Roots

Before finishing my college degree, I have had some pit stops along the race. Two semesters, a total of one school year that I chose to let go and pass. It was a sound decision I made to ease some financial stretch for the family. My elder brother was due to graduate of his degree in one year after I started my college. We both attended the same university.

I didn’t take a leave of absence at my university. I didn’t even notify my business course department. Freshman as I was, the innocence of running aground with my course department leave past me. New friends, new environment was a battle ground for me. None of my high school classmates more so friends decided to study at the university much take the same business course.

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The first semester that I stopped was the second half of my freshman year. I told Mother that I am taking the back seat to give way to our elder brother. The expenses were evident and instant so it would be difficult to sustain our every day living as students if both of us were attending.

I was seventeen years old. I thought of working part-time and still attend college even for a limited units of subjects. Mother discounted the idea of it. She iterated that I might not finish my degree and my tendencies to never come back home. I knew of her saying this again when I stopped for one semester during my junior year. Discoursing my thoughts with her to consider and change her saying no went up one time.

Still it was a no for her. After hearing her stern, calm voice I let my wings down. I was thinking what really made her to say no. After, I thought maybe it has something to do with me saying once while in an emotionally vulnerable state that, “I don’t want to stay in this house, in this place anymore.

This house, this place I was referring to is our home, our hometown. The home, the hometown where we grew up and continue to live until today.

Detaching and separating myself from this place sometimes pass the back of my mind up to this day. But I just can’t. Mama fuels, inspires our dreams. Mama is home.

 

 

Renaissance

The quietness of my activity on this sphere is because of Instagram. The platform is a mine of all sorts. A simulacrum about life in general, I may say. My interest in this social media took off 3 years ago sharing a selfie as my first post. I was skeptic really of making, trying to keep this account active in the long run. What makes me skeptic is of my online presence. Maybe I’ve watched too much of Enemy of the State reruns in our cable TV, that’s why a stir of paranoia also hangs in the air.

Inasmuch I try to limit the breadth of my online presence. I’m talking about having accounts from other forms of social medias, chat apps, online music and video streaming sites. Aside from the paranoia, the mere memory of keeping your usernames and passwords get the best of me. It sucks when even for a couple of weeks you haven’t signed in, trying to remember it is enough to turn your brain upside down.

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Boracay Island, Philippines

Since last week I have been sharing these photos I took between 2013 and 2014. The time I was having this urge to go somewhere. Bonus was I got to spend some of these favorite adventures with friends and family. Capturing landscape and seascape reflected on my point and shoot camera and to memory as well.

My Instagram game is now fueled because of my elder brother. He sent his old smartphone home. It was in dire need of reviving. Something about it not turning on when one day he was using it. Out of his frustration and the lack of time to reboot, flash, root and all the possibilities of gadgetry magic, he sent it back here. He talked over our third brother to do all these tricks and crossed fingers that it may breathe back into the world of gadgetry. In no less than two days, the phone was lit.

Elder bro then Skype-d me enthroning me his, this smartphone. He added that I have a dope phone now once I start with my new job. I told him no. It just won’t be the case because I might end up being robbed. Well, I am being realistic here. Being guarded and cautious is what I have to deal with in the urban area where I will soon work. I only prayed that the new president’s will to combat crimes and enforce security will be apparent.

So I have this new old smartphone now. And what to do?

 

My bestfriend a.k.a. Twin S, talked about setting up our own coffee shop or cafe restaurant. We would be partners along with some other close friends. Dreaming of what our future cafe would look like I told her about pictures I searched and looked in Instagram. I was inspired by our dream to delve more into some interiors we might consider having in the cafe. A book shelving slash book nook inspired spot for our book lover customers. Or maybe a contemporary spot peppered with some magazines and arts for those who aren’t into books.

I too shared to her and to my elder brother the dream of developing an estate of my maternal grandmother. Mother owns a piece of it sharing it with her six brothers. I dream of building an eco-hostel. A sustainable farm resort where guests get to farm and be involved with the community and impart something. The idea of having, taking your vacation with a purpose.

 

This is how I am having my smartphone now. My skepticism and bits of paranoia sit on the curb while I continue to be inspired. And dream on.

 

 

 

What Do You Want?

 

I realized that as we grow and expand our lives towards career, family and relationships sometimes over time we become restrained with how we deal with each other given the close friendship that we have. I understand too that unsolicited advise comes down the drain easily. Maybe it’s a part of us maturing and there are things that we need to do just on our own.

It is a fight we need to face with strength and confidence. I wish you luck and pray for your wins always.

— An excerpt of my unsent letter to a friend last 2013

 

I can still remember how I felt writing that letter. It was good. I was in my most sensible state. Part of that letter spoke my honest thoughts. Some parts were all about making things better. Not that it is but some more than parts of it. I wrote it to be opened on Christmas Day of that year. Same with this.

This is my unsent letter part two. But I choose not to put a banner of it. Neither publish the whole letter here. It is something I continue to reread every time I would come across it. It is inserted in my journal so the frequency of seeing it is high as I tend to skim through the pages when I feel like to.

My letter is light in tone. It is full of hope, well wishing, and love for our friendship.

It feels quite different from where we are right now. When I try to look back, everything is different. So much have changed. While change is inevitable it compromised the foundation of friendship where we stand now. Now. I can be more than sentimental about it because I just can’t help myself. We’ve threaded such a long line of friendship. The kind of friendship that you wish for a lifetime.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately of my unsettled thoughts about how this friendship stands now. It felt hollow and filled with pretense careful not to burst each of our protective bubbles. It is heavy at some points especially when you are trying to get rid of the annoyance. The tiny ticks seem to be magnified this time and that too isn’t doing any of us good.

Part of this unsettled thoughts is that the burden of response isn’t really on my shoulder. As much as I want to brush off the idea of awaiting what might be the response, it clouds my judgment to better our friendship. I wrote a lengthy letter after this unsent one. It bared everything and that one I can say was a cowardly move. I admit. But the timing isn’t favorable to have a talk.

I’m sorry. I wish I hadn’t sent it. Even trying to get it back was a worst idea.

 

So what do you really want?

 

 

The Sound of Silence

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Nanay with me

During the two months school break, this falls on April and May, we spend the last week of April staying with our maternal grandparents. Together with my three brothers we are in the company of our Tatay and Nanay sharing dinners and helping them with everyday household chores. And the dreaded limited TV time. It sucks but somewhat good for us.

Taking this one week vacation with them is more like taking volunteer work. Not that we are complaining or we do not want to be with our grandparents but young and carefree as we are back in those days we choose to spend our afternoons lounging or watching TV. If we are at their place during that week, we run for the clock. Every hour counts and we need to have something to do and be good at it.

Simple household chores make most of that to-do list. From making our beds the moment we woke up to sweeping the yard off with dead leaves in the late afternoon. In doing this, we have to observe silence and focus to doing it right. Nanay is strict and commands strong. Her voice alone makes us jump out of our seats or whatever we are doing. That’s the way she runs her household when we are there. But it is not really necessary because we are as reserved as Tatay. Maybe I got my reservations from him. Our parents made sure we behave well and respect elders. Thinking about it now, maybe Nanay just anticipated our rowdiness and tendencies to escape of her house to explore neighboring empty lots and mini jungle.

We grew up exposed to cemented roads, sparsely green public playground and uncomfortable mini park. Staying at our grandparents is our time to get to really take a walk under the trees along an empty dirt road. Running around and playing tag on an eerie lot lined with coconut trees and bamboos is all we do when it’s not too hot. We do this along with our cousins that lives there too.

I really enjoy this part of school break. I get to shout on top of my lungs with all the trees only staring at me. I am the weird nature loving kid. I can’t keep myself when I am outdoor. I touch the leaves. Hug the tree trunks. Pick some stones and throw it as far as I can. Get on top of those empty ant mounds and do a spread like an eagle with its wings open. Running along furrow after furrow without tripping. Just wanting to get some dirt on my feet and feel the warmth of the earth.

All of these we get to do when we’re finished with all the tasks. Nanay approves of it and would let us take the time out. Our mother gets to put off her parent hat during this time too. A short break when she returns home and be a doting daughter to her mother as well.

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Tatay with my cousin H

With all these gallivanting, Tatay is just reserved and nearby. I know he pretends looking at his carabaos but he is watching over us. He is such a quiet man. As I write this, imagining his voice and tone is lost in me. He speaks in low but round voice. Sometimes raspy at the end. His face stern at times but always kind in appearance. A memorable spot where we would gather around him when he is sitting on his rocking chair taking his time too.

Either one of us would sit on one of the arm rests or the rest of us would just sit on the ledge at the veranda. We do this late in the afternoons. I can’t remember what do we usually talk about. I was in third grade when he died and I can only remember so much of him.

With Nanay, we get to spend a little more time of her company. But I still miss them at their old house. The house as of today doesn’t feel like home anymore. It’s a dissonance of what it was like when they were still living but the memories and silence linger on.

 

It’s been a while since I got there.