Tag Archives: friends

It’s not the destination…

27 Sep

I was supposed to go to the land of Bagnet a.k.a. Ilocos, with my mom and three friends for the long weekend.  We’ve been planning this for over a month, prepared our itinerary and reserved the hotel where we were supposed to stay.  The night we were supposed to leave, a super typhoon struck Ilocos. Are we a lucky bunch or what???

L.O.S.E.R.S.? Not!

Determined to push through with our plans, we drove until the province of Tarlac where we braved practically zero visibility and strong rains.  After a stopover breakfast at the walang kamatayang McDonald’s which for some reason turned out to be some wacky affair (I think they put something in the longganisa), we decided safety was more important than eating bagnet and seeing the Bangui windmills (waaaah!!! 😦 ) so we headed home.

But before you call us a sorry bunch, we did a little detour to the town of Malolos in Bulacan and checked out the historic Barasoain Church where the first Filipino Republic was first inaugurated.   The nice discovery was, was that there was a museum at the building beside the church.  So it we didn’t just to church viewing after all. Ha!

Barasoain Church

Eilleen suggested we eat at Chocolate Kiss.  While we we in Diliman, we passed by UP and went around the school and stopped at one of the buildings. I thought Eilleen and Joy simply wanted to tour us around their campus, until I realized Chocolate Kiss, or ChoKiss as it’s commonly known, is actually inside the campus.

It’s a popular hangout for faculty and some students evidenced by the fact that the place was full despite it being a holiday.  Needless to say, it was so worth dropping in to.

Chicken Kiev. Winner!
Aligue Pasta
Fish Teriyaki
Mushroom and Tofu combo
Chicken & Pork Adobo
Drink-all-you-can iced tea

I had the chicken kiev, onion soup and bottomless iced tea and paid just a little under P400.  Not bad for a yummy, hearty, meal.

We were a bit bummed we didn’t push through to Ilocos but still had a fantastic time looking for other great places to go to.  Just goes to show that it’s not really the destination, but the journey, that’s important 🙂

Some things never change

9 Aug

Getting together with four Aikido guy friends over the weekend made me again aware of some things I hadn’t really thought of since college:   

1.  I am oftentimes the only girl. 

During Sunday’s dinner, there were five of us, and I was the only girl.  It was the same as back in college, I would usually be the only girl when we go out.  See, the composition of the aikido club then was probably 75% male.   Since I went out more than some of the girls, I oftentimes ended up being the only rose.

2.  Guys are so comfortable discussing ‘green’ topics (and no, it’s not the environment).

I (still) got lost when what started out as an innocent topic suddenly had some sexual innuendo.  I usually don’t mind since none of these are directed at me anyway.  It was guys being their usual selves.  I’m not gonna spoil their party.

3.  The feeling of safety being among guys.

I’ve learned to regard these guys as my brothers/bodyguards who would be willing to defend me in any case.   Some of them may look pretty tough, but they’re really a bunch of teddy bears (oops, secret’s out!)  When I’m around four or five physically capable men who I fully trust and know are after my well-being, I can’t help but feel like a princess sometimes.  Who needs a boyfriend when you feel cared for by these guys?   Then again, the princess-like feeling can only last so long – like until they discuss matters I can’t contribute  much to (see #2 above).

4.  I’m just one of the guys.

It still is now how it was then.  Whether it’s green jokes, eating as much, or discussing practically any topic of interest, I can (usually) give and take as well as most of them.  Though there’s the awareness on their part that there’s someone around whose girly top, heels and makeup make her undeniably female and feminine, the fact that that female is me makes that fact moot.  I am and will always be  just one of the guys.  Uh, just don’t expect me to lug around anything heavy 😉

O genki desu ka?

7 Aug

Last night, I received a text message from an unknown number saying: Dally-san, o genki desu ka? Kotegaeshi. Shihonage. Sankyou.  (Dally, how are you? (the rest are Aikido techniques.  Apart from the greeting, it didn’t make sense, really).

The sender is obviously someone I knew from college when I took up aikido.  Thing is, I wasn’t sure who.  In that group, one or two students studied Japanese, while two of our instructors moved to Japan. I also wasn’t sure if it was indeed someone who knew Japanese since o genki desu ka is a very common greeting a lot of foreigners know.

Just to see if it was someone who really knew Japanese, I replied: Sumimasen. Dare desu ka? (I’m sorry, who’s this?)  I received a long reply  in Japanese.  Ok, so he definitely knows his stuff.   After more exchanges,  I find out who it was – our instructors who moved to Japan were currently in town!  I gave them a call and eventually made plans to meet up on Saturday for dinner, together with whoever else was available.

I sooo love it when I’m able to get in touch with long lost friends, especially from two people who really made my college life fun.  I’ve been pondering about doing a physical activity regularly and I’ve actually considered going back to aikido (or swimming, badminton and running) and this might be a chance to try it out again.  I was also glad to practice my rusting Japanese even for a little bit with our exchanges.  Looking forward to catching up soon.

Goodbye to Binky, the smiling fighter

30 May

My world just lost one happy person but this reality hasn’t quite sunk in yet.

I usually have a cheerful disposition.  However, I do get those really dark days, sometimes over an extended period of time where I find very little to smile about.   These are the rare times when thoughts of death and the manner it would come would enter my mind.  When I feel creative, I’d engage in a mental exercise and think about ways how to end life.  The less bloody, painful, and long-drawn, the better.  Purely hypothetical, mind you.  I could never take my own life.

Suddenly, as if God wanted to give me a good whack on the head for thinking such morbid thoughts, an officemate, Binky, would come to mind.  Now, if her doctors were to be believed, Binky should have died years ago.  But six years later, she was still around.  I attribute her miracle story to her incredible fighting spirit.  If this were boxing, she would give Manny Pacquiao a run for his money.

In 2004, Binky was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer of the ovaries.  She had a complete hysterectomy and hoped she was cancer free.  Unfortunately by 2006, she learned she had cancer of the liver and proceeded with chemotherapy which left her bald and with bad burns all over her body – side effects of the treatment.  It was a traumatic episode but she continued to fight with the help of well-meaning friends who organized a fundraising concert to help her pay for chemo.

Binky (extreme right) with friends after the concert

She was in remission until later 2008 when the cancer returned and she then resorted to alternative therapy.  The side effects were not as bad as chemo, and she still worked normally.  Another fundraiser was done, this time raffling off various items donated by generous hearts. We called the raffle Life is Sweet. 

Life is Sweet raffle ticket

And this year, as if finally taking what is due, her cancer attacked viciously. It’s been three months since Binky last reported to work since she’s been in and out of the hospital getting treatment.  When we heard she was administered morphine, we knew she was in really bad shape. 

We visited her in the hospital just last Monday, and though she was supposed to be sleeping, her face was in a painful grimace reflecting the pain her body was feeling.  She would also occasionally moan or cry out in pain.  The sound was chilling and I hated being helpless to do anything to make her feel better.  That morphine did little to ease the pain proves how bad things have become.  Yet, she expressed wanting to go back to work.  WTF??! She was practically on her deathbed and she wanted to go back to work??!  Then again, I shouldn’t have been surpised.  All she wanted was a normal life where she took care of her family, went to work, prayed, and enjoyed life. 
 
Last Thursday, we were told her doctors disallowed visitors as she was already in critical condition.  On Friday, we learned that the doctors talked to the family and prepare themselves for the worst as that day may be her last day. Now that totally ticked me off.  If they were in front of me, I probably would’ve said “How DARE you say such a thing! You’re not God to say how much longer she had to live!”  They told her something similar six years ago – that she had less than a year to live.  But she scoffed at their statements and proved them wrong, fighting a battle which lasted years.

This morning, we visited Binky at her own wake.  She finally joined our Creator yesterday, Saturday.  Not Friday as the doctors said.  She proved the doctors wrong one last time. 

At the wake, I saw her husband, family and friends crying but fought against letting my own tears fall freely.  Binky had always put other peoples’ concerns before her.  She would’t have wanted seeing anyone cry.  I looked at her body, and even in death, her face was smiling.

And now in my room, I look back at photos which included Binky.  Through this blog, I wanted to share a visual representation of what endeared her to many: her kindness exuding in her smile, her laughter and zest for life. Here are just some of what I found.  Some of them mischievous or naughty, but all of them reflecting her lively spirit.

Binky dancing in one of our Christmas parties

happy upon winning in a raffle

enjoying a light moment

She loved the camera

I will miss her beautiful voice, her corny jokes, her helpfulness, always taking on tasks no one else wanted to do.  She was very religious, always attending mass, offering her time, assistance and resources to give glory to God.  Most of all, I will miss her laugh and the beautiful smile that never seems to lose its sparkle no matter how tough her fight has become.  She knows God’s behind her and she was always be vocal about His goodness.  The strength of her faith puts mine to shame.

her strong faith made her a favorite prayer leader

As sad as this time is, I am thankful that through death, Binky’s physical pain has ended.  Her husband said she passed away peacefully.  I wouldn’t be surprised if I was in her room the morning she died and saw angels lifting her up to heaven.  I’m sure she’s with God now. 

The fact that she’s gone is really sinking in now.  I’ve let the tears flow.  But I am crying for my own loss.  Behind Binky’s carefree, smiling face is a spirit of steely determination.  I lost a friend who has been a wonderful inspiration but I know her memory will live on.

I’ll miss you Binks.   Have fun with your fellow angels up there…and easy on the dancing 🙂

Update: Here’s a video I made for Binky’s eulogy, and uploaded by her husband at Youtube   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xU4L5KC7sbA