Wednesday, June 30, 2010

On Top of a Mountain

We were staring at a black cardboard with glitters of gold and silver scattered at the expanse. It looked like the sky at night created in a miniature by a grade three kid for a Science project. Lined gold glits at one space, dispersed silver sparkles at the other, a mix of both at some corners. But the over-all look of the "black cardboard project" was a beauty: if I were a teacher, I would take it for an art exhibit.

We were staring at a beautiful artwork of a painter. It was an amateur's creation, but the look was akin to those by Malang, with the strength of hues similar to that of Joey Velasco's. Pine trees of strong green shades queuing in-between American-style houses, askew roads stretching from left to right,  downhill or uphill turns of pathways determined by the fluctuating altitude of the road, tenements with elegant architecture sturdily standing 300 to 400 meters apart from one another. Small dots appear at the upper portion of the painting - signifying structures created kilometers apart from the beautiful scenery. And an indefinite, curve shape of white which was a sea or a lake nourishing the green fields below. Truly, this artwork was worthy of an art exhibit.

Amidst the foggy atmosphere, we stared at these creations as "artworks" - one at nighttime, the other at daylight. Depicted as artworks, yes, but they were real creations  of and by nature viewed at different times of the day at one point, one location: on top of a mountain.

The seemingly "black cardboard project" was a view in the middle of the night - dots of light dancing from afar as the busy-ness of the urban lured until late night. It was an extravagant play of lights which hid the green pastures of the field -  when the beauty of nature was still at rest.

The beautiful artwork of a painter was the view in broad daylight. With the trees, green fields and clean roadways waking up from the night's beauty rest, it exuded a splendid feel that was real. 

With pleasure and great joy, we witnessed how nature changes faces as the day shifted phases from morning to evening. They were artworks in an art exhibit that was made real - too good to be true. At one point, one location: on top of a mountain.

When my Soul Dances

I feel I've drunk a third from a liter of Red Horse. My eyes display a more languid look, with the dark circles below it highlighting the hazelnut shape of the windows of my soul. A vein at my right temple seem to tick in a beat akin to the seconds-hand of a clock. My body wants to rest, but my soul still does not want to. And my heart which is on a salvo seconds the motion of my apparently cheerful soul. 

Hence, I end up moving my fingers in a way that is very familiar: that, when I cannot move a muscle, I cannot hum a tune, I cannot lift a weight, I sit up straight and express the grace of femininity by way of words. And I let my soul go out of its temple and speak to the world that it is true, that it is bold, that it is capable of motion.

I let my soul manifest when I blend words into phrases, phrases into sentences, sentences into paragraphs. The heart that pumps blood to my body stops beating red fluid; its begins cultivating letters and composing words that come into being as I further what I am doing. Every push of my fingers, shift of my hands, and sway of my eyes, my soul dances in joy.

I feel I am asleep, but I am in motion. I am stationary but moving. I sleep while I am awake. My body rests, but my soul and heart does not. Oh, it rests, but manifests rest by way of dancing.

And it is at times like this that I feel I am alive, that I have something to do, that I have a purpose to fulfill.

Yes, in times like this when my soul dances.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Of Blindfolds and Handcuffs, with a Sweet Play of Violin Around

From blindfold to handcuffs, from handcuffs towards a secluded place. From the secluded place - where lights turn on, go to a dim until it shut off - to the spotlight in the open area in front of a crowd of familiar people. With a sweet background music - the tune of the violin from The Corrs' Runaway lingering - all things create a darling feeling. And the least you expect it, the more joy comes at a magnanimity.

Seated beside two good friends Judy and Wado, with our fellow batchmates at our side, we witnessed how our younger org-mates - those whom we have treated as our kapatids - say thoughtful words with eyes moistened with tears. Playing various audio-visuals (feigning innocence during the days it has been made), we watched each scene, each move; listened to each query, each trivia; enjoyed each giggle, each laughter. Truly, it moves and touches heart.

But in my subconscious, I have in my mind a presentation playing. Like a reel depicting portraits of people doing various things, memories come at a surge.  Going home late at night, being reprimanded at times, being given instructions oftentimes, scheduling meetings, writing letters, talking to various people, pleasing dignitaries, obeying orders - the list goes endless. Some of these were done with doubt and fear; be that as it may, smile and laughter seem to rise at the end of each day. All the days with regret and unpleasant thoughts vanish - all replaced with gratitude for a great opportunity as such. And these what forged tears in my eyes: I couldn't help but cry.

The program continues with hosts donned from simple get-ups to extravagant costumes.  A snap back to reality, this is the end of amusement at a playground; the time to go out has come. And so it has to be forgone, but shall always be remembered.

The day ends as Ma'am Faye gives words of encouragement and endearment. And yes, hearts warm more when a mother speaks to her children.  It seals the bond of love that has been created among us; a big embrace locks it for eternity.

And for all these, I realize:

We can always look back, but we can never go back. That is why we have a heart that remembers - various good things that shall be kept and never be forgotten.  And it shall  be lived each day as a part of who we are, because we are a mixture of our parents' genes and other people's influences .

We cannot rush for tomorrow and force the clock to run at a speed for our sake. Because today is a day that must be cherished. "Wherever you are, be there," as Francis Kong puts it. And so whatever the day asks for, give it with a kind heart. We are serving a bigger cause, not the one who we think we are serving for.

Even when others seem to pull your spirit down, remember Desidarata: Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.The bigger is your understanding, the more patience is expected of you.

If behind blindfolds and beyond handcuffs a pleasant surprise awaits, then I shall always welcome being blindfolded and being handcuffed. But I want it with a sweet and soft play of violin around that creates a darling mood. With those who you love and care for who are also darling, all the days of your life.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Happy Birthday!

I will continue loving while I am waiting. And whatever comes, I will still love. Because perfect love casts out all fears.

I was awakened by my phone ringing at 11 o'clock in the morning. I looked at the screen and saw it blinking with an unregistered number in my phonebook. "A greeting from a long lost friend," I thought. When I answered, it was not a long lost friend, but a friend who I have known just recently.

"Ate Jam bakit ganyan ang boses mo?" Brezh asked from the other line. "Kakagising ko lang e," I responded. He passed the phone to Alexis who greeted me as well. After an exchange of a few words, we ended the call. I lied down again and checked my messages - 8 new messages, mostly greetings from friends. My brother entered, and he greeted me as well.

After lunch, I checked my Facebook account and saw lots and lots and lots of greetings from acquaintance and close friends alike. It took me about four clicks to the "older posts" before I reached the first greeting. I scrolled up and down and thanked all. My Smart and Globe phones continued ringing and beeping for calls and text messages. Even people I don't know sent me a greeting - thanks to Katrush, an OJT friend, who told her friends to greet me to make my day more shiny. And yes, it did.

Mama went out with her response to me, "Secret! Hindi naman kailangan lahat lakad ko alam niyo kung saan" upon being asked where would she come. When she came back, she was holding a big box of cake and a gallon of ice cream - a pleasant suprise! "Pasecre-secret pang nalalaman!" I hummed to her. "Siyempre!" she answered with a hug and a juicy kiss on my cheek. I blew my Birthday candles with my cousin Ize sweetly singing a Happy Birthday to me, and murmured wishes and hopes for my 21 years of fantastic life with and from the Lord.

Greetings continued up until before I signed out of my Facebook. I had yet again another celebration in the simplest, sweetest way (the night before I was with my best friend until 2 in the morning, hanging out at Greenbelt to catch up).

I just celebrated my 21st birthday. Thank you, Lord, for another year! 


Currently waiting for my first work for a career start-up, for more love, for more blessings. And my mantra for this:  

I will continue loving while I am waiting. And whatever comes, I will still love. Because perfect love casts out all fears.

As Paul's letter to the Corinthians say, "So Faith, hope love remain: these three. But the greatest of this is Love".

For Four Days, I Lived a Millionaire's Life

For four days, I lived a millionaire's life.

I would wake up with the site of brown, skinning woods supporting the metal roof at 10 in the morning. With the sun sturdily on surveillance in the sky, the comforter where I lied for sleep felt like a plate slowly being taken into a microwave oven, and I like a pan de sal being heated for breakfast. There was no air conditioner, only a medium-sized electric fan cooling down a room manned by six people at night. But I I woke up in a millionaire's bedroom.

I would go down at the stairway: a four-stair walk of twin bamboos. I would hold on to the door affront it, and balance my way down by a simple stretch of my short legs effortlessly reaching each "stair". At the count of four, I was already at the ground floor: all in all, it was a simple two-storey home where the second floor was separated by a space about a meter in length, supported by unpainted hollow blocks and brown wood chops. But I walked in a millionaire's house.

I would go to the breakfast table and sit on the long, slender, wooden chair. It was a table full of varieties - a gallon of tap mineral water with faucet facing the right, food left-overs of the last night's dinner next to it, and vegetables freshly taken down from the plastic being readied for the cooking of viand for lunch (filling the middle portion of the table). I sat at the left part where I would reach the plastic of biscuits and the plastic container of ube which would serve as my breakfast. My starting meal at 10.30 in the morning would end with a glass of water, but I had a millionaire's breakfast.

I would go outside the veranda which also served three functions: waiting area for visitors, a gateway, and a sala for relaxation. I would sit at the ratan papag laying a meter from the dusty floor, or lie on the duyan tied by thick ropes at the brown chops of wood supporting the metal roof above. Feeling the intense heat of the last summer days, I would converse with my cousins and the neighbors that come and go the open veranda, until we end up planning to go outside to enthuse oursleves for some adventure. No television (the TV was at the bedroom), only a phone with built-in mp3 player attached to a small speaker setting a good mood for the day. But I had an entertainment in a millionaire's home.

I would go outside the street, passing by a small walkway made not of cement, but of fresh soil hardened by moisture and heat. The street was a typical one - with playing kids, gutter of stationary water with trashes, bikers passing-by, and tambays on the far-end. We would traverse a beautiful green field and go to a river with swimming boys and fishes  - but bearing the color of a brown mountain instead of a blue sky. The boys were not in Billabong trunks or Ipanema footwear, only in pambahay cotton shorts and colorful rubber-slippers-of-no-name. But I witnessed a river, as well as a street, in a millionaire's land.

I would go back home to take a bath. I would get my clothes, place it in my backpack, and go out again to go to another home - for my bath. It had a bathroom, but it did not have a faucet, toilet, and sink - only a hose connected from a water supply outside, three pails and a floor of cement and boulders of rock. And so I would go to a neighbor's home to pamper myself with a good bath. When I go back, I would go to the bathroom to pee. But everytime I entered that area, I felt like I was in a millionaire's comfort room with fresh incense all around.

I would walk the inside of the home with rubber slippers on. But I could still feel the dust of the floor of pure cement and broken linoleums. Wherever I stood, I see how the home looked just by rotating my eyes and moving my neck. A home of a few square meters - literally. With foundation of sturdy wood, hollow blocks, and a roof of fresh metal. But I thought: I was in a millionaire's home.

Most especially when I see people seated on the dining table, sharing stories, laughing out loud. Or at the veranda sharing merienda together from a cup of coffee to a fifteen peso glass of halo-halo.They were my cousins, my aunt and uncle, and new friends in the person of this family's neighbor.

I was with a family of a millionaire's heart. 

With them, in their home, for four days, I lived a millionaire's life.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

I support: 24/7 Prayer Movement for Women and Children

This year the Fifa World Cup is located in South Africa and begins June 11 and goes to July 11. For this event, forty thousand prostitutes will be transported to South Africa for the pleasure of the 50 thousand soccer tourist. Which means, for every five men, four girls wait to be abused and used. You can see the problems that present itself with this event. I am not here to boycott Fifa, I am here to offer support. Support to the thousands of women and children that are sex trafficked each day. The problem seems overwhelming, I want to suggest prayer.

In a situation that is not ideal, the support that can be offered is the encouragement of believers uniting in prayer over the coarse of this event. What better way for them to know they are loved and accepted by an amazing God.

At a time when profit is huge and all of these girls are going to be put through hell, God is there to meet them. Join me and others in a movement to pray for these girls 24/7 for the entire time of the world cup (no potty breaks).

This might sound crazy, praying for 30 days straight non stop. Actually this will be done a little differently. I am asking for people (maybe you?) to take shifts consisting of thirty minutes. During this time, you can read the Bible, do devotionals, sing songs of acceptance, and pray. The theme of this time is offering prayer for girls to know they are accepted and loved.

See Scarlet Cord Ministries for the full article (from Max Lucado's retweet in Twitter).


I feel empathic for the women used and abused for the sake of putting food on the table. Please support as well.

Say a little prayer for women and children :)

Friday, June 4, 2010

Sound of the Knocks of Blessings at my Door

"When one door closes, another one opens," as the old saying goes. Nonetheless, when blessings knock at your doorway, expect not a set of three counts, but of a dozen.

Yesterday, I received a phone call from Atty. Rhina Seco, one of my former OJT bosses from the Aksyon Radyo Manila News Bureau, notifying me to make an application letter and print out my resume to be submitted A.S.A.P. to them. "Makinig ka. Gawa ka ng application letter addressed to Joe Taruc and your resume. Send it to us A.S.A.P." "E nakapag-submit na po ako, diba?" I responded. "Basta gawa ka ng bago, idederetso natin kay Joe para mas mabilis." Atty. Rhina hung the phone as the call turned to an end.

I immediately made the letter and printed my resume the night I arrived home, whilst thinking of another job opportunity that I have eyed for a week now which involved working abroad for the Marianas Media (a network based in Guam, as far as my research and has taught me). I have already e-mailed my resume to the Marianas Media last week; however, I failed to attach a link to my resume reel which was among the requirements in the job ad. So I decided to make my resume reel for this application, but I also entertained the thought of sending another application to the MBC (Manila Broadcasting Company) which was originally amongst my most targeted companies after school.

The day after, I went to the MBC where I gave my application to Atty. Rhina who has willfully referred me to the one in charge of the news writers and news reporters of the RH Newscenter. Upon going back to the Aksyon Radyo station booth, I talked to Ate Patty, one of the RH reporters, about the environment and pros working there. "Kapag na-assign ka sa umaga, mas OK. Which is much better kasi mapapansin ka ni  Sir Joe na ikaw yung bago," she said. In the middle of our conversation, she told me, "Sana ikaw nga yun, Jame." Ate Patty did not know how I have clearly envisioned myself working there - my original plan before I began to expand my vision and seek for other job opportunities of the same line. Above all, what I have written in my Novena to God's Love which has given me a hint that God is on His own beautiful way of answering my prayer.

From MBC, I went to UST. And from UST, I rushed to Makati for the The Feast. And there, during the sharing portion, I met Sister Bina. "From what school?" she inquired upon sharing to her that I am a fresh grad from college. "UST," I answered with a sweet smile. "What course?" To which I responded, "Communication Arts." With a shine of enthusiasm on her face, she told me, "Oh, I have a friend from GMA News and Current Affairs, as well as from ABS-CBN. I can refer you to them, give me your resume so I can do so!" I glanced at my cousin who was glancing back at me. "Wow! Sure!" I said, then thanked her. I got Sis Bina's cellphone number, and would be in touch with her for another opportunity for employment.

Truly, when blessings knock at your doorway, expect not a set of three counts, but of a dozen. My first three knocks: Atty. Rhina and Sir NiƱo's referral to me at the RH Newscenter - directing to the President of the RH Broadcasting Co., Dr. Joe Taruc. My second three knocks: my conversation with Ate Patty giving me hints of God's answers to my wildest pool of dreams. My third three knocks: employment opportunity abroad which I would like to hitch a try by making my resume reel (online portfolio) - with the help of my very able friends Judy and Alexis. My fourth three knocks: connection and possible referral to GMA or ABS-CBN by Sis Dina.

I am just amazed by God's bounty who has given me one of the best - if not the best - summer I ever had. And after living from moment to moment, He is now heeding my prayers on having an employment opportunity just as the summer ends.

Given that June is my target month for employment, I think God is heeding my plead through these sounds of knocks of blessings at my door.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

It's Good to be on a Rush - but for the Most Important

From this day on, I would not move speedily for anything other than for the most important ones.

The view from the stairway of the MRT Ayala station intensifies a need to walk faster to be able to get to my destination at the earliest time possible. A 30-40 plus stairsteps going down, a long stretch of street to tread on, and a mall connected to the other mall that is the way to the mall where I am headed to. The complexity of the way this can be briefly described vis-a-vis the energy needed to be exhausted for this walkathon is way far easier to fathom than when seen and done in reality. And so I take a deep breath before I take my first step down to one of the busiest streets of Makati.

I look at my watch - it's 30 minutes past 7 o'clock. My appointment is at 7.30; obviously, I am late. I walk faster as every minute pass by - until I run every five to seven meters of the way. Men donned in decent polo, women dressed in elegant dresses, children carrying colorful balloons, people dining in fast food chains (rich ones in fine dining), lush clothing and footwear - the innumerable number of people you cross upon and the tempting apparels in viewing glasses of stalls along the way seem to lengthen the byways and alleys of the mall. What seem to be a length that can be covered in a span of 15 minutes increases by five.

Finally, after a fast-walk bordering to a run, I reach the AIM Building. I directly head to the elevator, tap the "3" button, and hit the metal door a close. I am off to the Makati Feast, for which I have moved speedily because it is amongst the most important things that I recently do in my life after school - worshiping the Lord.

For twenty years, I have walked and run fast for things that I want to reach, achieve and attend to. School works, academic, social and organization meetings, people's favors, et cetera, et cetera. But all these I have done out of responsibility and fear. Nothing bad about being always in the rush in the name of responsibility; nonetheless, the not-so-good thing about having a ceaselessly-fast phased life is when you lose sight of the small yet most intricate and beautiful details of a day which - when summed up - can make you really, really happy.

Worse, when you rush yourself because you simply fear of being scolded, being unable to please other people.

Hence, starting today, I would just move speedily for the things that I deem most important in my life. Family relationships, maintaining healthy and good friendships - to name my third and second ranks. And my first, doing favor for the Lord.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Charles: A Documentary on Disability

"Charles": A Documentary on Disability from Jamelle Ann Catapusan on Vimeo.

This is the story of Charles, a 10-year old first born old child inflicted with the disease known as Hydrocephalus. A successful operation on his brain allowed him to live up until this time; nonetheless, it only limits him lying on his couch, on his bed, and on his wheelchair - bedridden and in a vegetative state.

Despite this, Charles’ mother still considers continuing her son’s life clinging on the belief that a child, whoever or whatever they may be, is a gift from God. She ceaselessly nurtures and cares for Charles like the infant that he has been a decade ago - never getting tired everyday of her life.

The story of this documentary revolves around the relationship of a mother to her disabled child, and the struggle for survival despite the condition that they are up to. It also tackles how the people around a disabled person relate to them – their notions and feelings of empathy with regard to his condition.

"Charles" is one of the entries of the Philippines to the DCATCH (DeCentralized Asian Transnational Challenges) in 2009 held in Bangkok, Thailand.