Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Minarets From The Distance

I can see the faint smile of the sun
reflected on the crowns of the minarets
lofty sentinels standing proudly 
above the canopy of rustling leaves.

Amid the peaceful chant of prayer 
the sun slips below the horizon
taking with it the cries and moans
and wails of the weary souls.

I can almost hear the minarets whisper
"Please take with you their sorrow,
and return with great hope and joy
as we greet you in the morrow."

Saturday, October 15, 2011

A Yesterday Person

I am so ashamed to admit that I am a yesterday person. The truth is, I tried so hard to hide this from everyone. But every time I look at myself in the mirror, I am confronted with the sad reality: I live in yesterday. I wallow in yesterdays' sorrows. I live in yesterdays' glory. I cannot move on and I live today with bitterness in my heart.

It's been two years since I lost my job yet until now I cannot accept why I lost it. Until now it is the biggest issue of my life. Until now I haven't found a job as good as or as close as the one I lost. There are times I blame myself for not saying I wanted to stay. There are days I would pray so hard that everything was just a bad dream and I will wake up tomorrow back to the life I lived two yesteryears ago. But every time I wake up, I am still stuck in this painful reality that those good old days are truly gone.

Looking at how I lived these last two years, I was drifting like a log, tossed by the waves and swept along with the tide. There were days I was happy and hopeful. There were days I felt so wasted and awful. Some days, I terribly missed the life I used to have. Some days, I wanted to move on and leave yesterday behind, as fast as I can.

But where am I going? If I could go anywhere, where would I like to go? I tried going on vacation to different places I wanted to see but as soon as I came home, reality would stare back at me - I haven't gone anywhere except living in a wishful thinking world. I know I really need to decide where I should be going, not in terms of vacation, but in terms of life's journey...and I need to decide fast.

This is not the way I want to live for the rest of my life. I am not a loser. I am a born fighter. I lived through life fighting and winning the battles of everyday. Now I am facing a formidable foe - ME, a pathetic yesterday-person me.

I want to really wake up and start living today. I know I need to count and enjoy the blessings that come with my new life. I just have to remind myself that even burdens have their blessings. I have to accept that God is leading me to take a scenic detour in order to reach the new world He prepared for me.

I am ashamed to admit that despite knowing that I have to live in the HERE and NOW and that I have to trust the Hands that steer my life's course, I still live in yesterday. I fervently wish that one morning, I will finally wake up and find myself truly enjoying the presents of TODAY.

Sunday, August 1, 2010


Life begins at forty but midlife crisis starts anytime after that.

I am not afraid of growing old, gaining extra pounds (although I must admit it will take a lot of pep talk to myself before I can accept it) and seeing new lines around my face. What I am afraid of is this most uncomfortable feeling I cannot understand.

I call it by different names - boredom, restlessness, impatience, worrying, feeling of getting lost, mild depression. They simply call it midlife crisis.

Losing my job last 10 months ago was the biggest blow in my life. I think this triggered this unusual feelings consuming me right now. I was used to living the corporate life, waking up everyday with a thousand and one concerns waiting to be solved. Then suddenly, I am not busy.

Now I am like sitting here by a roadside cafe looking at people rushing on their thousand and one things to do for the day. Everyone is moving in super fast motion while I am moving in a slow grind together with the clock, the sun, the clouds and each day that comes.

I remember watching some Chinese people doing Tai Chi exercise at the park early in the morning some years back. I wondered how they feel controlling their movements until they look surreal in suspended animation. I may never know how they feel but at least I know now what these ultra laggard movements do to oneself. It clears your mind of the clutter until you see the important ones magnified right before your eyes.

It's getting cystal clear to me now. I have issues to tackle. Where am I heading? What is my purpose? Which path should I take? Why is this happening to me?

As of now I have no answers to these big questions facing me. In fact, the more I look at them, the more I am perplexed. On the other hand, the more I set aside answering these questions, the more I am agitated. Either which way, the issues give me undue stress.

A friend told me that I just worry a lot. I am now slowly entertaining the thought that I am indeed undergoing midlife crisis.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

One Of Those Days

Today, it's one of those days when I am reminded that I am human, vulnerable to external forces. I am sick and tired, literally and figuratively...physically and emotionally.

Today, it's one of those days when we say when rains, it pours....cats and dogs! I am drenched, soaked and cold.

Today, it's one of those days when I have to acknowledge the hurt, the pain, the sorrow. I have to go through the process of weeping and washing away the cobwebs of life.

The only thing that keeps me going is the sweet truth that this, too, shall come to pass...and what will not kill me will make me strong.

Tomorrow, I am sure the sun will show up and I will be basking in the warmth of the beautiful sunshine. That is for certain.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Sea and Me

There is a mysterious bond between me and the sea and it holds me captive until eternity.

As I listen to the waves lapping on the shore, I feel my worries drowned, my sad thoughts effaced and my fears washed away.

As I walk along the shore, I find back the essential things I have forgotten, lost or left behind - happy memories, lofty dreams, audacious aspirations - like sea shells strewn all over the sand waiting to be gathered back in time.

As I look over the horizon, I see distant shores waiting to be discovered, beckoning me like a mystery - "Come, I am waiting."

I may be walking along the beach alone but everything around me keep me company - the whispering wind, the thunderous waves, the quiet sand.

The scene is so beautiful it hurts my heart to its very last strand.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

A Friend's Garden

Spring Garden

Wrapped in dresses of petals
Swaying with the soft spring breeze
The gloom of winter is gone.

Dancing with the melody
Like pretty ballerinas
The blooms are swirling with grace

Greeting me with warm embrace
Gentle scents of joy and peace
It's my festival of bliss.

Inspired by the pictures my friend sent me, I wrote this poem. Thank you, friend, for sharing your beautiful spring blooms to us.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

My Realizations

I thought that after the forced retirement, I could easily change lane. I thought that after leaving my stressful job, I can easily replace it with another more fulfilling one. I thought that venturing into another field or pursuing another interest is just as easy as jumping into another bus.

I was completely wrong.

After six months, I am still wandering. After half a year, I am still looking for a better company that will become my new haven to thrive. After 180 days, I am still looking confused at which road should I take.

My life has been a roller coaster ride of emotions since I left my previous job. There were days when I feel excited for the new opportunities coming my way. But there were days that I feel so down and out because of disappointments and worries.

Looking at my life now, I am a big mess. I know I need to organize the clutters of my world but I do not know where to start. So many options to do but the choices overwhelm me. I have listed all the possibilities but because I was never trained in the new field, I am overwhelmed with so many "what ifs" every pessimist can ever think of.

I thought I am an optimist. I thought I am courageous. I thought I am a "do-it-now" person.

I was wrong.

Through all these whole new world I am in, I came to meet my other half. I came to know that the strong woman I was known of has a shadow of a coward, a spirit of a doubter, a character of a pessimist. It was daunting to come face to face with my alter ego. But to become whole I have to embrace my total being. To be complete I have to accept all my weaknesses and imperfections. To have peace I have to acknowledge the fact that in every life some rain must fall and one can't help but be drenched.

I never thought I would miss the hectic schedules of my past job. I never thought I would miss the corporate pressure. I never thought I would miss the unending deadlines.

I was totally wrong.

If there are two big things that I learned from all these experiences, it is the realization that I need complete trust and patience. I do believe that everything happens for a purpose and greater good. I just have to trust God's hands creating a new dimension in my life and enough patience to wait for this beautiful change to unfold.

This time, I am sure I am completely right.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

It's Been Quite A While

My last entry was September 2009. It seems like after that, the world stood still and I was just in suspended animation.

Actually, I wasn't. I had my hands full. I was "busy" in the last quarter of the year doing some things I really love to do - making trinkets, having coffee with friends, watching my favorite TV programs, reading some books I bought a long time ago and most of all, waking up at my own sweet time.

Looking at my top 10 list of things to do before I left my previous job, I only managed to do two: Updated my file with headhunters and went to a vacation in two Asian countries. All the rest, they have to wait.

It's been quite a while and I won't wait a little longer. I am back.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Hanging On

It's been quite a while since I wrote anything in my journal. So many attempts, but my intentions were often defeated by reasons. I was emotionally unstable ever since I lost my job. One day I would wake up brimming with optimism, but in just one moment, I find myself wallowing in the sea of uncertainties. There were days that I felt like it was business as usual. There were times when the shadow of fear was looming at the corner, waiting intently to gobble me up alive.

September 15 was my official last day of work in the office. The hardest part was packing my things. Numb and mindless, I stashed away the symbols of my career inside brown boxes and I left quietly, unnoticed. Twenty-three years and I was just a receding shadow. It was a sad way of ending a career in the company I considered home… but at that moment, it was a little victory to leave my office room for good without tears and heaviness in my heart.

On Tuesday, I will be back in the office for a 2-day "Moving On Program" for retrenched employees. It's the last battle to fight. That would be the day when all of us will gather and say our good-byes. I am never good at it, but I will do my best to keep my composure and leave with my head up high. I should be because I gave my best and served the company well.

I liken myself to the dragonfly perched on the tip of a car antenna - still hanging on for a while but ready any minute to fly away into the clear blue sky.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Into the Unknown

It was exactly one week since I wrote my last blog but a lot of things happened so fast in those six days in between... A lot of things that can make my page burst if I write it all. As I opened my blog and read the comments from my friends, this one hit me bull’s eye:

Dan Denardo said...

"SS, I've been on both sides of this equation. Being on EITHER side is terribly difficult. The good news is that each time I was in this situation (either side) I was in God's hands. And when I was told to take a "different lane", God had a better plan for me."

(Dan, I hope you won't mind putting you on my page. Your words said it all for me this week.)

An emergency meeting was called by our General Manager Tuesday morning. I had to shorten my trip and go back to head office on the next available flight.

"We are adopting a more viable structure that can withstand the difficult challenges we are facing while keeping profitability. Because of this, we will offer redundancy package to 71 headcount: 43 Sales Reps, 9 District Managers and 19 people in Head Office. Out of those 19, three will be from Senior Management...." then I couldn't hear anymore. What? Three Senior Managers? Who? When? Why?

I had been in this company for the last 23 years. It is the largest pharmaceutical company in Europe and the third in the world. I was a part of the growth of our subsidiary. I started as a Sales Rep and worked hard to reach my way up to Senior Management, which is two notches below the GM. I survived two big mergers and I have seen a lot of people come and go. I know this was coming but I haven't seen myself leaving this way.

"All positions with several incumbents will be assessed to know who should be left behind."

To leave or not to leave, that was the question. I had two options: To continue enjoying the company's comfortable benefits while dragging myself to work and facing greater pressure OR To take my generous tax-free redundancy package and explore new possibilities while facing uncertainties. I chose to leave. It was the lesser evil.

When the verdict was given I was told that I was one of the two strongest contenders for the remaining post but they did not choose me. I want to believe that it was because I told them I wanted to leave. At the back of my mind, I think the GM simply liked the other one. But deep in my heart, I know that this was God's hands working miracles in my life. He was answering my prayer to give me what is best.

Yes, I am now at the other side of the equation. Last week I fired three people, this week they "fired" me. Last week I was lamenting of the hurt and pain I inflicted. This week I am silently suffering the pain of separation and the fear of going into the unknown.

I just sent an emotion-filled farewell letter to my team before writing this. I had to do it because I need to thank a lot of people who touched my life. I had to do it because my team also needs closure and assurance that everything is okay.

But am I really okay?

I haven't really cried yet. Maybe because I do not want to show that I am hurt. They have a name for it. Pride. Maybe I haven't realized the enormous impact of this event to my life and that of my family. I am still in the process of sorting out from the chaos while groping blindly to cling to whatever can make me stable.

Where am I heading?

As part of coping up, I computed my package and started thinking where I should put it and how much I would spend. I also listed the things I always wanted to do but have not done because I was busy.

Here is my short list of things to do after August 31:

  1. Buy a good camera and pursue my interest in photography.
  2. Book a 1 week vacation in a local resort and just chill.
  3. Take a 1 week trip to Nepal or any exotic Asian destination.
  4. Attend Toastmasters Club Meetings again.
  5. Put up a small food business.
  6. Enroll in a gym.
  7. Start painting again.
  8. Revive my bonsai garden.
  9. Renovate my room.
  10. Update my files with headhunters and start looking for another "lane"

Looking at my list, I realized I have a lot of things to do with so many possibilities ahead. After August 31, my week will start grinding at a different pace in a different plane. Until I start that week, I will never know how it will feel to live a different life in a different world.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

End Of The Line

What would you do when confronted with this sign? Surely you would simply change lane right away. Easy.

But this experience was never easy for the three people under me this week. They suddenly found their lane was blocked and there is no way to go but take another path.

This was not the first time I did this. I have fired several people in the past. But doing this very unpleasant job is never easy even with much experience. It is never simple to tell a person to leave, even with all the valid and varied reasons: incompetence or dishonesty, redundancy, downsizing or closure.

I cannot forget the look in their faces when I broke the news to them. No matter how kind and humane I did it, the news still fell like a heavy rain drenching their spirit. The glow in their eyes was suddenly snuffed like a candle light blown by a strong, unforgiving wind. Encouraging words that there is life after this may have sounded like a distant echo. It was hard to comprehend. It was irrelevant at the moment.

Yes I know that justice was served. Between me and my God, He knows I just did my work. But at the end of the task I cannot help but lament. It was never easy to break someone's heart, much more, someone's dreams and aspirations. But in times like this when I was left with no other option but to carry it out, I have to do it with a strong heart.

It seems just like yesterday when I nurtured them with encouragement and motivating words. I took care of them, honed their skills, and stoked their eagerness to learn. Between me and my God, He knows I did my best. Now it is the end of the line. I was writhing with pain. Mine was just miniscule compared to theirs. The agony I felt was nothing in contrast to them wondering what lies ahead.

I cannot comfort them but I hope they find solace in these verses from Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

For everything there is a season,
And a time for every matter under heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die;
A time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
A time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to seek, and a time to lose;
A time to keep, and a time to throw away;
A time to tear, and a time to sew;
A time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate,
A time for war, and a time for peace.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

A Tribute To Cory Aquino

It was raining when I woke up Saturday morning, but unlike my usual happiness when there is rain, this one was a sad rainy Saturday morning.

I cannot control my tears when I learned that our former President, Corazon Aquino, passed away after battling with colon cancer for more than a year. I feel sad because she is gone even if I know that she will live in our hearts. I am consumed with sorrow because she lost her battle with cancer despite surviving many battles in her lifetime - the incarceration and assassination of her husband, Senator Benigno Aquino; the EDSA Revolution; her 6 years term as President of the Philippines; 9 coup attempts to topple her administration; and the countless problems given by her celebrity daughter, Kris Aquino. I am really in grief even if I know I should be relieved that finally her sufferings are over and she is now in a better place.

How can I fit all her accomplishments in a page in my blog? She was larger than life. How can I do justice to her accomplishments? Her life was spent in honest, dedicated and selfless service to the people. How can I honor her more? Millions were already written about her, from memoirs and blogs to newspapers, magazines and history books.

She was the symbol of our hope for freedom from a 20-year dictatorship. She drew millions of people during the 1986 EDSA Revolution, to fight through peaceful means and stand to say, ENOUGH! I was there. She became the first woman leader and the most influential icon in Asia. She became the inspiration of 9 peaceful revolutions, including the Tienanmen Square Demonstration and the Fall of the Berlin Wall. She was nominated for Nobel Prize for Peace and was named Woman of the Year by Time Magazine. Her speech in the US Congress was interrupted by numerous applause and standing ovation by men from the most powerful nation in the world.
But beyond all those titles, accolades and accomplishments, she is "Tita Cory" (meaning Auntie Cory) to all of us. Intelligent, kind, selfless, brave. She embodies the picture of the real Filipino.

I grieve for the passing of an icon but I know that her legacy will always live in our hearts.
Thank you, Tita Cory, for sharing your life and touching us.
I want to share the poem written by her husband to her when he was imprisoned during the Martial Law Regime. This was made into a song by Jose Mari Chan.

I have fallen in love
With the same woman three times
In a day spanning nineteen years
Of tearful joys and joyful tears.

I loved her first when she was young
Enchanting and vibrant, eternally new
She was brilliant, fragrant
and cool as the morning dew.
I fell in love with her the second time
When first she bore her child and mine
She's always by my side, the source of my strength
Helping to turn the tide.

I fell in love again
with the same woman the third time
Looming from the battle her courage will never fade.
Amidst the hardships she has remained
Undaunted and unafraid
She is calm and composed.
She is God's lovely maid.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Lazy Sunday Blog

It's raining strong and hard on this lazy Sunday. I am lazy during Sundays. It's a time to pamper myself with indolence because tomorrow will be another week of deadlines, meetings and travels. I always love lazing around and I really love the rain. What a great treat to have both today.

As I looked outside my window, I asked myself why I always love the rain. Maybe because I always associate my happy childhood with the rain. Oh how I love to bathe and play in the rain with my friends. When I grew older, the rain was the best reason to stay at home and be lost in a good book or be transported to another world in a good movie or be in touched with myself as I update my journal.

As I looked outside my window, I asked myself where is this blog leading? What do I really want to write? Do I have the time or talent to keep this going? Will this be just a venue for me to vent my unexpressed emotions or a venue to share hope and happiness?

Last night I browsed through my personal journal. I can hardly believe that I was the one who wrote it. I cannot believe why I can write with sense yet just managed to produce "a second rate, trying hard, copy cat" blog. Maybe because I pour my heart out in my journal while I sift my words in my blog.

The rain has made me rethink about blogging. Maybe when it stops, I will know the answer. Meantime, I will have to indulge in a hearty meal at my favorite Thai restaurant.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Sandal Scandal

I just want to share this experience I had several years ago, when i first visited Singapore. I actually delivered this as one of my speech projects in Toastmasters International some years back.

I was going to Singapore for a very short vacation!

Visiting this country for the first time really excited me. I couldn't wait to see the famous places that Singapore is known for. I really took time in preparing the clothes and footwear I would be needing in anticipation of the hectic itinerary of tours and shopping. I even had a checklist to make sure I won’t miss a detail. I was so prepared!

On the day of departure, everything went smoothly. I got to the airport early. Check-in counter was not busy and I breezed through immigration. Perfect. Then I waited for my flight at the lounge.

When the boarding call came, I immediately stood up but a strange sound came from my right sandals. I looked down and saw the sole of my sandal widely smiling at me! I pretended that nothing happened. Concealed behind my calm composure was my turbulent mind searching for solutions: mighty bond, epoxy, masking tape, bubble gum, band aid ... anything to keep my sandal intact. But where? I asked from several people: customer service clerk, janitor, utility man, store clerk, security personnel and even some passengers. No luck!

The final call for boarding made my heart beat faster. I thought of just following a TV commercial - simply peel off the soles and walk away in style. When I examined the other sandal, the sole would not budge a bit. I had to choose: peel the sole and walk with a two-inch limp or take a chance on my smiling sole and pray that what the shoe man put together let no step put asunder. Reluctantly, I boarded the plane in my most unusual gait – half dragging my beleaguered sandal, half walking with flair trying to pretend that there was no problem.

The sole of my sandal dutifully hanged-on in each of the 167 steps I needed to get to my seat. The plane took off. Food and drinks were then served but I had no appetite. I watched a movie but I could not focus on the story. I listened to the music but the melody gave me a disturbing sense of false security and peace. I checked the Newspaper but the creepy headlines were too much to add to my creeping state of panic. I flipped through the Lifestyle Section and I almost flipped when I saw different kinds of sandals being featured. Sandals, sandals everywhere but not one pair to wear! I closed my eyes and tried to sleep.

Hours later, I was already walking in the terminal when someone tapped my shoulder. “Excuse me miss, you left the sole of your sandal behind.” In horror, I still managed to answer proudly, "I beg your pardon, that is not mine!" Then I walked away as fast as I could but a security personnel chased me and said “You will be fined 500 dollars for littering in this country.” At that instant I felt a light tap on my shoulderand a melodious voice saying “Excuse me, ma’am, please straighten up your seat. We shall be landing shortly.” I was very glad I was roused from that bad dream before I could pay the fine!

When the plane touched down, I knew my ordeal has resumed. As I stood and started to deplane, I was consumed with fear and anxiety of that bad dream turning into a reality. As I emerged from the tube, I was greeted by a mile long corridor leading to, I'm sure, another long stretched labyrinth of more passages. But seeing the mobile walkways, I almost shouted Halleluiah! At that moment, I really thanked God for the lazy people who inspired the wonderful invention of mobile walkways. Standing poised as I rode to the exit, I suddenly remembered I had spare sandals in my checked-in luggage.

After the brief immigration check, I rushed to claim my luggage. I never realized that the happiest reunion in my entire life would be with a pair of sandals!

The vacation went well as I expected. I had a great time. I experienced so many memorable moments in Singapore but my sandal scandal was the most unforgettable of all. Both my smiling sandal and I survived it all.
The sandals in the picture were not the ones I wore during the trip

Sunday, July 12, 2009

A Page for Francis Casey "Niño" Alcantara

It was one of those long wait at the airport due to a delayed flight that I happen to meet this lady who made me cry because of her touching story.

Her name is Sandra, a young widow and mother of three boys all playing tennis. She was going to watch her eldest son play in a tournament that will start 2 hours before our delayed flight will arrive.

She had so many touching stories: How her husband died, how they coped with the sudden death and how she raised her sons alone and continued their passion for tennis. But the most moving story she told was about her eldest son.

His name is Francis Casey or Niño, as he is fondly called. He is 17 years old. He started playing tennis at the age of five. When he was about six, he went to play in a junior tournament for children his age. It was a real good fight but he lost. It was a bitter defeat too hard to take for a boy in his tender years. He hid under a table and cried for two hours, inconsolable. When finally he was done crying, he came out from under the table and firmly said to his father: "Let's go, Dad. I need to practice now. I promise, he will never defeat me again."

That was his turning point and true to his words, he kept on winning against his opponents, including that boy who beat him, and he became the number 1 tennis player in Asia and number 20 in the world for the Junior Division. He won a grand slam in Tennis Doubles and still counting. I will not be surprised if he becomes a world champion in the future.

I never met him nor read about him, until now, because I hardly read about tennis. But his story of how he rose to become a champion through perseverance is truly inspiring.
The picture I posted was just downloaded from the blog of Herfifani at wordpress through google with the website:

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Unedited Thoughts

I am so relieved that finally it's Saturday.

The previous weeks were so hectic and I don't even have the right to feel sick. There were days that I have to drag myself out of bed even when my body was screaming for more sleep. There were days that I feel sick and tired of packing and unpacking, taking very early morning or late evening flights. Due to my different destinations every week, I even reached the point that I have to look at my boarding pass to check which flight I am taking, every time the announcement for boarding was called. My flights are short but the waiting time and preparation are still the same. The packing of clothes, trips to the airport, check-in counter rituals of falling in line, removing shoes, passing the x-ray, going to the lounge, waiting and praying that the flight is on time.

In times when I am in my office, the experience is neither relaxing. Meetings, instant deliverables, urgent requirement, spur-of-the moment business reviews with the GM and more demanding meetings until the evening...not pleasant.

I am starting to feel like a zombie. I am feeling like a slave.

I have to stop myself and re-examine my thoughts. Why am I so negative now? Why all these ramblings and complains? Do I love my job? Am I still made for this? Is this career still made for me? Is this the only career that I can have?

Looking at the people on the streets or the images flashed on the news about recession, jobless executives giving up their usual lifestyles, poor families not knowing where to get their next meal, war-stricken countries where peace has to be paid with lives...they are enough to wake me up and bring me back to my senses. Looking back at my ordeal last year when I was emotionally battered by the people reporting to me, I can say that physical exhaustion is better because all I need to do is rest.

In our recently concluded Sales and Marketing Conference, the fruits of my labor were highlighted. From my team came the best and the most number of achievers and we had the best sales performance in the company. It was more than enough to erase my fatigue away.

The other day, despite the natural high I felt from my team's accomplishments, I wasn't feeling well. I really had to listen to my body this time. I slept whole day and night. When I woke up, I was a new person. I reported back to the office feeling great. Maybe because I was able to regain some of my lost sleep or maybe because I realized I am very blessed or maybe because it's a Friday. I don't know. All I know is that I have very simple joys. It's Saturday again and I will have my most needed rest.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


I was thirteen years old when my father passed away.

I can still remember the last time I saw him alive. I was going back to my school where I was boarding and I was looking at his receding image as my ride carried me away. He was standing at the side of the road waving goodbye, smiling, but his eyes could not betray his pain inside. It was one of the most touching moments of my life that left a deep scar of loneliness in my heart.

That was 35 years ago but I still miss him, especially this Father's Day. I miss his colorful stories, his warm laughter and his reassuring embrace.
I just want to be quiet today. Somehow, I am hoping that Papa will speak to me today though the wind or the rain or through my heartbeat.

Saturday, June 13, 2009


The World Health Organization proclaimed it yesterday. The AH1N1 Flu is already a Pandemic. As a constant traveler, I worry about catching the new flu strain. Although we know that it is not the as deadly as SARS, it is still scary. But worrying will not help. The best way is to keep ourselves healthy and fit. We should all be thankful that this is not the same as the plagues that hit the world in the past centuries where millions died helpless.

Speaking of plagues, I found it fit to post these pictures I took in one of my trips, which is an interesting depiction of the triumph of the people in Munich during the great plague and cholera epidemic that hit them in the 16th Century.

This is the Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall) at Marienplatz (St. Mary's Square). This one of the most famous attractions in Munich. The square was originally known as Schrannen but it was renamed Marienplatz as a way to ask Virgin Mary to protect the town from epidemic.

This second picture is the Mariensaule or Column of St. Mary which is found at the center of Marienplatz. This was erected in 1638 to symbolize their triumph over war, pestilence, hunger and heresy.

This picture was a stark depiction of the plague as a Dragon slaying the people. In the 16th century everyone went into hiding for fear of being infected by the plague.

This particular picture is from because my picture is not as clear as this. This is the Carillon or Glockenspiel where visitors can watch the famous Schäfflerstanz or the Fish Fountain Cooper's Dance, (the lower portion) which was originally performed in 1517 at the Marienplatz first done by barrel makers at the end of the Black Death plague. The first people to dare go back onto the streets were barrel makers who performed a big dance to show that it was okay to come out again.

History tells us that no matter how great these adversities that hit the world, humankind can always survive, bounce back and triumph over it.
I received this message from a friend today and I want to share it here:
Things in this world are temporary.
If events are turning well, enjoy!
If they go wrong, don't worry, it won't last long.
Larger faith means lesser fear;
Greater trust means smaller doubts;
Stronger beliefs means weaker worries.
Keep the faith burning.
Enjoy life at its best.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Cheer Up!

I'm back after almost two months of absence from this blog. I missed reading my favorite bloggers' posts and leaving comments on their blogs. Aside from that, I realized, I missed myself too. I had been away from me for quite sometime.

Work has been more demanding due to the challenging business environment. Travel has been more tiring, especially on early flights where I have to drag myself out of bed even before my mind was ready to face the world. I had my quiet moments and light weekends but I just felt I need a break from my laptop.

After the long absence, I feel rusty. I don't know what to write. So much has happened around me yet I'm struggling on what to post. I can easily pick an engaging conversation even with strangers. I never run out of topics to discuss with friends. But today, I stared for quite sometime at the blank screen with a blinking cursor before I finally decided what write.

I chose to post this picture I took from one of my morning flights. My point-and-shoot camera didn't do justice to the awesome scene but this is more than enough to remind me of my feeling when I saw it. Rainbows bring different meanings to different people. For me, it was God's answer to my prayer that morning. He was telling me: "Cheer up!"

It's really good to be back!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Tears

The silence of my condo is always constant and I got used to it after staying here for 19 months. But after sharing it with my son for nine days, the silence is never the same again. I am consumed with loneliness beyond explanation.

It might seem funny to know that the reason why I am crying now is because my son just went back to our home after spending 9 days with me in the city.

Just 9 days ago, I could not contain my happiness and excitement while I was waiting at the airport to meet him. I was looking forward to nine days off work and spending time with my beloved son. Of course, that is not the same as bonding with a toddler, because my son is already a young man. But if you are a mother like me, you will understand that a son or a daughter will always be your baby, even if they grow old. You will know that times spent with your child is always a great time.

The nine days was such a happy experience, not because of the food we ate at fancy restaurants, nor the things we shopped and splurged on. It was a joyful experience because I was with the person I love most in my life.

Now, the nine days are over. Back to reality.

It's Easter Sunday but I feel like Good Friday when I drove him to the airport.

It’s silly to be feeling like this. I am a 48 year old mom, used to living alone and being away from my family most of the time. Now, I am wallowing in tears and downing mouthfuls of dark chocolate while pouring out my feelings in this blog, in the hope of easing the pain in my heart. The chocolate tastes like tears or maybe my tears taste like chocolate. I don't know. I am not enjoying this.

I am never good at good byes even if they are temporary. I am always lousy in dealing with separation. I am beyond logic when it comes to being away from my son. Maybe all mothers are like me. Maybe I am weird. I don't know. I am not proud of this.

Tomorrow, I will be back to my daily grind of office work and travels thereafter. Soon I will be busy with so many concerns. But I am sure, that at the end of the day, or at the end of each travel, when I come home to my condo…the silence will never be the same again.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Of Work and Travel

I must admit that my work has taken its toll on my blog. It's not that I ran out of thoughts to post. It's because I am too tired to process everything. This pressure-packed, fast-paced career serves stress for breakfast, deadlines for lunch, "more things to do" for dinner and anxiety for dessert. Of course, this is an exaggerated description of my corporate life. I am just making an outrageous excuse for not posting regularly.

My blog is my refuge: it gives me back my sanity. I need to keep updating it.

My work is my way of life. Travel is very much a part of it and I love it.

In my weekly business trips to different places - by plane, by land and even by sea, I always ask myself: What have I learned? Was I able to make a difference to those I've met? What am I going to take home and share to others?

Travel is an excellent teacher. I am always a different person when I go home. Tired but not spent. Gaining pleasant experiences or otherwise, I always consider myself fortunate. So lucky to take with me the good ones; much luckier to leave behind the bad ones.

Next week, I will be in another place again. Meetings, field works, business reviews ...all in a day's work, but I would say this is no longer work but a way of living . I see it as another opportunity to touch people's lives, wake up their dormant potentials and show them the way to their dreams.

I guess I am becoming more of a leader than just a manager now. Maybe blogging has helped me discover this or maybe travel has made me this.

Saturday, March 7, 2009


Life is about endless journey, from one road to another, from one bridge to the next, from a tunnel to the light.

"Go towards the light." That's what is said to someone who is about to leave the earthly world, in the hope of guiding them and assuring that the passage to the next realm is smooth and peaceful.

"A light at the end of the tunnel..." that's what most people hope when they go through the darkest abyss of human experience. Hopeful that it is not the light of an incoming train.

For me, tunnels are routes to take to go through a seemingly insurmountable mountain obstacle in life's journey. Dark, dank and daunting... but always exhilarating experience once you made it through.

Sunday, February 22, 2009


In my travels, I took these pictures and the only thing that comes to my mind is this song which happens to be one of my favorites:

BRIDGES by Dianne Reeves

I have crossed a thousand bridges in my search for something real
There were great suspension bridges made like spider webs of steel
There were tiny wooden trusses and there were bridges made of stone
I have always been a stranger and I've always been alone.

There's a bridge to tomorrow, there's a bridge from the past
There's a bridge made of sorrow that I pray will not last
There's a bridge made of color in the sky high above
And I pray that there must be bridges made out of love.

I can see him in the distance on the river's other shore
And his arms reach out in longing as my own have done before
And I call across to tell him where I believe the bridge must lie
And I'll find it, yes I'll find it if I search until I die.

When the bridge is between us we'll have nothing to say
We will run through the sunlight and he'll meet me halfway
There's a bridge made of color in the sky high above
And I know that there must be bridges made out of love.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Day of Hearts

I have no dinner date to go to, no flowers to receive, no sweet nothings to hear. But I am not sad today because I have my family and friends who made my life meaningful and beautiful.

I am thankful for my family and friends for all the moments we have shared: for listening, talking, laughing, inspiring and caring. Today is just another day of letting them know how much I appreciate them in my life.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

My Private Thoughts At 36 Thousand Feet

I am tired from a whole week's work and travel. It feels great to know that it is Friday. Finally I am going home. But where is home?

I stay in two different places: one my home city, the other my home base of work. My real home is where my family is - my son and mother. That's where love is. That's where laughter sounds good. That's where peace seems constant amid the noise.

My other home, or shall I say my other residence, is where head office is. I stay in a small condo alone. That's where I talk to myself. That's where I feel so alone. That's where silence is constant.

But no matter where I am going home today, I just want to be there and enjoy my most deserved weekend.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Not Just Another Day

It’s been a long January for me. My new work set-up is more complicated than I thought. With field work required 80% of the time, I practically live inside airplanes, cars and hotels. My only wish was to go home on a weekend and sleep.

Today, after over sleeping, I woke up with tons of SMS messages in my cell phone. That’s when I remembered that it’s not another day for me. I am one year older.

I always have mixed feelings days before my birthday - happy but sad. Just the thought that another year has passed is more than a blessing to me. But just the mere thought that I am a year older is also like a penalty, which brought me splurging on another LV bag!

Looking back I can see that I did not live my life to the fullest: so many wasted days of worrying and wallowing in self pity; so many hours squandered in procrastination and laziness; so many opportunities lost for not using my talent to the fullest. I could have painted more, I could have read more, I could have laughed more.

Yet, despite the negative things I saw, blessings outweigh my frustrations. Last year I learned valuable lessons from my ordeal with difficult people. I came to know who my real friends are and I am truly glad they are many. Despite the stress and pressure, I was blessed with good health, a supportive top management and a loving family. It wasn’t that bad after all.

Looking closer at this present time, I could see that I am loved and blessed. My son gave me a graceful and lucky fish called Arowana. My cat gave me a funny pose while sleeping. My mama cooked me a very delicious noodle dish and my best friend, together with her family, dropped by this morning just to greet me personally.

Three days ago, I saw the most amazing dusk while sitting inside the car. In haste I took pictures, one inside the car behind the heavy tint, and one outside, with the roof of the car reflecting it like a river. Yesterday, while taking my flight home, the clouds were so beautiful I can’t help but take a picture. I got the message. God was reminding me that even in the most ordinary days, blessings and beauty abound. I just have to open my heart to see it. I should always count my blessings.