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This is just fascinating! I was doing a bit of research on how swans actually die after watching Maya Plisetskaya dance the Dying Swan when I stumbled upon this video on swan courtship. Swans actually do partner for life. Really! I thought that  heart-shaped swans were just a cliche for anything romantic. What’s amazing is  they really do form a heart shape  during swan courtship. What a truly awesome God we have!

 

If you enjoyed this, there’s more to learn on BBC UK. It’s definitely a great resource especially for teaching kids. While I’m on research mode, I think I’m going check if there is anything on compost tumbler online.

Rean here…

A friend’s daughter recently entered college.  As a mother, she was deeply concerned that her “little” one was sleeping at 3 or 4 am daily.  She asked me, a lecturer in the same institution, if student life in this school was always like this.  I said yes!

Life in a major academic institution is always tough for students.  Professors will perennially drop tons of home work not considering that a student has 7 more professors to worry about.  Do you then have to regularly hook up your student to an ecg to monitor his/her stress level? No. It just takes tough prioritization, smart study skills and working with a study group.  I had to learn these things the hard way as an undergraduate and graduate student in Physics without ever failing a course. So I guess by God’s grace, I must have done something right.

Facebook is my shepherd
I shall not want

It makes me lie down at 4 am
And leads me to insomia

It restores old friends
And leads me to countless reunions

Yea, though I walk through the valley
Of the shadow of death
I will fear no boredom
For thou art in my mobile device
Thy apps and thy games
They comfort me

Thou preparest a news feed before me
So I know every status even of mine enemies
Thou anointest my photo albums with endless comments
My lols runneth over

Surely plants and zombies shall follow me
All the days I’m logged in
And I shall dwell in the land of ‘bored much’ forever.

This just came to me when I woke up this morning. Touche, anyone?

Rean here…

Yesterday was a great day as my ballet students from Jesus the Risen Savior School performed my choreography at Pergola mall, BF Paranaque.  While they may not have been the best group in terms of technique or performance, they surely stepped up to challenge I set before them.  Ballet is about executing steps with right placement and technique while meeting synchronizing movements with the music. The somatic demands beat the best supplements for weight loss as you train for precision control of the whole body.  I am truly proud of my girls perfomance yesterday, now I will push them to higher levels of technique and performance.

PER PROCLAMATION NO. 60

MALACAÑANG

MANILA

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE PHILIPPINES

DECLARING TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 16, 2010 AS A NATIONAL HOLIDAY IN CELEBRATION OF EID’L-ADHA (FEAST OF SACRIFICE)

WHEREAS, RA 9849 provides that Eid’l Adha shall be celebrated as a national holiday;

WHEREAS, Eid’l Adha is one of the two greatest feast of Islam;

WHEREAS, the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) has confirmed that the feast of Eid’l Adha falls on November 16, 2010;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BENIGNO S. AQUINO III, President of the Philippines, by virtue of the powers vested in me by law, do hereby declare Tuesday, November 16, 2010 as a national holiday in observance of Eid’l Adha (Feast of Sacrifice).

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the Republic of the Philippines to be affixed.

Done in the city of Manila, this 9th day of November, in the year of Our Lord, Two Thousand and Ten.

(Sgd.) BENIGNO S. AQUINO III

By the President:
(Sgd.) PAQUITO N. OCHOA JR.

Executive Secretary

source: Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines

I recently attended a teleconference and met my new teammates in a new project I’m working on. We introduced ourselves to each other and it’s funny how a lot of us are working in jobs that don’t match our college degrees. I think the workplace has significantly changed over the last five years where it is no longer strange to flourish in a career other than what you earned a degree for. Nine-to-five careers like banking jobs or office work are optional. The emergence of the home office and remote access is now commonplace. I personally, prefer that because it contributes to reducing our carbon footprints all across the globe. How about you? Are you working in a job that  you really like? or would you rather be doing something else?

Part of our home school exercises today featuring the original poetry of my kids, Kai (grade 5) and Aemu (grade 2).  Their poems are unedited and are published as is. Haiku has other related forms such as the senryu, renku, tanka, haibun and haiga. In haiku, it is about  man within the world while in senryu, it is the world within the man.

THE POETRY OF DANCE – A HAIKU SERIES

From Kai:

… the soul expressing

transforming into stories

wonderful and vague…

charged with emotion

that which words cannot portray

bringing us to tears…


From Aemu:

… dancing with no one

in an empty pink chamber

dancing all alone…


dancing in a room

in an empty pink chamber

dancing for Mother…

More to come in the future! Thanks for reading.

I recently did some research on the Maranao Singkil dance from the southern part of the Philippines.  Turns out, the versions we normally see in cultural shows, as popularized by the Bayanihan Dance Company, are NOT authentic.  These are agglomerations of 3 Muslim dances into one.  The original Singkil does NOT have a male dancer.  The introduction of the male lead was inspired by the Darangen ni Bantugen, the Maranao adaptation of the Ramayana story.  According to a research paper done by Kanami Namiki in 2005, the Bayanihan also did similar treatments to other ethnic dances. The most notable one would be theatrical use of 10 pots in the Kalinga Banga dance vs. the authentic having only 2.  The question is what will they do next? Replace the kulintang with stainless steel drums?

From my perspective, it is ok to stylize a work as long as it is continuously communicated that it is so.  Problem is, as far as I can remember, the Bayanihan treatment has been folk dance dogma in schools.  I think there should be a deliberate effort to teach our students authentic folk dance to build appreciation for indigenous people their cultures.   I am not surprised if kids in urban centers like Metro-Manila demonstrate a cultural illiteracy of the highest degree.   They probably imbibe American street and gangsta culture than ours.  While I have not started to teach my kids authentic folk dance, I have begun to read them epics.  We read excerpts of “Darangen ni Bantugen” and “Lam-ang.  It is high time for us to take back our heritage and pass it on to the next generation.

We took a little out of town trip yesterday with our kids for their annual homeschool achievement test. Our kids together with their friends took the Metropolitan Achievement Test at Westfields International School and thankfully they all passed! woot woot! It was approximately a two-hour drive to Angeles, Pampanga. A bit stressful because I volunteered directions to get to NLEX. Hah! I’m not a driver but I’ve had lots of practice being a backseat navigator (yup, loooooong drives across the Arizona desert with a rest area map in my hand hahahaha). Now, I’m not much for road signs but I have a hidden compass somewhere in my brain that tells me, YOU”RE LOST!!!!  EPIC STRESS! Oh well, I think stress is one of the best fat burners around or maybe not? We did get there in the nick of time and we had lots of yummy cupcakes (thank you, Chots!) to comfort our rattled nerves.

Bottomline, the kids passed! After that, we hied off to Clark to do a little Duty-Free shopping therapy. I was still a kid when I went to Clark and all I remember was a huge toll-booth looking gate with lots of US soldiers checking if you had a gate pass before allowing you in. What was unforgettable to me was the Commissary with lots and lots of imported goodies (well, I had my eyes on the candies). I still remember the Pop Rocks I got back then. I was amazed how those little rocks popped and fizzed in my mouth! Ahhhh, the simple joys of childhood…

Clark has changed quite a lot since then. Gone is the big gate. So are the American soldiers. No more Commissary. Lots of Duty-Free shops though. What I found so cool was those digital timers attached to stoplights that countdown the seconds till the signals change color. I wish we had those in Manila. There were also certain parts of the landscape that reminded me of California. Well almost. The intense tropical heat kept reminding me I was still in the Philippines.

Overall, it was a lovely day spent with the children and with friends. A bit tiring but I know  that when I will look back to this day, I will probably forget all the stress and just recall the time spent with my kids and my heart friends.

A few pics from our trip:

Our kids acquired pulmonary infections after swimming last Tuesday. Some think it was the exposure to the cold water after the extreme heat in the city’s ambient. The heat in Manila has been quite extreme the past couple of months, reaching more than 38OC. Our house typically feels like the boiler room of a submarine. This sauna like experience is definitely better than taking herbal phentermine. Its common for builders to make houses in appropriate for our tropical climate. I guess, they designed sauna baths rather than houses.

The recently in concluded ballet recital of ACTS Manila was quite sucessful. It just made clear our vision that Ballet is our way of shaping society for God. Every step we take, every number we perform is a testimony to the great abilities our God has to establish the principles of His Kingdom on earth. All the sleepless nights and rehearsals were worth it. The extra doses of vitamins for women were all for a worthy cause. Excellence…Faith…Social Transformation.

Today was the first day of classes in De La Salle University. I met my Physics 2 lab class for the first time. I introduced the subject coverage for the term. I also introduced myself to the kids. I talked about careers and jobsearches I’ve made in the past. I really don’t think they’ll be looking for a Philadelphia job soon but I just want them to learn the hard lessons I’ve learned in my career. One of the things I told them was for them to handle and guard their data well, particularly because they are engineers. Hopefully, they won’t forget what I say and be agents of change in their generation.

Its been over a year since I started teaching ballet.  Since then, I have lost about 30 lbs.  For a lot of people, its really the lack of physical activity that leads to being overweight or obese. The best weight loss supplements can’t beet engaging into physical training. It forces the individual to take ownership of his or her weight problem. Whatever the nature of the training is, it has to be something you really like.  For me , Dance works best because there is a level of performance I push for.  You experience a certain level of frustration when your body fails to achieve the artistic expression you desire. Its not just looking good but being able to communicate your thoughts and feeling somatically.

A friend asked me to calculate electric consumption of her ballet classes.  So here’s a simple way of doing it.

1.) Determine the type, wattage and number of light bulbs you use.  Let’s say you have 2 tube T8 flourescent light bulbs (32W each) and 5 9W compact flourescent lamps. These are the little tubes you can screw into a light socket. Check this out at Murray Feiss.

2.) Determine the number and capacities of airconditioning systems you use.  IF you have 2 3hp A/Cs( 2130W) this means you have a combined load of 4260W

3.) Add the load together and multiply with the hours of use.

For 2 hours usage

2 TFLs – 64W

5 CFLs -45W

2 A/Cs – 4260W

Total Load – 4369W

Total Energy use – 8738 Wh or 8.7kWh

4.) You can multiply this with retail electricity cost to get usage cost or with the local grid emission factor to get your carbon emissions

8.7kWh x PHP9.50 = P82.65

8.7kWh x 0.5 kgCO2/kWh = 4.35 kg

I think a lot of us can make a good estimate of our electricity consumption for this.

The truly liberated human being is not always fighting against something, but more frequently is fighting for something or someone.
– Denis Waitley

I have decided to face my King Xerxes and let my request be known to the king and to all.  For and on behalf of my family, my two children and my people whom I love and in whom I have unwavering faith – my fellow Filipinos.  I am ready to be ridiculed and to be thought of as foolish, to be considered naive and powerless to change the course of this nation because I am but a tiny voice.  But I cannot make light the burden in my heart, the heaviness and the grief that would not lift themselves until I do what I know I should do.  Mordecai reminded me of the tribe to which I belong.  He reminded me that I will not be spared if I remain silent:  that deliverance will come from elsewhere if I do not take action, and that I too shall perish, either way.  But I would rather perish for a cause, to take a stand – for a people, for my children, for the next generation… FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS.

To live is to choose. But to choose well, you must know who you are and what you stand for, where you want to go and why you want to get there.
– Kofi Annan

Esther, was a young Jewish girl who became the Queen of all Persia, the wife of one of the most powerful kings during that time, King Xerxes.  Her true identity was hidden from him for security reasons.  Because of the evil political maneuverings of Haman, the king’s right hand man at that time, the Jewish people were decreed to be annihilated. Esther, if found out, would not be spared.

For all of us who love and declare our allegiance to God, we know the heart of God for this nation and for our people. We know that His desire is for righteousness to be established in our land.  We also know that His ways are not our ways.  We know He uses foolish things to confound the wisdom of this world.  We know where he wants us to go although we may not always know how to get there.  Yet, we are not lost because He has given us a roadmap in His word to guide us every step of the way.  For those of us who identify ourselves with Christ, we know who we are and whose we are.  Therefore, our choices have to be in line with the one with whom we identify ourselves.

7 But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

1 Corinthians 1:27
But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.

I have to admit that I deviated from this Scriptural guidepost in my choice for President for this 2010 election.  Like so many, I told myself that I will no longer vote for the candidate I voted for last time because I was disappointed by the events that followed his loss.  I CONSIDERED the other candidates who were running this year, weighed their qualifications and narrowed my choices based on my own reasoning and just hoped that they would eventually align with God’s vision for this nation during their term.  I did my homework and I asked questions about the candidates I was considering – from people who knew them personally to those who worked with them & were in a position to testify about them.  I weighed all the reasons why so-and-so supported this candidate and that.  Perhaps I was starting to “consider … appearance or … height“. I leaned towards one candidate but I was still undecided.

I knew that I had yet to see if any one of them have enough character in them not to buckle and fold once the pressure of payback time comes, or the machinations and sheer politics not only demanded but are intrinsic to the position.

The tide turned for me after I attended an Intercessors for the Philippines Conference earlier this year upon the  recommendation of a very dear intercessor friend.  It was a prophetic conference about declaring the Jubilee of Jubilees for the Philippines.  At the conference, nobody approached me and asked for any solicitation.  Nobody asked me who I was voting for, although a lot of them came wearing shirts supporting their candidate.  If anybody did that, they would surely have had a hard time convincing me because I held my ground of past disappointment.  It was supposedly a spiritual conference and I had no plans of ushering in the political picture.

But during the worship and intercession time, God exposed and started a process of changing my heart.  I even told my friend who was with me that God was dealing with me.  We were both in tears as we prayed and interceded for our churches and for the Philippines.  By the time the conference ended that day, my heart was changed.  My intellect was telling me otherwise, but my heart was no longer the same.  My choice for President was no longer a question mark.

He who asks is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever.
Chinese Proverbs

Does this mean I will be voting blindly based on an emotional experience or mere religious affiliation?  Frankly, I still went home with my mind debating with my heart.  My mind battled with all the reasons why I shouldn’t but my heart was at peace with the reason why I should.

The networks, newspapers and blogosphere are filled with qualifications and credentials of all the candidates – arguments for and against each one of them.  You can easily find whatever suits your fancy and whatever appeals to your political leanings and declare it as the absolute battle-cry for and on behalf of your candidate.  I am not here to contest any of those.  One way or another, the scales will tip wherever we want them to, depending on the glasses we wear.  Furthermore, I am not here to convince you to change your mind to agree with my stand.  I believe we have reached a place in our country’s history where we can enjoy the liberty of disagreeing with each other freely and not succumb to lowly name-calling and backbiting when we express our differences.

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
– Martin Luther King Jr.

Yet there comes a time in one’s life when one is compelled to do the unpopular thing… to swim against the tide and to risk one’s reputation and in some cases one’s very life… in obedience to a Higher Authority.  With regards to this election,  this time has come for me.  In light of eternity, I am answerable to this Higher Authority alone.

6 When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, “Surely the LORD’s anointed stands here before the LORD.”

7 But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

8 Then Jesse called Abinadab and had him pass in front of Samuel. But Samuel said, “The LORD has not chosen this one either.” 9 Jesse then had Shammah pass by, but Samuel said, “Nor has the LORD chosen this one.” 10 Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, “The LORD has not chosen these.” 11 So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?”
“There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered, “but he is tending the sheep.”
Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down [
a] until he arrives.”

12 So he sent and had him brought in. He was ruddy, with a fine appearance and handsome features.
Then the LORD said, “Rise and anoint him; he is the one.”

13 So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the LORD came upon David in power.

Seven sons passed before the prophet Samuel hoping to be the one the Lord would anoint.  The Lord told Samuel not to consider appearance or height… not to look at the things man looks at.  The Lord sees what we fail to see.  He chose the least likely of them to lead his people.  He chose a SHEPHERD boy…a pastor of dumb sheep…to be KING.

On hindsight, what qualifications did David have back then that God would choose him to be king of Israel? This is what one of Saul’s servants said about David:

18 One of the servants answered, “I have seen a son of Jesse of Bethlehem who knows how to play the harp. He is a brave man and a warrior. He speaks well and is a fine-looking man. And the LORD is with him.”

David was a harp player, a brave man, a warrior who spoke well and was a fine-looking man even, the Scriptures say.  No PH.D.’s, no Harvard/Yale credentials, no political savvy.  He was a shepherd boy who led sheep.  Yet, even Saul’s men recognized David’s anointing and recommended him to King Saul.

Fast-forward to 2010 and compare David’s resume with the rest of the candidates and what do you have?  He wouldn’t stand a chance against the sterling list of achievements of most of the candidates today.  What did David have going for him that set him apart from the rest?

GOD TOLD SAMUEL TO ANOINT HIM and THE LORD WAS WITH HIM. Not his brothers.  Not any other Israelite. GOD CHOSE HIM.

FOR WHAT REASON? THAT BELONGED TO GOD ALONE.  Yet we all know that DAVID WAS A MAN AFTER GOD’s OWN HEART.

Let’s backtrack a bit to the time when King David was already ruling Israel.  He made major mistakes during his reign. The anointed King chosen by God conspired to kill one of his special warriors so that he could take his wife.  At one point, he also became proud and started to rely on the strength of his military.  He had children who didn’t have the same heart for God as he did.  He was not perfect. Did God, then, make a mistake when he chose David to rule over Israel?  If you were living during David’s time would you blame God for choosing David?

“In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations.”
— The Great Law of the Iroquois Confederacy

Friends, family and all those who chance upon to read this post:  The impact of this election is too great to pass up. There is a golden window of opportunity for us to choose what will happen in the next 6 years of our lives.  Let us not only think about the financial, social, or political impact of those who will lead this country for the next six years.  What is seen is temporary but what is unseen is eternal.  Consider the unseen impact in light of eternity… in light of the higher purpose and destiny that has been prophesied time and again about our nation.  Those who love photography like me know what it feels like when they are not able to capture a specific moment because they were not prepared to take the shot.  That picture of the sunset that I failed to take a picture of today, will never be the same tomorrow.  It will never be the same no matter how many times I go back and try to take that shot again.  It is an opportunity lost that time cannot regain.

Right now, this opportunity is open to us.  Why settle for “puede na” when we can have ALL that has been promised to us?  Does that mean that the candidate I am voting for is the “only savior” of this nation?  By all means no.  But let us not forget that every time a righteous king ruled Israel, God blessed the nation.  I am FOR the purposes of God being established.  I want to see the destiny of this nation fulfilled in MY lifetime.  I URGE you to see what Samuel didn’t see. Who among them is “a man after God’s own heart”? So will all our problems be solved in an instant once this man is elected?  Is this a band aid solution to all our ills?  Again, no.  Yet, knowing that the one who will head this nation is not only concerned about protecting the reputation and the legacy of his parents but the HONOR and the NAME of our GOD, presupposes a greater accountability.

I did not give this brother candidate a second look at the start of this campaign although this brother who runs for the highest office is not devoid of political credentials. They are just not barked loudly  enough to the mass media. Yet like many well-meaning Christians that  have expressed that this candidate must stay in his calling because he is more effective by doing so, I had my reservations about his decision to run again because of the past. To me, keep the status quo. It’s safer and more peaceful that way.  But who am I to limit the sovereignty of the God of the universe to transform a man’s life and change the path he takes? to change his vocation and occupation at any given point? Biblically, David had a career change from shepherd boy to King. Peter, from fisherman transformed into a fiery preacher. Paul, from a respected Pharisee and teacher of the law to a rogue itinerant speaker. Even in 21st century context, how many people have shifted careers and are flourishing in their latter choices?  Be that as it may, to box a person by confining him in one place is to box our God who is able to use His people anywhere for as long as they are faithful and willing.  Isn’t He, after all, the God who enables; and, isn’t His Spirit the One who moves and leads? To the human understanding, such moves are either a promotion or demotion. Yet to our God, it is a masterpiece in the making.

I love this nation and have chosen to live here no matter how hard it might be.  I am sure a lot of you share this same sentiment.  Who would not love to see this nation flourish in all aspects of life?  Who would not want to see righteousness and honesty in all the land so that businesses can flourish and prosperity can reach the grassroots?  Who would not want to see this nation honor and love God and lift His name up in the truest sense?

I am not voting for a person alone.  I am voting for the opportunity to change this nation’s destiny in my lifetime.  I am voting for God’s will to be done and for His kingdom to come in my lifetime.  If my candidate wins, does that mean everything will be magically transformed?  That we can sit back and relax and let him do all the work and expect him to fix everything? within 6 years? No, it’s just like the ram’s horn being blasted across this nation saying to all that it’s time to rebuild. The work has just begun.

“There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.” — Henry David Thoreau

Think about it.  Why are we so eager to stop a person who is willing to face the scrutiny and ridicule of his former supporters just so that he can be given another chance to deal with the source of our country’s woes?  To strike at the root and not just settle for the branches.  The other candidates have noble intentions, if not noble propaganda, to rid this nation of corruption.  We know that corruption springs from the evil that is in all of our hearts and is impossible to get rid of unless it is overpowered by the grace of God.  Shall we settle for hacking just at the branches?

The future belongs to people who see possibilities before they become obvious.–Ted Levitt

Friends, family, readers and perhaps foes?   “If it pleases the king, may I find favor in his eyes… but if not then, let the axe fall where it may.” I URGE you once more to lift up your eyes to see the small cloud of rain in the distance. May we understand the time and the season we are in and see what this nation can be if we allow the fulness of God to move in our land.

For all the possibilities that I see in the future, I support Brother Eddie Villanueva for President.

I also support Ruffy Biazon, Kata Inocencio and Alex Tinsay for Senators.

GOD BLESS THE PHILIPPINES!

If you have read this far, allow me to share with you the thoughts of my children about this election, our nation and their future.