Split Screen Love Affair

Ever watched a noontime variety show that has a segment that features a 15 minute soap/telenovela? Well here in my side of the world, we have such.  Last year it even became a Twitter phenomenon.  It garnered the most  number of tweets when the 15-minute segment was given a three-hour block time by the local channel that airs the noontime variety show.  How many tweets? Believe it or not, more than 40 million at the time the noontime show was running.

It’s a phenomenon really.  When the segment started July of last year, lunchbreak for most workers got extended from its usual one-hour break to two and a half hours.  Why? Well, mostly because this segment was able to attract a following.  Tricycle ( a public utility vehicle  consisting of a motorcycle and an attached side car like the one used by the  Germans during the war years) drivers would hesitate, even turn away passengers so that they could watch the segment undisturbed.  This was true for jeepney drivers and even for my office mates too.  Coming from my 30-minute lunch break, I found myself all alone in our workstation, wondering if I missed a meeting of some sort.  Indeed I did as I found out the next day.  I joined a group for lunch, adjusting my break with theirs (we can’t leave our office empty, at least one is left behind to man the fort).  Anyway, that’s when I discovered  that not only drivers, housewives, pre-school kids and senior citizens as well as salespeople of appliances specifically TVs, include people working in restaurants and malls where TV sets are tuned in to this particular TV channel airing this noontime show – are actually, seriously glued to the TV watching the segment.

The following, or should I say the fans of the actors in this segment are not only local; it’s worldwide.  And the lead characters in this segment were given the opportunity last December to land parts in a movie which has been shown,  is being shown and will be shown in different parts of the world.  Really, phenomenal, if you ask me.

What’s unique about it is how effectively media is used.  The noontime variety show can be viewed via live steaming so you can watch the show anywhere in the world at a particular time.  If you missed it, then there’s always Facebook or YouTube.  Thanks to the cellphone, the IPad, the laptop or the PC.  Also, the lead actress is a dub smash sensation who’s very creative and witty; you’ll have a hearty laugh just watching her.  This segment does not even have a script so the actors just play it by ear which makes it all the more entertaining.  Further, one actor who is a male but plays the part of a female, a grandmother to be exact, constantly reminds about values which is  good for the young viewers.

Why the title?  Oh yes, I almost forgot.  The lovers met each other via a split screen on TV.  Until after three months did they finally get to be seen together on screen.  They didn’t even talk.  It was just dub smashing on the part of the female lead, while the lead actor was the only one speaking.

Since it’s just a segment with no script but obviously a micro-mini soap opera, a lot of viewers got inspired to write a love song for the characters, yours truly included.  The noontime variety show even started an original songwriting contest for this, to which yours truly joined but never got to be included among the selected finalists.  Oh well.

Anyway, the nicest outcome of this segment was that the groups of fans have become organized; the proceeds generated in that three-hour show have been used to build libraries for marginalized public schools.  Priceless, really.  I suppose if the lead actors in this segment would run for office, it’s no contest.  They’ll win. By the way, of note would be the number of ads that these two actors have so far since their segment started.  Way to go, Kalyeserye! – that’s the title of the segment ( rough transliteration, Street Series).

Here’s my entry that did not get selected:

Split Screen Love Story:

Minsan sumama Kay lola                             (I was with my Nana one day)

alalay sa pagbigay ng saya                           (To help her make others feel gay)

sa TV napatingin ang Bae ang napansin  (I chanced upon the TV, wow, this guy’s         groovy)

At nahulog ang asking feelings.                 ( Then I knew, I had feelings for you)

 

Kakaiba ang love story natin.                      (Our love story’s unique)

Nagkakilala sa split screen                          (On a TV split screen we meet)

Nag dub smash ng awitin.                            (love songs I dubsmashed)

Maihatid lang ang damdamin.                    (To express my feelings at last)

At sabay ng pabebeng kaway.                      (with a cutesie wave I flash)

 

Nayamot na nga si lola                                            ( Nana is irritated)

Di daw ayon sa paningin niya.                              (For her our way’s liberated)

Sa tamang paraan dapat ika’y manligaw.         (There’s  a proper way to court me)

At personal tayong magkita.                                 (Let’s meet personally)

 

Sinunod mga payo in lola                             (Nana’s request we followed)

Tamang panahon naaabot na.                      (the right time for love behold)

Sa mga araw na lumipas                                 (As time passed that we got

Na live nagkasama.                                           To be together)

Tayo na ba talaga.                                             (Are we meant for each other)

Basta pinky swear na muna.                         ( this time just pinky swear

Sa tabi ko laging andyan ka.                          On my side, you’ll be there

Masabi sa yo Aldub kita.                                 And I’ll say Aldub you

Sagot mo’y mainenanahal ka.                    And you’ll say Me, love you too)

 

 

 

 

My Faith & Men of the Cloth

After watching a movie about transgressions committed by men of the cloth in the United States, I thought to myself, good movie, it deserves to win. And, did it affect my faith? No contest, I still believe. I’ll continue to support the Church.

Where I come from, our land has a solid almost 500 years of Christianity. When studying our history, one would come across readings about orphans who were given surnames like “Delos Santos” (of the saints) and “Delos Reyes” (of the king), who were actually offsprings of priests and government officers respectively, an ID of some sort at that time (see History of the Filipino People by Teodoro Agoncillo). Then we have our national hero’s two novels, Noli Me Tangere (Social Cancer) and El Filibusterismo (The Reign of Greed), which describe how the the Indios (the word used then to refer to the natives of our country) were being treated by the Spanish friars, the Spaniards as whole. Taken in one perspective, oppression and discrimination of the natives are part and parcel of being colonized. In another perspective, especially when it comes to religion, one would conclude that it was Catholicism which was the reason why the natives were easily colonized. Indeed, it was.

However, despite the fact that these were what happened then in our country, Catholicism is still very much the major religion. One might have encounters with men of the cloth committing moral transgressions but still, faith is there and remains strong. It cannot be denied that many have moved to other religious denominations or have been attending Catholic rites less and less or even being least observant of Catholic teachings; but when it comes to traditions like the recently concluded “translacion” of the Black Nazarene of Quiapo, there is still a sea of devotees who have remained strong in their faith.

This is the year of mercy. We understand that our men of the cloth are still human; but we have expectations that they go beyond their “human nature” in their chosen vocation, that of being Christ’s ministers. We, too, in our daily lives are expected to live up the standards of our professions. As lawyers, we’re expected to uphold the law, not to twist it. As doctors, we’re expected to help keep our patients healthy, not drug dependents. As teachers, we practice what we preach, not “do as I say”. And the list goes on for whatever our vocation in life is. So let’s be forgiving and considerate of each other’s failings. As each profession has its own check and balance to make sure best practices are observed in the professions and the industries, the Vatican through our Pope Francis I is now taking measures regarding transgressions committed by men of the cloth.

So it is with my faith. It is microscopic, smaller than the mustard seed. My faith has been tested over and over with a lot of tribulations I’ve been through and transgressions against my person. It’s okay. My faith does not depend on the fallibility of the priest. It depends on how the priest, whether he is aware of it or not either through the gospel or through the sermon, is able to send God’s message for me. This makes it all well for me. And growing in my faith also needs to be worked on – through my interactions with other people, through my work but especially through prayer and meditation. See! That’s how I deal with my faith.

Lastly, if we need each other to grow in faith, all the more do men of the cloth need us that they are able to carry out their work as ministers of God. Let’s pray for them that they be strong in keeping their vows, that they be free from worldly temptations and that they will always be effective in spreading God’s Word to us. And despite all criticisms against the men of the cloth, I hope we continue to support the Church and its works.

Past Forward

I had work this morning and while at it I was gathering my thoughts on what I would write about for the last day of the year. It was a little difficult to do this as I was suffering from sore eyes. Yuck, I know. Anyway, my favorite movie trilogy came to mind – Back to the Future.

Maybe some or many may not have cared for it, but to me, it carried a lot of truths seemingly apt for a year-end bye-bye message and a way to welcome the new year.

First off, Doc Brown of 1955 didn’t like the idea of Marty mingling with anyone in that time for it will create an alternate future. And we all know what happened. In reality, this CAN’T happen. The past is just that… Pfft, gone, zilch, nada. So do our past experiences, our past relationships, everything that we did. Well it happened so let’s just put it down to lessons learned. If it was good, then we try to sustain those and be consistent, too.

However, Doc Brown of 2015 was all for Marty saving his son from being jailed. Marty came to the rescue, of course. This is reality.

We can change our future by starting today. We build what we could despite the contradictions, the hardships, the let downs because we know that what we are building will be for our own good. So we stick to it and listen to those encouraging words of our elders, our friends, our loved ones. We move forward against all odds so to speak. Along the way we make some changes here and there, some adjustments, give a little more time to concentrate on the difficulties that needs resolving but pretty soon what we were looking forward to now becomes ours, FINALLY!

Don’t let history repeat itself. Somebody advised me that perhaps the reason why some things/events/circumstance happen over and over is because I might not have tackled the situation correctly. Too true. There’s the right way and the wrong way. Do I take a U-turn? Definitely NOT. Stop at the curb and think about which way would be the best you could take. Leave the past, move on forward. Be sensitive about the signs though; they’re there to put you on the right track.

And to end this year’s last entry, let me quote from Numbers 6:24-26… “May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you. May the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.”

Happy New Year!

Nine days

It’s been six days since we three, my hubby, our son and myself started attending the nine-day novena masses prelude to the Christmas “Misa de Aguinaldo”; a practice unique to the Philippines.

It was an unusual first day for us because then the country was hit by typhoon Nona. We had rain the whole day that time but we never expected that the area where the church was located was going to be flooded. Lo! And behold, all mass attendees seemingly were encamped at the church, it becoming our evacuation center at that particular time. It’s been an hour since the mass ended and the flood waters continued to rise. While my hubby was bent on staying, our son and I braved the storm. It was my son’s first experience wading in the flood. He took his shoes off while I preferred sacrificing my shoes. We both decided to fold our jeans because it would be difficult to wade in soaked jeans.

That’s the whole idea of the nine-day novena. It’s a sacrifice. It’s a show of love. It’s a gift, more than anything else.

We have three more days to complete the novena masses and we continue to wish our prayers be answered. Till then, let me greet everyone a Merry Christmas! We include in our prayers that the typhoon Nona victims experience God’s Hope, Love, Joy and Peace in their hearts.

The Seen and the Unseen

At this time of the year here in my side of the world, people are preparing for the “Undas” or better known in English as All Saints’ Day, observed on November 1.  There’s this practice of visiting our dead in the cemeteries, in osuaries or in columbaries.  So you’ll have people as early as one week before this date taking a leave from work or school, a lot of whom to be able to go back to the province to prepare the tombs — re-painting it, cutting the grass around it, et cetera; and it’s the same for those who just stay in the metro.

In most cases, people usually flock to the cemeteries and camp there beginning the eve, October 31 (where in the United States and perhaps elsewhere, they have the Halloween), and stay on till late the following day, November 1.  Some even extend their stay until November 2 which is actually the appropriate day to go visit the dead since it’s All Souls’ Day.

During this time, sometimes the whole month of November, you’ll hear lots of stories about “seeing” their dearly departed or even an unknown departed paying the living a visit.  It is also during this time that you’d hear devout Catholics reminding those who had the paranormal experience that what they saw or felt wasn’t real — that it’s their lack of faith that made them have the paranormal experience.

Whatever it may be, it may be true since you’d hear and see accounts about such experiences in tv shows evidenced by video and audio footage.

Personally, I had seen and felt the supposedly unseen, better yet call them ghosts, when in the company of people who have that “gift” so to speak, of the paranormal.  I remember while praying the rosary one night for our departed grandmother in her quaint old house, we saw her legs going up the stairs.  Still another episode while the family was praying, we saw something reflected in the mirror that was white and floating that quickly passed by. This was followed by the very audible sound of footsteps in the second floor of our house and at that time everybody else was downstairs praying.   A third episode was after we buried our mother.  We all were preparing to sleep when we heard plates being put on our dinner table.  After that, we heard her footsteps coming up the stairs. It did not stop there. My brother and I, because we used to sleep together with our mother on the same bed when she was alive, felt the bed being weighed down as if somebody sat on it.

Years later, alone in a big house, I experienced something of the sort.  It was late and I was finishing off work I brought home and felt as if somebody was observing everything that I was doing.  I guess you’ll agree with me about having that feeling when somebody’s looking at you and when you try to find out who it was, voila!  What you felt was accurate as there was indeed someone looking at you.  But as I said I was alone and there’s no one else there except me — no cat, dog, mouse or even a cockroach.  Strange, isn’t it.  And then I felt goosebumps.  What did I do after?  I just prayed and the feeling went away.  I was more concerned about finishing the work than being afraid.

Somehow this business of being afraid of ghosts is kind of funny especially with regards to a deceased family member.  Because when a family member dies, you’re all there mourning, really getting sentimental and emotional, wishing that he/she did not leave the world yet as he/she was in the prime of life, or was too young, or you haven’t spent time as long as you should have with him/her, et cetera.  However, by the time our dear departed is buried we dread the idea of being “paid a visit”.  The thought utterly freaks us out and frightens us to the hilt.  A prayer said for our dead would be the best way to get rid of that, plus of course a little time to meditate about how much we miss our loved ones; to also pray for strength and courage to be able to cope in their absence while going on with our lives.

The month of November in our side of the world really is eerie and undeniably spooky.  What with starting the month visiting the dead.  Somehow, the mind gets attuned to “feeling the unseen” plus the fact that November 2nd is “their” (the unseen’s) day which makes it all the more frightful.  It’s all in the mind, as the saying goes and that’s why the Church has dedicated that day for prayers for our dearly departed.  We forget, November 1 is All Saints’ Day — praying to them will get rid of our fear of the Unseen — that they, the Unseen will never be Seen, or heard or felt.

Just keep on praying!

Words to live by

Way back when I earned my first salary in my first job, I was so proud of myself and wanted to give all of my “hard earned money” to my mom.  I actually did that but my mom, instead of taking it said to me, “Keep it.  It isn’t even enough to buy yourself nice clothes to wear at work.  That was true.  I did not know yet how to budget my money then and so, a week after receiving my salary, there I was asking my mom if she could “lend” me some money for my fare to work.  That was my mom.  Her words actually taught me what I could do with my hard earned money.  Two options were opened to me then — I saved part of it, the rest I apportioned for my “needs”.

My second to the eldest sister was my idol.  When I was in the grades and our teacher would ask us to write about who/what we wanted to be when we grow up, I consistently wrote about this particular sister (I have three of them) as I actually wanted to be like her in every way — how easy for her to be friends with others, her fashion style, her confidence.  However, I did not end up becoming like her.  It was okay because she eventually became my number one fan.   According to her friends she talked non-stop about me being a college professor.

I married young and did not get the chance to know my husband and his family that well.  I only felt “not wanted” by his family.  After three years of living together and two children, even my husband no longer “wanted me”.  I was literally thrown out and a few months after that we found ourselves in court battling for child custody.  Not having a mom anymore to run to for help, I turned to my dad who consoled me and said to me, “One day you will get reconciled with your children.  Meanwhile, enrich yourself so that when that time comes they will find you a success instead of the failure that your husband and his family wanted you to be.”

Still another sister, the eldest in our family also gave me not words this time, but actions to live by.  We did not not really say much to each other probably because there is an 11-year gap in our ages.  She showed me how when one gets married, to put family first before everything else.  She was also the epitome, for me, of forbearance.  She had that inner strength of steel against all the odds that she endured throughout her life.  I only got to know if ever odds were against her through her children.

These four members of my family have passed away, my eldest sister being just six days ago.  What I wrote here are those which had the most lasting effect on me, on my life in general and I have been living by their words and examples as much as I can.  I hope I can also be as effective in spreading their words of wisdom and being an example like them to others as well, in my lifetime.

The Walter Mitty in Me

daydreamer

At first I thought the name Walter Mitty was just one of those common names like John Smith, Jane Doe, or even Juan dela Cruz – this last being the generic name where I come from.  Until I saw the film that starred Ben Stiller and did some research did I finally grasp the concept, Walter Mitty.  It was actually referring to those who engage in daydreaming.  Think of the TV series Ally McBeal where the character Ally visualizes herself doing stuff to other people and we the viewers would see her doing those stuff actually happening; but of course, those were just all in her head.

The Walter Mittys – those who daydream, do just that.  They fail to actualize what they do in their minds.  We could probably say that they are a creative lot in a way because their thoughts/imaginings take them to a fantasy world where they’re the heroes in that “world”.  However, the operative word here is “actualize”; and, I’ll stop here.

I do sometimes become a Walter Mitty myself especially when I try to imagine succeeding in a “plan” I’m concocting – daydreaming that I’m going to a bank and depositing my profits; donating to charitable institutions; sitting in my own office and having a pool of people to carry out my instructions so that I have more time to do something else; being chauffeured in my own luxurious car to attend a gala; or even simply doing my daily walking exercise wearing the latest branded sports gear with matching gadgets.  For me, daydreaming beats playing online games to pass time — OR NOT!

So far in say, 10 of my “concocted plans” I have been able to execute more than half of these with only the last two mentioned in the previous paragraph excluded — these being not really my style.  Executing those plans was a case of living the dream, being practical and knowing exactly what I wanted and how to go about achieving it.

Being a Walter Mitty, I guess is to compensate for what one lacks.  Daydreamers in a world of dynamism, constantly changing and everything done in an instant, are pushed aside by the movers, those who make things happen.  Daydreamers may lack the  strength of character, the outgoing/assertive personality or simply, the ability to speak up, but they certainly have the knack for creating an “ideal world” where they actively participate in the “goings-on” in that world.  They’re normal people who just are not “present” sometimes but nevertheless, they can contribute something given the chance.

Slow but sure, this is what I adhere to.  I suppose this is how I have been able to control/overcome that Walter Mitty in me.  It’s not bad to dream – especially “daydreaming the impossible”.

Random Thoughts on the Phenomenology of Being Human

People

I was recently asked to draft an outline for a Philosophy reading assignment.  I gladly accepted the job as I had nothing else better to do.  My, oh my!  I never realized the subject, “What is philosphy?” could be that broad a topic.  The chapter starts off not with the origins of philosophy, nor does it end with a definition of the concept; rather, it starts off with a discourse between Socrates and his students on the idea of “wonder” and “astonishment” on a variety of subjects including math, science, art.  Surprisingly, Socrates, in the discourse simply said that he did not really refer to these areas but rather he was actually full of wonder about “himself”, that of being human, that is “know thyself”.  This, in later years Descartes philosophized as “I think, therefore I am.”

I was able to draft the outline, and it was according to the professor’s dictate, a sentence outline.  It was passed and it somehow got an above average rating.  Yay!  At least I’ve not lost my touch.  It was of course accompanied by a short tutorial on the topic as the student was not really keen on philosophy.  It was one of those prerequisites that every one in the college level would have to pass in order to move on to the round of prerequisites.

Anyway, going back to the study of philosophy, “Know thyself”, and “wonder” and “astonishment”, I remember back in my college days my own philosophy course was based on the Aquinian philosophy.  This one concentrated on the fact that man is made up of form and matter.  Putting all three together, knowing oneself as consisting of different “faculties” brings about that sense of “wonder” and “astonishment” – how will/must I, therefore live my life?

First off, what is this philosophy of Socrates about human nature?  Socrates in the draft that I was made to do discussed about the concept that man’s nature consists in “reason”, that which motivates him to pursue the ideal; and let me stop here.

On the other hand, as I remember pretty well, the philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas revolves around man being made up of form and matter.  This refers to man’s body which decays after death, and a man’s soul which lives on after death.  The two put together makes up what it is to be a human being.  Matter, which is our body consists of our emotions, our senses and appetites,  that which is “corruptible”.   Form consists in our reason, our quest for living the “ideal”, our sense of right and wrong and those that we strive to attain to be better “people” so to speak.

What matters here is that, to use a passage that has been said time and again about the physical nature of man, a man’s brain was placed up over his heart which means that man is always to use his head in all aspects of his life.  His heart is lower than his brain because he is always to control his emotions, those which may cloud his judgment in  his pursuit of the ideal – all that which is good.  And, man is by nature, good.  He knows in his mind that he is not to go against the natural order of the world he lives in and he knows that he is always to abide by it.

And of course, herein comes different world views on man and his environment, man and politics, man and art, man and religion… it goes on and on.

Simply, it’s best to end this random thoughts on humanity by saying we are created for a specific purpose.  We have the irascible nature, that which makes us part of the animal kingdom which understandably is why we have propagated and have used all other “lower forms” around us to survive; but we were also endowed with reason, that which makes us better and be above all the animals and other creation and to take control of the “animal in us”. Thus, we live accordingly but we are likewise expected to live the “ideal” — to be the guardian and protector of this world and make sure that all of these we see around us continue to survive as it should for all years to come.