May 28, 2008

"Untimely" Deaths

From my best friend Maricar, I got the news that our college classmate, Dolly, died of cervical cancer. She was at the peak of her career as business correspondent for an international agency. She was 41.

A few years ago, another classmate, Cherie, died of leukemia. She was in her late twenties.

I have seen other "untimely" deaths as well. (Or are deaths ever "timely?") Tata, our art director; Yo, our account manager; Ronald, a dear, dear friend of the hubby; Charisse, a friend's ten-year-old daughter.

I should be used to this. But I am not. And I don't think I'll ever be. Each new loss is just as jarring, triggering a lot of whys, what ifs and how comes. Each new loss is a sobering reminder of our own mortality.

But this I also know: there is a reason and a season for everything. The pain of losing dear friends and family is cushioned somewhat by the knowledge that their mission here is done. They lived happy, meaningful lives. They touched others. They made a difference. And now, they're free to take on other roads, other journeys.

In the end, it is not the years etched on the tombstone that matters. It is the hyphen in between. The tiny mark that ultimately defines how well life was lived.

May 26, 2008

When Frugal Is Unsafe

Frugal is something I associate with the Chinese. My dad had a Chinese national for a stepfather, and he certainly was the waste-not-want-not kind of person. Year in and year out, he would give, as "bonus" to his hardware store employees, a t-shirt and a calendar. The kind where tides and the phases of the moon are plotted.

From a Fil-Chi friend, I learned that a five-centavo markup on highly sellable items is better that a five-peso markup on things that take a little longer to sell.

Such frugality is a cultural thing. The Chinese have seen the worst of times. They have been through wars and pestilence, fires, quakes, rebellions, displacements, migrations and all sorts of trials and tribulations imaginable. Naturally, they learned to make do with what little they had.

But there are times when frugal becomes unsafe. When recycling is taken too far. Like those cheap, toxic plastic toys. Or when this manufacturer used minced cardboard to stuff his dumplings.

And then there are the hair bands made of used condom (see this and this. I don't know, but isn't it kind of like having HIV and STD hanging over your head? And where do they get those used condoms in the first place?

May 25, 2008


I woke up this morning to the perfect beach weather. You know, the kind that smells of inihaw na bangus and ice-cold San Mig Lite.

Alas, I also woke up with a throbbing headache. The kind that turns into sniffles and flu.

And so goes another of life’s never-ending lessons: that there is no such thing as an absolute plan. But if it’s any consolation, I know that the beach will always be there. That it will wait. And that it’s only ten minutes away.

Meanwhile, off to bed…

May 18, 2008

My Kind of Green

The road leading to the office is flanked by fields in varying shades of green. This is my favorite shade thus far: the refreshing green-ness of rice waiting to be transplanted.

Suddenly, the rice crisis, the NFA queues, the family access cards seem so alien, so far-fetched.

Always, I feel so blessed to be traveling this road.

May 16, 2008

Ahh, Summer...

From my office window, I see perfect pictures of summer: boys flying kites, fields swaying in the breeze, deep blue skies hinting of summery days at the beach.

I remember my ice-candy summers: school-less days that also meant bottles of anti-lice shampoo. And battles with the neighborhood boys.

I remember the bahay kubo in the old backyard. It was my world for three summers--the awkward summers between The Bobbsey Twins and Gabby Concepcion. It was there, under the shade of the aratiles tree, where my sisters and I read Tagalog komiks on the sly, where we listened to afternoon dramas over AM radio, where we did nothing but play and sleep and play some more.

I could use a lot more sleep. And a lot more play.

But there's work to do. There are papers to review, and the clock on the wall says it's still three hours short of the weekend.


May 12, 2008

Linky Love

Tagged by Cookie, and although I am not really that much into numbers 1 and 2 and just a little into number 3, I welcome number 4:

~~Begin Copy~~This is the easy way and the fastest way to :
1. Make your Authority Technorati explode.
2. Increase your Google Page Rank.
3. Get more traffic to your blog.
4. Make more new friends.

Rules :
1. Start copy from “Begin Copy” until “End Copy” to your blog(for bloggers paste on the “compose” not the “edit html” part in posting blogs so it will be linked automatically).
2. Put your own blog name and link.
3. Tag your friends as much as you can, the more the better!

1. Picturing of Life2. Juliana’s Site3.Hazel-My Life, My Hope, My Future.4.Jeanne-The Callalily Space5.Starz in De Sky6. My Charmed Life7.Denz Techtronics8.Denz Recreational9.Life’s Simple Pleasures10. My Blog11. Because Life is Fun12. In This Game of Life13.Scribbles of my Life14.Changing Lanes 15. anna 16. joytoy 17.Surviving deployment18. The Deviant19. All I want is Everything20. Shadows of love, fate and destiny21.Tasteful Voyage22.A mom’s note23. Bittersweet Collide24.Jackie Simplypinay25.Jackie’s Everyday Life26. Parisukat27. Heart of Rachel 28. ScroochChronicles 29. Anna's Tasa


Tag, you're "it" Buday, Josh, Karen and Rowena

May 11, 2008

My Mother, My Self

People—particularly those who know my mom—always tell me that I look like her. That I have her—ahem—grace. Only that she is more beautiful. And more sociable. And more this and more that.

Growing up, I used to really resent the comparison. Especially during those neurotic years when I thought my Mom was always after my neck. When I thought she wanted me to be her clone. How I used to really hate it when she’d walk into my room to tell me that this wasn’t the way a “lady’s” room should look like. There may have been a lot of times when I told myself that I wouldn’t be like her.

But the years away from home made me look at things from a different perspective I learned to take the comparison for what it was: a compliment. I began to see my mom as a woman of strength, a woman of faith. So when I find myself obsessing over the bathroom tiles and the creased bedsheets, I really, really know that I am my mother's daughter.

Now that I can stake a claim on motherhood, I find myself wishing that I am more like her: patient, well put together, competitive. A supermom who can juggle home, work and play and still find time for a lot more. More than anything, I wish I have her faith. I look at my daughter—whom friends refer to as my mini me—and I realize that motherhood is a matter of faith. It is a matter of giving a child an anchor from where she may draw strength and freedom so that she may soar.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mommy! And although I didn’t get your hair (and got your hips instead, ha ha), I thank you for giving me the two things I treasure most: roots and wings.

May 7, 2008

Lies My Yaya Told Me

Up until I knew better, I had a yaya who thought up answers to everything. Nilda, her name was, and she fancied herself to be the next Nora Aunor. (She was a Noranian of the diehard kind, stopping just a little short of hexing Vilma Santos.) She had ready answers to my endless questions. She also had outrageous views that, alas, I took for bible truths.

And so it was that I believed that “not for hire” meant “not for long distances” [“harayo” is Bicol for “far,” and Nilda insisted that “not for hire” literally meant “dili pwede sa harayo.”]. I also believed that “Bumbays” were scary people who particularly feasted on children that didn’t take naps, and that Coca-Cola was a concoction of soy sauce, water and Superwheel. Naturally, I steered clear of Coke.

But if there’s one childhood myth that I held on to until reality bit, it is this: that nuns and priests were not like us lesser mortals. That they were special. So special, in fact, that they didn't need to eat "real" food: they could live on the communion host alone. They also didn't have to take care of themselves or to look good or even to brush their teeth.

So when, during a kindergarten outing, I saw Sor Sonia eating a sandwich, I was really, really floored! With something close to shock, I realized that Nilda was taking me for a ride all along. Eventually, she ran off with her “Pip,” and probably had a dozen “Maria Leonora Teresas.”

Thoughts of my childhood yaya came back when, at a grocery line, I stood behind a youngish priest. When it was his turn, he looked around, gave me a sheepish grin and piled his purchases. There, on the counter, were six boxes of whitening soap.

So much for Nilda and her myths, huh!