> For The Love Of My Cousin 05

Given The Chance, Would You Still Want To Be Born A Filipino Or Of Another Nationality?

I don’t think I still have to be asked this question but since it’s here already, I’ll do my best to give a rational answer.

I’m really proud to be Filipino.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.  When I was a kid, though, I didn’t have this same perspective.I have always wanted to be like the Americans. Coming from a province where foreigners are a usual scene, I dreamt of being like them. They can buy whatever they want, with the perfect tone of voice, the accent, the height, the nose, the skin tone.  

Today, I am so happy, so thankful, and so enriched for being Filipino. Especially how we showed respect to Cory the time she passed away, I can really say that I wouldn’t want to be born again and wake up not to be a Filipino anymore. 

I was given the time to reflect and came to the realization that I am a Filipino and will always want to be one. Our culture is rich with people who love, care, and fight for their rights to be heard, acknowledged, and appreciated.  Foreigners often say that the Filipino is hospitable, humble, loves to have a good time, and really talented.

I love our beautiful language, lifestyle, customs, people, and country.  Even if in the future I’ll be in another country, my heart will always be in the Philippines. 

From Lea Salonga to APL of Black Eyed Peas, to Manny Pacquiao to Charice Pempengco, we are representing the beauty of Filipinos to the world.  But we don’t have to be famous! Morena, Chinita, Mestiza, whatever!  Let’s be proud to stand for our country, our culture, and our people. Not just today, but everyday! 

I’m not saying that speaking foreign languages, flying to other countries, and learning from other people is a bad thing. It’s one of our biggest assets: how easily we can communicate, relate, and adapt to other cultures, especially since the advent of globalization.

But we’re also urgently in need of finding our true identity. And until we do, we’ll be perpetually stuck trying to fit into governmental and societal structures handed down to us by our colonial captors. Until we figure out a system of living that will truly work for us, especially in this modern age, our society will remain just as dysfunctional as it has been for the longest time, with most of our fresh and highly educated graduates trying hard to ease into fake, second-rate American accents in order to get by.

Being exposed to different nationalities, I began to understand that perhaps the real problem why some don’t wish to be a filipino anymore lies not in how we’ve been falling short of certain standards, but in how we still knock ourselves out trying to be something that we’re not. And the lost of love for the country God has gifted us with.
For the most part of my life, I’ve been guilty of having (and denying) a colonial mindset. But I don’t blame myself for it because as a young and eager-to-learn student, it was all I was made to understand. The concept of being proudly Filipino was taught to us in abstract and vague terms. We never really knew what to be proud of.

 

Advertisements

> For The Love Of My Cousin 04

Things You Wish To Change From Your Past

I already have encountered the same question once. The person [which I will call Sneaky] wanted to know if I am contented with my current situation and, if I were to live my life all over again, would I choose to do things differently so that I could be in a better or different place? My answer was, emphatically, that I would not change anything.

First. poor choices have helped build my character.
The choices I’ve made in life are behind me and I don’t want to waste time regretting any of them. Do I think I made poor choices at times? Of course I do, but hey, that’s what happened. Some of my choices may have landed me in unpleasant circumstances, but experiencing these things certainly built my current character. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for those character-building situations. Take any of those choices out of the equation and I’d be an entirely different person. I don’t want to be another person, I like my person.

It became clear to me that Sneaky, who is privy to some of my personal history, could not relate to my choices and was curious as to how I felt about them. I felt like I was under a microscope and being examined through the eyes of a careless, meddling, critic. I may have been reading Sneaky all wrong, but it felt as if this person viewed my life as having little significance and absolutely nothing worthwhile to embrace. Sneaky acted greatly surprised when I told her I was very content with my life and would not do anything different, if given the opportunity.

It irked me that she was looking at me with a critical point of view. Basically I sensed that she was flabbergasted with my response. My eyes focused upon her face and saw a look that asked “How could you possibly be okay with the status quo?” Perhaps her astonishment to my answer revealed more about how she felt about herself than how she felt about me. I wondered if perhaps she might actually be harboring regrets from her own past and simply assumed that everyone else would also.

Few days have gone by and I’ve had more time to reflect, not on her question, but on my reaction to her question, I realize that I may not be entirely “okay” with how things are with me and my life in general.

I’m certainly not happy when others look at me with critical intention. And although, intellectually, I know that I have no control over the way others view me, I can still get caught up in that old trap of wanting everyone to look favorably at me. As a child it was very important for me to have others think well of me. I took some hard knocks emotionally whenever I realized that someone didn’t desire me as their friend. Ouch! I eventually learned that it was okay if someone didn’t particularly care for me. I came to this realization only after I thought about certain children among my peers in my grade school classes whose personalities I didn’t care for. If it was okay for me not to like everyone, then I certainly could not expect everyone to care for me. I came to the conclusion that it was okay not to be liked by everyone. You’re okay. I’m okay. We don’t have to be friends for us all to be okay.

Life has a way of recycling it’s lessons to make sure we have learned them thoroughly. The insecure child inside me does care what others think about her. “What’s not to like?” my inner child says to herself.

Here I am, a first year student of RTU, and the universe suddenly slaps me with a simple question that awakens in me the unnerving feeling that I need to reevaluate my current state of affairs for a second time. Am I truly walking the life I want?

Now, as I am faced with reevaluating my strong desire to be regarded favorably by others, I have come to realize that I am most comfortable when I am not being regarded at all by people, rather than being regarded unfavorably. “See me kindly or please don’t look at me” could easily be my motto. Unfortunately, we cannot all live under rocks and avoid uncomfortable confrontations. I must admit that this woman, who got under my skin with her rude questioning, actually offered me a gift. Now I get to look deeper inside and discover more about myself. Yes, that’s a gift. A valuable gift!

But, if you were to ask me the same questions: “Are you happy with your life?”, would you change anything or do anything different?”, no matter what the tone resounding in your voice, or intention revealed by your demeanor? My answer would be the same.

Yes, I love my current life. I would not change a single thing. I take responsibility for all my past choices and value them for the life lessons they offer. Naturally, I’m not finished evolving yet. My life is not at a standstill. I’m a work in progress, so please don’t stick a fork in me. I’m not quite done yet!
 

> For The Love Of My Cousin 03

Personal Qualities Worthy To Be Called His Creation.

Qualities I possess worthy to be called His creation? I can give two. And these will primarily deal with LOVE. The love for my Mother and the love ofr my physical appearance.

I was with my cousins malling one time when this mechanical lead vocalist introduced her next selection as a tribute to all the mothers out there, all the unsung heroes of the world, I smiled and decided to stay a little bit longer. She sung quite good songs and then I decided to leave. However, when I was about to take my steps away, she sung this song which until now I don’t know the title, “You’ll never know that you’re my hero….” As I listened to the song, I realized how I love my Mother and how I miss her.

When God decided to redeem the world to save us from our sins, He chose Mary to be His mother. It may sound a little bit argumentative especially for those who never had the same feelings towards Mary, but the fact that God is obviously the One who created all of us and does established Mary as just an instrument for His coming, we can never deny the fact that Jesus loves him as His true Mother. And I think that is one quality I possess worthy to be called His creation. I love my Mother so much and I will forever be thankful to God for such a wonderful gift.

We live in a time and age when most women have completely lost touch with reality as to what true beauty is. The media of this age has done a big job in distorting the perception of true beauty in women.

In the scriptures we are reapeatedly reminded that inner beauty is much more precious to God. But we cannot deny the fact that God gave us outward beauty. I believe God has also blessed women with outward beauty, Sarah and other holy women in the bible are examples of that. Sarah’s outward beauty was a blessing to Abraham. Nowadays we are so obsessed with fake beauty, that we have even forgotten that our natural beauty is a blessing to everyone. Songs of Solomon portrays that as well.

Am I saying it is a sin to change your physical appearance? Not necessarily. I honestly don’t know whether it’s a sin or not. I just can not see how this physical changes should come before God or ask Him why you were created ugly or at least the way some people put it. I can not speak for everyone, I cannot draw the line either. I do not want to come across as legalistic. But looking at the issue from my perspective, I see so much sin that surround the whole practice of making oneself different. Certainly God created us of his own image and does making us beautiful.

This love for my Mother and the way He created me certainly worth to be called His creation.

> For The Love Of My Cousin 02

Inspiring Story That Influenced Me [in this case, my cousin’s again]

Most of us have life mottos that we like to live by, a sort of inspiration to be that better person, or maybe just a motto to get us through everyday life or tough times. Great thinkers before us have shared inspirational stories to live by. You also have your own stories, everybody does, I do.

These stories of inspiration can take us many places. They can evoke in us an awakening to be a better person or enthuse a new direction in life; spark a change. They may help us get through times that seem like an unbearable slump we will never escape from or teach us to love, be happy with what we have, and just appreciate yourself and the earth that you came from. To be able to share a quote that you believe in, a quote that drives you and inspires positivity; to be able to share that with another person is something special, especially when it touches them in a way that births new thoughts or a new way of life.

I got these from my Kuya Al who has always been a person of words and opinions. I consulted him about a story that greatly affected or at least still affects his life. The question was then returned to me, “you tell me your inspring story”. I was dumbfounded, I didn’t know what to say. He then asked if I have watched Ruffa Guttieres when she joined the Ms. World. I said “No” and then he advised me to check it on YouTube and so I obliged.

Kuya made me read some of the important lines from the book. I have not been able to really read the whole book but promised myself to do so in the future. I was initially attracted to it by the simple but charming illustrations, and then got drawn into it further and further as Kuya told me more about it.

Although it’s really a book for children, the messages it gives are heartfelt and profound.

In one particular chapter, a fox comes across the Prince, and asks him to tame him. And he says this:

“You have hair like the color of gold. Think how wonderful that will be when you have tamed me! The grain, which is also golden, will bring me back the thought of you. And I shall love to listen to the wind in the wheat…”

Basically, that the wheat is just another object to the fox, but once he loves the Prince, he will love the wheat because it will remind him of the Prince. The things around us are mere things; what gives them meaning and sentiment to us is that they represent something or someone that we love. Isn’t that so?

And then we came to what my Kuya has been saying about Ruffa’s answer during the pageant.

“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

Ok, that made me realize a lot of things. I have heard of that saying, I just didn’t know it came from that story. I felt a sudden urge to really consider reading it as soon as possible. I have the Twilight Saga and the audio books from Kuya also but I think this one deserves more attention.

Other quotes that I liked from the book:

Grown-ups love figures. When you tell them that you have made a new friend, they never ask you any questions about essentail matters. They never say to you, “What does his voice sound like? What games does he love best? Does he collect butterflies?” Instead, they demand: “How old is he? How many brothers has he? How much does he weigh? How much money does his father make?” Only from these figures do they think they have learned anything about him.

“To me, you are still nothing more than a little boy who is just like a hundred thousand other little boys. And I have no need of you. And you, on your part, have no need of me. To you, I am nothing more than a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world. To you, I shall be unique in all the world…”

“All men have the stars,” he answered, “but they are not the same things for different people. For some, who are travellers, the stars are guides. For others they are no more than little lights in the sky. For others, who are scholars, they are problems. For my businessman they were wealth. But all the stars are silent. You–you alone–will have the stars as no one else has them–“

The book was published in 1943. I wonder what took me so long to find it.

You might wonder how the story inspired me. I may not have known the story before but the  the exact lines which Ruffa gave during the Ms. World pageant has always been my guiding light to journey this life. And I still am a follower of that.

> For The Love Of My Cousin 01

My cousin is a first year college student. She’s been into a lot of pressures I believe. Coming from a not-yet-that-developed-province,  I know the adjustments she had to deal with here in the big city.  Last week, she asked me to help her with some of her projects and so I obliged. Yes, without thinking.

Earlier, she sent me a message saying that she needs to pass the 5 essays tomorrow and I haven’t started anything yet. To cut the story short, the next 5 entries will be the essays I did for her. I apologize for the errors I can’t manage to check them anymore. I’m so tired and I still need to sleep. My cousin [right Bads?] from Singapore at the same time is asking a favor about the design of her new website. Scripting? Oh no!

A Symbol That Best Describes My Present Life [in this case, my cousins life]

I really thought this one will be an easy task. But, coming up with a personal symbol to represent my current state has proven otherwise. I tried to ask everybody in the household about their symbols. It has been fascinating to see what other people have chosen, a hummingbird, a yin-yang, a drop of water, a lotus blossom, a daisy, a crescent moon and why they chose those symbols.

It’s a fun, creative, and suprisingly thought-provoking exercise. I thought of impressing people. To be considered as a serious being, with depth and social class, I first thought of a book. Leatherbound, enticing, with slightly mysterious gilt letters on the spine. Beauty, intrigue, anticipation, delight. It’s all there. Just open the cover.

The quest for my life’s symbol has changed unexpectedly after few hours. It has been the owl, the butterfly, the ocean, the rising phoenix, a flower. Before I slept, I thought I’ll be firm with the dragonfly. A symbol of transformation, and more specifically, the colorful variety of dragonflies, as I found them in our front yard while I was still in Mindoro. I was intrigued by the fact that dragonflies are most commonly found near standing water, just like what we have on our front yard.

When it was time to put the thoughts into writings, I took time to really decipher my ownself. And there it was, my symbol is a tree. When I say “be a tree”, it instantly makes me feel connected, relaxed and present.

It came to me when I was thinking about how to make myself feel more grounded. It is something I think I have always struggled with and became more aware of in the past few years. I came from a family where in we can always speak our minds, share our views, speak of oneself. Most of the time, the conversation will turn into arguments and then my Mother will start her tirades and we will all end up laughing.  And so I think I want to be a tree. Yeah, I want trees. I love trees. I like how they are strong, how they change, how old they grow while bending and adjusting to the environment, living through the stormy and pleasant days, the textures, shapes and colors, how the branches look like hands and fingers outstretched open to the sky and earth… and most of all I love the roots – how they stabilize the rest of the tree, how deep they run and how strong they are – completely connected to the earth. The tree reminds me of the natural world of which I am an integral part.

I am a tree and instantly, I had a connection to it.

Next!