Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Day 8: Now it begins

Yes, the pointing of fingers already started. Whose fault it is. Who was amiss in their duties.

And I can't blame them.

There were many who were incompetent in their jobs. There are a lot who diverted funds. But sometimes, it gets tiring to hear the enumeration of faults. And it gets tiring to hear them always blaming the government and specific officials.

I sometimes wonder though. Why do we always blame those in position considering that the sickness in our country has started so many years, even decades, ago? No one, it seemed, would be able to do the right thing.

But I do understand, the government should be doing its job. But how? With limited budget, with corrupt officials, with bureaucratic slowness pervading the system? Just how do we rise from where we are right now?

In a world that is becoming worse each day, with the knowledge that it would get more difficult in years to come, it is not easy to hope that our country would ever change for the better. But still I hope. That one day there won't be any finger-pointing. Only because everyone did what they are supposed to do. That those in position are truly serving the people. That individuals have embodied that consciousness that we serve ourselves best when we serve the better good.

Am I wrong to hope?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Day 7: After the flood

As the water receded (albeit slowly for some places), I got more news about the situation of my friends and their families. The stories were hard to hear. The houses were submerged, people stayed on the 2nd, 3rd floors, and roofs of their houses. Many went without food and water for 12 to 24 hours. And when the rains stopped and the flood waters went down, what was left were mud-and dirt-filled houses. Appliances, clothes, furniture, books, electronics, documents, in other words, everything, damaged or destroyed.

We are now trying to raise funds and gather material donations to help those who are need. Right now, we could only focus on those we know personally. We know that there are others who are worse off… some completely lost their houses while others perished in the waters. Those people we know are just thankful that they and their families survived.

The admirable thing about us Filipinos is how we could come together when faced with tragedy. We rise to the occasion and do the best we can do to help those who are in need. I just wish we could always be like this, even when there is no tragedy.

I hope there won’t be any more rains for the next few days. Lord, please give us some respite. Blow away the coming storms. We need time to rebuild lives.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Day 6: Excuses

Yeah, my blogging is not and won't be consistent. And most of the time, it is beyond my control. Either there is no internet connection, no electricity, or the system is down.

The rains which fell since Friday have brought so much damage. According to the news, it is more than the volume of a normal month's rain. I was not too much affected. Just power outage for more than 12 hours and a constant dripping of water inside my room. Unlike so many others, I later found out. Many slept on their roofs. Hundreds or even thousands got stranded. Some braved the flood and walked through chest-high waters to reach their houses. A lot went without food for so many hours.

I am thus thankful to God for keeping us safe. I am praying for those who are suffering that they would find help.

May the rain cease for the next few days.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Day 5: Plodding

A week to go before I need to submit the final paper for this subject. Which means that I won't get enough sleep or rest. I wish I could be like others who work way way ahead on requirements. But I am one of those who could only create something when the deadline is near. Well, I have to admit that I did read and made some research already. But for me to coherently connect my thoughts, I need to feel the pressure.

So here goes for the coming week!

I wonder if I would be able to write here in my blog for the next 7 days!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Day 4: Open your hands

I learned the news and made me think

Was the decision correct?

The right hand was opened to let it go

For in the other hand was kept

Something thought more important

But then, what was within the left hand

Struggled out and it too flew

Nothing now within the two hands

Should despair be the result?

Yes, but it should only be for a minute or two

For in fact, the hands should have remained open

Never keep something back

Allow God to be the one to move
He would place inside what is meant

To remain within forever.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Day 3: Thankful

I feel so weak. I thought it was because of hunger. But I realize it was not. It came from stress.

After some fellowship over dinner, my friends and I came out of the restaurant and braved crossing a street slightly flooded with water. It has been raining since we started eating. Off to the parking lot to get Mr. C's car. When I saw the terrible traffic in EDSA (main highway in Manila), I felt the stress coming.

I live a little farther than Mr. C's beloved but he is (they are) kind enough to bring me home when we finish late. I super appreciate their kindness. And I didn't want to stretch too much their patience and big hearts. So when I saw the traffic, the stress started. Oh no! It's going to take too much of their time, gas, and energy. I was tempted to ask them to just drop me off and I would brave taking the bus. But I know they wouldn't let me (or maybe the would? So that's why I won't dare?:)). And the rain was getting stronger.

So all I could say was sorry and super thanks. But I was stressed. I didn't want to cause too much trouble. :(

But they are kind friends.

Thanks friends. I really appreciate it.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Day 2: Goodbye

I’ve been trying to hold it off. I was quite busy so I often find ways to make excuses but I knew I needed to do the necessary. So Friday afternoon found me surveying the inside of my closet, executing judgment on my clothes. Which ones should go? Admittedly, I already weeded out the ones that were easy to let go. But to some more I must say good-bye. I didn’t think it would be so hard. But it was. I’ve gotten used to them, comfortable to wear, still presentable, yet I feel that their time with me is over.

So goodbye dear pants and blouses. I will miss you but for sure your new master will appreciate you.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Day 1: True King

There were no stars in the night sky. The wind blew strongly almost constantly. Ill weather foreboded. It did not rain from the beginning up to the end. Because it was claimed through the most powerful name in this world. Only the tears from the balladeer’s eyes fell on that rainless night.

To many people who watched, it was a very special concert for it showcased two of our country’s very talented singers / performers. I believe though that for Mr. Pure Energy, it was more than that. It was the night that God spoke to the soul of the Concert King.

As he sang a song he did not pen, the Spirit touched him so that the words would come from his soul.

Because You have forgiven me

Too many times it seems

I feel I am not what you might call

A worthy Christian after all

Though I love you so temptation finds its way to me

Teach me to trust in you with all of my heart

To lean not on my own understanding

I just forget, you won’t give me what I can’t bear

Take me out of the dark my Lord,

I don’t want to be there alone

May he truly bow to the true King.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Prologue: 30 Windows into my journey

Friends have done it before me.
They have succeeded.
Do I dare take challenge?

Why not?
I might succeed.

Tomorrow is the beginning.
Peek into the window
See what I learn from the journey.
30 days of learning.
and blogging.

Here we go!

Thursday, September 17, 2009


I lie down and sleep; I will wake again, because the LORD sustains me. – Psalm 3:5

I haven’t been sleeping well.
Is it because of the cats running after each other on our roof?
The barking dogs on the streets?
Or my mind is still awake even when my body is asleep?

I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety. – Psalm 4:8

I think the dreams are still there. I have this feeling that my mind is awake throughout the night. At least, I no longer remember them.

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope - Psalm 130:5 (ESV)

But I am learning to be more at peace. Because I know that God is my peace and my hope.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Two necessaries

Questions and perceptions.

Why are you going back? I have to.
You would be inflicting pain on yourself. Probably.
If there's nothing anymore, then why the desire to go back? Because I just want to.


Nothing at all. I was right to go back.

The door is closing.

Why do that? I just want to.
What's your purpose? I am more at peace with doing that than the other option.
Just be prepared. I am.
There might be pain. I know what will happen.


As expected. As predicted. I was right.
But I am happier for doing just that.

Close the door. The show is over.

The ending.

Time to watch another movie.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

I am learning: Choosing to be fearless

I don’t always look forward to August, my birth month. At this time of the year, I can’t help it but take stock of the past twelve months. It is so easy to fall into the trap of asking: “What have I accomplished? What do I have to show for the 365 days that have just passed?” And often, the answers find me wanting.

In this world of material standards, I apparently fail. I have no properties or jewelries, no large savings and no career ladder to climb. For others who equate success with relationships, I do not have a husband or children to show for it yet.

I am quite certain that a lot of people share this description, either completely or partially. We are the norm in a country (or even in the world!) where less than 10% of the population hold the majority of wealth and resources. Add to this the never-ending circus of our politics, the worsening environmental situation, the slow recovery of the world from economic crises, the appearance of new strains of diseases and the uncontrollable increase of population. Who wouldn’t get depressed when faced by all these?

For a season, the mantle of gloom burdened my shoulders. Thoughts of doom and inadequacy festered in my mind. What is there to look forward to? Why are we living in such a crazy world? What is the meaning of our lives? Who cares if we are alive or not? Why strive so hard when tomorrow you would just wake up to the same life?

Of course, I knew the right answers to all these but sometimes fear can make one irrational.

God uses different means to break through bondages and struggles in different people. Unforgettable experiences. Awesome displays of nature. A tender image of a sleeping child. Among others, God used an unexpected gift to get through the grayness overshadowing my spirit.

When a package arrived in our home one day, I wondered what was inside. I totally forgot about my online registration for a book review not expecting (again!) that I would be a fortunate recipient. But God works in mysterious ways. He knew what I needed. He understands that the written word converses with my soul in the same way that music speaks to a dancer’s spirit.

I opened my package and found my prize – the latest book by Max Lucado.[i] As I read through it, I finally realized what had been gripping my heart all along. It was fear. Fear of not mattering. Fear of tomorrow. Fear of having disappointed God. Fear of not really knowing God.

Max Lucado said it well: “Fear creates a form of spiritual amnesia. It dulls our miracle memory. It makes us forget what Jesus has done and how good God is.”

As I pored over selected chapters of the book, the timeless promises of God came back to me.

* “For we are God’s masterpieces. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (Eph. 2:10NLT).
* “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here!”(Matt. 14:27 NLT)

I followed an advice given: “Be specific about your fear. Identify what “this cup” and talk to God about it.” Directed back to God, my thoughts remembered and my spirit transformed.

* “Stay awake and pray for strength.”” (Matt. 26:41 NCV)
* “The fear of the Lord leads to life, and he who has it will abide in satisfaction; He will not be visited with evil.” (Prov. 19:23)

I am still on a journey of conquering my fears. But I have become more positive, more hopeful, more trusting. I need not worry about anything as long as I stay within God’s will.

I am challenged to be courageous again. I am choosing to be fearless within the will of God.

[i] FEARLESS: Imagine your life without fear by Max LUCADO. Visit

Toe Dare II

Let's up the ante.

Crumple a fresh new bond paper.
With your foot.
Just one foot.

Do this 3 times.

Don't forget.
Put some baby powder
On each bond paper.

How are you doing so far?

Observe your hands.
Are they clawing into the air?
Yup, they are helping your toes.
Close your hands.

For assurance.
Only the toes should get tired.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Must watch : Kimmy Dora

Kimmy Dora (Ang Kambal sa Kiyeme)

“I am just a girl, floating in front of a guy, asking him to love her.” Seems like a lame line considering that it was originally from the Notting Hill movie but not when it is delivered by Eugene Domingo. I don’t think I would ever forget this line. Or the movie-long laughter I had as I watched the movie featuring the main character’s awesome talent. Everyone would probably say that I have been living under a stone, but yeah, I was. I might be the only Filipino in Metro Manila who doesn’t know her. My defense? I haven’t watched TV for the last two years.

Who is she? Why is her name a guy’s name? Such inane questions because it doesn’t matter. I truly had fun. And the hundreds of moviegoers with me last Saturday. Everyone laughed.

So what did I like about it? The humor was just right.

And you get a great deal. Imagine, double the talent of Eugene Domingo! You get her as the “abrasive” but competent Kimmy and her twin, the “simple” yet tender-hearted Dora. I am no expert in Filipino comedy movies but the punch lines were delivered just right. Though it was not a GP movie, it seemed like nothing in it could be described as too distasteful. It was just right. Of course, there were irrational scenes, bordering on the fantastic but I think they were made to make a point about the level of emotion of an actor.

My friend rightfully pointed out that there were certain actions that were not consistent with the original personality of a character but she also said that we have to remember that this is a comedy movie. And I completely agree. I think it meant to show the talent of Eugene and in this, it was successful. To be able to shift from one character to the other is truly amazing. Just disregard the unnecessary.

There were a lot of surprises for me in the movie. Appearances of certain actors and actresses. True, there were formula jokes but one feels a sense of unpredictability with regards to the words and actions of Kimmy and Dora. And I liked that the ending focused on the relationship of the sisters.

So please watch the movie. To support the local industry. To laugh. Or both. Or learn from the unique fashion sense of Kimmy and Dora.

Toe dare

Crumple a fresh new bond paper.
With your foot.
Just one foot.

Let's see if you can do it.

Under 5 minutes.

Side effects:
Less veins for your foot.
Better glutes.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Singapore again

It was a bit unsettling to wake up early yet see a very bright Sunday morning. I later learned that Singapore was supposed to be an hour ahead of us but the country decided to follow our time zone for business reasons: Hong Kong. Anyway, we dawdled a bit on this day because our next schedule was still 11am. For breakfast, we enjoyed the sweet breads we bought. I especially like the raisin bread. Then off to Trinity Christian Centre where we had an opportunity to worship God together with a predominantly Singaporean congregation. We met a few of my friend’s friends. They were very warm and friendly.

For lunch, the four of us headed to Lau Phat Sat, another hawckers’ food centre located at the center of the business district. I manned our chosen table while my gracious hosts bought what would be my birthday lunch. We had different kinds of satay (meat on skewers), oyster omelette, kangkong, spicy manta ray, some other dishes I forgot and the refreshing drinks (sugarcane?). I definitely ate a lot. And here once again, we laughingly noted the efficiency of the busboys. Several times, the guy assigned to our table attempted to “take” a plate even though we were not done eating yet. When we were done, we obligingly signaled to him that it was now okay to clean up our table. Hmmm… we thought that maybe they have a quota on the number of plates they have to bring in.

A taxi ride brought us to a Hindu temple. We just peeked inside to see what the people were doing. Those who enter must be barefooted. We then headed to the Buddhist temple which was well-maintained and there were more people inside. A ritual was being held inside. After a few pictures from the outside, we directed our attention to the wares being sold at the stalls outside. My friend happily bought some key chains while I bizarrely purchased a Philippine flag pin. We walked through the street of stalls under the heat of the sun. Near the end, we found our companions seated and happily sipping from Thai coconuts. We joined them and enjoyed the different yet tasty juice and meat of Thai coconuts. We ended our walk by buying a small pack of dried sweet plums.

I was now knowledgeable on how to return my used MRT cards and to buy new ones. Armed with the instructions of my Singapore-residing friends, Shawie and I bravely took our first metro ride without our unofficial guide. In a way, it was our first adventure alone. At the station where we were to take the bus to the Night Safari, I lost Shawie for a few minutes. Good thing we found each other again. And gratefully, we found the right bus to take.

The bus ride was long. I was able to nod off for a few minutes (Yeah, I was still tired and lacking sleep). I was so sleepy that I bumped my head against the glass window! That really woke me up! Our limited time in Singapore would only allow us to visit one tourist park and we chose the Night Safari. But the entrance to the Zoo Safari was just a stone-throw away so we roamed at the entrance for a few minutes and took each other’s pictures.

The fee (entrance + tram) was quite expensive (around P1000) but it was either that or choose the less expensive ticket and just take a walk around the Safari area. We chose to get the former to truly enjoy what we wanted to see. It is not everyday that we could go to Singapore for a night Safari. So why the name Night Safari? Because it opens at 7:30pm and ends at midnight? Well, yes, but a better explanation is that it is meant to showcase 100 species of nocturnal animals in their natural habitats.

We were again fortunate to talk to a Filipino working in the zoo. He gave us an itinerary to maximize our time and still catch our bus and metro rides. Complete the tram ride, watch the Creatures of the Night Show, try to catch the Fire show and finally take the different walking trails. So we did what he suggested.

The tram ride provided us with a general view of what the zoo has to offer. It was amazing how the management arranged for the place to be safe while letting the animals appear to be in their natural habitat. It was possible to imagine that they could just walk up to you. Thank God for ravines, fences, and wall-length glass dividers. The Creatures of the Night Show was really fun. The hostess was very good (though her voice was a bit too shrill for my ears). The performing animals were very impressive as they followed the instructions of the trainers (and ate the food being given them!). The audience volunteers were happy to play with the various animals which included a python! Because the Fire show already started and we had limited time on our hands, we opted to spend our time on the walking trails. Completing the walkways together with the Leopard Trail, Fishing Cat Trail and Forest Giants Trail was quite challenging. But it was all worth it. Seeing the animals first-hand and from such a short-distance was unforgettable. And of course, my favorites were the paths with lions, tigers and leopards.

On our return home, the few voices echoed loudly inside the near empty train. Our bus ride was again uneventful except for the moment when it was quite hard to find the exact change to pay our fare. And also when we were not sure on which bus stop we were supposed to get off. Thank God we arrived safe and sound to our temporary home.

Our return home:

We rose up early. It was a working day for Christine. I and Shawie must make our way to Changi Airport for our return trip. Time flew so fast. We were once again traversing the tree-lined and very wide roads but now on our way to the airport. My former colleague met us at the airport and fed us a filling Mcdo breakfast. She even surprised me with a birthday gift. On the plane, we had noodles and water for lunch.

It was my birthday and I really didn’t know what to feel. Time stood by and new memories were created in my mind. Time to go back home. Back to reality.

First day in Singapore

A promotion from a budget airline a few months ago and the presence of a close friend in that part of the world helped seal a spur of the moment decision to take a very short vacation for my birthday. I felt that I would need a necessary break from everything when this time of the year arrived. So Friday midnight found me and ate Shawie (she also celebrated her birthday, a few days before mine) at the immigration of Changi Airport in Singapore.

A very busy schedule in the past few weeks (or months?) prevented me from making my usual habit of checking out the interesting places to see in a particular country. In short, I left my fate to my dear friend Christine. Graciously she provided me with an itinerary. Her long stay in Singapore and her travel experiences with her many visitors (friends and family, and their family and friends! The eternal extended Filipino family! ) could almost make her earn some extra income for being an unofficial official tourist guide.

I was happy to discover Singapore. Ate Shawie and I appreciated the wide and tree-lined roads that led us to our temporary abode. To begin our first full-day, we were led by a dear friend, Christine, to enjoy the Southern Ridges and were treated to an amazing walk on Henderson Waves, Singapore’s highest pedestrian wooden-decked bridge. Under one of its numerous waves, we had our tasty and spicy breakfast. The early morning walk ended up a hilltop destination, Jewel Box, where we took a cable car ride straight to Sentosa. All this time, when people talk about Sentosa, I thought it was a shopping area (I found out later on that it was the Orchard instead!). With our limited time, we quickly roamed around, saw and had our pictures taken with Merlion (a little version), took a bus ride and then a tram to and from Siloso beach (but walked a bit on Tanjong and Palawan beaches). A side comment… we still have (much much much) better beaches.

We next went to Vivo City Mall to meet my former colleague Jen and her husband. Our lunch inside at the Food Republic was delicious (more so because it was free!). It was paradise to those who love hawker’s food but afraid of possible germs and bacteria. We ate gado gado, sop buntot, chicken rice, some dumplings, etc. We burned off those calories as we walked along Orchard. Of course, I just had to try the Singaporean version of street ice cream: the size of two matchboxes and sandwiched between two sweet wafers. Surprisingly, it did not melt. We roamed around inside a few shopping malls, such as the iOn Mall and successfully conquered our impulse to buy a shirt from an expensive Spanish brand. Then off to Marina Square Food Loft to have an early dinner. We wanted to eat at the veranda to enjoy the aerial show (???) or rehearsal for Singapore Day (August 9) but all the tables were filled up.

We went inside the Asian Civilization Museum primarily for the air conditioning and to refresh ourselves. We were also fortunate to buy a souvenir shirt on sale. Then off to Kallang Indoor Stadium to attend a Praise and Worship Celebration. We found ourselves being led to stadium seats that were very near the stage. American singer Bob Fitts, his wife and then an Indonesian P&W team led the singing. Someone spoke, another led the prayer,and then there was some singing again. There were a few moments that I almost fell asleep (because we didn’t get enough rest the night before and we have been walking all day long).

We left the stadium before the event ended so as to avoid the rush of people taking the public transportation. For a few minutes though, we really didn’t know which direction to take and where to find the public transportation. Finally, we discovered a free bus ride to the nearest metro train. We made a short stop at a bakery to buy some bread for breakfast. Then we were back to our temporary home, sweet home where we had a very restful sleep for the night.

Surviving Globe

I think I can survive without internet.... but not when I have papers to write and parents to call (via skype).

And last a few days without a phoneline... but not when we need to call for the delivery of cooking gas and rice.

Or remain alive without roaming... but not when it's your birthday and people are greeting. How do I thank those who sent messages when their P1 peso but heartfelt greeting just dissolved into thin air?

I was not a very happy customer these past few weeks. I couldn't blog, couldn't post pictures, check emails and do research for my paper. I missed two monday calls to my parents.

But I am glad to have back my dial tone and DSL connection (two hours and counting!).

I hope I won't need to call another customer service person in the next few years!

Jimmy shirt

Got lost in Pasay

Just for boots.

Sweaty and wind-blown hair.

Measurements and phone numbers

Contact once done.

Message on the way home.

One in camouflage


Sorry took the number.

Of course no reply.

It was the blouse.

Baptize it from now on

Jimmy blouse.

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 (