Goodbye, May

As the sun goes down, the day ends, the month closes...

Today marks the last day of May.
What seems to be the busiest month (so far) for me.

There are many shocking incidents and important events that happened in the past 31 days.
In Philippines, a new set of government officials were elected. We are now waiting for the proclamation for the President and Vice... God bless the Philippines!
Two planes crashed... one in Philippines, one in India where 158 people died ... and week after was a train accident in India as well.

And as I mentioned, it has been the busiest month (so far) for me...
My weekends were fully booked with different activities... birthdays, church events, shopping and other 'extra curricular activities'... to the extent that schedules were overlapping!

Also, I had tons of work recently... our the campaign for the coming World Cup.
Numbers are all around me... payables, quotations... hayyys!
I was stressed with a lot of things at work... felt disappointed and sometimes, bored in doing the same stuff...

Others, may have enjoyed... maybe? But I cannot relate... :)

We may have different experiences on this month...
Yet, today is the last day... and do you realize how fast this month passed?

And after all the difficulties that each day brought... all the pain that was left by the accidents... and our own personal frustrations...

With all these things that weren’t happy at all, we are saying goodbye.

It's about time to turn the page of the calendar and move forward to June with hope that things will get better...

In Manila, summer is over... the heat of El NiƱo is about to end. Hello rain, Hello water... hopefully, lesser floods on the streets.

Here in Dubai and in other countries, school classes are about to end …Hello vacation, Hello holiday! Yet, it is the start of summer! The 'heat' is on!!!

Now, we are giving June a warm welcome... let's start this month with a positive spirit that there will be greater, happier and brighter days ahead :)

Home, Forever...

In the plane crash in India that killed 158 people, one of them is our former colleague, Jayaram Kotian.

(photo from Gulfnews)

Supposedly, Jayaram and his family are on their way home... to start another chapter of their life. He flew to India together with his wife and his 4 year old son... going home for good. He just resigned here in the agency and accepted a new job in his homeland.

After that flight should be the beginning of the fulfillment of his dreams... just like any other overseas workers, who wished to go back home for good.

But their beginning was the end... and so with the rest of 158 passengers, who have their own stories on that flight... 

As the agency talks and remember Jayaram, questions were raised: What if he didn't receive another offer at home, will it still happen? If he choose to stay, will his kid still be playing at home with his mother?

On my many blog posts about tomorrow... chapter endings and closing doors, we have put a Period on wondering about the future... we have understood that some good things never lasts... and that we all have to move Forward, March!

But such incident makes us wonder why such a happy situation ends with tragedy? 

Prior to this post was crashed - another air accident that happened in Manila wherein I also knew one of the passengers...
These stories of death of two different people who both have planned their lives and future well yet ended in a tragedy has left us with lessons about life and living.

-The fact the LIFE is SHORT remained constant and that no matter how much we complain about this long and sometimes, difficult journey of life... time will never be enough.

-We'll never know what will happen tomorrow, in as much as we have concreate plans and clear visions for the next day; we can never tell until we wake up the next day and smell the morning breeze.

-In as much as we want to secure the future, we will never be secured that we can still have this future. Retirement plans and life insurance wont give us the security. Will our beneficiary receive the pension that we invested over our lifetime with?
- Life is not about saving money and bank account but being accountable to every minutes we spent in our lifetime. It is not how many money you have counted in your hands, but how many lives your hand has touched.

- In all our ways, we have to acknowledge that we will never be enough and we need God to guide us in this travel. We have our ways, but without His blessings, it will never succeed. We have planned well enough, but God's plan will prevail...

In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps. - Proverbs 16:9
Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails. - Proverbs 19:21

As human being, we all have our goals in life. We all have build our dreams and we are all determined to achieve it. What differs is how we manage our time, how we value that dream and what do we do to fulfill it.

Just do not forget that we still have today... before we can come to see tomorrow.
Remember that time is running very fast and we can never bring back even a second that passed.

And lastly,

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and thieves break in and steal them. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not corrupt and thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. - Matthew 6:19-20

In His time, we will all cross the border... leave what we thought was valuable and realize that there is so much more than all these material things that we need to prepare.
Jayaram and his family, were now at home... in the final destination of their journey. Our prayers are with them... May they enjoy their retirement plans prepared up there, with our Creator...finally, he is home, for good, forever.


A friend forwarded the news about the death of Gov. Raffy Nantes of Quezon Province - Philippines in a helicopter crash just few hours ago... I don't know him personally but I did one of his campaign material / AVP last 2007, when he first ran as Governor. We did his profile, and through that, I was able to have a look of his world...

I cannot remember the transcript anymore, but it is a story of "anak mahirap"; from rugs to riches, he shared his failures and success... the struggles of a shoe shine boy to a multi-million businessman and politician.

What is clear are his visions... his huge plans not just for his life but for the Quezonians...

Today was exactly a week after the election, where in the news, he did not make it in the gubernatorial race.
His political career crashed and so was  his life...

Despite his money, career and power... Gov. Nantes is now a part of history.

This is a reality that we all share. Our time will also come...
And our riches won't save us from that.

1 Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, 2 for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. / 1 Thessalonians 5:1-2

Whether rich or poor, we may be up in the air, under the water or walking in a vast land... we can never tell. No one can choose when, where or how. Death will come to all of us and we all end up in this world as an ash.

We may have the best plans for our lives... we might have planned well for our retirement, but no one knows what tomorrow may bring. We may have worked hard for our future, but no man can really secure his own future, for it is not the basis of our existence.
20 "But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?' / Luke 12:20

A secured future doesn't vary not what you have, but on who you are to your fellowmen and to God.

From Child's Play to Mastery

Everyone is invited to witness the
First Solo Piano Recital and Exhibition of Artworks of Radjan Z. Arellano
on May 26, 2010 6pm Wednesday UP Abelardo Hall Auditorium , College of Music

Guest Artists are Prof. Mary Therese Pitogo, Jimuel Pitogo, violinist , Wes Lipana, flutist and
to sing the first original composition of the recitalist entitled

Admission is FREE..

So bring your family members and friends too...
but reservation is required by texting or calling 0918-9063547 / 4736559

Donations are welcome for Faith Hope and Love Assembly Music Ministry and
Kamuning Bible Christian Fellowship Building Fund
(optional /may be given on the day of the event)

Simple cocktails prepared by Tomato Bomb HQ will be served


God Bless the Philippines

Voting is over...
The new automated election in the country pushed through despite all the negative speculations.
It wasn't 100% successful, but knowing that it it happened somehow it made a history to our country.

The people have decided and the counting begins.

Finally, the dirty campaign is over...
After all the issues and black propaganda that filled the whole country for 90 days (or more...), we are now facing the real challenge...

The canvassing of votes.
I know that it's an automatic counting, but from the past experiences, this is the stage of the actual battle... we have to be assured that every single vote is counted... and accounted to the right candidate.

Many areas are still doing manual counts... as expected. And this is where the fear of the people arises.
As the machine fails, we are all hoping that the people wont...

At this time, while we are all waiting for the final result, let's keep on praying that our Father will continuously heal our land and bless us as a nation of God.

Again and again,
God please... Bless the Philippines.

Nanay's Day Masterpiece

It's almost 2 hours since I started composing this blog...
Had about 5 drafts of poems, and almost finished 1, but I was never satisfied.
I kept on praying... asking for His guidance as I write...
Several attempts of creating the best piece for Nanay... but I just cant.

Then I stood up, took my cup and made coffee...
I kept squeezing my brain as I walk along the hallway, hoping that some great idea will pop out;
While waiting for the water to boil, I embraced the silence, took a deep breath and listen to what my heart says...

Then I realized that in as much as I wanted to compose a masterpiece for Nanay's day,
It will never happen.

The greatest gift that my heart desires is far beyond these words...
Not a thousand stanzas of poem or a novel about mother will fulfill my longing...
Because more than anything, I want to hug her today.

No words can express how much I love her...
And how much I am missing her...

I love you so much Nay...

and so with my other Nanays:
Ditse, Sanse, Ninang, Tita Neng, Tita Elsa, Tita Alice, Tita Ine and Mama Ric
Praise God for your lives... I love you.

Labor Pains

I've seen the movie.
But this is not about giving birth...
I don't think I can write something about it nor will attempt to do one; I am not Thea and firing a pregnant woman is legal here in UAE.
Anyways, back to labor pains...
In Phils. May 1 is Labor day (I know this is 4 days overdue)...
Labor day is not being celebrated on a positive side, instead you can see big protests on streets; laborers begging for a wage increase... I haven't heard or seen any program or events that give recognition for the best employees or some inspiring activities to look forward on this National Day for Laborers.

I have 6 years experience working in Manila, before I became an OFW. I have felt these 'labor pains' too, working day and night (since I am in TV network), on call 24/7, just to received a decent pay LESS TAX and all other deductions which really kills the work force. 

15-20% of what you've worked for will be counted as tax which means, about 2-4 days (sometimes overnight) was allotted to - road construction, medical services, government leaders' salary (just to name some) etc etc.

Aside from these citizen's responsibility, there are also SSS, Health Insurance and Pag-Ibig deductions, which accumulate another approx. 10% of salary.

What's left with the workers are 70-75% of their income... which again, the 20% of that was paid to VAT...

Isn't that worst than actual labor pains???

While some average employees are 'just' satisfied with what they receive, majority are underpaid.
Underpaid in the sense that the salary wont really fit to have a decent living in Manila. Everything are costly... rents, gasoline, food, commodities. That is for single like me... I wonder how parents managed to survived and bring their kids to school...

Being an OFW, I enjoyed the privilege of being 'tax-free' in UAE. I received my salary exactly the same as what is written in my contract... no more, no less! And I am 100% insured (without paying extra for HealthCare). Shopping is more exciting without VAT!!!

All the benefits were given fairly. Government funds were distributed to improve the country, from construction, transportation and services...

If only Phil. government is not corrupt and rules were implemented... We can do better than the other countries. We have the best workers in the world.

OFWs are the key employees of big companies and institutions... From receptionists to accountants, from construction workers to engineers, nursing aides to specialized doctors... We are the nannies who devote ourselves to other's child... The caregivers who give love and time to elders... The silent partners of working parents, who manage other's home and families...

I belong to these workers... we are enjoying financial stability - - - away from home. People who chose to fly outside the country to give better lives to families back home...

It is just a matter of choice. Being home, pay tax and work forever or leave for sometime, earn more, come back and start business... or leave and migrate to other country.

Embarrasing but true... many Filipinos chose the 3rd option because they can no longer see a good future in Philippines... 

The upcoming May 10 Election is the make or break in Philippine government... hence, the result is not only in the hands of the people...

May our Lord God guide every Filipino in choosing the new leader and may it be a clean and honest election. God bless the Philippines!
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