The Week That Was! And Plus!

My week was one for the books.

Thursday meant a four hour wait in Marikina Mayor Fernando’s refrigerator cold conference room.  The waiting was all to naught, oh well, pending review of my leaning wall!

Friday was cozy and crazy being in a dark corner at Iskolar ng Bayan Internet, typing my letter to the Ombudsman.  The keyboard was different, yaikks!  And I couldn’t see the keys, especially the delete.  Oh sigh, must be the age really.  I did get to submit my letter on the last hour.

Saturday ushered the merriment after the gloom. Ninang Bay turned 72.  The sumptuous feast at Cabalen Megamall was stomach filling.  The gang was all there except for Jon who is in Australia studying, and Bengio and Tami who are reviewing for finals.

Sunday was Church day.  The girls rehashed their notes for exams and I had a quick chat with Winnie.

Monday was quiet.  I got to read Where Mercy Flows.

Tuesday was dragging till the thieves struck again. My house, which I spotlessly mopped in the morning, was topsy turvy by noontime.  They took the techie stuff and a lot of jewels. The police and the baranggay and the roving village security were useless.

Wednesday turned to be laundry day, washing all the essence of evil away.  And off to the canine adoption Tish and I went. Artemis turned to be intelligent and obedient.

Thursday was reinforcement of security day.  Uncle Rolly and Bong and Ninang Bay paid us a visit and checked all possible entry points.  They brought along their carpenter Albert.

Friday was feeling disgusted day.  The best deal I had with the munisipyo was to have another audience with the mayor on April 5. Joyce gave me that appointment.  The other assistant, Deya, asked me to pray for wall problem.  The SOCO never came back for the fingerprints. But Sergeant de Belen of the Lilac precinct became an ally.  He gave me a certification for the loss of my DSL modem.

Saturday was piano lesson day.  In the afternoon,  Mr. Elardo from PLDT came to install a new modem.

In between the buzzle and hassle of the events, I was continuously cleaning the house and showering the plants.  Mommy called and scolded me for being lax.  I couldn’t offer an excuse.  Ten break-ins meant  shopping time for the robbers.  My home was their mall.

I uttered a little prayer that things change for the better.  I know God will hear my call.

So I relaxed with Jean and Tish.  Watched Mama Mia and Last Samurai. Then I cooked pancit and brought it to Bam’s home.  She graduated from High School.  Great!


Mortification & Penitence

It is hard to be a Catholic!  The Canon law requires many MUSTS in order for one to be fit in entering the kingdom of God.  The forty days of Lent is a time of abstinence and fasting. Although the church does not make this strictly an obligation and has even created exceptions for the sick and the children, one feels guilty of disobeying the rituals.  If the Muslims can fast for a solid straight month in the season of Ramadan, why can’t Christians abstain from meat and eat only one full meal on the Fridays of Lent?  Surely Christians can mortify a little.  After all, Jesus had suffered the much.

As it is, I,  the devout Catholic, had been lenient in my practices.  I actually could not fast by virtue of being diabetic.  But I also could have controlled my food intake.  But I did not.  As a result, I have become larger than my usual built.  And my reflection on the mirror isn’t exactly nice to look at.  And I suppose I am liable for gluttony.

But I did not realize all these until Tish, while nursing her aches from her org culminating activity said My grades are low and I am indisposed, probably because I failed to pray the rosary. Oh no, I thought, I had said the rosary just once in a long, long while. And Tish was sorry she did not pray hers often enough.  And then she added But I am refraining from the internet for the whole duration of Lent and from drinking coke for one whole year. That is my mortification.  What is yours,  ma? Ooops! Guilty!  I had none. I did not answer.

To double the guilt, Jean declared that she is trooping her way to the confessional box. So what have you done? I asked.  And she replied, I did not have the chance to hear Mass in Bohol.  I have a mortal sin! That punched me straight to the soul.  I have not been to that sin box for ages and my faults, deliberate or not, had piled up.

I hope I am not too late for the mortification and penitence.   So I am logging off right now to make my own personal reflections.  Hopefully I’d be back soon.


My irrepressible Jean had really put her heart in that feverish longing called wanderlust.  From island hopping to beach bathing to pool cannon ball dropping, Jean had commenced on life’s journey discovering whatever is there to be rediscovered.  I asked her to pocket a tarsier (to her disgust) but brought me home some sea shells for my home garden. And lots of tales at how expensive a simple meal could be at some hidden resort, or how exhilarating and fresh the air could be in that far flung Visayan province called Bohol.

The Zest Air craft ride was something to remember, too.  The touch down was rough but didn’t tumble.  Thank God!

I still have to hear her stories, like someone doing a cannon pretzel jump…. but school just got hectic.  Till next wandering, I guess.

I Got Afraid! And Then I Got Angry!

I got afraid upon seeing my Tish walk slowly and with severe difficulty at the UP Oval noontime Sunday.  I was supposed to fetch her around 1 pm but their org culminating activity finished early.  And Tish called and hastened me to come soon as I can.  I arrived half an hour later and because there was not much creature in the campus, I fully saw how painfully she struggled as she took one step after the other.  I was about to ask her What’s wrong? but she begged me to get to the drive-thru fast as I can.  She was so thirsty!  I bought her three large pineapple juices, two of which she finished in succeeding gulps.  That seemed to quench her parched throat because the other she sipped slowly till we got home.  As for the chicken meal that she loved most, it had to wait hours for the appetite and hunger.  She said she was is pain and couldn’t move her legs.  I had to help her remove her jeans.  And she laid on the bed, quiet and exhausted.  So I took the coconut oil and applied massage on the legs and back.  Never one to complain, this time she broke with Arayyy! Later the massage must have relaxed her a bit because she dozed off to sleep. I got afraid.  Tish incapacitated ain’t right.  But there she laid immobile.

Later on, the eating was confined to a cream cheese muffin and a piece of banana.  The four seasons fruit juice helped a bit, as well as the peanut butter kisses that Jean brought home from Bohol. The tales of Tsokolateng Bundok and Tarsiers momentarily snatched the pain away. Jean was aghast. Tish was not jovial at all. But she managed a chuckle or two for the tarsier shirt and key chains.

What can I say?  I was dumbstuck myself.  I couldn’t even begin to analyse what transpired.  Was the culminating activity a paddling short of hazing? Was it all right for my Tish to undergo such severe physical strain?  Dehydrated!  Exhausted!  Traumatized!  And then I got angry.  Very angry.  Was there honor in rendering someone incapacitated?  What reason could be valid enough to reduce my daughter to immobility?  None!

In My Diary 7 March 2010 (or) What Blogging Means To Me!

I am just writing this post to mark my one year of blogging. And this happens to be my 150th post.  Not bad, huh!  I wish I could have the time to reread my old posts and see what my thoughts had been in the past year.  Probably juggling from the trivial to the serious and important.  The blog topics also probably sketch me as what kind of human I am and what philosophy I adhere to.  But what care I?  That is me!

More than anything, I really enjoy blogging.  Makes me more observant and expressive. My daughter Tish started me on this just to let me know that there is a wide world out there and can be seen promptly through the internet.  Eventually, after peeking into the You Tube, which is truly fascinating and interesting, and the Yahoo News, which roller coaster the heart from the pacifying and lovely to the dampening and crazy, I found my nook in the blogosphere.

Once upon  time, diaries and personal journals were written to somehow record a person’s innermost thoughts.  And they are kept private.  Some scandalous entries were even hidden under lock and key.  Somehow, the world had truly changed.  We tell our stories. Beautiful, good, sad, tragic, lamentable, exciting, horrible – so long as the stories captivate the heart and soul, then the audience is ready for it.  Just publish it in the world wide web.

Well, I got mine published.  Someone yet has to say that my entries, which tackle my everyday experiences, are worth knowing.  But to me, I believe that jotting down the moment is important because that is a record of one’s life story.  And each story is as wonderful as each being could be. So here’s to blogging, for whatever fame and fortune it could bring me, ha ha!

The Boy Mathematician from the Province

I attended the recognition rites for the College of Science scholars.  Tish, for two semesters in a row, was able to meet the excellence required by the college and the university.  Amazingly, there was a packed room of recipients from different majors – Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, Microbiology, Marine Biology, etcetera.  And the proud parents, sidelined for viewing, made sure corsages and photo pins adorn their children’s casual clothing.  Tish got her pin from Angel’s dad though.  I am never for  obvious display and refrain from putting flowers on the chest, nor pins.  But I was grateful this time because I had no camera.  Jean has her own activity in her college and couldn’t attend the rites.  But before the students accepted their certificates on stage to the tune of the Aida March, an unassuming. ordinary looking gentleman took the lectern.  His name is Mr. Lope, mathematician.  And the following is the story he related to us.

He was the eldest of 9 siblings. His parents were public school teachers in the province.  The productivity was due to the romantic atmosphere of their abode, the address of which is perhaps the shortest one can find.  Their home has no number nor street, just the barrio and the province.  And this home he still retains to this day, for the love of his family and the memories of how he grew up to become the inspirational speaker standing before academicians, scholars, and parents this day 1 March 2010.

He was just a boy excited about learning new things in their local school.  But he did well in his arithmetic and was thus prodded to represent their school in the 3rd grade Math competition.  Easily, he emerged 1st place winner. And this forced his parents to send him to the bigger school in town where he could receive more challenge.  And so, from Grafe 4 to Grade 6, he would commence his day at 5 am for the 4 kilometer walk to school. He said that perhaps boys who don’t have much wouldn’t ask for what they don’t know and don’t have.  But now that he is grown, he is thankful for all those breaking of dawns and sunrises, the number of which far exceeds that of a busy man’s lifetime viewing of the sunrise. And those years in town prepared him for the optimum academic training he was destined for – a scholarship at the Philippine Science High School in Diliman, Queson City.

Philippine Science High School was an entirely new scenario.  He was now away from his parents and his siblings who he loved most.  He was housed in a dormitory with new faces.  And this was the school for the best and the brightest in the land, the cream of the crop.  And so he proceeded to do the one natural thing he knew how – answer every problem in the textbook.  He didn’t know it was the most horrible thing to do.  And before he knew it, he became known as the nerd.

But he figured he could work the image to his advantage.  The 1 k stipend he was receiving was surely not enough to finance all the requirements they were asked to do in class.  And so he accepted tutorials for a fee.  That augmented his financial needs. The brain training also allowed him to achieve the highest honors bestowed upon a scholar.  He excelled not only in Math but for Physics and Chemistry and Biology as well.

The preparation was more than enough for the college course he chose in the University of the Philippines – Mathematics, of course.  Aware of the much needed educational funding of his brothers and sisters, he hastened to finish his course in three years.  And he did.  The occasion could have been the happiest in his entire life but his father passed away two weeks before graduation.  And the task of being breadwinner fell on his shoulders.

He could have coursed his life a bit differently but the huge stipend the Japanese Mombusho scholarship offered could help his family so much.  Without hesitation, he embarked on a 5 year study grant in the land of the rising sun. And so while working on his Master’s Degree, he was also sending home money.  By the time he was homeward  bound one spring day in Japan, he was already able to graduate four of his siblings from college.

Mr. Lope stood there before us, proud of his story.  Many of us came to the College of Science in our own cars.  He probably walked the distance from his home in the campus or nearby.  He would have been ready to dance the maglalatik, a native fast beat coco shell dance, which his friend said he does with charm.  But that Monday morning, he was there to tell us how simply beautiful life is.  We only have to live according to the intelligence we are blessed with.  Everything follows suit.

Well done, Mr. Lope.  God bless you all the more.

Happy 75th Birthday, Mommy!

Let me tell something about my mommy.  She turns silver today.  And like the ever grateful child of God, she celebrates it with the company of family and friends.  Where?  Take a guess!  Max Restaurant, of course.  But this one is not on Philippine soil.  It’s in Glendale, California.

Well daddy couldn’t be there definitely.  His abode is the nursing home now.  But I am sure he doesn’t mind.  Mommy is really a party goer and daddy always opts to stay at home.  It had been something like that for more than fifty years.  Half a century! But daddy likes mommy to take reprieves in celebrations.  After all, mommy had tasked herself dutifully as a wife, mother, and breadwinner.  Now that she had been retired from office work, she had taken the role of the ever loving better half, preparing meals and literally spoon feeding daddy.  He is in absolute pain and had lost arm movement.

To everything there is a season.  A time to sow, a time to reap.  It’s harvest time, mommy. Go for it.

And yes, daddy, there is a time for every purpose under heaven.

I love you both, more than you know.

Home Alone!

I am home alone!

Jean is in Bohol with her classmates, paying their respects to the littlest primates, the tarsiers.  Not only that, they will be trekking the Chocolate Hills.  Jean had really that wanderlust going.  She’d been North to South, inside and out of a cave in Cagayan, inside a cage with a wild tiger on top while safariing in Subic, coursing the cone of Mayon in the Bicol Region, romancing Zamboanga where the army kept watch for Abu Sayyaf (well the Pasonanca Park was romantic), and many other places where her feet seem to pitter-patter the dust.

And Tish is in Tak-tak, Antipolo for the culminating activity of her preferred org. She has no knowledge of where they were going.  The organizers of the overnight rites sent me a sealed envelope informing me of the activity and what time to fetch her the following day.  The required paraphernalias they were asked to bring sent me into a frenzy.  The specifics entail 50 cockroaches, toads, canine bowel(akh!), and whatever.  Well…

My two girls are making memories for themselves.  Yehey! They have finally grown.

Yes, I do thank God for the wonderful opportunites He had blessed my daughters with, even if I am home alone.


What does a mother do at home, aside  from chores that never seem to end?  Call someone and talk.  Lenghtily.  That is the combat pill for depression.  So, when I am not gardening at pleasure, nor lingering at the wild world of the blogosphere, I am on the phone talking to someone.  My regular chatmate is Ninang Bay.  We gossip for at least an hour once a week.  My regular hurried chatmate is mommy.  We exchange status of the family 10 or 15 minutes on a weekend, the time when she could snatch those precious time from taking care of daddy in the nursing home and my special nephew Louie. My other monthly regular chatmate is Mr. Young.  He takes care of my empty home in Antipolo and updates me with the problems that must be attended to.  But he also relates to me his problems about his two girls who are exactly the same age with my daughters.  Actually they had been classmates and buddies before, being in the same neighborhood and the same school.  But I guess birds of the same feather flock together.  They simply have different tastes and diferrent interests.  But they remain in communication with each other.

This week though, I was on the telephone for more than my left ear can bear.  Aside from Ninang Bay, mommy and Mr. Young, I also had exciting conversations with Tito Manny (Iris’ dad), friend Winnie, cousin Merlie, cousin-in-law Malou, nephew Adam, sister Grace, and the Community Relations Acting Chief Warren Douglas Sira. Wondering who the last one is?  Well, my fence is falling and he is taking charge to find a solution as to how it is to be reconstructed.

I would like to write about the rumors we exchanged but that will not be kind. Some people could be hurt! Wah ha, got you there.  Ha ha.  We only talked about family and our ordinary lives, our joys, our sorrows, our frustrations, our hopes.  One day, we know and we believe, our loved ones could make a difference.  The obstacles are tremendous, like a 60 k tuition for 1st grade.  But God willing, and God loves us so much, all things will come to pass.  And we will succeed.

I am happy my phone calls are not just therapeutic for a stay-at-home mom but also sure shot remedies for aloneness and loneliness.

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