Thursday, October 22, 2009

Pro-life Day of Silent Solidarity

Been reading some stories of the youth who participated in the Silent Day. I found it so inspiring that many of those kids started out being the only ones with tape in their mouth, and then as the day progressed, more and more people joined in and gave up their voices also. A lot of them got made fun of, too; and I think it takes a lot of mettle to shake off bad comments and ridicule.

On silent day, I dug up a red shoe lace from my mom's trunk (I was really looking for a ribbon from her scrapbooking materials, but there was none) and decided to wear it in my wrist all day as a reminder to myself that there were a lot of intentions and people to pray for that day. And if anybody asked what I was wearing a shoelace in my wrist for, then wouldn't it be a good take off point to say something about silent day?

What I learned that day was that there's something really striking about losing one's voice forever, and losing it without one's consent at that. It was my telling of Silent Day to friends that made me realize it. I guess I've been thinking too much about how to explain the hard stuff (especially the gray area known as contraception) that I've forgotten the simple fact that abortion destroys a whole life full of possibilities, and that that life could have been YOU.

I remember when I was a kid (probably an old kid haha), I read a news story on China's one-child policy. The first thing I thought of when I finished it was, 'If they did that in the Philippines, I wouldn't be around, and neither would my younger sister.' Actually, I said, "E di wala pala ako." Ouch.

How I could have forgotten to think simply like that, I don't know. But yesterday was a good reminder of what one is truly fighting for when he wears the word "LIFE."

Monday, October 19, 2009

How to be a kind MRT passenger

Photo from My Manila.

Riding the MRT is an exercise in patience, especially during rush hour, when you don't even need legs to get in the'll get pushed in by the sheer power of--as my friend puts it--football-playing women (and it's a wonder why football never quite took off in this country). I speak from the point of view of somebody who only takes the women's car, a unique place in this world where the words "woman" and "lady" aren't synonymous at all.

Besides patience--a character trait that keeps you from bopping anybody in the head--it's kindness you have to practice (to avoid getting bopped in the head). Here are some tips on how to be a kind MRT passenger.

1. Do not push anyone in. Ok. So you're late. That doesn't entitle you to be a bully. You should have considered the time and the crowd when you left the office or house. It's not the fault of the person in front of you that you're running late; so it's kind to just let her use her own legs to get in the train. You'll have your turn. Relax.

2. Do hold your bag close to your body. Don't take up too much space because many people want to get in the train too. Besides, the more compact you are, the less chances of having to unearth your bag from the sea of human bodies if you're getting off at Shaw or some other "middle" station.

3. As much as possible, do not use your cellphone in the train. Not only is overhearing half a conversation quite annoying to other people, but also, in a crowded train, dipping your hand in your bag to get that gadget out and putting it in your ear (or texting with it) requires a lot of elbow space. You can constrict somebody's breathing with an elbow in the wrong place.

4. If you have a wet umbrella, please please please wrap it in plastic or put it in your bag. No one wants to get their feet dripped on or their pants soaked from somebody else's umbrella. Fellow passengers won't ever tell you that because it sounds whiny, so I'm saying it now.

5. If you are lucky enough to find a seat, do be ready to give it up for pregnant women, women with babies, or disabled people. Have a heart. (If people can't tell when you're feigning sleep, do remember that Someone up there can.)

6. Going out of the train requires excessive use of excuse-me's. When no one is moving out of your way, say it louder but don't push. Chances are, no one is moving yet because the doors are still shut. Don't start worming your way out when the train hasn't fully stopped yet. Maybe you don't, but many people understand the Law of Inertia. Wait a while and you'll see a way out when the crowd gets moving.

7. Like that obvious rule regarding elevators, don't rush in when people are coming out. Is it true that in a top 100 list of character traits of harried train passengers, common sense tallies in at 99? Prove it wrong.

8. If you're a dad accompanying your wife and kid(s) in the women's car, do not take a seat. Your wife can sit, and your kids can sit; but you should be a gentleman and let a woman or an elderly person sit. That's why it's called the female car. Oh, and be thankful no one is giving you the evil-eye.

9. Be a lady. And treat everyone else like a lady too. Even those addressed in number 8.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

It's October!

Baby Magazine's October issue is...

...a lot of hard work! Oh yeah.

Because it's our 13th year anniversary, we put in all the festive party stuff to help parents with party-planning, and of course, the ever-useful pregnancy and parenting articles to keep guiding new parents in their greatest adventure.

Recognize the baby on the cover? And the tot in the inset??

Baby magazine is published by Marathon Publishing Co. and is sold at all National Bookstores, SM baby department stores, Babyland (Robinsons Galleria, Shaw Blvd. near Cherry Foodarama), Baby & Co. (The Podium and Power Plant Mall), Bufini, Procreation Shangri-la mall, Big & Small Co. Shangri-la Mall.

Friday, October 2, 2009


If you haven't had the chance to bug me these last few days, you're probably not aware of what happened in my slice of land (or air, as the case may be). My friend Diana says what I experienced was only a taste of what's happening in the evacuation centers all over the region. I suppose a taste is all one needs to have a change in perspective.

Twenty-nine floors up is where I live, and for four days our family had no water and no elevator. (On Sunday there was no light in the stairwell. Which made Isis say that Resident Evil has finally come to us.) My mom had recently been diagnosed of osteoporosis so there was no convincing her to go down a dark stairwell. (Eventually succeeded getting her to come down by saying it was Sunday and people had to go to mass. Padded the reason with "We have to buy extra drinking/washing water or else," "There's water in the Eastwood mall ladies room; let's brush our teeth," and "We have to EAT.") Four days into the exercise, my mom has made friends with nearly everybody we bump into going up or coming down; she takes so much delight in shocking people about having to go all the way up to the 29th floor.

I learned to bathe using one tumbler of water, soap and a face towel. Knowing how hard it is to carry the water all the way up makes taking a bath with so little a less painful experience. My dad insists his discovery of freshening up with alcohol is the more antiseptic way to go about personal hygiene. I maintain that alcohol with water rubbed furiously on the skin is poisonous. Thank God the situation didn't last long enough to prove one of us right.

Because life goes on, I couldn't leave my work undone. So, I learned to squeeze everything in the morning (before going down for more water and other errands that we manage to remember to do). Can you imagine finding yourself, with your shins throbbing, on the first floor of the building, grinding your teeth to powder because you have gone down to get water but have just belatedly realized that you'd forgotten to bring the bottle? (Insert Luke Skywalker's response to Darth Vader's "Luke, I am your father.") I couldn't leave the house without putting my hand in all my pockets more than once. It's silly; but it's serious business.

Then there's the bringing up of two huge grocery bags filled with bottled water. I told a friend that if I had died carrying that load up 29 floors, I would've been the poster child for "Maraming namamatay sa maling akala." I really thought my parents left all that water in the lobby for me to carry (I was the only one left downstairs that day); so I flexed my muscles and carried them. When I got up, my mom said she had left the water there for a janitor to carry because my dad isn't young and sprightly enough to carry that weight all the way up. Now my mom calls me superwoman.

When the going gets tough, people learn that they're stronger than they first thought. There's even a lot more strength left over to think of other people. Come to think of it, I guess I wouldn't have survived that solo climb (I keep forgetting I had my laptop with me too!) had I not made all those stops every 2 or 3 floors. And in those stops, I thought about how little my exhaustion was compared to that big event at Calvary... how little it really is, compared!

The best weapons in tough times can only be prayer and a cheerful disposition. Energy, too, but most of that already comes with prayer. A rosary always does the trick... but when you don't have one at the moment, there's offering up one's muscle aches, blue fingers, waterfall sweat and heavy breathing as prayer. And, upon reaching the top, prayer doesn't really end... after that sweet drink of cold water (which by now you have every right to drink), one must not forget to say the famous magic words: "Thank you!"