Monday, December 31, 2012

Thank You, Difficult People


Even though I don't deserve Your love for me
You look beyond my fault and You showed mercy 

Like a morning cartoon show lullaby, this song has kept on repeating in my head throughout the day. 

While on my way to the office this morning, events of 2012 came rushing in. The rays of the sun crept through the windows and kissed my cheeks. It has been a peaceful morning: I was late, but the thought of going to work on a special non-working holiday was the best excuse to be OK to arrive late in the office. I wasn't in a hurry, not on a rush. Much like how I treated 2012 - specially the latter part of it.

I was expecting to do the usual weekday-work routine on the last day of the year. Writing for the noontime program in the morning, and 15-minuter updates in the afternoon. Same-same. Our anchor - who wasn't around for four days due to her no-voice illness - was present today. She asked some clarifications regarding one of the news I have written for a segment. I explained, and she suggested some ideas. I did as instructed, and it all turned out better and well.

I would like to thank her - and all the difficult people I have encountered this year. She has taught me a lot - from values, skills, work ethics, and attitude. She has been an epitome of who-I-don't-like-to-be to newbies in the industry when my career matures and brings me to greater heights. Career-wise, however, she taught me to be meticulous and aim for the best everyday.

I remember once, just about two weeks ago, she reminded us to be cautious of our writing and raise the bar. "Always try to be better everyday," she said. This girl has drawn all my good spirits and kindness in the past year; nonetheless, I had to admit, she has given me lessons I can bring throughout my industry life. 

I can now attest difficult people come into our life by no accident. They pass by, walk with us, and push us to our limits for a reason. 


I'm pretty sure - well, I'm sure - I have been a difficult person to God, in many ways. I have been a consistent petitioner, but I fail Him many times when it comes to fulfilling my duties and service for Him. That is why it is no excuse not to forgive those who have wronged us and have brought us pain. If we're gonna sum up God's tears vis-a-vis ours, His would make up an ocean, whilst ours would fill a measly bottle of humanly pain. 

Thank you, Jesus. For your unfailing love. You are there when I am down and out. You're holding me, Your love is so amazing. Oh it changed me

Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012 Wrap, Sort Of

I remember plunging into the seas of Dos Palmas for some snorkeling adventure. I did not want to let go of the rail I was holding onto. I had my life vest on, but I was afraid it won’t work. I was afraid to die. Little did I know, I would have my best life experience once I let go. And I did.

We have to loosen our grip from whatever keeps us intact and be ready to get broken and lost once in a while. We won’t see the beauty underwater if we remain floating on the surface. We have to be willing to let go of the rope, sail over deep seas, dive into the oceans, and paddle amid stormy waters to experience the best life can offer. There’s joy in our comfort zones, but there’s much of it outside – in our courage zones.

2012 has thrown me a lot – more than what I have imagined and asked for. From my work, to family, to so-called ‘romance’, service, and friendship. There were answered prayers, and there were also prayers that were answered even if I didn’t ask for it. There were many first times – a lot of them. I wouldn’t run out of first times every year, yet 2012 had given me a lot of must-have first times.

I weighed over 110 pounds, and gained a whooping 14 pounds in only three months. I weighed 117 in September - my heaviest ever.

Taken a week after my birthday. Clap clap for his milestone!
I had my first ever above-shoulders haircut. In June, barely a week before my birthday, I decided to get a bobcut – much like what Rihanna had when she rose into stardom haha. Here's why: a big chunk of my hair, especially on the tip portion, got burned when we had a birthday surprise for a friend. The giddy and excited me eagerly held the cake with a well-lit candle on top of it. After the surprise, we noticed something smelled weird, and blamed it first to the party-popper which didn’t pop. Until I saw my poor, burned, brown hair – in all its unglory. So I decided to get a cut.

My hair is growing pretty well now.

Color stories aside, I also had a haircut to begin anew. Having been from a failed relationship, it was good to shed off some strands and have new ones. As pop culture puts it, pagupit ka na, move on. Insert hastag-Basha with the line, “You had me at my best.”

But I have to admit, this failed relationship has been amongst my greatest, biggest blessings (no stir, no bitterness, in all its sincerity) this year. It was when it happened that:
  • I opened myself to service even more, and new doors for service opened before me (i.e. dance, Feast bulletin, CGs, etc.)
  • I looked forward going to work, because I wanted to keep myself busy.
  • I appreciated the love of my family and friends even more. In turn, life threw us plane tickets and travel times and we had our best travels yet.
  • I felt the support of friends around me. Parang basketball league lang. I remember how one of them would usually say (insert LISSY name here haha!), "We’re on your side. Kakampi mo kami!" Like a war, just like that :P
  • I gained new friends. Lifetime, true, sincere friendships (insert RUTHIE name here).

Joseph Prince once said God breaks our heart so he can penetrate our souls. He creates cracks so he can enter and cleanse our pains. Sometimes, unknowingly, we spend our time, effort, and treasure on things too much. We waste our time on ephemeral things. 

Or, maybe, we spend more than what we can on things which may last a lifetime. We overlook the fact that there are other important matters we have to attend to. We forget that we have a God whom we pray for our dreams, hopes, and aspirations. When God breaks our heart, he breaks our humanly desires, to bring back what’s divine, untouched, and pure in us. He doesn’t punish, rather, he teaches and comforts. He merely wants to shift our attention back to Him, fix our eyes on Jesus, and focus on the good. The things that we run after and look forward to must always be for the long term.

Riding the boat for the Underground River
Before snorkeling at Dos Palmas
My brother's smile over Pandan Island's heat and beauty

It was also this year our family had our first (yes, FIRST!!!) travel together. Amid Papa’s busy-ness, and mama’s homebuddy-ness, we managed to get out of Manila for a Subic getaway in January, and a Palawan weekend in May. I was beyond joyful spending precious time with my family, and having them, above all.

Papa underwent an operation in October (Is it? Can’t remember exactly what month). He had an open surgery for his gallstones. I was so fearful of losing him, although I know, it would just be a simple surgery, just like what my friend has gone through a month before him. It was when I realized how important family and loved ones truly are.

Mommy, my lola from the father’s side, also went back to our Creator, in His loving arms. Painful, yet we all know she’s now in the happily ever after of life.

I also learned business, got more interested in the financial world, and explored several sideline opportunities this year.

There have been pending answered prayers, which I claim this year. 2012, you were awesome. Saludo ako sa’yo. :)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

King Arthur and the Witch

Young King Arthur was ambushed and imprisoned by the monarch of a neighboring kingdom. The monarch could have killed him but was moved by Arthur's youth and ideals. So, the monarch offered him his freedom, as long as he could answer a very difficult question. Arthur would have a year to figure out the answer and, if after a year, he still had no answer, he would be put to death.

The question? ... What do women really want? Such a question would perplex even the most knowledgeable man, and to young Arthur, it seemed an impossible query. But, since it was better than death, he accepted the monarch's proposition to have an answer by year's end.

He returned to his kingdom and began to poll everyone: the princess, the priests, the wise men and even the court jester. He spoke with everyone, but no one could give him a satisfactory answer.

Many people advised him to consult the old witch, for only she would have the answer.

But the price would be high, as the witch was famous throughout the kingdom for the exorbitant prices she charged.

The last day of the year arrived and Arthur had no choice but to talk to the witch. She agreed to answer the question, but he would have to agree to her price first.

The old witch wanted to marry Sir Lancelot, the most noble of the Knights of the Round Table and Arthur's closest friend!

Young Arthur was horrified. She was hunchbacked and hideous, had only one tooth, smelled like sewage, made obscene noises, etc. He had never encountered such a repugnant creature in all his life.

He refused to force his friend to marry her and endure such a terrible burden; but Lancelot, learning of the proposal, spoke with Arthur.

He said nothing was too big of a sacrifice compared to Arthur's life and the preservation of the Round Table.

Hence, a wedding was proclaimed and the witch answered Arthur's question thus:

What a woman really wants, she answered ... is to be in charge of her own life.

Everyone in the kingdom instantly knew that the witch had uttered a great truth and that Arthur's life would be spared.

And so it was, the neighboring monarch granted Arthur his freedom and Lancelot and the witch had a wonderful wedding.

The honeymoon hour approached and Lancelot, steeling himself for a horrific experience, entered the bedroom. But, what a sight awaited him. The most beautiful woman he had ever seen lay before him on the bed. The astounded Lancelot asked what had happened.

The beauty replied that since he had been so kind to her when she appeared as a witch, she would, henceforth, be her horrible deformed self only half the time and the beautiful maiden the other half.

Which would he prefer? Beautiful during the day ... or night?
Lancelot pondered the predicament. During the day, a beautiful woman to show off to his friends, but at night, in the privacy of his castle, an old witch? Or, would he prefer having a hideous witch during the day, but by night, a beautiful woman for him to enjoy wondrous intimate moments?

Noble Lancelot said that he would allow HER to make the choice herself.Upon hearing this, she announced that she would be beautiful all the time because he had respected her enough to let her be in charge of her own life.

Noble Lancelot said that he would allow HER to make the choice herself.
Upon hearing this, she announced that she would be beautiful all the time because he had respected her enough to let her be in charge of her own life.

Now ... what is the moral to this story?

The moral is.....
If you don't let a woman have her own way....
Things are going to get ugly.


Got from a friend's email. True enough, what a woman wants is to be in charge of her own life. :)

Friday, January 6, 2012

Lesson learned from the princesses

Cinderella walked on broken glass…
Belle fell in love with a hideous beast…
Jasmine married a common thief...
Sleeping Beauty let a whole lifetime pass…
Ariel walked on land for love and life…
Snow White barely escaped a knife…
It was all about blood, sweat and tears…
Because love means conquering your greatest fears.


Makes a lot of sense.

Once, I have been denied and rejected, but still, I chose to love. Now, I am in love again.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Our Version of New Year

Our rooftop is a happy place every eve of December 31 - where you can simultaneously watch fireworks from different places, scream and jump and blow hat whistles however way you want, and light your kwitis and fountain and mini-fireworks and watch them light up the heaven above.

And in the first minutes of January 1, hear the resounding clang of coins showered on air and thrown to people wanting to get every piece for their new year's luck.

Thank you, Lord, for the unfailing fun-filled celebration of New Year with the family.

Happy New Year!

2011, Encapsulated.

In the last hours of 2011, I find myself getting rid of unnecessary stuff in my room, giving away old but usable stuff to my cousins, rearranging my books and giving away kiddie reads to my youngest cousin, and filling in the first planning pages of my 2012 planner. And in the remaining hours of 2011, I am retracing my timeline from the beginning of what - two hours from now - I am going to refer to as 'past' and 'last year'.

The last hours

I suddenly had the impulse of scrapping old college books, manuals, notes, and papers which I have kept for two years now. My mother has always wanted to have a good riddance of those as I am already finished studying, and new stuff have been bought, given, and gifted. There are no more spaces in my room for all of them. I nonetheless insisted to store them for one, I thought I would still be needing for some random-discussions-that-would-require-comm-theories-logic-and--statistics. Two, I loved seeing and reading scribbles and notes and remembering how, where, when, and why I wrote them.

But in the last hours of 2011, I realized new things would find no place where there are overwhelming volumes of mementos and unnecessary stuff. I needed to choose which things to keep and which to junk to make way for the fresh, modern, and new. In one way or another, this would make me ready and and all-arms-open to the new year on hand.

After an armful of kiddie books, a handful of scratch papers, four sacks of manuals and books, and a bag of bags, I vacated a storage box and threw away two broken book shelves.

I gave space to new stuff that matter and bring smile to my lips: shoes, bags, and books.

Jam's 2011 capsule

In that very same place, all my failings surely would have drowned me, 
but still you made a way.

One of the most significant things that happened this year was getting in to the company I am now with. In the first quarter of 2011, I have prayed for a job that will hopefully lead me to my dreams. I remembered the day when I have absented myself from work (on my first job, for this matter) and attended an interview that does not guarantee a new one. On that day, I remember telling God I am doing a leap of faith in search of my dreams. After weeks of prayers and hopes, lo and behold, there was a positive feedback, and I have a good riddance of my first job in exchange of a new one.

I did not get my dream job in an instant. I have actually failed in doing so. But being where I am now gives me hope that that day will come when I can say, "This is it. This is really is it is is it nang bonggang bongga". A new year awaits memories of hard work and sweet victories. After all, I have long learned I am not like anyone else who gets things at once. I have always needed to exert extra effort, work hard, and persevere to achieve my goals. And pray for it, above all things.

In that very same place, all my failings surely would have drowned me, but still You made a way. Despite wrong decisions and infidelity to my dreams brought by fears and indecisiveness, God has still given me a chance to fulfill them. We truly have a God of second chances. No, God is a God of nth chances.

The whole world will turn its back on us and people will mock and stone and tell us "You're not worth it and you'll never make it." But the Heaven will open and its light will shine into our hearts, saying, "Where hopelessness abounds, God's grace abounds even more."

Heal my heart and make it clean. Open up my eyes to the things unseeen.

In October, I attended the Love Life retreat of the Makati Feast. It was one the best - if not the best - retreats I have ever attended. The mix of wacky activities, solemn reflection times, and bonding with fellow retreatants have made it a truly memorable experiences. It was where spells were broken, bondages were destroyed, and bad memories were forgotten. After the two-day retreat in Tagaytay, there was a breath of fresh air all around. 

Heal my heart and make it clean. Open my up my eyes to the things unseen. Jesus knows too well our humanity and frailty. Amidst and despite all these, His arms are ALWAYS wide open to welcome us whenever we come to Him and His Spirit always arises whenever we pray for a miracle or grace. He ceaselessly forgives, blesses forever, and loves unconditionally. 

All lives are made in these small hours, these little wonders, these twisted turns of fate. Time falls away, but these small hours, still remain.

I joined two video-making contests with friends this year. In January, Wado, Judy, Alexis, and I joined the Asian Development Bank video-making contest. After a year of dreaming of making our own film, we finally had the chance to do our mini-production. We brainstormed together for the film with the theme "Water conservation". I made the script, Judy directed, Wado acted, and together, we pulled it off. Even though we didn't win, we had fun in shooting and coming up with a video we can solely call our OWN.

SOMETHING FUNNY: In the last hours before submission did we realize the theme for the contest was "Conserving Water". We created a film centered on love and life, so we were totally out of context. Even so, we were creative and wise (hahaha whatever), and we managed to link our storyline to the theme to accredit our entry to the competition. And so, we did.

In July, Nin and I joined the Smart Extraordinary video contest. It entailed story-telling on how Smart changed your life. Out of a spur-of-the-moment-idea-over-a-sumptuous-dinner, Nin and I decided to tell the story of how smart helped enhance our friendship through Smart Buddy and Smart Bro. Besides, we have called each other 'buddy' ever since, so we related it to Smart Buddy. Nahahaha, I know, pinilit lang. Makasali lang!
Time falls away, but these small hours still remain. These endeavors are among the happiest moments of my 2011 with dear friends. This is the perfect example of the belief it's not about the destination, but it's about the journey. It has never been entirely about the prize and the prestige, but about the memories. Oh-so-love moments with dear friends and my buddy :)

Firsts in 2011
  • First CG I headed (with lovey partner Ruthie)
  • First time of Mama and Papa at The Feast
  • First Valentines
  • First Year with my CG-Up (Ate Lissy's)
  • First Buddy Anniversary 
  • First Bonding with cousins in Bicol and Trip with Nino

  • First Dance at KCon

To 2012, with Love

I am writing this portion at 1 in the morning of January 1, 2012. Fireworks have been consumed, firecrackers have been blasted, coins have been showered, and food have been eaten. Hugs have been exchanged, kisses have been given, and love have been handed. Happy New Year, everyone!

Jesus, thank you for another year! Cheers for another year filled with grace and love!