Sunday, September 27, 2009


I woke up to a chilling news today. Typhoon (Ondoy) hit my home country (Philippines) in such rage and fury unequalled for the last several years. As of this writing, death toll is continually rising as rescuers began to reach submerged places, thousands more were rendered homeless and injured.

The images on tv and you tube were truly heart-wrenching: a couple whisked away by a sudden gush of water, a man desperately holding on to a coconut branch hanging loose from the trunk, cars tumbling against each other in the midst of the flood, rescuers braving the cold and the rains to bring people stranded in a roof down to a safer area, a mother and child walking from roof to roof, trying to maintain their balance lest they tumble towards the neck-deep waters below.

As I started watching the searing images, my vision started to blur and my lips became numb in anguish. My sister and her family live in Marikina – the city that was hardest hit by the typhoon. Fatalities continue to be reported round the clock. Since her place is located right in the middle of the city – I knew they could be right into the center of the flood. What if ......what if?

It is so debilitating to watch something happening right before your eyes but you are helpless to do anything about it. The feeling was beyond description –the knowledge that they are out there in the flood – helpless, hungry, cold – and there’s nothing I can do about it.

As usual, I had to turn to my greatest SOURCE of comfort, my greatest HELP in moments like this.

But even as I said my word of prayer, I wished I could go back to sleep and realize that this was all but a DREAM.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Just Another Disposable Commodity

In Canada, if you're not satisfied with the product that you bought or the service that you received, you have money-back guarantee subject to certain conditions. For instance, you can return a party dress you wore the night before to a party (provided you keep the tags), claiming that it didn't fit you right. (I know a lot of people doing this sooo shamelessly!) Or you can claim for the current week's sale price of an item you bought at regular price the week before provided your receipts are intact.

The overriding principle behind all of these, is that the buyer has the right to demand value for his money. And rightfully so. You pay for the services that you think you deserve and the products that give you quality.

Sadly though, this same mindset about "value for money, quality-consciousness" has been stretched to the point that it now transcends the value given to relationships, specifically marriage.

A couple enters into marriage with the same "contract" or "rights entitlement" mentality. They wed with certain expectations from each other. And when, in the course of the relationship, the expectations are not met, they have an easy solution.

Terminate the contract, otherwise termed as divorce.

Marriage is seen only as one of those disposable commodities.

"I'll scratch your back, and you scratch mine. Now that you can't scratch mine anymore, what's the point of continuing the relationship?"

"What we have is simply a legal contract, with each party having clear expectations from each other.

Easy way out. No strings attached. No need to work things out. No need to try harder or one more time.

Marriage is not seen as a covenant. God is out of the equation.

No wonder the children end up rebelling. Or drifting without a purpose. Or committing crimes at an early age. Or being left to the care of foster families. Or turning to drugs and crime. Or committing suicide.


P.s. I am not condoning abusive relationships, especially in cases where women are on the losing end. What I am referring to here are ordinary cases of incompatibility and individual differences.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Goodbye 2

After a week of back-breaking strut with the broom, vacuum cleaner, shampooer and every available cleaning gadget to clean-up our apartment, we officially turned-over our home for the last 18 months to our landlord last Monday, August 31.

As we walked away from the apartment, a surprising twinge of sadness clutched my heart. I looked back and surveyed the place for the last time, lingering my gaze in the patio and I recognized the feeling for what it was. We were parting with something that had become so much a part of ourselves.

Our stay in the apartment was rather brief, but it was laden with the best memories that characterized our first year of living as immigrants in this country that welcomed us with open arms. After all, the apartment was our first home in Canada, a silent witness to our early days of struggle and coping. Its bare walls had seen days of extreme emotions in a gamut - from euphoria to excitement to anticipation to frustration to doubt to hope then back to the cycle again.

If it could speak, it would tell a beautiful story that blends courage, hope and faith amidst adversity, uncertainty, and worry. If it could write, it would fashion an amazing narration of events and milestones that would prove that we are exactly in the place where we ought to be.

But like a book whose chapters have ended, we have to close the book and move on. It's time to read a new book.