Sa Pula, Sa Itim, Sa Puti

Madilim. Madugo. Masalimuot. Nahaharap ngayon ang ating bansa sa isang malawakang digmaan. Digmaang marami na ang nakitil. Digmaang marami na ang nagbuwis at magbubuwis pa ng buhay. Digmaang dugo ang patuloy na dadanak. Digmaang hindi sundalo at rebelde ang magkalaban. Digmaang kinabibilangan ng kapulisan, kawatan, mayayaman, mahihirap, at ang nakakalungkot ay ng kabataan. Ito ang makabago ngunit mas marahas na digmaan — ang digmaan kontra droga.

Droga. Sinasabing malaki ang ginagampanan ng droga sa ating buhay. Ang droga ay isang gamot. Sa siyensya, nakakatulong ito upang makapagpagaling ng karamdaman. Nakakaapekto rin ito sa ating pag-iisip at kalusugan. Ngunit sinasabing sa maling paggamit nito, maari itong makapagdulot ng pagkasira ng buhay. Ito ang pangunahing suliraning nakapaloob sa nasabing gamot — ang pagkalulong o adiksyon.

Sa pagsisimula ng termino ng Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte noong Hunyo 2016, walang takot nitong ipinahayag ang misyon nitong mapuksa ang lahat ng may kaugnayan sa droga — malalaking drug lords man ito, protektor o maging maliliit na kriminal.

Tinawag na “Oplan TokHang” at “Oplan Double Barrel” ang kampanya ng Pangulong Duterte kaagapay ang Philipppine National Police (PNP) laban sa bawal na gamot.

Ang Oplan Tokhang ay yaong pagba-bahay-bahay ng mga kapulisan at pagkumbinsi ng mga ito na sumuko at magbagong buhay ang mga kilalang tulak ng droga. Nagmula ang salitang ito sa pinaghalong salitang Bisaya na “toktok” (“katok”) at “hangyo” (“pakiusap”).

Samantala, ayon naman kay PNP Chief Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, ang “Oplan Double Barrel” ay isang proyekto kung saan “isang kalabit lang sa barrel, dalawang trigger ang puputok. Merong barrel na kakalabit sa taas, sa high value target at merong barrel na tatama doon sa baba, doon sa mga street-level personalities.”

Hindi maikakaila na naging epektibo ang kampanyang ito sa mga naunang araw dahil marami ang sumukong durugista at adik. Ngunit kaiba na ang naging resulta ng kampanyang ito sa nagdaang panahon. Dito na lumabas ang kahindik-hindik na reyalidad ng nasabing kampanya.

Sa pula. 

Estudyante. Labimpitong taong gulang. Nangarap maging pulis. Napatay ng pulis. Ito ang kinahinatnan ni Kian Loyd delos Santos, isang mabuting anak at kapatid sa kanyang pamilya.

Labing-siyam na taong gulang. Nangangasiwa ng tindahan. Napagbintangang nang-holdap ng taxi. Pinaghinalaang nanlaban. Binaril ng pulis. Napatay. Ito naman ang sinapit ni Carl Angelo Arnaiz, isang matalino, palatawa, at butihing anak sa kanyang mga magulang at kaibigan.

Dalawa lamang sila sa madugong kinahinatnan nang masidhing kampanya ng administrasyon kontra droga. Mga kabataang pinaghinalaang sangkot sa ipinagbabawal na gamot at ngayo’y mga boses na humihingi ng tulong at sumisigaw ng hustisya sa walang awa nilang pagkakapaslang.

Kung mayroon mang mukha sa likod ng patuloy na pakikibaka sa droga, masasabing si Kian, Carl Angelo at ang kalunus-lunos nilang pagkamatay ang magsisilbing anino nito. Aninong hanggang ngayon ay isa pa ring palaisipan kung mabibigyan ba ng katahimikan ang mga buhay at pangarap na nasayang dahil lamang sa maigting na utos na mapatay ang mga may kaugnayan sa droga, kahit wala namang matibay na ebidensya na magpapatunay sa koneksyon ng mga biktima ukol dito.

Sa pagkakapaslang ng mga walang kamalay-malay na kabataan, masusuri dito na walang pinipiling target ang ating kapulisan. Bata man o matanda walang ligtas sa proyektong ito. Ngunit sa pangyayari ring ito, makikita ang hindi organisado at pabigla-biglang operasyon ng kapulisan. Operasyong hindi sana hahantong sa madugong pagkawasak ng mga pangarap, kung sinigurado muna na tama ang nakuhang ebidensya. Operasyong hindi makukwestyon ang kredibilidad ng kapulisan kung pinairal ang paghi-hinay-hinay at pagsigurado sa mga tip na nakuha ng mga ito sa kanilang mga impormante.

Tumakbo. Nanlaban. Nagpaputok ng baril. Ito ang madalas na dahilan ng kapulisan kapag napapatay nila ang pinaghihinalaang durugista. Si Kian, napagbintangang drug runner ng pamilya. Kinaladkad, pinosasan, pinatakbo at saka binaril. Iniwang patay at may hawak na baril sa kanang kamay at dalawang pakete ng pinaghihinalaang shabu. Si Carl, ‘di umano’y nanutok ng baril, nang-holdap ng isang taxi driver at dali-daling tumakas. Nabaril siya ng pulis matapos umanong manlaban at paputukan ng baril ang mga ito habang siya ay tumatakas. Nakitaan siya na may bibit na  dalawang pakete ng marijuana at tatlong pakete ng shabu sa kanyang bagahe.

Mahirap limiin na sa ganitong pamamaraan na tumatakbo ang kalakaran upang mapuksa ang salot ng lipunan. Sa panawagan ng ating Pangulo na bawasan ang mga nagpapakalat ng krimen sa bansa, nakakatakot na marami pang madadagdag na inosente, walang malay at kaawaa-awang sibilyan na maaring maging isang alay upang mapunan lamang ang hamon ng Pangulo na masawata ang mga naghahasik ng salot sa lipunan.

Hustisya. Sa madugong pakikibaka ng pamahalaan ukol sa bawal na gamot, nananaig ngayon ang tawag at boses ng mga human rights advocate upang mapanagot ang mga pulis at iba pang sangkot sa hindi makataong pagpaslang sa mga nahuhuli at pinaghihinalaan nitong may kaugnayan sa droga. Nakakalungkot isipin na hanggang ngayon, mailap ang hustisya sa bansa. Patuloy na namamayani ang mga may sala kaysa sa mga inosenteng mamamayan.

Ang hustisya sa bansa ay napupunta lamang sa mga binging tainga ng mga dapat sana ay pumo-protekta sa karapatan ng bawat Pilipino. Hanggang ngayon, mahina ang kapangyarihan ng boses ng bayan upang mabigyan ng hustisya ang mga walang muwang na nadawit sa digmaang patuloy na nananaig sa bansa. Ang boses ng Pilipino na sana’y gigising sa diwa ng makataong paghatol ay nagiging isang oyayi na nagpapatulog lamang sa mga awtoridad na dapat nagtatanggol sa karapatan ng bayan. Ganito ang mukha ng hustisya lalo na ngayon sa usapin ng droga — mailap, matagal, nakakapanghina ng kalooban.

Sa Itim.

Kung may isang malagim na resulta ang pakikibaka kontra droga, hindi maikakailang ito ay kamatayan — makatao man o hindi.

Magmula ng kampanya, umabot na nga sa libu-libo ang napapaslang na drug personalities sa operasyon ng pulisya. Numerong kinabibilangan ng mga lehitimong operasyon at mga extrajudicial killings.

Ang masakit na katotohanan ay yaong sa likod ng magandang pagnanasa ng pamahalaan na mapabagsak ang utak ng droga sa bansa, ang mga nagdurusa at nagbubuwis ng buhay — kung hindi ang mga maliliit na kriminal — ay yaong mga inosenteng maralita. Mga indibidwal na may pangarap, nagplanong bumili lamang ng pagkain isang gabi, at kinabukasan malamig na bangkay nang matatagpuan.

Mas nakakatuwang gumising isang araw na mas malaking isda na ang nabingwit ng pamahalaan. Mas maganda siguro, kung isang araw, ibaling ng pamahalaan ang kanilang atensyon sa pinaka-puno’t dulo ng kadilimang ito — ang mga big-time drug lords.

Sa kaliwa’t kanang patayan, malalim na sugat ang naiiwan sa puso at pagkatao ng mga naulila. Sugat na hindi kayang burahin ng isang paghingi lamang ng tawad dahil sa maling akusasyon, lalo na sa pamilya at naiwan ng napagkamalang suspek; lalo na kung ang mga nagdusa ay walang namang kamuwang-muwang.

Kamatayan. Ito ba ang sagot sa madilim na yugto ng pakikibakang ito, o isa lamang itong pagtatagong anyo sa pagkabigo ng ating pamahalaan na isalang at parusahan ang tunay na kriminal sa bansa.

Madilim. Kahindik-hindik. Sa kasalukuyang estado ng ating bansa ukol sa isyung ito, ‘di maiiwasang isipin na walang oras, panahon o lugar ang ligtas para sa mamamayan. Sa pag-aakalang ang mga taong pu-protekta sayo ay yaong pang magiging mitsa ng buhay mo. Madilim ang yugtong ito.

Nakakatakot na habang naglalakad ka, isang gabing payapa, ay mapagkamalan ka ng isang adik at hindi ka na abutin kinaumagahan. Hindi ito ang mukha ng isang maganda at ligtas na bansa. Hindi ito ang Pilipinas na payapa.

Sa puti.

Tunay na walang maidudulot na maganda ang droga. At ang droga, maaaring matagpuan kung saan-saan. Ang nakakabahala ay ang patuloy na paghahari ng salot na ito.

Paghahari dahil hanggang ngayon ang mga utak ng kasamaang ito ay namumuhay ng marangya. Namamasyal at pagala-gala lamang sa paligid, at ang iba’y nagsasaya sa ibang bansa. Naghihintay ng mga bagong biktima na ipapakain sa mga kasamaang sila naman ang naghasik. Ganito ang pagtatagumpay ng mga big-time drug lords sa bansa. At ang masaklap, patuloy silang maghahari nasa rehas man sila o wala.

Salot ang droga. Ang droga hindi panandaliang kaligayahan. Ito ay pagdurusang panghabang-buhay. Sa minsang paggamit nito, tiyak na babalik-balikan at hahanap-hanapin mo ito. Isa itong adiksyon na hindi magagamot ng isang araw lamang. Na kahit mismong taong nakapagpa-rehab na, may mantsa nang naidulot ito. May pagkakataong babalikan mo ang dati mong gawi.

Traydor ang droga. Walang mabuting makukuha dito. Isa itong madilim na aninong dadalaw sayo sa panahong akala mo nakalimutan mo na ito. Walang itong pipiliing panahon o pagkakataon kapag umatake. Tatangkain ka nitong ibalik sa madilim mong kahapon na pilit mo pa ring kinakalimutan. Ang droga ay salot. Isang salot na dapat lupigin.

Mas madaling isipin na hindi hahantong sa mahirap na sitwasyong ito ang bansa kung mas pinagtuunan ng pansin ng pamahalaan ang pinakaugat ng problema ng bayan — ang kahirapan. Sa ngayon ang laban kontra droga ay laban din ng kahirapan. Masasabing kahirapan ang dahilan kung kaya’t mas lumalakas ang kalakaran ng droga sa bansa.

Ginagamit ng mayayaman ang mahihirap upang makapagpuslit sila ng iligal na gamot. Ginagamit nila ang mga abang mamamayan upang lumawig pa ang kanilang negosyo. At sa huli, kapag nagkagipitan, ang mga abang mamamayan din ang ipinapain nila sa mga kapulisan. Ganito kalakas ang puwersa ng mayayaman sa mahihirap. Kaya nilang paikutin sa kanilang mga kamay ang mga nagdarahop. Kaya nilang baligtarin ang hustisya. Kaya nilang gawing tama ang mali upang pumanig sa kanila ang mas nakakarami. Sa droga kaya nilang paikutin ang mahihirap. Sa droga, kaya nilang linlangin ang mahihirap at sabihing makakatulong ito upang bumuti ang kanilang pamumuhay. Ito ang nakakalungkot na katotohanan kung kaya’t sa huli, tanging mahihirap lamang ang nagdurusa sa giyera kontra droga.

Sa pula, sa itim, sa puti. Mahahalintulad ang giyera kontra droga ng gobyerno sa sugal na sabong. Dalawang panig ang magkalaban. Isa ang masusugatan, ang isa’y mamamatay. Isang kasamaan laban sa isang mas maalab na mithiing masupil ang kadilimang dulot ng droga.

Kahalintulad ng sugal, ang misyong mapuksa ang kasamaan ay isang laro ng pagkakataon. Hindi nito nasisiguro na magwawagi ang kabutihan lalo pa’t sa ngayon, naghahari pa rin ang mga higanteng drug lords na masayang pinagtatawanan lamang ang nangyayari sa mga maliliit na kriminal. Tulad ng isang totoong digmaan, wala sa dalawang panig ang mananalo. Ni isa, hindi makakalasap ng tagumpay lalo na kung sa giyerang ito, may nasawi at nasugatan.

Ang digmaan, kahit pagbali-baligtarin, magiging isa ng bangungot.  Bangungot na dadalhin ng bawat isa sa nakaranas nito. Walang gamot o likidong makakagaling sa sugat na maiiwan ng mahapdi at masalimuot na pangyayaring ito. Ang giyera kontra droga ay isang mahabang proseso ng paghihintay, pagtitiis at pagtanggap sa katotohanang sa dulo ng laban na ito, mayroong kailangang magsakripisyo — mayroong mga inosenteg madadamay at mga taong nagdulot ng kasamaan sa bayan na dapat magbayad. Nagsisimula pa lamang ang laban na ito. At ang katotohana’y wala pang eksaktong araw o panahon kung kailan magwawakas ito. Walang pula, itim o puti na mamamayani sa bansa. Walang kulay na magdidikta ng resulta ng giyera kontra droga. Dahil sa huli, ang tunay na mithiin ng digmaan maliban sa isang ligtas, makatao at maunlad na pamayanan ay walang iba kundi ang mailap na kapayapaan. ###

 

***Ito ay opisyal na lahok sa Saranggola Blog Awards 9 para sa kategoryang Sanaysay: Sachet.

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Bloom

Because you’re brave.

Life works in such a crazy way. Even there are struggles along the way, you will survive the storm. You’ll conquer heights. You’ll fight for what you dream on.

Remember, you’re ingenious.

When things are not working the way you plan it, just keep on trying. From plan A, proceed to plan B. There is no easy route in this life. You’ll experience falling a lot of times but if there’s falling there is also catching. Catch yourself. Stand firm on the ground. Live what you believe. There is no remedy from failure than to end up winning in the end. Believe in yourself.

Dear, you’re patient.

Remember, for all the things lost there are precious things left to find. Patience, dear. There’s a pot of gold in a rainbow, just like there’s  a “good job” in life. You’ve reached this far, wait a little more. Soon things will unleash itself and you will find treasure the least you expect it so aim for more.

And so you’ll grow.

Like a butterfly, you’ll spread your wings and fly to the sky. Don’t be blinded by the light. It will serve as your guide. Reach for your aspirations. Never stop dreaming. Flap your wings and say “Hello, World! Watch me, I’ll conquer you!” You have wings to aim high and eyes to settle your goals. Worry less. Be brave enough to fight for what is best.

And because of that, you’ll grow.

Because you’re a survivor.

And you survived. Job well done! Life’s tough but so are you. So grow. There’s no stopping now. Push ahead. Keep on blooming. Life’s sweet reward awaits you! 🙂

Art of Leaving

We leave something of ourselves behind when we leave a place, we stay there, even though we go away. And there are things in us that we can find again only by going back there.”
Pascal Mercier, Night Train to Lisbon

There is no good in goodbye.

Even the bluest of sky will soon get dark.

Even the strongest of people tend to go weak.

Even those who promise to stay will later on leave.

There is no good in goodbye.

Those who were left will be broken, but it will also broke you, who will leave.

You will start again. New horizons will be waiting for you. There will lie a path for you to cross, a direction you will choose. You will be brave. Yes, you will. You have reached this far and the destination you will be going will surely test you. But be tough, dear! Life lies a bunch of opportunities for you to try out. Say hello to new things, to new people, to new atmosphere. Say hello to the new YOU!

There is no easy thing in this world.  There is no proper way to say goodbye. But those you left will understand you. They will wish you all the best. They’ve been with you through good and tough times to hope for your success. They may be hurt seeing you go, but they will support you throughout. Loving is never hard and so they will love you through and through.

You will say hello to the new world ahead of you and they will say goodbye because they need to. But all of you will get over it — the leaving.  Endings mark new beginnings.  And beginnings unleash new discoveries. Endings are necessary. Sometimes you need to close some doors to see new windows. Endings are not goodbyes, rather they are hellos.

There is no good in goodbye.

You will leave but in the hearts of those you love — you will forever stay.

Because there is really no such thing as goodbye. Rather, there is this thing called see you again.  ###

 

She deserves…

A girl is the most beautiful, caring and loving creature God has created. She is created to make a beautiful world. She is something fragile, a sweet proof of undeniable love. She may be hard and emotional sometimes, but a girl is a human being, often broken yet strong enough to face life’s dilemmas. She, of all people, knows the value of time, effort and love. And through her eyes, you can always see hope, a beam of faith, a bundle of smile. She is always ready to love and so, she deserves to be loved, too. And most of all, she deserves more from life, like…

The girl you love deserves you texting back something other than “Ok” when she asks if you want to meet her for dinner after work. Don’t do that. If you want to meet her for dinner after work, you know you feel more than just an “Ok.” You feel a “Yes please,” “Definitely,” or even a “Sure.” It doesn’t take any more time or effort. The girl you love deserves more than an “Ok.”

The girl you love deserves a vacation, but not a vacation that she has to plan. She deserves someone who will plan it for her. She deserves not to think a thing about how you guys are going to get there, what you guys are going to do, and how you guys are going to do it. The girl you love plans practically everything you two do together during your “real lives” (without complaint, because she loves you — but that doesn’t mean the responsibility isn’t a burden sometimes), and she deserves just as much from you, too.

The girl you love deserves to be on your team. She deserves to be on your side. She deserves more benefit of the doubt than anyone else in your life. It’s the girl you love and you against the world, and she deserves for you to never forget that.

The girl you love deserves to know what you’re thinking. You’re not obligated to explain yourself to anyone else, but if you won’t try to communicate how you feel to the girl you love, then maybe you don’t deserve her love. The girl you love deserves that communication reserved only for her, because she’s the only person in the world who is responsible enough to handle it.

The girl you love deserves to take care of you. She deserves to hear your problems with work. She deserves to hear your insecurities, your failures, your shortcomings. The girl you love deserves to help you, because that’s why you chose her. The girl you love is the only one who’s good enough to care for you.

The girl you love deserves time with her friends, and screw you if you don’t think so. She deserves happy hour after work, company parties for employees only, and drinks with old college friends who are in town for the weekend.

The girl you love deserves to be able to show her quirks in front of you. She deserves to carry around that giant bag that makes it so it takes five minutes to find anything. She deserves to somehow get a small pebble stuck in her shoe approximately every 15 minutes and make you stop for her so she can take off her shoe and shake it out. She deserves to always steal your phone charger, and still, somehow, always have a really low battery life on her phone.

The girl you love deserves to take a longer time to get ready to go out than you. She deserves the time to plan for going out the wayshe is comfortable with. Remember — it’s not just you who wants to have a good time.

The girl you love deserves your reassurance that things are strictly platonic with your girl-friend who you sometimes hang out with. It isn’t unreasonable for her to get at least a little uncomfortable if you regularly hang out with an attractive female friend — and what’s the harm? You love her, so you want her to feel secure. The girl you love deserves this security.

The girl you love deserves the kind of love that’s only available to one person at a time (her). No one else deserves the love she deserves. No one else deserves the texts you send her. And no one else deserves the amount of attention you give her. That’s why you love her in the first place.

The girl you love deserves to see you act in ways you’d never let anyone other than her see. She deserves to hear things you’d never say in front of other people. She deserves the good, the bad, and the ugly things you’re too scared to show to your coworkers, your friends, even your family. The girl you love deserves to see you.

— Holden Desalles, Thought Catalog

a girl deserves

Simple reminders in life

We are always living life the way we want it, the way we feel it, the way we think it is. But somehow, we still need some simple teachings so we can go on and be happy for what we live.

Following are some life lessons that really make sense. See it yourself and probably you will end up saying, “yeah, right!” 🙂

Credit to tickld.com 🙂

lifelessons

Love a girl who writes

Simplicity of letters. Beauty of words. This creates a writer. A writer is no ordinary people. They are bunch of people who understands simplicity beyond complexity. They know that life isn’t always a sweet escape from reality. They fantasize but knows greatly that there is always good in real world. Their imagination is extravagant. They know their limits. Because in a world where rules are often unwritten, a girl who writes know her ability beyond her boundaries. So, love a girl who writes because she knows the beauty of words behind the ugliness of the world. 🙂

Date a girl who writes. Date a girl who spends her money not only on a single, definite collection or passion like “clothes only” or “books alone” but on a variety of things—-from a quirky shirt made by 4-6 year old children at a local orphanage, a lavender scarf woven by a mother of eight who has been a widow since half of her kids were able to understand that their father will never come back, a spur-of-the-moment trip to a far-flung island whose caves are said to be haunted by a sea-nymph, a 5 o’clock a.m. breakfast in a 50-year old Chinese restaurant on a dusty corner on a downtown boulevard which serves the best fried rice… the list can go on and on. And notice that every time she spends, what she buys are not only the items or the experience but also the tiny details and countless stories of lives and experiences that she can weave perfectly into words.

Find a girl who writes. You know that she does because she carries around with her a handy notepad with torn papers and stick-on notes inserted in between its pages, and these are filled with random writings, often unfinished, jotted down poems, half-finished essays, a what seems to be a first sentence of a supposed to be short story, a quotation from a book, or simply just a word that evokes a lot of meaning.. The writings are not that too organized nor the handwriting too intelligible because most of the time, the string of her thoughts are faster than what her hands can muster.

Look at the hands. You can almost always pinpoint a writer by her hands. You see the girl with the smudges and smears and lines of ink on her hands, most especially in between her fingers? That’s the writer. Don’t get her wrong. She would also sometimes wonder why she couldn’t seem to get away from those ink smudges no matter how many times she would wash and scrub her hands in a day but she would end up pacifying herself that it’s a reality that she has to deal with. Look closely at the weird girl who has chipped fingernails and crooked middle and pointing fingers on her dominant hand. If you get the chance to hold her hand one day, you’ll surely feel a small, single calloused spot on the side of the last joint of her middle finger. That’s the writer. It’s the result of the love affair of her fingers with a pen or the way she would sometimes pound (Take note: pound, not type.) on the keyboard keys, very much like a pianist who is passionately absorbed, lost in his own music.

She’s the girl who would absent-mindedly stare outside the window for most of the time while you’re relating to her what you feel is one turning point in your life and when she does this, you would sometimes get a strong desire to pound on her and tell her to pay attention. Don’t be hurt by her seemingly lack of attention or interest. Don’t worry. She’s one master of multi-tasking. I tell you, you would be surprised when all of a sudden, she would turn to you, remark on what you’ve said with words that hold the deepest sense of meaning and you would further be amazed at how she would matter-of-factly tell you how your smile became somewhat crooked at one point of your story or how a single crease of line crossed your forehead at another point. Now, who’s not paying attention, huh? Do not ever, not even for a second be deceived that she’s not paying attention when she appears like her mind is elsewhere but with you. During those times, her mind is actually in full gear and she would surprise you that she can take account of your story in toto with the right details, including the life dilemma of the old man on the other table across yours which she just heard in passing while listening to yours.

Let her know what you really think of her writing. Talk about one of her poems over a cup of coffee and insert how this particular cup of coffee is special because it was planted and harvested by a certain native tribe in the southern part of the country. You’ll surely get her attention with that. Find time to read her works even those which are written on the side of her textbooks if you happen to come across with them and you would realize her great sensitivity and the special way she looks at life with a certain degree of passion.

Critic her works, don’t be afraid. She will welcome it with a humility that would make you realize that her writing is pushing her to take a great risk of exposing and baring her soul and her heart, piece by piece, fragment by fragment, to differing opinions and views.

Don’t hesitate to disagree with some of her ideas or opinions. Instead of being disappointed, she would greatly appreciate it for she understands that a great piece of writing stimulates ideas and reactions, may it be positive or negative.

It might appear difficult to date a girl who writes because of her unpredictable nature, varied taste, and wide range of experiences that she’s exposing herself into, but I’ll tell you, she’s one of the persons who are easy to be pleased and stimulated. The only key is your resourcefulness and imagination.

Yes, give her some gifts, you cannot do away with it, but don’t give her just the item or the thing. Give her the story and the words and the emotions behind these gifts. Present to her a bouquet of inexpensive flowers and her blush would be priceless because you bought it with her in mind and knowing that the money you spent will be used by a 10-year old kid to buy a new pair of blue slippers to replace the ones with holes on both of the soles. On your date, bring her to dinner on a food cart in one of the old streets downtown without worrying of being called jologs and tell her the story of the vendor who has to sell the fishballs and the kikiam that you’re eating to compensate for his allowance the following day at the local college. Give her the stories and the gifts of words, the dramas, and the funny anecdotes and you would surely move a mile deeper into her heart.

Tell her the truth no matter how ugly or painful you may think it is. She can surely take it, coupled with a poignant smile. She has heard a lot of truths in her lifetime—truths that would make other people cringe. However, she understands that behind those truths expressed in words are sometimes honorable intentions and motivations that have just somehow swayed out of the context. It will never be the end of the world to her.

Don’t get her too comfortable with your presence. Stimulate her even if your effort would at times fail. She understands failure much like she would sometimes purposely lead her characters to fail and doom for she knows that this gives substance and twist to the story, for without it, her write-up would be bland and unimaginative.

If you find a girl who writes, don’t be daunted by her seeming complexity. Keep her close. When you receive a call at 2 o’clock a.m. and you realize that it’s her voice on the other line asking you about a certain word which is already at the tip of her tongue but she couldn’t seem to gather her thoughts completely because she just woke up due to a strong need to put to writing an idea that passed her mind while in the middle of her slumber. Don’t tell her to go back to sleep. Help her think of the right word, noting that her voice is enough to erase your irritation of being woken up and is stronger than a cup of coffee in keeping you wide awake. Who knows, she might be using you as the hero in the short story that she is currently brewing up or better yet, she is in fact writing about a vision of your life together.

You will start to write letters, the real kind, in long hand and expect to see it several years after—-yellowed pages and dog-eared, evidences of having been read for several times. You would start reading Keats and memorize some of her own original poems, reading it to her on a warm night and wonder how you ever thought before that reading poems nowadays is too gooey , when it’s the most romantic and natural thing for you to do.

Learn to ride with her quirkiness and crazy ideas and you would realize that it’s like a whiff of fresh air into your life. On the other hand, in moments when she is in deep thought, try to call her back into the dimension that you are in by your assertiveness and by balancing her silence with your thoughtful comedic acts. Don’t hesitate to break her occasional silences. Introduce and relearn with her the pleasure of experiencing the lighter stuffs in life. When she is having one of her moods during a writer’s block, take the pen out of her hand and hold it tightly with yours—-crooked, calloused fingers and all.

You will declare your love to her in the craziest way you’ve never thought possible—-in a rusty carnival ride, in the middle of a mardi gras, while walking on a wooden plank to the pump boat that would bring you to another island escapade. or probably when there’s a thunderstorm coupled with streaks of lightning and you just find yourself dumbfounded, mesmerized with her complete focus on the natural phenomena in front of her that would lead other people into shrieking, while she gazes at it intently, keeping to mind the exact color at the moment of the streaking of the lightning across the sky and the distinct sound of the thunder so she can write about it perfectly lest she needs this particular scene in her next write-up.

Life with her would be one great adventure with moments of tenderness for she understands the balance of her elements. You will at times want to throttle her, but most of the time, you would roll with her while laughing so uninhibitedly and you will smile so hard ’til your jaws ache and will wonder why your heart hasn’t burst and bled all over your chest yet. She will ask you to write with her the story of your life together, carefully balancing the elements of love, happiness, excitement, conflict, suspense and of course, the happily ever after. And take note, this is open to editing and proofreading.

Do not expect her to be the conventional partner that you could tie on the bed post. Ask the man who tried. For anytime, she may decide to study ballet, or learn digital photography, or join the peace corps. But expect her to love you with the passion that is only equal or even more than what you give her for she is sensitive when it comes to this matter. You will have adorable, intelligent, yet quirky kids with names that have individual stories of their own. She will introduce the children to a world in which there is a balance of magic and the occasional painful truths.

Date a girl who writes because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can introduce you to seeing life in a different light and loving it with a passion like the way you look at her when you think (remember the warning about not believing even for an instance that she’s unaware?) she’s unaware that you’re lovingly gazing at her. If you can only give her monotony, and half-baked decisions of embracing her totality, then you’re better off alone.

If you want the worlds beyond ours and the worlds beyond those still, date a girl who writes. ~Rosemarie Urquico

love a girl who writes

Love a girl who reads

Loving someone is easy, but finding someone who can make you feel wonderful, amazing and unique is quite interesting. If you want to look for someone who can make you love ’til your last breath, I guess you need to marry a girl who reads. Because a girl who reads is a girl who will make your world a gigantic place to fall in love all over again. 🙂

Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes, who has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve.

Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag. She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she has found the book she wants. You see that weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a secondhand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow and worn.

She’s the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because she’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book.

Buy her another cup of coffee.

Let her know what you really think of Murakami. See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce’s Ulysses she’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask her if she loves Alice or she would like to be Alice.

It’s easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas, for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry and in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but by god, she’s going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she does.

She has to give it a shot somehow.

Lie to her. If she understands syntax, she will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world.

Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who read understand that all things must come to end, but that you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two.

Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilight series.

If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are.

You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time she’s sick. Over Skype.

You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn’t burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots.

Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads.

Or better yet, date a girl who writes.”

― Rosemarie Urquico

a girl who reads

Sunday with Mitch Albom and the Thousands of People you meet in Glorietta

Eight long hours.

These hours took me to wait patiently, hopefully and positively in long lines of overcrowded people. A line that connects avid readers of Tuesdays with Morrie, The Five People you meet in heaven and The first phone call from heaven, (among other best selling books) from one of the best international authors in the world, Mr. Mitch Albom.

Mitch Albom book signing

Mitch Albom book signing

Far from what I’ve expected, thousands of fans gathered inside Glorietta Activity Center. I’ve come at the said place at 11:00 not knowing that the line will brought me outside (tired, hungry, sweat pouring, irritable, leg aching) until 2:15 in the afternoon.

Mitch Albom book signing

Time recapped.

By 11:00 a.m., I bought another copy of The first phone call from heaven. I’ve asked my co-readers for the last line and they pointed me outside. I was greeted by hundreds of other hopeful fans and finding the last line readily made my head ached. The line was moving very slowly.

Waiting in line.

Waiting in line.

By 12:00, we took our lunch while standing. Imagine the hard scenario.

At 12:30 p.m., we were advised by a n event coordinator of National Bookstore that the last person (right before an assistant of NBS who held a placard) will be the last one to be permitted inside to have a book signed.

Seeing a bad news

Seeing a bad news

What to expect? Of course, an angry mob do not let it happen and we totally freaked out. Why? We almost stood there for hours, waiting in vain just to have our book signed. I was disappointed of how unorganized NBS was.

Despite of the bad news we got, we do not give up. I was thankful because our efforts do have a positive result. At 2:15 p.m., we were allowed to go inside the activity center and there he was… OMG! Mitch Albom. 🙂

Meet Mr. Albom :)

Meet Mr. Albom 🙂

There were really a huge number of people inside. Still, we have our lines but we’ve got to take pictures of Mr. Albom while he was at the backstage. And I can’t keep myself from screaming after I heard his voice. Wow! All our hardships subside. Maybe my screaming was just my way of proving that despite all difficulties of waiting in line, I really love Mr. Mitch. This is my first time attending a book signing event and I think it was an unforgettable experience.

Backstage. Albom smiles to fans.

Backstage. Albom smiles to fans.

Time passed easily. It was getting really late. We still do not have a signing pass. Were just another bunch of hopefuls.

By 7:30 in the evening, an event coordinator  approached us and explaining the “stub” thing. So we were told that we can still have our books signed by filling up a stub form but the consequences are: (1) we need to left our books with the stub and to claim it on February 27 onwards and (2) we will not able to go near Mr. Mitch and have pictures with him, anymore.

Meeting Mr. Mitch is one of my biggest dreams. I am not a person who gives up easily. But this one thing, well, I have to decide and weigh situations properly.  There were still a huge number of people waiting and we do not know if we will still be entertained, and so, I’ve decided to do the stub thing.

Hopeful

Hopeful

I may not able to meet Mr. Mitch face to face and have a picture taken together, but I think I have achieved a remarkable thing in my life. My efforts have shown how I tried so hard to reach for a star that I can only meet once in a lifetime. Having their book signed by their favorite authors is one of the best feeling a book lover could get.

I am now waiting for next week to have my book signed by Mr. Mitch. Yesterday was really an amazing experience for me. I have exerted too much effort and I’m proud of what I’ve achieved. I love Mr. Mitch Albom. I will still be one of his supportive fans, waiting to meet him personally one day, and silently praying for his success, even from a distance. 🙂

Hello, Mr. Mitch Albom! :)

Hello, Mr. Mitch Albom! 🙂

A taste of better life

As the Chinese people welcomes the Year of the Wooden Horse, Filipinos gracefully join the colorful celebration.

Dragon dance in Binondo

Filipinos, in one way or another, often based their fortunes on the forecast of feng shui experts. For most part, they used it as a guide on how to live their life (avoiding negative vibes, as possible).

Celebrating Chinese New Year 2014

I was born in 1991. In Chinese calendar, I fall on the year of the sheep. Like most Filipinos, every new year, I read forecast relating the year I was born. So here, let me share to you the fortune of the “Sheep” people, according to Travel China Guide .

year of the sheep

The sheep (or ram) is among the animals that people like most. It is gentle and calm. Since ancient times, people have learned to use its fleece to make writing brushes and skin to keep warm. As it is white, people describe delicate and precious white jade to be ‘suet jade’. Thus it is close to the meaning of good things.

Strengths
People under the sign of the sheep are tender, polite, filial, clever, and kind-hearted. They have special sensitivity to art and beauty, faith in a certain religion and a special fondness for quiet living. They are wise, gentle and compassionate and can cope with business cautiously and circumspectly. In their daily life, they try to be economical. Women born in this year are willing to take good care of others, but they should avoid pessimism and hesitation. They are kind in heart and commonly have symmetrical figures and features.

Weaknesses
Sheep year people are often worriers who are shy, pessimistic, moody, indecisive, over-sensitive, week-willed and puzzled about life. They are easily inclined to be deeply religious. They are timid in nature and like to be looked after by others. They like flattery, compliment and suggestions from friends. They do not dare to express their love openly and usually have interests in strange theories.

Horoscope and Numerology Elements

Earthly Branch of Birth Year: wei
Wu Xing (The Five Elements): tu (earth)
Yin Yang: yin
Auspicious Directions: east, southeast, south
Lucky Colors: green, red, purple; Avoid: golden, coffee
Lucky Numbers:3, 9, 4; Avoid: 7, 6, 8
Lucky Flowers: carnation, primrose, alice flower
Zodiac Sign Compatibility – Best match: rabbit, horse, pig; Avoid: ox, dog

Fortune Foretelling in 2014

Overview: Sheep people have very good fortune in all aspects: they will have good opportunities to show their talents in career; relationships with leaders, colleagues and friends will be harmonious and income may climb up. They will have a chance to be promoted by the boss or be helped by seniors. Though, they should never be arrogant, but make constant progress step by step.

Career

They enjoy good fortune in career. Although there will be stress from competition, they will be strong enough to get through that at last. At the same time, they gain more experience. If there are targets in mind, 2014 is a good year to achieve them all. In the very beginning of the year, if they work hard and make constant progress, they may be promoted within the year. Business people will be supported by their Lucky Star (a person bringing them good fortune), so every amount of investment will be smooth. However, for influential case, they’d better deal with themselves in case of being cheated to have a loss.

Wealth

Generally, their financial fortune will go well. Working class people may gain more than usual from part-time job, but they should not spend too much time on part-time job. Otherwise, they will take risk of losing the present job. Business people will gain great profits if making a proper investment according to the changes of market. Besides, all sheep people are advised not to be greedy! No speculation will ever bring profits in 2014!
Relationships

Singles are expected to meet their love in the year. If the seniors and friends are willing to be their matchmaker, they will settle down sooner. Once the loving one appears, they are suggested to be active to speak your feelings out. Husband and wife will lead a happy life and their relationship will be full of rapport and harmony. In spite of this, they should be concerned for each other in case of extramarital affair.

Health

For those who suffer certain diseases, they are expected to recover this year. As sheep people may attend frequent banquets, they should have a balance diet and drinking should be controlled in case of the diseases in liver and gall. They will easily feel lonely. Accordingly, the negative emotion will bring bad effect on their health. Thus they are suggested to adjust all emotions. Besides, stomach disease may occur as well.

—–

Let me repeat: these are just predictions (some collective advice given by those who knows better about Chinese traditions and habits) . Still, it is in our hands if we will allow ourselves to use it as a guide. Because at the end of the day, what we do is what happens. We choose the path we take. What is important is to let God guide our life. A better life is something we do with both eyes open, something that makes us happy, and something that honors Him above all. 🙂

KUNG HEI FAT CHOI! 🙂

The meaning of my life is… She

I opened my eyes looking at the most beautiful creature in the world, twenty-two years ago. My first cry was your first-ever smile amidst the pain you’ve experienced. As soon as you safely carry me in your loving arms, that was the first time I ever felt true love. Still, all those wonderful experiences continue until now: sweet, protecting, understanding and loving you ever are. 

It has been too long since I say hello to this world. Nothing’s change. You are still the one who I keep running to, whenever odds or ends met my way. You are the reason for my determination, the one to say, “Go ahead!.”

My childhood memories always features you. Why? Because I always remember how you protected us from the harsh world. You teach us to be friendly; playing along with others. Though we ran to you crying because we got wounded, your advice and smile were our magical medicine. Healing with love, that’s what you do best! 🙂

As I discover my hidden talent, you are the one who push me forward. The one who believes that I can. You are my silent supporter, the one whose happiness I always found superb. Most of all, you are my number one fan, the one who becomes happy for all the success I achieved in this life.

We experience hardships along the way. But your strength is the one I admired most. You never show us that you’re weak because your strength, you say, comes from us. I met different people in this phase of life, but you are the bravest person I ever know! 

Your job is 24/7. But you have showered us 101% and more of everything you have. Your love is the best weapon you have given us that’s why we grew up like this. You raised us well. Though we made mistakes from time to time, you accepted our imperfections by loving us unconditionally.

You are our hero! The superwoman of our life. Without you, we are nothing. We owe our life to you! We thank God for giving us a loving woman like you, the best mother we have! 🙂

Thank you, Mama for everything you sacrificed for us. You are great! The very reason for our life! Thank you for taking care of us and for loving us wholeheartedly. Happy 59th birthday, Mama! No one will ever replace you in our hearts because for us, you are the  best mom in the world! 

I love you so much, Mama! Forever and ever and ever! Mwahhhhh. 🙂

Love,

Aki 🙂

SHE (Elvis Costello)

She may be the face I can’t forget
The trace of pleasure or regret
May be my treasure or the price I have to pay
She may be the song the summer sings
May be the chill the autumn brings
May be a hundred different things
Within the measure of a day

She may be the beauty or the beast
May be the famine or the feast
May turn each day into a heaven or a hell
She may be the mirror of my dreams
The smile reflected in a stream
She may not be what she may seem inside her shell

She who always seems so happy in a crowd
Whose eyes can be so private and so proud
No one’s allowed to see them when they cry
She may be the love that cannot hope to last
May come to me from shadows of the past
But I’ll remember till the day I die

She may be the reason I survive
The why and wherefore I’m alive
The one I’ll care for through the rough in many years
Me, I’ll take her laughter and her tears
And make them all my souvenirs
For where she goes I’ve got to be
The meaning of my life is she

My mom and I :)