Onto another death

a brain fart


In my world, it is a repetition of dying that defines a risk.

It is a series of diving from a cliff, acquiring countless wounds only to let myself garner more scars.

It is a chain of nights drinking until my brain could no longer mask the raindrops stored inside, traversing through the sun and storm only to wake once more with a magical bucket of beer.

It is a succession of stabbing myself with fictional glimpses of what-could-be despite repeatedly finishing with a what-never-was.

It is a sequence of unresolved conflicts, of meaningless nights of escapism, of empty laughter, and of futile attempts to hold on to the fragile string of hope.

It is pain and poignancy circling through all emotions but never leaving, attached to every second, to every utterance of I wish I were dead.

And I am dead.

But for all the paradoxical reasons that the universe fails to comprehend, I am alive.

To take another risk.

To die anew.

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Laya

Nagpapakatotoo.

Kumakawala.

Sumisigaw sa katahimikan.

Mga sasakyang bingi.

Mga estrangherong bulag.

Mga kaluluwang ligaw.

Isang mundo ng pighati.

Lunod sa alak.

Lasing sa luha.

Buwang sumisilip, nakikidalamhati.

Mga patay na bituing nakatitig.

Gitnang daliring nakatutok sa dilim.

Umaasa. Sumusuko.

Naghihinagpis.

Oras na ginagapos.

Araw na gumigising.

Maskarang iniaangat.

Nagsisinungaling.

A Hero’s Legacy

Source: Google Images

It was only recently that our batch was made to watch a documentary about the journey of the ever famous senator, Benigno Aquino Jr., towards eradicating Martial Law and salvaging democracy in the Philippines. It depicted the struggles not only of the senator, but also of the Filipinos who suffered from severe human exploitation. It showed that while the government remained passive about the uncountable number of murders and abuses, which, many believe, were also the product of the established system, B. Aquino, with his indomitable spirit, chose not to let these prevail. Tough as it was, he preferred to be jailed than be with his beloved family. He preferred to experience the loneliness brought by the isolation in prison cells than the overwhelming peace his family offered during their three year stay in the United States. He preferred to go against the norm and speak against the seen “tyrant” (Ferdinand Marcos) of the time despite the many threats, than enjoy the luxury of forming an alliance with Marcos. Later, he even preferred to lie on his deathbed than remain silent and passive about the unjust events that continued to dominate the Philippines. Indeed, it was without wonder that this man, this heavily courageous and righteous man, was hailed a hero – a thing that was mutely proclaimed even while he was still living, fighting for every single Filipino.

To say that the movie was inexplicably moving is already an understatement. It displayed too much of an essential piece of the Filipinos’ identity that to say it simply moved me is insufficient. Rather, I was enlightened. It seemed to me that every bit or speck of the Filipinos’ dilemma today rushed and collaged before my eyes. I saw the many labourers who work all day long just to bring home a small amount for the survival of their family. I saw the ill stricken patients in the country’s public hospitals who receive poor quality of health care despite the existence of a national university that aims to provide the country with the best doctors. I saw the raggedly clothed children selling cigarettes or Sampaguitas along the streets, aspiring to study but are unable to not only because of insufficient familial funds, but also because of expensive schooling. I saw the highly unsystematic traffic, and heavily compacted clouds of smoke along the always being reconstructed roads of Manila that threaten both our economy and the health of many Filipinos. I saw the never ending corruption or at least, the disorderly system, of the government. I saw all the flaws, all the problems that this country is currently facing, and as I sat there, watching the struggles of a Filipino man just to fight for his fellow Filipinos’ rights, I asked myself this: I am a Filipino, but what am I doing to help resolve these problems?

A silence of guilt befell both on my head and on my soul. Every day, I pass by beggars along the sidewalks, and I admittedly see them not as human beings who have equal rights but merely as ornaments that blend with the filthy landscape. Every day, I go to Robinson’s mall to buy appetizing – sometimes even excessive- food, while I refuse to give even a crumb to those who are actually starving for God knows how long. Every day, I walk along the polluted streets of Manila, and even cross the road at incorrect locations, playing with the also disobedient drivers in the middle of the lanes. Now once in our history, a man fought for this country. A man died to salvage the beauty attached to freedom, and to promote the welfare of every one of the Filipinos. It is just very unfortunate to accept the truth that all his sacrifices, all his struggles boiled down to the chaotic and poor country we have today. What is even more saddening is not only the fact that the leader of the current administration is the hero’s own son, but also the actuality that a very few aspired and actually continued Aquino’s legacy when in truth, each of us, who are nameless and ordinary, should be struggling to bring this nation into prosperity! Sadly, I, together with many others, am part of those who compose the bulk of the passive crowd.

Then again, it is not yet too late to initiate change just as how it wasn’t too late for Benigno Aquino Jr. to make a difference in this country despite being confined in jail for years. As a matter of fact, it would be much easier to demand for action, and promote camaraderie among Filipinos now than before with the rise of the modern advancements.

In the advent of technology and media, we inevitably become more inclined to activities that involve computers, cellphones, and gadgets. Instead of going to the post-office to send messages to distant friends or relatives, we deliver them just with a single click via e-mail or social networking sites. Also, instead of rummaging through the tall shelves of a queerly silent library, we now prefer to “type in” a keyword in a search engine, which would conveniently present hundreds – sometimes even thousands- of information from different sources. Truly, the current world has become swift with respect to how the formerly time-consuming things are done or achieved.  And we could most certainly use this change to initiate another.

First of all, through the internet, we can be more up to date with the different information or events that occur in our country. We can now know immediate news in a blur of a second, which could provide some way for social awareness. This, however, must not require absolute reliance as some data from undependable sources can always be falsely edited. Second, with the rise of social networking sites such as Facebook, Blogspot, and whatnot, we can easily travel back to the days when writing serves as an important instrument for unity, and awareness. With the help of the freedom reclaimed for us by the presented hero, Filipinos can now bluntly express opinions, or provide factual information about the different false workings in our system. Videos can also be created to vividly depict the difficult situations of many, which, at the very least, could gather empathy from their fellow humans and encourage action.

As much as there are negative consequences brought about by the creation of these advancements, the Internet provides infinitely many opportunities that can alter events that need alteration. It could provide the fundamental basis of one to act, and it could absolutely be the medium used for one’s action. Indeed, we have no other option but to use the changes experienced by the society to again establish another change that strives for the betterment of this country. However, our actions must not always be limited to a computer screen. Sometimes, resolution requires voices and definite acts. This, again, is not limited to the usual rallies we see in front of the Department of Justice or in Mendiola. The definite actions can root down from a student exerting all his or her effort to learn, to a newly graduate choosing to serve the country than work abroad. They can be seen in the government officials – if there still are- doing their jobs without a stain of dishonesty. They can be witnessed in ordinary citizens who refuse to receive bribes from power-seeking officials. They can be seen in every single Filipino who lives each day, knowing that he or she has served his or her country right.

We have truly gone past the days when there exists Martial law, and abuses to the extremes are rampant. We now enjoy the freedom reclaimed for us by a hero that selflessly sacrificed his life. But the problems do not end there, and so are the actions we need to do. Each day must be a journey for every Filipino to face the different dilemmas this country possesses.  Each day must be a struggle for every Filipino to serve truthfully to this nation. Each day must be a battle against injustice and dishonesty. Each day must be a day away from passivity. And yes, these are a must because if we continue to bury the very reason why a hero such as Benigno Aquino Jr. fought and died, and if we just accept the way things are right now, then the death of a hero and the very wonderful freedom he supposed to have reclaimed will just be a big pile of nonsense in our history.


This served as my essay for my NSTP class.

Do not plagiarize.

The True Light

Where shall we see the true light? Is it in the moon-lit darkness where everyone escapes freely in their sound sleep? Or is it during the day when the sun hovers over the daily pretension of people?

We perceive people to be who they are when they’re awake and moving. We’re made to believe that under the daylight, they are real. But this isn’t always the case. Sometimes, during the day, we’re simply deceived. And sometimes, it is only in the darkness that people are freed from their masks. They travel in their dreams. They escape from reality. They get to be who they are. But all are pretension by the time they awake. 

Now where shall we see the true light?

Well, it is hidden. 

Ruled.

We have always thought that we, humans, have a choice.

But I figured, no. We don’t. Not entirely. 

At least, that was what psychology thought me. 

In my psychology class, I learned a lot of things that resulted to this simple yet bothering conclusion. I discovered that most parts of our identity did not root from our own liking. They came from the different factors that surrounded us our entire lives. And these could basically be generalized into two: Nature, and Nurture. 

First is nature – our genes. If you wanted to have green eyes, but was born with blue, you could not really blame anyone – not even your parents. But you could blame something – your genetic composition (or you could blame the supernatural being you believe made this)! Well, you, same with your parents and your ancestors, don’t really have a choice when it comes to what characteristics you want your genetic make-up to display. Lucky ones get the good traits (“good” in terms of whatever is your standard of beauty), while the unlucky ones get the not-so-good attributes. Genes, however, are not only limited to determining your physical characteristics. They also are the cause for your sex, possibly health conditions, and some of your behavioral traits (i.e intelligence, natural talents). So if you want to be a guy, but was born a gal, or stupid when you were born intelligent, well then, you couldn’t really do anything about it, could you?

Some of you may argue, nonetheless, that there now exists plastic surgeries and transgender operations, which technically give us a wider room for choice as opposed to what I am claiming. But here is when the second one comes in: Nurture, or simply, your environment.

Perhaps, you’ve always believed that the way you decide and behave right now is entirely the product of your own choices. You’ve always believed that your identity is ultimately the fruit of your own wants. But you’re wrong. You always have been. Who you are right now is not only the result of your genetic make-up, but also the fruit of all that is in your environment. You may not believe it, but the people and the place that surround you, together with the experiences they offer, create your wants, your decisions, your needs, your choices, and most importantly, the person you are. So if you were raised in a chaotic home, and you grew up to be resentful, it’s not because of magic or destiny. There is a reason. And that reason is always the way you have been nurtured by your own environment. Similarly, if a lot of people loved and cared for you, and you turned out to be a kind, wholesome person, well it was definitely not an accident. 

Hence, if you think about it, people who want to undergo surgeries don’t just aspire to do it because they had a vision whatsoever. They want to do it because they have a reason. Whether that reason is the fact they’ve been bullied for they looks, or discriminated by their gender, it is always a product of the external factors that affect them.

And so do we actually have a choice? Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe there are just choices that are fated to be made. But then again, if it would be fate working, then what does that make of our choices again? 

I can be wrong. Perhaps, you may have choices that are due to no reason at all. You may also be who you are because you were able to travel in time and change way things are. But here’s what I know: I am certain that whether or not we could really make choices of our own, we are ultimately ruled by two important things: our genes, and our environment. 

Unanswered Questions

Source: Google Images

Source: Google Images

I was born a Catholic. I was raised to be a firm believer.

And I believe. I believe that God exists. I believe that He has been sent down to Earth thousands of years ago to introduce to mankind a supernatural existence that is merciful and kind and loving. I believe that He is within our hearts, our souls whether or not we our faithful. I believe that He’s just there, loving us in all ways possible.

But behind these beliefs of mine lie too many questions that bother not only me, but also many Christians in the world.

The church and the lectors are always saying that we have been granted free will, that we can choose the path we aspire to take. At the same time, they maintain that God has plans for each and every one of us, that He has designated us paths where we belong, where we are safe and nurtured. But how can these two exist simultaneously? If we have free will, then what does that make of the fate we ought to be living? Or it can be the other way around. If our fates are already predestined, then what does that make of our free will? Are the choices we make already set by God to lead into another circumstance, which is yet again predestined? Did God just make us live to tackle a life that He has already planned, which makes us nothing but merely manipulated dolls? If so, then what is the essence of living when everything we’ve done apparently just follows a scripted play? When it turns out to be that we are just part of a gigantic movie where each of us has been designated a pre-fated role? Or do we actually have free will, but God is just observing, but never intervening? If so, then how does He guide us? How does He point us to the light? Does He actually care when He never puts His hands on our lives?

Another thing that ridiculously bothers me is the story of Abraham wherein he was asked by God to kill his own son, Isaac. The story says that this was to test Abraham about how deep his faith and loyalty to God was. But isn’t it that God hears and knows our dilemmas, our faith, our beliefs, even without us speaking or acting? He knows because He is God. So was it really necessary to test Abraham especially in such a horrid way?

And He was supposed to be merciful not only to children but to everyone. How could He let this old man kill the very son that He himself has blessed him with? And How could He let this innocent child be killed by his own father?

I do not even know if I should believe this story from the Bible. I mean, I’m not even certain if the Bible really speaks accurately about the true events of the past. For many years, it has been passed from generations to generations, and it is far from impossible that the script has been revised or altered from the original accounts of the apostles. In fact, it was just recently that the genuine book of Barnabas was found, which clearly rejects the idea of crucifixion and the Holy Trinity (*Tosatti, M. 2014)! Now what does that make of our God who was supposedly crucified to save us all from sins?

There are so much more I could ask. There are so much more that rationality could inquire about  religion. But one of the things I’ve learned while questioning and believing at the same time is that we, humans, could never reach God’s level of understanding. That there are some things that are simply behind our comprehension. That sometimes all we ever need is to believe. And that some questions just don’t require answers.

 


*http://vaticaninsider.lastampa.it/en/world-news/detail/articolo/bibbia-bible-biblia-13182/