Thursday, August 14, 2008

Dear God...

I talked to Tatay yesterday and he told me that things are not getting better for him.

It was almost two years ago when we found out that he has cancer. Since then, we have been praying for healing and complete recovery. His doctor told him that he has a few months left and You have blessed him to be alive until now.

In those months of treatment and medications, You have taught us more about the meaning of family, of relationships and of life. You taught us that above all things, the love that binds us as a family is far greater than the collective achievements that we have as a family. You have showed us how you blessed our parents' vows with compassion amidst all the trials they have to go through. You have blessed us to bond together in places we never imagined of reaching. In your perfect timing, you gave us hope when it was needed most. You showered us with financial blessings to keep us afloat through all these. You have given my mother strength to go through all these things.

You made me realize that I am so blessed with my parents. You made me realize that I am so blessed with my father.

You have healed my father in so many ways. And you have healed this family too.

And I thank you. Thank you for each day that you have given to my dad. Thank you for my mother who stood by her "in sickness and in health" vow. Thank you for giving her strength and I pray that You continue to bless her steadfastness and fortitude.

Lord, I pray that you give my father resilience. Lord, soothe his body and comfort him in each day. And if indeed his time comes to meet You on that beautiful shore, I pray that You take him with You in peace and without pain.

In Jesus' name, Amen.

Thursday, May 01, 2008



Pretty much like the islands of Cuyo, Ploning is one quiet movie. A story of a young man in search for his past pegged at a 30-year old spinster named Ploning, who in turn, has her own story to tell. Around Ploning, are stories of a cripple mother, a dying father, a city girl who tries to look for her life being due in giving one, a hermit wife left by her husband, a strong-willed mother who, just like salt melts down in the rain, and a young boy, with his fragile memory lapses, weaves the entire plot. All set in a picturesque island somewhere in the Sulu Sea where Taiwanese fishermen would often illegally fare. Just like Cuyo, Ploning is a visual feast. An excusable indulgence, I would say,  how can you possibly not put postcard worthy scenes if your location is such a place?

Ploning, the character as portrayed by Judy Ann Santos parallels with the first scenes of the mysterious 'Malena'- beautiful and quiet, making everyone ask and later on, pass judgments. Admittedly, in as much as you want to think Ploning is mysterious, it is a bit difficult to rub Judy Ann Santos (the star) off the character. Yet her being such impales you to your seat to be more curious about the entire story. She is crisp and fresh and unpolluted. Eugene Domingo who portrayed the cripple mother to the young Digo, outshone everyone with her poignant comic timing. Very controlled at her finest moment though it became a bit indulgent at the very end of the scene. Still, she already mastered in giving one an emotional roller coaster ride. Another noteworthy actor is the young Cedric Amit. He exuded innocence with a bit of guilt. A character of perfect young boy, curious and clingy, Amit's presence was apt to be put side by side with the named actors in the movie. Meryl Soriano's Alma is understated and sympathetic while Ces Quesada (as Nieves) is as 'natural' as the island itself. 

It is commendable that the movie employed Cuyun-on almost half the time. And mixing it with Tagalog is not distracting at all. Admittedly, a few of the actors fell short in mastering the language but generally, they succeeded in pinching the Cuyun-on/Kiniray-a/Hiligaynon speaking audience's heart. It was a bit disturbing though that Ilonggo was inserted while Meryl Soriano showed only a hint of the intonation amidst the trite 'guid' suffixed to almost all of her sentences. 

Together with the language, the story on traditions and customs abound the island are scattered in the segmented plot. Keeping it just above the surface, the ati-ati, the baile, the can of lychee tell so much of the people in such locality. For me, this was the director's (Garcia) finest moments. To tell such story, one has to experience it at least once in his life. To capture it in film, one has to live it. 

'Ploning' is a breath of fresh air. A quiet movie which is intelligent and a bit indulgent. Practically, what this industry needs nowadays.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Thank you...

September of 2006 marked the start of trying times in our family. It happened when all spirits were high and things are going well then we found out that my father has hepa B and liver cancer. The news tore my mom apart.  I can still remember that very morning my sister told me about it. I can still remember my mom breaking down at the corridor of St. Luke's. I have blogged it several times. 

Amidst all that, we (my eldest sister most especially) sought all avenues and means to 'do something' about my dad's illness. While all these are happening, my mom, who is fervent in her faith, continued to sing her Psalms and brought her petitions to the Great Healer. We all did. 

It was eighteen months ago. Eighteen months after his first doctor told him that he has an estimated six months left to live. 

Last week, we celebrated my dad's 68th birthday. 

I just can't help but sing my Psalms in silence. Fervently. 

Monday, March 24, 2008

moving out---moving in

The last week was short of a trauma for me. No amount of work/projects/rakets can compete with 'moving houses'.

Thankfully, there's Lyn-lyn, my new ward. She stayed with me until five in the morning just trying to arrange and clean everything that was left from my already edited household stuff. There's Zaki and the boys of my contractor to transfer my furniture pieces and appliances making use of the trolley that Ricci sold me half the price. 

Thankfully, Nanay and Tatay, and Mama Son got dragged to aid my already ailing finances. 

Here's a glimpse of the house. It is not done yet. My table is still not here and so is my drop-light. I still dream of a flat TV though the wall for it is already done. There is no turning back now...

Dining area. Still using my old table which will be converted to a study when the base of my dining table arrives. 

The bedroom. The bed is a gift from my contractor. Headboard is made of scrap hardwood. 

The living area with the toille paded wall. At the far end is my work station. And yes, it is a view to behold.

Friday, February 29, 2008


It was last September when I opened an account with Banco de Oro, Megamall (one beside National Bookstore). It was one of those desperate times when I needed to buy dollars and BDO can sell me at least a thousand only if I have an account with them. It was a no brainer really since BDO is one of the most reputable banks in the country in terms of stability and customer service.

I was wrong.

They gave me a 'temporary' ATM card without my name in it. I was made to believe that I will get my card two weeks after. It was ok, I will be out of Manila for about a month. Then come December, I went to the branch to get my card- the one with my name on it. They told me that I did not apply for a replacement card so they have nothing to give me. The one who told me that I will get my ATM card after two weeks already resigned. So it was pointless for me to actually rant about it. Still, not being able to help myself, I told them that I was not informed of the procedure. If I was told earlier, then I could have applied for the new card way back September. Having said that, I signed the application form for the replacement card. And paid a hundred pesos for a piece of new plastic.

That was last December. This afternoon, I went back to BDO to get my card. Then there was this flushed face in front of me, same expression as the last time when I was applying. And after running to and fro, trying to talk to her boss without me hearing or seeing them, she came back telling me that my card is not with them anymore. It has lapsed its maturity period of sixty days. 

Trying to be sunny about it, I asked her, "So, what do we do?" 

She then answered me, "Kayo sir, kayo po ang bahala." 

What the f.3.?!? 

First, I have no idea about that maturity thing. I was told that I can get it after two weeks. I was never informed that it should be not later than sixty days. 

Second, this is not the first time that I am confronted with this dilemma. It's deja vu! She then told me to re-apply and pay another hundred bucks. As if the damage is not yet enough!

Third, going to Megamall, No, parking in Megamall is no walk in the park. I have already told them that I don't go there often. I would, before, when I used to walk from Galleria to Mega but now that I drive, it's just too much hassle especially that there is this endless construction going on.

It was such a cloudy day that my sunny disposition led me out of the bank to actually vent the tempest out to my friend who referred me to that specific branch. He then told me that he can't do anything about it so he suggests that I'll just do what they said. 

It was unacceptable. 

I hurriedly went back inside the mall and was suddenly stopped by the guard saying that the bank is about to close. I told him that my passbook is still inside. He made me wait for fifteen minutes outside then the girl went out carrying my passbook, whining, "Ano na sir? Kayo po, anong balak niyo?"

It was a cloudy day. I told her, "Huwag mong ibalik sa akin ang problema, if you have informed me beforehand, this will not happen. Ikaw yung naka-usap ko before, and you exacty know how exasperated I was and now... Oh well, nevermind. I'll close my account next week."

Got my passbook and left. 

Monday, February 11, 2008

"Idol Niya si Rizal"

With due apologies, I am again reposting my sister's blog here (again, without her consent...)

photo from

For four days now, my husband and I had devoured the local news. As a result, as the events of this week unfolded, I became awashed not just with feelings of disgust (for the despicable Arroyo government), empathy (for Jun Lozada and family), and grief (for our beloved Philippines). On top of all these mixed emotions, nostalgia crept in, especially as I look at our 2-year old daughter.

I was younger than our little girl when martial law was declared. I did not have any recollection of the events, but my parents would remind me quite often that among the first phrases I said as a child was the slogan “Sa ikauunlad ng bayan, disiplina ang kailangan.” 

What I remembered clearly though was how it was growing in NPA-infested Panay in the 70’s and 80’s. And how in the early 80’s I would often hear my father saying that Marcos was the number one recruiter of the NPA’s as by oppressing people, he (Marcos) had actually forced them (the people) to go the hills. I also remembered my mother packing things during those days - land titles, document, then, clothes. And how she was silently weeping. And not so silently whenever the song "Bayan Ko" was played. This was around those days after Ninoy was shot. 

As my father seethed in anger over the political situation at that time, my mother sought refuge in prayer. She would spend day after day in church just to pray for the country. But she also prepared, that’s why she packed.

I would later learn that during those tumultuous days, the one option my parents had considered was going to the hills, as we were warned early on that my father will be re-assigned to an island because of his political views. 

My eyes well up with tears as I recalled those days. Devoid of other options, what indeed will parents do instead? 

As we watched Jun Lozada say the things he was saying, we feel for him and his family. For who indeed will want to be in the situation he is currently in? What husband/father would want to put his family in this type of a predicament? Hindi naman siguro dahil idol niya lang si Rizal? 

Lozada had wanted to give something back to the country. Ugh! That had hit a nerve. Honestly, if I were on his shoes, I would just have left the country. But recalling what he had said, what would you have gained (by doing something cowardly) if you lose your soul? What indeed? 

“Idol nga niya si Rizal”. May God hold men like these in His keeping. 

And may the Lord heal our land.