Just a photo post.
The street next to where I live doesn’t have its usual honks and screeches. All food stalls nearby are closed, except for the bakery, making me go into forced fasting or being okay with bread. I should be going to a cousin’s house to spend the three-day break and maybe, have a swimming outing with the kids, but the non-service of metro trains and construction of major roads just make me choose home and bed. And although I have cable now that would keep me company during this time that the major local channels opt to shut off, I still can feel in the air that peace and calmness everyone agrees to have once a year– because it’s the time of the year again where you go into introspection and express your devotion to God, or be guilty for your lack of show of it.
And I am guilty.
When you’re a grown-up and assume responsibilities, you tend to have more problems to deal with and goals you focus yourself into hitting, and you make excuses for not being or for being less religious, or even spiritual. Well, if you don’t make excuses and you believe you are religious and/or spiritual, then I salute you. And that makes me question myself more- why can’t I be the same?
I used to have no goals and just allow my God to take control of my life. For me, it was always the minimum standard that I should attain for. I didn’t dream much, didn’t care if my career was lackluster, if my romance was zero, if my family would not get a better life. But my spirituality and personal show of it was somehow strong.
Then, God suddenly decided to make most things better, financial-wise. I’m still not rich but doesn’t anymore need to save up for a year just to buy the cheapest meal at McDonald’s and to have my mother take any job just to get us through. I began writing down plans and setting targets, and some of them, I have already hit. And since that fuels my belief that I can achieve anything I want to if I put my 100% into it, I work even harder for those goals. But I have to admit, I’ve become withdrawn from my religion. I have my faith, but I rarely go out there and proclaim it. And I reason that I don’t have enough time. Good thing that my default religious affiliation doesn’t fine me for it, because if it did, I would have been in serious debt now. But still, shame on me.
That’s why I’m thankful for Holy Week, not only because I get to rest from work, but also because it is something that pinches me and reminds me to think and feel His Power, to make me realize that life is not all about what I want to have, what I want to happen, but is also, and especially, about the Him in me. This day makes me think of being stripped of material possessions, desires, and ambitions, and putting myself into nothingness once again and just feel what it is to be nothing and only have faith.
I might not have the same excitement I used to have when I was a child awaiting all the TV programs about the Bible, the history of the Catholic Church, and Jesus. I might be that someone now more interested in expositions about the mysteries of the religion and its untouchable ideas. But I will always be into fully understanding (although I know I will never) the value of faith to my existence and my existence’s value to I-don’t-know-what-yet. Some of the traditions might have died down in most places, but the significance will always remain in me. And sometimes, a moment like this is what we need to go back to humility and acceptance that not everything can be fully grasped, can be answered… not every goal is “I.” Sometimes, all we need is just a moment to pray.
Jesus saith unto him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life…’ — John 14: 6
I hated that it ended.
the final episode aired in my country three days after it did in the US., and being bombarded by all those “hate” articles and blogs, i couldn’t help myself but to just read it already: how the most awesome and legendary ‘friends’ show on TV (a friend who is a big fan of “Friends” and watches it up to now even at work would totally disagree) ended.
it was the ending i have fought against other fans. it was unexpected in a way that the writers could have gone with the more expected, predictable, and condescending one. many said they felt cheated and that they didn’t deserve the ending. but i think the series deserves more than such an ‘outrage’ because for nine long years, there’s something fun, witty, dramatic, and homey piece of entertainment we looked forward to in one of our week’s nights and that saved us from most of the crappy shows in its generation. sure, there were low moments, but it is in itself, life. it gave birth to the most memorable adjectives in TV history, and it breathed life to a unique character that was not even in the show until its last episodes but hooked us until the very end.
still, i hated that it’s over.
i hated that the show made me see a part of me in each of the characters. i hated that i have lily’s cranky and emotional strands, marshall’s sometimes passive streak to avoid hurting his friends or others, barney’s lack of commitment and egoistic air, robin’s occasional indifference (to patrice), tough facade, and love for extreme independence, and ted’s overly romantic way of seeing life. but these were also the qualities that were endearing about them.
i hated that there were various sad but real truths about friendship presented, especially toward the end and especially about how you made a friendship last or not. in my own reality, i have had friends and many of them have drifted away. maybe because of my effort or lack of it, and theirs, too. maybe because of age, of growing up. i know, there should be no excuses. but it happens in reality: not all happy friendships last. i hated that i am wishing that i could have the kind of friendship, or family, the gang in the show had.
i hated that the finale made me cry the most (and now, dawson’s creek’s finale comes second). i hated that lily did that, or how allyson hannigan made it look like real sadness and tears when she and ted did that E.T. goodbye and when she gave that ted’s-wedding-eve speech making me forget for a second how i hated how the wedding gown was so unflattering on the Mother. i couldn’t stop my tears even at the end where the younger selves of the cast were run down. oh, barney, i mean NPH, looked so young in blonde and adorable.
most of all, i hated that it will take a while before another show of this calibre comes out, before another one hooks me again and makes me laugh and cry at the same time. perhaps, the kind of friendship depicted in the series would never be duplicated because the kind most of us have today and most of our children might have in the future would be facebook-or-Internet-based, with less-to-none interaction and with self-serving purposes at most points.
no matter how much i hated this nostalgic feeling though, i am still glad i’ve met this show. it wasn’t as exciting and story-worthy meeting to tell my future kids about, but i can tell them “you know kids, in my generation, i knew this group of friends that has stayed in my memory, and this is how their story goes…” but of course, i am betting on whether kids could still be fooled to have a sit-down talk with their parents at that time and age.
all in all, as lily put it, “Thank God we finally got here.” the finale is not really the ending that we have craved for; it is merely a tribute. we wanted more only because, just like other goodbyes, it’s hard to let go, or we (including the writers) don’t exactly know how, especially of something good and happy. but the last episode’s title sums all that is about “how i met your mother” and the kind of experience it brought us along with the lessons and gags: it definitely “lasts forever.”
(P.S. Favorite moment from the show is still “Highway to Hell” Season 8 episode, when Ted surprises Robin with dancing and singing christmas lights. Very emotional ep. I included a video of it in my previous post, but the video apparently got deleted because of YouTube’s copyright rules. Here’s another link but unclear: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I9O28Ewf1Do. Want to share, too, your favorite moment in the entire show or in the finale?)
We were supposed to take the bus which would leave before dusk, but since we were aiming for a cheaper cost, we waited for the 8 PM schedule (don’t ask me why it’s cheaper; i don’t know either). I have traveled before. Even on a plane. So what’s an eight-or-so-hour ride to the hometown of my mother? Vomit. That is. But I’m a three-year old kid, so it would not be that gross. Consider my mother’s.
That pukey situation did not kill my excitement, though. For months, me and my sister had been so excited looking forward to have a change of environment, temporarily leaving the provincial feel of our home to go to, well, another province. But it would be different. There would be my other cousins, my aunts and uncles, my grandmothers, and my great grandmother. It would be a riot. Especially for my great grandmother who, although loves our presence there, hates to be bothered with even the littlest noise, and me and my cousins would make a lot of big noise because we had missed each other and we would play a lot. And there would be a wedding. Since the bride’s house, where the reception would be held, was near the sea, there would be beach time, too (big smile on my cute face). And that was why we came. The beach. Noo, i meant the wedding. My Ate was a flower girl. And I? I was there for the beach. I didn’t envy her at all.
We arrived. And everyone seemed busy already.
My family was on the groom’s side. Just like most cultures (I’m just guessing since I’m only a kid), it is the groom’s party here that should prepare everything and spend for everything (I hope that this tradition remains when it is my time to wed, that is, if weddings are still a thing in the future). On the eve of the wedding, the group already went to the bride’s home. A small red truck plus a jeepney carried for them pigs, chairs, gowns and suits, utensils, decors, and of course, the gin, which I know only because I had seen it with my father. It was amazing to see the willingness and cooperation of everyone.
The wedding’s eve was not only meant for the preparations. I learned that it was also part of the tradition to have a sort of a dance party or a small ball the night of its eve. This would also be an opportunity for the soon-to-be husband-and-wife to start collecting money- like gifts- from attendees. And here, it didn’t matter if the groom saw the bride the night before the occasion. It wasn’t a bad omen. Just one good night of fun. And no fancy dresses were even required. We just danced.
The freezing cold woke me up early the next day. Despite that, I enjoyed the view of the sea at the back of the cottage one good relative provided us. But my Ate enjoyed it more because instead of readying herself for the church- getting dressed, make-up, and all- she still had the guts to join our cousins jogging by the beach and savor the fresh breeze along with the view of the sunrise-kissed seascape. And I? I had to drink my milk.
Off to the church. It was a simple wedding. The number of people though, present here is much less than the number of people who ate at the free dinner the previous night, and I was guessing even less than the ones who would come after the church ceremony. It was generally quiet. Maybe because the officiating priest
threatened reminded the parents to control their children. I didn’t really see who cried and who didn’t in both parties, except for one ring-bearer who, if was not making a sudden yell, was giving a sudden shriek. I didn’t really care. I was playing somewhere, except when my mother was able to control me, especially toward the end of the ceremony. How come there was no you-may-kiss-the-bride declaration of the priest just like how it is in the movies? I guess it was the photographer’s task. Anyhow, while my mother carried me, tired from roaming around the church, I contented myself watching the couple and the entourage do some interesting, sometimes awkward, poses the cameraman instructed them to do. Creative, nonetheless.
Feeling hungry, I was already pestering my mother on our way back to the bride’s house, the reception venue. A line of makeshift tables surrounded by some red and white balloons, paper flowers, and other decorations that made the area somehow glow with color greeted the visitors. Some were not invited, but they came anyway because these days, as my aunt put it, it is rare to hold the reception in the bride’s house, even in this seemingly old-fashioned place. Most were joining the bandwagon, and more practical way, of bringing the celebration in a cozy restaurant. Or they just don’t get married at all. The number of “eaters” was overwhelming making the place crowded that you could already lose your appetite. But who would have thought the food was tasty? I wanted cake, though, but my mother insisted it was only for the couple (and the mustache man?).
After the food, dancing started along with other activities common to any Catholic weddings. We had ice cream outside the area, so I didn’t get to see the entirety. We came back and witnessed only the throwing of the garter and afterwards, the speeches. But now, I saw who cried.
We headed back to our cottage to prepare for the next part. The swim. I didn’t know how to yet, so I just played at the shallowest part of the water. It was clear at this part of the year since the beach was not yet crowded by many people who dirty it. We actually owned the sea that day. We were the only ones there. I was still begging my mother to stay but she just told me we would come back the next day. Little by little, I am beginning to learn lies.
After half-a-day of rest, we packed again. This time, we had to go back home. I might not anymore remember this occasion in the future since my brain is still that small to retain memories. But I know, somehow, a part of it will remain in me. It might not be the details, but the feel of it. Something will always make me seek this place of “happy.” With the sea, the breeze, the warmness of people. With family- the very reason why my Uncle Rio and now-Aunt Fe married, for the rest of their life.
i’m ready for you, 2014.
six feet under. what do they have to offer?
is it the same with what they have above them?
blue, green, and serene?
or just the soil’s smell of nothing?
of balance. of grace. of faith. of strength. of oneness.
“Banga” literally mean pots. The Banga or pot dance is a contemporary performance of Kalinga of the Mountain Province in the Philippines. This dance illustrate the languid grace of a tribe otherwise known as fierce warriors. Heavy earthen pots, as many as seven or eight at a time, are balanced on the heads of maidens as they trudge to the beat of the “gangsa” or wind chimes displaying their stamina and strength as they go about their daily task of fetching water and balancing the banga. (http://www.seasite.niu.edu/Tagalog/Cynthia/philippine_dances_cordillera.htm)
At present, the Philippines is again at a place where our faith and strength are tested. But just like this dance, we try our best to remain collected and to keep standing. We may be swaying off grace at some point, but we will never lose it. We refuse to fall. But we will not refuse your help or compassion to get through these hard times. And for your prayers, a big “thank you.”
Until we dance again.
Guadalupe, Makati City, Philippines
… definitely not during the rush hours.
Nothing special, right? Seeing the place at this viewpoint though, I didn’t know it is capable of being this laid back. I won’t show the ‘reckless’ side of it. Or maybe I might someday. Or maybe, you come visit the place and see for yourself. Just one friendly advice. Do it when it’s all busy, messy, and noisy. I like that side of the place more, too, when I am in it (and that’s on a daily basis: first, before 5 AM when I’m office-bound, and the other when I’m home-bound, sometimes before 5 AM, too). Why? Well, if you want to be safe.