I’m on a self-imposed social media diet limiting my intake only to messenger to connect to family members in three different time zones and an occasional urge to share a capture over FB’s sister company instagram. Other than those, most of my time lately is basked on finishing a BIG dream, TED, Super Soul Sessions, Amazing Facts, Harry’s Last Lecture, Commencement Charge, and Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday.

I am a logophile and I have so much admiration for people who can put thoughts brilliantly together but I am even more impressed and have high respect for people who can act on their thoughts to change the world, to affect the majority and command change in a heartbeat. In my own private space, I would often ask myself, is that even possible for me? How do I start? Will I ever get the courage to take that first step?

Then I met Marianne Deborah Williamson, an American spiritual teacher, author and lecturer who has published eleven books, including four New York Times number one bestsellers through Oprah’s super soul TV. Her prayer in the book Illuminata had changed the way I prayed.


Here’s an excerpt..

Dear God,
I give this day to You.
May my mind stay centered on the things of spirit.
May I not be tempted to stray from love.
As I begin this day, I open to receive You.
Please enter where You already abide.
May my mind and heart be pure and true, and may I not deviate from the things of goodness.
May I see the love and innocence in all mankind, behind the masks we all wear and the illusions of this worldly plane.
I surrender to You my doings this day.
I ask only that they serve You and the healing of the world.
May I bring Your love and goodness with me, to give unto others wherever I go.
Make me the person You would have me be.
Direct my footsteps, and show me what You would have me do.
Make the world a safer, more beautiful place.
Bless all Your creatures.
Heal us all, and use me, dear Lord, that I might know the joy of being used by You. Amen.

I have been busy and crazy figuring out how I can be an agent of change when all I needed to do is ask God to bring me to that beautiful place. It doesn’t have to be as grand as Delai Lama or Martin Luther because right from where I stay is the best place to start.

Backstory : This week TED is celebrating its 10th year of spreading ideas.



Secret Love Song

When you hold me in the street
And you kiss me on the dance floor
I wish that it could be like that
Why can’t it be like that?
‘Cause I’m yours

We keep behind closed doors
Every time I see you, I die a little more
Stolen moments that we steal as the curtain falls
It’ll never be enough

It’s obvious you’re meant for me
Every piece of you, it just fits perfectly
Every second, every thought, I’m in so deep
But I’ll never show it on my face

But we know this.
We got a love that is homeless

Why can’t you hold me in the street?
Why can’t I kiss you on the dance floor?
I wish that it could be like that
Why can’t we be like that?
‘Cause I’m yours

[Jason Derulo:]
When you’re with him, do you call his name
Like you do when you’re with me? Does it feel the same?
Would you leave if I was ready to settle down
Or would you play it safe and stay?

Girl, you know this.
We got a love that is hopeless

Why can’t you hold me in the street?
Why can’t I kiss you on the dance floor?
I wish that it could be like that
Why can’t we be like that?
‘Cause I’m yours

And nobody knows I’m in love with someone’s baby
I don’t wanna hide us away
Tell the world about the love we’re making
I’m living for that day

Why can’t I hold you in the street?
Why can’t I kiss you on the dance floor?
I wish that we could be like that
Why can’t we be like that?
‘Cause I’m yours, I’m yours

Oh, why can’t you hold me in the street?
Why can’t I kiss you on the dance floor?
I wish that it could be like that
Why can’t it be like that?
‘Cause I’m yours

Why can’t I say that I’m in love?
I wanna shout it from the rooftop
I wish that it could be like that
Why can’t we be like that?
‘Cause I’m yours

Why can’t we be like that?
Wish we could be like that

Backstory : Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened. This is the best cover of Secret Love Song ever.

A thank you shout out for you!

The rain is intermittent from where I usually do my morning routine of checking and responding emails both personal and professional. I peeked into the window’s blinds and carefully observed the magical glittering drops of water from above. It was such a serene sight to behold and its sound made it even more enticing to engage in this mundane pleasure of present stillness.

The rain stopped that served as an apparent cue to go on with my daily grind. As I walked to check the day’s headlines, piles of sorted English books greeted me. From where I am now, it’s kind of rare to find them. I had instant palpitation and a sudden soar of desire to take them all. I asked where it was headed since it was neatly piled and sorted according to genre. “Someone just dropped it in for anyone to take,” our receptionist said.


Wow! What a kind soul you are!

Backstory : The books came from Malaysia, India, Italy, US, Singapore, Africa and Japan based on its price tags. I wish I can have 30 minutes of your time to exchange our shared love for books and travel.



Change is Possible

Among the basic state rights I have, I take my right to suffrage seriously, intensely, and conscientiously. I remembered going to the poll precincts in Commonwealth Elementary School 23 years ago to cast my very first vote. It was an exercise that changed the way I looked at government camouflaged in public service. Back then, campaigns and sorties were limited to meeting de avance normally held in either a basketball court, a school ground or in front of a famous city landmark, and a house-to-house visit of the candidates where they actually sometimes dine, and sit down with you for a an honest-to-goodness conversation about life and future.

Two decades and 3 years after, the campaign landscape in the country I am proud to call home morphed into a whole new spectrum of mudslinging and salacious entertainment (depending on which one is bringing in more support) immensely magnified worldwide through social media in real time.

Clearly things have evolved. What used to be a sacred exercise became an open arena of multiple shares peppered with desires to even make it more vulnerable to public opinion. In this generation of self-abundance, we are trading relevance with popularity, careful study with bandwagon, but what is even more alarming is our conscious accord to fully embrace this new face of politics.

Voting has kicked off for OFWs and as someone who has been an expat for quite sometime, I am going out today not to vote but to experience and exercise once again the sacredness, the right, the power of my one vote that hopefully will bring good change.

I am a Filipino and as long as I am assured of this right, I will continue praying, hoping and voting for my dear Philippine’s brighter tomorrow.

Backstory : According to an online survey, 1 in 5 people suffer cyber bullying everyday with Facebook accounting for more than half of the abuse. The Commission on Human Rights in the PH is alarm of the rising number of election-related cyber bullying. I was one of their statistics but I’ve chosen to forgive.


You haven’t read enough

Currently pursuing a teaching certification course espoused by the Southeast Asia Union Mission based in Singapore made possible by Ekamai International School.  I am compelled to share my love story with Jesus Christ not that I am holier now but because I have a Holy Savior.


Here’s the full transcript:

She drinks five to six cups of coffee in a day. She is a voracious reader and a film junkie. Her work is surrounded by smoking-creative workmates whose break time is usually spent in either bars or cafes. She smokes, drinks and party from dusk until dawn. She manages a firm of military generals, colonels and security officers. Her closet is filled with jeans, jackets and shirts. She earns more than her age. She is carefree, successful but empty.

Her bestfriend in graduate school shares her love for movie except that he wouldn’t come with her on Saturdays and wouldn’t eat pork and shrimp which were staples in her home especially during special occasions such as birthdays.  She was curious and anxious to ask but theirs is a friendship that simply understands without the awkwardness and difficulty of asking.

Three years back, he invited her to attend Sabbath services in a school auditorium in Bangkok predominantly filled with Filipinos from the South.  Except for the free lunch which was so bland, she never remembered anything significant or impressive.  Maybe it was because she had to forcibly wear a womanly like dress to fit in that she lost her interest to be there in the first place. She grew up in a Christian home that goes to church in jeans clad in rosary.  This is not her place. She certainly don’t belong here she often told herself. But her bestfriend would still invite her and she would still go Sabbath after Sabbath despite all the inconveniences because her intelligence was challenged with her ignorance of the Bible. She read it from Genesis to Revelation from way back but she was so dumb to cognitively share as she understood nothing except John 3:16.  She was then convince that she has not read enough because she failed to understand, share and live the truth of the Bible.      She soaked herself into further Bible studies, readings and research that she even dropped everything on her reading list to concentrate on just one thing – understanding the Bible.

Every time she reads transformation unfolds. And the more she reads more changes occurs physically, emotionally, socially and spiritually.  She was never religious but she noticed she was becoming spiritual everyday as she progresses with her readings. She started being mindful of her diet, her wardrobe, her books, her movies and even her wallet. She started looking not from her eyes but from her heart each time she goes to church. She started tithing even if she wasn’t officially part of the church. She changed the way she prayed. From repetitive mumble, her prayers are now carefully structured personal narratives.

The day she learned to pray was the same day she decided to be baptized at Ramkhamhaeng International SDA church. Now she continuous to serve God as a Sabbath School Superintendent and Women’s Ministry Leader while she perpetually seek for ways to know God through the RISDAC Bible Study Club.

She has been caffeine, nicotine and alcohol free for three straight years and whenever she is visited by the urge to sip, she would go back to that victorious day of May 12, 2012 when she had a home run towards peace, love and joy.

She is Evangeline Tan-Alvez.

A sinner saved by grace.

And she is a proud Adventist.

BACKSTORY : Contextualized witnessing is a four hour face to face learning session and above is my paper on how I met God. Completed 8 of 56 required hours.

9 lessons I wish I knew when I was a 3rd grader

What would you do to earn money if all you had was five dollars and two hours?

Stanford University professor Tina Seelig challenged her class to come up with an answer to the question above and these were some of the suggestions during the presentation:

Common answers

  • Go to Las Vegas
  • Buy a lottery ticket

Next common answers

  • Set up a car wash or lemonade stand

Most of the students took this exercise to the next level and moved far beyond the obvious and ordinary.  They question traditional assumptions exposing a plethora of possibilities and end up with richness both in substance and wisdom.

I am halfway through final of “What I wish I knew when I was 20”,  when I figure I am in the same boat with Seelig except that I was getting it from Sam, a 3rd grader who recently celebrated his 9th birthday (the reason it had to be just 9):

1. That I should be passionate about anything I can put my hand, brain or feet into even if it stands in the way of Minecraft and Lego.

2. That I should celebrate even in mundane achievement such as getting the right spelling of RESOLUTE even if it is wrongly pronounced  because it is after all still a success.

3. That I should save for toys, travels and time because the first will make me smile, the second will make me rich and the third will make me smart.

4. That I should say I love you back to mom even if my eyes and brain is saying otherwise due to exhaustion.

5. That I should never google “what to do with my wicked sister” on my mom’s phone because she will eventually find out and I need to convinced her it’s nothing even if it means the world.

6. That I should love my pets despite their annoying odor.

7. That I should always share because mom says it’s cool to share.

8. That I should attentively listen to my teacher when giving homework because what I usually write on my notebook doesn’t reflect the assignment.

9. That math is easy but science is way much easier, cooler and fun.

I learned all these from my brilliant 3rd grader who as of this writing is with his papa undergoing a surgery down under. Hahaha!


Backstory : According to a report on State of the Nation in May last year, 93 percent of Filipino males are circumcised and summer is the optimal time for both doctors and kids to circumcise.

14 going on 40

You only live once.

YOLO as they call it is the newest mantra of this generation. A way of life that pushes individuals to live life to the extremes of situations, adventures and choices. I however completely disagree with the emergence of this philosophy simply because I’ve been “yoloing” for the last 40 years, 480 months, 2087.1 weeks, 14609.7 days and 350,633 hours. As a matter of fact every single second of my 40 years is all about living at the moment.  I have to admit though that there were times I skipped and shy away from real-time living but those times were the very moment I lost grip on God.  No tricks or fancy explanation, just God trying to show me how much love He has for me that I get to wake up each morning to a new blessing called life.


The same principle applies to my daughter Chi despite my perpetual denial of her increasing age. She’s happy being 14 and I am even happier being 40.


BACKSTORY : Chi and I share the same birthmonth which is February. Do you know that February at one time used to be the last month of the year?

Happy 8th!

Whenever I look at you, I am always reminded that miracles are tangible.

sam8That everything is possible with God and that I am so blessed beyond measure.

I love you son and please know that I am so proud of you.


Backstory : Dr. Dorotea Ancheta is Sam’s pediatrician since birth. Kuya Ronald is Sam’s barber for 8 years. Maryland is home to Sam for 8 years.

196 reasons to be thankful

This is my 196th entry in the span of four solid years since I decided to share my thoughts to all of you following Backstory. I had a different entry reserved for this day but because my phone (where the reserved entry had been saved) suddenly decided to divorce me and found its way to another owner whom I still don’t know, I had to spontaneously create a new post. I don’t want to spoil Backstory’s 4th anniversary just because my phone disappeared. The immediate catch was a post about gratitude.

And so here are my 196.

1god. 2life. 3children. 4parents. 5bible. 6relatives. 7risdac. 8friends. 9pasta. 10books. 11in-laws. 12passport. 13work. 14calculator. 15snapseed. 16skype. 17atm. 18airplane. 19strangers. 20fruits. 21slr. 22chocolates. 23smartphone. 24beach. 25bike. 26wikipedia. 27mouse. 28movies. 29google. 30microsoft office. 31clean restrooms. 32massage.34 backpacks. 35blue and purple inks. 36wristwatch. 37vegetables. 38free bus ride.39 yogurt. 40free train ride. 41cheese. 42chuck taylor. 43wifi. 44word games. 45parks. 46music. 47passport drive. 48lifts. 49flipflops. 50vanilla & strawberry ice cream. 51DQ’s mudpie. 52cloud drives. 53convenient stores. 54sunnies. 55schools. 56classmates. 57critics. 58grade 1 teachers.59 google translate. 60instagram. 61windows. 62crew necks. 63sign pens. 64crayons. 65moleskin. 66ebooks. 67postal office. 68letters. 69punctual bosses. 70quick board meetings. 71coin purse. 72white button downs. 73jeans. 74twitter. 75news. 76authors. 77oil burner. 78essential oils. 79organic products. 80chemical-free shampoo. 81free taste. 82soft couches. 83bike shops. 84running shoes. 85ex husband. 86teleserye. 87national 88geographic channel. 89travel reviews. 90countryside. 91bridges. 92mountains. 93hot showers. 94ginger tea. 95instant vegetable soup. 96ramen. 97leche flan. 98suman. 99hot chocolate. 100alarm clock. 101tents. 102keychains. 103photos. 104cake. 105herbs. 106pepper mill. 107breakfast. 108recovery folder. 109anti-virus. 110auto-save. blogs.111 ted.112 tripod. 113love. 114postcards. 115subwoofers. 116museums. 117clouds. 118book markers. 119tissue. 120pain. 121brown unpolished rice. 122newspapers. 123stockings. 124coloring books. 125crossword puzzles. 126challenges. 127hairdressers. 128scrubs. 129skyways. 130expressways. 131lessons. 132free emails. 133thumb drive. 134dips. 135garbage collectors 138mommy c. 139jackets. 140dm’s. 141kriminal. 142people watching, 145salad. 146buffet. 147afforadble hotels. student. 149Mr. Jira. 150alma maters. 151handwritten notes. 152gifts. 153Ate Bing. 154sister. 155homecooked meals. 156left-overs. 157morning walks. 158earset. 159fresh fruit juice. 160soldiers. 161travel. 162dictionary. 163Ron and Rajdeep. 164Nanay. 165Tata. 166cartoon network. 167iron chef america. 168free toturials. 169birthdays. 170photography magazines. 171meaningful conversations. 172. Antonio. 173MAIP friends. 174DSC. 175co-workers. 176deadlines. 177Miguel. 178warm water. 179lemon. 180honey. 181garlic. 182ss team. 183charger. 184sleep. 185good laugh. 186sabbath. 187toys. 188socks. 189debts. 190babies. 191cousins. 192other women. 193sling bags. 194weddings. 195talents. 196answered prayers.

The list can go on and on. There was one thing that dawned on me while listing down all 196.

I am too blessed to be stressed.

I am pretty sure, you have your own list. Maybe even longer.

Try listing it down and you will realize how wealthy you are.


Backstory : Thank you WordPress for the meaningful four years and to every single soul following this blog thank you as well. Lastly to YOU reading this post now..THANK YOU!

15 ” home

Whenever nostalgia visits me, I always run to my hard drives to scan a plethora of screen grabs of my daily chats with my children. It eats more than half of my memory, thumb and passport drives.

Today is no exception.


Backstory : A screen dump, screen capture (or screen-cap), screenshot (or screen shot), screengrab (or screen grab) [1] is an image taken by the computer user to record the visible items displayed on the monitor, television, or another visual output device. Usually, this is a digital image using the (host) operating system or software running on the computer, but it can also be a capture made by a camera or a device intercepting the video output of the display (such as a DVR). That latent image converted and saved to an image file such as to JPEG or PNG format is also called a screenshot. (Source : Wikipedia)