Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Of prenup photos and weddings of the present

I'm a soon-to-be bride, have I told you that? And my fiance and I have recently had our prenup photos taken and I got to thinking how wedding preparations have evolved as the years progress. I don't recall having attended weddings back in 2000 with prenup photos and on-site videos, but today, the two are almost essentials in a wedding to-do list.

I am amazed at how prenup photos allow couples to be characters other than themselves and how creative people could get. Prenup themes could go from sporty, high fashion, boheme, vintage, masquerade to an endless list of other possibilities. I guess for the soon-to-wed couple, the prenup photo session is a unique bonding opportunity and a chance to challenge their tolerance for nonstop camera posing in preparation for their wedding day. Plus, it's pure fun. =)

Aside from the prenup photos, on-site videos and other stuff that are now part of the wedding repertoire of today, wedding preparations have surely climbed up a gazillion notches as brides-to-be and even grooms-to-be have become more assertive as ever, with bookings that start as early as two years before their chosen wedding date and preparations spanning longer than the usual. I guess its a nice thing since it gives couples more time to gear up and save up for their dream wedding day, but hopefully also more time to prepare for the more important aspect of all the hullabaloos - the marriage and their lifetime of marital bliss together. =)

Friday, November 27, 2009

My first Royce' experience

I've always loved eating potato chips. I even handle marketing of potato chips products for a living. So I didn't need a lot of convincing when a colleague of mine told me to try Royce Potato chip Chocolate. And the raves from so many people made me stop and take action.

I remember asking my brother to buy me 'THE' Royce' Potato Chip Chocolate when he was at Greenbelt with my family. Little did I know that I was in for a surprise. I went home looking forward to try the new snack, but my thrill was watered down when my brother asked me to reimburse Php540.00 for the box of Royce' he bought for me. I knew it was expensive, but Php540.00? Sheesh... Had I known, I could've just walked past the stall and asked for a sampler. Hehe. I was still in disbelief, so I didn't rush to eat it. I even told my mom I'd just put off eating it 'til Christmas (ang mahal eh...).

Seeing that the box won't last 'til Christmas, I opened it the following day. I was excited at the sight of the chocolate. Chew... chew... chew... Hmm... I waited for that something... after around 5 chips, it still didn't come. Nope, no wonderful burst of flavors here. I know the product has a lot of following, but my own opinion is this... The potato chips are good and the chocolate is good... but on its own... At some point, I felt the chocolate was too overpowering that the saltiness was a bit negligible. But maybe that's just me. It fell short of my expectations from all the hype Royce' Potato Chip Chocolate got.

Try it for yourself. It's different, but maybe not my kind of different.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Man-made breath-taker in Bohol

My fiancé and I went to Bohol recently and found ourselves in awe of this little island tucked away in the Visayas region. More than the infamous Chocolate Hills, white sand beaches of Panglao and the provinces’ resident Tarsiers, Bohol had so much more to offer. One of which is the point of my raving today.

We took this countryside tour that would bring us to the popular tourist sites of Bohol including one with less hype than the others, but of equal or maybe even more beauty (subject to the author’s own perception) - the Man-made Forest in Bilar. When we were passing through it, I felt like I was looking at some stored Microsoft Windows screen saver. It was such a pretty site. It had the charm of the countryside and the soothing feel of paradise.

To add to its charm, the forest is a site to behold and historic in its own right, with the thousands of Mahogany trees painstakingly planted by the Boholanos since the start of the 50s. I know, I know… What’s so special about just lots and lots of bundles of trees? Maybe it’s the breeze or the endless shade it offers… I really don’t know, but it has that something that merits it as a special place. Try seeing it for yourself when you visit Bohol and maybe you’ll feel the same way as I do. Of course, the photo can’t compare to the real thing. Maybe we could replicate something like the Man-made Forest of Bilar somewhere here in Manila… I’m pretty sure it would be another site to behold. =)

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Minus another to-do

Like I've said in my older post, I have this list of things to do before I get married and today, thanks and no thanks to Ondoy, I had another item done. Yup, my latest done to-do is the one in fuchsia. Since my parent's A/C was submerged in the flood, we had to replace it before dad's homecoming. So I gathered all my disposable income and got them an aircon. To a person like me, who isn't earning much and saving for the wedding of her and her fiance's dreams, buying an aircon is already grand. Ergo, that's 'By mom and dad something grand': CHECK and just four more things to go. Although, I am double thinking the 'Take the FSO exam' item 'cause I'm kinda set with my career path and I don't think I'm taking the foreign affairs route anymore. But we'll see, I'll probably replace that with another to-do once I think about what it should be.

Take up any kind of post-grad studies – CHECK
Take the FSO exam
Get a new job (2nd job) – CHECK
Travel – CHECK
Sponsor the schooling of at least 1 kid
Start up a business
Be an ice skating coach
Buy mom & dad something grand
Plant a tree – CHECK

How 'bout you? Have you started your own to-do list? It helps a lot.=) You'll see.=)

Makeup neophyte

I don't wear makeup. The only time I wore makeup was during my college graduation photo shoot and during mandatory makeup occasions like proms, balls and weddings, oh and ice skating competitions. Heck, I didn't even wear makeup during my debut and my college graduation. So I guess, that's probably just around 20 times of wearing makeup for my whole 25 years of existence. However, I am feeling this urge to wear makeup so I'd look more my age and less like a teener. I'm still quite afraid of makeup and I squirm like crazy when some sort of makeup is applied on my face.

With our upcoming prenup photo sessions and our wedding less than a year to go, I've finally taken the leap from my dependence on oil blotting films alone. Today, I am a proud owner of a minute tube of liquid foundation. I think it's a good start. But my post isn't about that, it's how despite my makeup ignorance, I am a firm believer in the transforming power of the eyeliner. As shown in my photo, the eyeliner made me look a tad bit more mature and well-groomed. And so my makeup investments shall now increase to a tandem of liquid foundation and a trusty black eyeliner.

I'm no expert, but to makeup newbies I think having a good eyeliner is the way to go. Oh, and you can throw in a nice lip gloss too.=)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Duh?!@# (Rant about Glee)

Don't get me wrong, I like Glee - well, except for the storyline they developed for Mr. Schuster and his scheming wife. For those who watch Glee, you know how Terri is faking her pregnancy and Will believes her like a crazed puppy dog. I refuse to believe that in this day and age there would be a husband as ignorant as Will's character. Unless you're a super absentee husband, I'm pretty sure you'll know it if you're having a kid or not. From the last episode I've watch, I think Terri is already almost 5 months along - so does this mean that Will hasn't accompanied her to visit the doctor to have her ultrasound? Her husband hasn't touched her growing belly long enough to recognize that she's just faking it?

I guess it's just a sub-plot. I like the singing and all, the dancing, just a bit - but if there's one thing that would make me stop watching Glee, it's gonna be this minor storyline that kind of comes off as an insult to supposedly wise and discerning adults.

On the brighter side, it also shows how having a kid or even the thought of having a kid could make one lose the ability to think rationally - maybe because it feels that ecstatic. Who knows?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Probable Cause

Nope, this isn't the judicial jargon we always hear when we're watching courtroom dramas. It's just what it is - a probable cause. It's amazing how a single photo could make a point-and-shoot person like me want a DSLR. I took this photo with a friend's DSLR and I loved the output, it made me feel like a pro. Harhar. Instant artistic photography. I'd just like to share it because I think it's a nice photo (even better than the ones I took for my photography class in college) and if EVER I decide to buy a DSLR of my own - this photo would be the 'probable cause'.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Lock and Lock Love

I owe it to my Lock & Lock to write about how; despite the fact that I lost most of my gadgets and beloved books to the flood; all old letters and movie tickets and other trinkets Rich gave me were spared - all dry and the way I left them. It's amazing. The moment we got to the house once the flood subsided, I went to my room and located my Lock & Lock. It was displaced because it probably drifted with the flood, but everything in it was fine. I was happy and comforted and mostly amused. At least I still have most of my prized possessions from Rich and I'm pretty sure they'll remain dry until many years after 'Ondoy'.

Now, if only they made a Lock & Lock that could fit a whole house. =)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

After 'Ondoy': Looking for the silver lining

Initially I wanted to rant about 'Ondoy' through my blog, but i decided not to since i know I we weren't the only ones affected. If you must know, our family lives in Vista Verde in Cainta, Rizal, one of the severely hit areas in the country by 'Ondoy'. It was really the worst typhoon experience I've ever had in my whole 25 years of existence. In a nutshell, half our house was submerged in water, all our appliances, clothes, bags, shoes, sack of rice, food, pictures, letters, memorabilias and other things you'll find inside the house of sentimental people got soaked in water that's even higher than I am for a day. We had to stay at our neighbors house to get through the 2 days of 'Ondoy'. We didn't lose everything, but it feels like we're starting over.
But despite all the not-so-good things that happened, I shall cling to the cliche that 'there's always a silver lining'. The recent storm that took so much from our country and people brought about a lot of good things too. Benevolence, generosity, gratefulness and many more were put into play during this so-called onslaught of 'Ondoy'. Allow me to elaborate:
Benevolence - This came after the storm wherein so many groups - private and public were mobilized to do all sorts of relief operations. Even the company I work in gave so many special considerations for those employees severely affected by the typhoon.
Generosity - In our village alone, homeowners with houses with two or more storeys didn't hesitate to take in neighbors whose houses were completely flooded. Our own neighbors even provided us with our own room to stay in - we had the playroom to ourselves. We had good food, drinking water and dry clothes.
Gratefulness - After the storm, news about the losses were balanced out by news of gratefulness. People with houses submerged in water were still very much thankful that their families are complete and that their losses are just material. I may have lost my laptop, digicams, ipod, speakers and other gadgets, but we're all safe and dry. That's more than enough to be thankful for.
Spirit of family and community - The storm has brought neighbors closer who earlier didn't bother to get to know each other but now consider themselves close friends. Families also bonded because of the disaster, hoping to mend whatever material things were broken with the hope and happiness family brings. I got to see my titas and relatives from Malabon and I got to talk to my cousins more often too.
These are just some of the positive things I got out of 'Ondoy', I won't thank the blasted storm (sheesh), but I'll thank the Lord and remember what I got out of it and what I gained despite my loss.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tastes like Ruffles Cheddar and Sour Cream

Who would have thought that one would find a local match to Ruffles Cheddar & Sour Cream (CSC) sans the big pack and the ridges? Well, I did, along with most of my friends whom I've converted; in Jack 'n Jill Potato Chips Cheddar and Sour Cream.
I really swear on this product. Give it a try and it's like eating Ruffles CSC, plus the good thing about it is that it's locally made ~ a proud product of the Philippines. And do you know that the benefits of purchasing locally made products go a long way? Yup, it trickles down to the people who help bring the products to sari-sari stores, groceries and supermarkets - our fellow Filipinos who work in the production plants of local snacks in Manila as well as in the provinces.
So aside from the stateside taste you've been craving for, buying Potato Chips Cheddar and Sour Cream instead would work wonders not just for you, but for the Pinoys behind it. Plus every time you bite into the goodness of this product, you also sample the ingenuity and world class abilities of Filipinos. Now isn't that a greater delight for the senses? Try it, maybe you'll feel the way as I do. =)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Plant a tree - CHECK (technically)

Since finishing college in 2006, I’ve had this list of things to do before I get married. I guess it was my way of making sure that I did things for myself before I give the whole of me completely to my husband-to-be. Fast forward to today, it’s just a year to go before I marry my fiancé and I’m feeling the pressure to tick off more boxes off my list.
Thankfully, I’ve added another check to my list last Saturday. For my 25th birthday, I decided to adopt 25 trees at the La Mesa Ecopark. I invited 25 of my friends to join me and take time out to give back to mother nature (cheesy). As a whole it was a half day well spent. The program entailed a free tour of the ecopark, but the main event was the nursery activity (read: tree planting at its baby-est form). We got to watch a very compelling video on how needed it is to do your share in saving nature because it will directly affect our lives as we know it. We were amazed/shocked on the many ‘Do you knows’ that were enumerated.

Do you know…

Ø that brushing with a closed faucet uses up 0.25 gallons of water and that brushing with the water running on the other hand uses up 4 gallons?
Ø that flushing the toilet is another 3 gallons of water?
Ø that a 10-minute shower will cost the world 50 gallons of water?

The above are just the ones I remember. The ‘Do you knows’ were really eye-openers and now I do know. Note to self: try to be more conscientious about water usage. After the videos off to plant we went, we filled little black bags with healthy soil with earthworm poop (that’s incidentally very helpful in the planting world), got our pricking sticks and stuck in super baby seedlings. We were told that the seedlings we planted will have to stay at the nursery for 6 month to grow before they are planted into the forest. It sounded promising.

To cut the long story short, it’s another box ticked off my list. And now I’m proud and happy to share with you the status of my list. Now I’m really pressured to accomplish everything since I’ve decided to share it in the world wide web, no less. But today more that ever, I am determined and I have a good feeling that I will manage to have all things checked before September 25, 2010.

Zei’s list of things to do before getting married

Take up any kind of post-grad studies – CHECK
Take the FSO exam
Get a new job (2nd job) – CHECK
Travel – CHECK
Sponsor the schooling of at least 1 kid
Start up a business
Be an ice skating coach
Buy mom & dad something grand
Plant a tree – CHECK

Why not make a list of your own. I think the best thing about making a list is that you know you’re the one in charge and you’re the only person who can make things happen. Your list could be on the things you want to do before you reach a certain age or something. Having my list helps me a lot. It pushes me strive to be better however little ways I’ve chosen. Plus it’s also fun. So that’s it, until my next CHECKED to do.

25 high!

I turned 25 a few days ago, last September 18 to be exact. This won’t be a long read, don’t worry. I just want to send out this BIG BIG thank you to life, to the world, to the Lord, to everyone in my life and maybe even just out into the void. I don’t think taking on quarter life has been this happy and optimistic. I feel it in my guts that I’m on my way to being the best version of me ever.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

the little skirt that can

I'm a fan of fashion and most describe mine as feminine and girly, probably because I like cheery and bright colors with that frilly flowy feel. Today I shall share with you the story of my little-skirt-that-can: my semi-tiered printed chiffon skirt.

I'm a mainstay at any SM department store - more often in SM Megamall, SM Makati and SM Marikina and always on the lookout for my next perfect find. This one fine day my eye caught sight of this blue and yellow skirt that was incidentally a different colored version of the one a colleague of mine had, which I immediately fell inlove with. Without much contemplation, I went on to fit it and of course, I knew I had to have it. It had the right amount of girly and uniqueness that I wanted for all things in my wardrobe. So I bought it, no surprise there. Barely Php 500.00, it was a steal - I felt like a winner in a 'Look for Less' challenge kind of way.

Since I got my little-skirt-that-can, I've just worn it twice and I'm reaping more than what I've invested. I get compliments for it - from my family, my workmates, my fiance and from random people. Just yesterday, I was at the mall and this girl kept peering at me as if she knew me. She lingered for minutes until she looked at me and asked where I got my skirt, 'it's so pretty', she said with a smile. I was happy to oblige, so I told her of the many treasures one can find in the SM department store. I love sharing when it comes to fashion - I don't keep my knowledge to myself.=)

I guess my point here is that you need not look for known brands to uncover little-outfits-that-can. It's all in your vision and expression of your own style. Why not drop by any department store near you and explore the things they have to offer. You might be surprised on the fun things you'll find and even end up with savings of a peso or a hundred more. Now won't that be just perfect?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Of cheerdance powerhouses and school spirit

The places have been announced, the awards for the 2009 Samsung UAAP Cheerdance Competition have been given out. And this is my shoutout, I think I have sufficient background in dance and cheerdancing to say this, 'UP ang Galing mo!'

UP and Galing mo

Narito kami nagpupugay
Sa unibersidad ng aming buhay
Ikaw pa rin ang binabalikan
Di pa rin malilimutan
Ikaw ang UP naming mahal

Salamat sa iyong mga guro
Salamat sa iyong pagtuturo
Taglay niyo ang kahusayan
Taglay niyo ang karunungan
Hinubog niyo kami sa kabutihan
Sandaang taon na tayo
Lagi ka pa rin sa aming puso
Kayat kamiy sumasaludo
UP ang galing mo
UP ang galing mo

Wala nang iba pang maihahambing
Sa talino mot angking galing
Daanin man sa siyensiya
High-tech man o kahit ano pa
Ikaw UP ang nangunguna
Sa iyong mga dugo ang kasaysayan
Dumaloy sa pag-unlad ng ating bayan
Sagisag ka ng kagitingan
Bandila ka ng kalayaan
Pag-asa ka ng mamamayan
Sandaang taon na tayo
Lagi ka pa rin sa aming puso
Sentro ka ng pagbabago
UP ang galing mo
UP ang galing mo

Sandaang taon na tayo
UP ang galing mo
UP ang galing mo

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Read and Think

The title is a bit lengthy, but it sums up the contents of the book. 12 Little Things Every Filipino can do to help our Country by Alex Lacson is indeed a must read for any conscientious Filipino. It's been out since 2005 and I'm posting this as a reminder, just in case you haven't read it or in case you've forgotten. Here are the 12 little things you and I can do to help our country:

1. Follow traffic rules. Follow the law.
2. Whenever you buy or pay for anything, always ask for an official receipt.
3. Don't buy smuggled goods. Buy Local. Buy Filipino.
4. When you talk to others, especially foreigners, speak positively about us and our country.
5. Respect your traffic officer, policeman and soldier.
6. Do not litter. Dispose your garbage properly. Segregate. Recycle. Conserve.
7. Support your church.
8. During elections, do your solemn duty.
9. Pay your employees well.
10. Pay your taxes.
11. Adopt a scholar or poor child.
12. Be a good parent. Teach your kids to follow the law and love our country.

These are the 12 little things every Filipino can do to help our country. Some are quite a feat even for those who have read this book over and over. But knowing these 12 things is already a step into becoming a better individual. Eventually, one by one, we could imbibe these and become better Filipinos and become a better nation.

I've met Alex Lacson and got a chance to pick his brain back in 2007 and I'm very happy to say that the author lives up to what he has written. He's probably one of the most kind hearted and gentle person I've ever met in my lifetime. It actually shows. So when you do read his book, you'll know it isn't hypocrisy, it's really who he is and what he has written can be done. Reading his book is a good start.

Quoting Alex Lacson, "We are a people capable of greatness."

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Polyvore: More than just mixing and matching

I have this habit of looking for deeper purposes about things. Today my focus is on To me, and to many others out there, it's more than just a website wherein you can mix and match clothes, shoes, bags, accessories and other what have yous to your heart's content. It is, on so many levels, a revelation. The way I see it, aside from allowing members to pick the ensemble that fancies them, it allows the Polyvore goer and the viewers of their profile to get to know who they really are through the sets they create. It gives the member an identity and the freedom to express themselves through fashion. One can derive from the many sets that a particular person is carefree, reserved, chic, adventurous or eccentric (in a good way) and many more from the colors and fashion combinations they come up with. It may be pushing the idea too far, but I think sites such as Polyvore foster creativity, imagination, resourcefulness (creating the look for less) and individuality. It could also be aspirational for some - they know what they like and they'll work on achieving that exactly. It's a site worth visiting for those into fashion, fashion converts or maybe even for those curious about anything and everything about contemporary culture. Check it out, if you like what you see, sign in and be the master of your own identity (read: make your own fashion statement). Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Here come the BER months

There's something about September 1 that delights me and brings that warm and fuzzy feeling. It's probably because today is the official start of the Christmas season (for me and my mom, that is and maybe for a special few). Today I start my Christmas countdown - 115 days to go to be exact. High spirits are on the loose as radio stations and morning shows start playing good old Christmas carols and malls around the metro bring out their Christmas wares proving that Pinoy Chritmases are always a notch special. I guess there's really something about today that brings a smile to everyone's faces. Soon enough, the nights will be longer and the breeze will be colder, houses will put up their parols and lights and everyone can't help but smile. Yup, the BER months are officially here, my countdown begins and new found cheer creeps in. If you read this, do help me in spreading the happiness that is worthy of the upcoming Christmas season. Happy Christmas all!
* Photo credits go to blogger budznievera

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Anyone in need of a freelance writer?

Do you need someone to write stuff for you? I do freelance writing too, but ideally not for school use.=) I write feature articles, literary pieces, essays and PR materials. If you need someone who can write for you or if you know of anyone in need of freelance writers, do consider me. Just send me an e-mail, for your inquiries and requirements at or send me a message at 0922-8091887. My rates are very affordable and negotiable too.=)

Monday, August 24, 2009

From the ice to the judges' panel

I'm not quite sure if it's natural progression or if it's just the simple fact that I'm getting old. But just last August 21-22, I had my first stint as a judge for Skate Megamall 2009. Evidently, it's also the last competition in the Megamall Ice Skating Rink. Call it love - but the moment I was asked to be a part of this milestone of a competition as a judge, I said yes in a heartbeat. It feels different to be up in the judges' panel. Albeit, a nice kind of different.

I've been competing since I was 12 years old and I'm no stranger to performing in front of a panel of judges. This time, I was the one judging, but I was constantly thinking how free I'd feel if I were the one on ice, skating, competing and having the time of my life. In life, things do change and it's no different in the world of ice skating. The costumes show more skin (unlike the long sleeved velvet ones we had back then), the music choices are as diverse as can be, the props are more elaborate as ever and new events like the rhythmic ball and hoop are now official events.

As a neophyte judge, I saw a different perspective. I saw how competitions bring family and friends together, how it brings out the best in the participants and how it brings a smile to random people who just happened to stop by and watch for awhile. I feel pretty lucky that I was still a part of the last hurrah of my 2nd home rink before it completely closes down.
From the ice to the judges' panel, I can confidently say, that though aspects of the competition change, the essence of it remains the same - it's a friendly event that builds character and fosters strong relationships; it's about doing what you love and feeling like a winner with just doing so as well as sharing your talent with others. Kudos to Skate Megamall - the participants, the coaches, the parents, my co-judges and the organizers.=)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Shoutout to Megamall ISR: More than just an ice rink

At the end of this month, the first ice skating rink in the country will close down. By writing this, I am preserving the memory of the ice rink that has become more than just a rink to many skaters circa 1990s just like me.

I didn't actually start my skating stint at Mega. I started skating in 1997 when I was 11 at the Sta. Lucia Ice Skating Rink, but when it closed down in 2000, I transferred to Mega and just like that Mega became my home rink. Unlike most skaters, the memories I have of Mega ISR are really milestones in my life. Allow me to indulge in my thoughts and reminisce.

I celebrated my 18th birthday at the rink. We reserved the rink in morning and had a buffet setup put at the rink lobby. I can still remember the fog from the early morning ice, the pink and white balloons placed around the rink railings and my guests having the time of their life (or otherwise) on ice. My family and friends were there - some even had their first ice skating experience that day. I had the traditional 18 roses in a not so traditional way. I danced with nine of my male relatives in the lobby while I danced with the other half of my male friends on ice. It was such a nice way to celebrate my birthday in a place that really meant a lot to me. That was when I turned 18.

Although I stopped training when I turned 19 because of college and after, because of work, I still kept coming back just to get my skates out and feel the wind on my face when I glide on ice. I jumped at every opportunity I had just so I could skate once in a while. They say, 1st love never dies.

Another most recent and even happier memory that happened last Jan. 31, 2009 made my connection to the Megamall ice rink even deeper and more personal. A normal free day skating with my boyfriend and good friend turned out to be the happiest day of my life (yet). You see, while I was skating, minding my own business in my own piece of ice, a familiar song played in the background and a guy carrying a bouquet of beautiful roses approached me. On the off-center of the ice, with the snow drop and all and a gorgeous ring, my boyfriend of 5 and a half years (then) knelt down on one knee and asked me to spend a lifetime with him. Yup, my boyfriend proposed to me at the ice skating rink. I couldn't think of any better proposal for me than the one he did.

So you see, the Megamall ISR isn't just a rink to me. It was where I met great friends, celebrated momentous occasions and said yes to the love of my life.

When we heard the sad news, my skater friends kept saying, 'san na yung wedding ni zei?'. We could have made many more memories at the rink. But I guess, whatever lessons we learned in Mega, whoever friends we've met and kept and whatever memories we have - they'll all remain, not on the ice that brought everything together, but in all our hearts. Thank you is definitely in order.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The song in my mind

Handog Ng Pilipino Sa Mundo
by Apo Hiking Society

'Di na 'ko papayag mawala ka muli. 'Di na 'ko papayag na muli mabawi,
Ating kalayaan kay tagal natin mithi. 'Di na papayagang mabawi muli.

Magkakapit-bisig libo-libong tao. Kay sarap palang maging Pilipino.
Sama-sama iisa ang adhikain. Kelan man 'di na paalipin.

Handog ng Pilipino sa mundo, Mapayapang paraang pagbabago.
Katotohanan, kalayaan, katarungan Ay kayang makamit na walang dahas.
Basta't magkaisa tayong lahat.

Masdan ang nagaganap sa aming bayan.
Nagkasama ng mahirap at mayaman. Kapit-bisig madre, pari, at sundalo.
Naging Langit itong bahagi ng mundo.

Huwag muling payagang umiral ang dilim.
Tinig ng bawat tao'y bigyan ng pansin. Magkakapatid lahat sa Panginoon.
Ito'y lagi nating tatandaan.
(repeat refrain two times)

Coda:Mapayapang paraang pagbabago.
Katotohanan, kalayaan, katarungan.
Ay kayang makamit na walang dahas.
Basta't magkaisa tayong lahat!

Cory Aquino = Yellow = Hope, Joy & Optimism

5 August 2009 – It’s funny how days before former President Corazon Aquino passed away, my fiancé and I decided to change our wedding motif from champagne, red and orange to champagne and yellow. Prior to August 1, to me, yellow was just a pretty color and a cheery motif for our upcoming wedding, but now it has become full of meaning and symbolic of a woman of change, great spirit, love, patriotism and courage. The color yellow will forever remind me of Corazon Aquino, the first lady president of the country, a woman of faith behind large lenses and the Philippines’ mother of democracy, among others.

I wasn’t in Manila Cathedral, nor was I part of the hordes of people in a flurry of yellow who lined Roxas Blvd., Quirino Ave., Osmena Highway, Paranaque, Nichols Interchange and all the way to Manila Memorial Park to pay their last respects to the lady in yellow, but I was glued to the TV from the requiem mass to the whole way of the funeral procession to the former president’s resting place. Just the sight of the outpouring of gratitude and sympathy from hundreds of thousands of Filipinos who went despite the unforgiving rain gave me goose bumps quite a number of times. I couldn’t help but imagine the wave of emotions I would have, had I been out in the streets with my fellow Filipinos. The flood in our village hindered me from being a part of history.

But I was unwilling to be left behind by a people mourning for the loss of the nation’s mother. So I decided to send my thoughts out into the void through a chain text message (a first that I crafted on my own), which I sent out to almost all contacts I had in both my phones. I sent out a message saying ‘Now is a good time to be a Filipino. Let us all be inspired by Cory Aquino’s spirit, faith and patriotism. Please pass and help ignite the true Filipino in everyone.’ I had this hope that in my own way, I could make people think and realize that we all have a great Filipino spirit waiting to be ignited within us.

I was so moved by the chain of events that stemmed from Cory’s death that I am writing this today. I think yellow is the perfect color for Cory because it is characteristic of the legacy she leaves with her passing – a legacy of hope and optimism for a people who are in dire need of it amidst personal and external conflicts. I pray that this great loss would lead to something good. That somehow, even days after today, even just one by one, Filipinos would be inspired to step up and be better versions of themselves for their own good and for the good of the country.

Today is both a sad and glorious day for the nation. Sad because we have lost an icon of moral leadership, benevolence, gentleness and love for the nation, but more than that, today is indeed a glorious day. With the turn out of people bearing and wearing all things yellow with words of love and patriotism written with arms held high showing the L sign, we have a concrete sign that Filipinos have not forgotten and that the democracy we are enjoying today isn’t being taken for granted. Days, months and years from now, we will have all the footages of today vis-à-vis with those from 1983 and 1986 to remind us that we should be proud of our rich heritage – not just for a day, but for always.

Now is really a good time to be a Filipino. I realized this while making myself a makeshift yellow bracelet ala yabang pinoy and I have Corazon Aquino to thank for that.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Ode to my daily commute

I started commuting on my first day of college as an ‘Iskolar ng Bayan’. Fresh from 17 years of being shuttled to and from my Katipunan Alma Mater, I found a semblance of independence in commuting – to me, it was a novelty… THEN. After 4 years of college and 2 and a half years of working (which also meant more than two years of my daily commute to Makati), I realized that there is more to commuting than increasing fare, frustrated grunts brought on by Manila traffic and random meetings. Commuting or public transport is a gold mine of insights, everyday wisdom and ideas. Allow me to give you some examples.

Musing 1: I’ve always believed that you learn a lot when you’re commuting and through your everyday journey you chance upon a bunch of different characters. Just like in books, in commuting, there are protagonists, antagonists, lovers, heroes and side kicks. The lovers always hope that they get the two slots in front so they can co-exist in their own world while the antagonists won’t stop at anything when some passenger who didn’t fall in line gets a ride first. Heroes and protagonists on the other hand are my favourites, they’re the valiant men and women who give up their slots for the elderly lady despite knowing that their tardiness is imminent, and they are polite to the drivers and to their fellow passengers. This casting of my daily commute makes things interesting despite the shuttle that takes 30 mins. to arrive or the barker who plays favourites with regular terminal goers.

Musing 2: Commuting acquaints you to the myriad of gadgets available in the market. The gadget craze has definitely caught fire in the Philippines. Almost all the guys and gals in my terminal have some gadget of sorts. Most prevalent of them all is of course, the mobile phone, which occasionally doubles as an MP3 player for some. Not to be outdone, the iPod is also very common especially to those commuters who want to zone out everyone while on their way to work. There are days when new gadgets come to play as well such as portable video game players or even battery-operated hand held fans.

Musing 3: I get my daily dose of fashion rants and raves when I’m commuting. On days when the line is really long, I check out the outfits of commuters that get in line for the FX. There are conservative girls and traditional men who find comfort in wearing their polo barongs, button down shirts with pinstripe pants while there are also their confident counterparts – the ladies who are not afraid of prints and a splash of color in their corporate attire and the brave men who walk the walk with pointed leather shoes and don slim ties. Kudos to the latter, because they don’t let public transportation get in the way of looking and feeling great.

Musing 4: Believe it or not, commuting is also a test of patience and character. Some individuals stand firmly by their contentions while others try, but for the lack of extra will and assertiveness, get shoved off to the least comfortable seat in the shuttle a.k.a the last seat left, the ‘we’re-all-comfortably-seated-so-just-try-to-squeeze-yourself-in-whatever-space-is-left’ seat. There are those who arrive at the terminal in such a hurried state and come boarding time, refuse to ride because they know that taking the remaining seat would mean an hour or so of constant shifting and discomfort. There are those who just go with the flow and who are easily swayed by the barker to take the last bit of space left – they are who I call the settlers. In terms of patience, people take rush hour traffic in different ways – some complain constantly as if their frustration could ease up the traffic, some just sleep their woes away while there are some who settle with a good read or who call on all saints while praying the rosary.

These are just some of the many musings that could go on forever because the world of commuting is really a wide wide world. Although my stint as a daily commuter has ended since I left for a new job closer to home, I will always have my musings and realizations handy. To most, commuting is just a routine, to some, even an annoyance. It’s quite different for me. Commuting has become an extended education, my opportunity to people watch and my source of daily drama (no need for reality TV). Try it, try looking at commuting with a different perspective and maybe, just maybe, it won’t be just a routine.

Wearing your patriotism on your sleeve

The 1800s had the Maria Clara, the baro’t saya, the patadyong and the Katipunan’s signature red folded pants and white kamisa de chino to show that indeed they were Filipinos. Today, the 21st century is witnessing a come back of patriotism – not just in action, but also in clothing. Everywhere you look, you could see random people donning the Philippine flag or other Philippine icons whether it’s designed in their shirts, shorts, caps or other fashion what-have-yous.

Way back then, patriotism meant giving your life for your country, not bowing down to the overlords and selling out to the captors and all other heroic things in between. Today, patriotism has evolved into something easier to grasp – it could be doing a good deed for your fellow Filipino, paying your taxes diligently or even wearing your patriotism on your sleeve.

But what exactly is wearing your patriotism on your sleeve? It’s a declaration of who you are and what you believe in through your clothes and other daily accessories. It’s a stylish way of saying that ‘I am a Filipino and I’m comfortable in my own skin.’

With the commercialization of outfits that show off your patriotism - from the Pilipinas collection of Collezione, wares from island Souvenirs, team Manila, Bayo and many more, Filipinos are imbibing nationalism one shirt and accessory at a time. Local ingenuity is showcased in various shirts with the Philippine archipelago, the Philippine flag and other notable only-in-the-Philippines images. For newbies in patriotic fashion, there are lots of little stuff you could begin with, such as coin purses made from recycled tarpaulin painted with the country code +63 or the peso sign or the Philippine archipelago. If coin purses aren’t your thing, then maybe you’ll find T-shirts more interesting. There are shirts that declare love for the country’s capital city, Manila, while most pay homage to, again, the country’s archipelagic shape while some to the eight-rayed sun and three stars of the national flag. Other stores even offer bags, hats, cardigans, vests and dresses emblazoned with anything that says ‘I am Filipino’.

I have become a fan of this thing I call patriotic fashion, not only because it adds character to my wardrobe, but because I believe it makes the wearer a bit more appreciative of being Filipino. It also educates, not only foreigners about Pinoy culture, but also fellow Filipinos who have forgotten.

Those who started this trend should be very proud of themselves, because today, it may seem like a fashion statement, but soon, it could become a revolution, a state of being, a way of living and a commitment to a country in need of patriots-in-training.