Sunday, March 28, 2010

Solemn Investiture

Today, I was reminded of the swiftness of time... how in this world, everything happens all at once at one particular moment. At this very minute, somewhere in the globe someone rejoices while another one mourns, someone is born while another dies, someone laughs while another cries, someone struggles while another relaxes, someone fights for his life while another lives as comfortable as ever, and so on.

This Palm Sunday, I chose to experience both as I witnessed a wonderful beginning and remembered a sad ending.

Four hundred and ninety students of the University of Santo Tomas College of Science Batch 2010 graduated at the Philippine International Convention Center this morning. I attended the commencement with several companions (some of whom are also alumni of the college like me and some of whom are still students who have a few years left to earn their degrees) to show support for our graduating friends. I am extremely proud of each one of them and I eagerly look forward to their promising futures. 

Nevertheless, sitting on one of the soft chairs up on the balcony, I thought it was as if everything was surreal at one point. It felt like watching an old film for the first time. I've been up there myself on the stage two years ago. Basically, the plot has not changed but it is also different because the role I played before now belongs to someone else. Although there was strong nostalgia, I was simply at ease with myself for I knew confidently that I have moved on. I had my curtain call. A new batch of young men and women deserve the spotlight now. The circle of life goes on; the wheels of time continue to turn.

Somewhere down the road, I came to an unfamiliar place. It served like a fork in the road where you buy your time to stop and ponder where you are and how far you've come. My friends and I ate lunch there at Yellow Cab Pizza before heading for Manila Memorial Park at Sta. Rita, Bulacan where a common friend, Stephen, is laid to rest.

Like the flowers [despite being cut away from their roots], our friend who passed away to be with the Lord continue to bring beauty and fragrance in our lives by the memories he have left immortalized in our hearts. However, like the sunset in all its splendor and wonder, a great friend was gone too soon. Nevertheless, in spite of the darkness that comes when the sun has set, we can be assured of a glorious light to fill the world when morning comes once more.

Life has always been bittersweet. We can't have it any other way.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Heat buster

I admit I could have taken a better picture of this scrumptious snack/dessert but my growling stomach couldn't care less at the moment.

I've been craving for a decent halo-halo for some time now and by 1:30 PM today, on my way home, I knew I could not let this day pass without ordering one at the nearest restaurant. It has been a busy week taking care of requirements and an extremely hot and tiring morning after enrolling for graduate school at Quezon City. The energy-draining high noon commute was the last straw for me.

As I was walking from the entrance of our condo village well past my lunchtime, my state of being sweaty, tired and hungry sank all at once into my conscious mind. When I reached the Burntmilk clubhouse, I plopped down on a chair located in front of the TV and this huge electric fan that had a built-in water/mist sprayer that helped calm my nerves and cool down my . I grabbed a menu from the counter and scanned it: no halo-halo written anywhere. I sighed. A waitress came up to me and smiled. I commented out loud, "Ang sarap ng halo-halo ngayon, no? Ang init kasi." (A halo-halo would be good for today, yes? Because it's so hot.) Then, after a quick pause, I turned to her asked hopefully, "May halo-halo ba kayo?" (Do you have halo-halo?) The lady nodded her head and said, "Meron po." (We have it.)

I sat up straighter. Am I hearing this right? "Meron kayo?" (You have it?), I repeated. I wanted to be sure what I was hearing wasn't hallucination from the unbelievable heat. "Opo, available po siya, wala lang sa menu," (Yes, it's available, just not written on the menu.) she replied. I wasted no time in saying, "I'll order one please! And one Pasta Amatriciana. Thank you!"

Suddenly, it was as if everything was alright with the world. I have finally found an oasis in a barren desert. My belated lunch was worth the wait :)

Later today at 8:30 in the evening, I will join the rest of the Philippines and the rest of the world in turning off the lights for Earth Hour. This year, however, I will be spending Earth Hour in silence and solitude. Because the accumulated distress of the week is taking its toll on me already, I will be going to sleep early tonight.

The principle and goal behind Earth Hour need not be celebrated only once a year. We can practice Earth Hour in our lives every day. Getting the eight-hour sleep we need does not only benefit us, it also means lesser lights turned on at night to help save Mother Earth. :)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

World Poetry Day

There is a certain sadness I feel in seeing an empty playground. It seems to have become a vestige of a bygone era...

Summer is upon us and the school year is about to end and yet I don't see very many children filling the outdoors with their contagious giggles and laughter. Gadgets, high-tech toys and computer games seem to have truly redefined the way children play. I have nothing against keeping up with the times but the old-fashioned part of me still believes strongly in the most elementary forms of play.

Ahh, such is life. No one can stop the hands of time. All we can do is hope for the best and pray for the rest.

As we celebrate World Poetry Day, I dedicate the poem below to children all over the globe. May you all grow in love and peace and see the goodness in this world that the Almighty Father has created.

For Play's Sake
© 2010 Julie Ann Caringal

Squeak, squeal goes the swing
in the heat of the early afternoon sun.
The playground was nursing a broken wing
for it was deserted, empty, and without any fun.

The wind tried its best to be of help
by blowing some life to the merry-go-round.
It went spinning and turning in circles for a while
but the movement was slow and without a sound.

The slide also felt down and disappointed
with the lack of adrenaline rush and thrill,
while the monkey bars wept and cried
for existing as an unconquered metal hill.

The see-saw bobbed up and down
as if saying, "How do you do?"
to the men and women, once children,
who came for their final adieu.

Live and let live -
savor your youth.
Don't remember and regret
what time and tide will not soothe.

Hide and seek, take a peek,
and true treasure you shall find.
For this haven holds for you
a happiness that is one-of-a-kind.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Hand treatment

My first manicure in the 22 years and 125 days that I've lived [so far]. :)

The nail salon near our office building was having a promo on nail and foot spa packages. What a treat! One of my co-teachers wanted to give the salon a try and invited me to join her. She and I went to the same university for our undergraduate degrees and we were co-officers in a particular organization back then as well. She got married not too long ago and her baby daughter is going to have her first birthday soon. Needless to say, we have a lot of catching up to do - more so now that we have been working together for almost a year already.

So, yesterday, she set a pamper day schedule for the two of us.  We ate lunch quickly so we can have some girl-bonding time for the rest of the lunch break period. It was both our first time to try the salon services and it was pretty great. The staff were very warm and friendly and the salon ambiance was relaxing. :) Ooohh, we could've spent the rest of the day there if only we didn't have work in the afternoon.

Anyway, the nail polish color that I picked for my fingernails was aptly called "Moonlight and Roses". The name sounded poetic and catchy so I chose it among the many colors that they have. Moreover, the hue was soft and gentle to the eyes, which immediately made me decide that it was the perfect color. It embodies 'simplicity is beauty'.

Unfortunately, just after a few hours, some of the nail polish got ruined and chipped off when I began fixing materials for work with the kids. Good thing I took a nice picture of it before the nail mess up happened. I'm not used to having a manicure and, frankly, I don't think I will get used to having nail polish on my fingernails especially since I do a lot with my hands. Unless I can absolutely avoid any challenging and difficult hand-related activity, polished fingernails are a big NO for me.

Still, having my nails painted on special occasions wouldn't be so bad in my opinion. :)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Foot loose

Before heading to Seattle's Best Coffee at Greenbelt 3 last night for Friday night coffee talks, I went to Landmark with some friends to hunt for cheap black flats.

Earlier at the center, I was ready to call it a day and I was stretching my limbs some when I saw how ruined my footwear is. I can't remember how long I've been using the old pair of black flat shoes that I have (above left pair) but upon examining it a bit more closely, it dawned on me that it was actually falling apart. In fact, I wasn't even sure if it could make it on my way home intact so I decided to buy a new one before my shoes go foot loose on me.

Admittedly, I use this particular pair of footwear most of the time so it's really not a surprise that the signs of shoe distress began showing up. With all the walking and sometimes running that I do during my daily commute, I'm actually more surprised that my shoes lasted as long as they had considering that they don't look like they were meant for strenuous foot activity.

The abrupt change in weather these past few months was no help either. This week has been crazy enough so far: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday were really HOT days while Tuesday and Thursday were overcast and a bit chilly. The rollercoaster rise and drop of temperature only hastened my shoes' break down and, apparently, my health's as well because it's been weeks since I have had this annoying cold. (Praise God, I'm getting better now!)

Anyway, it took me less than 20 minutes to stumble upon a pair of simple black flats that I immediately liked. Thank heavens! It was on sale for Php499 [roughly $10]. What a bargain! I don't shop a lot but I knew at once that it was the pair that I have to get. The best thing about it, besides being on sale, is that it was comfortable to wear. It will also go well with any outfit because of it's color. :)

Honestly, I don't like buying things. If a thing falls apart or breaks down, that's the time I replace it. Well, I realized that it's a difficult way to get by with as well, especially if something bad happens at an inconvenient time and place. With this shoe incident, I realized I have to invest in more sturdy footwear and a variety of them, too, for that matter.

Quality over quantity... as long as it's within reason, of course. I mean, you never know when shoemthing like this happens.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Midnight Sun

It took me awhile to get on a jeepney tonight and with nothing much to do but look at my surroundings, I was mesmerized by the moon shining in all its glory that moment. I suddenly had the urge to take out my camera and take a quick snapshot of the scene as I saw out of the corner of my eye the vehicle that would take me home.

As I was unloading all the burden of the day by some quick late night web surfing, this photo reminded me of a poem I wrote back in college when all my nerves were on the edge because the heavy weight of school was about to come crashing down on me.

Midnight Sun
© 2010 Julie Ann Caringal

Shuffles of paper reached my ear
As if they have been magnified to the near thousand
The slightest sound shattered the silence
That engulfed my mere existence

I heaved my twentieth sigh
Since that morning of unpleasant beginnings
My eyes focused on nothingness
As my vision flickered away from reality

Regaining the slightest sanity I have
I blinked once, twice, thrice
And everything that was came rushing back
All too clear that I have many more miles to go

My hands moved as if they had minds of their own
No matter how gone my conscious mind seemed to be
Sleep was taking over my humane self
But something seemed to always push it away

Suddenly a loud creaking noise registered full force
Quickly snapping me to my awareness and defense
Beads of sweat formed in every pore
As I stood still as I ever could

Was the Hangman outside waiting for me?
Or has my imagination gone wilder than before?
My heart finally returned to a normal pace
As I realized my need to immediately retire

Moving all responsibilities aside in a clutter
I moved my eyes to glance at the window
Shadows were overcast by the faint glow of a bulb
Leaves that looked alive waved eerily by

The midnight sun was taking its toll
Radiating in all its mighty power
Its aura hypnotizing me like never before
Warning me that time is running out, however

Silence swallowed me - lulling me to slumber
Washing me with what was like fairy dust
Life sure isn't about books or notes or paper
And so I relaxed incautiously for the first time in hours

Slowly... slowly... the dark curtain covered my eyes
- and bade me a whisper of a simple goodnight.

We all deserve a break.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...