Archive for December, 2011

My 2011 Recap

2011 will go down as a so-so year for me: so many goodbyes while there were also so many welcomes as well.

January – My cousin Alpha and her mom Tita Cora came here for a month-long vacation. However, I wasn’t able to join them in Tagaytay because I had Saturday classes at that time.
February – nothing worth noting here
March – start of my obsession with my “godson” Craig (though not born yet at this time) by buying welcome gifts for him (Filipino alphabet books), celebrated Earth Hour with my organization
April – second cross-registration attempt at UP Diliman failed; my “godson” was born in Texas, USA during Holy Week. As for my academics, I ended up at my home campus, taking up Physics 72.
May – first vacation of the year (finally!) in Davao.
June – my extension started on this month; Corregidor mini-vacation
July – my lola’s 90th birthday party
August – nothing worth noting here
September – participated in the International Coastal Clean-Up along Manila Bay
October – out-of-town day trip to Gerona, Tarlac
November – first time to miss Loyola Memorial Park Marikina because I had a headache
December – I went to Manila Ocean Park and had the experience of a lifetime with the Aquanaut experience.


My long-term wishes

Since Christmas Day is tomorrow, and I have nothing to do right now except for studying, gaming and attending Simbang Gabi, here are my wishes for next year and possibly future years (in no particular order):

  1. My dad to quit smoking and never return to it for the rest of his life
  2. A trip to the U.S. with the following destinations:  Boston, New York/New Jersey, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Richmond, Virginia, Appalachian Mountains area (Yes, there are Fil-Ams there), Houston, and California (San Francisco and Los Angeles areas) to fulfill my quest (both personal and genealogical) that was set way back in 1999. (Trip won’t take place until after my graduation.)
  3. A trip to Canada (Edmonton, Saskatoon, Vancouver, Toronto) to complement my U.S. trip.
  4. To finish my studies in UP Manila (I am already on my 5th year, and my adviser says that I need a sem or two of MRR extension to finish my studies.)
  5. Once I’m finished with my trip, I’ll start work in the industry and rent a condo unit in Makati or Mandaluyong or a house in Marikina.

Numbers one and four are my priority areas, though I have started planning number two.

Undas has passed, but…

I have published three Undas-related poems, the contents of which are below.

Undas Blues
Many people go home to their provinces
To either bond with their relatives back there
Or visit their dead relatives back there
While others have dead relatives here or
They don’t have any close relatives who passed on at all.

What about those who have migrated?
All Saints’ Day is not a holiday in most countries
They instead light candles outside their homes
That night to ward away evil spirits from them.

Our close family ties make this holiday
A significant one in our culture
Even migration couldn’t reduce this significance
That values both life and spirit.

In other countries, either their relatives
Are buried far away or they were cremated
Or perhaps they chose to honor famous people instead
Memorial sites exist for this simple reason:
To honor our relatives or admirers who have passed on.

Life in the Cemetery (on All Saints’ Day)
Many people pass through a cemetery
In one of the most important days
Of our cultural heritage
In which we honor the dead and remember them.

When some people have settled in a place far from their hometown,
They choose to return there for a few days or they stay home
And offer prayers, novenas and rosaries instead
So that they still remember their dead.

But for the many people that pass through a cemetery
They spend at least an hour at their relatives’ gravesites
Some even spend the whole night in the cemetery
All meant to be shared within ourselves.

All leave flowers and say prayers for the dead relatives
And light candles to drive away evil spirits
But we shouldn’t stay there for long
Especially if we live far from the cemetery.

In the Philippines, Catholics (and some other denominations) here celebrate a 40th day (after the person died) service honoring that particular deceased person.

On the 40th Day
Forty days ago, someone has died
And today, we remember this person
For his or her positive contributions
Be it to family, school, work, church
Or the society at large.

What happens to the days in between?
It is a gray area, where grieving
And moving on take place
And as more details are usually given out
If it was a violent or a famous death,
The ones closest to them undergo a silent process
That virtually no one from their outside circles sees.

Today, we celebrate the person’s life
With a church service or a gathering
Attended by the friends or relatives
He or she knew or trusted the most.

After this day, it is up to the person’s
Relatives or friends whether they
will still remember him or her
Long after he or she has passed on.