A Little Bit of Heaven

There’s one act that makes me feel heavenly. It is when I wear comfortable or “pambahay” clothes while sleeping with a background music which is a sweet old love song. It would be on a warm afternoon, after I finish drinking milk. I sleep near the window where the sun’s rays would illuminate my face. The view that can be seen on the window is a clear sky with little cottony-soft clouds that add to the mellowness of the moment. I would be hugging my teddy bear or just a pillow, and I would feel vulnerable and comfortable like a child again.

Wearing light and flashy clothes could make us attract attention throughout the daylight, but at the end of the day, we will still go back to our baggy shirts and pajamas. Wearing uncomfortable apparel is just an act to abide with the norms of the society or to please the world, but our bodies truly seek the comfort provided by a light and cottony fabric.

Sweet old love songs are now very rare, but I always hear them when I was young. It was way back in the 90s, wherein the music was still so innocent. Although I was already exposed to Britney Spears’ “Baby One More Time” and other songs that paved the way to indecent pop, it was compensated by my childhood memories of listening to Westlife’s “My Love,” Shania Twain’s “From This Moment On,” Boyzone’s “Every Day I Love You,” M2M’s “Pretty Boy,” and so on. I remember lying alone on a wooden bench outside our old house, staring at the coconut trees with their leaves dancing on the clear blue sky while an invisible radio (I didn’t know where it was placed) was playing John Denver’s “Leaving on a Jet Plane.” Perhaps that was how I got my idealism and “romantic” nature.

Drinking milk has been a habit, especially before going to sleep, since we were infants. It is comforting, nourishing, and it makes us drowsy. Drinking milk may also be subconsciously encouraging, for we were reassured by our mothers that it would help us grow bigger; and if we have already grown bigger, then we could be ready to face life’s challenges bravely.

Although I have always been irritated by turned on electric fans, it’s comforting to feel the breeze coming from it when it feels like the dehydrated ground could already crack into pieces because of too much heat. I am used to the tropical climate of this country, and I am the type of person who would die in winter.

I love having the sun’s rays upon my face because the sun affects my mood and makes me sunny too. The afternoon sun invites me to frolic on the meadows and lulls me to sleep at the same time because it is gentler compared to the noon sun.

I don’t really love teddy bears and stuffed toys except for the baby pink ones (which match the girly color of my bedroom), but I am deeply attached to my childhood toys especially those have always been with me when I sleep.

I love seeing a clear sky, without any intrusion of clouds especially the gray ones, because for me it suggests innocence, like a child without any evil streak, and still ignorant of people’s selfish ways. Children often draw blue skies, and very rare are the cloudy or stormy skies in their drawings, because all they care about are having gleeful and carefree moments. For them, every day is a sunny day.

Despite all of my complicated explanations, that heavenly act is just sleeping. I do not reckon myself lazy, but many people lack sleep because of their worldly reasons. When I sleep on a peaceful environment, I feel like fairies are sprinkling magic dust on me, my guardian angel is holding a sword upward on my side ready to protect me, and a few chubby cherubs are playing music of a heavenly lullaby around me. Heaven on earth for me is going back to our comfort zone, not caring about the world, and having a little nostalgia of our beautiful childhood. 

The Day the Dancers Came

Note: This is an assignment in Literature class regarding the short story of The Day the Dancers Came by Bienvenido Santos wherein we have to change a certain part of the story. You can read the whole story first here.

Fil was mesmerized by the Philippine dancers, but only one of them really caught his eye. He felt like she was a part of him, and it was a very familiar aura that she gave off. It was the same aura that was emitted by a lovely maiden he loved long ago, the woman whom he was still trying his hardest to forget. For a short time he was confused of how he felt that he was just stupefied in a corner.

His eyes were stuck on the teenage girl and he didn’t know why. He was studying her fine features from afar – her long curly hair with the color of natural brown, beautifully arched eyebrows, aquiline nose, pinkish thin lips, and slightly chubby cheeks. Her body was slim and graceful, and even her small and ordinary movements captivated him.

Fil had a feeling which he could hardly fathom. He was not in love with the girl, and he was very sure of that. He just felt a desire to hold her, hug her, and kiss her on the forehead. It was a sudden and strange craving that he felt, and he also hated that he was feeling a bit nostalgic at the same time.

For the first time, he acted on impulse. He grabbed the girl on the arm while no one is looking and covered her mouth while she was trying to shout. He took her near the restrooms and when he removed his hands from her mouth, she surprisingly didn’t shout for help but was equally dumbfounded when she saw Fil. 

“Father?” was the only word uttered by the girl after about five minutes of silence between them.

Fil’s eyes widened. His heart started to beat very fast. “She couldn’t be my child. I don’t have a child,” he thought. However, only one woman popped into his mind as he studied again her finely chiseled face.

“W-what’s your name?” asked Fil nervously.

“Filiza,” answered the girl. “I know, it’s a weird name. But my mom insisted that my name should be Filiza. Well, she could have named me Fiona, Sophia, or Camille, but she liked that odd and old-fashioned name. I guess it was inspired from my father. My real father.”

“You…you talk just like someone I know. Someone named Eliza,” Fil murmured.

The girl just stared at him. Fil studied her carefully, looked at her from head to toe, and felt like his eyes were beginning to be clouded with tears. The girl’s dewy eyes, stubborn look, wavy locks, and way of standing were just like his.

The girl started to sob. He took a picture of a twenty-year-old man in his wallet and gave it to Fil. The guy on the picture was a handsome young man that looked like him without the gray hair, big belly, and wrinkles.

“Are you my daughter?” asked Fil while trying not to appear vulnerable.

“I was going to ask you if you were my father. I’ve been looking for him since I was a little girl. And when I finally find him, I’ll blame him for my painful childhood,” said Filiza with fury in her eyes.

“Are you? Are you really my daughter? Then you’re the daughter of Eliza, aren’t you? Where’s your mother?”

“She’s dead! She died when I was still six! She died of depression! She died because of the hurt you caused her when you left us!” yelled the red-faced Filiza, while sobbing uncontrollably.

Fil froze for a moment, sat on the floor like a child, and shed tears. The woman he loved his whole life was dead. He was suddenly filled with grief and guilt.

“Oh no,” were the only words he could utter. He wept while having a reminiscence of the adorable look in Eliza’s eyes when he finally proposed to her and gave her a ring which he saved for for more than a year, and how she showed gratitude in a form of a kiss, for a wedding which did not happen.

 He looked at the lovely girl, and her look changed from being wrathful to being filled with love. She had a sorry look in her eyes that says she was sorry for shouting at him earlier, and she hugged her father like time stopped just for that moment. They hugged each other like they were the only ones left to themselves in this world. He kissed his daughter on her forehead, and this expression of love alone seemed to make up for all the years that he wasn’t there on his daughter’s side. Filiza held him tight while looking at her father’s eyes, which assured him that she wouldn’t leave his side until his death.

“I have loved you since Mama told me everything about you, Papa.”

“Forgive me for not knowing that I had a daughter. I loved your mother so much. And I will love you more than I have loved your mother. I didn’t know that we were blessed with a child almost ten times prettier than her,” said Fil while kissing her forehead once again.

Filiza chuckled childishly, and she decided to go to the other Philippine dancers to introduce to them his long-lost father.

Simplicity is Beauty.

We've already heard that statement long ago, and its meaning may differ from woman to woman. We may think that it is just okay for us to go out in our dusters and slippers, or a plain white tee and jeans, or in jerseys. We may think that it’s okay for us to go out in our natural state, like how we exactly look when we just came out of bed, for they say that our natural beauty is revealed in the state of just waking up. Or we may think that that statement is a total lie made by someone who just doesn't know how to apply makeup or dress herself up.

Look at these two pictures of Marion Raven:

Marion Raven

What do you think of these two pictures?

In my opinion, the first photo was just too dark. I’m not speaking of the photo quality, but the implied meaning of it. “Seduction” was the first word that popped into my mind. Seduction doesn't seem nice to me, and I’ll tell you why in my next posts. The woman is attractive but while she is naturally beautiful, heavy makeup was put on her face which covered up her natural beauty. Well, at least for me, heavy makeup is intimidating and gives the impression that a woman is “high-maintenance.”

Meanwhile, the second photo shows beauty from youth and innocence. She didn't try too hard, but she’s delightfully charming. Youthful energy seems to spring up from her accidentally lovely face and bright smile. Just breathtakingly pretty. 

”Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” Luke 12:27

All women are made by God to be naturally beautiful so men would get attracted to them. Remember the Philippine epic/legend entitled “Malakas at Maganda”? Why is the title like that? If it pertains to a man and a woman, why can’t it be “Gwapo at Maganda”? It’s simply because beauty is the outward expression of femininity, and strength, not handsomeness, is the expression of masculinity.

Now, regarding the Bible verse above, doesn't it give an implication of simplicity in the way we dress and present ourselves? King Solomon, during his reign, was clothed in all artificiality just to show his magnificence and splendor, and yet his glory was still nothing compared to the lilies in the field which do not need to be arrayed in fancy clothes, which just grow lovelier as they grow, and are just being in their natural state throughout their lifetime.

“And God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning , the sixth day.” Genesis 1:31

Everything that God has made is beautiful. Everything in its natural state is beautiful. However, it doesn't mean that we shouldn't care about our appearances now. As women, we really have to be responsible of our looks and hygiene. Remember that beauty is the outward expression of femininity. Women even have God-given veils, which are very important to us. It is our hair, our crowning glory. Notice how women look pretty and feminine wearing their long locks down:

Kristen Stewart

If all the women in the world would just embrace their femininity, then the world would be a more beautiful place to live in, for all women were really created by God to be a thing of beauty. However, women must not go through lengths just to pursue their dream of more beauty, for simplicity is the best indicator of true beauty. Since we are talking about simplicity, then the subject of modesty also follows. 

“In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; but (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.” 1 Timothy 2:9-10

The Bible states that extravagance in appearance is not important, but the goodness of heart is. Anyway, accessories, jewelries, and flashy dresses aren't important to attain the kingdom of heaven. We are already made beautiful just the way we are, which means that we should take pride in our natural appearances than the costly array we hang in our bodies. Another reason why women should dress simply is because their attire would overpower the loveliness of their faces, and people’s attention would be diverted to their bodies instead of the beauty of their faces.

Son Ye Jin

Even nature complements this Korean actress’s simple beauty. For me, beauty is not given by makeup. Beauty is not found in artificiality. Would you prefer to look at a plastic flower or a real one? Of course, the real one. The subject in almost all artworks is nature, which means that nature is beautiful. There’s no doubt about it. And given the fact that nature is beautiful, we may infer that everything the Great Creator created must be beautiful. And so, everything in this world in its NATURAL state is beautiful. This is true especially in the case of girls. Nothing more pleases the eye than a thing in its simplest form. 


Is it normal that I feel this way?

Whenever I feel depressed over something that’s so superficial, I always feel like I want my high school friends to teleport to my side and tell jokes so I could wear a smile on my face again. It seems like they’re the only ones whom I can really trust, and count on to be always on my side. When we were just freshmen in high school, great differences on our personalities were patent there were many times that we had conflicts because of misunderstandings and different thinking patterns. However, now that we’re already studying in different universities scattered in the different parts of the Philippines, we couldn’t help but feel alone, unless we have the company of at least one ABNU. I feel like nobody in this world could understand me than my high school group of friends, ABNU. 

It has already been eight months since I went to a very different environment from my hometown, and I should be well-adapted here by now. I have friends here, I can also manage to smile and laugh, but deep inside, I am very sad. It seems like the friends I have here are only my friends because of necessity, but my relationship with them has no depth. The few chosen ones from my friends have gained my trust, but I feel like they are way too self-absorbed. I feel like when I’m not with them, there’s a great chance that I might be one of their topics in their chitchats. I still haven’t found the ones who would understand me instead of judge, who would enjoy my company and never leave my side, who have the same personality and principles as mine, who have the same sense of humor as mine, who have the same goals in life as mine, and who walk the same path as mine. It is really hard to find a true friend who would love me and never betray me – and that’s the reason why I’m still forlorn deep inside.

I may be unworthy to compare myself to Jesus because He is way too holy and sacred, but we don’t make friends just for fun. We don’t make friends for fame’s sake. We want friends whom we could cherish forever. Friends are those whom we should develop a deep relationship with, those who can accept us just the way we are, those who are there for us through good times and bad times, those who just laugh at our mood swings, those who very well know our good and dark sides, those who can laugh with us at the most silly things, those who cry with us when we cry, and those who remind us where the right path is when we’re starting to go astray. True friends serve as light to us in this dark world, and remind us that there is still beauty left in this world.

Hating Parties, Loving Books

I hate parties. I hate socializing. I hate having to deal with strangers. And I always lock myself up in my room where I can build sandcastles in the air.

This has always been my problem since I was a kid. My mom always thought there was something wrong with me – and so I also thought that I have a problem with my personality. My mom had always been trying to change me, but it was always in vain. I just can’t change myself. I was also trying hard to change, but then I realized later on that this was just introversion. I was born an introvert and I am more comfortable recharging alone and living in my own inner world.

Admittedly, because I was still so innocent then, I really thought that I needed to go to a psychologist or psychiatrist or anything of that sort. I was obviously being compared to my younger sister who is an extrovert. She had no problem socializing with people. Why haven’t my mom learned about introversion? Why is she trying to change me into somebody I’m not? Why didn’t she know that I am just being the real me, and I’m acting in ways that I am comfortable in? You know what, if I didn’t find about this sooner, I’d suffer more with low self-esteem. At least now I can defend myself.

I wonder why my mom hadn’t thought that I was just like my father. My father is a quiet man who’s always reflecting on evenings outside our house alone. I don’t know what he’s thinking. His thoughts were always a mystery to me. When I was a kid, I thought of him as weird because he’s silent and his sense of humor is odd. Little did I know that it was from him I inherited my introversion. We enjoy silence, and we regain our energy through silence. That is why I love my father.

Okay, enough of the talk about introversion stuff. 

I also wonder why parties are repulsive to me even though the answer is very evident. Parties are about having fun. People are dancing wildly without worrying whether they look silly or not. People move their body according to the rhythm of the music. Sometimes, people shout nonsense, as if they are mildly possessed. Once, when I entered a nightclub, the lights were just so dizzying and that alone could drain my energy. Some people are drinking liquor. I have prevented myself from drinking alcoholic beverages because I am aware of how it could damage our health and the embarrassment caused by being drunk. My mother doesn’t smoke or drink, so I’d like to imitate her good behavior. Also, I have seen people there who do dirty dancing, and as the name seems, it doesn’t look nice to me. Couples dance as if they are releasing their bottled-up lusts, and I could infer that sexual intercourse would come afterwards if they couldn’t really control themselves anymore. It doesn’t look nice to me. I wouldn’t do it for I have vows on chastity. Also, the music, especially the beats, is so loud that I could already imagine that I am in the middle of a pagan ceremony, and it’s as if I could feel the presence of their evil god. I just slept on a corner despite the loud music, partly hoping that no one would hit on me. Trying to go to a nightclub was a big mistake and really a waste of time.

Being with people whom I don’t really know deeply for a long time exhausts me, and although I may be a bit shy, shyness isn’t the main reason why I withdraw. It’s just that I’m not comfortable with strangers no matter how friendly they are. I prefer the company of intimidating strangers only in small doses, and then I’d go back to my room, wear my pajamas, and read books. I am not used to make useless noises, and silence is just too precious for me. It’s my way of recharging. Honestly, I get kinda hurt when some people say that books are boring. When they find out that the way I spend time on a lazy afternoon is just by sleeping, writing on a diary, reading a book, and surfing the internet, I get told that my life is boring. I am not just the impulsive and adventurous kind of person. I treasure peace, silence, and solitude, especially when the only company I have is nature. They bring me a blissful kind of feeling that refreshes my soul. And although some people may love to have adventure by physically traveling, I’d prefer to go into faraway places by the help of books and with the use of my imagination. As my philosophy teacher said, you don’t always have to experience in order to know.

Also, when you compare partying to reading books, the latter is clearly the more beneficial one. The happiness brought to you by partying is only temporary. The worldly pleasures you pursue by doing it may give you evanescent ecstasy, but it has no permanent benefits. Lack of sleep and liquors may just bring you health problems. However, reading books make use of your mind and increase your mental power. For me, refusing party invitations (the ones held in nightclubs) from my friends won’t make me miss anything in my life, for partying doesn’t make me happy. Yes, I still do laugh despite being an introvert (of course), and that’s just when I am in the company of my true friends and loved ones. Extroverts who think they're the only ones being happy in this world just have to stop judging introverts.

Lost Darling

It seems like the earth had its colors washed away
Looking for my lost darling, I had gone astray
Flowers in my heart have all gone withered and dead
‘Cause when that precious soul left, I was left with dread.

For a long time he was buried deep in my heart
Doe-eyed in my reveries, he’s as fine as hart
For ages I have kept my faith and hope and beams
He’s naive of how I longed for him in my dreams.

The fairies rung bells when he bestowed me a kiss
The heaven’s gate opened, I lived through divine bliss
The angels made me taste tender peace from above
As the afternoon sun set with pink shades of love.

But then my love suddenly ran away from me
Motionless in bewilderment, “How could this be?”
Drenched in agony, cried while staring at the stars
“Take care of my lost darling, while he is afar.”
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