Thursday, April 30, 2009

Fragments & Scattered Thoughts

There are moments when I feel that life is quite hard....moment that I don't want to face the pain, loneliness and challenges of whatever it is I am feeling and going through.......

Life is meant to be lived to the fullest...... and a part of living this life is going through times or moments when, for whatever reason, we are going to be hurt, feel sad, lonely and confused.

It is at those times when reaching out to God, bonding with loving and supportive friends, giving, listening and accepting kind words from yourself and those who love you... recognizing the positive things and changes that you and others see in you that will help you get through those moments.

I always allow myself to feel the pain. I write or just sit and listen to my inner voice and ask myself "why am I feeling this sadness right now?" "why am I feeling lonely, alone and down?"

I always try to find the true and real answers as to why I am at a place where I am down, instead of reacting to it negatively...... I look for the love and strength inside myself that God has given to me to reach out so that it will carry me through.

Love is the greatest healing elixir. It is always there when we need it. It inspires me to recognize all the positive things in my life. It reminds me of the the best things in life: Breath in our nostrils, light in our eyes, flowers at our feet, love of our family and friends.

It is in those times that I know the Sun is shining. I lift my head.... I close my eyes.... I thank God.... I breathe in and fill my body with the gift of life that God has bestowed upon all of us. I Thank God for all the positive and good things and people that I can turn to and who turns to me for love and support.

A few of my friends have recently told me that they see a vibrant and new look on my face and a light in my eyes. When I hear those words, I feel like my soul and inner child are alive.

I know there is a new emergence of a woman that is being born.

A woman who has been in pain. A woman who constantly test her abilities to take care of those she loves. That woman is still there..... but the emerging woman that I am now coming into..... God is giving me the life and opportunities to allow changes to take place in my life and the gratefulness to embrace them.

Yes, the Sun is shining. I know that I can reach the top of the highest mountain. Though there will be times of challenge, moments of heartache and moments of wanting to give up.....I will remember to lift my head...close my grateful to God for every experience and everyone that has come, gone and still in my life... Grateful for all my blessings and that I'm alive and loved!!

Thank you for reading my thoughts and feelings. May it inspires you to keep going and growing forward with love in your life.

Peace and love to everyone...everywhere!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


My heart no longer beats the same
Although my lips still speak your name
Tears are not running down my face
Where once a kiss had left it’s trace.

I have walked the roads we used to wander
Trying to capture moments from times yonder
My hands are not bare without yours to hold
There is warmth and peace, bliss and freedom

I closed my eyes with thoughts of you
Passed by the roads where we built our dreams
The stars seem dim, there’s no moonbeams
Where once we danced in happiness & love
There is nothing but smoke & ashes of pain

My soul is soaring & dancing with joy
I kissed emptiness & sadness goodbye
All feeling's gone but I have no regrets
Our memories melted into liquid oblivion

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Bogey, Pars & Birdies

I am a very avid fan of golf. Back in the Philippines I used to play golf at least three times a week.

Four years ago, alone in my house in Cebu City, I recall sitting in front of the TV, wearing in my shorts, sipping a refreshing drink, watching the Masters. I have always found myself being strangely fascinated by the game. Until that point I had considered it a game for the rich, for guys only, well-to-do and young.

I decided to get of my lazy backside and have a go – is it as addictive as they say? Surely it can’t be that hard to knock a small white ball around a field of trees and sandpits!

So, without the first clue in what to do I went to the driving range nearest to my house. There were quite a lot of people that time so I watched a while and decided that I ought to get an equipment and ball before ‘wowing’ everyone with my natural skill.

I asked the staff in the pro shop to have a go on the driving range – the staff asked me how many balls I want, “Just the one I replied, “100 or 200? he asked “Oh I see, 100 I said feeling I’d soon get the grip of it. It was only as I left the shop I realized I’d forgotten something, so I returned. Have you got any iron sticks? I inquired.“You mean CLUBS." whatever was my reply. “1, 2,3,4,5,6,7,8, or 9?" he asked again. I was starting to wonder what the obsession was with having a lot of everything. Just 3 I answered.

So I walked out with my token, a 3-iron club and went to the range. I put the token in the machine and listened to it make all sorts of strange noises. Bang, gurgle, clunk and then 100 balls started shooting out.

It was only at that moment my hawk like vision spotted the baskets in the corner. 100balls continued to shoot out of the machine, over my feet and across the floor.

Half an hour later I had picked them up and went to a bay. I positioned myself between two gentlemen. Figuring they couldn’t be that good (gosh how I was wrong!). I put my ball on the tee and prepared to whack the ball as hard as I could. Having been into gym & being athletic for some years I figured I could do as anyone else.

However, due to the heat, the energy I’d expended collecting balls and the adrenaline – my hands were a bit sweaty. I swung. I looked up and watched my no 3 club flying 50 yards up the driving range, looking like a giant silver boomerang. It was only after I had to stop people from swinging while I walked in front of them to get it that I realized that golf is harder than it looks. It wasn’t exactly as easy as it looked on TV.

Because of the humiliation I brought to myself that day, I was more driven to learn to play golf well and hope that I would be good at it someday. I promised myself never to go hit ball again and humiliate myself like that. Few weeks later, I went home to Gensan and I decided to hire a golf pro in our area to help me with my new found passion. So I went to a golf clinic for a month and one day I told my golf pro Eddie that I want to go and play in the golf course. My first experience of the fairway was in June 3, 2005 in Dole Kalsangi Golf Club. I was so excited, my tee time was 6:30am and I was with my golf pro. I was dressed like a real golfer, had a new set of Callaway Golf clubs, new gold shoes and new golf shirt. In the Phil. you cannot play in any golf course without a caddy, the course management would not allow you to play without. My first caddy was Danny and since then became my regular caddy. I will never forget my score on my first round, it was 115 in a par 72! I was so frustrated because I felt I played terribly. My pro told me it was not a bad score for a first timer with only one month of golf lesson. Deep inside I desired to be good at this sport. Right after that round, I signed in a Golf membership @ Dole Kalsangi. It is an exclusive course and even if you can afford the fee, you cannot be a member without being sponsored by two of the executives of Dole Philippines. Friends in Dole sponsored me & my application was in process, in three days, I got my membership, I felt I was a real golfer...The rest became history. In less than two years I was able to lower my handicap from 32 to 15...Last year before I left, I was handicap 8, I traveled to different places in the Philippines to play in the tournaments. I was playing 70's and when my game was bad, it was between 80-85.

I learned that a good golf swing is a combination of many things - equipment, timing, delivery, precision, relaxation, grip, stance and the list goes on. I also learned later that when they come together it’s pure joy – when just one thing is out – it is frustrating. The rule is the same for anything - the right combination, in the right time leads to joy. Get it out of sync and it's painful.

Golf teaches me lots of lessons about life. Like fairways and bunkers of a golf course, in life we also encounter turning points, moments of trial when everything accomplished up till then falls away and everything we stand for and believe is summoned forth for thorough examination.

Life can be a fascinating mixture of extreme beauty (like fairways and greens)and crushing harshness (like the bunkers and hazards). I do not know if this is everyone's experience, but it has been for me a life of discovery and adversity, where love, success and beauty in all its forms have been a driving fervor.

Like playing golf I created a vision for my life and future. Creating a vision is difficult, but once you know what you want for your life, it sets a framework for everything you do. Your circumstances will never get you closer to your goal. Only your vision can guide you to get what you want.

I've overcome adversity by looking it full in the eyes and not showing my fear. I've told myself that I am better than that. As best as I could I wouldn't allow myself to have any negative feelings. For with these negative feelings come sadness and sorrow, out of bounds in golf. In any round of golf, it's okay if I bogey one hole, but I always aim at making par or birdie in the next hole.

Spring is here, I am excited to hit the fairways again and who knows, I might be in the bunker sometimes. It's okay, I know I will go through some periods where I am not at the top of my game. That doesn't mean that I am going to stay there; that just means that like anything else, it comes in cycles.

To me it really isn't what life throws at us that makes us who we are, but rather how we respond to life and the attitude we choose to carry with us. I am glad to be hooked to this game of golf. As my favorite and world's best golfer Tiger Woods said, "Golf has been good to me, but the lessons I've learned transcended the game."

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Los Angeles & it's Memories

I believe in keeping good memories of places, people and my experiences. We all have our own favorite places to remember. For me, every new place I visit is a new discovery and more experiences to add to my memory chest.

I love traveling and discovering new places. A week before holy week I went to Los Angeles California for a week vacation and to visit relatives and friends I have not seen for years.

As a young girl back in the Philippines my image of Los Angeles was all about hollywood stars, Beverly Hills, Malibu beach & Disneyland. I learned more about this place as I grow older and after reading books and magazines and watching movies.

My one week trip did go far in reformatting my preconcieved images I have of the city. Seriously.

LA is a huge suburban sprawl. So there's no way I could picture the whole place in my one week of stay there. But in my mind I have thousands of images that I will surely treasure for the rest of my life. I am sharing some of what I captured with my camera.

faces & smiles

Finally, I spotted this ad posted at Roosevelt Hotel while we were driving along Hollywood Blvd..the coming fight of Manny Pacquiao the pride of my beloved General Santos City & the whole Philippines with Ricky Hatton.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

From My Heart On Easter

We had a very nice Easter celebration today. We went to a 9:00AM Mass in our Parish and our priest's homily was so inspiring. The church was overflowing with people. The kids are so cute especially the little girls with their spring color dress and matching hat. I noticed that most of the church goer today came as family, what a touching sight to see dad, mom and kids going to church together. It made me travel down memory lane to my childhood when we as family go to Mass every Sunday and other holidays of obligation. As a child it was an occasion for me to show my new dress and new shoes. When we were kids, we don't wear our Church dress for any other occasion. To our family, Easter means Mass early in the morning and then Easter Feast will follow. We would spend it either in the beach or in my parents farm. And it was always a very happy celebration for everybody. Today, I miss being with my family. But in my heart I knew that we are one in spirit in celebrating this very special event of our redemption.

I would like to share my Easter reflection with you. To me Easter's message is that of liberation. The word has taken on some negative aspects in modern usage like so many other words, yet it is the message of the Holy Week. It is a time to celebrate the Lord's Resurrection by accepting His liberation and living it out in my daily life. Easter will only have meaning to me if I accept and live out the real meaning of Christ's Resurrection and that is to me is love, freedom from all that destroys and tears down my heart, my mind and my spirit as a child of God.

As our parish priest has said, I am a witness who, filled with hope in the Risen Christ have been commissioned to present Christ to others. This I must do everyday, with my family, my neighbors and the world as a whole.

May this Easter bring joy and hope to all of us. And may the message of love, mercy, forgiveness and peace forever inspire our hearts to share it to others. HAPPY EASTER to all!!!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

My Lenten Reflection

"We have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him."(1 John 4:16)

For many years my heart used to long for the love that a relationship brings. I have been separated for 15 years & haven't had any fulfilling relationship for a long time. When the father of my daughters and my marriage was annulled my heart was torn into pieces for the loss of the years we shared. I spent so many of those years praying for him and "working" to be the right kind of wife God wanted me to be. Throughout those years I have gone through all the stages of grief, pain and loss, but after so many years, every once in a while I still have a pang. A pang of emptiness that seems so deep it washes over me like a wave. And then for days I didn't seem to be able to get my feet solid on the ground.

I have spent many tears at the feet of Jesus about this one thing. Love. Love and love. Forever love with someone who will love me through all the ups and downs of life. Once, I thought I found it and then I lost it. It used to occurr to me that maybe I never had it in the first place. From readings I've learned that "The greater our longing for love, the greater is our capacity to recieve the love from God. In our emptiness, the presence of God is best magnified." As to my experience it was very true. I used to ask this question: If my longing overwhelms me to the point of physical heart ache, how does God's love remove it or replace it?

And then one day I read the Bible, the verse was 1 Thes 3:12 "May the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all." Was my heart selfish? Was I abounding in love to others, to all? No not all, I think I was too busy wanting it for myself.

As I spend time in reflecting about my life, I realized that my heart wants what it wants. It has gotten me into trouble before. Selfishness, desire and pride. Wanting to be loved in return as I have loved. After I tried to get it on my own I've seen what God has tried to tell me over and over.

"Love comes from me, child. No other person or thing can fill you the way that I can."

Only when I experience the overflowing of God's love did I realized that I am abundantly surrounded by love. I couldn't count the things I am grateful for, they are too many.

As I reflect during this Lenten season, the message of this Holy week to me is Victory and liberation, a promise of hope over despair, giving not receiving, love without expecting in return. All things have a purpose and a reason. Ultimately God has a plan for our lives and, if we work with His plan, everything will work out. His plans are the best for us.

May the Risen Lord enter into our lives and our homes this Easter and inspire us to live lives filled with hope, love, peace and joy.

A Blessed Holy Week and Happy Easter to each and everyone!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Pinoys In The US

I really have great time while I was in Los Angeles, CA. My experiences there were very enriching, life changing and one of those best times I had in the US since I got here. I was not surprised to know that there are many Filipinos there. The weather is perfect--sunny and warm during the day and cool in the evening and in the morning. It feels like Baguio. Anywhere- be it in the malls, church and restaurants you can see kababayans and they are speaking in Filipino. There are many familiar Filipino fast food places like Goldilocks, Jollibee, Chowking, Max's. I have never seen any of these fast food restaurants in our neighborhood in the suburb of Washington DC. That is why my first lunch in LA was in the Filipino restaurant, I had sinigang na sugpo, adobong baboy and ensaladang mangga, yum! yum! yum!...My cousin took me for lunch after he picked me up from the LAX airport. Denny and I also went to Goldilocks for dinner the following day and we had dinuguan, grilled na bangus and and Halo-halo for dessert!!. I felt like I was just eating in a restaurant somewhere in Manila, everybody was talking in Filipino and there was even one table there that were from my hometown General Santos. The whole time that I was in LA, I just played tourist and I had been meeting relatives and friends that I have not seen for years, and there was always a party to go to everyday. And in all those interactions I had with my kababayans, there is one common observation I noticed about Filipinos in the US--they are all very hardworking. In fact all the friends & relatives I visited are all successful and living their American dream.
There is one sentiment that all of them shared though. They feel that family and friends back home thinks that they earn those money very easily and the money they send back home to support them is always not enough, more is expected from them. And its one of the things that really frustrate them. They wish their family will realize that every dollar they earned, comes from hard work and many sacrifices on their part. They have to work harder just to have a better life and keep up with the standard of living in the US.

I had been to 3 or 4 filipino American parties and gatherings in the 7 days that I was in LA. In all those get together, I have always felt like I was in the Philippines except that there is no more rich or poor. There is no doctor or nurse, Ilocano or bisaya, there is no more Luzon, Visayas or Mindanao. There is only one country that we all miss; family back home to think and feel responsible of; and there is that common goal that we all are focused on--to continue working hard to achieve that American dream. Sailing is tough right now because of economic recession and it might slow us down just like everybody else, but nothing can stop us in our way to finding that dream.

In my reflection I can't help but admire our kababayans. Even in foreign lands, they can be very successful in life and excel in their chosen careers and still keep that inherent Filipino values of enduring love and care for family. In our long term plans we take into consideration our family's welfare and we don't forget them in our abundance. We certainly are not country of servants as Hongkong columnist Chip Tsai called us in his column. We are a country of hardworking people who can be found on top in the different fields of expertise. We dream to be better than what we are now because we believe that our future is not defined by our present circumstances and we are willing to extend our net so our love ones can have a better life too. Most importantly, we don't only dream...We believe and we work hard to realize all those dreams!!!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

My Adieu

I can see you fading into a distant silhouette
I can barely see your image in the darkening horizon,
I am filled by sadness, a new-found longing.

Love is such a wonderful thing with its ups and downs
I dreamed of finding one that never fades; just grows
But as there is a beginning and so an end to what we are.

If this is how this love is meant to end
Then I hope this hurt will soon be past
I will embrace life as I had known before
I have all our memories to treasure forever.

I refuse to hold on just to fill a few needs,
for I know in the end I will be brought to my knees
So I bade goodbye before my time fades into the ashes.

I would love you forever but we are growing apart
I feel the tear in my heart; the emptiness of my soul
I feel that fire wane and I have to leave.
Adieu my love, THIS IS THE END...