The Letter that Changed My Life

I have already shared this letter before but allow me to do it again for today’s occasion. I was a rejected writer way back in High School. My articles were literally crumpled and then thrown into the trash bin (I saw my teacher did that heart-breaking scenario inside the faculty room). My superior said that my articles were “not good” and “unreadable.”

I think most of us knew the feeling of failing and being rejected. I thought of myself as a failure. A total failure and an embarrassment. I almost gave up. I lost faith in my own skills.

But as in all tragedy, there is a hero, a redeemer, an inspiration. And I saw that person in my father. He wrote this open letter when I was in second year High School and have it posted on the Francois Corner – a bulletin board/literary board in the seminary for the written works of the seminarians (talk about “pambabraso”, I think that term is more appropriate).

 

image

This letter changed my life. Since then, I have been writing articles after articles, stories after stories, essays after essays, taking into consideration his messages and advice written on this letter. This letter became a major turning point of my life. The Juan of today will never be the same had he not written this letter.

November 27, 2002

Sorry son, I beat you on the draw this time. Time and again I have always urged you to write something for the Francois Corner. I want you to express yourself, your views of life, of family, of human relations, of growing up, and whatever heaven-may-care concerns you think worthwhile. Write them as they are gestated on your mind. Don’t wait until you may only have to recall the precious moments, when life is already filled with misgivings for the things you’ve done and those you chose not to do, when you may already have to contend with the biases of your own reasoning, whan all things have their good excuses and alibis…the very way I do now.

You have read better books than I did and your vocabulary has improved considerably in your almost two years in the seminary. Nevermind if I tell you that the words as you define them have awkward meanings. As you go along life’s path, you’ll realize the words and gestures alike are interpreted in appropriate contexts, not just they are portrayed in the dictionary. The best poetry of literary piece is something that depicts noble intentions, of truth, of justice, of virtues, of writer’s characters. Avoid flashy and ostentatious adjectives, grandiose adverbs, and dangling modifiers..they often end up in lies.

You are so lucky son. you have found freedom within the confines of the walls of the seminary and I want you to write of this. Freedom is not just doing what you want. It is also getting rid of the things that would otherwise prevent you from doing what you want. Most of us outside are virtual prisoners of our own means, of both obsession and indifference, of curiosity and apathy. Put no envy or remorse for being sheltered from the world, just have it that many would have wanted to be in your place. Talk to your brother seminarians, your formators, and every people you meet and you may learn the reason. Whatever reason it is, take it with humility and reticence. Read a lot, keenly observe things and improve your sense of disrection. Seek wisdom in prayers and let faith be the pillar of judgement.

Write, son, write. Hearten others with the might of your pen. When I held your hand when I first thought you how to write, I had no further intent for you but to learn to inscribe your name. After a few summers, reams and reams of paper, and buckets of ink, I urge you to make a turn around.  Let not your name be prominent but God’s. In your own modest way, lead your readers to Him. Let those words be your hook and line as you brace yourself to be a fisher of men. With God’s grace and a few summers more, (And this, me and your mother pray for) you may already have been an adept articulator of his words. I hope that by then, you will remember this day that I encouraged you to write.

I hope that you will not fail me son. I expect to see your paper tucked in the corks of Francois Corner. We love you.

It has been almost a decade since my father wrote this letter but from time to time, I still look at it for inspiration, guidance, and something to look up to. I see this as an oasis of an honest words of advice from the man whom I consider a hero, a model, an idol.

 

image

 

It has been ten years since he wrote this letter. Times and circumstances have changed.He may have not written a follow-up for this letter but from time to time, he talks to me, man to man, about life’s little tricks and lessons. Since we are open to each other, I think a letter is no longer necessary to give his message to me. But who knows? Maybe when the circumstances need it, he would give me a better and more dramatic father-to-son letter.

I know that I still have a lot to do in order to reach my dream to write and to inspire pople. But I am proud to say that I have taken the few little steps to reach that journey. Thank you to all who read my posts here in my little blog.

I have learned from my Psychology and Human Development classes that a good image of a father is vital to a child’s (especially a son’s) development. I thank my  Tatay Juan for being a good model, a friend, and a drinking buddy. And thank you for being my inspiration, for being my Maestro. I will always be grateful. I love you.

Happy Father’s Day po Tatay. Inuman tayo mamaya. Padayon!

Advertisements

My Nanay and the Eraserheads

It’s the time of the year when we salute the women whose womb brought us and whose breasts, we nursed. We have different and unique yabang stories about how great, cool, and loving our mothers are. I have already shared this to my old readers last year but let me share this again to you, my ownyabang anecdote about my beloved Nanay:

The year was 2010. After months of being a bum after quitting my work as a researcher in UP Manila, I landed a job as an editor in a publishing company. And since I learned about the Eraserheads: The Head Set earlier that year (when rumors began to spread like wildfire on the internet), I made a vow to myself to allot a portion of my paycheck for the box set – no matter how expensive it would cost me.

The Box Set was released on September 9, 2010 – and I still haven’t received my paycheck. I was in panic. Since the box set is limited, I feared that I will not be able to buy myself a copy. I also feared that the box set will not be available here in the Southern Luzon area (you know, some music materials are just too Metro Manila-centered).

I received my paycheck by mid-September and the first thing that I did was to go to the nearest (and only) Greenwich here in Los Baños. I asked the crew if they have the Heads Set. And the rest was months of nostalgia, rockin’ with the Eraserheads.

As most of you who have the Heads Set, the box includes a coffee table book/ lyric sheet/ photo album (I don’t know how to exactly call it), complete albums, EPs, and a DVD, and the Heads Set Shirt.

Now, the Heads Shirt came in free-size-one-size-fits-all-that’s-a-fuckin’-fashion-discrimination!  And if you who know me personally, you know that that shirt will not fit me – and I rarely wear body fits (bakat ang man-boobs pare!). So I decided to just hang it in my room for art’s sake, for bragging, and for future self-centered consumption (I just love to use that word).

Months went by and the shirt still hangs in my room. One day, my Nanay entered the room and asked me: “Aanhin mo yan kung hindi mo isusuot? Sayang lang ang Pho 2, 500 mo.”

Jokingly, I replied “Kapag pumayat ako, maisusuot ko na yan”.

“Ipahiram mo na lang muna sa akin. Ako ang magsusuot.”, she replied.

At first, I was taken aback. My Nanay will wear an Eraserheads shirt? Is she trying to be bagets or what? I can accept it if my father wears this shirt (because he is jeprox and young at heart) but my conservative Nanay? She got to be kidding.

I asked her, “Seryoso kayo?”.

“Oo nga!”, she replied.

And she removed the shirt from the hanger, went to the other room, and wore my shirt. And it fits her perfectly. Panalo!

 

image


 

This is the modern world where being fit and sexy is in and being fat with man-boobs is a big no. It’s just so unfair for us fatties. Come on self-proclaimed fashion experts! There are more of us who are not sexy, fit, and macho. The world is full of non-sexy and non-fit individuals. You should consider us whenever you make these shirts.

Okay, enough of the ranting. Alam ko namang olats ako diyan at kailangan ko na talagang magpapayat. Hindi na din kasi healthy.

I have cool parents. It’s good to see them having the same trip and vibes as ours. They borrow and listen to my CDs. They watch the same TV series as mine. And they both love the Eraserheads.

Nanay, you can wear that shirt forever if you want to. It’s all yours. I can buy you more Eraserheads shirt if you want to. Keep your cool. I love you po! :’)

__________

I don’t have a perfect mother – we all are. And sometimes, whenever I lose my temper or just under the weather, I treat my mother’s imperfections as a curse. It has always been my temptation (and I am struggling to fight it day after day) to look at my Nanay’s imperfection as something that the universe has conspired to punish me. And I hate myself for that.

But whenever I hear her story, I understand her. It’s inspiring to hear the stories of her youth. I almost cried when I heard that she has to stop going to school for a year because of her health conditions and how she struggled to be a working student and pay for her own school fees. I laugh whenever I hear her stories of youth, crazy office tales, and day-to-day experiences. Hearing her story made me understand my Nanay more. I guess I have to hear from her more in order for me to view her imperfections as a blessing. How about you? When was the last time that you had a heart-to-heart to your Nanay?

When I was young, I hated my mother for not letting me listen to the music of the Eraserheads. She always treat it as a noise and not a real music.

But now things have changed. She sings with me whenever I play Eraserheads (and Beatles) songs in the guitar and the piano. She even borrowed some of my CDs to listen in her computer in the office. And the last time I heard, she’s singing Super Bass, Bad Romance, and Pumped Up Kicks by Foster the People. Yes, you have read that right.

I guess music, being the universal language, helped us to understand each other.

And the last time I checked, my Eraserheads shirt is still in her closet.

__________

Thank you, Nanay, for all the things that you have done for us. Thank you for being a good mother, a good wife, and a good friend. I am sorry for being a pain in the ass sometimes (or most of the time). that is how I show my tough love (Nuks!).

May the Good Lord bless you with good health and a happier life. Madaming rounds pa ng Scrabble ang lalaruin natin at madami pang bote ng alak ang patutumbahin natin.

 

image

 

To the womb that bore me, and the breasts at which I nursed, I love you. Happy Mother’s Day po, Nanay!

Rakenrol!

The Letter that Changed My Life

I was a rejected writer way back in High School. My articles were literally crumpled and then thrown into the trash bin (I saw my teacher did that heart-breaking scenario inside the faculty room). My superior said that my articles were “not good” and “unreadable.”

I was a failure. A total failure and an embarrassment.

And then my Father wrote this “open letter” when I was in second year High School and have it posted on the Francois Corner – a bulletin board/literary board in the seminary for the written works of the seminarians (talk about “pambabraso”. Wink!).

This letter changed my life. Since then, I have been writing articles after articles, taking into consideration his messages and advice written on this letter. This letter became a major turning point of my life. The Juan of today will never be the same had he not written this letter. Thank you Tatay. I will be forever grateful. I love you.


November 27, 2002

Sorry son, I beat you on the draw this time. Time and again I have always urged you to write something for the Francois Corner. I want you to express yourself, your views of life, of family, of human relations, of growing up, and whatever heaven-may-care concerns you think worthwhile. Write them as they are gestated on your mind. Don’t wait until you may only have to recall the precious moments, when life is already filled with misgivings for the things you’ve done and those you chose not to do, when you may already have to contend with the biases of your own reasoning, whan all things have their good excuses and alibis…the very way I do now.

You have read better books than I did and your vocabulary has improved considerably in your almost two years in the seminary. Nevermind if I tell you that the words as you define them have awkward meanings. As you go along life’s path, you’ll realize the words and gestures alike are interpreted in appropriate contexts, not just they are portrayed in the dictionary. The best poetry of literary piece is something that depicts noble intentions, of truth, of justice, of virtues, of writer’s characters. Avoid flashy and ostentatious adjectives, grandiose adverbs, and dangling modifiers..they often end up in lies.

You are so lucky son. you have found freedom within the confines of the walls of the seminary and I want you to write of this. Freedom is not just doing what you want. It is also getting rid of the things that would otherwise prevent you from doing what you want. Most of us outside are virtual prisoners of our own means, of both obsession and indifference, of curiosity and apathy. Put no envy or remorse for being sheltered from the world, just have it that many would have wanted to be in your place. Talk to your brother seminarians, your formators, and every people you meet and you may learn the reason. Whatever reason it is, take it with humility and reticence. Read a lot, keenly observe things and improve your sense of disrection. Seek wisdom in prayers and let faith be the pillar of judgement.

Write, son, write. Hearten others with the might of your pen. When I held your hand when I first thought you how to write, I had no further intent for you but to learn to inscribe your name. After a few summers, reams and reams of paper, and buckets of ink, I urge you to make a turn around.  Let not your name be prominent but God’s. In your own modest way, lead your readers to Him. Let those words be your hook and line as you brace yourself to be a fisher of men. With God’s grace and a few summers more, (And this, me and your mother pray for) you may already have been an adept articulator of his words. I hope that by then, you will remember this day that I encouraged you to write.

I hope that you will not fail me son. I expect to see your paper tucked in the corks of Francois Corner. We love you.

I know that I still have a lot to do in order to reach my dream to write and to inspire pople. But I am proud to say that I have taken the few little steps to reach that journey. Thank you to all who read my posts here in my little blog.

And thank you to my Tatay Juan who inspired me, who acted as my Maestro.

Happy Father’s Day po Tatay. Inuman tayo mamaya. Padayon!

Belated Happy Birthday Tatay!

Happy Father’s Day Tatay! Siya si Juan, ang tatay ko. Iyan ang kanyang tunay na Pangalan. Siya si Juan. Ako naman si John. Siya ang tunay na Juan. Happy Father’s Day Tatay! Maraming salamat sa lahat ng pagmamahal, suporta, pangaral, at ang pagiging “Cool Tatay” mo sa amin. Sa pagsakay mo sa trip namin. At sa pagiging parang magkabarkada lang natin. Happy Father’s Day! I love you Tatay! :)

Yesterday, May 27, is the birthday of my Father. His name is Juan but he is known as “KJ” and “Johny”. Yes, he is the real Juan. At ganyan siya ka-cool. Parang barkada lang ang turingan namin. Jeprox yan eh.

I wish you the best of God’s graces, good health, a happy life, and more birthdays to come. Live Hard. Pray harder. Salamat sa lahat. I love you Tatay.

At alam kong mababasa niyo ito dahil may duda ako na may sarili kayong Tumblr account or Ninja kayo sa site ko. (Wink!).

Yesterday is my father’s birthday. And it reminds me that in less than a week, I will be celebrating my own birthday. I am getting old. Ugh!

Happy Mother’s Day Nanay!

This is me and my ever loving mother. Happy Mother’s day. Thank you for all the love, care, and financial support (dapat ba talagang isama ko yun?). Siyempre, alam kong malaki na ang gastos niyo sa akin.

Pasensya na sa mga kawalanghiyaan ko. Na kung minsan ay napapainit ko ang inyong ulo. Alam niyo namang yun ang paraan ko ng “tough love”. Yeah!

At kahit pa lagi akong nagbibiro sa inyo ng “Kapag ganyan naman ang Nanay mo eh!”, alam ko namang wala kayong katulad at wala na akong mahahanap na Nanay na kasing bait, husay, at mapagmahal na katulad niyo

Happy Mother’s Day! I love you Nanay! 🙂

Guess who’s wearing my The Heads Set T-shirt?

Last September, I got my first paycheck from the Publishing Company where I work as an editor. And since I learned about the Eraserheads: The Head Set last March (when rumors began to spread like wildfire on the internet), I made a vow to myself to allot a portion of my paycheck for the box set – no matter how expensive it would cost me.

The Box Set was released on September 9 – and I still haven’t received my paycheck. I was in panic. Since the set is limited, I feared that I will not be able to buy myself a copy. I also feared that the box set will not be available here in the Southern Luzon area (you know, some music materials are just too Metro Manila-centered).

I received my paycheck by mid-September and the first thing that I did was to go to the nearest (and only) Greenwich here in Los Baños. I asked the crew if they have the Heads Set. And the rest was months of nostalgia, rockin’ with the Eraserheads.

As most of you who have the Heads Set, the box includes a coffee table book/ lyric sheet/ photo album (I don’t know how to exactly call it), complete albums, EPs, and a DVD, and the Heads Set Shirt.

Now, the Heads Shirt came in free-size-one-size-fits-all-that’s-a-fuckin’-fashion-discrimination!  And if you who know me personally, you know that that shirt will not fit me – and I rarely wear body fits (bakat ang man-boobs pare!). So I decided to just hang it in my room for art’s sake, for bragging, and for future self-centered consumption (I just love to use that word).

Months went by and the shirt still hangs in my room. One day, my Nanay entered the room and asked me: “Aanhin mo yan kung hindi mo isusuot? Sayang lang ang Pho 2, 500 mo.”

Jokingly, I replied “Kapag pumayat ako, maisusuot ko na yan”.

“Ipahiram mo na lang muna sa akin. Ako ang magsusuot.”, she replied.

At first, I was taken aback. My Nanay will wear an Eraserheads shirt? Is she trying to be bagets or what? I can accept it if my father wears this shirt (because he is jeprox and young at heart) but my conservative Nanay? She got to be kidding.

I asked her, “Seryoso kayo?”.

“Oo nga!”, she replied.

And she removed the shirt from the hanger, went to the other room, and wore my shirt. And it fits her perfectly. Panalo!

This is the modern world where being fit and sexy is in and being fat with man-boobs is a big no. It’s just so unfair for us fatties. Come on self-proclaimed fashion experts! There are more of us who are not sexy, fit, and macho. the world is full of non-sexy and non-fit individuals. You should consider us whenever you make these shirts.

Okay, enough of the ranting. Alam ko namang olats ako diyan at kailangan ko na talagang magpapayat. Hindi na din kasi healthy.

I have cool parents. It’s good to see them having the same trip and vibes as ours. They borrow and listen to my CDs. They watch the same TV series as mine. And they both love the Eraserheads.

Nanay, you can wear that shirt forever if you want to. It’s all yours. I can buy you more Eraserheads shirt if you want to. Keep your cool. I love you po! :’)