Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Perhaps he's serious this time...

Years ago, I watched my brother jump from one relationship to another, break girls’ hearts week after week and flirt with some “hot chic” despite being committed. So long before any guy attempted to win me over through flower and chocolates, I already knew all those strategies.

Aside from the fact that my “heartbreaker” radar sharpened, I found nothing good about my brother making too many girls cry.

One time, he dated my closest teacher’s sister just to prove he could. After that, he pursued my mom’s bestfriend’s daughter for the same reason. Good thing, even after those awful break- ups, the friendships at stake weren’t harmed.

Recently, though, he’d been constantly teasing my parents about moving out and settling down. I know he couldn’t be serious about it. He hadn’t outgrown his possessiveness and irascibility, yet. But the mere fact that he stayed, and still is, with the same girl for more than a year put a dab of truth to those jokes.

the (then?)-heartbreaker
Sooner or later, my brother will settle down and lead a family of his own. When that time comes, I hope he’s ready- in all aspects that he needs to be. When that time comes, I hope he has found the one true love of his life. Oh well, considering how many girls he had been with already, it’s possible he already had.

Monday, November 26, 2007

We Changed the World

“How do we change the world? One at a time.”- Mother Theresa

Last Saturday, before I was all dressed up for JPIA’s acquaintance party, before I danced the night away with friends at Fiam(m)a, before I smiled and posed with every click of the camera, before I hanged out at Starbucks with my parents after midnight, I was at QC- playing with less fortunate kids.

Organizing the feeding activity was a total mess. Our group already prepared modules suited for a specific center only to find out we would be assigned to a different one two days before the actual exposure. Worse, we knew how to get to the place with no more than 12 hours before call time. The activity definitely tested my patience to its limit. I was pretty sure I would be frowning the entire day, not because I didn’t want to be there, but because of all the last- minute changes and wasted efforts.

Luckily, my friends were armed with juicy stories and ice- breaking jokes that lightened up my mood on our way to QC. When we reached the place, I was already wearing a smile on my then- gloomy face.

We were over-whelmed by the community’s support. The men set- up a tarp- like thing to cover the court to prevent Mr. sunshine from burning our skin. A home- owner was also generous enough to lend us her karaoke and vcd player so we could some play novelty songs. The entire morning, it was evident in those kids’ eyes that they had fun in our programs, that they felt comfortable around us, and, most importantly, that they felt we cared for them.

The giggles, the “Ate, thank you”s, and those tiny hands clinging unto mine, they made every drop of sweat worth it. The children reminded me how easy it was to be happy- only when you choose to be. One time, a kid shouted, “Uy, may dala silang Jollibee!”. The rest of the children responded, “Wow, Jollibee!”. The excitement in their voices reminded me of those things I took for granted which could be significant to kids like them.

I felt tired when I got home. My back ached a little so had to lie down. Before I finally closed my eyes and slept, I recalled those innocent faces who were eagerly waiting for us. At this age, I still rely on fancy things to cheer me up. I still resort to shopping after a bad day, and I still believe a pedicure is the best cure to heartaches. Last Saturday, I realized, getting out of the way to help people, especially kids, is still the best pick- upper- and more.

“Whenever you do good, the world changes”- unknown

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Lovers' Tiff

Every now and then, Keng and I go through those picayune fights. Whether they be about cancelled dates, revealing outfits, broken promises or last- minute change of plans, we breeze our way through them and reconcile in a snap- except when we’re both too stressed out that insignificant squabbles transform into blown- up arguments.

Last night was a perfect example.

I don’t want to dwell on the facts, anymore. We rarely (as in 1 out of 10) share our problems, even with friends. Our relationship has always been about the two of us- without any extension. That’s the reason why some think we’re “the perfect couple”. Well, we’re not. We’re far from being one.

We never aimed to portray that image, either. We just avoid sharing the bitter parts of the relationship out of respect. Whenever we argue, cruel words might slip, but we’ll be able to forgive each other COMPLETELY, afterwards. On the flip side, other people might get the wrong impressions about either of us, if they hear those stories. Not that they are too narrow- minded; it’s just that they aren’t INVOLVED, so they won’t FULLY understand the circumstances.

Lately, whenever we go through harrowing times, I push him away. I suggest the “break- up” solution and make it appear as the only cure. I know it’s excruciating for him, yet he never let me go of his tight embrace. He calms me down, whisper consoling words to my ear, and I’ll end up in tears- smiling.

I guess, Keng and I have argued on every possible moot point- except regarding third parties. We get jealous, of course. But we charge it on our irresistible charms and never on one’s faithfulness, or the lack of it. If there’s one perfect element in our commitment, it’s the trust we give to each other.

As I write this, I’m desperately missing him. Green tea frapp doesn’t taste as good when he’s not with me, and the Christmas song playing makes me feel more empty. In spite of the recent tiff we had, my heart longs for him. I’m looking forward to spending time with him again; when no one else seems to exist, when the usual busy road looks empty and when the only record playing is our song…

I’m sorry, and I love you more…

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Send, O Lord

The other day, I read from a news paper that politics in Pampanga was almost in chaos. Mayors did not want to cooperate with their governor and they were planning to file an ordinance that would restrict him from participating in certain provincial matters.

This afternoon, I found myself signing up to witness a forum, and the speaker was no less than Gov. Ed Panlilio- the governor I was earlier referring to.

Last elections, I certainly prayed for his victory. As a matter of fact, I cared more about what was happening in Pampanga than in my own town. His entrance in the political arena was definitely a Cinderella story. He started penniless, with just good intentions and high hopes. Not long after, people started sending donations for his campaign and everyone in his team was mere volunteers. He was running against 2 political giants, and I was so proud that the PampangeÑos finally wanted to end the dirty politics going on in their place.

Fr. Ed Panlilio won and he, temporarily, left his parish to serve in a more challenging world and make more thorny decisions. He, then, became Gov. Ed Panlilio.

Just recently, Gov. Panlilio made an alarming revelation. He confessed that somebody gave his secretary a paper bag with a whopping P500, 000 in cold cash. What would happen next, who would also stand up to tell the truth, we would later read in the papers.

I behaved in my seat and listened to his speech that lasted for nearly an hour. Honestly, there were certain parts when I wasn’t really paying attention to his words. My mind wandered off somewhere, and I couldn’t help but realize:

Our country is in dire need of a handful of politicians like him. Not necessarily as soft- spoken, not necessarily priests, but leaders who possess integrity and moral values.

Our country, in the same weight, needs its entire citizenry to follow his footsteps. Not necessarily become priests, not necessarily run for office, but live with integrity and moral values.

Gov. Ed Panlilio posted a challenge, not just to the present and future politicians, but to each and every one of us. Whenever we point a finger at someone, the other four point to us. So let us stop passing on the balme to others. Let’s start accepting our responsibilities and begin the change in ourselves.

From Day One and Counting

Of all the commencements I’ve faced in my life, College was the one that most frightened me. A new (and bigger) school, different culture, fresh faces- the thought of never being able to fit in or, at least, find a small group of people I could call friends made my heart cringed.

When the dreaded orientation came, I, as usual, wore my hey- I- can- be- your- friend smile. And it worked.

I introduced myself to the girl behind me. Her surname was Co, and my middle name was Kho. Despite the fact that there were definitely more than a hundred Cos and Khos at La Salle, we found that pretty amazing. The next day, we happened to be wearing almost matching in- blouses. Now, that’s fate. We started calling each other, “soulmate”, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Just weeks ago, I received a special gift from her for my birthday. She gave me a book entitled, “500 Reasons Why You’re My Best Friend” by Lorraine Bodger. Finally, I was able to expand my tight schedule and finish reading it.

Dear, the entire book had our names written all over it. I just want to highlight certain lines that undeniably speak about us:

Reason #37 A brand- new manicure, we totally agree, is the perfect pick- upper when life is looking gray and gloomy.

Reason #88 Juicy gossip is juicier when I share it with you.

Reason #168 You remind me, when I have to make choices, that it’s my life and nobody else’s, that I can do whatever I want, and that in the end I don’t have to justify my behavior to anyone but myself. Another life lesson.

Reason #183 I don’t have to watch what I say when we’re talking, the way I do when talking with certain other people. And you know who I mean.

Reason #277 On class trips, you always wanted to stick close to me.

Reason #434 I love you just the way you are and I hope you will never change.

With every flip of the page, I found myself laughing, smiling and just staring at the words in awe. Howbeit, as I finally closed the book, I was still dissatisfied. Our friendship in words? 500 reasons, my dear, would never seem enough.

Luv yah, soulmate! And more soulmates’ day to come!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Rekindling my First Love

Way before my classmates and I were allowed to use pens in class, I already had my first love. He didn’t have that gorgeous face and irresistible smile, though; but he definitely made my stomach churn in excitement.

Wait, he’s not even a he, nor a she, of course.

My first love is basketball- with all those hot guys making hoops.

At seven years old, my favorite TV show was PBA. My life revolved around Alaska and it’s ever- dependable team captain, Jojo Lastimosa. He was the hottest of the cagers, by the way, and until now I couldn’t understand why he hadn’t received any MVP award.

I started playing the sport when I was in my third grade. And damn, I loved it even more. The adrenaline rush and the feeling of sweat all over my body- those made my whole elem and hs life complete.

And as expected in every affair, basketball was also, to some extent, my first heartbreak. Long class hours, piles of paper works, and bloodcurdling exams caused our break- up. I haven’t picked up a basket ball for nearly three years now, and my skills (if I had any) are perhaps rotten. I may never be able to play the sport again, but I will always remain a ball player at heart; well, at least, I try to.

So, what’s inside the heart of a ball player?

I’ve always admired athletes, and I’m amazed by their courage in choosing to be one. They are one of the humblest people in this world, at least for me, anyway. Imagine, they go out, train hard and live their lives with 50% probability of facing defeat every other day. I can’t do that. I can’t be them. I haven’t even participated in any quiz bee in my entire stay here on Earth because I’m terrified to hear the emcee announce, “Liana Igna, Zero point”.

But thanks to my all- time idols, Jolas, the Flying A, the Rocket, Coach Carter and, of course, MJ, I’m inspired to live a life like theirs- minus the fans, the coaches and the thrilling games, of course. I want to have their courage and face each challenge despite the fact that I can end up having this big L plastered on my forehead.

Just last month, I signed up for the Accounting Pool. I’ve been planning for a year to join and I’m glad I finally had the strength to. Surprisingly, I aced the qualifying exam.

I already made the first step. I’m already in my jersey and flashy rubber shoes. Now, it’s time to train hard and prepare for the bigger monsters waiting. So what if I have never hit that buzzer? I soon will and I’ll make sure it counts under that W column.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Please be one of US

I am part of the top 1% of the most intelligent Filipinos.

Sounds cocky, right? But please, don’t shut off your brain right now. I’m driving at a point here, I promise.

So, there.

I am one of the smartest Filipinos today. Up students might say, “Kapal mo, UP ka ba?”; Ateneans might react, “Girl, you’re not an Atenean”; and I’ll say, “Exactly”. Nah, kidding.

Check this out:

80,000,000 Filipinos * 1%= 800,000 Filipinos

DLSU, UP and ADMU students combined won’t even come close to that number. There’s still a huge room to accommodate people from a hundred different schools who can also be undeniably outstanding. So setting aside the color of our blood, we have to face the fact that we are one of the most intelligent people in the Philippines today; and with that, we have to act.

If the brightest Filipinos will be numb to all the evils happening around us, who will care? If we will leave this country for selfish reasons, who will stay? If we, the most intelligent in this country, will behold it as a sinking ship, who will dare save it?

I am one of the brightest Filipinos of my generation, and I am being molded to be an achiever for God and country. You, I believe, are also among the top. So what are you going to do about that?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

I'm the Biggest Cheeseball!

“Pa’no Bukas?”Kapow! Bull’s eye!

The moment I saw the trailer of “One More Chance”, I texted Keng and told him it was a must- see movie for us. I knew he hates the sweety tweety love teams and all, but I was determined to drag him to the movie house if that’s what it takes to make him watch it with me.

Why? Because, like what I’ve told him lots of times, it’s like going through it without having to go through it.

True enough, a number of scenes looked familiar and there were a handful of lines we’ve already uttered at least once. We’ve been through one- fourth of what the movie depicted. We never had the guts to finally end the relationship, though. Our love stood stronger than our mistakes and hasty actions; and neither one of us was willing to confront the next day minus the other.

I was sobbing almost the entire film. I was leaning on his shoulder and he gently held my hand. There were instances he whispered, I love you”, as if trying to assure me we would never walk on the same path the characters took.

He sat beside me for two hours because he knew I wanted and needed him there. He stomached every videoke-ish scene and mushy line for me; and that’s one of the endless smalltime reasons why I love him bigtime.

Monday, November 12, 2007


When one finds no reason to bear life, he commits suicide.
When one finds no other way to escape traps, he commits suicide.
When one is submerged in too many complications, he commits

Suicide is an act of killing oneself purposely. Either by slashing one’s wrist, taking too many sleeping pills, jumping off a building, or whatever possible way, still, their souls will go to Hell- that dreaded place of torment and destruction.

I beg to disagree with that.

Not all those successful in committing suicide go straight to Satan’s side. Some still walk this Earth- I’m one of them.

If you’re dying to see the slash marks on my wrist, sorry, I didn’t do it that way. Neither did I swallow a handful of pills nor jump off a condominium. I killed myself. I killed my soul, rather, slowly, with all the NOs and I THINK I CAN’Ts.

I doubt myself all the time, but not because of other people. What they say about me doesn’t really matter. The say mean words- I’m not affected. They utter pure praises- I don’t believe.

So, in spite and despite of other people’s opinions, I still think I’m SMALL; way too small to be able to accomplish anything worth of recognition. Whenever opportunities knock, I let them pass, or I find a way to make it appear I wanted to open the door but just can’t due to circumstances other than my cowardice.

I saved myself from shameful situations and the loser image, but also deprived myself of recognition and self- worth. My block mates never saw me lose, but that didn’t make me a winner. My friends never had to console me because of a failure, but they also never applauded me for an achievement.
I lived life the easiest way possible: going with the flow and never stepping on the ledge.

Fortunately, I was able to creep out of the dark room I created to trap myself. It just hit me that I am more than who I perceive I am, and there are people kind enough to reassure me without them even knowing it.

At a snail’s pace, I regained confidence. I started exploring (and enjoying) my capabilities- signing up for this is a giant step. I lived each day, obtaining strength from compliments, until I was able to get by with just faith in myself.

At one point in my life, I committed suicide.


at several points in my life, I committed suicide. I killed my soul by losing all the dreams I wanted to make real to doubts and sheer cowardice. Now, I know better. I know my worth and everyday failures don’t make my knees wobble, anymore. I’m smarter, and yes, I’m braver. I’ve changed, and I’m ALIVE- AGAIN.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Belated Thank Yous

With lesser gifts, lesser greetings, lesser people, and with more candles on top of the cake, I celebrated my birthday this year.

Yet, I was more excited, got more meaningful gifts, and had a more significant celebration than the past birthdays; the so- long- ago birthdays.

Those parties with colorful balloons and fun, fun, fun parlor games; those I’ve spent with playmates and people I don’t even know; those that gave me a mountain of gifts to open before bedtime.

Yes, those parties were definitely amusing- for a seven- year- old kid.

Now than I am more than a decade older than that, I yearn for a small get together with special people, for sincere wishes from friends and, of course, for time to spend with Keng.

I was lucky to have all of them this year.Ü

To everyone who made my birthday special, a million thanks to all of you!!!!

Every birthday I spend with my family, friends and, of course, with Keng, isn’t just a celebration of the day I was born; but more of, the reason why.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

I Watch My Friends Fall, One by One

Fall in love, that is.

From normal girly conversations to Oh- he’s –so cute- talaga speeches, from the usual blank stares to uncontrollable day dreaming, from forced smiles to effortless ear to ear grins- these symptoms made it absolutely certain that my friends have been bitten by the love bug.

I feel so excited for them. I’m delighted to see their faces lit up whenever the guy’s name is mentioned, and I can’t refrain from imagining how fun it will be to have a group of couples date with them.

However, the over- protective part of me often eats up the excitement. I cannot block the thought of seeing my friends devastated over an unrequited love. I cannot avoid worrying about them and their fragile hearts. Seeing a friend read a “He’s just not into you” book makes me want to place a huge mirror in front of her in case she’s not aware of all the wonderful qualities she possesses- inside and out.

I love my friends; and knowing how fabulous each one of them is makes me grit my teeth in anger whenever I see them cry over some guy. I want to shield them from heartbreaks and puffy red eyes, and kick all those loser guys away from them. But at the end of the day, I’m just “the friend”. I’m not the one on the battlefield, anymore. I’ve already won and found the place where my heart truly belongs.

It’s my friends’ turn to find theirs.

Patiently and ever so supportively, I’ll watch them win over those what ifs and maybes. I’ll stay close behind for rescue in case the he’s- not- into- you monster attacks. And, of course, I’ll be willing to dish out some cash for coffee and chocolates when those i-need-someone-to-talk-to circumstances come up.

I’ve been really close to these girls, and I know they deserve a love like what baby shampoo guarantees- no more tears (remember?); but since that kind has never really reached the shelves, I’ll always be here in case it hurts.

Looking Forward, Actually

I was lazily climbing the stairs to the 2nd floor when I saw something familiar posted on the Bulletin board. A few more steps and I could already see it clearly from where I stand:

CBE Course Offerings, Third Term, SY 2007- 2008

Unlike most students, I just left and continued walking. There’s no need for me to approach the Board and join the flock of students in front of it. I didn’t have to choose my subjects and fix a schedule. Next term, I would be taking up six MAJOR subjects, pre- determined by the Accountancy department and there would only be two time slot options: 8:00- 11:00 am and 2:30- 5:30 pm. I only have the power to choose which slot I would be in. Besides that, I totally have no control of.

The Modular program consists of four terms; and each term is composed of six MAJOR subjects, which means, for a whole term, we don’t study anything else but financial statements. 12 days are allotted to each subject. The 13th day is for the finals. So even before non- accountancy majors take their first major exam (midterms), we have already taken practically three final examinations. To torture us even more, we have to get a minimum grade of 83 in each subject to pass.

As I’ve mentioned, the professors named it, The Modular program. Some students call it Hell. One guy refers to it as ModFuck, ModShit, DamnMod, etc; but I prefer to have it nameless.

I don’t want to separate those chosen terms from the others. Though they’re definitely more mind- boggling and more hellish,
(proof: stack of books for a single term)
they’re just like other floating terms: they end.

Modular sure rocked my world; but the program wasn’t intensified enough to actually break it into pieces. I’m still alive, and yes, I’m happy. Whatever was damaged (relationships and self- esteem) by all the stress brought by the previous term, the past 2 months of slow- phased life and more than enough sleeps definitely restored it to be as good as new.

So, to that dreaded modular program (for the third time):

I am so ready to nail you, baby.Ü

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Post- Halloween Wickedness

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

A Birthday Treat from Starbucks

The “Pass the Cheer” poster hanging on the glass walls of Starbucks was definitely inviting. So I gave in to my taste buds, and granted myself my very first red cup (with my very first stickerÜ) for this year.

As the barista handed me the receipt, I noticed it was longer than usual. I scanned it, then… Tadah! CUSTOMER VOICE!

I knew it! It was my lucky day! I get to have a free drink of my choice at any Starbucks branch- definitely, one sweet birthday gift!

There wasn’t any need for me to ponder on with whom I wanted to share it. My mom and I would go shopping at Greenbelt on Sunday and it wouldn’t hurt if her Toffee Nut Frappuccino would be my treat this time.

I’m so excited to sit under those green umbrellas with my momsie. *smiles*

Sunday, November 4, 2007


Swak na swak sa panlasa ng mga pinoy ang kwek kwek. Kahit saang sulok yata ng Maynila, may vendor ng kwek kwek. Maliban na lang sa La Salle.

Walang kwek kwek sa La Salle. Hindi kami kumakain ng kwek kwek, pero kumakain kami ng quail eggs na binalutan ng kung ano man ‘yun na kulay orange. Ang tawag namin dun, Queggs- pinagsamang quail at eggs.

Wow, kahit street food, conyo pa rin ang dating!

Kaya tuloy palagi na lang kaming inaakusahan na mayayabang at mapang- mata.

Hindi naman talaga.

Nung isang araw, nanonood kami ng America’s Next Top Model ng mga pinsan ko nang aksidente niyang nailipat ang channel sa 8. Big Brother ang palabas nu’n. Dahil commercial pa naman sa etc, pinanuod muna namin ang mga housemates.

Bigla na lang nabanggit ng pinsan ko, “Ang coÑo pala ni Mariel”.

Oo nga
, sagot naman ako.

“Crap!”, sigaw ng konsensiya ko. “You actually agreed with her, eh ganun ka rin, right? So, is that your way of admitting that you’re also coÑo?”

Napaisip ako.


CoÑo ba ‘ko?

Sabi ni Keng, medyo.

Sabi ko, depende.

Depende sa kung ano ba talaga ang ibig sabihin ng CoÑo. Kung ibabase lang ang pagiging CoÑo sa pagsasalita, oo, 80% na CoÑo ako. May allowance na 20% dahil pag lumalabas naman ako ng La Salle, nagagawa ko pa ring (kahit papano) makipag- usap sa paraang normal sa ibang tao; na hindi naman normal sa isang Lasalista.

Magulo ba?

Ganito kasi ‘yon:
Paminsan meron talagang mga ideas na pumapasok sa utak ko sa salitang Ingles at may mga conversations din na mas malinaw sa Ingles. Sa La Salle, walang problema do’n. Pag sa labas ng La Salle ako nag-uuminlges, baka masapak pa ‘ko o kaya mabato dahil tingin ng iba, kaartehan ‘yon.

Kapag nasa La Salle ako, parang walang mali; parang sakto lang. Pero pag labas ng campus, napapaisip talaga ko. May mali ba?

Mali ba ‘yung makipag- usap sa Ingles?
Trying hard ba ‘yon kahit effortless naman sa’yo ang English conversations na nosebleed para sa iba?

Mali ba ‘yung gawin ang lahat ng paraan para maiwasan ang paglusong sa baha?
Kaartehan ba ‘yun? ‘Di ba ‘yun ang tama?

Mali ba ‘yung pagbebeso- beso?
‘Di ba paraan lang naman ‘yun ng pagbati o pagpapaalam? Parang ‘yung ginagawang pag- aapir ng mga tambay sa kanto.

Mali bang sabihin ang totoo?
Eh kung totoong first time lang sumakay ng dyip nung tao, anong magagawa mo? Kung totoong sa VIP section ng Embassy bar ang party nya, may problema ba? Kung orig talaga ang handbag niyang LV, maaapektuhan ka ba?

May mali ba?
Mali ba talaga, o mali lang dahil kakaiba?

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