Monday, February 18, 2008

The Weather and Politics

The wind was howling the whole day as if there’s a typhoon brewing. There’s not much difference really with the current situation in the political arena of the country. A storm is looming that could either damage or totally wrecked the Arroyo administration.

For the past few days, the news has been dominated with the controversy of the ZTE Broadband deal. Left and right allegations were made by star witness Jun Lozada after his supposedly abduction from the airport.

The scenario now was similar before former President Estrada was finally ousted from the office several years ago. I was still in college back then when protests from all walks of life were organized including that of Religious sectors. It was a havoc that rooted from corruption and greed.

The ZTE Broadband deal has created such a chaos which I’m sure even the president herself did not foresee.

It was months ago when an expose’ was made in the newspaper of the allegedly over priced national broadband deal. Big names of politicians and government officials got messed up including that of the first couple.

Kickbacks, bribery and cover-ups tainted names and even forced Comelec Chairman Benjamin Abalos to resign and the closest ally of the president, Cong. Jose De Venecia to withdraw his support from the government. His son, Joey De Venecia told the public that the first gentleman threatened him to “back off” from the deal.

It quieted down for a moment but got fueled up again when Jun Lozada emerged after being silent for such a long time shedding some light about the mystery surrounding the said multi-million-dollar deal.

It’s a sobering discovery that Juan Dela Cruz’ hard-earned money will end up paying international debts because of over- priced deals like this. Where is our country heading again?

With mass actions out there in the streets shouting for truth and accountability, what future awaits us?

Investigations are going on in the Senate and Ombudsman and soon DOJ will also launch their own inquiry. But, until when are we going to be besieged with this hullabaloo?

I admire Jun Lozada’s courage to speak of the truth even if it means putting the name of his close friend, Sec. Neri, in trouble. According to him, Neri called the president “evil”. Neri did not deny nor confirm this statement during the press con called by MalacaƱang palace.

Lozada’s sincerity was questioned by some because as they say it seems so theatrical. From the melodramatic entrance in the arena with the aid of brothers and nuns from La Salle and the endless burst of crying for the whole country to see seemed like so unprecedented.

Just something to ponder, how can he afford being a member of the golf club which according to the media the playing rights alone costs 325, 000 already?

Are we going to have the Edsa Power again for the umpteenth times? Is Jun Lozada a real hero or just a pawn of the political war of those in power?

I wish him good luck and may he find the strength to continue this fight. After all, this is not his sole battle but of the whole country seeking for truth and accountability.

A message to all government officials guilty of corruption, moderate your greed. 

Sunday, February 17, 2008

How My Friend Let Go

Goodbye is synonymous to grief. Uttering this word means opening one’s heart to gut-wrenching pain and fountain of tears.

It’s a bit disheartening whenever I hear sad stories of love that did not end in happily ever after. More so when it happens to people close to your heart just like what a friend experienced today…

She has been in a relationship for so many times that I couldn’t remember anymore the names of her boyfriend. The old maxim, “Collect and collect and later on select”, must be her guiding philosophy in life.

Surprisingly, the moment she told me about her latest beau, I knew that she was truly madly deeply in love with him. She said that they were perfect for each other and everything that she wanted in a man was already with him.

However, temptations are tough to fight at times. She went on with her old ways and continued looking for somebody better than him.

Sometimes, in our desperate attempt to look for a perfect someone, we tend to neglect the fact that nobody’s really perfect only the love that binds two souls.

It was too late already when my friend realized this. She lost a grip with her beau’s heart the moment he found out that she wasn’t faithful with him.

What could be more painful than knowing you lost gold because you were too busy collecting stones?

Love is as pure as gold itself. It’s only untainted intention which can enlighten one’s heart about this.

I’m not an expert in love nor in a relationship but I only know one thing, falling in love is like opening your heart to pain and disappointments. But, it’s better to be hurt knowing you gave everything in a relationship than to end up realizing you were the reason why a perfect love was ruined.

Love is a wonderful feeling. It’s like a beautiful song that embraces two souls and touches the deepest core of entwined hearts.

My friend ended up this time the one who’s miserable. I feel sad that her almost perfect relationship to a wonderful man was destroyed with shallow reasons like this.

After all, love is supposed to have endings like those in fairy tale stories- happily ever after.

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Saturday, February 16, 2008

Continuously Surviving the Storm of My Life

It has been a windy day and though windows were tightly closed cold still seeped through my body. I then seek warmth from the thick comforter on the bed in the cozy room while reading a book.

Later on, my mobile phone beside me caught my attention. It has been quite a while since I checked on it so I decided to delete some messages. What I read in the folders and archives pinched my heart with evocative memories.

I was overwhelmed with messages from people close to my heart since the very day my affliction started because of my illness. They were words of motivation, wisdom and love.

There were moments in my life that I was plagued with thoughts that I was alone in my malady. I was very wrong. Reading those messages made me realized that I have never fought my battle alone.

Family and friends wept and prayed for me. They flooded me with comfort in ways they could. What did I do to deserve overflowing love from them?

Most of the messages still dated back about nine months ago. I was amazed with the transformation- from grief when I first found out I was sick, prayers and encouragement when I was in the hospital, inspiration while I was recuperating, joy as slowly I have surpassed the trials and jubilance as my heart found the answer to all my sufferings.

Soon, I would face another facet of my life…

It has been a long journey but I know that the end is not yet in sight. After all, life is an endless channel of wonderful discoveries, trials and tribulations.

However, before I continue my trek towards the future I would like to remember some of the people who had been special part in my travel especially those who steered me with loving hands while I was in the dark tunnel.

Perhaps, the person who inspired me the most aside from my family was Teacher Charie. She was like a sister who never failed to make me feel better after I finished my laboratory tests.

She would send me long messages explaining that there’s a purpose for everything. She did not hesitate to be with me during the time I was admitted in the hospital for my operation, held my hand and wiped my tears after enduring painful injections and examinations.

She told me that she would be willing to endure the difficulty on my behalf if only it were possible. She and her daughter Pao told me with strong conviction that soon they would see me back in Naga healthy and free from infirmity.

Teacher Alpe, touched me in unimaginable ways. It was with her that I would send long emails explaining in details how my spirit was being torn apart and my hope was collapsing. She wept bitter tears and told me many times to hold on.

Since the day I left school, she never failed to send me messages urging me to be brave and continue fighting. She would update me of school activities to make me feel that I will always be part of the NPS family.

My best friend, Tintin, called me many times saying over and over again, “Kaya mo yan, ika pa”. It was her daughter’s singing voice which cheered me while I was alone outside of the house crying on the night of my birthday that I was told I might die in the OR.

My coordinator, Teacher Tess, assured me that they were storming heaven with prayers for my recovery. It was her message that brought tears to my eyes a day after my surgery telling me she just offered the Sunday mass for me.

Joy, Rica, Shiela, Joanne, Aiz, Jazz, Dolly, Bem, Jannie, Jean, Jinky, Ning, Jun, Jay, Eds, Trece, Mam Fati, Teacher Susan, Teacher Nancy, Teacher Agnes, Teacher Hazel, Teacher Ignas, Nangnang, Sir Mars, Teacher Ditas and the rest of my co teachers and former pupils (specially Krysostom, Marc and Thomas) who all sent me words of comfort, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I have chosen to trail a different path this time but I know that there would always be a special corner in my heart that all of you will occupy. I am very thankful that I became part for many years of the NPS Family where I have experienced many changes.

From that shy young lady fresh from college, I have emerged into a confident woman ready to embark in another step of ladder of success. I know it won’t be easy…but the memories are enough to keep me going…

…away from my second home but memoirs are close to my heart…ad infinitum.

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Monday, February 11, 2008

Conspiracy in ZTE Deal

After several days of ignoring the latest controversy that shook the Filipinos, I finally decided to partake with the nerve- wracking and mind- blowing hullabaloos involving Jun Lozada and other bigwigs of the country by watching the Senate hearing aired live today.

It was a long day of debate and heart- rending moments when many times, Lozada was not able to control himself and ended up sobbing uncontrollably for the whole nation to witness.

Jun Lozada is considered as the most crucial witness in the contentious ZTE broadband deal. As Joey De Venecia put it, he can shed light in the mystery surrounding the over-priced 329 million dollar transaction which might place the administration in a hot seat and implicate the first gentleman.

In the course of Senate inquiry, Lozada was said to be sent abroad for government function. However, this created guttural reaction from media and opposition for the obvious reason that he or whoever will be affected with his testimony was just trying to avoid the inevitable.

Last February 5, Lozada arrived from Hongkong as ZTE flares anew and allegedly was abducted by mysterious men. It was his weeping wife and sister appealing to whoever was holding him that created turbulent response from different groups of the country.

How did he go out of the airport without the usual protocol such as passing immigrant officers? Why was he taken without the knowledge of his family? Who ordered those men to take custody of him? These and many more questions plagued the nation as the matter heated up.

It was crying Lozada surrounded by nuns who faced the media several days ago claiming he was taken against his will that added fuel to the anger of the whole nation. He was trembling and pointing accusations to big personalities in the government for detaining him and supposedly convincing him to tell the rest of the country he wasn’t abducted.

If Jun Lozada was to believe, bribery and kickbacks involved high officials in the scrapped National Broadband deal. As usual, if it was pushed through the debt will be paid using the money of pitiful Juan Dela Cruz.

While Jun Lozada was being interrogated, it was as if I was watching the game show, “1 vs. 100”. It was his words without evidence against generals and other high- government officials. I pity the man.

Some Senators made a plea to stop the inquiry because important jobs of the Senate are being affected like passing of some laws. In addition, stock market plunged down and peso weakened because of the threat for umpteenth times in the Arroyo administration.

It makes me wonder though, if ever Lozada is telling the truth how many people like that man I wrote in “The Story of Compassion” are dying while these high officials enjoy their multi- million kickbacks?

After watching the whole day of the Senate hearing, my sister ended up swearing those in government for thriving in power while enjoying the hard- earned money of ordinary people like her.

I tried to avoid watching television or reading news about this for many days for the simple reason that same controversies are just being repeated everyday. The names of those involved changed but the problems are the same- bribery and corruption.

However, I am a Filipino. Any connivance that would affect my country will also affect me. I’m glad their conspiracy screwed up this time. It lessens the debt I need to pay through my tax when I go back working.

Jun Lozada will be in my prayers tonight. May he be strong enough to see this through…Filipinos owe him big time.

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Friday, February 08, 2008

Quo Vadis, Young Princess?

Her face was alight with resilience. She carries herself with ease and confidence. The trace of smile on her face illumines faith, happiness, courage and vulnerability…

Shayne, our baby… our young princess…

It was 15 years ago when an angel was given to us. An angel who became the family’s source of joy and hope…

She made us laugh in spite of hard life and lit up our home for many years. An adorable baby many years ago and now a beautiful princess set to launch men’s thousand ships to woo her elusive heart.

Inside that confident demeanor however, I still see the tiny being sent by above on that fateful night of December 5, 1992. The one who gave color to our life and flourish our home with sanguinity.

She was the baby who celebrated her first birthday while a super typhoon was wreaking havoc to the whole country. It was that big grin on her bubbly face while we were about to evacuate in the mayhem that threatened our lives which I would always remember.

We were frantic trying to flee the big flood amidst the painful drops of rain on our skin whilst Shayne, dressed in red jumpsuit and wrapped in cover-all’s was busy dipping her feet in the flood.

She was the toddler who had the trademark in the whole town seated on the shoulders of my brothers with that ever ready smile radiating optimism and happiness as if broadcasting to everybody she owned the whole world.

She was the one who would surprise my father by jumping and hugging him at his back…the girl who would pose incessantly in front of the camera to amuse us with her good shots.

Our chin chin, the one who sings, who dances, and who blabbers incoherently just to entertain us. She amused many times my classmates and teachers and became the constant visitor of our high school classroom whenever her nanny was not around.

It was that tiny body attached with IV’s on her feet lying helplessly in the hospital bed which would always remind me of the first time I felt so sad.

After several years of joy, sadness and laughter, the baby is a young princess now. Her world revolves not anymore with playstation, dream cast, game boy, Lego, coloring books, pastel colors, flash cards, fairy tale books and dolls.

Though her interest with stuff toys remains she’s more concerned now with latest cell phones, IPOD, computer and latest fashion. Gone were the days we cuddled our Shayne when she felt lonely…or let her sleep on our stomach when she’s grouchy.

Last night was an affirmation that she’s no longer our baby. Our Shayne just experienced the world of grown ups with her first prom. The night of partying with her friends without worrying of the next day…wearing the most beautiful gown suited only for a princess.

She walked with grace and beauty…unsure of what the future would bring her but confident she won’t walk through it alone.

Her future offers limitless pathways but that she won’t embark alone.

Quo Vadis, young princess?

Fear naught. 

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