Sunday, April 10, 2011

Today Is A Special Day

Actually, for the most part of my life, the first 15 days of April are some of the most special days of the year and are the days that I look forward to spending. If you have been reading this blog for quite sometime, you will know my recurrent references to summer, the sun, and the memories that I attach to them, whether joyful or the reverse.

Today is no exception. You see, a few weeks ago, I made a crucial decision to try an opportunity in a place that I have only been once. I know of no one in this place, nor do I have a fair idea of its ins and outs. All I know is that this place is bisected by a highway that is hardly lit at night. This place is so different from my home in Makati where I could just go out of the house at whim and feel safe even in the middle of the city.

Where I am

Not in here. Step gingerly out of this establishment at night and a provincial bus will likely crush my physical being into a horrendous mush. There are hardly any bars that play the music that I want. The nearest decent pizza place is, like, 30 minutes away. And since I do not have my own PC yet, I only get to go online at night, when no one is around, on a borrowed computer and borrowed connection. Ad infinitum. Alas. So different in here.

And yet, I am doing fine. For one, the food is fresh, the vegetables taste so good. The air is definitely cleaner. The people whom I am with are mostly nice, and I am still accorded my precious privacy, somehow. I get to eat more broccoli and cauliflower now more than ever. :)

It was, in so far as I regard it, a well-made decision. This is the change that I direly need.

Today, I had a good meal as usual. I had loads of mangoes and papaya that I eat with boiled purple yam (great combination!). I got to take a 20-minute joyride to the main city, my ride blazing the road that is flanked by green rice fields as far as my eyes can see. I gave the staff and my host some pizza. A little later on, we went to hear Sunday mass in a beautiful church that is more than a century old.

It has been a tradition among people here to make a wish when entering a church for the first time. In the church, the crowd was singing to a familiar religious tune, while birds kept on flying to and fro, darting through open doors and flying all around the place.

I made my wish...

Stepping out of the church, my mind was filled with earthly concerns, but was being consoled by a constant thought.

Today is a special day, as will be the rest of the days. I may not be immensely happy yet, but I am comforted, and that will be good enough for now.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Second Death Anniversary

Je A. Bautista (Jan 1, 1966 - April 4, 2009)
Tu me manque. Take care forever.

Nearly four years ago, I was doing my training in Hong Kong. Je came over for a 4-day stay with me. My senior was all too glad to give me the time to be with him. You see, I noticed that the Chinese, and the Asians in general, value family and relationships so much. Knowing that Je was very important to me, my gracious senior allowed me enough free time. Not wanting to take advantage of his kindness, I worked double time so that I can have enough time with Je without sacrificing the quality of my work.

Je was meaning to stay for just 3 days, but he extended. The 4 days of his visit were probably some of the best days of my life.

I documented his visit in a photoblog of sorts. At first, Je was hesitant to have his photos put up for the cyber-universe to see, but he eventually obliged. Please visit the site. I simply want to share what happiness meant to me in the not-so-distant yet very distant past.

It has always been said that we have to live in the here and now. True...but it is the past that make us into what we are, now. The past that has made us the better persons that we are now, is the past worth remembering.

Can you blame me when I say that somehow, I live in the past? It is so, because I want to live for the present, and the future.

Today, I go on. Here and now and forever.

Friday, April 1, 2011

My Newly Acquired Preoccupations: Bleach, Bulanglang, and Baker King (!)

Adapting to the rural life has made me look into things that I normally would have missed in the city where I lived for the most part of my life.

For instance, I get to eat some dishes that I will never get to taste in their freshest back in Manila. The vegetables and fruits here (oh well, here in Nueva Ecija - there, I finally revealed :P) are absolutely delicious and so fresh. If there is one single reason for me to want to stay put in this place (or in any other place outside the city for that matter), it would be food.

And since my nightlife is limited to staying indoors (no bars, no late-night spur-of-the-moment strolls etc etc), I get to reacquaint myself with the television. I am not exactly a TV person, getting impatient when I watch something that lasts more than 30 minutes, but recently I drew the line for a few shows.

My present preoccupations are those that I may not be busy with if I did not accede to the recent call of the countryside.

1. Bleach

Bleach, as in the anime. It is widely popular and I know about it, but never spent time watching it on the Animax channel. The preoccupation is mainly because - sigh - I miss watching animes like I used to when I was still a child.

2. Bulanglang

Bulanglang is an Ilokano dish made mainly out of vegetables. I was served bulanglang in the house of my host and I certainly appreciate that the food here is fresh and delicious. Recipes can be found here and here. Photo from this site.

3. (The) Baker King

I have been telling people that The Baker King, the popular Korean telenovela that was initially shown in South Korea during the latter part of 2010 and is presently being shown here in the Philippines, is my biggest guilty pleasure in recent memory. Why, I never even followed a single Korean drama series - until now. That this drama series is about the joys of baking is enough to make me sit up and pay attention. The storyline is likewise engaging. Check out this site...and sue me if you must, but there you are, I just got hooked.

Perhaps I will find out more new things as I go along. If I do, I will gladly share in the days to come. :)