I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness-- Jeremiah 3:3

Saturday, December 31, 2011

HERE'S A LOWLY STEWARD INVENTORY



Hah, just what is it with the coming of each new year!? Whether it's superstition or simply the fear of the future that besets us with so much concern I don't know.But I found myself clearing our old closet from the overstaying outdated clothes that would look fine with Santa and his elves in the 1800s. I wrestled with emptying our soiled clothes baskets and have them dry before the clock strikes 12. Personally, there's not much pressure about putting our best foot forward for the beginning of the year and throwing off the bad habits we have incurred in the last 365 days or so. To enumerate them would be taxing. So I'm practically reliving myself from that hassle. I only want a cleaner house and well-kept bedroom and kitchen before I set off for work this week.



What I look forward though is renewing our vow as a family in prayer and Scripture reading and starting it right at the onset of the year 2012. I know there would be some hits and misses. But I'd rather do what I am set to do as long as we can. It will be better this year. Our family Bible get-together in the last few months of 2011 proved to be a major cohesion factor for me and Jom. Hence, this year, we are making a little promise to ourselves with the Omnipotence's grace to keep us intact and be within His radar, so to speak.

For the last few months, I discovered I have yet to grow when it comes to being a wife especially in the department of listening and patience. There's so much to improve when it comes to suspending the going off  of the fuse in the issue of man and woman differences. Man, I have a lot of growing up to do.

Another, perhaps, is handling of time and opportunities. I realized almost far too late, that time in essence is a gift and has to be taken care off like I would my monthly salary. In fact, a bit more crucial than money. The year has been a blessing but it would have been more of a blast if I have made use of time to its fullest--time with my Kiny and my Jomarie, time with the most cherished friends, and most of all time with my God in prayer and ministry. Ministry, specifically, music ministry and counseling--I miss doing these. The returns are endless. The returns are good to the skin and heart. They do wonders in bringing back the youth to my tired muscles.

Well, call it superstition. I call it a yearly steward inventory.

PAULI BALIK SA 1990



(Kang Anna Mae)

Magdungan ta sa 
Paghulat sa pagsawop sa
Pulahong adlaw.
Magpatungod ta sa
Iyang ga pula-pulang pinisik
Didto, 
Manghangad kita,
Mangyawat nga
Hugupon sa iyang kabalaan  ang
Gatibugol mong
Pag-ukon ukon.

Didto,
Mupuli ang 
Bulok sa iyang kaisug
Nga bisan ang mga taya
Sa atong mga katuigan
Malanay hangtod  ang
Atong mga galamhan mamalik
Niadtong nagtiniil pa kita
Samtang gabato-lata.

Mahimong ubanan ko ikaw
Kung ang paglatas sa ugma
Mao ang pag-ambak nianang
Malinglahong bung-aw,
Unya,
Inig dagtum nianang unahan
Manglupad kita ug
Didto sa kawanangan,
Way puas tang magduwag
Bato-lata.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

STROLLING ALONG CHRISTMAS BOULEVARD IN FLIPFLOPS




Why is Christmas so essentially busy and money-wasting? Why can't Christmas time be plain and quiet? And can't Christmas lights stay as they are throughout the year to keep my daughter's sense of wonder alive in the absence of partying and dressing up?

Wearing flip-flops, strolling sleepy streets, and sipping black coffee with my man and kid (well, the kid gets her chocolait or anything of that sort) would just be one heavenly Christmas break. All these hullabaloo and freaking out in malls to catch mark-down items to wrap and send to recipients who always seem to wish something else for their gifts are so numbing to senses and pandemonic. After all these anxiety what is actually left is the wallet's precarious state and arthritis all over. All for nothing.

And yet, no matter how I know all these things that I mentioned above, I still willingly succumb to the same stress-inducing activities. For what? For the heck of hoping to find what makes other people's Christmas merrier. That in all stressful time, you will see some hint of a smile in your loved ones' faces. Even if finding that special something often exceeds your patience meter, you still go through it. Just that, and Christmas becomes more than wearing flip-flops strolling hand in hand with my little kid and hubby in a quiet sleepy boulevard sprinkled with blinking lights.


Monday, December 19, 2011

The Trouble With Christmas


The workplace could be the busiest corner of my life. It eats up 90 percent of my day. And on Christmas time, it steals me away from home 7 days in most weeks of December. And to think the company's compensation does not reciprocate what most teachers put in especially in days like these days.

But of course, as they say, charge whatever extra work you put in as service to the institution (for feeding your family on a regular basis,perhaps?). Lately, the school's family day celebration has become a typhoon. It has unleashed the gnarls and horns of people around the work place. True to what is expected, stress gave me the perfect opportunity to see through the people around. This is the right time to figure out the real ones from the "not so real" ones; the prize friends from the "good as acquaintance" only. Little by little things are beginning to sink in as they should so I would know how to react to things. And moments like this reminds me of the usual mantra that things like growing up is not limited to young people. That such is a universal must even to educators who essentially is no different compared to my 3-year-old in terms of laying down their demands as though the world's attention only evolves around them. Ironically.

 I have found symptoms like this many times from leaders who are advanced in age or people who are in positions, people who are slave drivers, and those who could not find satisfaction and peace to what the imperfect world could afford to offer them. Thus, what I discover from people in these busy times should not surprise me like how it does to me now. But I still get the same jolt every time people with these symptoms throw their weight around others. In the height of my frustration, I often call them the grown-up "brats." I am aware though, that I become the most disliked when I, being the quiet one, the uninvolved one, the distant one, stubbornly refused to be touched in my holy hours like Sundays, evenings, and the hours after work. On one hand, there are young colleagues who still need to review their ethics on "respect" on people's time, belongings, and individuality. They just run in to you, crash in on your kindness whenever it suits their fancy forgetting any one could actually break loose, screw niceties and pleasantries, and explode.

 I hate it when I find myself in the brink of losing my handle because these people are used to me being timid and unobtrusive. They would take it as misbehavior dismissing their misbehavior as plain usual culture. Well, as they say, sand papers are blessings in disguise because they trim the edges of our person and make us better eventually. I agree. Completely. But at times, jostling with these people in this hopeless mix takes some grit in my part. Sometimes it feels like I need to show them some heft, some roughness that would equal the bruises they usually cause people. Maybe. When the right time comes.

And when it does, it's grinding time!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

TUGNAW




Misangyad na sa yuta ang
Mga sanga sa
Bombel ni Nanang;

Mihinay hinay nag
Kamang ang mga balili,
Padung sa nagliyok-liyok
Nga sementadong hagdan
Lahos sa among wanang;

Tingali mao na la'y mupuli
Sa dayak-dayak
Sa mga gagmayng tiil kanhi
Kauban sa mga pinutos
Nga mga karmelitos;

Milili na ang
Mga sanga sa acacia
Sa bintana ni Tatang;

Tingali natingala
Kung hain na ang
Mga agik-ik sa mga
Magpasabak nga
Nagkamuritsing sa latik
Sa biko ug putong pinalutaw
Ni Nanang.

Puno pa ang
Bayanan sa pilit ni Nanang
Apan bugnaw ang
Among abuhan.

Samtang
Nagduka na si Tatang
Sa may bintana
Nga gapaminaw
Sa mga amba ug
Hudyaka sa gawas;

Taod-taod duyugan na
Ni Tatang ug ni Nanang ang
Mga kinana-as
Sa nagsingabot
Nga tugnaw
Sa Pasko.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

MOOD SWINGS ON DECEMBER


As December swings so does my mood. I'm not quite ready for it so it seems. I got bills to pay before the close of the year and a pile or two of paper works.In fact it feels like arid summer. I'm sweating all the time, literally. Just last Friday, I had to rush to 3 places to deliver communications to bigwigs for the institution's big event next week. And I barely had time to catch my breath. I had to freshen up to get ready for a hosting stint of a meeting and program set for the JS prom and family day. And yet, in all these things, I had to smile--big one toothy smile. So that when I came home I unexpectedly took it all to my daughter and hubby, stress and all!

All guarded horses broke loose. And my poor husband had to take matters into his hands. I say, humans when tested sometimes win, but at times he has to admit that he has yet to earn the badge of resilience in moments of stress. And man, it is never easy to come off unscathed. Today, we finally made a peace treaty, hoping it would ease the tension. And with God's help, we headed to church with the baggage gone.

Yep, it feels like summer all right. The heat is burning. But thank God, it's December after all, my favorite love month of the year. And He, above all, could douse any burning situation with the cool that can only come from him. I love my family and not even work which I so love could match that, whether it's December or not.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

THE CAKE THAT SPURTS WATER


The first time she saw the 4-layer white fountain in the Osmena Circle, Kiny screamed with glee, "Look, there's a cake, Mommy! While a jeepney ride home after a tiresome day-out could bring you to oblivion--just staring at something thinking blank-, a shout of that intensity and wonder could bring you back to earth in nano-second.



I am in awe at how kids apply the law of "association" when their vocabulary bank is still in want of the so many terminologies the world of wonder and complications has. To a three-year old, the fountain signifies a dream. After so much explanations and a little vocab lecture, my kid reminds me of how little we know of the world around us. And at times, I wish that there are more things of wonder than things of disgust that the world I am in has yet to reveal. For some time, I thought I am through seeing all the wonders in the physical world. But my daughter has provided me a tiny bridge back to that realm of wonder again.


Meantime, my toddler keeps asking me about that fountain in the Osmena circle that spews water which probably makes her wonder every time when can she witness that water finally coming off. That makes me wonder as well. For so long now, the fountain remains dry. It only spurts water on Christmas day and Sinulog week. One day, she will get to see it. One day, we will get to see it.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

THE MAN OF MY 412 MOONS




In his youth, he was the most gentlemanly of men. When his job allows him to have his wife's dream house,men in the neighborhood including his siblings, unashamedly, envied him.

But when years took toll on him even if his heart and mind refused to give in and give up his youth, each one of these began to chide him openly. He took all of these in strides. Yes, he did. But more than the years' toxins, it's the dent to his pride and manliness of a once glorious man of his career that makes the sag in his skin and the dim in his eyes show.

To me, who have seen his brilliance and youth, he remains the first man to have ever given me the idea what chivalry is all about. And that makes him the same young man in his heyday beyond that stooped body and slow walk. To me, he remains the first man I thought is the picture of what a husband and father is like.

Today, he celebrates his 63th birthday. I know that with his recent stressful bouts with mama and my not-so behaved siblings and sons-in-law, today is no better than his ordinary days. And what's worse, my critical financial status could not even help him feel any better.

But one day, I'd like to read this and my other poems to him when he can sit down with me and just eat his favorite meal in his favorite pants and suit.

OF BROKENNESS AND MENDING




This brokenness remains
And stands resilient
In towering
Stubborn state
. . . . . . Heading to a place
Of unfixed ends.

But in that sudden bend
A quietness will visit
The broken shards
In the cracks.

And these fragments will give
Birth to a new whole
Spawning more wholes
That will endure a multitude

Of b r o k e n n e s s.

KANG INDAY NGA BINIYAAN


Tugoti sya nga
Mutukod ug
Taytayan pabalik sa
Gakang-a mong
Dughan.

Pasagding pandayon niya
Pag-usab ang
Naanayang lawak nga
Kaniadto inyong
Gidayan-dayanan sa
Mga yanong
Ginunitay ug
Giuran-urang kinuhitay.

Sagdihi kung kini
Tinapakan na lang.
Ugma o sa sunod adlaw
Ang mga tinapakan
Mupapas sa
Nangaraan nang
Nagsiwil-siwil nga
Pangagho.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

HERE'S TO DREAMS




A cake and a birthday candle--this is all what constitutes a little girl's dream. Indulge me in this thing they call dream. When I was small, I had the simplest of dreams I could ever remember. I saved up for that dream. All my allowances that a 10-year-old could gather had to go to a certain little nook a grader could muster as her piggy bank.

Then on the day before I turned 10, I rushed to Best Buy Mart and grabbed the three-sisters pink pop-sleeved dress off the rack. It cost a million to me. Well, actually, P85.95 to be exact. And in the early 1980s a decent dress can cost 29 to 50 pesos and it was worth the buy, which tells you the dress I kept dreaming for weeks was a high-end of sort. The lace, the fabric, the design, everything. The dress was with me for more than 10 years or so and it has kept its crisp and charm that I fell in love with the first time it caught my eyes.

But I have forgotten the thrill of that experience long time ago. I had bought and tasted many preposterously costly things in this vain adult world. Ironically, none of these big things can even match that exhilarating moment I had when I was 10. That was the time I realized that breathing is synonymous to living. I ran short of it when I finally walked to "who knows where" with that dress on. I want to go back there. That moment where almost everything around me was a wonder.

Then I saw that same look in my daughter's eyes. The birthday cake was 1,500 all right, too costly for a public teacher. But I took the courage to shake heaven and hell to find the sum to complete the 1,500 for that cake. Believe me, the road to getting the money with cashless ATM at a day where salary is two weeks yet, is an uphill climb. But the glee in the eyes of my toddler would make me go the same trouble again and again. It was magical. Right at that moment, nobody knew I was happier more than that 3-year-old little girl.

I was transported back to the time I was 10 years old in that crisp pink dress.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

JUST HERE, BRACING FOR THE CLIMB

There are countless things I want to do and a horde of places, quaint and hushed, that I want to come home to, friends I want to sleep-over with.

These are things I chose to forgo as I have decided long ago to take a different turn. But deep down in my gut, way down in that darkness somewhere in my psyche, I know I'm going to get one or two in any of those dream places. As to how, I feel God knows how and exactly when. And I'm gonna be there with people who make me choose what I choose and give up what used to be so hard to give up.

As for now I let them stand in some corner I call back door desires.As for now, I am in a quiet place trying to grow out of the old weeds that keep coming back clambering on me at times. It's an amazing experience to live away from a space that almost snatched the special people away from me forever. Well, I'm pretty sure a lot of people I know find it a waste for me to let go what I used to have. Career and life. I could have both of these worlds had I worked harder. But now they would give me that "I pity you" look and "It's so sad of you" kind of lines guised in what sound like some sympathetic words from former colleagues. Well, I let them. They can be right in their own perspective but to me not all "rights" are good to the soul.

I guess not too many of my friends can see through me when it comes to what makes me happy. Well, of course to have 30-50 thousand in my ATM every month is a big deal. And I could buy my 2-year-old as many cans of milk that she craves for in the middle of the night as I can. But I guess, one thrives where he is happier.
Despite this, I know I'm going to be in a place where I can tower on these things. One day I would get to a space farther than any of these things my colleagues must have reached thus far. My Omnipotence will make sure of this.Meantime, I am in a place where it's not so abundant materially, but I am no way in want. And I am waiting to climb what Olympus my Sovereign father has prepared for me.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

LOANS AND GROANS


Money. Just how much power does it really have to actually wield control over the human race? Even the helpless "more like average" earners like me, especially me. It never fails to occupy our psyche for a good number of minutes, admittedly. It's a shame that even Christians get to succumb into this vicious cycle of loans and spending even before real money comes.

But in all these things the material world remains a periphery to what should come first in our heads. Yesterday, our service speaker reminded me of the truth that stings. Oftentimes, when salary hits the bank, we go marching waging war against the long unbearable queue of those who are after the much-needed salary, mostly teachers actually. I get this icky feeling that I am no better than those in the lines. There was even a time when salary day comes, I got so down, knowing that the money I'm getting would all go to bills and payables. Now how can anyone blame the puny average-earners allowing themselves to get sucked into that sugar-coated darn hole manufactured by loan sharks?

Thank God though for thorough reminders of putting all these worldly worries that up the stress levels in our system in proper Christian perspective.

I'd say, I'm still into repairing and mending holes--holes I don't intend to widen--holes I call loans, small or monumental. Above all, I know, I owe it to God (not to write within 72 hours, like the usual formal notice we receive from our bosses at work when we have done things amiss)to ask his forgiveness in all these imperfections we expose ourselves to. I am often guilty in not returning to God what he rightfully deserves--tithes and time to be alone with him. Ahh, I am only comforted by the fact that I remain under construction--which of course is not an excuse to delay the shaping up.

Today will not be easy. Shaping up will not be easy. I am not the best money and time steward. Despite my track record as a tither in my church, I still fall short in trusting God in my tithes. Because, I figured, giving to God requires faith. Faith, because whatever happens to our pockets when we give is already God's business not ours. This, I should remember.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

MY WILLY LOMAN


I never fully understood why Papa could not afford staying home when he's too sick to work. After all, he has children who now gets decent earnings for the entire household to live above water. Hence, there's no need to go out there and sweat it out. But he's relentless. Then I met Willy Loman. The guy I will never forget.

For thirty-five years or so, Willy has worked endlessly in his company. Call him the docile, faithful salesman. But years and talent of the younger crop overtook him. He turns 63 and gets dropped like a hot potato. He gets fired and offered no assurance of getting any other possible opportunities to put food on the table for his family of 4. His cold, impersonal boss turns away discarding him and his so-so years.

Now Willy has his garden and seeds to work on, hoping that would salvage whatever left of his "American Dream." And this is to be well-liked in the business world and to be materially capable and comfortable in the stark difficulty of the Great Depression years. But his guilt of a father and husband who could not seem to grab hold of that very elusive dream has proven too much to handle. He quit it. He'd rather lose the handle than be found with a curse--being unable to earn and provide--the typical curse of a senescent man who had gone far in his years.

It's a good thing Willy Loman is but a fictional character in the awarded play "Death of a Salesman" by no less than the renown playwright husband of Marilyn Monroe. Fictional character or not, for me, he lives in my father's psyche. I see papa walking in deep thought how he could put things right financially in the family. He has baggages in the past that haunt him, things no one chastise him for but himself.

At 62, he gets sick at times. But he continues to want to take that small tricycle for hire that sees his youngest daughter through college. He has to see meaning of his manhood. What could be more honorable but to die working than die lying helpless.

Ah, my Willy Loman! I'm hoping that in my years, he would see how unnecessary it is to keep proving to his offspring and to the world. For I would never be 40 if he hasn't taken me into his shoulders one afternoon and took me for his real daughter when a biological father could not be found.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

ONE STORMY HAIRY EXPERIENCE



There are storms that bring opportunities. And a twelve-hour opportunity while the storm rages on is blissful indeed! Come high water or earthquakes, I welcome this bliss.

A few days back, Ramon hit Cebu to a storm signal number 1. Classes were miraculously suspended perhaps in apprehension that it might graduate to a difficult-to-handle situation owing to the fact that in other parts of the country towns and cities have been practically submerged in flood water due to consistent rain and series of storms and tropical depression lately.

That day I felt like going lazy. But what better way to spend the stormy day in a lazy way but a day-out with my 2-year-old and hubby to a salon. The three of us sat down on black swivel chairs with many things going on with our hair. We just there for more hours half-sleeping, half-drowning to nothingness. What bliss! Kiny perked on a high chair looked amazing being prepped with her new hair cut as this is this toddler's first hair salon experience.

Meanwhile, my hubby took this rainy day in another corner as the time to get his well-deserved hair trimming which was long in coming.

As for me, after four years, I finally found time to have a queen's hair treatment so to speak which should buy back the fab that the classrooms have cruelly devoured all these years.

Hah, what bliss! This is what I call a little chunk of paradiso.

I wonder when is the next storm of this sort coming!

NGANONG ANG LALAKI DILI KAPYOT-KAPYOTAN



Matod sa akong bana
Ang lalaki dili bagon
Nga kabyon-kabyonan
Sa babaye kung
Buot mulatas sa pikas tampi
Ngadto sa lain pang tampi.

Kay ang lalaki
Puno-an,
Landong nga kapahulayan;
Apan malaya ra
Kauban sa mga sanga niini,
Inanayng mangalagas
Kung wa’y musandig.
Kung wa’y magpabilin;


Dili mahingpit nga haligi
Kung kapyot-kapyotan
Lamang,
Latas-latasan
Dungan sa mabalhinong
Hinaguros
Sa mabugnawng
Hangin.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

WHO SAYS RAISING KIDS IS MUCH OF A HELL-RAISER?


There are hard lessons in life that we don't get lectures for from our parents. More often than not, these come in the form of on-the-spot workshops. So that if we fail to measure up, we're screwed for life. But God's goodness is incomparable. When our finite comprehension has become too limited to see through things, His heart wills that we could handle the seemingly insurmountable hurdles.


Raising a human being with a completely different will (although of the same gene pool) and emotional make-up for instance is an everyday scary but pleasurable workshop. It's not like changing diapers and bathing a fluffy little creature where you miss a few hemline details but you somehow get it perfect the next try. Raising kids, needless to say, is a little bit more challenging than that. Moreover, there are actual times where being a parent takes a backseat with work demands hounding me. And in these times, it's easier to get rid of the little bugger by hitting her butt or worse, by shouting at her for shuffling your office papers and cramping your work table. It's so quick to forget that kids need us to be their parents on an every-minute basis.

I only have one kid but I'm juggling my schedule with family and work poorly. My mother did not get to have the chance to discuss or show me techniques how to deal with these little creatures even before I get to have them for nine months. We are 7 so that didn't help my having them inside for nine months, which to me was an achievement of sort. What with the change of hormones, temperament and of body sizes and everything. And when you thought you got rid of them already when the first cry came out, you find out another episode of parenting is just starting.

Ahh, parenthood. It brings a different facet in my otherwise boring days. I don't know why I still want more of them, I mean mothering more children than my uterus could handle. But seeing a human grow into someone you have helped him to become is euphoria for me. Well, of course, blame it on the big family I come from. I remembered when I fled from home due to a mother-daughter exchange of not-so-pleasant breaths. I cried most of the three months I was away from the usual noise of my nephews and nieces. It was plainly not home for me when the house is void of children's rustles. But then again,raising kids is actually complicated. And it takes grit and tremendous wise understanding of a human raw tendencies that become evident in a kid's early formative years. Patience, as well, is hard to come by. In a world where a woman is charged with so many roles and expectations, everyday at home is an uphill climb.

But in all these, I still want more. I love taking risk when it comes to children and young lives. That's part of the reason why I always find myself going back to teaching. At this point in my life, though a little bit late, I have come home to this: Kids and seeing them grow up is life to me. I'll move heaven and earth to live above water if I had to wade through with children tugging at my hands.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

A WOMAN’S ORDEAL


A woman is another woman’s sister. But the story that follows is not just another woman’s ordeal. It’s my half-sister and best friend’s predicament. Hence, her heart struggles are much like mine as well.

I guess bit by bit I’m beginning to find some sense of problems in relationships like that of mine and my sister’s. I detest the idea that difficulties and unspeakable down times surface as a curse or punishment of sinful acts in the past. Whether this is a biblical truth or not, my gut tells me there’s no reason why people, whether believers or not quite, have to suffer because they need to be punished. I say it’s for the better. It is either there to wake us up to a certain realization or to strengthen our immune system for what challenges are up ahead in terms of relationship. I’d like to focus on the latter. I and my sister have been friends. We do not talk everyday but we have each other when it is tough out there.

We used to share a room in one bed when we were single. It wasn’t much of a bed. It was meant for one but since our parents could not afford another one, we (or more appropriately, I should say, my sister had to endure my presence every night in that rocking small space) content ourselves in that borrowed bed. Yes, it was borrowed from my old church friend. I would say I am the more vocal or should I say noisier about my emotions than she was. That explains why I couldn’t confront her about her personal life up front. I choose not to barge in to her shielded world to insist what’s best for her. I respect her private emotions. I love her that much that I hallow her silence. Although oftentimes, in the middle of her drowsiness when her waking moments were gradually slipping away, I get to blabber the many trivial events in my life. And she, being the most frank of all women that I know of, would smack to my face her irritation, hence, my self-imposed silence.

Lately, though, just when I’m exiling away from the family, so to speak, she came to me for the first time and spilled all her guts out about what is truly going on with her and her husband. For eight years, it is only her close friend who knew about what’s slowly eating her alive. For eight years, I tried to believe everything was all right with her—that she can handle being the only one to carry the cudgel when it comes to providing financially. However, her predicament is worse than who provides who. In fact, worse than what she already knows as a root of it all—her husband’s lack of sense of responsibility and maturity—it’s how she is emotionally and psychologically abused, making her feel useless and worthless as a partner, even as a mother.

Of course, I could not help being biased. Had I the prerogatives, I would have her shoo her man away from the house, which is technically her house anyway. I have my reasons—very private ones, that even thinking about them would seem to be a curse to a woman’s existence. Other than that, the woman that is hurt and mangled badly is my sister, one who has produced 4 very charming and intelligent children. And what’s heart-breaking is when my sister told me he even doubted that her 7-month-old baby was his. Now that simmered my usual cool self. Enough of too much respect of someone else’s married life, I finally mustered the courage to finally demand, “Let him go.”

Now, I didn’t know how she took that from her elder sister which she used to bully with her uncensored comments before. But that night, I could sense that it only took that comment to give her that signal from her family to move on without the man she used to call her husband.

My sister has been living like a headless woman swallowing all the embarrassments this man has been causing her. I wouldn’t say I hate him. I’d say he’s not worth a woman’s emotion.

The only thing that concerns me now is for my sister to find her peace and perhaps come back, no matter how slow, to the church one of these days.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

A WOMAN’S MUSTS

Must a woman hurl
All of herself,
Be measured
But found half-full?

Can’t she hand in
A piece of her territory
And content
The world?

Should she hold on
To a man’s sleeves
Or hide behind
A man’s clothing
To ride the world?

Must her soul
Take a man’s voice
To be heard,
Or must her sinews
Mesh with those of
A man’s to gird
Herself against
The wiles of her days?

Yet
Wasn’t it a woman
Who shaved a man’s head
To his death
And more?

Was it not a woman
Who sang
A familiar lullaby
As the prince of Heaven
Spent thirty-three moons
In her arms
Just to rock the dying world
On its way
To paradise’s portal?

Friday, September 23, 2011

SUGILANON ILAWOM SA NAAWOP NGA BUWAN


Niabot na diay unta ka
Wa man gud ko
Makaalinggat.

Dugay na ra
Ba unta
Kong nag-atang
Sa imong
Awit
Nga ako unyang
Laylayon.

Basin tungod
Pino ang mga
Dahunog
Sa imong mga
Gamiting nga mga
Tiil--
Aw, mga tiil na
Ba kaha kadtong
Nagtuhil-tuhil
Sa akong
Kinasuluran?

Kung mahimo
Unta gitambid
Ko na dayon ikaw
Sa tunga-tunga sa kangitngit
Ug kadanlog
Sa imong kalibutan
Aron dinhi ikaw
Magpabilin.


Unta,
Wa ka nadakin-as
Ug mubiya
Sa akong
Giandam nga
Balay-balay
Sa dugay nang
Panahon.


Miawas,
Miikyas ang
Imong gininhawa
Palayo sa akong
Gininhawaan;
Wa gani nako
Masawo
Arun sapnayon
Ug itisok pagbalik
Ug alimahon.

Wa ko man lang
Mahapyod
Ug mahalok-halokan
Ang wala pa gani
Mahulma mong
Mga aping.


Unta
Mitidlom
Ka pa ug dugay-dugay
Sa sulod
Ning namugnaw
Nga balay-balay
Aron
Ikaw suginlan
Sa mga parayeg
Ug uraray ni
Cinderella ug
Snowhite sa ilang
Mga prinsipe
Aron ikaw mahinanok
Pa gyud hangtod sa
Pagsubang
Sa ika-syam ka
Bulan;

Anak,
Saari ko,
Mubalik ka
Aron maminaw
Sa pagluray
Sa akong tingog.


Sa sunod nga
Pagsubang sa
Akong bulan.

Monday, September 19, 2011

OF ITCHES AND WAITING


This whole idea of waiting, moreover than not, does not always present itself at a time when we're at our jolliest to stay put, linger a little longer, and extend our palms open for something good to drop from up there.

There are times when my hands get too itchy to write another set of poems in this blog and yet nothing comes off. While there are times when a thought just appears so clearly that the only thing I need is either a pen or a paper to get all the bleeding taken care of. Right now, there is no such bleeding. I have so much to write about but I just could not find the exact combinations of letters, words, or lines just to get the healing begin. You see, so long as I still keep whatever it is that I need to write, I feel some kind of nausea or a sickness of sort. Until I finally put this into writing, I remain brain dead or immobile in most of my functions, honestly. Ironically though, how am I supposed to start a line when, as I said I am deranged with the fullness of so many things, I can't even begin rightly? This is really insane.

And what better way perhaps to begin things appropriately than to stay silent for a short while. As for now, I am in awe of what's going on around me. So moved and so awed, I don't think a poem would contain what's eating me right now. Yes, even recognizing the whole idea that something is taking my focus away from what I usually do when I see a keyboard, would take seconds to download in the head that indeed something is up in the air and I just can't wait. Like I can't wait for weekends, for Christmas and for a trip to Iloilo every Christmas break. But this one has nothing to do with trips or vacations. This is way better.

And despite choosing silence, I desperately wait for the time when I can finally speak and frolic with my pen or better yet with any keyboard I could find just to get this itch go away. Finally.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

RAPUNZEL AND THE JESUS ISSUE


I bought a new fairy tale video for my kiddo yesterday. And as expected Rapunzel becomes her fourth VIP this year. And til then, she has bugged me and my husband to play it again and again. Well, we've watched the movie with her yesterday and honestly, we were smitten by Disney's take on the plot. The usual meters of golden hair was there and the enlightened strong woman in Rapunzel's self was portrayed coupled with Disney-made charm of a singing voice. It was a good thing there wasn't much kissing in it, just a smack when the guy in the movie whom I thought was supposed to be a prince but is really a certified thief who dreamed of having a palace of his own (now that's an interesting take on the usual prince in a fairy tale rescuing a damsel in distress). I love the movie for my daughter minus the smack of a kiss which was readily imitated by my toddler right there when she saw it and the recipient victim of the sticky, slimy baby saliva was the poor loyal mother who's right beside the little Rapunzel, who later said, "Rapunzel's hair is long, Kiny's hair is short, see!"

Kids these days are tough to handle, believe me. You have to be around when they explore the world. They have to be oriented what's acceptable and what are detestable based on the Biblical standard. But the bad news for us is there would be instances where parents could not be there all the time to clear the coast for them.

But as always, I'm hoping that my daughter will ask her questions in time when she needs to and to the right persons. Well, we can only hope. But hey, I can also pray--pray that she will trust her father and me to have the right answers right when she needs them.

For instance, when she saw the be-mustached King, the father of Rapunzel, she blurted out, "It's Jesus, Mommy!" This wasn't a question all right. But I needed to explain to her that not all guys with mustaches are Jesus. For an innocent kid like her who is used to illustrated Bible stories that picture Jesus with a long hair and a mustache, every man with the hair is Jesus.

On one hand, I'd like to keep her that way where she sees every man as Jesus, the good man and the kind God. But as early as now, I feel she needs to know that there are not so good guys out there. It's nice to know though, that the only Jesus kids should see is us, their parents and the rest of the adults. That's what we should be. But the world has become harsh--so harsh because of people whom we thought is Jesus but are not.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

CRYING TIME


Crying is freaking automatic these days. With all the hullabaloo at work and meetings and debate sessions with the kids at school, I cry in the inside seeing my family at the sideline waiting. I look at the stuff I'm supposed to finish down pat, it's still there lying helplessly on the dusty racks. At times, they seem to stare at me and say, "What are we doing here? Aren't we suppose to go somewhere else?"

My friend once told me, "To have peace, one has to return to his unfinished businesses and make a closure to each one of them, or else, he wouldn't know where to go and how." There must be some grain of truth in it. For with my unfinished book and project, I remain immobile when it comes to my career. At least that's how people see me from their vantage viewpoint. I would not try to argue with them nor would I offer any excuses with possible meta-analysis (which I am won't to do to defend my cause in a helpless fix I usually get in). Yes, the world I am in is a stress-laden world. I could go for a million stress-busters but still come out dehydrated for trying to survive. Teaching often does that to the real victims in the classroom--yes, the teachers. And because the government expects public slaves to send their students to the real world well-equipped we get whipped by demands making us give up priorities--in my case family and special personal projects.

It's a joy to teach. No doubt about it. I'd jump at it again and again. But I'm doubly sure that after all these head-cracking activities, if I don't do anything to replace the liquids that I lost, so to speak, I would die in the toxins I'm plunging right now. And worse, my family bond will suffer some cuts and bruises and it won't be long until it breaks.

So what do I do? What else? I spew liquids with sniffs here and there, hoping the coast will finally clear. But more than that, after the crying, I got to stand up and start making a plan like a real man that I should be, or should I say "woman" that I am.

Monday, August 29, 2011

KINY'S EXTENSIONS



I die each time I see a child suffers in the damp streets, homeless, cold, and hungry. I even question God at times when I see news on TV of babies die just because adults do not have time to care. It makes me cry. Literally.

It might just be hormones. But really, when I became a mother, I started seeing every child as an extension of my little daughter. When these little kiddos writhe in pain on TV or in the streets, I feel it's my daughter needing some mommies to rescue them from the cruelty they're in. Perhaps, this is what it's like when a woman becomes a mother. Wherever she goes, her tendency, if not her instinct, is to reach out for her offspring.



A few days ago, I cringe in pain watching the news of a baby who was not even a day old, whose head was fortuitously detached after being given birth by the unconscious mother. I was fuming mad at the doctor that time. Even now as I think of it, I couldn't imagine how someone like the physician who is divinely tasked to take care of lives could have been so unmindful of what just transpired to a young life. And, he said he had no choice but to cut the baby's head, or else, the mother would die? There are procedures before going through it--he could have at least informed the husband what was about to transpire.

I also hear news of babies getting trapped in a burning building, forgotten by panic-stricken adults; children of 2 to 5 years old getting drowned in the flood while helpless parents watched as they go away with the unrelenting current; three-year-olds or so could be seen wasting away of dengue, and more. I would never want to question God's ways. Even in my unspoken queries like "Why does God allow young children suffer and die like this," Why are stone-hearted people and downright real guilty mafias remained unpunished at the expense of innocent kids," I look to Him who sees the bigger picture.

Because in all these questions that I'm tempted to lobby at God, I am reminded of the Scripture verse,"As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts (Isaiah 55:9).

In the grander scheme of things, I know God sees and arranges things in the universe in ways man has no hand of. And in this harsh existence, man always, always, has a prerogative in life--to be mean or to do otherwise. Man, in all these quandaries, has an option. In times when it's difficult to find order in all these cruelty, I think of God's wisdom and His good heart. I may not find it in varied dark colors and facades that I see on TV, but I know it's there somewhere.

I can only be angry for lives that were snuffed out so soon. I can be indignant for the many little Kinys that I see around me. But I know that God feels and reaches out to these little angels. And who knows, unknown to me and unknown to any mortal, He was there all along carrying their lifeless bodies holding their little hands as their frail little souls slowly leave from their cursed disintegrating flesh. And He was just right there guiding them, leading them to His home somewhere beyond the blue.

Even with this thought, I still cry. I still pain in the inside for these little lives the world has missed out. So soon.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

THAT HAIR CLIP AGAIN!


The other day, my toddler noticed her yellow hair clip on the floor. It must have fallen from my purse. She picked it up, raised it up along with a barrage of questions only her simple vocabulary can afford.

"This is offering. Mommy, this is offering! My offering! Mine! Why, Mommy, why here? Why, my offering here now?"

I would like to assume that what this little creature would have wanted to enunciate was what was her yellow hair clip doing in our house floor when she already gave that away as her offering last Sunday in Sunday School.

Twice last week, she cornered me on different occasions with the same jarring question why she still finds the hair clip at home when it was her offering to Jesus. I didn't know what to make of this instance, neither do I know how to put my explanations into words that would put things in proper perspective a toddler could understand. Well, of course, I can not in any way, underestimate what these little wonders are capable of. But I am lost for words. I find myself inadequate for the first time in front of a toddler, no less. How could I tell her, that what is expected was money? And that her clip was redeemed by her unbelieving mommy. How slow of me to comprehend simple things like these!

I should have understood one thing sooner--that in this old stupid world, children actually exceed the concept and measures this culture tries to put up for how long, goodness knows, of what a two-year-old is really made of.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

AFTERNOON DEEEEELIGHT!




Rainy afternoons give me opportunities to listen to my lazy bones. The city on the other hand, with all the recent calamities flogging the metro, is not in any way welcoming the routinary afternoon downpour.Regardless of the drainage irregularities in the city which cause the usual flood, I look forward to the cold nostalgic afternoons.

Now that I work in the city where there is not much cold breeze around, I snuggle to my jacket or to my small office table pillow and come home to oblivion every time the afternoon barges in with the usual rain. And to my pure pleasure,I either sleep or better yet empty my system in a momentary rest.

While the others in the office, in their free afternoon hours,prefer to chat, I enjoy keeping quiet and distant. To me, it's my refueling time. It's me-and-my-God time. And the rain with its relentless pouring is perfect to set the mood that would transport me from this toxin-infested world to a domain of silence somewhere I alone travel in delight.

Monday, August 22, 2011

A MAGNIFICAT IN THE PROSPECT?


The day is Tuesday, 2:40 PM.

Today, I have confirmed that Shekinah has this little gift.

I was a bit hesitant to pronounce she has it. But now I am quite convinced of its certainty right at this minute.

About 3 hours back, at around 11:00 in the morning, I decided to go home for lunch from work without telling my husband about it, sort of, well, more of a surprise.

I usually eat lunch in the office. I normally bring a packed lunch to work. But today, at that very hour, I suddenly thought of Kiny, my two-year-old, and without even meaning to or planning it ahead, I grabbed my packed lunch and headed home, which is about 3-5 minute jeepney or tricycle ride. I waited for the tricycle for quite like more than 10 minutes, so I got home at about 11:45.

When I got there, my husband got the surprise of his life. He finally asked while we're eating meatballs together with our baby as to what time I decided to come home. Curious about the phrasing of his question, I asked when did he become so specific about details of time. But without planning to spill the beans so soon, he prodded me on. I finally relented and told him I left at 11:26 (since that's what I saw in the office clock) when I sped away.

"Really? You see, Kiny, out of the blue, about twenty or thirty minutes ago (about the exact time I left the office) blurted out in the middle of her play, 'Mommy is coming' word for word! And we were not even talking about you."


Now that really jarred me. As always, when Kiny says things like this, I pretend to ignore, but it never failed to stun me. More so this time. I am stupefied at the confirmation of what seemed to be a mother's hunch.

Of course, one can always suggest this to be a case of pure random guess on the part of my daughter. But it's kind of eerie to have instances like this. And this time, it's getting even more usual and evident. And each time she gets to be like this, it never fails to poke me in strange ways and places. I do have this weird gut-feel. This must be what I referred to in my previous write-up about a year ago that there was something about Shekinah.

I used to feel some kind of a "scare" dwelling somewhere in my gut when I first noticed this in Kiny. But right now, as I said days back, I choose to let go. I am now more overwhelmed rather than skeptical. If this is indeed meant to continue for a higher purpose then I am honored as how Mary felt when she sang "The Magnificat."

However, I still see it quite premature to say anything final. Who knows, this might just be a forgotten phenomenon in days to come. What matters now is that she is in good mighty hands.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

A W I T


Sa makausa,
Muduko ako
Aron litokon
Ang mga pulung
Sa usa ka
Amang

Sa imong mga pako
Gitipigan mo ako
Sa usa mo ka mando
Mikagiw
Ang mga bungtod
Kauban ang ilang
Mga bahad.

Midahili ang yuta
Aron ako lamyon
Apan gisikop mo
Ang akong kahadlok
Dihang yano mo akong
Gisung-ay.

Busa ania ako
Buot muawit
Alang kanimo.
Apan ang nag-inusara
Kong awit mao ra
Ang hinaguros
Sa akong gininhawa.

Hangtod karon
Ang pagkurog
Sa gaungot
Kong dila
Magpabilin.

Kay bisan gani
Sa akong pagbuka
Ning akong baba
Dili ako takos
Aron sambogan
Ang katin-aw
Sa imong
Kahilom.

Friday, August 19, 2011

MY OLIVER TWISTS


I admit I am a cry baby. I cry at the littlest mushy thing like hugs, unexpected "thank-you's", freebies, tearful "I'm sorries" from my 2-year-old, even the teary-eyed students who looked seemingly betrayed at the prospect of goodbyes.

Yesterday was unexpected. I guess I was too overjoyed by how things turn out that I gave the habalhabal driver some good extra pesos when he hauled me to the gate of the school after the uphill and downhill ride--one last time. And who would not be, my next assignment would be five-minute walk away from where I live.

I was all smile when I got to the gate and to the classrooms when I saw my students teary-eyed and looking lost. They knew. Long before I knew. They saw my replacement English teacher first and knew right at that instant I'm leaving. I was cornered with darting hurt look from each of them. Despite being thrown in a pandemonic state of things, I still caught some murmured questions aimed at me like machine guns that have no plans to relent. Questions were hurled from what sounded like thick strangled tongues trying desperately, wanting to ask in English (as such was my rule if they had to speak within earshot of their English teacher).

"Are you really going ma'am? Away from us?"

The replacement teacher wasn't at any count bad. Not at all. So I am sure after this little hoopla, things will fall into place. They will be all right. These orphans, as how my students would like to call themselves with me their class adviser, gone in a few moments from then. From that, one can understand why I call them my "Oliver Twists." I have never seen a hunger as theirs--you could stick a spoon to their mouth, they'd bite, spoon including. I can see them wide-eyed everytime I taught them not only what my lesson plan stipulates but also the unwritten laws of this universe we call culture despite the modern times.

I thought I had never began my trek with these kids yet. We have miles to travel or so I thought. I had unconscious plans to train them and mold them in what powers I could muster. Two months, only two months and I am done with my Oliver Twists.

Again, I am a cry baby. When I saw them broke down in broad daylight (even at the presence of the new teacher), I knew right there I was through. And what little I had with with them was more than enough. Right there, while they're like that(wanting more of what I could give) than later when there is no certainty if they would still want more of what they could purge from me the same way they want me now.

Such self-absorbed thinking you might say. But all this fuss is enough to tell me I have taught enough. My Oliver Twists are no orphans. Not at all.

Monday, August 15, 2011

LITTLE MISS TEACHER





We were running late for church yesterday morning. We woke up at 8 o'clock, the exact hour I should be in church for Sunday School class. Soon, in the flurry of it all, we finally touched down church grounds at about 90 minutes past 8 with 15 minutes or so remaining for Sunday School hour. It was good though that the others were trapped in the rain that they got there just a few minutes after I settled myself almost reclining by the corner couch of the young professional Sunday school room. In all this, I forgot my toddler and her church offering. You see, I made a decision that her first orientation with money has got to be something to do with church and offering. Hence, every Sunday she feels obliged to put in a few pesos to the Sunday School offering pouch.



This Sunday though, this was missed out. Right after the morning service, one of the church stewards called my attention. She raised a familiar bright yellow hair clip from the heap of coins in the offering pouch and jokingly blurted out,

"Mrs. Panes,You better redeem this from us! Just look at what your daughter put in the offering pouch today!"

Somewhat embarrassed, I took a coin from my wallet and dropped it into the pouch obligingly. "It actually turned out though," the lady continued, "that when the offering from the children's room was collected, your daughter was the only one who couldn't fish out any coins from her pocket. But we told her it was all right. We were not aware though that she managed to put in something instead while our attention was somewhere else."

There I was, as in many other times, despite myself, pleasantly surprised at what looks like a resourcefulness but really, more of a resoluteness to give at any cost by any means.

In all my years, I have always been amazed by the wonders of the little object lessons God throws at me at times I least expect but I have never been muted with such profound teaching as I was right there at that minute with my little toddler as my little teacher.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

IN THE FOLDS



I came to your door once,

Slipped a note folded twice.

You went in and out more than thrice.

Yet, there by the hinge,

I still lay

Trapped in the folds;

Waiting

For this door's

Creaking.

BEYOND ME



There are things that are way, way beyond the human mind. But I look at these things from afar. These are things I'd rather keep in periphery. There are bigger things. Higher things.

As of late, I discover not only in one instance, but in several cases what I already noticed way back in college. Through an incidental mental exercise, my psychology professor confirmed that I had (had, because that's what I prefer)positive signs of this little thing they call precognition. Precognition is from the Latin word "praecognito" which means prior or previous knowledge. It is the obtaining of knowledge or a vision about an event before it occurs. Now, I supposed this is too inconsequential to talk about as I tried the hardest not to mind or entertain thoughts about what I could be capable of. But lately, my two-year-old daughter has shown me some apparent signs of the same gift or thing (whatever you call it). Not that it bothers me much, but it makes me wonder and therefore, curious for her sake.

I'd rather not enumerate all the weird scenarios that brought this into mind.I have tried to do research about instances like this. But researching on things that may just be way off our finite mind is a darkened territory only the Higher being sees.

Again, I tried to ignore the signs. But if I have to mention one instance that really grabbed me by the throat, I'd say,it's the movie "The Rite" where Anthony Hopkins played as the priest who exorcises but gets possessed later in the movie. I and my husband got curious about the video that because of boredom we plunged into it hoping to while our early evening away.

My daughter was busy with her coloring book and other toys and it was obvious that she wasn't listening nor watching the movie when all of a sudden she said "I'm scared." And in that instance, one character in the movie who was narrating his horrifying story in a phone scene, said the same line after a second my Kiny said such line. That stunned me. I didn't know how to react. But while she said that line her face looked scared. I was sure she had no idea what the movie was all about. Of course she speaks English but the movie was far too serious for her age.

Okay, I'd rather take it as pure coincidence, you might say. That's what I'm set to do. But then again, my baby, suddenly, blurted out my student's name out of the blue one night when I got home from work. I dismissed it as one of her nothing-much-to-say moments but random names. That morning of that day, I transferred to one of the city schools in Cebu leaving my previous students of the other school. The next day, the student with the same difficult name to utter for a 2-year-old texted me she was crying the whole night for one problem that she thought of no one but me. Right there, after reading it, I remembered Kiny half-shouting my female student's name out of the blue. Of course, another coincidence. I'm dead set on that decision. But there are more "coincidences" I choose not to spill here that do not fail to arrest me.

But for whatever purpose God intends for these little moments my daughter is going through, we are always at his disposal. He knows and shapes her life not her mother nor this world. Thus, I set to rest in his peace, come what may.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

KANG DODONG UG SA UBAN PANG MGA SUNDALO SA ISLA SA SPRATLY


Taod-taod
Kilom-kilom na sad.
Mahimo na sigurong
Mupiyong,
Bisan kadiyot.

Apan asa kaha
Ipatong ni Dodong
Ang natun-ogang tingkoy
Nga ang isla
Gikampatan na man
Sa mga kinakhaan
Ug mga itlog
Sa mga lumad-langgam?

Asa man ni Dodong
Patuy-oron ang
Iyang mga tiil?
Nga matod pa sa mga
Silingang langyaw
Ang isla
Tumbanan na
Sa ilang mga tiil.
Gani ang ila kunong
Tingog
Mao ang dahunog
Nianang dagat.

Pahuway lang usa, Dong.
Mahimong sa suok na lang
Mutikungkong.

Basin ugma
Sa kaadlawon
Maunhan na nimo
Ang mga langgam
Ugma,
Ang imong mga tunob
Muangkon
Sa mga balas;

Mulakra,
Mulapos sa mamala
Dili gyud mapapas--

Bisag mugahob pa
Ang dagat.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

pag-ayaw: panamilit sa akong pinuy-anan sa bukid sa busay




Mokumpayot pa man gani
Sa lapyahan
Ang mga balod
Inig pamira na
Sa lawod;

Mokuto-kuto bisan
Ang gabawog-bawog
Nga kawayan
Inig pahilayo
Gikan pagyukbo
Sa inahang yuta;

Ako pa kaha
Kon tawgon na unya
Sa laing
Pasilonganan?

Saturday, July 9, 2011

KINUMKUM


Diay kinumkom

Nga mga adlaw

Gutlo--

Akong gilain

Alang kanimo

Hinagpat gikan

Sa katuigan--

Mga daklit

Nga nalunhawan

Sa mga agik-ik

Ug talidhay

Ayawat na lang

Imong makuot-kuot

Kung ugaling

Mudawo na

Ang kalibotan.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

STICKING TO THE SIMPLE


It's plain crazy. I used to think that getting the simple things and sticking to them are nothing but a piece of cake.

Irony of all ironies, it's the simple things that are the toughest to stick to in this pandemonium of a world--the basic clothing, not the trendy wears that would pass as weird velvety body draperies; the plain red lipstick and blush-ons, not the concealers nor the glimmer sticks; the functional cellular phone not the internet-laden apple phone gadgets or what have you; a pair of pearl studs, not the dozen "sparkle and dangle"; a staple purse or black hand bag instead of a satiny or snake-skinned class A imitation of a Louis Vuitton piece--all these and many more are, believe me, hard to come by this day and age.

Keeping with the basic gets me a little short of deranged these days. When the budget calls for the simplest of the simple, we blame our struggles to keep up with the mean race with the trends on the governance of a few who wallow in luxury (or so it seems). We thought life is hard. It's a world of hard-knocks here. The climb is tough.

Well, for years (which is not that many), seeking the simple joys in life teaches me how illusive the world of simple things and simple men indeed are. It breaks my heart each time the vain woman in me steals a peek on an intricately designed pair of dangles or studs, which after a minute or two of refusing inside, this woman dashes and grabs them for dear life. Each time, after shelling out the much-earned hundreds of pesos, I usually slump myself in the jeepney seat and die because again and again I turn a deaf ear to my new resolve to choose to live the simple life.

Lately, working in the mountains have brought me amazing peace and some quietude. The simplicity of life here with its greens and mountain breeze have healed my perennial arthritis and sore back, more so my usually toxin-clogged head. I used to bury my head to paper works and endless job-related "unpredictables" in my city job. The amount of work here is more like the same to what I used to have. And yes,I can enumerate hundreds of similarities but as to why the energy I bring with me every time I go down after a day's work is doubled and would equal to that of the youth's I can't exactly explain. I'm nearing my fourth decade but it feels so new every day. While it is true that I don't get to see the goings-on down there while the sun's up but when you're happy you don't miss what you left somewhere.

But then again keeping to what works here, how the simple stuff really works and then I go down to the city and then I get to see many lovely things (or so I thought)the wrestling bout begins. It's a tough thing to overhaul in a jiffy a life like mine--overturning tables and corners of what used to be filled with wasteful lifestyle and useless trinkets here and there is not at all easy. But I'm learning.

This process I go through is therapeutic. I'm still trying to pursue the simple stuff. I fall short, yes. Once in a while. You see, it's these simple things I'm trying to keep up with that are not in any way simple. It's a tough fight against the urge, against the addiction, against the vanity. But the mountain life here is a real salvation with what I'm pursuing.

Lately, an offer came to work somewhere where going up on the ladder scheme of what they label as promotion and success are an inch away, where prestige awaits. That and more. But what do I care of "those and more"? It will only shorten my joys, my life, my daughter's life, probably even my husband's (who think I'm more vavavoom these days!). I am still at a rehabilitation in the mountains I call my simple life. So why bother!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

THAT SOUP THEY CALL LAW-OY AFTER FOUR YEARS OF BEING A WIFE


It's amazing how time is reduced to the vulnerability of a dewdrop that hangs for one precarious moment and then goes away as though it was never there.

Four years. And yet being married to the father of my toddler has never been so suspenseful but worth everything I laid aside for good. At times, the little good things I had in the years I was with my past joys are tempting to go back to--things like former work stations, people I had grown to be comfortable with and the like--which of course includes the perks, the money, the bonuses, and the travels I so sorely miss. But ah, just what are these things? On the surface, with all the compounding financial needs and the endless clamor against the skyrocketing increase of commodities plus the seeming need to catch up with the latest technological gadgets and toys the third-world public is crazy with these days, it is so easy to take a step back to the old world where life was easier. But minus my husband and my little Kiny, I'd rather forget the time warp! I'd rather wallow in the simplicity of life here than go through life again in the desert.

Four years had been wonderful. A little less like a quiet country paradise where you only worry how to answer your two-year-old's query why the sensation of "itch" is not equivalent to "pain." Or why a mosquito's bite is itchy and an ant's is painful and itchy at the same time. Oh, and how to cook a kinamunggayang utan with tanglad from a neighbor's garden just to cater to your man's insatiable appetite for law-oy.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

OF MOUNTAINS AND HUGGING



I'm hugging the mountains. And to my utter surprise, they hug me back with so much gusto! I never had this kind of warmth in my city work before--only in the breezy mountains. Work here is a breeze. I can't help but cling to the trees and the shades they so lovingly provide me when I need some comfort zones of sort.

When one is displaced to an unknown territory, a level of stress will begin to consume the soul and the body will show this. For instance, hosting a program was peanuts to me when I was in another institution. I was frozen to bits when I did my first assignment to host a program in what could be the smallest public high school that I serve in my entire 15 years of teaching. I stammered for reasons even I could not figure. There, I totally got whacked. The second program I hosted was a little better but was way below my expectation. I didn't quite measure up. That got me nuts--again! But always, always, I had people to turn to when I need some salvation. And thank God, I am not alone.

Right now, I content myself with smelling the mountain dews, the fresh tree leaves, peeking the stubborn fog, spying at the quiet thickets that I normally watch at a distance in between moments when I take usual glimpseS through the small wooden jalousies in my small classroom these days. Aaahhh, the mountains.

Embracing life here and loving what you do, not because you got to (or else, it only becomes a nasty obligation), but because you really do makes anything (under the same sky I'm sharing with everyone else) oh so beautiful.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Next Big Thing--Shekinah Starts To Rock!


My daughter is the next genius in the neighborhood!

Can you blame me for that loud announcement? For one thing, I am a proud mother of only one--a miracle of sort in my 37th year. Second, I am a teacher who is used to monitoring an individual's learning developments and deficiencies for 13 years or so. Third, most of our neighborhood children now are engrossed with other things except school stuff. Thus, they learned their school things when they like to go to school--as to when, the parents are not intent on pushing them to, which tells you, my baby stands out (haahh, forgive the audacity)since she stays with her books and blocks all day.

And so, here goes my story.

Just two weeks after my little girl turned two, she amazed me when she brandished her new passion lately--learning her alphabets in matter of 2 weeks only. At first I thought she could only read 17 letters in the alphabet. But in matter of a few days after, she managed to even memorize the sequence of all the 26 letters, all because of one book I borrowed from a very good preschool nearby. It did her wonders.

But really, little did I know that it started even before I showed her the book, I was using it to tutor his five-year old cousin Vinry, who at the time, was having difficulty identifying each letter from the others. She was just right there paying attention to every curve and corner of each letter I was pushing into Vinry's consciousness and esophagus so to speak.

Seeing her digging her hands into my bags looking for that book everyday makes me decide to give her 2 hours every week just to give her a little lesson here and there--enough for a little toddler like her. And man, it was like a dream teaching her! She just absorbed everything. I bought educational tapes and toys which includes blocks, numbers, speaking lines for her. And she watches every DVD and builds her own blocks (which started when she was around 5 months yet).

For now, she glues herself to me every time I'm home for her books and DVDs. Ah, thank God, I am her mother!