May 31, 2005

Two weddings

I was invited to spend the weekend at my girlfriend’s hometown in Capiz, first, to attend two weddings of their close relatives and, second, to discuss more important matters that I may or may not mention here.

Two weddings, with different stories behind each of them. One a picture of trials, obstacles, and forebodes rough sailing. The other a picture of shared happiness and promises of harmony.




The former tells a story of two young people, much too young by provincial standards that the girl’s parents refused to their engagement twice. The boy, a fledgling seaman, was able to convince his family to push through with the wedding without the consent of the girl’s parents.

The wedding was carried out wholly under the plans of the boy’s family, with girl’s family being informed of it just barely weeks before the event. Had it not for the bride’s supportive relatives and cousins, some who came rushing all the way from Metro Manila on short notice, the bride’s family would have been severely outnumbered and overshadowed by the groom’s clan.

That scenario is somewhat of a no-no by rural traditions. In most provincial weddings, families usually showcase the cream of the crop, the best of the bests, from their clan – lawyers, engineers, doctors, priests, seamen, teachers, businessmen, archbishops, etc etc.

But still, you would know that there is something is wrong with the picture when the priest starts the wedding by saying, ‘Dear (names of the couple), this marriage will not work, and I’m giving you ten minutes to change you mind...”

Of course, later in his homily, the priest clarified that “this marriage will not work, because you have to make it work...”, but not after dishing out painful jabs and pokes here and there about the circumstances of the wedding and the emotional maturity of the couple (who kept on talking to and staring at each other like some lovesick lovebirds. The priest even had to call their attention and ask them to pay attention to the ceremony).




The second wedding tells of a much happier story, with a much brighter picture despite being simple and less lavish.

It boasts of a relationship that seemed aged and tested through time, an entourage that was well-coordinated and dynamic, and a best man and maid of honor in their most efficient. The program was well-prepared and meaningful.

And, most of all, the couple was surrounded by friends and families who share their beaming smiles.

Two weddings, two stories that will continue on.

Someday, I will have to tell our own story...




I’m looking at weddings now in terms of resources and preparation, and this weekend I’ve witnessed a logistical nightmare of holding a wedding in the province. Here’s the simple equation:

One invited person = 3-5 guests.

Nice. ^__^’

May 27, 2005

Unproductive

The entire day ended with me staring at a heap of papers looking forlorn in the middle on my table. This week passed like a blur, and although I was able to finish most of the crucial works, I feel dismally inefficient.

Clouded, my focus seems to be.

Sigh!

My visit yesterday at a publishing and digital solutions company made me see my inadequacies. The owner has been a long-time acquaintance and my contact everytime our company needs designing and publishing jobs.

A true digital designs master. In minutes he can accomplish what would take me days.

Inspiring, he truly is.

Stupid, I’m beginning to sound.

At least now I can see my table.

And exciting weekend, this will be.

Aaaa! Out of my head, you get out, Master Yoda!

*Dies*

May 23, 2005

To be good

I am convinced that I’m lightyears away from that so-called “emotional maturity” that, for the longest time, I have aspired for myself.

This realization was somehow triggered just this past weekend. First, after watching Starwars: Revenge of the Sith, and second, by the extent to which I get affected by someone’s opinion.

First, the movie.

Anakin did pretty well in pleasing his master Obi-Wan, despite his inherent propensity to rage, which is a no-no to a Jedi. At one point Obi-Wan has absolute faith that his friend-protégé will never fail him. In the end, his reason to embrace the dark side was simple: love. But hey, despite the constant display of remorse (crying after a good round of murderous bloodbath), I say Anakin looked really relieved to shed the mask of goodness and reveal his true colors in its full glory.

Second, about myself.

As far as I can remember in my entire adult lifetime, I have been trying to veer away from the path of mistakes my predecessors have committed. There are parts in my family’s past that I’m not particularly proud of, and somehow that past has successfully embedded itself to the name I carry now – like an ugly scar. There are already places where the mere mention of my family name conjures rich, colorful stories spoken only in hushed voices.

My dreams are simple, however ambitious: learn from the past, and break the chains of history that I’ve been carrying on my shoulder like a cross. I do not claim to be pristine, I am well-aware of the evils that lurk within my genes. I’m used to people who can’t see past my ugly scar, and those who hardly know anything but pass on judgments like cheap candies. I listen and care about the opinions of only a few.

But still, somehow, sometimes, I still get hurt from what I hear. Either my shields faltered, or I have misplaced trust on one person too many.

In the end, however, it’s entirely my fault – because I chose to be affected.

I just want to break free from the past. I just want to be good. I just want to stay in the good side of the force.

May 20, 2005

Happy birthday, Chemical-Rhapsody

It’s been a year of sharing thoughts and what-nots here at blogger.

It was only four years ago, in January 31, 2001, when I uploaded my first journal entry. Since then it’s been a love-hate affair between the web log and me. A number of sites have been created and brought down in spurs of inspiration, joy, despair, anger, hope, dreams, and even madness. Some are left in cyberspace, almost forgotten. Some are stored in the recesses of my hard disk, and some in CDs gathering dust in my boxes of memories.

Ah! Four years of blogging, and it still eats into my working hours just doing it. The inefficiency! It’s a small price to pay, though, considering the times it has saved me from insanity.

Anyway, there isn’t much to say lately.

No, change that.

There’s a lot going on inside me lately, but words are failing me.

For now, something has caught my attention.

A prayer that my officemate has posted prominently in her area...



“Lord, grant me
the serenity to accept
the things I cannot change,
the courage to change
the things I can,
and the wisdom to
know the difference.”

May 16, 2005

Typo-Freak

Darn! It’s one of those Monday blues again. One of my officemates wore the same color scheme and polo design as I have on right now. No way!

Anyway, the past weekend have been a blurry of short, quick trips around the metro, enduring heat and bureaucratic red tape as I continue my (epic) quest of reconstructing my church documents, as well as scouting for wedding ideas (nothing official yet, though ^__^ ).

Let me just get this off my system....

It was a test of patience watching the staff of the parish mistype the information they copy from either the record books or from a letter-size paper where you wrote the info in BIIIIIG, BOOOLD letters. I’m so close to believing that the people in the church records section have gone reeeeaaally rusty with eye-hand coordination (kokopyahin na nga lang eh, mali pa!), or they simply have no idea how important it is to be precise and accurate in their line of work.

That staff spoiled three sheets of pro-forma affidavit before she got the details right. Gosh!

I may sound sweeping with my observations, but I am not singling out that staff because when I requested for the baptismal certificates of my brother and sister, the other staffs who attended to it had their fair share of typos. One out of the three churches which issued certificates of no records also mistyped my informations.

Goodness. It must be the heat.

I guess it was in this aspect where my parents made the mistake of being lax with their children’s live birth and church records.

And now their children pay for that laxity, and go through the arduous task of correcting their mistakes.

For all parents out there, please do be conscientious with your children’s records. Spare them the frustrations and wasted time they have to endure in the future correcting the smallest of typos. It matters not how many sheets of nicely-printed papers of documents these records people waste, just please please please make sure the information is correct.

Have a nice week ahead, y' all!

May 13, 2005

Winds of change?

For the past weeks I have been rubbing elbows with people who have made anti-corruption their crusade. Their zeal to smite the deep-seated culture of corruption is really contagious, and yesterday I had a chance to be with them again.

The signing of a covenant of cooperation and support to the European Commission-OMB’s corruption prevention project by over 50 stakeholders from participating government agencies, civil society organizations, and collaborating government agencies highlighted the 17th anniversary of the Office of the Ombudsman.

This may be old news, especially to those who have grown old and skeptical about government’s anti-corruption efforts. But hey, whatever it takes to make a difference, the least people like myself can do is give support.

A graft-free government in 3 years, Madam President? Sure. Why not?

May God bless this country.

Should you want to know more about counter-corruption projects and networks, you can visit www.tag.org.ph.

May 12, 2005

Young minds

Summer is about to end, and the folder on my table labeled “Internship” has noticeably gotten fat.

The word “intern”, according to Webster, means advanced student or graduate undergoing training.

It also means “to confine”.

Being confined, however, is the last thing we’d like to impose on the student trainees that are placed under our wing (and *sigh* my supervision).

Being an academic institution, we try to give as much intellectual freedom possible to student interns and let them decide on what they want to do, and accomplish, during their practicum in our station, while still subjecting them to the seemingly menial tasks but just critical aspects of NGO work (“Coffee, black and no sugar please... jk!)

We had two student interns this summer, so far, both from reputable schools. And now that they’re done with their internship, *sigh!* I now face the task of refining their works – academic papers, articles, and what-nots – still rough on the edges, but with promising perspectives.

May 11, 2005

In the name of the son...

I have my elder brother to watch and (try to) learn from about raising children. Like most parents, he and his wife dream of the best for their three kids. I don't know much about what our own parents had dreamt for us, but I’m beginning to hear some mumbles here and there about their youngest son being still unmarried. *uboubo!* Hehe. Patience po, my dear parents, we'll get there soon.

Speaking of patience, I now see my brother and sister-in-law as the epitome of patience.

Last Saturday, May 7, my brother’s eldest son celebrated his 7th birthday at a clubhouse in Batangas, with a kiddie pool and two clowns to entertain the guests. The little fellow, in his spanking new clothes, fell into the pool even before the party started. In an astounding display of patience worth seven years of parenting, neither mother nor father showed any sign of anger or exasperation.

Simply amazing. It reminded me of my blog about ol' Papa Bear in "the wisdom of age".

The event somewhat became a gathering for our families. My mother arrived from Aklan with a few friends. My father came with almost all of his brothers and sisters, and most of my father-side cousins showed up with their own children. My brother’s diverse network of friends from both Luzon and Visayas also arrived.

It was a good exercise of linguistic skills as my immediate family kept switching from Batangueño to Aklanon and back as we moved around the crowd.

The singles have become overwhelmingly outnumbered by the married among us cousins, so all eyes are on me – the one whom they least hear about, and the one whom they rarely see. They never seem to run out of surprised reactions every time I show up in my father’s small hometown in San Jose.

But for them, the bigger surprise that day was that I brought someone along with me: my girlfriend. For over seven years, they have only known her name and her face from the pictures in my wallet. To finally see her in person was something they've been looking forward to. It's that Tagalog culture of "kilatis" (close scrutiny) at work, I say, but with the advent of Visayan women getting married into my father's closely-knit family (one of them my mother), gone is the age-old Bisaya stereotyping among Batangueños.

It’s a well-observed custom in my father’s hometown that a man present only “The One” to the family, and introduce her to the eldest (and usually the wisest) member of the family. In my case, that would be my last living grandparent, “Mamay” (Batangueño term for lolo or grandfather).

So there. There’s much to do from this point on, and more formal meetings to arrange. But for now, welcome to my family, Pangga. Thank you. Lyp! ^__^

That last meeting with Mamay somehow left a certain heaviness in my heart. Less than a year ago, Nanay (grandmother) passed away after lying in coma for two years. In those two years, Mamay never left her side, and cared for her as he had always done even in their younger days. For me, they were a match made in heaven.

The brilliance in his eyes has somehow faded. He now speak of pain, sadness, and even regrets. He briefly spoke of his frustrations with his son – our father – and of the things he has not accomplished, and the things we should remember when we have children of our own.

Tired, sad, and weary as he is, Mamay is still the same wise person whom my cousins and I always seek for advice. I look at him, my mother, and my brother, and see the lessons that I could possibly learn. I look at my father and see the mistakes I could possibly commit. I look at myself and see everything else that lie in between, and beyond.

Ah! ^__^

Here’s something I must remember: the lechon my Mom brought to the party is definitely the best I’ve tasted, even if it traveled for about nine hours all the way from Aklan to Batangas. Lip-smacking good! She told us that the cook himself handpicks the live pig and does something to it to make it really tasty to the bone. Hmmm...

One of these days I’ll have to find that cook.



my pamangkins Victor, Renzo, and Angel, with Shorty the clown -- minutes before birthday celebrant Renzo fell into the pool (and ruined his slick hairdo). he wasn't hurt or anything, but the incident dampened his mood a bit. ^__^