A call for prayers. Un llamado para las oraciones.

My dear readers. Please pray for me. After being released from a long hospitalization last year, I noticed that my passion for reading and writing has dissipated. It now reached a point where I couldn’t even finish a page or two in just one sitting (before: I could finish a book or two within a day, and there existed a delight to scribble verses). I’ve been carrying a pen and notebook wherever I go, but I don’t even have the heart to use them. My uncomfortable circumstances (debts, chronic pain, court case between my parents, working at night for more than a decade, etc.) add up to this wretchedness of mind. And it’s getting worse. Anyway, I am fully aware that I am not as talented nor as well-known as many other Filipino writers, but writing is the only thing I know I’m good at. If I don’t write, I will die. But I believe in prayers; they have worked wonders. So my dear readers, this Holy Week, please pray for me. Thank you.
Mis queridos lectores. Por favor, oren por mí. Después de ser dado de alta de una larga hospitalización el año pasado, noté que se había disipado mi pasión por la lectura y la escritura. Ahora llegó a un punto en el que ni siquiera podía terminar una página o dos en una sóla sesión (antes: podía terminar un libro o dos en el transcurso de un día, y existía un deleite garabatear versos). He estado llevando un bolígrafo y un cuaderno donde quiera que vaya pero ni siquiera el corazón para usarlos. Y mis circunstancias incómodas (deudas, dolor crónico, caso judicial entre mis padres, trabajando de noche por más de una década, etc.) se suman a esta desdicha mental. Siento que se está poniendo peor. De todos modos, soy plenamente consciente de que no soy tan talentoso ni tan conocido como muchos otros escritores filipinos, pero escribir es lo único que sé en lo que soy bueno. Si no escribo, moriré. Pero creo en oraciones; han hecho maravillas. Así que mis queridos lectores, esta Semana Santa, por favor oren por mí. Gracias.
Advertisements

Feliz 150º cumple, Señor Presidente Aguinaldo…

¡Feliz cumpleaños, Señor Presidente Emilio Aguinaldo! Aunque usted rebeló contra nuestra Madre España, ha preservado la unidad del archipiélago, bajo el mismo nombre de Filipinas, con el español como el idioma oficial. Luchó contra los verdaderos invasores, los WASP usenses. Y lo que es más importante, usted ha expresado su arrepentimiento por la rebelión cuando asistió los ritos fúnebres del Rey Alfonso XIII en la Catedral de Manila… y ha rechazado la masonería al regresar a la Iglesia Católica durante sus últimos años. ¡Un saludo cordial!

 

La imagen puede contener: 1 persona

Facebook outage: a perfect time to reflect

How soon is soon?

Facebook (together with its subsidiaries Instagram and WhatsApp) has been experiencing technical problems for the past several hours. Nobody knows for sure the exact reason for the outage, but it’s been trending on Twitter worldwide (makes me wonder if rival Blue Bird is enjoying the moment).

52940702_1453700338099569_2875306671381413888_n

While Facebook has experienced several outages in the past, this downtime, I think, is the worst. I first noticed it a few minutes past midnight (Manila time) because of the Twitter trends. I tried logging in, but couldn’t. Now it’s almost lunchtime as of this writing, but there’s no news yet on when things would go back to normal. And there’s no specific update from Facebook; the site only says that they “will be back soon”. It’s a wild guess if they’re doing some sort of maintenance, or if their site has really been compromised. To my observation, this is the longest outage in the history of the world’s most famous social networking service company.

I am particularly concerned with the countless photos and videos I’ve uploaded there through the years. If things go out of hand (hopefully not), then those images are gone for good. Too bad I haven’t kept any back up. But I’m sure I’m not the only one. Photo albums are fast becoming obsolete. Even CDs for that matter. All photos that are shot and videos that are recorded are immediately uploaded and shared to various online platforms, with Facebook and YouTube in the lead. In today’s digital reality, where everything has to be higher, further, faster (with apologies to Carol Danvers), what’s the need for photo albums and CDs?

And then there’s instant messaging, particularly Facebook Messenger. Not too long ago, emails have rivaled snail mail. Today, Facebook Messenger and other similar messaging apps provided the death blow to conventional postal delivery. While some post offices still exist, they are there mainly because of the actions of heritage activist groups who fight not only for the conservation of built heritage but also for love of nostalgia.

Online platforms, or the Internet for that matter, have become a boon for many. It has made life easier, comfortable, and even entertaining. It has connected people and businesses in a way that has never been imagined a century ago. We might even say that it has become an integral part of our daily lives to the point that we can no longer live without Internet connection (I could just imagine how stressed out many people are today because of this #FacebookDown problem). But while all this can be considered a blessing, it has become a curse to some. Including myself.

I guess I have to confess this now: I’ve been suffering from Internet addiction disorder for several months already. No psychiatrist has confirmed this to me, but I’ve been doing some research on my own. The symptoms are there: lack of sleep (on top of years of working the night shift), complex regional pain syndrome, and compulsive Internet use to the point that I could no longer enjoy a book like I used to. I couldn’t even finish reading online articles. Halfway through an article, I click on another link. Upon going home, I’d rather watch an online video rather than read or write. My attention span has become short. There is always the impulse to go online.

I do understand that there is still an inconsistent definition of the said disorder mainly because many people today really had to be online due to various legitimate reasons: business, communication exchange, etc. But I am my own mind and body. I know when there’s something wrong with me or not.

I know what’s wrong with me, but I have yet to find a cure for it. So far, the only thing I could think of is a ten-letter word that begins with a D and ends with an E, something Filipinos are notorious for having the lack of it.

Today’s Facebook outage is a good time to reflect on how we use and abuse our Internet connectivity. May we all experience an outage of Internet impulsiveness within ourselves from time to time.

Captain Remo

Image may contain: 1 person
Abelardo Remoquillo (1922-1945), known among his peers, war enemies, and admirers as “Captain Remo”, was a young guerrillero from San Pedro Tunasán, La Laguna (simply known today as the City of San Pedro, Laguna) who fought against the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II. He is known only as a local hero. But I contend that he be declared a national hero. Why? At a very young age, he joined the Hunters ROTC guerrillas not to defend his hometown but to help defend his country. He fought against the invaders from different fronts of Southern Luzón and even participated in the famous Raid at Los Baños.
 
He died not in San Pedro Tunasán but in faraway Bay, La Laguna while attacking a Japanese garrison.
 
When he joined the Hunters ROTC, that is when his being a San Pedrense ended, and the exact moment when he completed his being a Filipino, a Filipino warrior to be exact.
 
Today is his 74th death anniversary.

Copies of my bilingual biography* of Captain Remo are still available at the San Pedro City Hall. For inquiries, please contact the San Pedro Tourism, Culture, and Arts Office.

*The Tagálog translation is by Linda Sietereales. Her dear friend, famous novelist Lualhati Bautista, has a blurb for the book. This book is a project of the San Pedro City Historical Council headed by Mayor Lourdes Catáquiz.

No hay nada que me detenga

Image may contain: text

Déjame empezar de nuevo.

Cuando comencé este blog a mediados de 2017, planeaba producir al menos un artículo por semana. El plan fracasó cuando la tuberculosis y la neumonía devastaron mis pulmones en diciembre de ese año. Estuve en una pausa de seis meses haciendo cosas banales. No escribí, ni siquiera en papel. Leí algunos libros, pero con moderación.

Cuando regresé a mediados del año pasado, noté que mi habilidad habitual para escribir ya no estaba allí. Se sentía más como una lata que una pasión. Debo admitir que mi dolorosa condición contribuyó a ese letargo. Y creo que trabajar en el turno de noche durante casi dos décadas ya ha afectado a la mente y al cuerpo. Y también está nuestra ridícula condición financiera, las deudas acumuladas, el hambre y el dolor de cabeza… tuve que lidiar todo esto.

El mes pasado fue un susto. Tuve un mal caso de toser, y me aterrorizó ver —aunque en silencio— que había sangre en mi esputo. Pensé que mis viejas nemesas respiratorias estaban de vuelta. Me estaba preparando para otra hospitalización. Afortunadamente, un grupo de oración en Facebook me salvó. Los hallazgos de los rayos X no encontraron nada grave y todo lo que tuve fue bronquitis. Sí, creo en el poder de la oración y los milagros.

Ahora mi última lucha es el trastorno por déficit de atención: he tenido problemas para terminar un libro. Esto ha estado ocurriendo durante el año pasado más o menos. Esto no puede ser, una mala combinación de bloque del escritor y bloque del lector.

Todavía no estoy listo para volver a actualizar esta bitácora. Mi síndrome de dolor está empeorando cada día. Puedo sentirlo. Pero si no ahora, entonces ¿cuándo? Mi pasión no debe ser detenida. Ahora no. Jamás.

Déjame empezar de nuevo.