The Untold Story in the Garden East of Eden

In the beginning, God created man in His own image and likeness and He called him Adam. He put him to tend and care for the garden He created east of Eden.

God then planted fruit-bearing trees in the garden that are edible and pleasing to the eyes. The tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil are the most distinct of the trees in the garden. He told Adam that he has freedom to eat of all the fruits in the garden except for the fruits of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil situated in the middle of the garden. For once he ate of it, he will die.

And God said that it is not good for Adam to be alone. Thus, he created beasts of the land and birds of the air and brought them to Adam to give them names. And whatever Adam called them, those were their names.

But God saw that Adam was not entirely satisfied. He knew that Adam needed someone comparable to him; thus, He caused Adam to go into deep slumber and took a rib out of him and created in his own likeness and image. He brought her to Adam, and Adam called her Woman because she was bone of his bones and flesh of his flesh. And they tended and cared for the garden that God provided for them.

All the creatures in the garden were obedient to Adam just as how Adam was obedient to God. He told them what God instructed – that they could eat of the grasses and fruits except for the fruits of the tree in the middle of the garden. However, as with all groups or clans, there was an outlier.

The serpent, curious of what it could cause him, once crept on all fours towards the tree in the middle of the garden while Adam and Eve were tending on the other side. It climbed the forbidden tree, and enticed by the sweet smell of the fruits, grabbed one and ate it. The serpent enjoyed the succulent taste of the fruit and suddenly, its eyes opened and became aware of everything. The serpent knew that it can be the most cunning of animals. With the new wisdom gained from the bite, the serpent remained in the tree, awaiting to share the news to any creature that come near it.

The Woman, at one moment, enticed by the beauty of the tree in the middle of the garden, approached while Adam was tending the flock. The serpent saw her and immediately appeared from the tree. It seduced the woman to grab a fruit and take a bite. It told the woman that God didn’t want for them to eat of the fruits of the forbidden tree for it will open their eyes to what is good and evil. The serpent encouraged Eve that when she takes a bite, she will be like God who knows all things.

With the serpent’s prodding, the woman was seduced and took a fruit from the tree. She tasted it and agreed with the serpent that it was good. Adam saw what she did and he drew near. He reminded the woman of God’s rule but the woman insisted that Adam tries it. She said it was very good. Adam eventually gave in and agreed with the woman and the serpent. And after a few moments, their eyes were opened and became aware of their nakedness. With this awareness, they felt ashamed and sewed leaves to hide their nakedness.

Then, they heard God walking in the garden and hid from Him. God called out to Adam and Adam responded. He told God that he was ashamed to show himself because he was bare. God then asked him how he knew he was uncovered. He asked Adam if he ate of the fruit from the forbidden tree, which Adam replied that it was the woman who tempted her to eat of the fruit. And God asked the woman what she has done to which the woman blamed the serpent who deceived her.

Enraged, God punished the serpent, Adam and the woman.

He told the serpent that from that moment on, it will be cursed more than all the creatures. It will crawl on its belly and eat dust all the days of its life. God created barrier between the serpent and the woman, and between the serpent’s seed and the woman’s seed. The fruit of the woman will strike the serpent’s head and the serpent’s seed will bruise the heel of the woman’s fruit.

To the woman, God said He will multiply her sorrow and her pains. She will conceive generations but will undergo tremendous pain throughout the process. She will remain devoted to her husband and her husband will rule over her.

And to Adam, God told him that because of his disobedience, the ground will be his ally. He will toil all the days of his life. With blood, sweat and tears, he’ll do manual labor to provide for his family. This he will do until he returns back to the ground. For from dust he was created and to dust he shall return.

And Adam called his wife, Eve for she was the mother of all living.

DREAM!

Dream

Don’t quit on your dream. Defy negativity. Say NO to nevers, can’ts or won’ts. You may not succeed the first time. You might encounter road blocks. You might stumble a few times and hear “I told you so”. But if you stay focused, you’ll eventually get it. The universe will conspire to make it happen.

#thecrazydreamer

Ladies, Don’t Forget Your Girlfriends

Collage 2014-03-13 21_39_25

Girlfriends come in all shapes and sizes. Mine came from years of shuttling around and staying put in one place for a while.

Come to think of it, I have a lot of girlfriend circles. There’s this notion of a best friend. Elders would usually ask who your best friend is and the immediate answer would be the person you’re closest to at the moment. I realize now though that strong ties are formed with different friends. It may be true for some that a best friend really exists but I’m glad I have bestfriendS (yes, many!). These are my closest girlfriends within my GF circles.

I had a girlfriend in the province, Jessica, who shared kid dreams with me. We used to play in the fields, climb trees, catch dragonflies. I also had a girlfriend in my cousin Precy whom I considered my big sister. We used to bathe in the river, create our own stories, search for wild berries and dig for peanuts. They shared with my 5yo self the gift of play and discovery.

Then we moved to the city. It’s where I obtained my formal education. I met good friends when I was 7yo who taught me Tagalog. Looking back, it was a funny transition. Here was a probinsyana kid trying to blend in by making friends but can’t speak nor understand Tagalog. Thanks to Liezel, Jamie, Sandra and Noey who still held my hand and pulled me to the playground to play while I learned the language. Then there was Tin and Noey who also taught me about crushes. At that age, I was just following them. I understood what a crush meant when they were whispering about our cute classmates.

We had to move schools again in 3rd grade where I met Michelle, the class artist, whom I tried to imitate but all I can draw were sticks while she drew very good cartoons of animals and people. It was also where I met Cindy who always had noodles in her bento-like lunchbox. We would look for a non-crowded place to eat and share our baons.

I was just settling in when we had to transfer schools and house again – our last in elementary. I met Anna in the neighborhood. We would spend afternoons opening zoom-zooms for freebies and bazookas for comics. Then we’d pretend we can fly using our superpowers. It was the hype of power rangers and Princess Sarah etc. There came a time when she had to move after her lola’s passing that disconnected us from each other. But Margie replaced that space. We would play outdoor games, balancing playing rough with the boys and creating jewelries from plants. This girlfriend, I’m keeping until now. Anna Liza, on the other hand, was my school girlfriend. I learned how to play tough with guys with her while being girly at the same time. 

High school – the most memorable stage for me. We finally settled as a family in one place which also meant we can grow roots longer. It’s where I met my first 4 girlfriends – Edna, Peng, Vite, Jennylyn – over banana cue lunch. (Gals, where’s our memory notebook?) Over the 4 years, we added friends in between but we remained close throughout high school. Marenn was one of my in-betweens who remained a very close girlfriend along with Edna. Handwritten letters were also passed back and forth with Mariani, Monica and my soul, Ronora.

Then high school ended and off we went to college where I met more people. College is a tough one as choosing shifts meant you won’t have the same classmates as in the previous semester. This allowed me to meet new girlfriends while keeping the old ones. Those whom I established close ties with in college (along with my childhood and high school BFs) remain in my closest circle until now. Work life added more to the list and there will surely be some more down the lane.

Growing up also made me appreciate and become closer to my two beautiful sisters at home. They’re my greatest bonds whom I can confide and argue with, knowing that at the end of the day, we’ll still love each other and protect each other no matter what. And this home circle includes our equally beautiful mom (our angel up there), all wonderful cousins, aunts and lolas.

This month is celebrating women; thus, I’m devoting this post to honor all my girlfriends past and present. I pray that wherever you are around the world, that you continue to shine and inspire everyone you meet the same way that you did with me.

 

Here’s to celebrating Women’s Month. Cheers!

A Moment with Clouds

White space disks circling on top of mountains? OMG, UFOs! Yet we were deceived – hyped by the media in previous years.

Ask Gavin and he’ll explain what it is. I imagine him waving his hands in the air saying, “Oh, it’s the rare lenticularis cloud.” And people would say, “Sorry, I think we didn’t hear it right. Are you saying that’s a cloud?” And Gavin would say with humble confidence, “Yes, it is.”

If it were the 60s to 90s, the crowd would twitch their noses, turnaround 180 degrees and believe those are still UFOs.

Cloud-watching is one of the most relaxing hobbies. It’s the best excuse to be idle, as Gavin would say. You just lie down on a grassy hill and watch the clouds transform to different shapes; some very familiar.

But you don’t need a hill. You just have to look up wherever you are. That’s the message of the Cloud Appreciation Society. This community of cloud-lovers is organized by Gavin Pretor-Pinney with the aim of sharing their appreciation of clouds via photographs. If you go to their site, you’d also be educated (or refreshed for those of us who have forgotten what has been taught in school) of the different types of clouds.

 Made me start appreciating the sky more. So although not a member of the CAS, I started capturing my own. Try it too!

You would see something like a mountain that’s finishing its smoke break.

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mountain puff?
(Clarke, Pampanga 02.22.2014)

Or a bear

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fluffy bear over Serendra
(Serendra, Taguig City 02.09.2014)

Or a turtle travelling slowly

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mutant turtle going left
(Rizal Park, Manila 02.15.2014)

Or a legendary dragon

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light-eating dragon
(Rizal Park, Manila 02.15.2014)

Or a man ready to eat an airplane

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man’s face
(Rizal Park, Manila 02.15.2014)

Or if you least expect it, a heart on a sunny day

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sky in love
(Bannister Academy, Libis, Quezon City 2011)

So the next time you’re outside, look up. It might just be your lucky day for a sky treat.

Visit cloudappreciationsociety.org or their Facebook page to learn more.

Perspectives

Twixt the optimist and pessimist
The difference is droll:
The optimist sees the doughnut
But the pessimist sees the hole.
    – McLandburgh Wilson

Perspectives! First word that came to mind when I was thinking about what to write next. And then I remembered I have pictures and a quote to justify it.

We see things differently, and the way we see things determines if we get attracted or repulsed. As in the above quote, the optimist sees the donut and instantly knows there’s opportunity – food! Be filled by it. Get delectably attracted to it. The pessimist, however, sees the hole. Despite the donut looking oh-so-sweet, he isn’t satisfied just because it’s not whole. Thus, he will munch away unsatisfied.

Perspective is the string that tickles our decisions and our emotions. It helps define our character .

 

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narrow view: chopsticks or pick-up sticks?
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wide view: light poles being arranged for the streets
(shot taken from our office’s window)

 

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drinks!
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only if it weren’t on display
(Baguio Flower Festival 2012)

 

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toy cars
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all parked in an open lot… with the chopsticks/ pick-up sticks in the foreground
(shot taken from the office)

 

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vandals
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… for MENTAL clothing brand
(wall advert – Market!Market!, Taguig)

 

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yellow and black sweater or part-of-the fence?
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get the connection?
(Camp John Hay, Baguio City)

 

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upside down

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yes! – in an upside-down resto
(White Plains, Quezon City)

Finally, for those who love the moon and the occasional night jobs

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moon + light = moonlighting
(lucky shot. Guadalupe Apartment, Makati City)

 

 

An Open Letter to Parents and Would-Be Parents

Let me tell you a bit of my story in order to make sense of this letter.

 People who only know me now wouldn’t believe my life story growing up. They would see me as the soft-spoken, demure lady. But if they’ve seen me as a child and a teenager, they’d be surprised.

 I grew up a provinciana – an Igorota from the Mountain Provinces. Until the age of five, I ran around the field with our dog, Happy. Had lunch with neighbors I and my friends found ourselves at sun up. Bathed in the river. Opened and ate fresh palays from the rice field. Climbed trees, even the thorny calamansi tree, carefully holding on to every branch so as not to fall. Hugged a guava tree in an attempt to climb it too but got pricked by a caterpillar. It was then that I learned how slippery it was to climb a guava tree after a rain shower.

 We then moved to the city, where I experienced a different life. We initially stayed in a mining community where my dad was hired as an electrical engineer. But even while we were living in the outskirts of Baguio, we got schooled in the main city where I slowly learned Tagalog, made new friends, wore uniforms, shoes, and ribboned socks, and had snacks and play time.

 Our elementary school years were all about shuttling schools and houses until we finally bought a lot and built a home.

 We didn’t have a car so we had to commute. Walked the steep path of the village to get to the highway that gave me defined calves, which I proudly embrace.

 My brothers are now taller than I am but I cared for them before.

 I carried my brother RJ with a cloth sling while playing around the house when I was 7 years old to assist my mom and our help doing chores on Saturdays, and I was fine with it. He was a big baby but the sling helped me carry him better.

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Bonding with the sibs and cousins (Nov. 2013)
My brother RJ wearing the red sweater. My brother MJ wearing the gray and white hoodie and me in the blue-belted long-sleeved polo

 I did my contribution at home. I’ve carried pails of water from a distance and washed my own clothes. Our house helps did the washing when we were younger but when we got to high school, we were mandated to do our own laundry. We packed our own clothes when we go on trips, and learned to slice vegetables and meat to be cooked.

Our parents’ imbibed in us the value of responsibility, constantly reminding us that it’s for our future.

It’s a note to all parents – so you don’t worry when your children leave for boarding school or even, to a new city to look for a job.

I know some parents still pamper their kids a lot so I meet peers who don’t know how to cook or just started learning. Who don’t value helping because there’s a house help anyway. Who can’t even wash their own clothes because they don’t know how to.

Parents, if you’re still overly-pampering, be warned. Don’t spoil your kids unless you want them to turn out demanding and carefree.

What if you’re gone? Do you think they can handle themselves well and the inheritance you leave behind? Do you think they can respect the worth of other people if you treat your helps as nothing else but domestic machines? Even, dressing them up in uniforms to show the world that, “Hey, I’m rich and this is my atsay.”

We had helps at home too growing up but there were rules like doing our share in chores. Our helps eat in the same table at the same time with us.

I also asked at one point why I needed to help out if there were “maids”. That was when my mom corrected me, saying that we shouldn’t be treating helps as such. They were hired to assist but not to take over our ability to contribute at home.

She also reminded me that everything they were teaching us was in preparation for adulthood.

True enough, it helped immensely.

I didn’t go looking for my mom or a help to get me started with cleaning the apartment I shared with other friends when I moved to the bigger city for work.

I didn’t call a friend to ask how longganisa should be cooked, and perform the process while being instructed over the phone.

I didn’t have to ask my mom what things I need to put in my bag for a trip, and how many underwears I should bring.

I didn’t have to call my dad to pick me up at school or in the mall because I know my way.

I didn’t struggle carrying pails of water for my bath during a camping trip because I did it back then.

I didn’t complain when we had to sleep on cement during a survival camp just because we had no more tents.

Bottom line, I know how to survive. I can blend in.

Even if I have some “kaartehan”, when the going gets tough, I will survive because I know how.

If you’re a guy, you don’t have to worry that I can’t walk the long rugged path if that’s what it takes to get to the destination. I’ll walk with you, whether or not you carry my pack.

To echo Michelle Yeoh’s words, I’m also silk and steel.

I am not “pa-arte” in the wrong places. I admit my wrongs and I recognize my insecurities.

I see people as to who they are and not what they are.

Greetings shouldn’t just be for bosses and colleagues but also for marshalls and janitors. If you have prejudices, you build walls instead of bridges.

I admire people in ranks who remain grounded. They lead by example.The same way that I admire taxi drivers who don’t only know the direction but who are also well-informed because they’re tuned in to news.

So parents, dear parents, as much as you want to give everything to your children, do it with actual concern.

That while you don’t want them to get sick, let them experience bathing in the rain anyway. No matter how cold it is, it’s a joy just getting drenched in the open.

That while you want their skin to be soft and unblemished, let them run and play. Bruises will be part of it but at least, they experienced what real play is – not in front of a computer screen with virtual characters. And believe me, it’s better if you let them explore than restrict them because they’d be more curious to try if you say “no” or “don’t do that”. There’s that itchy feeling to try it more with those words, which would create bruises on them anyway.

And when they grow up, let them help out in the house even if there are house helps.That way, they learn domestic life and you don’t have to worry how they’ll survive out in the real world.

Imbibe in them the virtue of respect and understanding. Respect – not just for elders, equals and bosses but also for house helps, janitors and staff. This way, the virtue passes on to the next generation.

And while you want them to have everything that you didn’t have or experiences you haven’t had, don’t overdo it.

For while it is true that people need to connect, cell phones are really not needed by 7-year olds and advanced models at that for teenagers.

For while baseball, piano or alternative classes are useful to enhance or develop talents, it’s not really needed to fill up the weekends. Weekends are supposed to be family bonding times. You do things as a family. Otherwise, you end waking up to drive your kids to a scheduled class on a Saturday morning. Then you complain you’re tired, that your week’s so full. Who filled it up with schedules anyway?

And then your kids go home tired. They wash up, go to their rooms and get immersed in the gadgets you bought them. Then you complain they don’t communicate anymore. You start comparing that during your time, you had ample time to talk to your parents and friends. Well, that’s because you created that culture with them.

I grew up spending the weekend doing what I want to do alongside what my family planned, and we grew up fine.

I did piano lessons in first and second grade during recess. But when I transferred schools because we had to move, I didn’t continue and that was okay because all the while, I knew what I wanted and that was to write. But my parents didn’t enrol me to writing classes. There was no need because school taught me how to.

Point is, your kids need you by their side to show you they can draw trees beside a cute drawing of your dog, family and home.

They need you to help them figure out how to build a lego ship, or solve a picture puzzle.

They need you to sing with them and teach them how to dance.

They need you to tell them stories and listen to theirs.

It’s not rocket science to raise kids. Because once you establish that close connection and teach them the basic virtues, you don’t have to worry much about them when they reach puberty.

You would feel grateful that when they get hurt or they won something, they’ll confide in you first, not their friends.

Dear parents, remember that you were kids once too. And you vary in experiences growing up. And while you want your kids to have everything, resist the temptation. There are lots of negative consequences of having everything than having initially nothing or just having the normal stuff.

I thank my parents for raising us the way that they did, and teaching us wonderful life lessons by sharing their life stories.

You may say I don’t have the right to say these because I’m not a parent yet and I don’t know how it is.

But I’m not speaking as a parent; rather, as a daughter. Because what I see now against the older Gen Y-ers (1980s), there’s clearly a huge generation gap that’s brought about by home development and family relationship for a child besides the obvious social contribution that will constantly transform him or her.

It’s not a question of how much you love them but a question of do you really love them?

If you’ve read this and you felt offended in any way, prepared to justify with strong remarks against this writer, then this letter is for you.

All comments will be gladly taken.

I just have one request – that you reflect on the letter’s contents and consider the suggestions.

 

Sincerely,

A concerned daughter

 

 

 

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