A Cherub’s Grief

June 30, 2009 2 comments

Today Even The Angels Cried by trisheroverton

Today Even The Angels Cried by trisheroverton

I recently attended a funeral of a friend’s twin sister, Charity, who died at 27 of osteosarcoma, the most common type of malignant bone cancer, in Batangas City. Such a tragic loss of a beautiful, young mother of 4! While everybody was paying respect as fresh cement seals her tomb in their family mausoleum, I gently touched Charmelle, her cherubic 2 year-old daughter, who was being carried by her mother’s twin brother’s girlfriend, Joy, next to me and whispered to her, “Say goodbye to Mommy now.” To my astonishment, tears fell on her beautiful face for no reason, for she was not obviously upset about anything, as if to silently grieve for her mother. Wait, she was silently grieving for her mother! She didn’t make any sound — not even a whimper — as she just teared up and leaned her face on Joy’s right shoulder. Read more…


June 29, 2009 Leave a comment

Solve Me If You Can

Solve Me If You Can

I ride the bullet of time to hit a target of nowhere. My heart stopped bleeding eons ago, my soul numbed by life’s vicissitudes. Existentialism, Rationalism, Zen– they are nothing but a gamut of superficial self-medications meant to divert one’s mind from the gnawing truth: I am therefore I live. Or is it the other way around? Who cares. I have no time for your psychobabble bull.

You see, I am certain about my ambiguity. An exercise in irony perhaps or just a cute way to tuck away my guilt? Could be. But I have been wrong before and so have you. Who are you to say what is right for my life when there are so many wrongs to right in yours? I have died the moment you chose my life for me. Live and let live. Life is what is, not what could be, should be, must be. I am not your doppelgänger. Get yourself a mirror and it would only cost you a tenth of your poor man’s hourly wage. Remember Narcissus.

If I die alone, so be it. If I am fated to be acquainted with grief, then the hell with your sympathy, thank you very much. I am not a child of the “If” universe. Is it too much to ask to be a master of my destiny?

Thinking is short for feeble-mindedness. Feeling is only for the weak. I haven’t really lived until I let my senses die and give in to my elemental sense of being. I am older than my age, longer than my years, more complex than space and time. If you think you know better, try ignorance.

The future does not exist, and the past is mostly dead weight. Today is all I’ve got along with myself– the only truths I can rightfully lay claim to. I don’t want everything. I desire nothing. But today, in all its objective reality and abstract underpinnings, defines who I am, and I lend it essence and credence in return.

The 20-Dollar Ride to Life, Love, and Death

June 8, 2009 Leave a comment

Cash Money by lincolnblues

Cash Money by lincolnblues

What is 20 U.S. dollars worth? I actually googled this query. Results : your own meme of “Stop Shooting” shirt, a Hello Kitty toaster, DIY Bendy Straws, Penguin Teaboy, and a Bike Chain bottle opener to name a few. To the upwardly mobile set, burning 20 bucks is a no-brainer: a 12-servings pack of Starbucks VIA™ Ready Brew Colombia Coffee, and while they are at it, they might as well throw in a copy of the Talking Heads Opus CD (okay, that’s a little over a Jackson, but hey, you could afford Starbucks, right?). Perhaps a lower-grade copper Probus coin on eBay?

How about gasoline money for a truck ride home so you can be with your kids a few days before you die?

On a hot and humid late February morning, we decided to park our van underneath a tree along Quezon Avenue in Quezon City as my niece, Grace, went out to pay for her IELTS exam fees, while my sister, her husband, and myself waited. From his rear view mirror, Rosell, my brother-in-law, noticed a man in his 60’s walk draggingly. He cranked his window down to ask him if he was alright. The man, clasping his stomach, obviously in pain, said he was just trying to make it to EDSA, a good couple of blocks away. Without much thought, Rosell prompted my sister, Helen, to hand me a 500-peso bill (roughly $10), to give to the man for his taxi fare and a decent lunch as well. I alighted, approached the old man, and–curious that I am–talked to him before I gave him the money.

A brief talk– all 5 minutes short– but it seemed like eternity to me…he was recently diagnosed of a late-stage colon cancer, and with it a death sentence, or so it seemed to him, handed by his doctor: he had until the first week of March to have an operation lest he would die. I began to rattle off names/organizations/agencies/foundations, the whole alphabet soup of so-called charitable institutions, including ABS-CBN (a major Philippine media network where he just came from) and our country’s President’s office, that he could go to. “Been there, all of them,” he said, morosely. “I either got empty promises or hallow sympathies,” his eyes resigned to the inevitable. His were a man’s who slugged it out with the world and tried to out-maneuver fate as well. Whatever glimmer of hope left in there, however, was extinguished by the anguish he felt for being abandoned. In spite of the stabbing pain and the measured breaths, this man walked his way one leaden step after another , in search for any freaking help that he never got. Imagine a bed-ridden old man who awaits for his time: emaciated, in physical agony, yet doggedly determined to get out of bed, carried his deathbed, and walked for miles on end in pursuit of an elusive purpose. He was determined to beat the deadline– only a week away. Tried he did to go beyond the limits of his dying body, but, alas, his dead hope and defeated spirit got the better of him: “All I want is some gasoline money for the truck that my friend offered me as a ride home to Tacloban (some 360 miles by land SE of Manila). I want to be with my children when I die. I want to be buried in my hometown. One thousand pesos (about $20). That’s what keeping me away from my children and my burial plot right now,” his words laced with bitterness the aftertaste of which I didn’t mind at all. Thank you for the five hundred pesos; and would I mind if he had to move on (walk the two blocks to the bus station) to catch his bus? Of course, I didn’t. I handed him the amount he needed. He held my hand and thanked me again, his eyes– I had the gnawing feeling that that would be the first and the last time I will ever see him– bade me farewell.

Yes, I did mind him leaving, in a way. I wished I could have done more. I didn’t even get his name. However, to God he will never be a nameless, faceless son of His. My heart is with him, knowing he was with his children to celebrate life and love with them.


Quo Vadis?

June 7, 2009 Leave a comment

I am late– and too hurried to say goodbye, too harried to say hello. The freeway is my friend, taking in my greed for speed, where cars and people and the scenery are mere illusions or a blur of kinetic abstractions. Somewhere beyond the convergence of the firmament and the pavement lies the object of my haste. Time and space give way to the now. My gaze is transfixed at ten minutes into the future. Hie I must: forward, onward!

Glancing in the rear view mirror, I see myself glaring back at me as the immediate past trails gracefully behind me, unequivocally relinquishing the moment to the present. It is life’s macrocosm in a brief linear singularity: the then and the now melding into a certainly uncertain thereafter.

Moving on is looking forward to something good. Looking back is knowing you are moving on to something better.

Too late to speculate.

Race to Infinity by the iconoclastic yet iconic ionic icon
Race to Infinity by the iconoclastic yet iconic ionic icon


June 5, 2009 1 comment
1956 "Forbidden Planet" Robby the Robot

1956 "Forbidden Planet" Robby the Robot by hastingsgraham

I find this Twitter trending topic anthropomorphically hilarious. What’s next, the coming out of C3PO? Here’s a sampling :

“Hey there, my name’s Vista. Can I crash at your place tonight?”

“My bolts are getting loose…would you mind screwing me?”

“Holy shift! Check out the asymptote on that mother function!”

“Hey Baby…. my name is McAfee , I am virus free and I carry protection.”

“You’re the only bookmark in my browser.”


“I want to grow obsolete with you.”

Mere Words

June 4, 2009 Leave a comment

Writing is a thirst I haven’t quite quenched yet, a passion still to be unbridled. Lest I lose a cherished though neglected gift, I might as well give it free rein.

Writing is more than just neat syntax and clever juxtaposition of ideas. Words don’t have a meaning. They seek a meaning. For words to have power, they need soul. A story chooses its listeners when the storyteller knows its heart and knows it by heart. After all is said and written, the ones that really stand the test of time are those with timeless message and ageless appeal. In their core lies the seed of truth guised as etched, scribbled, printed, or pixelated characters trying to find a purpose in order to escape the limits of abstraction.

To be a bearer of truth and to beautifully and meaningfully convey it are both my hope and fulfillment as a writer.


January 31, 2009 Leave a comment

Not a Flip? Just Be Hip!

When a person — Filipino or not — is celebrated for what he does for the Philippines, not for who is or his net worth,  he is a HipFlip. This is an homage to those who extol quintessential Filipino traits impacting the lives of the Filipinos. Whether she has the face that can launch a thousand space shuttles and helps feed a million kids, an unassuming cab driver who returns a brief case full of foreign currencies, or a twittering social networker/facebooking blogger/fierce Philippine advocate, this HipFlip deserves to be immortalized in the searchable archives of the ether. No bronze life-size bust for him nor an Oscar statuette for her, just an honest adulation from a grateful people and an honored spot in the HipFlip roster.

Your Other Country (Only Way Better)

January 31, 2009 Leave a comment

Philippine Flag

Flag of the Philippines from Wikipedia

Can you call yourself a stranger in a foreign land when you actually feel right at home? Sounds paradoxical, but the Philippines is that other country you have never thought you had– your other home– only far stranger than you have imagined and more familiar than it can possibly get.

Welcome to the land of pleasant paradoxes and exceeded expectations (yours, that is)!

Blessed with a generous sprinkling of 7,107 islands in the Pacific, the Philippines beckons with paradisiacal allure and a welcome respite from the harried world and a hurried life. Here, we have mastered the art of living, the intricacies of friendship, and the passion for life.

It is just an archipelago of emerald isles that break the monotony of the mighty ocean if not for its people who are its real gem and the Pacific’s real pride. For centuries, guests and conquerors attest to the warmth and hospitality of the Filipinos which is second to none. Magellan‘s men expressed their desire to end their quest for the Spice Island upon discovering the Filipinos and when they experienced the spices of life : bounteous feasts, verdant hills and mountains, powdery white beaches, and the hospitable people (not to mention the beautiful women).

These are just some of the obvious reasons why I made it my ardent cause to tell everyone of this wonderful place the world can call home; to experience what it is like to be a friend, a stranger, and a family member all at the same time: a friend because you will never feel left out, a stranger because it is okay to be different and yet be accepted, and a family member because you may end up marrying one of the gorgeous maidens we have here (now that is another story)! Kidding aside, you will find a kinship, a sense of belonging, with the Filipinos the moment you see the unpretentious smiles, lavish in their unconditional welcome, and witness their unscripted lives. In fact, we have elevated hospitality from an art form to a time-honored tradition that you can’t help but feel and experience the Filipino way of living not just observe it. And yes, your pictures may tell a thousand and one words of what the Philippines is like, but your heart will tell what it is like to be with the Filipinos.

To the world, you are a traveler. Here, you are family.


August 21, 2008 Leave a comment

by Richard Peters

by Richard Peters

Blogging is more onerous than I imagined. I had the notion that all I could do is babble away like a child who just learned to vocalize. An apt simile, but I want to do more than just ramble. Thus the conundrum : do I let the words flow like a brooklet enticed by gravity or let them take flight like a rocket reaching escape velocity?

First day of blogging and I’m already having a blogstipation! I’m not gonna bleg though lest I lose the very essence of self-expression. As a guiding principle of writing, I will follow my heart and be honest with my emotions; I will free my mind and open myself to all nuances of truth; I will feed my soul and be all I can be; and I will feast on life and savor what is and what is now.

Whether it’s flow or flight, I’ve got gravity to keep me in check.