Life

Hanggang Sa Muli (Post-Mother’s Day Entry)

Madilim ng langit at kay lamig ng hangin;

Waring nagbabadya ng bagyong paparating.

May hinapuhap ang aking mga mata;

Ang aking mga matang may bakas pa ng luha.

Sisinghap-singhap.

Ulo’y napayukayok.

Hinagpis ay abot langit.

Pighati’y di marurok.

Ilang taon na nga ba ng ika’y lumisan?

Ang dalampung taon ay kay bilis na lumipas.

Ilang taon na nga simula ng magpaalam?

Ang aking lungkot ay sadyang di maparam.

Sing’ dilim ng langit at sing’ lamig ng hangin;

Ang bawat araw na di kita kapiling.

Nakisama ang langit sa ‘king pangungulila;

Paalam na Inay. ‘Gang sa muling pagkikita.

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The Best Things in Life are FREE!

For many years, I have thought that money can buy happiness. That we can find its true meaning from things that glitter – new clothes, new bags, new jewelries. And for many years, the proverb “All that glitters are not gold” has proven me wrong.

I remember when I was in my early twenties, I would always visit a mall to window shop when I was sad or depressed. I never went home empty handed. If it wasn’t the mall, I would visit a spa and have a relaxing back massage or a facial spa. I’d always find comfort in things like a new manicure, a new pair of shoes, unbranded bags or clothes, or even in a new headband! No matter how invaluable things were as long as I bought something for my self, I couldn’t care less. Then I’d feel happy. You know that wide smile you see on a child’s face when she finally got what she had been wanting for a long time? I’ve mastered that smile. My happiness, though, wouldn’t always last too long. At the end of the day, I was as empty as my pocket.

When our family migrated here in Singapore, I learned to value the things that cannot be seen or touched: a warm embrace, a short text message from our relatives in the Philippines saying “how are you?”, simple gatherings with friends. I only have few friends here whom I see most of the time. Some are so busy living their fast paced life catching up with their tight schedules. Some are not always around but you will feel their presence at times when you need them most. I don’t need to buy their time. They’re FREE.

I am learning to love the smell of the rain because the rain here is not as natural as it may seem. I am learning to love the company of silence and the chirping of the crows in the background. They give me a feeling of serenity. Our home is my comfort zone and I always find solitude in it. I don’t need to spend money and travel away from the city. A blissful, solitary moment is always close at hand.

I’m currently unemployed but I work more than 12 hours a day, 7x a week, as a mother and a housewife. I go to bed so effin’ tired most of the time. But knowing that my family is comfortable because I make sure there’s a satisfying food on the table, or they lie on fresh linen sheets, I feel great. Taking these things into account, I couldn’t be happier.

A month ago I celebrated my birthday. The third time here since we moved in this country. It’s just a small gathering and only a few close friends were invited, including a blogger friend whom I’ve been dying to meet personally because I only get to chat with her online. Our house was jam-packed and was filled with laughter from people who have met each other only that day. One friend even commented, “grabe ang saya ang birthday party mo… as in! feeling namin, matagal na naming ka chicka yung mga visitors mo.. hehehe.. saya saya!!! =)”. Although there were people who didn’t show up, some foods have gone bad, and I was left with a broken couch and a center table, I couldn’t compare the happiness I felt that very day. It’s beyond words. Immeasurable, if I may say.

I know now what matters most. I know now that…

It’s often true, right. Just forget about the price tags. 🙂


Just Another Manic Moment

There are times in your life when you suddenly feel low and upset about almost everything. You worry a lot; you hate your life; you wished your life was better. No matter how hard you try to be happy and appreciative, or even optimistic, you still feel empty and sour at the end of the day. Sometimes such episodes are either too deep to fathom or too shallow to really worry about.

A week ago, I declared hiatus on Facebook because I was so depressed I couldn’t smile even at the lamest post anymore. I’ve my own series of ups and downs-energetic and cheerful at one point, gloomy and lethargic the next. I’m losing weight for no apparent reason. I remember when I was young, whenever I feel terribly sad or depressed I’d get a blade to cut my arms to relieve me from the overwhelming emotions. The pain caused by these small cuts would somehow give me a temporary satisfaction and made me feel alive again. The sight of blood gushing out from the wounds would give me comfort from the emotional pain that was intolerable than the cuts. The scars are still visible until now. No cream or ointment can ever erase or hide them. These scars will always be a reminder of how impulsive I was as a teenager. Am I bipolar? I often wonder.

As I’m writing this, I still feel a bit low, but I’m more mature now and I guess I can handle my self better. No more cutting of arms, no more foolishness. I’ve outgrown that stage of my life and I can’t inflict pain onto my self again. My kids are smart not to smell my fear and my dismal disposition so I think I’ll just divert my attention to writing down my emotions and deal with it positively. I know I’ll get through this any time soon. Like I always do.


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Nakakalungkot isipin na minsan kung sino pa yung kapwa mo Pinoy, kung sino pa ang tunay na kalahi; sila pa yung unang maninira at sisira sa iyo.

Pasensya na po kung nawawala na naman ako sa sirkulasyon. Nakakuha po ako ng isang part-time job na siyang pinagkakaabalahan ko ngayon. At ngayon ay siyang sanhi rin ng sama ng loob para sa isang kapwa natin Pilipino.

Pagbigyan niyo na ako kung dito ko nailabas ang aking saloobin. Alam ko naman na marami pa rin ang handang makinig sa aking mga hinaing. Hindi ko na ii-elaborate ang mga pangyayari dahil masakit pa rin sa akin na matapos kong ituring na kaibigan at gawan ng kabutihan, siya pa pala ang agilang dadagit sa akin. Pero ngayon ko lang napatunayan na totoo pala ang ganitong mga kuwento. Akala ko ay kathang-isip lamang ng ilan sa mga kaibigang OFW.

Nakakasama ng loob. Sana ay hindi danasin ng iba pang OFW mula sa kapwa Filipino.


Confession Of A Homesick Heart

I believe that life is neither predictable nor uninteresting. I know there’s more to it than meets the eye but lately I feel a bit eccentric – an erratic mixture of glum and glee – towards the colorless and boring lifestyle of Singapore.

It’s mid-November but the temperature is still 25 degrees Celsius reaching as much as 30 degrees Celsius despite heavy rainfall. Since Singapore is a multi-religious country with only 14% Christians, you won’t find any Christmas decorations in the neighborhood unless you check the malls or visit the Orchard Road where the glamorous and fabulous shopping malls are situated.

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I’m deeply yearning to feel the Christmas breeze on my face, which I believe has been brushing the islands of our beloved country since -ber month started. Every night, as we watch the Filipino news on TFC showing shopping malls full of Christmas decors; small and big houses that are still adorned with lanterns and trinkets in spite of all the tragedies that have happened in the past couple of months, I get teary-eyed on the realization that for the first time, we’ll be celebrating Christmas away from our Motherland, away from the people whom we used to share this day with. The humid air and untimely sprinkle of rain bring enough loneliness to my days. ‘Though my parents in-law are coming over for Christmas, their presence will not be enough to fill my intense longing to come back home where Christmas is much more appreciated. Where I can be with my family (father and siblings) and relatives again on this very special occasion.

Who wouldn’t miss the embrace of the cool morning breeze that makes you curl up under your sheer blanket? The dazzling Christmas displays in the streets that fascinate every passerby; the bright and twinkling lights strung in every house that playfully dance to the beat of Christmas carols; the brightly colored lanterns that come in different shapes and sizes. In the Philippines, we decorate our houses as early as September. We have the longest and merriest Christmas celebration in the world that formally begins on December 16, which also marks the start of Simbang Gabi or Misa de Gallo. Oh and how can I forget the fragrant smell of puto bumbong and bibingka dripping with melted butter and sprinkled with niyog that gets people going for the nine dawn masses? And Christmas day itself, when we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and meet with our relatives and friends so that we can share the blessings that we have received the whole year through.

I know that this kind of emotion is common to most OFWs/expatriates who’ve been away from their families or been living in other parts of the world for a very long time. Starting a life in a whole new world is quite tough and the adjustment period, a bit difficult. In a way I am happy that my family is complete this Christmas. We have to make little sacrifices to make ends meet but we’re looking forward to each day with hope. I firmly believe that life may look sour at the moment but eventually, all our sacrifices will come into fruition. Come what may, Christmas will come around and life in Singapore may continue to appear dull and colorless to me. But what is important is that, we value the true essence of Christmas and we keep the spirit alive in our hearts, saan man kami naroroon. Only in this way we can overcome the oddity of homesickness. Only in this way we can joyfully celebrate Christmas.


The Faith of a Child

One of my friends on Facebook posted this very inspiring video that really touched my heart and almost made me cry. I just want to share it with you all out there. I wish we could all have the same faith as this little boy, Logan has for our Creator.

God bless everyone! 🙂


Embracing Motherhood

After another week of habitual idleness in blogosphere, it feels good to slip back into the old routine, blogging.  I’ve been away for quite a while not because I don’t have the urge to write again or could have been experiencing another writer’s block. I have a lot of things to share with you guys—like my visit in the Philippines, my kids’ impish yet amusing behaviors, their mixed emotions towards their migration to Singapore (oh yeah! they are here already), etc.—so much to tell you that I don’t know which topic do I start first. It’s just that since we got back here in SG, kids have stolen my private moments with the computer and assumed its ownership. The only time I can use the computer is while they’re still asleep or when I haggle with them so I must really make the most of  it. 😥

Continue reading this entry…


Unos

Nitong nakalipas na linggo ay sinamantala ng panahon ang kahinaan ng ating bansang Pilipinas. Iginupo ng matinding ulan ang buong bayan ng Rizal at Marikina, at niragasa ang ilan pang mga siyudad sa kalakhang Maynila. Marami ang nawalan ng tirahan. Marami rin ang nawalan ng buhay. Ngunit higit na marami ang habambuhay nang dadalhin ang matinding takot at pangamba na dinanas sa lupit ng bagyong Ondoy.

Continue reading this entry…


Gaya-Gaya, Puto Maya

When I read Lord CM‘s latest blog that his PEBA entry has been posted in POEA forum, I got curious about my own blog traffic. Kaya naisipan kong alamin kung sa anong page babagsak ang aking blog site by typing the words “a piece of cake” sa search bar ni Mr. Google.  Baka kasi nakabandera na rin ang aking mga entries ay di ko pa nalalaman. 🙂

Type, erase, type… searching…. loading… at dyaraan… here are the results:

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Nasa 1st page ang blog site ko. Panglima ako sa mga lumabas na resulta. Nakakatuwa hindi ba, na sa kabila ng pagka-urban ng spelling ko ng “cake” ay nai-post pa rin ang aking url sa unang pahina. And my PEBA entry is the significant factor contributing to this outcome. Ang galing! Pero sandali lang din ang aking naging katuwaan dahil isang bagay ang nakapukaw ng aking pansin. Ang url na sumunod sa akin na may titulong “A Piece of Cake on Shine” na pag-aari ng isang Ken Saavedra.

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Pamilyar kasi sa akin ang composition of words sa result page. Malakas ang pakiramdam ko na ang mga salitang ito ay nagamit ko na sa isa sa mga blogs ko. Kaya agad kong pinuntahan ang aking blog site at sinipat ang “A Piece Of Keyk” page at hindi nga ako nagkamali sa aking hinala. Ito po ang screenshot ng aking page at ang page ni Mr./Ms. Saavedra.

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[Pls. click pictures to enlarge]

Wala akong kamalay-malay na naging biktima na rin pala ako ng plagiarism (copying of another’s work). OK lang sana kung ilan sa mga salita lamang ang HINIRAMIN at hindi word for word. Pati yung ginamit kong picture (na ninenok ko rin kay Mr. Google) ay hindi rin nakaligtas. Gusto kong isipin na sikat na ako para mapagtuunan ng pansin ang aking blog. Sa isang banda ay gusto kong MATUWA, bagkus ako ay NATAWA. Natawa dahil may mga tao palang sadyang may sapat na kakayahan upang mangopya ng akda ng iba. Na imbes na pigain ang laman ng katiting na utak ay mas pinili pang manggaya na lang out of katamaran. Buti pa si Super Gulaman, “pasikretong” nabanggit ang kanyang pangalan sa kanyang akdang hiniram. Samantalang ako ay talagang hindi nabigyan ng kahit na ga-langgam na acknowledgement. I’m not mad at him/her though. Thankful pa nga ako dahil sa hindi inaasahang pagkakataon ay nadiscover kong may fan pala ako. 🙂

Whoever he/she is, I wish him/her the best of luck 🙂

Off-topic: Update lang po sa aming dilemma regarding our latest rented flat. To date ay hindi pa rin nagpaparamdam ang may-ari. Lilipat na kami bukas ay wala pa rin kaming matinong tutulugan at paglulutuan ng pagkain. Sira pa rin ang washing machine at puno pa rin ng gamit ng owner ang storage room. Madaling sabihin na hayaan na lamang ang mga iyon at bumili na lang kami ng bagong kagamitan. Pero mahirap gawin because we have already spent almost S$5,000 (PhP145,000) for this flat. At hindi basta-bastang amount of money ‘yun dito. Malaking pera na ‘yun. And also in the contract it is stated that they would provide the basic furnitures and would fix everything we find broken in a span of 1 month. Eh halos nasa gitna na September ay wala pa rin silang naaayos. Mamayang gabi ay gugulpihin bibisitahin na namin siya sa kanilang tinutuluyang flat kasama ang aming agent. Sana ay madaan namin sa marahas maayos na pakikipag-usap ang lahat ng matapos na rin ang aming problema. Mas bayolente kasi mag-isip ang aming agent 😀 Naaawa na rin ako kay Gard sa kakaisip kung saang kamay pa ni Batman kukunin ang ipang-aabono sa iba pang kulang, lalo na’t uuwi pa kami ng Pinas. Hay LIFE… sunud-sunod ang problema. Buti na lang IT’S JUST A PIECE OF KEYK. 🙂

P.S.: Napag-alaman ko na marami palang ganitong kaso dito SG. Mas malala pa nga ang iba. May mga owners na pinaparentahan ang kanilang flats kahit na may existing contract pa ito sa iba. Huli na bago malaman ng new tenants ang sitwasyon, at kalimitan ay sa mismong araw pa ng move-in. Kaya sa mga OFWs dito sa SG na nagbabalak mag-rent ng buong flat, konting ingat lang po. God bless sa ating lahat.


Bahay-Bahayan

Matapos naming pumirma ng kontrata sa Star Cinema para sa aming pag-okupa sa bago (pero lumang) flat ay nag-umpisa na rin ang aming paglilipat. Marami pang kailangang ayusin sa bahay kaya paunti-unti rin muna ang lipat ng mga gamit. Another thing is that we’re requested by our friend who also happens to be the main tenant of our previous flat to extend our stay while he waits for the IT show on Sept. 10-11 so he can apply for a new account and enjoy the freebies to be given away to patrons only on the said event. Si Gard kasi ang account holder ng aming internet connection kaya tangay din namin ito sa aming paglipat.

Honestly, nag-uumpisa na ang aking disappointment sa bagong bahay. Naturingan akong metikulosa pero di ko nagamit sa aspeto ng pagbusisi sa bahay. Marami kasi kaming na-discover na flaws: sira yung washing machine, hindi gumagana yung kitchen mini sink, sira yung heater, nawawala yung stove hose, lahat ng storage cabinets/room ay puno ng gamit nila which they promised to vacate bago kami lumipat. Added to insult is the unresponsive land owner whom I’ve been calling and texting several times pero über dedma talaga. Naibubuhos ko tuloy ang sama ng loob ko sa aming agent. But for the benefit of the doubt, we’re still giving them until tomorrow to fix everything before we totally move in on Thursday. Gusto ko kasing maayos na ang lahat bago ako umuwi ng Pinas.

Here are some of the photos of the house. Still a bit empty but as soon as we fix everything, I’ll take new photos. 🙂

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Living Room

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Master's Bedroom

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Kitchen Area

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Kid's Bedroom

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Tumaya nga pala kami sa Toto (tawag sa Lotto dito). Umabot na kasi sa $1.5M ang premyo o tumataginting na mahigit P49M! Ilan lang kami sa mga libu-libong tao dito ang nagbabaka-sakali na manalo sa Toto. Sa taas ng standard of living dito, malaking tulong talaga ‘yun. Sana suwertehin kami kahit ilang numbers lang ang tumama. Marami na rin makikinabang nun. 🙂

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Secret muna ang mga numero ha. Baka kasi mausog 🙂

Love begins at home and it’s not how much we do… but how much love we put in that action.  ~ Mother Teresa