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Wisa


Sa harap ng iyong webcam
Sa PC ko matyaga akong naga-abang
Tamis ng iyong ngiti sana muling masilayan
Higit sa lahat, iyong natatanging kagandahan 

Sa umaga, sabik ang puso kong nag-aabang:

"Maga antipara kaya siya?
Ilulugay o itatali ang buhok kaya?
Ngingiti o sisimangot ng madalas ngayon?
Kahit alin, siguradong maganda pa rin sya pagdating ng hapon"

Sana umaga na ulit para makita na ulit kita
Weekend? Sana bumilis ang araw para Lunes na 
Sana walang holiday bukas makalawa 
Para si ma'am araw-araw kong nakikita

Isipan na sana sa karunungan nalinang
Bakit puso ko ang kinatok mo at nabuksan
Imbes na ako ay sa math natututo 
Kung pano makukuha ang iyong "oo" ang sino-solve ko

Araw araw na dalangin ko sa Panginoon:
Na ang napupusuang prinsesa sa harap ng camera
Si ma'am na hinangaan at minamahal ko na
Isang umaga ay maging ganap na aking reyna
Featured

Leaves of Autumn


I will whisper it
to the autumn leaves

I will tell them why
the trees slumbered in a lullaby
I will reveal to them
how all tears have gone dry
it was when
you promulgated my verdict:
“good bye”

It was still the sunshine’s reign
as I recall like ‘twas but yesterday
but before I can brace my self
for that mortal dagger
driven to my chest
the chilling sun
and the freezing moon
started to sing a melancholic tune

Nurtured in the soft breeze’s caress
and nourished in dew
brought forth colors
that are changing in hue
for what seemed the start
of a colorful show
marked the end of the summer glow

what else is there to say
but to let the light leave with the day
and this darkness that had befall
be there to stay while bells they toll

I will whisper its dismal moan
to those in twigs still holding on
oblivious to the truth
that it won’t last for long

I will whisper it
to those caught in midair
as they drift farther and farther away
from their beloved they just left bare

I will whisper it
atop the mounded heap
which to earth
did terminally cede

fool’s show it is indeed
for the varied colors that abound
speaks loudly
of the end
without a sound

Featured

The Piercing of Teresa


Duty-bound
I came to execute
The verdict of Teresa
On that appointed eve

Like a soft breeze
Pounding the curtains
I entered unseen
As a pup she laid
Duped that her
Satin and laced sheets
Would get her covered
From the judgement
That would befall her

Then braced myself did I
To enforce her sentence
Cold and swift

Arrow in hand
Steadily aimed
Dug deep in her skin

This I did
Over and over again

Instead of her body
Limped
And eerily silent dead
I heard
Her forceful
Muffled
Shriek

As the steel bored deeper
I heard a
Slapping sound
Squishing
Steady
Periodic

Was I amused
Where the blade had been
Not a trickle of blood
Nothing did I see
But it got more crimson
Like ripe tomatoes
Begging to be picked free

I turned to her face
Contorted it was
Her eyes blocked the faint light
Mouth’s an open vessel
Begging for the rain to trickle
In the dead of the night

The Wisdom of the Passing Wind


When after a while of revelry, celebration, and overstimulation, you experience asking yourself all of a sudden ‘what’s the significance in all of these?’ or ‘this is meaningless, a chasing of the wind,’ never disregard nor even try to silence it.

It means you’ve come to a checkpoint, stumbled upon a moment of truth, and that you’ve finally paid attention to the universe who is trying to bring you back right on the reality of life and the path of conscious living. It is meant to take you off of autopilot, cruising, and becoming dead while you’re still alive.

Pay attention.

– 名前がない男の人

Tie a Yellow Ribbon on the Ball and Chain in the Old Oak Tree


I’m comin’ home, I’ve done my time
Now I’ve got to know what is and isn’t mine…”

The people has spoken and punctuated it with rage that drove the final nails to the coffin of the Yellowtards’ political dreams. A seething anger to be exact.

It has been the goal of the Yellows-turned-Pink for six years to use anger that supposedly will come from the electorate, to use it against Duterte and all the remnants of the strongman Marcos Senior’s regime.

But unfortunately for them, that rage they were trying to instill to the people against the government backfired. They’ve realized (albeit a bit too late) that they’ve already alienated the very ones who they want to be on their side. And they’ve waken up into the nightmare that they were already dealing with:

  • The electorate’s rage against the perceived fraud in the 2016 elections;
  • The electorate’s rage against the Liberal Party and to whatever form it morphed into;
  • The electorate’s rage against lawmakers and some Supreme Court justices for ignoring the existence of massive fraud in spite of compelling evidences;
  • The electorate’s rage against cancel culture;
  • The electorate’s rage against the Yellowtards’ frequent humiliation of people who are not aligned with their political stance by calling them “tanga”, “bobo”, and trolls;
  • The electorate’s rage against the holier-than-thou, the elite, and the condescending.

Engaging the toxic Yellow army head on was futile, so the ordinary voters figured. For who can withstand the constant vitriol and all the personal attacks?

And so the people just waited for the perfect moment for redemption: May 9th 2022.

They know fully well that it’s the perfect opportunity to say the F-word and “screw you” in a civilized and democratic way.

And that, they did with finality and emphasis – 16M times for the presidency and 21M times for the vice presidency.

Finally, the “bobo” and the “tanga” electorate as the Yellowtards relished to name the people outside of their echo chambers, finally had a new meaning to the old song symbolizing LP’s return to power:

Now the whole damned bus is cheerin’
And I can’t believe I see –
– the Yellowtards and Pinklawans met with a hundred yellow ribbons round the ball and chain that’ll be tied to their feet in the ole oak tree,
never to rape the lands again and be free.”

Shut up to hear the still small voice


When the inside chatter
becomes unbearable

When your voice
is getting drowned
like it no longer matters

And the voices inside
that are supposed
to be your allies

Instead of assurance
and peace of mind
it inflicts anxiety
and steady grind

The moment is ripe
to shut them all up:
your mind and all the noise

So that you’ll hear the still small voice
Palms together and eyes turned upward
Pray that the Lord will speak
And grant
that elusive peace
that you seek

Are we creating a home, or are we mass producing vagabonds?


“Anywhere I roam, where I lay my head is home…”

– Metallica

What does a toxic and hostile environment create?

Vagabonds.

They are the people who couldn’t find a “home” wherever he is at – home, school, church, or at work because of hostility and toxicity.

Because every minute is spent in fighting to breath. Where one would’ve been more grateful for being a wallflower instead of being the center of unwanted attention and frequent target of aggression.

And as such, they cannot help but close their eyes and endure the pain of being until they can finally get out of there. And when they do, there’s no turning back, no nostalgia whatsoever of that harrowing distant memory. Just relief in finally getting out of that hellhole.

For the place they left wasn’t a home at all but a house of affliction.

The next place where he’ll be treated with respect, care, and genuine friendship – that is home. And until he finds it, he’ll continue to wander in search for that elusive place situated somewhere in the future. The hope of that home faraway, will keep him believing that the next rock that he lays his head on as he calls it a day, is the way that will help him inch closer towards the home that he was deprived of. 

Are we creating a cozy home, or are we mass producing vagabonds?

Have I done my best today?


Have I made someone
feel listened to today
that they began to see again
that what they have to say matters?
Was I kind those
fighting silent battles?
Did I say the right words
to those who need to hear them most?
Did I make anyone feel today
that someone actually cared?
Such that the moment
before they sleep at night they’ll pray:
“Thank you Lord
for answering my prayers
through others today..”?

Did my kids feel loved
and listened to?
Did I give my time to them,
my full attention, my guidance?
Have I become the father figure
that they expected
and that I ought to be?
Such that the moment
before they sleep at night they’ll pray:
“Thank you Lord
thank you very much
for Daddy today..”?

Did I show my significant other
how important she is to me?
That I value her more
than what is expected of her to be?
That she feels loved
for what she genuinely is?
Such that the moment
before she sleeps at night she’ll pray:
“Thank You Lord
I’ve been blessed by
having a man like him
for tomorrow and today..”?

Thank God I Still Have A Job!


Much like everyone else, I often find myself complaining a lot about almost everything like a first class as*hole. It’s too this and that, and not much of such and such.

Add to that the agony of additional restraints brought about by the pandemic which makes the voice yelling “I deserve better!!!” get louder and louder. 

But everytime I receive my payslip, I find myself  grounded hard and humbled as I am reminded of two things:

  1. my job isn’t easy, it’s daunting at times but at least I still have a job while a lot of my fellows lost theirs; and
  1. I still have a job that sustains me and my family.

Humiliated of my arrogance, I try to make up for it by saying “thank You, Lord” and be thankful and contented for all the blessings I’m still receiving and mean it with every bit of my being that I can muster.

“Sabaw” moments 1


Naging matao sa bahay netong nakaraang mahal na araw at ako ang nakatokang tatao sa kusina. At dahil pandemya at praning parin kami sa safety, ay naka face mask kami kapag naguusap-usap.

Isang araw matapos akong makipagkwentuhan sandali sa mga kasama namin ay binisita ko ang niluluto kong nilaga. Inangat ko ang takip ng kaserolang may kumukulong sabaw. Alam kong may lalabas na mainit na singaw na saktong sakto sa aking braso kaya inunahan ko ng hinipan.

Nakalimutam kong naka face mask pala ako.

Minsan nakukumpasan ko naman ang buhay. Minsan naiisahan ko. Minsan nananalo ako. Pero sa pagkakataong yun e wala na akong nagawa kundi mapa buntong-hininga na lang.

“#¿@$%€¥¢£&!!!”

“Bubong na Tanga”


We’re sick and tired of our leaking roof. We’re sick and tired of putting pails and other containers under the ceiling that’s slowly rotting in hell whenever it rains. And we’re sick and tired of remembering with disdain those who previously worked on our roof.

After earning enough savings to pay for labor and materials, we decided to have our roof fixed to the profile shown in the picture.

(Disclaimer: first, no that’s not our roof; second, the emphasis is on that particular profile of the roof as shown; and third, we don’t have enough budget to afford a well finished top. So long as it’s functional, never mind that the asintada didn’t have palitada nor the ceiling lacking bubida, that’d do in the mean time…)

I’m not really picky when it comes to house design or what particular shape the top is, so long as there’s no leak. Especially nowadays, when you don’t have a 6 digit budget, you can’t really complain and be picky about the design, can you? 

When the roof began to take shape, one particular neighbor exclaimed, a lot of us within earshot:

Wow, ang ganda!” I smiled at the compliment but only until she dropped her punchline:

Ganyan yung tinatawag na bubong na tanga. Ganyan tawag sa amin” and she just went her way as if nothing happened.

We got confused. In fact, our initial reaction was “Oooohkayy… What did she say again???…”

I know roof terminologies such as ‘media agua‘, ‘dos aguas‘, and ‘quatro aguas‘. But “bubong na tanga“? That’s quite something there.

Strange indeed, but what the heck! The important thing is I learned another slang that day.

Reacting to Old School Photos


The two types of adults looking at old elementary and highschool photos:

  1. “‘Twas fun, miss these times!” and,
  2. “Thank God I was fucking out of that hellhole!!”

There are those who want to rewind the time and relive the good old days, the fun times, and their playmates.

And there are those who had no choice but to close their eyes for years while going through the pain, wishing it’ll all be over the moment they open their eyes back again.

While some take the memories as the past’s present to them, some say that they’re free from the curse of childhood and they can finally start over and make new and happy memories.

Why you should say “yes” and “I do” to a writer?


Photo by u0415u0432u0433u0435u043du0438u0439 u0428u0443u0445u043cu0430u043d on Pexels.com
  1. You’ve been royalty to him for many times: a princess or his queen. He already paid for everything you both need for a happily ever after by a currency that only he can give – his sanity.
  1. He already wrote/envisioned of a thousand and one instances where he saved you, his damsel in distress, from dragons, the devil, the world, and from yourself. And you always ended up safe, unscathed, loved, and taken cared of in his arms.
  1. He already saw both of you having a conversation of a lifetime about life itself and the universe while holding hands together in a beach beholding the stars.
  1. He already took note of your ordinary moments and etched every inch of every small detail about you in his brain. He thinks those unguarded but cute moments of the ordinary you is priceless, so he kept those moments of yours and committed them to his heart and memory.
  1. He has already seen what you look like minus the glam, the mask, and the makeup. It doesn’t bother him if you snore, eat a lot, or even fart out loud in front of him. He can see you very well with your mask on but he loves more the one who’s wearing it.
  1. He already pictured you saying “yes” and eventually “I do”, and saw your tendencies to bully him into taking care of your children, nagging him to give in to your crazy demands and tells himself “why not?”. Sometimes, that vision extends to both of you together in your senior years.
  1. In spite of all those daydreaming and writing volumes about you for about an eternity and a half, being a hopeless romantic and a borderline lunatic, he still took the courage to ask you out. Yes, the idea of you would’ve sufficed but he chose instead to up it one notch by asking you out.

Your Best Is Yet to Come


Fired from your job?
Your best is yet to come.

You didn’t make the cutoff?
Your best is yet to come.

Ridiculed for what you are and for what you are not?
Your best is yet to come.

Felt like the fool in your last relationship?
Your best is yet to come.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking
The uneventful day is fatal
That tomorrow’s already a lost cause

But hope springs eternal
For the heart that believes in second chances
That’s made available today
everyday

A chance to be good
better
best

So if today didn’t turn out right
Felt like sulking no longer wanting to fight
Remember this, and grab it by the balls tight:

You and the ones you love are worth another shot.
You’re worth every drop of blood
Every wound
Every cut

And you are not a spent force
And never a hopeless cause –

‘Cause your best is yet to come

Introduction to Poetry by Billy Collins


Hubble Sees Monstrous Cloud Boomerang Back to our Galaxy by NASA Goddard Photo and Video is licensed under CC-BY 2.0

Prolly one of the best advice ever given to writing poetry. I’ve read it for not less than 10 times already, but I’m in no way done with this one. I still keep on learning while writing poetry and keeping this in mind.

I hope this’ll help us, not to surpass Shakespeare, but to be able to express our emotions more.

As writers, we’ve been verbalizing our minds for too long, which undoubtedly produced exceptional results. But when we let our emotions speak through poetry, we are accorded a superpower: we become capable of communing with hearts, nature, and the universe all at once.

Introduction to Poetry
by Billy Collins

I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide

or press an ear against its hive.

I say drop a mouse into a poem and
watch him probe his way out,

or walk inside the poem's room
and feel the walls for a light switch.

I want them to waterski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author's name on the shore.

But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.

They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.

The boy that everyone tried to silence


Nobody wanted to talk to him then.

They wouldn’t even allow him to speak.

They’ve grown allergic to his words, even if how sparse they are. They even made fun of him, labelling whatever that comes out of his mouth as “ridiculous” and “stupid.”

Frustrated and angry, (towards them, but his much more intense anger was always directed towards himself) never did he open his lips again.

He just let it all get bottled up inside him, building up pressure that rivals that of the depths of the ocean.

Until one day he burst. Silently.

They made fun of him, labelling whatever that comes out of his mouth as “ridiculous” and “stupid.”

Nobody noticed at first.

Until his blood reached their feet — which rose to their knees, shoulders, and eventually rose past their heads.

And they’ve been living in it ever since.

The kid that nobody wanted to talk to or be with before, the boy that they made fun of, the boy who consequently shut his mouth perpetually – finally found his words cascading freely and eternally from an immortal source deep within.

He now drowns the world one word at a time, through the tip of his pen…

Panalpiit ni Ayat


Sinaplit na kan inam ti barikəs
Uray la nagdara
     - panalpiit ni ayat dayta

Inyablat tay amam tay baina
Pirmi nga nagladlada
     - panalpiit ni ayat dayta

Pinang-ur na kan mistram
Kən tay ratan a mamalo na
     - panalpiit ni ayat dayta

Nagipudnu kat ayat kən tay kursunadam
Ay-ay piman ta inpakpakabsat da ka lang
     - panalpiit ni ayat dayta

Tinungpa na ka tay nubyam
Ta pingping mu pirmi nga limmablabaga
     - panalpiit ni ayat dayta

Linipak ni bakət/lakay mu ta ubət mu
Ultimut pigkət ti pagkita na
     - panalpiit ni ayat dayta

Lipakən na kat biag
Tungpaən na kat ayat
Parusukan na kan gasat
Ngəm nu man pay kasta
Daytuy ti laglagipəm parsua
     - panalpiit ni ayat dayta

“Ano ser, tapos na tayo o tapos tayo?”


Ayala Avenue at Christmas season; ctto

Imagine a day in pre-pandemic December in Ayala Avenue in Makati: Festive. Crisp cold air. Christmas lights dance and flood every street and corner, particularly Ayala Triangle. You just received your Christmas basket, aaaaaaaand – it’s the last working day of the year before you see your officemates again the following year.

The crispy lechon, the smell of sisig, the taste of beer, and chitchat with officemates and friends are but a few things to be anticipated.

Just the thought of these were enough to give you warm and fuzzy feelings.

Well, except for me and Ser Retsard.

“Para sa ekonomiya!”

It was already 10:00 in the evening and we weren’t even halfway through of the drawings that we need to send to our counterparts abroad. I’m checking the drawings, making sure that all comments are accounted for and every critical detail reflected. Ser Retsard is in charge of Revit. 

I looked over our 10th floor window overlooking Ayala Avenue. Christmas lights were still dancing with delight as if mocking our plight. People are still frantically going to and fro in their attempt to match Makati’s current festive ambience.

We can only envy them, though.

We hoped to be given consideration, just to become ‘normal’ like the others who were already at home and celebrating the weekend.

But a deadline is a deadline. Middle East knows we’ll be out for a few days which is why we needed to hurry up and send all drawings that we can possibly send.

Ayala Triangle at Christmas season; ctto

Our stomachs started to grumble. In order to save money, we just munched on some of the contents of our Christmas basket. Thank God I had enough restraint that I didn’t cook the entire ham in the oven.

We tried to conquer sleep by focusing on the drawings and our occasional stories about everything within and beyond the sun including the story about the alleged “mumu” in the men’s comfort room. I figured I’d probably meet Sadako somewhere in there. However, the fact that she comes out of the TV and not toilet bowls gave me a little assurance.

Polishing drawings, turns out, is a slow, arduous, and torturous grind. “Nakakaulol” even, especially that it’s Christmas season, past your bedtime, and the fact that we’re still in the office.

Madaling araw

The time was 2:00 in the morning. To my frustration, I still haven’t seen smelly Sadako emerging from the depths of the toilet plumbing.

I was dreaming of my bed, probably so does Ser Retsard in his home. The coffee in the pantry was all ours but it already lost its appeal after the nth cup. I was still checking drawings and Ser Retsard is still on Revit. Our backs were already sore from prolonged sitting and our eyes were drooping. 

In my attempt to lighten the mood, I jokingly asked him:

“Ano ser, tapos na tayo o tapos tayo?” (Are we done yet or are we toast?) 

I think it did the trick, even for a moment. It was 4:00 and a half when we finished editing and sent the drawings. I thank God that yesterday’s agony, which was extended to the wee hours of the following day was finally over.

Finally, we can live like normal human beings again!

“We’re going home!”

As I walk along Ayala Avenue which was partly deserted except for a few fellas entering and exiting McDonald’s, Jollibee, and Lawson, I suddenly remembered it was already Saturday. Just great.

I made it home without the driver slapping me and furiously waking me up, thankfully. And my Christmas basket, my pasalubong, is still with me.

I just realize now that those uncomfortable moments were one of the most memorable, a few years after I left the company.

Friendship founded on tough times usually end up being tough as well, etched deeper than the surface that it will still remain even if time has already weathered the surface.

Thank God for Ser Retsard’s company. 

The curse of the tap in the kitchen sink


In a span of 5 years or so, we already changed the kitchen tap more than 5 times.

More than 5 freaking times, can you freaking believe it?!

That right there, beyond any shadow of doubt, can be attributed to none other than “malas“. Allow me to elaborate…

The break and make cycle

The threaded elbow where the faucet is connected is within the block wall. When the previous faucets leaked, we had no choice then but to remove the affected tiles and install another.

We hired a mason to fix it, both faucet and tiles when the damn faucet leaked. When we needed to replace the tap again after less than a year, guess what? We need to remove the tiles AGAIN to get the new tap in place.

We were expecting for him to suggest something that would prevent annoying scenarios of redoing the tile work in the future, him being an experienced workman and all that. I think we asked too much.

Ad nauseum et infinitum.

Collateral damage

Teaching the kid to wash the dishes is our way of teaching him to be responsible.

Due perhaps to his still developing maturity coupled with his playfulness, it is inevitable that he will be using uncalculated force which is more than necessary to turn the tap on and off.

Which was the same reason I told him not to “maglambitin sa faucet” the way Tarzan clings to hanging vines while swinging from tree to tree.

(Insert Tarzan’s signature “call” here.)

The best type of faucet

In terms of serviceability, it’s got to be plastic.

Alleged GI (galvanized iron) faucet looks like plastic nowadays which is why I still have a hard time restoring my faith in humanity. Especially when water comes from an underground source where GIs are more susceptible to rust.

Take it from me though, don’t buy ordinary plastic taps. One should invest on the serviceable, attach-detachable (tanggalabol) types. Just like our current one. It had leaks yes, twice in fact. What we did was just to disassemble-assemble, tighten the screw and the other connections and it’s done and done.

Deep Rest


What we need to do when we’re depressed can also be found in the word itself: deep rest.

Rest from all forms of stimulation. It may mean going offline for sometime from social media, our favorite TV series, or the local news.

Deep rest comes in the form of a “void”.

Don’t go scouring the world to fill the void when it hits you. The void is our default and not the enemy.

When we feel the void, we should celebrate because in just a few moments something will fill it up which means we will be preoccupied, anxious, dazed and confused once again. And it will take time again before we can go back to our default mode.

Pray your heart out. Yell if you must. Cry a river if you will. But after which, listen. Give God the opportunity to respond to your prayers. You won’t hear, much more notice Him if you’re distraught!

When feeling depressed, remember: deep rest.

True love is knowing your significant other’s language


True love is knowing and understanding your significant other’s spoken and body language. Being able to discern whether she is anxious, in a jovial mood, agitated, angry, or super angry – and to respond accordingly is a different kind of intimacy altogether.

– 名前がない男の人

Choosing kindness over inflicting intentional necessary evil


It’s true that we need adversity to make us tough, much like soldiers’ need for adversity in the form of harsh training in order to anticipate all possible scenarios in the battle field and survive.

But do we really need to intentionally inflict a “necessary evil” in order to make someone tough and in turn survive the real world?

I believe there’s a better way of doing it, rather than deliberately acting with incivility just to make the juniors calloused which will in turn make them “tougher”.

Let the “evil” done to us in the past stop with us. May we always strive to become a lifeline for the next in line instead.

Choose to be kind.

#training #necessaryevil #choosekindness

Barado


(Circa April 2017)

Mga sasakyang bumabara sa kalsada: traffic.

Ugat na daluyan ng dugong nabarahan sa dibdib: heart attack.

Bumarang mga salita sa aking lalamunan nang makahanap ako ng magandang pagkakataon na kausapin ka: “ma'al kita”

Mga nautal kong salita na bumara sa tenga mo sabay tawa mo ng malakas: “alam mo nakakatawa ka talaga, para kang yung boyfriend ko”

Buti nalang bumara ang mga luha ko at di tumulo, kunwaring ngumiti ako at napabulong nalang ng : “putang ina, ang sakit!"

Baradong pagtatapat ng saloobin sayo at basketball na sinalubong ng mga bukas na palad: SUPALPAL!!!

What I’ve Learned After Joining #Bloganuary


I don’t usually follow writing prompts. The idea that I’d be dictated and limited by a topic or an idea which I will have to write for the moment didn’t appeal at all. I will write whatever I want to write.

I tried however to join #Bloganuary for a change just to see how it goes. Turns out, it isn’t so bad after all. And while I may not have finished #Bloganuary in its entirety, these are what I’ve learned so far:

  1. Promoting your blog outside of the blogosphere MIGHT increase your readership. “Might” because I haven’t tried so far. I still want to maintain my relative anonymity so I can still put my thoughts out in the open without having to deal with the admiration/disgust of those who know me over what I have written.
  1. Your fellow writers are busy promoting their work to actually promote you. It’s a no-brainer.
  1. The purpose of writing prompts and joining a community isn’t to catapult you to instant fame. If that worked out to everyone else, well good for them. It didn’t work for me. Maybe because I joined just recently. Maybe because I still haven’t found my right audience yet. Or possibly other “maybes”.
  1. The real purpose is for you to ‘just write’. Just fucking write. Write your best piece for the day and at the same time hope that you will write your best tomorrow, or the day after, or the day after that…

Piniritong Tilapia


I never had one for the longest time until now, when we didn’t have something for dinner and she ordered one especially for me.

I’m not a picky eater by the way. It’s just that the fellas here prefer fishes from saltwater instead of those grown in the fish ponds. Can’t blame them though. They’ve been harvesting blessings from the sea all their lives that they already developed their preference early on.

And as if by some sort of magic, every morsel of the piniritong tilapia and it’s distinct aroma turned into a time machine as I found myself back in time when tatay cooked our staple fish meal into different dishes: fried, paksiw, sinabawan, or ginataan.

What made it more memorable was a hilarious dialogue in the movie “Kahit Butas ng Karayom, Papasukin Ko” where Sarge Daniel (FPJ, tatay’s favorite action star) bought lug bolts for 10 wheeler trucks to stiffen his knuckles in an anticipated fist fight.

Bakit ho, sira po ba truck nyo?” the vendor asked. To which Sarge replied:

Hindi, may sisirain lang ako.

Yep, we watched all that during lunch while munching on piniritong tilapia.

BoboCop


Long before today’s realistic version of Transformers and Gipsy Danger’s elbow rocket, my hero then was RoboCop.

Who wouldn’t love a half human half ‘bot who experienced injustice himself turned to a walking karma machine exacting justice and vengeance? When nostalgia hits me, I’d still watch the full movie and relieve the childhood awe.

It’s just that she doesn’t share my love for RoboCop. Instead, she calls it “buyaən ti nəngnəng” (dumb show/show for the dumb) to which I vehemently deny with the strongest feelings of “OF COURSE NOT!”

One time she let me watch RoboCop 3, the one with a jetpack, with her. After the movie, I realized that the plot is a little bit lame and that only a kid just like me back then still thinks it’s super in comparison to its prequels. She looked at me with a fully loaded sarcastic look, I can perfectly read her eyes and roaring laughter:

“BUYAəN TI NəNGNəNG!”

Kung Anu-Anong Kauululan sa Loob at Labas ng UV Express: Ang Mahaba-haba-habang Ikaapat na Talata


(Circa July 2016)

Hindi lahat ng mga byahe ko sa bus at UV ay nakakapagsulat ako ng kwento o nakakapagpalabas ng mga posibleng thesis title. May mga pagkakataon ding napapatigil ako sa pag-iiisip at napapabulong ng “Dios ko kaawaan mo po kami!”

Ito ay sa tuwing nakakalimot ang driver na ang kanyang minamanehong bus o UV express ay hindi dapat pinapalipad at ang gulong ay ginawa upang sumayad sa lupa! Di ko alam kung natatae na sila kaya sila nagmamadali o dahil may pustahan sila ni Kamatayan kung sino ang mauuna sa impyerno.

Lalo na kapag paliko-liko at palusong ang daan.

Ang kalsada sa pinanggagalingan ko papuntang Cubao at pauwi ay parang Cagayan Valley road sa may bandang Nueva Vizcaya. May kakiputan ang daan, bangin ang sasalo sa isang gilid at ang mga kurbada ay pamatay – parehas pagmamalabis at literal. Minsan sa mga natsa-tsambahan ko, kahit gabi na at maulan e para kaming nasa kalagitnaan ng isang karera sa Formula 1. Mistula kaming itina-tampal tampal sa loob ng UV at halos tumalsik sa pagkaka-upo. Kahit anong lupit pa ng mga linyang naiisip ko o kahit anong ganda ng pinapanood kong pelikula sa cellphone ay nawawala ako sa konsentrasyon at pansamantala akong titigil para manalangin.

At di rin ako makatulog sa takot kong pagdilat ko ay isang nakangising San Pedro at ang kanyang putak ng putak na manok na ang babati sa akin ng “Welcome to the heavenly cockpit arena. Sa pula ka ba o sa puti?”

Ayaw ko munang paglamayan at kawawa naman ang aking magandang asawa (na kamukha ni Cate Blanchett) at maliliit pa ang mga pogi kong anak na nagmana sakin.

Tsaka byaheng Cubao/byahe pauwi sa amin ang sinakyan ko at hindi ako pumila sa pilahan ng byaheng pa-impyerno…

xxx

Hindi lang madulas na kalsada at biglaang pagkawala ng preno ang kinakatakutan ko. Natatakot din ako sa kung anong pwedeng gawin ng kapwa ko tao sa driver at sa aming mga pasahero.

Gumimik kami nun kasama ang boss ko at mga kaopisina sa may bandang Roxas Boulevard. Lasing na kami nang umuwi. Sa Edsa kami dumaan, northbound. Nasa harap ako at katabi ko ang boss ko na syang nagda-drive.

Di na masikip ang kalsada habang binabagtas namin ang Edsa mga bandang alas-dose. Nung may nakamotor na akmang sisingitan kami ng lane ay napamura ang boss ko, nagbukas ng bintana sabay sigaw ng:

“Ano?! Gago ka a!!!”

Sabay kabig ng konti pakanan na akmang babanggain ang nakamotor.

Ballistic.

Buti nalang at nakaiwas ang nakamotor at di na nag-react.

Pigil na pigil ang paghinga ko. Natatakot ako habang iniisip ko kung ano kaya ang mangyayari sakaling may dalang baril yung nakamotor sabay bunot at kalabit ng gatilyo.

Naisip ko ang aking mag-ina. Beybing-baby pa ang panganay ko nun. Ayaw kong dumagdag sa statistics ng kung ano ang nagagawa ng putang-inang alak na yan kapag dumidiretso sa ulo at hindi sa tyan lalo at nasa kalsada.

xxx

Ang mga ala-alang ito ang tumatakbo sa utak ko nung isang araw na nakasakay ako ng UV na may biyaheng Pasig-Quiapo.

Di ko maintindihan kung pakiramdam ng driver ng pulang Vios e nakikipag-karera kami sa kanya o baka na-outside da kulambo siya ng misis nya nang nakaraang gabi.

Nagbukas ng bintana ang driver ng pulang kotse at bagamat di namin siya naririnig ay siguradong hindi blessings ang lumalabas sa bibig nya. Kabig pakanan, kabig pakaliwa siya sa pagtatangka niyang patigilin ang sinasakyan namin. Iwas ng iwas naman si kuya driver. Nung malapit na kami sa V. Mapa LRT Line 2 station ay huminto sa di kalayuan sa harap namin yung pulang Vios. Tumigil din kami ng mga ilang metro, saktong layo lang sa aburidong driver. Siguro nung nakita niyang di siya papatulan ni kuya driver ay umalis narin siya.

Nang dalawa nalang kami ni kuya driver at malapit na kami sa Quiapo ay kinausap niya ako.

“Akala nya nakikipag-unahan ako sa kanya e,” sabi niya sa akin.

Kinuwento ko naman yung ballistic kong boss at pagkatapos nun at parehas kaming iiling-iling at naubusan na ng sasabihin…

Di gaanong katagalan matapos nun ay sumakay ulit ako ng papunta Quiapo galing Pasig. Saktong pamasahe na 40 pesos ang inabot ko, kaya takang taka ako nung inabot sa akin ang sukli kong limampiso. Nampucha, pag sinuswerte ka nga naman o!

Di ko alam kung magpapasalamat ba ako dahil baka mainggit yung ibang mga pasahero kaya pinili kong tumahimik nalang. Pamilyar yung driver nang tinignan ko pero di ako sigurado kung si kuya driver nga yon. Pero parang siya.

Pakiramdam ko ay paraan niya yun ng pagpapasalamat sakin sa mga sinabi ko.

Natuwa ako hindi lang dahil may 12.5% discount ako kahit di pa ako senior citizen. Natuwa ako kasi naipabatid ko ang walang kapararakang pakikipagmatigasan sa mga walang modo na nasa likod ng manibela; na mas mahalaga ang sarili at pamilya kaysa sa bansag na “kilabot ng kalsada”; na walang sinasanto ang bala maging ikaw man ay tama o mali.

Sabi nga ni Binoy at ni Da King: “Maging sino ka man, isang bala ka lang!”

xxx

Ayaw kong makakatabi ang malikot. Yung maya’t-maya e gagalaw at masasagi ka lalo na kung sobra kang inaantok. Pero gaya ng sabi ko ay ok lang kung chics.

May nakatabi ako minsan, si ate. Magkaharap na apatan ang inuupuan namin at siya ang nasa pinaka loob, sunod ako at may dalawa pang iba sa hilera namin. Dahil ok sa alright makapreno at umapak ng silinyador ang driver e di maiwasang maitulak ko si ate. Kapag nangyayari to e gagalaw-galaw din siya na para bang tinutulak nya ako pabalik. Kaya ang ginagawa ko naman kapag nararamdaman kong maitutulak ko siya ay pinipigilan ko ang sarili ko gamit ang mga kamay ko sa handle bar sa taas habang tumutukod naman ang mga paa ko. Nakakapagod at di ako maka-concentrate matulog.

At dahil nangyari to ng paulit-ulit-ulit e hinintay kong awayin ako ni ate. Di ko naman siya aawayin kung sakali. Out of control ko yun e.

Sasabihin ko lang naman na may scientific at mathematical explanation ang pag-usog-usog namin ayon sa law of inertia ni Sir Isaac Newton: Force = mass*acceleration. May unbalanced force dahil sa pagpreno at pagbilis ng takbo. Dahil dun ay naga-accelerate/decelerate kami. At kung gaano kalaki ang pagbabago ng acceleration na yun ay depende sa bilis ng takbo (e.g. naka syento beinte ka tapos bigla mong inapakan ang preno. Ngayon isipin mo kung tumatakbo ka lang ng 1 kph at pumreno ka kung ano ang mangyayari). Yung mass ay yung bigat ko at nung tatlo kong katabi. Ngayon i-multiply mo yung bigat naming tatlo sa deceleration at makukuha mo yung force, yung lakas ng pwersa na tutulak sa kanya.

Sayang at di ako inaway ni ate…

xxx

Ang pinaka-madugo ko na sigurong nasaksihan sa kalsada ay nang naka-tricycle ako pauwi samin.

Nakapila na ako nun sa terminal ng magkaroon ng usapan na may nagbarilan sa dadaanan namin. Tricycle driver daw ang biktima. At dahil tuloy parin naman ang byahe ay naisip kong malamang nakaresponde kaagad ang mga pulis na nasa malapit lang namin dahil wala pang isang minuto ay makakarating na sila sa crime scene.

Nakasakay na ako nun sa tricycle nang napansin namin na may nakasunod sa amin na tricycle lulan ang ilang barangay tanod. Nagbigay daan naman ang driver ng sinasakyan ko at sinundan namin sila.

Narating namin ang crime scene at ang mga naunang rumesponde ay ang mga sinundan naming mga tanod. Intersection siya, isang paderetso at isang pakaliwang kalsada at sa gitna nito ay may guardhouse. Saktong pagkaliwa namin ay andun ang nakahandusay na bangkay. Nakatihaya at naliligo sa kanyang sariling dugo at ang kanyang tricycle ay ilang hakbang lang mula sa kanya. Lahat ng ito kitang-kita ko ng malapitan.

Shit, tang-ina talaga. Wala akong ibang nasabi kundi yan. Shit talaga.

Sabi nila ay nagka-onsehan daw sa droga. Di pa naman eleksyon nun kaya malamang di yon kasali sa malawakang kampanya ngayon laban sa bawal na gamot. Naisip ko ang naiwan nyang (mga) anak at asawa, kung meron man.

Tang-ina talaga.

xxx

Nga pala, bakit nagka-onsehan ang tawag sa nagkalokohan? Ang unang pumasok sa isip ko e yung larong lucky 9 na pagdating ng sampu e bokya na yun. Pero kulang parin ng isa.

Tsaka bakit hindi sampuan o tresehan?

xxx

Reklamador pala ako dulot ng aking mga nakakainis na byahe. Sa tuwing bumibyahe pala ako e wala na akong maisip na positibo dito tulad ng pagpapasalamat sa Poong Maykapal sa pagbibigay buhay, pagkakataon na bumuo ng pamilya at ng magandang kinabukasan, makabyahe, at pagkakataong makapagsulat at magkwento.

Naisip kong sa pagrereklamo ko ay isa akong pasanin. Dead weight. Hindi ako nakakatulong at imbes na isa ako sa mga nagbibigay soluson ay ako pa ang nagdudulot ng dagdag na problema.

Ano nga ba ang pwede kong gawin para maibsan ang trapik sa Edsa? Ano nga ba ang maiaalay kong solusyon?

1. Hindi muna ako bibili ng sarili kong sasakyan. Una ay dahil wala pa akong kakayanan para bumili. Hindi muna ako dadagdag sa mga sinisising private vehicles na nagpapasikip sa mga kalsada. Aasa muna ako sa PUVs gaya ng bus at UV express.

2. Makikisiksik nalang muna ako sa MRT at LRT. Sana nga lang e magsingluwag ng byahe ang MRT at LRT Line 1 sa LRT Line 2. At sana ay masolusyunan na ang kakulangan ng mga bagon at problema sa enerhiya na nagpapatakbo sa mga ‘to.

May tampo nga lang ako sa MRT.

Nung nakaraan ay kinailangan kong umuwi ng maaga dahil baka maospital ang bunso ko. Alas tres nun, patay ang oras kaya nagdesisyon akong mag-MRT. Sa Ayala station ako nun, northbound. Siguro mga 10-15 minuto rin ang inantay ko bago ako makasakay. Nang mga unang segundong nakasakay ako ay umaandar naman ito ng maayos. Di bale ng siksikan makarating lang ako ng maaga, sabi ko sa sarili ko.

Pagkatapos nito ay para ng kinakadyot ang tren. Hinto, andar, hinto, andar. Paulit-ulit na sinasabi ng operator ang mga salitang pasensya. Walanjo, ni hindi pa nga nakarating sa susunod na istasyon!

Pagkaraan ng ilan pang sandali ng hinto-andar-hinto ay naigapang naman kami inch-by-inch hanggang Buendia station at pagkahinto ay sinabi na ng train operator na depektibo na ang tren. Nung una ay di ko naintindihan ang ibig sabihin nun kaya tinanong ko sa katabi ko at ang sabi niya ay bababa na kami.

Hijo de putput!

Imbes na kinse minutos lang ang byahe hanggang Cubao e inabot ako ng isa’t kalahating oras sa bus. Tang-ina, tang-ina, tang-ina talaga!!!

3. Ang natira ko nalang palang choice e bumili ng condo malapit sa trabaho ko. Ito ang una kong gagawin kung mag-biglang yaman ako. Dadalhin ko doon ang mag-iina ko.
Pero mas mahal pa ang condo kesa sasakyan at sa ngayon ay di ko kayang busugin ang kaban ng kayamanan ng mga developer. Isa lamang akong enhinyerong commuter na nagsusumikap umunlad sa buhay.

May pagpipilian pa ba ako?

Mukhang wala pa akong magagawa kundi bunuin parin ang trapiko araw-araw hanggang dumating ang pahahon na makakabili na ako ng sarili kong sasakyan o condo o kapag naayos na ang MRT.

Nakakainis lang isipin na sa pag-alis ko ng bahay araw-araw e tulog pa ang mag-iina ko at pagdating ko sa gabi e tulog NA sila. Hinihiling ko nalang na balang araw, paglaki nila ay sana maintindihan nila ang kanilang ama.

Kung Anu-Anong Kauululan sa Loob at Labas ng UV Express 5: Mga Talang Naiidlip


(Circa November 2016)

Ito ay alay sa mga nakakatulog na mga chicmom, mga mutyang dilag at mga kagalang-galang na mga binibini sa bus, UV express at iba pang mga pambublikong sasakyan, na animo’y mga bulaklak sa sementadong hardin…

Sa pagsara ng iyong mga talukap,
Siya namang aking pag-apuhap
Ng mga katagang maglalarawan
Sa damdaming maligalig at may kapayapaan.

Habang sa naglalaho mong diwa
Dulot ng iyong saglit na pagpapahinga
Ay siya namang aking pagninilay
Sa sumpang sa aking pusoy nag-iwan ng latay.

Sumpang sa langit ay hinihingi,
Na nawa’y ating mga labi ay magdampi
At mapuno ang aking mga baga
Ng halimuyak ng iyong buhok at ng iyong hininga.

Mundo’y pansamantala mong iwan,
Habang ika’y aking babantayan
Iyong puso’y ipaghehele sa katamisan
Mahal kong diwatang hinirang.

Aking natatanging binibini huwag mo sanang ipagkait
Na mamalas ko ang natatangi mong rikit
Dahil isa kang talang nanaog mula sa kalangitan
Na napagod at naiidlip ngayon sa aking harapan.
At siya mo namang pagpukaw sa aking diwa,
Sa aking puso at kamalayan.

Aspire to become a worthwhile experience to others


They could've bullied you when you're at your most vulnerable
- but they didn't
They could've mocked you when you were trying so hard to excel and fit in
- but they didn't
They could've taken advantage of your ignorance
- but they didn't
They could've taken advantage of your weakness
- but they didn't
They could've made themselves "cool" by joining everyone else in making fun of your physique, your crazy ideas, and you as a person
- but they didn't

They could've chose to hurt you. To kick you while you're down until you stop bleeding and living.

But they didn't.

Instead,
- they chose to understand you instead of giving in to the dictates of their egos to do otherwise
- they chose you when everyone else ignored you
- they chose to build you instead of making you a wreck that some people are aching to see
- they chose to make you stronger even when they were struggling themselves
- they chose to guide you while everybody else wants to push you off a cliff
- they chose to be your guiding light instead of laughing at you while you were groping in the dark
- they spent their time to be with you while everybody else was making excuses
- they saw a sparkling diamond in you when you can only see useless carbon
- they invested on you not because of possible returns but because they genuinely cared
- they showed you how to hold on and pursue things worth doing while everyone else is mocking you

It's easy to take them for granted while we were busy shielding ourselves from the hate that the world hurls at us.

It's easy to focus on becoming the "better monsters" so we won't be hurt by the "lesser monsters" anymore.

But above all this, may we pass forward the love, the care, and the nurturing spirit that was shown to us. They made a conscious choice not to be the one who hurts others, but to become a blessing instead.

Let us make the same conscious choice to become something pleasant to others instead of becoming their scourge.

Aerobic bacteria


Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Aerobic bacteria are bacteria that survive and grow only in the presence of oxygen in their environment.

What’s remarkable about these single-celled organisms, is that some grew into billions of cells, grown two feet, two hands, a torso and a head, but whose breeding never went beyond bacterial culture.

The Moral Ascendancy Trap


Just when we find ourselves talking continuously about how negative some people are: too greedy, too extravagant, too arrogant, too much BS, too whatnot – stop.

Just stop.

Calling a wrong a “wrong” for what it really is isn’t hypocrisy and neither broadcasting your moral ascendancy out loud. It is just calling a spade a spade. But once it makes you condescending, feeling you’re some sort of a heavenly gatekeeper that you can sense how good you are while the others are so damned, then it’s time to stop and ponder.

You’re caught in a trap.

If we can no longer see ourselves in the proper light, it means we are being caught unaware and that we’re getting blinded by our faulty sense of self-righteousness.

A Father’s Prayer


Father in heaven
as my back hits the bed tonight
when lights go dull and fade
no longer bright
I pray that wherever
my presence and reach
on my family be out of sight
please bless them Lord
and be their guide
This I ask in all humility
and hands that are bare
may this merit Your mercy
and hear this prayer

It’s not always the thought that counts


“Talk is cheap”

It’s easy to refer this to people who cannot walk the talk or those who we mock as ‘all bark and no bite’. What I never imagined though, is that the same can be said of us even when we’re with our very own families. 

I always try to verbalize whenever I can how much they mean to me. I even made it a mantra, something short of a prayer to always remind my self. 

But there are times when I find myself totally engrossed at work, with my thoughts, and other stuff that preoccupy me every day that telling them that I love them feels just like lip service instead of a deep-seated conviction.

And to say that we are working our asses of which is why we barely have time to put our thoughts into action is nothing but a lame excuse. I know that because I painstakingly learned to be comfortable being brutally honest with myself. No fucking excuses. No blaming anybody. Just taking whatever responsibility it entails just to be able to improve for myself and for them.

And it is only then that I realized that I’ve been loving them half-assedly by just telling my self that I love them. If I want them to know how much they mean to me without saying anything, and without them thinking that they are just obligations that I have to attend to, I need to:

– oblige with the requested backrub beyond midnight
– extend a few hours of myself for math lessons
– spend my weekends teaching the kid to write
– scrub the bathroom clean
– carry the kids in my arms more often
– be more present
– give them my undivided time and attention.

I need to figure out more ways to put my loving thoughts of them into action.

Because it’s not always the thought that counts. Making an effort does.

There’s No Contest Between Women and Quantum Mechanics


Photo by Tara Winstead on Pexels.com

I could’ve easily gone to the States or UK to study astrophysics or become a quantum physicist.

But I got married instead. Why?

Because it turned out that nothing compares with women who exhibit more mysteries and complexities than all the atoms and the stars combined…

The Anti “Maritess” Weapon


Photo by Yan Krukov on Pexels.com

Much like the Samurai who strictly adheres to their “Bushido” code or ‘The Way of the Warrior’ in the conduct of their everyday lives, the “Maritess” (collectively known as the people who thrive on ‘chismis’ in order to survive) lives on two basic tenets:

1) life is an open book that everyone can read; and
2) if you don’t want it read, don’t show it out on the open!

The antidote to the “Maritess” however is this: write a ‘book’ so strange and so complicated that they’d be illiterates and going bananas trying to figure it out.

Realizing Your True Calling Means Giving Life to Your Inner Beast


Photo by Suliman Sallehi on Pexels.com

People are often fooled into thinking that only after discovering their true passions and callings will they be able to sleep soundly at night.

That’s not the case. Far from it.

Discovering your true calling is like igniting a dormant blazing eternal inferno from within which will not allow you to rest without you carrying out its perpetual bidding.

Two types of blessings


Blessings manifest themselves in two ways:
1) a blessing; and
2) a necessary evil

Blessings wrapped as a fancy present (in any form) are pleasant; the latter, while necessary is still “evil” nonetheless.

While only God knows whether we will be someone else’s blessing or a necessary evil, we can at least choose and pray to become a friendly soul, an oasis to a soul famished with kindness, instead of becoming a “necessary” affliction to teach him a tough lesson.

May we always strive to choose to be kind. But most of all, may we always strive and pray to become a blessing to others.

You had to conquer them too


The one thing that the people (family, “friends”, colleagues, coworkers, bosses, teachers) who abandoned, looked down at you, and gave you a difficult time just because they love to see the sight of you crawl and kiss their feet, cannot say to you: that your growth was made easier because of them.

They don’t have any right to claim that they are a part of the success that you currently embody and manifest.

Remember: you made it not because they provided you with the most conducive atmosphere of mentorship and guidance. You made it because you were able to turn all the shit they threw at you into a fortress impenetrable by insults or anything that will bring you down; which lead you to become the badass warrior and survivor that you are right now.

You did not attain success because of them: you attained it IN SPITE of them.

Work From Home Dad’s Culinary Realizations


Culinary lessons/realizations that the pandemic taught me as I work from home and took charge of the cooking:

  1. “Dahon ng sili”/Tanglad (lemongrass) makes the tinola a classic ‘tinola’. Without any of these, the dish is just a ‘nilagang manok’.
Photo not mine. ctto
  1. Aside from ‘pinirito’, sinigang’, and ‘paksiw’, ginataan is another delicious way to cook fish.
Photo not mine. ctto
  1. I finally understood why pinakbet or ‘inabraw’ should have as little ‘sabaw’ as possible: you can better taste the savor in vegetables when it’s cooked with a little ‘sabaw’.
Photo not mine. ctto
  1. It’s a lot better if the food becomes a bit spicy because of a lot of spices than to have a dish come off as ‘malansa’ especially when it comes to fish and chicken meat. Trivia: the “rekados” that are easily depleted in our kitchen are ginger and garlic.
Photo not mine. ctto
  1. “Inihaw na sibuyas” (grilled onions) are totally out of this world, wickedly delicious!
Photo not mine. ctto

6. For the “nilaga” as one friend succinctly puts it: patis is key.

A Writer’s Prayer


Photo by Paulo Mu00e1rcio Dos Santos on Pexels.com
The hope 
that tomorrow brings 
where I'll write more vivid verses 
funnier stories 
more heartfelt songs, 
as they bring me peace 
contentment 
strength 
and renewed commitment, 
may I never forget 
that it's you oh Lord 
who wills for the sun 
to rise again in all its glory,
and the moon that lends its light 
a glimmer of hope in the darkest of nights
and causes all things
to maintain its course
throughout the entire universe
and the vast cosmos,
and that the order be kept
where it'll be sunshine or rain
overflowing with gladness or excruciating pain.
And may I always remember this:
everyday as I encapsulate
the beauty and ugliness of things
through my pen all the laughters and tears
my faith and hope rests not on my capacity
to capture things and jot them down;
but because of Your presence
and love
scattered all around.

Grievance Committees For Married Men


For wives:

If your husband comes home late at night intoxicated, don’t start yakking that he is being irresponsible yadda yadda yadda. Realize that he just sought for counsel and the drinks were only secondary. And most importantly, it’s because beerhouses serve as grievance committees for married men.

So the next time he comes home late and drunk, simply shake your head, give him a hug and compliment him for bravely seeking professional help.

Opinions that matter


Photo by Kampus Production on Pexels.com

“If you’re trying to get to point X, then the only people whose opinion matters…the only opinions that matter are those of people who’ve been there.

And if no one else has ever been there, then no one else’s opinion matters.”

– Khatzumoto

Agayat dagitay ubbingən!


Photo by Dmitriy Ganin on Pexels.com
Gagayyəm, di kay liwliwayan 
Dagitoy ubbing, an-annak kən kakaanakan

Ta adda nga makikibkibin, agsinsinnikət da
Agin-innarakup diay igid ti kalsada

Pagam-ammuam inkan tu ida malabsan
Nga agpinpinnis-it ti taramidong diay sirok ti bulan

Nagpipigkət nga panagkitkita
Agkakasam-it nga sarsarita

Inka siputan ta amangan adda agkutkuti kən agung-ungor sadiay kasaməkan 
Mabsug tu la unay ket mairwar nan tu lang kalpasan ti siyam a bulan

Nasamsam-it ti ayat
Nu makapagsalukag
Ta uray umay tu iti panagrigat
Kət nalaklakan tu lang a mapagballigyan
Isu nga ti kasapulan da
Pannakaawat, ayat, kən pammagbaga

Choosing between what’s morally right and what’s necessary


It’s easy to condemn an action as an act of aggression, self-interest, and megalomania. Rightly so if such is the case. For keeping quiet over an injustice is equivalent to taking sides with the oppressor.

But sometimes, especially in the case of a father whose entire household is faced with a threat and cornered in such a way that the only way out is to face the threat squarely (no, I am not referring to Russia and I neither condone the war), he will not watch his family and himself get slaughtered. He will do everything necessary to protect and preserve himself, his wife, and his children; regardless of whether the means is morally right or wrong.

Ill-timed Epiphanies


Photo by Andre Moura on Pexels.com

When will you know that your imagination is already working?

First, when you no longer need to look for inspiration online.

Next, when you have epiphanies during unlikely instances, e.g. while doing the dishes, taking a shower, while you’re on your throne taking a dump…

The Big Proportionate Collapse


How are the views from Vista Tower, the 101-story skyscraper and soon-to-be  Chicago's third-tallest building? We sent a photographer to find out. -  Chicago Tribune

In the computer monitor of Erica flashes a YouTube video of a soothsayer, who looks a lot like a ‘taong grasa’ being interviewed by PTV about the dreaded “The Big One”.

“Really?!” she muttered to herself. “This guy in front of me, given the airtime, in a government owned media, and on national TV?! Totally ridiculous!”

She remembered how the guy went viral due to his series of predictions of doom which came true, in the same exact manner that he said, like the collapse of the new Cebu Cordova bridge, and recently, the collapse of the new condominium tower in Metro Davao. At first, Jojo (God knows if it’s his real name or what) was just a nuisance, a laughing stock. But it turned out that he was a bad comedian, because as his predictions come true, the number of people laughing at him are reduced exponentially.

The guy’s eerie and detailed description of the tragedy made him harder to dismiss. He said the main pier near Cordova side of the bridge will be blown to pieces, which it did apparently because of a sophisticated, orchestrated terror attack like what the NBI said. The new condominium had a problem with the foundation. One after another, the reinforced concrete piles beneath the ground snapped which made the building recline with a loud thud, intact, just like how Jojo predicted it would be.

Funny though for “The Big One” he mentioned the exact date and time that it would happen: August 13th, Friday, 1935 hours – merely 15 minutes from now.

“Just great. Jason Krueger’s gonna love this.” Erika said with her signature eyeroll. She loves these moments of freedom in the office which is almost deserted by now. The Philippine Tower, standing at 100 stories (her office is on the 80th floor) can oversee the Makati skyline and the throng of red lights along Ayala Avenue. Being right here right now gives her a sense of peace and the slight notion of being the queen, whose dominion extends up to wherever her eyes can reach.

“I’m the queen of the world!”

Except for Allan’s presence, her avid suitor officemate who just smiled when she glanced towards his direction, things would’ve been perfect.

More eyerolls.

But at least there’s peace and quiet after a whole week of arduous grinding. Her mind started to drift to her friends who are probably somewhere cold in Jupiter St. getting drunk and singing their lungs out in a KTV.

That, however, doesn’t sound a worthy exchange of the quiet time she’d been enjoying by herself by now. But she felt just now that it probably was much more fun. She already made a choice though, when she declined the invitation earlier. She’s not a socialite by nature but she is friendly, she’d easily be mistaken as ‘ma-gimmick’ because of her warm and pleasing personality. She has never been bothered by the thought that she might be called a KJ which is why the thought didn’t upset her. When she decides on something, be it work or her personal life, she stands by them come hell or high water.

She glanced at the clock. 1934 hours, just a minute before the apocalypse. She chuckled at the idea. She started to search for “Mama” entry in her mobile phone when she heard Allan called her name.

“Erica?!”

She thought she’d see his ear-to-ear smile but she was totally startled to see his face worried. It was then that she started to see the water in her transparent water bottle shaking.

Then came the cracking sound of the glass partitions of the Palawan meeting room. Still absorbing the impact of what is happening around her, she began to get dizzy by the moderate swaying motion which got more violent by the minute. She was sure she heard popping sounds as the fluorescent lamps overhead fell near her.

Frantic, Erika is now shrieking as her shrill voice tried to compete with the busting sound of the façade whose shards splashed on her, splintering her once flawless skin which is now riddled with cuts and oozing with blood.

“Erica!”

She looked at Allan, with an equally terrified look on his face struggling to stand his ground due to the violent shaking. Just as she was about to run towards him, there was a huge cracking sound that rivalled the tumbling files, chairs and computers.

Part of the slab where Allan was standing cracked as a portion of the floor and a column once supporting below it gave way. The only thing that kept the cracked floor from falling, including Allan who was hanging on for dear life and managed to grab what’s left of the column above, are the slab reinforcement that already elongated way beyond their elastic limits and are threatening to snap anytime.

The violent shaking is already abating, albeit there still are creaks being heard as concrete to concrete, steel to steel, and steel to concrete brushes upon each other.

Erica struggled to get on her feet as she mustered enough strength to go near where the slab was struggling to stay attached for Allan, who was hugging the stump with all the strength that was left in him.

Positioning herself on the jagged edge of the broken floor slab, Erica tried to reach for Allan who was just 4 inches away from her fingertips. That’s the closest she got to Allan however, as the slab reinforcement attached to the collapsed part of the concrete slab snapped and ultimately succumbed to gravity.

“Allan,” she only managed to whisper instead of shrieking as she tried to get away from the rough edge.

The Makati skyline is still visible to her in spite of the tears and blood in her eyes. The once playful lights of the city is now pocked with fires and collapsing structures like in the movies. She thought of her mother. Her father. Siblings. Lord, I hope they are safe. LORD, I HOPE THEY ARE SAFE. Her thoughts were distracted by the explosions behind her caused by the columns bursting due to the unintended loads they were made to carry. As Erica turned, she saw the ceiling above as it got closer and closer as if she was flying straight into it. Lord, I hope they…

Total darkness.

After less than a minute, all that was left to witness the debris as it pancaked into a few meters from a towering 300m high skyscraper was the full moon, casting light to where it once proudly stood…

To This Day – Spoken Word Poem by Shane Koyczan


I was speechless as I once again found myself in the lines that he wrote.

Fuck bullying.

Fuck bullies.

When I was a kid
I used to think that pork chops and karate chops
were the same thing
I thought they were both pork chops
and because my grandmother thought it was cute
and because they were my favourite
she let me keep doing it
not really a big deal
one day
before I realized fat kids are not designed to climb trees
I fell out of a tree
and bruised the right side of my body
I didn’t want to tell my grandmother about it
because I was scared I’d get in trouble
for playing somewhere that I shouldn’t have been
a few days later the gym teacher noticed the bruise
and I got sent to the principal’s office
from there I was sent to another small room
with a really nice lady
who asked me all kinds of questions
about my life at home
I saw no reason to lie
as far as I was concerned
life was pretty good
I told her “whenever I’m sad
my grandmother gives me karate chops”
this led to a full scale investigation
and I was removed from the house for three days
until they finally decided to ask how I got the bruises
news of this silly little story quickly spread through the school
and I earned my first nickname
pork chop
to this day
I hate pork chops
I’m not the only kid
who grew up this way
surrounded by people who used to say
that rhyme about sticks and stones
as if broken bones
hurt more than the names we got called
and we got called them all
so we grew up believing no one
would ever fall in love with us
that we’d be lonely forever
that we’d never meet someone
to make us feel like the sun
was something they built for us
in their tool shed
so broken heart strings bled the blues
as we tried to empty ourselves
so we would feel nothing
don’t tell me that hurts less than a broken bone
that an ingrown life
is something surgeons can cut away
that there’s no way for it to metastasize
it does
she was eight years old
our first day of grade three
when she got called ugly
we both got moved to the back of the class
so we would stop getting bombarded by spit balls
but the school halls were a battleground
where we found ourselves outnumbered day after wretched day
we used to stay inside for recess
because outside was worse
outside we’d have to rehearse running away
or learn to stay still like statues giving no clues that we were there
in grade five they taped a sign to the front of her desk
that read beware of dog
to this day
despite a loving husband
she doesn’t think she’s beautiful
because of a birthmark
that takes up a little less than half of her face
kids used to say she looks like a wrong answer
that someone tried to erase
but couldn’t quite get the job done
and they’ll never understand
that she’s raising two kids
whose definition of beauty
begins with the word mom
because they see her heart
before they see her skin
Because she’s only ever always been amazing
he
was a broken branch
grafted onto a different family tree
adopted
not because his parents opted for a different destiny
he was three when he became a mixed drink
of one part left alone
and two parts tragedy
started therapy in 8th grade
had a personality made up of tests and pills
lived like the uphills were mountains
and the downhills were cliffs
four fifths suicidal
a tidal wave of anti depressants
and an adolescence of being called popper
one part because of the pills
and ninety nine parts because of the cruelty
he tried to kill himself in grade ten
when a kid who could still go home to mom and dad
had the audacity to tell him “get over it” as if depression
is something that can be remedied
by any of the contents found in a first aid kit
to this day
he is a stick on TNT lit from both ends
could describe to you in detail the way the sky bends
in the moments before it’s about to fall
and despite an army of friends
who all call him an inspiration
he remains a conversation piece between people
who can’t understand
sometimes becoming drug free
has less to do with addiction
and more to do with sanity
we weren’t the only kids who grew up this way
to this day
kids are still being called names
the classics were
hey stupid
hey spaz
seems like every school has an arsenal of names
getting updated every year
and if a kid breaks in a school
and no one around chooses to hear
do they make a sound?
are they just the background noise
of a soundtrack stuck on repeat
when people say things like
kids can be cruel?
every school was a big top circus tent
and the pecking order went
from acrobats to lion tamers
from clowns to carnies
all of these were miles ahead of who we were
we were freaks
lobster claw boys and bearded ladies
oddities
juggling depression and loneliness playing solitaire spin the bottle
trying to kiss the wounded parts of ourselves and heal
but at night
while the others slept
we kept walking the tightrope
it was practice
and yeah
some of us fell
but I want to tell them
that all of this
is just debris
leftover when we finally decide to smash all the things we thought
we used to be
and if you can’t see anything beautiful about yourself
get a better mirror
look a little closer
stare a little longer
because there’s something inside you
that made you keep trying
despite everyone who told you to quit
you built a cast around your broken heart
and signed it yourself
you signed it
“they were wrong”
because maybe you didn’t belong to a group or a click
maybe they decided to pick you last for basketball or everything
maybe you used to bring bruises and broken teeth
to show and tell but never told
because how can you hold your ground
if everyone around you wants to bury you beneath it
you have to believe that they were wrong
they have to be wrong
why else would we still be here?
we grew up learning to cheer on the underdog
because we see ourselves in them
we stem from a root planted in the belief
that we are not what we were called we are not abandoned cars stalled out and sitting empty on
some highway
and if in some way we are
don’t worry
we only got out to walk and get gas
we are graduating members from the class of
we made it
not the faded echoes of voices crying out
names will never hurt me
of course
they did
but our lives will only ever always
continue to be
a balancing act
that has less to do with pain
and more to do with beauty.

Toiling for Work’s Sake


Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I was whining a lot these days about my posts in my social media account not getting the traction that I wanted. Of course, it’s one of my dreams to become well read by everyone: to become viral so to speak. It’s just frustrating looking at my reactionless posts at times to be honest even if I’ve already gotten used to it.

I’m no stranger to dismal views by the way, and this blog is not an exemption. But social media is different maybe because it always comes with a byline of you which includes your face, unlike this blog where I still keep my anonymity intact. A blog post without any comment or like isn’t too bad, but a social media post with zero interaction is tantamount to being a “loser” in the world of social media.

I’ve already come across this quote before, it just came out of nowhere to remind me yet again on why I’m still writing.

You have the right to work, but for the work’s sake only. You have no right to the fruits of work. Desire for the fruits of work must never be your motive in working… Renounce attachment to the fruits…

Bhagavad Gita

Respecting Choices


Photo by Craig Adderley on Pexels.com
We may have different bets 
Different colors
Different heroes

Be that as it is, you can be rest assured that:
- I won't invoke the Almighty to harm you or your family
- I will never wish you death, bankruptcy, any misfortune, nor failing health
- I won't call for anyone within the reach of my influence to boycott your bread and butter
- I won't call your employer nor your supervisors to have you blacklisted or fired

You have a choice and a voice
     and so do I
You have your own preferences
    and so do I
You can say what you want knowing fully well that there are corresponding consequences for our given right to free speech
    and so do I
You have the right to speak your mind and to make a stand for what you know is right
    and so do I

But in spite of that freedom, you also have to know that:
I won't tolerate any wrongdoing -
regardless if it's done by either you or me
And I won't tolerate disrespect -
regardless if it's coming from you or me

I will respect your choice 
and your right to make one 
including your right to express it

And in good faith 
I trust that in the same way -

You will respect my choice
because I also have the right to make one
and that includes my right to express it so

Choosing opportunities


Photo by Vitaliy Mitrofanenko on Pexels.com

While it’s true that there are once in a lifetime opportunities to chase a “brighter tomorrow” that entail leaving your love ones for quite sometime, remember that staying with them and watching them grow is also a once in a lifetime opportunity.

– 名前がない男の人
Photo by Harrison Haines on Pexels.com

Lifetime lessons learned from a quick visit to the orthopedic surgeon


How to Avoid Missing a Pediatric Elbow Fracture - ACEP Now
No, that’s not the kid’s X-ray. Taken from the internet.

The youngest kid fell from the table where he was sitting at sometime in December of the past year and dislocated his left elbow (dislocated not fractured, which we were able to confirm via X-ray two months later).

We immediately called for a “hilot” as we were afraid to rush him then to the hospital for fear of getting infected with Covid19 virus. The hilot claimed that the elbow will be fine after fixing the dislocation, and that it will take a couple of weeks for the swelling to subside.

The swelling did subside, thank God. However, there’s a seeming misalignment including the difficulty that he has when using his left hand when, for example, covering his ears. It is evident that he has discomforts and thus cannot use his left elbow normally.

And so we went to the ortho to have the kid examined. The doctor’s first instruction was for us to have an X-ray of the kid’s left elbow.

I didn’t know what to pray for at that time to be honest: I prayed that whatever procedure he will have to undergo will be painless (I know it’s absurd alright but you’ll perfectly understand if you’re a parent); and I also prayed that it will be back to normal even if there’ll be pain albeit less pain or just tolerable, hopefully.

We went back to the doctor after the X-ray and he called me in to discuss the results. I held my breath as soon as he began to talk.

  1. There were no fractures whatsoever (only God heard how I shouted out loud with relief) just a misaligned elbow that can be corrected through a non surgical procedure (via physical therapy).
  1. Operation is possible but not advisable since it might cause more harm than good because cartilage already started to form and the inside wounds already started to heal. That’s new stuff for me. 
  1. Which is why the best solution would have been to take him immediately to the emergency room so doctors can immediately fix the bones, cartilage, and whatnot.

Whew!

I really wish no one else would experience all of these with their kids because it’s totally nerve wracking, not just for kids but for parents as well.

But just in case something like this happens to your kid, go straight to the hospital if possible, instead of going to a “hilot” and leaving everything to him/her.

Boomer Journals 11 – Alimatək (Leeches)


VIDEO: How Leeches Are Now Playing A Role In Surgery : Goats and Soda : NPR

Quite common when you live near rice paddies, we’re used to seeing one up close when the carabao gets “parked” near our home after a day’s work. We would then ask uncle or our “lilong” to take the leech off the carabao’s leg so we can play with it. 

Thank goodness there were no animal right advocates to castigate us while we’re consumed with juvenile delight watching the leech wriggle to its death after we put salt on it. It’s satisfying to watch as blood from its previous host oozes out of its body now riddled with wounds until it becomes completely still. 

Sometimes, we would scurry to get calamansi from the nearest tree and squeeze it on the still struggling creature. If leeches ever had a concept of eternal damnation via the burning lake of sulfur and brimstone, that’s got to be it. Makes me wonder if we have the same inspiration with Tikboy when he said “aputol a kamay hindi atakbo, apatak a kalamansi, atakbo atulin…”

Helpless blood-sucking parasites. I thought they were not capable of revenge in any way but boy I was wrong.

One time, tatay ordered me to distribute the bundled bunubon (rice seedlings) in the taltalon (paddies), so the agraəp (sowers/planters?) can begin planting the next day. 

The mud was knee deep, about two feet so it’s quite a struggle in terms of mobility. Boots are useless of course, you can only do it on foot. With my legs full of mud they began to itch, particularly the part above my knees, along with my body because of sweat.

I finished my task after a while and finally headed back home. The itch above my knee started to sting a bit, perhaps because of scratching too much.

When I lifted the hem of my shorts, lo and behold, a dark green sucker already the size of a finger, was attached with both ends on my skin. Looking at the little fella, it’s evident that he’s already intoxicated. When I removed the little sucker, it left two areas of open skin with some of my blood still oozing out. Thank God it missed my balls!

Yes I was THAT calm. It doesn’t merit a lot of fuzz like seeing Freddy Kruger or Jason on Friday the 13th and all that. 

This time though, I didn’t get salt nor a slice of kalamansi. I didn’t feel the need to. And besides it let me live, I think it’s but proper that I return the favor.

“…So why can’t you stay just long enough to explain?…”


Have you ever heard and felt the pain in Hayley Williams’ voice that you’d want to hug her tight while she cries her heart out on your shoulders?

I never knew how sad this song was though, until I read the lyrics and saw the video. Now I understand why. Damn…

When It Rains

And when it rains
On this side of town it touches, everything
Just say it again and mean it
We don't miss a thing
You made yourself a bed
At the bottom of the blackest hole (blackest hole)
And convinced yourself that
It's not the reason you don't see the sun anymore

And no, oh, how could you do it?
Oh I, I never saw it coming
No, oh, I need the ending
So why can't you stay
Just long enough to explain?

And when it rains
You always find an escape
Just running away
From all of the ones who love you
From everything
You made yourself a bed
At the bottom of the blackest hole (blackest hole)
And you'll sleep 'til May
And you'll say that you don't wanna see the sun anymore

And no, oh, how could you do it?
Oh I, I never saw it coming
And no, oh, I need the ending
So why can't you stay just long enough to explain?

Take your time
Take my time

Take these chances to turn it around (take your time)
Take these chances, we'll make it somehow
And take these chances to turn it around (take my...)
Just turn it around

No, how could you do it?
Oh I, I never saw it coming
No, oh, how could you do it?
Oh I, I never saw it coming
No, oh, how could you do it?
Oh I, I never saw it coming
No, oh I need an ending
So why can't you stay
Just long enough to explain?

You could take your time
Take my time

Talk is Cheap


Photo by Yan Krukov on Pexels.com

Those who can fluently blab about technical concepts, big or small? Grand.

But those who can show and walk you and guide you all throughout the whole nitty-gritty process until you yourself can replicate the desired outcome? Now that’s a whole different kind of awesome.

Friday Rhetoric


Have you ever had that “No, I wont write it down. It’s too obvious, bland, and quite stupid. Besides, I can’t publish that so it has to stay in the diary until I make it fit for publishing…” dilemma?

Quite a lot for me.

I claim that what I’ve written is too simple to even write about and yet it bugs the hell out of me and it wont let me rest until I finally write it in my diary/Facebook page/blog.

Why shouldn’t “it” be published in this blog anyway? Because I’m afraid to sound stupid and “lose” readers? Haven’t I already done that for a lot of times in the past?

What am I anyway, a writer as I profess I am, or a clown who’s in need of an audience and someone who’s desperate for validation?

One Man Team Ass


Sometimes, the problem with the so-called “one-man-team” approach is that the ‘one man’ that the team is trying to become has a lot of internal irreconcilable differences (not to mention the same intensity of domineering loud voices) in between its ego, emotions, intellect, and reason that it takes him forever to come up with a sensible decision to move things forward, and thus ends up resolving nothing which eventually makes things worse.

– 名前がない男の人

Tiny Specks of Hope


It just got dark
     I blinked and lo
     high up above I saw
     tiny specks of sparks

Thus came the night
     for some, it spells doom
     that the day is over
     and so is hope
     and another try

However, I just realized
     the night's meant for rest
     and gathering of one's strength
     while the tiny specks may not be that bright
     it can also mean
     that it's but a few hours before the light
/ijk9p
9-iu808 89+ 8/ 8v6v6v6v6v6v6v67uv *- 
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The Story of the Short Coconut Tree


Scientists have had a breakthrough in cloning coconut trees • Earth.com

There was once a short, seven feet high coconut tree amidst full grown 50 feet ones. He resents the idea that in spite of receiving the same amount of sun and rain, his growth is still relatively slow compared to others.

“I want to become tall just like you” he told the nearest tall tree.

“You should lose the husk from time to time including your lowermost leaves. That part where they are removed will quickly mature and will eventually push you higher.”

“But I can’t do it as much as I wanted to. The farmer doesn’t tend to me as often as he did to you and the others” he lamented.

“There’s no other way, kid.”

The small coconut tree breathed an exasperated sigh. He waited for the farmer to remove his husks and lowermost leaves but the farmer never went where he was for days on end. He felt jealous whenever he sees the farmer tend to the other coconut trees, while leaving him as is not even batting an eyelid.

After some time, he bore coconuts and so did the tall ones. But he still remained short. People however marveled and were delighted at his fruits which were within an arms reach.

One morning, he woke up to the roar of a machine and saw right in front of him the tree he was once talking to as it fell down with a loud thud on the ground.

“Chainsaw!” he uttered in fear.

By noon, only a few coconut trees remained standing. The farmer, with the now silent chainsaw on his shoulder, stopped right in front of him to pick a fruit.

“Why did you spare me?” he asked the farmer.

“Well first of all,” explained the farmer after drinking coconut juice “you don’t have enough wood because of your height. Second, your fruits are easily accessible to those in need unlike the tall ones that you still have to exert so much effort. Why bother to pick from the higher trees when the same can be easily picked from you?”

x x x

I still envy those who have a farther reach than me: influence, resources, education, or fame. But with my own gifts and taking into consideration my current circumstances, I can offer something worthwhile, something uniquely mine, and something that will leave a good mark in someone’s heart and memory.

Now that, that is something I can be content and happy about.

/ijk9p
9-iu808 89+ 8/ 8v6v6v6v6v6v6v67uv *- 
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Initiating A Quiet Revolution Through Mentoring and Changing the World One Blogpost At A Time


I’m gonna have to refer to a post I wrote sometime in January 2019 entitled “Making A Dent On The World One Human Soul At A Time” where I wrote about the thank you notes and emails I received from my previous team mates at work. I can’t help but smile every time I look at them. I can even remember the goosebumps and overwhelming sense of peace and fulfillment when I first read them. Those were genuine ‘thank yous’ which is why I’m keeping them close to me.

The goodness of my previous mentors and bosses may have never made an impact that would guarantee to rewrite history, but I never considered them as small. They’re not.

Because those “small” acts of kindness changed my life.

It made an impact so profound and life-changing. They came at a time when I needed encouragement as a young professional. I experienced what it meant to be groping my way in the dark around a profession where a lot of people are hostile just to emphasize their “little authority” and how their godlike abilities will never be reached by a greenhorn no matter how hard they try. It was an uphill climb until I made my own mark and established my own authority. The encouragement from my good mentors may not have made it easy, but it made the journey bearable thinking there are good souls amidst the hostile ones.

I am not the first, and definitely not the last greenhorn either, which is why I want to pay it forward, the goodness that I received. This I did by 1) creating a technical blog where everyone, especially the ones in the starting line can read and learn without being judged and humiliated, and, 2) I mentored young engineers in a way that I wanted to be coached when I was at that level.

The blog started small such that only my visits would constitute the stats. In fact I never expected it to grow until such time that I was receiving messages telling me that they learned a lot in my blog.

I write. I will always be proud of it not only because it has the potential to make a change in others; but because it changed me as well, and it still does as I strive to be better each and every day.

/ijk9p
9-iu808 89+ 8/ 8v6v6v6v6v6v6v67uv *- 
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My Rock and Alternative Playlist


This prompt is right on time for my favorite show of my favorite FM Station Jam 88.3 Every Friday, they have this program named Slide where they feature rock and alternative music of the 80s, 90s, and early 2000. Here is where I mined these timeless rock and roll music of the past.

The following tracks are some of them, but they are in no way the only playlist I have.

These music helped me form a part of my self and what they taught me is priceless: 1) how to assert my self, and 2) to hold my head high and celebrate unapologetically my rock and roll self. These things, and the music, I will definitely keep for life.

We all miss Chris Cornell!
“Fuck you I won’t do what you tell me!!!” – Me singing ala Zach dela Rocha.
Of course, kick ass just the same are the guys from Rage Against the Machine like Tom Morello, Brad Wilk, and Tim Commerford.
Alongside Chris Cornell, we also miss Scott Weiland. Formerly from Stone Temple Pilots, he produced this nostalgic rock ballad with former members of Guns N Roses.
Albeit a sad song, Eddie Vedder nailed it on this personal favorite.
Minority. Always was, always will. In the words of Billie Joe Armstrong: “Fuck ’em all!!!”
Something haunting from Snow Patrol. Always looking forward to have this played as I sing along.
This is so popular with the ladies. They always feel they are being alluded to every time this is played.
Been a fan of Incubus from time immemorial, including the voice of Brandon Boyd. I’ve been practicing ever since to copy his voice.
Quite an era before smart phones. Just rock and roll. If there is a time USA conquered Mother Russia, this has got to be it.
/ijk9p
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“Where do you go when you need solitude?” – January 27, 2022 Prompt for Bloganuary


The only place where I can keep my self sane in a world that’s hellbent in making you insane is in my inner sanctuary. Getting there though, can either be a drag or a relatively easy task like sleeping, or both.

It’s nothing fancy. And it’s not a man cave nor a Zen garden, although either of which would have been awesome.

No such thing as absolute solitude for a working family man

Before the pandemic, my moments of solitude were during my commute to and from work. Everyone hates traffic all right; but because I had no choice, I used it to my advantage by harnessing my thoughts and writing them while I was on a slow moving traffic.

Hundreds of articles published and hundreds of pages of unpublished notes had been born during those instances.

Now that we are forced to work from home, I lost that much needed solitude for decompression and respite. Kids, work, and wife now demands my real-time attention, right here right now simultaneously.

At times I can hardly talk to myself, which is the main reason there’s too much anxiety and restlessness. Obviously, my old way of having “me time” is gone. Something has to change if I want to keep my mental health intact.

The dawn and my old fashioned notebook

The stillness of dawn never fails to be my infinite source of “magic” as I frequently draw strength and peace therein. It is there that I can hear myself and God speaking to me clearly. If only I have the luxury of 6 to 8 hours of sleep in the evening and have 6 hours of alone time with the dawn before a 14 hour daily grind, that’d be grand.

If I can’t get any of that, there is another way where I can get the solitude that I need in order to maintain my balance. And that is the old fashioned way of penning my thoughts on paper. There is a certain kind of magic in scribbling your thoughts on paper which doesn’t manifest when you’re typing it in an electronic device. It facilitates an inner dialogue. I jot down a question or a thought and I can find myself responding to it and at the same time look at two separate “me” entities having a conversation.

And in these instances that I can completely detach my self from my self and simply observe and listen to what the conversation between my self and I is all about, things are placed in their proper places.

Inner peace at last. Momentarily at least.

That right there is the ultimate consummation of my much needed solitude.

/ijk9p
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A writer’s true accomplishment


Photo by Mikhail Nilov on Pexels.com

The real enemy of a writer is not his critics, the lack of time to write, nor the presence or the absence of an audience. The real adversary of a writer is when he thinks about writing and he’s fully convinced that he has ‘accomplished’ something.

The only time a writer can say that he has accomplished something, is when he sees his messy scribbles on paper, or his incoherent sentences and paragraphs he has keyed in on his electronic device.

“What is your favorite part about yourself?” – January 26, 2022 Prompt of the day for Bloganuary


kirk hammett - kirk hammett Photo (31554448) - Fanpop
Metallica’s Kirk Hammett

It’s got to be my long hair

My hairstyle is a cross breed between the photos of my two all-time favorite rock and roll heroes: Kirk Hammett and Chris Cornell. It symbolizes my rebellion against those who try to silence me with their judgement and indifference.

It also marked the end of an era of living in an “oppressed” state, and signified the beginning of using my newly found voice through writing and giving a healthy dose of “I don’t fucking care” while holding up my middle finger as a message of defiance towards the oppressive world.

INFJ “Curse”

My hairstyle before was prim and proper, the one you would expect for someone thriving in the corporate world. I sure felt I fit in with my long sleeves and slacks, and a short haircut. Deep inside however, I’m losing my individuality. I am succumbing to pop culture and it’s killing my identity in the process with each passing day. I was not wearing “me” and it hurts, and it shows.

I have but a few friends, two at most that I can grab some beers with on Fridays, and I am mostly quiet, something that can be considered a disability in a world that values the aggressive over the contemplative.

But I love metal music. I’ve always wanted to play in a band but circumstances wouldn’t permit it and so I settled to becoming a huge fan instead. There is, however, a huge gap between the rock and roll personality that I want to sport with the way I look. It’s as if I’d be lying when I say that rock and roll is my thing when you look at me. I’m on that level of clumsy and inconsistency.

Being a metal fan and an INFJ (socially awkward and all that) in a corporate world where you want to excel, turns out, was indeed a dejecting concoction.

But that was then.

Chris Cornell | Artist | www.grammy.com
Chris Cornell (RIP)

Unravelling the gift

My reserved nature and how the world sees INFJs like myself, had only been explained in detail to me through Susan Cain’s book “Quiet”. I can’t stress enough how enlightened I became when I saw my gifts just the way they are instead of regarding them as a “curse”. And only God knows how it changed things from then on for the better.

I may not have a lot of friends, but it also means I have more time for my family, and a whole lot of time to hone my creativity.

I am a quiet person, but I found an uninterrupted channel of self-expression through writing. I am now writing for some blogs. In there, I can freely express my ideas without the fear of being interrupted anytime, and I no longer have to deal with the frustration of being ignored while I speak.

And it’s then that I was finally able to express my rock and roll preference through my long hair which I still wear for more than five years now. I thank God I have nonjudgmental seniors and managers who looked beyond my hairstyle and helped me hone the skill I needed to do the job, where I eventually lead my own team of juniors.

I may have “offended” others because of my audacity to sport my long hair, but I realized I don’t have to be a slave of everyone’s opinion of me. Can’t please ’em all, but at least I’ve finally earned my own approval which to me is everything.

Wearing my rock and roll badge

It’s of paramount importance for us to uphold our personalities if we want to become the best that we want to be. We have to wear those personalities as our superhero outfit, every single day, in honor of who we are.

That means rocking my long black hair for me.

Rearranging things around the house


Photo by Blue Bird on Pexels.com

What she says: It’s a bit dark on this side of the house…

What she means: We’re going to rearrange things ’round here like we’re switching the inside out. At the minimum, it will take an initial of ten trials before I make up my mind on how things would be. So you better forget all the things you planned for today because all you’ll ever do is what I say you’ll do. And yes, you have the right to remain silent because everything you say will be used against you. We clear, honey?

Taking a Sip From the Fountain of Hope One Day At a Time


The thought of “tomorrow” has always been an embodiment of hope for me, a semblance of another chance, another shot, a second wind.

While we’re not assured of tomorrow, not even the next hour or the next minute, it plays a vital role of keeping us hanging to life and all its good promises in spite of the uncertainty of life itself.

I may have been hopeless for days on end, too tired to even pick myself up from my bed each morning. But whenever I look at the people that matters in my life, and look forward for the new day where I have the chance to improve myself as a writer and a better design engineer in a job that I love, it’s more than enough to get my ass off and get going. After all, I am not starting from scratch. I have an experience coming from yesterday where I learned what went wrong and figured out what may be a better way forward.

It’s in the same way that I treat my writing.

I may suck today. I may not make any sense at all, not even to myself. But tomorrow is another day, another hope that I will finally make sense and get my message across somewhere, to someone who needs to know that someone feels the same way they do.

Hope.

Tomorrow.

Another shot.

If that right there doesn’t make you strong, then I don’t know what will.

Screw Driving Me


She bought it on sale

She: I have a surprise for you!
Me: Oh my, I finally might have done something right to deserve it.
She: Nope. I just hoped you’d be more behaved from now on…

Honestly, I don’t know what to do to satisfy my excitement with my new set of tools. Well, I think I’d just disassemble-assemble, ad infinitum, the electric fan ’til the child in me is ‘done’ or ’til the fan’s completely ruined, whichever comes first.

To the content creators whose social media posts/blog posts are constantly “seenzoned”


Don't miss your PhD deadline

Are you a content creator whose social media posts or blog posts are frequently “seenzoned” instead of getting likes, reblogs, shares and comments? Are your writeups not getting the attention they need to gain traction to get the conversation going?

Are you sick and tired of being ignored that you wanted to quit at this very instance?

Nobody’s home

I am no stranger to envy and frustration on how other posts (even those that I categorize as utter nonsense) connect easily with the audience as evident with the virality metrics, while my target audience deliberately turns a blind eye to something which I poured my whole heart and soul into.

Is it because I am not effectively getting my messages across? Is it because I use complex words? I try to make my writing as layman as possible. Are my ideas too “dark” and my humour sick and disgusting? Does it have something to do with my personality as the writer that I’m better off ignored?

I rend my soul most of the time just to come up with a few sentences. And in some occasion, I dissect my brain out in the open just for me to know what’s going on inside my gray matter and pick up what makes sense at the moment and put in print. While I want to be classified as an intelligent read, I tend to be one-sided in hoping I’d make emotional connections by writing things that bypass the intellectual cognition and goes straight into the heart. I’m sure I made quite a few of such connections but I hope I can reach more souls especially creators who have already given up and those already on the verge of calling it quits.

Thanks to those who occasionally come to disturb the mundane

There are people who occasionally leave likes and comments (God bless them immensely!) which made a lot of my days. They are living manifestations of God trying to affirm my efforts that bid me to keep the faith and keep creating no matter how my art seems to reach only the deaf and the blind.

Generally, around 90% of the time though, we can hear the pin drop amidst the swarm of crickets celebrating our creations.

Not the kind of crowd that we want to be celebrating with, though.

Knowing a plethora about the creator

If there’s any silver lining to these frequently frustrating experiences, it is that we were able to persevere from one ignored post to the next. While we were trying to please the crowd by becoming clowns for a moment, we were pouring out our hearts and minds which brings forth a deeper version of ourselves out in the open.

And as such, we get to know ourselves better. We rediscover our strengths, and pinpoint the stuff that gets us going. We also find out what has become detestable to us. And from there, we begin to build our fragmented selves into an awesome mess who was made perfect because of his brokenness and imperfections. 

The gift that’s meant to be given

Never tell the heart to shut up when it’s speaking just because no one is listening. Let it bring forth its creation; for what you created is not cheap, nor is it any less than the social media/blog posts that went viral.

You have to honor your creations and treat them with utmost reverence, not with pride or vainglory, for they are not yours; they are God’s gift meant for the world given through you.

Japanese Street Photography


Pinterest

When it comes to Japan, even very simple nothing-so-special landscapes/cityscapes/abandoned streets have some captivating aura .

I believe one such reason is because they are clean. No litters, everything seems in their proper places. This is what happens when people are in one mindset of not upsetting the natural order, nor fighting for their rights to live as they please.

As people known for minimalism and cleanliness, such simply clean vistas are worthy to capture into a timeless photo and captivate feelings from thousands of miles away.

How to Book a 5-Star Accommodation in Hell


Does Islam Believe in Hell? - Owlcation

Be troubled not, for God has prepared a special place in hell for those who use their authority to blackmail, threaten, and intimidate the work force in the lower ranks; including those who set up the people they don’t like for a spectacular “failure” to make their dismissal look legitimate.”

-名前がない男の人

Welcome 2022: Goodbye Beer, Hello Losartan?!


‘Twas the eve of December 31st 2021. We had some papaitan for lunch and the slowly cooked, juicy chicken hamonado for dinner. That’s just it. We’re not really a fan of lechon or any of its equally formidable cousins such as adobo, barbecue, or sisig, in an attempt to stay healthy in spite of the year end festivities.

We have a digital blood pressure checker originally intended for my brother in law who was on the process of recovering from an illness. When it was my turn to have my blood pressure checked, I couldn’t believe what came out of the screen: 140 over 110. ‘Have it checked again,’ I said. The result was consistent.

My spirit sank, to say the least. I haven’t enjoyed my beer yet, as I was supposed to have provided some ‘allowance’ for me to be able to celebrate the incoming year. In the past, the highest bp reading I could come up with was 120 over 80. It gave some resemblance of assurance, some kind of a buffer.

I didn’t want to falsely assure myself of the argument that some had it worse and that they still manage to get on with their lives as if there are no fireworks going on within their hematic pipelines. Knowing fully well that I am predisposed to hypertension and metabolic diseases (thanks to good ole family history), I knew right then and there that I must do something to prolong my health (fingers crossed) in order to support my family and still be able to write a few stuff to make myself laugh, and hopefully, others too.

I tried to be optimistic, believing that everything’s going to be fine. But I decided no, not at this particular instance. There are times when there’s more to be done than just invoke the ‘mind over matters’ god and this is it. I don’t want to allow it to become the beginning of the end so I decided I’d cut the calories, the fat, and the carbs. More fruits and a whole lotta veggies. Thank God I am not at all bothered with frequent servings of vegetables being an Ilocano and all that.

I tried to forget I have high blood pressure issues on the first few days of the new year, hoping my body will also acquire willful amnesia and just forget the problem altogether until such time that it no longer exists (the problem, not the body). Mind over matters. That, and a low-fat diet and some exercise that I can hardly sustain from being too busy.

In a couple of weeks I was able to bring my average from 140 over 110 to 110 over 80 (whew!) Of course, I do realize that achieving my target average bp is one thing and maintaining it as such is another.

I don’t mind saying hi to Losartan every once in a while, although I would appreciate if I would need it a little more later. But not so with beer. I couldn’t bear the thought of giving up beer just yet. As the anthem of every beer drinker aptly puts it:

In heaven there is no beer
That’s why we drink it here
And when we’re gone from here
Oh, well our friends will be drinking all the beer…”

In heaven there is no beer by Beerhouse Gang

Austin by Blake Shelton


A very good material for country music. But in the modern world, this can be unlikely. A year without no nothing and he’s still in love with the girl who just went away without any word?

It’s too good to hear such kind of a story. Just wondering though: is this still possible in real life?

Austin
Blake Shelton

She left without leavin’ a number
Said she needed to clear her mind
He figured she’d gone back to Austin
‘Cause she talked about it all the time
It was almost a year before she called him up
Three rings and an answering machine is what she got

If your callin’ ’bout the car I sold it
If this is Tuesday night I’m bowlin’
If you’ve got somethin’ to sell your wastin’ your time, I’m not buyin’
If it’s anybody else wait for the tone you know what to do
And P.S., if this is Austin, I still love you

The telephone fell to the counter
She heard but she couldn’t believe
What kind of man would hang on that long
What kind of love that must be
She waited three days and then she tried again
She didn’t know what she’d say
But she heard three rings and then

If it’s Friday night I’m at the ball game
And first thing Saturday if it don’t rain
I’m headed out to the lake and I’ll be gone all weekend long
But I’ll call you back when I get home on Sunday afternoon
And P.S., if this is Austin, I still love you

Well this time she left her number
But not another word
When she waited by the phone on Sunday evening
And this is what he heard

If your callin’ ’bout my heart it’s still yours
I should have listened to it a little more
Then it wouldn’t have taken me so long
To know where I belong
And by the way boy this is no machine your talkin’ to
Can’t you tell, this is Austin, and I still love you
I still love you

“Galunggong babae”


I went to the talipapa one morning to buy some galunggong. I saw one peculiar fish but it’s not familiar and I don’t want to end up stupidly buying salmon again. (Salmon has a very distinctive smell, an unpleasant one at that for me at least, which is why I didn’t want to make the same mistake twice.)

And so I asked the vendor what type of fish was that, to which she responded “galunggong babae”. Thankfully I was able to suppress my laughter until I was headed back home where I can freely recall the funny incident.

“Galunggong babae?!” I said to myself with a smirk. “Can you believe that?! So it implies that there is also a galunggong lalaki? How about the other types of fishes, do they have the same dichotomy and all that?!”

I realized that maybe, there really are a lot of things about fishes that I know nothing about. That, or maybe I am just a guy who can be fooled easily when it comes to fishes.

Thank God there’s Google. At least now I know the vendor wasn’t pranking me at all.

For Those Who Are Getting Themselves Overwhelmed At The Starting Line


Photo from Pexels.com

Don’t feel so bad that you are currently considered a “novice” on a particular area that you want to get good at. But of course, that’s easier said than done.

How can you not have your knees shaking when you see the strong competition anyway?

Especially when you see the people who seemed to have been born to conquer the arena, the ones who won’t consider the 2nd placer a winner. And not to mention the presence of the pillars of the institution, the legends and heroes, the ones we look up to.

And so we often feel defeated even before we start. But because we’re no strangers to life’s tough challenges, we do know that the moment we start something we love is not the best time to call it quits in spite of how persuasive and convincing our doubts can be.

So why persist and not give up?

Because you’ll never make it the moment you decide to call it quits.

I hate to be captain obvious here but take a look at this: you’ve already accomplished a lot when you finally decided after much thought, to take that big first step when you showed up to push out the boundaries of your bubble of comfort.

You may be overwhelmed with fear, both rational and irrational, that’s trying to cripple you as of this moment. And yet, in spite of your trembling voice and your knees on the verge of buckling, you managed to show up.

Now that’s NOT fear. That’s true courage right there, feeling afraid but showing up anyway. You have to congratulate yourself for that.

You will be denying someone his potential to become a “master” teacher when you quit.

While it’s true that there might be potential predators right there somewhere who can smell the blood of opportunity to groom a potential escape goat, to showcase their brilliance and cunning at your expense being the ‘expendable’ – the one with less experience, don’t forget that there are also the potential ‘Garrys and Dales,’ the good and caring leaders and mentors, who brought their people and technical skills to perfection only because they were given the chance to mentor someone like you.

In fact, you might be the spark that the universe had been waiting all along to give to people who have the potential to become a ‘Garry and Dale,’ to be the catalyst and the ‘critical mass’, in order for them to fully realize their calling as good mentors.

Never say “I’m done and out” even before you start

So never ever give up, fellas. Let’s keep slugging to achieve the dreams we always wanted; and at the same time ‘help’ people become our lifetime friends in the form of caring leaders and mentors by seeking their assistance and allowing them to mentor us.

‘Pretty Beast Mode’ By Default


Pretty when angry. Photo not mine obviously.

I used to complain a lot how bubbly and accommodating she always is in front of other people, while being grumpy and short tempered on me.

It was only now though, that I realized how exhausting it is to maintain a bubbly personality; much more in trying to be nice when all you wanted to do is paint a person’s face with purple using your fists.

Do appreciate when she shows that side of her to you. Because when all she’s showing you is like it’s all warm and fuzzy the whole year round, she may be hiding some struggles deep within or, she’s not that comfortable with you yet to entrust you her true “default” (pretty beast) mode.

Grow Old Writing


…. One of F Sionil Jose’s wishes was for young writers to grow old writing…”

Excerpt from Arnel Patawaran’s Facebook Post

F Sionil Jose, fondly called Manong Frankie, is a National Artist for Literature. That means he’s not a lousy ass writer. I have yet to read (or recall) his works but the news of him passing away before his scheduled angioplasty has rendered me uneasy.

Perhaps it’s because he’s a successful writer and duly recognized by the state as such, which was enough to make a fan out of me. Or, because he was was not accorded the Nobel Prize for Literature, which I believe is rightfully his because of all his contributions to the craft. And not to mention that he was 3 years shy of being a centenarian.

But what moved me most was his wishes as stated in Arnel Patawaran’s post:

“…for young writers to grow old writing…”

I may not be able to win any prize at all in my lifetime (although I would love to if given the chance) that would etch my mark as a writer; but to continue writing when (God willing) and while I’m old? Yes, I can do that.

The Art of a Loving Family


Blessed is the family where one’s individuality, creativity, and art is nurtured and celebrated instead of being hushed and forced to oblivion and conformity.

In such a nurturing environment, the walls of perceived limitations due to crippling criticism and judgement is broken down; thus, the comfort zone expands and gives more freedom to the spirit. This, in turn, will enhance the love and the bond in between family members. The family now becomes a place to take a breather, a fortress of solace and comfort, far from the chaos of the ever changing world.

For those who matter, they know fully well that you and your art are not separate entities; rather, something that makes you uniquely you. And that art is nothing but another facet of yourself that they’ve come to love and cherish.

Cursive Writing Class


436 School Principal Illustrations & Clip Art - iStock

A mom in the principal’s office with her 10 year old kid:

“Sorry Mrs Walters, but I need an explanation why my kid is required to write such kind of essay?…”

Written on the paper handed to the principal: May you die a slow death and be buried with salt and onions!…

Mrs. Walters: “Oh, give me a minute. (Turns to her phone on the table and started dialing.)
“Yep, can you please call Hal and tell him to come here in the office? Yeah, the newly hired professor in cursive writing. Thank you.”

Newtonian Law of Karma


Isaac Newton before his reincarnation on December 25, 1642:

Newton: Hey listen, I ain’t gonna be an idiot and a loser in my next life, damn it! I want to be famous.

Karma: But you were famous in your past life..

Newton: Don’t get me started.

Karma: You and your friends made a bet that you will not be able to bang anyone before your life ends and here you are, and they’ve won. Aaaaand, it made you very famous….

Newton: That’s totally unfair!

Karma: Ok, what do you want this time?

Newton: I want to be popular. A staple name in science. Revered by everyone.

Karma: Oh dear…

Newton: Come on!

Karma:

Newton:

Karma: Ok. Deal. You will have to fist bump with me for confirmation (readied his fist). But it comes with a pri-

Newton: (Fist bumped and disappeared in smoke)

Karma: – you’re gonna die a virgin. (Deep sigh). Oh well…

Parents should have their own propaganda war against porn in anime and other mediums


from https://www.chunichi.co.jp/article/368446

As parents, we SHOULD all be concerned.

As anime gained popularity worldwide, the contents of which have become rife with sex and other sexual expressions. And with smartphones and kids being technically savvy, access to which is but a click away.

I need not enumerate what happens when the mind of a child becomes polluted with explicit content.

What does it take to shield our kids from the ill effects of porn anyway? Harass the government to come up with strict laws to prohibit mediums eliciting pornographic content including ‘soft porn’? That won’t do it. You’d have to go against freedom of expression which of course is a losing battle.

Unless it goes against anti child pornography laws, violence to women and their children, and trafficking, there is no way we can ban Pornhub among others, much more anime with explicit contents.

So is it a losing battle? Yes, if we allow it to. Given the absolute guarantee of freedom of expression by the State, the only thing we can do is to train our kids to respond accordingly which is quite a long haul, albeit a very important one that we parents should never give up with.

The solution? Start early, while they are young. They need to realize that the values we wanted in them imbued are far better than the momentary satisfaction yet far reaching negative effects of the pornographic materials that they can access.

We need to make those values ‘look more appealing’ than cleavages, and revealing clothes or the lack of which.

On top of that, we need to model it to them. Words are powerful only if they confirm what we are showing them through our examples. And this starts the moment they are born and until they are old enough to discern what’s proper and what’s not.

It is a long haul indeed but it’s our kids’ future on the line. While we cannot totally prohibit pornographic materials including anime because of its popularity and easy access, it is our duty to provide them with all the help and opportunities to teach them to be responsible.

Hold the line.