Tribute to Leyte

Unexpected. The devastation brought by the super typhoon Yolanda was, just like any other force majure events, surprisingly unexpected. Why, among other thousands of places, Tacloban was the one scourged by this ravenous cyclone?

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a dear aunt's birthday

This entry was supposed to be due yesterday- March 11 yet I didn’t have the courage and the willpower until now. This was supposed to be a birthday gift for her- my dear aunt who,last November 6, 2011, after 9 months of fighting leukemia, succumbed into an eternal relationship with the One from Up Above. But I don’t think she’ll mind me being late with my blog- after all, it would be an everyday birthday for her in heaven.

Always laughing. That’s the first thing that comes in my mind whenever I think of my dear Auntie. When I was still very young, her family would often visit us in our hometown. Their visits were always the highlight of my childhood summer vacation. They’d come all the way from Batangas and live with us for a month or so. The house would be ecstatic. And my Aunt’s boisterous laugh and shrill voice would always be part of the ecstasy. She loved soap operas and showbiz gossips (ask her and she’ll tell you the latest about pinoy celebrities). She was always happy. She may seem mad when she scolds my cousin (her eldest son) but after that, she’s all but smiling and talking. She may had problems but she never worries- a characteristic that I admire greatly about her. She was always positive- always on the brighter side of things.

When she was diagnosed with leukemia over a year ago, she opted out having chemotherapy due to financial reasons attributing to the fact that there’s a slim chance of being cancer- free with the type of leukemia she had. But she never gave up. She fought the disease in a more natural way. She consulted a Chinese doctor and was given a form of Chinese medicine. She also took some dietary supplements and had a strict diet of fish, veges and fruits. We had the chance to visit her during the course of her disease and was shocked to see a house full of green leafy vegetables! In fact, when she was diagnosed with the disease, her doctor gave her 7 mos to live but she lived 3 more months!

The last time I saw my Aunt was when she went home September of last year. Actually that was the last time my family saw her since it was November of the same year that she passed away. We had a small reunion at a nice resort in our hometown. The whole family was there and for us, it wasn’t a farewell get together. It was something even more..perhaps her advance birthday celebration?

Happy birthday Auntie BB! You will always be missed…

a dear aunt’s birthday

This entry was supposed to be due yesterday- March 11 yet I didn’t have the courage and the willpower until now. This was supposed to be a birthday gift for her- my dear aunt who,last November 6, 2011, after 9 months of fighting leukemia, succumbed into an eternal relationship with the One from Up Above. But I don’t think she’ll mind me being late with my blog- after all, it would be an everyday birthday for her in heaven.

Always laughing. That’s the first thing that comes in my mind whenever I think of my dear Auntie. When I was still very young, her family would often visit us in our hometown. Their visits were always the highlight of my childhood summer vacation. They’d come all the way from Batangas and live with us for a month or so. The house would be ecstatic. And my Aunt’s boisterous laugh and shrill voice would always be part of the ecstasy. She loved soap operas and showbiz gossips (ask her and she’ll tell you the latest about pinoy celebrities). She was always happy. She may seem mad when she scolds my cousin (her eldest son) but after that, she’s all but smiling and talking. She may had problems but she never worries- a characteristic that I admire greatly about her. She was always positive- always on the brighter side of things.

When she was diagnosed with leukemia over a year ago, she opted out having chemotherapy due to financial reasons attributing to the fact that there’s a slim chance of being cancer- free with the type of leukemia she had. But she never gave up. She fought the disease in a more natural way. She consulted a Chinese doctor and was given a form of Chinese medicine. She also took some dietary supplements and had a strict diet of fish, veges and fruits. We had the chance to visit her during the course of her disease and was shocked to see a house full of green leafy vegetables! In fact, when she was diagnosed with the disease, her doctor gave her 7 mos to live but she lived 3 more months!

The last time I saw my Aunt was when she went home September of last year. Actually that was the last time my family saw her since it was November of the same year that she passed away. We had a small reunion at a nice resort in our hometown. The whole family was there and for us, it wasn’t a farewell get together. It was something even more..perhaps her advance birthday celebration?

Happy birthday Auntie BB! You will always be missed…

love and its crap.

Way back high school, there was a time when reading tagalog romance novels was “in” (yes there was believe it or not!). We’d often borrow these 120 page booklets from a bookshop near our school- 5 pesos per book as I can remember. During the craze, we’d often read these books during classes while the teacher is busy doing her job imparting knowledge to us (so she thought!). Yes, we were learning. Not from her, but from these thin novelettes. We learned a lot actually- since the theme of these novels were all circumvented to the idea of love and its idiosyncrasies, we thought we knew love. We knew ways how two people find each other, how their love is tested and how they end up happily ever after. In high school, I thought we knew love was that simple- finding, being tested and winning.

College came and we’ve outgrown these tagalog romance novels yet the idea of finding and winning love is still fresh and unscathed. I had my first boyfriend during my freshman year and it was exhilarating! Love was such a nice experience. It was simple and pure. We’ve had our ups and downs but we were winning. Yet, 4 years passed and things didn’t turn out the way it should be. We lost. We didn’t find our happily ever after. Then came another relationship. It was nice and it was better. It was love and it was full of potential. But then we’ve lost it again. Relationships after relationships followed and I was still losing. I figured, this isn’t the love I thought was 7 years ago. How come I was always losing? How come it was now full of crap and pretenses? How did love become too complex that I myself could not define it anymore? Does it still exist? Does it still have a name?

Yes.

Crap and I don’t care.

of roses and daisies

It was my plan to attend mass this afternoon. I thought it to be an ordinary mass since it’s a Tuesday and nothing’s so special about this day. I was wrong, I forgot..today is May 31- the last day of the flores de mayo  (Flowers of May)- a month long church festival every May in veneration to Mama Mary. So when I came, a bishop was presiding the mass ( I was late! I came in during the gospel reading :)) my first question was “Why a Bishop?’ As I listened to my his sermon, I came to know that it was supposedly the Culminating Activity for the flores de mayo hence the celebration was kinda grand.

The bishop’s sermon wasn’t really a typical gospel sermon for most of it were words of thank you to him and her, this and that. Hence, my eyes wandered inside the church thinking how time was so fast…

We were little girls then, my friend’s names were An-an, Atoy, Cristina and Precious. It was summer so we always had the chance to attend the Flores de Mayo.  After hours of playing around the neighborhood, we would eventually have the consensus to dress up for the flores. After dressing up, we’d get three to four stems of  bougainvilleas from our backyard then were off, taking the shortcut route to the church ( we always walked from our houses to the church). On our way there, if we see flowers without owners, we sometimes pick them and add them to our bougainvilleas.

Since the offering of the flowers would not take place until the end of the mass, we just stayed outside the church during the mass. While waiting, we’ll try to search for flowers to add up to our collection and  since we were children, there would always be  that competition on who gets the most number of flowers or who brings the most beautiful flower. In my case, I seldom win since our backyard has only one kind of flower planted- those bougainvilleas! We’d drool with envy if we see a group of children bringing a bunch of roses or daisies.We’d then make a fuss about how rich those children could be since they have those flowers on their backyard! (i’m laughing at the memory of it!). Then if a child would be bringing some orchids, we’d just stare at her and envy everything about her (oh children!).

When its almost the end of the mass, we would then line up ourselves at the entrance of the church. The front liners would be the angels- they are kids dressed like angels- their dress must be white and they must have a pair of wings(either made with real feathers or japanese paper). I’ve always wanted to be an one yet I was never recruited to be an angel during the flores. Up until now I would ask my lola why she did not volunteer me to become one and she would just answer me with a shrug. Adults were assigned to carry the letters AVE MARIA, one letter for each, and guided by two angels on each side. They would then traverse the entire pathway towards the altar. Of course there is singing and prayers are said throughout the entire veneration. The last would be the offerers and that would be us. The children would come first singing the ave maria then the adults would follow with their flowers.

Please stand“… and I was backto the bishop’s sermon. Thing is, flores de mayo was one of my most looked after activity for summer when I was a child, and I bet most of you agree to this. Yet as I observe during the mass a while ago, there were more adult offerers than children. In my time, children rule the flores de mayo– there was the angst and the eagerness of the children as they push their way up to the altar. I picture it out as a convention of children everyday for the whole month of May. It was a blast!

So where are the children now? Should we blame the parents for not encouraging their children to attend the flores or the church for not actively campaigning?

” Ave, ave, ave maria”….and the flowers were different! I didn’t see anyone bringing bougainvilleas! That’s an improvement! There were long stemmed red roses, colorful daisies, sampaguitas on sticks and gladiolas. These flowers were sold outside the church so you don’t have to bring from your home or pick a flower from one’s backyard. Hassle- free yet I still love the idea of picking bougainvilleas from our backyard and bringing them to the church 🙂