the middle of your run.

I decided to use the preparation time to do some light warm-ups as I waited for the start of the race. Checked on my wife several times to make sure that she's alright, because she hasn't run for quite a while.

The streets were narrow, basically a 2-lane road - but it was also a change of "pace" from the usual route that we run on. There were several inclines (good thing I run on some during practice), but was still tough nonetheless.

Along the route, I noticed a guy running towards the opposite direction, shouting: "we need an ambulance!". That's when I saw a teenage girl who passed out in the middle of the road as the marshalls and bystanders helped out to regain her consciousness. I hope she's okay.

I pushed on and ignored the labored breathing that I was experiencing and thought that I'm stronger than I think I am and just like life that will practically throw every piece of obstacle and crap that I could ever imagine, there will always be a  finish line.

It's always fulfilling to reach the finish line without any mishaps, regardless if I didn't place first or get noticed by the cameras - after all it is a competition against yourself. Everyone has his/her own goal, but mine was just to finish it and have a sense of accomplishment, not to mention the "feel-good endorphins" that gives me that natural high - it's worth every drop of sweat.

As I finished my 5k run, I was given a small brown paper bag with a boiled egg, a piece of banana and a bottle of Pocari Sweat - well now- this makes the race even more worthwhile! Perfect recovery meal - carbs + protein and electrolytes.

I waited for my wife to finish her 3k and gave her the same recovery meal bag that I requested for, before it runs out! We proceeded to a basketball court where the other runners were. There were several tents of sponsors like Salonpas, Safeguard, Caribee Philippines, who had a free photo op amongst others:

Thank you to Caribee Philippines


There was even free Zumba sessions for those who just want  maximize the event and it was also cool to see some nuns who joined in the fun:

Who says sports are only for athletes?

My wife even joined in  during the middle half of it:

All in all, the event was a success and of course, pure fun! My wife and I ate breakfast in a nearby resto and headed home. The sun was already searing hot when we arrived, tired and sleepy - but fulfilled.

Till the next fruitful run.

Monday, February 4, 2013

"Angel Eyes"

I accidentally found this video of a country-western group named: "Love and Theft". Their song: "Angel Eyes" has a catchy tune and it's virtually impossible to get it out of your head. I have never heard of this group before, so I practically got curious and listened to their other songs.

They have a unique, raw and country-western acoustic sound that is worth listening to. The lyrics of the song tells about  two rebellious girls who ironically are the daughters of a preacher. The melody, the rhythm and the lyrics of the single were well-arranged that hit #1 in the charts last August.

You can read more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Love_and_Theft_(band)

Their voice quality reminds me of the "Everly Brothers" that I learned to appreciate at a very young age. Their songs were the first ones I learned how to play in my guitar and they too had their unique sound during their era, focusing mainly on ballads that are now considered a classic.

The Everly Brothers

Hope you enjoy Love and Theft as much as I did - definitely a group worth listening to and watching out for :)

Monday, January 14, 2013

Stuck in a Rut

Jennie Snyder Urman - creator

"You can't always force yourself to get out of a rut. 
Some of it is a result of careful planning, while others happen 
the least you expect it. When change happens, 
                                                       nothing prepares you for it." 
                                                             - Emily Owens M.D

Saturday, January 12, 2013

"A Thousand Words"

Silence can be really golden. Our daily lives revolve around socializing and expressing our thoughts with each other in daily discourse whether at home, the work place or at school. The advent of social media has also presented an alternate opportunity to express our thoughts to a selected audience and just like the spoken word, we have to exercise proper decorum.  It's only right that we have our "me time", wherein we could just listen to the voices in our heads instead of what is produced by our vocal cords or instinctively posting our thoughts in Facebook.

My sister lent me a DVD entitled: "A Thousand Words" with comedian, Eddie Murphy as lead actor. I thought it was just the usual comedy, so I just watched it like any other film I saw.

Little did I know that the film centers on a simple side of life that is most taken for granted: the spoken word.

This film also reminds me of a proverb by Pythagoras that goes: "Do not say a little in many words, but a great deal in a few". It goes without saying that learning how to be silent at the right time and speaking only when necessary would make the spoken word truly meaningful.

It's a relief to know that there are alternative forms of expression through music, painting and even writing. However, a certain amount of balance should also be exercised even with these forms.

If you had only a thousand words in a lifetime, what would you choose to say? Who would you say it to and what situations would you choose to use your words?

Here's a trailer of the film that I definitely recommend and is worth your while:

Eddie Murphy in "A Thousand Words"

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Love Is All Around

This is another 90's song by the group, "Wet Wet Wet" and was on top of the charts for quite a long time as well. I remembered buying a cassette tape with this popular song included. The band's name is quite strange and I don't really know why they named their group this way. Why not: "Dry Dry Dry"? or "Drenched Drenched Drenched"?

Kidding asides, it's a name that cannot be easily forgotten so I guess there's some justice to it. I again just decided to sum up my courage and do my own rendition of this song. Hopefully, I have done some justice to it (whew!)


Wet Wet Wet

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

When You Say Nothing At All

The 90's. It brings back memories of my college years immersed in tons of research, homework, group work, tests and everything else in between. Music was just one of my refuge - a way for me to relieve my stress and temporarily forget about school and other issues.

It was 1995 that I heard this song, sung by Alison Krauss. Her voice is quite distinct reflecting her Country-Western genre'. The song "When You Say Nothing at All" played on the radio in restaurants, stereos of public transport and practically remained at the Top of the Charts for quite a long time.

It's a typical love song with lyrics both direct and figurative, expressing the song writer's subtle and somehow intense feelings for someone. A few years after its release, Ronan Keating of a popular boy band - Boyzone sang the song in his own rendition and was even featured in the film: "Notting Hill".

This was the time when I bought song books just for this song. Since it was sung now by a guy, it would be easier for me to sing it, because it would match my vocal range.

I practically played this song in my guitar repeatedly until the tips of my fingers grew numb, but it was all worth it, because I was able to memorize it.

As I have said before, I am trying to revisit my old hobbies and I attempted to record this song. Once again, due to some technical limitations, the sound quality cannot be really compared to professional studios. But hey, who said about being professional anyway? - hahhahaha

Eiken Training

Last November 22 2012, I had the opportunity to learn from the experiences of the Eiken trainors as well as from my co-trainees related to their teaching strategies, ideas and methodologies. As an educator, I cannot stress enough the value of continuous learning.

It was an arduous and intensive 6-hour training, but it was all worth it. It was very insightful in terms of my teaching strategies and what needs tweaking. With all modesty aside, I also discovered that the way the Eiken Vocabulary is taught is not far from how I teach it during my lessons. There will always be more room for improvements of course and refining my teaching skills will always be a priority.

There were pointers that were very useful and invaluable as an educator - learning never ceases indeed.

Next year, I would be focusing on the Callan and hopefully in the near future - the TKT from British Council. My goal is not to impress, but to hone my present skills and share what I've learned to English learners.

Of course, I'm still human and throughout the course of my teachings, I will always learn a thing or two from my experiences or from the students. I do not claim that I'm an expert in everything, but I could confidently say that I'm an expert learner and I will always strive to be a competent educator for learners of every age and aid them in language acquisition.

Change is truly inevitable. It's a matter of accepting it, embracing it and understanding the natural flow of things - nothing is permanent and therefore, we have to change with the times and adapt. Educators are no exception: learning and teaching strategies change inevitably- so keeping abreast is the only option to better address the unique needs of students.

Language acquisition: it will always be "multi-sensory" and "multi-faceted"

Dog Tags

When we hear the word "dog tags", it is usually associated with military personnel that is a mandatory "necklace" with oval-shaped, aluminum, rust-resistant metal plates on a stainless necklace. It contains the personnel number as well as unique and necessary information for the soldier who wears it.

I stumbled upon a kiosk in a local mall and I just got curious. I investigated further and found out that it's a stall that offers customized dog tags. You can practically think of any name, word or title (as long as it fits the required number of characters) and it will be engraved right in front of your eyes for a fee.

SM North Edsa - Ground Level

They offer different kinds of designs and styles to choose from. I chose the medical tag because of its  practical relevance:

I normally wear this tag where ever I go, especially when I'm running. I think it's actually a good idea if civilians have these medical tags with necessary information on it. It can be quite convenient for medical personnel to identify important information related to medical history of the patient and contact details in case of emergencies.

Well, okay - I must admit - it's not just the information, but the fashion sense of it! It looks quite cool especially when worn with a plain white shirt :D

Monday, January 7, 2013

First Run of the Year

Heading out the door now for my first early run. Preparing for February running events, hopefully my legs and feet won't disagree with me.

It's also a good time for me to re-assess and analyze the lessons that I have been providing for my students. Scrapping those that are not effective and focusing those that are.

Hmmm...anyway, I'll be enjoying the morning breeze while thinking about this. Hopefully, by the time I get home, I have figured everything out.

See you!

Whew! Just finished my morning run and did other errands - finished them too! I just feel complete every time I run and I did 2 rounds, which I couldn't do last year. Here's the route that I usually go through 3x weekly:

Green flag- starting point/Blue flag next to it - end point

I would rather spend lavishly on my health and be poor financially, rather then be rich and be in a hospital with tons of tubes inserted into my body and needles being poked at me - to put it bluntly.

Anyway, tomorrow's another workout day in the gym and the day after that is another run day - just another active week for me.