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 →
Men can learn a thing or two from real wolves: less snarl, more quiet confidence, leading by example, faithful devotion in the care and defense of families, respect for females and a sharing of responsibilities. That’s really what wolfing up should mean.
– Carl Safina
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 →
So my little brother Abe has tied the knot with the girlfriend. Of course, as the ever supportive older brother, I had nothing else to say but congratulations and I wish him and his wife Theresa all the best.
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 →
And this pack of goodies was delivered to the office last Wednesday. My mother had earlier told me that they were sending some stuff from CDO. And just minutes after she called me up. The guy from LBC arrived at the office and called up my last “first name” and my middle name – which was unusual to the ears of my office mates since few of them (despite working with me for almost four years now), really know my full name.
The package from CDO had two boxes of Vjandep Pastels with Yema filling; one box of chocolate krinkles; one box of butterscotch krinkles; two packs of Broas from Misamis Occidental; one pack of Titay’s Otap from Cebu; one pack of Balimbing prunes (I never knew we had this in CDO); and six small packs of various Tang juice flavors (which were in abundance at the house due to my sister’s ex-boyfriend).
I had to give one of the boxes of Pastels to the office. I know a lot of the guys there like that delicacy from Camiguin (which a lot of Metro Manilans mistake for as coming from CDO).
And so I went home with the rest of the goodies.
Once again, I would like to say thank you very much Papa, Mama, Sorene and Abe for the package and the goodies from Visayas and Mindanao. It gave me a feeling (and taste) of stuff I used to eat at home. And for some reason, it seemed to satisfy momentarily, the feeling of longing for CDO. Of course, that feeling of being with your family is different. But yeah, for some brief moment, these goodies made me feel like I was at home. Even for just a very brief moment.