Monday, December 03, 2007

Sen. Antonio Trillanes- Fallen Hero

My "Hero"

December 30 was supposed to be just another ordinary day for me. However, the moment I went out of the room to eat my breakfast, I knew that something odd was going on.

My six-year-old niece was glued to the tube not in the usual Cartoon Network but to the ABS-CBN's live coverage of apparently a stand-off in Makati of then Navy Lieutenant and now Sen. Antonio Trillanes.

She asked me innocently who's Trillanes which made me think, Trillanes is doing it again. I mean, I could start a very long bravado of the "nation's hero", but then I don't think the six-year-old perspective of my niece would appreciate it.

What about, "Oh, you see kiddo, once upon a time the country was in distress. The government was not making much effort to alleviate the lives of soldiers and here comes the country's hero...Antonio Trillanes IV to the rescue." Uhm, I guess not that good enough...

Well, why not? Trillanes has that hero guise complete with manly image. Strong physique, attractive face and an intelligent standpoint, right?

But all hell broke loose when finally, it dawned to me what the "hero" was evidently doing. Shredding the "country-in-distress" into small pieces and feeding it to vulnerable state. Such a hero!

Later on as the stand off progresses, the more I grew agitated with the development. To put it frankly, I was fuming in rage with the country's supposedly "hero". How could he?

Watching soldiers surrounding the posh hotel in the heart of financial district in the Philippines made me doubt what the "hero" was fighting all about. When I heard gun fires from armored personnel carriers, I heard myself saying, "This is it. The ‘hero’ was about to be crushed."

To put it candidly, I wasn't really much bothered by the armed soldiers surrounding the classy Manila Pen but it was such an effort not to strangle my other 14-year-old niece shouting maddeningly to rebels because she couldn't watch PBB Uber in the nation's giant network.

You see, almost all regular programs were cut-off to give way to the national emergency. My niece was so infuriated that she was ready to choke the rebels with her bare hands. We tried to switch channels but regrettably the Philippines was such in a sorry mess that CNN and BBC deemed it necessary to air live.

On the upbeat side, my heart was swelling with pride watching a Filipino journalist, Ces Drilon of ABS-CBN, made it to the international network live covered in a hazy room. They were protected from tear gas with a wet towel.

How did the country's "hero" ended up in chaos? He repeated many times the 11, 000, 000 votes he got from the Filipinos but then that's a different story, right?

With due respect to the "country's hero" I was once his followers. I admire his idealism and concern to the soldiers. But, marching off the heart of the country's financial district guarded with armed soldiers and penetrating an innocent hotel-affecting the lives of thousands- made me think twice.

After seven hours, the crisis was finally over- not after more than a hundred personalities including media men were arrested and curfew was declared. Again, affecting more people because of the so called "constitutional mandate."

It was such a pity watching the "hero" being arrested with the sleeve of his jacket slipping off his shoulders and loaded into the bus. Where did the idealism go wrong?

Meanwhile, my six-year-old and 14-year-old nieces were then found up roaring with joy not because the national emergency was finally over but because they could finally watch again their favorite shows interrupted by the "fallen hero".

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Saturday, December 01, 2007

Remembering Faded Memories

The other day while watching my nieces have their hair treatment at David's salon, I busied myself mulling over the series of events that catapulted me into my current role- that of a doting aunt.

Without much regrets really. After all, I enjoy being with two pretty girls though at times they could be a real toughie in the head.

Sometimes it made me wonder though what happened to my five- year teaching stint. Was it for real?

Don't get me wrong. I haven't forgotten for a single second. There were too many precious memories to think of. However, with so many things that happened in barely seven months, it sorts of clouded my mind.

Sometimes I do find myself drowned in tears begging paled memoir not to leave. I tried to hold on tight but my grasp seemed not taut enough. You see, life's journey led me to a completely different path.

I once had a simple life or would it be apt to say a complex but uncomplicated life? My day usually starts at 5 am then before going to school I would drop off San Francisco church to say a short prayer. That was every morning and I never missed a day without doing it.

I would then have my regular classes and break times are usually spent in front of the computer in my office. My "real" break was only during lunch where I got to eat in the school canteen with my friends. Time in school usually ends at 6-6:30 p.m.

Sleeping time varied depending on the deadlines I'm trying to beat. At times, I would drift off to sleep at 10 pm but most of the times around 1-2 a.m. Social life was only the regular parties in the school.

Now, I find myself in entirely unusual situation. My day starts at 10-11 a.m. (depends what time the medicines would wear off) and ends as early as 9 p.m. The description of my work includes simple tutoring and attending school functions of my two nieces. Pretty challenging, right?

Oh, well it doesn't end there. You see, I mastered also how to reduce children's fever and memorized more or less medicines for kids.

The beauty of it all I guess is that finally I've been doing my first love- that is writing. I shoved it off for quite a long time because I was so career-driven. I do love teaching but my first love is really writing. Now, I could say I am more purpose-driven.

When I came face to face with a life-changing event in my life, I also found myself amidst swirling questions which led me to astounding realizations that there's one part of my life that I haven't satisfied yet-and that is fulfilling my real love in writing.

Notwithstanding my current complicated life because of going back and forth to the hospital, I am thankful for the opportunity to finally do what I should have done for such a long time now. Without the tedious pressure that haunted me everyday of my life, I'm finally chasing my ultimate dream.

I'm not really crazy to think that I'll be in the big time but I guess just to do something about my dream is more than enough now.

On the other hand, I do miss teaching. Every moment that I spent there was full of bittersweet memories. There was this occasional losing myself fuming in anger but then there was also moment where I found myself swelling with pride and love to innocent little beings.

My life now is quite far fetched than what it was before. But even if the memories of yesterdays have started to be vague, I continue to chase it. The faded memories lit up that tiny hope in my heart and flared up by the unconditional love of those whom I left behind.

The tears and laughter would remain in my heart albeit of faded won't end up wilted rose.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Adulthood Taught Me Magic Does Not Exist

When I was a kid, I was a great believer of magic. I believed too much that if you tell me things would vanish in thin air, I would be quivering in fear. I looked up to everything around me as MAGIC.

Until third grade, I would cross the bridge going to the house of my grandparents crawling. I was dreading the time that "magic" would appear and swallow my whole body. The bridge was not really so high. But then, when you were young, you think that everybody's too tall or everything's too deep.

I have no map that would steer me all the way. No "magic" to help my voyage easier. Nobody to point which path is right, but I won't put myself in a bitter strife, my journey continues...against all odds.

Magic also made my childhood easier. I fought my adversaries thinking that magic would do the fighting for me. I would imagine that because of magic, my opponents would go home inflicted with misery and I need not to commit sin by fighting them back.

Getting sick was also easier. My mind was already conditioned that "magic" would do the healing and I would not suffer for long. Family problems? Oh, I have given them up to "magic" for fixing, it made my life easier.

The lush meadows, the splendid blue skies, the marvel of the butterfly coming out from its cocoon, the multihued rainbow...they made my tiny heart ached for more wonders of the world. "Magic" imprinted in my soul the anticipation of my future where "bigger magic" dwells.

Many years later, my conviction was slowly tainted as I sailed through hard life. I was not really sure how it happened but I just woke up one day devoid of the "magic" feeling.

I guess that's the hardest part of growing up. All the innocence slowly ebbed away as tribulations hit me over and over again.

Life's hindrances shred me with the fervor to trust "magic". I no longer crossed the bridge with trepidation or look at an illness as ephemeral. Problems cast dark clouds making me gloomy the whole day. Foes created permanent hole in my heart.

Things around me suddenly lacked wonder and they were just simply part of everyday living. It was not what I envisioned it to be where splendor of magic was abundant.

Life is simply a puzzle I work out each day. Sad as it may be, there is no such thing as "magic".

Each day I face is simply a stepping stone of a continuous learning process. There is naught to fear in the journey ahead but deep down in my heart, a part continuously hope that I just remained a child forever.

However, returning could be done by memory alone. I could only track the road only once. If I see the end of path ahead, it doesn't mean that I could stop. It was just there to help me rest for a while. There is no "magic" that would help me to detour.

I have no map that would steer me all the way. No "magic" to help my voyage easier. Nobody to point which path is right, but I would not put myself in a bitter strife, my journey continues...against all odds.

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Fighting a Dismal Heart

The house is filled with deafening sound. My head is throbbing with the long hours in front of computer editing and encoding for the book I'm currently writing. More so to bury myself in the world of nothingness while doing something worthwhile.

Just a few hours ago, I've been out to do some stuffs. It was a nice feeling to walk in colorful streets adorned with Christmas ornaments. My heart swell with Christmas spirit.

Christmas has that distinctive effect that makes your heart overflow with longing to things you have no power to control. It evokes wistful feeling that usually put you at the end feeling dismal.

Inside the prison of myself, I see a different me. Maybe it was the turbulent of emotions that flooded over my soul, but for whatever reason, I feel like I need respite again from this tumultuous stage.

Have I lost then, the ability to enjoy the nostalgia and homeliness of traditional Christmas?

I don't know. I could count again and again my blessings. I could make a long list of people who love me. But, there is that void in the quiet corner of my heart which a simple "Merry Christmas" can't mend.

My hope did not falter, don't get me wrong. But, sometimes life necessitate candor in order to unravel the seam of optimism and misfortune.

The tearful grimace of my dismal heart perseveres its slow pace. However, there is that bigger part where faith and gratitude reside.

In His right time, I could overpower this thing where I'll emerge victor. 

Monday, November 26, 2007

Life, Death, and Entangled Emotions

I was so disheartened by the message about the death of a friend's mom. I could almost taste again the stab of pain when almost six years ago, I also lost my father.

Death is a hideous enemy. Nothing could fill the void in one's heart brought by the death of loved ones. Years after still feels like yesterday. More so when you knew that he/she suffered excruciating pain brought by illness like cancer.

The paradoxical complexities of life are hard to grasp at times. Conversely, it was barely six months ago when I too, was also diagnosed with the Big C. I vividly remember that moment when in desperation I just crossed my hands and wallowed in self-pity.

I was bereft with emotions especially when asked, "What else I haven't done yet?", then I found myself amidst churning emotions and then...nothing...just emptiness knowing that I have served my purpose already.

Consequently, some welcome death as relief from agony. The gust of wind that touched one's face was sort of an assertion that somewhere out there our loved ones continue to live in a different realm...

Death is neither a grief nor a celebration. Life begins in pain and accordingly it must also end the same way.

However, life's pain is evanescent. Each of us must have that moment where everything will be left behind. It's like a dance where at the final moment we knew the steps by heart lest we will be trounced by woe.

Then, we let ourselves be engulfed by the melody of music...

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