Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Long Road to Independence

We cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home.  
- Edward R. Murrow

I am a Filipino working overseas, if you think working abroad and away from my family gives me an unparalleled amount of freedom. Well, I ask you to do yourself a favor and think again. Simply because I have no parents or wife expecting me to come home doesn’t necessarily mean I can now do whatever I want in this place and time. The absence here of overlapping laws and regulations, mostly prevalent in the Philippines, doesn’t constitute a ticket to do what is not prohibited. With great freedom comes great responsibility and being an OFW, this same freedom is what keeps us grounded, trustworthy and tied to our roots. Too bad sometimes, OFWS unwillingly fall as victims of their own good intentions. Some get abused, maltreated and subjected to a great deal of pressures and expectations and it’s all because of the liberty they have taken when they decided to work abroad for the welfare of the ones they loved.

When I went for vacation in the Philippines a couple of years ago, a neighbor approached me to ask some quite disturbing questions. His wife has left for Dubai a few months earlier and until that time he spoke to me, he had never got the chance to speak with her. The agency that flew her to Dubai to work as a domestic helper also has nothing much to say and he has already spent as much worrying about her. He told me that if ever I got to hear any news about her by whatever means, I should let him know. Fortunately, a couple of months later, he was able to talk to her and mirroring the sad fate of many other Filipino domestic helpers, she has fallen into the hands on an abusive and cold-hearted employer. Now she’s has back home and reunited with her family.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

The Day Juke was Torn to Pieces

It’s a day I wouldn’t necessarily remember the most, but certainly a chapter in my life’s journey that I would forget the least. It’s neither the jubilant day I was born nor the triumphant day that I finished my degree. It’s the day I almost went to meet my maker but turned out to be the moment I would witness something I have never believed in - a miracle.  It’s just a handful of seconds essentially and irrelevant on its own, but I’d blatantly say it’s the longest and most horrific split seconds that would forever haunt and remind me that life doesn’t really belong to us. It’s a borrowed gift and before it’s too late – make the most out of it.

That day was a year ago – morning rush-hour, I was driving on the outer lane of a busy highway like a typical day, 90kph on the meter, crooning to some random music playing on a local radio while sight still largely focused on the road and occasionally looking at the rearview mirror to see the cars from behind. Being a neophyte driver, I am mostly defensive so I stay away from the highways as much as possible and the trouble careless and stupid drivers could bring which is quite a ubiquity in Dubai. Halfway through my destination, I heard a thundering sound from far behind and even before I could confirm in the mirror what it was, a speeding van has slammed into my car, hitting the back’s left corner. What happened next was reminiscent of those action scenes from the Fast & Furious movies, as when goons chase the good guys. The crash’s immense impact bumped me off my lane, spinning the car four times while still accelerating and traversing to the innermost lane. The car stopped within few centimeters away from the island barrier fence; thanks to an astonishing instinct that came from nowhere, a thin whisper in the air that told me pull the hand brake up. The story ended abruptly, I was saved! It was nothing short of a perfectly executed movie scene done in a single take, no director, no script and no special effects.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

An Ode to Used-to-Be

It took me days to just even think of words to start this blog - so, this prelude. Kanlungan begins to play in the background to invoke a deeper sense of nostalgia.

Since I came home from abroad about a week ago to this place where I was born and raised, I've been having this weird sad thought emanating from no longer seeing the things that used to be part of my younger self. Everything that surrounds me seems to have changed unrecognizably from how they were while others have completely vanished from sight. More than the fact that they're gone, what pains me is realizing I wasn’t there when those inevitable moments had to change and unfold. I'd say I have missed a lot. Would have been easier to bear a one quick deep stab to the heart, but not this long, lingering, overpowering and sometimes haunting sentimentality.

Coming home from miles away is purposely to rekindle with family, friends and all those familiar ties. The joy it brings overwhelms the many nights and moments we're away and suddenly it feels things just get back to the olden days. At the end of the day, that very first night however, as you lie in bed looking straight to the white painted ceiling of the room, trying to recall the last time you were in the exact situation, you smile and you tell yourself nothing's really changed. But a couple more minutes staring blankly at this unadorned ball of light, it sinks in and you realize beyond the walls and its four coordinates, things could never be the same. The people, the places and the period have outgrown our own capsuled idea of how they look and where they stand. That peculiar picture frame is turning gray and old but you still look at that moment as vividly and candidly as the day it was taken.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

As Time Turns A Year Older

there's a theory about time, that it is not time that passes us by,
 but we are the ones that are walking through it...

Have you ever wondered how old time is? Have you ever asked yourself when time immemorial really got started? Has the existence and tangibility of time ever crossed your mind? Scientist believe the Earth is over 2 billion years old and the bible, further on this, states that God had created the world and the universe though it never mentions when. The concept of God and time is one and the same. You can't see them by your eyes but you can feel their presence. It's a blur like a rainbow to dog but is is as real and as tangible as the chair you are sitting in. 

 As another year folded up, sure you have devoted some time to reflect on how the past year has been. Proof of that would be the numerous blog entries where you tried to recall all the things, big and small that have made the last 365 days a banner or a bore. And almost everyone have their resolutions for things unsettled in the past year and revolutions for things to make better in the following year. Our assessment mostly centered on how we have done things our way and how much has been added or taken away from the lives that we have been building for the past years. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

If Walls Could Talk

Lately I have been on a laughing spree, with cynical grin coagulating my prominent cheekbones. A masked man! A heart stabbed by my own scalpel. Behind the sweet smiles, the stubborn laughter and the unbending personal belief that I am above all else fine, the truth just hurts that I am actually losing, like towering limestone cliffs gnarled by his own height. There were people knocking at my door, but I was far away. They were inviting and yelling, but thought it’s just another fancy game. The door was closed and I have lost people that I have and I should have loved.

Between the walls, there’s a vulnerable heart and hearts that are hurting. Many hasty words and arrogant spiels were said to attenuate pride and smugness. It may seem it pleases me to hurt people who just want to take chance to love and get loved. It may looks like it, but it’s not. If only walls could talk, it would say that I have long been yearning for company, that I treasure people that comes my way and every night in my sleep I am wishing that I could bring back the moments that I have unjustly said goodbye and wishing not to have said it. If walls could talk, it would say that I wanted them more, that though I might have said I have never needed friends, I was lying then, big time, paradoxical.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

OWWAt the &#@(!

I’m not into blogging anymore due to the gravity of what my new work requires. But as they say, once a blogger, always a blogger. No matter what subsequent lives you live, time will come when you’ll just have to grab your thoughts and lay it along the cyber pavements for others to see and read. There would always be experiences in our lives that just don’t need to be kept to ourselves. Success stories are most of them, you got promoted in your job, your girlfriend said yes and your son graduated from school and the list goes on as endless and infinite.

But apart from these, horrible stories shouldn’t as well be kept in the closet. Not only that sharing the same could save other people from going through the same torment or prep them up for situations born to upset and consummate, simply expressing your disappointment over matters that deserve better treatment, in itself, is a step towards making the ringleaders of these horrible things aware that they are not doing any good.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Despicable Me

December. It's the season to be jolly bitchy.
It’s another long weekend in Dubai, normally during these times; I just stay in the house and cut off all ties synonymous to bliss. If I am not drowning myself within the limitless bounds of the cyber universe, I am sulking in one corner, feeling pathetic, wondering how some people below my level are able to be happy and I’m not despite my excesses.  Oh well, when you come to think of it though, they are not actually good excesses; my oversized brain, innate talents, mounting pride, work experiences and finally, a bloated idea of myself. They are too heavy they always let me down. I bet not all would be interested to come close to this kind of guy, inferiority is inevitable. Having known that, I shouldn’t be wondering at all. Until such time I burst that bubble in my head, then this grim, forlorn and desolate room is where I rightfully belong.

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Road Home

How is the road home for OFWs? Two words. It’s long and it’s expensive.

In two weeks, I am one again coming back to the place where everything got started, the laboratory that has kept my blueprint and the workshop that has molded me to be the character I am today. If you think this decision entails only temporarily leaving my job, buying a ticket and packing my baggage with tons of chocolates in between, you’re dead wrong. This vacation is almost two years in the making. And again, if you’re thinking my presence will alone well absolve my family's anticipation for not seeing me in years; I have some qualms about it. Truth is, they expect more than just seeing me and I am happy to deal with it.