How not to use an umbrella?


The umbrella I borrowed.

Given how hot it is this month here in the Philippines, it’s a blessing to experience rain even just once. When it rained hard yesterday, walking to the parish with an umbrella, I remember how I use an umbrella as a college student. Here are my two (lame) excuses on how not to use an umbrella:

1. If not for courtship
Going to class in the university belt in Manila where it is common to experience rain from July to September, it is a must to bring an umbrella. With us guys, there’s a joke not to use the umbrella even when it rains because we just use it for “chivalry purposes”use it only when you are with a lady. And sharing an umbrella space with a lady is a big step on getting to know her. I only done it maybe twice when I was a sophomore.

2. Because it’s going to be wet
It’s also peculiar to catch my train of thought when it rains. Though I have an umbrella, I won’t use it because I don’t like my umbrella to get wet. Strange. Is it because it’s hassle to carry a wet umbrella in the train or jeepney?  Probably because it’s a liability when you try to stay dry and you’re carrying a wet umbrella. You need to dry it outside of the classroom during a subject or make a conscious effort not to wet yourself and others with it when traveling (that’s hard given how densely populated it is in Manila). It’s comforting to know some friends, even one professor, who shared this tendency. I thought I was the only one whose hesitant using the umbrella during the rainy season.

A bittersweet week for Mindanao

Last week, I went to General Santos City, the hometown of Manny Pacquiao. I went there not because I’m his relative (though some would insist I’m a dead ringer of the champ). Pacquiao’s victory is good news for us Filipinos who have been to some bad experiences since March 26 (start of the two-day forest fire in Mt. Apo, the highest peak in the country.

When I stayed with my relatives’ house for more than a week, aside from experiencing the oven-like temperature of GenSan (with maximum index of 40 degrees Celsius average). I have all the time to watch news and entertainment in the television. There was an ugly incident with protesters who blocked a national highway in Kidapawan City. They were complaining about the insufficient support from the government to farmers suffering from drought because of El Niño. It turned into a bloody dispersal, leaving some protesters dead and plenty wounded with some cops in ICU because of mauling. Reports said that the farmers were mixed with communist propagandists with their own agenda. The leaders or the protest organizers needs to be held responsible. Of course, the PNP must be held accountable too of their failed “maximum tolerance”. Somehow, this is an indication of the indifference of ” some” public officials.

Good news here in the Kidapawan incident is that private sectors outpoured their support towards the plight of these poor farmers. Some peacekeepers negotiated between the police and the farmers, telling the latter not to block the highwamotivatese midst of incompetence in the part of public officials, many from the private sector and showing concern not for their own agenda but because they want to help the poor farmers who are affected by the dry spell. This should be a wake up call for aspiring candidates who will take the seats in the government. Their power must be their means go serve the people particularly the oppressed sector of our society such as the farmers.

This social problems motivate me to push through in working in the education sector. I must remember that I am responsible in molding the consciences of future politicians, farmers, policemen, and peacekeepers.

How it is to live the Buda way of life

In a more positive note
I sounded a bit cynical in my last post. That night, I somehow failed to look at the blessings we have here. Now, I would like to write about the place where I am staying right now:

The temperature here in Buda ranges from 20 to 29 degrees Celsius. This is cool considering that there’s a dry spell (El Niño) and the average temperature in Marikina is 31 to 35 degrees Celsius when I left.

Practically unchanged when I first visited here eleven years ago (a long story how and why that happened), the house is made of hardwood with the design that looks like the half of a cockfighting hall since this was bought like that in the beginning. One of the poorest houses among all the Marist Brothers community in the Philippines.

Recently, I’m trying to be friendly with the cats because they are approachable and would liked to be petted. The four kittens are still untamed and uneasy with the presence of people.

I consider myself as a dog person yet I don’t like to pet the guard dog in front of the entrance stairway since he’s too big, strong, and playful. Though he’s a domesticated attack dog, I’m better off just greeting him from afar. Most of the dogs are guarding the poultry. Not much to write about the chickens since I don’t even dare to go inside there.

Water system
We are using the natural water from the spring and we use the mountain’s height so the gravity supplies us the water to our house. Free of charge, we are inviting the neighbors to use our water and even our comfort rooms outside. But since we are now experiencing a bit of a drought throughout the whole country, we asked the neighbors to refrain from washing their clothes.

Electricity and Phone Signal Coverage
The government started to provide these basic needs last 2008. Now, we have the radio, refrigerator, iron, water heater, and light bulbs as our appliances. Our far away neighbors have the television and the karaoke machines.

Simple life
Life is very simple and basic that I have all the time to read, exercise, do laundry, wash dishes, and write. I like a laid back lifestyle once in a while.