Friday, December 30, 2011

Year-End Musings and the Crisis of Resolutions


The wind blowing from my window gradually cools as the evening turns into an early morning. As I juggle thoughts, plans, and faces in my mind I am left with one thing now just before the year 2011 call it quits: to make a recollection of the year past and make tentative plans for the coming one.

What can I say? The year has been a voyage as if in a sail-run ship, unpredictable days of brief triumphs and downright failures, swaying to the waves of outside events, clasping only the knowledge of steering and maneuvering. Forgive the figures of speech. If only those will be enough to describe the past twelve months.

...Brief Triumphs
Triumph is a strong word. But then its meaning resides in us, in what we consider triumphs and in what we do not consider as one. My gauge comes in the form of writing output, published works. My first history research paper came out this year, a fruit of my first unemployed semester. I can still recall those times when I had to hitch on a full-packed jeepney just to reach a rural barangay to interview war veterans. Then there are those published poems, one in Ateneo, one in South Korea, and two in USA. I am yet to make a ripple here in the country but at least I am aware that I still have many things to learn in craft and art that is poetry.

...Downright Failures
As I have never been a fan of personal lives getting posted like tabloid stories and being talked about by people who know nothing more than mere gossiping, I intend to make up anyway for the ugly events of the past few months. Responsibilities and mere adventurism blurred as I coursed through a sudden deluge of accidents and incidents, both intended and not. And as the coming year look upon me like a new chance I desire to follow the more amiable path, where more lives would be put at peace and where I can see real responsibilities put into realizations. Love conquers both in a good and a bad way but I wish to immerse myself in the uncorrupted form.

And at this juncture I wish the send my apologies to those people who may have felt the tug of my uncontrolled life in the past months. Amendments may come long but at least these tentative steps to settle things would suffice. Ugly details have been spilled around, yes, but I still stand by that conviction that there lay that thick wall dividing what’s public and what’s private in one’s life. I will be the sentinel of this border.

...of Resolutions
And the crisis lies on the concept of resolutions. A yearly set of resolutions inevitably assumes that what you have set the previous year has all been accomplished. That is not necessarily true for me.

- Write more and learn to write more. Lack of formal grounding on this craft is no longer an excuse not to excel. Go learn by the experience. Go learn through rejections and revisions. Writing is a love affair of its own.

- Travel more. Reach even the smallest corners of the cities or towns in the Philippines. Interview the commonest of the common and extract from them the essence, the soul of the ground that is the Philippines. The people’s stories, the structures of the past all form the moving saga, the moving history of ours.

- Save more. Not to poke fun on a well known establishment. But I need to save now owing to the uncertainly of my present situation. Unexpected problems can be best weathered with a sound pocket.

- Ponder more. An activity which I failed to do after graduating. Quiet moments under the trees. Quiet moments in a deserted train station. Quiet moments in the house. Quiet moments just before sleep. In the absence of deep prayers, may an exercise of meditations would help in organizing my thoughts and plans.

I close myself for this year, swallow in the down times, carry my bag to move onto the more aggressive and adventurous years ahead. I will walk on my own; this is my story.

“ on foot [is] virtue.”
-Werner Herzog

Rizal is in the Heart Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

Words will flood again as Filipinos celebrate today Rizal Day, a commemoration of the martyrdom of Jose Rizal, physician, doctor, patriot, national hero. The air we’ll breathe will soon be saturated with the scent of flowers from the wreaths offered in different monuments and statues. Having read his works and studies parts of his life, Rizal indeed is worthy of all the honors still being given to him. As for me, Rizal is in the heart yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Living Up to the Season’s Spirit: Giving to Typhoon Sendong Victims


Being a non-celebrant of this month’s celebrations has given been relative freedom from pressures of excessive giving and excessive consumption at the same time. But the continuous bombardment of the media of photographs and video footage of the destruction wroug
ht by Typhoon Sendong in Iligan City and Cagayan de Oro permeated through me. And so in part to enable our organization, Kapatirang Pitong Lawa sa U.P. Los Baños to participate in a community service, a relief mission was organized for three days at San Pablo City, Laguna.

I was only able to come on the last day of the mission and what surprised me was the volume of goods that the organization was able to collect. Sacks of clothes came from one barangay alone and last-minute donations were also received. Despite the intermittent rain the group was able to transport the goods to LBC which offer free delivery of relief goods to Mindanao. What we have collected thus far may be small compared to others who have truckloads but giving, as I realized as I went home after delivering the goods, is as subjective as any other concepts. It is not about how many or how much you have given. The worth of something you have given is lodged in the sincerity of your giving. You give out of heart, so they say. We hope the goods would reach the people of Iligan and Cagayan de Oro before the year ends.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Sendong Silences the Christmas Season

In this period when almost all the Filipinos are gearing up for the festivity that is Christmas, a rather ugly event cuts through an otherwise pristine season of celebration. Typhoon Sendong may not have devastated Luzon this time but it almost turned the southern cities of Iligan and Cagayan de Oro into wastelands. We see cars overturned, muds flowing through the streets, and dead people being piled up like unusable logs. We then see the survivors lining up to get drinking water which has become a boon for them.

It is really a contrasting view, a view of brown and mud as compared to a view of red and green pine trees of Christmas. But then it is quite more saddening to note how much of our happiness, at least in the Philippine setting, is anchored on how pompous our Christmas celebrations would be. Is it the only time of the year when happiness can be found? Is it the only time of the year when we could gather together and prepare for lavish food? Is it the only time of the year when giving can be a common sight?

“Araw araw ay magiging Pasko lagi...” It may not be conducive for the people of Iligan and Cagayan de Oro to celebrate Christmas and so let us give them the rest of December for mourning. And since we have all been harking how Christmas can be celebrated any time of the the year, then we might as well reserve the festivity for them in the coming of the new year. The pain and hurt might still be there but we, as a nation, can only move on and press on forward. For now let us give all the assistance we could extend to our fellow Filipinos affected by the tragedy on the south.

Photo Credit: Bobby Lagsa/NPPA Images

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Of Deltas and Losses


It’s a wonder how much of life’s experiences can be summed in the alternating descriptions of deltas and losses. Delta is not that foreign to me, having been acquainted with it through physics to denote change. Yes, changes. Then there are losses. Forgive this semi-series of emo posts. I have said to an intimate anyway that this will be my last post of that character. It is time to get over the ugly details of the recent weeks and move on.

Breathing in Changes

When one chooses not to act on something, an impetus I choose to call change will definitely run over you. But in accepting change as your inevitable shadow (in the protagonist and antagonist sense of the word), you can somehow weather eventualities not in your favor. War, as has been reminded to me recently, brings changes. War is fundamentally ugly. And so ugly affairs definitely change you or your environment. Inevitable or not, we just have to brave all of them. In my case, braved it all I did. But hopefully things would turn better after all those hasty decisions made just to patch the problems. Change compelled those decisions. And those decisions will soon attract change. That only shows that we can never go round change. It’s a part of us. It’s in the air we breathe.

Bridging Losses

We get to lose something every now and then. It may be a few bills or a wallet sometimes. Or we get to loss a chance to watch a long awaited concert. But to lose a relationship, more so a bounded one, rakes into one’s psyche and leaves you that feeling of emptiness. Perhaps emptiness is not sufficient to describe it. A calm, more likely. A calm in the storm. The calm you feel after recovering from a high fever. A calm which rings into your ears. A calm that smells of pain no matter how hard one deny it. But loss is never felt more painfully when you bridge that emptiness, when you try to overcome the realization of the loss. But as with change, we can only move on when we brave the reality of loss. Only then can we find the initiative to make the necessary amendments.

Forgive my vagueness reader.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Life Created, Life Ruined

How does one create life? Is it really confined to the biological process we are all familiar with: an entity carried in the womb of a mother and brought into this world after nine months of nourishing? Or can it be described through a relationship where the bond between two persons is strengthened by experiences shared together each day? Perhaps the distinction will lie on the definition of what is life for you or for me. As a further thought, how does one ruin life or recreate it?

On my own definitions, I saw life rose around me in the form of a family, a concept I grew to respect and appreciate for one does not get to receive so much attention beyond its circle. Its stability and happiness, ironically, is defined by norms which are totally indifferent to the human factors involved in the family’s growth or death. And I recently saw a life (or perhaps lives) got thrown into an existential abyss, leaving on its disposal a void of almost the same character but charged with more pain and suffering.

But how do I act in the midst of these two conflicting events? Do I move to preserve what the norm says is to be preserved in exchange for my personal happiness or deny the norm itself and make a living definition of happiness for me?
The answer is that I am utterly confused. And at least by typing away these simple thoughts in the wee hours of the day, I’ll receive that proverbial spark inside me and have the clarity of mind to proceed with the decisions that should be made. Life, as I have always seen it, is always wanting. I am urged to fill in the empty spaces but I still find myself tethered by responsibilities.

Name saving is no longer a safe haven, for all the details of an ugly past have been spilled anyway. I just hope to find the right bets, the right choices for the actions that must be done. Peace, at least in the personal level, cannot be attained for now. And so I plunge into these bitter and decidedly ugly battles. Still, I expect to come out of all the problems not really clean but redeemed. I have overlooked many things but I intend to correct them for the betterment of the many.

And so to my questions. Well, one can create and ruin life. After all, this moral existence is an existence of constant change. We can only live with the wounds of the creation or of the destruction. The bright side of all this is that we OURSELVES have the power to recreate our damaged lives not only once but more. Living gives us hope. I may have the most guilt- and problem-ridden heart at this hour, but I am anticipating a better closure to all of these present predicaments the soonest possible time.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Rethinking December Consumption

.The month of December comes in with the usual chilly morning air and festive mood. Christmas is at hand and all would now be Christmas songs and carols in our ears, Christmas decors to look at, and Christmas delicacies to indulge with. In short, it is all about consumption again by our dear, old senses.

But a simple thought, written by Sarah Nardi in an issue of Adbusters Magazine would make one rethink on how one would approach the Christmas, beyond all the pretexts to celebrate the birth of the Messiah of Christendom. She spoke of fasting done in the (more or less) same holiday of the Muslims, the Ramadan. It is not about consumption but in fact abstinence, designed as the short article said: “…to bring closer to one’s spiritual self.” Christian or not, it may be high time for those who chance upon this blog post to revamp our consuming attitude for the coming holidays. One can make it a re-founding of one’s self. That’s something to think about.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

December In Silence

Let this uneven breathing and a light fever
describe the multitude of thoughts and feelings
inside me as December commences today.