A Very Special Love Letter

I admire people who are prayerful, and in that same level, are living up to the Christian way of life.  I wish I could do the same.

A nun, who used to play the guitar for our choir group told me that singing a prayer is like praying 10x.  It takes some amount of emotions to sing, and I think that makes singing and praying more special.

In my case, grief and special petitions warrant a different kind of prayer – I write down my prayers.  Most of the letters, I keep; quite a few, I would seal in an envelope to be read exclusively by the Pink Sisters, and spiritually or figuratively – the thoughts in those letters, I offered to Him.  Yes, the Dragon Lady (that would be me, or if you want to call me a sinner, so be it) also need the support of a community known as the Holy Spirit Adoration Sisters. Their church and convent in Tagaytay City has been one of my sacred sanctuaries over the years.  Secret out!  If you’re curious, then why not pay them a visit?  It’s worth a try.  =)

Adoration Convent of Divine Mercy
‘Pink Sisters’, Tagaytay City, Philippines
Photo by: BFD

Last month, BFD and I visited the Adoration Convent/Chapel .  The gratefulness I felt compelled me to write a letter to the Lord, through the Pink Sisters.  In the not-so-distant past, I thought I was heading for a life of single blessedness (which I gladly accepted, to the point that I was living that life already), but the Lord sent me another blessing that changed most of my thoughts about how I intend to live my life.  About two weeks after that visit, I received a beautiful letter which talks about love and prayers from Sister Mary Scholastica of the Pink Sisters.  The thoughts are too beautiful that I’m moved to share it here, and I hope this letter reaches out to those who might need it most.

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Getting there:  Here’s a map – grabbed from http://www.tsikot.com.

For commuters: There are buses, jeepneys from Manila and Batangas plying Aguinaldo Highway – a major highway in Cavite.
The chapel is a well-known landmark in Tagaytay City. When in doubt, ask around for directions from the locals (‘Pink Sisters’).

Gains and Losses

Life is good. Gain.  Life is not fair.  Loss.  It’s a matter of perspective – sometimes easy; oftentimes, challenging.

For more positive chi to flow, I should be writing about, ‘life is a beach,’ or something as hip as ‘politics/stock market/traffic – it’s more fun in this country.’  Today I’m more keen about bursting some bubbles, so it really is tempting for me to write about, ‘life is a bitch’ or ‘haters get a life’, instead…oh, but I do have some positive comments about the stock market!  Talk about balance between good and evil.

Source: MSOffice Clipart

I’m about to spend the next couple of minutes writing about musings on personal/family relationships, mundane stuff like weight gain, somewhat-annoying political thoughts – things which I need to bounce off the wall called blog (and it’s right here!).  I haven’t been so keen about keeping this kind of ‘stress’ list, but I should be able to jot it down so that the counting of sheep – something I do before bedtime when sleep becomes elusive, is kept in its state of effortless peace.

On a more personal note…

1.  Gain : Strong and promising lifelong friendship with five people.  High five for honesty and open communication.

Loss : falling out with two people whom I used to look up to.  Hypocrisy and lies are never good elements of a healthy relationship.  Over it!

2.  Gain : Weight.  Uh-oh! The worst in 6 months, following a hospital confinement…the positive side – I can start training for my third full marathon after almost 6 months of rehab.  I’m at it!  Weight loss is underway.  Hopefully.

Loss :  I need to defer plans for a 50km ultra marathon, shoulda-woulda-coulda first half of 2012.

3.  Gain :  We successfully fought a terminal illness in the family, as a family.  My aunt made a big come back with a stronger testimony for her Christian mission.

Loss :  Sleepless nights, wondering how the treatment was progressing – a scenario in the family wherein everyone was face-to-face with the big, bad ‘C’…but faith is much, much greater than any illness.

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I also think about this country.  To me, this is home.  I’m sooo here that it is warranted, I be called ‘a dumb citizen’, should I fail to notice news or issues at the level of national consciousness.

4.  Gain :  Philippine stock market index!!!  It’s a concrete measurement of the sentiments of investors towards the Philippine Economy.  The market has been enjoying growth, rising from a 3K+ last year, breaking the 5K barrier,  and now maintaining its position at the 5K+ index for months…and the outlook remains bullish.  Stay invested!

In 2011, financial institutions like BPI and BDO went all-out with their campaigns to draw people to avail of managed funds.  These funds cater to several investor risk profiles :  conservative – moderately aggressive – aggressive.  It sure is a new way to earn passive income while leveraging on the growth our stock market.

5.  Gain :  Confidence on the President, most recent rating,+ 67%.

Though, I’m not particular about the label ‘yellow army’,  but a positive trust rating of 67% earned by the President fuels a certain feel-good attitude towards the government, and relevant sectors are motivated to pump-prime the economy.   I’m neutral when it comes to political parties, I support whoever is duly elected and proclaimed President.

Loss :  (Untimely) demise of a great public servant – Sec. Jess Robredo.

Loss : Political divide; many haters still – those people trying to bring down the Administration to its knees, but hey, if you happen to be one of them, I hold no personal grudge against you, but I wish that we be aligned in this thought :  words, including those translated into propaganda are meaningless, until we match it with collective actions to push for reforms.  Talk is cheap.

Loss :  (Figuratively) headless, selfish people from all sectors of the society who are deliberately trashing the environment.

Loss :  Unresolved territorial dispute among China and other ASEAN States over the perceived oil-rich Spratly Group of Islands in the West Philippine Sea.  I wonder what the UN is doing in order to effectively implement the provisions of the UN Convention on the Laws of the Sea (UNCLOS).

———   List ends here. For now.  =)  ———-

Part IV – Alam Na (final installment)

Sana naman ay ganap nyo nararamdaman ang lagay ko ngayon sa Mundo ng mga Keso.  Ang Parts I – IV ay aking nailathala dahil na rin sa mga pamilya at mga tunay na kaibigan na malayo sa akin.  Nais ko ibahagi at ganon din ang excitement nila na magkwento ako na para bang magkakaharap lamang kami.

Hindi magtatapos sa Part IV ang kwento namin ni BFD, pero sa blog, hanggang Part IV na lang dahil baka sumunod pa ito sa mga yapak ng mga Pinoy movies na Shake, Rattle, & Roll (pero laging pang MM Filmfest?), Tanging Ina (pang-ilang ‘last na ‘to?), at Mano Po (sa mga blood chem naubos ang mga huling patak ko ng Chinese blood, kung ako man ay nagkaroon ng marami nito).  Same formula ang plot, na pinaulit-ulit dahil sa commercial success ng mga nasabing pelikula.

Ilan sa mga Pinoy movies na madaming installment.
Photos grabbed from Wikipedia.

Paulit-ulit?  Medyo taliwas ito sa mga nangyayari sa tunay  na buhay ko sa ngayon.  I challenged a team of 77 people early this year – that if they are desperate for change, they must be prepared to do things which they haven’t done before.  Ito ngayon ang syang challenge ko sa sarili ko.  Practice what you preach nga naman.

Possible pala na ang Manila-Singapore-Manila, ay maging parang Manila-Pampanga-Manila – as a way of embracing the altruism, ‘follow your heart’, but no banging of head against the wall this time around?  Nasa Terminal 1 ako isang umaga, gagawin ko yon kasi alam ko na doon ako magiging mas masaya.  Parang sa palabas na Shaider na tumatawag ng Time Space Warp ang babaylan na si Ida, nasabi ko sa harap ng laptop, hatinggabi bago ang aking flight, ‘Eroplano, ngayon din!’.  Kaya mainit-init pa ang plane ticket at hotel voucher ko noong umagang iyon – mas mainit pa sa ‘rush photocopy’ sa mga tindahan sa U-belt…mas mainit pa sa extra hot na double espresso…mas mainit pa sa ulo ko nang gawin nilang isang malaking parking lot ang Coastal Road dahil sa hindi pag-usad ng traffic.

Matapos ang halos sunud-sunod ko na travel mag-isa, pati ang pagtakbo ng full marathon sa SG nang mag-isa, I made a decision – I will open up myself to love…sana for the last time, pero hindi basta-basta love…ung love at relationship na talagang pinag-isipan…may process, hindi basta naramdaman na lang…a love story wherein two people made a whole-hearted commitment to make it work inspite of their differences…yung dalawang taong same wavelength, may shared values, parehong self-actualized….partners, yung tipong they bring out the best in each other…symbiotic, hindi parasitic…Ayoko na ng same ‘ol, boring, pathetic sh–, er, story! =)

Isang pagbalik-tanaw:  In one of my visits to the Pink Sisters Chapel in Tagaytay (2007),  I was having a hard time coping with some major changes, and in grief, I wrote a letter to the Lord through the Pink Sisters Congregation.  The content came from another letter which I wrote back in college (1998).  I was very specific when I wrote my intentions.  To sum it up,  He was supposed to write me a beautiful love story.  Minsan nga talaga mas alam natin ang gusto natin when we were younger.  Over the years, we tend to forget or masyado na tayong nagiging jaded kaya akala natin hindi na pwedeng magka-totoo.

The Pink Sisters’ Chapel – Tagaytay City
Photo by: BFD

I almost forgot about those letters, until last month when I went back to the Pink Sisters Chapel – first time to visit with BFD.  Before that, we were tossing several questions particularly about the ‘timing’.  BFD and I attended the same university, and he was only a year my senior.  We used to chat about running for over a year, but none of it seem to have made sense.  We ran the same race routes/categories, but we did not care as if there was an imaginary banner, ‘just-another-face-in-the-crowd.’  Who would have thought?  Maybe, we were born with a ‘homing’ device; that one, which is automatically triggered when the right time comes, and nobody knows about the exact time. Ang galing, parang magic, di ba?  Ni hindi ko nga magamit dati ang salitang ‘magic’ dahil pakiwari ko para lamang ito sa mga bata na naniniwala sa fairy tales; kulog, kidlat, baka kainin ako ng lupa. Uh-oh.  =)

Dahil pare-parehas din naman tayong busy, tapusin na natin ang Part IV.  Here’s to share the last part of those ‘special letters’, which I’ve mentioned in this blog –

              “…and wherever we are, he will always make me feel that – I’m home.” 

Altar – Angels’ Hills – Tagaytay
Photo by: BFD

Part III – ‘Pako’ (English: Nail; not another MMK episode)

Photo: http://www.sonomachristianhome.com
Try to imagine me running like this in a concrete jungle called MOA Parking Lot.

Naka-dress pa naman ako pero kailangan ko tumakbo.  Hays, hassle!  No choice, hindi ko sya matawagan sa mobile number nya ‘cannot be reached’ sabi sa line…Kaya hinawakan ko sa magkabilang gilid ang dress ko para hindi ito tumaas habang tumatakbo.

“Kaya ko ‘to. Runner ako.” Ito na lang ang sinabi ko sa sarili ko na para bang mahirap ang 100-to-300meter-dash compared sa 42.195km marathon distance.

Buti na lang may tsinelas sa kotse, at least ‘barefoot’ feel ang pagtakbo ko…

Target:  kailangan ko mahabol si BFD!

“Daves! Daves!”, sumisigaw na ko baka sakaling marinig nya ko…bakit kasi ang bilis nya maglakad?  O sadya syang tumakbo palayo sa ‘kin?

Takbo ulit ako…kailangan ko tumawid, at biglang huminto ang dalawang sasakyan sa harap ko sabay senyas ng mga driver na tumawid na ako.  Pinagbigyan nila ako makatawid, naawa siguro sa ‘kin.  Sumenyas naman ako na katumbas ng ‘Thank you!”…ang aking mala-alamat na ‘politician’s wave’.

Malapit na ko sa MOA IMAX.  Mahirap din pala tumakbo ng halos barefoot pag hindi sanay, kaya sumigaw na ko ng todo…

“Daaaavvvveeeesss!!!”, siguro naman nararamdaman nyo ang pagsigaw ko nyan, ang haba ng spelling ng ‘Daves’ ha.  =)

At parang isang eksena lamang sa MMK, nakatayo na lang ako sa kabilang kalsada ng parking lot, medyo (feeling) pagod sa paghabol…ako na ang damsel in distress!!!  Isang role na hindi ko kailanman na na-imagine gagampanan ko sa tunay na buhay…sa aking tunay na buhay, mind you!

Ang long-hair na si BFD ay huminto sa paglalakad, at dahan-danang lumingon sa aking direksyon.  Sa sandaling iyon ay bakas sa kanyang mga mukha ang pagkagulat…marahil ay dahil sa isang katulad ko na literally humahabol sa isang katulad nya (Queue El DeBarge music, circa 1986:  “Someone just like me / Running into someone just like you / An accidental touch / Turned into a gentle kiss of two…”).  Mas masaya pag cheesy!  =)

“Daves! FLAT TIRE!!!  Flat ang gulong ng kotse ko!  May malaking pako!”, yan lamang ang aking nasabi at lumapit na sya sa akin.  Takot ako na hindi makauwi agad nang dahil sa flat tire.  Gabi na rin kasi yon.

Naglakad kami pabalik ng parking para palitan ni BFD ang flat na gulong ng aking kotseng si Migs.  Halos humiga na si BFD sa parking lot, kahit madumihan ang damit nya basta maayos nya lang mailapat ang jack at maiangat ang gulong na papalitan. Hindi sya vain…at sa isang dako, parang mabubuhay kaming dalawa kahit ma-trap kami sa isang island (saglit lang yan pumasok sa isip ko…ayokong lagyan ng malisya).

Sample photo: Ilovecostco.com
Walang sinabi ang Potenza GIII ni Migs sa walang awang pako.

Sa mga sandaling yon ay ‘My Hero’ ang dating ni BFD sa akin, pero natuwa lang ako.  At least, makakauwi na ko, okay na ang gulong ni Migs.  Nagpasalamat ako kay BFD, at nag-offer pa ako na i-treat sya sa Starbucks pero tumanggi sya at hindi naman ako nagpumilit.  Madali ako kausap. Ayaw mo, huwag mo.  =)

Meron akong realization:  Okay naman pala friend si BFD.  Hindi ko naman kasi alam kung ano ang purpose nya, at ayoko itong pangunahan.  Kung friendly lang talaga sya at naghahanap ng kausap, well, hindi naman masama maging friends kami.  Natuwa na ako na may bago akong kaibigan.

Ni-report ako ni BFD sa mga kaibigan ko:  Muli naungkat ang kwento ng ‘flat tire’ nang ipinakilala ko na si BFD kila Kris, Jenny-Vi, at Atty. Cashmer.

Ito ang kanyang report –> Hinatid nya ako sa parking lot.  Magkahiwalay kasi kami ng parking area.  Pagdating sa kotse, hindi ko pa man nabubuksan ang pinto, ay ‘pinalayas’ ko na (daw) sya sa pagsasabi ng “Sige, uwi ka na!”  Napaka-inggrata ko daw, hindi man lang ako nagpasalamat sa kahit ano…basta pinaalis ko na lang sya…kaya malungkot syang umalis sa parking area…hindi nakapag-moment man lang kagaya ng kanyang original plan…At matapos nyang palitan ang gulong, hindi daw ako nag-insist man lang sa Starbucks…gusto pala nya, pinilit ko sya…oh, well…may ganon???  =)  Isa lang ang sabi ni Kris kay BFD nang ito ay magreklamo, “It’s so Ann!”.

Ang ‘wicked’ version nila Kris and Jenny-Vi, at ni Atty. Cashmer:  Pag-alis ni BFD sa parking, tinawag ko (daw) ang Guard, sabay sabi ng mala-kontrabidang instructions, “Eto ang pako, tatakbo ako papunta don sa lalaking andito kanina.  Siguraduhin mo lang na pagbalik ko ay flat na ang gulong ha…siguraduhin mo ha…sige, simulan mo na, tatakbo na ko…”

Photo: Wikipedia.org
Parang kasing wicked ko ata si Cruella sa flat tire version nila Jenny-Vi?

Nanghinayang kami ni BFD ngayon sa ‘pako’.  Dapat pala pinakuha ko sa vulcanizing shop…nang dahil sa pakong iyon, a few days after the ‘flat tire’ episode, may natanggap akong message kay BFD…

“Sagot ko na yung movie tickets sa Friday, wag mo lang ulit ako pahihigain sa parking lot (para magpalit ng flat tire).”

Pwede…