Thursday, May 28, 2009

Warmth in a cup

I can't count the number of times I've enjoyed steaming cups of hot coffee with friends.

Coming from a province known for its kapeng barako, I grew up in a culture where coffee is part of the people's lifestyle. It is considered a breakfast staple.

Although I am not really a coffee person, I cannot deny the fact that coffee has a way of bringing people together. There's just something really inviting when you hear, "Let's get together and talk over coffee." It matters not whether you're enjoying coffee at a big name cafe or in your very own house. For me, company always makes coffee - hot or cold - taste better.

The last time I had coffee was during snack break at an art therapy seminar that I attended. I was enjoying a productive afternoon with people I've met for the first time yet it felt as if we've had a certain connection for as long as I can remember.

I have so many memories where coffee was part of the picture:

I was trying to finish a Clinical Psychology case study and I just can't stay awake anymore. I had to drink five cups of coffee while text messaging a friend who was similarly pulling an all-nighter with tons of projects at hand.

My thesismates and I spent hours at Starbucks, desperate for internet connection in order to finalize our thesis paper. There were only three of us. The other three were elsewhere. At the time, there was conflict in the group. (Long story.) Eventually, after defending our paper, the group was reconciled.

I was waiting for an organization meeting to start when Gerard text messaged me saying he was in the UST hospital where his cousin was confined because of an accident. We met after I finished the meeting at around 9:30pm. I went with him to see his cousin. Gerard's brother was there as well. They're a family friend; my parents know their parents. He bought coffee (strawberry macchiato, yum!) for the both of us from the hospital's cafe. Since I was dorming just across the street from the hospital, we talked about how quickly life was going by and many other things until almost 11:30pm before we parted ways.

I haven't seen Anna, a college friend, for a long time and we decided to have dinner together at Seattle's Best. We had coffee while passing the time with a memorable conversation.

I could go on and on with my coffee stories but I will reserve them for another time. What about you? Do you have a coffee conversation to share?

Have a little sunshine in your cup. :)

Monday, May 25, 2009

Smile in my heart

Arthur Bennett
from The Valley of Vision

O Lord,
Help me never to expect any happiness
from the world, but only in thee.

Let me not think that I shall be more happy
by living to myself,
for I can only be happy if employed for thee,
and if I desire to live in this world
only to do and suffer what thou dost allot me.

Teach me
that if I do not live a life that satisfies thee,
I shall not live a life that will satisfy myself.

Help me to desire the spirit and temper of angels
who willingly come down to this lower world
to perform thy will,
though their desires are heavenly,
and not set in the least upon earthy things;
then I shall be of that temper I ought to have.

Help me not to think of living to thee
in my own strength,
but always to look to and rely on thee
for assistance.

Teach me that there is no greater truth than this,
that I can do nothing of myself.
Lord, this is the life that no unconverted man
can live,
yet it is an end that every godly soul
presses after;

Let it be then my concern to devote myself
and all to thee.

Make me more fruitful and more spiritual,
for barrenness is my daily affliction and load.

How precious is time, and how painful to see it fly
with little done to good purpose!
I need thy help:

O may my soul sensibly depend upon thee
for all sanctification,
and every accomplishment of thy purposes
for me, for the world,
and for thy kingdom.

It has been a very productive and meaningful week. Most of the time I no longer notice how many days, or weeks, or months has gone by. In spite of the busy schedule and important things to do, I would like to share this prayer with you. 

I thank God that I have in my heart a HAPPINESS that only He could give. May you embrace that happiness, too. Always.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mama, I love you

Para sa isang Dakilang INA 
© 2009 Julie Ann Caringal

INAkay mo ako 
noong ako'y sanggol pa lamang
bINAntayan bawat araw, bawat gabi
at bINAlot ng wagas na pag-ibig

INAlalayan mo ako sa aking paglaki
kung saan saksi ang buong mundo
INAruga mo ang bawat isang
magandang katangian sa puso kong ito
Ako'y iyong INAalo
sa panahon ng kalungkutan at pighati
at ako'y iyong pINApatawad
anuman ang pagkakamali

Kaya abot langit ang aking pasasalamat
sa Poong Maykapal
na ibinigay Niya sa akin
ang isang INAng walang katulad

Happy MOTHER's Day, Mama!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Balik Fernando 2009

Balik Fernando is an annual gathering of the Philippine Flying School Alumni.

This year's host class was Class 79 - my dad's class when he graduated from flying school. He and his classmates, the Pearl Jubillarians, celebrate 30 years of amazing brotherhood this 2009.

In this year's homecoming, the guest of honor and speaker was Gen Alexander B Yano AFP (Ret), former Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff. Another special guest was LtGen Oscar H Rabena AFP, Commanding General, PAF. The Chairman of PAFFSAI, BGen Artemio G Orozco AFP, was also present.

Gilberto "Gilbert" Cojuangco Teodoro, Jr., the current Secretary of National Defense of the Philippines, graced Balik Fernando as well. He arrived during lunch while everyone was enjoying the great food near the hangar and runway.

Isaiah 41:10 (NASB) says, "Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand."

There was a time when I flew over the Mindanao area; we encountered bad weather going to Cotabato. We were forced to land somewhere unfamiliar to us along the route. We were told by a resident in the area not to stay there any longer because the rebels were just hovering nearby so we left the place immediately. Surely God sent His angel in the person of that resident who led us back to safety.

In December 1, 1989, at the height of the bloodiest coup d’ etat, I brought the helicopter to Lucena because we had information na “papasukin ang Sangley”. I was the only one able to bolt out of the base the day before, hence I was the only one called by the Chief of Staff to support them in Camp Aguinaldo. While supporting the friendly government troops, we were hit by enemy groundfire, luckily it hit the side of the armor plate, which was an inch away from the co-pilot. Due to our wholehearted support that led to the fall of the rebel soldiers, we were awarded as the Distinguished Conduct Star, 2nd highest award, next to the Medal of Valor. It was my 58th combat mission...

- Excerpt from my dad's sharing during BCBP breakfasts

Growing up with a father [and a maternal grandfather] with significant involvement in the military is a unique privilege and experience. I just love being a part of their life story. That is why during our senior year in high school, I was beaming with joy to be awarded as Model Cadette of Flight Delta (which was composed of our section BB42) at the end of our year-long Civilian Army Training or CAT. Ahhhh, those were the days. :)

For fighting for what you believe in, Papa, I salute you. :)

Friday, May 8, 2009

Friday stretch

Today was my first time to commute alone from Makati City to Lipa City. Thankfully, I was blessed to hop aboard a bus where the last available seat was waiting for me. As if calling me as I made my way down the aisle, the seat was dead center at the back of the bus.

Although I'm used to going home alone since I was in college, going straight home from work was different from my school time jeepney-LRT-bus-tricycle routine with walks in between.

Here are the scenarios of commuting from where I work to where I live in the province:

1. I have to ride a jeepney going to Glorietta / SM Mall.

2. I walk to the MRT Ayala Station where I wait in long lines to buy a ticket and get on the train.

3. I go down the last stop, which is Taft Station.

4. I walk some more going to the indirectly connected station of the Light Rail Transit 1 (LRT 1), which is EDSA Station.

5. I buy a ticket, get on the train, and go down Gil Puyat/Buendia Station.

6. I go down the stairs of the station, walk some more, and find a safe place in the highway where I can cross to the other side where the bus station was. Oh, after going down the stairs, another option is walk some more towards the overpass a couple of blocks away in order to get to the bus station.

7. I catch a bus that passes by Tambo Exit, which is the exit nearest where our neighborhood is. The bus drives through the Southern Luzon Expressway (SLEX) and Southern Tagalog Access Road (STAR) Tollway in a two to three-hour long travel. Fridays have the most awfully heavy traffic from 4pm onwards, since ‘all the people’ are going home to their provinces for the weekend.

8. I get off at Tambo Exit, cross the street and walk towards the tricycle waiting area.

9. I ride a trike and get off right in front of our house.

There you go... a How-To-Get-From-Point-A-to-Point-B made personally by yours truly.

Unlike Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, sadly, I have no red shoes whose heels I can click three times while saying 'There's no place like home' to shorten the 3-hour commute back to Lipa City. Whenever I was asked, "Granted you can possess one superpower, what would it be and why?" I would always answer, "Teleport: It is the fastest and most hassle-free way to go to different places anytime, anywhere." :)

Anyway, I really like the Manila Light Rail Transit System. It's an efficient [not to mention cheap] way of getting around the Metro (in spite of the fact that one gets a first-hand experience of how it feels like to be one of those sardines packed in cans especially during rush hour).

Inasmuchas driving is a skill, I believe commuting is a skill, too. :D

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The daily grind

There are quite a number of ways how I can go to work in the morning and go home in the afternoon or evening.

There are also a variety of vehicles I can ride during the day. Unfortunately, the most popular ones that people ride in the metro - namely the jeepneys, FXs, tricycles, and transits - haven't been captured in pictures by yours truly (yet), except for the bus.

This is only a sneak preview into the exciting world of the Metro Manila commute.

Now, if you excuse me, ladies and gentlemen, I have to start walking to catch my first ride of the day.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Do you remember when...?

Tonight, I've taken a trip down memory lane. One that really gave me the goosebumps. I got that 'feeling'... like unexpectedly stumbling upon something you thought you've lost for good.

When I was in third grade, our class adviser encouraged me to join the inter-class singing competition. I was hesitant at first. I told our adviser I would think about it. At that age, I wasn't totally invincible to stage fright. I told Mama about the invitation and she said my aunt, Tita Ana, who sang in our home church choir, could help me if I wanted to join. She's a good singer. Hmmm..

When I finally made up my mind, I told our adviser I was willing to represent our class in the contest. The challenge? It was a duet. Our adviser told me I could choose my singing partner.

Okay... But who?

I can't exactly tell you how it all happened but Ivan Lemuel ended up being my partner-in-crime. I think I asked him if he wanted to sing with me. (Hahaha!) He's one of my childhood friends. We were classmates from elementary to high school; we practically grew up together. My sister and his sister were classmates, too. His family is a close friend of ours.

My aunt chose the song we were to sing in the competition. It was "Kahit Habang Buhay" by Smokey Mountain, one of my favorite OPM bands whose songs mostly revolved around social, environmental, and patriotic themes. (The band, however, was active only until 1995.) The song title roughly translates to "even if it's for life". The song is about two people who love each other but both thought that the other already loves someone else. They sing about waiting for each other even if it meant waiting for as long as they lived. (Thinking about it now, the song really wasn't appropriate for our age. It's a good thing mainstream music didn't get the best of us then.)

To prepare for the singing contest, Ivan (I don't know if he still wants to be called Lemy. :P) and I would go to each other's house to practice in the afternoons and weekends. The whole ordeal was more tiring than I originally thought. Moreover, I was still a lot boyish during third grade. Imagine the weird feeling I had in my tummy when I realized that 'I am a girl that was actually singing with a boy', even if he was a friend. And I have to wear a dress during the contest. And we have to hold hands as 'choreography' for some parts of the song. Ugh. Cooties. Thinking about it now really brings me good-natured laughter though. :)

To cut the long story short, let us proceed to the results. We won first place in the singing contest. :) Both our moms watched us perform - they were both very happy and proud. I was overjoyed, too. It was a promising start for my singing career. Just kidding. On a more serious note, I was glad I joined. I learned a lot from that experience. It was one of the first few steps I had towards conquering my fear of facing the public. That moment also proved that somehow, I can sing. :D

Chedi Vergara:
Nakakalito ang mundo.
Kung sinong mahal mo, s'yang ayaw sa 'yo
H'wag sanang masayang itong
Damdamin kong laan sa 'yo.

James Coronel:
Pa'no naman ako?
Kay tagal ko nang umibig sa 'yo.
H'wag sanang masayang itong
Damdamin kong laan sa 'yo.

Kahit habang buhay maghihintay ako sa 'yo.
Kahit pa maglaho ang mundo.
Kahit habang buhay maghihintay ako sa 'yo.
Asahan mong hindi magpapalit
Itong damdamin ko.

James Coronel:
Pa'no naman ako?
Kay tagal ko nang umibig sa 'yo.

Chedi Vergara:
H'wag sanang masayang itong
Damdamin kong laan sa 'yo.

Kahit habang buhay maghihintay ako sa 'yo.
Kahit pa maglaho ang mundo.
Kahit habang buhay maghihintay ako sa 'yo.
Asahan mong hindi magpapalit
Itong damdamin ko.

James Coronel:
Pa'no naman ako? ooh...

Chedi Vergara:
Nakakalito ang mundo

Kung sinong mahal mo, s'yang ayaw sa 'yo...
Kung sinong mahal mo, s'yang ayaw sa 'yo...

Kahit habang buhay maghihintay ako sa 'yo.
Kahit pa maglaho ang mundo.
Kahit habang buhay maghihintay ako sa 'yo.
Asahan mong hindi magpapalit
Hindi-hindi magpapalit
Hindi-hindi magpapalit
Itong damdamin ko.

In addition to this journey to the past, I recently reactivated my Facebook account and have been reconnecting with classmates and acquaintances from my former alma mater. I can't quite put words into the experience of seeing how much we've all grown up since elementary or high school.

I feel old - like the classic senescent adult...

Well, I'm getting there. :)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...