Posts Tagged ‘silence speaks’

We are a big clan.

My  paternal grandfather had fifteen kids in all and dad was second to the oldest  among Tatay’s  kids (we called our  paternal grandfather Tatay and all the rest of his other siblings except my lone aunt who we called Nanang). The first seven were during the first marriage and the second eight kids with Tatay’s second wife. I never knew my paternal grandmother. She died giving birth to their youngest, their seventh child who grew up with speech defect  and cannot speak well.  One of them told me that I look like her, speak like her and even got her mannerism. Maybe that was why I was so closed to them when they were alive. Let’s just say I was one of their favorite nieces.  They are all gone now except the youngest who is now around eighty years old.

When Tatay married again, they had eight kids and the youngest is now as old as I am. I remember Dad telling me that his only sister used to take care of her half-siblings. My two aunts and an uncle live in Spain with their families and the youngest  is married to a Japanese and has lived in Japan for more than three decades now.

I have close to about fifty first cousins  and  so many nephews and nieces with their own families now.  Imagine having so many grandchildren with cousins. I  haven’t met almost half of them except seeing them in pictures. Last February 2011, my aunts and uncles organized a family reunion and it was an amazing attendance with around a hundred family members  including their wives and husbands.  I was not able to attend though because of health problems.

When my aunts  and I meet, we usually talk about our family tree.  We remember those days when Tatay was still alive and my brothers and I would visit them in their home in another barangay in the province.  We remember those days when Tatay was so active in Church. He was a choir member and  a Legion of Mary member too. And I remember those days when we would visit their farm and before we go home, our bags are laden with fresh veggies and some fruits.

Though we are far from each other, we get by through Facebook messenger and occasional texts and calls.  We are connected. We may not often see each  other but the bond is there.


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High school life was so different from the grade school years I spent in the province. The probinsiyana kid was now a city girl 🙂

I was actually late in taking the admission test for high school at the University of Santo Tomas but since my father worked at the university, the high school principal accommodated me. I even took the exams at the principal’s office.

Though my brothers and I spent summer break  in Manila during our grade school  years to be with Dad, residing permanently in a city was a challenge for me.  I have to take a commute from our place in Quezon City to Espana in Manila. Back then, there were buses traveling the long road passing in front of the University gates. Jeepneys were plenty too and traffic was unheard of. The girl sections in all years usually had their class in the morning while our brother sections had theirs in the afternoon.  We only get to mingle with them during joint school activities like sports fests, spelling bee contests and the like.

I do remember the very first day during my freshman year. We prayed the Morning Offering after the flag ceremony then our Spiritual Director gave us each a blessed rosary.  In every subject, we had to introduce ourselves to our teachers. I felt so conscious back then. My classmates looked so smart and well-dressed. Eventually we had to wear our uniforms. It took me a while to adjust to high school life.  The grammar was okay but the diction was a little hard on the ears if you know what I mean.

I have always loved our English subjects. I didn’t like  Algebra much because I could not understand all those symbols but  I adored Chemistry and Physics.  Religion subject was also part of our curriculum from first to fourth year. We had yearly retreats and once a month  celebration of the mass in school where we had to wear our gala uniform.

It was a tradition in our school that before we leave its portals, we had to make a presentation for the lower years and for our teachers.  Each of the senior students was given assignments. We had to brainstorm on a title of our presentation but  ended with Walang Pamagat  meaning No Title. We adapted various television programs and made our own scripts. Other graduating class after us followed  suit with the same title but added numbers like Walang Pamagat  One, Walang Pamagat Two.

We started having reunions back in 2003 and it is now a regular thing every three years. Every year, the organizers are able to trace more classmates and school mates. Some groups have get-together every time a high school friend takes a vacation from abroad. Half of us are working and staying abroad now. Some of them had become doctors, engineers and lawyers.

My high school life at a glance.

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Woke up early to the sound of heavy rains pouring down the roof. I thought super typhoon Maria  is  already here. Good thing it was just one of those thunderstorms. How early it is though.  Couldn’t sleep last night, I was awake by 1 am, read for a while until 3 am then tried to catch more sleep  finally waking up at 5 am. Caught the early morning mass at 6 am.

What’s on your mind Arlene? Same question I always see on my wall when I open Facebook.

Blogging took a back seat for a while. I went back to my doctor for the urine culture results and my CEA marker testing. Maybe that was why for the previous weeks, I still had UTI because the antibiotics I was given before was resistant. The only option was to change to antibiotics that is sensitive to my ailment. Come to think of it, all of them were injectable.  My doctor requested for a shot right there and then. I was worried cause I didn’t bring enough cash to pay for the medicine except my health card.  I am glad that it was also covered. I had a skin test on both arms. One of the things I am so fearful about is when the nurse do the skin testing which is so painful. They have to wait at least thirty minutes to see if I  was allergic to the drug or not.  Those few seconds  of intense pain when finally, the nurse injected it on my right buttock….wow! Imagine, ten grams of it. I have to go back on Tuesday (banning the bad weather) for another urinalysis and follow-up check-up.

I just closed my eyes in prayer when I saw the result of my CEA. The normal range is 0 to 5 while I got 9.22. My doctor said it is nothing to worry about.  Higher or elevated CEA result is not just because of recurring colon cancer but through other things like my infection.  I’ve been in remission for nine years now and I hope it is finally gone.

Our friendly neighbor gave me a bag of fresh guyabano leaves to use as tea infusion. It needs to be air-dried though to keep it long.  It is soursop to you dear readers. It has so many healthy benefits including its ability to protect you from cancer cells.  I bought a locally prepared guyabano tea too and a box of malunggay   (moringa) tea.

Health is wealth, we always say. That is so true because when you are not healthy, you are poorer than the ordinary man on the street.


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Blue, you said, fits me more

Than any color would do

That canvas called life

Could never hide the truth inside

As you once were, I feel blue tonight.

I chose to be a poet

But you wonder why

My poems never rhyme

Maybe I’ll find the words

That will match the music and the song

If only you were here!

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Finally reached my 2,300th post including this one but that does not include the additional 523 posts (total) in my  other four blogs. The stats here is just for Dreams and Escapes.

Sometimes I feel I lost my muse, finding it hard to write after so long. Sometimes I feel I have already covered all the subjects that a blogger like me writes about. Sometimes I feel I am sharing too much – family life, my garden, my friends, photographs I took over the years, books I read and books I still have to read in the future, dreams and what have you’s.

But sometimes I think they are never enough. As long as one is alive and kicking, you get to experience life and all its angst all the more. You get to learn through time and the journey may be easier to navigate  or the road may be full of stones.

I made a similar title of this post six years ago. There is still that desire to get in touch with the world in general and to close friends in particular. One good thing about this blogging genre is that I found many online friends here, read about their lives in the process. I treasure the times when I open my reader feed and I see their names and their updates.   I feel so excited to see their lovely photographs, read about how life is in other countries far and wide.

And I’ve always said that blogging has become a way of life for me.

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Just can’t help but reminisce a little – from some recess of memory.  More than  four decades ago, I was exactly in this same vein and wrote Drops of Ink in a Blue Sand which I adopted as title to my journal entries from way back. My journal is now a tattered notebook and the prints are no longer clear.

24 October ’77-Monday
2:45pm QC

October is a young girl scattering her days with life’s golden dreams, wishing a thousand wishes and dreaming myriads of dreams.

These twenty years of my life are varied hues of green, pink, blue and yellow. I think of my Octobers, this one particularly, which is rapidly melting into my twenty-first……..

But not without a tinge of nostalgia, for after all, remembering and saying goodbye to everything that has been a part is not without its tears. Twenty is a fragile thing, like a crystal glass wherein  your very soul is reflected there. It is tender, a soothing music of late night’s dreams, yes – twenty is a varied hues of green, pink and yellow.

But hope is a resplendent and effulgent thing.  and so, once more, I gather my dreams and rebuild my sand castles, look back at this lovely season which is slowly and regrettably falling into that never-never world where beautiful and pleasant things are laid to rest.

The hurt and the pain I will try to bury deep in the limbo of forgotten things lest I remember and make myself cry again. I will only recall the good and the beautiful, the nice and the pleasant:

* the evening walks along Espana on rainy evenings of August, Gilda’s and Marilen’s shout of “what are friends for” simply because they didn’t bring any umbrella to cover their heads.  the laughter, despite the knee-deep waters and the all too unpleasant smell of buses and jeepneys, the elbow-jerking and seat-grabbing with other students;

* the little talks with Grace, Emmie and Thea about anything under the sun – from Emerson to Merton or from Simon’s “Bridge Over Trouble Water” to the Carpenters.  the poetry sessions with Rey, Tony and Mike.  the little arguments, Rey saying that he never read Kahlil Gibran and Emmie insisting that Gibran is simply superb.

*and that afternoon I deliberately didn’t punch-in my time card only to see a movie with Grace somewhere along CM Recto.  how we cried at the thought of saying goodbye, at the Little Prince’s farewell to his pilot friend and the fox and the Little Prince’s secret, “it is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eyes”. how we followed every word, remembering those much-thumbed thoughts and heavily underlined passages of the equally beautiful book of de Saint-Exupery. we left the movie house with misty eyes but filled with new hopes and pleasant thoughts of tomorrow and the next green, pink, blue and yellow mornings of our lives…..

*the cold feet we had in our Speech class, delivering those not-so memorized lines in front of our frowning professor who made us wonder if we got and pronounced the “th’s and the “f’s” right to her over-sensitive ears. and of course, that happy feeling of knowing that you can act after all;

These are just part of the season of my life that I will never forget. Grace, Ailene, Emmie, Thea, Rey, Mel, Fred, Gilda, Marilen, Boyet, Mike, Oscar, Sue, Nory, and Eddie……those seemingly endless names of my equally wonderful friends. Rest assured, I will treasure every moment of our times together.  Thank you Mel for the evening walks, your patience in waiting for a ride with me although you live just a stone’s throw away from UST. You know Rey, I still keep the poems you gave on that red-colored February.  Emmie, I will surely miss your sisterly advice. Grace, what about our daily exchange of letters? Someday, I will visit you at the convent to recall those green, pink, blue and yellow mornings and the thousand wishes and  the myriad dreams we had and will always have with Him. 

And always, I will keep the gifts I received on my twentieth birthday. Of course, there will be other seasons, other places and other green, pink, blue and yellow mornings but this October will always remain tender even if the other mornings turn to gray and the myriad dreams turn to ashes.

One of my close friends is now a nun  while one of them is  now a  priest. Some of them are still my friends.  We still get in touch through Facebook and get to see each other once in a while.

Sometimes it is nice to recall those days, they make you smile and  cry a little, they make you feel young again. The days of youth maybe gone but the memories remain. days to treasure, days to remember.


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Been going back and forth to the doctor the past few days, that is  every Saturday.  He suggested that I undergo Urine Culture and Sensitivity Test. I have to buy a bottle of distilled water  so I could submit the required amount of urine for the laboratory. I mentioned earlier that I am also a  colon cancer survivor and he also included CEA marker testing in his request. I am nervous and at the same time confident that my CEA markers would be normal. Praying on it and for it.

A few more hours to go and  it’ll be another leaf in the calendar. Uneventful June if I may  say. I don’t know, lately I feel so lazy to go out and socialize. A friend invited me to a party this coming week but it is a night affair. I don’t go out at night (really) because of the hardship in commuting. Besides,  I don’t want Oreo to be left alone in the house for long. I usually leave him for a few minutes when I buy some lacking grocery items  in our pantry. The village grocery store is just outside our village’s gate, a five-minute walk from our place.

Some people might think the days are boring. I am busy most of the time to get bored and when I am not doing anything, I read. You are not alone when you read. Books are unique in the sense that they get you to places you have never been to, experience those heart-stopping moments of a chase, learn more crafts, increase your  awareness on the lives of people you only meet in  books. It’s one thing why I love reading memoirs too. I always remember Stephen King’s words when I read. He said and I quote “Books are uniquely portable magic”. I was lucky enough to find his lovely book called “On Writing:  A Memoir of the Craft” several years ago. I have read it thrice already. I thought at first it was an autobiography but it was all about some pointers in writing.  I say, write from the heart.

Hello July. Surprise me please.


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