When people ask me to define love, I say, "Love is like handing someone a gun, having them point it at your heart, and trusting them to never pull the trigger." (Sponge Bob)

When they ask me why I laugh at my mistakes and even write them with pride in my blogs, I say, "I'm not crazy. I just don't give a damn!" (Daffy Duck)

When one time I was conducting a group activity, a student asked what road sign I love the most, I said, "I like dead end signs. I think they're kind. They at least have the decency to let you know you're going nowhere…" (Bugs Bunny)

And when for the nth time a friend would ask me what do I get from writing, I'm not even sure if there are good old souls out there visiting my site, I just smile and say, "Kung gusto mong maging manunulat, eh di magsulat ka. Simple." (Bob Ong)

And last night when Eva said she wants to quit from her work because nobody believes in her, her boss got mad at her, she doesn't even have friends at her agency, and she's crying like hell, I said, "Either you stay to prove your worth or you quit and just show them you're a loser, you have to strive for your happiness." (MY original)

My CHOICES: I remained believing in love. I continued spicing up my mistakes and rewriting my life, accepting failure but keep on dreaming until words would fade into thin air.

Dec 10, 2008

Mama's Tears

Yesterday, I was talking about a crime of motherhood I committed – spanking.

Today, I will be sharing with you the punishment I gained from the crime.

Last night, when I arrived home, the usual scenario of Bea and Gaby running towards the door was not in sight. Instead, the living room was empty but the television was playing their Barney CD. I dropped my bag on the corner sofa chair and reached out for my slippers carelessly (so I thought) dishevelled under it. To my surprise, my slippers weren’t there. Thinking that Gaby was behind this (you know when CPs disappear or the TV and DVD remote controls are out of sight, surely, Gaby’s to be blame), I called for her. Poor Gaby, upon kissing me and giving me a tight hug, I asked for my slippers. And she said with all the innocence of a scheming cherub, “Ate… ate… nnnnside room.” (Inside the room daw.) And voila! Upon opening the door to our room, this is what I saw:

Now you can tell what I did. I ran towards Bea, embraced her tight with tears welling from my eyes… whispering to her over and over again the same words I read on the paper, “I am sorry.” and “I love you too my darling.”

Sweet punishment, eh!

Dec 9, 2008

I am guilty of a crime called "SPANKING"

Today, I am guilty of a crime called “SPANKING”.

And this afternoon, one of my best buddies in college, Issa, reminded me on how to handle 5-6 year olds without committing this grave crime through her Little Ark Learning Center’s Pre-School Digest.

Saturday, Sunday, Monday!!! A long vacation for us in the Catholic schools. I enjoyed the break as much as Bea did. Allowing ourselves to sleep until passed 7 in the morning and watched 15 Barney CDs during the day and “Baby’s Day Out 1-2” in the evening.

Come Tuesday morning. I woke up earlier than usual because today, we’re conducting one of our major activities in our Career Pathing Program – the “Career Exposure”. After taking a bath, I woke Bea up and ushered her to the dining area, gave all she needed and instructed her to eat breakfast while I change for my school uniform.

After changing, I checked on her and to my frustration, my Bea was slouching on the chair, half asleep with her food untouched. I told myself, “Patience, Marjo… Patience.”

I asked her to sit properly and eat her meal. She stared back. My voice came, a pitch higher. Big mistake. Bea cried like she was tortured. I grew even more frustrated. I looked at my watch. I am running late for work. And so was she. I pulled her off her chair and spanked her bottom. I even threatened her to call her teacher and tell her she wasn’t going to school.

Then I left.

Upon arriving in school this afternoon, the first thing I saw on top of my table was Karissa’s hand-written package of November issue of their Pre-School Digest. I just picked up her package, grabbed my bag and lunch kit and headed home. In the car, I started browsing the digest and got struck with this:

“Daily structure and routines are important throughout childhood; but this is a transition year, so structure is crucial to your child’s security and well-being.”

Question: Did I start our day with a routine?

Then again:

“Six year olds go through a period of non-compliance and opposition to parents’ instructions.”

Question: Was I aware of that?


“This difficult period can be a learning opportunity when parents approach these behaviours with gentle firmness.”

Realization: I was firm but wasn’t gentle.

Dec 3, 2008

Are you there?

December 22, 2021.

My fortieth Christmas is creeping up and I feel like I’m headed for an inevitable midlife crisis. Fortunately, a guy in my position, consumed day and night by his job, doesn’t have the time to go screw up his personal life by buying a Ferrari or by cheating on his wife with unrelenting physical pleasure from new-age virtual technology to incapacitate the user for a week after kind-of-coitus, or KOC.

I look at my wife and I can see the circles around her eyes from all the preparations building up to Christmas day – from carefully planning the Noche Buena menu to the last-minute panic shopping and decorations. Both my kids cannot be contained from the anticipation of opening their gifts – they bug you every second if they can just take a peek. As I sat there watching them with saddened eyes, I reminisced when this all started.

It was eighteen years ago, a week before Christmas to be exact. I just passed training for my very first job. I couldn’t remember anymore who made the call. My father just passed away. It was more of a shock than anything else. I cannot remember if I even cried. Maybe it’s just that it hasn’t sunk in yet. I just stared at blank space. At that time, my mother is battling cancer and undergoing chemo (she died 6 months later). So I was like, “What’s happening?” You know what I mean? How could I celebrate when all these tragedies were all of a sudden have decided to just converge on one occasion; this one occasion that I have always been looking forward to; this one occasion when I can see my family as a whole?

So from then on, Christmas was not for me to celebrate. I am that jaded. I leave the celebrating to those that are truly happy; to those who have someone to celebrate it with; to those who can still spend the holidays with their loved ones - opening gifts, singing carols, laughing and having meals on Christmas Eve. Someday I wish I can find my own. Someday I hope and pray to God to lift this veil of suffering from me. Someday…And until then this will be my silent protest.

My little daughter was tugging at my shirt sleeve and looking at me with her doe eyes. Her brother is watching her mom make the shopping list while he sits on her lap. I snapped out of my reverie and ruffled my daughter’s hair to which she responded with an exasperated look.
From then on, I decided I no longer need to wait for another Christmas. I am already there. This is my happy ending.

I commented:

“Your posts always make me cry. Maybe because it touches what I feel, too. Or just maybe, we haven't really talked about this after pop and mom died. We both have caged ourselves. Afraid to disclose any emotions. We have always expressed ourselves in the safe zone -- our prose.”

The above prose was written by my brother. Posted in his site. I have always admired how he arranges his words to a meaningful, sentimental whole. The more I admire him now for being so strong. What he has written is not fiction. My father died of heart attack – slept and never woke up – in December 12, 2003, barely few days before Christmas and a few days after our mother underwent her fourth chemotherapy session. And yes, six months before she succumb to cancer. More painful to say, our mother died in June 12, 2004, a day before my brother’s birthday. Two major occasions where he has to celebrate – we have to celebrate, yet, two major deaths – that of our parents’ precede the events.

“Hats off, dear brother! I admire your strength.”

My brother now lives with a few flatmates in Makati. No family yet. No love-life I guess. I just pray to God that soon… indeed he would find that wife he is referring to in his prose and will have kids to bring him back to that feeling of looking forward to celebrating Christmas and his birthday. “I love you bro! Merry Christmas!”

Dec 2, 2008

A Woman Perseveres

A woman respects the main teaching of the I Ching: “To persevere is favorable.”

She knows that perseverance is not the same thing as insistence.

Insistence has some skewed motives, trying to force something to materialize even when circumstances would not allow it to. Insistence too has a taint of selfish manipulations. While perseverance has in it two strong virtues – of determination and commitment – trying to achieve self-actualization, capitalizing on own strengths, and dancing with the cosmos, gyrating with its beat to encourage the stars shine on her side.

And when she realizes that her struggles go on longer and her burdens get heavier than necessary, draining her of strength and enthusiasm, the Woman thinks: “A prolonged tussle and burdened heart finally destroys the victorious soul too.”

Then she withdraws her forces from the reality’s arena and allows herself a breathing space, letting a pint of craziness take over her sanity – that kind of spontaneity a child is made of – because she knows that only a child’s perspective can rejuvenate her strength and enthusiasm to face life.

However, the space she allows herself does not dampen her desires to win in her struggles. This space becomes her avenue to persevere with her dreams but she knows she must wait for the best moment to pursue her star.

A Woman always returns to the fray. She never does so out of arrogance or self-satisfaction, but because she has noticed with her gift of intuitive sensitivity a change in the weather, and that her stars have gathered around her own beat.