Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Before Christmas

Because of the prevalent concept of consumerism during Christmas season, people tend to forget one significant World event of the year. We are supposed to commemorate the International Human Rights Day on December 10, 2009, fifteen (15) days before Christmas day.





Honoring one's human right is greater than any Christmas gift. The basic rights for a decent shelter, clean and nutritious food, and a job to sustain a living. Even if our times do not blatantly portray the vileness of a violent regime, they are but continuation of the perennial plight of the poor people. No one of power and control of the nation's wealth dares to become Santa Claus to these unfortunates, underprivileged.

International Human Rights Day is celebrated before Christmas for us to realize that the spirit of Yuletide season is empty if we remain indifferent to the calls of our fellow men.

Join the march of about 5,000 Filipino laborers, students, professionals, women, Moro and Lumad people, church, and employers of public and private offices in Davao City on December 10, 2009.They will be chanting to call for justice of all the victims of human rights violations under the Arroyo administration.

(For details of the event, email me @ lcascaro@yahoo.com.)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Smoking is Healthy?




I come across this website which, unlike other advocates against smoking, introduces an idea that smoking is "healthy." Unusual, huh? Try to look at these.

Prevents Cancer?
Several studies had proven that almost a hundred percent of the causes of lung cancer is accounted for smoking. The risk for women to suffer from this including other respiratory diseases are a dozen times more than a normal person who doesn't smoke. However, there was this study which shows that smoking can lessen upto fifty percent of women's risk to develop cancer in the breast. Some medical practitioners disclaim that smoking is really the main reason why people get cancer, first or second hand smoke.

More smoke, less cancer?
It has been mentioned that "smoking kills" is a particular proganda which just came too suddenly in the era of civilization. Going back to the ancient times when our ancestors were puffing smoke from some dried leaves rolled inside another kind of leaf, the word "cancer" was not yet formulated. Some elders would say that as the world gradually become modernized, more and more diseases emerged along with this modernization.


True enough that cancer is disease not only triggered by smoking. But, as to the question whether or not smoking is healthy, I'm not here to give a correct answer. Some smokers live longer than those who did not smoke. Some said our elders live longer than the new generation even if smoking had already been part of their lifestyle (but in a primitive way). I say, if you're concerned about living a healthy life in this too much polluted, GMO outnumbered and UV rays infiltrated planet, then you should know your own body. There's no other expert evaluator of everything you introduce into your body but yourself.



(Reveal your comments to lcascaro@yahoo.com)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Spagcrazy!


I have no time to expatiate why I love spaghetti and that I started going crazy about it since my first taste of such red-sauced pasta! I just want to have a plate of spaghetti this weekend! That's all! As yummy as this!

If you know a place that has the world's most delicious pasta, kindly tell me at lcascaro@yahoo.com! Bon appétit!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Of Death and Graveyard



I just came back from a cemetery in the northern part of the city. It was my first time to visit such place. It's neither a good experience nor a bad one.

A wide LCD screen welcomed the visitors by showing "Pacman's" recent fights. I wondered if I were in a feast or something.

What amused me is the carnival just beside the cemetery. I saw a ferris wheel, tents of Ukay-ukay (rummage sale) and all sorts of gimmick to allure the visiting relatives and friends. Then there's a pack of vendors of flowers, candles, peanuts, ice cream, accessories, and kakanin (native delicacies). There were bigger tents of an aspiring president and a mayor for some volunteers for rescue and whatever stuff they could provide for the public.

The air was redolent of burning incense... But, what I heard from the graves were the loud noises of people from merry rides.

It is the typical poor man's grave. There are no exclusive gates and tombs are like shanties in squatters' area. Distance between each tomb is barely a meter. There's this thing they call "appartment" which has three levels of piled up tombs if the family of the deceased could not afford a grave lot.

While looking for the tomb of my demised uncle, my mother spoke to me without any expectation for a good conversation. She asked me if she were dead and buried in some place, would any one care to visit her or be as unfortunate as those unattended tombs we passed by.

I just gave her a smirk. "What a question?!" I told myself. But, then, this thought chagrined me for awhile until we came home.

Death is inevitable and being buried in some graveyard is part of it. But, visiting a tomb of a person you're once with is a tradition. It occurred to me that this special visitation is not for the dead ones at all but for those who visit. By visiting and saying prayers for those who left them, they feel at ease. They imagine a reunion with the dead at the last spot where they know the lifeless body went. That is why even if the cemetery is as inconvenient as that one, they still spend time for awhile.

But, I really swore not to go back to such kind of place on all saints or all souls day again.

The soul of the dead could be somewhere else joining the elements in the universe. So, anywhere I may be, I can whispher a prayer for and spare a moment to think of that person. I'm not saying this as an answer to my mother's question. Graveyard is still a holy place for me. I just expected it to be solemn and serene place to meditate and reflect for your deceased love ones.

If my graveyard were as a carnival-like as that one we visited, I'd rather be cremated and blown to the sea. I'd ask my family and special someone to go the beach and experience the breeze while thinking of me.

I pray for peace of all the souls who are now free from this hellish world.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Reclusion



If your shadow is not cast
on my doorstep tonight,
If your eyes do not meet
mine tonight,
if your palms do not touch
mine tonight,
if your breathing is not
near my ear tonight...

then, tonight is not ours.

as the light slowly envelops the night,
and so our mystery ends...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Harder as it gets




In one of the episodes in the first season of Felicity, Felicity Porter (Keri Russell) said "Relationships are hard. They just are..."

This holds true in all relationships. Regardless of race, color, religion and whatever human aspects. There's the thing Descartes calls, Dialectics of relationship. Just when you say there is good, then there is evil. In every thesis, there's anti-thesis. That's dialectics. Two opposites clash but they need each other.

Baxter and Montgomery state that in a relationship there are dialectics that are inevitable.

1. Connectedness and Separatedness
You have this urge to be together most of your time but at the same time, you also want to have some space.

2. Certainty and Uncertainty
Being spontaneous in the relationship makes it more exciting. But, too much spontaneity could also lose the trust. You may think your relationship is getting nowhere.

3. Openness and Closedness
You want your partner to know everything about yourself because you already belong to each other. But, you are scared to tell him or her just about everything in your mind because it may be the reason of your break up because your partner didn't like what you said.

These contradictions rule every close relationship here on Earth. What can you do about it?

Balance. It's easy to spell but really hard to do. Most couples who were not able to do this thing did not actually make it. Some committed themselves through life time but are still struggling. Some divorced, others left. But there are also some who were still there until the other half's death. Who knows if they still had kept the fire burning all through their years together. but the thing is, they were able to struggle and stay.

I'm actually writing this to convince myself. I keep on telling myself the line I mentioned earlier. And, I say, "it's harder as your bond gets stronger and deeper." Sail on and prevail!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Hunches




It occurred to me just yesterday that some of my hunches really were true.

Hunch no. 1:

Corina Sanchez-Mar Roxas wedding is a political tactic for Mar's candidacy for presidency.

What happened when Mar suddenly declared his giving way for Noynoy and run as Vice-President instead?

No more cheeeezzzzyyyy features in showbiz news about the engaged couple.

Hunch no. 2:

The public was just overwhelmed to cry for Noynoy's presidency in 2010 because of Cory's death.

I've been receiving anonymous text messages everyday about how much property does Noynoy's family have, jokes about job generation plans of Noynoy if he were the president --- the companies that will be present in job fairs will be of his family's businesses.


I never disliked the late Cory Aquino for being the kind of president that nobody ever mentioned in the media since her demise. Maybe it was because only few of us have really learned Philippine history. Or that the book we used in our history class was not really telling the truth or somehow was using a different perspective. It must be a perspective to promote and preserve the mask-reputation of the personalities. Well, in fact, history for most of us is just about dates and people.

Nevertheless, if it were all about people, heroes or idiots, nothing so real had been revealed. People deserve to know the real accounts of the events in the past to learn from them and use their lessons for the betterment of the future which eventually become a new history.

There are only a few things that I know about Cory and the Cojuangcos, which prove that I'm not also a diligent student in my History class.

1. The Cojuangco's owned the Hacienda Luisita. It was the sugar plantation where hundreds of tenants were killed by gunshots when they protested against the injustices they experienced at work. That place was once a blood pool of the toilers of the Cojuangco's land.

2. The Comprehensive Agragrian Reform Program (CARP) was approved during the term of Cory. Before its extension just recently approved during the 14th Congress in the HOuse of Representatives, thousands of farmers marched towards the gates of Batasan calling for a genuine land reform program, because for 20 years, CARP had been a big bogus reform which Cory made for the Filipinos to believe on. The truth is Hacienda Luisita and all other land that her clan owned had never been subjected to CARP. It must have been crafted so cunningly!

I'd like to extend this enumeration up to 5 or more. But, I guess, I'm not just "not good" in History but also in memory as well.

Going back to the hunch thing, those anonymous text messages and satirical jokes are not just black propaganda. They must have some bases aside from the two things I mentioned here.

I haven't decided who to vote in 2010 elections. I'm still thinking who is the lesser evil of all the candidates. But, even if he or she is the least evil of all, I still won't vote for anyone. Only those who could walk what they talk during the campaign period deserve my vote.

In the last three elections that I was able to exercise this "democratic" process, only one candidate had my vote. The partylist -- one that genuinely represents a marginalized sector and not like that of Palparan's.

One last hunch:
Noynoy will endorse Mar to run instead of him. Chismis!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

What are birthdays for anyway?



Does my title sound so bitter? Heh... I hope not. I was just caught by this moment of reflection. I guess what has really brought me in to this is the clinging sentimentalism and romanticism passed on by our parents, grandparents, great grandparents and so on. You see, my mom had always taken me to a studio for my birthday picture since I was one year old. It lasted until I was seven. I used to have a children's party with my cousins and friends in the neighborhood. My birthday would not be complete without the blowing of candles on my birthday cake and receiving gifts from relatives. Well, those were the birthdays I had until I was seven years old.

Since then, I lost most of my birthday memories. I can't remember when was the year when I had dinner with my family in a Chinese restaurant, or when I just had a lot of drinks with friends. I can't even remember how I celebrated it last year, or did I?

But, there was one birthday that I couldn't forget. It was in the year 2000 when I celebrated it away from home, not even with my closest friends, but with the people I started to live with in some remote area in the island. That was when I chose to spend a few months with the peasants. They were good people. I lived with them, ate with them and even took a bath with them beside the flowing cold spring in the village. They slaughtered their native chicken for me, offered a lot of yellow bananas from their farm, and cooked the maja blanca with the ingredients sent by my parents from the city.

I just turned 17 years old at that time. That's the only birthday that remains so vivid in my memory. A celebration which had given me so much meaning to my existence and defined me as a wonderful human being.

In the next hour, I'll be officially 26 years old. I've been thinking that birthdays are just for kids. When you're still a kid, you always look forward to your birthdays because you wanted to be a big girl or boy so soon like your older siblings. When you're still a kid, you wanted to grow old sooner than a year so you could do things on your own, without asking permission from mom or asking money from dad.

But when you started to age like 25 or 26 (like me), you started to deliberately forget about your birthday. You wanted to stop aging and be like or look like a child again. When a new acquaintance asked me about my age, I asked them back what they think. Most of them said, I look like 19, 20, someone even said 16. I know most of them have similar answers because I have this conscious effort to look younger by staying cheerful and youthful.

I'm evasive in a way to tenaciously deny my true age. Unconsciously (of which now I'm conscious about), I deny this growing old because I don't think I have grown up. By coming out young, feeling young, I create my elusive world of less responsibilities. It's not that I hate responsibilities or that I don't want to be responsible enough. I just don't think I'm able to fight procrastination to move on and face the challenges of growing up or being mature in that sense.

I think that's the story behind all this "bitterness" on birthday. That's how I started to be practical and non-sentimental about it. I don't even celebrate it anymore nor ask for something special to happen to make it memorable just like owning a balloon that my parents bought from church after lighting some candles for a prayer.

It just dawned on me that I should still give this birthday some sentimental value especially that I've already passed a quarter of a hundred lifetime (or that I have 4 or 5 years left to complete the numbers in the calendar). I feel like shaking and chiding to myself: "Hey, don't you get it? You're already 26! Grow up! Make a life! Make a person out of yourself!"

I'd like to have a toast for that tomorrow! Happy Birthday to me!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Monetize

I was in the mood to customize the look of this blog when I noticed the MONETIZE tab next to layout. With a bit of compunction whether or not this will surely give me money, I tried it. Because I had seen almost everyone's blog has it, I followed the instructions and enabled third party cookies and java scripting. And, then I signed up for adsense account.

So, there I have it --- "Ads by google!" I hope I'm making sense (cents) here.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Procrastination

It's been three months since I came home.

Although it brings me back to the people I love, coming home is not actually a relief. In fact, it has given me a clearer picture of a life that I should have been ready to face and struggle through five or six years ago.

Going back home is facing the things I had evaded. Top of the list is financial responsibility. Being the eldest offspring gives me an automatic conscience to be aware of the needs of my family and to assume some vital tasks when my parents could no longer provide.

Things of this sort have preoccupied my mind since I came home. I would like to take a leap and materialize my plans. I would like to see the person I should be at this age and at this level of experiences.

Unfortunately, I feel that I am stranded. I landed on a wrong ground, not my niche.

I cannot focus and do the things to be done because of tormenting preoccupations. Preoccupations that are full of "What if?", "How to?" and "How I wish!"

I had been too much preoccupied. I didn't realize that I was procrastinating.

Monday, June 8, 2009

"Stay where you are"

I was reading Jostein Gaarden's "Solitaire Mystery" when I came across this line: "My advice to all those who are going to find themselves is: stay exactly where you are. Otherwise you are in great danger of losing yourself forever." It was Hans Thomas, whose mother left him when he was 4-year old.

When I was back home, what made me immediately decide to experience living away from my hometown was the common line of most undecided fellows: "Finding oneself."

Well, now that I'm here and about to go home, I've been thinking about what Hans Thomas said. And, I am now decided to go home and stay there because it's where I was.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Home

Joni Mitchell is right again with her "Big Yellow Taxi" that goes "...you don't know what you got till it's gone..."

But, my case is not exactly as pathetic as how this line would like to portray. It's not really too late for me because I suddenly realized the worth of my real home before I might totally lose it.

I just had realized that I was never at home here. I just missed my real home. And, I want to be home.

But, I remain with my stand that "regret" is a bankrupt idea. I never regret leaving my homeland to try a different environment. I somehow learned a thing or two from my experiences here.

First, I learned to deal with people who grew up with a culture apart from the ones in the South. Rubbing elbows with them in jeepneys or buses and being pushed by them in a line at MRT station have somehow taught me to be polite and patient amidst heavy traffic and pollution. But, the best part was being able to accept some outright expressions from people I expected the least.

Second, I learned what I really want. Recalling the reason why I came here in the first place, I reckoned that I needed this "escape" to know what I truly want. Sometimes, we really have to get out of the house to know that it is our home. It's not just the desire to sleep in the coziest place I've known since birth, but also the idea of being with the people I feel as comfortable as being in my family's house.

To stand with my decision is the last thing that I still have to prove. And, it would be so when I will have found myself in the arms of the special persons I have loved all along.

In a short while, I will be home...

Monday, March 30, 2009

Time

Look at how time flies! It seems so fast!

Things have been slowly filling in their own places as time goes by...

But, even if time has actually taken me into this new place, I still realized that a change of place can't just easily change anyone. Nothing has changed in me.

I'm still the sentimental romantic. I'm still easily obsessed with just anything or anyone and then I still easily forget about the obsession. Once the obsession was satisfied, I eventually succumb back to where I used to stand.

There's only one thing that I could not let go so easily -- the idea of obsession.

Oh my! I just need more sleep, I guess.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

And so there are times like now

It's totally dark outside and I still haven't taken a bath. I've been the usual me in a lazy day. No one to talk with, alone in this tall house and nowhere to go.

I was supposed to watch Watchmen with friends, but I changed my mind. Oh my, my energy must have flown somewhere away from this body. Lethargic is my favorite word at this moment.

Still, Jack Johnson is playing right now, filling this lonesome atmosphere with his cool rhythms. I'm at least a bit fortunate to have something like this to keep my sanity.

In times like this, a lot of things visit my thoughts. For one, my grandmother just passed away earlier today. My mom just told me so. My dad said last night my lola could no longer talk and only the daily antibiotics and oxygen kept her heart beating.

She was 93 years old; had gone much through life. I guess, it's enough span to let go of such opportunity. I just hope she had taken much experiences from her chance. Her parting has been accepted and prepared for by her children. They had let her go not only because they were financially incapable to maintain her medications (well, they're not really medications but apparatuses to get a grip of the little life she had been left with), but also because of the fact that she did not want to go on living anymore.

From this point, I reaffirmed the fact that everything, even life itself, is revolving around choices. Even staying alive is a choice.

I hadn't known my lola Maxing much. She spent all her time in her small lot in the countryside of North Cotabato. I got to see her only every summer vacations, and sometimes Christmas. The only thing I remember about her is her stout appearance, despite her short height, her long hair, calloused hands and muscled arms. And, when she spoke, she could utter some lines in straight English.

I don't know what she had been in her youth and what her dreams were aside from seeing her children have their own families. She had not been a popular person, or somebody who is excellent in academic field. I bet she never became a career woman. I'm even quite sure that she never even dreamed to live outside her little barrio, despite the sounds of bombs and gunshots in her sleep, or missing cows and carabaos at night.

I guess, her only goal in life was simple, as simple as she was...

Dying in the age of 93 is quite a challenge. I haven't thought of staying in this planet for that long. Not because I'm a cynic like I don't see any hope in this cruel and chaotic world that I hurry to get out from here. Notwithstanding scientific studies of why humans in modern times have short life expectancies, I wanted to die young because I don't want to be the one left whom the new generations would blame for the worst conditions in this world. I also don't want to see them suffer more than these people I see now.

I don't want to stay here for as long as 93 years. But, I don't want to die yet. I still want to see flowers blooming under a bright sunny day. I still want to climb mountains and listen to crickets at night. I still want to jump off from a waterfall and swim through the sea with lots of corals like in Pantukan.

I still want to see my own eyes or nose or smile on a special little human being. I still want to see myself, my child and the man who has my heart in a picture framed to be hung on the wall.

I still want to find happiness somewhere while I still get the chance to stay here. I just have to learn to accept that this chance to live is not quite a picnic, and so there are times like now.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

I Wish I had a River

It's 11:48 PM, I still haven't washed up from a tiresome day of work. After watching "Road Home" with my room mate, I didn't do anything but listened to Sarah Mclachlan's songs. It's been more than a month since I really wrote something that speaks of my personal matters. It's been more than a month that I have forgotten my introspective character.

I think I have always been introspective. I just didn't have time to talk about it here. I don't know why I've become so impersonal with my self these past weeks. A lot of contradictions that bother my preoccupation lately. This must be because of my new disposition that until now I'm still struggling my way through adjustment, adjustment and adjustment...

I thought I pretty much knew why I'm here in this place where I don't have any kin. Friends and acquaintances are everywhere and I don't have any problem with them. But, I have nothing more than casual relationships. I'm not really sure if I really need someone to be intimate with, not necessarily physically, but emotionally and intellectually.

It's still different when you have someone whom you could talk about your thoughts -- simple or weird, your fears, dreams and joys. It's still different when you have someone who could listen when you talk, not just through chat nor text.

I'm really in a deep struggle right now, I admit it. It's next to the experience I had eight years ago when I tried another kind of life with the peasants in remote areas. That was the toughest one I got ever in my entire life. But, this time has a new blend of excitement and fear.

I guess this time should be easy for me because of my age. I know that I have aged enough to see the progress of my being, but the word "regression" sticks its head like a rabid dog at me. After eight years of living like ahead of my age, I find myself making up those ages I didn't live by accordingly (according to social norms).

By being alone, without my closest friends and without somebody special, I've been able to ask myself questions that I don't bother to entertain back home. Questions like: "What do I really want?" "What makes me happy?" "Have I been a good person?" "What is contentment for me or would I ever be contented?"

Brooding is such a bad word that won't help me in this situation. I hadn't done that though, just tonight. Just now over the music of Sarah Mclachlan...

Right now, I'd like to sing this song.

Hold on (Sarah Mclachlan)

Hold on to yourself
For this is gonna hurt like hell
Hold on
Hold on to yourself
You know that only time will tell
What is it in me that refuses to believe
This isn't easier than the real thing
My love
You know that you're my best friend
You know I'd do anything for you
My love
Let nothing come between us
My love for you is strong and true

Am I in heaven here or am i...
At the crossroads I am standing
So now you're sleeping peaceful
I lie awake and pray
That you'll be strong tomorrow and we'll
See another day and we will praise it
And love the light that brings a smile
Across your face

Oh God if you're out there won't you hear me
I know that we've never talked before
Oh God the man I love is leaving
Won't you take him when he comes to your door

Am I in heaven here or am I in hell
At the crossroads I am standing
So now you're sleeping peaceful
I lie awake and pray
That you'll be strong tomorrow and we'll
See another day and we will praise it
And love the light that brings a smile
Across your face...

Hold on
Hold on to yourself
For this is gonna hurt like hell


I just remember the statement: "You can't trust me if you don't trust yourself."

Despite all the loving that they gave me, I still drove them away. Why is it so? Why do I hurt those who love me? Why can't I love them the way they deserve? Sometimes, I feel like singing Joni Mitchell's "Cactus Tree"

Cactus Tree (Joni Mitchell)

Theres a man whos been out sailing
In a decade full of dreams
And he takes her to a schooner
And he treats her like a queen
Bearing beads from california
With their amber stones and green
He has called her from the harbor
He has kissed her with his freedom
He has heard her off to starboard
In the breaking and the breathing
Of the water weeds
While she was busy being free

Theres a man whos climbed a mountain
And hes calling out her name
And he hopes her heart can hear three thousand miles
He calls again
He can think her there beside him
He can miss her just the same
He has missed her in the forest
While he showed her all the flowers
And the branches sang the chorus
As he climbed the scaley towers
Of a forest tree
While she was somewhere being free

Theres a man whos sent a letter
And hes waiting for reply
He has asked her of her travels
Since the day they said goodbye
He writes wish you were beside me
We can make it if we try
He has seen her at the office
With her name on all his papers
Thru the sharing of the profits
He will find it hard to shake her
From his memory
And shes so busy being free

Theres a lady in the city
And she thinks she loves them all
Theres the one whos thinking of her
Theres the one who sometimes calls
Theres the one who writes her letters
With his facts and figures scrawl
She has brought them to her senses
They have laughed inside her laughter
Now she rallies her defenses
For she fears that one will ask her
For eternity
And shes so busy being free

Theres a man who sends her medals
He is bleeding from the war
Theres a jouster and a jester and a man who owns a store
Theres a drummer and a dreamer
And you know there may be more
She will love them when she sees them
They will lose her if they follow
And she only means to please them
And her heart is full and hollow
Like a cactus tree
While shes so busy being free


Here I go again with my old weak self... Impulsive, immature, romantic and indecisive. I don't want to blame all my experiences that made me be enmeshed in things, real things, tough things, which I guess have made my growth so unconventional. Maybe, my compunctions are brought by the contradiction between my unconventional thoughts and those dictated by social norms.




I will remember you
(Sarah Mclachlan)


I will remember you
Will you remember me?
Don't let your life pass you by
Weep not for the memories

Remember the good times that we had?
I let them slip away from us when things got bad
How clearly I first saw you smilin' in the sun
Wanna feel your warmth upon me, I wanna be the one

I will remember you
Will you remember me?
Don't let your life pass you by
Weep not for the memories

I'm so tired but I can't sleep
Standin' on the edge of something much too deep
It's funny how we feel so much but we cannot say a word
We are screaming inside, but we can't be heard

But I will remember you
Will you remember me?
Don't let your life pass you by
Weep not for the memories

I'm so afraid to love you, but more afraid to loose
Clinging to a past that doesn't let me choose
Once there was a darkness, deep and endless night
You gave me everything you had, oh you gave me light

And I will remember you
Will you remember me?
Don't let your life pass you by
Weep not for the memories

And I will remember you
Will you remember me?
Don't let your life pass you by
Weep not for the memories
Weep not for the memories



One song really strikes me hard at this moment. It's a song that Joni Mitchell (also my favorite) originally wrote.


River (lyrics)

It's coming on Christmas
They're cutting down trees
They're putting up reindeer
And singing songs of joy and peace
Oh I wish I had a river
I could skate away on
But it don't snow here
It stays pretty green
I'm going to make a lot of money
Then I'm going to quit this crazy scene
I wish I had a river
I could skate away on
I wish I had a river so long
I would teach my feet to fly
Oh I wish I had a river
I could skate away on
I made my baby cry

He tried hard to help me
You know, he put me at ease
And he loved me so naughty
Made me weak in the knees
Oh I wish I had a river
I could skate away on
I'm so hard to handle
I'm selfish and I'm sad
Now I've gone and lost the best baby
That I ever had
Oh I wish I had a river
I could skate away on
I wish I had a river so long
I would teach my feet to fly
Oh I wish I had a river
I made my baby say goodbye

It's coming on Christmas
They're cutting down trees
They're putting up reindeer
And singing songs of joy and peace
I wish I had a river
I could skate away on


Instead of answering those questions I mentioned, I just keep on singing to myself "I wish I had a river so I could skate away on..."

I have just realized that this line actually shows my escapist character. Have I always been an escapist? Is my eagerness to live here is an eagerness to escape from where I came from? Is it an escape from regression? And, am I in progress right now? Or am I just regressing deeper?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Night when I talked

Only the gasoline lamp in a used liquor bottle
Showed to the stars that we existed on that
Night, in the middle of the darkness at
the border of the hills and ocean...

Accompanied by the chanting of the waves
A few steps from our shabby kiosk
And the snoring of the damn tired fellow,
My voice of inebriation was the only evidence of life
amidst those "dead to the world"
in that small village of fisherfolk.

You listened intently
To my awkward story
of the quarrels and the beatings,
the circle around my eye turning
black from purple,
guilty and remorseful.

My jaws and your eardrums working
fighting against the cold breeze piercing
while you were meta-cognitively thinking
just to wet my lips of yearning
longing to salvage
from my cynical reasoning...

When we emptied the long bottle of rum and my smoking was done,
our bodies curled oppositely on both ends of the bench.
The warmth of your feet on mine was not enough
so inside my head I whined for you to just spare me your arms.

...and then I heard your breathing
that was the lullaby for my intermittent sleeping.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Mr. Tambourine Man (Bob Dylan)

There's nothing I can think of to write tonight... I've just been playing Bob Dylan's Mr. Tambourine Man four times now. I don't exactly know what's in this song that keep me listening to it and feeling some refuge from all the daily struggles I encounter. Well, I guess, it's the poetry in his lines that I succumb to.

So, here's the lyrics of the song:

Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me,
I'm not sleepy and there is no place I'm going to.
Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me,
In the jingle jangle morning I'll come followin' you.

Though I know that evenin's empire has returned into sand,
Vanished from my hand,
Left me blindly here to stand but still not sleeping.
My weariness amazes me, I'm branded on my feet,
I have no one to meet
And the ancient empty street's too dead for dreaming.

Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me,
I'm not sleepy and there is no place I'm going to.
Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me,
In the jingle jangle morning I'll come followin' you.

Take me on a trip upon your magic swirlin' ship,
My senses have been stripped, my hands can't feel to grip,
My toes too numb to step, wait only for my boot heels
To be wanderin'.
I'm ready to go anywhere, I'm ready for to fade
Into my own parade, cast your dancing spell my way,
I promise to go under it.

Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me,
I'm not sleepy and there is no place I'm going to.
Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me,
In the jingle jangle morning I'll come followin' you.

Though you might hear laughin', spinnin', swingin' madly across the sun,
It's not aimed at anyone, it's just escapin' on the run
And but for the sky there are no fences facin'.
And if you hear vague traces of skippin' reels of rhyme
To your tambourine in time, it's just a ragged clown behind,
I wouldn't pay it any mind, it's just a shadow you're
Seein' that he's chasing.

Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me,
I'm not sleepy and there is no place I'm going to.
Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me,
In the jingle jangle morning I'll come followin' you.

Then take me disappearin' through the smoke rings of my mind,
Down the foggy ruins of time, far past the frozen leaves,
The haunted, frightened trees, out to the windy beach,
Far from the twisted reach of crazy sorrow.
Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free,
Silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands,
With all memory and fate driven deep beneath the waves,
Let me forget about today until tomorrow.

Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me,
I'm not sleepy and there is no place I'm going to.
Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me,
In the jingle jangle morning I'll come followin' you.

You can listen to its music here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kdWUqDyTnrI&feature=related

I'll just succumb to "Mr. Tambourine man" for awhile...

Sunday, February 8, 2009

From the side of the window

I can see the gloomy afternoon sky.
My toenails are gray because of the coldness
Coming from somewhere
seeping through my veins telling me
something...

The air envelops me,
touching my skin like nobody
I'm nobody...
Nobody's...
Nothing but a piece of cold shit.

If this cold wind could dissolve
this melancholy
I'd like to be holy...

From this side of the window
Bring me somewhere
Not here.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

"Stock Knowledge"

As far as I'm concerned, I had tried not to stain this page with anything about the politics in the Philippines. Unfortunately, because this page is the only outlet for my inconspicuous thoughts, I couldn't avoid to write something about what I encounter almost everyday since I work here.

Yesterday, I attended the hearing of the committee on constitutional amendments of the house of representatives on the house resolution 737 of Congressman Nograles which was approved by the votes of 11-4.

Victor Ortega, the committee chair, himself moved to cast their votes on the approval of the resolution despite the persistent manifestations of the minority group to conduct more public hearings. Representative of Anakpawis "Ka Paeng" mentioned that during the previous meeting there had been no invitation for the basic masses, especially the farmers, fisherfolks and laborers.

What really piqued me was the statement of somebody from the majority group about "stock knowledge". He said that no consultation could ever change their minds. He said, "We instinctively know what's good for our country."

Why not vote immediately upon reading any proposed house resolution if each representative knows what's good for the country--by instinct? I find this stupid and had just shown that he is a rabid sycophant for supporting this foul-founded resolution to change the charter.

Did he ever try living with the landless peasants or lived in the shanties of the fishermen? Had he been a laborer himself before getting such position called "representative"? Who is he representing when he voted for the approval of the foreigners' hundred percent ownership of our natural resources? This question goes to the eleven of them and the Chairman who did not want to have more public hearings.

Where should such stock knowledge come from? Definitely, it's not from his mother's womb.

The voting happened like a wisp just when three other representatives timely arrived (better late than absent). They had actually increased the gap of the votes between the affirmative and negative sides.

Sigh. Another victory smile must have been cast on Mrs. Alligator's face.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Escape

It's been two weeks since I arrived in the place where most Davaoenos think is the busiest, filthiest, and most controversial place in the Philippines – Metro Manila. I'm not here to challenge their descriptions though.

Why am I here by the way? My best friend said "to escape". Well, that had preoccupied me for awhile.

I left a few things in my hometown but I don't intend to get away from those. However, from a different point of view, my abrupt acceptance of the proposal to work here had something to do about escaping.

My previous job paid higher and I got to travel more than twice in a week. I could meet a lot of people, especially those we call 'basic masses' and listen to the stories of their lives. But, I might have wanted to escape from the 'uncomfortable' relationships with my co-workers. Personal relationships with them are not really a big deal for me as long as we're able to complete our tasks as a team. But, I guess, because of a certain matter that might stir my consciousness, the pressure to get out convinced me to take a risk of living by myself here.

I might be escaping from the comfort of my home and family that made me lax in my daily endeavors. Getting up so late in the morning and not doing the household chores are the things I can do best. And, because of such privileges, I had cradled procrastination.

I might be escaping from the old me – the happy-go-lucky bitch who spent a lot of money on beer, drank all night and even until five a.m, and got anxious about the future but didn't have definite goals.

I might be escaping from boredom – traveling around the same routes, and doing the same things on the same days.

I might be escaping from the feeling of "living in a small world" – afraid of meeting my ex-boyfriends somewhere for whatever reason.

And the worst of all, I might be escaping from my boyfriend. (This is actually what my best friend thought.) We just had our first monthsary before I left. He felt, at first, that I really didn't think about our relationship when I made up my mind. I didn't consult him actually. I blurted out the news right after I said yes. He might have been expecting this, I guess. But, I just realized lately that what I did might be cruel for him.

But, why would I escape from him anyway? I tried to answer these questions if in case I unconsciously really want to escape from him, from our relationship. Maybe, I thought that our relationship would not work because of our differences. Our different political beliefs, ideologies, and interests may be serious factors that will naturally tear us apart. Maybe, procrastination in both of us will eventually burn out our enthusiasm, and we'll end up achieving nothing at all. Maybe, his passiveness in some issues or that his "not caring at all" will just turn my eyes to someone who does care. Maybe, I just want to escape to see if he finds me; if he changes his mind and be with me; if he remains faithful.

Yes, it is an escape, but not from anyone or anything. It's an escape from procrastination. I wanted to try different things to see the different side of me – bring out the better of me...

My best friend said she knows me. She sees me as an escapist person. I'd like to agree with her but only in this particular moment of my life. I wanted to overcome my fear of the unknown and learn more about life.

Challenging destiny? No. It's called “living in its truest sense”.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

A fragment

Anxiety seems to me is due to some uncertainties in one's life.

It's a fear of the unknown.

But, whatever you did not do shall remain a mystery.

No one knows what happens next until that next happens.

Just picking up a fragment of my tormented brain.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Anatomy of Freedom

"Once there was a man thought to be holy. He sat near the top of the mountain, night and day, and it seemed that he never moved. Some said that he was always praying or that he meditated or that he saw visions. Some said that this must make him holy, or at least wise.

No one could quite remember when he had first come to sit on his ledge in the mountain, but almost everyone could recall that at one time, years ago, pilgrims had made their way up to him--not without difficulty--to put before him their disputes, their spiritual questions, their despair, their own attempts at holiness. His judgments were so severe, however, and were delivered in tones so seemingly contemptuous of the pilgrims that the same visitors rarely returned, and in time, as word spread, fewer and fewer pilgrims wound their way up the mountain path. At last, only one or two a year would approach the holy man--and then largely as if he were an oddity, a curious sight to be viewed, and not a living saint to be questioned or followed or even quite trusted. Finally, almost no one came at all.

He still sat, nevertheless, on his ledge, appearing to gaze out over the near and distant peaks of other mountains, blinking now and then against the wind, his body wasting away toward dessication--a bony triangle of spine balanced on a base of crossed legs, his gaunt skull at the apex. No one could possibly estimate his age. He appeared never to speak, although his lips could be seen moving.

All this time, you understand, the woman known as the handmaiden of the holy man remained faithful..."

This is how Robin Morgan illustrates the struggle of women towards freedom in her book Anatomy of Freedom, Feminism in Four Dimensions Second Edition (1994). It's still the first chapter of such liberation movement. You'll conceive what happens to the handmaiden as her story goes along. I just knew this feminist writer because of this book. Just like anybody who loves to scavenge pretty old books in book sales, I find good readings from second-hand ones like this. I actually had it since 2007 and, mind you, because of this book, I soon realized that I have to end up my unproductive and macho relationship.

I could no longer remember when I started calling myself a feminist, but as far as my memories can keep, I always thought girls are better than boys since I was six years old. I used to eat, play and go to the same preschool with my two boy cousins (one is a year younger than me, while the other is a year older). Every single day, I did things the way boys do. I guess, I owe my masculine element from growing up with them. And, everything that we had done, I did best. Even during elementary and high school, I marked higher than any male classmates. Well, I was second best when I finished high school and our valedictorian was still a girl. See, girls are better, smarter and more intelligent.

It was only during college that I figured boys were growing whiskers and started smoking, drinking and flirting. They went on rambling, rioting and in fairness to some, they earmarked martial arts, swimming, basketball, and fraternities. They also joined debating teams, honors society, campus paper and student council. Unfortunately, soon as most women finished college, they lost the limelight. A few of them got pregnant, while others married early. Then, i heard more male politicians bickering while women talk about fashion and child-rearing.

I did not believe the world had gone crazy though. I just felt this isn't right.

To quote Robin Morgan in her book:

"
Women have been offered religion in place of philosophy, morality in place of ethics, 'womanly fears' in place of existential dread, community affairs in place of politics, selflessness in place of self, volunteerism in place of paid (for which read: valid) work, appearance in place of substance, romanticism in place of sexuality, childbearing in place of art, and the home in place of the universe... We are told that we have been happy and safe with this bargain and, although we have felt neither happy and safe, we have managed to breathe on the coals of our own humanity and coax them, at moments, into a flicker of happiness, a warm mirage of safety... First, we had no choice; we were told this--and we forgot that it was a lie. Then, too, we wanted to survive, and being ourselves creatures of lack and of longing, we thought to prove our very humanness by perfecting those skills that permitted us to mourn and to yearn--but most of all to deny the reality of our not having something we never have had."

And, this something is freedom, which according to Morgan it was Kant who said that it is "that faculty which enlarges the usefulness of all other faculties." She agreed with this and elaborated that "feminism is that vision which enlarges the incipience of all other visions."

I only believe in one thing that can liberate the Filipino women from the bondage of this patriarchal society. It is when the people shall be liberated from the three basic problems of the society, which I would like to use the terms my primary and secondary school taught me, landlessness, political elitism and foreign intervention.

It is, indeed, true that if one wants to liberate the women, he or she must give solutions to the country's economic problems. The women and children are majority of the victims of starvation, illiteracy, diseases and war aggression. I never forget the four B's in Cebuano that women are associated with: balay, bata, bana, baboy (house, children, husband, pig). This is bullshit!

Anyway, what I'm trying to say here that had taken almost half of the day to end this is that every woman deserves freedom and happiness. And, I'm going to post office this afternoon to mail this book to my best friend who's right now feeding her little girl in Japan while the "bastard" (as she calls him for snoring in the middle of the night while she changes baby Lei's diaper) works for a living. Being a mother is not just the essence of a woman, but it's the capacity of her womb and her heart that keeps man insecure to subjugate her. It's actually women's impregnable power. Sulong mga kabaro!

Monday, January 5, 2009

New Year's Blessing

Nothing beats this peculiar first "blessing" that I got for this year.

I thought everyone, even your worst enemy, seeks to change some of his or her attitudes for the betterment of whatever interests he or she may have for the new year. Well, I guess, some people change to get more of what they always wanted which means getting viler than they were to others.

I tried hard not to mind the wickedness of this daunting lady who manipulates our emotions through her discretion on financial matters. She is the passage of all the inflows and disbursement of the "money of the organization" (or in order to sound dramatic, let's call it the "taxes of the people"). She might have felt some power and authority over us by deciding whether or not we would get our salary or reimbursement now.

I tried harder not to think about her during the Christmas break and even on new year's eve. I didn't want to admit that she has been preying me since I came to the office. She seemed so nice to me, like offering some snack or even her sweet tone in small talks especially when the boss was around. No, I never thought she intended to give me a little misery. Maybe, I am just so subjective about her deliberate act not to give my salary today. You know, some of us got it before Christmas given that the rest of the days were considered working holidays. But, I thought, my contract created such different condition.

To tell you frankly, I did not mind. I was able to enjoy Christmas and new year's eve without the luxury of even a meager budget to buy my mother a gift or some fruitcakes for everyone. I was even excited to go to work and never be late on the first working day of the year because I will be able to pay my load credits and buy my sister a brand new phone (better late than never have a birthday cum Christmas gift for her).

And so, this morning, without breakfast nor coffee, I arrived in the office just two minutes past eight, which is already a great leap for my second new year's resolution compared to the least of 13-minute late I marked for 2008. I immediately printed out my accomplishment report and passed it to the friendly-looking woman in her soul-deluding room. This was the moment I thought she has some resolutions for this year.

Yes, she does! Better than before. More cunning. More convincing. More subtle. She did not make much of an effort but just these simple words with her sympathetic face, "The only signatory for your time card is the boss. So, you won't have your salary until next week because he's not yet here."

As if catching a wisp, I was stunned for a moment. Neglecting the crumbling of my stomach, I stirred a spoonful of coffee for myself. Every sip composed the fragments of relief, spelling out the word "blessing" in my head.