Sunday, July 31, 2011

He loved me.

He chose me before the world was known. He chose me to be His very own. He made me, then let me choose my way. I chose to move away.

He loved me when hope had taken wing. He loved me when I lost everything. He bought me; redemption's work was done though Jesus Christ, His Son.

Who shall separate me from the love of God? Shall dreams of tomorrow, pain, or sorrow? Can the need of food or earthly possessions, the threat of war or man's oppression? In all these things, victory is our reward though Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Of this I am sure, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, not height nor depth nor any creature shall separate me from the love of God. Through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Passing along a little spark.

Robby was 11 years old when his mother (a single mom) dropped him off for his first piano lesson. I prefer that students (especially boys!) begin at an earlier age, which I explained to Robby. But Robby said that it had always been his mother's dream to hear him play the piano. So I took him as a student. Well, Robby began with his piano lessons and from the beginning I thought it was a hopeless endeavor. As much as Robby tried, he lacked the sense of tone and basic rhythm needed to excel. But he dutifully reviewed his scales and some elementary pieces that I require all my students to learn.

Over the months he tried and tried while I listened and cringed and tried to encourage him. At the end of each weekly lesson he'd always say, "My mom's going to hear me play someday." But it seemed hopeless. He just did not have any inborn ability. I only knew his mother from a distance as she dropped Robby off or waited in her aged car to pick him up. She always waved and smiled but never stopped in.

Then one day Robby stopped coming to our lessons. I thought about calling him but assumed, because of his lack of ability, that he had decided to pursue something else. I also was glad that he stopped coming. He was a bad advertisement for my teaching!

Several weeks later I mailed to the student's homes a flyer on the upcoming recital. To my surprise Robby (who received a flyer) asked me if he could be in the recital. I told him that the recital was for current pupils and because he had dropped out he really did not qualify. He said that his mom had been sick and unable to take him to piano lessons but he was still practicing. "Miss Hondorf... I've just got to play!" he insisted. I don't know what led me to allow him to play in the recital. Maybe it was his persistence or maybe it was something inside of me saying that it would be all right.

The night for the recital came. The high school gymnasium was packed with parents, friends and relatives. I put Robby up last in the program before I was to come up and thank all the students and play a finishing piece. I thought that any damage he would do would come at the end of the program and I could always salvage his poor performance through my "curtain closer."

Well, the recital went off without a hitch. The students had been practicing and it showed. Then Robby came up on stage. His clothes were wrinkled and his hair looked like he'd run an eggbeater through it. "Why didn't he dress up like the other students?" I thought. "Why didn't his mother at least make him comb his hair for this special night?"

Robby pulled out the piano bench and he began. I was surprised when he announced that he had chosen Mozart's Concerto #21 in C Major. I was not prepared for what I heard next. His fingers were light on pianissimo to fortissimo...from allegro to virtuoso.

His suspended chords that Mozart demands were magnificent! Never had I heard Mozart played so well by a person his age. After six and a half minutes he ended in a grand crescendo and everyone was on their feet in wild applause. Overcome and in tears I ran up on stage and put my arms around Robby in joy. "I've never heard you play like that Robby! How'd you do it?" Through the microphone Robby explained: "Well Miss Hondorf...remember I told you my mom was sick? Well, actually she had cancer and passed away this morning. And well....she was born deaf so tonight was the first time she ever heard me play. I wanted to make it special." There wasn't a dry eye in the house that evening. As the people from Social Services led Robby from the stage to be placed into foster care, I noticed that even their eyes were red and puffy and I thought to myself how much richer my life had been for taking Robby as my pupil. No, I've never had a protigi but that night I became a protigi... of Robby's. He was the teacher and I was the pupil. For it is he that taught me the meaning of perseverance and love and believing in yourself and maybe even taking a chance in someone and you don't know why.

(A footnote to this story) After serving in Desert Storm, Robby was killed in the senseless bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in April of 1995, where he was reportedly....playing the piano. And now, a footnote to the story.

This story has been passed around by e-mail. It has not yet been proven to be a true story as no mention has been made of the exact name of the music teacher nor of the boy. The story proves that we all can make a difference. We all have thousands of opportunities a day to help realize God's plan. So many seemingly trivial interactions between two people present us with a choice: "Do we pass along a spark of the Divine?"

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Ang Hukbong Mapagpalaya ng Bayan

Ako'y manggagawa. Nagsisikap upang mabigyan ng disenteng pamumuhay ang aking pamilya. Nagsisikap upang maiahon ang sarili sa hikahos na buhay at makatikim ng ginhawa. Ngunit patuloy akong pinapasakit ng kabi-kabilang pagtataas ng presyo ng mga pangunahing bilihin katulad ng bigas, asukal, tinapay, at iba pa, na sinasabayan naman ng hindi pagtugon sa panawagan ng mas mataas na sahod.

Ako'y manggagawa. Nagsisikap upang mapag-aral ang aking mga anak. Nagsisikap upang matupad ang mga pangarap. Ngunit patuloy rin akong pinapasakit ng tuloy-tuloy na pagtalikod ng pamahalaan sa responsibilidad nito sa edukasyon, na makikita sa kabi-kabilang budget cuts at tuition and other fees increases.

Ako'y manggagawa. Nagsisikap upang makarating sa ibang mga lugar na hindi ko pa nararating. Nagsisikap upang lalong makilala ang mundong aking ginagalawan. Ngunit patuloy rin akong pinapasakit ng kabi-kabilang pagtaas ng presyo ng gasolina at iba pang produktong petrolyo, mapagsamantalang oil companies, at hindi pagbasura sa Oil Deregulation Law.

Ako'y manggagawa. Naniniwala ako na panahon na upang magkaisa at kumilos laban sa puwersa ng mapagsamantalang kapitalista. Naniniwala ako na panahon na upang tayong lahat ay magpumiglas sa pagkakagapos ng mga pasakit na ito.

Ako'y manggagawa. Ang hukbong mapagpalaya ng bayan.

Friday, April 29, 2011


Time, where did you go? Why did you leave me here alone? Wait! Don't go so fast; I'm missing the moments as they pass. I look in the mirror and the world's getting clearer so wait for me this time.

I'm down on my knees, begging for all your sympathy. But you're just an illusion; you humble people everywhere. I take what you give me; please know that I'm learning so wait for me this time.

I should've known better. I should've not wasted those days and afternoons. Many moments I've thrown all away. Now this is my time and I'm going to make it right.

I take what you give me so please know that I'm learning. I look in the mirror and the world's getting clearer so wait for me this time.

from the movie, "Uptown Girls"

Thursday, April 21, 2011

They seem not to need God anymore...

Jesus said that "whoever has not sinned be the first to throw the stone." (John 8:7) Honestly, I (figuratively) raise an eyebrow when people claim that they have not sinned. Remember that "all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23).

As a Catholic I believe in forgiveness, but I think claiming that "I have not sinned", for me, is tantamount to saying "I don't need God anymore". I firmly believe that for us to be able to accept God in our lives, we should first recognize that we are sinners and we need His Grace for us to be saved.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Willie Revillame, get off the air. NOW


For making fun of a hapless 6 year old boy, you should not be on TV.

For forcing that boy to dance sensually on national TV, you should not be interacting with kids.

For allowing the audience to egg on the kid, you should not be hosting a game show.

For banking on poverty of your contestants as an excuse to humiliate them, you should not be receiving millions of pesos as talent fee.

For violating Republic Act 7610, you and your show should be taken off the air.



Monday, February 21, 2011

Arriba Almora!

Last Saturday, as I settled myself in the Buklod HQ before I start training the Buklod candidates, a tall, lanky guy approached me and introduced himself.

"Hi Kuya, I'm Jay Almora," he said. "I'm the Buklod USC Vice Chairperson." Of course I reciprocated.

Initiating a contact. From then on, I already realized the huge potential this kid has. And as I trained these young leaders, I really felt that the UPLB student community will be in good hands under Jay Almora.

I've never campaigned this much for a particular Buklod candidate. But I'm ready to give it all for Jay. For I believe in this kid, I believe that he has what it takes to lead and defend the UPLB student community with the three core principles of integrity, initiative, and involvement.

To Jay, if ever you get to read this note:

I am personally grateful to have known you and to have trained you to become the leader that you are. No matter what the outcome of this election may be, UPLB will be rest assured that they have someone like you to lead and defend them. Just continue to be of service to the students and to the people. We're so proud of you, bro.