Wednesday, February 1, 2017

THIS BLOG IS GETTING A MAJOR MAKEOVER!!!

To All My Readers:

This blog has been left for dead ever since I took off to college. I tried my hardest to keep this page decent, or at least, alive, but my trials have often times led to failure. To be fair, I'd like to apologize to the people who still frequent this blog, but always end up looking through posts from years ago. I'd like to change that. Well, I have exciting news!!! At least, for me, it's exciting...

I'M GOING TO START WORKING ON MY BLOGS AGAIN!!! This blog and my photography blog (https://emstantphotos.blogspot.com/), hopefully.

I've always wanted to return to blogging, but I just never got to doing it because of the time crunch of university life, but as I'm nearing my uni life's end, I made the conscious decision to overhaul my pages.

There are going to be a lot of changes around here.

The pages' layout has to change. I'll be thinking of new names for the pages, and all that. Don't judge me too much. A large majority of my posts were from high school and early days of my college life. I'd like to think that I grew a lot through my years. I'll be cleansing my pages of terrible content and grammar (yes, Filipino grammar included), too! New content will be coming!!! You can expect more matured, relevant content, since I did sort of mature through the years.

I'm just very, very excited to get back to my calling. I hope some of you are, too.

For the meantime, you can look back at all my embarrassing tomfoolery. Enjoy it while it's still there, maybe.


See ya 'round!


Em

Monday, February 3, 2014

TFIOS, Thank You

Let me just hit you with a very random and structureless post here.

Firstly, I would like to congratulate John Green and The Fault in Our Stars. But not because of all the success it's been receiving throughout the whole world, but because this particular novel has probably been the first novel that I have finished in less than a day... actually now that I think about it, less than 12 hours! This is a fairly huge achievement for me, because I read really slowly for a college freshman. (I have high proficiency, I just can't read fast because I want each word to be read in my mind as if I was reciting it to a public, as if I was a good public speaker and that people paid attention to my words) Also an achievement for the author and book though, because it has a certain Something that words could not fathom that I was too hooked into reading it until I knew it in its entirety. Others who have read the book might try and match words with that capital-S Something, but alas! I cannot.

Before reading on, let me note that this post is in no form a review of some sort. I really really just wanted to do something with all my vivacious feelings towards the book. It may be useful in the future, so I didn't want it to go to waste. Opinion that goes to waste is just gibberish.

Honestly, I couldn't get the picture of Augustus Waters out of my mind and couldn't sleep at all. It's as if a piece of Hazel Grace Lancaster lived deep in the valleys of me, yearning to see Gus again. It's as if he wasn't a fiction that some guy named John Green has just made up to tear my heart open and bleeding. I loved Augustus Waters, loved him as any Hazel Grace would. Soon as I succumbed to the first few pages, I already knew I was falling in love. I repeatedly told my friends that I, myself, wanted my very own Augustus Waters. Imagine, my very own Gus. A Gus that would stare at me and see beauty beyond what the eyes see; a Gus that would want me to watch V for Vendetta (one of my favorite movies of all time) on his living room couch; a Gus that would risk loving me even though I was a grenade. I'm pretty sure everyone who has read the book will want their very own Gus. But it seems as though every time I look away from reading the book and see the realities in front of me, I immediately wake up to the fact that my Gus isn't coming. For me, waking up to a real non-fiction world and knowing that I may never find one like Augustus Waters is the most heartbreaking part. Page by page, you just want to dive into the book and see Gus yourself. But some photographs can only be developed inside a human mind.

As I read through, I thought that the book was actually going to end mimicking An Imperial Affliction's ending where "Anna" suddenly stops mid-sentence. I was wrong, though I'm not going to mention how the book ended here. For in a probable day, someone who still hasn't read the book may come across this post and hunt me down for spoilers.

I am now almost two semesters over with my political science course. I chose this course for reasons. For almost a year, I hadn't written something of great value to me. Not one short essay or article in the mastery and artistry that I used to bear so boldly. I now usually read books regarding politics and economics and private property or whatever, figuring out that there is good in public-private partnerships and whatnot. But when I read books, novels like The Fault in Our Stars... it just leads me back home. Less than 12 hours after reading one John Green novel and I find myself coming home to where I was raised and where my consciousness took shape. Maybe that's the main reason why I hadn't slept all night and I'm here now in front of my laptop on Monday morning, when I should be studying for exams tomorrow. I always thought literature would never take me in again as one of its loving daughters, but here I am again.

This post isn't solely about The Fault in Our Stars, it's more about me. The beauty in reading a book or novel is that for a moment or two, you are put in a perspective you may have never seen before. I have seen splendor in reading this book.

For almost two semesters, I restricted myself from writing more than my name, section and date on the top part of a black sheet of paper. I admit to being wrong in trying to deny myself the reason why I used to wake up everyday back then, a reason why I smiled and felt like I meant something to the universe.

Oblivion is inevitable, as John Green said. But unlike Gus, I don't fear oblivion... I fear not writing enough when I reach oblivion. This is my first love before I even knew what love was. I truly and humbly thank you, John Green. I am once again home.

Friday, December 13, 2013

The Tipping Point and Beyond


Are the Filipinos worth dying for?

The whole world watched as the Filipino people echoed out a desperate call for attention, last August 26, 2013. It’s been the first time in ages when the Filipinos last united as they cried for help from the government to ease them off their tribulations. What may these tribulations be?--the P10 billion Pork Barrel Scam. For the first time in a while, countrymen of different classes came together in hopes of sending out a stir to the government. The people were enraged to find out that the taxes they bleed to pay only slip into the pockets of the already-wealthy few.

The spotlight was once again on Juan dela Cruz. His eyes blazed with the fury of a thousand suns. His anger could no longer be ccontained. He knew somehow that the system isn't bound to change if he won't lead it to the change he desires.

This commotion on the Pork Barrel Scam has made some raise the question: what route would we prefer to take; this 'matuwid na daan' that is full of bumps, or a road that bends but is flat throughout?

Juan sweats and bleeds his heart on labor eight hours a day or even more. He pays his taxes monthly, being sure that he pays the right amount. After all, paying taxes is the smallest bit of help we could do for this country, right? He squeezes 32% of his salary away although 100% is not even enough to feed its 100 million selves.

A breeze of cold air carried news with it that 10 billion of Juan's funds is funding only a few families. With the rage he carries on his back, Juan sets out to Luneta Grandstand. He has had enough.

Why, in the first place, would parts of the national budget be handled by separate individuals? These are legislators that obviously need nothing to do with project-implementing, as what PDAF is supposed to be.

If that 10 billion pesos was to be rechanneled to social services, so many lives could have already been made better. School kids with no classrooms would be sheltered, hospitals in lack of tools would be granted, state colleges and universities would have better facilities for learning and would be more competitive.

Ninoy, Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifacio and thousands of others died for Juan. The Filipino is worth dying for, not worth lying to.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Hope for the Flowers by Trina Paulus: A Review

What is life? – As one of my favorite authors, Mitch Albom, has taught me that ‘so many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half-asleep even when they’re busy doing things they think are important. This is because they’re chasing the wrong things. The way to get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.’

The quote above taken from Tuesdays With Morrie really appeals to the essence of the book in study, Hope for the Flowers.

At a firsthand look, the book cover as well as its interior pages may deceive the commoner into thinking that this is a story book to be read in front of a kindergarten class. It’s full of vivid illustrations of the journey the two lead characters had to go through. Of course, I was not easily fooled into thinking that this is a mere book for five-year-olds. Actually, a similar book came to my mind as I was reading Hope for the Flowers—The Little Prince. At a firsthand look, The Little Prince may also deceive a commoner into thinking that this book is merely a children’s book with illustrations of how the Little Prince ventured his way through space and to the Sahara. Books like Hope for the Flowers and The Little Prince are very rare kinds of books that are presented in a very ‘Rated G’ kind of way, but still appeals to a deeper subject that adults may also relate to.

“Partly about life, partly about revolution and lots about hope – for adults and others including caterpillars who can read.” I have never found a more powerful way to start a text. The book labels itself that it is in fact intended to be read by adults. Why would a book be written for adults, yet be presented in a very kindergarten-ish kind of way? I’m not really sure, but putting myself in these writers’ shoes, I’m guessing that they’re trying to capture the vulnerable part of the adult mind, believing that there is still a child lingering in these adults. Books that are so simply put, such as this one, are the books so difficult to interpret most of the time.

The book was mainly about Stripe who tried searching for ‘more’ in his bleak caterpillar life. He searches and finds a caterpillar pillar but has no idea to where its top leads. He climbs as well trying to find meaning and purpose and ‘more.’ In the very high pillar, he meets Yellow and both of them stop climbing and they eventually reached the bottom of the pillar unharmed. I wish not to discuss much about what took place in the book, but Stripe climbed the pillar again and Yellow became a butterfly. Yellow flew to the top of the pillar in search of Stripe. When Stripe was about to reach the top of the pillar, he heard other caterpillars who are already at the top saying that there’s really nothing there. Yellow instructed and inspired Stripe to spin himself into a cocoon and also turn into a magnificent butterfly, and this is just what he did. He later emerged into a beautiful butterfly just as Yellow is, and they flew off together.

Let me again utilize Albom’s quote to explain the framework of the story.

Many walk around living a meaningless life. We eat, work, sleep, talk, walk… But all these, all for what? Just as Stripe found no purpose in crawling and eating leaves, shouldn’t we also evaluate how we walk our lives? I believe that many out there are still half-asleep, but isn’t it time to walk them up? I am really glad to have read a book like such. I am one of the lucky few to awake from the half-asleep kind of living at such an early age.

Stripe and Yellow were both victims. They were forcibly sucked into the caterpillar pillar, the system. Thousands struggle to reach the top, but what happens when you get there? It’s really a question of ‘was it worth it?’ In the real world, we people blend in the crowd. We struggle to be socially accepted, and we don’t stop there. We tend to compete with each other, just like caterpillars, we squirm to reach the top. We think that by reaching the top, we become fulfilled—we often mistake this for our purpose. Of course, there is fulfillment in reaching the top, but let us just not get tired of evaluating each step and asking ourselves if what we’re doing is still worth the while and worth the efforts and risks to take. We know that we have a purpose; life just doesn’t come with a handbook of instructions. That’s the thing; life doesn’t define our purpose for us, we define our purpose. Sometimes, we chase the wrong things, thinking that this is our purpose and that this is where we need to drive towards.

Let us devote ourselves to loving others. I agree that each of us may have a distinct purpose or mission in life, but loving others is probably the default purpose each of us have. All else follows if we learn to appreciate everything and everyone around us. Stripe and Yellow illustrate how loving one another leads to something more beautiful and may open more doors. In the end, Stripe found the ‘more’ in life he was longing for. Yellow helped lead him towards where his ‘more’ lies.

There is and there always will be more to life. It’ll just be up to us if we’re up or the challenge of searching for ‘more.’

As Stripe and Yellow fly away together, they carry hope for the flowers and for the people. I was saved by this book. Hopefully, more people will get to read this wonderful work and also be saved. Let us hope that more people will be the Stripes and Yellows of the present time—we will be the hope for the flowers.

Let me again ask you, what is life?

Friday, November 8, 2013

Mahal Kita, Tropa

Pasikat na ang araw,
Ako'y narito't naghihintay;
Nang ika'y aking matanaw,
Bungad mo'y ngiting dalisay.

Sumakay tayong dyipni,
Siksikan tayo't magkatabi;
Ang katahimikan sa 'ting pagitan,
Pumupuno sa 'king kakulangan.

Binasag mo ang katahimikan,
Ika'y nagtanong, “may bolpen ka pa?”
Ako'y agad dumukot sa 'king mga kagamitan,
Kamo kasi sa algebra'y may pagsusulit ka.

Patuloy ang kuwentuhan natin,
Ngiti ko'y abot Araneta;
Ano nga ba kita?
Oo nga pala, tropa.

Ika'y pumara at nauna bumaba,
Pagharap sa 'ki'y nakangiti sa galak;
Nahiya ako't napahawak nalang sa baba,
Nagtaka ka at kamay ko'y hinatak.

Sa pa-Stop 'N Shop na dyip, tayo uli'y sumakay,
At ang ingay mo'y 'di na mamatay-matay;
Iba ang kirot at sayang hatid mo,
Pero oo nga pala, tropa lang ako.

Biglang tumugtog ang Moonstar 88 sa isip ko,
“Asan ba 'ko sayo? Aasa ba 'ko sayo?”
Pero salamat sa lahat ng ito,
Atlis mahal mo ako, tropa ko.