Willing to be Illuminated and Pierced

Archive for June, 2012

Crushing A Heritage

After quite a time, we were able to work out-of-town again. For the sake of

Pres. Aquino speaking for the LP-CAR new members’ oathtaking at Benguet State University

covering Pres. Aquino’s Liberal Party convention for its new members in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), we set out to Baguio Sunday afternoon.

It’s still the same old place I’ve visited for almost two years ago. Crickets crooned at us when we got at Kennon Road. The crisp cold, pine-scented air dawned upon the atmosphere in the evening. The places near the city proper lay as ever quiet and serene once the stars took over the sky. Even though the media people seemed to be the only ones awake in the town, we kept ourselves almost quiet and low.

The amateur photographer…

I can’t help but observe the place. The pine trees, almost shabby and thin, loomed almost everywhere. But I couldn’t forget my mother’s remarks that these are fewer today compared to her visit 40 years ago. Oh yes, four decades much. She was a young teacher in training at Teacher’s Camp then. To me, the place was far too serene than my world. Not unless you see how much of it has been exploited through commercialism.

For a long time, Baguio has been called the “Summer Capital of the Philippines”.

Behold, Baguio from afar, covered by mist, fog and clouds ­čÖé

Even in the summer, the air is much colder than Manila. I can vouch with all my heart that I have to shower in ice-cold water if I don’t put on the heater and most of the residents walked around in jackets despite of being in the sun. Because of it’s romantically inclined atmosphere and cool weather, it has been a target of tourists every year. But now, most of these tourists have invaded this place.

My friend from Baguio would tell me how Korean schools thrived like mushrooms in the city. Deep inside my heart, I applaud her and her contemporaries for speaking good English that she had to be willing to teach foreigners. But with this spring of foreign presence comes a spring of commercialization. Who will never forget that horrible earth-balling in a popular mall in Baguio? That same old friend was one of those who protest against it because they were destroying the environment. They did not ask for it to be changed. They were already happy with the view it gives on its rooftop and its open-aired closure. I was supposing these entrepreneurs thought they would be able to gain more by making a major change in the environment. They were not careful about it.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against foreign presence. Like most Pinoys, I’d love

It’s very common for the locals to take a walk along the mountain sides…it looks quite dangerous for us lowlanders, as my friend would put it, but I’m impressed how they take their walk with grace ­čÖé

to welcome them as friends. Yet it seems that a lot of entrepreneurs thought of gaining much by changing the place a lot. What they did not know was that the natural beauty of the place was already enough to keep them coming in. But for the sake of selling, they opt to market the place through residences, commercialism, and infrastructure. In order to please a lot of customers, all they need is resources. Commercialism is not evil. But focusing on the wrong strategies can destroy much. Yet, as I observe, this results to cutting of more trees and quarrying of more land just to fill up spaces.

Sorry, I’m quite a bad photographer. You see, the bald part of the mountain I’d like you to see is at the far right. I just couldn’t focus the camera well…but there’s another part that looked worst but we were not able to pass it.

While going back home, I noticed that a part of one of its mountains was being quarried. It looked like a chocolate-covered custard pudding scraped from top to bottom. I can never forget another part of Baguio being quarried; worst than the one we passed by. My friend brought me to this beautiful memorial park built on the side of the mountain in another part of Baguio. Everything around it was an awesome sight, save for the mountain on the opposite side that had a huge chunk of it scraped down, right in the middle. She was as disappointed as I was. It’s a scary sight especially that rains pour regularly in Baguio. Much of the trees were lost.

Commercialization and industrialization through infrastructure can bring a lot of investments in…but focusing too much on it comes with a painful price. Infrastructure is temporal, one work can deteriorate and be out-moded by another. But nature itself can thrive along…unless abused and destroyed. By taking pride in these infrastructures, it won’t last long. We can change a place and shift to another if our changes over it does not last anymore. But to restore a place’s natural beauty, it would take years of genuine compassion and patience – something that we don’t have when we meet the deadlines and financial quota of commercialism.

I just hope that Baguio won’t go worst when I return. If I don’t hear those crickets or smell that pine-scented air, I’d be really disappointed. So will my friends and those who have basked in its deeper beauty long before than I did. Once we lost its beauty, we’d loose more than tourism and money – we’d loose a heritage and probably our lives as we are intertwined with God’s gift of nature.

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Bus Ride Irony

I live in a very competitive world. For the sake of social survival I go with the flow of the crowd. I go along the same road, I ride in the same bus, I embrace the same routine along with thousands of others who leave the comforts of their homes just to work.

My usual bus ride in the morning. If your destination is quite too far, you have to have strong knees for an hour of travel…

I can’t deny that we still have this competitive mindset even if by just riding a bus or a train. We try to outwit one another by getting a good seat first, but the person we compete with will actually ride the same bus with us. I don’t understand why the rush if we still have a lot of time to get to the office without being late. As a crowd in competition, I observe how we are unconsciously losing our considerate culture. Old folks are left standing for an hour of travel, expectant mothers are suffer along the way, the most able men and women get the most comfortable seat. The irony of competition made us numb. For the sake of survival we have become selfish. But who are we to focus only on ourselves? We live with a crowd so as not to live for ourselves alone.

With such a mindset, it reflects how we vie for a good position and name in our career. The madness of our jobs made us numb to push one another to get to the top. Most in this young generation today is taught how to survive life by getting the best of your job and the best of your salary. But we were not trained to be compasionate to one another. Society tells us to push harder but not love harder. But in the moment we have become old and gray, we ask ourselves, “What have we reaped?” Having a good position and name may give us a good medal that lasts for thirty years; but a umcompassionate and loveless character may leave us with nothing before we die.

We live for the moment. We ride a bus to work for the moment. But it is at such a moment that puts us to the test of having an eternal gift of love.

A Few Firsts for My Independence Day 2012

For once again, I got a taste of my firsts last Tuesday, June 12. I can’t help how I cherish this 114th Anniversary of the Philippine Independence. Even though we all had to wake up too early, it’s something I’ve enjoyed to remember.

High school students perform some excerpts of the Philippine Revolution through dancing

As we covered this event, I can’t help but feel how proud I am to be a Filipino. Oh, yes, though I’m just another generation reminiscing a history I’ve never witnessed first hand. After a year of being a correspondent, this is my first time to cover a commemoration of Philippine Independence. As a palace reporter, I and my team had to follow him wherever he goes – unless, it’s extremely far. But everything starts with small things and short distances. And his visit to my province, Bulacan, is a big privilege to me.┬á┬áMost of all, I was able to get a glimpse of pure, young Pinoy talent. These young students who reenacted history did it with all their hearts. And somehow, I wished I were a teenager, too.

Finale of the students’ presentation…”Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!”

Now here where the irony sets in. It’s weird how a Bulacan resident like me got to visit the popular Barosoain Church for the first time after 27 years of existence. Imagine, going there should have been so easy, as Malolos is just more or less thirty minutes away from my town, Sta. Maria. And it took a president to push me to go and take a touchdown on this historical landmark.

For a backgrounder, the Barosoain Church was where the Philippines was declared and established as a republic. This was also where the Malolos Constitution, our nation’s first republican constitution, was announced. I’d remember as a kid how it was depicted on the back of the old ten peso bill.

I’d still remember how I wanted to visit this church when I was a bored college student. And how it was never done because no one was willing to go around with me. Oh well, everything has it’s own time.

The Barosoain Church just behind me right after the program ended. I can’t help but feel elated by letting my heels touch its stone pavements. O.o

To make sure that this was a special day, I had to wear something special. So I chose my newest violet dress (and the others had to call me “ube” or purple yam). But I wouldn’t wear a traditional baro’t saya because I don’t have one. And even though my mom had kept some old traditional clothes in our magical closets, I wouldn’t dare…I’d have a hard time walking around for interviews underneath the fiercely hot sun!

And so I had to get a glimpse of it personally for the first time! But because this was no pleasure trip, I did not get that “awe moment”. Awww…

I saw how real and huge the church was. I could have touched its walls but I had to find the media seats first. I never thought I could also get a glimpse of that hundred-year old tree in front of it. Weeee!!

But we all got down to work. President arrives, speaks in public, watch his every more, then waved goodbye. Our focus was the leader of the country, and so we had to keep our eyes on him all the time. And we had to hurry back to office to produce my story. No time for that “awe moment” again. Awww…

Next year, the president is expected to visit another historical landmark. Oops, that would be my second coverage of Independence Day. But it hope it would be as exciting as my first one…and every┬ácoverage be something that I would anticipate all the time.

I guess I just have to muster all that guts to go back to Barosoain again. Maybe, when I come back there, I’d be able to have that “awe moment” – and make it feel like it’s my first time again! ­čśÇ

His Faithfulness for My Unfaithfulness

I love reading news. Somehow, I think I’ve quite become obsessive with it. My fingers always itch for my phone just to look at the latest tweets on what’s happening around the planet. Even when I’m very sleepy still tweeter wins the case! Ayayay! O.o

And because of my love for news I sometimes felt myself better than anyone else. I thought I was more intelligent than any of my contemporaries; politics was slowly becoming my game. And because of this mindset, I did not notice that was heart was drifting away from my Beloved’s heart. My glass was becoming empty. I was forgetting what it means to yearn His presence like an innocent child.

But my Beloved is so faithful, I’m always in His mind. You know what, He revealed Himself once again in one of the soaking songs, Misty Edwards’ “Beauty Arise”, that I’ve been listening to over and over again.

You say, “I’ll take that harlot,”
You say, “I’ll make her My Bride,”
You say, “I’ll take that pauper,”
You say, “I’ll make him My king…”

Until now, I don’t understand how a holy God desires a poor, wretched girl like me. I’ve been impulsive and very proud. I have been faithless, ready to give myself to the world. Oh, that You would refine me still more! I don’t want to face You with soiled clothes. It’s scary when you try to come to His throne because His holiness can burn you inside and out…but…there He is, inviting me to sit by His side.

I am His creation. I am His beloved. I might not understand His deep, deep love for me for a thousand years. Can I just stay even at Your doorposts for one day? This is better than getting the biggest scoop in human history!!

War of Myselves

It’s not always easy to confront…because in the end, I will have to confront myself. No matter how we want to war another human being for the sake of hate, it’s just being a reflection of something that we don’t want to see in ourselves.

Being brutally honest to myself is never an easy lesson. Silence is not a good remedy; it just increases self tension.

And so, warring physically is not the hardest war…it’s the struggle against self.

Until now, I still have to learn how to confront when needed…and face my own self when necessary.

 

One Hour With the King

I have written this one like two months ago…somehow I kept it in my cabinet file but at this moment, I wish to share this brief but blissful moment to you. I know, I’m still growing and I pray I will be hungrier for His love and presence.

I miss those one-hour devotions. Though I know I need to discipline myself to have some time with God within the day, only by His grace I can do this. Truly, it is not by might, nor by power, but only by His Spirit such can be done because though the spirit is willing, the body is weak.

One hour in a day is so important with the Lord. “Could you not spend an hour with Me?” Jesus asked of His disciples at the Garden of Gethsemane, which I believe are being asked of us, too. But because of our so-called “daily pressures” in our lives, we shift our priorities to less important things. I myself have the tendency to be obsessed on my work and become a self-proclaimed workholic, which is not really necessary because work was already done. But I soon realized it just drained me of my self-preservation and became drained of my spiritual strength and insight.

I started that one-hour (actually added with one more hour) today. I pray I can do it until it becomes an unrelenting habit – obsessed with His presence. But I pray it will not become a religious factor. Once religiosity sets in, we lose focus on the Lord. We are not born for religion. We are born for His love.

But one hour is not enough…and it will never be. Indeed, better is one day in His courts than a thousands elsewere…oh that I may stay with Him for eternity!

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