Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Take a Bow

So this is it. The last day of the year 2008. The day I've set to take my pre-announced bow. My pseudo retirement at blogging.

Which may well be just a dramatic vacation.

While I pursue a more tangible medium of writing.

Yes, contrary to how desperate or depressed I may have sounded when I posted that thing about me quitting this blog, I was thinking of something bigger. Because I really am not the type who'd accept defeat sitting down. The cosmos may work against me and my dreams but I have only one life to live to prove that I am better than how chance thinks of me.

So, yes, you won't probably hear from me for a while especially now that I am determined to complete my "project"--whatever that is.

Now come my thanks. For everyone who's taken the time to read my musings and rants. For those who supported my causes and "crusades," and efforts to hopefully help make this world a better place. For those who bought my humor, no matter how crooked it sometimes went. For those who left comments and shout-outs. For those who, consciously or unconsciously, made me think that I make sense and that my thoughts are worth-hearing (or reading). Thank you.

Now I know it won't be easy--keeping my thoughts to myself starting tomorrow until the day I decide to return. But as I've said, it is all for something bigger. I only wish I'd be able to do things right just so I can be back soon.

So there. My blogging hiatus starts when the new year begins.

For now, I am taking my bow.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Distributing YOUR gifts to some of the brave kids of PCMC was an honor!

I know that a couple of pictures below will make it look like I were running for public office, if not for saint-hood, so I strongly suggest that you don't mind the blue blob with a ponytail and a black sling bag otherwise known as me. Because, really, I am just many GOOD PEOPLE's representative.

Now here's the deal, it may seem like I and the rest of my family who are not in the pictures were the ones who were making the children happy. But I will personally say that the truth goes otherwise. These children to whom I handed YOUR gifts, THEY were the ones who made us happy, who made me happy.

I wish to thank all of you who supported this year's "efforts" to give gifts to the brave kids of PCMC: My berks and their officemates and families and friends, the people whom I used to work with at Hallmark and some of their relatives, my brother's officemates in Accenture, one of my high school classmate, our family friend and one of Nichi's ninang, Doc Luis and Ms. Gracia of OMF Lit., and Ms. Mackis of Purefoods. As I've said, it was an honor representing all of you and handing out YOUR gifts to these children.

Our initial goal was to give away 150 books to 150 children but with your generosity, we were able to give more. Two Activity books from Purefoods Chicken Nuggets (believe me they were nice, with colorful pages, stickers and all), a third activity book (Hunchback of Notre Dame), a box of crayons, a pencil and sharpener also made it to the kid's gift bags. Plus, we were able to donate one set of the Tito Dok series of Children's book to the PCMC Hematology and Oncology OPD to hopefully start their mini library for the kids.

Thank you! The smiling kids you see in the pictures said "thank you po," too.

Aside from giving gifts to the children at the OPD, we were also able to hand out presents to some of the kids at the ward especially since we were escorted by Dr. Fernandez who, by the way, would also like to extend her "thank you." (Forgive the scarcity of pictures. We had to honor the privacy of most of the patients.)

We had a brief chat with Dr. Fernandez. And although she was very grateful for the good souls who remembered her patients this Christmas, she wished to say that the PCMC Hema and Onco OPD is always open for those who are interested in helping any time of the year. Simple things like cotton balls, alcohol, syringes, needles, bandages, vitamins, etc. will be of great help to their patients. She also encouraged us to invite people to donate blood at their blood bank so that the families who can hardly afford their child's treatment will have one less thing to worry about in the event that their child will be needing transfusion. Plus she shared to us how she hoped that a teacher will come to the OPD on a regular basis to teach basic lessons like the ABC, to read stories and to conduct art workshops for the kids who find themselves somehow stuck at the hospital instead of a school.

If you are interested to address their needs, you can leave me a message so that I can lead you to them or you can personally go to the Philippine Children's Medical Center's Hematology and Oncology Out-Patient Department and approach whoever is the doctor in-charge for the day.

Again, maraming salamat po sa lahat ng tumulong para mabuo ang mga regalong naipamahagi namin noong Dec.23. Maraming bata po ang inyong napasaya. (Isama na po doon kami ng aking pamilya.) Salamat! Salamat!

All the gifts. Thanks to everyone whose donations made it possible for us to come up with these much gifts.


Purefoods Chicken Nuggets Activity books + a third one. Thank you, Ms. Mackis Tuazon, for these; Ms. Maricel Gaskell, for leading me to Ms. Mackis Tuazon; and Sara for "introducing" me to your aunt, Ms. Maricel.



All 164 OMF Lit. Books. Thank you, Dr. Luis Gatmaitan (Tito Dok), for helping us get a big discount for the books and for referring us to Ms. Gracia Lopez. Thank you also to, Ms Gracia, for graciously accommodating us from beginning to end.




All these for a brave kid. Each gift bag contained a Tito Dok Storybook, 2 Purefoods Chicken Nuggets activity books, a third activity book, a box of crayons, a pencil and a sharpener.



Gift distribution at the OPD






"Thank you, Po!"



***If I may add: Thank you also to those who helped us during the Project: Brave Kids Party last December 19 and became instant volunteer face painters and balloon distributors: Mark, Tonette, Krisleen, Ming, Rovel, Jeff, Arjane, Ronaldo, and Joy.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Books are Here!

They arrived this afternoon, 150 books from the Tito Dok collection plus one complete set (14 books) that's supposed to start a mini Library for the kids at the PCMC Hematology and Oncology OPD. Yey!

The Package:




The Christmas Stack:




The Books:



I got busy preparing the gift bags. (I'm done with 100 bags! Ang bilis ko na compared last year. Haha. Expert?!) I failed to take pictures of the 150 Hunchback of Notre Dame activity books, and the 300 Purefoods Chicken Nuggets Activity books donated by , well, Purefoods.

I promise to take pictures of them tomorrow :-)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Project: Brave Kids Christmas Party

Where: at the Riverbanks Center at Marikina
When: 19 December 2008, 1PM-ish

It was rather more simple than last year's party but was more intimate (if that may be the right term.) The stars for the day were the brave kids and their family.

I wish to share some moments:

During the Mass




Queue




Three faces in progress




Little Girl




Spiderman Fan




His Three Stars and a Sun




Audience




Tools




The Group Pic


All photos other than His Three Stars and a Sun, Audience and Tools were taken by my brother, Jowin. The three that I mentioned were all by me.

You can check out the complete album by clicking here.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Day the Music Died

I lost my chi. Either I dropped it somewhere or someone stole it from me.

Whatever it is that's keeping me up is gone, down the drain, into the shit basin below the ground we stand on.

I guess there comes a time when even the best warrior gets tired of fighting.

Today I realized, I am tired, not of fighting but of finding a way to fight. I've been trying to come up with the best combat move but nothing seems to work. My efforts have consistently been futile. For the past months or years, I have that kind of consistency.

Definitely not something to be happy about.

I must be doing something massively wrong. Or I am the wrong.

I don't know.

Right now I feel bad, really bad. Not-your-ordinary-I'm-on-a-drama-spree kind of bad. Nor the I'm-gonna-kill-myself kind of bad. I feel so bad to think of such things.

All I want to do is retreat to my tent and find out what is there for me as reality intends. I could start with that.

But if I don't bounce back, if I don't recover after this, I'm going to have to take my bow.

After all, my workshop cannot stay open forever.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Another set of Quotes from Caramelo

Before I sleep, allow me to share a couple more poignant lines from Sandra Cisneros' Caramelo. (Notice that it's only now that I made remarkable progress, in my read that is.)

From Page 272:

--Why is it sadness comes and gets you when you lie down?
--Maybe it's because we talk too much in the day, we can't hear what our heart is saying. And if you don't pay attention, then it talks to you through a dream. That's why it's important to remember your dreams....
From page 275 (A cheesy bit):

To love is a terrible, wonderful thing. The pleasure reminds you--I'm alive! But the pain reminds you of the same thing --! Ay! I am alive.

That's it for now.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Let me Tell you about my Latest Hypochondria Attack

It is difficult to know for certain if there is something wrong with my system or if it’s all psychosomatic—the symptoms that seem to manifest whenever I am faced with one major fear: getting sick.

Lately, I feel my limbs are especially weak; my joints, “mahapdi,” and my heart, like someone is squeezing it from the inside. I get occasional headaches and either of my eyes sometime involuntarily twitches.

I worry that my blood pressure will plummet because prior to keeping this lifestyle, my BP has been a bit low. I also fear that my blood count gets messed up—but that’s thinking in extremes.

I rarely get any decent sleep these days and I blame that for the so-called anomalies in my body. It’s either I can’t sleep, I have to stay awake, or I am trying to keep up with the rest of the waking world, thus sacrificing sleep.

A friend told me to take Vitamin B complex supplements. Her mom is a nurse so I believe her. Plus last year, when my knees felt the same way they are feeling now, the doctor prescribed me the same vitamin.

I Googled “Vitamin B Complex” and landed on Wikepedia. I found out a few alarming symptoms for people lacking any of the eight variety of Vitamin B: weakness and pain in the limbs, irregular heartbeat, cracks in lips, high sensitivity to sunlight, insomnia (?), weakness, mental confusion, anemia, water retention (weight loss is also a symptom but apparently I am not any lighter), hypertension (which I believe has the same symptom as low blood), to name a few.

See, I get paranoid this way.

I guess, I would just have to relax and hope that the “ailments” go away.

As much as it is tempting to sign off at times, I believe I still have a mission down here. I would hate it if I get sick.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Christmas Drops by So Quick

There’s been positive response for the Happy Kids 2 project (or movement—I really don’t know how to call it). Despite the short-notice, a few people I emailed have already expressed their intentions to help. Yey!

A friend has collected P220 from her friends from work and says there’s still some more to come. We already have 150 small Hunchback of Notre Dame activity books to pack with the main gift. And someone just told me she’s willing to donate pencils (which will definitely go well with the activity books).

Last Sunday, an angel came by and shared P2,000. Now I am confident we can get the books we plan to give away! (I admit to being skeptical at first especially since the fund-raising seems to be at the last minute, and the books we are aiming to purchase are worth P65 each. Then again, I relied on faith.)

This morning, I received a text message from one of the people from OMF Literature. Incidentally her name is Gracia. She just delivered good news! Dr. Luis Gatmaitan, otherwise known as Tito Dok and is the author of the books we intend to give out, requested that the publishing house extend the discount they were previously giving us. So now we’ll be getting the books 10% lower than the initial discounted price! (I am not sure if I am allowed to disclose how much we will be purchasing their products given all the deductions.)

I have personally exchanged emails with Tito Dok and he is very supportive of our cause. He is actually the one who gave Gracia my contact details. As it turns out, Tito Dok and our family share something in common—we lost a loved one due to leukemia. Tito dok also happens to be a pediatrician so he naturally has a soft spot for children.

I didn’t really know about Tito Dok until last year when I attended a workshop on writing and illustrating for children’s books at UP Diliman. Tito Dok was there. And he has this line of books that talks about health and the human body from a child’s point-of-view. I think these books will help children understand their bodies more without intimidating them. Somehow, our target beneficiaries will feel power over their bodies when they get to read Tito Dok’s books.

The books are attractive, too. Their glossy pages come in full color and with interesting illustrations. On the other hand, the stories are printed in both English and Filipino. That’s two languages in one book! An added value for the kids.

The books below will comprise our future Christmas blessings for the kids:










Hurrah! Christmas is here!

If you wish to know more about OMF Literature’s list of books, you can visit their website at http://www.omflit.com/home/index.php

Monday, December 1, 2008

A Sweet End to November

My brother treated us for a meal at Burgoo. He was supposed to introduce us to a special salad elsewhere but we were trapped at Podium due to the late night drizzle, so Burgoo had to do.

It wasn’t at all bad. Burgoo, that is. Their servings are humongous and they give you free food when you use your HSBC card. A bit pricey for someone on a tight budget but if you’re after quantity and quality, Burgoo is all worth it! Plus Burgoo allows you to doodle on their table (lined with a wide sheet of paper) while waiting for your food. Migs found it interesting.

We never got to see High School Musical 3—that is for my high school brother’s sake. But an even better movie opportunity was Twilight. As I’ve said before, I highly recommend it, especially if you’re up to something sweet but not too much. I guess, my brothers liked it, too. I’m not too sure about Igan, though, who was sitting two rows behind us.

After finishing the last full show, we headed home but segued to a footbridge nearby. Our streets are decorated with Christmas lights, they might as well serve as backdrop for a romantic Christmas movie.

We got home past midnight. Dad was watching Titanic. I could not help but watch with him. It still bothers me that the ship sank and a lot of people died. So I decided not to stay for its ending.

My November is good as it is. I wish to remember it ending sweet.