My thoughts about Valentine’s Day has changed from time-to-time. It started off with an anti-capitalist-no-to-crass-commercialism movement, to a whimpering that it’s another christmas missing the color green (which is the best part of christmas to me), or that we need to look at population density and stop making babies completely, but alas, credit to having aged a year more, I have mellowed enough to give everyone a break and stop the hateorade from flowing. It does work out for the better and a lot of people get to be happy and feel loved for one night in February.
I actually don’t have that much of a problem with it, it gives people pass when to expect a spike in their respective love life charts because that’s one day in the year they are SURE it could happen, and and the same way, people who have always wanted to express their feelings get another 364 days to prepare when their plans fall through. Absolutely no problem with that. I just think what we need to do is to apply a bit of adjustment or adapt to a rewiring of sorts.
If you have a problem about giving your money to the big corporate business practitioners, then make your gifts. There have been small independent shops you can search for online, from origami flowers to just googling recipes and cooking a special dinner for that special someone. That would surely kick the petals off an expensive bouquet you might have bought in an over-priced store. Go to Dangwa or Dimasalang to get cheaper flowers by the bulk. You also get to help out small businesses that have been around for years — businesses that have actually become a family heirloom long before these malls started popping up.
It would surely be nice for us women if men realized that the point to all this is for us to feel loved and appreciated. I mean, how many of us really do this in the name of St. Valentine? I would joke about a number and say 3 women consciously think about the poor old saint, but that would be a huge estimate. Why not give women something to look forward to everyday? I’m not saying flowers every morning would be demanded of men, (though I honestly don’t mind waking up to flowers everyday) but the rewards will be priceless. Give her a flowering plant, for chrissakes. Do that in her backyard if she has one. Name it after yourself and see if she can take care of a plant. You know what they say, if you can’t take care of a plant, you most likely can’t take care of a man. And I can say that because I have a pet onion. And the condition it is in, is a little embarrassing. Go figure.
Also, don’t forget your mothers and fathers. In similar cases where our parents have given up remembering one another after 30 years of trying to make each other happy and have failed due to fair and equal reasons they both have, lets remind these two that they would be delighted to know. Its “apparently, we have done a bit of good in the child-rearing sector”. There’s nothing like a thoughtful progeny. It might even remind dad that there’s more to mom than breakfast and remind mom that dad doesn’t get paid enough to drive you to school and her to the supermarket thanks to you. There will be better music in the car and even better dinner.
Sometimes you just need to remind us women that you have your own thing going, coming up with something and know it won’t take much from you. Its paying the ‘idea’ forward and spreading the conscious change amongst ourselves, male or female and our friends or shall we say, community. More people in general will understand that a time for love should not be dictated by societal pressures. This means your right to CHOOSE what works for you as an individual (and the people you love) diminishes the more you follow these dictations especially when you do not take a conscious effort to create a norm for yourself. You can definitely celebrate anything all year and create special times for yourself and your partner. You can teach your kids this, and they will thank you for it if you live long enough to see them date.
The results will be worth so much (and there is more truth in that than lies). Also for men, the pressure can be taken off of that one night where it’s make or break. Instead, it is spread throughout the year (think russian roulette!!!). Kidding aside, if there is something you would do and you know that is good, wouldn’t you like to see sudden bouts of that good in random, if you can’t expect it every day from yourself? We start from random until we build a habit around it. And if we build a habit of doing random good things, there will be more random acts of kindness around us. It’s this hashtag I’ve been using since yesterday #360. One good idea and one good thought you can do however many times you want over, to turn this place around. No, it isn’t a grander delusion or my version of changing the world, because the world changes with or without us. It will spin on its own. When we are long dead. Let’s not think for one second that we are all THAT important, although we are in a very human way, the smartest of all apes. Its all about doing something that starts with one and tips over the usual, for a change. Flip it over.
We have to apply proactivity when we want to change something. Having come from a place where the norm has presented itself in a ‘bottle of poison,’ I have decided to try the very black potion and take it from the inside. It helps see things from a different perspective, but only for a short while. You grow bitter and you cease to grow better, saying no to the norm but not creating one that is truly yours and for the better. Looking at this after several years of testing different ideas to find a mold for the animal fat I carry in my hips, made me realize all meaning stops when you put a halt into a gesture that was never intended for the bad. What we should do is extend that gesture into something bigger. Always something bigger when we see that there’s more people being happy with the idea of making others happy. Do you see this?
I am almost never inspired to talk this way about mankind. But to isolate this one case, there is a button that gets pressed every time I see a happy girl flaunting her bouquet, carrying the sweetest man as her most treasured ‘accessory.’ There becomes a comparison between her smiles and the lonesome one; but there is also just plain happiness. And happiness is a decision we put upon ourselves. Happiness is a skill I wish I myself knew more of, but to get to know more of it we have to stop generalizing where it should or shouldn’t come from.
During one of those Route 196 gigs in 2010, I met a young woman who told me she was there to celebrate her 3 years of being single. I initially thought she was bonkers, (and I love ‘crazy people’) but there is that bit of mad perspective she had in her to celebrate the good things about being single. Besides, what does being in a relationship got on being single when you feel more alone than the fact that you actually have company? There are many ways of looking at these heart problems and one of them is to see things from a perspective that is not ours. That was not my perspective, but I look at hers every so often. I believe she was a whole lot younger than I in cat years, but truth be told, she must be one of the wisest acquaintances I’ve ever encountered.
Ladies and gentlemen, we have a spill-over of months of not blogging. Doing it for quality and not for quantity’s sake. I have refrained from being superstitious and holding on to auspicious dates, but after all the Chinese New Year was just here. We can definitely restart and take the resolution to March if the two new years didn’t quite pan out the way they were expected to. Do you realize the pressure you leave on the dates? They must be in so much pressure if only they could complain and move the holidays, they probably would. To be honest, I really wonder what Jesus truly thinks about Christmas.
Again I’ve had doubts about keeping this blog open. The introvert in me feels much stronger than its polar opposite. But the rains have changed my mind.
It’s already been raining for more than 2 weeks. Some three years ago, why this blog peaked (and is still my highest viewed entry to date), was all because of Ondoy. What experiences I had encountered then, what my thoughts were on. For a time, I got tired. I got exhausted of being one of the faces of that tragedy. It still hasn’t left my mind. It definitely won’t ever leave my heart. I thought that taking the post down will somehow give us all a bit of cleansing. The lessons have been learnt and so shall we move forward.
But now that we’re in the middle of a brooding catastrophe (and this time I hope I’m truly wrong as I love being right), all I can share is that small room of hope inside us all. This is a reminder to us all that we need to gather ourselves and keep strong so that we can help other people.
In case of a major catastrophic scenario, where will most of us be? I pose a question on myself because of the series of events from the past couple of days which weren’t much except a lot of rain. The first thing I did a day after the family had settled was to go out and be useful. Because I made it out alive. I thought that the fact that I was out there looking for something to do meant that others needed me. Of course I was lost. I NEARLY lost everything, including my dad whom at the time was suffering from a serious condition.
What can we do at this time except reflect, really? All these material possessions can be replaced, we all know this. But it did not come to me until I had it all happening, seeing the aftermath of the heavens taking it out on us. But take our story for what it is, there is no better value than the lives of the people and the living creatures around us. We cannot solve world famine from happening. We cannot stop Gaia from crying tears of pain for all that we’ve singlehandedly done to ruin her, but we can believe in that small room in us that which radiates hope.
Hope lives inside of us.
To this minute, I stay awake, waiting for a loved one to come home. I don’t know what the hours will create, but I keep my hopes up. Because right now that’s all I can do.
If we’re safe enough, we stay strong for those who aren’t. When we’re strong enough, we uplift those in need. Lets all keep it together, closely knit. We have been prepared further for something like this. We all know this. We just have to keep remembering that there is a force that pulls people together when they remain with effort to keep That Little Room lit up.
A lot has happened since my last post. I think that was around the week of the 23rd of June. It seems I haven’t gotten some down time enough to post anything here. The journal under my bed however, is well fed with words.
Last month, I attended the 3rd Kapwa Conference in Baguio for a week. Its focus was mainly about IP awareness, and the strengthening of ancient cultural roots as different SLT’s had attended after being formed from the previous 2 conferences. Over 300 guests from around the world came together to experience this event that leaves my mind blown to this day.
Here is a photo of the guests from several parts of the world collaborating to the sound of Kawangis ng Tribu from Palawan at the Bencab Museum where a retrospective was held on the culture bearers of Baguio. Here you have the different IP’s dancing, including the T’boli’s from South Cotabato whom I also had a chance to spend more time with after the conference. What I found attractive about them was the strength of the women leaders of the tribe. So far they have no problem sharing their strong roots as they have Schools of Living Traditions now where they are able to teach the younger members of the tribe to preserve their ancient ways.
On the 3rd day, I met some members of the Ainu’s from Japan. The Ainu People are the direct descendants of the Jomons and are known to be the first inhabitants of the island who reside in the northern portion of Japan (Hokkaido).
Having been heavily discriminated upon by most Japanese over time, the Ainus have since been repressed like some of our very own IP’s. Despite this, they were able to preserve a high sense of humanity and still a strong sense of culture. What I found striking was their way of greeting each time they passed one another on the street. They would say, Irankarapte which means, “May I touch your heart”.
It completely set me off to tears the moment I heard this. I mean where I’m from, we got by not even looking at the people we come across everyday. Since then, I look back at the experience of having heard how it was to become part of an ethnicity that runs on minority, and I couldn’t help but for a while there, get confused.
I know my roots are in Bicol, but my grandmother was Turkish. Unfortunately Lola hardly ever spoke of her past; she ran away from home (so did my grandfather who was from Mainland China) so I guess I’ll never know. Obviouisly something draws me to question where our bloodline really started or what part of Turkey exactly she was from but safe to say I’d like to be addressed as Filipino and I’d probably have a bigger problem, otherwise.
I also had the pleasure of meeting Dennis Banks, Native American leader who co-founded the AIM in the late 60′s. On the 4th day of the conference, he sat there and told everyone his story as a young Native American boy being sent to boarding school, by force, taken away from his family at such a young age along with other Native Americans and how they were discriminated upon by the kids at school for being who they are.
One anecdote that really set my floodgates open wasn’t even that time he was speaking about how some of his friends at such a young age being beaten up to death. It was that one about him harboring ill feelings towards his mother who never wrote to him while he was at boarding school. After 3 decades, his children went up digging for his records and showed him what they had found. Apparently there had been a box of letters coming from his mother, with one she had sent to the American Government along with $4.00 so they could send Dennis back home. Of course by the time he saw this, it was too late to change things, and that he had begun mourning the loss of his mother who did write to him but was held back by the American Government.
As I write this I kind of have to stop here and cleanse my palate. That’s just one of the stories I was able to hear in those 5 days. I cannot even begin to mention how heart-wrenching it was being in the circle of the Filipino IP youth, where the Ati’s were asked to speak their minds. The Ati People from Negros as most of us from the conference have noticed, were different from all the other IP’s. They hardly looked up and spoke to us, even to the other delegates.
When one of the girls had the courage to speak, I couldn’t help but cry as I had to translate for the british sociologist. She said that most of the time they would get laughed at and made fun of in their faces for the way they looked. And that they know they have nothing on fair-skinned girls and their tall physique, those who have lived in the cities and have no problem about their appearance. She insisted that they have accepted their fate, for as long as people, in their hearts, were reminded that despite their looks, deep down inside their only wish is to be seen as people who have feelings. Because that way, people can stop seeing them differently.
Again I have to take a breather as I write this. It’s already been over a month since all of this happened and I was fearful enough to think that I would forget everything I had experienced there. So far it remains clear, but at the same time it’s 2 minutes ’til 3 in the morning and I’m getting more pensive as I continue writing. I suppose its not such a healthy task to do at this time of day. I have to pick up an instrument I have been waiting for, for the last 8 years after I take my parents to the airport, and then run to music school after.
Perhaps I should stop here. I decline the urge to retract my words and redesign the nature of this entry. It may have taken me quite some time to deliver a promise of consistency, but it takes a lot of pondering and digestion for something this big. Often I would find myself questioning the purpose of this blog and why I should even let out my thoughts on the internet for most people to judge me by, but I think I should just use this blog for what makes it more useful than everyday musings without much thought and substance. All I know is that after the conference, I am not the same person. It brings heavy light on how much I personally dislike discrimination and bullying. How far humanity should come from disassociating themselves from each other.
To me there is no one race. Whether we like it or not, we will have to switch bodies with someone else over time when this flesh expires and until then it’s only a matter of time when our Karma shall speak to us and tell us we should’ve fought for the homogenous understanding towards every kind of people. Whether its the 3rd sex or a genetic coincidence, I think we should open up to the possibility of the future as a bigger minority: one that becomes the beautiful majority.
Until the next, this is me signing off. I’ve got a pretty long day ahead. I wish you all good energy and positivity.
On my way down for our 19 East gig. Too bad I couldnt make it to witness the protest against the threat of cutting 182 trees in Baguio. I love that place. Thats where I wrote all these new songs and met really good people. Will figure something out tonight with Dakila Artist Collective and hopefully get help from environmentally conscious groups to converge. Before this streak of frequent visits, it was 1993 and it was still different. It smelled of pines and lesser smoke from motorists who cared about their contribution to clean air. Now its changed a lot, but it tries to keep itself intact by staying as green as possible. To push it to accelerated destruction thru lack of protection from natural disasters isn’t right. Remember Sendong, CDO and Illigan, remember Marikina and Ondoy, remember a summer in the City of Pines and remember that our heritage is represented and fueled by the existence of trees.
I think part and parcel of being a “social failure” is making friends with people who are either way older or younger than you. It’s most definitely not a bad thing – in fact, the past 3 weeks of trying very hard to remain sane and its somewhat success, was due to the help of some salt and pepper-haired friends. One of them who makes great schnapps for a living told me, “the secret really is if you cannot live alone, you’ll never be able to live with anyone.”
And the basic principle of letting everything take control of themselves, we have to adjust or at least acknowledge. Us control freaks who want to drive our direction and paths beyond the capacity of the structure to change, end up in earthquaked shells because we try too hard to fight the natural course of things, the intrinsic designs of life — that ironically, is also ever-changing as well as it is the blueprint that everyone is acquainted with.
A nudge here and there, but never a push or pull. If you intend to use force, ready yourself for consequences. 90 percent of the things that happen to us are all of our doing, only 10 percent belong to the moons we satellites orbit around. And if we build our lives on anything that is half of what we believe in, the pits won’t skip a beat from telling us why we were wrong in doing so.
Of course, there’s no denying that people are born with certain qualities that are hard to change, character types and disorders that will never seek distance from its roots and triggers. But this is why we have case studies, in the stories of our old friends, and past loves, belonging to a planet-full of philosophical mutants with inner galaxies. Real knows real, the truth may slide, but all waters lead to the ocean.
Admittedly, I’ve had contrasting and contradicting ideas about the supreme being because I think it’s just the Universe waging its finger, telling us what we haven’t accepted yet. Swim in deeper understanding for others, and let luck find its way. What goes around, comes around. This is what I’ve learned from sitting in a corner with 1 person, while the other half of the room celebrated life and the joys that company brought them.
Stealing studio hours,
And then last night I flipped a coin choosing between two films and ended up with the one where the photograph was taken from.
Been a while since something spoke to me in this fashion. I had never seen the golden hour my entire life the way it looked like yesterday. A cat literally gave birth above my head, noticed a colour I had been drawn to, after a year.
It seems we do not really waste away when we have nothing but a choice to make, because the time that is devoted to experience is the only milk for our wronged bones.
Nothing is ever that bland – anymore or never after can’t change that.
Much to our dismay, Japan is still under stress, coping with everything including the meltdown. Two good friends of mine are still there. One of my best friends is still in Nagoya trying to find a way to drive down south away from Fukushima. Not nice of an opening, I know, but these are facts.
I had a good gig at Route 196 tonight. The people were great, though Paul had to skip tonight’s gig due to his cooties. Matt Warren of Ephesus was kind enough to take Paul’s spot and cover and even played some extra songs to please the crowd.
Ah, I miss Baguio. I miss Lady, Pablo, Axis that Wednesday night with Jaz and Zelimir, Kalaw and the people around it, plus plus. The other day I was just having flashbacks of how my day would be if I had decided to not take the studio job and get a life. I would be having coffee at 11 am in the cold weather with fresh flowers and listening to random music I don’t have to necessarily like too much; but look forward to a day that’s so calm and wait for an evening at Rumours, see Inyong, the nice bartenders there and Norma, the cashier. Lest we forget Andy who co-owns it with his partner — such a nice couple those two.
But this is me now, all for the sake of devoting my life entirely to music without worrying about the future too much (that it needs to be dealt with now). I’m having fun at work — that I wouldn’t really call it work so much — only if I lived a little closer. Everybody at Loudbox has been helpful and I wrote my first arrangement today, besides my first box casting and it seems to have made the cut, so I’m happy about those little victories.
Life really isn’t that peachy, but it can be if you put yourself somewhere you deserve to be. Trust that anything can happen and that if things don’t go so well, you’ve got yourself, and that’s more than enough company to get you through.
Looking forward to tomorrow,