Fast and the Furious spoiler… NOT!

Put down the spear, guys. As the title says, I’m not here to spoil it for those of you who haven’t seen Fast and Furious 6 yet. I watched it during the opening last Friday just because me and my girl friends wanted some bonding time and Paul Walker’s baby blues was just a teensy bit incentive. 😀

It just irked me a bit that when I went through my Facebook news feed, there were already people posting exactly how the movie ended. Guys, please! Nobody’s denying you of your precious right to see the movie ahead of everyone, but have the decency and courtesy not to ruin it for those who haven’t watched it yet. No harm posting that the movie was great and had an amazing twist (after all, the franchise is now known for its pagulat endings and Marvel-ish after credits scene). Wag basag-trip. Yeah I know that there are already critics’ review of the movie but then that your choice to read them. I hope the next time a movie you’ve waited for so long to see comes out of the theater and somebody catches it ahead of you, they won’t post the ending on your timeline.  It’s like when some wise guy told me the ending of “The Sixth Sense” before I’d seen it, I wanted to utter the kid’s famous line to that person and add, “That’s because you’re next!”

Anyway, whtat’s done is done so for those who have already seen the latest adventure of Dom and Brian’s car-racing, heist-pulling crew (and knows what’s coming next), please keep it to yourself.

On a lighter note, I did enjoy the movie, as well as the last two installments that came before it. Fast and furious 4 is deemed as the true spiritual sequel to the first movie since 2Fast 2Furious and Tokyo Drift kinda veered away from the original storyline. But I’m sure the writers had and will be able to sew it up all perfectly well once they decide to make the final movie to end the franchise with a bang. I hope the 7th won’t be it, but if it is, hope they end it well.

I’m no movie critic and yes, I’m guilty of enjoying popcorn movies like these, the kind that don’t allow me to think a lot, just a plain, enjoyable assault of my senses for the next hour-and-a-half-hour or so. But I did enjoy “Inception” too, although I had to watch it with subtitles to really get it, haha! Fast and Furious 6 won’t win any Oscar for its brilliant screenplay or deep acting, but it did deliver on it’s promise of pure entertainment for those who enjoy its kind.

My favorite in the franchise thus far is Fast 5 because I liked how they all brought the characters together (especially Han from Tokyo Drift, yihee!). Plus, I was skeptical at first at The Rock’s participation, but he actually provided a fresh humor in the cast. His scenes with Vin Diesel were always a thrill to watch, and they continue this chemistry in the sixth movie. The banter amongst the cast is also smoother and funnier.

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However, my favorite line in all of them was in Fast and Furious 4. It was between Mia and Brian, at the diner where Brian takes Mia after seeing her being interrogated by Siasak (the unfortunate guy he keeps breaking the nose). It was the first time they’ve seen each other in five years.

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Brian admits, “I lied to you. I lied to Dom, I lied to everybody. That’s what I do best. That’s why the Feds recruited me.”

Mia says, “Maybe you’re lying to yourself. Maybe you’re not the good guys pretending to be a bad guy. Maybe you’re the bad guy pretending to be the good guy. Did you ever think about that?”

To which Brian replied, “Everyday.”

O, diba?

So now, go see fast and Furious 6! (I’ll add some related articles later because the few I’ve seen might spoil it for you. Don’t read reviews until you’ve seen the movie.)

Second Chances

Everyone deserves a second chance but not everybody gets it. Maybe we’re afraid or too lazy to work for it. Maybe we don’t just want to claim it. But second chances are always there, if we’re willing to take it.  If something is just too important, then they’re worth the effort for us not to give up at the first try.

But there will also come a time when – no matter how long we wait or how hard we try or how fervently we pray – something will happen, something will come along that will tell us, “Tama na.”

Tadpoles, Tela and Where Did Time Go?

I took the afternoon off from work to take care of my daughter’s school uniform. She already outgrew her old uniforms (obviously!) so even if it’s her last year here, I can’t let her wear tight old rags, can I?

The place to buy quality but affordable tela in Elbi is Mang Tino’s, that unpretentious little stall in front of Lopez Elementary School. Strategically placed around it were some patahians so I was able to wrangle a deal with Mommy Yolly, this lady at the first tahian I went to. I didn’t have much time nor patience to go tahian-hopping since I just went straight from work and the 3PM afternoon heat was doing nothing to ease the perpetual headache I’m carrying around these days. I just hope this lady Yolly is a good seamstress and keeps her word. I don’t want to relive the patahi-nightmare I had a couple years ago where I had to practically fight with the seamstress because she didn’t start sewing Ging’s uniforms until the last minute, hence the quality was really poor.

Blockbuster ang pila sa Mang Tino’s kanina, as there were new stocks coming in and a lot of teacher’s were queuing to get their orders. This is the only pic I managed to shoot before someone nudged me and almost knocked my phone off my hands. Anuber. Image

So anyhoo… a colleague and I were just remarking yesterday how times flies so fast. Seems like yesterday I was still busy making my Christmas shopping list, getting fired up about the coming year, yanking my hair off at turning 30… and now, it’s almost mid-year! Wooh!

Just this morning, while walking to the jeepney stop, I noticed the fish ponds at the Carabao Park. For non-Elbi peeps, the Carabao Park is located near the University entrance, right behind the “UP LOS BANOS” signage. It’s called such because of the – you guessed it – statues of a carabao and farmer and several carabao heads. It’s a popular hangout for students, couples and sampaguita vendors. There’s also a popular urban legend that if you climb and ride the carabao or take a picture there, hindi ka makaka-graduate.  Same goes for undergrads taking a picture with Oble.

I can’t remember the last time I saw the pond filled with water. When I was younger, it was filled with fishes (I forgot what kind. Carps?) and we would buy bread at Jericho’s and feed the fishes. (Another popular fish-feeding spot of my childhood was in front of the IRRI cafeteria).

Back when I was in second grade, we would spend afternoons there bearing plastic cups and catching tadpoles for our science project – life cycle of frogs. My mother and our labandera would often wonder why my school uniform would be muddy and smell malansa.

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I wish they’d fill it up again. For some reason, feeding fish is such a calming activity. In Palawan, we fed fishes while snorkeling. I’d hold out a soggy piece of bread and they would come swarming at me. Yiiii!

So that’s one weird childhood stuff I did with my friends back then. Someone (who I’ll hide behind the name Urikya) even decided to take a swim there when he dared himself to jump to the plant box in the middle of the pond and missed it. He attended our afternoon classes dripping wet and smelling of pond slush. Nice.

I guess I wish my daughter also get to enjoy these simple, outdoorsy activities. Kids nowadays are more into computers and Candy Crush and Youtube videos than “sports” like ten-twenty, shato, moro-moro and such. Of course, aside from the proximity issue of her school from these places, there’s also the more pressing issue of security. People my age can reminisce about being left in the kalye playing until evening, our parents secure we are with other neighbors’ kids. Now, news of local crime (and good old parental paranoia, I guess) prevents us from giving our kids free reign to roam the streets.

Oh well, good old days. And you know what, this is one of the best reasons I like living in Elbi. After battling with city crowds and traffic jams, I can go to any corner of the campus and be instantly calmed and revived by its sheer natural beauty, serene surroundings, greens and greens everywhere and of course, memories of simpler, younger times. 🙂

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Unstoppable!

Yesterday, I had the great honor of witnessing the amazing grace and blessing of God in some truly inspiring and remarkable people of the Lord. My VG sisters Maan and I – along with some new friends from Victory Galleria/Fort, Rovy, Olive and Eman – went to the CCF’s psaking new building in Tiendesitas to catch Nick Vujicic’s “Unstoppable: Live in Manila” tour. The place was jam-packed, and when the Victory Music Team led the worship, wow! Pulsating was the first word that came to mind. 🙂

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Hosted by Victory peeps, Juddah Paolo and Rica Peralejo-Bonifacio, the event is part of Nick’s Life Without Limbs World Outreach program, where he aims to preach the Gospel and touch lives in . For a brief intro about Nick, see my post That Unstoppable Man.

The hosts also shared a bit about how they started walking with God, and Rica’s testimony is one of my faves. She and her husband preached in Victory LB some months back and I only caught the podcast, but I could really relate on how she lived her life before and was changed by Jesus. God is indeed a God who restores us. If you want to listen to it, click here.

Before Nick, two speakers took the stage. First was Randell Tiongson, who shared his 20-plus years of experience in the financial industry, and how the Lord is indeed concerned about our finances! I didn’t know that money is actually the most talked about topic in the Bible, with more verses about it than faith. Sixteen out of the 38 parables that Jesus preached tackled the topic of money and possessions. Wow! I liked when he said that finances is actually more of a spiritual decision more than anything else. How we handle the smaller stuff determines our behavior on the bigger stuff. Says in Luke 16:10, “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.”

Next was Pastor Steve Ruetschle. We all chuckled when he said Nick was one of his inspiration, and how glad he was he found a fellow whose last name is harder to pronounce than his. Ptr. Steve is the senior pastor of Union Manila Church. Few years ago, he met a terrible motorcycle accident that left him paralyzed from the shoulders down and had doctors predicting he had less than 10% of regaining any mobility, and less than one percent of ever walking again. But there he was on stage, very animated, walking around and thanking the Lord not for his own faith, but because the Lord healed him due to his friends’ unstoppable faith. He related the story of the paralytic who was healed by Jesus because his friends never stopped at anything (to the extent of digging a hole on a roof so he may reach Jesus) to help their friend. Now, those are what I call real friends! Steve said, “We are all paralyzed at some point in our lives, and we all need healing – Jesus.” Know more about Steve and his amazing journey of faith here.

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Finally, Nick took the stage. And I say took, he certainly did! His presence filled the room, but more than that, his message filled each and every one of us seated in the cavernous worship hall.  In the hour-and-a-half he spoke, moving confidently yet passionately ever so constantly on the table (sometimes we’d be like eeek, he might fall!), he was able to talk about his story, his mission,  the unstoppable work of God in his life and loved ones, and ultimately, God’s plan and purpose for all those who believe and submit their lives to Him. He peppered his talk with humor, personal anecdotes, Scripture verses and challanges to the captivated audience. I wasn’t able to get a good pic of him, so just in case you don’t know him, I DL’d a photo for you.

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I had a lot of take-aways from his talk. I am again reminded of these verses and how I have been remiss in truly bringing these to life lately, how I have been insisting on my own strength, my own will, over God’s, whose own plans and timing are greater than mine.

Ecclesiastes 3:1, 3-4: “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up. A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.”

Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

To end, let me just relate one story Nick told that really hit home.

There was this man who lived life as he likes it.  He didn’t need no faith or God.  He was the man. So one night, he was alone at home, when he heard a loud banging on the door. He went to open it and in came charging a huge guy. The intruder beat him up so bad, threw him against the wall several times, went around the house trashing it, and before leaving, threatened the man, “I’ll be back soon!” He was Satan.

Soon after, there was a gentle knock and another guy came in the man’s house. “Hi,” said the peaceful, bearded guy. “I’m Jesus.” He came in the man’s house, took care of him, healed his wounds and brought his strength back.

“Wow, thanks!” The man of the house said. Now that he was up and about again, he told Jesus, “Hey you know what, I’m really happy yo helped me and all, but I don’t think we should be hanging around together so much. Tell you what. I got a guest room upstairs, you can stay there in the meantime, and when I need you, I’ll just call you, ayt?”

Jesus, wanting to spend time with the man, agreed. “Okay, I’ll take whatever time you can give me.” So he went upstairs into the guest room.

So the man, went on again, living life as he likes. “That dude Jesus was cool,” he thought, “But I’m the man.”

One day, there was another knock on the door.

“It’s the devil again!” said the man. “Alright, no biggie, I accepted Jesus already, I can do this.  I can beat Satan now!”

The man, confident on his own renewed strength, went to the door and answered it. The devil went charging at him again, beat him up real good, punched and threw him on the wall again, then went trashing the whole house again – except for the room where Jesus was. Then, before leaving the bleeding, wounded man, he promised, “You know I’ll be back again!”

The man crawled to Jesus’ room and wailed, “Hey, where were you? I called you, I needed you! Why didn’t you come for me?”

Jesus replied, “Well you had me locked in the guest room. If you had let me free roam of your whole house, I would’ve been able to save you.”

The man threw up his hand and kneeled before Him. “I surrender. Here is the key to my entire house. Take it; take my everything.” So Jesus did. He restored the man’s health and from then on they sat together, never leaving each others’ side.

One night, there was again the thundering knock on the door. The man knew it was the devil. He moved as if to open the door but Jesus stopped him. “Sit tight, bro; I got this.”

And the man was like smiling and saying, “Jesus in the house yo!”

The Lord went to answer the door, opened it and came face to face with Satan.

“Yes?” Jesus asked.

Satan was taken aback by surprise. He peeked into the house, saw the man behind Jesus and then looked at Jesus again.

“Oh, sorry,” Satan said in a meek voice. “I got the wrong house.”

The devil’s got nothing on us if Jesus has the keys to our entire life.  We can have unstoppable faith because we have an unstoppable God.

A post-Mom’s Day note

I really enjoyed reading through the Facebook news feed yesterday. Almost all posts, pictures and shared stuff were about happy shout outs to moms, proud captured moments with mothers, eat outs and treats for mom and so many words touting the awesomeness of moms everywhere.

I praise and thank God for all the lives of mothers, of moms-tobe, of women who may not be actual mothers per se, but have shown the same unconditional love to other children and people. I salute you! God has also been so kind to include me in this elite club by blessing me with a beautiful and smart daughter. Yey!

Last night, just before I was going to sleep, my daughter handed me a handmade card. Like we used to do when we were kids to our own mama, Ging is fond of making cards for special occasions and yesterday was no exception. Even if she has grown from a precocious baby to a somewhat quieter preteen prone to episodes of hormone-induced mood swings, I was touched she has not outgrown this habit yet. She gave one to my sister Jean and her Nganga too, both of whom have been every inch “her mommies” too. (For her Nanay Joy, to follow!)

Ging told me she gave it to me right before I sleep “so you wouldn’t have time to get all mushy.” Grabe, my own daughter thinks I’m too sappy for my own good, haha! I know she loves me a lot, she’s just in that typical puberty stage where she’s a bit iffy openly showing her affection for her foggy old mom. 😀

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Cute no? But what really touched me was the message inside.

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Dear Mommy,

In all of my letters of thanks to you I always say thank you for working to earn money for us, for being there for me and lots more. But I think that I FORGOT to thank you for giving birth to me. I can only imagine how scared you were when I was in your belly. The fact that you stood strong and stayed healthy when you were pregnant with me is something that I truly thank you for. Love ya!

What a mature, loving thought to thank me for carrying her, for giving birth to her, for appreciating what I must’ve felt then, pregnant at nineteen. Wooh. Can’t blame me for being mushy, anak. I love you beyond what you could ever imagine.

In our service later, one speaker said the love of mothers is a glimpse of God’s great love to us. True. But I also believe that the pure, abundant love parents receive from their children is an even clearer picture of God’s unfailing love and faithfulness to us.

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Aww-moments with my Ging

Vice not-ganda

My personal decision not to drink anymore is not an issue of me appearing religious or an attempt at a pa-banal effect. I don’t think being sober makes me better or holier than any one else, but I do think it makes me a better me. It’s not an issue of whether drinking is a sin in the Bible or not. It’s not about appearances.

Yeah, drinking was fun, but getting wasted sure ain’t. I don’t like the way I act, think or feel when drunk. I cringe at the memories of my actions and the things that come out of my mouth when under the influence of alcohol. I’m in no position to say whether I’m an alcoholic or not, but I do know –after more than 15 years of drinking – that I can’t control it once I take that initial sip. I don’t drink; I get drunk. And I don’t want my daughter coming up to me later on and saying, “Mom it’s okay for me to get drunk because you’ve done it for years.”

I’m not judging people who drink. I’m judging myself. Let’s not turn this into an issue of me versus your own drinking habits. If you enjoy it, fine. If you can drink and not turn into a stark, raving lunatic like I often do, kudos to you. You have the self-control that has eluded me for years. That’s your life. I got my own demons to battle with.

On my 29th birthday month last year, I dared myself not to drink for one whole month. It was met with a lot of surprise and mostly disbelieving jeers. “Ikaw pa?” was what they’d told me. I did manage to go through the entire month, and for the most part of last year. There were still several instances when I got really smashed, probably because although I had presumably changed, some old habits refused to go away immediately.

My last drink (and unfortunately, drunken episode) was right before last year ended. I had planned not to drink at our department’s year end party but an incident at work got me justifying “just a couple of drinks” to loosen up. By the time the night ended, I had poured out my personal problems to my boss (good thing he didn’t let that little episode prevent him from giving me a relief manager post months later, nyaha!), turned into a blubbering mess and drunk dialed someone I shouldn’t have talked to in the first place.

Anybody who’s ever been with me during my drinking sprees can attest to my, er, infamous “transformations.” There’s even a running joke back in my old team about the “stages of Jaz getting drunk:” I get hyper then angry, then I start throwing things around and slapping people, then I suddenly get super emotional and break down in tears. After that comes the throwing up and passing out.

Again, this is a personal decision I know I can only really achieve with the help of His grace. This is not a panata or penitence or a token to God so I’ll go to heaven. Jesus pretty much took care of that for me on the Cross. This is me trying not to destroy myself. This is me deciding not to give in to the one vice that turns me into a compulsive, careless, hurtful human being that does and says things she regrets once the inebriation wears off.

So the next time you offer me a drink and I decline, please don’t take my refusal as a rebuff of your friendship or a judgment of your character. I’m not saying these to be defensive. I mean, you asked, right?  It’s not personal to you, but it is very personal to me.

“You have been bought with a price–use your body to glorify God. (1 Corinthians 6:19, 20)

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Ang Tunay na Lalaki

Mag-grupo ka ng ilang mga kababaihan at mas malamang sa hindi, magagawi rin ang usapan sa kung ano ba ang marka ng isang tunay na lalaki. Iba-iba yan ng mga haka-haka, depinisyon at kuro-kuro. Papasok ang mga pangarap na katangian (read: wish ko lang), mga opinyong halaw sa mapapait na karanasan (read: bitterness) o mga katangiang galing sa mga libro or pelikula (“Hay naku may mga ganyan pa bang lalaki?!” habang pinapanuod umiyak si John Lloyd).

Maaaring sumang-ayon ka sa akin o may iba kang pananaw, so, wala na lang basagan ng trip, yeah? 😀

Para sakin kasi, ang tunay na lalaki ay isang gentleman.

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Pag sinabing gentleman, naiisip agad natin, yung chivalrous, tipong, nagbubukas ng pinto para sa mga babae, umaalalay pagbaba ng sasakyan, pumupunta sa danger side pag natawid. Sila yung mabait, magalang at malumanay magsalita.

Tama naman. Pero para sakin, ang pagiging gentleman goes way more than being polite or mild-mannered.  Sakin tatlong bagay lang para maging isang tunay na gentleman – ergo, tunay na lalaki.

A gentleman leads by serving.  Diba, maalalay sila, tipong supportive kumbaga. Kaya nilang mag-lead – lalo na ng mga babaeng ang bibilical role is to submit to them – by serving them. Hindi kelangang gumamit ng ka-machohan, dahas o mapagmalaking pananalita para makapagpasunod ng iba. Hindi kelangan ng yabang. Ang gentleness ng lalaki, hindi nasusukat sa kung ilang babae na ang napa-ibig o ilang ibang lalaki ang natalo o nalamangan. Sabi sa Titus 3:2 ukol sa gentleness, “To speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.” Hindi sa bilis ng init ng ulo o paghahanap ng suntukan. Yung tipong rerespetuhin mo kasi in the face of conflict or trouble, sila yung magse-step up to resolve it not by force, but by gentleness.

A gentleman strives to be good all the times, but recognizes when he falls short and makes mistakes. Ang tunay na lalaki, marunong mag-sorry. At hindi lang lip service na sorry – he means it. Pag humihingi siya ng tawad, hindi dahil guilty siya o gusto niyang mabawasan ang bigat na dinadala niya. Magso-sorry siya kasi nasaktan ka niya. Magso-sorry siya dahil nagsisisi siya sa ginawa niya. Magso-sorry siya kasi he wants you to know the truth because you deserve it. Magso-sorry siya regardless kung may kasiguruhang mapapatawad mo siya o hindi.

A gentleman has a personal relationship with the Lord. Iba pag ang lalaki, hindi dinidiyos ang sarili, pera o mga materyal na bagay above everything.  Pag may matinding pananampalataya siya sa Diyos, alam mo na papangalagaan ka niya at poprotektahan dahil ang tingin niya saiyo ay anak rin ng Diyos.  Hindi ka niya lolokohin, sasaktan o ilalagay sa panganib kasi alam niyang sa Diyos siya mananagot. God entrusted you to him, and yes, alam niyang trust is a big word. With this mindset, iba ang treatment niya sa mga kababaihan – hindi basta-bastang maka-date, kaharutan or pampalipas oras lang. Confident din siya sa faithfulness ni God sa kanya.  Sabi nga sa Hebrews 13:5, “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Para sakin, a true gentleman is a good man. Hindi lang dahil mukhang mabait, walang bisyo, palakaibigan or popular sa lahat. Hindi lang dahil “safe” sila kasama. Ang tunay na lalaki, alam kung kailan at paano maging lalaki. Hindi mo kailangan sabihan o pangunahan. Real men takes risks din. Risking their feelings, their reputation or hurting others, pero if it’s with good intentions, magpapakalalaki siya. Lunok pride, hiya o takot muna.

Naalala ko yung isang movie napanuod ko recently. Ang ganda nung sinabi about what being a good man is:

“Be good in the face of failure. Sometimes being the best means being the least. Be good even after you made a mistake. Sometimes being good boils down to being able to say sorry. Sometimes being good is loving the people who hurt you and making the most difficult choices that may hurt the people you love. Madalas sa kagustuhan nating maging magaling,  nakakalimutan nating maging mabuti. We lose sight of the fact that every day is a struggle to be better.”

So, may mga gantong lalaki pa ba out there?

Para sakin… oo naman! At ang mga lalaking ganto, so worth the wait and effort. Kaya ladies, don’t settle for less. Mamaya , magsisi ka how much time, effort and emotions you wasted on one guy,  na dapat, sinave mo na lang for someone more deserving. 😉

*photo from http://thelionthebitchandthebedroom.blogspot.com . No copyright infringement intended.

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