Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The First Step

The moment I stepped my bare foot on the white sand, I felt renewed energy building up inside me as if life was breathed into me again. When I touched the cold, salty water, I felt a tingling sensation in my fingertips. The thing was so pure, untainted, incorruptible. I closed my eyes and enjoyed the harmonious chorus of the waves. How could a single dirt destroy the magnificence and grandeur of a place like this? The thought was like hearing an innocent child sobbing in silence, rivulets streaming from her ocean eyes. I felt guilty. I hope a nightmare like that doesn't happen.

I opened my eyes and looked towards the horizon. At the other side, what if the feelings of amazement and ecstasy I had were the exact opposite of that of a man disgustedly staring at the murky water while inhaling the putrid air? Nature has given us so much but we have given nothing in return. Not even reverence. Do we even have the right to feel disgusted? It is said that nature can live without man but man can never live without nature. Personally, I feel ashamed because in spite of the sickly state of our mother nature, she has still chosen to bestow me peace, strength and optimism. We never realize how a sturdy old acacia tree in the corner of a paved road gives vital energy to a despairing person seeking a shade to rest during a hot day. Primary school had taught us about the importance of plants and other living things to human beings. One cannot live without the other because everyone is interconnected. Life is beautiful. All things are. For God's creation is everlasting. I looked up to the azure sky wiped with thin strokes of feathery clouds and I promised myself that nothing could ever hurt mother nature again. I will resolutely do my best to protect it even though what I can do may seem too insignificant.

When I heard about Gawad Kalinga Bayani Challenge to be held in Bantayan Island in Cebu, I never hesistated to join. Since college, I have always been interested to participate in community building activities. For me, being able to help other people gives me joy and uplifts my spirit. This time I had the chance to be closer to mother nature. There are many things you can do: house build, teaching children, school build, island greening, among others. My team and I participated in island greening. The experience was like taking care of an ill mother. It made me remember my own late mother. We did coastal cleanup, tree planting, and mangrove planting in a span of five days. April 4 to 9 was an unforgettable week for all of us. As a part of our contribution to the country, we had made new friends among the participants, co-team members and residents of Bantayan Island, were inspired by talks and stories of people whose personal lives were touched by GK, had danced and flown high to patriotic beats and music played by homegrown bands, and had gained a magnanimous sense of self-fulfillment. It was no other vitamin for the heart.

After the hardwork and the exhaustion from our different tasks for several days, I came to walk along the beach. I felt frustrated when I saw a piece of plastic lying on the sand. Have we just done coastal cleanup? It may seem absurd but I squatted, picked the trash up, and put it in my pocket. I know it is never impossible to make this place clean again. But one thing is certain. I have lessened the trash in this place, one plastic at a time. That makes me believe nothing is ever impossible as long as you set your heart into a certain goal no matter how small your steps are to actualize it. An individual's contribution may be trivial but together in a million, billion, or trillion squad, together in “bayanihan,” we can all make it. We can end poverty in the Philippines and all the problems and sufferings in this world. The first step is “to care.”

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A Dreamy Day

I realize I haven't written for months now and to be honest, I'm having a difficulty to start writing once again. As anyone can experience from a writer's block, myself is no exception. So, like a good crick in the neck from a long streeeeetch, I decided to draw inspiration from my melancholic tendencies nowadays. I don't know why but at this stage in time, mind you I'm an early twenty-ager, sometimes, I feel my life has no direction as if I'm sailing on a boat without knowing where the wind shall take me or like riding an express train. I know I have a good paying job right now but could there be something my heart is searching for? This is something I need to figure out.

As I mull things over, which is developing into a kind of silly habit, I have come up with wild dreams that I want to do in my life. Some of these things may seem too random and elusive, but one thing I'm certain of is that dreams are not made only for sleeping. In fact, everything starts from a dream.

I want to champion a cause. As Gawad Kalinga is working towards ending poverty in the country and restoring the dignity of the Filipino people, I also want to have my own fight. I want to fight lack of education among children in far flung communities. I don't know where these communities can be found and how I can help them, but there is a blazing desire in my heart to be a teacher and be a source of strength and inspiration to other people.

Of course, I also dream of worldly things but I do not want “to be a billionaire so freaking bad.” I actually fear how riches can turn someone into a monster. But I don't want to be hypocrite and say I don't like to have much money. All I want is to gain it through perseverance and hardwork, and eventhough I'm already rich, I'll still stay grounded and be the same person that I am. After all, it is not money that is evil but it is greed. What if I'm going to be a billionaire? Oh yes, first of all, I'll buy things I never had: gadgets, houses, cars. Take note it's plural! Most especially, I'll buy a picturesque island here in the Philippines teeming with pristine powdery white beaches and watch the sunset in my dying days! I will know then that life has never been futile. Of course, it can never be exclusive. I can make it into a resort where everyone can enjoy and be happy as long as they don't abuse the place and they will maintain its beauty and cleanliness. Through that, I can help people. I can open businesses and provide them jobs. I wish to grow old in a white house in the seaside sitting on an easy chair and listening to the waves as they hum me to a peaceful sleep.

I'm also dreaming of getting my “dream job” to be a hardcore programmer. I want to live an independent life in a highly urbanized metropolitan city and live in my own condominium or apartment. I want to believe in this dream no matter what it will cost me. Nothing is easy.

I want to go to Tokyo, Japan and be a mad scientist. How is it possible to be a hardcore programmer and a mad scientist at the same time? I don't know but one of my dream cities here on Earth is Tokyo. I want to go there to see the crazy infrastructures of this city. I've always admired Japanese people and I always believe they are indestructible no matter how many earthquakes and tsunamis will hit them. I want to dance there in discos to the beat of Dirty Bit or Born This Way, play Nintendo Wii, eat spicy noodles, or just be calm and stoic in temples and mountains. Oh yeah, I will have the time of my life!

Lastly, but not the last of my dreams as the list goes on, I want to play piano, guitar and violin. I know I have a great passion for music but I still don't have any skills or musical talents. I want to be a classical composer or an electropop artist. I want to compose my own songs and want these songs to be sung by a multitude of people and translated into multiple languages. I want these songs to be personal anthems. Just like how Lady Gaga belts “I was born to be brave. I was born this way!”

Well, I dream because the dream screams nothing is impossible. As long as there are slow boring afternoons, dreaming never stops.