Saturday, March 08, 2008

Wonderful Women in my Circle

Had it not been for the award I received from a fellow blogger, I would've totally forgotten that it was the international celebration of Women's Day yesterday.

My heartfelt thanks to Zubli for the Wonderful Woman Blogger Award...

...and for choosing me to be included in this group of amazing women bloggers.

Yeah, it's a bit strange looking at the slide presentation in another site with your face on it...


Little Big Mistakes

Mistake…this is the most dreaded word of anybody in print publication.

Perhaps, one of the most difficult tasks I have handled was being the head moderator of the school paper publication. That position gave me countless stomach lurches, long- agonizing nights, and starving moments.

Why? I have learned one very important lesson…

I learned that no matter how closely you scrutinized, perused and rechecked words, sentences and paragraphs, errors would remain lurking somewhere…in the most unexpected places.

Days before publication, the sleepless nights, no appetite meals, and restless days are normal occurrences for me.

To lessen errors in printing, I generally lay-out the whole magazine and personally encode the articles. In addition, I would sit for long hours in the printing press looking thoroughly with everything in the magazine.

I try to forget the word errata. I know that there is no room for error…it’s simply not in my vocabulary. But, proofreading is not synonymous to “perfect reading”.

It is not a surprise really if one of my most hated scenarios is coming face to face with thousand newly printed magazines. It’s a good thing my office is a bit secluded so I can reread the magazine before distribution to the pupils.

One…two…as my eyes located the error I wanted to throttle myself and to shout for everybody to hear, “Why in the world I didn’t see it?”

My stomach would tighten, my heart would feel like it were about to burst with erratic breathing and I would wish dying right there and then. With closed eyes, I would bury my face to the bulk of thousand magazines in front of me.

While others excitedly indulged themselves to the shiny and colorful magazine and after I received congratulations, I would hide in the office fearfully anticipating the time that somebody would approached me about misspelled words and names or error in data…and I would then think of errata to calm my pounding heart.

If there is one thing I would really pray for was that I won’t hurt anybody with what was published in the magazine. The thought of causing pain to others was enough to punish me for days and give me that ever present knot in the stomach.

As I pray at night, every bead of the rosary was dedicated for every article in the magazine with an additional beg of mercy to all the saints I knew.

Most of the times, my fear had actually no basis. Those little errors popped out insignificant to the eyes of others. Nobody seemed to notice at all. But for me, those little mistakes were big enough to give me unutterable shame for not doing better.

The phrase, “If only…” would haunt me days after the distribution.

Most of the times, I would think of relinquishing my long agonizing days of encoding, layouting, editing and scrutinizing words by resigning from my position but quitting was not in my vocabulary either.

You see, life is like that. It is made of everyday imperfections. We commit mistakes, we hurt people, and we do nonsensical things.

At night, our actions would haunt us and we cringe in embarrassment. Unfortunately, we could not take back anymore the words we said, the actions we did and at times the things we wrote.

The positive side of the publication was that after printing, I could still do some repairs with errors as soon as I noticed it. I could forego my lunch and spent my whole break time pasting and covering the boo-boos.

In life, we could not cover up actions. However, we have the words, “I’m sorry” as our “erratum” enough to heal wounds and to mend broken hearts…

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

The Game of Life

Filipinos never failed to amaze me in their unswerving resolve of living in laughter despite of life’s difficulties. You see them in TV everyday; children in ragged clothes singing and dancing, old men and women shouting in joy, and a crowd of audience laughing so hard ostensibly oblivious to problems surrounding them.

A year ago, I had a chance of watching live Wowowee, a variety show that caters to help unfortunate people thru contests with big money at stake. If you want to see the stark reality of poverty in the Philippines, I guess this is the best place to be.

First of all, the show isn’t just your ordinary one where contestants play and win prizes. At the start, Willie Revillame, the host would sing and promote first his album. No, he isn’t a singer in a real sense but his albums are quite a big hit to the masses.

Oh, there’s also this occasional greetings coming from OFW’s where they give dollars to help poor people.

Then, the show would continue with more dancing and singing while they choose their “Bigaten” (I’m not sure if I’ve spelled it correctly). The more foolish they look while dancing and singing- the bigger the chance for them to be chosen.

There was this time that people needed to pout their lips while singing Willie’s latest song and people gamely did it for fun. Yeah, just for the sheer fun of it…

No, the game won’t start yet.

Right after the commercial, the contestants would be introduced and they would go through interview by the host- the man of the show, Willie Revillame. There, you’ll hear real stories about poverty, sufferings and personal (I mean family) problems.

Old men and women, children of all ages bare their souls for the whole world to hear. Yes, the show is being aired also in different parts of the world thru the Filipino Channel.

Crying of contestants is just an ordinary occurrence and so is the shedding of tears of the audience. The more touching stories to share, the more the audience (that includes OFW’s) will be enamored to give something- dollars most of the times out of sympathy.

I guess Willie is the most charming person I’ve ever seen in television. Why not? He seems to be idolized by everybody at all ages. He receives countless hugs everyday and he makes old women cry because of happiness just by merely seeing him.

I hear kids saying that they want to grow up like the sexy dancers of the show, a wife telling her husband to stop womanizing, more kids revealing that their fathers abandoned them, men saying they have no works to feed their families, and more and more people telling their real stories of poverty and family problems with the accompaniment of, “Pa, magbago ka na…”

As if just by being a guest in the show you can make somebody change already with a snap of a finger. Willie gets lot of support from advertisers because of these stories that touch the soul of even the toughest creatures.

Oh, no. After listening to heart- rending stories of these people, the game won’t start yet. They need to showcase first their talents in dancing, singing, and virtually anything and everything that they can do regardless of the fact that sometimes contestants make a complete fool of themselves. Because of that, they’ll have instant cash even if the game has not started yet.

The questions during the game are not really mind-boggling as you think they are. It’s usually just for the mere sake of having to ask questions. Of course, it’s for the benefit of most contestants who don’t even have their own televisions at home.

Now, the prizes at stake are really huge. So gigantic that people are willing to join in a long queue and sacrifice a day’s earnings just to be able to join the contest. Willie of Fortune, an apt title for a game that gives luck to those who were born unfortunate in this country.

While Willie is doing an interview with the contestants, his spectators laugh and cry at the same time with them. The show is the live stage of entertainment starring people in poverty and in need.

Undeniably, there’s something in the show that lured more and more viewers. As a matter of fact, his followers varied…from ordinary housewives to Filipinos working abroad.

Sometimes, I shake my head in amazement whenever I hear old women shouting and crying at the same time while hugging and kissing Willie, “Sa wakas, andito na ako…” (At last, I’m already here).

His show is so popular that I could still vividly remember the time when 71 people died and countless others were wounded because of their quest for their dreams. They thought they’ll find it only in Willie’s show. 

It was during the first year anniversary of the show when a stampede killed 71 people- mostly old women and children. It was the promise of millions of prizes that made the crowd crazy with eagerness to be inside the dome. They became uncontrollable until such time that all hell broke loose.

I’m not against with his show but there is a part of me questioning if in a way the show is exploiting stories of those in need.

Willie indubitably helps people forget even for a day their sufferings and problems. However, what exactly are the boundaries of shows like this? Is it proper to ask children very personal questions just for them to be commiserate with?

Oh, yeah. They do serve as an inspiration to many. But, after the show what happens to them? Do they become a better person? How long the prize lasts? A day or two?

It’s indeed a game of life. People play, some win and some lose but everybody got to enjoy…for a grumbling stomach anything at all.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Unseen Tears

Allowing my eyes to shed beads of tears is like consenting my soul an aperture from misery. I don’t usually see the hands that dry my cheeks… I just noticed that my spirit is already lightened and my chin is finally lifted.

As usual, my regular check-up this morning left me utterly spent. You know, even if you’re made of steel when ordeals continue to block your way you can’t help but to ask, is there an end in sight?

The answer remains ambiguous. I have been beleaguered with this silent scourge for almost a year now. My spirit has been battered, my steps staggered but I’m continuously fighting. Isn’t it what life is all about? A continuous battle…

Yesterday seems an eon ago. The playful bantering of words with my nieces and the beguiling sceneries seem so far while I was talking with my doctor that my heart has been filled with the same barrenness.

I truly hate feeling that way.

As soon as I arrived home, I retreated in silence in the room and when my body touched the comfort of the bed I allowed myself healing with the flood of tears. Before I knew it, I was lulled in a deep slumber…

I slept for so long that when I finally woke up my cheeks were already dry with tears. The bleakness in my heart was alternated with overwhelming exuberance. I look forward to my future with the same zeal and fervor.

I won’t deny the truth that there are some unseen tears in my spirit. Those were the kinds that might not be relieved by sheer shedding alone. But then, as long as the will of the spirit inhabits, they don’t matter at all.

I weep with my tears but I live with my soul…each second matters…every moment I treasure…

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Amazing Beach in San Juan, Batangas

The rivulet of water gently touched my feet as I walked barefooted on the sand. I stared in breathtaking spectacle right before my eyes.

The deluge of colors red, yellow, black and white splattered the colossal panorama of skies as the sun peek from beneath the dark clouds. Earth is shroud by heaven and sea. I wanted to scuttle and laze around in the morning dew of the sea breeze.

After getting sick for several days, I got enticed with the invitation of my sister to join them in the beach. After all, she said that it was therapeutic and it might do me good to breath fresh sea air.

So, early this morning, the kids excitedly prepared for our swimming escapade. It was actually my first after going through two surgeries last year.

It was indeed a spectacular experience because I was totally mesmerized by the picturesque sceneries while traveling and much excitement awaits us when we arrived in the resort.

Since I feared that my fever might recur, I opted to become the official photographer of the group. Here, take a glance of the pictures I took…

This is the shark which was caught by fishermen. 

The closer shot of the shark. 

The shark was about 7 feet long. 

Trisha underneath the glistening sand. 

Shayne and Trisha. 

Playing with the sand oblivious of the camera. 

Giant pusit for lunch. 

On the way home, my sister remarked that it seemed we’re traveling exactly the same road back in our hometown. I immediately quipped that wherever we go, the roads will always be the same because when you look up- the same skies towered above you, when you look to your sides- the same trees greeted you, and when you look down- the same earth looked back at you.

She said that as usual, I am being poetic again? Well, maybe…

Having been immersed the whole day with amazing graces made me appreciate more the value of life…if being poetic would mean living life with my soul then I don’t mind at all.

After all, when you brushed closely to death the more you would be grateful for the gift of astounding blessings that more often than not, we tend to neglect…


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