Burnout

Naramdaman ko ‘yung higpit ng pagkaka-hawak mo sa kamay ko. Nanlambot ako na parang gusto ko sumandal sa’yo. ‘Yung init ng kaliwang kamay mo ay binalot ang kanang kamay ko. Ang dami ko gusto sabihin, ang dami ko gusto itanong. Pero mas pinilit ko namnamin ang ilang minuto na magkasama tayo. Ang totoo naguguluhan ako. Ang sabi ko ayoko na eh, akala ko okay na eh.
Meron nga ba tayong dapat pag-usapan? Meron nga ba tayong hindi napag-tapusan? O baka naman ako lang? Sa likod ng utak ko na nagsasabing nakalimutan na kita, ‘yung diwa ko ay hindi pa pala. Baka akala ko lang wala na, ‘yun pala andiyan pa. Pero, bakit kahit maliit na senyales na hinihingi ko eh hindi naman ibinibigay. Kumbinsido rin naman ako na sa utak mo, hindi ako ang nakalagay.

Sa tuwing makikita kita, hindi ka nagsasalita. Kahit ako ay ‘tila nagiging pipi at walang mapala. Pero sa utak ko ang daming tumatakbo. Mga tanong na naghahanap ng kasagutan. Gusto kong malaman kung meron pa bang patutunguhan?

Dahan-dahan mo akong kinabig papalapit sa iyong mga bisig. Lalo akong hindi nakapag-salita, bagkos ako ay natulala. Nabura lahat ang nakalutang na tanong. Nawala ang takot at tuluyan nagpadala sa sitwasyon. Gusto ko pa sana namnamin ang pagkakataon, pero mas nanaig ang utak at pinilit gumising mula sa panaginip at ibinalik ang sarili sa ngayon.

Nangako ako na hindi na muli pang magsusulat ng tungkol sa’yo. Pero sa dalawang beses na pag-litaw mo sa panaginip ko sa linggong ito, naguguluhan na naman ako. Bakit? Ang alam ko, matagal na kitang kinalimutan, hindi lang buwan, taon ang aking binilang. Ang totoo, hindi ko nga alam kung sumasagi man lang ba ako sa iyong isipan? Malamang hindi. Kaya pwede ba, ‘wag mo na ko dalawin sa panaginip? Ang hirap kasi, pagkatapos ng panaginip, dumidiretso ka sa aking isip.

Gusto ko ng kasagutan sa aking mga katanungan, pero alam kong malayo iyon sa katotohanan. Ah basta, naguguluhan ako, pero hindi dapat ako nagkaka-ganito… kasi hindi naman tayo, hindi naman naging tayo.

*cue music* Burnout by Sugarfree

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​DISCONNECT: What I learned from my 7 days Social Media Fast

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According to an article from Inquirer.net, Filipinos spent an average of 4 hours and 17 minutes per day on social media sites such as Facebook, Snapchat, and Twitter. The data were based on active monthly user data from social media companies as recent as January 2017. Wow! The country who has among the slowest broadband speed in Asia Pacific has taken the global lead in time spent on social media. Hmmm. Well, that might be the reason why.

I may not be spending 4 hours or more a day in social media, but I am still guilty that it is occupying so much of my time. I may not be posting every day, but that doesn’t make me a “responsible user”.

I’ve decided to take a social media fast during the Holy Week to disconnect from the World Wide Web and be more present in the actual World. Here’s what I learned from my seven days social media fasting.

TIME. Checking social media sites is the first thing I do in the morning. It’s actually a way to wake myself up. It’s very difficult for me to wake-up at 4:30 in the morning. And to keep my eyes open (after three to four snoozes) is to check my Facebook notifications. It’s effective, but it’s spiritually unhealthy. Instead of saying a prayer of thanks for letting me live for another day, I am so busy looking at my newsfeed not noticing that I’ve already spent 15 minutes of my time. Surprisingly, during my 2nd day of fasting (Monday), I was able to wake-up without the help of social media and was even 30-minutes early at work. I’m just on my 2nd day of fasting and I’ve already experienced the benefits of it, especially on my time management.⌚

QUIET TIME. Guilty as charged, I usually have my quiet time or devotion on my way to work. Yup, you read that right. I am really not proud to admit this, but it seems like for the past months I have more time on Facebook in the morning than to open-up my bible and have my devotion. Am I that busy that I can’t make time for God that I need to squeeze Him in during my commute? I know right there and then that I need a heart check. I need to know my priorities. I’m thankful that through fasting, I got back on track and was able to do my daily devotion properly and I even had extra time to go through a 7 Day Reading Plan entitled “Power of His Presence”. Amazing!🙌

FOCUS. It is evident that during my fasting, I’ve become more focused on whatever I’m doing both at work and at home. Not that I’m not productive at work, but I noticed that I’ve done more than my usual daily productivity when I am not being distracted with my newsfeed. Aside from the goal to feed my soul more during my fasting, I also get to do some physical work out twice last week. I feel accomplished for not feeling the need to have my phone with me during my work out and not thinking of what to post in Instagram. Wuhoo!💪

DISCIPLINE. Fasting takes a lot of discipline… and grace from God. I survived the 7 days fasting from social media through discipline and help from God. I had to uninstall all my social media applications to keep me focused on my goal. As Brooke Obie wrote in her article on 5 Spiritual Benefits of Fasting, “…fasting is less about what we’re giving up and much more about what we’re making room for. When we fast, we exchange what we need to survive for what we need to live–more of God.”  I learned that when you have the desire to seek God, it is tied up with discipline. I had to remind myself that in order for me to have more of Him, I need to disconnect from what distracts me from Him.

Seven days without social media is just nothing compared to what Moses (Deuteronomy 9:9-18), Elijah (1 Kings 19:4-8), and Jesus (Matthew 4:1-2) did. But I can definitely confirm that it is a humbling experience. It has been a great way to clear my heart and mind from the media “toxins” that distracts me from God. It’s also a good realization that the world still goes on without us.

I’ll end my article with a tweet from John Piper, “One of the great uses of Twitter and Facebook will be to prove at the Last Day that prayerlessness was not from lack of time.” I hope and pray that what I did last week is a start of a lifetime habit of discernment and choices regarding my social media cravings.

May your heart be filled with what is missing from the empty tomb! Happy Resurrection Sunday!😊

MMFF 2016 #reelvolution

Controversial yet I can consider it a successful Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) for the year 2016. Yup, it was full of controversies but I still applaud the restructure of the 42nd edition of the annual MMFF. The line-up is quite different from the previous years but it is one of the best!

I am unable to watch all eight films, but I saw at least six of them. Now here’s my personal thought of the films (in no particular order):

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DIE BEAUTIFUL – The award from 2016 Tokyo International Film Festival is a great factor why this film gained a huge interest from its Filipino audience and I really can’t question the make-up skill of Paolo Balesteros. However, the acting level (for me) is only good for MMK. Too bad, I wasn’t able to see Oro. Thus, I can’t compare the acting with Joem Bascon. But yeah, props to bes Barbs portrayed by Christian Bables who really deserved the Best Supporting Actor award. Being a non-linear film, Die Beautiful was presented well by the Director. Although they were successful on showing the past, present, and future of the main character, it still lacks “purpose” for me. Kulang ng lalim. There are some elements missing.

SAVING SALLY – It’s a conyo-geeky-animated film with a familiar love story. Being promoted by my friends from the Comic industry, I took a shot on checking out this film. Unlike most of the reviews, I didn’t get annoyed or awkward with the film having 80% dialogue in English. Perhaps the characters are conyo in real life so the dialogues were delivered naturally. Hehe. I can’t be so technical when it comes to the animation side, but I’m giving this film A for effort. It’s like an awesome college thesis that made its way to the big screen. I just wonder what will it be like if Anna Larucea finish the project. Nevertheless, Saving Sally is visually entertaining.

VINCE & KATH & JAMES – I read the viral post in facebook and no, the film is not an adaptation of it. It’s totally different. They basically just use the name of the characters and the “text” element and that’s it. Just like many viewers have noticed, Joshua Garcia is a revelation. He was very effective on playing his character as Vince. If this teen will embrace his craft and will work hard, he is close to achieving John Lloyd’s charm on screen someday. Julia Barretto on the other hand, gave justice to her character well and avoided to appear trying hard on her acting. Forget about Ronnie Alonte (James). Heh. Someone can do it better. Anyway, even though Vince & Kath & James is another familiar love story that caters to the millennials, the film was able to deliver a light and positive vibe to the viewers and I think it is also the most child friendly entry for MMFF 2016.

ANG BABAE SA SEPTIC TANK 2: #ForeverIsNotEnough – Despite using the same old formula from the first instalment, I appreciate the film for boldly discussing a relevant issue that is apparent at this year’s Metro Manila Film Festival: Indie films versus Commercial films. Surprisingly, I like Kean Cipriano’s acting here compared to the first one and Eugene is as awesome as always. My favourite part is the “Different Hugot Level”. That scene alone makes me forget the “Jacqueline Jose School of Acting” part in Die Beautiful. While I am not really impress with the ending, I still like Septic Tank than Die Beautiful. I dunno, maybe I easily grasped the “purpose” of the film compared to the latter. But yeah, that’s just me. Who am I? I am just a normal viewer. Ha!

SEKLUSYON – I was born and raised Protestant. Thus, the film doesn’t have that much impact on me. While the life-size images of the rebultos are creepy, it really didn’t bother me that much. The storytelling of the film is quite good but it still has this Erik Matti element that will leave you with questions. Surprisingly, I didn’t hear any reaction from the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, as I find some points that might be offensive to the Catholic church in general. Nevertheless, Rhed Bustamante who played as Anghela gave an outstanding performance. I’ve seen this kid in a couple of “Ipaglaban Mo” episodes and her acting is remarkable. Again, forget about Ronnie Alonte (Miguel). Heh. He needs more acting workshop. Anyway, Matti’s signature ending will make you think and see things in a different perspective. Leaving your imagination with scenes that you can relate to your own experiences. In short, this movie is worth your time.

SUNDAY BEAUTY QUEEN – The only documentary at this year’s film festival. Sunday Beauty Queen doesn’t just deserve the Best Picture but it also has the Best Cinematography for me. The low-angle shots of the high-rise buildings are just genius. I can smell and feel HongKong from the screen. I love the authenticity of every scene. There was no script and the characters are simply natural. The film highlighted different portraits of being an OFW, the struggle, joy, and victory. The director’s straightforward storytelling is just solid to the point that it left me feeling happy and heavy at the same time. This film was beautifully crafted with a heart. Ika nga nila, uwian na! May nanalo na!

The 42nd Metro Manila Film Festival may not be the usual MMFF that we are all familiar, but I think, the committee members just did the right thing. How can we improve if we are boxed and afraid to get out of our comfort zone? Yes, I know. This brave move is something that needs more time before the majority can fully embrace it. But for me, the changes are worth it. I believe that Filipino filmmakers can achieve the commercial value with technical excellence.

It may not be easy, but it will be worth it.

 

Up and up to Mt. Ulap

Mt. Ulap, Ampucao, Itogon, Benguet — 1,846 meters above sea level. Sino mag-aakala na ipagpapalit ko ang food trip sa pag-akyat ng bundok? Hindi ko rin alam kung anong pumasok sa utak ko at niyaya ang madalas kong kasabwat sa galaan na sila Ena and Terence para akyatin ang Mt. Ulap sa muli naming pag-balik ng Baguio. Hindi ako nahirapan. Walang patumanggang pumayag sila aking mungkahi.

Ketchup Community, Café by the Ruins, at Oh My Gulay. ‘Yan talaga ang orihinal na itinerary. Malayo sa pag-akyat ng bundok.

Huli na ang lahat. Wala na akong panahon umatras. Pasado alas-otso ng umaga umalis kami ng terminal papuntang Ampucao. Medyo matagal ang inantay namin kung tutuusin bago napuno ang jeep para sa first trip. Nagawa pa naming makapag-almusal. Dumating kami ng alas-9 ng umaga sa Barangay Hall na nasa loob ng Ampucao Elementary School. Dahil medyo late na rin kami, wala nang pila na inabutan at nakapag-bayad agad kami ng registration fee (P100 per person) at guide fee (P400 per group).

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Ampucao Jeepney Terminal located in Lakandula Street near Baguio Central Mall
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Registration Office/Table for Mount Ulap
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Ready to explore Ulap-Gungal-Ambanao-Paoay

Matapos bumili ng tubig, saging, at biskwet, inumpisahan na ang orientation at paglalakad papuntang jump-off point. Kung iniisip niyo na may dala kaming kanin at ulam… wala! Haha! Mahirap mamili ng pagkain kapag busog ka. Hindi namin alam ang gutom na nag-iintay sa amin sa tuktok ng bundok sa mga oras na ‘yun, kaya naman wala sino man sa amin ang bumili ng heavy meal. Basta ang alam ko, ang Hansel ang pinaka-masarap na biskwet sa mga oras na ‘yun. Hansel ang nag-tawid sa aming gutom. Walang lunch-lunch. Haha! Tibay!

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Kuya Randy (our guide), giving us an overview of our journey to Mt. Ulap.

Hindi naging madali para sa akin ang pagla-lakbay kumpara sa dalawa kong kasama na kahit papaano ay naka-ilang bundok na rin naman. Walong buwan na walang work-out, naging isang malaking hamon sa akin ang trek. Tuwing paakyat, hindi pwedeng hindi ako humingi ng ilang minuto para habulin ang hininga at mag-punas ng pawis.

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Kaya ko pa ngumiti sa unang bundok (Mt. Ambanao Paoay 1788 mASL). Pinipigil ang sarili maging makulit at ‘wag mag-tanong kung “malayo pa”. Siguro dahil alam ko naman ang isasagot sa akin ni Kuya Randy. Pero, hindi tulad ng ibang guide, medyo honest si kuya at talagang sinasabi niya kung ilang oras pa ang lalakbayin papunta sa next peak. Okay lang, at least naka-set na ‘yung expectation. Hindi paasa. Whoa! Hugot! Haha.

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Naging mabait ang panahon sa amin. Kahit alas-9 na kami umakyat, hindi masyadong tirik ang araw at maganda ang panahon. Nakarating kami sa Gungal Rock (1,814 mASL) alas-dose ng tanghali. Hindi pansin ang gutom, matyaga kami nag-intay ng aming pagkakataon makapag-pakuha ng larawan sa sikat ng Gungal Rock. Isang oras ang ginugol namin sa Gungal Rock sa dami ng kasabay namin nakapila para makapagpa-picture.

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Kung maaari ay hanggang apat na kuha lang talaga ang pwede sa dami ng taong nakapila para makapag-pakuha ng larawan sa Gungal Rock. Dito pumasok ang advantage ng pagiging huli namin sa pila. Nabigyan kami ng “unlimited” shots at nakadalawang balik dahil inaantay pa namin ang clearing ng fog. Mabilis ang galaw ng ulap dahil sa hangin, kaya dapat ay mabilisang kilos din.

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Matapos namin makapag-pakuha ng dalawang set, eh sumuko na rin kami. Isa’t kalahating oras mula sa Gungal Rock ay nakarating rin sa pangatlong destinasyon: MT. ULAP (1,846 mASL). Akyat-baba-akyat-baba. Nakakapagod pero, totoo pala. Mawawala lahat ng pagod mo pag-dating mo sa tuktok. Pinawi ng pag-yakap ng malamig na hangin at ulap ang pagod namin.

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‘Eto ang unang akyat ko, pero nakasisiguro akong hindi ito ang huli. Mahirap. Nakakapagod. Masakit sa tuhod. Pero tama sila. May kakaibang kasiyahan ang dulot ng pag-akyat ng bundok.

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Maraming salamat sa dalawang kasama kong nag-tulak sa akin (hindi sa bangin) at naniwalang kaya kong tapusin ang trail. Hindi ko pinagsisisihan ang pag-yaya ko sa inyo. Sulit ang hirap at sakit. Apir! ^___^