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Candidly

Heaven’s treats

Filed under: Features — admin at 6:34 pm on Tuesday, May 13, 2008

I really had no special plans for my birthday. I just wanted the day to be relaxed and simple for a change. Nevertheless, my mom had made plans of her own on how my day would go. Thank goodness, she spared some time for me on my birthday and it turned out to be the opposite of what I initially planned.

Mom’s activities for my birthday started very early. What can you say about 4:00 a.m.?

Mom invited her friends from PDR (Perpetual Dawn Rosary), a group of senior citizens who piously go around our area every day to pray and bring the image of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel to every home. Correct!

Floating…that was my state when they woke me up. Upon seeing the life-sized image of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, okay na ako! Sakto naman pala ang “floating state” ko kasi “heavenly” ang aura with Mt. Carmel’s presence.

Did you know that my baptismal name is Ma. Carmela? So that makes me feel I have some connection with Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.

Mt. Carmel is a battlefield, where Prophet Elijah proved that his God was real and powerful, winning over 99 false prophets. Taray! Isa na lang ang kulang, 1 vs 100 na ang title ng episode na yun. Kaya siguro palaban din ako. Good thing I have a sweet nickname to balance my baptismal name, which I find a bit too strong.

Kris Aquino mentioned before that most of the winners of Game Ka Na Ba prayed to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. Honestly sa antok ko, ang tanging nasabi ko ay Mother Mary, “Be my Mother and take care of me today.”

Around 10:00 a.m., friends and family came. Whew!

The day before my guesting on Game Ka Na Ba, I attempted to back out. Takot ako sa game shows sa totoong buhay. Sa totoo lang, nakaka-blangko ng membrane ang game show. Sa lahat ng guesting ko, sa mga game shows ako pawis na pawis at pagod na pagod after taping. Stress! The thought of going through a public humiliation because I am unable to answer, naku, I might be judged as “bobo” for it. All efforts of trying to convince GKNB to excuse me from attending the taping had been futile.

Just before the taping started, my mom gave me a call and asked me to be home for dinner because some guests would be arriving. Huh? Guests? Who? Guess? I thought it would be just my family. Mom wanted to surprise me, but in the end she was the one who got surprised because I wasn’t able to make it for dinner.

Guess what, I have a confession. I really planned to leave GKNB early and did my best to kick myself purposely out of the game. But how could I not answer my elimination round question: “Ano ang apelyido ni Mother Lily?” Aba naman, ‘pag di ko sinagot ito ng maayos, ano na lang ang respeto ko kay Mother Lily. I got in the first five…until I won! How? Di ko alam. Hindi nga ako masyado sumasagot. Ganun naman pala ang style sa bagong mechanics ng GKNB, parang write-minus-wrong. Kakatahimik ko, bibihira ako nagkamali at ako ang nanalo. It was some sort of a miracle that I won.

After winning, playing as defending champion, and getting eliminated, I realized that I was actually scared not of the people but myself. I was scared of finding out the true extent of my own abilities. Ang deep na ba? ‘Sensya pero yun po ang katotohanan.

1.jpgLet me give you a personal birthday back track. My mom is not perfect but she’s really funny. Alam niyo ba na 12 years ako nagse-celebrate ng birthday ko ng May 9.

Yun pala, May 8 talaga ako ipinanganak. Anak ng tokwa! Sabi ng mommy ko, nalito daw siya at gabi raw ako ipinanganak.

Eto pa, hindi lang ako ang victim ng mommy ko. Pati si MM, my younger sister who thought she was born on the 22nd of December. We only found out after nine years that her real birth date is December 21. Ang sabi ng mommy ko, “Okay lang naman daw kasi one day lang ang mali, kaysa naman daw buwan ang pagkakamali siya.” In fairness, meron siyang point.

My mom makes it her job to give me ideas on how to spend my birthday. Nag-celebrate na ako ng birthday ko sa Muntinlupa. I was 13 years old then. First time ko nag-celebrate ng birthday ko sa tamang araw, dinala ako ng mommy ko sa Women’s Correctional. What a momentous day! Na-correct ang birth date ko sa loob ng correctional. Sa Medium security kami, mga preso na life sentenced pero may mga sakit na cancer, at doon na lang sa loob naghihintay ng pack-up sa buhay.

She also suggested that I should try celebrating my birthday in Payatas. It’s a manner of thanksgiving daw for all the blessings. Iba din naman ang Nanay ko.

PAYATAS DAY. My counselor told me that one should always be thankful for every opportunity and privilege that come my way to help others. There’s a lot of people who are able and willing to help, but they simply don’t grab the chance. Charity is giving and sharing. Sakto naman kasi ang dami kong postponed bookings therefore leading to postponed earnings.

2.jpgIt was a yellow day. I came with the youth members of our community. The people of Red Cross QC Chapter gathered 300 indigent 3-6year-old kids from Payatas. Half of them are studying at the Red Cross Day Care in Payatas. Half of them are full-time scavengers.

The greatest struggle of the Red Cross Volunteer teachers was to convince the parents to allow their children to try schooling. The parents believed their children should help them work rather than take some time off to study.

3.jpgIt’s quite understandable because two hands can be really useful for survival. That’s the reality.

Another reality is that branded food garbage is more expensive. This excites the kids. Those stuff are being bought for 15-20 pesos per supot. I am both alarmed and humbled by this fact.

Most of the time, I don’t get to finish my drive-thru food and end up throwing them. For the people of Payatas, what we take for granted gives them a natural high. Thanks to McDonalds, through the help of Koi Castillo, for providing meals (one-piece chicken with rice and Funchum drinks) for 200 pax.

4.jpgWe were able to give each kid (out of the 350 kids) a delicious McDonald’s meal, two notebooks, pencils, crayons, school backpack bags, and balloons This was made possible by the help and generosity of McDonald’s, Red Cross, Gabriel Chua (who also celebrated his birthday with me in Payatas), Carmina Villaroel, Jamie Santiago, my family, and the Living Word Youth.

Everyone cooperated and worked very hard that day. In the midst of the heat and panic was so much joy and love.

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Bigla na lang kami nagkaroon ng sistema. Paano? I don’t know. It just happened. There were people onstage fixing the gifts for the children, some were inserting the juices inside the backpacks, some were sorting the backpacks. The others opted to barricade the exits as they handed the balloons, and stamped them with received marks.

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Alam niyo naman dito sa atin, ‘pag walang ganun, pipila iyan ulit. Meron ding nag-aabot ng gifts from the stage to us and meron din naman nag-aalay sa mga bata kung saan sila lalabas. Syempre, sa lahat naman ng pagkakataon, hindi gaganda ang istorya kung walang kokontra. Ito na siya. Ito ang natatanging picture na nakuha namin sa kanya.

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A man wearing white shorts and white-collared striped shirt came into the scene and demanded us to give him 50 packs of all items. Itago na lang natin siya sa pangalang principal. Bilang di ko talaga alam ang pangalan niya.

According to our reliable sources, he used to be the principal of Payatas Elementary School until he transferred to another school. As far as I can remember, this shot was taken just before he approached me and firmly told me this, “I need 50 packs because you promised my kids that.”

9.jpgI don’t think I have ever spoken to this guy so how could I possibly make such promise. I went up to consult the others. He persistently followed me and demanded for the 50 packs. We asked him where the children were. He said that they were in Ateneo. Aba, nasa Ateneo na pala yun, eh. O, ano naman ang problema nito? Iyan naman ay dialogue ko, sa utak ko lang naman. My nephew, Erlich, politely told principal that the child should be present to avail of the package. He was fuming mad and disappointed with all of us.

Principal said, “But no one informed me about that. Saka masasagot niyo ba yung mga bata kung sakaling dalhin ko dito at merong mapahamak?”

Huh? Bakit? Hindi ba sila taga rito? Eh, talagang hindi sila makakatanggap kasi mga bata sa Payatas talaga ang pupuntahan ko. Again, sa utak ko lang sinabi ito. My sister pulled me aside and asked my pamangkins to handle the guy. Ateneo siya ng Ateneo. Only then did I realize that Manay was with us. Manay is a social worker from Ateneo. In the end, the principal left with a heavy heart and his parting words were, “Ikaw pala si Candy Pangilinan. Hindi kita namukhaan sa itsura mo.” Dapat ba mag-make up ako? Ganun ba dapat? Grrrr! Eh, hindi naman ako nagpapakilala sa iyo. Kailangan may ganun para huminahon ka? Again, sinabi ko na naman iyan sa isip ko.

Due to the incident, we decided to stop and transfer. We were able to dispose the 300 packs already. There was so much confusion. It felt bad that we couldn’t give all of them. We prioritized the kids with Red Cross stub. Ang daming walang stub. ‘Pag nagbigay kami sa isang walang stub, magrereklamo yung ibang walang stub. Hanggang madami na ang magagalit.

We went inside the old dumpsite. Next entry ko na ikukuwento ang experience na yun. It was really an interesting story.

We decided to eat lunch. After lunch, everyone agreed to dispose the 50 packs to the street children. The heat was at its peak, it was 1:30 p.m. Everyone was excited with the idea of going around and giving the gifts. All three cars had gifts. Our convoy route was from Mindanao Ave., Agham Road, East Ave., Quezon Ave., then Philippine Science High School.

I joined the first car and was assigned to distribute the meals. The third car was assigned to give out the balloons. Aba naman! Blockbuster sila. Sila ang unang naubos. The second vehicle distributed the bags and goodies. Iba din naman ang effect sa akin ng street children episode na ito.

They couldn’t believe they were being given clean and untouched food. There were some who ran far from the car after receiving the food. There were kids who fought with other kids to get more. There were kids who simply said, “hank you and ate.” There were kids who were more concerned about selling than eating. There were kids who couldn’t get up and were usually tired to stretch their arms to receive the food. Of course, there were kids who would call other kids.

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Payatas or street children?

Different sites, different backgrounds, different environments, different plights, different ages, but they all have given me a wonderful experience. The humility of these children is the one that makes them happy. The simplicity keeps them satisfied. I came to give some, but I went home receiving more.

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I cannot judge the parents of the Payatas kids because I have seen their way of life and fight for survival. I cannot judge the principal because his accountability is not to me but to the people of Payatas and his Creator. I cannot judge the street children who sniff rugby because I have seen how alien love is to them. I cannot judge anyone because each has a story.

I cannot also find fault with what my mom made me do on my birthday. I can only be grateful to her. As a single mom, she had been striving hard to give me a good life. The role of a mother is the most blessed task God has given, because a mother is tasked to take care of His creation. It’s true that happiness is not having what you want, but it’s wanting what you have. Hindi nga ba?! Ganun yun kasimple? Ganun talaga yun.

Teachers

Filed under: Features — admin at 9:50 pm on Monday, May 5, 2008

Ang tagal ko talaga bago nakaisip kung ano ang isusulat ko. Lost, blank, groping, deranged, or in short, tulala ako.

Aminan na…Heto yata yung Birthday Blues kung tawagin. It’s less than a week before my birthday and I can’t help but… but…but…Grrrr! Ba’t wala akong masabi?

After going to the bathroom (and that was after having a small encounter outside the house, mamaya na ang kuwento nito), I decided to be grateful.

I want to thank my teachers.

I would like to salute all the teachers by profession all over the world. Your job is one of the most difficult.

I would also like to thank the people who taught me and whom I learned from.

There were teachers who taught me inside a formal class, and there were those who assisted me outside the experiential world, where I journeyed life.

Amazing! Every day, I still meet teachers—different backgrounds, types, and even shapes ;-) I believe that all of us are teachers, in a way.

Let me first thank my classroom teachers. Yun bang nag-enroll ako sa kanila. Or sila yung naka-assign sa class ko.

1. Mr. Viola, my Christian life teacher in Maryknoll when I was first year high school. He told me that you don’t have to be a nun or boring to be a good Christian. Pursue the dreams of my heart and be a good person while doing what I like best. Second year, forced drop out ako sa Maryknoll. Hehehehe.

Conduct grade: Red D
Case: Forgery
Background Story: Haba! Next time na natin pag-usapan. Ibang topic naman iyan.

2. All my grade school teachers: Kahit di ko ma-remember names nilang lahat. Memory gap na yata or siguro dahil bata pa ako nun. Gusto kong mag-thank you sa kanilang lahat. According to my investigation, I was then a persistent, hyper, and naughty kid. Thanks for being patient in molding me during my delicate formative years. Wala lang. Walang pakialamanan ng gustong pasalamatan.

3. St. Paul’s HS teachers: Thanks for giving me another chance to prove my worth.

4. UP Theater Professors: (Ogie Juliano, Alex Cortez, Jose Estrella, Anton Juan, Amiel Leonardia, and Lou Decenteceo) Thanks for pushing me to do my best. In other words, kung di kayo matataray at (medyo) malupit  sa akin, then I would not have tried my very best.

5. Sir Tony Mabesa: My mentor, thanks. Your opinion mattered to me a lot. Ang iyong katarayan, pagkasadista, pagka-slight-malupit, paghihigpit, and baritone voice pushed me to the edge, bringing out the best in me. Not to mention the famous lines: “Who do you think you are? God’s gift to Philippine theater?” That had me thinking.

6. Ballet teacher ko: No pain, no gain. Extend. Stretch. Fly. Enjoy. Natakot talaga ako sa malakas na padyak mo with your leather shoes against the wood flooring of the studio for counting. It had always perked up my muscles to move.

7. Guitar teacher Ivar Fojas: It’s never too late to start doing something you want to do.

8. Voice teachers Kitchie and Maye: “You ain’t off key.” “You can carry a tune.” “It can be enhanced.” “Breathing is the key to good singing.” “God is fair.” “You are a good comedienne.”

Sa mga teachers ko naman sa informal classes ko sa buhay…

1. Saleslady ng Scasini: Nung bata ako, katabi namin ang Scasini sa Rustan’s at pinayagan ako ng mga saleslady na maglaro doon. Nakikisukat din ako na sapatos. Sa madaling salita, saleslady-salesladihan ang drama ko. Ang saya! Dahil sa inyo, na-practice ang social and convincing skills ko.

2. Spotters ng Gutson Billiards sa UP: Ang original na Gutson’s ay sa UP. Salamat sa tiyaga at pagtuturo ninyo sa akin ng bilyar. Salamat sa libreng tambay at simpleng kwentuhan. Salamat dahil sa inyo ay napakadali ng Geometry sa akin.

3. Driving teacher ko: Tama ka nga, hindi aandar ang sasakyan kung di ko tatapakan ang gas.

4. Sa mga tindera sa tiangge: Natutunan ko ang salitang “tawad,” in the simplest way.

5. Yung nag-interview sa akin nung Penthouse Live concert: Tinanong mo sa akin kung ano ang trabaho ko, ‘di pala ako kilala talaga, kahit three years ka na sa Pinas.

6. Mga kaibigan ko: Friends are tested through time and fire.

7. Maryo J. Delos Reyes, Don Escudero, Wenn Deramas, and all the directors I have worked with: Thanks because I have learned so much about my craft and about myself from all of you.

8. Mga nakainuman ko: Lahat ng sobra kahit anong brand, may hang-over. Kahit soft drinks, ‘pag sobra, ‘di ka makakatulog.

9. My spiritual councilor: Faith is an action word. Faith means moving forward to God’s glory. She taught me how to make my life simple: CCSC.

Do not CONFORM with others, or the world. Conformity thus makes life complicated and gives us all added pressure. Parang ang pagkakape sa labas, yun expensive coffee, kahit hindi ako mahilig sa kape, napipilitan ako kasi nga pressure.

Do not COMPETE with other people than yourself because it will tire us. Oo nga naman…and that’s equal to inggit. Because we do not CONFORM then we do not have to COMPETE.

And this will bring us SATISFACTION. Satisfied about what is given. When one is satisfied, he/she is contented, of course!

CONTENTMENT will give us peace and joy. It will make life happily simple.

Parang ang dali ba? Sa true lang. Yun nga lang, yung do not CONFORM ang hirap na. Step 1 pa lang yun ha.

Check out her site:  www.pathofglory.blogspot.com

10. Nagbebenta ng isaw sa UP Coop: ‘Pag masarap, malinis, maayos ang pagkain mo—kahit nasa kalye ka, tatagal ka. Mula noong college ako hanggang ngayon na expanded na ang cart mo, nandiyan ka pa.

11. Quentin my son: Thanks for making me see things differently.

12. Dori, my mom: Thanks for sharing with me your humor and your love for life.

13. To my siblings: Alam niyo na yun.

14. At sa bumangga sa kotse ng mommy ko habang naka-park sa labas ng bahay namin, (take note: nakasampa pa po yun sa bangketa), thank you. I didn’t realize how corrupt our government is until I talked to you.

Sidetrip lang, heto yung kuwentong binanggit ko kanina.

Bilang lasing siya, Sunday ito nangyari, at goverment car ang gamit niya ay pa-easy-easy lang siya noong una. Heto na ang balita, mainit-init pa ang experience na ito…

Tinawag ako ng guard namin. Paglabas ko, humirit agad, “Huwag ka mag-alala dahil gobyerno naman ang magbabayad ng sira. Walang problema at di naman kita tatakbuhan.”

Ang sagot ko naman, “Gobyerno? Bakit si GMA ba ang nakabangga sa akin?”

Basta ang ending ay lubos akong naniwala na hindi siya tatakbo at mapagkakatiwalaan ko siya. Kahit sinabi niya sa akin na, “Fans mo pa naman ako. Ang galing-galing mo nga sa Bubble Gang.”

Bubble Gang!!! Eh, hindi naman ako kasali doon. Hindi pa nga ako nakaka-guest doon at all.” Pinagbigyan ko na at sinabing sumunod na lang sa presinto para sa police report. Siyempre, lasing, kaya paulit-ulit. Naiintindihan ko naman yun. Eh ayaw bitawan ang kamay ko, shake hands ng shake hands. Grrrr!!! Corrupt na, lasing at manyakis pa yata!

I could no longer stand it. With my sweetest smile and well-mannered low voice, I told him, “Sige na po, pumunta na kayo sa presinto at ‘pag hindi niyo pa binitawan ang kamay ko ay asahan mo na masisikmuraan kita.”

Ayun, binitiwan na ang kamay ko at convoy na lang sila noong driver ko papuntang presinto. Bago umalis, nagwagi pa rin siya at sinabing, “Maraming Salamat, Ms. Panganiban.”

Heto at kakadating lang ng driver ko. Hindi daw pumunta ng presinto yung mama. Ako yung hindi lasing, ako pa ang naisahan. Kaya ngayon, mag-isa ang driver ko nag-file ng report at hahanapin ko pa bukas si Niel Bullos, DENR employee with plate number SFK 603.

15. Yung nagmimisa pala sa amin na pari every Sunday, you have taught me the values of patience and tolerance, and the art of how not to fall asleep even if my whole human anatomy is already asking me to do so.

16. Every individual I have worked with, chat with, had an encounter: Thank you. ‘Pag iisa-isahin ko kayo, sobrang hahaba ang entry na ito. Thank you because you are all and have become my teachers in one way or another… Siguro in one way…kung di naman, malamang…or another. Hahaha, kulit ko!

17. To the people I have unknowingly hurt, I’m truly sorry and thanks for understanding. If you haven’t forgiven me still, ah…eh…’sensya talaga ‘di ko alam, eh. Thank you dahil pinalagpas niyo ang kagagahan ko. Sorry pa rin.

18: To my Father in Heaven: Thanks for the wonderful year. Thanks for being my Father who loves me more than I love myself.

O, paano na? Wala na naman akong masabi to end this blog. I am running out of words that will make the readers flabbergasted.

I do not want to dampen your spirit by contaminating all of you with my reeling mind, caused by such mythical birthday blues; therefore, I shall end this inscrutable attitude, mustering ample courage, by believing and knowing that this coming year will be a good year, a better year as long I fulfill all the tasks given to me in the fullest of my capacity and with God-given talent and grace—without hampering, hurting another homo sapien—will make this coming year for me, my family, friends, relatives, neighbors, countrymen, pets, pets of my pets, living things, and almost non-living things a good year. I, thank you.