Author Archives: theeightofhearts

My KAIROS

Sometimes the best ideas come when we’re in the shower.

Up until now, I don’t really know what was in the water that day I decided for good to leave my job of five years. I don’t know what made that day so different from the other days when I felt like resigning was just a chance to escape, rather than a chance to grow. That day, as the water poured over me, I felt a clarity and sense of peace in my decision. But then I was amazed as another thought entered my mind, immediately stacking itself in my mental to-do list–serve the Lord.

It was a surprising thought because I was never active in church. The closest thing I had to serving was doing the readings and singing in the choir whenever we had mass at the office. But there were other ways to do it, and it was something that empowered me all the more to pursue the plan that the Lord had in store for me. Right then and there, I decided to study sign language and use it as a way to bridge the Lord to the deaf.

There were lot of questions as to how to bring that grand plan to fruition. I just knew that I had to start somewhere. Baby steps. I brought my decisions from the bathroom to the real world. I filed my resignation and enrolled in a sign language school in Mandaluyong. And then, just when I thought that everything was in place, the Lord surprised me even more.

One Sunday a year ago, my boyfriend and I heard mass in St. Paul the Apostle Parish. The mass was ordinary in most ways until after communion, when a video was played. It was about the KAIROS Yuppies, a sub-ministry of the church that’s meant for young professionals. They were looking for new members. After the video all the yuppies were asked to come to the front for a blessing. As Father Benedict said a prayer for us, I felt the tears welling up in my eyes. I felt that the Lord was really looking out after me. Immediately after mass, I went to their booth and signed up. A week after that, I was invited to my first ever Soul Saturday where I met the Yuppies for the first time. I went home that night feeling like I’ve known them already for a long time.

Several months after, I was invited by my aunt and uncle to join a Choices seminar with a group called Pathways. I kept asking them what the seminar was all about but the answers were vague.

“Your mom attended something similar when she was young. It’s like a life in the spirit seminar,” my aunt said. I still had no clue what that meant.

The day of the seminar came and I still had no definite answer. My aunt invited me again. Since I had nothing to do that afternoon, I jumped at the chance.

From there, I learned that the seminar would mean attending a course for 10 Saturdays. It meant reconnecting with God, sharing experiences with other people, praising and worshipping. It was definitely different but then again, the Lord has consistently surprised me with the effortlessness of saying yes. It was after all saying yes to Him.

My openness to new experiences surprised me especially since I was an introvert. But I knew that when I decided whatever I decided in that bathroom, I had to totally jump away from my comfort zone. In the last year, I’ve probably closely encountered over a hundred new faces, tried new things, and started with a new skill. It is only through the Lord that I was able to accomplish those.

It was already a few months after becoming a member of KAIROS that I learned what the meaning of the group’s name was. It meant “a propitious moment for decision or action” or “the right or opportune moment.” I smiled to myself when I learned that. I suddenly had that same wide-eyed clarity that surfaced months ago in the bathroom. My KAIROS wasn’t just a moment. It was a whole year, and the Lord made sure of that.

I am so glad I took that shower.

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Pelikulang Pilipino Noon

Nais kong magsulat sa sariling wika ngayong gabi.

Kung meron mang makakabasa nito na mula sa ibang bansa o hindi nakakaintindi ng Tagalog, humihingi ako ng pasensya. Asahan niyong walang masasamang salita o mga sikretong pang-Pilipino lamang ang lalabas dito sa isusulat ko.

Nais ko lamang mahasa ang aking paggamit ng Tagalog sa pagsusulat. Marahil ito ay epekto ng dumaang pangangampanya at eleksyon o kaya nama’y ang panonood siguro ng mga pelikulang pang-klasiko sa Cinema 1 tuwing Miyerkules. Ilan sa mga pelikulang napanood ko na nitong nagdaang mga linggo ay Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang, Insiang, at Himala–mga pelikulang nagawa nung dekada ’70 at ’80.

Ibang klase talaga ang mga pelikula noong mga panahong iyon. Tila ba walang takot noong ginawa, walang pakundangan, walang ibang ibig ipahiwatig kundi ang kwento lamang. Nakakapagtaka dahil ang mga ginintuang taon ng pelikulang Pilipino ay naganap sa kasagsagan ng Martial Law. Siguro yun ang hatak ng mga pelikulang ito–ang mawala ng panandalian ang balisa sa mga kaganapan sa gobyerno at sa labas ng tahanan. Ngunit naniniwala din ako na ginamit ang mga pelikula upang buksan ang mga mata ng bawat Pilipino sa mga nangyayaring kahirapan at kalupitan noong mga panahong iyon.

Kadalasang tumatatak sa akin ang mga huling sandali ng mga pelikula tulad ng Bona, Batch ’81, Kisapmata, at Tag-Ulan sa Tag-Araw. Nakakatindig balahibo ang epekto ng mga eksena nito. Bakit kaya kadalasan sa dulo ng pelikula pa talaga hinuhugot ang kataas-taasan ng emosyon ng manonood? Minsan naiiwan pang bitin at kapag dumilim na lang ang telebisyon, doon pa lang malalamang tapos na pala ang pelikula. Wala nang ibang magagawa kundi pag-isipan na lamang sa sarili ang susunod na maaaring mangyari. Ngunit siguro iyon ang patuloy na humahatak sa mga manonood: ang mabigyan ng pagkakataon upang gamitin ang imahinasyon at paganahin ang utak upang magtanong.

Bukas ay Miyerkules na naman. Ano kaya ang ipapalabas?

Tomorrow’s Countdown

We are only counting hours till election day comes, and still, my mind is drawing a blank on who to vote for as president. If only I could keep my final answer that way—nameless. Instead of leaving four ovals unshaded, I’d keep all of them untouched and move on to my vice president’s name, where I would mark her oval with all enthusiasm.

Regardless of my preference to abstain (or not), someone will be picked over all of the five. Someone will claim the title of president. That is the truth. And this whole campaign season has been so overruled by opinions that the only thing comforting with me to side with is the truth. In the end I will not let my privilege to vote for a president go to waste. 

A few days ago I woke up and the first thought that came to my mind was that the next president will be in office for six years. I fast forwarded to my future. In between those years, I will be married and hopefully have kids. Whoever will sit as president will determine the world that my children will live in. Questions and situations whizzed in my brain: Will we have good jobs to support them? Will they have the same kind of freedom that we’re enjoying now? Most importantly, will the country be green enough for them walk in it? 

I know my thoughts are becoming a little too bohemian, but choosing who to lead our country is serious matter. It will make or break our future. Let’s not just think of our little bubble but of the rest who live in this country. This coming election day, I hope we do not vote for who could help us best, but who could help us be our best. I hope we do remember that change doesn’t happen overnight. We mustn’t become complacent and just depend on our new leader. Change starts with us. And whatever the results may be, I just hope that these will leave us at peace. 

Pag-alala

Para kay Jason

Sa isang sulok ng kwarto, merong isang kahon.

Sa loob nito’y larawan ng mga bata

Noong unang panahon

Pilit na inaalala

Kung ano ang dapat makita

Maya’t-maya’y nalilinawan.

Mga batang nakahilera, nakangiti sa kamera

May isa doon (oo, siya nga)

Malaki ang ngiti, abot hanggang mata

Parang lulusong mula sa larawan

Ramdam na ramdam ang saya

Tila isang anghel, walang pagbabadya

Na magiging isang ibon

na bigla-biglang lilipad

Saan man mapadpad, ganun kita maaalala

kung paano sa larawan.

Sa loob ng isang kahon,

kinuhanan noong unang panahon.

2010 – 2015

Right now all I could think of are the numbers:

Five years,

four walls.

Three times rebooted and restarted.

There is only one me.

Too many times moved that I’ve completely lost count.

Too many faces and names to remember not to forget.

Rain

Yesterday, it rained for the first time this summer.

While it happened, I sat in an office that smelled of old books and drowned with the voices of people talking business.  Occasionally I would hear a clap of thunder and lightning and smile to myself. All of the day’s sweltering heat will be washed off by the rain.

I wanted nothing else but to run outside, or to a window, and watch the rain pour. I’ve seen rain fall thousands of times though, even despised the impracticality it brought with it. I don’t know what makes this one special. I guess I wanted to see how gray the sky looked, or how the pavement suddenly filled with puddles, or the splash of the raindrops on the ground.

Once we went out of the office, I saw through a window that the rain had slowed to a drizzle. The sky was still gray, but had only left in its wake the ground wet and the air smelling of raindrops.

Boom

This morning I woke up to the sound of a loud boom.

I read recently on Yahoo that there was a sleeping phenomenon where people would suddenly hear an explosion, but that explosion is only made up in their brains. When I heard it this morning though, Frankie immediately barked at the sound. And then after a while I thought I heard a man groaning in frustration. It stopped after a few seconds.

Loop

Words and images escape me. I’ve been thinking all day of what to write but I can’t sustain my train of thought. Truth is, I’ve forgotten how to write.

I miss my old self, the old me who believed in the innocence of keeping a diary. I would write in it day and night, not to practice writing, but to keep track of memories and dreams. I wrote in it everyday because that was the purpose of the diary. I had many things to write then. I was in high school!

But then I grew up. I went to college. I fell in love. I found out it was normal to share experiences with friends and not just with a notebook. Ironic though since the more things I learned, the more material I could have had written down. I chose not to.

So now I struggle with my writing. Could it be because I’m thinking like a writer? The words show not tell always echo in my mind when I write. They repeat and repeat because I know they make great stories or poems or non-fiction. But what if I forget all that?

What if I just write?

Summer

My friend told me that the whole month of April is Lit month. I don’t know if it’s for real but we challenged each other to write everyday for the whole month. So here’s my entry for the first of April.

A Haiku

Now can you feel it

Summer’s fingers reaching out

Finally, we meet.

Face Melted

Last Sunday my family and I were able to watch the repeat run of the musical Rock of Ages here in Manila. My fascination with musicals has flickered in the past few years, plus I wasn’t really keen about seeing Vina Morales on the stage so I went without really thinking of having the best time of my life.

But of course, I did.

There were a lot of surprises that day. It started once we entered the theater. Perhaps everything changes once you see the decked out stage and the lights. The fourth wall closes in and you’re immersed in another world. An usherette greeted us, grabbed our tickets and led us towards the first row. As we took our seats I realize that we were right smack in the middle. That was the first time ever that I sat so close to the stage.

A few minutes later the show starts. The cast came out for their first number. I found myself observing everything that was happening onstage. The actors had on wigs and headpieces that covered the microphones on their heads. They wore layers of clothing and hosiery and the only thing I could think of was how uncomfortable that was. Suddenly, I recognize Rachel Alejandro’s and Nyoy Volante’s heavily made up faces. Yes, even the boys wore make-up.

As the show went on, I began to see more familiar faces. I was slightly bothered with Vina Morales’s microphone jutting out from her light brown wig, but she didn’t even seem to notice it. That fact alone deserves props and it impressed me a lot. Admittedly, I really enjoyed her portrayal of Sherrie. But Aiza Seguerra was the one who really blew me away with her portrayal of Regina (pronounced as Re-GY-na), and other characters. If you watch the show, you’ll get what I mean.

I can’t end this post without mentioning MiG Ayesa, who plays Stacee Jaxx. It still amazes me how I was just about 2 feet away from a leather jumpsuit-clad, cowboy-hat wearing him. I felt like the girls in the show who were going crazy over Stacee. If I stood up and reached over I would have been able to touch him—but thankfully I was able to control myself from doing that.

Everyone can find something to love about the musical: the 80’s music, the performances of the actors, the whole story. As for me, I really liked everything about the whole experience. IMG_0662

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These are the only “souvenirs” that I have since taking photos isn’t allowed in the theater at all times. Oh, and a mental image of MiG Ayesa as Stacee Jaxx grinding onstage.

Rock of Ages runs from July 12-July 28, 2013 at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium at the RCBC Plaza, Makati.