Sunday, September 30, 2007

Service to the Nation

Sunday, September 30, 2007
Just recently, Sayote Republic has posted pictures of the Oblation, reminding us of what it symbolizes: the selfless offering of one's self to his country.

I found myself asking if have I, indeed, done my part.

During my stay at the Academy I saw the opportunity to serve the country, in my own, small way. It was a passion that many judged irrational and overly idealistic. I thought that I was making a difference by contributing to reforming systems that will mold cadets into men of character and honorable leaders of the Armed Forces. Never did I know that I was in for a rude awakening. Everything turned out to be an exercise in futility. I had to get out.

Have I done enough? It breaks my heart to think that I have not.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

an hour here or there

Saturday, September 29, 2007

“There’s just this for consolation: an hour here or there when our lives seem, against all odds and expectations, to burst open and give us everything we’ve ever imagined, though everyone but children (and perhaps even they) knows these hours will inevitably be followed by others, far darker and more difficult. Still, we cherish the city, the morning; we hope, more than anything, for more.”

- From The Hours by Michael Cunningham

Friday, September 28, 2007

So Much Goes Unsaid

Friday, September 28, 2007

So much goes unsaid – emotions that can only be revealed in private; things that can never be for public consumption; thoughts that can - and should - only be shared with that one, special person. What is written carries meaning intentionally hidden and more profound than what is seen through a cursory glance. The intent is not to mislead or bewilder, but to be understood by the person who can understand – that person who can read through what is obscure and what remains unsaid.

Sometimes, that - which is left unsaid - is what really matters.

And it is extremely frustrating to not have the means to freely say what you want to say.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

thank you

Thursday, September 27, 2007

I can't believe it!!! I am still in shock. How do you know that i love flowers? Thank you, thank you, thank you. I am so happy..


And the chocolates made everybody in the office happy too..

And I'm being teased to death.. :)

Siak ti agngina.


to wake at dawn with a winged heart


Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself
But if your love and needs have desires
Let these be your desires:


To melt and be like a running brook
That sings its melody to the night
To know the pain of too much tenderness
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart
And give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love’s ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer
For the beloved in your heart
And a song of praise upon your lips.

-Gibran Kahlil Gibran

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Listening to Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra

Tuesday, September 25, 2007
What is it with old records that make them so sweet and romantic that they make me want to dance?

I was thinking that very thought last night while I was gazing at some beautifully lit buildings from my 7th floor window and listening to Nat King Cole: “You may not be an angel ‘cause angels are so few but until the day that one comes along, I’ll string along with you. I’m looking for an angel to sing my love song to and until the day that one comes along, I’ll sing my song to you…. the little flaws you do have just make me love you more…..” The people who wrote such songs must have been really in love, I thought. Still in the mood, I then listened to some old Sinatra classics until close to midnight.

It was an otherwise dull evening made splendid with good music.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Someone to Talk To

Monday, September 24, 2007

I now find myself in a place where loneliness is easy to avoid, happiness is no longer elusive, dreams come true, and love is within reach. The air of despondency that surrounded me for some time has lifted.

Although loneliness is now easy to avoid, there is still something lacking. I find myself longing for a person to talk to – somebody who can challenge my crazy ideas and temper my convoluted thoughts; somebody who gets me; someone with whom I can bear my soul.

Sometimes I think I’d go mad for the lack of someone who’d understand why I question God’s existence. There is no one I can debate with about the NBN deal, the ongoing protests in Myanmar, or the Mets and the Marlins; no one to discuss the day’s editorial or the book I’m reading, or the precariousness of daily life; no one to laugh with about the inane and the insane; and beyond all the talk and the laughter, no one to just be quiet with.


Saturday, September 22, 2007

Who Knows How to Make Love Stay?

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Who knows how to make love stay?


1. Tell love you are going to the Junior’s Deli on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn to pick up a cheesecake, and if love stays, it can have half. It will stay.

2. Tell love you want a memento of it and obtain a lock of its hair. Burn the hair in a dime-store incense burner with yin/yang symbols on three sides. Face southwest. Talk fast over the burning hair in a convincingly exotic language. Remove the ashes of the burnt hair and use them to paint a mustache on your face. Find love. Tell it you are someone new. It will stay.

3. Wake love up in the middle of the night. Tell it the world is on fire. Dash to the bedroom window and pee out of it. Casually return to bed and assure love that everything is going to be all right. Fall asleep. Love will be there in the morning.

- Tom Robbins, Still Life With Woodpecker


Friday, September 21, 2007

An Invitation

Friday, September 21, 2007

It doesn't interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing.

It doesn't interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn't interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life's betrayals or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it or fade it, or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own, if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, to be realistic, to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn't interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself; if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul; if you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see beauty even when it's not pretty, every day, and if you can source your own life from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand on the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, "Yes!"

It doesn't interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up, after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done to feed the children.

It doesn't interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn't interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you, from the inside, when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.

- by the Oriah Mountain Dreamer

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Thread of Comments

Thursday, September 20, 2007
Lately, several of my friends have been telling me – in person and through email- that the exchange of comments in this page has become more interesting than the blog entries themselves! I must admit that it has. And it is what makes me smile nowadays.

Simple things can, indeed, bring tremendous happiness.

images (taken august to september 2007)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Nigeria: Oil Rich, Dirt Poor

Wednesday, September 19, 2007
The case of Nigeria is a classic example of a rentier economy and a perfect illustration of the “paradox of plenty”. Because of its rich endowments of oil and gas resources, Nigeria should have been a gigantic economic reservoir of national and international importance. In reality, the country, especially the Niger Delta region, suffers from administrative neglect, crumbling social infrastructure and services, high unemployment, abject poverty, filth and squalor and endemic conflict.

Oil stands for the paradox of Nigeria’s underdevelopment; the frustrating riddle of how given its immense human and natural resources, its people are at the bottom of all the major human development indices. While the country is the largest oil producer in Africa and the 10th largest producer of crude oil in the world, producing an average of 2.6 million barrels per day of which 93 percent is crude oil and earning over $340 billion over the past 40 years, it is among the 15 poorest nations on earth. Its men and women can only expect to live for an average of 43 years; 71 percent of its people live on less than $1 a day; only 44 percent have access to sanitation; 60 percent have no access to electricity; and more than half of its people are illiterate and have no access to an improved water source. On top of this is the debtor status of the country – a nation with enormous earnings from oil but whose debts (a total of $25.8 billion in 2005) began, ironically, from borrowing from the oil revenues of other countries. The country’s oil dependence is overwhelming: petrodollars account for 83 percent of federal government revenue, 97 percent of export earnings and around 40 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and yet this vast oil wealth has scarcely trickled down far into the economy. (Human Development Report 2006; Gary and Karl 2003; US Energy Information Administration Nigeria Country Report 2004; Iyayi 2005).

Economic deterioration in Nigeria has been accompanied by political decay and instability. The country is included in the list of the world’s energy hot spots by the United States Energy Information Administration (2004) for its high rate of violent crime, large income disparity, tribal/ethnic conflict and protests and repeatedly suspended oil exports. Oil-related violence and human rights violations have been on the rise as political elites continue to better their lots through flagrant and uncensured plunder and corruption amidst acute social deprivation. The most common and vicious forms of conflict in the country are: 1) intercommunity conflict, which arises most often in struggles over the sharing of benefits from oil; 2) intercommunity conflict, being caused by the oil economy stressing traditional communal relationships; 3) inter-ethnic conflict, which results from the malicious deprivation of political rights and ethnic domination; and 4) conflict between communities and oil companies, arising from the dissatisfaction of communities with the consequences from oil operations, and expressed through violent demonstrations against oil companies, operation blockades, hostage-taking and the sabotage of oil installations. (Niger Delta Human Development Report 2006: 348-357) Linked to oil is “a cycle of activism, militancy and repression…as oil spills and other environmental problems result in the loss of livelihoods for many residents.” (Gary and Karl 2003: 27) It has been estimated that militancy and protest has cut onshore oil production by a third of the total. Furthermore: “oil companies have become a target for communities that see little from monies paid to federal, state and local governments. They complain of serious environmental damage and human rights violations and hold multinational companies partly responsible. Thus, security has become a major concern.” (Ibid.)

The brazen display of ill-gotten wealth from oil is one of the reasons why there is pervasive discontent, frustration, and indignation among the people in the country – leading to protest and violence. Conflict in the Niger Delta is directly related to the debates, ongoing since before independence, about the structure of the Nigerian polity. At the heart of the discontent among the oil-producing communities is an acute sense that wealth derived from their land is siphoned off by the federal government and never returned.

(From my paper last semester in SDS 202: Political Economy of Developing Countries)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

this blog has evolved

Tuesday, September 18, 2007
It used to be simply a place to wait for the dark depths to sail safely past, hoping that, somehow, it might muffle the deafening silence of my solitude. Now it’s not merely about exhuming and burying painful memories but a sacred indulgence and a means of brokering, yet again, a truce with life.

Monday, September 17, 2007

You Intrigue Me

Monday, September 17, 2007

You know who you are. So many questions are brewing inside my head but I’ve no chance to let them all out. It’s probably the part-psych-part-researcher-part-interviewer in me surfacing. Or I’m just one curious person. Or you just happen to be an interestingly mysterious person.

  • How on earth did you find this blog?
  • You said you’re an Iskolar ng Bayan and majored in Economics; you speak fluent Ilocano and you’re from the North so I assumed that you graduated from UP Baguio. But when asked you didn’t give a straight answer. Hmmmmmmmm…
  • You said you only read comic books yet you quote authors as esoteric and diverse as Antoine de Saint Exupery, Erich Segal, John Keats, Blaise Pascal and Bertrand Russell. So who’s the geek now? :)
  • I get amusing comments from you almost every day and I find myself looking forward to them. And yet, I don’t even know your name!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

A Trip to Divisoria, a.k.a. Flashbulb Moment and Cold Showers

Sunday, September 16, 2007
It was my first time to go to Divisoria last Saturday. My officemates invited me to go and I thought what the heck. It might be fun. And fun it was.

As advised by everyone, I went prepared. I left my phone, purse and watch behind, secured my hair in a pony tail, and worn my most comfortable jeans and rubber shoes. Then I met up with three of the youngsters in the office – Niel, Cocoy and Paul.

It was shopping galore for Niel and I at the Tutuban Mall and we were so engrossed with fitting those cute, short dresses that the boys got impatient and left us to do their stuff. We were so freaked out when we couldn’t find the boys that were thinking how are we supposed to go home!? We don’t know the way! Luckily we saw them.


It was a very exhausting afternoon but it was fun. I was with friends and with less than a thousand bucks in my pocket, I went home with a dress, a pair of shoes, a belt, pasalubong for my brother and sister and a kilo of lanzones. What more can a girl ask for?

Friday, September 14, 2007

being nice has gotten tiring

Friday, September 14, 2007
Being nice for convention’s sake; trying to be pleasant though my blood is boiling; keeping a smile on my face though my eyebrows are threatening to lift; saying what others want to hear instead of what I really want to say; denying my own convictions for the sake of peace and quiet – these have all become so tiring that I’d rather be called a bitchy than nice. Voicing out exactly what I think and feel is very liberating.

Just recently, somebody asked me for advice. Being brutally frank, I told him what I thought about the whole thing. Then I found out that he got hurt by what I said. Well, if he wanted sugarcoated words, he should have asked somebody else. Sympathy is only given to those who deserve it. And as they say, truth hurts.

Others may call it being mean, tactless or bitchy but hypocrisy it is not. Life is too short to spend it feigning something that is not.

(Summarized and translated in Ilocano, as requested: Makapauma ‘ti aginsisimpet. Mas nasyaat nu ibaga iti pudno, uray nu nasakit; uray nu kita da kinyak ket natangsit.)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Some Economic Concepts Interpreted

Thursday, September 13, 2007

As an Economics major, I studied these concepts in college not knowing then that they can be put to non-academic use:

  • Opportunity costs. We cannot but make sacrifices in life.
  • Indifference curves. Yes, they both yield the same level of satisfaction but you’ve got to choose, man. You can’t keep them both.
  • The law of diminishing marginal utility. Some good things never last. We eventually arrive at that point where we say, I have had enough!
  • External diseconomies. We sometimes do small, harmless things - not thinking that they have BIG and damaging consequences.
  • Adaptive expectations. “..She sighed the sigh of someone used to having her constantly lowered expectations disappointed...”
  • Nash equilibrium. The point where couples say, “do what you want. I’ll do what I want. To hell with everything and everybody else."
  • Elasticity of demand. How responsive are we to the changes occurring around us? How sensitive are we to the needs of our significant others?
  • Game theory. Once you decide to enter into a relationship with someone, you have entered the realm of game theory.
  • Economic surplus. Receiving more than what you give.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

closure? catharsis?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007
As I was walking to the office this morning, I saw the FREE ERAP banners lined up along Shaw Boulevard. I felt a sense of impending doom – the feeling one has when something really horrible is about to happen. The worse part of it is that people around me do not care at all; it’s like a sea of apathy out here. Aren’t we all Filipinos? Aren’t we supposed to be affected by the issues concerning our country?

There is another thing that bothers me about all these. Are we expected to get relief or closure from whatever the verdict is? The freak show on TV – with all the personalities clamoring for seats in the Sandiganbayan, the media going all over the place to get mileage, the pros and antis, all them vultures – is it supposed to offer some catharsis for us? This isn’t about closure but a preview for something even worse.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Simple Joys

Tuesday, September 11, 2007
I spent a fun weekend over at my parents’ place in Cavite. The two-hour bus trip had been uneventful until the moment the conductor approached me and tried to return my 39-peso fare. I looked at him quizzically, then he said, “discount ka na lang miss.” I almost fell off my seat. Then I replied, “Huwag na lang po.” It must be the black tank top I was wearing…

My father frying vigan longganisa for breakfast, my brother Nico studying for his calculus exam and my sister watching Heroes on DVD – was the scene that welcomed me when I arrived. I felt so happy to be there surrounded by my family. And from their greetings I knew they felt the same way.

Nica (my 12-year old sister) and I decided to bake some brownies, with Mozart’s Violin Concertos playing in the background. Luckily, they were baked to perfection – moist, yummy, and not too sweet. It was such a hit that the first batch disappeared the minute the tray was placed on the table, right before my eyes! And then we had tinuno nga liempo, tinuno nga tilapia, ken dinengdeng nga utong ken saluyot for lunch – a simple feast prepared by my parents!

My mother kept on telling me to eat, “ang payat payat mo. Di ka na yata kumakain.” And to think that I’m planning to hit the gym again to lose some more weight and get me those killer abs! She’d really freak out.

Nico, my brother, is another story. He said his instructor and his classmates were “forcing” him to join one of the Ginoong Something pageant at La Salle. And he agreed because if he passes the semis he’d get an instant 4.0 in his Communication Arts subject. He asked me what sports attire would be a wear. Laughing, I said, “Wear your trunks and nothing but. Show them those great pecs of yours. Girls and gays will go wild!”

The rest of the weekend sped by filled with fun games, great conversations, squeals of laughter and lots of love.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Busy, busy Monday

Monday, September 10, 2007
I have a lot of things to talk about but no time to write them down. Today’s quite a busy day. I have yet to finish the training modules, revise my own department’s budget and plan and screen others’. Oh well..

Friday, September 7, 2007

Giving Counsel

Friday, September 7, 2007
Another function has been added to my job description as an all-around-help here in the office. I now find myself acting as a guidance counselor. I used to be the one with all the heart problems and sob stories. But lately I’m the one giving, instead of seeking, advice. People in the office - of various ages and circumstances – have been asking for my counsel. What a change it is to be on the listening end this time. My concern now is to understand; not to be understood.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

looking back on what has happened

Thursday, September 6, 2007
She had mastered the art of remaining silent about what she thinks and how she feels. She had become blind to everything she doesn’t want to see and deaf to everything she doesn’t want to listen to. It had become useless to talk to a person who would neither refute an argument nor accept it. She had grown wary of provoking his irascible nature. Relentlessly, she asked herself why she keeps holding on. Everybody who cares about her asked her the same thing. She knew all the answers, but still, she didn’t want to let go.

All along, she knew about her and yet she did nothing. Was it out of love or out of fear? Some say love is an act of endless forgiveness. Is love also a persistent act of inflicting unimaginable pain to oneself? Is it unconditional love or self-flagellation?

Her knowledge of his relationship with another woman slowly ate upon her person. How could he say that he loves her and yet say the very same thing to another? How could he possibly live a life of lies upon lies?

She has always trusted him to do the honorable thing – embraced suffering with a martyr’s passion; and patiently waited for nature to take its course or his sense of decency, honor, morality, and conscience to decide on the matter. Her silence, her blindness, her ability to block out everything everybody was telling her – those were her ways to give him a chance to choose and to put to right all he has done wrong.

But it came to a point that she wanted out. She refused to live her life like that any longer. And now she is looking back on what has happened, thankful that it's over, eager to start anew.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Dreading Reunions

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

A couple of weeks ago, I received a wedding invite from one of my classmates in high school. Despite his being an asshole to one of my closest friends (once upon a time), we joked about going. Oh, what fund we’d have making fun of everything. A lot of our classmates are going and it’s promised to be some sort of a mini-reunion.

But why does the idea of attending a reunion, even mini ones, give me a sense of dread? Because I have nothing of value to show for – no wonderful kids to brag about; no loving husband and no great marriage to talk of; nothing of those that really matter in life. When at my age all I have are self-doubt and wounds from the recent implosion of my relationship, how do I measure up? That I go home to an empty flat and the highlight of my evenings are perfecting a piano piece and watching an episode of The Sopranos but I have a rewarding career and I am free to do whatever I want – is just too tough and wearisome a justification to make. How lame they’d think my excuse is. Can people understand that yes, I yearn for The One, but my goal for the moment is to deal with the difficulty of achieving balance and holding on to ordinary happiness?

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

September Has Come

Tuesday, September 4, 2007
I fell in love with the poetry of Louis MacNeice when I was in college. The following is from his Autumn Journal written in 1939 – the joy in the pain felt at love’ passing:

September has come, it is hers
Whose vitality leaps in the autumn,
Whose nature prefers
Trees without leaves and a fire in the fire-place;
So I give her this month and the next
Though the whole of my year should be hers who has rendered already
So many of its days intolerable or perplexed
But so many more so happy;
Who has left a scent on my life and left my walls
Dancing over and over with her shadow,
Whose hair is twined in all my waterfalls,
And all of London littered with remembered kisses.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Are men allowed to ogle because it’s a biological calling?

Monday, September 3, 2007
Why do men’s eyes tend to roam when you’re talking to them? From your face, their eyes slowly go down, linger there for a while, and then up again. And when they think you’re not looking, they give you furtive glances, focusing on some body parts - like the neck, the cleavage, the butt, and the neck. Some look with frank admiration; some with a hint of perversion. Men are so darn obvious!

Is it because they can't help it? Is it a biological imperative?

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Being stupid when it comes to love

Sunday, September 2, 2007
For a supposedly bright girl like you, why are you acting so stupid? I have heard that phrase from my mother and my close friends a countless of times - sometimes with pity, a lot of times with undisguised exasperation, and always with concern.

Loving a person with all you’ve got – is that an act of stupidity? Relationships have nothing to do with intellect and good judgment. Though not deficient in mental acuity, a person can still be riddled with emotional deficits. No matter how smart you are, you cannot program yourself to not feel anything. No matter how smart you are, you can still make bad decisions. No matter how smart you are, you can still get hurt.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

that people read this drivel is astonishing

Saturday, September 1, 2007
That a few people are interested and actually read this drivel astonishes me. I thank my regular readers

Kayni, a classmate in college
Niel, a dear friend and an officemate
Carmela, also a dear friend and an officemate
Jennifer, my spinster sister who makes up one-sixth of the pilak circle of trust
Martha, who makes up another sixth of the circle
Daddo, who makes me laugh with his witty comments

And everyone else for visiting this page. I appreciate it.

 
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