Monday, June 30, 2014


Integrity and objectivity. These were the values instilled in us by our Journalism professor.  

I took these to heart when I apprenticed at the news desk of a radio station; and later joined a broadcast company, and then another, after college.

Our TV station's evening news program reaped awards for TV news reporting because our News and Public Affairs bosses adhered to these tenets.  

That's a bygone era. 

That was when TV news, no matter how shocking, didn't make your blood pressure rise — because even the most disgusting or heart-breaking stories were delivered by newscasters who didn't raise their eyebrows or sounded panicky.  It was up to the viewer to supply his own angst or disgust or disbelief.  

A professional newscaster modulated his voice. No tinge of editorializing, bias or intrigue. No shouting or eardrum-busting tones and snide comments. No bringing-you-to-the-gutter tactics.

Oh yes,  some emotion and a bit of hysteria somehow made their way into our living rooms.  But these were during live coverage of crises, like the EDSA revolution or a devastating earthquake. 

Today, when I turn on the news, I somehow get the same sense of panic attack akin to what I experienced when, many years back, a radio broadcast reported that a building collapsed due to an earthquake. 

Sensationalism is bad for your health! Today's broadcasts seem to set you off on fear-mode.
Reporters didn't report neighborhood fights or husband-beats-wife incidents. Those were for the tabloids. Sadly, today's TV newscasts have turned primetime news into tabloids, magnifying tsismis, gore and scandals, and the lurid details of celebrities' lives. 

Where's the real news? How about some news on Filipino achievers, and I mean not just showbiz personalities. There must be some news about government leaders and programs worth emulating. And the world is so diverse, viewers could probably benefit from learning about what's happening in other countries. 

Or how about some objective commentary coming from those who can --- without fanfare or angas --- truly analyze the news and the actions of people behind them. We should have more Anthony Tabernas or Ka Tunyings in every newscast.

Our newscasts have become so micro-and-bad-news-oriented, viewers fail to see a bigger perspective with which they can judge domestic happenings. 

Then maybe, we can use some praise reports. Not the usual praise releases of politicians or entities glorifying themselves to get votes for the next election or to propagate some sinister ideology.  

Why not these? Honest-to-goodness news on goodness and kindness.  Successful partnerships, philanthropy and entrepreneurship.  Character and situation turn-arounds, triumph of good versus evil, etc.  

I'm not surprised if a lot of Pinoy TV viewers no longer tune in to local news. "Tumataas ang presyon ko," says my friend. 

I found one local news channel which still adheres to non-sensational and intelligent reporting.  Solar TV newscasters could amp their enthusiasm a bit; but I salute them for their objectivity and sobriety.

Isaiah 52:7---"How lovely on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who announces peace and brings good news of happiness, who announces salvation, And says to Zion, "Your God reigns!"

That's why if you're sick and tired of watching hysterical news, the Good News is always there to comfort and give you hope. 

Saturday, June 21, 2014


As a teacher, my only wish is for my students to be teachable and responsive, their minds and hearts molded just right so that when they graduate, they'd be ready to take on the challenges of a crazy dog-eat-dog marketplace.

If I see just a glimmer of interest or someone's eyes connecting with mine when I lecture or tell them stories, I grow hopeful.

I experienced that on my first teaching day a few days ago; so in spite of a migraine headache intensifying as the day progressed, I persisted and taught like it were my last lecture day---careful that these fresh-out-of-high-school kids would not miss the direction their elders want them to take.

Some students even stayed to chat after class. One lingered to share why she enrolled in spite of limited finances. We prayed for one's problematic family situation. Then a few of my old students bounded in, making the new ones feel at ease and welcomed.

Whew, that was just day one!

With two days and four sections to handle each week, the next three months promises to be a windfall. Who knows what surprises and tricks my students may pull to fill our classroom with glee?

Flashes of wisdom and brilliance?  Eureka moments? Discoveries? Excitement? Fun? Creativity? Learnings and blessings galore! Aren't these every teacher's wish for her students?

You see, I take my "teacher" calling rather seriously. And I'm dead-set that in the 112 classroom hours I get to spend with them this particular term, some of them will claim later that they've become wiser, hope-filled, brighter, more analytical, smarter and more confident.

But how I conduct my life should also speak volumes to them. My lectures may poke their minds. But my character and attitude will surely cut through their hearts---if I behave as I should. 

Word and deed in equal proportion---that's the meat teachers serve to knowledge-and-direction-starved young minds.

"Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching, show integrity, dignity," Titus 2:7.

Whatever void a student feels should somehow be filled as he catches a whiff of the profound in my class.

It's quite a chore and a nose-bleed for a baby boomer like me to connect with millennials who are supposedly self-obsessed or narcissistic and more interested in their gadgets and their selfies than reading and learning. 

More and more, I find it a bit of a struggle to bait them to the task at hand.

Still, teaching is a privilege which allows me entry into some stranger's budding life. Every lesson preparation time, I wrack my brain so that I can easily wiggle into the consciousness of studying-averse teens. 

There must be ways to engage them! 

So I think: young, games and rewards, experiential, cool, audio-visual. Perfect therapy, on the other hand, for an old foggy's staggering brain neurons. 

Teaching is littered with disappointments. But it comes with the territory. 

My friend Babeth advises: "When a student presents difficulties, I just recall the teachers in my life who were extra-patient with me. :) and I learn to appreciate the student, especially if it's a kid with special needs."

Almost 80 minds to discover, uncover and connect with in the next three months. This term should be a blast, and blessings-filled. 

Monday, June 9, 2014


Dateline: Eternity, Jesus' throneroom, heaven

My conversation thread with Jesus—

Yay: Did you really want to save me even if I did many awful things?

Jesus: Hey, I created you, didn't I? You are mine. Didn't you think I'd let you go without a fight?

Yay: Up the point of death and humiliation?

Jesus: Would you not fight to death for what is yours since the beginning of time? Didn't my Father give you to me?

Yay: Even if I rebelled and let you down?

Jesus: Because I had planned something better for you. I created you, remember? Did you think I would let that go to waste?

Yay: Is that the reason why you became man?

Jesus: How else could I reach you? Through thunder and lightning? Hurricanes? Wouldn't that terrify you?

Yay (beholding Jesus' face): Would this face? With your love? Your touch? Your healing? Your friendship? Your wisdom? 
Your miracles? You loved us that much, didn't you?

Jesus: Need I say more?

Sunday, June 1, 2014

We are a generation of sound-biters — our daily lives reduced to easy-to-chew or shortened processes. 

         Well, because everyone craves for convenience. We're all just too busy to take complicated and stress-laden routes. 

         So slowly-brewed coffee has given way to instant, three-in-one pa

         A supposedly full balanced meal can easily be replaced by, for example, instant mami, with a few emaciated leaves thrown in for veggie effect or microscopic meat strands to resemble protein. But really, where's the nutrition?

        And because we're barraged by so many instant messages even when we're on our toes — either through cellphone texting or access-anywhere internet — we have learned to message like brats unmindful of the rules. Even our formal correspondences show our love for short cuts:  "Luv," "Hapi," and "LOL" are just "K lang."

       We're all pretty cool with sound bites. It's the stuff of successful brands:  "Open happiness." "Just do it." "It's time every Juan flies." "Kailangan pa bang i-memorize yan?" "Mukhasim." "Love ko to."

       I've observed the sound bite character among my students. They simply refuse to read books even as they spend more time on their mobile phones, Facebook and other social media sites.  

       Haven't you noticed that some of the most liked messages on Facebook are bible messages captured in sound bites? I believe it is a fulfillment of end-time prophecy. The Word of God has gone viral, permeating popular culture and meeting people daily where they're at — their mobile devices.  

       For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea, Habakkuk 2:14. Has this happened yet? 

As believers, we are encouraged to share the Word of God, in season and out of season — because we know that His Word will not come back to Him void. 

       Using Facebook and every means possible to fulfill Jesus' great commission should be every believer's calling. However, sound bites alone will not hack it. 

       Most of the time, we limit our messages to those which tickle readers' ears  — His great love and mercy. Oh how we love it when we read verses on peace, joy, contentment, victory, triumphing over the enemy, and having all of our needs met.

       But we need to bring to the discussion table too the truth about God's wrath and justice and that He will take to task anyone who willfully rebels and calls wrong right. 

       The created should realize their Creator is a jealous God who cautions us against turning to other gods  — be they of silver, gold or stone, and power, possessions or lustful desires.
       Having made us, He desires our fellowship and forbids us from chasing after anything that would prevent us from trusting or depending on Him.  

       Too, if we think that biblical sound bites could substitute for time alone with God, that's wishful thinking. God has given us an entire operating manual, the Bible, through which we can discern His every will, rule, promise and purpose. 

       Unless we take to heart the entire Book —  God's desire to fellowship with us and His relentless love through Jesus who came to save us from eternal death — we will all be treading on dangerous waters, no matter how many feel-good sound bites we eat every day. 

       What's scary is this: That we be lulled into thinking that all is well because God is loving, patient and compassionate, and we fail to see His character as a just God. 

       That's the reason Jesus should be the center of all our shared messages. Everyone needs to know that unless they turn to Jesus as their Savior and Lord, their knowledge of God, and their ability to follow Him, even through death, ends in a black hole.   

       Oh that we may all be filled with the knowledge of God from His Book and His plan to save us through Jesus, the One destined to cause the stumbling of many. 

       Because of that name —  Jesus —  many will be brought down to their knees to repent of their sins. 

       All who call on the name of Jesus and put their faith in Him will be saved! 

       Feel-good sound bites are just the beginning. We all need to grow in our relationship with Him through Jesus. 

       Read your bible! And let Jesus teach you everything you need to know from A to Z.