Für Denise

They said that womanhood is only reached

By the time a girl reached age of eighteen

And now, our friendship at eighteen has seen

The good, the bad; things we teach and unteach

How we misunderstand each other’s speech

Yet our dead silences, we know what they mean

We are each other’s flame bursts and serene

Our friendship is sunset in endless beach

Which had become so familiar through years

Still always what we want when the day clears

We recognize we shall always remain

Together, stronger even as daylights wane

Eternally, you are my saving grace

Always bring with you my dear warm embrace.

Happy Birthday, my dear Denise. We had been through a lot. From greasy, awkward kids (as shown above) to less oily, crazy adults we were there for each other. Our friendship was never a smooth road especially for the past months but still, I know that despite all of these, our friendship will only be stronger. I love you. 😘
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Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

When I was in law school, my college friend told me, “You know what, Maica…I used to think that people who are going to the beach or taking a vacation somewhere else on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday are bad people. Now that I am working, I thought that I cannot really blame them. What other time of the year could you have a lengthy time off?”

Fast forward to now, I neither agree or disagree with her. Rather, I thought, why do we have to declare both Maundy Thursday and Good Friday as national holidays?

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Surreal. A beach is also a place of reflection. But who really goes to the beach for reflection during Maundy Thursday and Good Friday? (Taken by me on my January Cagbalete trip)

Don’t get me wrong. I am actually a devout member of the Holy Catholic Church. I go to mass on Sundays and the days of obligation. I pray the rosary. On Lenten season, I observe fasting and abstinence on the commanded dates; I have my confession in Holy Week; I go Visita Iglesia; I join the way of the cross; I come to the procession; and so on.

Nonetheless, a survey of the Maundy Thursday and Good Friday all around the world shows that only the Philippines have Maundy Thursday as a holiday while only a handful of countries have Good Friday as holiday.

My question is: Do we really need to retain Maundy Thursday and Good Friday as national holidays? Or in a broader scale, should we allow religious holidays in our country?

The Philippines is a non-sectarian state. It has always maintained an 80% Roman Catholic population but sadly as the Philippines had always been influenced by the West, the population of people who are going to Church on a regular basis had declined throughout the years. Many Catholics that I talked to now claim that they aren’t religious but “spiritual” (whatever that means, I mean the devil is also a spirit, so…). Also, there seems to have a trend that some people have this belief that Catholicism is the root cause of poverty of the country for the population should not have grown to more than 100 Million now if measures by the government then to curb the population could not push through because of the intervention of the Catholic Church. A lot of netizens are also blaming the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) as “protector” of the drug addicts as the CBCP continuously criticize the “Oplan Tokhang” of the government and alleges that the government is also responsible for the many extrajudicial killings of the alleged drug addicts.

With this hatred going against the Catholic Church and CBCP, probably it is time to revisit our laws declaring Maundy Thursday and Good Friday as holidays.

I mean, think about it. There are way too many holidays in the Philippines and cutting off some would be relevant in attracting foreign investors. There would not be a two-day interruption of business. No more 100% or 200% wage payments if the employee is forced to work on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, respectively. There would be no more shaming of people going the beach or abroad during Maundy Thursday and Good Friday as they went there as a choice rather than taking advantage of the holiday made by the government to have the Filipino Catholics participate in the traditions of the Church.

Religious fanaticism may also decline. There would probably be less people crucifying or flagellating themselves as they would rather work instead of harm themselves.

I would rather live in a world where Maundy Thursday and Good Friday be celebrated quietly by Roman Catholics like how we make time for Simbang Gabi, Ash Wednesday or the Immaculate Concepcion and find time attending the church services rather than see how Filipinos repeatedly bash each other in the Internet on these days. Damned if you celebrate Maundy Thursday and Good Friday properly and also, damned if you don’t.

Jesus Christ did not require days of sufferings for Him because He already died for our salvation. He only needs us to commemorate and believe in His passion. After all we are living in a civil society having civil rights and catering to the majority religion should not be one of our priorities. After all, should these holidays continue, if another religion clamors that they also need additional holidays to celebrate their fate, there is no reason why the government should say no to their requests.

Of #Goals and #Priorities

It is difficult to have concrete priorities nowadays, especially if you are a single careerwoman on your late twenties. There are so many opinions on how you should live your life from your parents, relatives (shoutout to the titas), friends, colleagues, Cosmopolitan, Thought Catalogue, etc.

We also created our #RelationshipGoals, #FriendshipGoals, #TravelGoals, #BodyGoals, and believe it or not, I saw #DivorceGoals about twice on the Internet. Seriously? Is that where the #WalangForever and #HugotLines coming in to?

And somehow, you cannot say that you even have goals on what are you going to eat for dinner later.

A few months ago, I saw a post from the website of a local teen magazine which headline read as, “10 Places that You Have to Go to Before You Turn 25.” I have not gone to any of the places in the article and I am 28 years old.

Then, on Thought Catalogue, there is an article that goes somehow like this: “You Have Not Lived Your Life to the Fullest Until You’ve Done these Things.” I think there was about 50 activities in the article. I don’t think I reached 10.

Scrolling down a bit, there is an article on Cosmopolitan Philippines was entitled like, “10 Things Every 20-something Women Should Have.” Umm, all those expensive stuffs and travelling plus six months’ worth of salary as emergency loans, plus insurance plan, plus stocks and bonds? Where does it think it was established? Norway?

Then there are elderly titas and colleagues saying that I should not waste time and get married as soon as possible and have babies soon in order to reduce my nerve-wracking taxes. Ummm, no. Thank you. (And okay, my biological clock is ticking. I know, I know.)

I read an article last week stating that the World Health Organization is alarmed because the number of persons who are depressed is at its highest in human history. I think more than consumerism, the world wide web had pressured the people, especially Millennials like me, to live in a life in a ‘perfect’ way. In sum, we are made to believe that we have to have the following: a meaningful job that pays well; a partner who loves us passionately and will never make us cry; a great sex life (it does not matter any more if we get married or not); travel the Philippines; travel the world; move out of our parents’ place by college and have a house by 30; own a car within a few years of working; have your first baby before turning 30; wear the latest trends and fashion; exercise regularly; meditate during mornings; own the latest gadgets; have stocks and investments; and still remain absolutely debt-free.

While I give all the love and praises for anyone who ticked off everything in the list, I hardly know anyone who successfully ticked off at least half it. That includes, well, me. I am pained that I have so many friends and acquaintances who see themselves as ‘losers’ in the present-day ‘adulting.’ 

(Are you kind of annoyed that the Baby Boomers and Generation X’s call us lazy because we have a life ‘easier’ than they had before when it clearly was not? I certainly am.)

But let us be realistic, such is impossible. People nowadays put this enormous pressure upon themselves and altogether fail it. Every damn aspect of it. 

Then again, it all boils down to priorities. I think that is one of the aspect in modern living that we often neglect. We cannot ‘have it all.’ This world is certainly unfair, taxing and imperfect. 

What is it that you really want? And I mean REALLY want?

More than our unrealistic #goals, let us go set our priorities.

Do you want to have a successful career? Inspect elements in your life that would help you get on top. Do you want to get a Master’s Degree? Ask yourself its purpose and if you shall truly enjoy it. After all, it will mean that you will lose so many weekends and free time off. Do you want to go on and travel for leisure every single month? Analyze your resources. 

It’s funny though. I also cannot say what my priorities are but I am not exactly wanting for anything else any more. I am fortunate enough to have a career and be financially stable at my age. I could buy things that I like and want though it would take time before I could even buy my own vehicle but I am also not in a hurry to buy one because of the Metro Manila traffic. I would rather commute to work. I also now have the luxury of time because I strictly work from 8AM-5PM on weekdays. Time beyond that is party time.

So one day, I went to a new bookstore (or more of a stationery shop because it was not selling any books). For some reason, I found myself buying sketching materials. The teenager in me reminded me of my promise that once I have the money and time, I would sketch again.

And so I did. And I was happy.

I finally did create something that I liked after a long time. The teenager in me is happy.

#Priorities. See what is wrong with this picture?

Repentance. A piece inspired by this Lenten Season.
In an entirely different story, last week, I got myself a good investment. I signed up for a St. Peter Life Plan? Yup, I am just starting my life but I am also starting to save for its end. I chose my casket as something sleek and made up of metal. I know I would decay, but I want to decay as slowly as possible. All those serums, facials and sunscreen slathered on my skin every day must not be wasted. Death is the only constant in this world anyway.

So yeah, priorities.

Uncertainty

My mom told me that once you finished college, time goes on very rapidly.

I did not believe her at first. When I graduated college, I was the only one in class who did not compose her own resume properly because, law school.

And I was right. Law school did drag the time (and unknown to me then, it also dragged my youth). For years of staying in law school, I saw romances, babies, travels, promotion and even new cars and homes. While in my life, the only mountains I saw were mountains of books. Unfortunately, this had always my view for more than half a decade. But for me, it felt like an eternity as nothing progressive is happening my life.

However, flash forward to yesterday, I clicked on the ‘On this Day’ option in my Facebook. Then I was reminded that 31 March 2017 marks my eighth year of college graduation.

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Eight Years. As my classmate, Louis, the handsome guy below, had commented in Instagram when I posted this yesterday, “Hahaha sino mga yan??”

If that was not enough to make me feel “old,” then today, 01 April 2017, marks my twelfth year of high school graduation.

(It felt weird talking about graduation now as school and academic year had changed. Wow, what else has not changed?)

Where did time fly? I felt that I was just starting my life but I cannot deny the fact that come next month, I’ll turn twenty-nine years old. The funny thing was, when I turned nineteen, I also thought that I was “old” because hey, it was my last year as teenager anyway.

I really do not know the moral of my story, or the lack thereof.

I might not be the most successful person in my high school or college batch. But still, nobody expects me to be, anyway. Not even me, absolutely no modesty aside. I already know my capabilities, my ability to take on risks and my limitations at age five.

The only thing I can share is for all you people who are still in school, whether high school or college, do not overwork yourself now. In twelve or eight years’ time, would your problems still matter? I mean if you think that it is a big deal that your crush does not like you, just think that he would look like a pan de sal in ten years’ time.

I do not get kids these days, you know, the post-Millennials. They are always cramped up in their rooms and only getting out during mealtimes. They claim that they have no life but still prefer the comforts of their own room than going out. They regularly wear makeup at age thirteen. They had sex early and had tasted drugs also at a very young age. They want to grow up as adults as fast as they can.

Seriously, boys and girls? Seriously?

Then I realized, that we (I am talking here for all of us Millennials) were kind of like them. We are, after all, the anti-social brats that the Baby Boomers and Gen X’s love to hate.

But I am afraid for them. I am afraid that they would grow up as much sadder adults than us, Millennials.

After college, they will understand the difficulty of life. Life in this context is “bills.” But almost everyone, including those who have degrees, would have to start somewhere and that somewhere is minimum wage. Currently it is pegged at 491php. So little amount considering that I am living in the 92nd most expensive city in the world, tied with Greece and Bandar Seri Begawan.

Millennials are now the most educated yet the most underpaid generation ever. We cannot afford to buy our own houses anymore. Many of us prefer Uber services than pay the monthly car amortizations. We also sought happiness from how many likes or reactions we have in Facebook and Instagram.

So how bad can the future be for post-Millennials?

I don’t know. I don’t really want to know.

But at least we were not in a major war like the parents of the Baby Boomers, right? But hey, China is still here trying to suck some territories from us and ROTC would again be implemented, so…

The uncertainty in life has always been its constant. But to the post-Millennials out there, just live your life one day at the time. Stay in school as long as you can. Studying for exams is easier than trying to make the ends meet every pay day. However, never mind that you are not on the top of the list as the best, do not beat yourself or in the alternative, kill your achiever classmates. According to Jobstreet, employers said that attitude counts the most more than anything. Also, after years of working, you would realize that nobody cares if you are the champion of the National Spelling Bee or something. Your kindness and attitude towards your family and work shall define you.

Go out make friends. Make them your connections for the future. Love and care for your parents. You have no idea what they are going through every day just to give you all your needs. Also, life is brief. Make every second with them counts.

Do not obsess over your body as a teenager. Truthfully, nobody really cares on what you look like as everybody else is busy looking at theirs.

And do not worry if you are not sure if what you are doing with your life. I am a lawyer and almost thirty years old but I am not sure, too! All I know is life did not make a timeline for all of us. Only people gave deadlines upon themselves to achieve marriage, children, career goals, etc. at certain points of their lives.

For all of us, just be happy. Life is short, make the most out of it.

 

Restarting

It’s never too late to restart.

2017 shall be another year of newness for me. Frankly, if my law school self could see me now, she would scold me.  In the first place, I am the type of person who is not a big fan of change.  Probably, I still am until now.

But enough of that.  I forgot something that I was passionate about in 2016.

I forgot to write.

Well, not exactly.

I lived far away from my workplace—an hour and half to and three hours from. It is in that extra one and a half hours going home where I get my inspiration in poetry writing. I wrote a few haikus, tankas, sonnets and blank verse both in English and Filipino.

This 2017, I decided to write essays again. I named this, “City Dusk” as I consider this time my most creative. This is the time where I meditate on my day, hypothesize of what is going on in the mind of every commuter I see, and ponder what is going on with this world.

Picture from https://ebtenorio.files.wordpress.com/2009/09/manilabaysunset1.jpg
City dusk closes/The busy Manila day/Then, my mind opened.

I choose to restart again. A blog named My Sky Lanterns no longer fit me. However, that blog would forever be in the World Wide Web as it contains me as a lonely law student. And probably I always carry that person everywhere until now. The only difference between us is I have a job and she wishes to have one.

That is enough introductions for now. Expect randomness again in my posts on law, literature, politics, public service, anime, movies, myself and everything else in between day and night.