Wednesday, August 8, 2012

dreaming of home...

it's almost 2AM and i still can't sleep, watched a marathon of films already. i'm not actually concentrating on the films, i just let it run to make sounds that has somehow kept me focused on deep thoughts. what are these thoughts?! still about the house...

you see, our house needs a lot of work for it to be renovated, for the past 2 years, all i ever think of other than work is how to be able to have our house fixed, repaired especially after the typhoon that hit us about 4 years ago. and yes, that long, unfortunately, we just don't have the resources to have it fixed so it really looks, ugggh, and this is where i live.

the past few hours, i've just been surfing the net, trying to figure out how much i can afford to loan and where, but with meager salary can barely afford to do this for the family. and i am single but it seems like i am also taking care of a big family in the house. i live with my father and my 2 sisters. our distant cousin, his wife and their little boy who is just so adorable also stays with us. they help us with chores at home and look out for tatay  when we go to work during the day.

i have examined all the pros and cons, and my heart is just dying to think about the impossibility of having a house built for the family. i just can't afford it! i just don't know what to do anymore because given another year, i think the whole roof will just fall apart and i just can't seem to think of good solutions that i can afford to have this roof fixed.

i often wonder how it would be if i can just win in the lottery or maybe be found by oprah or whatever make over house shows that will help us build a new house or have this house renovated. but as i let my thoughts freely wander into this, i always end up feeling pathetic because i know it's all just imagination...

this is what made me write here again, just to pour out my frustration and express my prayer:

"God, i know it's too impossible, i just surrender it all to You because my heart is really tired of feeling weary when i think about our situation. if anything at all, i really just want to get this house fixed while tatay is still around so that at least, he'll be able to experience having a better home with us. i know that nanay used to think this same thing for us to make us live better and i miss her so very much.

i just want to let this out, express this thought to You. i ask that You still bestow on me hope and allow me to dream. i only wish for a better home for us to live in as a family. with the roof all rotten and torn, i feel bad that i can't do anything to stop the dripping from te roof when the rain comes, when water flows at the side of the walls, when i see the roof falling apart.

little by little, i only ask that i may be able to find better solutions without increasing debts nor adding to financial difficulties in the family. l pray that You bestow on us this dream or if not, at least, ease the situation by not taking away that chance of dreaming...

i still thank You Lord, amidst everything, You have kept us safe and well. be with us and help me feel You to be more real each day... in Jesus' name. Amen."

ok, i just needed that to be expressed here, this will help me sleep better i guess...

Monday, January 16, 2012

2012 first post

It's been a long time since i last posted and i was surprised to see that the last post i made was actually in 2010. I must say though that 2011 was a good year for me and i was so busy all the time with new things happening in the office. I have a new boss and somehow the general sentiment in the office seems to be the liberation from a very restraining leadership of the past. Though the past year was an adjustment period for many of us, this time we have been given more venue and freedom to express our ideas.

Actually, at the beginning of the year last year, a new OIC was designated for our office, she wasn't really a newcomer in the office as she was formerly employed in our office but towards the latter part of the year, to be exact in Nov. 2, 2011, our new boss was appointed to head our office.

A lot of things are changing and am adapting to the kind of leadership that my new boss is exercising and i am also trying to keep up with responsibilities at the office. I am hoping that this year will be a great one for us. And hopefully, I will be able to constantly update this blog that I have somehow neglected in the past year.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

shutting down...

i have reached the peak of my disappointment at work, i'm exhausted and i'm shutting down...

i've had enough of this nonsense! what system is there to speak of, what direction is there to follow, what vision is there to reach, what government is there to rely upon our concerns?!! i wanted to believe that this time it will be different, maybe i am just impatient like many of us but we've had it for almost a decade, how long must we still wait until we get out of this kind of "politics"?

why i need to shut down???

- i've been trying to hold people together, mediating for different camps, one whose ideas depend on power but without direction, another camp with bright ideas but doesn't have influence to be followed, and then another who are content flowing along wherever the ebb of tide takes them and only cares that they get compensated. such is a selfish meaningless act i no longer want to bear with

- i've been caught in the middle long enough, trying to take care of people above me, those superior than i and take care of those below. the point person for decisions as if this is the promotion i applied for!duh! preside over meetings with the assessors, meetings with employees, meetings with division heads(!) i have to come up with agenda that doesn't even concern my division. the thing is, people have stopped thinking! they have lost their ability to wonder about, to create ideas, to address concerns, to be active. this helplessness is apparent because when you asked 'how they are', they readily respond "okay man". ask them what they mean by that and they will declare "everything's working out well, work is fine, no problem with transactions", BUT what i don't get is that they can't cope with pending transactions, complain they are overloaded with work, lack people to get things accomplished, express difficulty in field work, habitually unable to meet deadlines for reports, others doesn't have work at all - and they're all "okay!" - a stupid word for morons.

- ask them what they can suggest to improve work operations and they can't even state a clear option for you to consider because they are used to being dictated, to being told what to do, to feel restrained - to never use their heads! - again, they will just tell you those same lines about what they lack - what makes them say they're "okay"! people are comfortable being comfortable - a clear definition of inefficiency - pathetic workers! and they get paid for being such.

- only concerned with accomplishing their daily tasks - attending to clients, checking documents, keeping records, assessing properties etc. - errors and issues arising from these they pass it on to you to address, leaving you to figure out how to straighten it - unmindful that it could have been avoided. that is what i call 'lost in translation' - "lost" in the culture of everyday work without understanding that the piece of document we produce can either become a source of settlement or dispute! - no foresight!

- i want to shut down because i am not able to achieve something that makes sense, something that defines why i am where i am, not having fulfillment at all to speak of at the end of the day because i know very well that i can do so much for the institution that i spend so much of my active but wasted time in...

i'm shutting down because of my ideals - unfortunately, i believed.

Friday, August 6, 2010

service gap

1. in church they ask you to serve; in gov't you present yourself to serve
2. in church compensation is "thank you" for the worth of what you've done; in gov't. a standard pay regardless of how much it's really worth
3. in church recognition of your work is not of essence; in gov't recognition of your work is the essence
4. in church they know you can do the job and get it done; in gov't. they look at list of degrees & references & decide if you can get it done
5. in church reward is eternal; in gov't reward can be terminal...

whatever is important to me is what is worthy; whatever He recognize is what counts; how this makes me feel is all the reward i'll get...

Saturday, July 31, 2010

my "west wing"

first post after a long time but since i have lots of reasons to blog again, maybe this is going to be the first of a series of my "west wing" tales!

for now, i have set aside my "church" commitments and decided to do something that will benefit my daily environment that is the office. we have a new governor, a new administration has taken over the provincial capitol and it's been a great one month of experience of a fast life in the political arena. naks! this is the closest thing i'll actually be involved with political play - whatever that means.

my father was a dedicated supporter of the present governor, my brother is his partner in law firm and i have been hired at the time he was on his 2nd term as governor in the 90s. but it is not for this reason that i am going to talk about the achievements of art defensor, sr. i have aged after 16 years in government service and i'm not in for a mere rock 'n roll in the political scene but i have grown to be more critical and have become more idealistic than tolerant on how governance is run in the country. so this is all real encounters for me that i hope will not keep me bored.

anyway, i haven't really been too motivated going to the office until now as I've seen people who work closely with gov are really always early at work and for a mere administrative officer, it is a sin if i don't do the same. every monday, we hold this flag ceremony to start the week and now, i've been looking forward to every monday only because important announcements are expressed during gov's time - so we are constantly updated with new happenings that concerns the programs of the governor.

okay, i'll end here for now 'coz part of me is already distracted by a west wing episode i'm watching on a different window and it's more interesting. more happenings to follow...

Saturday, March 21, 2009

10 things people don't know about me...

Not that you'll be interested to know but people think they know a lot about me but there are more things I keep from others that I don't easily disclose. And this is my blog, that gives me the privilege to write whatever... Here's a list of some of the things that others don't really know about me nor for some time I may not have known about myself...

1. I hate wearing make-up. I wear make-up almost every day especially when I leave the house to go somewhere but only for the reason that I have vitiligo (depigmentation of the skin). Some portion of my face is not evenly toned with my real skin color so I have to even it out with make-up so that people don't get distracted when I talk to them. But once you get to know me better and hardly notice the discoloration in my hands, my feet and other parts of my body and probably have made me feel like you have seen more of what's within me than what is without, then you will probably see me without make-up on in some occasions. My vitiligo has spread wide enough to majority of my face, there's just a small part that is not white so I look forward to the day when I don't have to wear make-up at all!

2. I am easily intimidated. Probably some of my closest friends will disagree but I do get intimidated easily but I don't show it because the more I entertain the feeling, the more I get intimidated and that happens often. Others are actually more intimidated by me as they say I come on too strong on them. Some would even tell me that I have enough confidence to talk to big people or to anybody but I have actually learned to express myself with confidence as it is the only cure for vitiligo. I have had my share of insecurity, enough to know that it wont go away unless I can embrace the fact that I am what I am and I have to live with it. We're all sons and daughters of God, sounds cliche, but we are and in His eyes, nobody is better than the other - He just loves us all in the same way. Keep that in mind all the time and you'll be fine. You'll get through with all the intimidation that affects you.

3. I like to organize other things and plan but not organize my stuff nor plan my life. I believe I have a gift for planning and have eyes for details. This trait probably comes from my father because he is a planner and very good at it but just the same he doesn't know how to organize his stuff well especially his expenses nor is he good at planning what he wants to do. I am like that, I can't organize my own stuff nor my own plans for myself. I like to be surprised with whatever comes in life and spontaneity can be fun. I don't want to get disappointed when things doesn't go as planned especially when it's about living life and I have that in me when I'm doing an event - when it's beyond my control - I just easily let go. I can find my stuff easily when my table is scattered and I think fast when there's a bit of chaos around me.

4. I create designs when I don't see too much symmetry in my own space. When things are balanced there seemed to be enough perfection in it that doesn't leave room for something else. I don't also go for designs with evenness so what catches my eye are the irregularities of what I see. The uniqueness of a thing lies in its own imperfections and that makes it a beautiful creation. Curves has more beauty than straight lines, roughness has more depth and reliability than smoothness. Maybe I have such feeling because of my own imperfections. (Btw, this design was made by Tintin a long time ago as I specifically asked. And oh she knows me so well...)

5. I don't like fiction. I am not saying though that I don't read fictional stories, but given a choice, I would rather go for books with real stories in it like biographies etc. I am not fond of cartoons nor sci-fi movies but there are really good ones that reflects what is real for which I can identify with and I'm ok with that. I will not read Harry Potter though but I can dig Lord of the Rings.

6. I am a huge fan of Bae Yong Joon and Wentworth Miller. One with long hair, the other with a clean shaven head; an asian and an american; one had difficulty getting into college and the other obtained his degree at Princeton; one is very much into sports and really excels in it while the other will probably go only as far as working out in a gym though I think he was also into judo when he was younger; I think one is really more of an investor and the other primarily an endorser. I can say I have diverse interests in men and I don't have an ideal. Both, however, are born in the same year; in the entertainment industry and have played "heroes" on the tube; they are very creative artists and I read somewhere that they are into painting or something similar to that; and they both can draw(!); and most importantly both are single and wont be able to meet me in my lifetime. I really go for the creative ones, the right brain ones, those who are liberal minded yet in a way old fashioned and very disciplined. Those who speak well and appear to be confident but are really shy. I have bookmarked at least a couple of fansites of each of these 2 guys that I read almost everyday to know what they're up to and where they are. And that's just as far as I'll go to get to know them. I don't think I'll even ask for an autograph when I see them as I get stunned when I'm attracted to someone. I'd be afraid to say anything knowing that I might say something really really stupid and dumb. I've been in front of people I admire so much and often I am just speechless.

7. I am a risk taker. I will try anything that is new and even dangerous. I have experienced too much hurt and pains in my life that I don't have to be afraid to try anything that might hurt more than I already did. I learn well when I experience it so I'm not afraid to try what I haven't tried to really believe. This doesn't mean though that I will jump on a cliff to know if I could die doing it - that's stupidity my dear.

8. I am fascinated by baby pictures. That's the reason why I have pictures of babies here in my blog. The innocence of an infant, the varied emotions that you see in them and the carefree life that they seemed to enjoy is something to be envious of. I just love looking at them though I don't know if I have what it takes to hold or care for them. An experience I did not risk taking...

9. I have an enormous capacity to love. I just know it as my heart is so resilient to love and everything that goes with it and I can keep relationships last long. I have actually been too in love or should I say foolishly in love only once. I will fall into that again if it's one of those 2 guys I mentioned earlier(hahaha! dream on!). I do have a lot more room to love others that I think I have also been able to share with family and friends. God's love for me has been very unconditional to make me realize that we have so much love to give and share. Living to the fullest means loving to the fullest as well.

10. Finally, I really appreciate and love my family so much more now than I've ever did. Growing up wasn't that easy for us because of the silent competition among us siblings. We have grown so much that we've seen the uniqueness and the great talents and giftedness that each one possess. We all live simply but each one possess a colossal storage of intelligence, creativity and understanding that makes each one stand out. This treasure is not limited to just my siblings but to my nieces and nephews as well who have grown so much to make us very proud of how they have turned out to be - so different from what we have been like when we were younger. Grabe sobra gid ka proud si tita!!! I also thank Tatay and Nanay for what they have passed on to us - brainpower can't be learned, it is inherent. Am I too proud or what!?! This is MY FAMILY, not yours so shussh!

Doing this actually gave me more awareness about myself... try it and maybe share it with me?!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

accidents happen

I was at a department store to shop for some stuff today and I accidentally hit a glass shelf.

I was slowly moving backward to give way to another shopper passing in this narrow place and I hit this shelf and the thick glass on it slid off. I think it was the 3rd or 4th level of the shelf but fortunately, the glass was so thick that it didn't break into pieces. Naturally though, I got everyone's attention in the vicinity but surprisingly, I didn't felt frightened, scared nor angry. It was just like a, "ay, nahulog-feeling".

I thought it was so unlike me as I usually get frantic or I panic when something like this happens. Maybe I just felt so sure that I wasn't at fault. When I later checked it, the glass wasn't securely attached to the slatwall shelf bracket,it wasn't even touching the bottom of the glass in one end. I could easily move the bracket side to side and anybody who will hit the glass even with a slight nudge can easily let it slide off.

Anyway, I helped the saleslady picked up the cosmetic products that fell - good that it wasn't the expensive kind but the hard plastic caps and wrappings were cracked and some had broken pieces and were basically damaged. As I was helping clean up, I overheard one of the workers there saying that they will charge me with the damaged items. Hmmmm... I just smiled and took out my cell phone and called my brother who was a lawyer.

I don't know, when you think you're about to get into trouble who do you call?!

I wanted to ask for his advise on what to do.
I can't reach him at that time so I just left him a message and called another friend who works in the office of the same department store but assigned in another branch. I related to her what happened and asked if they have the right to charge me with the damaged products as I thought it was just wrong that the shelf wasn't securely attached to where it was placed on. She advised me not to pay and told me they can't compel me to do so and if they do, she told me to talk to the manager.

The saleslady later asked me if I can pay for the items so I asked her that I needed to talk to her manager first. The manager was actually just around talking to somebody but when she heard me, she readily stepped in to negotiate. To be fair, I wasn't forced to buy the products but I learned that the damages will be charged to the saleslady's salary. Hay ambot! That's when my soft heart crashed when I saw this lady looking so glum and about to cry. I thought to myself just how much she was earning in this store etc etc etc...

I ended up buying 2 or 3 products out of 5 or 6 really damaged items as I just felt sorry for her. In return, she was so grateful that I helped in the expense and she gave me the free items they were giving out to customers who buy their products reaching a certain enormous amount. It was good that it was cheap but I have a "cheaper" heart for this thing. BUT I got a tote bag and a thick cute diary for free!!!

So this was my day... accidents happen.

And by the way, my brother returned my call and was ready to send me a lawyer to help me out since he was still in Bacolod at that time. I told him I already settled it - baw, bongga gid tani ba! Hahaha!!!

Saturday, February 14, 2009


(the little angel in the photo is nikki ilano-mondragon,
this was her first night out with her ninangs!)

It's just a coincidence that I am posting this on V-day but I actually wrote these thoughts a couple of months ago but forgot to post it but views change in time but it is this...

The second week of December last year was my busiest time but I was able to take a break with some friends for a night out at a wedding. We were the last batch of guests to leave the reception but we moved to a nearby resto for coffee to chat some more and catch up on what's been happening in our lives. We talked about the flood that most of us became victims of last June since we related our action stories to a friend who just arrived from Indonesia then, more ramblings about work and about love that we just dream about. It was a gathering of mostly single women and one is about to become a full-pledge nun next month when she takes on her initial vow. We're all happy that at least one of us is truly in love and the rest of us also happy feeling the love around...

I treasure these women friends and I am thankful that we have found each other in this lifetime. We can be in our craziest moods and thoughts when we're together and all inhibitions lifted from our borders for free expressions. These are friends that make me feel rich even when I'm broke for they make paradise in my world as laughing and eating can go beyond limits. The perks of being single and it works for me!

Sometimes I also find myself surrounded more by my married friends and there's a big difference when we talk about life. Concerns are way too different as sex life is not only a subject but becomes a course for marital bliss and rearing children becomes the trend to keep fit. My views about such may be limited and they can really stretch my imagination to wander far and wide for my own amusement. On the other hand, I gain lots of insights and sometimes it can be more of hell than the delights of heaven when we engage in long conversations but only because I cannot imagine myself to be stressed by marriage as well as be ecstatic with the pleasures of sharing life with another individual. I admire my married friends though for they have so much love to share with their spouses and a lot more in store for their kids. I wonder if I'll ever have enough of that in my heart to give -- I will never know unless I get to open that door...

So I just wanna say... we have what we choose to have and whatever it is, we need to enjoy it to the fullest... live it! and that's a happy valentine's day to all!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

dagyang sa iloilo...

Last weekend was the most festive Dinagyang celebration that I’ve been at after so many years of missing out on being a spectator at the actual performances of the tribes. I can’t stay out under the sun too long due to my vitiligo and what a blessing it was that the weather was cool enough to just make me stay in one place for hours.

I remember that in high school we used to stay at a classmate’s house, they occupy this huge space at the second floor of a building just in front of the freedom grandstand - one of the performance areas of the Dinagyang tribes. We occupy one of the rooms in their house and watch the performance from a wide-open window. Usually the show ends around lunch time so we feast at their place for lunch. In the afternoon, we all go out and join the street dancing ‘til late and sometimes our feasting extends at another classmate's place for supper.

This used to be an annual activity for us even when we reached college and I think even a couple of years after that until the building that they were living in was demolished as it was one of the oldest structures in the city. I miss that so much as most of us are already living in different parts of the world and we can’t just get together easily for such celebration. It was good though that this year, some classmates came home and we were able to spend time together – but this time, since we’re older, they would rather stay at a more quiet place away from the city and talk after watching the Dinagyang.

So here are some of the great pictures taken by my sister at the performance area where I watched!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

who am I?

"...Fear not,
for I have
redeemed you;
I have
called you
by name:

you are mine."

Isaiah 43:1b

I was moved by this song the first time I heard it while looking for some clothes in the laundry. I didn't even hear the full version of it at the time so I asked my nephew to look it up as I can only remember two lines and hum a bit of its chorus. The other night, he told me that he was able to know the title and the artist of the song so I looked it up immediately and to my surprise, another Christian contemporary music that I was drawn to. I'll just share this with you as it also express my sentiments in my current journey. The song is entitled Who Am I by the Casting Crowns. Click on the title and play song to listen.

Who am I?
That the Lord of all the earth,
Would care to know my name,
Would care to feel my hurt.
Who am I?
That the bright and morning star,
Would choose to light the way,
For my ever wandering heart.

Not because of who I am,
But because of
what You've done.
Not because of what I've done,
But because of who You are.

I am a flower quickly fading,
Here today and gone tomorrow,
A wave tossed in the ocean,
A vapor in the wind.
Still you hear me when I'm calling
Lord, You catch me when I'm falling,
And You've told me who I am.
I am Yours.
I am Yours.

Who am I?
That the eyes that see my sin
Would look on me with love
And watch me rise again.
Who am I?
That the voice that calmed the sea,
Would call out through the rain,
And calm the storm in me.


I am Yours.

Whom shall I fear?
Whom shall I fear?
'Cause I am Yours.
I am Yours.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

beyond boudaries...

This is my first entry for the year and it's been a long hiatus from my commitment to update this journal. Nonetheless, I'm back with new zeal to blog again and thank God for the short trips that I took these past couple of days. After feeling so trapped and limited in my office loads late last year, these short trips gave me a much needed feeling of liberty.

The places are short distances from the city but it felt like paradise just to be able to get away from the crowd and the noise as it is the beginning of the Dinagyang festivities here. I haven't been to Trappist for a very long time and this time I went there by myself. The silence, which is luxury to me now was the best hour of my trip and I don't know if I can call it prayer but just to be still in such a serene place was very nourishing. I wasn't thinking about anything at that time, I was just enjoying the silence and for the first time, I so much wanted to seize the quiet moment - an unusual feeling for me. Maybe it's just about growing old-er...

The weather is cold that dipping in the water wasn't so enticing but the sound of the waves filled me with enough peace to clear my mind with the hassles in my world.

Dear God, I just hope that You will give me more opportunities to 'travel' this year beyond my 'boundaries'...

Monday, December 1, 2008

evening rants...

I hate going back to work tomorrow. I really can't wait for the holiday break. It will be long this year and inasmuch as I want to go someplace else, I'd probably be stuck here in the city since I'm broke and I will have to get some paper work done so that I won't be harassed next year. I'll be arranging our annual planning conference also so that will take a lot of planning as well. I hope it will be some place away from the city.

I think I have lost my creativity due to lack of practice. Except for videos that I've done for the office and some friends, I haven't really created something different this year. Grrrr! I am losing it and I hate that. But I did some decorating in my new room so that's different.... it looks different with all the greens. That doesn't count as it was something I did out of compulsion and not out of inspiration or motivation ek ek. I haven't done anything to satisfy me lately and I'm pissed.

Aaaahhh!! I need a diversion! I haven't found anything challenging to do!
The stuff I've been doing are things that are just expected of me to accomplish and it doesn't interest me at all - well, not anymore as it's not new and the worst thing is it's taking a lot of my time. So please God, help me get out of this regularity that is making me so crazy!!!

Another thing that bugs me is that we haven't been given our raise yet, the possibility of additional bonus is remote though this week will be the deciding week for the future of our holiday pleasures. No increase, no bonus, no step increment...this makes it more dispiriting to work for the government and right now, I really hate it.

So what else, what else... I have nothing more to write about unless it'll be about West Wing again. I just love the characters in the series and though they're not real, the way they portray ideal roles of people who work for the government is just amazing. I wonder if that's how it really is working in the White House... Makes me wish that we have that same passion in serving the government as well. I wonder if people like that really exist - maybe not here in the country so we'll just have to dream on and wish our leaders, our government officials, their staff will be what we hope them to be. Yeah right! That they will just stop being so greedy!!!

Aaaaaahh! I can just scream in my head and hope to be relieved, then maybe I'd probably get a grip of my sanity back. Today is the first day of December and time flies so fast indeed. Please just make this Christmas a happy one for us all despite...

Sunday, November 30, 2008

a phase of comparison...

I was at the funeral of my classmate's dad yesterday. The mass was held at around noon as he was a retired military man and there was a gun firing ceremony held before he was lowered to his final resting place and the flag was then given to the wife. I didn't understand the whole thing but that's usually what they do but it wasn't as grand as I've seen it done in others. Maybe because there was too much distraction.

I didn't actually plan to attend the funeral as I've formulated a few excuses in my head but when I went to the wake the day before, I didn't see many people as I have seen when Nanay passed away. When I left the wake, my classmate told me that he expects me at the funeral and all my excuses seemed not good enough reason to miss it. I felt bad, I knew he wanted us, not just me to be around and I understand that for someone who lost a loved one. I knew he felt alone.

Of the 5 siblings, only 2 of them were there since the other 3 were abroad and they just left when their dad passed away. The sister who was around arrived from Mindanao so my classmate was basically left to arrange everything with her elderly mom.
I even became part of an impromptu choir.`The funeral wasn't all that prepared as the food wasn't enough for everyone - not that that is important but to be under the sun at noon can really wear you out. And the priest, sorry that I have to mention this, he referred to the dead as "it" the whole time he was delivering his homily and I think his stories about him was phony. And at the end of his homily he said: "I'll see you later..." (LOL!) I'm sure I wasn't the only one who thought it was funny but the others were better at hiding their amusement. It wasn't a comforting thing to say you know. Well, what I want to point out is that to be left alone when something like this happens is really difficult.

I was fortunate, no, in fact, very blessed that I was surrounded by family and friends when Nanay passed away. My father, brothers and sisters, nephews, nieces, aunts, uncles, cousins, priest-friends and more friends were there at the hospital. It was such a great comfort for us that we have each other in such a tear-jerking moment. It's in times like these that we really treasure, we feel grateful that we have invested in relationships, that my mother did.

I remember, there were several of us who went to get a good casket for Nanay at a funeral home that day and afterwards we headed to my cousin's place for lunch where we planned for the funeral. In the evening, my friends were there to prepare the place where Nanay will be positioned during the wake and they even brought with them stuff to make the place look beautiful and elegant. Fr. Neil came up with a list of priests who were scheduled to say mass for her everyday, a weeklong prayer for the wake was done by Fr. Andy. Food was abundant as her friends and relatives brought them. People came in flocks to pay their respects that we even have to close our street for a night to accommodate those who gathered.

I know my classmate and probably his dad have plenty of friends also but what I am saying is that as friends, our presence speaks a lot to another especially in dire needs. Nanay won a lot of friends to her side until her death. Even now, whenever I see them, they still express their concern for us and I thank God for such richness that my mother left us. Of course, I am not also discounting the fact that she comes from a big family but they are far less in number than the friends she has collected through the years. And they've been there for her up to her last breath.

Now, I have seen the difference. I have seen the importance of how we express or make our presence felt in difficult times. And I realized that I take my treasures for granted, aware that they will just be around when I need them. You know, sometimes we don't appreciate what we have until we experience a phase to compare it with. I am not getting younger and we know that we're old when we go to funerals more than we attend weddings. I just hope that I will spend the rest of my life expressing more of the gratitude and love for friends. And I hope I wont feel mushy about it when I do (hehehe!).

So, I hope my friends read this and will know that I am really immensely grateful for their presence in my life. Ok, I'll do better than this next time.

I often wonder who will be around when it's time for me to go... I am not afraid of dying but I am really afraid to be by myself when it happens...

Friday, November 28, 2008

another beautiful man...

nothing to post except this...

by Story Brooke Graschel

A beautiful man...
puts only God before you
sees himself in your eyes.
gives you his time.
cares enough to tell you, you're beautiful.
loves to hold you.
kisses you every morning when he wakes.
misses you during the day.
laughs at your stupid jokes.
will still run his fingers through your hair.
will give anything for that perfect dress.
treats you like a queen in public.
takes you to an old movie and stays awake.
loves to hold your hand.
stares at you while he eats.
doesn't see other women the way he sees you.
turns off the game to dance to your song.
cries because you cry.
gets worried if you come home late.
smiles when he is called a beautiful man.

nothing in the world as perfect as this.
just imagine and you will be in bliss...

Thursday, November 27, 2008

a day of atonement...

This is the busiest time of the year for me and I
can't wait to enjoy the long break next month. I haven't had much sleep and last night I was catching up with a friend 'til past 2 in the morning. I tried sleeping early before Bebot arrived but I can't because my mind is still figuring out how to finish a report that is already due. This is how my mind bothers me when I can't put together some work. Chatting with Bebot though was a good diversion considering that we covered so many issues in our lives with our thoughts wandering to different places and people. I'm so sleepy now but the other night, I already started writing about Yom Kippur - the something I learned from West Wing...

Of course, I am familiar with the Jewish celebration of the Day of Atonement,
simply known as the day to ask forgiveness before God. What I didn't know was the day before Yom Kippur is the day reserved to ask forgiveness between people. Jed Bartlet didn't know that and he was the president of the United States! (West Wing). They recite a prayer known as Vidui, a prayer derived from Scripture: "If a man or woman commits a fault against his fellow man and wrongs him, thus breaking faith with the Lord, he shall confess the wrong he has done..." (Numbers 5:6-7).

I also read from an article by the Rabbis for Human Rights (October 1, 2008), entitled Yom Kippur Vidui: "The viduis are intended to remind us of our sins in the hope that we will find the wisdom to do better in all that we touch in the coming year. The vidui during the High Holidays is intended to make us feel uncomfortable, to confront us with the wrongs we have done..."

This is just of interest to me because when I get to a point of being uncomfortable, I can say 'sorry' and sometimes even to the extent that I say it to someone that in my heart I didn't think I have offended. And when it's not heard or acknowledged by another, I just easily leave it at that. Through time, I have learned (and I learned hard!) to detach from feelings that will make the rest of my life demoralizing. I know that people I have become friends with in recent years will not understand that about me. And the hell I care. Really.

Someone asked me yesterday if the reason I didn't go to mass was because I have a spat with a friend at the office. I know that healing takes time so when that happens then 'thanks be to God!' As far as my feelings are concerned, if I'm NOT uncomfortable and I am done saying my piece, others will just have to get it over with when it's over. If I have caused them to be uncomfortable, it's not my place to bend my knees more than I have already done it. If man's judgment is to detest me, am I not worthy to come before God?!

"Yom Kippur is a day that we acknowledge to G-d that we are human... To be human, is to error, but to be holy is to recognize that a mistake has been made and to act upon this mistake to make amends." - Larry Fine

This journey didn't go this far the other night. And I really need to get some sleep...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

a look at nature...

Almost every night since the US election fever, I've been watching a few episodes of the West Wing series again. I can now understand the US Presidential election process better. You can actually learn a lot from watching this TV series but you'll have to buy the DVDs as it's been off the air since 2006. The complete set of the series includes 7 seasons.

I just noted this in one of the episodes I watched this evening, Oliver Babish, (played by Oliver Platt), a White House Counsel, while talking to the First Lady said:
"Nature is like a woman, it seduces you to its sight, sense and touch..."

I'll have another entry about a thing I learned from West Wing tomorrow. In the meantime, here's a look at nature...

1 - the view from the back of my brother's parish rectory

2 - this will be his new home, the Mt. Carmel Parish Church at Brgy. Calmay, Janiuay,Iloilo

3 & 4 - taken just outside St. Julian Parish Church, Janiuay, Iloilo (at the town proper)

Monday, November 24, 2008

a practice for affection...

Just came back from the new parish where my brother who is a priest is assigned for the next few years. Last night I was still in doubt if I was going to join in the send-off or not as I’m supposed to hold a meeting at the office today. When I called him last night I tried hinting th
at we might not be able to make it but he just seemed eager that we can join in the caravan of the parishioners. This was the first time that he asked us to come along as this will also be his first assignment as a parish priest so it was a bit hard to turn him down.

I’m not used to this kind of thing when I was young, I grew up not minding of being sent off to go to a new place or not. The airport used to be very near our house and we can easily get a cab to and from there. I usually travel with a group so I can easily hitch a ride to go anywhere. It's definitely not a 'liturgical act' to be done when a priest transfers to his next parish assignment and for the community to be obliged to do such practice as a way of saying 'goobye' or something. My point is - what's the big deal with this send-off!?!

It’s a first for us and it’s a good thing also that my father decided to come along. I know that my mother even if she was sick, she wouldn’t miss it for the world. She's kinda proud to have a priest-son, probably thinking him to be the redeemer of her other children. Well, it's not all the time that a mother really knows best - it can be the other way around... Anyway, we went, my father, my other siblings, my niece and I for the send-off along with several other parishioners from where my brother just came from. I was told that there were 17 vehicles when they left and 3 more vehicles joined in the caravan along the way.

The initial stop was at t
he main parish of the town proper where my brother’s former parish priest will be assigned. After lunch we took off to his new parish about 8 kilometers away. Actually, we took off earlier than the group because we wanted to see the place first. And wow(!), a very serene surrounding in the midst of farm lands. The fresh air and the cool breeze can easily put you to sleep. It’s such a beautiful country place that is so far from the city’s madness. The cellphone signal is difficult to locate, no phone lines and that means no access to the internet. So with that I can’t say I would want to live there forever but it’s really a nice rural getaway and very quiet.

We rested there for about half an hour before the rest of the group turned up. Once again there was a short welcome program at the church followed with a fellowship snack for everyone. It was fun to watch the gathering and I’m sure that my brother will be forever grateful for the time these people spared to do this for him. On the other hand, I thought maybe these people have had enough of him already and they probably just wanted to make sure that he is settled in the parish so he can never go back to theirs. Hmmm… makes more sense…


Kidding aside, I think it’s just what it really is – the send-off is a practice that we do because we want to make sure that the person will be in a good place, in good hands of a new set of people who will take care of him, and probably in the best spirit knowing that those he left behind have sent their love with him in this new place he will again call ‘home’. Short of saying “you’ll be okay here… you will be alright”.

My brother looked happy when we were about to leave. I believe he was glad that we were just there during that moment. As for me, the moment was to understand a gesture that is important to people that I missed out feeling and doing. A lesson that it is important to be mindful of such practices because we may be passing on the act of doing it to the next generation but to those we are doing it for, we pass on a significant expression of affection that may just be a great source of encouragement when they embark on to a new journey.

It's too mushy for me than it is a big deal but evidently it was a huge thing for my brother...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

a possibility to whatever...

There's a possibility that one day I might not be able to remember words, people and events or that I might just be incapable to do what I do right now. Maybe sometimes you also experience some sort of a blackout when you write - no words in mind, reading takes a moment to comprehend. Maybe I acquired this from watching too much movies and koreanovelas or maybe it's just me getting old! But don't you ever think about not being able?!

I do and I think it sucks! As I'm older, I recognize the reality of losing my grip on being in control. That is life. And it really sucks! I need to stay in this moment of realization since this is something I never paid attention to. Maybe it will move me to do something different... or will influence some decisions ahead...

Wala lang, we'll see while I'm still able..

Saturday, November 22, 2008

a silent tribute...

I've been working on a presentation for a friend the whole day. Sometimes I think why I easily say 'yes' to requests when I'm asked even when things get so busy for me. The thing is, I get engrossed with what I do and I lose a lot of sleep just getting it done. I end up really exhausted afterwards yet so satisfied making me feel that it's all worth my time.

God must have felt the same when He created the world, the day and night, the oceans and mountains, the birds and the beasts, and probably was most impressed creating man. It wasn't as if He was creating all things bright and beautiful for others as requested but whatever made Him made us - He was satisfied.

It's not everyday that I have so much passion to work on things and usually I wait for time to drive me to get it done. Often my friends would say that it's not like me to plan what to do or what to make long before its deadline. I know it's not good to procrastinate but when I work on something for a long time, I end up altering it thousands of times that I don't get as much satisfaction with the outcome. That's just how my mind works and I have this practice of putting an idea together when I am persistently bothered by my thoughts - that's when I can beat the deadline and deliver my product.

And how long did God created us? 7 days?! No, wait, 6 days only as He rested on the last day and took time to marvel at His great works. Did the idea just popped out of His mind or did He plan us for a long long time?! He's a genius so however He planned or visualized creating everything around us is the most awesome design ever and will ever be made that will surpass many generations.

So I thought, will my works surpass my time? Will it be significant to others when I am long gone? You see, I rely on friends for the appreciation of my works apart from being a smug at times. They're there and are obliged to do so and good that I have collected a great number of their kind through the years.

Seriously, I do want that whatever we gain from others through their works can really be long appreciated. An appreciation that doesn't mean we need to return a favor because we owe it to them or that we have to constantly say 'thanks' whenever we see them - but to understand that whatever it was that was given us should not be wasted easily as time and effort was put into it to get it done. I do care that others will give my work its value. That it will be put into good use as they will be mindful that a great deal of work was involved to get such results. That's a silent tribute to its creator.

Whether it's an idea, a thing, or even just an accidental concept - whoever thought it have gone through experiences that we haven't, otherwise, we would have the same ideas and concepts. When a script is done then maybe keep it, you'll get something out of it when you make another. When an idea was put on the table, then know what it really meant from the one who placed it there so you can give a fair dealing to achieve it. Don't easily trash it. That's the legacy of every good work done and that's making it of essence.
So now I don't know how my thoughts maneuvered me to get here... maybe the point is this...

Is God happy with the way I live the life He created for me?!

Often, I just fail to appreciate it...

Friday, November 21, 2008

a day not so usual...

I want to leave a post here every day but nothing remarkable to share comes to mind...

Sitting in front of the laptop before my bath this morning, I thought I'd share about the movie I watched with a friend yesterday. It was dull and my story about 'a beautiful man' seemed more fascinating than its plot. But let me just say the movie house we went to was newly renovated; the seats more comfortable, better sounds and the lighting during the break was just right for the eye. Actually, we just wanted to checkout the place.

Arriving at the office, I was greeted with a stack of papers to read, sign and work on. So I just quickly browsed through our emails then moved on to the paper works. By mid morning, I've already talked to a few personnel having problems completing their evaluation sheets due to the work reshuffling the past months. It wasn't my call to do those and dealing with it is just a pain...

By half past ten I was done and that included writing a couple of letters to clients. After leaving the letters to my boss' secretary I decided to visit the boss in the hospital. I went with 5 other co-workers who tagged along. There was no visitor when we got there but his sister and an aid was with him. He told us about the tests he went through the past days and said that there was no serious diagnosis and he's feeling better. In fact, he was at that time waiting for the release order for him to leave the hospital anytime.

He offered us a mocha cake covered with thick yummy icing for snacks. The others were starting to dig in while I was updating the boss with office matters when a visitor came in. Great timing! So I offered him a seat and excused myself to join the feast. We were at the table just beside them enjoying our treat and I just can't help listening to their conversation intently. They didn't mind us prying of course as we were in a hospital room - it was a small place.

I learned that the visitor is a lawyer and he was released from prison a few months ago. I think he was tried for a murder case years ago and apparently it was a big news back then but I don't remember, I was probably still in school when it happened. He talked about his life in prison and how very glad he is now that he's out starting anew and moving on.

He pointed out that only 4 lawyers in the country have been jailed where he came from. He got to know prominent people whose cases made the news and even got into a fight with the most arrogant one of them. He said that it takes more than just being tough on the outside to get by as you need to be tougher within. His children were very young when he left them and now they've already graduated. A great deal of help from his family and friends kept him sane through the years.

He is now back to practicing law and is in fact handling a certain case for my boss. You know, I think he's a brilliant lawyer and I think he will be more than that considering that he's been through a lot - probably more passionate and compassionate. We didn't get to stay long for the rest of his story that could have been more interesting.

Back at the office, I did a lot of reading and checking of reports in the afternoon. It's a Friday so I'm more relaxed. An hour before I was off, a friend from another office came to consult me about plans for her daughter's wedding.

You see, I do events planning on the side when I'm not busy to take on another workload. It's a lot of fun and I just love doing it but since I'm also asked to help planning some office events lately, I haven't accepted any offer after an August event. I can't afford to go nuts more than I already am so I'm particular about knowing who my clients are though they're mostly referrals of friends who knows how I work. I'm also involved with the liturgical commission in our archdiocese that I'm often consulted about liturgical stuff thinking that I know a lot - actually, I just happen to know the right people to ask.

Okay, maybe this wasn't something remarkable - but this definitely wasn't my usual day...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

a beautiful man...

There's this really beautiful guy that I haven't seen in person but I can just go nuts imagining that one day he'll sweep me off my feet and our story goes on to happily ever after.

Foolish me to even think that it can
go further than watching him on the tube. Then again that's the massive gift of imagination. It can take you places and give you the pleasure of meeting people behind those faces. Nothing and no one can stop you from knowing and feeling the person.

And so I met him in New York a couple of summers ago during one of his long breaks from work. I was reading a book on a bench at central park and he was circling the place taking pictures of whatever or whoever caught his eye. When I felt that the glare of the sun was too much for me I decided to head home. Holding a book in one hand and a can of pineapple orange juice in the other, I got up from the bench. He was too engrossed clicking his cam while walking. Not surprisingly, we slammed into each other. And for a tall hefty guy to hit me, I was easily knocked down.

That same day, around noon, I was rushing down the subway as I was already late for a meeting. I hurriedly went in as the place was packed and positioned myself standing and clinging at a steel pole for support during the ride. We just started moving when he tapped me at the back, nods and directed me to a seat he just vacated. We smiled, nodded and I thanked him as I took his seat. At the next stop, he looked my way, smiled and nods again and got off.

I was so exhausted from my meeting that went on for hours from lunch to late in the afternoon that I decided to eat out for supper. I went for a quick nap, then took a bath and changed before I went out that evening feeling refreshed. It was almost 7 when I left the apartment and walked to this small resto bar that I regularly eat when I don't feel like cooking. I sat in my regular table and not long after I ordered,
there he was again in front of me holding a bottle of drink, smiling.

When I looked up to him, he immediately introduced himself shyly. We didn't get to those opening lines during our earlier encounters. He asked if I was with someone and if not, if it was okay for him to join me. He was a welcome company of course. He looked Asian and I figured that with the constant nodding and the accent, he must have been Chinese, Japanese or Korean.

We talked about the incidents of our meetings and laughed realizing that it was the third time that our paths crossed that day. I instantly felt at ease chatting with him and though we were both Asians, we communicated in English as I don't understand a single Korean word then. We had a great time that night and it was more gratifying for me considering he paid the bill. We lost track of time that it
was late when he walked me home to my place. Incidentally, he was just staying at an apartment a block away from where I live.

We met again almost every day after that. He was a sporty kind of guy so he became my badminton and running buddy in most of my mornings and we hang out a lot in the evenings to eat at different places, watch
movies or just go sightseeing. I learned a few Korean words from him and he picks up fast in learning my dialect. A month later, he was set to go back home and requested that I drive him to the airport when he leaves.

After unloading his luggage from the car at the airport that day, he turned to me and handed me a piece of paper, sort of a claim slip. He said that he left something for me at a photo developing center near my place. He asked me to pick it up on the way home as it was already finished and paid for. He didn't tell me what it was but he said it's something I might like. Before he went in the terminal, we kissed, hugged, smiled, nodded again and he walked away.

'It was just the thing that will not pass my mind' - I mused and sighed... As instructed, I passed by the developing center and picked up what he left me. I was guessing it probably was a framed photo of a picture that he took during his brief stay. As soon as I reached my place, I hurriedly unwrapped the thing and excitedly pulled it out from it's box.

I smiled when I saw it... a picture of me sitting on a bench at central park reading a book.

At the back of the frame he wrote:
I saw you first...
I will see you again...
- Bae Yong Joon

The capacity
of our imagination
is boundless
and it has led me
to meet such
a beautiful man.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

another change . . .

Today is my mother's 5th death anniversary. A lot of things changed when she
passed away. I didn't noticed it at first but the change was a subtle conversion to what I have to get used to. Maybe it was her way of fading away from life as she was one of those who prepared for her death. A couple of years after she was diagnosed with cancer, she strongly embraced the uncertain change that was to come her way and probably she already felt how huge a change it will be for us.

It is very difficult now that she is gone. I miss her presence so much though I know that I took that for granted when she was just around even during the time she was sick. Sometimes I just freeze up when I can intensely feel her absence as those were times when I do not know where else to go to escape situations.

A toddler learns to walk fast when he can sense that for every fall he makes, he will be cushioned in the arms of his mom who constantly watch him struggle to take every step. The child usually dares to risk to take those steps with such sense of assurance. I don't have that anymore...

I have made so many calculated moves in recent years and once again have become repressed. Those moves though calculated are not always right but at least, it prepared me for possible outcome. I am just afraid that when I dare to risk, I might fall hard as I have done so many times in the past but there's a cushion to ease t
he pain in every fall then.

When a friend recently left our community, I told him that "every journey is about change... I pray that as you experience opportunities for growth and challenges, you also continue in allowing yourself to be held in the shelter of God!" This is an adaptation from something I've read in past that often remain in my thoughts.

This is what I need to embrace the change completely. And probably that thought frequents my mind from the whisper of someone who is prodding me not to be afraid to risk again.

She's still around and holding me as close as she can. I hope that I can be more sensitive to her presence - and be more faithful to be held in the shelter of God...