There is Gold in Saudi Arabia

“For though I be absent in the flesh, yet I am with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ.”  Colossians 2:5

He was simple, cheerful and selfless.  His name was Boeing.

Our first meeting was vague.  It was years ago at the old duty-free shop in paranaque.  I could barely recall how he looked like then.

The second time we met was along King Khalid St. here in Al-Khobar.  He was shopping for gifts to take home to his family in Pasig. 

The third time was during his farewell party at Bangkok Restaurant.  He welcomed each lady so  graciously with a long-stemmed rose.  That was what I vividly remember, because I barely knew the guests at that time, though most of them were from the same company where Boeing and my husband Bhoy worked.

The next day, I texted him to thank him for the sumptous dinner and the great time I had. prayed for his safe trip back to the Philippines and likewise, expressed sadness that we wouldn’t have the chance to know each other more intimately, because he had to leave Saudi Arabia when I just came two months prior. 

I was wrong…  Boeing came back after a few months to work  in another company.  And our friendship was born.  Thereafter, Bhoy and I began to spend Thursday nights with him and other close friends from ACEC.  Here in Saudi, that was one of the safest way to keep one’s sanity and avoid endless, lonely homesick nights.  We were then later called “Thursday group”. 

The “group” decided what special dishes would be prepared and where we would ‘devour’ them.  Aside from food and drinks, we shared stories about our families back home, work-related experiences and our hopes and dreams after life in saudi.  Sometimes, we even had videoke sessions, no matter if  we sometimes sounded like lost frogs in the desert. 

But some good things never last.  One after the other, some of those very good friends went towards different paths.  Then miguel, our son, came to live with us and study in Andalus. Thursday nights were never the same again.  The “Thursday group” was dissolved even before we could even think of a less corny name.  But the friendship remained…  and so did Boeing.

He advised me to apply for a job in the UK-based company he transferred to, but told me I had to wait.  That time, I already had two other prospects but I  trusted him to call me soon.
But a month passed.  And another.  Until finally, my patience ran out and went to be interviewed in a nearby hospital just a couple of blocks from our flat.  The offer was good enough. And I was ready to accept it.  So I called Boeing and told him about my plans.  But he insisted that I wait.

So I took the chance and waited.  But this time not for long.  He called me and took me to their office.  He was very confident that I would get a better offer.  And I did.  He was really glad that we would work together.  And for a year, we worked together… until that fateful Eid holiday.

He was first confined in Almana hospital on September 25.  From then on, he was in and out of the hospital until he finally took his last flight out of Saudi Arabia in November.  We were optimistic that he would get well before the end of his medical leave.  But at dawn on December 7, Boeing passed away.

I realized now that true friendship is never measured by moments, or months,  or years.  It cannot be described by words, nor phrases, nor eulogies.  The same profound friendship that Boeing and I shared.  He may be physically gone.  But I will always see him in every desert sand, in every date palm tree, in every bacoco fish.  And whenever I look up to see the vast Arabian sky, it is Boeing that I will see… smiling back at me.

I was told there is too much gold in Saudi.  It is true.  But I found the purest and most priceless of all.  His name is Boeing.

political circus: Pinoy style

“Then turning to the disciples He said privately, ‘Blessed are the eyes which see what you see! For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it’.” Luke 10:23-24

the circus that is Philippine politics begins as the filing of certificates of candidacy (COC) ends today.  the Filipino public will again be entertained by an amazing display of campaign theatrics and daring stunts that candidates will try their darn best to pull off, if only to outdo each other.  there will be magic everywhere, even Hogwarts would pale in comparison, such that the audience will be completely stunned, yet never realize what hit them.

fierce animals masked with angelic eyes and adorned with virtual halos, will prance and dance, play dead even, just to win the crowd’s heart, but tear it apart at any opportunity they would chance upon, just to satisfy their insatiable hunger for power and might.  clowns will soon be a permanent showcase on tv, and if one is more than lucky, he will even get the chance to personally shake their hands. although without the slightest hint, these clowns would shake him down in return.

masters of illusion will leave everyone hanging at the edge of his seat with the expectation that all this is for real, only to find out in the end that they were duped again…and again…and again.

the election in 2010 is expected to be the same circus that our generation have already watched and grown used to.  whether national or local, the elections offer a buffet of colorful personalities whose tastes leave not much to be desired.  some would even make our stomachs churn and make us want to throw up.  no matter how many presidents have already been ousted by as many people power revolutions, still the hunger for change (for the best) is never satisfied.  the political deja vu just leaves the Pinoy citizenry dazed and tired from the roller coaster of cultural highs and political lows.

some say the fate of the Filipino people is of their own doing, because they are the ones who choose their leaders who, more often than not, take advantage of their trust.  still others say, it is the leaders who are to blame, for they rule in favor of power and money per se, and not for the people they swore to serve.

i believe that the Philippines, where i was born and raised, is a great nation. its people are, by nature, simple, pleasant, dignified, honorable and above all, God-fearing.  so how does this culture of greed, corruption and violence emanate from a Filipino?

perhaps, it is when that Filipino totally disregards his faith and see himself as his own god.  or when that Filipino cuts the moral fibre that our ancestors had carefully woven so that his character would grow strong and his spirit free yet pure. it is when that Filipino is absolutely overwhelmed by the deepest desire for control and wealth, over and above what is truly essential…

it is when that Filipino stops being Filipino, and rather, becomes selfishness incarnate to the highest level.

it is terrifying to imagine this scenario. what if that Filipino is you? or me? or both of us? our neighbor maybe?  how much more terrifying, if that Filipino is going to run for public office? or if that Filipino could be our next president? or probably our next congresswoman?  the more we should be scared.  for then, we would never know where the circus stops, and real life begins. for then, our dignity as Filipinos will forever be reduced to nothing but comic relief.

but there is still HOPE


sunset at manila bay

the election in 2010 is not a spectacle where we just sit down and watch.  we are part of the circus that we made, and it is up to us to decide when it should end.  GOD HELP US!