Category Archives: Cagayan de Oro

Thoughts on my hometown

Remembering a teacher; reflecting on life

Earlier today I read updates from friends on Facebook about the passing of one of the old teachers from my grade school years. And it came as a surprise, being that I have not really heard much about him recently, except for an exhibit by philatelists in SM City Cagayan de Oro.

Mr. Rene Abella was one of the well-known campus figures during my time in Xavier University Grade School. He handled one of the sixth-grade classes and he usually coached the science category team of the school in quiz bee competitions. He was also very active when it comes to exhibits for science investigatory projects. And he also coached the grade school’s swim team. Continue reading

2015: Thoughts on family, life and moving forward

Fog cover the town of Banaue as viewed from the Viewpoint.

Fog covers the town of Banaue as viewed from the Viewpoint. The rice terraces are still visible in the foreground.

2015 was not an easy year. Unlike previous years which presented only their fair share of challenges and difficulties but leaves the order of your life relatively unscathed, this one changed mine a lot. And while I do know that I do not have the monopoly of melancholy and grief, I would say that that the year brought changes unsurprisingly and early on.

Just a few days after I celebrated my 35th birthday in February, I lost my only sister to Pneumonia before I was even able to see her for one last time in Davao City. A few months prior to her leaving, we had a long conversation on her having lymphoma and how she was able to look for solutions and was determined to see things through. Confident, we thought that Stage 2 was something she can deal with easily. Contrary to our expectations though, it was the complications which pulled her down and slowly sapped her life away. Continue reading

Weekends

It’s been seven months since my sister Sorene left us. And while we have slowly been adjusting to life without her, there are certain circumstances where we still wonder how things might have been if she were still with us. Since she left, the extended family in Cagayan de Oro has celebrated birthdays where her presence was significantly missed. Continue reading

Padayon Padaday

Me and Sorene at Xavier University High School. I think I was 7 at this time while Sroene was 4. Photo from Auntie Evelyn Gomez.

Me and Sorene at Xavier University High School. I think I was 7 at this time while Sorene was 4. Photo from Auntie Evelyn Gomez.

My sister Sorene was never your usual silently-obedient type. She was never one who would just concede to your ideas without you exerting an effort to convince her of what you have in mind. No, she was not like that. She was never like that.

Sorene was not an easy sibling to live with. She was head strong, aggressive and fiercely proud. She would never bow down to you if you don’t deserve it. And she would never think you deserve it if you have not earned it.

We always had a love-hate relationship as brother and sister. And our differences started early when we had a pig, with whom I had grown fond of, slaughtered and prepared for Sorene’s baptism. I was only four years old at that time. And I felt bad with what happened.

A couple of years after that though, I had one of my life’s biggest scares when Sorene was admitted to a hospital in Cebu City for high fever. We had just moved in to join Papa after he was assigned there for work. And there we were in a hospital room with Sorene on the bed. I worried much about her, so much so that I slept beside her on her bed, only leaving her side to eat and clean myself up. Continue reading

Family, Distance and Faith

The family on New Year’s Eve.

In less than 24 hours, I will be leaving Cagayan de Oro again to return to Quezon City, where my field of expertise reaps compensation more proportionate to its weight than what I would be offered if I choose to make a living of my skills in the city of my birth.

It is never easy leaving your family for several months. Especially if you belong to a family like mine which is small and closely-knit – with members meeting everytime one has a cause for celebration.

In my own direct family, my siblings, as well as my father, have professions which require them to travel to different parts of this 7,107 archipelago. Unlike them though, I do not have the capability to go home on weekends.

But the lives we lead are the result of our decisions. And the profession I have found myself in, is the result of my own choices in my earlier employments and my own desires. It is for these causes that I must bear the burden of being distanced from my family.

While my travails are not exactly the same as those of overseas migrant Filipino workers, I do know how it feels to be away from your family for the greater part of the year. I do know how helpless one feels when seeing news reports of a weather phenomenon hitting your hometown yet you are far from your family. I do know how difficult it is to let go of thinking about your parents when they are rushed to the hospital and you can’t be there with them as they try to recover from what struck them. Continue reading

An old friend died yesterday and I was not there when it happened.

My brother tried to keep it away from me because he knew about the relationship I had with our old friend. He too had a special bond with him. And I bet it was also not easy for him to see our buddy, our protector, our constant companion now gone.

And no, I am not talking about the King of Comedy. Despite growing up to his movies and TV series, I do know that I am but only one of hundreds of thousands of fans who laughed at his on-screen comedic performances and listened to the folksy wisdom his characters give on TV. I am talking about someone else literally closer to my home in Cagayan de Oro.

Panday was a gift given to my brother by one of the kids he tutored in an outreach program during his freshman year in college. From one of the rural barangays of the city, he was brought to our house and raised to be not merely a pet but more like a family member.

Of course, it was not easy teaching him things to do and things not to do. And in several cases, we had to repeatedly impress on him those things which he should not do inside the house and with the things we owned. But he eventually learned.

He was not your expensive foreign-bred canine but just your usual mongrel often domesticated by Filipino families for various reasons. But he grew up to be a loving and dependable member of the family. One distinct thing about Panday when compared to our other canine house members was that he listened to you when you talk to him. And he listened attentively. Continue reading