Thursday, February 08, 2018

Honest to Goodness part 2

And so I arrived in my home city Manila after two years in Seoul. I could never have felt more at peace with myself. Gratitude as always.

Transition has started since that last Friday midnight. Everyday has been here and there -from catching up with friends, scheduling to catch up with my friends and family, updating my public records, to looking out an apartment. It can feel a bit tiring but I cannot complain.

Plus I get to start to work. I am still keeping my job only on a more local level. But this time I take the pleasure of not seeing my boss loitering somewhere and how demotivating she can become - and not to mention I can now spare myself from reminding how unfortunate I can be in my Seoul desk.  Disappointment has run through my veins and I could not bear it any longer if I still would stay there. So, this is the best set-up for now - away from her but credit goes to her, she worked hard to retain me, defended my new post before her boss. One of those rare moments where I felt she was working as a boss. 

I remember how I prayed hard for this last year. Even slipping a new note under Saint Joseph's pillow. I asked the Divine if he could give me a shot in this new set up and I promise to make it work. What was the context when I said 'to make it work'? To strive to really Live and continue my mission, my passion, to begin again and to complete all my unfinished businesses. I promised to him that I will make each time, a worthwhile time with my family, friends, colleagues, to my career, to just everything up close and personal.

I felt I overpromised. But I think if you were desperate enough bordering self pity and depression scare because of your situation, you could even promise the moon and the stars.

So when I learned that I would have to just continue my work from home country, I am suddenly reminded by that moment.

One of my all time favorite films is The End of the Affair written by Graham Greene. Sarah (played by an all time fave Julianne Moore) is having an affair with Maurice  (played by Ralph Fiennes). In one of their lovers' rendezvous (Sarah is married to Henry), their room was bombed by a German flying bomb (the film was set in World War II London). They were hurt. 

When they regain their consciousness, Maurice found Sarah beside the bed fervently praying. When Sarah saw Maurice was alive, she was not happy but she felt a bit resigned and all of a sudden bidding goodbye. She said one of the most beautiful lines, 'Love does not end just because we do not see each other.'

This perplexed Maurice and he was so curious that the story of the film was all throughout finding why Sarah did that to him plus the fact that he was hired by Henry to know if Sarah is having an affair. The movie is presented in flashbacks.

At the later part of the film, Sarah confessed to Maurice that she promised to God that if he would be alive, she would leave him. Plain and simple. But Sarah could not overcome her feelings for Maurice so she broke her promise.

At still the later part of the film, we know Sarah had terminal illness and eventually she died. At the end, Maurice was expressing how he hated God for how he could become so angry when one broke a promise to him.

Relating it to my context, I do not want to be like Sarah. haha.  I cannot break a promise with him. There is no reason for me not to do what is best to be done. Because I made a promise to him, I would like to think, he has given me a second chance to make it work for me. 

Of course it’s not like I am about to go on a full combat. If I can add a little more sense, excitement, and a little more purposeful in what I do, perhaps that makes a little more fulfilling. So I look forward to that.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Honest to Goodness

Kamusta naman at ilang araw na lang eexit na ako dito after two years of pure energy Mr. Gary V. Char. Eleven days na lang to be exact. Never along nagbilang ng ganito katindi. May mga post-it levels pa ako sa wall. To be fair lungkot, it has been excitement, sad, mixed emotions after all. Simulan natin sa mga feelings na yan. 

Lungkot. Siyempre naman kahit papaano napamahal na rin sa akin yung lugar, yung mga kasa kasama ko dito, yung mga everyday moments dito. It has all contributed to what are you becoming. It is still a process.

Noong tinanong ako kung ano ang mamimiss ko, number one talaga yung 'efficiency ng mga bagay bagay'. Napaka predictable at nakakadagdag talaga sa quality of life eh. Example na lang, prinocess ko kanina yung severance payment ko. Siyempre kumpleto naman yung documents na ibinigay ko tapos hayun, tapos na! Binigay sa akin yung parang claim stub ko. Parang point of no return ka na noon. Paglabas ko ng building, napa moment na lang ako. Ang sarap din magmoment lately. Sakto lang yung lamig kanina. Char. Of course yung severance payment, baon na rin paguwi pero yung moment na 'Sayang, I could have stayed longer. Next time na lang ulit'.  Kaya na sad din naman ako. 

Excitement. Siyempre, uwi na. Dating gawi. Bagong tahak. Excited as to what will be the next adventure. Begin Again ang drama. I promise myself to just be steady until next month. Yung mga moment na chill lang muna. How I wish it will be easy for me to find a rented room again in Manila. Yan ang preoccupation ko lately. Saan ako titira!? 

Napaka tricky din kase ng situation ko, kung marenew yung contract ko (with a different capacity), stay put muna ako sa Manila. Pag hindi matuloy, uwi muna akong Bikol. Pero mukhang balak yatang sabihin sa akin ng boss ko kung tuloy o hindi sa mismong last day of office ko din eh. I do not like kindergarten surprises, madam. Pero iba na rin kase yung focus ko eh. More on Begin Again ang peg eh. 

Mixed Emotions. Ano ba ang ibig sabihin ng mixed emotions? Hindi ko maexplain masyado. Well for one thing, tamad na tamad na tamad talaga ako lately. Yung gusto ko sanang magbasa ako ng libro, wit na muna. Gusto ko magligpit na at magtapon ng unti unti, malamig sa labas. Sa opisina, naghihintay na lang ako ng instructions. Is this separation anxiety or katamaran lang talaga? I think it comes with the weather. Sa awa ng Diyos, negative degrees pa rin naman siya sa labas. 

Mixed Emotions. Hindi ko maexplain. Pero purong pasasalamat sa lahat. Kahit kay Ate doon sa suki kong convenience store. No fanfare.  Intimate dinners here and there. A heart with a gratitude and smile. I am ready for next. Sabi nga ni Abba, 'Standing calmly at the crossroads, no desire to run. There is no hurry anymore when all is said and done' 

Now, how I wish i can start packing my suitcase na. 

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Thank you 2017.

Few days left of 2017. Where have all the time gone? Since I have a rather forgetful memory, I look back at my Instagram and rekindle the fondest of them all in 2017.

1. Food poison. Never thought there could be worse. I had to bring myself into the hospital at 3 am. Due to language ineptness, para tuloy akong naging hayop as they were figuring out what was wrong. Yes, language goes a long way but I never took much interest. Dami kong opportunity to learn before but I just could not feel it. Why push? So when during emergency situation, it could even be stressful and you could really become second best to being a monkey.

Lesson Learned: Don't prepare your food if you are as lousy as me. And as after effect, I make sure I check the expiration date in the label. 

2. Japan. I travelled Japan twice this year and fell in love with everything Japanese again. All the more that I need to come back and stay a little bit longer next time. I always feel the 'wanderlust' if I spend time there. The rush, the 'gentle loneliness' around, and the sophistication. But I had the challenge each time applying for a visa in Seoul. They always ask me for additional requirements. I guess if you're a foreigner applying Japanese visa in a foreign country, they take extra notice of you.

Lesson Learned: I still want to spend more time in Tokyo, Kyoto, take as many tourists train, eat good food, visit paper and notebook stores and Hobonichi shops, go up north to Sapporo, and visit as many onsens and just having zen moments. I would love it more if I get to travel with my loved ones.

3. Life in Korea. I tried touring as far as I can around Korea. But weekends can be busy with my Filipino community. Some days, I opted to catch up my reading and sleeping, just lounging around, which were all totally fine. I never ran out of things to do. Weekends could even be more tiring for me. I could not complain. I feel I have exhausted my capacity to get to know this country already, haha. Most of the time, I joined my visitor-friends when they tour around or joined my Fil com friends with their family. That is how lazy I can be, hehe.

Lesson Learned: Since I will not reside here next year, I will make the most of my stay. Like I have never really been to Busan. But it's winter and it makes me feel lazy. Anyhow, let's see. 

4. Mid Year Frustration. I thought I could be stable enough. But my every day dealing with my boss got worse. Do not get me wrong. She is nice but her work ethic is below sea level. As I saw her each day, I began to see less and less of my future in the office. It took toll on me. Let's face it in any organization, your boss is your compass. But if you know it is giving you wrong direction, you need another one. I know that if I still stay here longer, I will be losing all the opportunity back home.

By October, I told her I do not intend to renew my contract in January. Homesickness was a good excuse. I never felt good after I told her. It was a breeze from there since I had it made certain. Whatever the future brings, just believe and work on it.

Lesson Learned: I still feel frustrated for what happened not because of her and myself but because of the big work that still needs to be done. There have been talks if I can still work from home, I said it is a win-win if my boss can find a way but if none, I could not do anything about it.

2017 is Rooster year and it is supposedly my year but turned out to be counterproductive. I hope I'd get a better run in 2018. I want to spend more time with my family and catch up with my friends and break any opportunity back home. And Begin Again. Or Continue what I have started.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

At the bend

Let me tell you one thing. How easy was it then. I would always wish it would be weekend. For me to see you. Your presence could light up the whole class. You were different, mostly quiet, strange, but I imagined all the possible things. I was happy. We could be friends. And perhaps If I could get into your world and if you would let me. We would go to as many restaurants and review its food. How nice could it be when you would open up to me deeper things about yourself and I would listen. I knew I could stare your beautiful face the whole day. Funny how one person could give you that kind of joy. I did not know how I survived it. After you went away. Our roads diverged. There was no way where I could see you. I was content with watching you in social media. And I hope my likes would resonate far more than other likes. Everyday, there was this ritual. To see you and like you. And find your posts.  I knew it could get tiring. Because you are far away and there is no way we can meet. This is perhaps the most foolish of me. How have I stayed in this kind of ritual far too long. One night, I prayed hard if God can let me see you, or let you see me. One day is short but for me it's enough to just feel the possibility to close all possible things. And we can part ways. Perhaps there will be no way other than a casual goodbye. How I will be grateful by then. Not sad. But a heart content, and ready to search to a farther road. You were a river that ran through my heart. There was not a day, how I wish I could just be simpler so I could be braver to tell you, to offer you perhaps another kind of possibility, and if rejected, it would be an easy way out. How I wish I could be your neighbor, your officemate, your colleague, your friend. There is not much but just this desire. And this desire could not let stay any longer. It was not enough so I gave up on you. 'Two drifters off to see the world, there is just so much world to see. We're after the same rainbow's end, waiting round the bend, my huckleberry friend, moon river and me' So I will wait for you at the bend then. I hope by then the heart still remembers.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Muni Munis of the Day (Friday-Sunday)


1. Relaxing Friday night with Sade Greatest Hits. Lakas lang maka Smooth Operator. This at-the-moment feels is bliss. Just stillness. Not to mention with Korean mask for some rejuvenation.

Probably after writing this entry, I will try to catch up some reading. I am conserving energy though. I have a ten-day out of office mission in Colombo for the big event. The office has been been preparing for this for months with me having an equal share of the work burden. Finally, it is happening. This must be tiring for sure during the conference. But I do not know, my dominant feeling is excitement. It should be fun, sabi ko nga sa mga colleagues ko. After this event, I can now focus my energy on my 'relocation'. 

2. Weeks after I 'unofficially' tendered my resignation to my boss (officially means in writing), reality is setting in. What Reality? Well for one, I know I am not ready for this. I think no one is ever ready. I need to hastily prepare my financial contingency. And I do not yet have a job waiting back home. My good friend Emy told me I have to condition myself for my eventual unemployment phase because I will get bored. At baka hanapin ng katawang lupa ko ang 8-5 pm routine. So I have been preoccupied writing my 'Pantawid' Plan lol. For one, it can be exciting but jittery as well. It is like I am developing this sort of program for myself, taking account the risks and limitations. 

3. Despite the occasional jitters, I have never felt at peace with myself. There is this core that is solid and relaxed. I must say I am recovering my mental and emotional state of being. And yes, I have been reporting to office feeling like a feather. I express myself well in the office. Nagiging totoo ako. Ganoon pala ang nangyayari kapag totoo ka sa sarili mo, kung alam mo yung gusto mo at malinaw kung ano ang gusto mo. I get to be more productive, tiring yet productive. Umuuwi ako na magaan ang loob ko. Will this change my mind? Sometimes, I remind myself, 'Hello, you are leaving na, limit your commitment.' And yes, I do not really expect from my officemates. Believe me, they can be impersonal. 

So will it change my mind? No. When I think the reasons why I am leaving - my boss, being uprooted from home, not learning at all. I can not be in this situation again - when you know you can compromise a lot in the long run. And yes, all the more that I am ever convinced that I won't change my mind.


1. It feels good when you get lost sometimes. Earlier, I went for a late afternoon to early evening walk around Hongdae - Sangsu area. The weather was giving me the cool and calm to just blend in the setting. Lakas lang makabagets ang Hongdae. It felt good to get lost in the crowd. I could not help but remember my younger days though. How could have I not maintained such youthful energy when I had so much back then. I mean I was not referring to an energy of a 'party girl' pero nakakamiss din yung innocence and persistence of being young. When you felt there was so much in your hands and it felt like you were ready for the world.

Well, I must say, it did not turn out that way - unless your parents are millionaires or you live in a first world country where the government can even pay for you to achieve your dreams! Pero hindi din siguro.

Of course, nasa Tita sphere na ako and I subscribe to a different view. I lost a considerable degree of innocence, expended a great deal of energy, could not claim it anymore and I gave up on some things. I am working within my limits but every once in a while I try to explore. I thought I was ready for the world and but I realized no one is really ever ready for whatever world that is. You just take the freakin' plunge.


1. Went to the office for a rush work. Still in relation to our big event. But as soon as I tried opening the file, it won't open. All files in the program server could not be opened. Crap. Just when you thought you were at the moment to do it then by some unknown force, it would water you down. I could not complain more other than I went to the nearest cafe and tried working on some documents, albeit half-baked. But that was it. At the least. 

The weather was rather chilling today, because it was also quite windy. Hindi na naman ako nainform. The jacket did not help. Everytime this happens, I usually rush to the nearest indoor I can find. There was a big lovely fair down our office street but I let it pass. After I finish working in the cafe, I found myself rushing to the subway. Ang laki ng problema ko. Char. I brace myself for winter again. It is usually winter that I am quite susceptible to things affecting my health - like food poison, stomach ache, excessive dryness of skin and not to mention, sentimental mood swings. 

Anyhow, snow is always enchanting naman but I need to prep up again. 

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Muni Muni of the Day

[Dateline Oct 8]

Same month and in the next few months, two years ago, I had been receiving updates of my would-be employment. Tatlong buwan din ang recruitment process. Two examinations and one Skype later, I found myself going to Seoul in Winter on January 2016.  How time flies! I was feeling brave to just go.

But somehow, realities would sink in day by day as I started working here. The winter was harsh. I had to learn the language. The homesickness I endured. Sa totoo lang, I never thought I could get homesick that much. Akala ko sanay na ako since hindi naman talaga ako palauwi sa Bicol before, sa Manila lang ako chumichika, pero iba pa rin, merong iba.

And then some people whom you expected but failed you along the way. Siguro dito ako pinakaapektuhan. For one instance, I was never really motivated by my work anymore. Leadership has played a factor. My boss was below expectations. Universal pala ang mga taong ganoon - Yung mga mabait pero pangit katrabaho.

It took a toll on me. I took it up close and personal. Kahit sabihin nilang you have to separate work from personal. Hello! Work is personal. How can it not be personal. You spend 8 hrs. of your freakin day and you say it is not personal. At yung trabaho naman namin hindi naman ito puwedeng i switch on/ off, problema ng mundo ang trinatrabahu namin.

Anyways, halos hindi ko naapreciate ang city kalaunan, ang Korea in general. Nawala yata ang wanderlust ko. haha. Halos naooverlook ko ang mga blessings ko. Marami akong naging mga tita friends and they opened their homes to me. Nagiging cynical na din yata ako. Ordeal sa akin na everyday it is going to be a day of futility. Ayokong dumating na isang araw I will ask to myself para saan ba tong ginagawa ko? Medyo scary kase yun to be fair. Kahit anong gawin kong pros and cons, bumabalik pa rin ako doon sa point na at this point in my life, ayoko ng mag compromise.

I promised myself not to make a big deal about it anymore since I decided to try to just finishing my contract and get a good options back home or in the region and may the Divine help me. One wish is sana magtugma ang skaydule!

As I look outside the cafe, the leaves are becoming pale and autumn is arriving soon. Full autumn colors na naman, one last hirit bago ang taglamig. Iba talaga si Mother Nature. Siya yata ang nakaimbento ng Last Hurrah. Kailangan may fireworks, may paandar. Kailangan niyang magwaldas ng kulay. One last paandar before the colorless winter. Mother Nature reminds me that do not worry, it will be alright.


Stephani, my Indonesian colleague and I were having lunch and the talk got personal. With her Italian husband also working in Seoul, I asked her what will be their plans once she gets pregnant. Will they raise their child in South Korea? She said they are preparing to settle in a country liveable enough to raise a family. Maybe Switzerland, London - or if in Asia, Singapore, Bangkok, and Hongkong - or maybe not Hongkong, too crowded, she said. Japan? It would have to be the same as here. US is a bit far from me and Davide, she adds. Definitely not Korea, she said.

'And you? you are more free to go elsewhere.' I replied, either Manila or anywhere in the Philippines or Bangkok'. That is the farthest that I can think of, even 'I am more free to go elsewhere'. So much for the contradiction for myself. I do not know if I am shortchanging my indpendence, this sense of freedom, this flexibility. What is keeping me from doing it?

The bottom of it all is I need some sense of stability, and that has been my preoccupation for the past three to four years. Seoul is not helping. I never tried to look for one in the first place.  It has been always a compromise of some sort. I think I need to stop it. I can always lose focus, always wanting to move out of the loop. But always wanting to stay.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Muni Munis of the day

1. Summer 2017. Grabe ang init dito. To be fair, mas mainit naman sa atin. But there is something about the heat here. Very humid at nakakasuffocate. Ang pangit niya sa balat. For one thing, ok na rin ito in contrast sa winter since I am still your tropical girl. At the moment, I hear cicadas 'chirping' in the neighborhood at umaabot sa 13th floor, at medyo creepy siya. Malaki din kaya ang mga cicadas. Ang tagal mag cool ng weather. Buong Agosto pa ito.

2. Umuwi ako ng saglit sa Bansang Sinilangan. May official business kami at medyo haggard talaga ang preparation weeks. But I must say I was more than satisfied on the outcome. Minsan talaga or most of the time, work wise, mas naiistress talaga ako pag weeks leading to a big event. Strange enough, on the event day itself, parang ang Zen ko na. Lahat na ginawa ko yata sa Manila event namin. Naging social appointment secretary, naging conference moderator, logistics officer. Ang suwerte ng mga boss ko sa totoo lang! Kapagod pero ok naman.

I took an extended weekend, that's the reward. So, I caught up with my socio friends and my bff Bing. I also visited my sister and pamangkin. One of the realizations I have this year is now I know the secret to avoid homesickness. Mas okay pala sa akin ang mga five to seven days lang sa Pinas pero mas frequent.

So when I went back to Seoul early last week, I was physically tired but I was not emotionally haggard. I went back grateful, a bit chill, and surprisingly calm. I felt this twice in a row already this year so it must be working for me. I pray for this consistency.

3. Speaking of uwi, after few days after I arrived here, I booked myself a flight going back again! lol. This time, the fare is on me. There will be a long (almost 10 days) holiday - first week of October and it will be terrible if i do not do something about it. Anong gagawin ko dito, to be fair. I need to be in Manille again to show support to my sister's upcoming wedding this December (since I feel I will only have shortened days by December) and of course, catch up with my friends at magpapabakod na rin ako ng lote. One thing is for sure, when you know your priorities, ang bilis lang mag decide.

But then, on another thought, ibang level ang presyo ng flight tickets. As in triple. To be fair, kahit siguro six months before ka pa magbook, eh fixed na ang mga dates, kung may ibababang presyo, konti lang. Tipidity na lang muna in the next few months to offset the cost. For one thing, installment naman ang bayad. Thanks to ever reliable credit card. So I look forward to coming back again.

4. As soon as I arrived here last week, I realize my calender has been filling up for the rest of the year. It can be overwhelming but only if you sink it in. I have the rest of the year to Make It Right. So many unread books, so many personal things overdue, so many things to do. Like, my Filipino community organization is counting on me on the program design. And yes, I am even thinking of looking for another job especially if the offer is long term. I am happy to oblige and try! Keep the faith and be patient. Plan and be patient.

5. Two Less Lonely People. I wonder, at what rate the world is having two less lonely people an hour? Ang daming tao sa mundo, but why do others have the hardest time to end up with special someone. Do not ask me. I do not think I am even capable of imagining the prospect of feeling it. It got lost somewhere and I kind of accepting it each day. But this song is refreshing. It makes me wish to bring back that lost feeling - It will come - and wish for two less lonely people everyday.

Honest to Goodness part 2

And so I arrived in my home city Manila after two years in Seoul. I could never have felt more at peace with myself. Gratitude as always. ...