Friday, May 8, 2009

Mother's Day

Miles Away:
Reflections ng Isang Nanay na OFW Expat

By: Lynn Carpio (Seoul)

A year had passed since I left my children under the paternal care of my husband. Leaving them wasn't that easy. It took me a lot of courage and determination before I finally settled on this decision. I thought that the problems I had experienced were the toughest ones, but I was wrong. I never thought that being separated from them would be very difficult for all of us and will be most painful too. Everything had changed abruptly and I didn't know how or where to begin.

The first few months were very hard for me, every morning when I woke up was a totally different day. I missed the things I normally did everyday when we were together. I used to cook and attend to their needs personally, and my children were accustomed to that. At the end of the day, when all of them got home, we used to eat together, talked and laughed together, and even made funny jokes on each other. Sometimes, misunderstandings occurred just like in any normal family, but we didn't allow it to become serious. We patched things as soon as we could. Even at a young age, my children were very sensible. We were very dependent on each other. But the separation resulted in a lot of changes and adjustments.

Since I left, I no longer witnessed the important events in their lives. How I wished I was there to comfort them when they were sick or when they had I wished I could hug them tightly and kiss them the way I used to. Every second...every minute...everyday of my life...I missed them.

But that was life....

The innovations of technology paved the way not only for the people who lived in distant and different lands, but it also made distance parenting possible. Though homesickness is still a disease we cannot avoid, but at least the intensity has been lessened. We no longer experience the difficulty in communicating with our family. There are many ways now how we can make it up for our absence.

For instance, I make sure that as much as possible I talk to them everyday, check if everything is okay or if there is something wrong. During those times that they are sick, I see to it that the communication line is always open, so that I can monitor their condition. As a mother, it is one of my greatest fears. And maybe I am overprotective of my children but I think all mothers are. Not a single moment did I miss calling or chatting with them via the internet.

Physically, I may be miles away from them and nothing can compensate for those moments when we are together, but my thoughts and love are always with them. Little by little, they are learning to be independent and I'm proud to say that the distance between us did not change or diminish their love and respect for me. Already they are grown-ups but they are still my babies who seek my guidance, advise and my opinion before doing anything.

I am very thankful because God has blessed me with very loving and thoughtful angels, "my children". And I am looking forward to the day...the day of our reunion.

Tell us what you think of Lynn's reflections? Click on the word "comments" just below. Ask questions. Click on Magtanong sa Doktor or Magtanong sa Psychologist. Share your thoughts, feelings and experiences. Stay in touch!

Click here to set an appointment with the psychologists and doctors on our website.
Click to return to website:


Thursday, May 7, 2009

Pacita Abad


a Abad

Filipina Artist (Singapore)

Alive in color even after cancer ended her life in 2004.

Click here to learn of her story and the tribute to Pacita by her brother, Butch Abad.

What do you think of Pacita's story, and the legacy she left behind? Submit your thoughts by simply clicking on the word "comments" just below.

Ask questions. Click on Magtanong sa Doktor or Magtanong sa Psychologist. Share your thoughts, feelings and experiences. Stay in touch!

Click to return to website:

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Jonathan Zaens

Jonathan de la Paz Zaens
Bass-Baritone Singer
Berlin, Germany

"There are singers and singers, but only a few have a gift for interpretation that goes beyond what the text and music signify." Pablo Tariman wrote this in The Inquirer concerning Berlin-based, Filipino bass-baritone singer, Jonathan De La Paz Zaens, on the release of his CD, "Kundiman, Philippine Art Songs".

Jonathan de la Paz Zaens earned his Bachelor's Degree in Voice, cum laude, from the University of the Philippines under Prof. Andrea O. Veneracion and his Master's degree in Voice from the Academy of Arts in Berlin, Germany under Prof. Dr. Herbert Brauer.

Engagements have brought him to the Prague State Opera and Prague Estates Theater where he sang the Mozart roles of Leporello from Don Giovanni and Guglielmo from Cosi fan tutte. Other guest appearances include: Dulcamara from Donizetti's L'Elisir d'amore and Alidoro from Hasse's La Sorella Amante at the Neukoeliner Opera Berlin. The Abbot from Britten's Curfew River at the New Opera Stage Berlin and King Xerxes from J.C. Bach's Temistocle at the Berlin Chamber Opera.

He has recently ventured into contemporary opera, singing for the Berlin Festival 2002, the roles of Malaspina from S. Sciarrino's Die Toedliche Blume and Luzifer in K. Stockhausen's Michael's Jugend aus Donnerstag aus Licht. For the Salzburg Festival 2003, he sang the baritone part in the world premier of Stockhausen's Duefte-Zeichen.

The Berlin based Bass-baritone is also a much sought interpreter of Oratorio (sacred) Music, performing regularly the bass solo parts in: J.S. Bach's St. John and St. Matthew Passion, the Christmas Oratorio, the b-minor Mass and his cantatas; Mendelssohn's Elijah and Paulus; Handel's Messiah; Hyden's Creation; Rossini's Petite Messe Solennelle; Saint-Saens' Oratorio de Noel; Dvorak's Stabat mater and the Requiem settings of Brahms, Mozart, Faure and Verdi.

Jonathan is a prize winner of the 7th Sylvia Gesxty International Coloratura Voice Competition and a Finalist of the 13th Jonathan Bach International Competition.

A former member of the Philippine Madrigal Singers, Jonathan joined the group in their 1989 world tour, covering the United State, Europe, Mexico and Southeast Asia. He was also the Philippine representative to the World Youth Choir in Norway (1993) and South America (1994).

In 2008, Mr. Zaens was in Manila to perform in a concert called Virtuosos 2008 at the CCP, where he performed with fellow classical artists, soprano Camille Lopez Molina, mezzo soprano Clarissa Ocampo, and tenors Nolyn Cabahug and Randy Gilongo, countertenor Mark Anthony Carpio, the Philippine Madrigal Singers, visiting French bass baritone Jerome Correas and the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra. (Photo below shows his mom, Mely, on the piano in one of his performances in Manila.) He impressed the crowd, critics called him a Virtuoso. He not only impressed with his singing but also because he was very good-looking and charismatic on stage. Floy Quintos called him the Piolo Pascual of classical music.

Jonathan released a CD entitled Kundiman, Philippine Art Songs. This CD was produced by Sundro Keller and recorded in St. Paulus GermendeGrosser Saal in Berlin and features kundiman compositions of Nicanor Abelardo, Francisco Santiago, Mike Velarde Jr. and Resurreccion Bunyi with musical arrangement by Ryan Cayabyab, and piano accompaniment by Abelardo Galang II. Zaens' way with words and phrases blend with the music with magnificent results and brings back to life this treasure trove of now nearly forgotten Phillipine art songs.

Jonathan's mother, Mely, is a music teacher herself. She narrates that Jonathan's interest in singing began at a very early age, when he and his brother sang in a choir. The choir master recognized Jonathan's talent and encouraged her to enter him in some competitions. One thing led to another, and Jonathan went on to sing with the UP Madrigal Singers, and to graduate with a voice degree from the University of the Philippines. He then went on to Germany on a scholarship, which stopped after 18 months. Jonathan had to support himself doing odd jobs, but he never gave up his dream of singing. With help from his brother, a physical therapist in America, he persevered. One day, Jonathan saw an ad for a singing competition, and he approached this German professor to ask if he would prepare him for the contest. The professor told Jonathan to sing, then said that he would think about it. A week later, the professor called and said that he would teach him at a rate of Euro 175 per lesson. Jonathan almost choked, and said all that he could afford was Euro 75. The professor agreed, and Jonathan went on to win. They were two winners, out of almost 150 contestants. This launched his career as a singer in Europe, and the achievement of his dream. His mother explained that, even with the success he is enjoying, Jonathan's hard-work and discipline continues, with hours of daily practice, even when he is not performing.

Jonathan de la Paz Zaens--an overseas Filipino with world-class talent, overcoming personal hardships with support of his family, and achieving his dream!


What do you think of Jonathan? Submit your thoughts by simply clicking on the word "comments" just below.

Ask questions. Click on Magtanong sa Doktor or Magtanong sa Psychologist. Share your thoughts, feelings and experiences. Stay in touch!

Click to return to website:


Saturday, January 24, 2009

Cristeta Pasia Comerford


Cristeta Pasia Comerford
Executive Chef
The White House
Washington D.C., U.S.A.

Story and pictures gathered from various publications, including The Huffington Post, and The Washington Post, January 9, 2009.

Today Michelle Obama announced that Cristeta Comerford will stay on as White House executive chef, putting to rest all the speculation surrounding the decision.

Cristeta Comerford took the job in 2005 and is the first woman and first minority to serve as executive chef.

"Cristeta Comerford brings such incredible talent to the White House operation and came very highly regarded from the Bush family," Michelle Obama said in a statement released by the transition team. "Also the mom of a young daughter, I appreciate our shared perspective on the importance of healthy eating and healthy families."

Comerford is a naturalized U.S. citizen from the Philippines who studied French cooking in Vienna, Austria, and specializes in ethnic and American cuisine.

From The Washington Post:

She's come a long, long, long way, this former hotel "salad girl." Before she was hired as an assistant chef in the White House in 1995, before first lady Laura Bush promoted her to White House executive chef, Cristeta Comerford -- "Cris" to her neighbors and co-workers here in the Washington area, "Teta" to her large but tight-knit Filipino family in the Chicago suburb of Morton Grove --was in charge of a salad bar.

"That's what I called her, 'salad girl.' She prepared Caesar salad, Cobb salad," says Juanito Pasia, Cristeta's older brother, trying not to laugh. It was Juanito who drove Teta-- then 23, newly arrived from the Philippines -- in his blue Ford van to and from work at a Sheraton Hotel near Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. "Can you believe it?" he asks, giving another hearty laugh. "Can you believe this is happening?"


In the White House kitchen

Comerford presenting the holiday menu in 2005:

And in 2006....

And in 2007...

Cristeta Comerford (neƩ Pasia) is the White House Executive Chef as of 2005. She is the first woman to be selected for the post, and also the first of Filipino descent.

Early life
Cristeta Comerford was born in 1962, as Cristeta Pasia in the Philippines and grew up in Sampaloc, Manila. She completed her secondary education at the Manila Science High School. She attended the University of the Philippines, Diliman in Quezon City and majored in food technology. However, she did not earn her degree because she had left school to immigrate to the United States.

She immigrated to the United States at the age of 23. Her first job was at the Sheraton Hotel near O'Hare International Airport. She also worked at the Hyatt Regency hotel. After Chicago, she moved to Washington, D.C., and worked as a chef at two restaurants. She spent six months in Vienna as a rotating chef. Comerford was recruited by executive chef Walter Scheib III in 1995 to work in the Clinton White House.

Scheib resigned as executive chef in February 2005. Comerford was appointed by First Lady Laura Bush on August 14, 2005. She is the first female executive chef and the first Filipina to hold this position.

She reportedly was appointed to this position due to her handling of a large dinner that was held in honor of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. On January 9th, 2009, the Obama transition team announced that Comerford would be retained as the administration's head chef, Michelle Obama stating "Also the mom of a young daughter, I appreciate our shared perspective on the importance of healthy eating and healthy families."

Personal life
She lives in Columbia, Maryland, with her husband, John, and their daughter, Danielle.

Submit your thoughts and questions on this article by simply clicking on the word "comments" just below. Ask questions. Click on Magtanong sa Doktor or Magtanong sa Psychologist. Share your thoughts, feelings and experiences. Stay in touch!

Click to return to website:

Web Design by WebToGo Philippines