A joyful Christmas to everyone!

  1. A joyful Christmas to everyone!
  2. I arrived here in Marikina since December 24. I did not ride a taxi to save money. Instead, I took the bus/train/van/tricycle route which costed me only 99 pesos in total compared to the 500-800 price of a taxi ride. So imagine how have I been thriftty these past two days including Christmas time.
  3. Every time I go home on Decembers since I entered the Marist Brothers last 2011, I play NBA 2K. This year, I stopped because I don’t feel like playing it. Besides, I have to graduate from NBA 2K13 that I played since December 2013. I already won two championships there with the Oklahoma Thunders (sixth man) and the Cleveland Cavaliers (starting Small Forward).
  4. Instead of playing video games, I played Spotify. Currently listening to the Tides by The Ransom Collective. I am hooked with Spotify that I even curated some playlists. Maybe you can search one of my playlist, New Pinoy Alt Rock and Indie.
  5. I am now sleeping here at the extension house adjacent to our original house. I drank two Heineken beers and a Crabbie’s (a ginger beer). Beer is alright for me. I passed on the Jack Daniels though since it’s really strong. I always follow what the television ads tell us to do: drink moderately.
  6. Actually, I am going through a lot of pondering these days even before coming here at home. During this vacation, I am reflecting on my vocation (rhyme intended). I’ll re-evaluate myself in terms of prayer life, apostolate, and community living. I’ll write that and try to put some of my reflections in my application letter.
  7. It’s been almost seven years already with the Marist Brothers and I plan to stay a little longer maybe until perpetual profession.
  8. My goodness, I think I have been so self-centered. Am I still answering to the call of leaving everything behind and following our Brother?
  9. I plan to visit chapels and churches here in Manila later alone. During this feast day of St. Stephen, I have yet to attend a Mass since I was not able to get up early.
  10. I remember the vision of Saint Jerome with the infant Jesus during Christmas.
  11. The venerable scholar was asked by the Child, “What present do you have for me?”

“I have left everything and given them up for you. What more can I offer?”, replied Jerome.

“You still have something more to give me”

“What is it?”

“Give me your sins.”

Advertisements

Truly, it is better to give than to receive

  1. While checking the examination papers, I am surprised with the profoundness of one student. It seems that she is not fourteen years old; she is way ahead of her peers in terms of maturity.
  2. Last Tuesday, accompanied by her sister, she was the only student who gave me a gift as her appreciation. I learned later that she also gave gifts to her other teachers as her Christmas presents. I got a tumbler from her.
  3. This gesture, though it’s simple, warms the hearts of teachers. Truly, it is better to give than to receive. As a teacher, I realize that I am giving more than what I am supposed to offer to my students. It is more than the lessons and grades I give. What is it then? It is my presence.
  4. I hope that more than anything else, my students will treasure my presence the most. I am priviledged to be able to share my life with them inside and outside the classroom. I am blessed to be able to witness their blossoming to adulthood.
  5. Now, I am thinking of writing a draft of a goodbye letter to the NDC community: all personnel, parents, GIA scholars, and specially the students. Before the school year ends, I usually write a letter to the people who have touched me and made a difference my life.
  6. I’m teary eyed right now. Yes, I am a such a sensitive man. Because the school year is almost finished, I have to leave people behind here in the school. Good byes are real and I am leaving next April.
  7. I know I have my failings throughout this year. I admit that. Mea maxima culpa. And if ever I have offended people even if I did not mean it, I am sorry for that.
  8. Today is my brother’s birthday today, it’s almost Christmas and 2017 is about to end. It’s a year of hellos and goodbyes.
  9. I will attend a recollection on December 31 to thank God for all the blessings and ask pardon for my shortcomings.
  10. Thanks for reading my streams of thought. Goodbye.

How I take responsibility for my actions

In the film The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug, there was a dialogue that stuck in me when Bilbo Baggins saw Smaug about to fly off to Laketown. He said, “What have we done?

I remembered this line because it talks about accepting one’s fault even though a one did not intended the consequences of one’s actions. For example, acting in good faith. I may have the best-est of all intentions but if I end up messing up, as a cliché says, the end does not justify the means.

While I was playing a video game, I remembered my recent interactions with some subordinates. I think I’ve done something wrong and they hinted it through a passive-aggresive remark and until now I am still wondering what exactly I did wrong. When I assume leadership, I admit I sometimes tend to overlook some people in the group particularly those who seem to be so sensitive. I never intend to do so but whenever I do overlook some people, I see now the pattern how these people react. And four out of four of them happened to have some father issues.

Maybe a family problem? Probably transference? Seeing me as their father figure? Am I too intimidating? Or maybe I’m just overthinking or rationalizing. I have to stop seeking the fault outside myself now.

I have to remind myself again that what’s done is done; I can’t bring back the time; I am not fail-proof; I am failure-prone; I cannot do it all; I cannot control the results. And sometimes even if it’s not my fault, I cannot make everything feel alright. It’s out of my reach. Or maybe it’s because I’m just a people pleaser. But I’m bound to fail because I can’t please everybody. And as the lyrics of a song goes, I did my best but I guess my best wasn’t good enough.

This is were humility comes. I now let St. Catherine of Siena to remind me that I am not who I think I am. I may have done something wrong, so mea culpa. So I now let it go and let the Lord do His work. I’ll try again next time and let tomorrow worry about itself.

And this is how an introverted and intuitive thinker perceives his interactions with others when he sees something’s wrong and he thinks he’s the problem though he’s not (or maybe he really is the problem).

Breaking for the Weekend

Hello WordPress,

Allen here.

I’m late with this writing challenge. Today is the start of famous Filipino Catholic devotion, the Christmas novena known as the Misa de Gallo. It literally means the Mass of the crow because it’s a tradition of the Filipino farmers to go to Mass early in the dawn before going to till their lands in the morning. To be honest, I skipped it today. My last year’s experience in the Immaculate Concepcion Cathedral was horrible. I ended up standing for more than an hour. In my experience, the first day has the most attendance in church. If I was in GenSan or in Marikina, I would dare to wake up before 4 AM. But yeah, I’d skipped the first day and attend the remaining days.

Some believe that if they complete this nine-day devotion of going to church, their wishes would be fulfilled. I don’t have any wish and I don’t wish anyway since attending the Mass is not about that. Besides, my devotion is a whole-year round. I attend daily Mass at 5:30 AM (mostly if I’m not oversleeping). Enough of the rationalization. I’ll just wake up early this morning and I expect to get a seat in the pew.

So today I woke up around 6:15 AM, and got ready in joining the Grant-In-Aid scholars for the general cleaning of the school around 7 AM to 11 AM. I asked some to buy some merienda for us to eat since some of them haven’t had their breakfast yet. If you were following this blog, I mentioned that I was assigned as the coordinator of these scholars this school year. I usually join these scholars during Saturdays in cleaning the school if there are no classes or if it’s Intrams. In total, there are presently 27 GIA scholars. Actually, there are 10 of them out of the program for some reasons so that makes 37 scholars I handled during this school year alone.

We had our merienda in the convent dining room around 9:30 AM eating some cheese breads and drank some juice flavored by orange powders. While eating, we circled around asking about our wishlists for our Christmas exchange gifts. And since almost all of us are present, we decided to have our meeting there in the dining room. After that, we resumed in cleaning the school grounds.

Around 11:15 AM, we occupied the library to practice our Christmas presentation during the Christmas party. I played the guitar and asked some suggestions which songs to play. So we ended up choosing the Pasko na Naman caroling medley and Star Ng Pasko. I hurt my fingers a bit due to my rusting guitar-playing skills. While waiting for the chosen songs to be printed out, we sang some Ed Sheeran’s songs. So we sang and most of the singers were females. I told them we’ll meet again for practice on Tuesday before the Christmas Party.

After the practice, I took a siesta. I was tired from the whole morning cleaning and the guitar playing plus singing. I slept around 1:15 PM and I woke up around 3:45 PM. Then I decided to go out, go to the mall, and buy all the gifts for the upcoming Christmas parties I’m going to attend. That drained my pocket. Then I arrived in the convent around 6:15 PM with a Hello Kitty stuffed toy, a polo shirt, and a perfume.

As I hear a band playing Prinsesa by Teeth and Sunday Morning by Maroon 5, that signals that the school’s Alumni Homecoming Party has almost started. It’s a joint alumni homecoming of the Notre Dame of Cotabato (Marist Brothers) and Notre Dame of RVM with Batch 1992 hosting the event. Just like how I skipped the first day of the Misa de Gallo, I opted not to attend the event as well.

So I just spent my night alone in the library, browsed the internet, listened to some Spotify-streamed music, played NBA 2K13, and wrote this blog post.

So this is my Saturday.

Bye for now.

The Sound of the Alarm

Hey WordPress,

I have a new schedule now: to write before I go to sleep. Now, I am 13 minutes late with my writing time since I planned to write for straight 30 minutes from 10 PM to 10:30 PM. I’ll just write about anything. The city alarm is my signal. We had that alarm ever since the Martial Law was started here in Mindanao. I cannot really comment that much on the Martial Law extension since Cotabato City was on Martial Law since May 2017. Marawi is just a four-hour ride from here. Sometimes, I need to bring an ID every time I re-enter the city. But I just go out of the city once in a while and not that often like when I assist in the recollection giving to our high school students. The usual destinations I go to are Pigcawayan, General Santos City, Kidapawan City, or Davao City.

At times, I think of a possible city invasion from the zealots, my term for you know what caused the Marawi siege. I don’t like to call them the labels that the media gave them. It’s misleading and generalizing and unfair to those who are radical and extreme in practicing their faith since it also applies to those who are peace-loving people.

Cotabato City is generally a Muslim-dominated city but my estimate is that it’s more or less like 60 percent of the population. It’s an old city with historical scars that the current generation are almost unaware of. And one of the many scar is the effect of the Martial Law last 1970s until the 80s. The result? The Liberation Front groups. I’ll stop there besides our Philippine history is a testimony of this and even until now we can still feel its effect. It’s not the golden age just like what my fellow millennials called it. I don’t really know how their family stay relevant up to this time. Maybe us Filipinos have a collective amnesia of what they have done in our country. A result of wealth and propaganda probably.

In my two years of stay here, my encounter with fellow Filipinos who are Muslims has been very positive in general. I am speaking of my encounter with little children, parents, rich ones, poor ones, teachers, government leaders, barbers, vendors, etc. There have been some not-so-good encounters but I think it’s normal since it is just a result of our cultural and religious differences.  All I can say is that they are Filipinos too. They need better visionaries in our local government and the autonomy has to stay out of the equation for the mean time. I really feel ambivalent about that autonomy. In the national level, I think the Freedom of Information Bill can help this city’s bid to boom. Transparency will cut down, if not totally eliminate, the anomalies in the government.

Gee, I’ve been very political in this post. I was just writing about the alarm. At least my free-writing has a bit of coherence and not just a random stream of consciousness. I have lots of stories to tell but I have to sleep now.

Bye for now.

On Movie reviews and Windows 10 Pro Activation Error

Hello WordPress,

I’m on a roll in writing this week. It’s examination time here in our school and I have some time to spare. Here we go…

I was looking at my stats this year and my Seklusyon movie review seem to be one of my top post. It was part of the 2016 Metro Manila Film Festival. So let’s talk about movies.

Speaking of the MMFF, I am already thinking of movies to watch this December aside from a coming Star Wars prequel (a series I haven’t watch even a single film). I am not even sure if I will be able to watch it because the MMFF usually occupies all theatres nationwide during the Christmas break.

For the whole year, I only watched four movies in theatre: 1) Seklusyon, 2) Guardians of the Galaxy 2, 3) Spider-Man Homecoming, and 4) Kita Kita. Before, I used to write about any movies I’ve watched and I now have the conscious effort not to. If I am able to see religious and spiritual themes, then I would write a film review. I was planning to watch Smaller and Smaller Circles (watch the trailer here) but unfortunately Alnor Cinema is not screening it. I just love Filipino indie films. I know I missed a lot this year with the likes of Birdshot, Bar Boys, and others. I know maybe I would miss them altogether next year once I travel abroad. Well, that’s part of my life and it’s a lesson on detachment.

But do not expect me to be on the level of Bishop Barron’s Word On Fire movie reviews like his movie review on Lady Bird or his brilliant review of The Avengers. My movie reviews are inclined to be mixed up with personal anecdotes and with lots of spoilers.

This vacation, I would re-watch again my favorite movie Shawshank Redemption and write a review. I intended to write one last March but it slipped on my mind.

For the mean time, let me worry about how will I activate my Asus Notebook’s Windows 10 Pro. I got this error after the latest Windows Update this December. I got the notebook with a free pre-installed OS. I don’t have a copy of the Activation Code and I can’t afford the price of a Windows 10 Pro. I’ll take it back to the service center in General Santos City.

For convenience, maybe I’ll switch to a Mac. I just don’t know if it’s compatible with this notebook’s Intel Celeron Dual-Core with a 2GB RAM. So Chromebook is another option as well.

Bye for now.

Catechesis is my Inheritance

I attended a baptism of one of our teacher’s daughter since I was chosen as a godfather. Aside from the parents, the godparents has a role to play in forming the faith of the child. It matters how we “pass on” the faith to the young ones and it’s not just during Christmas season that we become Santa Claus-like to these little ones. It is a life-long responsibility especially that these children are still children. It can be shown in simple ways such as praying first before our meals.

I remember witnessing my nephew who said the grace when he was still five years old. It was cute and evangelizing even for adults like my sisters and brothers. A catechized child also plays a role in inspiring adults to keep the faith especially those who have lapsed or became nominal Catholics.

Now, I am an uncle to the newest addition to our family, a baby boy named Justise. He was born in the last week of October so go figure out how he was named like that. I haven’t seen him personally but I have the chance to see him next week before Christmas.

I am contended with seeing my sibling’s children. I love children. When I see them pray, though their faith is simple and innocent, I envy them in a good way. I am invited to be like these little ones, to have a child-like faith to our Father.

I know I am not married and not planning to since I’m consecrated so contributing to the gene pool is out of the equation. My inheritance wouldn’t be biological; it is spiritual. Catechesis is my inheritance. It’s not really mine; it’s about the One who, too, became “little” and His love for all of us. I’ll just pass it on. I just hope I am doing what I am supposed to do. And if not, then I’ll just keep trying and pass it on again. That is my inheritance.

And you? What is your inheritance?

Background Song: Inheritance by Jon Foreman

via Daily Prompt: Inheritance