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Hooray!

April 30, 2009 20 comments

April and May are glorious months for my loved ones as two of my siblings graduated this year. After all the hardships and brain-straining academic requirements, they finally made it to the end – to march in the hall with pride and jubilation. Nothing can compare the rewards one gets in school as he is reminded of the beautiful stage in which he could repay with pride the hardships of his folks. One can only appreciate the summit when he has laboriously clambered the boulders and the precipice with diligence and patience. It is in this way that one can say, “I have conquered it, and that I deserve this.” These two young fellows have made it…and as a brother who supported them in various ways, I too have felt the same happiness as they ascended to the stage to get their last clearance in school. Bravo! I say, Bravo!

my family during my brother's graduation
my family during my brother’s graduation

Let me start with this boy. I know your body has been bruised and your heart and mind, tortured, but still with faith in God and perseverance, you were able to surpass all the hurdles in your way. And now, look at you! You have changed into a man of honor wrought by big dreams. A military school is not an ordinary learning institution. This is a place where you will be hammered for survival and will be proselytized to think differently. But I tell you – as I know you will be very brilliant to understand this – success is nothing unless you relate it to genuine service. The best thing in life is not to make a ladder for your job but to make the job as your ladder to fulfill your dreams. It is through this that you will understand the people who need your service. Military lessons may have made you strong but bear in mind that you will always be human with a fragile emotional side. In a place where there will be war and chaos stands as a formidable adversary, you have to keep your health and emotions steady.  Keep your head low and plant your feet in the ground and serve the people as best as you can with integrity. After all, your call is in public service. So keep it up. Congratulations and may God guide you always.

from left:  Mae, Me, Danica, and Kit
from left: Mae, Me, Danica, and Kit

And to you young lady… I have known your intelligence as quite remarkable the moment you open up things with bizarre ideas. Surely UP had made you into a weirdo. Not a weirdo patched with thick spectacles and dressed like a geek that sometimes could be mistaken for a bozo, but a strange lady who prefers the company of older people and sensible fellows which the majority of your batch has failed to replicate. Because I know, deep in your heart, that in all stages in life, you put learning as your priority. Now that your course is done, I wish you all the best. Just remember that graduation is not the end but the beginning of a more challenging life ahead. Your highschool (when you were crowned as one of the top Ilonggo students) and college years in UP were the happiest in life, keep the memories with you but move on to the road of your expertise. I hope you will always stand up to the call of UP to contribute to the “National Pride.” Keep that as well along with your noble dreams in life. Congratulations! I’m very proud of you.

My congratulations also to Eva Marie and to Diana (Cum Laude). Remember the valedictory speech : “We are what we repeatedly do…Excellence then is not an act, but a habit.” You too have the responsibility to contribute to our National Pride. God bless you.

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P.S. Moyx, Zamboanga is a very treacherous place and bullets are unstoppable monsters that shatter dreams and curtail life, so please take care.

Din, basketball always makes you happy, but don’t you think it’s time that you shift to football? By the way UP Fighting Maroons is the champion in UAAP Football-Men against FEU, 1-0.

Remembering Nietzsche

April 27, 2009 10 comments

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Light the world, I say, Zarathustra and tell them what human innards mean? Is it a mass made of human linings, soaked by mortal blood and run by the breath of the land? Or is it the inner condition, nourished by the physical world to go out like a voice that constantly trenches even when forced to keep silent? Draw near to the crowd, madman, and preach that one has to get insane to refresh his soul in the fountain of conversion. Tell them that one has to struggle for ascent, not just by the external body but by innards as well, hence one has to get insane. Yes insane, not by losing one’s mind but by courageously breaking away from the crowd. But both have to move across the beauty of inanity like a beast patiently waiting for the coming of spring, dreaming and preempting the great rapture of feasting with prey again. Preach to them that it is through that that the man breathes like the freest creature on earth. And tell them, madman that you are that beast peeling your skin then cloth yourself like a king among the crowd with innards blooms like flowers that move out of your throat and grow towards the sun. Oh please speak Zarathustra!

Light your lamp once again, so the crowd may see you like a flash of lighting, so subtle but fierce enough to break the ground. Explain to them, that God is really dead! but not the way they understood. When human mind fussed with traditional values and it no longer think apart from these, remind your people to break away like a married couple escaping the domain of their parents to burrow their own nest. And it isn’t your word that brought distraction but the shallow conception of their brain. Yes God is dead in ephemeral ways, but he is there beyond human concepts. When the church and religion formed deities, either out of pragmatism or representation, does God lives within their confines? Frame God and he is dead, explain God and he is dead! Tell them madman, that deep in your heart you want them to believe that He is there all along, ever existent, yet constantly escapes human logic.

So light your lamp even brighter, like the moon illumines the night, and usher the truthful way with valor. Let the world remember that the madman, who was judged and stoned to death, remained constant in his preaching: “break away from the crowd, make a difference and follow the path to overman.”

Zarathustra, through your death, your mind becomes the pillar; your tears becomes the calming ground; and your body the solid foundation of the progress of philosophy that neither me nor others can be worthy of thanking of…and even your breath ceased to reverberate, your text shall be remembered throughout the ages.

When the Wind Blows

April 21, 2009 16 comments
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When the wind blows and the world feels its invisible energy, the spirit dances in rhythm like an infant who takes his first step, occasionally losing his balance yet remains persistent to go on. When the wind blows and the dry leaves say goodbye to the branches, the child is mesmerized by such wonder despite his unawareness of the laws of the universe. When the wind blows, the child heart is singed with delight the way a new born rejoices to the taste of his mother’s breast. When the wind blows and the heat is swept aside, filling the thirst for coolness of physical countenance, the wizened and gaunt body leaps for joy like the mother who awaits her child’s arrival filling her heart with youthful gladness. And when the wind blows and his thin hair magically sways in its whistle, the inner sensation of a child glides along its tune – how beautiful! Oh, how wonderful is the child to dream big embodied by his wriggling kite in the clear blue sky, when the wind blows.

When the wind blows, and the sunlight burst to illuminate her milieu, how she likes to hold him in her arms and claim him hers forever. When the wind blows, she dances like a butterfly that has been liberated from the darkness of its cocoon; and how she wishes that she would constantly enjoy the moment forever. When the wind blows and her skirt frenetically flies, how she longs for freedom with her child in her bosom to take the ride of life. Oh, how eager for an Eve to pray for her child to grow upright, when the wind blows.

When the wind blows, no matter how poverty takes reign, the mother and the child feel like they own the world. When the wind blows, they experience the world is being fair to all hungry souls who either long for the fruit of nature or thirst for nourishment of the spirit. When the wind blows and the water ripples like mighty laces that animate the sea, how their hearts find consolation in hope for paradise. When the wind blows, and the leaves chatter like huddling prophets, how they both know that God never leaves them desperate. So when the wind blows and the leaves speak, the mother and child are reminded of the wide gate that awaits to welcome them to heaven. And oh, how Jesus regains its pallet and paints the world anew, when the wind blows.

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P.S. I hope it’s not too late to greet everyone: Happy Easter!

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Paradiso in Iloilo

April 7, 2009 26 comments

pic2 The temperature hit 33 degrees in North Iloilo and people were hiding from the obnoxious sun rays that could curtail the dreams of  Americans in attaining a fair complexion. Yet no matter how hot the day was, the fact that summer is meant for escapades, my family decided to try island hopping in what I deem the most beautiful place at the world’s end- Isla Higante. It is even more beautiful and virgin than Boracay which I think is not worthwhile for an urban getaway.

The place was a couple of hours from mainland Carles in the northern tip of Iloilo, where you would be welcomed by white sand beaches and boobies perching on huge boulders.  The view of Sicogon Island alone could make you jump from the motor boat and savor the grandiosity where it had once been known as the haven of God.  As we neared the place of Higante Norte, we disembarked and immersed in cool crystalline waters that either refreshed my soul or healed my longing to be in union with nature. The sand was fine as silk which was fascinating for a mortal like me to experience. The place was indeed holy for the natives for most of them owe their lives to the abundance of the sea. And upon docking at the island, one would be mesmerized by gigantic sea walls engineered by divine hands themselves. You wouldn’t believe that this place exists in a parochial and bucolic place in Iloilo. Ahhh!, I say, “there is nothing more beautiful in life than to experience beauty itself! And this place is divine beauty!”

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The place was extraordinary and the experience would not have been complete unless you explored its rocky mountains. My brother and my cousins trekked the rock mountain of barangay Granada for two and a half hours. And when we reached the top, Lo! The UP flag was there signifying that UP students had conquered this place before. Had I brought my marker, I would write “Uno ka? 100 Ako.” The beauty became more exhilarating when we started to sing the “Top of the World.”

But as a curious man, I didn’t limit myself in mere experience for I always wanted to know. And so I roamed the community and asked the people about the place, its origin and myth. The place was indeed fascinating as every island has its story to tell, yet people were more enamored by the tale of Higantes.

Higantes Islands are two big islands endowed with rich natural beauty. On the north, lies the panoramic barangay Granada and barangay Asluman as the fishing drop point of the island. In Asluman, you would find the most satisfying shells like scallops, diwal, oysters, budyong¸ and tuklap-tuklap which are gathered for exportation. On the south, barangay Gabi stands majestically with its wide span of white sand beach (Antonea) and barangay Lantangan on the other end which is very mysterious because of its rock formations that exactly looks like Minas Tirith in Lord of the Rings. Some folks claimed that this was once a fortress or a castle of engkantados where they have sporadically seen a golden boat docking. It had a multitude of caves and a blue lagoon inside known as Tangke. Also, there are said to be sea portals in the place where you will be transported to Masbate and Aklan. According to the natives, the caves and portals were beautiful window drapes and Turkish doors long time ago. But as time progresses and human civilization advances, the beauty of a place regresses. This only means that the ascent of human knowledge is also the death of myths.

But why Higante? When you look at the two islands from a distance, you would see forms of two sleeping giants The one is called Babayi, which is located in the south (Sur) and the other Lalaki in the north (Norte). In the between the two islands were two big boulders which were called Higantuna and Higantillo, also known as children of the giants. In short this is a family group of islands, exactly suitable for families who like worthwhile adventures. In this life, we only have a lifetime to spend, and it is just beautiful to experience a paradise right here, right now way ahead our own deaths. If Dante’s Paradiso exists, it can be found in Higantes.

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P.S. If you like to evade this boisterous world, come to Higante Islands and not to Boracay. You’ll be surprised how Boracay can be more urban compared to some cities in the Philippines. Higante is completely opposite because instead of hanging with people and wasting your pocket to zero you will be partying with nature itself – crows, boobies and hawks; crabs, lobsters, shrimps; scallops, oysters and other shells; monkeys and wild cats; sea snakes and eels; rays and tunas; corals and urchins. And believe it, we only spent a quarter of our total expense in Boracay!