Wednesday, July 26, 2006

tara na... palabas ng bansa

When I was in my younger years in Baybay Elementary School in San Jose de Buenavista, Antique, our kasaysayan teacher would always say that our country is rich in so many ways- natural resources, skilled manpower and so on. Saying it as if all of us can actually understand what she meant. None of us did. Instead, it gave us such illusion that we are afterall a great nation.

A few years later in the mid-eighties when I get to somehow picture the state of the nation when I get to see my father cursing the television set everytime Marcos would appear. I actually thought at one point that he will throw his coffee mug at our Radiowealth black and white TV. We are a mess as a country. After eighty six, everytime there is an election, it's a fiesta of new hope. Promises are laid and a new beginning is near. A few months after the election, the fiesta continues to the streets, clamoring for change wanting yet another beginning.

My father has always been a patriot. I grew up hearing him say that I should love this country because this is the only one I can actually claim to be mine. That I should never settle being a third class citizen anywhere else. It was last year when he asked me if I want to work and stay abroad, some asian country perhaps. My other sister is leaving the country two weeks from now. She says she going to study there for two years and if she can find a job after, probably will stay there for good. And the other one, this November, together with her family. They are going to the US as migrants.

It is indeed an illusion what my grade three teacher discussed. Though there is a part of me that still believe that it is not so. As my father resigns to the whole situation, I begin to ask myself what really is in store for all of us if indeed we stay? As a lot of our peers left already, will we be lagged behind?

Before I got to answer my question, I chanced upon this video---

---promoting what is here in the Philippines. Guess how many of them already opted to settle abroad?

Sunday, July 23, 2006

that sweet thing...

My sister and her family lives in this two-bedroom apartment somewhere in the better side of Quezon City. I used to live there, until my sister got engaged and I felt the strong need (for myself and not for anybody else) to live on my own so I moved out. My sister noticed that I was already out of the house months later I found a place of my own. Anyway, the master bedroom is what they occupy and the other bedroom has always been left vacant for visitors (e.g. family members meaning us). Both bedrooms are on the upper floor, typical of two bedroom apartments.

My father occupied the other bedroom when he arrived here two weeks ago. Until he went under the knife and eventually stayed in the hospital for about a week. A day before he got out of the hospital, my mom arrived. As they both can not bear not seeing each other for quite a long time, she decided to come here last Thursday. From the airport, she went directly to my father's room and a few hours later, my dad decided to actually stand and help himself in the toilet. It was amazing. Too amazing that his doctor agreed that he can actually go home the following day.

Since the two bedrooms are on the second floor, we decided to transfer the single bed in the living room for my dad so he won't be bothered of going up and down the stairs. My mom decided to sleep on the couch. Still not feeling too near to my father, she asked for a futton so she can sleep on the floor just beside the bed.

It was her last night here last night. She flew back to Iloilo this morning. my dad would have wanted to fly with her if only his doctors allowed him to. We all decided to cramp ourselves in the living room with my other sister on the couch and me on the sleeping bag beside my mom. Nobody wanted to sleep at the other room uptairs. As it was almost midnight, my dad started to doze off, my mom still half awake, tried to listen to our talk until she eventually fell asleep. The whole time, holding my father's hand.

It was the sweetest thing I ever saw in ages.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

My new job

sorry, no photos for this one....

Just came from the hospital today. I have exactly two hours of sleep and about three ten-minute power naps interrupted by apparitions of white ladies of different sizes and shapes. I just had my breakfast too- basically what is supposed to be the breakfast of the patient. Im feeling full yet lightheaded. Wanting to go yet doesn't have the strength to lift a finger.

Last night was a whole new experience for me. Something that maybe I should teach myself to get used to. It's being able to take care of the person you love.

My dad went out of the operating room yesterday. In full mental faculties, he was wheeled to his room with at least three plastic tubes attached to his body. He just had three major operations. "I did not realize that things are going to be like this!" He laments when he reached his bed. He is not allowed to sit much more to stand. Full bed rest afterall should not be taken figuratively. There is this strange tube attached to him on both sides that serves as a running water that goes thru his bladder and out. We were advised to make sure that it should be not pinkish because that redder it becomes, the more he's gonna stay in bed. To the point of paranoia, he would ask almost every twenty minutes if its redish or not. I was almost tepmted to lie, but what's the point? He is going to see it anyway. Only once, that it was not pinkish.

The first two hours was excruciating for me. Yet I have to make sure that I appear alright in front of him or else what help can I give? Serving water, calling the nurses, feeding him with food and lozenges, putting the bedpan, taking the bedpan out, cleaning, making sure that his running water is replaced, changing the channel for him, heating food at the pantry and when he falls asleep, try to to make coffee for myself and puffing a cigarette outside of the building (I wish he's not on the fourth floor).

I'll be getting an hour sleep and I have to be back there. I unnoficially on-leave now from work. And I'm beginning to love my new job.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

On fighting...

My hero...

The late Prof. Araceli Juliano would define life as a constant struggle against atrophy. That was 15 years ago, during our class in Nat. Sci. II (Biology). It was the first question she asked on our first day of class. A lot gave so profound meanings about life. She ended all answers with that precise definition. So blunt yet so true. Several years later, she succumbed in defeat in that struggle.

Everything is prone to deteriorate. Unfortunately, that includes us. To rot is our destination. Eventually. And as we live everyday, we tend to improve, fix, and do damage control to whatever part of us that is bruised, fearing the very fact that things can actually get worse. Yet the Annie in us continues to sing that tomorrow, there will be sun. It is with this optimism that we actually triumph. Winning continuously until we wear out.

I got to accompany my dad last Friday to the hospital for his biopsy. And in doing so, there were a lot of things I got to know and understand-- aside from the meaning of biopsy. When I was growing up, I saw him as the invincible Tatay. It was a different person I saw last Friday, someone vulnerable, someone more human and ironically, someone more alive as his battle becomes more visible. My sister told me that he has problems with his prostate- very common with males of that age. Yet no one in the family would actually label it as cancer. I remembered when my aunt had a brain tumour, in front of her; it was never called a tumour but just a bukol. Matter of semantics, small thing that can actually have great effects on the person who is the main hero in the fight for life.

My dad entered the operating room this morning. Same operating room where my aunt entered three years ago. Auntie is now in the province, helping my mom while my dad is here.
No traces of that so-called bukol.

I had this experience of shedding my defences yesterday to reinforce his. A bag of blood. Right now, I still have that feeling of unbearable lightness. I was told to drink a lot of liquid to regain what I lost. The Annie in me sings that song now. And I know, knowing my dad, I don't have to wait for tomorrow for the sun to rise.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Real Living July

who says you can't have a beautiful home even if you're poor?!?!

get your copies now!!!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

people i admire most #3

I got to know this person when I was just a struggling stage actor. We are about to do a play that will be produced by a group of people in one channel in mIRC. It was supposed to be about AIDS consciousness and all that. We were supposed to be lovers in the show. He would invite me to his place during that time to read one of his written works. I would call him in the wee hours of the morning if it's ok to sleep in his place. A month before the opening night, I backed-out.

I would hear his name from common friends from time to time. I would almost have one friend wherever he works. And I would always wonder how he has been. Ours is a very small world. Until I started working in Galleria and actually have my therapeutic walk around Ortigas center, by some cosmic coincidence, I would see him at least once almost every week. Like a long lost friend, we would exchange pleasantries and eventually share tables. Like long lost friends, we would update ourselves of what happened to each of us and where we are now. And the night that started with pleasantries would end up nostalgic and would always be pleasant.

Until I got to hear about him from some people I know who are not our common friends. That's when I realized that I already have to attach the prefix- The to his name. He created this comic superhero and actually published the first book himself. The graphic novel became a hit amongst a select number of people until a publisher noticed it and had it mass produced and sold it mainstream. The superhero became an icon. And so is this long lost friend.

In one of our co-incidental coffee meetings, I asked him if he is working full time in a company now. He told me that he is looking for a job. Bingo! We have an opening almost perfect for him. I told my boss about it, and she was hesitant because The friend is too big already for the job. And I told her he is perfect and settling for somebody else is indeed just settling. He applied for the job, and he was not really the favorite of the higher-up during that time. But with sheer talent and nothing else, he was the best candidate.

It was his first day in the office that our bond was sealed. And the two dimensional Carlo I knew from before unfolded and indeed became more than just a long lost friend. We would see each other almost every single working day. Our coffee meetings bacame more of a habit than co-incidental. We don't exchange pleasantries anymore and things are not always pleasant. We would have disagreements and arguments and precisely because of these, we understand each other better. I got to know that his passion about what he does is overwhelming and contagious. The same passion that moved him to create icons and in a way, himself. The same passion that drives him to be great. The same passion that gives him the courage to try new things in life.

He would always tell me that he is not brave enough to try new things. And I would always refute him. He afterall, is alone in the field where he chose to put himself. And not a lot of people can do that. Not a lot of people can stay that way.

Probably, the thing I admire most about him is believing in his work. Something that I lack. It is fighting for something and not caring if you are alone in the fight. It is having the courage to stand alone and work your way until people will believe and walk with you. It is creating a path for yourself and not just taking the main highway.

But the best thing about him is he still keep his feet on the ground. Firmly standing not knowing that his place under the sun has indeed reached hectares yet he would move by square meters. I would always kid about making him my 'claim to fame' in front of him (boy, i don't think I can do that with him not around). And will always wonder what's on his mind everytime I say that--

In mine, it's actually pushing an issue he has yet to realize...