Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A Message from the Subconscious

Hello guys! And by ‘guys’, I meant my 3 loyal followers – me, my girlfriend, and my dog. Except that I don’t have a dog. Anyway, it’s been a couple of years since I posted my last entry on this blog. What happened? Well, let’s just say, life happened. The last few years hadn’t exactly been easy. In such a relatively short period of time, numerous things have happened. And no, I’m not married yet.

So, what have I been up to?

For one, I’m still writing. But not for personal consumption – as much I’d want to. I had been part of an agency which listed me as their primary commodity. No, not prostitution. I’m sexier than that. But very similar – except that it’s more cutthroat and exciting. It’s an online marketing company. I was there for a year, decided to leave, formed my own, and here I am – unable to breathe with mountainous work piled up to my neck.

But where’s the fun in that, you might ask. Well, there’s absolutely no fun in that. At least not yet. I’m still struggling to remain afloat and thrive in an industry that puts a premium on your portfolio rather than what you can actually put on the table. “Show me your previous work first, and I’ll decide if you’re worth listening to.” Yup, that.

Oh, and I’ve been traveling. Not because I choose to, but I had to. I take vacations here and there, but it's work for the most part. So.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Going from Purple to Bald, Part Three

endometrial cancer philippines
(Read Part Two HERE)

Except for the occasional bandana tugging, Mom was motionless for the most part of the 10-minute trip. I attempted to strike a conversation with her a couple of times, but she just wouldn’t budge. All she could afford was the sporadic Mmm’s and Yeah’s. She wasn’t the bubbly, chatty personality that everyone knew. She loved life and lived life to the fullest. But at that moment, it seemed as if life had completely been drained from her.

The sun finally peered through the clouds when we arrived at our compound. My brother was the first one to alight the vehicle and made his way to where my Mom was seated. Understandably, it took some time before she could get off. And when it was finally empty, I remained inside the car and tried to take everything in.

It was so surreal, like watching your life unravel before your eyes. Before I boarded the plane, Mom was in her usual self, sending me the usual affectionate messages. But the moment I got here, everything changed; like someone switched the mode from colored to black and white.

I tried to stifle my screams, but a few tears still managed to escape from my eyes. I couldn’t shake the feeling how unfair this whole thing was – unfair for her and for us.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Going from Purple to Bald, Part Two

(Read Part One Here)

Hi, how are you?” The flight attendant greeted me. I gave a reluctant smile without looking at her. But I answered her … in my head.

Well, let’s see, Miss. I’m going home to see my mother whom I haven’t seen for months. She’s bald now, and she needs me. No, it wasn’t her choice – it just is. And when I asked her want she wanted for pasalubong, she didn’t ask for the usual which includes – but not limited to – bags or shoes. Instead, she wants a bandana … with shiny stones and beads! How cool is that? Oh yeah, she has Cancer. So, does that answer your question?

I went straight to my seat, put my earphones on, and waited for the announcement to turn all electronic devices off. I took the Jessica Zafra book out from my bag, and although I have read the book one too many times already, I purposely packed it because I know it’s going to be a long flight, and I could use a laugh or two. The flight generally takes about an hour and a half, but due to the bittersweet nature of my trip, I know that it’s going to be a very long one.

endometrial cancer philippines
When the number of boarding passengers began to thin out, I sent a text again. “Switching my phone off in a bit. Love you!” And right before I could turn it off, my phone beeped. “Can’t wait. We’ll be waiting. Love you, nak!

How are you, the question from the flight attendant echoed in my mind. How am I? I didn’t know how I could possibly begin to find the answer. I’d like to say that I’m fine, but that’s the most overused lie, second only to I’m on my way. So, I let the question hang in air as the plane taxied on the runway. I’ll check back on it once the plane lands. By the way, it was such a beautiful day, it was ironic.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Going from Purple to Bald

endometrial cancer
Do not cry in front of Mama when you see her. She just can’t have that.” I read a text from my sister while I was at the departure area, waiting for my flight home to see my mother. “She doesn’t have hair. And she’s lost a lot of weight. She might try to ignore you at first but just maintain the usual banter you and Mom would do every time she’d fetch you at the airport,” the text briefing from my sister continued.

It would be the first time that I’d see her post chemotherapy,and my family members made sure that I understood the situation. “No crying, please. You need you to be strong. You have to be strong for Mama.

Amidst the flurry of people, the frenzied pace, and the raucous clatter, I sat there staring blankly onto space not knowing what to do or how to react. With my back pack on one side, I clutched my phone lightly against my chest. I felt my heartbeat racing as tears welled up in both eyes.

I reviewed the message for the nth time – maintain the usual banter. I quickly stashed the phone inside my bag and tried to focus my thoughts on more positive things; like the appreciative look the cab driver gave me when I tipped him for getting me to the airport as fast as he could, like how I remembered to pack all the essentials, and like how I managed to arrive at the airport two hours before my flight.

endometrial cancer
However, it proved to be of little or no help at all as everything that I could think of would always lead me to thoughts of her.

How hard is it to give people a little extra something whenever they did a good job?” She always wanted me to tip. And she always wished I’d stop procrastinating, because according to her, cramming would almost always end up with a shoddy and haphazard output. “You could do more if you’re not cramming, you know, like packing the night before the flight.” And she always wanted me to arrive at the airport as soon as the check-in counters open for “good seats and a buffer for unforeseen delays.” I focused on other things but my thoughts were always punctuated with me thinking about her more.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Top 10 Things to Do in Dipolog City

Top 10 Things to do in Dipolog City
Located on the western part of Mindanao, Dipolog City – dubbed as the Orchid City – is a surprising mix of the antiquated and the contemporary, of the quaint and the urbane, and of the peculiar and the generic. And although it still exudes that charming provincial vibe, Dipolog City is by no means your archetypal provincial capital. (Image: DipologCity.Gov)

Zamboanga del Norte's seat of power may still not be at a stage where I can compete with the heavyweights like Cebu, Davao, or Cagayan de Oro. In fact, people would sometimes frown on Dipolog and depict it as being no more than a ‘transit town’ to other parts of the island; it is, after all, the gateway to Western Mindanao. But the city deserves more than a second look. And with the numerous things that’s brewing up around the city, it wouldn’t be too far before we would see Dipolog battling it out for tourism and economic supremacy with its more affluent neighbors.

More than the uncomplicated lifestyle and the laidback atmosphere, the real jewel of Dipolog is its people – the Dipolognons. And although the Dipolog that we know today is a far cry from the sleepy town that it once was, Dipolognons have managed to preserve the unhurried pace and the unpretentious charisma that endear the city to locals and tourists alike. And coupled with the flexing of its tourism and economic muscles brought about by the influx of visitors and the resurgence of businesses, Dipolog is one of the most attractive places to visit – both for business and for the pleasure.

Here’s my list of the Top 10 Things to Do in Dipolog City. And because I believe that it order to fully appreciate the beauty of a place, every tourist has to experience the many simple things that Dipolog has to offer.

Halloween Trivia and Fun Facts

HAPPY HALLOWEEN EVERYONE! And since I already got my hands full with everything that's gotta do with Halloween, allow me to just re-post an article on Halloween Facts and Trivia that I found very entertaining. Enjoy! And Happy Trick-or-Treating!

Halloween Trivia and Fun Facts

Because of the unknown, Halloween is the one of the most captivating holidays, often celebrated by both adults and children. The element of surprise makes it fun and unpredictable. Enlighten yourself with Halloween trivia and fun facts to enjoy the holiday even more. Take the trivia and make a quiz for your next party!

Halloween Holiday Trivia  
  • Orange and black are Halloween colors because orange is associated with the Fall harvest and black is associated with darkness and death.
  • Jack o’ Lanterns originated in Ireland where people placed candles in hollowed-out turnips to keep away spirits and ghosts on the Samhain holiday.
  • Pumpkins also come in white, blue and green. Great for unique monster carvings.
  • Halloween was brought to North America by immigrants from Europe who would celebrate the harvest around a bonfire, share ghost stories, sing, dance and tell fortunes.
  • Tootsie Rolls were the first wrapped penny candy in America.
  • The ancient Celts thought that spirits and ghosts roamed the countryside on Halloween night. They began wearing masks and costumes to avoid being recognized as human.
  • Halloween candy sales average about 2 billion dollars annually in the United States.
  • Chocolate candy bars top the list as the most popular candy for trick-or-treaters with Snickers #1.
  • Halloween is the 2nd most commercially successful holiday, with Christmas being the first.
  • Bobbing for apples is thought to have originated from the roman harvest festival that honors Pamona, the goddess of fruit trees.
  • Black cats were once believed to be witch's familiars who protected their powers.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Staring Cancer in the Face

I’m not an expert on Cancer. In fact, I am far from being one. I am just a son who lost his mother to Endometrial Cancer, and I am hoping that less family will have to experience what my mother and my family had gone through in the course of my mom's year-long battle with the big C. Mom was the first cancer patient in the family - and definitely will be the last!

A couple of weeks ago, I posted an entry about my Mom’s battle with Endometrial Cancer. It was just one of those posts that I occasionally churn out in hopes of getting people to notice something. I blogged about how wonderful my mom was and how na├»ve I was about Endometrial Cancer. Heck, I didn’t know what an ‘endometrium’ was.

As soon as the post went live, I invited some friends to read it and I subsequently decided to go on with my daily routine. A few days after that, someone named Kaz commented on the post and an emotional light bulb exploded. It turns out Kaz is one of the amazing women behind Womb Cancer Support UK. And after a few correspondences with her and her comrade Debbie, I knew that I have to do something myself.

To tell you the truth, like most people (my age) that I talked to, I was clueless. I didn’t know where to begin or where to start. I realized afterwards that I don’t need to be an expert on Endometrial Cancer. Otherwise, I could just go back to school and study Oncology. We don’t need to be experts. We just need to be aware that Endometrial Cancer exists and that it kills people. Awareness drives us to take action, to take the first step, to know the risk factors and symptoms of Endometrial Cancer, and to educate ourselves on how we can cope if one of our family members is at risk or is battling this disease.

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