Tuesday, October 31, 2006
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
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.”
“Now, go away! I’m in a hurry. Have you seen my slippers?”
“Now don’t be stubborn. You stay here.”
“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.
Thursday, October 26, 2006
(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)
Monday, October 23, 2006
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
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.
Monday, October 16, 2006
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.
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.
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?
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 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. 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
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.
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
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.