Getting past the divergent roads

Cross Roads

Yesterday, I did the thing I have contemplated for weeks. I chose the masters program that I will be taking this winter semester. I have politely declined the offer of VGU and mentioned to the course coordinator that I am focusing my efforts to my option of going to Germany for my selected course. For many, it may have been a no brainer. Go to the school that is more prestigious and established, experience that which will make you happy and that which gives you the best life experience. It maybe all correct but with this decision comes a  moment of closure for an alternative reality. I begin now to close that window of choice and the possibility of staying in Asia, learning something inherently South East Asian, commuting from Vietnam to Singapore to Manila for the holidays to meet Jose and the rest of my family. I am extinguishing the idea of  learning to become a sustainable urban planner in its traditional sense.

For now I open myself to a different dream, of understanding culture, of getting more familiar with the western traditions but in that process also starting anew in an unfamiliar land where there might seem no immediate comforts. I will experience life with fresh eyes and I will begin to really have a new chapter in life. What I will be in the future, I can hardly imagine now. What will become of my dreams, probably they will expand beyond my own personal projections. I am honest to admit that I am scared but excited. After two years, I know that I will see the world in a different light.

In a way, I want to preserve this moment, I am in a good position and I am where I want to be at this time. Everything is perfect, even with all the tragedies that I have faced last year. I see Jose’s smile and the excitement of our dogs when I come back home. I am preserving this moment clear in my mind.

I hope that the next two years will bring a change that will make me a better person. A change that will deepen my own personal relations. A change that will broaden my perspectives in life but will also make me realize my own place in the universe – a humble speck of dust in this vast existence.

A question to ponder: Could I even be happier?


A Time With Mother

I am stepping away from the topic of education for this blog and focus on the two weeks that I spent with my mom whilst she visited me in Singapore. The main purpose of her visit is because of the opening of my project but also it was my goal to give her a wonderfully relaxing time away from the difficulties of daily life. This trip is well deserved – a few months ago, my father suddenly passed away and  because of that my mom diligently travels a journey to the mountain city of Baguio to patiently endure the trauma and sadness of the court trial of my father’s demise. Aside from that, last November when her trip was supposed to happen, she was diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis. DVT is a blood clot that occurs deep in the vein that makes walking unbearably painful. DVTs predominantly occur in the legs and may have no symptoms. DVT may go away naturally, but the most serious complication can affect the lungs and become a life-threatening. She was bed ridden for a couple of weeks and it took a while before she was able to fully recover her motor functions without pain. I am happy that she is able to walk again as if nothing happened.

Pinkdot mom

My mother has always been a fighter, determined to raise us kids in the highest standards of ethics and intellectual pursuits. I owe to her my determination, my desire for learning, my love of the arts, culture and current events and the passion for education which eventually made me decide to pursue a master’s degree.

For this trip, I brought her to a couple of museums, brought her to a funeral (a bit morbid but culturally enriching), showed her what PinkDot is all about, treated her for a really nice weekend in a 5-star resort, brought her to the futuristic garden that I help design and build and let her explore the city by herself in some days. I have let her experience Singapore, probably different from the usual tourist route. There are always great things about a city, there are also the not so good things and I guess that is life. It’s not what you imagined it to be but at the end of the day it remains beautiful in some way.

One night last week after a long day of exploring Sentosa and enjoying the view of the sky scrapers of Marina Bay, I spoke to her and said like this, “Mom I think at some point I will get married. I am not yet there but I probably will.”  That was the beginning of a long discussion of my plans which led to a reflection of her marriage with my father – the joys, the difficulties, the questions and the resolutions. At one point she shared with me another life, a life when she was younger, engaged to another man who was living in Canada and her decision to go there to get married and in the end, she came back to the Philippines broken-hearted but resolute that she is not supposed to marry her fiancée. I listened to her patiently realizing one thing – she is not just my mother, she is also a woman with her dreams and aspirations, a woman with a past that she can look back to, a present that she experiences and future that is unknown. She is an individual just like me. As an individual, she cannot just be seen in one mold. She is multi-faceted and real. She is not this figurative individual that I call mom which I would expect to get advice from or will prepare me food when I am at home. She may also want to live a life of meaning, pursuing what she believes is right and what she is passionate about. She can actually be a really good friend that may sometime need my advice too or alternative point of view.

Please look after mother

This thinking is so similar to the novel “Please Look After Mother” which she read and shared with me a few days ago. As the Korean author Kyung-Sook Shin wrote as thoughts of a daughter about her mother who they lost in the busy trains of Seoul:

“…I have so many dreams of my own, and I remember things from my childhood, from when I was a girl and a young woman, and I haven’t forgotten a thing. So why did we think of Mom as a mom from the very beginning? She didn’t have the opportunity to pursue her dreams, and all by herself, faced everything the era  dealt her, poverty and sadness, and she couldn’t do anything about her very bad lot in life other than suffer through it and get beyond it and live her life to the very best of her ability, giving her body and her heart to it completely. Why did I never give a thought to Mom’s dreams?”

This realization provided me a certain truth: if I see her as someone like myself, I am able to see her in a different light. Although she is a generation older than me and she has raised me to become the individual that I am now, we swim the same seas of our day-to-day life and whatever will be life like after my father’s passing, she has that same power to choose her own path to reevaluate her own purpose and life meaning. She can reinvent herself or keep herself as she is but the main thing here is that, as a child of hers and as another human being, I am here to support her and ultimately love her for who she is and who she will become, whatever that will be.

I hope that the future will bring her good things, new and exciting experiences and i hope she pursues her dream or best, create new ones. The world is hers as it is mine and I can’t wait for her to smile and say, life is still good, whatever happens.

Of Love, Friendship and Getting Older

Today I met one of my old time friend, Greg from Manila in a mall in Orchard road. I haven’t seen him in a while not because we didn’t have the time but I have a feeling that we had a falling out of some sort. When he was ‘fresh off the boat’ from Manila, I was being the super helpful friend to give him the best tips to know the best places, meet the best people, etc. but he wanted to do things his own way. Well, in the end I was not able to help him a lot but thankfully, he found his own way of understanding Singapore. He has been here since early of this year but since that time, we’ve only met twice. This is the second time. While I was talking to Greg, I found it quite intriguing that most of the time we could not look directly at each other because of some unexplained discomfort. Its like talking to someone you had a bad history with and just wanted to get things over and done with. I found it a very unusual conversation like I was constantly in the urge of thinking what I should talk about – typically not the case with good friends.

I was surprised that he has become a home buddy and he doesn’t go out that much, as I once knew him. He has become more tame in his spending while I have become more of a spender than I previously was. He was letting things flow while I was harnessing the elements as I move along the path of life, and with so many other things that I noticed, it seemed to me that Greg and I had now come to a point of bi-polar differences. I found it very surprising, in a way that made me think what ever happened to the friend I knew.

* * * * * *

As I was wondering, another incident flashed through my mind while I was on my way home. I remember when I was in the University, I was eager for life. With this eagerness came the desire for love well. If you knew me back then, I must think you would know that I had my fair share of those kind. I remember that I loved one person intensely at that time. Just one that really made my heart beat faster and slower at the same time. And boy, was I intense. Seemingly, as I look back at that time, I knew what love really meant and how I should live my life. There was this constant excitement, a constant anticipation of every morning at that time when I was in love. Simple hugs meant eternal happiness and the first kiss will forever be etched in my mind.

A perfect move of grace

At present, I know now how smiles can have charming effects and honest but well thought of wording can give anyone a blush. I know now of the power of imagery, the power of movement and the effects of intensity to people. Love is slowly becoming more of a practiced waltz, where movements of the other, I will answer with a perfect grip of the hips and a steady hand to guide the next move. I am getting to know this dance well. But knowing this dance I suddenly ask myself what ever happened to sheer excitement? What ever happened to the unpredictability of the unknown step and that graceful fall to the floor when we trip at our own misstep?

* * * * * *

As we mature, we realize that there are things in life that will supercede what we believed in when we were younger. Friends will never be the same people because we follow different paths and our minds will work in a different way in the infinitesimal different permutations of choice and experiences. Love will not always be what we imagined it to be and a lot of people live half empty or half full lives depending on the observer. Only a few will become perfectly happy in their lives. Some people just settle to a life of almost happiness and give up childhood dreams to live in the real world.

We do get older. Wiser, I don’t know but more adept and practiced to life, indeed we do. We can never go back to the past where life is seen with new eyes and friendship is a pact written in stone. Ideal love will soon be as it is – an abstract concept that can never really be achieved but we make the best out of what we have.

The apple of awakening shame

This is a sad blog. To realize that idealism becomes blurry when you get older is a scary thought. It will not just be about love and friendship but in so many aspects of our lives, we will realize things that will crumble our ideas of perfection and we suddeny open our eyes and see that life is like that. Its real. I guess I should end this one not with hope, because it defeats the purpose of the blog but with a certain amount of embarassment like the one that adam and eve got when they ate the apple in the garden of eve. I am ashamed that no optimism is in me tonight and even though most of the time I am high spirited in the end, I have a certain gloom that life will have lots of moments that I will have to accept imperfection and settle to just saying, “Thats how it is.”

Do I really have to settle for that?

transferred from Friendster Blog written  03 Nov 2008

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I am a boulder

Dear  KL,

When I opened my eyes this morning, it is the first time in a long while that I didn’t think of you. It is a liberating moment where my mind is not enslaved by your presence and that I am reborn to a new mindset. It seems that I completely lost all myself to you giving in to this intensity of a raw heart. Maybe its because of my young age, maybe because of personal beliefs of idealism or maybe because it is the fundamental of my life – to search for meaning, to live with passion and to feel the whole spectrum of emotions which you found too much for you to handle. I cannot blame you nor myself for it because we really come from different backgrounds. The thing is, I was more willing to go beyond this hurdle than you. Your mind wasn’t willing to jump.

I am a boulder

What I know about myself is this, I am that guy who may be too rigid at work, but when it comes to matters of the heart, I soar to the sky and falter and crash face first in the ground. It is my belief that life offers us great moments; not always good ones but those that intensify our value formation and makes us define this rock of character until we reach a state of smooth marble. I know for a fact that I am a newly weathered rock thrown in a gushing waterfall. I am still very sharp and full of rough corners. I cannot force myself to become a smoother stone because only the waters of life can do that to me. If you ever did or will again love me, you must accept this fact and you place yourself beside me, you a smoother stone willing to get scratched and we face the same force of water. We face it head on.

Thank you for giving me a piece of life – good and bad moments. Once we were sitting side by side, now the waters may eventually give us a gap. All the same, we are in the same river, and we experience the same waters and I will now let the forces of nature take control of our proximity to one another. Let it be known that there was a tangential moment that we collided and i lost a big chip of my own self.  It was lost with meaning and in the end this missing piece will smoothen and become beautiful.

transferred from Friendster Blog written 25 Apr 2008

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A tribute to the tragedy that was ours

in the aftermath of a great tragedy, i come to think of what has happened to my past year. it has been a ride of a lifetime where i have felt the intensity of every known emotion related to the elated state of love. happiness, sadness, frustration, depression, erotism, etc.

noticeably, when we are in the state of eros, we develop a keener sensitivity to our surroundings and ever good act is magnified to divine kilig moments and every bad act is magnified to personal sabotage but as we move on and we get to look back at the things that we did, it becomes aparent that we were just pathetic fools under the cupid’s spell.

i will never really know what went on in your head – if it was all true or was it just me thinking that it was but maybe it doesn’t really matter anyway, it was our moment and it is ours for the keeping. someday when i have digested the essence of what transpired, i will sigh and say to myself that it was nice while it lasted. love is never lost as th

ey say. it is perennial as the grass.

this blog and two more that i saved in my draft but never did publish is my tribute to your existence. You are part of my life written here in cyberspace and your essence will be left in my heart. our lives will be forever connected by an invisible string, seemingly invisible but forever strong. Our dreams, our aspirations and our moments will never be lost in the pages of the grand master plan and if  you ever come back in the most unexpected way, you will still bring a smile to my face. You have been my meaning. I need to declare that to the world.

Palangga ko, please do take care of yourself. Gimingaw na ku nimo.

transferred from Friendster Blog written last 3 Aug 2006



strong words.. i wish you well, gabby!

and yeah, congrats at graduate ka na! :D