2012 Year Ender

This year is literally about to end in a couple of hours and I just have to say how incredibly blessed 2012 has been. Here’s why…

This was the year I learned to let go of old dreams to make room for new ones.  When you’ve built something up for so long, it becomes that much harder to leave it all behind. 2012 has taught me that changing paths doesn’t necessarily mean changing who you are. Yes, your goals may have been altered but at the end of the day, you’re still you… And that’s the important thing. 🙂

2012 was the year I truly became brave. I stepped out of my comfort zone and it scared the bejeezus out of me. I started out lost but I knew I had to suck it up or else I’d never be able to get from point A to point B. Again I had to let go of certain things and certain people. It was painful but I became a better person.

2012 was the start of a new chapter in my life. I opened myself up to a whole new world. A world so foreign and different that I almost decided to turn back. But then realized… I already knew what I was going back to. Would I be willing to return to what was comfortable but stagnant or would I venture out and see what else was out there? In the end, I chose the latter and till today, I have never looked back.

I was blessed to have so many amazing people surrounding me. Opening a new chapter meant welcoming new characters  into the fold. Some I was quick to disregard and others were just as quick to latch on. I met a bunch of quirky people who have stretched my heart even wider.This year has been a year of fresh faces and newly built friendships. I am grateful every single day for all of the people who have touched my life in various ways. 😀

This was also the year I let go of regret. There were so many things I wish I did. So many roads I wish I had taken. But wallowing in regret doesn’t bring anything back. It just takes more time away from getting started on something new. This year, I learned to look forward to tomorrow instead of looking back on yesterday. When the day is done, and the sun has set, everything that has happened quickly becomes a memory. There’s no chance of ever going back BUT… there’s always a chance of turning things around when the sun rises the next day.

I’ve always been more of a laid back person. If there was an easy way out, more often than not, I’d take it. This year, I decided to face all the challenges that came my way. Knowing you’re imperfect is one thing. Cashing in all your imperfection chips is another. We’re human, we make mistakes but still… We strive for perfection. This year allowed me to shove mediocrity in the back of the closet along with shame and fear. 2012 was the year I decided to CARPE every freakin DIEM! 😀

Along with my new found love of challenges, I dared to hope. 2012 was the year I sat myself down, reflected on my life, trashed the wistful remnants of the past and created a whole new list of goals, wants and dreams. 🙂 I wouldn’t call myself an optimist but this year, hope seeped from every inch of me. It was hope that kept me going and faith in the big guy that kept me strong. Paths changed, people changed but the big guy up there never did. He’s always had my back and 2012 was no different. 🙂

This year gave me a chance to work on myself. It was the year of revelations, a year of unearthing hidden passions and rediscovering forgotten aspirations, a year of forgiveness and a year of gratitude. 😀

2012 was the year I decided to step up and not go about my life merely existing. It was the year for change, the year for hope and… Though it may sound cliché, the year for LOVE. Love that encompasses every crevice, every nook and cranny of your being until your full to the brim. It was the year my eyes didn’t just see the what if’s and maybe’s but also all the beautiful and exciting things that go hand in hand with all the questions and anxieties of the unknown.

 

goodbye 2012

Here’s to leaving the past behind in place of an even better tomorrow. Happy New Year everyone. I hope and pray with all my heart that 2013 allows you to break walls, dream big and soar higher than the sky. 😀

we are

FLOOD WARS

I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything on my site and for that, I would like to apologize. My blog was blocked for over a month and when it finally decided to stop going bonkers, I was way too busy and I couldn’t, for the life of me, figure out what I wanted to write about. In the end, I ended up doing what all the Greats (Shakespeare, Austen, and Poe, to name a few) have probably done before me. I twiddled my fingers and counted invisible sheep in my head. Thus begins the inevitable cycle of a frustrated writer suffering from writer’s block.

A lot has happened in the last 3 and a half months. There have been life changing experiences, cheap thrills, heart-breaking losses and crazy adventures in between. Having said that, I know most of you understand my dilemma over choosing the “perfect” story to share. It often feels like the best moments can’t be put into words and the rest of your anecdotes have become too run of the mill for other people to care. When you think about it, it’s a wonder how any of us can get a good word out when there are so many hitches that get in the way… Sometimes though, something larger-than-life happens and in that moment, the story seems to write itself.

I guess the only question that’s left to ask is… Why now? Why this story? Well… It all starts with WATER. Lots and LOTS of water…

The rain started around Friday last week (August 3rd) but it wasn’t until Monday evening (August 6th) that the droplets of water from the sky started pounding on the pavement with a vengeance.  By Tuesday morning, classes were suspended and the flood wars began.

Students balancing on top of chairs to avoid the flood…

The University of Santo Tomas. FYI, that pond/lake in the middle isn’t usually there. On a normal day, that’s the field…

 

Storms are never a welcome sight but this one in particular was an unabashed traitor. It came like a thief in the night, unexpected and DEADLY. As I rushed home from the University on Monday afternoon, I was told I left just in the nick of time. It wasn’t long before the downpour started lashing out at the train I was in; almost as if it had something to prove.  As the train swayed a little more violently than usual, I found myself praying that I’d make it to my stop before the weather got any worse. Every gruelling inch that train took was one step closer to me getting home and for that… I was grateful. Unfortunately, my other friends weren’t so lucky. Most of them were forced to set up camp in other people’s houses because it was getting impossible to travel. At that moment, my only goal was to get home. Thankfully, I did. The next morning, I watched in horror as the floods quickly engulfed the streets of Manila.

The streets of Metro Manila completely submerged in flood water

Search and rescue teams trying to get everyone to safety.

 

It was an incredible blessing to be safe at home but I couldn’t help but think about all of those people who weren’t as lucky as me. I was worried about my friends who were stuck in their houses and dormitories with limited food supply. I was glad they kept updating me on what was happening but aside from actually knowing how they were, I could do nothing more but sit at home and pray for their safety.

Tuesday evening (August 7th) was probably the worst day. I kept receiving text messages from my friends saying that water was invading the inside of their houses and that they needed to carry as much of their belongings up to the 2nd floor. Some possessions that were too big or too heavy to carry had to be sacrificed. One of my friends’ who is currently a piano major, watched helplessly as the flood began to lick the bottom of her piano. After a few hours, she knew that those beautiful piano keys were tarnished and the piano itself now belonged to the water.  Despite having to go through all of that, she sent me a text message later that night telling me that she was grateful that she and her family were dry and safe up in the 2nd floor of their home.

To add insult to injury, SOS tweets started coming in at a rapid pace. News of people stuck on the roof of their homes needing rescue were rampant. Relief centers tweeted about needing more supplies and reinforcements. Anyone who was willing and able to help was welcome. Then came the tweets about hospitals being flooded, patients running out of provisions and hospital generators slowly dying and needing diesel. Somewhere, someone out there needed help. People were hungry, tired and sick but still, the rescue operations continued and volunteers kept packing relief goods non-stop until the wee hours. At that point, everyone knew… It was definitely going to be a long night…

UST Hospital Emergency room. FLOODED!

UERM Hospital SUBMERGED!

 

By Wednesday morning (August 8th) the clouds were still dark and trickles of rain still fell, but the weather lightened considerably. Floods dropped and more roads opened for cars to pass through. There was still water in some areas but canoes, rubber boats and “submarine” like vehicles were no longer needed to get from point A to point B in most parts. Volunteers started flooding into relief centers in droves.  Everyone wanted to help in whatever little way they could. These people are the unsung heroes of this calamity. These are the people who were willing to give of themselves to help others. 🙂

Packing relief goods for the flood victims

At around 2pm on Wednesday, the clouds shifted, darkened and the flood wars continued. Though the rains weren’t as strong as the previous days, new water mixed with the flood equals even more flood. Water started to rise AGAIN but thankfully, the rains were not continuous. 😦 Night came, the rains were in and out and there was nothing left to do but pray.

Today is a Thursday (August 9th) and it looks as if this day marks THE END of the flood wars. Not a drop has fallen from the sky, Mr. Sun has come out to play and I couldn’t be more thankful. The battle is far from over. There are still people who need our help. A lot of people have suffered valuable losses and this should be the time when they’re allowed to lick their wounds and feel sorry for themselves. However, instead of catching people wallowing in self-pity, I see folks desperately striving and utterly willing to help their fellowmen. The beauty about being a Filipino is knowing that when push comes to shove, you are never alone. At the end of the day, we’ve got each others backs. 🙂

I salute the Prisoners of Muntinlupa Jail!!!

 

When tragedy strikes, picking yourself up and trudging on is always a choice. Amidst all the hardships my country had to go through these last few days, I am proud to say that I saw determination, sincerity and HEART. We may not know each other from Adam but we’re always there to lend a hand. We may not be a perfect people but we know when to put aside our differences and work towards a cause so much greater than any of us.

We are Filipinos. BANGON PINOY! (Rise!)

Smart is overrated!

I don’t think I’m stupid. I’m slow at some point but, I’m definitely not stupid. I won’t be able to answer the big questions at the drop of the hat but… Here are some things I actually do know…

I know what it’s like to be happy, happy in all ways and in all things.

I understand the importance of time. I know that once it’s gone, you can never get it back.

I know how gripping inspiration is and how it can help and encourage you to grow and expand your horizons

I know the value of friendship. I am thankful each and every day for all the people that have been sent to ease my having to pass through troubled times..

I know how it feels to cry. I cry because of pain, because of loss and because of things I’ve had to leave behind. I know that every tear that falls from my eyes is a memory forever etched in my mind.

I know what it is to learn. I may not learn as quickly or as efficiently as others but, I know the essentials.

I know that everyday is a new discovery and every rising sun hints at another chance to better myself.

I appreciate beauty. The way the sun sinks to the earth to give way to dusk is a sight I shall carry with me all the days of my life.

I know how to have fun. Crazy, reckless fun that leaves me senseless, breathless and gradually tints my cheeks with a rosy colored glow of complete and utter satisfaction.

I have experienced the wonder of words. Shelves filled to the brim with books that allow me to explore this world as well as the next. Words that shield my eyes from the pains of reality and allow them to awaken in Utopia even if it’s just for a fraction of a moment. All this happens with nothing more than a few sheets of paper bound tightly in leather and written in ink.

I know how to make choices. Granted, they’re not always the right ones, but I know that in every path I take, there is always a lesson waiting for me at the road’s end.

I am aware of the dangers of taking risks. I also know that sometimes, risks are crucial. They build character and they push you to leap when you would otherwise just sit in the corner and watch life pass you by.

I have faith. I have faith in people and faith in myself. When that isn’t enough and I feel like all is lost and times are dark, I put my trust in the Lord and in his promise of salvation. I know in my heart that he will never fail me.

I know how important it is to dream but, I also know the difference between living your dreams and living IN a dream. You should never get those two mixed up for they could not be more different. One offers you the world, the chance to explore the inner depths of your being and shine brighter than the stars. The other will give you nothing but grief and a longing for something you can never have.

And last and most importantly, I know how to love and am loved in return. I have been blessed with such an amazing family. They are a reflection of me and of who I want to be. They are proof that love, so compelling and boundless, exists in the real world and not just in fairy tales. I know that without family and without love, there is no life.

So there… I may not be able to explain the world and how it works in so many complex words like Einstein, nor am I capable of answering mathematical questions in an instant but I do know some things… They may not mean as much to you but, they mean the world to me. If that makes me stupid, then I don’t want to be smart…

Time to Stand Out!

Music is a very powerful instrument. It allows you to paint a portrait of the world as you see it. It grants you access to the deepest emotions and memories you keep locked up in the most hidden crevices of your being. Memories you thought you’ve long forgotten but suddenly surface every time that sustained note is played.

I know so many people who have been blessed with such amazing talents. I have friends who are able to capture the minds and touch the hearts of others and allow them a glimpse of a journey through life with music. So much of who they are and who they want to be are stitched together with the cadenza that it becomes hard to keep track of where the person ends and the music begins. They all band together to form one cosmic being that engulfs your senses and sweeps you off to another world, in another time. It’s the closest anyone can get to God. In that brief instant, where man and music join in the most intimate way, the world is still and all that is left is the man, the music and the one up top without whom none of this would be allowed to exist.

I believe that a gift like this, a gift so incredibly staggering, is to be shared at all times and in all ways. To keep it to yourself would be, for lack of a better word, selfish and egotistic. (Which is, more or less the same thing)

We’ve all gone through that awkward moment wherein family and friends push us to share our talents and we flat out refuse because we’re shy, nervous or unprepared. I used to think that it was the right of the performer to say NO because it was their talent to share. Therein lies the problem.

We forget that the talents we are given are not ours. These talents are simply on loan from THE BIG GUY. Sharing it with others is one way of giving back and thanking him for giving us the skills in the first place.

The only thing that’s really holding us back is our pride. “I make a mistake, I get embarrassed, I can’t handle the pressure…” the only person you’re really concerned about is yourself. See that’s the thing, it isn’t always about you. You are imparting who you are to others. You are allowing OTHERS to read you like an open book. You don’t live for yourself, you live for EVERYONE ELSE! Remember, “It’s not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you’re not.” Push your fears aside, swallow your pride and have faith in the Lord’s infinite goodness. With him by your side, you can never go wrong.