Work is essential for us to live. It becomes an outlet for your talent. It becomes an outlet for your frustrations in life. It becomes an outlet for your skills. In most of the Philippine companies, it is required to spend a minimum of forty hours a week in the office. That is forty eight hours if we include lunch time. For those who travel at least one hour a day going to the office, that is fifty three hours a week. For those who travel at least one hour going home from the office, that is fifty eight hours a week. For those who wake up at least two hours before going out, that is sixty eight hours a week. For those who spend at least two hours of overtime every single day at the office, that is seventy eight hours a week. For those who encounter traffic going to the office and going back home, that is not one hour of travel; that is two to three hours ( let us make it three hours one way); that is already ninety eight hours a week dedicated to solely just work. How many hours do we have in one week? One hundred and seventy hours a week. Deduct ninety eighty hours that means we only have seventy two hours left. If we try to get eight hours of sleep every single day we are left with sixteen hours a week. If there are fifty three weeks in one year, that is eight hundred and forty eight hours a year. If there are no holidays, out of eight thousand seven hundred and sixty hours a year, our “me” time is equivalent to only nine to ten percent. That is roughly thirty five days dedicated to yourself for one year. In a person’s lifetime, one works for around thirty to forty years. That means we dedicate two hundred thirty seven thousand and three hundred and sixty hours in one lifetime to work. I am not sure if what I said makes sense but I know people who live like this. I just think it is not enough to live a life, or is it?
You live to work and die working. So are businesses ethical? You earn money to live your life. You create businesses to give jobs. These are jobs in which employees will dedicate seven thousand and sixty four hours of their lives a year so they can live. I have not yet computed how many hours of a person’s life are dedicated to educating themselves in order to get work. We might have a discussion that would last for years and years, and I am not that sure if I would want to waste a few hours of my life not working wondering if working is worthwhile. But I already am, am I not? So let us get over with it anyway. This is just me over thinking. Obviously. So what do I do with the remaining sixteen hours of my life for the rest of the week? I study. I study Business Administration to make my status better at work. Maybe so I could spend more time at work? I would have to make another computation for that. I am married by the way, so I still have to cook and take care of my husband, not because I am obliged to but because I love doing it. Maybe the solution is to add more hours in a day so I can live the life that I want? I live to work and then eventually I shall die working.
Like a man. Find out he was married. But he was separated. Stay with him. Travel around with him. Enjoy life with him. Have little problems with him. Be happy with him. Make love to him. Have a baby with him. Carry his baby for nine months. Labour for hours. First daughter is born. Play with her. Love her with all your heart. Be happy with your family. Have problems because the wife needs annulment. Stay at home with the baby. Let the man drink with his friends. Have problems because your parents do not know about your boyfriend’s status. Get asked when the wedding will be. Be quiet because you can’t get married because he’s still legally married. Endure it for another year. Feel unconfident because you are getting fat. Do stress eating. Be content with life. Crave for food. Feel depressed. Find out your boyfriend is texting someone else. Cry your heart out. Question your life. Question your existence. Question your efforts. Am I not enough? Is my cooking not good? Can I still make you happy? What else do you need? Go against your principles. Swallow your pride and stay with him. Feel more unconfident. Feel fat. Do not do anything about it. Sulk quietly. Feel hurt. Wake up at night because your boyfriend’s phone is ringing. Find another text. Answer the text. Get infuriated. Stay anyway. Accept the apology from your boyfriend. Stay for the sake of your daughter. Stay for the sake of your family.
This is not my story. This is my best friend’s girlfriend’s story. I talked to her the other day and I was fuming mad when she told me her story. I have never tolerated my best friend’s deeds. I knew him since I was in High School. He was one of the reasons why my standards of men are high, because I do not want to be ever involved with men who do not respect women.
Do not trust men. They are all going to hurt you. No relationship is ever worth it. Be strong by myself. Play around. Keep a safe distance. Be happy without depending on anyone. Lonely is good. Sad is bad. Love myself. Trust my instincts. Have fun with friends. Enjoy my own company. Read books. Go party every week. Buy what I want. Be friends with everyone. Be close to a specific person. Fall. Fall fast. Fall deep. Let it all go. Be passionate about loving someone. Hear him say “I love you”. Say it back. Forget your hurt feelings. Finally move on with this man. Hug him. Smile at him. Look at him and only him. Kiss him. Risk my feelings. Risk my heart. Think of moving out. Move out. Live with him. Adjust. Adjust. Adjust. It is all worth it. Celebrate our first year together. Hike with him. Travel with him. Ride a boat with him. Get through life with him. Appreciate him every day. Be thankful every single day. Celebrate two years with him. Get engaged. Receive the ring. Hug him. Kiss him every day. Plan the wedding. Cancel the travels. It is all worth it. Save up. Book the church. Book everything. Invite guests. Do “pamanhikan”. Be excited about it. Be stressed about it. Wedding day comes. Be the bridezilla. Forget about it and be happy. Have fun on the wedding day. It was great. It was lovely. It was perfect. Blur. Blur. Blur. Oh it has been one year. Blur. Blur. Blur. Oh another year together! This is lovely. This is perfect.
That is my love story. It is not perfect for you, but it is for me. I do not want to compare it with anyone else’s but I just had a thought. I would rather be single than be with someone whom I will regret in the future. I would not want my child to grow without a father, but I would rather raise my child if the father had loyalty issues. So I understand those who choose to be single. I salute you for choosing to love yourself. Sacrifices are not easy but it is always better to think about oneself than to rush into things and get caught between strings of problems. I respect those who choose to fight for love, but fight for something worth it and do not lose oneself in the process. Love is love. But you only have one life. But you can have lots of love in a lifetime.
Life has always been a mystery to me as death has always been my greatest fear. If you think about it, all humans live and die but my question lingers. “What is the purpose of life?” Some will talk about faith and religion, some will talk about love, some will talk about family, relationships and love, some of adventures and some will talk about power, glory and achievements. One can think about anything when the topic is life and the list will go on and on. I heard someone tell me that the beauty of life lies within the knowledge that one will die in the end so one should cherish living before dying. I have watched videos that make one realize that some people don’t get to live at all but my question lingers. “How do you live your life?” I was born in the late 80’s. I lived through the great earth quake of the early 90’s. The oldest memory I think I have is me playing with sand with my Mama. I went to Guardian Angel Academy and I pooed in my panties when I was in nursery. I survived over two recessions. I transferred to St. Scholastica’s Academy Marikina and graduated High School with a loyalty award. I made Miriam College my stepping stone to transfer to the University of the Philippines Diliman (not that I do not want to study in Miriam, it’s just that I have dreamed of being called a Scholar ng Bayan since I was a kid). I graduated with flying colors in 2011 and landed on my first job in Maersk GSC days before I graduated. I resigned after a year and transferred to Accenture and resigned after two years in finance. I went back to Customer Service in FMC and I am still with them until today, but not in November since Dupont had acquired the Health and Nutrition sector. I went to seven Aisan countries and countless local destinations where my most loved beaches are in El Nido, Palawan. And now I decided to take my knowledge and skills further by enrolling in De La Salle University as an MBA student. Am I proud of what I have become? I believe so. Was it a smooth journey? Definitely not even thought it looks like that from the way I wrote it. There were countless nights that I have not been able to sleep well, over thinking on what step should I next take. But the same question lingers. “Who do I live for?” My family has always been my strength. They are my inspiration every single day. My Mama and my Papa taught me to always give everything that I got in doing something. They shaped me to be the person who I am today and I will always be grateful for that. Because of them I always strive to give my best and I believe that I can only compete with myself. I always want to do better today than yesterday. Then there is the love of my life, my husband. He gives me strength and he supports me every step of the way. We do not have much in common but we complement each other in so many ways. He is an introvert while I am the exact opposite. He likes to stay at home and I like to go out and spend it outdoors, but we find travelling a common ground. He loves his camera and I just simply love nature. It is in secluded beaches, temples, mountains and foreign cities where we find both peace of mind. But all my questions linger and even with all that I have written, I know I do not have all the answers.
It has now been a week since we conducted our Service Learning Activity with Philippine Animal Welfare Society. My group mates and I are now planning to talk to the Graduate School Student Council to propose a plan that will hopefully help PAWS in promoting their current and future events. This is still in line with our goal to find a long-term solution to support this Non-Government Organization. If the Student Council will approve, someone from PAWS will send a soft copy of poster promos of their events and programs and SC will be the one to print it and post in the board of La Salle. We talked to Sharon and she said that they really lack man power and the rest were monetary and budget issues. Since we would not have the luxury of time to conduct a fund-raising activity for them, we thought the best we can do for them is help them with their activities and events. At least this will not be just temporary; hopefully this will also be feasible for future Student Council in La Salle.
As I wrote on my blog last week, I was planning to volunteer for PAWS and submit my filled-out form before August 5 so I can be part of the official volunteers for this NGO. Then last Sunday, I went to my Uncle’s house. He is also an animal lover like me. He actually has ten dogs and feeds the cats that go to their house so some cats already feel at home there. He told me that he tagged PAWS in one of the pictures that he posted. There was a dog stuck in the middle island of Commonwealth and he had been there for three days already. Problem was he never got a response so he does not know if the dog was rescued. After a few days, the dog was gone, he did not know the dog died or someone had rescued him. Hopefully it was the latter. I felt the obligation to answer for PAWS (haha I was getting ready to be a volunteer!), I told him that they are really lacking man power. They do not have a lot of people that would answer social media posts nor the emails. I explained to him that they did not have much of a problem with manpower during the weekends because that is also the time that most volunteers do not have work, but during the weekdays, they only have three caretakers and two personnel in the office. I do imagine the work that they have to do, not to mention that they have to pay two hundred thousand pesos for expenses every month. I know with this expense, they cannot really afford to pay for employees and they really depend on volunteers to get work done.
Yesterday I was talking to my dog, as all dog parents do. I told him how lucky he is because he is sheltered and well-loved while the the dogs in PAWS were victims of abuse and neglect. Then I thought it was sill because I know he would never comprehend what I am saying, instead he will only know that he is loved and well-fed. I guess it goes the same way with kids and kids can sometimes be even ungrateful to their parents, which is sad because humans, from what I expect, are more intelligent beings because we were given the freedom to choose. With this, how come some humans are less responsible of their pets? Is it because they are ignorant? Sometimes when I see videos of humans abusing animals, I want to ask them how they would feel if someone more powerful does to him what he or she is doing to the animals. The golden rule says do unto others what you want others to do unto you. I believe this applies to all the living things in our world; the animals, the trees, the plants, the insects and other humans as well. So why do people still choose to be horrible? I do not have the answer. I don’t really want to know the answer. I just hope that they get enlightened.
We had set the day of our feeding program with the Philippine Animal Welfare Society on July 13th, Thursday. We have been told that the shelter is always busy and full of activities during the weekends so we will not be able to do it on a Saturday and they are closed during Sundays. We have decided to file our vacation leaves in order to be accommodated. At seven in the morning I woke up with excitement despite lack of sleep, I was very eager to see the dogs and the cats in the shelter and I still needed to cook the sawdust that I got assigned to buy and prepare. I decided to volunteer and buy sawdust because I have a dog and I also feed him sawdust, so I know where to buy it. I got mine from a local grocery in Pasig and they provided me not just with sawdust but with scrap meat, perhaps these were meat that they were not able to sell but still in good condition. I cooked everything together with my mom, Sheryl, Mat and Carl. It was fun having them at home and they also the dog of my mom, Max. The sawdust needed to be cooked in water with no other seasoning. I know that salt is not good for dogs as they can also have internal complications if fed with salty food.
After cooking and preparing other materials, we went straight to the shelter. It was raining hard and I hoped and prayed that it would not be raining in PAWS, when finally we arrived in Marikina, it was as if it had not rained but rain clouds were still following so I assumed it would be raining in the shelter in a few. It was my first time to enter the compound and I was really excited to know more on how it operates and meet the dogs and cats. We registered and waited for our other group mates to arrive. As we were waiting we were given the freedom to roam around and pet the feral cats. They were fat!!! 😀 They were very friendly as well. The cats let us pet them and most of the time they would come and rub their heads and body around our legs. I am not much of a cat person but I still like them. It was actually great that the cats trusted humans there as they do not run away when we approach. I rarely see cats like those anymore, because most cats in our village usually run away and do not trust humans. There were boards with descriptions and names on the wall. We assumed these are the names of the cats and the dogs in the shelter. It was also indicated in the board that those dogs with blue collars are adoptable and those with red collars are not.
Once we were complete, we were asked to prepare the food so we gathered up and mixed sawdust and rice for the dogs in one basin and the Galungong fish and squash in another for the cats. While mixing, it had already started to rain. It was a heavy downpour and so we had to wait until it stopped because obviously we cannot feed the dogs and the cats while it was raining. The shelter where the dogs stayed had a roof but most of them are fed outside of their cages. We also noticed that there were other dogs in the compound; these were the veterinary patients in queue waiting for their turn to get a check-up.
Once it stopped raining, Kuya Arvin assisted in dividing the food for both the dogs and the cats. We were not really allowed to enter the cages because the attendants need pre-exposure to the dog so that trust is built and all of their attendants have vaccines for rabies. We really did not want to risk that so we were happy to feed the feral cats roaming around. These cats are not actually rescue cats, but rather cats that had invited themselves in the compound; they discovered they had free food there and humans are nice so they have been the regular residents of PAWS. The shelter cats are those cats in cages but they already have their name tags (I saw one with Kevin! 🙂 ).
Ms. Sharon Yap, the volunteer whom we talked to was very accommodating and she had explained how PAWS manages the daily activities inside the shelter. She had encouraged us to volunteer and I will be submitting my form before August 5 because I need to attend the whole day orientation on August 12. I want to do more for these animals.
Last Friday I read this article that really shocked me – a vessel was caught in Palawan with seventy dead pawikans or sea turtles. I got really emotional that day. It is not hard to love animals, I see them as creatures who are harmless unless provoked. My favorite channel is the Animal Planet and I get so engrossed with all their programs whether it shows cute puppies and kittens, the wild African safari or even parasites. I get so invested on the information of how animals interact with each other, the food chain and of course their relationship with people. I feel so bad whenever I watch videos of how seals are clubbed in the North Pole, just because there are too many of them and it has been the tradition for so many years now. I feel pain for the guinea pigs, monkeys and dogs that have never seen daylight because they have been inside laboratories where they are experimented on. I feel enraged every time I get to watch documentaries wherein the Japanese go whaling. I feel nauseous every Chinese dog festival that is broadcasted annually. I feel really bothered by the fact that poachers do not care about the lives of the animals they kill just to get ivory, shark fins, and shells of turtles. I do not see the reasoning behind all this violence and I feel bad that we, humans, who are supposed to care for them are hurting them in every possible manner that can be thought of for advancement of science, for fun, for tradition, for selfishness. I do know that most of the poachers are uneducated people, driven by hunger and all they want is to get money from selling items; but there are also scientists who test animals for pharmaceutical and cosmetic reasons. I do not see how it is fair with the animals who cannot really talk for themselves. It is human’s fault why most of the fauna are endangered and extinct. What is worse is that some people just don’t feel remorse; in fact, some are just way too barbaric like those who hunt lions or elephants just for the fun of it. My heart goes to all of the creatures that are not able to protest against the humans who exploit nature. They are fascinating creatures but there are other ways of marvelling on them rather than putting them inside aquarium tanks or zoos.
This is the reason why I suggested PAWS to our Service Learning group. It is the closest that I could get to help those loveable animals in need… for now. We have planned everything out and I do hope that the shelter animals will enjoy the food that we will be preparing for the feeding program this coming Thursday. The shelter has required us to bring fifteen kilos of boiled sawdust or ground pork together with three and a half kilos of rice, these will be for the dogs; and eight large pumpkins and eighteen kilos of galungong fish also boiled in water with no seasoning. We have to be at PAWS by two in the afternoon so that there will be time to tour around the facility and short orientation. I am super excited that we will be able to help the Philippine Animal Welfare Society with their mission to alleviate pain and suffering in animals. I do hope to also submit my volunteer form this year to them, this way I can fulfill my goal to start doing something for the animals.
For now I will leave my blog with a video below that has really moved me. I was cutting onions when I watched this so there was no surprise that my eyes got super wet.
Harassment is a big word. It comes in many forms and many people have experienced it. While some have the courage to report harassment, I do think most of the people choose to keep mum about it. This would be the first time that I am going share my personal experiences.
In my second entry, I mentioned that I was harassed by my grandmother who kept telling me that I was adopted. I knew it all along but somehow I was in denial for a long time. However, I do not think I should have been harassed with the truth at a very young age. I was a child, at least five or six years old and all I ever thought about was play and that I love my parents. That has impacted me in irreparable ways. I have always hated my Lola and I never really got to feel how a grandmother loves a grandchild. I used to hear it was lavishing, so I kind of never got to forgive her, until she passed away last year. I felt sad, but now, I do not miss her as much as my cousins miss her. I have felt a lot of resentment towards her, though I know time will probably heal how I feel and I hope to forgive her fully in the next coming years.
The next I experienced was from a former boyfriend. I was 15, I was naïve and I am not going to try and justify that I was young but I allowed him to abuse me in so many ways. I got robbed so many times and I just kept giving him more money. One time he lost his phone and I had two phones. So I gave one to him, which he also lost so I gave him the other one, which he lost again. I was so stupid, I know. I knew at the back of my mind that he probably sold it or he used to bet for a stupid game. He also hurt me a lot of times. Back then, I would have bruises on my arms, and my face would be red because of slaps that I thought I deserved. What is even sadder is that I never really told anyone about what was happening until I ended our relationship. I never told my Mama who would always welcome him at home and even financially assisted him in his studies. I never told anyone until it was all over. It took me two and a half years to come into my senses. I never saw him again. I never want to. I got a social media invite from him around three years ago and I just ignored it. I never want to do anything with him ever again.
Next is sexual harassment that I never expected because he was a cousin. Someone I trusted. It happened only a month after I broke up with my abusive relationship and I went to visit an Aunt. He asked me to add him in Friendster, so I used his laptop to input my credentials. All of a sudden, he was at my back, and started hugging me from behind. It would seem sweet at first, but I was all grown up. I was seventeen, turning eighteen. I had all the physical aspects that could arouse men. He hugged me and his right hand had almost wandered below my abdomen and the other was almost at my chest. I was scared and I freezer where I was standing. My dog was my savior as he ran out of the room so I was able to break away giving reasoning out that I had to chase my dog. I told my Mama about it when I was already working and during my wedding, my Mama told me not to go near him, (I had to invite my Aunt and the whole family), good thing though he never came.
These three impacted me the most. I had anorexia and bulimia and I don’t actually remember when I started to recover. Until now, I still experience harassment; in my work, during our vacations when I walk alone in the streets, in my commute at night or even when I walk in the mall. I try to speak out when I feel sexually and/or emotionally harassed these days. I tend to point at the person so that he would stop. Some say it is what you wear, but that is not true! I wear shirt and pants but I still get cat calls. It is so big of an issue but actually so few are ready to talk about it.
I have wanted to do boxing since 2016. I am a very health conscious person so I always go to the gym and I also started cooking my own food around November last year. Come January, my best friend introduced me to this boxing gym along C.P. Garcia near Eastwood City. It felt really good so I enrolled as a member and got myself a coach, Daren. He was a former boxer but he is very young. He was only twenty four years old last January and he said he stopped going in the ring for a while because he wanted to teach.
I committed myself to going at least once a week, and at first that was really an effort because my body ached for almost a week after every session. Eventually by March, my body got used to the rigorous training. We would normally start out with stretching, jumping rope then three rounds of boxing, three rounds of speed bag, three rounds of double-end bag, and then we do another three rounds of boxing again. It doesn’t stop at that, my coach asks me to lift weights, do ladder exercise and sometime plyometrics and then some abdominal exercises and finally the final set of stretches. It is very rigorous so it really trains the body to be strong. I only box to sweat and it has become an outlet to relieve stress. I can only imagine how rigorous the training of boxers is when one trains to fight. So last week, into six months of training with my coach, I wanted to treat him and it was also to celebrate his birthday.
We ate at a fast food restaurant and I gave him my rice because I do not want to waste mine and I wanted to really make him full on his birthday. As we were eating our food, he opened up about being a boxer. He told me that he is thinking of focusing on teaching now and he does not want to go back to being a boxer anymore. Inevitably I was curious on the reason why such a young lad, with no recorded losses would want to quit his craft at such a young age. So he told me his story. He is from a fishing village down south and he had experienced hardships along the like everybody else. So he decided to try boxing and he was actually good at it. His trainer was very strict and his schedule was tightly monitored. He had to sleep early at night and wake up early in the morning as well to start training. Even his food intake was being monitored closely. Honestly I did not expect less from athletes who would eventually represent the Philippines. So what made him quit? It was his manager. He said that his manager wanted only to make him a sparring partner for those who are stronger than him. He would train all day and everyday just to give another athlete a good practice and he really felt that it was unfair for him. Another reason that he wants to quit is because he felt more freedom as a trainer rather than as the trainee. At the end of our conversation I felt bad for my coach.
I do empathize with what my coach feels and think. I agree that it is unfair that he only gets to fight once a year. Perhaps I have not heard the side of his manager but sometimes I feel like people who are opportunists exist in the world and they feed on the dreams, ambitions, and aspirations of the innocents. These innocents then get exploited and lose hope.
Last Saturday, my group mates and I reported about the Cannabis industry. The setting was in the late 1980’s to early 1990’s. I actually had so much interest in our report that I spent the first three days researching about marijuana, its effects, its benefits and other uses. I will not lie, I have heard a lot about it. Since college days, students taking drugs were rampant. It was used after classes when going to drinking sessions. In UP I had classmates who would use it in between classes and during parties of organizations. It was common among youngsters to be curious about this drug because they had easy access to suppliers and also there were no random drug tests in UP so students had no fear of getting caught and getting kicked out.
Out of my 6 years in college, I have never heard of any marijuana users who had gone astray of their studies. They all continued to graduate and became employees and great professionals. Still the problem remains, this drug is considered illegal. Since Rodrigo Duterte’s government concentrated on drug war, I believe that the use of illegal drugs already fluctuated. I do not think that it is as rampant as before but I do think there are still those brave persons who see defying rules as an adventure.
Through my research, I have learned that THC is the substance in marijuana that gives the feeling of high to the marijuana smokers. Tetrahydrocannabinol is the whole term for THC. It is the substance that has a psychoactive effect. Contrary to normal belief, that there is no overdose of marijuana, overdose is actually represented by decreased motor coordination and slurred speech, though of course these are temporary. So what is so bad about marijuana? Some studies say that it can help with epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease and even cancer. To the users, they say that smoking marijuana has a happy effect and would keep them laughing for hours. However to the users who have a tendency of substance abuse, marijuana is a gateway drug for them to explore other stronger drugs and that is what’s wrong about legalizing marijuana.
Even so, I also see the benefits of a country that has legalized cannabis. If a country legalizes the use of this drug just like legalizing gambling, then they would have as much control as they have on other agricultural crops. They would be able to put taxes. They would also have control over the farming conditions of the plant. Lastly the government would be able to control distribution of marijuana only to users who are supposed to use this drug.
I don’t think that marijuana will be legalized any time soon in our country where state and church is inseparable (as of the moment). The people are so conservative because of our dominant religion, Roman Catholicism. The church and government are interdependent in the Philippines such that the politicians use the teachings of the church in arguments and use these arguments to win the votes. Issues such as LGBTQ marriage, birth control and divorce have been very dependent on the teachings of the Bible. I already know what would be the argument of the church if ever someone proposes legalization of marijuana in the Philippines: “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” (Corinthians 6:19-20) and also “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (Peter 5:8).