Wednesday, December 31, 2008

I'd come running to see you again.

I was ready to sleep through another night alone in the house last Saturday when I suddenly heard someone open the gate just when I was about to alight from my car. It was D!

"What are you doing here?", I asked as he ran into my arms.

"I'm eating dinner here!"

"Really? What are you having for dinner?"

"Whatever you're cooking."

Yay. Our helper was on leave. Good thing he had a weakness for hotdogs.

After dinner we decided to watch YouTube together. His mom warned me that he might try clicking on "non-kid-friendly cartoons" so I patiently guarded him while he browsed through some Lego stop-motion movies. He clicked on a set of videos (see website here), which I found funny. Some, however, weren't really for 8-year-olds. I told D to just choose those that had "clean" storylines (eg. no derogatory or cuss words).

"But, Tita Chrise, the videos are only funny when they have bad words in them!"

He had a point. I figured, he's quite mature anyway, so I might as well just "supervise" while watching with him. It was all ok until we came across one clip and he asked,

"Tita Chrise, what's 'crack'?"

"Uh...hey, let's go to Jollibee and get some sundaes first, ok?"

His face lighted up as I grabbed the car keys and drove with him to buy our close-to-midnight snacks.

Whew. He had more questions in the morning that I'd rather not post anymore, except for one reply to a nosy inquiry:

"Cool. You have an enemy!"

I love being an aunt to this boy. :)

Friday, December 26, 2008

I'll remember.

Allow me to linger on the memory of you today.

In my mind, the first day I saw you is as fresh as the thought of yesterday.

You were radiant as you were simple; gracious as you were serene.

I instantly loved you. I would have wanted to stroll along hospital walkways with you if I continued my studies in that direction. I enjoyed listening to stories of you, especially the early years in Baguio with the rest of the family I had grown to love too.

Your car was my favorite, and only now do I realise that my own car is blue too, like yours.

I miss your thoughtfulness, how you would invite me to eat or check if I have a ride home. Merienda at Jollibee would always remind me of you.

When the time came when you no longer remembered me, I kept on thinking about you. I could not tell you how much I loved you, because I had become an unwilling stranger. Yet I still prayed for you. And I still pray for you.

It has been a year today since you left. Though we were almost but not quite bound as family, you will always be the one I learned the most from. You are one of the reasons why I survive being alone. You were the gentle strength that kept me standing in spite of the crushing difficulties at home. You were the inspiration that empowered my prayers to bring my father back in the pink of health. And you are the silver lining that reminds me to trust God's plan and to see the good in every event that comes -- or fails to come -- in my life.

Thank you, Lola Bella. You will always be remembered and loved.

Saturday, December 13, 2008


I found this song on YouTube when I was looking for a nice video for Christmas. It's quite a long track, embellished here and there, which makes it a perfect accompaniment for Final Fantasy X (though I'm not sure whether this was officially included in the game). If you're curious, watch the video here.

I remember this song for another reason, though. I had a tape (retro!) of this album by Kenny Loggins ten years ago, and it was one of those albums I kept in my dad's car for him to listen to. One time we were on our way to fetch my sister from a high school recollection along Tandang Sora, and this was playing in the background while we were on the road. Suddenly Dad noticed the street we were going into was familiar, and asked me,

"Hindi ba't nandito ang bahay ni


"Bakit nga pala hindi na siya pumupunta sa atin?"

"Wala na po kami, Daddy." We had recently broken up less than a month ago then.

He paused, decelerated the car, looked at me and gently said,

"Kaya pala malungkot ang anak ko. Pasko pa naman."

I wanted to sigh and say thanks for stating the obvious, but it was too early for me not to be affected. I was only 19, but was usually expected to act older than my years, and that meant not showing any sign of weakness, especially when it came to boyfriend issues. Yet for a moment while riding on that bumpy road, I was allowed to acknowledge losing a love I tried to fight for. Daddy remained silent, while I shed my tears as clandestinely as I could.

As I listened to it tonight, it struck me again, albeit differently. Whilst a decade ago I was dwelling on how to nurse a broken heart, today I discover that Christmas is when that big, empty space in my heart is given a lot to be filled with. Daddy would probably say the same thing to me now and I would still stop myself from sighing, because now I find that It's not so much of being alone as it is being available for more people in need.

Going home from Hangad's Isabela concert last weekend and from an office outreach activity today gave me a sense of purpose: I, my family, my job and my friends remain, because of the strength of a collective love that is meant to be shared, celebrated, and sung. This love, which began many Decembers ago, is what brings us the hope of sunrise after a dark night.

This season may have a few poignant moments for me, but for the most part I am still overwhelmed with gratitude for everything good that has happened in 2008, and truly hopeful for a brighter 2009.

Happy Christmas, everyone.


Kenny Loggins
released 1998

Once upon a dream
Moonlit wings come into view
Winter casts her spell
And all the world is born anew
A child sees a star through a window
He knows with all his heart
That wonder is coming

Only in December
Are hearts so full
Or feel more alone
Could it be the same
For everyone

Only in December
Can the broken heart
Feel so alive
And the autumn ashes
Become the fires of December
Can I be inside
And out of the cold
Still I know
December always leads me home

I still believe in magic

Always leads me home
And I still believe in miracles, yes
Still believe in Christmas
I still believe in love

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Storia Di Noi Due.

It has come full circle. And it has brought me back to this.

I was hoping it would be movie-like, that we'd be Bruce Willis and Michelle Pfeiffer in "The Story of Us".

There's a history here. And histories don't happen overnight.

Alas, you never really caught on my flair for drama. You just didn't like staring at closure in the eye when you left me hanging on for dear life in your 6-month silence. God knows when you finally decided to end "waiting forever" for me, after trying to make amends about a couple of months ago while you were still enveloped in your idle loneliness.

But what I do know is, when one falls in love, and falls really hard, the length of time is never a question. A month may seem too short, but at this point, it had to happen sooner or later. Even I admitted to you that there is someone else in my life now who is waiting in line and who just might have a chance. I just wish you endowed to me the same courtesy to hear it from you.

So, Carlsen, I hope that this new love is the one that will finally sweep you off your feet, that one I've been telling you that you will go crazy about, the one that will give you a feeling that has neither rhyme nor reason. The one that I knew all along was never me.

And maybe, in the future, if our paths cross again, I hope I see it in your eyes that the bliss of loving selflessly is well worth its risks, because for me, it always, always, is.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

i'm the man who can't be moved.

I saw scenes of Cinema Paradiso from a TV in Eastwood Fuente Circle while waiting for Lala's second set about two weeks ago. I told my 2 guy pals that I haven't met a man like Salvatore who would wait out for days and nights, even in the rain, in faith that his beloved Elena's bedroom window will open and fill his heart with hope of love's reciprocity.

This idea of courtship was brought up again during Hangad's anniversary mass when Fr. Nono said that boys used to "make igib from the poso" (sosyal si Father?), get firewood and take pains just to win a girl's affections.

I was raised by parents who believed it unwise for a woman to declare her feelings for a man unless it is the proper time to do so, though they were not too clear about when that would actually happen. My mom even told me that I should look for someone who loves me for than I do him, because, "in time, it will always even out". I say it never does. Or, at least, not to me.

My first love blossomed from a friendship but died a natural death. In its final days I was waiting by my window, hoping to see a Salvatore in the rain outside my house. He did come, but I was forbidden by my mother to see him, out of respect for myself and to help me heal. Eventually he got the idea that I wasn't interested anymore, and apparently, neither was he.

My second and longest relationship so far was, supposedly, one that fulfilled my parents' expectations. I said yes to a boy who had been wooing me for a semester and a half, who was unsure of his chances with me. I thought I had met my Salvatore. My love for him developed as the years passed, and it grew until we found ourselves in a community of friends and family bound by our relationship. We had our share of major fights but managed to get back in each other's arms because we were happy together, until that fateful Thursday night when I stepped out of his car because he wasn't too pleased about having to bring me home so late. I asked if he still loved me or not. He answered with a painful silence that haunts me up to now.

A branch relocation, my dad's bypass surgery and 6 months later, I suddenly saw him in front of my house, with a bag of pasalubong and a note that he read to me in tears. He still loved me, he said. He was foolish, he was unworthy, and he wanted to woo me back. This time, I didn't need my mother's stern warning. I said no. And I remember him saying that he would still be there even if I said no. And for about a couple of months, he made my family believe that he was sincere by texting my mom every so often, bringing food to the house, texting me everyday even if I didn't always reply, and calling me on the phone. I was civil, and at times I think I was even quite accommodating. Then, all of a sudden, he was nowhere to be found. Some friends speculated that he probably got a new girlfriend, or maybe he got busy with work. I said to myself, there is no Salvatore.

But today, after talking to our helper (who has been with us since I was small), I realised something. She said that it's not hard for anyone to fall for me because I'm the one who waits for them, I'm the one who slows down my pace so they could catch up, I'm the one who forgets herself and stands out in the rain for them.

Ako pala si Salvatore.

Lucky is the man who gets to be my Elena.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

what i wouldn't give to meet a kindred.

kawawa naman si alanis morrissette...she could never go back 10 years to the peak of her talent before she wasted away with ryan reynolds, who left her anyway.

"OK, well this was my thought: 50,000 years ago, there are not even a million people on the planet. 10,000 years ago, there's, like, two million people on the planet. Now there's between five and six billion people on the planet, right? Now, if we all have our own, like, individual, unique soul, right, where do they all come from? You know, are modern souls only a fraction of the original souls? 'Cause if they are, that represents a 5,000 to 1 split of each soul in the last 50,000 years, which is, like, a blip in the Earth's time. OK, well this was my thought: 50,000 years ago, there are not even a million people on the planet. 10,000 years ago, there's, like, two million people on the planet. Now there's between five and six billion people on the planet, right? Now, if we all have our own, like, individual, unique soul, right, where do they all come from? You know, are modern souls only a fraction of the original souls? 'Cause if they are, that represents a 5,000 to 1 split of each soul in the last 50,000 years, which is, like, a blip in the Earth's time.You know, so at best we're like these tiny fractions of people, you know, walking... I mean, is that why we're so scattered? You know, is that why we're all so specialized?"

-- Jesse, as portrayed by Ethan Hawke in the film Before Sunrise, 1995

(alam ko, nosebleed....)


I was watching Big Stan in Trinoma last night when I suddenly felt my heart beat faster. It definitely wasn't because I was excited about the movie (Rob Schneider movies must never, ever, be a medium to relieve stress), but I felt a bit panicky. I did have a tall caramel macchiato in the morning and another tall caramel latte in the moviehouse, so it could just have been the caffeine. Just to be on the safe side, I tried calling a friend's mobile number which had been out of reach for hours, and texted my mom as well thinking that there might be something happening at home that made me feel a bit tense.

It turned out that my friend was held up at gunpoint by 5 armed men in a bus, along with the other passengers at around that time in Ayala Avenue. They didn't get his cellphone because its battery was empty already and it was stuffed way under his bag, but they got his wallet which had important IDs and his cash. But, at least, other than a slight struggle with the wallet chained to his pants, he was physically unharmed; though "feeling stressed" would probably be an understatement after all that.

Buti na lang that fraction of a soul stirred a bit inside me. Or maybe it was just the coffee.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

miss aniston needs a breather.

Found out from the web and on radio that Jennifer Aniston and John Mayer have called it quits. I'm not really a big fan of either Jen or John, but one can't help but feel for the girl while her former husband is raking millions of dollars for photo rights to the newest additions to the Jolie-Pitt superfamily.

She can learn a thing or two from this movie she made with another failed fling. Haba kasi ng hair, noh? Usap tayo mare. Tulungan kita mag-cope.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


sana makapanood kayo :)

"Kung aawit ako nang mag-isa, awit ko'y awitin nga ba?"

Block off your calendars for Hangad: Noon at Ngayon, a 10th anniversary
concert for Hangad's first album titled "Hangad". The show will feature
inspirational and liturgical standards from Hangad's repertoire -- some
in their original form, others with fresh new arrangements -- such as
Panunumpa, Pananatili, and Pag-Ibig Ko.

Moreover, the show features the launch of a commemorative 5-track CD,
also titled Hangad: Noon at Ngayon, featuring new arrangements of
well-loved songs mostly from Hangad's first album, plus the first-time
release of the upbeat "Walang Ibang Hangad."

Hangad : Noon at Ngayon
will be held at 7 PM on August 30, 31 and
September 7, 2008, at the St Stanislaus Chapel of the Ateneo High
School, Ateneo de Manila University, Katipunan Ave., Loyola Heights,
Quezon City.

Tickets are at Php150, which covers entrance to the show and a copy of
the commemorative CD "Hangad: Noon at Ngayon." Additional "Hangad: Noon
at Ngayon" CD's can be purchased at Php100 each.

"Habambuhay isa ang Hangad: umawit sa "Yo!"

Visit us at or email us at

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Death to mush.

This made me laugh. Ganito ka ba? ;p


True Friendship

(none of that Sissy Crap)

Are you tired of those sissy "friendship" poems that always sound good, but never actually come close to reality?

Well, here is a series of promises that actually speak of true friendship.

1. When you are sad -- I will help you get drunk and plot revenge against the hateful bastard who made you sad.

2. When you are blue -- I will try to dislodge whatever is choking you.

3. When you smile -- I will know you finally got laid.

4. When you are scared -- I will rag on you about it every chance I get.

5. When you are worried -- I will tell you horrible stories about how much w

orse it could be until you quit whining.

6. When you are confused -- I will use little words.

7. When you are sick -- Stay the hell away from me until you are well a

gain. I don't want whatever you have.

8. When you fall -- I will point and laugh at your clumsy ass.

9. This is my oath.... I pledge it to the end. "Why?" you may ask; "because you are my friend".

Friendship is like peeing your pants,

everyone can see it,

But only you can feel the true warmth.

Send this to 10 of your closest friends,

Then get depressed because

you can only think

of 4.

And smile, because I thought of you!!!

Thanks for being a friend =)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

6 piece chicken conversations and concert-crashers.

High school was not the happiest place to be if you weren't popular, pretty and pole-thin. Yet somehow, amidst all the angst, the peer pressure and the struggle for grades, solid-as-rock friendships get you through everything regardless if you're in the clique of the prom queens, the league of overachieving academics or in the locker corner of the offbeats, and the bond is so strong it stays long after you've quit your first job or obtained that second degree.

Just last Friday, I drove all the way to Rockwell from Quezon Ave just to have a KFC takeout dinner at a high school barkada's apartment. We enjoyed a few laughs watching comedy skits, talking nonstop with another barkada over the phone and swapping stories about crushes, just like old times. This time, though, the TV was YouTube, we were burning mobile phone lines instead of landlines and crushes were no longer blue- or green-blooded but blue- or white-collared, hahaha ;p

The following evening, I went out with another friend to watch a fundraising concert at a bar in Ortigas. The bar owner is his high school barkada, and we got in for free :) Nagkumustahan sila about batchmates, family and how it felt to watch newbloods perform while they sit at the sidelines instead of performing themselves. Unfortunately, there were a couple of anonymous sluts who shared our table, ordered sisig and some drinks and left without settling their tab! Kawawa naman si owner...akala nya kasama namin (actually I had no idea how they got to our table when I came back from the CR -- probably tried to flirt thinking my friend was alone). Kainis diba? We left on a happy note naman, after watching a spectacular performance by all the bands who participated, most noteworthy of all was Yosha, which was the reason why I came and stayed from 9pm to 2am in the first place :) We also bumped into another classmate of his before we headed for home. Funny, I just realised this was the second bar we've been to that's owned by one of his high school batchmates! Hmm. Someday we'll set up our own at sila naman ang dadalaw, haha.

Thanks to the nuns in green skirts and the brothers in greenhills for the schools they built :)

Saturday, July 12, 2008

uwian na, uwian na!

Sing the subject to the tune of "here comes the bride"...hahaha just like grade school days.

The endoscopy results show a few scars on the intestine which caused Dad's tummy trouble, while the biopsy results indicate NEGATIVE for malignancy.


My brother's at the billing section as I type this...ako naman timing kung kailan naman ako nag-OT sa work saka pa na-clear si Daddy to go home. Uuwi na rin ako in a while!

Salamat ulit sa inyong mga dasal at suporta. Ang lakas n'yo talaga sa langit :)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

my first teenage love affair

Got this from a friend's site. Do you remember feeling this way? ;)


Tuesday, July 08, 2008

to break faith with You is to be no one.

begin reading this with a prayer that Dad’s biopsy results, due this evening, will show promise J


I met a former client yesterday afternoon at the office. He was smiling and seemed genuinely delighted to see me, and I offered my assistance in facilitating his request which had to be relayed to the other branch. I invited him over for a chat, since I’ve known him and his wife for quite some time now, sharing personal stories while helping them manage their accounts. They’re in their late fifties and call each other “Ga” (short for pangga or "darling"), being the sweet Ilonggos that they are.

He fell ill a few years back and was found to have a large tumor growing in his brain. I remember his wife taking out a loan to shoulder the cost, and leaving her job as a school director to minimize stress-inducing situations. They visited me when he recovered, telling me the amusing story of him being operated on fully awake, and finding a sense of inner peace after being given a second chance at life. The last time I talked to them, they were even volunteering to help me find work in Australia should my plans to settle down and raise a family there push through J

He asked how I was, and I told him a bit of everything, mostly about my dad’s condition. From his experience with battling cancer, he assured me that we’ll live through this with God’s grace. I told him I’ve banished doubt in divine providence, knowing that everything does happen for a reason, and that faith has kept me going in recent months, because, honestly,

the reasons do come sprouting from nowhere, with my mind nodding, “ah, kaya pala.” J

His eyes suddenly welled up and told me God sees the good things that we do, and that I should never stop caring for my family. He wrote my dad’s name in his little notebook and promised to offer intentions in his community prayer.

Grace is the instrument that realizes hope.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

let the pain bring on the rain.

dissonance is a migraine.

i've been here before, on the other side, when i was doing the asking and all i got was silence. who knows why silence was the choice and not "yes", "no", or "i don't know"? i felt confused, thinking about how selfish and heartless it was to leave me hanging over a precipice.

now that i'm the one being asked, i fall silent -- not because it's a selfish choice, but because i'm trying to keep it together.

i feel i'm betraying him for not saying what needs to be said, but i'm not sure if i am completely capable of handling everything that will result from spilling the beans, because i still don't have the complete picture with me anyway, and it might be harmful to him for me to bring about urgent but incomplete news. on the other hand, i cannot reconcile being pleased to see him smiling and walking around the house while dreading a threat in his body that needs to be acknowledged immediately. yes, it does not seem life-threatening for now on the outside, but who knows what damage it may cause until it's too late?

to my siblings who would rather keep daddy in the dark, i'm sorry, but dad has the right to know what's going on. and dad will only feel betrayed if we don't let him know about it. i'm pretty sure he's beginning to wonder why it's taking so long to hear anything.

to my siblings who wanted him to know about it yesterday, i'm sorry that we all had to succumb to the false hope of keeping daddy in a happy place for a few days before we fire him up again for another blow. it was decided upon on good intentions, but not all good intentions are sound. we are weak, we are tired, we are buying time from God, and we also wanted daddy to be able to take a long, deep breath before braving another storm.

so, we'll let him in on it bit by bit in the next few days before the doctor gives the formal interpretation on saturday.

hindi maipagkakailang masasaktan siya, pero marunong naman siya magpayong sa bagyo.
at dapat, tayo rin.

Monday, May 12, 2008

a few more winks, Daddy. promise :)

Dad's still at the hospital. His endoscopy results show something that isn't too good. We have a CT scan scheduled tomorrow to rule out anything else other than the lump in his intestine that is still not sure to be benign. Dad doesn't know it yet but we will break the news once we also get the CT scan results. He was actually in high spirits today, thinking that the endoscopy is only a "formality" and that he will be going home soon. Unfortunately, he will be on extended stay again until all procedures are done..

I ask for you all to pray for God's grace to enter Daddy's heart; he has been depressed by the complications of his operation and his weak muscles. He wants to drive to Trinoma and watch movies with us already, and is saddened with every dizzy spell or miscalculated step whenever he tries to walk on his own. He also told us prior to the endoscopy that should there be a need for another procedure, he would firmly not allow it because he feels his body has been examined, probed, sawed and poked at more enough times already.

Thanks again for the support! Malakas kasi kayo kay God kaya sa inyo kami muling lumalapit para malampasan natin ulit ito :)

Friday, May 09, 2008

stop and stare, i think i'm moving but i go nowhere

"Bakit ganito ang buhay ko ngayon?", my father asked me today as he looked at me from his bed as he lay shivering, his sad eyes wanting to hide under the blanket.

"It takes time, Dad. Matatapos din ito," I said, firmly believing that my optimism will rub off on him and get his body back on track.

Dad is confined at the hospital yet again tonight. We rushed him to the Heart Center's ER when we noticed he was pale, unable to eat and too weak to stand up on his own. Preliminary findings include high blood sugar levels and low hemoglobin count. CBC, CT scan and X-ray results are to be released this morning. From the looks of it, a blood transfusion will be necessary.

I ask you again, dear friends and family, to pray for his recovery. We'll win this fight once and for all!

sumapat kaya ang mula pagsikat hanggang paglubog ng araw?

"kung nagmamahal ka, pero hindi mo naman kasama araw-araw, at di ka rin sigurado kung babalikan ka, ano'ng tawag doon?"

"nagmamahal. kasi ang nagmamahal, nagtitiwala."

---- Celeste and Ploning, from the film
Ploning by Dante Nico Garcia

I'm not sure if it helped me to watch this film, but it sure didn't feel like picking on old wounds. It actually recalled memories of Culion (never mind if the movie was shot in Cuyo, Palawan).

It's the Pinoy movie you should watch if you're deciding which of those showing now stands a chance against Iron Man.

(and, no, it does not compare AT ALL to Batanes, which should have just been a travelogue without the horrible script and equally horrible acting.)

Tapos, pakwento naman ng first five minutes, haha ;)

Thursday, May 08, 2008

got me out here in the water so deep


i went to the mall this afternoon to buy some stuff for me and the house.

i forgot to pay my mobile phone bill, which was the primary reason why i chose to go to a mall instead of the grocery store.

i tripped on the escalator -- which was not working -- because i had too many bags, and both my knees are a bit sore. i hope i don't get bruises kundi goodbye to the badminton skirt i'm supposed to wear for a weekend game.

to cap it off, i left one of my shopping bags in the dressing room where i fit that blasted skirt, discovering this only at around 10pm this evening.

'yan yata ang napapala ng hindi pagkain ng kanin.

wish i also had another pair of hands.


Monday, April 07, 2008

day of valor

After going to the hospital today to have lunch with Dad and family, I drove to run some errands around Katipunan. I suddenly felt drawn to go to Loyola Memorial Park, remembering that the holiday today was because of Araw ng Kagitingan, which actually falls on April 9, my lola's birthday.

So off I went to brave the Marikina traffic and to pay a visit to, not just one, but 3 of my lolas at the park. I said my prayers, gave flowers I bought, and sat on the lawn in front of the tombstones. And I thanked them.

I thanked my birthday girl Lola Ima for showing us what valor truly meant, when she walked the Death March on her 18th birthday, alone, facing burnt remnants of where her home once stood in Cupang, Balanga, Bataan, and to rebuild it with her own hands, taking over the reins of her parents, and succeed in sending her brothers, including my maternal grandfather, to college and law school. She never stopped caring for her nieces and nephews (including my mom) as though they were own children even in her early 80s, for she never married or had kids. I remembered her displaying courage despite her senility in the last months of her life, and thanked her for teaching all of us how it is to serve, to love, to be selfless, to be family.

I thanked my grandmother Lola Letty for giving birth to my mom. My lola was like my mom, radiantly exuding beauty, poise and grace even when no one was looking. I prayed to her to look after my mom, because she has been staying at the hospital nonstop, fixing everything Dad needs, eating only after everyone has, and forgetting her own pain so she could soothe Dad's. I thanked her for the gift of music -- she and her sisters were the original showbiz singers in the family, having their own show on the radio. I admired her brave heart as she struggled to fight cancer while still faithfully attending my kuya's boys' choir concerts in her last days, and thanked her for instilling in her children her devotion to the Catholic faith, which has always been Mommy's source of strength.

Finally, I drove near the exit of the park and stopped by to greet Lola Bella. I failed to visit her on her birthday last month, and it was a bit early for her husband's birthday, the oft-mentioned Lolo Cenon. I thanked her for the time I shared with her at her house, when she'd ask me if I had eaten already and if I had a ride home. I prayed in gratitude for the warmth of her daughter's continued concern for me and my family. And I thanked her for the gift of a great love that I will never forget. Her life has inspired me to embrace loss -- not to be crippled, but to allow room to give more.

I left the park and saw a familiar tree with yellow hanging blooms. April showers, my Dad called them. I smiled, knowing those three great women are smiling back at me as I pick up the pieces and rebuild my life. Tomorrow, we will begin preparing as Daddy's return to our home will be, hopefully, sometime this week already.

Truly, this day is a day of valor.

3 things off my bucket list...

i went jetskiing, paintballing and go-karting all in one day yesterday. FOR FREE!

pictures to follow!!!!

Friday, April 04, 2008

nowhere to go but up

What a week! So many things have happened the past few days, it's beginning to overshadow the events last March....
  1. Dad braved through the operation and is gradually getting better (creatinine! mag-normal ka na pwede ba?!?!)
  2. The world's local branch (hehe) transferred to a new building along Quezon Avenue nearer Edsa right before Isuzu. *shameless plug*: we're offering FREE brewed coffee and pastries every morning for those who visit us. more freebies: Kenneth Cole Reaction watc hes, wallet/key fob sets, black bank-branded umbrellas (alliteration fatale!), Sodex Ho Gift Certificates and a chance to win a slim TV if you avail of a card, loan or open a bank account!! Do drop desk is right by the window so if you pass by Q Ave, skip the tunnel and make a U-turn from Edsa and wave hysterically!
  3. I met my quota today in just 4 days into the month! WOW! Finally, I'm back on track!!!
  4. I have parking space at the new office, so I can use my car again!!! Though I think I'm getting the hang of riding jeepneys and walking from my office to the Heart Center (hah! kuripot kasi ako!)
  5. nice people i haven't seen in a while have dropped a line to say hi, and so far, all my weekends are activities ready to jump off the planner!
Of course, things could be better. Ika nga ni mareng Tracey Thorn, "it's mighty quiet here now that you're gone..." at super tahimik nga talaga sa bahay ngayon save for a few punctuated laughs ni Mupy and the barking of my little dog Kitty (mukhang kuting sa liit). Pero I'm thankful for the progressive baby steps we've all taken, grateful for the blessings, slowly accepting the challenges, and preparing to be amazed at my unseen fate.

Di ko nga lang napanood ang Toto (the American group, Igo! hehe) sa Araneta, pero at least yung isang Toto (Sorioso) napanood ko naman kahit isang beses lang sa here to view a most enjoyable performance of his song, Gupit. Na-inspire ako bigla magpunta sa
salon ah.

Sama-sama tayong umangat! =)

Thursday, April 03, 2008

i breathe you.

you used to hug me from behind as we slept at night, giving me all the warmth i needed.
i soon reciprocated and hugged you back when you turned to sleep on your side.
eventually we learned to sleep with our backs pressed against each other, in synchronised, rhythmic breaths.

i breathed you.

finally, i had to outgrow sleeping beside you. i had to unlearn breathing you. i had to unrecognize a rhythm i followed as my own. i have had countless sleepless nights.

lately, i'm pretty sure you've had, too.

but now, as i stand beside you yet away from you, i hear your short gasps. and i start to breathe deeply, hoping you will hear it.

you pause, inhale, and exhale as i do. you pause, inhale, and exhale as i do.

and for one brief moment, we are in rhythm again as I was when I was a child beside you, my lungs almost bursting as i wait for you to take in as much air as your big grown-up lungs can.

i still breathe you. i will help you breathe life back. and you will teach me to take in all that life can bring me, and to return what was given to me unselfishly.

breathe with me, Dad. we will remember it together. and soon we will breathe as we used to.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

please continue to pray for Dad

Hi all,

Unfortunately we had to forego transferring to a regular room because we need to monitor Dad's health a bit more. He's currently undergoing dialysis to regulate his creatinine levels, and sometimes his level of cognition is amiss.

Please, please pray with us.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Love, love untold.

“Come to Me when you are weary.
Lay down your burdens and your loads.
Your name is etched into the palm of My hand:
Yours is My love untold.”

Daddy's moving to a regular room, recovering well from the operation. He is happy to be with Mom and to see us all beaming with pride for his robust heart. Most of all, he is immeasurably thankful (as the entire family is, too!) to all of you for your prayers, your well wishes, and for the donors who offered new life to him.

We pray he continues to get well so he could do what he does best -- to live his life and to love to the fullest, in tribute to the Creator who remains, lives, and loves in him.

Friday, March 28, 2008

... that night they caught nothing. When it was already dawn, Jesus was standing on the shore. – John 21:3, 4

How apt this day's Gospel is.

We were called by our good surgeon Dr Quitiquit almost eight hours after the scheduled commencement of the bypass operation. He said that Dad is now at the recovery room, still sedated, but doing well. They started surgery at 12 noon pa pala due to the slight twitches on the leg catheter; but it went smoothly otherwise. They performed a quintuple (yes, 5 po yun!) bypass on him, and by the time they allowed his heart to pump, it did instantaneously, literally without skipping a beat!! If it could talk, it probably shouted in delight, "yehey!"

What a brave heart!

The doctor continued that they would be monitoring him for the next 24-48 hours to ensure normal functioning of the body systems. Hope we all continue praying, and thanks for the spiritual strength your collective intentions have brought all of us. I'm going back there with my mom (naligo lang hehe), because my dad said to her lovingly before he drifted into sleep last night,

"pagmulat ko ng mata ko, gusto ko ikaw ang una kong makita."

Ang puso ng tatay ko. Walang kupas :)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

"baka nakalimutan mo lang na pwede ka palang bumalik?"

Those were the words Fr. Mimo told me when I came by the seminary one Thursday on a whim in Tagaytay, staying overnight by myself. I wanted to exorcise demons. I wanted to take control of my life and rid myself of misery and the anguish of waiting (for godot). I ran away to escape the din and find an answer amidst the glorious backdrop of pine trees and cool winds.

The answer I got was to go back home. Home to the One who would never leave me. Pagbabalik-loob.

This evening, Joy invited me to visit the Adoration Chapel in our church coming from the hospital after a most anxious evening. And it brought me back to that night in my small rented room in Tagaytay, when the skies were devoid of any stars, the wind was howling madly like a storm, and I was wailing as a forlorn widow. I closed my eyes, and the darkness enveloped me in grief.

When I opened my eyes, I saw the pierced hands painted in the chapel's stained glass window. And I saw a glow that was more profound than the electric bulb that lighted the glass. It was a familiar incandescence. I saw it when I was in the old chapel when I was 19, pining for lost love. I also saw it when I was 24, while praying with a friend who lost all hope and future after failing a crucial subject that signalled the end of pursuing a degree. Five years again, there it was.

"You who are weary, come to Me, for I Am Peace, and you who come to Me will know My peace, it shall be yours to carry on."

My father on earth and He who Is in heaven both see my weariness. Yet despite their burdens, they think of nothing but to free me from my pain. Dad would always ask how I am before answering how he is, even when I was calling him at the hospital. And every day that I live and breathe is a constant reminder that I am not forsaken by our Father. Now, seeing pierced Hands that never stop giving, and seeing Daddy courageously battling his sickness, I find that the strength that I was searching for is home. And I see myself getting back up on my feet.

I cannot fail them. There is simply no room for cowards in my family.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

let thursday and friday be Daddy 's Prayer Rally Days!

One whole day more before Dad's scheduled operation on Friday morning...I ask for fervent prayers, mass intentions, sige na nga pati na rin blood donors :)

Daddy's mind, heart and soul are ready!!!

Thanks to all of you who have given your time, prayers, blog comments and blood donations. May God bless you always for your generosity.

By the way, for those who can't make it to the Heart Center from 8am-5pm tomorrow, their blood bank is still willing to accept donors over the weekend, in case we lack the required supply and have to borrow from the hospital stock. Dun lang kasi pwede talaga manggaling yung blood eh. You'll be screened naman dun, we can't really say for sure how fit you are for it. Same office hours pa rin on Saturday and Sunday. Just advise them you're donating for Magdaleno Cortez :) So far, 4 people have successfully donated (Alek, you're the 5th if all goes well tomorrow! thanks a lot, man!!!). Any more? :)

Again, salamat talaga. Rally na tayo!!!!!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

HELP! Daddy needs 10 AB+ blood donors ASAP!

Hi All!
My mom just texted me, we need 10 blood donors for his bypass operation this Friday since Daddy's blood type (AB+) is quite rare.
You may reply to this if you're (or know someone who is) interested in donating blood. You can also get in touch with me at the following numbers. Please forward also to those you think may be of help.
my landline nos:
4110618 to 19 (my office - HSBC QC)
9252401 (Phil Heart Center trunkline, ask to be transferred to room 323)
9314653 (my house, just leave your name and number to our helper)
my mobile nos:
+63917 8558477 (Globe)
+63918 9598735 (Smart)
+63922 4778735 (Sun)
Thanks again and let's keep the prayers coming!

Monday, March 24, 2008

now, more than ever, Dad still needs your prayers!

I just got word from my mom today, my siblings presented Dad's angiogram to Dr. Dy Bun Yok and he advised that the best procedure to remove the blockage from his heart is a bypass operation. We'll contact another surgeon, Dr Manuel Chua Chiaco, this afternoon to confirm if he could operate on him per Dr Dy's recommendation.
It'll be anytime this week, I guess. Please continue to pray for him.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

and so it begins...

It's now a waiting game for Dad. He'll be having a series of tests from tomorrow until Saturday to check his suitability for any procedure. So far, we've had 3 opinions, with surgery recommendations swinging from urgent to unnecessary. Hopefully we'll be able to get the best surgeon to work on Dad.

Anybody here know Dr. Dy Bun Yok personally? We heard he's really good. I called Chinese General Hospital this morning but he was off this week. Perhaps any of you could refer us to him? You may reach me thru my mobile since I don't know when I could be online tomorrow, I might be at the Heart Center all day :)

Had a jampacked room this afternoon: a pray-over with Dad's friends at the Centro La Humildad (from Malabon), my close friends and family in the early evening, and my other brother right before we left Dad to rest. The nurse reported a rise in his BP -- he was so excited to see a lot of people showing their sympathy. He had to eat fish and white chicken for dinner to avoid any cholesterol trouble , while we ate adobo (GP!!!) among other salty, oily things ;)

I hope he continues to be strong, to stabilize his body for whatever operation is recommended.

Again, thanks for your prayers, and hope you could include his recovery in your Holy Week mass intentions :)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

konti pa, Dad...

Just got the preliminary results from my mom today. May bara sa heart. Dad's recommended for a bypass operation. My siblings are rushing the results to another doctor for a second opinion, hopefully it's really something minor than that.

Friends, kaya to! Sabay-sabay tayo humingi ng tulong sa Diyos...

Papunta na ko dun.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Chrise's favorite lyric

"There, still, my love will be." (from the track Love Untold)

How encompassing, how understated, how constant, how unconditional, how unassuming, how universal this love is that only a God would so willingly offer even to the hardest of human hearts.

And, how overwhelmingly amazing it is to realize that the human heart is destined to love back as much as its Creator has shown. To rise from the darkness of Christ's death and to receive the healing warmth of the Spirit, we are called to bear witness to His constant presence and to recognize Him in both the littlest and largest of joys.

Daddy finally gets a room!

At about 5pm today, the Heart Center finally had a vacant private room for my dad. No tests tonight, though. He's scheduled for his angiogram tomorrow, so tonight is his last meal -- and he completely ignored the hospital food! Before I left the office, he asked for soup from a favorite chinese restaurant near my branch. Syempre I gave in and bought not only soup but his favorite noodles, beef with broccoli and yang chow rice -- the rest were for us family members who were so eager to see our father in a hospital for the first time in his life. My sister in law asked if my other brother was coming, and Ate said, "pupunta yun siguro, gutom yon!" Ganun?!? Gawin bang buffet fiesta ang ospital?!? Hehe. Pero ako fan ng hospital food so kinain ko yun while my siblings had the lauriat I bought. Dad was pleased, but still did not eat as much. I hope he had enough to keep him full until the procedure kasi kailangan yata mag-fasting...

All of us, of course, are making the atmosphere so light for Dad, kasi nga it's his first time to be confined overnight (the last time he had a room was for an executive checkup when I was still in high school which lasted only an entire day), and the tests/procedures are new to him.
I guess he'll stay there surely at least till Maundy Thursday depending on the results and necessary follow-up procedures (note to Hangad: will let you know ASAP if we could still make it to the Triduum masses). But definitely we won't be at the pabasa/pasyon in sorry to our relatives waiting for us there -- we know they understand.

So, we still don't know anything yet -- we're still on our toes, but we're very hopeful that it will lead to recovery soon! Dumadami na ang nagdadasal so let's keep this going! =)

Salamat talaga sa inyong lahat. Di ko na matext lahat kayo so yun na muna. Pasensya sa mga hindi nakaalam...feel free to forward this via email to our friends not on multiply if they would like to know more about it. GP! Biancs! I'm updating this for you guys there in Boston! Let, ikaw na bahala magbalita sa Australia ha? =)

Sana huwag lang talaga masyadong kabahan si Daddy...anything new is fearful but like what Swapee told me, "embrace the fear...then, thank it for the lessons it's trying to teach...then, let it go."

All together now, friends!!!


Sunday, March 16, 2008

update on Dad

He's been under house arrest since Friday and we have no plans of letting him drive anytime soon. Surprisingly, he agreed to stay home but is worried about the cases he needs to review at the office; sabi namin huwag na niyang alalahanin.

What I'm worried about, though, is his appetite swings and that he feels dizzy most of the time. I'm thinking maybe it's because he's a bit down, but when I looked up his meds I saw that there were side effects linked to dizzyness, nausea and drowsiness. So maybe that's why he doesn't like eating a lot at mealtimes (because he feels nauseous) but gets hungry after a few hours because he didn't eat much. I'm not sure if his medication for diabetes or his multivitamins are in conflict as well with this new group of drugs...baka kasi sa sobrang dami ng iniinom niya sabay-sabay it causes some kind of reaction.

He's also having difficulty breathing when lying down so he would rather rest on the rocking chair or have a few pillows on the bed to elevate his upper body. All family members agreed to check on him once in a while during weekdays at the office, and I'm glad my Ate and Kuya are visiting him at home :) even my niece and nephew show their love (Monic gave him oranges and D cried daw, begging his dad to let him stay with his Lolo instead of going to the farm). It's kinda overwhelming, seeing Dad this way. Or maybe it's because I'm also a bit unstable. It came to a point where I prayed, "kahit si Daddy na lang po. Huwag na po yung sa akin. ok lang."

Yes, Janina, I'm feeling a lot of pressure. right. now.

I think this is a start for Dad to slow down and rest from work and I hope he realizes that too. We're all here for him, and I'm grateful to all of you who've expressed your concerns. I'm most thankful for Joy because she's more hands-on the past week than me, updating my siblings in the other house and doing stuff I haven't had the energy to do. Don't worry Mups, I'll jump back on it soon.

More prayers, please! :)