Tuesday, December 30, 2008

On Power, Federalism and One Incident on a Tee

This can't go un-blogged before the year ends. I'll be expecting a surge in workload come 2009 and my thoughts on the above subject might just swish away. Unless I go home early due to the current political turmoil here.

Going back to that incident in a golf course involving a middle-class family and a notorious political clan in Mindanao, it made me think again the idea of federalising the Philippines. I personally am an advocate of federalism. On paper, it is best suited on a nation where regional and ethnic identity seem to create unofficial boundary within. Sen. Aquilino Pimentel's proposed framework is deemed fitting; for instance, a Luzon with states to Kapampangans, Tagalogs, Ifugaos, Ilocanos and Bicolanos. Moreover, it will bring an end to the Imperial Manila that deeply centralized everything in the country. No more going to the metro just to get paperworks you need in proving your existence. No more LGUs (Local Government Unit: Governor down to Barangay Chairman) that are like dogs waiting for scraps from his master's table.

But then again, decentralising power to states might just make power centralised to the ruling clan in that region. As MLQ3 pointed out, the warlord culture of the provinces is prevalent to this day. Mention a province and one can tell a Family Name attributed to it, nay, ruling it. Moreover, it is proper to quote his opinion on the recent incident:

So we have here a clear clash of civilizations: between the entitlement and warlord culture of the provinces, which compels obedience by force, and which doesn’t hesitate to use that force to compel submission by anyone who isn’t part of the ruling clan’s pecking order of enforcers; and the national capital culture which expects self-control of officialdom, which doesn’t think twice about standing up to official bullying; which, even if beaten to a pulp thinks it’s possible to rally support from like-minded people who actually believe in justice and notions of equality -because there are more decent people than the bad.

So here is where it all collapse; I mean my optimism to a federalised Philippines. I bet there are a lot of this kind of incident in the provinces but of course it wouldn't make it out and make a fuss such as this one. The mayor involved in the incident who imposed a Hindi-mo-ba-ako-kilala? threat reminds me of a feudal relationship between a peasant and his landlord; a picturesque of a future feudal state here where the only difference is that we own the land. Having to create state laws with these warlords on the pen is like having a death sentence written for us. Having to control the flow of taxpayers' money with autonomy given to these thugs is like having to invest in a scam; from GMA to little GMAs (Gremlins anyone?). And giving the power to the states is synonymous to making the gods more than gods.

Would there be anything higher than a god? Only the devil knows.

GMT 0 Accra, Ghana

Spectator in Ghanaian Election of 2008

Election in December? End of the year? I remember Anthony (my driver) lamented that this year's Christmas season has been overshadowed by their presidential election – imagine that happening back home. And I could empathize with him seeing campaign materials more than the usual holiday decorations and hearing bickerings over the airwaves instead of inspirational messages on the season's spirit. What's more interesting is the way they do the elections. There is a semi-finals then the finals. First week of December witnessed the first round of 5 presidentiables. Their constitution mandates that a president-elect should have 50%+1 of the total votes. As with our presidential elections, having so many candidates results to fragmented vote blocs; it was not surprising that in that round no one mustered the required number of votes to emerge as the victor. But the law also mandates that who ever got the top 2 spots on the first round shall qualify to the finals. Parang game lang. And that round went on last Sunday. I know because no Masses celebrated that day.

One good thing that I personally see with the Ghanaians as politically mature (maybe I'm just using a very strong description but something like it anyway) is their way of affiliating and identfying themselves with a political party. The question "What is your party?" is common here. They have the local versions of Democrats and Republican. There are also those you can call third parties. You can't hear them say that they will vote for this person or for that. It's usually this party and that. As for me, I don't know who I am with. Back home the game is about who throws a party and who's invited. But I have to check out this Kapatiran Party and see if I can start identifying myself to one (this would be for a future blog.)

"I will vote for the administration because I want continuity."
"I will vote for the opposition because I want change."

And you can hear these on any Ghanaian you meet on the street. Ok, if I were to pass through EDSA and ask whom to vote in 2010 (God forbids GMA's Cha-Cha) and why, I wonder what will the responses be? I can only wonder but with hope. Yes, we have our own versions of the administration and the opposition but we also have those political butterflies. Unfortunately, there are still some Pinoys who seem enthralled by the colorful wings of these bugs (no offense to butterflies).

But then, violence seems to mar any elections around; maybe, except classroom elections where classmates are friends. This vehemence seems to negate the abovementioned positivity. Apparently, the administration has lost footing in this year's election (second round). They say that in the first round they have the highest number of votes and now perplexed as to how numbers shifted away from them. Ah, the usual I-have-been-cheated mantra; and I thought it's only in the Philippines. I opined that maybe after Christmas Ghanaians had a change of heart with the Star of Bethlehem guiding them. Then I got some stern looks from the pro-administration that were in the same room. I should have just shut up. Learning from this, never give a political insight (even if said in jest) in a hostile environment; not to mention, foreign. You'll never know who's on the other side. But at least I just got frowns. Outside it's a different story. People are starting to mobilize; a looming clash between the two major political parties, between administration and opposition who usually get the top votes on the first round. And heaven knows what form of "clash" we are talking about. People in the office (yes, they were my only source of news outside) said that this Friday (walang New Year New Year dito) would be the height of this tensed period; one city is to cast its postponed vote and their number shall serve as a crucial arbiter of the warring sides. All Ghanaian eyes are now fixed to them. I might not witness fireworks this new year but I can expect either fires or works. I'd rather think not.

The management of the company I'm working with released a memo for early dismissal of their employees. Why was it so familiar? Ah, the Manila Peninsula seige by Trillanes et. al. in Makati a year ago. Globe Telecom issued a memo of the same kind back then and we went out straight to watch a movie in G4. Apathy? Maybe. But it was like a here-we-go-again moment that made an Andres Bonifacio falter inside me.

For Ericsson consultants, however, we stayed for work. We saw it as an opportunity to lengthen deadlines. Local employees started to stir an agitated environment yet in the middle of the commotion someone joked of airport being closed down; a direct gag on most of us expatriates in the office. Had I been anxious? No actually. Maybe because of that joke. I don't know. I am more concerned with the progress of our project though. And what else can I do? My flat is just a block away from the office. If someone would detonate an explosive it would be within the same radius. Nah, this is just too extreme to be reckon with.

Maybe they all just want to go home.
Maybe jealous of the 11-day holiday back home.

No, wait, that would be me.

GMT 0 Accra, Ghana

Monday, December 29, 2008

Becoming Power

"Power does not corrupt men; fools, however,
if they get into a position of power, corrupt power. "
George Bernard Shaw

One of the greatest legacy of modern civilization is government. May it be authoritarian or democratic, it places society into order. It is definitely preferred over anarchy. As Thomas Hobbes put it, we as rational animals tend to submit in an entity that embodies sovereignty for the purpose of order. And as pluralistic as we are, we cannot deny the fact that there should only be one who would have a final say on things, or else we go on forever squabbling. That is the ingenuity of it all: giving part of our freedom to the government so that we can live freely in peace and order.

And it is power.

Fools in our government misses this point. Yes, we have given them the power yet order, let alone peace, has not been in the same ascent. I reckon it is inverse proportional: as the politician's power increases, people's freedom decreases. The recent incident involving a cabinet member and his mayor son is an addition to the "power play" that has been plaguing my country. I used to believe that power corrupts. This is the reason I will never throw a hat on the political ring. But then, power is an abstract concept that will take form (either good or evil) depending on who embraces it. Why do you think there are lots of politicians vying for power? Personally, I believe there is a self-serving reason to start with. Usually you don't find those who have the passion and the real concern for the people and the country in the government. They are there on the grassroots – people in NGOs, non-profit foundations and community groups. They are not there on the same pedestal as these self-proclaimed gods or under the same spotlight as these buffoons. Most of them have personal problems of their own; barely making both ends meet. Yet they are there. They are there because they believe that they have the power to make a difference.

I initially intend to write this entry as a latest addition to the lashing out by the blogosphere to the appalling incident. I intend to name names and call them names. Afterall, in this digital age where SMS/text can bring down a president, a blogger has the power to stimulate minds; the blogosphere the power to spark a revolution. But then I realised anger is an impulsive response to a negative stimulus. The first time I read the news in the Inquirer I got infuriated. Even with a report deadline I suddenly stopped working and went on clicking every links there are. Any news on any folly by a politician is as sensitive as poking my head with a stick, nay, hit by it to contusion. But as I said I have the power and, also, the intension of not corrupting it by hate or anger. I will just be as fool as they are if I did. Not that I denounce those blogs that tend to lean to the idea that a curse can kill, but I personally believe that this will just be a replication of corruption; this time to the power of a blogger. Lots of bloggers, nonetheless, have re-posted the blog entry of one of the aggrieved (i.e. with lesser power than the gods) and it spread like wildfire. Everyone knows the incident and takes time to check on updates over the news. Hey it even reached me here in Africa. The power of information reaffirms itself. The power to get justice not only for the de la Paz' but for every Juan de la Cruz now comes through a high-speed highway. The power is ours to change the country, then the world.

As long as we stay not fools.

GMT 0 Accra, Ghana

Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Day Spent on Christmas

I was waken not by the alarm set on my mobile but by the missed call from my driver Anthony. He was already on the compound to pick me up as discussed the night before. Apparently the exhausting workdays had taken their toll and my body just won't let go of the comforting slumber. Realising that I only have 10 minutes to get spruced up, I jumped to my feet; the warm water washing all traces of laziness. For a person who usually spend 30 minutes in the shower, this is a feat. With a hair still damp I got into the car; "Merry Christmas, Anthony."

The car passed the usual heavy traffic-stricken road (still not familiar with the names since going around Accra always involves Anthony and his Chevy). The scenario, however, is somewhat different. It maybe due to the fact that I usually pass this road on a rush hour (yes, Africa has a fair share of this urban mayhem). Or maybe because I usually pass this road at night when I want to replenish my week's supply of survival from the nearest grocery. The scenario is different. The sun is up. A handful of vehicles (quite the opposite of Manila's holiday frenzy). I can see green and blue. And I can make out the peddlers' faces that seem to be on camouflage at dark. Apples, chocolates and other street delicacies tapped on the window waiting to be bought. But aside from these, smiles and St. Nick's hats were there on the other side. Like them I know I have to survive; at least emotionally. I felt lucky still. I don't have to endure the Sub-Saharan outdoors. But the smiles were there and there is a reason to smile about.

The Christ The King Church is about 20 minutes from my flat. I am still blessed because I can celebrate this day with the community. Imagine if I'm still in Georgia where there is only one Catholic Church and I live 400 kilometers from it. Imagine if I'm still in Brasil and have to nose-bleed hearing a Portuguese Mass. The Mass here is in English and there is somewhat Lion King-ishness with the music they sing and dance to. Maybe because of the drums. Maybe because of the way they sing. Maybe because of the claps and hand-raising. And it was infectious. Then there were the smiles again. It was a two-hour celebration; mostly singing. Towards the end there was a small presentation from the kids from Sunday School and it reminded me how people attribute Christmas to children. Indeed, we all need to be children again; without the world's corruption, without worldly burdens. Just children.

I thanked Anthony as he brought me back to the compound. I know he has his family to be with. As for me, I still have the rest of the day to spend. Several SMS's and YM messages/greetings (friends, thank you!). A bowl of spaghetti I prepared myself and sharing it with some of the Pinoys left here. A nap to fill some hours of deprived sleep. A movie I intend to watch weeks before. And then this blog.

So it has been a day.
Not fancy actually.
Like I said, it will just be me.
But you know what stands out from the things I did?

His two-hour birthday party.

GMT 0 Accra, Ghana

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas in Africa

No Pinoy Christmas for me this year.
No puto bumbong or queso de bola.
No dancing lights or parol hanging by the window.

Tonight it's just me.
Tomorrow I'll wake up to a Christmas morning greeted by the African sun.
So much for a white Christmas eh?

Yeah, seems lame; being alone and all on Christmas day. But I will not feel sorry for myself. I chose this in the first place. Anyway, it will just be my first Christmas away from home. Everyone has his firsts. Besides, celebrating Christmas here is not that bad. I will be going to a morning mass which I believe is the one thing that will complete the day the world awaits. Afterall, Christmas is Christ's birthday. Ghana has 41% Christians so Christmas is a national holiday here; meaning I don't have to go to work tomorrow. It's better than being in an Arab country; better than not having a Christmas day off at all.

But of course, I must admit that nothing compares to a Pinoy Christmas. Being here in Africa makes me numb to the usual Christmas spirit that used to rouse me as the days enter the "BER" months. Then just now I realised that the thing I misses back home is the tradition. And when you take that tradition out, Christmas will still be there. It will surely feel different but Christ remains. Sometimes I think traditions outdo the very meaning and spirit they represent. For instance, people are too preoccupied with how to manage all gifts for friends, relatives and inaanak that they forget to stop and greet that baby who brought salvation to all of us.

Tonight it's just me.
Tomorrow, I'll be making the best out of the day.
Tomorrow it will be me and the birthday celebrant.

Happy Christmas! :)

GMT 0 Accra, Ghana

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


... is over; from blogging, that is.

It has been over a month. Lots of things had happened. Lots of thoughts and ideas that failed to come into writing. The day I left Brasil I know that my blogging endeavor has entered a hiatus.

n. pl. hi·a·tus·es or
A gap or interruption in space, time, or continuity; a break

The word seems hifalutin; maybe because most of the Latin words or phrases adopted verbatim by the English language have this sort of grandeur as with their former empire. I even have to "google" it when I first encountered the term in the height of my TV series following (yes, an episode is ready for download the night it aired). Then I became less fond of the word ever since; at least the meaning it applies to my engrossing TV series – having to wait for a month after a cliffhanging episode of Smallville or Heroes! US TV stations usually implement a hiatus for their programs for the sheer purpose of running it longer or to make avid audiences hooked to future episodes/seasons or it's way of evaluating ratings before totally cancelling the show.

Well, hiatus is not bad when in the context of corporate slavery; actually it is in the same pedestal with that of annual bonus and Christmas party. Sometimes, unfortunately, it is next to impossible.

All of us will definitely undergo hiatuses in our lives. We even have hiatuses in our daily lives. They can be forced or they can be planned. They can be desirable or they can be disastrous. It all depends on how we go through with our lives. Of course, everyone needs to have hiatus from the things they are tired of doing because they are simply tired. But then, hiatus from the things they love doing is a different story. There might be some valid reasons. Of course why would I want to stop when I am enjoying. I don't think I can even have that thought in the middle of it all. Yet somehow the universe has its ways of conspiring with itself; an unexpected force that will slow me down to a full stop.

And then, hiatus.

I now understand that this is a natural human cycle; a part of God's grand design. It gives me a chance to re-evaluate life. If the hiatus is due to exhaustion then I might consider doing different things. If the hiatus, on the other hand, just gives me a reason to continue on, then I live the old life yet another day. And then I just realised that a hiatus may also open doors to new things aside from those that I love. Not most people can juggle all balls with one hand so the hiatus becomes a turning point, a crossroad. One thing is certain: no wrong choices; only opportunities. Afterall, we have a lot of hiatuses to last a lifetime.

My archive will definitely regret the fact that November 2008 will never be part of its index. But I don't regret the hiatus that just passed.

It just made me continue writing.

GMT 0 Accra, Ghana

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Traversing SLEX

Philippine Daily Inquirer's Editorial Cartoon (10/21/2008) - http://www.inquirer.net/SLEX. South Luzon EXpressway. This major Philippine thoroughfare, which connects CALABARZON to Imperial Manila, has been and always be part of my life. Why not? As a kid growing in a province, I look forward going to the 'big city' whenever my family goes for Christmas shopping or to experience the things only the city can offer. After high school, I can't wait to take that first bus heading to my dream of higher learning. You see, most Filipinos have this notion that studying in one of the colleges/universities in Manila gives one a certain prestige back home. Not to mention being enrolled in those well-known institutions with their pride colors, animal mascots and basketball teams. And going to the city means traversing SLEX. So the recent editorial cartoon in the Inquirer didn't have a hard time getting my attention. I'm aware of the ongoing SLEX upgrading and rehabilitation project since May 2006, and I well remember the stressful bus rides due to these stone control devices/barricades that re-route traffic in a haphazard fashion. The usual one-and-a-half-hour San Pablo-Manila trip becomes a two- to three-hour butt torture. I bet the 1956 Ten Commandments or The Sound of Music or Titanic can be played on-board JAC Liner from the start and be able to finish it. But the cartoon depicts it a bit creepy: Death welcoming motorists to an unwelcoming SLEX; at least the coniferous trees are still there amidst the morbidness. This might be due to the hazardous nature of the recent construction works and the increasing probability of a vehicular accident. The editorial cartoon might want to tell those people involved that they are not doing a satisfactory job specially in traffic flow management and safety. Well, I already told myself that sooner or later the ongoing project will be messy since SLEX is always expecting a huge volume of motorists (CALABARZON, afterall, is on the rise). An irritated and exhausted driver sometimes looses sound road decision-making. Anyway, they say the project is set to finish by March 2009 and, like in the NLEX (it's northern counterpart rehabilitated by 2005), the temporary nuisance is a trade off to a much modernized highway. Just expect higher toll fees though. Haha! From one nuisance to another. Welcome to the Philippines!

Mt. Makiling at Exit 50 - Calamba Interchange (from Wikipedia)The ominous caricature is far from the nostalgic picture in my mind. I still want to imagine SLEX with its tree-lined highway, the Mt. Makiling from the distant southern end and the rice field on either side that boasts of its lushness and of the fresh air waiting to be inhaled. This picture will stay even with the rice fields being bulldozed to make way for future subdivisions. It will stay. At least a fantasy of one who used to be a probinsyano (a Pinoy word concoction of "someone from the province") kid who takes joy traversing the SLEX en route the big city. At least a comforting bus ride of one who used to be a student then a professional working in the city en route a place for the weekend respite. And as I outgrow that childhood fantasy, traversing SLEX seems to reduce to traversing a one-way path – a direction that shall only lead me beyond the greens and blues of Mt. Makiling – back home. Yes, I had a change of heart. If after graduating high school I planned of getting the best education, build a successful career and then settling in Manila, today it remains the same but not the place to settle. If my adolescent impulse is to leave that place I consider lame and boring, now I like to go back and redefine those words: simple and quiet. I guess the smog and congestion succeeded in diminishing the value of being a Manileño on a personal level. Besides there are lots of Pinoys who are still city bound. I might as well be one less of that count. I don't hate Manila, don't get me wrong. I still love going to the malls and other places of interest (haven't been in Intramuros actually). But if I were to fulfill one of the things in my bucket list – that is, having a house overlooking Mother Nature at one of her glories (see the full list on the side frame) – I love it to be back in my hometown. I don't mind being far from the political, economic and cultural capital; I'll build my own version in San Pablo. The plans, however, may still change. Anything can happen in the next years specially now that working means traveling. I might end up somewhere else but I bet it would be due mainly to the future Mrs. Brosas. But for now, I would love to turn right to that exit at the far south end where the coconuts grow.

The kid had grown, the probinsyano is now homeward bound and an all-new SLEX will be there paving the way.

GMT -3 DST Sao Paulo, Brazil

Monday, October 20, 2008

Status Message

I always enjoy checking out the status messages of my online friends/contacts when I sign in Yahoo!® Messenger. Maybe because of their diversity: from the verbatim to the personally tailored, from the trivial to the profound, from the lame to the overly creative, from the somber to the optimistic, from the hilarious to plain stupid rudeness, from the appreciative to the repulsive view of the world.

Status messages were introduced by instant messenging/chat providers to let users inform the rest of the online community whether one is available, offline, idle or busy. It's a convenient civil way of saying "ok, let's have a chat" or "leave me alone". Then it started to evolve towards the personal.

I am one of those people who usually speak to the world through status messages, and I believe that there are those who share the same pleasure in reading these. It's like a speaker-listener relationship. This only shows that no matter what's the medium or the venue, we all communicate. Everyone expresses sentiments. Everyone takes notice. Then there are some who shall respond. And I guess having personalized status messages is my subliminal way to solicit response. I reckon it's human nature. It's my nature to brave the social weather by letting people know my current status and by discovering theirs. My interest to status messages may be due to my inner desire to know other people's thoughts (even superficial) and feelings. You see, I'm always on a look out to people that I may be in a clash with and how I could formulate intra- and inter-personal compromise with them; in short, I adapt myself. I guess it's a defensive mechanism to eventually fit in the group.

Well, this is beyond the chat rooms.

But admit it or not, status messages are written all over us.

GMT -3 DST Sao Paulo, Brazil

Saturday, October 18, 2008

An Hour I Lost

GMT -03:00 Brasilia

This is my current timezone; a reminder that I am left behind eleven hours back home. And coincidentally my current location is the Portuguese equivalent of my hometown (i.e. São Paulo - San Pablo - St. Paul).

07:00(GMT-3 São Paulo) I woke up, took a shower and prepared some breakfast (sunny-side up)
18:00(GMT+8 San Pablo) On my way home probably coming from a friend's house, my work in Manila or SFC gathering

08:00 At Bras (São Paulo's Divisoria) buying Havianas for pasalubong
19:00 Still on my way...

12:30 Just arrived at the hotel; prepared late lunch
23:30 Watching late cable movie or hooked up on the net

15:00 Laugh trip: Supahpapalicious (Vhong Navarro)
02:00(the next day) Just pulled the blankets on

18:00 Laundry then dinner
05:00 Zzzzz

21:30 Suspense-thriller trip: Mirrors (Keifer Sutherland)
08:30 Zzzzz

23:41 Started a new blog entry
10:41 Out for a Sunday activity

Then on a blink, an hour passed.

Not in a metaphorical sense. Physically, and instantaneously, one hour has been skipped. Today is when Brasil's southern states implement Daylight Saving Time (DST). Yes, we Filipinos had this kind of practice, albeit experimental, during the Aquino's and Ramos' Administrations. Though I didn't share the same enthusiasm as with those who proposed it back then. Either I was too young (yes, believe it) or I didn't feel any significance, effect or whatsoever. And now, it's like an old idea that's beginning to sink in as a new one.

Now I'm just ten hours behind but 1 hour wanting. There was this awkward feeling when I adjusted all my clocks (i.e. laptop, PDA and cellphone) forward one hour at exactly 00:00H today. It's like loosing one hour of my life. But the funny thing is that DST is just a convention that everyone agreed to do at a specific time; physically nothing has changed. The integrity of space-time continuum is still intact and the universe is far from extinction. And I don't think anything in this world can change that.

Like I said before, we are living this life in only one direction. We can look back but then we are still pulled to that one direction, forward. We can stop for a while but then we are bound to continue on. Conventions invented by humanity such as the DST can make time look forwarded or its reverse but time is more than humanity itself; it encompasses it. It's like an invisible plane where we all stand and move. But unlike us, humans, it does not change form. Yes, one can argue that it's relative (maybe ask Einstein) but still it's one hell of a hard-wired frame – at any given point on that frame, everyone is bound to move towards the direction it goes. I can race time. I can make it slow. I can stop. But then it's just me. Before I know it, time just passed. And I can't blame the universe for not having enough time. Like I said, it's already hard-wired.

An hour or two can't be lost. Life is.

GMT -3 Sao Paulo, Brazil

Sunday, October 12, 2008


Does she exist?

But why would I consider the idea if I don't believe with it in the first place? Trust me, I don't. That is, if one will define a soulmate as the one and only other half of one's soul, for which all souls are driven to find and join. Or anything to that effect that draws definition from the mystical; a definition that has been here since Plato's time. The question, however, does not incite my personal belief rather it begs to redefine the very meaning of it. And if I were to rephrase the definition it would be like this: the one and only other half complement of one's soul, for which all souls are driven choose to find and join be in mutual union. To explain in parts:

1. complement of one's soul - does not necessarily mean compatibility; personally I believe she is someone that shall make a good monster slayer. I have a Mr. Hyde inside, a vicious monster, and I desperately need a slayer. Hmmm.. I'm looking forward to that battle soon. But the one thing I'm sure of is that she is not, and shall never be, half of my soul. The only half for that matter. Who said our souls are made in half? We were made in God's likeness and I don't think He is in half. Maybe that's the problem with some people I call 'love martyrs'; thinking that life's over if the perceived other half went gone. There is one good thing that we can learn from Narcissus: love your self first.

2. all souls choose to find - no magic; no supernatural force; no destiny. It's a choice. And if someone does not wish to embark on an odyssey, then I guess one has already chosen to cease the existence of a soulmate. So you see, there can never be another half. Just another one.

3. be in mutual union - one-way discernment shall never work. It should be mutual. I can call my all-time crush my soulmate but it just diminishes my own definition if she does not feel the same way back. She will only be a "soul" but not a "mate". See how can people misuse the term? Well, it's their choice of word as I have mine.

One will argue that the idea of a soulmate does not fall on that life's category I call love. It is just an idea that someone exists as the other half of you that sooner or later you will bump into in a place foretold by the stars. A soulmate, some say, can either be of the two natural genders. Well if that would be the other definition then I totally dismiss the idea. Yes, God created the world in pairs but that was in the beginning. Towards the end, all He wants is for us to be one community; one body (1 Corinthians 12). No need for that one and only someone (be it a girl or a boy) connected to me by a somewhat supernatural umbilical cord.

But then, I chose to personally define my soulmate as a she. And please note that it is a choice; we have been given free will. Destiny is just one of those Hollywood flicks. But then again, bells and butterflies are not all bad. Just don't get too mesmerized by them.

Come to think of it, I almost found her by way of definitions 1 and 2.

The third sucks!
GMT -3 Sao Paulo, Brazil

Shit happens...


We can't do anything about it. It is part of the system. It is one of those things uncertain that we expect. If we try to prevent it we are doomed to constipation. And I don't want to feel constipated; it hinders other activities that are worthwhile. So it would make me feel better if I accept the fact that shit happens. It would make me better. Of course, the mess it will make is like falling in a pit of crap. And what do you do if you actually fall in it? You frantically try to get out. It depends on the depth how much time we can get out though. Yet somehow after falling on different holes and pits, we manage to be good at getting out faster no matter how deep. Then it becomes part of the system, and life goes on.

But some people will still be miserable with their shits.

I don't know with them but the last time I checked I did flushed mine.

GMT -3 Sao Paulo, Brazil

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Literary # 2

Who I am is You

In a sea of faceless crowd
Lost in thoughts, drowned by fear
For who I am is uncertain
Drifted by waves of pretense
Never real
Never me

Who I am is constant struggle
Seeking to cut out like the rest
A wearing parade of masks
That creates jaded illusions
Neither real
Neither me

I want to live out the truth
And show the world unmasked
Teach me cease pretending
And start living out Your will
Let me be myself, Lord!
Let me be free!
For who I am is You

In this life’s game of charades
I fail to see the self You painted in me
Which is real
Which is me

I want to live out the truth
And show the world unmasked
Teach me cease pretending
And start living out Your will
Let me be myself, Lord!
Let me be free!
You’re my Creator,
And I will never fear.
For who I am is You,
And in Your likeness
I'm worthy.
I’m faithful.
I give praise!

Found this while cleaning up some clutter in my laptop.
This was my entry to the Laguna SFC Pop 2006 - Praise and Worship Band Category.
Thanks to the Zion Band from my Singles For Christ San Pablo Cathedral-Calihan Chapter for the arrangement and interpretation. One of the reasons to miss home.

GMT -3 Sao Paulo, Brazil

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Day the World Becomes Bankrupt

Ergo the end of modern civilization, if not end of the world.

Though debatable, I think global bankruptcy is a far-fetched scenario – if it really does happen civilization will just go on a re-boot; the world starting on a clean slate. Money, afterall, is just human invention. It's just like Filipino children of the 90's (yes, emphasis is needed here) playing habulan from dusk until full moon's high unanimously declaring a game over if they feel that no one's enjoying anymore. It would just take a unanimous vote of the UN General Assembly or, maybe, just the mere handshakes of the Group of Eight to declare a Jubilee Year like in Moses' Laws; all debts wiped out on the face of the earth! The only difference is Moses' Jubilee Year was mandated due to heavenly command whereas the latter is an escape from man's fall due to greed.

Yes, greed. It is the inevitable consequence of this human creation, money. Gone were the days where people works together, tills together and reaps together then festivities together afterwards; where all the harvests are communal and no one owes anyone. A scenario which, I think, existed when early homo sapiens walk the earth as nomads. As soon as people started to get settled, businesses commenced operations and the evolution of human avarice is history. It's paradoxically funny to think that the rise and advancement of human species aimed at life's simplicity come with such complexity.

And the recent global economic crisis serves as a reminder of how fragile and volatile this societal pillar we call financial institutions. For a common Juan de la Cruz such as myself, all the details of the recent events seem like Greek. All I know is just 'big-time' companies are either closing down or being bought or bailed-out with such names as Bear Stearns, IndyMac, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch and AIG flashing over the headlines. A person immersed in technical engineering terms suddenly becomes interested in terminologies such as mortgage, credit crunch, subprime, recession, inflation and economic bubble – at least I find a somewhat kiddy comfort on the bubble thing. What interests me most is the idea of derivatives (ok, lower the geek-meter for this is not calculus). Apparently, financial world is as much complicated as our politics back home. Imagine investing on something that is said to have a value highly dependent on another which has obtained its value from a third entity which may have been invested on a fourth. Think of the multi-level marketing (MLM) scheme still prevalent in the Philippines. The top layer rakes in most of the profit, the ones in the middle get parts of the chunk and the lower layer, well, stays there. I'm not into these things so any 'financial gurus' feel free to correct me. But the basic idea is the volatility of it all. Imagine one card falls off the rest of the deck. And I think that what has happened on Wall Street a month ago. I read somewhere that it has its roots many years back though. Nevertheless, it may well boils down to the basic truth, that these companies, wanting to earn more, took risk investing on greed.

Picture this:

  • banks started to provide credit to borrowers deemed subprime (layman's definition: imagine your usual drunkard neighbor borrowing Php500 promising he'll pay back once his sick mother's pension comes or a friend's friend convicted of estafa years ago) but on a higher interest rate
  • people started to borrow and to buy expensive houses (here, I think, they felt rich)
  • then there was a boom in real estate; the demand for houses started to expand (hence the term housing bubble)
  • here comes the colossal financial institutions and invested on these loans and mortgages (here is a parody of derivatives):

Pedro: Hey Juan, Mario borrowed some marbles from me.

Juan: But he owes most of the kids here, do you think he'll pay it back?

Pedro: Don't worry he will. He just needed extra marbles for the game on the next block. Besides, I told him that I'll lend him if he agrees to pay me five-folds.

Juan : Whoa! That's a lot of marbles added to your collection.

Pedro : Yeah. So, do you want to have a share on that? All you need to do is pool some of your marbles to me so we can lend Tomas with the same terms. We'll split the additional marbles 50/50.

Juan : I'm in!

Then Juan did the same with Berto but the split is 60/40 from the 50% of the first agreement. Berto, who's also fond of trading cards, offered a similar scheme with Orli, a marble enthusiast: trade some of Orli's card collection for 40% of the marbles Berto can get from the previous agreement. Well, Orli wants to have more marbles so I guess he will look for a kid in the neighborhood to get a similar agreement as with the others. And you'll picture the rest of the story; no offense intended to children.

  • then like any bubble, it soon burst; people are now stuck, unable to pay for what they owe
  • the companies who invested on these soon accumulated liabilities (i.e. unpaid loans) surpassing what they have in assets; negative in the accounting books means corporate disaster

There you go. The gist of what had led to the current crisis in my personal understanding. They call it the US subprime mortgage crisis. Well, there are other factors that involves the government and other sectors of the society albeit too Greek, nay, alien to people like me. What stands out is that these Wallstreet biggies enjoyed quasi-autonomous run of the financial world; a seemingly exclusive club for those in black suits and top hats. Capitalists, afterall, are born to profit at any cost and this costs us big time! The world economy is now on a slowdown (Iceland is on the brink of bankruptcy!). I don't want this blog to be a sort of attack to this financial institutions. Afterall, they are just doing their job no matter how greedy they appear to me and now they are suffering the consequences of their short-sightedness. And so are we, thank you very much!

I bet the financial world will never be the same again with all the impending reforms and legislation to avoid the same fate as today. Wallstreet, in particular, will loose all its perks as a deregulated entity. Economies will not be seen as a Monopoly gameboard for a while. This period will be remembered and shall be written down on textbooks as lessons to be learned in Economic schools added to that of the Great Depression of the 30's and the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997.

I will never be the same again.

So this leads me to the microcosm of this global incident: my own avarice.

I admit I'm a materialistic person. I get this impulsive drive to buy things that I fancy. If I have the money, I'll buy it. If not, then what do my 3 credit cards doing in my wallet. Don't ask the credit limits! They say don't trust a woman with your credit card. I say, don't trust myself with my credit card. It's not all about women and their inherent love for shopping (ok, feminists feel free to attack me). It's not all about having multiple credit cards in the pocket regardless of gender. Borrowing money is not an evil thing (unless one intends to run away with it). More so, money is not evil. What's wrong is my immoderate desire, nay, lust for material things. And worst, I tend to borrow money through credit cards just to satisfy this. I remember having to owe the card company which I begun to find hard to pay. Sometimes I thought that I was just paying for the finance charge. You see, that was my problem before. I thought having credit card gives one much needed purchasing power. No worries, I can pay it anyway on the end of the month. But I fail to realize that it was a psychological warfare; having to give a self-perception that I am rich, it is also self-destructive.

So you see, I don't need to criticize and attack those companies for their greedy actions. Let authortities and experts deal with that. It's their world. I have my own world (no, I'm not autistic). Let them have their reforms, and I will have my own. Ironically, now that I'm earning more than before I become frugal with my finances; planning towards investments rather than liable expenses. No more to purchases where payment is drawn on credit. No more to purchases that exceed my income. I'll keep the credit cards though. It's still good to maintain a credit line. But I'll just use it for cashless purchases (no, this is different from credit purchases; instead of withdrawing cash, I'll pay through card and just pay in full online the same day). At least I'll earn more redeemable points (maybe donate these points to Children's Hour). At least it will be robber-proof!

I'll be buying a Nikon D90 and iPhone 3G when I come home this year. It will be my last liable swanky purchases (maybe for the next 2 years) then the rest of my savings will go to investments. But I'll be paying these with my credit cards. Only this time I'm sure I can afford them.

This time I know, personally and financially, I am far from being bankrupt.

GMT -3 Sao Paulo, Brazil

Friday, September 26, 2008

How’d I Fared the Marshmallow Test?

This week is what I like to call Petix (Petiks) Week; that is, idle at work – who can blame me, there are no tasks coming from my boss. But it doesn’t stop me from becoming productive. Say I’m just being a wasted company resource of the week; I’m pre-occupied with myself reckoning the things around me nonetheless. And thanks to Yahoo! Messenger and my friend Joya, those things circling around my head finally rendezvoused.

Since our Globe Telecom days (or aptly, the day we became seatmates) Joya and I started a pun on the so-called Marshmallow Test.
“Bagsak ka sa Marshmallow Test nung bata ka noh?”, you’ll hear us throw this line to the other whenever one of us would crack on a seemingly difficult exercise on restraint. Though neither of us underwent this (or so our memories say), it’s an added fun after a burst of half-meant revelation or near-miss remark on our pseudo-secrets. Plus, it relieves the tension on our feet iron-chained to our former job.

Then today (the last of the Petix days, so far) Joya greeted me over the chat line with “Bagsak ka ba ng Marshmallow Test?”. I became numb; wondering if I had made an unintentional comment on some of our recurring email group thread. Then I remember our chat early this week; a virtual conversation (minus the lattes) about
waiting. I should have known better!

Waiting. Marshmallow Test. Seems like two things on each end of the spectrum. But who says impromptu conversations are random? Interestingly enough, this psychological test by Walter Mischel four decades ago is all about waiting: four-year olds being given a marshmallow and promised another, only if they could wait 20 minutes before eating the first one. Some children could wait and others could not. And, as reported, those who waited became successful later in life. Could have I passed the test? Well, I consider myself nearing success but why does it make me think otherwise? Maybe because I'm yet to be halfway on my journey. Maybe because until now I'm haunted by that test lurking behind me. Maybe because I'm yet to respond on my own marshmallow. Darn! My pre-school teacher should have given me the test already.

The test leads us to Sigmund Freud's theory of personality. It reveals that our psyche is composed of 3 parts:

id - pleasure
ego - reality
super-ego - morality; the conscience

He says that id rules our early life. But as one matures, one begins to learn the need sometimes to endure pain and to defer gratification because of the exigencies and obstacles of reality (ego), guided by a higher consciousness (super-ego). Tell me about reality and morality slapping the face! And I like Freud's theory. It explains everything. The test is not a one-time early childhood activity. It is a continuing endeavor for the rest of our temporal life. Id. It is my immature self always whining within me. It is the very thing that is impatient on waiting. So how to get rid of this id? I believe it will never go away just as like childhood memories becoming part of who I am; they form a trinity that defines me. Moreover, I believe that id can be more of an ally than a foe. It is considered my driving force. A force that, in the first place, kept me waiting. But allowing the id to further rule over ends sanity. There should be a balancing factor that would keep me from being sent to a psychiatric ward.


And it bites. So why not have reality for breakfast, lunch and dinner until I get stifled? Then maybe, just maybe, I get to have my marshmallow for dessert. Afterall, the rewards of patience is sweet. I now understand that my ego and super-ego should be ruling my life onwards; the physical and the metaphysical; this temporal world and the Kingdom of Heaven. I won't rush. The days are young and I'm stronger than you think.

So how'd I fared? I may have flunked some of the previous tests but there are more to come. Trust me.

They say there will be a surprised test next week.

I'll be waiting then we'll see.

GMT -3 Sao Paulo, Brazil

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Grand Scheme of Things

If the world hates you,
you know that it has hated me
before it hated you.

John 15:18

(click image for larger view)
GMT -3 Sao Paulo, Brazil

Monday, September 22, 2008

Literary # 1

Crossing Lines

I’d like to go to the other side.
Even just for awhile.
Just to know how it feels to be there.
Just to see the things that are afar.

So I did.

And the thing in my chest started to pump out fuel to a morbid flesh.
It felt good and made me live again.
It felt good that I don’t want to go back.
But I know this is just for awhile.

Can I stay?

Then silence.
I have known the consequence of the intrusion.
I should have just enjoyed the moments I’m there.
But I have to know.

No answer.

Just the way leading back to where I stood before looking to this side.

GMT -3 Sao Paulo, Brazil

Sunday, September 21, 2008


Stupor is almost upon me. But then a random thought strikes me.

How will I know the rightness or the wrongness of my decisions?

I always tell friends whenever they seek my advice that there are no right or wrong decisions, just consequences and the way one deals with them afterwards. But am I right or am I wrong with this? Indeed, it all boils down to what is right and what is wrong. It seems that the world is bounded by Boolean logic; of 1s and of 0s. And who says what is? This mere thought of defining the boundaries of rightness and wrongness seems to exceed any of us. It’s futile. I well remember a quote from Albus Dumbledore of the Harry Potter universe regarding a choice between what is right and what is easy. And yes, most of the time decisions I make are the ones that are easy. But does it mean it is wrong? Does it mean right decisions are difficult? So will this just reduce to choices between easy and difficult?

So what now? How will I know? Maybe if it feels right. Maybe if it feels good. Maybe if it makes others around me happy. Then it is right.

Or maybe I stick to my current principle of unbounded decisions. Because having bipolar path begets an end; that is, a perceived wrong decision means ceasing to exist (metaphorically). But if there are no right and wrong, just plain decisions we make and the consequences we are ready to face, life goes on. So it is not all about knowing on choosing. It’s about being a brave soul who knows what he/she is no matter what the outcome will be. Hah! Easy blogged than done.

But who says it’s easy?

GMT -3 Sao Paulo, Brazil

Saturday, September 20, 2008

On Kung Fu Panda, Tortang Talong, Red Wine and Other Ingredients for Surviving Another 'Sloth'-urday

It was another Saturday; idle that is. An excuse for me to wake up at 12nn, take a full meal at 3pm and just bum around the whole day. Well I have to blame it to the wet and cold São Paulo springtime. And I thought spring always brings happy thoughts just like in the list of Maria’s favorite things in the Sound of Music. I guess it wasn’t for me, at least not this time. Good thing that the hotel has free wifi; internet connectivity is considered lifeline for Pinoys away from home. Believe me it is, and see how we frantically confront the front desk whenever there is downtime. It is as essential as the air we breathe and packs of sinigang mix.

And having unlimited connection to the world wide web gives one the perk to access Kung Fu Panda Theatrical Posterdownloadables; essential of which are movies – sometimes cable TV does not give me the pleasure of preferable programming, you know. Thanks to BitComet I had Kung Fu Panda tickle my funny bones today. No, actually, I think it cracked it. That would be better than a happy thought for today. It’s the funniest animation I’ve seen since Shrek. The kind that makes you laugh out loud. Feels good and makes an effective cure to idle sickness. But what makes it “blog-worthy” is the fact that alongside all the laughs and fist-banging on the coffee table realizations made their way to my core, yet again. I don’t want to be a spoiler but on a gist the movie is all about an important lesson in life. Faith in oneself. Yes, a formulaic theme of numerous books, movies, talks and the like but it’s a theme needed to be repeated over and over again so as to permanently assimilate it to our way of life. And as human beings, we tend to linger too much on the past and be anxious of what lies ahead. Like Master Oogway said to an apprehensive Master Shifu on training the would-be Dragon Master, Po:

“You are too concerned to what was and what will be…
Yesterday is history.
Tomorrow is a mystery.
Today is a gift. That is why it's called the present.”

Of course, history teaches us life’s lesson and the future gives us the opportunity to plan the course over mysterious waters. But it all goes down to us, of what we are now and of how we believe ourselves that we have learned it all and have the capacity to chart our future.

And I do.

A question always asked to a successful person is the secret of success. Funny thing is, the movie somewhat made a parody of this. When Mr. Ping (Po’s father) revealed the secret of the family’s noodle soup, he said there is none. He just made it up just to entice customers; a psychological tactic employed even in real life. When Po finally receives the Dragon Scroll that will give him great power, he found nothing in it. It’s just a piece of parchment, reflected in it is the mirror-image of the holder. There you go. Secret to life’s success is overrated. It’s a secret no more yet a lot of people still are in search for the answer where in fact they will find it in the mirror in front of them. Or maybe let’s do away with mirrors. Ask ourselves upfront, sideward, inward… outward. And in an idle day like that was, I always sit in my place of respite and do nothing. Physically I’m idle but my mind wanders, travels. Today is a great day for me because I live yet another day. I survived. I didn’t hang myself or slashed my wrist out of depression. I simply survived. Today.

So I live life and thanking God for the present. One thing separates me from those manic-depressive is that I consider regrets my life’s footnotes, taking them out for reference but do not define me. One thing separates me from people fearful of the future is that I’m willing to take risks. Of course, I have a plan – risks are just part of it.

Long term plan: see the world.

Short term plan: survive today.

tortang talong, bacon strips, red wine and my window to the worldAnd I just did. Again. One idle day seems to be worthwhile and it will come to pass before you know it. With tortang talong (it was my first time and I thank Kuya Marky for showing me how when we were in Georgia) and strips of bacon matching red wine, there is no secret ingredient for a sumptuous end-of-the-day meal. Who would have thought it could be a nice dinner combination? Well, it could have been attributed to the fact that there were almost nothing left inside the fridge from last grocery. Nonetheless, it established the idea that it is survival instinct to ultimately rely on oneself. No secret ingredient. No secret recipe of some sort. Just me cooking and enjoying the meal afterwards.

Maybe next time I’m out of stuff in the fridge, I’ll try ketchup soup.

Or maybe I'll just go out to the supermarket.

GMT -3 Sao Paulo, Brazil

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

News from home

It was another weekend in Rio de Janeiro; the 5th time actually. But unlike office routines or movie re-runs on cable TV on an idle dragging weekend, it was refreshing and stress-relieving though the place seems to reduce towards the ordinary due to frequent visits. Pinoys here already made a joke out of it: “Ginagawa lang pagluwas from Laguna to Manila ang Rio” (considering 6 hours of aching butt!). Nonetheless I will still return there over and over – with the Atlantic winds on my face, the powdery sand under my feet and the solace only Rio can give.

So now I’m back to usual hurly-burly that is São Paulo; a contrast to a laid-back Rio. Back to city routine: wake-up at 7am, spruce up, take a 15-min subway ride, get free coffee, boot up my laptop and then read the morning’s online newspaper. Well, considering an 11-hour time lag, the news is far from being hot-off-the-grill. Even so, I am still cognizant of what’s happening back home.

GRP-MILF MOA on Bangsamoro homeland.

Continuing air strikes in Mindanao.

Bribery in the Court of Appeals.

Lacson vs. Villar on C5 case.

Debate on Charter Change.

And the usual problem on corruption, political bickering and social injustice.

It comes to a point that these make me consider applying for residency visa here; pledging my allegiance to a new mother country. But home is still where my heart is. That’s why it saddens me to read news from there; an ironic way of stepping the morning up before work.

Peso tumbles.

This news, I know, can wake any OFW/Pinoy expat around. It never fails to wake me up. Cash-iiing! Thinking of the conversion, raking the rewards of being far from home. I hope it continues to fall. Umabot pa sana ng USD 1 to P 50! Every breaching of the all-month low barrier is good news that seems to dilute the melancholy of the others. It’s like Rio in a way that gives high satisfaction even on a negative premise. But this would be an absolute insult to the place.

Though it would really be glad tidings to every Pinoy expat (most of which are scraping the bottom of the fish tank), I think there’s more to the news that meets the “slot machine” eyes. Not that I am hypocritical but at the end of the day it makes me wonder if this really is the news I’m looking forward; somewhat a primer for my early retirement back home. Not that I am an economist but I understand that as an importing country, we are highly dependent on the foreign exchange rate. We are not like Brazil that is self-sufficient. We import oil. We import raw materials. We import rice even though we were once the leader in rice production (why do you think IRRI is established in the Philippines?). The side-news also reveals that since the fall of the Peso our national debt increased a certain percentage. Even I understand this since the reverse (i.e. Peso appreciation), on the other hand, would loose me some from lower conversion. Lugi! And look at the inflation today. My Php100,000.00 today might not even be the same in the next years! It’s a personal dilemma: choosing between raking in funds for my early retirement or stronger Peso. Actually, no one has a choice on this. I am just a spectator of the news. We all are. But one thing that strikes me is the irony of it all. It’s like during college when a student cheers over typhoons since classes will be suspended but fails to realize effects on flood-infested areas and aftermath such as landslides. Yes, it’s hard to exhort on things that are not beneficial to oneself. It leads me to think that Charles Darwin’s idea of natural selection or, aptly, “survival of the fittest” governs modern society than the idea of Sir Thomas More’s Utopia. But that would be for another blog.

Maybe it’s time for me to think out of myself.
Think of the long-term for all of us.

Then maybe news from home doesn’t have to be all bad.

GMT -3 Sao Paulo, Brazil

Friday, September 12, 2008

I am

“Cogito, ergo sum.” - René Descartes

Well, I don’t want this blog to be tagged as if a discourse intended for passing a Philosophy subject; the field is certainly not included in my current CV. But in starting to write my own blog/journal/emotional-stress-outlet (the latter most unlikely; I’m not into ranting-on-a-public-domain thing), I realized that in the 26 years of my existence I never had a concrete idea on what I want to do with my life. You might say that it’s a cliché; a Purpose Driven Life rip-off. I read the book, by the way, and I will admit I’m influenced by it. But the question at hand is not whether the idea of “life’s purpose” is original or plagiarized (actually it has been here for ages). The question is the question itself. A cliché, yes, but has anyone answered it with a firm grip on a sword? An answer anchored on an immovable rock during a tempest? Rick Warren and other authors might have published books on this but for me these are mere guides. Self-help for others. I am still in the dark, nonetheless. One thing’s for sure, I am alive. I exist. I am.

“I think, therefore I am.” So there. The fact that I think, wondering my existence and writing it down now is the proof of my very existence. So what now if I exist? I know 26 years is such a long time and I know there are more ahead (crossing my fingers here). Have I just wasted those years? Is my “What-if” bin being half-full an indication of this? Wasted years? Wasted life? What if. I should have.

One thing I’ve learned as an engineer is that this physical world of ours is bounded by space and time, and that empirical evidences show that this continuum is moving one-way. Well if you want to step up the geek-meter more, one may contend hypothetical warping, but let’s not. Where we are now tells us that we are moving in one direction. No turning back, just regrets. We stumble. We falter, then remorse. But the only thing to do after a fall is to move forward, maybe stagnant for a while, but never try to build a time machine. The funny thing is I give this as advice to friends where my self seems uncertain. You see, I have my own “What-if” bin stashed under my bed. Half-full.

Good thing I finally started this long overdue blog; thanking the almost two-week idle time in the office. After all the browsing, Wikipedia-ing and useless pretending (hey, my boss ought to think I’m working on something) came the realization moment – a moment in one’s life where, like focal point under a magnifying glass, everything tends to be focused into.



Microsoft Word.

And the cursor started to blink in front of me.

I am. The words came to life. The title of my pilot entry on this blog. The only subject in this world that I certainly am an expert of. I am a traveler all this time. A traveler that during some point in his journey stopped, looked at the map and adapted a new bearing. As a kid I always thought myself as a priest, genuflecting on every cross that I see. Then suddenly came the interest in cutting across human anatomy and the love for stethoscope dangling in my neck. Afterwards, why not a priest with stethoscope? But the stage called me and I felt as if it was my own, with all the lights and the applause. With a scholarship grant from Gerry Roxas Foundation waiting after high school graduation I saw myself in politics either as a public servant or one of the brilliant legal minds of the country. Then on a blink, I am now going places rendering my expertise on radio access network. Amusing. Retracing me gives comic relief albeit the regrets that end up banging my head. It’s quite a journey I had. And one thing I realized, my life’s purpose seems to reveal itself after all. Significance. I think I am here to be significant to others. I am here to influence; to make a significant change to them just by sharing my life’s souvenirs. And as a traveler I have with me all the souvenirs I’ve collected. Almost every day of my waking life I ponder on every question that strikes me. These questions seem to be incoherent before but now I think they are all parts of my purpose I long to understand. Anyway I’m still traveling. It’s still a long road for me. Like a Möbius strip, though the path is one-way and one-sided, I know I shall return from where I begin. When that time comes, my purpose shall be fulfilled.

So it’s time to put away that bin under my bed. Those in it are not existing.

I am.
GMT -3 Sao Paulo, Brazil