Saturday, July 17, 2004


A theme song - not to end all theme songs, but from which there is a beginning

In 1988, I joined a retreat that said "YES" to Life - Search-In of La Salle Greenhills. In tribute, I would like to share this song, a mantra, if you would have it, written by John Klemmer. My oldest brother liked him so much he bought the cassette tape. It has since been eroded and lost, but up to this day I can recall the soulfulness of his rendition, the simple accompaniment, the texture of the song.

It's not heavy stuff, and I won't pretend it is. It opened my mind to new doors, doors which were hurtful to pass through, but gave my life meaning nonetheless. And so it goes:

Time to hear the ocean
Time to see the sky
Time to close my eyes
Just to feel
Just be real

A chance to run and roam
A place that I call home
A woman and child of my own
Just for me
Just be free.

A star to reach for
So little yet so much more
Something I can really hold on to
A love I take with me
A hand to lead me
All I ever wanted was my life.
All I ever wanted was my life.
All I ever wanted was my life.

Time to work and play
Time to think and grow
Time to search and know
Who I am
If I can.

A chance to find my soul
To understand my role
All I ever wanted was my life
Was my life
Was my life.

On Being Angelo de la Cruz

"We’re under the gun, man. We gotta fight.”

Just a classic line from “The Godfather.” We’re under the gun, and we have to fight.

I don’t know about you, and I’m not riding any bandwagon, but the recent decision of the GMA administration to cave in to terrorists’ demands raises the fear level of all OFWs here in Saudi Arabia. But this move does not surprise me in any way. We groveled to high heavens in the last two prominent OFW cases to hit the media, Sarah Balabagan and Flor Contemplacion. In one, the media coverage and the diplomacy helped; in the other, we had three biopics and still an unsolved case, if you believe the said movies.

And then there was the Abu Sayyaf.

Face it folks, we had this coming for a long time. Some people may say, “Conviction is best from one at the sidelines.” Again, I don’t know about you, but I live here in the Middle East, where a proverbial powder keg may explode any time. I’d like to be brave, but these days, I’d rather be ignorant.

But, in all fairness, let’s not ride Angelo de la Cruz ragged through all this. The guy had hard choices to make; he had the bad luck of being in a convoy that was bound to be attacked. He is neither saint, villain, nor hero. He’s just an ordinary guy, as ordinary as anyone can be.

And again,In all fairness, let’s not ride Mrs. Arroyo ragged through all this. She just moved heaven and earth to win the presidency and yet there still are clouds of doubt over her legitimacy as President of the Philippines. She just gave away our remaining shreds of decency to pander to the mob.

Through it all, here is poor OFW, asking for a place where he can work, where he can put his talent to some use, be some help to the family, wondering how he can live through this day and the next.

Folks, we’ve been wearing tattered shreds of self-respect for a long time. It’s just like that bold starlet who went to a publicity shoot wearing a paper dress crying foul that she is being pawned off to satisfy a politician’s lust and fantasies. Ummm… hello, did I just hear a sound of protest?

Hate it if we must, celebrate it while we can, the still-undecided soap opera of Angelo de la Cruz is just another sad and sorry episode of the life of every Filipino.

But hey, look at the bright side. This guy’s life can probably make a blockbuster movie. Bring out the popcorn and the tissues…

Saturday, July 03, 2004

Flaming Out


That movie brings to mind so many memories. How I loved Winona Ryder then, and even now I still remember the innocence with which I viewed relationships. Man, did I want to be Corey Haim, the lucky bastard.

Lucas was one of those last movies in high school that I remember watching with my brother – before the onset of the change that wasn’t a change. I think of him and somehow I am welling up inside with pain and pity. What a waste of a life.

There is neither reason nor design that I understand what has been wrought in my brother’s life. Could it be that God, in His infinite wisdom, doled out hardship to the innocent as well as to the guilty? One can say something about Job, he who dared to grapple the infinity of God, and succeeding, in his own way, to make God acknowledge him. Sure, the Lord restored Job to full health and gave him a new family to live the happily ever after.

But the book never did talk about the injustice or the deaths of Job’s older children.

Ah, Lucas, Lucas – I remember the locusts that were an integral part of the movie’s atmosphere. These were the 17-year locusts that wait all those years, experience a frenzy of growth, and then flame out. For my brother, he was 17 when he reached the height of who he could have been, and then he flamed out. How he has been since then, well, is just like being a 17-year old. On the verge of getting somewhere, but somehow not getting there…. on the verge of discovering himself, but somehow never achieving it.

That’s his life, that’s his fate. As much as I try to get away from that fate, we are bound by a common heritage and bonds that cannot be denied. Denial never does erase the sense of helplessness. I am not Job, still a Lucas who survived getting out of his cocoon, but still looking for a new place to take root.