Saturday, December 26, 2009

Here Comes Manila

Raised in the island province of Bohol in the central part of the Philippines, the Filipino addage "Huwag maging dayuhan sa sariling bayan." has always struck a chord in me. Having been in Thailand for more than three years now, I have realized that there is so much to explore about the Philippines. Apparently, there are still lots of things that could be discovered from the other corners of the archipelago. They are beyond the naked eyes of the mass media and much better when seen with one's eyes. And yes, I have always been wishing to explore my very own country especially the capitl city Manila because, I believe, it is one of the ways that could complete my Filipino being.

This day, I just turned my wish into reality as I started to invade Manila with my parents. Malls, historical parks, government centers and urban shops -- they're all in one roof under the historical city of Manila. Part of my heartfelt Christmas greetings to everyone, I would like to share some photos of the Philippines' capital city. Merry Christmas to all my blog readers especially to my fellow OFWs. Here comes Manila....

Friday, December 11, 2009

Winning Myself

I just seriously went back to my thesis recently hoping to polish it by the end of this month. It’s been quite a long time that I never sternly get into it as I have been pointing my focus on some other things hoping that I could hit a flock of birds with my lone stone. I have been telling my students to focus on what’s important for finishing something is much more fulfilling than doing everything and finishing nothing. At this point, here I am realizing that I showed myself the other way. Actually, I found it to be one of the most challenging parts in teaching – finding yourself caught in the middle of your words.

Well, reasons are reasons and we have lots of it. I could make a bulk of excuses if I only want to but I know that in the end, the consequences would hunt no one but me. I need to finish what I ought to finish without compromising other significant things. I only need a bunch of self-discipline this time to get into the tasks that I need to do and not the ones that I want to do. I need to influence my environment more than my environment could influence me. I remember the analogy of the brain with that of a fertile soil. Accordingly, a fertile soil would never complain which kind of crop should be planted into it that even the worthless weeds could abundantly grow. However, whatever we have planted into it, we would harvest the same. It’s all the same thing with our brain. It would accept whatever kind of information is coming and whatever planted into it, the same would be harvested. So why plant negative thoughts?

I wish I could make things done now. I believe I would.

"In reading the lives of great men, I found that the first victory they won was over themselves... self-discipline with all of them came first."-- Harry S. Truman

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Lessons from the Christmas that Was

As a child, Christmas had always been the most meaningful celebration of the year. I admit, the celebration had been so meaningful and festive to me not because of the season itself but because of parties, Christmas gifts, caroling with my friends and most of all, the food that I could only taste during this time of the year. I always felt excitement everytime this season of the year would come. In fact, my heart used to tremble in excitement and happiness when I knew that BER-ending months were coming and Christmas songs were starting to invade the airwaves.

Christmas had always been so meaningful to me because of the material things it had always brought until I woke up one day realizing that I wasn't into posh gifts, entertaining parties and delectable food anymore. My ideal Christmas celebration has literally changed as I grew older and became more matured. It’s not more on the price of gifts anymore but on the reason behind the gifts I receive. It’s not more on the fun that parties could bring anymore but the warmth of people I am going with. It’s not more on the taste of the food anymore but the sweetness of my loved ones who share a simple Christmas dinner with me. Christmas had become different ever since I learned that I could already have what I used to want for Christmas.

For the past three years, I had been celebrating Christmas away from home. For me, it had been a part of my life as an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) – be destined to celebrate lonely Christmases away from my loved ones. I wished I could celebrate Christmas the way I wanted to celebrate it during my younger years but realized I could not.

Last year, I had my salary before Christmas and immediately sent some for my family to have a merry celebration of the season of faith, hope, love and happiness. I thought my parents could have more bountiful noche buena than we used to have but they actually never had because only three of them were left in our house. While me, on the verge of Christmas eve, was in the comfort of my bed watching the pricey (compared to what I used to receive) gifts I received from my colleagues and friends while listening to Christmas songs when I realized that my previous Christmas celebrations were too expensive to be shelled out by the funds I am earning abroad. I have always thought that I needed to sacrifice in order to achieve my dreams but I realized that not everything could be sacrificed in exchange of something deemed significant. Our dreams could be too big that it would cause us to sacrifice little things in life but it could also be too big to conceal the life’s little but precious moments.

This Christmas, I would never be in the same affliction again for I have decided to be with my parents to celebrate the most festive season of the year. I am afraid to wake up one day chasing for happiness but only to realize that I already lost a great deal of it.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

How Much Sacrifice Can We Offer?

Of all the problems that we have been facing in our country, I am still very hopeful that the Philippines will still shine upon the earth to claim once more its glory as progressive country.

The election is coming and, once more, we would exercise one of our essential rights as Filipino citizens -- our right to vote. How much are we willing to sacrifice to ensure that the Philippines would have a brighter future? How much are we willing to sacrifice for the future generation?

Like the child in the video below, let's do our share in rising our flag as we journey through the change which we have been longing for. Let the change start in ourselves. It's not a matter of you, he, she, or we. It's a matter of "I". Let's all acknowledge our responsibilities for our country because we are the hope that we have been talking about.