Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016: In photos


Maganda pa rin ang taon na ito.

Cheers, 2016! ⭐️

2016: An uphill battle


It was as if all paths were going uphill. And when I asked God to deliver me, he did not heed. He did answer my plea; he said, "No." It was pure silence amid the chaos. Winds blew violently over steep slopes. On the yellow brick road, I saw two sets of footprints. 


He was there all along. 


"Carry your cross, and follow me." 


2016 taught me to stay still and just keep on keeping on. Think long-term. All will be well -- especially when you have your family by your side. And never forget that when your knees hit the ground, you touch the sky. 


Thank you, 2016 and everyone who became a part of it. Maraming salamat, Panginoon. On to another year of sugar, spice, and everything nice.


Thursday, December 8, 2016

Unti-unti

Unti-unting nauupos.
Unti-unting napupudpod.
Unti-unting napapaos.
Unti-unting napapagod.

Unti-unting humihiyaw.
Unti-unting umiiyak.
Unti-unting nasasabaw.
Unti-unting pumapatak.

Mga bituing nawawalan ng ningning.
Bawat kisap ng mga mata.
Lumalayo sa piling.
Isa-isang nawawala.

Unti-unti.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

My piece of cake


You better do your job well.


That's what I told that piece of cake as my friend and I sat down in a coffee shop on a Friday night. Overall, the day went well. But as I wrapped up this day, I felt a pang in my heart that made me feel uneasy and irritated. I could not exactly pinpoint what that was or what caused it, although I think that irritable feeling emanated from anxious thoughts that have been lording over my subconsciousness for months now. 

Or maybe another round of anxiety attack. 

I read on my news feed yesterday a quote that said something along the lines of "it is not reality that makes you feel bad, but the image of what-should-be in your mind" (of course the exact quote was way way better). True enough. That applies most when you set the standard too high and imagine yourself with your ideal picture of what life should be, yet end up doing and achieving less of all. Adding insult to injury are truly success stories of people your age or younger -- of those who have done and achieved more than you do. Worse, they look happy and fulfilled, Call it the pang of envy or the shadow of frustration. Combine both, and you end up feeling tragic about your life. 

Sometimes, I think there is something wrong with how I communicate with people or maybe I am not just good at building rapport with others. I am really not a social person, yet I am in an industry where connecting with people is both a must and a plus. There are moments when I think I should adjust and change -- which I try to do -- but I also ask myself: why should I dare to change when I can just maximize my strengths instead of always, always looking at my downsides and flaws? Either way, there are pros and cons.

Back to that piece of cake. Well, I think it did its job just fine. I felt better -- at least after devouring it. But many questions linger, and I ought to answer them. 

I also owe myself kindness, decisiveness, and peace. Is there any other cake out there that can help me get all these?

Thursday, November 3, 2016

That is why


It's early dawn of Thursday. I am in the car - parked in front of the market. My father is buying food stock for the coming days. He is pissed off because a huge trailer truck is blocking the road. 

That is why he just parked the car here - right in front of the market.

We've been from the Baclaran church. For three weeks now, my father has been going there on Wednesdays to pray for a particular intention. I do not know what exactly that is, but I believe it has something to do with opportunities and finances. Our family is weathering a storm at the moment. 

That is why my father is going to the Baclaran church every week to pray for better days ahead.

I almost became an only child 19 years ago, if not for Mama and Papa's faithful devotion to Our Mother of Perpetual Help and the Child Jesus at the Baclaran Church. They uttered a prayer and knocked on the image of Sto. NiƱo for nine consecutive Wednesdays for a second baby. Not long after, my mother bore my now teenage brother.

That is why my father is back to where he  used to be.

I believe God finds ways to draw you close to Him when you're going too far away and bring you down to your knees to talk to Him. But really, how does He talk to so many people telling different stories, asking for countless things all at once? Nobody can tell.

That is why He is God.

"Lola, hindi po ba Siya nalilito?"
                                               - Tanging Yaman


Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Angelo

On late night Tuesday, I met a 12-year old boy named Angelo.

We were going out of the office building when we noticed him wandering aimlessly on the corridor. A security guard called his attention, but he did not mind. He exited the building, walked to the ATM and pressed some buttons, and walked some more. He climbed down the stairs and entered a fast food chain. Another security guard escorted him out.

He looked presentable enough not to be mistaken as a beggar, but his actions say otherwise. I approached him and asked him if he's hungry. "Oo, he said." I handed him my friend's sandwich. "San ka nakatira?" He said he lives in Alabang. I asked him where he had been. "Sa Starmall," he answered. The mall is right across our office building. I asked how he would go home. "Sasakay ng bus na hindi aircon. Baka nga lakarin ko na lang kasi kulang na pamasahe ko." He said his name is Angelo. "Eh ikaw anong pangalan mo?" He called me Ate Jam. Then I bade him goodbye.

I walked back to my friend and told her my short chit-chat with Angelo. Little did I know that he was actually following us as we crossed the street. My friend saw him walking behind me and motioned to act like nothing was happening because he would surprise me. Then I saw him.

We walked together with him to the bus stop. We asked him about his family. He said he left home at noontime. "Umalis ako ng bahay. Pinalayas nila ako kasi bakla ako." He was referring to his parents. But he said he is going home to his lola. "Oo, alam niya. Tanggap niya ako," he said.

He said he is celebrating his birthday next week. He jokingly asked what we would give him as a birthday present. "Ito lang ibibigay niyo sa'kin?" he said while holding the sandwich we gave him moments ago. We laughed. "Sige nga titikiman ko nga to kung masarap." He said he will also make one when he gets home. 

We arrived at the bus stop. An Alabang-bound bus loaded some passengers a few meters away. "Ayan na Alabang na bus oh," my friend said. Angelo refused to leave. "Dadaan yan ng Sucat eh," he said. My friend and I waited until another non-airconditioned bus made a stop. "Bye! Ingat kayo!" he said as he sat down  on the bus.

When he left, my friend and I regretted not giving even an additional penny for his fare. He did not beg. He did not ask for anything. He only wanted to talk. And he called me Ate Jam like we had known each other for years.

He left home because he is gay. He is only 12-years old. An adolescent who is just starting to discover himself. 

He left home because he told his parents the truth. He left because he was not accepted in his own home.

May our paths cross again, Angelo. Ate Erika and Ate Jam are praying for you.


Over Milktea

Have you made up your mind?
Yes.

Have you talked about it?
Yes.

To the right people?
Yes.

To the one who will make it happen?
Not yet.

What is keeping you from doing so?
I don't know how to start it. As in a book, the first words are crucial. I don't want to spoil myself.

When will you take action?
Tomorrow.

Are you sure?
I must be.

Meanwhile, here I am, sipping milktea.


Talking to myself.

Either there is still milktea or there's only little left.