Sem ender

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After the grueling MBB lab exam, the block went to Katipunan for lunch. I forgot what the restaurant's called, but the pork chop was delicious. For a while there, we forgot what we had gone through for the past few weeks: hours of staring at empty computer screens, notes to re-read and process, and exams to prepare for. Everyone was in a joyful mood--and who wouldn't be, knowing that the sem is finally over?

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In the middle of noisy laughter, Coy and Dianne barged in, carrying a white cake with little candles on top. It was for Jana. She's turning 18 tomorrow. We decided to have an early celebration because she's leaving for Baguio today, and we won't be seeing her until next month. The sweet, little Jana who calls me "Kuya", the Jana who always offers refeshing conversations, and the Jana to whom a lot of people confide their love problems to has finally been sent out into the world to, uhm, find the man of her dreams find her rightful place. Sorry for the pun, Jan. But let me greet you a happy birthday again.

After lunch, we went to Gateway for the Ninja Turtles movie. Wegs requested that we watch it. Surprisingly, we had fun. A little disappointed, yes, because we didn't really see Donatello's Michelangelo's chaka--er, chaku. Master Splinter looked more like a squirrel than a rat. And oh, what happened to the tutles? Except Raphael, they looked anorexic. They've gotten thinner. South Beach Diet, perhaps? Or they've decided to eat calorie-free pizza this time?

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I agree with Jana. Life this summer will be different without our blockmates around.

Huddled in a corner and smelling like tuna sisig afterwards

Inside the restaurant, we huddle in a corner. It takes a while before dinner is served, so we laugh our hearts out, unmindful of the things we need to finish for school. Finally, one by one, the waiter hands out our orders, smiles at us, and asks us, “May kulang pa po ba?” We say, “Wala na. Salamat.” The laughter continues.

It’s about time to start the meeting. It’s getting late. We are mum as we listen to Jaylord read through the Bible. He explains the passage and drives home the point straight to the heart—we need to surrender everything to God; we shouldn’t hold back anything.

The reason why we feel pained during times when we don’t get what we desire is that we still hold on to other things. We must surrender everything to Him and trust in Him alone. God is infinitely precious, and all other things must be considered rubbish, trash, garbage, even dung, compared to Him.

It’s the message we need to hear. Live as Christians. Live as if Jesus were indeed the most precious jewel that our hearts cling on to. If we do not have Christ, we have nothing.

Voice

"Come on. Move!" His cry of desperation is drowned by the noise of cars around him. After 24 hours of non-stop back-breaking corporate work, being stuck in traffic is the last thing he wants. "Ano ba naman 'to? Gusto ko nang umuwi." He turns the music on. There's not much to listen to. He turns it off, closes his eyes, and imagines he's somewhere in the Pacific, lying on a hammock, sipping fresh, cold coconut juice.

The cars begin moving a little faster now. He clutches the steering wheel. "Makakauwi na rin sa wakas." Minutes later, he finds himself in front yard and hears his German shepherd's growling. The house is dark. Nobody's around.

He grabs his key, opens the front door, and turns the lights and TV on. He throws his shoes and his coat in a corner. He stares at the TV screen, his mouth wide open, his eyes teary. His world stops. He's looking at her now. He feels like she's singing to him. Her voice pierces his soul, her smile melts his weariness away. The song ends.

It takes him sometime to break away from the trance. He laughs aloud, and says, "Melinda Doolittle, you just don't know it yet, but I'm your Funny Valentine."
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The baby is now a white lady

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But, seriously, happy birthday, Shean. We've known each other since Grade 2: we practically saw each other grow. You were a wretched cry baby then. My mere mention of "Uy, si Shean and Bonifar!" would make you howl in tears. And yes, I remember how you had those nice, long pigtails, with colorful clips and headbands, among other hair ornaments that you wore. Hay, those were the days.

I'm really grateful that you've come to know the Lord deeper. May you grow more in love with Him. May the message of the Gospel be sweeter to you each day. May your faith all the more increase, and may your light shine forth in the dark corners of this sinful world.