Chapter 9 Udis the Great

Chapter 9, Udis the Great
                                    An Autobiography
                                       Graduate School and  Beyond
                        © Dr. Udis Sanchez Manalansan-Lord, Ph.D.
            For further information, read From Fieldhand to Ph.D., Ms. Asia InternationalMotivation for Success and Happiness, that is available at,, www.barnes&
As soon as I was hired as an educational specialist by the U.S. Department of Defense, I started working on my Master of Science Degree  in Clinical Psychology at the University of Sto. Tomas in Manila.
            Friday afternoon after work, I boarded the bus to take me to Manila.  I arrived at around 8 pm.  I stayed at my sister Tess’  house for the night and attended the graduate school all day Saturday and boarded the night bus ride back to Olongapo Saturday evening.
            I gave  my mother some money to build their house to replace the house where I grew up that was made from discarded aluminum from the U.S. Army Barracks.
            I bought my mother a set of plastic plates with tiny pink flowers painted on them.  She was so proud.  Nobody in the village owned a set of plate.  When we planted rice, we ate on banana leaves.
            However, after I  saw the house, I noticed that it was so low and dark underneath.  I was afraid some snakes will hide in there and hurt my mother.
            Because of my youth instead of saying that I was afraid snakes might hide underneath that darkness and bite you,  I said, “You wasted the money.”
            God, that  must have hurt my mother’s feelings and the carpenter who built the house who was listening to the conversation!
            I wish that my mother  and that carpenter is here now, so that I can ask their forgiveness and explain what I meant!!!!
            I am so sad about what I have said.  Nothing can erase this sadness everytime I think about it.
            There is another experience I had, which I wish I can undo.
            After living in America for about fifteen years, my father asked me to come home to settle our land  inheritance from him that came from our ancestors before him.  He wanted me to get the title from my sister.
            When I arrived in the Philippines, I was shocked by the mosquitoes and flies.  I was afraid that I would get sick because I heard of a Filipina who returned to the Philippines to visit after living in America.  Then she died.
            “I would be useless and unable to help my family if I die today,” I thought.  So that even if it hurt me so deeply, I left the next day to return to the U.S.
            When I left, my father stood up from the chair where he was sitting.  That was his way of showing respect and saying goodbye to me.
            That was the last time I saw my father.
            Another reason that I left so soon was that at that time my mother because senile.  I was very sad that my mother that I love so dearly, who was stronger than all the pyramids put together was senile.
            However, she kissed my cheek the way she used to kiss me when I was a child.   I wonder if she even recognized me.
            When I returned to the U.S., I stared outside the window for four nights and four days without eating, sleeping or drinking.
            I was overwhelmed with sadness at the poverty of my family.
            “I will help them improve their lives, instead of running away from them,” I promised myself.
            After several years of hard work, I was able to title  the land that they inherited from my father and built them beautiful concrete houses.
            Their residence looks like a modern  subdivision. 
            Other houses in the barrio are still nipa huts, while my brothers and sisters houses are concrete two story houses with indoor plumbing.
            I was blessed.  The Lord granted my prayers.  I  was able to improve the lives of my people.
            I had a flashback when I used to live with my aunt Nonelon in Olongapo.
            I was asleep in the middle of the day.  I tried to wake up because I had to go to college.  I could  not move.
            Then, I saw myself lying down while I was looking down at my body that could not move.
            During that moment I also saw the surroundings, such as the  window, the wall, the screen.
            I looked at the statue of the Holy family that was on top of the dresser drawer next to my bed.
            I spoke to them.
            “She has a lot more things she wants to do,” I told them.  “She can’t go yet.”
            Then, I saw my body move.  I woke up.
            In that house I had another experience that the material world cannot explain.
            It was very hot in the Philippines.  After taking a shower, my hair was wet.  I put an electric fan on top of my table to blow my hair and also to  cool me down.
            The electric socket was behind my bed.  To unplug the electric cord, the bed had to be moved.
            I woke up drenched in sweat.  The fan was off.  The electric cord was laying on my bed in front of my face.
            Nobody was there but me.  The bed did not move. The electric cord  unplugged itself.
            In that same room, I woke up at around 2 am.  The cover of the musical jewelry box opened by itself.  The musical jewelry box played a music.
            I told my aunt my experiences.  That was when she told me to wear a rosary from now on.  Ever since then, I always wear a rosary  around my neck.