Is It Okay to Have A Lot of Money?

Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about how to earn more. My regular job is paying me good but to keep up with life’s constant and incessant changes, I need to find more income. If we’re to go back to several years ago, I wouldn’t have thought that I’ll be this addicted with money. Now, I am convinced that I need it. It’s my top priority.

Somehow, such admission makes me feel ridiculous. All this time, I’ve been telling people that happiness does not lie in money alone. I’ve always believed that the best things in life are free. But as I assume responsibility over my family, I end up realizing that money is necessary. But here’s the catch: it’s not actually money that we like. It’s the sense of security that money brings which we’re after.

We use money to get ourselves our basic needs – shelter, food, and clothing. We use it to pay our bills which we use to get on with our daily lives like water, electricity, internet, and whatnots. We use money to pay for our medical expenses. We use money to entertain ourselves. We use money to exist well in the world. And without money, where would we think we’ll be?

Money provides us an assurance that whatever happens, we will be fine. If we have money for everything, we are freed from stress and worries. Believe me. It’s never easy to worry about where to get the money to pay for everything, especially medical expenses. I’ve been there. I’ve done that. And I never want to go back there again.

True, money can be an instrument of evil as it provokes immense temptation. But is there anything in this world which cannot turn bad if abused? Money becomes evil when the person uses it for evil things. It enslaves people who willingly worship it. There’s nothing wrong with money as long as it is spent for the betterment of life. If it’s not, that’s where the problem arises.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to have so much money as long as we know we deserve it, and as long as we work hard for it. But we must always remember that we have the responsibility to use it well. We shouldn’t worship it. Let it worship us. We have to manage it wisely so it can do good things in our lives.

As I end, I remember a quote I got from KBS’ The Human Condition. It said "money can provide the means for happiness; but It can never be happiness itself.” True enough, right?


How to Live a Life Without Regrets

photo not mine

For so long, I have led my life to thinking that as long as others are happy with my decisions, it wouldn't matter if I'm not. That's a principle I have blindly followed for so long because I have been too obsessed about pleasing others, believing that that would make me happy. Little did I know that while I try so hard to achieve this 'happiness', I am actually burying myself in a slum of frustrations and despair. 

I honestly didn't know how it happened; but one day, I just noticed that while others are growing and succeeding, I have remained stagnant. It suddenly occurred to me how sad my life has always been. That's when I finally realized that it's time to quit all these bullshits. I do not need to put other people first. Myself should always be the number one priority. 

When that mindset sank in, I felt lighter and more free. The next thing I knew, I'm glowing.

Due to our addiction for social acceptance, most of us become blinded with what really matters. In the end, we forsake ourselves and completely put our joy in the wrong places - thinking that we'll eventually be happy with it. But what we fail to realize is that we don't just become happy when we say we're happy. It only becomes genuine when we don't feel any regrets or frustrations over how our lives are running. 

Saying 'yes' to others when we actually mean 'no' is one form of denying ourselves of true happiness. It doesn't make us feel good when we lie to ourselves. It makes us feel genuinely incomplete. So why do it? There's always a compromise. Why not practice it?

I am not saying that we should not work on pleasing others. Of course, we should; but that should just come secondary. Remember, we cannot give something we don't have. If we do not prioritize our happiness, how sure are we that others will feel sincerity over what we're doing for them to be happy? 

Life is too short. The best thing to do now is to make the most out of it. So we all should live it wisely and stop taking ourselves for granted. 



Should We Go Back to the Baybayin Days?

I love foreign languages and I admit that I am utterly fascinated with the writing systems of Korea, Japan and China. Those strokes and shapes are really interesting to look at and appealing to decipher. It has always been my dream to be multi-lingual; so ever since high school, I have been studying Hangug-o on my own.


For the past years that I’ve been trying to master the language, it constantly occurs to me why the Philippines didn’t stick using the Baybayin system, more commonly known as alibata. It’s a writing system used by the early Filipinos way before the Spanish colonizers arrive and proclaim that we are illiterate. One of them admitted that. According to a 1567 (?) account of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, the Visayans had been usingletters and characters similar to those of Malay. Thus, he presumed that our ancestors have learned from our neighbors already, and are thus literate.

We used to have our own language, but something else was pressed onto us – and we succumbed. Now, we use the alphabets and a large portion of our vocabulary consists of borrowed words from the Spanish language.

And we call ourselves a free nation.

My Passion Rekindled: The Maestro's Influence

I have to be honest. Going to the museum was an impulsive decision. I just told myself that I would after seeing Beijing2008 by Lui Liu on Facebook. After reading the interpretation of the masterpiece, I just felt like I want to see real artworks and interpret them myself. Hence, the trip. My subject? Spoliarium.

However, it was beyond my imagination that I’m in for something better. Aside from seeing The Parisian Life there, I was exposed to the works of a maestro, who has instantly turned into my biggest inspiration.
Fernando Amorsolo, whose name had been familiar to me since high school, is perhaps one of the most important artists in the history of the Philippines. I’ll leave his biography to Wikipedia (which you can find here) and let me just dwell on what I actually felt as I walk around an entire gallery dedicated to his and his brother’s works.

A Common Artwork I Never Knew

SEATED (L-R): Fr. Jose Burgos, Antonio Luna, Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifacio, Marcelo H. del Pilar, Apolinario Mabini
STANDING (L-R): Clemente Jose Zulueta, Jose Ma. Basa, Pedro Paterno, Juan Luna, Graciano Lopez Jaena, Miguel Malvar, Antonio Ma. Regidor 


Guillermo Tolentino is known for his sculptures. Among his prized works are the Bonifacio Monument in Caloocan City, the Oblation at the University of the Philippines, and the Statue of Lualhati at the University of the East. So it is quite surprising when I saw this artwork depicting the 'Filipino Ilustres'. I never knew he could draw so well too. 
At first thought, I supposed 'ilustre' referred to the  'illustrados' - the educated ones. They are the indios (native Filipinos) who got to study abroad, particularly Spain. In the history of the Philippines, there were several known 'illustrados', among whom is the national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal. They had contributed greatly in the 19th century revolution by using their pens and paper, canvases and paints to keep patriotism burning in the hearts of the Katipuneros (term for the revolutionaries).
In the years I've spent learning history at school, it is easy to say that the 'illustrados' are those young men who came from well-off to rich families. If not, they wouldn't have been able to go out of the Philippines for education.
Yes, I thought the ilustres are the illustrados. But when I saw this artwork of Guillermo Tolentino, I realized that one doesn't have to be rich and educated abroad to be dignified - the real translation of ilustre. If the artist thought of that, he wouldn't have included Apolinario Mabini and Andres Bonifacio - the father and brain of the Katipunan respectively - here.
You see, Andres Bonifacio educated himself. Apolinario Mabini was a paralytic. History accounts tell that they were both from poor families. But they were included in the artwork.
There has to be some meaning to this.  
According to Resil Mojares, a professor emeritus at the University of San Carlos in Cebu, "Tolentino's Filipino Ilustres may be the first attempt at constructing a single, framed gallery of the nation's heroes." The reason may be as simple as that; hence, the approval of the artist for local publications to use this artwork in history textbooks and whatnots without his permission/royalty. But Morales also stated - delighting me that we share the same thought - that "In Tolentino's drawing, however, one finds an earnest attempt to create a pantheon of heroes as part of the symbolic armature of a new nation." 
Frankly speaking, I do not know the stories of some people in the portrait. But as soon as I see it, I can't help but wonder... 
Where is Emilio Aguinaldo in this?

Reference: Mojares, Resil (2010). Guillermo Tolentino's Grupo de Filipinos Ilustres and the Making of a National Pantheon. Retrieved from http://www.philippinestudies.net/files/journals/1/articles/3020/public/3020-3455-1-PB.pdf

Parisian Life: Two Coincidences = Fated Meeting

I can’t remember when I last saw it, but I’m pretty sure it’s way back in high school. Its acquisition was basically the talk of the town for weeks, if not months; so it’s kind of difficult to forget the time I have gone to see it. Well, it’s not like it was planned. We were on a field trip and seeing it was not exactly what we joined the class tour for. So we just passed by it and then moved on. It was just a coincidence that we saw it, after all.

Years after, I’m no longer a kid, and my interests had taken quite a huge leap as time passed. I walk around a place I intended to visit – marveling on the different things I wanted to see. But then it must be coincidence once again. Once more, it was unplanned. I didn’t even know it was there.

But it showed itself to me again, and this time I paid attention.



National Museum: Filipino Pride


I’ve been to Manila for countless times already but only recently did I get the chance to actually enter one of the most interesting places in the city, the National Museum. Rekindling my interest in history and my awakening my fascination for the arts, this place is really a must-visit.

Settled along Padre Burgos Street just beside the Manila City Hall, the National Museum is actually the National Art Gallery. The building used to be the Old Legislative Building (Congress) and is the one we see in the old 50php bill. The fa├žade was so attractive, particularly because of its Corinthian designs. The bas-reliefs and the pillars were eye-catching.


Okay. So the actual purpose for my visit there is Spoliarium, the huge masterpiece of Juan Luna which won first prize in the Madrid Exposition of 1884. Its dimension is 160in x 280in so it basically reaches the ceiling of the lobby where it is displayed. Facing it is Felix Ressureccion Hildago’s Assassination of Governor Bustamante, which is practically of the same height as Luna’s masterpiece.

Because We All Need a Daily Dose of Guidance

AMEN.

So here is a prayer from The Valley of Vision (Arthur G. Benett, 1975). It is basically my favorite morning prayer as it helps me with my work. It's quite a long one, considering that many just do the sign of the cross and say 'thank you for waking me up' upon fluttering their eyes open; but it's a good one. 

To be honest, I call this prayer a plea for miracle. It's like magic to me. On days I say this prayer, I always become productive and fulfilled. On days that I don't, I am completely lethargic. I know it's just a state of mind, but somehow, that leads me to believing that this prayer really helps.

That's why I share this to you. I should have posted this in the morning so you may start the week right; but you have everyday to say it. It's in a .JPG format so you just can save it on your smartphones. 

There are lots of things we can do to keep our heads in our work. Exercise, coffee, a short stroll in the park - all these help in boosting our energy and I commend those who have discovered them. But it takes faith to keep going and I want everyone to realize that if you do things with God's guidance and for His greater glory, you would eventually find the likable things in your job and you'll never have to work again.

So pray and then do what everyone tells you to do. Good luck.

Museum of the Filipino People


Even before I graduated college, I've always felt the satisfaction brought by knowing the stories behind the present; and I suppose that's the reason why when I was still in school, I excelled in history classes. Mind you, I don't really have a good memorization skill for the dates but somehow, pieces of information stick in my mind without too much effort. It falls on a section in my brain for stock knowledge, and only recently did I realize that it must be in the genes since my parents both love the subject too. 

So it is pretty self-explanatory why I prefer museums over malls. I love discovering things from yesteryears and what's a better place to find all those information than in museums? I know the internet has it but it generates a greater feel of satisfaction when you see it in person. That's exactly how I felt that's why I decided to visit two museums I've long wanted to visit last July 7th, Sunday. 

Being a person who shares the same wavelength and interest on new knowledge with me, Lui tagged along. Our first stop was the Museum of the Filipino People. To go there, we got off at the UN Avenue (LRT1 Line) and walked across Rizal Park. As we arrived at around 9:50AM, we had to wait a little since the museum opens at 10AM. By the way, we went there on a Sunday so admission is free. *winks*

Admit It, You Were Once Curious About Fake Foods Too.

From moodymaniac.wordpress.com


Since I was a kid, I have always been fascinated with the displays in foodcourt stalls. I honestly used to think that they were real food preserved so that people can see what the actual meal looks like. Now that I think about it, it was a pretty convincing advertisement technique… until I get to realize that the appearance of the display is most often the opposite of how the real food looks like.

Nonetheless, my interests on these displays were retained, as well as my belief that these are actual foods preserved to last long. I know it sounds pathetic, but only when I became a writer that I discovered that it’s just plastic… intricately designed and molded to look like real food.

According to Wikipedia, there are several materials from which these fake foods are made. In order to achieve a realistic look, various types of plastic and resins are used. Paraffin was used until mid-1980’s to color the food models; but since the color easily fades when exposed to sunlight or heat, the producers shifted to vinyl chloride, which lasts definitely longer.

The use of this simple wonder began during the early Showa period when Americans and Europeans traveled to after Japan’s surrender on World War II. Since they cannot understand Japanese language, they find it difficult to distinguish the menu on restaurants. Thus, Japanese artisans and candle makers decided to create models using wax so foreigners can just point out what they want to eat. Since then, the use of fake foods furthered until today that it has become a fad worldwide.

Fake foods aren't just for restaurant displays though. Most times, they're used for food photography and TV commercials. Nowadays, it can also be used as gift items or accessories.  

In a world as modern as ours though, we can assume that the production of fake foods involves some high-end machineries. While that is true, Wikipedia stated that at least 95% of Japanese artisans and food fake makers still depend on their own abilities to create intricate and nice sets of these items. If I’m not mistaken, the first step to this procedure is to actually use real foods to create the molds. It can be quite daunting but to be honest, dedication and passion for this kind of art will bring one to places.

It’s honestly a funny thing that I am actually writing about fake foods but I really think that this is an interesting matter to delve into. We can exist without these things, after all; but you see, it is these little inventions which gives color to our lives as human beings. They may be of no importance to others; but these things prove that art is everywhere.


And admit it, you were curious about it at one point in your life.   

Grace 2.0

Well, since I started June, I have already known that the concept of Grace would continue beyond the month. It happened with Patience. Grace was a given.

I failed to be graceful. Frankly speaking, it is because I was kinda hesitating about changing myself. I have denied it but in the end, I have realized that I wanted to change for someone. And I shouldn't have joked on myself and insisted that I do it. If I didn't, I wouldn't have used that name immediately. I would've waited.

And probably, I'm ready.

I have turned 24 last month and it is safe to say that I am being awaken to the reality that it's time to move. There's a life to be lived, and I had it waiting since God-knows-when. I have started to act on my future and I am hoping that there's gonna be no more distractions and left turns. I've decided to make things right, by doing the right things.

That's why I think July would have been a proper month for Grace. This time, I know I am doing this for myself alone and nobody else; and I think that will make all the difference.

I know this sounds funny but at the moment, I still feel like the ugly duckling... but I know I'm getting there. I know and I hope that by the end of the month (or year?), I'll be the beautiful swan that I want to be. You know, the swan who is never looked down on. I have discarded the desire to be thin and beautiful for the moment. I just want to work on my attitudes and eradicate those repulsive things in me.



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What am I even saying. LOL