Thursday, July 31, 2008

Proud Tita

Quick email - my sister-in-law has uploaded the video of the latest piano recital of my two handsome and brilliant nephews.

Visit to see that I'm not exaggerating.

Tess, this is really, really Miko! And Luigi! I can't even play these pieces.

34 Random Facts About Me

While being treated to dinner by my grade school barkada, they asked me to name 34 milestones in life, a tradition started by KBJ when he turned 40 last week.  I said I needed time to think of what to say, as I had had my share of highs and lows in life.  So I'm posting my answer to one of their 34 questions.

This is stream-of-consciousness, unedited, raw facts about me, probably of interest only to those who asked me to write this, but go ahead and read if you have nothing better to do.

1.  I've never learned to ride a bike.
2.  I was the batch Model Girl during my freshman year at Manila Science High School.
3.  I wanted to be a laundrywoman, a newscaster, a pianist, a dancer, a writer, and a lawyer while I was growing up.  It's not too late to be all of them.
4.  I had perfect pitch in college - I could give the middle C without a pitch pipe.  I haven't tried locating the note in my head in a long while.
5.  I majored in Business Economics in college.  I was encouraged by my piano teacher to minor in Piano but I was too lazy to practice.  I have regretted this decision for a long time.
6.  I was baptized in the Spirit and gave my life to the Lord in October of 1993.  I still remember the moment I was prayed over and my happiest moment to date was then, when the light of God's love enveloped me.  I received the gift of tongues immediately.
7.  I failed the bar the first time I took it.
8.  I passed the bar a year after my batchmates did.
9.  I won in a typing contest in a class in BA.
10.  I lost the Presidency three times in life - Grade School, High School, and Law School.  I didn't lose in Undergrad because I ran and won as Vice President of the School of Economics Student Council.
11.  I am an ambidextrous texter and I think I could win a texting contest if I ever join one.
12.  I took up drama class at CCP during my teen years to get over a broken heart.  I broke it again that summer.
13.  My father named me after a beauty queen from COLOMBIA who competed in the Miss Universe pageant in Manila in 1974 (Thanks to Juan's Proud Poppa for pointing out my error.  Miss Spain won that year. )
14.  My favorite saints are St Francis, St Joseph, St Clare, St Therese, and St Teresa.
15.  There had never been a point in my life when I was not in the middle of a book.
16.  I could play the piano without reading notes at the age of three just by listening to my mother's piano students.
17.  I am the most unathletic person I have ever met.
18.  All five of us kids went to the University of the Philippines.
19.  I have never kept a pet for more than a month in my life.  I do not like pets.
20.  I cannot cut straight, whether using scissors or a cutter.  
21.  My lowest grades in school were in P.E. and Art.
22.  My highest grades were in music and English.
23.  I got my highest grades, joined the most number of orgs, won a leadership award with cash prize, wrote for the schoolpaper, finished my thesis using Econometrics, after I broke up with my first boyfriend.  If I had done that earlier, I would probably have done better in school. Haha.
24.  I was the one who introduced texting and blogging to several of my friends.
25.  I thought I was going to be a corporate lawyer for the rest of my life.
26.  I thought I was going to be a missionary for the rest of my life.
27.  I danced "Awit ng Kabataan" at the Araneta Coliseum with Lingkod QT's and shouted, "I'll be back, Araneta!"  I haven't been back on that stage since then.
28.  I had a brief stint as a travel writer and toured Bohol, Manila, Shanghai, and Beijing as fees.
29.  I worked in the government for 3.5 years.
30.  I served in Lingkod for seven years.
31.  I want to visit Europe and Israel before I die.
32.  I am happier to be on retreat than to be in a rock concert.
33.  My trip to Disneyland and California Adventure was the highlight of my first US visit. It was not the Grand Canyon.
34.  I am often mistaken as a twentysomething.  Hurrah!

Thank you for all your birthday greetings.  I thank God for all the blessings He has given me, and pray that the rest of the journey will be spent with Him and with people I can share love with.  


Monday, July 28, 2008

The Winner Takes it All

I cannot help it.  After watching Mamma Mia on the big screen, I cannot shake off ABBA songs from my head, especially this one, which made me cry while watching the play on stage last year and again while watching the film with mama mia yesterday.

It was the scene, the backdrop, the stars, and the sea.  There was no plot to speak of, but this song speaks volumes.

Thank you for the music, ABBA.  Somebody take me to the videoke soon or I'll sing in front of my computer all week.

The Winner Takes it All

I don’t wanna talk
About the things we’ve gone through
Though it’s hurting me
Now it’s history
I’ve played all my cards
And that’s what you’ve done too
Nothing more to say
No more ace to play

The winner takes it all
The loser standing small
Beside the victory
That’s her destiny

I was in your arms
Thinking I belonged there
I figured it made sense
Building me a fence
Building me a home
Thinking I’d be strong there
But I was a fool
Playing by the rules

The gods may throw a dice
Their minds as cold as ice
And someone way down here
Loses someone dear
The winner takes it all
The loser has to fall
It’s simple and it’s plain
Why should I complain.

But tell me does she kiss
Like I used to kiss you? 
Does it feel the same
When she calls your name? 
Somewhere deep inside
You must know I miss you
But what can I say
Rules must be obeyed

The judges will decide
The likes of me abide
Spectators of the show
Always staying low
The game is on again
A lover or a friend
A big thing or a small
The winner takes it all

I don’t wanna talk
If it makes you feel sad
And I understand
You’ve come to shake my hand
I apologize
If it makes you feel bad
Seeing me so tense
No self-confidence
But you see
The winner takes it all
The winner takes it all...... 

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Guilt No Longer Becomes Her

I think I'm reaching a point when I can say without guilt or frustration that there are things that I could neither be nor do in life, even if they come naturally for other people.

1. I could never wear just one perfume day in and day out.
2. I get bored wearing the same accessories successively.
3. I could never arrive in the office at the exact same time for many consecutive days.
4. I do not play badminton. No one can make me; even if People in Authority.
5. I hate wasting time.
6. I do not like being rushed, especially in the morning.
7. I am not rich.
8. I try to be different and to be good at the same time, which sometimes confuses people, including myself.
9. I never run out of things to be insecure about. All I can manage to do is to tone them down.

And the Number Ten Thing I've Come to Accept About Myself is...

10. Not all my dreams came true. Life must go on.

Acceptance. I just might be on the Fifth Stage of Grief. There was definitely a lot of Denial, Anger, Barganing, and Depression, which some of you may have witnessed.

I am not sure exactly what I was grieving for, but I went through all stages. Sometimes you just wake up to see beauty, and grace, and hope in your life. They were there all along, but you were just too busy to notice.

Monday, July 21, 2008

My Father, the Techie

I never thought I'd hear him say it, but this morning I overheard a conversation between my brother and my father. I did not catch what Kuya Ric said, but Papa replied, "Ginu-google ko" (I Google it).

I said, "Papa, what did you say?"

He said (in Tagalog), "I Google my favorite newspapers and magazines. When I was in the US last month, I stayed updated with Philippine news through Google. I also read the New Yorker regularly."

I was on my way to the driveway so I was not able to pursue the conversation but I congratulated him for being so hi-tech.

When I arrived at the office, I saw him online on Yahoo Messenger. I told him to keep the Magic Jack open as my sister from Australia will call him in a while. Yes, we chatted.

Actually the miracle started the day he left for the States, the first time to travel such a distance by himself in all of his 72 years. Mama and I instructed him to call us as soon as he's checked in. We dropped him off at the airport and got stuck in traffic. We had not even left EDSA when Mama's cellphone rang - it was Papa, calling from his clamshell - type, hand-me-down, Motorola, laughingly telling Mama that he was already in his proper gate and ready to wait for boarding. We heaved a collective sigh of relief.

Of course, when he got to the San Francisco airport, he had trouble finding a porter to help him with his luggage, and got my uncle, sister, and cousins worried because he was the last one to emerge from the arrival door. He did not want to learn how to send text messages and calling from his roaming phone was too expensive so he just made them wait for an hour while he figured out how to get his luggage.

While on vacation, he also learned to work the digital camera and became a budding photographer. He documented my cousin's wedding and all the beautiful places he visited.

I hope that he'd soon learn how to text. Maybe I'll ask him to Google a tutorial.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be

Lighthouse Family

I wish I knew how it would feel to be free
I wish I could break all the chains holding me
I wish I could say all the things that I should say 
Say 'em loud say 'em clear
For the whole wide world to hear 

I wish I could share
All the love that's in my heart 
Remove all the bars that keep us apart
And I wish you could know how it feels to be me
Then you'd see and agree that every man should be free 

I wish I could be like a bird in the sky
How sweet it would be if I found I could fly
Well I'd soar to the sun and look down at the sea 
And I'd sing cos I know how it feels to be free

I wish I knew how it would feel to be free
I wish I could break all the chains holding me
And I wish I could say all the things that I wanna say 
Say 'em loud say 'em clear
For the whole wide world to hear 
Say 'em loud say 'em clear
For the whole wide world to hear 
Say 'em loud say 'em clear
For the whole wide world to hear 

One love one blood
One life you've got to do what you should 
One life with each other
Sisters, brothers

One love but we're not the same
We got to carry each other Carry each other
One One One One One...

I wish I knew how it would feel to be free
I wish I knew how it would feel to be free

(This song wouldn't stop playing in my head yesterday.  By 5p.m. I had a migraine.  I still have it now, hence I shouldn't be writing this.  I'm stopping now.)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

A Stepford Wife I'm Not

Ironing or pressing clothes is not my favorite chore.  I have been known to walk the streets of Metro Manila wearing wrinkled clothing. Today, however, was a little bit different.  

Our neighborhood was awakened to the sound of xylophones and snare drums.  I was up and dressed early to attend the 8 a.m. mass with my parents.  It was, after all, the Second Fiesta Celebration of the Parish of St. Benedict.  The organizers wanted a town fiesta feel, and Fr. Steve gave in.  He did preach about one important teaching of St. Benedict - and that is to put order in our lives by knowing our priorities and balancing our schedules.  

I stayed after the mass to watch the band perform modern songs and mingled with my neighbors.  There were banderitas everywhere, food was sold on little stalls, and the candidates for Ms. St. Benedict had a motorcade.  I went to the covered courts as I was asked to help in the fun games.  Then, I went and did my usual Sunday morning service after the 10 a.m. Charismatic mass.  

I did not feel like the typical barrio lass, until I started preparing for the Coronation Night of Ms. St. Benedict, which I was asked to emcee together with Tito Joe.  I decided that I would do everything by myself, without visiting the parlor.  I watched videos on YouTube on how to achieve the hairstyle I wanted, and then I searched our whole house for bobby pins.  

With my hair in bobby pins and while listening to Mama's Sunday music (sleepy and straight out of a different decade), I pressed the dress I was going to wear.  As I familiarized myself with the flat iron and willed the skirt to smoothen itself, I realized that I was a sight to behold, and I was not my usual self.  For I hated ironing, and my hair was usually left straight.  I felt like a barrio lass preparing for the town fiesta to be held at the basketball court.

But I was going to our fiesta, and it was going to be held at the basketball court.  

I fixed my hair, gave myself a foot spa with pedicure, and then used my special makeup.  The result was not professionally done, but I was happy enough that I did not spend for anything.  I even borrowed the dress from my mom, which was couture, and something she had worn only once.  

The Coronation Night was entertaining, with performances from different sub-parishes ranging from a violin and keyboard number to a Rigodon de Honor.  I wonder what St. Benedict would say to our celebration tonight.  It was simple enough for me,  with a taste of festivities wrapped in community spirit.  The civic and religious organizations in our community worked hand in hand for the fiesta to be a success.  The many hours I spent preparing for my 'look' were nothing compared to the hard work of the organizers of this year's fiesta.

Then I went home to wash away the hair spray and return to my normal self, a city girl with work backlog and an early day tomorrow to avoid rush hour traffic.  I should remember what St. Benedict taught his monks, to balance prayer, rest, and work, as I start yet another grueling week.

Should I be inspired to do so, I might curl my hair again.  But as to ironing clothes?  I would prefer to shop for wrinkle-free outfits, hire someone to do it, or wear my straight-out-of-the-clotheslines attire again.  There's a time for everything, but I am open to changing for the better.