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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.

Let Me Draw Again

Drawing/sketching used to be my favorite hobby when I was young and persevering in the way that I could freely express my emotions through line art or just by doodling around. Each stroke of the pencil gave me a different kind of feeling, always inspired and bursting with emotions. I had a box full of art materials – watercolor, colored pencil, paintbrushes, palette. Modesty aside, I was good at it. Until I got bored and took this talent for granted.

I recall the time when friends would ask me to interpret their favorite songs. I would draw figures on a piece of illustration board based on the lyrics of the song. It could be lovers cuddling and romancing in a park or under the moonlight, or a man and a woman who separated ways. Aside from being a hobby, it also became my sort of livelihood. I’d sell my drawings for P15-P30 depending on the size of the illustration board. I used the money to buy baon and additional art materials. My nanay was so supportive of my passion that she would even go out of her way just to buy all the materials I needed. Sayang nga lang at wala na siya.

I’ve been wanting to start drawing again and I think it’s about time that I should give it another try. So I picked up my sketch pad and drew a few lines. I was planning to put up my own clothing line so I made sketches of females wearing my creations. But it didn’t stop there. I was so inspired that I attempted to draw a self-portrait by looking at my own image in a mirror. Yeah, I was hoping I could draw my self again from the mirror just like what I did back then. But gee, I guess I’m getting old and my hand’s a bit shaky now so I’m not sure if I was able to give justice to my drawing.

I finished the drawing after less than an hour and the idea of look-in-the-mirror-back-to-sketchpad-and-back-in-the-mirror left me dizzy and nauseous. That’s the reason behind that stiff smile and not because I was mimicking Monalisa’s smile! 😛 I had to make sure I didn’t miss a single detail pero parang di ko pa rin kamukha yung sketch ko. Anyhow, I’ll share it with you guys and I’ll let you decide whether it looks exactly like me. Be my judge. 😛

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*Pasensya na po. Wala akong makitang picture na kahawig ng reaksiyon ko dun sa self-portrait. Lahat nakabungisngis 🙂

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

5 Simple Rules To Be Happy

[Edited]

Because life indeed has become so fast-paced, there are little things we tend to ignore or take for granted. Like the sweet fragrance of a flower in the garden, the butterfly that flies freely in the air, the cool breezes that kiss our cheeks. So little and yet so precious that if we only give them much attention, they are enough to delight one’s heart. We seem to be unaware of their existence because we are so preoccupied thinking about how we can make our family and ourselves happy, forgetting that life has simple rules to be happy.

In this complex world where living a simple life is almost impossible, here are some words for us to reflect on to be able to achieve lasting happiness and create a meaningful life:

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1. Free your heart from hatred—forgive.

Forgiveness is a gift you give to yourself. When you forgive you are not only putting things behind you but also freeing yourself from hatred and pain. Being unable to forgive is like taking a poison continuously and slowly killing yourself from bitterness, grudge, anger. Guilt and hatred bring stress. Stress are killers. Forgiveness is about generating your own healing. When we hold on to pain, old grudges, bitterness, and even hatred, many areas of our lives can suffer. It’s we who pay the price over and over. We may bring our anger and bitterness into every relationship and new experience. Our lives may be so wrapped up that we can’t enjoy the present. The bottom line is that you may often feel miserable in your current life.

Forgiveness can be very challenging. It is a commitment to a process of change. It can be difficult and it can take time. It may be particularly hard to forgive someone who doesn’t admit wrong or doesn’t speak of their sorrow. But keep in mind that the key benefits of forgiveness are for you. Forgive and start changing yourself.

2. Free your mind from worries.

“In every life we have some trouble;
But when you worry, you make it double.
Don’t worry, be happy…”

We’re all familiar with the song “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” by Bobby McFerrin. When we hear it playing on the radio, we sometimes can’t help sing along with the music. We feel the energy flowing in our veins in every note and for a moment, we are worry-free. But how do we keep ourselves from worrying too much?

People tend to worry about even the smallest things in life such as dress to wear for a certain occasion; necktie that will go best with the new long-sleeve polo; nail polish colors, or worry about loved ones, and etc. What we don’t know is that when we worry, we clutter our minds with stress and anxiety and start to create a worry-filled nest in our heads. We sometimes find it difficult to free our mind from worries because of our responsibilities and obligations. At times like this, remember to see God in our situation and look at this today from another standpoint. We may feel discomfort, or may not have food in our tables, or no single penny in our pocket. But put in mind that once upon a time, God was tested and was given a lot of things to worry about and yet, He remained calm and looked for His Father’s hand in every situation.

I saw this article on the net. This might help when you feel like worries and anxieties are creeping in you. Please click here and see the ways on how to deal with worries. Worrying too much is depriving yourself from being happy or stress-free. Don’t miss the fun.

3. Live Simply.

I know that most of us want to live a simple life. But only a few have the guts to walk their talk. Some still want the complexity and constant drama of their lives (parang ako lang) and have a hard time leaving behind their complicated but flamboyant lives, in exchange for a simple one. On the contrary, we don’t really need to leave our belongings and go straight to the mountains to live a plain and simple life. We just need to determine the things that complicate our lives and identify which of them we can possibly avoid. Buy what we ONLY need and not what we want. Yeah, I know. Easy to say, but definitely difficult to put into action.

Let’s try to observe this: Slow down a bit. Read a lot. Spend more quality time with your family and friends. Eat healthy, think wisely.

4. Give more.

We always want to live a meaningful life. We are generally happy when we are making a difference in the world. We feel pretty good inside and we feel the surge of joy and the passion to give more.

The quote “it’s better to give than to receive” is true if we learn to give selflessly, not only financially but also emotionally. A little act of kindness is more than a charity work. It’s an expression of love. And we will only experience that “special kind” of feeling if we give without expecting anything in return.

When I read the story of Dylan Wilks, the rich young Englishman who gave up his wealth to start improving the life of many poor families in the Philippines, I was moved. I didn’t realize that in the time where corruption is eminent, there are still people like him, out there who are willing to give unselfishly for the sake of other people. It’s not too late for us to do the same. We may not be able to build a house for the poor, but we can share our hearts to the people.

I don’t see it as a sacrifice. When you give charity out of pity, you feel pain parting with your money. But when you give charity because you love, you don’t feel that pain. You only feel the joy of giving to someone you love. That’s what I feel.” – Dylan Wilks (Interviewed by Bo Sanchez)

5. Expect less from people but from God.

Admit it or not, we tend to expect a lot from other people that we end up disappointing ourselves. Most of the time, we allow the opinions of others to control our lives, feeling desperate to please them. We neglect to see the fact that we’re putting a certain amount of pressure in us that if we fail to meet this goal, we become miserable. We become unreal.

Becoming real means accepting yourself physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, acknowledging that in God’s eyes you’re a work-in-progress. It is not fair to expect another person to fix you, or change your life, or suddenly become who you want them to be in order to make you happy. That kind of behavior just causes stress and resentment, and an unhealthy dependency you’ll end up dealing with later. Remember that people aren’t your answer, God is. If He chooses to use a certain person to bless you, He’ll do it; if not He’ll use somebody else. So stop living with unrealistic expectations and ask God to help you live with His expectations.

Are you willing to follow these simple rules? 🙂

Happiness comes of the capacity to feel deeply,

to enjoy simply,

to think freely,

to risk life,

to be needed.

The Untold Story II

Pasensya na po kung medyo natagalan ang part two ng aking “untold story”. Nakakapanibago ang muling pagsusulat. Parang akong si Sleeping Beauty na matagal na nakatulog at sa muling paggising ay nawindang sa kanyang environment. Parang ang daming kakaiba, o ako lang ang kakaiba? 😉 But as I promised ay ikukuwento ko pa rin sa inyo ang dahilan ng aking hiatus at nang matapos na rin ang speculations tungkol sa aking pagkawala. Mahirap na at baka umabot pa ito sa SNN… now na! 😀

ANG KASAGUTAN:

Kung maaalala ninyo ay naikuwento ko na pansamadalian akong mawawala upang seryosohin ang paghahanap ng trabaho. Hindi po ako nagsinungaling doon. Ang inyo pong kapitbahay na si Enjoy ay nagpursige talaga na makahanap ng trabaho at pinalad naman na magkaroon ng mangilan-ilang interview. Wala nga lamang naipasa 😀 Dumalo pa nga ako ng mga job fairs para pangatawanan ang ginawang pag-aapply. Ngunit hindi pa yata umaayon sa akin ang kapalaran. Maybe because there are plenty of things that I still need to attend to that might require more of my time so He wants me to focus on these matters first at ayun, wala pa rin akong trabaho until now (sourgraping, hehehe!). So ano nga ba ang mga pinaggagawa ko noong panahon na ako ay nawawala bukod sa paghahanap ng trabaho? Eto po ang ilan sa mga iyon:

I’ve been here in SG for almost 2 years now. Wala akong matatawag na direktang kaibigan dito. All my friends here are Gard’s friends whom by chance ay na-meet ko through gatherings. Kaya para ma-ease ang aking boredom ay isinama niya ako sa ilang paglabas nila… (yeah, I know, blogging sometimes helps pero iba pa rin yung may social life ka) 🙂

Esplanade Hawker Centre, July 16, 2009

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Alley Bar, July 19, 2009

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Alley Bar (ulet; nagiging favorite hang-out na ng tropa) July 26, 2009

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Cafe d’ Manila (na dinayo pa namin kahit super-duper layo from our place pero sulit dahil sa masasarap na Filipino dishes), July 31, 2009

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Dahil kinailangan na rin sa trabaho, si Gard ay madalas na mag-out of the country – Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, at Pinas. Usually, one week lang ang assignment but since he is handling the implementation of their new product, kinailangan niyang magpunta sa Thailand for three (3) weeks, going back to SG on weekends. Kaya sa kanyang huling linggo sa Thailand, ako po ay biglang nag-fly na rin 🙂

Bangkok, Thailand, August 4-7, 2009 (namamasyal na, pero si Gard on-call pa rin)

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..at ang pagdalaw recently ng isa sa aking best buddies na si Kaye 🙂

Night Safari, August 23, 2009
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In between days ay naghanap din ako ng bagong flat na malilipatan namin ni Gard. As you all know, or maybe some of you know, we’re bringing the kids here to study and so we can be a family again. Viewing dito, viewing doon until we finally found the right place for us live in: a 2-BR, half-furnished corner flat. And we’re moving in on the 1st of September! Nakakatuwa di ba? Things seem to be going pretty much according to plan. Pagbalik ni Gard galing US (yup, he left last Fri for a conference kaya alone na naman ako), aayusin na namin ang aming paglipat. This September, buo na kami 🙂

And to confirm all your speculations, YES, ako nga po ay totoong naadik rin sa Facebook. Eto lang kasi ang portal ko sa mga friends ko na nasa ibang bansa, na ayaw mag-Friendster dahil jologs daw. Nakakatuwa kapag nababasa mo ang mga shout-outs nila. Naa-update ako sa mga nangyayari sa kanila without really visiting their profiles unlike Friendster. Nakakaaliw rin ang iba’t ibang applications and quizzes na umagaw talaga sa aking precious time. I’m sure hindi lang naman ako ang naaadik sa Facebook, right bloggers? 😉

Eto po ang ilan sa mga “kinaadikan” ko sa Facebook:

PET SOCIETY at aking pet na si Yukiki…

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BUDDYPOKE at mga kaibigang bloggers…

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FARM TOWN…

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at ang aking latest craze, RESTAURANT CITY 🙂

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Ngayong alam niyo na ang dahilan ng aking pagkawala, gusto ko naman kayong pasalamatan sa madalas pa ring pagbisita sa aking bahay. At salamat din sa mga nangulit na muli akong magsulat (at isa na roon si Joycee), dahil tulad ni Joycee, kayo rin ang isa sa aking mga inspirasyon. Sana ay tuluy-tuloy na ang aking pagbabalik, pero kung mawawala man ako ulit, hopefully you’d understand dahil alam niyo na ngayon kung ano ang dahilan 😉

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