I think—no, I believe I haven’t written in a very loooong time. This pandemic has fvcked up my sleeping cycle, my body clock, my little to less routines, and totally drained out whatever is left of the creative ink circulating in my brain. I started this back last year if I’m not mistaken? And I guess stories of certain events and bent up feelings of excitement coupled with a little anxiety finally finished it. Soooo, yeah, here haha.
* I started writing this post in July but I don’t know how I just can’t get around to finishing this, or anything that I’ve started recently, even just finish a Kdrama or a book or whatever it is. I feel so uninspired (to write) and just plain lazy.
I felt nauseous when I rode the ambulance, it was driving too fast, my stomach churned as I tried to sit still and not topple over. It took less than 20 minutes to get to my destination out of town.
It was a gloomy afternoon, rain threatened to pour, gray clouds loomed over towering trees and the rumble of thunder can be heard from a distance .
I was met by nurses in space suits when I arrived at the mountain resort turned quarantine facility, briefed of the going-ons of the place and was escorted to my room. And that was just the time my situation started to sink in. I did not know if I wanted to cry or be mad or laugh like crazy so I dropped myself on the single bed by the end of the room and slept.
It was just one party, I say, and I let my guard down. 3 days later I was coughing my lungs out, my throat itched and hurt like hell, I was catching my breath, it was so hard to breathe. 5 days later I lost my sense of smell and taste. My swab result turned out positive.
Somewhere, somehow, I knew it was Covid even before testing and it scared the hell out of me. I have asthma and cardiac arrhythmia but that did not really matter, I was mostly scared on how I will affect the people around me, the people I interact with daily at work and at home. I have senior and sickly parents, I have an asthmatic kid, I have a diabetic boss, I have a pregnant colleague and another one in remission from thyroid cancer. It was too overwhelming, I felt like falling into depression.
My mind was blank. I slept away my first week, my roommate started to worry. I did not feel like interacting with other people or seeing the nurses or consulting with the doctor. Insisted even when it wasn’t allowed and went down to the river because I just wanted to be alone and away.
It was the longest 2 weeks of my life.
This pandemic, it’s indescribable. It has changed the way of our lives beyond recognition. It’s widely stigmatized and discriminated, I had to tell the ambulance driver to not turn on the siren when they picked me up so my neighbors won’t look.
But I’ve learned so much in the 2 weeks I was quarantined, that there are still so much that I should be grateful for.
I am grateful that the strain I caught was not deadly and I was able to overcome the disease. I am grateful for the nurses and doctor who looked after me at the facility. I am grateful for the community I was able to get to know and embrace in the 2 weeks I was there, it made my quarantine stay more bearable. I was able to laugh, share stories, binge on zombie movies and indulge in delicious food even when it tasted bland on my end.
I am grateful that the people I left behind at home and at work are well and safe despite being close contacts.
And that I was able to get some rest. Mobile reception was bad I unintentionally did a digital detox, away from social media and just de-stress. I was able to just laze around, not minding the time, and even finished 5 books during my stay. I consider myself lucky that my workplace took care of me, accommodated me in a conducive facility as compared to others in the province, and everything was for free.
I realized that we’ll never go back to how it was. It’s been almost 2 years and the pandemic is still here. A lot of people are still in lockdown, unable to go to work, unable to go to school, unable to meet in public places, struggling in isolation stations from the lack of hospital beds, dying in the ICU, people everywhere are dying because of Covid. And during times of existential uncertainties, we instinctively desperately strive to be with family, but we can’t. I missed my kids so much during the 2 weeks I was away from them.
This Covid thing, we are confronted with the true uncertainty of human existence and the true vulnerability of human life.
That its’s such a terrible waste of time to drown ourselves in an endless unwinnable war for wealth and status and power and not recognize the value of people [our families, our friends, our colleagues, even acquaintances and strangers], instead.
That this forces us to appreciate the value of freedom — the freedom to move, to be with those we love.
That this braves us to stop procrastinating and push ourselves to pursue those things we’ve always dreamt about, because we may run out of time. But this also allows us to pause and bask in the moment, soaking in the mundane and rest.
I had Covid and had so many realizations at that despite the fear and anxiety, and luckily, thankfully I survived.
And just to put this out there, get vaccinated people.
One full year isolated from friends and loved ones.
One full year out of work, out of school.
One full year of faces hidden behind a collection of masks.
One full year of life as we know it, thrown into complete disarray.
Exactly a year ago when the world went into a standstill, locked down and boarded up as we were thrown into a wave of uncertainty, unprepared and caught off guard, spiraling into a state of disequilibrium, a life characterized by fear and anxiety.
One full year since the day everything changed and away from a reality we will never get back.
Can we ever grasp the new normalcy we struggle to live with?
Will we ever become comfortable in the daily uncertain?
Will we ever see through the shadows of a dream draped with looming obscurity?
Will freedom be less defined?
Endless questions with answers held by a future that remains dimly vague,
With tiny slivers of hope only few seem to recognize, rejected by most as distrust blind their discernment.
Out of this chaos, may we realize that everything can end in an instant so focus on what is important and always be grateful for somehow, we are still surviving.
2020 was life-changing, it was exceptionally challenging that I can’t even put in a good word.
It was unremarkably heavy, a burdened weight unnecessarily shouldered for the past 10 months.
Suddenly, everyone had to forego with comfortable, we did not have a choice and that was frustrating. Life had to hide behind the mask.
Loss was a daily constant. The existential need to be seen, to be heard, to be held, was abruptly stolen by uncertainty and time was not on our side.
Anxiety continue to grow and you find yourself writing down turbulent thoughts on a fleeting lucid moment at 2 am.
I had to deal with so much the last year, I couldn’t cope. Gone was the strong facade I so easily wear, replaced by a throng of vulnerability and unrest. I feel like the chemistry in my brain fucked up.
2020 did not turn out how we hoped it would be, it was a cruel surprise. But somewhere in between the pandemonium was a window of realization that human as we are, we will instinctively survive.
If there was anything that I learned from the longest year of my life, it was gratitude, gratitude from the smallest of things: from keeping a job despite the economic collapse, home-cooked meals, discovering a hobby, appreciating my small circle of family and friends, new-age technology filling in the gap from being socially distant, waking up alive, healthy and somewhat sane.
May we leave the dust of the year that was in the past and may we learn that we could choose to drop these heavy loads and walk towards hope, no matter how small a speck, with empty arms making room to carry much better things.
Smile. It’s a New Year.
I never imagined getting affected by the flimsiest of things but here I am, a chaotic mess of sad, angry and feeling bad. Yes, I felt bad.
It never crossed my mind that I would develop anxiety but the past 10 months of uncontrollable uncertainty has turned me into a silent wreck.
Isolation and confinement has pushed me to reach out to people, recklessly exposing myself to be emotionally vulnerable and I’ve been led on and left out.
I’ve never done any of these things before and it’s overwhelmingly new and suffocating. And as soon as someone paid attention, I easily forget that expectation is paired with disappointment.
I used to be so good at refocusing my thoughts, blocking out bad memories, or just not giving a care but somehow, it’s been getting really hard to hold it all together and not being able to control what runs through my head is taking its toll on me.
The cliche goes like: a drunken mind speaks a sober heart. And there is so much truth in those seven words. More honest, more vulnerable. Those drunk ramblings aren’t just random or ridiculous thoughts, somehow they’re something you’ve held back on, you’ve bottled up, you’ve tried to forget, might be trauma, or just silly nonsense your sober mouth did not have the guts to spew.
These moments might break someone, ruin the mood, destroy a relationship, but will undeniably ease the weight you’ve so long carried on your back. Only if you remember.
What’s funny though, despite being your unfiltered, totally honest, and reckless self, once you are sober, they tell you to stop thinking of whatever it was that has been unconsciously hurting you for years, that it’s all in the past, just try to accept, count your blessings instead, or forget about what fucked you up and move on. And they say it so easily.
You know why I don’t talk? Nobody truly listens. It’s either I’m being irrationally dramatic or unnecessarily bitter.
U2 | The Joshua Tree Tour 2019
The Joshua tree, which in fiercely adverse conditions, was seen by U2 as a symbol of faith and hope in the midst of aridity. The tree was named, by early Mormon settlers, after the Old Testament prophet Joshua as its branches reminded them of Joshua raising his arms to pray. — Valentina Magli
After four decades, U2 has finally found its way to the PH.
I literally cried when they sold out 2 nights in Singapore. I mean these are legends, and it might be the only time I will ever get to watch them perform live and I missed my chance.
Blessed by the universe, they decided to add a PH leg closing their tour and I was so so so happy. I was like, GOD thank you for listening to me! And what was interesting, their VIP floor tickets sold cheap! It was like the universe was saying okay go on, watch and have fun.
Dec. 11 – Concert Day
Woke up at 3am to catch my 5am flight to Manila, it was pouring but I was too full of excitement, it didn’t really bother me. What turbulence? lol.
After lunch, we drove through the almost 2-hour traffic up north to Bulacan, to the Philippine Arena where they will be holding their concert and was greeted by the blaring pipe-in of Where the Streets Have No Name on repeat for the next 4 hours. The crowd was very diverse, from Boomers to Gen Z, it was a picnic at the parking lot with all the collapsible chairs and coolers of beer, while waiting to queue.
Started queuing at 4:30ish to claim our tickets and get into the venue.
We finally got inside after queuing for more than 3 hours and was welcomed by a 200 ft × 45 ft state-of-the-art 8K video screen that flashed a loop of varied poetry from acclaimed poets and novelists from around the world, even featuring poetry from our very own Bino Realuyo, Eric Gamalinda and Dr. Jose Rizal as a prelude to the concert that started a little past 9pm.
After The Whole of the Moon played by the Waterboys, I knew it was cue that the concert was about to start and we made our way through the mosh pit to the front of the stage. Just as the lights went out, Bono, The Edge, Larry and Adam took the stage and kickstarted the show with Sunday, Bloody Sunday and everyone was up on their feet, hands swaying, singing, screaming.
After a couple of songs, Bono paused to greet the more than 45,000 people in the arena “Mabuhay!” And likened to a church service, Bono made known his prayers for an epic night of rock n roll transcendence.
Then they started singing Bad from the 1984 album Unforgettable Fire, and I got so overwhelmed, I started crying. How wonderful that one of my favorite songs was being played live by legends right in front of me.
As the concert progressed into the Joshua Tree album, the ginormous wall morphed into a backdrop of American deserts, endless highways, emblematic mini movies and a play of psychedelic visuals towards the end.
At one point, U2 dedicated the song Ultraviolet (Light My Way) to pay tribute to women game changers, to women who came together to rewrite history. To quote Bono: “When women in the whole world unite to rewrite history as her story that is a “Beautiful Day.”
This included Filipinas Lidy Nacpil, Cory Aquino, Lea Salonga, and Maria Ressa. And so much blah has been thrown at U2 being political and shit. The band’s been playing freakin punk rock since 1976. For those unaware of the genre (and are so called fans up until..), it’s supposed to be political, look it up. They’ve always had a reputation for their strong humanitarian conviction and activism, so get over it.
Playing their encore, some songs were accompanied with Tagalog subtitles, just shows how inclusive this band is.
After thanking everyone who came and stuck with them throughout the show, expressing their admiration of the indoor stadium, making mention that the Philippine leg is their 2,050th show, that not having come sooner, they have no excuse, and Bono saying ”from our single island to your thousand islands, thank you for making us feel so welcome on your islands, you’re making a new history for yourselves but the truth is, none of us are really an island and what happens in one country affects the other side of the world. From typhoons to drought, the way we live in one country affects life in every country. There is no them, there’s only us. We are…,” they closed with One, from their 1991 album Achtung Baby.
The concert ended at almost midnight and up to leaving the arena, I’ve been singing love is a temple, love the higher law, we got to carry each other, carry each other, some serious case of LSS.
And through the grueling exodus exiting from the car park that lasted around 1am to arriving BGC at almost 3am — took a shower, ate a bit of breakfast (dint realize I was starving from the concert) and went to the airport at around 5am to catch my 7am flight home and straight to my seminar.
Literally no sleep for more than 24 hours, but having endured the traffic, long queues at the ticket booth, food stalls, comfort rooms and the arena, and coming down with fever and all, just to experience an impeccably choreographed 2-and-a-half-hour show and hear the uncannily seamless voices of the band performing live and up close, was golden. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.
Here is their PH setlist:
Sunday Bloody Sunday
New Year’s Day
Pride (In the Name of Love)
The Joshua Tree:
Where the Streets have no Name
I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking for
With or Without you
Bullet the Blue Sky
Running to Stand Still
Red Hill Mining Town
In God’s Country
Trip through Your Wires
One Tree Hill
Mothers of the Disappeared
Even Better than the Real Thing
Every Breaking Wave
Ultraviolet (Light My Way)
Love is Bigger than Anything in its Way
Thank you U2 for the once in a lifetime experience and thank you Poi and Jobelle for sharing this epic night with me! Truly magical.
Following a daily devotional to appease a lot of chaotic thoughts.
This one is for me and I’m just going to leave it here as a reminder that there is so much more to life than living with all this nonsense.
Andy Stanley: Enemies of the Heart
Devotional Day 3
“Letting Go of Hurt and Anger”
Scripture: Ephesians 4:25-32
The second enemy of the heart is anger. We get angry when we don’t get what we want.
Show me an angry person and I’ll show you a hurt person. And I guarantee you that person is hurt because something has been taken. Somebody owes them something.
We all know people whose anger could be verbalized in one of the following ways: “You took my reputation.” “You stole my family.” “You took the best years of my life.” “You stole my first marriage.” “You robbed me of my teenage years.” “You robbed me of my purity.” “You owe me a raise.” “You owe me an opportunity to try.” “You owe me a second chance.” “You owe me affection.”
The root of anger is the perception that something has been taken. Something is owed you. And now a debt-to-debtor relationship has been established.
How about you? What debt is causing the anger you feel?
How long are you going to allow the people who have hurt you to control your life? Another month? Another year? Another season of your life? How long?
I’d like to propose that today should be the day when you quit holding on to the hurt!
While it’s true that you can’t undo what’s been done, it’s equally true that you don’t have to let the past control your future. In Ephesians 4, we’re commanded to “get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger.” We do that by “forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
The remedy for anger is forgiveness. If we hold out waiting to be paid back for the wrongs done to us, we will be the ones who pay. If, on the other hand, we cancel the debts owed to us, we will be set free.
Of the four monstrous forces we’re discussing in these devotionals, I believe this one—unresolved anger from intentional and unintentional hurt—is the most devastating. Yet in some ways it’s the easiest to overcome. You simply make up your mind to cancel the debt. You decide and declare, “You don’t owe me anymore.”
Follow this four-step process today:
(1) Identify who you’re angry with.
(2) Determine what they owe you.
(3) Cancel the debt by forgiving them.
(4) Don’t let the anger build up again.
“So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body. And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil. If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need. Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”
Ephesians 4:25-32 NLT
Mommy break in Taiwan.
Scorching summer heat but still fun nonetheless especially with the company I was with. Seriously nonstop laughter from the littlest, nonsensical and most random things.
First stop – North Park for breakfast since our flight was not until later in the evening.
Left for Taipei around 7pm and arrived past 9pm. Our hotel is in Ximen, we checked in at Diary of Taipei, (very conveniently located near the Ximendeng shopping district, Taipei main station and is only 5 km from the airport), and walked around to look for dinner.
The famous Hot Star Chicken. There was still a queue even when it was already late.
Day 2 | Taipei
Went early to see the changing of the guards but apparently it was closed.
Shilin Main Presidential Residence
The former residence of Chiang Kai-shek and his wife turned into park and tourist spot. Did not finish exploring this area though as it was a scorching 40C but still decided to climb up a long stretch of stairs to go to a pavilion that wasn’t even impressive and got myself unnecessarily drenched lol.
National Palace Museum
Houses 8,000 years of Chinese history. Some pieces date back to the 10th century and are still amazingly very well preserved.
Shuangxi Park and Chinese Garden
We just passed by this park on our way to the museum and decided to check it out after. Built in 1974, park features different types of bridges, pavilions, courtyards and lots of lily pads, the place is so beautiful!
Baishihu Suspension Bridge
The first long span suspension bridge in Taipei and on the other side is a strawberry field.
Shilin Night Market
Fun finds and lots and lots of street food.
Day 3 | Northern Taiwan
When sea erosion form beautifully shaped rocks.
A mountain town in Northeastern Taiwan, packed with tea houses, narrow alleyways, street-food shacks and souvenir shops.
Was supposed to go the Shifen Waterfall but it was soooooooo crowded. So here’s a picture by the bridge going there lol.
Went to Shifen old street, lit a sky lantern and let our wishes fly.
Day 4 | Ximen
Woke up late yaaaaay! Lunched at the popular Modern Toilet. Food is surprisingly good, generous servings too.
Tried out the street food around this area. Did not try the stinky tofu.
A little tricky to find, we got lost a couple of times looking for this place but it was so worth it. Place is small but cozy and they make their cocktails very meticulously. Their playlist also included a couple of OPMs lol.
View of Taipei 101 at almost midnight.
Known to be one of the poshest and most sophisticated chill-out spots in Xinyi District, this was a really pretty bar. Thing is, it was a Tuesday when we went so we were like the only ones (and a few tables) there. Stayed until closing, they close at 2:30am.
Day 5 | Home bound
Did a little shopping for some goodies to bring home and well, never ending milk teas.
Refreshing break indeed despite the summer heat thanks to these awesome ladies.
On another note, best time to go to Taiwan is between December to May, weather is much cooler they say.