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tea

photo courtesy of alliancecoffeeandtea.com

I’ve had a working-chatting session with a colleague in a tea shop somewhere in QC this afternoon and our conversations in between rushing to meet deadlines went from closures and moving on, to people who are not sensitive towards other people’s plights (or those who exhibit sociopathic tendencies), to investments and estate planning. All in one afternoon.

She is a couple of years younger than I am; she just entered the big 3-0 while I am inching closer to the big 4-0. We’re both at the stage where we find it exhausting just thinking about spending our Friday nights getting wasted like when we were in our 20s (she spent Friday night with our much younger colleagues who imbibed alcohol like it’s going out of fashion and they went to work today nursing a nasty headache or fighting off flu). She said she now feels like spending evenings or days off like this–just drinking coffee or tea and talking with people who are worth talking to. We both feel that socializing should not often involve alcohol. I can still drink like a man but that does not mean I should.

What have we become, L, I asked? I also answered my own question: We have become adults.

But adulting is very hard, no? When we were kids, we thought that adults knew what they were doing. We were so eager to become adults. Now that we are adults, we just discovered that everybody else was just winging it. Some are still clueless, some are just feeling their way.

We talked about lessons learned from what we witnessed from our elders–our aunts and uncles, the titos and titas who behaved abominably towards each other because of some petty things such as inheritance of inconsequential stuff like dinnerware sets, a ring, or a clock. From bad money management by some relatives or family friends. By spoiling rotten siblings or aunts and uncles who never fully made it into adulthood and feel that the world owes them a lot due to circumstances of their own making and because they were raised to be self-centered monsters.

We were talking about how long can we still do what we do. About how do we see our lives in the next five years. Next 10 years. Can we live alone during our twilight years, when our children would not or could not take us in under their roofs? L and I both agreed that we should prepare financially and mentally for the event that we have to live on our own without help from our children. We must not rely on them to take care of us since they have their lives of their own. It’s painful to see a relative being passed from one offspring to another because they could not take care of their mother/father due to financial constraints or just plain they do not care.

I do not want to be in that sad position.

While I do not expect my children to carry the burden of taking care of me or their father when we’re old, I at least expect that they would be caring enough to check up on us, visit us or see if we’re still alive.

And that boils down to how I raise my girls. Which is a different topic.

Hard to raise little human beings while you yourself still have some growing up to do.

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And in that instant that boy with his face on the sand became a girl with long flowing black hair, wearing a pink Disney princess dress, lifeless against the surf. He is my child. He should be everyone’s child.

Everything else is so trivial.

Society is cruel on women of certain age. If you get past the age of 30, you’re already dismissed as old. But honestly at 35 I still feel like I am 25 but wiser than my 25-year-old self. I would rather be my 35-year-old self than be scatter-brained, clueless 25-year-old me.

Hollywood is one of the biggest proponent of age-ism:

Aging Actress Maggie Gyllenhaal ‘Too Old’ to Play 55-Year-Old’s Lover

37-year-old Maggie Gyllenhaal was recently told by a Hollywood producer that she was “too old” to play the love interest of a 55-year-old man. In an interview with The Wrap, Gyllenhaal said she was surprised by the producer’s admission, but that it’s just one of the many “disappointing things about being an actress in Hollywood.”

“It was astonishing to me. It made me feel bad, and then it made feel angry, and then it made me laugh.”

When will society stop feeding our insecurities?

I oftentimes feel ugly due to weight issues but maybe in reality I’m not really that bad-looking. Then the pressure to be the perfect size 10 after giving birth has never been that greater than before. Social media has made it worse, with photos of your elementary school classmates frolicking in the beach in their two-piece swimsuits dominating your Facebook newsfeeds.

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I had been singing this haunting song to my twins when I put them to sleep since the day I brought them home from the hospital until tonight. Yeah, I know it’s not a good lullaby but it’s the only song I could think of that I couldn’t sing without my entire being shredded into little pieces and stuffed into each note that comes out of my vocal chords.

I got to know this song through Patatag‘s Nagbabagang Lupa album, which my parents brought home one day. It was rare that my parents could buy tapes then because money was really tight so it was a novelty for us to have a tape of any musical genre at home. That tape was played to death on our lone radio/cassette player that sat on top of our mala-cabinet black and white TV.

I think my youngest sister and I had our first heartbreak with that album. I remember that same sister crying after hearing “Tano” because “kawawa naman sya.” I was six years old and my sister was five. The country was about to see its first mass uprising to get rid of a dictator. The housewife of a murdered senator was about to run for president.

Fast-forward, my parents again brought home another tape but this time it was by Joey Ayala, his first album. I discovered he was the composer of the song that has haunted my sleep for so long.

I saved bits of my small weekly allowance to buy his succeeding albums. I was in grade school that time. Later on I fell in love with “Walang Hanggang Paalam.” (That’s for another future blog entry.)

Anyway, the Patatag’s rendition was the one that got stuck in my head for 30 years. It was painful and at the same time beautiful. Joey Ayala’s song was so visual and yet deep. It was a song told from the point of view of a bird, seeing the desolation caused by war. A village caught in the middle of gunfire.

Well at least that was my interpretation when I was in high school and college. I have yet to Google its real meaning or the circumstances surrounding that song.

Years later, I had a gig writing for a series of 2-minute spots about child soldiers for RMN. Dong Abay was one of the musicians working on the series. We spent an afternoon or two figuring out how to incorporate the revised lyrics of “Pen pen de sarapen” with granadas and armalites and my script into 2-minute spots (In the end we used one of his original songs for some of the spots instead).

I was too shy to chat with him about Patatag then. I was also probably starstruck (hey, he was one-half of Yano of my highschool and college years!) and all I managed was “Yeah, I’ll email you my script.”

A decade later, I got to work with AR Sabangan when we were doing investigative stories for InterAksyon. I learned that she was part of the Nagbabagang Lupa album and she was the one who recruited Dong Abay and Grace Nono to join Patatag. Parang, whoa, my youth revisited (sorry, AR, alam mo namang malaki tanda mo sa kin hehehe).

One hazy night (well, hazy because my head was already cloudy with all the stuff we had been doing for our investigative gig), we were able to go down the Patatag memory lane, allowing me to ask her about some of the lyrics of the songs that played on a loop in my head for 30 years.

And I told her that Wala Nang Tao sa Sta Filomena is one of my favorites and their rendition is the one I could never forget.

I hope this song will be remembered by my kids as something that their mother had sung to them while they slept. A song that would remind them that all is not well in other parts of this country. I just hope when they grow up, there won’t be any Sta Filomenas anymore.


life in business journalism

crazy. exciting. boring to some but hey, you get to understand the world better when you're a business journalist. you learn to be patient with tons of documents, make sense of numbers and charts. all geeky stuff. this is my story, behind the scenes.
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