Ego

Why is it so hard to be optimistic sometimes? It is as if you are only putting up a happy face to mask a feeling ought to be broadcasted and not to be hidden. A feeling that will just consume you little by little if not let out in the open until there is pretty much nothing left of the whole of you but pulverized dusts scattered on the ground that even you, yourself could not pick up anymore.

Why do you have to put up a front then of what you are truly feeling? Maybe because you do not want the world to know that you are going through what you are going through right now. You do not want them to know that your life standing and achievement is not really that extraordinary but rather normal, or worse, not at par to them. You do not want them to know that you are just messing up their minds with your so called success stories and breakthroughs about your life plan and all, but in reality you are still lost as hell, and more lost as before, couple of years ago when you decided to leave that world which you fondly call the world of salary sureness, political hierarchy and utter boredom which is the corporate world. You are scared to know that there is a possibility that you might be lagging behind the people you are with at the start of the race, barely getting by, barely achieving anything in comparison to them. You are in denial of reality because you are looking forward, deeply into the future, of what might and could become of what seems like a dead end path right now of a living that you have, of a span in time that is not yet within reach, or worse, will never be within reach. You are still wishfully thinking that what you are doing right now will be significant later on in life. You do not want the world to know what you are feeling right now maybe because you are still hopefully and patiently waiting for that moment of success that you have been longing for, and when that time comes, this feeling that you are feeling now would then be irrelevant, would then be an unattractive part of your should-have-been-flawless life story if shared to the world. You do not want to be perceived as weak. You are wanting to stand above the crowd that is why you are trying to put yourself up in the pedestal, and if you have the chance, bring people down in your mind, and endlessly scan their online profiles, one by one, and see who is better off between the two of you. You do this. All of us do this and had done this. We compare ourselves to our peers; half of the time we do not like what we see but that is the price that we have to pay for us to get to those other half that seems favourable for us.

I thought I do not have it anymore within my system but then here they are; ego, envy and pessimism crept up once again to say hi.

 

April 14, 2012. Written by Lav Acacio.

Thinking

I have been thinking a lot these past few months. Mostly about mundane things that are every day seeping and crawling in in my mind. On how little or how far I had climbed on my life’s ladder. Some about my current standing in life, in terms of every single aspect that I could think of and how I could better improve myself on each one of those. Little on the doubts and fears that have been clouding my mind then which further fuelled my psychotic imagination and concretized my typical standing. I’d like to think little though these two, doubts and fears per se, literally took the space that should had been reserved and took up by creative juices and optimism which I miss now more than ever. Few on an unequal list of good times and bad times. And a lot of snippets of randomness and ideas longing to be freed. Replaying and forwarding each and every single thoughts, again and again. But never playing. 

I really have been replaying memories a lot, been playing events that is still bound to happen. I have been defining my future based on what I perceive not on what I believe lately, been thinking a lot really. But then I stopped. Is it all there is in my life and dreams? Is my life meant to be spent just sitting still and wandering inside? Are my dreams meant to be contained only inside this small squishy and intestine-like thing of a brain rather than out playing and standing out amongst us? Are they?

But of course I know the answer. So I got off my chair and hit play.

 

June 3, 2011. Written by Lav Acacio.

Letter #1

Early in the morning

wide awake

Clock ticking

Surrounding buzzing

Hands dancing

keys tapping

Lights emanating

from the screen outward

Touching my eyes

piercing inside it.

Without knocking

it entered

into my body

Flowing through vessels

flowing with blood

Snobbing the brain

straight to the heart

where it is loudest.

It knows where to go.

It knows where to console.

With the beating of it,

Faint

but unfailingly heard,

is this intense longing

I have for you

at 1:00 in the morning.

 

March 12, 2011. Written by Lav Acacio.

Soon

We had an unexpected lunch with a second-degree cousin who is so dear to us earlier today. We were already on our way to do our grocery shopping in the nearby supermarket but the supposed activity was deferred temporarily upon seeing her.

Nothing much has changed with her. She was still the same woman who had been so good to us growing up. With her long black, wavy hair, brown skin, soft eyes, innocent smile, prominent mole just above the corner of her left eye and a bulgy tummy that is unsightly huge as compared to her curvy lady stance and which has always been the center of my brother's random jokes and contemptuous eyes whenever she visits us in our home, we saw her but this time, walking hand in hand with someone who is now obviously so dear to her.

Time moves by so quickly. Before I knew it, she was already engaged. The one who I have been considering as my older sister all this time is now bound to get married, at long last.

The year was 1996. It was the first semester of the school year and I was absent. I could not anymore remember the details, the surrounding, the temperature, the time, the people who were present during the conversation, what they are wearing and in what pattern or color; all of those were now a blur. But what I do remember now from that time was the intention of our visit to my parent's hometown. We were set to spend a day or two in Ilocos Norte to attend the wake of our great grandfather; the father of the father of our father to be exact. It was the first week of the school year and I was absent. I was not too happy about it.

It was the last night of our stay in Ilocos and I had already grown accustomed to the busyness of the surrounding that time. At the center of the sepia backdrop was me seeing clearly the soft mourning of the wrinkle-filled wife who has been left behind by her dearest Pat, my great grandmother, my mother's ka-jive; the restlessness of his children and grandchildren, making sure that the visitors were all well-served and overflown with assorted pica-pica and bottled soft drinks; the chatter of the people who were just simply there to catch up with good friends who they had not seen for years then; the irritating sound of people gambling and drinking under the night's sky who are apparently insensitive to the fact that they should instead be lamenting with the lovely family that our great grandfather has left behind.

The place was simply chaotic and at the center of it all was my two brothers and I, all of us taking in all that we can and should from the frenzied surrounding and secretly wanting to go home and just stretch our legs and sleep the whole night back in our place. We just do not have any clue what was happening back then.

Armed with a lot of patience and an attitude of an actress, I was able to cope up with the monotonous flow of the environment. It was as if I was watching a movie, in which the protagonist is unidentifiable, in loop and listening to a record that was just skipping over and over again and long been broken. I was already getting dizzy with it.

After an unlimited hours or so of waiting, we then get what we wanted. We slept hard until the sun peeked unto us and uttered its glaring "Hi!" once again.

We packed our stuffs and was then good to go. But just like any of our previous visits and succeeding visits to Ilocos, we were then halted again by a good number of people who are either our relatives or just good old friends and neighbors of my grandmother and mother. The news of us being there might had been carried by the wind and even though it irks me most of the time, I still could not help but feel warm all over because of the unbelievable love they are giving us everytime we get the chance to visit the place.

And that was the very first time I saw her. She came with her aunt who was my mother's first degree cousin. I was just a mere 7-year old that time. My birthday was then nearing. She was already 19 years old and was then helping to clear out the banig we had used the other night. Like all the other 19 year old girls I had looked up to because of their unusual but pleasant body figure which is very far from my chubby little kid figure, I had looked up to her that way too. I silently hushed to myself that I will, too, have a body like that when the right time comes.

I could not remember anymore the exact conversation my mom and grandmother had with her that time but all of us traversed the 12-hour bus ride back home with her. After that very faithful day, she had ever since openly became a huge part of the household and she, in turn, found a family in us.

She was the first child from the third wife of my mother's first degree male cousin. He was a respectable civil engineer back then. He was the kind of man that everybody loves to hate but could not. He was rich, he has a good nature, he was caring, he came from a highly regarded family. All about him was reputable except from this one, tiny glitch. He was a womanizer and had four wives and eight kids during his lifetime.

She was the third child from his lovely brood of eight. Those eight kids had a great life while he was still living. All of them had lives that any kid would want to have. They were well-known, they were all popular, they were swimming with toys and gifts, they were dipping their whole body in an ultra extravagant life. They all had a seemingly good future back then until he reached that faithful age of 54 when his life came to an end. According to the folks there and just a side note, all of the engineers who handled and lead DPWH's office in Ilocos, in which he was no exemption, died at the age of 54; thus the name Highway 54, to identify them, came through.

I would like to believe that what happened thereafter to his families, especially his kids, are all known to him. It is just that he could not do something from up there to alleviate the hard life his kids went through all those years after he left this world and joined the Creator. All he could do was watch their demise and utter a little prayer to God to make things better for the jewels he had left on earth.

She was never an exemption from the hard life thereafter and it had not gotten any better as their mother chose to abandon her and her siblings and live her life on her own. I just could not imagine how she could stomach to be away from them, even just for a second. Unlike their half brothers and half-sisters who grew up in the loving arms and guidance of their own mothers, they were left in the care of her aunt; the sister of his father who treated her differently as compared to her brother and younger sister. She was the least favorite and she was the most pitiful among the three of them. Maybe that is the reason why my grandmother chose to take her in and give her a life and education that she deserves.

With her story in mind, I have come to appreciate more the presence of a father and a mother. I feel so blessed to have both responsible parents ever since I was born, who never left me and are supportive enough to guide me through this twisted but, at the same time, wonderful journey on earth.

Despite the huge age gap between us, I treat her as an older sister; an older sister that I could never have in my entire life. I could still remember those times when she would obligingly accompany me to school and fetch me, also, after the last bell rings; when she would carry the lunchbox with my meal inside, from our home to school, during lunch hours just to satisfy my ever-hungry stomach; when she would emanate nothing but patience and a smile while she takes care of me and my brothers; when she would spend and endure those lonely nights in our house when we have to go and spend the night somewhere else; when she does not fail to bring us knick-knacks and food everytime she comes to visit us; and a lot of other gestures that were nothing but filled with love and thoughtfulness from her. All of those were instilled in my young mind and I really thank her for all the things that she had done for us.

As we were having our lunch with her and her soon to be husband earlier today, I could not help but feel overjoyed for her. I have never imagined that her life will come to this point but I think that is how God really works. His plan for us will surely outdo, a number of times higher, our own plan for ourselves. We just have to trust in Him no matter what.

She was still the same woman but now with a man who loves her truly and a seemingly brighter future ahead of her.

Between happy conversations and a good meal shared with her earlier, I smiled from across the table to her. She smiled a lovingly smile at me back and I know instantly from there that she was happy and contented; much happy than her heart had ever experienced and desired all this time.

 

September 16, 2010. Written by Lav Acacio.

Difference and Similarity

Everything could be done in a lot of ways.

There are a lot of different ways to cry, to eat an ice cream, to jump, to read a book, to write an essay, to laugh but nonetheless, however different or unique of a way you might have done all of those, the bottom line is that you still cried, ate, jumped, read, wrote and laughed.

So, are we all the same? Could be but not quite.

A whole bunch of people might have seen what you saw, done what you did, heard what you heard, read what you read but nobody could ever see it, hear it, do it and comprehend it in the same way that you do.

And that’s one of the many reasons why I adore this world.

We are all the same banana but just with quirks.

 

September 7, 2010. Written by Lav Acacio.

Traditions

We, Filipinos, have a lot of remarkable customs and apparently, most of our customs give importance to our innate and nurtured family values. Since we were kids, we were always asked to kiss the hand of our elders (pagmamano), to utterpo and opo when speaking to an elderly individual and to incorporate kuya or ate when communicating to people who are years or just even months older than us. At first, these customs never made any sense at all but as time passed by, we eventually came to know that the said traditions are significant to our seemingly conservative and reverence-demanding society since these exude undeniable respect. Also, as we continuously execute the mentioned quirks, all of these had eventually been deeply engraved in our systems that doing so became already second nature to us; no need for the elders to remind us what we need to do and no effort coming from us in carrying all these out.

It was a memorable day today since it was my first time to witness how a guy’s family do pamanhikan and how a girl’s family is bound to react to the proposition. One of my numerous second-degree cousins decided just yesterday that he will going to marry the girl of his dreams soon. Not only had he informed his parents about it but the heartwarming news had also reached his extended relatives and that apparently included us. I always thought that wedding talks are only exclusive to both the immediate family of the soon-to-be bride and groom and that is the reason why I was kind of adamant to go with my mom and lola. Anyway, it had dawned on me just today that it does not seem to be the case. Weddings, as early as the pamanhikan stage, already reflect the strong traditions of family; extended family included.

We arrived at the girl’s house at around 3:00 in the afternoon. Though we are numerous in number, all twelve of us were still openly welcomed by the girl and her parents. We sat uncomfortably in the plastic chairs circled around in their living room, solely prepared for our expected visit. Since it was the first time for the parents of both parties to meet each other, a long awkward silence from all of us inevitably followed after we try to find a comfortable seat and an ultra lovely view of the sweet and respectful gesture that will ensue. Furthermore, the nervousness coming from my cousin and his girlfriend made the awkwardness more pronounced than ever. After my tita felt that the silence is already creeping into everyone’s nerves and, not to mention, her son is still trying to build up enough amount of courage to do what he came to do, she took hold of the situation without further ado. Her taking control made all of us comfortable and eventually, one by one, opened up.

After much masking of the anxiousness that we all are feeling, my cousin, out of the blue, stepped up and tried to gain our attention by clearing his throat. All of us immediately responded with silence. Eventually, he knelt down in front of the girl and took out a small box containing the obvious. While the ladies in the room openly expressed their kilig through unending sighs and longing look, I would like to think that our macho relatives, on the other hand, were apparently trying to fight the kilig since they just gave off blank looks which is no doubt more manly than giving off a smile with teeth showing. Anyway, I could literally feel that the giddiness that we all are feeling towards the done gesture clouded up the atmosphere of the room and it heightened as he asked the most romantic question that any girl will be asked in their lifetime.

With just a simple yes from her, she immediately became a number of grams heavier and a notch higher close to being a loving wife and caring mother. Upon hearing the affirmative response, all of his nervousness with regards to the engagement evaporated but were immediately replaced by another set of nervousness acquired from the soon-to-come ironing out of the wedding plans and his future responsibility as a husband and father. Being miles out of the chaotic world of dating, finding the other person who they wanted to spend their lifetime with and finally looking forward to building a stable and amorous filled home, which will have a fair share of happy moments and predictable challenges to face, are all except daunting; unless of course you still do not have the maturity and stableness, from all aspects of your life, that all of these blissful things require. 

I applaud my cousin’s courage to propose in front of the people who are most important to him and his girl’s life, as well as the guys who already did that before him and those who are thinking of doing the same thing. He could have opted to propose to his girlfriend without the intimidating audience, but he chose to do otherwise. It just shows how much he loves the girl and how much he puts worth to the blessing that he will get from the elderly; a very strong family values he got there which is truly admirable in whatever era you come from.

Social conditioning from the destructive media lured us to believe that these values are already outdated and that these are not necessary anymore. But however hard we try to shove off and dismiss the importance of these values, the fact that all of these could still produce a gutsy yet respectful, as well as an authoritative yet considerate individual still remains. How I wish for people who had lost their Filipino values to pick these all up once again and for the others to hold on to their innate and embedded values once and for all. It’s these little quirks that we have that makes us distinguishable from other nationalities, so let us try our very best to liven up what we had been known for and not be just a mere carbon copy of the other cultures in which most of today’s youth obtain their baseline of what the norm should be from.

 

December 5, 2009. Written by Lav Acacio.

Change

I had been battling with my confidence issue for quite some time now. Despite knowing for a fact that I have my own strengths and talents to share with the rest of the world, I could not help but to compare myself, still, with other people. Instead of focusing on harnessing my own strengths and talents, I always am left trying to nourish the things that I am not good at. I am always left with that notion that if I could just do what they can do, maybe I will be better. 

I was focusing on the wrong things before. It had dawned on me now that a bird could never swim no matter how hard it tries in its lifetime but it can fly and in time can fly higher and faster with the right attitude and when armed with the right tools and determination. Not being able to do what the other person can do is not a sign of weakness, it never is. 

I forgot that diversity is good, that diversity is there for a reason. I want to come to that full realization that I am unique and that is the reason why the world needs me. No two people are alike, even one of those twins that we see in our everyday lives has a different personality as compared to the other. I do not want anymore to try to be someone that I am not. 

Instead of focusing on what I cannot do, I want to see myself nourishing those strengths and talents that I have more than ever. I want to see myself as someone who is confident enough to share her uniqueness and innate talents to the world without inhibitions. Maybe the reason why I keep on comparing myself with the others is the fact that they are doing something about their talents. They are sharing it for the betterment of the community and in turn they are able to touch lives. My talents, on the other hand, remain stagnant and untapped. 

I want to step outside of my comfort zone, I want to see myself be part of making a change for the betterment of the world even in my own little way. I want to try things that I have not tried yet. I want to live life to the fullest. I want to stand up for myself, for what I believe in. I do not want anymore to keep dwelling on things that I could not anymore control nor be paralyzed by my irrational fears. I do not want to keep on thinking about the what-if’s of life. I just want to be proactive. I just want to act. I think that being open to constant change is all that we need on our journey to be a better individual. 

I believe that I was designed by God to do far greater things... much greater than what I am accomplishing right now. I could not help but to constantly crave for something yet to be known. I just know that I do not want anymore to be stuck in my own little box. I just want to be able to act out my life purpose.

 

November 2, 2009. Written by Lav Acacio.

Shoe Talk

I found my mom and lola cleaning the house as I reach our unit the other day. Since I do not want to feel so worthless while they are immaculately cleaning our lovely abode, I immediately scanned my mental to do list @ home for a task that I can easily do right then. These are my top priorities: 

1. Organize my innumerable shoes and put them in their own boxes 
2. Rearrange my wardrobe by colors 
3. Categorize my books. Putting those that I have already read on the bookshelf placed on top of our bedroom door and stashing those that I have not read yet in the corner near our window. 

I did "1" that day since I have been wanting to organize my shoes for ages then and have not got time to do so, which is most of the time my default excuse if I just want to bum around the house on weekends. Also, doing so would be very advantageous for me. Finding would not be that time-consuming anymore since it would be easier for me to find the shoes that I want to wear for a particular day if they were in their proper boxes, I would not have to bitch around, silently even, about not finding things that I want to find immediately and I would never ever have to feel sooo guilty for bitching afterwards. Triple advantage! 

I do not have an ultra huge collection of shoes, by the way. I strongly believe that my collection is just a little bit lamangif compared to an average girl's shoe collection but I think my dad would totally disagree with what I just said. My dad is an Ilocano, and an overblown one to be exact. And for your information, Ilocanos are said to be naturally stingy. So, if you do ratio and proportion, my dad would be super stingy na no? Hahaha, kidding. 

Well, he used to pester me with questions like "Ha? Why would you need another pair of shoes" or "Sira na ba yung iba?" or "Caterpillar ka ba?" and would always tell us stories of him just having two pairs of pants and shoes during his adolescence. I never actually caught the lesson behind his story. What should I do? Wait until the day that my toes would already be sticking out of my shoes?! Hahaha, kidding again. One time, my brother counter attacked his story by saying "Malas mo lang noon Pa mahirap tatay mo, e kami mayaman tatay namin". The bout was so funny that all of us just ended up laughing out loud. But seriosuly, with the tone of his voice, maybe he was also secretly asking himself why we, his desirous children, could not manage to have just two pairs of shoes like him, when in fact he had been perfectly fine with just those. Oo nga naman

I can still remember how our conversation would progress at the mall if ever we would ask him to buy us something. Since we already know how our dad would react at this, One of us would first approach our mom holding the item that we want. 

One of usMa, bilhan mo ako nito. 
MamaHuwag kayo sa akin magpabili, kay Papa niyo kayo magpabili! Ang hina-hina niyo! 

This statement is accompanied by a glaring eyes that we had grown so afraid of. As I grew older, it dawned on to me that "the glaring eyes" was just my mom's tactic for us to learn how to approach our dad if ever we need something. Since we only get a few weeks to be with him in a year because of his work abroad and since we are very much accustomed to coming up to our mom if we have things that we need fixing, I think my mom just wanted us then to feel that we could also approach our dad if ever something comes up, if ever we have a problem or something like that. 

Anyway, one of us would then approach our dad. 

One of usPapa, pabili nitong ______. 
PapaHa? _______ na naman? 

(Papa would always say this although it has already been ages ago since we last asked him to buy us something) 

One of us: Sige naaaaa... 
Papa: Pambihira. 
One of us: *silence* 

(We will look helplessly then to our mom.) 

Papa: Pambihira. Tsk tsk. Pambihira 

(He will smirk and will then look also at my mom and will eventually draw out money from his ever dependable belt bag while continuously muttering pambihira over and over again.) 

I do not know how to be annoying and I do not want to be a brat, forcing my dad to buy me the stuff that I want that is why I would just resort to silence. Good thing, he would still buy me the stuff that I want even after so much deliberation, deep thinking and silent grumbling from his side. Maybe my mom had also glared at my dad that is why he would eventually and miraculously give in to our desires. Haha. 

I have a very clear memory of these incidents because it had ALWAYS been like that. There came a point when I got sooo scared to ask him to buy me just about anything. 

My dad is very much galante na these days. Yikee. His reason was that one of his children had already graduated from college. 

I love my dad's minimalism. I am still in awe with this. I think his simplicity is what has been keeping us from spending way too much and what has been encouraging us to save and be financially aware. We had never been spoiled by our parents and I really thank them for doing so.

 

October 8, 2009. Written by Lav Acacio.

Quarter-Life Crisis

While I was getting ready for work earlier, it suddenly hit me that it has already been over a year, 1 year and 3 days to be exact, since I graduated from college. And thinking about it made me realize more how rapidly time is moving in relation to my life's progress. The analogy goes something like: Time is to the speed of light and Lav is to the speed of sound. I believe that's how uber slow I was moving comparative to time. I have not done anything worthwhile yet since I graduated which is quite frustrating, really. And I have not really done anything to alleviate the frustration which, in turn, makes it even more frustrating. 

I love Math. I love Logical Reasoning. I love solving mathematical problems to the point that I could literally sit for hours to just solve and solve. I would be more than willing to jump to another problem after solving one. It is like an obsession. I was addicted. There were times in my early college days when I would re-solve all the math problems solved earlier that day in class upon reaching home and would read all the chapters covered (you could also see me obligingly reading the next topics to be discussed to get ahead of the lesson, if I like the subject) and would answer all the problems found at the end of the chapters to be able to grasp the taught topics even more. Some problems would only take me 5 minutes to solve. Some would even be solvable in just a glance but, more often than not, Math problems would take a great amount of my time and sanity to be solved. Nonetheless, being able to decipher each one of those gave me a sense of fulfillment. I never lost patience. I never got discouraged when confronted with a complicated problem. The more challenging the problem is, the better. At the back of my mind, the harder it is to get to the end, the more rewarding it would be once I attained it. 

But those were the days. 

Changes took effect when I was already having my major subjects back in college. Most of the time, the old adage that if you just spend more time reading and solving the problems then you would eventually get the topic did not seem to apply anymore. There were times that even if I re-read the assigned chapters a billion of times, I still could not get the basics! And it is rather frustrating, really. Feeling ko tuloy alien ang nagsulat ng mga yun. I am always left thinking that they do not want to disseminate what they know that is why they had intentionally written their ideas in an unfathomable way. And what's the use of writing a book if they do not want their ideas to get across to thousands of regular university students, like me, whose intelligence are not in the same league as theirs ? Well, it's just a theory that I made to mask up my own laziness and lack of patience and focus. But it is true that I read the assigned chapters a number of times first, secretly hoping that I might get the topic eventually, before actually concluding that I really could not get it. 

I forgot how hard work and patience operate. I want to catch the essence of the subject matter but I do not want to sacrifice my time in order to get it. 

Because of this, I resorted then to the belief that there are things that I would never ever comprehend no matter how hard I try. I know I have my own weakness and I had made myself believe that not being able to comprehend some things is one of my weaknesses. How mystifying it is that we can fool our own selves right? It would be natural for me then to get disheartened and not anymore try whenever I encounter a problem that I could not solve for the first time. There had also been an instance when I had lost faith in my own ability. I often do things then halfheartedly. I just started losing my seemingly indestructible patience that time because of my doubts. And I had been that cynical until I graduated. 

I find myself growing more impatient with myself as I grew older. I do not want anymore to do things slowly and surely but I'd rather want to get things done as fast as possible without compromising the quality of my work, if that is feasible. I want to be fast and, at the same time, efficient. But other than this, I want to get the end results immediately without putting much effort and time into it which is quite impossible to do if you think about it. But that is how impatient I had become. I want myself to be that person despite the fact that I would never ever be like that. Hindi lang kasi ako ganun. 

I am one of those people who can not produce something with quality without moving slowly. I work best with details. And I really really hate cramming! I do not want to feel pressured for time. I do not experience that "creativity rush" that some people experience when they cram. I always end up doing things sloppily, and most of the time regretting it, if I do resort to cramming. I am a perfectionist and the longer I stick to the task at hand, the closer I believe the outcome would be to perfection. 

It is not really true that I have not done anything to lighten my frustration. Truthfully, I do have a plan and I am now on the process of making my dreams happen. I am just impatient. I want to witness something colossal NOW. Something that would make me really feel that I am getting there. Something that would make me realize "Ay, I am on the right track!" although I know that it will take a huge amount of time and patience from me to get to where I want to be.

 

October 7, 2009. Written by Lav Acacio.

Fragment

Just a week ago, an unexpectedly strong typhoon hit Metro Manila and other areas close to it. I just read somewhere that Ondoy, which is more known as Ketsana internationally, meant little boy. They never had expected that Ondoy, though perceived as little, would bring such devastation to the archipelago's main area of commerce. Everybody was caught by surprise. Everybody expected it to be just one of those many storms that our country had been encountering every year. Everybody took the littleness of it for granted. Nobody ever thought that a little storm has that capability to end hundreds of lives and destroy thousands of houses, automobiles and properties in just a number of hours, which I think should be at the most bottom of our worries list at this moment. Sabi nga nila, gamit lang yan mapapalitan, e ang buhay hindi na. 

It has been 40 years since a same incident happened to the metro and in my five years of staying along Taft, zero visibility perceived from our window's view brought about by a heavy downpour and a shaking glass window brought about by strong winds had already grown into me so really, it would be very unlikely that someone would foresee that this could happen again. Of course, unless PAGASA had beforehand acquired that equipment which could calculate the amount of rainfall that will pour, maybe we could have predicted that this would happen and maybe we could have done something about it. But hey, government or non-government, the damage has already been done and passing the blame from a sector to another sector would not solve and accomplish much. 

The consistency of events made us complacent. And rationally, how could someone be not complacent when that someone thinks he could already handle the situation? If we thought that being anxious might have prevented the catastrophe from occurring, I am quite positive that all of us will undoubtedly decide to be anxious for the sake of humanity. Surely, nobody wanted that to happen to themselves or to anybody else. 

It is in these times when we truly express our sympathy to those people who had experienced firsthand nature's conspiracy. Everybody either seems to be involved or want to get involved. It warms my heart to see that everybody, foreign or local, is extending whatever help they can extend to the victims. We had, beyond doubt, imbibed and reflectedBayanihan in its truest sense. With this, viewing the catastrophe locally made me think that after Ondoy we are now, little by little, coping up. Are we not? 

Even before Ondoy left, it was already announced by PAGASA that two other typhoons, Pepeng (Parma) and Quedan (Melor), will enter the Philippine Islands pretty much soon after Ondoy. We really had not fully recovered yet from the previous typhoon but somehow here they are again. With one being labeled as a huge super typhoon and is predicted to again bring havoc to Metro Manila and other areas close to it, it was apparent last Friday that panic from the people had again arose. A good number of people in my floor had not reported for work. Some who came in have not really concentrated on the tasks at hand and were just tuning in and following religiously the whereabouts of Parma through news updates and reports uploaded to the world wide web. One by one they left until, at around 4 pm last Friday, only four people, including me, were left in our floor. I am not trying to be hard-headed or anything, because I, for once, never wanted to get stranded. Hello?! Who would want that? I would have had left early like them if I do not have anything to do in the area afterwards but unfortunately, I have. Maunahan ko pa silang lahat umuwi kung wala akong gagawin no. Well actually, the activity would not be that of a big deal if it wasn't for the money I already shelled out for it. I had contacted the coordinators earlier that day but they told me that as of that moment, the show that I will be watching was pushing through and they'll just going to update us if there will be any changes. Sayang naman if I would not go so I decided to stay and wait for the final notice. 

Came around 5 pm, I received a text message from one of the coordinators saying that due to weather conditions, the night's Spring Awakening got cancelled and will be rescheduled to a later date. I was kind of relieved because of the bad weather that, according to the media, will be greeting us late in the evening and at the same time saddened by the fact that the play will be rescheduled but really, what's another week of waiting right? So upon reading the SMS, I immediately closed my office computer, and realizing I forgot to bring again an umbrella, grabbed the Marketing's sample umbrella lying on my desk and hailed a cab. Well, I am not sure if I could use outside a sample artwork with the company's logo in it but what can I do? I do not want to go home soaking wet naman. I am pretty much sure the boss will understand and I actually took good care of it. I had it dried up pretty good and placed it with our other umbrellas during the weekends and earlier today, I put it back in its plastic cover. I was extra careful not to leave any proof that I used it. So unless they'll going to test the umbrella for fingerprints or unless they'll gonna stumble upon this entry, I think I am quite safe. 

The umbrella was put into good use since the rain was really pouring hard the whole time I was trying to get a cab. It took me over half an hour to get one which is typical on a Friday or when it's raining. At 'yung ibang drayber nagdudupang na naman kasi. One driver is trying to make a deal with me; twice of my usual fare because it was super traffic according to him. Come on! how much traffic could it get? Minus na sa may bandang Estrada at Taft, since there were no classes for the whole week for all levels. Since I am not that desperate about getting home quickly, I did not go with it. Twice?! Not reasonable. 

After waiting again for about half an hour, I finally got one. The driver who tried to make a deal with me was right, it was really traffic but not the EDSA or Alabang type of traffic where the cars are most of the time literally not moving. I think the traffic was mainly caused by the panic. People just wanted to get home as early and as quickly as possible as to not get stranded if ever the typhoon comes in. Even the roads that did not get much traffic before got congested by cars big time. My sibling also told me that the supermarket, where he and my mom did grocery shopping, had already ran out of instant noodles supply. People are basically stacking up their carts with food that will last long and will make them full instantly. It is a natural instinct for people to get defensive and panic-buy. Well, because of what happened a week earlier, it was a no-brainer that people were then preparing for something worse than Ondoy. 

During the weekend, it was said that Pepeng changed its course, saving the whole of Metro Manila and other areas close to it from another devastation. Nonetheless, Pepeng did not left our country untouched. He did not allow that the Philippines will never know about its destructive greatness; Pepeng made a beeline for the Northern Part of Luzon. Casualties had again been reported, crops had been swept away in an instant, thousands of people had been stranded because of the inaccessible roads brought about by the typhoon and the list goes on. Yes, another typhoon had again beaten our country to a pulp and to make matters worse, Pepeng is expected to make a U-turn towards the same area because apparently, Quedan, the next typhoon, is sucking it back in.

Seriously, what's happening with the world? I could not help but feel like one of the Baudelaire orphans of Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events with all the things that are happening to us right now. The Influenza A (H1N1) outbreak, dust storm in Sydney, earthquake in Indonesia, tsunami in Samoa and countless typhoons which had took thousands of lives to date globally do sound apocalyptic enough for us, right? They do. 

But instead of frightening us, I believe that God is trying to tell us something. I am always a believer that everything happens for a reason and I am, in actuality, viewing the said series of unfortunate events as a wake up call or a simple nudge rather than an outright threat to all humanity.

Whenever catastrophe like that of Ondoy surfaces, my mom always tells us the things she had to endure during the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo. She always describes it as Exodus. What was happening right there and then felt like something that came out from the pages of the infamous book of the Bible. It felt like it was the end of the world for her. Every minute there would be an earthquake. Instead of rainwater pouring, what was pouring down that time were mud and sand. Once in a while, they would hear roofs and tree branches collapsing because of the pressure exerted by the accumulated mud and sand on top of the houses and branches. Frequent shoveling of the said mud and sand on the roofs was needed to ensure that our roof would not fall down. A huge white sheet seemed to be capping up the whole surrounding. It would already be dark by 3 pm in the afternoon. People are basically breathing in dust and what was supposed to be a 20-minute drive from our place to the city became hours' worth of driving because of the sand. Grocery stores and market places are not operating since they also have no goods to sell. Good thing my mom and lolastock up food and canned goods. 

Because of the proximity of the said volcano to our place compared to my mom's hometown, my mom decided for us to go to Ilocos Norte that time but then again there were no bus available that could take us to our destination. All of the bus could not get through and we have to go to Pampanga that time, which is quite impossible without a bus, for us to just get a ride to Ilocos. Maybe you were asking why have we not thought about going to Ilocos even before the volcano was expected to erupt. Good point. Actually, all people had known that it will going to erupt soon but they were informed that only those areas that are within the 25-km radius of the volcano will be affected. And the distance between Mount Pinatubo and our town is way beyond 25 kilometers. Akin to Ondoy, nobody expected it would be that of a big deal. I know I was already there when the volcano erupted but because I was still too oblivious to remember clearly and too young to care, all the stories I heard from my mom were all that I have. But I know that all of those are just bits and pieces of the whole picture and I am just thankful that we had overcome it despite our defenselessness and more thankful to God for taking over. For my mom, her experience during the Mount Pinatubo eruption was the perfect manifestation of the saying "Money isn't everything". Because even though my mom was holding an enough amount of hard cash that time, she can not use it at all. She can not use it anywhere. And I believe that the same goes to all the people who had been in the same situation and who had directly experienced a calamity like that. People had grown to be very materialistic through the years. We are so caught up on having that new bag, that new model of cellphone, that new pair of shoes etc. that we tend to forget the important things in life... basically, what life is really about. We always find ourselves trying to nourish the wrong things instead of nurturing the vital ones and it is only in these difficult of times that we regain our sensibility about how we are living our lives. These circumstances are like light taps on the shoulder which are meant to wake each one of us from our own version of reality; much like a limb-jerk during a slumber. At the end of the day, it is the closeness of your family that matters, the memories with your lover that will flutter your heart, a good night out with your friends that will stick in your mind, a one great love that will make you feel stable and contented, the realization that your life is on track that will make you smile, and not at all the number of high-end cars you got, the innumerable townhouses you have, your collection of designer shoes and bags and the like. So why bother putting too much focus on those things when you can enjoy life with just enough? Life is absolutely more than what we know. We do not need another tragedy to come to a full realization that our life is definitely finite and surely, we do not want it to end thinking that we actually lived a life full of regrets. Truthfully, if we had lived a full, guiltless and irreproachable life, there is nothing we should worry about. God is much bigger than our fears and worries. These devastating calamities that we know are just a speck of His greatness. If we just learn to entrust things that what we could not control to Him, I think we will definitely be okay.

 

October 5, 2009. Written by Lav Acacio.

Overrated

If there is a specific word from the dictionary that seems too overrated for every individual living in this universe to not be familiar with, that word would undoubtedly be love. Every minute of our lives, we are exposed to the wonders of it. We are literally looking at it, hearing it, thinking about it, losing it, catching up with it, wanting it, but at times cursing the existence of such thing. Nonetheless, what I really wanted to portray is that love or the mere idea of love, whatever kind it may be, is always within our limited grasp, never leaving our peripheral vision, ultimately glowing and unfading through time and space. In the midst of all the hustles and bustles, of inevitable hurts and million other heartbreaks heard from naysayer, gossipmongers and people credible enough to talk about their firsthand experience of the shattering reality brought about it, I was always left stunned and confused on the excuses people give me on why they still dive into the unknown, random workings of love. Through deep contemplation, I came up with a few thoughts. Looking at the negative side, it can be a good reason that we dive headfirst into the dark ravine of love because we are just a bunch of walking masochist crazy enough to leap without looking and estimating. On a more positive light, love is blissful, something more than just pain and suffering and something deeper than just a feeling.

Love had caused a bunch of mix-ups for the whole humanity. Because of pop culture and destructive media, especially those ideals introduced by Western culture, it felt that the purest essence of love is already disposed eons ago and replaced by unending sequels of love-gone-wild by the minute. At this moment, it is never hard to mistake like, lust and obsession for love, never hard to fall for the wrong individual and never a nuisance to say that you love a person. On the other hand, it is never easy to mistake the purity of love, never easy to find another individual who is solely meant for each one of us and undoubtedly tedious and courageous to say that you love a person and stick to it till death does he part from that person he claims to be his other half. I, myself, have a handful of love stories to tell. These stories are merely obtained from unlimited forms of media spread across the globe and from those credible people I mentioned before who came from different walks of life, willing enough to give me tidbits and learned lessons from their battle through love. All from someone else but never mine. For although I am already very much equipped to write my own, words are still floating above my head, teasing me, waiting to be picked up and be written as that part of my well being unfold in the right time, eventually reaching that point when neither unlimited supply of ink cartridges and reams of bond paper, nor words, symbols, a thousand more exclamation points and punctuation marks and a perfectly functioning emotional photographic memory could ever suffice on concretizing each and every single drop of bliss and sweetness that can be felt and extracted from the entire duration of the fall; taking off and landing included.

 

July 26, 2009. Written by Lav Acacio.

With Great Power Comes Greater Responsibility

With the current success of my board examination, I always am finding myself hearing this question:

"What are your plans now that you are an engineer?"

The impact of the question hit me as one of my bosses asked me this. To tell you the truth, the question did not surprised me. What surprised me more is the fact that while pondering and finding the right answer to the question, I could probably say now that I have never been this lost before. Do not get me wrong, I do have plans, but I have not been briefed about the fact that choosing what path you want to take is harder as compared to never having a plan at all.

It kind of feels like standing in an intersection but only worse.

I am more than happy to have reached this point. More than happy that He had helped me through it all. I am constantly thinking that this is it! The starting point of my career. The beginning of it all. The moment I have long been waiting for. However, it seems like all my plans had been tangled by my happiness and gratitude for all of this. Having a great title written before your name is more than just glamour and popularity. It is the fruit of your labor. The indication of a good life ahead of you. And in turn stands as a suggestion that a greater responsibility is being bestowed upon you. Great power does really imply a greater responsibility. But I am happy to know that the world is giving me its trust to do my part.

Maybe now, I am still boggled by all of this but I strongly believe that my life is constantly unfolding according to His plans. I'll just have to work and wait for it.

 

April 29, 2009. Written by Lav Acacio.

Tangle

Floating in a distance

Alone, hesitant to drift apart from loneliness

Sadness and longing that vacuum the depths of my soul

The want to be freed, the inner me that clashes with gravity

I was grabbed by a figure

Distant at first but space become vague by the second

Opposite poles of an overrated magnet

Possesses an unknown reason of attraction

At last I have fallen

I have felt but denied it

Denied it and felt it bloom more than ever

Felt it but left it unrecognized

Until that day when it could not anymore be contained

I recognized it, felt the purity of it

The joy of accepting it

In a split second, I can say that we were both in it

Embracing it, wanting to keep it

Which marked the downfall of it all

The gradual hurtful glare of the moment gone

Flew away we did we from the feeling

I am still here, physically close to you

Feeling more alone and hopeful than ever

Floating a mile away from our lost haven

Keeping my rightful distance

But not forever.

 

September 2008. Written by Lav Acacio.

Final

Walking alone on that jagged road

Listening to the sounds of the nearby horns

Loving life as it come and go

But then you have popped out of nowhere and now I am torn.

Though you have been there all along

Did not have a proper conversation with you

And I am fed up with mere glances at your way

Have to grab this chance now or wait till never.

Walking alone with the lamp posts on

Thinking about things that I used to care for

Catching a glimpse of that familiar pose

My mind dropped the song I cannot seem to leave on.

Though desire touched my soul

Reason tend to battle with this intuition, letting go

Breath was caught but I am still searching for my voice

Have to close this heart now and wait till never.

Infatuation, the gap is now moving to the other side 

Pretend to move on as he keeps on focused at the end

Travelling that bend.

Now the moment had been gone

Memories built up but that affection now torn down

Walking past that one who has nearly broke my heart

Have to rend his place now, do wait for better.

Last glance, but you are not gone

Last glance, you are looking back at me with yearning

But I am done, now I am done.

 

December 2007. Written by Lav Acacio.