19 July 2017


“The purest form of happiness that you will experience in your lifetime, is the happiness knowing that you are loved without expectations”
Photo by WeVe1

The sun scorched the school’s balcony where Garet stood. It was almost noon, and everything around her seemed bright. She found joy in watching the garden and the children playing, not minding the heat. At a young age, she grew up babysitting children who have become very prominent members of society. Some may have forgotten her growing up, but she has never forgot them. She loved kids. And she loved me.

Garet would begin her day at dawn, when the roosters would beg the sun to come out. She makes breakfast for the family and prepares coffee with beans from her own backyard. Breakfast was simple but it was always filled with happiness and with love. Like any loving wife and mother, she would carefully attend to her duties and her children before heading out to town on foot. It was roughly about three kilometers of walking, but she never complained.

It was the first day of kindergarten and I eagerly waited for her. I have always found comfort walking alongside her to school, as she carefully guided each step I took. My parents had to work the entire day and I had the privilege of coming home with her after school. I didn’t mind the long walk or the midday sun. I was always happy to be in the middle of the sugarcane fields and I would soon memorize the names of the sakadas working these fields. Her home was my playground. It always smelled of roses and sugarcane. I would find myself asleep on her lap after a healthy lunch of homegrown vegetables.

In Igpanulong, where Garet lives, money is of no value. God has abundantly blessed the land with fruit trees, clean water, freshwater fish and kind people. There were times that we would have lunch by the river and she would let me swim until my frail body got tired. As a child I started to dream big dreams looking at the sky with my back pressed against the sandy river bank. Falling asleep under trees made me realize how happy and simple my childhood was, and she made sure that I was always happy and loved. She would bring me home every afternoon just in time before my parents got home.

Garet never grew tired of taking care of me. I was already in grade school and she never failed to bring me to school even if she was ill. She would simply brush my worry aside with a smile and her reassuring hug that everything will be alright. She was my source of joy when I got very low test scores. She would go out of her way to talk to my teacher, even my classmates to convince them to be extra patient with me. She stood by me even in the most humiliating situation a child could possibly endure, and we just laughed all the way home talking about how I peed my pants in school.

She might not have understood fractions, subject and verb agreement, or balarila. She might not have adequate scientific knowledge or remember important dates in history. Nonetheless, she taught me kindness and respect. Most importantly, she taught me to love without bounds. My capacity to love is only limited by her unselfishness, her pursuit for happiness, and her passion for life. I have always loved her then, and I don’t think I will ever stop loving her.

As I grew older, I became more independent. I began to see less and less  of her, and she has moved on to take care of my sister and my other cousins. In the very few moments that I do see her, it would always be in that corner of the school balcony, gaze fixed at the garden watching the children play. It is not that I have stopped needing her, it’s just that I fear that some of her daily activities involving taking care of us would also affect her health. I would only see her on Sunday mornings when she never fails to stop by to give me and my sister our ration of cookies from her stash. Most times we would refuse because we wouldn’t want her spending money on us, but it just gives her joy to provide a semblance of happiness in whatever way she can. Because of that, I have learned to eat only those particular brands of biscuits that she buys.

Garet has always been exceptionally proud of me and my accomplishments. I could only hope that I do justice by not bringing myself down from the pedestal she has put me. But I am not perfect, and despite having brought up well, I was bound to make mistakes I would soon regret. I spent lesser time with her even more and I could only count those times only to wish that I should have been with her more. And in those times that I would walk beside her, she would always tell me that she was afraid that she might stumble and fall. It broke my heart, and I could only tell her in a harsh voice that I will never allow that. I never wanted her to see me cry.

A February morning broke the news of her passing. It was one of those moments of dreaded silence and hurt that one can only bear for himself. I could not talk about it and I didn’t want to talk about it. I stopped eating those particular brands of biscuits she would buy for us. I haven’t eaten them since then, nor will I ever find the strength to even look at them. Flashbacks of her standing in the school balcony smiling, are forever etched and immortalized in my mind. I had to convince myself that she was on a long vacation and hasn’t returned.

I had to summon whatever strength I had left to be with her, but I could not bear to see her lifeless body. I tried my best not to cry, but I found myself sobbing on my father’s shoulder in front of a crowd. I was not ashamed to show emotion for the woman who has spent her entire life taking care of us. And even up to now, I cry a lot when I miss her. And I do miss her.

The sun scorched the school’s balcony where Garet stood. It was almost noon, and everything around her seemed bright. She found joy in watching the garden and the children playing, not minding the heat. She loved kids. And she loved me with a love that will echo into eternity.

15 July 2017


Photo Courtesy of Definitely Filipino's Archives
She gave up on her dreams so she can be a great role model to you. You became her world the moment you were born. The moment she laid eyes on you, she knew that she had to do everything in her power to keep you safe, to make you feel loved, to be there for you every step of the way. She knows that while she may not have the resources, she is bound to find ways to send you to school and give you the best education, better than what she has known. She knows with every bone in her body that a birthday party will make you happy, even if she has not known one growing up. She knows that while her knowledge to educate you may be limited by her own education, she hopes that she can make up for it by teaching you about life and the world around you.

She knows that she can only give you an assurance as to how the world works based on what she knows. Her life experiences, while to some, may be inadequate, compose the wisest advices in her arsenal of wisdom. She knows that with her guidance, you are bound for great things and great experiences, even far greater than hers. She is happy to know that you will know the world thru her eyes and her words, and know it better because she has equipped you with her wisdom. Suddenly, she pauses with the sad truth that the world will fail you and break your heart and she prays that when that time comes, she will still have enough strength to take that pain away in whatever way she can.

She may want things for herself. And when she does, she has to weigh if she really wants them, because she knows that your need outweighs hers, and she is happy to forego her happiness so that you can have yours. You may not be aware of it, but the mere fact of making sure that you have a decent meal may be daunting for her. Have you not wondered where she gets the strength to wake up before everyone else does, only to rest when everybody else is asleep? She has mastered the art of making the family budget work to your advantage and she doesn’t mind not getting a single penny to spend on her because she loves you.

She may not show it, but you are her pride and joy. Every award, medal or honor that you bring to the family fuels her drive to be better at what she does, juggling work and home and making both work seamlessly and perfectly. While you may be offended when she secretly reads your love letters and giggles about it, she tells people how proud she is to have raised you in love and how wonderful you turned out to be.

She broke her heart when you left for college. She hasn’t shown it, even up to this day, but you, leaving her was the saddest day of her life. You may have seen the excitement in her smile, but her eyes held back tears as she pushed you to go on so that you will think that you made the right choice and won’t change your mind. You may have moved on with your life with a new school, a new set of friends, and a new environment, but she has never stopped thinking about you even in her sleep. Miles away from you, her instinct worries her that you may not be eating well, that you may be getting home late, or may not be well. She can only hope for you to find the time to spend your school breaks with the family not just to assure her that you are safe, but because she is excited to take care of you.

She will always see you as her little child no matter at what age. Please don’t take that joy away from her, as it is the only fragment of memory that she wants to hold on to, knowing that you may have found a new family or are too busy to talk to her. Her constant repeated texts asking how you are may be annoying for you, but it is the fastest way that technology has provided her to reach out to you. You may think that you are an adult, can take care of yourself and may not care about the world, but you are still, and will forever be part of her world. You may think that showing an iota of love for her is silly and childish, but she loves you anyway, always has, always will.

She will turn old and gray. She might be in pain but she will never tell you that. She respects that you have your own life now and she does not want you to worry even if you do. Every time that you get to hug her in very limited times, you may think that you are merely making up for lost time, but to her, it’s everything. She will insist on sending you off every time you leave, only to see you go and break her heart every single time. And one day, you will just learn that she went quietly in the night with nothing less than good dreams about you and how much she loved you.

Now you know what your mother has sacrificed for you, what have you ever done to love her?

18 May 2017

Thoughts for an Insomniac

Hello blog, it has been a while. I have been pretty much preoccupied with random thoughts of heroism and grandeur that I forgot to be grounded. Nonetheless, here I am retracing my steps into doing what I love most - writing. Forgive me if you might think I am rusty. I am. You see, it has been a while since I  utilized the full function of my head and I have been merely using it to separate my ears, albeit I try.

When was the last time you got updated huh? And if indeed I did update you, I don't think I have posted anything significant, enough to swallow someone into my black hole. Those were the times eh? Times have changed, I have changed.

I am trying to reconnect with my old friends, I mean those who have been with me since I started my journey of deviating from the norms. I am hoping that IF, and indeed I do reconnect with them, perhaps, I can start finding myself from those pieces.

Yes I am lost. I do not even know where I am heading. It seems that it is not practical anymore to have  a goal for the long term, other than having a goal to survive the day. I am lucky enough to have not lost my sanity and be reduced into some basement with a panic attack. I try not to go there.

For now, let me get through my day and end it with hope, happiness and contentment, knowing that 30 minutes from now is another day to hope, to be happy, and maybe, just maybe, be contented.

08 February 2017

Of Turo-Turos and Carinderias

To relieve myself of my evening ritual of preparing dinner, I checked out one of those turo-turos along Boni Avenue just to peek at what could be dinner. The covered chafing dishes could prove to be a treat or a surprise not intended for the faint of heart.
As manong tindero approached to explain what I should expect behind each covered container, I was wondering if he was cursing me in French or humiliating me in Russian. "Igado, atay, sinampalukan.... and some other foreign sounding viand were my choices.

As I motioned to check if I am about to have an epistaxis, manong opened all the containers masterfully like a magician showing his craft. The food looked either suicidal or in dire need of psychological evaluation. They were screaming for help. Mission failed.
This is the part where I search for KFC Delivery in Safari.

02 June 2016

A Certain Kind of Sadness

The problem with knowing the truth and keeping it to yourself is that the lies and the bullshit you hear seem to irritate you, especially if there is extra and committed effort on the part of other people to make you accept such lies as the truth. 

On the other hand, knowing the truth makes you see things clearly, but it doesn't exempt you from the sadness knowing that there isn't a soul who knows and understands why you feel towards all the lies parading in front of you as the truth. 

There is a certain kind of sadness in the air, and it breaks my heart that I alone can feel it.