Eves.

Hello beautiful queens and princesses of the world,

March 8th. Wow. Today is our day. 

Genius.

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Much has been said about how we should be bold in our dreams; how we should not cower in fear in making our voices heard; how we should be treated/compensated with no gender bias; how we should take on roles that the world only thinks suit him not her, and more. 

However way you, dear daughter of Eve, define your very crucial, significant and one of a kind role in this life, 

May you not let the opportunity pass to live freely and fully. May you find strength amid life’s seemingly insurmountable challenges. May you realize and embrace the truth that a heart like yours was birthed to endure, to be happy and to love. May you find peace that surpasses all understanding. May your adventures bring you closer to your maker, strengthen bonds of friendship, protect relationships and inspire the people around you to dare and do it. May you choose the pursuit that will bring you to greater heights, bigger and bolder dreams, and ultimately a life where the glory of God shines the brightest. 

To the women in my life who have in ways more than I could count made a huge impact in my life, whose stories continue to inspire me, whose strength amaze me every time, whose love and faith mean to me more than any accolade, thank you.

To my two late grandmothers who lived a long, difficult and colorful lives, your simple joys and genuine expressions of happpiness have a special place in my heart. I miss you both.

To the woman who had big dreams but took in head on all that life required of her, who never experienced and will never know what it’s like to work in an 8-5 shift, who was never in any employer’s payroll because she had to be a wife, mother, daughter, sister, grandmother- sometimes one major role at a time, sometimes all at once. You may not have become what your younger self aspired to be, but please know that you are exemplary and brilliant in ways no one else can.  Thank you for all the love, Mama. 

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What to do when there’s not much to do?

My attendance in coffee shops is usually business related. At least during working hours.
Other times, I just want to sit down hoping the world to slow down even for just a minute. Futile, I know.

I grew up disliking coffee shops. I thought they were impractical, unnecessary and encourage pretense.

I also grew up not knowing that Sales and Service, together, could mean future for me. And that when I was already in it, no matter how I try to distance myself from holding meetings in coffee shops, drinking coffee more so, I couldn’t just stop the inevitable. It’s like what has God put together, no one can separate. Haha

That to this day, I will never forget the first time I entered Starbucks in Emerald, Ortigas. I cringed.
I didn’t even buy a thing. I just accompanied a friend buying her espresso. 

I will also never forget the first time I was asked what food would I like to go with my frappe. And what size would I like my frappe to be. Too much!

Also, last year’s sticker collection for the 2017 SB Planner was a record breaker. In 2 months, I, with the help of some people, completed 4 booklets.
All given away. Merry Christmas and a productive 2017 sa kanilang apat.

Why the reminiscing?

So much has happened since those abovementioned firsts. Those and everything in between (all count for huge changes in my life) may have transpired in less than 10 years, but if I were Miss Philippines, I would have answered “my love and hate relationship with coffee and coffee shops”. Which will not make sense to a lot of people, entirely irrelevant to global crisis, totally insignificant to climate change and world peace.

Probably why I would never have won the crown –
if it were me.

Again, why the reminiscing?

imageThe newly opened Bo’s Coffee in SM Light, a tumbling away from where I live, has the best dulce de leche cake. I like their drinks better than of the others, too. Really. Obviously, andito ako ngayon. To my dismay, however, they have no reading materials. Which led me to reading the last 4 chapters of Psalms on my phone (handy hehe),  led me to go through my daily devotions, got to the end of so many unfinished readings that I eagerly started but for some reason nakalimutan na lang, and this. Nakapagsulat ako ulit.

Just when I thought there’s not much for me to do, it turned out that I was able to do so much more.
And more.

Pwede.

Jesus is great!

Have an amazing Sunday!

p.s.

If you find yourself in the same situation but would prefer a more un-modern response (no gadgets), get a pen and paper. It works. 🙂

Best man.

Last week, I went to my hometown for an overnight visit to witness a good friend’s wedding. Before leaving back for Bacolod, I paid Papa a visit.
I was happy to see To (Tito) Exor, a very familiar face in my high school days, driving his tricycle. Yay, he drove me to the cemetery. On our way there, he asked what brought me home at this time of year without my family in tow. I told him about the wedding.

Bakit daw di siya invited? (Hala ka, Ninin! Ha ha)

My friend who happens to be the bride was one of his adoptive kids when we were in high school. So I guess that makes the tampo understandable.

I had no answer to his question so I did what I do best when words do not come to my rescue. That is to smile and keep silent.

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Since Papa died, whenever To Exor and I would have the chance to catch up, never was a time that he won’t think out loud why good people had to die ahead of those who seem to deserve to die pronto, i.e criminals, corrupts, addicts.

This was no exception. Only with a backstory this time. He asked if I was aware of my friend’s (the bride’s) health condition years back. He recalled an instance where his tricycle was parked outside our house, my friend and Papa were talking about life’s struggles. I’m sure Papa shared his own but I bet the conversation was mostly about my friend’s condition at the time.

As uncertain and critical was my friend’s diagnosis, Papa- a walking time bomb himself, told my friend,
Indi mag worry, Day. Kay sugod subong, kami ni tito mo Exor mangamuyo para sa imo. Salig lang. Prayer changes everything.” (Don’t worry. From now on, your Tito Exor and I will pray for you. Have faith. Prayer changes everything.)

Those were Papa’s words as retold by To Exor.

To this day, whenever I hear stories about Papa that I never knew of when he was still around, I can’t help but be amazed of how big a heart my father had. He was just so open, willing and giving.

This year has been a year of many firsts. Of so many breakthroughs. I will hold the enumeration off.
But this would have been what Papa longed for, dreamed of and prayed for fervently. But I have long ago made peace with the truth that no prestige, amount of success or cute grandkids could ever measure to what awaits to God’s faithful when he is called home. 

My heart cries more for the legacy that Papa has left. For the faith that he had, and from that faith the fruits start to bear slowly and perfectly.

I had the chance to share this homecoming encounter to Father Ariel Gregorio, one of our family’s dear friends and one of Papa’s beloved priests. And he said it best, “Damo ko kilala nga ga flaunt this and that. Si Manong? Simple lang. Simple lang gid. Pero quality of life? The best. So much unrevealed goodness”.

2016! I fell short many times. Did things that wouldn’t make you proud. I hope this 2017 I will do better. For in doing so, I honor you and Mama.
And in honoring you both I honor the One who deserves all the glory and thanksgiving.

May your legacy not be forgotten and may Jesus’ light shine more in me, in us, in the lives you’ve deeply touched.

I miss you, Papa. I love you. Thank you.

Prayer requests

I never thought that sharing my prayer petitions with someone could be so intimate, soul baring and liberating. My Christmas gift came so early through a friend who passionately encourages me to read the Word, pray, talk (a lot), share and be happy.

Wow. As in, wow.

This means a lot considering I can just tweet or write about this on Facebook but opted to journal it here instead. To that level.

What a life this is!

Amazing God!

Sons of Adam.

It’s been a while since I last made a note on random conversations that I pick up in public. Particularly those I am in no way involved. In short, eavesdrop much. Haha

As I always say, it’s not my intention to overhear the concerns, however trivial or a case of life and death, of strangers near me. If only you can lower the volume of your voices, I might just leave you be. But then, I won’t have anything to write on. Whatever.

image* As I wait for a client, two very formal looking men went in and took the table next to mine. And they started talking about leadership. Before I know it, their conversation started to heat up. You know, English galore. One is trying to convince the other that he is worthy of the support of the team, while the other is trying to tell the former that he isn’t. It’s time to pass the baton to someone else. Someone more deserving.

The former tried to expound his point through a number of analogies. The other would counter.

Peter: Pare, I agree mostly to what you said. Mostly ha, not all. Okay? Not all.

Edward:  See? You can’t accept your shortcomings. It’s like you apologize but with conditions.

As the conversation progresses, their voices seem to suggest that they are at the verge of strangling each other, but they have by far consistently heard each other out amid making the other realize he is wrong, the one speaking to be right. I guess that makes the strangling a far off occurrence. 
Moral of the story:  hear each other out. 

As the saying goes, seek to understand then be understood. 

And now they leave. I check my watch, apparently, they were at it for almost an hour. One full lunch break gone.

And, oh, they didn’t order anything.

P.S

I’m currently reading Narnia. Hence, the choice of names and title. 

Soledad.

I have pretty much lived independently since college. Until my career shift to Life Insurance 3 years ago, I can only count with my fingers the number of times I was home for more than a week since I turned 18. Even during holiday and semestral breaks in college, I’d be home for 5 days max. In our dormitory, I was the last person to leave for and the first one to be back from vacation. It may seem as if I avoiding home at all cost. No. I was just enjoying all the out of school activities I did with my chorale friends. YOLOING our way. Haha

One homecoming instance that really stood out was when I had chicken pox during my junior year. I don’t make fever and flu too big a deal with my parents. I can go out and make it a normal day even with colds. But chicken pox. Upon diagnosis, I called my parents (crying) and said I want to go home. I will go home ASAP. 

I remember how when the doctor told me of my situation that I wish one of my parents was with me. Ang laking issue kaya ng bulutong. Disturbed Body Image. I need Papa’s assuring, sometimes exaggerated, words that I will be fine and I will look fine. Hahaha

I went home. And that was the last I remember me sleeping together with my parents in one room. I was the ugliest duckling that time – blisters and all, but to my parents “gwapa gyapon ah”. You won’t realize how important your parents’ perennial words of faith and vote of confidence are until you need them really badly. You will need them somewhere, someway, somehow. 

I’m going down the memory lane because the last 6 days have been really difficult. I would admit it to some friends who knew of my situation that I felt so alone tending to my sick self all on my own. I guess that meant really something coming from someone who takes pleasure in solitude. Know that it is not my intention to appear kawawa. Definitely not. Told you, I can go on with the day, business as usual, even with colds or a little feverish. 

But I know when my body is really telling me to drop everything and rest. Just rest. 

I was holding back some details of what’s really happening from mi mudra because, well, you know how inquisitive mothers can get. And they won’t stop until they’re satisfied. I was holding back because I am partly to be blamed for the first bout of the flu. The second part, I was all to be blamed. Haha I was good at faking it until I couldn’t help my rockstar coughing anymore. And I looked really sick. Even technology didn’t help. I would get glimpses of my flushed self while talking to my niece in our video calls and she’d say “Yayay (hurt) ka, Manay?”

And I’m useless in the kitchen. So if there’s one good thing that this forced slow down has done, it would probably be the time when I forced myself out of bed and made myself pancakes, fried chicken and a pitcher of lemonade. Proud. Ha ha

I’m so used to doing things on my own. Going places on my own. Making decisions, major or minor, on my own. I love the song On My Own but I have not intention making it my anthem. Masyado lang sanay sa on my own. Not that it’s enough a reason to resent. What I’m trying to say is we are never just on our own. We may think that but that’s not true. One way or another, we get help from people – strangers, friends, family.

In my case, no matter how huge the Miss Independent sign I carry with me, I know that deep inside I am just a girl who calls her parents for help, for rescue and for major lift when all the magic of independence ceases to work. 

Thank you for taking care of me, Mama. Even from a distance. 

Bakit kailangan picturan?

This is worth posting because more than any success, to be able to feed myself through my own cooking makes mi mudra and some concerned friends the proudest. Ha ha ha

I was craving for one of Pancake House’s pancake with chicken meal. Arte. But I’m sick. House arrest. I can call to order, but I want to eat a Pancake House meal at Pancake House mismo. Daming issues.
Ha ha

Anyway, yaman din lamang na I Can Live, I Can Love, I Can Reach the Heavens Above ang theme song ko, why not make do with what I have in my fridge. Taray! May laman ang fridgeder. Take note, tunay na pagkain sila. Not all cookies and water. Ha ha

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Seriously, ang gusto ko lang sabihin ay hindi lahat ng nagakakasakit ay nagiging tamad. Ang iba, nagiging chef.
With matching presentation.

Why the need for a photo? Because no picture, didn’t happen. I don’t agree with that all the time, but in this instance, here’s a resounding Amen.

If this were Instagram, can I now #foodie, #foodstagram, #foodgasm, #foodangchina, #foodiebels, #foodpamore?