About aminahgarangan2014

Hi, I write from within and I draw my inspiration from anything and anybody. Hence, expect a diversed topic from me. My paramount consideration is to be able to have a connection with my readers. Feel free to read my writings and I hope I could able to move you with my words and express my thoughts in a profound way.

Good Things Come in Small Packages, Help Marawi Evacuees.

My siblings became an instrument in reaching out to the victims of Marawi crisis with the philanthropic hearts of Overseas Filipino Workers and foreigners in Kuwait.

A couple of weeks ago, my sister, who is an Overseas Filipino Worker as well, talked to me with enthusiasm, that there were Filipinos who wished to extend a financial support for the people of our hometown, Marawi City. 

These kind-hearted human are familiar faces for they knew my father who was the Philippine Consul General in Kuwait years back. Moreover, all of them are well aware that we are natives of this town that is under attack up to this date.

Just a background, my mother was born and brought up in Marawi City. Also, a native marawian by blood and by birth. My father, whose griefs caused by the seige, earned his primary and secondary school in Dansalan College that is now burned down to the ground. Anyway, I shall not elaborate any further for this is not the nitty-gritty of this writing. 

Going back to my sister, she received a donation amounting to more than php 29,700.00 in total. Overwhelmed by the generosities she sought my dad’s opinion, who in turn, advised her to document the funds and the way of distribution.

She decided to send the money to the eldest in our family our big brother “Kaka Zandro“, a lawyer and used to live in Marawi City but settled in Iligan City. However, concerned that if he gives to the local officials it might be tainted with politics, should he delegate the job to others doubts might arouse. Furthermore, he is also aware of the infested rice all over the places. Finally, he decided to do the task instead. In every Filipino’s home, rice is a staple. . . so he bought only the best quality; because, Maranaos deserve nothing less. 

He used his personal car and money (for the fuel), and together with my cousin braved the scorching heat of the sun with an empty stomach, drove and visited the evacuees they could find. By the way, it was still the month of Ramadan so both were fasting. They did not mind the challenges attached to it as the reward of seeing the appreciations from the evacuees were priceless.

It is so moving that there are no boundaries when it comes to helping hands. Regardless whether you share the same faith or not. I guess, in this unfortunate and unforgiving event what pops in a person’s mind is “how can I be of help!”

The selfless deed of these donors left me in awe. The unfatigable efforts and devotion of my Kaka Zandro and cousins-have gained my respect even more. My sister, who can easily pocket the money without anybody noticing it chose to send it home as her “god fearing” and “honest nature” ruled her, wanting me to give her power hugs and say, “how I am truly proud of you my little sister!” Of course, the idealism of my father who guided her children to always observe humility is a price jewel.

A gargantuan thanks to Allah (SWTA) who passed the funds through these donors from Kuwait, somehow, have chosen my siblings as the instrument in helping our fellow Marawian evacuees. I hope this will reach you all, who prefer to remain anonymous, that your donations reached the beneficiaries with diligent care. You may wonder “what’s the fuzz when the amount is so little?” As they say, “good things come in small packages”.

You might be surprised (I even shed tears upon knowing this) that one of them is a domestic helper and who reverted to Islam, selflessly donated 40 Kuwait Dinar (PHP 6,000). However, she does not want her name to divulged because according to her, she fully trust my sister. In behalf of the recipients of all your donations, “thank you!” I hope you could find time to read my blog to see the smiles “from ear to ear”. . . 

that you painted upon their faces when they received the relief goods. It can melt ones heart like a popsicle. Sigh! If only it could reach all of them and the roads were accessible.

The Eidl Fitr had just recently been concluded; however, the Marawi City is still under seige. I could not fathom the despair, fear and losses the people are going through. It is so difficult for me to process why does some creatures have to engaged into war when innocent civilians are the sacrificial lambs as if their lives are of no value.

Anyway, Maranaos are warriors and survivors. Somehow, they could pull through, painstakingly, the most unparalleled ordeals in life. . . and. . . Always be the last man standing. . . with pride and honor. It is in our blood and that is just the way it is. In Shaa Allah! 

Adieu Allergy and Oh Hello to Organic products!

A few days before the the coming of the year 2014, I got sick. It wasn’t just an ordinary colds and cough that I can cure by just drinking water with lemon, then I will be fine the following day or a fews days after (it’s how I beat such virus and it worked for me everytime). However that wasn’t the case. I got allergy! and according to the specialist that I consulted it was extensive or extreme kind of allergy. Well I thought I was gonna die so I guess it was that extensive indeed. I was confident I was healthy because I had a general check-up few months earlier and all of the results were positive. My sugar, blood and etc were normal. But, truth be told that sometimes things happen beyond our control especially if God above decides to make it happen. What I hardly process is that I am not into alcoholic drinks neither do I smoke; I don’t even stay up late and I actually dont have any vices. After the said medical general check I was confident that getting sick will not be my concern. I was even bragging that I was perfectly healthy. I was wrong. No wonder arrogance is a sin.

Contrary to popular belief, people die of allergies absence of prudent care. I remember the news I heard (I forgot when) but it was a boy who died of allergy. The school where he used to study threw a little party and the boy, of course, ate whatever they served him. Unfortunately, right there and there the boy passed away. It turned out that he was allergic to one of the ingredients in the food he just had. He didn’t even reach the hospital. Tragic. Sigh! It may be an isolated case but we cannot ignore the reality that the proximate cause of his death was from something that we take in the ordinary course of life and if only utmost care was done this would have been avoided. Imagine, he was just a boy, had he been told or aware of what to avoid he could have had lived a longer life, experienced and discovered what he ought to do so. However, who am I to criticize the teachers well let us give them the benefit of the doubt. As to the parents, the pain that so profound will forever endure them. I have wintnessed my parents’ suffering when we lost my sister and I tell you the depth was beyond repair. Ergo, allergy or whatever health problems a person will go through should not be taken lightly. Hopefully, God will give us the chance to survive.

Anyway, I am now recuperating and just a couple of days from now I will be done taking my medicines ( In Shaa Allah, if God wills it). The doctor, however, warned me that the allergy will reoccur (ugh!) yes, it will and shall be part of my entire existence. “BUT” it can be prevented should I follow her instructions to the dot. What are they? Well, I can no longer eat cheese for as slong as I leave because that was the last thing I have eaten when the allergy occured. Scrue it! I can leave without eating it anyway; I also have to avoid. . . CHOCOLATES, what kind of world is this?? Imagine chocolates?! So, I can no longer have the pleasure to have a bite on one of the greatest joy a girl can have in the dessert department!! or even all kinds of people for that matter. Now this is really painful. Sigh! The doctor further said that there is something about chocolates that will serve as contributory factor to the reoccurance of the allergy. Uhm, it is my choice between the pleasure or the chance to live without having to go through the agony or worst that might cause my life. Oh well! I guess I will just have to pull through it. There are still other pleasure to be grateful for like the strawberry flavor, caramel, blue berries, it aint that bad right? Oops don’t tell me it’s not the same as I am trying to comfort myself here; also, canned goods like tuna-in-can anything mixed with preservatives is a big no-no, so condense milk and evapotared milk are not allowed, farewell to Crema De Fruta! Lately, I have been obsessed with Filipino foods which the cooconut milk is the main component, so after the warning I can’t use the one in a tetra pack. I have to buy the one that extracted from a coconut shell. The important thing she reminded me of was to gobble on a fresh cooked meals and If possible organic products. (light bulb!)

I was a vegan for a year before and adding organic to my diet was not new. Ok when I said “was” I meant I have done it before. Sorry being human I fall off from a wagon once in a while, maybe because of the people who were not into it plus due to material things as organic are pretty pricey, also, my research wasn’t sufficient that I had deficiencies in a few vitamins and minerals. Being vegan, vegeterian or what have you is a never ending learning process. You will always have to continue searching. Noted! After my father saw what happened to me, he decided to take a mile and drive me to the organic market once a week for the sake of my health. He couldn’t afford to lose another child. I am so thrilled that he became very supportive. Now, I get to eat organic products everyday (In Shaa Allah.) I started juicing again. I juice different green organic veggies, the tastes are no longer an issue for me since I have done it before. But, I am not 100% vegan anymore. No offense to my vegan friends please dont get mad at me. But just be happy for me that I have organic veggies included in my platter-everyday. The good news is that I stopped eating red meat when I started becoming vegan and even thought I wasnt perfect I never eat red meat ever again even up to this date. I’am proud of and grateful for what veganism has taught me. So far I only eat chicken or eggs as a source of protein and my favorite. . .Tofu. Let me show you some of it.

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I am using my mother's not so primitive juicer but still uselful. Someday I will buy the portable one but for now this baby is all good.

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I just juiced this today: kale, spinach, bitter melon, lettuce and cellary

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It took me few min to drink it as the bitter melon and spinach dominated the over all taste.

The truth is that I have always been reminded of the basic principle of Veganism because that is also what is being taught in my religion, Islam. Basically, is to take care of your health like eating organic products, avoid food that has artificial preservatives, and patronize foods that are not harmful to the body, in Islam we call it Halal. In fact, we perform prayover to the body of a particular animal before we cook it. Prayover signifies that we are asking permission to take its life and we seek forgiveness to Allah(swa) for taking its life. So veganism have always been in my heart because of such principle.

Anyway, I came to a realization that the restrictions given by my doctor are not hard to follow after all. As I have had a grand time of my life for more than three decades. I have enjoyed the pleasure of eating different foods from various countries, places, cooked by several kinds of people: chefs, friends abroad and local and families. A little sacrifice from me will not hurt particularly if it’s beneficial to my health. (In Shaa Allah). Becides, I refused to go through same distress in my body, it was not a joke.

Whenever I reckon the agony of having the allergy, ugh! You my call me a “sissy girl” but it was major since it was my health that was at risk. It was Itchy and painful at the same time. I am sure you may agree with me that it is crucial whenever your health is being compromised. Because you are dealing with nature, hence, it is the will of God as being the most powerful above all the powerful. If he wants you to get ill, can you counter it; what if he decides to take away your life, can you even prevent it; as he is the creator of the all the creations. Whereas, if you were only been emotionally hurt. . . time will heal it or if someone have committed slight physical injury to you. . .doctor can prescribe medicines to cure it. Ergo, we have no control over things when God is involve, agree? Anyway, I will always mention this, I lost my sister due to Acute Myaloid Leukemia. So please excuse me if this is realy big deal for I get paranoid whenever I get sick. ūüė¶

Sigh! I shall never forget that night that I woke up having rushes from head to toe, itching here and there and it was immensely painful to the point that I wanted to tear my skin apart hoping it will give me relief. It started from 11pm and I endured the pain at lunch time the following day. I tried to sleep through it hoping it will wear off when I wake-up, it didn’t help. I have never encountered this kind of discomfort, i got so scared that I even prayed asking, if God will take me I hope he has forgiven me. . . Yes, I was that paranoid that I submitted myself should I not last the day.

I had to wake up my father to show him what was happening to me. He gave me an ointment to spread on the affected area. It didnt help but I was able to sleep. Then my father woke me up at 8am to see a specialist. The painful itchiness continued when we were in the hospital, the doctor arrived three hours after and since it was almost lunchtime I had to take the medicines after lunch. Note, she didn’t give me any pain reliever to at least lessen my agony.

Alas! She gave me medicines. One is Kremil-S to be taken in the morning after brekky and 30 minutes after is Prednisone; and Xsal in the evening. For your information, Prednisone is a steroid, yep! On the first three days I have to take 60 mg of the Prednisone, then she tampered it down to 50mg, 40mg, 30mg down to 20mg until I visit her again for follow-up. So we had lunch and took the meds but the itchiness only wore off after several hours. That was the time I had a good sleep.

Unfortunately, the allergy was just the tip of the icerburg. The following day, in the middle of the night a certain unexplainable and extreme pain in my nerves and muscles had waken me up, it runs from my upper back, arms and down to my fingertips. Tears started pouring down because the anguish was above and beyond. Let me see if I can describe it through words: it was like my muscles and nerves were being squeeze in through the door, or something with tons of kilos in weight is being placed on my upper extremities, as if my bones are hammered down over and over. I didn’t want to make a move because the pain gets even worst.

Unlike the allergy I didn’t prolong the time, I woke up my dad so he can rush me to the hospital. He saw me crying. We reached the hospital at about 4am. The doctor’s medical diagnosis are: one, it was due to the effect of the steroids, he said that Prednisone should be prescribed with cautious and second it might have something to do with my nerves. Anyway, he prescribed a pain reliever to be taken after meal and if it persists I will have to take another one after dinner. Then return to the hospital because his second diagnosis might be the cause. Alhamdulillah! The pain was gone after I taking the pain reliever. So we dont have to worry about my nerves anymore. Check!! The doctor also prescribed B-complex to back-up the nerves while I was still taking Prednisone. Thank Goodness!

I was supposed to visit the specialist on allergy a week after but because of what happened to me I paid her a visit earlier on. She was surprised as it was the first time she heard of my case. Whatever! It happened to me anyway. ūüė¶ Somehow, she changed the dosage, I was taking 30mg but she stopped it. Instead, from 30mg down to 20mg, 10mg and 5mg. Afterwards, Xysal will be taken in the morning rather than in the evening, and Hydroxyzine after dinner-both will be taken for a week.

After all those agony I am feeling superb and wonderful (In Shaa Allah) Should the allergy reoccur( I hope not) I have Xysal and Hydroxyzine in my pocket. The Prednisone–I shall never take it again, ever, as per my doctor’s instruction. Was it an honest mistake prescribing it to me? This is a mystery that I prefer to leave it behind me.

I hope someday I won’t have to go through the same difficulties in my health. I have decided to embrace the changes in my life. I will acknowledge that chocolates will never be part of my life. If it will give me a longer life and shall give me a worry-free mind then so be it! There are millions of things to be grateful for, so many bounty to appreciative of, and face all kinds of circumstances with a kind heart and an open mind. (In Shaa Allah). You know what I am tinking that when I am fully recovered I shall climb the Mt. Apo as a starter of my relieved body from the frightening allergy, why not!!

Anyhoo, thank you for sparing your time listening to my drama moment. God is still the most merciful and beneficient. Let us all live a healthy lifestyle and don’t forget to put a little organic to your diet.

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This is my good friend Isabela I have been her customer for years that I don't remember anymore. You can find her organic products at Centris in Quezon Avenue every Sunday and at Market Market Monday to Saturday. Please relay her my name "Amecks." I am not a stockholder etc., she is just nice to me that I promised I will promote her business in my Facebook and blog account.

Cooking Filipino food is Easy Breezy and Delish.

Decades ago, our kitchen was the hatest part of our house by yours truly. I despised it! as I didn’t like the idea of perspiring, getting your hair messy while cooking, the smell on your hands particularly when you use garlic and onion as part of the basic ingredients. My mother would trick me so I could hangout in the kitchen but really couldn’t stand the idea of staying there even for a second. Ugh! I would literally run as if there was something horrific about the kitchen. ( wierd? Yep!)

However, when I entered college I was forced to learn to cook because I had to tighten my budget and prevented myself from ordering out otherwise I wouldn’t last until my next allowance. What an experience I tell yah. I started from frying stuff so it should be easy, right? Except all of my cooking were fried so I said hello to fattening food from brekky, lunch to dinner. Mind you, there was a time I tried to cook Adobo or Kare Kare (chicken stew) and when you look at them it seem perfect and palatable but the tasting part was a different story. ROFL!

My younger sister (next to me) would adjust the flavor, of course she couldn’t comment because im older so she would do it politely. Fast forward today, I think I survived the dillema and I ended up falling inlove with it. Because cooking is also a form of art imagine the possibilities of creating a masterpiece that after making it you realized your capabilities are endless. Life is like that you have to go for it in order to discover your assets, gift, and limitations. Wow! I am speaking like a master chef, haha! Sorry I got caught by the moment. But I am pretty sure you know what I mean. Definitely, there are thousands of things to learn I am just proud of myself that I can do things that I thought I would never do. Going back to reality, the best part, you get to cook what you crave for, that you know what is in your food and you are assured that it was cooked with respect, passion and utmost care. I dont know if you will agree with me but sometimes you could tell the emotion of the cook by the end of the product?

Anyhoo. . . I aint perfect, I am moody person which reflects in my cooking in particular. You could tell in the finish product if it was made by a happy person or an irritated cook- guilty. Although, I couldn’t change the person that I am, however, I can tell that I have come a long way from a girl who used to curst the part of the house that others loved and adored to a woman who could do magic out of her hands for as slong as she is in the zone. At least now I know wherever fate will place me in I am confident that I will survive.

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These are one of the delish I am proud of and I cook them with pride, of course when my mood would let me.

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This is what we call Pansit Canton. It's noodles but in the Philippines we have variations on how to cook em. With modesty, I fell inlove in this kind that I have became so expert in cooking it.

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These white ones with corns are what we call "Maja Blanca," made of coconut milk, cornstarch, cream corn and condense milk-- viola! my father loved this so much.

Natural Energy Booster

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Alright, I am not going to talk about its origin, kinds, or detailed nutritional facts because you can always Google them up. I don’t wish to sound like a walking Wikipedia because we are in the Cyber world generation that everything seems to be accessible by just a click away. I write from the heart so I prefer to tell stories that are evidenced by my own experience otherwise I lose my rhythm in writing.¬†

Instead, I will tell you the wonders it brought that made my life less complicated and healthier. We are all aware that banana has potassium and other vitamins etc.¬†but not so much into it, though. It is like ok I eat banana whenever there is a chance but I wasn’t so obsessed with it until lately.

In the course of my Arnis training I have discovered things that I didn’t pay much attention before. The “Cardava banana the star of this post!! in Tagalog Saging na Saba. You may ask me, why that kind of banana? uhm! I think it is more powerful than the ripe one. Why? well that’s what caught me when I started eating it (okie!). Anyhow, before coming to the training I eat whatever I can grab on to. My body needs a full meal before the session because with the degree of the intensity of the training, I will definitely lose it. One morning I saw Saba on the table so I boiled a few and added to my breakfast meal. Afterwards, I proceeded to the venue and went on to my usual practice. I noticed that I still had energy all through out the hours without feeling lethargic (unlike the sessions before). I thought it must have been the meal I had earlier. But there were days I didn’t have any that my energy went low. I had to stop, went home early and gave me a¬†serious headache. Still I was clueless for I thought I should have eaten a full meal. Until I started to get noticed that I could cope up whenever I add the Saging na Saba to my diet. In effect, I had it again and again and so on. I even bring one to my training in case my pre-worked calories intake gets burned at least I have my Saba to the rescue.
 
I call it energy booster because whenever my energy gets so low I just eat one then viola! I’m all refueled again. Hmm! My sister used to tell me about the wonders of banana but of course I failed to pay attention since I have not encountered what she was talking about. Even my father said so. Well, I am that kind of a person that realized things whenever I have a basis. Stubborn? not really just credibility is what I subconsciously needed. Just like when people are told to avoid eating junk food because it’s bad for the health but what do u you say, still they are into it, Cest La Vie!
 
Now, I am obsessed with this banana. It is surely included in my plate and I will definitely be looking for it whenever we ran out of stock. Imagine, others will have to buy a energy drinks to keep their body all fueled up without realizing the bad calories and artificial flavor that they bring to their bodies. Unfortunately, it will soon caused different diseases and illnesses because of all those chemical ingredients. When, all they have to do is look around not far away and there is that yellow, creamy but firm banana that provides natural energy boosters with all its other benefits that are so natural. Take note, it’s less expensive as well.

So my friends, I hope unlike moi, try adding the “saging na Saba” to your diet before you seize the day and may this banana help you boost your energy, be thy shield from harmful elements and be able to catch up with whatever your lifestyle demands. May we all have a flood-free day everyone!

 

In the Memory of my Sister

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¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† Today, “September 25,” would have been my sister’s 32nd birthday. Unfortunately, God planned out her fate differently. She passed away more than a month ago of Acute Myloid Leukemia. It is so recent that the depth of the pain is still fresh. I don’t think it will ever be healed because losing a sister is just so unfathomable, surreal and you will just want to scream, unfair!” These questions will keep on going and going but reality bites as God only knows. My family and I are trying to move on but seeing ourselves days, weeks, month or years from now without her actually exist is like a cut in the heart with a knife. Losing her or any member of the family is something we never¬†saw coming. Sigh! I feel like my energy is getting low, I suddenly feel heavy in my heart like I am about to cry anytime soon. Now, that I have mentioned it here I am crying as I speak. It is painful! unimaginable! unbearable!

¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† Sure, we have to move on as it is what it is but, there would always be a moment when you will think about that person and realized, “she is actually gone, she no longer walk among us and we will never going to see her again!” Her smiles, her rounded face, the way she cracks jokes about her siblings, her dimples, her calling me “ate,” MY GOD!! her death doesn’t sink it yet. Will it ever be? I don’t think so.¬†

¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† My other sister took a pic of her few minutes before she passed away, even though she was in grave pain tried to look at the camera because she was told it will be shown to me. But up until now I couldn’t view that particular picture because I really can’t handle it.¬†

¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†So much memories to cry for and I don’t know which one I can discuss. If I do I might end up writing a book in trilogy even. Instead, I will talk about the HLA test or “Human Leukocyte Antigen”, that I underwent. I don’t intend to be a smart arse here so I will just cut right through its purpose. I had to take the test in order to see if my sister’s blood type and mine were compatible that way the doctors will have to declare that I can donate some of my blood to hers, in short it is a bone marrow transplant where they will get a blood cells inside my bones. She used to live in Kuwait by the way, so if our blood were matched I will have to go there to undergo the procedure. Still, we had to wait for the declaration from the specialist. A couple of days after. . . she passed away. The procedure never materialized. I don’t know if God meant it to happen. She knew that I went through the test and I was told that it had pleased her and felt hopeful. The HLA¬†was expensive we had to raised it up in order to do that simple but pricey test. At the time we were facing a financial constraint. But it never happen. The procedure never reaches the first step. The thing was we never found out if our blood were matched because the doctors got pre-occupied in saving her life and afterwards it was useless to know the findings of my blood type. She is dead!

¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† My mother and sister were with her in Kuwait. They stood by her from day one. My sister has now become a religious Muslim and she told me that it’s helping her to go through it. Imagine, she was there from the time they found out the medical diagnosis, series of chemotherapy and when she left her body. Their last conversation was seeing her in grave pain that she wanted to leave because she was tired. At first, she refused to let her give up, of course, she cried profusely and even told my sister to pull it through. But, upon seeing the excruciating pain in her sister’s eyes she whispered to her ear, “Opaw, if you want to leave go ahead I will let you go in peace so go and rest now!” Then that was the time my sister looked up, close her eyes and stop breathing. (Opaw was her a.k.a.).

¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† I can still remember as if it was just yesterday when my sister called me up that Opaw had difficulty breathing the doctors had to give her oxygen to assist her. But after few hours I saw my sister in my vision, it was clear, her face was like when we were in Dubai, shoulder length, she was in grave pain. I started crying, sobbing and I thought my cry was at a very low decibel in sound because I was in my room. My brother went up he said that I was crying so loud. I saw my sister! I told my other sister to accept whatever was about to happen ( I said it with a heavy heart). I knew Opaw will not last long. I texted my relatives to ask forgiveness in her behalf. I just felt like I had to do it. I stayed up all night to wait for an update but when nature came kicked in my body could only handle so much ergo I went to sleep. As my soul left my body to wonder to lala land my sister was calling me to tell me that Opaw have left us. My brothers and nephew kept¬†knocking on my door to tell me. I woke up irritated because my sleep was disturbed but they told me the sad news. I was still confused until my older sister called me up to say the same thing. I yelled at her! For some reason I don’t know and hang-up the phone. Then, I cried, cried and just cried. It happened. She bid me goodbye through my vision.¬†

¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†My father, whose nature as a man is to protect his family and the “Haligi ng tahanan” but couldn’t do anything to save his own daughter. Everyday he blames himself for being a failure as a father and that everything was his fault. How can you console a mourning father? Above all, it is my mother that I worry about. Sometimes you will be awaken by her cries in the middle of the night. Her pain is the kind that only a fellow mother can relate to. That no matter how many times we console her she will never cease from mourning for her child’s departure from this world. A child should bury her parents and not on the other way around.¬†

¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† As you can see in the images I posted, there is a picture when she was tiny, she was not a cry baby she didn’t complain no matter what you do to her (except don’t starve her and clean her, of course) she grew up like that as a person and never really had any issues. There is also a shot that four of us in Dubai in the late 90’s, the one with the camera reflection was my sister (happy days!). Another beautiful picture with long hair and a contact lenses. I think it was the time when she loved to glamour up, a shot with our beloved mother and the pic with a short hair it was after she survived her 5-month chemotherapy. We all thought that she will last for several years but God took her three (3) months after her last chemo.¬†

           I have an earlier blog here that I talked about my sweet little sister. She actually found out after her therapy she even wrote a comment. I never told her about it, though. Anyway, today is her birthday September 25. I wonder how will she celebrate her special day if she was alive?

           She was the kindest among the siblings, my parents always say that she never raised her voice at them and never hurt their feelings, she used to save her allowance and managed to give something back to my mother, yes, always smart with the money ( the financial department or Bangko Central). I can go on and on talking about her but the thing is I only want to say is that. . . we are missing her so terribly!! The aching and longing will forever linger in our hearts.

¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† “Happy Birthday my darling sister!” May Allah (swt) give you light in your grave and we hope to see you in paradise, God willing.

First Weapon ( Arnis )

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¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Alas! My very first weapon in learning Arnis, a Filipino Martial Arts. I was so excited I had to contained myself. hehe! Mind you people because looks can be deceiving as this sticks are not just made of wood that you can do whatever you want. Under estimating is definitely not a good idea. As Master Cris always remind us that we have to love the sticks so it will love us in return. It will teach you a thing or two in order to remind you of its purpose. I am not quite sure if I understood that except after my third session. I started having blood clot in my left palm and I even had a cut I don’t really know how you call it but imagine the friction caused by the sticks to your hands that the epidermis of your skin started to tear open and feels like a paper cut? yup! that is it. That’s not all, I get to be beaten by my own Rattan sticks in my head (several times). I had one recently that it was so hard it seemed I saw the, “twinkle twinkle little stars!” it hit the right part of my head while I was practicing one move as part of our usual warm-up. I didn’t know if it was a sign that “I am doing it wrong” or it was like a “tap on my back” for a job well done. Either way the strike was intense that it made me stop for a few seconds but not to worry those are the price I have to take. Now, I understand what Master Cris was referring to- “you are the Arnis and managing the rattan sticks is entirely up to you.”
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Going back to my point, this are no ordinary rattan sticks. I sleep beside it, I always look for it upon waking up, I hold it every now and then and I imagine the moves that I have just learned from my last session. It’s seems gradually becoming part of a person, “2 become one” according to the song of the Spice Girls (girly huh?”). But Master Cris never failed to tell us that there are people get to be consumed by it in a negative way. It’s a martial arts after all so it can really be deadly!! So if a person use it as opposed to what is intended it might lead to the wrong path. Say, when you have become so good there is a tendency that you will be aggressive towards other people and always wanted to look for trouble since you know how to defend yourself, tsk! tsk! very shallow and dangerous. Hence, you should learn first by heart, treated with utmost respect, take your time to enjoy whilst extracting its essence and, don’t ever let your ego control your mind and body. That is what we are always have been reminded of by our master.
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† In our training, I easily get to laugh even with a small crack of jokes but this is also not good. In training time you have to be in the zone. Meaning, practice the moves as if you are defending yourself in an actual danger. Release your deadly side. . . boom! boom! pow!! . . .¬† However, once you are done and you are back to the reality-step back, inhale exhale, fire-hydrant your killer side- and compose yourself as you face the usual course of life. it doesn’t get hurt to be at your most humble self, does it. ūüôā

 

I Have Found “Arnis” by Fate

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Arnis, is a Filipino Martial Arts with rich history attached to it that I have found by fate.

I just resigned from my previous job and currently applying for another but in the meantime, I wanted to preoccupy my mind while waiting for another opportunity so I’ve tried engaging into different cardiovascular excercise. However, some were like moot-and-academic to me as I have tried it before or that I didn’t get the service commensurate to what I have paid for. Good thing a friend told me that there are dancing classes in Quezon City Memorial circle conducted by the local government as part of their health and wellness campaign. You only have to pay Php20.00 for the entrance fee, not bad at all. For a person who is in a tight budget I figured “why not!” At first, I was having a blast but when things got redundant and I have already memorized their steps and that I could actually anticipate the next moves . . . I got bored. My mind doesn’t find it challenging and so my body followed. As I couldn’t bear the predictable dancing class, I thought that I needed another kind of way to burn calories.

¬†Usually, I drink coconut juice right after the said exercise to replenish my body with the natural electrolites the coconut has. Anyway, when I was on my way I saw two persons seemed to be performing martial arts and they were holding ratan sticks (yantok in Tagalog). I knew then it was Arnis but I was a common person who knew so little about it. I said ” Oh wow it’s Arnis!” (simple reaction) without realizing what I was about to unfold. I approached them to introduce myself and got to know their names, since it was first time to meet them just plainly Ate Joy and Cris. I started asking questions this and that I immediately have decided to give it a try for the sake of working out. Yes, my purpose was just to do something different apart from aerobics or running. What catches my attention was when they said that Lapu-Lapu used Arnis to defeat the Spanish explorer Ferdinand Magellan, whoah! awesome! and that it was used by our Sultan or Datu ( royal leaders) from different tribes as a self-defense against bad¬†elements and so as the sense of respect and honor associated with it. Cool ha?! I got even more excited because of the history I just learned so I didn’t hesitate and made a schedule for my first session. Ate Joy was graciously kind enough to lend me her sticks should I be able to make it. I was really thrilled to find out if I could pull it off. A few years ago, I was learning Muay Thai but I think it was expensive and it is difficult to deal with people that do not observe the art of professionalism and so I quit I couldn’t care less if I paid for the whole session (I was that pissed-off) Going back, first session, Bam!! it turned out that the more you get to learn about Arnis (FMA) the more you get drawn by it.The words are addicting and challenging- in a very thrilling way. Much to my surprised I enjoyed the training. ¬†

As the session continues, the man who teaches me is a Grand Master named Crisanto Pasindo, whose philosophy is to teach his Filipino fellowmen the art and history behind said sport. That it could be served as our identity and be globally known. Up until now he does’t cease to promote this Filipino treasure. While ate Joy is a Pediatrician, marathon adictus, a writer and among other things, wow!! There must be something about this Filipino martial arts that I have yet to find out why these people are into it. Master Cris, as we fondly call him later, was so generous that he gave history lessons at the same time. I have learned that Lakandula ( male) and Lakambini (female) are title for a warrior. . . Hmm! I think my history teacher missed out that part, though. I was having a blast because I had the best of both worlds: learning the Filipino Martial arts that were used by our Datu ¬†or Sultan with pride and honor in an open air with fresh oxygen coming from the trees and I get to meet respectable people as well.¬†

After the physically and mentally challenging training I came home with an aching body. I could barely move but I told our master to buy me my own Ratan sticks for I will definitely come back to learn more. The picture I posted here is blurry for it is an indication that I have tons of things to learn but if you see how I hold the sticks- it is a sign that I am eager to grasp everything there is to know (given the chance) so I can be one of the Filipino people who will value and treasure what our ancestors have meticulously designed and developed as part of our cultural heritage. It could be our identity as a Filipino and hopefully will be known worldwide. 

Join me as I start my quest of learning “Arnis,” ( Filipino Martial arts) and may you also be encouraged to do the same particularly for women and children. This is not just a plain stick-fighting for you can use this as a self-defense in everyday life against those who will take advantage of you. The sticks are just medium in learning the art. You can use different weapon or even just your hands. As much as I would love to discuss more I still know so little. So,I am yet to be an expert because I am still getting the hang of it. As soon as I get to learn this art it will be exciting to impart what I know to the rest of the world. I cannot wait!