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 →
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 →
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 →
Let us learn from the lips of death the lessons of life. Let us live truly while we live, live for what is true and good and lasting. And let the memory of our dead help us to do this. For they are not wholly separated from us, if we remain loyal to them. In spirit they are with us. And we may think of them as silent, invisible, but real presences in our households.
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 →
Mother and Son making the transfer from Bantayan Island to mainland Cebu. March 2014.
I started the Holidays with a quote from Gustave Flaubert where he said “Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” Flaubert’s words speak the truth, particularly on humility. And the thought of that quote has stuck with me over the past few days.
It is true what Flaubert wrote. Travel does make one humble. And it is not merely because you are surrounded by multitudes and swimming in a sea of strangers, but it is more of the experience of having your life, rather the control of your life placed onto the hands of others.
While it may not be apparent on the journey but traveling does entail vulnerability. Vulnerability to the shifting schedules of trips, flights, changes in the weather and landscape, and even in the unpredictable attitudes of drivers, conductors, cashiers, ticketing persons, travel mates and guides. All these things are more or less beyond your control as a traveler. But you go along with it. You go along because you know that it is a part of the experience. You go along because it is part of the adventure. You go along because it makes your travel experience unique, rich and memorable. Continue reading →