At the bridge

Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sunlight on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.
— Mary Frye, 1932

It is a very sad day for us, as we heard the news of the death of Mon’s pet kitty. Uyu was found dead and probably deliberately killed by unknown men late last night. We still find it hard to fathom what pushed these people to kill such an innocent and gentle animal. It was really hard to believe that something as heinous as this can happen to Uyu.

Uyu while taking a nap last February

Uyu while taking a nap last February

Uyu was an older brother of my pet Miso (another brother was Popo), and it seems only yesterday when they were born a day before Valentine’s last year. I had been sporadically crying all day as it was really upsetting. It really pained me so hard to think how much he had to endure before his final moments. The details of what he had become were too graphic that I just can’t bring myself to fully imagine his final image. Given the choice, I just wanted to remember him as the lazy, loving cat, whose flailing paws made him gentler and more adorable. However, it would be an insult to his memory to be forgetful of what truly happened — animal cruelty makes me sick.

A friend of ours forwarded to us the “Rainbow Bridge”, a prose talking of a place where pets who passed away wait for their owners to be reunited someday. It was gut-wrenching to read it. Words cannot express the grief that we are feeling now, but we have to eventually accept that Uyu has already left us. We just imagined him to have wings, similar to Keroberos from Cardcaptor Sakura, lazily sleeping under a tree in the meadow.

Sleep well, Uyu. You are at peace now. =(

Remembering my grandmother

The 8th of March marks my late maternal grandmother’s birthday. If she were still alive today, she would have turned 77 years old. I wasn’t able to visit her grave last All Saints Day and the last time I went to the cemetery was during her interment. Because of that, I had already decided since January that I would visit on her birthday and good thing it fell on a Friday, when I could comfortable wear jeans and sneakers. New façade of San Juan City CemeteryAfter I had passed by St. Claire in Katipunan, Mon and I met in Farmers Market to buy some flowers. I forgot to bring some candles with me, but as it was raining lightly, they would just be easily extinguished. Cemeteries always give out a somber atmosphere, and the gray skies did not help to alleviate the gloom. Looking for the exact place of my grandmother’s grave, we got lost on the first turn because of the weeds growing around it. She’s sharing the same place as her mother and uncle, as seen in the tombstone (though her mother’s was written separately).

Flowers for my grandmother's 77th birthday

We then heard footsteps approaching us and they were made by a middle-aged lady, who probably followed us from the entrance. It was very annoying to hear her jabber about the state of the grave, and offered monthly cleaning services. I was honestly at the point of telling her off because I was really in the middle of deep reflection. It was difficult to think and concentrate when someone was just talking away and pulling weeds and shrubs. What I couldn’t understand was why she chose to do her cleaning while we were there, having a quiet moment in front of the grave. And when we left 15 minutes after, she was already trailing behind us. >_< So, why destroy my quiet time? The realist, suspicious side of me thought that the lady MIGHT take the flowers away, after we left the cemetery.

Home Made Carrot Cake in San Juan City

My sister will be jealous!

Before leaving the area, I told Mon of this place, which my sister and me has chosen as a de facto landmark since we were little. As far as I can recall, we’ve been watching out for this giant carrot because it meant that we were already near the cemetery. We never had the chance to have a look inside, though, so I took the opportunity earlier to finally visit this homemade carrot cake place.

Price list - Home Made Carrot Cake in San Juan CityEven if their prices were ‘reasonable’, we had no reason to buy a whole cake from them. So we just bought two slices, for the sole purpose of tasting them. Looking at the menu for the first time, I though that a whole ‘carrot cake walnut’ was just Php 185 but obviously I have misread it if I were to pay Php 65 a slice. And speaking of the slice, it was smaller than what I’ve expected, but we still bought some because it was embarrassing to setp out empty-handed. So the verdict: I might not return there for a long time but it was nice to have finally satisfied my curiosity after almost two decades. =D

A day of learning

Last day of the month and February literally passed by with only twenty eight days. I was on half-day leave because I attended a conference/workshop regarding aging and migration in UP, with guest speakers from different countries, especially in Asia.

Bearbrick sweater, skinny khaki pants, stripes canvas belt, black 8-hole Doc Martens with strap and buckles, vintage Coach Metropolitan briefcase messenger

The venue was at the University Hotel and it was then that I realized that I have never entered that area of UP before. Finishing both my undergrad and graduate degree, I still haven’t visited a lot of places inside the campus and the University Hotel was no exception. I thought I arrived late, but good thing that the event did not start until 1:30 PM. I overlooked the schedule of activities, wherein 1:00 PM was just the registration proper.

University Hotel's entrance in UP Diliman
University Hotel's lobby in UP Diliman

The theme of the workshop centers on aging and migration in 21st century Asia. The primary organizer, Prof. Yoneno-Reyes, sent an invitation/announcement to everybody last Sunday. She was also my professor in aging and migration three years ago, and I still find the topic interesting and compelling. The moderator of the event, Prof. Sevilla, was also my professor in a West Asia course. For the whole afternoon, three speakers from Japan, China and South Korea presented their papers. Two of them were from Kyoto University, while the other one was from SungKongHoe University.

Emiko Ochiai from Kyoto University

One by one, the three guests presented their topics: from the concepts of intimate work, ‘housewifization’, to ‘a new woman’; as well as marriage migration chains in East Asia to South Korea’s changing policy on multiculturalism and migration. But if I were to be frank with my observations, it was quite frustrating having to follow and grapple with the discussion. Aside from the looming presence of the language barrier between the speakers and their audience, the faulty sound system made matters worse. I felt really embarrassed for the guests, especially when another discussion from the next-door’s conference got transmitted and broadcasted in our room in the middle of the speaker’s discussion, due to mixing up of wireless microphones’ signal. I wanted to hide under the table.

Gabriele Vogt asking a question

I looked at the list of guests and saw that Gabriele Vogt was present. I was really eager to see her because she wrote one of our required readings in class before. I even cited her in one of my essays for comprehensive exams.

If there is one thing I have learned about myself from the event, it was my tendency not to socialize with people I do not know. There were only two people in the room who I knew, and they were my previous professors who were busy with the workshop. I just sat at the end of room, next to the refreshments (coffee within an arm’s reach, yay!) beside two formidable-looking ladies. I did not start a conversation with them, until I decided against the awkwardness of the situation. I was stunned to know that I was seated next to the dean of the College of Nursing of UP Manila. O_O Good thing she was very approachable and even started asking questions about me. There will be another session tomorrow, but I’m not too sure if I would be able to attend. I really need to seriously start reviewing for another exam two Sundays from now.

P.S.
Just as the day turned 28, I found out that our grandmother (my father’s auntie) passed away due to stroke. She was in a nursing home in Alberta, Canada and I haven’t seen her since the late 90s. She died at the age of 88. May you rest in peace, Lola Soling and we love you so much.

Rest in peace, my friend…

Mon and I were on a halfday leave today because we went to visit the wake of our friend who passed away last week. I had no idea how to go to Sucat, Parañaque and I left myself to the careful and guiding hands of Mon. Anything past Baclaran and I already have no clue.

Manila Memorial Park in Sucat, Parañaque

It was a very emotional day and a lot of things were running through my mind when we were there talking to the father of our departed friend. Of all the things I’ve thought about, I appreciated the acceptance of my father over me and everything about me and Mon more than ever…

Rest in peace, Wacks. You will be forever missed and we will always remember you. We won’t forget you…