My Ultimate New Year Wish #WhatsupWednesday

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!

No, sir, my greeting is not late because it is still the new year, and it will continue to be so maybe until February (the usual month for the Chinese New Year), maybe even March. So you know, there’s been a bunch of stuff that actually either made me busy or hindered me from posting here. But I’m back, nevertheless (do people still say “nevertheless” or just me…?), and I’m wishing you all the great things 2018 may bring.

Obviously, the world is not right these days. It is ill, sick with all the negative forces surrounding it. There are the environmental problems and degradation. Endangered animals are being slaughtered to very near extinction. Politics are rife with graft and corruption. There are wars between nations, races, religions, factions, individuals. There are biases against genders, age, disabilities, economic status, educational background. There are…too many negative things that we spread, leading to our decay…

Tell me I’m wrong. Please do, I need to hear it. Then tell me why…

We have been so sick for the longest time, it’s time to heal. This year, why don’t we start to heal the world even through baby steps?  Let’s start with ourselves. I am not being all-righteous here. This, too, is something I need to do. Let’s all do it together!

Heal the world. For the world to heal its wounds, that is my ultimate wish for 2018.

What’s YOUR new year wish?

 

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Thanks to Maati Baani for creating the video, all the talented child prodigies featured in it (I only recognize Angelica Hale from the most recent AGT and because she’s half-Filipino), and especially the late Michael Jackson for this beautiful song 🙂

Next post is about 8 new things about me!

HAPPY 2017!!!!!

Hi, guys!!!

year-of-the-monkey-2017

Finally! A mug video of me! LOL!!!

Sorry, guys, still can’t get over my shyness. And sorry for the sound quality, don’t even know where the “vacuum-ish” sounds are coming from. Just turn up the volume, please. Transcription below (gosh, why am I making this hard for you????)…I did post this yesterday but somebody said last night that the video’s not playing. I checked on another computer and she was right. Also logged on to my YouTube account but couldn’t even find the vid for some reason. Well, I’m back using the computer I used yesterday and I can see it again. Made it public instead of private, so I hope it works. Let me know if it still doesn’t.

Sorry about the beanie hat, too, that was the cause of the snickering…ha ha haaa!!!!

TRANSCRIPTION:

Hi, guys. Happy New Year!!! I decided to create an actual video greeting even though I’m actually kinda shy. Buuut, it’s…*tries to fix beanie hat and snickers* Okay.

Well, it’s 11:21 pm here, January 2…The beanie hat–oops! uuughh!!! *snickers while trying to fix it but fails*…Okay…*takes it off then puts it back on*…Alright, here…*laughs and points at hat* Let’s leave it at that.

I hope you had a great Christmas and had a blast last New Year’s Eve. Mine weren’t that perfect, but I’m happy. I enjoyed Christmas, I enjoyed New Year’s Eve with the family. But…Well, I’m supposed to have my New Year’s resolutions. But don’t ask me if I’ve already made my list ’cause I haven’t listed down stuff yet. For sure, one of those resolutions would be to write more stuff, aaand to read–well, that would be two–but you know what I mean, anyway…Aaah! *tries to fix hat position again*…*mumbles*…If you saw my video–uh, the video I shared from Buzzfeed…*takes off hat*…Buzz…*puts it back and it’s okay this time*… Yey!…Buzzfeed…I said I’m not good with directions. *points up at hat* That’s one example.

Anyway, I hope, again, you had a great Christmas and a blast last New Year’s Eve. And I wish everyone, myself, my family, my friends, you,…Why am I looking at the screen??? *points at screen* I’m supposed to look there *points at webcam*…I’m wishing you a very happy, happy new year. A happy 2017, more prosperous year for all of us. Heaven knows we need that, I need that. Prosperity. Okay…

And we’ll have two chances to wish for that. The Chinese New Year is in February. I’m not Chinese. I’ve no Chinese blood *mumbles*…You know, I think it’s not really luck. I’m not *mumbles* for luck…Blessings! That’s it, that’s what we really need right now. And we should pray, pray for ourselves, for the whole wide world. Your country, my country, everyone’s…everyone’s world…the whole universe maybe…

So I am blabbering right now, but I’m happy to greet you, again, a…

HAPPY NEW YEAR

#ThrowbackTwenty15 #atozchallenge2015

First, let me greet you a…

I know we’re so in the second month already of the non-Chinese calendar year, but hey, it is just a few days after the Chinese New Year  🙂 I hope 2016 is treating you all well, so far, better than 2015 did, regardless of whether it was already a great 2015. We always have room for greater things, don’t we? 😉

2015 for me was…for lack of a better term, weird. Weird in the sense that there were stuff that really made it great, and there were parts that made it worse. The good thing is it wasn’t worse than my 2013: The Depression Era. 2015 was a year of highs and lows, gains and losses.

Let’s see…

Last year started great — I got hitched! Yeah, it wasn’t at church, and it was pretty inexpensive and all, and there were several glitches along the way, but it was the happiest day of my life! You couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. Five more years, or at least, sometime in the future, we’ll probably tie the knot in church this time.

One year after, I gotta say it hasn’t been all-smooth sailing, in fact, it’s been more rough than smooth so far, but I have never, for a second, ever regretted my decision to stick with him through thick and thin. And I don’t think he has either. He’s been very sweet and loving and understanding of all my mood swings and shortcomings…And I just checked his Facebook message for me just now after typing what I just said and I am teary-eyed, and that’s a good thing 🙂 You should see our daily text messages, it’s like we’re still singles in a relationship 😉

Well, January 2015 also brought in something wonderful in our lives. We conceived and we didn’t even know until the second month…Sadly, we didn’t meet her after nine months — she had to leave us in March. I’d like to think it was a she, but really, it didn’t matter, it wouldn’t, if only our Jamie survived.

Can you imagine feeling elated after finding out you’re having a baby, then learning after a week that s/he doesn’t seem to have a heartbeat anymore? Can you imagine the additional stress of waiting after another week to check if the findings are the same and then they are? Now imagine going for a second opinion, getting yet another ultrasound test and still, no heartbeat… (Death, Denial, Depression)

The miscarriage brought in more problems financially-wise. If not for the good people who helped us and are still helping us, my friends and my officemates in particular, there would have been more problems. We are very grateful to them to the nth level.

My medicines did make it tougher to save anything. I had to take this and that to recover. I wasn’t the type to just pop in a pill for anything bothering me so this was kind of a lifestyle change of sort. But while on my two-month recovery, I still got sick at one time, had to visit another OB for that, then got to visit a cardiologist for possible hypertension. That meant more meds.

To make my “vacation” more interesting, for the first time in my entire life, I decided to take on someone’s dare for a physical fight. *GASP!!!* It would be too long to elaborate why, but I was willing to fight for my new family’s honor. I wasn’t going to let anyone wrongly accuse my new family, much less bully or threaten us because of such a lie or false accusation caused by her malicious son. I also did that to actually  avoid more trouble — rather than have her husband make good her threat and challenge my husband, I thought I’d dare the woman instead for a one-on-one between us. After all, she was the one looking for a fight and putting everyone in a bad situation. We weren’t in good terms before, but at least, they just passed by our house and we let them walk.

Take note, I was still somehow in recovery stage. The funny thing was, for all her loud-mouthed personal insults on me, even trying to hurt my feelings by saying I would never have my own child–I wasn’t hurt, by the way–the more I advanced towards her as I challenged her, she kept telling me to come over but she kept retreating. Ha!!! She was all-talk, no walk. Well, she was more like run-away. My poor husband had to keep telling me to just stop it because, of course, he was worried. I know it was not a wise thing to do, but it was better than to just shut up and let them walk all over us. I think I won the battle that day.

What do I mean by “new family”, though? By that, I mean my husband and his kids who have come to live with me. The kids are nice kids, but I admit, they are quite a handful. I have learned what kind of mom I would be — strict. I could be the coolest given the chance, however, current situation calls for a no-nonsense, no-pushover mom. I have learned how hard it really is to be a parent, a stepmom at that, to try to balance being lenient (the kids translate that to being good) and being strict (and that translates to being bad), to try to understand yet not tolerate. Honestly, it’s currently a no-win balancing act, but I’m–we’re–learning. We are forced to a place where we don’t want to be, but we’re trying to find the best way we can. People, especially those around us who are supposed to be the first to understand, can put us down, judge us, talk behind our backs, shout at our faces, but we will not let them break our family…

fam

Let me stop here for now so as not to bore you and to be able to finally post this (this has been a draft for almost two months now!). Will continue…

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This is my “T” post. Can’t believe it’s almost a year already since I began this challenge, but those who’ve followed me and become my friends here can understand why. Thank you  always, guys!

UPDATE (April 1, 2016): Due to my very recent experience, I have honestly lost interest in sharing and the energy to share Part 2 of this post. I wanted to save the best part of 2015 for last, but that best part, my baby, left us just last week. So I think you will understand why I have decided not to continue. Thanks again…

t1

“Missing San Pablo” Part 1

chinese-new-yearKUNG HEI FAT CHOI!!!! Well, I  thought that for a change, I would finally feature my hometown–er, city? But the thing was, I realized that I would not be able to say much about it as far as personal experience was concerned. I was a pretty shy kid that I practically never went anywhere the city without my parents. When I reached my teens, I studied in nearby-town Los Baños from high school to college, hardly spending time in San Pablo. Then I graduated, started working in Manila and since then, I have been working in and around Manila, far enough from Laguna.

So that was my dilemma until I realized that a fellow-San Pableña–a fellow-university student taking up the same degree and especially a fellow-member of a school organization for film enthusiasts–wrote something about her San Pablo childhood several years ago. I first read Ayie‘s writeup in Multiply (which folded up, of course), then she shared it in the official Facebook page of San Pableños more than two years ago. I have to say I could relate to most of what she said although she recounted things better. I asked if she could guest blog here although she needed not write anything new as I wanted to share her writeup. So here it is! She has given me the go signal to edit so I have, but mostly only to translate several words/phrases for non-Filipino speaking readers and explain some terms.

We both hope you like it 🙂 (NOTE: I did not update anything here to preserve what she has written, although I, as “Ed.”, have taken some liberties in inserting several comments. This is only Part 1 as it’s a bit long and I also want to find some more images.)

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welcome-to-san-pablo

WELCOME TO SAN PABLO CITY! (this arc has undergone a makeover, I’ve been told, as this was taken before that). Image courtesy of Laguna Travel Guide

MISSING SAN PABLO

(Aileen ‘Ayie’ Alcos-Garcia)

(This is an old post, dated Feb. 2009. Written during the time that I moved out of San Pablo. But now I’m glad that I am back home. I’m sure most of you who are no longer physically residing in San Pablo can relate to me.)

I was borthe-Philippine-tricyclen and raised in this city, I grew up in my lola‘s (grandma’s) house on Marcos Paulino Street which is strategically located within the city proper and close to almost everything: market, church, school, grocery, highway, etc., even to the Social Security Service office…

Whenever I go home by taking a tricycle, I only need to tell the driver “Sa may eskinita po” (“Down the alley, please”) and chances are, the driver instantly knows where to drop me off. It’s so convenient to shop because however much you carry, simply rent a tricycle and you’ll be dropped off exactly at the house gate, and may even have your groceries carried for you up to your front door!

Since my parents are also full-blooded San Pableños, almost all our kamag-anaks (relatives) from both sides are residing there. So I just have to walk towards the market and sure enough, I’ll bump into at least one of them.

There are many things that I miss about living in San Pablo (SP). Here are some of them:

sampaloc-lake

A really beautiful shot of Sampaloc Lake! Photo by Von Lord Malabanan at LagunaPinas.com

1. Sampaloc Lake – known as the City of Seven Lakes, San Pablo is truly a wonderful place to visit, especially if you can tour the seven lakes and sample freshly caught tilapia to be grilled at the hut in the middle of the lake!

Sampaloc Lake is the biggest and closest lake to the town proper (it is in fact near the City Hall). It’s a favorite dating place for couples, a fitness venue for the health-conscious (jog around the lake, join the aerobics sessions at the Leonila Park), a pre-labor room for expectant moms (The Staircase is a favorite spot), a haven for photographers, artists, and writers, a treat for people who love to eat ihaw-ihaw (grilled foods), and a whole lot more. The paved road around the lake is now a favorite route for joggers and bikers. There, you can also rent bikes (with or without sidecars) for P40-60/ikot (forty to sixty pesos per round trip) around the lake. The road is dotted with restos and stores.

the-great-tilapia

Other than the coconut tree and the lanzones fruit that have made Laguna famous, the tilapia has become as iconic. At this part of Sampaloc Lake, we find this little monument as a tribute to the tilapia. No matter that it is said to be what they call St. Peter’s Fish in the Bible. St. Paul is getting dibs on this one 😉 Image from JourneyingJames.com.

When we were younger, our Yaya (Nanny) Marie would bring us to the playground (the spot where the Judicial Bldg. now stands) and we would play endlessly while she would meet with her boyfriend at the side of the skating rink.

[Ed. – My parents, especially my father, used to bring us to the playground so that my sister and I could play. The playground wasn’t much but it was enough for us little ones. Maybe I’ll write about it one of these days…Ahhh, the memories…]

2. Folcon Bakeshop – ayyyyy I miss their ensaimada paired with their classic brewed coffee!!! Promise pag-uwi ko, magkakape ako ulit dito! (I swear to have coffee there again when I go home!) Our place is in the middle of two Folcon stores that is why, left side or right side, I never miss seeing it. There have been a few other coffee shops coming out—there’s Café d’ Aviano, the one at Balagtas Blvd., Colette’s [Ed. – It’s called Caffe Curio, the business Colette the Person, actually started. Colette’s was established by her parents], etc.

ensaimada-bread

The ensaimada that we inherited from the Spanish conquerors

Nothing beats good old kapeng barako brewed right at home. I used to buy kapeng barako at the public market where it would be immediately grounded. Last time I bought some, one takal* cost P40. I so love coffee that we gave samples of kapeng barako as tokens at our wedding. Ay, ambango sa reception nung inilabas na ‘yung little mugs containing coffee beans (Wow, the aroma filled the reception area once they brought in the little mugs containing coffee beans)…I can still smell them in my head….

3. January 15 Fiesta is the feast in honor of Saint Paul the First Hermit – we very much look forward to this occasion, ang daming lafang! (too many foods to devour!) Especially since the local government started the annual Coco Festival sometime in the early 90s.

A week before the feast day, every night, there are cultural presentations on the temporary stage beside the Cathedral, these are sponsored by the different schools. I remember before, whatever we presented for the PGM (my high school’s foundation day), we just modified for the fiesta’s cultural night. I think I performed twice as part of the high school dance group. We once performed an interpretative dance for the song ‘Magsimula Ka.’

coco-festival

Photo courtesy of Dr. Erick Villarosa, found in the Atisan Archives blog

dance-coco-festival-san-pablo

This was just one group that performed at the last Coco Festival, the colorful annual mardi gras that San Pablo holds on the week of the city fiesta (January 15). Schools usually participate in this grand street dance. Photo courtesy of Mr. Ronald Obnial of the TSPKK Facebook group. Of course, image copyrights are his

Back to the Coco Fest. Well, much has been blogged about this wonderful event. The very first year that this was held, I was part of the local news team that made the coverage of the different activities and broadcast over Telmarc’s Ch. 11. One of the highlights that time was the initial holding of the search for ‘Mutya ng San Pablo’ (‘Muse of San Pablo’) where my friend Khruzette Sta. Clara emerged as winner, Sol Aragones was a runner-up (they were my batchmates from grade school). [Ed. – Segue non-SP trivia: (Former TV  News Reporter/Host and current Congresswoman) Sol also joined the ‘Mutya ng UPLB’ pageant during her college days.]

That time, Mayor Vic Amante was in position and would sponsor wonderful fireworks displays every bisperas*. Meanwhile, on D-day itself, our family would sponsor the  lunch or merienda (snacks) of the marching band (that we called musiko) who would render a special performance at our place….We starved them first by requesting tunes before we fed them 😀 [Ed. – In the evenings now, the main street, Rizal Avenue, is closed for most vehicles to make way for a street party. Stages are put up at almost every corner where mini-concerts are held while people order mostly street foods, particularly barbecue, and drink beer. There is a main stage where big things happen, too.]

night-market

This is the night market along the street where the public market is located. It is open from 4pm till the evening when the public market is closing/closed. It actually mainly sells foods although during the Christmas season, they make way for booths that also sell other non-edible products. More booths/stalls that sell products are allowed to be put up along the adjoining streets, the wares ranging from clothes, house wares and tools, and toys. The night market has only been a regular, daily thing for more or less a year. Photo courtesy of Francis Murillo Emralino of Back Trails

Before the Coco Festival (or Mardi Gras, as some call it), the tiangge (flea market) lining up the plaza, from Rizal Avenue down to M. Paulino Street, were the stars of the fiesta. It was a tradition among us cousins to wear our Christmas dresses (really dressed-to-kill), then after the festive lunch, we would meet up with other cousins or barkadas (peers) and then troop to the cedera (also means flea market).

I remember bringing home the mini-clay palayok (pot/pottery) set that came with a fruit platter with clay fruits, or the toy cooking set made of tin cans. I was probably in high school already when I finally grew out of playing with this! The cedera started soon after the New Year dusts had been swept off the streets, lasting until a week after the feast day. [Ed. – It now often lasts much longer than that.]

Another attraction was the perya, which was then a roving carnival located at the San Pablo Central School (my grade school) ground. It was a looong walk from the plaza to the perya that it was like a procession of people going there after going shopping (or window shopping) at the cedera. You could bet people stayed as late as possible! I remember the rides were the carousel, horror train, caterpillar, Ferris wheel, and then there were other attractions such as a mermaid, a half-horse man (I didn’t enter this tent as it was probably just a guy who looked like a horse), a woman sitting on a platform then we’d have to try hitting the button so she’d fall into the aquarium (what do you call that again?) [Ed. – Dunk tanks], the color game, shoot-the-rings, etc.

This was also where you splurged on cotton candy, sorbetes (ice cream), fishballs, hotcake with lots of yellow food color, snowball, popcorn, and sago’t gulaman (refreshing sweet drink with tapioca pearls or sago and jelly or gulaman). The carnival and cedera returned in a smaller scale around All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day (Halloween season). They could be found at the corner of M. Paulino and M. Leonor down to the street facing the public cemetery.

sm-mangga-tree

The other famous “SM,” the also-iconic San Pablo ‘fixture,’ the Mango Tree. SM stands for “Sa Mangga” or “At the Mango Tree.” image courtesy of Laguna Travel Guide

4. S.M. — We’re not referring to Mr. Henry Sy’s “ShoeMart.” Long before “SM” spread all over the Philippines, we already had ours—“Sa Mangga” (At the Mango Tree). Our plaza has an old mango tree, pinalibutan ng semento, nilagyan ng waiting shed, presto, isang instant landmark na (we cemented the area around it, put up a shed, and presto, we’ve got an instant landmark). This is the most familiar loading and unloading area. I miss this because whenever I pass by SM, I know I’m close to home.

One more thing, it’s so nice to buy balut (boiled fertilized duck egg, considered as a Filipino exotic food), kwek-kwek (deep-fried quail eggs coated with orange batter) and puto bumbong (steamed violet-colored Filipino rice cake) here especially when Christmas is near. San Pablo is now ready to welcome the latest addition to the actual SM (ShoeMart) chain of retail stores. It will be located at the foreground of Riverina Subd. in Brgy. San Roque. [Ed.– The said mall has been in San Pablo for a few years already, at Brgy. San Rafael]

5. Prosperity Food House’s pancit bihon (a type of noodle) – hayyy naku winner ito! ‘Yung main ingredient ng pancit nila ay in-adobo muna….ay heaven talaga! (This is a winner! Their pancit’s main ingredients are first fried with soy sauce…heaven!) I can hardly find a seat when I’m there because it is usually full of customers. What’s cool is that you can phone in your order first, then the staff from Prosperity will call back when your order’s ready so you or someone else can go and pick up the order. I don’t know if they’ve branched out some more already, but they have two branches: one at Bonifacio Street and one at Regidor Street.

6. Colette’s Buko Pie – Need I say more? What’s nice about this is that when you’re on the bus going to Manila, you can ask the driver to stop at Colette’s so that you can buy treats for family or friends and your fellow passengers won’t mind (or at least I haven’t heard anyone complain about it yet?). [Ed.– I personally do mind, actually, because some people take their sweet time buying. It’s not a vacation trip where it is acceptable and other passengers do need to get to work on time. I won’t mind as long as it gets done real quick. Anyway, the good news is there is now a bus stop where people can buy treats (hopefully real quick, too) and vendors go up to sell them as well. The bad news for loyal patrons is they’re not Colette’s]

colettes-buko-pie

Colette’s Buko Pie has spread around the country through franchise ventures, but the original store is right in San Pablo, along the highway. From just the pie made of buko (young coconut), they now offer variations of it and various pies, rice cakes, pastries and other treats. Buko pie actually originated from Los Baños and was brought to San Pablo by Colette’s family

Here’s a footage from a morning TV show featuring the giant buko pie that was created for the last Coco festival

(TO BE CONTINUED…)

*takal – measuring style using a cup, mug, bottle, or whatever the vendor wants to use as his/her standard measuring unit

*bisperas – “eve of…”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ayie, as many fondly call her, can be found at THE CURACHA CHRONICLES.

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Like what you’ve read so far? Then how about a LIKE click? Let’s show Ayie how much we appreciate her effort. There’s more of this article to come one of these coming days, I promise. For any questions or comments, go ahead and type away! I’ll get back to you ASAP! 

Oh, and all copyrights, except those of the images (which are all either linked to their respective sources or credited to owners) go to Ayie.

Resolutions for That Necessary Lifestyle Change V.2

I must say, this one, big-planning thing has worked out for me…Here I am again, getting back in the Resolutions game. Why not? Like I always say, what is wrong with trying to be a better person? Isn’t that what resolutions are about? I don’t want to think of myself as a quitter; resolutions are not for quitters. You try and try until you solve a problem or issue. You resolve. You don’t resolve what’s already solved, just like you don’t fix what is not broken.

Quoting from last year’s post, I still believe in resolutions, despite my unexpected downward progress after (although how that can be called as progress, I don’t know). As a whole, to be honest, I am disappointed at the way I lived and handled my 2013 especially at the latter part. Then again, New Year is always the perfect time to turn over a new leaf once more, isn’t it?

So without further ado, here’s my updated New Year’s Resolutions list, what I call “Resolutions for That Necessary Lifestyle Change”:

yin-yang-cycle

1. Less bad temper, more understanding (read: don’t be too sensitive!), less bossy attitude. My bad temper really lessened a lot, so I hope I can still lessen it more, if not completely rid of it. There were still some little outbursts here and there. I really should work on understanding people more, too. I am a bit confused on whether I achieved that last year or not because on the one hand, I know I was more understanding, ergo, the temper improvement. On the other hand, I became sensitive at the latter part of the year, so much so that it negatively affected my overall view of things and of myself. That tells me I still lacked a lot in that department. I was the one who suffered most anyway, so if I can fix that great character flaw, it would be like hitting two birds–others and myself–with one stone. 

Less bossy attitude: I achieved that last year. Time now to polish.

2. Less unhealthy foods. This was last year: “Translates to (a) less fat so less red meat and eating at least white meat as alternative, (b) more fruits, veggies and fibers, (c) minimal sugar, and (d) avoidance of carcinogens as much as possible.” A, check, but work on it more. B, check, but work on it more. C,…with sweet treats at work, this is becoming difficult. But okay, it is admittedly manageable. So carry on, soldier! D, check…I think. Won’t hurt to carry on, too, right?

I am trying to be a vegetarian, to be truthful, but this is super-difficult! Will take it one year at a time.

3. More stretching and exercise! EPIC. FAIL. I tried once in a blue moon. The effort was obviously half-baked–no–QUARTER-baked! I think I even got worse. So I’m gonna try again while I’m still alive. Besides, I’m really gonna need to work on the body. According to Feng Shui, this year isn’t going to be a good one for me health-wise. Now, while I am not really a fan of Feng Shui, I think it’s always great advice to tell people to live healthier. It’s all common sense, really. If something rings right, it’s never wrong to try.

Sometime in the first parts of 2013, the office peeps were doing regular exercise breaks at 3pm. More than a year before, we even had weekly badminton sessions after work. I’ll try to push for these again. Why not, right? It’s always more fun when everyone’s in on the fun. Uh, you get what I mean.

4. More sports. Back to Muay Thai? I wanted to go all the way back. but there were certain factors that prevented me from sticking to it. I’ll try when those factors have become manageable. Besides, I can still somehow do this with the exercises I learned.

Arnis/kali? Much as I want to learn it, I cannot afford exclusive sessions right now. On Sundays, they do free lessons at Rizal Park, which is in Manila. Unfortunately, Sundays are always home-time in the province, often spent for doing laundry, doing some clean up, writing, net-surfing, reading, and even alone-time with my special someone (sometimes with his two kids as well…Imagine I’ve got three rowdy boys with me. Of course, I’m going to be busy). Meanwhile, the Ninjutsu class my friends and I were hoping for did not push through, as far as we know. Too bad. Oh well, maybe I wouldn’t be able to afford that, too. Ugh.

There are other sports to try, anyway. For instance, running. Some people in the office have taken to after-work jogging/running (even some of my housemates) and there are those who have actually joined fun runs. Not sure if I can join any fun run immediately, but I can try the regular jogging/running. Well, at least every Wednesday and/or Thursday. I am often too tired on Mondays. I attend a regular thing on Tuesdays. Fridays, I go home.

Hopefully, I can make it a habit. *crosses fingers*

5. More writing. I’d like to give myself a pat on the back. I think, compared to recent years, 2013 brought back the old writer-me. Okay, there were still lapses, but again, some things, I could not totally control. I am just happy I am writing again. With this blog, I move forward. I will try to write as much as possible. I probably won’t get ‘Freshly Pressed’ here anytime soon, maybe never, but anyhoo.

6. More reading. Done! Now all I gotta do is to keep at it. Maybe I should instead say “Finish up more books and quit procrastinating.” While I have read more this year, there were lots of books I didn’t finish. So this year, I plan on finishing them.

7. Proper budgeting. “…So here’s to scrimping coupled with lots of prayers.” Now here’s to MORE scrimping coupled with lots of prayers. Won’t hurt to try to save up again, no matter how lost the cause was last year, which posed a lot of challenges that caused me to fail this goal. It was practically beyond my control, needless to say.

Now apparently, there were/are people who grudgingly believe(d) I had more than I claimed i did, but I can’t do anything about that anymore. I WISH they were right ’cause at least, there’s going to be moolah. I think this will just boil down to Goal #1, to my being more understanding of others because sometimes, it’s not up to me to fix what’s broken especially if it’s not mine to fix to begin with. Never mistake understanding to being a pushover, however. I have my own life to live.

8. More humility. “I will always remember what I wrote in my previous post.” Ditto this year.

9. More kindness. I think I lacked self-kindness last year. So this year, I’m going to work on that.

10. Regain my ‘original nature’. It’s really a personal thing and cannot be simply explained. One thing I was made to realize last year was that everyone has his/her own inevitable karma and it’s up to that individual to break any bad karma by self-reflection, -realization and -repentance. No one can do it for him/her but the self.

So there you go! My list for this year. And last year, too, only updated. I know there are people who would rather not do resolutions because the promises would be broken anyway. Forgive me, but I think it’s a defeatist way of seeing things. Instead of saying “I can’t,” why not at least say “I’ll try”? Strive for a Better You!

“He who conquers others is strong; he who conquers himself is mighty” (Lao TzuTao Te Ching). 

Meanwhile, to our Chinese friends, Advance…

Chinese New Year Greeting...Copyright © J.Gi Federizo

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So may I ask the perennial question we ask every time the year starts? DO YOU BELIEVE IN NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS? Kindly take the poll, it won’t take much of your time. Do you have any comments? You are so welcome. Write away! Do you have your own list already? Why not share to us and link to it?…HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

 

2013: The Depression Era

2013-yearend-reviewI don’t really see the number 13 as ominous. Looking at how my year went, though, I know that the person who most let me down was myself (BTW, I speak in the past tense, given that we have only three days to go before 2013 expires). Granted that many factors contributed to the negative stuff, it was in how I reacted to them that mattered. I started out the year all positive and it’s ending in a not-so-good fashion, all thanks to myself.

To be honest, 2012 seemed all so surreal that it was only in 2013 that things really started to sink in emotionally. I thought I was coping very well with the loss of both my parents and the financial burdens brought by the sad events. But as I learned from experts, one does need to go through the Stages of Grief to be able to move on. They don’t necessarily all happen and they don’t normally happen in an expected logical order, not in the way we want them to.

The five stages do not necessarily occur in order. We often move between stages before achieving a more peaceful acceptance of death. Many of us are not afforded the luxury of time required to achieve this final stage of grief.

stages-of-grief

To be more brutally honest, I know I went through the Anger (directed at myself, delving on the what-ifs and why-didn’t-Is even when I knew I already did all I could) and the Depression. Hardly a day went by that I wasn’t reminded of at least any one of my parents. Little things could make me tear up in an instant, especially if they were related to family and relationships. Sad things on TV easily made me cry (although happy things had the same effect on me as well).

I had always been easily moved before but I could keep a straight face and you’d never know. However, for some reason, it became very hard to control the emotions–someone would simply be telling a story or I would be listening to music and I would be wiping my eyes immediately. It was overwhelming and embarrassing at times.

Needless to say, I was an emotional wreck. To be pegged as iyakin or one who cried easily was just okay, but then I let other insecurities get the better of me. Insecurity and grief put together is a totally bad combo that can strain relationships. Most people never noticed this about me, but the people I most often interacted with certainly felt the negative vibes from me. Of course, not everyone understood this; they just thought I was being unreasonably difficult, and I was.

I became a self-pitying fool who unwittingly ostracized herself from others, blamed them for it, and felt quite disliked, which was most probably what truly happened after I acted the way I did. I felt so sensitive to somebody’s comments/criticisms, too, that I started dreading going to a weekly get-together, because at the time, that person unintentionally made me feel so much like a bad person and I started questioning myself whether I really deserved to be there still. My energy was on an all-time low.

It’s so hard to explain to you why I felt the way I did without going into more details. The bottom line is, though, I became so much like the opposite of what I was in 2012. I now dub 2013 as my new Officially Worst Year because it was the year I hated myself the most. Mind you, there were a lot of positive things happening in 2013, except when it came to the negatives, the gravity was so strong, pulling down much of my self-love and -confidence.

original-selfThe good thing was I still had the capacity to self-reflect and realize what a pain I had been, and that the worst part was the wounds were self-inflicted. Little by little, I am going back to the Old but Better Me. I know it is working and I know those around me have noticed the changes. I will plant better seeds in my heart and cultivate until I find my Original Self.

So here’s hoping I tell you a happier story next year. I am hoping you’ll have better stories to tell as well 🙂

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This has been the most personal and revealing post about myself, but I felt I needed this. Quite therapeutic, actually. Would you like to share how your year has been, too? Or do you have any reactions/suggestions? Let’s talk. Just write down on the space provided for comments below and let the words flow.

Resolutions for That Necessary Lifestyle Change

“In hindsight, I don’t think I did anything that substantial last year. If anything, I may have been a worse person. However, what I like about new years are the opportunities to turn a new leaf.” I should say, I did turn quite a new leaf. I think I’ve become a better person. You see? That is why New Year’s Resolutions can be helpful. People just say that they don’t have any because promises are always broken anyway. I think that is just the escapist’s P.O.V. What is wrong with trying to be a better person? At least you try. And the first step you do is to PLAN.

Back in New Year 2009, I wrote this in my Multiply blog regarding how 2008 was for me personally. I must say, this one, big-planning thing has worked out for me. But though I always liked coming up with my New Year’s Resolutions, for some reason, I unintentionally stopped by the time 2010 came into all our lives. I do have a guess why except it doesn’t really matter now, does it?

Here I am again, getting back in the Resolutions game. Why not? Like I always say, what is wrong with trying to be a better person? Isn’t that what resolutions are about? I don’t want to think of myself as a quitter; resolutions are not for quitters. You try and try until you solve a problem or issue. You resolve. You don’t resolve what’s already solved, just like you don’t fix what is not broken.

A Better Me in 2013...Copyright © J.Gi Federizo

A Better Me in 2013!!!

Okay, so what to fix in 2013? Here’s what I call “Resolutions for That Necessary Lifestyle Change”.

1. Less bad temper, more understanding, less bossy attitude. Good for the heart. Good for my heart as well as others’. These three kind of come together, for me, at least. I am less bossy now except there’s that tendency at times that I have to watch out for. Work-wise, it’s not so much of a problem. But it could be things that suddenly change my mood or catch me in a bad one, usually when others are cruel to me, others, even animals. Losing one’s cool is sooo not cool. Well, try and try and try and if I fail, try again!

2. Less unhealthy foods. Translates to (a) less fat so less red meat and eating at least white meat as alternative, (b) more fruits, veggies and fibers, (c) minimal sugar, and (d) avoidance of carcinogens as much as possible. I am winning this battle little by little so why stop?

3. More stretching and exercise! I’ve been so out-of-shape lately due to a lifestyle that was mostly beyond my control. But now I can gain back the control. More stretching and exercise when I wake up in the morning. I haven’t been doing this much since work went back the regular route in September 2012. And the reason I haven’t done this much is because I am always hurrying for work in the first place! So I guess, this is synonymous to “Fix your body clock”.

4. More sports. Yup, like going back to Muay Thai and/or continuing with the Ninjutsu class IF the teacher decides to continue the class. The problem is, I am always torn between practicing my first martial art and taking up other MAs, especially the Filipino Martial Art (FMA) a.k.a. Arnis a.k.a. Kali. It’s not like I have all the time and means (and age) in the world to do all of these. This is so typical of me, always the late bloomer…My first sport really was volleyball, but I hardly know how to actually continue with that. While badminton, well, the office went on weekly badminton sessions last year, but the drive got stale. There are talks of reviving it so we’ll see.

5. More writing. This is my first love. However, just like in most relationships, it sometimes is a roller-coaster ride except the slower speed seems to dominate. Well, I have been trying with spurts of inspiration. In fact, I have been trying too hard to inspire myself lately that made me literally sick. So what I’m trying to do now is take it on a regular speed. Well, something like that, you get the drift (do people still say drift like that???).

6. More reading. To broaden my horizon and sharpen my intellect. Gotta re-fuel the brain somehow. I have been trying these recent years to do this. There’s been some minimal improvement. I do think I can do much better than that. That’s why when I couldn’t go online last night and couldn’t sleep because I wasn’t feeling well, I actually spent the time finishing a book. There are lots of unfinished books in my shelves and even lots that have been unread for years! So this year, I’m gonna change that, so join me in crossing fingers.

7. Proper budgeting. Recent events have made this too much of a challenge. But that’s no excuse. So here’s to scrimping coupled with lots of prayers.

8. More humility. I will always remember what I wrote in my previous post.

9. More kindness. Let me be not humble right now to say I have become more kind and hope to become more so. Being kind involves Resolution #1. It means putting yourself in others’ shoes. There’s also kindness in tough love, when you’re sure that not giving in to somebody else’s wants is for his/her own good. There’s also such a thing as self-kindness — doing what benefits yourself. Do not mistake it as selfishness. It means we ought to know if something is good for us or not. We have logic. We should know when what we do is simply out of being self-centered.

10. Regain my ‘original nature’. This one is a bit harder to explain. Just leave it to me, guys.

So! Any plans for some cool changes in yourself this year? It’s never too late and it’s never wrong to be a Better You. Trust me :“He who conquers others is strong; he who conquers himself is mighty” (Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching). Oh, and by the way, to our Chinese friends, Advance…

Chinese New Year Greeting...Copyright © J.Gi Federizo

Chinese New Year’s Day on February 9!!!

 

2012 in Retrospect and What I Learned from It

Well, it’s been almost a month after the new year started.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

Greeting you guys a prosperous 2013 had not left my mind from Day 1. It was just that aside from that, I didn’t know what exactly to say. I didn’t want to delve on how lonely it was to spend the holidays without my parents. Lonely was not the way to go if I wanted to be on a rearing-for-a-much-better-year mode. And I’m still shy talking about finally changing my Facebook relationship status from single to you-know-what (see? I can’t even say it without blushing even with no one looking). This decision sat waiting for a long time for reasons I need not divulge, but we’re actually already on our way near our first year as a couple. I am just happy he was there to brighten up my holidays and steer me away from sad thoughts.

The year 2012, in retrospect and on a more personal basis, was The Best and Worst Year, so far, although I am not exactly waiting for anything much worse than The Worst. Why The Worst, I need not clarify. It’s so crystal clear.

Why The Best? Let’s focus on that.

This is an image from WordPress

2012 taught me the value of contentment because as one quote shared and re-shared on Facebook said, you will never know the real value of money until you run out of it, or something like that, only better worded. I have always known that, but 2012 really made sure I understood completely.

2012 taught me humility. I had to be humble enough to realize I needed help, to ask for it, to accept it even when I didn’t ask.

2012 told me that sometimes, you have to let go of pride. It is especially relevant if doing so will serve a higher purpose.

2012 made me kinder to people and to myself. I have become more understanding of others’ shortcomings as well as mine. I have become more accepting that it has brought me people and things that I am now thankful for.

2012 has made me accept tribulations as challenges worth facing. To emerge triumphant means learning to be more courageous and mature. Nothing teaches like experience.

This is not to say I have become perfect. Nobody becomes perfect in a year. In fact, nobody becomes perfect EVER. What I’ve learned, I still re-learn everyday. I still always remind myself 2012’s teaching especially when I am getting lost. When we get lost, isn’t it best to find our way back to where we started?

2012 started a New MeIt was not the end of the world. So 2013,

come on and bring it on!!!