Snatching lives…


Photo by interaksyon.com

Photo by interaksyon.com

 

Last night I went home past 12. The place on where I am staying is quite near the national road but the path that leads to it is partially devoid of light as there were no existing street lamps. Before I could reach our house, I need to pass through a PNR railway where some illegal settlers were in close proximity before. But after the demolition job imposed on them, there were no busy folks at midnight that animates the place. Now, it’s kind of scary to pass there especially on the wee hours of the night. It seems that there is someone lurking behind its dark alleys waiting for its prey.

In times like this on where I see a lot of crimes in the news, heinous crimes to be exact, I shudder at the thought of how helpless we are to fight for our lives. Lately I was perturbed by the ensuing crimes that took place at” Barangay Laging handa, Quezon City”. Crimes like robbery/ theft involving criminals tagged as riding in tandem and even murder, in relaxed manner happening in broad daylight. That certain situation led some officials to shelve for a while the “helmet” policy for motor riders sacrificing their travel safety just to pin down prowlers captured on the CCTV.

Sometimes it got me questioning of what kind of security we do have as a nation. Are the people with authority whose duty is to serve and protect really doing their job? How criminals became so bold and confident that even in the face of public, in the supposedly safest hour of the day they attack without fear? How come that cops tend to act helplessly after the incident happened rather act way ahead or at least do something to prevent a crime from occurring in the first place.

I can’t blame the people who have lost faith on our law regulators or the Police force as sometimes, even very palpable; they have fallen short to what they have pledged for the people. It is still on the news, the sweltering issue about the “Hulidap” on where certain Police officers were involved in this crime, officers who betrayed the people’s trust. Now, the very question is:  To whom are we going to run for our life’s safety if in case we are faced with public nuisances and crimes? And what If these misdeeds in the first place, involved them?

I believe as a mere observer, it’s the best time to revolutionize. The members of the security forces should look at the very core of their being if they really are” to serve and protect” sort of people who would honestly and willingly serve the public to the best of their capabilities. It’s high time to bring back the trust of the people and high time to let them see that the Police office is still worthy of their trusts.

 

Isn’t it a good idea that PNP specifically, should increase their visibility outside their offices and be on the streets where crimes do happen? I was watching “ Unang Hirit “ the last day and I was so glad to have stumbled on one of their segments where they laud one Police official, who reportedly saved passengers on jeepney being hold-up very timely as he was on the street on that specific time though he was  off-duty. The scenario only shows that Police authorities should be at the right place where crimes abound so they can best exercise being a Policeman.

If our roads will be peppered by Police in Uniform with guns complete, would there be many crooks loitering around? Would there be criminals in broad daylight? Perhaps, those who intend to perform unlawful acts would think twice, thrice or would back out for good.

If this would be the case, I wouldn’t get scared passing through dark streets like ours, constantly mindful of my own safety.

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Blackboard and Chalk


Over the course of time, of spending years in different learning institution, I have had a good number of teachers. Some were age-old, close to escaping from my memory and some were lasting. Teachers as they said are the second parents we can have outside our home. They feed us knowledge, instill values formation, and hone whatever skills we are good at. Thus they are partly responsible of who we are as person. I must admit that if not because of them I wouldn’t be as knowing as I am today.

Growing up, I have this deep admiration towards teachers who go out their way imparting wisdom to their students, much more to those who were assigned at far-flung places. To those who need to endure the adversities of climbing atop the mountain and the unnerving experience to set sail several oceans just to get into those places and teach. Indeed, they are heroes as they put their lives at stake for the sole purpose: to educate.

Having spent most of my time studying at the province, I have seen same scenarios on which teachers  just shrug off the dangers that came to lurk on their midst. In my little hometown in Catanduanes there lies a small barrio on the crest of the mountain called “Tibo” where my mother hails from and in there I have witnessed how teachers, on their bravest souls, ascend even on the slipperiest of roads especially during wet season. I have also witnessed how some of them who teach at a nearby barrio called “Cagdarao” swallow and tolerate fear from the gigantic lurches of the waves that seem to engulf them during their journey going to school.

The love for their chosen craft made them brave somehow that no matter what impediments they would face along the way, they still emerge stimulated and inspired. Through them we received knowledge— the most powerful shield against ignorance. Imagine the world without these notable beings. Would there be light in this world?

However, the other side of the coin shows the unending plight of these teachers as they were overworked and underpaid. They would come to their duty very early and would go home and sleep late. Sometimes they would wail about the lack of school supplies like chalk that they even use personal means to provide. They also resort to finding other means of income like selling sweets at their classroom. And if things get unlucky, they would fish out their own money just to fund some student’s school projects. There are other things that aggravate the crisis they are in and it stems on how the society or even the government perceives their importance. Teaching as one of the noblest profession should at least be granted an equal value. There should be no lamentation when it comes to the salary or benefits being received by the members of this workforce. There should be adequate protection especially to those who walk extra mile.

I have known on how much dedication these teachers had to pour in, so every students on their young minds could grasp rich information about improving themselves and so their lives. Back when I was in high school, I was the weakest link when it comes to solving numerical problems but my Math teacher had to exert so much effort so I can go with the flow. She’d simplify the explanations and would even ask me if I already got the lesson and if not, she would do the explaining all over again. I have had also teachers who seemed harsh and stern but gentle inside, those kind whom I really fear but has pushed me to study and strive harder as I was afraid of getting scolded by them. Teachers may come in different shapes but one thing they have in common and it’s the passion and dedication towards their craft.

As Henry Brooks Adams put it “A teacher affects eternity: he can never tell where his influence stops.” The future of the world lies on what these educators preach to the youth. And thus by far, they were accountable to what the world might become.

 

Happy National Teacher Month to all the teachers out there…

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The frills of life…


 

Glancing over my Facebook newsfeed, I was lured, momentarily, to so many enviable things which for this specific moment I cannot afford to have. Salivating as I was, my eyes began to scan the glinting delight being represented on the smiles of my friends captured in a photo they uploaded.

I don’t know why it stirs my fantasy whenever I happen to take glimpse of friends enjoying over a cup of coffee at comfy coffee shops, former classmates dining at  fancy restaurants, colleagues buying their own car and new gadgets, and even relatives traveling to different countries.

It is said that yearning is intensified by absence. And so it is human nature to long for things we lacked at the moment. Lucky are those people who are born with sufficient material wealth as they can enjoy luxury and pity to those who struggle to meet what’s deemed to be life’s essentials. Unfortunately, I belong to the latter. I was not born rich or living a luxurious life at this very moment. I have lots of struggles, some of them I have already surpassed and some are yet to confront.

Being in this class, sometimes, urged me to think weird imaginings. What if I’m born to a family well-endowed and not to a peasant? What if I can afford studying a prestigious course at a prestigious school? What if I’m a son of a businessman that we have many businesses and that I don’t need to work as hard as I need to do now? What if I win millions at the lottery?  What if I can afford to let my family enjoy the things they’ve never experienced before, or let them eat sumptuous foods they’ve never tasted, or let them travel places to relax and unwind freeing them from the same confines they’ve spent their whole lives with. But when I’m tossed back into reality, there’s this tingling sharp slash being left in my heart. I wonder if these things can come true, what comfort it can give myself and my loved ones.

The hunger for comfort drives me to feel this way. At a young age, I was faced with some harsh realities of life. I have seen how my mother makes the most out of the very little resources we have and my father too, being the sole provider wring almost all possible way so he could deliver. Often they would tell me to be satisfied of what we have even satisfaction could mean not buying the things we want but only the things we need. They have instilled in me that kind of discipline which fortunately became the orbit of my values when it comes to spending.

Sometimes, when I find myself overdrawn at work, I plan to take a halt and treat myself. Sometimes I think of wasting time at coffee shops but the price of coffee isn’t budget friendly and it’s one thing that holds me back. Funny and absurd, yes at some point maybe, but for now I consider it as frills, an add-on or something trivial, at least in my case. I’ll go there perhaps one day if it’s not going to hurt my pocket by then.

Over the years of working, of satisfying our necessities and making both ends meet, I’m still a bit far from the finish line to enjoy the frills of life. I’m still far from the fact of leisurely wandering in different countries, of buying the things I want, of regularly eating at fancy diners and most of all, of uplifting the lives of my family members. For now, I will let myself be taunted by that envious feeling thriving in me whenever I see colleagues of mine in different social media flaunting the life they’ve got.

My journey to a better life has just begun and I’m set to hurdle restrictions by now. And someday, like my friends on Facebook, I’ll be the one on their newsfeeds celebrating the life I got.

 

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Turning back time…


“Time is a brisk wind, for each hour it brings something new… but who can understand and measure its sharp breath, its mystery and its design?” ~Paracelsus

 

A certain thought swirled back in my mind after seeing innocent faces of children playing in our neighborhood. They are doing sort of a role playing game; the little girl being the mother and the young boy on the other hand is the father and three other kids same their age act as the children.

 On the scene, the little girl who acts as a mother wails about how daunting it is raising a family. The young boy being the father mimicked what his counterpart have said and breathed a deep sigh. And by a remarkable silence, the surrounding had taken into a halt and not a moment longer, all of them burst into laughter just like what we see in comedy bloopers.

 It made me smile somehow as these kids, though quite familiar of what’s really happening in the real world, still are innocent and lighthearted. That certain scene brings back vestiges of soon to be forgotten memories of my childhood. Stepping at the railroad of maturity, when all things seem to be in a past pace and serious mode I tend to overlook the simple joy brought about by having a pure heart and innocence just like the little children. Like the children in our neighborhood, when I was a kid, I enjoyed role playing too.

 The notion about adulthood makes me excited and thus together with my playmates we often play the “father and mother” game and act the way like adults. Most children, I think, play the same as they are innocent on what lies behind the roles they portray during their playtime. Perhaps they didn’t know the sternness attributed to it.

 

 

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 Childhood is one phase of life on which I really wanted to go back to. It is where everything is simple. No big problems to worry about and no set of expectations to hit. It is where most of the things are unruffled. As I age, I realized how I was consumed by the complex design of maturity and on how It slowly attuned myself with the strictures of life. By that, I came face to face with RESPONSIBILITY, the very thing that killed it all.

 Subsequent to childhood is the maturity stage. It is where I am now. It is where I am responsible for my whole being. This is the phase where problems arise. Problems, different problems and I got plenty of it. Those seemingly inevitable ordeals that my parents tend to worry about before.

 For now, I worry about many things. I worry about the bills to pay, the food to eat, the job to do and many more. Gone are those days when all I have to do is play, laugh and just live. The very thought of fulfilling the mere fact of survival and existence ruins the excitement of living a meaningful life. Thus I envy those kids of our neighbors; they are still at the height of carefreeness.

 Sometimes I blame myself for anticipating the stage on where I really am right now as I thought this could be more exciting only to find out that it is the opposite. But that’s life, we need to live this very moment and be thankful for a beautiful reminiscence that came to pass.

 Well, If only in real life we can have in perpetuity the lightness, the guiltlessness and purity of feeling just like the children, I believe that there would be a smooth sailing journey towards getting old no matter how rigid it may come to be.

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The road going back…


What’s the first thing you’ve done after waking up this morning? Outright you struggled groping for your mobile phone, checked what time is it, looked for a message if there’s any, clambered out of bed, ate breakfast, took a bath and rushed out for work. Out of a sudden something strikes you and brought you back to your senses and in haste you realized you forgot to pray or even thank God that he blessed you of another day.  Relate?

 

I was out for a three day retreat together with other young professionals who were invited by my Alma mater as part of their spiritual formation drive. At first, I have thought of lame excuses so I would be spared from the activity as I view my duties at work more important rather than to attend an apparently tedious gathering. However, my professor being so insistent never got tired of sending invitations that out of guilt, I was compelled to join.

Guilt-ridden as I was, I packed my things and headed the peaceful venue. On my journey, I was contemplating while I was looking at every landscape that looms at my sight on the left window of a jeepney and out of the blue I realized how badly I needed a break. I released a sigh and looked back over the things I regret doing, of the things I have failed to do like that of simple prayer upon waking up. Glancing back, it’s been two years since I last joined the same retreat and I tend to wish about the serenity it has brought me then.

As I trotted the aisle going to the Laguna Hills, our base camp, I felt a long lost familiarity just like an old family welcoming a prodigal son. The scent of belongingness welcomed me as I have seen recognizable faces on the veranda of the retreat house. They were my old companions before who were now great and respected on their chosen expertise. There were also the new ones whose faces still flaunt innocence, who greeted me with the sweetest of smiles. At that moment I felt home and it’s even gladder to be back.

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An outpouring nostalgia hits me after reaching the hospitable door of the retreat villa. It has stirred back some memories of yesterday, those innocent days of values formation spent at the premises of an Opus Dei institution. I could still remember as a student how our young minds then, were honed to battle the challenges brought by the real world, on how our moral fiber were safeguarded against many immoral acts in the society, on how we’re made to be prepared to the so called jungle—the working world. I was equipped then until I find myself being tossed from the influence of the inevitable. Then I got lost. I followed what’s hip and went with the flow.

My moral fiber that was once untainted became frail. It has lacked the vigor as I gave way to earthly things. I started to neglect the Sunday mass and trade it for overtime works. I have put more importance on material things and the temporary bliss it bring. I got delighted of anything that is sensual that I was transformed into somewhat different being. Good thing I was redirected to the path I have once trodden, where I can pull back myself and regain my sense of purpose.

Not all people are given such break to be whole again. Thanks to the three day retreat as it has helped me to look back and repent for my sins. I felt grateful as I was enlightened even being enlightened means spending more time on meditation, praying the holy rosary, acting the way of the cross, hearing an early mass, fasting, listening to talks and the best of all— going through confession.

With my fellow Alumni...

With my fellow Alumni…


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Even for that brief period of serenity I have went through, I was able to contemplate what needs to be prioritized, what needs to be valued and worshipped.  And its God, and our duty to him that must be supreme more than anything else.

As I stepped out the retreat house, I felt a tinge of sadness as I would be missing the funny moments with my fellow attendees. My stay wouldn’t be as memorable as it has turned it to be if it weren’t for them. I would miss the witty conversation during our meal breaks, the room hopping, the stories of horror at Acacia room and the picture takings during free time. I think this all adds on why even up to now I’m still having a hangover.

I hope by this time, they would feel too the same feeling of peace I am feeling all over. I hope too that all of us may come up to a resolution after the activity. Well, mine is to pray often especially upon waking up.

 

 

 

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Burning bridges…


“The hardest thing in life is to know which bridge to cross and which to burn” Unknown

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I overheard a sensational drama at work a week ago. A colleague of mine, holding a very delicate position in our department, got involved in a seemingly verbal brawl against another colleague. Shit happens sometimes as there are really inevitable courses that might happen at work which can ignite an argument at any given time.

Glimpsing over the scenario, I got a better grasp of where the problem started. Colleague A is a newly appointed internal process assessor and colleague B is a mere production crew. Colleague A and B were both friends not until that sparking scenario. Being new on her position, colleague A has been taking time putting herself on the limelight by being so dedicated on her post, that she attends to the minutest detail of every process. She has been so busy pointing out mistakes, plotting accountability and unpleasant consequences especially towards her lower colleagues specifically colleague B. Colleague A was oblivious about her being consumed by her job that she’s stepping other people and that she was burning bridges…

It is an irony on how people mutate into a different character when thrown in the sea of opportunities. Some flaunt their true colors and even their ulterior motives resurface. I hate to say it but it is too common in my workplace that it saddens me to think how my former workmates submit to the process of metamorphosis: from being kind to rude, considerate to strict, cheerful to snob, humble to proud and most of all, pleading to commanding. Some of my workmates have gained position and yet they were a different person now. It’s as if they have forgotten the same hardship we lament about when we were on the same level.

The sense of authority can make people change. It gives them power and control over certain things. It turns someone into a person of maturity, the ability to decide on things with enough prudence but on a sad note, it can also transform certain beings into a voracious monster, especially those with a frail moral integrity who succumbed to being consumed by the bliss of power found on their coveted job.

Sometimes I tend to ask myself: What if one day I’ll be entrusted a superior and more delicate position? Would I be like them? Would I be overpowered too by the delight it brings? Perhaps, I can only answer it if given the chance to be on their shoes. But if being on their shoes means losing my friends I’d rather not.

I believe that anyone can tactically clamber into advancement without sacrificing the relationship that was once built. Bridges must not be burned and so connections such as friendship must not be traded to the yearnings toward self-promotion. One must not step others just to prove that they are effective and worthy for a certain post.

Even there are many who were misled by the desire of reaching a higher post; those who intentionally or unintentionally deprived others of consideration and those who were devoured by the thought to succeed at the expense of others, I still believe that there are few who are rooted on the ground, no matter what attainment, position or situation they’ve had.

I laud those people who are effective on their posts not because they were strict but gentle on their ways; Those people who are kind and humble and not arrogant, as being effective is not about finding faults in people, rather understanding the reason that leads them to committing it.

 

 

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Chasing Dreams…


“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you found out why.” Mark Twain

 

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My mother always told me that each of us has a unique calling to pursue, something that we love doing perhaps, or something that God has designed for us to be. It has always been an enigma to me, which always makes me wonder on what purpose I am to the world. These things occurred to me after a series of realization that, maybe my calling or purpose is to be a writer and that’s the reason, I believe, on why God breathed me a life.

Yes, you read me right. I may be hallucinating or simply was taken by the figment of my imagination to simply wish myself to be an artist who weaves words and inspires people but upon discovering that  I have a way with words, I told myself instantly that I’m going to make it big, in that realm, someday.

That “someday” is going nearer and I can feel it slowly getting clearer as the day comes. Maybe this applies to what my mom believes in, that I am designed for it, that God has chosen me to accept this gift of putting magic through words.

When I was young I have always dreamed to be a writer. And being young, I thought it was that easy as I believed that anyone can be, only if it’s going to be pursued. I have pursued it anyway; from the simple poems I tend to write at our school publication which unfortunately didn’t see the light of getting published, from the three novels I got to write after watching the coming of- age teen drama movie entitled “A walk to Remember” which I have catered to my curious classmates, from the blog which ignited my inexperienced mind to break barriers, to wish for something great and to dream beyond the usual. These are nothing but different platforms that carried my thoughts to sharpen my wits in scribbling words.

It was this blog (Blithe and Untroubled life) that served as the catalyst of almost everything about my writing life. This podium on where I gained an audience simply paved the way towards a beautiful and a fantasy- like journey only in my dreams I thought will happen. But God has its ways of turning dreams into realities which I have proven when I dared submitting a piece to a leading National News paper in the country which fortunately got published and in there, started a soon to be great accomplishment I will be forever grateful of.

Right after getting published opportunities came rushing on me. I had the luxury of getting known, of hearing congratulations and nice words about my talent, a talent which I’m doubtful of before. But the best thing of it all is having the opportunity to be trusted to write someone else’s life. A stranger then, left a message on my blog offering me the most awaited break I could ever have and that was to write a book— a biography.

Sir Emong and his secretary Miss Morie.

Sir Emong and his secretary Miss Morie.

I could have declined the offer out of fear, doubt and low self-esteem but because of my editor- friend who inspired and let me dared pushing myself to the limits, I took courage. I knew this venture could bring so many rigors especially to a novice like me but then this is my dream and there’s no choice but to accept it. I can’t afford to let it slip in my hands.

The journey wasn’t that straightforward type; there are twists and turns along the way. Having the privilege to have a client who is eighty six years of age, less mobile and deaf can be a little daunting and at the same time challenging. I have allotted most of my off duties to him, doing sort of interviews ranging from the minutest details up to big accomplishments of him being a Rancher, businessman, Accountant, Public servant and Rotarian. The project started last week of March and it’s just by now that I can hand him down the final Manuscript of his book— my first book.

If before things seem impossible, dreams are like hard to reach, I say that now I’m a little bit closer.

 

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Changing the way the world is powered…


“Good things come to those who wait… greater things come to those who get off their ass and do anything to make it happen.” – Unknown

Four days ago, there’s this imperceptible milestone in my life which I unintentionally forgot to celebrate, not because I put less importance on it, it’s just that it is fleeting that it took several days for me to realize it.

 It feels like it was just yesterday when I first stepped on the premises of “SunPower”, the company which for seven years (as of this writing) embraced me. I could still remember the very day when my naive and ignorant self first joined the bandwagon of hopefuls, who by the stroke of sheer luck or wits had dared jumping over limits just to catch of what we believed then as a dream job.

 A dream job; I have longed for it ever since. My simple idea of having a stable source of income, the pure thought of exercising what I learned from college, and my youthful yearnings to later buy this and that, urged me to accept the post that was offered to me by one of the grandest photovoltaic company in my country, or even in the world, SunPower. I was barely nineteen then, so young and full of optimism, sort of I-Can-Do-It-All type of individual but that was way, way back.

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Being in this company, I have developed a sense of pride as I am one of those who wish to change the way the world is powered. I came to know the goodness behind the mission and vision of our organization, the benefits it wishes to impart for the humanity. And to be a part of it is undeniably a fulfillment especially for someone who is a novice in the working world.

 I have started pretty awesome, competitive and most of all positive towards attaining my goal: to be successful. I aimed to have a position in the training department as it was the only place I felt throwing myself into. I felt I was designed for that job. And considering my position then and my technical background, it would be a big leap if ever. However, things aren’t as easy as I have imagined. I realized that the personal development fiber etched on my character wasn’t enough to counter attack those hindrances I’m about to face. When shoved in the sphere of battle, of daunting competition, I got myself embroiled in the dilemma of trusting myself and so my capabilities. I got intimidated. I felt small against those contenders of mine, who in terms of education are more qualified and are coming from prestigious schools. That overriding fear of rejection that lurks in my system consumed me and killed my dream. It’s then that I refused to try, shied away and joined another bandwagon—the bunch of hopeless.

The presence of enthusiasm that once thrived in me vanished just like bubbles in the air. I have then, succumbed to self-pity that I started entertaining thoughts about leaving, instilling in my mind the possibility of finding a better niche— somewhere I could start anew. But, the same problem resurfaced. Again, I have lost the courage to pursue as I have things to consider, things not only for me but for my family as well who hopes to be saved from the harshness of life. In short, I was burdened by responsibilities that it practically turned me into someone who plainly see work as a mere source of income.

 I have lost my guiding trail and my will to broaden myself took its backseat. I then resorted to play as easy-go-lucky kind of employee. However, it does not bother me as I’m not the only one who’s stuck in the same midpoint. We are huge in number, why worry, anyway? Well, that’s how I am, playing a bit safe in the middle ground. Being in this kind of state, made me console myself from the benefits it somehow gives me. Such benefits  includes lesser stress, mind boggling workloads and take home assignments unlike those workmates of mine, holding high positions who still bring home their office tasks and were forced to answer calls with the matters regarding work even on their off-duty. To say that I’m happy not to experience these, would just add up to my being sarcastic as I am imagining myself that even for one time, for the sake of experience I would feel the same way as them.

 Time and again, flies so fast that I enjoyed the comforts of being on the same ground, of being familiar to the ordinary that I became flustered of the so called change. Change has been the subject of my fear, the root of my being stagnant. I feared to leave my comfort zone and just settled with the same environment that used to greet me every day. I have learned to enjoy the company of my friends whom I breathe the same pathetic sentiments with. Sentiments about how grueling the tasks we have, how boring it was to be doing same stuff over and over again, how strict the newly implemented rules are, how annoying the bosses who demand more than we can give, how scant our salary, how unfair the management when it comes to promoting employees, these and many more are the unending plight we tend to face every day.

 Yet, I’m still here, seeking an answer to the question “What happened?”

What happened to a once vigorous being so full of wits who thought the world can be his playground?

What happened to his dreams and aspirations?

What happened to me?

 That’s the big question I’m starting to unravel as of now. Yesterday, I boarded the shuttle van of those from our regular shift, those who work in the office and I have witnessed how my former comrades who are now promoted were changed by time. As I looked at them, there’s this surge of envy that’s creeping in my nerves. Look at them; they are now the person they envisioned to be. Had I been courageous enough, maybe I am now, like them, successful.

 Even things did not go according my way, I realized that God is putting hints for me to veer into another path, a different realm perhaps, somewhere I can flourish and that is maybe to make use of my hidden talent. But that doesn’t mean I will leave the comforts of being in this job. SunPower has been my companion ever since and all I have for this organization is a big gratitude carved on my heart. Thus I say, especially to my work friends who had been stuck on the same limbo: Breakaway guys, and to those who are gutsy and had found success on their goals: kudos to all of you.

 Seven years is quite long and I’m just unmindful of the contribution I have made for the planet earth and its people. It’s been seven years that I’m changing the way the world is powered through the solar panels crafted by my own hands. It made me feel proud somehow that the organization, on which I am part of, continues to share its noble purpose. And it’s the very thing that matters, I believe.

Happy seventh year working anniversary to Me and to the rest of my comrades…

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More than a Grandfather…


 

A grandfather is someone with silver in his hair and gold in his heart. Author Unknown

 

For one reason, death always scares the hell out of me not because I fear my own. I’m gladly to welcome my own demise if ever. However, what I’m scared about death is the fact that it might take away anytime or anyhow the ones I loved which for me could be the most excruciating feeling of all. There’s nothing more painful than seeing any dear member of your family departs from this world. It is the scene I’m so afraid of, the scene I don’t want to go through.

 It was barely a month when my Grandfather passed away and it’s his passing that acquainted me with what they call death. For the longest time he had been suffering from a lung ailment which doctors diagnosed as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. He has a difficulty in breathing which he acquired ever since he engaged himself from an odd job which is sea diving. My grandfather used to be a diver to provide for his growing family then. During his time, divers on our town were using old, conventional and improvised air compressors as substitute for oxygen, a device which for so long he was exposed to, that unfortunately distressed his weak lungs.

 Tatay Tibo as we fondly called him has cheated death numerous times. He survived several hospitalizations until things mired up last June and he never got out of it. He died at the age of seventy four, quite a long existence but not enough as what I believe. I had seen him suffered from the confines of the Philippine Lung Center for over three months battling his sickness.

He has endured a lot from the tests and apparatuses the doctors affixed on his poor body. I could still remember when we were made to decide whether he should undergo experimentation on which they intend to put a pipe on his throat as an air passage so he can breathe with a little ease. It was not a guarantee though, that he might be cured from his ailment or a security that he will live longer.

Our family members turned down the option and let Tatay resort to conservatively take his medicines rather than go through a terrifying operation. If we did, we will not be able to talk to him. We will not be able to hear his moans and sufferings every time he was in pain. He will be just there, breathing but living a zombie-like life. Who could stand seeing someone lying on a wheelchair and oxygen on his side and a pipe on his neck? Gross! It’s a torture I must say, which often brought me to tears every moment I entertain that thought.

  Two days prior his death I dreamt of him. There was a bright aura on his face and the constant grimace I usually see on him was absent. He was happy, I supposed. For two days I was not receiving updates from my Lola and my uncle who attends to him every day, until a terrifying text message exploded like a bomb after I checked my phone. Tatay was gone. The man I am indebted of so many things breathed his last. Tears slowly poured on my cheeks as memories of him loomed one by one like a flashback I usually see in movies.

  Tatay was a quiet man. He chose to live his life in the solace of the idyllic mountains of Tibo, a far off barrio in my province, Catanduanes. Funny how he obtained his moniker which we (his grandchildren) had baptized him following the name of his barrio, that we had grown fond of. He has been a chieftain of this little place for a long time but relinquished his duty the moment he felt his health was worsening. He contented himself in the company of his barrio folks, those people whom he had served with so much dedication through his upright and an untainted way of fulfilling his post. Tatay being a chieftain has a good sense of leadership. I’m not saying this to exalt his name but I have seen it, on which I believe to be a trait I can never ever have. I had seen how his being calculative, his knack to prefigure things ahead of time served him. Also, I observed his prudence on how he decides on things.

 One thing I feel to have inherited from him was his gift of empathy. He has this deep sense of understanding other people’s situation which I believe to be also innate in me. He may not have left me with any material endowment but the trait he bequeathed that runs through my blood is greater than any inheritance I could ever have.

  From the accounts shared to me by my mother about Tatay’s youth, I have come to agree that he was a man worthy of admiration. Growing up, I have so many doting memories of him. My mom during vacation would send me together with my siblings to Tibo and Tatay being so welcoming would make our stay comfortable enough so we wouldn’t get bored up to the whole vacation. He would usher us from the vast playground near the house and would let us witness the ocean where he was fishing during his youth. Tibo is a lovely place full of nostalgic memories. From there, I have witnessed how Tatay longed to have young companions in his house, on how he wanted to resurrect the times gone by through his grandchildren.

 During fiesta on his little barrio, I have seen many faces of politicians hoping to be endorsed by my grandfather to his barrio folks. I have seen handful of them. He was sought after to rally support but it’s only those he believed can do upright whom he supported. Faces of these politicians were dazzling in my memory as they frequent Tatay’s house but neither of these faces popped out on his wake. Well, as they say, some forget and some remember. That’s life.

 Tatay was more than a grandfather to me, he was more of an ideal father that everyone wishes to have. I have seen it on the way he fathered his children on which he was blessed to have eight. All of them gave him problems and pains but he was so enduring to receive it. My mother for example, when she eloped with Papa leaving her studies at the age of nineteen to face the repercussions of early marriage was one of Tatay’s depths of despair. My mother being so naïve of things got pregnant and was faced with responsibility of raising a child. But instead of abhorring her, Tatay offered support that even my Mom is pregnant still he took the responsibility of bringing her back to school, as he believed that education is the only thing he can impart to my mother. My mother did graduate in College; a gift he owed to Tatay for believing in her even she failed him once.

 Even from the start Tatay was there paving our roads so we can have a smooth travel in this journey we called life. He was like a flat iron that every crease we encounter he was there smoothening it. I remember last year, it was our family’s most trying moment that we went through a horrible, unimaginable kind of trouble. If not because of him we will not be able to think and decide well. He never left us emotionally and even financially so we can be hoisted up from that dismal plight. He waited until things became okay. He was true to his promise not to leave us in times we needed him so much and it was last month when he knew everything is well that he finally breathed his last. Even on his last hour on this world it was our welfare that he secured first.

 Sometimes, I blame myself that I haven’t invested more time to be with him. It was at this point of time that I feel a great remorse for not thanking him personally, though he knew we always are. I haven’t done a thing for him in return, thus I want to repay him through this piece of writing captured from my innermost thoughts that even in this small act, people would know how worthy he was being a father to his children and to us( his grandchildren).

 “Tatay Tibo” is Cerilo Valenzuela, my maternal Grandfather whom I am  indebted of so many things.

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Finding my Voice…


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Lonely is the word that best describes what I feel for the moment. There’s this deep and unexplainable feeling that seems to thrive within me, a feeling quite similar to frustration yet a bit different from disappointment. Name it whatever it is.

I was in splendid solitude. And so I peek outside of my bedroom letting myself be consoled by the murmuring wind as it blows the crispy leaves of a narra tree that stood adjacent my room’s window. The surrounding was void by any cheer yet filled by an emanating gloom that stems from the imminent bad weather. Rain is going to pour in any minute adding more emphasis on the sadness I’m feeling all over. For some time, I was in constant battle with my mind and so with what my heart feels on which I’m getting tired of now. I’m into contemplation why there are things you seem to innately possess yet have no means to make it big.  In my heart I feel that I have this innate gift, a flair of conjuring and weaving words into  a powerful thought but my mind says that I’ve got a handful of restrictions which seems to overpower what my heart believes in. Specifically, this dilemma has brought me questioning the purpose of acquiring such talent only to be mired and trapped from constraints after a while.

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Ever since I was a kid I have this sincere fascination with words. I could still recall on how I would fondly rummage over the pages of the dilapidated dictionary we had at home. It was the only book we have, my only source of knowledge then. I have found a peculiar comfort on its pages similar to the feeling of thirst quenched by a glass full of water. This time-worn book though damaged, ushered me to the wonders of information and meaning which was lovelier than the wonders of playing with my neighbor’s kids. Each of us I believe has its own calling to pursue in life. Some find the comfort in the caress of paint brushes, some in the melody of songs, some in the toughness of sports while others find joy in the art of carving words into life through novels, stories and poems which I learned to be my strong suit.

 

The passion to write with emotions engraved on each of my sentence has been my way of crafting my art. I have learned it through long and constant observation of the works of other people whom I have come face to face on books. Yes, those dear books which taught me better than my mentors in school. I have grown reading Guy de Maupassant short stories and he has been my guru though his body of works were hard to digest. At first I knew I’m faking it, convincing myself that soon in time I’m going to love his art naturally without looking at dictionary to comprehend his highfalutin words. Mary Shelley also taught me relentlessly by his masterpiece Frankenstein which time after time I have glanced into. In my foray in the realm of novels, it was Scott O’ Dell whom I loved the most. It was more of love at first sight as I was enamored by his writing style which prose is simple yet elegantly written.

Lately, I did realize that I want to pursue the dream to inspire people through words and it has been oblivious to me that even before I have trodden such path especially on the day I have given birth to my blog, a personal space on the web that cuddled my thoughts about my society that I breathe in. As I looked back over the years I found out that I haven’t been so effective of conveying my message to my readers which definitely makes me feel sad. I knew I failed to instill magic with every post that I write. Perhaps, I haven’t carried those of my mentors writing style or worse I fell short of putting meat on my art.

I wanted to be a writer and I thought it’s that easy but I was wrong. Some people have thrown themselves in the confines of classrooms to study creative writing and other writing stuff. So how people like me whose background knowledge doesn’t go such height? How am I going to pursue? I’m going to work out a lot of impediments first and I knew how tough the rigors towards it.

My 3rd yr Anniversary

My 3rd yr Anniversary

I hate to say it but it makes me feel lonely. I have been writing for my blog for three years and now it’s my anniversary. I have come far enough but still haven’t done a lot. One day I hope I can free myself from the margins which I’m seeing now. I hope I can adapt this talent into career which from the start has been my wish.The writer in me is sad and aims to be freed from the confines of this blog to flourish and conquer new avenue.

As I gazed back outside, the rain started pouring bringing chill in my system. Somehow it brought comfort against the forlorn atmosphere I’m feeling.Still, for those hard to reach dreams I say Aja and before I cuddle myself to sleep I say “Challenging third year anniversary to my Blog.”

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Panganiban: Taking a few steps farther…


Being endowed by a dwelling filled with enthralling and astounding nature splendor, made me thank God to have known and lived to a place like our town, Panganiban, unheard and unpopular yet hollers to be recognized.

Growing up, I have envisioned our town to be a perfect setting for those films I have grown watching, films that showcase the backcloth beauty and vibrancy of a place like that of Lord of the rings which featured the verdant hills of New Zealand, Turistas an action thriller film that flaunted the virginal beaches of Brazil, Apocalypto a historical account showing the vast forest of Africa and last but not the least, Sanctum an adventure and survival piece that revolves upon south Australian Cave- diving region around Mount Gambier.

The ever lovable Parola at lolong Point

The ever lovable Parola at lolong Point

 

It was one of my ambitious yearnings for my humble hometown to grace the lens of Hollywood or even local movie camera as I am too fascinated on how God skillfully crafted the natural landscapes within the premises of my dear town of which I believe to have a potential of becoming a filming spot. Panganiban is a small dot on the Map of the blossoming province of Catanduanes. From its humble name which for other people seems unfamiliar lies the chock-full of interesting places to visit; may it be chasing mountains, rootling for caves and plunging for seas and rivers, all of that fused in one small town.

Verdant hills of TIBO

Verdant hills of TIBO

 

For a long time of being exposed to a rural setting, of the typical scenes from suburbs I have come to believe that our place has nothing more to offer. Nothing new and just those plain sights that includes vast rice fields, a not so attractive shore and an average places to hang out with. Well, I was so complacent to think of that then, of which now I’m renouncing that certain thought for I was wrong and too quick to judge.

 

AMAZING COGON! Kabasan and Tabaran Beach

AMAZING COGON! Kabasan and Tabaran Beach

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When I was young I have heard of stories of places that used to exist before. My Grandfather often told me about the wonders of hidden falls, pristine beaches at the back of a certain mountain, caves where soldiers of World War II hid themselves and other mystical places which I only figured out on a story which is too good to be true. But Lo and behold, because of modern technology today, everything that was beautifully hidden before were now exposed. Bringing proof to what I had imagined as myths, testifying that those accounts of my grandfather were true.


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Panganiban our town, though small bore a legion of strikingly beautiful places cloistered by thick trees, big mountains and placed into far-off location so one can have a handful of joy, excitement upon discovering. Thus I boast not about the big hotels or the cool amenities that greet every visitor on the façade of a beach, yet I brag about the sturdy coconuts, of wild trees that bore witness on how old, pristine and idyllic that shore has been. I will not talk big about how great the passageways are going to that delicate and lovely place but surely the experience of getting through can talk how great the journey itself.

 

 The Lumbia Falls and the Sara-saraan mini Falls

The Lumbia Falls and the Sara-saraan mini Falls

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 The Lumbia Falls and the Sara-saraan mini Falls

The Lumbia Falls and the Sara-saraan mini Falls

Be thrilled with the adventure in Sarag Nin Banog

Be thrilled with the adventure in Sarag Nin Banog

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Now, I have seen efforts from those who lead to exhibit the pure and unspoiled beauty of our town which before I believe, was taken for granted and never got the chance to lay bare all its magnificence which was hiding just beneath. I just hope that this effort will not go to waste; it must proliferate together with an aim of protecting and preserving while it is being publicized to the world.

What we have as a town is a bit like paradise on earth, a tropical hidden gem that supposed to be a secret but now shared and told. For some to also taste the wonder of a  great place like ours to invigorate, wind down, heal and to be close to mother nature.

 

Soon in time those places we adored would be the same place that other people would desire and seek of, those breath-taking, majestic, lush, and peaceful images of nature. Not so long ago, a local TV show prowled upon the famous and celebrated tourist spot in Catanduanes. They have ransacked those already known places in the southern part without even taking heed of what the Northernmost part can offer which includes the allure of our town.

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FULFILL YOUR QUEST WITH THE INCREDIBLE BEAUTY OF GUANO CAVE!

FULFILL YOUR QUEST WITH THE INCREDIBLE BEAUTY OF GUANO CAVE!

Still, my wish for my town should standstill and wait for the right time to grace in a lifestyle TV show, a TV shoot or in Films, not just locally but Hollywood perhaps.

 

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A duty that is love…


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For a moment, I was thinking of a morning, years before all four of us– Bebe, Kula, Bong and me– had to sit down on a table with breakfast already served while Mama would just lean on one of our kitchen corners, quiet and just observing. Often especially in the morning she would do just that on which as a kid, an observant one, bothers me. Mama as she stood there watching us, had something on her mind; something she held only in hers’ not letting it bursts out as she might be misunderstood by the four of us. Mama for her most awkward belief wished us to be forever kids, not because kids as we usually see are cuddly and cute but really because of deeper reason which was fear. Fear that our home, built by strong connections, of teases and loud laughter would soon turn into sad and hollow atmosphere if all four of us have been ripened by time. Bit by bit she had pictured it out, that we would soon leave them to find our destined place in this world, of which she believes to be inevitable and part of life. Of course it is sad for most parents especially mothers –the more emotional one, to see their children leaving the house. However, it is also poignant for children to be away from their parents whom they have grown dependent with.

My parents are like newlyweds now; they’re alone at our house. Mama would wait for Papa to come home after work, serve him and chitchat for a while then sleep. Days have gone humdrum, quiet and sad thus I knew with understanding how they feel these days.

Mama would always sigh and utter  during our telephone conversation, words like “if only I can turn back time” or “I miss yesterday”. I can’t blame her to feel such kind of yearning as I am too, if only I have powers, would grant her wish.

My mom admits that she’s pining for those shrieks that my siblings and I create out of petty quarrels, of endless teasing and name calling. I can still vividly recall how she would yell and glare at us at times when we were high on our crabbiness. Often, she has this worn-out slipper ready to land on our skin if we run out of control. And she confides too on how she longs for our stubbornness; it is better than having no one to get furious with, she said.

Back in the time when we were still under one roof, I have seen how Mama took good care of us. Mama was always the one attending to our needs as Papa was always busy looking for business outside. From waking us up in the morning, to fixing our beds and up to preparing our breakfast, she does all of that. She tied herself to being a full-time mother, gave up her supposedly teaching career, and taught us, instead. It is said that once a woman became a mother, it is also the time they surrendered themselves to servitude. On which every single day of their life could mean a struggle, a survival against the stream of responsibility. That’s how they are (out of love and passion) willing to sacrifice. I can’t fathom how deep mothers can be into understanding the needs of their children that if only they can offer their lives they would, just to provide in whatever way they can.

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Take for example my mom, an epitome of an unassuming, selfless being who nurtured the four of us. From the day of conception to the day we were born in this world, she never stopped caring. I still remember on how she would fix us before going to school, so we wouldn’t look like a mess in front of many. She would stay late at night, check if we’ve done our homework. She ensures if we’ve eaten enough. And when we are sick, she wishes to be the one inflicted not us. Being the only woman in our house, I admire how she fitted herself into our liking, even sacrificed her choices especially in watching TV. She has done innumerable things for the family that I rarely see her loosen up or enjoy on which as his son I’m feeling guilty of.

Many a time she feels sorry for her shortcomings. For the times that they weren’t able to give us what’s the best unlike other blessed parents can. For the times they fell short on giving us allowance. For the times they refused to buy us what’s the hip or the current trend. Mama in behalf of Papa feels sorry for that, for all that. Now that we’re grown up I come to ask myself: Have we really reciprocated the unconditional love my Mom has bestowed on us? As she would always say, her love is not payable by any material bliss but by togetherness and love itself.

I remember one Christmas vacation when my siblings and I went home and stayed at our province. Mama pampered us with her love, not letting us do any task and all we need to do was to relax. She’s very pleased seeing all of us on the same bed just like when we were kids and watched us until we fall asleep. I knew how she really missed us, her children whom she have cuddled and spent almost all her life with. To care and to love is to be a mother that was the message she conveyed through her act.

Everyday then, Mama would cook us sumptuous breakfast and would stand on one of our kitchen corners just like before, quiet and observing.

 

 

 

 

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Getaway books…


I will be away for a while to refresh my mind, to have some coffee while throwing myself in the page of happiness that is book.

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Keeping friends…


A friend is someone who helps you up when you’re down, and if they can’t, they lie down beside you and listen.” Unknown

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At some point of our existence, we meet certain people who by chance would teach us lessons about life: lessons which are essential and most of the time life changing. Some of these people are not meant to stay for long, sometimes they just vanish like magic but their impact seems to be so great that most likely, in our thoughts they endure. I have come across different people in my life, notable people to be precise but of course, there are whose name is above the rest that I can’t help myself but speak of their greatness.

In my journey of being independent, of being far from home I have met an old man, conceivably ten years older than the age of my father that by judging through his exteriors, one can conclude that he had been through a tough grind in his early years. True enough for that man I knew was Mang Boy; a simple man who has been silent yet has everything to brag about of being a father, a husband and a friend. A father because through his meager income as a house boy, he was able to raise his three children, all went to College and now are professionals. A husband because no matter how many temptations he had fought face to face, through his virtue of fidelity he knocked it all out and lastly, a friend a great friend, really. And if you happen to ask why, well, it’s because I am the witness of his compassion and this written piece is our story.

The story of our companionship started on that one fateful day when bad luck seemed to engulf me while trying to look for a new boarding house on which I could still remember myself carrying my bag pack, and on my hands were pieces of equipment like that of electric fan and a small gas stove. I was like a lost sheep trying to trace my shepherd’s footsteps when Mang Boy fortunately popped up on the scene and like a Good Samaritan offered himself to be of assistance. He unburdened me of the stuff that intolerably weighing me down and let my poor skin hide under the shade of his dwelling which from several hours was exposed to the sun. “What is it of you young man, that you keep on scouring the street?” He asked in a jokingly manner, however, a noticeable concern was surfacing on his face.

Unknown to Mang Boy, I have decided to abruptly pull myself up from the pack which for three long years I have lived with, because of varied reasons like relationship issues and other concealed matters. Thus, in an instant there’s a need for me to look for a place where I could start anew. And by the time I am really in need of such, Mang Boy rescued me. Adjacent to the place where he lives is a house owned by two old fellows whom he considers as his friend. And for me not to have hard times looking for an abode I was referred by him. So to cut it short, we became neighbors.

Mang Boy is an epitome of a man who went an uphill struggle and it’s discernible through his scarred hands. Every day, as early as of 4:30 in the morning I would see him watering the plants and as a cheerful person he would always smile and greet me the customary “Good Morning” and I would often reply with a nod as I get past him while heading my way to work. He would often joke me saying “Early bird catches the worm”.

The rest of Mang Boy’s time will be spent running his boss’s errands, from cleaning the backyard, cooking and preparing meals and attending to house chores of all sorts. By afternoon, instead of having siesta, he would busy himself marinating barbecue and Isaw (Chicken or Pig intestines). Selling pork meat on sticks was one of his sidelines aside from making yelo or ice tubig(Ice tubes). Every night he would patiently wait for customers to drop by at our subdivision. He has regular customers though, who keep coming back not only because of tasty BBQs but also because of a warm company.

I started first as a customer and later I became his companion through long hours of sitting and chatting on his little BBQ stall. We always talk about life and other things enclosed with it, under the bright moon of the night. We been sharing so many what-if’s, fancying of situations only in dreams we can have. More often than not during our conversation we tend to forget the time that even it was twelve midnight already, we still chuckle over trivial topics.

Our friendship, I believe, is not only for the good times. I can still vividly recall one instance when I was so broke nearing to hit the rock bottom and yet I have no one to seek help of, that I dared disclosing to him my trouble. He never had second thoughts when I told him my predicament and immediately he handed me the amount I need. There were also times when I have to scrounge for pieces of BBQ and promised to pay it as soon as payday arrives so I can have dinner. He has rescued many of my night meals through his barbecue as I am often out of viand that time.

It is out of his generosity too, that he intentionally shops for milk packs, sugar, and instant coffee and even rice, that if I happen to run out of my supplies then he can lend me. He never sets for deadlines to beat he would just patiently wait when would I pay and I never abused him, though. Mang Boy was so generous to grant my pleas, then.

During my rest day, I walk with him going to the Palengke (wet market). He prefers to just walk instead of riding a vehicle because he doesn’t want to waste even a single centavo. Like an ant that works hard and saves food for rainy days, Mang boy was no different. Ever the penny-pincher that he was, he faithfully taught me to be prudent on the way I spend my money. It takes discipline for a man to save as what he always told me.

He sees himself in me; the qualities I have as a person and so the circumstances I need to face being an independent lad were the same of his. He told me that I would go places, that I would be brewing success if only I make use of my positive qualities on which he had( for a long time of scrutinizing) found in me. He envisioned me having a car, a nice house and all the things which I lacked at that moment. Funny that even now I couldn’t see myself having those but isn’t it nice to ponder about, that someone believes in you more than you believe in yourself?

The things I learned from Mang Boy were the things I treasured the most. All his efforts too being my friend in need are much appreciated. I can’t tell how thankful my parents were to have someone beside me to act as a guardian and a friend while I’m away from my true home. Mang Boy has been my refuge in my messy quest here in the city, my safeguard against impending harm and my stimulus to push myself beyond my limits.

Having someone to advise you, console you from your failures, stand by you through thick and thin is something to be grateful about. And to have someone like a real father who would check upon you if you’re fine or not, sick or sad is indeed a blessing. Honestly, I feel so blessed.

Now that I’m nearing another phase of my life, I remember him telling me to marry someone who has rough hands for I should be paired, according to him, to a woman who’s acquainted with the rigors of life. As he have said, women who have known and exposed to hardships are tougher than those who were sheltered and spared from such. Well, I think I have found one.

For the time being, Mang Boy’s presence is out of sight. His children had built him his dream house and for good, he left the subdivision where we first met, until I, too, decided to also move but still from time to time, I call him to order BBQ and ” Isaw”.

Truly, what I have learned from him were lessons that will forever remain in my thoughts and will serve as remembrance of him that once in my life I met a friend worth treasuring…

 

 

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Nostalgia…


Panganiban, Catanduanes Photography by John de Jesus.

Panganiban, Catanduanes Photography by John de Jesus.

Awakened by a loud engine sound, pursued by an irritating blowing of horn, the PNR train forced me to jump out on my bed disturbed and quite irritated.

It was 5:00 in the morning and the dawn is soon to break. I wolfed over a cup of coffee and sat at the veranda. Jeepneys came rushing on the scene; people who were bound to go to work trotted the street and establishments though half-baked ready started opening their windows. Soon after, the morning shifted into a business- as- usual mood.

I sipped the coffee a bit faster as I try to mull over the busy scene. Oh, well it’s been a while since I last enjoyed the loosened and hassle free type of environment. At one point, the mornings I used to wake up to— several  years ago are  ways  too different from the habitual mornings I am facing everyday here in the City—harried and always on the go.

I wonder how the “promdi” in me, scuffled with the chaotic situation brought about by urban living. Several years passed I was like a melting iron trying to fit in a mold, conforming to a varying trend that the city has tried to acquaint the people with. And so by now, I am a certified city lad. Gone was the thick accent of being a Bicolano. Gone was the ignorance to high-technology machines such as elevators, escalators, the MRT and the like. However, no matter how adept I am coping with change brought by my current setting still I yearn for that laid back life I’ve had while I was in the province.

I am a native of Catanduanes, a place you’ve never heard of, perhaps. It is where I have spent most of my unruffled moments as a kid and as a teen. Thus, when I reminisce about the honeyed stuff I got it in there, nostalgia always purge automatically the tears in me.

I remember the times when I would wake up in the morning feeling so refreshed by the fogs that cover the fields in our front yard. Often I would watch the sun with fondness as it slowly dries the mist on every green leaf and with awe I would seize every moment to breathe the balmy and sweet-smelling atmosphere. And at night I would gaze upon the stars and be enamored by the croaking of frogs on which in the city I hardly could experience.

I also can’t replace the wonder brought by the walking carabaos and cows on the rural road and not the fast and furious cars of the metropolis. The traffic and noise pollution were the things commonly absent in my place. We walk instead of riding a vehicle may it be a kilometer or longer. We don’t have crowded streets, thus children, most of the time play on it making it as their lair. No wonder, how kids from the city envy to play outside just like what the “promdi” kids do.

Panganiban Town ( photo credits to Payonhon FB page)

Panganiban Town ( photo credits to Payonhon FB page)

Some say, that the cost of living in the city is pricey. Yes, I can attest to that as there is no word such as “free” in there, not even camote-tops or that infamous “kangkong”. Everything has a price tag. I could still recall on how our little garden back in my hometown serves as garden of all, wherein our neighbors can freely ask for vegetables planted on it. There is spirit of sharing even made visible through exchanging of viands from one neighbor to another. Unlike on where I am staying now, the people whom I happened to call as neighbors were still strangers to me putting such divide— built along walls.

And when it comes to fresh foods such as fish and other crustaceans, of course, we’re well endowed of that. Based on the geography our little Island is situated where bodies of water is surrounding us, it is natural for us to be of bounty of sea creatures. Since I was too fed up with canned goods and instant noodles I always end up craving for a lip-smacking dishes I used to taste back then. Familiar with “Pagi” (stingray) seasoned with coconut milk drizzled by “malunggay” leaves and some spices? Oh, that’s my favorite.

Photo credits to Payonhon FB page.

Photo credits to Payonhon FB page.

So many things I missed since that graceful time long gone; the peaceful seas and rivers I have swum across with, the hills and mountains I climbed thus far, the countless summer I spent under the sun and most of all, the comfort of a slow-paced life which now I really long to have.

Being mired from the memories of yesterday that shaped my wholeness as a person, it is inevitable for me or for anyone who feels the same yearning, not to feel nostalgic and sad. My mother once told me, that no matter how I try to fit myself in a new character, new environment or even to a new situation I would always wind up to the old and familiar mold and that perhaps, my being a “probinsiyano” is  like an indelible mark —tattooed on my personality.

If only I could bring my job at Catanduanes, on that little town of Panganiban, most probably I wouldn’t have to wake up disturbed and agitated by the sound of PNR train, instead I would feel more of inspired from the cackling of hens and peeping of chicks early in the morning. I wouldn’t have to ride a jeep and rush against time. I’ll probably just walk while staring on every idyllic landscape just at the side of the street.

But for now, I’d rather take a bath and again wake myself up from musing all over. The sun is up I better hurry so I won’t be late. Traffic is waiting.

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Summer Love…


Funny how one object can taunt your memory and can make you and your inner nerves pulsate like magic. Objects which for a moment graced a certain scenario or one important episode of a delightful recollection happened in the past.

On that one languid day as I let myself be smitten by the things around me, suddenly something took my attention— a bicycle that for a split of seconds dragged me from one of my yesterday’s most cherished summer.

hhh

 

In the summer of 2000, while teaching my stubborn feet pedaling a bike, I took a glimpse of an angel disguised in a form of human. This angel has an innocent smile painted on her face and has a subdued voice conveying convention. She is a lady of charm and fine demeanor that any man can be hauled to worship her. Yes, she is a substance of beauty.

Being a young man, of course, I don’t have the idea of what admiration is and all I’m engrossed of ,were the teeny-weeny adventures often being engaged upon by teens same my age like that of learning how to ride a bike. I was a slow-learner and a bit coward compared to my comrades who have terrorized the streets, manning their precious bikes since the start of summer. Bikes, for unknown reasons has turned like a mania that everywhere you look, there’s someone aiming to ride one.

When my father bought me a bike, I spent half the day on the street even under the blistering heat of the sun. I don’t mind if I smell like anything that is toasted. Imagine, from the moment I finished breakfast with intervals during lunch and snacks in the afternoon, all I would do was to attend on my biking session. That stinks but I don’t care and who would, anyway. I’m no longer a boy then, but not a man yet, I’m stuck in the middle of both thus I’m not cautious enough about how do I look and smell. I don’t care that much.

April came and vacation at long last was official. Different faces from different places crowded our little town. Some were families from Manila and other cities, whose spirits crave for an island adventure. That and other things made me ecstatic of the coming of summer because, most probably I could make new acquaintances on which as always seems to be cool. Well, I continue with my biking then, until I took a sight of a stranger who happened to rock my babyish way of thinking.

I met someone not a native of my town, probably from somewhere else. I don’t know.  But one thing I’m sure about and that — she’s beautiful I swear. She came on the scene unexpectedly without me knowing as I was too absorbed, of course with my bike. And like a scene on TV, she passed by in a slow motion; half blurred and suddenly loomed before my face. Gotcha, there she was standing in my front. For the very first time, in my 12 years of existence, I felt something unexplainable. Something that’s soothing and pleasurable to the senses yet can cause uneasiness. Perhaps, this is what they call “crush” or love at first sight.

Crush for all I know is something about what you feel towards opposite sex, sort of admiration on the first level. I never thought that what my crazy classmate used to talk about would be the very thing I’ll be experiencing all over. Crazy, but it fascinates me that for the first time someone has caught my attention.

As she (the lady whom I call an angel) spoke to me asking for direction on where was this and that, I realized how I have fastened my feet to the ground while mumbling my answers to her. Electrifying, the best word to describe the scene, that I never had the chance to ask who she is and from where she bursts forth of. And that was the first meeting we had, so quick and fleeting that I need to recall over and over the same picture of what had transpired.

The night of the same day was full of tossing and turning as I can’t sleep thinking of her, of where she lives and what’s her name. The next day, I have thrown away my plans to be with my troop and look for the stranger, instead. Luckily, I was able to find her so easy. Two streets away from ours, there she stays with her cousins and later I learned that she’s a “ bakasyonista”. Every probinsiyano has a fascination toward those people who are a stranger in their place and like them; I feel the same way too.

From that day on; I don’t want to be with my peers anymore, riding a bike. I started to feel concern more about myself, like being vain. If before I can sweat all day then suddenly it changed. There was this notion that I should always look nice and smell good. I have noticed that I’m beginning to act weird. Every day, after my house chores, I have all the freedom to roam wherever I want to and that includes visiting her. Oops, only in my dreams. If only I have the courage to show, then I wouldn’t hide myself when she would poke her face on their window. I admit I’m a diffident piece of shit, a “torpe” one. From those days that I have passed on their house, glancing at her, sometimes without ceasing was indeed a living proof that I truly adore her. Where on earth can I ask for courage so I can speak up? How much does it costs to smile at her and make her do the same.

Fate for whatever reason urged me to be a man, by standing on what I feel for and being intrepid on it. Subsequently, I decided to know her, swallowing the shyness I have inside of me.

Came one Sunday evening of May and there was a ball on which we fondly call “Baile” (a Spanish term for dance). I spotted her together with her cousins, seemingly aloof from the crowd. I braved myself to ask her for a dance, though nervous of how would she respond; still I managed to flash a calming smile. The moment she reached for my hand and joined me on the dance floor, has torched even hotter my admiration for her. Her body so graceful, her hands so smooth and her face so charming, took the life out of me. I was dead for a moment, stuck in awe. What a feeling!

Flabbergasted, that’s how I felt. The night didn’t last long and as they put it: time flies when you are enjoying. True enough, that I even forgot to ask her name as I was too captivated by her presence and too distracted by the loud music. Making a conversation would just ruin the precious moment.

Overwhelmed by my first move I feel confident then, that I can make it step by step. The morning came and like the usual mornings I spent glancing at her on their window, I made myself identified to which there were no more hiding. I was ready of befriending her, hoping that it could lead us to the next level if time comes. I waited on her face to poke outside, patiently killing time. Time and again I waited and much to my dismay, no one appeared, in contrast to what I expected. The smile that used to greet me in the morning wasn’t there. “Was she too tired of last night?” I asked myself. I failed that day and the next morning I tried again and again only to discover that she left for Manila after the night I danced with her. Too bad I was too late and too slow. Regret was butchering me on how I have let the chance slipped in my hands. There was this silent pain that thrives in my heart, like a flame slowly burning me down.

Why am I feeling broken-hearted then, when in fact I have never professed my real intention? I bet this is the hardest feeling of all — to cry over wasted chance.

I mourned for the aborted friendship which could flourish into something beautiful but that was life, though hard to understand one must live with it. What had transpired according to some is one of life’s ironies. For others it was fate but I’d rather call it myself a mystery that for one specific moment, someone would let you feel magic so beautiful yet short-lived.

Despite what had happened; I got back on the street, went with my troop and reconciled again with my bike, my dear bike that reminds me of her, of that affection I felt once upon a sweet summer that blossomed so early yet died out too soon.

 

 

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Welcome summer…


 

Perhaps, you see it coming. I’m greeting everyone a happy and vibrant summer!

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March 3, 2014 · 5:54 am

Roller coaster…


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All things we hold in life are temporary and that’s a fact. One moment we have that overflowing abundance, the capacity to experience material bliss, fame and power. But on the next, as what the universe dictates with just one snap, we realized we buried ourselves from debts or worse were as broke as the men on the street who from day-to-day beg for alms.

That realization came to pass me by after the conversation I had with a work friend. We happened to talk about the temporary things in life, like that of wealth, possessions and other things a man usually longs for. She began her story with a happy tone and if you are going to imagine, it’s like an opening credit of a movie played through a flash back.

She was born to a family well-endowed materially. Her mother though separated, single-handedly raised them equipped with the things they want or need. Growing up, life was made easy for her and her older sister as they were granted with assistants on the kitchen to wash their dishes and so with their laundries. They can afford it and they pay people for  service simply because of their growing business – a slipper and sandal production. Their business was a big scale because they  deliver their finished products to certain stores in Baclaran and  Binondo Manila.

Money wasn’t a problem for them; in fact they’ve got lots of it. So, choosing where to study best in college is at the back of her mind.  But when the universe connived with bad luck, things started falling out of control. Her older sister got pregnant whom supposedly at that time, a “Business ad” graduating student. Her mother as well has a fair share of misfortune, when she got involved with one of her workers who eventually became the step father of her two daughters.

My friend’s step father has an irrepressible love for vices, all sorts of it. That became the start of their fall off, the end of their being well endowed. She has to suffer all its implications and her plans of pursuing the course she wanted to take in college, faded like bubbles in the air, and settled with what’s just available. She then has no choice but to continue life, though flustered of the so-called change.

Change is what she feared the most. Having lived almost her life from the bounty of material things, she needs to cope up so abrupt that she almost cursed life of being unfair. She had to cope with his step dad’s annoying rules and regulations. And most of all she had to witness how her mom succumbed to being stupid, loving someone who’s not even worthy to receive such. She had to, though excruciating, go through all of it.

Still, she graduated College and triumphed over the hardships she needs to deal in her life, a peculiar family setting and the transitory phase of her once affluent lifestyle. But then again, luck seems to elude her and she, being a strong woman has miscalculated the timing of her decisions. She jumped out of her responsibilities of being a daughter, who would apparently be spinning the wheel of their family fortune.

She got married and bore two children. And again was faced with the responsibility of raising them with wants and needs equipped but this time, not in an instant way for she needs to tire her body so she can provide. One thing she told me, that what the experience has made her realize – is the importance of having sound judgment over things especially in deciding about the matters of life.

She then, ended her narration with a sad tone and a resonating regret that even up to now, when we sometimes bump upon a topic like riches to rags story, she would cringe and yearn for the time that had passed.

Her story is something relatable to those I have watched in “Wish Ko Lang” a TV program that features stories of prominent and once famous actors and actresses who failed to manage their lives and ended up poor and distressed of their pathetic situation. But who are we to predict, maybe someday, on that constant world of struggles, they can be able to turn the wheel again and pull themselves up.

jjjjj

There is nothing constant. One day we’re at the top, tomorrow perhaps, at the bottom, the thing is we need to be pliant so we can get along with this roller coaster ride called life.

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When it rains, it pours…


photo grabbed from the web.

photo grabbed from the web.

2014 is mine. I’m claiming it. Yes, the start of this year is really great for me and that’s an understatement. I have received valuable blessings when it comes to my career and so with other life aspects on which, before I got distraught of.

On the first half of the month of January, I braved myself to join a career enhancing project wherein I can be able to extract knowledge and at the same time get known by the big bosses in our company.  This was the thing I’m being coward of before, but because I am so desperate to chase “change” I left fear behind me. Now, I’m doing well and little by little they are seeing the budding potential in me. I think if you’d been to hurtful struggles before which along the way made you feel down, there’s no way to go but up.

February came; two of my brothers got themselves a job. I have prayed it to God and yes, He’s lifting sort of burdens from my shoulder and to my parent’s as well.

And not only that, I received an added bonus by being published on a national paper. Yippee.  Philippine Daily Inquirer’s Young Blood has featured my Essay and it’s like a post birthday gift for me. Being published, for someone who really loves to write,  could mean vindication for a doubted talent.

What can I ask for? Oh, well, as they say when it rains it pours but now–of blessings.

Gracing the Inquire's opinion column - Superheroes.

Gracing the Inquirer’s opinion column – Superheroes.

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Of pretending and lying…


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I used to think that pretending is bad as it is equated to lying and lying, may it be white lie is still a sin of  which it is considered, literally and figuratively as a form of deception. Every one of us used to lie, pretend and deceive other people. We do it often without noticing that through this we also cheat ourselves where in the end (as always portrayed on telenovelas) turns out to be self –inflicted act where in the one who do such, becomes the pathetic victim itself.

But, did it ever occur to you, in your most awkward way of thinking that this certain act (pretending) can do a permanent good in contrary? Yes, it happened on me. I pretended and lied, got hurled in its influence and grasped the real essence of it. And yet the result it yielded was the opposite of what it seems to be the usual effect of telling a lie ­­­… it turns out beneficial in sort of a positive way.

Way back from my experience in High school, when I was shoved in an array of magnificent twenty four students, with bright and quick-witted, young minds; I seemed lost and have nothing to boast against their dazzling personalities and what I only take hold of is my confidence which from any minute I can tune up, like that of radio equalizer.

I was nothing compared to my classmates who were, from that time, sons and daughters of Instructors, Professors, Businessmen, and influential people in our town who have been in  contact with  our school system. How am I going to par with these bunch of lucky beings, so I can get myself recognized and reach the top  or if not, climb even the middle of academic ladder? That’s how I was – a typical ambitious student, attempting to seek place and recognition.

From the combination of innately intelligent people and the influential one, I could hardly penetrate and get on with what I call a challenge  to be on common level as them, thus what I did was to pretend and put up a front that I also have a mind that speaks of intelligence. Right then and there I pretended and acted like a smart person I want to be.

I remember one instance, when I told one of my classmates that I’m good in English; that I like poems, short stories, novels and the like. And that I like watching Hollywood movies  because I love the way they talk and that I have the talent to write  essays easily with words effortlessly flowing in my thoughts. All of that were utterly a lie and a figment of what I actually yearn to acquire for myself and a cover up to hide something which I ‘m ashamed of; my abhorrence to sense of logic, my stupidity when it comes to numbers or shall I say Mathematics.

I dislike numbers and the science of it, thus I need to be good in something else. And that I made up my mind that I should try the English subject if I would do well. If not with the science of numbers why not try the science of words.

The first ever novel that forced me to like reading.

The first ever novel that forced me to like reading.

Kate, a seatmate and a friend lent me a novel “Island of the blue dolphins” authored by Scott O’ Dell on which she wants me to read as I have told her I love reading, though I’m just being pretentious. She wants me to perceive the story the way she does as she truly adore its storyline and on how O’ Dell presented visually the story to her.

The hypocrisy on me was tested by then. Do I really love books? I haven’t read any except our textbooks and it’s just by that point of time that I need to read, again to cover up what I pretended earlier. “Island of the blue dolphins” was the first novel to land on my hands, the first for my fingers to have touched and the first for my eyes to catch a sight of. It was because of pretending that I forcibly scrolled over its pages to discern what my friend Kate considers a kind of story which is beautiful.

It was terrible I swear! I spent three weeks and a half without ceasing, reading the dictionary and the novel itself. So many unfamiliar words loomed before my eyes that I could drown in exasperation looking for its meaning. It was a torture. Had I not feigned about being good in English and liking novels I could have save myself from idiocy.

After the odds of being hurtled into a strange world of words, I was able to retract myself and trace the path to familiarity – in short I finally get through with the novel. The experience wasn’t bad at all. It was then that I proved my confidence, as my saving grace. If not because of it I could have declined reading Scott O’ dell’s masterpiece and admit to being fake. Good thing I pretended which after all has paved my way to really liking English and all sorts of literary works. From then my worship for books was developed, my longing to read has increased and my love for writing has become unceasing.

I may have gone far pretending and lied at first I believe it is ok, because now I can say it’s for real.

 

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High school and the three of us…


photo grabbed from the web.

photo grabbed from the web.

Ever had this feeling when you wish that even for a moment time would let you wander back from those days when life is all about friendship, crushes and all that youthful adventures brought by HIGHSCHOOL?

I sort of feel that way after a friend, a former classmate of Catanduanes State Colleges Laboratory High school posted a throwback photo of our Graduation in Facebook. Time has flourished a lot and  as I count on my fingers it’s been almost nine –long years since I stepped out High school and faced the real world firm and resolute. Throughout the long span of struggles, starting from the day I went to College, took that electrifying and complex mechanical course and  later on ventured into the real working world has devoured the innocence in me on which as a person I long to have the most.

Now as an adult, I view life in a different way. It’s like every moment should be seasoned with seriousness so one can focus on his/her goal  to be successful. But what’s the use of it all when it’s eating you up, your system, the whole you.

Frustrating, sometimes, but mostly I feel sad and sentimental that a once carefree and ignorant yesterday would just be in a photograph and be replaced with nothing but seriousness in life. Thus, the itch of regaining it back, the thrill to share it on how once it was, were the things I can hardly contain in myself. And so I ended up being taunted by the pictures of yesterday, hoping that it would have an endless existence but, that was just too much to fancy about and  what the truth holds as of now is the reality that time has passed.

Gone are those days when I can smell the scent of our classrooms burnished with ipil-ipil leaves which our class adviser would often remind us to do after our class. As a classroom sweeper every Tuesday, Jomz and Maal would wait for me so we can idle while walking our way home chatting and blurting joke at each other.

Jomz and Maal were my best buddies back in High school. Our relationship were like that of brother/sister type, (Jomz as my brother and Maal as my sister) not to mention being each other’s crying shoulder because among us three I am the only one who whimper and at times cry to them. Maal and I were childhood friends, we are cousins too which roots burst forth from the mountain as the “town proper “ people often brand us since our mother both hailed from a far-off hilly barangay in our town.  We were neighbors as well long before Jomz arrived at the scene and joined our band. Jomz as we often describe as chubby boy was a Manileño, who can’t even say a single word in our dialect. He became our neighbor too, and eventually a classmate. Maal and I often alienate and wean him off into our conversations in short we make fun of him and that after all leads into a wonderful connection which we call friendship.

Every day we travel a kilometer or more going to school no jeepneys, no school bus or any kind of vehicle, only our feet but still it gets us there. More often than not, the three of us were late or if not, buzzer beater. Blame it on Jomz‘s torpid movements on which he seems to walk like a duck. The three of us were inseparable then even during our classes, recess, and of course, going home. We never get tired sharing stories, one of which, we consider as favorite was the scandal whom I happened to take part with against a freshman English teacher. But that was long ago and we were not that kind of person now; we don’t clash with other people anymore. Hehe.

One spectacular moment of which I am so fond of–  of us being friends were the nights we stayed and crammed at Jomz’s abode, doing our homework in Mathematics, Algebra and, Statistics. Having friends who are excellent enough in numbers was quite a relief for someone who eschews those subjects. I was and still not good with numbers. They’re my weakness, my kryptonite. I couldn’t bear myself dealing with them(the numbers) thus those nights that they tutored me were glorious and like heaven in my memory for I have made myself rise against the labels my classmates used to tag me like being slow.

Jomz’s abode was like and much more of an ancestral house which is quite reminiscent of those we see in Philippine period movies. It serves as our hang-out place after school. We dawdle and sometimes held our drinking-session there. We watch TV series and movies even the porno one in which we were caught by her mom, excluding Maal and got reprimanded the morning after. It was the news that brought us to be the headline of our classmate‘s talk show and be guested on their sizzling hot seat which airs every morning while sweeping talisay leaves in front of our classroom. Some of the girls frowned and said yuck to us but yuck to them too for we were the first to learn its moral lesson. Hehehe.

I say, we were innocent and naïve back then .True enough, because there were proofs to it like: we still play patintero beside our social hall even some of our girls have a noticeable growing lump on their chest we don’t mind still we play with them. We were often like children that neither one of us got to feel what it’s like to have a boyfriend/girlfriend at that time. We got crushes though, and the KILIG was enough to remind us that we’re still young to dare involve ourselves into a real relationship. So the three of us decided to stay single, or as if we do have a choice.

Now as I reminisce about those memories that come to pass like of those good old days, the three of us spent in the field during our Agriculture subject, the fun and bliss of having skip the class even once, those free snacks we got from flattering our classmates, the fraternity we have thought of indulging with, the ball dance during every occasion, the mornings spent on CAT, The annoying teachers we have slept in during their class, the refreshing palamig at the snack store outside our school gate, the fear that our Social studies teacher used to give us  and most of all the delight we have when the three of us, and some of our classmates share answer sheet during exam, somehow all of it made me feel the immortality of yesterday.

Thanks for that old photograph of one throwback Thursday in Facebook. It again revives my feeling of hunger to be youthful, ignorant and care free once more.

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There is money in Sampaguita…


 

Every day as I walk along the street of  Nueva in San Pedro Laguna, I would always see people from different ages engrossing themselves into what they call—sampaguita market.­­­­­­­ Often I would see Styrofoam where hundreds if not thousands of sampaguita buds, Ylang-ylang and Camia flower  were stored and stuffed with ice. Just like what every fish vendors are doing, sampaguita dealers too take extra care of their products so it would be in a guaranteed fresh state.

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On the same side of the street were stores selling “abaca” strands in a varying prices ranging from 100 up to 130 pesos per kilo. These strands are necessary as it is one tool to twine Sampaguita, Ylang- ylang and Camia into a necklace.

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Astounding as it is, seeing people doing this kind of peculiar trade; I find myself in awe on how they managed to profit from a business viewed and received unfavorably by public. Granted that it is not so popular as selling fish and meat in the market many (as in huge number) still opt to indulge in selling sampaguita garlands, making it as their source of livelihood.

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Camia flower…
prices ranges from 30,40 and 50 pesos per bundle.

I mean— livelihood because through it all it can provide a meal for their families; it can support their daily expenses and most of all can send their children to school. It takes patience (as one vendor told me) in dealing with the fluctuating price of sampaguita as it has no constancy where every day is a new price. Sampaguita flower blossoms in a certain season, expect that it is more expensive, when it’s less available.  Prices as based per one scoop (half bottle of 1.5L coca cola) could range from 300 pesos as the most affordable and 600 pesos as the most expensive.

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Ylang-Ylang is being sold per piece…
100 pcs is equivalent to 70 pesos.

Ever wonder how these vendors earn from it with all sorts of seemingly and unbelievably high cost materials. And with just 10 pesos, you get a magnificent artwork of intertwined sampaguita buds. That’s how— as I have seen it, people from the marginalized sector of San Pedro can make use of their ingenuity.

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According to her; San Pedro was once the biggest dealer of sampaguita but due to commercialization,of which some vacant fields where sampaguita are planted,were already turned into subdivisions.Thus they import from other suppliers like Bulacan, Rizal and others..

I remember one Sunday morning after I gotten from a grueling night shift duty; I happen to drop by at San Pedro Apostol church to probably just light a candle or say a prayer when two women one of which I distinguished as a mother and the other as her daughter appeared to me earnestly asking to buy their ten peso worth sampaguita.

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For some who is unaware of this trade, for some who didn’t know the arduousness behind of its “the making”, probably would beg to refuse if not, ignore the item being sold. As one who had seen the art and intricacy of garland making, who knew the efforts poured on it by those I consider as “ every day” people, who understand that it is a means to feed their families would sensitively consider buying even one sampaguita garland as a sign of help. That’s why I bought without hesitation. I fished out twenty pesos on my wallet handed it to each of them and get two circlet of flower in exchange. The two women smiled at me as if in a thankfully manner both vowed their heads.

I then went on heading the altar with that sweet-scented flower, a candle and a prayer at heart.

 

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SentiMENTAL…


As debilitating as it is I must, though almost unwilling, carry the burden of one cumbersome challenge that is hovering in my life now. Like a train marooned in one dark station, I feel like more of it being derailed and unable to act properly.Some people say that in life it is inevitable to escape major setbacks wherein one would endure some unbearable trials and yes, this is the certain scenario which I am into. As positive people would always say, “God will not give you a challenge unless you’re incapacitated to surpass it.” Cliche as it may sound but I do also believe in it making it as my mantra from now on.

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photo grabbed from the net.

Many of you my dear readers perhaps are being puzzled about what I am talking about. This is all about a problem that seems not to go away, problem that seems endless. Though, it is not about me nor about my frustrations still it pains me a lot more than I should. I hear many people say especially the elderly that it is better to go through a financial crisis than to endure a certain sickness in the family. Yes, I’m pertaining about health problems in particular. Who could stand the torment seeing one of your family members being tortured by such a dismal illness? It’s been months that we stayed and frequented the hospital after my brother was diagnosed with Major Depression.

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Photo grabbed from the net.

“Why on billions of people this specific disorder seems to hit my brother?” that is the question often recurring in my thoughts. Are we too sinful to face this kind of specific challenge? Those were the illogical thinking I have made when first faced with the enigma of this trouble. I can’t blame myself to react like this and that because I am too worried and so are my family members. With same horrible puzzlement, my family and I were like floating in an unthinkable uncertainty.

The Depression…

photo grabbed from the net.

photo grabbed from the net.

My brother had a number of concerns, some were his frustrations, his wants and many of illogical ideas he wanted to do for the better of him. He seems envious about the victory of others and wants to do it the same way for himself. He has a growing concern about the status of our family, the health of my father and some of the troubles which before he tends to ignore.

We are caught unaware of his apprehensions that we neglect and became confused about the way he sees things. He worried much about his future especially about getting a job. He was jobless and he pity himself for that. He was constantly sad until he finds all things boring and has no life at all. The pleasure he gets from things he used to enjoy before was gone. He seems hopeless, useless and worthless that he developed inhibitions of terminating his existence. He thought of jumping at the building and several ideas of inflicting harm to his own self. He can’t sleep for several weeks causing him to be restless and agitated. He also had episodes of psychosis like delusions or wrong beliefs and by that we made him confined at the hospital.

The road to recovery…

From the combination of anti-psychotic and anti-depressant drugs somehow we found relief. But the process is such a long and vexing one. All the worries, fear and confusion while my brother is under medication is squeezing the life out of us. Good thing he responded with the prescription his psyche doctor has made. The thread like hope that my family members used to breathe has flourished making us believe that we can push through.We kept our faith glowing that by each minute we turn to God asking for divine assistance. I believe that by his intervention we got the miracle we are asking for. My brother is well now and by continuous medication…may it be by psychotherapy or by drugs I hope that everything will go back to normalcy.

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photo grabbed from the net.

During the chaos, we feel the hands of God carefully embracing us. We feel the ignition of hope brought by him and along the way there were angels in the form of human who helped us. God is really with us during that unimaginable trouble.

Going back on the track…

What we are going through is physically, mentally, emotionally and financially draining. But slowly I’m picking myself up again so I could also return from the usual. We are overwhelmed by this problem that each of our family members feels depressed too. Now as we walk forward we hope that everything will be okay. It’s such a relief to share what we’ve been through, it feels utterly therapeutic.

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Tamahuyan: A place of memories…


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Taken in TAMAHUYAN sometime in 1999.

No matter how many adorable places your eyes have laid upon there will always be one specific place so dear in your heart that you want to forever take hold of.  A place where in significant and unforgettable memories of yesterday had transpired.

Leafing through our old photo album, I found myself blown away by a years-gone-by photograph where on the fore of it lies a seemingly enjoying faces of children, children whom I recognized as myself and my siblings, swimming and paddling through the waters of a familiar shoreline called Tamahuyan.

Tamahuyan is where I’ve had a first taste of beach. Laying just in the underbelly of my hometown Panganiban, Catanduanes, this place was made accessible to us no matter what time of day may it be on a canoe ride or a motorboat.  This islet is so pristine and still untouched with its thick coconut tress wildly growing uphill and its brown to gray gravelly aisle that extend to its seawater so clean and green.

Apart from its subtle yet captivating beauty, there’s one thing that makes me and my family crave to go back every weekend and that is the cozy feeling being brought by the two hospitable people who owned the place and they are Lolo July and Lola Imay as we fondly call them. These two welcoming fellow would wave their hands the moment we approached the seafront, a sign of being received. They would cook for us their renowned dish; fish soured in vinegar and garlic natively cooked in pot – a very mouth-watering dish. They would also share a lot of enchanting stories about fairies and other mythical creatures that inhabit their land. These things were few of those we used to do when we are in Tamahuyan, that for now I still wish I could, even time has brought changes a lot.

The last time I took a visit on this place, things weren’t all the same. Gone was Lolo July who is now with our creator in heaven and apparently Lola Imay, for good–  moved into somewhere else. But Tamahuyan  being so welcoming, stood still waiting for someone be it a stranger or familiar face to come and create new set of memories.

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Rain on me…


The silver raindrops started falling down, softening the blistering heat of the sun. The chill is already in the atmosphere emanating a much colder breeze. The increasing croak of frogs and the sound of crickets is orchestrating at night. Time shifted a real quick leaving summer no trace.

Rainy season in the Philippines had finally taken its turn and most of the people especially the farmers have been patiently waiting for the hefty dose of rainfall to start on their fields.

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Just recently, I paid a visit to a nearby farm and it’s nice to see that the fields once covered by golden hay were now replaced by newly sprouting green plants. The soil which suffered a short-term drought has been nourished again, making it more suitable for farming.

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Like the plants on the field that needs sustenance from the rain, I too have the same yearnings as them. I have been in drought these past few months that my will to write was put to a halt. Unwanted circumstances came along my way, those inevitable sorts of drawbacks in life that weakens someone’s strength.

Forest club Puypoy bay Laguna.

Forest club Puypoy bay Laguna.

Two months had passed and we got robbed. Certain amount of cash and valuables were taken away from us. My digital camera which was so precious to me and to my blog was never spared. (Thanks for the several years of service in each of my posts, farewell to you).

Two months had passed and my brother who’s in my guardianship lost his job. Of course, that would mean more workloads for me. I have juggled overtime  work so we would not hit the rock bottom. I rarely have a free time because my work consumes most of it. I can’t even touch my pen and write my thoughts. Situations in life like this were utterly tiring but giving up is never a choice.

I was like wrinkling then, just like those plants during summer. All I need is rain, a little rain of inspiration so I could grow anew.

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The Farmer in me…


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Long before I went to the city, I was this hardworking and dedicated farmer’s son. Like my father, I have known the hard ways. From tilling the soil, collecting golden snail in the field and planting crops were few of those I used to do back then. Early in the morning during weekends, I and my siblings play an equal share of chores in the farm. Some feed the chickens, some water the plants and the others, spend time uprooting the weeds. Things were simple then and at times boring that I complain how boring it was to be living an agricultural life. But far beyond my expectation, this kind of life which before, I find tedious became unexpectedly yearned about.

My parents who are both offspring of B.S Agriculture, tried with all might to persuade me to take same course as them. With the experiences of day-to-day activity on the farm, perhaps gave them the idea that maybe, I’m going to like it. Yes, I could have an easy grasp of things if I would take that course in college because I have had a background even when I was in High school. I took this as my major subject occupying two hours of my schedule in which we spend one hour in the field and one hour in the classroom. Hands-on experience is what I call it; with your bare hands you need to touch the soil, mix it with chicken dang and you get a fertilizer in an instant. And also add to your list the skill of growing pigs and broiler chicks and other little creature that can be useful in the farm. Well, you need to be an I-can-do-it-all kind of person so you can withstand those sorts of hard stuff in Agricultural arts.

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While trying to contemplate on why I haven’t agreed to what my parents wanted me to take up, I sort of blame myself on how I gained this independent silly head. I could have enjoyed more, if only I have listened to them. Perhaps, you my readers can guess on how I utterly miss doing all these things. The innate farmer in me is longing to come out.

Just recently, my father sent us a sack of newly milled rice. It’s harvest time in our province and I almost forgot. During this time of year people there are busy taking businesses in the farm. Well, I miss it.

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That fleeting Moment…


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There seems to be an upsurge of tranquility in my surrounding today. Only the rustling of leaves and the sound of melodious music on the radio fills the air. It’s not often that I would wake up in the morning having this kind of refreshing feeling. Perhaps a cup of coffee would match the beauty of the day so I let myself be enamored by its creamy goodness while staring at a perfect morning setting. I can feel a renewed inspiration and it seems to be the perfect time to reminisce about those honeyed bits of memories that come to pass.

The sun goes up and still I’m mired staring at it letting some good old flashbacks to spring in my thoughts. The picture of a glittery summer came forth and started registering in my mind. It has been so long since I have enjoyed this phase of time when everything seems to be so agile, spirited and unruffled-that was when I’m still a kid.

Now summer is here and it won’t stay for long, however, there are certain things I need to get done before its wrapping up stage. I wanted to feel like a child once again and relive the blithe moments of the past.

424843_3331732288790_751793053_nHaving this kind of puerile feeling is the best of what I can remember as far as memory can lure me. This is when I still can goof-off on the streets with my playmates. This is when I still can play hide and seek at night and this is when everything is not so serious.

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Time is fleeting and so the moments enclosed with it. We can’t have endless summer but we can yearn for it to come back and if it did we can promise to make the best out of it. If of age we seem not to fit anymore, still we can stretch ourselves and feel young and by this we can freeze the hands of time.

The sun is still up and its heat brought me back from my waking memory. What a nice day to remind me of the things I miss.

Happy Summer Everyone!

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Freezing in the sun…


The Bato Springs Summer Escapade…

The itch of going somewhere cold this summer is thriving in me. Perhaps it’s the humid ambiance that caused me to feel this way. My body needs a plunge, may it be on the sea or in the river. Any of the two would surely satisfy my cravings.
 The persistent itch continues to hover in my body until my work friends came to entice me for a summer escapade. Their invitation is too perfect and very timely for a man who’s thirsting for a refreshing out of the town trip.
 Came Tuesday morning, the waiting and preparing is finally over. We’re heading at Bato springs in San Pablo Laguna, a two-hour drive from our place. We rented a Jeepney so we can save time and transportation costs since each of us were in a tight budget.
 
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 Upon our arrival, we are greeted by the harmonized scent of nature. The aromatic river breeze, the sweet smell of leaves and the fragrance brought by the newly mowed grass is giving the place a vibrant summer feel. Although  Bato spring is a synthetic resort still it feels natural because of the fresh water running down from the ever idyllic Mt. Banahaw.
 
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486441_10200457451095484_2133362219_n544367_10200457451935505_2000260782_n599793_4683745293776_1135645063_n602819_10200457396254113_895815999_n As we ambled through the amazing landscape of Bato springs, we were astounded on how it resembles into a small rural setting wherein native chickens carefree settling anywhere and cows grazing abundantly on the other side. There are also few fruit stalls that sell fruits freshly picked from the garden that gives the environment a seemingly primitive effect.
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Familiar with that oh-my-God feeling when you get soaked with ice cold water? Same feeling you’ll get when you plunge at the river pool and bathe with the man-made falls in Bato springs. Its freezing cool water ignites a tedious vein and brings a life to a dull spirit.
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Rushing off into far off places does not entail big budget. It’s on the matter of strategy and good planning. We had a pretty nice choice of place, somewhat refreshing and cost efficient.  Truly, this trip has quenched our hearts deepest thirsting!

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Hooray Summer…


The anticipation was over and at long last summer has started flaunting its glory. The scorching heat is now clear and its rhythm can now be felt. Summer in the Philippines has officially begun, this is the season much celebrated and most awaited not only by the locals but also by the foreign people who visits the country. This is the time for relaxation and festivities where in vibrant and colorful parties shake your pulse. As this phase of time unfolds let me welcome it by saying HOORAY Summer!

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Excited to be in the scene, I goaded my girlfriend for a leisurely visit at a park. We chose a place where in we can have a free and unlimited view of the sun. We huddled on the grass, laid our prepared snacks and began our picnic. The sun was smiling, constantly giving warmth and the soothing wind seemed to blow perfectly.

What a nice day it has been, too perfect for a summer start!

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Going against the current


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Marbog,Panganiban Catanduanes.

I am happy to see visible improvements in my hometown but I am even more gratified to see that my adored places are still the same. Perhaps in the coming years industrialization would soon emerge but I hope it wouldn’t affect the way of our nature. I still want to witness the green of the fields and the blue of the oceans. I want things to stay the same,  no matter how fast we press forward to progress.

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walking against the stream..

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Marbog River…

 I hope that rivers won’t run dry and may it stay cool and fresh as time goes by. Though change is inevitable I still like to go against the current and try swimming against the stream. Many for sure would hunger for advancement in life but if it entails losing those idyllic gift natures can offer I’d rather hold on and make things stay the same.

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There’s no Place like home


Today I’m having a restful morning as I keenly watch the peaceful environment which for so long I have itched for. I have this usual yearning to savor this kind of beautiful feeling, the feeling of familiarity and being at home. Once a year I make sure myself to go for a break so I could have the chance to freshen up and cleanse my thoughts from the clutter I used to face in my job.

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Going home every Christmas has been my therapy and it has been a way too effective for me. There are so many things I can do while I’m at home, things that can bring me comfort and even happiness. I can’t help myself but agree to what the old adage has to say. Truly there’s no place like home.

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Tarahid Creek, San Pedro Panganiban,Catanduanes.

The scenic and the unadulterated background of my hometown is the very thing that I would surely miss if I go back to the city. Its virginal beauty that displays a pastoral environment and its people’s blithe and untroubled way of living is somehow magnificent and irresistible to crave for.

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into the wild…

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Marbog Panganiban,Catanduanes

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A man with his push-net trudging on the street.

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Untroubled faces of Panganibanons…

Where in the world you can find such a laid-back place wherein you can enjoy things without pressure? It’s for sure in your own dwelling, a place where your heart is. For me I found that in my hometown which I consider my haven, my paradise and my source of peace.

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A Christmas to Remember


My mom lit the dimly room and the light from the candle shone through the four corners of the house. It was a quiet December evening with winds sweeping on our window curtains. The moon outside was at its brightest and the shadows of dancing trees were so alive. I’d thrown a gaze towards my mom as she sat near the window, humming a Christmas song and thoughts about Christmas suddenly loomed in my mind. Only few days to go and soon it will be Christmas day and yet I can hardly feel it as if it’s not coming.

Photo grabbed from the net

Photo grabbed from the net

There was no air of Christmas joy in our house and so with our neighborhood. Blame it on the typhoon that ravaged our province, causing every power lines to shutdown. The earth was void during night and if without the moon for sure it was all gloomy outside. My town folks seemed to have neglected this occasion with no preparation at all. Everyone was busy minding their own business to cope with that unwanted phenomena.

“Would there be really a Merry Christmas? That was the thought that hovered in my seven-year old brain. For a kid same my age, the beauty of Christmas depends on the lighting of Christmas tree, Christmas decor in every house, Christmas songs on the radio and gifts of every kind. But in the absence of it Christmas is spiritless in the eyes of children.

I sat beside my mom as we were both watching the night until a question was raised by my young inquisitive mind. “Why does typhoon often pass by at the end of the year? Why would God allow it if it can make a lot of people sad especially on Christmas?

My mom drew a smile on her face and scratched my head. “It has to do with our Island’s geography, that’s why.” She muttered.” And who says Christmas wouldn’t be happy? We’ll make it happy and you’ll see.” She reasoned further.

As far as I could remember Catanduanes Island is often visited by typhoon during November and its overburdening effect lasts up to the next year. I couldn’t agree more to what my father has perceived that our province was really a typhoon capital of our country.

The evening of Christmas Eve came. Still there was the silence and the bone chilling breeze that stayed to surround us. The usual spaghetti, fruit salad and Leche Flan we habitually see on our table during Christmas were never there. My mom on the other side busied herself on her homemade doughnut as an alternative for the grand repast. My father was preparing the bamboo cannon outside as he pulled some sticks to create a bonfire. My siblings and my neighbor’s kids slowly huddled down with us witnessing the first blast of my Father’s cannon.

Photo grabbed from the web

Photo grabbed from the web

The bamboo cannon created a huge thud awakening our town. It seemed to be a great replacement for firecrackers. Cheers and loud laughter ignited the night. Little by little the presence of Christmas air started to be felt. The church bell rang and everybody was on the street chatting, cheering and singing.

My family gathered altogether, brought the food outside, prayed and later eat. It was a simple celebration a plain but happy one, making me conclude that in the absence of bounty and in the midst of misfortune still there’s joy and to experience it one must try to believe it.

The night was filled with delight and truly my mom was right. God wouldn’t allow Christmas to be sad especially for us kids.

The bed was already prepared and it’s time to sleep. “It was a Christmas worth remembering” I said to myself. I then curled up on my bed and fell asleep.

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Of Election and Contractualization…


Election is fast approaching here in the Philippines. In every corner, every wall or even on the television, you can see faces of aspirants hoping to catch the attention of the public so they can have that coveted seat in the Government. Each of every candidate does have platforms or plans aiming to help eradicate problems of the masses. Some are doable and yet some are dreamy and quite impossible.

Photo grabbed from the net…

Actually, as  I see it, the main problem of my country is the lack of opportunities when it comes to providing jobs for its people. Any job that would feed every starving family, any job that can send every children to school and any job that can give them security when they’re old is a job often missing or hard to chase here in the Philippines. These were the things that politicians in my country used to dramatize when election is drawing near. They act as if they were heroes who would fill the void promising at the expense of their names that if they’ve got the chance to rule then things would be better. Though, I am not judging any of them, sometimes these people can’t keep what they have promised. Those sweet words so enticing and tempting being uttered before election are often forgotten once they’re elected.

Three weeks ago, a slight commotion happened in the company where I am working. Numerous contractual gathered on the locker room bidding their goodbyes to their regular workmates. It was a scene not too pleasant, a scene many of us are afraid of. In one corner I saw a young single mother whining on how she would raise her child on times like this when she don’t have a job anymore. On the other side another workmate was complaining on how he can support his family since he is the breadwinner. Everywhere in that room were faces of sadness and of plight on why at one surprise they have lost their jobs.

Not like us regular employees, contractors have less privilege and are deprived from company benefits. They can stay for a minute and be gone for a second if the company wills it. There was a law that contractual should renew their contracts every three months and another three months depending on the company. In short their tenure is always endangered.I pity those co-workers  of mine who for a year or two have dedicated their service to our company and because of certain predicament our company is facing with just one click they have vanished.

Happy memories with the contractual…They’re not just co-workers but they’re good friends.

If only they were regular employees, if only there were no Contractualization and if only someone with authority can abolish this system then they’re still here working for their families.

Going back to election, I call to mind a certain Senatorial candidate last 2010 election that supported the prohibition of Contractualization.Jamby Madrigal has been bold and intrepid enough to conceptualize a concrete platform, something that would target a certain group of people who are suffering from deprivation of job security. This woman may or may not compete next year for that coveted seat I just hope that what she has started must be pursued.

If someone’s going to ask for my vote this coming election he/she must have a specific plan for the betterment of my country, something that is doable and not just a vague promise.

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The typewriter…


It’s already midnight and I just can’t drown myself to sleep no matter how hard I tried. The humid ambiance is causing me to feel like hell. I jolted out of the bed and grasped for some air outside. The hallway’s atmosphere is filled with silence and stillness except for the clinking sound of a typewriter in the neighborhood which somehow creates a melody in the middle of the night. I trotted the aisle tracing to where the sound came from until at the last block of the apartment there I found a slightly open window in which I gawked and watched an old woman seemingly caressing an age-old and rusty typewriter. That woman was Laura, our new neighbor, a retired Professor and a frustrated writer who possessed a valuable machine, a typewriter which has a physical attributes reminiscent to my vintage typewriter way, way back.

Whenever I gaze at her and on the way she entrusts her fingers on every key of her machine it gives me a magical feeling that transports me back in time.

 I am 12 again; I could feel how my fantasy is being aroused by the click-clack of my Aunt’s typewriter. As I watch her from a distance, a growing anticipation is killing me. I couldn’t wait on when I’ll be touching it myself and on when I’m going to own it.
 As a young child growing in our province, I have this vision of being a writer someday. I feel the passion and an innate longing to fulfill it through that old-fashioned typewriter that has been a family heirloom. My great great-grandfather was able to be blessed by this possession through his American friend who was once an employee in our town postal office.
 
 At the age of 13 after my Birthday, my Aunt finally handed me my most wanted gift. Enthralled by its captivating beauty, I immediately pressed my fingers into it and started typing many stories about anything I see. I feel like a real writer, then.
 On the month of November of the same year, a super typhoon hit our province. We were never prepared that neither one of our valuables were packed up for safety. There was a flash flood causing us to run for our lives. It was a traumatic tragedy, leaving our family in total wreckage. We were homeless then, it seems that we’ve lost everything except hope.
 
 After the typhoon, we rummaged for some stuff that might still work and it was then that I remember to look for my precious typewriter. I’ve searched for it without ceasing; ransacking the pile of mud, but unfortunately it is nowhere to be found. It may be buried on the mud or it must have been washed ashore. The poignant feeling of losing something you’ve dearly treasured has been taunting my nerves. My parents told me that I should forget about it but I insisted to look for it for my dreams were in it.
 
 One fine day, my father brought a sack at home and summoned me. He unveiled the sack showing my old typewriter almost hidden by rust. I gasped in disappointment as if my tears were ready to fall in any minute. “I can still make it work” I insisted.
 
 Days and weeks passed and still it was stuck. It wasn’t working anymore. Gone are those days when it can produce a sweet melody just like a piano. Gone are those days of storytelling and so gone are my dreams. The usual vivid days I used to wake up to weren’t the same anymore. It seems something is missing; something innate in me is missing.
 
 On a fine afternoon of December, a man who buys and sells antique stuff cared to pass by our house. My father who was so eager approached him; they negotiated until my typewriter was handed to the man. I was standing still, mired in dilemma whether I should make a scene or just let things happen. My face was red and my body was trembling until tears escaped my eyes. My mom in a distance was watching me, feeling as if she has the same agony as mine. I looked at her, breathed and let go.
 

  A soft voice awakened me from reminiscing. Laura was finished typing. She’s calling me as she leaves her desk. She signaled me to come in and I pushed through. As I approached her desk I have sensed a touch of long-lost connection and familiarity towards her typewriter thus I run with it, touch it and feel it. And again, I feel like a real writer.

Laura on the other side, smiled and began to utter…”That was the best gift I received from my husband, a gift that brought my passion back into life. “She pointed at the machine and continued.” He bought it from a junk collector and makes it work for me.”

I was astounded and was taken aback. I was speechless for a moment until I managed to draw a smile. Countless possibilities were playing on my head, but I’m too afraid to blurt it out. I then, left Laura with her typewriter. I might be too selfish to take away her life if I would say that her vintage machine was mine.

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A holy time out


Burdened by the daily stress from work, life becomes a bulky baggage that at times turns out to be so difficult to carry. Over the past months I am too engrossed hurdling my workloads that I work so hard to survive as if things seems to be a rat race, a struggle between time and money. Money plays an integral role in each of us. We work for money and money works for us. It drives us to be busy and the worst it occupies our system making us develop a sense of neglect. Often I turn a blind eye on things which rather seem to be much important than acquiring money like going to church on Sunday. I can’t remember on how many times I have traded my Sunday worship for overtime and on how many times I forgot to pray just because I am so exhausted from work. Being caught up on earthly things, my soul has gone frail just like a tree becoming dry and shriveled. I need to breakaway on this certain point of my life thus I need a holy time out.

The Retreat…

It’s my  Professor (Jonathan Padilla) who’s checking me on regular basis on how’s my spiritual formation, who from time to time would ask if I can still attend mass every Sunday despite the hectic timetable I have in my job. It’s him who invited me to join the retreat for young Professionals. Thanks to him for shoving me into a life changing experience.

A Retreat for young Professionals which was sponsored by Dualtech center.

It was dusk already when I finally arrived at the retreat venue and there I was acquainted with young other fellows who by different reasons have gathered all together to attend the retreat. It was a joy meeting them for what lies in each of their personality is a varied story of faith, struggle and survival which is truly endearing and inspiring to hear.

At six pm on that long-awaited day, the activity was set in motion. From meditation to substantial talks with regards to various topics such as knowing oneself and God, work sanctification, Purity and chastity up to the examination of conscience. There had been also confession, mass and the praying of holy Rosary. That actually was the total package I got for a 3 day vacation with God.

The retreat actually helps me to reconnect with God for me to communicate again and make up for the lost time. Perhaps God used it as his tool so I can come to him to lighten my burdens. True enough, I was able to breathe out my grievances and it did make me feel better.

    

Building new friendship…

It was with fear on how I can get along with others on the retreat, afraid on how they would treat me as it’s my first time to be with a group whom I haven’t been with. There was this constant agitation towards this matter that makes me cringe when I think of it. I am praying that somehow I can get along well and perhaps God have heard it and things fell perfectly into place. Everything went fine that I can call the group as Bond of brothers. Surely, I’m going to miss on how my companions would sneak on our room just to chat with us. Sharing life stories had been our pastime during idle hours.

Fun moments during Idle hours…

The Lesson…

My 3 days stay at the retreat house gave me the serenity to ponder and reflect over things. It made me realize my shortcomings being a Christian and on how I neglect the importance of God in my life. I was guilty then that I feel a great remorse on how I put attention on my work than my spiritual duty.

A sponsored post by Dualtech Training Center.

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The call to service…


Had I been born a billionaire, then I would dare to share a chunk of blessing to the less fortunate people. Oftentimes, these people are the ones who catch my attention when I pass by a slum area. Having that kind of undesirable life caused me to feel pity for them, thus I asked myself should I wait to be a billionaire so I could lend a hand and offer help. I think I need not to be, as the common adage says “You can be a blessing to others by any means, may it be in great or in small way.”

Good thing that my Alma mater (Dualtech) never fails to invite me when there are outreach programs sponsored by them at least my yearnings to help other people are somehow fulfilled through their charitable projects. Helping homeless people especially those who are typhoon victims is one of their many objectives. For two years in a row, I was able to join this self-fulfilling activity. True enough because yesterday became a great experience. For the second time we revisited the residents of Majada-in Canlubang Laguna for another outreach project.

The Gawad Kalinga Project… (Strike 2)

Early in the morning our group headed by our Professors, Co-alumni and trainees have had a brainstorming before going to the scene where in the activity would take place. Everyone seemed to be very ecstatic that in their faces you can see a visible craving towards helping others. They came ready with working shoes and shirts. Again, we are going to help build houses to shelter those people who are still living in tents. We were divided into two groups, the one for construction and the other for electrical works. Since, it’s my second time things became much easier to me but still I can’t par the energy of the trainees who are so aggressive to get the task done. Even our professors can’t help themselves but to try the experience of doing the hard stuff like shoveling and digging. Everything went fine instead of the scattered rain showers that disturbed us when it poured but it never made us stop instead it fueled the anticipation in each of us.

A menacing Scenario…

 Who wouldn’t feel pity for those people whose lives are being endangered by not having a better shelter to live in? If you happen to witness how alarming the situation in Majada-in relocation site where in the settlers are living in tent. I bet you would feel the same way on why we pursued to reach out. Kudos to the people behind this project for making it a realization, it may not abolish all of their predicaments in life at least even in partial way we helped to ease some of their problems.

A sponsored post by Dualtech Training Center.

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Comeback…


Image

It feels as if I’m constantly battling with a wave that no matter how I stand tough, still, with one full surge, I’m always carried away. Just like the weeds on the sea being thrown by the waves back and forth to the shore.  Now, Here I am again taking glimpse on the world I quietly left. Nothing ever changes, everything seems as is and still it feels home. I Miss The Blogging World.

There are really certain things in our lives that force us to stop what we love to do, instead demand us to do things that we need. These past few months I have taken overtime at work that I’ve lost track with my blogging buddies. Often, I go home tired that I can’t even sneak on the web until I took heed lately that my Blog is in hiatus for almost half a year already. I feel sad the moment I counted it on my fingers because my work has taken its toll on me. I never thought I could be as irresponsible as that.

What happened to the simple things, to the simple joys and simple adventures of everyday? I let them pass without even writing them down. I should relive those blithe moments and regain the inspiration to bring this blog back to life…

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July 14, 2012 · 10:41 am

Gone Fishing


Traditional Fishing tools (Push net A.K.A “Agahid” on our dialect)

As I give a steady intent look at the boat tied at a long slender piece of wood ,my excitement suddenly swirled in my mind forming a thought of a soon to be action packed adventure in the sea. Many years had passed since the last time I went to fish together with my peers, who in terms of fishing are experts to be called.

Right after the tide has gone low; I gathered some of Granny’s traditional fishing tools in the boat, packed a sumptuous lunch for two and shoved off towards the sea together with a neighbor friend. As we go along, we see some friends going the same way. I knew from then that there’s something exciting yet to unfold.

The hour has gone so fast and right then and there we approached the large enclosure of bamboo and nets. We call it bamboo pole fishing trap wherein fishes stay for shelter. Fishermen use this as bait to catch more fish.

The adventure began when we started on our push nets, tried hitting it the sea ground, pushed it either to the left or right and lifted it afterwards to see how many fish were caught. A good catch shocked us with awe. There were big and small. Some were strange and some have different colors. The joy of seeing these creatures made us dive into the waters all over again until our basket became full. We signaled to some of our companion in the sea and bade goodbye. It was a long and tiring day but the experience was great.

 Lately I have heard in the news that the Philippines have to import fishes from the neighboring Asian countries such as China and Taiwan. I was quite perturbed about the issue since our country is surrounded by bodies of water which are rich in aquatic biodiversity. Rumors spread that wrong method of fishing such as dynamite fishing is one of the reasons on why Philippines is struggling to meet the domestic demands for aquatic products but the Department of Agriculture is somehow making ways to solve the problem and they believe that massive seaweeds farming is one of the many solution. I hope this issue would be resolved soon.

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Living the simple life


Many years ago, our house was made of bamboo and Nipa just like in the photo but Typhoon Rosing washed it ashore. Memories of it are still embedded on my thoughts. Someday, I’ll build a simple house like of the one we have dwelt in before.

Over the course of time, I have realized how our lives evolved from being simple to intricate. The way we live today is far different to the way we used to live before. The world is now in advance pattern where in technology plays an integral role that if without it, one can be unable to function properly. We’ve grown too reliant on this applied science making us forget the importance of living life conventionally.

Amid these changes, I’m hoping with fingers crossed that no matter how advance the world becomes, there’ll be places which will not be commercialized and altered leaving it natural just like how it existed before.

It’s a great story to tell to your children and grandchildren of tomorrow that once we had lived a not so complicated life. They may not experience it anymore and everything will just be stories of the past. If we care for them, then let’s take care of what’s left. The simple environment of ours today will be a heaven for them tomorrow.

We are too engrossed on how efficient we are living today especially with the use of modern stuff we have but can we go back a little to the basic? Sometimes, the things we yearn to have is indeed the cause of our troubles. Those things are the ones we can live without but since it is hip in our society then we crave and are dying for it. There are so many things we don’t need and yet we desire for it. See? Life is simple but it’s us who complicate it.

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Experience Peace at Tibo Highlands…


Inspired by the Weekly Photo Challenge theme: Peaceful 

Have you ever been to a place where in you’ve experienced a taste of serenity?

I was able to relish a peaceful experience when I went home last Christmas. I was able to savor the beauty of lush green surroundings and the breath of fresh air. Everything just seems so paradisiacal that it gives you the soothing comfort and tranquility whenever you gaze at it.

Tibo,Panganiban Catanduanes,Philippines.

Looking into this endless grassland is like a stress therapy wherein you can breathe out what’s inside of your system, shout all your grievances and sigh harder to release all your blues.

The ever idyllic mountains will provide a relaxing view that you will let yourself be enamored by the solace it brings.

And the ocean just beneath is quite of an eye catcher with its turquoise blue waters that exudes a timeless spirit of peace.

Tibo is a barangay of the Philippine municipality Panganiban (Payo) in the province Catanduanes in Bicol Region which is part of the Luzon group of islands. The municipality Panganiban (Payo) with a population of about 9,290 and its 23 barangays belongs to the partly urban areas in the Philippines

If only time permits then you’ll wish to be here every day to harbor its undying beauty and serenity.

 

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Until Next Time


My mom was busy packing my clothes and as I sat near her I couldn’t stop myself from feeling sad all over. Tomorrow morning I would leave and soon I’ll be bringing some good memories together with me from this short stint vacation.

Though it used to rain during December in my hometown still I pursued to take a visit. The fact that I’ll be with my family is enough reason to go home. Some friends and familiar faces also added extra excitement during my stay.

We have had a terrible outflow of happiness because of the silly moments, beautiful places we’d been and funny trips we’ve indulged with. The tinge of nostalgia is coming all over my nerves and that I hate to say goodbye but since I don’t own the time I say until next time.

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Panganiban and Bagamanoc, Catanduanes,Philippines

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Happy Holidays


photo grabbed from the net…

The blogger is on leave and will be back soon…Merry Christmas and a Happy new Year.

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Christmas Carol


A familiar tune sounded in the distance, seeming to come nearer yet at the same time fading. I gawked through our window searching out to where the tune came from. A group of little children loomed before my eyes as I peek more closely. They wore a timid smile with their faces turning red while blowing the notes of their song. It was cool that these children showed up to uplift my down spirit through their Christmas carols. In unison they sang commonly Christmas jingles, giving out what’s within their small diaphragm. At length they relinquished on their rendition and turned their heads up to me, waiting for the reward as expected. Instantly, I felt myself a shove to get my coins for them since an increasing anticipation was etched on their faces.I have sensed a chill of envy towards these kids who seems to be very ecstatic about the coming of Christmas. Unlike me, despite having a vivid and vibrant environment brought by the Christmas decor in our house and in the neighborhood, still I barely feel the essence of Christmas. It feels that this special day will just pass like the ordinary days I have slept in and woke up to. Why am I feeling such? Where has the excitement gone? I must admit I’m not a kid anymore thus gone are those days when I have to hang stockings. Gone are those days when excitement was about those kids stuff like that of Santa Claus and his gifts. I’m grown up now and that perhaps the reason I’m not so into Christmas. And not as intense as before my anticipation and yearnings towards it has faded. However, despite the poor turn my emotions had taken, I still know what Christmas is all about. In a deeper sense, the reason behind this occasion is something much important than what I am being sad about. After all it’s the birth of Christ that we celebrate and those gifts and other things are just secondary.

A gust of wind curled through my system making me realize how naive I am to still cling on the fancy thoughts as a kid. I then composed myself, picked up my emotional pieces and drew a smile on my face. Not a moment longer, another set of children arrived and started blowing out a tune. The minute I heard them had wonderfully transformed my dull outlook towards Christmas. Well, I was just too late to realize that it is much nicer to play as Santa Claus and make these kids happy than be sad and yearn for things that will never come again at least with this my longings are somehow filled.

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Joy in the Rain


It’s been raining a lot lately that I opted to stay at home and crouched on my bed without doing something productive. I let myself enjoy the music that rain creates and tried watching the silver raindrops that fills the ground. This has been my aid not to crave so much of going out with my friends. At least with this, I wouldn’t have to spend a single penny to pay for the gig. Good thing that this wet season became my excuse for some of my trivial activities scheduled for this month. Actually, I have been waiting for this shift of weather since I was in a long phase of hot and humid ambiance these past few months and not only that I’ve been missing also the joy of playing in the rain. Yes, just like any kid who loves splashing and getting wet, I also anticipate the coming of rainy days.

Rainy days bring back the kid in me…

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Keeping the spirit of volunteerism alive…


Last Saturday morning I received a text message from my professor inviting me to join an outreach program for the homeless people of Dr. Jose Rizal, Majada Canlubang Laguna. I felt ecstatic about the idea since I have never indulged myself doing some charitable works before so I sent my confirmation and set my mind for the project. Sunday morning is the actual event and seven o’clock is the call up time. I woke up early, fixed my things and headed towards the meeting place. From there I met my fellow alumni, trainees and some of my Professors. That morning serves as our reunion and the time to refresh the sticky bond we once had. After that we have eaten our breakfast and gear up to the location.

Dr. Jose Rizal, Majada Canlubang, Laguna

My heart is pounding while we’re on our way towards the relocation site because on every corner I can see how impoverished the people are especially those who live in tent. I could feel that they’re lacking of comfort and that they actually need help. Good thing that Gawad Kalinga (GK)-Dualtech “Bayanihan” project is purposely organized to help these people and I am fortunate enough to be a part of it.

Dualtech Alumni and trainees helping to build houses for the residents of Majada, Canlubang Laguna.

The activity is quite different from other outreach programs that usually dole out some goods and even money. What we’ve done is we catered our service through our strength, hard works and enthusiasm to help build a much comfortable houses for the less fortunate ones. We put our effort on hands by performing physical labor for digging holes and shoveling. We also did manual labors such as lifting cements and carrying sacks of sand and we even helped in wiring installation. The job is pretty tough as our hands sore because of the constant irritation we get from the shovel as we dig manholes but it is nothing compared to the sufferings that our beneficiary is encountering day in, day out.


An outpouring passion that flare-up from my fellow Alumni and so with the trainees kept me motivated to continue my tasks though it is physically tiring. Looking at them makes me inspired to unleash more energy from my system. I knew they were tired also but for the spirit of helping I have never heard them sigh.

Gawad Gawad Kalinga (GK ) “Bayanihan” in Dr. Jose Rizal, Majada Canlubang, laguna was a project of Dualtech Center my Alma mater.

There’s nothing more rewarding than to offer a service to the less fortunate people. Seeing them happy even with a little effort you’ve done to them is really heartwarming. I believe this is one of a kind experience that I’ll forever be proud of.

Dualtech Alumni and trainees together with the Professors and the residents of Majada out.

The priceless smile that was painted over the faces of these people was the prize we’ve got for the volunteerism we offered. We may not fill all their needs for their living at least the burden they’re carrying was lighten through our small efforts.

A sponsored post by Dualtech Training Center.

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Bygones…


I sat around the corner of my room and grabbed the radio on my side, turned it on and tuned to some old songs. I felt a soothing sensation when the sweet melody started blowing into my ears and I find out that my mind has turned to dreaming, remembering old moments from the past.

I don’t know why”The old songs “by David Pomeranz keeps me weepy whenever I hear it. It brings a lot of memories to me especially when I was a kid. The lyric is for lovers but I have a different interpretation of it maybe because of its sentimental harmony that I connote it with my childhood experiences way, way back. This song caused me to figure out the transition of my life, from my childhood, to the High School and College life and even up to the present.

I wanted to go back from that certain point of time when I’m still naive and innocent…

I wanted to go back from that certain point of time when I’m still naive and innocent…

 

As a child growing up in a small town in the province of  Catanduanes ,I was accustomed to so many beautiful things such as the culture and the pristine surroundings  thus I may say that the place where I grew up has a big contribution to what I call a happy childhood. As far as I could remember we own every rice fields, creeks and even mountains as our playground. No one will tell you not to step on it because someone owns it. It’s ours and we can play whenever we wanted to. No wonder why I have so many scars on my legs, feet and even on my body. All of that are living proof on how I have enjoyed being a kid on a countless summer and rainy days.

 

Me and my High School classmates..

I was this typical student who’s like the others that go with the flow. I’m a dead fish back then. I never had the guts to show what I really have and what I can do. I’m not good in academics or anything and I really hated mathematics. Math is my fear, my greatest fear. Often I would sit far from my teacher to avoid my name to be called and If by chance I get spotted then I’ll just succumb to embarrassment and let my classmates laugh at me and I’ll laugh at myself too. I envied my seatmate because she’s good at the subject that out of her pity, she would open her test-paper and let me gawk at it during exam .I pitied myself for being slow that  sometimes I ask God why He’d let me suffer that fate.

 

My class adviser once told me that I’m good in English because she has read my essays and saw a potential in me being a writer someday. I chuckled with my ears clapping as if I can’t believe with what I heard from her. That’s impossible I said because even my English teacher just gave me 86 as my final grade and I don’t think that’s good enough.         Now I consider myself as a self-proclaimed writer and no one can object that…hehehe

 

I get to know what love and heartache is. I get to know the real meaning and value of friendship and most of all I was able to unearth life’s beautiful journey through this stage.   I miss my friends in High School. I miss the feeling of having a crush. I miss the terror teachers. I miss mathematics and the fear it gives to me. I miss doing home works and most of all I miss the recess.

 

 During my college years..

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I became more mature the day I stepped into College. It seems everything is a preparation for my future. I learned the value of discipline and so with the hard-works. Looking back to the years I spent in our institution caused me to feel quite nostalgic. Memories of my struggles are still fresh and often recurring constantly reminding me on how fortunate I am that I was able to surpass the challenges brought by the tough system of the College I was in. It has a strict implementation of policies which quite frankly became the hardest challenge for me. It has a semblance of a Military school where in everyone is obliged to conform to the set of laws. It’s funny back then on how I hated the so-called Merit/Demerit system in which students are being punished through the deduction of points whenever they failed to comply with the rules especially in observing punctuality. Loitering and littering are also considered as crimes and even  spitting and slouching which you think are just simple acts also have corresponding penalties. Taking a nap during break-time is prohibited and once you get caught be ready for the sanctions. Many a times I would check on my haircut if it’s within the standard and so with my mustache and beards if it is properly trimmed because grooming is a part of maturity. It’s an order for us to look mature and professional and being professional is acting as if you’re responsible with your moves at all times that’s why horse playing and unnecessary actions inside the campus is absolutely in contradiction with our code of conduct. Admittedly, I find it really hard to act upon these rules that I often complain and grumble but little did I know that if not  because of these strict orders  I wouldn’t be able to hone my discipline.  Truly, there are certain things in life that seems difficult at times but becomes valuable in the future.

Me and my work mates…

As the song ends I realized how I have traveled back in time. Old songs really can bring back the old times…

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The old man


It rained heavily and on my way home, floods have dominated the streets that caused me to spend my remaining money for the fare to ride a vehicle. I have three choices then, first is to ride a Jeep, the second one is to ride a tricycle and lastly is to ride a cycle rickshaw or commonly called as Pedicabs. Among the three choices, riding a Pedicab is the most convenient of them all. The fare is not that expensive and the drop off point is straight to our house. Though it’s not as fast as the jeep and tricycle still I opted to ride on it since I am not in a hurry. I ambled towards the parking lot and there I found this kind of vehicle in a queue. I was so surprised to learn who’s in the first line to cater the service. Guess who? A frail and hunched seventy year old man whose face has mostly been hidden by wrinkles and I could tell that he is already physically weak. But what the heck, that old man is there? That was the question that perturbs my mind while deciding if I’ll take the ride or not. For a little moment I was in a hiatus until he persuaded me to go inside. I don’t know if he can manage to stamp his feet on the pedal just to get fifteen pesos for the fare. I am really a hesitant then but on my pity I decided to take the ride. He seems to be in dire need of money.

While on our way, I can feel his cold breath as he stamps his feet on the pedal through the potholes on the road. It feels that I am torturing him.

Asking him once in a while if he’s still okay has been my way of comforting my guilt. The old man would reply in a seemingly fine and untroubled voice, telling me not to mind him.

When I gazed upon the cornerstone near our street I finally decided to end his suffering and let him take a halt. I jumped out and handed him my fare. From his face lies a priceless smile, a smile only payable by a kind gesture and not by any material bliss.

There has been an ongoing debate about the retirement age of Government employees here in the Philippines whether to give them a choice to retire at the age of sixty or sixty-five. Some wanted to extend their service and some wanted to rest and savor their remaining time thus I personally believe that they should be given that choice.

I am praying with fingers crossed, hoping that our Government would also look up  on the situation of the poor old man I encountered on that fateful night. He doesn’t have a choice and I wish people like him may also be given a choice.

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Looking for a Part-time job?


Taho a Philippine snack food made of fresh soft/silken tofu, arnibal (brown sugar and vanilla syrup), and pearl sago (similar to pearl tapioca).[2] This staple comfort food is a signature sweet and can be found all over the country. The Indonesian and Malaysian equivalent of this snack is tauhue.(source Wikipedia)

Balut is a fertilized duck embryo that is boiled alive and eaten in the shell. (Source Wikipedia)

Perhaps I have the best work schedule any man would be envy of. I am working 4-3/3-4 every week which means 4 days of duty and 3 days of rest and vice versa. Having an ample time to relax I have come to think of doing an extra activity that will let me earn sort of income. The first thing that hit my mind is indulging into an online job but that requires a long time, for me to get the results of my efforts and it’ll just cost a very little fee.

My quest for a part-time job hunt don’t end with that and consulting the internet again is still an option. I have thrown myself to the web and I am too engrossed searching but nothing came out to satisfy what job I am looking for. I think there are little and very rare opportunities for the part-time job seekers here in the Philippines. I sighed in disappointment until one of my friends suggested a thing jokingly which up to now is still being discerned by my psyche. She has actually two suggestions which I think is considerably possible and a way smarter than the jobs being offered in the internet.

At first I burst out laughing with the idea of Taho vending until I got the real thought that my friend has tried to imply from the moment she said that idea. Fresh “Taho” is being sold in the morning and quick money is at hand after selling this product either house to house or street by street. Guts and a persuading voice is the main capital for this job. I ended up agreeing with her since I totally got her point.

If Taho vending is for the morning shift, selling Balut is then for the night shift. What a great idea, Right? I can do both tasks during my idle days. So the scheme would be “Taho” vending in the morning, rest from lunch up to noon and selling “Balut” at night. The result would be very productive only if I’m going to try. My friend’s idea is a brilliant one and I commend her for that but I think I’m lacking the guts and as saying goes…

“No guts, No glory”. How about you? Would you dare?

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Happy Grandparents Day


I feel cold

Can you lend me your blanket for a good sleep?

I am hungry

Can you share your food to warm my stomach?

I am tired

Can you help me carry some of my burdens?

I miss home

Can you please guide me back?

It’s my day today

Do you still remember?

It’s my day today

Would you care greeting me “Happy Grandparents Day”?

I was surprised by a single text message which I received from a friend reminding me to greet my Grandparents today since it’s their special day. I am not keen when it comes to celebrating stuff like that thus I consider it as a usual day. A moment later I was driven by my conscience to forward that simple message to my Mom ordering her to tell it to my Grandma and Grandpa at the house since I’m away from them. The surge of guilt that rushed towards my veins flowed continuously when I stumbled upon this photo(The old woman).I am blessed that my Grandparents are not in the same scenario and that alone is something  to be grateful about.

If you haven’t greeted your Grandparents yet, greet them now and express your feelings and thoughts about them. Tell them how special they are. Life is so short. Tomorrow they might be gone…

To all my friends here at Word Press I ‘m greeting you and your Grandparents a HAPPY GRANDPARENTS DAY.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Path


"Tarahid" San Pedro st.Panganiban,Catanduanes

When I was in High school I used to walk this path briskly so I could catch our flag ceremony. No wonder why my shoes were easily worn out. Back and forth I should have to march this aisle, though tiring still I need to pursue. Thanks for my neighbors who happened to be my classmates who turned the burden of walking into a beautiful road journey.

I miss them, I miss this road and the adventure enclosed with it.

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