today, I am grateful for . . . (day 1)

12 Mar

i have recently noticed a lot of people in facebook posting pictures with the hashtag #100daysofhappiness. out of curiousity, i asked a friend what it was all about. apparently, it’s a challenge for people to find things that make them happy every day for 100 days. according to her, the challenge was a tough one because only a very few are able to actually last throughout it. my initial reaction was, “how difficult can it be to find something that makes you happy?”

fast forward an hour later, and i realized that yes, it can be difficult to do it. why? because we live in a possession-obsessed world that constantly clamors for us to own the next “it” thing—whether it means getting the latest high-end gadget, a revolutionary beauty fix, or even getting your child into the most exclusive and renowned school in the planet. we are made to think there is something fundamentally lacking in our lives until we possess whatever is being flaunted at us. contentment has become an obsolete word, and over time, our concept of happiness seems like an unattainable goal. which is exactly why the project is a worthwhile one.

i was inspired to undertake a similar project, but i wanted mine to be about 100 days of gratitude. a friend’s used the phrase “attitude of gratitude” in a recent post related to the happiness project, and it really struck me. i am at a point in my life where i need to make a conscious effort to remember the many things i am thankful for but take for granted. so i endeavor to keep this in mind for the next 100 days.

this couldn’t have come at a better time. life in its humdrum (and the seeming futility of it all) has gotten me down the past few weeks or so, so i am hopeful this will remind me that life can still pleasantly surprise you and that there is still so much more to look forward to.

so to get to it, i would like to start off with what i am grateful for today.

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#100daysofgratitude

1.i am grateful for the capacity to express myself through the “printed” word and the freedom to do so.

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see you tomorrow!

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epiphanies and more on a jeepney ride

5 Feb

watch the drama unfold on a jeepney ride on a regular friday night:

the woman sitting across me staring out at the road, fiddling with her cell phone.

the teenager who’s leaning on the side of the entrance, happily beating the drumbeat to a justin bieber song as he sings
“yeah, yeah, yeah, i wanna see you tonight.”

the mother trying her best to hold on to her wares while dealing with her fussy child sitting on her lap.

the guy who probably works in an office, nodding his head to the beat of whatever music is playing through his earphones.

the lovers, fingers entertwined, exchanging a look only they can decipher.

and a girl clutching her bag tightly to her chest, surreptitiously looking to her left and right—imagining, wondering:
what kind of lives do these people live outside the confines of this rusting metal vehicle?

as she alights, those musings are whisked away with a honk-honk as the jeepney speeds away.

2.05.2014

why michael buble equals awesomeness (seriously!)

12 Sep

googly eyes

excuse me—and please indulge me—while i give in to my very rare fan girl moments. while a part of me is just a little embarrassed to admit that i do have these moments, another part is saying, ‘ahh, why bother repressing it?’

when it comes to music, i can pretty much say that i have eclectic tastes. i’ll listen to anything as long as it has a decent beat. (and that’s why i am physically unable to appreciate heavy metal, though that’s another blog altogether.) but one of the musical styles close to my heart is the classics. and by that i mean forties’, fifties’, and sixties’ classics sung by greats like frank sinatra, tony bennett, and dean martin. oh what voices. voices that transported you to another place altogether when you heard them. the voice of a man’s man that makes your skin tingle, one you could listen to over and over again. what i wouldn’t give to have been born decades ago and have the chance to listen to them sing live. that must have been something else.

it all started yesterday when i took a cab to work. the taxi driver had the radio on when i heard a really, really good duet cover of the song how deep is your love by the bee gees. now, i love, love, love the bee gees. i think they’re awesome. but this version was really good too. i couldn’t recognize the woman’s voice, but there was no mistaking the guy.

i came across michael bublé’s music many years ago, back when he was just getting started, about ten or eleven years ago. his music stood out in the sea of boy-slash-girl-band music that was popular at that time.

i don’t know what it is about his voice, but as a friend of mine describes it, the way he sings comes across as natural as breathing to him, so . . . effortless. pair that with a rich but playful-sounding baritone voice—well, he had me with his rendition of the way you look tonight. *deep sigh*

i just have to say it again: what a voice. if i close my eyes right now and listen to him sing, this is where i imagine myself to be: sitting in a dark, seedy-looking, underground bar with people huddled close to each other, their cigarette smoke almost suffocating in the cramped space. the spotlight’s on a guy with a fedora hat on, crooning through an old-fashioned standing mic while another guy plays the bass, a sax, or a violin in the background. that is where his music takes me.

the  sad thing is, i have yet to see this guy in a live concert. and if the concerts i’ve seen online are anything to go by, he’s an awesome performer. to my utter disappointment, he doesn’t have any scheduled in my country this year. or the next. (boo!)

oh well, i guess i’ll just have to make do with those online videos for now:p

PS. the draft of this post was originally longer . . . and a very long-winded homage/rhapsody that kinda freaked me out when i reread it. (it was bordering on the “i’m-the-biggest-fan-he-is-so-awesome-marry-me” territory, haha.). what you’re reading is a much, much tamer version, if you can believe it.

the melody of poetry

15 Aug

a good friend recently sent me a link to a huffington post article featuring a video of a man with OCD who was sharing a poem he wrote about falling in love. (wow, that was a mouthful!) the skeptic in me initially thought it was probably your run of the mill declaration of passion and was considering skipping it, but i was wrong. so very wrong. and i am glad i stuck to that page and watched the video. because it was beyond words.

rarely do i get to appreciate poetry because a lot of times, i think it’s way beyond the creative level i’m at. poets (and my boyfriend is one of them*) just seem to live on a totally different world. i truly think it’s amazing how manage to somehow string words together to perfectly while sometimes managing to break and defy all grammatical and punctuation rules in the world. i love the aesthetics of a written poem. seeing how a poet carefully (or perhaps without too much thought) decides to end a line with a specific word and position the next one onto the second line and so on and so forth. and how perfect and beautifully arranged  it all looks. who knew words could look like that? and when the aesthetic and the message of the poem fit so well together like the art that is ee cummings’s poems—just, wow.

in any case, here is the video of neil hilborn’s “OCD.” this tugged at my heart and made me cry. i hope you like it too.


*should you be interested in reading his blog of poems and such, visit it here.

the loneliness of home

14 Aug

[a post i wrote back in june but got around to finishing today]

all is quiet in this big old house again. the stifling stillness and the empty spaces are enough to make me want to put my hands on my face and just let out a good ole’ cry. and bemoan about it on my blog.

just a week ago, the house was filled with the lovely sounds and sights of family chaos. if you’re from a sort-of-big family like i am—4 siblings and a niece (a recent addition to the family) to boot, plus extended family, then anything but a noise- and chatter-filled home is your run-of-the-mill day. all that changed when my mom passed away, me and my siblings got older, and life happened. the siblings moved out for one reason or another till it was just me, my dad, our yaya, and our 7 dogs. i can’t imagine what the house is like on weekdays when i’m at the office. how deathly quiet it must be here, with only the occasional dog barks and accompanying buzz of the tv to keep my dad company. at night, it’s the same scenario. that’s probably why i usually go home late. to avoid all this. weekends are worse, especially when my siblings don’t come over for a visit. that’s why for that one week my brother and his wife came back from singapore for a one-week visit, my heart was overjoyed. finally . . .  some life and noise in our house again.

it’s really both heartwarming and heartbreaking to know that nothing but family is able to replace the emptiness of home.

oh, hello there: the return of the comeback

14 Aug

hiatus. that seems to be a word that comes up a lot in relation to my blog.

hello again, old friend. what a joy it is to be able to hear the clickety-clack (or is it tappity-tap) of the keyboard as i write this post. how . . . familiar and cathartic. whenever i remember that i actually do have a blog, i always find myself rationalizing why i am not able to write or post anything. not that i feel obligated to, but when i started this, i told myself this was one of the methods i’d employ to fine-tune and hone my writing skills. so much for that considering i find myself writing less and less this year. there’s always work, family, life, my tv series addiction, blah-blah-blah. excuses.

to be honest, my interest in updating my blog comes in bursts of creative inspiration that catches me unawares more often than not. i’m usually in places where i do not have access to a computer or laptop when the itch to write comes over me. i usually have what i think is a wild idea i would love to write about and i struggle to keep those thoughts (and especially the fancy and the what i think are perfect words to use) in my mind till i get my hands on anything to write on.  but by then my train of thoughts have lost steam, always to my dismay. and that’s mainly the reason i have about 4 or 5 posts sitting in the drafts folder right now. hahaha, to my credit, i just finished one, which i’ll post after this 😀 in fact, i am excited to blog about many other things soon, especially a one-week trip to thailand for my birthday.

weeeh! and so the comeback begins.

A Post-Mortem Look at the 2013 Philippine Elections

15 May
image taken from mynamemattersnot.com

image taken from mynamemattersnot.com

Dear Countrymen,

Now that the dust has settled on one of the dirtiest, most contested, and crucial elections in the country, one thing has become glaringly clear: we are a country that suffers, or chooses to suffer, from long-term memory loss.

No doubt, the spirit of democracy is fully expressed when we elect—and elect freely—the people who represents our interests in the government. That inalienable freedom based on the dictates of our conscience is one that I truly respect, regardless of whether we have a difference in opinion on who we vote for. But I believe there should be a few non-negotiables when making decisions like this:

One, we do not vote for an impeached former president—or any indicted aspirants for that matter. It continues to perplex me how, in this day and age, we have not put safeguards in the constitution that prevent people who have been convicted of wrongdoing from running for public office. Then again, that many of these elected officials can unashamedly get away with crimes against the nation is equally baffling. But that’s another story. When the courts have proven without reasonable doubt that these people have plundered our coffers and betrayed the mandate we have given them, how can we think that putting them back in office will benefit us in any way?

Two, we do not elect people who have no experience in public office to crucial, high government positions. I have no doubt that many people have the heart to serve others. But sadly, the truth is that is not enough. Not when you have to formulate laws and policies that affect a country of 103 million people. I have always held the belief that the “read, write” only requirement for people to run in public office is a misguided execution of democracy. In the same way that we require doctors, lawyers, and engineers to take an exam to prove their capacity and ability to carry out the responsibilities of their respective fields, people who run for higher offices should be expected to have had experience as elected officials in local governments. How else do you hone your skills than by starting at the microcosmic level?

Three, we do not assume that the sharing of the same last name equates to shared accomplishments—or shared legacies. My father can be the best neurosurgeon in the country or even the world, but that doesn’t make me an equally talented neurosurgeon—and more importantly, even qualified to cut into your skull and tinker with your brain. The same can be said of politics. I submit that yes, the “heart to serve” can be passed on or shared by a family, but that totally excludes the capacity to do so. Those are two different things. Contrary to what many seem to believe, a person’s ability to serve his country honorably and with integrity is not a genetic trait that can be passed on from father or mother to child.

Lastly, we do not put to office incumbent officials who have clearly and brazenly used their positions to cover their own—or their friends’, families’, or relatives’—offenses and save their own skins. One could argue that this describes almost 80 percent of all elected officials in the country. But when it’s an in-your-face, defiant, and blatant disregard for professional and ethical standards, that should be enough to tell us that these people aren’t even worth the paper their campaign materials are printed on.

And yet, election after election, we continue to make the same mistakes and vote for these very people. Shame on us for perpetuating this vicious cycle of poverty, despair, and failure.

Down the road, when the vast majority take to the streets of Mendiola or to the Internet to protest the scandals, the grave abuses of power, and the repressive policies and laws that are put into effect (as are wont to happen when you elect unqualified people), remember that:

We voted for them.

We put these people into office.

We put our future, the future of our families, countrymen, and nation in their hands.

We did all that. We are culpable.

I used to think it cheesy and just a little bit sad how we Filipinos tend to celebrate every single thing (no matter how seemingly minute or unimportant) that puts us in international news. But truth be told, there was always a little part of me that did feel that sense of Filipino pride. But after this election, I think it’s safe to say that that has withered away. Why? What pride could I possibly have left when we as a people seem to have made the conscious decision to allow politicians to continue to make fools out of us.

It’s ironic, really. We take every opportunity to shout from the rooftops to tell the world that we are a country that has so much to offer. Sadly, with the choices we have made, it seems we don’t really think of our country highly enough to want good and decent people to look after its welfare.

I am reminded of the oft-quoted aphorism: “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

I ask you today, what does this say of us as Filipinos?