On Momentum

If there is one thing I’d like to learn from a Ph.D. degree, it would probably be efficient and impactful academic writing. I have always loved writing since I was a kid, which is why I have this blog until now. But blogging, or any other type of “leisurely” writing, is different from academic writing. The latter is still very challenging for me, especially building and sustaining the momentum for it. I think one thing that makes it really challenging is the fact that I always want to be handling multiple projects at any given time. If I’m only doing one, it is very likely that I would involve myself in two or more projects. Thus, my attention will be divided instead of focusing on writing just one paper at a time.

Take now, for example. I have a paper that I could’ve finished weeks before had my attention not been divided on other things. Project proposals, events organizing, class preparations, checking of papers, building collaborations, student mentoring, etc. I tell myself that I could’ve stayed up late just to finish this paper earlier. But starting last March, I promised myself that I would prioritize my health. Ever since I got back from the US, I found myself always sick. I was always coughing and even down with fever at the start of every month from Jan-March. So I said my staying up late, skipping breakfast to get to class on time, and other unhealthy practices just to get more work done, all of it has to stop. I eventually managed to start exercising regularly, to stop waking up at wee hours of the morning to prepare a lecture, to eat a decent breakfast and regularly take multivitamins. Fortunately, it all paid off! I felt good about my body again, I was no longer getting sick, and I had a more positive outlook towards work. Stress became more manageable.

Of course, these positive effects came with sacrifices, especially in work output. I have a tendency to demand too much from myself and my doing other things for health and wellness lowered that demand a bit, which makes me feel really uneasy. There’s always that voice in my head asking, “Hey, shouldn’t you be working harder?” But let’s see. I’m still figuring out if I will really end up being more productive with this new work practice of mine compared with the old one. I want to learn to work smarter, not harder.

I’ll end here for now. I really should be writing my paper instead of blogging. But since I’m building momentum, I reckoned that writing blog posts would get me in the mood to write the paper after. Gaaah. Let’s do this.


On Ultimatums

So I received an ultimatum for the first time in my life. Finish the revision. I’m so near. But at the same time, my body is feeling the consequences. Just a little more. I’ll have a little breather this weekend. Just survive today and Friday first. One day at a time. You’re building a career. You’re building on your dreams. Sacrifice first.

Midterm exam. Paper revision. 3D printing forum. CHED zonal hearing (among others)… almost happening all at the same time. (Aba, eh ginusto mo lahat ‘yan! #selfinflicted LOL. Ano bang ginawa mo, Jill? Na-excite ng husto bumalik sa trabaho??? XD)

Let only encouraging words echo in your mind. Forget the other noises that distract you. Be single minded on this one. Focus.

“You will be rewarded by another paper that will impact your career and you can get financially rewarded as a first author. It will be a highly cited review.”
God be with me. All for You!!! Waaaahh, hold on sanity!!! BAWAL SUMUKO. MAY PAGASA PA ANG PAPEL NA ‘TO!!!

A Great-Grandmother’s Advice

My head started to throb in pain early this afternoon. I went home early from work to write my thesis manuscript, but the pain was bothersome so I tried to take a nap hoping that the throbbing would disappear upon waking up. To my surprise, it didn’t. Usually, when my body reacts like this, it’s a sign that I’m thinking too much. Maybe about the manuscript, or the research deadlines, or the papers waiting to be checked. So I stopped first to pull myself together. As I gazed around my room, trying to relax myself through breathing, I saw my late grandmother’s journal and started to read through her stories that never fail to comfort me.

I’ve read her journal several times already. There are stories that I would read over and over again because it was as if I could actually hear Uwa narrating them herself. Then I saw a page that I didn’t read so often. It somehow caught my attention because I saw my name at the very last paragraph. It’s about my great-grandmother’s advice to Uwa on being a good wife. Hope you like it! :)


Advice of Lola Lagring to her Daughter
by Ofelia Manapat

Love, trust, and respect is the secret of a happy marriage. First you must know where you belong. You must be the best and most beautiful woman for him. Love him and give him all the care. Nagging is the worst enemy of a happy couple. Make the home so comfortable, attractive and orderly that he will not think of going to any other place. He will feel that there is no place like home. The meal may be simple and not expensive but cooked the correct way, tasty, inviting and healthful. Give him his favorites. Never answer back. Wait when both of you are cool and railroad your way in a caressing manner and you will get what you want. Take care of the children and train them from babyhood and as they grow. Teach them how to pray and admire nature. Prepare them for a happy life in the future. Keep young by being on the positive side, admire beauty.

Keep up to your standard. You may spend more as the income increases. Never overspend. Always be an inspiration to your husband. The wife can bring down the husband or bring him up to success. You can give him advice and suggestions. You don’t have to be a banana back, but it must be in a very delicate manner. Pray together in your ups and downs.

A graceful lady is the love of her husband. With grace she is a beauty. He will place her on a pedestal.

Jill, a great-granddaughter seems to have acquired Lola Lagring’s trait. According to her teacher’s comment on the report card when there is something she wants she can get it through a most diplomatic way. She does not cry or fight but goes round the bush.


Thank you for sharing Lola Lagring’s advice (and for featuring me in this account), Uwa! I love you everyday! Your birthday is near! :)

P.S. Thank you for making my headache go away. :)

A Stroll Through My Garden

A Stroll Through My Garden
by Ofelia Manapat
May 1996

Light is brightening my room, and so I get up, pray and have breakfast as fast as I can because I want to be in the garden I pass through the kitchen, the sampaloc and caimito trees mingle with their branches with vines, orchids and ferns hanging. As I enter the greenhouse the fish meet me they know that I have a meal for them Begonias and ferns give a cool and restive feeling.

The bromeliads, fire balls, ojo rojo, crotons, red santans and purple clover with lavender flower make a perfect blend with the emerald lawn and hanging bird’s nest ferns, Spanish moss or buhok ni Esther, buntot pusa, stag horns, and yellow oncidiums and the gorgeous Dona Aurora.

Towards the forest are the anthuriums with different shapes and shades of red, pink and white. Nelson grew them from seed. He used to watch them and wondered why they grew so fast, maybe it was our love that made them happy. He is still there to watch and care for the plants and me.

Palms, cycads, ferns, soft hued orchids, cymbidiums, fruit trees, and bamboo groves make a Paradise

An old swing is still there. Our children, their cousins and their children shouted Quiapo, Quiapo, Cubao, Cubao and swang, and sang to their heart’s content and feasted on mulberries, banana, galo, duhat, santol and whatever fruits they picked.

An old bath tub was turned into a pond with lotus and fish. I like to pray here, meditate, and say the rosary, and think of the beauty that God made.

Our theme song was “Let’s build a stairway to the sky”. We have more than one hundred fifty steps going up the hill, lined with green bromeliads that turn red, ground orchids, a collection of bougainvilleas of different colors.

I like to listen to the humming of birds. They make the sweetest tunes. I admire their colors. I saw one with a rich green, blue, and red like a parrot, some have yellow. Once Nelson and I watched a mother bird come back and forth to feed her baby.

Behind the house are modest African violets of different colors. There are Spathiphyllums, Aglaonema, Dieffenbachia and ferns and Shefflera

While I mingle with the plants I cut dry stems and leaves, sweep fallen leaves, move the plants here and there, watch for bugs and pests, add soil and pour some water over thirsty plants and then I realize that it is already past twelve. A whole day is not enough in the garden. There is always something to do and so many to admire. I take another glance at the giant Amarylis, and the Dutch man’s pipe and enter the house before dark filled with jubilation. I wish mama and Nelson and Louie were here.

For Uwa’s poetry you may visit this site: http://jzmanapat.wix.com/gardenersnotebook. :)