Sunday, August 02, 2009

Yellow for mourning

(From Definitely Filipino Facebook page)

Her celebrity daughter, Kris Aquino, had said it earlier in a TV interview - their family had decided to have a "people's funeral" instead of a "state funeral" as the Filipino people will honor former President Corazon "Cory" Aquino, not Malacanang - the highest seat of power tainted by an administration that did not clearly express its willingness to give up power by 2010.

It was a right decision the family made - it was the Filipino people who were with the Aquino family when Cory's husband, Sen. Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino, Jr. was assassinated in 1983; it was the Filipino people (through political supporters) that catapulted the self-described "housewife" to become the first lady president of the Philippines and Southeast Asia; it was the Filipino people, who majority experienced hardships in her six-year administration marred by several coups, but nonetheless, remained a believer in this lady who remained calm despite the challenges her administration had faced; it was the Filipino people, from all sides, all camps, who moved and united in prayer and tributes for the recovery of Tita Cory - and for such outpouring of support, the Aquino family is very generous to the Filipino people, by holding a public viewing of their mother's remains.

Let's give it to the Aquino family - they could have even chosen to not hold a public viewing, but they are still letting the public feel Cory is one with them even up to her death.

It could not be helped that the mourning will be widely covered by the press/media - especially how tributes abound when a famous personality dies, and how such make us desensitized (at times, making an unlikely festive event out of a grieving occasion) - but the tributes we see now for Tita Cory are all well-deserved - it is the Filipino media's way of thanking her for restoring the freedom of speech and expression (as included in the 1986 Constitution).

Those aspiring to run for public office in 2010 should set aside their ambitions now and should mourn, even for a short time, to a leader they - or some - of them sought for inspiration and endorsement (perhaps) come every elections.

They instead should learn to be like Cory - calm, decent, simple, and did not aspire for much power and stepped down as mandated by the Constitution.

And yellow, the very color associated to Tita Cory, has now become the color for mourning - this might be a color for this grieving time, but yellow will always be remembered as, there was once a Corazon "Cory" Aquino, dressed often in yellow, who have had united the Philippines through its difficult times.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Sleep-deprived, love-filled nights

Playing goofy here (at Palm Cove, Cairns, Queensland, Australia - April 30, 2009)

How time flies - Robin and I are now on our second year.

The first night we met is always a tingling, giggly, high-schoolish crush moment for me. Robin didn't mind my child-like moments then and on we became an engaged couple.

The two years of us are made of sleep-deprived, love-filled nights (for most part, as we also have our share of misunderstandings). Whether we chat online (I waiting for him to come home from work, him despite being tired from a 12-hour shift, he always makes time for me [and provided our Internet connections are good]), or if we're together, we spent our nights with hearty dinner (takeaways or cooked by him [and me until recently!]), watching TV and commenting about the programs, watching DVDs, and during my last stay in Cairns, Queensland, Australia, we were playing Nintendo Wii (and how he always finds my golfing skill [Wii Sports] and my Mario Kart know-how non-existent).

Communication is the key why we're still together as a couple (and hopefully have more anniversaries to celebrate, together at that). There are also nights spent on serious talking - what the future holds for the two of us, career-wise and financially in particular. But the bottom line remains that despite the trials we're experiencing and constantly learning to accept and deal with our imperfections, the LOVE remains. It is not enough to survive in this world, but our love for each other makes us stronger, strive harder, and aim for that life of togetherness.

(What a way to welcome our second anniversary though - I was asleep until 2:50am earlier and bolted out of bed just to chat with Robin. I missed him by seconds (as I saw him signed out)! But I managed to talk to him over the phone - he sensed I was still feeling dazed from waking up abruptly and gently told me to go back to sleep after greeting the two of us happy anniversary [and he was as amazed how we've been together for this long] and sent me good night with "I love you"]).

To Robin, thank you very much for everything. You will always be very much a part of me and I am truly thankful to have you. Happy second anniversary!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Hope springs eternal

Killer thirst: Firefighter David Tree shares his water with Sam the koala at Mirboo North in Victoria's Gippsland region. Picture: Mark Pardew

I only believed it was that damaging when my fiance SMS me Sunday afternoon that the holiday house we stayed in Marysville, owned by his friend Carol, was already gone - burnt, in the horrific bushfires that swept that part of the Victorian state.

Flashes of lush green sceneries came back to me. I saw those on our way to Marysville to spend the Australia Day holiday last year. It was a refreshing sight for someone like me whose idea of sceneries are mostly the cold flyovers, the steel-laden train ways, massive buildings that dot the cities I cross over on my way to work or to any of my appointment.

The horror, the Australian officials say, is too much to handle and they are grimly expecting for the death toll to climb to 300 (as of yesterday, it was confirmed that two Fil-Aussies have perished in the fires).

I remember before asking my fiance if they encounter bushfires there (as massive as what they deal with in parts of the US - where I get my idea of bushfires, beamed through global media reports). I had no idea a year after my first visit to Australia, a horror of such magnitude was to happen.

It will take years, many years, to rebuild the towns destroyed, to revive the environment, to recover from the lives’ lost, considering the current extent of damages the bushfires made.

Arson is also suspected for one of the bushfires that happened. Fiance said he wishes the death penalty to be reimplemented in their country, to punish the one or those responsible for the bushfires. I say, it will not be enough considering all that was lost in that tragic event.

My fiance said Carol is all right, and is considering to build a new home in the same site - a site, a home, that hosted fond memories of her childhood, family, and grown-up friendships. To me, it was a place where I was welcomed by her and husband Bill, by my fiance and his friends, and it was a warm home to me in that short stay I spent there.

I am no stranger to disasters. The closest I can deal with was the July 16, 1990 killer quake that hit the greater part of Luzon (I was in Grade 3, at school, after that massive rain, there we saw our teacher was like dancing in front of us, then the trophies in the wooden cabinet fell, and we’re told to go to the school grounds, and all I remember I was really crying. And whenever it rains hard here, the images of that day 18 years ago come alive to me).

The Philippines is a natural disaster-prone country - lying in the typhoon zone and including in the Pacific Ring of Fire. While I haven’t experienced other disasters most of my fellow Filipinos endured in the recent past, I say, we have the resilience to withstand any crisis, to move on from any disaster, to rebuild, little by little.

Such we can share to those who are affected by the bushfire disaster in Australia. Be strong in spirit and all that was lost will be gained back, and hopefully more.

To Carol, if this is of any consolation, I say, your lovely house in Marysville was more than that. It was a home you graciously shared, and you shared it with me. And while it was gone, the memories you have, and the memories I have of my stay there, will forever remain.

Yes, hope shouldn’t be robbed from us no matter what problem we have. And Sam the Koala and the good samaritan, volunteer firefighter David Tree touchingly taught us that. This also made me hopeful I will still see a koala like Sam (my past two visits I haven’t seen a koala yet), and reminds me a simple act of kindness can truly, improve lives.

Let that photo of Sam and David inspire us, and hope for the best to come, not only from the disaster there in Australia, but let us always remain hopeful (and work for the best) to better our daily lives.

For the video of Sam and David, click here.

Photo of Sam and David, from The Herald Sun.

For my photos of Marysville and the rest of my stay in Melbourne, click here.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Rediscover Intramuros

My History of Philippine Broadcasting class (one of my graduate studies’ courses) had our Intramuros exploration Sunday, January 25.

It was a modern take on viewing Intramuros, which was Manila - a growing city then comparable to those in Europe, and entry to this was only to those of Spanish blood or descent.

The trip, composed of series of explorations of texts, places, events, and artifacts aims to have a critical reflection on colonial influence on the Filipino consciousness and identity.

It was designed ala Amazing Race, though since we were only a class of five, we worked as a group, and were able to found what was asked from us:

At The Manila Cathedral premises, we were asked to find the residence of one of the three famous martyred priests;

At Fort Santiago, we found the martyr’s bones, A Christian warrior against the Muslim faith, footsteps of doom, a hero’s bed, and goodbye in many languages;

At the San Agustin Church and Museum, we found the maestro’s final resting place, tribute to the Adelantado, an artistic spectacle of visual illusion, and an ancient parchment (I was a bit nostalgic here; I visited this more than a year ago, and it was on a first date with my fiance, who was non-religious, but still marvelled - and dismayed at such wealth the Catholic church amassed);

At Casa Manila (photo taking strictly prohibited), we saw a conjugal toilet and an ilustrado refrigerator;

At the National Museum (National Gallery of the Art - strictly no photo taking also), I first laid my eyes on Juan Luna’s Spoliarium, among other exhibits (since perhaps the museum is undergoing renovation, there were exhibits that shouldn’t be housed there, being the gallery of art);

At the Museum of the Filipino People, our eyes feasted on most galleries dedicated to the San Diego Spanish galleon recovery, among other exhibits that fill the four floors of the former finance building;

I dig this kind of trip - when I was in high school, the history buff in me was boosted when I joined history quiz competitions and the likes. I must admit I knew history then merely by memorizing the dates, the events, the people, and I had no complete understanding of what really transpired then.

So, given the time, and the bodily energy, I would go for more historical trips of this kind - a day touring Intramuros is not really enough.

Here’s Intramuros from my view. Please take note the photos here were taken whenever permissible, as some areas were not allowed to be photographed. (The orientalist textual representations’ class assignment, to follow).

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Lucky Thursday

A plurk friend posted earlier that like what her pre-school teacher says, "Thursday is a lucky day!"

For me, it is so far. Though I will not be content with that.

I believe though there is no such thing as luck - you make things happen.

I made things happened. And I am achieving results so far - enough for me to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Though I still have to watch out for things to come, I still have to be on guard.

On that note, I wish us all a good ending to this first month of 2009.

Monday, January 26, 2009

(Chinese) New Year's resolution

She has decided to rest - for now.

To rest until she has regained the courage and strength to continue the fight.

To fight for what she believes a blessing that should be nurtured and kept for good....

Like the Warrior of the Light, she now:

"Respects the main teaching of the I Ching: "to persevere is favorable."

"...always returns to the fray. He never does so out of stubbornness, but because he has noticed a change in the weather."

"...tries to establish what he truly can rely on. And he always checks that he carries three things with him: faith, hope, and love. if these things are there, he does not hesitate to go forward."


"For the Warrior, there is no such thing as impossible love....A Warrior never gives in to fear when he is searching for what he needs. Without love, he is nothing."

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Blue New Year

(Image from

Today marks my 100th post, but the following will not really be fully celebratory.

Since my last post, I got busy catching up with my deadlines for the magazine and sideline work.

I also had to enroll for this term in graduate school - due to a misunderstanding, I had to change matriculation and withdrew from the two classes I enrolled in and transferred to the "right" one for my completion. Duh me, duh them.

Spent part of Christmas and New Year with my friends, went to the church to thank for our 2008 blessings and look forward to a more blessed 2009 - yes, despite the doom and gloom being painted all over.

Welcomed the New Year with only me and my mother - my brothers were out working (call center professionals, you see). Still, with tables full of food, it was a bit strange only me and my mother having media noche - I thought we rarely got complete during occasions (having an absentee father), but I took the New Year 2009 as a sign that things are definitely changing for us and it would be inevitable that there would be times we wouldn't be able to be together.

Ended 2008 with a more optimistic sight for 2009 - until last week, when due to shifting moods and misunderstanding (blame the mercury retrograde?), I'm feeling the optimism was sucked out of me. On my end, I'm trying to patch things up - I believe it was a "little" issue that should be resolved right away, and not exacerbate it by choosing not to deal with it.

If experts say "the unhappiest day in history" was yesterday, January 19, I say, I'm having a week of "unhappiness' already.

A trusted friend just advised me now - I've done my part so be cool about the situation in another three to five days. That friend says also if I want to get things work, it is me who has to change.

Indeed. No one can't change overnight though, but I know I should keep that blessing, and if I want to, it has to be me who should give more. The other part has been giving me a lot and I was submerged in my pride not to consider such.

I am still optimistic. Starting today, I will dwell more on the new spring of optimism in me. If still nothing happens in the cooling period of three to five days, God know's I tried....

I will lessen feeling blue now - it's not good for the health, really. But blue is my favorite color and I will continue to wear it.

Please also visit Rediscover. Thank you.