Sunday, December 31, 2006

Embracing the New Year

I welcome the new year with open arms. Ah, fresh start! But that does not mean that the past year's hurts and problems will go away. Yeah, the load is carried over. Too bad the debts are not condoned, and those time wasted and unused are no longer redeemable.

But I thank God for the new year. I should look at 2007 with fresh eyes. There will be new challenges at work, play and at home. There will be new dreams and new horizons to explore. I should not be weary in doing good. I still have a mission.

50th post

This is my 50th post, and some 2,000 others have viewed my site. This is despite the fact that I have not listed this blog in technorati or in other blog search engines. Thank you my blogger friends for encouraging me to blog. Thanks to this guy for teaching me the basics in blogging and to this lady for posting the first comment. Right after her first comment, I went bloghopping. There was no stopping from then on.

Happy New Yeay to everyone! May the Lord Jesus Christ will reign in your hearts and bless you abundantly.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Career Talk

Last Saturday, I was invited by my wife to speak to some 60 youths sponsored by Compassion. It was a sort of a career talk, and I was just so eager to do that. Five of us were invited, representing various professions. One is our former Pastor, then his wife who is a social worker. Then, our Sunday School Superintendent whose full-time job is a teacher at a National High School. The other one is a computer engineer who is also an alumnus of Compassion. Then me: A CPA.

As a background, these kids (youths actually) came from indigent families and were supported by Compassion since they were still 4-9 years old. Most are enrolled in public schools. My wife is also a Compassion alumna. She was a sponsored child till she reached 18. Now, she volunteers as a teacher and a health coordinator.

I arrived late, as in very late (sorry). The first three speakers already finished their talk. I sat at the back as I listened to the Engineer. But after a few minutes, I remembered I have not prepared my speech. I asked for a pen and paper and scribbled my outline. There’s no reason to panic here, because all I have to do is repeat what I have said in a previous career talk, though that was a year ago.

Then my time came. I started narrating about my childhood dreams. They were wild actually; like wanting to become an astronaut, or a scientist. Then my aspirations when I was in high school: I wanted to take up Agriculture in UPLB. Then I told them how God closed the door for UPLB, and so I was left with 3 more options when I finally set foot at USC. I had the enrollment money but still praying for wisdom. I said to myself that there would be no turning back for whatever choice I’ll make that day. In the end, I chose Accountancy. There was a feeling of relief and lightness as I walked home to report to my parents my chosen course. They were glad that I chose Accountancy as it was also on their mind for me.

But it did not end there. I told the youths that in order to finish the course and achieve my dream of becoming a CPA, I need to constantly ask for God’s wisdom. I also need the passion and the perseverance. There were so many boring moments, boring accounting teachers, and other diversions. But I have to maintain my focus in order to achieve my goal. I concluded my short talk with some familiar phrases: Always ask wisdom from God, study hard, dream big dreams and aim higher.

Then the question and answer portion. Two questions struck me. First, how do you know that the course you are planning to take is God’s will for you? Second, since God wants us to obey our parents, do we really have to obey them if they insist on a particular course which we do not like?

I responded first to the former. God’s general will is for all to be saved. As to the specific course, we do the choosing, but we have to ask God for wisdom. This was also supported by the Pastor when he said that whatever course you take it is God’s will for you, as long as you do good and do not disobey Him. I have always taken this position ever since I can remember.

For the second question, all other speakers responded as parents concerned for their children. One suggested that she should openly talk to her parents about her planned course. But it won’t be easy for her.

I had my cases for disobedience. First, it was my father. He disobeyed his parents by not helping them in the farm and in the sea. He escaped to school. In the end, he was the only one who got a college diploma among nine siblings. He was also able to support his parents and send his younger brothers and sisters to school. Second, it was me. My father wanted me to enroll in a newly opened technical school which was supported by the Italian government and some large corporations. It was supposed to be tuition-free and assured job after 3 years. But I disobeyed and did not apply. I didn’t want to become a technician. I did break his heart at that time. But I promised him that I will do better in another profession.

After the career talk, I looked at the youths again. I saw the enthusiasm in their eyes. I heard that plenty of them are honor students, but I also heard that there were some who were forced by their parents to quit school. I asked my wife about the girl who asked the second question. She said that her parents wanted her to stop studying after high school and look for a job. But she really aspired to become a teacher someday.

So, if by any chance you want to sponsor a child to school, you can do so by starting with your own neighbors or relatives. Or you can sponsor thru Compassion. There are so many children out there who need help.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Post Christmas Cravings

December 25. Immediately right after the Christmas program, I escaped to the tent which we put up on our Aunt’s lawn. It was already 3am, and the others were still so alive in their conversation and in their inspection of the gifts they received. I was so dead tired that I slept till 730am, and not minding the happenings and the conversations outside. I did not even notice my wife enter the tent at around 5am. She just slept for an hour then got up to join the conversation of her two aunts.

The sun was already up and the early morning heat became unbearable that I decided to get up and transferred to the airconditioned sala. Since breakfast was ready, and the elders kept on prodding us, I sat on the table and ate last night’s leftover foods.

Then I returned to the sala and continued my sleep in the sofa, joining the other nephews and nieces. Ah! No work, no worries!

We drove for home mid afternoon. My wife was already tipsy from lack of sleep. Upon reaching our room, she went straight to bed and dozed off while I took a shower. Then I watched TV with my bro in law and nephews. Wow! Animax presentation was a 10-hour run of Inuyasha. We missed the first two episodes though. But nevertheless, we were able to watch the remaining three episodes until midnight. My wife got up at 10 pm and joined us to watch the last show. She grumbled upon knowing that the main characters where half-men and half-demons.

December 26. Still no work! Sleep was from 1am to 9am. My head was heavy and aching from oversleeping. At breakfast, we’re all tired of eating ham, and I thought of the dried fish for a change. I was even searching for a can of sardines, but there was none anymore.

Sleep, TV, dried fish and sardines: These are what I craved for after Christmas.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Christmas Rush

The other day, I was walking aimlessly inside Makro. It was supposed to be a midnight sale but I was not in the mood to buy anything. All the items I wanted were still regularly priced, and I didn't want to join the very long queue at the counter.

I don’t want to be there in the first place. I, as always, avoid every madness of a midnight sale. But my wife prodded me to drive them to Makro so that they could have a last peek at the sale items. They were disappointed as well.

x x - o - x x

The other day I was at SM. I was fortunate enough to find a parking space near the entrance in such a busy night. I was supposed to pick-up my wife and her sis. Again, I was aimlessly walking and walking, not picking up anything to buy. Too many people! Not enough breathing space for me. I did enter US Booksale, as it was less crowded and picked up a few books. But still, I left empty handed.

x x - o - x x

So, there are two remaining Christmas parties which I have to attend this weekend. I need to buy a couple of gifts for manito-manita. And I still owe something to my 26 godchildren. It's normally me, every Christmas rush.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Anniversary

Today is my parents’ 32nd wedding anniversary.

There are so many things I admire about them, and these are just some of those:
1. I never ever saw them fight or argue, not even in silence.
2. I never ever heard any of them complain about each other over anything. Even my father’s snore is like music to my mother.
3. They enjoy each other’s company. Seldom will my father travel to other places without my mother.
4. They never fight with neighbors, but always invite them whenever we have parties.
5. My mother is the no.1 fan of my father’s tales. She does not get bored listening to them.
6. My father adored my mother and many times he repeated to us his version of their first meeting: Love at first sight at the school library.
7. All of us 4 siblings got equal treatment and attention. Though I received most of the punishment then, because I am the eldest and the only son.

All of the above are very difficult to follow. But anyway, they promised to love each other forever.

To my parents, Congratulations! May you have many more wedding anniversaries to come!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Football Again


I always thought that the best football clubs and players in the world are all in Europe, regardless of their original nationality. And the other domestic clubs are left with either the promising, second-rate, or beyond-the-peak players. The culprit: Money. These footballers are like gods for their fans. Then some wealthy European Club snatch them up and offer them and their clubs money.

Football is business after all. But I am not to dwell on that. And business is good for the game.

In the most recent FIFA World Club Championship held in Japan, the South American side prevailed. Internacionales of Brazil eked out a 1-0 victory over Barcelona, the current UEFA Champion’s League and La Liga Cup holder. So who are the stars of Internacionales? I don’t know. Names are familiar though, but they are just namesakes of other famous players in Europe.

So what’s the final score? From 1980 up to the present, South American clubs prevailed 14-13, over their wealthy European counterpart. The 2005 edition saw Sao Paulo crushed Liverpool.

On the latest FIFA rankings, Brazil sits on top despite not winning the world cup. The current world champion, Italy, is second. And what about the Philippines? We're at 171, an improvement from 184 last month.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Stained Gift


It’s gift-giving season once again. Everyone is excited about the gifts they are going to receive this Christmas. But for me, I am not expecting anything.

Let me just tell you of a recent experience, which has something to do also with my own attitude. I don’t really expect gifts. Not on Christmas, and not on my birthday. I grew up not expecting anything. But someone gifted me something on my recent birthday. Prior to opening the gift, I was so excited. But it died down when I saw the stain on the white shorts. Why such stained gift? Is it a mockery or something? I wanted to ask more questions, and even came to conclusion that probably the gift would show the character of the giver. I sat down on the floor reexamining the gift, and its stain. What was on their mind when they wrapped this? Were they thinking of me?

But then I saw a poor reflection of myself. Many times I gave for the sake of giving, not even caring if the recipient like the gift or not. Yeah, it took a while for me to accept it. But it’s not the value of the gift that really matters. It’s the gesture and the heart of the giver. I do not have the right to judge the giver because of the gift that failed my expectations. By the way, the shorts looked new again after I bleached it.

----- ooo ----- ooo ----- ooo -----

Some 2,000 years ago, God gave us a gift, His Son Jesus Christ. It’s because of His love He gave us this gift so that those who receive Him will not perish but have eternal life. But the people at that time were expecting a different Savior, someone who can rally them against Rome. And so they rejected the gift and crucified Him instead. But it’s part of the overall plan. That gift is available for all of us today, and all we have to do is accept it. It’s not a stained gift, but can surely wash away the stains in our lives.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Who Can Stop the Typhoon?

The ASEAN Summit is postponed due to typhoon. And some personal plans had to be deferred.

I already imagined myself enjoying the white beach and the clear waters of Sta. Fe. But what can I do? Typhoon “Seniang” will hit the island tonight and tomorrow. Though our scheduled travel is still on Sunday, and the storm might probably weaken by then, the postponement of the summit quite normalized the schools’ calendar. So there will be classes, and the 4 or 5 teachers who were supposed to go with us, will now be reporting to their schools.

Ah Seniang! Incidentally, the typhoon has the same name as Aunt’s cook, whose temperament is also unpredictable. So here's a view of the typhoon’s path:



I just called up a colleague who is in Tacloban City right now. The typhoon is there at this hour. Not that strong, he says, but it will send big waves to the island paradise of Bantayan. I heard from my sis that not a single boat was allowed to leave both ports of Sta. Fe and Hagnaya. Her officemates are stranded there at this moment.

Dark clouds are covering the city right now, but a clear blue sky usually follows a storm. And I don’t have to whine and rant about the postponement of some happiness. Even the government cannot stop the typhoon.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Football Crazy

Ever since we had cable TV, I’ve been following European football closely. This is now the third year wherein I woke up at dawn (or deferred sleep) just to watch the Champion’s League. Chelsea is my favorite team. And Jose Mourinho is my favorite manager. Though I’m miles away, I am following them thru the internet, magazines and cable TV.

I saw live on TV the thrashing of Barcelona by Chelsea, the controversial loss to Liverpool in the semis, and the amazing comeback of the Reds against the highly favored AC Milan, all in 2004.

In 2005, my Chelsea team got drubbed by Barcelona, who ultimately became champs after displaying beautiful football against Arsenal.

Just this early dawn, I watched how Manchester United came from behind to beat Benfica (3-1), who scared them with an amazing drive that hit the net early in the first half. This same team trounced Man U out early in the eliminations last year.

My team would still be Chelsea. I hope they’ll win the EPL, the UEFA Champion’s League and all the cups available.

But, do I play football? I quit the high school football club on the second day of training. I hated jogging ten rounds (plus ten more if I came late). I played softball and badminton, but I envied the soccer players who attracted most of the fans.

Just a little bit of info here: Barcelona’s all-time leading scorer, Paulino Alcantara, is a Filipino. He is the first Asian football superstar. Perhaps, we were once a football-crazy nation, before we were colonized by the Americans.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

This "Bloggy" Feeling

I was out of the blog world for 3 days as I was attending the annual convention of CPAs.

There seems to be an itch in my hands wanting to type the words composed in my mind. Like I want to blog about why they served the same kind of food in almost every meal. And how I liked certain topics discussed or how I loved the speech of certain speakers.

But there were times when I’ve seen images of my blog on the large screen, when my mind floated upon hearing the speeches of certain speakers which were like lullabies to my ears. Ah! Those drowsy moments could have been relieved by a cup or two of black coffee.

And I failed to notice that it is now December. How could I forget this most awaited month of the year!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Holiday No More

I was looking forward for a long holiday amidst promises of a declaration by the President. Then it was declared. And then in was revised. My heart sank when I heard the bad news. It’s not that I don’t like work, but it’s because of another plan gone awry with GMA’s changeable mind.

I won’t care about the activities or their agenda. My interest in politics dwindled after the last elections. But all I hope is the absence of any terroristic activity on those days.

I thank God my 3-day leave of absence was approved. I’ll be out from this busy city enjoying the sun and the white beach somewhere north.



If the City Mayor had his way, he would have wanted for a four-day holiday. But the business sector cried and ultimately got their wish from the President. Now, they are busy planning where to pass during the summit because most major roads will be closed. Patid-patid lata lang siguro ani padung office. Some employees suggested a chopper to fetch them to their workplace. Not a bad idea!

Monday, November 27, 2006

No Friends


Last night I was sitting at the porch of aunt’s house, playing “Cafu football” in my cellphone when my wife’s two young nephews came over to borrow my cell.

The younger one beat his older cousin in getting hold of the phone. The 6 yr-old cried foul. He complained that he was the one who asked me first. He withdrew murmuring that I was unfair. I asked him to come over. Not just once, but thrice I asked him to repeat his complaint. My reason was to delay his anger. I told him that I did not know he asked me first. I promised to let him play once his 4 yr-old cousin finished his game. He nodded.

Then it was his time to play. His smile was from ear to ear. The younger boy was fighting for a place in the seat they shared so that he can watch too. Everything went fine in the first two minutes until the older one got irked by the other one’s insistence to get hold of the phone. Little punches flew, and the smaller one cried. His father heard it and immediately scolded the older boy, and whipped his hand.

With none to protect him, he just threw a dagger look at his uncle with both lips tightly closed. He was about to withdraw again when I caught him and let him sit in the chair in front of me. I saw anger in his eyes that if given a chance, could be murderous. I once saw him push a child down at the church’s stairs. I also saw him pushing his mother out of balance at a party when he was not given attention. I am not sure of what he will do again this time.

After his uncle and his little cousin went back inside the house, he started talking to himself. “He’s not my friend. I don’t have any friends. When I grow up, I’ll ride a plane and bomb this house. I’ll destroy everybody.”

I just listened to him as he repeated his words. Then I silently prayed for the kid. I have not seen an angry child like him nor heard any other 6 yr old imagining of destroying his family. Never in my childhood had I remembered imagining bombing my own family’s house. “So, what about Amah (Fookien term for Lola)?” I finally asked him.

My question struck him at first, but then he reasoned. “I’ll let Amah fly in the plane with me and I’ll bomb this house.”

There was another moment of silence. His anger had not yet subsided. So I told him I’m going to pray to Jesus and will pray aloud for him. I touched his shoulder and asked Jesus to bless him.

Afterwards, I asked him. “Is Jesus your friend?” This time, his anger subsided. The fiery look in his beautiful brown eyes turned into innocence again.

“You know what? I only have 6 friends.” Then he mentioned names which included me, Amah, and Jesus. He happily repeated his words a few more times. The thought that he now considered six people as his friends relieved me. I know from now on I will always pray for this kid. But I wonder if he still wished to bomb their house.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

And She Chose to be Happy

I left her for work the other morning still asking the question why. I kissed her and said, “There will always be a next time.”

She met her doctor friend that morning coming from a nearby province. She too failed that same exam. They were roommates in Saipan. Misery loves company. And company relieves the misery. They visited the agency together and arranged for the next available schedule.

I met them again in the evening. They were giggling, like two teenaged girls, narrating how they were shocked at the results, and then dismissing the failure as just another experience. Doc is a forty something mother of three. It was her first time to fail in any exam in her lifetime, she said. But she’s not sad anymore. My wife, despite the teary evidence in her eyes, let out a smile. She said she chose to be happy.

Doc requested my wife to accompany her overnight in the 4-star hotel she was staying. I immediately agreed. At least they can plan together at how to tackle the next hurdle.

Friday, November 24, 2006

The Test

I wanted to cry with her but I saved my tears. She couldn’t hold hers. “Why me?” she asked.

Why her? A prayerful woman she is and yet this simple request to pass the exam was not granted. I showed her the emailed test result last night and it was very close. She did pass in one area, and the others just near passing. But it was not enough. I wanted to console her, saying that maybe, we can go to Hongkong together while she retake the exam. She just curled herself in the bed and continued sobbing.

The days nearing her exam was very tough though. There was not enough time to review as she was busy with church activities, and taking care of her ailing aunt. And on the night before the exam, she had an asthma attack. She was coughing and sneezing on the exam day. But she felt light afterwards, confident that God will let her pass.

But now, seeing the result shattered her confidence. She woke up this morning still with red eyes. And she showed me the text message of a Kuya which she received very early, saying he prayed for her. We haven’t even told him of the news. Perhaps, God whispered to him to pray for her and send her comforting words.

I am at loss of words to soothe her right now. But I told her that God has other plans. We’ve been at this situation before, and we can overcome this one again. I was just amused at the remark of the person from their agency: “Ing-ana gyud ng mga buotan, mahagbong sa ila first take. Gi testingan gyud na sa Ginoo” (This is what usually happens to good people. They fail on their first take. God is just testing them.)

Friday, November 17, 2006

A Birthday Poem

I always have mixed feelings as I approach this day every year. I'm not getting younger anymore and time flies so fast. There will be no celebration tonight. But I'll choose to be happy.

A Birthday Poem

I do not know if I’m halfway there.
But the future is a long wait,
Whose path of valleys and hills,
I shall tread with faith.

Yesterday, I thought was a forgotten past,
But the memories lingers long
With each passing time,
Of Stolen hiatus and daily motions.

When I was a child,
Dreams, like rain, were aplenty
People loved me more than now
And possibilities were as endless as the horizon.

Then in my early youth I began
To realize my own unhappiness within,
And of the things I wished I had,
And still, today, never had

Innocence got lost in the vast ocean
Of knowledge and imagination
But I knew I lacked depth of insight
When all I thought the world revolved around me.

I, haplessly mislaid in my own introspection,
Struggled to raise my own belief in myself,
And transformed the way I perceive those around me
With eyes that can see through the heart.

Yes, we all change. Some rapidly,
While others undergo killing pain
Just to perfect the transformation
Like an ugly worm to a pretty butterfly.

I thank God whose hands kept molding me
Into one of much better worth.
Despite the brevity of all happiness and unhappiness,
I find eternal joy in Him.

Thirty years are behind me now
I do not know if I’m halfway there.
And I'm thankful to those people whom
I came to know, loved and cherished.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

25 Personal Questions...

Lest I forget, I promised Gypsy this one, before the week ends.

25 Personal Questions To Muddle Your Heart and Mind With

1. What would the title of your autobiography be?
The King Without a Kingdom

2 Which actor would best play you in the film of your life?



Brad Pitt. Not that I look like him. It’ll just be for a crowd drawer.

3 If you were a country, which one would you be?
I want to go to different places, and perhaps live somewhere else. But I want to return to this country in my twilight years.

4 If your philosophy in life could be summarized on a car sticker, what would it say?
Success is a different thing to every man.

5 If you could choose your own nickname, what would it be?
I’d choose my real name. It’s quite unique.

6 If people used your name as a verb, what would it be for?
I don’t know. Probably, to renew things.

7 If you had your 15 minutes of fame, what would it be for?
Reading aloud my own poem in a U2 concert.

8 If you could be a fictional character, who would you be?

Wolverine.

9 What three qualities in a woman would be essential for her to quality as the love of your life?
Not just three but the totality.

10 Which TV character do you most identify with?
None. Not even close.

11 How would you describe yourself in a lonely hearts ad?
A romantic who is hopeful of reaching the stars.

12 If you could be an animal, what creature would be?
Dog. A best friend.

13 In what era do you belong?
1700. I like the conservative way of thinking.

14 When someone asks you, What do you do? What would you like to be able to say?
I am a dreamer lost in the accounting world.

15 Which fashion designer epitomizes your sense of style?
I don’t have any fashion sense. He he.

16 What car would you be?



A ferrari. Fast and awesome.

17 What season is most like you?
Winter (though I haven’t experience one). It must be very cool.

18 Where are you in life’s swimming pool? In the deep or shallow end, floating, sinking, on the diving board or in the changing room?
Bubbling every now and then at 6 ft deep.

19 What song sums you up best?
“He Knows My Name” by Tommy Walker

20 What flower would you be?
Wild Waling-waling

21 What are your 3 best qualities?
Imaginative
Intuitive
Creative

22 What 3 words would your detractors use about you? What 3 words would your friends use about you? Who do you agree with?
Detractors might say: Disorganized, Always late, Insensitive
Friends might say: Smart, friendly, cool
I agree with myself.

23 Which of the 7 deadly sins are you most likely to commit?
Many times, gluttony.

24 What famous person, past or present, would most enjoy your company?
St. John, in the Island of Patmos

25 When & where were you the happiest you've ever been in your life?

So far, during our beach wedding, some two years ago.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

Yesterday I drove my wife to the airport at 3:30am. It’s her first time to ride a plane. I assured her that everything will be fine. I really wanted to accompany her to Saipan, but the expense is not within our budget for the moment. She’ll be taking the NCLEX exam tomorrow.

After bidding her goodbye, I returned to our house and continued my sleep. I woke up at 9:30 am. I hurried off to work and again continued the seemingly endless budgeting works.

Today, I woke up late again. My mind seems to wander and even the budgeting worksheets are getting inside my dreams. I wanted to finish them as soon as possible, but there are other factors that contributed to the delays. Then there’s the recurring office problem, similar to our country’s economic problem. But I am just thankful that we resolved today’s trouble. We’ll be facing the same crisis tomorrow.

I’ll probably smash off the week’s stress tonight. I’m raring to hit the shuttlecocks again. I had a blast last week, beating a formidable duo in two sets. Well, it’s just one of those better nights. I miss the competition.

Tomorrow will be my wife’s exam day. I hope and pray that she can pass the test. They say it’s not easy. I can’t even give her a call of encouragement. I really miss her. I just want to hug and kiss her when she comes back on Saturday night.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Adventures in Kiamba

Tales of my Father - Part 4

My parents were surprised that I was included in the school's honor roll despite being absent many many times. A rich childless couple who lived in the town wanted to adopt me, but my mother was adamant. She said she'd rather die than sell her own child.

My mother's well-to-do brother and his wife noticed my wit and potential. They asked my parents if they could take me with them to Kiamba, South Cotabato (now Saranggani). They said they will shoulder all my educational expenses, and send me to the best school in town, together with their only daughter.

My smile was from ear to ear. I really wanted to pursue my dream of getting a college education and a better life. My parents nodded and parted with me. My eight other siblings didn't care about my departure. No tears were shed on our parting that day. I was sure I won’t miss my parents either.

In Kiamba, I helped my uncle and my aunt in their store. I dearly call them Papa Juan and Mama Bening. They're like real parents to me. They enrolled me in a private school and I was getting popular each day. I got myself a girlfriend by just giving her sweetened banana. I became very close to my cousin also but her other cousins got envious of me. They made up stories. I don't easily get discouraged but it was too much then for my feeble mind. In my frustration I went a parish church and inquired about getting inside a seminary.

The Priest asked if I had any parents. I said I had none. I knew beforehand that they will only accept orphans. He asked if I was willing to serve God all my life. I piously nodded. But a neighbor overheard my conversation with the priest and informed my aunt. They hurriedly went to the parish priest and explained everything.

I was busted. I was scolded and spanked for claiming I had no parents. I told them that I don’t have my parents here and that I badly wanted to enter seminary so that I could become a priest someday. I had no intention of disowning my parents. Well... the priesthood would have been a good escape from poverty.

Had I became a priest, I would not have seen my beautiful wife and wonderful children. God has other plans for me though. I still got that Priesthood without entering the seminary.

Parts 1-3

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Miles to go....



I must admit that my high school literature teacher who gave me flat 3.0 in all grading periods prompted me to take another look at English literature, though at a later period when grades were no longer necessary.

First, it was the quotable quotes. Then, it was poetry. My early love for verses was limited only to the Psalms, as written in the King James 1611 version. I have memorized a few chapters by heart. But then, she opened my eyes to Shakespeare and other English poets. My favorite of them all is Robert L. Frost (1874-1963), whose works we studied in high school.

I’m gonna share with you two of my favorites. How I wish I can compose verses like him, but I have miles (if not lightyears) to go before I can do that. Oh! By the way he's a four-time Pulitzer Prize Awardee.

Fire and Ice

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favour fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Remembering the Living

pic from www.flickr.com

Many years ago, as I was doing an overtime work on an audit assignment during All Saints’day, I remembered my Lola Glecing. She died due to some heart problems two years earlier. Tears fell down on my eyes and I did not know why. I must have missed her. Then I found myself thinking about how lonely it would be for her when none of her children or grandchildren visits her grave. I know and believe that my Lola is in heaven right now because of her close relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. I thought it would be useless visiting her grave when she’s no longer there.

A moment passed by, and I was back to my senses. I recalled the story of Lazarus and the rich man. The rich man died and was in hell. He was pleading for his brothers. He was interceding for them so that they may know the truth and repent from their wicked ways. He even asked for the dead to come back and warn the living. But father Abraham replied 'If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead'. Damn too late for those who have died in their sins. Chances wasted. They missed eternity.

Today, we remember the dead. Plenty of prayers were offered for the dead. I can't help but notice the others, the last time I visited the cemetery. I saw from the eyes of these people that they need the prayer the most. I pity my relatives who have not yet seen the light of day. But I pray that one day, I can or someone else share to them the good news. Now is the day of salvation. Now is the time to repent and receive the gift of eternal life Christ offered on the cross. Salvation is free and is accessible to all.

Yeah, we ought to remember the dead and their memories. But we must also remember the living who needs our prayers, our help, our presence, our care, our love and our encouragement. And that they too make the most important decision that will determine their place in eternity.

Monday, October 30, 2006

My Stubbornness Saved my Mother

Tales of my Father - Part 3

Among the 9 surviving siblings, I am the only one different. Or I think so. I love adventure. I would rather go to school, go to other places or just daydream, than help my father fish or help mama in the household chore, or plant corn.

We lived in a small town. My parents were poor and uneducated. All they know is that, you only have to be good to survive. Education, for them, is useless, if you have no food on the table. My father's meager income is not enough to feed all of us. I didn’t even know if they had dreams for us.

I strived hard just to be able to go to school. I really wanted to learn, athough I must admit that I also wanted to escape away from the farm or the sea. I was absent half the number of school days in a year. But the teachers understood my situation. And I did not disappoint them by having above average grades.

And since I wanted adventure, I dreamt of going to the big city. I heard neighbors talk about the big city and I was so amazed. I had a big dream, and I waited for that opportunity of catching a glimpse of that city.

One day my mother told us that she’ll go to the city for a while. My poor father got a job at the foundry located in the city. “This is now my chance” I thought to myself.

On the morning of her departure, I hid her slippers. She looked for it but could not find it. I was nearby pretending, and humming music created by my mind. Then I said to her “Ma, I’ll go with you to the city”

“No, no you can’t. You better stay here and watch over your younger brothers.”

“Ma, please.”

“Now, go away! I’m in a hurry. Have you seen my slippers?”

“Ma please.”

“Now don’t be stubborn. You stay here.”

“Ma please.”

“I said you stay here. Don’t be stubborn, or I’ll spank you till I see blood. Now, where’s my slipper?”

“Would you bring me to the city if I find your slippers?” I let out a naughty grin.

But mama got angry the more. She chased me with a broomstick. I ran away from the house but she kept on chasing me until the only bus to the city that day passed by. Her fury continued after missing her bus. She was able to catch up with me and almost beat me to death. It was the first time I remembered myself crying that hard.

I only wanted to go to the city with mama. But I got bruises instead. An hour later, we heard sad news from our neighbors. The bus mama missed jumped over a cliff a few kilometers away from our house, leaving more than half of the passengers dead.

She was silent when she heard the news, and I stopped crying. My stubbornness saved my mother.

----------------------------
Part 1
Part 2

Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Magical Stone

Tales of my Father - Part 2


(pic from didongames)

When I was still 8 or 9 years old, kids my age joined me in surveying the creek near our place. It was unusually flooded with water that day. It must be raining in the mountains, we thought. But we didn’t mind the danger of being swept by the rising water. We splashed ourselves, screamed and enjoyed the moment.

Then from afar I saw an object carried by the water current. It seems to float but it did not touch the water. It was some sort of magnetic levitation, which I did not understand at that time.

“This could be a magical stone” I thought. So I ran after it and eventually got hold of it. I called out the other kids and boasted of the object to their amazement. My cousin ran home and brought a basin of water. We tried putting the object in the water but it just levitated itself.

Nanay Ulay, my aunt who lived just a few meters away from our house, noticed the commotion. Her eyes widened as she saw the object. She took it and scolded all of us. “This is no ordinary stone. It’s not good for you to play this kind of object. Now go home all of you” she said and left us wondering.

I did not complain, for I never knew what that was. A few weeks later, Nanal Ulay began healing sick people. I heard from my cousin who lived with Nanay that the “magical stone” was secretly kept in a jar and could be the source of her healing powers.

One day I got sick. My mother brought me to Nanay Ulay for healing. She began to utter words I could not understand. Then she spat on me. I complained of the foul smell of saliva. She became hysterical and said she could not heal me. My poor parents just brought me home and thought that I was going to die within the week. I could walk nor talk. I was even too weak to eat. But surprisingly, after many bed-ridden days, I recovered. I just woke up one morning, as if nothing had happened for the past few days.

Many years had passed and I already worked and lived in the city. I returned to the barrio where Nanay Ulay practiced her craft. She had become famous because she was able to heal many people with cancer and other sicknesses. They offered gifts but she refused. She just told them that she’s not allowed to receive money and others gifts. Healing, she said, was her vocation. She still lived in the same shanty years before. Her eyesight was deteriorating and she failed to notice me when I approached her.

“Good morning Nay Ulay!” I greeted her.
She touched me but jerked as if she touched a live wire. “Who are you? I can sense a very strong electric current within you.”
“It’s me Nay. Boy, son of Tiyang and Maeng”.

Then she let out a grin. “It’s been a long time since I saw you Boy. How are you? I have a failing eyesight and it’s difficult for me to recognize people”. Then we chat for a while, a sort of a reunion.

I wondered what she really felt when she touched me. I did not bring up the issue about the magical stone. But I wondered what I would have become had I kept the stone for myself. But I thanked God that I have Jesus Christ in my heart. He is the source of the greatest power. And maybe, just maybe, Nanay Ulay felt that stronger power.

(Next: My Stubbornness Saved my Mother)

Part 1

Monday, October 23, 2006

The Tales of my Father (Part 1)

Part I – Introduction

My father is not just a plain storyteller. He is usually the main character of his stories. I grew up listening to his ‘believe it or not’ tales. He narrated them to visitors, friends, and even to close relatives who were also familiar with the places and events. I don’t know if you would believe these, but I saw from the listeners’ eyes that they too believed his stories.

He once said that he was born the exact time the great Balete tree near their home in Aurora, Zamboanga del Sur, was struck by lightning. The tree is renowned to be the kingdom of some magical creatures. The midwife assisting grandma said that the child she just bore is special. Lola didn’t believe it coz the child looked ordinary for her. But she confirmed the event and the words of the old midwife. After that night when the lightning brought down the great tree, nothing has ever been heard of that kingdom again.


Image from flickr


My father even spoke of stories my maternal grandpa affirmed to have heard during his youth. How can he have known events prior to his birth? He just smiled at us. He simply said that his grandpa is also a great storyteller.

The stories led me to wonder: What if my dad has some special powers?

He’s now 52, enjoying his early retirement years with my mom. They built a house in some cliff facing the sea, which my father said was his aquarium. A few meters away is an ancient tree, which some said is another kingdom of some magical creatures. I haven’t heard new stories for quite a while. Perhaps he’d told them all.

I’d like to share to you some of my father’s tales. I’ll write them in the first person, the way he narrated it to us. My Father’s Tales will be posted in this blog every Monday.

(Next: The Magical Stone)

Thursday, October 19, 2006

There goes my goodbye...

I said I’ll visit blogs this weekend but I lied. My hand automatically clicked the internet explorer and led me to my own blog. Then to my friend’s blog and then to another. I explored even further, and read some other works from other places. I searched for certain topics, and clicked away. Then I saw some blogs coming from my own backyard. So today, I just visited all the sites in my blogroll, and read entries where I previously left.

****

I cannot help but post another entry for this week. Since last week, I had wanted to post this poem I’ve written 2 years ago. There are times when we have to let go and feel much better.

There goes my Goodbye!
(For M. Sorry we’re not meant to be.)


There goes in flames the last letter
You wrote for me not long ago.
Twas not about love nor hate,
Nor about would-be lovers.

If you ask me, why the silence
Took so long for you to remember
What we've been to,
I have no ready answers.

You were always on my mind,
At the time when the fancy
Was too strong to resist.
I was vulnerable to love.

There goes in flames the last letter
You wrote for me not long ago.
The sweet smile, and the scent of perfume,
I shall remember no more.

10/22/2004

Monday, October 16, 2006

My Second Entry for the Night

Why do I blog anyway? Am I simply writing my left-over thoughts here when my entries are several lines long? When I visited Abaniko’s site and traced the original tag to Gaizabonts they both asked the same question: Why do I blog?

From my own header lines, I wrote … gathering whatever left-over thoughts from whatever source.” Perhaps I should include and sharing these to anyone needing a piece of them.

You see, I started this blog middle of March this year. My first entry was untitled, and it's about boredom. I was worried then that boredom would be my reason for blogging. For many months I was silent. Then I reformatted my site, and wrote about badminton life. Ladybug noticed my entry. Perhaps it was because of her eagerness to search for blogs about badminton.

I consulted my friend who is an “expert” blogger. I asked him how to do this and that. He obliged. But too bad there were so many limitations here. Not like in internet cafes or home internet.

Then the bloghopping began. I enjoyed reading blogs here and there. I think there were many thoughts that could have been contained had the writers revealed their real identities. Somehow, somewhere, a classmate, a friend or an enemy will probably google your name and read your blog. Then probably judge you by what you wrote. Or blackmail you or something. It’s kindda weird, having another online identity, and live by it when you’re facing the screen. The blog becomes a sort of another world. Am I still living in reality here?

In the end, I just hope we all have happy, real and fruitful lives. God bless us all!


p.s. I'll visit all your blogs this weekend.

What's on my mind right now?

I really don’t know why I am doing this. I plucked this from Fencesitter and tried it on myself. I think I saw this meme (can someone explain to me what a meme is?) somewhere in my bloghopping. I just can’t recall where. I am a neophyte in the blogosphere.

How often do you blog?

I check my site at least 5x a day except Sundays. Writes twice or thrice a week about anything. Perhaps I am addicted to this bloody blogging thing. I am now considering a long vacation online. Perhaps, after this post, my blogging habit will change.

Online Alias:

Lazarus. Sometimes, I forget my real identity when I’m on blogger. I’ll make my own dotcom someday with my real name on it. But you have to be with me for a long period of time to know what it would be.

Have you ever stood up for someone you hardly knew?

During elections, I’ll stand up for my candidate of choice – even if I hardly knew them. Perhaps, I’m just too familiar with the others.

What do you do most often when you are bored?

Hmmm…
Play Starcraft – Broodwars. How’s that? 10 years of playing the same game.

When bathing, which do you wash first?

My hair. Is there any explanation for this?

Have you ever been awake for 48 hours straight?

Twas 5am when I woke up. Inventory count at 6am. It ended 4am the next day. I hurried off to the bus terminal. Reached my destination after 8 hours. Met a girl, her friends and her family. Talked, listened and talked again. Dozed off at 10pm. It’s 6 hours short. I think I also slept at the bus. This happened 10 years ago.

What color looks best on you?

Blue. I think.

What’s your favorite alcoholic drink?

Favorite? I don’t have any favorite. I tasted red wine. A glass of sweet wine is not enough.

Do you believe in heaven and hell as a real place that each of us will go to after death?

I believe in a real heaven and a real hell, as written in the Bible. I am going to heaven one day. How about you?

Do you find that you have more online friends than offline friends?

I have friends everywhere. Plenty of them offline.

What was your favorite subject in school?

I love Math. But a teacher flunked me in HS (3rd grading) Trigonometry. My fault for taking it easy then. Most of my classmates cheated. I didn’t. But I failed to study as well. I learned my lessons and got perfect scores in the last 3 exams. Twas barely enough to get a passing grade for the whole school year.

What about Accounting? I like History better. And how Lapu-lapu killed Magellan. And how the aetas walked on ice. (really? I refuted my teacher on this.)

Are you a perfectionist?

Used to be. But it’s no use when you are not in full control. Someone will always try to frustrate you, and teach you that “nobody’s perfect”. The truth hurts.

Do you spend more than you can afford?

Risked a few times. Unlikely for an accountant.

Is it better to have loved and lost than never to have loved before?

I realized this quite late. It is best to have loved and won, than to have loved and lost.

Do you consider yourself creative?

I do. Sometimes I don’t.

Do you give yourself the credit you deserve?

First to God. I leave a few recognition for my self.

Do you donate time or money to charities?

Many times I did and would continue doing so. But I carefully choose the charity organization.

Have you recently done something yourself that you’ve criticized others for doing?

I can’t think of anything. Maybe, taking friends for granted at some point or another.

What’s on your mind right now?

Floating between writing this entry and the 2007 budget of one of our branches.

Friday, October 13, 2006

The Ball is Round....

Bowling

The ball is round or something like that.

For the past 10 years or more, our company’s bowling team had been constantly at the top of the annual inter-company tournament. The trend ended a year ago, when all our key players had been separated from the company due to various reasons. These were our main players:

The Boss – He is the Boss to all. All he wants is to win, and win at all cost. No one dares ask him to step aside even if it is his off night. He blames his golf when not doing well on the lanes. He always wants to be the anchor when he plays. Ave. 165.

The Painter – The cool steady hand of this old man makes wonders, especially after a glass of beer. The accuracy of his marks, made up for his lack of form. Before the game ends, he’s drunk already. Ave. 170

The Claims Specialist – He can do the most damage on most nights. Ave. 175

The Collector – He heads the C&C department. Before he left the company, he was able to collect 2 girlfriends, and 2 babies, nine months after. He said he’ll form the bowling team of his new employer. Ave. 165

The Rugged Mechanic - He comes to the game with greasy hands and shirt. If you look at his form, you can’t believe he can hit those strikes, doubles and even turkeys. Ave. 170

The Cool Captain – He’s the soul of this team. The opponents wondered how this guy played very well, when they do not see him practice. He has this unusual approach and armswing where the ball kisses the gutter before spinning to the middle of the lane. Turkeys and four-baggers, are a familiar sight in his scoreboard. Ave. 195

The Master – I’d like to call him the Master. Not that he’s a real martial arts master, or a bowling master. But he’s a cousin to the PBMI Master, and there’s an obvious resemblance. He’s the best of the reserves in our team. Ave. 160

I was on the reserve too. I was just happy to be included in the line-up then even though I only played very few games. Maybe we just needed to fill up the 12 names.

Now, the second stringers became the starters. Last night was our last game for this year’s tournament. Gone are the cheerers. Heads down and obviously lacked the passion. I must admit that I and The Master lacked the motivation. We played below our previous tournament averages and did not lift up the team. We also missed several games. Our opponents even contemptuously asked us about our ex-stars, and we had no ready answer.

We struggled all throughout and landed at the bottom three. I am not sure if we can still compete next year due to this year’s awful performance.

The ball is round. When can we regain our lofty position?

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Victory is sweet...

Two years ago, we overheard another group saying that we have no trophy to boast of. I didn’t mind it. But some did and took it as a challenge. Yes, we’re all amateur shuttlers. We practiced hard and made the best possible pairings. It took only one tournament when we harvested plenty of trophies. With boosted confidence, tournaments became a normal fixture in our schedules. We’ve been winning here and there, or at least, had a pair to cheer on for the finals.

Victory is sweet. But victory has its toll.

Envy, pride, jealousy and the feeling of uselessness - these are just some of those felt by a few of the guys. One even cried why most cheered on the other pair (still coming from our group) when they faced each other in the finals. There was one who whined about being paired with a player which he felt was below his level. One ranted why he can’t get enough quality plays when the others are practicing for the next tourney. Dumping and being dumped. Some felt insulted when given instructions during play. Others can’t take the heat of the competition. The competitiveness took away the enjoyment of some. There was one who resigned saying he’s better off in his art than in the game.

And I stood in the middle of it all. I want to complain but I can’t. I can only rationalize. Is winning our only goal here?

Saturday, October 07, 2006

One Last Poem

You asked me for one last poem,
As you said goodbye to us.
I asked myself,
what words am I to write,
other than from a broken heart
and a mind still swirling
at the pain of losing the girl
I love most?

You asked me for one last poem,
as you said that we’re now just friends.
Well, thank you
for the smile, and the love
lost in the confusion of feelings
leaving the blame on me.

You asked me for one last poem.
But I believed
this will never be the last
As I saw a ray of hope
in your eyes.


5/19/01

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Giving up on your friends...

I have a previous entry about friendship here but I just want to resurrect this topic because of something that made me rethink and ponder upon how others value friendship.

Of course, we want friends who accept us just as we are. But we oftentimes face difficulty in accepting them as they are, especially when their true colors start to show.

Who among you wants to be friends with?
1) An insensitive person
2) A backbiter
3) An oversensitive person
4) Someone who walks out and comes back as if nothing happened
5) Mean people
6) Sobrang maarte
7) Someone who doesn’t know how to repay debts
7) Or even a criminal

I guess we all carefully choose our friends. And if later we find out that they are not what we thought they are, we start to unload some of them.

A friend confided to me that he was so hurt by the words of some people from the group. Being under the same circumstances before, I told him not to mind it and just let it pass. I told him to consider it just as “spices in the friendship”, similar to LQs of lovers. You cannot quit on your friends because you felt hurt. They might not even know it, or if they were under the same situation, their reaction would be different.

I remembered these words I spoke to a very close friend: “Why should we subject our friends to a test? Should we give up on them if they fail?” I didn’t know why I said that, and I couldn’t recall the circumstance either. But I remembered the exact words I said.

What I had in mind though is God’s friendship offered to everyone. He did not give up on us, and He accepted us just as we are.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Flowers ...



My wife arranged that: Fruits and flowers in a basket. She’ll give this to her ailing aunt who’ll be arriving from the US today.

“Flowers are words which even a babe may understand.” – Bishop Arthur Cleveland Coxe

Not many years ago, when my wife was still my girlfriend, I was so hesitant (and even now) of giving her flowers. I knew she loves flowers and can beautifully arrange a bouquet or a basket of them. Flower arrangement seems so natural for her. But I was not sure if she would like the arrangement done by the flower shops. So I tried my best shot and gave her a bouquet of three pink roses from the best flower shop in the city at that time. To my surprise, she said she loved it, and even kept it for weeks.

The second time I gave her a bouquet was a disaster, but she appreciated the effort.

For me, nothing compares to the wonders she does with the flowers. I enjoyed watching her arrange them. Imagine, she even made her own wedding bouquet, bought the flowers herself, and directed the arrangement. She arranged flowers at friends’ weddings and at our church on most Sundays. I heard the “Wows” of most church-goers as they expressed their admiration.

It’s been years since I gave her flowers. I am gathering enough confidence of doing that again soon!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

He who never quotes is never quoted

Quote
More about Spurgeon is here.

The above is the first quote noted in my mini collection of quotes. I guess I started it sometime in 1994 or 1995, but my tickler has no indication of any dates. Perhaps it could be earlier. But I remembered that it was in a library that I started all this. I remembered that year when I frequent the school’s library, and that was in 1992. And it has become my daily routine to spend my time lazily at the library. No! I was not there to study my lessons. I was there to read newspapers, magazines like the Philippines Free Press, Time, Newsweek, and Readers’ Digest. But it was only later that I scribbled down some of those quotes that fascinated me.

I was first introduced to appreciate quotes when I was in high school. It was in literature class that our teacher required us to submit one quotable quote a week. She then asked some of us to explain the quotes, and why it caught our attention. There were some funny quotes, and I joined in the laughter. But deep inside, I shuddered at the thought of being asked to explain my piece. I really had a hard time sourcing my quotes, and didn’t even realize that the Bible, wherein I memorized plenty of verses by heart, was a very rich source. I barely passed the subject, but it ignited a spark in my brain to appreciate such beautiful passages.

But there was also another reason for the collections (and I bare it now): To add flavor to the love letters I would supposedly write. No specific object of desire then. Just the romantic side of me anticipating what was about to happen.

I still have my tickler now in my office and the list stopped at number 301. But only a few are about love, and most are about life and other human experiences.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Two rainbows in one sky...

rainbow
from www.flickr.com

Have you ever seen two rainbows in one sky? What a sight to behold really! It’s so amazing, beautiful and refreshing. I seldom have to chance to get out from the office these days. I don’t have a nice outside view too. The pollution in the city must have kept rainbows away. But a trip to the nearby mountains produced one of my most memorable experiences. I took photos but surprisingly, not one appeared in the picture. Sayang! There were three of us who saw it, my wife and a close friend of ours.

The double rainbow is a rarity. How can I forget it! I personally took it as a sign of a wonderful promise of God’s guidance in my life.

Monday, September 18, 2006

So who's insensitive?

Did someone ever tell you that you're insensitive? Like you don’t care for their feelings and not noticing their resentments towards you, etc…

I received a few direct remarks, as in, 5 in my lifetime. Not too many I suppose. I was about to dismiss it as a minority’s comment. (Am I showing my coldness again?).

Some of the common lines that I’ve heard from these few are the following:

1. You’re so insensitive, you continue on smiling even in situations like this.
2. You continued to mock me even you noticed I’m not in a good mood.
3. You don’t care how others feel.
4. Others noticed your insensitivity too.

So what’s with a smile? So what if you’re in a foul mood and I’m not? Am I to frown and rant with you? Mock you? Was it just by just letting out a grin without saying anything? Why would I care how you feel right now, when if I were in your place, I would act differently and perhaps sensibly? Others noticed my insensitivity? When? What situation? How did they react afterwards? They let it pass?

But then, it made me into thinking, that somehow, it’s just a matter of differing perspectives. Many times, I strike back saying, “Yes, you’re sensitive, sensitive of your own feelings only. Why? Do you care how I feel too?” The reply to my last question was also negative.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The $37B gift



…and Warren Buffet, the world’s second richest man, gives it away.

The complete article can be read here. Five foundations will benefit from the gift, the bulk of which goes to the Gates Foundation.

What a HUGE amount! But it seems so logical to him. He just wants to give it back to society. The amount is 85% of his worth today, and he says he’s given his children more than enough already.

I wonder what to do with the money if given the chance to run the beneficiary foundation. So here’s my partial list of priority projects:

1. Education and literacy projects for Africa and South East Asia – $8B ($2B for RP)
2. Global Health Projects including Stem Cell Research – $8B
3. Establishment of a medical research foundation in Asia - $2B
4. Agricultural Development for Africa and South East Asia - $5B
5. Poverty alleviation projects for Africa and South East Asia - $5B ($2B for RP)

I won’t mind spending a life-time working on these projects, and not just issuing checks to grantees. But for now, it’s just my dream. If I were Mr. Buffet, I'd quit Berkshire Hathaway and concentrate on running my foundation. Just like Mr. Gates did.

“You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.” – The Prophet

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Blowing my cover

I always have this difficulty of opening up. If you ask me why, I’d automatically say, I don’t know. Automatic, in a sense that I do not want to give an answer at that moment. I can give ready answers about facts but not about how I feel.

Friends and family attempted to explore my thoughts. But they only got a portion, and a smile. My youngest sister came closest, and I accepted the fact that we both have the same line of thinking.

There was this seminar in college handled by a psyschology professor. I felt very uneasy most of time. He asked questions I was not comfortable with. In the end, a friend who also attended that seminar, got confused with my answers and sought further clarifications from me. We just agreed to forget about it rather than explore further.

Perhaps, it's because of my personality – something that is very difficult to understand and alter. There were many times when I went to a corner and sat on the floor. When asked, I’d just smile and reply, “Nothing.” But there are plenty of whys and what ifs hovering on top of my head. Sometimes I asked my self these questions: “Am I just too selfish to open up? Do I have something to hide?"

I have nothing to hide, but I just wanted to be invisible. Through this blog, a part of me is opened up to the world. I may not be noticed or people may not care at all. I am just me. To know me better, one has to be with me for long period of time.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Koreanovelas and Koreans in the City

4 hours last night was spent watching 6 chapters of the koreanovela “Love Story in Harvard”. It is currently showing at GMA 7 but I missed too many episodes prompting me to buy a DVD of the series instead.

Love Story in Harvard

image from www.sodrama.com

My wife and I sat comfortably in front of the TV. We kept smiling on some of the scenes. Ah, love story! I must admit that Kim Tae-Hee (Allison) is cute. We’re about to finish chapter 6 (out of 16) when the images started to blur. My wife jumped on her seat and blurted out “Sayang! We’ll ask for a replacement of the disc tomorrow”.

“Ok”, I told her. I’m excited to continue my indulgence on the series tonight.

My mind spun a little bit. Why do we like to watch Korean soaps? The Jewel in the Palace was also a hit in the country. Maybe, just maybe, we are tired of the locals. The only local TV soap I watch is Majika.

So what about the Koreans in the country? We have so many of them in our city. Do we welcome them with arms opened wide? Or are we just forced to accept them coz of some tourism drive? I can list a few of the locals’ impressions on them:

1. Koreans are very stingy. They won’t give extra tip. (from taxi drivers)
2. You can’t mix them with Japanese guests (hotel worker)
3. Arrogant (from a co-worker who complained to a radio network about his parking experience)
4. Hot and wild (from a colleague who got to date a Korean girl whom he met in a disco bar)
5. Wild and noisy (in a restaurant)

My wife is very friendly to Koreans. She befriended one who look lost when she took the IELTS. I remembered her name, Samantha, divorced at 26, and planned to migrate to Canada. She’s a very pretty and bright woman. She thought I was Japanese or Chinese. I told her that there was one who mistook me for a Korean. She laughed and seemingly agreed.

My wife also brought to one of our outings, her Korean CGFNS review mate. Jae-yun (or similarly sounding) was all I remembered of her name. She’s afraid of direct sunlight, but nevertheless, joined us in our boating. I wonder where she is right now.

Recently, my wife even discussed to me about the newspaper ad looking for families/couples willing to house a Korean student as part of their cultural exposure. I laughed but did not give an answer.

The misunderstandings are perhaps due to the fact that we lack knowledge or appreciation of each other’s culture. I certainly welcome these Koreans. But ironically, I live in a province who murdered its first tourist almost 500 years ago.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Good Monsters

I just came across with this interview of Christianity Today with Dan Haseltine of my favorite band Jars of Clay.

“The gospel never calls us to live our lives privately, but the idea of individualism and isolation has worked itself into our idea of what a good Christian life looks like—that it's full of quiet times where it's just us and God. But for me, when I get into that scenario, the only voice I'm really hearing is my own. And when I'm trying to wrestle with some truth of the gospel or some new element God is trying to teach me, it's just me using my own knowledge base rather than living that out in community with other people. So it never really works. The kind of maturity that I hope for, the kinds of things I want to have freedom from, they never come, because it's just me working it out by myself.”. – Dan Haseltine

Indeed, there are plenty of contradictions within, and monsters to battle against. We put up a nice façade and wear a smiling face, yet there’s half-honesty to all of these. We tried to appear “good” in the company of the good and of the Pharisees, while also acting maniacally when inside those dark places with pretty women. Some seemingly good people also do bad deeds. I know how Dan feels about keeping up with a seemingly clean image, then exposing himself one day.

So, who’s guilty of hypocrisy? Am I talking about myself?

These contradictions are not bad per se. I am not perfect anyway. These are part of the daily struggles, and of one’s character build-up. What have I done when inside those dark places with pretty women? Hmm…..God saw it all, and I can say that the “fear of the Lord” prevails. But what am I doing there in the first place?

I grew up in a Christian family, and made that important decision to make Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior when I was still a child. But as I progressed, I cannot avoid being exposed to many of the “good and bad” things. I encountered many people whose perspectives are different from mine. I can talk their language and some even thought I’m one of them. But I cannot follow their deeds. Someone inside of me tells me to behave and be a light to those around me.

Even in some internet chat rooms, I am tempted to explore what others experienced - playing games with willing victims. But nah, I can do better things than that.

Sometimes, I questioned about free will, and about open-mindedness and the relativity of everything. It’s easier to do things without certain rules and standards. Some may even say that I am just bound by my upbringing or tied to my beliefs. So what’s wrong with being on God’s side?

Again, I am not perfect. Just like a jar of clay molded by the potter, I am a work in process. So what do I do in battling the monsters within? Keeping God’s words in my heart, that way I kept my heart pure. And at certain times of failure, I asked for God’s forgiveness.

Friday, September 01, 2006

When September comes....

There is something different about September. I just can’t help but write it in my blog.



When September comes:

1. It’s my wife’s birthday next week. How time flies so fast! She’d be a year older but still looks 21. I want to surprise her and perhaps, celebrate it with close friends and families. (Any wonderful ideas?) I’d also like to take a leave of absence from work just to be with her on that special day.

2. My own birthday is fast approaching. In the next few months I’d be on the last day on the calendar. Whew! I feel too old already. Gone are the days when I enjoyed being the youngest in class, in the office, and among the middle executives in the company.

3. Though still more than 3 months to go, I felt the spirit of Christmas moving in my veins. Gift-giving, parties, holidays, etc…

4. The hope of another new year never fails to amaze me. Counting blessings and looking forward.

Ah, thank God for September! I feel so good today!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Coffee Breaks...


Coffee breaks

Here’s an interesting link about coffee breaks: Coffee-breaks sabotage employees’ abilities.

I love coffee breaks and I love coffee more than any other drinks available (save for water).

I’ve always been a coffee drinker since my elementary school days. Back then, I would get a large covered mug, put 2 tablespoon of Nescafe, and mix it with a half cup of sugar. Add some ice, and shake it. It will take me a couple of hours to consume the whole thing, while studying my lessons at the same time.

In college, I only drink coffee at home or in some dunkin’ donuts store where my friends would usually study. I cannot afford to buy those expensive drinks with only a P30/day allowance, inclusive of fare and meals. Coffee at home is cheap. I even bought rice coffee, and that “Dragon” coffee.

During my first job as an associate at PWC, coffee was free flowing. My buddy and I consumed more than half of the supply. No, we did not consume it on our first week. Between us, we drank at least 6 cups a day. After a few years, supply was cut. But we managed to sneak a few cups from our boss’ supplies, whenever we craved for a cup during overtime. Coffee is a good friend when I have plenty of work to do.

But my wife and I debate on the pros and cons of coffee. The Nestle ad about oxidants favored me. She, being of the medical profession, mentioned studies about caffeine. My replies were always the same: I only drink at most 3 cups a day, a safe figure mentioned in all the studies.

For me, coffee keeps me sane and energized for work even at very long hours. I can't really imagine a world (much more a workplace) without coffee and coffee breaks.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Prophet


Twelve years ago, a classmate of mine talked about Kahlil Gibran and his famous "The Prophet". I bought a copy 5 years after trying to read, and reread it. The poetry is amazing (or was it the interpreter?). Even our class yearbook was full of quotes from that book. I even saw a quote in some donation cans somewhere.

Here are some of my few favorite lines:

"It was but yesterday we met in a dream...
And if our hands should meet again in another dream, we shall build another tower in the sky"

"Much of your pain is self-chosen"

"Work is love made visible. And if you cannot work with love but only with distate, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy"

"Your daily life is your temple and your religion" I considered this as a very practical approach to religion, and a must for every believer (of whatever faith). "Who can separate his faith from his actions, or his belief from his occupations?" But then, since He himself practices some new age (Bahai) religion, then the philosophies on his books are based on his religion. He did not and cannot separate his faith and belief from his writings.

But at the end of my readings, I could not help but notice this particular line: "A little while, a moment of rest upon the wind, and another woman shall bear me." It contradicted my religious convictions.

But I am not going to argue. Philosophers are entitled to their opinion, and those opinions, even though general in nature (and some obscure), are well accepted, because they are just poetically expressed.

So, let me try my own lines:
“You cannot see me through my scribbling, for my soul is not in there.”
“For now, you know me not. But I shall reveal myself to you one day, and we shall indulge in the same cup of happiness.”

Hey wait! Do I sound like a philosopher here?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Books, books, books

My mother taught me to read at an early age. I had fun. But the reality is, I only read the books that I chose to read. By the time I entered Grade 1 at age 5, I was all alone in my readings.

So what are these books that I read?

The Bible – This is one book that has the greatest impact on my life. I believe that this is the greatest book of all. At an early age, I memorized important verses, and had kept them by heart. “Thy word Oh Lord, is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.”

The History Textbooks - There are only few school subjects wherein I read the textbook by heart, and guess what, these are all history books. I should have majored in History, but nah, too late for that. I particularly like the books on Philippine and World History.

The first novel that I read was “Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court” by Mark Twain. I didn’t really finish it, but was still able to make a book report for a high school assignment.

In college, the first fictions I read were F.I.S.T. and Firefox. I do not know much about famous authors then so I just tried to get hold of the titles that interest me.


Then I tried Grisham. I can only count the few of his books that I haven’t read. And I have them in my shelf for sometime now: A Painted House, Bleachers, Summon, The Partner, The Brethren, Skipping Christmas, The Testament.

I heard of Sheldon, but was not particularly convinced. I also just borrowed a few from a friend was willing to lend me one for a week. I didn’t like the twist but still found it entertaining but not worth the keeping.

I read Jeffrey Archer’s Kane and Abel, Prodigal Daughter and First among the equals. Very nice story and not much twist.

I must admit that Erich Segal is my favorite. I first read “Love Story”. It was very simple yet moving. I almost cried when I read “The Class”. “Acts of Faith” is very intriguing. “Prizes” is very inspiring. “Doctors” is very heart-warming. “Oliver’s Story” is the book that I like the least.

Some other books that I read:
1. David Morrel’s “Brotherhood of the Rose”
2. Isabel Allende’s “House of the Spirits”
3. James Patterson’s “Along Came a Spider”
4. Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ “A Hundred Years of Solitude”
5. Steinbeck’s “Of mice and men”
6. Hemingway’s “Old man and the Sea”
7. Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice”
8. “Exit the Rainmaker” a non-fiction whose author’s name I can’t remember.
9. Bronte’s “Wuthering Heights”
10. John Updike “In the Beauty of the Lilies”

11. Gibran's "The Prophet"

Some four years ago, I slowed down in my book readings and got into web surfing. But I continued buying books. So what are the titles left sleeping on my shelf:
1. Allende’s “Eva Luna and other stories”
2. Umberto Eco’s “In the name of the Rose”
3. Grisham’s latest books as mentioned earlier
4. Courtney Bryce “The power of One”
5. In the League of Night and Fog by David Morell
6. Forsythe’s “Odessa File”
7. “The Idiot” by Fyodor Dostoevsky
8. “The Eternal Husband and other stories” by Fyodor Dostoevsky



I really don’t know when I’ll pick up these books again. I am now reading and writing blogs, but I really missed the books.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Of changing profession..

I have often wondered about changing profession. Actually, this was not my first choice when I took some aptitude test back in high school. I was determined to enroll in Agriculture without the backing of my parents. But in the end, I chose the convenient – BS Accountancy. And it made my parents smile a bit. At least, I won’t be leaving home for 4 years or so.

Four years in college is a breeze. In and out of the dean’s list, but in the end, there’s was no “laude” in my diploma. But I’m proud to say that I haven’t cheated in exams, nor got drunk, nor ran naked in a crowd, nor made any other serious violations.

So, I am a CPA alright. I passed the board on my first take, an envy of my other batch mates who made it a semester later. 3 days after my 20th birthday, I got accepted at the local PWC office. Whew! It completed what I thought was my career plan. So what was my career plan?

Pass the board, work in a big accounting firm, stay till I become a senior associate, transfer to another company in a managerial capacity, etc…

I am just right within target. But what now? I am 30, and in the eyes of those on top - in the pool of future leaders of the company. I’ve been in this managerial position for 5 years. I’ve seen changes, good and bad. I’ve seen bosses leave in disgrace after quite long years. So, what’s next?

My wife, who is a nurse, has a current application for an immigrant visa in the US. Perhaps it would be the best time to change profession. But the demand for accountants in the US is very high this time. My former boss in the accounting firm told me to apply in the US coz with my experience, I’d be in demand. I jokingly told him that I’d perhaps work as a driver or apply at PWC as a janitor or a courier.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Badminton life


The "in" thing among yuppies right now is the sport badminton. Why and how come? Is it just a fad or some stress-buster? One can literally smash on his boss' face -- hmmmm..., if you can dare do it. But most just let their imagination run wild while playing.

If it's a fad, then it should have not lasted this long. 4 years and getting stronger. But I say that this is just a revival of the ancient sport, and it will continue for years to come.

I heard one person who apologized to us, his playmates, saying, "I'm bringing all my problems to the courts and smash them everytime I hit the shuttle. It's a feeling of relief for me, and I apologize to anyone from the group, who disliked the way I'm behaving". We just laughed at it. He's a good man and very competitive. His "magical" shots are most imitated.

Almost all my other playmates are the same, bringing all their stress, problems and hurts in the court, and smash them there. I know how it feels to be stressed out, but as I have contemplated many times, playing badminton is not the solution. It may help, but the relief is just temporary.

I oftentimes find solace when I sit in one corner watching my group play. I know that each and everyone is unique and have one way or another have personal issues. I just wondered why we managed to laugh and smile when deep inside, we're hurt. Family problems, break-ups, confused identity, family acceptance, lost business, are just some of the problems that I gathered when I happen to sit down and talk with them about life.

Life and relationships are as brittle as the shuttlecock. And one can wear a smiling face for a mask. But I just hope that, even with badminton, I can touch lives for the better.

No matter how good I play, I won't be remembered if I fail to touch lives.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Recurring dreams...

I don't know if you dreamt of something, you already dreamt before.

Last night I had a dream. I dreamt that I failed in a subject because I never attended class. How could it be? I never thought i was enrolled in that class. Everything else was perfect, except for that failure of mine.

This is not the first time. Same story line. I missed class for a whole sem. And to think of it, I have been out of school now for more than 10 years.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Friendship

"to have friends, you must be a friend" - anonymous

Who is my best friend? Until now, i have no idea. No, don't count me out yet. It does not mean i have no friends. I have lots of them, but until now, I am not sure who my best friend is.

There is none who knew everything about me. I give only a partial of me. Even I myself knew only a portion of me.

In a clique, i can be the most patient and level headed. When i am alone, i can be furiously impatient. I can be the most popular, or i can just hide from the crowd.

I have high regard for friendships. I don't want to lose any of my friends. I don't easily give up too. I look at the bright side. Perhaps this is my greatest transformation - from a self-centered, grudgingly introvert person, to someone who offers friendship to anyone. Again, I only give a portion of myself.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Of death and loneliness....

My friend was cremated yesterday. I didn't know he made a long list of what to do for his wake and the services to be perfomed. Some were done, but I don't know why others took his wishes for granted.

As I struggled to listen to the Pastor's sermon, i can't help a few tears rolling down from my eyes. So young and promising, but not a lonely life. I'm sure i am gonna see him again at the House!


I'm sharing the lyrics of this song from my favorite band, Jars of clay . I guess this is also adopted from some other band.

--------- 0 ------------------
Lonely People

This is for all the lonely people
Thinkin' that life has passed them by
Don't give up until you drink from the silver cup
Ride that highway in the sky

This is for all the single people
Thinkin' that life has left them dry
Don't give up until you drink from the silver cup
You'll never know until you try

'Cause, I'm on my way, yes, I'm on my way
Yeah, I'm on my way back home

This is for all the lonely people
Thinkin' that life has passed them by
Don't give up until you drink from the silver cup
She'll never take you down or never give you up
You'll never know until you try

'Cause, I'm on my way, yes, I'm on my way
Yeah, I'm on my way back home
------------ 0 ------------------

Friday, March 24, 2006

Life is too short!

A friend of mine died last Tuesday. I almost cried while at the airport waiting for my flight to Manila. I didn't ask why coz I knew his time was already nearing. I just closed my eyes and thought of the good times we shared together. I knew that He is with God right now.

Flash back

We grew up together in the Church. I was almost two years older but 3 years ahead in school. When we were kids, we live completely different lives, and don't have anything in common. In our youth, he succeeded me as president of our youth group. There were times that we shared portions of ourselves with each other.

He told me of his crushes. I told him of only one. We joined youth camps together, and we mostly keep everything to ourselves. We agree most of the time, because as always, he is very agreeable. He even joined me in my trip to visit a girl out of town.

But, there was only one point in our lives, wherein there seems to be a little fall out between us. His long time crush, became my girlfriend, without him knowing it. Everybody knew he had a crush on her, but what they do not know is that he was also courting other girls.

Our church's circle of friends sided with him, except for the older ones. And he was also carried away. But we talked and already settled it. I told him everything and he asked for forgiveness for having a grudge on me.

Then the cancer came sometime in 1999. It started as a bleeding on his foot. Scary, they cut his left foot to prevent the cancer cells from affecting other paprts of his body. My gf (now my wife) took care of him in the hospital. We are very close friends, and there was not any thought of jealousy.

We helped him raise funds, and we thought it was the end of the cancer. But we were wrong, when last year, he was diagnosed with lung cancer at 3rd stage.

Life is short really. At 28, he could have lived long. Last Christmas, he even testified that God has many plans for him. And that he dreamt of marrying one day and of having a family. He even had more faith than us, at that point.

-----

So long my friend! God has other plans for you!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The lonely part....

As i was reading blogs here and there, most common topics are about boredom and loneliness.

I understand what loneliness is in a midst of a crowd.

I laughed yet I'm bored!

Ah! For me, it is no longer about lonelines and boredom, but about how we see the world in our complicated selves.

I'm picking up left-over thoughts right now. I am frustrated that this day passed without a significant contribution from me. I no longer know what hate means.

But I am frustrated at not being in control of what should have been. At the end of this day, I might be crying. But tears are also for men.

Tonight, I must face myself and my pride.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Boredom

I am not bored.

It's just i am tired of thinking about the future. Fantasy is all there is right now!

How do you see me? Happy or sad?

But i love life and i believe boredom is just temporary.