Friday, July 8, 2011


This is my first time to stay in the Philippines in a rainy season. Normally, I would go for a vacation during summer. However, since I have no choice but to conduct my research for my MA Thesis this July, I braved the rainy season and plunged into a wet and wild Metro Manila.

As of writing, today is just my third day in Manila. So far, I'm able to accomplish some to-do and to-buy in my list. Delving on a strict budget for vacation, I can still manage my expenses. On the side, my researching mojo is starting to roll as my global respondents, who are OFW bloggers, have finally submitted their answers to my questionnaires. Hopefully, within this week, I will be able to finalize the TOP 30 Participating OFW bloggers in my benchmark study.

I won't be talking about how hard it is to do research especially for a Master's degree. It's given. It's inevitable. However, what I want to talk about is the downpour of experiences that I'm lovin and hatin right now in Manila.

Apart from issues of Bishops receiving lavish gifts from Arroryo, the putting down of sexy billboards of Team Philippine Volcanoes, and public officials throwing dirty fingers, what caught my attention the most is experiencing floods in Commonwealth, and the string of metaphorical sensibilities that affect my inner persona.

I was on my way this evening to Trinoma when I was stuck in traffic (for an hour) because of the floods in Commonwealth highway. Yes! I had a chance (again of after so many years of stay overseas) to witness the rise of muddy waters in a road which has been under road expansion projects over the past years. As one of the passengers in the FX uttered, "kung kailan nag-road expansion, saka naman binaha."

The dreadful and wet night didn't end soon. I was again stuck in traffic going to Trinoma, where I was supposed to meet my UP DevComm Major classmates. Seriously, I was not spared with the congest roads, slow moving vehicles, and a sea of people who are just desperate to go home, even if they're dry or wet.

Meet-up with Pam, Nomer, Joms, Rox and Ivan!

It took me more than an hour to escape Commonwealth highway. Interestingly, while I was calming myself inside the FX, the banters of the radio DJs in a popular masa-based radio station, piqued my interest. Truth is, I wasn't happy at all with what I heard. Apart from the boisterous tone of the DJ, the banters were just senseless, sarcastic and bastos. And as the FX moved, I came to ponder how terrible some FM radio stations have become so commercialized, to the point of lambasting callers, throwing sexually provoking lines, and simply making a noise.

When I reached Trinoma, good thing, the rain stopped. Despite the troublesome night because of the traffic which I didn't anticipate (sorry because I thought I'm still in Brunei), I had a good and fun night with my UP OU classmates. We filled the night with funny experiences in grad school. Plus, I shared (bits) my life in Brunei.

Prior to a night out with my UP OU classmates, my family threw a birthday celebration for my brother Jeffrey, who just turned 27. We went to Our Lady of Manaoag Shrine and ate at Isdaan in Tarlac. Filled with family bonding, our day started off with prayer offerings at the Shrine and was capped off with an all-Filipino and scrumptious dish at Isdaan. Aside from the photo ops, we enjoyed each other's company especially having my 1 and 3 months old pamangkin named Gab. Once again, I was energized to be with my family, my priority and true love.

At Our Lady of Manaoag Shrine

At Isdaan

At Isdaan

My vacation this July is very different. I'm not longing for some partying or some outrageous adventures. Perhaps, I was traumatized with too much night outs the last time I came to Manila for a vacation in April of this year. One one hand, maybe because this vacation is intended for an extensive research to finally finish my MA Thesis. Plus, this vacation is just tight on a budget (seriously, super duper tight). However, despite the stress that I can feel on doing my MA, I can still get a good laugh especially when I hang around with my family.

As cold as the wind blows and as heavy as the downpour of the rain, my excitement to finish my MA and on looking forward to the opportunities that may came along is just empowering. On the side, I don't want to miss a time with my friends. And so, I'm setting up some schedule to accommodate them for even a simple coffee chit chat; just to let them check me if I'm still breathing (well, hardly!).

As I peruse some of the shots that I had with my family on our past days of celebration, I realized one thing: I'm getting fat. I don't know if I'm just paranoid, but I can say that I gained weight. Having said that, I allotted some of my days on a medical check up. In fact, just this morning, I fasted and went to have my blood tested on sugar, uric acid, cholesterol and creatinin. I just to be sure that I'm on a healthy lane.

On the side, going to the doctor and processing some papers with Papc, a monicker which I use to call our Dad, was enjoyable. I had the chance to have a conversation with my dad on future plans. He also gave me some support to boost me in all my endeavors. Of course, what's not missed on every discussion is his prodding for me to have my own family. And I said, Kung darating yan, darating yan. Hindi naman kailangan habulin. Isa pa, kung masaya ako magisa, bakit pa ako maghahanap ng iba. Then my Dad answered back, Anak, iba pa rin ang may sariling pamilya. And I said, Eh yung iba dyan, nagaasawa, naghihiwalay naman. Eh bakit pa magaasawa kung maghihiwalay naman. My Dad immediately talked back, Eh kasi anak, ang pagaasawa, give and take. Isa pa, nasa paguusap yan ng magasawa. Our conversation went on. I can't remember the other parts. Bottom line, my Dad was talking about the future of having a family.

While I got to immediately move over with conversation on relationships, a realization just popped out. Yes, that magical and powerful word: ACCEPTANCE. Out of the blue, that word just played around in my mind for few minutes.

As I walked home this evening, I sensed that sometimes life can be so tiring if we don't accept who we are; truth is, life's happiness starts if we ACCEPT our strengths and weaknesses. And so, as I walked home, believe it or not, I finally come to a point that I said to myself: Let it be. After all, I'm a grown adult and this is my life. As long as I'm not stepping on someone else's shoes, I should be fine.

The rain walked on our neighborhood. The cool breeze knocked in our house's windows. And as I walked inside my room and changed clothes, a liberating feeling mushroomed.

From a medical check-up in the morning, a chit chat with Papc after the check up, a pondering on a birthday celebration with my brother and a meet-up with classmates, I embraced the night with a downpour of emotions. Thank you for this vacation, I'm hating the feeling of thinking too much which is unnecessary because the answers are all just around and I just have to accept or get it. Seriously, life can be a drowning experience if there are elements that clog the smoothness of the flow. Note to self: Acceptance is the key.

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