Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Saving Graces

If it wasn't for badminton, today would have been a totally crappy day. At 2pm I was already having the worst migraine from the depressed conditions in the hospital. Then I got more stressed at home. I do love them but at times I also feel a bit overstretched to my limits. Its hard to balance being dutiful with being you. And that can be so frustrating. I sometimes envy the people who just say what they want and do what they want without care. And people adjust to them. Being responsible can be so hard sometimes. Moreso if your duty has to come before anything else. I know I am not the perfect daughter nor am I wishing to be so. And its so hard when so much is expected of you. Sometimes I don't even know the "me" anymore. By wishing to be happy and actually doing something about it, does that make me bad?

I was struck by what Peter told me this afternoon during our warm up walk along Oranbo drive. Why do I have to be always the one to adjust? I really don't know. But it did made me think of what I am doing to myself. Something is wrong here.

Still there are the saving graces that made today less crappy. Had a wonderful time playing with my friends. Even experienced winning 15-0 for the first time in mixed doubles (grabe galing ni partner eh). Played against the maingay opponent of ours from Smashroom and still managed to win both sets (despite them being a mixed doubles team). I got to use my new racket again and bask in the glory of victory for one more day. But most of all I got to be with people who appreciated me for who I am, imperfections and weirdness and all. I also appreciated my best friend Ella's efforts to reach me and keep my sanity intact on my way to war. She looks out for me always.

I'm just human. I'm not perfect. I'm just me. I don't expect to live a long life so for the brief time I am here on earth, I'd like to carve my own piece of heaven. I just wish they would be happy for me too.
you managed to turn a sad day to a day of smiles. i don't know how you do it but i just want to say thank you.

Thoughts on death

I arrived today at my internship site greeted by the death of a 4 year old patient with a malignant tumor in the neck. My supervisor told me that I was needed inside one of the wards because a patient was dying and the family were in need of psychological help. Just as we were about to enter the patient's room, his sister came running out crying saying Rap Rap had passed away.

I'm used to seeing people die-- I've been volunteering in the hospital's cancer wards for several years no. I also go see my doctor every month and I always here about other patients who also died. I've lost friends, loved ones, acquaintances, colleagues, etc to death. But today I learned that it doesn't make anything any easier.

I had to fight back my tears while I was watching Rap rap's mother and sister cry over him. He was so small. I watched the doctor perform the tests to confirm if he was indeed dead. I watched the other kids inside the ward look at his body with curiousity and fear. As a psychologist I am trained to help people who suffer from losses like this. But today I also found myself at a loss. I didn't know what to say or do. I didn't know how to make their pains go away. What do you say to a mother who just lost his son and who's asking you why did God take away her child?Or how can you comfort a sister who lost her youngest brother to a disease that she couldn't even understand?

It's hard. I wish I could come up with the answers but I can't. When a child dies, it goes against the nature of death. Parents are not supposed to bury their kids but rather the other way around. The circle of life dictates that. I sometimes ask God why these kids have to suffer at such a young age. This morning I also met a girl name Preaxie who had extremely high fever due to a recent transfusion. She was crying for her mother to hug her and begging her to take her home. I stroked her knees to try and keep her warm. That was all I could do--be there. Nothing else. I wish I could do more for these kids. I wish I had a magic wand to make their pains go away.

But I can't.

All I know and hope for is that at least Rap rap is in a better and happier place now.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Sweet Victories, Some Bickerings & Shopping for Lipstick

After winning my first championship trophy last saturday, I was fortunate enough to be tapped to play in another tournament yesterday afternoon this time for the South Manila Badminton-Manila Adventist Hospital dual meet. I played mixed doubles. The MA team won 440-385. My partner and I won all our matches despite bickering on court. It was a different feeling from the previous day when victory tasted so sweet. Part of me actually didn't enjoy the win last night. I guess I just didn't enjoy the game as much as the previous day. And I realize now that it wasn't just the game that made me become bitchy. I didnt feel I played that well personally because my feelings were getting to me. I actually had several "kalat" moments there. Unfortunately I don't think my partner and I gel as a partnership. But despite that, we did put up a good game judging from the fact that we actually won. I guess I was just tired also from the night before that I didn't like it when I could nearly feel my partner's racket smashing to the sides of my face. Or when my partner was complaining he was too tired as if he was doing all the work. Badminton is a team sport and you have to trust your partner enough to know that he or she can play a decent game. I'm not claiming to be an ace badminton player nor am I pretending or assuming to be one. But siguro naman I can also play a decent game. Honestly I wished I had a different partner but I did try my best. I didnt want to let the team down. I didn't want to let my friend Karen down. But most of all I didn't want to let the game down. So I played for the love of the game. My patience was just extra thin that I couldn't help but finally bitch on court. And I apologize for that.

Anyway, there were other better moments--like Mark and Macre's winning form at level 1 mixed and Karen's comeback victory at mixed doubles. Plus our yummy dinner at hotrocks and my great escape at len's. I even got to drink my 9th mug of coffee (of my life).And who would forget Karen's bonding moments that sure did made us all smile. I wish nothing but happiness for my friend..

Today, was a total turnaround. The bickerings of sunday turned to a fun and laughter filled Monday. Since it was declared a holiday, I decided to take some time off from badminton (well almost) and do some shopping. I had no internship so I was basically free. I brought Ves to PGH after a hearthy family lunch and went off to Ella's for an impromptu gimik. Ella and I were supposed to watch a movie while I had my new racket stringed at Toby's. Peter joined us and we ended up pigging out at greenwich pizza instead. Imagine this-- we ordered one large pizza square, lasagna, nachos, potato stars and a pitcher of coke light and there were only three of us eating. We never got to watch the movie (as predicted) and ended up window shopping. Ella shopped for wallet but we ended up buying lipstick instead.
It was hillarious shopping for makeup when you're with a guy. Peter looked confused at our fascination about the various shades of lipstick (ano yon? amour, kiss and ??). I also found it a bit awkward and funny when we were checking out the seamless underwear (pano kaya yon?) at mossimo and the various bras at bench. It was fun just window shopping together especially when you get to try out the various clothes and stuff inside the stores. My favorite? The mad hatter hat inside 99 pesos store. Perfect match kay Peter. hehehe. I laughed so hard when Peter reminded me of my "wellcom incident" by warning me against the glass wall of penshoppe. Ay naku! di mo talaga papalimot sa kin yon no? :) Back to his usual makulit self again.

Ella never found her dream wallet nor did she get to buy her new phone but what the heck, it was fun anyway. Nagkulitan kaming tatlo all over the mall.Even the counter girl at greenwich was not spared. hehehe.
And sige na nga di mo na kasalanan this time partner peter kung bakit di kami nakanood!

Overall it was a great day. It was a great weekend as Karen told me. And overall it is one great month. I realized at lot things this month-- the most important of which is-- happiness is within my grasp and its mine if I choose to take it. And it has been in front of me all along, I just didn't see.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Champs at Last (Gratitude Blog)

It's 1:30 am and even though I am sleepy and tired, I decided to write in my blog first. My body is out of sync already but my heart is still pounding from the excitement of the last 6 hours. After 18 tournaments and over 2 years of playing badminton, I finally won my first ever championship trophy. Taryn and I scored a victory over the "pretty/tall" ladies in a thrilling game at Smashroom Badminton tonight. The score was tight all throughout the game and we fought with power. Each time fought headstrong and in the end when we finally scored that winning point, it took several seconds for it to sink in. I screamed my heart out when I finally realized that we actually did it-- won the championship of ladies doubles level D. I still can't believe that it actually happened until now. I waited my whole life for this moment. And it felt like an icing on a cake of wonderful memories. August used to be a month I dread because I always end up getting heartbroken in august. But this year, it was different. Aug will now be imortalized as the month when I finally went off Imuran and the month I finally came home a champ.

But tonight would not be possible if not for several angels in my life. Words are not enough to thank them
1. Partner Taryn for inviting me in the first place. We actually met during a tournament where we were opponents. And we ended up as friends.
2. Peter- who not only was there to be my morale booster/cheerer/gatorade supplier/alalay/photographer rolled into one, but was also the one who lent me his racket when mine was stolen last sunday. Kung wala si peter, wala kaming championship. He kept me sane during the entire championship match.
3. Lorelei- sige na nga si lory na lang. Parang si Peter, isa pang dakilang cheerleader.
4. Our opponents-- who gave us a good fight and taught us how to fight back.
5. Len-- you are truly a coach. kahit ano pa ang sabihin ni kupal. Len helped raise me from the depths of patheticness to being able to play at a decent level.
6. Karen, Macre, Mike, Pamilya Badminton, Binky, Mike Liit, Emerson, Marie, and all the rest of the SB barkada who were cheerleaders in spirit.
7. Sa lahat ng beses na umuwi akong luhaan dahil natalo ako sa tournament, salamat dahil nabigyan ako ng lakas nito na lumaban. My Day finally came
8. Addictus & Weebird, dahil inaaliw nila ako and for playing with me when I was still so pathetic in badminton.
9. Mommy, Ves and Ella
10. The Lord

I finally had my one moment in time this evening. Finally a champion. At the end of it all, I realized that no matter how big the trophy I got and how beautiful the racket I won, this championship would not have mattered if not for the wonderful angels in my life. Thanks Guys! This one's for you!

Saturday, August 27, 2005

What Love is Like...

"You know how when you're listening to music playing from another room? And you're singing along because it's a tune that you really love? When a door closes or a train passes so you can't hear the music anymore, but you sing along anyway... then, no matter how much time passes, when you hear the music again you're still in exact same time with it. That's what it's like ("Danny", Music From Another Room)

My love story is something like of a song that continues to reprise itself. The first stanza has long ended and trains have passed by in the middle but the tune keeps on returning. And though a long time has passed, the song remains.
I'm no self proclaimed love guru. I'm just an ordinary girl who fell in love, got hurt, and who learned to pick herself once again. After several tries at falling and picking myself up, I'm still trying and hoping. I've always believed that love happens at the right time and at the right place. And you know when you really love someone when it blooms through the test of time. Or as Danny would say, when train passes and you can't hear it anymore, you still find yourself singing at the exact time with it.
The day I finally admitted to myself was an ordinary moment-- I was stuck in traffic and I was pondering on something I did that day. I called Cha on the phone and I was hyperventillating my way through our chat. And just there she told me, "wag ka ng magpanggap." Then it hit me, she was right. I've been pretending not to know or because I was just scared to know. I didn't want to see what was happening to me.
Love taught me the greates lesson of my life-- that when you love someone, you'd love that person enough to want him/her to be happy. And it taught me to measure each moment by the joys and not its length-- to savor each moment as if it was your last. And I'm not asking anything from this love. Love is never selfish. You take what is given and do not demand what the other cannot give. Never expect, just hope for expecting invites disappointment while hope invites surprise. I've done almost every stupid thing imaginable in the name of love. And no matter how much I tell myself I'd forget him, I can't seem to. And I find myself still hoping and praying that one day, it will finally come... And though I know its here,I'm still scared--that maybe this time, I won't be able to pick myself up again if I get hurt. Still, I hope and wish. After all who knows, maybe this time I'll finally get lucky and our music will finally coincide.
tama na ang pagiging senti..umaga na.. =P.. hangover pa ata to ng movie marathon namin ni ella last night. We saw two movies in galeria one after the other. We pigged out in theater junkfood and had the time of our lives. I miss those moments. It's been months since we last saw a movie together. It's been months since I saw a movie period. Badminton took most of my time the past months. Must love dogs is a great date movie. Must watch. Bewitched is okay but will farrell can be OA at times. Nicole was pretty.

I wonder what's available for breakfast?=P

Friday, August 26, 2005

The waiting begins

I submitted my revised dissertation proposal this afternoon after nearly a month of attempting to revise it. True to my cramming nature, I really needed a deadliest deadline to finally get me into the writing mode. I guess hearing Cara's words that she was finally defending made me go on a panic mode last Monday. So now I await my adviser's approval. I really need to finish my PhD this year for both my personal sanity and my mom's. =P My family is looking forward to having me finally finish and wouldn't it be great to graduate on the same year as my sister? That would be something nice-- to have two doctors in the family in the same year. My mom would really love that.

So now I wait..

The Perfect Day

People like the word perfect. I guess its because it reminds us of something extraordinary or something beyond what is usually experienced. We strive hard to find that perfect moment, that perfect time, that perfect person. And I find myself wondering, is there really such a thing? Can a day be so perfect that nothing falls out of place? Then I realized it can't. Nothing is really perfect in this world and I'm not trying to be pessimistic about it. What makes a day perfect is that despite it's imperfections, it remains beautiful.

The day started like any ordinary day. Nothing brilliant happened and nothing extraordinary emerged. It was another one of those days that I look forward to every week. Yet at the end of the day,I found myself sighing and wishing it would never end. Mind you I found myself even frustrated to death at one point. I nearly even cried of bwiset. But despite that, it was still a perfect day.
In the most ordinary place I found myself wishing that time would stand still and just remain as is. Just like what the little prince said, it's the time you spend with your rose that makes the rose special.

Maybe I'm really a hopeless romantic. A sentimental fool who looks through life with rose colored glasses. I guess so. But I'd like to remain a fool if it means being able to appreciate the little things in life.

I don't need a crowded ballroom, everything I want is here
If you're with me, next year will be the perfect year
(The Perfect Year from Sunset Boulevard)

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


The past two days have been devoted mainly to badminton practice. Taryn and I are trying to prepare for the upcoming semis and finals (hope!) matches of Smashroom Badminton. Last night I played until almost midnight trying to practice both women's and mixed doubles (for addidas). By the time we left the court, Peter and I were almost ready to collapse. We played some really hard games yesterday especially when I played women's with a weaker partner. It took nearly all my strength just to score each of the 14 points we earned in the game. This afternoon, I was at practice again, this time at Smashroom. Taryn and I played against the women's level c players. After nearly 40 minutes of play, we won 1 set. It was so draining. Then Peter and I teamed up in mixed to play against Taryn and Larry. My back nearly gave out running after the crosscourt drops. Still, it was good play.

It's never really about medals and winning but in improving with every game. When I am able to do that I am happy iregardless of the outcome.

Now if only I could devote such effort to my dissertation. haay!

ewan. yan lang ang masasagot ko sa tanong nila. :)

Monday, August 22, 2005

Late Night Musings (after reading Cha's blog)

"You know someone or something first before loving them.
Loving takes acceptance of what you know too.
Pag sinabi mo na mahal mo... di selective ang pagmamahal... di rin conditional."

Anything about love is bound to generate some sort of reactions from anyone. After reading Cha's blog (obviously I'm trying to procrastinate again here!), I found myself thinking (or should I say reflecting) in her words of wisdom. True, real loving comes from a realization that you know someone well enough to give your heart to them. Though I believe that love at first sight can happen, generally it does not. Or maybe I just never experienced it yet. I've always believed that love grows with knowing someone. And more than just knowing, it grows out of learning that the other may not be perfect yet you still love the person, just the way they are. No matter how high your standards are, the person you choose to love will always be an exception to the rule.

Love is also a matter of timing. In the right time and at the right place it will bloom. I guess our time just havent come up yet.

It's quite hard this art of loving. You're bound to feel hurt at one point or another. Karen told me once that no man is worth your tears because the one who really loves you will make sure you don't cry. I realized now that tears will always be there. And I'm reminded of my liking for roses with thorns-- one can never promise a garden of eternal bliss. There will always be thorns in your garden but if you can look past the thorns, that's when you will know that miracles do happen. Ganun din ang pagibig-- dadating ang araw na paiiyakin ka niya o paiiyakin mo siya o kaya naman mabwibwiset ka ng husto kasi parang walang kamatayang paghihintay.. Pero may araw din na gugulatin ka ng tadhana na yung inaantay mo buong buhay mo, andyan lang pala sa tabi mo. Funny how life can be quite ironic at times.

You can't force someone to love you. All you can do is love them with all your heart and let them go. I realized that love has always been with me, not necessarily in the packaging I want but it's still there. And even if someone does not love you in the way you want them to, it doesn't mean they don't. They just love you in a different way.

Tama si Cha.. mahal nga kita.

The Ultimate Blooper

I thought that forgetting my rubbershoes during the Alfonso cup was the worst thing I could do in a tournament. Now I know there's something more worse. I lost my racket yesterday after winning my first match at the Smashroom Badminton Challenge in Pasig. It just disappeared from our things. I discovered the loss about 15 minutes before my 2nd match. I was at a total loss but I had to concentrate on the game at hand. We lost our 2nd game (I borrowed a racket from my partner but it had a higher tension and it was a different brand) in a closely contented fight of 23-25. Sad. I really had a hard time adjusting to the new racket since the higher tension meant less power. My arm hurt so bad after the game. Still it was a good game. We rallied from a 4-14 score to tie the game at 23 all. Lucky us, we managed to get back in the 3rd and 4th matches to qualify for the semifinals next week. I changed rackets (borrowed Peter's) and was able to adjust to that better. Our last game was the most fun since we already knew we would qualify iregardless of the outcome via the win over the other technicality. We just had fun.

My racket never turned up again. And worst thing about it is that I found out today that the insurance I got from Toby's is totally USELESS. They won't cover the loss because according to the agent, "there's no forcible entry" and they only cover burglary on court. My loss daw is classified under theft. As if naman someone will actually hold you up just for a racket. OR how do you forcible entry in a public event like a tournament where people just come and go. (Kaya warning to all would be racket buyers! don't buy the insurance na kasi money making scheme lang siya!).

It's very frustrating to lose something so valuable. I worked hard for that racket. It's a simple model actually--mid priced. But still it has a lot of sentimental value already. It's my first good racket. It's not one of those imitation rackets you buy in raon. I bought it out of my own pocket. Am I really such a magnet for tourney bloopers? I know its partly my fault because it totally slipped my mind na it was just there. But still, sad.

One good that came out of this blooper was I realized how blessed I am with friends. When I lost my racket, the people I was with were really helpful and they searched the court for the racket (although it wasn't successful). My partner, Taryn, handed me her spare racket immediately so we can still play. Then Peter came after our game and let me borrow his rackets for the remainder of the tourney. Since his racket was of the same tension as mine, it was a better fit than that of Taryn's. It's the nth time Peter rescued me from my bloopers and I'm really really thankful(Sana naman eto na ang huling blooper! Dami ko na utang sa yo partner eh!). Without him and the rest of my new friends from Smashroom, I would probably been so bad trip yesterday and I won't be able to play well anymore and would only feel more depressed. Thank you guys!

They say something good will always come out of a bad situation. True. I lost a racket but gained good friends. I realized now that someone will always help you out if you trust in the miracle of life. Despite the pessimism in the world, there are still good souls out there. And I am blessed with several of them.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

The Price of a Smile

How much is the worth of one smile? I found out last thursday that it cost about 3 hours of driving around QC looking for a sugar free birthday cake, endless phone calls on my cellphone, about 400 pesos worth of gasoline, 5 trips to different bakeshops, 2 packs of fruits, 1 pint of sugar free ice cream, a recycled blue ribbon, and a simple birthday song.

It was one frustrating effort trying to set an impromptu birthday surprise for my new patient at pcmc. Roland, a diabetic turned 19 yesterday and we wanted to give him a simple surprise to celebrate his birthday. It was bad enough that he had ALL, but it was worse to celebrate one's birthday inside the hospital. Unfortunately, much to my effort, I could not find a sugar free cake just in time. So armed with my other goodies, I trekked back to pcmc after 3 hours of driving around. I decided to just get a small regular cake. At least he could do the candle blowing ceremony even if he couldn't eat it.

Roland never got to eat his birthday cake (it wasn't sugar free) yet he beamed at us with his simple smile. He quietly said thank you as if he tasted the cake himself. And I nearly cried. All the tiredness I felt from driving around (with almost no sleep the night before) disappeared.

The price of one smile is not measurable in monetary terms. The price of one smile is worth more than anything in this world.

The price of one smile is our ability to love.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Boys Night Out

I've always been one of the boys. Not by choice but somehow I just gravitate more towards the guys than girls. I realized that last night after another night out with my two partners Mike and Peter. We decided to get some after badminton dinner but it ended up as a drinking session at smokes (formerly perfect planet). Mike got drunk with coke while Peter and I had our traditional San Mig light. We pigged out on crispy tenga, liempo at mojos (they ran out of rice) and had a great time just hanging around. Our topics went from the most mundane (like kung bakit cute daw si *****) to the serious ones (why chizmiss sucks and other lovelife issues) and even magic (bagong apprentice ni David Blaine si Mike). We completely forgot the time and by the time we went home, it was already 3:30 am this morning. When Peter looked at my cellphone for the time, he asked me if it was indeed true-- that it was 3:30! Totoo nga!

Now I lack sleep desperately. Had to wake up at 7am to drive my mom to the psych convention. So I pretended to be awake, said a little prayer (that there would be no MMDA as I was color coded) and headed to UST.

I enjoy my night outs and conversation with the two mokongs of my badminton life. My sister is baffled with how we do it-- spend hours talking to each other without getting tired. Mike used to give up on Peter and me and our kulitan episodes (record: 8 hours!hehehe), but now, lumalaban na rin sa patagalan si bossing.

So is this really my path in life? To be the drinking buddy of the boys? To be their analyst of girls? hehehe. I really don't know. I don't mind-- I enjoy my time with them. Sometimes I wonder myself what makes me gravitate towards the boys more than girls. Always been that way. I guess I'm really not the typical lady. I was telling Peter during our pre-game tambay yesterday at SB that ever since the badminton bug got me, I stopped being kikay like most girls. If you check out my closet, it's almost 80% sports attire and only few girlie stuff exists. When I go to court dressed in a skirt, I get teased to death. Moreso when it's a dress. Peter told me di daw ba ko natutuwa na I'm not kikay. hehehe. Well I guess with the guys, its okay. But for my mom, she's been telling me to start being a girl naman at times. My mom often complains that her two daughters are more like two boys. =P

But still it makes me wonder if part of the reason why I'm still pathetic at dating and my attempts at love, is partly that-- I'm too one of the boys. Maybe Mr. Right sees me as a drinking buddy rather than a Ms. Right. Sad.

Because underneath all these, is still an ordinary girl, with the same hopes and dreams of all girls-- I may be tough on the outside, but I'm still a hopeless romantic inside.. I may be one of the boys, but I'm also a girl (even if I don't show it at times.hehehe).
If only he knew.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005


The life of a hospital volunteer psychologist can be one big adventure. After a frustrating day at teaching yesterday, today turned out to be quite inspiring as I met several new angels in the hospital. They are all struggling to get through some tough challenges in life but are striving to move on. I was sent to visit the ICU of PCMC along with other people from the hospice. There I met three babies, each struggling to live.

One baby had malformation of the small intestine--he almost lost it all. And now he's skin and bones-- almost on the brink of death. But when I looked at his eyes, I saw hope instead of sadness. It was as if the baby was telling me that he was fighting on and that if he could do it, we all could fight too. Everytime his dad would carress his tiny head, he would blink as if relishing each touch as if it were diamonds from heaven.

I also met a toddler who had the Guillain- Barre Syndrome. He couldn't move his arms. He was pleading with the doctors to raise his arms (in a visayan dialect no one could understand). The nurses were too busy to attend to him and as much as I wanted to touch him, I couldn't for fear of contaminating him with any germs I might have brought with me. When the nurse finally went to him, he quieted down and he started to sleepI realized that he just wanted to see that his arms were still there even if he couldn't feel them. It was a small of act of kindness on the nurse's part but to the suffering child, it meant the world.

In the ICU I also saw parents crying while watching their beloved children who were attached to endless tubes and machines. My heart went out to them. And I struggled to keep my own tears from falling because I knew I had to be strong for them. Part of me wished I could take away their pains but all I could really do was say a little prayer for their little angels and hope that they would be okay.It pains me to see parents suffer that way but moreso for the kids. It reminds me of my own struggles with my health and how my family also suffered with me. So I know what they are going through and I know that its rough.

Amidst the bleakness of the ICU, one angel emerged. After our ICU visit, we went to see an 18 year old boy just recently diagnosed with ALL and diabetes (a complication brought about by his chemo). Roland, was recently released from the ICU to the charity wards. When I saw him, he did not look like he was a young man-- he looked as if he was a 12 year old kid. And I saw pain in his eyes. He had high fever and was suffering from back and foot pains. Yet despite that he kindly offered me his chair so I could sit down. Imagine he was already in so much pain yet he was willing to give up his comfortable sit so I could sit on it. I wanted to cry. To remain that kind amidst such pain is the epitome of human kindness.

We spoke with him for a while and though he struggled to keep up with us, he never failed to smile. His dad also spoke to us, telling us about how Roland just started school when he got sick. On friday, Roland will be 19. I do not know what the Lord's plans are for him but I wish he could give Roland some break from his pains.

I left the hospital soon after. I needed a break from all the suffering. Whenever I'm at PCMC, I am reminded of how precious life is and how lucky I am to be alive. At least despite my ITP, I am able to live a normal life. How I wish those kids could too. It's understandable when old people get sick-- it's supposed to be the circle of life. But kids, they've barely lived yet, some of them are even on the brink of dying already.

Sometimes I find myself asking God why those kids had to suffer. I know I will never find the answer but I trust that in his kindness he would also aleviate their pains.

So why do I continue with my volunteer work? Although I do it because it's a requirement (for my PhD), I also made a promise 12 years ago to myself that if I am given the chance to get well, I'd try to make a difference. This is my way of fulfilling that promise. And it's also my way of paying tribute to those kind people who helped me along the way. To feel that someone cares enough to ask you how you are and stay with you for a while is the best gift a sick child could have. And I was blessed with that before. Now it's time to give the blessing back.
I don't know how you do it-- make me smile for the simplest reasons. Just when things turn quite sad, you find a way to make me laugh and feel as if heaven just sent me the greatest gift. I just want to tell you-- thank you.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005


Sometimes it can be quite frustrating to be a teacher. Today is one of those days.I understood how my experimental psychology students were out of sync today, since they had an experimental report due. But my second class was really something. It felt like I was talking to a wall. I don't know if I'm too nice or to kind that I don't scold my class for not listening or not doing their readings. It's just that I don't want to get angry. But kanina, I was really tempted. And sometimes I wish I just slept instead. Baka mas productive pa.

But still, there were some saving graces. I appreciated how some students took pains to prepare and listen and most of all participate. Even those who just took notes in class quietly (at least I knew they were listening) were angels. I am grateful.

Like Roumel,who came to class (and early pa) despite sleeping for only 1 hour; or Voica, who dropped by this morning to say hello; or my other expe students who really took time to apa style their papers. Plus three other students of mine who smiled and said hello while walking in the corridors of SS. I barely remember their names but U remember their faces. If not for them, I would have gladly walked out of class. As a teacher, you really appreciate the kind deeds of students. Those tiny acts allow me to stretch my patience a bit longer for those who continuously test my wits.

Monday, August 15, 2005

No other Way.. Some thoughts on love (again)

Found this at Ina's blog.. Simply beautiful..

I do not love you... by Pablo Neruda

I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way

that this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.
I've always believed that when you love someone, you love that person enough to want that person to be happy, even if that happiness is away from you. Pablo Neruda captures that essence in his beautiful poem. Mind you I'm not the poetry type of person but when I saw this at Ina's blog, I couldn't help but sigh and whisper to myself-- how true it is.
Over the past few days three friends told me about their ill fated heart affairs. Two girlfriends talked about their were just friends (forever) relationships. One has been carrying a torch for this guy for more than 15 years already (and he still hasn't noticed a thing-- another "moron" to borrow Karen's words) while my other friend gets a barrage of songs everyday from this guy whom we don't know whether he's a frustrated songhists collector or a true blue torpe. Another friend told me how she felt so stupid because she fell for this guy who turned out to be a frog instead of a prince. Each of those stories brought to light the various faces of love-- how not all love stories end with the fairy tale endings we're all used to. And though it can be frustrating, it's part of the never ending cycle of loving, learning, letting go, moving on, and learning to love once again.
Once upon a time I also fell in love and just like what Len has been telling me all these weeks, sarap akong batukan. I don't know if I've never learn or I'm simply stupid. But as the poem goes, I know no other way. And even if that story still remains hanging, I find myself feeling extremely grateful because I have loved and I am loved. I know in his own way he cares. And though I may not mean anything to him, he means the world to me.

So I love you because I know no other way.

Friendly Date

What is a friendly date? The concept was introduced to me last friday over dinner at Ella's by two guy friends of mine. Mike (Accenture) was telling Peter and I about his latest dating adventures and the concept cropped up during our dinner conversation. I asked them if there really is such a thing such as a "Friendly Date" and if there is, what is it?

Peter said it was dating but with no romantic attachments-- or rather dating but just as friends. But isn't dating hinged on the concept that it is a romantic one? I'm confused I guess. Can you really classify a gimik between friends as a Date when it isn't one? The conversation lasted for quite some time and I realized how different guys and girls are in the way they perceive things. Take the concept of dating, I don't know if girls ever think of dating as anything but romantic. Or maybe I'm the only abnormal one. hahaha. I guess for me, when I go out with friends, its just that-- gimik. But when its a date then it's a romantic date-- even if it's a first date, there is that underlying notion that you're actually thinking of this person as a possibility. Although not necessarily Mr. Right, but maybe just someone who could one day be a possible Mr. Right (or even Mr. Right Now).
The weekend breezed quickly once again for me. Ella's dinner party was fun even if I knew only two people in the party. Thanks to Peter and Mike (kahit late!) who made the dinner a laughing night. I had my share of bloopers again (classic hazel line na si rio locsin!) but really enjoyed bonding with the guys. Saturday, was addidas levelling day for the women of Shuttlesbest. We trooped early to Olympic Badminton to get the early slots. Unfortunately, Marie and I were levelled against Len and Macre which made us look like a couple of sandbaggers. How does one play against one's coach without looking like a fool, may I ask? hehehe. But it was fun. I decided to skip play in the afternoon to rest my aching back and just spend some time with my mom and sister at home. But I did play several matches still over at SB since the levelling ended early. The girls also had a lunch out at the Riverbanks foodcourt.

Sunday was the much awaited day for Karen and her doc. Finally they will meet. =) The group agreed to play against each other in a dual meet over at Pearl Badminton. The court was inside a semi abandoned mall where the parking looked something out of twilight zone. It was a cinema converted to a court. It reminded us of Tagaytay and the courts there. However in Pearl, you need a jacket to play. Otherwise you will definitely freeze to death.

The gang met up a Len's at 12nn and headed for Pearl at around 1:30 (bakit kaya late? hehe). The games were nice although to be pitted against a men's double team was not my idea of a dual meet. I wasn't successful in the women's doubles category but had a great game at mixed doubles. Peter and I went up a super sipag duo from Pearl who gave Peter a run for his money (and his laughter) because the guy from the other team was running all over the place. Mixed doubles would probably be my favorite event especially with a partner like Peter. Nahihiya akong magkalat. hehehe. Fortunately we won in three sets 15-2, 13-15, 15-2. I was surprised at my dilligence to run after the ball that day. hehehe. And we really had some swerte shots out there. Not to mention Peter's ability to run all over the court without being tired. After resting, I played another round of mixed doubles but this time with another guy whom I met only there. We played 5 straight sets without rest against a men's double pair who refused to let us go until they win. Unfortunately for them, they lost in all 5 sets. Lucky us especially since it was a first time partnership.

We left Pearl at 7pm--tired and freezing to death but happy nonetheless. The drive back to QC was marked by never ending banters again between me and partner. Our traditional driving conversations of kulitans and asarans. 7 of us went to dinner at the House of Minis (Len, Gab, Mark, Macre, Ella, Jonjon, Peter and I). We were so hungry that I actually finished my entire meal in less than 10 minutes. There was even a slight blooper because I didn't hear Mark's phone calls thus Peter, Ella and I ended up at our original dinner place Dampa only to uturn our way back to the House of Minis.

Afterwards we dropped off Ella at SB and headed to Len's. The guys had a drinking session while we girls provided the entertainment. By the time we left at 12:30am we were all ready to fall asleep dead tired. When I got home I just flopped to bed and was asleep within minutes.

My hectic weekend meant I would be cramming today. But what the heck, it was worth it. I loved every minute of it. And I sure did enjoy our games. I realized how much I look forward to weekends now especially being with my friends. And it doesn't matter whether we are in a jologs place or a fine dining restaurant-- it's the company that counts. We make every moment a happy one. And that's a good life.

I wonder what this week would bring..

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Goodbye Imuran

I waited for this day for several months now. And I almost thought it wouldn't come. After 2 1/2 years of taking Imuran to regulate my platelet count, I am finally declared well enough to be taken off the drug. So as of today, I am finally drug free! The moment I found out my platelet count was at 250,000 (up from last month's 248,000), I nagged the fellow in charge of my case to look at my chart and recall that today was dc day (discontinue day). After a few minutes of debating, she finally agreed. I texted my close friends and my sister the good news. I wanted to share with them my joy. Ves was the most ecstatic. She's been nagging my doctors to take me off imuran for almost a year now.

It's been a long journey. Had some really close scares. And in truth I'm not totally off the hook yet. The next two weeks will be my final test. If my platelets remain normal and stable, I might be finally considered to be going on remission. Because ITP has no cure, I can never be declared disease free. So I'll be happy with what I have. At least for today, I know somehow I am back to normal once again.

When I relapsed last Feb 18, 2003 my world nearly collapsed. My entire lifestyle was changed in one day. Steroids gave me a body that I didn't even recognize and a number of other side effects that caused so much distress. Imuran nearly drained my financial resources not to mention the endless needlepricks I had to go through every month. Plus Imuran has a number of serious side effects that I had to look out for.

But still I am glad. My relapse allowed me to reexamine my life-- and made me choose to live the rest of it with grace. Without my ITP I probably wouldnt have started playing badminton or get to ride that tiny plane to Boracay. Without my ITP I wouldn't have taken the risks I've taken the past two years. ITP forced me to live in the here and now.

I may not know what will happen in the future but one thing is for sure. Today is a great day. Today I can finally tell the world that I am normal and happy.

Super Tired

I played a total of 16 sets of badminton last night. About 8 matches in all. And we played in a span of 4 hours. By the time we left SB at 1130pm, my legs could barely support me and each step was pure torture. This morning I was supposed to go to my doctor for a checkup yet I'm still here at the house. My arm and back hurts as well.

Still I enjoyed every last bit of the games last night. Been a while since I played straight sets with hard games. By the time I played my last match (a mixed doubles game), I was ready to collapse in court. Nakakahiya lang kay partner if I mess up so I still tried. =) But it was really fun. Laughed a lot during the game. Kulit pa ni partner. hehehe.

The night ended with a good meal at Burger Machine with Luis. We finally got to do what we've been planning for some time now--eat at Burger Machine. Yummy and cheap! =P

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Almost over

I just finished a really long work day. Well almost that is. As of this moment I have one more meeting to go to before I can finally take my much awaited trip to my favorite place called SB. Some of my friends think I've become an addict to the court. If only they know that I spend more time actually just bumming around than playing. The place relaxes me. And after a long day like today-- that is heaven sent.
Several times I found myself nearly losing my patience today--from students who were unaware of their schedules, to noisy students, to some irritating people in the neighborhood. But I didn't want to ruin my day especially when I knew it would be a long one. I'm not the type to lose my cool over things because I find it more draining when I lose my temper. So despite wanting to snap back at the "irritants" I stopped myself and just smiled. I know I might appear "deadma" at times but I just don't want to make myself feel any worse than I already do. So I just let it be.
Earlier today a friend posed the eternal graduate students' existential question--"why do we do this to ourselves?" Why do we pay 30,000 pesos each semester to torture ourselves with papers and exams? More so, why do we complain about it? We call it anxiety attacks. hahaha. Especially when crunch time comes (like right now). Personally I feel the pressure building up already and though I appear cool most of the time, I feel scared too. I feel scared that I might not live up to the expectations of the people around me but moreso that I might not live up to my own personal expectations.
I am torn by a lot of dreams these days. Honestly, there are times when I don't know which to pursue anymore. And I find myself asking over and over again, what makes me truly happy. The answer has always been there-- I just don't know if I can finally find the guts to go for it.
The moment of truth is fast approaching. I know time will come when I finally have to make my choice.

Have you ever

A nice song Karen sent me this morning.(hmm... bakit kaya may affinity tayo for lyrics these days? Galing ba to kay Mr. Songhits?=P).. Thought it was quite nice. And it says a lot too. Here are some parts of the lyrics...

Have You Ever
By: Brandy

Have you ever loved somebody so much it makes you cry
Have you ever needed somethin' so bad you can't sleep at night
Have you ever tried to find the words but they don't come out right
Have you ever
Have you ever
Have you ever

Have you ever been in love
Been in love so bad
You'd do anything
To make them understand
Have you ever had someone
Steal your heart away
You'd give anything, oh
To make them feel the same
Have you ever searched for words to get you in their heart
But you don't know what to say
And you don't know where to start

Repeat Chorus

Have you ever found the one
You dreamed of all your life
You'd do just about anything
To look into their eyes
Have you finally found the one
You've given your heart to
Only to find that one
Won't give their heart to you
Have you ever closed your eyes and dreamed that they were there
And all you can do is wait
For the day when they will care

Repeat Chorus

Sad isn't it? To find the one only to find out they are not for you? But wouldn't it be sadder if you did not find that person at all? I wonder. After all to love is to risk. And sometimes the risk doesn't pay off. Who knows baka in the next time you see each other again, things will finally work out.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Gratitude Blog

20 Things/people that made last week memorable

1. Family and Friends who are always there
2. Going on a blind date
3. Badminton
4. Tuesday and Thursday Badminton at SB
5. Ella and her friendship
6. Olie and the rest of my "babies"
7. Peter for sharing in my adventures and misadventures and not thinking I am crazy
8. My cheerers-- Karen and Macre who patiently await my emote moments
9. Len-- my coach-- kahit ano pang sabihin ni coach kupal ikaw pa din ang the best
10. George's chinese impersonations
11. Mike's cross court drops that inspires me to run on court
12. Dinner with Ves
13. Seeing old friends again (hataw na ulit!)
14. Finding my journal from 1998 and actually letting someone read it
15. Tita Nel and her words of wisdom
16. Kei and her cutey quotes.
17. Mark's birthday celebration
18. Karen's cheesecake (yummy!!)
19. Market Market Shopping with Mom
20. Walking in the rain (that reminded me of the quote from alias grace)

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Late Nights & Early Mornings

Last night I went home at a record breaking time (my latest to date) of 3:30 am. Was so sleepy driving home in the pouring rain. After dropping of Peter at Len's I zoomed to Katipunan and went straight to bed.

Mark's birthday was a great success. Laughed a lot, drank a lot, and smiled a lot. Had a lot of misadventures too. On our way home from Mae's I was backing out of a side street (which I admit I entered because I was too lazy to back out in the orig stree) and accidentally hit a light post. Fortunately it was only my side mirror. I really didn't see the post because of the darkness and I was also busy chatting with my friend. Ayan! disaster. hahaha. Dagdag na naman sa "stupid things that Hazel do when with Peter." (Peace po!) Medyo madami dami na ata ang bloopers ko eh.

Kidding aside, last night was fun despite the tiredness. Saw the lighter side of everyone. Karen had her usual red horse escapades with matching Houdini escape act. Galing mo tita karen! And George's chinese dialect was something I'll never forget. He takes home the honor of sleeping whereever, whenever he can make his escape...Emerson's bartending would either drive a bar into bancruptcy or get everyone drunk. Even if your beer is still half full, may kasunod na! But Mike was the champion drinker of the night. Bilib ako sa style! hahaha.Second place to Peter who did a mark/george just to get us finally home.Thanks for rescuing me in that last beer partner.. Nice also to see that the Pamilya Badminton was there. Missed seeing Kei in a long time. And Marekoy Jeanette's late night (or past midnight) kwento's were memorable as well. Naubusan kami ng English Marekoy!

Everyone who mattered was there and it was truly one special night.

Part of me wished the night never ended. Even if I was really dead tired. After our badminton at Metro with Lory, Berna and Piw, it had been a long day. But a very fruitful one that is. Even the rains did not dampen our spirits. While walking to the car, the rains started to pour quite heavily and I actually didn't mind. It even brought a feeling of happiness and contentment that I've taken for granted for quite some time.

Tita Nel told me last Thursday that I should enjoy the moment for what it is. That I shouldn't ask for more than what is already there because I'd realize that I can be happy with what I have. And that if things were meant to happen it will happen in good time. She's right. I have everything a person could ask for right now. Some might not come in the right packaging or others might be a little off somewhere. But still it is there. As I told Karen, the things that make me happy are right in front of me. I just have to appreciate it more.

This is my third late night in 3 days. My body is tired and I am too sleepy to even think of what I am writing here at the moment. Heck I may blurt out the great secrets of life and wouldn't even know it. But despite that, I wouldn't trade the past 3 days for the world. Not even for all the chicken and pork adobo out there (right mark?=P)

Thank you for being my angel. I don't know if I told you that but what you did for me will always be cherished in my heart.

Thursday, August 04, 2005


After the great drama of yesterday, I was in no particular mood to wake up this morning. In fact I slept on a bean bag the entire night. I forced myself to sleep after watching one tree hill on star world. When I woke up Olie was crying for food (as usual) and begging to be let in. I got dressed and rushed out to beat the morning rush.

Then something funny happened. I received a YM from someone asking if I was the same "Hazel Ramos" he liked back in college. Back in UP I knew I had a namesake but I never met her. She was a classmate of my friend who thought it was me when the name was announced in class. Of course it was a different girl. But the funny part in this story is that his name is that of someone close to my heart. Isn't it ironic? That somewhere there's another me who is liked by another him. Ella said "hindi mo alam kung matutuwa ka o maiinis." True. Life can be a funny coincidence at times. But it sure did put a smile on my face. Wala lang. Natuwa lang ako-- that things like these do happen.

And it makes me wonder.

Happy birthday Karen!!! We will definitely miss you the next month. Walang maingay sa SB pag ala ka. Thanks for bearing with me yesterday.
You, Len and Tey were angels.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005


Friends look out for each other. Friends care. And when friends get hurt, we all go to battle together. It can sound irrational to some but for me, friends mean the world.

Had a semi bonding moment this afternoon with len, tey and karen. Our pulutan? Karen's favorite new "coach." I don't know how some people can have so much nerve. And to dare insult my friends (and even me) without even thinking that we'd all eventually find out is kupalness at its finest. It really boggles the mind.

Karen says I'm too much of a friend sometimes. I admit, I've always been friendly. Maybe even too friendly. Maybe I care too much. Maybe that's being too optimistic and sometimes people do take advantage. But that's the way I am. I just wish I could be seen as more than one of the group sometimes. It can be frustrating when you always end up being left behind because you're too one of the boys. haha. Pathetic? I know!

Am I actually making sense? To those who really know me. I mean REALLY KNOW ME, you'd get what I mean.

I wish you would see me beyond what you see right now.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Playing with Kids

My internship entails me to spend time with kids at the Philippine Children's Medical Center. It's not a new place for me as I've been there before both as a volunteer and as a patient. But despite the familiarity of the place, everything is new again for me.

In just over a month of going to PCMC, I've learned to appreciate life more. I learned to love what I have and appreciate the gift of life that was given to me. The kids are great despite their conditions. They struggle but they also thrive. From them I learned that it's not the adversity that drives their lives--but their optimism and sense of hope.

Yesterday I got the chance to play with a 10 year old kid. He is a patient there and what you may call a "regular" patron of the play center. Arvy is such a hyper kid that Dr. Cruz commended me for my patience. True, he would run all over the place and turn over all the boxes he sees. Kinakalikot lahat ng makita. Yet he also amazes me because despite his illness, he's doing pretty well.

There were other kids as well who all possess wonderful talents for moving on despite their conditions. Like Kenneth who asked me to tell him a story (despite my lack of skills) and who listened patiently to my rendition of Mrs. Hen and her 10 chicks. Then there's "jade" who could draw like an artist at such a young age of 5; Adam who misses the simple life back home in Bicol but always smiles when you see him. He even asked me how I was and hugged me. And so many others that I don't even recall but who touched my life in their small ways.

Sometimes I find myself wondering why these kids had to get sick. Life can be unfair. I pity the children having to bear the pains of countless needle pricks (ako nga na adult ayoko) and other painful procedure. Then I recall the words f one of the patients whom I was playing with when he was called by his dad. "Bone marrow na ko?" (referring to the painful bone marrow aspiration procedure). He had no qualms, he didn't cry. He didn't even ask his dad not to bring him to the doctor. Instead he gamely placed back his toy on the table and took his dad's hand and off they went to the doctor.

Sometimes I wonder who are the strongest people in this world. I know I'm supposed to be the one giving service to these kids during my stay at PCMC. But for me, I'm the one learning so much more.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Busy Weekend

Had another full weekend. The all jesuit (my 4th tournament in 5 weeks) tournament was held at club 650. Unfortunately my partner and I didn't fare well. Kinda disappointing because the tourney marks my first anniversary in joining badminton tournaments. Sad that we didn't win a game and we even defaulted our last game. But no regrets. It was still a learning experience and now its time to move on.

After the games last saturday I consoled myself with my comfort food-- fried sharksfin dumpling from Pao tsin and my comfort activity-- badminton. Went to SB and met up with my SB pals and played till 11:45pm. Macre would not let me quit despite feeling extra tired already. At 12 midnight, Peter, Mike, Luis and I decided to go have late dinner (or early breakfast) at Tapsi ni Vivian. Yummy food. The guys pigged out (sige na nga me too). Champion eater was Peter who had three fried eggs. Goodluck sa cholesterol! hehehe.

Sunday was Karen's birthday celebration at Mcdonalds. After getting the confirmation that we were indeed defaulting I decided to go to her party straight away. The party had a special meaning to us because she was granting the wish of a 6 year old child with Aplastic Anemia. Personally the day also had a special meaning because it would have been my brother's birthday had he lived. He would have been 13 yesterday. So I celebrated his birthday by giving joy to a sick kid and it made the day worth it. Despite feeling extra frustrated, the day turned out to be one special day.

After the party we hangged out n Mcdo for a while then Peter, Mike and I headed back to our second "home" SB. Peter's treat of bbq dinner was yummy. Thanks pedro!=) After our trip to the mall, we went to Len's house where the rest of the group was waiting for us. The night was capped with never ending kulitans courtesy of Mark and George. buti na lang lasing kayo kasi favorite niyo kami kagabi eh!hahaha

It was one busy weekend but happy nonetheless. My mom's been telling me that I've been having too much fun. Maybe I am. But still I find myself wondering, what's wrong with it? For the first time in years, Im actually looking forward to getting up in the morning and work seems not to be as burdensome as before.

Maybe I need this to bring some balance in my life.

Sometimes I wish you'd know me. I mean really know me. Maybe then you'd realize the truth about me.
You have the knack for surprising me and making me feel special during moments when I need cheering up the most. I don't know if I thank you enough.
Thank you. I just wish you knew.