Monthly Archives: September 2012

If Each Birthday Cake Were An Age Marker


If each birthday cake were an age marker, I think I’d have added a good 16 years worth of cake during my birthday week(end).

I’m not used to holding parties or any celebration of my birth for that matter especially during my working years.  The hassle in preparation plus finding a perfect mix for a celebration was always too restricting fo me.  I’ve gotten used to people giving hints on party details.  Even at home, bigtime celebrations were a thing of the past.

Just imagine my pleasure when a day before my birthday (since August 11 was a Saturday) I prepared a small serving of food for my colleagues when they whipped out their surprise for me.

My first surprise cake from SDC – Chocolate Cake

But aside from the surprise cake and other treats, my Grade Level colleagues gave such a beautiful prayer for me.

Really quite refreshing to be in an environment that’s very positive and selfless.

My celebration continued on the date of my birth itself.  We only had one class in the morning and the rest of the day was given to me as a gift (so to speak).  I decided to introduce some of my colleagues to Valhall Bar and Deli for cold cuts and other dishes.

Food Trip: Valhall Bar and Deli

When I got home, I found this… my second surprise birthday cake courtesy of my mom.  Plus my most favorite Baked Macaroni from Kimbell’s (my childhood favorite baked macaroni baker.

My 2nd Cake Surprise: Carrot Cake and Baked Macaroni

Since Mom prepared for dessert, I opted to invite my #DavaoRusher friends (including my bff) to celebrate with me at home.  And as luck would have it, I got my third cake surprise in likes of Red Ribbon’s Mocha Roll.  How I LOVE mocha!

Davao Rushers with one lacking – @Rawrph

And to culminate my weekend birthday surprise, Mom ordered chocolate cake as a “make-up” surprise for all the years wherein she never got to do this.  Expecting one piece of cake to bring to my workplace, she got her own surprise when her friend prepared a dozen and one mini cakes for me.

13 mini cakes

I know it’s a month late in posting.  But I felt the need to really post this.  Thank you for everyone who made this year’s birthday a very memorable one.  The change in my life for the past few months have been such a whirlwind of experience and a rollercoaster of emotions.  In all my years of working in an industrial setting, it is only through my current job that have experienced being treated exceptionally.

I wish I could have shared it with friends who were far away and loved ones who’ve gone ahead.  Nevertheless, thank you for the greetings and memories I will always cherish.

If each birthday cake were indeed markers of age, then I wouldn’t mind getting thousands of cakes if it meant that I am loved.

Thank you everyone!

A Closer Encounter


I was roughly around 14 years old when I first encountered the term Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during my pocketbook collection frenzy of the works by author Lindsay McKenna.  With her Morgan’s Mercenaries series of literary novels that touches close to the turmoils and endeavors in coping of soldiers-of-war survivors, catching a glimpse of the world they revolve around – the horrors and the simple joys they experience – brought life to each protagonist and their healer.  Albeit fictional books by library category, Lindsay McKenna’s writings became one of my many “white rabbits” along the proverbial hole of my wonderland… the quest to be a catalyst for change… for healing.

I never had much of a chance in engaging in volunteer work during my undergrad years except for school-related activities.  In my previous working years, it was only limited to employee relations and information dissemination.  So when the invitation from one of my former professors (through one of my colleagues) to conduct a Psychosocial debriefing to the children who were victims of the latest incident in Paquibato district, I immediately confirmed my attendance for the said activity.  Although quite unfamiliar with what to do, I was eager to give my time for it.  Thankfully, most of my fellow counselors were coming along thus becoming a team effort in our office. (Refer here for the article about the Paquibato district incident).

We were scheduled to go onsite Sunday, September 9, 2012.  A briefing was conducted for the volunteers a day before to prepare necessary items and tasks to be at our optimum level of service regardless of the little time we were given.  Thankfully, we were all able to contribute in the preparation and made swift with the last minute add-ons.

The road to Paquibato was a relatively long one.  With our escorts opting to take the longer-and-out-of-the-way route rather than the closer-to-the-city-limits route, the journey took us to an opportunity to take in the surroundings and soak up on deep stories coated with humor that can only be labeled as military in nature.  It was such a privilege to be in the presence of those who put their lives on the line for the safety of others.

All Smiles at our first stop.

Upon arriving to the site, seeing the locals carefully watching us was quite daunting.  But nevertheless, the palpable eagerness of each volunteer to be of service was a reassuring atmosphere around us.

Briefing and other instructions

Most volunteers went off to the nearby school to start preparing for the rooms to be used by each volunteers team.  But due to the start of the Thanksgiving mass, we had to delay a bit on our activities.

While waiting by the classrooms…

It was way past noon when the mass ended.  So our group decided to return to our meeting site and have our lunch first (since most of the residents had to take their lunch as well) and move our activity from the school back to the covered court.  As a sign of communion with our military escorts, we were treated to an authentic boodle fight.

First time boodle fighters

Ahh… I remember my high school days as a PMT officer. 🙂

Grab your grub!

Our activity started with a short program to gather all the children within the vicinity.  And as the Ms. Pure Energy that she is, my Grade Level Head rocked the house down with her come-here-children sunny disposition.

Icebreaker c/o my GLH

We then proceeded to breaking down the children in groups based on their age and began talking to each one.  Afterwhich, a basic play therapy activity was utilized in exploring  more of their subconscious but enabling the children to have fun in the process.

Last (Wo)Men Standing

 

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