Duterte

Rodrigo Duterte is a candidate for the presidential seat in the upcoming Philippine national elections this May.

A lot of people are voting for him because they believe that his no nonsense way of handling things and iron hand in dealing with criminals are just what our country needs.

I’m not sold on him for two reasons:

  1. He has been accused of (and he hasn’t denied it) being directly in charge of the Davao Death Squad, which has killed low-level criminals on the streets of that city he used to be a mayor of. I don’t think I want a president who condones killing.
  2. In interviews and presidential debates, he hasn’t explicitly explained HOW he plans on eradicating crime in the country, and this worries me because he just might resort to using the Death Squad but in a national scale this time.

However, I’m still considering him because his compassion is undeniable. When Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) struck our country, he sent help but without emblazoning his name on the relief good bags that he sent.

I have a month left to decide whom to vote for, but the prospects are weak.

Gratitude list

  • Down time: my SO’s home department invited me to help plan a surprise birthday “party” for him and his department-mate. Their birthdays were right after each other’s. We went to a nearby country club, had lumch, played billiards and bowling and overall just had a great time in each other’s company
  • Dogs: They used to scare me so much because I got chased by a big black one when I was a kid. How ironic now that our own dog (1 human year and 3 months old) is big (ish) and black, but he’s the sweetest. He’s surrounded by the cats that my sisters own, so he has imbibed some of their mannerisms. Instead of jumping up and licking our faces to greet us, he runs to us and rubs his body along our legs. When we reach down to pet him, THAT is the time he jumps in us and licks our faces. Our dog Bono is part Malinois, part labrador, a tiny part chow chow. I’d also like to think he’s part cat, but maybe that’s just me.
  • Desserts: at the party earlier we has two types of cakes: a banoffee bundt cake with chocolate chip walnut and cinnamon streusel, and an ice cream cake. I just lost all the calories I burned from doing yoga from these cakes.

Creative Writing

I mentioned in a previous post that I’ve started writing poems, and although my progress recently has been slow, I’ve been able to post a poem at least once a week.

When I was a kid I used to dream of becoming a lot of things, and being a writer was one of them. My patience, though, did not seem suited for the career path, so it became a hobby instead. With work, writing became part of my assigned tasks, which was unfortunate because something I used to love passionately became a chore that I had to force myself to do.

To keep myself interested in the craft, I started this blog as an outlet and as a way to write about things I loved instead of things that I HAD to write about. It helped sustain that fire in me, but when I saw that I had gone a month without writing here, I knew I had to do something about it.

With all the changes in my life recently, I needed another outlet, one that would allow me to be more expressive and at the same time channel all these new emotions into a new form. I created a poetry account on Instagram where I post thoughts and some poems. Most of my poems have been about my SO since my thoughts go to him naturally and constantly, but I’m also trying to transform my other thoughts and opinions into poetry.

It’s no easy task, but then isn’t that true for anything worth achieving?


 

Gratitude list

  • clear medical test results: the blood test and ultrasound of my sister cleared her of any alarming diseases or injury. However, there was a slight abnormality in her kidney. The doctor said it goes away on its own and was probably just caused by the stress she’s undergoing (exams season in college). She was advised rest, some medicine, and another checkup later in the year.
  • chocolate spread by Goya: I got hungry and the only food around was Rold Gold thin pretzels. I found an unopened jar of Goya chocolate spread, opened it, and dipped the pretzels in them. Instant afternoon snack.
  • Car: One of my dreams is to be able to own and drive my own car. My family has never had a car, and with my usual carpool companions all gone, I needed a new ride to work. I was tired of being dependent on other people, so I decided to get my own car for my own use and for my family’s. I’m thankful my finances have been better lately, which allowed me to be get a car (new model arriving hopefully this week!) for my family. This is such a great blessing! I can use it to bring my sister to her dorm when I’m free, or bring my mom to do her groceries so she doesn’t have to commute, or whatever or whoever else in the family needs transport. It’ll be so convenient now because I won’t have to be dependent on carpool (no public transpo near my workplace).
  • chat: Facebook Messenger and the Line messaging app has allowed me to stay in touch with Adverbs over the summer break and with my closest friends who live in different parts of the country (one of them is even out of the country). These chat services are amazing! I also love their stickers; they make the chats more interesting.
  • creative writing: Not many people have the talent nor the skill to write creatively. I do not possess such talent, but I would like to develop it as a skill. Just the opportunity to write creatively is something I am thankful for every day.

Soulmate

When I was in college, my favorite English teacher talked to us about the idea of the soulmate. At one point she got personal and said that her soulmate was her best friend. It awakened me to the idea that soulmates don’t have to be your spouse. They could be your best friend or your sibling or some other random person you met on the street but whom you shared a deep and profound connection with.

I don’t know.

On my first year of teaching, I was assigned to co-moderate the grade school publication. I was a fish out of water; school publications were NOT my territory even though I considered myself a pretty decent writer. In any case, students in that club looked up to me as an “expert” and showed me their works for review and approval.

One of them, upon hearing that I used to read fanfiction, asked me to beta his work. I was shocked. He was a sixth grader who showed me–his teacher–a lemon. Truth be told I couldn’t comment on the greener aspects of his literature, but he had the makings of a potentially great writer. I told him so, and he kept writing. Now he has two? three? works legitimately published online (NOT Wattpad). And by legitimately I mean that he gets paid for every copy he sells.

That same student has, since that moment in his sixth grade life when I didn’t shoot him down for writing a lemon, called me his soulmate. I’ve since taken to calling him the same. We call each other sulmeyt, basically a bastardized spelling of the word.

While we were sulmeyts because we connected through literature, I think it’s safe to say that we neither considered each other our soulmate. That distinction has yet to be made, but right now I’m beginning to think I may have found mine.

But what exactly is a soulmate? Aristophanes, in Plato’s Symposium (read or download from here), tells the famous story of how humans initially had four arms and four legs and two sets of genitalia, but after the gods split them up humans got busy with looking for their “other half” because this other half will complete them. However, people nowadays say that soulmates don’t necessarily complete you; instead, soulmates make you better. They complement you instead of completing you because you yourself already are a complete being.

Until now the concept of a soulmate is hazy for me, so why do I say I may have found mine?

I don’t know.

It’s just a thought that won’t go away right now.

Whoa Intense

I spent the better part of the night at a friend’s house with a bunch other people for a night of destressing. We ordered in, popped in an imaginary DVD, and watched John Lloyd woo Toni Gonzaga in My Amnesia Girl. After the movie, the rants started. One of the rants hit close to home.

A friend ranted that she had been labeled as “intense,” and that she didn’t want anything to do with it anymore. I was saddened by her declaration. I, too, had been called intense before, but I had heard a different word for it–PASSIONATE–at some times. To me these words were synonymous with each other, and therefore I took them as compliments, but here was a person saying that she rejects her label of “intense person.”

The discouragement I felt when she said, “Ayoko na!” (literally, “I don’t want anymore!“) went straight to the heart, and I felt horrible for her. Here was a person who was doing amazing things, but she was being shut down because people brush off her comments and suggestions and observations as just part of her intensity. They’ve stopped taking her seriously, and at one point said flat out that she was going to cause World War 3. While it DID occur to me that this latter statement could have been made jokingly, it doesn’t change the fact that people hadn’t been responsive to her concerns, which, I believe, are legitimately valid points.

I don’t understand how people can just brush aside these kinds of people. These INTENSE people are the ones who make things happen, but when you’re surrounded by people who seemingly don’t care, what hope do we have of affecting positive changes?

I’m too tired and too angry on her behalf to spill any more details, but suffice it to say that… I can’t even find the words to express how infuriating this is.

If my friend–the intense and passionate one–gets brushed off, what are the chances that we can see positive change happen immediately if the people who notice all the bad things and are willing to do something about it are just ignored?

Ignatian Youth Camp 2015

Last January 13, seven other teachers and I accompanied 103 of our high school students to the first ever Ignatian Youth Camp in the Ateneo de Manila High School grounds. The kids were hyped up and excited; we chaperones, not so much. We knew we’d have our hands full making sure everybody was safe and okay and just basically THERE and not missing, so we weren’t as ecstatic as the kids, but we DID look forward to the opportunity to get to know our counterparts from different schools.

The idea of the camp is to have students from the different Jesuit-run schools in the country come together for a 4-day camp that would be full of bonding and skill-enriching activities. While there were a few organizational things I found issue with (I was pretty anal about these things), the whole camp generally ran smoothly, and the kids loved the idea of meeting new people and learning with their new set of friends. Friendships were formed, Facebook/Twitter/Instagram usernames and cell numbers were exchanged, and gazillions of selfies were taken during those days.

As a chaperone, it was easy to nitpick which things could have been done better, but that’s not to say that I’m not grateful for the experience. I loved the concept of the youth camp. I loved the venue–sprawling grounds and stately trees and fresh air in the midst of a polluted urban jungle. I loved the teachers who were with me, both XSN colleagues and new friends. I loved the energy and dedication of our student facilitators. I loved seeing the normally shy kids hang out with new people. I loved seeing smiles on everybody’s faces. I loved how the students, in all their excitement, went on and on and on and on about their new friends and their crushes (but of course!) and what they did. I loved our house supervisors and how they were so helpful and proactive (we were the only house with a makeshift photobooth complete with funny hats and props).

It was, quite candidly, A-MA-ZING.

New teacher friends :)

New teacher friends and fellow house chaperones: (l-r) Admore and Phil and Coykie 🙂

These kids came up to me and asked for a selfie. :))

These kids came up to me and asked for a selfie. I’m still not sure about their names. :))

Yes, the whole experience was exhausting especially that last night when most of us decided to just stay up and wait for the clock to hit 4am when we had to vacate the sleeping quarters and then go back home to Nuvali.

But would I join another one as a chaperone?

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Javier house, also known as CASA DE JAVIER, also known as the best house in the camp! Photo courtesy of Ms. Larraine Fernando, Javier house supervisor. 🙂

ABSOLUTELY. 🙂

Grease Manila

Production-wise, it was great.

The plot was a different story, though.

I hated the ending.

You see, I’ve never seen the original movie, but I’ve always wanted to. And now that Grease the musical was showing, AND one of our colleagues had a major supporting role, I just had to watch it.

The ending surprised me. I knew that Sandy would undergo a transformation, but I never realized what kind of plot twist it would bring about.

I hated it. I hate the message it sent forth.

Then again, this is highly reactionary, and I’m going to sleep on this forth before I say something mean. Or meaner.

A long weekend pt. 2

Picture before Leo left

Picture before Leo left

The unit, despite having two bedrooms, was small, but it was enough to house us. I seriously was stunned.

IMG_20141123_113959When I entered, Flora and Em were there holding out tiny gift bags. I thought that those were my gifts already because HOLY COW STAYCATION. At that point, I didn’t care that I wouldn’t be getting anything from my wishlist because I could just imagine how much this had cost them, but it turns out that inside those two tiny gift bags were an assortment of dark chocolates and pink pens for checking–BOTH of which were on my wishlist. I also got both a dark chocolate and milk chocolate birthday cakes and chocolate ice cream. They got the pizza I wanted (Brooklyn White Cheese pizza) for dinner. They got me this lovely framed message board with Instax pics of when I arrived. They also got me Lang Leav‘s Lullabies, which was something not on my list but something I told them about a week before my birthday.

We then spent the rest of the night chowing down on the best barbecue-on-stick and pizza and chips while catching up on each other’s lives. We even got to video chat with Anna who was very heavily pregnant in the US.

WE WERE COMPLETE.

FOR MY BIRTHDAY.

THIS, I tell you, is the best birthday present I could have ever ask for.

We are a growing family: Flora was the first to get hitched and have a baby–Audi. Em followed when she married Rommel, a constant “figure” in our group since college because of his shy courting of her. Baby Rui was a gift out of that union. Anna got married ahead of Ana, but it was the latter who met and got engaged to Leo, now her husband. Anna’s ready to pop Aleksey out of her womb any time soon. As for Irish and myself… well. We’re the last two single girls standing. 🙂

I love how we are all leading separate lives yet still able to regularly chat with each other and meet up (save for Anna).

Again.

BEST. BIRTHDAY. EVER. 🙂

Lunch after checking out at "Simple Lang" at the Ayala Triangle Gardens

Lunch after checking out at “Simple Lang” at the Ayala Triangle Gardens

Final pic before parting. Flora's husband Sunny is here!

Final pic before parting. Flora’s husband Sunny is here!

The Single Ladies

The Single Ladies