Jam

I heard something funny over the radio the other night. This DJ was giving a rush hour traffic report, and he went, “Along EDSA, it’s hardly moving from Arnaiz/Pasay Road to Aurora Boulevard. So that’s a problem spot there…”

Spot!

For those not familiar with Manila, this so-called “spot” stretches for about 6 kilometers, or nearly 4 miles. At 7 P.M., that “spot” could steal an hour of your precious time. Or maybe two if you’re really lucky :-/

Traffic in this mega-city has indeed become mega-phenomenal over the years. It’s been, and continues to be, the subject of too many jokes, too many columns, too many facebook rants. It also seems to have driven many to utter madness, just go search the videos online — though I must admit this is debatable; the madness of many might in fact have contributed hugely to how bad our current traffic situation is. In any case, it’s all crazy: how much time we waste on our asses every single day; how much productivity we lose; how much energy we expend being angry at other motorists and pedestrians and traffic enforcers and inanimate objects (those poor orange cones and concrete barriers are often on the receiving end of much verbal abuse, day after day); and just how much life this travesty bloody drains out of us. And I haven’t even started yet with the absolute drudgery that commuters regularly go through.

When I go out of the country one of the first things I always see is the contrast in the traffic. It can’t be avoided: the moment I get out of the airport into practically any foreign road, the comparison happens, as if involuntarily.

How can I help it, when every time I see something like this…

Cape Town.jpg
Cape Town!!! 😀

…my mind immediately recalls this daily scene from home?

EDSA.jpg
Manila 😦

On a happy note, humongous infrastructure projects are underway — and in fact partly explain why traffic has been even worse than usual over the last year — aimed “at improving overall mobility in Metro Manila and nearby regions, provide efficient public transportation systems, and create new urban centers.” There is hope!

So help us (that is, our government and the everyday citizen), God.

————————

Writing prompt, “Contrast,” courtesy of The Daily Post.

Advertisements

Screen-Crazy

Ah, the screen.

The world’s most beloved.

Just do a quick survey among all the people you can reach in the next half hour, ask them the first thing they look for and stare at when they wake up every single morning.

Chances are, you’re using a screen to do this very survey.

Try getting hold of some sort of timer or monitor and see how many minutes in a day you spend staring at a screen. You smile at it, caress it, laugh, cry, get mad, get into stupid fights and kiss (using emoji) and make up with it.

Ah, the screen.

It’s gotten us all bewitched without our knowing it.

—————————

Writing prompt, “Screen,” courtesy of The Daily Post.

 

No, thanks!

Promptly Written asks,

Is there a place in the world you never want to visit? Where,
and why not?

Let’s start by taking hell out as an option. Self-explanatory.

I’ve been blessed with opportunities to go to many places all over the world (continents yet to be visited: Australia and Antarctica) as well as to have been exposed to a myriad of settings: urban slums and luxurious resorts, dumpsite communities and affluent villages, shacks and palaces, corporate board rooms, sugarcane fields, red light districts…the list goes on, and I have never felt regret over having gone to any place. I must say that the worst place I’ve been to was a club where naked women danced, put on flimsy clothes and sat at tables to entertain men and even be “taken home.” I was only eleven (yes, you read that right) when I went there — it was supposed to be an “educational trip” for me, so I’d see what some people, women especially, had to go through to get by in life. Was it traumatizing? Yes. Illegal for me to have even entered that place? I would think so, though I didn’t know any better then and my mom (you read that right again) certainly thought it was good parenting to bring me there. And she was right about one thing: I did see what some women were going through to earn a living.

So. Where would I never want to go? A brothel, definitely.

That club I visited decades ago was quite close to being one, I suppose, but I don’t think I’ll ever get over going to an actual brothel, as I have seen them portrayed in the news and in the movies. I’m not sure my heart can take it.

Still, I’m a social worker, and I don’t know what lies ahead in my practice of my profession. So I can’t really say I would never, ever go to a brothel. If it’s for a rescue mission, who knows? I know I wouldn’t like it at all, but if it would mean taking part in rebuilding the dignity and the lives of exploited women, how could I say no?

 

Song #16: A song I used to love but now hate

It’s really not that I hate it, but it was ruined for me by Nina, who released a cover of this song just when I was all set for it to be the song for my bridal march. It became trite and tacky within a few days upon release, playing in jeepneys and malls and restaurants and videoke bars, where it never got recognized as Julia Fordham’s song.

A song that I so loved, ruined forever.

Naturally I couldn’t use the song anymore. And since then, I only have that one bad memory attached to it. Tragic.

Of course my wedding turned out great anyway. But that’s another story 🙂

Day 16 Letter: To someone that’s not in the country

Dear H,

Since your 30th birthday is coming up, I’m sharing with you these things (that you actually asked for) to form part of your so-called time capsule. I’m sending this via air mail and e-mail, just to make sure you know that I did not neglect your request 🙂

You asked how my life was when I turned 30. To answer this accurately I’m referring back to my old blog, in which I made a number of entries on the matter. The posts would tell you that I went a bit nuts around that time.

———————————————————————————————————-

February 6, 2007

TURNING 30

In six days I shall be crossing a frontier. Turning over to the dark, wrinkled side. Hitting the big, inevitable 3-0. OH. MY. DEAR. LORD.

Remember those days when your 30-year old aunts and uncles would come, and you’d think they were so ancient? Now I can’t reconcile that perception with how I feel about myself. At almost-30(operative word: ALMOST), I feel like I’m still such a baby!! I look at the world and feel like there’s still so much for me to discover, so many things for me to take on and a whole lot of time ahead of me. Then one look at the calendar and the truth yells at me: I am not so young anymore!

Still, the number may be hanging over my head, but it’s still not sinking in. I may be finding it more difficult to lose weight now, but other than that one thing, I’d like to think that I am still all youthful. Like an old teacher used to say, it’s all in the mind 😀

————————————————————————————————

February 15, 2007

DYING INSIDE

Maybe it’s just a phase I’m going through. Maybe it’s just hormones because it’s almost that time of the month again. Maybe it’s some sort of birthday depression that happens to everyone who turns 30. Whatever.I just know that I feel like mourning. Mourning for the used-to-be impassioned spirit which, I realize, has been gradually dissipating for some time now.

I want to feel alive again. I want to save what little is left of that spirit, and perhaps even make it burn again. It’s too early in the game for me to be a tired, old woman.

Sometimes I can be such a drama queen. (Sigh)

————————————————————————————————

July 6, 2007

FIRSTS

Nearly 5 months after my embarrassing, melodramatic birthday entries (seemingly brought about by a huge mood swing that thankfully went the opposite direction a couple of hours later), allow me to recount a number of FIRSTs since I turned 30:
 
  • First HOSPITAL CONFINEMENT AND SURGERY: Goodbye, appendix!
  • First HOSPITALIZATION FOR SUPERHON as well: Hello diabetes! Back to back weekends at the hospital for us (he first, then I). Ang saya.
  • First COMMUNICATION WORKSHOP attended: Realized I need to do breathing exercises 🙂
  • First TOTAL “HAIR-OVER,” still as a result of the comm workshop…Realized that I could actually do something to start looking my age.
  • First ZAMBOANGA TRIP: Was sadly (stupidly, truth to tell) disappointed not to see vintas or anything distinctly “Zamboangan!”
  • First BOAT RIDE FROM DUMAGUETE TO CEBU: Actually stayed in my bunk till an hour after the ship had docked; thought we were still in the middle of the ocean! By the time I got off the crew was already sweeping the floors and most of the bedcovers had been removed. Haha.
  • First DUMAGUETE VACATION: Have been traveling to Dumaguete for years, but always for work. This time I was actually able to enjoy it, with Superhon, the Super Sisters, and our great hosts, Tere and Cookie–love you mga kapatid!!
  • First ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC US EMBASSY INTERVIEW: The consul actually said, “Now you can visit whenever you want.” Need I say more? (wink)
  • First AWAKENING OF THE LITTLE BOY INSIDE OF ME: All thanks to Optimus Prime and the kick-ass movie of the year!
  • First NATIONAL TELEVISION INTERVIEW: I don’t think too many people saw it, though. Simultaneous on 3 channels, pero NBN, RPN and IBC yun, at 7:30 in the morning pa on a national holiday!!
  • First BRIDESMAID STINT: Happening tomorrow…All the best to Patz and Aris!
  • First REAL VIEW OF THE POSSIBILITY OF FINISHING MY MSW: I think it just might really happen, finally, this school year. 8 years in the making!!
  • First time TO HOLD 2 JOBS: Am actually holding the same job now, but I’ve been tasked to take on another program that used to take up a whole, separate post. So I have become Curacha–ang babaeng walang pahinga. The development is equally daunting and rewarding…and has been allowing me very little time to sleep.

All in all it’s been great, so far…So ya, I guess being 30 isn’t so bad after all. 🙂

————————————————————————————————–

I didn’t know then, of course, that within another month, my life’s biggest challenge would begin. In a few words, my marriage almost ended, hubby and I underwent a trial that lasted 3 years(!), we were restored by grace, and we both became better people for it (not to mention our relationship with God and with each other has become stronger than ever).

You also asked what the greatest lesson was that I learned in my 30s. One thing automatically jumped out of my head upon reading that question: the one lesson that I’m still continuing to learn, MOMENT-BY-MOMENT DEPENDENCE ON GOD’S GRACE. Nothing like a personal crisis you can’t have any control over to make you see that at the end of the day, you really don’t know anything and you really can’t do anything apart from the Lord. Seemingly trite abstractions, for instance, like unconditional love, faith, faithfulness, hope, joy, peace, strength, patience, forgiveness, prayer, worship, service, sacrifice, acceptance — became truly alive to me only in the last few years, as I learned to humble myself, surrender all to God (that’s one more vital word: surrender), and allow His grace to be at work in my life.

I feel like I have so much more to share, but of course reading all these won’t really matter much as you have to live your own life, go on your own journey and learn your own lessons along the way. So now I just want you to know I’m praying that you live each day to the full and most especially that you find and fulfill God’s will for your life. Nothing will bring more genuine and lasting joy than that.

Love,

P

Song #15: A song that describes me

This song says precisely where I am in my life now.

MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION – Stephen Curtis Chapman

Lord, You know how much
I want to know so much
In the way of answers and explanations
I have cried and prayed
And still I seem to stay
In the middle of life’s complications
All this pursuing leaves me feeling like I’m chasing down the wind
But now it’s brought me back to You
And I can see again

This is everything I want
This is everything I need
I want this to be my one consuming passion
Everything my heart desires
Lord, I want it all to be for You, Jesus
Be my magnificent obsession

So capture my heart again
Take me to depths I’ve never been
Into the riches of Your grace and Your mercy
Return me to the cross
And let me be completely lost
In the wonder of the love
That You’ve shown me
Cut through these chains that tie me down to so many lesser things
Let all my dreams fall to the ground
Until this one remains

You are everything I want
You are everything I need
Lord, You are all my heart desires
You are everything to me

You are everything I want
You are everything I need
I want You to be my one consuming passion
Everything my heart desires
Lord, I want it all to be for You
I want it all to be for You

Song #14: A song that no one would expect me to love

This one’s quite tricky.

Perhaps the wiser thing to do is to give a glimpse of my eclectic playlist, which includes, among others (in no particular order):

  • My Utmost for His Highest
  • The Dreamer
  • 3 Glee albums
  • The Beatles
  • Gary V
  • Jason Mraz
  • Norah Jones
  • Juno, the soundtrack
  • Motown 50
  • Eraserheads
  • Diana Krall
  • U2
  • Everything But the Girl
  • Maroon 5
  • 500 Days of Summer, the soundtrack
  • Once, the soundtrack
  • Tears for Fears
  • George Michael
  • Almost Famous, the soundtrack
  • Real Men Worship
  • John Mayer
  • Across the Universe, the soundtrack
  • Kevyn Lettau
  • Fra Lippo Lippi
  • Rivermaya
  • REM
  • Rebecca St. James
  • …well, you get the idea.