Proud of your educational institution – and grateful for it?

The University of the Philippines (UP) recently gained major international acclaim.  It garnered the highest citation score in the 2021 Times Higher Education University World Ranking for pre-clinical, clinical and health research (91.9%), according to a report of the Business Mirror.  In this regard, UP ranked over the University of Oxford, Harvard University, Stanford University, University of Cambridge, Johns Hopkins, University of California Los Angeles, among other top renowned institutions of higher learning. Outrageously awesome!

Especially during this time of heightened COVID pandemic concerns all over the world, health and medical initiatives are of utmost importance and relevance.  This distinction brings to the forefront attention to the efforts, knowledge, skills and contributions of health professionals who, in various capacities, work for the health and well-being of humanity.  Our hats off to them in extreme gratitude.

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Laugh more – or at least, smile more

“Lola,” my 11-year-old grandson asked me one day recently, “why did you say I don’t laugh enough?”  A very astute question from a young boy. My surprise was, he remembered and mulled over my comment that was casually expressed in a conversation.  It was during one of his piano practice sessions when he heard me blurt out a short laugh upon hearing a movement in the music that evoked a vision of dancing bears – to be exact, fluffy bears stumbling and rolling over each other in awkward dance moves.

“What was so funny,” he quizzed me after his lesson.  “I just imagined dancing bears,” I think that was my retort.  “Wouldn’t that be funny?” I pressed.  “Not funny,” he shot back. I knew he was working hard at perfecting those music intervals (when he heard my stifled laugh).  All of this exchange on facetime, with a computer screen in between was even funnier to me.  It seemed I was on the hot seat just because I laughed.  So I laughed even more.  In my impulse to hug my grandson, I blew him a kiss.

“You don’t laugh enough,” I fondly teased.  Well, he remembered that comment weeks after.  This was my explanation to my darling grandson.

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The gentle smile that’s no longer there

Lonely times.  Hard times.  Grief springs fresh anew.  My dear sister-in-law, Cecille Paco Pandes, passed yesterday, in Philippine time, September 12 at 2:49 in the afternoon.  This, a month after she lost her husband, my younger brother Albert, to cardiac arrest.  Cecille battled with pneumonia and succumbed to a collapsed lung.  Thirty minutes prior to a scheduled tracheotomy, she left this world.

She leaves a very devastated family that’s trying to comprehend the demise of two beloved parents (and grandparents) whose departures are just weeks apart.  The pain of grief is searing.  But it also bows our knees to a posture of prayer to the One Almighty God who knows the count of every hair on our head, every line in our palms, every sigh of our heart, and catches every tear that falls.  Only He knows where paths converge and diverge, how every life is lived, and where every purpose on earth peaks.  For these reasons, we trust Him, in His son Jesus, the fulfillment of the law and of love. We trust that our Lord has settled Cecille and Albert in His beautiful castle up in the heavenlies.

Still, grief knocks at the heart. 

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‘Transform’ more than ‘transact’

Taking a break from working in front of my laptop, I sat listening to a television interview of a retired Lt. General of the US Military Service, Mark Hertling.  I shall not delve into politics, because that is not the thrust nor direction of my blogs.  But I shall write about my sociological and psychological interpretation of what I thought was very interesting and relevant in today’s anxious and confusing world (as it was for previous generations).  The General spoke about “transactional” versus “transformational” behavior or reaction.

What’s the difference, I pondered as I sat at the edge of my seat, waiting for his explanation.  And what does it matter?

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