In search for answers

•April 18, 2007 • Leave a Comment

It was unbelievable.

The world watched in horror and disbelief the result of the rampage shootings in Virginia Tech perpetrated by a student of the same college. Thirty-two students alongside professors were killed in what is considered the deadliest mass murder in the history of the United States.

I’ve been monitoring the news since last night and I am still in deep shock over the murder. I felt depressed. I can’t help but be affected by the horrible incident. Why would such things happen to innocent people? Why did it have to happen? How do we make sense of it?

My heart sincerely goes to the family and friends of the victims. The school is supposed to be the nurturing grounds for the future of these students. They went to school to learn. But here they are, now lifeless, without any chance to fulfill their dreams. With the massacre, their dreams also perished. The heroic act of one professor who saved the lives of the students is really heartbreaking. He is a professor who has been serving the students for two decades. Interestingly, he is a survivor of the Holocaust afterwhich he moved to Virginia. In an ironic twist of fate, the day he died was the day of the commemoration of the same event which brought him to the US. His selfless act is truly an inspiration.

Thirty-two is not just a number. Behind each, there is a story, there is a life, there is a dream. It simply doesn’t make any sense.

Answers are what the loved ones of the victims are crying out for. Some may be responded to, some may go unanswered.

In these tragic times, our faith will be put to test. I was astonished the statement of one of the victims’ father. His daughter Reema is an intelligent, lovely and promising freshman who was shot while attending her German class. The father calmly said that as of the moment, she is focusing on her daughter and the life that she lived. He does not even have a sign of anger. What he wants is to see the remains of her daughter so that they could be reunited with her.

Tragedies like these are both real and surreal. It is real because it is before our very eyes. No matter how we try to deny it, we can do nothing but to accept it. It is likewise surreal because there is a part of us that whispers, “this is unreal, in fact only a dream, a really bad and terrible dream.”

Within me I feel an existential dread. Angst is getting the better of me. The recurring questions about suffering, sorrow, mourning, sadness, madness, meaninglessness and death are once again inquired into. I came to realize that such things can also happen to me or to anyone I love. How do I deal with it should such unfortunate happenstance take place? Can I handle it just like how the families of the victims are handling it? What if I am the one who’s going to die? Do I have the unshakeable faith to overcome such trials?

After this, I am going to tune in to cable news for more updates. And I am bracing myself for the continuing feeling of distress over the tragedy.

May the grief-stricken families find the courage they need to deal with this. May the victims’ souls rest in peace.

A War Within

•April 14, 2007 • Leave a Comment

“We all carry within us our places of exile, our crimes, and our ravages. But our task is not to unleash them on the world; it is to fight them in ourselves and in others.”
-Albert Camus

Damn. I am obsessed with Camus’ philosophy these days. They call him an existentialist, the philosopher of the absurd. But he refuses to be labelled as such. I don’t know but my fascination on Camus all started when I was in college. For a long time, I didn’t give much thought on his philosophy but thankfully (or not), the Camus phenomenon is back. What I like about his thoughts is that he is brutally and genuinely honest on what he thinks about life’s absurdities. The one you read above is one of my favorite quotations from Camus. It’s a relatively quiet night and this quote invites some introspection and reflection. My inward journey continues tonight.

first published on January 28, 2007

Camus on Art

•April 14, 2007 • Leave a Comment

It is impossible to give a clear account of the world, but art can teach us to reproduce it- just as the world reproduces itself in the course of its eternal gyrations. The primordial sea indefatigably repeats the same words and casts up the same astonished beings on the same seashore. -Albert Camus

published January 24, 2007

Going Alternative

•April 14, 2007 • Leave a Comment

Today, I escaped from my rather mundane life of being a law student.

Feeling somehow burnt out by the recently-concluded midterm exams, I finally recognized that my body and soul needs some rest. I affirmed the need to do anything not related to law school. The morning was spent watching the tennis game of our team, San Beda Red Netters in Rizal Memorial. I was with The Bedan associate editor Trish and Marj, one of The B’s trainees. I’ve been wanting to witness the games of the Netters but for one reason or another it was only now that I got the chance to. I was also there to somehow show my support to my alma mater’s team. If I can devote some of my time to watch our Red Lions’ games, why not do the same for our Red Netters? It is actually one of the problems of the sports program of San Beda – the lack of support from the community. It is high time that Bedans realize that the other teams like tennis, football, swimming, and others are in dire need of their support. Their cheers can do a lot to encourage our players to give their best shot in every game.

Going back, the match was between San Beda and Letran. Our players are really good. Having Coach Jovy Mamawal is really a blessing for the team. Coach Jovy, as always, accomodated The Bedan because he too was a sports editor for the paper during his time.I would say that the players were prepared but as in any sports, competition could get really stiff. The Letran team is equally good. Unfortunately, luck was on their side today. But there are still a number of games lined up. And I am looking forward to watching these games. If the demands of lawschool would allow, of course.

Katipunan was my next stop. That’s where our NGO is located, at the Ateneo to be more precise. For the uninitiated, I volunteered to be a student-intern for SALIGAN (Sentro ng Alternatibong Lingap Panligal), a legal-resource non-governmental organization whose partners are the basic sectors of the society. I attended one of the trainings that we are supposed to undergo. After that and the assignment of new tasks, I immediately left our office to meet my The Bedan peers.

Next stop was Cubao to visit its best-kept secret. Together with my brothers-(and sisters)-in-ink, we explored Cubao X, the old Shoe Expo near Ali Mall. Their purpose is to write an article about the whole place and inform Bedans that there is a haven like this. It is actually a community of artists who opened galleries/shops not for the primary purpose of business but to express themselves and their art and passion. Found in Cubao X are specialty bookstores (it’s sad though that I wasn’t able to find a copy of Robert Fulghum’s All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten),thrift shops, visual art galleries, and stalls where you can find pop culture and vintage stuff. Our Vintage Pop visit is especially interesting because I learned some insights from its owner,Bong. At first, he was hesitant of being interviewed because he thought that we were from the mainstream media. But when our writers informed him that it was only for our campus paper publishers (the Bedans, of course) to read, his apprehension was cast away instantly. Plus, like us, he is a Bedan. Available in his shop are of course anything vintage like jukebox machines, clocks, toys, posters. Paintings too are sold and clocks made by him. The clocks are really awesome and I liked the black and white one. Meanwhile, he shared to us the fear of Cubao X artists on the possibility of the same of becoming popular. Bong emphasized that they are putting up shops and galleries for them to have the space where they can express themselves. He was right because going mainstream is contradictory with being underground, independent and alternative. On the contrary, I am also of the belief that they should be open on the idea of more people visiting their spaces, if not for the purpose of purchasing, then for plain appreciation of their art. Nevertheless, I understood his sentiments on the matter and I respect him for that.

Food, food, food! It’s getting late and my stomach was crying out loud for some good eat. Bellini’s was the culminating and most-awaited part of our so-called Cubao X-perience (or should I say Cubao X-ploration?). Bellini’s, as our sports editor Carlo had been saying, serves authentic Italian cuisine. It is located at the center of Cubao X, just beside Vintage Pop. The restaurant is owned by former paparazzi, Italian Roberto Bellini, who is now based in the Philippines. I have to say that the place really has a feel of a genuine Italian restaurant because of the music, the framed Italian newspaper and magazine articles, the Italian waiters and crew (now, I’m joking), the owner’s own sketches and with a miniature leaning tower of Pisa to boot. I ordered what is called Bellini’s pasta with meat and eggplant. The mouth-watering pasta lived up to my appetite’s high expectations and I got my money’s worth. The best part of the experience is having the chance to hang out and bond with the new breed of promising The Bedan writers. A good laugh or two with these people really made my day. Thanks to RJ, Trish, Carlo, Edge, Dana. I had a good and memorable one!

Now, I have to go to sleep and tomorrow, I am back to what is called “the real life.”
Nonetheless, the past day is enough to have recharged my body and my soul. I am certain that tomorrow would be a productive and fulfulling one. Alternatives are always a welcome occurence but then again, reality bites and I have to go back to my normal and mundane existence.

Time is gold. The cool clocks of Vintage Pop.

Authentically Italian. Get your money’s worth, try Bellini’s excellent food.

published January 24, 2007 

A Cry for Everyone

•April 14, 2007 • Leave a Comment

A song performed by the Gentle Giant, a British progressive rock band, one of the most experimental of the 1970s. The group’s purpose was to “expand the frontiers of contemporary popular music at the risk of becoming very unpopular.” The profundity in the words in the song was inspired by the writings of one of my favorite philosophers, Albert Camus. This song explores thoughts of meaninglessness, dread and death.

Run, why should I run away
When at the end the only truth certain –
One day everyone dies –
If only to justify life.

Live, I’ve lived a thousand lives;
And anyone is the right, the just life.
If I could cry, I’d cry for everyone.

Doubts, no doubt, is all I know.
There is no fate, there’s no luck,
what does
that show.
Showing is proof, but proving is nothing
but fear.

If I could cry, I’d cry then for everyone.

Hope, I’ve hoped two thousand years,
no one hears, so I’ve cried, crying
vain tears.
Always too late, too late to cry, cry
for everyone.

published January 21, 2007 

M. Pickford says..

•April 14, 2007 • Leave a Comment

“Today is a new day.
You will get out of it just what you put into it…
If you have made mistakes, there is always another chance for you.
And supposing you have tried and failed again and again,
you may have a fresh start any moment you choose,
for this thing that we call failure is not the falling down, but the staying down.”

 published January 8, 2007

of holidays, sicknesses and new tomorrows

•April 14, 2007 • Leave a Comment

The past Christmas and New Year did not paint a happy picture for us. Just when Christmas was around the corner, my father was hit by a sickness. Before we brought him to the hospital, he has been showing signs of intolerable forgetfulness to the point of not knowing how to call us his children with our firstnames.  The doctor found out that he had a mild stroke.  My heart broke when I learned about his sickness. What is worse is that my father took it negatively, he became depressed and weary.  All his energy and zest for life seemed to be suddenly gone.  It was hard for us to see him in that state. I would often see him crying like a child. He was helpless.  On the other hand, we would always remind him that a lot of people love him and that these people are praying for the restoration of his health. It’s a good thing that he has been showing signs of recovery right now. And he smiles more often now, thanks to his two month old apo, our angel Claire.  She’s an angel who always makes us happy.  Nonetheless, the doctor said though that it would take some time to bring him back to his healthier state.  I know that every challenge that come along our way has its purpose. I hope that these trials can all be overcome.

Last Christmas, I did not pray for any material and trivial things just like I did when I was a child.  Instead, I prayed for the most essential things in life. Peace, love, continued blessings and guidance for my family and friends and most especially, the restoration of my father’s health.

Despite all these, the important thing is that once again I was reminded of the genuine meaning of Christmas.  And for this, I should be more than thankful.

With all the optimism of a child, I am confident that the new year will be a more meaningful and fruitful year for all of us.

Let us ROAR our way to 2007! Cheers!

appeared and published in my livejournal account last January 8, 2007

standing still

•April 14, 2007 • Leave a Comment

I feel stucked at this very moment. Stranded. Motionless. I cannot seem to have a good focus on the things that I am obliged to do. The worst thing that can probably happen to a person is when he finds himself in a situation I am finding myself in.

I need a motivation, the drive, the gana – someone or something that will remind me to keep going and to go further.

Ultimately though, I know that it must come from within.

Bono singing in the background…
Walk on
Walk on
What you got, they can’t steal it
No they can’t even feel it
Walk on
Walk on
What you got
You can’t deny it
Can’t sell it or buy it

published December 8, 2006.

lost soul

•April 14, 2007 • Leave a Comment

Here is my entry in the 2005 edition of Red Ink.

Kadiliman ang tanging nakikita ko

      sa kinalalagyan ko sa mundo

Bakit ba hindi ko madungaw ang liwanag

      na hatid ng araw?

Nasaan na ako?

Nawawala ako.


Hindi alam kung saan pupunta

Hindi alam kung saan tutungo

Nasaan na ako?

Nawawala ako


Ano ba ang tatahaking landas?

Dito sa masukal na daan ng buhay

Masisisi mo ba ako kung ako’y naliligaw?

Sa isang mundong salat sa kasagutan

      sa mga tanong ng buhay


Ako’y isang mistulang papel na tinatangay lamang na hangin

Kung saan mapapadpad ay doon na lamang babaling

Kailan ko makikita ang daang nararapat?

Tulungan mo ako

Sapagkat nawawala ako.

Cold Season: Season of Colds

•April 14, 2007 • Leave a Comment

t’s December once again. How time flies fast. When we speak of Christmas, it’s inevitable to think of the cool air that the season brings.  Right now, I’ve got a bad case of heavy colds (I am being redundant) , and not to mention, dry cough. I’ve been sick for a week now and the medicines don’t seem to work. I kind of feel sorry for myself because I couldn’t control making noise while I am coughing in our recently-concluded Civil Procedure class. I stopped whining about my sickness when I saw the frontpage of the Inquirer. It’s banner story says it all: DEVASTATION IN BICOL. Nature really has its own way of making people suffer. Supertyphoon Reming just left hundreds of people lifeless with many still feared dead. In the inside pages, I was shocked by an aerial photo showing a portion of Daraga, Albay literally eaten up by a sea of mud. Mudness and Madness, which is which?

Then, suddenly it hit me that I should not after all be complaining about the suffering that I am experiencing right now. Compared to Reming’s helpless victims, my suffering is something that is bearable. I have colds. What they have are cold bodies of their departed loved ones. I have medicines for my relief, what they have is nothing. No food, no clothes, much less, shelter from the storm.

To feel compassionate about our fellow Filipinos in ordeal is a natural thing. I pray that, in time, their lives would be back to what is normal. But one thing is for sure, this coming Christmas, their sense of loss would still be strongly felt.

published December 2, 2006