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How I Survived English


How I Survived English

by Maureen Vivas

When I was younger, I hated English. I. Hated. It. It was a stupid language and the subject-verb agreements are weird: teach, taught, catch, caught. The words turn into a totally different spelling just by changing the tense or whatever the hell you call it. I was so near to failing the subject. But come high school, a great English teacher entered the picture – Ms. Joy Cruz. She was the kind of teacher you would feel very guilty if you doctored a book report. She was a good speaker, a good teacher and a good friend. My survival started there. I started to read novels for real and I understood movies and TV series more clearly.

More than the teacher that helped me get through my weakness; Twilight Saga is the first series I read religiously. I could not get the phone out of my face. I was reading through PDF then. I was just a mere student who could not buy paperbacks. And then I watched Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief alone, found out that it was a book adaptation and got obsessed with the series. For the first three books, I was reading through my laptop. It was so hard. It was too big, heavy and inconvenient. Plus, I could only read at home because I could not carry my laptop around and read books anywhere I wanted to. Nevertheless, I finished reading all five books and now, including the Heroes of Olympus series.

I like watching movies even when I was a kid and growing up, I learned to appreciate the act of watching movies alone. If no one would come with me, then I would go alone. It made me appreciate the films more anyway. I am into Disney Channel as well. I am a self-proclaimed Disney-baby – no – a self-proclaimed Disney princess. Princess Maureen. Me likey!

In short, I learned to love the language to the point where I was writing in the school paper and posting articles on my own blog site. Even when I was a kid, I like filling diaries and journals of my story. I have tons of notebooks and journals full of crazy stories. I, too, am the kind of person who transfers emotions into writings and I believe that honed me into loving the language even more. I am not perfect, but I did survive and am still surviving.

I also realized that when no one is forcing me to like, love, or learn something, I appreciate it on my own. There must also be a correct timing for everything. And for me, adolescent was the right time to appreciate English. Through this love and passion for the language, I am now on my way to becoming a professional teacher. I have taken 16 units of Education subjects to qualify in taking the LET – fingers crossed.

The shameful truth though, is that I know more about English grammar than Filipino grammar; I read more English novels than Filipino novels. This is so hypocritical of me. I know. I am the one who keeps on telling my friends to be patriotic, but what am I practicing here? I love the Philippines and the Filipino Language and I am sorry for not being the best on the grammar. One thing I realized through writing this is that I need to read more. All these learnings have not been enough. I keep on saying that before one masters the English grammar; he or she must be a master of his or her mother tongue first. In time, I will be the master of both. I promise.

Disney Channel is in English, the books I read are written in English and yet I find it stupid and weird? Maybe I am weird. Yeah! I am weird.

How To Adult: Summer Edition


You’re a graduate, done with school and now in the work force. What does that mean? No more sleeping in, no more lazing around all day and no more 104 days of summer vacation. Although, you don’t have as much time as you did as a kid, that doesn’t mean you don’t have summer. So, get your own dose of summertime fun whenever and wherever you can!

1. Take a vacation leave.
Prepare your tickets, line up your itinerary, and leave all your worries behind.Take time off from work! Put yourself in a different atmosphere and get your mind in vacation mode. Make plans to go on that Euro-trip you’ve always wanted or take a cross-country road trip up North. Just make sure you tell your superior about your plans weeks before to help manage you and your team’s workload. Better yet, go on a corporate trip/team building together!

2. Give yourself a break.
You don’t have to be sipping coconut milk in Bali to be able to unwind. Just find the time to take a break in between the daily grind. Get your own piece of summer by grabbing a weekend to a local water park, an overnight trip to hot springs in Laguna or enjoy a one-day beach trip in Batangas. Summer isn’t always about dream getaways but it is also about giving yourself the downtime you need.

3. Spend it with others.
You may have used the “I have work.” card for the nth time but summer is the chance to reconnect with the people in your life. In the humdrum days of the year, summer is a special time where people feel that they can have time off. So, visit your province and exchange how are you’s with your relatives. Say yes to that high school reunion and get lost in nostalgia. Ask your work friends out for a Friday night drink and talk about anything except work.Use summer as an excuse to do special things with special people!

4. Make time for yourself.
Chillax! Summer is the perfect time to take a cool off – from everything and focus on yourself. Give yourself a relaxing water spa day, work on a mural project or start a shell collection. Whatever gives you the alone time to clear your mind, relax and be thankful. So, grab a serving of Halo-halo, Mais con Yelo or Sago’t Gulaman and enjoy your summer days!

Whether you’re on a beach trip vacation or enjoying your home staycation, it’s about giving yourself the summer you deserve. Giving your best starts with being at your best. So, take care of yourself and be the best you with JRP.

Learn the Art of the Pitch at JRP.

Challenge Yourself This Summer!

Challenge_Yourself_blog3_aprilIs that the alarm? Nope, there’s no need to wake up early, because it’s summer! You can go and do what you want. No piles of schoolwork to fill your hours because your time is yours. So, what do you do with it? Well, here are some new things that you could do to make it count!

Meet new people. How do you do that? Be in an environment that isn’t your usual scene. Why not try taking up a class – Jujitsu, calligraphy or baking – anything that piques your interest. Since this isn’t your regular classroom set-up where no one knows who you are, this means you can be anyone you want to be! This is a good chance to reinvent yourself and let other people see you in a different light. Plus, you don’t have to overthink making friends because you all at least have one thing in common – your class. So, start a conversation on that topic and then chat your way to new ones!

Build a business. Start an online crafts shop, develop a mobile app or create your own YouTube channel. Think of what you’re interested in then build on it as a means to generate income. As for any business, it’s important to have and make the right connections. Ask your friends to get the word out about your crafts shop by sharing it with their friends. Look for inspiration for your app from your experiences of the people around you. Try collaborating with others to get you in their followers’ radar. If you’re the type who likes to be productive, this is a fun way to spend your summer days!

Pursue your passions. Try something you’ve always wanted to do but couldn’t for one reason or another. Maybe you’ve always wanted to try digital illustration but lack the knowledge to even start. So, what can you do? Research, observe and ask! Learn from people who already know/do this. Ask a friend who’s dabbled with it, search Facebook for interest groups that talk about it or look for a mentor to properly guide you. Whatever the outcome, remember that it’s the experience that makes the project worthwhile!

Make time for family. Take a disconnected, connected break with the family. What does that mean? Connect with your family by disconnecting from your screen. On your family vacation, free yourself from all the distractions – yes, that’s your phone or other gadgets. At first it can be hard but you can try this little game. Put all your gadgets in one bag and the first person to pull theirs out gets a penalty. See who’ll be the first to crack! So, when it comes to the special people in our lives, make it a habit to talk face to face and make them feel that they matter!

Time flies fast. Make every moment count. Immerse yourself in things that matter to you and you’ll be surprised to experience not only new things, but also embrace a new, better you. Experience the world in different ways with new experiences, new people and new perspectives with JRP.

Learn the Art of Social Success at JRP.

Your Guide to Travel Etiquette


Whether you’re with family, friends, a significant other or by yourself, traveling is an opportunity for you to discover more about the world. By being in a different atmosphere, you’re opening yourself to new places, people and cultures. Be it out of the country or the next town over, it’s important to know how you should behave when travelling. So, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Being a tourist is like being a visitor. Travelling is like visiting someone’s house; so, be a good guest – just as how you would want someone to behave in your own home. You wouldn’t want anyone messing up your house or being rude to your family. So, be neat, speak politely and say your thanks to everyone you meet.
  1. Be a good ambassador. How you carry yourself reflects not just you, but where you’re from. If you’re from the Philippines visiting San Francisco, you’re representing Filipinos. If you’re from Manila visiting Davao, you’re representing Manileños. Your identifier may be your place of origin but it’s your character that makes an impression; so, make it a good one!
  1. Speak their language. Knowing how to speak simple phrases like, “Hello, how are you?”, “I’m sorry.” or “Thank you!” is appreciated by the locals you meet. Think about how excited you feel when a foreigner speaks to you in Filipino. Although, communication isn’t just through spoken words but also through your body. So, be conscious of how greetings should be. A firm handshake, a polite nod or a slight bow – search up on what’s appropriate. It may not be mandatory, but it shows your consideration to their culture.
  1. Try their cuisine. From the crispy Ilocos Bagnetto to the spicy Bicol Express – food is a big part of culture. So, when you get the chance to try them, take it! Try Lucban’s Pancit Habhab, Davao’s Durian or Palawan’s Tamilok. Keep in mind that other delicacies can be entirely different from what you’re used to; so, keep an open mind when having a taste. If you don’t find it to your liking, politely decline but also thank them for offering.
  1. Respect the culture. Different cultures come with different rules that are rooted in deep-seated beliefs. In India, you might want to take a break from steakas cows are revered in Hinduism. In Germany, arrive 5 minutes earlier of the appointment as few minutes of delay may already be offensive. In Japan, keep your distance when engaging in conversation as touching is considered uncomfortable. These may seem odd to you, but these are traits that make all of us unique. So, embrace and celebrate these differences and appreciate the diversity!

See the world through your own eyes but open yourself to someone else’s as well. This is the gift that travelling gives you – worlds of wonder to discover. See new places, meet new people, and discover new outlooks. Learn from them, let them learn from you and learn more about yourself.

Learn how to bring out your best with the Art of the Pitch at JRP.

5 Things to Explore this Summer

Explorethissummer_blog1_apr2016There goes the bell – you know what that means? School is over and summer is here! Now that time is yours, why not take this chance to try things you couldn’t do on a school day! So, how are you supposed to do that without scrolling the day away? It’s all about finding the right balance between your online and offline life. Here are a few things you can do to maximize your summer:

  1. Learn a new skill.

Whether it’s learning how to bake or to play a new instrument, nowadays you can take online courses that are quick and easy. However, you can try other ways to learn that involve more than just you and your screen. You know that friend who makes great red velvet crinkles? Invite her over to hang-out and maybe score a private lesson! She’s sure to give you tips you won’t find anywhere online.

  1. Pay a visit.

Maybe you get to see your relatives on your Facebook feed – like in that recent birthday collage by your aunt but have you seen how your little cousin has grown in over a year or know about your grandpa’s heroic days of yesteryears? There are some stories you can’t tell in a snap. Visit them, chat, and listen. You’ll be surprised at what you’ll learn through your family’s stories.

  1. Make something.

Redesign your room; create your own phone case or roast up some s’mores! Get inspiration from Pinterest or Tumblr and create something with your hands. You may not find the exact instructions,so just wing it! Trial-and-error is also another way of learning. Let your creativity flow through your fingertips.

  1. Get sporty.

Watching the big game on pay-per-view? Why not try giving the old basketball a dribble. Maybe you’re into ultimate Frisbee or beach volleyball but your friends aren’t? Try looking for a community online that holds events and join in. You don’t have to be a pro so, just have fun with it! You’re raking in experiences, not medals.

  1. Get out of the house.

See your city like a tourist – visit the local museum, city parks, village playgrounds, or head over to the mall for a sherbet. Look online for events that can happen around the city. Facebook has tons of suggestions. So, take to the streets and let the events unfold. On your adventure, you’re sure to meet new people and share new perspectives.

Don’t live your life on the screen. Open your mind to new knowledge online but also stretch out your hand to new experiences offline. You can make the most out of your summer when you choose to live it in both worlds. Learn how you can navigate life on and off the screen with JRP.

Learn the Art of Social Success at JRP.