THE GOSSIP GIRL

Funny how people love a very juicy gossip; how enticing and how good it must feel to just take on other people’s lives and making it one hell of a hobby! 🙂

Before I was employed in an office-based career, I was on a field-work for the last 13 years and it was a semi-solitary confinement. I work on shifts and usually alone during my work hours; there’s technically no one to talk to except when somebody calls on the phone when something has gone wrong in the system. So, it was basically a very unfriendly working environment, the only good thing is – I don’t have the chance to relate with my other co-workers for a longer time, as I exit from work right after the next person-on-duty arrives. So I don’t have the chance to compare myself with others. No comparison means no feeling of superiority or inferiority. Human nature is all that all the time, hence, loving the feeling of pulling other people down to feel powerful.

When I got an office-based job, it was a roller coaster. Everyone is taking a bit of other people’s lives. I was taking bits and pieces of them, too. But most of the time, I cringe when I realize that I already have been doing what I hate doing. I don’t like to do gossip, but when the opportunity knocks, I succumb. It was, I think and feel, that taking part in it is like socializing, you take sides and voila! You become friends with someone who shares the same ideas and you become one with the group. Who wouldn’t love a very juicy gossip? It’s like eating a very sumptuous moist chocolate cake, you feel good right after!

But after sharing a thought or two, I feel guilty. What it does to me most of the time is very exhausting. It was always a realization that my so-called friends might have been doing the same to me. I have no skeletons in my closet, but anybody can put up a very good story. With all the actions and facial expressions during delivery, I dared something unbelievable could be very much be believable.

Every time the girls group during break time, It was always an opportunity for me to test the oath I swear never to gossip. Most of the time, I fail miserably. What’s worse is I am sharing my personal opinion. Me and my big mouth! Oh, how easy it was to become human and and so difficult to remain humane. Words can hurt so deep that not even the most expensive medicine can heal.

I am dealing with it every single day. I am the big fat perpetrator whenever I open my mouth! And for all I know, I might also be the innocent victim when I’m not in the office. Everything comes in full circle, that’s for sure. It’s scary and now I feel so uncomfortable around people in the office. It is a personal struggle. I’m just glad I still have the time to internalize and gather my thoughts and decipher the good from the bad.

The moral of my musings: Don’t do unto others what you don’t want them do unto you.

MY FAVORITE ADDICTION

Yes, I am a self-confessed addict. I tried giving it up years ago.  At some point, I succeeded; but most of the time, I failed. That being said, old habits just don’t ever die. Through time, realizations just come across from nowhere and makes me sit down and write all the things why I succeed and failed in conquering my addiction. Today is one of those days.

Before I throw in my light-bulb moments, please be informed that I am a working mom who wakes up at 5am to prepare every weekdays and goes to work from 8am-5pm, commutes to and from work in a public utility vehicle and a company bus, gets home at around 7pm, only had an hour of lunch break during the day, a home maker, a cook and a babysitter all at the same time, BUT can still squeeze in reading trilogy novels in 3 days. My addiction for reading romance novels sometimes gets out of hand. 🙂

So bad it is. Here goes my list why reading romance novels is a (kind of) bad thing (?):

1.) It takes too much of your free time (including lunch breaks and coffee breaks at work). When I start to read a very good book, I can’t put put it down until it ends. I feel guilty sometimes, thinking I could have made useful the time I spent reading for other productive things like…reading (?) This is really bad. I cannot even think of any other productive things to do other than reading 🙂

2.) It’s no different from a very addictive video game. The more you indulge in it, it just keeps getting better and better. And like playing a video game, you don’t want to be interrupted or else!

3.) It gives you false hopes. 99.99% of all romance novel theme is all about every girl’s ultimate dreams coming true, leaving one a hopeless romantic and a sucker for happy endings. I hope there is a study of women who loves to read romance novels and on how they deal with real-life relationships (if they even have one 🙂 ). I would like to bet that there is high statistics of women who marry late or never marry at all waiting for Mr. Right to come along just like the heroes in the books (dashing debonair, billionaires,CEOs, Christian Grey). Pathetic.

4.) It introduces you to a lot of erotic strategies. It’s not a bad thing, right? Or is it? For minors, yes? 🙂 I, for one, found romance novels very educational in terms of sex education (well, putting it in my most decent comment for conservative readers). 🙂

5.) Before one book ends, you can’t wait to start reading another one. It is a revolution. And an addiction.

6.) It can give you body ailments – stiff neck, poor vision, fat tummy due to lesser burning of calories while sitting the whole time reading.

My list of negative effects can go on forever, but I love my addiction! So, no stopping it anytime. So much for giving everyone points to ponder! haha

 

 

 

I GOT “HIT”

Wow, its been a while since I wrote something interesting (at least, for me 🙂 ). But lately, I experienced something interesting and find it too intriguing not to write about.

I am two weeks shy from my scheduled vacation to Sydney, Australia, so I am busy preparing my documents for a smooth passage in the Immigration Office on my flight date. My first ever out-of-the-country travel. One of the documents was the N.B.I. (National Bureau of Investigation) Clearance (Philippines’ NBI is the counterpart of U.S.A’s FBI). To acquire the clearance, I went to the NBI Office last June 16 and applied for it.

My name was called after 5 hours and a half to have my picture and my biometrics taken. Supposedly, after that, if a person doesn’t have criminal or derogatory records, one can immediately get the clearance. The sad thing is, I was advised to come back after 5 days to get my clearance because my name got “hit” when they scanned it against their records of persons with criminal records.

Oh gosh, someone with name same as mine is on the “wanted” list. I told the office,” it’s definitely not me!” 🙂 I don’t have to explain further, I just smiled and walked away thinking that along with the 90 million population of my country, someone shared my name but not my “law-abiding citizen” disposition.

I came back on the 5th day. I waited for roughly 30 minutes, anxious but confident to get the clearance. And my name was called at the releasing area.

With my experience, I can’t help but think and feel for those people whose identity were taken mistakenly as notorious. Sometimes, the worst thing happens, I hear news of persons killed by “riding in tandem vigilantes” but close friends and  relatives of the victim would come shocked and disdainful. They would tell stories of how much of a good man the victim was; swearing that the victim never had a bad trait on every strand of his hair. It’s not fair, right?

The city where I live probably had the most cases of vigilantism in the Philippines. We call them the Davao Death Squad. Our City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte was the alleged mastermind of the summary executions and was even investigated by the Human Rights Group and the Department of Justice, but was never proven. Our City Mayor would just laugh at it and openly agrees to the summary executions, citing that the victims were trashes to the society; drug addicts and drug traffickers.

Sometimes, I think of these things as beneficial for me and my family. Nobody would dare do bad things anymore. I can walk around the city at night time feeling safe and protected from lawless elements. But when I got “hit” during the clearance, I feel that anybody can be a victim, even me or someone from my family. My conscience is clear; I have been a law-abiding citizen since birth. But what if I will be mistaken for somebody with a really, really bad record?

 

THE ROADS LESS TRAVELED BY

Last May 19, 2014, I had the first chance of a lifetime to travel by land one of the most dangerous places in the Philippines, or so they say; the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao.IMG_20140520_121608

We departed from Davao City at 1:00 P.M. I was seated on the passenger seat next to the driver. Mr. Driver asked me if I have any issue regarding speed limit, sighting that he intends to drive at an average of 130kph. I immediately asked why and he told me that there are areas along the way that are very critical after sunset; critical because the residents living around that certain area make “kidnapping” a way of living. After hearing his reason, I immediately said “no” (of course 🙂 ). So, the ultimate goal is to arrive to our destination before the sun sets. I had mixed emotions; thrilled and excited, but at the same time, worried. It was my very first road trip to the infamous home of terrorists in the island of Mindanao, Philippines.

During the first hour, I was asleep; I was still confident because we are still within the boundary of the southern part of Davao Region. When we passed by the Municipality of Bansalan, that’s when I was so wide awake and all my senses activated. I want to witness every inch of the road less traveled by. Mr. Driver was very calm and careful at his 130kph speed, but I can see his urgency to come past the noted areas. The roads are well-cemented; a good sign of progress, but the houses along the way are mostly shabby. The people we passed by looked at us with discerning eyes.

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I can observe tarpaulin prints and paint posts saying proudly “Congratulations! Bangsamoro Government” pertaining to the newly signed comprehensive peace agreement between the President of the Republic of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) last March 27, 2014, that gave them sovereignty over their ancestral lands in exchange for deactivation of rebel forces by the MILF. I can feel tension everywhere, with frequent sightings of War tanks at every AFP (Philippine Army) checkpoints.

When we arrived at our destination, one of the Substations of the company I work for, I still never felt safe because the Security Guards and the Staff were said to be members and relatives of the MILF. We had to be careful of what we say and do around the place. Right in front of the gate of the Substation was said to be the newly built Office Building of the MILFs.

I also got the chance to see where the Maguindanao Massacre took place in November 2009; the municipality of Shariff Aguak. It is also known as the “Ampatuan Massacre” because the alleged mastermind is one of the members of one of the most powerful Muslim Political clans in Mindanao, Andal Ampatuan, Jr. The victims were composed of the wife of the Ampatuans’ political rival, Toto Mangudadato, and her sisters, journalists, lawyers, and civilians mistaken as part of the convoy; a total of 58 casualties, kidnapped, brutally killed and buried in a mass grave.

IMG_20140520_133118I also got to see the castle-like residence of the Ampatuans surrounded with small houses made of dilapidated bamboo matting; a very extreme manifestation of uneven distribution of wealth and corruption.  It was said that the small houses are home to the Ampatuans’ personal army and guards.

 

 

disneyOn the lighter side, I was so amazed at the beautiful Mosques. It was my first time to see Mosques at almost every kilometer interval since we entered the Muslim Region. There was this particular Mosque somewhere in Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao that really caught me; it was like a castle in a Disney movie; so pink and so beautiful. It is situated more or less 500 meters away from the road. I cannot get close enough to take pictures; just a snap from our running vehicle, such a shame I can’t stop over and rejoice in its beauty. The mosque is the one over the shabby hut.

IMG_20140520_135050When we got a few more kilometers away from the critical areas, me and my colleagues stopped to breathe fresh air and taste the sweet water melon abundant in the place called “Esperanza”. It was the safest place that we’ve ever came across with; the inhabitants were mostly ilonggos and ilokanos.

IMG_20140520_141901Further down south, we passed by the Provincial Capitol of Sultan Kudarat; a very grandiose mosque-like building located at Isulan, North Cotabato. The travel was already relaxing as we were nearing  Tacurong City; a part of North Cotabato with a more liberal Government because majority of the residents are Christians.

My road trip experience was really very interesting. Having had close encounters with members of one of the most notorious rebel groups in the Philippines, and around the World as well, was very amusing for me. I felt happy and fearful all at the same time. The experience could have me broken, but I loved the hype and the risk.

I am home now, safe and sound, writing this experience.

PINOY PRIDE: MICHAEL MARTINEZ QUALIFIES FOR THE MEDAL ROUND IN WINTER OLYMPICS 2014

I was waiting on TV for the live telecast of his performance last night; it came at midnight Philippine time and I was already asleep. I woke up happy when I saw the news flashed that Michael Martinez made an amazing debut by surviving the first cut to the finals. Watching him in the opening ceremonies carrying the Philippine flag alone puts me to tears. In our history, he is the first Filipino to ever participate in a Winter Olympics; from a tropical country at that.  He is the youngest of all the competitors and the only Southeast Asian contender. Aside from the financial support given by the Philippine Government and other private institutions, they were never enough to cover their expenses and accommodation for training abroad. So his mother gambled on making bank loans with their own home as collateral just to raise funds for his son’s training. He never failed his mother.

Michael Christian Martinez survived the initial cut Thursday night and advanced to the free skate of men’s figure skating in the 22nd Winter Olympics at the Iceberg Skating Palace in Sochi, Russia.

Looking like a young prince in his costume, Martinez, 17, wowed the crowd and left the tv announcers thrill no end with his “stunning routine” while performing through the song entitled “Romeo and Juliet” of Arthur Fiedler.

A proud native of Muntinlupa City, Martinez garnered a score of 64.81, good for third spot among the first 10 competitors but already enough to move on for tomorrow’s free skate.

As of posting time, Belgium’s Jorik Hendrickx is leading the way with 72.52 followed by Uzbekistan’s Misha Ge with 68.07.

On the brink of getting eliminated were Abzal Rakimgaliev of Kazakhstan (64.18), Ukraine’s Yakou Godorozha (62.65), Estonia’s Viktor Romanenkov (61.55) and Liam Firus of Canada (55.04).

In a stunning development, Russian legend Evgeny Plushenko, a three-time World Championship titlist and a twice Olympic gold medalist, abruptly pulled out of the competitions citing lower back pain.

Martinez’s performance, however, drew the attention of the TV announcers, who gushed: “What a debut for the Philippines!”

“That was fantastic. I honestly didn’t think it would be this good,” they added.

From:  Yahoo Sports Philippines.