photohunt: bright

11:24 AM Saturday, June 28, 2008

This is a real favorite shot of mine, one i've posted several times already (it's even won us a camera in my husband's company's inter-region Photo Contest). Ants have always been the perfect example of helping hands, of how working together translates to a future that's bright, instead of bleak; a tomorrow filled with promise, instead of regret; a someday, where you reap your just rewards.

And yes, bananas are uually known for their bright yellow color :)

Plus, now we know how many ants it takes to carry a banana chip!

the high road

9:51 PM Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I love my brother. Shamefully though, only because he is my brother.

He turned 29 today and to celebrate, he invited all his tambay friends from our street last night to go drinking at our home... where he doesn't really live anymore. So aside from being upset because of the noise they were making till 4 AM today, that kept the neighbors (and us, my son and husband included) awake, and slightly annoyed for having our pantry and ref raided (one or two canned good would have been okay, more than that affects our meal budget already... and MY chocolates are MINE alone, and therefore MINE to give away)... I was also royally pissed that my brother could afford to splurge on five cases of beer grande (though he was happily saying to his friends to thank Lhuillier for the beer, implying he pawned something) but had to get some of our parents' money from me several days before to pay for his son's immunization.

My mother is literally breaking her back in the US to earn money. All her retirement benefits have already been spent on Py's treatments before. So a part of me cannot help but coldly wish for lightning to strike my brother for not even having learned gratitude and consideration from all that has happened.

I was literally torn last night... pitiful of a brother who did lose his firstborn, smug about having a good life compared to all those tambays in our home, offended for my parents, annoyed because I really don't get why those without money will choose to hold drinking sessions, sad for my nephew who has my brother for a Dad, embarassed that my husband has to be deprived of sleep when he pays all the bills in both houses, angry that my brother is without consideration...

I fought to control my temper. Although I didn't think his birhday is reason enough to be a jerk, I chose the high road. It was pointless to pick a fight anyway, considering he's drunk. Besides, going on a rampage would only result in my husband having to intervene, and I really didn't want to invite more trouble for him as well.

The high road. I'm not even sure where it is exactly, or what it looks like. I am so scared of enabling my brother to be more of a jerk, but I don't know which fights in relation to him are worth it anymore. My Mom enables him... and I have picked so many fights about it with my Mom already too. You would think, losing a child will already teach someone about consideration...

Before, when my brother's in a fix, I'd always tell our sis that what makes me angry the most is karmic retribution. That life will collect from my brother in a big way for every wrong choice he made, and that I was scared because karma usually involves someone beloved to you. Back then, I was scared that something has to happen to our Mom, something awful, in order to push my brother to do right.

And in my darkest moments pondering my brother, I couldn't help but think that Py might have been his chance to do right, but God saw him undeserving of the chance so He punished him instead by taking Py away.

I really feel so lost. What else can I do? And how do I love a brother for who he is, and not just because we share the same parents?

when friends fall out...

6:25 PM Monday, June 23, 2008

... and going back again and again on everything that happened only makes you realize how it's an exercise in futility... that it was partly inevitable, partly beyond any ONE's control... partly everybody's fault and not...

all you can do is take heart... that even friends for a season, as opposed to a lifetime, were your friends for a reason. There is a reason. A purpose. Something greater than even the friendship itself. Something greater than what was, what is, and what will be.

And that keeping your heart humble and your mind open is the key to surviving the loss... if there were losses... and to knowing which pieces need picking up.

In the meantime, I shall grieve what was... so I can look forward to what can be.


And in the great scheme of things, what is this pain and loss, compared to the devastation Frank brought to the lives and livelihood of so many Filipinos over the weekend?

Mind you, my friendships are the world to me. But still, I know me and my friends are luckier still than others.

photohunt: water

10:58 AM Saturday, June 21, 2008

Clouds are water just waiting to fall back down again, to fill our lakes and rivers and seas again. And water is nature's way of reflecting back to the heavens all of its beauty, all the splendour of today, all the promise of tomorrow.

at El Paradiso, Bataan

at Badjao Restaurant, Pto. Princesa

ten kilos

6:34 PM Friday, June 20, 2008

Funny how that particular weight can bring back so much pain.

My son was standing on the weighing scale this morning, and we saw that he's now ten kilos heavy.

My late nephew Py was always thin. And he was stuck in ten kilos for a long time, and he was already two years old when we discovered the cancer.

All the fear, all the pain, all the ugly, bitter memories... they're suddenly back again. And I can't help but feel some sort of guilt again, and an immense gratitude, that my son is very healthy.

SM Advantage Sale

11:08 PM Tuesday, June 17, 2008

It was the closest to a stampede i'd seen in years.

Imagine people with grocery carts and baskets all rushing forward to grab groceries. And in the pandemonium, people ultimately got confused. Nobody was heeding the grocery clerk announcing that SM Advantage members are only entitled to FIVE Buy 1, Take 1 items and TEN Value Bags. So what happened was, people were grabbing the value bags in twos, thinking they were the Buy 1, Take 1 stuff.

And since Gardenia White Bread was Buy 1, Take 1, there were carts filled with them... and I couldn't help but wonder if those families really eat that much bread. I mean, they expire within five days or so.

And when Baygon products were brought out, also Buy 1, Take 1 items... you'd suddenly think that there is a mosquito plague in Manila.

We got Post cereal, sugar, soy sauce, Baygon spray and sausages in Buy 1, Take 1. We got baby bath, CDO burger patties, dishwashing liquid and some chips in Value Bags. But we practised much self-control and wisdom already. Trust me, it isn't easy not to be swept by the mob into a panic buying frenzy. It's really a great marketing idea to get people buying, and enrolling in the SM Advantage Rewards Program.

I mean I saw a lot of people buying colas! For sure, everybody went over budget. Even chicken was Buy 1, Take 1!

This happened just tonight at SM Manila. And I think there's another similar sale on the 24th, Manila Day.

I didn't take pictures anymore because I was literally dodging carts! Some even tried shopping off our carts! Imagine!

Overheard on Father's Day

2:52 PM Monday, June 16, 2008

We decided to sun our son along Manila Bay.

Just before a group started on their aerobics, the men were shouting "Araw namin ngayon, hindi kami maglalaba! Hindi kami magluluto!" ("It's our day today! We won't do the laundry! We won't cook!")

A woman then replied, "Sige, mag-alaga naman kayo ng bata!" ("Okay, take care of the children instead.")

Hope everybody duly remembered their fathers... if not for their inspiration and love, at least for the challenges they posed to us so we'd choose to lead better lives.

photohunt: Emotion (s)

10:32 AM Saturday, June 14, 2008

Girls dressed up as angels during the SABOG ("shower")

This was taken during the Sabog (shower of petals for Mama Mary) at the Tapusan (End) of Flores de Mayo (May Flower Festival).

Religious feasts such as this are often emotionally charged events, though this isn't as serious as The Feast of the Black Nazarene, as hopeful as the Obando Fertility Dance Festival, or as crazy as the Sinulog or Pintados Festival.

And during the PUTONG, the transfer of crowns to the Kapitana next in line, I usually get misty-eyed. I think it has a lot to do with the music that accompanies the ceremony, which sounds like a lament and a goodbye, and then ends into a sort of congratulatory march.


8:17 PM Friday, June 13, 2008

In just a month, I gained ten pounds.


But I am still gorging myself up on my niece's birthday cake. You know, those ones with sugar flowers and marshmallow icing? Ugh. I love birthday cakes!


Advance Happy Father's day... to everybody's Pops :)

Re-reading Harry Potter

11:55 PM Thursday, June 12, 2008

I know... for the nth time!

In a way, it's different re-reading the whole series again, knowing it's already finished, knowing already what happened. Because you get to appreciate just how vigilant JK Rowling was about squeezing hints and paying attention to details. That, or she has one heck of an editor.

And you really get the feeling that it's not only the characters who evolved in each book, JK did as well.

I am not so sure if she'll ever write anything that will surpass the Harry Potter mania. In my mind, she doesn't have to anyway. Not only are her kids and grandkids assured of a comfortable life just from the royalties alone, but she has already come down in history as the woman who got kids reading again.

Still, I would always be miffed that she killed off Fred. Hehe.


Btw, may I interest you with Father's Day Gift Ideas?

My Heart Goes Out To Her

4:35 PM Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Over a decade ago, I brought along my kid sister to my then-bf's house. His Mom was too enthusiastic with her "hello" that my sister was alarmed and upset. She cried. She must have been nine or ten years old.

Last Saturday, the same woman made my son cry with her enthusiastic greeting. My son cried.

And it's really weird because it's not like she had a booming voice. She's actually very soft-spoken and lovely, very warm and gracious. And it is that grace that amazes me because she was all smiles and good manners when we saw her last Saturday. It was her husband's wake.

She lost her eldest child just last year.

So when my ex informed me that his Dad died, I immediately thought of her. Worried about her. Because she was a Mom I really hoped to be like. And despite these tragedies, she managed to remain luminous in her gentle presence... that I got comforted instead of doing the comforting.

Help me pray for the wife left behind by Gerardo Belen.

I wasn't really a fan but I grew up knowing he's a respected, established star of the Philippine Cinema. May his family find comfort from relatives and friends.

a rant on borrowers

3:54 PM Friday, June 06, 2008

Believe me, at the height of my pregnancy, I have verbally abused my own Dad for his attitude about lending money, and then harassing us later on to go get back the loan for him.

I was (still am) upset with him because, although we're not poor, we're not exactly rolling in money. And just the thought of them breaking their backs working in the US (Dad is now a gardener, Mom is a caregiver) just to build a life for my sister there hurts me to no end. It's not that I don't appreciate nor understand the sacrifice they're making, but I hate that they are still working that hard when they're already in their 60s. And that's just it, they are making lots of sacrifices... so why would my Dad just lend tons of money to people who haven't even paid their previous loans, right?

I can go on and on about my Dad but the title of this post is "a rant on borrowers" and I just want to rant about someone specific.

We have been trying to get back my dad's money since last year but still haven't even gotten paid a cent. I know, one problem with such cases is that few people actually go to jail for owing money, and sending borrowers to court is so much hassle. But I am really at my wits' end with this woman. She has promised so many times that she'd pay, we've even gotten several promissory notes signed by her etc. but still nothing!

We just can't give up on her because my Dad insists we get his money back. And I do want to get that money and deposit it in my Mom's account to replenish her savings. I don't know how else to force the borrower's hand to pay!

And it's not like we're being very irrational. But the woman herself wouldn't go out of her way to come up with a payment scheme. We have come up with different staggered payment schemes for her but she just hasn't made any initial payment! And it's not like they're super poor either, they sell rice in the Lipa market. And again, it's not like we're asking for hundred thousands upfront... grrr.

And then she'd have the audacity to remind us that she only borrowed money from my Dad and that she isn't a bad person! That, of course, makes me gnash my teeth some more! I literally told her that she shouldn't dare say she's not a bad person because she has been intentionally causing us grief with collecting.

I'm just confined to home mostly so I literally cannot go pull her hair right now, and use her face to wipe some floor. I am absolutely hopping, fuming mad! Grr. Maybe next weekend, i'd really personally pay her a visit. It seems she never got truly scared of my Mom and my brother... so let's see if I can't set her right.


The thing is, I know how cruel I get when i'm mad... which was why I avoided meeting her all those times before because I didn't want to be super mean to someone. I also always remind myself that this woman is a Mom like me, that she has kids who must love her and depend on her.

Dang it.


Which is why I really don't intend to ever loan money to someone, unless I can really do without that sum. Because getting back a loan is just so hard, and few borrowers have the integrity to even come to you and discuss how they can pay, or what's keeping them from paying.


4:48 PM Thursday, June 05, 2008

Craving Chicken Joy... so I gave in to yet another impulsive buy/binge and had the spaghetti/chicken joy meal from Jollibee.

It now costs P90. Sigh. I remember a time when P40.00 can get you a meal in Jollibee. That time is no more.

Jeepney fares are already P8. I think I can still remember a time when it was only P1.50. And softdrinks also cost that much (Coke 500ml used to cost P7, I think). And movies only cost P21.

Weirdly enough, community tax certificates (cedulas) still only cost P5.00 if you're not earning.

Still... this gave me pause. And another reason why I should quit my Starbucks addiction from last May. It is just soooo stupid to have spent thousands on a choco chip drink. I might as well just eat up the choco chips we still have from Baguio.


1:58 PM Tuesday, June 03, 2008

My cousins are watching Wowowee and one of them said that she hates Willie Revillame. She also mentioned that Willie had Lara Quigaman (?) removed from the show because Lara was not receptive to his amorous indecent proposals... but used as reason Lara's BF always being about.

I am not verifying this anymore because Willie has never been known for his gentlemanly ways anyway.

Which brings me to Pokwang, who I absolutely adore. I prefer her over ai-Ai, who seems to be in some sort of mid-life crisis by trying to come across as a sex symbol (but all her Belo ads ever did is make me miss Morticia Addams). But I digress. I watch Wowowee sometimes for Pokwang, wondering what her outfit will be. And at least she knows she's co-host in Wowowee not because of her kangable possibility for Willie, but because she really has talent.

But I have to hand it to Willie, he's able to come across as godsend to Pinoys while others would attest to his being a pig.


I also watch Wowowee for the stories of the contestants... of course, some of it are contrived or exaggerated but it can be very illuminating as well.

I've always wanted to be a UP student. First of all, because of the prestige it suggests (or used to suggest) and the fact that a much older friend of mine entertained me with lots of stories about attending UP (mainly of having classmates coming into class with wings... literally). I was all too eager to embrace an institution that embraced individuality and non-conformity so long as you have the potential for greatness.

I wasn't bright enough for it after all, believing our guidance counselor in high school that we'd only be wasting money and effort trying to get in. She told us (and I stupidly believed her) that UP only gets people from public schools, and since I was attending a private Catholic school, I just decided not to 'waste my time and money'.

Maybe she should have used the word 'prioritizes' instead. Or maybe I shouldn't have been intimidated, believing I wouldn't get in. Maybe I was also very scared that I actually didn't have it in me to get in, and not trying also meant I wouldn't fail. Whatever.

And when I found out I could actually transfer there when I was in my second year in college, with most of my subjects to be credited (I forgot the term we use for schools with such agreements), I dared not leave one specific friend who stood by me through all our peer group drama. Maybe I was still scared that time... or too unwilling to adapt all over again.

So I just went on to graduate 22nd in the whole graduating class (third in our course), took up masters in measurement and evaluation for kicks a year after, didn't finish that after attending 36 units worth of classes... and then pursued mountaineering for the kicks lacking in my life instead.

Blah. Blah. Blah.

But now, I am officially a student again. And a UP student at last, albeit a UP Open University student. Those facilitating the orientation program last Saturday assured us that UPOU students are of equal worth/potential to regular UP students (but yes, they don't expect us to cause campus riots). And we actually have the added challenge of being internally motivated to learn and finish our course.

I have signed up for Masters in Distance Education. Explaining the choice in my essay, I basically said that, "I want to take up Masters in Distance Education because I hope to homeschool my children."

Isn't that being ironic and not at the same time? :)

I actually wanted to specialize in Non-Formal Education but it wasn't being offered in UPOU. MDE was the closest course to it. So here I am... may I rise to the challenge.