Meanwhile

I received a number of emails from people who have been reading my blog, and I could not thank them more for the concern they have shown me. I am not a sucker for sympathy. Not a single post was written here with an object of eliciting pity from readers. They are for the sheer pleasure of the writer, for catharsis, they’d say. My previous posts might have inadvertently sent a wrong message. Like happiness, which is in a constant flux, sadness and misery, it appears, are just as so. I remain a man of twenty-something who is continually excited with what’s to come. Life in the meantime is bearable, sometimes even bordering to spectacularly beautiful. I have to keep reminding myself not to be too inebriated and perturbed with sudden turns of events and to keep my cool.

I am content, in love, happy most of the time (but with occasional feeling of lonesomeness, which is perfectly normal), surviving (living, however you call it), and moving forward.

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Cynic

My long absence from my blog allowed me time to reflect about the entire idea of cynicism, and why people in this part of the world are so adept at cloaking their mistrust of their fellows by feigning happiness and careless abandon. Now I have a clearer understanding why the guy seated next to me on a train straddles his backpack in front of him, choosing to look ridiculous than having his possession snatched from him by me or that guy with a suspect stare standing right in front of him, clutching the bacteria-strewn stainless bar.

My optimism about anything and everything that this city stands for has been totally demolished, confronting me with a cold reality of my insignificance and of everyone else’s who lives in this place. I want to spray sharp invectives at the first, second, third, and so on person I meet every time I leave my room darkened by the shadow of gloom of the building beside it.

It used to be easier to steer myself away from this cynicism before, but as I age, I found it more and more difficult to keep myself unconsumed by it, unscathed by it.

I’m back to writing now.

But I am not the same man.

This night I lost my bed

I arrived in my room at 10 this evening and found that my bed is missing. My heartless broker removed my old bed without replacing it as she promised me. So while I am typing this post, I am on the floor, thinking how miserable life is, trying my best to contain the resentment I feel for her.

I sent her several messages earlier this evening asking her to show me the Meralco bills where she based the approximately 4000 pesos I pay for electric bill every month. 4000 pesos, that’s how much I spend for electricity alone living in a very small room that has in it a less-than-a-horsepower air-con, a small lamp, and a laptop. This shoebox of a room which I only get to occupy from 11 in the evening until six the following morning costs a fortune, an amount that scandalizes anyone who knows that I am an impecunious working student.

But I do not want to feel contempt, sulk, and think that I am the most pitiful twenty-something in the world this evening. Instead I shall sleep my soundest sleep on the floor tonight and be thankful for the beautiful view outside, the cool air coming from my overworked air-con, and the beautiful song playing.

I am tired, and to feed on this bad feeling about my situation and contempt for that woman is a luxury I can hardly afford.

Dear John,

It’s been a long while since the last time I wrote you. It’s nice to be reminded sometimes that amidst the many uncontrollable things that have left you confused, distraught, unable to know what to do next, you have consistently managed to continue and to not give up easily, at least not without exhausting every possible measure. In those times that you’ve given up, and there were many of them, do not think that they made you less of a man, please. Not that doing the opposite have made you more of a man. In the end, it’s not how much of a man you have become that will be the ultimate measure of your humanity but how these have left you richer in experience and insight about life, your life in particular.

I know that you’re far from being satisfied in terms of what you have achieved at your age, I remember, you have never been satisfied. And satisfaction has never been your goal. It was something else. You remain the oddest I know because you do not know, until now, why you’re working this hard, for what, much less for whom.

You’ve been telling yourself to slowdown, but you have postponed countless of times that moment when, finally, you’d press the button that will slow things down, that will drag you mid-air, end this exhilarating feeling of free fall, and to at last allow youself to appreciate the details and be amazed again with the seemingly commonplace. I envy how seamlessly you have projected that carefree, the-hell-I-care attitude toward everything. You are too good at concealing your fears, in fact, you’re too good at this that you have convinced your own self to sincerely believe in these delusive concoctions your mind have carefully made up. I have believed them myself.

It is apparent that you were already burned out a long time ago, what has kept you going remains an enigma to somebody like me who’s observing you from a distance. I wonder what has kept you standing all these times when I have been anticipating that any time soon you’d just drop dead, like a solitary log, in the middle of a busy street, alone and an unknown. But you have held yourself standing, a feat worth commending, though it’s obvious that you will eventually, some time soon, probably tomorrow, succumb to this gnawing tiredness that has been consuming your entrails.

You remind me of the extent of resilience the human spirit is capable of and how your existence is a mockery of this extent, because you and your kind have proved that this extent extends to point infinity.

My friend, this is a simple piece of advice: you’re young, competent, good at anything you do, capable, the world will not disappear the moment you decide to press that release button. I assure you that you’ll find more meaning from all these, from life in general, the moment you close your eyes and begin listening to your own heart beat.

Get some sleep tonight.

A friend

Plug: Cyclists Rally for Cervical Cancer Prevention on May 28

How far would you go to save 500 women?

For the dedicated cyclists of the upcoming “Tour of Hope 2011- 00: Going the Xtra Mile Against Cervical Cancer,” it will take 500 kilometers in 5 days. They will undertake the challenging 5-day journey from Manila to Laoag in order to help raise funds for cervical cancer prevention vaccination drives and seminars.

“What makes this year’s Tour of Hope different is that we are going to vaccinate a total of 500 women during the tour,” explains Abbygale Arenas-de Leon, Bravehearts president. “We wanted the tour to be more than just a way to spread awareness about cervical cancer prevention. We hope this will inspire more women to take action against this deadly but preventable disease.”

Recently, the exciting details of the biggest anti-cervical cancer were revealed at the official launch of this year’s Tour of Hope, which was organized by Bravehearts in partnership with Team David’s Salon and GlaxoSmithKline. The event was held at R.O.X., the biggest outdoor sports and recreation hub in Southeast Asia and hosted by celebrity athlete Tricia Chiongbian-Concepcion, who will also be cycling to help save women from cervical cancer in the Tour of Hope.

In a country where cervical cancer claims the lives of 12 women everyday, the need to fight this disease has only become more urgent over the years.

“I would like to encourage women to be screened for cervical cancer regularly,” said Dr. Cecilia Llave, Program Director of the Cervical Cancer Prevention Network (CECAP). “The disease is treatable through early detection. In fact, not only is it treatable, it can also be avoided by living a healthy lifestyle and getting vaccinated.”

Since The Tour of Hope started in 2008, it has generated approximately Php 2 million through sponsorships and pledges. These were then used for cervical cancer screening programs and lectures with the Cervical Cancer Prevention Network (CECAP).

However, if you think that The Tour of Hope is all about the bikers, think again. Over the past two years, the event organizers have formed partnerships with local government units such as those of Tarlac, Dagupan, Pampanga, La Union, and Baguio in order to conduct lectures during each stopover of the tour to local communities with marginalized groups who display poor health-seeking behavior.

What’s in Store for The Tour of Hope 2011

Aside from the challenging journey, The Tour of Hope has always been known for bringing its participants to scenic locations such as Vigan, Zambales, and Camarines Sur. This year is no exception. The Tour of Hope 2011 – 500: Going the Xtra Mile Against Cervical Cancer will kick off at the TriNoma Mall in Quezon City on May 28, 2011.

The first stop will be at Tarlac City, Tarlac. It is the home of President Noynoy Aquino’s ancestral house and Mount Pinatubo, where adventure-seeking 4×4 wheel drivers try their skills, and hikers visit the crater. The tour will then continue to San Fernando, La Union, where the renowned La Union Botanical Gardens is located. Afterwards, the bikers will head to Vigan City, Ilocos Sur, where historical churches and ancestral homes that reflect the beauty of old world architecture can be found. The fourth stop will be Laoag City, Ilocos Norte, where tourists often visit the Juan Luna Shrine. There, visitors can get a glimpse of the award-winning Spolarium painter’s life through vintage photographs and household artifacts. The final stop for this year’s Tour of Hope is Paoay, where bikers will get to see the unique blend of Spanish, Chinese, and architecture represented by Paoay Church, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


The last leg of the tour will feature celebrity bikers such as Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal, Marvin Kiefer, Rovilson Fernandez, Troy Montero, Aubrey Miles, Will Devaughn, Richie Hardin, Richard Herrera, Janna Victoria, Gem Padilla, Anthony Pangilinan, and David Charlton. They will be lending their star power to draw attention to a good cause. In addition, Tessa Prieto-Valdes is currently working on a special project that will also help raise funds for cervical cancer prevention.

As part of the preparations for the upcoming Tour of Hope, there will also be a Mini Tour of Hope that will be held on May 7 at Filinvest, Alabang. This is a great way for biking enthusiasts to show their support for the anti-cervical cancer advocacy, and everyone is invited to join.

“On behalf of Bravehearts, I’d like to encourage everyone to join the fight against cervical cancer,” Abbygale Arenas-de Leon said. “For all the women, do it for your families and loved ones. And for all the men, I encourage you to support the cervical cancer prevention advocacy for your mothers, sisters, and daughters. With your help, thousands of lives can be saved.”

 ______________________________

Bravehearts is a non-profit organization initially led by the Cervical Cancer Prevention Network (CECAP) for the Cancer Institute Foundation (CIF). It is dedicated to raising awareness on cervical cancer prevention and is supported by a growing number of women, including prominent personalities such as Abbygale Arenas-de Leon, who is the current president of the organization, Senator Loren Legarda, Pia Magalona, Ellen Tordesillas, Tessa Prieto-Valdes, Jeena Lopez, Maimai Davao, Joyette Jopson, and Suzi Entrata. For further inquiries, please email braveheartsphilippines@gmail.com. To be a part of The Tour of Hope 2011 – 500: Going the Xtra Mile Against Cervical Cancer, please email Joyette Jopson at joyette.jopson@gmail.com or contact her at 0917-8827352.

The Facebook monster

While almost everyone, those individuals who wanted to be seen as erudite, passionate, un-apathetic, a rebel-with-a-definite-cause, or those who are genuinely involved and are wanting to voice their opinions out on this divisive debate, rants about the perceived lack of insight the Catholic Church in the Philippines is making rather too obvious as regards its stand on the RH Bill, although not a few are inundating the site with remarks that border from the harmlessly banausic to the noxiously annoying.

But all of us being, members of this free virtual site, are left with no option but to ignore the refuse some people mindlessly spew on the walls, or because we have relations with these people that is beyond the virtual, connections that bleed to the real, we obligate ourselves to click ‘like’ button even though we know in our greenest gut that this is an act as horrendous as devouring somebody’s puke.

While these social networking sites, facebook and its countless copies are giving us ‘choices’, these are as artificial as artificial can be, a consolation for our being subject to their surreptitious manipulation, artificial choices that they can easily take a way at a whim. And we, being too accustomed to their presence, would rather make do with what they provide than to wallow haplessly like heroin addicts deprived of its paradisaical kick.

First, it was television that I slowly, steadily, and successfully eliminated from my routine, but with some symptoms of difficult withdrawal syndrome. Now, this facebook thing, an entity that initially presented itself as a benign diversion, is now turning into a malevolent monster eating anyone it has lodged itself in from the inside out, including me.

Tell me, how do I get out of here?