Tuesday, October 28, 2014

28 October Thoughts

I remember what you said; You said you’ll never leave me.
Sometimes I feel so all alone.
Lord, I know I’m just a man.

It’s been almost half a day, and this song is still on repeat.
The more it continues to play, the deeper it goes through every tissue of me.

It’s been two days since that unforgettable bus experience. Most of the time, I forget. But today, I remembered, and it’s even more real now when my thoughts go through it.

There’s so much things to say, yet I uttered none. 
The more I wanted to forget, all the more I remember.
The more I wanted to be cleansed, the more I feel filthier.

I feel so bad for being weak.
I shouldn’t have trusted the world, but myself.
It’s all real, and yet I feel fake.

This indescribable feeling may take time.
When wounds are unseen, it takes even more time to heal.

I catch myself staring blankly, looking out, looking far.
Thinking, but not thinking at all.

I should be attuned to the own beating of my heart.
That’s the only sign I get that I am still alive.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Case of the Missing Red Velvet Cupcake

It's been more than twenty four hours, and yet, it still gives me a heartbreak everytime I remember that somebody took my red velvet cupcake. To you, this might just be a little issue and you'd just shrug it off.

Let me tell you something. I am not a selfish person by nature. But let me explain to you why I feel this way and why is there such a need to even blog about this.

On the eve of welcoming my 31st birthday, I blew candles on my cupcakes that my boyfriend gave me. I ate one of it and thought exactly how I am supposed to eat the rest of it -- red velvet will be last. As they say, save the best for last.

However, last night when I came home from the office, tired and feeling so much pain from monthly cramps, I thought a red velvet cupcake might do some magic. When I opened the box, two cupcakes were missing. The caramel flavor and the red velvet. The boyfriend said he ate the caramel. And yes. The red velvet cupcake that should have been eaten last, or eaten in emergency cases like this, was lost.

I told the boyfriend about it, but instead of agonizing with me, or even consoling me with the loss of the red velvet cupcake, he got pissed and just told me he'll buy another box of cupcakes.

But no matter how many boxes of cupcakes he buy, he can't replace my birthday cupcakes -- the first ever cupcakes he gave me, the cupcakes I blew candles on the eve of my 31st birthday, the cupcakes that opened doors to more suprises.

I am not really sefish by nature. I am just sentimental. And to me, those are not just cupcakes. Those are my 31st birthday cupcakes.

And nobody understands.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Thirty One

I am apparently still in a daze from welcoming a new lease at life. While I am writing this, I am still nursing a bad hangover, and my burp still smells of Baileys.

I keep on remembering fragments of what has happened in the last few hours, and for so many years, this has been, the first time in the longest time that I smile a genuine smile. It's actually not the kind of happiness that creates a boisterous laughter, but the kind of happiness that is igniting from within.

I clearly remember what I wrote a year ago, a few days before my birthday.

"If I'd have birthday candles to blow,
I'd wish for genuine love
That would flourish and grow."

Exactly a year later, my life is just surrounded with so much love, the kind of love that has no pretensions, the kind of love that would prod me to love myself more. There is definitely no place I'd rather be. The Universe sure gives me overflowing love.

I don't think I'd ever have birthday blues again. Families (both by blood and by heart) assured and re-assured that I am loved. James, among many people, has made monumental efforts to make me feel special too. He woke me up on the eve of my birthday to blow my birthday candles. He even surprised me with a dress from a spanish brand I really like. He made sure I'd have the most memorable birthday party ever. And he even booked us a Hong Kong trip for this weekend!

What it feels to be thirty one? I guess there's lesser drama, because people around me exude a happy vibe which is really contagious. I've also learned the value and importance of people in my life. Some have stayed because I know that the kind of relationship we've shared are honest and transparent. While some have gone away because they've only taught me lessons that would make a better me.

Here's to hoping that I'd live a life like how I've celebrated my "Boodle Fight" Birthday Party yesterday -- carefree, intimate, fearless, fun.

This is my 31-year old self prior to the commencement of the "fight."

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

On Dying

"Have you ever felt that feeling that you might be dying anytime soon?"
He asked.

I said yes, so many times.

I always have that feeling of maybe-I'm-about-to-die-soon most especially on moments I am at my happiest, or at my content state -- on moments when suddenly, out of so many hurdles and challenges that's been coming my way, suddenly comes a plateau.

I've had a realization, that in a way, figuratively, is true. There is really a part of us that dies, because there is a part of us that is into birthing.

When a part of us dies, a part of us is born.
Then arrives better version of us.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

We're not Lucky, We're Blessed

We're not lucky, we're blessed.

That's what he said when I kept recalling all the events that have been happening to both of us recently.

Last weekend, I had to sleep in the living room, lying down on a foam that doesn't seem to give comfort at all. It was Argentina - Germany championship, and all I had was an old 24" television, when I could have watched on my 42" 3D LED television my boyfriend has given me.

As I turned off the living room lights, waiting for the championship game in that little box, I smiled. I smiled a genuine smile, that even my heart could not contain. I truly immersed myself with this present feeling, because I know, one day, I shall look back at this moment, when I am already lying down at the comfort of my Tempur king size bed (even if I am unsure if that day will come), and tell myself, that I have been so much blessed to experience such kind of life. I may be immensely grateful.

Sometimes, the Universe has to give us lessons in the most unconventional manner. Sacrifices seem to be more bearable when we know that there will surely be something better that will come out of all these.

Life, after all, has been so good to me. I am not just lucky. I am blessed.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Life Lessons: Not Meant to Be

A colleague told me the story of how she lost her new China-made phone. It was not literally lost, but it's not working anymore.

She went rushing to the toilet to pass urine and her phone was inside her pocket. When she stood up and about to flush, she heard a sound of something that dropped into the bowl. It was her phone. It was her China-made phone. It fell off because her pocket was was too shallow for the big phone.

To her surprise, she picked it up, trying to save it, wishing it could be saved. It's been a week and the phone is inside a rice container, as some friend told her that it might help to get back to its good working condition. She is, until now, hoping.

Same goes with life, I guess. We all rush into hasty decisions, without even knowing the repercussions. We try to fit in some things that doesn't have any space in our lives. We try to fit into other people's lives who doesn't seem to be welcoming at all. Not even meant to be.

And yet, at the end of it all, we hope. We hope that that one day will come -- that day when everything we hoped for will finally fall into place.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Half-Year Mark

Dear Love,

We have just hurdled a big challenge in our relationship. I know this may be little from the bigger challenges we may be meeting along in our journey. We've only reached our half-year mark, and yet I know in my heart that we've endured a lot and we've become stronger, ever ready to overcome more.

Love, the more you open up yourself to me, the more you slowly take away the surface of your soul, the more I realize how much more there is to know, and accept, and love about you.

You may have thought that our meeting was the most unconventional and the most awkward to tell. But for me, I believe that our meeting was the most perfect time for us. Both of us were wounded, scared, and dazed. And yet when we met, I have realized that there was more of me to become. I've began to dream real dreams. I've began to do things with purpose. I've began to set beautiful goals I have never thought I would want to have. I have become fearless of what seemed to be a horrifying world.

Everyday has always been beautiful and memorable -- 
whether we are sharing the most intimate night at a fine dining restaurant or having dried fish and eggs for breakfast in our pajamas; 
whether we're sipping a first grade Sauvignon with a view of Clarke Quay city skyline or drinking a $20 wine on a plastic cup at a park;
whether we're watching a movie premiere on a couple seat with hotdogs and popcorn, or watching Monsters University for the Nth time at home while having some greasy chips;
whether we're lying down side by side watching the Phuket sunset while sipping our ice-cold Chang, or walking home from work, holding hands, while we admire how the night steals the day;
and the list goes on.

I am ever so thankful to the Universe for the gift of YOU. You have made life so beautiful. You have made me beautiful. I must have done something so good to deserve all these. And you are the gift that I would want to love, nurture, and cherish for as long as I am able to.

Like all relationships, ours may not be perfect as well. When we are faced with arguments, let us have arguments that both of us will win. Let's have arguments that are only for argument's sake. Let's have arguments that will make the better US. Let's have arguments with respect and never takes out each other's dignity. Let's choose the best argument.

And yet we love. I love loving you. I love how you express your love to me. I love your ways. I love our ways. I love the things we say and do for each other to express this feeling. There's too much love for you in this lifetime, love. This escalating ecstasy is beyond comprehension.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Hump Day Wednesday

I did not wake up on the right side of the bed.
I woke up today on the BEST side of the bed.

I never really liked Wednesdays. It brings some kind of melancholia that comes from somewhere I am unsure of. But today, out of so many days, is different. Today is whimsically different.

We are nearing the 6-month mark. Honestly, not all days bring sunshine to both of us. There are days that reminds us that we are both humans -- we get angry, we get hurt, we get disappointed, we get frustrated. We have always been reminded by circumstances, that even though our love for each other nourishes us, it will always be challenging to understand each other.

No matter how cliché-ic it sounds, men are really from Mars, while women are from Venus. While we find it so difficult to deal with men, I know that they feel the same way too.

However, last night happened. How often to you get your man to sit down with you and talk his heart out? How many men in the world will understand the fact that women find strength in showing their vulnerabilities? How many men will reminisce that first day they met you and fell in love with you and talk to you about it?

I got that man. Last night, I saw that part of him. We both expressed how this love should always be cultivated, how we should both thrive to find reasons to fall in love with each other everyday. He has given me the most genuine assurance. He's real. He's true. That's all that matters.

Today, he came back from a site visit and handed me over a Subway meal. Simple gestures that are very rare to come by with men. Simple gestures that bring tingles to my spine.

I love my man. I love how we constantly find harmony in our contrast.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Enduring Love

Me: Akalain mo no? Tatag niyo din e.
Supernanay: Shempre, patibayan kami. Kung sino ang unang aayaw, talo. HAHAHAHA
Ayaw niya siguro matalo. Lugi siya. Hahatian niya ako ng ari-arian niya. HAHAHAHA
Me: Ayaw niyang mapahiwalay sa iyo. Wala ng magtitiis sa kanya. Tiisan lang yan e.
Supernanay: Oo nga. Patibayan nga. Di ko naman maisauli sa nanay niya, wala na eh. Kahit gusto niya ako isauli, wala na din. Sorry na lang.
Me: Sige, gawin din natin yan. Puuush natin 'yan.
Supernanay: Push na lang tlaga! HAHAHAHA

I was having a conversation with the Supernanay, while she told me it's their 31st wedding anniversary. My mom and dad has been married for 31 years. And prior to that, they've been dating for 7 years. That's 38 years altogether! And even up to this day that my dad is very bad with giving gifts, he never misses an occasion.
Even if my mom doesn't admit up to this day, I know I was their "love child." I was already inside her when they got married! I was made in the cold month of December. And during their wedding day, I was already five months, growing fingernails and hair, and I am very sure she was already feeling my movements inside her.

Growing up in a closely-knit family, I have been a witness to their extraordinary love story. My parents grew up together with us too! They have matured as individuals, as partners and as parents to us. I've experienced how they have endured their everyday because of their love for each other. They have endured our everyday. And after thirty-one years, after all these changes that has happened, after every triumph and every hurdle, they have withstood and emerged ever stronger than yesterday.

Recently, while I was having a wine with my dad, I asked him how did they manage to reach this far. Knowing my dad to be a man of few words, he told me, "When she's angry, I keep quiet. When I'm angry, I keep quiet too." He actually made sense. He has mastered the art of compromising with human beings from Venus.

Compared to my mom and dad's love story, mine is still a little seedling that needs more sunlight, water, and insurmountable amount of tender loving care. I am fervently clasping my hands that we may be able to endure together -- that I may be able to endure how he doesn't seem to care about the world (but he sure does in his own manly way), and that he may be able to endure how haywire my emotions are and so much more than that.

I have been a firm believer of a lasting love through my mom and dad. With everything that's happening in the world right now, at least I got something to hold on to -- some kind of genuine hope that we may all be able to endure.

I am so proud of my parents. I am so proud of their enduring love. Whew! Thirty-one years! And here's to another thrity-one years and more!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Dear Lola Mang | Day 25

Easter Monday.

Yesterday was a special event in our home. It was the family's yearly tradition to have our Easter Egg Hunt after coming home from our Sunday mass. Twelve eggs are to be found in our living room. Who has been keeping them all these years?

Lola Mang.

My mom texted me early in the morning.

"Good Morning! Happy Easter! Sino kaya ang magtatago ng eggs ngayon?" (Who do you think will hide the eggs today?)

She followed through with a photo she took of our altar. She placed food for Lola as our usual "atang"with an unpainted egg. She said, "Magpepaint din siya eh." (She will paint too.)

Usually, when Lola Mang paints, she always draw faces that are always Chinese looking -- two straight lines for the eyes and a long curved line for the lips. And she always boasts them as if they're the best eggs artwork in the world. I guess I'd have to oblige by now.

I drank my coffee early in the morning while I sobbed. It has always been a good time since nobody was watching.

While we were eating lunch, our Easter Egg Hunt memories came through my mind. I gave up controlling the tears. James, in his usual self, cracked up some jokes to make me smile. He made goofy moves while he sang the nursery rhyme, "Three Blind Mice."

Three Blind Mice was one of the nursery rhymes I so loved when I was growing up. Lola Mang taught me the Bicolano version of that rhyme that until now, I still can remember.

Tulum Butang Kino
An sabi san saro
An sabi san saro
Tulum butang kino

I guess when you remember by heart, you remember forever.

I cried. I smiled. I cried again.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Dear Lola Mang

27 March | Thursday
Day 1

“Why are you crying, Ninang Ola?
Is Lola Mang dead?”

Brandon was with me at the workplace when the news came. It was too tough to handle. But he made it so easy. He told me I shouldn't be sad because you've only ended your life here on earth. You have another life in heaven.

He even said, “I can't wait to die, Ninang O. Because when I do, I'll come up to Jesus and I will ask where Lola Mang is. And we will be together again.”

How do I live now, without you, Lola Mang?
(via Instagram)

28 March | Friday
Day 2

I didn't know how I was able to sleep last night. All I know is that the dark was too comforting. Memories of you kept on flashing through since yesterday. I remember them so fondly I laugh until I end up crying. I am blessed to have people surround me with overflowing love. Their comforting words and hugs help me carry through. I woke up today early, just like the rest of the days to carry on with everyday domestic duties. I can't stop the sun to rise, even all I ever wanted was to stay in the dark. I can't stop the birds to chirp outside my room window, even all I ever wanted was silence. I looked at the bathroom mirror and I saw my swollen eyes. I don't look good today. I didn't really make an effort because the insides of me don't feel good at all. My head is painful, but my heart is even more so. I slept wearing this ring you gave me a few years ago. Maybe I'll be wearing this everyday from now on. Our last phone conversation was filled with "I love yous." And til today, I remember how you said those words to me even with trembling voice. This is so tough. How do I get through life without you anymore? I love you, Lola Mang. I love you. I love you. I love you.
(via Instagram)

29 March | Saturday
Day 3

Today, the sun shone upon my face. I feel alive.
(via Twitter)

30 March | Sunday
Day 4

My luggage is only filled with black and white clothes. It was so easy to pack it this time. A few minutes and I'm done. I walk fast but it seemed like I was dragging my feet. I talk so much but it seemed like I don't make sense at all. I am excited to come home. But I am equally scared. I'm going to see you in a while, Lola Mang. But when I see you, it will be a different scenario altogether. I won't feel your warmth anymore. I won't be able to kiss your forehead anymore. I will only see you in that rectangular box, and you will be surrounded with flowers, and not your medicines, nor our pictures anymore. But I shall see you, Lola. I shall see you. I promised you that, remember?
(via Instagram)

31 March | Monday
Day 5

Lola Mang, kape? I will never forget how you always ask if I want coffee not even minding the time of the day. This morning I woke up and I went up to your casket asking, "Lola, kape, gusto mo?" I prepared your coffee and your favorite biscuits from Singapore. I kept one of my promises, Lola. Gusto mo ng imported na handa, di ba? It took me a really long while to take a look at you yesterday. It took me hours of crying before I finally went into this room. I am grateful for family who stayed beside me the whole time eventhough I know my emotions were too much to handle. I stayed with you the whole night. And whenever I feel like talking to you, I'll just come up and talk to you casually. You are so beautiful, Lola. You were smiling back at me. And though I still feel sad from time to time, my heart is filled with memories of your love.
(via Instagram)

1 April | Tuesday
Day 6

Flowers for you, Lola Mang. Yesterday, I thought of adding more flowers all around you. Some are almost withering, and I want you to look extravagant. After all, you were once a beauty queen in your province. Instead of buying arranged ones from the shop, I bought stalks of colourful chrysanthemums. I wanted your flower arrangements to be unique so I arranged them myself. Your guests were looking at me while I was arranging. They said it's beautiful. And that's how special you are, Lola. I arranged those beautiful flowers by myself. You were surrounded by so many flowers. While I was arranging, I kept on talking to you. I kept on reminiscing our memories together especially Flores De Mayo days. I always do that during summer days in Bicol. We offer flowers to Mama Mary while we sing songs. My cousin accompanied me while I re-enact those days. We laughed so hard until I went on my knees and sobbed without end. There's so much memories to remember, Lola Mang. Happy memories that makes me cry everytime. I try to be happy, Lola. But most of the time when I do, tears just fall.
(via Instagram)

2 April | Wednesday
Day 7

Without hesitation, I took the hearse which carried your body on the way to the crematorium. Because as what everybody said, ako ang “padaba” (favorite).

Sad songs were being played while the hearse slowly moves. I was trying so hard to control the tears, by cracking some quick jokes to my cousin who's also beside me at that time. I was even from time to time, looking behind, asking you, “Okay ka lang ba dyan, Lola?” But tears relentlessly fall.

From the funeral homes, we passed by our house – the house that has been a witness to so many of our memories together. Many of our neighbors were outside, and paid some respect.

The journey to the crematorium was by far the shortest I've ever imagined. I never wanted it to end. But I am too selfish to say that. I know you've been too tired, Lola. I kept on looking at the white balloon tied on the hearse's window, while I said, “Tingnan mo naman, Lola, daig mo pa ang presidente sa dami ng escort mo. Hindi humihinto ang sasakyan natin kahit pa ba red light yan.”

They opened your casket for the last time at the crematorium. And, for the last time, nagmano ako sa iyo. While the rest of our relatives did the same, I intensely looked at you, every contour, every curve, every vein from those hands who has taken care of me for the longest time. For the last time, I stroked your soft and gray hair, while I whispered, “Kaya na namin 'to, Lola. Pahinga ka na.”

They took your body and after three hours of waiting, they handed me the marble urn. I saw that they sealed your ashes inside the urn. Your name was beautifully etched in gold. I carried your urn from the crematorium to the columbarium. I even jokingly said, “Finally, Lola, it's my turn to carry you.”

While we were on the road, I thought my emotions were settled until the sudden gush of tears came. I just began to realize, that whenever I would come to Manila, I shall visit you not in our house anymore, but in another place. I won't be able to hug you, nor kiss you, nor exchange stories with you.

The Ascension Columbarium is a nice place – well-lit, well-ventilated, contemporary, class. A good place for you, Lola. We all prayed the rosary and right after, daddy placed your urn inside the small box located at 21- 12B. Quite easy to memorize – my birthdate and my favorite number.

Before we left, I touched the small box with your name on it, while I whispered, “See you again, Lola.

We all held a white balloon. I said a little prayer, talked to you for a while, told you “Basta sundan mo lang yung liwanag, Lola. Dire-diretso lang.” And I let go of the balloon. A few seconds after, the balloon was already out of my sight.

3 April | Thursday
Day 8

My view since five in the morning. Been looking at the ceiling for more than three hours. There's so many thoughts. And there's no thought. There's so many things to do. And there's nothing to do. There's so much things to say. And there's nothing to say. I need to get up in a few minutes. The morning sun is inviting. I want to walk wherever. I want to go anywhere. I want to get a tattoo. I want to eat whatever. I want to sing. I want to laugh. I have to. I have to.
(via Instagram)

4 April | Friday
Day 9

I keep coming in your room, Lola Mang. I sit there for a while. It feels cold. And yet warm. It's been a week & a day, and I miss you.
(via Twitter)

6 April | Sunday
Day 11

It's been a week and three days, Lola Mang. It all happened so fast yet so slow. I'm finally back in this little city. I brought you with me. James and I prayed for you last night. I woke up today, and I greeted you Good Morning while I looked at your photos I set up on my bedside table. The sudden gush of emotions were lessened. Only happy memories to remember remain. I guess when you live in my heart, you live forever. I love you, Lola.
(via Instagram)

7 April | Monday
Day 12

Finally back to the daily grind. I shouldn't be coming to work yet, but I got to get busy already. First time in the longest time I wore a watch. I've always liked the idea of timelessness, of doing things in my own sweet time. But Lola Mang taught me that time will not always be on our side. I have to make each moment important -- as if it is the only chance I got. Today, I wore the watch I gave Lola Mang a couple of years ago. She must have taken good care of it. It still looks brand new. Whenever I look at this, I smile. Lola Mang always remind me that NOW is always the best time for everything.
(via Instagram)

9 April | Wednesday
Day 14

It's been fourteen days since you left us, Lola Mang. How ironic that when you left, you are ever more present now. You always fill my thoughts when I wake up in the morning. My prayers are filled with you when I sleep at night. My actions now are ever more sensitive to following your life well-lived and aspirations. My lips utter more of our memories shared together.

After a couple of days without tears, I cried again last night with thoughts of you.

I love you, Lola Mang.
I miss you, everyday.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Eulogy to My Most Favorite Lola

1 April 2014
Originally written on a brown paper bag; Unedited

By the window at Prudential Funeral Homes
Manila, Philippines

How does one make a eulogy to her most favorite Lola?

It took me a long while to come into this room. I am certainly not scared, but most likely because, I never really thought this day would come. Akala ko Lola, imortal ka.

You've always been so energetic and strong. Na-amaze ako 'pag nakakayanan mong magbuhat ng isang kabang bigas, o yung mga pasalubong mo sa amin galing Bicol -- alimasag, langka, mangga. Ang lahat ng mga paborito ko. O kung paano mo kami binubuhat ni Juy nang sabay mula sa kuwarto hanggang kusina sa mga araw ng eskuwela.

I am so grateful until today Lola, that we've shared so much memories together. Ako na ang suwerteng apo. Yung mga kaklase ko noong kinder, hatid-sundo ng school bus. Ako, hatid-sundo ng lola. Kumpleto ako lagi ng Simbang Gabi, kasi ako ang lagi mong sinasama. Ang sarap-sarap kumain noon kapag alimasag ang ulam. Sasabihin ko lang noon ang magic words, "Lola, pahimay." Simula pa ng naaalala ko, magkatabi na tayo sa kama hanggang sa makapag-abroad ako. Tapos bago tayo matulog noon, gabi-gabi tayong sabay nagdadasal at ang dami-dami nating pinag-uusapan. Gabi-gabi kitang sinasabihan ng, " Lola, wag ka muna mamamatay ha?" Tapos sasagot ka ng, "Oo, promise, katurog na."

Maraming-maraming beses mo akong pinagtakpan sa mga aminado akong pagkakamali ko noong bata pa ako. Ikaw ang dahan-dahang nagbubukas ng pinto sa mga gabing umuuwi ako ng lasing para hindi ako mapagalitan ni daddy.

Nung nakapagtrabaho ako sa abroad, Lola, tuwang-tuwa ako pag nags-skype tayo, tapos ipapakita ko sa iyo yung paldang tinahi ko para sa sarili ko. Alam kong proud na proud ka sa akin nun. Tuwing nagbabakasyon ako dito, hindi ko nakakalimutang pasalubungan ka. Tapos sasalubungin mo ako ng mahigpit na yakap. Pawi lahat ng lungkot at homesickness ko.

I know you've fought a hard battle, Lola Mang.
Did we win?
Of course, we did!

Kita mo naman Lola, lahat kaming nagmamahal sa iyo, nagsasama-sama, inaalala lahat ng masasayang alaalang kasama ka. Hanggang sa huli Lola, naging strong ka.

Nung nagka-echolalia ka noong October, ako at si Tita Jeanette ang nandun kasama ka sa ospital. The next few days after the ordeal, tinanong kita, "Eh ako, Lola, sino ako?" Tapos sabi mo, with soft and trembling voice, "Ikaw ang paborito kong apo." Nagkatinginan kaming lahat, at sinabi namin sa isa't isa, "Ay, okay na si Lola."

Nung isang buwan na umuwi ako, nung pinakilala ko sa iyo si James, that was by far the most emotional moment in our Manila trip. Finally, you met him. It was an intense and beautiful feeling that the person who has taken care of me since I was young has finally met the person who will hopefully take care of me for the rest of my life. 'Di ba Lola, sabi mo sa kanya with trembling voice, "Please take care of her." Akala mo Lola ibang lahi, napa-ingles ka tuloy.

Two days before kang nawala, nagkausap tayo sa telepono. Wala naman talaga tayong masyadong pinag-usapan, pero hindi ko mabilang kung ilang beses tayong nag- I love you sa isa't isa.

Alam kong gustung-gusto mong lumaban. Your spirits are high. Pero madaya ang pisikal na katawan natin. Alam kong marami ka pang gustong ma-witness na mga mahahalagang pangyayari sa buhay naming lahat. Gusto mong maging present sa lahat ng okasyon. Pero I'm sure Lola Mang, mas maganda ang view dyan. From now on, you will have a better view of us -- Mabilis kang makakakilos... Hindi mo na kailangan ng mag-aakay sa iyo... Hindi ka na hihingalin sa mahabang lakad.

I love you, Lola. Hindi ka na maghihirap. Sa mga panahong naiiyak ako kapag naalala kita, lagi kong sinasabi na nagiging selfish na naman ako. I always mention, "How do I live now, without you, Lola Mang?" imbes na ang sabihin ko, "I am grateful for all the years that I was given the opportunity to live and be taken care by you."

Patuloy at patuloy kang mabubuhay sa puso ko, my favorite Lola Mang.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Life Lessons

I have a colleague turned close friend / second father of nearly six years. It is very seldom to come across a person who has so much dedication with work, who has so much passion about life, whose feet have stayed on the ground even if he has journeyed a lot in his lifetime, who never fails to please everybody around him even at his own expense. I am blessed to have met a person such as this in my lifetime. I am blessed to have met and known Kuya Opet.

His zest for work is incomparable. He has managed foreign workers very well. He hated time wasted. And even though he gets angry at his workers, they loved and respected him for being the professional that he is.

He is one great epitome of a family guy. He regarded his family as his priority. He never failed to provide their needs, and even wants. He ensures that despite work commitments and living life abroad, he wouldn't fail to be present in all his kids' programs, graduations, birthdays and other special events.

He has always been the father figure to me since I've been away from home for so many years. He has taught me so much about life in general. He has always been present and ever supportive in my little triumphs, whether at work or even in personal undertakings. He never failed to reach out to me during the gloomy phases of my life. He will pick me up at home everyday to work. And in return, I would sometimes cook for him his favorite adobo, which he heartily devours. He is one of the few people whom I can talk to with substance -- from politics, to current news and events, to work ethics, to family, to love, to life -- and we never ran out of stories to tell.

I've had so much memories of him that whenever I remember, I laugh so hard until I end up crying. He has so much heart to give to the world, and with that, he has become my life peg.

I have a colleague turned close friend / second father of nearly six years. And last Saturday, he died at the age of 42. Kuya Opet died of liver cirrhosis.

All was shocked about the sudden news -- family, colleagues, friends. Two months ago, he was still the  funny guy who never ran out of jokes, the Project Manager who always rush to get things done fast. But life always tricks us with reasons we don't even understand.

I've never felt a strong paradigm shift in my life until he passed on. Kuya Opet never ceases to teach me life lessons even after he died. He taught me so many things because of his passing.

When we have something to do, we have to do it now.
When we have something to say, we say it now.
When we want to apologize, we apologize now.
When we want to go some place, we better start moving.
When we have dream, we start realizing it now.
When we want change, we should start now.
All because, we won't know if tomorrow will still be given to us.
We live life as if it's our last.

It is in his passing that I have realized that though his life was brief, he has left a legacy that we will forever cherish. His loss created some kind of hole in my heart, that no matter what I do, I would still, from time to time cry for missing him. But at the same time, I am thankful for this hole in my heart that light can pass through it so I may always be enlightened, in everything I say, in everything I do, in every dream that I make come true.

I will forever miss Kuya Opet dearly. And while most of the time I don't understand why life and death has to be like this, I will surely live life with zest, passion and full of hope just like him.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Best Gift

What's the best gift you've ever given to someone? Or the best gift you've given to your partner on the first month of your forever?

Well, aside from love, it can be a couple artwork you've painstakingly done, or poetry written with intense emotions. Or both.

That is priceless.

Unang Buwan ng Walang Hanggan

Paano binibigkas ang mga nag-aalab na damdamin?
Paano iindayog sa tugtog ng mapagpalayang pag-ibig?
Paano tiniptipon ang alaalang dala ng bawat umaga?
Paano lalapatan ng himig ang titik na binibigkas ng mga labi?

Tinitipon ang sariling binasag ng kahapon
Inaalam ang mga pangarap na minsan itinapon
Kumakapit sa kakarampot na pag-asa
Na minsang binuwal ng alaala

Bawat araw ay may masidhing paanyaya
Bawat gabi ay may kaakibat na pag-aasam
Na makasama ka
Na makapiling ka

Sa bawat salitang sinasambit
At mga titik na sa tingin lang kumakapit

Sa bawat hakbang
At pagtakbong walang pakialam

Sa bawat ngiti
At bawat hikbi

Hindi kailanman mailalapat sa salita
Ang dala ng simbuyo ng gunita

Sabay tayong gumuhit ng larawan ng bukas
Hulmahin ang bawat pangarap
Maghabi ng hindi malilimutang karanasan
Ikaw at ako hanggang kailanman

Kay tagal kong naghintay
Kaakibat ng poot ng nakaraan
Wari'y hindi ininda ang hapo at pagal
Ngayo'y narito ka na, sinta
Wala na akong hahanapin pa

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Adieu, 2013

I woke up today with a different kind of happiness. Others may say, it's just another day in another year. But it IS another day, and that puts a gleam in my heart.

2013 has been a memorable year for me. It has been a mentor in insurmountable ways, the paradoxical teacher of learning the best and the worst.

Fragments of events of the year passed came through my mind while I was having my coffee this morning. 2013 has tested my discernment on situations, my physical strength, my ability to love, my capability to endure.

The first quarter of the year brought me to so much questioning in life, in love, in relationships, in my purpose. I was not living the moment as I have become anxious of the past and worrier of the future.

There were major turn of events that has happened in the past year -- failed relationship, test of friendships, loss of self-purpose. Nevertheless, I am thankful that all these brought me to the path to enlightenment and self-gratification. All these have brought me to a realization, that in spite of my heart being broken, it will never get tired of loving and bringing back the zest for life I've always had.

The last quarter of the year was by far, the most memorable. I woke up one day with a certain purpose in life. I began to realize that people will always come and go, and there are people, like true friends, who will choose to stay no matter how incorrigible your battles are. I brought back my confidence. I can stare at the mirror again, and say "I am beautiful." I am beautiful not only because I attract the good things life has continuously offering, but also because, out of billions of people in this world, there is one soul who saw what is really beautiful in me. Finally, I have realized that families will always be that pillar you'll always come back to lean on to. They make all the pain a lot bearable just by thinking they are always there. And, they make your everyday victories more rewarding and fulfilling.

2013 has brought me so much battle scars. And here I am, ever so thankful that I have endured. Whatever the year has made of me, it definitely molded me into the beautiful person that I am now. I can't wait for better things to come.

Adieu, 2013.
Hello, 2014. I am ready.