Beautiful words

I received an email from my aunt today. Since she’s not the type to forward anything, I opened it and was surprised to see a PowerPoint presentation. It had pictures of various places in Paris, and the text was a letter by writer Gabriel García Márquez.

I was surprised at first because I wrongly interpreted that the writer has passed away. Reading it again, I realized that it was indeed a letter of farewell, but only because Señor Márquez was retiring from public life due to his decreasing health. Señor Márquez has lymphatic cancer.

The words are beautiful, and hold truths that we all know but possibly rarely do. This may be an old file, but I thought I’d share it still.

If for an instant God forgot that I am just a puppet, and He gave me one more piece of life, I would take advantage of that time, the best I could.

I would probably not say everything I think, but definitely think all I say

I would value things not for what they are worth, but for what they represent.

I would sleep less and dream more. For every minute we clsoe our eyes we lose sixty seconds of light.

I would continue where others have stopped and I would rise when others sleep.

If God allowed me one more piece of life, I would dress simpler, would wallow in the sunlight, leaving uncovered, not only my body but also my soul.

I would prove to men how wrong they are to think that they stop falling in love as they get older, since they actually start getting older as soon as they stop falling in love.

I would give wings to the children, but I would leave that child alone so that he could learn how to fly on his own.

To the old, I would show then how death comes not with the ageing process but with forgetting.

So many things I have learned from you… I have learned that everybody wants to live at the top of the mountain, forgetting that is how we climb is all that matters.

I have learned that when a newborn grabs his father’s thumb, he takes a hold on him forever.

I have learned that a man has the right to look down on somebody, only when he is helping him to get up.

So many things I have learned from all of you. Always tell, what you feel and do what you think.

If I knew that today it would be the last time that I will see you, I will embrace you strongly to be the guardian of your soul.

If I would know that these would be the last minutes that I will see you, I would say to you “I love you” and wouldn’t assume that you would know it.

There is always morning where life gives us another opportunity to make things good.

Keep always close to you, your dear ones, and tell them how much you need them and love and take care of them. Take time to say, “I am sorry,” “Forgive me,” “Please,” “Thank you,” and all the nice and lovely words you know.

Nobody would remember you if you keep your thoughts a secret. Force yourself to express them. Show your friends and dear ones how much you care about them.

If you don’t do it, tomorrow will be the same as today. And it will not matter either… Now is the time to send it.

For you with much love and care. I hope and wish that you like it.

Gabriel García Márquez

Hello Dumaguete

I still managed to go around Dumaguete and see the sights, as well as taste their food and learn about the place. I had read up on it before I went, and I was given some tips on where to go by my online friend Zerisse, who is from Dumaguete. Still, nothing quite beats the actual experience.

On the plane again
The only time I’ve been in a plane was when I went to Cebu last 2006. The experience was truly amazing, from the moment I arrived at the airport until the plane landed in Mactan. I still felt excited, as giddy as any kid who still finds wonder in something so ordinary (though I think flying is not an ordinary thing).

I was disappointed that neither Lolo Sal nor I got a window seat. The plane (we took Philippine Airlines) was a small one, with three seats at either side. I was in the middle, and Lolo had the aisle seat so he could stretch a bit. Occasionally, I’d peek over my seatmate’s shoulder to the world outside.

The weather wasn’t good when we left. It was raining really hard since the morning, and the flight had been delayed for nearly thirty minutes: first, the call to board was about ten minutes late, while the weather hindered take off for nearly 20 minutes. There were already five planes behind us and two ahead before we were cleared.

Other than that. It was a rather quiet flight. When the captain announced that we were descending, I took a look outside and was surprised that the plane was flying very low above the sea. That had me worried because my previous experience with flying had us above land at that height. Soon, the water was so close, I nearly asked my seatmate “Kuya, wala pa ba lupa?” The next thing I knew, I felt the thud of the plane’s wheels as it hit the runway. I learned then that the Dumaguete airport’s runway starts/ends at the shore of the beach. Continue reading Hello Dumaguete

Wired

Fascinating thing, technology.

Two days ago, I got to connect my mom’s netbook to my wireless network. Darn Windows Vista was pickier than XP when it comes to it. Yesterday, I went with Drew to go buy his new laptop (lovely little thing. Makes me want one too) and drooled over the DSLRs, the printers, the nifty little gadgets that I want to have, just because.

Today, thanks to our system ad, I can work from home. Weeee.

Oh, and I got my oDesk Payoneer card. I’ve just activated it, transfered some funds to pay for the activation fee and all and I should be able to get my money out! Gotta work more hours!

Write stuff

I’ve started two part time writing jobs over the last few weeks. The first one is at oDesk, where I post comments in a gardening forum. It’s fairly easy and pretty fun work. I’m no gardener or farmer but I’ve got my fair share of that from my elementary and high school days in our agriculture class (yeah, we mucked about in “gardens” and studied plants/horticulture and stuff). Plus, there’s the knowledge handed down from my grandparents and parents about farming, not to mention the years of reading Better Homes and Gardens.

Besides, there’s the Internet if I need anything else.

My other writing job is for a local children’s magazine. I write several short articles on various topics that kids are into (cartoons, movies, video games, books, etc.). I like it because the topics are something I’m really interested in and it feels like I’m writing for myself and not for someone else. I started on it last night and will continue on it today until I finish all the topics for this week.

I’m still looking for other writing jobs. Who knows, maybe I can make it my permanent source of income?

P.S. I just realized I have no category for “writing” until now!

Make everyday Earth Day

I’ve got half a mind to boycott Earth Day. Now, before you crucify me for saying that, and throw accusations that I’m an Earth killer, let me tell you this.

Back in elementary, my school decided to start a “Save the Earth” campaign. All students from all levels were enjoined to participate, to do projects that will help reserve the Earth’s energy and resources. Projects were based mostly on the suggestions of The Earthworks Group’s book, “50 Simple Things Kids Can Do To Save The Earth”. It was a rather informative book, and despite the fact that the data was mostly based on American statistics, it provided ideas why should we care about the Earth and saving it.

That was nearly 15 years ago, and the project continued until I graduated from high school. As far as I know, it’s still being done today. Among the things we did were:

  • Turning of the lights at lunch time
  • Using our own bags when shopping (we used the colorful bayong you can get from your local market. Imagine going to Megamall, wearing your school uniform and putting your groceries in those bags. This was back in the mid-90s.)
  • Recycling newspapers, reusing old textbooks (all of my textbooks, except the workbooks, for both junior and senior year belonged to the upperclassmen)
  • Yearly garage sales in school where we disposed of our old but still serviceable items and got new if slightly used items in return.
  • Learning how to adjust everything chores so we use less energy and water (like rinsing dishes with used water before soaping them, or turning off the faucet when not in use. How many of us leave them running while we’re soaping our hands or when we need to reach for something else?)
  • Checking eco-friendly products if they are really eco-friendly

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Though we were far from being staunch environmentalists, and I dare say we all slip up every now and then, the habit of energy and water conservation, plus the practice of using eco-friendly products, has been brought to our awareness and instilled in us at an early age. I’ll bet most of my schoolmates unconsciously do those things that I mentioned, and maybe even passed it on to their families and friends.

Friends, if you truly care about the Earth and the dangerous state we are all in, celebrate Earth Day everyday. Doing your part on Earth Day isn’t enough, especially if the next day, you go back to your old habits. A day of Earth saving activities and actions, versus a year of that, guess what will have a long term benefit for our planet?

Know the causes of the problems of the Earth, and what can be done to add more to it. Change the things you do (or the products you buy) that contribute more to the mess. Teach your kids ways they can help. Don’t just tell them to. Understanding is the key, and the more we understand, the easier it would be for us to make the changes we need.

The situation the Earth is in wasn’t done in a day. It is a pile-up of all humankind’s bad habits, carelessness and inconsideration for the planet and it’s resources for years and years, long before many of us were born. One day of Earth Day will not be enough to cure that, but rather, a combined effort over long periods of time will.

Let me rephrase my first sentence. I don’t want to boycott Earth Day. I want to campaign it so that people will be more aware and celebrate it on a daily basis. Let April 22 be the start of your long-term Earth Day celebrations. The Earth will surely thank you.

Book heaven

I have a strong love for secondhand bookshops. More than half of my books are from the bargain bins, mostly out of print works or books that are very hard to find here in the Philippines (not to mention expensive if I order it from abroad), but for most part those are lucky and chance finds.

day4-books.jpg It never fails that when I’m at any mall, I make a beeline for the bookstore, and if I know there are book thrift shops, I’d pass by those too. When I’m with my two college best friends, these are our usual haunts. Even my friend Bakemono knows that I have to pass by a bookstore when we meet up to watch a movie. It’s like a blackhole that sucks me right in.

Today, I was with Den and her sister. We met up in a bookstore, where I got a copy of her book and a sketchpad (small enough to lug around & it has a nice, solid back). As we walked around the mall to head to another big bookstore, we passed by a small, secondhand bookstall. Needless to say, we got sucked in.

There were scores of amazing titles by writers we both loved, as well as a few others that I had heard of and wanted to read. The prices were reasonable, and I lamented the fact that I didn’t bring enough money with me. I went home with just one book. It was hard leaving those books. Luckily, the attendant told me they had a branch that was nearer where I lived, so it should be easy for me to find copies of the titles I wanted. Yay!

Then I had the sudden thought of working in that big bookstore in Bonifacio High Street. Admittedly, I’m not really comfortable with the idea of facing people (I am somewhat anti-social), but the idea of working around books sounds like heaven. Yes, yes I know it’s not going to be that easy, but I am very tempted to try it.

Nothing to lose, much to gain, I say.

Thank you

A few years ago, I started doing a weekly “Thank You” list. Every end of the week, I list down the top five to ten things that I was thankful for.

I did that for a few months, then I stopped. Mostly out of laziness, and the fact that I lost interest in blogging around that time. Back then, it was no big deal.

Recently my cousin started a blog that listed in detail the things she was thankful for. It was, by all means, an account of her everyday but she wrote it in a way that was nothing but positivity and praise and thankfulness. Every little thing about that day that made her realize what a great life she had, she wrote down, and every sentence began with a “salamat.”

In most Filipino languages, “salamat” translates to “thank you,” and you pretty much use it the same way as you would in English or in any other language. I find that using it instead of thanks, thank you  or even ty feels so much more genuine and heartfelt.

Reading my cousin’s blog makes me realize again that there are so many things in our life that we take for granted. Things we wouldn’t normally notice until it’s been taken from us, and usually in a very abrupt manner. It makes you think that the problems we encounter are so few as opposed to the blessings we receive. It’s just a matter of how we look at it and how we react to it.

I am going to try to be more attentive to these things, and start doing my own thank you entries. I know I can’t start on it full blast at once, but I’m going to take it slow. I have been inspired and humbled by my cousin (who seemed to have inherited our grandfather’s serene disposition), and I hope that I’ll never forget the things in this world that I am thankful for.

Thank you for the good night’s rest. Thank you for being able to check my email and other online stuff early in the morning. Thank you for the safe trip from home to the LRT station via tricycle. Thank you for the walk that serves as my daily exercise. Thank you for letting me get my favorite spot on the train and for the music that kept me entertained the whole trip. Thank you for getting me to the office and not be late. Thank you for letting my computer restart fast after it unexpectedly shut down. Thank you for the breakfast of siomai and coffee. Thank you for letting me finish me work quickly and noticing the mistakes that I was able to correct ASAP.

Thank you for the good lunch and Ate Tess’ looking out for us. Thank you for the occasional entertainment in between work. Thank you for the help in making the team’s work faster. Thank you for my teammates especially Marc and Maya for being so diligent. Thank you for merienda. Thank you for being able to finish my tasks. Thank you for the walk with Winston and the safe trip home. Thank you for the seat on the LRT and the little reminder that technology, albeit convenient, is far from perfect. Thank you for the entertaining shows on TV. Thank you for the ates at the eatery downstairs and for the family who owns the store below. Thank you for letting Nuks get to Candelaria safe & Miks home safely. Thank you for the chat with my friends online and relieving me of any doubts that I had. Thank you for the books I read. Thank you for today.