Tag Archive | friendship

If life is a backpack and a long train ride

It’s always hard to say goodbye to people who have already become a part of us. But our sadness for the inevitable separation will never conceal the fact that we all have to go on with our life. Following is a message I wrote for a colleague who will embark into a new career venture.

Sometimes life would seem like a long, solo train ride. We’d never get to choose who to sit beside with. Strangers would pop in at random stops. Some of them would stir our stillness making us wish they’d get off soon enough. But, there are also those whose presence turns a dreary journey fun-filled. A little glimpse of their life would show us a world different from our own, then we’ll never look at some things the same way again. Their simple gestures of benevolence would somehow ease the weariness of our meandering soul. And when parting time comes their waves of goodbye would sprinkle hopes that one day our paths will cross again. We’d sit back, sigh and smile at what’s left; wonderful memories to reminisce.

The time you’ve shared with us no matter how short were precious moments that we can never trade for something else. Thank you for the friendship. We wish you all the best in your new journey. Sayonara, until we meet each other again.

On his last day in the office, he shared this video which has a very deep message that I ended up contemplating after watching.

People of my year 2011

We always have people we look up to; people who inspire us to pursue our dreams or overcome the hardest obstacles life has thrown. More often, the people we try to emulate are those who have made their names big and known. But, the ones who have actually made a difference in our life are those who have always been there. At the end of the day, it’s the ordinary people who can make our life extraordinary.

Looking back, I can say that 2011 was a year of inspiration for me. The journey was a little tough but if I would have to live my life over again, I’ll still chose the same path. It was the time when I got to revive my passion, test my strengths, go over my past to reflect on the lessons, recognize the things that truly matter, and challenge my values against the strong tides of a material-driven world.

I am grateful of what the year had let me experience but I am more thankful of the people who have given me wonderful memories to cherish. Below are some of the very few who made a huge impact in my life in 2011.

Angel Oo
She is the elder sister that I never had. I’ve spent a lot of time being there for others, even those not really close to me — be it through providing a listening ear or financial support, granting “favors”  or helping them out in any way I can – and there are moments when I get so tired and feel so empty. Angel or Marlar as I call her, despite working sometimes until 8PM (not because she cannot finish her job on time but because there are just so much load) still manages to volunteer every Sunday teaching English to Burmese kids. She showed me that one will never run out of something to give. With love, the well of abundance for things to be shared with others will never run dry.

Fr. Bonnie Mendes
I’m very fortunate to have a priest mentor. Fr. Bonnie is a very simple and happy man. Even if he was at the time the Regional Director of Caritas Asia, still he was so down to earth and doesn’t act like someone “important”. Silence is precious for him. He taught me to let go of luxurious things and live a simple life. He doesn’t preach, instead he let his teachings go with a joke and it’s up for me to delve into it. He shared his all time secret of staying positive and focus and that is to spend at least 10 minutes every day to relax, disconnect from everything and just free your mind while listening to a calming music.

Julissah Evangelio
She is a picture of a truly gifted woman complete with wit, beauty, creativity and good character. If there is someone who has shown me what true love is in its profoundest form, that will be Ate Bing. She has showed me that love can endure not just distance, the test of time but more than anything, FATE.

Khan Thongduang
I have so much respect for this woman. Blessed with a sexy body and a beautiful Asian countenance, she works as a model and poses for no less than FHM. Perhaps, she can easily be judged by others base on the kind of work that she does but for me she is a living legacy that our work does not always speak so much of the kind of person that we are. She works hard in her job but she works harder at home as a mom to the cutest baby girl Pim. Despite the challenge of making ends meet being a single mom still she didn’t forget to share to the poor. On Pim’s birthday, we all went to visit the disabled children where she has kindly brought food and donated money for them. She is indeed a beautiful woman inside and out.

Neil Anthony Rusia
Like I told him more than once, I guess Neil is my male version because we are on the same wavelength most of the time. We support and encourage each other on our passion especially our love for arts. Our friendship started in college where we shared so many ups and downs in both our academic and extra-curricular endeavors. We’ve seen each other trying hard to keep an impeccable manner in the eyes of the other students simply because we were seen as leaders. Then we saw each other fell apart, gave in to the child within, let out the trapped silliness and suppressed expressions, going against the society’s norms not caring anymore how we are perceived by people. 2011 was a heavy year of self-discovery for both of us but we’ve made it. Now we are ready to face the world again.

P’Ohn
Apparently, I don’t know her complete name. We are not really close as she only works part-time in our office so we don’t get to talk much. Her impact in me was rather something that transpired in just a few minutes. We were talking about her ill mother then. She said her mom had various types of cancer. Although she didn’t share much, I felt that she was really having a hard time. I don’t know what to do so I just wished her more strength that she may be able to surpass those trials. She gave me a genuine smile and said “that’s life, we have no control on things so we might as well accept it and move on.” I need not say more.

Omar Jayag
He simply is the man that every girl would want to have. He is very simple, intelligent (well, being the top 5 of the Agricultural Engineering board exam in the whole country is enough proof I guess) and God-fearing. He loved me even if I don’t comb my hair and that I just wore a t-shirt, shorts and slippers when we strolled around town back in our college years. He always encouraged me to pursue my dreams. Distance didn’t hinder him from providing me support and love. At the beginning of the year, I broke up with him because I wanted to be on my own. Despite the unfairness of my decision, still he lovingly granted my wish. I just hope that someday, I will be able to convince myself that I deserve him and that I may be able to give back the love that he has unselfishly given no matter how unworthy I am.

Tammavit Tasnavites
We are like the human form of Tom and Jerry. We fight over anything our silly minds can ever think of. Most of our discussions don’t really make any sense but when he says something sensible, it would really hit me to the core. His words are few but very deep. Knowing him is like seeing what I have been missing in my life all this time.  Most of the people close to me supported my will to help others but he is the one who reminded me that I should also live for myself; to let go and just let the tides take me. He brought back my appetite for food when I almost forget how they taste like; although I’m still not that adventurous to try most of them. He was once bored, doodled a man’s face and dropped it on my table and voila! I remembered that I used to be happy when I draw. Well, I managed to sketch 3 faces that year and that’s really it; they were such a fail though ‘coz I abandoned drawing since I was I guess 10 yrs. old and the only time I sketch was 5 years ago, once, as a requirement for our visual communication subject. If I have to choose one person who has made the greatest impact in me in 2011, Art would be it. He may not have really given it any thought and is rather not aware of it but his normal self (that others would call strange) and simple, natural ways has given me a new perspective. I will always look back 2011 with much gratitude for granting me that short span of time to know him, the person who has given me back what I’ve lost for a long time, my  dear self.

The day I broke a child’s heart

Four years ago, I went to the VSU beach to witness the beauty of sunrise and breathe fresh air. I was with my friend Mariz Guino sittin’ on the rocky black sand (not the best beach though) when we saw two kids gathering seashells. We approached them and asked if we can help out. Their sweet smile reflects an innocent soul. Behind us is their grandma, in her late 80s I guess. Looking at her, I felt a pang realizing how old she was and should be staying at home. Instead, she was their religiously flipping the rocks to find what seemed to be their next meal.

I asked the kids if they are going to have it for lunch or dinner, just to start a childish conversation. To my surprise, they will have it for breakfast, which I estimated to be around 10AM after a rigorous cleaning and cooking process.

They bid goodbye and head off home but before they left I asked them to visit us in our dormitory. I was planning to treat them for a snack since that morning they need to rush off home to cook.

I waited day after day for them to come but no one showed in the dorm. The following weekend I went to the beach and was glad to find them there. I found out they never understood our instruction, went to a wrong dorm and never found us so they just decided to try and find us in the beach (really smart kids).

We’ve had wonderful moments with the kids and we look forward every weekend to see them. We brought them to the nearest town and bought each a pair of slippers, marbles (as they requested) and food. A few people threw strange stares to us knowing we dress so differently with the kids. Who cares, all that matter to us is being able to make two young hearts happy.

After strolling at the park, we took them home. Seeing their house that looked like it will slump anytime broke my heart into pieces. Located along the coast, I can imagine how cold it could be at night.

One afternoon, I had a serious conversation with Polpol, the older one which was 8 years old at the time. I asked him why he quit studying. His answer was very simple, “My teacher scolded me because I wasn’t able to bring a notebook for our project”. I asked again, why didn’t you bring one? He answered “Because we don’t have money”.

I told him he is going to school by June and promised to support his studies. I talked to my friend Mariz and we decided to provide him his school supplies and weekly allowance which is not really very expensive as he is still in his primary grade and their school is just a few meters away from their house. So we only need to give him a few pesos for snacks each day (which means instead of buying our snack, we will save our money for his allowance).

While I was telling him about our plan, he never said much, just this “I’m afraid you won’t be able to fulfill your promise”. I assured him it’s gonna happen.

February 12 was Mariz’ birthday and we organized a little surprise for her at the VSU beach. I urged Ate Carmille Bales to drive for me so I can fetch the kids. We took them to the VSU beach resort and all our Youth for Christ friends played with them. We gave them some of the food to bring home for their grandma.

Time passed by so quickly and before I knew it, the school year has ended. I enjoyed my vacation, however, I anticipated the coming school year for a lot of reasons and one of them was to see the kids again.

With all excitement, I went back to VSU to enroll. I can’t believe how I was engulfed with so many responsibilities and totally forgot the kids especially Polpol whom we promised to send to school.

Mid-June, we asked their neighbor who was working at our school’s cafeteria of their whereabouts. She informed us that Polpol’s father took him to Manila. I swallowed hard, trying not to burst into tears with the thought that he might either be safe their or better off without his father.

I never got any news of him since that day but until now, he still crossed my mind and it pains me every time. I hope with all my heart that he is having a better life now coz otherwise, I know he would feel bad that I broke my promise.

I just wish destiny will give me a chance to see him again… I wish…