Worth Begging

TN14When I was in grade school, I wanted to join our speech choir. More than half of the class were part of the speech choir. I would watch my classmates rehearsed every school day. I did not understand why I wanted it so bad. All I could remember everyday I would ask my teacher if I could join. I was very persistent like a die-hard suitor who would never let go until there was a finality of no. My teacher would reply, “We’ll see.” And my hope grew big that eventually  I would be part of the speech choir. I had no memories of being disheartened or discouraged.

I was just a kid.  I was too young to have puberty issues  on body image, allowance, crushes, honors. I  had no idea what self-esteem meant. I just wanted to be part of  the speech choir. I did not try to look for reasons  my teacher did not handpick me to be part of the speech choir. Maybe she thought I could not afford to buy the costume or she just did not like me. The reasons were not clear but I did not bother to know why. The only thing,  that was very clear to me, was that I wanted to be part of the speech choir. I kept asking my teacher until it became part of my school routine.

One day, my teacher got so annoyed. She did not give me the usual friendly reply “We’ll see.” My presence  felt like a  head louse thriving on her head.  It was as if she wanted to scratch her head and just get rid of me.  She told me she would let me join if they would be needing more people.

I waited.

And waited.

I forget how it happened. I just remember I was with my classmates performing the Frog Singing School. Our group won the interschool competition. I would not have celebrated the victory of my classmates if it were not for my eagerness to join the team.

Looking back, I can’t believe I have that kind of guts to ask my teacher everyday if I can make it. I find it embarrassing. I had no inhibitions and fear on asking my teacher. I did not even question if I really deserve to be part of the speech choir. I did not question the criteria of my teacher or did I have what was required. I just wanted it hard enough, the way a five-year old boy throwing tantrums,  forcing her mother to buy  a candy.

I wish I still have that kind of courage and determination that never doubts, never fears. It was not even a big dream or life-changing event to aspire for. I could have just let it go, the way we let balloons and kites leave us, the way we let our coins fall on a wishing well. But  I was just “makulit” and simply interested.

This reminds me of a blog I read days ago. In the blog of Mark Manson, he shared that instead of asking “What do we want in life?”  We should ask, ”
“What do want to suffer for?”

He wrote:

“A more interesting question, a question that perhaps you’ve never considered before, is what pain do you want in your life? What are you willing to struggle for? Because that seems to be a greater determinant of how our lives turn out.”

He continued:

“What determines your success isn’t “What do you want to enjoy?” The question is, “What pain do you want to sustain?” The quality of your life is not determined by the quality of your positive experiences but the quality of your negative experiences. And to get good at dealing with negative experiences is to get good at dealing with life.

There are some things we really like to have. It is not a question on how much we want something but it is how much are we willing to give up or to suffer. Sometimes, the question should be like, “What are things worth begging ?” What are the things you are willing to lose your pride just to get it?  When rejection knocks at your door, it steals your pride and sometimes gives you a token of humiliation.

Sometimes you just have to wear thick face to get it.

Summer Fling

“There’s something that always sends us hurtling head over heels. Travel. Regardless of whether you’re married, dating, heartbroken or happily single, if you’re traveling, you can have that beautiful feeling of falling in love all over again, again and again.” – Revati Victor

He was able to articulate what I wanted to say, “Traveling is the closest to the feeling of falling in love. It is the feeling that you do not want to end.” If you are someone who likes romance but not so much on relationships, traveling is your best companion. Every place you go is like a summer fling. You get so excited at first and heartbroken once it leaves you too swift. But right now, I want an endless summer fling. I want to keep my feet moving until I reach a new destination. 2014614105143Traveling is ephemeral.  The value of fleeting moments becomes more apparent in traveling. Nothing lasts forever. Every moment is fleeting. Everyone is leaving. Everything is depleting. We don’t know the extinction of every bird, and every plant. We don’t how long we can swim the seawater.

Traveling is ephemeral. So take a camera with you
Traveling is ephemeral. So take a camera with you

I just realize how wonderful God made the world and I realized I have not seen half of it. I want to do stargazing in the woods, and write in my journal Pablo’s Neruda’s famous lines “Tonight I can write the saddest lines.” 11013561_10153072428592906_111947654101653172_n I can never measure the words infinity, abundance, grandeur, borderless, and unlimited but when I travel, it is the only time that these words have real meaning. When I walk near the sea, I see infinity. When I reach the mountain tops, I stand in awe. When I reach a foreign land, there is just too much to absorb. When I get to know people and culture, there is just too much to learn. You will always use the word “too much.” 2014614104943 10703802_10152650144587906_8935474558117179334_n I also want to see the works of people all over the world including handicrafts, paintings, and old and modern architecture.

Chatuchak Market
Chatuchak Market

We appreciate history. We appreciate stories if we see their remnants in monuments, in artifacts, in museums, in tradition, and in places. While books can tell you when and why, traveling reaffirms what we know about the world and makes us discover what we haven’t known for a long time.


When life is just too dry, I dream of cherry-blossoms, maple trees, and long bridges. I want to touch snow, see Taj Mahal, climb Mt Pulag, and maybe get a tattoo from Kalinga. I want to ride a bike with basket of flowers and pretend I’m in a Korean film. Traveling makes life look like movies. I want to travel as often as I can, partly because I want to escape the truth that some things have to be permanent. As what most people say “walang forever” (there is no forever). But there is always a feeling of forever, maybe in small infinities or in bigger infinities.

I only have two dreams: To go as many places as I can and to eat many kinds of food. The rest is negotiable.


No art, no he-art

“The arts are not just a nice thing to have or to do if there is free time or if one can afford it. Rather, paintings and poetry, music and fashion, design and dialogue, they all define who we are as a people and provide an account of our history for the next generation.”

-Michelle Obama

Sometimes people ask why you buy books,  handicrafts, materials for scrapbook and painting, watch a play, a concert.  I wonder why people have to look for special reasons. I do acknowledge that there are more important things in this world but I don’t think that it’s a waste of money nor waste of time  to be involved in these art forms. I think art is an investment. Most of the time, we think art in terms of its cultural value. But art has a personal value and has a long term-effect to an individual (whether you are a sender or receiver of art). In the same way how food nourishes our bodies, art nourishes our senses. I am not saying spend more on movies and concerts and spend less on food and clothing. I am not saying go and watch an indie film. I am not saying buy a book even if you’re broke or start collecting comics and paintings. Engage in an art that is accessible and palatable to you. It may be a visit to a museum, studying make-up or reading a graphic novel.

Art is not for the middle-class, for the élite or educated. Some people are willing to spend for liquor and buffet meal but find it expensive to buy a book. Some people buy the latest gadgets but question you why you buy a ticket for a live performance. It’s strange because these are equally unnecessary for survival yet we find a high calorie dinner and an extra cellphone more acceptably rewarding.

So why is it not a waste of money and time?

Art is an experience
Experience may seem ephemeral but experiences cannot be taken away or stolen. An experience is personal, priceless and unique. You cannot copy experiences and you cannot borrow senses. Hence, a friend who shares you how convincing the movie is, how amazing the concert is,  is different from a friend who shares another apple to you.  What you notice a lot in a live performance, or what you see in a mural is not always the same with others.

wicked stage
Wicked Stage

Art makes us human
We are way beyond our biological functions. We are the only creatures that can appreciate design, craft, and showmanship. We sense. We feel. We favor certain sounds and colors. We critique. I guess we should practice what is innately unique in human nature. Let’s find beauty in shapes and sizes, find satisfaction in sounds, sights arrangement, and rhythm. Everyone has an inner artist.

found this painting on SM North
found this painting on SM North

Art gives us another way of looking at things
An example of this would be a bed scene or an adult scene. These are scenes that some people are not comfortable to watch and talk about. You try to close your eyes watching a nude scene because you think you’re not supposed to see it. I just watched Cock of Redturnip Theater and the adult scenes were very intimate. What’s interesting is that the actors are fully clothed and barely too close to each other.


Art mirrors feelings, aspirations, and reality
As the common definition of art in textbooks, “Art is an imitation of life.” A piece of art is one interpretation of real objects, people, life events. He might be a designer, playwright, poet, makeup artist or a graphic artist. Sometimes, I watch a film, I discover not only new ideas, but new feelings, new dreams or maybe they are just suppressed thoughts that are overshadowed by daily routine. When you listen to music, or read a short story, you think there is a medium that identifies your emotions or represents your thoughts.

Art when done with good taste, it adds depth to humanity
I don’t want to sound too serious nor do I want to sound like an activist but sometimes art gives inspiration. A novel can call for a revolution. Paintings teach history and religion. Spoken word poetry (I’m such a big fan) makes beautiful life stories.

Art is a product of hard work, great minds, and talent
This explains why a piece of art is pricey. Every product of art has to go through a creative process and every artist deserves a talent fee. By supporting what they do, you are continuing the  legacy of a special breed of human race who are passionate in what they do.