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2019 | February

February was a big month for me.

I turned 28. And it was one of the biggest celebrations I have had in my life. I blew candles from 5 different cakes, all from the people who truly love and appreciate me. But I also had to go to work because it was our school’s Foundation Day. It was the first time I danced during Field Demonstrations, not just once but twice. I was tired, feeling a bit sick, but my heart was full. I got home by 8:30pm, just right before the prayer meeting of Couples for Christ ended and they were still able to sing a birthday song for me. I joined our community meeting, and all guests were gone by 11pm. I felt a hundred years old exhausted, but at least my soul was happy.

This month I was also able to spearhead a Mental Health Seminar, one of my longstanding goals as a Counselor. I invited my Guidance Counselor in college, Ma’am Chatt, and I think it was one of the highlights of my year. Participants were BSCS parents and employees, making them knowledgeable about the basics of Mental Health issues and concerns. I thought it was only appropriate to start integrating Mental Health awareness into our school by teaching first the Parents and school employees, because they are the support systems of the students. They must be able to recognize mental and emotional difficulties not just of the students but with themselves as well, to be able to better help their families.

Aside from the MH seminar, I was also given opportunities to be the Resource Speaker myself. I gave two Parenting talks this month- Integrating the Whole Child Approach in Developing Literacy of Preschool Learners and Connecting with our Gen Z children. Those were priceless moments, because I am able to both share my learnings and learn from the experience and sharings of other Parents. Being a Parent in this age and time, of the kind of children we have now, is a big and challenging task. But the uncertainty and dauntness can be manageable, because we know we are not alone.

Though super busy with work, our family were able to squeeze in an outing. We went to Doña Jovita Garden Resort in Calamba, Laguna. It was a happy occasion, despite being stressed with Laguna’s traffic. I’ll post another blog about our trip soon.

Though I haven’t received any flower or chocolate for Valentine’s Day, my heart’s still full this love month. No amount of material things can replace the support and care my husband is giving me every day through his own little ways. There were many “Daddy, late na ako makakauwi ngayon, sorry. Bawi na lang ako sa inyo” moments this February, and I’m so grateful they are patiently waiting for me until I am done with work and is able to fulfill that promise. Being a Mom with a fulltime work outside home is often a real pain, pero kinakaya. Kakayanin. All because God is good. All the time.

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Pangarap ko ang Ibigin Ka

Ate Joan and Ephraim finally tied the knot on December 18, 2018 at San Roque Parish Church in Cavite City.

ER ❤ RJ

It was one of the most important events we are all looking forward to in 2018. Finally, our first-born got to walk down the aisle to be with the love of her life. I remember praying for that person- Ate Joan just got out from an unhappy relationship, and we as a family prayed over her so that her next boyfriend would be the one who can and will love her for the rest of their lives. And God is really good, Ephraim came and he’s an answered prayer!

They decided to get married in Cavite, Ephraim’s hometown. It was a test of faith and love for we have to prepare thoroughly for the things we have to bring, and true enough, it was quite stressful when the day we have to get to Cavite arrived. There were too many things we have to bring, and everyone was stressed. But it was all pre-wedding day jitters, one that you endure for love and can easily be erased through a hug.

We stayed in Octea Resort, the same venue for their wedding reception. The three-storey townhouse was clean and ready when we arrived, but we became concerned because the fire exit door lock was broken and the caretaker told us not to bother because it still locked from the outside if you will just close the door hard, plus he told us not to lock the doors of the rooms because they don’t have keys. We of course were suspicious so we tried to bang the door when he left, and sure enough, we can easily open the door with the broken lock from the outside. We then used a cord to lock that door.

Our relatives from Tarlac and Manila came in the evening. We managed to fit in all the families into three rooms, but the pillows and blankets provided by Octea was not enough. The following morning, few more friends arrived, and there were no enough rooms for all of us. Fortunately, food served by Ephraim’s parents were very comforting, and all our guests were understanding of the predicament. We all love Ate Joan, and we didn’t want to spoil her big day!

The suppliers and few more guests arrived one by one starting at 8am. As the Maid of Honor and appointed Coordinator, I tried my best to troubleshoot the problems we encountered. I just got irritated with her makeup artist, hahah. Pero anyway, the other artist that did our makeup was funny and kind, and we are very satisfied with his work, so okay na din ang pagiging bratinella ni Ate.

The wedding was at 3pm, and I left Octea at 2:30pm with Ephraim. It was a very short travel to the Church, and when we arrived, only the Bible bearer was not yet in. The church’s Coordinator was lining us already, and when Ate Joan arrived, the entourage procession began. I even thought it was only a rehearsal, because the Coordinator was rushing us. He didn’t even bother to close the door and fix ate Joan’s veil and train (which is long and very beautiful). BUT SHE STILL IS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL BRIDE.

The Holy Mass went on and the priest’s homily about love was touching and wonderful. Ate Joan and Ephraim were so happy, and everyone felt the same joy. I facilitated the picture taking after the ceremony, and I am very happy to do that one thing I wish to change in my own wedding (hahah, di naman ako bitter. :p Gusto ko lang din talaga lahat ng mga important guests merong kuha, especially the entourage, and yung merong mga guests na magwwelcome sa couple paglabas ng Simbahan. Pero di ako bitter. Di talaga :p )

The wedding reception at Octea Resort was joyful, despite one flaw that is the resort’s recommended Emcee. This is supposed to be a happy post, but just let me rant for five minutes, dahil baka magpareserve din kayo sa Octea at sya ang maging emcee sa event nyo. Tagalog na din para mas dama. She was very unprofessional. Twice nyang ininjan ang ate ko sa meeting nila before the wedding, lagi pang seen lang ang message sa chat. The first time we met her was the night before the wedding, and she arrogantly told me, “Sa 10 years ko nang paghhost, alam ko na ang best sequence ng program”, referring to our OWN prepared program flow. Wala akong credentials di tulad nya na 10 years na palang Host, pero di ko tanggap yung way nya ng pananalita sakin. Pero okay lang, respeto, at ayaw naming mastress si Ate Joan. On the event itself, she came wearing a body-hugging and super short mini-dress (pero sorry po, she was not slim). Okay sige, pagbigyan pa din. But what we no longer can accept was sinabotahe nya ang program on purpose- sinunod nga nya ang program na prinepare namin, pero sinasadya nyang bagalan ang pagtawag sa mga guests causing everyone to become bored and for that part to consume a lot of time, and by the time na tapos nang kumain yung unang table na tinawag for picture taking and buffet, magsstart pa lang kumain yung last table. Tapos wala syang ginawa para maentertain ang mga guests, isa-isa na tuloy nagpaalam. Di sya nagconnect sa mga bisita, at ni hindi nga nya tinatawag by name yung mga nagsasalita, kahit pa sila ate Joan at Ephraim, “Bride” & “Groom” lang ang tawag nya. Sabi nung resort owner, magaling naman daw yun na Host, di nya lang alam bakit naging ganun ang attitude nya sa amin. Kaya mas lalong nakakagigil. Sayang talaga kasi okay naman sana ang food at service ng Octea.

But anyway, tapos na ung rant. We enjoyed our stay in Cavite, and Ate Joan found her forever and promised to love him for the rest of their lives. I know weddings can be too stressful, because we desire for a perfect one. But just like any relationship, nothing and nobody is perfect. When I got married, I realized that the wedding preparation, ceremony, and reception are all like married life. Kumbaga, binibigyan ka ng preview on what’s gonna happen to all the days after that “BIG DAY”. The stresses, drama, indecisions, pangingialam ng pamilya, financial difficulty, or personal issues that happened during the preparation and event itself will all happen again- everyday. But just like what we did on those early days, we must (and will) endure, because we’re seeking for and looking at just one goal- to be with that one person we love.

Personal

2019 | January’s Best

The first month of 2019 has proven how strong yet fragile I really am. There were a lot of challenges that weighed me down, being tired was an understatement. Because of my decision to try my luck and apply for a new job in a different workplace, January became the month when I resolved to face all my backlogs and put my office into “perfect” order for the sake of the next Counselor. But numerous cases piled into the Guidance Office, and I didn’t have a choice but to put that off. The violations of our students really made me sad, and I would often wonder why would they do such evil things. 😦 That’s why the recent news about decreasing the age of criminal liability into age 9 is so relevant for me, but I guess that’s for another blog post.

Anyway, my work was so exhausting, but family life is doing well. Our dearest baby Ella is becoming a toddler now, palikot sya ng palikot araw-araw. But I observed that Ella is now recognizing our routine- I could definitely feel that she already knows I am not the Parent who got to stay with her every day. But instead of shying away from me, she is clinging to me every time she has the chance. It is both sweet and heartbreaking for me. As much as I want to take care of her every single day, I have the responsibility to provide for the family’s needs.

Making memories this 2019 💖
Yey! Coffee date with Daddy and Ella ^_^ We redeemed the SB Travel Organizer ^_^
The Agustins dinner at Gilligans

January was also a good month for service. We started well in our goal of training and forming our YFC ROCK Facilitators. We had an enjoyable chapter assembly, though both our YFCs and KFCs were still low in numbers. Yet we are hopeful, and given the current predicament of our community, that is what really matters now.

Chapter Aseembly for the Month of January
Couple Coordinators Service Meeting at Calle Bistro

Generally, I’m pleased to be able to say I am happy, despite the difficulties I experience at work. I got to take care of my self (I took a short “me time”), was able to spend time and partey with my Gen Choir friends and I was also able to visit Isaiah. But the sweetest blessing of all for the month of January was Ate Joan’s pregnancy. We are all joyful, especially Mama and Papa. God is really good and generous.

Personal · Work

I’m tired (but fighting)

Alam mo yung tipo ng pagod na kahit gano kadaming milk tea ang laklakin ko, o kahit starbucks ang kape ko, kalahating araw lang ako nacomfort at pagod pa din ako. Yung sinasabi sa quotes na “my soul is tired” kasi hindi rin naman tulog ang kailangan ko. Pagod na ko sa trabaho. Pagod na kong palagi na lang maging troubleshooter sa mga problema ng ibang tao. Pagod na kong umastang okay lang, kahit pa di ko rin naman mapigilan ang sarili na ngumiti, tumawa, tumulong, o unahin ang iba. Pagod na kong palagi na lang akong negative thinker, pagod na kong maging pagod palagi. Nakakapagod yung feeling na gusto kong maglock ng office door para walang bata, o Parent, na maghanap o kumausap sakin, tapos magi-guilty ako kasi that’s the reason why I’m in that office in the first place.

Napanood ko sa news kanina, kulang daw ang mga Guidance Counselors kaya dumadami ang cases ng bullying at child abuse sa mga paaralan. Mas lalo akong nalungkot. As much as I wanted to pursue this career and vocation, nakakapagod kasi talaga. Ang haba pa ng lalakbayin bago ka matawag na REGISTERED Guidance Counselor. Gagastos ng limpak-limpak na salapi para sa mga qualifications na kailangan, para sa basic at “less than the faculty members” salary. Sa apat na taon ko sa academe, palagi kong naririnig yung di kami pwede ipantay sa mga teachers, kasi NON-TEACHING personnel kami, pero bakit ang demand katulad lang ng sa mga guro? At ayan na nga, samin nasisisi kapag dumadami ang mga kaso ng mga batang nagmi-misbehave.

Life isn’t always fair, and I understand that. In my line of work, I am not as appreciated as a regular teacher do, but I’ve already accepted that long way before. I’m not much into recognition (though I now appreciate a higher pay hahahahaha), but what I really need is peace of mind. I long to be respected for what I do, especially from the Parents who supposedly should model good manners and right conduct. I’m praying for the day when Guidance Counselors can also be given the rest and guidance they also rightfully deserve. I hope Guidance Counselors can also be taken care of. I hope.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I have written this post earlier this morning on my way to work, and saved it to be published this lunch break. Just this morning, a Parent came to my office and we talked. When we finished, she told me, “Ma’am, thank you po ha. I appreciate what you do, salamat po sa concern sa anak ko.” Ni hindi ako nakasagot agad. :< Thank you Lord. In the most difficult times, He would bring someone to lift me up.

Family and Relationships · Places

Staycation at Haeinsa Condotel

The #SingForever family held our Christmas/Yearend/NewYear party by having a staycation at Haeinsa Condotel last January 12-13. My friend booked it thru Zen Rooms, and for a 3k+ expense for one night, I could say, we just got the most out of what we paid for.

Haeinsa Condotel- 3 ⭐⭐⭐

Booking: I think we didn’t have a hard time contacting the hotel. My friend was the one who managed all the booking and contacting, and he had actually given us a confirmation email quickly after our agreement of the date.

Customer Service: The condotel’s reception was bland. When we entered the lobby, the receptionist just simply looked at us and continued what she was doing in her computer. I calmly told her my friend’s name, and she answered me rather unenthusiastically.

Cleanliness: Our group’s a total of 9 pax, so we got 2 Family Rooms as accommodation. The room was spacious enough (though, it was narrow and elongated, not wide) for 2 single beds, 1 double bed, a square dining table with 3 chairs, a refrigerator, and bathroom (with thermostat to control water temp). The room and bathroom were clean when we arrived, but I think a bigger trash can is needed (kasi diba Family Room, so maramihang tao kaya sana mas malaki ang trash can).

Family Quadruple Room good for 4-6 persons

Amenity: Given its location, I think Haeinsa is primarily a traveller’s inn, for it offers just a comfortable place to sleep in- nothing more, nothing less. There’s nothing much you can do, but I must say that their internet connection was fast and reliable.

Convenience: It isn’t hard to go to Haeinsa Condotel. It is very near (walking distance) to East Avenue and EDSA. There are also a lot of stores, including fast food chain, outside the building, so it wouldn’t be difficult to grab some food if their restaurant doesn’t appeal to you.

All in all, Haeinsa Condotel is good enough for a comfortable place to sleep in. Just plan to bring in games or activities that you actually enjoy (and you are not the bunch who are into swimming) and your staycation will be affordable, okay and fun.

Personal

2018 Year-End Review

2018 in 3 words
1. Eventful (Siksik)
2. Challenging (Liglig)
3. Bountiful (Nag-uumapaw)

Favorite Memory
#1
Mommy: Ella, love mo ba si Mommy?
Ella: Opo!

#2
Daddy Aljhon: (waking me up) Congrats Mommy! Pasado ka na!
Mommy: (Sat up, checked the roster of new RPms, and congratulated friends who also passed the exams)
Mommy: Check nga natin yung highest scorers, ano kayang rating ko (opened the file, saw that the top score was 83) Hala, ano pa kaya kami, line of 7 na kami neto! (Went to the second page and saw my name on the 10th place)
Mommy: (broke down. As in HAGULGOL.)

Biggest Accomplishment
I was able to take the leap of faith and took the Board Exams. I just came back from the hospital. It was so hard to balance and divide my time among my review classes, work load, church service, and family duties. But God is gracious. He led me to it, and sustained me through it. He even rewarded me and put me into10th spot of BLEPP 2018.

Biggest Challenge
To not give up and continue what I started, while prioritizing my own health and welfare.

This year I..
thank God for His generosity and goodness. AS IN SOBRA. :3

Time Well Spent
Due to tons of work I have to juggle everyday, I tried my best to maximize the time I have. Everyday when I go to work, I make sure I was able to accomplish everything I can. Sa sobrang tight ng sched, wala talaga akong sinasayang na oras. Ni wala nang inaallot na time for personal breaks, just so I can do more things.

Could have Done better
Pag-aayos at pag-lilinis ng bahay
Trying to get Ella to return to breastfeeding (we stopped at 10 months, one of my biggest heart breaks in 2018)

Money Well Spent
The 13k tuition fee for RGO as my review center for BLEPP really paid off! Walang paghihinayang! 🙂

New Skills learned
(Faux) Calligraphy (hahah) :p

Good Habits formed
I was able to regain being patient (nagkasakit kasi ako ng 1 buwan sa ospital kaya patient talaga ako :p). There was a time when I lost that part of myself when I would stay silent despite being triggered. This year, through the many challenges I’ve been to, I managed to recover that and not become too emotional and impatient, even during those times na ang sarap-sarap magretaliate at mang away ng tao.

Bad Habits Broken
My attendance improved this school year, somehow. Hahah :p

Start Doing
Allot an hour per day (1st hour upon waking up) for exercising and tidying up our house.
Take care of the “whites” (laundry). Hahah

Keep Doing
Sleep and wake up as early as possible. Praying the rosary every other day.
Journaling and blogging.

Stop Doing
Checking phone and social media upon waking up

Theme/Word for 2019
STEP UP

Something New
I am facing the New Year with mixed emotions. I am excited to use my new title (RPm!) perhaps in a new work place *cross fingers* but I am also apprehensive of the changes that naturally come along with it. Four years with BSCS enabled me to grow roots within the school, and though I no longer have intentions to stay, it had already been a comfort zone and I will surely miss my co-workers. Bahala na si Lord ano pa man ang mangyari sa mga darating na araw.

Top Three Goals for 2019
1. Have greater source(s) of income.
2. Train the YFC ROCK and empower our kids and youth.
3. Become a more effective and efficient homemaker (that includes taking care of Ella).

Lessons Learned
2018 is both beautiful and difficult. But I learned that prayers can truly move mountains, and that God remains faithful even when you’re not or you reach the point of breaking down and giving up. I also learned that in that most miserable moment, wonderful and amazing things happen, so you must hold on and continue no matter what everyone, even your heart, tells you. I learned to cry my heart out, or stumbled literally on my knees, but I also rediscovered what it feels like to be at the top, acknowledged and praised. I learned that forgiveness demands a huge sacrifice of self-regard and ego, but it does make you whole. I realized the importance of health, and that prioritizing myself doesn’t make me evil. I learned that life is a very beautiful thing, despite hardships that frustrate us. So I must fight for it, every single day. I need not fear nor worry, for my God is a great and generous God, who knows my heart and what’s best for me.

Thank you 2018, Welcome 2019 ⭐

Disclaimer: Prompts are from Boho Berry Challenge for the month of December.

Personal

Ten tips to pass the BLEPP

  1. Pray. You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.
  2. Have a vision and believe in that vision. Having a goal organizes you and your actions. Umpisa pa lang, maniwala ka nang magagawa mong makapasa dahil gagawin mo ang lahat para matupad iyon.
  3. Enroll in a good review center; or invest in good psych review materials. Honestly, I didn’t read any recommended psych books (or touched any psych books, pr se)e I just relied on the drills provided by RGO, and I also borrowed a compiled review material from another review center. Dinasalan ko lang din talaga mga drills ko. Hahah.
  4. Be creative in reviewing. I struggled a lot in reviewing and focusing. I did my best to be present in all my review classes, but at home, I was so tired from work that all I would do was sleep after taking care of Ella. 😦 What I did to compensate was watch youtube videos about psych concepts that I have a hard time comprehending. This is particularly helpful with TOP. I also downloaded photos and pdf that I managed to memorize while commuting to and from work.
  5. Know your study style and listen to your body. The most important thing here is before you study for the Boards, learn FIRST the study habits that will best benefit and suit you. Everyone of us is different. Know the best time for your brain to fully work, as well as the things that best motivate you. Now remember this: Take care of your body and it will take care of you (translation: kapag inaantok at pagod na, matulog ka na!). I am a working Mom, and it was so difficult for me to balance it all, all the time. But what keeps me sane is SELF-CARE (it is my motto this year; learning it the hard way when I was hospitalized last summer). I didn’t push myself too much when I wasn’t in the mood to review. I would sleep as early as 8 in the evening, but would wake up at 2 or 3am, recharged and ready to read and study. I would also buy highlighters and writing materials that I love, to serve as a motivation and a reward. These are all small things, but greatly helped in my review.
  6. Be worried, and cry. It’s all part of the journey- the self-doubt, regret, anxiety, procrastination. Embrace all of these so that you can fully enjoy accomplishing the BLEPP after. Acknowledge what you feel, give in just a little sometimes, but don’t dwell in it. I also cried for the BLEPP- three times to be exact. Twice, after reviewing and I just had a breakdown after realizing I wasn’t spending enough time with Ella and I missed her; and once, I got home from work terribly tired, I questioned myself why do I have to do this. I can admit that now, but back then I was even ashamed to tell that to my husband. It’s okay to cry, it’s okay to be tired. We’ve all been there, and we’ve come through. Kaya kaya mo din yan. 🙂
  7. Accomplish the requirements ahead of time. When I finally decided to take the BLEPP (April 2018, after being hospitalized), I started to work on my requirements. When the application period opened, I already had everything I need and I was just focused in my review. One important tip: talk with people who have already registered and verify if what you have will suffice what PRC is looking for. In my case kasi, my colleague in school also took the Boards for Librarians, and PRC didn’t accept the GMC from our school. He told me about it and I was able to do something that when I submitted my requirements everything went well.
  8. Sacrifice something. Well, taking the Board Exams is all about sacrifice. You let go a big chunk of your time and social life just so you can focus in studying. And never forget about sacrificing the time you spend on social media. In my case, whenever I felt lonely during review classes because I miss Ella, I would try to remember my vision, and daydream about the last day of exams, when I am finally free to take care of my child as much as I can, with a Psychometrician license.
  9. Come to the examination day 101% prepared. A week before BLEPP, it was our school’s Quarterly Exams (to which I was the only one in charge) and Educational trip for the elementary pupils; I was rushed to the UST Hospital again due to stomach ache, and we celebrated my eldest sister’s 30th birthday and bridal shower. It was one of the stressful weeks I went through (post-hospitalization). But right after the bridal shower on the October 28th (a day before BLEPP), I cleared my mind so I can physically, mentally, and emotionally prepare for the Boards. I did last minute review and note-taking, readied my clothes and things for the next day, and most importantly, relaxed my mind so I won’t be too pressured. A good amount of worry and panic can help you during preparation, but the night before the Boards: breathe, let go, and surrender. I prayed to God for peace of mind, and He gave that to me. Sobrang great at bait lang talaga ni Lord.
  10. Pray again. Believe that God knows how much you desire your license, how eager you prepared in obtaining it, but most importantly, God knows what is BEST for you. Whatever the outcome, believe in yourself and always give the best that you got. We sure need the license in our profession, but God has prepared an even bigger plan for us to serve our purpose, with or without qualifications.

Sincerely,

Rolinda Josine Molato Agustin-Mercado, RPm

BLEPP 2018 10th Placer

Personal · Work

Training leaders

Last Saturday, the Guidance office spearheaded a Leadership Training for our Student Council.

It was a half-day activity comprising of three parts. First talk is Executive Training Workshop facilitated by Red de Leon, a Grade 11 student leader from Claret School of QC. He discussed the roles, functions, and responsibilities of being a Student Council officer.

Next talk was Servant Leadership given by me. I taught them the 10 Principles of Servant Leadership by Robert Greenleaf (1970).

The last part of the program was the Washing of the Feet. SCB Moderator Ms. Diamond headed the activity and humbly set an example to her student leaders.

This is actually the first time for BSCS to conduct a leadership training for the students. That’s why I feel happy, despite the students’ slight apprehension towards the activities, to be able to give them the knowledge they need in order to become an effective leader. It has always been my goal and dream to empower my students so that they can be more, do more, and give more, not just to BSCS but to their own families and communities. I observed some hesitation and unpleasant reaction from them (hayy, ewan ko ba sa Gen Z), but I know that in God’s time, all my efforts will be worth it. Until then, I’ll go and set a good example myself, just like how a good leader should always be.