Sunday, June 28, 2009

Standing firm

"How difficult it is to be simple."

Living Sacrifices

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.

- Romans 12:1-8 (NIV)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

To Infinity and Beyond!

I have so many things to share and so many stories to write but they just keep piling up as drafts, waiting to be published. It's about time I catch up.

My aunt came to visit from the Middle East and she gave me a new phone! How very kind of her. She gave me a Nokia 7610 Supernova. (Even the name is fancy, eh?) Quite a wonderful phone model. It's white in front and purple at the back... pretty. Nevertheless, I wouldn't have changed my phone if it weren't malfunctioning too badly especially when making/taking phone calls. The text messaging is okay but that can only go so far. Finally, my faithful Nokia 6610i is retired after so many years of service. But it'll always be there as my back-up phone.

Anyway, I was checking out the Supernova's features and stumbled upon the "Colourise Theme" where the colors of a picture you've taken becomes part of the theme that you choose. The photo above shows part of my Care Bears pillow case, which I used to colourise my phone's theme. It has so many hues in it which makes my phone's background look very lively. :)

So what else is new?

My family (and extended family) celebrated my Papa's 55th birthday at our house last June 20. We gathered for a hearty lunch and banter. A few hours later, we all went to Club Victorina for my cousin Averi Philinne's 7th birthday party. It was fun watching the kids enjoy the celebration. They were all in constumes. There were booths for ice cream, cotton candy and face paint. Clowns hosted the party and they did magic tricks. There were loads of games, too, of which I facilitated two: a modified version of musical chairs and a paper plate relay.

After the party, we headed over to the Paler's residence in St. Joseph Subdivision just to enjoy more time together before my aunt Ana leaves back for the Middle East. It was a very joyful day. Come Sunday, Father's Day, we celebrated some more after going to church.

Fast forward a little bit into the week.

I was at Trinoma yesterday at 7:00 pm for a special screening of Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen. It's a project of the UST College of Science Alumni Association. I felt like an undergrad student again seeing all the lower classmen that was there to support the event. It was a reunion of sorts as well seeing a lot of my batchmates and professors.

The twist to what was supposed to be a simple going-to-the-movies turned out to be a test of my sales abilities. There were still about 60 unsold tickets and the association decided to open the screening to the public. It was tough because Trinoma had almost all its cinemas showing the same movie at a little over half the price of what we were selling the tickets for. So I and a few other officers of the respective alumni associations per program (Psychology, Biology, etc.) went around to invite people to go over Cinema 5 to buy tickets from us.

It was kind of awkward at first because I wasn't prepared for it. For one, we already have a lot on our hands: people who forgot their tickets, cancelled reservations, etcetera. Moreover, I had no PR material, no posters, nothing. Just the tickets and my voice.

I mustered all my courage to approach people waiting around the cinemas and to tell them about our screening. I don't know how I did it but I made sure I had a smile on my face. A few of my co-officers were with me. The raspberry mocha kiss from Seattle's Best earlier might have helped, too. In half an hour, we were able to get a total of 10 people: a family of 5, a group of 3, and a boyfriend-girlfriend couple. Praise GOD! Things worked out for the best.

I enjoyed watching the movie. The 3D graphics and the cinematography were amazing. However, there were suggestive sexual content that I do not approve of. The violence I was able to tolerate more because it was a story of war between good and evil.

There was only one trailer... G.I. Joe. I wasn't surprised. The cartoons that I've seen growing up are now being turned to multi-million productions for big screen entertainment - but they are not too kid-friendly anymore. There was Transformers 1 and Speed Racer. I'm sure there will be more to come. You know how it is with media and entertainment. So choose your movies wisely.

Speaking of movies, today I was able to watch middle-to-ending parts of Toy Story 2 and Jurassic Park 1 on cable TV. Two movies I enjoyed watching when they came out. Oh, how I love their OSTs! Brings back memories. Later, if I have time, I'll watch Facing the Giants. I bought a copy at House of Praise in the mall back home. I can't wait to see it. :)

I have also moved forward with my little projects.

I recently discovered Picturebooks at Glorietta 4 for printing and compiling my digital photos. I plan to get a book done and see how good it is before I decide to have my pictures all compiled in photobooks or have my pictures printed individually and placed in a photo album myself. Also, I found out that there's a post office/mail kiosk at Market! Market! where I can get snail mail sent to any part of the world instead of going to Taguig City's actualy post office. Hooray!

Now that I have another day off from work (with the city is still under typhoon signal number 1 and elementary classes are suspended), I hope to do much cleaning and reading and perhaps a bit of jogging, too. Ciao!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Green generation

A belated EARTH DAY post.
Yes, I know.
Earth Day was on April 22nd.
Better late than never, I say. :)

My most intimate moments with Mother Earth began when I was a little girl. I became fascinated with fireflies and stars at a young age. When night settles in, my siblings and I would go out to the vacant lot at the end of our street to watch the bushy place come alive with tiny littly dots of light turning on and off. They were like miniature stars floating on Earth while the really big ones sparkled up in the sky.

Now, fireflies seem to have become a figment of my imagination. Something terribly wrong has been happening in the past 15 years (and beyond). I hear Mother Earth's cries for help louder than ever. I am not about to turn a deaf ear.

My concrete, directional actions in extending a helping hand to save Mother Earth began in college when I joined an environmental advocacy group, EARTH-UST. It became my first university family during my freshman year and the people I met there remain close to my heart. I haven't been active with all the projects of the group or the organizations they tie up with since I was occupied with my chosen field of career but I try my best to apply and practice the things I have learned from EARTH. My experience there became the foundation of my principles regarding environmentalism. Awareness and action definitely became two striking words in my dictionary.

Before this year's Earth Day celebration, I have joined #earthtweet on Twitter in their campaign to raise awareness on many environmental issues and eco-friendly practices. Even with Earth Day over two months ago, I am currently following several other organizations and campaigns with a similar cause.

Moreover, I took the Power Down for the Planet pledge with Climate Savers Computing 'to use power management on your PC and select an energy-efficient PC for your next purchase will help minimize wasted electricity and reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions.' I also joined the 350 Challenge by Brighter Planet, where they offset 350 pounds of carbon in your name.

This month, I have started to be more supportive of eco-markets as well where I buy organic products such as soap and shampoo. My dad and I went to one in Market! Market! just a few hours ago.

While these are the things I contribute in order to do my part in saving our finite planet for the generations to come, I am still blown away by the fact that lots of other people are also doing the same and much more. Which now brings me to what I think this is the most important thing that I can share with you today.

I have recently come across The Story of Stuff with Annie Leonard and watching the 20-minute video really moved me to let as many people as I can reach out to know and understand the message contained in it. I strongly encourage you to watch the trailer below, go to the website, and watch "The Story of Stuff".

Besides the three Rs to a greener planet: reduce, reuse and recycle - I challenge you to live out two Rs that are extremely crucial in today's consumerism-minded society: RETHINK and REFUSE.

Let's fight the green battle!

In an art therapy seminar that I attended last month, I discovered that green is the color of balance. How do I prove it? On a bond paper, place two strips of black paper one above the other (like and equal sign) with some white space in between the two. View the papers through a prism. Observe the colors around each strip of black paper. Then, while still looking through the prism, slowly bring the two black strips of paper together, eliminating the white space in between. Look closely. What do you see?

Friday, June 12, 2009

Araw ng Kalayaan

Long live the Philippines!

Today, Filipinos celebrate Philippine Independence Day. After more than three centuries under Spanish rule and other foreign colonizers, the Pearl of the Orient is finally out of its oppressive shell.

I don't have anything monumental to share that I've done this June 12th besides this blog post but this I have and want to say: I am proud to be a Filipino. I take pride in sharing in the colorful culture and rich history of the Philippines. This country is home to admirable heroes both acclaimed and unsung. Moreover, the Filipino has truly proven himself to be a global individual - able to adapt and excel in various fields in different places all over the world.

However, it is undeniable that in spite of the physical absence of foreign invaders from the country, some effects of being a colony for so long is still very much present in the society at this point - in lifestlye and mentality. There is still much to be done for all of us to leap as one nation.

Tagubilin at Habilin
G. Pete Lacaba

Mabuhay ka kaibigan
Iyan ang una’t huli kong tagubilin at habilin,
Mabuhay ka
Sa edad kong ito, marami akong maibibigay na payo, mayaman ako sa payo

Maghugas ka ng kamay bago kumain
Maghugas ka ng kamay pagkatapos kumain
Pero huwag kang maghuhugas ng kamay para lamang maka-iwas sa sisi
Huwag kang maghuhugas ng kamay kung may inaapi na kaya mong tulungan

Paupuin mo sa bus ang matatanda at ang mga may kalong na sanggol
Magpasalamat ka sa nagmamagandang-loob
Matuto sa karanasan ng matatanda pero huwag magpatali sa kaisipang makaluma

Huwag piliting matulog kung ayaw kang dalawin ng antok
Huwag pagaksayahan ng panahon ang mga walang utang na loob
Huwag makipagtalo sa bobo at baka ka mapagkamalang bobo
Huwag bubulong-bulong sa mga panahong kailangang sumigaw
Huwag kang manalig sa bulung-bulungan
Huwag papatay-patay sa ilalim ng pagitin
Huwag kang tutulog-tulog sa pansitan

Umawit ka kung nag-iisa ka sa banyo, umawit ka sa piling ng barkada
Umawit ka kung nalulungkot, umawit ka kung masaya
Ingat lang, huwag kang aawit ng My Way sa videoke bar at baka ka mabaril
Huwag kang magsindi ng sigarilyo sa gasolinahan
Dahan-dahan sa matatarik na landas, dahan-dahan sa malulubak na daan
Higit sa lahat inuulit ko, mabuhay ka

Maraming bagay sa mundo na nakakadismaya, mabuhay ka
Maraming problema ang mundo na wala na yatang lunas, mabuhay ka
Sa hirap ng panahon, sa harap ng kabiguan kung minsan ay gusto mo nang mamatay
Gusto mong maglaslas ng pulso kung sawi sa pag-ibig
Gusto mong magbigti kung napakabigat ng mga pasanin
Gusto mong pasabugin ang bungo mo kung maraming gumugulo sa utak
Huwag kang patatalo, huwag kang susuko

Narinig mo ang sinasabi ng awitin, gising at magbangon sa pagkagubilin
Sa pagkakatulog na lubhang mahimbing
Gumising ka kung hinaharana ka ng pag-ibig
Bumangon ka kung nananawagan ang kapus-palad

Ang sabi ng iba, ang matapang ay walang takot lumaban
Ang sabi ko naman, ang tunay na matapang ay lumalaban kahit natatakot
Lumaban ka kung iningungudngud ang nguso mo sa putik
Bumalikwas ka kung tinatapak-tapakan ka
Buong tapang mong ipaglaban ang iyong mga prinspiyo
Kahit hindi ka sigurado na agad-agad kang mananalo

Mabuhay ka kaibigan
Mabuhay ka

(I got the Philippine flag picture by via Google and landing on Doomnet.)

Friday, June 5, 2009

Last Song Syndrome

Hale is one of my favorite Original Pinoy Music (OPM) bands. When they emerged into mainstream music with a new pop rock genre of 'melodrama' almost four years ago, I instantly became a fan. I watched their concert at De La Salle Lipa (my elementary and high school alma mater) with some friends back in December 29, 2005. It was a blast!

Since then, however, it's been years since I last listened to any of Hale's songs. I have no idea what 's going on with the band until recently.

A couple of weeks ago, I discovered Hale's single "Sandali na Lang" (which roughly translates to "a few moments more" or "in a little while") from their album Above, Over and Beyond and I simply love it. The music video is awesome, too! I really like the setting. It's at the beach. I have been watching it every time I go online and I have been singing/listening to the song all the time. Talk about 'last song syndrome' (LSS)' - a slang people here use to describe a state of having a song stuck in your head.

(I have no work today. Ironically, the weather isn't threatening and the sun is actually shining outside my window. Who knows, though, I may be speaking too soon.)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Sink or swim

The weather has been very gloomy these past few days and disasters have struck the land.

In Taft Avenue, Manila, classes have been suspended at De La Salle University because two cases of the A(H1N1) virus have already been noted and confirmed.

In Quezon City, houses and other properties have been destroyed because of extremely strong winds with a speed of 200 km/h reported to be a tornado equivalent to a signal number 4 typhoon. Similar incidents include flooding at the Camanava area, injuries and damages at the Mall of Asia concert grounds, and suspension of classes in Manila due to heavy rain and flood.

Sure enough, the monsoon season is here. However, weather isn't the only major issue the country is facing today - there are so much more. Join me in praying for the Philippines' resilience in the face of crises and calamities. 

Fortunately for me, my dad was here and he drove me to work this morning on his way to get his medical exam. By twelve noon, I called him and told him I'll be going home early because the center's afternoon session was already cancelled and the HR officer advised us to go home already. We met at Market! Market! and I joined him for lunch.

My afternoon was spent mostly catching up on reading (books, e-mails, articles, blog posts, etc.), organizing my computer files and updating my Google Desktop. Nothing special. I was also chatting with some friends.

During dinner with Papa, I heard thunder rumbling outside. A few moments later, torrents of rain came pouring down. What a wonderful time to go to sleep and bury myself under pillows and blankets.

Right now, I am still debating on what to do tomorrow and this weekend... to go or not to go... I better make up my mind - fast.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

I think

Common sense, I realized, is fast becoming uncommon.

With the information superhighway merely a click away, typing into a search engine is seemingly becoming easier for some people more than putting on their thinking caps and letting it do its work. It's a shame. The internet is supposed to be a means to enhance our selves, not a tool to replace a God-given gift.

Cogito ergo sum. 
"I think, therefore I am." 
- Rene Descartes

It will truly be devastating if, someday, one would say, "I think NOT, therefore I am NOT" for the denial of an aspect of the self is in many ways a denial of God whose image and likeness we were created from.

What do you think?

Monday, June 1, 2009

Take your time

On this first day of June 2009, I was late 17 minutes for work. 

After punching in at the bundy clock this morning, I saw the first red mark on my time card since I started work last April 15. I was a little sad that I wasn't able to have a completely flawless attendance like I promised myself when I started working. Nevertheless, I just tell myself constantly that some things are out of my hand regardless of much conscious I am of my internal locus of control.

You see, my dad and I left home around 5:30 in the morning, which is actually early enough whenever we would go to Metro Manila for morning appointments. Unfortunately, traffic was really, really horrendous at the Santo Tomas exit of Star Tollway and after leaving the South Luzon Expressway hours later. I had no idea the skyway construction was disrupting the traffic that much... no thanks to the fact that it was a manic Monday and everyone was rushing to work (or school for some). Oh well, what's done is done. I just have to step up for the rest of June and avoid any more tardy time-ins.

Anyway, this weekend has been a re-energizing one. I went home to the province, spent time with family and friends, and got all the sleep that I needed. Although there were slightly heavy rains in the afternoons, I found it refreshing. True enough, summer is slowly leaving the skies for the monsoon season to take centerstage.

An unplanned Tuesday night trip home and visit to a friend's house last week also gave me the chance to embrace my simple joys in life: gaze at stars, watch a firefly, play with a dog, lie on a hammock, be with family, and hang out with friends. That day, May 26, I filed for my first undertime and punched out at 4:39 pm.

Life sure has a way of teaching me that things may not go exactly as I wanted them to because something better is about to happen. :)

Today is the the beginning of Fresh Fruit and Vegetable month. I have to buy some fruits tomorrow. Cheers to healthy eating! :)


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