Friday, July 27, 2007

Growing old

Many people are afraid of growing old.
I'm afraid of growing old and boring.
Many people are afraid of growing old, alone.
I'm afraid of growing old, insane.
Many people are afraid of losing their looks.
I'm afraid of losing my dreams.
Many people are afraid of losing their youth.
I'm afraid of losing my soul.

When you're 15, 35 seemed ancient. When you're 35, 15 you seemed juvenile.
A turnaround in a split second - two decades zoom past and before you know it, it's only a mile to the next millennium.

Don't fear age - it's a right of personhood.
Don't fear death - it's God's greatest jest.
Don't grow old - you don't have to.
Don't date because you're desperate.
Don't marry because you're miserable.
Don't have kids because you think your genes are superior.
Don't separate because you think it's fashionable.
Don't drink because you have troubles.
Don't gamble because you think winning is inevitable.
Don't philander because you think you're irresistible.

Most likely, you're not.
Don't associate with people you can't trust.

Don't cheat. Don't lie. Don't pretend.

Don't try to buy your way into the Kingdom of God.

Don't dictate because you're smarter.
Don't demand because you're stronger.
Don't sleep around because you think you're old enough and know better.
Don't hurt your kids because loving them is harder.
Don't sell your self, your family or your ideals.
Don't stagnate. Don't regress. Learn a new skill.
Find a new friend. Start a new career.
Don't live in the past. Time can't bring anything or anyone back.
Don't put your life on hold for possibly Mr. Right.
Don't throw your life away on absolutely Mr. Wrong because your biological clock is ticking.
There's always a mad rush to something, somewhere but victory does not always belong to those who finish first.
Sometimes, there is no race to be won.
only a price to be paid for some of life's more hasty decisions.
You can't always go with the throng who could be wrong.
Sometimes, you have to be alone to be enlightened.
To terminate your loneliness, reach out to the homeless.
To feed your nurturing instincts, care for the needy.
do fulfill your parenting fantasies, get a puppy.
Don't bring another life into this world for all the wrong reasons.
To keep yourself warm, buy a jacket. In the long run, it will be less complicated and less costly.

To make yourself happy, pursue your passions and be the best of what you can be. Simplify your life. Take away the clutter. Get rid of destructive elements - abusive friends, nasty habits and dangerous liaisons.
Don't abandon your responsibilities but don't overdose on duty.
Don't live life recklessly without thought and feeling for your family.

Be true to yourself.

Don't commit when you're not ready.
Don't keep others waiting needlessly. Fall in love it's the greatest thing on earth. But take care and remember, after the fall must come the rise.
Go on that trip. Don't postpone it.

Say those words.

Don't let the moment pass. Do what you must even at society's scorn. Write poetry. Love deeply. Walk barefoot.
Hold hands. Dance with wild abandon. Cry at the movies. Take care of yourself.
Don't wait for someone to take care of you.
You light up your life. You drive yourself to your destination.

No one completes you - except GOD.

It is true that life doesn't get easier with age.
It only gets more Challenging. Don't be afraid.
Don't lose your capacity to love. Pursue your Passions.

Live your dreams. Don't lose faith in God.

Don't grow old. JUST GROW UP...

Monday, July 23, 2007

Wrong side

Hi, my name is John. I am 17 years old. My hobby is drawing atsaka dancing.

I almost cried when I heard him say these words.

He is being taught how to be a welder yet to me his words belie a partiality for the arts. Maybe my impressions are wrong. Maybe, these were just hobbies, plain and simple.

His story? He is a young man seeking shelter in a street children’s haven. Maybe he left his home to escape the beatings of a stepfather or even his own father. Another possibility, he is one of the many sons of a poor family. With not enough food to put in their mouths, the children had no choice but to roam the streets to find their own sustenance. Or maybe he is one of those who got separated from his parents and until now is seeking for them.

There is a large gap between his life and mine. True, I grew up needing and wanting a lot of things. I could even say that I grew up poor. Still, I was able to finish school. I was even given an opportunity to study the arts and esthetics, for free.

And some may ask, arts? Can it feed you? Not physically. But repress it and the spirit dies. What is left behind is the shell of life.

This young man, in antics and humor, is no different from the other young people I know of. Yet, he had the misfortune of being born at the wrong side of the social structure. I know that by studying this particular skill, he is being empowered to rise above his situation. For that I am thankful. Yet I cannot help but pray that somehow, in some way, he too would have the opportunity to attain whatever it is his heart’s desire to do. Even to just draw.

Saturday, July 21, 2007


Hear me out. Let me be open. Let me be angry for once.

I take offense when I hear jokes about women who are almost past the bearing age and still unmarried. I often remain quiet but I want to cry against people who laugh, even harmlessly, about the single status of older women.

Why does our society equate women’s completion with marriage? True, it is said that Eve was created to be a partner to Adam. But aren’t we also told that we are all created to please God? And is getting married the only way to please God? True, women face challenging circumstances later on when they lead single lives. Yet these same women may enjoy uncluttered and emancipated lives without relations to drag them down.

I am in that range of age when some women are beginning to get desperate about finding partners. And I sometimes wonder if I will ever find the one. Many friends tell me not to worry for I am still young. And I don’t. But in a previous blog, I mentioned that I have lots of lady friends who are accomplished in their fields, possess different kinds of beauty, intelligent in their own way and still unmarried. These women, who are older than me and have so much more to offer, are still looking for their life partners. What does this signify to me? Should I panic?

The 2000 NSO statistics tell us that men slightly outnumber women. In every age range. Add seven years to that and the figures for each age range almost remain the same. Except for the new generation. And true, a lot of our kababayans are going out of the country. But again, according to statistics, most of the OFWs are women. And more often than not, they marry those that are from the foreign lands. Which means there should be more men to go around. For those who remain here.

Consider another factor. Gays have entered the competition. Picture this scenario. There are 100 people on an island. 51 are men and 49 are women. If 10% of the men are gay, there would only be 46 men for 54 women and gays. Men go for younger women. So maybe, 46 men are running after 20% of the women, this percentage representing the younger population. Consider also that there are men who are irresponsible, immature, violent, double-timing, etc.? Where does that leave the remaining 32 older women? Their choices for men have dwindled.

Why is it that society does not make jokes about single men, single parents, unwed mothers, and separated women? Are they more complete because they have children or had husbands who left them? Is society telling us that it is better to get married and be miserable than to be single and contented?

I wonder if those who laugh about unmarried women know that every time they crack a joke, with no malice intended, that they are adding to the hurts and pains of these women? It is like they are literally pouring out lemon on an ever-fresh wound. Single women who might have been contented because of their singleness yet society dictates that they shouldn’t be. For they are not married. For those who are alone, not because of their own doing but because responsibilities forced them to be, aren’t we adding insult to injury when we kid around about their situation? Isn’t it enough that they go home each night alone and there is no one to care for them? We have created a culture that is gently yet continuously hurting their souls.

When we go to heaven, will God ask us if we got married and had children? I think not. I believe that we are going to be asked about what we have done with His name. Being married is just an option. Just like choosing a career or a calling.

I still have a long way to go before I become officially one of them. But there is always that likelihood that I may someday be like them. Unmarried. Statistics are there to support this possibility. That is why I have learned to be sensitive to their feelings. I would want other people to respect me if ever I remain single. I treat them during their birthdays. I ask how they are. I listen to their stories. I try to understand their quirks and eccentricities. I hope that these actions would be directed to me if ever I go through whatever they are going through now.

And no, I will not allow funny jokes about single, old women to pervade. I will not be silent anymore. You had your laugh. Start realizing that it is not amusing anymore.

For women who were blessed with marriage, give some of your time to these single women. They need attention too, not to be just your baby sitters or caretakers of your parents. To young and single women who want to get married, learn to respect those who have gone ahead of you and remained single. They are such either by choice or life made them as they are. You never know. You might just be one of them, someday.

To single women, be proud of your singleness. There are so many things that you can do that married women wish they could. For men who laugh about these women, be glad if you only have sons. Otherwise, I pray that your daughters may not be the object of these jokes.

And please, stop telling us to find a man to complete us. It is only God who can do that.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Virgin taste

I am no gourmet expert. I like my food simple.

Bite into a luscious, fresh strawberry and savor its sweet-sour taste. Enjoy the thread-like meat of chicken and appreciate its unique taste without the dressings and flavorings. Take pleasure in the cool sweetness of mango as it quenches a saccharine-parched throat. Relish the green bitter taste of boiled asparagus. Munch the crunchy tail of a fried Peter’s fish.

My limited vocabulary is not enough to describe even the most simple of tastes.

But not our taste buds. There are hundred of them to be found within the small round bumps on the surface of our tongue. As much as 5,000 taste buds. Each one, depending on their location, can identify the variety of tastes that pass through them. Distinguish the sweet from the vinegary soup. Spot the bitter from a sugar-filled chocolate dessert. Get the hint of the spice amongst the mélange of flavors.

Chefs have created sumptuous cuisines that could intoxicate our senses. The blend of flavors helps our taste to be so much more discriminatory. I read somewhere that our sense of taste reacts strongly to change and surprise. Thus, variety creates intensity.

And I love variety. Given the choice, I would not eat the same viand twice the same day. Same flavors can make our taste buds jaded and insensitive.

Yet, there are days that I want the simple fare. For I believe in the beauty of simplicity.

Thursday, July 12, 2007


For a few hours one Saturday, I was able to take pictures for a medical outreach in a community in Pasig. Still not the owner of my own camera, I had to borrow from a wonderful friend. Good thing she entrusted her camera to me, despite my history with cameras. It was just a point and shoot. But it was enough to make me enjoy the day in taking pictures...

A few of my favorites...


Nothing has changed much. Not regarding problems in life.

High school was a rocky time. It was filled with insecurities and doubts. College days were much better. There were other issues at hand. Finishing requirements, passing grades, surviving exams. Worries about tuition fees, allowances, other expenses added up to the complexity of interactions with other students and friends who are battling their own hang-ups in life. Enter the corporate world and it’s the same. Get the hang of working with different personalities. Do your best while trying to dislodge the tentacles of those who want to pull you down. Now you worry about career growth, taking care of your parents, assuring your future, etc.

But something else has changed. The way problems are being handled. Much younger, shoulders were weighed down by the world. Brooded over life. It was not a happy childhood in the truest sense of the world. A bit older, life was still sad. College days were better when to the fold one has returned.

And now, most of the time, freedom is more present. Learned to be more and more flexible. For it is true, problems come, problems go. There are good days and there are bad days. These cannot be controlled but reactions to them can be. Learned to accept that these things happen. To test. To strengthen. To prepare for the next chapter.

Still, wishes remain that there won’t be any when turning another corner.

Lion Chaser Manifesto

Quit living as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death. Set God-sized goals. Pursue God-ordained passions. Go after a dream that is destined to fail without divine intervention. Keep asking questions. Keep making mistakes. Keep seeking God. Stop pointing out problems and become part of the solution. Stop repeating the past and start creating the future. Stop playing it safe and start taking risks. Expand your horizons. Accumulate experiences. Enjoy the journey. Find every excuse you can to celebrate everything you can. Live like today is the first day and last day of your life. Don't let what's wrong with you keep you from worshiping what's right with God. Burn sinful bridges. Blaze new trails. Criticize by creating. Worry less about what people think and more about what God thinks. Don't try to be who you're not. Be yourself. Laugh at yourself. Quit holding out. Quit holding back. Quit running away.

Chase the lion.

In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day by Mark Batterson (