Pockets of redemption

Aside from writing and teaching, my heart also beats for community organizing.  That is why when I was asked to handle the National Service Training Program-Community Welfare Training Service (NSTP-CWTS) in our college, I immediately agreed.

Photo here shows a many-kilos-heavier and a-few-years-younger me working with an urban poor community in Metro Manila.  Quite interesting that my advocacy then was on the protection and advancement of women’s rights.

Community Organizing

Yesterday, I did a surprise inspection of my students’ community projects in different barangays across four towns (San Nicolas, Batac, Currimao, and Badoc)  in Ilocos Norte.   These are what i saw…

One group was embarking on a literacy program…

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While some were beautifying day care centers…


The girls were getting their hands dirty, too.


Environmental science students were holding a coastal clean-up…


…and budding Biologists were working on a herbal garden in preparation for a seminar on medicinal plants.


Sure, much was to be desired, and more work ought to be done…


But I ended my visit content that the world was a little better because of these young men and women’s pockets of redemption.


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But wait… I later realized that somebody was missing.  We tried to look for him, and there he was amid all the action, catching some sleep.  (He reportedly played computer games the night-to-morning before.)


huli! hehehe


Author: Herdy La. Yumul

A hesitant academic pimp, writer

174 thoughts on “Pockets of redemption”

  1. we do the same thing sir…
    we also teach the day care pupils in Nagbacalan, Paoay…
    it is a great achievement on us, not just to attain high grades but also to help the kids in their development..

  2. hmm, community service?.. it is really interesting… ang sarap sa pakiramdam pag nakakatulong ka sa kapwa moh…we did that also when we are in first year sir..it really feels great…

  3. We all have choices. Don’t live in “waiting.” Make every day count. I really appreciate a person who is serving his community. Naalala ko tuloy nung nag NSTP din kami .
    How can we know what God wants us to do? By spending consistent time with Him in prayers and seeking Him in His word? Don’t just pray and read the Bible, we should also extend our service to our fellowmen…
    (hmm practice what you preach}hehe

  4. i think i never saw this picture before the one with the girls..you look like tiger woods.can you tell i am bored i am reading old stuff again.it is another rainy day here in manchester.i am debating which mall i go to?

    1. Tiger woods, haha… It’s raining here, too, and strangely so. Rains in the middle of summer, hehe

  5. no that’s my husbands obligation. he he..i collect buddhas and elephants some are gifts and some i buy everytime i go to the philippines.i probably have at least 60 buddhas with different shapes and colors and representations i.e health ,wealth and happiness and at least 30 elephants..they say it is good luck.. and mugs from every state we go to for the hall of fame events..

  6. i forgot that i have this e mail address.i always have reserves.i have too many of one kind at my house because when i cannot find something i just go and buy another one. when my sisters visit they find all the “lost stuff stashed somewhere.”

  7. did i not trust you for 3 month that i was blogging?my life was like an open book to you and all the readers of riknakem..if that wasn’t trust i don’t know what is..

  8. yes you can but like i said it do not take good pictures . i hope it comes out good and if you promise not to let the dust show he he

  9. you are welcome.did you go to paoay yet?today is another rainy day in manchester new hampshire.and i have flu like symptoms.i hope it is not the swine flu..no i think it is my allergies because i have hoarse voice and watery eyes ..the pollens and allergens are in the air..like trees .ragweeds all coming out…some people must be thankful i cannot talk as much..he he but i can write…and the pen is even mightier than the sword..so watch out !! he he he

    1. Hope you’re feeling better. No, haven’t gone to Paoay yet… Ohhh, I should find time.

  10. i have this friend who is labeled as “mataray”(i can identify with it as i am also labeled as one sometimes but i would rather be one and gets his point across than someone who does not want to explain .i call this (passive agressive) i am not saying that i do not have my flaws ..

    1. Just that most Filipinos are not confrontational… Bdway, the emoticon is still isn’t smiling… 🙂

  11. my allergies got worse.i did not even go to church at 4 p.m.i was blah all day.i had some chicken soup(for the soul )

  12. hard to believe that you are not confrontational..for i know you even went to greece to debate and you cannot confront?

  13. hard to believe that being a professor in sociology and philosophy and a debater at that is not confrontational. you have gone places to debate and you train debaters ..is it by choice that you did want to confront for fear that you will be rejected,cannot take constructive criticisms not willing to accept failures or your ego or all of the above ?

  14. i would like to sit down and interview you sir herdy i know there are lots of mystery about you that meets the eye.what makes this young intelligent gentleman ticks etc etc. can you guess who this is ?

  15. yes you really should find time to do fun things.”take time to smell the roses.” and cherish the memories.we only live once .

    1. Smell the roses? I do know how to slow down. I spent the last weekend having fun… birding, checking out a new “Pancit Cabagan” store in Laoag, attending a wedding, going on a night out with friends, and lying in bed for a loooong time.

  16. please do not get me wrong i respect your privacy but as i told you before you set your bars up too high and you must let your guards down sometimes. i am just letting you know that i do not mean to pry into your social life and i am okay with it to remind me if i do so and if you think i go overboard….thanks.

  17. speaking of birding i have a bird feeder in one of our trees and yesterday i saw a blue jay,and a hummingbird and a robin red breast.

  18. so how was this” pancit cabagan”? is it better than la moda? that is what i am talking about.”all work and no play ” makes anyone dumb and all play and no work makes anyone a bum”(i just made the last part!!!)

    1. pancit cabagan is different from la moda’s pancit canton. 🙂 Noodles is different. It is usually with a lot of pork liver, but I prefer the vegie version.

  19. do they have good japanese restaurant in laoag ?there is one i go to with my nephew in virginia.they have the freshest sushi and oh sooo goood..but i cannot eat with chopsticks!!!

  20. and there is one bird i do not know what the name is( i have yet to look at my bird book)..my husband and i call it” our bird” because it always come and nest in our front shrub and we sit in our front porch and watch it make the nest up until when the little birdies are ready to fly .very interesting indeed. i love bird watching…i think when i come back in my second life i will be a bird..just gliding and flying in the atmosphere with the winds beneath my wings no cares in the world,just up there soaring like an eagle…”.you cannot soar up like an eagle when you are working with turkeys…joke joke …

    1. Right, you don’t have to put the bird inside a cage to “own” it. Once you appreciate a bird’s beauty in its natural state and habitat, it’s yours as with the rest of God’s creation.

  21. you have to catch up on your beauty sleep? do you still go to school everyday and clutter 2 offices?

  22. they have an” audobon society here in a nearby town which we go to and we help out in caring sick birds and i enjoy it”.nursing birds to health “this time.

  23. the hummingbird feeders i put a red colored h20 with sugar in it .they are so tiny little birdies and they are so agile. i do not know if they have it in the philippines. they are one of my favorites.a friend of mine captured a nice picture of a hummingbird once and he enlarged it .like i said they are so agile that you can hardly have time to snap your camera and they are gone. (like some people i know)

  24. with my japanese food i like” genmai cha ” which is green tea with roasted brown rice. i drink a lot of tea .just one cup of brewed coffee in the morning to wake me up then the rest of the day is decaffeinated tea..i bring home with me lots of decaf tea whenever i come to the philippines because you rarely find decaf tea there.

    1. Genmai cha? I should try that. I love cold jap iced tea though. I usually go to japanese fastfoods in Manila.

  25. i hate looking at “commercial” birds in cages.why do they have to be put there? let them go and let them be.let them enjoy life and their natural habitat. they can take care of themselves. they do not need to be caged to appreciate their beauty.you can always see them where they belong..in the woods together with other critters and animals.”set them free..

  26. i just saw our bird going in our shrub with something in their beaks like straw or something so it is nesting time….

  27. i just want to greet all mothers a happy mothers day.let your kids pamper you ..today is your day..if ever my friend herdy decides and post this hopefully it will reach you by sunday…

  28. the rapid beating of the humminbgbird wings 60/80 per second makes the distinctive humming sound from which they get their name.they can fly backwards the only bird able to do so.they can fly at speeds exceeding 54 km/hr. they prey on insects and spiders.they feed on nectars of plants. they reject flower types that produces less than 10% sugar.prefer whose sugar content is stronger….see you in the next session of “birdiology 101…” lol

  29. my husband just made me laugh..he said “you can soar like an eagle if you are a turkey “

  30. we are following the progress of an injured owl at the audobon society where we volunteer.oh what a beautiful bird!!and a very wise one indeed. he is tough so i know he will make it..

  31. once this owl gets better he will be set free and again enjoy life with nature and his friends that he trust.granted he is thankful for the people taking care of him but there is a thread of mistrust.this is how i am..once you are my friend you are for life but as soon as i mistrust you i will erase you in a heartbeat and never want to talk to you again..trust is very important to me.

  32. herdy..when and if you have a chance would you go see cholos exhibition this weekend? it would mean a lot to me if you can go.it is okay too if you donot have the time…..i will owe you one..thank you.

  33. i will cook you katsudon if you go. he said it is an inside thing in san nicolas.could it be in the municipal hall?hesaid that mayor valdez is a lover of arts….please please i promise i will cook you lots and lots of katsudon…bowls and bowls of it

  34. it says in his ad 365 plaza barangay 1 san nicolas. thank you sir herdy .MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU !!!

  35. thank you for trying.sorry you went through all the trouble and thank you for letting me know..i give you an A for effort. you must be running late for school this morning because you did not answered my comments but you took time to pop in and out of ym just to let me know .little things like this means a lot to me. thanks hon.

  36. i invited cholo to do it next year in batac when i am there and i will help him set it up. i will be the celebrity and will you be the” paparazzi ” lol

    1. I’ll be there to accompany you, tita… but if and only if you’d do a demo cooking of katsudon afterwards, hehe.

  37. i went to church today and remember the lady who sings sintunado she sat beside me again OMG ..deja vu..but i have to bear my cross…

    1. I’d say that girl has a very powerful voice. Months and oceans away, her singing still haunts you. Kudos to her. hehe

  38. whatever.. i do not know any politicians or neither do i want to know them. of course i will cook katsudon bowls and bowls of it .just bring the” sake.”

  39. like you said sir herdy..she exudes confidence sintunado or not “just blurt it out”never mind people beside you who are also sintunado and easily blends in with you.GOD did not say or will not say don’t come to church just because you do not sing well. at least she tries.you will not be saying kudos to her when i send her over to you.

  40. i hope fr.willie will be able to come this school opening i plan to go to virginia in august and then to washington d.c. anyways .my sister wants me to go to orientation with her for a day care center (how to ) he is going to catholic university of america for 2 years for further theology degree or something so we will meet in washington d.c. before school opens in september. he wants me to help him pray and i told him his prayers are more powerful but i will anyways. he he he

  41. where do you buy sake over there? believe me if i can tape her singing i will and bug you till oblivion.

  42. i can bring the sake as well and be on my japanese kimono.although it is in red i was looking for a black one when i was in japan but they did not have any.but it was just in the airport.next time i will really stopover and go to the stores…or even a blue like my avatar in my ym page.

  43. maybe.although i do not drink it is nice just to have sake for decoration and i even have a real japanese parasol.

  44. ask me why i am awake at 2 a.m. we were justawakened on our landline and they have problem at my husbands job and he has to go.now i am too upset that i cannot go back to sleep.i told the guy to call on my husbands cell.the last time i got a phonecall at this time in the morning was when my mom passed away.

  45. i was born during world war II and my mom use to tell me that when the japanese comes over to our house they liked me because my eyes are very singkit and i look like them .i think that saved us from being killed by them.my dad also use to repair their watches..

  46. i suppose i can do flower arranging if i learn.my sisterwas laughing at my flower arrangement one time.of course she does flower arrangement as a sideline.does it for weddings etc.

  47. were you answering some of my comments at 2 p.m. or was it my imagination or ESP.it is scary.i was awakened and went online and chances are you were too? OMG

    1. Yes, tita. I was answering your comments around that time. But I suddenly lost connection.

  48. so what is that? i told my husband when he got back i will kick paul’s ass and he said “my dear he is a big boy.you might break your foot.

    1. No luck yet. What I have been doing lately is funded academic research. I should find time.

  49. yeah just to remind you , you still owe me a picture of you and fr.ericson.it has been only 3 -4 months.that earthly digging of that treasure is taking a long time huh. so hopefully that philosophical technique in catching sleep will be on his way.my husband say “just close your eyes and zone out.. yeah easy for him to say.he is asleep in no time.

  50. speaking of world war II they have a mc arthur museum in virginia when he was in the philippines.”.I shall return”

  51. now that explains the early waking up and late nights and no gallivanting he he he.it is a tough job but somebody has to do it.

    1. Please do come. Today, family goes to Mino’s in Badoc, which serves authentic Italian pizza and pasta cooked by an Italian chef no less. The chef married a Badoc native and the store is just in their backyard, which gives the place a very homey feel.

  52. certain people irks me today.i know they are doing it intentionally. but like i always say..i don’t give a sh**.

    1. Right. Let’s put it this way, “No one can irk you without your consent.” If your mood is dampened because of others, it is because you allow them to. 🙂

  53. you are right .i try not to allow people irritate me but there are times that i could not help it and i count to ten and it does not help so i either burst out in anger or burst out crying.thank you again for letting me vent.

    1. Being affected by the external environment no matter how hard we try to isolate ourselves is a sign that we are human after all.

  54. wow that is awesome.i really like a place with a homey ambiance to dine.thank you for the invite.i will be there in spirit…hehehe

  55. that’s true.a nurse will always be a nurse but they are human too. like they tell us not to cry when somebody dies in the hospital and not to show our emotions .are they forgetting we are humans?

  56. i don’t let it bother me but i cannot stand melodramatic people .i think your kin is one of them.i will elaborate later .

  57. and after you hear me say “it’s not funny,”i am upset and i will go silent.and that is when people worry .

  58. some people just rub me the wrong way.i shouldn’t .i have no right to be upset but i am only human .

    1. Yes, not only them. I spent the weekend watching a series, Grey’s Anatomy. It gives me a view of the dynamics of hospital life.

  59. nursing is a very stressful job.when i was working there are times that i come home all stressed out.my husband understands when i did not want to talk he knows that i had a bad day at work and he just backs up and when i was ready i will talk.and the same is true with him.we both know when each had a bad day. both had stressful jobs!!!

  60. *he is the brother of my 2 nieces{my 2 nursing scholars}i financed him long time ago to a fashion designers school but he chose not to finish it ..with few units left.and now he is contented with just doing make ups and hairs during graduations, fiestas, wedding entourage in batac and neighboring towns.i will look into it if he still want to go back to fashion designing because it is such a waste of the talent he has.

  61. saturday mass did not go well for me .there is not only one but two ladies who were singing out of tune.they followed me.i thought i would change pews that day(i usually sit 2nd or third from the front)and i decided to sit in the very first pew.guess what they were both there.OMG.it was a disaster but i managed to smile and greeted them”peace be with you”and i meant it too.i was so proud of myself!!

  62. i will try and explore the possibilities because my brother( their dad ) who passed away 14 years ago at 56 will like me to look out for their welfare.my nephew is a very tall lanky good looking as a man(i wish i have his physique)he must be around 40 now is my best buddy .he is the only one who can do hot oil treatment and trim my hair.he says “sisiak laeng ti makapungot pungot kenni auntie lita.hehehe

  63. he is so meticulous.i will be asleep while he does my hair and he has to do the whole routine .i am not complaining because it feels soooo awesome. you should try it sometime…hehehe i forgot you do not have hair..

  64. i would like to go to the SARAMSAM CAFE..i noticed they got my favorites..i love ukoy. i go to vigan usually for that. wow..have you tried the vigan ukoy yet?now they have it nearer to batac.

    1. Saramsam is of walking distance from my home and I have visited the place several times, but I am allergic to shrimps.

  65. i asked fr.willie to bring some ukoy from vigan when he comes here in august or at least learn how to cook it so he can cook some hehehe

  66. continuation: about the motorcyclist that died in burgos ilocos sur they hit a guard rail in a bridge..and they must not even have a helmet..herdy did you get a helmet yet?please let it be your priority to get one. it worries me ..do not procrastinate on this one if for anything else!!!! do not ignore me on this one please.

  67. too many accidents had happened that i cannot forget.one night i was working i got a phone call from the ER and there is this kid in that came in in an ambulance asking for me my heart just stop thinking my son was in an accident or something so i went downstairs and it was one of his friends in critical condition.he made it but he is in a vegetative state now and i cannot stand to see him like this.he is a vegetable now.it just breaks my heart. that is why i oppose to to let my husband buy a motorcycle because if he can have one my son will also want to have one.a broken bone will heal but a broken head will not. like you said you fret about the thought of your gray matters splattered over the pavement!!!!.

  68. awesome. my husband just reminded me “your dad had been riding motorcycles all his life and i don’t understand why you do not want me to get one” i just did not say anything. mum is the word.

  69. i was talking with my sister andtelling herwe do not have to go to vigan now for ukoy and she just informed me she is allergic to shrimps too..hehehe more for me to eat.

  70. your mio reminds me of the song o solo mio.it is again raining.another arrgghh. your mio and i are not made for the rain!!!!

  71. i don’t think our bird nested in our shrub.i don’t see any bird going in and out.i think when my husband trimmed the bushes he scared them. have you done any bird watching lately?my husband and i saw a hawk while we were out .we parked the car near where he was and watched it .we thought he was wounded or something ..he was just sitting on the grass.then after 5 minutes he flew. oh what a nice wing span.so beautiful gliding in the air.

  72. ser? taga batac po ba kayo? teacher? saan? kilala mo po si bobong? sino siya? pakisagot!…hehe

  73. When i was first year i have this subject NSTP too but unfortunately i was not able to part of this CWTS, i enrolled to the ROTC. This two has a big differences, for the CWTS some would say that “hoo paradalus ka lang to metlang idta”hehe,but if you are ROTC you will be proud because you think of yourself as a fighter and you are strong but i am wrong “umitim lang ako noon”hehe.. Kung maibabalik lang ang panahon na maging first year ulit ako, i would choose CWTS na, because i know that they’ll helping others especially the place they choose to help, they also helping themselves to be responsible citizen.

  74. It’s good to see that the youth are now working hand-in-hand to beautify the environment as well as being aware on it. Community works is truly a great help for the youth, for them to realize the importance of having a community that is appropriate for all the people inside the vicinity for them to live on, have recreation, and maybe for them to raise their family in a better surrounding. Thumbs up for the Youth on this!

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