31 Things for 2018

As the year draws to a close, it’s time once again for the traditional New Year’s Resolution. Here’s mine, 31 Things for 2018, since I’m turning 31 next year.

  1. Spend the Chinese New Year in Binondo
  2. Snap a couple pic at Cape Engaño, Palaui Island
  3. Witness the “sea of clouds” sunrise at Kiltepan Point, Sagada
  4. Snorkel at Coron
  5. Read the following books: Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan
  6. A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki
  7. The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen
  8. The Ministry of Outmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy
  9. Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
  10. Selection Day by Aravind Adiga
  11. Chemistry by Weike Wang
  12. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
  13. The Surrendered by Chang-rae Lee
  14. Green Island by Shawna Yang Ryan
  15. Dogeaters by Jessica Hagedorn
  16. Rebuild my wardrobe
  17. Sign up for a Mandarin Chinese class
  18. Ride the MOA Eye
  19. Get a healthier and fitter (though not necessarily leaner) physique
  20. Sleep more
  21. Learn to swim
  22. Stop drinking soft drinks
  23. Stick to a weekly budget
  24. Reorganize my files on an external drive and reformat the PC
  25. Push through with my dental appointments
  26. Get a new, more flattering pair of eyeglasses
  27. Lessen the time you spend with people who don’t help you feel better or be better
  28. Send a gift to your 5 beshies: Tantan, Karl, Bench, Alma, Wen
  29. Drink more tea and less coffee
  30. Participate in a gay pride event
  31. Be a more Buddhist, secularist, and Stoic Jeric

30 things I learned in life

  1. This is the only life you have.
  2. Having too many choices is paralyzing.
  3. Although the past can and does influence the future, much of what you do in the present counts.
  4. It’s OK to feel bad and let people know that you do.
  5. Resist change only if it is worth the resistance.
  6. What you see is what you just see or choose to see. There are other perspectives.
  7. People come and go.
  8. Understanding is the foundation of amity.
  9. It’s OK to leave people who don’t treat you well.
  10. There are bad people. No sense pretending they’re all good, but you still need to treat them right.
  11. Life is not a competition.
  12. It’s OK to make mistakes.
  13. Never stop learning. Read, travel, talk, whatever… but never stop acquiring knowledge and wisdom.
  14. Don’t put anyone in a pedestal.
  15. Reward loyalty.
  16. If you don’t know something, you must know at least that you don’t or have the means to know if you know it or not.
  17. Forgive but never forget. Keep the lessons, and pursue fairness.
  18. There is no justice without compassion.
  19. Success is not purely hard work and much luck or opportunity. Be humble.
  20. Embracing death should make us appreciate life more.
  21. Expect the unexpected.
  22. Life is more meaningful when we dare to make a difference or be different.
  23. Mind your own business.
  24. Smiling can make you feel better.
  25. Value health. You’ll have to be well to live life to its fullest.
  26. You don’t lie when you take refuge in silence.
  27. Rules are actually suggestions – you don’t or shouldn’t follow them all the time. What lasts are principles and instead of rules, you should educate yourself with the former.
  28. My belief in freedom and dignity is not up for debate.
  29. Be generous with time, praise, and even money.
  30. There is danger in always, never, all, or none. Always reserve something for yourself, and for doubt. Find balance.

Journal 11.21.2017

SO and I, and 2 other friends are supposed to go on a trip on the 2nd of December, but I think I’ll need to scrap this. I don’t think this is the kind of trip I will enjoy. First, I might need to spend quite heavily. I understand that a vacation is not worth it if you’re too anxious keeping within the budget, but it’s not proper for me to be spending so much when I have a room to improve, a potential sideline to work on, and a Master’s degree to pursue. A mountain climb to Mt Maculot, or a trip to Gulugod-Baboy and/or an overnight at Masasa Beach will cost me upwards 1,500 pesos. That’s money better spent on a Logitech web cam, a gym subscription for several months, or a tooth extraction at a reputable dental clinic. Yeah, they say that traveling is a chance of a lifetime, that you should travel while you’re young, that should dare so as not to regret – but earning money and saving part of it so that you’ll be able to live with peace of mind is also important.

Second, SO’s vacation demands are so frustrating. Yeah, I get it. He wants to have everything easy and chill. But that means shelling out more money. It also means not leaving the comforts of life to rediscover or challenge one’s self. For him, a hike is should be an outdoorsy version of malling, and should be easy, sanitary, and predictable. Moreover, for him, the word “quick” is more important than “get-away.” He has strict time limits and he easily goes haywire when things do not go smoothly and take longer than he expects. He has his own views and I’m not contesting that. If that’s what a vacation is for him, one that prioritizes comfort and control, then so be it. But since we have different intentions and expectations, I doubt if we’d enjoy this trip, or any travel at all. His deal-breakers are far too numerous for compromise, and even for reality. How the hell am I supposed to find a passable “hotel” around Mt Maculot, let alone pay for one?

I must learn from the Cagbalete-Lucban trip, that one trip I thoughtfully planned for the both of us. I was able to salvage it, but just that. It neither made us happy – only our Chinese friend who came along had all the fun. Mutual travels – they are out of the question now.

Journal 11.20.2017

I’m so lazy. Things I have to do and finish keep on piling up, but I even though I’m so frustrated, I simply can’t muster the willpower, energy, or intelligence to face even just half of them. I’m no longer the adolescent who did the most stupid things without fear of dying, who rushed everything as if the world would end today.

And I’m so sad. Life is in suspended animation and the only tasks that I manage to complete are the ones I have already done in the past. I have come to a point in my life when I do better with routine work than with new ones. Well, I think repetition and certainty is what life loves and it is what we are naturally predisposed at, but I used to put more importance on new things and activities, than I do now. The certainty of death, the proverbial Damocles’ sword that comes with the power of life, brings with it dharmic resignation.

As I trudge toward my 30th year of existence, the grayness of my hair – and life – becomes more and more apparent. We keep on saying that life is dynamic, but my horizon sees little of that much touted change. As they say, plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

Journal 10.05.2017

Minsan gusto ko na lang makiuso sa mga burgis – “Yeah, yeah, you poor, know your place, it’s under me or under the grave” – pero pag naaalala ko yung mga panahon na halos wala akong makain at naliligiran pa ako ng mga Christ-centered classmates ko na may star-shaped pang chicken nuggets, nahihiya ako sa sarili ko. Madaling maging mahirap kung pare-pareho kayo, pero ang kalikasan ng lipunan ay ikaw lang ang maghihirap para sa ikaliligaya at haraya ng iilan. My somewhat privileged life is supported by the backs of anonymous poor people; the least I could do is to stop adding insult to their existence. Wala na nga akong magawa para matigil ang pagpatay sa mga maralita na “nanlalaban,” hahamakin ko pa sila?

Journal 06.10.17

This week has been anything but hellish and crazy.

The new G-check system is nerve-wracking. If I had a choice, I wouldn’t do it. But then, do I really have a choice?

My high school friends (or should I say, “former friends”) are asking me out this Thursday. But I don’t think I still want to hang out with them. I have crossed this boundary, the line between sentimental value and “fuck this.” Beyond that superficial Facebook post meant to showcase how nice we are to maintain ties that go way back, there isn’t much for me in lying to myself that I like their company. I can’t pay for what they spend, I can’t do what they like, I can’t interest them with the mundane things I enjoy and the cheap places I go to, I don’t share the same sentiments and ideals as them. What’s the point of being with them other than highlighting that my academic achievements in high school did not translate to any material success (as how they see it)? We have drifted apart. They have their own world, I have mine, and as far as I’m concerned, they’re irrelevant to mine. #ByeFelicia.

That was one massive shithole Qatar got into. But no love for Saudi and the UAE. Them calling Qatar a sponsor of terrorism is no different from a kettle calling the pot black.
It sucks to be a friend of all (Iran, Israel, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and friends, the USA), but as the saying goes, “A friend to everyone is a friend of no one.” A line has been drawn in the Middle East – and the Gulf states have decided that Qatar, with its stable government and society, temperate version of Islam, and friendly attitude even to Saudi enemies, has to go. The hacking, the fake news, the quick diplomatic siege – all were orchestrated by the Saudis and their rich Gulf friends to strike the Qataris and Iranians. It’s a naked power grab, and one could just wonder Trump’s role in this picture as this occurred a few days after his state visit to the Middle East.

That Qatar supports terrorism is an open secret. It isn’t shocking. But that it’s Saudi Arabia and the UAE calling Qatar a sponsor of terrorism is like a kettle calling the pot black. Hell, Hapilon and his Maute friends wouldn’t have the petrodollars to buy a single gun if it weren’t for the madrassas various Saudi “charitable” organizations have built in Lanao, Sulu, and Maguindanao. We’re more inclined to bat for the underdog especially since Qatar funds Al Jazeera, a more reliable source of information than the state news agencies of the Arab world can ever be.

Pax Americana has effectively ended. But now, who can we trust?