Duty

Bestowed on me is the responsibility of a good child. My parents reared and cared for me when I was young so it is only fair that I give back the same quality of time and effort they spent on my well-being during my growing years. It’s the way we were taught.

Sadly, I failed the task when Father was around though now I am given the chance to rectify that mistake by giving Mother more of my time. Given the opportunity to make amends, I am bound to keep her company for the rest of her days.

Yes, I will have lesser freedom when she stays with me. Much of my time wandering about would be restricted to short errands: no more long vacations. On the other hand, I could accompany her when she visits relatives. Her longer stay in their care could somewhat provide me with the same amount of time for myself. It’s a matter of scheduling and compromises, I suppose. A win-win formula so to speak.

Before I arrived at such an idea, I had to shuttle back and forth from my rural spot to the faraway city where she and her female cousin reside. Four round-trips later when the temporary accommodation that suited us both formed in my head. But such a scenario won’t do in the long run: money spent on travels could have been spent on more important needs such as food and medicines. A permanent solution has to be worked out.

In a few weeks, she will be here, at my place. She might rearrange my life as mothers often do with their children. I have to do a lot of explaining that I am old enough to do what must be done. But out of respect, she might get more of what she wants. (She is that good!)

She will hover around, getting on my nerves, making me laugh or irritated or both, asking too many questions why I am not chasing women, and all sorts of inquiries that even a genius could not answer. She might even dictate behind my back while I am blogging, retelling old stories that she thinks I might share with all of you.

Like my younger sister, a long-time inspiration for our family, Mother’s presence will always standout when she finally comes over and ruin my life -er, inspire me.

Mothers know best. Personally, I doubt that. 🙂

 

Portrait

Unpopular maybe to others but that’s life.

Believe first in one self and show one’s true worth.

To please others comes next.

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Different

Did I sound angry yesterday?

Not today. (I am catching up on my reading.)

I am here, at least as long as the connection holds. 🙂

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Conviction

There are world issues we faithfully believe in, at times to the point we appear fanatically obsessed.

To protect the environment is one of them.

If we do not succeed in our cause, I am absolutely sure that Nature will fight back and punish us all in the end.

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Reactive

We eat. We feed our minds.

I’ve always wondered why bad news generate more interest than good ones. It’s rather surprising that in general we all want the positive sides of life to reign in our world. Yet, we see more of the negative, often sensationalized, bled dry of inside information and analyses till we are all consumed by all the ill effects to our minds.

I am not an exception to this generalization. In fact, when I watch the newscast I could not help but be glued to my seat, oblivious of what’s happening around just to hear every word reported about an event. I am not glad to listen to accounts of accidents, natural calamities, political or social turmoils leading to deaths, or any other unfortunate incidents. I simply want to know the information.

Like eating, we feed ourselves to feel satiated physically and contented emotionally that we are not hungry. Could it be true that we fill our brains with information to be mentally active and emotionally contented that we are not ignorant about what’s happening around us?

Like eating healthy, we choose foods that benefit our bodies.. Mentally, we acquire positive thoughts, meaningful knowledge and good news.

On the other hand, more often than not we eat junk food, too. We know they are bad for our health but since they taste good, we still continue to consume them. We also have other vices that negatively affect our bodies but still we readily give in to their promised pleasures.

So, in some way bad news, which are not probably good for our mental health, continue to be included in our daily fare. We absorb every bit of details, tune in to updates and follow them up till the end. Subliminally, our negative emotions are aroused, our sense of fair play skewed and our logical thinking set aside.

We eat what we are. But we sometimes think what we are not.

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Gentle

People will remember us for what we are in life.

Of course, no one would like to be a villain.

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Vigil

Before the year ended, another godson, my constant chess opponent, presented me with an alternative to television. He loaned me the CD-ROM version of the HBO series Game of Thrones, all four seasons for my viewing pleasure.

“I have a lot of work,” I said plainly. “I’ll probably watch it later if I still possess the energy to open my eyes.”

“I have a lot of questions, Ninong,” he confided. “I am sure you could answer them when you’re finished with all the episodes.”

“You understand English, don’t you? What’s the matter?”

“Yes, but I have trouble following the dialogues.”

“I see.”  Nuances could be tricky.

I could tell that he was very interested. His enthusiasm showed on his boyish face.

“I will check it out during my break.”

Frankly, I was as ignorant as my neighbors about the series. Even though I was online most of the time I was not too keen to preview even the short clips on YouTube. I was more of a music video enthusiast.

I went back to the house to take a quick peek.

After screening the first episode of season one, I was glad I was spared watching the spoilers online. I felt a sense of heightened suspense, not knowing what would come next as the story unfolded. It was riveting.

Instantly, I decided to stop my field work. I had ten hours on my hands: everything went on hold. 🙂

I was not surprised why the series earned a large following. It possessed all the drama and mystique of a great legend.

I have not read the books yet. I am aware that most adaptations somewhat veered away from the original, with the author’s blessings, of course. Still, the core of the story was intact.

Like my godson, I have questions, certain matters that needed straightening out. For starters, in the first episode, how did one of the rangers escape the White Walker? My guess: cowardice could be the answer.

I am hooked so I am waiting for the fifth season installments. 🙂

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Review

Waking up in a peaceful place is part of the allure of provincial life. We do not need to watch out for anything unexpected, contented to live as simple as possible.

On the contrary, all those people in areas with conflicts could not claim the same: fear of the unexpected torments their hearts and minds. They need all their survival instincts to escape various threats against themselves and their loved ones.

We should re-examine our current situation. It is a must.

Let me take this opportunity to plead for the cause of peace, to denounce violence in all forms, and to exhort everyone to refrain from stoking the fires of ongoing hostilities.

We should learn to live together in harmony. It’s not an impossible task.

Please! Let us do away with the constant recriminations and animosities that divide us. We should instead work together to elevate our existence to a higher consciousness, an advanced specie in the universe, worthy of greatness we hope to achieve as a civilization.

I believe, we will prevail.

Merry Christmas to all. A wonderful day to everyone.

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Assured

“Ninong, can I ask you a personal question?”

They were back, the four horsemen, er, the four sooner-to-be-men. I had an inkling that they were bored roaming around, seeing the same scenery every time. What they needed was a stimuli to tax their brain with a mental exercise.

If it would be about their non-existent Ninang, I was ready to shoo them away to bug someone else. I was sure they already heard all the variations of my answer, most specifically my evasive tactics.

“Fire away,” I replied, standing up to my full height from the kneeling position.

They pretended to hold long guns and proceeded to pepper me with ghost bullets. I did not expect their reaction but I was to blame for giving them the cue.

“Seriously, what is it?” I asked, engaging them with my own invisible firepower.

After their laughter subsided, the eldest hushed them completely so he could present his query.

“How do you know if a woman likes you?”

These boys have fathers. Why should I be the one grilled for such father-son talk? The only answer I could think of was that I treated them not as kids when I explain things.

“To tell you the truth, I am not an expert about the subject. What I do know though is that women like men who respect them.”

They showed aha looks, perhaps inculcating in their heads the gem I just said.

“Besides that, how can you tell? I mean you had experience. Surely, you can tell us about it.”

If there’s a trap somewhere, I was not aware of it. The innocuous questioning could lead to the same conclusion I often feared that would be asked.

“Women can keep you guessing so don’t be too sure of what you think is actually the same as what they think.”

Confused faces confronted me. Even the youngest seemed to crease his forehead, unable to follow the line of thought.

“You mean they might show something but it is not what it appears to be?”

“They might be too friendly with you, but that’s it: they treat you as a friend. You might interpret the same action as affection but if it is not explicitly said so, you should be careful not to make incorrect conclusions.”

“What should we do then?”

“Be a man!” I replied. “Tell her what you feel and wait for her reply. It’s that simple.”

“What if she does not reply?”

“That’s when courting comes in. You woo her, do the works.”

I could see they were not satisfied with my suggestion. It would seem the younger generation believed in instant relationships much like instant messaging. Most probably they were not prepared for the long waiting period of the traditional setup.

“It’s a good thing I am still a boy,” the youngest quipped. “I really don’t like girls hanging around me.”

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Scheme

It’s another day in paradise. 🙂

What’s not to like? The sun is gloriously beaming its warm rays on my exposed skin, impressing on me that I should be grateful for its presence in my life.

Field work could sometimes be boring, the repetitive tasks deprived me of creativity. I felt like a robot whenever this happened.

Today was not such a day. I made sure of that. 🙂

Surprisingly, four of my godsons were present where I busied myself clearing cut branches. What came quickly to my mind was the amount of assistance they could contribute to my current task.

“Are you here to help me?” I asked when they orbited around me.

“Christmas is approaching, Ninong!” The eldest of the four stated. At fifteen, I believed he instigated the visit.

“I am aware of that,” I replied, turning back to picking up dried twigs and leaves. “However, I don’t think I’ll celebrate it this year. As you can see I have a lot of work.”

I was faking it, of course. I could imagine that with their silence, they possessed only frowning faces.

“You’re supposed to rest on Christmas Day.”

“How can I?” I faced them. “Look at this mess.”

I could sense they were fighting the urge to make a move, their eyes questioning one another if they were prepared to share time and effort at a time they were supposed to be having their aimless wanderings.

“Let’s help Ninong!”

In truth, I did not foresee such a chivalrous exhortation from the youngest of them. By reputation, he was the wiliest, the most frequent of my visitors, the inquirer of strange questions. Of them all, he could have vanished the minute work was in the agenda.

“If that’s the case, I might change my mind about a Christmas celebration.”

After the exchanges of teasing and boyish laughter, they went to work, treating the activity as pure play. They each formed their own pile, besting each other on who would end up having the tallest mound.

Not bad, I thought. I sat on a long felled log, taking a breather, watching them accomplished four times the work that should have been mine earlier.

Sweat formed on their foreheads, the physical exercise pumped them up. Naturally, they were hungry afterward.

“Since it was his initiative, he should hold on the money for your snack.”

“I am the eldest, Ninong. I also have the largest pile. I should hold the money.”

“Vote!”

As it turned out, the other two picked the youngest. It was three to one.

“Here!” I gave them fifty pesos each.

They scratched their heads, confused with the way I handled the situation. I had the feeling that they suspected that that was it, their Christmas gift.

“That’s for your snack,” I explained, laughing. “You’ll get your gifts much later.”

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