Eulogy for an alive me

The O-C in me is striking again. Good thing it struck at the right time when I am on a 2-week vacation I call ‘sanity leave’ that includes body and mind detox. It is also my attempt at slowing down my pace and take some quiet moments to reflect and reorganize my life. While writing this, I can hear the chirping birds. From the glass window I can see a grass-covered barren land, a concrete fence and behind it lies a vast rice field. Two hours from now, I will see the huge blazing golden sunset without moving an inch. I remember Cecil Frances Alexander’s All Things Bright and Beautiful.

Back to my being O-C, part of my ‘life detox’ is the literal de-cluttering of my physical surrounding and online existence — id est inbox clean up. It is both an amusing and gruesome process, you know what I mean. But to my surprise, I found an email from a very dear friend sent for my birthday. I am the self-proclaimed ambassadress of the cliché “Never leave words and unsaid and things undone” so I always make it a point to tell people how much I appreciate them. So, imagine getting one for myself! Reminds me of the ‘living funeral’ concept from the book Tuesdays with Morrie.

While her compliments rub my ego, it is her words of wisdom that struck me most. Thank you so much Ate Bing!

This statue is named Fonske or Fons Sapientiae which means "fountain of wisdom" I took this in Belgium, Ate Bing's favorite place on earth :)

This statue is named Fonske or Fons Sapientiae which means “fountain of wisdom” I took this in Belgium, Ate Bing’s favorite place on earth 🙂

Who is Mary Antonette Abello?

“Tonet/Tonyang as most of her friends call her is my Bunso’s (younger sister) close friend from college years. Honestly, I don’t know her personally. I mean I just get acquainted with her through my sister, met her along Visca, or at home as they often visit my sis. I did not really had a serious “get to know each” other bonding time with her, just some casual “Hi Ate, Hi Tonet” moments. But then she treated me like her elder sister (well most of them from their barkada). She’s someone whom I can literally consider as a “small but terrible person”. When I say terrible, not the negative definition but rather the “just simply amazing”. A far-fetched writer whom she compelled heavy emotions beyond her thoughts and ideas. Her works inspire awe the imagination of each and every line she wrote. And I can see a good future from her writing skill. A gifted child, God-fearing, a responsible daughter, friend/girlfriend, and a dear sister to all she cared. She had this feel for those who are in need, thus her heart goes for social and developmental works. I really admire her from where and how she become right now. She may be weak in some point but her being independent makes me think of how brave she is.

Now, in your 25th birthday Tonet, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you very much for always lending me your ears…I know sometimes you might be fed up with me, but still you never left me and always been there whenever I needed the most. It means a lot to me. Your are reaching a quarter of your life, you’ve got a long way and I am so proud of you. Always remember that life is not easy but it is beautiful despite its imperfections. Meeting you makes it even more beautiful. Such an extraordinary care you had for me and I really appreciate it. I am not good in words really, but OUR FATHER knew how blessed and thankful I am to have a sister in you. You are a big part of my journey. I know you know that. I love you Tonet. Just keep up what you have, always believe in yourself and continue to do your passion. Be thankful for you are truly blessed. When in down, don’t let that feeling push you even down to the bottom, instead, think of how blessed you are. There is always a way to make yourself happy and satisfied…HAPPINESS is a choice. If you think you’re not appreciated or you’ve not done your best, you’re wrong, because here I am who always admire you and you never knew how much you’d helped me. Just continue to be a blessing to others and bring SMILE to everyone you encounter. Be Blessed always. Happy Happy birthday! Another year is blessed for you to enjoy life. Take care.”

It’s #PaintDay Sundate

Who says the love month is only for lovers? Surely, not! Although Valentine’s Day is so commercialised, it’s still a good season to just celebrate LOVE.

Today, I went to a pre-Valentines date with two of my oldest –and craziest—friends, Jytjyt and Neil. All three of us live in Bangkok and yet we found it difficult to meet up. See how this metropolitan lifestyle is giving us so much excuses not to spend time with special people, no?

We spent a fun-filled afternoon exercising our right brain. With THB799 ($27), we got a 3-hour painting session complete with materials — and a pretty instructor/artist — at Paint Bar Bangkok. The painting of the day was sunset which Neil and Jytjyt did. But because I opted to paint another design, I had to do it on my own. I started with a mistake but I went on and finished my ‘masterpiece’. After all, it’s the fun while doing it that matters.

It was immense joy being able to do ART. Most of my weekends were spent at home reading a book –which is pure delight – but it’s still different when you are able to do something outside with people. As much as we need solitude to reconnect with ourselves and do some introspection, we also need human interaction to nourish our soul.

Visit them at:
PaintBar Bangkok
Piman 49,
46/4  Sukhumvit soi 49, Khlong Tan Nuea, Watthana, Bangkok 10110
Tel: +6681-612-6105

Joy of giving

When was the last time you experienced immense joy from making other people happy?

The last five years, I celebrated Christmas in Bangkok. I still remember spending my first Christmas away from home by working because Thailand does not consider it a holiday. My colleague was kind enough to understand that I must have been missing home so she played Christmas songs from her old portable radio. It just made me burst to tears.

Last December, I decided to go home for the holidays. But I must have been away for way too long that I started to ask myself, how does Christmas feel? Holding my warm cup of coffee and listening to the sound of the wind chimes, I reminisced my childhood Christmas memories; the surprise upon waking up to see bundles of gifts which my mother convincingly said were from Santa Clause; the fun-filled games I played with my cousins; the apples and candies hanged on the Christmas tree; that’s how Christmas was like for a child that was me.

Then my thoughts went to the thousands of children who may not have had the chance to open a gift during Christmas; children who were deprived of the experiences I was blessed with. Then and there it hit me, I knew what I needed to do for Christmas.

I immediately informed my Hilot family about my plan of organizing a kid’s party for Christmas. Blessed with a loving and generous family, my siblings and cousins from across the world responded pledging their support and financial assistance. On Christmas day, we gathered about fifty kids in the chapel. Not all these kids are less privileged but regardless of what they have or don’t have, they deserve to have a childhood where they can play together and enjoy each other’s company.

Christmas in Bohol

And of course Santa Clause is part of the celebration so our cousins dressed up as Santa and went around distributing sweets.

Christmas Philippines

We also gave away two dozens of slippers to kids who need them most. The following day, one of the kid’s mom told us that his son kept his new slippers near the altar because he was scared that it will be stolen outside or the dog will play with it. Awwwwww (sniffs)

Filipino Children

We organized various games. We also let some kids showcase their talents so that they will grow up confident. It is important for children to feel that their abilities are recognized. I was thrilled when my cousin’s daughter who I thought was a shy girl turned out to be proactive, she even sang Elsa’s Let It Go! Before we ended our little party, the kids gathered to sing “Thank You, Ang Babait Ninyo”.

Estaca Pilar Bohol

We managed to give each of the kids a gift. The sight of their happy faces is just priceless. It made me feel guilty that I spend so much on expensive things I don’t really need when happiness is as simple as making other’s happy.

In the evening, I celebrated Christmas with my family. I have so much to be thankful for in life but what I am most thankful for is to have a family who showered me with so much love; a family who taught me that what matters is not money but charity; a family who values truth and fairness over fame and glory.

P.S the chapel is in the process of renovation. Donations will be most welcomed 🙂