Financial Literacy for Teachers and Students

Most of us teachers are too preoccupied with work that most of our “supposedly” money for savings, go to paying for products or services that will offer us either comfort or luxury. Remember those gadgets, fine dining, spa membership, dental visits (to get braces), and travel bookings? Those are just a few of the things we spend our money with.
I feel bad whenever I see teachers who bashfully tell people that they went to London. For ordinary people, they may greet these teachers with awe in their eyes saying “so mag-British accent ka nga like Harry Potter!” Unfortunately, London means “loan doon” to teachers. Instead of being addicted to saving and investing, teachers often get too attached to their debts that they have a collection of umbrella or bag giveaways from City Savings, SSS, GSIS, PAG-IBIG, and other Teacher Loan Association/Cooperatives. It saddens me to see teachers who are Academically Educated yet Financially Uneducated.
“Money is NOT the root of all evil. The love of money, is.”
Money is neutral. It is the person handling the money who is in control whether to use it for the good things or the bad.
Teachers deserve to have financial freedom. Thus, we must all save or better yet, invest for the future.
“A dollar saved is a dollar earned.”
I was told not to put all my eggs in one basket… so aside from variable life insurance, FarmOn investment, mutual funds, stock market investment, thingies travel savings, I also stood up to the 12-month saving challenge which will be my emergency fund! So far, I have 9 thousand.
Students, start saving/investing early… your youth is your primary asset. This article may help you start: 12-month saving challenge.
Anyone interested to have a Life Insurance with investment from SunLife Financial – Philippines, you may send a message to my dear friend, Minabelle. She will explain to you in great detail how you can be a millionaire when you retire.
If you feel brave enough to conquer the stock market at the same time receiving 100K life insurance, and receive proper guidance from Bro. Bo Sanchez and be Truly Rich, join our CLUB.

Join the Truly Rich Clubfacebook-og-image

If you want to help our Filipino farmers to take pride in farming again by investing money as they do the farming and harvesting for you, you may register in FarmOn and type nephperez@gmail.com on the “referred by” field.

Pass the LET and do facebook, too!

I read a lot of tips from the internet about Licensure Exam for Teachers (LET) preparation and most of them suggested us not to be “online” or be active on Facebook and other social media sites. I was like, “Woah! That will be equal to not talking to my Dad for months!” My dad works in Saudi Arabia and we need to be “online” everyday for Skype chats and kumustahan.


Those tips might be true for some but I have a different view on this. After I graduated from college last April 10, 2013, I have always been “online” and I believe this activity has helped me to have a high rating in the September LET 2013 – English Specialization. Why? It is because I posted my target: To TOP the LET, on my fb wall. Every LIKE I get serves as a reminder and sort of an obligation to really achieve my goal and make my dreams come true. (I may not be a topnotcher when the result was out, but I got a very high rating, so that’s more than enough especially for a person like me whose waterloo is English!)


Here are the questions I frequently get from readers and FB friends:

“How did you do that, Neph?”

“Isn’t it distracting?”

“When I start, I never stop (doing FB), are you in the same way addicted to it?”

“Don’t you have anything to do?”

“You might be a total bum in order to do that, aren’t you?”


Honestly, I do not have a teaching job prior to taking the LET. After graduation, I reviewed at Mindgym and stayed in our house after the review sessions. I know. You’d say to yourself, “Ah! Kaya pala naman,eh! Marami kang time! Magkaiba tayo! Ako ay sobrang busy.” Well, I am not done talking/writing yet. I also do a lot of work, like you do. I operate an online shop: Wachuwant Shop where we receive a minimum of 10 orders per day that requires a lot of business deals, ordering for supplies, packing, and nationwide/international shipping. I am also responsible in doing the house chores (laundry, cleaning the entire house, cooking, etc.) Imagine cleaning a 4-bedroom, 2-storey, 100sq.m. house EVERYDAY. (My mom freaks out at the sight of dirt so I need to make the entire house spick-and-span. Note: I work as a maid here. LOL. Praying to receive a minimum wage at the very least from Mom. Another Note: It never happened. LOL again.)


Here’s my little secret: Be sure to “Schedule your priorities!”


Here’s my daily schedule of TO DO’s:

6 am – 1 pm Clean the house, do the laundry and cook food a.k.a. House Chores (Breakfast and Lunch Time included)

1 pm – 2 pm Rest (take a nap, listen to music, surf the net, do fb, etc.)

2 pm – 5 pm Review LET materials and Answer drills

5 pm – 8 pm Attend to Wachuwant Shop’s Orders and Product Inquiries (Dinner time included)

8 pm – 11 pm FB and Twitter time while watching educational videos on Youtube (Crash Course), Read relevant news articles, explore educational websites and quiz sites.

11 pm – 6 am Sleep Time (One month before the LET, I couldn’t sleep because of excitement so I used the perked up time to read more.) Another secret: If you can’t sleep, READ (anything that has letters on them will do. You’ll never know what trivia will be included in GenEd part.)


It is important for LET takers to be organized so that our brain will be programmed to do its job on retrieving data/remembering well because it has a system to follow.


Let your reviewing for the LET be a hobby! Read as if the letters will fly and you’ll not be able to cage it unless you catch it with your eyes and brain. Let the work you do be a recreational experience. Enjoy life! Enjoy learning! You’ll get its benefit now and use it for the rest of your life! God bless on your LET journey!


Madaling Maging Guro, Mahirap Maging Tao

Paano ba maging isang guro? Kailangan mo lang bang maging magiliw sa mga bata? Maging maunawain? Dumalo sa seminars at magkaroon ng maraming sertipiko o katibayan? Gumawa ng lesson plans? O kailangan mo lang pumasa sa LET at maging lisensyado? Paano nga ba maging guro? Pero higit sa lahat, paano ba? Paano maging tao?

Ayaw ko nang manatili sa isang kahon…

Mula pagkabata ay sa puder na ng aking lola ako lumaki. Kung ano ang pananaw ko sa kung ano ang tao ay nakabatay sa kung ano ang naituro sa akin ng mga matatanda sa amin. Lumaki ako na ang sinusundang daan ay kung ano ang kumbensyunal at naaayon sa kung ano ang nais ng nakatatanda na malaman ko. Sobrang limitado ang lahat ng natututunan ko. Napakarami kong tanong ngunit mas marami ang bawal. Bawal magsalita o magtanong habang gumagawa sila ng leche flan, gulaman, tikoy, kalamay at kung anu ano pang kakanin. Bawal galawin ang mga naka-display na laruan. Bawal sumabat sa usapan ng matatanda. Bawal lumabas kapag tanghali para maglaro. Bawal makialam. Bawal maki-alam.

Lahat ata ng pagbabawal sa mundo ay narinig ko na sa kanila. Madalas akong umiyak sa tuwing napagsasabihan ako. Hindi naman kasi nila nililinaw kung bakit bawal. Ang madalas nilang sagot sa akin ay ‘basta’. Basta, ano? Pwede naman nilang sabihin sa aking bawal magsalita kapag nagluluto dahil baka matalsikan ng laway ang pagkain; maiintindihan ko naman yon. Palagi akong pinagbabawalang magsalita, tapos magtataka sila ngayon kung bakit ako tahimik at mahiyain. Gusto ko silang sumbatan, ngunit bawal.

images (1)

Apat na taong gulang ako ng ipasok nila ako sa paaralan. Dito ko inilabas ang mga hindi ko magawa sa bahay. Naging aktibo akong bata; naging buwaya ng recitation; naging bibo sa math; naging mananayaw; mananalumpati; naging manunulat; nagkaroon ng mga kaibigan; at naging masaya. Dito ko natutunan ang hindi ko natutunan sa kanila. Dati rati ay Pasyon lang ang kaya kong basahin ngayon ay may alam na ako tungkol kay Shakespeare. Kung ano ang hindi naituro sa akin ay sa mga libro ko itinatanong. Mula sa pagiging manika na sunud-sunuran sa kung saan nila ako akayin, unti-unti ay nagkakaroon ako ng buhay, nagkakaroon ng saysay.


Dahil dito, lubos ang aking pasasalamat sa lahat ng aking mga naging guro na gumabay at nagpalaki sa akin mula sa aking ina na aking unang guro, hanggang sa lahat ng aking mga guro sa kolehiyo. Dahil din dito, kaya ninais kong tahakin ang landas ng isang guro.

Paano ba maging tao?

Sa paglipas ng panahon, napag-aralan kong masasabi kong tao ako dahil kabilang ako sa mga Homo sapiens sapiens, meron akong cranial capacity na 2,000cc, nakakapaglakad ako gamit ang dalawang paa lamang nang pangmatagalan, ang mga mata ko ay matatagpuan sa harap ng aking mukha, mayroon akong isang pares lamang ng suso, nagagamit ko ang aking mga kamay sa paggawa ng maraming bagay, at mayroon akong kultura. Naiiba raw ang tao dahil sa pagiging malikhain ng mga ito. Bagamat may iba’t ibang abilidad ang ibang hayop—nakakalipad sila, nakakatakbo ng mabilis, atbp.—hindi pa rin nila mapapantayan ang kakayahan nating maging malikhain. Bahagi ng ating kultura ang mga wika. Tayo lamang mga tao ang may sisyematikong uri ng komunikasyon. Ang mga tao ay nakakaintindi ng mga bagay o ideyang abstrak tulad ng pag-ibig, kalayaan, katarungan, katotohanan at panimdim.


Akala ko sapat na ang lahat ng ito para masabing tao ka. Hindi pala. Kahit na mayroon ka ng lahat ng ito, kung wala ka namang political rights at economic rights hindi ka pa rin maituturing na tao. “Man is a political and social animal,” sabi nila. Ang mga tao ay namumuhay ‘in a group for interaction and enjoyment and not merely for doing the task assigned to them by nature.’ Kung baga sa bagay, bihisan mo man ang manikin ng magagarang damit para magmukhang tao, hindi pa rin ito mag-iisip, makikipamuhay, o gagalaw tulad ng isang tunay na tao.

Nang una kong narinig ito, napaisip ako: anong ibig sabihin noon? Nasanay siguro ako sa pag-aakalang tao nga ako kung kaya’t hindi ko na alam kung paano hindi muna isiping tao ako. Masyado akong nagdunung-dunungan akala ko alam ko na ang lahat ng dapat kong malaman, hindi pala. Ngayon ay nananatili pa rin ako sa isang kahon. Tinuruan nila akong mag-isip nang rasyonal, gawin ang kung ano na ang nagawa noon at huwag tumaliwas sa konbensyon. Dahil dito, imbes na matuto, naging tanga ako. Tanga sa mga bagay na harap harapan ko nang nakikita, hindi ko pa rin maintindihan—dahil hindi ako nag-iisip, o dahil hindi ako naturuang isipin iyon. Ang mga mahihirap at naghihikahos nating mga kababayan ang tinutukoy ko maging ang mga kabataang gustong makapag-aral ngunit hindi makatungtong sa paaralan. Tao rin kaya sila? Tao sila sa pisikal na anyo ngunit may kulang. May napakalaking kakulangan—nawawalan sila ng karapatang mabuhay.


Madalas akong ipagmalaki ng mga magulang ko dahil nakapasok ako at nag-aral sa U.P. at nito lamang, sa Southern Luzon State University Lucban. Ngunit marami palang bagay na hindi ko alam. Kung alin pa ang napakaliliit na bagay at kung alin pa ang lagi ko nang nakikita sa lansangan iyon pa ang hindi ko alam, HINDI KO INAALAM. Nakakahiya ako. Naatim kong magbingibingihan, magbulagbulagan, manahimik at manatiling nag-oobserba na lamang sa kung ano ang tunay na nangyayari sa ating kapaligiran at lipunan, manhid. Dahil bulag, pipi, bingi at manhid ako, tao pa rin ba ako? Hindi na siguro. Hindi na ako tao dahil nawalan na ako ng panahong unawain ang hinaing ng mga kababayan natin at ng mga kabataan. Habang namomroblema ang mga mahihirap kung makakakain ba sila ngayong gabi, makakabili ba sila ng pandesal bukas, may babaunin ba sila sa eskwela, ako naman ay nag-aksaya ng mahabang panahon sa pagpapakasaya at pag-iisip kung: Ano ba ang latest model ngayon ng cellphone? Laptop? Ano ang in sa fashion? Kelan ako ulit makakakain sa Sbarro? Kelan ako muling makakapagkape sa Starbucks? Anong latest promo ng Globe at Smart? Unli ka ba? Mag-aunli ba ako? Hindi na ako tao gaya ng akala ko.

images (2)

Maraming kababayan natin ang nagdurusa sa pang-aapi sa kanila at di pagbibigay ng nararapat na benipisyo pero imbes na tulungan sila ay dinadaandaanan lang natin sila at taas noo pa tayong nagsasabing ‘wala tayong pakiaalam’. May mga taong isang beses lang kumain sa buong araw. Ang iba naman ay hindi pa nakakakain buong linggo. Kakarampot lamang ang kanilang sweldo sa maghapong pagkakabugbog ng kanilang katawan sa mabibigat na trabaho samantalang ang ilan sa mga pulitiko na kanilang ibinoto ay nagpapakasasa sa meryendang egg pie at airconditioned na silid.

Kahit mga bata ngayon na ni hindi pa nga alam bigkasin ang kanilang buong pangalan ay nagtatrabaho na sa kalye para lamang makatulong sa pang-aaraw-araw na gastusin ng kanilang pamilya imbes na mag-aral. Andiyan din ang mga magsasaka na inaalisan nila ng prebilehiyo at lalo pang ginigipit imbes na tulungan. Nagtatanim sila ng tubo pero ni hindi sila makabili ng asukal; nagtatanim sila ng mga pinya pero ni hindi pa sila nakakatikim ng pineapple juice; nagtatanim sila ng palay ngunit wala silang maisaing sa pananghalian at  sabaw lang ang pinagtatyagaan nilang kainin. Napaka-ironic pero ito ang totoo. Kapag umangal naman sila sa gobyerno at nagpunta sa rally, imbes na pagtulong at pang-unawa ay mabubugbog pa sila at tatawaging destabilizer.


Nariyan din ang mga dalagang ina na hindi tanggapin sa paaralan o pilit na pinaaalis sa paaralan o sa kolehiyo dahil nagbubuntis sila nang walang tatayong ama o hindi kasal. Gusto nilang makatapos para sa magigi nilang anak pero hindi sila pinapayagan. Paano ang mga rape victim na tulad ko na hindi makakahanap ng magpapakasal sa akin kung sakali mang nabuntis ako noon? Ang iba marahil dahil ayaw silang tanggapin sa eskwela ay maiisip na ipalaglag na lang ang bata kahit ayaw nila para lamang maipagpatuloy ang pangarap sa mundong mapang-api.


Naaalisan sila ng political at economic rights kung kaya’t HINDI NA SILA GANAP NA TAO. Sila ang mga nilalang na kung tawagin ay dehumanized. Marami sila sa langsangan, makikita mo sila kahit saan ka lumingon (maliban na lang kung nasa Podium ka o sa building sa Makati o sa loob ng Malacanang). Nagkalat sila pero ngayon ko lang sila napansin. Ngayon ko lang sila pinagtuunan ng atensyon. Ngayon ko lang naisip na kapareho rin ng kalagayan nila ang kalagayan ko noon. Bilang bata ay hindi ko naranasan ang maging bata. Pinagkaitan akong malaro ang aking mga laruan. Ni hindi ko mahawakan ang aking mga manika dahil baka raw masira. Hanggang tingin na lamang ako. Lagi akong pinagkakaitan. Masakit sa pakiramdam ang pagkaitan ng bagay na nakikita mong andyan. Nasa harap mo na pero hindi mo mahawakan. Pakiramdam ko’y sasabog ako. Ito marahil ang dahilan kung bakit naging manhid na ako. Ngunit dahil dito, ngayon ko sila naunawaan. Ngayon ko lang sila minahal.


Nang magkaroon ako ng pagkakataong makiisa sa kanila, makisangkot sa kanilang pinaglalaban, sumigaw kasabay ng kanilang pagsigaw, unti-unti kong naramdaman kung paano maging katulad nila nang walang halong pagpapanggap o para magpakitang-tao lamang. Masakit isiping ang mga mumunting tinig ay hindi natin napapansin at madalas nating baliwalain dahil alam nating hindi naman nila tayo mabubuwag. Ngunit ang mga mumunting tinig kapag nagkasama-sama ay lilikha ng dumaragundong na ingay at makabibingi sa ating mga nagbibingi-bingihan. Nang maranasan kong makipamuhay sa kanila, magsuot ng kung anong suot nila, doon ako nakaramdam ng lubusang ligaya. Wala na akong pakialam kung ano mang sabihin ng mga tao o ng mga guro ko tungkol sa akin o sa ginagawa ko. Masaya akong tumulong dahil alam kong ang tinutulungan ko ay balang araw makapagpapabago ng mundo, masaya akong magutom dahil alam ko na ngayong magutom man ako, may mas mahalaga namang tao ang mabubuhay, masaya akong makibaka dahil ang kapakanan ng mga maliliit at api ang aking isinusulong, masaya na akong makiisa sa mga ipinaglalaban nila, masaya na akong maging masaya sa piling ng mga mumunting bagay na datirati ay hindi ko pinapansin. Unti-unti ko nang nararamdaman ang kaligayahang hindi ko pa nararamdaman noong ako’y isang babaeng nagpapanggap na elitista, propesyonal, tinatawag ang sarili ko bilang guro at nakikipagsiksikan sa puder ng mga high-class pa lamang. Sa paghalik pala sa lupa ko madarama ang tunay na kaligayahan. Mas masaya palang magpakababa at hindi isipin ang sarili dahil sa pagiging mababa ng aking lipad, doon ako nakadarama ng katiwasayan ng loob dahil alam kong sa likod ko, panay ang talang nila sa akin bagamat may pisi, imbes na hilahin nila ako pababa ay itinatalang nila ako pataas. Unti-unti akong itinataas ngunit may pisi pa ring nagdurugtong sa amin.


Makasarili ako noon at laging nakatingin at nakaabang sa sasabihin ng iba. Ganoon kasi ako pinalaki, kaya siguro takot akong gawin ang mga gusto kong gawin dahil sa iniisip ko pa kung ano ang sasabihin ng iba. Pero balewala na iyon sa akin ngayon. Hindi na ako natatakot kung ano mang sabihin nila. Hindi na sarili ko lang ang iniisip ko ngayon, iniisip ko na ang kapakanan ng mga api. Sila ang nagbibigay sa akin ngayon ng lakas para sumulong, ng lakas para ipagpatuloy ang laban, ng lakas para mabuhay, ng lakas para magtagumpay. Nakakawala ng takot dahil alam ko na ngayon, na ang kapakanan ng nakararami at api ang aking pinaglalaban. Gaya nga ng sinabi ni Mao,

“Only by being selfless can one be fearless.”

Gusto kong kumawala sa kahong pinaglalagyan ko. Gusto kong maging tao.


Marami sa atin ang ginustong maging guro dahil idol natin ang dati nating mga guro. Gayun din naman, marami dyan ay napilitan lang. Pero napilitan ka man sa una, alam ko, ngayong andito ka na, minahal mo na ang pagiging guro. Noong nasa kolehiyo ako at nag-aaral pa lamang, hirapang hirapan kami sa dami ng papers at projects na pinagagawa. Nagtanong ang isa kong kasama, “Ma’am para saan po ba ang mga ito?” Ang sagot ng aming propesor, “Basta gawin nyo na lamang iyan!” Ayun, narinig ko na naman ang salitang, basta, at hindi pa yun natapos don, sinabi pa niya, “Kapag kayo’y naging guro na, saka na lamang kayo gumanti.” (tinutukoy niya rito ay yung bigyan din namin ng mahirap na gawain ang aming mga mag-aaral). Ganito ba ang pagiging guro? Andito ba tayo para gumanti? Gumanti sa mga walang kamalaymalay kung bakit natin sila ginagantihan? Power Tripping. Dahil guro na tayo, ang lakas ng loob nating mag-utos, mambulyaw, mambintang, manduro, magsabing, “aba! Walang utang na loob itong batang ito,ah!” Ang pagiging guro ay hindi pagganti, ang pagiging guro ay pagmamahal at pang-unawa.

Kung ang layunin mo ay ang makaganti, guro ka nga. Oo, guro ka… pero, hindi ka na… Tao.

Bilang mga guro at bagong guro, bilang mga propesyonal na maglilinang sa pag-asa ng ating bayan nang buong puso at pagmamahal:

Bago ang lahat, tanungin natin ang ating sarili, gusto ko rin bang maging tao?

Mabuhay ang mga guro! Mabuhay ang mga tulad nating gustong maging tao!

Congratulations fellow Professional Teachers!

Credits to: Teacher Neph


How the Blackboard and Eraser Found Me


After mountainous pile of paperwork, rushed thesis that tore our pocket into pieces, unfavorable fees that result to a bulk of receipts and head-breaking exams, we are now starting to leave the box that sheltered us.

True enough, that first impression is not lasting. At first, I had my doubts on how I would handle my students because in my first encounter with them I faced different problems that make me think for many times if I really entered the right room. As the days passed by and with the help of my prior knowledge in principles of teaching, I have observed that I have somehow surpassed the task that at first I thought was so hard to do.

I handled a group of students from different walks of life. However, bringing them into one is the only goal of my teaching.

III-VP: “My First Base”
My first teaching is somewhat the basis of my whole day teaching. This section taught me one important value which I think the best one of the hundred attributes of a teacher – the essence of punctuality. In my first one month of teaching in this section, I came late. However, I tried my best to explain to them the whole reason of coming to class late. But through the help of my cooperating teacher, she advised me to think of some ways on how to come to my class early or on time. Consequently, I won the challenge. For the next months, I came to class early and used my time wisely.

IV-AAR: “My Second Base”
Having six sections to be taught is such a hard task but putting your passion into it will lessen the burden you are carrying. This section is the only fourth year that I am handling because the rest are composed of third year students. The only problem that I encountered in this section is on how to implement discipline to them. Some of the students in this section have undesirable traits that challenged me to change them into better students which are also making me to become a better teacher. At first, I was too strict to them but along the way I learned to control my temper towards them that made me be an open-minded in every situation around me. Since then, they already listened to me.

III-LP: “My Third Base”
Of all the sections I handled, this section is the only section wherein I can see the good result of my teaching. Even though they were in the lower section, they showed me that most of them have the potential to be on the top. The lesson I learned from this section is that I should not underestimate students. In my daily discussions, I saw how their willingness to listen and to learn something from me. They laughed at my jokes and obey the rules I set inside the room. As a result, some of them told me that their grades got higher since I started my teaching to them.

III-AA: “My Fourth Base”
Time management and appropriate learning approach are the factors that I have developed during my stay in this section. The time scheduled on this section can be considered as “oras de peligro” wherein boredom strikes them. It is so annoying to teach a group of students who keeps on chatting and most of the time yawning because of the temperature condition and the time. I can say that some of my teaching here is not that good but as time passed by I learned how to make my lessons active and lively. I used some strategies taught to me by my past teachers from the laboratory ( Ms. Vanessa Zubieta and Mrs. Rizaide Salayo). They taught some funny and yet informative learning approaches on teaching.

III-EM: “My Fifth Base”
Aside from my cooperating teacher who is the one who told me my progress inside the classroom, this section also served as my critics. At first, they are somewhat afraid of me because they taught that I am too strict. But along the away, they witnessed that I also have a sense of humour. I was so overwhelmed when I heard from my students that they can see the improvement on my teaching.
“Sir, ang galing nyo nang magturo. Nagpapatawa na rin kayo…”
Their praises forced me to teach well and to learn more during my stay on their school.

III-MH: “My Last Base”
This section is composed of bright students that trained me to become a man of wisdom. Every night, I browsed the internet for some facts that I can use in my teaching. Some of them were used to ask questions related to my topic and some are under the sun. That’s why to avoid any unnecessary mocking; I answered their questions that I think I can answer easily. In some cases wherein I don’t know the answer, I always tell them that some questions are in need of some important facts to be answer that’s why I requested some moment to answer their questions.

Indeed, teaching is a bittersweet experience on Earth. We will encounter different people with different personality that may test our patience and role as a facilitator, an instructor and as a teacher. To teach in different year levels and sections really elevate your thoughts and knowledge about teaching. Each teaching connotes different lessons. As our students learned something from us, we also gained the mastery of the subject throughout the teaching days.

Creativity and resourcefulness are also measured in this job. Financial support is not enough without those two attributes. We may spend money for teaching but we should be sure that we also spend time in executing it properly. Those IM’s that we will use should motivate those two kinds of learners.

To teach is to touch lives as many people would say. However, to see them also touching other lives satisfied everything that a teacher is craving for. A blackboard may show us the real picture of life but a teacher interprets it in a way that we will understand easily in a broader sense. A piece of chalk may write hundreds of words but a teacher speaks those words into wisdom. Through these, a real teacher is found.

Credits to: Teacher Gelo
Editor: Teacher Neph

Triangular Room (A Teacher’s Journey)

in the dark

I woke up feeling dizzy and cannot remember anything that happened that day. The room was dark. I was alone. I can feel my body aching I touched my legs and felt the burnt skin. I can smell cigarette smoke and saw live cigarette butts all over the floor.”Where am I?”, I asked myself. I realized I was naked. “Why?” “What happened?” Tears ran to my cheeks uncontrollably. I was raped. I do not know where to go. I do not know where I am. I feel hopeless. I feel ashamed. Moments passed and I remembered I helped a guy find his way to the Math building. After that incident, I could not remember anything. I searched for my clothes and found them. They were filthy but I didn’t mind. All I want to do is go out of the dark room and find my way back. I wanted to get help. I was still not on my normal state of mind. I saw a jeep and just rode it. While riding the jeep, I saw the Araneta Coliseum. I got off the jeep and started walking. Yes, I didn’t pay the driver. I do not know what I was doing. Without realizing, I was walking inside Ali Mall. I saw a payphone and dialed my boyfriend’s number. He was wondering why I was there at 8 p.m. Cubao is far from Diliman. I told him to fetch me. He arrived thirty minutes later. I couldn’t tell him at once. I just burst into endless tears. I wasn’t sure whether he will still accept me. I was so disappointed with myself. Everything was gone. I was losing hope. I showed him my legs and arms. I was a human ashtray. I felt hurt physically and mentally. I had a trauma. I was afraid of cigarette from then on. My boyfriend was very supportive. He loved me so much and understands my condition. He said he loves me so much to let me go. He swore not to let go. He was so angry to the one who did this to me. He told me to go to the police but I was so afraid of their guns. I do not know why I was afraid. I just want to go home. We rode a bus to Lucena first thing in the morning and went to our house. We talked to Mom and told her what happened. She cried. I cried with her. I was not myself anymore. I lost some part of me. My wounds hurt but the memory hurts even more. My mom told my dad who is working in Saudi what happened to me. He got mad and punched the wall. He talked to me thru Skype and we both cried. I told him I don’t want to go back to Quezon City anymore. I want to transfer. Without second thought, he agreed. When I got my ground, we went to Diliman again. This time I already decided to drop all my subjects and transfer to another school in the province—far away from the cruel Metro Manila. My adviser could not let me go. She told me I was a bright student and I should continue my life—forget what had happened. The police department was there as well. The University offered me assistance thru therapy done by the Psychology department to heal my mind from the bad experience I had. My mom and I went to Campo Crame to file a case and describe what had happened. I underwent physical exam under their resident Ob-gyn. We went back to the University to ask honorable dismissal and they allowed me to go. My adviser and the Dean of College of Home Economics made me promise to go back to UP for my master’s degree. And I did. I said I’ll go back when I’m strong enough. I will. I promised them and myself as well. Then, I closed the door of the triangular room.

Newborn baby

I stood up, walk, and saw another door. I opened it and stepped inside. To my surprise, it was another triangular room. The door led me to time when I was born. March 28, 1989, my mom and dad were so glad to have me. I was born inside our house. My grandmother is a midwife so my mom need not go to the hospital for the delivery. I was thin and small. The blood around my body was as bright red as the love between my mom and dad. I was their first born and they were very proud. My dad named me Nepheline, a chemical compound (Sodium Aluminum Silicate) from their lesson in his favorite subject Engineering Chemistry. My other name Khaye came from my mom’s favorite expression, K from OK. They just gave a twist to the usual spelling of Kaye by adding an H. My third name Karenn was just included to produce rhyme with Nepheline. Both ends with the sound / n /. But my parents were never contented with just a Karen so they decided to add an additional –N as the last letter. I grew up under my grandma’s supervision. She was very strict so I grew up shy and afraid of committing mistakes. I lost my confidence to mingle with other people. Before I do any move, I ask my lola first. I felt I do not have the freedom to think for my own. I was inside the box every second of my life. When I reached the age of four, I lived with my mom. My dad works in Pagbilao and he only goes to our house during weekends. I love it when my dad knocks on our door every Friday night because it is the time when I would be getting my Donut Kin (I call Dunkin Donut, Donut Kin when I was small). When I was five, my parents sent me to school. What I cannot do in our house, I did there. I felt so carefree when at school: I became active in recitation, participated in oration, joined different contests, became a dancer, applied as a writer and became a consistent honor student from Day Care up to High School. Then, I went out and I closed the second door.


I reached the third door to find out I was holding a letter addressed to me. I couldn’t believe I passed the UPCAT with student number 2006-62187. I told my mom and dad my achievement and they were very proud. My parents are more excited than I am that they prepared my things and planned where I would stay in Quezon City. I told them that there is a Kalayaan dormitory application attached to the letter. Kalayaan dorm is where the freshmen stay for their first year in the university. My mom and dad were convinced to let me stay in the dormitory. They believe that I will gain a lot of friends there and the dormitory will help me set the foundation for my stay in the university. I was accompanied by my mom and dad to UP, my dad even stayed in the dormitory during the enrollment as transient. I saw a professor told my dad to let me go and stay in the line for enrolment by myself. My dad realized that I am not a kid anymore. I saw it in his eyes. He couldn’t deny his pride as he stepped on the Palma Hall watching me pay for my tuition. I cried. I was so happy knowing that my parents are so proud of me. I promised myself that I will succeed in the university in return for their effort on raising me well. Then, I closed the third door.


The fourth door directed me to my University classes where I met people that I thought I can only meet vicariously on books, television and magazines. Being in UP gave me opportunities to be with famous personalities without spending a single centavo. I have attended a seminar on journalism from Cheche Lazaro and Kara David. I watched theater drama and comedy of Tuesday Vargas, Ate Glow, Eugene Domingo, Tessie Tomas, and many more. My favorite theatrical comedy they have produced is the “Shock Value”. I attended my Economics class with Winnie Monsod as a professor. I have heard Mr. Ryan Cayabyab’s composition during the University Centennial Celebration live. I have found out that some actors, singers, and athletes such as Herbert Bautista, Richard Gomez, Manny Pacquiao, Hero Angeles, Christian Baustista, Sharon Cuneta, and Sarah Geronimo are also studying or had a crash course in UP. One of my memorable experiences is when we saw some high school students taking a picture of Jay of Kamikazee in Shopping Center and I saw Cherie Pie Picache casually asking a man to photocopy some scripts. My greatest dream came true when I had Palanca Hall of Famer Rene O. Villanueva as my professor in Humanidades 1. He passed away in 2008 but he was replaced by another Palanca Awardee  Jun Cruz Reyes. Mr. Jun, (Pedro Cruz, Jr.) taught me on how to be a human. He inspired me to write essays and stories pertaining to my desire to be free. His greatest work, “Utos ng Hari” has been my inspiration to be a teacher. I wanted to transform students’ views about teachers. This short story challenges teachers to do what they preach. The event I consider as stress reducer is the February fair where different organizations and fraternities invite national and local bands to perform from 6pm until 3am. This event serves as a reward to students after the 2nd semester midterm exams. During December, the most awaited event is the Oblation Run were the views and opinions of the masses are laid to demand the government to stand up and take actions on national issues such as corruption. Another most awaited event is the Lantern Parade which is considered as the Fine Arts day where they showcase their creativity in lantern, float, and costume making. I closed the door with a smile.


The fifth door directed me to my 3rd Year Geometry class. I was there listening attentively to Teacher Florian Manzanilla. I heard him say, “One property of a triangle is… (He wrote on the board.) … the sum of the measurement of the two sides should always be greater than the measurement of the remaining side of the triangle.” (He drew some examples of triangles.) I raised my hand and asked, “What if the sum of the measurement of the two sides is equal to the measurement of the third side, for example the measurements of the sides of triangles are 2 x 3 x 5? What will happen?” Mr. Manzanilla answered, “Then, it will not be a triangle.” “Not a triangle? Then, what is it?” I asked.  Mr. Manzanilla paused and said with a grin in his face, “It is a line.” Then the sixth door closed.

I reached out for the sixth door. It led me to the present. My primary reason of studying in Southern Luzon State University is to forget the things that happened in the past. I wanted to start a new life here. From being a BS Hotel Restaurant and Institution Management student, I chose to enroll in Bachelor in Secondary Education Major in English to share not only the knowledge that I will gain but also to inspire my students to stand tall when they experience failure in life. I may have disregarded the opportunities that my previous school can offer once I graduated there but I have no regrets because here in SLSU, I found new friends who understand me and accept me for who I am and not who I was. I guess I don’t really need to go out and run from the triangular room because in reality, the triangular room of life is a straight line. We just need to run the race with heads up, and be thankful for the gift God has given us—our life.

It is not bad to look back on the painful memories of the past so long as these will make you stronger! I am not proud to be a rape victim but I am definitely proud to survive and live a normal life once again. It may take time to heal the wounds but they would definitely give me strength to face life’s future struggles. Yes you can! Aim to TOP!575855_10151492616103819_147652228_n

Credits to: Teacher Neph