Friday, December 31, 2010

time of your life

It's something unpredictable, but in the end is right. I hope you had the time of your life.

I wonder if I could write better when I am happy. When I do not sulk in misery and speak of cryptic words when the message of despair is screaming out of the page. Just look at these first two lines. People find them "hard" to read, but they are "easy" for me to write. Nobody really wants to be near negativity. And really, that is how it is ought to be. But everybody wants to rant. Deadlock.

There's a song from my favorite band, Green Day, that I would like to be played on my funeral. What one may think as morbidity is actually a testament on how I want to live my life.

It's something unpredictable, but in the end is right. I hope you had the time of your life.

When I look back in my life, like watching during my old age in a comfortable couch and a berkline home theater seating, I would like to see all the things as they are, triumphs, regrets, everything. It's not a test but a lesson learned in time. I would like to remember that in every strong emotion, I lived. I lived the time of my life.

Go on. Read the lyrics. Sing the song. It's a positive one.

Another turning point;
a fork stuck in the road.
Time grabs you by the wrist;
directs you where to go.

So make the best of this test
and don't ask why.
It's not a question
but a lesson learned in time.

It's something unpredictable
but in the end it's right.
I hope you had the time of your life.

So take the photographs
and still frames in your mind.
Hang it on a shelf
In good health and good time.

Tattoos of memories
and dead skin on trial.
For what it's worth,
it was worth all the while.

It's something unpredictable
but in the end it's right.
I hope you had the time of your life.

Listen to it here. Good riddance.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Moving On

There is probably no better time in the year to reflect on your life than the end of every year, mostly of its symbolical value than its place in the calendar.

In my entire life, 2010 has been one of the most colorful years, if not the most. Frankly, I frequently wished for this year to end already. There are no pinewood trophies for this year, but unforgettable events were a plenty. This year saw me almost reached the brink of insanity, though how close I was to it I could never explain nor tell. Suffice it to say that I have been carrying crosses with me for long years already, and too early at that according to some people, and learning that my mother has cancer pushed me to despair, thinking I would never really have a comfortable life, not in this year nor in the many years ahead. The remaining hope I have was finally crushed, and there was nothing left but misery.

Eventually, I was able to surpass that desperate stage. I practically forced my tour to California and Las Vegas, lest I lose myself. It was an attempt to escape, even for a while. Truthfully, I was able to gather myself, accepting things as they are. There is really a virtue in restraint, in looking at things from a reasonable distance.

But of the whole year, there is one day I would never forget--the day I learned my mother was stricken with cancer. Up to this day, it remains as fresh as if it happened yesterday:

Fast-forward to holy week, and I was just glad I could finally rest. The whole year was so taxing, and at times, I felt like I've lost all my will and energy. This was the week I've been waiting for: the first week without school, without work.

But the holy week hadn't ended yet when I learned of the bad news. With a gloomy face, Dad asked me to come to my room, and then closed the door. I knew it was going to be a serious talk. He sat on my bed, and I sat on the sofa; we were about 5 meters away from each other. I do not like serious, sad talks. I would run away from it if I could, especially when it comes to family.

I asked Dad what it was about. “Your Mom has cancer. We just didn't tell you before because you were having your finals.” I was silent. As my father was telling me the news, his voice was breaking, the kind of voice you hear when one doesn't want to cry but he just cannot help it. Then he cried. It was the first time I saw him cry, and it was heart-breaking, like a dagger in my heart. I never wanted to see him and my mom hurt, and there he was crying in front of me. I wanted to tell him everything's gonna be alright, but I remained frozen in my seat. My own heart was exploding inside, but my face remained expressionless. I wanted to hug him, but I just couldn't move.
(parts from killing me softly)

It has been a struggle since that day, a struggle in all aspects. Come January, my mother will have her last chemotherapy then radiation therapy. Afterward, she would continue taking oral chemo for 5 years. That she would complete her chemo, especially when she was diagnosed with severe depression, was a victory in itself. For that, I have the Lord and so many people to thank for. If there's one thing I am very thankful for, it is that our lives are still moving on.

There are much I would still continue wishing for this coming 2011. Specifically, I wish for health, for I and my family know its true value. I wish for wealth or at least a comfortable life. I wish for love, in all aspects of our lives. And most importantly, I wish for peace of mind. Nothing I would not give for peace of mind.

But these things depend largely on fate, or on so many other people, though I could seriously try to accomplish them all. For now, I could only wish for them and step-by-step move forward to them. For the thing "accomplishable", I would strive to pass all my law subjects. For my lifelong dream, I would still continue to dream of flying.

Note. I really wanted to do this post, but jeanny's contest realized it.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

My Christmas Day

We had the simplest Christmas this year ever. No, I am not complaining. In fact, I liked it that way. I liked the quietness this Christmas had. Although people would have been welcome if they knocked on our house yesterday, I appreciated the private time I had with the closest of the family. The parties leading to Christmas were far more fabulous, filled with food, beers, and games, and as always they had been fun and, well, intoxicating.

Every year, the people who come to our house have been decreasing. Probably, it started when my grandfather passed away many years ago. He had been well-loved by all his relatives, being the quiet, kind man that he was. Probably, it was because my aunt, who is miss congeniality, who lives next to our house is abroad. Probably, it was because my mother, who has always been the one in charge of entertaining visitors, is weak at this time. And probably there are other reasons. Nevertheless, it doesn't bother me. The few people who visited us here in the house were the closest and most well-meaning people. And they were the people I really want to see on Christmas day.

My mother cooked her specialty, her infamous spaghetti. The immediate members of the family shared that during breakfast, without much interruption. There were no kids running around whom we never actually know. My father's coffee and my mother's spaghetti---I had the best breakfast in the whole year. If there's a xerox toner who could replicate yesterday, I would have replicated it over and over again.

After breakfast, we had a video call with my aunt and cousin abroad. Living in Qatar, they also have a quiet Christmas there, and they were missing the family over here so much. For now, the video call would suffice. Being a Filipino and a Catholic, my aunt also prepared food for her family there, along with some Filipino friends, to celebrate Christmas day.

The highlight of the day was when Keng, the little girl in the post below, appeared in the terrace while we were all resting dressed up like a princess, with matching headdress. We are all crazy about her, to say the least, especially because we only get to be with her during this holiday season. When she and her family left at about 2 pm, we had our lunch.

For our lunch, we had the most delicious kare-kare in the whole world, cooked by my mother. Afterward, we just spent the day in the house in the most relaxed manner. As for me, I am just grateful I have my family with me on Christmas day.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

the different faces of keng

If there's anything that makes Christmas special, it's Keng. Anyone with a baby in the house, a child or a niece or a godchild, would understand this light feeling, like floating in the air. Every movement is a wonderful surprise. Everything she sees is a discovery. =)

Most of the time, she likes playing doctor. She has her stethoscope and would listen to our heartbeat one by one. She actually knows how to say "inhale" and "exhale", with matching holding her breath. At other times, she just wants to try different things. Indoor or outdoor lighting, she's just fabulous in the camera.

hello, mommy?

busy with work? eric's just watching over "baby"

baby, it's the guitar girl

female Potter

the time of her life

happy =)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

White Party

Last Monday, our first-year block held our Christmas party. Now, we belong to different sections, so bonding moments like this one were cherished moments. We were all excited to be together again, and luckily, all of us were game in all the parlor games and photo-ops. That we all enjoyed the party was unmistakable in our faces, both from our pictorials (feeling models kami!) and candid photos from the best hidden camera photographers among us!

I wonder why people who like taking and posing for pictures flock together. haha. Before all the people arrived, we the early birds decided to pose for the camera. We searched all the studio-like places in the gazebo and posed there. We also did gay-lesbian-lovers pictures, though the pictures wouldn't really pass for real. haha.

waiting for others

when we were still sober

feeling lesbians haha

which two are gays?

party time!

photos after ping, pong, pang game

beer drinking contest

group pictures

And while most were drunk, the cameras continue on clicking, catching our insanity through their spy camera and freezing the memories i.n time. We would have died laughing if the Twister game had not ended (ehem.. nanalo ako!).

We all had our heyday that night. We started with smiles, continued on with giggles, and ended with laughters. I planned on going home earlier that night, but none of us actually went home until 4 a.m. Celebrations like this are addicting, especially when you're people you missed almost the whole year. Until next year! =)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

going italian

After our sumptuous lunch in John and Yoko, we indulged ourselves to sweets at Caffe Ti-Amo, also in Greenbelt 5, famous for its Italian coffee and gelato. It was my first time to taste and learn how to consume Affogato, ignorant as I am when it comes to food other than Filipino and English. I ordered Affogato with Tiramisu gelato. It was two thumbs up! It wasn't too costly (unlike a term life insurance), so one can treat herself to this heaven once in a while. =)

Step 1. Choose your gelato. When you looked having difficulty choosing, the staff would ask you if you want a free taste, as she asked me. haha. I chose Tiramisu.

Step 2. Pour the nuts.


Step 3. Pour the coffee.

Step 4. Devour. =)

turning japanese

Last Monday, our office had our Christmas lunch at John and Yoko, Greenbelt 5. Thank goodness my officemates suggested that resto. I had been craving for Japanese since my failed attempt to dine at Yakimix, also in Greenbelt, due to the horrendous long line of reservations. John and Yoko had been described as a Japanese-inspired Filipino food. The food was great, but I can't say the same as to the price. Well, I guess it's not your everyday restaurant (it's like cancer from Mesothelioma, only it's in your pocket!).

California Maki Salad

Tuna Sashimi

Shrimp and Enoki Pizza

(forgot the name! haha)


Beef Teppan (my order!)

Tribeca Salmon


For prices, click here.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Keng's Back in Pinas

After a year of waiting, my niece Keng is back in the country. She and her parents only come home for Christmas, as they live in Qatar. She has grown so much. At 3 years old, she's as big as maybe a girl about 6 years old. She's still as lovely as ever. With all her pretty evening dresses and cute outfits, she never fails to charm anyone.

Keng with Santa.

She was scaring everyone with this spider. Brave little girl.

She's cute when she's making faces.

Ian and I brought her to the mall. She absolutely enjoyed seeing many things and playing around. She's very hard to carry though. Still, I and Ian were her willing victims, carrying her around like a sack of rice. =)

She looks at things with such curiosity.

Like her father, she likes cars. She even knows how to shift gears!

She absolutely loves playgrounds and playmates!

Eric's Graduation Party

After Eric graduating with honors (from cancer), of course, there should be a celebration! It was not the typical food-and-drinks party, but it was what we truly enjoyed. We weren't dressed in fancy rocawear, but we're definitely dressed to have fun. =)

after playing beinte-uno

We were all enthusiastic playing beinte-uno. Eric could barely throw the ball a meter away from him, but he sure enjoyed trying to shoot that ball haha. He would also play defense whenever his Dikong Eduard has the ball. Interestingly, he never put down the rubix cube while we were playing ball. He kept on showing it to me throughout the game, in a super excited manner, though he never really formed a pattern. haha.

Eric and Eduard in the slide

After playing in the basketball court, we proceeded to the playground. At first, I was afraid Eric might fall while climbing the stairs of the slide, but he was really energetic and climbed up and slid down numerous times nonstop. He also enjoyed the photo-op in the playground. =)

We only stopped playing after we were already too tired and hungry, and after it had become truly a day to remember.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

there's something about Santa

If there's one thing that made my birthday, it's Santa. He has always been a very adorable figure for me, and I have always wanted to have his figure in our house. I wouldn't want his distinct white mustache, big bell, and red robe any other way. I wouldn't want a thin Santa under lipofuze or a pretty boy in flashy clothes. He's the perfect figure as he is. It brings delight to the atmosphere (at least to me) to have him the house a hundred times more. =)

I couldn't contain my happiness just by looking at these two Santas that I was finally able to buy. What's best, I got them both at a bargain price. =)

Christmas would be merrier now Santa's around!

Friday, December 17, 2010

isang alamat

If there's one friend I am super proud of, it's eks. He's very skillful and intelligent. At his early 20s, he already became our copy-editing manager. When he was still a student in UP, he already held various interesting jobs, none of which I could have gotten (even now) had I tried. He knows a lot about technology and science without formal education and speaks of free website directory and Steve Jobs like a household name.

More than that, he's ultra nice. Really nice to a fault. He couldn't lift a finger to hit a fly. He's Mr. Congeniality and so much more. He's everybody's friend, and I am lucky to be one of his closest.

Yet again, he made another remarkable achievement*. He has helped Pier Roxas found his missing days. Congrats, eks! Isa kang alamat!

*Out of about a thousand entries, his story, and eventually his short film Phobia, topped the nationwide Nokia N8 Pier Roxas contest!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

time well spent

The good thing about the second semester is you get to rest for a while during Christmas break. Of course, there are still much case digests to do, enough to occupy your time the rest of the period if you are diligent about them. For now, I am just glad I'd be away from that library barcode scanner and calculating eyes of professors.

But 2 weeks is so short such that it should be time well spent, whatever "spending time well" means for you. One may choose either to be productive, or be relaxed, or a combination of both. I have no plans yet for this period. But my niece Keng is in the country for a short while, so playing with her is a top priority. Other than that, I have no idea how to spend the holidays. In any case, I'll try to make this 2 weeks time well spent alone, with friends, with family.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

with honors

Didn't we all look forward to our graduation? First, it was because it meant end of our tests and hardships in school. Second, and most especially, it was because it was a step further toward our goal, presumably a comfortable, blessed life.

And that was what precisely, and with much more meaning, what happened yesterday. Yesterday, the Philippine Children's Medical Center held a celebration for the children who succesfully finished all the chemotherapy sessions and other treatments. Eric graduated, not from school, but from being a cancer patient. He has surpassed all those intravenous treatments and awfully painful bone marrow tests. He has passed the stage of not being able to walk and eat and talk. In that hospital of metal building and then seemingly lonely walls, along the way, many children did not make it. One day, you just see them playing just beside Eric's bed; the next day, they're gone. Thankfully, because Eric is a fighter, with an iron will of a child to go on, he survived his leukemia. He was diagnosed when he was 4; now he was 7 and very active.

When he arrived in my place, he was really excited to show me all the gifts he got from the people and foundations who supported these kids with cancer, along with actors, singers, and politicians. He got two bags of toys and school stuff and waited for me before he would open his huge gift-wrapped box (inside was an educational toy). But he was super proud when he showed me perhaps his most precious gift of all of us.

Graduating with honors, I am pretty sure Eric will have a more comfortable, blessed life. =)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Why is Santa adorable?

Santa is adorable because he promises kids gifts, and the kids get gifts during Christmas days. He seldom (or no longer) surprises adults with gifts of acne pills, or celphones, or ipod, or kindle, probably because he has already too much to carry for the kids, not to mention being expensive.
When I was young, Santa would leave a note on my chalkboard, telling me to be a good girl. And I would run to my parents and tell them Santa left me a letter. The handwriting though seemed familiar. Nah. Maybe not. The one Christmas, Santa gave kuyang so many gifts, one a robot I think, and I frowned because Santa only gave me money (though they were really crispy!). But I was wrong. Daddy found another gift for me and a bag of chocolates under our vase. It was hidden so we didn't see it right away. Whew!

Now, Santa no longer gives me gifts. But I still thank him for all those he had given me through the years. Now, Santa is adorable because he looks like the kind grandparent who spoils his grandkids but still tells them to be good. Santa is adorable because he's chubby and huggable. Santa is arorable because he has reindeers. Santa is adorable because he travels on sleigh up in the air. Santa is adorable because he has a contagious laughter. Santa is adorable because he lets children know that their wishes can come true, if only they would be good boys and girls.

Right now, remembering Santa, I am actually smiling. Because Santa is so adorable!!!

crazy about Keng

Every year, kuyang and her wife and lovely, lovely child go home for Christmas from Qatar. Since the start of the year, we have always been dreaming of my niece Keng's return. She's that little girl from my stories of Christmas last year who makes my heart melt when she smiles.

She's only 3, but she's a big girl. And dresses for a 5-year-old no longer fit her. haha. She embraces you when she thinks you are mad at her, and she steals kisses from youjust because she wants to. She's very sweet. She's very active though, running around everywhere! She's curious about everything, even how to pop a pimple from my face! And if you really follow her around, you'll be racing for breath in no time.

All year-round, my father and I talk of her. My father is crazy about her. He actually is the one who can make her sleep, and sometimes she sleeps for the night beside my father when kuyang and his wife would go out at night. He prepares her milk. He also prepares her bath in our big drum so she could swim there. haha. Of all of us, he is the most patient with her. He can make her giggle hard. When Keng was with other relatives, my father would wait for her, sometimes asking me to check if she has already come back home to our house. It makes me smile looking at them, remembering that father also did all that to me when I was a child.

Now she's coming back home. And I can't wait to kiss her, and hug her, and carry her, and play with her. And my father is doubly excited.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

For Your Birthday, Mother

Dear Mother,

For your birthday, I only wish for your strength. I know these are really tough times for the family, especially for you. But you have always been the strong one. You have a dominant personality that we repel, and yet this time, I truly hope you be that imposing woman again. Tell your cancer cells to go away, and I bet it would.

For your birthday, I only wish for your peace of mind. The storm is passing in our lives, but as all storms, this one shall pass. Know that in all these things, I am with you. Daddy is with you. Lola is with you. Mama is with you. And the kids have always been praying for you. We love you, and there is nothing more we want, nothing more, than for you to get well. I know all these plasil, and emodan, and conjugated linoleic acid, and norvasc, and a whole range of medicines are making you nauseous, but Mommy, just a little more. I would take these all for you if I could, but I couldn't. So just a little more. Know in your heart that you will be healed. And that there is someone in the stars guiding our lives.

For your birthday, I only wish for your understanding and acceptance. It must be really hard to accept that an illness as serious as this one comes to you. But it's already there, and there is not much we can do but to fight this one. Know that in all your struggles, this one and all that will come, I am with you. Daddy is with you. Lola is with you. Mama is with you. And the kids have always been praying for you. There must be a reason, Mother. Look inside, there must be. After this fight, we're going to face a better life---the best life I can give for all of you.

And for your birthday, Mother, I wish you could have a better daughter. I know I am the cold one, and I wish I could just give you this letter. I wonder why I could tell everyone I care, when I could not tell it to you. For now, I just hope that through my actions, I can let you know that I too am scared, that I love you, and that I will always be here for you. I know somehow you can see it, and you know it, but I still hope I could be a better daughter for you.

Happy birthday, Mother.