Monday, December 28, 2009

Maligayang Bagong Taon!

New Year's eve celebration in the Philippines is quite different compared to other countries. We literally start the year with a bang!

Just a few days before New Year's eve, you will see lots of vendors selling different kinds of firecrakers. Actually, despite of the yearly ban on firecrackers (because of a number of accidents caused by firecrackers and pyrotechnic devices that have resulted in the loss of lives, limbs and properties), still many Filipinos see lighting of firecrackers as the traditional means to greet and celebrate the New Year eve.

December 31 is usually an unofficial public holiday in the Philippines, so we can prepare for the New Year eve celebration. It is a busy day for all families, me included, as I prepare food for the media noche. Most people are rushing in to buy firecrackers in preparation for the night celebration.

This is the time of the year when children have a good time blowing their plastic toy trumpets we called “torotot”. We create as much noise as possible to drive away bad spirit. Trumpets come in different shapes and sizes, colors and designs. I prefer this than buying fire crackers.

Children also enjoy stamping on their "watusi" - a kind of small firecracker that when rubbed against a rough surface and released, crackles into a little sparkwork.

At the strike of 12:00 midnight, the noise becomes defeaning, churchbells rings and firecrackers rules the sky. Adults and kids alike stood gaping in awe as we see the different firecrackers, blooming in the sky. The banging and booming rise to a climax which includes clanging of old pots and pans, jeeps, cars or motorcycle blowing their horns, ambulance sirens for full one minute at the countdown to New Year.

The loud noises and sounds of merrymaking are not only meant to celebrate the coming of the New Year but are also supposed to drive away bad spirits.

Around 12:15 am, the noise stops and the air is filled with human voices and the family starts to eat a thanksgiving feast called Media Noche, it is believe that we should put as much food on the table so that next year we will have food all year round. Twelve round fruits should be on the table as it is a sign of prosperity for the next twelve months. There is also a midnight mass celebration to welcome the New Year and to thank God for all His blessings.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Boom! Bang! Kabloom!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A day before Xmas.

Christmas is forever, not for just one day,
for loving, sharing, giving, are not to put away
like bells and lights and tinsel, in some box upon a shelf.
The good you do for others is good you do yourself...

Just want to greet everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! I hope everyone will find Christmas in their heart and not under their Christmas trees, and since we grow tender with childhood memories of our Christmas, let us all become a child again at this time of the year. Have lots of laughs, ok?

Oh well even as an adult, I find it hard to sleep on Christmas eve, I guess yuletide excitement is a potent caffeine whatever our age is...

Have fun, everyone!!!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

25 things about me.

I have been tagged by Randy of Chicken Boys and I promised him I am going to do this meme as soon as I find the time. So here it is.

1. Name someone with the same birthday as you.
There's Giorgio Armani, Yul Brynner and Leon Spinks to name a few.

2. Where was your first kiss?
Hmm... at the public plaza. But it was dark and I was a clumsy 15 year old.

3. Have you ever seriously vandalized someone else's property?
Never did.

4. Have you ever hit someone of the opposite sex?
Yes, my classmate in elementary because he was very annoying.

5. Have ever sung in front of a large number of people?
Many times because I always join the school choral contest, and also because I am a choir member in our church. I sing in karaoke with few friends but never in front of many.

6. What's the first thing you notice about your preferred sex?
The eyes and their smile...and then my gaze would wander a bit.

7. What really turns you off?
Body odor!

8. What do you order at Starbucks?
Frappucino but it has been a while since I have tasted that stuff.

9. What is your biggest mistake?
Whatever mistakes I made also strenghten me as a person so I guess it's a process I have to go through.

10. Have you ever hurt yourself on purpose?
No. I am so scared of blood that I if I accidentally cut myself I would cry.

11. Say something totally random about yourself.
I am a sucker for sentiments. I cry just watching peoples wishes become a reality.

12. Has anyone ever said you looked like a celebrity?
Yeah, a few times. But a local celebrity you may not be familiar with, so next question please.

13. Do you still watch kiddie movies or TV shows?
Yes! I would watch it with my kids or alone.

14. Did you have braces?

15. Are you comfortable with your heights?
I am not. I wish I am two inches taller.

16. What is the most romantic thing someone of the preferred sex has done for you?
When he sent me a bracelet that he designed himself. I think that was pretty romantic because it's one of a kind and was made especially for me.

17. When do you know its love?
When i just can't stop thinking about him.

18. Do you speak any other language?
I can speak three native language. But only one foreign language (English).

19. Have you ever been to a tanning salon?

20. Have you ever ridden a limo?

21. What’s something that really annoys you?
People arriving home at 2am and make noises as if its 12 noon.

22. What’s something you really like?
I like to walk bare foot along the beach and feel the cool breeze touching my cheeks.

23. Have you ever been rushed by an ambulance into the emergency room?

24. Can you dance?
Yes, but I am not good at it.

25. What is your favorite breakfast food?
Sorry, I don't eat breakfast.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Deal or no deal?

On his previous blog, Sid had mentioned about a bad behavior that a fellow member of his club had demonstrated. Also, Kirst had told us about a loud mouthed pregnant lady airing her complaint in the hospital corridor, and Amy, talks about that nasty lady spewing invectives to Steven. These stories kind of made me think. I wonder how I would react when confronted with such behavior in public.

I know that bad behavior is something we should not tolerate. But why is it that as we grow older, we end up tolerating it more and more? It also seems that behaving badly in public has become a normal behavior. I noticed that many people aren’t concerned anymore about other people’s feelings. Are we living in an age where saying what is on our mind is priority over any harm that it might do?

Sid had reacted to the public display of bad behavior by not accepting it. He spoke out and told this quarreling couple to stop. I think that is wise. Too many of us let bad behavior go because we don't want to rock the boat. I think this is a right time that we should rock the boat and rock it hard. It is not okay to behave badly no matter who you are.

I also think however, that Kirst did the right thing when she decided to walk away. We all have the power to walk away from bad behavior when it arises. We just have to learn to let go. If we don't have control over anything in the situation, then we better leave it behind and move on to something that we have control over. We can not control what other people do, but we can control what we will do about it. I think we will feel much better in the end if we don't let bad behavior into our life.

As an individual we should learn how to act properly. Bad behavior from other people is not our concern unless it is one of our children. I believe we should not take on the responsibility of other people’s behavior. It is enough that we keep track of our own behavior. Leave out what isn't ours.

Tsk, tsk tsk! Too bad that bad behavior is on the rise. Even superstar athletes are behaving badly, maybe because they thought they won’t have to pay for its consequences, although Tiger’s endorsements are now starting to back out. Hmmm..., I should then make the consequence concise and clear for my kids. And I should worry about how I behave rather than how others behave.

Pretty soon, it just may catch on.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Christmas meme.

I had read this wonderful Christmas meme from Julie and I asked her if I could also put this on my blog. She readily agrees as she said it's a fun way to get to know someone. So here it is and I wish you would also share with me your answers to these questions below.

1. Have you started your Christmas shopping?

No, I have not. But I don't have a long list and besides, I only purchase presents for the immediate family so I don’t have to worry about taking too much time.

2. Tell me about one of your special traditions.

We would all go to church to attend the midnight mass. Upon retuning home we would feast on our Noche Buena. Everyone is awake to partake on the table's fare and we stayed up all night exchanging banters and opening our present as it's nicer to open gifts at night when all the Xmas lights are on. If I am in the province with my folks, we would play majong( chinese bricks) till morning.

3. Are you a Black Friday shopper?

What is Black Friday? I shop if I have money, no matter what day it is!

4. When do you put up your tree?

At my old house, I would put up my Xmas tree a week after All Saints day, which is November 8. Yes, I like to spruce up the house early to enjoy the spirit of the holiday season longer. I don't have a tree in the apartment I am staying now because of space concern. I have a nativity though.

5. Do you travel at Christmas or stay home?

When the kids were in the province, I would travel there to spend Xmas and New year with them. I have to book a flight as early as October to get a discounted fare. Now that they are here, we just stay home as we don't have relatives here to visit during the holiday.

6. What is your funniest Christmas memory?

I don't remember a particular funny one. But I like spending Christmas in the country with my folks because the sheer number of people gathered there add to the festivity. It is heart warming to be among the people you care about during this time of the year.

7. What is your favorite Christmas movie of all time?

Does "Love Actually" counts? That movie takes place around Christmas.

8. Do you do your own Christmas baking, what’s your favorite treat?

I don't know how to bake. Haven't learned the craft so I always buy pastries. But I do know how to make a Mango Float with graham crackers which my kids love a lot.

9. Fake or Real Tree?

We always use a fake tree that I owned for like over ten years. I only add new things to hang there or changes the theme color depending on what I fancy.

10. What day (as a mom) does the actual panic set in to get it all done?

I never panic. There is not much to prepare as my kids aren't picky. They eat whatever is laid on the table and accept whatever gifts I gave them.

11. Are you still wrapping presents on Christmas Eve?

No way! If someone come and I don't have a gift ready to hand over, I can always give cash which is more appreciated as they can use to buy it whatever they want.

12. What is your favorite family fun time at Christmas?

I love it when after enjoying our food and opening the gifts, we would just gather around the couch and watch a movie.

13. What Christmas craft do you like the best?

I particularly like the Christmas lantern like the photo above. I like the way the lights changes and the way they seem to dance from the distance. We call our lantern - parol.

14. Christmas music. Yes or No, and if yes what is your favorite song?

Definitely, yes. Christmas songs for some reason make me sad. But I still like to listen to the haunting rendition of I'm Dreaming of a white Christmas. I don't like Jingle Bells because it's kind of irritating.

15. When do you plan to finish all your shopping?

I haven't even started shopping yet! Maybe as soon as I have the money to shop.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

When laughter rolls through...

There is always something special about someone who knows how to make me laugh. I always like a guy with whom I can share a few inside jokes, and it is just amazing how well two people understand each other.

I think aside from compatibility and understanding, laughing at life's quirks and follies is a good way to go through the day. I believe that two people who laugh together deals with life in a healthier manner, than those who sit in forlorn silence. Besides, laughing can also serve as a double-bonding thing: not only does getting through tough times bring two people together, the laughter will also help them become even closer.

As one who believes that we should laugh maniacally at life, I cannot imagine a good relationship without laughter. There is no better feeling than someone knowing how to make me smile, especially since I have a difficult sense of humor. To me humor is vital to life and to love.

You know there are times when I could be cranky and difficult about something (especially when I am PMSing) and I would wish someone would jolly me out of it with some humorous remark. It's pretty hard to stay in a bad mood and I want a partner who can make me laugh at myself. I believe that the experience of sharing humor with my mate about my own idiosyncrasies and childish behavior would strengthen and reinforce the bond. .

In my home, there is always a lot of banter between me and my kids and a great deal of humor related to things our three cats do. We often comment that our cats bring us their own very special form of therapy. Sharing humor with the boys related to our four-legged family member undoubtedly helps to keep me upbeat about life - when otherwise I could be worn down by considerable stress. It's great that my boys has wit and are a natural comedian. Of course I am glad that (fill in the blank) constantly lightens and brightens my day with his hilarious comments.

Is your partner just as goofy? Do you laugh together too?

Monday, December 7, 2009

Gone no more.

Inee, is a one year old kitten and is among the first litter born from my older cat Stray. She is a calico cat with the most snobbish personality. She doesn’t like to be touched by the boys, but would snuggle close to me and would allow me to pet her. She follows me in the house wherever I go, and I like to scoop her up and cradle her in my arms.

When it’s nap time, you will find her sleeping in my bed or in the stairway next to my bedroom. When it’s playtime she likes to harass her mother and her younger brother Loki.

Inee is an indoor kitten and doesn’t normally dash out of the door whenever the kids leave for school. But last Sunday when I woke up and was putting food on their plate, only Stray and Loki came. She normally was the first one to run towards the kitchen, and that’s when I realized that she is gone. I looked through the entire house to no avail. I started looking outside, no luck.

Then I remember that Benjie had mention the other night that he wants to bring Keisha home to visit me, but that he worries the cat fur may give her an allergy. Maybe he took Inee with her and let her loose somewhere hoping she won’t find her way home. I was torn between my desire to see my grand daughter and my beloved kitty. I know Inee is somewhere close by. I think she is hiding and scared. With several dogs and neighborhood cats around, there are plenty to scare the little feline in the big bad world of the unknown.

I have been watching Stray and Loki the whole day. They both sat at the window for hours when they noticed that Inee had been missing. Loki has been watching the front window as though it was a vigil. I think the cats feel my woe. When they are not by the living room window, they hide in my bedroom on my bed or they come to me and purr loud as they can. I feel that Inee being gone has affected not just me, but them as well.

Then, yesterday when I come home from work, she is there!!! My kitten finds her way home! I am so glad to see her, and she hasn’t stopped purring since she came back through the door. I am so glad my kitten has the ability to find her way back home even when left alone in an unfamiliar territory.

I know Benjie won’t be pleased. And even if my son will try it again, I am certain now that Inee will come home again and again.

Let’s see who will eventually give up this game...

Thursday, December 3, 2009

I believe.

Is it possible that our thoughts are guiding our destiny?

Why do you think no two people ever experience the exact same thing along with the exact same details? Think about it, no other person, living or deceased, had or will, experience the things I have experienced, nor the things I have yet to go through. Sure, other people may have or will experience strikingly similar events, but none exactly the same down to the most minute details. So why is this so?

Simple. Because we are controlling our own lives and the events we experience without even realizing it. It is no secret that the mind is a powerful tool. Hence we attract the things we think most about and with greatest intensity.

Our thoughts become events or things. If we look carefully at all that is around us, we will know that they had happened in our life as a result of how we have thought about our life, and our belief about it all. Yes we may want to have a great amount of money, or happiness and may think about obtaining it. But if our belief system centers around feeling undeserving, that we will never have what we want, or that there will never be enough, then our bank account or life will reflect those thoughts. If lack and limitation is what our focus is, lack and limitation is what will manifest in our life.

Knowing that likes attracts like, I have tried to think of positive thoughts. Of things I desire and I truly believe that I will have it - in due time. Everything in this world has a natural development time, and this fact will not change no matter what resources I will throw at it. Being part of the universe, I am also governed by the laws of the universe, and I cannot change the natural development of time.

But I am patient. I believe, that I will eventually get what I want.

How about you? What are you most passionate about? Do you believe you will have it too?

Monday, November 30, 2009


Do you like to scan through a women’s magazine like Vogue, Elle and the likes? Or watch a Victoria’s Secret fashion show in Lifestyle channel? I do!

Not that I desire to buy one of those snazzy clothings/undergarments whose wash tag is larger than the garment itself, but I just love seeing women with legs without a dreaded cellulite, breasts that are large and perky and a stomach that looks like a freakin’ washboard. I also like to see smoldering eyes and pouting lips staring back at me from these magazine pages.

I know I shouldn’t have, because looking at those beauty goddesses only point out what's lacking in me. In fact, I haven't looked over my shoulder in years because I already know what's back there (ignorance can be bliss). Many times I lift my arms to see where my breast were ten years ago. I also know which stretch mark belong to each of my three kids.

Sometimes when I open a fashion magazine, and see that glossy cover with some blonde babe in her oh so chic pose on it, it sparks on sadness stirred up with a feeling of a pipe dream. I know I am never going to look that good. But I don’t wish for a miracle bra, and that high-cut thong looks uncomfortable. What a nightmare to wear those!

But I still love looking at new fashion trends, even when I know I won’t be buying any of them. Besides the pretty models are a feast for the eyes. However, I believe that no matter how much money a woman invests in herself to look 'beautiful' if she doesn't feel good about herself nothing will change.

Well it is a shame that how smart a person is and what her mind is able to do, does not have a picture to justify its beauty.

Or am I just sour-graping?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Heartless beast.

Fifty seven people dead. Not three or five...and the election have not even started yet.

This shocked everyone, including the international media because of the unbelievable scale of atrocity. This is so far the worst outbreak of electoral violence, the worst loss of life in journalism history.

I shiver with horror watching the news last night when I saw vehicles clustered together in a partly grassy area, as though someone had decided it was the perfect place to park for a picnic. But the doors are ajar, and on the ground, just outside the vans and the SUVs, in the clear sunlight, lie the bloodied bodies of several victims. They look like they never stood a chance. Of course, they never did!

Unarmed women was sent by a candidate who desire to contest the governorship of Maguindanao in next year's election. He opted not to file it himself to avoid stirring trouble or adding to the political tension, thinking that only a maddened beast or an untouchable could have killed unarmed women, lawyers and journalists in broad daylight. But he was wrong.

The picture shocked many into realization - that the men who did the killing, and the men who ordered it, could only have been either beasts or gods.

The sheer brutality of the mass murder, the gross shamelessness of it, only show the sign of an unreasoning animal or a conscienceless warlord who can break human laws because he is a law unto himself. Shame, shame, shame!

The picture beg for description...I am at loss for word.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Is he?

So, People's magazine had chosen the sexiest man for this year, and it's none other than - Johnny Depp.

I always wonder how they come up with an ultimate winner. It would seem that most of the past winners have been actors/celebrities. I would still argue though that beauty is in the eye of the beholder (a saying, that has been toss around for decade and holds true). Also I believe that there are many who deserve a fair shot at the title.

Since I will never likely meet all the men in the planet to assess their sexiness, and also because sexiness is very subjective, let me just write then what makes a man sexy in my book.

- A man who is sure of himself without the arrogance is sexy.
- A loving person who doesn't have qualms expressing his feelings and know how to love a woman including her faults, fears and failures.
- A good look that exudes from the inside out.
- A man who knows that he is not perfect and has faults and owns it.
- Someone who is devoted and loyal.

Short lists, but that's all I want from my man. Now if you disagree with me , I have three words for you - Captain Jack Sparrow!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A shocker.

Every mother and father of a teenager, is terrified of the word, "pregnant". I am no exception. It is amazing how one little word, can change my life in such a big way! It doesn't matter that my teenage child is a boy, it has the same reaction for me.

Even though I know and trust my son completely, that word, that one little word....changes everything for a lifetime, his life specifically. Oh darn, how one brief moment of pleasure, can make or break his future!

No matter how many times we discussed sex with our kids; no matter how often teenage pregnancy was talked about; no matter how much dialogue we had about contraceptives, we would never expect to hear, the word pregnant to come from their mouth. Or at least I hope and pray that I won't hear it.

All of these runs through my mind, in a matter of seconds; long, agonizing seconds.

All my son did was open his mouth and those words came out.

"Mom, I need to talk to you. I want to tell you that Jess is pregnant."

I couldn't breathe, the world stopped. I was dizzy and nauseated.

Yes Tracey, I am officially a grandmother now. My son's girlfriend gave birth to a bouncing baby girl whom they called Akeisha.

I have to let this sink in first....

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Thanks, Tarsem...

My good friend Tarsem, sent me this today. This made me so happy that I just want to talk about him in this post.

He is an Indian journalist in the city of Ludhiana near Delhi, and he had received awards and recognition for his write-ups against corruption in government. Of course, I am aware of the risk involve in his job as I have seen movies and videos of journalist being shot dead, or being threatened to be killed. But like most other journalist, he continue to write in his paper because he enjoys the work.

I have high regards for journalist, because when I watch the news I sometime wonder if a reporter was going too far in his effort to find the truth, like those journalist covering the war in Iraq. My god, they may get shot at in a crossfire! These people have to travel into the war zones to report a unique story and maybe in the process change their professional life. This is a reason why many of them choose the battlefield to get an exciting story.

Tarsem's job may not be as risky, but just the same he faces risk everyday from society. As a journalist, he sometimes have to give his own opinion about things. And since we live in a dishonest world, telling the truth can be a very dangerous thing. He knew that people in his city may not agree with what he have to say and that might pose a threat to his life.

Also, this guy has become too busy in his career that he sometime has no time for his family and friends. Damn, sometimes, he even has to skip a meal just to cover an event! But as he always tells me, it is the duty of the journalist to give us news, information, opinions and events. Without the wonderful but dangerous work that journalist does, life would be poorer for most of us.

That is him above in a news article, doing some undercover work. Oh, he also has a blog and you can check from my blog list its Live Punjab.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Making history.

Yesterday, every Filipino, me included, were glued on the television set to watch our Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao cement his place in boxing history.

Early in the year, he make Oscar De La Hoya surrender during the match, by giving him such a beating that he retired. He followed that by knocking Ricky Hatton stiff in the second round with a left hand that left the Englishman thinking about his mortality. And then yesterday, he put on six more pounds to fight the supposedly bigger and harder punching Cotto.

No fighter had ever won titles in seven different weight classes, and no fighter in recent times has had the kind of year he has. He wrapped it up not only by stopping a game but outclassed his opponent Miguel Cotto 55 seconds into the 12th round of their welterweight title fight.

“Just look out for his left hand,” Cotto’s trainer, told his fighter. “It’s all he’s got.”

Bad advice. Less than a minute into the third round, it was a right hand from our boxer that put Cotto down for the first time. He was up quickly but then late into the fourth round Pacman threw a huge left hand as Cotto was moving forward and dropped him for the second time. He was never the same after that as Pacquiao relentlessly throw punches that sent blood flowing down Cotto’s face, staining his white trunks pink. In fact his wife and young son got up from their ringside seats on the 9th round and left the arena, unable to watch any further.

He is fighting deity...and no one would argue on that. Mabuhay and Pilipino!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Not so real reality.

I know AA will bash me for writing about this. But I had watched the Amazing Race the other night, and the show still interest me. Yes, I am aware that reality shows took off like wildfire with the introduction of Survivor. Soon after every television station has its own reality show of sorts! But we all know that the reality of it is, it is not that real.

Even Survivor is a semi–scripted show with a lot of guidelines and boundaries. So those of you with vicious carnal desire to see people being eaten up by tigers or lions and piranhas will just have to wait until someone add some “reality” to “reality tv”.

Our prime time tv is flooded with what they call "reality show". There is Parental Control where parents choose a guy or a girl for their sons and daughters to date because they don’t like her present boyfriend or girlfriend. There is Date your Mom, where the guy date the mothers and in turn she kinda pimp her daughter to win the guy over. There is also a show about an average guy who wants to date a super model. Or women competing to marry a guy whom they thought is rich, but is actually just a construction worker. And many more where I think writers took every variation in the theme of banality. And they are still coming up with asinine show idea – The Beauty and the Geek, The Biggest Loser, The Apprentice, Big Brother, to name a few.

American Idol on the other hand focuses strictly on singing. It calls upon the mass turn out of every shower diva in the country. In one sense, it brings out America's best, but on the other hand, it brings out America's worst. The show emphasizes the fact that, not only are they looking for a good, strong singer and performer, but they are also looking at style and appearance. And with the candidness that defines the show, the bad singers and people who don't fit the image are booted. This actually may be the closest thing to reality that reality TV gets.

But I also noticed that people have had enough of reality show because now there seems to be a continuous stream of game shows. Between Deal or No Deal, 1 vs. 100, and Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?, prime time game shows are making a comeback!

Are public viewer already tired of the reality show genre? Maybe they have gotten used to reality TV and now the hype is gone, but the writers are still writing as if we still need more. It's like eating our grandmother's special recipe. The first helping was good, but the 10th makes you sick. The ideas are becoming exhausted and frankly are reaching the bottom of the barrel.

But wait...when will the new AI start? Can’t wait to see Ellen D among the judges and hear her funny remarks. I am pretty sure I will watch the next episode of AR on Monday to see who get eliminated.

AA, I am sorry but I'm taking the best seat to watch it. You can go pull your thinning hair, hahaha!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Going ga ga over Xmas gifts..

Time flies real fast, no? Only a few days away and its Christmas and that mean another problem for me. Should I put everybody I know in my Christmas shopping list? Even those I just kinda forget about? I mean I don’t really ignore them, but not putting them in my list just make me a bit negligent right? And how about the people I don’t generally talk to outside of the months that end in -ber? I mean, not minding them during Xmas as I do the rest of the year. See where I am going?

I can not sew beautiful crafts or create special items that I can give for Xmas like Tracey, but fortunately there are hundreds of billions of mall and bazaar stalls in Metro Manila and hundreds of billions of stalls mean a gazillion billion items, many of which prominently display what has come to be known as the “humbug gift”.

The top two items that come to mind are:

Bookmarks with Zodiac signs. Ok, help me on this one. If I get two of each signs, then I got 24 people down. I should be safe with that right? Unless the people I have been avoiding are all Taurus in which case there is clearly some karmic force at work in my life and Christmas shopping is probably the least of my worries.

Mugs! I just love this as everbody’s gotta drink, right? If I can get a good discount for bulk purchases, you think I should go for it? Yeah, so what if they have names like Johnny or Mario? I am sure I am bound to know somebody named Johnny or Mario who drinks coffee – if I don’t yet, then I will. I still have 44 days to go to find one.

Of course there are some people who despite the relative anonymity in my life still deserve a personal touch. Cases like this I think requires a teddy bear. With those deep little soulful eyes, I think a teddy bear will always make somebody go “awww” even if they already have loads of teddy bears that made them go “awww”. Whad ‘ya think?

And thank goodness for bars of soap and candles – and the fact that they populate almost every single commercial enterprise in all mankind. Small, simple and when it comes right down to it, practical. Hey, everybody needs soap. Yes, even if the bar of soap got snack food like oatmeal and granola in it. It is still soap and is good for cleaning things!

The candles though I’m not so sure. I try to think what their purpose could be outside of the odd blackout, or romantic evening now and then, but I do still think they make nice gifts. Despite the fact that they’re next to useless, they are very pretty.

Hmmm... that should be enough to cover most anybody. But there is still a single safest Xmas gift that I can think of, whether I am in speaking term with the person or not – “Our Daily Bread”. This little booklet contains “food for thought” something many people suddenly start hankering for around this time of the year. And even if they’re not, I am sure nobody will ever bash me for sharing biblical wisdom on Christmas…even agnostics and atheist won’t take it too badly. Only a devout non-Christians are going to think me a tad insensitive.

Now, aren't you glad you are not in my Xmas shopping list?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Let us rally behind her.

A comment on my previous post about gang rape had touch a very sensitive chord. First, because I realized that such a crime can happen to anyone, even to well behaved girls. And second, because she is a friend.

From her narration, I could surmised that rape is a crime that often victimize its survivors twice: first in the perpetration of the crime, and second in the resulting investigation.

We all know that when a person is mugged or robbed, he or she usually doesn't think twice about going to the police to report the crime and try to exact justice upon the perpetrator. However, victims of rape are often hesitant to report the crime, because of the very personal nature of it, and because of the unfortunate societal trend of blaming the victim, hence rape victims feel as if reporting the crime will bring more torment than closure.

Why is it that if a man is drunk at a party and, as a result of his inebriation, his wallet was stolen or is taken advantage in another way, his drunk state in no way excuses the perpetrator's behavior? However, a woman's inebriation in a rape case (even when her drink was laced, as my commenter had stated) is often brought in as evidence to make the rapist's behavior seem less atrocious. Just imagine having to go through the experience of being raped and then go through a trial where she is assigned responsibility for the crime is an unfortunate truth for survivors of rape. No wonder women have their reluctance to report the crime.

But as my friend had related in her comment, she had transformed from a fairly pitiful victim to a woman who took control of her destiny and life. Of course, the initial transformation took years and was and is at times a very painful journey. But she is sharing her story with other victims by giving them counseling and support and thereby she is getting stronger. She had put all her strength and hope into returning to the person she had worked so hard to become.

The charity org. that she works for though is in need of new funding. the name of the organization is SRASACS which stands for Sheffield Rape and Sexual Abuse Counseling Service. She will be very happy to give you more information about this if you are interested.

In parting this is what she said:

"So I guess what im trying to say is that the charity works on empowering women who have been badly let down by everyone. Society failed them in order for the attack to happen then judicial systems failed them by not gaining custodial sentences for the perpetrators and then again for not having adequate support facilities available as our charity is only a small one."

"Also if you do write about it try to spread the word about it being a rape survivor and not a rape victim as these girls are strong girls they have fought back against flashbacks and anger and shame and come through it, whereas a victim would sit and not deal with it in some respects. The girls who generally go through the process are empowered and really feel like they are survivors if you know what I mean. Maybe not all the time and you do occasionally have the odd rocky moment but they and I survived it!"

Darn ...if we could only give her a group hug, no?

Proximity award.

Joey and Rattles bestowed a Proximity Award upon me. I love things like this, not for any attention they might bring but because someone out there took the time to think of me. It uplifts the soul. Thank you both, J and K.

This award creators say:
Blogs who receive this award are 'exceedingly charming'. This blog invests and believes in the PROXIMITY-nearness in space, time and relationships. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers!

“Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award. According to the rules, you must mention eight more bloggers with whom you wish to share this.

The blogging community is a close-knit one. Even if at times some of us are too busy with other things or have our moments of laziness to write a [post, there is a quiet sense of family within. And when we do catch up with each other it is as if hardly any time has passed at all.

I want to pass the award to:

Sid - for all sorts of things. But more importantly for being “batman” to me and my family. He is our real life hero and I will stay indebted to him for the rest of my life. He also writes from the heart and his blog can be very funny and sentimental. Sid does a fabulous job of responding and interacting with her commenters too. Good stuff.

Tracey - she was the first to recognize my blog and follow it and I found so many of you through her. I have loved her postings about her home, family and craft. And I had shared with her things I have not shared even with my real life buddies.

Fiona – for her incredibly daily post about animals making us aware of how much parallel our life is with these creatures. And her site has no shortage of thought provoking posts.

Kirst - I consider this mom one of my cyber BFF. Her site is hugely informative, and I think what she's doing is immeasurably helpful for those seeking information about urostomy and ileal infections. Her blog is more personal, rather than editorial and thats what makes her endearing because she fights a good fight for all the good causes.

Mimi – another smart earthy American mom who offers wonderful examples of natural living and natural parenting practice. She’s such a remarkable woman and she draws you into her world.

Ray - my God, where would I be without her insanely funny comments? Visit his blog and check out what he is passionate about. I say no more.

Joey and Rattle - they have the first nod even when both already got this award. Both young and in their prime but brittle asthma and chronic pain had made living a struggle for them. Yet that doesn’t stop them from sharing their thoughts, their families, their hopes and their dreams. And in a way, they inspire me more than they ever know.

There's my eight, I wish I can add more as everyone whom I followed and who come to read my post deserve this award. We all defy distance and our friendship thrive in near proximity.

It’s a pleasure meeting you guys and you are all dear friends!!!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Teen values gone awry.

I have been without net connection for the past days, and yeah, it sucks big time! So I have to hurry writing this because it seems I get the connection only an hour a day...darn!

I was dismayed to hear another teen brutality from the American evening news the other night. This time it’s a teenage girl that was gang raped inside the school campus. But what was even more appalling is the fact that there might be many who may have witnessed the said crime, but instead of calling the police, they took a video of it! For the nth time I had raised the question - What’s happening to our youth?!

This is very disturbing because to bring life to a world that seems to have taken a path of total self destruction doesn’t seem to appeal anymore. With the behavior of our youths today, there seems no hope for future youth in this day and age. I am honestly curious as to why any sane adult would consciously decide to bring an innocent life into this mess of a world!

My telescopic view of the world today consisted of estranged teenagers whose own parents are battling drug or alcohol abuse, physical abuse, divorce, and who has little or no coping skills to manage their own life. I see a vicious cycle spiraling out of control contributing to gang violence, increased sexually active teens, drug abuse and erosion of moral.

The truth is we live in a world that thrives on power and money. Time equals money, money equals time. No wonder our society is pressured to live life in the fast lane whereby priorities that used to be relational (family, friends, and church) have been traded in to meet materialistic needs instead. And with the increased value on time and money, we see a decrease in family commitment and family values. The very reason why we see our youth of today show more defiance to authority and assert self independence at earlier ages.

But I don’t lose hope, as I have seen how Amy and Steven are bringing up their kids. Kudos for Tracey for having brought up responsible children. So are Jen, Mimi, Jenni, Jann, Joey and Darla, and even Kirst! And I am sure there are a lot more good parents out there. Although it is impossible to control what the rest of society is doing, as parents they have taken initiative to take responsibility of teaching values that prioritize family and community. But more importantly they teach it by modeling what these values look like.

Yes, if we want our children to value caring for others, for standing up for oneself in the midst of peer pressure or to value him or herself, as parents we need to have the same priorities. In other words we have to practice being helpful to others by giving up that party to help a neighbor move in, or trade in the season football tickets to watch our children school play. We need to show that our children are our priority, not just by paying them off, but by being there for them.

Although as parents we can not control outside influences, we can at least control our availability. And although we can not control the values our society may portray, we can control how we portray our own value. Not only are we securing our children we are also illustrating a value that they will hopefully incorporate in their own lives.

Yes, there is hope...if only parents will take action.

Friday, October 30, 2009

The signs.

Have you ever wondered if your house is haunted? Do you hear strange sounds in your house, or feel an unexplained creepy feeling in one of the rooms? Does your appliances suddenly seem to have a mind of their own? Do you sometimes see glimpses of dark figures darting back and forth into the shadows?

Yeah of course, it would be nice if ghosts would just leave a note on the fridge notifying you of their occupancy and offers to kick in for rent, but that's not likely to happen. In fact, there aren't any hard and fast rules to say whether a house is haunted or not, nor is there a rulebook on how you should handle former occupants who don't want to leave no matter how deceased they might be!

But one good sign would be the bleeding walls. Maybe even the reflection in the mirror...that isn't you. Or the fact that every time you walk into the kitchen the chairs are balancing on one leg on top of the table. Okey, okey! That may be an exaggeration... but how about hearing and feeling the breath of whispering in your ear when no one else was nearby? Or ordinary objects inexplicably disappeared to be found later in unlikely places? In some instance you may feel a physical push or nudge against your body when standing all alone. And your pet dog would bark furiously at the living room mirror, then run about in a frenzy to return to the mirror and resume barking. Damn scary, huh?

These are tell-tale signs that shouldn't be ignored. You see most ghost that really want to get a message across can get your attention if they really want to.

So how do you know your house is haunted? Stay there and wait to see what comes next.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Swine flu - a media hype?

I have heaved a sigh of relief when our local news had stopped reporting about H1N1. It has to me, become annoying as it seems most of the craze is stirred by the media frenzy. I know that the list of death is still short compared to the other diseases the world struggles through each year. Therefore I don't see any reason why I will allow it to rule over my life!

The fact is, everyone gets sick once in a while, but when the media attaches a name to it, it tends to blow it out of proportion, and people over react. The main point I want to drive is that the H1N1 is not all it's hyped up to be, (spreading fear and panic only through media coverage of the deaths). All it takes to combat the dreaded H1N1 is healthy living and common sense!

There are many ways to help prevent our immune system from having to go to battle. The greatest of these methods is to develop healthy habits by washing our hands, covering our coughs, and covering our mouth when we sneeze. If we work in a place where it is common to shake other people's hands, we can place either a bottle of sanitizer or a box of sanitizing wipes upon our desk. It is also thoughtful to become more polite, giving others their personal space to prevent spreading our germs.

But now a new wave of swine flu panic is sweeping across the States and in the U.K. and to my horror, news of swine flu is back in our local media, duh! It seems that my country is also setting up a crisis committee and we all know that there is but one single body behind it - the World health Organization, with it's corresponding banking dynasties the Rothschilds and the Rockefellers'.

The H1N1 virus or swine flu may sound like a worldwide epidemic, but as we all know, the news tends to over exaggerate the truth. I'm not saying that the swine flu is no big deal, because any virus is a very scary subject, but I don't believe we need to be any more worried about this particular strain of flu than we are with any other common flu strain or any common illness. We just need to do the best we can to not spread the virus to those who will not be able to fight the virus well.

Good luck to us all!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Of death and remembering.

Death comes with no warning, it send no advance notice. It just come and take the people we love away. Of course, we struggle to understand, to find comfort, to cope. And it is never easy to say goodbye.

Among those that I have lost in the past are my grandmother, my auntie Sophie and my brother. My grandmother was old, her death meant that she was no longer suffering from old age. My auntie on the other hand was terribly sick with cancer and her death provided peace of mind knowing that she no longer suffered and no longer in pain. But the death of my brother defied everything that I thought I understood about death. I could not understand why the Lord would take someone so young, so unexpectedly.

I struggled to find answers, especially since we didn't have enough time together. He was too young. He was supposed to be graduating in high school this year. It wasn't fair... It wasn't right.

For the benefit of those who have only recently followed my blog, you see, my brother died when he drown during a family outing. He wasn't even swimming, but was merely playing with the waves. A strong wave however, carried him into a deep hole and the current suck him into the water. My brother is not a good swimmer and his struggles only pulled him lower into the ocean. It took them a good 3 hours to find his lifeless body.

Yes, none of us have control over death. Therefore, I just have to remember the times that I had shared with Junjun, both good and bad. Remember all the joys, the sadness, the bond. Ahhh... those memories will never go away. That is something that no one can take away. When the body is gone, and the spirit has fled, all that is left are the memories. That is what keeps them alive in us.

I cannot go to Sagay on November 1st to join my folks as they offer prayer and spend that special day with our dearly departed. But I will be lighting candles here and remember them fondly. I know they all finally find peace as they no longer feel the pain of existence here on Earth. They are no longer susceptible to sadness, disappointment, grief, pain or sickness.

There is only joy and love for them now.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Uniquely Filipino.

While the western world celebrate Halloween as a day of fear for the living, (to ward off evil they made their houses cold and uninviting and dressed themselves as witches, ghouls and goblins to scare them away) we, in this part of the globe celebrate it as All Souls Day. A day of remembrance for all dear souls departed.

Come every November 1st, you will be amazed at how memorial parks and cemetery feels like a public park, or a fancy subdivision than what it truly is. The atmosphere; manicured rolling greens lawns, big beautiful trees, a fertile landscape, beautiful terrain, combined with families practically frolicking beside the graves of their relatives - is not just serene, but nearly pleasant.

All cemeteries throughout the Philippines is packed with Filipinos visiting the graves of their loved ones during this day. You will see a family walks down a foot path, carrying bottles of soda, plastic tubs food, a blanket and a guitar. Or another family who would gathered around a tree with the father and his two kids tossing a ball back and forth while mom sits in a chair eating. Nearby another family would have spread out their things, their kids playing badminton while the parents light a barbecue.

Yes, it's an event that defies description, especially when certain sight will remind you exactly where you are. The head stones hint of so many stories, many lives that have, in their own small way and in such a brief time, brought the world to where it is today.

But even with those glaring headstones, memorial parks on ALL Souls Day have a carnival-like atmosphere. There cannot be too many places on earth where people literally hold family parties on top of the grave of their dead relatives. Yes it's no big deal for us Filipinos because its just the way it is, and we don't think that having a party like atmosphere in the cemetery is anything unique. But any outsider would definitely say it is, well, different.

I know where you come from, cemeteries are so solemn as to be practically morbid. And maybe you spend as little time as possible there. Perhaps to think of enjoying oneself inside a cemetery is a serious no-no.

But this is our unique Filipino custom. Instead of celebrating Halloween dressed in scary costume and doing trick or treat, we honor our dead by spending the whole day with them and do the things that we would do together if they are still alive - eat, sing, play, gossip and laugh!

And yes, everyone is always welcome to party with us.

Monday, October 19, 2009

When yes actually means no.

Well, I hope it's not just me, but you see, many times I say YES when what I really meant is a big fat NO. This happens a lot when I wanted to avoid confrontation. From the earliest days that I remember I feared conflict. Some times that meant fear of getting in trouble - did you get my green crayon? Nooooo... Did you break that figurine? Nooo... You get the idea.

As I got older, things got a little more complex. I feared getting people's feelings hurt, or I feared self-disappointment. I said YES to my teacher when she asked me to represent the class in the Filipino declamation contest, thus embarrassing my folks as I deliver a very lousy performance. I said Yes I liked the gift given to me during Christmas even when I yearn for the one my sister got, because I don't want to appear ungracious when gift was given to me.

I say YES to people, family or friends when what I really mean to say, is NO. I say YES, I'll clean up the kitchen although I have no desire in me to do it, but saying yes, makes me a hero for a brief second. I would say YES when a friend asked me to accompany her to go malling when all I want to do is stay home and relax. In many instances, I don't actually like the person to whom I've just said yes, but I agree to make things "easier." I don't want an argument. I don't want a fuss. And many times I say yes to go along with the crowd, even if I am agreeing to something I don't want to do. I think all these boils down to the same thing - I don't want to upset the other person and I prefer to say the thing that will cause the least amount of conflict.

Maybe it's because of what my old folks had instill in me about good manners, politeness and regard for the needs of others. It is little wonder, that by the time I reach adulthood, refusing a request from anybody seems like an awfully selfish thing to do. I do have become accustomed to putting the needs of others before my own; hence my reluctance to say "no."

But with maturity, I had somehow gotten beyond this. As I get older, I finally start to realize that life is just way too short to spend time being miserable. As I mature, I realize that being a little bit selfish really isn't necessarily a bad thing. Pleasing others to keep relationships together may be noble, but sometimes people should understand and treasure the concept of personal space.

How about you? Do you also fear saying NO for want not to be regarded as a difficult, negative or unobliging person?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

On who's boundaries?

I was so shocked the other night when an American channel reported about the plight of a teenage boy who was set on fire by four other teenagers, one of which is only thirteen years old. They had doused the poor victim with rubbing alcohol then set him on fire. Wow, has bullying gone this far? Or is it a form of teenage angst?

After watching the news I had kept asking myself: Why is being a teenager nowadays a lot difficult? It seems that along with the extra hair, the vocal changes, and intensifying odor, teenage angst is now a part of growing up. We parents know that our boys are going through physical transformation between thirteen and nineteen years old. They have acne, body odor, hair all over the place, they are awkward, confused, and insecure. They have hormones racing through their bodies like a Nascar driver without a speed limiter.

Then, there is peer pressure which is responsible for our teens rebellion. The boys especially, are particularly susceptible to these issues. Teenagers want to feel like a part of the group, and in order to do this, they often find themselves in positions that they don't particularly care for, but follow anyway. In most part they already know the consequence of their action but they do it anyway, because they feel they are in control of the situation and it makes them feel independent from their parents.

It seems that today's society is bringing up children who lack character qualities that were once commonplace. Things such as respect, obedience, and responsibility for self, seem to be in dire shortage. Of course, it is easy to lay all the blame on the little shoulders of the children, but is that the appropriate place for it to be?

Absolutely not!

The problem lies in the shortage of good and effective parents and the outcome is what we see in the children. Even our sitcoms on prime time television are a direct reflection of the lax societal standards that have become acceptable family behaviors. The reasons are primarily due to the ever-increasing stress and fast-paced lifestyles. More money, more "stuff", and more career accomplishments. And the loser are the children who have become more susceptible to outside influences.

Parenting is more difficult in this day and age than at any time in the past. In this age of technology there is instant information at any time. Children are more technologically smarter than ever. But nevertheless, they still need guidance and protection.

And a lot of parents are not providing these essentials.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Of hospitality and tradition.

We live in a cosmopolitan place filled with people who grew up in many different cultures and traditions. Therefore it is not surprising that hospitality and politeness are as varied as the number of countries that make up this world.

From my previous post, some of you had reacted that none will bother to offer help if you find yourself stranded in the road due to car engine failure. Maybe it is because you have been culturally raised to believe that there's a need for introduction before hospitality is extended.

Well, Filipino hospitality is one-of-a-kind. We are ready to offer our service to a stranger anytime. There is even no such thing as an uninvited guest or a bad time to visit. We can visit a home anytime without even calling them or sending then a text message that we are coming. And if we happen to catch the family in an abnormally late lunch, there will be a commotion, not because the timing was bad, but because the mom will stand up from the table to cook an extra pot of rice for the guest. Instantly without qualms, the visitor will be offered lunch. And it will offend them if you decline.

If it happened that the visitor is from a far place, he will be asked to stay for the night. Not having a sleeping clothes will not even suffice as an excuse. The guest will be given the best bed or the best room in the house. In the old days, the visitor is even entitled to the master bedroom even if that means that the master has to sleep on the floor.

On the other hand, I won't be surprised if, even after I have known an English friend reasonably well, I still won't get an invitation to their home. I know that this isn't a slight on me. It is just that English people like to keep their home as their own private space and prefer to meet their friends in more neutral surroundings. But then, Tracey had opened her home to me, so... yipee!

Filipinos on the whole are very friendly and open toward foreigners. Perhaps, there is no country in Southeast Asia where foreigners are so well accepted as in the Philippines. Filipinos even tend to rate foreigners over themselves. Our smile is not politely distant, but spontaneous and from the heart. Filipinos smile all the time. We smile while commuting, we smile at work, we smile in smog-infested traffic, even in an argument, or overthrowing our own President, we SMILE!

Oh, another thing. Our Filipino "YES" can puzzles most westerners. A yes means just that, though it can also mean "maybe" ,"I don't know", or, "If it will please you", OR "I hope I have said it enough for you to understand that I mean NO!". Hahaha.

You see, a Filipino does not like to openly agree or disappoint. Hence, a question by a person seeking a direct answer concerning, for example, the amount of a payment for services rendered will be answer with a smile and words... "It's up to You."

This is the aspect where the net has become equally important. One of the wonderful benefits of the Internet and the global communication is that it allows us, an opportunity to extend to one another an open experience of hospitality and politeness, without restrictions to our individual traditions and cultures. Here, we are able to appreciate the hospitable and polite nature of the mind of the individual.

We are all different, individually, nationally and culturally. Yet we encompass and appreciate those differences, and learn to appreciate the hospitality and politeness extended by our various cultures and countries.

Monday, October 12, 2009

First Love Thrills.

I felt like a giddy teenager the other day! You see, I am not aware that I had a secret admirer when I was in high school. The guy who is happily married now, had told me this and we kind of laugh about it.

First love... Wow, they make us do things we don’t normally do, like in his case, standing in a street corner waiting to get a glimpse of me. Or, telling his friends how in love he is, hoping that they will tell because he doesn’t have the nerve to do it himself! I wonder if he had written my name in his notebook, and stared aimlessly at it.

But, one thing is certain. After our talk, memories of my first love came flooding my mind. I also realized that just because I don't think about it, doesn't mean I have forgotten. Like when being near that special someone was the focus of my whole life. I can still remember the way I felt the first time our eyes met. Or the anticipation I felt, hoping my first love felt the same way about me. Or the rush of excitement the first time we held hands and exchanged smiles.

And being attracted to someone also has become a turning point for me as my appearance has become a matter of extreme importance. My taste in clothes began to change along with personal hygiene. Indeed, experiencing love for the very first time has changed my whole attitude and I become more sensitive to the feelings of others. Some, call it puppy-love and consider it youthful infatuation. Oh, call it what you will, but the feelings are intense and can stay with me for the rest of my life.

But what if you saw that person after a long, long time and you realized that the feeling is still burning inside your heart? Is it actually love, or just a memory of the feeling that had been left behind?

Yes, it's lovely to look back and remember the person who taught you about hiding love notes in pockets and stealing glances. It can certainly bring warmth to our heart, remembering how innocent and beautiful those feelings were. There will probably always be a place in our heart for that person, because their remembered self is as much a part of us as we are a part of them.

But that isn't love, its nostalgia. It lends a power and a glow to something that we are glad we have experienced.

How about you? Do you still remember the first person who made your knees go weak? Made your heart flutter at the very sight of them? The one who left you speechless, breathless and starry-eyed?

Friday, October 9, 2009

The first is always the hardest.

So ok, this post will be the first after the blogsary. Of course, I'm so thrilled to be here and have an opportunity to blog and share a little about my thoughts and life. Actually, I tried to think of something that would define the person I am for those of you who have never met me. But it's so hard to put my life in a capsule called a blog post and keep it short and interesting.

The thing is, I use to have a sense of adventure. I love to travel and see new sights and meet people. I think getting old had softened some of the edges. The closest I come to an adventure now is mixing chemicals in the lab or listen to couples squabbling in my neighborhood. Sometimes I’m tempted to join in and lash out at them just for the sheer catharsis of it.

And hey, did it also somewhat boggles your mind that “malling” is an actual verb? Where I grew up, there were no department store. Sometimes it’s hard to imagine what life was then before malling became the national pastime. Where did we get our stuff? From the market, of course!

When I was in high school, there were three main cool criteria: the right clothes, the right music, the right friends.

Now there should be a checklist:
. Please tick which features your cell phone has ( multi-pixel, video recording, we browsing).
. Aside fro the mandatory cell phone, which gadget do you own ( MP3 player. Nano iPod, digicam, video console)
. What kind of MP# player do you own?

And so on…

Even the realm of vice is hard to figure out. When I was an adolescent, there was one kind of San Miguel beer. Now there are more than a dozen to choose from, over and above all sorts of spirit – not to mention the numerous permutation that can be formed with rum and gin. If one wanted to become a druggie in my time, there was pot. If you have lots of money, there’s coke. Now, there’s a whole smorgasbord of drugs out there, each designed for a specific kind of trip. What to choose, what to choose? But of course I haven't tried any of those stuff.

I know that we get disappointed with the kids of today, but how can they not be, when they have to sort all this out in their personal lives?

Well as an adult this is all I want to do – to laugh often and much, to endure the betrayal of false friends, to find the best in others, to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child or a garden patch.

What are yours?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Yesterday once more.

It's hard to believe how quickly time passes when you're doing something that you enjoy. I still remember writing the first post and panicking as I hit the post button, having no idea what I was about to embark on or that 12 months later, I'd still be doing this.

Wow, imagine I’ve been blogging for a year already! It’s been such an amazing journey and I got to know so many great people and wonderful bloggers, all of whom, I consider to be friends.

I’m really grateful to all of you who visit my blog, read and comment. This blog wouldn’t be the same without you and I hope you’ll continue to visit, just because.

Hey guys, thank you for your continued support and encouragement. Here's to another year of blogging.


Monday, October 5, 2009

Another lemonade award.

I got another lemonade award from good friend Tracey. This is to celebrate the ability to "see the blessings where they're not obvious, and making lemonade instead of complaining about sour lemons"!

I know I have over a hundred things that I am grateful for, but I am required to name just a few, so here goes...

That I have loved and been loved totally.

That I face up to hard things in my life.

That I am healthy.

That my kids are able to go to school

That I’ve cried my heart out, and I’ve laughed so hard I could hardly breathe.

That I live in a safe area, and that my family is alive and well after the storm.

I am passing this award to Kirst, Joey, Rattles, Mimi, Bren, Sid, fellow bloggers who has great attitude and show gratitude by inspiring others. You see, their blog had touched me in a certain way, and had broaden my view of the world and inspires my action.

Go guys, get your award and pass it on to five other bloggers!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Don't change just because...

Just a short note in reaction to Kirst’s post , and how she had to explain herself to someone who left a comment in her blog. You see, what I love about reading blogs aside from gaining friends in the process, is the diversity of ideas and opinions.

We are all different. It is that simple... each and every one of us is different. We have always been different, we will always be different. But in our little blog community, we have come to accept the differences with patience, tolerance and understanding.

I strongly believe that our diversity is the very reason that we exist as individuals. We exist to be different. We move in different society, encounter different situations that may need a different approach, etc. I have come to accept this fact. As within this diversity, with all of our individual opinions, and with all of our individual needs, there is a common center that we all share, regardless of nationality, or race or religion... and that is, love.

By sharing with me your life, your fears, your aspirations through your blogs we are able to rise above all our differences and distinctions with our understanding, patience and love. It is through reading your posts that I get to know about your life, your joys, and sufferings. I see a new world through your eyes.

No one is right or wrong here, we are just different, and I, for one, enjoy learning a new point of view from all of you.

So to all of you my blog mates, particularly Kirst: Don't change just because someone has a difference of opinion, ok?

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


By now you all know that my country received a large volumes of rainfall to the extent that 80% of Manila is submerge in water. In fact La Mesa dam had to open its flood gates to release excess water from the dam since it was feared that the water could end up damaging the reservoir if not released.

However, there is nary a drop of water running in our faucet for 6 days now. Probably pipe lines were damaged by the flood. So imagine a day without water. I end up brushing my teeth in the morning with toothpaste and saliva (No rinsing!). No shower, no bath, no washing my face. No flushing the toilet. No coffee or tea.

I even have to take a bathe at the office, and thankfully the plant has its own water purifier, therefore I was able to bring home drinking water everyday. You see the lack of running water meant bathing in “bucket baths” (sitting in a bathroom floor with a bucket of water and bathing oneself). Since classes are cancelled, my boys spend hours on end queuing for the precious liquid at places where it is available.

Of course, I am dismayed that we do not have immediate water coming out of our faucet. And when at the middle of the day you see dishes piling up in the sink, you just want to scream. We however understand that this is temporary and that this is but just a little inconvenience that we would have to learn to do or do without - running water among them.

After learning techniques of conserving the little water we have, we found out that it really isn't as difficult as we thought it would be.

I felt confident in our new skills — we learned and adapted, and could adapt again.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Thank you all.

I would like to thank everyone of you who had left a comment and even those who didn't, but I know had been concerned over my family and the tragedy that we Filipinos are facing right now.

You see, the scale of devastation here in Manila is still difficult to describe. Just imagine that almost 80 percent of Metro Manila was under water. And yet for most of us watching in horror, the typhoon tragedy will be remembered for some particular images - of desperate men and women balancing on electricity cables to avoid the chest-deep water below, of cars pulled every which way by raging floodwaters like mere toys, of celebreties stranded on there rooftop - fame and fortune providing no defense against the elements.

You see, the streets of Manila after the storm is like a war zone, with abandoned vehicles littering the streets and mud and debris lying everywhere. The very reason I told myself why my son could not come home yet. But it's very difficult when all I have is "maybe" because there was nary a word form him. I didn't realize that all the while he was also trying to call me or send messages, but then our communication lines are down. He and the rest of the students where holed up in their school. The school officials didn't allow anyone to leave. But the next day, Sunday, they were allowed to go home because the storm had passed. When my son finally reached home after three days, he was shaking and very hungry. He hadn't eaten for days! But as far as I am concerned, our family is complete.

At the moment, everything is right in my world.

However, radio and TV reports are filled with accounts of the flooding in different parts of the metropolis, with dramatic footage of rescues, frantic evacuations, and people spending long cold nights, wet, hungry and desperately wondering how soon relief would come.

There are also tales of heroism and courage, tragedy and loss. Even the plain survival will be told and re-told in the days to come. Yes, I know we have been tested by water and beleaguered by mud. But I have learned the really important lessons in life - my family are still alive and still together. There is gloom everywhere, but at least we faced a new morning together.

The picture above shows the sun rising over Manila.

In silence, I prayed for every family who is suffering, thanking them in part for teaching me how much I still have.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The aftermath.

This massive flooding in Manila has never happened before - not at this magnitude. Many of those people living in these areas have never experienced such floods previously despite the heavy rains.

I have seen images of flash floods too in other countries. Does that mean that the Earth is in imminent danger? Then we are in imminent danger! Our Earth is dying, To be more specific, it is being killed, done to death by us. Killed by the pursuit of money. We inherited the Earth, but the earth is dying on us.

I wouldn't be surprise if an ecological apocalypse loom in the future. Or is there still a solution to our problem? Can we possibly know what lies ahead?

I think we owe it to ourselves to find out...


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