Almost Robbed

And to think, the only time I remember being robbed outright was back in 2006 when I was still studying in Ateneo and while I was with my blockmates, my laptop was stolen. Considering that I’ve lived in China for over a year and a half, this is the first time that someone has attempted to rob me. There is a small lingering doubt about the incident in my head, almost like I can’t believe that it happened so it must have been false, but instinct tells me otherwise.

Last Saturday evening, after  dinner at a sushi restaurant and some bazaar shopping with my friend, we decided to head home to call it a night. As we were making our way to the bus stop (中山路站 – Zhong Shan Lu stop), me and my friend were in a deep conversation about a lot of things. In my left hand, I held a shopping bag. My right hand was somewhere near my hand bag. As we were already by the bus stop, I readied myself for any incoming buses headed towards the school by turning to my bag to take out my bus card. With the bag I was wearing at the time, I usually keep the bus card by the front pocket for easy access, but since my friend noted earlier that evening that the button seemed to be coming off. Instead of just feeling for the card like I usually do, I decided to look at my bag while I was taking it out. It was at that moment that I noticed that my bag’s zipper was already 1/3 of the way open. What’s more, I noticed a hand pull away  and a man who was close behind me ducking behind the advertisement board.

I immediately told my friend that I thought I had almost been robbed.

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Helping Dumaguete: Typhoon Sendong chapter

Banica River. Picture above taken by my aunt. December 17, 2011. Around 11am.

Just a few minutes ago, I spotted Dumaguete (where I’m presently living) on the news. Why? We, together with places like Cagayan de Oro and Iligan, were hit by a typhoon last Saturday. Massive rains and floods swept through certain areas of the city and the neighboring municipalities. I am quite lucky because the only discomfort I felt was the rains and being without electricity for about half a day. But for a lot of other people in Dumaguete, Tanjay, Valencia and other places, they weren’t as lucky. Even until now, they have problems like lack of drinking water, destroyed homes, and the like.

But as I’m not in those areas and only in Dumaguete, this is some of the information that I’ve been able to put together.

Things needed:

  • Bottled Water
  • Clothes (Underwear, T-shirts, Shorts, Pants, Bras)
  • Canned Goods
  • Noodles
  • Blankets
  • Toiletries (Toothbrush, toothpaste, toilet paper, etc.)

Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) – Rizal Boulevard, Dumaguete

Address: Department of Social Welfare and Development Office, Rizal Boulevard, Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental, Philippines 6200

Tel: (035) 225-0637

For donations of goods, groceries and money, you can send your donations to: Mrs. Bernadita Bangay. Kindly address it to the DSWD office along Rizal Boulevard.

For donations of money, you can send your donations through Western Union, with Mrs. Marina C. Mendoza (CT Social Welfare and Development officer) as the claimant. Directions for above transaction is as follows: After sending the money, kindly call the DSWD office (number listed above) to confirm the receipt of the money by informing them of your control number.

To directly contact Task Force Dumaguete: Local (Within Negros Oriental) – dial 348. For those outside, I’m not yet sure but you may try adding the local area code to the number – 035348.

If you’re looking for relatives or friends within the Dumaguete area, you may call the DSWD to inquire. Please be advised that including the barangay where said person/people live/s will bear more fruitful results as the DSWD has direct contact to the barangay heads.

As of my phone call to the DSWD office awhile ago, the office told me that within Dumaguete, 19 barangays have been affected. The office didn’t give me a list of evacuation centers, but told me that if you’re looking for someone, the likeliest places they will be in are the closest barangay halls, nearest schools and nearest churches.

For more information that is not listed here, you may directly call the DSWD Office at (035) 225-0637.

Information available above was taken from my phone call with the DSWD Dumaguete Office on December 19, 2011.

Mary Immaculate Parish Dumaguete
San Jose Street, Dumaguete City (across from Lee Plaza Supermarket entrance)

In solidarity with our brothers and sisters affected by the recent typhoon Sendong and in this season of joy and giving, we appeal to your generous and kind hearts. We are asking if you could give clothing, bottled water, and food items like canned goods, rice, noodles, and others. Please drop by your items at the Parish office. Thank you so much. May the good Lord, the reason why we celebrate Christmas, bless your generosity a hundredfold..    -As taken from their facebook page

Found another site where more information is posted, though not sure how reliable these are:

Evacuation centers in Dumaguete City where you can drop off care packages/relief goods: West City Elem. School, Cadawinonan Elem. School, Camanjac Elem. and National High School, and Junob Elem. School. You can also drop off donations at the ONe RESCUE-EMS base, Dumaguete Disaster Risk Reduction and Management base, DSWD-Dumaguete Office, Dumaguete City Health Office, Ground Floor of the Pastoral Center, Dumaguete Cathedral Compound.

Google Crisis Response shares the location of the evacuation centers, donation centers and updates from NDMRC. Please click here to view the information. If you are looking for missing people or know a missing person, please click the link at the said page “Person Finder.”

Evacuation Centers in Dumaguete City courtesy of Google Philippines and Google Crisis Management. Click here.

I’ll try to update this once I have more information.

For more information on how to donate to other places that were affected by the typhoon and floods, whether you’re in the Philippines or abroad, kindly click on Jane Uymatiao.com to be redirected to another entry with more information, or Bayanihan Online’s entry.

2 kinds of people

Something my good acquaintance Khyoon mentioned on his twitter that got me thinking.

最近觉得这世界其实只有份两种:怕走错路的人和不怕走错路的人。分别就是在乎和不在乎别人怎么看自己。不信?想想吧。内心晚安

It concerns a lot of things I’ve been considering lately, some of which I’ve discussed with my mom and a few friends. Not to mention how Julie&Julia was airing recently and featured that 20 being the new 30 or was it the opposite, or something to that effect.

Each generation has bigger expectations for the youth because of everything that is made available to us. Because of this, a lot of people are afraid to make mistakes. Sure, the world tells you to go out and make mistakes, and learn from them. But what if you can take things slow, consider all opportunities and pick the best option available? Isn’t going out and failing, also a waste of time? I know that nothing can be useless, and that sticking around and doing nothing is just as bad as failing, but what if you waited just a bit longer for something to come along…and apparently that something was what you were looking for all along?

Patience is a virtue, but experience is the best teacher. Sometimes, these quotes and sayings just sort of negate each other. It makes it a bit hard to determine what is what, and which is which. I know I’m young, but I’m not afraid to admit that I’m afraid to go out and make mistakes. Make one mistake, sure you can maybe use up a few months or a year. But what if you just keep making them, till you aren’t young anymore. What then?

Oh life.

I don’t need a sign. I need the gift of understanding if the things or opportunities or events around me, are signs or not. And what exactly do those things mean?

Thought I knew what I wanted to be

You know how when you were a kid, and you thought you knew what you were going be when you grew up? That was me then. And then, there’s the me now. Unemployed and not exactly sure what she wants to do.

A long long time ago, I thought knew what I wanted to be. Autograph books were so popular back in elementary school, and they always had that space where they ask you what you want to be when you grew up. For a time, I thought I wanted to be a businesswoman. To all my childhood classmates and friends whose autograph books I signed, my page will probably show evidence of that dream having been real. Businesswoman sounded like such a classy dream, especially for someone who didn’t exactly know what that meant or entailed. For many years, I thought I wanted to be a businesswoman. And here in the Philippines, if you were Chinese-Filipino, being a businessperson was usually (and more often than not) an option when deciding what to do.

And then I grew a little older, and I didn’t want to be a businesswoman anymore. I wanted to be a journalist, I wanted to write. Once in class, one of my teachers asked the class if they already knew what they wanted to be when they grew up. I distinctly remember this was in 6th grade, and maybe less than half the class raised their hands, I was one of them.  I remember having a classmate who raised her hand without fear or doubt, the teacher called her and she told us she wanted to be a lawyer. I’m still good friends with that girl right now, though I’m not entirely sure if the path she’s on will still lead her to becoming a lawyer, or if that is still her dream.

A few years later, I changed my mind again. No longer did I want to be a journalist, I wanted to be a writer or a diplomat working in some foreign embassy. I thought I had it all planned out when I graduated from university; work for ABS-CBN or some newspaper/magazine/publishing house, get my work written, eventually get recognized, yadda yadda. Then I would maybe take the Foreign Service Exam and try to get into working in an embassy abroad. Doesn’t sound that confusing, at least it’s a dream with a laid-out plan.

Four years of university and one year of Mandarin (in China) later, I am now stuck in a rut. Back in Manila and job-hunting, with no real goal or desire in mind. Honestly, I don’t know what to do. It’s funny how things turn out the way they do. Sometimes, those who are so sure of what they want in their childhood, inevitably discover that those dreams that they built weren’t the dreams they wanted after all. And those who didn’t really know what they wanted, found it somewhere along the way.  There’s a quote or a saying that can be compared to that, something about not finding what you want when you go looking for it, and finding things when you least expect them. Something like that.

I’m turning 23 this year and I still have no idea what I want to be, or what I want to do with the rest of my life. All the ideas or dreams I have or thought I wanted, just seem so idiotic when trying to think about how practical it all really is. Haha. Life is so hilarious, and surprising, really. To the kid me, if you could see me now, I wonder how disappointed you would be. The worst part is knowing what your best skill is, and what you love doing, but wondering if it’s enough to compete with in comparison to other people who think their best skill is the same as yours. Is it all really good enough?

Till next time, Sean.

People pass away every day. It’s not such a big deal until it happens to people you know, and it happens to people to whom you expect it least of all to happen to.  It’s sad really how things worked out the way they did. I can’t get over how everything has happened so far. It all seems so unrealistic. Even if you pinch me, I’d still think I was dreaming. It’s really unfair.

I try to tell myself the same thing my mom used to tell me when my cousin passed away at 26, God has a mission for everyone and once that mission is finished, God calls us back. I know it’s just wishful thinking to think that way, a way to try to escape from the fact that someone I know has actually passed away…but to some extent it does make me feel better. And as I’ve realized long ago, God usually takes the good ones away first. The good ones die young, leaving us to wonder why on earth they had to be taken away first. But who are we to choose when our time is over. Our life is in God’s hand, and as He had giveth, only He can taketh away.

Yet as time passes by, I cannot still but wonder WHY.

Things you don’t expect hit you hard the most. They aren’t like those situations where you’ve prepared yourself for days and weeks for the inevitable to happen. They just strike you out of the blue, and you fall….and while on the ground you weep and you cry and you wonder about all the what ifs and then eventually you have to get back on your feet and live the rest of your life with some part of yourself that goes missing. And as the years pass, and you get to meet more people, that missing part grows smaller ad smaller, but it never really goes away.

Anyway, right now I have to stay strong for the sake of my other friends who are tying to deal with this too. I am not alone.

And when you think about it, it’s not really goodbye. It’s just, “Till next time”.
Till the next 50-60years when we’ll see each other again.

Thank you Sean for having been my friend. Though we didn’t talk a lot in the last few years and I didn’t have a chance to visit you during your (unexpected) last few hours, you were with me during the rough patch of our first years of puberty. You defended me, encouraged me, and made me laugh.  I may not have appreciated what you did for me 10 years ago, and it’s probably too late to say thank you now, but if there’s a chance you can hear me, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I hope and pray that God has taken you by His hand and you watch over us all who now grieve over your passing. You were and had always been a great and kind guy. You weren’t quick to judge anyone, and you had an understanding heart and a patient ear. I hope that from wherever you are up there, you have a great view of us all who love you dearly.

This isn’t goodbye Sean. I’ll see you again. Maybe soon, or maybe in the distant future. But till then, please watch over us. Till next time, Sean. I love you.

Also, found this poem on the web and posted this to my Google+ when I first heard the news. It’s a poem by Mary Frye….

Do not stand
at my grave and weep.
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds
that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight
on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awake in the
morning’s hush
I am the soft uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft star that
shines at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry
I am not there.
I did not die.

Beijing, is this goodbye?

With finals finally done with, I am now decidedly faced with a question. Beijing, is this goodbye? Having finished one year (2 semesters) at Tsinghua, it’s time to face reality and go home. In the past couple of weeks, I’ve been pondering the same dilemma over and over again.

A few weeks ago, I was surprised when my dad, out of the blue, called to ask me if I wanted to extend another semester. So many thoughts crossed my mind at that one time. What would it mean to continue one more semester. What about going home and bonding with friends and family. What would happen to my plans for the future. Yadda yadda. I’ve told friends and my dad that I’ll be going home, in fact…my plane ticket home is already finalized. Yet part of me can’t imagine the thought of going home. Not that I’ve not missed my friends and family or anything like that, in fact..there are times where I often get homesick and wonder what it would be like to be home, yet part of me loves being away from Manila and the familiar environment. Now, having lived in Beijing for a year, which seems like both a short and long time, part of me wonders if I can just go back to being home.

If only answers were as easy as one’s future being shown to a person. Having to decide, whether to stay or go, or to continue or to move, things like that….it’s really quite stressful. I’m so used to living in Beijing, I don’t know how I’m going to go back to my old routine. At least in China, I have an excuse to get away from everything, and a purpose to being here. But being back home, it now seems like such a tiresome thing…a redundant routine.

Things, are just really simple but exaggeratedly over-rated. But I guess, each person has this sort of moment in their life where a simple yes and no would do. Yet for things like this, there are so many things one has to consider. This paranoid worry-wart me is freaking out, yes?

现在的我要考虑,离开北京或者回国或换城市。有很多好处和烦恼的事情,不是一些简单的情况。我怎么办决定。这是我的未来?这是对我的梦想有好处?时间,你能不能停吗?时间不够,要决定的事多,喜欢的事也多。我真的不想离开我习惯的环境,也不喜欢松开我的独立和朋友。为什么这些学期完的很快?

我要考虑很多事。。。

Hello there humidity!

Guess who’s back in the Philippines?

It’s been a day and a few hours since arriving back home. Let me just say that the temperature difference of at least 30’C is easily noticeable, especially upon alighting from the plane. I could immediately feel the humidity in the air, as compared to the dry weather in Beijing. It’s a bit difficult adjusting to the weather differences, with my slight headaches and sneezing fits as proof of my current condition. 菲律宾的天气,我不习惯了~

A couple of weeks ago, I was so excited to return home, even for just a short while. Ironically, now that I’m back, it’s Beijing that I am missing. Part of me is afraid that I might forget so much Mandarin while being here since there aren’t a lot of people I can talk to, and well my environment is practically Mandarin-less. Well, episodes of 喜羊羊与灰太狼 is here to keep me company, though I’ve been repeating the first episode over and over again to try and really understand the dialogue and such. Haha. Okay, so it’s a children’s show, but at least its good practice for my Mandarin. My Mandarin is probably not even as good as a child’s to some extent.

Some of the things I can look forward to about being home is the company of my family and my adorable dogs. My friends are just minutes away too, so getting to talk to them and spending time with them is always a plus. Having missed some Filipino food, especially the one that my maid makes, I can gorge on those while I am back home. Also, there is the possibility of losing the weight that I gained in the harsh no-sweating Beijing winter. Of course, gorging on food (as I had previously mentioned) could deter that goal, but at least I could try to reduce the weight I’ve gained since leaving here. To make matters worse, all of my friends and family who’ve seen me since I have arrived, had commented on my weight gain, especially around my face. Some have mentioned though that it actually looks quite good on me, the dad of a friend mentioning that I had gotten prettier and I look much better now since I was too thin before. Definitely something to consider, as he has told me not to lose the weight anymore, even when I go back to Beijing. 我胖一点儿!不要多胖了~

Ugh, it’s just too hot. Can’t help complaining even when I told myself over and over again that I couldn’t wait for the heat. Body seems to slightly disagree as it’s giving me problems at the moment. Oh well. I can tell myself that I’ll be back in Beijing in about 3 weeks and that for the moment, I should enjoy the food and the company of friends and family.

Things that made me happy upon my arrival: Seeing my dog(s), finally seeing my Starbucks planner (apparently, besides the one that my mum gave me, my dad also gave me another planner!), and of course re-seeing my family in the flesh (though being with them now, it seems like just yesterday that we had just seen each other as compared to the 5 months we’ve been apart!)

For now, it’s time to enjoy and slowly prepare for another semester abroad. Clothes that need packing, and clothes that need unpacking. Oh………and all the re-check-ups at the doctor and the dentist. Plus my much needed massage (curse you hard Chinese mattresses!) and another blood test! Going to take it one thing at a time.

Stab me, won’t you.

Exam on Wednesday, Midterm Exams next week. Lots of study and preparation is in order. I’m feeling confused at the moment about something. Sigh, it sucks. Hopefully I’ll be able to blog about Inner Mongolia, Fragrant Hills, Great Wall, and some other things later. I am in desperate need of a break. Also, need to tell myself to get my act together. Been slacking in regards to something recently.

The next semester is just around the corner, got to confirm with the folks if they’ll allow me to stay one more semester.. Thinking about a lot of things in prep for everything. Being independent is so stressful, but at least, I’m getting somewhere. Oh, and I cooked the other day. It was just spam and rice but at least I prepared everything from the very first step. Bit proud of myself. 🙂

Whirlpool

In less than 28 hours (as of this post) it’ll be time to leave for Beijing. There’s a lot that has been happening, especially losing net so close to my departing (deprived of the ability to blog) and my dad arriving home just in time (from Xiamen) to see me leave for Beijing. Been feeling a lot of emotions, like excitement, confusion, fear and apprehension. Part of me wants to back out this very minute, to bow to fear and decide that I just don’t want to go. I could stay here in the Philippines, just rest, maybe find some work or go work for the family business in the province. Another part of me just wants to leave, to escape, to reach out to the unknown. This part of me that needs to seek, to find, to touch, to feel and to experience, all the new things that China will surely bring.

It is very confusing really, these two opposing emotions. It doesn’t help that a lot of things seem to be warning me against going, like my getting coughs, colds and a sore throat days hours before I leave. Or my dog(s) dying situation. And now, this thing about the Hong Kong tourist bus siege that’s getting the whole China and Philippines in an uproar. All these signs, are not really helping at all. I’m trying to stay positive, to think about the possibilities, but a part of me doubts myself and my ability to learn Mandarin. I want to, but I am limited – that’s what my heart is saying. I am only so much.

I really want to get this over with. This whole flying out, landing, preparations, adjusting to the environment….it’s all so overwhelming. At least, one part of me that is really glad, is the part that knows I’ll have friends with me to endure these first few weeks with. If I was in China alone, I don’t think my body could take it. Also glad to have discovered a few other High School friends going to Beijing, albeit they’ll be heading to different schools (though they are in the same vicinity as mine).

Still, there is comfort in knowing that I am not alone.

Here’s to this next big adventure. This might be my last post before I leave for Beijing, as the net has been a little flaky for the last few days and things could happen and I can lose my net tomorrow. This could also be my last post in a while, until I find a way to access wordpress from within the Great Firewall.

Cheers to my readers (if I have any out there XD) or those who happen upon my blog.

Below is a poem I wrote a few days ago. It’s just a compilation of some feelings/emotions/thoughts that have been going through my mind recently.

Enjoy!

Surge

Slower
Faster
Falling,
ever closer, ever deeper,
ever more.
breathless
Surging
within touch,
beyond reach,
without words.
Unexplainable,
unimaginable.
Real
but merely fiction.
Struggling to escape
it pours into me
and out of me.
Filling me,
emptying me,
surrounding me,
shadowing me,
draining me.
I cannnot think,
but I can write.
I can feel the words
at my fingertips,
in my head, in my mind, on my lips.
Surge of emotions and thoughts,
aligned but confused,
organized but distraught.
Too much, too little, too late.

I am No One

As cross-posted from my deviantart

Yesterday, tragedy struck here in the Philippines as a tourist bus was held hostage by a man, a man who was wronged by the world. A former police offer, he was fired for some things he was said to have done. I don’t know if he did those things he was accused of or not, but he felt wronged after more than 20 years of service. He decided that by kidnapping some people, his voice would be heard. It was going well until mid-afternoon struck and some things went wrong. In the end, a few of the tourists on that bus were killed, and so was this guy.

I will not say anymore lest I seem biased. I am not here to say that what he did was right, or was wrong. But it made me realize that we are all just human beings, mortal and imperfect human beings. And that no matter how we try to succeed, become rich or famous, or do something extra-ordinary, to this world where we live, we are just another person.

We are invisible. Part of a society that is one of many societies that exists and has existed since time immemorial. We are no one different. We are who we are. We may be normal common folk, or important people who make big decisions, but to this world, we are just one of the many people who are born into this life and later die in this life. To her who has lived millions of years, we are nothing.

We live, then we die.


About this poem:
I didn’t add punctuations or capitalized lines after the first. Feel free to read it as you see fit. There is definitely a pattern in the sentences, because that’s how I felt when I wrote it. But feel free to read past it, you might not see how I wrote it, or if you’ve read a lot of my work you might see it.

R.I.P. to those people who were killed in that tragedy. We pray that you are in a better place. I pray that your families though grieving, will be able to send you off to a place far past this world that does not really see us.

Invisible

With eyes that wander
it searches
it moves
yet it cannot see me
with fingers that search
it reaches out
into the darkness
yet it cannot feel me
with a voice that calls
it softly whispers
it calls out loudly
yet it cannot hear me
I am here
can’t you see me
feel me
hear me
here i stand unmoving
lost in the world
as it swallows me
as if i am nothing
it has devoured me
can you see me now
i am one with you
world
see me
feel me
hear me
i am here
waiting