What I learned in Spanish 1. . .
(Did I really learn?)


Hello / Hola Goodbye / Adios Good morning/good day / Buenos dias
Good afternoon / Buenas tardes
Good evening/night / Buenas noches
How are you? / Como esta usted?
Very well thank you / Muy bien, gracias See you soon / Hasta luego
That’s all right / Esta bien
Don’t worry / No se preocupe

Useful Statements
I (don’t) like it / (No) me gusta I’m not sure / No estoy seguro
I don’t know / No se
I think so / Creo que si
I’m hungry (thirsty) / Tengo hambre (sed)
I’m tired / Estoy cansado
I’m ready / Estoy listo
Leave me alone / Dejame solo por favor

Just one minute / Un minuto por favor
One moment please / Un momento por favor
Come in / Adelante
It’s cheap (expensive) / Es barato (caro)
It’s cold (hot) / Hace frio (calor)
It’s too much / Es demasiado
That’s all / Es todo
Thank you for your help / Gracias por tu ayuda
Taxi please / Taxi por favor

Where is(are)? / Donde esta(estan)? When? / Cuando?
Who? / Quien?
Why? / Por que?
What? / Que?
How much is (are)? Cuanto es(son)?
How far? / Que distancia hay?
I want (would like...) / Quiero...
What is the matter? / Que pasa?
Can you help me? / Puede usted ayudarme? Can you show me? / Puede usted enseñarme? Can you tell me? / Puede usted decirme?

Oh . . .Spanish!


Survival Books and Readings:

This article was written by me, Jana Felice Gonzalez. I am currently studying in the University of the Philippines Visayas. This article was assigned by our instructor, Mr. Kevin Piamonte. This is about our view on PNoy's first SONA.

Truth Brings Consequence

Jana Felice P. Gonzalez

The start of change has arrived. Eyes and ears of the Filipinos were all focused on President Benigno Aquino III for his first State-of-the-Nation Address in the joint session of the 15th Congress.
Many were so attuned to the television. It seemed like the whole country paused for less than an hour. I chose to watch in a public viewing so that I can observe the reactions of many people.
I guess the uplifting Inaugural speech of Noynoy made us curious for his first SONA. I remembered that day, June 30. The day when the son of a former president and a hero stepped in office and replaced the most vicious woman I know. Everyone was truly moved on that day. I even had goose bumps after his speech. It was because I did not see a president in him but rather a citizen that would initiate change. He pointed out that he was aware of a lot of things down to the simplest ones. And so together with the rest of the inquisitive Filipinos, I anticipated.
Few minutes before the official SONA, there were already news about him. Though there was traffic in some places, his convoy still followed what he said in his Inauguration, “No to Wang Wang”. There were also reports on known and controversial officials like Imelda Marcos who was present and the abrupt travel of Gloria Arroyo to Hong Kong. When I heard that news, I immediately reacted. Admittedly, I predicted that she would do that. Her absence only proves that the anomalies which Noynoy pinpointed on her were factual.
Many were curious how the SONA would be. Many speculated that his SONA would be different from Gloria for it would focus on the real state of the nation unlike Gloria’s usual boasting of achievements. When Edwin Lacierda, the presidential spokesman was asked on an interview days before PNoy SONA, he stressed that PNoy’s message on the past administration is completely factual. It’s up to us if we say it’s only a criticism or the opposite.

I looked at my watch and it was 3: 55 pm, Noynoy’s convoy was really near the Batasang Pambansa. The newscasters were stating their opinions and some other facts regarding the rallies. I wasn’t listening much on them because I focused on the screen and in the middle of those chatters which I regarded as noises; I saw a very touching scene on the screen.
There were small children jumping for joy and excitement when they saw the presidential convoy. That was touching for me since even small children who were ignorant and unaware of their surroundings were glad to see the convoy pass that only prove that Noynoy brings them hope.

Admittedly, I was one of the persons that did not trust the abilities of Noynoy during the campaign. I thought he was just bearing the name of his parents. Yes, he was a Senator. But for me he was unable to make laws. In my mind, he was one of those so called legislatures not really doing their jobs. So, I was rooting for Gibo, Gloria’s bet. He maybe with the disliked administration but his wisdom was beyond belief. When I heard, Noynoy won I felt defeated.
And I had the impression that the people made the wrong choice. But I was wrong.
Now I could see that he wasn’t the man that I thought he was. He was silent for years but not for long. I am amazed by his effort to make the Philippines better. He works for what he promised. I just hope that his works would make things better. And I hope he wouldn’t ruin my new impression on him. Trust is hard to gain.

When PNoy entered the Batasang Pambansa, he was welcomed with Militrary Honors and was greeted by the Senate President Enrile and Speaker Belmonte. There were several representatives shaking his hand smiling and formally greeting him. It was inconvenient for me to watch those people because they seem so plastic. Maybe not all of them but I knew the fact that those persons were part of the corruption of the former administration. That brings me back with the idea of him being surrounded by people with hidden agenda. And they may under him.
The clock turns to 4:07 pm. PNoy officially entered the session hall. All the people inside were rushing to him. When he stood in front of all the Senators and the Representatives, all were in awe. Silence was evident. I don’t know though if all were happy or were only pretending to be.
Yes, the event started with the usual singing of the National Anthem. But what made all in order was the National Prayer. It may have been present before but I haven’t noticed it. I guess that only brings me to the thought that Noynoy is associated with religion. He is certainly unlike Gloria.
He started his speech with his campaign slogan “Para sa tuwid na daan”. For me, he started rapidly. But the words were concise. And what captured my attention was his choice to use the Filipino language. He made me feel proud to be a Filipino. I noticed many international officials were there. How would they understand him? It made me realize that it didn’t matter for him because he was addressing the speech to the Filipino citizens not to them.
Well, the speculation that he would talk on the anomalies of Gloria’s administration was right. He did. And all were shocking. He talked bravely, unafraid of these people. He stated how much money we have lost. He even highlighted that the money for Calamity Fund went to Pampanga, the place of the former president instead of Pangasinan. He even uttered some of the organizations with dubiously actions. And allow me to again say, those were shocking!
He continued his speech with what he did together with his Cabinet members on those anomalies. He also shared what he will do. Moreover, he started to tackle tax evaders and smugglers and what effects these people gave us. He said they will be punished. I hope so.
He said that his first Executive Order will be on the construction of the Truth Commission and this will be headed by Hilario Davide. Honestly, I hated it. I thought to myself how could a Truth Commission be headed by a questionable person. I’ve always doubted him. I suspect that he had no stand. But I really can’t make any initiative on it. So, I guess I’ll give him a chance. Remember, not all impressions are correct.
He also stated some projects that he will be working on. I was again shocked but somehow amazed for in this short duration of time being the president, he thinks of those things. But he talks with confidence. I guess those things will eventually be true. I hope.
He then talked about his trust on his Cabinet members. He praised them. He said they are hard-working. But I find it hard to believe. I don’t know why. But I guess having a new administration hasn’t hit me yet. But he gave humor to that topic when he asked, “Ang Kongreso, maasahan ba?”
I could see his desire to make the Filipinos one. He wanted an agreement of peace with the rebels in Mindanao. I hope he can. But the mere thought that he wanted was very touching for a president. All he wants is peace. “Itigil na ang putukan!.”
He pointed out that we Filipinos though hard to do must sacrifice especially leaders. He encouraged the officials to sacrifice. With sacrifice he meant, to think of others first rather than their own. He said that his mission is for God and the Filipino people.
He encouraged the Filipinos to dream again because it’s now the time to. He persuaded all with his famous quote, “Tahakin natin ang matuwid na daan!”
I looked at my clock and it is 4:45 pm. Minutes had elapsed. PNoy already ended his speech. Were the Filipinos moved? Or are they still in doubt? Is now the start of change? Is it? Let’s see.

-jana. . . .

The Cry of the Water
Jana Felice P. Gonzalez

I’ve always feared Pakistan. When I hear the word “Pakistan”, I always associate it with chaos, war, terrorism, death and fear. Just thinking about it makes me tremble. Imagine, being awoken by the sound of explosions, will you not be afraid? Pakistanis especially those in the North, have encountered all these from Taliban-and al-Qaeda violence.

Now it worsened. Here comes a destructive flood that affected more than 12 million people across the country. Heavy monsoon rains caused such phenomenon. And this flood claimed the lives of more than 1,500 people. The flood damaged many houses and possessions of the villagers in Peshawar, Mehmud Kot and Nowshera. It’s no longer waking up with explosions outside. It’s discovering you have nothing left. Well, that is if you survive. At least explosives are created by people who want chaos and these people can be negotiable, but not calamities. Nature can never be controlled.

It’s very hurtful to see how the Pakistanis would effort in searching what’s left of them. They would already be fortunate if they could recover their goats, shoes and sewing machines. Furthermore, the flood ravaged the residents’ sources of income. It has ruined the country’s farming heartland. You could imagine how much loss it is for Pakistan.

Problems continue during the evacuation. One of these is convincing the villagers to leave their homes. These homes are theirs, no matter how ruined these are, so they find it so hard to let go. Another dilemma is the risk of public health disaster that triggered the citizens’ anger to the government. They felt abandoned by them. I know many would want to help evacuate them, but how can we, knowing that even helicopters bringing emergency supplies cannot do so because of the stormy weather. The flood they have encountered is probably the most terrible. I realized it’s no longer fear that I felt for Pakistan. It’s compassion.

taken from: http://www.google.com.ph/imglanding?q=flood+in+pakistan+2010&um=1&hl=en&biw=1301&bih=520&tbs=isch:1&tbnid=DJWNSyraNX2feM:&imgrefurl=http://arafiqui.wordpress.com/2010/09/07/the-flood-pakistan-2010/&imgurl=http://arafiqui.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/rafiqui_stern_pakfld_190810_171.jpg&zoom=1&w=950&h=633&iact=hc&ei=gMzDTK6CJM3JcdralNgL&oei=gsvDTNGQBYS3cbG11MwN&esq=6&page=1&tbnh=119&tbnw=181&start=0&ndsp=20&ved=1t:429,r:11,s:0

In my view, it is never shocking to hear news on floods. Floods are common. But I can never explain why every time a flood happens, I always feel pity. I may barely know the place where the flood happened, but that reaction is always constant. I could not bear to see people crying for help and wanting their lives to be saved. And what hurts the most is when the people who are saved would look for their loved ones, but they can’t find them. Floods may be usual, but their effects are always hurtful.

I guess it is nature’s way of telling us that the world has changed. It has become more unpredictable and uncontrollable. Therefore, let us take care of the environment. Let’s be involved! We never really know what lies ahead for Earth and for us! Now that we can still act, we should!

Once upon a time, there was Geli. . .

The Pulchritude of Rebel

Once upon a time, there was Gia. . .

The Allure of Hippie

Once upon a time, there was Sheena. . .

The Charm of a Musician

Once upon a time, there was April. . .

The Venus of Nature

Once upon a time, there was April. . .

Once upon a time, there was Irish. . .
The Beauty of Innocence

Mornings. . .

I love mornings. I usually do. Though I never sleep early at night, I still wake up early. It appears like my body has this alarm that wakes me up at 6:00 am. I always end up waking my roommates because their classes are earlier than mine. I may lack sleep and I maybe very tired but there’s something about mornings that motivates me. I guess I’m really a morning person or probably I usually am yet mornings are also the time of the day that decisions are vital. That’s when the dilemma comes in, when decision making takes place. I maybe a morning lover but I am an indecisive person too. I find it really hard to choose. Seriously, selecting what to wear for the day is certainly a problem. But choosing what to eat for breakfast or whether to eat or not is a more terrible problem. It is true that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. And what food you eat practically dictates your performance for the rest of the day.

Admittedly, I am a rice lover. So for my breakfast, rice is usually present. My usual breakfast would contain the artery clotting group. Bacons, hams and sausages are the few of those foods. If given the chance to choose, I would really prefer scrambled eggs with hotdog dipped in ketchup and of course, garlic rice. Oh, just thinking of it makes my stomach grumble! Now, I’m starved! From what I have read, these foods contain a lot of fat. Hey, that explains my weight! But actually, sometimes when wearisome gets into me, I would just grab a loaf of bread and spread cheese on it. That would do the trick! But sometimes when I no longer have time, I don’t take breakfast; I would have brunch instead. I would feel tired and restless then I become irritable and less lively on those days. I’m not me on those days.

Other people encounter the same thing. I even heard someone say, “I woke up late this morning. I still have an early class. I needed to take a bath. When, I went to the bathroom, many were already there. It took me a while to finally use the shower. When I finished, I rapidly got dressed. I no longer had time to eat nor drink a cup of Milo. And so I went to school hungry and irritable.” These words are really common to teenagers. The sleeping time is one reason for this. Teenagers are likely to sleep at midnight or even at dawn. They blame the internet, the cell phones, television and all other distractions for it. But other people blame their teachers for giving hard assignments and long tests. Well, it is true that these things can really delay the time you sleep but I realized these can be resolved. It really depends on them. Why not set aside the gadgets they own and study early so they can sleep and wake up early and still have time to eat their breakfast instead of going to school hungry? Some believe in a myth that you gain more weight when you take breakfast. It’s not true! Dieticians even say that people who take breakfast will less likely gain weight and will have more energy for the day. So from now on, do spend your time wisely. Do not sleep very late so you can wake up early. Let breakfast be one of your “what to do’s for the day. Never skip it. Spare time choosing what to eat. As they say, “Eat like a king for breakfast, a queen for lunch and a pauper for dinner.” Do not take it the other way around. If you choose not to listen, you are really going to regret skipping breakfast. What if you have a test and you haven’t taken your breakfast? What will happen to you? Most probably, you will lack focus answering the questions and you will forget what you have studied. You will more likely have a low score. The worst scenario would be you having severe sickness because of skipping breakfast. Do you want these to happen to you? If you don’t, then spare time taking breakfast. Do not be reluctant. Again, take breakfast! There are really people who really spare time for breakfast. That is really good. Some love rice. Well, most Filipinos do. However, others also prefer the continental type of breakfast. They love bread with butter, all types of cereal with milk. For me these people are the classy ones. It’s either they have been used to it on their homes or they simply want to reduce their weight thinking those would. Others, however, prefer vegetables for breakfast. I consider them the healthy ones! They are quite exemplary, the perfect examples. I am choosy with veggies so I admit I can never be one of them. But there are really some people who have queer tastes and choices for breakfast. Just like my course mate who drinks tuba for breakfast. I was shocked when he told us in class because in my mind, it’s something you drink in local parties and social gatherings. I haven’t really heard of anyone before drinking tuba for breakfast! That’s very interesting. Because I wanted to know more about queer breakfast combinations, I typed “weird breakfast choices” on Google. And I have read really funny combinations. But one really captured my attention, the one with mandarin orange dipped in ketchup. That’s indescribably weird! I thought rice with Milo powder was weird. These stuffs proved me wrong. Probably time will come that hotdogs would turn blue and eggs would be green.

People really have different preferences even for breakfast. I may love scrambled eggs but others may prefer veggies. I may love rice but others prefer bread. Some have really queer choices. But the important thing to remember is that we have to eat something for breakfast. It is not just because we want to but because we need to. Do not be at ease with air only, eat something. It maybe leftovers or canned goods just eat something. Breakfast isn’t a want or a choice. It is a must!

What makes a bird fly? It’s the wings. But if one wing is broken, can a bird still fly?

I was having a rest, when my annoying elder sister rushed to the television and tuned on to MYX. I was not interested at all with modern music, magazines, make-ups and other teenager stuffs. I was the kind of kid who preferred to be in a silent place. When in a party, I was one of those who would just sit at the corner. I couldn’t bare the music of rock stars, pop artists especially boy bands. But because we shared the same room, I had no choice. I was on the verge of arguing when suddenly a wonderful melody captured me. When I opened my eyes to see who was singing, I could barely recognize the girl. But what I did know is she made me hum with the tune of her song, up until it ended.

As I imagine, five years ago, how I embarrassingly just shook my head every time my classmates talk about hit charts, latest songs, new artists and newly released music videos. I was pretending to understand what they were talking about. You see, I was certainly not a contemporary music lover. I did not know the members of Backstreet Boys. I did not know the latest trends. Because I just thought what the heck, these are nonsense. But when Breakaway played, my perception on modern music altered because the song spoke to me. It gave me courage to dream and to reach for it.

Admittedly, I grew up in a small city where no malls exist, where people know each other, where you can travel around through walking, where you can shop at small establishments, where there were no taxis, no traffic and less pollution. What a city! I often wonder how it became one. I had a simple life. It was good. But I longed for a better one. I want to widen my horizon and not just stick in the place where I am used to. It may seem selfish, but I do. Who wouldn’t right? When I see professionals with “Judge”, “Dr.”, “Sgt.” or “PHD” in their names, I envy them. I wish that someday they’ll read my name with “Atty.” in it.

. It may seem ironic how I’ve always envisioned myself reaching my goals. I’ve always seen these things will go perfectly. I dreamed for this time to come. And now that it’s becoming nearer, the harder it is to grasp.

Sometimes I doubt if I can ever do this. I see myself as a student. I see myself as a lawyer. But I also see myself in sleepless nights of reading piles of books, making long papers and reports, doing my thesis study and most especially defending my thesis in front of my professors. Just the thought of it, tires me already.

But as my mom keeps on telling me that “Nothing worth having ever comes easy.”

So, I’ll take the risk and make a change.

Like me, one may come from an unknown place. One may be very rich. And maybe one can’t even afford to have three meals a day. But these are not hindrances. Do not say that poverty will stop you in achieving your dreams. Remember that most known successful persons in the society started poor. Take for example, Henry Sy who was very poor in China but because he worked hard, he paved his way to success here in the Philippines. Even Carrie Underwood who was just a farm girl yet she pursued her dream to be a singer. She is now known to be one of the Best Artists in the US. But I’m not saying that the fortunate ones will less likely succeed. With their resources combined with determination, there is no way they’re going to fail. We are all in common because we all have dreams that we wish to reach. Just remember that the key ingredient is determination. If we don’t have that, surely we won’t succeed.

In following ones’ dream, it is inevitable to encounter confusion. Some may feel that they aren’t for the path they are taking. Some may feel they have found what their destined to do. Some tend to go with the flow and later know their abilities in the process. Do not be afraid of learning more. Never stop with “I Can’t!” Begin it with “I’ll try!”

When you feel like no one believes in you, you’re wrong. I do not want to offend any religion or belief. It is up to you if you’ll agree. But I stand on the thought that HE is there. Just pray to him. He will give you courage.

People may discriminate you. But don’t let them get your way. Remember that wise people care less about where you came from or what social status you belong. They only care on the ideas that you have. They care for what you can be. So flash that smile when you hear people laughing and gossiping about you. Let them be. They are the insecure ones. They laugh because you’re different. You laugh because they’re all the same. Just hold your head up and be confident.

Also be reminded to keep your feet on the ground. Do not be boastful. Do not forget the persons who helped you in your way up. Remember that on times of hardships, they were there. They were there for you expecting nothing in return. They are the ones whom you can trust. They are the ones who won’t leave you behind. Remember them.

So, are we all ready to dream? I am. “I’ll spread my wings and I’ll learn how to fly, I’ll do what it takes ‘til I touch the sky.” I may not have everything. But that is not a hindrance. I wish to soar high and fly despite the things I lack. I know I still can fly with broken wings.

Aim high. Fear nothing. Take the risk. Take your chance. Make a change.

Model: Irish Merza
Photographer: Jana Gonzalez