Goodbye 2014

As I usually say, 2013 was one hell of a rollercoaster. During the first half, we were so down because of the death of my grandmother but it eventually turned better as the year progresses. While there were lots of sadness and endings, there were also lots of joy and new beginnings. All in all, 2013 was a good year. I'm grateful for it.

There were many lessons I've learned in the past year which I think became the turning points in my life as a person. I've learned the importance of keeping family and friends close, as well as the truth that there are some bridges we need to burn in order for us to be better. I was pressed with the fact that some things are inevitable and all that is left is for us to enjoy every moment.

As the year 2013 ends, I just want to say 'thank you' to people who had been there and who I know will always be there. Thank you for making my life a lot worthwhile. Thank you for making me realize that the least thing I want is to grow old alone. Thank you for making my life a lot more exciting.

Also, I want to apologize to people I've hurt along the way. I'm not perfect, and neither are you guys. I just want you to know that whatever I did, I deeply regret. Whether I am forgiven or not, I just want to express my apologies.



There were lots of lessons taught in the past year, which I will happily bring to 2014. There's a few hours left before we leave the current year behind and I am fairly excited. There are lots of things I am looking forward to, after all. Let's see if I can make them all come true.






Another Christmas Well-Spent



When Yolanda happened, I promised myself that I would lessen my Christmas shopping. I wanted to partake in their sufferings, after all. Little did I know that the 'less' would actually turn to 'nothing at all'. Work and other responsibilities caught me off guard, not to mention that I was suddenly tight on budget, that I wasn't able to find time for my own personal interests.

I realized this yesterday on Christmas Day. I was staring at my closet, wondering what exactly to wear. There are lots in my closet and I just couldn't decide. A little, I felt incomplete. I've grown up used to having something brand new for this day.

It was uncomfortable; but looking at the brighter side, it was fulfilling.

It's no longer just because I have stayed true to my words about Yolanda. It's the more important fact that I have proven myself that Christmas doesn't equate to spending money on new clothes, gifts and other stuffs. It's not about having different sets of meals sprawled on the dining table. It's not even how much 'aginaldo' you receive from people/

Christmas is about simplicity. Christ, the King, was born on a manger in the city of Bethlehem. He was born in the company of donkeys and sheep. There were no royal announcements about His birth. People didn't even know their King had been born then already.

If Jesus was born on simplicity, why are we spending His birthday in luxury?

I had a great lunch at a friend's house with our other friends. Family came to our house afterwards and we took pictures of the kids. Friends came over in the evening and we had a really, really great time.

I was given the privilege to celebrate this season in the best way possible.



What a wonderful way to end this year. ♥



Nanay's Dream

If you're gonna ask the elders of Meycauayan about who 'Pugo' is, chances are you're gonna be told about the Defuntorum Family. Though quite far from the moniker they were known for, the clan was known for their baking skills as they own one of the most famous bakeries in Meycauayan before. 

Proudly speaking, my late grandmother is a second generation Defuntorum (making me part of the fourth). Even as she stayed in Australia for more than two decades, she had depended on baking to live; so when she got home here, she had always wanted to buy an oven.

But instances happened when we were supposed to buy it last year and she passed away. It was a regret so Mom and I refused to just let go of that dream. That's why when the opportunity had presented itself, we grabbed it and here goes what happened:



TIME's Person of the Year 2013: Pope Francis


I remember jumping off the bed at the dawn of March 13th; though I clearly couldn't remember what woke me up at 4:30AM that day. I rushed downstairs to turn on the television after seeing tweets having a new pope to take over the position vacated by now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. 

The first thing I saw on my screen was the crowd in St. Peter's Basilica - all obviously cheering as white smoke was emitted out of the chimney of the Sistine Chapel. I knew it was a replay of what transpired hours prior. Then, the scene shifted to the famous balcony where a man wearing white stood before the vast sea of Catholics - the pope.

It instantly amazed me how he didn't wear the usual red attire of popes. I've always considered it the symbol of the highest priests so it kind of struck me that the elected pontifex wasn't wearing the traditional clothes. 

But as I knew of the name he chose, I immediately understood.


Pope Francis


I am not joking. I was really moved to tears upon realizing that he got the name from St. Francis of Assisi, the saint closest to my heart since I serve in his parish here in Meycauayan. But what definitely struck me most was the fact that the new Holy Father had the saint's virtues reflected on him on his first day in the position...

And it continued until TIME declared him as their Person of the Year 2013... 

and I know it will continue further...


The Catholic Church was clearly in the verge of division but as a Catholic myself, I feel the revolution which Pope Francis had been initiating since the very beginning. With his every decision and statement about sensitive things this faith normally would have frowned upon, I feel prouder that I am a member of this faith. 

What makes him entirely special is that he embraced the things tradition would have condemned. He based his leadership according to what this generation needs. To me, it wasn't actually being liberated. It was being one with the people today in understanding and discovering what the Church actually needs to know. Life in this world is constantly changing and Pope Francis opened his ears, his ears, and his heart to see, listen and feel like the world. He humbled himself and became one with us. 

But as he mingled with ordinary people, he exerts effort to encompass the religious teachings in his daily activities. Remember when he asked everyone to pray for him as soon as he was elected pope? Remember when there was a child who went to the stage while he was delivering a speech in front of a crowd? Remember when he kissed the sick man despite how he looks like? All those were humility - a major virtue which we all should learn. 

I haven't read TIME's article about the pope and why the chose him; but I am very certain that he was put under the spotlight because he deserved it. If there's anyone who's the epitome of change in our society today, it would be him. 


I'm not saying the past popes I know weren't like him. It's just that this is Pope Francis' way in showing what the Catholic Way is. And once again, I tear. Can I be any prouder?



Face Your Fears



Face your fears, it implied.
And I think it's about time that we all do.




Soulmates


To me, there is no clear definition for the word 'soul mates'; but it has been explained to me that finding your soul mate is like finding your other person - the one that doesn't actually complete you, but the one who manages to show you a mirror reflection of yourself.

I do believe in destiny but I'm not sure about the idea of 'soul mates'. I am yet to find one who is just like me because I've always considered myself to be... you know... different.

But reading this article, I guess the idea exist.
And it's so amazing it does.

And then, a pool of jealousy brewed inside me,
and then I began wishing...



I hope I get to find my own.

Take a Stand


I used to be that person who just goes with the flow. No real decisions. No definite principles. Incapable of handling my own life. I used to depend on others on what I should believe in, and what I should take as true. 

Until I realized that it was the worst way of living.

Taking a stand on something is something inevitable for us to be better people. We need to find a permanent place to put ourselves into - that no matter where life heads us, we'll come back there. Like it's home. We have to find that one holding factor that would take us back to whatever we are supposed to be in order for us to have that sense of individuality. 


We need to take a stand to be someone. 


If we have that something we believe in, we have something to protect. 
And then we find a purpose to live. 


Maybe


Maybe Marilyn Monroe was right.
Maybe Celine Dion was right.
Maybe Yuxing unnie too.


Maybe love doesn't really come to those who wait.
Instead, it comes to those who believe it.


Maybe.


All Out


It's December and it's the last month of the year. And I have decided that I'm going all out. The last month will be like the test whether I've learned anything this year.

And proudly, there is a lot.

2013 has been a serious rollercoaster ride. I've dealt with new beginnings and endings, deaths and new lives. It is a year where major changes manifested and it had brought me to extremes. But you know what the best thing is? I have found myself capable of being the person I've always wanted to be. Sure, there are some more things to work out on but I'm glad to know that I'm way past the first phase of construction. I have improved.

December means Christmas and Christmas means honesty and generosity. So this month, I am giving back to people I owe most to: my family and friends. They deserve it after all.

As for the literal 'all out' idea, it has something to do with doing something for others. During this month, I expect myself to put my A+ character on everything. No room for mistakes. Go for the best. Squeeze my mind for the most creative ideas.

Geez. Just thinking about it makes me excited. ♥


Happy December, everyone!

The Sad Side of Watching K-Dramas & My Rare Honesty

I'm a self-confessed Korean drama buff. I love romantic comedies because it feels so refreshing to watch. Seeing the characters act so lovey-dovey and cute to each other every scene and watching the conflicts arise and get solved makes me believe that perhaps, love does work. It sparks the hope in me...

but at the same time, it kills.

There is always a side B to everything and I guess, this is what watching Korean dramas has to offer. After the excitement from the scenes dies down, I then enter the phase of questioning myself. Pity overwhelms as I often wonder why such things never happen to me. It's probably because of my being a hopeless romantic, but I think it's more of I'm a girl who just wants to feel wanted.

Whatever I say and no matter how much effort I put in putting up my fortress and facade, moments do come when I just have to admit - even to myself - that I am not okay. Seeing the female leads in dramas I watch find their princes and falling in love and live their happily-ever-afters put me in a terrible state of jealousy because no matter how I think about it, I just can't be like them.

Of course, I know they're fictional; but I don't want to sound so depressed by pointing out that I do get envious of other girls in real life. If you know me personally and you're reading this blog, consider yourselves lucky because there is no way I'm gonna admit that fact in person. This blog is meant to show the real pains inside me so I'm not letting that out in reality.

The truth is, I sometimes get to that stage where I would rather not watch anything; but maybe, I really have a thing for self-infliction of pain that I can't seem to say no to dramas. Addiction? No, it's probably because at the back of my mind, I'm still hoping...

that maybe, just maybe... something like that will happen to me too.


This is more of a hopeless case, right? There's just no chance. People do base their first impressions on the outside appearance of a person and I guess no one is just interested enough to look through who I really am? Everytime I try to let out my feelings and you know, hope that it would get reciprocated, nothing works. It all ends to a situation where they would tell me I'm too good for them though I clearly know they're all lying, or maybe I'm too demanding and whatnot when I simply want to feel like someone actually cares. Asking for one message to not let you worry is not too much right?

But for all of them, it is.


Judging through what happened, I have long realized that I am the problem. Maybe even my inner character's not really a nice one to deal with.


Such an unlucky person I am. HAHAHA. That's a strong possibility because I am just me.. Why would I compare myself to those Korean actress anyway? HAHA



Sacrificing for Your Faith

It's the celebration of Christ the King yesterday. As a part of the documentation team of our parish, I was out there taking pictures with three other friends. The event marks the end of the liturgical year, and is thus an event to celebrate for Catholics. If you ask me, it really is a moment I always get excited for. I get to take a lot of pictures and run around like crazy without anyone telling me off, simply because I wear the uniform.

Taking photos and creating designs for parochial events had long been my form of service. I thought that I wanted to do for the church what I think I do best; hence, this status. For all this time, I have convinced myself that this is how I practice my faith. I always tell God that I do this so He would constantly hear my prayers.

But yesterday, I was made to question such belief by one person.


I don't know him. I might have seen him around the church already but I don't know him at all. But as we were at the first station, I saw him behind the honor guards from Knights of Columbus and was following closely the priests carrying the monstrance. He wasn't singing along when I first noticed him. He was actually murmuring what seemed to be prayers while with that seemingly crying face on. I must admit I didn't pay that much attention, believing that maybe he was just, you know, exaggerating his emotions. And so I left.



I forgot about the man until my next encounter with him. We were already at the outdoor altar of the parish and I was standing with a friend behind the altar servers when he suddenly came up and stood beside me holding a candle. 

Thank You, Papa Mons



I can't remember well but I think it was on 2001 when I first began my ministry as a member of the youth commission in the Parish of St. Francis of Assisi. I remember, the first activity I took part in in the parish is a dance number with the officers for the birthday of our newly-appointed parish priest, Monsignor Eppie Castro. How fast time flies that 12 years had passed and tomorrow, he's leaving Meycauayan for Paombong in Northern Bulacan.

To be honest, I feel really sad with this departure. Everybody knows I can't handle goodbyes that well. Papa Mons (as we all call him) has been one of the closest priests in my heart simply because he had become a good father figure for all of us in the church. Of course, he's far from being perfect. We all have what we have to dislike about him, but no one can say that we didn't appreciate him.

What makes Papa Mons a really memorable person is that he had played a great role in honing my faith as a church leader. It is under his administration that I had developed myself into someone who goes to church for service. More than the chocolates and treats, it is his being fun to be with and approachable that probably grounded me in this situation. I wonder how my faith would be now if he wasn't a part of it.

That is why as he departs for St. James the Apostle Parish in Paombong, Bulacan tomorrow, I pray that he'll have a great time there. Together with Fr. Sasi, I hope that God gives them both the strength to lead a new community to a stronger faith. I really pray that the people there will treat them with respect and understanding just like how we did in Meycauayan. I hope the parishioners will cooperate with them with everything.

And as both are getting old already, I just pray that they always be kept safe from harm. I know Mama Mary will guide them all the time, though.

It's a very fruitful and exciting 12 years with Papa Mons, and as sad as it is that we have to part, I know that someday, we'll see each other soon. Meycauayan is not too far from Paombong, especially with the existence of NLEX, hehe.


TYPHOON YOLANDA: #PrayforthePhilippines


To say I'm scared is completely an understatement. I am terrified.

The worst typhoon to ever be formed in the world this year is proving its strength in the central part of the Philippines at the moment. The Typhoon Haiyan (local name, Yolanda) is currently inside the Philippine Area of Responsibility, and is threatening us with up to Signal #4 warnings. International news claim it's a Category 5 typhoon which is as strong as the most destructive cyclones in the Atlantic.

Before press time, I went out the house and stared at the night sky. I was surprised by the presence of the stars. The calm made me feel very eerie, but in the end, I basked on the positive. I choose to believe that the stars were there before the storm to remind me to hold on, because whatever happens, it's all going to be okay.

At the moment, light rain is pouring in my location. In the Visayas region which will suffer the direct hit of the typhoon, storm signal #4 is already raised on several provinces. It's a terrifying situation, considering that the typhoon hasn't reached land yet. It's still in the ocean, yet it's already Signal #1 in Manila.

Everyone is scared. I, myself, can no longer sleep. The trauma is kicking in again and I cannot breathe properly anymore. Should the rain strengthen, I am pretty sure I'll end up shaking and palpitating again.

But you know what keeps me strong? Faith.

The typhoons and monsoons that we experienced brought me to my knees in fear, but taught me to take advantage of the position. I learned to pray and depend on my faith. Constant prayers for guidance and strength had become my mantra when it comes to occurrences like this. No one can save us except God, after all.

Of course, I've gone through doubting as well. I questioned His help. I questioned His existence. But you know? I regretted that so much because it was a terrible mistake. I failed to believe, yet He still saved us.

And now that the biggest storm is coming our way, I am trying to be very calm. It's not easy, but prayers do wonders. Prayers produce miracles. I know that as long as I hold on tight to my God, my mother Mary and my brother Jesus, we'll all be safe.

Let's continue praying for the Philippines. I'm asking everyone for help.

Family


I am never the type of person to show my affections towards my immediate family members. I may be tagged as sweet and thoughtful, but never did I have the courage to show them that side of me. Sometimes, I even wonder if the real 'me' is the cold-hearted one which I take myself for, instead of the warm person that I am with friends. 

Geez. I have so much to say, don't I?

The point though is: I want to dedicate my November to my family. I have stepped into reality already and had begun journeying to a future I'm trying to control and design. Of course, I need my family with me. Because I will never be who I am without them.

They wouldn't know but my main goal in life is to give them everything. I may always act like a brat and a jerk and a selfish individual, but I sacrifice myself a lot that some friends would even urge me to pay attention to my own needs and desires. 

But at this moment, I don't think I can do that yet. I know I buy things for myself and I go to places to rest; but the general idea of everything I do is to give my parents and my brother a better life. I know this is kinda weird but they are also the reason why I don't get into relationships. No, they don't really stop me or whatever; but it was my own decision to put myself on second place. 

Every night in my prayers, I always beg God to take care of my family. The painful incident we went through when my grandmother was still alive traumatized me so much that I practically traded my happiness just so nothing will happen to them. I know I'm being selfish and I'm being ridiculous because at the end of the day, it's still for my own sake; but I want to believe that I really just want them all to be okay all the time.

So yeah, November's going to be for them; and hopefully, the rest of my years too. I plan to take them out to dates and buy them things and you know, just let them feel that I have found my place now and I appreciate all their efforts. 

I'm excited. :)

Thought For the Soul


Lurking around Facebook and saw this quote shared by a friend. Instantly, it appealed to me - especially because of everything that's been happening around me for quite some time.

Lately, there had been lots of people on Facebook who are being too criticizing. I guess, it rooted from the constant vigilance in social networking sites we, Filipinos, are being taught of. The main purpose is basically to encourage awareness about the current happenings in the Philippine government. We are encouraged to observe and notice all things we think could eventually lead to the revelation of who's corrupt and who's not.

But what we don't realize is that some of us are doing it wrong already. Exaggerated posts and accusations were made public in the internet. It has become a trend to criticize without thinking and many are constantly jumping into the bandwagon of this idiocy. Most of us fail to remember that words and social networking site combined is so powerful that it could readily ruin a whole country, if not just one person's life.

Getting away from politics, I see this situation in ordinary people too. Just last night, I saw a post about a couple being bashed online for pretending to be in Singapore when they're just actually in Nuvali in Sta. Rosa, Laguna. While it is quite funny why they would do that, it was kind of alarming how the share counts basically escalated overnight - complete with comments bashing the two for that simple case.

I know it was a little funny why they did that but do they really deserve such harsh treatment from people who don't know them in the first place? Based on other's researches, the pictures were actually grabbed by an unknown person and were uploaded on a poser Facebook account... probably to stir up controversies.

Moving on... I think the worst case I've come across this past week was that of a KPOP fan who happened to wear a WOLF 88 shirt on Super Show 5 Manila. While I consider it also rude, I wish some fans actually put their feet on the break pedal and controlled themselves. I didn't exactly read the comments to stop myself from getting involved; but I think I burst out when the child had to post a public apology. I read the letter. I thought it was too much for her pride.

You see, she's most likely a new fan as she said it was her first concert. Meaning, there are still things she doesn't know about the fandom. I know common sense should have been applied, but mistakes like that happen. In one way or another, we've all done that. 

So why is there a need for bashing?

With all these things that happened, I was once again reminded how shallow people's minds can be. It's so easy for us to hate on something that doesn't meet our standards. What we fail to do is to try to understand why that happened. I mean, everything has a reason; why can't we try to at least be a bit objective and know those reasons first before we let out harmful comments?

I wish people would understand that basking on hate does nothing good. I can attest to that because I've been there, I've done that; and it just destroyed me. If we don't want to understand, at least we should open up our eyes to see the positive side of things. We need to accept the fact that there are still good things in this world apart from our ownselves. We can stop hate if we learn how to appreciate. We're not the only ones trying to be perfect; and we don't become perfect once we point out the dirt of others. 

If we try to find the good things, we'd be very amused that we won't have time to look at the bad ones. There are so much of it, waiting to be noticed. So let's all free ourselves from the hypocrisy of hating on things we don't understand. 

It's about time.

A Promise



If there is one thing that the Roman Catholics are often bashed for, it's our belief in images and statues. Just recently when the churches in Bohol and Cebu collapsed due to the destructive earthquake, many non-Catholics suddenly commented that it happened because God was angry that we worship wooden images. While I believe that that comment was way below the belt and totally uncalled for, let me just say it straight that it's not the wooden image which we revere, not worship. We pray through the saints, and NOT to the saints. There's a big difference lying between those two ideas - something which many loose-tongue people don't actually see.

Now what does this have to do with my post?

I have quite a number of friends who own wooden images of different saints. Most of which are shown to the public through processions and expositions on the altar. Called 'camareros', they do exert effort to keep their images well-taken care of. 

For so many years, they have been trying to turn me into one, and I always refuse. It's not that I don't want to; but you see, being a camarero can be totally expensive. There are two main reasons: One, I need to spend on the procession coach, flowers, lighting, etc. Basically, money is greatly involved in maintaining the statues; and with the social and financial status I have right now, the idea will surely be very, very difficult.

Second, I couldn't determine who I should get. It's not like I can just choose who I want. I need to have a devotion the saint because that's basically the primary purpose of taking care of one. Initially, I thought I should get a Niña (young Virgin Mary), but then the choice became St. Jude Thaddeus or St. Augustine of Hippo (considering that I graduated from the then-St. Jude Academy, an Augustinian school). However, they all didn't stick to my mind simply because my devotions to them aren't as strong as I should have. I'm working on it though.

In the end, the plans turned to vain. Financial difficulties arose and it left me with nothing in my pocket. I thought I'm no longer interested...

But after the procession of the Holy Rosary in our parish and as we lounged at Kuya Marvin's house, a Eureka moment came to me and it stuck since then.

"Pope John Paul II," I just said.

To be canonized on April 2014, I have always liked the pope. It started when I was in Grade 1 when World Youth Day happened in the Philippines. I know I wasn't really into faith then as I was still so young, but perhaps, we can attribute the interest to the song "Tell the World of His Love" which basically stuck with me until this very moment.

As I grew up, Pope John Paul II holds the position of the Supreme Pontiff; so I basically had him as My Holiness throughout my whole life of being a Catholic. His smile had always been very calming to me, and his love for the young ones has always been inspiring. It's only recently though that I actually delved into who he really was during his earlier years.

Back to the real topic, I couldn't really determine how Pope John Paul II suddenly popped up into my mind. But nevertheless, I felt back then in an instant that here's gonna be the real thing.

Obviously delighted that they finally got me converted, my friends immediately told me it was a good decision and offered me all the help they could provide. Kuya Marvin said he'll take care of the vestments while Luwi will help in the flower arrangements. I can tell they were excited. Well, I am too. 

When I got back home that night, I saw the pope's picture hanging in my wall; and as usual, he was smiling at me and i couldn't help but smile back. That's his prime effect on me after all. I told myself that I'll try to push through with the plans. No backing out.

As I prayed the rosary, I asked Mother Mary to give me signs that I promised the right thing. Since then, the idea of having Pope John Paul II's image in my home never left my mind. It's like every place I go to reminds me of him. 

The strongest sign I think would be during Sunday when I was waiting for friends to come over the house, I turned the TV on. Suddenly, I felt the urge to turn to Channel 50 (EWTN) and watch the Papal Audience. As soon as Pope Francis' face popped up in my screen, he said Pope John Paul II's name.

WOW.

Instantly, I tried to plan where I'll get the money. I have already figured out how much I'm willing to shed, and through the blessed pope's intercession, I know I'll be able to get the amount before my 25th birthday next year.

It's gonna be exciting! :)














Not All Adults are Worth It (THIS IS JUST A RANT)

I may be incredibly rude, but I can say that I can totally be nice to adults. But today, I have learned one of the ultimate truths the society should learn to accept: NOT ALL ADULTS DESERVE TO BE RESPECTED.

Excuse me if this will go against the 'religious person' in me who I'm trying to establish through my recent blog posts. I just felt so fed up with the annoying stereotyping of most elders nowadays.

This afternoon, I was in a renewal/formation seminar of Lay Ministers and we were in-charged of the taking the ID pictures. One parish annoyed me to hell simply because they kept on insisting something that they should come first. The thing is, we told the organizers that they are the priority but for some reason, they were put on second. I think it's because the group failed to actually follow the rules.

As they were waiting forcibly for their turn, I saw them looking at us like it's our fault. And I hated it. I hated how they think we weren't true to our promises. I told them they will come first, but how can I go against the decision of the organizers, right? I was a merely contracted for a certain task, why would I freaking meddle with another?

I thought that's the first and last annoyance for the day. But just before the event ended, I was told that one group failed to submit their registration form. Thus, we didn't know that there were 36 more whose pictures we had to take.

Now here's the issue: It's not our fault that they didn't get to give us their form beforehand. When I told them that, they began blaming the registration people for not giving the form to us. That's when I began to wonder why they just won't admit that it's their fault? The rules were clearly set and delivered to them. Why didn't they understand? For them to learn their lessons, the organizers told us that they should come last.

Fast forward: The event ended and three groups were asked to stay for the ID picture-taking. When I got back to the booth, I noticed that the group which was supposed to be last were the ones seated. I kinda thought it was downright unfair considering that they were the last one to submit the requirement. Good thing, the director came and settled the issue and it was made clear that they should be the last.

That's when I began erupting. They were insisting that they had to leave and so some of them actually annoyed the hell out of us. For the sake of a smooth-sailing though panic-stricken process, we all decided to accommodate them and move on to the actual arrangement.

But of course, this last group won't stop. They ended up getting my email address, saying they will just send their pictures because they need to be somewhere else. I realized that it was a better idea and gave my detail right away.

But to my surprise, they didn't leave and fell in line instead. It could have been okay and I could have dealt with them properly; but no, they just have to blurt out unnecessary comments and take out their annoyance that they came last at me.

To my utter displeasure, one even actually had the nerve to tell me that while I was taking group pictures, I should have brought another camera so they weren't put on waiting. WELL EXCUSE ME BUT THE CAMERA WE'RE USING ISN'T EVEN MINE! I hate it how they think we have everything just because we were there. And I hated it how they rudely deliver their suggestions. Couldn't they see that we were already going gaga over the situation? Was it our fault that there were too many of them and a total of more or less three hours lack to accommodate them all?

I was shaking in anger already as I used my intermediate pad as their name signs. I couldn't handle disrespectful adults who think they should always be prioritized. I mean, there were a lot of them who want to come first. HOW THE FUCK WOULD I MANAGE ALL OF THEM AT THE SAME TIME!?

Then you know what irked me more? Someone really had the nerve to blame me for not assisting those first in lines when it's their co-members who were actually crowding around me. THAT'S WHEN MY BLOOD REACHED ITS BOILING POINT. I reasoned out that their members were the ones at fault, and not us.

Probably realizing that I was right, he just took the piece of paper from me. Or rather, he SNATCHED it.

Goodness. I thought I should have just shoved the piece of paper down his throat.

Sigh~



Okay, I know what you guys are thinking: that they're still adults and that as the younger one, I should exert more patience. BUT THAT'S MY POINT! They easily blamed us when things go wrong even without our knowledge, but they wouldn't freaking accept it if we point out their mistakes? WTF.

I've always believed that respect begets respect; and I just hope adults know that they aren't exception to the rule. No one is worthy of good treatment and unending patience, unless he could practice those himself.


.

I know I did wrong too for showing the group that I was angry. And to anyone who were just dragged to the annoyance, I apologize. Your fellow brothers' attitude kinda got into me; and I'm sorry that you had to be affected in a way or another.



La Voz de Dios

I can clearly remember that night when Kuya Marvin and I were talking at the parish office. I was told to get a piece of paper as we were going to hold a one-on-one meeting. Next thing I knew, I was jotting down notes about a certain production plan about the exposition of the bells of Meycauayan. "Many churchgoers have never been to the belfry so let's take this chance to bring this hidden place to them," he said. I chuckled as I just rode on his trip. 

I should have known that he was being totally serious about it. 


Believe it or not, it was more than grueling preparing for it. Well, it didn't look exactly difficult but somehow, there was this heavy weight put on our shoulders when we committed ourselves to it. Personally speaking, I was overwhelmed with how it all turned out to be. We held shoots, editing sessions, and whatnots. We even pulled an all-nighter designing the whole venue.

And boy was it so fulfilling when it opened on September 28. 


So the main focus on the exhibit are the historic bells which had been in the parish for over three centuries already. Named San Jose, San Francisco and Maria Concepcion, these bells can still be found (and are still being used to this date) at the belfry which was erected on 1800 as per the order of Fray Francisco Gascueña, OFM. 

As for the belfry itself, it is considered one of the cultural treasures of Meycauayan and the rest of Bulacan. Aside from the fact that it is the belfry of one of the oldest churches in the province, it is also one of the only two remaining belfries in the Philippines which is connected to the main church building by a stone bridge. 

Certainly, this piece of trivia is one reason why I am so proud to be under the Parish of St. Francis of Assisi in Meycauayan.

However, the belfry is in no good condition anymore. Although the main edifice still stands strong, foliage are threatening its exterior. The interior is pretty much ruined too by dirt and too much vandalism. The bells are in no good conditions too, especially Maria Concepcion, one of the most beautifully-sounding bells in the province then.

It is the primary objective of La Voz de Dios to collect enough money to fund the restoration of the belfry. I took part on the whole team because I really wanted this cause to begin. I have always insisted that for people to advance, they have to look back on their history. The belfry is a huge part of Meycauayan's past and we all have the responsibility to take care of it, as parishioners.


Aside from the bells and the belfry, La Voz de Dios also featured the history of the actual church of the Parish of St. Francis of Assisi. Rare pictures of the structure as it gets transformed through time were displayed for everyone to see. Culture buffs would surely enjoy looking at it, discovering new things, about a place not everybody would have thought to mean so much, history-wise.

I'm not being a suck-off or anything but I really think we at the Parish Commission on Youth and the Parish Committee on Church Cultural Heritage really did a great job on this one. I honestly believe that to draw people to faith, there has to be something shallow that would attract them to it. I know this sounds ridiculous but I remember what our Religion teacher in HS said: "Let people find something they like in one thing you want them to always do. When it becomes a habit, then you take the next step by instilling in their minds what their actual purpose for doing it should be."

In my honest opinion, the exposition of the church's history could have instilled a sense of importance towards the parishioners. I won't deny that I grew more fond of my parish when I learned how colorful its history has always been. I guess this only applies to culture buffs like I am but I think the thought has become a stepping stone for some to actually practice their faith. And hopefully when they do, it will turn into something bigger that would strengthen their Catholicism more.



It has been more than a week since we opened La Voz de Dios; and we think it was too short. That is why we decided to extend it until we think we've reached enough people. If you guys are coming to Meycauayan, I wish you would stop by the Parish of St. Francis of Assisi in Poblacion, and at least take a glimpse of the wonderful heritage and history of our humble church.


La Voz de Dios
Weekdays: 8AM-5PM
Weekends: 7AM-8PM

St. Francis, Here are Thy Servants...

the teacher. the writer. the hotelier. the government worker. the banker. the priest (hehe).

I know I should be blogging about what happened yesterday; but to be honest, ideas won't flow well until I get to write about the people behind the event. I haven't slept well yet but excitement rushes in so please just excuse me if I'm gonna come up with a mess or sound like I'm kissing my own ass in this article.

Anyway, in the picture above is the Documentation and Design Team of the recently concluded Feast of St. Francis of Assisi. We were the ones responsible for La Voz de Dios, the exhibit about the Meycauayan belfry and its bells. We were also the ones in charge of taking pictures and videos, and some design stuffs needed for the event.

We are a team, but more than that... we are friends.

To be honest, the whole preparation season for the feast day wasn't as smooth as everyone must have thought. We ran out of time. We ran out of ideas. We ran out of physical energy. But I guess, when you offer your distraught, sufferings, and fatigue to give back and strengthen your faith with your friends who have the same endeavor, things will eventually fall into its proper places.

Up to this point that I haven't actually slept that much yet, it still feels amazing how we got to do what we did yesterday and the past months. If I had not been involved with these people,  I wonder if I could even get to come up with something as grand as what we planned. Friends really do help each other, and in our case, one is just so essential. 

I know a lot of things had happened yesterday but I still feel thankful to God and to St. Francis that I got the chance to take part in this exciting milestone of the parish. More than that, I feel intensely grateful that I got the chance to work with Kuya Ron (not in the picture), Kuya Marvin, Sir Robby, Celine, Luwi and Tina for something as big as this. 


Reality



Obviously, I was too busy with real life that I wasn't able to write about my regular monthly goal. And no, I'm not extending GRACE because I realized that there's just no point on it. I mean, I do want to be graceful but I think that would need all year round to master. Plus, I think it's something I cannot force to happen. I am a very loud and outgoing person, I guess I should keep it that way. 

And so I'll name October, 'REALITY'.

Here's one major principle of mine: YOU ONLY BECOME A TRUE PERSON WHEN YOU'RE REAL. Pretensions suck and would just lead you to nowhere so it's better to be who you actually are. You won't feel the burden of pleasing others, because everything you will do will be in coherence to your will. No pressure.

I also think that people should all learn to accept a certain reality intended for them. (Read destiny.) In my case, it's the fact that I'm not rich and KPOP is merely a sideline of entertainment. I have allowed six years of my life to happen around its world that I almost thought it's my reality. Hence, the idea that it is my happiness.

But it's just gonna be what it is - source of entertainment, distraction, alternative.

I guess I owe to 'growing old'. I guess six years had been enough and now I almost don't pay attention anymore. Well, I still do treasure it, as well as the friendships I made, but I suppose I just realized that there are bigger priorities in life that I should actually spend on.

And that's the real 'reality' where family and future exists.

So this October, I'll be focusing on what I actually am as a person and not on who I want myself to be. Like any other months, this is going to be a challenge but something in me dictates - and I know - that I can manage.


Goodbye Luhan... I Love You.



After less than just three months of giving me joy, excitement, love and comfort, Luhan passed away just a few minutes ago. I am actually shaking at the moment. He's my most favorite puppy (hence, the name) among Chichi and Skippy's babies and he died because of Distemper and Parvo viruses.

I can't stop myself from sobbing right now. It was very heart-wrecking seeing him in that state for just three days. His health deteriorated rapidly, not giving me a chance to prepare myself. His convulsive seizures was the most painful to see, and what's worse was I couldn't do anything. We brought him to the veterinarian for vaccination in an attempt to somehow control the virus, but it was all too late. It affected his brain to the point that he's crying because of the pain...

And then he succumbed.



When the seizures won't stop and he started pooping and peeing unconsciously, I was convinced that he's gonna leave. And then one thing just came to my mind: I CAN'T LEAVE HIS SIDE. 

Way way back before I even got Chichi, I came across this picture of a blog post saying that when our dogs are dying, we shouldn't leave their side. They've entrusted and offered their whole lives to us as their masters and the last thing we could do is to let them feel that we appreciate them up to the last moments. In Luhan's case, he was with me for barely three months only; but he had been a constant comfort. 

He loved me like family. And I know.

I know it irks some people whenever I act like this. To them, it's crazy that I treat dogs like human beings - to the point that I have chosen to spend the rest of my life with them, than with a husband. But you know what? They are like humans. They can feel. They can understand. 

And I have proven that.

As we stuck with him as he was dying, my brother showed him a video of his siblings taken from the house of their new master. I can tell he was looking at it. I can tell he was watching at it. And somehow, it makes me feel better that at least, he got to see his siblings before he left.

And you know what proves me most that they're just like human?

Luhan listened to me.

During the past three days, I can tell Luhan was fighting - because I constantly tell him not to leave. Even my mom tells him everyday, as she caresses him to sleep, that he should fight because she doesn't want him to leave. 

And believe it or not, Luhan did. Even the veterinarian said that he was lucky to have reached such kind of state despite all the sufferings. He wouldn't have lasted three days if he didn't fight. 

But when I saw him suffering already as the seizures won't stop, I told him to just give up... that we're all gonna be okay. And you know what? After a few minutes, he stopped breathing. His eyes were still open and I couldn't stop crying. I touched his body which rapidly gone stiff and cold. 

And then I left, no longer able to take the sight of my baby lying lifelessly in the carpet. As I went upstairs, I mumbled a little prayer to St. Francis at St. Roque, thanking them - despite the pain - for ending Luhan's sufferings already. 



No matter how much people think that I'm crazy for loving dogs so much, I don't care; because after all, dogs give me more happiness than any human being could. Because my dogs, until their last breath, will love me with all their hearts.

And no other person could do that.



Fearing the Possibility

So at the moment, my heart is in despair. Three of my dogs (Chichi, Skippy and Luhan) are in a critical condition after contracting Parvo and Distemper viruses. Chichi and Skippy are both adults already so their immune system are kinda stronger although I know they're really suffering...

But Luhan... Luhan is just a three-month old puppy. He's my favorite among the two other dogs' pups. I made that obvious when I gave him that name. Luhan is my most favorite member of EXO and I promised that if I have a new dog, I'll be using his name.

But now, my Luhan is dying.

I'm trying to hold in my tears as I type this. It hurts my heart to know that I'm this (-) close to losing my puppy. His immune system is rapidly deteriorating and I can't do anything. It pains me so much that I can't do anything. Even the veterinarian admitted that there's a small chance that he'll survive... as well as my two other babies.

Now, I know most of you are kinda looking at me like I'm one silly person who would cry over dogs. But for someone so admittedly lonely like I am, it's like losing a part of me. My heart slowly and painfully deteriorates too, whenever I see them, especially Luhan, suffering from seizures and convulsions. I'm suffering too.

My dogs are my best, best friends. They're my most favorite companions because to be honest, they're much more sensitive than any other human being I know. Whenever I'm sad, they'll come to me and lick my legs and just jump in glee. They're ready to provide all the comfort they can give their master, without me asking for it. They don't ask. They don't complain. They just love.

And they know love better than any human being.

And now that they're terminally ill, I fear. I've witnessed enough deaths this year, and I don't want three more. I know saying goodbye would be inevitable, but I think now's too early... especially for Luhan. I know there's still Kai but those three other dogs are special to me too.

How despaired will I be if they leave?



St. Francis of Assisi, St. Roque... Please pray for us. :'(

Those Children Within Us


I don't know what to feel whenever I see young children wearing their school uniforms. It excites me to see them actually attending school (mainly because I want everyone in the country to be educated); but at the same time, it makes me nostalgic and envious because I know I can never be like them again.

When I was a kid, I've always wanted to grow up fast. I want to be an adult to escape the being 'overprotective' of my parents over me. I wanted to make my own decisions, do things my own pace and in accordance to my own discretion.

Admittedly, I failed to enjoy school as much as it didn't enjoy me. I blame myself partly for all the regretful things I've been through back then. If I didn't hurry into becoming an adult, I could have created better memories to relish now. 

But obviously, it's all too late.

Right now, I just want to be a student again, who only thinks about examinations and other academic stuffs. I just want to be a student again, who believes that the biggest problem is when you get a grade in the line of 7. 

Being an adult is currently taking its toll on me. You see, all the responsibilities which I'm never ready for are dumping themselves like I'm some kind of Wonderwoman. This year had been so challenging, and I'm feeling like I'm this (-) close to giving up. 

But I know that I shouldn't. I can't.


Life, despite being so difficult and harsh on adults like me, is still a vast dimension of opportunities. Whether we're all kids or already adults, we are still entitled to different chances to be happy. We are all at liberty to create more memories which we can cherish in the future... and make friends like how these children in the pictures did. 

It is just normal to wish to be young again; but what we fail to realize is that we all remain as children, in one way or another. Inside, there's still this 5-year old us who are ready to come out as soon as we permit it. 

Yes, for our inner child to come out, we need to let it.

I know most of you are familiar with Naruto. He's a ninja of the Konoha Village who was condemned (for the lack of better word) because sealed inside him is the Kyubi, a nine-tailed monster which has the greatest power among the nine beasts in the world of ninjas. He was devious, cunning, short-tempered and hard to control... but Naruto managed to tame him, and we all eventually learned that he has a name - Kurama.

Now how does that relate to this? I personally think that the situation of Naruto and Kurama is similar to the situation of everyone so obsessed with adulthood. We condemn ourselves because of the child within us, thinking that if we unleash that, the world will judge us for not acting our age. But you see, what gives power to our being adult is actually our childhood. We look at it like it's something that should be kept hidden, along with the secrets and mistakes that we committed in the past.

But you see, it has a name. It is us. So why should we get ashamed? Like Kurama, the children within us have reasons why they did whatever they did before. If only we learn how to accept it... If only we learn how to just let go of the past and live in the present for the future...

We can all be kids again because that part of us never left. Even though faced with so many adult problems in life, we can always go back to who were when we were younger. Most times, it helps. Believe me.



Tully's Coffee (Valenzuela)

After a grueling day of work, my body succumbed to tiredness and convinced my mind that I am in need of a break. So hitting two birds at one throw, I asked my bestfriend to come with me to Tully's Coffee in Valenzuela. It's a cute coffee shop, a first in the city as far as I know, located just across the Valenzuela City Hall in Malinta. 


Tully's Coffee is a nice place for some quiet, if you ask me. The atmosphere is really comfortable. The interior's cozy, and I attribute much of it to the soft light the place used. There's free Wi-Fi, although I didn't use it. And the range of product prices are lower than the typical coffee shops. 

Armed with an excellent camera, I took the opportunity to snap some photos hoping that it could promote the establishment in one way or another.




Do Cheaters Deserve Second Chances?

So there had been this fairly huge drama that had happened a while ago at our house. My cousin, who was cheated by her husband was here. The man was also here. My dad acted as a bridge, with hope to settle things between the two. But my cousin was adamant (thankfully!) not to get back with the person. And I can't help but abhor him, for hurting my ate; and I can't help but hate his father for trying to cover up for the 'mistakes' of his son.

Here's a summary: My cousin got pregnant and being a 'responsible man' that he made us believe that he was, the person married her. Prior to the marriage, this man was in a relationship with a girl for three years already; but he said everything has ended between them. And so the marriage happened. Unknown to us, for the past two years, a lot of problems had been happening between the couple. For numerous times, the guy won't come home, saying he's staying in his parents' house. Whenever my cousin calls her in-laws, the parents will say their son is already sleeping. It is only just recently that she discovered that whenever she thinks that her husband's at their own home, he would actually be in the girl's house - and his parents knew that.

Last week, my cousin was tipped off by someone that her husband was in the house of the woman. With her brother, she went there and she discovered that he was, in fact, there. But much to her dismay, her so-called husband didn't come out to meet him, afraid that her brother would physically hurt him. Such a fucking coward, if you ask me. 

Now, my cousin and her children left their old house. And the fucker came to my father for help.I heard the alibis, but nothing sounded convincing. Nevertheless, the meeting a while ago was arranged.

I tell you, it was so annoying the whole time he was pretending to cry, pleading for forgiveness. He was such a liar that his statements are so coherent. First, he admitted he was wrong; and then he would deny it. When my cousin brought out her evidences, he even denied that he didn't know the girl, considering that he was all smiles in their anniversary pictures. 

My blood boils even just the thought of it. Especially when I remember how easy the girl looked in those photos.

I know I'm just a cousin and I am not in the position to react this way. But how to not hate on cheaters? How to not see the worst side of it? 

Even if it's not my cousin, I would still hate on him. He was cornered already, and yet he's still finding his way out through lies. He was treating us all like idiots, to what? To save his and his family's face. My cousin was firm on her decision not to get back with that fucker. I told her I won't talk to her anymore if her decision changes.

My mother was furious at me for such statement. She told me to be an instrument for peace and the man should be forgiven. Sure, when time comes, he will be forgiven. He deserves that at least as a person. But does he deserve a second chance? 

A BIG FAT NO.

There's no excuse for cheating, because there is a lot of ways to avoid that. If there's a problem between a couple, talk about it and settle things. If talking doesn't work, then end things properly. Relationship, especially marital, problems aren't reasons to do this kind of fuckery. There is simply no excuses when one decides to be a bastard and cheat on his/her partner. That's pure disrespect towards the dignity of the other. It's a crime. 

I know men are born polygamous; but there's a limit to that. Women can accept if their men would look at others girls, but if it starts to hurt, that's where everything goes wrong. Worse, if it already hurts and the guy still won't stop, that's the torturous part. 

Cheating isn't a mistake caused by temptation. Maybe, at first, yes. But if it gets repetitive, it becomes a choice; and that's what disgusts me. A man choosing to hurt his partner is something I will never ever let pass. 

Because you know, the pain of being cheated on hurts like hell. 

Here's why:

When a girl is cheated on, she feels hate at first. But eventually, it turns into something more serious. She begins to hate herself. 

What guys don't know about the psychological effect of their cheating is that it often challenges the girls' self-esteems. It makes us think that we're not beautiful, or sexy, or rich, or just good enough that our partner had to look for someone else. We try to look within us what our mistakes had been, and then even though it's not right, the weaker ones among us end up blaming themselves for what had happened. 

Worse, the victims would develop a strong fear for trusting others. That's the scariest of all, because not many have the idea of how difficult to live life doubting everyone.

Believe me. Cheating doesn't just ruin a relationship. It ruins a life, a future. It wounds its victim deep, and scars will remain producing so much fear. 

...

Call me biased or whatever; but I honestly think that cheating is just like Pringles. Once you pop, you can't stop. That's why I don't think this kind of people deserves second chances. Because there's no more assurance, and that's one important thing to keep a relationship alive. 



Presenting "The UE-ian Way"

There are a lot of things going on right now. While I don’t set aside the issues of pork barrel and the Zamboanga stand-off, I just want to focus on something that concerns me more directly – UAAP.

I am a proud alumnae of the University of the East (Caloocan) and is thus a supporter of the UE Red Warriors, the men’s basketball team of the school. I take pride on it, win or lose. I may not know so much about the technicalities of basketball but I know enough to say that the team is struggling to give pride to Lualhati, as we have been experiencing drought –UAAP championship-wise – for nearly three decades already.

I can see the effort in every game played, and so I have taken offense on what a writer wrote on his column at the website of Philippine Star.

Truth be told, I hated him; and I hated his editor more. UE’s pride was lambasted and degraded in every manner possible, just because of a simple conflict between the two school’s basketball teams. The whole community was dragged into a bad light, when the main focus should be the games only. There was a plethora of snide remarks against UE and other schools, which are totally unacceptable, if you ask me. As I have predicted, the writer used the ‘opinion’ card, but even for an opinion writer whose articles are published on a major (national) news portal site, it was terrifyingly unprofessional.

I went to the writer’s Twitter account and was more enraged by the fact that he doesn’t show even a bit of remorse on what he had done. He easily reasoned out that the article won’t get published if the editor didn’t like it. So as it was released online, no one should blame me if I assume that the editor’s from the same school. If that’s the case, I guess, I now have an idea how their ‘way’ is. Tsk tsk. I wonder if it’s normal for people there to act so high. I have many other separate experiences with this kind of attitude from others of their kind too.

Or here’s a possible spin-off: The editor is not from the same school, but had decided to approve the article anyway to create more noise. If that’s the case, I see that as a low-blow, certainly unethical for a person working in the journalism field. Such action’s a disgrace. The company should do something about it. I thought it’s only PDI which has this kind of system. Apparently, I’m mistaken.

At the moment, I’m trying to hold in the anger. Someone needs to be the bigger person, as what the writer had suggested by RT-ing a certain tweet. And personally, I wanted to be that one. My school taught me the significance of humility (which I honestly learned the hard way) and simplicity; so instead of promoting hate against the perfect and flawless writer and his editor, let me just point out what I think many fail to see in UE:

Home. UE is a home.

And that’s why the whole community’s fired up right now. Like any normal person in this world, we do react and fight back when our home is threatened. In this case, we were lambasted with derogatory statements without even given a chance to fight back. We were stabbed at the back, because nobody saw this kind of rude act coming. We were all so focused on setting things straight about fairness in the league, and then this came up. His words weren’t mere opinions of an educated person. Those were libelous statements aimed to bring down an opponent in the dirtiest sort of fashion. I bet if it’s someone from UE who wrote something like this against their school, we won’t be seeing the end of it; because pride is their breathing ground. They would – proven by other past circumstances – fight to death to retrieve their school’s glory. So tell me, why can’t we do the same?

Because we’re not them? Because we’re not from the big four?

UE is usually a victim of double standards among the UAAP schools, to be honest; and in many incidents, the community had just decided to let it pass – capitalizing on the virtue of humility we’ve all been – in one way or another – imbued with. But we’re not idiots. We know when to cry foul, and that's the reason behind this series of protests; and that is why we gravely took offense on the ‘opinions’ of that writer.

We may lean more on the ‘jologs’ side. We are certainly not a coño school. Our tuition may not be at par as the others’. But we are individuals who know the limits of every action. Goodness! To understand that doesn’t even require one to be a college student! That’s common sense! Everything that’s happening had stretched the whole UE community to its boiling point. We snapped.

And so like Warriors, we will defend ours. That’s the natural reaction. We can always accept defeat as long as there’s a fair and unbiased process to determine the victor. We aren’t stupid people who would insist on something we know we’ve lost on. That’s a quality where the whole school thrives on. I wish other people would see that.

UE may not be as powerful as the writer’s school; but we still have a dignity to uphold. In whatever field, the university pride should be protected because this is where we came from. We are a school, a community – not a mere laughing stock for these almighty people to bully and pick on all the time.We are the children of Lualhati, and we are who we are in our own ways. We may be different from others but I hope people would look at the positive side of it, instead of focusing on the impression that we are just UE…

Because at least, we don’t ruin a whole school’s reputation just to put ours in the good light. We aren’t hypocrites who think that our school’s so perfect and that we’re ahead of everyone else.

Because believe it or not, humility and simplicity is “The UE-ian Way.” And frankly speaking, I have never felt so thankful that I chose UE among all other schools than now.