Challenges ahead…

 

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All hell breaks loose.

This is how I feel at times, especially now, that I have been idle for four days already. There was no demand for overtime work in the company where I am working.

Literally, I have been staring at the ceiling, thinking how I can turn my ass in a productive mode. I’m not used to staying in the house earning nothing. Usually, I just take one day off on my compressed schedule and spend the rest of the vacant days rendering OT.  But what can I do?  Some companies, including mine, resort to cut some finances. The economy is not so good these days, I think.

I was at the grocery store yesterday to buy some goods my wife has prudently listed. As I walked towards the various displays of commodities, my eyes were glued to the array of canned milk for the infants. My mind swirled at the thought of having a baby to which I felt ecstatic and scared at the same time. I feel excited, of course, to have that adorable being that would complete our family. We have been married for two months now and we do anticipate another role to play, and that is being a parent. However, in times like this, wherein the main source of my income is being put to a test, I seem to get scared of some unlikable possibilities that might come ahead of me and my family.

At work, familiar stories about parenthood seemed to be the flavor of the talks my workmates used to indulge on. During breaks or after duty, they converse on this topic. Curiously, most of the time, I caught myself eavesdropping. I sensed that in this issue, be it in the perspective of men or women, they both believe that is a difficult yet fulfilling phase anyone can go through.

Sooner or later, I will be a father and I will be like my co-workers. I would also be minding how much these things cost—the diaper, milk, vitamins and other necessities a baby would need and should have. I will be like them, constantly looking for opportunities to earn, and though that sounds rigorous I don’t have a choice but to take it.  This is how it should be, anyway.

I have seen workmates of mine taking extra work wherein some prefer selling goods while some apply for a part-time job. Any of the two, once dictated by the situation, will be my choice. And now that the company I thought can sustain us all throughout is facing some setbacks, I can’t help myself but feel paranoid.

And thus, I warmly welcome any part-time job—any means of income— as long as it is noble. Or better yet, start finding a job that compensates well. Oh, it must be difficult, but as they say this is how life should be…so be it.


Fish balls, friends and dreams

I have a sense of fondness towards fish balls—the one being sold on the streets, not because it really taste good, but because there’s something special about it that reminds me of my past.

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Yesterday, I paid a visit to a once familiar place­­­—the old sleepy subdivision in San Pedro, Laguna where I used to stay during the period of my “OJT” back in 2006. The nostalgia of the times gone is what urged me to go back and reminisce.

The first thing I searched for, after reaching the place, was the small sari-sari store that my old friends and I used to chill out with. I remember the many nights of joy shared in this little space, the many sticks of fish balls and the many stories of love, frustration and future dreams.

I remember that once upon a time, there are four young dreamers unified by the same fate, four innocent young men who wish to bring change in each of their deprived situations. I am one of those four youngsters and I must say that life must be really hard for the rest of us back then.

We were all independent lad who came from different provinces. We all came from poor families and all depends from the scanty allowance remitted by our parents. We’re all enrolled in the same college, trained in the same company, lived in one subdivision and shared one dream: to be successful.

I still can recall how we marvel after seeing rich people driving luxurious cars and living in beautiful houses in our subdivision. We wish that someday we can own that too. We also envy those college students partying after class in a nearby bar. At times we got tired computing how much spare money they have to afford such social gathering frequently. But sometimes, we cringe at the thought that they weren’t doing well in school and that partying is one way to vent their frustration. Such situations, reminded us that we’re still lucky that even partying for us could mean hanging out in our favorite sari-sari store, enjoying some sticks of fish balls while chatting anything about life. At least with this, even without the flashy disco lights and bottles of beer, we’re doing great on our studies and our situation was our inspiration.

I can never forget what Nanay Tess (the storekeeper) told us: “There’s no way to go but up”. We may hit the rock bottom today, but tomorrow we will have more than enough, but that would only happen if we will cling to our dreams.

And yes we did. Couple years passed and we’re up on our “OJT”, same with our studies. The time has come to leave the place that cuddled us in our struggling years. It’s time to leave the sleepy subdivision and the unforgettable sari-sari store in it, the fish ball stall, Nanay Tess and her advice, and most of all my friends who just like me who believed in the power of dreams.

The night before we packed our bags, we agreed to spend some of our earned funds from our allowance to celebrate our triumph. We rushed to Nanay Tess to have some beer and of course our favorite fish ball on our table. We were so happy that we made it against the many rigors which came to challenge us. From there, we made a pact under the power of friendship that we will do well in the years to come.

That night was the night we promised to always keep in touch.

A decade has passed and I was back at the very place. I realize that there were handfuls of changes made on what I thought a sleepy subdivision. Nanay Tess and her sari-sari store were gone. Gone was the fish ball stall and is now converted into a burger stand. And above all, gone was the friendship that was born a long time ago.

As I glimpsed of the changes brought by time, I can’t help myself but shed tears. Really, there’s nothing permanent in this world—only change, and time is such a big factor.

To this day, I don’t know where my old friends are. We did not keep our promise to always keep in touch. The last time I heard of them, they are in different parts of the globe while I stayed locally and found a decent job which somehow relates to what I studied back in college. I am not yet successful, though but hopefully soon.

Perhaps, my comrades—the three of them— are all doing well now. But I know, just like me; they also miss the stick of fish balls and the bittersweet memories.

 


12-12-15

It is our big day! Yeah!

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And the day that we have waited, finally arrived. The intense feeling of varied emotions was there and it’s overwhelming. Thirty minutes before 10:00 AM I could still see busy folks: OTD coordinators preparing the aisle, photographers eyeing for a perfect spot, florist arranging the flowers and the event organizer finalizing the order of the entourage. There was a delight on my face seeing how meticulous and critical they are on their individual task.

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At exactly 10:00, the ceremony started, but I don’t see my soon to be wife just yet. I was a little early in the church as per tradition and I was there very much prepared to take my walk to the altar. When the music started, the processional march also went next. Before I took several steps onward, I glimpsed at the back searching for the bride and yet there’s no trace of her as the church’s main door was close.I knew there’s a drama behind the idea of close doors. This might give my wife a grand entrance and on my part, a thrilling and exciting experience while waiting.Yes, it did. Standing on the groom spot, anticipating for the bride is one of the most exhilarating feelings any man can have. It feels like a mix of different emotions is fighting inside you. Surreal and simply unexplainable, I think that’s the word. When the door finally opened that’s the moment my wife came in, walking to the tune of Sara Bareilles “I choose you” which my cousin had wonderfully sang.

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My wife and the wedding singer (Jan Irene Valenzuela)

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My wife and our event Manager ( Mely Olleres)

 

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My middle school best buddies together with Jomer Concepcion(the guy in red), our host.

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The reception…

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The foods…

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native crabs from Catanduanes

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and shrimps too…

 

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The personalized photo-booth

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ai and john

Beautiful and Magical! That’s all I can say and that justify all the hard work we’ve done all throughout the event process. But I knew that there’s more important than the aesthetic or the beautiful outcome of our wedding and it is the idea of union on where I already found someone whom I can be with for the rest of my life. I believe, above all things, this is what really matters.

 

The Behind the scenes…

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The powerful team behind our wedding

This piece is written so we can inspire partners who wish to tie the knot, partners who view marrying in the church as a daunting process. Yes, it is but a little courage can help to combat it. Back in the time when my wife and I were on the planning stage, all we have is doubt if we can make it or should I say if we can afford it. However, with the positivity and ingenuity that we have we were able to hurdle the barriers.

I have mentioned on my past blog that our wedding would be practical and solemn. Thankfully, we had attained this plan and we did save a lot. Having a very tight budget, we were challenged on how to still make it beautiful and memorable. Good thing we opened ourselves to some peculiar and offbeat concepts and also embraced the idea of getting really involved in the preparation. Our wedding is an experiment and it was purely amateur. But it doesn’t look like one. Thanks to the many people who collaborated with us, those folks who really has genuine hearts and creative souls.

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The team behind our wedding

 

Well, it is high time for us to say thank you to many people for making our special event really unforgettable. First off, we are so grateful for our parents, godparents and relatives who made everything easy, for the task and the hassle of self-catering, for the logistics and even moral support.

We also want to say utmost thanks to those who offered their talents as a gift. To the wedding host who is my high school best buddy, to the wedding singer with an angelic voice who happens to be my first cousin, to the Pattisier work-friend who baked our wedding cake, to the quintessential shutterbug who captured the perfect moments on her lens, to the team who managed the event coordination in the church up to the reception. In the event specialist who is my partner at work and to the OTD event coordinators who busied themselves attending even to the minutest details so we can have a smooth sailing program and last but not the least, to the chef manager who administered the kitchen, the one that made the food as sumptuous as first-rate menu in high end restaurants. She happens to be our Ninang and that we’re very lucky and honored.

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The team behind our wedding

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Thanks also to venue set-up specialist (Fernando and Mary Ann Catering services) and their crew for the amazing outdoor set up and for their kindness and understanding during the planning stage. Also to the venue itself, the Esquivel Garden and Resort for not being so strict as they let us do whatever we wish with regard to our event plan. Thanks for the reasonable price and also for the generosity. We also don’t want to forget the kind words of the bridal car owner amid some glitches he had observed, his voluntary assistance and the cheap price of his vehicle. Ooops, I forgot! Thank you, too, Angel of Excess salon for the hair and make up of my wife.

Hell yeah! We really had a blast last 12-12-15. Yes, there were some glitches however, they were obscure that only the two of us and other coordinators took heed. And we won’t be telling you, it’s our secret. Hehehe.


The road to forever…

Many are asking about why I call my girlfriend of seven years as “wife” where in fact, we are not yet married in a church, not even submitted ourselves to a civil ceremony yet. Well, not many of our friends know that for three years already we have been in a live-in relationship set up. For practicality reasons, both of us agreed that this idea of sensibly living together can make us a better tandem. For a while though, we grappled with the so called adjustment period wherein the two of us, from time to time, wish to go back to being unattached after some misunderstandings that inevitably come our way. But for such a span of time, we had already outgrown each of our immaturities, learned how to bend with our mood swings and instinctively grasped each other’s emotional needs.

A " GRETCHEN ADUL" photography

A ” GRETCHEN ADUL” photography

Being in this stage, of having to live with someone who you thought can be a companion for the rest of your life, realistically prepares the both of us into a much more complex pact called marriage. Our three years of companionship showed a wider picture on where we are heading as an amateur couple. And thus we decided to pursue what’s next and make everything legal and outright in the eyes of God and other people.

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We understood that we are coming from an ordinary family and that we can’t get any monetary support if in case we plan of having ourselves wed in the church. Thus, for those three years, we patiently saved a small chunk of our earnings every payday for us to pull out a decent wedding, our dream wedding. Simple, solemn and as my partner call it, magical. Yes, she dreamed of walking down the aisle with the soloist singing our favorite song. It is her dream and I’m bound to make it happen… with lesser cost.

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January of last year we started on our plan and by that time I started taking extra workloads and slowed down a bit after finally hitting the target. Budgeted weddings, I believe, need an ample time of planning and earning. As much as possible, we want to spend less and spend only on the things that really matter. The big challenge is to make it memorable and beautiful with a very tight budget and how are we going to do that was the big question.

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I believe that both of us are having the ingenuity and the skill to make everything happen. On my part, having so many creative and talented friends who are very much willing to rally and offer support, becomes a blessing in disguise. Well, we need not hire a professional singer/soloist to sing at our wedding. A cousin who does some gigs as a hobby generously crossed out her timetable for us. A best friend who had just launched her pastry business volunteered to bake our wedding cake, not to mention the super friendly price. My guy best buddy from the middle school that has the gift of gab would be our event host. A quintessential shutterbug, who considers our wedding as her debut in the business of photography, painstakingly got the best shots out of our crazy face during our pre-nup session and hopefully more of it on our wedding day. And last but not the least, our event organizer who happens to be my partner at work and my confidante as well, who made our life easier starting from the planning stage, to envisioning our dream wedding theme and in dealing with other wedding suppliers.

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And on my fiancée’s part, having the skill on budgeting that resorted her to make as many “DIY” she can think of for our wedding reception, helped her visualize the semi-rustic theme she wants on our big day. She ordered me and my younger siblings to do some carpentry for the wooden signposts and little chalkboards. She also made some bottles with candles to hang on trees since we are having an outdoor reception and some other props which I believe were done artistically.

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Well, that doesn’t end with that. Part of the biggest chunk of the budget should go for the food and that’s reasonable as you don’t want your visitors to enjoy the beauty of the reception while starving because of the insufficient or distasteful menu you have prepared or the caterer has prepared. Because of the financial realities at hand, my partner and I can’t turn a blind eye on the menu lists and packages offered by the wedding suppliers we have talked to. Aside from the truth that the price hurts, both of us don’t buy the idea of having a high end menu as our visitors are the plain and simple folks who like classic Filipino foods served during fiestas.  So we agreed to the idea of self-catering our wedding and hire a specialist for the wedding set up instead, which would be responsible for overall venue arrangements. My uncle, my mother and our future “Ninang” would do the cooking as they are good at it. And not to stress them with hassle of the task, we told them to delegate it to some idle relatives and just supervise when that special day comes.

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We also don’t plan to buy hog meat in the market. We bought piglets instead and let a relative took care of it and paid them with piglets too for the effort. Now, they are ready for the big day. It really helped us save a lot. Thanks for the bizarre ideas.

We also don’t want to go overboard or allot big budget for the wedding invitations. We have 8 pairs of principal sponsors and some of them are partners in real life while for the other members of the entourage are my brothers and my partner’s sisters. Principal sponsors are the ones to be given the invitation for our siblings live with us and others live nearby. They are one text away. We also have “fruit infused vinegar” for our token to the principal sponsors. It is something unique and not used often for wedding giveaways. Hopefully they will appreciate it amid the cheap price. It’s the thought that counts, anyway. However, we gave in to the idea of having a photo booth for our visitors since we treasure moments captured on the lens. The price hurts our pockets, though.

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We owe a debt of gratitude to those generous sponsors who never had second thoughts of providing us what we need. Big thanks to my wife’s sister who gifted us our wedding band, a big deduction on our expenses. Thanks also to my aunt and uncle who lent us the bridesmaids’ dresses. We are also grateful to the bridesmaids who are fine with the idea of shouldering the make- up costs and same to the groomsmen who are okay to spend on rentals for the tux. However, we are not final yet on the bridal car we are going to rent. It’s a bit pricey for a short time service. Same with the fresh flowers for the church’s aisle, still we can’t decide with our vendor’s package. Some say that it is already cheap and reasonable, but for us the price is still steep. Spell CHEAPSKATE. Hahaha. Anyway, there might be some generous sponsors who are willing to share their car might as well with the flowers. We’d be very delighted to accommodate it. Hehehe.

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Our wedding is 888 hours to go as of this writing. We envisioned a private, simple and solemn gathering. We have been successful by keeping it secret with our respective workmates as we don’t want some people whining why they are not invited. But hey, I’m making it public today. Still, I want our dear family and relatives, close friends, cherished classmates and some few chosen guests to witness our event as they are the people that matters to us. It is very select, I must say.

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We knew that come our wedding day, there will be a glitch to remember and that’s part of the experience. We’ll be glad to have a hearty laugh at it, anyway.


“Funny Boy”

photo grabbed from the web.

Stretching his body, Danny a 43-year-old down-and-out man pushed his feet on his slippers and went out his barracks just at the back of his master’s abode. The sun was up and it means a long day for him in the sea. He was a little bit late for breakfast. All members of his master’s family had already eaten, sorting for what’s been left was his only choice.

He opened the half-covered table in search for food. One piece of fried tilapia and a bowl of “ginataang langka” emerged on his sight. It delighted his senses that, out of joy, he profusely praised the heavens for having a generous lord. Wolfing over such nice meal took him several minutes, and after his tummy has been filled, he went to get his shovels, while readying his powerful trunk for a strenuous activity of the day.

Danny has been with his master for over a decade. He works as a seaman–the one who operates a motorized boat and shovels a boatful of sand from the sea. He loves this kind of job and spends most of his days fulfilling it, that seldom he rests. However, he’s not being paid like a regular worker and yet, by choice, he still stays with them. Mang Enzo, his father, can’t do anything with his son’s resolve. A great wall was built between them right after Danny’s older sister eloped with a guy. Danny accused him as a neglectful father, that if he’s not, he could have managed to attend school. Thus, he left his father and tries to live separately.

Suffering from the bitterness of ignorance, Danny succumbed to manual labors and worked even harder to attain the respect of the people he works for, as he can’t find a living other than that.

In his town, many people call him names, some are funny and some are insulting. Folks sometimes ridicule him because of his physical attributes. His peers see him as a funny half-wit person, only good for amusement. For one good reason, he is deaf, and not all the time he hears them. He just shrugs off those expletives innocently. A Few years back, Danny acquired a new name. He’s been called funny boy, a sobriquet that rhymes with his real name, and resembles with his personality. It’s okay for him and he doesn’t mind.

Danny is very loyal to his master and would do everything, out of his known expertise, just to make them satisfied. For the long years he stayed under his master’s care, he’s treated like a family and vice-versa, and he’s thankful about it. Since it was not his nature to ask for compensation, his master would equip him the things he needs, especially food. It was enough that there’s someone feeding him, which he would work hard in return. Like a carabao, he can be an emblem of industry. It was something that he wants his name to be associated with, anyway.

When Mang Enzo died, some relatives of him, rallied together to bring funny boy back to his birthplace, 91 kilometers far from the town where his master lives. The relatives promised the master that they would be the one to take care of the poor boy. And so Danny went with them, unable to make decisions by himself.

The master and her family went partially lame. They were unable to do things without Funny boy, especially the work in the sea. There’s no one who can par with his might in shoveling sand. The members of the family had depended to him so much that he’s absence impacted them on great weight. But one thing they’re sure, Funny boy will be back. They have shown him what family was like and if he can’t find it there, he’ll probably go home.

Several months passed and funny boy wasn’t funny at all. He has grown pale and thin and his face was a bit of horror, but he was back and that’s for the best. He chose to quit and go home. He walked with feet the 91 kilometers distance from his birthplace to his master’s abode. He didn’t have any money for the fare. Still, he pursued, as he didn’t like it there. It was not his nature to work in the forest rather he missed the scent of the sea and the seaman’s job. He also missed the abundance of food and he missed the family he left.

Slowly he got back in his old shape. His master felt operational again and his family was unburdened by tasks of sorts. Everything went back to normalcy.

The universe, however, has a different plan. Funny boy’s master miscalculated things and went bankrupt. The once abundant life progressively became worse. The motorized boats they have for the business slowly faced deterioration, always subjected for repair until it gave up. The once abundant table became scarce with food. Funny boy most of the time goes hungry, but reluctant to share the sentiments. He knew what the family’s predicament was.

Funny boy sensed what was coming and he’s a little bit afraid. When the gravel and sand business of his master took off, he suddenly felt useless. He felt that the connection that binds them is now like a frail strand of thread, and will break anytime soon.

Every day, early in the morning, he would look at the creek, gaze towards the rotten boat, sometimes check on it but would relinquish afterwards after losing hope. Like the boat, his master gave up too. Now, he is thinking of when that frail strand of thread would break and when his master would give up on him too.

He thinks how poignant leave the people who treated him as a family, much more, when he would leave them in this troubled time, however, he needs to survive and his survival can’t be relied to his master. Master is weak and does not need an added burden. Funny boy believes that his expertise is not what they need at this point of time.

By now, he has jumped off to another boat. He has a new master, as generous as his former. Again, he has found a new family. Once more, there is an abundance of food on the table, there is a boat to maneuver and he has a new life to live. However, he was fully aware that things might end at any minute, which, from time to time, his worth as a person might be tested. He knew very well that he should always be on the lookout for life is nothing but a great uncertainty.

Funny boy was once a member of our family. He was my Granny’s reliable house-help.


A Day at Kumagat beach…

Grabbing the pure delight of my one week vacation, I together with my wife traveled to my hometown in Panganiban Catanduanes. It was my wife’s first time to visit the place where I was born and raised. Even before, I have told her about the beautiful tourist spots that we have in our province. And she, being a nature lover, inevitably fell in love with the stories of places I have told her.

It was Thursday afternoon when we arrived home and the familiar scent of the countryside welcomed us. My wife felt an air of joy upon seeing the bucolic set up on my hometown. She also took heed of the beautiful landscapes on the wayside during our ride from Virac (provincial capital) to Panganiban. Both of us were feeling ecstatic about the thought of spending our idle days appreciating the beauty of nature. Prior to our trip, we have listed some destinations that we ought to visit. Unfortunately, we only reached one and that was the Lolong point lighthouse and its shoreline just beneath called the Kumagat beach in Panay Island, Panganiban Catanduanes.

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In spite of that, I never felt any disappointment that even it has been weeks now I still can’t get KUMAGAT beach off my mind. The image of its turquoise water, creamy white sand, the verdant meadow on its backdrop and the visually appealing view of the Lolong point lighthouse is still lodged in my head. Like my wife it’s my first time to set foot on this place. The excitement gets doubled as both of us were having no idea of what to expect except some second hand accounts coming from other people who had been there.

Kumagat Beach resort

Kumagat Beach resort

Came Saturday morning and off we went together with my family. The comfort foods that we brought were enough to ease the long hours of sitting while journeying on the sea. Sitting on the motorboat made me feel quite uneasy, a little bit afraid as the wider picture of the Pacific Ocean looms clearer on my sight. Once in a while big waves showed up to put some little scare on our faces. However, the beauty of the ocean comforts us, especially those intricate rock formations standing mighty against the giant lurch of waves .After a few minutes of anticipation, we came face to face with the huge edifice, a tall round tower, which the people of our town tagged as the “Parola” (lighthouse) nestled atop the mountain. While the boat gets closer, the coastal building grows grander causing me to feel the unexplainable ecstasy while we were approaching. It was perhaps because of the scenic, panoramic and paradise-like landscape that awaits us.

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Not a moment longer, we anchored on a long strip of white creamy sand, a beach peculiarly named as Kumagat. Looking at my wife and other members of the family, I was able to comprehend how beautiful the place is, as their jaws seemed to drop because of the overwhelming feeling of awe. Also, we were enamored by the clear greenish blue water, wherein star fish and other weird sea creatures grow in abundance.

Kumagat beach frontage...

Kumagat beach frontage…

We started our picnic by laying out things on the ground. The cottages were full so we were spared from paying a hundred peso. The surrounding was cozy, enough to soothe tired veins. While I was sitting on the sand, plainly observing the emotional tone of the day, I realized how blessed I was for having stepped in this wonderful piece of earth for the first time. I am indeed so lucky to have an easy access to beautiful places like this Kumagat beach.

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I shifted my attention to the children playing on the shore. The smile on their faces was really infectious. I watched them run, play and swim. I signaled my wife that we should take a swim too, and together we descended into the waters. We were so delighted how the sea maintained its virginal state. It was totally awesome.

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Our short trip will not be complete if we are not going to climb the Lolong point lighthouse. Of course, we did. My wife and I braved those sloping rocky side of the hill and painstakingly maintained our balance not to slip down the cliff. While traversing, we were rewarded by a magnificent view of the ocean, a beautiful view that can par with locations of foreign film productions, producing amazing films with amazing nature backcloths.

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When we finally reached the lighthouse, we climbed the staircase and discovered how romantic it was to be on the top. We portrayed like Jack and Rose in Titanic while facing the vast ocean, thinking the islets as the icebergs and the lighthouse as the ship. The feeling atop was surreal, more of a dreamlike and close to fantasy. In short, it was magical.

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Indeed, our short jaunt was one of the happiest, exciting and worth remembering trip we ever had. I am eyeing on when will be the next time that I will get to experience the taste of serenity brought by the sea. I hope it won’t be long.


High school revisited…

My Alma mater

My Alma mater

Last night I was back at Catanduanes State Colleges Laboratory High school, Panganiban Campus.

The sweet scent of Narra trees arrayed in front of every classroom greeted me. The evening was peaceful and the chilly breeze made it even more nostalgic. It has been ten years since I said goodbye to this very place and now I was back feeling as if things were just from yesterday. Ten years, such great interval, could mean a lot of changes for a school that has a great potential. And yes, my Alma mater being so rich with possibilities has changed a lot. From a simple rural college, it metamorphosed into a university. Indeed a great leap for its students and the institution itself.

Onward to the campus, I walked a little farther from the main gate where I used to stand during flag ceremony. Slowly, I turned my gaze towards the wide basketball court and all I could hear was the non-stop cheering and loud screaming of students from my memory. Still, it is the same game court that witnessed the fun we had during our PE class. This court also reminds me of our former CAT instructor, the times we spent hurdling our penalties, the funny bloopers during serious commands and the sweat we shed under the sun just to satisfy the CAT exhibition drill.

I felt very glad that I could still feel the spirit, think back of old memories of the place which I consider as the fountain of my knowledge, no matter how long I had been away from it. The same feeling I got when I passed by our old Science classroom, the room where I used to believe that I truly have a brain. This is where I first learned how to make an ointment for wounds out of “Makabuhay” plant and many other experiments that ignited my inquisitive mind.

Right beside our Science classroom is another room where our Biology subject is being taught. I realized earlier then, that I was not made for the Sciences. Science is equated with mathematics and they correlate with each other. I am not good with numbers and I hate logic. Well, I’m just being honest. Biology, Chemistry and Physics were the things I found to be sort of a headache.

Talking about Mathematics still, well, this was my predicament which I used to confront everyday. I remember seeking help from my friends who are good with the subject, especially during homework as I can’t count on them during exams. The same can be said with Applied Statistics and Algebra, these are the areas which I have flunked. I can say that coming to terms with these subjects was the most challenging. I remember Mrs. Mercy Cabrera on how she would patiently wait for me to grasp a certain lesson on Algebra. It’s a shame when she would announce it to the class that finally I got what she has been trying to explain. It’s a shame when my classmates would poke fun at me afterwards.

However, after glancing back to the old classrooms where I spent scratching my head caused by these difficult subjects, I felt that I had freed myself from the fears and hesitations I have had before. And all I have now is a sprouting courage that somehow helped me surpass the real challenge connected with it.

The night was becoming colder and as I looked at every familiar edifice, the nostalgia in me seems to cry a little louder. I trotted the aisle going to the school canteen and as I drew closer, I noticed a huge change on its setting. I can no longer see the tables where we used to eat “Pancit bato”. I can no longer trace the aisle where my best friend Jomer used to fall in line awaiting his favorite Pancake prepared by his mom, Tya Myr. How I wish to relive those moments when I, together with Jomer and our girl buddy, Alma would get special attention and favor from the other canteen staff just because Jomer is our friend and her mom Tya Myr was one of the canteen helpers. How I wish to bring back those days, those happy days.

Nestled on the right side of the canteen is our social hall. Nothing much has changed. It is still the same function hall that used to witness the bittersweet events of being in a middle school. This hall perceived my first and last attempt to join in extemporaneous speech, which I won 6th place. (Not bad for a first timer, though.) It is also where I received several awards which I never thought I could have like when the campus Director handed me the best in Agricultural art award. It was totally unexpected, but yeah, I got it. Also, the time when I was hailed as the best male facilitator during our last Science camp held on our campus. And to brag about it, well, we bagged almost all of the awards. I don’t have big achievements during High school and all I have are just fond memento showing that even for once, I dared to push myself out of my comfort zone.

Stepping closer to the stage of social hall made me grasp more memories about the times gone by. I turned my phone’s playlists on and let the music of the Backstreet Boys, A1 and Westlife fill the air. I started seeing images of my classmates and schoolmates dancing to the tune of the romantic love songs. Funny how timid we were during those times, that we only dance when the ball (dance party) is about to end. And funny on how we would succumb to distress and regret, just because of not having to dance well enough.

I can’t get enough with the longing to bring back the old times. Thus I ran to the classroom we occupied during our senior year, poked my head on the window and searched for some leftovers that could taunt my memory. Fortunate enough, our classroom has managed to have the same set up: the bulletin boards were in the same place, the arrangement of seats has been just like before and some of the posters that were affixed to the wall were still there. It brought me to tears to remember the forty nine other students who occupied that room, who filled the four corners of it with an echoing laughter. I can’t also forget the image of our subject teachers that, for once, had ignited the torch of learning for us (The Class 2005).

After a few minutes of reminiscing, I braved myself to drop by at the college building and eyed for the official student publication room. Regret came flowing down my nerves while telling myself that this is where I should be, had I been more courageous before. For four long years in High school, I have never been vocal of my talent, on the area where I believe I excel. I was never that confident to tell my comrades that “Look at me guys, I have the talent to write” or “This is what I love to do. This is where I’m good at.” I was never that kind of brave which I regret so much. I was full of hesitation, then, very much afraid of criticisms.

One thing that the real world, the world outside High school has taught me is that I should stand on my dreams and to never be afraid to reach it. Somehow, little by little, I am trying to reach that path, the path that leads to my dreams. It is said that everyone is given a second chance. And perhaps mine has come and I will not chicken out to let it slip again.

Though I have some lamentations, still I owe this institution a big gratitude for letting me love poetry and other forms of literature. If not because of it, I will never appreciate the works of Guy de Maupassant, Edgar Allan Poe and Wilbur Daniel Steele. Also, I am very grateful to Mrs. Coring Velasco, Ansing Vega and Jennifer Berces for making the English subject really interesting, a great contrast to Mathematics. I still love my Math teacher (Meling Castro), though.

Not a moment longer, I gazed towards the campus publication room once more and just shrugged off the regrets I had earlier. For a moment, silence overwhelmed me. I stepped back and retraced the route to where I started. I realized then that it’s getting late and that the night had shifted into a lonesome atmosphere.

I took a deep breath and glimpsed the campus for the last time. It occurred to me how my Alma mater has evolved a lot. It has improved in many ways. It has grown more beautiful. With this I realized that change is really constant and that it is inevitable. However, no matter how many times it may undergo metamorphosis. How many times it may change its name. It will never lose its original scent, the one that stirs nostalgia. It will forever carry its old spirit, its soul and its undying memory that its former students always yearn about.


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