Random thoughts... Happy Thoughts... Sad thoughts... Anything goes!!!

Sunday, July 30, 2006


I haven’t blogged for a while and an online friend wondered how I was.

I’ve been busy but I’m doing pretty well. I was in Cebu and Bohol from July 21 to 24 and was going to write in length about my trip but it has been a while already and I’m not really sure I could still capture and write about the joy I had viewing their tarsiers, the Loboc river, the man-made mahogany forest, the Bilar landscape and the Chocolate hills. I guess at this point I could just say that I felt happy on my trip to Bohol and if you want to have an idea of the places I’ve been, just visit Christine Yap’s blog (searched for it since I’ve got nothing to show). She has been to more places there…lots of pictures too and what’s really important is she had a good time!

The drive to write on my adventure is gone since it would just seem like an old news if I insist on writing on it, however, now I feel like writing on how I was able to go to Cebu and Bohol. Okay, I took a 747 PAL flight to and from Cebu and an Oceanjet’s boat ride to and from Bohol but that’s not exactly what I had in mind to write about…

I promised one of our Branch Managers then In Davao that I’ll visit her once she gets to Tagbilaran. That was ages ago. She was transferred there since January and I haven’t been able to visit her… partly my workload plus also the budget of going there. I was hoping on getting a budget fair from Cebu Pacific but I never really came to it, their P1.00++ peso promo fare still amounts to something big if you consider the ++. Anyway, it was still in my mind and I actually prayed about it. Prayed that I get assigned to Cebu by our company so I could take a side trip. Possibility of being assigned soon was pretty remote. If I ever get assigned to Cebu that would still be in January since that's our audit period for an affiliate company there… now that’s pretty far away…

Just last month, one of our big bosses in sales asked me to make a presentation on “Inventory monitoring and control” for some of their staff in Luzon since he is in charge of that area. Okay, I said and prepared the materials. He allotted me one whole day for the presentation so I decided to have a workshop instead of just lecture. I thought it was good opportunity to improve the skills and build the morale of concerned staff so I put effort to it then gave him an outline of the presentation. The sales people probably liked the outline because their highest boss called me up (even before I made the presentation in Luzon) and told me that I will have to go to Cebu too to make the presentation. Boy! Did I get excited! Not just on the workshop but on the possible side-trip to Tagbilaran while on Cebu. I immediately told my boss that I would not go back immediately after the workshop but take my day-off for a trip to Tagbilaran then check on our branch and warehouse operation in Cebu! And she said yes!!!

Been reflecting on it now and I again realized the value of giving your best to an effort since “every act rewards itself” as Ralph Wardo Emerson talked on his essay on compensation (okay, the essay is long… I got lost reading it a long time ago but Nap Hill summarized it!). Though I wasn’t thinking of Bohol when I did the materials for the presentation, the effort of doing well (beyond what was expected) paid off by an opportunity to get to Tagbilaran…

But is it just my effort? Nope… I believe prayer has something to do with it too!

Nooo… I’m not a religious fanatic who can scare Senor Enrique but I do value prayer and of course God (love him!!!) and I think faith is a great factor to a good relationship with God. Prayer can just be a mouthing of wishes but I realized that if you really want it to work then you’ve got to really put faith on your prayer. Hmmm.. me thinks, I’m lecturing myself since I sometimes feel the lack of faith too! That’s why I like reading the evotionals I receive from my email from Pastor Mark Batterson of National Community Church. His whole series on the neurology of faith is great! (his last email, neurology of Faith V has not been archived on his blog as of this writing and I think that is the best so far.)

Anyway, ‘nuff of faith. Pastor Mark could address that better. I suddenly realized that there is something I still wish to share on Bohol. It is something that wasn’t in the pictures of Bilar nor even in the sites I surfed on the net. More than the Chocolate Hills, I was actually more fascinated on the landscape in Bilar. I don’t know if the people there get to appreciate it but I had a really nice feeling looking at them. I was awed!!!

Bilar is already near the Chocolate hills and they have some hills too. However, unlike the series of hills in Carmen and adjoining towns (I think 1268 hills in all) their hills are a far distance from each other and at this time of the year when the folks there have just started planting the rice, each hill which is all green and full of different trees is surrounded by the flat (like a carpet) cool green of the rice fields. The rice stalks are so fresh, probably just a little less than foot high so you still see the wetness of the paddies. And you see the landscape repeated all over. It looks soooo productive!!! Wish I had a picture to show you but the digicam I borrowed from an officemate conked out while on the trip and I’m not really sure if I could describe it well BUT I really felt good watching those stretch. I find nature amazing especially when the people do their share too!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Shepherd's thoughts...

My niece celebrated her 7th birthday yesterday and my favorite cousin who’s on vacation from Saudi was also around. I was late coming since I had to tend to my flock… Gosh heavy words but I realized that being a HOLD household head could be difficult. Actually mine is not even really a flock yet but more of wild horses that are caught and being tamed yet… Hehehe if they only hear me compare them to wild horses, I’m sure they would freak out so I guess I better explain…

I actually have another prayer community and it is a lot simpler there. My group are already prayerful people who have gone beyond mere vocal prayers and are at home with just being quiet and waiting on God. We would meet once a week and there is not much activity nor talking but more just being together in prayer. There are the regulars but sometimes some would not attend, so you would say we are together like a flock and some would fall astray occasionally…

My present group is different. They have just finished their Christian Life Program and many of them were not that regular in their attendance. Some even have to be fetched by other handmaids to make it to the 13 weeks of our CLP. Am I saying that they are NOT good? No… actually, I am just saying that they are used to their own set of activities and the HOLD activities have not been really established in their system yet. They are like great wild horses used on their own but suddenly captived (well I certainly hope God's call have captivated them!) and I would have to be able to nurture them and lead them to a new way of life!

Some are already excited and looking forward to the household meetings and I know that I would have to keep their momentum… some are still resisting and weighing whether their other concerns are more important than a household meeting. So I should know how I could best address that especially since there are limitations too! I’m only free on weekends and they have other activities too plus many of them have no mobile phone that I could just leave a message to. And since I have not really made them part of the flock yet that just have to be guided and would easily hear my call, I would have to attend to them individually (did you just hear my sigh??? It was pretty deep!) It is actually a big challenge and I know that I can’t really rely on my own but need BIG help…so I am counting on it and hoping that I, who have never really been a shepherd but a carefree spirit would be able to lead them to green pastures…

Anyway, this is turning serious but there are actually lighter notes on my new activity. On my first visit to one sister who was 60+ years old, her son was around and he was just courteous but on my next visit he was drunk and bubbly… he boldly approached me, extended his hand and said his name while apologizing a bit admitting he was drunk… he later asked if he could also join our Saturday group and I said (NICELY) that he would have to join another group since ours was strictly for women but I would tell him if there was A CLP for “mature” single men. He then mentioned that he was “available” and would it be all right to court “available” women there (YIKES!!!) I was with another sister who’s married and she was quick to reply that many handmaids are actually married. GOOD FOR HER… err US since my silence should have implied I wasn’t interested but I am actually used to these things since I’ve actually had STRANGE approach in the past… good thing I am taller than them and could easily brush things off.

Also, last night after I accompanied my cousin to get a taxi, I passed by our talipapa (makeshift market) along our road. I noticed that one “sister” who used to sell fruits was selling other merchandise. I asked her where her fruits are and she said that they are a bit expensive so she is selling some stuff instead but she’ll certainly sell her fruits on the next days. I was not in a hurry, so I stayed awhile and talked. The area has no light since one of the electric post was busted (guess from overload) and we were talking over candlelight. She was selling stuff that she got from Divisoria (stuff that I am familiar with since I work in that area!)… well I was in the mood to explain the goods and many actually stopped by… some even asked if I was the one selling and I would say that I was just an assistant. Only a few bought though since many said they have NO money yet and would come back when they have one and I would say Okay do so since the cart will still be there on the next days. And I certainly hope they do since that would make Sister Martha happy. She was actually happy and some of her words struck me “Talaga pala kahit mataas bumababa kung kay Lord!” (it is true that High people could go down for the Lord). Well I’ve always been “mataas” (tall), but I’ve never really been high nor mighty… gosh, I am not even rich!!! But I guess some people from my neighborhood perceive me as one since I have been detached from them. I’m really a simple person and I don’t think that I would really have time to be with a lot of people but it certainly is nice when my presence somehow touch other people.

Okay this has turned long and I was actually planning on writing something else about my cousin. She is one of the grandest people I know and I love. I’ll do that another time but if you want some glimpse of her, look for “never lose that smile” in my earlier Kmail. She really never lost her smile despite the many adversities that came her way! She is one NEAT lady!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Moving around my community…

Ever since I started working in 1982, I have been detached from my community. Though I live here, I only know very few people.

Our subdivision is actually a middle class subdivision with a few families only. There is just one road so that shows how small the community is. However, it is surrounded by squatters on both sides. I would say that those squatters on the sides that have access to the main highway are better off (hmmm… I’d say that some are even better off than us) than on the other side accessed only by alleys before heading to a main road. Even the road our vehicles pass through going to the highway is only an improvised road on a private property since the real road has been eaten up also by squatters and passing it is more difficult than our current route.

I have been interacting with different people outside my community but I haven’t done so with my neighbors. I have done "outreach" in different places except my own. Mama and my siblings know a lot of people from my place, from old people to young people, but not I, since I would usually leave our place early and go home late and weekends are often times just rest days if I am at home.

Things have slowly changed though when I joined the Handmaids of the Lord last year after I completed their Christian Life Program. I have began putting names on the some faces I see on the road… some people from the talipapa (a very informal wet market along the road with vendors selling fruits, vegetables, meat and fish in stalls or push carts or just plainly laying the goods on the ground) I would pass through would be calling me “Sis” and there would be some small talks before moving on. I have also become bolder in visiting wakes on our road (many people can’t afford funeral parlors and would just put up a tolda (tent) and some chairs and the casket and they have their wake there). These are people I don’t really know but are actually my neighbors. Mama used to be the one to visit and give some to these people but she hasn’t been moving about for quite a while because of her operation. Though it feels awkward coming in, I now have the guts to approach the family to offer my condolence and give some amount to help for the burial.

Things are changing further though since I have been assigned as a household head late last month. The Chapter has assigned me to guide 5 women of varied ages (30+ to 70+) who live not just from my present community but somewhere further. Last week, I looked for their homes and I am amazed at the so many changes in my community. There are just sooooooooooo many dwellings and families… way beyond the number of people I imagine there are while walking on the road! So many eskinita (alleys) that lead to places I did not imagine!

I went to one sister’s home through the main road that goes to a small road but she showed me a shorter route coming back to my place. In her home, she has a small window that leads to a very small alley which can fit only one slim person (hmmm.. good thing I’m slim) you move and it leads to a bigger alley (that means that 2 people can walk side by side now) and if you look further you see a light post that actually leads to our street!

Another sister stays in the place they call bundok. Bundok means mountain but it is not actually mountain but sort of a hill. I remember going to that area when I was younger and climbing a caimito tree… even actually fell from the tree when the caretaker thought that I was a trespasser and he shouted at me to come down… Boy, I almost had a bad fall since I twisted when I hurried down the tree. Now, the Caimito trees are still there but there are just so many dwellings that have no sense of order at all… they are assorted too, some structures are large and nice.. most are rough concrete structures below with wooden parts upstairs while others are really made of scrap woods and lumbers. You have to climb stairs and alleys going to the sister’s place. Most of the stairs and alleys are cemented though, courtesy of their local officials.

Yesterday, when I noted that she was not in the chapel for our chapter assembly and the sister she was suppose to go with was already there and it was drizzling, I hurriedly walked to their place… it was a far but walking distance from the chapel to my home to their place and when I got there, someone told me that she already left. I asked which way and he showed another route. I asked won’t I get lost? No, just follow the blue exposed water pipes and it will lead to the main road… So I did! I followed the water pipes and made it to the road! This route was way worst and longer than my former route though, for in some places I had to stoop to be able to get through plus the alleys are winding! I was really perspiring when I saw the road and it was far from the chapel that I had to take a tricycle going there already. It was drizzling, I was perspiring but thank God I did not get sick!

When I told her after the assembly that we would all go to my home first, she did not want to since she said it was a long walk. I told her that her route was way worst than my route and she would not believe me. Finally after prodding from other members she conceded and went with us. It was only when she actually got to my place that she realized that there really was a better route!

The other 3 sisters are from another community which is similar to ours. I could walk on the two other sisters’ home from my place… it is a lot farther walk on the other one though, while for the third, I really had to take a ride. The first time I went there I got down on a different stop and had to walk a far distance. But I’ve memorized all their places now and I know that I won’t get lost anymore!

I have been living here for a long time already, it is not really the best community but it is a very convenient community since it has access to so many places. It is only now though that I have really started to be moving about. It is not just an adventure of discovering other places but being involved with other people.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Young again...

I browsed through my boss’ reader’s digest last Friday and saw that one of the features there was Neil Young.. gosh I suddenly missed the guy and immediately bought myself his Prairie Wind CD which I’ve been listening to alternate with the live with war songs from his website. Prairie Wind is way different from the current songs playing in his site… but that’s just how he is…

And what can I say, after all these years I still love his distinctive voice and his songs… some of his songs I don’t really understand but there is always something in it that draws me… sometimes haunts me… It is not just his voice but the instruments and his words. He is a story teller, a thought sharer (sometimes different short thoughts in a music) and there is this sense of honesty and spontaneity in thoughts and his feelings! I dunno, I guess after all these years I am still a Neil Young fan.

I still have his picture in my small treasure wooden box which I had since college. Am not sure if I got the picture a Jingle song magazine… it is not even laminated but just newsprint…

The first time I ever worked (it was summer job), the first tape I bought was his After the gold rush tape. I was singing My..my hey hey but I enjoyed my tape,particularly the Don't let it bring you down. The tape was followed by a few others including the live concert with Crosby Still and Nash (CSNY) and the last tape I bought was with the crazy horse (WELD) that didn’t really became part of the main stream sound one would hear in Manila… in fact you don’t really get to hear many of his songs played on the radio.. only his classics would be played and if I am on an FX ride and his song gets played for sure I’ll sing along... never mind if there are other passengers, I don’t sing loud anyway… but oftentimes I would close my eyes and sing silently with him hoping that there would be another one played.

I also remember closing myself in my room in my early days and just playing his tapes.. oh I would play other tapes of folk, rock and country but His was always the first tape to be played. I don’t have air conditioning in my room (still don’t have one now) and I would close all the windows and I would be sweaty (since it could be real hot in my room!) but I was enjoying it!

When I found a song magazine (can’t recall if it was a special edition of Jingle) with guitar chords to his songs.. I would play it and sing… even if I was not good playing the guitar I would strum it and sing. Occasionally now, I get do it in the office… one of night shift EDP Operator has a songbook and a guitar (2 guitars actually) and I would go there to play and sing. I’d sing some songs but I’d play Neil Young too… we would sort of jam. I wasn’t good at the guitar but he was and I would sing and I could sing loud since there won’t be any other staff anymore. Yup, I’d sing my heart out!

And I could still recall one dream… I dreamed he had a concert in Manila and I attended it and he called me from the audience and I got upstage and jammed with him… My.. that was one of my best dreams then!

Okay, the live with war music has been playing for a while, while writing this post... I'm a bit sweaty in my room too since it hot... it's time to switch to Prairie Wind and get some rest...

Nice to be listening to his song... suddenly feel YOUNG again reminiscing :-)