Stepping Back

So there is this unpublished draft in my dashboard which I wrote sometime in June 2014–during the onset of my two-year fellowship with Teach for the Philippines.

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Week 1

Frustrations greeted me on the first day of school. This had never  happened to me in my five years of teaching. I had always been the jittery-excited teacher who was eager to meet his pupils and do all sorts of gimmicks to make the opening salvo of the school year worth remembering.

But I forgot; I am in a new school now. This time, I am not the teacher; I am a pensive observer from the outside looking in. No getting-to-know-activity, no I-Can’t burial. 

My frustrations stemmed from my unmet personal standards for teaching. This I will explain in due time.

Five days of sitting in in that third grade class made me reminisce my basic education years in public schools. Those 10 years were the best training days of my childhood. I gained a lot of indispensable life skills (sales talk, commuting, taking turns, etc.) that no private school training would have taught me that early in life. 

Another  thing I could not bear, for lack of a better term,  during my Week 1 observation was the poor ventilation of the classroom. Everyone was damped in sweat at 8:00 in the morning. The whisper of the rusty stand fan in row one did not help, at all. Imagine how everyone smelled at 4:00 p.m. dismissal time. I call this whiff: amoy-whole-day.

Twenty-eight months later, and no longer wearing my teacher hat, I would stumble on this unfinished piece–trying to extract something insightful from this chance encounter.

Is this the Universe’s way of reminding me to continue my journey–to pack up, and go back to the place where I used to feel most alive?

That my two-year stint in the public school was just an appetizer–and the best…the main course (and yeah, the dessert) has yet to come?

Will this step back lead to a bounce back–to a comeback?

It is five months before the opening of classes. A lot could happen between now and June.

P.S.

‘Cher Jerson is now at the DepEd- Central Office–serving as a technical assistant under TFP’s Alumni Ambassadors Program.

Finding and Living in that Sweet Spot*

This was written a few days away from the finish line of the two-year fellowship.

***

Teaching in the public school is a dream that I have put on hold for half a decade. And now that it has been fulfilled and about to culminate, my heart is swelling with gratitude for all the precious memories and insights that I have gained in this  journey.

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As a state university graduate, I have always wanted to do something to give back to our country. Teach for the Philippines came at an opportune time when I was a hundred percent decided to do more for our nation.

 
Yes, volunteering once a month in a non-government organization that aims to improve the literacy skills of public school students is good, but if I can do more, why not? I came to a point when clicking the like and share buttons of posts by friends who are part of 2013 Cohort just wasn’t enough anymore, so I told myself– if they were able to take a step of  faith, step out of their comfort zones and step up for this cause, why can’t I also? These thoughts fueled me to embark on, by far, the most exciting ride of my career.

 

Turning Dreams to Reality

 

The public school is the nursery of many budding nation-builders. It is where I planted, watered, and waited for my dreams to flower and bear fruits.
One of my tasks is to make my pupils keep their dreams in mind. Countless times, I have asked them to write, draw, and talk about their short- and long-term goals. I have high hopes that doing those activities would instill the enduring idea that they should hold on tight to their dreams–to keep their eyes on the goal. That mindset, hopefully, would up the chance of putting them in a better life path. This came with our succinct battle cry for the past two years: “Malayo ang iyong mararating.”

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A day-trip at Luneta Park and Museong Pambata with four of our third graders–from Region 4A to NCR

But the reality is not everyone believes that they would go places. Case in point is Michael**. During our lesson on probability in Math 3, he told the class that chance of achieving his dream to become a soldier or even getting into college was very slim. This eleven-year-old Grade 3 pupil’s honest pronouncement hit hard on me. A brief, but to the point, lecture followed as I told the class the importance of holding on to their dreams because there would always be that someone who believes that they could achieve them. That day, all the idealism, twined around reality, made me revisit the importance of engaging all the stakeholders in a child’s education–the school, the parents and the community–if we really wanted to make a difference in these children’s lives.

 
Yes, I did cry over that experience. The initial feeling of powerlessness was turned into a challenge to do more, to teach better and to inspire students to dream bigger. And though far from the ultimate reward of witnessing him turn his dream to reality, seeing Michael in school regularly the following year gave me hope that someday he would make his dreams happen.

 
Being a teacher-fellow also reconnected me to some almost-forgotten goals. One of them is to get involved in campus journalism. I had a taste of being a school paper adviser when I was tapped to train contestants for various writing contests. I was thrilled and honored to impart my knowledge and experience on writing that date back to my grade school years. For a seasonal writer and trainer, the victories of the pupils under my wing reestablished the fact that the seed of being a writer is still in me and is waiting to be cultivated.

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Coached this pupil from a non-section class who eventually qualified for the Regional Sci-Tech Writing

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I also had a chance to take part in coaching students in their monthly performances/ contests. This photo was taken after the kids presented a children’s rights-themed dance. And we copped the top spot in the primary level.

 

Growing Where You’re Planted

 

In a profession where learning is the yardstick of success, the fellowship responds to this with flying colors. The past two years were full of opportunities to grow professionally. The Programming and Training Team provides a wide range of Super Saturday sessions that challenge us to try out new strategies to better our teaching, community engagement and leadership skills. The most memorable Super Sat I attended was the Learning Differences Festival where we got to invite our principal and co-teachers. Each Super Sat is also a good avenue to share and learn best practices.

 

I also appreciate the short and long observations and debriefs I had with my manager for two years Georgina Blackett. As an educator, I like reflecting on how I fare as a teacher. This part of the fellowship made me see my blind spots specially when I have already thought that everything in the planned lesson would flow smoothly. It also made me track my progress in areas for improvement my manager and I identified together. Before, I was afraid that post-observation conferences might just be a nitpicking party, but with TFP, they are a celebration of your strengths and a strategic planning activity to do better in the next observation.

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Team Malaban with our Manager (the most beautiful lady on the right)

 

An entirely new experience I had during the fellowship were the home visits. In other private schools, teachers are prohibited from visiting pupils and their parents to avoid rumors that they are playing favorites. In our case, it was different. We went to their houses to inquire about a pupil’s consecutive absences, to pay our last homage to a pupil who died, to follow up on our request for a birth certificate or just to bond with and get to know our students more. Going home with them and seeing their home environment gave me a deeper understanding of their context.

 

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One of our students lives here. How exciting!

 

Working Under Pressure

 

As an Education major, UP Diliman 2005-***40, I have felt the self-imposed pressure to model good teaching to my co-teachers. I believe that to a certain extent, I have achieved this. I have always been in a constant pursuit for ways to improve my teaching that fortunately translated to better student achievement. This means teaching and doing things in addition to what prototype lesson plans state. This includes our inter-section spelling bees, and literary contests, and poem memorization drills to name a few. On top of these, I can confidently say that I have religiously abided by the Child Protection Policy. Yay!

 

To engage other stakeholders, I brought in persons who also advocate for education to conduct a reading instruction seminar-workshop for teachers (Thanks Michelle Agas of ReadingReady Center and Prof. Portia Padilla) and an art workshop for pupils. I have also tapped the help of my network in raising funds for the needs of our pupils and for other curricular activities. I also got to lead our school group in conducting the Coordinates for Life program, which connected us closer to the parents of our pupils. Knowing that there are many people who are so willing to extend a helping hand gave me so much hope.

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A college blockmate facilitated a Cherry Blossoms Painting Workshop for our kiddos. Thank you Precious Gamboa!

 

Of Impact and Success

 
How can I measure my impact as teacher-fellow? Two years was not enough to significantly affect their (National Achievement Test) NAT or Language Assessment for Primary Grades (LAPG) performances. What are the chances that they would remember some, if not all of the concepts and skills we learned together? Ten months of instruction could not give me that assurance. What I hope that they would remember more vividly was the fact that they had a teacher who believes in who they are and what they can become. That they had a Sir /’Cher who compensated his shortcomings with careful words and actions. That they had a teacher-fellow who tried his best to make learning fun, excellent, inclusive and relevant.

 

My measures of success were the ‘ambush parent-teacher conference’ with Piolo’s mother thanking me for the renewed interest of her son for school, the excitement of students to perform on stage during the monthly convocation, the eagerness of pupils to answer in English, the healthy race for the top ten, the giggles when my pupils correctly spelled multi-syllabic words, the teacher’s day letters and flowers from pupils I have and have not handled, and the overflowing joy that I have felt inside the classroom.

 

The experiences and insights I have gained from my years in the classroom are my guiding light as I continue to push for education equity beyond the classroom.

 

Why do I teach for the Philippines?
Simply because education is my sweet spot. It is where my passion, purpose, and skills meet.*

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Malaban Elementary School co-fellows before Year 1

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After Year 1

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After Year 2

*inspired by Max Lucado‘s Cure for the Common Life

**not his real name

NCBD 2015 Blog Tour: Umuulan ng mga Libro na Aking Paborito

Bilang pakikilahok sa pagdiriwang ng ika-32 National Children’s Book Day (NCBD), narito ang ilan sa mga paborito kong aklat-pambatang Pinoy.

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(1) Pilong Patago-tago. (Adarna House) Ito ‘yong kwentong p’wedeng gawan ng maraming adlib dahil sa point of view na ginamit ng manunulat. Sa mga una hanggang gitnang bahagi ng kwento, sa palagay ko, ay sinadyang gawing predictable ang storyline pati na rin ang mga linya ng mga tauhan; para may gulat at kurot-sa-puso factor pagdating ng ending. P’wede ring makipag-interact sa illustrations ang mambabasa para mahanap kung saan nagtatago si Pilo.

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Kasama si Russell Molina (nakaupo), ang sumulat ng mga hawak naming libro.

(2) Tuwing Sabado.(Lampara) Kung may isang kuwento na paulit-ulit na dumudurog ng puso, ito yon. Ito ‘yong tipo ng kuwento na habang binabasa mo (lalo na ‘yong climax) ay talagang kailangan mong magpigil ng luha. Paborito kong eksena’yong inaasar si bida ng mga kapit-bahay niya. Ramdam ko ‘yong pagtitimpi niya e. Kaya siguro tumatagos sa puso ang bawat linya ng kuwento ay dahil sa napakanatural na daloy ng mga salita mula sa narrator hanggang sa mga tauhan. Isang napakagandang kuwento for an inferring and predicting lesson (kung ano’ng trabaho ng tatay niya, bakit tuwing Sabado lang sila nagkikita).

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(3) Si Janus Silang at ang Tiyanak ng Tabon. (Adarna House) Hindi naman talaga ako mahilig magbasa o manood ng horror movies, pero sobrang na-hook ako sa librong ‘to. Siguro dahil sa setting ng istorya–kontemporaryong Pilipinas (may mga malls, mas malalakas na bagyo, mga kabataang nahuhumaling sa computer games) na pinatingkad pa ng mitolohiyang Pinoy (tiyanak, bagani, pusong, sigbin atbp) at inihabi sa sinaunang kasaysayan ng bansa (kuweba ng Tabon). Ang eksenang nagpabilis ng puso ko (habang binabasa ito sa dyip) ay no’ng bumabagyo at magkahawak-kamay ang dalawang tauhan. A-a! Isinara ko talaga ang libro at pumikit muna. (Na hindi magandang ideya dahil mas na-imagine ko sila.) Maganda ang pagkakaputol ng istorya (dahil may sequel na malapit na raw lumabas). May mga rebelasyon na sumagot sa mga nagbabanggaang tanong, na mukhang magsasanga pa sa mas marami at mas nakakapanindig-balahibong pakikipagsapalaran ni Janus.

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(4) Ang Unang Baboy sa Langit. (Cacho Publishing House) Sino ba’ng hindi maaaliw sa baboy na ubod ng linis–na naghihilamos, nagdadasal at namumuno sa paglilinis ng kural (at community organizer pa pala). Ang malalim na mensahe ng kuwentong ‘to na binalot sa (taba at) ka-cute-an ng bida ang humuli ng puso ko. Para sa akin, kinakatawan ni Butsiki ang mga Pilipinong naninindigan sa katotohanan sa kabila ng pambabatikos at paghihinala sa kanila. (‘Di ba ang lalim para sa isang kuwentong-pambata?) Naniniwala ako na lagi at laging may tatayong Butsiki hangga’t may mga naglulustay ng kanilang pork barrel (o kung ano mang bagong tawag dito).

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(5) Si Carancal, ang Bayaning Isang Dangkal. (Lampara) Ito ang unang libro sa Carancal series. Patok sa mga bagets ang mga adventures ng ating munting bida . (Yes, kahit ang paglalayas ni Kuya para makatulong sa pamilya.) Huling-huli rin ng librong ito ang kiliti ng mga bata pagdating sa pakikipagtunggali (lalo na sa mga mas malalaki sa’yo)–na kaya mo silang isahan katulad ng ginawa ni Carancal. Ang sarap ikuwento nito dahil kaabang-abang ang gagawin ng bida sa bawat pahina. Plus, ginawan pa namin ng kanta (bilang pagpupugay) si Carancal sa tono ng Let It Go, kaya lalong bumenta.

Ang mga librong ito rin ang mga paborito kong ikwento sa aking mga klase.

Ikaw, ano-anong mga pambatang libro ang iyong paborito?

Bisitahin ang PBBY facebook page para sa iba pang detalye ng NCBD ngayong taon.

On How TPR Saves ESL Classes

Teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) has always been a challenge to language teachers across different levels. One factor that contributes to this difficult feat is the little exposure that a learner has with the target language. The amount of experience spells the richness of one’s vocabulary, the knowledge of the rules that govern that language and the confidence of the learner to express himself/herself using the language learned.

The dearth of meaningful experience with English leads to learners who are either tight-lipped during English time or the other extreme—garrulous to the point of disrupting the class with their antics and clowning around. Then out of frustrations for the seemingly unresponsive class, the teacher resorts to translating from English to the local language. Learning a new language, then, becomes an arduous task to both teacher and students.

To address this impending distaste to learning English among students,  we can use a well-researched, language teaching technique–Total Physical Response (TPR).

James Asher, an American professor of psychology developed this teaching method. It is based on the theory that the memory is enhanced through association with physical movement.  When you pair up a sentence or any other statement with a physical action, and you do this repeatedly, would increase the likelihood of a successful recall.

TPR is most often used when giving imperatives. Instead of plainly asking your students to bring out their notebooks, raise their hands, or sit properly, couple these statements with appropriate gestures. Upon doing this, you are actually making them experience the language without explicitly teaching the grammar rules. The goal here is that they become familiar with the language and at ease hearing and responding to it.

This technique could also be used with different levels of learners too. For those who already have a considerable amount of vocabulary and a good command of the language, the students could be asked to add actions to his/her answers. For beginners, responding to imperatives is already a sign of understanding of the command or request.

TPR is best used with verbs that call for physical action, but adjectives lend also themselves to this method. For instance, brave is act out with a raised fist, fast is miming a runner with both arms swaying in an acute angle. The key here is to think of a definitive action that the children could easily associate with the given word.

Thank You for the Music

I am not Music teacher,  but I could say that music has been playing a big role in the way I teach and reach out to my students.

If a student ha200213800-001ppens to be in my Hekasi class, he should know at least one song that is related to the topics we’ve had. He probably knows, like the back of his hand, the lyrics of the unofficial opening song of our Hekasi class–Ito ang Hekasi–primarily because it is sung to Taylor Swift’s Blank Space. His favorite line might be “Mahaba-habang kuwentuhan, h’wag sanang antukin”.

Halina at pag-aralan
Kasaysayan, Sibika
Pati na Heograpiya
Nitong ating bansa
Mahaba-habang kuwentuhan
Huwag sanang antukin*
T’yak na ‘ka’y matututo
Ito ang He…KaSi

*At mga gawain (alternate)

I also hope that the songs from different ethno-linguistic groups like Bontoc’s Bagbagto, Visayan’s Si Filemon or Chavacano’s Porque would help him remember how diverse and rich the culture of the Philippines is. The Donna-Cruz-inspired song about population that one group of pupils composed is an affirmation that the lesson’s objective has been achieved.

Songs are also staples of my English class. Concepts stick to memory more easily if they are delivered through songs. The 23 linking and helping verbs are effortlessly remembered when they are sung to the tune of London Bridge.

Be am is are was were been
Has have had
Do does did
Can could shall should will would may
Might must being

Lessons on sentences and subject-verb agreement become less complicated when pupils know the aforementioned song. Transition songs like the Banana Song, with its engaging movements and You Are My Sunshine, with its calming effect, help me manage my Grade 6 pupils.

Aside from helping me impart the target concepts and managing my students, music also gives me a glimpse of my students’ personality and interests. In a survey we have had in class, I have learned that a lot of them listen to the same songs–usually those that are (re)played in different radio stations and other mass media platforms. For a teacher, who does not watch TV that often, this was very indispensable information. I now have a pool of songs that I could use the next time I compose a song in the next months. And I have a wide array of pop culture info that I could use in our discussions.

Indeed, teachers also learn from their students. It might be about the ‘in’ songs of the present generation and how to turn them into a lesson or about how the teacher’s inclinations, in my case, my affinity to music, affect his teaching style.

Writing Issues

I have almost forgotten that I have always wanted to become a writer.

The last time I checked, I made a promise to write more often when I get into the public school. I had foreseen that once I got in, I would have more time for creative writing or self-expression because of the lighter work loads. And yet, months after my second employment, I have not even produced a single story draft or a sensible blog entry.

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In times like this, you just want to confront and scold yourself for being so utterly unproductive.

And then your other self reasons out.

I was busy with other equally important things like teaching ( spelled as writing lesson plans, checking tons of paper and preparing instructional materials), working out (running and biking) and a little bit of reading.

Then back to your other self.

Isn’t writing also important to you? If you really want to get better at it, then you must make time for it.

Then you realized that you have been so inconsistent with the voice of your pronouns. Then you keep on hitting that backspace key after reading the last six words that you have just typed. You never get satisfied with how you string together those words. Then you open a tab and google if you use that idiom properly. Then you stare at the blinking cursor as you wonder on how this metawriting would…then you can’t find the right English word for it. Now you don’t want to consult the online Filipino-English dictionary, and now you have decided to just leave the  previous sentence incomplete. Then the thought of using Filipino comes in because you think you could better express yourself in this language, but you would rather not because you…then you can’t articulate yourself anymore.  And you just resorted to reading everything that you have just typed and check if you are making sense or if you’re subjects and verbs are at war with each other. Then there comes the tenses of your verbs which you could never perfect.

Then, you ask yourself, have I been cut out to become a writer?

What can I write?

Can I even write?

***

These were my thoughts after hearing Dean Alfar’s talk on his Writing and Entrepreneurship journey during Coffee Been and Tea Leaf’s Brew Your Best Year February 21 edition. The speakers shared their stories and inspired us to “discover what’s special about us”.

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Aside from speculative fiction icon Dean Alfar, other speakers were the founder of a social enterprise magissolutions.com, a web and software development company with a heart for social causes and advocacies; fitness trainer Bok Santos whose humble beginnings paved the way to his reputation as celebrity coach; and the Vanessa Valdez of the Philippine movie industry, writer of some our favorite Filipino movies including One More Chance.

This was a beautiful wake-up call for us people who have forgotten to mine for a treasure(d) chest of talents within us waiting to be discovered.

Skywatching

It is now a pleasure waking up early in the morning. For one, you get ample time for morning rituals and travel time.

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But the best bit of it is being greeted by the awesome sky. I just stand in awe of the beauty of God’s canvass.

Every time I look at the sky, I am reassured that I have a God who never forgets His promises. I just know.

Saving Sharks

Capped off a series of Reading lessons on sharks with a conservation campaign.

Immensely proud of the sixth graders for pulling off informative and entertaining #sharkconservation campaigns from Grade 1 to 4th year HS.

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Highlights:

One group made first graders hug the shark.

Selected pupils, who were assigned to wear the shark costume, had more fun than those who did not.

Students have unlearned myths about sharks.

Challenges of the Sea

Challenges of the Sea

I’m pretty excited for the next batch of selections we’re having in our Reading 6 class. The unit’s theme is Challenges of the Sea.

We’ll be perusing a chapter from Sperry’s Call It Courage–Mafatu and the Ma’o (shark). There’s also a chapter from another YA novel. It’s about the heroine Paloma who survives a series of unfortunate events (i.e. leg cramps, shark attack).

Now, that’s two stories that present the terrifying side of sharks. But worry not shark protection advocates because there are also non-fictions that discuss the not-so-explored nature of sharks–how they use their senses to find food. Then I plan to insert mini-lessons on the different species of sharks, shark captivity and conservation.

I’m dying to have the mini-lessons because I’ll be wearing (for the first time in my teaching career history) a (shark) costume during some parts of the lesson.

On the more local side, we have some selections about a secret island, muro-ami, fishboys and Badjaos.

I have also asked my pupils to ready their sea-related trivia every meeting.

It feels great to be a teacher when you have those ideas pouring in.

Date with a Full Mary

“I’ve learned that finishing a marathon isn’t just an athletic achievement. It’s a state of mind; a state of mind that says anything is possible.”

-John Hanc, running writer

Last July 28, I’ve run my first full marathon–a feat that I thought would only happen in my dreams.

When I was in college, I never enrolled for any physically-taxing P.E. subjects, save for the class Philippine Games which was pre-enlisted by my adviser. After getting a bruised knee in that class during a round of agawan-base, I  stayed away from the more active PE classes. I had fun doing stretching routines, playing competitive scrabble and dancing Philippine folk dances for my remaining PE subjects. I actually excelled in all those subjects.  That’s how  I avoided injury-prone activities. That kept me from seeing the possibility that, someday, I would run a marathon .

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During my grade school years, I was a full-pledged batang-kalye . I played all sorts of street games–mataya-taya, langit-lupa, patintero, sipa, siato, (street) football, Tom Sawyer, piko, luksong-baka, luksong-tinik, bang-sak and all those other games I can’t name anymore. Knowing this gave me that confidence that I could run for several hours–just like those childhood afternoons  when my Mama would scold us for spending so much time on the street.

My quest for that marathon finish started in January 2011. After several years of being dormant (all work and no play), I decided to run. Someone told me that this could be the way for me to gain some weight. Having an ectomorphic body, eating voraciously won’t work for me. I need to flex those muscles to hit that BMI. So I did run. Lazily. Twice or thrice a month along UP’s academic oval after my M.A. classes. Completing a 2.2 km-run (one round in acad oval)  was more difficult than completing graduate school requirements.

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Then came in the hiking bug. The next half of 2012 saw me scaling mountain after mountains.  I had two to three climbs every month. I even attempted to join the UP Mountaineers after quitting graduate school. (the app process was akin to enrolling 18 units in college.) It was with this organization where I met people who would later on inspire me to run, care for the environment and dream for the impossible. I was eliminated from the application process after arriving late in one event. But the whole UPM experience made me see the athletic, for lack of a better term, side of me.

Buying a good pair of running shoes reinforced a goal that has been forming in my mind for months–to finish a marathon. I asked for suggestions from runner-friends and the prestigious Milo Marathon got my attention.

When I was about to register for the race,  I didn’t know that you have to bring an empty Milo pack. I had to rush to the supermarket to buy one and empty the pack inside a restroom cubicle in SM North. No I didn’t pour it in the toilet bowl.

After the epic registration, I started training seriously for my first full mary. I increased my mileage every week. I made routes in SJDM, Norzagaray, Angat,Sta. Maria and Baliuag. Since I don’t have any running coach, reading books about running was an essential in my training.

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Waking up early on Saturdays and Sundays–which were supposed to be rest days–was a constant struggle, but I ran anyway. Getting soaked in the rain and baked in the sun was alarming, but I ran anyway. The chance of being bitten by dogs or hit by vehicles was high, but I ran anyway. Boredom, hunger, thirst and  fatigue set in, but I ran anyway.

In December 2012, I had my first fun run. I thought that running 21 kilometers along Commonwealth Avenue was fun. Without any proper training, I finished the race in 2 hours and 1 minute.  Not bad for a neophyte, I thought. The QC International Marathon was a good opening salvo.My year ended with a two-day hike of Mt. Tapulao in Zambales–the peak of my mountaineering stint.

Mountaineering became less appealing as I’ve spent more time on the road–running. I would religiously hit the road twice or thrice a week gaining mileage and training for endurance. I scoured the shelves in Booksale for books about running and stretching.

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I joined fun runs championing the causes which I believe in also. I’ve slowly become a runner.

There were a lot of times that doubts slowly ate up my motivation, but every time I would read the bible during my quiet time with the Lord, God would encourage me. These verses fueled my runs:

2 Chronicles 20:15 

He said: “Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the LORD says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.

Philippians 1:6

being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus

And yes, I was relying on God’s grace as I completed my first full marathon last Sunday. The goal was really just to finish it within the 6-hour cut-off time. But God was gracious enough to let me finish it in 5:01 (gun time)/4:59 (chip time) without any major injury.

God’s grace was reflected in the ample food and water stations, the amicable runners, the good weather, the supportive running organizations and the patient marshals and  motorists. I was able to do a side trip in Manila Bay Pier 15 to visit Greenpeace’s Ocean Defender Esperanza with UPM friends.

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And what better way to end the day than going to Victory Nova in Robinson to thank the Lord for His overflowing grace.

Finishing that marathon is a great reminder that with God, nothing is impossible.

So, get up, lace up and run!

#readrunner