Sunday, June 25, 2006

Unceasing rain

It’s been raining cats and dogs for days now. The weather has a peculiar effect on me—I couldn’t describe it fully, and I shan’t even attempt to. That would be futile.

I get restless for a moment, and then, when the adrenaline rush subsides, I find myself exchanging glances with the painting in my shelf, my brain in the fence between the conscious and the unconscious. That’s why I’m here in a nearby room not far from mine, typing this, because if I confine myself in my room for the rest of the day, I would rot in insanity.

But then again, in moments like these, I would realize that time is gold, as another friend would always put it. Time is irrerversible. What has been done can no longer be erased. True, the wrongs or offenses committed can always be repaired—that’s the purpose of forgiveness—but they can never be undone. It never works that way.

Maybe I should doze off now, or eat an early dinner, or study for tomorrow’s classes. Or maybe, just maybe, the wretched sinner that I am should fall on my knees in earnest prayer. I know His mercies will come to me like unceasing rain.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Basketball nation

With nothing else to do, I walk out of my room and head towards the lobby. I look around, and notice a crowd gathering in the TV area, their eyes glued on the match that would decide the fate of the basketball world for this year. The match is between Miami and Dallas.

Their faces look expectant, some worried, and still some look like they couldn’t care less. After a few minutes of standing up, I finally find an empty seat in the first row. Ah, finally—comfort.

The screen shows Wade getting another shot after being fouled; Nowitzki who’s furious at committing the foul; O’Neal who sits at a corner, wondering when he’ll be called back to the game; and a whole lot of players whose names are as foreign to me as the latest showbiz personalities. I have no idea what’s going on, and what will happen, except of course that in basketball, the most important thing to do is to get that ball shot, no matter what happens. If you can shoot it with grace, the better.

In frequent time intervals, I hear cheers and jeers from the people around me. I do live in a nation where people who can dribble, shoot, jump, and breathe basketball.

The game ends with Miami getting the crown. Too bad. All along, I thought Dallas would win. But there’s always another chance, they should know that.

For the fifth time in my life, I’ve actually enjoyed watching an NBA game. I leave the crowd, eat my lunch, and go to sleep.

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Thursday, June 22, 2006

Bottled tidbits 2

Kalayaan Christian Fellowship. Praise God because about 20 freshmen from the dorm joined us, a great number for the first fellowship of the academic year. Razel's testimony was moving, and so was Ate Junette's exhortation. Let's keep praying for this ministry.

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Chem 31.1. I had my first organic chem experiment today. Spilled a lot of reagents, but successful in protecting myself from, uhm, overexposure. Didn't do well in the quiz either. Note to self: count carefully. I mistook pentyl for hexyl.

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Bio 12. I have yet to finish my lab report to be passed tomorrow. But I'm working on it, with drooping eyes and frequent yawns.

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It's my brother Sean's 17th birthday today. My, he's getting old, and so are the rest of us.

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Tomorrow is another day. Today, the Lord has been wonderful!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Happy Father's Day



Happy Father's Day, Tatay. Yes, I am praying, taking my vitamins, and drinking my milk. When I go home, I'll be taller than you.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Foretaste of days to come

Others may call it premature, yes, but I still go on pressing the keyboard button, hoping to make some sense out of me. After all the week is only about to end, and it will in a few hours from now. But during the first five days of school, I had a foretaste of what this semester is going to be. Not that I had an apparition while walking around Sunken, but it’s like having a glass of wine near one’s nose: you can almost taste the wine simply by smelling it.

So what did I exactly “smell”?

To tell you the truth, I don’t know. Exactly. But I can tell you it’s a combination of adrenaline rushes, sleepless nights, hours of idly staring at the blank post-labs, and prayer. I figured I wouldn’t—I possibly couldn’t—survive this sem without the Lord’s help. I am utterly useless without him, even if I vaingloriously tire myself to study. I should know because I spent a year learning that lesson in God’s classroom.

Anxiety does take its toll on me sometimes. When happens is paralysis, and all I think about are the “what-ifs”—useless thoughts, but effective enough to jolt me into panic. What if I don’t get good grades? What if I don’t finish this report? What if…? But didn’t Christ say in His Word that we should not worry?

While I hear the rhythmic staccato of the keyboard, I could almost listen to Christ telling me just that—do not worry because everything will turn out okay. I recognize the same smell of “wine” that intensifies gradually, and hear my roommate’s radio playing some love songs drowned by the loud alarm from a cellphone.

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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Malling in Asia



It was one of those days when I'd rather be at home, reading the stacks of literature pieces in the shelves, than to be inside my dorm room, alone with the deafening silence. Katrina told me she wanted to hang out. I said why not, I didn't have anything else to do either. It took us a while to finalize everything. Where to go to. What to do there. Those sorts of things.

With Michael and Jeiel, we decided to go to the SM Mall of Asia, arguably the largest mall in the country and one of the biggest in the world. This is where the irony takes its toll: we are poor, yet we have the best malls in the planet.

The third year

I see them again, the wide-eyed greenhorns carrying their brown manila envelopes on whose covers are etched the words "Mabuhay ka, Iskolar ng Bayan!" They walk in large groups, usually in fours or fives, telling each other of their degree programs, their plans of shifting to a "more prestigious course" (like BAA), and rushing to the nearest isaw stand. You're never really a UP student until you eat isaw. It's simply the rite of passage, in addition to the famous Oblation Run in December.

All of a sudden, they approach me; their voices with the undertones of respect and awe, knowing that they're talking to an older, more experienced person than they. They hesitate to speak to me at first, but I knew something was coming, a question so common I already have a standard reply.

"Kuya, saan po ang Palma Hall?"

Now they call me Kuya. The years pass by quickly when we don't count them.

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Wednesday, June 7, 2006

Comment moderation enabled

Due to a recent incident that perhaps deserves a comprehensive discussion, Kuya Butch, in his wealth of wisdom, advised me to enable the Blogger feature called comment moderation. That way I could immediately reject comments which I find offensive. Obedient child that I am (my parents might disagree when they recall the dishwashing routines we had at home when I was in high school), I followed the advice.

It works, Kuya Butch.

Don't be surprised, therefore,when you've posted comments and then, even after a gazillion times of pressing the "post" button, you still don't find them published in this site. Either you said something utterly offensive and unhelpful, or that I had no time to immediately moderate them.

I hope to hear what you think.

Please remember, though, that the comments section is not a gladiator coliseum where people kill each other mercilessly. In contrast, I'd like to think of it as a friendly discussion room (y'know, with the aircon and soft sofas and hot tea) where disagreement is not expressed as hatred, where people humbly think of others as better themselves, and where God's glory is the ultimate goal of every word spoken.

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Thursday, June 1, 2006

Bottled tidbits 1

Inside my room, tucked neatly behind my green pillow, was Spurgeon's Prayers, a most wonderful book I borrowed from the church library. I opened it, leafed through it, and started some serious reading. I eventually came to the fourth page, and a line stood out from among the printed letters:

"Lord, teach us to love Thee more."

Without finishing the chapter, I closed the book and fell on my knees.

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Recently I attended the Youth's post-graduation special fellowship rightly called "Back to School, Stay with God." It was an eye-opener indeed, for through it I was reminded of the reason why I study: to glorify God. I confess, I sometimes lose sight of that vision. But thanks be to Him for realigning that case of astigmatism.

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"Do you want to go to Cavite?" Manong Ralph asked, completely jolting me out of my pseudo-sleep state.

"Why not?" I said, then added, "It has almost been two years since we've been there." The last time we visited our family friends in Imus was in the summer of 2004 when I was still a wide-eyed soon-to-be-college-freshman in UP, when my eyes were still functional even if they were naked.

From Shaw, we took the MRT to Taft, hailed a bus to Baclaran, and from there, waited for an airconditioned bus under the scorching heat of the sun. We had to bear the awful smell of sewer, garbage, and a combination of both. Ah, the joy of commuting.

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