Monday, July 9, 2018

My Prized Possession Just Helped a Meaningful Cause

For quite some time, I have been making amends on my weekend schedule to do some spring cleaning at home. While there's no such thing as spring season in the country where I am, the primary reason why I finally decided doing so was to give way to a number of things from removing the clutter to allocating space for new things.

While I was able to easily discard the usual stuff, I realized that the next thing that occupied much space in my room were my old books. Sure I want to be able to stock my shelf with new titles for my eyes and my brain to devour into but the question as to where to send the old ones was a concern. I dismissed my mom's suggestion of sending them to a junk shop because while they might be old (some of them had been with me for 20 years!), those books could still be read and used as reference materials -- and junk shops that tear off the pages to dissolve them aren't just a good idea.

The existence of municipal public libraries proved to be a blessing as they gladly took in a box filled with my old books back last year. But there are still quite a lot  left with me at home. I tried searching for foundations that might benefit my prized possessions. And while I was able to find quite a number of them, most are located far from where I live which would make transporting the books an issue (aside from the fact that I work on weekdays and no one is available to drive for me on weekends).

I was ready to give up and give in to mom's recommendation when I found this sign during one of my lunch hour trips to Eastwood Mall:

I've been supporting a number of advocacies as an employee volunteer of the company where I've been with and seeing this sign stationed in Cibo in Eastwood led me to a light bulb moment. The restaurant is a sharing center of Books for the Better. They work together with Books for a Cause, a non-profit organization that aims to provide precious knowledge to every Filipino and increase literacy through continuous learning. This led me to immediately consider this advocacy as one of those that I can personally support.

Right there and then I just knew this will be an ideal place for my old books and I did not waste time to approach one of their staff who was accommodating to answer my query. I was hesitant at first that my books might just be declined but the move of asking was not a futile attempt. I was told that they accept books regardless of type or genre.

As of this writing, I've sent quite a number of books to their branch thrice. And in those three instances, my book donations were cheerfully received. I told their staff that I would return with more books as I still have some left at home. I'm happy that despite being tagged as old, my prized possessions can still go a long way and ignite a love for reading to someone else within the country. Those books might be vintage and old but the way people will benefit from it will be as precious as gold. 

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Rainy Days and Drama Marathons

Just as another school year started this month, my favorite season has also set in. Yup, rainy season is finally here. I can now breathe some relief that I can finally be spared from the scorching hot summer evenings and get some restful sleep at night. And next to curling in bed with books, or drinking hot tea (a very "Tita" activity) which I'm doing as I type this, another activity I found interesting these days are having these foreign drama marathons. Two on my list are A Love So Beautiful and Doctors. 
Photo: Wikipedia
I first learned about A Love So Beautiful from my former officemate Ayel while I was binge watching the episodes of It Started With A Kiss. At first, I was hesitant to take her recommendation simply because it might not be interesting enough. You see, the story was about two people in a plot that starts during their years in highschool, and we all know what highschool life is made up of. I was up to no good with the hesitation because when I decided to give it a shot at watch, I never expected that I would do so religiously.  While A Love So Beautiful may have began tackling highschool-related things and issues, it extended through college and eventually the lives of Chen Xiaoxi (Shen Shue) and Jiang Chen (Hu Yitian) together with their friends as adults. The story did also tackle the importance of friendship (the characters in the story are #SquadGoals), the struggles of a young relationship and how time, sincerity, forgiveness and effort can make a person win someone's heart back. 

I never thought I'd be that glued to the series that I was able to finish all the episodes two weeks before it concluded its Philippine TV release last Friday. 

Photo: ABS CBN
And while It's been a long time since I watched Korean dramas, I found myself interested in one, Doctors (or more known here in the Philippines as Doctor Crush) that stars Park Shin Hye and Kim Rae Won. I just started to seriously watch it around its third week of airing (so I had to find the first 10 episodes) and I never thought medical romance drama could leave me both giddy and interested at the same time. Odd as it may seem but during the course of watching the series, I realized that some TV shows could sometimes remind you of a lot of things: from a career path you once thought of pursuing to a kind of life that you could have lived (if you decided to follow "that path"). And not to miss about the show is getting a few wisdom on love and relationship, thoughts about family, justice and compassion and of course, some crash lessons on medical science (blood, gore and lots of brain tissue together with the medical terms) given that the characters in the story portray the role of neurosurgeons  for the fictional Gukil Medical Center.

I enjoyed Park Shin Hye's character who from a troubled teenager, turned to be the compassionate, kick-ass neurosurgeon Yoo Hye-jung. Kim Rae Won's character as the highschool teacher end eventually neurosurgeon Hong Ji-hong is a joy to watch as well. Their lines on the series might be straightforward but a number of it are heart-fluttering and worth pondering about. This Kdrama is aired late nights and while it might mean hitting the sheets a bit later than usual, I guess I won't mind doing so-- even if it might mean seeing brain surgeries in my dreams. The episodes could also be watched online but I opted to restrain myself just to prevent preempting the suspense and kilig (if ever) on what's gonna happen next And as if watching this nightly isn't enough, I also have the soundtrack on my playlist -- good for rainy night listening sessions. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Two Cents Worth Wednesday: Bakit Single Ka Pa Rin by Velden Lim

I've been back to reading books this year. And I am succeeding one day at a time. Just weeks ago, I came across this book, Bakit Single Ka Pa Rin by Catholic preacher and The Feast builder Velden Lim during my visit to St. Paul's Megamall. His book was familiar because I learned about it during last year's Manila International Book Fair. While I did not immediately buy the book, it looks like this is a must in my reading list.I found a single copy in National Bookstore SM City Taytay and after a few minutes of contemplation, I eventually bought it.

Just like other books that discusses the subject of singlehood, I was hesitant about acquiring IT at first. Admittedly, I have serious fears on these kinds of books hahaha. But apparently, this one gave me a bang for the buck. The author addressed the topic in a informative yet relaxed (and often funny) way. Oo, parang nagkukwento lang talaga siya nang harapan sa mga tao. I never thought I would enjoy the book that it only took me two days to finish it. 

This book was able to quash a few stupid beliefs about love that single individuals have always believed to be "acceptable". The ones that some of us think "okay lang" are apparently not the case and were in fact hampering the accomplishment process if someone is serious about settling down and getting hitched to the right person. What I also liked about the book is how it clarified a few questions that I have always had and wanted to ask but never dared to do. 

Now, I know you'll ask me if this book is worth reading and if I would recommend this to my friends. I would say a resounding yes. And as to the question if I was able to find the answers to the annoying question "bakit single ka pa rin?", it's still a yes and I know better now how to hopefully resolve it.

Bakit Single Ka Pa Rin is available at Shepherd's Voice Publications, National Bookstore and St. Paul's branches.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

On Hibernate Mode

As of this writing, I temporarily deactivated my Facebook account. And save for some occasional posts on Twitter and Instagram, there isn't really anything new about me social media wise.Blame it on the fact I am always busy, I get home at the end of the day exhausted and that Holy Week is again fast approaching, I opted to taper my social media (particularly Facebook) activity. I guess it's also because I don't see a point spending much of my time in a platform that seems to serve more harm than good.

Technology and the internet is supposed to improve lives and make it somehow easy, but it appears to do otherwise. Save for a very few things that spell good news, social media and its use appear to have influenced a lot of people in a hugely negative way. While a lot use it as a vehicle to exercise freedom of speech and expression, apparently it's also a place of condemnation. Everyone wants to be heard to a point that people appear to have forgotten rather important aspects of human existence: PRIVACY, RESPECT AND COMMON SENSE

Maraming nagmamagaling at gustong maging magaling. But it has come to the extent na nakakalimutan na nila kung ano at paano ang maging mabuti.

To me social media is a place that leaves no room or space for mistakes. It's a place where one dissatisfying opinion automatically puts one in a type hell filled with condemnation, harsh words and even threats that are often lethal to one's safety as a person. I'm not trying to be perfect (and won't ever will) but I've been a prey of bashers too in some instances -- I just knew how to deal with them. And instead of Facebook and other similar platforms becoming beneficial to people's lives, it became nothing but a training ground for trolls, bashers, fake news, fake people and bullies. It has completely transformed into a modern-day breeding place not for happiness or positivity but for paranoia and hostility.

Sadly, social media is just 1% good news and 99% shit. It's harsh yet it's real. And that's the way I see it. 

People including me strive to live in a world filled with events and things that are already toxic and taxing to human existence. For someone like me who is currently in the phase of adulting and trying to stay afloat with the challenges, stresses and activities of daily life, accommodating negativity in everyday living will be too much to take in.

My decision to be on intermittent social media use was a personal choice. The universe already has had enough of its share of bad things. And going through negativity and unappealing stuff is exhausting. I know that by doing this, I could be left behind about a number of things but I don't mind. With the world being on the receiving end of a lot of exhaustion that it does not deserve, I'd rather not inflict further damage, and instead, stay away from something that could cause further discord. I still believe in the power and beauty of silence. And for that I'd choose to unplug from this complicated, stressful part of the world. So forgive me if you won't hear anything from me from time to time. For I need and deserve silence-- for my own welfare and that of my sanity. And I suggest you try the same the same thing too.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Two Cents Worth Wednesday: Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl

I've had this book for years in my shelf. While I've been meaning to spend time and read it, I seriously can't get away with time constraints. However, I decided to take the initiative this year to make time for the books that I bought but were left still unread. And the first on my list is this one. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl that chronicles the life of a teenage diarist, Anne Frank during the years in Germany, hiding in the Secret Annexe when Holocaust was happening.

From 20 June 1942:

"I don't intend to show this cardboard covered notebook bearing the proud name of "diary" to anyone, unless I find a real friend, boy or girl, probably nobody cares. And now I come to the root of the matter, the reason for my starting a diary: it is that I have no such real friend."

From 22 January 1944:

"All the problems of our 'upbringing', of our being spoiled, the food -- it could have been quite different if we'd remain perfectly open and friendly, and not always only on the lookout for something to seize on."

From 3 February 1944:

"I have now reached the stage that I don't care much whether I live or die. The world will still keep on turning without me; what is going to happen, will happen, and anyway it's no good trying to resist."


Saturday, February 10, 2018

Loving Never Forgetting (and Things in Between)

Photo from Pinterest
I don't recall being obsessed with foreign drama series like other people. If there was one thing I enjoyed watching, it was just Meteor Garden and It Started With a Kiss and their respective sequels. However, after going on a Meteor Garden marathon during the Christmas holiday, I discovered another interesting series:Loving Never Forgetting.

I remember that it was one of those drama series that was shown in the Philippines back in 2015 entitled Unforgettable Love. Back then, while I am aware of the show's existence, I only see trailers because of its late-night telecast (I can't watch it as I have a day job which needs me to be up early every morning). At first I was only interested because of the legal battle ingredient of the story (not to mention the good looks of the show's characters) But once I started with the first episode, I instantly got hooked-- despite that what I am watching is in it's original form -- spoken in Mandarin Chinese and I had to rely on English subtitles, which thankfully were translated well.  

Anyway, I must say that Loving Never Forgetting is one beautiful drama and it was worth watching. It's a poignant story about the value of family, strength and resilience, of true and unconditional love, kindness and forgiveness. I was interested to see how Li Zhongmou's character (played by Jerry Yan) slowly changed from a cold-hearted bachelor businessman to a loving father and husband in the course of the story. And how Wu Tong's (played by Tong Liya) generosity, kindness and unconditional love healed broken relationships and brought a family back together. On the other hand, while I enjoyed watching Denny Huang as the dashing, handsome lawyer Xiang Jun, there was also a point in the story that I felt hatred in his antagonistic portrayal towards the last few episodes. But thankfully, there was a transformation that happened that somehow redeemed his character. 

Now, you might be confused or maybe wondering why I said these. But you need to watch the series yourself to find out why. You must have the patience though because aside from it is spoken in Mandarin, each episode runs from 35-45 minutes. But I liked how the series included courtroom scenes and legal battle scenarios concerning family law (the area of law that I find interesting) and business perspective with the usual romance, drama and at some points, comedy scenes in it. At a certain extent, this drama series tackled how to deal with the subject of "unrequited love". 

Upon reaching the last episode, I can't help but ask myself why I did not watch this three years ago. Honestly, it's a show I wouldn't mind watching again-- and I surely would, probably after a few months -- or at least I have crossed half of the items on my current to-do list!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

The Funny Thing About Falling in Line

Pila and Paghihintay is life. That's the motto that I have been living by for so long. You see, anywhere I go, two processes tend to be constant -- falling in line and waiting. From commuting, doing my groceries during lunch hour, getting bank errands done, even using the elevator to transport me to where the office is, that beeline and waiting time are always a tandem.

Don't get me wrong. I am not complaining though. While it could make others lose their cool, and considering that I knew myself as someone who "doesn't have the patience of a saint", I would admit that I have been so used to it. Falling in line and waiting has become a part of life. However, yesterday, during a transaction at the supermarket with my colleague, this routine was given with a comic twist.

I accompanied my friend Cherry to do her groceries. As she is a PWD (person with disability) just like me, she's entitled to use the first checkout lane (which is also for senior citizens and pregnant customers)  While waiting for our turn, the lady (in her 60's) who was next to us had this weird look on her face as if scrutinizing both of us. I guess she couldn't contain her curiosity any longer, because what came next was a question I never thought I would hear:

"May buntis ba sa inyo?" (TRANSLATION: Is anyone of you pregnant?)

Okay, while becoming pregnant (and becoming a legit wife and mother) was once part of my future hopes, the question kind of placed me in that "wait hindi ako na-orient" moment. Part of me felt giddy for a second but I felt awkward right afterward. It didn't offend though. All it took was just a polite explanation that I was just accompanying a friend who is a PWD (which makes her entitled to the use of the lane). And while she didn't have to, the lady gave an apology. Apparently, she didn't know that neither Cherry or I was amongst those classified as PWD's.

Walking back to the office, Cherry and I just had a good laugh at that incident. Because as funny as it was, while we tend to see ourselves as the "physically-challenged" folks, apparently, there are people who saw (and thought of) something else -- only not in a way we were expecting.

Now, who says falling in line is always a temper-losing activity? At least to the two of us, it's not. For that was one time we got to say, as that tourism tag line puts it, it's more fun in the Philippines :-)

POSTSCRIPT: I am a PWD myself. And while I am entitled to privileges, I rarely use it and only do so when it's REALLY necessary. I don't mind falling in line and waiting in the regular line just like everyone else :-)