Personal Tales

These posts really happened. They really, REALLY did.

How to Start Your Day

I woke up at 5 AM with a nasty rumbling in my tummy.   I get up and follow what natural biological processes dictate. It looks like it is time for some drugs again. This is definitely not the way to start my day. I go back to bed only to get up more than twice because of the same thing.

Around 7:30 AM I start sending text messages to my team and colleagues,”I cannot make it today.” Honestly, that is something as rare as lightning hitting a human being more than twice (except for this sad chap). This is far from my usual morning.

The usual morning would be:

  1. Open eyes, shut off the alarm 6:30 AM
  2. Get up 6:45 AM
  3. Drink a glass of water. I read that it is supposed to be good for you.
  4. Do my morning exercises (yes, I do)
  5. Take a shower
  6. Get dressed for work
  7. Have a bite to eat and run out of the door to avoid coming in late for work.
  8. Repeat same process next day

That sounds like the life of a typical worker, no BS in the morning. Sometimes, I like to believe that I have matured this much.

At around 8:30 AM, I asked one of my teammates if she was already in the office. She said that she was already on her way. Knowing that she lives  less than half a kilometer away from the office, I just thought: What a good little growing girl she truly is!

…and then she sent me this message:

“Ginising ako ni ______ ng 6am. Bangon ng 6:30, ligo. Luto. Hugas ng pinggan. Plantsa. Kilay. Hahaha”

Here’s the whole routine:

  1. 6 AM – boyfriend wake-up call
  2. 6:30 AM – actual wake up time
  3. Take a bath
  4. Cook (breakfast or lunch pack)
  5. Do dishes
  6. Iron office clothes
  7. Do eyebrows (magkilay)
  8. Repeat the same thing the next day (maybe except on Sundays)

Wow! I guess that’s the true power of a goal-oriented millennial. Do all of that under two hours, with ironing and “kilay” to boot.



The Trouble with Words is…

…once  they leave your mouth, there is no real retraction. Once you click on send, your words end up being read (or ignored). Most often, words behave like homing pigeons, or worse, they behave like missiles that home in on (un)intended targets either bringing an explosion of laughter or numbing sadness.

Yes, messages can be misunderstood and can even be fatal.

The Holy Week That Was or a Pre-workweek Warm Up on an Easter Sunday in the Philippines

Holy Week, Batman! It’s Easter Sunday!

I’m trying to restart my brain for the coming workday. No cold starts, please. I might as well warm up the old brain here. I’m no saint when it comes to coming back to work after an almost week-long layoff.

In the Philippines, the Holy Week that caps off the Lenten Season is either a:

Option A. “Holy” Vacation for Catholics. Holy Week + Travel to Province + Family Reunion or Staycation + Holy Week.  Most likely, there’s a Visita Iglesia squeezed in. Hmm, a mix of reflection and reunion.

Option B.  A real Holy Week for Devout Catholics. Some even have themselves nailed on a cross. (Which is actually a good way to cure mobile phone addiction– “I can’t come to the phone right now. I’m nailed on a cross” voice mail message sounds good).

Option C. Vacation/ Party Season for Non-Catholics (NCs) and Non-Practicing Catholics (NPCs) a.k.a. beach/ resort time. 

Having been raised as a Catholic, I distinctly remember Holy Week during my childhood as being spent in either our house in Metro Manila, or our clan’s official home in Zambales (I forgot if it was an aunt’s or one of my abuelas who owned it), or my grandfather’s home in the Bicol Region. I remember Holy Week to be extremely quiet. Once the Holy Week started there was nothing on TV. Even the radio went dead. It was silent torture for a boy who craved entertainment. At least it was a chance to bond with cousins, play on the streets with friends, occasionally climb trees, watch processions, and an occasional trip to the river. Boy, it was that boring! 😛 This was in the 80s. There was no internet.

Other memories include my dad making sure that entertainment was a regular showing of Cecil B Demille’s Ten Commandments or Ben Hur over at the next door neighbor’s house. Hey, at least there was an option. I remember getting excited by the parting of the Red Sea or probably ignoring 3/4 of Ben Hur. I remember the strict implementation of the Catholic no-meat policy for meals. I remember sitting through a meal of salted codfish that was too salty. That one’s etched firmly in my tongue’s memory.

Today’s Lent and Holy Week observance in the Philippines seems to have evolved into a mutated version of what I grew up with. Rules have relaxed a bit. I’m not complaining. I will always love my neighbor no matter what rules come out. How has my Holy Week evolved?

Monday to Wednesday seemed like normal workdays that seemed to last forever and had a Friday-ish or Saturday-ish feel. People were almost about ready to jump out of their chairs and out of the office door for a vacation. I didn’t have an issue and just kept on working. I know that I’ll be staying in Metro Manila anyway. No need to rush to a bus station or to the airport.

Thursday came and implementation of my Holy Week plan:  bonding with my family by visiting the old churches in nearby Laguna. For this trip, I decided to enter Laguna via  the back route–the more scenic Rizal route. We were able to visit seven churches in seven towns:

  1. Pakil
  2. Paete
  3. Pagsanjan
  4. Sta. Cruz
  5. Nagcarlan
  6. Liliw
  7. Magdalena

I’ll just list that down for reference. No pictures today. Hmm, I remember I hardly ever post photos. LOL. Anyway, the missus and the kids seemed happy that day. I’ll give myself a pat on the back. Congratulations, Brian. Spiritual and family objectives were met in one trip. This was one trip that I wanted to go on. It isn’t every day that I can get to see several holy houses of God in one day. It’s my own little way of saying thank you for keeping me focused every day.

Anyway, aside from the reflection and travel to different churches, we had nothing else to do on Good Friday. The missus and I ended up cooking a small no-meat feast, That reminds me, we  ought to fast in the coming years. Since both of us can cook, abstaining from meat is not a hindrance to eating more than a small helping.

With the cooking part over, I decided to sit down and catch up on some old movies and some TV shows. After two days of doing that, I realized that I sat down and sat through a staggering body count. That’s after a marathon session of sitting through all of the Hobbit movies (death of countless humans, orcs, goblins, and trolls), all current episodes of The Following (there’s currently six episodes with a minimum of three victims per episode). To cap it off, there were the innumerable soldiers that couldn’t shoot straight that died in Expendables 3 and all of the Cowboys that Wyatt Earp allegedly shot down in Tombstone (yes, the Kurt Russell movie).

Well, today is Easter Sunday. It’s the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus. I can say that I am recharged. I just hope my brain wakes up in time for Monday. Godspeed to me.

On Sundays

On the seventh day God decided to take his break.  After that, it pretty much became automatic for the rest of the world. I think most people really decide to slow down every Sunday.  Depending on what one practices, a typical Sunday would be church followed by a great family lunch, a little bit of chores.  Evenings would be capped off with a great family dinner, sometimes with an optional trip to the movie theater for another round of bonding. There’s optional dessert and a mandatory blood sugar test the following Monday.

I really appreciate weekends since it is the time when my taste buds take a break from my cooking; everything my wife decides to cook become heavenly tasting. On Sundays, I sometimes take a break from taking a break and just play around with ingredients in the kitchen. Sundays are a time for experimentation on culinary delights that are not too complicated, just simple and clean flavors. It is the time when I test drive a recipe and make my family hostages guinea pigs around the table. The important thing for me is that everyone is present, from the wife, the kids, and even the two stray cats.

Sundays are a best reserved for recharging oneself.  It is that day when you can brush a lot of things off from your stress-filled plate.  To do otherwise is simply counterproductive. 

Everybody deserves a blissful Sunday.

Rubber Bands, Relationships and Loving Thyself

A friend of mine mentioned to me that he had been encountering some relationship issues.  He said that he feels that that partnership is almost stretched like a rubber band near its breaking point.  I only hope that he and his partner snap back to normal, instead of hurtling towards opposite directions, much like in a tug-of-war with the rope breaking in the middle.

My general advice on making decisions — don’t make any hasty decisions while you are in an emotionally charged state or running on an empty stomach.  The “or” part comes in handy during trips to the supermarket.

Another friend mentioned to me that a person should learn to love oneself, as well, to be more effective in a relationship.  Yeah, I think a firm appreciation of the “self” tends to make one less needy of the other person.  Imagine the lunacy of having another person “completing” the other.  So, what happens when one isn’t intimately with another person?  Does that mean one is condemned to eternal misery?

Well, to that I say blessed are the narcissists.  And to that I say, blessed are narcissists with split personalities for they can have affairs with themselves.  And to that I say, blessed are the narcissistic human contortionists with split personalities for they can reach those spots no one would dare think of reaching.

And to that, my friend said she’ll practice more yoga.