Dead Stars

(for Paz Marquez Benitez)
by H.O. Santos


If I still think of her today

Why didn’t I tell her long ago?

I could have saved all wondering

For I’d have peace if I did know.


If I had learned of metaphors

Before I wondered ’bout the stars

Would I have written verses then

And worshipped Venus instead of Mars?


If I had found my tongue could rhyme

Would I have shown a face sans mask,

A heart unsure? But woe is me–

I’ll never know, I didn’t ask.


What Motivates You to Serve God?

If you are not serving God, there is no use for you to go on reading this article unless you decide now to serve God by carrying your cross and follow Him. But have you ever asked yourselves what motivates you to be with God or why are going to church every Sunday?

Paul said in his letter to Galatians, “I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live yet not I, but Christ lives in me; the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.” The moment we receive God as our lord and savior we no longer live as our own but we allow Christ to live in us and walk with Him through faith. Our lives are no longer for the world after Jesus had redeemed us from darkness and delivered us from wretchedness.

God gave His only Son, Jesus, for us to have new life out from slavery of sin. Paul challenged Galatians to serve God and to work for God’s kingdom. Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all the things shall be added unto you(Matthew 6:33). God wanted his people to look for Him first for He promises that He will not abandon us.

Basically, we go to church because we want to serve God. We want to express how thankful we are for all the blessings we receive from Him for the whole week. We desire to worship Him through songs of praise and worship. But beyond all these, we are motivated to do these for one reason. We are motivated to work for God’s kingdom because God is faithful to His promises.

There might be storms and troubles along the way when we choose to serve God. That is all right. We, Christians, normally pass through trials and problems. Sickness and calamities may come. But at the end we see ourselves holding on to God and being faithful to Him because we have tasted His love and mercy. We continue to remain with Him because we believe that those who remain true to Him at the end will be saved and shall be with Him in heaven.

Taking up the cross and following Him do not assure smooth and happy life. But what motivates us to walk with Him is his words that He will never leave us nor forsake us. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for a friend. We are His friends and we are so lucky to be serving friend who never demand anything in return but our lives dedicated to Him.

Jesus Calms the Storm

I could still recall the severe haemorrhage I had last January 22, 2015, a week after I learned that I am pregnant of my third baby. It was really horrifying because of the thought that I would lose my baby. My Ob-Gyne checked the fetus and found out that I need meds to keep the life in my tummy. But I thought that moment that God was working something for me and my baby.

I took that moment to repent and ask for forgiveness for all my sins. Until I realized that this is just a test of my faith. God wants to measure how much I trust in Him. He wants to see me calling on His name on my saddest moment. And yes, I did. The moment I saw the blood flowing down my legs, I called out His name and trust in Him to touch my body right that very moment. I don’t know His plans but I acknowledge my dependence on Him.

The story of Jesus calming the storm in Mark 4:35-41 reminds me that being God’s servant does not assure a storm-free life.When Jesus told his disciples to cross the other side of the river, they never hesitated and follow His orders. While they were on the boat in the middle of the night, a storm arose and waves beat the vessel but Jesus was sleeping at the hinder part. His disciples woke Him up. Jesus rose from His deep sleep and told the sea, “Peace, be still” other bible versions says, “Be calm”. At that very moment, the wind ceased.

When we follow God’s will, there is no assurance that we’ll not pass through hardships. Storms in life might be in form of illness, accidents, bankruptcy, unemployment, discouragement, or death. Of course we don’t expect them to come like what happened to the disciples. The disciples never expected that the storm will come along their journey after their obedience to Jesus.

Storms come inconveniently. We need not to expect them but we have to be ready for them. We have to enrich our faith through prayers and constant devotion to God. The disciples were not ready for the winds and waves so they called out for Jesus. Though we may walk according to the will of God, storms are inevitable. Oftentimes, problems comes suddenly and we are caught unaware that we have little faith.

But the important thing to remember is storm comes to those closest to God. In Mark 4:37, high waves tossed the disciples on the boat. While it is the nature of man to fear, God wants us to rely on Him because we are His friends like how He treated His disciples and the people who listened to His words. Of course, tests do not come to those who are longer with God. Let us not look how others live conveniently with the vanity of the world and how others enjoy a stress-free and trial-free life. We may not know their story. Set our eyes to Jesus.

There may be times that we feel the heavy burden is on our back and we are easily frightened that we cannot get through it. The disciples knew Jesus from the very beginning but they never have the faith that they are with the Son of God who has the power to heal the sick, raise the dead to life, multiply bread and fish to feed thousands of people and calm the storm.

The power of God can calm the storm of your life now. Jesus wants us to have faith in Him and to trust in Him that no matter how big the waves are and how strong the storms are, He is right beside us.

Darkness in the Light

I just thank I am a teacher coz if I were a radio commentator or a columnist I could be dead even before graduating college. My father got me involved in discussions on politics, society, education, and religion at the age of 12.

I grew up listening to my father’s comments, reactions, and arguments over the radio’s headline or tv’s newscast every night while or after watching TV Patrol. That is why I love noli de castro (not when he ran as VP). I got from my father this mouth who never keeps quiet until the sentiments, or rights are heard.

But oftentimes I come to think if God wants me to be honest and frank. I know what my rights are – to express, in any way, all what I need to express. However, there are things meant to be kept and not meant to be told. I am not a lawyer and I am not a priest but I know that there is something wrong with what we believe is lawful and with what we believe is good.

I prefer to be quiet and to take no side. I resolved to be silent. After all nobody gets rich of telling to the whole world what it needs to know.

Despicable Me

 Things happen not because God wills it but human does.

 Oftentimes, we blame God for leaving us or forsaking us in times when we need him most. But the question is, Is God really leaving us or  are we?

 I have been asking Him when things seem not going right or according to my plans. But God said, “my plans are better than yours”. I insisted my own plans and desires and thought that I may get to the place where I am heading. Of course, I was so blind to see all the signs that God showed me. Blinded by all the things I wanted –work, engagements, and success.

 I went on my way. I left Him. And one day, I see myself ravage and helpless and thought that I could not get up anymore. I gave up. And I surrendered everything. God showed me the way.

 I would say what Joshua said that no matter who is the god other people are serving, but as for me and my house, I will serve the Lord. It was not easy and it was not difficult either. My kids and my husband are really going to church but only that we were mere church-goers and leave after the worship.

 I grew up with the atmosphere of love and unity in a family headed by a pastor. My father and mother used to lead a church and I and my siblings were the support group. But after my marriage, it seems that there was a vacuum, a hollow in my heart. Though I got my job, my opportunities and my family, there is still lacking.

 A year ago, when my co-worshipper invited me to sing, I hesitated. I was thinking then that I want to focus on my family and my work. But God made his way. I sang and the following Sunday, I was asked to lead the songs. And I was back.

 Gradually, the family I missed is now in my own house. I teach my heart to forget the past and forgive. I learned from my mistakes and they became my better experience that without God, my life is aimless.

 Now, I lead Sunday worship though I have a disgusting voice. I willed it. And I know God sees the desires of my heart and I will patiently wait for his wonderful plans in my life.

A Reflection

as I face creature fronting me;

I’m ablaze, she’s static

staring at me, frail, and very weak


Lifting my hands, it glares above

I open my mouth about love;

but stands exhausted, still, voiceless

I know that she feel the anguish


This badge continues to inflict

the pain that goes through my convict;

suppressed, bottled-up, and concealed

with barrels of laughs and worthy deed


Every night she would conquer me

whelming my soul and my body;

but I shall ne’er stand weary, weak

for she’s there immobile, static.


I can’t remember well when my life really started and how my life did begin. I’m into a deep confusion why I’m here, and why my mom and dad created me. Perhaps, by accident or really by intention. My mom and dad are still going to school and are still supported by my grandparents. However, I still don’t know how my mother braces herself with my existence. She looks so pale and tired while carrying me but I could feel she loves me so much.

My father has a great passion for sports. When he plays basketball, my mom is always there to cheer for him and I would sometimes chuckle if he makes a shot. I know he adores me. He would draw near me to feel my movements.

“When you grow up you will play with me. You will be the next scoring machine of Alaska or the future chess player for Olympics across the seas,” Father said as he touches mother’s tummy. He is so happy about me.

One day, my mother and my father had an argument. They were both clueless on how to tell my lolos and lolas that I already existed. “They don’t know yet about that, how will we tell them?” Father asked my mom with fierce voice. “We should have told them earlier, Jun” a soft reply of my mom. My mother while feeling me inside wept. My parents never told me that I’m untimely created. It seemed that they are crying because I’m here. At that moment I had wished to die to end up everything if it was really me who caused them trouble.

My mother has many things to do in school. She has kept herself busy to forget the approaching pressure – when the day of confrontation comes. I could feel that she is grasping for breath, spending sleepless nights talking to me. Sometimes I can’t breathe because her heart beats so slowly. How I long to get out of this dark place and see how my mother is going on. But there is something I fear. I doubt if I could make it to the ninth month.

I had heard from my mother’s friend, “You have better pilled that or stop that while still young.” I’m so nervous at that time that I might die and I couldn’t see anymore my mother kiss me. I don’t know what happened next because I sleep after she had drunk a glass of water. Mmmmm….. More water more food. But a roaring voice shook me from a deep sleep!

“You stupid children, you are so ungrateful. After all we have done for you and you just came back home with that.” The people outside were nagging to somebody whom I didn’t know. It seemed that the voices were towards me, … No, to my mother! Everybody was blaming her. My grandfather aimed his pistol to my mother. The people inside the sala were all in panic but my mother remained standing. “You must be dead!” a man said to us. I almost feel. I could no longer stand it.

The two families were fighting because of me. I depend on my mom, if she wants me to be with her, it’s hers to decide. I only wish to see the so-called world, where other babies have lived and other being have enjoyed.

I still have more months. I hope I could see my parents by August. I’m excited on how they would meet me, would they smile and tickle my ears? Or would they simply dump me? I pray that everything would be all right. But mom please let me live.

K to 12 Mass Training in Region XI

Mass Trainings are conducted all over the country to update teachers in the latest curriculum after Sec. Luistro confirmed that Dep. Ed. is ready for K to 12.


Click the link K to 12 Brochure to know more about the new curriculum.

During the mass training the participants were exposed to the Learning Package for the First Quarter and Second Quarter and the Teacher’s Guide for both quarter. The following materials are for English Area only.

1. Learning Package 1st quarter English 1

2. Learning Package 2nd quarter English 1

3. Teacher’s Guide 1st quarter English 1

4. Teacher’s Guide 2nd quarter English 1

5. English_Grade_7_Comptencies_Matrix

6. English Grade 7 Strands and Domains

7. English Grade 7 Standard Matrix

K stands for Kindergarten and 12 for grade levels starting from Grade 1 to Grade 12. Grades 7 to 10 are the Junior High School and the last grade levels are classified as Senior High. Pres. Aquino stressed that the program shall alleviate the poverty problem in our country and will better the National Achievement Test and international assessment test where Philippines has an average 69.21 percent for Grade 6 and 46.38 percent in 4th year high school.

Mass Trainings in Ateneo de Davao University and University of Mindanao unpack the Learning Package for Grade 7 on May 7-26 in all learning areas, English, Science, Mathematics, Filipino, MAPEH, Values Education, TLE and Araling Panlipunan.

We will see what K to 12 can do for us.

UPLIFT 2012 in Philippine Science

Upgrading Program: Learning Institute For Teachers (English)

UPLIFT 2012 in Philippine Science High School, Davao City. UPLIFT stands for Upgrading Program: Learning Institute For Teachers is sponsored by Department of Science and Technology, Department of Education and Philippines Science High School Systems. The logo was created through the effort of Phil. Sci. on the last day of the Phase 1- May 18, 2012.

The program gathers all English, Math and Science teachers from schools with and still planning to have Science Education Program. More than 150 chose teachers from Region XI show their willingness to upgrade their pedagogy and teaching styles.

Three high caliber speakers of PSHSS imparted their know-hows and best practices to the chosen ones. They are Dr. Annie Rodriguez, Miss Jearvy Lanohan and Ms. Janice Joy Chiongson. The whole activity was facilitated by Ms. Ann Villanueva. Our speakers discuss on highly useful tools and approaches in teaching English.


Nature of Language



There are so much to come on the second phase of the training. For all the educators, let us continue to wrestle for our dream towards better, accessible and quality education. We can achieve this dream through our own hands. Good luck.

Pursue your Tertiary Studies in Six Ways

After struggling so hard to finish secondary, our graduates now will face another dilemma which will greatly affect their entire life, their family and their future. Sadly, many of our graduates now can not pursue their higher studies due to some reasons we can easily enumerate. One of these is the financial constraints which undoubtedly, the common factor affecting low rate of professionals, early marriages and increase of young migrants.

Before a student goes to fourth year high school, he must determine what subject or field he’s good at through taking the aptitude test. At least by doing so he may have the pre-knowledge on what could be the possible course to take up after graduating secondary studies. What happens next?

    1. When you are now entering first year college, try to look for an institution that can grant you scholarship and is willing to fund your schooling until you graduate. Write a letter that you are willing to work while studying and render service to the company after successfully finishing you chosen course. This may not be easy for you have to present your intention of helping the company rather than helping yourself out. However, if there is no company willing to finance you, refer to generous individuals around you. Click the link to see sample of letter. (letter for scholarship)
    2. You can apply as student grantee or working student in the school where you are planning to pursue your studies. See the school’s guidance counsellor or the Office of the Student’s Affairs for inquiries about scholarship.
    3. Try to visit your municipal, city or provincial government offices for some of them may have scholarship programs to those students who belong to a family with annual gross income of less than P 30, 000.00 only.
    4. Before you graduate high school, maybe five to six months before the commencement exercises, take scholarship exams. Who knows you might pass the test and grab the scholarship.
    5. If you belong to network, pilot and smart sections, then that could be your edge because you can be in a dean’s list so long as you maintain the required minimum grade per subject or average grade in each semester.
    6. If you are an honor student who received full, half or one-fourth scholarship during graduation, then what are you waiting for? Grab it! Many are dreaming to have that.

There are so many ways to kill the cat. If you can’t go to college that is your fault and don’t blame it to others. If then poverty is not the hindrance to success make it as your advantage to reach your dreams.

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