Archive for the 'Attitude' Category



“The clinical definition of gratitude is the appreciation of what is valuable and meaningful to oneself; it is a general state of thankfulness and/or appreciation.” (sourced via NCBI)

I published this post NOT as a shameless self-promotion but to cultivate gratitude in more people.



En route to one part of the island, I captured this advertisement mounted on grab handles in a commuter bus that Tina and I ride daily, the Rapid Penang Bus. It says EAT. PLAY. LOVE. For a moment, it made me wonder whatever happend to PRAY? I answered my own query in thinking that Straits Quay is one of those premiere residences in Penang with luxurious restaurants fronting the sea and not a place of worship. Although, for most of us, we can pray regardless where we are, still it’s a mall and hangout place. We’ve been there once; savored coffee and pastries at Charlie Brown Cafe and we wish to go back whenever we find a chance. I digress.  The tagline of the ad (as well as the title of the movie-novel where it was inspired) made me think if anyone could still complain of a routinary life when all you do is EAT PLAY PRAY LOVE?  One must be so content with life with such limited verbs to do and must be so happy to forget about WORK, PAY BILLS, WORK.

As a young family man in the middle of his 30s, I want to devote more quality time with my family, I still need to do more things, I aspire to go to places I’ve never been to, I need to find a more fertile ground where I and my family could grow best and where better opportunity awaits.

When I’m not satisfied with how things are, it doesn’t follow that I am ungrateful to whatever blessings I receive. It only means I yearn for better things.

When I don’t want to settle for something mediocre, it doesn’t follow that I am arrogant and hard to please. It only means I understand that quality should never be compromised at all times.

Whenever I am anticipating something that’s life-changing and the opposite happens, I remind myself not to dwell in despair.

Now that there are chances to improve life again, I’m constantly keeping my spirit up and hopes high.

My family and I lift everything to the Lord! He knows best for all of us.

And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” ~Romans 5:5.

I deserve need something greater.

And I know best things happen in His time.

“For I know the plans   I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper   you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” ~Jeremiah 29:11.



It’s already past noon when we arrived in Penang Botanical Garden one Sunday this May and despite the Malaysian sun was scorching hot, I did not pass the chance to admire the Cannonball trees again. Like my first visit to this tourist spot about a year ago, I was drawn once more with curiosity and fascination to this tropical tree.

It takes no genius to figure out that its common name was derived from its huge, spherical and heavy fruits.  With its mighty height and branches and twigs that humbly touch the grounds, and with its charming pink, yellow and scarlet blooms, one could either find it so odd and bizaare or uniquely charming and special.  Inspite of the fact that Wiki describes it to possess antibiotic, antifungal, antiseptic and analgesic qualities among other medicinal value, its flowers still lack nectar. Beauty is easily seen and appreciated when we learn to embrace imperfections and flaws.



“A cloud does not know why it moves in just such a direction and in such a speed…It feels an impulsion…this is the place to go now. But the sky knows the reasons and the patterns behind the clouds, and you will know, too, when you lift yourself high enough to see beyond the horizons.” ~Richard Bach 

*The photos were taken from the tiny porch of our 10th floor appartment in Butterworth, Penang, Malaysia overlooking George Town in Penang Island. I frequently look at the sky immediately after arriving home from work and wait for dusk. There I see abundance of priceless blessings!



When you’re unfamiliar to a place and you choose to take the unknown, you have to be ready to digest the consequences. :D This thought dawned on me when my mom suggested for us to take a train ride from our cheap hotel in Chinatown, Kuala Lumpur to Petronas Twin Towers-Suria-KLCC Shopping Complex instead of the affordably reliable taxi ride. We all gave in with a smile to my mom’s suggestion so no one’s to blame. We all took the path without the aid of a techie gadget that shows direction; worse without googling the how-to-get-there thing. We should have asked guidance from the spirit of Dora the Explorer before we embarked on such common adventure, LOL! :D

Smiling to our own little misfortune, I took a photo first of our family! With such sweet smiles, who would have thought that we didn’t know where to go next? hahaha!

Perhaps, the idea that the train line of Kuala Lumpur looks quite similar to Manila’s LRT and MRT systems gave us the kick that we would not be lost and we could find our way easily.

Other than I am used to taking the MRT and LRT systems in Manila, I was also fortunate to experienced 2 of the world’s most efficient railway commuting systems- the multi-leveled subways in Tokyo and in Singapore. With some similarities of these trains in mind, I never expected that a portion of KL’s train would give us an unexpected TREK.

We never walked, we didn’t stroll en route to train platforms, we trekked!!! hahaha!

Without a clue of what’s in for us, we were happy to pay RM11 (PhP 154) for the 2 train rides that would take us from Puduraya to KLCC-Suria Shopping Complex; the amount covered 2 adults (Tina and me), a senior citizen (my mom) and a 7-year-old kid (Gabby). It’s really cheaper than taking unmetered taxi cab but it cost us our thighs and legs!

These are the chips the counter gave us that passengers need to tap at the turnstile at the entrance. We thought it’s like chips in slot or vendo machines, hahaha! After asking a man in uniform before the turnstiles, we learned that these chips are only for tapping and there’s no need to drop it until you reach your final destination (sounds like a title of a scary movie! heheh!).

Right or left? What escalator should we take? We had to ask again and confirm. Better to be sure than to assume! We rode the escalator on the right and we took the path to the platform that’s far than you could imagine!

On our search for that train platform, we saw fascinating views…

Signs are there to guide you but nothing stated we’re in for a walkaton…

“Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish” -John Quincy Adams.

OK, so going down the stairs was easy.

When we reached Masjid Jamek station and rode the first train, we had to alight the next station to transfer to another line that would take us to KLCC-Petronas Twin Towers. This is it! :D

Again it was not a walk, nor a stroll but a trek! hahaha!

forrest gump, is that you? hehe!

We got in the train at no fuss except for the long walk to its platform. Had I googled something about it, we could have been more ready. Nonetheless, it’s a fun experience!

After struggling for directions and being surprised at the ups and downs, literally,  my family and I were still all smiles of course! Look, I captured that moment, haha! (parang hindi pagod!)

Just when we thought that the challenges are over, we’re in again for a new one!

Then Miley Cyrus began humming in my mind : “There’s always gonna be another mountain, I’m always gonna make it move.  Always gonna be an uphill battle; sometimes I’m gonna have to lose. Aint about how fast I get there, Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side. It’s the climb!”  hahaha! :D

Mamy, Tina, and I, more so Gabby are not ready yet for trekking. It’s not our cup of tea for the moment. Imagine it was only a long walk to the train platforms, up and down steps to the flight of stairs and we were laughing down to our knees! What more a real trek that adventurers and travelers do.

Finally, our destinasi!!!

Napabili tuloy kami ng fresh fruit juices! :D

“Most of our obstacles would melt away if, instead of cowering before them, we should make up our minds to walk boldly through them.” – Orison Swett Marden

“For every mountain there is a miracle.” -Robert H. Schuller. :D



18 December, 2011. Sunday. 2nd day of our days off from work in Penang. *Arrival and Day 1 to follow.

Prelude : People who have been chronically exposed to coal dust of about 15 to 2o years are at risk to develop COALWORKERS’ PNEUMOCONIOSIS also known as “black lung disease” which is a progressive and incurable disease. Imagine the plight of those babies, children and their families living in Ulingan.


I tried to win the battle against the alarm of my mobile by curling up in bed a bit longer but my sleepy brain was telling me that I  needed to wake up at 4:15AM with the thought that I shouldn’t be late to my appointment on a very early Sunday morning.  Resistance as they say, is futile.  So after my quick but necessary morning rituals, I kissed my wife and our 7-year old son goodbye while they’re still dreaming and immediately hopped on a tricycle from my relatives’ place in Pasig City and rode a jeepney to LRT 2 Santolan Station. From there, I took the train for less than half an hour to Avenida, Recto Manila. One more jeepney ride and I found myself at the corner of Kalaw Avenue.

Because I left the house with an empty stomach, I felt the urgency to fill it in.  I surrendered to one of my favorite Jollibee breakfast meals -fried rice, egg, corned beef and coffee. Solb! :)

En route to our meeting place, I walked through Rizal Park (formerly known as Luneta Park back in my childhood). It’s  good to be back here after some time.

Glad to see you again, fellow MD –JPR.

To say that Rizal’s iconic is an understatement. The sight of his monument was so apt to further fire my willingness that day to participate in a medical mission of PROJECT PEARLS in Ulingan, Tondo, Manila. I had a chance to become a manggagamot again just like JPR in joining this worthwhile activity. Thanks to SIDNEY SNOECK  (a Belgian photojournalist whose heart is in the Philippines and thanks to his facebook account and his famous and award-winning blog, MY SARISARI STORE) that I got to know MELISSA VILLA (the soul behind the charitable organization) and PROJECT PEARLS.

I had arranged the schedule with him few days before my family and I left for Pinas.  Sidney and I met up in front of Manila Hotel at around 7AM and together we went to Ulingan in Tondo, Manila.

In my 35 years of existence, I have heard so much poverty in my country commonly personified by people of Smokey Mountain who thrive in rubbish. But it was only last Sunday when I saw and experienced the gospel truth behind issues I’ve read and heard. The sight was terribly haunting.

Sidney : “Doc, I’m sorry I failed to ask you to wear proper footwear. Your shoes will get muddy and dirty.”

Me : “Don’t worry, it’s already muddy even before we got here.” 

I should’ve been prepared to wear rubber boots (the ones worn by fishermen, wet market vendors, and the like) however, I had no hesitation to soak my shoes just to reach (out to) Ulingan.

Unbelievably, a community exists in this part of Manila.

ULINGAN is a small slum community in Tondo, Manila that sits on a dumpsite and surrounded by charcoal factories that emit toxic smoke; there is no electricity, no access to toilets or sanitation. Children and families have no choice but to live with soot, garbage, mosquitoes, flies all day and all night.  The common meal is “pagpag” (leftover food from fast-food restaurants scavenged from garbage sites). “Pagpag” means to shake away the dirt and maggots in the food.”  -sourced from the website of PROJECT PEARLS.

These are their homes– the abodes where they face life’s challenges, the houses where they build their dreams…

Sidney noticed the potted greens -proof that people of Ulingan still find time to make their surrounding a little pleasant despite and inspite of their condition.

This is their usual food, “pagpag” which is sold at PhP 15 per pack…

This is their common past time…

And this is how they make a living…

Sidney told me that children who work for their families in Ulingan remove the nails from the pieces of wood they collect from else where, then other workers would burn them under an "earth" where smoke is emitted day and night. It takes 2 days before charcoal is ready.

Before a sack of charcoal can be sold to about PhP 320 each….

the end consumer might be clueless that young and small hands were behind those uling...

Imagine breathing the smoke and living with the tons of rubbish day and night. Think of babies born by mothers within Ulingan with only midwife to assist and manage them. Life is unbearable but people here are probably the most resilient to tolerate such difficulties.

The main purpose of my trip to Ulingan began immediately after I was brought to the Project Pearls Learning Center.

Despite my heart was breaking at the sight of everything and everyone in Ulingan, inspite of the fact that my respiratory tract wasn’t getting along well with the polluted atmosphere in that community (I have not puffed a cigarette stick in my entire life but believe me, the feeling was probably worse than chronic smoking. I only spent half day in Ulingan but it also took me another six hours to breathe with less discomfort), I was silently jumping for joy upon seeing these…

Thank you to those who donated medicines for us to prescribe and dispense that day. May God bless us all!

*photo courtesy of ace photojournalist, Sidney Snoeck. Thank you, Sid! Mabuhay ka!

Assessing his frontal mass, apparently an infected wound with a complaint of pain and swelling in his mouth. Because we didn't have sterile instruments, I gave a referral note for surgical consult and management at a nearest hospital.

Do you remember the song, Paraiso sung and recorded by the group, Smokey Mountain and if I’m not mistaken, composed by Ryan Cayabyab?  The lyrics came to my mind when I was in Ulingan…

“Return to a land called paraiso,
A place where a dying river ends.
No birds there fly over paraiso,
No space allows them to endure.
The smoke that screens the air,
The grass that’s never there.And if i could see a single bird, what a joy.
I try to write some words and create
A simple song to be heard
By the rest of the world.

Their eagerness and enthusiasm to read and learn despite and inspite of everything are inspiring! Hope is alive in their hearts!

His eyes tell so much tales…

but his hands and feet certainly melted my heart…

As a father to our 7-year-old son, I feel so much for these kids. They’ve been exposed to unimaginable severities in life and were robbed of their childhood. Look at their eyes and peek into their souls…

It was a day that I will not forget for as long as I live.  Sidney was repeatedly thanking me before we left Ulingan but I told him the pleasure’s mine. Had it not for him and the organization he’s in, I will not be reminded to make the most of what we have, and MUST THINK BEFORE WE COMPLAIN because we are more blessed than people of Ulingan who certainly know how to SMILE AMIDST ADVERSITIES.

Thank you to all my fellow volunteers…

Thank you, Project Pearls, Ms. Melissa Villa and Mr. Sidney Snoeck for giving me a chance to experience this worthwhile endeavor.

Find me in a sea of unsung heroes. It's an honor to be with them! *photo courtesy of the awe-inspiring photojournalist and award-winning blogger, Sidney Snoeck.

Another wonderful shot by Sidney–this time with Lola Felissa, a 99 year old woman from Ulingan. It’s just amazing she’s still up and about, can still walk and stand straight as if she’s not in her late geriatric years!

One more year and Lola Felissa from Ulingan will be a centenarian! I have not even lived half of the years she enjoyed in life! Mabuhay ka, Lola Felissa! *photo by Sidney Snoeck.

Thank you for these priceless smiles that bid us goodbye…

You can make these children’s lives a little better through your donations and/or by supporting the activities of PROJECT PEARLS; contact the organization via their website at ProjectPearls.Org


*This is the first of the series of our Christmas vacation in the Philippines; DAY 1 to follow soon.   May our CHRISTmas and holiday celerbations be happy and meaningful.  Let us always count our blessings!  God bless us! :)



It might be a simple and petty exam for some but it was an experience for me. I took the International English Language Testing System exam–ACADEMIC (the other type is General Training), offered by the British Council last 5th November in George Town, Penang, Malaysia as per requirement of my present work as a medical lecturer. I took the RISK and defied a famous Chinese philosopher’s quote.

[1] PREPARATION IS KEY TO SUCCESS.  Indubitably, the quote above is true (It’s used in The Amazing Race, Season 19, in their Taiwan-leg recently). Gearing up properly for something will definitely yield positive. As for my case, perhaps, the stars, the moon and lady luck were all on my side when I sat in the exam. Seriously, I owe it much to the good Lord for He is great and merciful. He made it possible for me to pass despite I barely had review! I only spent two days of browsing the review materials that I printed from the web. Like Confucius, I absolutely do not recommend braving a war without a sword.

With Tina and Gabby in tow, I went to the British Council office before 9AM exactly a week prior to my test date. I downloaded and printed IELTS application form from their website and filled it out, brought my passport and 2 identical recent passport photos and the fee (to be reimbursed by our medical university), RM 570 (USD  182 or PhP 7,860; cheaper here compared to Pinas when Tina took it last 2007 it’s PhP 8640 then).

I asked the pleasantly looking Chinese-Malaysian lady staff at the counter who received me  that Saturday morning if November 5th testing date is still open. I got a nod and so I decided not to prolong the agony.  I told myself silently, “Let’s go, let’s do this!” :)

My IELTS memorabilia : receipt of application form with log-in number to free 30-hour online review which I failed to use, my candidate number and claim stub to my bag, my bag's tag number, official pencil & eraser, and my passport (recognized JPR wearing shades on the cover?)

[2] PUNCTUALITY INDICATES COMMITMENT.  I woke up before 6 in the morning of 5th November, Saturday;  hit the shower, drank my much-needed caffeine dose, filled my tummy a bit with noodles and hurriedly hopped on the bus to Penang Sentral. I waited for few minutes for the ferry and headed to George Town in about 12min-ride. At the jetty in the island, I rode the free shuttle Rapid Penang bus that took me to Cititel Hotel in Jalan Penang (notice my blog header?) or Penang Road.  I fortunately arrived 15 minutes before the 8AM call time for the exam. I would not have forgiven myself if I came late for the test. FYI, I am rarely late on any schedule I commit unless there’s valid reason.  Intentional tardiness doesn’t run in my blood.

[3]  FOCUS ON THE TASK GETS THE JOB DONE RIGHT.   At Level 3 of Cititel Hotel where ballrooms are located, I saw the volume of examinees across all ages and races waiting patiently for any instructions from the British Council invigilators. I instantly noticed a single laminated poster on the wall with directions and labeled illustrations of the Philips wireless headsets to be provided for the LISTENING TEST. I took mental note of its knobs, how to turn it on, how to adjust its volume.   

I greeted with a smile one of my foreign colleagues who was also there for the test (No one from our office knew I was taking the exam few weeks after it was required to all teaching staff). I immediately texted Tina that I have arrived at the venue and kept no interactions with anyone after. Soon, I collected myself and concentrated on the exam ahead.

Few minutes after 8AM, the senior invigilators announced the start of registration. With other IELTS examinees, I queued after 2 bladder trips to the toilet. I needed to empty my bladder to avoid physiological distractions during the exam.  I presented my passport as my ID, got a claim stub and a tag with my candidate number for my bag and long umbrella (part of the instructions was to bring drinking water on a clear and transparent bottle, I followed but chose to keep mine in my bag and did not drink until the first 3 areas were done), and subjected myself for body search before entering the test venue (hotel’s ballroom). 

With only my passport at hand and claim stub for my things, I finally found myself seated at the last desk of the middle column of examinees with the designated desk and my candidate number. I immediately tried the wireless headset and tear the plastic pack of mechanical pencil and eraser provided for the test.

[4] PRAYERS CAN MOVE MOUNTAINS.  Despite the shame that I did not prepare enough, I still silently uttered a short prayer and called for divine intervention. (I disregarded the thought that God the Father, Jesus and His Holy Spirit might be busy on more difficult problems of the world, hehe! Certainly, I know the Lord has time for everyone).

[5] FOLLOWING DIRECTIONS IS AS IMPORTANT AS BREATHING. The tables were turned. The moment came when the examiner became the examinee.  As a very strict educator(thousands of my Filipino students can attest this!), I am definitely aware how crucial it is to follow instructions correctly. And so I became so keen in observing directions as the examination began with the Listening test that required, “Answers should be not more than 2 words, or answers should not be more than a word or a number…”  

An excess word or unecessary answer to what is asked will lead you dead (read : wrong mistakes! haha!)

[6] ALWAYS ASK WHENEVER SKEPTICAL. Asking questions to the official invigilators by raising hand to catch their attention was allowed.  I did that when I had no idea on how to fill out and shade my candidate number on the answer sheetAfter I got a response, I was back on track. I tried to be in my best fighting form! :D

[7] BEING CONSCIOUS OF TIME GIVES YOU A GREAT EDGE. The four components of IELTS -Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking are all time-limited. Each test and subtest has specified duration that ranges from 20 minutes, 40 minutes to maximum of an hour. No extensions are given to whatsoever reason. Time is indeed golden!

[8] BE MINDFUL OF YOUR OBSTACLES. I thank the Lord that despite my rush decision of taking the exam without formal review, I managed to read some materials that somehow introduced me to the test itself.  More so, Tina guided me with her reminders and important inputs about the exam (FYI, she took and passed IELTS twice; first in Auckland, New Zealand where she got overall band score 7.0 back in 2005 with no review too, then she had to retake as it expired 2 years after. Her overall band score was again 7.0).

Instructions are given verbally on microphone heard over our headsets and are also written on the front page of every questionnaire. It is important not to turn the page of the sheets unless told to do so.

The LISTENING TEST is composed of various recorded conversations played (without replays of course).  The examinees answer the questions as the exam progresses. There are total of 40 questions to answer with specified number of words or letter of the answer as some questions provide multiple choices.

The READING TEST comes after Listening test.  In my module, there are three 2-page-articles to read with series of questions. Answers are in the form of words, letters of the answers, or letter of the specific paragraph. Similar to Listening test, there are also 40 blanks on the answer sheet to fill out with correct answers under given time.

The WRITING TEST is the last part of the first session of IELTS exam.  It has two parts and as explained verbally by the invigilator; its second part has more weight (40 minutes allotted) than the first part (20 minute for report or graph interpretation). I also noted the instructions given : “Use the third page for your essay and first and second page for your report.”

With much ease on the topic, I did the essay part first. The topic was like, “There should be more financial investment on teaching Science than in other subjects. Agree or Disagree?”  And being an educator for 8 years now with Medicine degree and BS Biology in my bloodstream, this really seemed like within my comfort zone. Nonetheless, I certainly know the scoring for this part would be subjective. And absoultely, SCORING is SOMETHING NOT IN MY CONTROL. 

The first part was a bar graph with topic on something like “comparative study on factors that determine success in business from correspondents in USA and EUROPE.”  Just when I was hoping to get a line graph, my exam had bar graph.  The report-interpretation with 20 minute-allotment requires the examinees to have at least 150 word-composition and the second part’s word count should be not less than 250. Again, everything should be accomplished under  specified time.

[9] KEEP IT ORIGINAL AS REPETITION IS LESS GOOD.  In WRITING TEST, keep your brain cells nurtured with tons of SYNONYMS, ADJECTIVES and ADVERBS.  Avoid using the same word more than once and utilize subject-verb agreement with utmost care. Thou shall not observe flight of ideas!  Do not digress! Stay on the topic and make sure to provide an introduction,  body and discussion and lastly, conclusion.

[10]  FLUENCY DOESN’T GUARANTEE SUCCESS, SPONTANEITY DOES! I am astronomically far from being fluent in English as it’s only my second tongue, however, I had no choice but to conquer the last part of the IELTS -the SPEAKING EXAM.  It dawned on me that one may be an expert at something but his expertise may be futile without being consistent and spontaneous.

I was neither fluent nor spontaneous and so I am not content with how I conducted myself during the SPEAKING test.  I never felt so awkward with any questions before!  I tried to be composed with proper hand gestures and facial expressions but everything did not fall into what I expected.

First few minutes of the test was a breeze. I was aksed to describe the CITY in my own country where I lived, then after several descriptive attempts on my end, the British-looking lady-assessor shifted the topic into BIRTHDAY CELEBRATIONS in childhood and adulthood in my country. We also talked about WEEKENDS (how do I spend my weekends, plan of activities for the next weekend, etc).  Then out of nowhere, she asked me about ANIMALS. Describing domesticated animals versus the wild was easy. I even relayed the importance of having pets at home and compared it with the extinct animals in their natural habitat. I even spoke of PETA, the non-governmental organization that cares for all shapes and sizes of animals (Thank God, I wasn’t asked of the definition of that acronym, LOL!).

Everything went well until we came to the second half of the SPEAKING  TEST. She handed me a manual where 3 questions were written (They were like, “Name an animal peculiar to your country. Describe it and its location where it thrives.” –something like that). 

At that moment, I became uneasy. Probably, because I wanted the whole day to end in a blink.  I initially thought of describing the Philippine monkey-eating eagle however, I believed I can say more about the carabaos or the water buffalos. hahaha! I needed to be like an authority to talk about that animal to salvage my score. And so I started with its physical characteristics.  Imagine me saying, “Carabaos or water buffalos are huge herbivores, black with 2 horns and 4 legs and a tail, LOL! hahaha! While controlling myself to burst into laughter, I continued by saying, “Unlike in Penang where farming is mechanized, these animals in my country are used by farmers in plowing rice fields.  Carabaos are commonly found in most rice-producing provinces in our country. ” I even mentioned the that “there’s a carabao festival in Bulacan (forgive me if it’s not in Bulacan!), a province located at the North of Manila, where these animals are featured kneeling in front of a Catholic Church just before they go on parade and participate in a race.” 

Never it crossed my mind that I will be speaking about CARABAOS on my SPEAKING TEST!  I cringed and wanted to shrink  from my seat, nonetheless after about 20 minutes, I was relieved to complete the entire IELTS exam and it was indeed one for the books!

Here’s how they grade The IELTS 9-band scale

There is no pass or fail in IELTS. Candidates are graded on their performance, using scores from 1 to 9 for each part of the test – Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. The results from the four parts then produce an Overall Band Score.

This unique 9-band system measures scores in a consistent manner – wherever and whenever the test is taken. It is internationally recognised and understood, giving you a reliable international currency. IELTS scores have a recommended validity period of two years.

Each band corresponds to a level of English competence. All parts of the test and the Overall Band Score can be reported in whole and half bands, eg 6.5, 7.0, 7.5, 8.0.

Band 9: Expert user: has fully operational command of the language: appropriate, accurate and fluent with complete understanding.

Band 8: Very good user: has fully operational command of the language with only occasional unsystematic inaccuracies and inappropriacies. Misunderstandings may occur in unfamiliar situations. Handles complex detailed argumentation well.

Band 7: Good user: has operational command of the language, though with occasional inaccuracies, inappropriacies and misunderstandings in some situations. Generally handles complex language well and understands detailed reasoning.

Band 6: Competent user: has generally effective command of the language despite some inaccuracies, inappropriacies and misunderstandings. Can use and understand fairly complex language, particularly in familiar situations.

Band 5: Modest user: has partial command of the language, coping with overall meaning in most situations, though is likely to make many mistakes. Should be able to handle basic communication in own field.

Band 4: Limited user: basic competence is limited to familiar situations. Has frequent problems in understanding and expression. Is not able to use complex language.

Band 3: Extremely limited user: conveys and understands only general meaning in very familiar situations. Frequent breakdowns in communication occur.

Band 2: Intermittent user: no real communication is possible except for the most basic information using isolated words or short formulae in familiar situations and to meet immediate needs. Has great difficulty understanding spoken and written English.

Band 1: Non-user: essentially has no ability to use the language beyond possibly a few isolated words.

Band 0: Did not attempt the test: No assessable information provided.
Sourced from

Fast forward to THIRTEEN DAYS AFTER, the results were out. 

MY PERSONAL POST-RESULT ASSESSMENT : I realized I didn’t compose an arguement on my essay part of the Writing test. The topic was simple and was indeed within my comfort zone however, I just thought that the score could have been higher had I used the phrases, “In contrast…..” “On the otherhand…” or perhaps, “The other side of the coin shows…” Nonetheless, I cannot be thankful enough.

Are erasures and cleanliness parts of the criteria in marking the Writing component of IELTS? Do you have any idea?

Maraming salamat sa kalabaw at naka- 8 po ako sa Speaking test, LOL! :)

I am now certified fluent in 3 languages, Tagalog, English (kunyari lang!), and Sarcasm! hehe!

Seriously, my family and I are always thankful for all blessings -big and small.  Glory to God! Thank You, Oh LORD! :)


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TOKYO 2010



"Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship." (Buddha)



April 2015
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