Saturday, December 21, 2013

Partial End of a Crazy Week

The year is about to come to a close in a week and three days and checking this blog, I only wrote two entries for this month. As much as I loved writing, realizing that I never wrote anything much the past weeks is unbelievable.

As I write this, my parents are asleep. I'm the only person up hoping to be able to wait for my brother to come home from his stint at a wedding. My 10-day vacation from work for the Christmas season has started, and it has been something I've been waiting for.

I'd say I have been waiting for it. The last week before the office's Christmas closure has been agonizing both for us here in Manila and for the other folks in Australia. Compared to last year, it has been that toxic making each of the staff call in sick. Lucky for me, despite coming home literally crawling to bed for the last five nights, I survived the stress and exhaustion. Maybe because I just motivated myself that I am not entitled to call in sick on the last work week prior to a vacation.

And while I was able to survive the toxic week with the combined stress of Christmas rush, I had to miss the Simbang Gabi this year. As much as I want to complete it supposedly for the sixth year, I had to choose to let go. Yes, I felt bad and disappointed at myself for being unable to finish something I've started, but the exhaustion from the workload is way too high. And if I won't listen to my body, there's a high chance that I'd spend Christmas in a hospital bed in a hospital gown eating hospital food. Thus, giving up is the best way to go.

Save for my a few more preps for Christmas (which, oddly I could not feel much) and plans of embarking in another adventure in a few days, I'll be spending my holidays catching up on sleep -- I've been deprived of that luxury for a week after all.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

A Revelation from a Christmas Station ID

Besides seeing places like malls and streets decorated with glittering lights and Christmas trees, one of the things that makes one realize that this event is just around the corner is the emergence of TV ads and station IDs related to Christmas. in the past, I wrote an an entry about those advertisements that not only reminds you of the occasion, but never fails to tug hearstrings as well.

Natatandaan mo ba ito?

I was out with some friends nights ago and when the conversation lead to things Christmas, my friend C asked me to watch this video. At first I thought this was cool. I'm kind of familiar of the station ID having seen it 8 years ago. On a side note, this has a story to tell. Back then, whenever this would be flashed on the TV screen, I try not to see it. Either I switch channels or turn the TV off. At one point, someone asked me what is it with that ad that I don't like that I have to turn the TV off.

To which, I would tell, "it's the guitar guy".

I was 21 that time and it was really the reason. I don't know with myself too why I did not like seeing that guy with the guitar in that ad. But as years pass, when I see other station IDs, I'd wonder where could that guitar guy in white polo is now, and who could he probably be. And nights back in the middle of watching this with friends, another friend, K placed a random photo from my timeline on our table and asked me, "kilala mo siya?"

I sat there frozen for minutes looking at them after seeing the photo. I wanted to ask what's the relevance of these.  And when I saw her gadget, the video paused on a particular timestamp, it hit me without anyone having to tell me all about it. The next thing I knew, I was hiding my face at B's shoulders as I tried to wipe those trickling tears pending to escape my eyes.

Yeah, TV ads do make me cry. They never fail to. And this one was no exception. But this time, I cried tears that people can see but only my soul could understand.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Advocacy: 1000 Bearhugs Project

Teddy bears don't need hearts. They are already stuffed with LOVE.

Much has been said and witnessed about the victims of the recent calamity that left a huge devastating effect to the country, most of them were in the point of view of adults. But how about the children?

A few days after my volunteering stint in Ateneo, I chanced upon Mommy Fleur's entry about the 1000 Bearhugs Project.

From their website:

Play is a child's natural language and a means for them to make sense of their experiences. Trauma can be addressed through the experiential narratives of play therapy and allows a child to speak of what he or she has gone through when they cannot find the words to do so. These toys provide children with a certain amount of security in a sometimes-scary world.

Just like volunteering in Ateneo, I did not think twice about participating in this endeavor. Each of us had gone through that phase in our own childhood where we got attached to our "favorite toy". When I was a kid, it was a Mickey Mouse stuff toy from Singapore that became my bedtime companion for so many years. Mama herself was an advocate of these type campaigns too. And it made me realize, I had been that lucky to be blessed with a simple yet conflict-free childhood and letting another child have the same thing even through this little endeavor, would be the best possible way to give back.

I phoned Mama immediately hoping to get a toy or two from what she had kept from my plush toys but she said she had mostly given those years before. I decided to make a trip to Toy Kingdom after work and purchased these two cuddly bears. Thankfully, the Babyland branch at Eastwood Mall was among the drop off points I was able to send them off the following day.

While I don't have kids of my own yet, shopping for toys to be given away to a good cause gave me this elation deep inside. I believe it's a kind of inner happiness one tends to feel upon doing something worthwhile. And if you wish to join the cause, they are accepting bear (or any plush toys suitable for kids 3-12 years old) until December 8.

You may also visit Black Pencil Project for further information. The list of drop off points where you can bring your toy donations are listed here.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Town Fiesta with College Friends

For the last three years or so, I have never witnessed the celebration of Angono's Higantes Festival. Doing so was mostly out of choice. Blame it on the fact that I know I am getting old each year, I just want to stay home. Going out is either done out of spontaneity.

Pardon our looks. I was not really planning of leaving the house today but had to leave to run some errands. While I was at the mall, my classmate Hermil invited me for an impromptu reunion with my college classmates. Given that we have not seen each other for years (most of us left the university 8 years ago), I decided it's reasonable to give in to it -- despite the rainy bed weather outdoors.

And since this an unplanned thing, patak-patak ang dinner (okay for the sake of clarity, it's dutch treat). Here we are goofing in the dinner table while having a humble meal of roast chicken and pizza.

If there's one thing about growing old (in terms of age) it's being able to appreciate time spent with friends and knowing that you can still have good, clean fun if you choose to. Tonight was filled with tummy-aching conversations about college days, work, past and present loves, and well, some naughtiness in between and I can't blame them (as most of them are "technically married" and I'm the last single woman standing). But you've got nothing to worry about as I just listened and laughed when they discussed about the three-letter "S" word.

It's a good thing that I said yes to Hermil's invitation. While we wanted to do a part 2, it might come later than sooner as most of us are leaving the country for greener pastures. But hopefully, we'll be able to invite more colleagues next time.

Photos courtesy of Hermil.

Monday, November 18, 2013

A Night Out With Purpose

Seeing Typhoon Yolanda's aftermath in the news has been heartbreaking that it made everyone concerned and alarmed. I myself went through a restless period. I can't even watch TV anymore because seeing the kind of mess the tragedy left behind both to property and how it claimed the lives of people is devastating. It did not make me think twice about trying to do something meaningful because despite of not being affected physically, what I had seen affected me emotionally.

When both DSWD and President Aquino himself sent out an announcement calling for volunteers, I seriously wanted to go, if not for the hassle of having to get a schedule. However, when the said government agency opened satellite offices that accept walk-in volunteers, I was able to sigh relief. It was a good thing too that my best friend Apple planned of joining the endeavor. After some liaising (side by side my hectic schedule at work) with POC's we decided to come in as walk-in volunteers at the satellite office in Ateneo de Manila University.

I can't say I am a newbie nor a veteran with volunteering. I've joined outreach activities in the office including the relief operations for Typhoon Maring victims months ago. In a way there are some "firsts" to the two of us. This is Apple's first time to be a volunteer, and this is the first time I would be joining a "national" relief mission. For my part. besides wanting to help, I decided doing this to respond to an important call. I've tried to volunteer for a couple of times and I don't mind doing it again. While I looked forward to it, I had some apprehensions too. I have not placed myself to a graveyard shift since I left my job at the advertising firm three years ago. But then this was for a good cause so I decided to go for it.

This endeavor proved to be worth it,because even if I went on volunteering the graveyard shift, I never felt tired nor sleepy the whole time I was packing the relief goods. Maybe because the Ateneo crowd are one cheery community. I also had a chance to mingle with different individuals. What made it a happy one was at the end of the shift, while DSWD was just expecting 80,000 bags from the Ateneo warehouse, we were able to pack 82,000 relief bags that could sustain a family for a week. 

Yesterday afternoon, my college classmate Joy (whose husband is an Atenean) asked me "how was your lakad last night?" My response was just this short:

It was the best night out ever.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Incriminate and Apologize

The past two days, the term "right against self incrimination" has been ringing a bell. In the middle of my duties at work, I took note when one senator explained when should this term be appropriately used. I never knew the term would mean more than just a little lecture of some sorts until tonight. As I was on the phone with another colleague, I came across a string of messages someone sent me during my birthday last Tuesday. Except for the orange tabby with the word sorry, which I saw the morning after my birthday, I missed seeing the first three photos (seriously, I think I really am blind).

Browsing these images back and forth last night and seeing the timestamps in the messages, , I found out that in a way, he didn't forget. 

Quoting Senator Francis Escudero's speech, "When you keep on invoking your right against self incrimination it implies that (you) admit to committing a crime, a wrongdoing." I won't use that line however. I am well aware that I did something wrong towards someone even before I discovered these images and I do feel a certain level of guilt. And while I had apologized, knowing that it was the best thing to do, I couldn't do anything more but move forward and hope that my decision to apologize would suffice and it would turn out to be the good resolve.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Counting Blessings

Good things come to those who wait. If he works like hell while he waits.

The previous week was something that's far from the usual. I can't say it's a breezy, manageable one like before. The last three days particularly were hectic especially for me. It was that busy that all I was praying for was to be given with the strength that I need to get on, given that I had a huge deadline to meet.

Another title was added to my job description in the last three days. I was a campaign assistant for the wife of my boss who is seeking for an elective position in the Law Society. I was asked to disseminate the material to her colleagues. Doing so reminded me of Marlon, my friend's former assistant. The job gave me an idea on how it is to be in his shoes. Sure, the it isn't as easy as eating peanuts. I had to do some sacrifice. My boss nor his wife are no politicians but doing the job for them somehow gave me a peak on such kind of calling. It made me think, if God is preparing me for a different life in the future, at least I have an idea this early.

But the sacrifice did not go to waste. I was able to accomplish them before the given deadline as I juggle with my other tasks. While I was not expecting anything in return, my boss's wife emailed me to drop a note to say thank you. It was enough to make my heart melt. 

Yesterday was the quarterly Townhall Meeting scheduled for our department. I was looking forward to attending just like in the previous quarters but circumstances prohibited me from doing so. At one point, I was disheartened, but there's no room for complaint. I suppose it happened for a purpose. This plaque is now standing quietly in a corner in my bedroom. It's been a day after the awarding, it has not sunk into my mind yet. In the middle of the sacrifice, I only asked for one thing -- that all my sacrifice will be worth it.

In the end, it became such a sweet finish to a loaded week. And I could not be anything but thankful.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Pray.Hope.Don't Worry

Those were the exact words that kept ringing in my ears since Tuesday.

After having the test recommended by my doctor done (again) today, I can finally breathe a sigh of relief. I've been worrying about it this week especially when the first result came out. I was really hoping and praying that I'd be spared from another health malady as I already have enough of it.

I was somewhat feeling uneasy this morning. But when the results came out, I was able to be relaxed finally. Yet, I vowed to myself one thing: I will SERIOUSLY follow my doctor's (and my mom's) recommendations and advice.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Be Well the Soonest

For two weeks, my lower extremity had been aching. And this week, I finally took a break from work to have them checked. And the appointment taught me four things.

At the moment, I am doing some sacrifice, health wise. No soda, no junk food. My coffee intake has been limited to once a day, and that's only during breakfast. When I returned to the office last Wednesday after a one-day leave, I saw my coffee mug and remembered the last time I had coffee on my desk was Monday, and up to now, I never had a cup of joe at work. And while I drink milk before hitting the bed, I opted to have it without sugar. Bananas and root crops and leafy greens are part of the menu because my doctor explained that while she knew the possible cause of these pains (that continue to manifest up to now), she could not just prescribe medications weighing the cons vs the pros of doing so. She advised me to opt for natural sources. 

It took me two weeks before finally giving in to see a doctor because I was taking OTC pain medicines; two lessons which I learned. One was never prolong the symptoms and never self medicate as there are times it really won't work. My mom had an idea of what triggered the week long, persistent pain and the doctor just validated it. Well, that's actually the third lesson: Always believe your parents. They knew it first before you did. Seriously.

I'm off for a routine test tomorrow, just to rule out some stuff. I told my boss about this when I got back to work and I could feel an amount of concern in his voice. I just hope that my sacrifice this week would work and that my arm would not end up bruised black and blue again (pictured above) after what the med-tech did to me in the office about 3 weeks ago. But most importantly, I hope and pray I'll soon be okay and this pain would finally go away. 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

How Do You Want to Be Remembered?

Click image for better resolution.

One of the things I hope to learn really soon is using Instagram. But since, I don't have an IG capable phone yet, it was a blessing to have discovered some accounts worth following. More than just photos, random inspiring lines are what has been making me engaged in it.

The photo above is among those thoughts that hit me hard. It was simple but profound and powerful. At one point, I was brought back to a particular task almost 10 years ago. In the midst of the news of my schoolmate C's passing, one of my professors engaged us in an activity wherein she asked us to write how we would remember each person in the room.

"When a person dies, people around them tend to remember the good side of being human. That's reflection" That was how my former sociology professor said it. And going back to that activity, I could just now recall what I wrote for about  4 (out of the 30 or 40) colleagues: one who'll be a fashion designer, a female colleague who would be a pastor giving out "kick ass" sermons, another who has the potential to make it to PMA (as she used to be an ROTC officer and akala ko kasi tomboy sya noon) and another classmate who, I wrote, would be a politician's wife.

It was actually fun discovering and hearing how we perceived how each of us could possibly become. Some were serious, some were funny. But no one dared to write the negative about anyone -- not even to me. While no one described me to be someone who'll end up with somebody, they were right on target describing me for the nerdy girl that I am. To the point that someone wrote that I am the human counterpart of Google. I've expected them to pinpoint the negative as that's how I see myself -- the reserved, suplada girl who'd pass the role of a villainess.

It's been years since we did that class activity and things changed -- the same as the people and the descriptions. Classmate 1 now works for an NGO, Classmate 2 became a graphic artist with a witty son (who, I think would be an ass kicker heir to her throne someday), Classmate 3 is not a soldier but is now a mom of one and while Classmate 4 did not end up with the politician, she married a guy who she described as her "perfect match".

And except for age, I don't know how they look at me now. I'd like to think it still is the same. I know that people would possibly talk shit about me when I die. It's inevitable as everyone has their own opinions which they are entitled to. I have always perceived myself to be that suplada girl, and if I do have kindness left in me, I don't want to say it myself. I just leave it in my prayer to let others hopefully see them if they do, and if they think it to be (of me).

Friday, September 13, 2013

Looking Forward to an Escapade

Because save for a few musts on the list and doctors appointments together with the work week that went for two days, this week has been one of those breeziest periods ever. And this one has been playing in my head for countless times today. Not to forget that payday has to be moved earlier because 15th is on a Sunday.

Now, who says Friday the 13th (always) spells bad luck? It's going to be a weekend too, so who's not excited.

Monday, September 9, 2013

1 Person, 4 Months, 3 Words

Photo source

I don't know how many times have I heard these lines from someone:

"Love is a wonderful feeling. It should not be put to waste."

I never thought that in the face of grief, love will find a way to shine such a ray of light. At least not until four months ago. In that phone conversation, in between the sound of my sobs, I found the courage to say these words that I don't normally tell people.

HIM: Don't thank me for being by your side at this difficult time. At least not for now. You're in grief            and it's inappropriate to say thank you. (I don't get it but apparently he said it's more of a                    superstition)
ME: You don't want me to thank you? Why? You don't want me to hear say "Thank you". But what             do you want me to tell you? I love you?

Yes, instead of ending it with the usual period, I said it with a question mark. Not declarative but interrogative.  There was split second silence from both of us after I said those words but I was quick abort the topic and divert the conversation.  At one point I felt fine, even relieved that I said something I knew I should not be shy nor afraid about.

And if there were two things I realized about myself, it would be: 1)I love you is a powerful word. Never regret saying it; and 2) I am not much of a coward contrary to what I have always thought myself to be -- at least at  times.

Now, if God would give me another chance to say those words to the same person, I won't hesitate doing it again.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Indispensable Me

The daily grind. But life's better here!

I have been married to my job for a year, six months and a day as of this writing. 18 months of doing the routine but I never felt like it's been that long. This morning, I received another phone call in the middle of a busy day from the boss. Apparently, he had to remind me over something because if it was not brought to my attention, I would have unknowingly failed a protocol. It was not the "reprimand over the phone" conversation though, but more of a reminder. It's one of the good qualities of my boss. I believe I have been lucky to have been with them for a year and a half now. I guess he does not believe in "humiliating people" as a form of discipline as I have always perceived him as someone "diplomatic" in everything. One of the things that kept me sticking to the job happy and content.

And just when I thought the first conversation was it, I again received a phone call from him to hear these words: 
"You know what that means? That only means that you're indispensable to us now. When we did not have you yet, things were difficult. And whenever you are not around, everyone gets worried. You make things easy for us."

Friday, August 30, 2013

To Live Simply is to Be Free

I don't normally get to watch TV these days. Save for some "feel good" TV shows, I don't get to hear and see local primetime news for a long time given that when I come home from work, I only want to do three things -- eat dinner, spend time engaged in short conversations with Mama and sleep. My source of news is normally surfing the Internet few minutes before I begin to work in the morning.

In a way, I am kind of aware about this Janet Napoles- Pork Barrel Scam issue that is making rounds in the news for weeks now. I may not have joined rallies or any kind of activity related to it but I'm furious and disappointed. I am a taxpayer too and just thinking that my hard-earned money is being used to fund someone else's irrelevant luxuries just leaves me enraged. For sure, no one loves the feeling of being robbed with something that they worked so hard for. It's like wanting to say "how dare you steal my money" to a snatcher when you see that person in the hands of the police. 

I may not be watching much TV but I am also familiar of the luxuries of this girl, Jeane Napoles. And honestly, when I try to figure out what she has in her plate, I can't help but feel nauseated. From those expensive bags, shoes, car, a lavish birthday party and a space in a posh establishment in the US, I can't help but feel dizzy. Seriously. And she was just 21 years old.  I was saying "Wow, this girl is indeed 'filthy rich'" at the back of my head. I could not imagine how a 21-year old can acquire such luxury at a snap of a finger. 

You can't blame me if I feel such. When I was her age, I never owned anything as expensive as those. I only have a second-hand phone which Papa gave me to replace my very old one, I don't own a house, instead, I live with my parents and while I do have a job working freelance at that time for one of the country's richest families, I was living paycheck-to-paycheck on an honest amount. And while it did not allow me to afford any luxury, it was enough to suffice. I remember back then I told someone, I don't want to be rich and she thought it was silly for me to say so because it's normally a person's utmost desire. My reasons were actually simple: being rich is stressful and in a way, dangerous. Being wealthy comes with a price. When I scored a job in an advertising company, I still did not see myself rich. Though the job paid hefty amounts, I lost time for myself and I could not spend much time with my family, and those to me are important. I realized that after a year, I finally had enough and I decided to quit. I cannot bear it if it was the cost I have to pay for the abundance I was getting. 

I'm a couple of years shy of hitting the big 3-0 and while some people my age are financially accomplished, if not wealthy, I am fine in saying that I'm lucky not to be "filthy rich". I'm still living with my parents and I own just the minimal things (a not so high-end phone, a couple of savings account on my own name from my salary and a job that which I truly enjoy devoting myself into and pays me enough to cover our needs, occasional wants and pay the bills) but at least, I am not lugging a huge burden of having to live in secrecy because I am not fearing for my own safety and that of my loved ones.

I may not have much for choosing to live a simple life. But I am living the life of a free man. And to me, having that is more than enough.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Quarter Life Cinderella...Not

Three years ago, I wrote a post about going through what they call quarter life crisis. I was actually done going through the said phenomenon when I wrote it down. The experience isn't unpleasant but I can't say it's something good either. In my case, it was a year's worth of confusion, uncertainty and "emotional turmoil".

Luckily for me though, I had well meaning family and friends, one of them assured me that things would eventually be okay. It's a good thing that I believed because eventually, things did start falling in place.

Now, you may be wondering what's the relevance of the pair of shoes. Just recently, I came across this article listing down the 8 signs that can say that the phase is over. It was not a waste of time reading it as I found myself smiling as I went through because I could identify to most of the points: from the practical ones like liking the job that you have, having your own savings account, to the things you don't expect to indicate it like owning a pair of dress shoes.

I am not much of a shoe person but when I first saw the pair of Softawalk shoes from the brand Unlisted (pictured above), I knew that later on, I would need to get one.While I don't have formal events all the time, sometimes, my job needs that I dress smart and a good, comfortable pair of shoes is included in the ensemble. Eventually, I realized, looking presentable at some days also adds a boost to my self-esteem. It's like giving me an accomplished lift.

I have worn this to church and to the office once. I'm actually looking forward to wearing this to an important event. A wedding, perhaps?  :-)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Gratitude in this Crazy, Scary Weather

Photo: Francis Malasig/ EPA/Yahoo Philippines News

It's another rainy day of August. I cannot say that it's the same as last year, because today, the torrential, persistent rains (running for three-four days now) is scarier than before. Manila is submerged in water, a lot of people are unable to go to work, others fleeing to safety against flood waters in their homes.

And I am among those who were unable to go to work, just like how it was last year. And if it was Mama who was sick then, this year's my turn. I did not risk coming to work given the flooding in Angono and since I am sick and entitled of a paid leave, I availed of an emergency leave given the circumstance. I have been unwell since yesterday (but I managed to go to work). However, today, I am staying home, cocktail of medicines ready in case the need arises.

But instead of complaining abut missing work, unable to go out, and the sick feeling, there are things to be thankful for: considerate bosses, kind officemates, food on the table, comfortable, dry clothes, a warm bed and a shelter above my head that serves as a refuge to someone else.

Let us all hope and pray that the situation will improve by tomorrow. 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

There Will Always Be The Light

I was going through my old journal from 2009 tonight and chanced upon a note I have written with the same date as today.

It was around this month that year when I was diagnosed with glaucoma and had been undergoing treatment since. When I first found out, I was both in shock an disbelief. I have known that ailment to be something "only adults get". When the diagnosis came out, I was just 24. It was like going through a triple whammy of some sorts that year; I've lost a five-year relationship, I was in between jobs and the treatment, though available, was somewhat costly and it will be a lifetime thing.

Added to it was the feeling of being scared and concerned of getting blind at a young age. Yes, even without the doctor telling me then, I knew it's going to be the worst case. It made me cry for some time. I have a lot of things left unaccomplished and plans I wanted to do. If I would be blind, I knew that's going to be the (possible) end.

But when I look at it now, Mama was right. God is still good. He has blessed me with a job that not only allowed me to help my family, but it sufficed my treatment, thus it lessened the burden of having someone else to shoulder it. And my doctor told me not too fear. He assured me that I will not be blind for as long as I adhere to my medication.

Since that day, it has always been my prayer that God would not allow my fear to happen. I have been hoping and praying that God would keep my eyesight fine and working well enough so that I can enjoy my long-awaited trip to Disneyland, clear enough for me to see how happy everyone will be and how dashing my future husband is going to be on our wedding (who, knows, God might just grant that too). But more importantly, I still want to be there well enough to raise my future kids and see them to be the person they're supposed to become.

And in every morning that I am able to see light when I wake up, I continue to be thankful, because it means I am well. I am still okay and God's fulfilling His promise.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Our Lives Are About Relationships

"Faith is being sure of what we hope for. But do not use faith to live a life of complacency. Your regrets are not what you did, but what you did not do. Whenever you do something, treat it as if "it could be the last". You only get to that age once and  time once spent, cannot be regained. Life is all about relationships. If a person is important to you, you don't look for time, but instead, you make time for them."
 I missed two Sunday masses and just this weekend, I thought of attending the mid-morning Eucharistic celebration in our parish. But I ended up going to Megamall and hearing the 12:30 pm English mass at the mall chapel. As luck or should I properly say, Divine Intervention would have it, it was Fr. Dave Concepcion, one of my "favorite priests" who celebrated the mass.

Those written on top of this entry was an excerpt of his lengthy but meaningful Homily. Father Dave's Homily in each mass he consecrates always sends everyone laughing (which is good because it means no one is bored) but on the other hand they too leave the chapel enlightened. I'm thankful to have attended the said mass once more. For if I didn't I just knew I missed a lot especially these words:

"Life is all about relationships. If a person is important to you, you don't look for time, but instead, you make time for them."

And during the end of his Homily, he asked us, "what is it that you are hoping for? Raise them to God in prayer". I just knew what to tell Him and it's good (and even surprising) to realize that people around me were asking Him of that too on my behalf.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Los Chicos van a España

The guys are off to Spain!

It's been a long time since I last saw a basketball match and last night's game and eventual win by Gilas Pilipinas was one of the best games I have seen. I was just at home, the only rose among a brood  of macho guys (being my brother and his friends) but the adrenalin rush brought by the ballgame itself was something good.

With last night's win, I can't help but recall these words from boxing legend, Muhammad Ali:
"Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”
And may I add to that last line, impossible is indeed nothing especially to those who believe in the power of their dreams.

The Philippine flag is about make it in the land of the ilustrados by 2014. How cool is that? Bring out the paella! Hasta pronto, España! (and it's the España in Europe and not in Manila!)

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Weekend with the Kiddie Scholars of Payatas

I know this one's another long overdue post but I've been meaning to write this entry about my recent adventure two Saturdays ago. On the same day my boss in Australia was celebrating his birthday, I went back to Quezon City not for work-related purposes but for another meaningful endeavor. I've always spent weekends at home but last July 27, I joined fellow employees as volunteers in an outreach program.

Our 20-member crew went to Payatas to meet the scholars from Payatas Orione Foundation. Those kids, from gradeschool to highschool are sponsored by the company I work for. More than just participating in the activity, one of the reasons I decided to join was out of curiosity. I have never been to Payatas and am only familiar of the place because of how it is being depicted on TV. And with my first hand experience of being in that place, I can say that while some things about it had changed, one thing still remains. The communities there needs all the help they can get.

The outreach involved activities and games for the kids, as well as the distribution of school supplies. Most of them, despite being thin and small for their age, are energetic (save some for the kids who belonged to my group as majority of them are shy-types). But they are not without dreams. When they were doing the group activity of illustrating their dreams, their drawings were simple, but shows promise. They are young but they have a clear picture of what and who they want to be in the future. 

I've always wanted to join our outreach activities but the previous ones did not materialize because of circumstances. This was my first and despite coming home kind of tired (well, that's part of growing old, you know) I enjoyed being with the kids. Indeed you never get too busy to forget doing a simple act of kindness to anyone and spending time with the kids, knowing them, playing games with them and knowing their dreams, you are never old to bring out the kid in you and be a kid at heart even just for a few hours.

(Photos from Microsourcing Facebook page)

Saturday, August 3, 2013

On My Wall 365 Days Ago

"The things you expect the least are actually the things you need the most."

-Sarah Dessen, The Truth About Forever-

This was among the photos posted by my friend on my Facebook wall a year ago. Out of a bad hair day moment at work, just when I was looking forward to a "vent out session" with someone else about how frustrating the day was, this picture was later produced.

Within the year, a lot has happened, both happy and sad ones but then there are events that were pretty wonderful to think instead of being ignored. I surpassed one year mark at my job and I am still into it. He on the other hand, was granted another chance to serve the people through a new term of office. 

I finally learned the importance of life balance and forgiveness. I  was also able to finish an act that I committed myself into which started in June this year -- of going to completing 9 Friday masses not for anything but just because I wanted to do so. And it's a funny coincidence that the 9th Friday fell on a first Friday of the month similar to last year.

Who would have thought, while he "caught me at a disadvantage" that day, I would actually realize that this photo would remind me that I am able to rekindle a friendship with someone that I never thought could be possible.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Two Cents Worth from Chick Lit Books

*Note: This is the first among my long overdue posts. :-D

Despite being a bookworm, chick lit is a genre that is actually the least on my list of "to reads". My first try with this kind of literature was in 2009. While the normal demographics for these types of books are people in their teenage years, I, at that time was already 24.

You read that right. 24.

It was because of the books published by Summit Media (the company responsible for your favorites, Cosmopolitan and FHM) that I got hooked on reading such books. Every once in a while, when I have the chance, I tend to get a title or two that's an absolute feel good read. And who would have thought, when you least expect it, in a certain page, one can find words of advice that are indeed two cents worth of sensible pieces of  advice. in the four years that I've been a reader, I've found a few from the following titles that I've devoured on:


"No matter who the girl is, no matter what the girl says she wants, she wants flowers."


“When you think about it, everything is fleeting. Every second of every minute of every hour. The race and the rush and the choices and the chances. The love that grazed your fingertips, possibilities that brushed past you on your way to work or play or save the world, a happy ending you may have believed in with a faith beyond anything you could have imagined you were capable of.”

"How many people find each other everyday? there are a thousand possibilities, a thousand ways that could've led her to someone. A thousand chances for her to meet a good guy, and to clear up some space for him in her life, and maybe fall in love with him."


"What’s love? It’s like Fireworks. You know how fireworks are always a surprise? It was like that. Everything was magical, and just when I thought it couldn't get any better, it always did get better until I thought I would explode from joy. And then it was over.”

But if you think, those books are just all about the mushy things involving boys, puppy love and crushes, when I tried flipping back the pages of the first chick lit book I have read, Marla Miano's Every Girl's Guide to Boys, These lines caught my eyes when i reached the last page:
"People hurt you, and lie to you, and take you for granted, and treat you badly, but eventually you learn to forgive. You learn to forgive because you have your own shortcomings and imperfections. you learn to forgive because life is too short to be bitter and angry.
You learn to forgive because it is the only way you can move forward."
It is now I realized, I never thought how powerful such lines could be, it would eventually make sense in my life four years later.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

What We Are Entitled To: Emotional Vulnerability

"There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues."

When I first learned about this viral photo of the policeman, PO1 Joselito Sevilla crying as caught by the lens of photojournalist Rem Zamora, the first thing that came in my head was the probability that he was hurt in the recent SONA rally. But upon reading the story behind the photo, I cannot help but give out words of admiration to this policeman. This situation broke the usual Pinoy notion, "Ang tunay na lalaki ay hindi umiiyak."

More than just praise for being courageous in publicly showing his emotion, he deserves commendation for being an epitome of what "maximum tolerance" should be. Subjecting himself to what policemen go through for the sake of responding to the call of duty is no easy task. If he happened to be another individual in blue uniform, that person might have just blown his top off and lose it. But PO1 Sevilla chose to show his frustration in a rather humane manner minus the need to physically  hurt anyone. While it is uncommon for a man in uniform to be emotional, he just proved the fact that regardless of occupation, one fact remains: that we are all humans and we do have our vulnerable side.

It is true that boys don't cry. But a real man is someone who is not afraid to show his real emotion  much more revealing it at a time of chaos and in front of a lot of ill-tempered people.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

(Photo) Blogging Away on a Weekend

I was on a rather earlier schedule in the office the past week. Indeed traveling to the office at 4:30 am and having my lunch at 10 (while others are just having breakfast) is an alien concept for me. Good thing though is that it's only for a week and I'll be back to the usual schedule on Monday.

But for now, here are the things I discovered and what I am loving at the moment:

I discovered that my office webmail has been upgraded. I have been using the old version for more than a year while my other colleagues had been on the new one and I did not hardly notice the change until Tuesday.


A few shades of pink to pop up some color  one to break the usual outfit, the other to add bright hue when I doll up for work :-). Though I find it funny sometimes at how my office friends react when they see me on collared shirts instead of the usual T-shirt, jeans and sneakers; it's as if i got converted to someone else hahaha!

I now get the hag of this kitchen gadget. For a year I stayed away from the pantry microwave for the fear that it might explode after seeing what a fellow office mate did -- placing an aluminum-lined paper plate in it and we had instant fireworks during lunch break.

And after three years, I finally found the time to sit and change my profile photo on this blog. But aside from my hair getting longer now, I don't think any other thing had changed. 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Forgiveness is the Virtue of the Brave

"You will know that forgiveness has begun when you recall those who hurt you and feel the power to wish them well."

Yesterday, when I went on my routine Facebook check, I received a message from someone I have ceased talking to for a almost half a decade.

It was a somewhat lengthy message from my ex-boyfriend.

His letter contained the generic stuff; questions about me, about how am I at present and what's up with him nowadays. But there was a part in the letter where he asked one thing: If I am still angry at him about what he did in the past, and if I have forgiven him.
Reading between those lines, more than just him asking for forgiveness, I knew right then where it is leading: CLOSURE.

I will not go into details about what and how the whole thing came about or what the letter contained. All I knew is that it was something I have let go of years before. To hear from him say sorry was something I no longer thought will happen.

And I never expected to receive this letter hours before July 18 – today is exactly four and a half years since we broke up. I've always thought closure was just a word one reads in books. While it was the longest email I have ever written for him, I'd say it was also the best possible. It was an amicably peaceful exchange of words. There was no trace of hatred, no harsh words used and no discussion nor blaming about who committed what.

I just gave him what he asked for – FORGIVENESS. Just like what I have told him then, my life is short and people nowadays die young unexpectedly. It would be useless to waste that in anger and hatred. At least, if it happened that I were to die that night, I was able to do something right for someone for the last time. I simply knew what I had to do. I ended my reply by thanking him for the five years that we have been together, wished him well and advised him just two things: for him to love his wife and be a good father to his kids.

As I click"reply", I only knew of one two things: I am now free and I am absolutely happy. In time, my heart will welcome someone who deserves to have the space in it – for good.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

On Remembering

Today, I found myself listening to this song while I try to unwind away from a busy afternoon. This one just brought back a lot of things -- both happy and sad memories and things in between. It might seem to be a sad melody, but then its words, say a lot.

I'm so afraid to love you
But more afraid to lose
Clinging to a past that doesn't let me choose
Once there was a darkness
Deep and endless night
You gave me everything you had, oh you gave me life

It simply makes some things meaningful just my listening and contemplating on the words. Yes it's true that there are things you just simply cannot, and maybe, should not forget, but then even the darkest memories would eventually be a thing of the past -- . because something far more significant will come. And listening to this is enough to offer me some minutes of solace in the middle of a swamped crowd.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Disbelief that is Way Beyond Words

Just before hitting the sheets last night, this shocking news caught my attention:

Photo taken from CBS News website. Read the story here.
At first, I was caught up in disbelief thinking that the death of Cory Monteith (or as everyone knew to be Finn Hudson from Glee) was probably just a hoax. But this morning, this, just like a wildfire is all over the news.

Sadly, it's not a joke, but a painful, surprising truth. And I am at a loss for words. He's only 31; he might have achieved a lot more than what he has on his plate today. His career and life shows promise if not for the unexpected arrival of the inevitable, and the cause of which is yet to be identified.

It just makes me think and I couldn't help but ask: I'm 28 now. Does time really drift away this fast? Sometimes, I wish I just knew the answer.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Looking Better in White

If you have been reading my blog, you probably know about what I do for a living too; and while working in a law firm meant wearing suits, blazers, pencil skirts and stilettos, mine's the opposite. Given that I am in Manila and almost everyone's overseas, my boss isn't that strict with dress codes.

If not for telling people my line of work, no one would believe me because I dress like a PA (personal assistant). If you will raid my closet, you will find that it contained nothing but shirts. Yes. I always go to work everyday in T-shirt, denim jeans and sneakers. And while a little black dress (or an LBD as they call it) should be among the staple find in every girl's wardrobe, unfortunately, it's something that you could not find in mine. For one, given that I am skinny, the color black will simply emphasize being payat even if it could be neutralized by the fair color of my skin.

But if the color black does not work, the good thing is white outfits do. It's a good one that social functions aren't occupying my calendar so I don't see dressing up to be a problem. I only wear whites whenever necessary as the color itself is a bit high maintenance (read: being stain friendly is a not an apt description) I have two favorite white outfits which I wear if the event (or in some cases the whether) permits me to. 

While I have had this dress for almost three years, I only got to wear this three times; during my 26th birthday, when I went to Mass last June 30 (pictured above with my friend) and during dinner with some office mates from the firm three weeks back. Maybe that's the good thing about being payat too. I get to be thrifty with clothes -- which works to my advantage, I guess. 

This one was my recent purchase from Bench. I was at a hunt for another white outfit and after scouting stores in SM Megamall (all of which were of futile attempt), the style I wanted happened to be in the department store itself. I got this from Bench at PhP 699. The blouse could be worn either long-sleeved or style to appear as a three-fourth sleeved. I'd say I got my money's worth. 

I realized I looked good in white so I am thinking of investing in a few pieces of it to my wardrobe; just for a change. After all I've been donning the same shirt-jeans ensemble to work daily for years, it's about time I experiment.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Behind that Blooming Aura

*This entry can also be found on my Facebook page.

A few days ago, as I arrived home from work, I was greeted by an uncommon compliment from one of my neighbors.

“Uy, alam mo, blooming ka lately. Sino’ng reason nyan?”

It caused me to feel both a bit uneasy and frankly, surprised. I find it too common that when people see you with that “blooming look” they always tend follow it with “who” (of all the 4W’s or just the 1H). And before I get fully lost in translation and give an incorrect answer, I was quick to pick up the word to say and simply responded that it was all because of work. But seriously, when I think of it, work is only among them. I actually have a few reasons (or should I say advice) on how I reached this wonderful, unnoticed change:

  1. JOIN A COMPANY THAT YOU WANT TO GROW WITH AND HELP BUILD. I found this advice years ago while I was reading the book Confessions of an Impatient Bride. Being employed in a law firm was something I never imagined I would try in my lifetime. But when the opportunity presented itself, I gave it a try. Just to find out that it was not luck but rather a huge blessing. And it was worth a shot. Bloom where you’re planted, as the Bible puts it and while it’s hard to figure out how to answer the question why, the thing is that God puts you where He wants you to be.
  2. ESTABLISH RELATIONSHIPS. And this does not only limit to the romantic kind. Since that is currently absent in my agenda, I take delight in the company of colleagues and friends inside and outside of the workplace. Doing so enables me to find some sense of belonging compared to just being on my own all the time.
  3. LEARN TO OBSERVE WORK-LIFE BALANCE. If there’s one thing (among other things) that I love about my job, it’s being able to put an equal measure between work, family and myself. In my past jobs, this balancing act is a failed science. I tend to bring home the stress of my career; it left the beneficial aspects to suffer (health, sleep, social life etc.) which is actually a big NO-NO. One of my friends (who happen to be a doctor) once summoned me with a funny but absolutely sound advice:"You only use the bedroom for two things: sleep and sex. Work is not included in the options." My job at present only consumes 9 hours of my day. Since my boss is from a foreign country, I follow their business hours (more of a day schedule just two hours ahead of the PST) so overtime work is not always necessary. I get the evenings free to spend time for (friendly) dates and weekends at home with my family.
  4. HAVE A LIFE OUTSIDE YOUR JOB. Work does not always mean doing it solely for profit and money. It’s also about giving back to others. In my case, because the company I work for have corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives every month; I get to openly participate to it whenever time permits.
  5. LAUGHTER (AND MUSIC) IS DEFINITELY THE BEST MEDICINE. Whether you like it or not, sh*t happens. And in our case, it’s good that we’re a goofy bunch of minions at work so we’re able to neutralize the situation when sh*t hits the fan. Or in case I could not leave my desk for a breather, I just pop in and play music and I’m good to go.
  6. START AND END EACH DAY WITH ONE THING – PRAYER. If there’s one habit I see to be meaningful, it would be this. Regardless of someone telling me to do it or not, I do it on my own means and decision. I always see it to spend at least 30 minutes of my day in church not only to pray for guidance as I start the day but to thank God for the outcome of the 9 hours that I performed my duties.
So there. To answer the question, in my case, the blooming aura does not always need to be from "who". For me, it has a lot of sources and not just confined to the concept of that “one particular person”. As there are many factors aside from that mystery guy.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Stop Running Away, And You Will Be Found

For the longest time,  I've discreetly known this place to be cold, dark and silent. You cannot blame me. After all, this silent piece of ground kept some of the loneliest things in my memory. I've watched the rain and greeted the sun from here every single time but there was never a day that I would be reminded how this place was once a steady witness to the words I failed to say, the tears I never thought I'd shed and the desolation I never imagined I would go through.

I've tried ignoring this place hoping to forget that at one point, it witnessed how someone left me (badly) broken, after realizing that sometimes, some things could not be saved, despite every effort. Yes, it welcomed me home daily but to me, it's just that. Plain as it should.

Just nights ago, in the middle of the night, I found myself sitting here, in the darkness of the late evening.As I took delight in the comfort of silence, it made me realize, for long that was how I described this place to be. It may have taken a long while for me to know, but it was now I became aware of something:

That in the place where I once saw myself broken, shall be the same piece of earth where I will find myself whole again.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Hypothetical Puzzle

A month has passed since this note was penned on my schedule. It was one the days I have long waited for and while all my thoughts were about going on a temporary hiatus and isolating myself from the noise and stresses of daily life, it was also in the afternoon on very same date I found an unanswered phone call from you.

Yes, it puzzled me for days as to why you had to do that. I tried to probe for a reply but I only got a vague, one-lined response. Then today, while crossing the street, I unexpectedly recalled our conversation and how you advised me against traveling on my own. I had resolved that you deemed that reason due to my physical detriment. But you said "because a woman like you should not be left alone".  To be honest, I found your reason to be genuine.

At that moment, I wished I could say sorry for I could have worried you with such "selfish dare" of leaving. But what you stated was something I never expected to hear. And when I think of it now, and patch the events from a month ago, I realize those were not a hypothetical thing after all. 

Because this morning, without even trying to figure it out, I now get it.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Not All of Them Are Equal

They're just like rain on a summer day.

Exactly a year ago, I remember having this lengthy conversation with a friend who I got reconnected with after years of not seeing each other (okay, technically, I tend to meet him but during the most unexpected times). It was a lengthy exchange that started from talking about another colleague who, at that time, just got married. After a few more jokes of me, hoping to catch the bouquet and him telling me that I'd be the next to get hitched, I just found myself expressing a somewhat negative response about finding The One. 

Fast forward to a year, I was browsing my timeline and came across this old post. These days, while I try to be politically-correct when I talk to this friend, I admit that I failed to realize something then when I wrote that comment. I generalized. It was now that I found out, it could be true that not all guys really aren't equal. Just weeks ago, when I remembered about this post, a little voice (let's call it CONSCIENCE) was telling me this:

"You kept saying good men (and those hubby-material types) are difficult to encounter, if not non-existent these days. But haven't you thought, who are you talking to and what kind of person he could be? Come to think of it."

Yeah, yeah. I get it. It was like a loud whack on my head. I (over) generalized without even thinking that hey,  the person I was exchanging opinions, for one, with IS A GUY TOO. And given that I've known him for long, he has the right to be an isolated example and be spared from those "rotten" ones. Lesson learned: Sometimes, whenever you insist to stand firm on a certain conviction, God still has His way of telling you, "hey kid, I can prove you're wrong".

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Gratitude in a Box
Photo source
Happiness often come in small packages. 

It's one of those little things I planned to give. In a way, this gift was not out of spontaneity because I had reasons summed up in two words, congratulations and thanks.

And on the very moment you said "I am holding it", I could imagine a kid who has that smile drawn on his lips and has eyes that lit up while opening a gift on Christmas Eve. As for me, I felt like a 28 year-old in a little girl's body wanting to jump up and down in bed -- if only I was not suffering from sleepiness.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Bonsai Day Thursday

One of the things I like about being in Eastwood is being able to attend to some "extra-curricular activities" minus the possibility of going through "overbreaks". In the four years that Eastwood had been my office location, I have tried some fun and relaxing activities -- from (window) shopping during lunchtime, stopping by to watch our homegrown bands perform before heading to work (when I was still on the night shift) to raiding the morning Food Market at CityWalk before I enter the office for my 6:30 am shift. Little things like that enabled me to get a work-life balance.

Just this week, Eastwood City became the venue for The Asia-Pacific Bonsai Friendship Federation Convention and Exhibition. I've always passed by the area and given that the open park is just three minutes away from the office building, and through the invitation of another office mate who I call Mommy P, we decided to drop by and take a look during one of our lunch breaks.

There were about 200 bonsai plants on exhibit. I just picked a few but trust me, the exhibit itself was a sight to behold. Some of the plants got me mesmerized style wise and some of them got me intrigued. Case in point that fourth photo from the top left. I was really intrigued by those tiny growing plants on the rock formation.

I just had to take a closer shot because I thought it's synthetic -- just like the glow in the dark toys that kids have. But in reality those were real plants taking refuge on the rock together with the moss.

This caught my attention as it does not display leaves at all. It even reminded me of a mythical creature from Greek mythology that I learned from my Literature subject in college. It just made me call this as Medusa. And just as Mommy P and I was thinking how'd they do it, I think we found the answer:

Sorry kuya but I had to take a picture of how you do it a least on a different and bigger plant. We also found a few stalls selling bonsai plants and other planting materials.

There were also a suiseki exhibit by the Natural Stone Society of the Philippines. The exhibit is free and open to the public and will run until June 5. So if you will be within the area until Wednesday, give it a peak. Trust me, if we enjoyed it, for sure you would too. It's worth the walk in the park.