May 18, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Having stood in the street for over half an hour already, I was nearly giving up on successfully getting a cab. I was sleepy and sweaty and just a few meters from home, but having remembered of how such a small inconvenience this is compared to other people’s, I decided to give it another chance. After a few more tries of saying “UST Hospital” and getting that repeated shaking of the head, I finally got an “o sige na nga, pero payag ka miss may dagdag?”. His taxi was old, and so was he, and I have no idea why I even had to ask “magkano po dagdag?” when I should have already locked in the deal immediately. Manong said “kwarenta lang”, and in my mind I thought “sus, yun lang pala. mabait naman pala si kuya” as I hurriedly entered his car. As I settled myself down, manong asked me in jest the deprecating question “bakit, manganganak ka na ba?”, to which I said “ha ha, hindi po” as I tried to stop myself from further asking, “bakit mukha ba akong buntis??” for the fear that he might even say “yes”. He struck up the usual conversation explaining that he had to ask extra since it’s traffic going to Manila at that hour due to the victory campaigns for the election, etc. I filled in with the usual “aahhs” as I looked about disdainfully in the derelict state his taxi was in. I hated riding old taxis. As I didn’t have anything else to do, instead of just usually shutting up throughout the ride, I decided to ask manong a few more questions. The traffic was going to be a long haul. In the course of our conversation, I found out that he lived in Dasmarinas Cavite too and that the taxi company he worked for was in Evangelista Pasay. He wakes up 2 in the morning and gets home 4 in the morning. His shift was every other day, 24 hours each, and his daily boundary was Php1,300 plus an additional Php1500 for the gasoline. Only then would he start earning something, and that income would be divided for 2 days. He was more than 65 years old and although he has 3 sons, he still has to work to be able to live out on a daily basis. His sons have their own families and were all not in a position to help him and his wife in their expenses. He told me about his encounters with “talagang kamalasan”, which was how he looked at hold-ups. He’s been slashed with a knife in his neck, and had faced a gun twice, but he relayed the stories all the same in a jovial and amused manner which sent our taxi slightly veering off at times of humor. At the last leg of our journey, he even intentionally slowed his pace down as he was trying to finish the story he was telling me. I allowed the delay and I left him with an additional extra as that was the only thing I could give to express my sincere thank you for the humbling experience. After that taxi ride, I realized the undue distrust that I usually give to taxi drivers. It may be true that there a number of them out there who prey on innocent passengers and intentionally rig their meters or make up excuses of having no loose change, but the world is not out of good taxi drivers. Just as the world is never out of good people, if only we stop and look. At this day and age, trust is a luxury most of us have been conditioned to never give freely. We live in the constant fear of being shortchanged for play when we give love, or murdered when we give help, or even mugged if we make just as much as a stop or an eye contact. But we should never stop believing that good will always prevail, no matter the odds and the circumstance. I thank God for making me ride Manong’s taxi. I also thank Him for all my friends and relatives who helped and supported us immediately even without us asking and who prayed for Inay’s recovery. Thank You for reminding me to trust again. And I especially thank You for my mamoti and naychi. Flawed as we all are, every single day there are lessons to be learned from them such as dedication and courage. Thank You for the lows in my life so that I would appreciate all the highs. :)
As life with cancer is filled with “good days” and “bad days”, we had a “bad week” that eventually ended good. :) My mom was hospitalized again after barely a month due to her sudden anemia and electrolyte imbalance. I was touched by all our family and friends who willingly offered to donate blood immediately. As I was processing the PhilHealth papers (my mom’s name is so well known in the PhilHealth office at UST because of her regular ins and outs in the hospital for 16 years), the guy who was manning the booth was again telling me about how well he knew my dad already. He always tells me that whenever I’m the one processing, probably forgetting that I’ve talked to him before because it’s usually my dad who processes the forms. As he expertly staples and rearranges all the forms in order, he goes on with “Akala ko ba tapos na mommy mo? bakit andito nanaman?”. I tell him my mom needed blood transfusion, and he says “ang tagal na ng mommy mo na may cancer no, sa bagay okay lang mayaman naman ata si mommy?”. I correct him nicely with a “ay hindi po”, and I add in simultaneous realization that “mabait lang po ang Diyos”.
“As time goes on, you’ll understand. What lasts, lasts; what doesn’t, doesn’t. Time solves most things. And what time can’t solve, you have to solve yourself.”
May 5, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Time is fleeting.
I want it to be a month since, just so I can say it’s been a month and I’m managing. I want it to be a year since, just so I can say it’s been a year and I’ve moved on. I want it to be a decade since, just so I can say it’s been a decade and I have a life. But something inside me tells me that’s not what I really want right now. Some days I want to see you. Some days I want to talk to you and ask you so many whys. Why you did that. Why you didn’t do anything. Why you cared. And now why you don’t seem to. Some days I can forget about you. Most days I miss you. Some days I’m happy with how things are going. Some days I’m sad. Some days I’m okay. Most days I’m not. I don’t want to talk about this, but somehow writing it somewhere I know will be read by at least one person (regardless if I know them or not) gives me comfort that someone knows the anguish. That I am in pain and that I need the space. I don’t need anyone to ask me about it, I just need someone to know. Or maybe I do need to talk about it, or laugh about it. Or do anything aside from keeping it to myself because it’s killing me to pieces. My close friends, who I talked to about it, have been nothing but great support. They tell me both things I want to hear and things I need to hear. But they know nothing they do or say can really make me feel any better. To feel better is a difficult choice I have to make every single moment. As Voltaire said, “The most important decision you make is to be in a good mood”. When it’s so much easier to choose to reminisce, I have to choose to ignore and forget. When it’s so much easier to cry, I have to choose to hold back the tears and be brave. When it’s so much easier to regret, I have to choose to accept and let it go. When it’s so much easier to just feel the pain, I have to choose to make something out of it. I’ve started a couple of things to fill up the now unallocated time, things will pick up eventually I know. But the pain is here and it is something I have to accept as well. I knew it came along when I signed up for this, I just thought wrong that I could make it go away so easily.
May 1, 2013 § Leave a Comment
I borrowed this wonderful picture from Sir Edge Angeles. :) I can’t believe I actually got the honor to emcee this event, and in the ampitheater to boot that! :D The podium really does wonders to suppress stage fright. hahaha. Even if I barely know these
students graduates (since most of my students are not from the graduated batch), there’s something about seeing them all ready for the world clad in their ecru garments and sablay, getting their diplomas with their parents/ grandparents/ brothers/ sisters/ guardians and singing the UP Naming Mahal. Based on what I felt, I now understand how the more senior teachers must have felt. I owe a million thank yous to all my previous teachers.
The speeches from the guest of honor and the class valedictorian also served as an important reminder to all of us: That graduating from UP is more of a challenge, rather than an advantage. Mabuhay ang mga bagong inhinyero ng bayan! :)
April 27, 2013 § 2 Comments
You owe us a whale shark.
Aside from that, you owe us bland food, and a view free of a towering natural cone. You owe us the idea that waterfalls are inland and the idea that the ability to swim is inborn. You owe us a starless night and the illusion that we rule the universe. You owe us a life untouched by fireflies and a life hastened at all times. You owe me a full night’s sleep not under the stars beside one of the best things in life. You owe me a ride home that skips all the rice fields and the joy of walking with friends. Lastly, you owe me three boring days spent in usual fashion and devoid of wonderful people.
For your first inadequacy, I have finally found the heart to forgive you. For the rest of it, I don’t. After all, there is nothing to forgive…but I ask that you promise the next time we go there, you will give me my first wish…and a repeat, if not a better version, of everything else. :)
This is a very late post of my Donsol Trip with April, Marge, JM, Gale & David. All the pictures are from their cameras (except Marge’s…we were both freeloaders on the pictures haha). :D Thank you friends, I know you’ll grant me the right to borrow them without asking. haha. But I ask now. :D Yes? yes! :) So much for choosing the more environmentally-sustainable practice of seeing a whale shark. But as with all things, you can’t get everything you want…at the moment that you want it. We will be back! :)
still smiling a couple of jellyfish stings after :D
Warning Sign – Coldplay. :(
April 20, 2013 § Leave a Comment
The first cup of coffee I buy after 3 years is off a hospital vending machine. I waited for the crowd in line to dissipate before I discreetly took my turn. Without anyone around me, I approached the glowing block of a machine and stared; unsure of both what coffee to drink and how to operate it. Half a minute passed before I chose a cappuccino over a mocha. Another quarter of a minute passed before I figured out where to get the coffee. It was a good thing nobody else in proximity needed a caffeine fix during that duration, or I would have subjected myself to another round of humiliation. The feeling of the necessity of coffee is like a visit from a long, lost acquaintance: unexpected but familiar. I don’t drink coffee, but yesterday I knew I needed one. I came from a sleepless night as several things happened last Thursday. The first one was the stupidest, bravest thing that I have ever done – and will NEVER EVER do again. The second one was that I had to bring my mom to the hospital. Fortunately, my cousin Kenneth was somewhere near and he was able to accompany me, and hence my mom, as I dealt with all the necessary red tape to get my mom admitted. She was in danger of dehydration because she hadn’t been eating or drinking well lately due to a population of sores in her mouth, an effect of her new cancer drug: Everolimus. Then she suddenly had a bout of diarrhea that day that made me go home early. With Ama somewhere at the northern tip of the Philippines for a medical mission, I decided to bring her to the hospital for an IV drip.
The emergency yesterday made me realize several things. One was that a person like me cannot afford to get sick. This thought dawned upon me as I withdrew almost my entire monthly salary just to make a downpayment for admission. But at least I finally got to spend something big for my parents. A more than acceptable reason to be broke. The second one was that it was a good thing my mom panics so easily. She sent me a text message which sounded like she was going for the worst when in fact she was still okay. But that was good because if she had waited until it was really necessary to go to the hospital, it might be too late. Another one was that the timing of this event was quite right as it pushed me to step up as the eldest and turn my thoughts off feelings of regret. I actually don’t regret what I did (yes this is probably some mantra that has to be repeated several more times in order to be fully true), but there are still times where I cringe at the memory of it all. There are still moments when I truly want the Earth to swallow me whole. But I take comfort in the fact that these feelings will eventually die a natural death. I have no idea when, god forbid not soon enough. Please, please, feelings, die. :( Anyway, I’m saying this now because I’m writing but thinking less of it has been easier with all the things I had to and have to attend to lately and soon. Right now I’m thankful that we’re finally home and my mom has started to eat more thanks to her pain medication. However, she has ruled out any inclinations of taking Everolimus ever again as this is probably one of the worse side effects she has ever experienced in all the cancer drugs that she has taken. It’s quite ironic because this is actually one of the latest drugs for her condition. Deciding on what to take next is an entirely new and complicated matter to deal with. :( *sigh* But I know with all the good people who offer my mom support and prayers, things will be okay. :)
I still feel stupid. >.<
March 31, 2013 § Leave a Comment
I cooked paella today for Easter. There’s my mom’s finger and utensils getting paella before I can even get a decent picture. :)) I really have no patience for plating, so I bought humongous prawns to make up for the lack of design. Looks instantly appetizing. :p The other day, I made jambalaya rice with prawns and chicken – and I placed lots of herbs (the thyme and turmeric was too overpowering) which mamow didn’t like. When he was eating the jambalaya rice, he took out all the prawns because he claimed he was allergic (which is the truth). But it was honestly just an excuse because I knew he didn’t like it. Inay, who possesses the only immunity from my persuasive tactics of making them eat my dishes, kept taunting mamow that turmeric has a lot of health benefits – primary of which was its function against obesity. She didn’t even try a spoon of the jambalaya rice. But today with the paella, mamow ate 2 prawns even if he was allergic. And Inay ate 3 servings! :) I was honestly contemplating of opening a restaurant while eating it. I really take comments about my cooking personally. So today was a good day because everyone liked it. :)
And today is really a good day because we’re reminded that Christ redeemed us from the murky business of sin. Even if a lot of people have their own reasons against joining traditional celebrations like this, I think what’s more important to note is that rather than tradition having the tendency to be an exercise, tradition reminds us. We very forgetful lot.
I cleaned out this blog yesterday of all my unpublished drafts. Unsurprisingly, they were mostly about love. Thank you to the little wisdom I possess and I thought against posting them. There were also a number of awkward half-baked creative writing for creative writing’s sake. I need stillness to get into writing about more important things again.
March 27, 2013 § Leave a Comment
It feels so weird to be home in Cavite on a weekday. 9:30 and everyone else is already asleep. I have a lot of things that have to be done, but nothing that has to be done tonight (yay long weekend to do all those! :D). Now that the semester is ending, it’s also the time where you get in small notes of appreciation from students. Teaching is such a heart-warming profession, in that aspect. :’). Anyway, what happened tonight though was a bit funny. I was waiting for one group to email their final report yesterday and when I checked it this morning, there wasn’t anything from them in my inbox. I made a mental note to email them later to ask them why they didn’t submit it on time. I was also debating with myself if I should give them a zero for that paper since according to our syllabus, a late paper should get a zero (although I never really did this, the worst I did was give them 50% of their grade for a late paper…I’m too soft-hearted sometimes X_X). So anyway, earlier tonight I finally sat down to reply to my emails and I saw the email of their final paper. I was about to email them that their paper was late already but I noticed something else attached to the message. I opened the conspicuously named “Love Letter” jpeg file and…initial email plan aborted. Haha. There is of course the possibility that they’re just pulling my leg since I do teach in a university where a lot of smart-ass students thrive haha. But anyway, yes I did forgive their lateness and I ended up emailing them thank you instead. Interestingly, for my ChE 124 class, the groups that gave me long thank you letters was the group that got the highest grade and the group that got the lowest grade. That’s either a good sign, or it just so happens that the drama kings & queens of the class come from those 2 groups. Since this is conveniently in jpeg format already, I’ll post this souvenir. :)
Yeah, there’s probably a lot of pambobola in here, but I guess love letters really go that way. haha. :’) They’ll never find my blog anyway. It’s nice to know that even if I’ve been playing strict in my lab class the entire semester, especially to their group because they were almost alwaaays late T_T, they still had the guts to write me a letter. Thank you Lord I didn’t look too uptight to appreciate sweetness. :D