My Kind of Hero

Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers out there, especially to all my friends and love ones who deserve to be called a father!

Since this is an event celebrated all over the world, several posts will probably run along the same thoughts as mine.  So how do I make this post different and engaging I wonder?

But then, I thought, to whom is this post meant to be?  Am I not writing this because I want this to be a gift to a very special man?  And so, on this line of thought, let me introduce to you, My Dear Readers, a man I never thought I would have the luck to know, a man I call “my kind of hero”.

In my previous posts, I told about how I met him and many other things, but I wouldn’t  get tired of telling them over and over again.

So, I met this most wonderful man over twenty years ago when I was fresh out of college and started working in our local government unit in 1996.  We were celebrating the Civil Service Anniversary that month.  There are many other events in the city that followed thereafter that somewhat made our paths cross each other over and over again that on one of those days it suddenly struck me like a lightning out of nowhere and I said to myself, “it’s him!”  I knew right then and there that he is going to play an important role in my life, that he is going to be God’s answer to my prayers.

More than a year later, he indeed made a great change to my life by irrevocably becoming a part of it. 

Over the years, despite all the difficulties and problems we both had to face, with his wacky sense of humor, easy manners and selfless love for our family, he carved his way deep into the heart of each member of our family, from my mother, to my sister and her children, to my brothers and their family, to me and our children.  I could not have asked God for a much better partner in life, a more responsible father for my children, a well-liked son-in-law for my mother, my kind of hero, my husband.

Are We Really Free?

A happy Monday morning, everyone!

And to all my countrymen:  Happy 119th Philippine Independence Day!

My regular blog post should have been published yesterday but since today we will be celebrating the anniversary of Philippine Independence, I decided to postpone publishing and cover our own local celebration of the said event.

Before the program started, of course, people were still milling around in their gorgeous Filipiniana attires, the city officials and department heads of local offices posing for posterity while the various sectors in their uniforms waited for the program to start.

The program started at around 7:30 in the morning with the entrance of colors, which means the entrance of the Philippine flag and the banner of the city.  

This was followed by the offering of flower wreath at the center of the public plaza, in front of the flag pole, by the City Mayor, Vice Mayor together with the Filipino World War II Veteran President of the city.

The twelve Philippine revolutionary flags followed, escorted by the twelve Sanggunian Panlungsod Members, and paraded up the stage, their brilliant red color so vibrant to represent the bravery and boldness of the Filipino soldiers in their fight for freedom against the Spanish oppression of that time.

Wreaths, pots and bouquets of flowers were also offered under the monuments of the two Philippine heroes the city honors, Andres Bonifacio and Dr. Jose P. Rizal.

The city officials then marched up the city hall’s balcony to reenact the first-ever Independence Day Celebration held in Cawit, Cavite on June 12, 1898.

The program ended after a dance presentation by the city representatives to the Panaad Folk Dance competition and by a young maiden singing “Ako ay Filipino”.

Every year, every local government units, anywhere in the Philippines try to recreate the spirit of patriotism evoke by the first celebration of the Philippine Independence and try to enliven the occasion and impart the values of such event in the younger generations.

Yet, with or without the sad events still happening in Marawi, are we really free?

With all our talks about freedom, aren’t we still bounded by some ideas that limit us from experiencing it totally?  Or aren’t we limited by our inhibitions to embrace the changes that comes with the times?  Or aren’t we afraid to accept the consequences brought by grasping it with both hands for fighting for it might mean giving up our everything for it?

Fighting for our freedom does not always mean taking up arms and walking up and down the streets shouting for it.  

Our everyday thoughts and actions, our efforts and struggles, towards liberation from pangs of hunger and escape from the shackles of poverty, are also embodiments of our continuing fight for freedom.  

We might say we are already a Republic, a democratic country freed from dominion of other countries, but still, our existence is a continuous struggle not only from domination of powerful countries who continuously try to plunder our natural resources but also from the debilitating effects of corruption for the past several decades.

Freedom has its many faces.  And our struggle to keep it can also vary in many ways.

Even within our ownselves, an inner struggle continues.  We wish to fight our tendencies to bury ourselves underneath seemingly unimportant desires for lavish spendings and luxurious things but we often fail to discipline and curb them.


We wish to have more courage and determination to crawl out of our hand-to-mouth existence, but opportunities to do so is just so out of our reach that despite working eight hours a day, five days a week, earning supposedly thousands of pesos per month but what we bring home at the end of a pay day is barely enough to tide us over a few days.

We might always know deep in our hearts the value or importance of freedom but for us whose struggles towards liberty from poverty and harsh existence is ever-continuing, we might feel it or see a glimpse of it at times we receive our bonuses but we would always seem just dream of it and pray that manna will hopefully fall from heaven.

Is Martial Law the Answer?

“People sometimes make wrong decisions to do the right thing,” So Yool, Chief Kim Korean drama. 

With the recent terrorism attack in Marawi City, President Rodrigo Duterte declared Martial Law in Mindanao on May 24, 2017.

But, what is martial law?

Martial law is the imposition of direct military control of normally civilian functions of the government, especially in response to a temporary emergency such as invasion or a major disaster, or in occupied territory.  (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martial_law).

When the president declared martial law on Mindanao, the reactions of the people vary from sarcasm to approval, from apprehension to relief, from loud protestations to noncommittal shrugs, from indignation to trust.  (http://www.rappler.com/technology/social-media/170749-martial-law-mindanao-netizens-reactions)

Many were reminded of the sad and harsh events of the Martial Law declared by former President Ferdinand E. Marcos on September 21, 1972 by virtue of Presidential Decree No. 1081.  Military rule reigned in Philippines then for more than eight years until it was officially ended on January 17, 1981 by virtue of Presidential Decree no 2045.  Marcos, however, reserved decree-making powers for himself. (http://www.gov.ph/featured/declaration-of-martial-law/).

I was born on May 1, 1974, when martial law was still fully imposed and practically lived my pre-school age in the duration of the entire martial law era.  Despite my young age then, I could not remember my mother and my great grandmother ever complaining there is any difficulty in buying basic necessities for us to live in comfort and peace.  Back then, we lived in Barangay Sum-ag, Bacolod City, a barangay where the Visayan Maritime Academy (now known as VMA Global College) was established, and my mom was looking after a boarding house catering for students studying at the said academy.

I did remember talks about curfew but I believed it just helped make my mother’s  life easier in managing several young lads in their teenage years with their raging hormones and penchant for adventure and fun.  They are not allowed to be out of the house after 10 o’clock in the evening and their fear of violating that law kept them in check.

Since, I was still young to remember that much, I asked my mother what was it like during the martial law era.  

She recalled that except for a problem with shortage of rice for a short time, life in the province went on as smoothly and as normally as it was before martial law was declared.  There were talks, she said, of some people who were imprisoned for talking against the government and there were talks of summary killings but none that she had witnessed or known personally.  It seemed to me that life in the province had gone on as much as it was before the declaration.  

News and confessions of life of brutality during martial law, seemed to had affected the people in Manila, where the center of government had always been, more than it affected the lives of the people in the provinces.

Once again, martial law is declared in the Philippines, but only in Mindanao.

President Rodrigo Duterte has declared martial law in Mindanao following clashes between government forces and a group inspired by the so-called Islamic State in Marawi City. (http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/05/30/1703141/live-updates-martial-law-mindanao)

There were many vehement complaints and loud disapproval of this action by the President.  The question is: If you were on the President’s shoes at that time, what would you have done in response to such events in Mindanao?

If we are among the residents of Marawi would we be relieved to know that our country represented by the President is doing its utmost best to preserve the lives of affected by making its military rule in the face of such blatant threat towards the government rule, or would we feel more threatened because of the power juggle and apparent war going on?  Despite the hardships and difficulties they must be facing now, wouldn’t the Marawi residents feel more assured of their safety knowing the government is showing its effort to control the situation and that the government is displaying so much more backbone and political will over their dire situation?

Yes, there is that worry that so much power can be alluring and addictive.  But, times now are different.  People are more aware of their right as a people.  We now have a stronger Constitution that protects us from tyrannical rule.  President Duterte himself is aware of that.

President Rodrigo Duterte claims he’ll be the first to call for an end to martial law once Mindanao is “stable.” (http://www.rappler.com/nation/171654-duterte-end-martial-law)

Then let me go back to my featured quote at the beginning of this post.

“People sometimes make wrong decisions to do the right thing,” So Yool, Chief Kim Korean drama. 

To some people the declaration of martial law might have been a wrong decision to make despite its intention to do the right thing, but, sometimes certain situation calls for drastic measures. 

Let us call them to task when the need for such measure has extended its purpose.  That’s the time then for us to make our moves. For now, let the government prove its worth and its supremacy over terrorism.

Why Do We Do What We Do?

My dear Readers, my apologies for the delayed posting.  I had to finish my term paper for a course I took this summer, the deadline of which is this Wednesday.  I still had to re-read and edit it later this evening but I am glad I was able to finish the draft.  

Anyway, with my mind still so much focused on it, it gave me an idea of what to tackle on my blog today.  I had gone out of idea for a topic is more likely but I always believe in the saying: 

“make do with what you have”.

So, why do we do what we do?

Had anyone ever stopped for a moment and asked one’s self that question before they keep on doing whatever interests them at that moment?  If you had, had you taken the thought seriously or merely shrugged a shoulder? 

Indeed, what’s my point?  Why dig into it like a dog with a bone to pick?  The point is, most things that we do is just as natural and normal as breathing that we never had to spare a thought onto it.  It is because our brain is already programmed to do certain things at a given time, things we usually do by instinct or things we usually do as a routine.  

The workings of our brain is that intricate that most of the time we need not question why we do certain things in the manner we do them.  So, when does the time it occur to us to ask, why am I doing this?


Would you agree that it is at a time when you feel at a loss, facing a seemingly insurmountable task that you need not do but you feel you must do?  When this occurs, don’t you feel like you want to run the other way but you knew it is blocked?  It feels like wading in a flood with rain still pouring down on you.  You wish to get out of it but no matter where you look, there is just water around you.

Wouldn’t you say it is just all in the mind?  Maybe.  But then, wouldn’t it be cowardly to think that if we just let things be, it will resolve on its own?  Would you be able to sleep soundly with that thought bugging you in the back of your mind that you are supposed to do something but is trying to wiggle your way out of it?  

In the end, you will realize that it has taken too much more effort and too many sleepless nights to avoid doing it than to have done it outright.


 So, again, why do we do what we do?  Because it is what our conscience dictates us to do, or because it is something that must be done.  

Remember

Taking The Plunge

Sometime last week, I heard a peer of mine say talks about marriage life and hearing negative things about it makes her fear getting married at all.  

So, I wondered, if my posts of the past two weeks could have attributed to her fear  or if talks she heard from plights of women who are suffering from marital problems or are on the verge of marital breakup.had? Anyway, as usual, I kept the question to myself and reflect over it.

I was born when my parents got separated and was only able to finally meet my father when I was about to start schooling at the age of seven.  Imagine the wariness emanating from a seven-year-old at looking at an unfamiliar face who was supposed to be my father.

I can almost still recall the uncomfortable feeling.  Then while growing up under the same roof with him, often than not, I felt like I was a total stranger to him.  Suffice it to say that my memories of a so-called father and man of the family was not a pleasant one, not to say the least, that growing up in a not-so-normal household would have traumatized many children, especially a young woman, exposed to violence and irresponsible behavior of adults.

As a teenager when having crushes, even boyfriends, is the norm, I lived in worry and wariness around men, for fear that my father would make a cripple out of any young men who might give me attention.  Looking back though, I might have my father to thank for for honing my senses as to what kind of man is ideal with me.  

Men who were not that courageous enough or in love enough went scurrying away without me lifting a finger to shoo them on their way.  Weren’t I sad to have not the chance to even enjoy much of their company?  Well, I was spared of getting my heart broken unnecessarily.

I have read on a book before that children when exposed to violence and traumatic experiences with a parent tend to grow as introverts, even, emotionally crippled.  In some sense, I was indeed an introvert.  

During my teenage years, my father had shown me excessive attention which if he had manifested it when I was still younger, I might had been ecstatic.  This sudden turn of events had caused me a lot of uncomfortable even embarassing experiences that would have incurred phobia and hysterics to other teenagers.  It made me feel odd but thanks to most of  my classmates those years, male and female, they had not made me feel like an alien among their midst.  They still accepted me and helped me make it through those difficult years.

Several more uncomfortable events occurred throughout my college days that would have made many young women cringe at the thought of ever having anything to do with men for fear that they might end with the same kind of man I had to live with for most of my teenage life.

Had I for a single moment thought of not marrying and creating a family of my own because of my bad experiences living with my father?

In all honesty, what I thought and prayed back then was to find a man whom God will grant me, who will accept and love me and my family for whatever he can see and know about our entire story.

When I finally met my husband, while I was looking at him at a distance, a flash of realization just suddenly hit me, and I said to myself, “this is it!  It’s him, the man I am destined to be with.”  More than a year after that, I took the plunge and exchanged vows with him.  

Nineteen years and counting, we are still together.  As I had said in my previous blogs, our marriage life was not an easy road to traverse.  Trials and hardships we both gone through added spice to a marriage meld by time and numerous tests.  But if asked if I regret any of those years with him?  Despite everything, I would say, I am glad I took courage and went beyond my inhibitions and fear, for I could have never chosen a much better man other than my husband.
In making a decision about our own life, we should remember, upon our hands lie the outcome of our actions.  By taking the risk, we might be uncertain of what lies ahead but we are the managers of our own destiny.  It is like driving a car along a cliff, the wheel is tightly grasped in our hands.  It lies upon us to what direction we can go-to safely reach our destination or to careen over the cliff. 

If we aspire something for our life, we need not put shackles around those dreams in fear  of the unknown.  The thrill of the unexpected and the unknowns spikes up the level of interest and makes life more exhilarating.  Life would be redundant and boring if we don’t explore what is out there.  We will never know the thrill of hurtling barriers if we don’t experience obstacles. We will never fully enjoy life if we always shy away from getting out of our protective shells.  

So, the choice is really up to you but why not…


Misconceptions (Poetry)

When you see a woman with heavy loads
          What do you think?

When the man seemingly uncaring trods

           Hmm, there’s something.

Will you likely jump to a conclusion,

           “He’s a mean man!”

Or  could there be a plausible reason

            For what he’s done?

For the woman, it could be martyrdom,

             It could be love

For the man, could be unwanted freedom

              A way to live.

Life, really, is not made up of sweet dreams

             Or delusions.

Not everything we see is what it seems

              Misconceptions…
 

God is With Us!

When it rains, it pours.

This was the quote that immediately came to mind, when I thought of all that has been happening with my family lately.

A month hadn’t pass us yet since we had to face that nerve-wracking operation my daughter had to undergo and now I had to once again submit myself to that proverbial rollercoaster ride, with my heart jammed in my throat.

Having to face situations like this, makes me feel like I am standing on a precipice, facing a cliff with jagged edges of rocks taunting me below, while behind me is a dark cloud formation that unnamed, unknown dangers could spring out suddenly.

In other words, it felt like no matter which way I look, problems and trials surround me.and rhe members of my family.  Am I just experiencing paranoia or am I just overreacting?  

I read somewhere before that our family members would always be our weaknesses, and I totally agree with that.  Over the years, I would always say to myself, I rather prefer to be the one who’s ill than any member of my family.  Yes, and I would still choose that because, at least, I am actually the one suffering.  The pain is first hand and I could take the pain or know how to handle it or myself on such a situation. 

But when the one who is suffering is a loved one, not really knowing how much in pain he is or when I see him gritting his teeth to whatever he must be going through and to spare me from worrying, nevertheless, I get worried the more.  

Various thoughts bombard my senses then.  I had to shield my inner thoughts from being totally corrupted by all the negative thoughts that just come to taunt me like the monsters they are.  

A battle ensuing inside my brains could prove more energy-depleting and stressful than actually battling it out with fists and fangs (as if, I had been in one).  Anyway, with a physical fight, I would probably receive bruises and gashes even, but with the mental one, the pain of worrying over the unknown is more debilitating.

It takes too much effort to just channel my mind on other things that needed my attention. But then, after too much thinking and worrying, realization comes like a light dispersing the dark clouds.

In all the trials and tribulations I had gone through, was there a single one I had not hurdled?  Isn’t being alive and writing now proof enough that I even survived life-threatening events?  In everything that had happened, did God ever ignore or forsake me?

Asking myself those questions and answering them truthfully made me realize that my Father in Heaven loves me a lot!  He has not for a single moment left me by myself.  In all of those terrifying moments, He made sure that I made it through all of them.  He always paved the way for me to find any help I would need whenever I needed it most from surprisingly or unlikely sources.  Time and time again, the Bible passage from Matthew 7:7 was proven true to me.

So, despite being worried for knowing my beloved is sick, I am much more relieved now for I believe God will watch over my loved ones and will help us through these tests.  I know God is with us.