Teks, Komiks at Iba pa

“He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:2-3 
 

I’m blessed with a happy childhood.  It always brings me joy to remember.

My Tata Sixto has such meztiso features while my Inana Eya was more exotic.  They  had ten children, one of whom died during the war.

My Daddy was third among these children.  Being the eldest boy, he had shared responsibility in raising up his younger brothers and sisters.

My Mommy is a beauty from the north.  Being ten years younger than my Daddy, there was some sort of generation gap between them.  But they survived forty-four years of marriage, because according to Mommy there was no expiration date on their marriage contract.  Thank God.

Aside from two spinsters, my Daddy’s siblings all have families of their own.  With this huge clan, my brother, sister and I grew up with learning to drink beer before we were even teenagers.  We also learned how to play mahjong, black jack and lucky nine like it was a family membership requirement.

But note:  this was only during fiesta of Patron San Marcos … and Christmas … and  New Year … and some Tito’s or Tita’s birthday.

During these celebrations, the third generation to which I belong had the time of our lives.  We get to stay up late until dawn.  We played habulan, taguan, and patintero.

We read komiks rented from the store in the kanto.  We played teks and goma.  We climbed trees.  We collect flowers for Flores de Maria in May.  We invade Inanang Mary’s store for kornik and chicharon lapad.

Above all these, we were taught values that would be our guide when we grew up.   Inana Eya was a devout Catholic.  And though she did not impose, we were taught how to practice our faith by her example.

We were taught how to “mano po” to show respect to our elders.  Say “po” and “opo”.

In Manaoag, during our vacations to Mommy’s hometown, we even experienced how at 6pm, when the church bells rang, every one stopped to pray the angelus.  Even if they were on the middle of the street, people would stop to face the church and pray, in reverence, until the church bells stopped ringing.

Those were the days when our grandparents lived and loved.  Those were the times when all we did was laugh.  And if we must cry, it was because we yearned to laugh some more.

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the coconut nut

“Should you then seek great things for yourself?  Seek them not.  For I will bring disaster on all people, declare the LORD, but wherever you go I will let you escape with your life.”  Jeremiah 45:5

fely comes to our house regularly to do the laundry.  she also helps mommy with  stuff.  she runs errands, cleans and cooks too.  sometimes, she just drops by to check on mommy and if there’s anything else that she can do for her.  but at the end of  every day’s work, fely walks to her humble abode to be with her family, for whom she works very hard for.

fely, who did not take an oath, serves our family the best that she can.  with her frail and thin physique, she is able to do things which seem incredible for us to do.  she doesn’t demand to live in our house, much less sleep in the master bedroom.  her husband, who drives their family-owned pedicab for a living, follows simple barangay traffic rules and regulations.  though life is hard, they do their jobs diligently.  and i am certain that they are happy and comfortable with whatever they are blessed with –  jobs to do, family to belong, a small rented house.

fely and her husband are simple people with simple needs,  but that doesn’t mean they live without dignity. 

what is dignity then? it is the quality of being worthy of esteem or respect.  we don’t have to be rich, or pretty, or hold a high government position, or live in a coconut palace to have dignity.  dignity is not something that one should demand from others because it emanates from one’s innate nature of being treated with respect.  dignity comes from within and radiates spontaneously. 

for a newly elected public servant to even consider a grand residence and office for dignity, is an insult to the poor people that he promised to serve, a great percentage of which live in shanties.   we are made to think that our house is what we are.  that thinking only reduces the self-image to inferiority and helplessness. no less than President Noynoy said “Kayo ang boss ko.”  can’t a vice-president also serve his countrymen and perform his functions with dignity if he lives in a modest house in a modest neighborhood? was his predecessor less dignified? now more than ever, it is worthwhile to recall what lolo and lola once said “Mabuti pa ang kubo kung ang nakatira ay tao, kasya isang palasyo na ang nakatira ay kwago.” 

isn’t it ironic that the new president whose official residence is a palace, humbly chose to reside in a small guest house across the river, yet his vice-president asks for a palace with the famous view of the manila bay sunset to be his official residence? if this is a tumor, there’s something benign here that must be treated soonest before it turns malignant.  seriously…

we are all equal in the eyes of  God.  He placed us exactly where we are now, because he has a master plan for the natural order of things. my fervent prayer is that each of us realize what our role in that plan is, in order to fulfill the ultimate purpose of our existence.  otherwise, the tale of the coconut nut in the palace will go down in history.

things are not always what they seem

“When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near to the boat.  They were frightened but he said to them, ‘It is I; do not be afraid.’

Then they were glad to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.”  John 6:19-21

things are not always what they seem. 

when a husband prefers fishing on weekends, he hates to be with his family.  truth is, he just needs quiet time and a stress-reducing activity after a week of rush assignments and impossible deadlines.

when the house is in turmoil, used dishes are in the sink and the baskets are overflowing with laundry, the wife is just plain lazy.   truth is, she is too ill to get out of bed.

when a daughter forgets to text or call back, she doesn’t love her dad and mom anymore.  truth is, she is practically in a rush to get the subjects she needs to enrol for summer classes.

when a son spends more time with the computer than with people, he is anti-social.  truth is, he is just plain bored or just wanted to reach out to family and friends and stay in touch.

when we get old, it is the end.  truth is, it is the time when wisdom comes of age and the fullness of life blossoms.

when your dream house is almost within your reach and still lose it, you are such a LOSER.  truth is, you don’t really need it.

when there’s no cash in the bank, then all else is lost.  truth is, God provides us with what we need. 

when all plans don’t push through, you’re such a failure.  truth is, God has better ideas.

when you are all alone, no one really cares. truth is, God is always with us.

truth is, things are not always what they seem.

i don’t know if it was a serious case of pre-menopausal syndrome, but i’d been through a hell of a week.  i thought this, i thought that.  i feared this, i feared that. i worried about this, i worried about that.  what a waste of precious time!

the past week really started great.  we were able to watch the Divine Mercy Sunday celebration live on tv.  the message was TRUST and PEACE. and bhoy and i felt so blessed to be able to take part in spirit with this special mass commemorating the golden jubilee of the National Shrine for the Divine Mercy* and the life of  St. Maria Faustina of Kowalska. 

but as the week progressed, and the real world sucked me right back in,  i ran round and round again to look  for my happy old self from other people, places and things.  i looked for me in me.  but neither did i find me there.  i kept telling bhoy that i feel sad, and i didn’t even know why or where it all came from.  by midweek, i gave up and just let everything be. 

there was one constant though, that i failed to see because i was extremely obsessed with my self-inflicted ordeal.  and that constant is GOD.  and i failed to absorb the message of the Divine Mercy.  TO TRUST IN JESUS, THE KING OF MERCY.

like the apostles, i was frightened too.  but when i see Jesus and let him into my boat, i am sure i will find what i was looking for.  and realize that what i was looking for was always there afterall. 

to borrow the words of St. Teresa of Avila “Let nothing trouble you. Let nothing frighten you. Everything passes. God never changes. Patience obtains all. Whoever has God, wants for nothing. God alone is enough.”

as another week begins, my simple life goes on as it did before.  there’s really nothing to look for afterall.  everything that i need, God provides.  people to love, things to do and blessings to share.  even trials to make me strong.  what more can i ask for?   GOD ALONE IS ENOUGH.

* for more details about the devotion to the Divine Mercy, please go to http://thedivinemercy.org

no looking back

“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind…No more shall there be an infant that lives but a few days, or an old man who does not fill out his days, for the child shall die a hundred years old, and the sinner a  hundred years old shall be accursed.  They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit.”  Isaiah 65: 17, 20-21

how ironic it was, that during Lent, “surviving Christmas” was on tv last night.  there was not much of a choice, because for weeks now, the different networks had presented almost the same set of movies, just on different time slots.

going back to the movie…it starred Ben Affleck and Christina Applegate.  it was a comedy about a man who was willing to pay a huge amount of money to a family just to spend Christmas with him.  it was an odd story, and it got me bored after a while.  (i prefer Ben in action or drama like ‘reindeer games’ and ‘changing lanes’.)

but somehow, the scene in which he stared sadly outside his window on Christmas morning caught my attention.    drew (ben) watched other people in their respective windows just across his  apartment.  one thing is common except for one. they celebrated Christmas together as family.  and that scene moved me to tears because it reminded me of daddy and how our following Christmases will never be the same again without him.

as i remembered how sad it was, my mind travelled back to the time when he was still with us.  how i have been as a daughter to him.  and i wondered if i felt short of his expectations of me.  or if he was proud of what i had become.  how daddy really felt about his eldest daughter, i will never ever know.

i realized that when my mind wanders back to the past, it evokes a certain kind of pain.  the pain which emanates from the mistakes that i made.  or maybe call them bad choices.  because only later did i realize, that in everything that i did, there were times that things didn’t really work out as planned.  even with good intentions.  and in every moment that they didn’t, it was not only me who gets disappointed and hurt.  but all those who truly love and care for me.  such as my daddy and mommy.

funny to mention it here.  but they say it’s hard to look back when you have stiff neck.  i’d say it’s best not to look back at all.  because when i do, i see every detail of not only what was beautiful and happy, but the ugly and sad truth as well.

i’d say it’s best to carry on.  because the past had already served its purpose.  it already strengthened a person’s character.  it already developed one’s personality.  and it already enhanced the beauty of a human being, so much so that its soul transcends to a higher level.  and a deeper meaning of one’s existence is realized.  a better self evolves.  what was once a dark past, becomes a radiant present.

i’d say i move on. as if i have stiff neck.  by God’s grace and mercy, i move on as a better person… that is, an authentic blend of past experiences, lessons learned and memories that really matter.  be they happy or sad, painful or sweet. 

there’s no need to look back.  my significant past becomes the essence of me…

manny pacquiao vs. zoladex

“now the God of hope fill you with all the joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope through the power of the Holy Ghost.”  Romans 15:13  

 there’s no turning back now. daddy is finally in the forefront of the battlefield called cancer.  he is in the first line of painful attacks which began to radiate to his back now; all the way to those who care for him.  because when we realize that he is in pain, we can almost feel his suffering too.   perhaps not in physical terms.  nonetheless, it is way too consuming.  it slowly eats away whatever courage we have gathered. 

 they say cancer is a painful disease.  i know that it is. but how painful can it possibly be? i guess even those who are afflicted cannot exactly equate with words.  daddy is already old and weak.  the doctors said it is no longer advisable for him to undergo surgery.  so we’re left with lesser options, yet relatively effective as well. 

 in this corner, is Manny Pacquiao. 

 so how did he got into the middle of this fierce battle that is my dad’s?  first of, there’s no longer any need to explain who manny pacquiao is, what with his 7  boxing titles and millions of dollars not to mention his new diamond studded belt.  likewise, we’ve already heard how every time manny pacquiao had major fights abroad, the Philippines experience zero crime rate.  and how ironic that during his fights, the nation unites as one solid pinoy country. YOU KNOW 🙂 (that’s manny’s famous line)

 

Pacquiao-with-WBC-Diamond-Belt-300x226
Manny Pacquiao

yesterday was no exception. every filipino in every corner of the archipelago and the world as well, was glued to the tv, internet or radio, if not that fortunate enough to sit on the ringside, to witness every punch thrown and received by pacman.  daddy was that filipino.  he never missed any pacman bout on tv, and i can say he is really a fan.  but yesterday was special.  aside from the usual peace that a pacquiao fight brings, manny brought into our family something more precious than money can buy.  as daddy watched manny’s fight, daddy forgot he has a fight of his own.  mommy said, it was as if his pain was gone.  i recall the times past when he would watch with such eagerness and excitement.  i can just imagine how manny brought my daddy back to his old self;  when he was young and well, even if for just 12 rounds.  and for that, i salute you manny.

in the other corner is Zoladex.   

 “zoladex relieves some symptoms of  advanced prostate cancer in men and advanced breast cancer in premenopausal women.  it reduces the levels of testosterone in men and estrogen in women.  the hormones mentioned are said to encourage the growth of certain cancers. ” – from www.healthsquare.com

 

zoladex
zoladex

The following adverse events were reported in greater than 1%, but less than 5% of patients treated with ZOLADEX 10.8 mg implant every 12 weeks. Some of these are commonly reported in elderly patients. 

 WHOLE BODY – Abdominal pain, Back pain, Flu syndrome, Headache, Sepsis, Aggravation reaction

CARDIOVASCULAR – Angina pectoris, Cerebral ischemia, Cerebrovascular accident, Heart failure, Pulmonary embolus, Varicose veinsDIGESTIVE – Diarrhea, HematemesisENDOCRINE – Diabetes mellitus HEMATOLOGIC – AnemiaMETABOLIC – Peripheral edemaNERVOUS SYSTEM – Dizziness, Paresthesia, Urinary retentionRESPIRATORY – Cough increased, Dyspnea, Pneumonia SKIN – Herpes simplex, PruritusUROGENITAL – Bladder neoplasm, Breast pain, Hematuria, Impotence, Urinary frequency, Urinary incontinence, Urinary tract disorder, Urinary tract infection, Urination impaired. ” – from www.rxlist.com

today, daddy will have his first zoladex implant.  based on the side effects noted, we fear that the worse is yet to come.  in fact,  the adverse events mentioned seem far more terrifying than the disease itself.  but if it’s any consolation it is said that “symptoms may actually get worse during the first few weeks of therapy. however, as hormone levels subside, the patient should begin to feel an improvement” – from www.healthsquare.com

whatever the outcome of daddy’s treatment, in three months he is scheduled for another implant.  we’re not sure also, if manny pacquiao will decide to fight anew in three months. but one thing is certain, zoladex and pacman brings hope to daddy.  momentary hope that lasts maybe for 12 rounds or three months.

but then again there is a hope that springs eternal.  and that hope is our Lord Jesus Christ, our Saviour… our Healer.  He is my daddy’s doctor.