Thursday, May 11, 2006

"Bida si Mama" Feature Writing Contest Winners

Update on the feature writing contest that my daughter Kyla joined. She got the 3rd prize!!! Congratulations baby! I told you it'll be a great experience to join and here you are winning a prize... Of course I'm not sure, but it looks like she's the only one who joined from the Philippines. Hmm... I wonder what the prizes are :)

Angelica Rossana B. Tolentino (Kyla)
3rd Prize Winner

Mom gave me the best graduation gift - her presence.

We have heroes we look up to and respect and they have their own Heroes' Day, but what we sometimes fail to realize is that there's more than a hero who's just beside us: our mother. So as we celebrate the Mothers' Day, let's remember their simple heroic deeds.

As for me, my mother is a 36- year old cheerful and very outgoing woman. Her name is Ma. Rachelle Bedia. She's beautiful licensed to join beauty pageants and of course win some of them. She's has a very strong personality, which I really admire. Behind her tough attitude, she really has a good heart for her family and friends. She finished a degree in Library Science which really suits her. She loves book fairs and is a voracious reader. She has two children: myself and my younger brother, Axel.

She had been a librarian in international schools in the Philippines but before I stepped on the 6th grade, she left for the United States. There she is currently working as a librarian in a Law school. She always comes back here in the Philippines for a short period of time at least once a year. But she wasn't able to come for my grade school graduation and that made me very sad. And when I passed third year with first honors, which was unexpected because I came from behind, she told me she couldn't come because of work. And I felt sad once again.

At the Recognition Day, my name was called. As I started to make my way for my medals, my fellow honor student cried, "Kyla, your Mom!!!" I looked at her with disbelief. She repeated it and pointed to the side of the hall. I followed her motion and there I saw my mom, walking fast toward the stage to catch up with me and my father. At that instant, I cried, in front of the audience, and even they were touched by my mother's unannounced and timely appearance.

What made her timing great was that her flight was delayed, plus the fact that our school was an hours drive from the airport. It's funny: if she came even a minute late, she could've missed that moment. She stayed only for a week but that's fine, I know about her work.

As I stepped in the fourth year in high school, it became a great mystery for me if she will come for my graduation or not. If she didn't, she will have already missed two graduations. Before last Christmas, she told me to choose when I want her to come: Christmas or Graduation. Of course, I chose the latter. Then she told me her conditions: she can't promise me that for she has just began her second job. What she was sure of coming is for Christmas, which means she will not come for my graduation. So we spent Christmas together. Then March came, and as graduation day neared, the awaited honor roll was announced. I was not expecting to beclass valedictorian but when the announcement confirmed tha I was, I was really happy and sad at the same time for my mama couldn't come.

March 25, 2006 is our graduation day. The night before, as I prepared for bed, I nursed the hope that my mama would surprise me again like she did before. Then at past 1am, I woke up to see my mama in front of me. As I saw her though unclearly, I hugged her and uttered, "Mama," and slept again. After some time, I woke up completely and me and my brother were eager to see our pasalubong and to hear mama's story of surprising us. So in my graduation day, my mama was there though she stayed for only five days. I got the best gift from my mama on my graduation: her PRESENCE!!!

These are the stories I will never forget. Because even at times I thought that my brother is her favorite and I’m not that important, now I realize that I am really loved... =)

Sandrine Santiago Lipana
12 of Arcadia
2nd Prize

'My Mom is my best friend'

MY MOTHER, Bernardine Lipana, is the greatest mom any kid could ask for. She's beautiful, kind, caring, lovable, funny, intelligent, talented, and has so much faith in God. My mom is my best friend. We do everything together: get our nails and hair done, watch a movie or just have fun talking about everything.

My mother is also my number one fan. In 2004, there was a competition for Little Miss Philippines Universe. My brother Lawrence, who was valedictorian of his class, joined the Outstanding Students contest and invited me to compete in the pageant since it was sponsored by the same company. At first, I didn't want to join and told him to ask Mimi (that's what I call my mom). My mom advised me to join; she even promised me she would cheer me on. On the competition, my mom was sitting in the front row, screaming my name and shouting, "anak ko yan! [that's my daughter!]" I felt so special. The last theme of the competition was the evening gowns, where we would be accompanied by any person, friend or family. Mimi went with me on stage, still cheering for me. In the end, I won the competition.

Mimi is very hard working. Everyday she comes home exhausted from her full-time job, but she still cooks, washes the dishes, cleans the house and even help us with our homework. Because of all her help in our studies, both my elder brothers were valedictorians of their class (in 2004 and 2006). She really is the "Super Mom." Even though I am already 12 years old, my mom and I still enjoy reading together. We read Chicken Soup for the Mother and Daughter Soul. In one story titled, "The Magic Jar," a mother and daughter have a jar. In this jar, they will write each other letters about their day, problems that might have occured that are too embarassing to discuss, and other things. Each then puts her letter in her jar and lets the other read it. After reading this book, we were inspired, and we decided to make our own "Magic Jar." Like the ones in the story, Mimi and I would write what happened at school and she would write what happened at work. It was enjoyable, but this didn't stop us from having real conversations. It was just a way to write down our feelings. She is certainly the greatest mom ever.

Mimi has so much faith in God. Every time we go to Lake Avenue Chruch, I wish I could be as spiritual as her. She turns to God for thanksgiving, praising, repenting, yielding, and sometimes when she has any questions. She knows so much about God, Jesus and all the other people in the Bible. I want to know as much as she does when I grow up. She also teaches me a lot about God and how He works in the lives of everyone. Mimi is very smart and intelligent and that inspires me to be like her.

The finest mom in the world is really my mom. She is very kind and caring. Whenever relatives or friends ever need a helping hand, my mom will always be there for me. One time, I got wounded in the knee because some kid hurt me. She was at school, 10 minutes later, helping me. She got so worried and she would do anything for me to get better.

Mimi, you really are the best mom anyone could ask for. You will always be my best friend and you will always be the greatest mother out there. You have characteristics no other mom could have. You have shown me unfading love and you care for all three of your kids like no other. Mimi, I love you so much and I hope you have the best Mother's Day ever!


Michelle Aguba
1st Prize

She believes in me, would fight for me.

AS I write this, I can't help stop my tears from falling remembering Mama on the day I left the Philippines>. Last October was the saddest day of my life; watching Mama with tears all over her face, hugging me so tight as if it was the last days of our lives. I was seven months pregnant then when I left her. I know she was afraid for me because I am all alone and by myself traveling to a new land, not knowing what's in store for me. But she doesn't know that I am more afraid, because there will be no Mama who would assure me that everything will be fine when things go wrong. A woman who believes and would fight for me, SHE IS MY MAMA.

I came from a poor family in Zamboanga del Norte but amidst our tough life, mama raised us well. She even made sure we would finish college. She used to sell kakanin in a nearby school for our baon and she also used to sell ice candy and banana cue during Saturdays and Sundays to pay for our school projects. Mama taught us to value every centavo we have. She taught us to be God-fearing and to always thank Him for the simple gifts He gives us. At the same time, she taught us to be kind, patient and humble. And if there was nothing left for us, she'd rather not eat just to have some for her children.

Mama has so much faith in God. We hear Mass every Sunday. She reads the Bible to us and teaches us to understand the meaning of His words. I remember one time, as a child, I asked her, why didn't God make us rich? Why is it that I can't have a nice pair of shoes and a beautiful dress? She always has good answers and reasons. She had inculcated in my mind that everything I wish through prayers will be granted but I must be patient. And through her, I came to realize that being poor doesn't necessarily separate us from others. She had always have answers when I am confused.

She's there when I'm down. She was the first person who comforted me on first heartbreak. Her warm embrace calmed me while her sweet smile promised a new hope. The look in her eyes had given me strength to go on. Without saying a word, Mama gave me back my confidence to face the world again and excel in everything I do from then on. For me, she is the best mother in the whole world. She is my best friend and my shield. I am what I am today because of her unconditional love for me.

For now, I am counting the days before I see her again and feel her embrace. Distance would not and cannot break the bond between us. Mama is in my heart always. I am living my days with her words and love, and now that I already have a daughter, I will see to it that I would take care of her and raise her just the way Mama did to me.

Mama, everyday is Mother's Day for me. You deserve all the happiness this world could offer and I am so proud to tell the world that I have you. No one could replace you in my heart. Thank you for being the strength beneath my wings. I LOVE YOU MAMA! HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!