Recent Thoughts

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A Birthday Letter

Dear Jesus,

First of all, hey, hey, hey, Heyppy berthdey! (a la Eugene Domingo in Ang Cute Ng Ina Mo).

Sooo, how was Your birthday? This is like Your 2040th birthday right? Nevertheless, I hope You had a great day. Because I sure as hell had a great time on Your birthday.

Before, I used to didn’t like that my birthday is so close to Yours, because more often, my birthday and Christmas gifts were like a 2-in-1 package. But of course, now that I am older and know better, (and most especially this year in particular), I am so lucky that my birthday served as a kick-off party to this year’s celebration of Your special day. Since my birthday, things have always been on the up-side. And now that Your actual birthday is over, the fun things doesn’t seem to be simmering down. So, thank You so much for that.

Since I have already determined my Christmas wish weeks ago, allow me to just thank You for a lot of things.

Let’s start with my Christmas ‘loot bag’. Like I said in my Christmas post, I have more new clothes than I actually need. I know that weeks ago, I told You that I am not really that excited about doing some Christmas shopping for myself. I mean, if I used to consider it of utmost importance to have some new clothes to wear for Christmas, I am happy to tell You – not anymore. But when my orgmates and I went window shopping last week, I just couldn’t resist. The purple top just kept calling my name from its sorry rack, even when I tried to ignore it, haha!

Then of course, there are the chocolates and other sumptuous food treats! Gosh, I never thought there will come to a point in my life where slowing down on eating chocolates even if there’s lots in the ref will arrive. I am not sure if whether it’s because of the enormous amount of chocolate intake, my system kinda undergone a withdrawal syndrom or, I finally learned to control myself (meaning, another sign na nag-mature na ako!). Well, I sure hope it’s the latter, haha!

As for the Filipino tradition of Noche Buena, well, Noche Buena kung Noche Buena! Whereas before, my best participation in the preparation is helping out with the desserts like fruit salad, leche flan or ale ube, well, this year, I prepared a main course! Whoa! *Alleluia please* It is my first time and with the help of internet instructions and a quick question from my chef-friend Jigs, I was able to cook Alfredo sauce, all by myself. So while my sister went out for some last-minute shopping and my Mom and Dad were having a pedicure/manicure at the terrace, I was busy whipping cheese, milk and cream over the stove. My Dad was very skeptic of my culinary intuition and skills, but imagine the look of victory and vindication on my eyes when he finally tasted it and loudly admitted – “Ba Rex, kalinamnam na ning gewa mo!” Haha! My garlic bread turned out to be the biggest hit, as far as my nephew Justin is concerned. Even though I just kind of quickly carelessly tossed the bread in the pan with melted butter and garlic powder, for him the triangular piece of garlic bread was so good, he sandwiched it between two more slices of bread. (Oo, mga kaibigan, ginawa niyang palaman ang garlic bread!) It sure felt more fulfilling to share a feast with your loved ones when you know they’re enjoying something that you prepared yourself.

The Christmas Eve Mass wasn’t so bad either. The priest who delivered the homily was kinda corny, haha! But nevertheless, it was strangely amusing to see old neighbors – as in the ones you only get to see at Church once or twice a year, Christmas and Easter.

Then there came Your birthday itself, Christmas Day. Now You do know, this is a day I sort of dreaded because it is the one day in a year where relatives would keep pestering me with acads-related questions like “Eka pa magobra (Aren’t you working already)?” or “Kapilan ka mag-graduate kanyan (When will you be graduating)?” And my, this is the bad year to be asked that question! Lord, I know I am not supposed to care what other people think, especially relatives whom I only see during the holidays. I am sure, they only ask such questions just for small talk, because we don’t really have something interesting to talk about. But I hate to have to explain EVERYTHING so I won't, but by not doing so, they would certainly think of the usual cliché reason why a person is unable to graduate.

So how did it go then? Well, despite my efforts to maintain a low-profile key and hoping my nephews’ antics will steal the limelight from everyone else in the room, I was still able to get a total of four graudation-themed questions. Hmm, maybe wearing the visually attractive purple top I bought at Landmark was such a bad idea for a Christmas attire after all, hehe! Good thing though, the excruciating moments of having to answer “No” passed by quickly enough and I was able to go back to obscurity in no time at all. More luckily, only one uncle dared to ask why for yet another reason for the marching delay (with his wife commenting, (“Baka nag-loko siya”). And my Mom came to my rescue. Whew!

On the up-side (gee, this season, there is ALWAYS an up-side, haha!), despite my age and due to my non-working status, I was still able to receive P800 worth of aginaldo, haha! Again, thank You for that. Well, thank You as well for the thoughtfulness of my two nephews, Jasper and Justin who, at the start of the day, took pity in me and gave me P200 and P100 respectively, dahil “nakakaawa ako, walang nambibigay sa akin”. Haha! So that would’ve brought my total to P1100. But of course, I returned Justin’s P100 to my sister and just told Jasper to treat me to Starbucks (of the 3 brothers, he had the biggest total, that’s why he’s feeling so generous).

Then came the bonus news! My org will have another gift-giving shindig on the 29th, so I will have a chance to do something fulfilling after all, yey!

So that’s just about it – all that happened to me on Your birthday, Jesus. It was Your special day, not mine, but I definitely shared in all the fun.

I feel so blessed this Christmas that, during our way home, my heart broke as we passed by an old lola, in the middle of the highway, stopping the cars and asking for some alms. By the time I recovered from the aching shock, she was already a hundred meters away, being escorted out of the highway by a policeman. If there’s something I don’t understand, it is why can't all people just be happy on Your birthday. But of course, Your party on earth just doesn’t work that way. I just hope that when I joined my orgmates in a gift-giving activity to the less fortunate, in some way, somehow, I am able to pay my blessings forward to those who lack even the most basic resources of Christmas spirit.

Well, this is all for now. I will try to write another letter come New Year’s. For sure, I have a year’s worth of stuff to talk about, haha!

Again, happy, happy birthday! Thank You so much for allowing me and my family and loved ones to merrily celebrate Your day with You.

With much love and gratitude,
Rex

PS. Please don’t take back the fun times too soon, too fast. I sure know, by the law of gravity, what comes up, must come down. I wish that whatever big problem I will soon face, the memory of this fun month will help me weather it. I realize for certain that big problems are inevitable, and that the world will just make one after the other, momentarily pausing to at least let us savor our victory after each problem. And it’s not like the happiness I have right now is already at its peak for my life that I am so ready to die, haha! Not yet, please, not just yet.


Monday, December 24, 2007

Perfect Christmas?

For some weird reason, I’m feeling jolly about this coming Christmas. But for days now, I have been trying to figure out why so, to no avail.

Is it because for many years now, the whole family is complete since my parents came home from Bahrain for the holidays? Of course, a complete family during the holidays is always a cause for a festive celebration. I don’t mean any disrespect to anyone who would read this and will be spending Christmas with a parent or loved one abroad, but since this has been luckily happening for almost a decade now, it doesn’t really bring something that special to the table.

Is it because materially speaking, I am prepared? Well, I have more new clothes than I actually need and a new pair of Nike rubber shoes. There’s lots of food (chocolates, Christmas delicacies, etc) in the refrigerator that I fear I wouldn’t get to enjoy my new pairs of pants due to a renewed bulge in my belly. In short, my happiness meter when it comes to materials things is definitely way up there.

Is it because the different events that led up to it were very conducive in feeling the Christmas spirit? It started with my birthday weekend, and continued to the last week of classes for December 2007, to the Lantern Parade, to the Videoke night with college friends, to the spontaneous night out with high school friends, and finally to the Noche Buena shopping with my mom and sister, which promises quite an upper middle class family feast! I mean, after all those fun-filled activities with loved ones, who wouldn’t feel euphoric? I feel like I have enough supply of endorphin 'til after the New Year’s.

Sometimes I wonder, if I’d take away all the material gifts I have received, would I still feel as good about this coming Christmas? Of course, it’s not like I would test this hypothesis, haha! Who would want to take away the good things you already have!

I have yet to do something ultimately selfless this season. A gift-giving to the less fortunate by my organization would’ve been a perfect opportunity for me, but alas, for some valid reason that turned out to be invalid after all, I wasn’t able to make it to the fulfilling activity.

So despite having a complete family, wearing new clothes, eating lots of good food, I am still in search of something that will make this Christmas truly memorable not only because of the gifts I received, but also and mainly because of something that will make other people’s Christmas more memorable, through me.

Because really, sometimes, it kinda sucks to be so blessed, and see other people get so much less than what they actually deserved and simply dreamed of.

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But on a lighter note, still, have a Merry Christmas! Enjoy the company of your family and friends this holiday season. I mean, after all, what's the point of having new clothes if you're alone and no one will get to see them? Haha! Joke! Don't fail the be thankful and give more attention to the more important things in life this Christmas.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

22 + 1 = 23



This is my 23rd birthday post, which, apparently, is many days late, haha! Well, pardon me, I haven’t really found the proper time to reflect on this momentous milestone in my life. Besides, I honestly thought this birthday will be an uneventful one. Why? Let me elaborate.

It is my “23rd birthday”. Of course I am thankful for the past year of life, even if it was yet another struggling one. But really, there’s nothing special about the number 23. Well, unless of course if you think that it's the first odd and prime number birthday in the line of 20 which therefore makes it quite special, then clearly, you’re an eccentric person! (Doon sa nakaisip ng numerical significance na ito, peace tayo, haha!)


I have not prepared anything special on my birthday. Unlike my 21st birthday (which is a gentleman’s debut), I will not reserve 40 seats at Kenny Roger’s. Unlike my 21st and 22nd birthdays, I will not treat my friends to Starbucks in order to complete the required number of stickers to get the limited edition Starbucks 2008 Planner. In short, I have no budget to treat my friends to something. So yes, it will have been an ordinary day.

What’s the truth behind my no-budget drama? Well, I didn’t really ask for a "birthday bonus" from my parents. Because I don’t know how to justify such budget, given the ordinary circumstances. Plus, I have this major thing that makes me feel mortified to even sweet talk my way into a birthday bonus.

As for not aiming for the Starbucks planner, well, just like what a close friend said, “Nag-mature na ako!” Haha! The 2008 planner is not worth it -- the design is not that impressive, the freebie is JUST a pencil, more stickers are required, the Christmas flavors are not that enticing and for some reason, my taste buds are no longer in awe of the unique Starbucks blend.

So in short, I have resigned to the fact that my 23rd birthday will just be a simple one. I've realized that it's not the gifts that should make or break one's birthday. If I'll receive a warm and touching text message greeting or a birthday card, that would've already made me very happy.

But wait! There's more! What actually happened was a different story.

On the eve of my birthday, I was at an orgmate's apartment, doing some orgwork. It will be used on the org party next day (yep! On my birthday!) so I knew I will turn 23 there. As my phone's alarm clock struck 12 am, Michael, Jen, Kevin and Felipe greeted me a happy birthday. Felipe even went further by greeting me a 'belated' happy birthday, haha!

As I finished nostalgically recounting to my young orgmates how my past six birthdays in UP went, I got the surprise of my life (well, at least the 23rd year of my life, haha!). Out of nowhere, my closest AguGirlfriends -- Maan, Di, Pie and Fergie -- appeared on the door with balloons, candles and a box of goodies in tow, singing the Happy Birthday song. Mind you, these girls live on Katipunan, the other side of the UP campus, so their sweet gesture at 12 midnight is quite an effort.

It was a complete birthday party package. Aside from the balloons and the box of goodies (which turned out to be a box of Cello's donuts shaped with the letters of the phrase "HAPPY B-DAY WEXIE"), they even had loot bags for the guests! And the best gift of them all? The birthday card, in which they wrote long and heart-warming birthday messages.

They went home back to Katipunan at around 1.30am. I went home to my own apartment at 2.30am. And as I tucked myself into my bed, I was wearing a big smile in my heart, knowing that the would've-been ordinary birthday just turned out to be an extraordinary one.

The rest of the day was just simply great. While it is true that the surprise I got at 12mn was already the major highlight of my birthday, its euphoric effect lasted throughout the day.

In the evening, my organization had a party. No it wasn't for me. It was Aguman's anniversary last December 12 and the party coincidentally scheduled on my birthday was the culminating event. Although I must admit, it kinda also felt like it was my party, haha! My committee's efforts the previous nights was worth it, because our committee's representative won the contest that night -- yet another reason to have a happy birthday.

Since I and my other orgmates were still in celebratory mood (I because it's my birthday, and they because of the success of our orgweek), we decided to have a drink at Starbucks. There were more than 15 of us so it was such a bonding blast. We played the Skittles Game (a game were you answer questions based on the topic of the color of the Skittle candy you pick from the bag), so there was definitely a lot of laughtrip moments. It was also my first time to try out the Starbucks bagels, and my, it did not disappoint.

There was more bonus for my birthday -- I went home with a Goldilocks half-cake and a peach wine (they were both gifts from orgmates which they gave during our org's party). But of course, more importantly, I ended my 23rd birthday with lots of fond memories that hopefully, will last a long time.

My 23rd birthday definitely trumps my 22nd birthday, simply because it was more meaningful. No amount of panlilibre could beat the love (in different forms -- words, text messages, gifts, haha!) I received from my family and truest friends.


LEFT: What we ordered at Starbucks. The frappe and bagel I ordered is at the center.
RIGHT: The Cello's Doughnuts shaped "HAPPY B-DAY WEXIE. Pati yung dash, edible! Oreo-flavored pa nga eh!

For more pictures, click here.

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Did somebody important forgot my birthday? Yeah, quite a number of them actually, haha! But I don't really mind. I am sure they have a perfectly good and valid reason for doing so. Otherwise, it means I am not as important to them as I thought which is something I don't really mind as well. What's the point of having lots of friends, when you only need true ones? And those who are sweet enough to prepare a surprise on your birthday, haha!

I actually learned a lot of simple but important lessons on my birthday, but I am gonna bore you with them on the next post, haha!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Which feels worse?

To feel worthless, without a purpose? Or to be a huge failure when you try to be significant? You tried and tried, but you just died..

To be so all alone? Or to just want to be left all alone? Even if you don't really want to be alone..

To be surrounded by a lot of people and still feel lonely because not one of them really cares? Or to be surrounded by people who seem to care, but to not really feel that they do? They only act so caring when they need something from you..

To be under-appreciated? Or to get used to being under-appreciated? Even if it gets more tiring and tiring each day..

To know that you cannot help a friend? Or to realize that in doing so, you forget to help yourself? There's only so much you can put your mind into..

To know fully well that someone dear to you has changed? Or to see that someone dear to you pretend that he has not changed? He even has the impudence to pretend that he still cares..

To not know what to do? Or to know what to do after all, but it's not really what you want? Heck, you're not even sure of what you really want..

To perpetually pray, hope and wish for that one special thing that may never come? Or to finally realize that it really isn't meant for you? Who knows, maybe you don't really deserve it..

To feel that you don't deserve to get anything? Or to discover that indeed, you don't deserve anything? Because it looks like you're not going to get anything..


To be a parent and see your child in great pain? Or to be the child who knows you have caused your parents a great pain?
I mean, seriously, who cries the most tears at night?

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Train of thoughts 3: Makati Standoff Edition!

I am sure that by now, you all know what Trillanes and friends have done over the dawn of the long weekend. If you wanna know more, click here for the Inquirer.net's coverage of the Makati standoff.

But for this post, I just wanna share my thoughts. It will not be an organized essay, because I do not know enough details in Philippine politics to rival the editorial opinion of the major broadsheet columnists in the country today.

*Where was I when I learned of the standoff? It was already 3pm and I just boarded a bus on my way home to Pampanga. The bus TV was on and it screened the ABS-CBN coverage. I was actually surprised because Pampanga commuters like me know that Bataan Transit buses have always been Kapuso, haha!

*My overall thought on the matter as I finished the pizza kariman I bought to serve as my on-the-go lunch: what the hell was Trillanes thinking?! Apparently, other people shared the same thought, so imagine my amusement when an article of the same title (well, sans 'the hell') was featured on the Inquirer front page for December 1.

*I didn't really pay attention to the events that was unfolding during the rest of my trip home. I figured I would read about it on the newspaper the next day anyway. Besides, I didn't really think it was a cause of alarm for me. All I knew was that Trillanes and friends "took over" the Peninsula Manila Hotel (or is it Manila Peninsula?) and (newsflash!) were demanding for PGMA's resignation. I didn't really know who was with him. So when I switched on the TV in the evening and saw Bibeth Orteza boldly declaring that she was proud to be a Filipino right now, I thought she was one of the good guys and that there's more to Trillanes 'stupid gimik'. Only to realize later on, as I continued to watch the news and get more details on the day's events, that Trillanes' staging was what it really was: a stupid one.

*Did Trillanes (and friends) actually think that by holing themselves in a posh Makati hotel would actually encourage the middle class to join him? We all know how pivotal the middle class' participation is on the success of any uprising or mass demonstration, right?

*He even had the gall to invoke his 'duties' and 'powers' as a Senator. Did he actually think a huge percent of his 11 million voters would actually join them at Makati? Did he actually think he was popular enough to lead another People Power Revolution?

*Political analysts say the AFP's approach and handling of the standoff was an overkill and that the treatment of the media after Trillanes surrendered was uncalled for. I agree. Yun lang masasabi ko, haha! Like I said, I am not trying to be a big-time political columnist here.

*By now, you may have received the text joke about the funny lessons learned from Trillanes' recent stunt. Na pwede pala lakarin ang Makati City Hall papunta ng Manila Pen.. Na kasya pala ang tangke sa hotel.. Na nakakatakot si Ces Drilon kapag hindi naayusan, haha! In the end, the recent Makati Standoff was actually a hilarious showcase of misguided patriotism.. albeit with serious implications.

*I am sure, one of the major question for the aftermath is: Why did Trillanes and friends fail? I am sure, most columnists have given their take on this, and I couldn't agree more to most of them. But here is my personal view on the matter.
First of all, hassle na pumunta pa ako na Makati. Pauwi na ako ng Pampanga eh, long weekend pa. Bakit ako magpapagod na lumuwas pabalik ng Makati?
Secondly, I never voted for Trillanes in the last elections. Yes, I agree that PGMA is one of the worst kind of leaders the country has had in the post-Martial Law era. Yes, our country is in dire need of moral revolution, especially in the government leadership. I sympathize with their cause, but I do not agree with their actions.
No matter the desperation or exasperation of the current administration, holing oneself up inside a commercial and public establishment is and never will be justifiable. Mag-rarally ka na lang, mang-iistorbo ka pa ng mga kababayan mo? Tapos biglang isisgaw ni Bibeth Orteza on national television that she was proud to be a Filipino? So being a Filipino is about disrupting peace and order in the country's top commercial district? It's just so wrong on many levels -- economic, err, teka, economic lang pala, haha!
For me, no single person in Philippine politics today has enough moral ascendancy and integrity to lead an unconstitutional change of executive leadership in the country. (If it were Raul Roco, I would've considered joining a rally. Pero patay na siya. *Sad*
So what do we do now? The safest (and legal) bet would be to wait for the 2010 elections. Wala eh, nanalo na ang mga trapong pulitiko (whether or not they were actually voted by many people by virture of stupidity or these trapos just cheated is another issue). For the meantime, we all need to be vigilant, and not run out of hope and sense of country.

Quick Thoughts